Just as the folks who work at Disney World sometimes need a vacation, Jim Wichert sometimes seeks refuge from golf.
"People escape life to go golf, and I get out of golf to go racing,'' Wichert said. "It's like Disney World - it's the greatest place in the world - but where do they go to vacation? It's like anything in life, you need balance.''
Wichert's interest in racing sparked at an early age, growing up just five blocks from Islip Speedway. At first he was a spectator, but eventually he found his way to the track.
Although Wichert said he knows the difference between a loft wedge and a fairway hybrid much better than a lugnut from a spark plug, he is still passionate about racing.
"I know nothing mechanically,'' he said, "I just love to race. People talk about catching golfing bug, you can catch racing bug just as easily.''
But with two stores and three young sons, Wichert finds the lighter Enduro schedule a better fit for him than a more advanced discipline.
When he does race, Wichert makes sure to spread awareness about pancreatic cancer - his mother died from the disease - with the decal of the Lustgarten Foundation on the side of his car.
Lately, that car has been toward the front of the field. Said Wichert: "I'm a 6-handicap in golf, and a solid 15-handicapper in racing. We're trying to get better every time out.''
Sounds a lot like the attitude of a novice golfer.
Note: This is the final Riverhead Raceway report of the season.