Viva Las Vegas Weekend!

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(Captain Blowdri and Clint Bowyer’s race car @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway)

Last weekend was my annual trek to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the NASCAR race weekend.  In addition to the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series races at this facility, there were two nights of lightening fast World of Outlaws Sprint Car races on the 1/2 mile clay track, located behind turn four and to the west of the NHRA drag strip on this world class racing complex, consisting of 1200 acres.

I have only missed one race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway since NASCAR started racing there in 1998.    This year the weather cooperated and was quite nice, in the mid 70’s during the daytime.  In the past, the weather was always of come concern.  The heat has been as high as in the mid 80’s one year, however in 2006, it snowed on us Friday night in our RV’s!  The weather in Las Vegas in the last of February/first of March is a crap shoot!

This year I purchased two weekend passes to the Neon Garage.  What a great idea!  The Neon Garage passes let you out into the infield.  That pass gives you access to pit road, the limited garage area, as well to an entertainment area that is really cool!

One of the many cool things about going to the NASCAR races in Vegas is the fact that the race track lies just across the street and a little NW of Nellis AFB.  During this time of the year, there is a wide a varied conglomeration of both US Air Force and NATO allies aircraft transiting to and through Nellis AFB.  But the treat of the whole weekend is watching the USAF precision flight team, known more commonly as the USAF Thunderbirds, practice and prepare for their upcoming yearly tour.

It is quite a show for all the race fans to watch on a daily basis!

For both the Nationwide race on Saturday, and the Sprint Cup race on Sunday, the dominate race car did not win the race!  Saturday “Blazingly Bad” Brad Keselowski had a sure win until he experienced a right front tire blowing out in the middle of turns 1 and 2 on the very last lap.  Luckily for him, he was able to hustle the car around to squeek in a third place finish.  On Sunday Tony Stewart was the dominating race car for most all of the race, however, some misguided pit strategy extremely late in the race relegated him to a second place finish!

There is just something magical about this place!

Check out this video! Viva Las Vegas!

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLUl8xkKSTk


I Need Presidential Help!

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The White House (photo courtesy Leon Hammack)

Dear Mr. President;

Dude, it is Monday morning on the island of Kauai.  The Martinsville NASCAR race was postponed Sunday because of rain all up and down the East Coast.  The race was scheduled for the Green Flag to fall at 12 noon EDT, 6am Hawaiian time on FOX.

Well I set my alarm for 5:50 am so that I can get up and be prepared for the beatin’ and bangin’ that ocur at this track.  Well I find the FOX affiliate channel on my hotel TV only to find that these clowns in Hawaii are not showing the race on the live feed!

Oooohhhh nnnnoooo, it is much more important to show the cackameme “Morning in Hawaii Show” on FOX.  Who gives a Rats Butt about the morning traffic on H1, or at Punch Bowl, or at the Ala Moana shopping center!  Do I care about the lack of rain on the Islands or do I need to know that the “trade winds” will be decreasing over the next few day?  Absolutely NOT!

Now FOX is showing “Live with Regis and Kelly”.  Come on are these two programs more important than a good quality redneck broadcast of NASCAR at Martinsville?? Are the programmers for real?  Who are they kidding?

This is the second time that I have had NASCAR withdrawals at this hotel!  Last summer the Kauai Marriott hotel had trouble with their satellite provider and I could not get ESPN on the TV for a race.  To say that I had a “Chapped Butt” last summer was an understatement!  Now to be forced to watch “Live with Regis and Kelly”, instead of NASCAR from Martinsville, I am now feeling the need once again for my Boudreaux’s Butt Paste!

Dude, is there any influence that you, the chick that is the Speaker of the House or that other Dude in the Senate, Harry Reid, could exert with Rupert Murdoch, owner of FOX, to get the switch flipped so that I can please see the remaining part of the NASCAR race from Martinsville?  Dude, it important to me that I am able to watch the race!  Dude, can you help me out?

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

It’s Daytona Time!

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(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)

If it is February, then it is Daytona time!

As qualifying gets under way for the 2010 Daytona 500, the thoughts of my first visit to “The Great American Race”, back in 2003, run through my head.

