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Since our last meeting here on Wags Web, I have been taking some time to relax and enjoy the holidays. Relaxing time spent with family, my wife and my dogs has been as much fun as one guy can have without winning the lotto. Also, I have attended 55 high school basketball games to date (without my wife by the way, as she doesn't get my obsession with it). This number is accomplished with numerous tournament's providing as many as 8 games a day to view. How, you ask, and I know you do, can anyone go to that many B-ball games? I have no clue, but then maybe the answer is I am obsessed! In high school B-ball, the kids are playing for their girlfriends, family, the team and themselves, not for money. Many would be surprised to see the joy they get out of their performances, and I do too! I have really gotten into it and have my favorite teams and players I like to follow. I am thoroughly enjoying it! Of course, Terry feels like the proverbial home alone gal, but she hasn't minded too much, getting some time off with her doggies a benefit. Keep in mind a high school basketball game is only 1-1/2 hours long and a race day can go on for as long as 12 hours or more for us.

Speaking of obsessions, racing has always been an obsession of mine from the first drag race I attended in 1960, to the last Kindoll Classic this past year. When you throw in my wife's love (and help), my life with racing has been a grand and glorious ride up to date. Anticipation for the next race has always been number one in my mind, and each trip to every track always has me anxiously excited to arrive. It still does, but how long can anyone do the same thing over and over? Ask the Bromme's, the Sweeney's, the Gardner's, the Noffsinger's, and many, many more racing families, who have dedicated their life to this sport, and it sums up like this: you have to love it, and you will do it, regardless. I feel that racing has been my driving desire in my life, even though while growing up, my family never went to any races of any kind, except maybe the horses.

These recent days of the off season, with me off following something else, has taught this "young guy" an old lesson. You can do anything over and over, if you like it and it has something that brings you back. Racing has been a big part of my life since I was 18 years old, more now than ever, but still a focal point longer than I care to remember. I have always "obsessed" on things that I enjoyed. Basketball was my first real love (obsession!) and I spent more hours on the hardwood than anyone did, because I was absolutely obsessed with it. I played in high school, continued on with intramural games in college, then to the industrial leagues, the YMCA and boys club leagues and many pick-up games at local colleges and high schools, because it was what I lived and breathed. I don't know why, I could have been a mountain climber or hunter, but noooooo, I was obsessed with shooting hoops. I was actively playing the game regularly until about 10 years ago when I pulled a calf muscle playing volleyball. That nasty injury stopped basketball, but I continued playing volleyball until the frayed muscle finally made me give it up, too, a few years later.

Other obsessions grabbed me thru the years when I wasn't playing or watching B-ball. Things like building model cars. From the time I was 12 or so, I built dragsters and hot rods before AMT began making their racecar kits. I won tons of trophies because I built things others didn't. The next obsession happened when I became a AAA softball pitcher for a while, but getting married quelled that possible direction. Drag racing was next with a short driving career, which ended due to the lack of money that our two-man team needed to be more competitive. That made me a major drag race fan (really obsessed!) It was back when Lions, Carlsbad, Irwindale, Fontana, Riverside, San Fernando, San Diego, Fremont, Bakersfield and many more strips were my home every weekend for two or three days of race watching. I was obsessed with the fuel dragters, front motored that is, and the smoky runs. I think Garlits crash at Lions, cutting off part of his foot, and the ensuing rear motored car success he pioneered, was what helped my dirt track love to happen and later thrive.

After my divorce from my first wife, motorcycle riding kind of obsessed me for a while, though B-ball and racing were still in my major weekly activities. On top of that, if they played any ball on TV, and I was home, I watched it! Then I met Mrs Wags, and she became my # 1 obsession for the rest of my life. Our early days together didn't allow much time for anything but us, because I was truly obsessed with her and still am, and we had her 3 kids at home! When Lions Drag Strip closed in the late 60's, I was forced to look for something else to obsess me. Ascot gave me a glimpse of wildness that was magnified when I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I eventually met Terry. I was going to the Tulsa fairgrounds there to watch Super Modifieds every Saturday, with only an occasional drag race as this life long obsession shifted to the dirt tracks. Over the last 30 years, I have been to over 125 active dirt tracks, and numerous others that are now closed, so I have been around the mud. Add drag strips of about 50, paved tracks of 10 or so, and I have seen a lot of race facilities and races along the way. Terry grew up within a stones throw of the dirt track on the fairgrounds in Tulsa, and was already a race fan when we met, glory be!

