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Archive for March, 2011

WoO Late Model Race Postponed-Oh Oh; Will I Finally See A Live Race In 2011? New Theories On Silver Dollar Nationals

March 31, 2011 15 comments

I love staring at a blank computer screen and turning the screen into words.  I am thrilled every time I am able to press the ‘publish’ button on my wordpress.com blog.  It is overwhelming to know someone wants to read my words, and it is humbling to realize they will be a part of cyberspace forever.  Someday my grandson or granddaughter will be able to read the words I am writing today.  I don’t know if he/she will think I am a nut, or believe I am a good writer.  Maybe it will be “Grandpa was sort of nutty, but he is fun to read.”

The latest Nebraska forecast for Saturday night has highs in the 50’s, not in the 60’s like the previous forecast.  I am still hoping to go to the Spring Thaw or Melt or whatever they are calling it at I-80 Speedway this weekend, but admit I am just a maybe.  Friend Steve Basch is going to Kansas City to take in a Royals baseball game.  Tom Schwartz and Tony Anville are waiting on the weather, though I would bet Schwartz goes and Anville wimps out.  What may make the difference in our going is an email Matt got from Randy Palmer saying “meet me at I-80 on Saturday and we’ll see what trouble we can get your dad into.”

If not this weekend, when?  Matt says if we don’t go to the races this weekend, it may be Memorial Day weekend and the Alphabet Soup race before he goes racing.  My plan is a little different.  I am taking in opening night at US 30 Speedway on April 28th no matter what happens this weekend.

With Kyle Berck running for points with the MLRA this year, look for him to come ready to race at the Spring Meltdown on Saturday.  His website schedule says he will just be racing on Saturday, but that surprises me.  SLMR late models race on Friday-remember, I was the first to call this series the Kyle Berck Petty Cash Fund, and modified qualifying is on Friday as well.  Does anyone know anything on whether Berck will be racing Friday? 

Saturday’s MLRA race is on the schedule for both Terry Phillips and Jeremy Payne.  I did hear a rumor about Phillips and though nothing is mentioned on his website, I wonder if he will be at I-80 this weekend. I hope so.  Also showing the race on their schedule is Chad Simpson, John Anderson, Brad Looney, and Al Purkey, so there will be no shortage of top regional drivers on hand.

I believe I stated that Steve Basch was an important cog at NEC in a recent blog.  I was wrong. My bad, Steve.  I should have stated it was NMC.  But he is still an important cog in that operation.  Good pun isn’t it Guru? And going to a baseball game instead of a race this weekend Steve?  I would chastise you greatly, but my scion is at least as into baseball now as he is racing, so I probably shouldn’t pick on anyone who wants to go to the ball park instead of the dirt track.  I wonder if Steve is just broadening his interests, or if he is discouraged in the state of racing in this state like another fellow.

Berck fan commenting on a recent blog stated he thought the Silver Dollar Nationals might have as many as 16 heat races.  He isn’t crazy-well, I don’t think he is-and the race is not going to be another World 100 with 150 late models filling the pits.  Actually the event’s unique qualifying system means each group of cars will run two heats, and Berck fan is really thinking about only 100 late models racing.  The gospel according to a certain promoter is 15 cars per heat, and they expect five groups of cars to run two heats each.  In my younger days I would have wanted at least 100 cars and preferred 150 late models on hand.  Gaining wisdom over the years, 75 super late models is plenty, especially if that number includes 50 “right ones.”

One race that apparently will not be run this weekend is the Illini 100, sanctioned by the WoO.  No, I do not foresee any WoO drivers heading to I-80 this weekend to get track time before the Silver Dollar Nationals.  Actually I am saying this so that each of you will cross your fingers and get out your lucky charms-cereal and otherwise-because there are not a lot of open dates on the WoO 2011 schedule, and the Illinois race could be rescheduled to follow the tour’s western swing, meaning anyone racing for points in that series will be in LaSalle, Illinois July 23rd, not in Nebraska.  I’m merely stating the obvious, and if WoO mucky-mucks didn’t figure it out themselves, I am sure that NCRA (now owned by the same group that owns WoO) officials or another local promoter would point this out to the WoO. Boo, hiss to anyone who would do that, and remember instant karma can get you. Actually, the third weekend in May or the third weekend in June are available and both make more sense than waiting until July to reschedule. Technically the first weekend in June is also available, but that is the weekend between the Show-Me 100 and The Dream, so it might not be the best.

