I Still Know How To Write

April 14, 2018 Leave a comment

I haven’t posted a blog in forever. Well, it seems that way. I haven’t been to a race since the Knoxville Nationals-Late Model variety-last September. For years I never missed a race at Sunset Speedway, or at I-80 Speedway when it was known as Nebraska Raceway Park. I doubt I will attend any race until the Go 50 Lucas Oil show at I-80 Speedway in late May. That, the Silver Dollar Nationals, the Prairie Dirt Classic, and Knoxville in September are the only races I have on my calendar in 2018.

To me, most other specials simply aren’t special at all. Yes, Late Models are featured at many “specials,” but to me there is nothing special about a race when 3-4-5 support classes are included. And always, every damn time, one of the support classes is the dreaded B-mods, or whatever it is they are calling this class nowadays.

I used to watch NASCAR every Sunday, but haven’t watched at all this year. Cookie cutter tracks, lack of real racing, and bland drivers make for a product I don’t find entertaining anymore. Couple that with mostly knuckle-head announcers and TV production that is beyond annoying, and I just don’t bother. I remember a few years back going to Kansas Speedway on a Friday to watch Cup practice and qualifying. It was cheap, it was fun, and for a while I wanted to repeat that visit. Now the only way I would consider that is having my grandson along.

And yes, my grandson is another reason why races are less interesting to me. That young man is way beyond important to Jane and me, and his interests are mine. He loves basketball, he really loves baseball, and he likes track and soccer, so guess what I like? Check out my Facebook page for photos of him and me at games (I know-you might not agree with my politics, but that is not all who I am).

There is a photo of Henry and me at last night’s Nebraska vs. Iowa baseball game at Haymarket Park in Lincoln. Matt and I did not go to the “special” at I-80 Speedway, but opted instead for the NU double-header. We arrived at the park at 1:00 p.m. and didn’t leave until 9:00 p.m. And yes Joe Kosiski, I would have been screaming bloody murder if I ever attended an eight hour long race show. Instead I loved every minute of our day at the ball park. Strike outs, double plays, home runs, Henry with fist bumps to his favorite players, and Herbie Husker sharing his cowboy hat with my grandson. It was great fun.

Part of my problem is I was witness to the golden days of Nebraska racing with the Late Models at Sunset Speedway. Sorry, but today’s Late Model drivers are not as good as drivers in the finals years of the legendary Omaha track. The SLMR is a good series, I won’t deny that, but no, it does not compare to the NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour. And there is certainly no weekly rivalry to compare with that of Joe Kosiski and Kyle Berck in the late 90’s.

When Matt wants to go to Park Jefferson or Corning or even I-80 Speedway for an SLMR show I go, but reluctantly. Sunset Speedway once ran three classes, now every weekly show runs five or six classes. Sunset would have 100 cars in those three classes and competition to make a feature race was stiff. Now most tracks have less than 100 cars on hand, even with multiple classes, and except for the B-mods I hate, every car is going to make the feature race. It is just not the same.

I would like to think I am still a race fan. Just last weekend I watched two nights of Sprint Car racing from Texas on Lucas Oil Racing TV. There are at least 27 more nights of racing on LORTV that I will watch this year. I intend on buying a month of DirtVision to watch World of Outlaws Sprint Cars race at places like Fairbury, Jackson, Grand Forks, and Knoxville-11 nights of racing. And I suspect I will watch more on Speed Shift TV and DirtonDirt. That will take care of any need for speed I have, and if I get bored I can turn off the PPV at any time.

I would like things to be different, but I am doubtful they will be. One kudo to I-80 Speedway though. I like their concessions far better than the concessions at Haymarket Park. The service at the ball park is atrocious. The ball park serves Pepsi products, not Coke products. The Haymarket popcorn is pre-popped Colby Ridge popcorn. I hate pre-popped popcorn and I really dislike Colby Ridge popcorn. And Haymarket concessions have NOTHING to compare with I-80’s pork tenderloin sandwich.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

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Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

February 12, 2018 Leave a comment

The nine Lucas Oil late model races in ten days served as a reminder to me that I still love dirt track racing. Every race was exciting, every race was fun to watch, and I am ready for more. I guess I will get in on the Michael Rigsby retirement fund and subscribe to the www.dirtondirt.com six night WoO/UMP racing package from Volusia Speedway Park starting tonight.

