As most of our readers that know E3xtreme know us for heads up coverage and that is what I personally am used to. Our founder Ellen on the other hand has been to grudge races in the past, whereas I personally never have. So I just want to give you an idea of what to expect and whether going to grudge events is for you.
Last week, Ellen and I headed to Middle Georgia Motorsports Park, or formally known as Macon Dragway or Twiggs to those who really know. This was the first time that I was headed over there. I certainly had no idea what to expect that's for sure. The track is in the middle of nowhere, and for someone that's from up north, that's what I am pretty much used to. I will be doing a follow up article with my thoughts on MGMP later though.
This was really a big night for the track as there was a race scheduled between Steve Jackson & Marcus Birt. This was a race where both cars off the trailer and in the lanes at 8:30, run about 9pm. We arrived at the track about 4:30 PM and I was shocked to see the place so empty. Stevie and Marcus were the only ones there at the time. Boy was I in for an eye opener.
As the day went along, I was seeing more and more people piling in. It even started raining at about 5:30 and rained pretty hard for a short period, yet I watched people continue to pull into the track. I'm not sure I've really seen that much before. The rain cleared out and that's when it seemed that the pits went from empty to full in the blink of an eye.
What about the people though? Going into the event I had no idea how the attitude at these type of events would be. I am not part of the grudge circle, and I'm sure a 6'1 360 guy wandering around with a big camera looked a tad out of place. If I looked out of place though, there was no one there that made me feel that way. I did get some strange looks, but I get that at every event so I used to that. Most of what I got was smiles and nods.
There seems to be this preconceived notion that going to grudge races of any sort aren't for most people. While I understand this isn't a "Rock", "Hitman", "Payso", "Harper", "Stanford", etc. it was still a get your feet wet event. I wholehearted think that everyone should go to grudge events.
The main reason that I think grudge events are awesome to go to is because of the fan involvement. Might wonder what I mean by that, and what I am talking about is that in grudge the fans are invested in the cars and drivers. I could tell that before the race in Stevie's pit and after the run in Stevie's pit area his fans were fully invested in what was going on. These teams are more approachable than any I have seen in other organizations when looking at class racing. Fans coming up to the drivers in the pit, getting autographs and meeting the guys.
Now the down side, and again, this is personal experience. I have been involved in class racing, either as a fan, driver, or media for 20 years. I am used to just doing my thing. Well I was doing my thing and there is always that one guy. That one guy that felt the need to get in my business and try to push my buttons. While it didn't work because I'm too old to care about that, it was annoying. This is not something the average fan would not ever experience though.
So would I tell people to go to grudge races. As a spectator, absolutely I would. The personalities are great, the racing is great, and the cars are the stars. So if you haven't been to a grudge race in your time on this planet, I would certainly recommend it. Get to the races, walk the pits, support your local tracks, and have a great time.