I discussed the WoO postponement with an astute reader who believed a rescheduled Illini100 will not conflict with the Silver Dollar Nationals.  He pointed out that if the Silver Dollar Nationals is successful this year, WoO might want to gain sanctioning of it next year because it would be a big dollar anchor for its summer Wild West Tour.  His theory is the WoO would not do anything like scheduling against the Nebraska race that would jeopardize such an opportunity.

That theory is logical, but we all know that very little in race track politics is logical.  To be honest I hope that the race does not become WoO sanctioned.  For years I have wanted to see a big dollar event run on harder tires, making the playing field level for the good regional drivers who run every race on hard tires.  I am afraid a WoO sanction would mean only a few regional drivers would compete in the race because the advantage would go to WoO drivers who have experience running the softer tires.

My hope for the future of the event would be no sanction-hire out race tech-and schedule the Silver Dollar Nationals to run immediately after the WoO Wild West Tour ends.  This would allow for plenty of regional drivers to compete, and also be attractive to name drivers following the WoO circuit.

Be sure to check out my second post from yesterday for a link to a video on Rockford Speedway. Thanks for stopping by.

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March 30th Blog #2 Check Out This Video

March 31, 2011 6 comments

Yes, it is an asphalt track, but this asphalt track had a profound effect on dirt track racing in Nebraska.  Craig Kelley sent me the link below, and to show you what I meant about an asphalt track having an effect on a dirt track, I am including Craig’s comments.  The video lasts about 15 minutes, and it appears to be done by college students. Rockford Speedway is alive and kicking, but the story reminds us that we lose a part of our history when progress encroaches on race tracks.  Does a housing development near a race track sound familiar?

From Craig:

When you have about 15 minutes, nice story… about Rockford Speedway, one of the greatest short tracks in the history of short track racing, and from the Deery Family, at the yearly Racing Promoter’s Meetings, I learned and stole many of the things you loved about Sunset!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QATeUou4KJc

I hope you enjoy the video, and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to look over my first blog of today.

Grassroots Campaign; Losing National Speed Sports News; and Class of 2011

March 30, 2011 7 comments

Matt McLaughlin of www.frontstretch.com proposed an interesting concept.  Like you and me, McLaughlin is frustrated by missing out on lap after lap after lap of NASCAR televised races because of commercials. On rare occasions, NASCAR affiliated networks have actually provided side by side coverage-races and commercials, so it can be done.  McLaughlin’s suggestion is a grassroots campaign with NASCAR fans refusing to buy any product advertised during NASCAR commercials breaks UNTIL the networks begin providing side by side coverage.  Once side by side coverage begins, fans pledge to try to buy at least one of the advertised products per week.

Things I Wish I Had Said Department:  Also from McLaughlin-“What Fox Sports lacks in talent it makes up in hype.”

Last week’s issue of National Speed Sports News was the last it will publish.  It is sad to see America lose one more publication that has been around forever.  NSSN began publishing almost two decades before NASCAR came in existence.

Some of you may have read NSSN in your youth. If so, I can feel your pain. In my youth I read The Sporting News, the baseball bible, when it looked like, read like, even smelled like a baseball publication should.  My dreams of traveling to far away places began the first issue of this paper I picked up at the stadium in Omaha.  My love of numbers started as I devoured box score after box score in this newspaper.  My passion for words was formed reading every article and every column in the paper.  I grew up wanting to be a sports writer.  I guess I still want to be one. 

I hate seeing publications like National Speed Sports News and the Sporting News leave us, or at least change form.  I know how newspapers, magazines, and books are supposed to look  and what they should feel like, and to me that has nothing to do with tiny screens of hand-held devices or somewhat bigger computer monitors.  I know I am a relic, but each loss like this makes us just a little less than we were.

