Mississippi Kart Series
Neshoba County Arena
March 11, 2017
***Not much graphics and pics with this one folks! Just cold hard truth, lol.
Please check us out online at www.p-rphotos.com for images from the event!***
Ok, let’s see if we remember how to do this, lol. If you’re reading this, chances are you know who I am, what I’ve done, and what I do in the sport of kart racing. Over the years, the sport has treated me fairly well. In two decades, I’ve gone from an obscure unknown to the top of the game as the publisher of THE monthly (printed) magazine, Chase’n Race’n Illustrated, and now back to the relatively irrelevant. That sounds harsh, but you know what? I’m good with it! I’ve traveled extensively, all over this great country, given a large chunk of my life to the sport of kart racing, and again, for the most part, it’s been tremendously great to me. I have no complaints.
As the sport continues to flounder aimlessly without a competent group (sanctioning body) to guide it, I am happy to remain involved in a capacity where I’m not “the guy” leaned on for advise, or direction, take my pictures, write my lil report and move on. The hard lesson over the years is that most of the ones “on top” are full of shit, and playing with someone else’s money, and don’t need to “listen” to a voice of reason. But again, I’m good with that.
A couple of months ago, maybe longer, I think it started with a text, maybe a phone call, but contact nonetheless. I heard from a (sorta) long lost friend in the game, just wanting to “chat” and “pick my brain”. She, Laura Pender, is the director of the Mississippt Kart Series. She grabbed the reigns when longtime MS promoter Randy Rawson faded out of sight, and has paid her dues, and earned her stripes in a male dominated game. For that, she has my deepest respect. There have times when she and I have not seen eye to eye, like many other promoters. But, at the end of the day, my experience in the sport will almost always have me siding, and sympathizing with the promoters. Let’s face it, as racers, (yes I’ve been one all my life), we are a self centered group, and without an eye opening experience, we don’t care what the promoter goes through for us to have somewhere to race, right?? The cold hard truth is that WE need each other, period, end of discussion! Without the racer, the promoter has an empty house. Without the promoter, the racer has a full trailer, and nowhere to play.
Getting back to Mrs Pender. She’s played the “game” with the best, taken her hits, and bounced off the floor more than once. Heading into 2017, after more than one instance where the “powers that be” attempted to power play her, some options presented themselves. She listened, sought out advise from those she trusted, a very small circle, then she posed it to her racers. Upon her announcement, there was no question, 2017 would be, and will be like no other before. The Mississippi Kart Series is the first major series in the United States to flip to the latest creation from Hoosier Racing Tires.
Hoosier Racing Tires??!! Yep. Here’s a tire company that has developed and played the NASCAR game, are big in drag racing, and is the “go to” tire for most stock car racing in America outside of NASCRAP. Now, after kinda having their asses handed to them a few years ago, they went back to the drawing board and went to work. The end result is an awesome product that will undoubtedly make some waves in the karting game. Will they come to “dominate” the sport?? That’s yet to be seen, but like my buddies in California at Burris Racing, they aren’t in to “buy it”. They are content with allowing the racers make their own choices.
Now, this event in the Neshoba County Arena in Philadelphia… I could sit here and tell you that Tyler McLeod was “da man” and old man Jody Pierce even proved that he still knows how to get it done aboard the Troy Bailey machine. But thanks to social media, you already know who won what, and perhaps who shoulda won what.
What I am gonna tell you about, is what this very weathered, experienced, cynical, straight up, old man witnessed in Mississippi on a Saturday in March 2017.
I saw a group of racers hungry for a good program. I saw a group of racers mostly loyal to their promoter who has stood by them, and continues to seek out ways to improve and grow their program. I saw a group of racers who will beat the snot out of each other on the track, cuss each other at the scales, but lend a hand to get you back on the track.
I saw a series staff that left nothing on the table. I saw a rookie race director willing to take the beating for the sport he obviously loves. With that point, let me make a plea to the racers, and even the staff, of this series…. I’ve known Scott Davis (as he puts it, the “broke” Scott Davis, lol. Inside joke!) since he and his family got into the sport. He’s paid his dues. He’s seen some good, some bad, and definitely some ugly. That’s why I respect his decision to step up to the pump and take on the role of Race Director for this series. He knew coming in that it is a thankless job, but somebody with a passion has to do it. I can tell the racers of this series, you can bet the house, the farm, the kids, and the ol lady on it, he will do the best he’s capable of, be as fair as any human can be, and won’t give a rat’s ass who you are. That’s the cold hard truth!
I saw a rookie flagman (in karting), who actually didn’t do a terrible job!! Lol. He seemed a lil “high strung” at times, but I think the Race Director calmed him down a lil. Listen, this guy hopped into the flagstand for a friggin’ indoor race to start out!! It’s not like they gave him a couple of practice runs at “normal” races! We all know indoor karting on dirt is not “normal”, especially to start a season long championship series!!! lol. WTH was Pender thinking??!! Lol.
I saw a staff willing to go the extra mile to make the best of a miserable situation. The weatherman, surprise!!, missed the friggin’ forecast and it rained literally alllllll daaaayyyyyyy!!!
I saw racers who understood, this is the hand dealt, let’s play!!! Well, except for a few chuckleheads! Lol. I saw a racer who I really like, but needs a valium before the racing begins!! There are ways to state your case, a profanity laced fit at the flagstand is not it, I’m sorry dude, lol.
I saw a tire company, Hoosier, not unlike others in their position, send representatives to the first race of the series. The difference I witnessed, on race day, as well as a shared meal the night before, was the sincerity in which they carried out their duties. Chad Wright, Jeff Freeman, and Steve Goodrich, represented the company with class. BTW, through conversation at dinner on Friday night, I learned that the new creation from Hoosier is the “baby” of Freeman. He’s the man responsible for years of R&D, and ultimately for putting this deal on the map. Hats off to him!!
Now, last but not least…. Now that our “magazine” is an online deal, and we’ve trimmed our coverage tremendously, we rely more and more on sales of our photos at events. I’d like to say that we had a fabulous day of sales and support at the P&R wagon. But the truth is, it SUCKED! I’d like to put an “lol” at the end of that, but it can’t be sugar coated that much. However, I lay the blame on two people for that…#1: That bi-polar beotch we call mother nature!!! She wreaked havoc on us all day long. #2: myself. Although I did the best I could to make sure every trailer in the house knew we were there, and where we were, I apparently failed. But it is what it is, and it’s in the books.
We’ll be back at some point. But in the meantime, if you’re looking for a pretty damn good series that offers some great competition and a staff that cares about the sport and the direction it’s going in, you owe it to yourself to give the Mississippi Kart Series a chance. Next stop on the tour is Columbus Speedway on April 8th. This will also be a ¼ Nationals for the UAS guys!! I’m being bribed with the opportunity to turn a few laps on one of those hot rods. We just might see you in Columbus!! lol