Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rain, rain, go away!! Second-guessing the police; more trip planning

The scheduled opening of Beatrice Speedway on May 22nd did not happen due to weather. We had rain over the first and middle part of the week. Of course, when Friday came, the sun came out and the weather ended up being absolutely beautiful racing weather. Beatrice Speedway posted on the rainout report on on Thursday that it was too wet to get the track in shape to race for Friday. The first regular season race ended up being Friday May 6th.

When the cancellation was posted, Brandon Johnson made the comment about “all the rain we haven’t gotten.” I don’t approve of spreading rumors, but I’d heard several stories about the road grader the track had been using. The bottom line was that it was no longer at the track! I have to agree with Brandon’s reply “Having a race track without a grader is kinda like having a Hotdog stand with no hotdog buns. It just don’t work.“ There wasn’t anything else said about this until Wednesday morning when John Meyer posted a question about the comment. The road grader issue has since been addressed, and a HUGE THANK YOU goes out to Katz Farms of Jansen, Nebraska.

I spent an hour Tuesday evening, April 19th, talking to a fellow racer about what we feel are problems at Beatrice Speedway. We both agreed that the top priority for the track should be communication. Years ago there was always an information & rules meeting held in November. At that time, any rules changes were discussed and actually voted on by the drivers in attendance. The schedule for the upcoming season was released and car registrations were taken.

I guess with classes being IMCA sanctioned, the powers that be decided they did not need to have these meetings. They neglected to realize that just because IMCA dictated the rules, the drivers still want other information passed on!

I heard about a driver from Sioux City who had been at the 2010 Octoberfest. He really enjoyed racing at Beatrice and wanted to come back for the Beatrice Spring Nationals. However, as the date neared, there was nothing posted on the Beatrice Speedway website or In order to get information, he called a Beatrice racer to see if Spring Nationals were even going to happen. This sort of thing can not continue!!

Beatrice Speedway now has a great looking website, but the webmaster can’t post information that she doesn’t have. The track will have to continue to feed that information to her on a timely basis. That does not mean in a few days, but as soon as the races are over!

Greg Soukup has done an EXCELLENT job with the Eagle Raceway website as far as posting results. He is an example of how it should be done. When I get home at 6 AM, I check the website and complete results are posted, including heat race and B Features, from 1st to last place. All tracks should have a Greg Soukup! I hope that Beatrice Speedway officials can follow suit and provide information to the webmaster quickly so it can be posted.

Back gate – I’ve gone racing before when I felt like the racers were paying their own purse. We normally pay $20 for pit passes at Beatrice. A couple of years ago, we pulled up to the pit shack for the county fair races and found the pit passes were $25 for that day! As I recall, the purse was not increased except for the winner. Beings it was the county fair, the grandstands were packed. The track had to have made money that night.

However, I talked to a lot of people that night who did not know the pit passes were $5 more until they bought them. Even for practice days, if you look at what pit passes cost, there is a great disparity. I’ve seen pit passes for practice just this year range from $5 to $15. I understand the need to pay for insurance, utilities, etc. but why is there such a big difference?

Beatrice Speedway had a Fan Appreciation Night in 2010. Will there be another one in 2011? Judging from the packed grandstands that night, there should be. I posed the question to Jon Weichel and he said there is “talk about it.” Things like that need to be talked about and SCHEDULED before the season, and posted on the track’s website! All specials should be posted when the schedule comes out, and then those specials need to be ADVERTISED! Eagle’s website has a “special” night posted every night of the season! Why can’t Beatrice Speedway do that?

How about a “carload” night? An entire carload of fans gets into the grandstands for, say $25.… Or the same promotion for “SUV night.” How about a “pickup truck night?” Military Appreciation night for all current and past service members. How about everybody over 55 getting in free one night? Just show your driver’s license. Same with maybe letting everybody from Kansas into the grandstands for free some night. If that would not work, how about half price? Put all of these in the schedule that is on the website. Have the announcers promote the specials every chance they get!

