Keeping Things in Perspective...
It was sad to hear the news of the passing of Valley City racer Jeff Carpenter. He died on Monday unexpectedly at the age of 61.
Carpenter raced the No. 37 Wissota Midwest Modified (pictured above) weekly at Jamestown Speedway and also raced several times at Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon last year. In fact, he opened the 2019 racing season just this past Saturday at Jamestown with a pretty good-looking 37 machine.
I didn’t know Carpenter personally at all so won’t speak about him in that regard. The social media posts I saw about him said good things, particularly about his love for racing. I saw him race several times in 2018 at Sheyenne.
News like that makes you think about things in life. Racing is a passion for many of us, whether as fans, drivers or pit crew people. But in the grand scheme of life, it also has its place. Some of the things I bitch about in terns of racing or life in general don’t seem all that important when you hear of news like this. I admit I feel guilty about some of the things I fuss about, whether it is racing or whatever.
But I thought of something else here. I wonder how many racers are out there like Carpenter — drivers who maybe don’t win frequently but run in middle of the pack. They may not be the most noticeable racers out there but they are reliably there every week. At Jamestown last year he had four top 10 finishes in eight features.
I wonder if we as fans take those drivers for granted in weekly racing. They are loyal, there every week and love being a part of the sport. We focus a lot on the drivers who win or run up front and understandably so, but remember there are dozens of others who show up every week, work on their cars and spend their money to keep their cars on the track.
I suspect Jeff Carpenter was one of those drivers. In fact most of the drivers I've followed over the years would fit that category.
My sympathy to him and his family and I know the racing community in eastern North Dakota will miss him.