Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Final Checkered Has Flown

Originally posted on October 16, 2008

The Final Checkered Has Flown

Current mood: tested

After twenty eight years of auto racing involvement, it's time to walk away completely. Something that was such an important part of my life, has become quite inconsequential.

Granted being involved as a crew member or official were some of the best times of my life, it is time to look forward and not to the past. I've been so many places I never would have seen and met some great people from all over the United States and Canada. Of course I have every intention of staying contact with the people I consider friends but I have strongly lost the desire to retain even the slightest involvement.

I accomplished much more in the sport than I had ever anticipated and I was able to do everything I had wanted to do. The high points were being named interim president of ISMA and being an official at the Oswego Speedway. The low points, being named the interim president of ISMA and my treatment the last month of my NEMA career. It was those times that I learned the hard lessons of politics and the personal agendas that dominate auto racing on all levels.

I tried to retire at the completion of the 2005 and 2006 seasons with grace and dignity. Most importantly, own my own terms. Foolishly, both times I withdrew my resignation at the request of two NEMA leaders. Only to be lied to and pressured out by those same two, in late 2007.

For many, many years I missed many a function or get together due to my dedication to be at a race event. The money and vacation time lost, was a bargain compared to the fun and enjoyment spent with the fans and competitors, before, during and after a race event. These times are no
longer existent and have decreased steadily. I find myself at events spending more time miserable and looking forward to leaving as soon as possible. This past season I'm finding myself miserable, as I sit a judge, criticize, and bitch about the things being done wrong. Why am I paying money to be miserable?

I owe the sport nothing and it owes me nothing as well. Why look beyond, when it's just not worth it.

Granted, a surprising number of racers stayed loyal to me through my transition. But as time goes on I'm becoming much more aware of those who've chosen to avoid me. Three years ago, they were going out of their way to speak to me, now simple eye-contact appears to be off limits. Now some of these same people go out of their way to avoid me.

What fun is there in wasting gas, money and time being unhappy or shunned? This not only goes for competitors, but 'friends' too including the majority of people I used to go to Indianapolis with. Admittedly this is a minority but it is becoming more and more obvious. I'm not contagious and I'm certainly not looking at them any differently than ever before.

The above does not include in any way shape or form the people of the Mod Chick Mafia, the 23 Douglas Racing Team or

I spent this past weekend at a race Seekonk, MA. Granted I went in to the weekend in a foul mood, as the night before I had to put a cat I adopted nine years ago, to sleep. But every time I crossed the NEMA pit area, I was finding myself more and more resentful. Granted I had few I had wanted to stop and see, or at least wave 'hello' but I knew with my own mood, I had best stay away. Fortunately, Sunday my attitude improved a bit and I was able to stop in and say hello. Granted, I knew I was really saying goodbye, but didn't want anyone to know it. This time it was for the last time.

I knew going into the weekend it was the end, but by the time the Pro Stock feature mercifully ended. I was at wits end and my sense of humor had run dry. Completely.

Since 1980, my season has usually ended at the Thompson World Series. It runs this upcoming weekend. This will be my first true test of the rest of my life. For the first time in 28 years, I won't be there.

The 2008 season got off to a lousy start with the untimely passing of Shane Hammond and never seemed to improve from there.

When something you love becomes a chore, it's best to just walk away. Why ruin everything I had worked for, with a constant negative attitude.

The last checkered has flown and my personal Musco lighting system has been dimmed for the final time. The gates are locked and I'm slowly walking away.....trying not to turn back for one last glance at a place I loved.

The View From MySpace

Well i didn't really know you but I know that you and my dad go WAAAAAAAAY back and you might even know my mom....(I was looking at pics on your myspace and that was when my mom and dad where still married....and i showed her who you where and she said that she missed you either way)!!! You seemed like a very nice person and I wish I could have gotten to know you more....along with other people that my dad talks about and tells stories about all the time!!!

Shelby G.

WOW. I dont even know what to say. when are we going to be able to see each other? Now I'm really regretting not being at Classic this year. You & I came to know one another thru racing. I hope you consider me one of the "few" who have not "shunned" you since your transition. While I've stated several times that it is hard to understand what you went thru, are going thru and why, I have always found you as an asset to my life... then and now. Maybe for completely selfish reasons i find you more interesting now than ever before. Maybe its because of your transition and my curiosity... but i digress. I don't know how to give you KUDOS for this blog... since it makes me sad to hear this. but, I appreciate your honesty.

I hope you will make some exceptions. I don't get out your way hardly ever (except for racing). maybe i'll have to make an exception and come to see the fall colors (they were SPECTACULAR in northern MI last weekend), or to a hockey game over there. in any case, PLEASE stay in touch!!! I do not want to lose YOU my FRIEND.

Robert G.

Well...I can't say I didn't see this coming. I could tell you were uncomfortable on a couple occasions when I saw you and I wondered how long it would be before we wouldn't have the chance to sit and bullshit. I think it sucks that you aren't going to be around. But now I find myself wishing that I had not been pulled off in one direction or another when I did get to hang with you, so that I could have spent more time bullshitting and enjoying your company.

Bobby G.

You have made a huge choice there! Good for you! This is another one of them crossroads in life that we make a decision at. You have made so many changes from your past and screw what other people 'think'. You are a great person an a great friend to me and so many others! I am glad to have turned to you at Lee Speedway that night and asked if you were the person from racers bored! The one year that I was involved with TVMRS was great to spend with you. Although this is NOT a goodbye, it is a welcome to a NEW you!! HUGS!!!

Lisa P.

im gonna miss you not being at the track now who is gonna sit with me at Star and Oswego when they have supers and mods i respect your feelings about racing its gonna be a bummer not seeing you at the track but i guess we can still go see lil Jimmy and other shows take care

John A.

In all seriousness (yes I can be serious) Im very proud of you. Not only is it a difficult task to walk way but to be yourself and be public with your feelings and reasons. Its not easy to walk away, never mind walk away and say exactly how you feel. Your a tougher chick then you let on to be. Just think more beach time.


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