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Archive for January, 2010

No Writing Block (Head) Today

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

I am trying to decide what to write about today. I could write about Fremont High School defeating Papillion/LaVista 50-42 last night, though it was a very ugly game.  The Tigers used a 19-2 run in the second and third quarter to go up 31-18 on the Monarchs, then proceeded to give away the entire lead in a little over two minutes, before a last second basket left Fremont ahead 33-30 at the end of the third quarter. The fourth quarter was a hodge podge of turnovers and free throw shots.

I could write about the Nebraska women’s basketball team-make that undefeated, 18-0, Big 12 leading women’s basketball team. 

I could write about four Omaha mom’s who are running the ING Marathon in Miami to help raise funds for relief efforts in Haiti.  Since Matt began running cross country as a freshman in high school I am always been impressed by the mental and physical toughness of long distance runners. I have also liked how many of the road races around the country benefit a worthy cause.

Maybe I could pen a few words about Jack Stark, a psychologist from Nebraska who has worked with the Nebraska football team and Creighton basketball team and now works with the Hendricks Motorsports teams, especially drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Obviously the 88 team ought to get the lion’s share of his efforts this season.  Anyway in today’s Omaha World-Herald sports section, Stark talked of his passion for NASCAR racing, and how the drivers are indeed athletes.

Or, I could just give out some results of this week’s big races.  Scott Bloomquist won the opening night feature of the Super Bowl of Racing at Golden Isle Speedway in Georgia.  A party who wishes to remain anonymous-not me-stated Bloomquist “must have been cheating.”

Three nights of Winternational’s modified racing at East Bay Raceway Park are now in the books, though not in any book you can check out at the library.  Jeff Matthews of Dover, Florida took home the $1,000 winner’s purse on night one.  Matthews, who runs all year at East Bay bested Pennsylvanian Dave Hess Jr. Fifty-three drivers signed int.

Night two saw sprint car driver Brady Short of Bedford, Indiana take the A main checkered flags.  Short started on the pole, dropped back to 5th, then came on midway through the race.  More impressive than Short’s win was that of Meridian, Mississippi driver Rodney Wing.  Wing started 19th on the tight 1/3rd mile oval and finished second only to short. Fifty-five modifieds took to the track Wednesday.

On night three, Wing improved his previous night’s effort by one spot, receiving the winner’s check of $1,500 in the process.  Local driver Roger Crouse finished second, after finishing eighth and fifth the previous nights.  Fifty-eight drivers signed in.

I can’t figure out what to write about today.  Maybe I need to give it some more thought.  Or maybe just leave this post as it is.  Now that is a good idea.  Thanks for stopping by.

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A Zebra Tirade And HD Streaming For The Race Recluse

January 28, 2010 2 comments

A brief basketball tirade before some auto racing.  I have loved basketball as long as I have loved racing, so I don’t feel too much guilt writing about it.  Last night I witnessed my first four overtime game ever.  My alma mater Midland College battled conference rival Hastings College.  Hastings scored a last second basket in regulation to send the game into overtime.  Twice Midland scored last second hoops to continue the game.  It was certainly the best game ever played in the Midland Events Center.  No one deserved to lose the game, finally won by Hastings 129-124.

Why am I complaining about an instant classic?  Because the referees became involved in the final result, and that should never happen in any game.  With the score tied in overtime number four, a Midland player was called for a foul.  I suspect the phrase “bull shit” was uttered and the referee charged the player with a technical foul.  A second referee proceeded to call a technical foul on the Midland coach, once again because the words “bull shit” were uttered. Hastings garnered a five point lead after the two foul shots and four technical foul shots were taken, plus they got to inbound the ball.  That turned out to be a rather large play given it happened with 90 seconds left in the game.

My point is that the technical fouls should never have been called. No referee worth the spit in his whistle would have called them.  Emotions were high and players were tired.  A simple “son, you don’t want your team to lose because I hit you with a T,” would have shut up the player.  Coaches say a lot to referees, but at that time of the game all that needed to be said to the coach was “coach we got it under control, sit down.”  It was sad to see a game that was magical end almost as a farce.

Yes, I am hoarse this morning.  Yes, I very much yelled at the referees.  Yes, my remarks were disparaging.  I can’t even remember the last time I yelled like that at a game, though I have yelled often.  I guess I took my dad’s place in the stands last night.  He would have loved the basketball, and loved just as much explaining to the referees they were idiots.

I’ll behave tonight at the Fremont High School game.  Go Tigers.

