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Archive for November, 2011

Gill To Be Next MU Coach? Some Chili And A Shoot-Out

November 30, 2011 2 comments

Is it just coincidence, or is Midland University’s football coach becoming Assistant Athletic Director an opportunity for the school to hire former Kansas University coach Turner Gill??  Gill is damaged goods as a head coach in big time college football, but several winning years at MU might be just what he needs to get back on the fast track.

Gill’s buy out at KU probably was his $2,000,000 salary per year for the next three years less future income. MidlandUniversitycould pay Gill $1 per season as head coach, and really stick it to KU.  My mind does not work in these mysterious ways; you will have to guess who is feeding me these ideas.  The same person suggested Irving Fryar could go to work for Ron Brown part-time in his ministry work and be a receivers coach atMidland.  Why not hire Mike Rozier as offensive co-ordinator and bring the ‘Triplets’ back together? Bring in Broderick Thomas as defensive co-ordinator. MU-aka Harvard of the Prairie-is already on the brink of becoming a major force in NAIA athletics and this might be just what the program needs.

Traveler Ivan Tracy replied to yesterday’s blog stating that the Chili Bowl in Tulsa in January was his favorite race of 2011.  Interesting that Tracy mentioned this, as Matt and I have been invited to attend the 2012 Chili Bowl-sort of.  ‘RSuperstar’ Randy Palmer has suggested we leave Lincoln about 4:00 a.m. on the Saturday of the Chili Bowl and drive toTulsa, arriving around noon.  Since we have no seats we would spend the next 10 hours standing watching the races or wandering around the pits.  Yeah, right.  My left knee is screaming “you are out of your mind,” just typing this.  Then we would get back in our vehicle and drive home all night.

Actually I am not sure if this is Randy being a mega fan or if he is trying to do me in.  At the very least I assume he will call me a wimp when I say he is crazy.  The Chili Bowl is on my win the lottery bucket list though.

Tom McLaughlin mentioned the Wild West Shoot Out inTucsonas one of his favorites.  I will admit to doing some checking on how much a trip to this race would cost, and a trip would be reasonable by my standards.  Of course I can’t say if it is reasonable by the standards of my wife or daughter in-law.

Scott McBride’s list included sprint car races.  I won’t call him a traitor because his list also included late model races.  And he is already talking about Fan Funds II for Silver Dollar Nationals II.

Going back to the Wild West Shoot Out in Tucson-Ivan Tracy emailed me a flier for the six day event.  Four of the races pay late models $3,000 to win, one pays $5,000 to win, and the final night pays $10,000 to win.  Support class modifieds will get $1,000 to win each night.  Something very important to drivers is that they will get paid every night.  They do not have to wait for their money.  If you want to know why Cornhusker Classic car counts were so low in 2011, look no further-at the CC, drivers have to race three nights to get paid one night.  Drivers want to get paid each night, not just feed the back gate kitty.

Yes, I did make the same point three times in one paragraph.  I think it is time for a major overhaul in the thinking on that event.

Thanks for stopping by.

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NASCAR Driver of the Year? Short Track Race of the Year?

November 29, 2011 4 comments

As a member of the NMPA I have a vote for the 2011 Richard Petty Driver of the Year award.  Who do you think I should cast my ballot for?  Tony Stewart is the Sprint Cup champion and won five of the 10 Chase races.  Carl Edwards tied with Stewart in Sprint Cup points, led the Sprint Cup standings much of the year, and was the most consistent Sprint Cup driver.  What about Jeff Gordon?  He finished in the top ten in the Sprint Cup standings, is the best NASCAR driver spokesman, and his off-track charity work is second to none.  My ballot is due by December 12th, and I am interested in hearing your arguments as to who should be the driver of the year.

As TMC pointed out in a comment to yesterday’s blog, neither Busch brother will be participating in the NASCAR awards program next week, even though it is in Las Vegas, their hometown. The Busch leaguers finished 11th and 12th in The Chase, and only the top ten finishers get on stage in the event.  With the wall to wall media coverage, I would think that neither team owners nor sponsors are happy with the finishes of Kyle and Kurt. 