In the last few years I have become a BIG Jonathan Davenport fan. With three wins in the Georgia-Florida Speedweeks session, Superman takes a 50 point lead over Josh Richards into the month long hiatus for series. Rookie Kyle Bronson stands third in the LOLMDS standings.

Another driver I am impressed with is 17 year old Hudson O’Neal. His driving talent is obvious, but the Indiana teenager is well spoken and a good role model for young fans. He struggled at East Bay, but a second place finish at Brunswick, and a podium finish last night at Bubba Raceway Park has him in 7th place in series standings.

Watching the races at East Bay triggered some bucket list thoughts for me. I have visited the Clay By The Bay near Tampa-about 10 years ago, but if anything the racing seems better now, and I would love to spend a week where February temperatures are in the 80’s, not 20 or below.

What other bucket list items did I think of? I would love to take my son and grandson to a Golden State Warriors game-anywhere. Steph Curry is Henry’s favorite basketball player. I would also like to spend a weekend in Arizona in January watching the late models run. A few nights at Eldora Speedway in June for The Dream would be nice too. And then, the bucket list is a little whacky.

I would love to travel with Jane across Canada by rail. OK, that is not too crazy. Then, I would like to travel to Australia (Quantas Business Class) for a few weeks to watch late models and sprints there race. That one falls in the category of “win the lottery,” though.

Notice I didn’t say anything about NASCAR races. I watched hours and hours of dirt track racing on Lucas Oil Racing TV, but I have not watched a minute of NASCAR racing from Daytona. I may watch some this week as the Daytona 500 looms, but then again I may not. Not many years ago I wouldn’t miss a NASCAR TV race. In the Brian France leadership era, it has become a chore to watch these races. I would rather read a book. And now, I would rather write a book too.

My knee continues to heal. That is not to say it still doesn’t hurt, because it most definitely does. But I am winning little battles every day, and my goal remains going to the state basketball tournament in March with Matt-even if I have to use a cane.

Funny. A little racing excitement sure makes it easier to blog. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Are You Kidding Me? Lucas Oil Series Knocks Socks Off

February 10, 2018 Leave a comment

A big thank you to Lucas Oil Racing TV for their coverage of Georgia-Florida Speedweeks. The Lucas Oil late models have raced 7 of the last 8 nights, and I have watched every night. The action has simply been unbelievable. There has not been a clunker of a race. It is the best of the best dirt racers and night after night they have shown why I have been a race fan for 60 years.

I am not a big fan of time trials. If you have read my blogs often enough, you know I hate them. Hate them, except for time trials at East Bay in Tampa. Over and over and over the announcers have shouted “new fast time.” This week a tenth or two tenths of a second has meant the difference between a great starting spot, and a so-so spot on the grid. Simply amazing.

Lucas Oil announcer James Essex is simply the best, and Chris Stephan has done a good job too. Dave Argabright’s pit interviews have been spot on and for the most part, the camera coverage has been good too-when Jonathan Davenport and Josh Richards are battling for the lead, I don’t really want to be watching a 5th-6th place duel though.

I have actually been to East Bay, and after this week I would love to go again. Of course I would also like to go to Volusia and Daytona too. I just need to hit Powerball one time and that will really help me to check off bucket list items.

Josh Richards, Don O’Neal, Jimmy Owens, Earl Pearson Jr., and Scott Bloomquist-all the Lucas Oil champions since 2005 are racing full-time with the series this year. Darrell Lanigan and Tim McCreadie are past WoO champions and they are also full-time Lucas Oil drivers. Young guns like Bobby Pierce and Hudson O’Neal add to the excitement, as does Florida driver Kyle Bronson who will be running for the series Rookie of the Year title this season. What I am saying is 2018 is shaping up to be an incredible season for the Lucas Oil series. I can’t wait until they visit Nebraska in May for the Go 50 race, and in July for the Silver Dollar Nationals. I am definitely going to look at the schedule again to see if there are other Midwest events Matt and I can road trip to.

