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I Was Kidnapped By 305 Sprint Car Fans, And Taken To Melbourne, Florida Where I Was Tortured In Ways No One Wants To Be

February 28, 2014 1 comment

Yes, I have been missing in action the past few days. The dog ate my homework. I was mugged. Aliens kidnapped me. Worse-305 sprint car fans kidnapped me, never letting me sleeping, forcing me to watch videos of their races 24 hours a day. I just got back from Melbourne, Australia. I was daydreaming of Melbourne, Florida. There wasn’t much going on in the racing world. I didn’t feel like writing.

Several of the above are true. You will have to decide for yourself which ones.

Speaking of Melbourne, Florida, no one wins a free trip there on me. The publication I asked about was The Sporting News. For 122 years it mainly covered baseball. I subscribed to the paper when I was 10-11-12, and read it cover to cover each week. It had a great influence on my desire to write about sports.

Several guessed National Speed Sport News. No, Chris Economaki was not around in the late 1800’s. Actually the first horseless carriage race took place around 1893, so I suppose an auto racing magazine could have evolved around then. None did, but it could have happened. Anyway, no winners.

Actually, even I don’t get to go to Melbourne, Florida. Darn, I really wanted to go. I knew a lot about The Sporting News, but couldn’t remember exactly when it started publication. So, yes, I Googled it and that was against the rules.

I wish that someone had all 122 years of the publication on CD’s. I could spend my dotage reading week after week, season after season of baseball-I would become the Lee Ackerman of baseball. I would also play APBA on the computer. I must be getting really old, wanting to relive my youth. You will have to Google ‘APBA’ if you want to know more about it.

Below is a link for the few of you who may not have watched the new Jeff Gordon Pepsi Max video. It is hilarious. Jeff Gordon cussing is a hoot. That ought to gain him some redneck points. I did not feel sorry for the other guy in the video; though I am sure I would be doing what he did or worse. Actually I hoped to have that kind of experience when Matt and I went to the Mike Duvall Racing School at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, NC, but rain delayed the real drivers getting on the track that day so we never got in the race car. Maybe some day. Anyway, the Gordon video really is worth a look:

The NDRL is at East Alabama Speedway this weekend. I thought there was going to be a PPV on http://www.DirtonDirt.com or XSANTV, but if there is I can’t find any information.

The USMTS mods are in Las Cruces, New Mexico tonight and tomorrow for the 20th Annual Winter Meltdown. There will be PPV’s of each night-go to the USMTS site for information. The USMTS raced at Southern New Mexico Speedway last night too, with hometown driver Fito Gallardo besting Osceola, Nebraska’s Dylan Smith. Terry Phillips was third, Jake Gallardo was 4th, and Beatrice, Nebraska’s Jordan Grabouski was 5th.

Finally, this isn’t about racing, but I am pleased and proud that the Fremont High School girls basketball team will be playing in the state tournament at the new Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln next week. The Tigers are the 4th seed in the tournament and it appears they will be playing Millard West in an opening round game. I hate to see rematches, and Fremont beat Millard West by 15 in Fremont. A neutral court and a rematch will be tough. But Fremont happens to have the best player in Nebraska and her supporting class has been playing good the last few games.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Earnhardt Jr. Not Championship Favorite-I’m Not Lying

February 25, 2014 6 comments

A prominent journalist had an interesting article on a certain motorsports website today. I can say prominent because this writer is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association, and it is my understanding that I am the only NMPA member who is not a prominent journalist. That was meant as a denigrating remark to me, not a brag. Anyway, I won’t mention his name and I won’t mention the site-well, here is a clue if you are old like me. This site was once a print publication that went strictly digital in 2013. Prior to that it was a monthly magazine. Before that it was a biweekly magazine. And for 122 years before it became a magazine, it was a weekly newspaper, mainly covering one sport. I will be shocked if more than a handful of you can guess the name without Googling it. So shocked that I will offer a free trip to Melbourne, Florida to the first person who can correctly identify the publication/site-AND convince me they did not use Google.

Anyway, this prominent journalist wrote an article titled: “Checkered flag at Daytona does not make Earnhardt Jr. Championship favorite.” Really? Ain’t that a shock? With one race down and 35 to go, the 88 car isn’t the favorite? Amazing.