There is nothing new on the USMTS website regarding the 2012 schedule.  I have heard lots of rumors, but nothing definite.  One event I am wondering about is the show at Junction Motor Speedway.  In the past this has been an early March show, and anyone living in Nebraska knows this means cold weather.  In 2011 weather forced postponement of the show until June and it was a very successful two nights of racing.  My tired old body would much rather see the race in June when the weather is nice.

I gave a lot of space to the Silver Dollar Nationals because it was close to home and I want such an event to succeed inNebraska.  I also enjoyed the Gopher 50-late models and the USMTS portion of the show.  Deer CreekS peedway is a great venue, other than front stretch action is not the easiest to view. Matt and I have talked about returning in 2012 and sitting in the grandstands on the north side of the front stretch to solve the viewing problem. What was your favorite event in 2011? 

Most of us can remember all the races we went to.  Tony Anville can easily remember since he went to so few.  Ivan Tracy might struggle remembering-not just because he is old, but because he went to so many races.  But what about others, what was your favorite race of 2011?  Or as The Who said “I really want to know.”

Thanks for stopping by.

Leftover Turkey

November 28, 2011 1 comment

On Wednesday I had an employee’s turkey dinner at work.  Thursday I ate Thanksgiving dinner at Matt’s.  On Friday my daughter made turkey which I ate after coming home from the Nebraska game.  Yesterday I ate cold turkey sandwiches while watching hours of football.  Today my daughter is making homemade turkey and noodle soup.  I am tired of leftovers but there are some NASCAR turkeys around too.

Gaye Busch must have given thanks on Thursday that she only has two sons racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.  Just weeks after brother Kyle managed to get suspended by NASCAR for a weekend, Kurt Busch was fined $50,000 for profanity and obscene gestures to ESPN pit reporter Dr. Jerry Punch and a cameraman. 

While I think TV reporters need to give drivers an opportunity to cool down after any kind of incident-and breaking a transmission during a race would tax the communication skills of Jeff Gordon-Busch has been in the sport long enough to realize that being interviewed at inopportune moments is part of making the big bucks.  Plus, a one finger salute to the cameraman and !@#$  to Dr. Punch is probably not representing your sponsor the way the sponsor would hope you would. 

I might be wrong, but it seems to me that the Busch house had far more turkey this holiday than I had to suffer through.  Remember the old Kodak commercial “I see your true colors shining through.”  Joe Gibbs and Roger Penske might want to check into buying attitude adjustments for these two drivers as a Christmas present to themselves.

On SceneDaily.com, Bob Pockrass wrote that Tony Stewart gets nervous watching reruns of the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale at Homestead.  I can relate to Stewart on this.  I have watched the movie ‘Hoosiers’ at least 100 times, and I still get nervous in the championship game as the second tick off the clock before Jimmy shoots the final basket. Believe me Tony, every time you watch the replay you are going to win. No turkey here, just a slice of ham.

Another Pockrass article is headlined “Kevin Harvick asks for and gets new crew chief for 2012.” Harvick is vying for consideration for the 2012 Busch Brothers NASCAR Turkey of the Year award.  Too bad crew chiefs or team members couldn’t go to the team owner and tell him they want a new driver for the coming season-hard to believe, but drivers screw up too.  Unfortunately sponsors have a lot invested in drivers and very little in crew chiefs, so if someone is going it isn’t difficult to figure out whom.

SceneDaily.com also suggests that Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson are motivated to make championship runs in 2012.  You mean they weren’t satisfied with their 2011 finishes and aspire to finish higher?  Wow, who would have guessed? There are 15 drivers with a reasonable chance to win the 2012 Sprint Cup championship, and I bet not one of them is going to spend the off season dreaming of finishing fourth in the standings. Actually my point isn’t to chide fellow writers, but rather to suggest that it is not easy coming up with good topics to write about every day.  I can’t say that I am proud of all 850 blogs I have done.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks To——————

November 24, 2011 6 comments

I have much to be thankful for.  I have a family to love when others are lonely. I have a grandson, not quite three months old, who is the best thing to happen to us in years.  I have a job, when far too many people have given up hope of ever finding employment. I have a roof over my head when homeless around the USA are shivering in the chill of late autumn, fearful of the approaching winter.  I have food on my table when around the world-and yes, in our own country-people go to bed hungry. There are children leaving school as I write this who will not have a decent meal until Monday when school resumes. I have no words to express how this saddens and angers me.  I have access to health care, no longer the best in world and very expensive, but I can see a doctor for what ails me and many simply cannot. 

