Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Counting My Blessings

With the Holiday Season now upon us I wanted to take a moment and talk about how proud I am to be associated with the people that we have working with us at Positively Racing. All of these fine folks are race fans who are not compensated for their efforts. They do what they do to help promote the sport that we all love, and that is why it frustrates me when we have some internet jockeys who get snippy when any of us try to let others know where they can find these efforts. The ads that you see on our site are very low priced (contact me if you are interested!) and fortunately have covered our costs of being online thanks to the donated time of our “webmistress”, more on her later. Would we like for Positively Racing to become a lucrative profit generating business? Well of course we would! But until that day, and beyond, this run-on-sentence will always be our motto!

So here goes based upon the order that they are listed on the home page……

My partner in this venture Barry Johnson is one of the wittiest people I know. He is one of my two friends that I know can make me laugh no matter how crappy of a day I am having. (Herb, you know that you are the other one!) I came to know Barry when he spent the first of his two stints as the editor of Hawkeye Racing News and, when we noticed that we shared many of the same likes and dislikes about racing, our friendship started and it grew when we found that those similar views also applied to life in general. He and his wife Stephanie and their daughter Aidan have become like family to us and my son Morgan feels like the Knoxville Nationals would not be the same if we didn’t spend the week with them. A great photographer and writer, you will notice that Barry has been a little light on the blog entries the past two seasons as he has been more focused on getting another degree. But I think that he is getting very close to that next accomplishment and hopefully we will be seeing much more of “Running the High Side” in 2012.

Honestly, as I move on to this next paragraph, I cannot tell you exactly how I was first introduced to our only blogger couple Dick and Joyce Eisele. But I can tell you this, they are two of the nicest people that you will ever meet either at the racetrack, in the stands at Carver Hawkeye arena, or wherever you have the opportunity to say “hi” to them. I am always excited to attend an event that I know the Eiseles will be at as they are happy to be there, no matter what the conditions are or what the car count is, and they always leave the track obviously excited to do it all again at their next scheduled stop. The name of our site actually comes from how I viewed Joyce and her efforts to pass along results on the forums before our site came to be as she was always “Positive”, and they were the first people that Barry and I asked to come on board. The one thing that I have noticed about Dick and Joyce is that you will never find them sitting alone at a racetrack, as they will always be surrounded by friends and I am honored to be included in that group! The 4D Fan Report is where a race fan can read about a night of racing as told by race fans.

I didn’t think that it was possible, but I found an even bigger stat geek than myself in Ryan Clark. I also met Ryan when he was at Hawkeye Racing News and when he became editor for a couple of seasons I was very impressed with his writing style. Obviously he is a huge race fan having caught the bug when he was just a kid and, just like someone else I know, he couldn’t help but to get more involved with the sport as soon as he was old enough. Ryan is a talented scorekeeper, a fair and unbiased official and an extremely talented announcer combining his incredible knowledge of the drivers with a smooth voice and a quick wit that keeps the fans both well informed and very entertained. And, when he is not “working” a race, you will find him somewhere as a fan and now a blogger sharing his love of racing. Barry and I were extremely pleased when Ryan agreed to add “In Staging” to the site!

I know that Brian Neal will say “yeah right” when he reads this, but it is obvious that the love of racing shared with him by the late Ed Sheckler lives on with all that Brian does for the sport. Brian’s personality is not as outgoing as Ed’s as he is not going to walk up to a stranger, shake his hand, and tell him all of the reasons to support the sport like his mentor did regularly. Brian encourages people to become bigger fans in a more anonymous fashion. First of all he is a very valuable track employee for those that have had the advantage of his services, either doing pre-race press releases, distributing flyers, contacting potential sponsors or actually helping to present a more efficient program on race night as a scorer/line-up tech. Then, after putting in all that work, he follows up on the back end with the story and results or, as we saw this past season, giving live updates via Twitter. His “Midwest Racing News” entries tailed off in July a bit because he was so busy helping promoters put on good racing programs, but he came back strong with detailed coverage of the Dlouhy Memorial at Tipton in October. We hope that he finds the time to be a regular contributor again 2012.

Up until this past week Danny Rosencrans was the new “kid” on the site having joined Positively Racing in February of 2010. I have had the pleasure of knowing Danny for about twenty years now and my first memory of him was just how cool it was that his teenage son was with him just about every time that I saw him at the races. I remember thinking to myself how much that I hope that my then a toddler son would want to do the same with me when he was older. I am so proud to say that this hope came true! It is so important that we as race fans pass along the love of racing to our children and the best way to do that is to make it a fun and positive experience! A few years ago I noticed that Danny was writing a summary for the Quincy Raceways weekly program and I noticed that he was writing it very well! He is a Late Model fan through and through and we knew that we needed to add someone to the site who could provide more of a focus on the Late Model division. Danny was the perfect choice and we are looking forward to more of Danny’s thoughts as he goes “Racin’ Down The Road” in 2012 and beyond.

And that brings me now to our fresh face on the home page Eric Arnold. Just like with Danny on the Late Models, we wanted to give our site visitors a writer who will focus on his love of Sprint Cars and I believe that Eric will do a fantastic job of filling that role. Now that doesn’t mean that the winged warriors will be the only thing that he will be writing about as like all of us on this site, he supports the racing at the grassroots level that we are so fortunate to have so available to us here in the Midwest. I look forward to getting to know Eric better personally, and through his writing as the green flags start to wave over Hawkeye Ovals in 2012.

Positively Racing would not exist without all of the behind-the-scenes work by Sue McDaniel, the talented and pretty young lady that we affectionately call our “webmistress”. Yes, we know that those of you with a dirty mind might go “hmmm” on that title, but seriously would you really call a female the “Webmaster”??? It is not our fault that something less suggestive like “Site Manager” or “Page Creator” did not become the common title for such efforts, but I digress. Sue met with Barry and I at an Applebee’s one night where we told her our ideas and she took it from there and made the site what it is today. Other than a little cut when we sell enough ads to cover the hosting costs, Sue’s only compensation for all of her work is the placement of the ad for the business that she and her husband Bert operate. So please, if you are a racer and are in need of some parts and, or the expertise of a driver who has visited victory lane many times, click here and do some shopping. Thank you for all you do Sue, we couldn’t do this without you!

Okay, so thanks for indulging me. I am truly blessed to be associated with all of these fine people and I wanted to share my thoughts with you here today. I also want to thank all of the promoters who work with myself and our writers by providing press credentials to us. I am always proud to say that “positive coverage” of your events have earned that consideration and not the other way around.

It is our goal to promote all of the tracks in our coverage area and to do that we would like to identify a few more bloggers who share the same the attitude as the fine people that I have talked about above. There are some out there that we are already aware of, writers who are already doing their own thing or that, if they were to be on here, would be a bit of an overlap in coverage. We need someone in the following areas: the Quad Cities (I have identified one lady who keeps turning me down…..reminds me of my teenage days), Farley/Dubuque, northeast Iowa/southeast Minnesota and western Iowa/eastern Nebraska to name a few. If you are interested send us a message to news@positivelyracing.com

Merry Christmas to all!!!

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