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A Great Night At America’s Home Track, A Sunday Night at Not America’s Home Track, and My Dad’s Battles

May 26, 2009 7 comments

I finally made it to a race this weekend.  Actually I spent two nights at area tracks, watching Eagle Raceway’s weekly show, and going to the Alphabet Soup Race at I-80 Speedway the next night. What is great about going to a local show is I saw more action in one feature race at Eagle than I have on every televised 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race combined. I would like to thank all of my racing friends who stopped by to ask about my dad or about how my shoulder is doing.  Your thoughts and kind words are appreciated.

 

More and more I am becoming a modified fan.  That is about a 180 degree direction change from a few years ago, but for some reason the past few seasons modifieds have simply been putting on better shows than late models.  And Saturday at Eagle the modified feature was simply the best modified feature I have ever watched.

 

Eastern Nebraska has always been blessed with a strong group of IMCA modifieds, but local drivers had Eagle or Beatrice to choose from on Saturday evenings.  When Beatrice switched to racing on Friday evenings, the cream of the modified crop found Eagle for a Saturday night home.  Former IMCA National Champion Johnny Saathoff is the current points leader at Eagle. Dylan Smith, an outstanding young talent, is second in points.  Always tough Jordan Grabouski of Beatrice is third, and Chris Alcorn, IMCA national runner up in 2007 and 2008 is fourth in points standings. Other top drivers that chew up the Eagle dirt include Dave Trauernicht, Clint Homan, Rik Gropp, Sean Burkland, Bob Zoubek, Stacey Wilhelm, and Doug Deterding.  IMCA Supernationals would be proud to have a starting field made up of Eagle racers.  Even bringing you’re A game is no guarantee of a top five or top ten finish at America’s Home Track.  If you love mods, make a pilgrimage to the 1/3rd mile track 10 miles east of Lincoln. Oh, and thanks to Rick Bradley for the long overdue t-shirt.

 

As always, rain played a big part in the annual Alphabet Soup race at I-80 Speedway.  Showers hit the track just as the first set of late model hot laps began.  Races that were scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. were set back several hours.  Why in God’s name it took so long to get the big tire modifieds and late models on the track to roll it in, I have no clue.  They finally did leave the pits to pack, and once they did, the track was race ready in minutes.  Sorry, this should have been done an hour earlier.

 

Sixty three late models from the WDRL, NCRA, and MLRA tours competed.  Once the races began it was easy to see that stars John Anderson and Kyle Berck were going to be tough to beat. Of course Kelley Boen is a danger at any track he runs.  Danger to win, danger to wreck a lot of other driver’s equipment.  Boen may be Mr. Excitement to some, but to me he is a driver who totally disrespects other competitors and does not care how he gets to the front, even if it means running over other cars, and costing drivers hundreds and hundreds of dollars in repairs. Jimmy Buffet may have Parrot Heads, the Grateful Dead has Dead Heads, but fans of the 07 driver most definitely are Boen Heads.

 

Sunday was not Boen’s night. He needed an NCRA provisional to make the feature, and an early lap wreck sent him to the pits.  A case of what goes around comes around.  Too much racing was top side follow the leader, but once the leaders got into traffic, there were great battles between Chad Simpson, Anderson, and Berck.  A flat tire sent Simpson to the pits with only a handful of laps remaining, and Anderson took the checkered flag, closely followed by Berck. Denny Eckrich used a WDRL provisional to get into the race, and advance over 20 positions to finish in the top five, a great run for the Cosgrove, Iowa driver.

 

For me, the best part of Sunday was visits with members of the Sunset Mafia, and sitting with almost all of the Sunday Night Irregulars, even Texas troublemaker Sprint 93 and honorary member rstar, who got me in trouble for supposedly dissing a certain song played at most sporting events, something that I did not do at all, and neither did any of the other irregulars.  This led to words between me and someone I have had words with before.  This person was a !@#$% then and he remains a !@#$% today.  Rick Bradley was missing in action-AWOL, while Don from Lincoln was at home recovering from lung surgery.  He did send his brother Charlie, a Kentuckian who is also an honorary Irregular.

 

Yes, I will probably go back to this track again.  For years I never missed a race there, but now only go to an occasional special.  There is just not a lot of late model racing in this area anymore, and I don’t want to miss out on any of it. 

