Craig Murto: Wishes for the new year

As we head into 2018, I wish the best for the motorsports community, locally, regionally, and nationally.

For all the local tracks, I wish good weather, large car counts, and packed grandstands. Have a profitable year. Don’t overcharge at your front gate or back gate, and don’t charge too much for concessions.

And most of all, work together. Work with other regional promoters of your type of racing so as not to schedule on top of each other. If two dirt tracks in the same region hold big-money Super Late Model events on the same night, somebody — if not both tracks — will lose. The same goes for paved tracks; don’t step on each other.

And I wish local and regional tracks would get on board with common rules. If I own a racecar, I want to be able to race on more than one track. When promoters have rules specific to their track, it can hurt car counts. After all, I’m not going to buy a boat if I’m limited to operating it in one body of water; so why would I buy a racecar I can only race at one track?

For all the racers out there, I wish success, and very little bent sheet metal. Bring your car or motorcycle (and yourself) home each week in one piece, and bring home some trophies. But most of all have fun and enjoy the people who help you along the way. Let them know you appreciate them.

For all the touring series out there, I wish you all success in 2018. I hope you have good car counts and bring the fans to the track. If on TV or offering pay-per-view Internet broadcasts, I hope your ratings are high.

Hopefully, like the tracks must do with their weekly events, racing series will be careful about competing against each other. With a finite number of cars or fans in particular regions, it can be difficult if the series don’t work together. There’s room in this sport for all of you if you manage your schedules properly. Scheduling against each other doesn’t help anybody. Let’s all thrive in 2018.

For all the racing businesses out there, I wish you prosperity and abundance. If you’re doing well, that means the sport’s doing well. And we all want to see the sport do well.

For you fans out there, I hope you’ll embrace new experiences in 2018. Visit tracks you have yet to visit, and attend different types of motorsport events than you’re used to attending. Go to South Boston for a Pro All Stars Series Super Late Model race, or go to Lincoln Speedway in Pennsylvania for a Sprint Car show. Go to Summit Point, West Virginia, for a Sports Car Club of America road race. Go to Shenandoah Speedway to see the Virginia Sprint Series on pavement. Make it a point to have new and exciting motorsport adventures in 2018.

And while you’re at it, keep the negativity to a minimum. My wish is that all those who get on social media and trash various racetracks or racing series simply stop. The content fans have nothing to complain about, but those with issues shout the loudest and attack the most on social media.

It’s sad, because if I knew nothing about the sport, I would not think there was anything good about it after reading the gripe sessions on Facebook or Twitter. Trashing racing on social media does nobody any good. I wish that those of you who mostly spew negative negativity would stop in 2018 and instead tell people what’s positive about motorsports.

My wish for the major racing series is that the racing is good and TV ratings are high. Hopefully NASCAR – a victim of the negative people on social media – will have a good season in all divisions. IndyCar, drag racing, and sports car racing will grow, hopefully, and Formula One will have a more competitive season than in 2017; maybe the move to ESPN won’t be too bad after all.

And for all of you, I wish that you find a healthy balance. Motorsports can be all-consuming; it requires a lot in order to be successful as a participant or to keep up with it as a fan. Don’t let the sport make you an absentee family member; take care of those who love you.

Now, let’s go make 2018 the best year of racing ever!

Veteran motorsports columnist Craig Murto is a Linden resident.