I know that some of you were expressing concern, when Chew and I posted (last minute) that we would be unable to head to Knoxville, as planned. I wanted to assure you, we are all doing just fine.
We actually were all ready to go, when our plans changed... the Fan Van was packed, the gear was charged and loaded, and I had even painted my nails to match my vest.
However, Friday's events held other plans, for us. Our oil change and tune up ran a little higher than we expected... our car insurance was due, so we had to make sure it was paid before we left... and the bank had accidentally credited us with a large cash deposit (which we hadn't made). When I called, to point out the error (there's that honesty thing, again), the person assigned to remove the error apparently made a SECOND error. At least, that's what we assumed happened. The extra charges (and overdraft fees) from the motel mistake (on our way to Henry, IL) resurfaced. Another call to the bank left us reassured that the error would be corrected, early this week. We weren't BROKE... we could have probably afforded the trip out and back, just fine. However, if we encountered ANY unexpected expenses (like car troubles) along the way, we could be stranded. If the bank DIDN'T get the error fixed "early in the week," we'd have to rely on whatever food we have at home, and whatever gas was left in the van, to get through the week.
We decided it was better to stay home. It was a very difficult decision, but we thought it was better than taking a risk.
So, we found ourselves glued to the laptop instead of running around the Knoxville track. It always feels weird to miss out on a National, but we made the best of it. The Fans Choice feed was having some troubles loading, at first. We kept watching it buffer, and worried that it would stay that way for the entire broadcast.
The worrying was unnecessary. The crew had the problem fixed, quickly, and the broadcast was smooth and unhindered throughout the rest of the races.
It felt weird to actually SIT and WATCH THE RACES, TOGETHER for a change. Usually, Chew and I are running in a dozen different directions, at the track. It was actually a really nice way to spend Father's Day!
Like everyone else, we noticed the low fan turnout. It kills me how people who weren't there want to blame AMA for being poor promoters, when things like this happen.
Seriously? Ok, where do I start?
First, AMA is not in charge of the GNC events. AMA Pro Racing is. I know the names are confusing, but... c'mon, people. We've had half a dozen years to adjust to this.
Secondly, AMA Pro is not in charge of promoting the races... the promoters are. One would think that this would be obvious, from the word "promote," in their title. Still, some people seem to think that the sole responsibility for advertising an upcoming race rests on the lap of AMA Pro... or, even more strangely, AMA.
Third, no matter HOW good a job that a promoter does, marketing a race, there are a few things that they just have trouble getting around. Take the weather. There was a 95% chance of rain, at Knoxville. With gas at (or approaching) $4.00 a gallon, 95% is just too big a risk for some folks, traveling. Thank Heavens, the weather folks were wrong... or the anti-rain dances worked... and they were able to get the program in, just fine. Still, they were working against a pretty intimidating forecast!
Another problem? It's Sunday. For people who have to drive a good distance, and work on Monday, that could have played a big part in their decisions to either head home or not drive out at all. It is Father's Day, to boot... how many people had to head home, to spend the day with their kids or fathers?
Some people say that they could have remedied the problem by holding the National on Friday night, and the Vintage race on Sunday. I don't know how the schedule was determined, but... ultimately... I think the results would have been similar, if they had. People would have to decide if they wanted to drive out on Friday, after working all day. There wouldn't have been an opportunity to do the exhibition race, at the Saturday car races, in an attempt to introduce potential newcomers to The Sport. People would be complaining that they should have rescheduled everything... just as they are, now.
Speaking of the exhibition race... what a neat idea, and a great way to introduce car fans to The Sport. I don't live in the Knoxville area, so I don't know what other promoting was done, but I did see that there was a Meet and Greet, the exhibition race, lots of advertising on social media, AND there was a discount ticket available (at a GREAT price) for people who wanted to make a tripleheader out of the weekend. I'd say that was pretty cool.
Finally... I notice that almost ALL of the people who are complaining about low fan attendance start out with "I heard that the fan count was low" or "the stands looked pretty empty, from what I saw online." What I'm hearing is, "I didn't go, but there is no reason for everybody else not to." To those people, I suggest this... think about why YOU weren't there. You knew about the races. You are possibly off work (if you are watching the whole thing on the internet). Why didn't YOU go?
(Insert reasons here).
Really? Well... maybe, just maybe, those are the same kinds of reasons that other people weren't able to be there.
OK, enough about all that.
I have to give a big shoutout to all of the riders and the Blue Crew for keeping us entertained, even from clear out here in Chewville. If you were working, or whatever, you can find all of the day's results here!
Our next two weeks are JAM PACKED. On Wednesday, we hope to head over to Lima, for the Test and Tune. On Friday, we pick up the youngest, from summer college, and spend the evening doing laundry and last-minute packing. Saturday will find us at Ashland, OH. We'll leave there and head straight to Springfield, IL