As I approached the Daytona International Speedway on International Blvd. on that Saturday morning  before the, then, Busch Series race, goose bumps popped up from my neck to my finger tips!  I was actually at Daytona!  The thoughts of 45 years of stock car racing history at this track was most overwhelming!  I could sense the spirits of all those stock car legends from NASCAR’s past.

Some of those legends from NASCAR’s bygone era are the likes of The Flock brothers, Buck and Buddy Baker, Coo Coo Marlin, Fireball Roberts, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Bobby and Donnie Allison, A.J. Foyt, Lee and Richard Petty, Tim “Hollywood” Richmond, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Sr., and Junior Johnson, just to name a few!  The atmosphere was, and for that matter still is, very electric!

I was finally at the Daytona International Speedway, a place where racing legends live on forever!  I was there where “The King” Richard Petty won his 200th and final victory.  I was at the  place where a President, Ronald Reagan, crowned a King, Richard Petty, after that 200th victory!  It was indeed overwhelming, but I was determined to let that moment wash all over me……for I knew that it was a special occasion.

For that Saturday Busch Series race, we purchased seats over on the back straight in the Super Stretch seats.  The seats were really pretty good for a last minute purchase, and the view of the spacious racing facilities was spectacular!

One of the highlights of this trip to Daytona, being a member of JUNIOR NATION, was when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the Busch Series race in the #8 DEI Chevy.  (After that race, Martin Truex, Jr. took over the ride and eventually won his first Series championship that year!)

The Daytona 500 on Sunday was electrically thrilling, simply put.  Although it was rain shortened, it was still the Daytona 500. It was the second Daytona 500 victory for the  DEI #15 NAPA Chevy driven by Michael Waltrip.  The victory celebration by Waltrip however was a far cry from the subdued celebration in 2001.  That year Waltrip won his first Daytona 500, it was his first “points race” victory, and his first race for Dale Earnhardt, Inc.!  2001 was also the year that his boss, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. lost his life in a last lap turn #3 crash, and the loss was extremely dramatic for the entire auto racing world!

Nevertheless, this was 2003, I was at Daytona, it was exciting, and I will remember that day forever!

So, race fans, it is February and it is definitely Daytona time.

Let’s go racin’ boys!

UNTIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Kyle Steps On His Crank!

Kyle Busch trashes the trophy after race at Nashville Superspeedway earlier in the season.

(The infamous guitar smashing event)

Following his win at Bristol, Kyle Busch went to Nashville to compete in a Champion Racing Association event at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.  Sparks started to fly WAY before the waving of the green flag for the start of the race.

Busch told a track PR representative that it was “STUPID” to incorporate his (Busch’s) pre-race press conference with that of Chase Elliott, the 14 year old son of “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” Elliott, and the 16 year old female driver, Johanna Long, who was to start on the pole for that race.

As the press conference began, Busch was asked if he regretted the smashing of the guitar that Sam Bass had custom crafted for the winner of that event at the other Nashville race track back in June.  “Nope”, replied Busch. “we had a great time and a lot of good has come of it.”

When asked another question about the guitar smashing, Kyle Busch snapped, “You have been told to ask only about the CRA (Champion Racing Association)”.  One of the Busch entourage heatedly confronted the reporter whom he called a“BLEEPING” idiot” for asking Busch about the guitar incident.  That same unidentified person made a slashing motion across his throat signaling Busch to end the exchange with reporters, which had become very heated!

One veteran TV sports reporter said that the press conference was the most heated, tension-filled press conference he had ever witnessed.

Once again ol Kylie Busch (The Las Vegas Weasel) lives up to his childish, spoiled little boy, bad loser, very arrogant, pompous, self-centered reputation!

Will he ever grow up?

AGAIN, I LOOKED IT UP SO YOU  THAT WOULDN’T HAVE TO!