OK, I know these guys have to come up with so many words a day and that isn’t as easy as it sounds. But sometimes these people make less sense than me, and even my newest readers understand that occasionally my passion takes over and I put myself out on a limb with a saw in hand (however just because it appears I make no sense doesn’t mean I am wrong). Why even write the “Earnhardt Jr. isn’t a favorite article?” Everyone but Junior Nation members understand that, and even after he is mathematically eliminated from championship contention year after year, they still believe he will be annointed king of NASCAR’s most important division.

With 25 races before The Chase, lots of bad things can happen. Think of Denny Hamlin’s compression fracture last year that kept him out of the car for weeks and eliminated him from championship contention. For that matter, think of Earnhardt’s concussions several years ago that sat him for several races. Such unfortunate happenings could keep the 88 out of The Chase even under the new format.

And even if the 88 makes The Chase, even if he would win the first two races of The Chase, pundits still shouldn’t name him or anyone else a favorite. Remember how Matt Kenseth was crowned Sprint Cup Champion by the media after just two Chase races last year, and where did he finish in the championship? So, no, Earnhardt Jr. isn’t the favorite. Not even Jimmie Johnson is the favorite so early in the season. I think Earnhardt Jr. will do well this season. Maybe it will finally be his championship season. Or maybe not. Just give some NASCAR fans credit for having half of a brain.

Now if the NASCAR writers want something to waste our time with, talk about shortening all but a handful of races-the Daytona 500, the Southern 500 at Darlington, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, and the Bristol night race-to a number of miles or laps that can be readily completed in 3 hours. Add a pre-race show of 20 minutes and a post-race show of 10 minutes and you have a TV package completed in about the same time as a football game. This would be for the casual fan.

There could still be hours and hours and hours of Sprint Cup pre-race shows on the oddball networks so the hard core can find out if Junior has a hang nail, what Chad Knaus eats for breakfast, if Ricky Stenhouse is in Danica’s dog house, etc. Would this help with ratings? I don’t know. It wouldn’t hurt them. I got the above in an email from someone I always thought was smarter than 99% of promoters and after last week who I know is smarter than 99% of promoters, so I figured I should use it.

It was not easy coming up with 700 words today.

Thanks for stopping by.

Daytona 500 is NASCAR Sprint Cup’s Version Of The Silver Dollar Nationals

February 24, 2014 1 comment

Yes, the title was just a sleazy way of pushing up my numbers for the day. I am so ashamed.

One member of my family calls Dale Earnhardt Jr. “a nice young man,” and was happy to see him win the Daytona 500 last night. No, I don’t talk like that-and it wasn’t Matt either. Still, I was happy to see the 88 car cross the Daytona International finish line first. With his name he carries a burden few people could, and at least for the next few months this will end the constant speculation about when he will win another race. Plus, the way the “new” Chase is set up he very likely has garnered a spot in NASCAR’s run to the Sprint Cup Championship. And, it was the one race that every driver wants to win.

I enjoyed the genuine joy Earnhardt Jr. showed after winning the race, plus his finish meant no one from Roush-Fenway Racing won, nor did anyone named Keselowski. I am what I am and no one ever said TRODT was unbiased. I like side by side racing, and last night it was often side by side by side-three wide racing. No complaints from me there, nor was there a shortage of lead changes during the race. NASCAR had to be happy because the fan favorite won the race and that should spike ticket sales for the coming races, and increase TV ratings too. Like me, they had to be pleased with the side by side racing and lead changes, but unlike me, I suspect they weren’t terribly unhappy with the number of multi-car crashes in the 500 since no one was hurt. Rednecks like crashes.

There are times I wonder if the world’s greatest drivers aren’t unlike 43 rednecks racing to the liquor store for a cold 12-pack of Bud Light, but restrictor plate racing bunches the field and if one driver makes even a tiny mistake, it likely means 5-6 or more cars go careening across the track, tires smoking, sparks flying. Like I said above, I don’t particularly like crashes and seeing hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment torn up, but it is going to be a part of Daytona and Talladega until other rules are devised.

