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December 2005 - MMRA Newsletter

Note: This edition of the newsletter was written by National Tech Director Vic Johnson who asked that his letter not be edited - so here it is as he wrote it. . .

To all the MMRA members and their families I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

            This is a great time for reminiscing and celebrating our accomplishments of the past year.  It is also a time for reflecting on the coming year and deciding what we wish to strive to accomplish next year.

            Let me begin by extending a heartfelt thank you to each and every person that participated in MMRA this past year.  While we tend to focus on our touring and Grand National events, we realize that every MMRA racer that buckles up in his racecar at local MMRA races is an asset and a testimony to our sport.  Even though we do not get to see you or interact with on a personal level, your participation in our sport is welcomed and appreciated.

            On a personal note, as I have mentioned in the past, it is not my duty as the National Tech Director, to seek out and prosecute the cheaters.  They usually expose themselves.  I feel fortunate to be able to meet and greet almost all of our minicup racers in the pre tech line.  It is at that time that I get to have a little “get to know you” experience with the drivers and crew people.  While I try to put forth my best serious efforts in making sure that your equipment is in as safe working order as possible I also try to impart the importance to the kids of taking responsibility for your racecar, your self, and your actions.  It is a revelation to me the different attitudes that the kids display in the tech area.  While some are light hearted and having a good time others are serious and all business.  Both attitudes are good and neither is right or wrong.  It is a true pleasure for me but I have to keep my serious face on in an effort to relay to the kids that tech time is a time for acting responsible and taking care of business.

            I would also like to thank the President of MMRA, Pete Neimeier, for his strong ties to racing and his dedication and full time effort to make MMRA the premier organization that it is.  Quite simply, if it were not for Peter there would be no MMRA.  He is, to put it in an odd manner, the meat in this sandwich of a racing association.  While the staff and you, as members, are very important ingredients in the delightful meal, Pete is the substance that brings the whole thing together.  Pete and I have been working together since 1998.  He was gracious enough to let me hang around his pits while he won two minicup track championships in three years.  He has put up with me while he has been trying to rebuild MMRA over the last four years.  He is a racer at heart, yet he does not compete with his members on the race track because he knows that it is just not the right thing to do.  He realizes that MMRA members should be on a level playing field and even though his participation would not be biased it would be viewed as such.  Besides, with his natural driving ability it really is not fair to the other competitors.  Thanks Pete for all that you do and for putting up me and those others that give you a hard time.

            Over the past four years I have watched MMRA evolve from a local racing organization to a National sanctioning body.  Our motto “Path to Greatness” is becoming a truth among our members.  The MMRA, Driver Development Program is being recognized for what it truly does for our young racers. From the Future Stars minicup racers up to the Baby Grand Pro Division and on to other racing venues valuable life lessons are learned and driving abilities are honed by our MMRA members.

            As important as our Touring and National races are to teaching our member’s responsible racing ethics and good sportsmanship our Awards Banquet is of equal importance.  It is here that the social skills of our MMRA members are demonstrated.  After enjoying a delicious meal and partaking in congenial conversation with each other awards are presented.  It is at this time that the MMRA member gets to receive his or her award and publicly thank everyone who has helped them earn that award.  Sponsors, relatives, friends, or whoever they wish to share that moment with are mentioned during that opportunity to speak.  Public speaking, a skill I am lacking and constantly working on, is a vital part of the entire racers personal portfolio. It is an opportunity for our members to recognize each others’ success.  If you make it to the banquet, no matter where you ended up in the point standings, your participation, alone, makes you a success.  Your efforts, whether or not you deem them as successful or not at competing, are recognized in front of the entire crowd of attendees.  As one young lad alluded to his dad’s help at the last banquet in words that went something like this, “I owe it to my entire Dad for all his effort that he put into my winning and also for the times when I didn’t”, implying that his Dad was responsible for both his success and his failures. To which I will have to reply, Keep up the good work kids.  While keeping us honest, you bring out the best in us.  Yes, the banquet is one more worthwhile element in MMRA’s Driver Development Program.

            Thank you to all of our sponsors. Without them we could not survive.  MMRA’s sponsors are the best.  They help make it possible for us to present the Tour and National events for you to participate in and demonstrate your driving abilities.  The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids I, personally, hold near and dear, due to my own involvement with lung cancer.  Their participation reaped untold rewards for those that accepted the tobacco free message and proceeded with an effort to quit smoking.  You folks know who you are.  You make my participation in MMRA more enjoyable than I can put into words.  I wish you all the success in the world in your efforts to quit and if you fall off the non smoking wagon jump right back on.  I quit at least a hundred times before I was truly tobacco free. Believe me, it is worth the effort.

            I am excited about a few new things that MMRA is introducing for next year.  With our tour races being scheduled close together in two and three day events MMRA is again presenting a program of economical racing to our members. This will be less travel for the competitors and their families and more chances to accumulate more points toward the championship. This idea alone should allow the racers more track time. 

            And last but not least I wish to thank my bride of 46 years, Betty, for allowing me to play (work does not seem to be an appropriate word here) with some of the best people in the world our MMRA members and their families.

            Again, I hope each and every one of you has a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. 

Vic Johnson, MMRA National Tech Director