Those Who Got Us Here | Performance Racing Industry
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Those Who Got Us Here
By John Kilroy on January 22, 2015

One of the great things about the culture of auto racing is that the past is so respected. Throughout the U.S. and the world, there is hallowed ground in racing not because of a big current event, but because of the accumulation of everything that came before. I remember vividly the last race at the Agajanian family’s Ascot Park, the storied half-mile dirt track in Southern California. When the 1990 Turkey Night was over (won by Stan Fox in Steve Lewis’ number 9 midget), fans walked onto the track with jars and scooped the dirt into them reverently. You could imagine the decades of racing thrills these fans experienced there, and all the great racers they saw at their best. There was going to be a hole in their lives after this grand temple of racing closed down. I’ve had people tell me stories about racers that had retired or races they had witnessed years ago with a freshness in the tale and an energy in the voice as if it all happened last weekend. When we were working with Smokey Yunick on events for the PRI Trade Show, Smokey could call any current star of the time and ask a favor, and he’d get a pretty quick “Yes” because of all he had accomplished in the sport years earlier.

I was reminded of this when Don ‘Snake’ Prudhomme answered MavTV’s Dave Despain’s question at the Grand Opening Breakfast, “What are you most proud of?” Prudhomme said he was proud of helping to establish this racing industry. Like so many of those who created this business, he said he never imagined it would grow so big, citing the sizable PRI Trade Show as just one example of the continued success of the racing industry. Tom ‘Mongoose’ McEwen added his own sentiments in this same vein. And it reminded me once more how much we owe those who came before.

For racing industry founders reading this note, and to all the industry innovators who helped get us where we are today, “Thank you.” The Kilroy family thanks you. The PRI team thanks you. You made more than a difference in the sport and in the industry. You had a huge effect on our lives, creating opportunities that we are able to seize upon. We can never forget the contributions of those who created an industry from this primal need for speed. Sometimes, we don’t know how you did it. We remain amazed at the flashes of genius, and still wonder today where it came from.  We hope that we can demonstrate the perseverance and guts we saw in the birth of this industry decades ago.

Thank you.

About the Author
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John Kilroy is the Publisher of Performance Racing Industry magazine.
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