From the Omaha World-Herald via an email from an attorney in that city:

Seven to join Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame

 

The Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame will induct seven new members on Oct. 21 at the Fireman’s Hall in Lincoln. This is the 14th class for the hall, which was created in 1998 to honor Nebraskans for their contributions to the sport of auto racing.

The seven inductees:

• Fred Anderson, Omaha, started his drag racing career in 1952, and set many national records. He has 12 U.S. Nationals class wins and raced in 53 straight U.S. Nationals, beginning with the inaugural event in 1955 at Great Bend, Kan.

• Keith Chambers, Beatrice, was a staff photographer for the World-Herald from 1946 to 1950, covering all forms of auto racing, especially midgets cars. He drove and promoted stock cars in the early 1950s. Chambers handled publicity for Omaha Dragway from 1962-’65 and was listed as the No. 1 reporter for the National Hot Rod Association during that time.

• Don Droud Sr., Lincoln, has been a driver, owner, promoter, coach and sage during his 54-year career in motorsports. He’s raced motorcycles, supermodifieds, sprint cars, late models, trucks and dwarf cars, winning several track championships along the way. Don’s two sons, Don Jr. and Rodney, have also had successful careers in auto racing.

• The Kelley Family, Omaha, promoted Sunset Speedway from 1976 through 2000. They were four-time nominees for National Promoter of the Year, and Sunset Speedway was one of the first tracks to join the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series. Sunset was one of the Top 10 attended short-tracks in the United States for 15 years, and led the way in the use of radios for officials; set time limits for races; was among the first tracks to have a website, corporate VIP boxes and a live pre-race radio show along with many other innovations.

• Eddie Kracek, Omaha, started his racing career in 1928 in stock cars and, in 1935, he had become a star on the fledgling Omaha-area midget car circuits. By 1937, he was racing on the national stage against some of the top midgeteers in the country. Kracek was one of the first “outsiders” to win at Olympic Stadium in Kansas City, and he competed successfully for several years. Shortly before the U.S. put a stop to racing in 1942 because of World War II, Kracek was badly injured in a race at Olympic. He died two weeks later on Aug. 4, 1942.

• Wayne Mason, Omaha, was a championship car owner and mechanic for many years with drivers such as Bud Burdick, Ed Morris, Bob Kosiski and Steve Kosiski. Mason’s cars have scored 17 track championships, seven Busch All Star titles; and two Topless Outlaw Racing Association Championships. They have had feature wins in NASCAR, MLRA, NCRA and IMCA.

• Jim Wyman, Fremont, started racing in 1954, and was a four-time champ at Sunset Speedway, winning 58 A Features there. He was a three-time titlist at Harlan, Iowa, and a two-time champ at Corning, Iowa.

I am looking forward to attending the Hall of Fame banquet in October.  Jim Wyman was my first racing hero, and in the Final Sunset I became a member of the infamous Sunset Mafia and count Craig Kelley and many former track officials among my best racing friends. This should be a very entertaining evening. Congratulations to all the inductees.

Thanks for stopping by.

Giagabytes of Happiness, Hard Tire Hard Chargers, and How Much A Silver Dollar Weighs

March 30, 2011 9 comments

What a difference a gigabyte of memory can make.  I have been beyond frustrated with my work computer for quite sometime.  Getting anything done quickly was out of the question.  Getting anything done at all was iffy-kind of like hoping there would be no red flag during a sprint car race.  More than once I have considered taking a sledge hammer to the computer, but our information tech consultant installed additional memory today and the computer is running like a late model on the back stretch at Eldora.  Hallelujah. Maybe I’ll be a little less grumpy now.

It is difficult to picture going racing when it is snowing.  I-80’s Spring Thaw is this weekend, and since Duke is not in the Final Four, Matt has graciously offered to go racing.  I think he means it.  Friday doesn’t sound very promising, but the weather forecasts say in the 60’s for a Saturday high. I realize the temperature drops quickly once the sun goes down, but maybe a few sweatshirts, a blanket, and some hand warmers would work.  My 60 year old ears are ready to hear the roar of a feature field of super late models.

