Fear in the Forecast

If you visit here regularly you know that I moonlight at Delaware Speedway. I can be found in the observation tower each and every race night (and race afternoon) jotting down notes and uploading photos, tweeting and Facebooking and watching the races intently.   I visit the pit area and chat to drivers when I can.  There are some truly wonderful people involved in racing.  It’s very much a family sport. 

Outdoor racing relies on good weather. The Enduro class cars can race in the rain but several factors also have to be taken into consideration. Is the concourse too soggy and slippery for people to safely walk on? Has the track become so soaked prior to race time that it’s just simply too dangerous? Is a potentially severe storm due to arrive before paying spectators will get a chance to get their money’s worth of racing? Some car classes simply cannot handle wet weather. Their tires are smooth and treadless and putting them on a wet track is a waste of some perfectly good vehicles. They’ll only slip and smash into each other without even getting enough grip to call it a race.

Therefore, sometimes race nights have to be cancelled. It is the nature of the beast. Owners of dirt tracks have it even worse; they sometimes cancel in perfect weather because of rain that happened days prior. For us, it’s a day-of decision that’s made by the Managers and Track Officials.

But here’s the kicker – hard core race fans blame the track for the weather! One night, racing was cancelled because Environment Canada called for severe storms with 160 mm of rain. With that info in hand and after checking the radar, the call was made to cancel. The storms missed the track and the fallout from fans was nothing short of venomous. They called us all names, posted expletives on Facebook and just generally lost it. I’m absolutely baffled by this behavior! The track has the most to lose by cancelling races – 10’s of thousands of dollars, in fact. They would never bail on a race night without careful consideration and concern for the drivers and fans, first. But these fans don’t stop to consider the impact on the track. No, all they care about is that their night of fun was taken away from them and somebody has to pay! It’s nothing short of stupid.

I can only compare my reaction to it to looking into a petri dish and seeing something totally unexpected form before my eyes. At first I thought they had to be joking. Yelling at me and my colleagues because of…the weather? But yup, that’s what happens. I’d like to tell each and every one of them that their cranial cavity is lost in the cavern of their posteriors…but that would be unprofessional.