The only real complaint I have about the wrecks last night was there was no SAFER barrier where Danica Patrick’s car hit the wall hard. Because of improved in-car safety she was able to walk away from a terrible hit. Ten years ago I am not so sure she would have. I am trying to figure out a reason why this of all tracks does not have the SAFER barrier around every foot of walls. Yes it is expensive, but what would it mean to spend to make the track safer? That some member of the France family would have to do without a new jet this year? Come on.

Random thoughts:
-I enjoyed Matt Kenseth’s Blues Brothers act, spinning into his pit backwards on an early stop. I did not enjoy his incessant whining about his car, especially when it happens every week, and especially when he seems to almost always end up near the front at the end of the race.

-I try not to agree with FOX announcer Darrell Waltrip, but he was right about Earnhardt Jr. and Crew Chief Steve Letarte doing special things in Letarte’s last year with the 88 car. Letarte moving on has to be big motivation for both him and Earnhardt Jr. to work even harder than they have in the past, and the old cliché is “success breeds success.

-I am not a great Denny Hamlin fan, but his performance the entire Speedweeks serves notice he intends to be a force in this year’s Sprint Cup Series.

-I always enjoy Jeff Gordon doing well. There is simply no better spokesman for NASCAR than the driver of the 24 car, and I think the work of the Jeff Gordon Foundation is simply outstanding. Gordon finished 4th, a nice start for the season.

-It was a tough night for Tony Stewart. Even though his race ended because of mechanical issues, I don’t think he is back to the Stewart everyone saw before his serious sprint car crash in Iowa last year. I hope he is back in stride sooner rather than later because NASCAR needs not just his attitude, but his car up front in races.

-Perhaps it was just me, but Austin Dillon seemed to be near a lot of the on track carnage last night. I am not saying he caused all of it or any of it, but I am also not saying he didn’t cause some of it. Maybe someone smarter than me can make that determination. It did seem like he had a bubble around the car protecting him-I thought there were three times when cars were wrecking all around him, and his car escaped with no damage. Dillon finished 9th.

-Finally, Matt emailed me and suggested that the Daytona 500 be run at night every year. The 160 laps run at night were much better than the 40 that were run before the rain delay. That is a good idea, but knowing NASCAR it will never happen.

Thanks for stopping by.

Florida-NW And SE Of Melbourne; Texas, And NASCAR Hall Of Fame

February 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Last night’s winner at Volusia was no stranger to victory lane during the 2014 Florida Speedweeks. It was Mother Nature. The race won’t be rescheduled, but tonight’s WoO late model race is still on. You can watch in on a http://www.DirtonDirt.com PPV starting at about 4:50 p.m. Central Time.

I did watch some racing last night on XSANTV, switching from 360 sprints at East Bay Raceway Park to the IMCA Icebreaker at Abilene Speedway in Texas. I can now reveal for the first time that I prefer sprint cars over B mods. Maybe I have said that before. Instead of torturing terrorists with waterboarding, force them to watch B mod races 24/7. Anyone would break under that. When the Southern Sports Mods were running in Abilene I switched back to the East Bay coverage. Both tracks are on XSANTV tonight.

XSANTV has 9 dirt track shows scheduled for March, 6 more in April, 6 in May, 2 in June, 9 in July, 1 in August, 8 in September, and 9 in October. That is 50 shows announced. Many other shows will be announced in the near future. I am still of the opinion that a mid-May to mid-November six month subscription to XSANTV is a good buy.

34 USMTS mods were on hand at El Paso Speedway Park last night. Las Cruces, New Mexico is called hometown by three of the top five finishers in the A feature-Johnny Scott won the race, his brother Stormy was 3rd, and Fito Gallardo ended up 5th. 2013 USMTS Champion Rodney Sanders finished 2nd and veteran Terry Phillips was 4th. The hot rod mods race again tonight in El Paso and you can order a PPV from http://www.RacinDirt.tv for $21.95.