In the current issue of Late Model Illustrated, Al Purkey talked about how Joe Kosiski, one of I-80 Speedway’s promoters, went to the late model races at Volusia Raceway Park in February to promote the Silver Dollar Nationals.  I think that was a great idea, and from what I hear it was a successful trip for Joe.  Several Florida winners are interested in the race, and one young driver hopes to race at I-80, IF his mentor can be convinced to race there as well.  I know who you just thought of, and you should guess again, although your guess wasn’t really wrong either.

Purkey mentioned that while some people might want to hand this race to a high profile driver, since the race will be run on hard tires, don’t count out drivers like Boen, Berck, Anderson, Phillips, Eckrich or himself.  These drivers have all had a lot of success at I-80 Speedway, and I agree with Purkey that any of them could take home the $25,000 winner’s purse. A name Purkey didn’t mention among hard tire hard chargers was Brian Birkhofer.  I don’t see Birkhofer passing up a big bucks event only 250 miles from his door step, and he has had plenty of experience racing on hard tires.  I get excited just thinking about Berck, Billy Moyer, and Birkhofer battling for a win, and the race is still four months away.

I do hope that promoters will have a special souvenir program for this race.  I am sure that Randy Palmer’s favorite writer Lee Ackerman would provide some content for the program, and I can remember Joe Kosiski selling a package deal at a years ago Nebraska State Fair race that involved a business card ad and reserved tickets to the race.  It would take some hard work, but if enough packages were sold, it would not only pay for a nice program, but also kick in a chunk of cash to help pay the large purse. Joe would be the perfect person to pitch the package-he knows everyone involved in racing in the area, and can sell outhouses to a billionaire.  I do want this race to succeed, and this is just one more way to make it a success.

I know that on occasion I-80 Speedway has paid winners in cash-at least several times in $2 bills.  I hope they are not tempted to pay the winner of the Silver Dollar Nationals in silver dollars.  First, I am sure coming up with 25,000 silver dollars would not be easy.  Second, if answers.com is correct, pre-1964 minted silver dollars, or what most of us think of as silver dollars, weigh approximately 17 coins per pound.  The winner’s share would way 1,470 pounds.  The Anthony dollar weighs far less, but 25,000 of them would still weigh 446 pounds.  I think a check would be much more appreciated than coins. 

Does any other blog give you the wide variety of information that The Rest of the Dirt does? I bet no one else talks about how much a silver dollar weighs, or how happy a gigabyte of memory makes a person.  All my readers give me at least a gigabyte of happiness everyday.  Thanks for stopping by.

Coulda, Shoulda, Ain’t Likely, But It Woulda Been Big

March 29, 2011 2 comments

Sorry about not much of a post today. I decided I would rather get a paycheck today than do a blog, and this afternoon I had an eye doctor appointment-the doctor decided that one kind of eye drops wasn’t enough, so he added a second one later in the appointment.  I am finally getting to where I can focus again.

I watched only 10 laps of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race yesterday, but seeing Kevin Harvick move Jimmie Johnson out of his way, taking the lead on the final corner of the final lap was well worth my time.  I should write more about that tomorrow.

The real reason I am writing half blind-here’s another chance for my friend’s to take a cheap shot-is that every day the chances of a certain NASCAR star purchasing a Midwest race track take a nose dive.  I suppose my source could do a “gotcha” on April1st, but he isn’t nearly as funny as me, so I don’t see that happening.  It appears this rumor is going the way 90% of race rumors go-down the toilet.

There have been some guesses that a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver with a name that rhymes with T-bony was the driver in question.  Actually there has been a rumor floating around for several years that T-bony was going to buy a certain Nebraska track, but T-bony has no stake (this is a good pun, so I used it again) in this deal.  I said the driver involved owned another track, but I didn’t say he owned any track outright.  A number of tracks are owned by a group of present and past Sprint Car drivers.  If anything, this driver is even a bigger star than T-bony. I’m just saying this now as a coulda, shoulda, ain’t much of a prayer, but it sure woulda been big.

Oh well, I love all the area promoters anyway, and wouldn’t want any of them to go away.  If they did, I wouldn’t have nearly as much to complain about.

