Drove down from Atlanta last weekend to catch some asphalt racing. The weather forecast was certainly looking bleak for the central Florida area, but hey, I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, it can be raining in your front yard and sunny in your back yard.
The plan was a short 15 minute drive from the mom-in-laws house to Showtime Speedway. Had been over a year since my last visit there and I somehow got the royal treatment from Robert Yoho? Going back to February 2021…too excited to wait for Saturday night, I set the GPS for Ulmerton Rd and Friday night practice. Pulled up to the gate and waited for 10 minutes to pay and sign the pit release, no one was working the shed, so I figured there was no charge to spectate at trackside? An hour later, outside of turn 2, Yoho is speeding around in his UTV trying to find a good spot for his dog to use the restroom. After his dog took care of business, he roared up to me alongside the catch fence and asked “Where is your wristband?” I told him I was more than happy to pay but no one was working the gate? He told me to jump in the UTV and would drive me to the entrance where I could pay and sign. After doing so and expecting a scolding speech, Yoho asked a few questions instead, noticing the Georgia tag on my SUV. He tells me to jump back in the UTV and we head towards the turn 1 entrance, Yoho finds a hole among the 8 Super Late Models and bursts through to the Figure 8 track! He jumps out to fish some debris on the track apron as the race cars are still wide open for practice. The dog sits calmly next to me as I am gauging whether or not an errant race car could take us out? Luckily all went well and we headed towards the pits where I was introduced to some of the biggest stars in Florida racing, Nasse, DeCaire, Dorer, etc.
Although he may be controversial, Robert Yoho loves this sport, loves the people in the sport and is responsible for taking a dormant race track back from the government and giving it new life. He always has my business when in the area.
Back to June 4th 2022. Although it had rained a fair amount that morning, the skies were clearing and the forecast was perfect for Saturday evening, low 80’s, sunny and a nice breeze. Get the mom-in-law to Church at 4, drop her off at the house at 5 and head to Showtime! Checked my phone at a Gulf To Bay traffic light, Showtime cancelled earlier that day. Oh well, it’s a 90 minute drive, but Auburndale is running twin Super Late races! Check my phone at the next traffic light, they cancelled too? Got it pointed to 275 and East Bay Raceway, they were racing and even cut the price of admission from advertised!
I worry about the survival of all race tracks and know the closure of East Bay is inevitable. Thanks to East Bay for working hard to give everyone 1 more Saturday night of racing.