The pull is just too strong.
The arguments to pack it in are also powerful — the tug of family needs, a tightening budget, missing out on trips and special events — but McGill says the race drivers aren't missing out on life, just living another type.
"Racing is so much like life,'' says McGill, alternating between clown and philosopher. "It's such a roller coaster, but those high peaks, those moments, just like in life, those are what you live for. The night I ran through the bleachers and fell in the mud and made a jerk of myself, that one moment lasted for a split-second, but it was special.''
Local driver John McGill and other gray-bearded veterans of the dirt track circuit climb back into their cars for another season.
"It gets really frustrating a lot of times," [says Mike Ricci], "A lot of times I want to throw the towel in but it always comes around, it always bounces back to you. You think it's not but it does. You have your bad days or three or four bad weeks. The crew is not getting along, nobody is getting along, and before you know it, you are back in the winner's circle and everybody wants to work on the car again and go racing.''
Photo by Tom Bushey, Times Herald-Record.