 

I wasn’t going to do this, but I got myself wound up, so:

 

Call me a relic, call me what you will,

Say I’m old-fashioned, say I’m over the hill.

Blue, I-80’s Ali G wannabe ain’t got no soul,

When he says “go fast boys” I want to spew in the closest toilet bowl.

 

The cars are the show, the cars are the show, the cars are the show.  Don’t knock announcers or pit reporters off the air while they are providing information. And learn what the hell is going on during the races.  Some of those around me think Blue should be shot, but I say either he learns racing, or pull the plug on him. Inciting drunks to yell is not a talent.

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Below is a post on one of my other blogs about my dad.

 

There Is Nothing Easy In My Dad’s Battle To Survive

 

It appears nothing is going to come easy in my father’s battle to survive.  After seeing a fever that spiked at 106.4 and blood pressure that dropped to a critically low reading on Tuesday, I thought the worst was over, and we would say gradual day to day progress.  Actually, we did Wednesday-Saturday.

 

On Sunday my wife and I arrived early so my mother could attend church.  We immediately noticed a change in my dad.  He was totally unresponsive to our voices, and simply did not open his eyes at all.  The ICU nurse stated that doctors were afraid he might have suffered a stroke, and that all that had happened to him this week might have been an indicator a stroke was on the horizon.

 

I really do not know how I kept my composure on hearing of his latest possible malady.  To go through all he had been through, to fight and fight and fight to survive, and then for him to have possibly suffered a stroke seemed like a cruel joke. Where was his guardian angel that so many people felt he was blessed with?

 

Doctors ordered a CT scan, but things seem to move slowly in a hospital on weekends.  It was several hours before he was wheeled to radiology.  I watched from the ICU waiting room to see when they brought him back, and we waited for a half hour so nurses could hook him to the myriad of wires and tubes that are connected to dad.

 

When we finally went to his room, we were in for a shock.  There he was with eyes open, and once again he was responsive to our voices.  I have no idea what happened.  Maybe the movement from the ICU to radiology and back to ICU jump started him.  Maybe his guardian angel had been on a long coffee break and finally returned.  Whatever happened, he was like he had been the past few days.

 

When we arrived at the hospital today he was again alert and his eyes tracked movement of people in the room.  The TV was on in his room, and from time to time he watched a little of whatever was on.  Doctors are talking of removing him from the ventilator permanently tomorrow, and to see how well he could breathe on his own, they decided to take him off the ventilator for four hours this afternoon.  He had no difficulty at all breathing, a very good sign.

 

I guess progress is measured in tiny steps, and sometimes dad has taken a giant step backward.  He continues to fight, and refuses to lose to any problem that arises.  This week has been an amazing roller coaster ride, but I never have like roller coasters.  A nice smooth flight in the coming week would be fine with me.

 

Thanks to all of you who have prayed for my dad and expressed such kind thoughts.  Your prayers and thoughts really helped when my family has struggled with all the health problems my dad has faced.

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I Almost Lost My Dad Yesterday

May 21, 2009 8 comments

No, I am not writing about NASCAR, nor any of its heroes.  Not Tony Stewart, not Jeff Gordon, not Kyle Busch.  I am not going to bad mouth NASCAR Sprint Cup TV ratings.  I am not even writing about wanting to go to a race, though I am really hoping to this weekend. Instead,  I am still writing about my father and his amazing will to live.  Right now his struggle is what my family’s universe revolves around.  The past week has been terrible and miraculous.  I am thankful and exhausted.  I am grateful to many, but wish his ordeal was over-mostly for him, but a little selfishness on my part too.

 

My dad’s physical strength has been shining brightly this past week, even though for months I have felt that he was getting more and more frail-is frailer a word? At not quite 85 years old, to withstand two surgeries totaling 23 hours in two days shows a great physical strength, and also that he has a tremendous inner strength as well.  His recovery has been no cake walk either.

 

Though his surgery was last Wednesday and Thursday, yesterday was the first day his eyes were open for more than a few seconds.  He seemed to be focusing more and though I haven’t been to Omaha to visit him yet, I understand today has been his best day since the surgeries, and Dr. Foster, the oncologist, is quite pleased with his progress. I am thrilled, but I have to tell you more about yesterday, because we almost lost him yesterday.