When the kids started growing up and going away, our once a month at Ascot and twice a month camping in the desert riding dirt bikes began to give way to more trips to Ascot and less to the desert. In time we started going 3 out of 4 weeks to the famed oval and had our favorite place to sit in section H. Up until this point, I was marginally obsessed with the racing there, and since Terry loved to go, we started making it our life. Then, out of nowhere, the Wagtimes was born and grew from nothing more than a Christmas letter to 20 or so grandstand friends, to where it peaked in 2001. This last year was harder than the early years because of the money situation in America. Not only did we work harder for less in 2001; we enjoyed it less due to other sad circumstances, including losing Willie Bandy to cancer. Life happened and some of it was gut wrenching. It was the hardest year for my obsession, yet. Should I ask for some cheese to go with my "whine" as some have asked, when I am on a soapbox about this or that? I don't know, but I am now in a position that I have to decide what is on tap for Wagtimes in 2003 and where should I spend my obsessive time. Should I plod on and keep up the web page, should I collect Wagsbucks, should "we" have a Wagsdash, and most of all, is my Wagtimes effort becoming a dinosaur that should be parked? Or, should I move on to something else, and should it be racing related, or should I really just relax and continue on like the last 14 years. These are the burning questions.

My B-ball watching has allowed me to clear my mind and think about where to go in 2003. The cream always rises to the top and racing has been the cream (right behind my wife, of course), in my life. I couldn't have done any of the things we have accomplished without my wife first, and the support of loyal Wagtimer's, second, and that's a fact. The times have changed, and the group of us, which reached it's max about the time Bud Burchell died several years ago, has begun to dwindle in numbers, partly because of other deaths, people moving on, and partly because of the times. Racing is not as important as people are, and when they leave, the hole opens up. When it closes, things are not always the same. The Wagtimes is not the same, but our goals still are! It always comes down to the people, they are the joy of Wagtimes for us!

An example of change is what many feared would happen when drivers like Lealand McSpadden and Bubby Jones retired. People questioned if the racing would be the same with them gone. Terry said that to me first when Bubby Jones retired, but it was still great the next year. When Brad Noffsinger, Dean Thompson, Jimmy Oskie, Ron Shuman, Bubby Jones and a host of others left our sport, there was always worry about how it would be. Fortunately, it always seems to just get better. So racing continues to go on without a hitch with only the faces changing, but still, something else does change. That is the people, and because of that, it is sometimes more difficult to move on with the same enthusiasm, in the same direction, without some of our friends beside us.

So if you were I, would you continue to do the thing that has put over $315,000 cash in the hands of the racers? I realize some "wagsajustments" have to happen for 2003. I still love racing, hate politics and am looking forward to the new year, but this B-ball thing has captured my obsessive self to the point that I might like getting even more involved, is that crazy? The Wagtimer's met with us after the Wagsdash and several things fell out on the table. They don't want to collect tour money anymore, reasoning that is the promoter's responsibility and it cuts down on our Wagsdash efforts. They want the Wagsdash to continue on, even if the Wagsbucks doesn't. That fun event filled race day is our statement to the SCRA that we are helping the racers, and the fans, to have more fun! It is "value added" to the SCRA, even if it isn't perceived it as an SCRA sponsored event.

I owe a lot to Frank Lewis for allowing me to start the Wagtimes, as I do to Cary Agajanian for letting me work it at Ascot. Without those two, we wouldn't be here today! With the clock now turned to 2003, I need to concentrate on what we will do this season. It will be even harder this year, as I don't have the weekly Wags workers following as in the past, and all for good reasons. Some Wagtimer's are going off in other directions, some have found other things than racing to do. Some only come out once or twice a year, some live too far away to get involved on a weekly basis, and some are just gone from us to a better place. The one thing all of us left are sure of, the Wagsdash day is the most important day for us, and no matter what paths they follow during the year, they'll all "come home" for that one. And for that I'm appreciative, as I love each and every one of our "racing family" and wish each one the best as they move on.

I think it is time to look elsewhere for some of the Wagsdash money, as too many "other" money required things have happened that make our goals less attainable, or at least my ideas need redefining. Beginning with the Sept 11 disaster in 2001, plus Rusty McClure's major injury fund raisers the year before, and the ultimate loss of George Gervais, it's been difficult. And, with the economic times forcing people to change the way they spend, the "giving people" don't always have much left for the low buck guys like they used to, and new fans don't get the concept from the few hints around them at race tracks today. I don't want to give up the fan donations, but in this day and time, you know people have to understand it to get involved. My obsessions have never died, but sometimes they do get adjusted, and that burning obsession to watch non-wing sprint car racing still runs hot in my heart. My son advises me to "kick it all to the curb and sit in the grandstands and watch!" What does he know?

