A bit of a different thing for Saskblogs.ca today, we’re posting a guest blog by Greg who writes about racing in Saskatchewan:
Dirt from the Stands by Greg Cybulski
A strong prairie breeze blows against my back as I sit high atop the pit stands, staring across at the wooden grandstands. I pull my pen from my shirt pocket to begin scrawling the title page in my trusted notebook. This is the day I have been waiting for. “It’s important”, I think to myself, “to get this all down on paper. I want to remember this for a long time.” To my right, a young crew member sits next to me, peering over to observe what I am writing. Under different circumstances or on a bad day, this may have been a bother, but not today. The Sprint Cars are in town.
Earlier, on this sunny Saturday, I exited my hotel room in Swift Current, Saskatchewan and went for a walk. It was all down hill, literally. There was no use sitting inside when I could enjoy the day and get some exercise. As I strolled down the service road, I glanced over to my left at the other hotel parking lots to check for racing trailers. Every time I saw one, my smile grew a little wider.
South of the main drag off of Highway 4 sits Kenetic Park. Within the confines of this park is an incredibly authentic Frontier Village that forms the backdrop for Speedy Creek Raceway. Upon entering through the park’s welcoming front gate, you are temporarily transported to life on the western prairie as building after building appears to represent an important and unique service to the village. As I take in the visual effect with amazement, I can’t help but think that this whole scene in front of me is the picture-perfect location for the Prairie Dirt Classic.
Now the wind is blowing a little stronger, as if trying to knock me off of my perch, but that is alright. The sun is shining. The clean, flowing air fills my lungs with each deep breathe I take and it refreshes me. I am at one with it all. For the first time in a long time, I feel alive and free. I look beyond the pit stand to witness the beehive-busy pit area alive with perpetual activity. Drivers and crew members hurriedly prepare their cars to do battle on this stage of honor, this bullring…this dirt track.
48 hours ago, I was sitting in the grandstands with friends at Red River Co-op Speedway in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They had never been to any races before, let alone a Sprint Car race. That moment reminded me of my first race at Victory Lane Speedway in 1997 with the NCRA Sprints lead by Gary Wright. I hoped they would get the same kind of thrill that I had experienced. The next morning, I began a 9 hour journey, traveling westward along the Trans-Canada highway from Winnipeg, where I was born and raised, to this place, for just this moment. I have traded my home and family for a hotel room and a surrogate family. My racing family.
It is here, at this dirt oval in Saskatchewan, that I have found my sanctuary and my comfort. Here, there are no politics, nor agendas. There is no squabbling about engine size or car counts. There is no stress. What I am seeing is all I really need to see…
Racing fans filling the grandstand area.
A dirt oval race track.
The push trucks circle into position, awaiting the signal to push off the first group of Sprint Cars onto the track for hot laps. The 2009 Prairie Dirt Classic is about to start.
This is Sprint Car racing on the Canadian Prairies and I know in my soul that I am finally home.