The clanking and banging of the presses when we put the paper to bed is a quiet peaceful interlude compared to when 33 cars battle it out on a dirt track for a case of oil.
I let Jim Young talk me into accompanying him to a racing event.
The cars run without mufflers to reduce their weight and from the yelling from the slat board stands the crowds love watching their favorite crashing and bumping their way to the front of the pack.
It was cold and the wind off the creek cut right through your clothing. Jim warned me to bring a heavy blanket that it would be a 'bit nippy.' He understated the case, it was down right freezing. My toes have yet to unthaw. That wind deposited a layer of the track on me, before the main event started through what they call hot laps where the driver races against the clock for his starting position
In the racing world I suspect Jim and his crew would be considered professionals. But local dirt track racing is for the backyard mechanic who builds his own car and dreams of the big time. It has nothing to do with the sport of kings; there is no gentlemanly consideration for rules of conduct. The only goal is to win at all costs. The drivers I saw learned their skills on the backroads of Ono County or other places where they raced to out run the law or beat their fellow friends down the few straight stretches in the county.
Jim Young doesn't drive any more, due to an accident that took part of his eyesight. Instead he with his faithful crew build engines and design cars meant to obtain even greater speeds as they barrel around the quarter of a mile track. The track is an oval constructed of local clay with high banks to allow for racing speed turns, which the drivers take by sliding around the curve oblivious to life and limb.
Racing is Jim's life and I for one am glad to see him get back into the thick of things. I'll be the first to admit I don't understand those who travel like gypsies from track to track, risking their lives each Saturday night for very little reward. I was miserable cold, ate my life-time allotment of a pound of dirt over the mustard of a hot dog, but I got caught up in the pace and found myself yelling for everyone to win.
The image is from Goggle. The car was owned by T.K. King of Corbin, KY and driven on local tracks by his son. The track at Corbin is still operating, but has been paved.