Memorial Day Races

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The Storylines are:

1.   The Origins of the holiday:

2.   The beginning of summer:

3.   The Indy 500:

4.   The Coca Cola 600:

5.   A “ROOKIE” kicks our butt:

Back in 1866, after the Civil War, people in several American towns started a tradition of setting aside one day a year to decorate the graves of our fallen soldiers.  That idea/tradition soon began to spread among the citizens.  Following General James Garfield’s speech at Arlington National Cemetery, in 1868, thousands of participants decorated the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the Cemetery.  Thus Decoration Day began! 

In 1919, after World War 1, Decoration Day observances were expanded to honor those who died in ALL American wars.  The name changed to Memorial Day and became an annual event.  In 1966 Waterloo, NY was designated as the official birthplace of Memorial Day.  For 100 years, the town had made Memorial Day an annual community-wide event during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.  In 1971 Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday of May.  www.yumasun.com

So yesterday was a day to honor those men and women who have served their country in the military.   It most importantly was a day to pay tribute to those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom with their lives!!!  It is those men and women’s sacrifices that protected the freedoms the we hold so near and dear as Americans.  So it is only right that we take one day out of the year to honor ” The Real Heros” in life!   

So if you come across a young man or woman in uniform, take a minute of your time and tell them “Thank You”!  You will most definitely make their day, after all they are the one paying the ultimate price!!!!!

THE INDY 500:

Now to talk about the races!!!  I will give you my take on the The Indy 500.  Back in 1996 Tony George, the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and grandson of Tony Hulman, decided to separate from CART and start The Indy Racing League.  For the next 12 years the open wheel racing was split and neither CART nor IRL flourished.  Tony George was determined to “kill” CART as a sanctioning body.  Since he owned The Speedway, he could easily outlast the opposition and prevail.  In February of this year CART officially died and the two sanctioning bodies “merged” and the healing process started!!  For the first time in 12 years, the stands at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway were PACKED!!!  That is good news for auto racing as a whole!!! 

The Indy 500 was not as exciting as it has been in the past.  There were 68 yellow flag laps out of 200, so there were long periods of boredom. The storylines for that race is the storylines for every Indy 500; the endurance of a 500 mile race; can the small under-funded teams compete with the Big Three( Team Penske, Target-Ganassi, and Andretti-Green); and who gets their likeness engraved on the Borg-Warner trophy!

The answers to all of those questions were answered!  There were just a few mechanical failures, Target-Ganassi prevailed, and Scott Dixon got his likeness engraved on the Borg-Warner trophy!  www.indy500.com

THE COCA COLA 600:

The legendary H.A.”Humpy” Wheeler, president of Lowes Motor Speedway, once again had an extraordinary pre-race extravaganza!!  He is true innovator and entainer in the NASCAR world. The pre-race entertainment was as much to look forward to as was the upcoming race!!   But the blockbuster news came earlier in the week when he announced his abrupt resignation from  the Bruton Smith corporation of SMI.  Humpy was the glue that held Lowes Motor Speedway together for over 30 years.  The creators and guardians of NASCAR are slowly starting to retire and leave the sport these days.  I have just one question:  WHO’S GONNA FILL THEIR SHOES?????  www.allwatrip.com

The Coca Cola 600 is the longest test of men and machine in US auto racing.  It is more that just an extra 100 miles, it is test of stamina for both the driver and the engine builder!!  In the past few years it was Jimmie Johnson who had dominated these races at Lowes.  Well all that has changed!  Last weekend Kasey Kahne won the All-Star race after being voted in by the fans.  He continued on his winning ways and took the checkered flag to win the 2008 Coca Cola 600.

It was Kasey’s 8th career victory in Cup, his first victory since 10/14/06, only the 6th driver to win both the All-Star race and the Coca Cola 600 in the same year!  Kasey only lead 66 laps, which was not the most led by driver, Kyle Busch led 85 laps.  Kasey just led the most important lap, the one at the end!!!

There were 37 lead changes among 16 diferent drivers in race.  The dominate drivers were “Kylie” Busch, aka TLVW, “The World’s Greatest Driver”, aka Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Jr., and Kasey Kahne.  www.jayski.com

I have to take time now to congratulate the winner of this segment.  This year we have a new player in our mist.  My “80 something” year aunt decided she wanted in our fantasy league.  I thought “oh boy some easy money coming our way”!!!  Well she showed these young whiper-snappers a thing or two about what she knew about NASCAR!!!!  She stayed in the money all segment long , and on the last race of the segment she surged ahead to win the segment!! Way to go Aunt Louella!!! I might have to pay attention to her picks and see how mine are compared to hers!!!!!