If you have not subscribed to Lucas Oil Racing TV, check it out. The live events are worth the price paid, and there are several dozen regular programs that are fun to watch too. Tonight’s East Bay late model finale will go live at 5:00 p.m. Central Time, and the series heads to Ocala and Bubba Raceway Park tomorrow for another 5:00 p.m. start time. Do yourself a favor and be there.

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. Yeah, the racing has knocked my socks off-even the compression stocking I am wearing after my knee replacement surgery.

 

 

 

It Isn’t Snowing In Florida-Or Arizona, And Knee News Too

February 5, 2018 1 comment

For as long as he has been driving and winning, I have attributed much of the success of Josh Richards to driving the Rocket house car and to racing with the WoO, to me by far the weakest of the two national circuits. Rocket is arguably the best late model chassis, crew members are the best in the business, and of course Mark Richards is a huge resource. And the best WoO races-like the Prairie Dirt Classic come when Lucas Oil series regulars are in attendance.

However, I need to give more credit to the driver. Richards did win the Lucas Oil series championship last year, and that not in the Rocket house car. And the way he has started off 2018, well, two wins in two races says it all. Well, almost all-the rest of the dirt is that a blown motor in his heat put Richards into a B Main last night, and power steering troubles before the start of that race relegated him to the 26th and final starting spot. No problem, just do the hard charger routine and win night #2 at Golden Isle Speedway in Georgia.

Tonight it is on to East Bay Raceway Park for six, yup, six straight nights of Lucas Oil late model action. If you subscribe to Lucas Oil Racing TV-and you should, racing action starts at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. They run the program quickly, and everything should be done shortly after 9:00 p.m.

Open wheel fans can tune into sprints from Volusia this week. Matt told me that all the WoO sprint car shows will be aired live this season-including the race in North Dakota. We had been talking of driving there, but a one night subscription to watch this at home is certainly a lot cheaper. He also talked about a WoO sprint show at FALS in Fairbury, Illinois. The track is wild for late models, but I think would be borderline insane for sprints. We sit on the back stretch just entering turn 3 when we go to the Prairie Dirt Classic there, and getting hit by the occasional dirt clod is cool, but I could see sprints flying out of the park there. Whoa.

Update on my knee surgery. The doctor called it a text book operation. I was up early Thursday afternoon, just hours after the surgery. I came home late Friday afternoon. I had met all the requirements to leave and I certainly preferred home to Lakeside Hospital. The old saw is that the first few weeks after surgery you will wonder why you did it, and making it through that period, you will start wondering why you didn’t do it sooner. I will attest to having plenty of pain. And I have not tried to be a hero and refuse pain pills. I have had good days and bad days-today started off bad, but see progress in little battles won. I am pushing hard on the physical therapy and intend to continue. That is the only way to get better. And I will get better.

Jane was kidding and said she hoped I got a new attitude along with my new knee. OK, maybe she wasn’t kidding. I will say they she is amazing and I am very lucky to have her. She has helped me do things I can’t do yet, and simply supports me. Thank goodness. Without her I would probably just stay in bed.

But now it is time for me to elevate my left leg and ice it. I guess that is important in getting rid of the swelling and stiffness. And I did miss blogging. I might have to try to do this more often. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Hello, It’s Me-No, Not Todd Rungren, Ron Meyer AKA Bruton

December 23, 2017 1 comment

Wow, I am doing a blog post. That hasn’t happened in quite some time. I have reasons, but if I am honest, they are just excuses. I can say I will try to do better, but being honest again, I know that isn’t so. Anyway, quality is better than quantity, right?

It is still not too late to get someone special a Christmas present, and you don’t even have to fight all the nut cases at the mall. I have three suggestions that any race fan would appreciate.

