I love fishing. There is just something about being at a lake or a pond and making a few casts that is just so relaxing to me. It’s my way of getting away from everything. Infact, on the property I rent there is a small pond behind the backyard, and I tend to start my day before work with a few casts. I love fishing so much that when I get the opportunity and when I can afford it, I join a good friend and his family on their annual fishing trip to Ontario Canada.
To simply say the fishing is good wouldn’t do it any justice, the only unknown is the weather. Which is why I sit in a cabin 100 miles from any form of civilization during a massive storm, writing this column.
Even though the weather has hampered a day of fishing, it still has been incredible trip so far. The trip has become somewhat of a tradition with my friend’s family. The trip started way back in 1978 and every year since the family has ventured out north of the border.
That is 34 years straight! The trip has become a rite of passage for some young men, and has created memory after memory for those that have gone on the trip. They have even buried a time capsule that they unearth every year and put some type of memorabilia in to remember that year’s trip.
Tradition and history is all throughout dirt track racing. Many of the rules we have today have been handed down to us by previous generations.
Tradition and history is all throughout dirt track racing. Many of the rules we have today have been handed down to us by previous generations. Think of it like this, why do we do sprint cars use 410 engines? Why not 350‘s, or even 454s?
The truth is the CRA and Gary Sokola mandated the 410 engine rule for the sprints back in the 1978. Fast forward to 2012 and that rule change impacted the racing we see today so greatly! It has since become widely accepted throughout the country as the standard in dirt track racing.
The World 100
The NASCAR world likes to point to how their sport is built on tradition, but I believe the dirt world has them covered. Like I already mentioned, the World 100 is a race rich in history. Dubbed “The Grandaddy of them all”, it is already in it’s 42nd year of existence and will have a ton of entries this year.
It has become one of the largest late model races in the country. It has become so big that other tracks near Eldora don’t even bother putting on an event that weekend.
It’s the reason why drivers like the 2008 winner Shane Clanton have this to say about winning the huge event, “On the last lap I had a guy down in turn three telling me I had a big lead, so I actually got a little teary-eyed. The World 100 means so much – not only to me, but to my car owner.”
Knoxville Raceway is another great example of a track with an amazing history. The track was build in the late 1800′s although no motor racing was held until 1914. Their website claims that they held one of the first races in the country in 1901.
It is highly regarded as the home of the sprint cars, and even has the sprint car hall of fame on the outside of turn two. During its marquee event, the Knoxville Nationals, the track and the small town of Knoxville will fill with tens of thousands of dirt track fans from across the world. The first Knoxville Nationals occurred in 1961 with a $5,000 purse. Last year to celebrate the 50th anniversary, the track posted over a million dollars into the race’s purse. Donny Schatz would take home the crown and massive paycheck.
Dirt track racing is a sport well stocked with history, and tradition. Everywhere you look you can see the past though the racing today. This is why dirt tracks like Eldora and Knoxville have survived and are thriving today. They embrace their history, and honor it by the racing that happens every weekend.
I believe more tracks need to honor their heritage and teach the average fan why racing is the way it is today. Dirt tracks that can keep up with the times while embracing our history and tradition, are more often than not, the tracks that we mention today as being the premier dirt tracks in the country.