The NCRA announced its 2014 schedule. The series has 11 dates, 5 which are co-sanctioned with either MARS or MLRA. I can’t say I am much of a fan of this series, and never really have been. It is by far the weakest of the Midwest tours, and if it went away I am not sure it would be missed. Junction Motor Speedway is hosting an NCRA stand alone event on July 12th and an MLRA/NCRA weekend on August 8th and 9th. Perhaps the August 9th race will go on the Meyer family schedule, but we’ll take a pass on the rest.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame announced 20 nominees for its Class of 2015. Buddy Baker, Red Byron, Richard Childress, Jerry Cook, Bill Elliott, Ray Fox, Rick Hendrick, Bobby Isaac, Terry Labonte, Fred Lorenzen, Raymond Parks, Benny Parsons, Larry Phillips, Wendell Scott, Bruton Smith, Mike Stefanik, Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly, Rex White, and Robert Yates were nominated. I believe five will be inducted. All are worthy and some day should be enshrined. If I had a vote-I don’t-my ballot would read: Jerry Cook, Fred Lorenzen, Benny Parsons, Larry Phillips, and Curtis Turner.

Cook was a six time NASCAR modified champion, and many of the drivers he raced and beat ought to be in the Hall of Fame as well. Fred Lorenzen was one of my early NASCAR heroes. He didn’t have a long career, but he was outstanding in the years he did race, and was a Daytona 500 winner. Benny Parsons was the 1973 NASCAR champion and won the 1975 Daytona 500. He was a great TV commentator as well-better than 99% of what we put up with today. Plus, he was Ron Meyer nice. Larry Phillips was a five-time weekly series champion and to me, more than premier series drivers need to be in the HoF. Curtis Turner was one of the early wild men of stock car racing. His nomination called Turner a “personality,” and the “Babe Ruth of NASCAR.” How can you keep a Babe Ruth out of any Hall of Fame?

I will be surprised if more than two of my picks are part of the 2015 HoF class. As I said before, all of the nominees are deserving, and I suspect Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte will get the nod. Bruton Smith built Charlotte Motor Speedway and owns about half of the track the NASCAR Sprint Cup series races on. Mike Stefanik has NASCAR championship rings for every finger but his left thumb. How can you keep Rick Hendrick out? Like I said, if more than two of my picks are in, I will be surprised.

I am reading a book about sportswriter Frank Deford who said “the feelings a writer has about his subject determines how easy the writing is.” 750 words on a Saturday in February might explain my feelings.

Thanks for stopping by.

Volusia, East Bay, And Daytona 2014 AND 2015

February 21, 2014 1 comment

Congratulations to Georgian Casey Roberts on winning the WoO feature at Volusia Speedway Park last night. Although Roberts is a good regional racer, he is the 3rd unlikely victor in four nights of racing at the Florida track. Scott Bloomquist backed up his Wednesday first place finish with a second last night. Bloomquist was followed by Dale McDowell, John Blankenship, and Gregg Satterlee. 45 late models were on hand.

After switching between the NU basketball game and the first of the Daytona Twin 150’s, I decided to log on XSANTV and watch some sprint car action. You know me; I am a die hard winged-wonder fan. The Florida mini-sprints were just rolling onto the East Bay Raceway Park track. I should have been realized something was amiss when the announcer said the feature would be either 25 laps or 25 minutes, whichever came first.

Now I have always thought 305 sprints were the B-mods of open wheeled racing, and I guess they are in the Midwest. Back east the
4-cylinder sprint cars can claim that dubious honor. They did not manage to complete a lap before the first caution flag flew, and there were plenty of yellow flags the rest of the race. Plus the race took more than the 25 minutes allotted. By the time it was the mini-sprints feature was complete so was my patience for watching open wheeled action. Maybe these drivers will do better tonight.

Joe Gibbs Racing looked strong at Daytona last night with both Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin winning 150 mile races. Kenseth’s career was reborn after his move to JGR last year, and Hamlin has shown early that he intends to be a player in this year’s Sprint Cup championship. Kenseth and Hamlin will start 3rd and 4th in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

Two drivers with bad luck last night were Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson. Harvick finished 2nd to Kenseth in their 150 miler, but he was DQ’ed in post race tech, moving him from 5th on Sunday’s starting grid to 38th. In yesterday’s Omaha World-Herald sports, Johnson stated his goal in last night’s race was to finish unscathed. He did not reach his goal. Johnson ran out of gas on the last lap of the race and was hit by Jamie McMurray, starting a multi-car melee. Johnson will start 32nd in NASCAR’s Super Bowl.

