“Just being a mediocre driver has never been my ambition. That's not my style”
― Michael Schumacher
This past year has been a whirlwind for my family, my career, and myself as change has brought many challenges, fears, and moments of clarity followed by extended periods of confusion and self-doubt. In August of last year I left a steady career in hopes to find what I thought would be a more family friendly career, more control over my day to day life, and a stronger family. What I ended up with was over half a year of searching to find myself, who I am, and what would truly make me happy. There were many highs as we welcomed a third child in December sandwiched between a business venture that did not get off the ground, too many applications and interviews for jobs I did not want, and accepting a job I hastily took without taking time to read the signs of it being a wrong fit. Sprinkled in all of this was a constant feeling that I was meant to do so much more in this life. I believe there are three different groups of people in this world. There are those that are just happy (or unhappy) to have a job and are working for a paycheck or are content being a stay at home parent. There are those that are your risk takers and entrepreneurs and will stop at nothing to be successful. Lastly, there are those that love what they do each and every day regardless of hours, compensation, and career growth opportunities. I used to believe that you are better off doing what you are good at and that if it happens to be what you love then that is just a bonus. I tried convincing myself of that point in my last career even though the hours weren’t what I was looking for, the job for the most part was not what I was looking for, and the growth opportunity wasn’t what I was looking for. I thought I could be happy in it because I was very good at my job, better than most if you look at the information. I have always considered myself very ambitious and in that second group of people that I mentioned prior. I have never been afraid to take a risk and go for something I desired, like I have done with ‘URFWI’, but what I have found is that you can take risks in life and be ambitious and successful without your day to day job being the defining factor of that success. Once I figured that out it all made sense to me. A person is not defined by their successful or unsuccessful career, rather success is defined by what and who is in their life and are they doing what they love each and every day. I am determined not to be mediocre in life, my focus on what I love, career, friends, family, and racing. The old quote about doing what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life still holds true in my book, I just needed to re-open it and take a look.
United Race Fans of Wisconsin 2016 and Beyond…
I think back often to why I started the United Race Fans of Wisconsin and if it is accomplishing what it was set out to do. If you read through my blogs and at our mission statement you’ll see that the purpose of our group is to support the short track industry. We accomplish this through our participation attending race tracks throughout the state. But what the real goal of ‘URFWI’ is and where my motivation to not be content or mediocre with it, is not only supporting the industry with those that are already supporting it, but to help grow the industry by getting old and new fans back to the track. Race tracks are closing every year across our state and the entire country. With online broadcasts and multiple media outlets giving updates and results at every track across the country instantly it is getting increasingly hard for these tracks to stay in business. And that is not even considering the fact that local municipalities are making it increasingly harder to stay in business due to noise and other restrictions. If I want to know what is going on at any track, go online and with a few clicks I am caught up to date on results, points, and storylines. A perfect example of this was the Slinger Speedway Super Late Model championship battle going into the final week of last season between Dennis Prunty and Steve Apel. Without attending a weekly show all of last year I knew how many features each won, what their points were at headed into the finale, what the storyline was (white and black hats), and I was even able to watch every feature on youtube to catch me up throughout the season. The question is, did I go see the race or did I stay home? I went to see the show, but as a die-hard fan, I try and make every big show possible. For me it was a can’t miss. How many fans decided to skip it? How many knew they would see the results moments after it happened, and how many fans waited for the youtube video so they wouldn’t have to leave their homes. How many have made the decision to skip a week or skipped seeing any racing throughout the season because they don’t actually have to go to the track to keep up on it.
Short track racing isn’t NASCAR.
Track and car owners and drivers depend every week on people going and sitting in the stands to pay for the costs related to the sport. It is my goal through this group to increase the number of attendees at short tracks across the state. I wanted to create a forum where the hardcore and the unconnected fan alike could come together to talk about why they love the sport. Through the forum of our website and social media outlets we would encourage each other to attract new fans to the sport as well as old fans back to it. We can connect the unconnected through becoming a member of ‘URFWI’ and having your very own member number and profile page. We can show off how great it is to be #atthetrack through twitter and facebook tags and posts without reporting any results. We can talk about why we love being a race fan and why there is no better place to be on a Thursday through Sunday night then at a racetrack.
Let's do this!
I would like to call on our 53 current members and all of our friends and followers as well as those who may read this to help us achieve our goal of a strong short track racing industry in Wisconsin. I encourage each of you to grab at least 1 old or new fan and take them to a race track in 2016. Lets talk about it too, through our social media outlets lets show who is #atthetrack! Our unique form of participation from the fans perspective will allow us to make a larger difference each and every season. I knew before I started ‘URFWI’ that I could only do so much alone. Collectively we can do so much more and I am asking for your help. Have a fun and safe 2016 race season, we will see you #atthetrack on April 17th at Dells Raceway Park for the Icebreaker!
Rich Zimpel has been attending local race tracks for the past 30 years.