Archive for May, 2015

National Sprint League, How I Would Waste Money If I Had Some, NASCAR, And Park Jefferson International Speedway

May 29, 2015 2 comments

I watched part of the National Sprint League show from St. Francois County Raceway in Farmington, Missouri last night.  The track runs downhill on the front stretch and uphill on the back stretch, and seemed very difficult for most of the sprint car drivers to get a handle on. That is a surprise because many of the NSL regulars have raced there in the past, plus the track features 410 sprints in its weekly show. I’ve seen plenty of sprint car wheelies before, though never that many in one night, and those last night were bizarre with the right front wheel lifting well off the ground, while the left front stayed in place and the car came close to flipping.

Danny Lasoski was first to time trial and was one of four cars to break the old track record.  I honestly do not get why sprint car fans love time trials.  There were 41 sprints on hand last night and each ran four laps in time trials-a warm-up lap, a timed lap, an untimed lap, and a second timed lap.  If my calculator got it right, that is 164 laps of time trials, 164 laps of one car on the track.  That isn’t racing to me.

Lasoski barely transferred out of his heat, but transfer he did, and ended up winning the feature as well, the first NSL driver to repeat a feature win.  One interesting facet of NSL events is there are no provisionals.  A driver either qualifies through his heat or a B-feature, or he goes home.  Many times I have wished that would be the case when attending MLRA late model races, and I won’t even start on how many provisional starters there are in the Silver Dollar Nationals feature.  Anyway two thumbs up for the NSL on no provisionals.

The series heads to Randolph County Raceway in Moberly, Missouri tonight, and that race can be seen on a Speed Shift TV PPV as well.

I have to admit I am not a big SUV fan, but if I ever win the lottery that might change in 2018.  See below:

I say if I ever win the lottery, because I assume a Lamborghini SUV would cost in the mid-six figures.

If I win the lottery, I would own my own race team too.  Not a NASCAR team, a dirt late model team.  Before I did anything else, I would talk with Brian Birkhofer and try to hire him as my driver. He could drive as many races as he wanted, or as few as he wanted. I would guarantee him a 12 month salary against winnings.  He would earn at least as much as the salary, but if his share of the winnings was greater, he would get that too.  He could choose the chassis he wanted, the engine he wanted, and everything from the hauler and trailer to shop tools would be first class.

I would hire two full-time employees and maybe a few part-timers as well, paying them better than anyone else in the business.  If Birkhofer wanted the shop in Muscatine, that is where it would be.  If not, it would be wherever the crew chief wanted.  Oh, and Birky would be the person who chose the crew. After that, all I would do is write checks and go to a few races.  Since I have never been one to watch from the pits, I would still watch from the grandstands.

Of course all of this would hinge on Birkhofer wanting to race again.  I figure with him at the wheel, the winnings and sponsor dollars would be enough that I would only lose a bunch of money on this hobby, not a whole bunch of money.

Sporting News NASCAR News had an article on drivers who have disappointed in 2015.  Obviously Tony Stewart would be at the top of the list, though I doubt that we will ever again see the Stewart who beat Carl Edwards for the 2011 Sprint Cup championship.  Until last weekend, Edwards would have been second on the most disappointing drivers this season.  Nothing like a win to salve the bad feelings.  Many observers believed, perhaps still believe, that Kyle Larson will be a winner in 2015.  He hasn’t really looked like a winner yet.  And for some reason, others call the performance of Roush Fenway Racing disappointing.  I call it “just what you would expect.”

Actually, even though he is in the top ten in Sprint Cup points, I am somewhat disappointed in Jeff Gordon this season.  When he announced his retirement, I thought it would be the #24 that blitzed the stock car world.  Instead, it has been the #4 of Kevin Harvick.  Now I am just hoping for a win for Gordon in one of the next 14 races so he can qualify for The Chase and one last shot at a championship.

Jimmie Johnson may win the pole for the Dover race, but he will not be able to choose the best pit stall if he does.  As a result of a P-1 penalty for receiving written warnings two races in a row, Johnson will pick last in whatever qualifying group he finishes in-i.e. if he claims the pole, he would only get the final group choice-the 12th choice for a pit stall.  As good as Johnson is at Dover (he is going after his 10th Delaware win), it is not a bad thing to handicap him.