FINAL RESULTS:

1.  LOUELLA—–$50.00

2.  CAROLYN—–40.00

3.  LEON——–30.00 

It was a great and exciting segment!!  I am having fun with the web page and reading all your comments—please continue to have fun with this thing!!!!  I think that we now have all the info for this fantasy league at one place now.  I invite your comments, critiques, and BS!!!!!!!

 

Harold Brasington’s Dream!

Yuma Sunset 002 

What was Harold Brasington’s dream and what did it  have to do with NASCAR and Darlington, you might ask??  Well some of you NASCAR fans might already have an idea, but it is time for a little history lesson from yours truly!

It was the fall of 1949 when Harold Brasington saw more than dirt dancing around on that patch of land.  What he saw was stock cars!!!!!!!

Mr. Brasington, a local business man, had lofty ideas that most of his peers dismissed as utterly rediculous.  They laughed at him when returned from the 1933 Indy 500 and mentioned to them about building a paved superspeedway, a place to hold stock car races.  Nevertheless, believing that Bill France’s fledgling NASCAR just might be a success, Mr. Brasington set out in the fall of 1949 on a project known locally as “Harold’s Folly” to shape a 1 1/4 mile track on land that once produced peanuts and cotton.

To the chargin of family and friends, Brasington and his crew toiled for a year, Brasington himself often sat on the bulldozers and grading equipment, much the same way Bill France would do later to form the Daytona track!  Brasingston’s plan called for a true oval, but the racetrack’s design changed in order to satisify Sherman Ramsey, the landowner, who didn’t want his nearby minnow pond to be destroyed.  So the west end of the track (Turns 3 and 4) were narrowed to accomodate the fishing hole, creating Darlington’s unique egg shaped track!

The first race was scheduled for Labor Day 1950.  The grandstands held 10,000 people, but a crowd of over 25,000 showed up for the event!!  Californian Johnny Mantz drove to victory that day in the first Southern 500, which took over 6 hours to run.  It set a precedent for a sport that would grow to one of the largest spectator sports in the country.  As a side light, Mantz ran out of tires that day and began buying tires from spectators in the infield so he could finish the race!!!!!  Mantz started dead last in the field of 75!!!  Mantz set a blistering pace of 76 mph!!!!!  Mantz was the first to use “tire strategy” to win a race!!!!!!  Over the next fifty years names like Baker, Flock, Thomas, Pearson, Yarborough, Petty, and Earnhardt became a commonplace in Victory Circle!!!!!

Darlington will always be remembered as the original superspeedway and as one of the pillars of the NASCAR establishment.  No other racing facility, outside of Daytona International Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is steeped more in history and tradition than Darlington Raceway!!!!

Because of its unusual design and unique racing groove, Darlington has been given many nicknames.  The two that comes to mind are: “The Track Too Tough To Tame and The Lady In Black”.(www.darlingtonraceway.com)

So as Paul Harvey would say,”Now you know the rest of the story”! (www.paulharvey.com)

The Darlington storylines:

1. Greg Bifle sits on the pole.

2. The Darlington Stripes.

3. Lots of lead changes.

4. Dale Jr. and Kyle Busch possible fued. (www.jayski.com

5. Busch wins race.  (www.nascar.com)

6. Race results.

7. Current standings.

Now for a review of last night’s race.  Greg Bifle and Dale Jr. led the field to the green flag.  Bifle took the green and jumped into the lead with Dale Jr. in close pursuit.  Early in the race Bifle was the strong horse.  with Jr. and Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, and several others jousting for the 3-10 spots throughout the race.

Last night the Fox Commentators,( Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds, and DW (Darrell Waltrip)), kept a count of the number of “Darlington Stripes” put on cars.  The number was 24.  That means that 24 of the 43 cars had gotten into the wall at least once!  Some of those cars rubbed, banged, collided and tried to knock the wall entirely down, on numerous occasions!!!!  Kyle Busch on a couple of laps hit the wall so hard that the “old cars” of last year would not have beeen able to still race!!!!  Yet he won the race !!!!!!

In one of the early rounds of pit stops, Kyle Busch’s team had trouble with lug nuts that caused him valuable time in the pits.  That story was to repeat a couple of more times for that team, ultimately costing the team to go a lap down!  Not to worry, “THE LAS VEGAS WEASEL or WILD THING”, (call him what you want) would put on another driving clinic that would ultimately put him in front at the end of the night!!!  Love or hate him, Kyle Busch is probably the most talented driver right now on the NASCAR circuit!!!!!  He seems to always find a way to beat you!!!   That was Kyle’s 9th victory in his young career in Cup.  He became the 43rd different winner at Darlington.  Additionally, he is the youngest Darlington winner ever at 23 years and 8 days old, he beat out Terry Labonte by more that 9 months!!!(www.jayski.com)

During the closing stages of the race there was a potential possiblity for Jr. to maybe return the favor to Kylie from last weeks race.  You know when Kylie kinda drove it DEEP into the turn and got into the side of Dale Jr.’s car and put him into the fence!!  Well folks, Dale Jr. raced him clean and didn’t return the favor.  But DW, Darrell Waltrip, hinted that Lowes Motor Speedway and the All-Star race might be a more appropriate place for settling the score.  After all, it is a non-points race!!!!!!