Thanks for stopping by.

Cold Water On Rumors, Official Sponsors Of TROTD, Including Prilosec

March 27, 2011 Leave a comment

There is nothing but bad news on the NASCAR driver buying a local track front.  My source told me the driver and track remain far, far apart on a sales price, and that unless a deal can be made by April 1st, it probably won’t happen at all.  The source says he believes the track owner wants too much since the purchaser is a “rich NASCAR star,” but my source has had several run-ins with the track owner, so he is not totally unbiased in this deal.  I suppose what is bad news for the average fan is good news for some of the track’s hanger-ons.

As I mentioned several days ago, I think it is time for The Rest of the Dirt to name Official Sponsors of the blog.  NASCAR has an official sponsor for everything, and those sponsors spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars for the right to be associated with NASCAR. My sponsors will be associated with a great content racing blog, and most won’t have to pay me a penny.

While this particular blog is mostly about having fun, I do want to acknowledge Prilosec, the Official Acid Reflux Drug of The Rest of the Dirt.  Through the generosity of the fine folks at Prilosec I was able to attend the Blog World Expo in Las Vegas last October, plus I received a Flip camera that will allow me to add some videos to my writing.  Thank you Prilosec, and no, I do not know who needs it more-me when I am writing this blog, or you when you are reading it.

The Official Grand Puppies of TROTD are Sophie and Kahlua Meyer.  These silky terrier imps love me no matter what I say on the internet, and all they demand of me is an occasional belly rub.

The Official Soft Drink of TROTD is Diet Coke.  Five years ago if my options were drinking a diet soda or not drinking anything, I wouldn’t drink anything.  Then a stay in the hospital brought about the discovery that I was diabetic, and now I rarely drink anything other than diet soda.  Regular soda simply tastes too sweet.  I didn’t see that one coming.

The Official Pizza of TROTD is North Beach Pizza.  I suppose out of loyalty I ought to say Sortino’s Pizza of Omaha, but the San Francisco pie reminds me of my favorite city, and I love the doughy crust and cheesy flavor of North Beach Pizza.  If I had Tony Anville money I would have a container of these pizzas packed in dry ice and air freighted to me every month.  Do I need a vacation or what?

I was going to name an Official Beer of TROTD, but the last time I was a serious beer drinker, Matt wasn’t even born.  I enjoyed a lot more than one Falstaff on occasion, but I don’t think you can even find the once brewed in Omaha beer anymore. Naming Falstaff the Official Beer of TROTD does show my blue collar roots though.

The Official Snack Food of TROTD is popcorn.  I have a lengthy relationship with this tasty treat; just don’t talk with me about the microwave version.  If my bank account resembled Randy Palmer’s, I would have a man cave equipped with a commercial popper, a pail of coconut oil, a 50 pound bag of popcorn, and plenty of buttery flavored seasoning salt to pour over the popped kernels.  The man cave would also have a refrigerator full of Diet Coke and if I could find it, Falstaff. It would also have a big screen TV, a couple of antique pinball machines, and recliners with cup holders.

Nifty 50’s of Fremont is the Official Fast Food Restaurant of TROTD.  This restaurant is the only place around that offers the delicacy known as Mexiburgers, a spicy loose meat sandwich once prepared by the A & W Drive-In when I was a youngster in Fremont .  A Mexiburger and a frosty mug of A & W Root Beer was a big, big treat in the Meyer household when I was growing up.  Just reading the word Mexiburger hardens your arteries, but the same might be said of The Rest of the Dirt.

Since Dorothy Lynch is not sponsoring Kyle Berck this season, perhaps the company would be interested in becoming the Official Salad Dressing of TRODT.

Roni Deutch-Official Tax Consultant to TRODT. Maybe TROTD needs a late night presence on cable TV like Ms. Deutch.  If only I had enough income to actually need a tax consultant.

Hair Club-for TRODT readers who cover their follicle challenged head with a beret.

ORKIN-We’re even better than TROTD at keeping pests in their place.

Roto Rooter-you figure one out.

