Updated: Dec 24, 2020
Warren, MI (Wednesday, October 21, 2020) - For many track owners, drivers, and fans 2020 has been like a bad 1980's movie that has been put on repeat and can't be shut off. A shortened season and canceled races due to this pandemic have also put a big dent in the efforts of the Michigan Automobile Racing Fan Club.
Often referred to as "the best deal in local auto racing", MARFC holds monthly member meetings at the beginning of and during the offseason that feature guest speakers from all aspects of auto racing in the state at various venues. They also have a children's Christmas party and fundraisers for their MARFC/Randall Ginter Memorial Benevolent Fund that supports injured fans or drivers at MARFC member tracks. During the racing season, the club works with local track promoters to host a free night of racing for members.
"When the shutdowns first started, we were unsure if we were going to be able to attend any races this season. We are extremely thankful for the tracks that were able to host us this year [Merritt, Owosso, Thunderbird, I-96, Crystal, Mt. Pleasant and Silver Bullet] as well as those that tried but weren't able to due to COVID-19 or weather issues," said the president of MARFC, Bill Barnhart.
A normal race season would be capped off with MARFC member track champions being honored in January at the awards banquet hosted by the club at DeCarlo's Banquet Center in Warren, MI. 2020 has been anything but normal and now the 55th Annual MARFC Awards and Dinner Dance Banquet has been canceled. The message of the cancellation on the MARFC Facebook page was disappointing but somewhat understandable.
When asked about coming to the decision to cancel the banquet, Mr. Barnhart stated, "I waited until the last possible moment, but with all of the financials and logistics that go into putting on a banquet of this size it was the right thing to do. It was heartbreaking to pull the plug on this year's edition, but we at MARFC have to do things smartly to ensure we are around for another 55 years."
When asked if there were any updates on MARFC providing awards to the drivers that did win championships this year, Bill's reply was, "Most drivers would like to be recognized in front of their peers so we could give them their awards during the banquet in 2022. The other option would be to send the plaques directly to the driver’s homes, but that comes with an added cost and unless we could get a sponsor to offset the additional expense, the club can't really afford it."
If there are any individuals or businesses reading this that would be interested in helping MARFC out, you can email Mr. Barnhart at email@example.com .
At $15 for an individual and $20 for a married couple or family (two adults and all children up to age 15), MARFC is truly a great deal and we pray that 2021 will be better for them and the entire racing community. For more details on the club and how to become a member, log on to www.marfc.org.
For more stories from around the region, be sure to log onto www.horsepowerhappenings.com. Listen to the Horsepower Happenings Podcast, with new episodes every Monday night at 9:00 pm.
Story - Chuck Darling, Horsepower Happening
Photo - Rand Thompson, Level Pebble Racing Photo