 

My mom called me at work shortly after 8:00 a.m.  She had just talked with his ICU nurse and he was running a fever of 104.  Although the hospital had run a number of cultures during the night, there was nothing to pinpoint an infection.  They were giving him a wide variety of antibiotics, hoping one would work.  I called Jane and told her we needed to go to Omaha right away, whether than wait until afternoon as we had planned.

 

By the time we arrived, dad’s temperature had climbed to 106.4.  The nurse was hooking up an ice blanket to put over him.  Jane told me I shouldn’t watch the temp reading on the ice blanket machine, but I was literally willing it with every ounce of energy I had just to drop .1 degrees.  It seemed like it took forever, but finally his temp was 106.3, then 106.2.

 

My son Matt came in to see his grandpa, and started talking with my dad.  Maybe the blanket would have started working around then anyway, but when Matt came in, dad’s temperature drop was dramatic.  His temperature dropped almost two degrees in the 45 minutes Matt was able to visit before going back to work.

 

The ICU nurse brought in a second ice blanket, and this blanket was placed under dad.  Another nurse brought in several bags of ice to put under his arms.  His temperature was steadily dropping, but so was his blood pressure.  I don’t think one situation had anything to do with the other event just they were happening at the same time.

 

Early in the afternoon my dad’s blood pressure dropped to dangerous levels, with a reading of 60/29 showing once.  I was truly afraid he was going to just slip away.  Several of you have emailed me telling me you believe dad has a guardian angel watching over him, and I think you are right.  I guess his guardian took a long break yesterday, or maybe he wanted us to appreciate again just how important my dad is to us.  His team of surgeons talked, and prescribed a med that squeezed his hear muscle, and helped to get his blood pressure back to more normal readings.

 

Late in the afternoon he was finally stable, and ICU personnel took him to radiology for a CT scan.  When he returned from that another technician did an ultrasound.  And totally blowing my mind, my dad was awake, and if nothing else, he seemed to be giving a look that he was plenty irritated.  He stayed awake for longer than he had since his surgery.

 

Today they are doing a minor procedure on what the doctors call his “flap.”  They transplanted a muscle from his back to replace all what had been removed from his head, and it is my understanding this is the flap.  I truly hope the procedure is “minor.”  I needed to work today, and have been able to get something accomplished, as well as write this.  Jane and I are leaving at 3:00 p.m. to visit him.

 

Dad’s guardian angel is back after taking that day long break yesterday, and must be feeling a little embarrassed by all that happened, since dad is doing so good today.  We have been taking things a day at a time, and hopefully yesterday was the last of the worst, and the beginning of things getting better for my dad.

 

I have been truly amazed and feel blessed by the outpouring of prayers and thoughts from so many people, some I barely know.  Maybe 9,000,000 people Twitter, but I know I have the best followers of anyone.  People from around the world have been praying for my dad, and to say I am touched doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings.  I will be forever grateful, because I know your prayers helped my dad survive.

 

Your prayers, three great doctors, and an amazing staff at Creighton Medical Center have helped him through his illness.  The ICU nurses have asked everyday to take care of my dad-I don’t know how a semi-comatose 84 year old man can be charismatic, but the nurses felt something, and they have been nursing him in an almost unbelievable fashion.  Rich was his nurse over the weekend, and did an amazing job, and I have to mention Elizabeth his nurse yesterday.  From the beginning of her shift at 6:00 a.m. until after 6:00 p.m. when her shift ended, she was constantly busy with my dad.  I know health care gets a lot of bad PR, but if everyone was like the people who have treated my dad, America would once again be known for the best health care in the world.

 

This isn’t my first go round sitting in hospital waiting rooms.  Jane’s parents both died over 20 years ago, and both were hospitalized for some time before their deaths.  It is depressing watching a loved one in such a state and it is terribly frustrating because all you can do is be there. Yesterday Jane broke down as my dad’s blood pressure dropped to critical levels.  I know she did not want to experience with my dad what she went through with he parents, but she truly loves my dad too.  Years ago my grandma said “Ronnie sure got a good one,” describing Jane, and she was right.

