Not all of the action at a speedway is on the track or in the pits. There are countless support staff employees that work hard to make sure things go right, from those working in the concession stands to those that keep score of the various races.
Megan Rowe is one of the Can-Am Motorsports Park staff employees who is quite busy on race night at the LaFargeville track.
Rowe is from a family that for three generations has been involved in auto racing. Her grandfather, Howard Rowe, was co-promoter of the Watertown Fairgrounds Speedway in the 1950s. Her father, Gary Rowe, has been involved with racing for decades, including being a racing columnist for the weekly Gater Racing Photo News for more than 35 years.
I started going to the races with my father when I was 14 years-old, she said. Id go with him in the pit area when I became old enough. I met the drivers and the pit crews.
Rowe began writing for the weekly race paper when her father was away on a business trip one weekend during the season.
I asked my dad before he left on the trip if I could write his column for that week, she said. He told me, If you are going to the race, then go ahead and write the column.
She recalled how excited she was when she received her own press credentials to cover the races at Can-Am. She was 18 at the time when the editor of the Gater News talked with her father about having her write a regular column, which she did for a number of years.
Rowe is now a guidance counselor in the Gouverneur Central School district and doesnt have the time to travel to some of the big dirt races like she once did. She is limited to about one column a month now.
But she is still involved with the sport on race night. The opportunity for Rowe to run the scoring system at Can-Am came several years ago when John Wight, the owner-promoter at the time, asked her if she would like to do the job.
It is an electronic scoring system, she said. The cars go around the speedway and there is a little box that goes on the car near the right-rear tire, which is called the transponder. The transponder hits a loop under the track and when the cars go on it, then it records and scores them.
Rowe has been running the system for about 10 years. She also keeps track of the results in each race division and maintains the points for each class, as well as the handicapping system. She then sends out the results to the various media outlets who request them. She also updates Can-Ams website with the results from the races.
Rowe said she gets plenty of help from the support staff in the tower.
Rob Thackston, who is my fiancÚ, runs our one-way system, she said. He communicates with the drivers as they all have a radio in their car. When there is an accident on the track, Rob will inform them on the track where the accident occurred, so they can slow down and avoid it.
Rowe said she has two competent scorers in the tower. Brian Haggerty and Sue Burdick do the weekly scoring. Burdicks husband, Chip Burdick is the general manager of the speedway.
Rowe said she hopes she can do the weekly race night duties for many years, along with her soon-to-be husband They plan to marry next year.