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Archive for December, 2011

Raising Kahne, Plus A Thank You

December 31, 2011 1 comment

As grandfather to a healthy, smart, active, handsome 4 month old grandson who has been breast fed, I think Kasey Kahne is not only wrong on his comments, I think he is vying for Kyle Busch’s position at the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Supremely Dumb Ass Driver List.  Kahne hasn’t even raced one lap for his new team and he has offended mothers and others around the US, and made his sponsor apologize for his brilliance already.  Amazing.

I would like to thank my readers for their continued support of The Rest of the Dirt.  My numbers were up over 103% from 2010, and each calendar month was not only better than the same calendar month in 2010, each calendar month was the best calendar month since I started the blog in June of 2008. 

There are times when I do not want to write a word-and yes, there are times when I don’t write a word.  Bloggers do burn out trying to provide good content day after day, but you keep me from burning out.  Race fans don’t have a bigger advocate than me-yeah, I know that can be taken in several ways.  I don’t claim to know everything, though I will argue like I do.  Mainly, I just want to see race fans get the bang for their buck that they deserve when they put their money down at the local track ticket booth.

I wish I could say that big changes are going to happen with TROTD in 2012, but I can’t say that with any surety.  Change costs money, and despite what some may think, this blog pays me far less than minimum wage.  I am not sure if it can be called a labor of love, or a daily vent against promoters. I keep thinking I am going to hit the lottery one day-actually I was sure the MegaMillions $151,900,000 cash prize on Tuesday was headed toward me, and then I can do all the things I want like adding videos, a radio show, driver interviews, and traveling to major events.  I like to dream.

I can dream, but I still like the reality of the blog.  Hundreds of people visit The Rest of the Dirt everyday, and if I can bring a smile to a few faces or have someone think “he’s right, I totally agree with that,” then my time on the blog is well spent.

Thanks again for making 2011 a great year for The Rest of the Dirt.  I appreciate you stopping by.

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Rumor Control Central I-80 2012

December 29, 2011 3 comments

Just like me, others seem to hear rumors about I-80 Speedway and the 2012 season. Below are some of the comments I received on yesterday’s post, and my thoughts as well:

From Scott McBride:

Yes around a 3 hour show is golden. Personally Friday nights work better for me, that’s because I get up at 3am on Mondays.  So Sunday is basically out unless it’s the ABC race, but I still get up and work on that Monday.  Beatrice is running on Friday nights, but it appears they are regretting that decision.  After that, I can’t think of any track still open that ran regularly on Friday nights. Butler,CrawfordCounty, The Speed Bowl are just off the top of my head that have closed, although Crawford county is trying to get resurrected.

TRODT: Personally, I do not see Friday night racing as the cure to that track’s problem.  If you do not put on a good, well-organized show, it does not matter what day of the week you run it. I think that has more to do with the lack of butts in the grandstand at I-80, then racing on Sunday nights.  I seem to recall an easternNebraskatrack that did quite well running Sunday nights for 40 years.

At the earliest, I don’t think a Friday night show can start before 7:30 p.m.  8:00 p.m. would probably be better.  If I -80Speedwaycontinues to run a five class show, you can forget it getting over with in 3 hours. That is not good any day.

From Mike Pierson:

The problem all of these tracks have now is they have developed all of these support classes and then they stand the very real chance of seriously pissing the drivers off when it comes time to get rid a few. Look at I-80, if they were to return to SLM’s weekly then what do they do. One of their larger classes is the LM but some of them will run SLM and then the numbers may not be enough to justify that class. Pro-Ams/stock cars are a no brainer and NO hornets is like-wise. They have grown the sport mods and if Sobbing moves up/out that is a viable class. As we discussed before, 3-4 classes and a 3 to 3-1/3 hour show and you are gold. Friday is the worst night of the week to run, everyone works that day so you have to start too late. Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t remember any track making it on that night and I think you can make a long list of closed tracks that tried. Sunday night is not the problem….never has been.

TRODT: You are preaching to the choir‘re number of classes, and Friday night not being a good night for a race show. Great minds think alike-although Palmer and Anville think alike, and no one would call them great minds.