Johnson and Harvick are listed as 7-2 favorites by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. Brad Keselowski is shown as 6-1.  Denny Hamlin is listed as 18-1, though that is only if he does not get a migraine or a stiff neck.

And if you wonder why the Monaco Grand Prix is also on my win the lottery bucket list, check out the photos in the link below.  No, not the photos of the rich and the doofuses-yes, that is the plural of doofus, rather the race scenes.

I would love to sit on a docked yacht watching the race, but not one venturing into the Mediterranean Sea after the race. I almost got seasick on a tour of San Francisco Bay several years ago.  Hey, it was constant whitecaps that day and I am a landlubber.

Flying time from Monaco to Charlotte is 9 hours 22 minutes via private jet. Helicopter from a hotel roof to the airport where the plane is waiting, engines started, ready to roll as soon as I board. Helicopter to the track from the Charlotte airport.  Oh heck, I forgot about customs. I suppose that would make it too much time to be able to watch both races at the track in the same day. If such thoughts seem a little whacky, well, I have been dealing with auditors for a month, just like every May.  For those of you who know Tony Anville, picture someone just like him pestering you for weeks. You would be crazy too.

Forecast for Sioux City, Iowa and South Sioux City, Nebraska and North Sioux City, South Dakota say 90% chance of rain today, though tomorrow should be bright and sunny.  I would be sad if I only got to go to Park Jefferson INTERNATIONAL Speedway once this weekend.

Thanks for stopping by.










So “Tired” Plus Plenty Of News

May 28, 2015 Leave a comment

Check out the link below to an article on front tire changer for Jeff Gordon, former NFL football player Dion Williams. That is how NASCAR Sprint Cup teams go about getting 12 second, four tire pit stops. Maybe Williams could put out a fitness video, “Train Like a NASCAR Tire Carrier.” And I don’t mean that sarcastic.

I just started reading the biography of Curtis Turner and discovered he once raced with broken ribs.  I wonder if Denny Hamlin would race with a broken fingernail. I do mean that sarcastic.

My Friend Tony Anville was quick to point out to me that Greg Biffle finished second in Saturday’s Coca-Cola 600, his best finish in 37 races, i.e. over a year. How quick?  The checkered flag had been flying for about 10 seconds when I got an email from him. The top five finish raised Biffle to 19th in Sprint Cup point standings, or 8 behind Danica Patrick and 12 behind Clint Bowyer who as Drunken Brian France on Twitter points out has not won a race in 956 days. Another way to put it would be that Biffle is 189 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.  Harvick could skip the next 4 races, Biffle could win all 4 and he would still be behind Harvick in the standings. Yes, I do know that IF Biffle won all 4 races-the second biggest miracle in all of humanity, he would be first on The Chase grid.

I always enjoy when I type “Biffle” on Microsoft Word and it wants to put in baffle instead.  Baffled-that seems fitting. A NASCAR pundit suggests that Biffle’s second place finish in Charlotte is going to mean better things for Roush Fenway Racing the rest of the season. Well, with Biffle 19th in the standings, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. currently at 25th, and Trevor Bayne a robust 29th, top 20’s would seem to be better.

This week NASCAR visits Dover International Speedway for a race that was once 500 miles long, is now 400 miles long, which is still 150 miles too long.  Wow, I am getting a migraine just thinking about it, but don’t call me Denny.

Bobby Pierce will be piloting a truck-so that’s how you drive one-in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Mud Summer Classic at Eldora Speedway in July.  Pierce will drive a Mittler Brothers Motorsports truck sponsored by RPM Services.

The Appalachian Mountain Speedweek starts on Friday.  Actually it is five races in nine days, but Speedweek sounds cooler than Appalachian Mountain Nine Day Mini-Series.  This will be the 7th annual event featuring tracks in Maryland and Pennsylvania.  Past champions include Josh Richards, Rick Eckert, Tim McCreadie, Austin Hubbard, and Gregg Satterlee and 223 drivers from 12 states have entered AMS races.  All five races pay $4,000 to win. Yup, on my bucket list along with visiting some Civil War battle sites in the area too.

