- March 6, 2010 by Sam Holbrooks


Bleacher Views

Tale of Two Winters

They say time flies when you’re having fun. It seems like only yesterday when I was in Florida enjoying Speed Weeks action and now it is mid-March. Waiting patiently and praying ever so silently for the snow to melt makes me wonder, why in the heck do I have to have two winters?


I’m sure you’re thinking I’m crazy because in most folks calendars it goes like this: spring, summer, fall and winter. This is normal and widely accepted, but not for ole’ Mike. For me, it's more like spring, racing, racing, Winter, racing, and then the second Winter. Now you won’t find this seasonal schedule in any book, almanac, or calendar. It’s a convoluted mess of priorities that I’ve established for myself. The only season that matters is racing season! Everything else is, well... boring.


I grumble every time when I hear someone say, “Oh I just love experiencing the four seasons”. “The snow and cold makes you appreciate The spring and summer”. You get the point I’m trying to make here. Feelings like these are normal, but not for me. When it’s not racing season, I’m not appreciating it! I guess the racing calendar of seasons should have two, and not the customary four, the racing season and the off-season. What the weather is doing outside really doesn’t matter. We’re either racing or we're not. Simple!Being a race fan in a normal world that appreciates four seasons gets me the strange eye sometimes too.


Beautiful sunsets, fall colors, blue skies, and crisp morning air are all gifts from above. I just choose to associate my sensations with racing. The fond memory of Nebraska’s Sunset Speedway, The West Virginia Mountains with vivid color at Pennsboro Speedway, blue sky drives while Chasing the UMP Summer Nationals and the Crisp damp air in the morning after camping at Eldora Speedway during the World 100. These are the seasonal pleasures that mean something to me.


Being normal in a non-racing world has its challenge. I fake it the best I can. I like some football and even the holidays provide some enjoyable time, but underneath it all, the lure of the dirt, the sound of the engines, and the excitement of racing quickly takes my heart away. During the cold, snow, ice and frozen tundra of winter I keep trudging along. I keep going because of one thing. That thing is Florida and the hot racing action at East Bay Raceway and Volusia Speedway Parks.


Taking a flight out of the Midwest in winter and going to Florida during the first week of February is time travel at its best. To go from cold to warm, barren to green, winter to racing in the matter of a few hours dulls my winter blues. The first night there I have to almost pinch myself to make sure it’s real. Regardless how good the racing is, or even what the weather does, for one short week its racing season again, and nothing else matters.


I made my first maiden voyage to East Bay Raceway and the Winter Nationals in 1997 and have made it a mandatory trip for my psychological well being since 2001. Volusia Speedway is rather new for me, with this being only my second year of attendance. Both are different, but both are excellent events. Since racing is racing, it’s all good. Seeing friends and feeling that excitement you only get at the track and not on the monitor makes the money spent all worthwhile.


So here I sit, gazing out my window, staring at my second winter. It’s starting to warm up in Iowa now, but the frozen parking lot snow piles will be here for awhile. The NASCAR boys are racing, so at least on Sundays I can wake up for about 100 laps. At times the second winter is worse than the first, but then I have to remember one thing. Racing Season is just around the corner here in the Midwest, and once it gets here, the other seasons don’t matter.


So the next time you see me, I don’t want to hear, “Oh Mike, I like the Winter Season because…. “Or say, “Oh Mike, don’t you like Spring because….” Please stop! I like racing season and the "off-season" is for all that other stuff I’m supposed to do to get ready for racing season. Thanks for reading my column and visiting our site.




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