First, is a subscription to www.DirtonDirt.com. First because I just happened to do what I am saying you should, give a subscription. If you love late models, and most of you reading this blog do, this site is a must. Day after day all the information you could possibly want about the sport is on display. The articles are great, even though they don’t think I am good enough to write for them, and the videos are top quality. DOD also does PPV’s, and does them professionally-to me they do live late model races better than the networks cover NASCAR races. And often subscribers get a package deal that is better than what non-subscribers get. For example, DOD is covering all six days of the Wild West Shoot-out from Phoenix in January. Non-subscribers have to purchase the races each day, but subscribers get a package deal that saves them more than $50 off the non-subscriber package. Check out the site for more information. And yes, I am a subscriber. Actually I am to all three of these sites.

The next subscription you could give that race fan of yours is to Lucas Oil Racing TV. LORTV is going to provide live coverage of 17 nights of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, including 8 nights of racing in late January and early February from Georgia and Florida. That alone makes a subscription a great deal, but as the commercials say, “wait-there is more.” For open wheel fans-and there are a few reading this, LORTV will air one night of the Chili Bowl, and 8 nights of the Lucas Oil ASCS 360 sprint car series. 10 ARCA races will be shown live, including races from Nashville, Toledo, Elko, Madison, and Berlin-that is in Michigan, not Germany. There are 16 other live events scheduled, meaning 53 live events will be aired. AND, there are over 80 different shows covering any division of racing you can imagine. This is a great value-like DOD and Speed Shift TV.

Yes, Speed Shift TV is the other site you can subscribe to. Thanks to Speed Shift TV I watched more sprint car racing in 2017 than I ever have. And yes Speed Shift does late models, modifieds, and midgets too. The site has 23 events scheduled for January and February-starting with the Ice Bowl from Talladega, and every month has 10 or more live events.

I know some reasonably intelligent people who do not like the onset of racing coverage on the internet. I like it. I never stay home and watch an event on the computer that I would otherwise go to-OK, the Beatrice spring and fall races are ones I might attend-rather, I get to see races at tracks around the US that I would never visit otherwise. Sprint cars in Washington, modifieds in California and New Mexico, USAC sprint cars in Indiana and Pennsylvania, late models in Arizona and Mississippi, and midgets indoors in Oklahoma. I watched them all in 2017 and will again in 2018. Do these races keep me from going to weekly shows at a local track? NO. With the advent of 6 (or more) weekly classes at most tracks, I have no desire to go to weekly shows.

As far as specials Matt and I will attend in 2018, there are only three for sure-the Silver Dollar Nationals in Nebraska, the Prairie Dirt Classic in Illinois, and the Knoxville Late Model Nationals from Iowa. A USAC sprint car race-if there is one-in Nebraska is a possibility, as is a USAC midget race from Fairbury-in Nebraska, not Illinois. Matt seems to think a show from Park Jefferson and one from Junction Motor Speedway are musts for us, and I go, reluctantly. Matt also has been talking up a WoO Sprint Car race at River Cities Speedway in North Dakota. That is a far away track, but no further than FALS in Fairbury, Illinois and like the journey to FALS, all but about 75 miles are on Interstate highways. Who knows?

2018 is going to be an important year in my life. Yes, the Sunset Speedway book. Yes, my grandson’s activities-personally I which he had games every night as I would rather watch him play than watch any pro event. I don’t know if I will still be working full-time as I am now in Omaha or if I will be working part-time, temporary, or not at all. I do know that January 25th is a big day, and one I am concerned about. My left knee will be replaced that day, and I am more than a little worried. But I survived prostate cancer in 2016 and I know I will get through the knee surgery too-but keep me in your thoughts in late January.

I am not real hung up on making sure I say Merry Christmas. If someone says Merry Christmas to me I say the same to them. If they tell me Happy Holiday, that is what I say to them. No one has ever said Happy Hanukkah to me, but I am saying that now to several of my readers. Mainly just enjoy the season is what I have to offer. That, and a big thanks for stopping by.

