Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

[friday]

May 3, 2013

Kokomo Speedway

The search for how it got its ‘feel’

Kokomo — After 18 interviews, copious note-taking, endless discussions and picture browsing for a story about something bigger than its parts — i.e. Kokomo Speedway — is nearly finished. To be honest, I’d never been to Kokomo Speedway until last year. I grew up watching the Indy 500 and picking a name from a hat, but my racing knowledge ended there. But, when you fall in love with someone who fell in love with Kokomo Speedway — most likely when he was still in the womb as his mom watched his dad race — your knowledge increases, exponentially.

On Sunday, Kokomo Speedway will open its doors after hibernating beneath the snow, cold and rain and the memories that were buried under blankets of white will crop up as the cars file into the parking lot. Handshakes will be exchanged, and a reunion of everyone you haven’t seen for the past seven months will be underway — usually with a beer or three.

During my first exposure of Kokomo Speedway, I loved it. I loved the tradition of everyone nestled in the same seat they settled into decades before. I loved how people knew each other as who they were — not the version they wanted to be seen as.

There’s something unique about a place where people’s lives evolve, but there is a Sunday night window they refuse to close. If they move, they come back for it. If they have work in the morning, they stay up for it. To have a spot of permanence and tradition in an unpredictable world, is what makes Sunday night under a setting sun at Kokomo Speedway so special.

It’s hard to find out how a place like Kokomo Speedway has developed such a “feel.” How it’s become a fixture in the lives who live it each week. I’m not sure you could ever objectively — it’s something different for everyone — find where the “feel” of it came from. Some claim its rich history, others say the famous names who’ve plowed through its dirt oval. But, the one word I heard throughout every interview I conducted for Sunday’s story was: family. Not one interview ended without the mention of family. There were tie-ins to tradition, respect for the sport of racing. But, it was family that made the wheels in people’s minds spin. When I asked questions about memories, the spark was lit and the word family was the basis of the flame that ignited in the stories that were sure to follow.

The process of this story was inspiring because the people made it that way. Hearing what a place meant to them because of the lives they shared it with and seeing how it stuck with them was something that restored my faith in the balance of the planet. The fact that on the outside, they’re there to watch a race. But, on the inside, the true story is they’re there to see the people they’ve seen their whole lives, they’re there to celebrate a tradition their grandpa celebrated. It’s a tradition I loved instantly and grew to appreciate quickly; getting glimpses into why this particular place means so much to so many has made this hands-down one of my favorite stories. Thank you for letting me tell it.

[friday] editor/ Writing a story about stories

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
[friday]
  • Ziliak, Lindsey A little something about nothing So it finally happened, folks.I’m sitting here staring at a blank screen, wondering what to wow you with this week. I’ve got nothing. After writing this column for 10 months, I may have run out of interesting things to tell you.I knew this day would

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mike Gardner Laugh House owner headlining club next weekend Laugh House Kokomo’s owner and touring comedian Mike Gardner will headline a show at his club next weekend – his first time since it opened in June.Some of his fans have been asking week after week when he’ll take the stage again, he said. But for mo

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • This week's best bets 1) Best in bluegrass Two local bluegrass musicians brought in some of the country's top bluegrass bands and solo artists for a three-day festival celebrating the music genre. The festival goes tonight, Saturday and Sunday at 100 S. 9980 West, Russiav

    August 22, 2014

  • Editor's picks 1) Jesse McCartney Live See American singer, songwriter and actor Jesse McCartney perform live at Old National Centre in Indianapolis Friday night. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $35. McCartney released his first solo album, Beautiful

    August 22, 2014

  • Ziliak, Lindsey Finding the light in the dark Amidst the endless “RIP Robin Williams” messages on social media this week, I spotted two posts that stood out for all of the wrong reasons.These two callous souls said no one should honor the late actor or mourn his death because suicide is selfish.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - bluegrassfest 08 Top acts performing at Winding Creek Bluegrass Festival

    Two local bluegrass musicians are bringing some of the country’s top bluegrass bands to Howard County next weekend for three days of music, food and camping.The Winding Creek Bluegrass Festival kicks off at 2 p.m. Aug. 22 at 100 S. 9980 West, Russiaville.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • This week's best bets Taste of KokomoLoosen your belts and head out to Foster Park from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday to sample local cuisine at the annual Taste of Kokomo. Try foods like steak on a stick, fried alligator, peanut butter and jelly wings and fried green tomatoes wh

    August 15, 2014

  • Editor's Picks 1) Family-friendly comedy Professional speaker and humorist Jeanne Robertson performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Honeywell Center. She captivates audiences with her stories of friends, family and everyday situations with a hilarious twist. Whether

    August 15, 2014

  • Twelfth Night 04 KCT performing Shakespeare comedy This weekend Kokomo Civic Theatre will perform its first Shakespeare piece in 16 years.New KCT director Melody Pike is leading the way with Shakespeare’s comedy “Twelfth Night,” the ultimate battle of the sexes.There are shows at 8 p.m. tonight and S

    August 8, 2014 4 Photos

  • Ziliak, Lindsey Sorry, I don't know the answer My brain apparently thinks it has no use for useless facts. Or perhaps I am the world’s most inobservant person.Those are the only reasons I can come up with to explain away how terrible I am at trivia nights. I learned this Wednesday.My co-workers a

    August 8, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller