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NASCAR just doesn't care about the short tracks of America
Jul 23, 2006 - updated Jul 23rd, 2006 11:09pm
Web posted by DON WILNO

--

Just Remember – We Care !! Dennis Huth ASA Racing

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 07/10/06 BY DON WILNO, AUTO RACING WRITER

I truly hope the mighty officials who run NASCAR read this.

NASCAR has grown to be so big that it has forgotten its roots, the short tracks, the tiny bullrings of this country where youngsters (and adults) can only dream of racing in a NASCAR circuit, and running at Daytona, Darlington and Indy.

There are so few small tracks remaining, yet there are so many stories of young racers with dreams, of fathers watching sons follow in their footsteps, of men who have raced a lifetime and who know the NASCAR dream has passed them by long ago.

NASCAR has lost sight of all this.

Can you imagine the conversation on Friday night between Rick Grosso and his 6-year-old son, Brandon, as they rode back to Belle Mead from Atco Raceway, where the youngster raced in the quarter midgets program.

Brandon had won two races in a row, certainly proud of his accomplishment and pleased that his father is always there with him. Rick Grosso, who drives a big-block modified at New Egypt Speedway, which his parents own and have developed into a wonderful racing venue since the very first day they took ownership, hadn't won a race this season.

Brandon made it a point of saying so.

Winning a modified race, even at the track your parents own, is not easy. It's especially tough when your teammate, Jimmy Horton, is dominating the division, winning five times this season already.

So what better time and place was there for Rick Grosso to win his first race, thinking about what Brandon had said the night before?

Yes, it was a perfect setting.

Saturday night at New Egypt Speedway was Christmas In July, sponsored by another racer, Gene Stravinsky, who gets high marks for his devotion to the sport.

"I had to do it for him," said Grosso, 37, in victory lane.

That's really classy, and a heart-warming story that NASCAR could surely market.

There are stories such as this at every short track, totally ignored by NASCAR, whose big shots think nothing about the little guy, only about Madison Avenue advertising and television ratings.

NASCAR disgusts me for failing to help the small tracks survive. The organization will help you sell your property rather than find a way to market it.

Do you think they care about Steven Reed following in the path of his racing father, Harry. Or that Lynn Reed, Steven's mother, never misses a race or that his sister, Jennifer, recently married to Chas Okerson, the defending sportsman track champion at Wall Township Speedway, support short-track racing.

Talk about a racing family NASCAR should be thrilled to have in their sport.

Or George Andretta and his son, Christopher, who came through the Garden State Quarter Midget Racing Club to run a sportsman along side his father.

Or the Kremer family, which now has third generation Charlie Kremer III racing a sportsman at Wall, with the help of his father, Charlie Jr.

Friday night, 14-year-old Ryan Truex raced a Bandolero at Wall Township Speedway. The young Truex is the brother of Martin Truex Jr., whose career began in go-karts, moved to modifieds at Wall, then to the Busch North Series with his father, then the Busch Series and now on the biggest racing circuit of them all, NASCAR Nextel Cup.

It goes on and on and on, and NASCAR seemingly doesn't care about these family stories. They only care about money.

Where was NASCAR when tracks such as Flemington and East Windsor were in such financial trouble that both shut down? Where's the help they should be providing to keep these tracks alive and well?

Where was NASCAR when Wall Township Speedway, a NASCAR sanctioned track, was close to calling it quits?

What does NASCAR do to promote racing at the grassroots level?

If you don't know, I do. Nothing.

NASCAR doesn't give a darn about the small tracks.

It doesn't care about fathers bringing their sons into racing.

NASCAR could care less about the precious conversation that went on Friday night between Rick Grosso and his 6-year-old son, Brandon.

It doesn't care about Rick Grosso winning a race as a gift for his son on Christmas In July at New Egypt Speedway, which the family owns and gives so much of its time.

NASCAR could care less about New Egypt Speedway, documented as one of the finest dirt tracks in America.

Quite simply, NASCAR doesn't care about you or I unless we watch its races on television, purchase its merchandise, buy its tickets.

NASCAR just doesn't care.

Shame on NASCAR.

Don Wilno covers auto racing for the Asbury Park Press.


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