2009 Daytona 500

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This week’s story lines:

1.  Matt Kenseth wins the 2009 Daytona 500:

2.  Dale Sr. will be remembered on 2/18/09:(EGR PR)

3.  Gilliland to drive the TRG #71 car for the four races:(TRG PR) 

4.  David Starr to drive the Blackjack Racing #51 at Calif:

5.  Kyle Petty not happy about merger:(st.petetimes)

6.  Rusty Wallace, Inc. considering Cup move with RCR help:   (nascar.com)

7.  DirectTV Hot Pass free:(directtv.com)

8.  Is Dale, Jr. running out of time for championship?(espn)

 

Sunday February 15th marked the 51st running of The Great American Race, better know as the Daytona500.  With a testing ban at all NASCAR sanctioned tracks, the teams did little to no testing at all this winter.  So when the haulers pulled through the tunnel prior to the Bud Shootout, about ten days ago, it was the race teams first glance at “the world center of speed” since the race in July of 2008.

The races of Speedweeks 2009 were very exciting.  The Bud Shootout had a new format for getting into the race,which put a different twist on that race.  It has become a manufacturer’s race now.  Nonetheless, it was an exciting “shootout” Kevin Harvick taking home all the marbles!

The Duel 150’s were very exciting and really action packed races with Jeff Gordon winning the first race and (TLVW) Kyle Busch winning the second duel.  Both of those races were action packed and very tight racing!

On Friday, The Camping World Truck race lit the night sky at Daytona.  It was a very action packed 250 mile race.  There was many lead changes and of course the impatient drivers making risky moves!  But that is the hallmark of this series, which serves to increase the use of the “rollbacks” and tow trucks at the track! 

On Saturday the Nationwide Series was main attraction at Daytona.  It sounds repetitive, but the Nationwide boys also put on one whale of a race.  There was lots of side-by-side racing throughout the entire pack, not just the front runners!  The final results was that Tony Stewart(The Smoker), won the race in the #80 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.  This new affiliation occurs because of  The Smoker’s new team, Stewart-Haas Racing, buys their cars and engines from Rick Hendrick.

On Sunday, under threatening skies, THE GREAT AMERICAN RACE takes center stage at Daytona.  With the threat of rain in the back of all the race teams minds, the green flag drops and the drivers strategy is that they need to race hard immediately.  The reason for that mind set is that the race may be called officially over once they complete the half way mark.  So the race pace and moves were furious and risky!! The racing was two wide, three wide, and sometimes momentarily four wide!!!  The drivers were racing every lap like it was the last one!   The drivers were really trying to get to the front by the halfway point, just in case the rains arrived. 

It reminded me of an old song by Steeler’s Wheel.  The lyrics go something like this “clowns to the left of me  jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you”!!!!!  The rains came and went intermittenly thoughoutthe race, but it finally cut loose and the race was called with Matt Kenseth in the lead and delcared the winner.

 

COMMENTARY:

This reporter, along with his sidekick Jim,  arrived at Daytona for the four action packed days of racing starting with the Duel 150’s and culminating THE GREAT AMERICAN RACE, the Daytona 500.  There is something magical about Daytona that you must experience if you are a race fan!  There are only two venues that stand head and shoulders above the rest, Indianapolis and Daytona.  Having been to both venues several times, the atmosphere is charged with electricity and a great anticipation resonates throught the grandstands prior to the races there.  However, it is this reporter’s opinion, that Daytona has now far exceeded the gala at Indy( you can thank Tony George for singel-handedly mortally wounding open wheel racing)!!!  Tony George’s arrogance played right into the hands of NASCAR and allowed them to really grow their brand starting with the 1996 season, that was the first year of the IRL/CART split!

 

P.S.   There is candle light vigil at DEI headquarters tonight to honor Dale Earnhardt, Sr.  It was eight years ago the he lost his life on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.  He was in third place behind the eventual winner Michael Waltrip , and in second was his son Dale Jr.  Both of those cars were out of his stable at Dale Earnhardt, Inc.  This repoter is reasonably sure that THE INTIMIDATOR is quite proud of the way his son has handled himself since that tragic day, February 18, 2001!!

REMEMBER, I LOOKED IT UP SO YOU WOULDN’T HAVE TO!!!

One To Go At The Line!

