Things you Should Not Say to a Woodburn Racer – August, 2014
There is one more points race remaining in the 2014 Sunoco Race Fuels Championship ET Series at Woodburn Dragstrip. It does not take much knowledge of the Northwest Racing Community to know that the team from Woodburn Dragstrip has the best record of any in NHRA Division 6. In fact, the team has more wins than any other team in the nation. An obvious inference would then be as follows: “The best ET Bracket racers in the nation race at Woodburn Dragstrip. The accomplishment of earning a place on the team that represents Woodburn Dragstrip is indeed an honor in itself. Therefore, congratulations are in order for all who achieve that mark and will be announced at the final race in the series on August 16th.”
With that knowledge in mind, the reader will realize that numerous racers will have attempted to earn their position on the 2014 Woodburn Dragstrip Sunoco Race Fuels ET Championship Team, but unfortunately, they will fall just one, two, or maybe three rounds short of that accomplishment. Just as when a close friend or family member has died, there are some things that are just not appropriate to say. And so it is with that introduction let me suggest several statements you probably should not say to a loyal Woodburn Dragstrip racer who unfortunately, in spite of all the efforts, dedication, and investment of time and money, will not be representing Woodburn Dragstrip at this year’s NHRA Summit ET Finals.
You probably should not say: “You must be relieved that this is over,” or “Aren’t you glad that the series did not extend longer. It would have been so painful to be out of contention for several more weeks. At least it is over now.” No, those comments would not be beneficial.
You probably should not say: “Look on the bright side. Every cloud has a silver lining. Just think of all the money you will save now that you will have more free time. I am sure you will be happier now that it is over” No, don’t say that. It simply is not true.
You probably should not say: “How terribly awful this must feel for you! I bet it feels just like I did when I got my divorce!” No, don’t say that. No racer wants to be reminded how bad he is feeling at this time.
You probably should not say: “I know how you must feel. I had a friend who was cut from the basketball team and he told me how awful that was.” No, don’t say that. No person can truthfully know how another person is feeling even if you have experienced a similar experience.
With those admonitions of what you should not say, you likely are wondering just what might be appropriate to say in such a situation. Spending time together and sharing memories are always appropriate. “Remember that round against ‘Johnny’ when you had that double 0 light?” or “I sure like the way your car pulls the front wheels when you launch” would be positive statements. How about something like “Maybe we could get our wives and schedule a dinner out or a movie. It would be great if we could do something together.” Here is the one that I like. “I have really enjoyed watching you race this year. If you would like to do it again next year, I would be more than happy to happy to help with any between year maintenance you might be doing over the winter. Will you call me whenever I can be of assistance?”
But don’t forget. When the ET Series is completed and the team members have been selected, there is still lots of racing to be held at Woodburn Dragstrip in 2014. The Fall Classic (Sept 13-14) and the National Dragster Challenge (Sept 28) are two races you will not want to miss. When you check the schedule, I am sure you will find many more. As a racer, you never know in advance when it is going to be your day to come out a winner. As Gene Bergstrom’s dad always said, “You’ll never win the race if you don’t enter the race.” This season is not completed and I am already getting pumped for the points race next year. However, first things first. Bring on the 2014 NHRA Northwest Division Summit ET Finals. What an honor it is to be a part of the best racing team in the nation.
Elvon Kauffman has been drag racing since 1975. He has been a NHRA Northwest Division Bracket Champion twice – first in 1978 when he defeated fellow Woodburn racer, Joe DiFillipi at Seattle International Raceway and secondly, in 1980 when he again defeated a Woodburn racer, Ron Burch at Woodburn Dragstrip. He was the first and only World Champion in Heavy Bracket, winning with his 1970 Plymouth Road Runner 4-speed at the now defunct Ontario Motor Speedway in October, 1980. Elvon’s variety of life experiences become the basis for the stories he shares in Straight Talk, a monthly column produced by Woodburn Dragstrip.