Race Weekend Central

Voices From the Heartland: New Wave of Racing Fever Surfaces in Small Town

This week’s edition of Voices is taking a break from all things related to the Chase. The Chase, I have decided, will simply work itself out. With the way the momentum of each Chase contender has shifted every week, there is no sense burning up perfectly good brain cells trying to forecast the eventual outcome like several others are doing. The bottom line is this: someone will win. It happens every year (shockingly enough), and it won’t be Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne or Kyle Busch that takes home the trophy. No… instead I’m going to talk about a different type of racing, a type catching steam in my very own hometown.

As longtime readers may or may not know, Voices From the Heartland was conceived, as were some of the characters I’ve probably mentioned over the years, in the bathroom of a small bar formerly known as The Finish Line (aka Knife and Gun Club) in Van Horne, Iowa. I say formerly because, due to a combination of Jose Cuervo and bad management, The Finish Line has been closed down for a few months now. Its closing has seriously affected the way NASCAR was enjoyed here in our small town.

Gone is the weekly race pool and coinciding points championship. Gone is the weekly ribbing of the proprietor for owning all things Jeff Gordon. Gone are the weekly arguments of whose driver did what to whom. And, probably most regrettably, gone is the round of drinks the weekly winner of the race pool was always shamed into buying. Race weekends just haven’t been the same. However, there is hope; the spirit of all things racing has once again graced our small rural community.

Over the years, and especially this summer, we (the main players from The Finish Line) have always said that we needed to build ourselves our own little go-kart track. What better way to cap off a day’s worth of NASCAR and beverages then to relive it ourselves after the broadcast? Usually though, after that many beverages, that is about as far as it ever got… talk. Well, this fall, that has all changed.

I had sort of been out of the loop lately when last week I stopped by my friend’s shop. It didn’t take long for him to direct me to the undeveloped land behind the shop, claiming he had something for me to see. So, I turned the corner, and lo and behold, there it was! Our new speedway! What started out as a field of tall grass just a few short months ago had been mowed, tilled, dragged and even compacted. The Van Horne Speedway was born!

The first thought that crossed my mind was; “Oh, crap! Now I have to buy a go-kart!” That was this past Sunday. Since then, in the space of three days, the number of drivable go-karts parked in the back of the shop has grown to five! Two more are under construction. We even built ourselves a “water truck,” consisting of a converted fertilizer tank and some PVC pipe, and neatly placed it in the back of the three-wheel Cushman. It works wonderfully! We are set to go.

Now, there’s still a rule or two we have to work out. Yes, that’s right, one or two; when it comes to rules, we like to have as few as possible. Rule number one is simple: unless you have a contract, (or permission so to speak) you don’t drive someone else’s kart. As you can imagine, “go-kart” has been a popular search on eBay around here! That’s where I found mine. It’s on its way here, even as I write this, all the way from Missouri! (Just don’t tell my wife!) Rule number two, if I know this crowd, will be just as easy to follow: bring your own beverages!

So, if you have a decent go-kart you’d like to part with, let me know. We got buyers. Better yet, bring it on out to the new Van Horne Speedway, We’d love to have you every Sunday after the “other” race is over! (Be sure to remember rule number two, though!)

Stay off the wall, (easy here, we don’t have none, yet!)

Jeff (aka No. 88)

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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