Bob Wilber grew up aspiring to follow in his father’s baseball footsteps, and while he was able to secure a full college scholarship and later spend parts of six years in professional ball, as a player, coach, and scout, his mother’s writing, communications, and public relations skills were what eventually defined his career. After a successful and adventurous sports-marketing trek through the sports-apparel business, agency work, and professional indoor soccer, he saw his first drag race as he closed in on his 40th birthday. Little did he know that he’d go on to spend 20 consecutive years as a team manager and PR representative for Del Worsham and then Tim Wilkerson, two of the most popular Funny Car drivers on the NHRA tour. At the conclusion of the 2015 season, Bob ended his drag racing run in order to take on a longtime assignment. He is currently writing his autobiography, entitled “Bats, Balls, and Burnouts” which is due for publication late in 2016.
In the interest of fair reporting, and honesty, I’ll admit that this particular blog installment has a chance to be a bit of a rambling runaway train. Why? Because I have a lot of little things to write about, but not one big subject. That’s the way blogging works, though, and I’m quite accustomed to sitting down at my desk without a real plan. Sometimes, the plan becomes clear once the words are on the page.
What a great weekend Barbara and I had. Words like marvelous, outstanding, heartwarming, and terrific come to mind, because it was all of those things and more. It was also an honor and very humbling, but mostly it was just fantastic fun to spend a couple of days with a bunch of guys I haven’t seen in a long time. It was worth the wait.
Roughly one year ago, over the Labor Day weekend in 2015, my life changed in many ways. I was, of course, at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, working for Team Wilkerson and doing my best to keep the PR standards high while I also interacted with our sponsors and guests in my ongoing attempt to keep everyone happy and engaged. It was my seventh U.S. Nationals with Tim and the team, after 12 consecutive years with Del Worsham. Counting some earlier forays with various teams I did contract work for, it was my 23rd U.S. Nationals overall.
Somewhat unbelievably, today is September 1. Where on Earth did the summer go? Is it really time for the U.S. Nationals? Is that slight ache in the pit of my stomach a reaction to seeing school buses on the streets? Will it snow tomorrow? Can the “Infield Fly Rule” be applied if the pop-up drifts foul?
Happy Thursday Blog Day, everyone. I’m back from Brainerd and still kind of glowing about it. It was my fourth visit to a race this year, which lends further credence to the Facebook post my former colleague Lachelle Seymour wrote, which stated, “You’re failing at being retired from drag racing.” Considering I’ve visited four tracks so far and plan to be at three more before the season is over, means I’ll be at a little less than 1/3 of the races this year. And let’s remember I didn’t travel to all the races last year. I went to 15 races in 2015, and I’ll be at seven this year. Lachelle is right.