 

Sunset Legacy

November 13, 2017 2 comments

Yes it has been a long time-yet again-since I last posted on TROTD. I could say that yet again I am unretired, but that would just be a convenient excuse. “Unretiring” just means I have another temporary gig. This one I really like though. Anyway, I do not have writer’s block either. I just haven’t had much to say. The last race I attended in person was the Friday of the Knoxville Late Model Nationals. I have watched a number of races on the computer, but none that made me really want to write.

I was in Philadelphia the weekend of November 3rd-5th, attending Book Baby’s Independent Author Conference. There is a lot more to publishing a book than putting pen to paper, and I wanted to learn more of the various steps necessary to be successful in publishing a book. And I wanted to get fired up about the Sunset Speedway book. The conference was fantastic-I definitely reached my goals, and then some.

Many people at the conference were already authors, meaning they had already published one or more books. I am still just a writer, but that will change in 2018. I am looking forward to working with many people on the Sunset book-yes, it will be a history with plenty of photos, but much of it will be in the words of former owners, drivers, crew members, officials, and fans.

I want the book to be the best ever racing book, and will work hard to make it so. There will be a book website, fundraising, get-togethers, interviews, AND hopefully items other than the book for you to purchase. We are calling the project “Sunset Legacy,” and the person who came up with the name for the Alphabet Soup Race came up with Sunset Legacy to honor the place where many of us spend many enjoyable summer Sunday nights over the years.

If you would like to be part of the Sunset Legacy, contact me at:

brutonnb@yahoo.com

I can’t guarantee that every story or photo given to me will be in the book, but those that aren’t will be on the website-OR, maybe there might even be a second book if the first one is a hit.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

How Many Sprint Car Races Can Hold My Attention, Plus NASCAR Ratings Tank

September 25, 2017 Leave a comment

Though I didn’t leave home, I watched plenty of races this weekend. I watched sprint cars from Wheatland, Missouri and two Pennsylvania tracks, and five different IMCA divisions from Beatrice, Nebraska. Yes, I did do a lot of switching around-whenever there was a break in the action at one track I clicked on another. And yes, I got enough sprint car viewing to last me for the rest of 2017.

I have watched very little NASCAR this season. I simply have not been interested. Apparently I am not the only one. The Chicagoland race-first in the NASCAR play-offs-was down 14% in viewership from 2016, and 28% from 2015. It was the lowest rated Cup race at Chicagoland since the race was first televised in 2001.

Of the 26 Cup races through Chicago, 22 have posted declines in ratings and viewership. 21 of those races were at either an all-time or decades long low.  I am not enthused about Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., or Joey Logano winning races. I once thought Kyle Busch might be someone I could cheer for, especially after his terrible Daytona wreck. He seemed a changed man, more mature being married and having a son. Now it appears the old Kyle has regained control, and that is not someone I like. I am OK with Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Jimmy Johnson, and Kevin Harvick, but not so big a fan as to bother watching. In the end, like millions of others I tune out.

Not that long ago I never missed a NASCAR race, went every Sunday night to races at Sunset Speedway and then Nebraska Raceway Park, and when the NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour or the WDRL was not too far away, I went to specials too. Now, as I said, I don’t watch NASCAR. I try to avoid weekly shows as much as possible. I still enjoy going to specials, but I admit that it is the crown jewel events like the Silver Dollar Nationals, the Prairie Dirt Classic, and the Knoxville Late Model Nationals that really capture my attention.

I am sure this trend will continue in years to come as more and more of family free time will be taken up attending activities of my grandson Henry. We haven’t taken him to any races yet, and we really haven’t even considered it much. Baseball, basketball, swim lessons, running club all are time consumers. Would I rather watch a B-Mod B-Feature or watch Henry play ball? Yeah, that is a no-brainer for sure.

I suppose NASCAR can change and once again pique my interest. Of course it seems like they try a dozen new things every year and none of them work. Dirt track promoters could actually start on time, run fewer classes, get done at a reasonable hour, but I don’t see that happening either. So big time features it will be, along with remembering what once was. Sometimes change isn’t for the better.

Thanks for stopping by.