TRACKSIDE with RICK MINTER - October 31, 2017

TRACKSIDE with RICK MINTER – October 31, 2017

Senoia Raceway fans, drivers, crew members and family can look forward to this weekly blog from journalist Rick Minter.  Rick has been reporting on motorsports at Senoia Raceway and elsewhere since 1976.




It takes a special kind of person to promote outdoor events, whether they’re automobile races or antique tractor shows or concerts or whatever.


When my wife and I decided 20 something years ago to transform part of our farm into a show grounds and begin hosting Inman Farm Heritage Days, most people thought we were a little crazy.


Many probably thought the same thing about Hence Pollard and David Bishop when they carved up part of a cow pasture and built Senoia Raceway, or about Bill and Mayes Massey and Doug Stevens when they rented the track and put gumbo clay on it.


In my case, people just said it was my Uncle Harry coming out in me.  As my dad describes him, our late Uncle Harry Harp was the kind of farmer who would survey his peach orchard and see 200 bushels of peaches to the acre when others saw 100.  If the general thinking was that the local market would be good for 10 acres of watermelons, he’d plant 20.


Sometimes Uncle Harry’s optimism would pay off; sometimes it wouldn’t.


In my case with our Farm Heritage Days, the biggest variable is the weather.  Sometimes no matter how good a job we do of promoting, Mother Nature has other ideas and not only do we not get to enjoy the good feeling that comes with a successful event, we end up losing money.




Since we started our event, I’ve had a lot more sympathy for race track promoters who are dealt a tough hand by the weather.


I’ve learned, as they have, that when a big event doesn’t turn out like you planned, for whatever reason, it tends to have a negative impact on future events.  You lose momentum.  It takes time to build it back.


Events like our Farm Heritage Days and the big shows at Senoia are built over time, hopefully with attendance and participation from competitors and exhibitors steadily increasing as the years go by.


When it rains, it’s tough.


My friend Ed Clark, the big boss at Atlanta Motor Speedway, has seen the highs and lows of race promoting during his years at the speedway and at tracks elsewhere.


He’s learned – and taught me – to try to keep the bad weather days in perspective.


Once, after a particularly disappointing weekend at AMS, one of those that left folks talking more about the empty seats in the grandstands than the racing on the track, the best he could muster was: “At least nobody in my family was diagnosed with cancer today.”


I’ll bet the Masseys and Doug are thinking similar thoughts this week.



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