While it isn’t very likely that a single driver will finish first in all five Lucas Oil series races scheduled July 10th-18th, including the Show-Me 100 make-up and the Silver Dollar Nationals, if someone like Jimmy Owens got hot in mid-July they could walk away with $92,000 in first place prize money over those nine days.

Yes, only seven weeks until the Silver Dollar Nationals-well, seven weeks until the practice night which the Meyer family won’t be attending.  Matt is going to the Kenny Chesney concert in Lincoln, and no, practice interspersed with sprint cars, B-mods, and SLMR late models does not intrigue me enough to go on my own.  Not even throwing in I-80 Speedway pork tenderloin or barbecue sandwiches. But I am looking forward to July 17th-18th, the two best nights of dirt track racing all year.

For those of you who think that open wheeled racing is the solution to all the world’s problems, Speed Shift TV will be showing the National Sprint League race from Saint Francois County Raceway tonight, and the NSL event from Randolph County Raceway tomorrow night.  Both tracks are in Missouri. Check out the Speed Shift website for details.

One of the regular emails I get concerns news from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Yesterday’s email mentioned the Father’s Day menu at the Buena Vista Café which is just across the street from a cable car turnaround. So, Matt and Amanda, if you want to give me a perfect Father’s Day present, it would be a New York Strip and scrambled eggs at the Buena Vista Café. Oh, and sourdough toast too. And get me out there so I could enjoy the food.  I bet Henry would love riding on the cable cars and going to a Giants’ game.

Thanks for stopping by.













Park Jefferson INTERNATIONAL Speedway, Top 25, And Curtis Turner

May 27, 2015 Leave a comment

I won’t say that Indy Car racing is better than NASCAR, but the Indianapolis 500 was much easier to watch than the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday.  I frequently talk trash about NASCAR, mainly because so many of their races are garbage, not like they could be, not like they should be.  Hopefully if I offend anyone, especially anyone in southeast Nebraska, they will not feel the need to do this:–talking-trash–on-nascar-215401211.html

And race fans wonder why mainstream America looks down on us.

I keep forgetting to give Park Jefferson its due.  It is Park Jefferson International Speedway. I don’t know, maybe someone from Canada raced there once. In the future I will remember to add “International.”

Both Corn Belt Clash and Lucas Oil MLRA Late Models will be on hand at Park Jefferson International Speedway this weekend. That means Ryan Gustin, Terry Phillips, Jeremy Payne, Kyle Berck, the Eckrich brothers, Jason Utter, and the Simpsons-Bart and Homer (OK, Chad and Chris), should be on hand. Those drivers alone make for a good regional field.

So, why am I more worried about falling and breaking a leg in the grandstands?  Why am I thinking more of enduring Siouxland B-Mods than good Late Model racing? Why am I wondering about construction along I-29? Why do thoughts of the L.A. freeway style mad dash to the exit send shivers through me?  Because it is Park Jefferson, ‘er Park Jefferson International Speedway, guilty by association with its history.

Adult admission is $20 each night, though a VIP pass that includes free food is available for $35. Tony Anville-you are invited to go with us.  We’ll even stop in Winnebago for a pop.

Here is my Top 25 ballot for the week.  I actually had 24 of the 25 this week, though as Jeff Broeg has pointed out, I shouldn’t be patting myself on the back for thinking like everyone else. To me, something that is interesting about voting so far in 2015 is the number of “regional” drivers on the ballot.  While all of the drivers have done battle in one or both of the national tours, I count at least 11 drivers on my list that are not tour regulars, but who have had success when racing against the “names” of the Lucas Oil and WoO tours. Top 25 Voting Ballot
Name: Ron Meyer
Date: 5/26/2015
1 Randy Weaver
2 Shane Clanton
3 Scott Bloomquist
4 Jimmy Owens
5 Jonathan Davenport
6 Josh Richards
7 Darrell Lanigan
8 Earl Pearson Jr.
9 Brandon Sheppard
10 Don O’Neal
11 Billy Moyer
12 Chris Ferguson
13 Bobby Pierce
14 Casey Roberts
15 Dale McDowell
16 Devin Moran
17 Eddie Carrier Jr.
18 Tim McCreadie
19 Steve Casebolt
20 Jason Feger
21 Chub Frank
22 Shannon Babb
23 Rick Eckert
24 Donald McIntosh
25 Mike Marlar