Again from Scott McBride:

Interesting that SLM might be back.  I’m curious to see what the payout would be on a weekly basis. Would enough fans come out just because of SLM being a regular class?  I really don’t know.  Sometimes I get that itch to go because I know it will be couple of weeks or a month before I’m able to get to any track.  But with all the specials I-80 runs, I usually get my fill coming on those nights.  However if SLM return to a weekly regular AND the track is run on Friday nights, then I would have to change my thoughts.  I also wonder how this will affect the SLMR.  If the schedules conflict, would SLM’s have the night off?  There certainly aren’t enough cars to fill both venues on the same night. Then what would be brought in as the “premier” class for the evening.

Regarding the corn hole of a classic:  I agree, drop the thing from 7 to 4 classes.  Make it 2 nights.  One night run ASCS sprints and the other night MLRA guys run for there standard regional purse. Run IMCA mods one night and on the opposite night run sport mods.  Run limited LMs on the opposite night of MLRA. Throw in ProAms/Hobby Stocks or whatever the class is called now. If a class whines because they are left out, well that’s too bad. Support the track more the next year and maybe that class replace another class that didn’t support the track enough the previous year.  IMCA mods don’t need to be paid 4,000 to win.  Does anybody wonder where all the mods that weekend???? Its simple they were at other tracks paying 1500 or 2000 to win.  Why were drivers there and not I-80???  Because overall the payout sucked and a driver/crew would have to pay possibly 3 nights of pit passes to make the show. On top of that the qualifying for the feature was a complete joke, the kind of the joke that isn’t even funny, crueler than anything.  Leading up to the CC it seems there were a lot of questions than answers regarding the format.  Make it simple.

TROTD: I wonder about the SLM’s too Scott.  If they have been running for $1,000 to win with the SLMR series, how does the track get them to run for less on a weekly basis?  The late models make for a big purse, and there has to be a lot of people in the grandstands to make that work. 

I have spoken out about the Cornhusker Classic many times.  What might have worked 10 years ago doesn’t now-not for the fans, not for the racers.  I can’t think the event made money in 2011 with the terrible car counts in support classes.

Again, I have no inside information on what promoters are thinking.  As I said, like you I hear rumors.  What I wish the track would do:

I said it yesterday, go to twice a month specials and forget weekly racing.  If they can’t do that, then form alignments with IMCA tracks-forget the NASCAR sanctions and aligning with Adams County Speedway and Junction Motor Speedway.  Align with Beatrice Speedway(which I think should return to Saturday night racing),Denisonif it actually does open again, and Shelby County Speedway in Harlan.  Run Sunday nights.  Run the same classes as the other tracks-biting my lip, even the Sport Compacts.  Set up a joint point fund-each track has their own of course, but a combined fund to get drivers to compete at all the tracks. 

My feeling is that weekly racing at the track is wasting resources.  And I fear that Friday night weekly racing will hasten the track’s demise. The one thing I would bet on is that the track will do something much different than what I think is a good way to go.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tony Stewart Orders A Bowl Of Chili; Weekly Shows Or No Weekly Shows For Nebraska Track?

December 29, 2011 6 comments

Open wheel fans will be pleased to note that NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart will be back in action at the Chili Bowl in 2012, after a three year hiatus.  Stewart is one of only a few drivers who can race any type of machine from go-karts to dirt late models to sprint cars to Sprint Cup to midgets to Indy Racing League and always have a shot at winning. 

I have been giving some thought to whether a certain easternNebraskatrack should continue to run weekly shows in 2012 or run only specials.  If you read my blog, I assume you are a fan in the know and understand what track I am talking of and the circumstances.  I am asking for your opinion on the topic, but please do not comment on the circumstances or I will be forced to use my omnipotent power of deletion.  Those circumstances are not going to be talked about on my blog.  There are other forums, including non-racing forums if you really feel a need to discuss the circumstances.

Weekly racing or no weekly racing is actually a complicated decision.  On one hand promoters need to be loyal to racers who put on the show for fans.  Plus, taking away weekly shows could hurt car count in support classes at specials.  If the weekly shows are losing money though, why put track resources into such shows.  Prepping a track for racing each week can be a grind.  Weekly racing can wear down officials and employees.  The front gates don’t just magically open on race night.  Promoters spend a huge amount of time on a wide variety of tasks before the first fan plops down in the grandstands.

When the negatives outweigh loyalty to drivers, at some point the wise decision is to do away with the weekly show.  It is just my opinion, but I think it is time for the track in question to start running specials only. From mostly empty grandstands on race nights, I think a lot of fans have made the decision before me.