In 2003, I will continue to carry my clipboard around and collect Wagsbucks or Wagsdash money whenever it is offered, like I always have, in my "low key" manner. When I reach $150, we will award it! History will show I have never asked a sole for Wagsbucks, just capitalized on a movement that started in 1989 at the 3rd annual Mrs Wags Chili Feed. Neither the Wagtimers, nor I will do any NWWC tour fund raising events this year, but I will accept and pass out any money slated for the tour that comes my way. The 13th annual Wagsdash is on the schedule, and we'll continue the fundraising on that day, but will do maybe only one or two "work" days towards that effort throughout the year. Whatever we raise will be the purse. I will attend as many races as I can, but will not treat the schedule as my bible, as in the past, choosing to take a few weekends off to go do other things on occasion. Truthfully, last season wore on us and I don't want that to happen in the future. We are both still very dedicated to the SCRA racers and will continue to support them in every way we can. The Wagtimer's approve of this direction, but we still don't have any clues on how to raise money without working too many races, and we don't want to do that anymore for the result we received last year. I will be actively looking for help from some companies that still have advertising money to spend, like Budweiser or Hooters or whoever can help. If I could just find one that could see my light, well….

As I mull this Wags stuff over in my mind much more than ever before, I might note we will miss the Chili Bowl, (far and above the best midget event of the year!!!) Go Kruseman and the rest of the SCRA, and former SCRA boys. I will also miss the SCRA Banquet and the first race of the year due to other commitments. And, I am taking Terry to Hawaii for our 28th wedding anniversary on February 14th, a long overdue and promised trip for her! We are going to enjoy ourselves in a beautiful state neither of us has ever been to before. One thing is for sure in 2003; my Internet time needs to be cut down because I spend too much time on Wags Web and not enough with my wife and family! We already have agreed to a plan to have her weekly pit pics and my weekly story up sometime Monday night from now on, instead of spending all day Sunday doing it. That should give us time to enjoy the day after races more. The SCRA schedule has been tentatively posted, and here it is!



Feb. 15 Perris Auto Speedway (Twilight Show) Perris, CA 30
Mar. 1 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 30
Mar. 8 Thunderbowl Raceway Tulare, CA 30
Mar. 15 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 30
Mar. 21 Manzanita Speedway Phoenix, AZ 20
Mar. 22 Manzanita Speedway (Gary Sokola Classic) Phoenix, AZ 40
Mar. 29 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 30
Apr. 12 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 30
Apr. 26 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 30
May 3 Ventura Raceway (Jeff Bagley Classic) Ventura, CA 30
May 10 Manzanita Speedway Phoenix, AZ 30
May 17 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 30
May 24 Perris Auto Speedway (Salute to Indy) Perris, CA 50
June 7 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 30
June 14 Thunderbowl Raceway Tulare, CA 30
June 21 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 30
July 4 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 50
July 5 TBA TBA TBA July 12 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 30
July 26 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 30
Aug. 9 Hollywood Hills Speedway Albuquerque, NM 30
Aug. 12 Southern Iowa Speedway (NWWC - $30K to win) Oskaloosa, IA 30
Aug. 14 Terre Haute Action Track (NWWC) + Terre Haute, IN TBA
Aug. 15 Farmer City Raceway (NWWC) + Farmer City, IL TBA
Aug. 16 Tri-City Speedway (NWWC) + Granite City, IL TBA
Aug. 19 67 Raceway Park (NWWC) Godfrey, IL 30
Aug. 21 Lakeside Speedway (Media Day) Kansas City, KS -
Aug. 22 Lakeside Speedway (NWWC) Kansas City, KS 20
Aug. 23 Lakeside Speedway (NWWC - $10K to win) Kansas City, KS 40
Aug. 30 Ventura Raceway Ventura, CA 40
Aug. 31 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 50
Sept. 6 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 30
Sept. 13 Manzanita Speedway (Hall of Fame Classic) Phoenix, AZ 30
Sept. 20 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 30
Sept. 27 TBA TBA TBA
Oct. 4 Perris Auto Speedway Perris, CA 30
Oct. 18 Ventura Raceway (Wagsdash Night) Ventura, CA 30
Oct. 30 Manzanita Speedway (NWWC) Phoenix, AZ 20
Oct. 31 Manzanita Speedway (NWWC) Phoenix, AZ 20
Nov. 1 Manzanita Speedway (NWWC - Western World) Phoenix, AZ 40
Nov. 6 Perris Auto Speedway (NWWC)* Perris, CA TBA
Nov. 7 Perris Auto Speedway (NWWC)* Perris, CA TBA
Nov. 8 Perris Auto Speedway (NWWC- Oval Nationals)* Perris, CA TBA
Nov. 22 Perris Auto Speedway (Kindoll Classic) Perris, CA 50
NWWC - Non-Wing World Championship (NWWC) Series

If you think Lebron James is the best in high school basketball player in the nation, you haven't been watching any games. Ooooops my favorite team is playing now, and I gotta go! See ya in March!

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