The WoO is off this weekend, while the Lucas Oil Series has a pair of $10,000 to win shows, Friday night at Tazewell Speedway in Tennessee, and Saturday at Florence Speedway in Kentucky.  The following weekend is The Dream weekend at Eldora Speedway, with preliminary events on Thursday and Friday and the biggest Late Model payday of the year in Saturday’s $100,000 to win feature.  All three nights will be available on PPV from at about a nickel cheaper than what a ticket at the track cost-that is Eldora policy, not DOD.

And, Scott, I do know that the World Dirt Track Championship at Portsmouth Raceway Park in October now pays $100,000 as well. Nebraska plays at Minnesota that weekend and I would love to head east for racing, but I am thinking that isn’t too likely.

I received my copy of “Full Throttle-The Life and Fast Times of NASCAR Legend Curtis Turner.” I just had time to look at the first page and then play sprint car fan-I looked at the photos-but even with that I have to say “oh my.” Denny Hamlin is definitely no Curtis Turner. The book starts with the line “I don’t really think I’d be happy if I wasn’t in some sort of trouble.” That sounds like EVERY ONE of my racing friends.

Thanks for stopping by.










A Busy Sunday, I Wish Jeff Gordon Would Give Me His New Corvette, Plus Mother Nature “Shows” Them In Wheatland

May 26, 2015 2 comments

Yes I did watch all three major races on Sunday-getting up at 6:30 a.m. to watch the Monaco Grand Prix wasn’t that much fun, but I enjoyed this race as much as the other two combined. Each of the race’s 79 laps were simply amazing, with speeds up to nearly 180 miles per hour, followed by a near complete stop for a hair-pin turn.  Each driver made roughly 50 shifts per lap, nearly 4,000 for the race.  And, Monaco is the playground of the rich and the Anville’s, with many people watching the race from the deck of world-class yachts. Lewis Hamilton dominated the race, but a major mix-up on a Hamilton pit stop allowed both Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel to get around him.  The win was Rosberg’s third F1 victory in a row.

If I like any Indy Car driver, it would be Tony Kanaan. Kanaan, Scott Dixon, and Simon Pagenaud put on a great show for the first 150 laps, swapping the lead numerous times. When Kanaan smacked into the wall shortly after pitting, my interest in the race dropped considerably.  It dropped even further as Juan Pablo Montoya moved from the back of the grid to the front. Montoya’s win was his second at the famed Indianapolis oval.  Power came home second, with Charlie Kimball, Dixon, and Graham Rahal rounding out the top five. 20 cars finished on the lead lap.

I wanted Hamilton to win the F1 race and Kanaan to capture the Indy 500 crown, so I was batting 0 for the day.  I ended the day 0 for 3 as Carl Edwards used fuel mileage to capture the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. I hate fuel mileage wins, and not just because this win went to Edwards. I am tired of races won in the pits, not on the track. Edwards did not have the best car on the track-he did not even have the best car on the Joe Gibbs Racing team. Track position, track position, track position is everything because it is so damn hard to pass for the lead. B-O-R-I-N-G.

Thoughts about the day:

-I would love to see the Monaco Grand Prix in person, though I would have no idea how to act amongst the elite.  Man I would stand out like a redneck in a rusted out pick-up there. I wonder if they would let me play Baccarat in the Casino de Monte Carlo. Yeah, like I am another James Bond.

-I don’t really have much desire to go to the Indianapolis 500.  Perhaps it is the “greatest spectacle in auto racing,” but being in the grandstands means you can’t see most of the track.

-Jeff Gordon is going to take home more in the value of gifts he is receiving in his final season than I will ever make working my butt off for 12 months.  His latest bounty?  The Corvette pace car he drove at Indy.

-If you don’t like Jimmie Johnson, you must have enjoyed Saturday’s race as he spun out twice with no one’s assistance.  The last spin sent him into an inside wall-luckily a SAFER Barrier and into the garage too.  Johnson finished 40th, but is in the Chase, so who cares?

