To the editor:
My name is Steve Mitchell. I grew up in Webster City. During the late '60s and '70s I spent one night a week going to the races with my father and four brothers. Living on Bluff Street, we walked to the races (less than a block away). I have fond memories of these times. I remember grandstands filled with people as drivers and race officials put on a great show for the audience week after week.
Now, as I approach 50 years old I am not able to get to the races as much. I live 30 miles south of Des Moines (near Knoxville) and have high school age children whose schedules keep me very busy. Although my children also have fond memories of the few races they have watched in Webster City, we have gotten to the point where we attend only once or twice a summer.
Time and distance aren't the only reasons we attended less often. My patience thinned and my frustration grew as I watched adults fight over starting positions, unnecessary accidents caused by childish anger, and lengthy cautions.
I couldn't help but wonder why drivers needed to sit in the staging area and yet take so many laps to get lined up before the green flag was thrown. I lost interest in spending time and money watching a driver argue with an official as the other drivers drove around trying to get lined up. I started to wonder if maybe the black flag wasn't even used any more. I left several races early so that I could get home before 2 a.m. It was no wonder the crowds had gotten so small.
Deep down, I knew the drivers weren't to blame. They are good folks who will follow rules that are clear and consistently applied. They spend lots of time and money on their hobby and appreciate the crowds.
My family and I attended the races on July 2. What a pleasant surprise and noticeable difference. Not only was the show organized, but it was exciting. The crowd seemed larger and the races were closer. Cars going into corners three- or four-wide happened throughout the evening.
To top it all off, the fireworks were set off immediately following the main event. We went to the pits to visit family and friends and left well before 11 p.m. I would like to thank those who have made the improvements; the fair board, the track officials, and ultimately the drivers. It was a fun evening. If you haven't seen good racing, I recommend you go to the Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Webster City on a Saturday Night.
Take the kids, they'll love it. You won't be disappointed.