BAKER: Setting Some Goals For 2011
With New Year’s just days away, everyone is probably thinking of resolutions and setting goals for 2011: lose weight, quit smoking, spend more time with loved ones, get out of debt, tackle that pile of junk cluttering the garage.
While those are all well and good for the average person, what about goals for the upcoming motorsports season? Maybe it’s getting to a certain event for the first time in 2011, or maybe it’s improving your ranking among Ron Hedger’s “Super Fans” regulars. Looking ahead to the upcoming year, here’s what I have in mind for myself:
• Make friends with the security guards at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Anyone who has ever tried to get from the infield to the press box in the third turn knows exactly what I’m talking about here.
• Continue the tradition of commandeering a golf cart at each NHRA race I cover. Who doesn’t love riding around in a golf cart, especially with a big, official NHRA decal on the front? Besides, it makes lugging more than a hundred copies of NSSN through the pits that much easier.
• Make a return to the road-racing scene. That could include anything from attending an event for the first time — Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta would be reasonable — or making it back to Summit Point (W.Va.) Motorsports Park for something like the 12 Hours At The Point. Many good memories have come from fighting my way through the “infield” — woods, rather — to get from the pits to the carousel at The Point.
• Not turn into a stuttering idiot when interviewing or conversing with somewhat attractive members of the motorsports community. Professionalism is key.
• Cover the August NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway without some type of credential snafu. Three years running, three-straight years of one issue or another. What’s a girl have to do to cover a truck race?
• See as many events at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., as I can, especially the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event June 4. I may never understand the hatred the Stadium’s regular fans feel for the likes of Junior Miller, Tim Brown and the Myers brothers, but it sure makes for an entertaining evening at such a historic venue.
• Get my hands on some Pennsylvania Posse gear. I know you’re not supposed to play favorites when you’re a member of the media, but, hey, I can’t deny my Keystone roots.
• See Danica Patrick race in NASCAR. In October, I opted to avoid “Danicamania” at Charlotte Motor Speedway — my lone chance to see Patrick compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series — in favor of the Charlotte Checkers’ AHL home opener. At least if I see her compete I can make a more informed decision on her abilities behind the wheel of a stock car.
• Make it back to Atlanta Motor Speedway. After skipping the March truck event, I missed my opportunity to visit my favorite speedway on the NASCAR circuit in 2010. With only one weekend on tap for 2011, I have my fingers crossed I’ll be heading to Georgia come Labor Day weekend.
• Have a better experience covering the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga., than in 2010. After blowing a tire on the way to the track Friday morning and then having the hotel’s fire alarm short circuit at 1:13 a.m. Sunday, NSSN photographer Rhonda McCole and I were more than ready to put the weekend behind us and hope for better luck at future NHRA events. (And if you’re wondering where not to stay in Commerce for that event, I have some tips for you.)
OK, so that’s my game plan for 2011. And with 2010 nearly in the books, it’ll soon be time to start working on these goals for the new year.