I encouraged my friends to take a shot at me, not that they normally need encouragement to do that.  First to respond was Joe Proctor.  Joe is employed by Action Signs in Omaha , though what he does there isn’t entirely clear.  He is also an announcer at several local dirt tracks-neither of which is being pursued by a NASCAR star.  Joe is a funny though somewhat disturbed individual and I started laughing from the first sentence of his effort.  From Joe

“Rick Stolley – Official Spokesperson of The Rest of The Dirt. (ok not a sponsor, but       hilariously funny) Ex-Lax – Official Laxative of The Rest of The Dirt. Geritol – Official Pick-Me-Up of The Rest of The Dirt.

I could go on and on.

“Bob Harris reads and endorses The Rest of The Dirt – You should too!” “When the bus has been parked directly on top of you by a Rest of The Dirt commentary, call Inserra & Kelley, Attorneys at Law – They’ll help you into the Ambulance!” “After reading a Rest of The Dirt blog entry, do you sometimes have that feeling of pressure on your bowels, that bloated, sickly, tense, and flatulent feeling?? Reach for Beano, the cure for a pocket of hot air!”

Andy Rooney called…..he wants his gig back.

“Immodium – The ONLY thing guaranteed to get you thru The Rest of The Dirt!”

My work is done here.”

Obviously not, because Joe sent me this email:

“Bruton the Antediluvian……..

I stooped to new levels.  I should be writing commercials somewhere. 

Enjoy.  Word has it that Ex-Lax will be signing a long-term Sponsor agreement with The Rest of The Dirt in the coming weeks. 

Smooth move, Ex-Lax.”

I also received an email from Steve Basch, aka Belleville Basch.  Steve is an important part of the N.E.M. operation in Nebraska -at least that is what he tells me every time I see him.  Steve has already mailed Wayne Dake $99 for his tickets to the 2nd Annual Belleville 100.  From Steve:

 Bowtrol™ Colon Cleanser      For The Rest of the Dirt

 

ROFLMAO On Carpet One-The Official Rug Supplier of TRODT, rug burns doctored at the Nebraska Medical Center , the Official TRODT …..oh, funnnnny sh.. Joe”

That was from reader Dale Smith who seems to be crediting Joe Proctor for something funny, though I can’t find where Joe made those comments.

I insulted seven of my friends figuring they would have to respond to my challenge, yet only two of them did.  I am really disappointed as I have always considered my friends among the elite smart asses in the country. At least I know I can count on Joe and Steve whenever I need a disparaging remark.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Molly Ringwald At Fontana. WTH??

March 27, 2011 Leave a comment

I hoped to watch Midland University’s baseball team play a double-header today, but yesterday’s snow postponed the games and today’s snow would have if they hadn’t already been postponed. It was 70 earlier in the week, and now it is snowing. 

I watched Butler defeat Florida in overtime-Go Bulldogs, but during a lull in the action I switched over to the Nationwide Series race from Fontana, California.  It was the start of the race and Molly Ringwald threw the green flag?  Say what?  What exactly does Molly Ringwald have to do with racing?

To me it would make more sense to let Tony Anville throw the green flag at a NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Kansas.  He is a season ticket holder at the track and understands what is going on.  I would start a campaign for him, but I don’t think the endorsement of The Rest of the Dirt is going to win anything for the rich Auburn landowner.

Or maybe if all his friends wrote to Ralph Capitani we could get Randy Palmer an honorary flagman’s job during the Knoxville Nationals.  I am one, and if someone would help his dog that would be two letters.  Sorry rstar, that might not be enough.

It wouldn’t take much to get Rick Bradley a little recognition throwing the green flag at an I-80 weekly show.  The trouble with Rick is that if he didn’t like the start of the race, he WOULD throw the flag at an offending driver.

Maybe we’ll just have to settle for Matt getting a ride in the pace car at some sprint car event in Nebraska, though that can be a tough gig to get too.

I’m full of good ideas-at least full of something-today.  To quote a famous smart a–, “my work is done.” I’m heading back to the TV and basketball, but thanks for stopping by. Oh wait-attention Tony Anville.  I would love to throw out the first pitch at a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field.  Can you call your buddy Pete Ricketts and arrange it?