If you are suffering race withdrawal, a few bucks will get you some live action from East Bay Raceway Park near Tampa.  The East Bay Nationals started with modified action on Tuesday, and will be followed by Lucas Oil super late models next week.  The All Start Sprint Cup circuit races will be shown February 11th-13th, and crate late models and mod lites will be shown on February 18th-20th.  The action doesn’t end then, as ASCS Sprint Cars will be live February 25th-27th, and UMP NASRA late models can be seen March 3rd-6th.

One hour of racing action can be purchased for $4.95, while four hours will cost you $11.95.  Advance packages are available for remaining dates.  Five days of Lucas Oil late models cost $49.95, while three days of All-Star Sprint car racing will set you back $24.95.  Three days of crate late model action cost $24.95, as does three days of ASCS sprint car action.  The UMP NASRA late model package is $34.95.  Go to

www.racecastlive.com for details.

I suspect that a computer in the Washington Heights area of Fremont will be tuned into the super late model racing, unless there is a Fremont High, Midland, or Duke basketball game to be watched. Thanks for stopping by.

They Smile In Your Face

January 27, 2010 10 comments

A few of your buddies they sure look shady,

Blades are long, clenched tight in their fist,

Aimin’ straight at your back

And I don’t think they’ll miss.

What they do?

They smile in your face,

All the time they want to take your place.

The back stabbers.

-The Back Stabbers by The O’Jays 1972

I am pro-fan, not necessarily anti-promoter.  You don’t believe it?  Well, I just deleted an 800 word tirade that took me several hours to write.  Yes, it was worded strongly against actions that seem to be almost a tradition among promoters. My editor thought I could make my point in far fewer words, by eliminating all the “liars, muggers, and thieves” comments.

When promoters do not co-operate, everyone loses.  Drivers lose because they are forced to make choices they shouldn’t have to make like when to race, where to race, even what to race.  Fans lose by paying good money to watch watered down competition.  Promoters lose because they waste resources trying to stab each other in the back-it costs them time, it costs them money, and just as important, it costs them the good will of drivers and fans.

Racing loses when promoters refuse to co-operate. There are many outlets for discretionary income so why bother supporting someone who can’t seem to get his act together.  It is easier to stay home, grill hamburgers, and play video games.

Here is a word for promoters to learn-compromise.  Talk to each other; seek a solution other than rules that limit drivers to competing at one track, or schedules that pit one special race or weekly show against another at tracks only a few miles apart.

Yes, it is a promoter’s money and he can do what he wants, up to the point when his actions are detrimental to racing.  At that point every driver and fan has not just a right, but an obligation to complain. 

If everyone loses when promoters fail to co-operate, it seems logical that everyone wins when promoters opt to get along.  Drivers have more opportunities to race.  Fans get to see all of their favorites in action.  Promoters can spend their time and money on making their program better, instead of trying to hurt another promoter’s efforts.  Racing wins.

So again, talk, seek solutions, mediate if necessary, but be open to compromise.  Thanks for stopping by.

Me, Danica, Denny, and Daytona

January 26, 2010 1 comment

I read Pro Blogger everyday.  Not that I think I am a pro at this, but because it has a lot of good tips.  Today’s post talked about being a more rational blogger.  I have to admit I can be a little irrational at times-also stubborn and a somewhat opinionated.  Once I started reading the post I learned it was going to talk about relations with readers and what voice you speak with.

Well, the voice I speak with is that of a fan.  I will also speak out for fans and drivers, especially the “little guy.”  And, I will always appreciate the people who take time to read what I have to say.

HBO has a new series featuring Jimmy Johnson preparing for the Daytona 500.  The show premier is at 9:00 p.m. tonight.

Every Bleacher Report article on Danica Patrick starts with a Sports Illustrated swimsuit photo.  Now I don’t mind, but how can she ever be taken as a serious driver under such circumstances? She is an OK driver who is more of a media and marketing machine.  Of course so is teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. and I don’t want to look at him in a swimsuit.

For those of you who think otherwise regarding Earnhardt Jr., he has a 65 race winless streak going, and finished 25th in Sprint Cup points in 2009 when his teammates finished 1-2-3, driving Hendricks Racing equipment, basically the best that money can buy.  Despite lack of on-track performance, he continues to do numerous commercials, and sell megabucks worth of souvenirs.

NASCAR doesn’t allow team individual testing anymore, but drivers do test Goodyear tires.  Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Brian Vickers, and Kurt Busch recently tested Goodyear tires and also ran part of that test with the rear spoiler which at sometime this season will replace the rear wing on the COT.

