Sometimes, I think I was born with a chip on my shoulder.
For example, I get very defensive if someone says, “Aren’t you from Kansas City, Missouri?,” instead of my glorious, sunflower growing, rock-chalking hometown of Kansas City, Kan.
This imaginary chip, along with my extremely competitive nature, often inspires and motivates me to work even harder, which is great for journalism as this is a very competitive industry. When you combine my chip and my love of competition, this makes me a very passionate person, especially when it pertains to something that I care deeply about.
The “something” this time around is Newton.
Let me be clear on this subject here. I love the fact NASCAR bought Iowa Speedway. This was a phenomenal transaction by all accords and can do nothing but good things for our community.
However, the thing that has been grinding my gears, is the lack of recognition I feel our community has been getting in this matter. I’ve been hearing how great this deal is for the Des Moines-area, Central Iowa, the state, NASCAR, the fans, but Newton? Not so much.
Iowa Speedway is in Newton. People from Newton, Iowa, work there (I love you Grandma Debb), citizens of Newton, Iowa, support speedway events year around — not just race season — Newtonians pay both local and state taxes to support it and the Newton Daily News covers the track year round.
So for those of you who don’t know, this is our speedway.
Having the big announcement in Des Moines (after it was already leaked to the press in Des Moines) was kind of a head scratcher to me. Why not make your first impression to your new community actually towards your new community?
And as a member of the media, I know for a fact that when the news is big enough, we will travel long-distances to cover an event and what’s bigger than a multi-billion dollar industry making a commitment to Newton?
If the officials, who were building the Kansas Speedway, held the big announcement in Kansas City, Missouri, do you think Kansans would have been OK with that?
Trust me, we wouldn’t have been.
The same goes for Newtonians. I think the reason I love Newton so much and fit in as well as I do here is because we are similar.
Newton is a town that has overcome a lot, (the same as me) it’s a town working on recovering from an economic downturn (same as me), Newton doesn’t take kindly to slights (same as me) and the people of Newton are passionate, hardworking, dedicated, open-hearted and very loving (same as me).
Last week, when the Daily News team gathered up and traveled to the Iowa Events Center, I purposely wore my gray Newton T-shirt with our city’s name in big, visible red-letters. This was very intentional. While we may have been in Des Moines, my message was clear: This is our day and our speedway.
On another note: My car was hit over the weekend and I want to thank the other driver for not only coming forward, but actually reporting the incident herself. None of us in the house were aware the car was hit until the police showed up. She could have easily gotten away with a hit-and-run, but did the right thing. Thank you.
There are still some pretty good people in the world and I’m glad if someone was going to hit my car, it was one of those people.