10,001. It isn’t the beginning and it sure as hell isn’t the end but that’s a pretty significant number. 10,001 is the number of this blog item next to my name in our content management system. By the numbers I have jammed up about 4.5 blog items per day every single day for six years. The truth is in the first couple of years it was more like four items a day Monday through Friday and we didn’t run content on the weekends. Now that we do and our volume is higher, I have made up for lost time. Numbers like this give me some pause and make me look around for a second. Those 10,001 stories only count fresh stuff that I have posted, nothing that has been rerun, etc. There have been many long nights staring at the ceiling, as well as many nights where the ideas were coming like lightning bolts and my fingers couldn’t keep up. In the early days lots of these items were written under some sort of duress. There were the years where I worked a real job and had to do this at night or sneak onto the CMS at my office when news broke. There was the time I was going on a cruise with my family and desperately trying to finish an obituary for Paul Candies before we cruised out of internet range.Then there are nights on the road or at airports where there’s a slice of pizza hanging out of my craw as I type like my life depended on it and the truth is that my life does depend on it, then and now.
I do not feel that it is a mistake or some happy coincidence that we have been successful here. I am not trying to sound like a jerk when I say that but if you can picture or perceive the mindset of miners tunneling through a mountain about 150 years ago than you may be able to understand what I saw my job at BangShift to be from the first days we started publishing stuff in 2008. Be it with dynamite or chipping away with picks, we were going to make it to the other side. I am not sure we’re through yet but I have some good callouses and I wake up every day with the idea that we’ll move another six inches or so. If we go more than that, awesome. If the sucker caves in on us, we’ll dig out. I am not someone who takes my “job” as a given. This is literally what I have wanted to do since I was old enough to have those thoughts and I honestly try to do it the best I can every morning when I tip the lid up on my computer. No, all 10,001 of these babies are not winners but at least 10 are and I think I am OK with that.
BangShift has been many things to me over the years. It has been a secret I kept from employers for a long time, it has been a source of immense joy, a source of marital frustration, a vehicle for sharing stories and history that I obsessed on for years, a way to vent frustrations, and a now the way I support my family. As you are reading this I am on a road trip with that family on which we’ll be visiting nearly 20 drag strips in a couple of days on the way to a family Christmas celebration that’ll involve a beer or two.
Then there’s you. I have always been as honest as I could be about who I am, the subjects I am writing on, and what my motivations are. The fact that I love tractors, trucks with top speeds in the near single digits, and bizarre stuff is something I have never made a secret of and the fact that I have found so many others who are just like me is enough to cause my eyes to well up whenever I think about it. Thanks for accepting me for who I am. My ability to shine anyone on was proven futile by my wife when I met her at the age of 15. I pretty much quit trying after that. Whether you read the site at your desk everyday or are one of the guys “preaching the gospel” all over the country, it matters not to me. You found us and you stuck with us. I cannot thank you enough and the only thing I can vow is that I’ll continue to wake up, crack my knuckles and keep cranking away as I have done since the beginning.
To our contributors, thank you. I doesn’t sound like a lot here on the page but I can’t begin to tell you how honored I am every time I get a submission (even from Nutting). You have truly become a group of friends and your work has certainly inspired others out there. To the people that send us tips on the “tip line” email, you rule. Sure, many of you are as mentally ill as I am, but you are awesome. Again, it nearly busts me up when you see something and think, “WOAH! The BangShift guys need to see this!” To our sponsors that are reading, what can I say? Several of you took a shot with us when we were literally pulling down the readership of a mental institution newsletter but your faith in us has (I truly hope) paid back in spades as we have grown in the same denominator. We do business with an awesome array of companies and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them produces parts and pieces that I would stand behind, bolt on my friend’s cars, and defend until the end. We had ample opportunity to take easy money from the wrong people over the years but we never did because you wouldn’t and we’d lose your respect. It has always been that simple.
(Almost) Lastly, the lead photo says it all to me. Those two guys are the future of BangShift. They are hilarious and frustrating. They provide criticism that is both brutally honest and hilarious. Tom learned to read partially by perusing the stories on the site. He talks nothing but cars. The kid is doomed like the rest of us were at his age. Jack’s heading rapidly down the same trail. Santa requests this year were virtually all car stuff. Not sure what’s better than that.
Rounding things up, this would have never come to pass if Freiburger had not asked me to contribute to CarJunkieTV.com way back when. As that was falling to pieces, I kept on plugging much like I keep on plugging today. I was not willing to let that guy down and I never will be. We maintain a friendship that I value and I will be forever in his debt for giving me a voice when I may not have deserved to have it. David, you said some very kind things about me in Hot Rod this year and I honestly had a ball screwing around with you on Drag Week. If there weren’t those initial CJTV blogs, there would not be 10,001 Lohnes bylines on BangShift. You claim to have the people skills of Ghengis Khan but honestly he looked like Walt Disney compared to you. KIDDING.
THANK YOU FOR READING. THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING US. THANK YOU FOR MAKING BANGSHIFT A SUCCESS AND STICK AROUND TO SEE WHAT THE FUTURE HAS FOR THIS PLACE!