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Ennis Daily News

It’s Ennis, not Dallas, thanks

You just couldn’t get around this weekend without tripping over a race fanatic. Even the most racing-illiterate resident of Ennis knows why.
Ennis was brimming with people who descended on our community last week. It wasn’t just the spectators in campers, buses and cars — it was the workers and accompanying officials with the National Hot Rod Association Fall Nationals, too.

The impact, as city officials told me, cannot be underestimated. The business of leaving home and spending days at a stretch in another community is one that has suffered as our economy has wearied, and Ennis definitely enjoys a boost from all of the out-of-towners filling our hotels and eating at our restaurants.

To say the Nationals are a minor event would seriously undersell how important it is to this community and to the national hot rod racing scene as a whole.

Yep, it’s good that Ennis has been the home of the Texas Motorplex and the NHRA’s Fall Nationals for more than 20 years. Good for us, for sure, and it’s good for the NHRA — the Motorplex is billed as one of the few all-concrete tracks on the circuit. It’s the kind of surface records are made on. So Ennis is a special place in that sense.

Not that the NHRA is one to recognize it.

I mean, Fall Nationals, if you look at the NHRA Web site at www.nhra.com, is in Dallas. At the Texas Motorplex. I’m sure our city officials, employees and residents are all stunned to learn they live in Dallas.

If you think our football rivalry with Waxahachie is hot, just look at this. We aren’t even being recognized as an independent city from our mammoth neighbor to the north.

The logic behind the NHRA’s choice to refer to the Motorplex as a “Dallas” track is self-evident. It’s a big name, it carries a big draw — much bigger than Ennis can hope to generate through name recognition alone. Nevermind that the track the NHRA loves to trumpet is a creation that required the zoning approval and blessings of the Ennis City Commission.

Therein lies the real irony, don’t you think? If the NHRA would call Ennis the home of the Texas Motorplex — as it should — then we’d start to get the name recognition we deserve.

People from outside the community who move here love to think of it as a diamond in the rough. It has a way of life all its own and a very special atmosphere that makes it superior to some of our larger neighbors. In that sense, Ennis is known.

But this is “knowing” on a much larger scale. Imagine the possibilities that could build on more recognition for Ennis through racing. We have this huge track and the capability to host a national racing event that is a major factor in the race for NHRA champions.
The way it looks now, Dallas is going to maintain its foothold as the “home” of the Texas Motorplex. But the NHRA needs to know they are playing with fire by ignoring Ennis, glossing over the fact we are our own city, distinct and autonomous of Dallas in a big way.

One thing I don’t want to do is to take away from the experience of the National Hot Rod Association’s Fall Nationals, which was definitely breathtaking. More on the sights and sounds of the event are available from Ennis Daily News correspondent Mike Williamson Sr., who wrote about his weekend covering the event on Page 5.

But it is important to know what’s happening in terms of our city’s presentation to the world. If you look at it solely through the lens of the NHRA’s promotions for Fall Nationals, we don’t even exist.

Nick Todaro is the editor of the Ennis Daily News and can be reached at nick@ennisdailynews.com.

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Posted by on Sep 30 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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