After a long time away due to surgery … the dr is back!
Today we are going to talk with local race car driver John Publick, who has been racing for 20 years mostly out of his own pocket and with a lot of help from a whole list of small sponsors.
I drove over to John’s shop and found him and his crew of volunteers taking the car off the trailer, John greeted me as I got out, we made our way into the shop where the crew and John all pulled up chairs made sure everyone had a “cold drink” and the talk begin……..
Paul Lemon who has been with John from the first race all those years ago speaks up “ now dr if your gonna write a story bout John, you brought way to much paper”he said looking at my legal pad” it won’t take but bout half of one off them sheets ya got there” the tension was broken as everyone, even John laughed.
I got out my list of questions and here is what followed….
the dr: John what got you started racing?
John: Well we tried running the Daytona in the yard on bicycles when I was bout 10 and have been wanting to race something ever since.
The dr: How many classes or divisions have you driven in?
John: All together,5 I started out in front wheel drive but sold the car after the first race , then I met Paul and we pooled our junk and put a bomber together, we ran bomber for 3 years and moved up to “A” hobby and ran there for a long time, won a few races and one championship. And now we run limited late model. I have driven a couple super late models but never run a full season.
The dr.: What is your goal? Are you wanting to go up the ranks to say…NASCAR?
John: Years ago yeah that was the route I was really wanting to go, but with the way the economy is now and the way NASCAR is run today … well….I think I will just stay here and race for real..
the dr.:What was your budget for last season?
John: Budget?? what budget? We race out of out pockets most times every now and then a sponsor will buy my fuel or a tire or oil…. we ain’t got no sponsor, shoot most of my guys pay their own way in to races….
the dr.: How many sponsors do you have on your car now , this season?
John: I got 5 names on there, but one of them is from last year just didn’t have money for paint to cover it up and he is a good guy too…….
the dr.: What was the biggest sponsor you have had?
John: I had a local burger joint that gave us 400.00 at the start of the year and on Saturday’s when we went to the races if we stopped by his place with the car we got to eat for free just leave the car parked out front.
The dr.:Who does all the work on the car?
John : My crew, these guys come over here almost every night during the week and make sure things are right and that nothing is bent or cracked, if it is we either pass the hat for parts money or we make one our self.
the dr.: What do you call a good season?
John: Any season that I don’t have to look for a new car and I don’t owe to many people, if my car comes home on one trailer and we can fix whats wrong for next season with out much money then its a good year. I have never intended on making any money in racing, you never do unless your a suck up in NASCAR but them guys don’t race anymore they just follow the leader and do what they are told to do….
real race car drivers are the guys I run with each and every night, the guy who does it not for the money but for the fun! Thats why we race, not for the fame or fortunes as they say but for the thrill, the rush of running wide open sideways…. thats what racing is all about….
“Damn right “ chimed in the crew, Rod Eschew looked at each member sitting around and then he spoke” look we all have our spot, whether its where we sit in the shop or what area we tend on the car, we all know each others job but we do this for fun and to help a buddy out, not to get the glory or the pic’s in the paper thing but just because we love it. It is like a drug or a woman…..why you think they name race cars after women? But really we just love racing..
I looked around the shop, I saw 20 years of memories, a piston with a intake valve embedded in the top of it, sitting on the shelf, a tire from bristol when they won tickets to a nascar race, the first trophy they had won sat up high where it could be seen…But it was then I saw the real meaning of racing …. the true desire that fuels so many fires, yeah some call it a hobby……. but some of us know better.
Yes this is a bogus interview, as in not real , made up… But I want you to look at it, it describes hundreds of shops across the country in all walks of life, you get bite by the racing bug, yours done, there is no hope your lost, one way at the other, don’t matter if you drive work on then or just watch, your bitten , your bitten for life. This could have been your favorite local driver or a stranger but the fact remains …. racing is a love and it bites each of us fans differently and that no matter what we all love racing! It don’t matter if you pull for this driver or that one just as long as you like racing your a fan!
Now my forey into creative writing is over next post we will be back to writing about racing…