With the exception of the unfortunate Johnson-and that team does not usually make a mistake like running out of fuel-the Hendrick Racing Team had a very good night. Kasey Kahne will start 5th, Jeff Gordon will start 6th, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 9th in the 500. A team that did not have a good night was Roush-Fenway Racing. And doesn’t that break my heart? No, not really. I looked and looked and looked on the list of qualifiers for the Daytona 500 and finally found Greg Biffle starting 25th. Carl Edwards is starting 30th, and Ricky Stenhouse will start on the outside of row 17 in the 34th starting spot, seven spots behind girlfriend Danica Patrick.

Eight former Sprint Cup champions will start the race, which is not a big story. What is a big story are all the unlikely drivers starting in the Top 30 on Sunday. Austin Dillon on the pole is joined by Josh Wise starting 11th, Brian Scott starting 12th, and Landon Cassill starting 18th. Add Cole Whitt in 23rd and Alex Bowman in 29th to the list.

Drivers like Johnson and Harvick should be able to draft to the front, but the problem with starting far back in the race is being mixed in among inexperienced drivers which adds to the possibility of being involved in the “big one.” Looking at the line-up and factoring in how many crashes have already occurred in Speedweeks, I am predicting a big wreck in the first 50 laps, and another one in the last 10 laps. I know who I want to win, but will not curse him with the TRODT jinx, so I’ll pick Denny Hamlin to win.

I received an email last night from my friend Tony Anville, stating he would like to go to the Daytona 500 next year. I don’t like to admit he ever has a good idea, but I think he does this time. I would like to go with a group of guys, fly into Orlando early on Thursday, go to the Twin 150’s, and the Daytona 500 for sure, go to a couple nights racing at Volusia. Tony is more anti-social than me, yes there are people who are more anti-social than me, but he is also major cheap, so perhaps he wouldn’t mind traveling with a group that would help pay for hotel and vehicle. We could stay in Orlando (or Melbourne) where the rates are only outrageous, not obscene like in the Daytona area. I would get serious about this if 4-5 others would.

Thanks for stopping by.

Numbers, Kudos, Boom And Bloomer, Sprints, Wanderlust

February 20, 2014 1 comment

Being a numbers person, I enjoy the Georgia-Florida Speedweeks stats on http://www.DirtonDirt.com. From race results to a driver roster showing best finishes and earnings, this is an interesting reference. I will definitely use it to help me with my post-Florida Top 25 pick for the site. And no I am not going to tell you more-subscribe. Even an Auburn auditor, the cheapest person I know, has subscribed.

Kudos to Delaware driver Kenny Pettyjohn. Pettyjohn won a WoO feature at Volusia Speedway Park several nights ago, a commendable feat, but the kudos come for what he is doing with his Speedweeks winnings. He is donating all of his winnings to the Wounded Warriors Project. Through last night that total is close to $13,500.

I’ll probably hear from Boom Briggs about putting the TROTD jinx on him last night. Although I was trying to be ironic-yes, I do know most of you define me being ironic as smart-ass, my pick for him to win last night’s WoO show might have hurt his performance. He finished 7th in his heat, and 11th and last in his consolation race.

Scott Bloomquist was last night’s Volusia late model winner. The zero car finishing first is never a surprise. Bloomquist was followed by Dale McDowell, Eric Wells, Darrell Lanigan, and Billy Moyer. There were 42 late models on hand, and looking over the results, anyone of 24 different drivers could win a feature the next few nights and I would not be surprised.

Over 50 360 sprint cars practiced at East Bay Raceway Park last night, with racing scheduled to begin tonight at the Tampa track. Drivers like Greg Hodnett, Christopher Bell, Rico Abreu, David Gravel, Terry McCarl, Chad Kemenah, and the Ocala Ogre Danny Lasoski are on hand with their push to start vehicles. The East Bay shows can be seen on XSANTV. That should please Randy Palmer.

