Stephen Johnson, publisher & CEO
Many may have noticed the special built large tractor trailers that are used to haul race cars around the area this week and several, parked out behind the Howard Johnson’s hotel just off I-75. Perhaps I was one of the few who live here, that did not know it was Ohio Speed Week!
During Wednesday and Thursday of this week, the419 was attending the NOW Marketing Group Social Media Conference held at Howard Johnson’s. My curiosity was peaked seeing the trucks and many of the crew working on their race cars in the lots behind the hotel so, I walked over to talk to some of them. During my friendly conversation with one of the drivers, about their stay here in Lima was like a customer commercial for the hotel and how they welcomed them as guests.
Of course the draw here was to participate in Limaland races tonight (Friday). I said hello to driver Dominic Scelzi, who had his name and his sponsor clearly displayed on the side of a 53′ wheeler.
The side of the trailer that said “Fresno, California” caught my eye – they were a long way from home.
In talking with Dominic, who was a real gentlemen, and allowing me look around his truck and gear, I quickly found out he is a walking endorsement for Lima’s Howard Johnson’s hospitality.
Completely unsolicited, he mentioned their friendly customer service for race truckers and the way they were treated while staying here as being respected and valued as customers and had heard of that hospitality from others. This endorsement and appreciation of the hostility and respected for roadies was repeated with other drivers I talked with.
Dominic has been driving for five years and this was his first time out of California. He said that when the team hit the circuit they would be on the road from May until September traveling with a crew of three and along with three spare vehicles and numerous spare parts. They have already been in seven races since entering Ohio and believe the Lima stop will be the last of the circuit for the state for awhile.
They are here for Limaland and had heard compliments about the raceway and its operations. While I watched, they were repairing a second vehicle that would be in the coming Friday night race since during qualifying, they had hit the wall on turn 4 and bent jacobs ladder mount. Dominic was candid he thought hey were in the 20 points range of scoring but hoped to do better going forward as they approached the next stop, Knoxville, Iowa with a race having a $150k prize purse. With 50 cars in a race, odds are for the best and we are guessing the luckiest to survive the difficult race season and a few unforeseen speed bumps. Cheers! the419