My happiest memories as a child were at the Marion Center Speedway in Marion Center, PA. I would go to the races riding in the fire trucks from our local fire department. I got to sit in the middle of the track and run wild in the pits. Several of the drivers would let us kids sit in the car for a moment now and then. They were my first heros. Red Neal was my favorite in the Corvette bodied L88. I'll never forget being scared out of my mind when he went after Pokey White with a lead pipe. Good times.
Here I sit on the other side of the planet watching The World of Outlaws late models race live on the track I grew I'm up at. Even cooler than that, my big brother Dale is live on my TV. He's sitting in the top of his push truck camped out in turn three and four happy as a clam. They set a record tonight with 51 super late models and I believe an all time attendance record. Dale loves the super late models. I've always been more of a winged sprint car guy. They're just cooler looking and faster. This is Dale at the far end in his two-tone old beat up Bronco. Looks like our dad is with him tonight standing in the back.
The voice on my TV is Don Seanor. He was my PE teacher just over forty years ago. That's just unreal. When I ran into Mr. Seanor a few years ago he remembered me right away. David Shick? You could make a left handed layup. Yes, sir. Yes I could.
So cool. My sister-in-law Marie's relative Jon Lee just qualified for the feature grabbing third in his heat race. That's no easy task. These are locals with 9 to 5 jobs racing against professionals that tour the country. One of Dale's favorite Dave Blazevich didn't fare so well. I first met Blaz back in 2015. That was the year we found Schmelmo and I started taking pictures of drivers holding him. This one of retired driver Ed Lynch is one of my favorites. His son Sye now races sprint cars.
I'll never forget this final line from the movie Stand By Me. . "Although I haven’t seen him in more than ten years I know I’ll miss him forever. I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anybody?” That's over stating the case, but I get the point. My friends now are super important to me, but we shared new experiences with our friends at that age that had big impacts on who we became as adults.
Update: maybe my dad isn't with Dale tonight. I have doubts he would be standing in the back as Dale was pushing a race car off the top of the track. That's a rough ride for an 84 year old man. This was a nice moment. Seanor just mentioned Dale by name in the broadcast. So cool.
Update2: I called Dale during the down town between races. We chatted about drivers and the action at the track. How are the local guys doing? Etc. kills me that I couldn't remember Jared Miley's name. He seems to be missing from the car count tonight. My dad is there with Dale, but he's inside the Bronco. They just had another quality wreck (surprisingly not involving Doug Eck). Dale was all over the scene helping to pull the cars apart.