I’ll quit my charade.  I am talking of I-80 Speedway.  I have not been asked, but if I was, I would suggest that promoters run two specials a month from April-August, and finish up the season on Labor Day.  The track has a nucleus of strong specials-super late model shows like the Alphabet Soup Race and the Silver Dollar Nationals, several ASCS shows-including a national show, and the Charlie Clark Memorial for modifieds.  Focus resources-not just money, but time, equipment, and talents to making these races the best ever.

Then do a track version of The Price is Right.  Several specials at the track have been multi-night events where racers have to participate both nights, but get paid only once.  Either do away with the multi-night events, or turn them into events where the racers get a paycheck each night.  The Cornhusker Classic is a perfect example of drivers simply not putting up with having to pay for pit passes on multiple nights while getting paid only one night.  The support class car count was atrocious, despite the purses being good for winners-drivers are smart enough to realize there will be only one winner, and if they can’t break even racing at one track, there are plenty of other specials to choose from.  The promoters can show loyalty as well or even better doing this than running weekly shows.

And, make the price right for the fans.  The specials at I-80 at certainly near the top in what fans pay for admission.  With no money losing weekly show to support (hey, unless things have drastically changed, the Knoxville Nationals support the weekly sprint car show in thatIowatown), drop the price of tickets a few bucks and make it easier for the race fan to attend. 

I will not buy a season ticket to any track running weekly shows.  Other than a few shows at US 30 Speedway, I am done with going to weekly shows.  I no longer have the patience it takes to sit through watching hours of classes I don’t want to watch.  The toll on my butt is too much, but the toll on my temperament is an entirely different matter.  Ask Matt.  Anyway, if I-80 had a season ticket for specials only at around $200-oops, make that $200, when you say “around” to promoters that always means a little more-I would probably buy it. Well, I better qualify that.  One or two support classes with the feature class at each special are OK.  Four or five support classes, forget it.

What do you think?  For those of you who have never commented, right below the title is a line of options that includes “Leave a comment.”  Click on that and fire away.

Thanks for stopping by.

Beach Boys Reuniting; Henry’s First Christmas; Please Try-Fecta

December 28, 2011 2 comments

The surviving Beach Boys-Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine are going to record and tour again in 2012 on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the group.  I wonder if they will do any race tracks on the tour. And we’ll have fun, fun, fun, until daddy takes the sprint car away.

I hope all of you enjoyed your Christmas.  I admit that having a grandson to buy toys for is pretty cool.  What surprised me is that it was his grandmother, NOT me who bought Henry a mini-basketball as well as a Fisher-Price basketball hoop for 9 months and up.  He’ll only be 7 months come March Madness time, but Matt figures he can start shooting baskets then.

And sorry, Randy, the likelihood of Henry racing go-karts is less than the likelihood of TROTD earning me $100,000 next year, which is equal to Earth being hit by an asteroid that sends the planet into another ice age, i.e. pretty damn remote. Steph has veto power on such an arrangement and honestly, I don’t disagree with her.  Henry was playing with one of his many toys on Sunday when matt turned a basketball game on.  He instantly stopped playing and was mesmerized by the game.  I don’t think it was just the TV because he gets peeved when commercials come on.

Yesterday was a quiet day around the Meyer household.  I read a little, watched a DVD Matt gave me for Christmas and played alphabet games on the computer, checking to see if 2012 schedules were out yet for MLRA, NCRA, MARS, WoO late models and sprint cars, and ASCS-Midwest, as well as I-80 Speedway. 

2012 schedules still on out for most of the series, or I-80 Speedway, but it appears that I-80’s Trifecta is scheduled for Friday, June 29th.  The MARS schedule shows an I-80 date that night, followed the next night with a race at Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa. The MARS schedule also shows TBA’s on July 20th and 21st-the dates of Silver Dollar Nationals II.  I wonder if the MARS tour will be a part of SDN II or will schedule against it-the lovely folks that own the World of Outlaw tours also own MARS.

Actually, MARS scheduling against SDN II would not bother me.  I am somewhat concerned about WoO sprints racing at Bellevilleon June 29th and Lakeside on June 30th.  This with the fact that the ASCS has not announced theirMidwest schedule has me wondering about sprint cars at the Trifecta.  Is the track or the series worried about what happens at another track 130 miles away?

