Real Racing Matters


Contributing Editor
Walt Pickut

This week, the Jamestown Gazette brings you racing and the people who do it in cars.

According to Ernest Hemingway, “Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports… all the others are games.”

Unfair to baseball, football, and full contact checkers? Not when you realize what Hemingway’s three sports have in common: They all risk your life in the doing.

People have died in those other “games” but never because they intentionally skirt the very brink of death just to play—and come even closer to win.

Here is testimony from a few of the greats in motorsports:

  • To achieve anything in this game you must be prepare to dabble in the boundary of disaster, according to Sir Stirling Moss, British driver who won 212 of the more than 500 races he entered in his 14 short years of racing.
  • Parnelli Jones, an Indie 500 winner and a legendary racing team owner once said, If you’re in control, you’re not going fast enough.
  • Speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary… that’s what gets you, said Jeremy Clarkson, motorsport journalist and host of the TV hits, Top Gear and The Grand Tour in the UK.

This week, on page one of your Jamestown Gazette, readers will find an open invitation to enjoy an exhilarating, outdoor, lawn-chair version of an old-fashioned drive-in movie experience. The giant twin screens overlooking the National Comedy Center’s front plaza will take viewers for an unforgettable ride through local auto racing history.

The action-filled documentary, “TEAM: The Dick Barton Story,” is about a man who raced cars for years and won more races than anyone else ever did in his class at Stateline Speedway.

But Dick Barton won for a reason that we think should inspire everybody, driver and non-driver alike. Dick won not because he drove beyond control, but because he drove in control, in absolute mastery of his machine and the ground beneath his wheels.

Dick always pushed himself, his cars, and his team to their absolute limits. But their limits are far beyond mine and probably beyond yours, too. We’d be out of control where racing champions drive best.

And that’s where the inspiration lives for the rest of us. We all have our challenges and dreams and even the castles in the air that we dream of building. But they will never happen unless we do what great drivers like Dick Barton and the others do:

Strive toward the limits and keep pushing them farther away. Driving Hall-of-Famer Dale Earnhardt’s advice is perfect for all of life’s challenges and dream chasers:

The winner ain’t the
one with the fastest car,

it’s the one who
refuses to lose.

Enjoy the show, get to know one of our finest homegrown champions, Dick Barton who always refused to lose, and as long as you have your Jamestown Gazette in your hands right now, enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.