PS Edie picked the LVW/Wild Thing/ Kylie to win.

The race results from last night were:

1. Kyle Busch

2. Carl Edwards

3. Jeff Gordon

4. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

5. David Ragan

The Points Standings:

1.  Kyle Busch

2.  Jeff Burton

3.  Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

4.  Denny Hamlin

5.  Clint Bowyer

6.  Jimmie Johnson

7.  Carl Edwards

8.  Tony Stewart

9.  Kevin Hrvick

10. Jeff Gordon

11. Greg Bifle

12. David Ragan

 

The Las Vegas Weasel!!!!

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THE STORYLINES FROM RICHMOND:

1. Virgina native Denny Hamlin wins the Nationwide race on Saturday.

2. Denny Hamlin leads 381 laps in the Sprint Cup race Saturday Night.

3. Dale Jr. leads late in the race to possibly end his 71 race win drought.

4. “The Las Vegas Weasel” crashes Jr. after a restart.

5. Clint Bowyer slips past the wreckage to win the race.

Denny Hamlin grew up in Chesterfield, VA, which is about 40 miles outside of Richmond, VA.  In fact, as little as about 4 years ago Denny Hamlin was a spectator watching this very race being ran!!!  So here we are at a track that Denny calls his “hometown track” four years later watching this young man race in the Nationwide series on Friday night. 

Even though this series is the “junior varsity or the AAA series of NASCAR”, the thought of excelling/wining in front of friends and family is every competitors dream.  As we all know, those dreams don’t always come to fruition.  Well, Friday night Denny did fulfill that dream!!!  He ran up front in the top ten all evening long.  As the checkerd flag fell Hamlin was there leading the pack to it.  What a great night for local homegrown driver! He had just won a big race in front of friends and family, as well as millions on TV. 

So Denny Hamlin returns to the track Saturady night for, what would turn out to be the begining of possibly a “fairly tale comes true” story!!!  Denny Hamlin wins the pole positon after qualifying on Friday.  So now he has already won the Nationwide Series race on Friday night, he is on the pole for the Cup race and leading “the 43 best best race care drivers in the world” down to take the green flag to start the race at Richmond.  He has to be feeling proud, excited, and somewhat nervous at at once!  The green flag drops and Denny Hamlin launchesout to a lead that lasted for 381 of the first 382 laps!!  He was THE dominate car of the race.  But a problem arises that cost him the lead.  He develops a slow leak in the right front tire and his pace has to slow.  The quandary is do you pit now or hope for a yellow flag?  Well, Denny caused his own yellow flag and NASCAR didn’t like that so he was penalized 2 laps!!  His fulfillment of a sweep of both races in front of the hometown crowd quickly diminished.

With Denny Hamlin out of the picture, that opened up the door for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had been running third for quite a while.  When the race restarted, Dale Jr. was leading the pack and looked to be on his way to breaking his 71 race winless streak!!!  The crowd of approximately 112,000 people were on their feet cheering wildly.  In years gone by, there would be a sea fo RED in the stands(red is the color of Jr’s former sponsor BUD).  But these days the sea is green and blue (green is for AMP and blue is for The National Guard his current sponsors).So the sea of green and blue was going crazy!!  It looks like the question of just when is JR going to win again was about to be answered!!!  It was after all, Richmond two years ago that he last visited the winners circle!!  All is good!!!

BUT WAIT……….the number 18, better know as “THE LAS VEGAS WEASEL”  is in his rear view mirror!!!  Jr. must know that he is destined to be put in the fence by THE WEASEL!!  Kyle is fast, Kyle is aggressive, but Kyle isn’t a very smart driver!  “THE LAS VEGAS WEASEL” will NEVER  settle for second place!  As Kyle has already demonstrated, he will at all cost, do whatever it takes to win……crash or no crash!!!!!  HOWEVER his move on Jr. only parked Jr. in the wall, Kyle still finished second!!!  I hope that Kyle had a ton of security because there were some very angry fans!!  In fact it is a good thing that this reporter wasn’t on hand, ’cause I was looking for the can opener so that I could open up that can of you know what!!!!!  Mr. Busch must not forget that there are some faster tracks coming up on the schedule!!!!  I believe that there is a saying that goes something like this.  “WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND”!!!

When the smoke had settled after Kyle stuck Jr. in the wall, Clint Bowyer had slipped past the wreckage to take the lead and win the race. 

I invite your questions, comments, insights, and/or opposing views!!!

Check out the results, the scores are tabulated!!