By Mike Roberts
In 1995, I was working in radio and interviewing Bob Trostle. After the interview, I shook his hand and told him that he was my last interview because I was stepping away from racing. I explained that my daughter was born earlier that year and I felt it would be best if I focused raising her. I felt that stepping away from the sport would be the best thing for her.
Bob shook my hand and said, “Congratulations… I wish you the best, and if you ever do figure out how to break away, please let me know. I have been trying to quit since the early 60’s.”
As most of you already know, I never did quit. In fact, I became more involved over the years. This involvement allowed me to educate myself by working with some of the best in the business.
Two years ago, I got in my head it was time to slow down again. In fact, I really considered walking away again. About that time, Kathy Bell, a friend of mine who was more like a sister came up with an idea that we should start writing about racing again. We could do a website and maybe even print a paper. I have to admit, that did spark my interest. I realized by not doing longer interviews, I was losing touch with the drivers and teams.
Sadly, in March of 2019, Kathy passed away unexpectedly before we had the opportunity to launch the site and for the past year, I had to decide whether to run with this idea or let it go.
After nearly a year, I said what the hell. I reached out to other old friends in the reporting world as well as photographers and KnoxvilleDirtDigest.com was born. Currently Richard Day, Dave Hill and Stu McCarthy have agreed to chip in, and we are reaching out to anyone else that wants to help.
Our main focus is sprint car racing. With this in mind, we don’t want to be your normal racing website. We will have press releases and current coverage, but we will also feature stories around the history of sprint car racing and personal stories with today’s racing families.
We also don’t want more advertisement than content. I do realize we have to sell ads to survive, but I don’t want to sell so many that all you see are ads. I would rather select the amount of quality products so our partners in advertising don’t get blocked out, as well as making our content shine.
We are also adding a podcast to our site. Again, this podcast is not your everyday typical podcast. The first few shows, during the off season, will be recorded from our studio, but when the Knoxville racing season begins, the half hour show will be live each race night, from the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum.
For the racing season, our showtime will be live, 4:30-5:00. The only exceptions will be rainouts and the July 4th show. In each of these cases, the show will be recorded.
As of right now, we don’t intent to publish printed material. With this said, I also know that you never say never.
In closing, I would like to remind everyone that Bob Trostle was exactly right, and I never did leave sprint car racing. In fact, I raised my daughter around racing and now have three grandkids and the oldest is already hooked.
I am truly blessed to have such great friends and family in sprint car racing. I look forward to working and racing with all of you for many years. Who knows, maybe my grandson will take over for me someday.
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