Like most people Tony Anderson, veteran dirt track driver, is trying to pass the time during the pandemic lockdown and finds himself going for a jog or solving puzzles.
But all Anderson can think about is get behind the wheel of his car, see the dirt fly, trade paint and win races.
“When I say I’m missing racing I am absolutely 100 percent sure about that,” Anderson added. “What it does for me because I race can’t be replaced by walks or workouts or Iracing to make up for what I am missing out on the track. I am sure a lot of people are out on the same boat.
“Every day I get up and try to figure out ways to get through the days in a positive manner whether I jog if the weather is nice enough or do puzzles which is really out of character for me,” Anderson said. “You are only good as your circle of people and my circle of people have been keeping a positive vibe, and I think hopefully we don’t lose any race tracks this year.”
Anderson, who has been racing since 1993, was looking forward to the opening of the Limaland Motorsports Park season tonight but the season was postponed due to the coronavirus and there is no set timetable on when the racing will resume in Lima or for many circuits across the nation.
Anderson averages 40 to 60 races a year and looks forward when he can get back to what he loves.
Max Stambaugh is one of those fellow competitors itching to get back on the track.
“I kind of understand where they are coming from but it is sad,” Stambaugh said. “Everybody wants to race but it is understandable.”
Stambaugh began in the go-karts when he was five and started running at Limaland in 2012.
Stambaugh is focusing on his work to pass the time but racing is always on his mind.
“Staying busy with work,” Stambaugh said. “I can’t say I am working on my cars because I have them all ready to go but nowhere to go. I think about it all the time. I play the video games online so with me without racing is like having withdrawal really. It is just kind of waiting for that time to get back on the track and do the thing I have been doing forever.”
Shane Dancer, also a mainstay at Limaland Motorsports Park and through out the area, said it is has been tough and wants to see things open up sooner than later. He runs Dancer Trucking out of Delphos and said it has hurt him on and off the track.
“Business wise it sucks but otherwise I haven’t changed much personally,” Dancer said. “We need to get to stay open. We need DeWine to do the right thing.”
Dancer added that he has spent more money during the down time because he keeps tinkering with his cars.
“It has given me time to do what needed done but on the other hand it has given me too much time on my hands to do things that aren’t really necessary,” Dancer said. “Good and bad. It is nice to have the weekends but unfortunately the weather hasn’t been the greatest. All in all we probably haven’t missed too many races because of the weather.”
Stambaugh remains optimistic that races will resume in June but said if they do resume without fans it will cause problems on a number of levels.
“My big worry is are the fans going to be there,” Stambaugh said. “The fans are what puts the purse up so if there is nobody in the grandstand during the races the tracks are not going to be able to keep putting us out there.
Another financial strain for racers will also come with the sponsors. While Stambaugh recently signed to race for Joe Seeling, other racers will need to vie for some sponsorship money and that might be tricky.
“It is also a conflict with the sponsors,” Anderson said. “A lot people received some sponsor money at the beginning of the year and depending on how much racing they do this year and if they get three months the sponsors get their money’s worth but if you don’t do much racing at all it is kind of hard to go back to the sponsors in 2021 and get any more money.”
Dancer echoed those sentiments and understands both sides of the sponsorship issue. On the one hand he sponsors cars but also relies on sponsors for racing as well.
“So on the sponsor side they are not getting the exposure that they are paying for because of the delayed season and each sponsor pays for so much to put their brand on the car for a certain amount of shows and during certain time periods that we sold them on to begin with for the year so when that is delayed it hurts sponsors,” Dancer said. “So are they looking to get money back or do they want to push it out and say I need it to last all the way into next season. These are things you are going to have to negotiate.”
Dancer adds that he expects sponsors to want credit into next year and that means drivers will be running on the same amount of money going into next season.
Anderson brings up how small businesses will affected.
“I think that is another branch that if we do do racing this year a lot of them may not sponsor next year because they are still trying to pick themselves off the floor,” Anderson said. “I hope things turnaround and we get some racing in this year and get a little bit of normalcy but honestly I don’t know how these race tracks are going to pull off racing with no fans. You can only sell so many videos. You lose concessions and you lose the fan money at the gate and but I think as far as the racers they will have plenty of those lined up. It is just a matter of how things are going to work out.”
Dancer, like Stambaugh, also remains confident there will be racing this year and points to the World of Outlaws in Knoxville, Iowa, to be run May 8 with no fans.
“I’m very optimistic we are going to start here shortly,” Dancer said. “The governor is holding things up but we need to get back to the track. We need to allow everybody else to be equal in business and what I mean by that is you are allowed to have a certain amount of people at Walmart or Meijer so why aren’t we allowed to have so many people at a track and race?”