Would area sprint car fans drive two hours fromLincolntoBellevilleto watch the supposed best sprint car drivers inAmericaon one of the most famous open wheel tracks in the country, or would they drive 30 minutes down I-80 to watch the ASCS 360 sprinters in action?  I don’t claim to be able to read the minds of sprint car fans, not even my friend Randy Palmer.  If I was a sprint car fan, I would go to the Trifecta instead ofBelleville, and go to the WoO shows inNebraska.

Anyway, I think the ASCS sprint cars are an important part of the Trifecta show.  Yes, it really is me saying this.  The Trifecta puts together the best Midwest super late models, the bestMidwest360 sprint car drivers, and the best IMCA modifieds in the area.  It isn’t a Trifecta without three classes, but if the ASCS decides not to participate, what class would you substitute? The USMTS series is scheduled forAllison,Iowathat night, but the Trifecta has always been three distinctly different styles of racing, and scheduling the USMTS as a replacement would put in two classes of modifieds.

So would replacing the ASCS sprint cars with IMCA Northern Sports Mods, which would just be a big payday for Jesse Sobbing anyway.  I have always liked IMCA stock cars, and they will be racing at Beatrice Speedway this year, but Beatrice races on Friday nights, and June 29th is on their schedule.  That will take away some good IMCA modifieds too. 

I do not see a replacement class for the ASCS sprint cars.  I suppose the race could have a support class and run three 25 lap late model features (the Trifecta), but I am sure that does not appeal to super late model drivers. I hope the Trifecta is able to stay as it has been.  Just schedule the sprint car feature last.

Thanks for stopping by.

Me In A Racecar????

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Stan Cisar sent the following comment about the sprint car crash test: “And how would a dirt track late model (or modified for that matter) hold up to the same type of tests????? Bottom line is, the cage would probably crush down and trap the driver (and what about, heaven forbid, a fire…..the cockpits of these cars have gotten increasingly smaller (and the drivers, in some cases, increasingly larger……maybe ALL of short track racing needs to take a look at some of this……..”

Being the multi-tasker I am, Stan’s comment got me thinking today about why I never raced while at the same time I was “talking” with an IRS computer making a tax deposit. At first, I thought there was just one reason, and then I realized my friends would start pointing out others. Well, here goes:

If I was stupid enough to drive Highway 30 west of Fremont at over 100 miles per hour in a 1971 Mustang with recaps for tires, speed would not be something I feared. The thought of crashing in a race car-well, if I was a driver, I would be like other drivers and not really think of it, except for a roll over. I have watched hundreds of race cars roll, and the one roll over that I would be frightened of would be the one where the car ends on its top. I have no doubt that I would panic with blood racing to my head.

That was the one reason I came up with first. Of course fire could be added to the scenario to make it extremely frightening. A roll over ending with the car on its top AND fire would be the ultimate scare.

Actually that should not be the first reason. The first reason I have never raced is that I am beyond mechanically inept. How many Ron’s does it take to screw in a light bulb? Usually more than one. Not only could I not fix some mechanical problem, I wouldn’t even know what the problem was, just that something was wrong with the race car.

Stan made a good point about cockpits getting smaller and some drivers getting bigger. I personally do not know how some drivers manage to crawl through the window and get into a race car, then fit into the seat especially with some of the safety equipment that most wisely use now. And those drivers are somewhat lighter than me. One more reason to worry about getting out of the race car when it is rolled on its top.

Anyway, I have plenty of reasons to sit in the grandstands and admire the courage and talent of real racers. Still, I have this nagging itch of shedding some pounds-which I absolutely without question must do according to my physician-and go back to the Mike Duvall Racing School. I visited the school a few years back to do an article for Dirt Late Model, but never climbed into a car. Maybe a private tutoring session, or go with Matt. Ah, the Don Quixote in me is acting up again, to dream the impossible dream. I’ll add this to my “Bucket List When I Win The Lottery.”

Thanks for stopping by.

Categories: December 2011

Blogging Block, Crash Test Dummy, Clearing My Mind-Back Turned Towards The Sun

December 20, 2011 4 comments

I apologize to all of you for being derelict in my writing duties lately.  I am suffering from an interesting malady known as blogger’s block.  While there must be a thousand racing topics I could write about, as I type of this I can’t think of one.  It is not my first bout with this illness, and it won’t be my last.  I wish there was a shot I could take to cure what ails me.  Anyway, I am open to suggestions on what to write about in the coming weeks-yes, even from you Randy.