-Years ago Ricky Rudd had to be carried out of his race car after a win at Martinsville.  The cooling unit on his helmet did not work and he was literally cooking that day.  ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch had to be in Victory Lane to attend to Rudd, more so than interview him.  So, when you compare Rudd to poor Denny Hamlin complaining of a migraine Saturday night, who is the wuss?  If there is a bigger wuss in racing-not just NASCAR, all of racing, I don’t want to know who it is.

-Why I mentioned 20 cars being on the lead lap in Indianapolis is that only 16 cars were on the lead lap in Charlotte.

-Dover and then Pocono for the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup races.  Never say “it can’t get any worse” when you are talking about NASCAR.  It can.

No Show-Me 100 this weekend.  Mother Nature wins yet another big race.  The race has been re-scheduled for Sunday, July 12th.  Wow, how about this for a race trip?  Thursday July 9th, the UMP Summernationals at the 1/5th mile Macon Speedway oval, followed by the Lucas Oil Series at Tri-State Speedway in Granite City, Illinois on Friday, and then head to Wheatland, Missouri for the Diamond Nationals on Saturday and the make-up Show-Me 100 on Sunday.  Unfortunately, the Show-Me 100 was already a sell-out, plus Matt and I would have to drive all night so I could be at work that Monday morning.  Oh well.

The USMTS could not complete a four race holiday swing, but completing 3 out of 4 races this weekend is somewhat a miracle for this rain-plagued series.  Cade Dillard won at Denison, Rodney Sanders won at Chateau Raceway in Minnesota, and Brad Waits led all 40 laps to win at Deer Creek Speedway.  The Sunday race at Upper Iowa Speedway in Decorah was rained out. The series is off for two weeks before beginning a 13 race schedule in June.

I did a little, actually very little computer race watching this weekend.  I watched the hot laps for the National Sprint League race from Jackson Speedway on Speed Shift TV on Friday, and then I watched heat races from Boone Speedway on Monday until it rained.  Obviously the rain stopped as I see Justin Kay won the feature.

There is more than a little talk about the Meyer family venturing north to South Dakota on Friday and Saturday.  The MLRA and Corn Belt Clash late models will be racing at Park Jefferson, and Matt seems to love the track across the road from Raceway Park.  Me too-not.  Actually, I can think of only one track I like less than PJ and I don’t even talk about it. Still, we have not been to PJ in years, and I guess I should give the new promoters a chance before I condemn them. Actually, the only thing I am hoping for (praying for) is that I don’t break my leg coming down the !@#$% grandstand steps.

Keep your fingers crossed and say prayers for me all week.  Thanks for stopping by.






A Two Part Post: Part 1-Denison, Part 2-Hawkeye Racing News

May 22, 2015 4 comments

Part One-Denison

Surprise.  We went to the USMTS show at Crawford County Speedway after all. Credit the journey to a Michigan State grand slam home run that ended NU’s baseball season.  There is logic to that statement, but it would take too long to explain.

Before I talk about the races, aren’t white crosses alongside highways roadside memorials?  If so, the stretch of US 30 between Missouri Valley and Denison must be one of the most dangerous highways in America.  I counted 75 crosses between the two Iowa communities, and the distance is only 60 miles.

There were 25 B-mods, 22 Stock Cars, and 31 USMTS Mods on hand. Only the Mods had B features. Ah, B-mods.  My racing partner said it best “the Mods are good because all the idiots are driving B-mods now.”  There were plenty of cautions in the B-mod heats, and even more in the B-mod feature.  I can’t tell you who won, though Chris Abelson finished second.

As always, the Stock Cars showed that good racing on dirt can be exciting. The three heats were competitive, but the feature was something else.  Late in the feature should could throw a blanket over the first six cars-yes, I do know it would be a helluva big blanket, but they were that close.  Several times the Stock Cars were three wide for the lead coming out of turn four, and the end was a photo finish-good thing they had transponders.  This was the best race of the night, though the USMTS feature was also good.

Early in the race Jesse Sobbing appeared to have the field covered.  He was the IMCA Modified track champion last year and certainly knows his way around the 3/8ths mile oval.  Drawing the pole position didn’t hurt either.  However, just before mid-race Sobbing had a flat tire sending him to the pits.  He would come back out, starting at the rear of the field and worked his way to a top ten finish.

