From the Stands: Gainesville

On the way to the track this morning, I was mulling over the last few days. I was also aware of the steady pulse in my chest. Not a scary one, mind you, just a clearly evident, persistent thump: It’s raceday. It’s raceday. It’s raceday.

You knowwwww how I love this day.

The days leading up to this one, though, have brought an interesting set of circumstances. The Sunshine State? Okay, Florida. I saw you Thursday & Friday & part of Saturday &, well, you’re misrepresenting. WE ALL SAW YOU.

And then came the wind and the cold. Qualifying was shortened to one session, which meant that some pretty amazing racers wouldn’t wake up this morning with a ticket to ride. Pro pits were flooded, Sportsman pits were sinking into the swampiest mud puddles I’ve ever seen. Cars in the spectator lot were swallowed by mud, and when the passengers emerged to figure out what was going on, their feet sunk below the surface and they lost shoes in the muck. This is no joke.

Oh, and there was an alligator in the murky muck across from the pits. An actual alligator. Florida, man.

Mother Nature played mean. Racers waited and waited (some still are).

On Saturday, NHRA’s Safety Safari team, photographers & track staff all stood outside with frozen fingers and frostbitten noses for hours until the final car went down the track.

I watched as all of these circumstances stacked, one upon the other, and I observed how different people reacted. Yeah, I was aggravated when it just kept raining, until I had a conversation with a friend who reminded me how cool it is that we’re actually living this life.

We all made the choice to be here, and we made that choice for a reason. When we married drag racing, we vowed to stand together through good times and bad. There will be extraordinary days, but there will also be days we would rather forget.

I think sometimes we let stuff stack up. We forget to pause & appreciate what we have & where we are & -most importantly- how hard we worked to get here & how badly we really, truly want to be here. Take a breath. Remember why you’re here.

If you see me acting-a-fool, remind me. Thanks for being here.

Categories: Musings

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