 

And speaking of Randy Palmer, I watched a video of several crash tests of a sprint car.  I don’t want to say the crash test dummy reminded me of a certainLincolnresident, but I have to say it anyway.  Watch the video and see if you agree.  Thanks to Craig Kelley for forwarding the link: 

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

Here is a comment from a reader named Andrew Taylor:  “First off I would like to say awesome blog! I had a quick question in which Id like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing. I’ve had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Thanks!”

Andrew-thank you for your kind comment.  As far as clearing my head to write, many of my friends would suggest I have no difficulty as my head is mostly empty.  Right now I am having a terrible time writing anything.  Other times I can do a 500 word blog in 15 minutes.  I wish I knew the why behind each because I would never lapse into a blog coma, I would write quickly with good content.

Another person asked me who I paid to write my blog.  I think Anville went to a lot of trouble to try to disguise himself on that. I don’t pay anyone.  I can’t even afford to pay myself for blogging.

Thank you for stopping by. Only five shopping days left to send me some blog ideas.

Some Questions For NASCAR In 2012

December 15, 2011 5 comments

Being a multi-tasker, I was working on sales tax reports yesterday, while pondering the answers of many questions surrounding the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

For example, will Carl Edwards be a strong competitor for the 2012 championship or will he do a Denny Hamlin and fizzle next year instead of sizzle after a tough championship loss in 2011?  I have to admit I would enjoy seeing him do a Hamlin, but I expect Edwards to strongly compete for the 2012 Sprint Cup crown.

Will Tony Stewart win back to back championships?  My gut feeling is no.  And Tony and I both know plenty about guts.  I am certain Stewart will make the Chase, maybe even finish in the top five, I just don’t think it will be a repeat for the driver of the 14 car.

Will Jimmie Johnson regain championship form?  I am as big a fan of Johnson as I am of Carl Edwards, so I hope not.  I like Johnson’s crew chief Chad Knaus even less.  Unfortunately, I see them as being not just a contender, but a major player in the Chase.

Will Darrell Waltrip retire his idiotic tag line?  I am praying he does, but I doubt he will. 

Will Kurt Busch find a Sprint Cup ride in 2012?  There are rumors that he might become part of the Petty team.  Maybe Kurt’s brother Kyle can hire him to run in the Nationwide or Camping World Series.

Will Kyle Busch manage to keep his Joe Gibbs ride in 2012?  I have no doubt that both M & M’s and Gibbs have told Busch “no more,” but can Kyle go an entire season without a Busch league stunt? 

Will 2012 be the year Dale Earnhardt Jr. actually wins another Sprint Cup point race?  I wish he would.  Honestly, I do.  The young man is saddled with a legend’s name AND a legion of idiotic fans.  I don’t foresee a win in 2012 for the 88 team though.

Will Kasey Kahne’s move to Hendrick Racing make him a contender?  I think so.  I could see Kahne, Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Earnhardt Jr. all in the 2012 Chase.

Will Danica Patrick qualify for any Sprint Cup race?  While she may actually qualify for a race or two, when there are 42 other cars on the track with her, I don’t look for glowing results from Patrick in her part-time Stewart-Haas ride.

Will Daytona and Talladega remain two car tag team matches?  NASCAR suggests not, and we all know how credible NASCAR is.

Will fans fill NASCAR tracks in 2012?  A Sprint Cup date used to be the equivalent of being able to print money, but it has not been for some time.  While economists suggest the US economy is improving, I don’t think it has improved enough for fans to fill all the not so cheap seats at Sprint Cup races in 2012.

Will NASCAR TV ratings continue to build on end of 2011 success?  That all depends on the product.  No other sporting event loses out on action like NASCAR does during commercials.  I would like to see fewer commercial breaks and fewer commercials during the breaks, but I would also like to win the Powerball lottery tonight, and the odds of that are probably better than the odds of fewer commercials during NASCAR breaks.  Still, if NASCAR could string 3-4 early season races that could actually be defined as racy, I think ratings could improve.

Finally, will the dynamic duo, Bruton and Humpy see a NASCAR event live in 2012?  I don’t know about a Sprint Cup race, but one of us does work for an agency that sells Nationwide Insurance, so maybe a Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway is a possibility.  I hope so.

So, what do you think about NASCAR in 2012?  Don’t all answer at once.

Thanks for stopping by.

Categories: Uncategorized