Once in a great while, some cataclysmic event occurs that puts things into perspective with a sobering shock.
Tuesday's terrorist attack on New York and Washington was just such an event.
All over the country, lives and plans were disrupted, but those disruptions were mere annoyances compared to the tragedies at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Personally, my plans to go to Daytona were scrubbed, but I'd have voluntarily missed that race if only some of the thousands of dead and injured could have been saved.
Racing has been a major part of my life for more years than I care to think about, but something like Tuesday's terrorist attack makes you take a step back and reevaluate your priorities. In the larger scheme of things even the greatest auto race in the world pales in comparison to last Tuesday's events.
I have heard arguments on both sides for conducting or not conducting sporting events this weekend in the wake of these terrible tragedies. Some hold that out of respect for the victims, and for security reasons, all major sports events this weekend should have been canceled, which in the end is what happened. Others felt that the events would provide catharsis, and show the terrorists that we are going to carry on regardless of their actions, but they were outvoted.
I'm not sure which side of that argument I'm more in agreement with, but in my case the solution was simple. The race I was going to was postponed because a large number of the participants couldn't get there due to the FAA's stoppage of air traffic. Even though the postponement was more a practical matter than a noble gesture, the sentiment expressed by the Grand Am organization was stated so well that I want to repeat it here:
"Like all of America, the staff and management at Grand-Am offers its prayers and concern for the families that have been touched most directly by the devastating events of Tuesday, September 11. As an international championship program, the drivers, crew and owners of our race teams come from all parts of the world. This is certainly a time for all of us to stand together in support of those facing this tragedy first hand. Let us first be brothers and sisters."
Shortly after I wrote the above, NASCAR announced the postponement of today's Loudon, N.H. race and the Craftsman Truck race at Texas Motor Speedway. The Indy Racing League also postponed its Texas race, which will be rescheduled for Oct. 6, with the Craftsman trucks to run on Oct. 5. The New Hampshire Winston Cup event will now be the season finale on Nov. 23. The World of Outlaws also announced the postponement of its weekend schedule.
Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) is going ahead with plans to run its inaugural European race at the Eurospeedway in Lausitz, Germany, but qualifying was rained out. The cars will be gridded for the race on the basis of point standing order.
In local racing news, Champion Speedway officials have made their final ruling on penalties resulting from the aftermath of last Saturday night's sportsman race. According to Champion General Manager Les Kynett, there were three separate issues addressed. First, Mike Millard (No. 22 sportsman) was fined $200 and suspended from both the final late model race, and from the sportsman division for the remainder of the season. The reasons given were, "rough driving and unsportsmanlike, unprofessional conduct."
For post-race actions, John Hood (No. 21L sportsman) and his stepfather were each fined $25 for going to Millard's pit after the race while "ruffled." Finally, Jerry Allec Jr. was fined $200 for "initiating physical contact," when he pushed
Hood away from Millard's No. 22 late model car, apparently under the impression that Hood was going to take down Millard's window net. Allec was not suspended, so he will be able to run in the Inter Mountain Late Model touring series on Sept. 22. These decisions were rendered by Chief Steward Tom Nodzak after consultation with officials on the scene and other eyewitnesses.
Roger Diez is the Nevada Appeal Motorsports Columnist.