One Night At Norway Speedway: An Essay
Updated: May 10
The title of this piece is a bit of a lie, because over the years there have been a number of special nights I have spent at Norway Speedway. However, when I think of all the nights I have been at Norway, it is the first that still sticks out as the most special. I was around 10 years old at the time, so this puts us around the summer of 2006. It was, of course, a Friday night, the only night that I’ve ever known to be race night at the Norway Speedway. At the time, this was new knowledge to me. By this point in my life, I had been introduced to racing on the national and world level. From NASCAR to Formula 1, I was trying my best to watch it all. While I was well acquainted with those worlds, this was my first time at a local short track, up close to the action. LINK: "Car and Track" with Bud Lindemann: An Essay It was a roughly one hour drive from Escanaba to Norway, factoring in the time change from Eastern to Central, we would leave at 5 or 6, and arrive at the same time. The first hour drive to Norway, though, felt like a day. I couldn’t wait. We arrived at the track as qualifying had already begun. There are certain moments that you never forget. This was one of them. I opened the door and heard IT, the sound of a racecar, pedal down, on a qualifying run. As my parents and cousins gathered our coolers and such, the sound lured me toward the grandstand. Slowly but surely, we made our way to the main gate, our view of the track obstructed by tall green fencing. Not hidden by the fence was the roar of the engine, screaming with every run down the front straightaway.
My excitement not contained in the slightest, we finally made our way through the gates and toward the grandstand. A car, memory tells me it was a late model, screamed past us on the track that seemed to be only feet away. Specifics of that night, outside of catching a frisbee and winning a hat at intermission, really go out the window at this point. I had seemingly entered a trance, floating feet off of my seat. Well, almost. As an excitable child, I jumped up and down the whole time, my family amused by my energetic arm flailing and jumping up and down. Soon, the night would come to an end and we made the hour trip back home. Over the years, many Friday nights brought my family and I back to the Norway Speedway for racing. But as I aged, work, school, and other things began to take over the Friday night time slot that had once belonged to Norway Speedway. I knew that someday, I would return. A return that came in the Spring of 2019. After I was awarded the Dr. Charles F. Ganzert Memorial Fund, the search was on to find an internship for the upcoming summer, as the fund’s purpose is to help students alleviate the cost of said programs. Before long, the internship search had reached a dead end. That is when the idea for the Rose Racing Report was born.
As fate would have it, the first event I covered for the site was at Norway Speedway. Once again, the track served as the ground for a vital night in my life, my first as a racing journalist. Armed with my camera, notebook, pens, and laptop bag, I was ready to capture the night as best as I could, my camera batteries, on the other hand, were not. While initially disappointing, the lack of a camera was soon put to the backburner as racing got underway. Over the summer, Norway became a staple of the coverage I do for the website and I am so glad it did. There are so many great friends, new connections, and new memories that were made from May to August. The pinnacle of that summer, though, would be the B Main of the Stateline Challenge, when I had the chance to fill in for Joe Verdegan on the track PA. (Video below courtesy of Kevin Lee and Norway Speedway.)
Announcing a race at Norway Speedway was something 10 year old me could have never even imagined to be a possibility. To call the action, even for just the one race, was a dream come true. At the beginning of this piece, I said the title was a lie, and I still stand by that. The truth of the matter is any night at Norway Speedway, or any track for that matter, can be the night someone falls in love with racing. I’ve had the pleasure of having one of those nights on multiple occasions. I’m sure each week, there is a kid that experiences something similar. At least I hope there is. By Todd Rose
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