Staying on track at local speedway

  • Published
  • By Chad Chisholm
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Cheering fans, the sound of racing engines preparing for competition, the aroma of concession stands filling the air with the sweet flavors, souvenir stands selling racing-checkered flags and a 1/4 mile red clay-dirt track is ready for the Saturday night races to begin. These are the memories that have led Master Sgt. Paul Ording, 154th Training Squadron aircrew flight equipment NCOIC, to pursue a hobby of dirt track racing at the I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Ark.

Ording started racing in 2003 in the hobby stock class, but his interest in the sport began in his childhood. Racing was popular in Central Illinois where Ording grew up. Going to races at dirt tracks like Macon Speedway in Macon and Farmer City Raceway in Farmer City to watch his friends race on the dirt tracks helped in developing an interest in racing.

When Ording was stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base, he met other racers and had friends that raced. He began going to the race track and finally decided to start racing for a hobby.

"Racing is strictly a hobby, and most people who race in the local area do it for the love of the sport or hobby," Ording said.

After the races are complete and Ording is back with his family and co-workers, racing is often a common topic they discuss. He informs them of how the races went and what position his #81 car finished.

"His racing is a good thing because you can tell that he gets excited every time you talk to him about how his weekend went; you can tell it's a passion and a hobby," said Tech Sgt. Richard Price, a 154th Training Squadron aircrew flight equipment journeyman.

The passion and support he has for the sport of dirt track racing has benefited him in achieving his biggest personal goal within two years of racing with the Arkansas Dwarf Car Racing Association (ADCRA) at the I-30 Speedway. The highlight of Ording's racing experience in the modified lite racing class for the past two years was winning Rookie of the Year for the ADCRA and Rookie of the Year for the I-30 track in 2011 gaining the respect of his fellow drivers on the track.

"To me, one of my main goals was to earn everybody's respect. Sometimes that's tough when you're new and people are unsure how you will race," said Ording.

Other racers in Ording's racing club consider him to be a clean driver, good sport, and willing to help drivers whenever the opportunity presents itself gaining the respect and friendship of racers at the dirt track.

The time between the "B" feature and the "A" feature, the racers are busy working on and adjusting the race cars to improve their performance and to ensure the cars are drivable for the last race. The pit area is where the true sportsmanship is displayed, where the racers not only work on their personal cars, but also assist other racers that are in need of help and parts.

"The MOD Lite racing class is a club, and they look at it as a small family. I think they are as competitive as anyone, but we look out for one another and try to help each other get back on the track," said Ording.

During his four years of racing, Ording has raced at multiple dirt tracks, but he and his club currently race each week at the I-30 Speedway that has been operational for over 50 years.

The fans, I-30 Speedway staff and fellow racers appreciate the military for their service and give a lot of appreciation to Ording and other service members that race at the track. Military members and families receive a military discount of five dollars off with ID at the gate.

Donna Jones, an employ with the I-30 Speedway, said, "The I-30 Speedway in Little Rock has good competitive racing, and it is good family atmosphere."

Racing in the #81 race car may be a hobby for Ording, but he has stepped into a small group inspiriting young children and brings back memories of a more youthful past.