There comes a time in your career that you look at things differently than you had before. This last Saturday was one of those days. When I found myself at my local track for the first time in 4 1/2 years of living here.
I get told and asked all the time “You must have the best job in the world” and my answer is usually about the same “well it doesn’t suck”. And the fact is that my job doesn’t suck. Yes it’s stressful at times, and seems unfruitful at times, but when just Ellen and I are in charge in getting everything from top to bottom done with our company, it can be stressful and warrant a “day off”.
That “day off” came around last Saturday when we had no race to be at, no deadline to deal with, and no photos left to be edited. So of course, what is a team of content creators do on their day off? They head to the race track, after stopping at a giant car show first. You read that one right, instead of taking the day off and staying home to do adult things, it was off to another track and another event. The 9th such time this year actually.
E3xtreme is based out of Chattanooga. TN and we happen to have a local track here called Brainerd Motorsports Park, which is technically in Ringgold, GA. just across the state line. If you have ever been on I75 at the Tennessee/Georgia state line and seen a dragstrip off to the side, well that’s the one. It is run by some of the best folks that you will ever meet as well. Steven Farrow, who also owns an automotive shop in town, along with his wife Amy are the ones that run the show over there, along with Ron Newman.
Now you’d think after living here for almost 4 1/2 years that we would have made our way over there at some point before last weekend. Fact is that we do on average 25-30 events a season, and will most likely do close to 40 events this season. There just isn’t a lot of downtime to just go do something local. Damn I am glad that we decided to use our day off to go over there though. It was well worth it and we will certainly be doing it again.
One would think that traveling to all these huge dragstrips for epic and historic events would be the greatest thing ever. And while it is, you start to forget where you came from and what made you enjoy racing to being with. It was the Friday night and Saturday T&T, and camping at the track. It was the burgers on a grill, and hanging out with people you call family, even if you didn’t know their names. That’s the feeling I remembered the moment we pulled into Brainerd Motorsports Park.
Yes, you are 100% correct in saying that BMP is no Gators, or Bristol, or 66, or SGMP. You know what BMP is though? BMP is the place where you get there early, back your truck up to the fence, and sit on your cooler while watching cars go down the track. BMP is the place where they don’t screw you and try to sell you a $10 burger. BMP is the place where you don’t need all concrete pits, because they haven’t become so spoiled that they forgot their grassroots. BMP to me felt like home, it felt like all those times that I rolled into Byron Dragway in Byron Illinois during the summer. It felt like a second home.
There is a reason that it is so important to support tracks like Brainerd, Bryon, Emerald Coast, and hundreds more smaller tracks across the country, and that’s because these tracks are owned and operated by the people that you shop with, go to church with, have BBQ’s with. They are the ones that live in your community, and own other businesses in the community. They typically don’t have huge corporate backing and they rely on you and your family to come out and support the industry.
Last Saturday might have been the first time that I personally rolled through the gates at Brainerd Motorsports Park, but you can bet your ass it won’t be the last time. In that short time span on a Saturday afternoon, Brainerd Motorsports Park, Steven Farrow, Amy Farrow, and Ron Newman have something going that renewed my love for drag racing and reminded me of why I do what I do, and why I love our industry so damn much! Thank you to the BMP staff, Ron, Steven, Amy, and the entire South Tennessee, North Georgia drag racing family for reminding me of home!!