I’m excited about my next racing duties — serving as Late Model race director for the Inaugural VP Racing Fuels Gateway Dirt Nationals presented by Karl Performance this weekend at The Dome at America's Center in St. Louis, Mo. | Live pay-per-view details
This is an opportunity to be a part of what could become one of the historic events in the history of our sport. An opportunity to work with a dedicated and driven group of individuals who are busting their collective asses to make the event entertaining and successful. The effort that is being put forth is nothing short of miraculous.
So much work and planning have gone into this event. Cody Sommer, Jeremy and Ashley Burnett and everyone involved have poured blood, sweat and tears into the planning and its execution. They have also created a painstakingly comprehensive website that can literally answer almost any question that one may have. There are detailed maps, schedules and procedures laid out in black and white so that no one should be met with any surprises. This event is unique and it offers many special circumstances that people who participate or attend must understand.
Tri-City Speedway co-owner Kevin Gundaker and his staff have been diligent in getting the track itself built. His confidence is all that I needed in order to allay any concerns about that track itself. If Kevin says it’s going to be good to go, then by God, it’s good to go.
I have seen, read and heard so many negative comments about this event. It's very frustrating. The Gateway Dirt Nationals could be a huge success, a moderate success or a complete failure. But I can assure you that if it is the latter it will not be from a lack of effort. It will not be because of a lack of preparation or planning. It will not be from a lack of the right personnel to get the job done.
I have complete confidence that the event will be an unqualified success because I believe in the people that are working so hard to make it happen. So when you start talking among yourselves about how bad this thing is going to be or how it can’t work here are a few things you should keep in mind. How many people told Earl Baltes that a big racetrack built in the middle of cornfields could never be successful? How many people told Chili Bowl co-founder Emmett Hahn that a race inside a building is a crazy idea and that no one would ever come and see it?
I’m often frustrated by all the negativity that seems to dwell within our sport. I see people saying the track is too narrow ... or the track is too short ... or not banked enough … or that the walls and fences won’t work. My question to the people asking those questions: “How did you build your indoor track?” Yeah, exactly.
Only once previously has this been attempted for Dirt Late Models with a 1982 event at the Pontiac Silverdome near Detroit. But why not give it a shot? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Give it a chance. See what happens. Because come next Sunday, if the event is a complete success, there is going to be a smorgasbord of crow awaiting the naysayers.
I am proud to be a small part of this historic event. I am excited about what it can mean for our sport. I am honored to be working with this dedicated and talented team who will make this a success. Hope you will join us in St. Louis. We will see you in the Dome!