Louisiana driver Cade Dillard and New Mexico racer Stormy Scott battled for the lead after Sobbing pitted, but late in the race Scott brushed the wall exiting turn four, allowing Texan Rodney Sanders moved to second. Sanders and Dillard battled for the lead, but Sanders could not get around Dillard who took the checkered, a nice trophy, and a $3,000 winner’s check.

Other thoughts:

-I have been to CCS in March when it was bitter cold.  I have been to CCS in October when it was damn cold.  I have been to CCS in July when it was chilly.  And now, I have been to CCS in May and it was cool.  Apparently it never gets very warm there.

-After one of the cautions Matt and I walked down to ground level along the front stretch so we could beat the crowd to our car.  The grandstands are somewhat like I-80 Speedway in that there are 15 steps leading up to them.  We sat in the 5th row, so we weren’t terribly far up.  However, the perspective from ground level is far different.  At ground level you can almost feel the speed these cars are traveling, and they are definitely going fast.

-If you are a sprint car fan, you might want to consider going to Denison in early June for the WoO show.  They should put on a great show.  The NSL sprints will be there during the Crawford County Fair, and while I am sure that will be a good show too, be prepared to walk a long way if you do, as parking during the fair really sucks.

-we got home at 12:15 a.m. Yes, I am tired, but the racing was good, and the conversation was excellent, so I am glad we decided to go, even though we did not make that decision until after 4:00 p.m.

Matt was getting Show-Me 100 updates from Scott McBride.  80 drivers from 19 states were on hand for the MLRA Cowboy 45, a preliminary Show-Me event. Landers-Davenport-Francis-Moyer-Moyer Jr.-Sheppard-Pierce-Shirley-Weaver-Carrier-Owens-Bolloquist-O’Neal-Erb-Babb-Gustin-Moran-Phillips-Pearson were all on hand.  If I counted right, 15 of my Top 25 raced in Wheatland, Missouri last night.

Coloradoan Scott Lewis set fast time.  Say what?  Well, he backed up his fast time with a heat win, so who am I to nitpick? Other heat winners were Jared Landers, Jonathan Davenport, Eddie Carrier Jr., Jimmy Owens, and Will Vaught.

Davenport won the feature, collecting $5,045 for his efforts.  Rounding out the top five were Jesse Stovall, Landers, Jason Utter, and Carrier.

Tonight’s action at Lucas Oil Speedway will include time trials and qualifying heats.  I believe 18 drivers will qualify for tomorrow’s feature, and all will redraw for starting positions, with the top six finishers drawing for positions 1-6, the next six finishers drawing for positions 7-12, and the final six for positions 13-18.


Part Two-Hawkeye Racing News

I received a sad email yesterday.  After over 45 years of publishing, Hawkeye Racing News is no more.  Like other papers HRN tried various options to remain in business, from downsizing (literally, smaller paper, fewer pages) to less frequent publication to an internet presence, but it was only a matter of time before it went the way that too many magazines and specialty newspapers have before it.

Back in the early 70’s I would buy HRN at Sunset Speedway.  However, we did not go racing every Sunday-my wife was a reluctant participant and I did not have Matt to go with me-so I started subscribing to the paper. The only way I could find out what happened at tracks in Cedar Rapids and Farley and Oskaloosa and Eldon was subscribing to the paper.

My favorite issue of the paper was the one that came out in December each year, shortly before Christmas. It was thick, chock full of information, three big sections, and was a reminder that in a few months there would be racing. I would read every word, look over every ad.

At one point in time I subscribed to five weekly racing papers.  When the internet finally came to North Bend, Nebraska I found the news I wanted was at my fingertips 24 hours a day and I did not have to wait a week to find results I was interested in.  I did not renew subscriptions as they expired, and I no longer subscribe to any weekly papers, just three monthly racing magazines-and of course which provides more late model information than I can possibly digest.