 

Anyway, about hospital waiting rooms-for over 30 years my dad boned Cure 81 hams for Hormel.  It was a tough, dangerous job.  I would rather do that for years than sit in a hospital waiting room for a day.  After sitting for 8-10-12-14 hours, my wife and I have left totally exhausted, spent physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.  I haven’t been driving much since my arm is in a sling, but several times I have needed to take off the sling and drive home because Jane was even more wiped out than me. It is hard to unwind after spending a day at the hospital, and it is difficult to sleep too-plus I am still sleeping in a recliner because of my shoulder surgery, and getting a few hours of sleep is all I can muster.

 

I can handle all the aches and pains and emotion swings that go with this process.  All I care about is having Hank back with us again. 

 

Thanks for stopping by.

My Mid-May Miracle

May 18, 2009 8 comments

Below is a post from my Ron Speaks Out blog.  It talks about my week as my family waited during my dad’s cancer surgery, and after the surgery.  I didn’t go to the races again this week.  My shoulder felt well enough to go, but I was wiped out.  I guess that comes from about 40 hours spent in a surgery waiting room.  Even though the Creighton Medical Center provided fantastic treatment, waiting in a hospital waiting room is a tiring ordeal.  I will say one thing about this waiting room.  Among the many magazines I could read, there were copies of Circle Track magazine.  I can’t remember ever seeing another racing magazine in a hospital waiting room.

 

The week has been a blur.  I haven’t been keeping track of hours of daylight or hours of night.  I have been measuring time in traveling to and from the hospital in Omaha, and hours spent in the waiting room at the Creighton Medical Center.  It has been a terrible week, and it has been a miraculous week.

 

My 84 year old father was to undergo a 12-14 hour surgical procedure to remove a cancerous tumor from his head-it hadn’t reached his brain yet-and the periphery work involved with removing the tumor.  Now the word periphery doesn’t sound right, because those procedures took far longer than the removal of the tumor.

 

Dad had a team of world class surgeons, and I quickly learned that his treatment at Creighton was nothing short of superb.  He was wheeled into the operating room around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, and every half hour a nurse kept us informed of any developments.  There were some complications in removing his tumor, and that 4-6 hour procedure turned into an 11 hour ordeal on Wednesday.  The plastic surgeon could have finished his portion of the surgery, but it would have meant keeping my dad under anesthesia for almost 20 hours, and he decided instead to finish the surgery on Thursday.

 

After a long Wednesday we were back at the hospital before 8:00 a.m. on Thursday.  His surgery began at 8:30 a.m., and again we were kept informed of progress every half hour.  Again the surgery took longer than expected.  It was not until 8:30 p.m. that dad was taken from the operating room to the intensive care unit.

 

For the surgeons, my dad’s procedure was something new.  84 year old men simply do not undergo surgery like this.  Although the doctors had everything well planned, there were several moments that required improvising and challenged their experience and talent. Fortunately they were up to the task.

 

With 23 hours of surgery in less than 36 hours, my dad needed every ounce of skill the surgeons possessed to merely survive his surgery.  He needed more than that though-he needed prayer, and he got it over and over, not just from family and friends and local church members, but from people around the world.  I mentioned my dad’s surgery on Twitter and the response was amazing.  Dozens of followers took notice and asked God to watch over Hank Meyer.  He answered their prayers.  My wife Jane said on Thursday that she truly believed my dad would not have survived this dangerous procedure without the prayers of so many, and I think she is right.  I thank each of you who said a prayer for him.  I will be forever grateful for your kind gesture.

 

The past three days have been almost as tough as waiting during the surgery.  Dad has been in the ICU the entire time, and the surgeons felt that they needed to slowly wake up my dad.  He did not wake up Friday, and on Saturday the only hint that he might be hearing us as we talked was an occasional movement of one of his feet.

 

This morning he blinked several times as we visited him in the ICU, but it wasn’t until this afternoon that he opened his eyes and kept them open for awhile.  He will gradually return to consciousness, and hopefully be out of the ICU in a few days. He still has a long hospital stay ahead of him, and his recovery will take quite some time.  I do believe he will recover and be able to do some of the things he did up until the last six months when his life was full of chemotherapy and surgery.