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THIS WEEEK’S STORY LINES:

1.   AIR FORCE LEAVES WOOD BROS. FOR GEM #10: (jayski.com)

2.   DEI-GANASSI MERGE OPERATIONS:(espn.com) (gannassiracing)(AP)

3.   BB&T SPONSOR #33 RCR CHEVY IN ’09: ( RCR pr)

4.   RED BULL TEAMS SWAP DRIVERS FOR LAST RACE: (redbullracing pr)

5.   BRIAN FRANCE’S TAKE ON SWITCH TO ESPN2 FOR FINAL MINS. OF PHX RACE: (jayski)

6.   KESELOWSKI TO RACE @ HOMESTEAD

7.   AAA SPONSORS HORNISH IN ’09: (penske racing pr)

8.   FURNITURE ROW RACING RUNS A LIMITED SCHEDULE IN ’09:(furniturerowracing)

No I haven’t completely gone off the deep end!  There really is a corelation between the NYC Naked Cowboy and NASCAR.  How can that be, you say??  Well folks, take a closer look at that picture.  He is standing all alone on the island in the middle of Times Square in New York City for everyone to see!!  He is unique and has no peers!  He is vunerable yet he journeys on with total disregard to personal security!!!  That, my friends, is just exactly what the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion is!!  He is unique, has no peers, extremely vunerable, yet he sojourns on with total disregard for his own personal safety!  And in December, he will in fact be on a stage for all to see at the NASCAR Banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria!!!

 

It is very obvious that the last man standing for this year’s Chase will be Jimmie Johnson.  He has but one race left before he marches into NASCAR history. All the #48 Lowes Chevy has to do is finish 35th or better and he has the 2008 Championship lock, stock, and barrell!!  In the 60 years of NASCAR racing there has been only one individual to win three consecutive championships in a row, that being “the Timmonsville, S.C. Tornado”, William Caleb (Cale) Yarborough.  That feat was accompolished in the period of 1976-1978 with the car owner and crew chief, Junior Johnson!

 

 

 

COMMENTARY

 

This reporter has been following many forms of racing, Indy Car, NHRA, local short tracks dirt and paved, as well as NASCAR for more than 45 years.  What the entire #48 Lowes HMS Chevy team is about to accompolish is of historic proportions!  It is a dynasty pure and simple, similar to the NY Yankees in baseball.  You might remember those days with “the Mick” Mickey Mantle (my boyhood hero), Yogi Bera, Whitey Ford, Elston Howard,”Moose” Skowron, Roger Maris, and Bobby Richardson.  The Boston Celtics with “Big” Bill Russell, Bob Cousey, K.C. Jones, and Sam Jones were equally a huge dynasty in the NBA.  These two sports franchises stand head and shoulders above all the rest in “stick and ball” sports!!  They are what legends are made from!  So observe this weekends event, soak this up, because it may not come our way again for another 30 years!!!

 

The one thing that we, as fans, learned this season was a reinteration of the old story of “The Hare and The Tortise”  Just because somebody starts off the season fast and dominates for 2/3’s of the season, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going be there in the end!!!  Ol Kyle Busch started off “smokin”hot”, but completely fell apart in the Chase!  It was bound to happen, a team just absolutely cannot dominate all 36 races in the season, PERIOD!!!  Somewhere, someplace, somehow, mistakes and bad luck will come to haunt you!!  It happened just as the Chase started for the #18 M&M’s JGR Toyota this year.  Will ol Kylie, aka TLVW, be a factor next season, you better bet on it!  That team will be better next year than they were this year, if for no other reason than “SPERIENCE”(a DWism for experience)!!!

 

This off season will be a time of great turmoil and upheaval in the garage.  It started this week with the announcement of the DEI-Ganassi “merger”.  The sponsorhip dollars are tight and the teams are feeling the pinch.  There are still rumblings in the garage of Petty and GEM looking to merge.  There are even Penske merger rumors!!!   The possibilites are truely endless!!!!

 

GOD SPEED, JIMMIE JOHNSON!

 

Stay tuned, ’cause God knows it is going to get interesting!!!!