While the demise of HRN does sadden me, it is just one more victory of cyberspace over the printed word. The paper that helped me realize I loved words, the Sporting News, is long gone.  It used to be a baseball weekly and I would read it cover to cover.  I loved how it smelled and I didn’t even mind my fingers being covered with printer’s ink after I was done reading it.  My love of numbers and my desire to travel also sprung from the pages of Sporting News. The weekly baseball paper became a monthly all-sports magazine, and now it is not even that.

The Fremont Tribune used to be locally owned, published in Fremont, and was full of stories of interest to Fremont and surrounding communities.  The paper has changed ownership so often in the last few decades, I can’t tell you who owns it.  I guess the same company that owns the Lincoln Journal-Star because there are as many Lincoln stories in the paper as Fremont stories.  It is a much smaller in size paper, a paper with far fewer pages, and a publication that is printed on cheaper paper.  It isn’t published on Mondays, and it takes me less than five minutes to read. Sad.

I am a Sunday newspaper junkie, and years ago a local drugstore fed my habit.  Sunday papers from Denver, Des Moines, and Chicago were bused in, for years I would stop at A & A Drug and buy 1-2 papers in addition to the Omaha World-Herald on Sunday.  I don’t even know if any buses stop in Fremont-must not, there is no bus station-and the only Sunday papers available in town are the Omaha and Lincoln papers.

After the Fremont drugstore stopped selling out of state Sunday papers I discovered that Borders on Maple Street in west Omaha had dozens of Sunday papers, though most did not arrive until Monday. Many weeks I would make the 30 minute trip to Omaha and Borders became a cross between a candy store and a crack house for me with all the papers, magazines, and books. Often I would walk out of the store with three different papers, maybe a book or a CD too.  Then Borders stopped carrying most of the Sunday papers, though I could still get the New York Times there.  And now, Borders is no more, and the Maple Street location was torn down and replaced by a Walmart.  Ain’t that progress?

I loved the feel of the Sunday papers with all their sections and inserts.  Now I receive the New York Times via email every day. There is no printers ink on my key board.  I could get the entire issue on a Kindle or my Amazon Fire tablet.  I probably will before long.  I have resisted buying books electronically.  Books are words, yes, but to me they are friends that take me away from my daily life to places I couldn’t visit otherwise.  I love having two or three books on my bedside table to read each night.  Unfortunately my wife does not love the stacks of books that seem to be everywhere, and I may be forced to start using a Kindle.

The cyberspace war on words hasn’t just destroyed magazines, newspapers, and books.  My blog is almost 100% words, seldom do I include photos, and only occasionally do I include links.  Unfortunately, people are now wanting podcasts and videos to be entertained, not merely satisfied with a good sentence that provides information or maybe a laugh. The Rest of the Dirt is somewhat of a dinosaur. I doubt at this stage of my life I am going to change it.  I freely admit to being technically challenged-thank goodness my daughter remains willing to help me figure out the nuances of everything electronic without too much sarcasm directed my way.  Plus, to be able to do podcasts I need to invest in equipment and devote much more time than I do with the blog. I am not willing to reallocate my limited resources to do either, so I fear that sometime down the road TROTD will be like the Wooly Mammoth that used to roam Nebraska-extinct.

So, please believe me when I say “thank you for stopping by.”  I am very appreciative of every reader.



Hall of Fame, Cocopah, No Denison For Me, Shifty, Plus A Knife In The Ribs

May 21, 2015 1 comment

The 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame class has been announced.  Inductees will be Bruton Smith, Terry Labonte, Curtis Turner, Jerry Cook, and Bobby Isaac.  Cook drove modifieds out of Rome, New York, while the others are associated with NASCAR’s premier division, now known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

The Hall of Fame has been a money losing venue since it opened.  Would more people want to visit the site if the hall paid attention at all to grassroots racing?  There are people long associated with NASCAR that will never be inducted under current protocol that deserve to be honored in some fashion-all the Weekly Racing Series champions for example.  There are tracks that deserve at least a small space in the hall-Sunset Speedway and South Boston Speedway come to mind immediately.

Will there ever be an area dedicated to grassroots racing in the NASCAR Hall of Fame?  I doubt it, but even the most famous of halls-the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York has an area for players of incredible talent who were not given the opportunity to play in the Major Leagues, but instead played in the Negro Baseball Leagues. There are plenty of drivers with exceptional talent who for whatever reason were not able to “play” in racing’s big leagues and who merit recognition. Thumbs down to the hall for not recognizing this.