 

As I said, this has been a terrible week for us, but it is a miracle that my dad is still with us, and we are thankful for our miracle.  I know my dad’s surgery was far worse than spending hours and hours and hours in the surgery waiting room, but I hope I do not have to go through this again anytime soon.  Waiting room chairs certainly didn’t help my aching shoulder any, and neither did missing a rehab session, but watching my dad wake a little this afternoon was worth all the ache and stiffness I feel right now. I’m ready for a nap in my temporary bed/recliner though.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

I watch a NASCAR marathon as my son goes to Eagle without me.

May 10, 2009 3 comments

I am not sure exactly how to describe last night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Southern 500 from Darlington, SC.  I am pleased that NASCAR opted to visit one its old-time venues, though the Southern 500 should be ran on the Labor Day weekend.  I am not pleased on how long the race took, finishing near midnight on the east coast.  I am happy that Mark Martin won the race, but not so happy the race had a record number of cautions.  I was pleased that Jeff Gordon continued on a roll with another top five finish, and was not surprised that Dale Earnhardt Jr. had another pit miscue, though he did manage to find his pit each stop. 

 

The race was truly a marathon.  If NASCAR wants to run a Darlington race in May, it flaunts tradition anyway, so forget the Southern 500, and make it the Pepsi/Mountain Dew/Dr. Pepper/Coca Cola 400.  I bark at dirt tracks for shows that run too long, and this race was way too long.  One hundred fewer miles would help keep everyone’s attention.  Again, I doubt this will happen.  Fox needs to sell more commercials and the track needs to sell more watered down beer and cold hot dogs.

 

Being over 50, I really enjoy seeing 50 year old Mark Martin leading the so-called young guns to the checkered flag.  After a terrible start to the season, Martin has put together a string of good finishes that include two wins, and is now in the top twelve where he needs to be to have a shot at the championship.  Believe me this is such a feel good story that NASCAR would be thrilled to see Martin take home the big trophy in New York in December.

 

Hopefully this will be my last stay at home weekend.  At least stay at home because my shoulder is still sore from my surgery.  I would love to make visits to US 30, Butler County, and Eagle this month.  And of course I will be making the short drive to I-80 Speedway for the Alphabet Soup Race during Memorial Day weekend.  Crossing my fingers, toes, and eyes didn’t help this weekend, and my prayers are all going to my dad for his upcoming surgery, so I guess I will just send positive vibes to my shoulder as I sleep in my recliner for another week.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

My Weekend Plans Are rotator CUFFED Again.

May 9, 2009 5 comments

After being cooped up at home for three weeks I planned on doing my own version of a double-header today.  This afternoon Matt and I would take in a Nebraska baseball game at Haymarket Park, and tonight we would venture to Eagle Raceway for the track’s second show of the season.  My wife was against the idea, but I had the backing of my physical therapist, so I was ready to argue with Jane.

 

Then came a trip into Omaha to see my dad in the hospital, and I changed my mind completely.  I don’t know if it was bouncing around as I rode to the Creighton Medical Center and back to Fremont, sitting at the hospital for three hours, or maybe both along with a particularly tough rehab session in the morning, but by the time Jane and I got home my arm was really sore. If it was that sore from riding 60 miles and sitting a few hours, I wondered how sore it would be riding 110 miles and sitting about 10 hours.  So, I am staying home one more weekend and hoping the arm will feel good enough to try my double-header next Saturday. I’ll probably watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup series race from Darlington, doing my part to keep TV ratings from falling even more than they already will.

 

For those of you wondering about my dad, he was supposed to have a 12-14 hour surgery last Wednesday to remove a brain tumor.  A cancer surgeon, a neurosurgeon, and a plastic surgeon were all part of the surgery team.  On Tuesday the doctors decided to postpone the surgery until next Wednesday, and do several biopsies and graft a vein from his leg to one in his neck last Wednesday.  The procedures were only supposed to take 2 hours, but ended up taking 8 hours.  Dad is 84 years old, so that may be part of the reason the procedure took so long. 

 

Anyway, I hope you will keep my family in your thoughts and prayers this coming week.  My dad is very positive about his surgery, and the surgeons are all positive too, so hopefully we will finally get his problems taken care of.  And hopefully my aches and pains will just be aches and I can go racing next Saturday.