Some of us have to work on the Thursday of the Gatorade Twin 150’s from Daytona, but for the first time the event will be shown online by Speed TV.  Fans can view up to four different camera angles, and will hear only the cars and any in-car audio, not the Speed TV broadcasters.  Personally I wish we did not have to listen to the NASCAR broadcasters most races.

Another good thing about this online broadcast is there will be no fee.  Did space aliens abduct all the NASCAR leaders and replace them with look alikes?  How dare they do something nice to accommodate fans?

Apparently the yellow line rule at Daytona and Talladega will remain in force. That is OK.  Let’s see what the other “new” old rules do to bring about something most of us would call racing.

Bleacher report has an article titled “Is Denny Hamlin a Complete Moron?” I  could have answered that one before he tore up his left knee playing pick-up basketball, but I really question him postponing surgery on his torn ACL until after the racing season-which hasn’t even begun yet, and won’t end until November. I don’t think there is a lot of risk for further injury, but I also don’t think he will be at his best in the car, which isn’t a good thing considering the multi-million dollar investment the team has in him. Just my opinion and I am neither a doctor, nor a team owner.

Thanks for stopping by.

Football, Marquette Missile To Attack Florida, Rain, Sprint Cars And Sprint Cup

January 26, 2010 Leave a comment

I was very happy to see Indianapolis defeat the New York Jets yesterday, not just because I am a long time Peyton Manning fan, and not just because along with 1,500,000 other Nebraskans I dislike Jet assistant coach Bill Callahan.  Mainly I am happy because I do not have to acknowledge Tony Anville as Football Prognosticator God for stating last July that the Jets were going to the Super Bowl and that Callahan was the best assistant coach in the league.

I would have enjoyed watching Peyton Manning play against Brett Favre, but the Minnesota Vikings did their imitation of Nebraska vs. Iowa State, with six fumbles and two pass interceptions.  Turnovers cost the Vikings at least 17 points.

Midwest fan favorite Kyle Berck will be taking his car to race at Volusia County Speedway in Florida in February.  The 2009 NCRA late model champion will be running against nationally known UMP and WoO drivers at the half mile oval near Daytona.  While retaining Dorothy Lynch and Strobel Construction as major sponsors, Berck has also added Fontanelle Hybrids to his sponsor list.  The Marquette Missile will guide a Lazer Chassis in 2010, and Wegner Automotive will be his engine builder.

The IMCA Winter Challenge Series weekend races at Canyon Speedway Park were cancelled due to rain.  Per Ivan Tracy the area had 2.5” of rain last week and the normal annual precipitation is 4”.  Ouch.  Chad Ebel from Lincoln left home early to go to these races, escaping freezing rain here, only to find even more rain in Arizona.  Ivan says it “feels like freezing rain” there, but I don’t have a lot of sympathy when he says the temperature is 52.

ASCS has announced their 2010 schedule (www.ascs360.com).   Butler County Motorplex, Boone County Raceway and Junction Motor Speedway all have a show.  Eagle has 3 nights of ASCS scheduled, and I-80 Speedway has eight shows, including the always popular TNT Sprint Bandits. I have heard rumors that I-80 was looking at NCRA sanctioning on one or more of their sprint car races, but since the NCRA schedule has not been released yet, that will have to remain a rumor. A big surprise to me is seeing the series listed as part of the Cornhusker Classic. I guess they run every other class during this event, so why not sprints too?

Apparently NASCAR Sprint Cup star Denny Hamlin tore the ACL in his left knee in a pick-up basketball game.  He will not have surgery until after the season.  I wonder if surgery now and on-going rehabilitation would be less of a distraction than not having the surgery.  I guess either way is a risk with the Daytona 500 less than a month away.  At least Hamlin’s injury is not as silly as breaking a foot playing Frisbie, ala Carl Edwards.

Thanks for stopping by.

A New (Old) NASCAR in 2010?? “Boys have a good time.”

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I should attend the annual NASCAR media days in Charlotte.  As a NMPA member I have the credentials, but never having worked for a newspaper or magazine directly, I wouldn’t know how to act.  I mean can I have two doughnuts with my coffee, or is that poor etiquette?  Actually, if I had a little better camera and a recorder, I think I could come up with questions every bit as silly as “real” journalists and not look out of place at all. Unfortunately my publisher at Three Wide Media says they don’t cover NASCAR, so they won’t send me.  My publisher at therestofthedirt.com is one of the nicest guys I know, but he likened my taking such a trip to Charlotte to a Congressional junket to Europe. I took that to mean that therestofthedirt.com thinks a trip to Charlotte is too expensive too.