The 1st Annual Winter Heat at Cocopah Speedway added $2,400,000 into the Yuma, Arizona economy.  Not bad at all for just a bunch of sprint cars running around in circles.  According to the Yuma Chamber of Commerce, the track adds nearly $8,000,000 more to the local economy over the rest of the year, or $10,100,000 annually.

For those of you-i.e. Ivan Tracy-lucky enough to attend the event, the track has been making improvements this year with the 2nd Annual Winter Heat in mind. That will take place on 1/1-1/2/16, 1/15/16, and 1/18-1/19/16. Yes, Winter Heat is on my bucket list if I ever get to retire. Go to Cocopah for a 410 sprint car show and then head to Tucson for late models.

Matt and I talked about going to Denison, Iowa tonight to watch the USMTS modifieds, but with B-mods and stock cars also on the schedule we felt it would end up being a very late night and both of us have to work tomorrow.  Will we make it to another race before the Silver Dollar Nationals?

Speed Shift TV has changed its Sunday schedule.  Instead of showing the NSL event from Husets Speedway, it will be airing the Advantage RV Modified Tour race from Casino Speedway in Watertown, South Dakota. This is a Wissota event. The NSL race from Jackson Speedway tomorrow night is still on the Speed Shift list of events.

Way back in 1971, “conceptual artist” Chris Burden made a documentary of a man shooting him in the arm with a .22 rifle. Friends gathered at an art gallery to watch. Ask someone to shoot you? Crazy, though probably not much crazier than driving a dump truck full of dirt over a pedestrian bridge in Topeka.  If I ever decide to become a conceptual artist instead of a blogger I know someone who would love to stick a knife in my ribs, perhaps at I-80 Speedway.

Thanks for stopping by.









Indy Safety, NHRA Bridge To Nowhere, NASCAR Babies-And I Don’t Mean The Drivers

May 20, 2015 Leave a comment

I thought that the “tub”-they call it a containment pod-that Indy car drivers sit in was indestructible. Apparently that isn’t so. Driver James Hinchcliffe was impaled by a part of his broken suspension that pierced the tub and went through his upper left thigh.  Hinchcliffe nearly bled to death before the safety crew could stabilize him for transport to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis where he underwent extensive surgery Monday night.

The track’s Holmatro Safety Crew should be commended for the job they did-Hinchcliffe could easily have died from this crash, but I do think that the Indy Car series needs to take a long, hard look at the design of these cars, including the various safety features. Yes, I understand that all race cars are inherently unsafe and that the high speeds Indy Cars travel make them even more dangerous. Hinchcliffe’s was the worst of four serious crashes an Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month, and it seems that sheer luck is the only reason other drivers weren’t hurt.

Hinchcliffe is undergoing further evaluation, but is said to be recovering.  It is uncertain when he will return to the series, but speculation is it won’t be in 2015.

More open wheel-I wish races like Thursday’s Hoosier 100 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds would be televised, and not on a tape delay.  If not that, I would love to have someone do a PPV of the USAC Silver Crown event.

With the NHRA Mello Yello event scheduled to race at Heartland Park in Topeka this weekend, track officials are scrambling to come up with an alternate route to get spectators from grandstands to pit areas.  It seems that a city truck loaded with dirt to fill in holes from a fire hydrant repair tried to drive over a wooden bridge designated for pedestrian and golf car use.  The truck caved in seven small sections of the bridge and broke through the last section, falling 15’ to the ground. There is no truth to the rumor that the city employee driving the truck is a sprint car fan.

Kyle and Samantha Busch had a baby boy on Monday-Brexton Locke Busch, 7 lbs. 10 oz. and 21” long.  This Wednesday morning Brad Keselowski and his girlfriend Paige White had a baby girl, no further information available. Earlier Keselowski had stated:

“I know that we’re not doing this in the traditional order of things, I will simply say this: I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, and Paige is a very large part of that,” Keselowski wrote. “She’s an amazing person.” Ah well Brad, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson don’t seem to be “traditionalists” either.

Thanks for stopping by.