 

During my dad’s ordeal I have been reminded once more how important friends are.  I greatly appreciate all of my followers, and I promise I will continue to entertain and inform you to the best of my ability.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sprint Cup Ratings Down, While Prelude To Dream Expected To Be Another Record Setter

My son Matt came through for me twice this week.  I am not sure he meant to as he likes to laugh at my shoulder predicament, but he provided me with two news items that seem to fit well with my blog, and I don’t have to do a lot of arm in a sling typing.

 

First, is once again NASCAR TV ratings are down double digits this week.  I will be more surprised when Matt sends me this weekly notice and it says the ratings aren’t down double digits.  I think like with most NASCAR Sprint Cup promoters Fox thought the show was the equivalent of having their own US mint, and like the promoters the network is struggling now that it actually has to work for good ratings.

 

Fox may have defeated other Saturday night offerings, but there isn’t exactly a lot of quality programming on network TV on Saturday evenings.  Plus NBA play-offs on a cable network beat the NASCAR race and that is mind boggling to me. 
 
Another Sub-4.0 Overnight For NASCAR On FOX

For the second time this season, overnight ratings for NASCAR on FOX slipped below a 4.0.

The Russ Friedman 400 drew a 3.7/7 overnight rating on FOX Saturday night, down 12% from a 4.2/8 last year, and the second-lowest overnight rating for a NASCAR race on FOX this season — ahead of only a record-low 3.3 overnight for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 two weeks ago.

So far this season, two Saturday night NASCAR races have averaged a 3.5 overnight rating on FOX, 31% lower than the 5.1 average for eight Sunday races.

The 3.7 overnight is the lowest for the Russ Friedman 400 since it moved to broadcast in ’07.

Amazingly, all ten NASCAR races on FOX have seen a double-digit decline in overnight ratings this season.

 

The other racing news item Matt sent me relates to the HBO PPV of The Prelude To The Dream.  I realize this is not a NASCAR sanctioned event, but with so many Sprint Cup Series stars racing in this event, I have been calling it the best NASCAR race of the year. This is one event I heartily endorse, and not just because proceeds go to charity.  There is no riding around the track for hundreds of laps.  You snooze, you lose-which may be why Dale Earnhardt Jr. never races this event.  My only complaint about the event is that I wish Eldora Speedway owner Tony Stewart would use his clout to turn the PPV into a package deal-say $30 for the Prelude and for an additional $10 you could also get The Dream on Saturday night. 

 

From Eldora Speedway:
 

CALL TO DUTY

New Mission for Fifth Annual Prelude to the Dream

Stewart, Newman, Busch, Gordon, Johnson, Edwards, Harvick and More Return to the Dirt
at Eldora Speedway to Benefit Four Military-Themed Charities

Wednesday, June 3 Live on HBO Pay-Per-View

TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 24, 2009) – On Wednesday, June 3, the Field of Dreams that is Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio will once again play host to the Prelude to the Dream. The all-star dirt Late Model race featuring 25 world renowned drivers as they battle for dirt supremacy will be presented live to the entire nation on HBO Pay-Per-View, with proceeds from the telecast going to support four military-themed charities:
 
· Wounded Warrior Project: www.WoundedWarriorProject.org
· Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund: www.FallenHeroesFund.org
· Operation Homefront: www.OperationHomefront.net
· Fisher House: www.FisherHouse.org
 
The fifth annual event will feature such racing icons as Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and more. All will pilot 2,300-pound dirt Late Model stock cars capable of putting out over 800 horsepower.
 
The live, commercial-free broadcast will begin at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT), with an immediate replay and subsequent replays throughout the week and the following weekend. HBO Pay-Per-View’s racing telecast has a suggested retail price of $24.95 and is available to more than 71 million pay-per-view homes. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming in the pay-per-view industry. Ordering information and up-to-the minute racing information is available at www.hbo.com.
 
“The Prelude to the Dream just keeps getting bigger every year,” said Stewart, a multi-time racing champion and proud owner of Eldora Speedway. “Since HBO Pay-Per-View began televising the Prelude in 2007, we’ve been able to help a lot of deserving charities, specifically Victory Junction Gang Camp.
 
“But in light of what’s going on in our world today – with our troops engaged in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places around the world – we felt it was time to do something for those who came back from serving their country with severe injuries, and for those families whose loved ones never made it back.”
 