So, I will have to learn about what is going on in the NASCAR world like everyone else.  Two things I read in the Omaha World-Herald sports were that NASCAR is thinking of removing the penalty for driving below the yellow lines at Daytona and Talladega, and that it may want drivers to become more involved in policing on track incidents.

I was not overwhelmed by the potential change in restrictor plate races; maybe I just don’t understand the ramifications.  I did like the idea of drivers becoming more involved in policing on track problems.  The thought of a group of NASCAR drivers taking Kyle Busch out behind the wood shed and explaining a few facts to him is certainly a pleasant one. OK, so that isn’t going to happen.  It is still a pleasant thought. Actually it is more of an on track policing effort.  According to NASCAR Competition VP Robin Pemberton NASCAR is saying “Boys have at it and have a good time.”

A separate article in the sports news stated that the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be racing at Darlington on Saturday night, August 14th in the Too Tough To Tame 200.  That is the perfect name for a truck race at Darlington.  The only thing that would make this better is if it could be in conjunction with a Labor Day weekend NASCAR show at Darlington.

Breaking News-I always wanted to say that, even though this came out late yesterday, NASCAR has made several rules changes for the Daytona track, purportedly listening to fans.  The first change is allowing bump drafting around the entire 2.5 mile track, and the other is going to a larger restrictor plate.  These rules will be in effect for all the Sprint Cup Series events at the track in February.

Finally, two thumbs up to Hendricks Motorsports for loaning two of its airplanes to Missionary Flights International to assist with Haitian relief efforts.  Hendricks is picking up the entire cost of operating the planes, and the planes will fly everyday, at least until February 1st.  After that they will be available working around race team schedules.

Thanks for stopping by.

Little Debbie And The Winter Challenge Series

January 21, 2010 3 comments

Because of my blog I receive dozens of PR type emails.  I am not looking to buy any land in Costa Rica, nor am I planning on a visiting a world class spa in the Caribbean, so these emails get deleted immediately.  Actually I delete about 99% of these emails without even reading them.  One I had to read though was that Little Debbie is turning 50.

How many of you have never tried a Little Debbie snack?  If you raised your hand, you aren’t telling the truth.  Over 160,000,000,000-that is 160 billion-Little Debbie snacks have been sold since 1960.  People buy them to eat, so I don’t know who would lay them end to end, but if you lay end to end all of the Little Debbie snacks sold, they would extend to the moon and back almost 20 times.  Maybe NASA should get Little Debbie to advertise on the sides of space shuttles.

There actually is a Little Debbie, Debbie McKee-Fowler is the granddaughter of the founders of McKee foods, the makers of the snacks, and she is now an executive with the company.  Little Debbie sponsors the NASCAR Sprint Cup car of Marcus Ambrose, if you are looking for a racing tie here.

Anyway, my favorite Little Debbie snack is the Swiss Cake Rolls.  They are much cheaper than Hostess snacks, and just as tasty.  I do know I should not eat them at all, but I don’t eat them that often. My lunch today is a bowl of Chicken Noodle soup, with a handful of saltine crackers, neither made by Little Debbie. As a part of their 50th anniversary celebration, Little Debbie is giving away 50 vacation packages.  Go to littledebbie.com and find The Great American Giveaway.

Ivan Tracy-are you at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Arizona?  If you answer yes, I may start hating you.  Canyon Speedway is hosting the first two races of the IMCA sanctioned eight race Winter Challenge Series this weekend.  Both IMCA Modifieds and Southern Sports Modifieds are going to compete in the series.

Canyon Raceway Park is a 3/8ths mile clay track, and Peoria is about 25 miles north of Phoenix.  Races will be held 1/23, 1/24, 1/30, 2/6, 2/7, 2/13. 2/20, and 2/21.  Practice nights will be held on Fridays before the two race weekends-1/22, 2/5, and 2/19.

The modified features will pay $1,000 to win and $100 to start.  Modified drivers will receive national, regional, state, and series points.  I talked with Lincolnite Chad Ebel as he was driving through New Mexico on his way to Canyon Raceway Park, and he mentioned that IMCA Modified National Champion Dylan Smith would be one of the entrants in the series this weekend.  Chad mentioned that he had talked with the Canyon Speedway promoter, and there were already 16 haulers in the pits.  I imagine most of those drove up from the Wild West Shoot-Out in Tucson last week, but if I had my choice of Arizona or freezing rain Nebraska, I think I would be in Arizona.

Hopefully Chad will get us some photos of this weekend’s action.  If not, check out his site, www.racedayphoto.com  For more information and results, check out www.imca.com or www.canyonracewaypark.com.

Thanks for stopping by.