Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Dirt Track Racing is very interesting and unusual, in some cases, compared to other forms of motorsports and sports in general. When it comes to the on-track product, rules, demographics, venues, and events, not much has changed over the course of the last number of decades. Some of the superstars and teams that were made famous in the 1970s, '80s and into the modern era, are still competing today, on a very, very high level. In other sports, including various forms of motorsports around the world, career-lengths are very short, with some famous athletes competing for only a decade and then retiring into the sunset.
This "old school," mindset, if you will, of dirt track racing is in the running for one of America's original past-times. The sport is very tied to its roots, whether it may be generations of a family that have competed since the beginning, the track's that have been open for half-a-century or longer, events that have grown, but stayed very close to the foundation they were built on, along with many, many other aspects of dirt track racing, that keep fans, drivers, teams and sponsors passionate, year-after-year. While other sports and auto racing forms have shied away from certain aspects of their past, made sure to "adapt," with the times or have just plan-and-simply forgotten where they came from, as well as what made them special, to begin with, dirt track racing refuses to do any of that.
The outside, mainstream media, fan bases, and public, in general, may look at the down-home nature of dirt track racing as a "Wild-Wild West," of sorts, but you will not find one single fan or industry professional that will apologize for any of what has made our racing special for generations. One of the fundamental aspects of America's dirt track scene, that may be just as important as any four-wide salute, last lap slide job or dusting of dirt on the rim of your beer, is the unapologetic, "speak your mind," and "no filter," nature of the drivers, teams, crews and companies involved with the sport.
Refusing to become a politically correct, watered-down industry has not kept dirt track racing running in a "circle," but has made the sport stand out above all others and has turned into the most iconic, best-kept secret in the American athletic spectrum, giving any new fans or interested on-lookers a breath of fresh air. Not only should we appreciate raw moments like Tyler Erb's DirtonDirt interview after contact with Kyle Bronson or Brad Sweet's emotion after bagging the biggest payday in winged sprint car history during July's Kings Royal, but we should encourage drivers to not worry about corporate or public perception, but to be themselves, speak their mind and show emotion, in any-and-every situation. Moments like those will live in the history of our sport forever and will become bench-marks for the future, as we grow and fans realize that staying the same and not changing what got you to where you are, is actually the breath of fresh air mainstream sports have been trying to locate for years.
(Speed Sport Photo)