I know I have been blessed, and am not deserving of all I have received.  My prayer for Thanksgiving is a simple one:  “Lord let our leaders lead more and play politics less.  Guide them; help them reach solutions that use our resources in the best way possible. Amen.”

I am thankful for my racing friends, even the ones that cause me to shake my head and wonder ‘why me?’  Most of you I did not even know before the dawning of the age of the internet.  God works in mysterious ways is quite a cliché, but when he brought Anville, Basch, Palmer, Bradley, and a dozen others into my life, it showed God has a sense of humor too.

I am also thankful for my readers.  Because of you, my blog numbers are over double what they were last year.  I wish I knew what I did to accomplish this-I would do it again and maybe the blog could make some real money for once.  I love writing about racing from a fan’s perspective, and despite promoters best efforts to do away with it, it seems as if many others still feel the passion for this sport that I do.  Again, thank you.

What else am I thankful for?

-That Jimmie Johnson did not win his 6th straight NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

-That Carl Edwards did not win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.  Yes, he was graceful in defeat but that does not mean I want him to win.

-That I am not related to Kyle or Kurt Busch-what boorish bozos they are.

-That I learned how good modified racing can be, courtesy of the USMTS.

-Iowa rest areas.

-That I can mention US 30 Speedway in the same sentence as Lucas Oil Speedway, meaning polar opposites thrive.

-That I did not watch one sprint car race in 2011.

-That the Silver Dollar Nationals is bringing big time late model racing close to my home.

-Sunday naps courtesy of race tracks in Pocono, New Hampshire, Chicago, Fontana, and elsewhere.

And again, I am thankful that you keep stopping by.  Have a good holiday.

Grubb Replaced By Stewart??

November 22, 2011 6 comments

To me, two of the more poignant images of the Stewart-Haas championship celebration yesterday were when the wife of crew chief Darian Grubb handed their son Henry to his dad, and just before Stewart was presented the championship trophy he was holding young Henry (good name for a boy). Both shots certainly fit well with the family image NASCAR likes to project of the sport.

Today I read that in October Grubb was told he would not be coming back as crew chief of the 14 car.  At the time Stewart had won two races in the Chase, though three lackluster finishes that followed the wins seemed to have dropped Stewart from contention for the championship.  So, making the Chase and winning a few Chase races isn’t enough for a crew chief to keep his job?

To me that epitomizes a lot of what is wrong not just in professional sports, but with all of big time sports.  When huge amounts of money are involved, apparently nothing but a championship is acceptable.  I don’t think this speaks well of our society.

No, the firing of Grubb does not change the fact that the Chase actually lived up to the hype in 2011.  In 10 weeks drivers raced 4,400 miles and somehow two ended up tied in points, a first ever for NASCAR.  The tie-breaker was number of wins, and Stewart’s five wins in ten races hot streak was incredible.  No question, the man was born to race automobiles. 

The firing of Grubb totally razed yesterday’s NASCAR feel good moment. Friendship does not matter in big time sports. Hard work wasn’t enough, nor were the sacrifices made. That is sad. Rumor has Grubb going to Michael Waltrip Racing to be crew chief for Clint Bowyer, or possibly returning to Hendrick Motorsports.  Supposedly Greg Zipadelli, Stewart’s crew chief while at Joe Gibbs Racing, will become Director of Competition at Stewart-Haas Racing, while Steve Addington will be Stewart’s crew chief. 

I also think the NASCAR fans who booed First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice-President Joe Biden’s wife Jill should be ashamed.  They were not on hand campaigning for their husbands. Whether or not you agree with their politics isn’t important.  Their positions command our respect, and so does their ‘Joining Forces’ initiative in support of our military families.  Two thumbs down to the boo birds. 

Thanks for stopping by.

One For The Ages? NASCAR Championship Just Might Be.