Why didn't the Kids' Club continue? There were a lot of kids that were disappointed. Why don't we get more coverage in the Daily Sun? Will Track Talk continue on KWBE this year, and if so, when will it be broadcast? There are a lot more questions than answers right now.

I've seen and heard comments on other websites that promoters and track officials should stay off the internet, and have even heard of the same group of saying the internet is the reason their track is failing or has failed. I call BULLSHIT on that!! Use it to your advantage!! PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE!! If the Fair Board doesn't want to spend the money on a membership to Dirt Drivers, I will pay it for you, just be sure to USE IT!!

There is a question on the Beatrice Speedway Facebook page that asks “Survey for all former racers. Please be honest here. Why are you no longer racing?” I know there are a lot of people on Facebook, but maybe they don’t look at Beatrice Speedway on Facebook, as there have only been 2 replies so far. Check it out and post a reply.

It seems like no matter where I look, there are things out there that get me fired up. On the website, I found a story about a fight in IHOP in Atlanta, Georgia. There has been a video posted on you of the video. I personally have no problems with people posting video of these incidents, but if they are going to do it, they need to post from the very beginning of the incident to the very end. This video shows the woman trying to scratch the officer’s eyes out and the results of that attempt. There are cries of “police brutality” in the background, but no citizens offering to help the officers. From what I saw, the officers were completely justified in their actions.

The actions of Police Officers are always being second-guessed. Officers have to make split-second decisions that will be looked at for weeks, months and even years to come. We all make a decision before our shift begins that we will be going home to our families at the end of the shift, no matter what. If the poor decision of a citizen means they are injured or, worse yet, killed, that decision is their responsibility.

There was an Officer Involved Shooting the last week of April where I grew up in Crete, Nebraska. Officers responded to a domestic disturbance. When they arrived on the scene, the male ran into the house and grabbed a handgun. The gun had a laser sight on it, and the laser was on one of the officers. The man was told to drop the gun, but he ignored commands and was shot.

The first news account I saw of this incident was when a neighbor was interviewed. She questioned what took so long for an ambulance to get on the scene. No questions were asked about officer safety. After shots were fired, the suspect retreated back inside the residence. Officers were told there were many more firearms in the residence. The suspect did not answer when officers attempted to talk to him. They had no idea where he was. It is an officer safety issue that the officers do not rush in to find the suspect.

It’s fortunate that the suspect will live, but the officers involved will be scrutinized for their actions for a long time, even though they did not do anything wrong. So far in 2011, there have been 63 Line of Duty Deaths in the United States. Of those, 30 have been by gunfire. The next highest number of officers killed was from vehicle crashes at 13. There have been incidents of multiple officers being killed in the same incident, so there’s no guarantee in “safety in numbers.” For the civilians reading this, when you are contacted by a law enforcement officer, PLEASE do what you are told!! You can ask questions later.

Mother Nature continues to tease us with nice weather one day and not-so-nice weather the next. With the cost of gas may have peaked here at $3.949. Since then it has dropped to $3.799, but who knows where it will be a month from now? If there is any way I can ride the Gold Wing to work instead of taking the pickup, I will. I am sure driving habits will once again change everywhere as the price of gas continues to change. We’ve already decided that the trip to Chesapeake will more than likely be our only “big” outing this season. With gas already being $1.30 more than last season, we’re all feeling the crunch. However, the trip to Chesapeake is still a “go.” We intend to get a lot of sightseeing done while we are there.


  1. Well Ernie, glad to hear that you are still going to Norfolk. Be good to see you again.
    Seems like racing is racing no matter what it it. I am glad that I don't have to fight that anymore. At least in mine, all crew and anyone in crew vehicles did not have to pay for the pits.
    See you in July, RWP, Jim Hurley TX 1

  2. We're trying to get rooms lined up on the way there, once we're there and on the way back. Missed out on the Marriott as I didn't reserve rooms last fall. We're really looking forward to making this trip. I'm afraid we'll run out of sightseeing time.