Speaking of my good friend, I received this comment on yesterday’s post:

“I’m truly happy for you and your ah-ha moment. As a friend, I must say this is overdue and of course it took something to do with Lincoln to make you smarter. I look forward to seeing the “new you” some time this summer. You may not recognize me, as I’ve lost considerable weight in 2013 and I’m continuing to exercise 3-4 times per week as I still have some eligibility left for the Husker football team. They could use a fast and aggressive linebacker like me!”

Remember, good is a relative term, and it has nothing to do with his behavior. And, I will still recognize you Randy-no one else in auto racing has the nerve to wear the head gear you wear. OK, former F1 champion Jackie Stewart did, maybe still does wear what you do. They called him the ‘Flying Scot.’ They call you the ‘Flying ??”

I have mentioned Melbourne, Australia and Melbourne, Florida often in recent posts and I think I will continue. Call it the way my mind works. If you really need a reason though, well, highs in the Australian city will be in the 70’s this week. I really would not have had to Google the Florida city about weather because Melbourne is near Orlando which is not far from Daytona which is close to Volusia Speedway Park and the weather at VSP was 80 degrees yesterday. It happens to be snowing here and the streets are a sloppy mess. Snow or warm weather?

Even though I didn’t have to, I Googled Melbourne, Florida to check on the temps. The first site to pop up was “Retire in Melbourne.” Retire there? What a wonderful thought that is-the only blizzards there are at the local Dairy Queen. Anyone care for a malt? The number you get when you subtract the year I was born from 2014 suggests I am close to retirement. The number in my 401(K) laughs at that suggestion. Still, a condo there for visits like during Speedweeks and whenever I felt like it would be nice.

I ramble. This all came about because last night was Senior Night for the Midland University Women’s basketball team-the men have at least one more home game, maybe two during the conference tournament. Anyway, there is a girl from Australia on the women’s team. Obviously even Down Under they know that Midland is known as the Stanford of the Prairie. I did not realize it, but she is from Melbourne. Her parents were at last night’s game, and it hit me that if people can travel from Melbourne, Australia to Fremont, Nebraska, people could do it in reverse. Of course coach fare to Australia isn’t cheap and it would take me winning the lottery or getting a shylock loan from Tony Anville to fly first class there. Guess I will just have to focus on Chicago this year.

Enough already. This is what you get when there isn’t enough racing going on. Thanks for stopping by.

Drive-In Theaters, An Ohio Grosse, Aha, And Pettyjohn At Volusia

February 19, 2014 1 comment

I enjoyed the following link sent by Tom McLaughlin. It is about one dinosaur bringing back to life another dinosaur, all in the name of cash flow. I hope it works out for Elko Speedway.

http://www.startribune.com/local/south/245881551.html

I have many fond memories of the Fremont Drive-In Theater from my much, much younger days. We would pop up a grocery sack of popcorn, my dad would fill a cooler with pop, and we would head west to the big screen just off Highway 30. My brother and I would play on playground equipment until the cartoons started, and then run back to our old ’50 Chevy. If we got restless, we would climb out of the car and lay on the roof. We would do that 3-4 times each summer, and it was always a big deal.

Later I worked in the concession stand at the drive-in one summer. My job was cooking hamburgers, boiling hot dogs, putting pizza in the oven, popping popcorn, but mostly goofing off except during intermission. I was working three jobs right before the start of my freshman year in college, and this was the most fun job. I am sure it only paid minimum wage, but the fringe benefits were eating all the popcorn and drinking all the fountain Coca-Cola I wanted, and of course when my shift was over, drinking beer in the relative safety of the drive-in lot.

A farm equipment dealer now owns the land where thousands of Fremonters were once entertained. Just like losing Sunset Speedway, I would not call losing the Fremont Drive-In Theater progress.

I hope I am wrong, but my thinking is that the demise of drive-in theaters will be mirrored by the demise of dirt tracks a few decades down the road. Why bother with the heat and the dust when you can be entertained in so many different ways from your air-conditioned home?

Several interesting events happened to me yesterday. Well, one was interesting, the other life changing. I heard from an Ohio late model driver who wanted to tell me his story, plus I had an ‘aha’ moment during Fremont girls loss to unranked Lincoln Southeast last night-and no, it wasn’t “wow, we are really playing crappy tonight.”

