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Commentary: Super DIRT Week Spirit Is Larger Than A Track

We could be bitter, we could be outraged, and we definitely are very sad at today’s announcement that racing on Syracuse’s famed “Moody Mile” will cease to exist past this years Super Dirt Week finale. But like many of you, we saw it coming and it was merely a formality.   Many fans in DIRT Nation did what they could. They wrote letters, attended meetings, left messages on the anserwing machines of politicians left and right, and tried their best to stave off the inevitable.

We’d published earlier this year that the battle for the Moody Mile might not be won, but it must be fought. And fans have done so.   We’d like to say thank you for all of you that put forth the effort. And it’s not in vain. Know why?  Because every time dirt fans en masse call upon politicians, it let’s them know one thing, that the sport is important to a large group of voters, and they’re reminded that the sport brings money to their districts.  Sometimes politicians need reminders. And if our sport could be more visible to decision makers, rather if we’d make it a priority to engage these folks and make them a part of what we love, whether it’s by giving free box suites for special events, free tshirts and other perks (campaign contributions), we could have more of them on our side.

It’s the way the world works, things get done through money, passion and politics.  We’re not geniuses at TDN, well one of us is and it’s not me, but we do know that if the sport courted these influencers in advance instead of after a track is in trouble, we’d all be better off.  So SDW fans, take heart, there’s some influencers that never knew how important the sport was until these last few months.

Rick Sweeten Photo

Super Dirt Week will remain in New York for years to come. And the venue will change, but what’s more important than the venue, more important than the racing, and even more important than the the same thing that keeps SDW together and will keep it thriving in the years to come.

It’s the relationships fans have built with each other over the years.  SDW is an event beyond compare, because the fans make it so.  They gather every year after year and trade stories and grow friendships that linger long after the checkered flag falls on the 200. They’ve seen each others children grow. They’ve spent countless days, nights and years gathered around campfires sharing moments of the things that we love about the sport. And they’d give a kidney and other organs away before they’d ever give up their reserved camping spot!  I’m not sure that that kind of die hard love and passion exist in the same meaning outside of the Knoxville Nationals and perhaps the World 100, and even those events don’t have the same feel of a SDW.

The mile may be gone but the spirit of the event and the week was bigger than a track. And it will be challenging to find the same flavor at a new facility, it won’t come easy, but as long as the people that have been supporting the event continue to do so, and there’s no doubt that they will. The event will survive and thrive.  The powers that be, may have won this particular battle, but SDW now has a chance to grow new traditions and perhaps set a new standard of what a big event should look, sound and feel like. It’s a time to get creative and after the grief wears down, a time to look forward to the future.

The only thing the politicians really took, was a grandstand and a dirt track, the history of 113 years of racing, the spirit of the event, and most importantly for fans, the memories and friendships stay with us forever while we find the next chapter to our story.

One door closes, but one door opens and it’s a good bet that the open door here reveals something wonderful!

For another great perspective on the Future of SDW check this story out from esteemed Dirt Track Digest administrator Mike Mallet: “The Inevitable Happened, Now What?”



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