November 21, 2011 4 comments

 

The last time I was as excited watching a NASCAR Sprint Cup race as I was today was when the black #3 Chevy finally won the Daytona 500.  I can remember seemingly holding my breath as the laps wound down in that race, and today’s Sprint Cup finale was almost as breath taking.  Racing just does not get any better.  It came down to winning a championship meant winning the final race, and then a tie-breaker was needed to determine the champion.  Do you still think those bonus points for leading a lap don’t mean anything?

Fuel strategy, fast cars, high risks, rain, a track that is actually racy-3 and 4 wide racing, daring passes, a team win, a champion that has matured since becoming a car owner, and a second place finisher who showed a lot of grace in a difficult situation finishing barely a second from being the champion, one second after 10 months of racing. 

Yes, I am talking about runner-up Carl Edwards acting with a great deal of class at the finish of the race.  I don’t know that I will ever be a 99 fan, but his actions today will cause me to rethink the bashing I have done whenever I had half a chance.  Even Jane was impressed with his post-race interview and going to the edge of the track to congratulate Tony Stewart as the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.

Media follows money, Sprint Cup racing is big, big money, and wherever media goes, hype is sure to follow.  There are too many “games of the century,” there really can’t be one every season, but to call this championship “one for the ages” might not be an exaggeration.  Stewart won five out of the ten Chase races and Edwards did not finish lower than 11th in a Chase race.  They ended tied in points.  In the last three races they drove past amazing into simply incredible.  Believe me, there was no napping for me.

During the Chase Stewart showed that he might be the best all around racer this side of A.J Foyt.  The man has won big league championships and major races in America’s top racing divisions, NASCAR Sprint Cup and Indy Racing League.  He won a WoO Sprint Car race this season and has won many other sprint car and midget features.  He has won in a late model.  If it goes fast and has four wheels Stewart can drive it as good as anyone, and better than most.

Now if I could only convince my son that we need to go to the NASCAR championship weekend at Homestead-Miami.  I can hear him now-“that’s the week of the Nebraska vs. Michigan game.”  That didn’t exactly work out well yesterday, did it?  When a NASCAR track offers three and four wide racing, for one weekend The Rest of the Dirt can be The Rest of the Asphalt.  What do you say Matt?

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

I Wish I Was In Texas Tonight But I Am Getting Old And Am An Immovable Object

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

At least 80 USMTS modifieds will pack the pits at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas this weekend, including Ryan Gustin, Kelly Shryock, and Jason Hughes.  The cream of the crop modified drivers will be racing for $2,000 to win tonight, $3,000 to win tomorrow night, and $4,000 to win on Saturday night.

A couple of months this event was on my wanderlust list along with the WoO finals in Charlotte, the Duel in the Desert IMCA modifieds in Las Vegas, the Blog World Expo in Los Angeles, and a conference at the World War II museum in New Orleans.  The only travel I am doing though is between my easy chair and my computer-I purchased online access to the Blog World Expo and the WWII conference.  If I had been paying attention, I would have watched the WoO finals on Speed TV and theLas Vegas show on my computer.  It is hell getting old.

Speaking of getting old, I learned last night why God doesn’t have 60 year olds raising a baby.  I forgot how tiring having a baby around can be, and couldn’t figure out why Matt was dragging.  I now realize how powerful 12 pounds of dynamite can be.  After about six hours of babysitting Henry, both Jane and I were ready for a good night’s rest.  Of course this morning we are ready to babysit again-Henry’s smile and laugh are simply irresistible. 

Irresistible?  Is Tony Stewart the irresistible force, or is Carl Edwards the immovable object?  Will ‘Smoke’ get in your eyes late Sunday afternoon, or will the Homestead track be covered in $3 bills?  If Stewart wins the race, the championship is his.  If they tie, the nod goes to Stewart as number of wins is the first tie-breaker.  Edwards has a lot going for him to be called the favorite-he is leading the standings, he has won 2 of the last 3 races at Homestead, and a Roush Fenway driver has won 5 of the last 6 Homestead Sprint Cup events.  Still, Stewart has won the championship in the past, and Edwards has not.  He knows what it takes to get the biggest trophy and check at the NASCAR banquet.  He is also the most talented all around racer in NASCAR.  I hope the finish will be equal to the hype-and that Carl Edwards is not the champion.

Thanks for stopping by.