The four charities – Wounded Warrior Project, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Operation Homefront and Fisher House – all cater to severely injured military personnel or fallen heroes and their families.
 
The four previous Prelude to the Dreams have collectively raised more than $2 million. With each year’s event gaining significant stature and mainstream interest, Stewart’s goal is to have the fifth annual Prelude to the Dream raise $1 million, with the proceeds impacting the four charities.
 
“It’s an ambitious goal, especially in this economy” admits Stewart. “But if we don’t shoot for a number that is a true difference-maker, we’re not ever going to reach it. That’s our goal, and me and everybody else associated with this event is going to do everything we can to meet that goal. Now, we just need everyone out there to purchase the event, enjoy all the action going on at Eldora, and support our heroes who are protecting our freedom.”
 
In addition to the aforementioned drivers joining Stewart in this year’s Prelude to the Dream, Brian Vickers, Robby Gordon, David Reutimann, Bill Elliott, Dave Blaney, Aric Almirola, Kenny Wallace, Ken Schrader, Ron Capps, Cruz Pedregon, Ray Evernham, Joey Logano, Jeremy Mayfield and David Stremme have also committed.
Drivers from all types of disciplines, some with lots of dirt track experience and others with hardly any, will participate in hot laps, qualifying, heat races and the 30-lap feature on the half-mile clay oval, all of which will be televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View.
 
“We are always thrilled to bring this unique and compelling race at Eldora to fans across the country,” said Tammy Ross, vice president, HBO Pay-Per-View & Sports. “Seeing the top drivers in the world going all-out to benefit our courageous armed services men and women who have been injured delivers a sense of privilege and inspiration to everyone involved in presenting the event.”
 
With no points and no pressure, the Prelude to the Dream is a throwback race, allowing drivers to step back in time and compete for the reasons they all went racing in the first place – pride and a trophy. And they’ll do it on the same surface that racing legends A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti competed on nearly 50 years ago.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

Sprint Cup Race at Richmond “Busch”whacked, and I really want to go racing

May 3, 2009 14 comments

I am not sure if it is more difficult to type with one hand, or to keyboard with my left arm in a sling.  Neither is very efficient, so I have not posted for about five days.  I do have my arm out of my sling right now, but since my physical therapist isn’t too pleased with me doing this, today’s post won’t be terribly long.

 

Congratulations to Kyle Busch on winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond last night.  Like him or not-and most do not-he has rediscovered that the way to win races is to go fast where nobody else can or wants to run.  Tony Stewart continues to impress as an owner/driver, and aching back #24 Jeff Gordon racked up another top ten finish at the ¾ mile tri-oval. 

 

The Richmond races are easily NASCAR’s most fun to watch, although if the TV ratings trend continues, at least 10% fewer fans watched Fox coverage of the event than watched the 2008 race.  There are a lot of theories as to why NASCAR ratings are down, and I think most of them have at least a grain of truth.  One that I think really needs a long look at is how long the races are.  On shorter tracks races need to be cut back 100 laps, and on the longer tracks, races need to be cut back 100 miles.  Only a handful of the traditional races-the Daytona 500, the World 600, the Southern 500-should be kept at their current distance.  Four hundred or even 300 miles would be better, would keep drivers racing instead of riding, and would mean an hour or so less of the endless race day coverage. I doubt this will happened because it means fewer over-priced hot dogs and watered down beer will be sold at the track, and TV networks couldn’t sell as many ads.  Maybe eve lower ratings and fewer people in the stands will get someone’s attention.

 

I hoped to make it to my second race of the season last night, attending Eagle’s opening night of action.  My arm is still bothering me enough that I decided to stay home and watch the NASCAR race.  We’ll see how things go in the coming week.  Maybe a visit to US 30 or Butler County or Eagle will actually happen.

 

The planet inhabited by auto racing writers is a lesser place today.  David Poole, the Charlotte Observer’s NASCAR writer died of a heart attack on Tuesday.  I enjoyed reading what Poole had to say, not just for his style, but that he was one of the few non-NASCAR homers covering the event.  He was opinionated and not afraid to speak his mind.  People in the sport did not always agree with what Poole had to say, but they had to respect his voice because it was backed up with years of experience and passion for auto racing.  If people can say the same thing about The Rest of The Dirt years from now, I will be thrilled.

 

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