I got an email yesterday from Tony Logan. Logan is a veteran driver from Ohio who has been racing for years without a great deal of success. For my Midwest readers think Alonzo Grosse, which I did right away because Logan’s number is 44. For anyone else think Ivedent Lloyd Jr. without a funny name. Anyway last fall Logan hit the Ohio lottery in a big way winning a $100,000 prize. Like any other driver he decided to blow it, ‘er invest it in his racing program. He had raced with used equipment throughout his career, so he purchased a brand new Rocket chassis, and a new engine from Clements Racing Engines-the engine supplier of Hall of Famer Billy Moyer.

Logan and his team (his brother in-law and his best friend from high school days) worked hard over the winter and were ready to race at the Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park near Tampa. Unfortunately Logan never made it to Tampa. Logan spent his money on the race car, not on a hauler. Ala Gary Webb he tows his brand new car behind an 8 year old pick-up and on an open trailer.

The Logan bunch stopped at a hotel in eastern Tennessee on the way to Tampa. About 3:00 a.m. they were wakened by a pounding on their door. It was the desk clerk and he told Logan he needed to come right away, the police were by his vehicle.

Here is where the story takes a tragic turn. Not only had a thief stole all four tires off the race car and a variety of parts as well, but the perpetrator also tried to torch Logan’s pick-up. The thief wasn’t as good at this as stealing parts, but repairs were needed, meaning Logan could not reach Tampa in time to race. After sitting in a Tennessee motel for three days, Logan and crew headed back to Ohio to regroup for the coming season. As of right now Logan plans on racing in the season opening special at Brownstown, Indiana. I’ll keep you informed of how he does this year.

My ‘aha’ moment came at the Fremont girls basketball game while I was sitting there irritated at how badly this very good team was playing. For months-years-decades-I have wanted and needed to make changes in my life. In the past this has been a hit and miss proposition, mostly miss. I need to lose weight, eat better, exercise more often, take a teaspoon of olive oil everyday, drink lots of water, and quit whining about my left knee. Of course thinking it and doing it are two different things-sort of like Tony Anville saying he is going to quit eating cookies and actually quitting.

Anyway, I figured I needed a reward for me to push like I have not pushed in the past. My ‘aha’ moment was the reward, checking off an item on my bucket list. Not racing, I know, but I am throwing this out to all of you so you will keep me moving in the right direction if I falter. My reward is going to a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field. I have wanted to do this for years, and when I checked the Cubs schedule they have a home game against the Dodgers just after my birthday in September, and a new and improved Ron is going. I would call it a life changing event. When some of you see me in April at the I-80 Speedway opener, you will already see a different me. By the Silver Dollar Nationals you will barely recognize me. By Labor Day you’ll be asking Matt who the guy sitting by him is. Like the Pointer Sisters sang, “I’m so excited.”

What made this happen now. Well three things actually, two of which I’ll keep to myself. The other happened Monday night when I was visiting one Henry Ross Meyer. We were watching Word Girl on PBS-hey, it is a lot better than watching Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds on Fox-and one segment is “favorite words.” Matt asked Henry what his favorite word was and he said ‘Grandpa.’ Talk about a choke up moment. Anyway, I need to watch this kid grow up and that means changes.

I made fun of Matt yesterday for his invitation to hang out in Daytona. I got an email from someone asking me if I ever got an invite like that, basically chastising Matt for his offer. I said no, but I guess I have. My writer friends from Pennsylvania and Maryland asked me to go to the ASJA Conference in New York City in April because it had been several years since we last got together. My friend Russ even offered to share his hotel room at the Roosevelt Hotel “if his girlfriend did not come along.” I had to say no.

Actually, I am holding out for an offer from someone in Melbourne, Australia or Melbourne, Florida, or maybe an offer from someone in Florida to go to Australia or someone in Australia to go to Florida. The racing is done in Australia, and almost done in Florida though. Maybe 2015 will be my lucky year.

Oh, Kenny Pettyjohn won the WoO late model race at Volusia Speedway Park last night, making it two for two for surprising victors. My money is on Boom Briggs to make three for three tonight.

Thanks for stopping by.