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Birthday Boy Jim, Another “Super” Davenport Performance, Plus Big Money January

November 30, 2015 Leave a comment

Happy Birthday to Jim Hitzemann, charter member of the Sunset mafia, race scorer supreme, big boom fireworks aficionado, and all around good guy.  Jim has to be close to Craig Kelley in age, meaning 50+?? Ah, to be that young again.  Anyway, Happy Birthday my friend.

I just logged on www.DirtonDirt.com for the first time in weeks. Normally I visit the site every day, but in recent weeks I seem to be visiting job sites much more frequently. Applying for jobs takes time.  A lot of time. So does applying for unemployment. For the first time ever I am collecting an unemployment check this week.  How does that feel?

I would certainly rather have a paycheck-hopefully that will happen again soon. Until then, well, I have it coming, and all I put up with for so many years, it doesn’t bother me in the least to collect unemployment.

OK, got that out of my system.  Back to racing. Here I thought all the big races were over and done for the season, but there was an unsanctioned crate engine event at Swainsboro Raceway in Georgia. Not just a typical crate event paying a few thousand dollars to win, the Turkey 100 paid $20,000 to the winner.

That kind of money draws the attention of dirt racing heavy hitters, in this case, the attention of 2015’s heaviest hitter, Jonathan Davenport. And like so many other times this season, Superman added a big dollar win to his resume-this in a borrowed car. Davenport shows no signs of slowing down, and other top drivers better be working hard in the late model off-season to catch up to the North Carolina racer.  Oh, and the dirt late model off-season does have another name-it is called December.

Come January, many drivers will be heading to Arizona for the Wild West Shoot-Out in Tucson. In the unlikely event a driver-say Davenport-won all six of the scheduled races, not only would he claim the $36,000 in first place money, but would receive a $250,000 bonus as well.  Not a bad way to start out a season.  If a driver were to win five races the bonus would be $100,000, while a driver who won four races would receive an added $50,000 from Keyser.

While winning all six races against top flight competition sounds unlikely, Davenport in 2015 and Scott Bloomquist in the past have shown they are quite capable of running off a big first place streak. I wish I could be there like Ivan Tracy. Actually, if TROTD was a moneymaker, I would love to spend a few days at Cocopah Speedway watching the 410 sprints in action during Winter Heat, and then mosey on over to Tucson for the final four nights of the Wild West Shootout.

I will be able to see all the racing action though as Speed Shift TV will carry Winter Heat, and Dirt on Dirt will cover the Tucson shows.  Hey, it will be plenty cold outside, but TROTD Speedway will be a comfortable 68 degrees for those 11 nights of racing.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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A Few More Races, Plus Something From My Heart

November 24, 2015 1 comment

I pointed out some late season races in my last blog and received a letter from Ivan Tracy about several more-they won’t be shown on your computer though. You will have to be retired like Ivan to see them.

Tracy will be at Perris Speedway in California tomorrow night for the 75th Turkey Night Classic featuring USAC National and Western Midget Series cars. Among the drivers expected to race is NASCAR star Kyle Larson. Also running will be Christopher Bell, Rico Abreu, Tracy Hines, and Dave Darland. The feature is 98 laps around the ½ mile dirt oval.

Next weekend Tracy will be heading to Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Arizona for the Holiday Hustle 100.  Pure Stocks will race against IMCA Stock Cars, while Renegades will go up against IMCA Hobby Stocks on December 5th and 6th.

I have said it before, but I do envy Ivan’s late fall and winter journeys-even though many places he visits feature open wheel racing. My “retirement” has me applying for various part-time, temporary, and full-time jobs in Nebraska, not going to the track in some warm weather state.

Actually, I have had a full-time job this week. Jane is having my mom and Matt’s family for Thanksgiving on Wednesday night.  Now I think the house was just fine before yesterday, but Jane thinks different. I liked my job at Total Wellness much better. From take out the papers and the trash-and I didn’t get no spending cash-Google it, to sweeping, vacuuming, raking, and a little heavy lifting, I am tired. The house looks the same to me, but obviously I don’t know what I am talking about.

Ah, the story of my blog, I don’t know what I am talking about, but that doesn’t stop me from talking anyway.

Thanksgiving? This has been a tough year in many ways for my family. Jobs lost, unemployment, fear of never working again, and then just losing a beloved member of our family. But, Amanda now has a job she loves and is starting to heal from all she suffered from on the last one. For sure, I will not die at a desk in an office building on West Vine Street in Fremont as I truly feared I might. Jane continues to put up with me as she has for over 45 years. Yeah, hard to figure. Matt and Amanda never cease to amaze me and make me realize I am lucky to have such children. And though I am writing this with a lump in my throat, I have to be thankful for the nine years little Kahlua worked her magic, made our lives better-changed them in ways I never dreamt possible. And of course, there is Henry, so smart, so funny, simply the light that makes my life, our life brighter.

I thought of all those things about 3:30 a.m. and in the safety of the dark and blankets covering me, thought I should say all those things before we eat our meal-feast as Henry calls it. But I know tears would keep me from voicing all I feel, but tears don’t stop me from typing.

I am also very thankful for my friends, they mean more to me than they would ever believe, and I am thankful to you-for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

Homestead And More

November 23, 2015 Leave a comment

First, thanks to all who have offered condolences here and through emails over the loss of our grandpuppy Kahlua. I am a person who thinks he should be able to make everything write for his family, and this is one time I can’t.  I miss Kahlua, and ache for my wife and daughter, and most especially for Matt who was so close to this furry family member. I wish I could take a pill and wake up in a few weeks-of course, things would not have changed anyway.

Racing? I did watch the NASCAR season finale from Homestead, a track that is on my bucket list.  The day started as Jeff Gordon’s, but ended the way Kyle Busch wanted it to. My thoughts on Homestead:

-the cheers when Gordon took the lead for a few laps were amazing. I can remember a time when fans threw trash on the track after one of his wins.

-it seems like all year long Gordon’s crew chief has managed to give him 10th place cars. That was certainly the case yesterday, an arguably what should have been the team’s biggest, most important race ever. That he managed a 6th place finish was a testament to his skill.

-by the midway point of the race it was obvious that barring some miracle the champion was going to be Harvick or Busch.

-I am happy that Brad Keselowski dropped to third.  I really did not want a Penske Ford to win, even if it was the Ford ECOBOOST 400.

-As a service to all Roush Fenway Racing fans, I also like to announce where the three RFR drivers finished.  I do this because the only times you get to see them on the track are when they are being lapped (Biffle and Bayne) or wrecking (Stenhouse). Yesterday Biffle finished 15th, Bayne finished 18th, and Stenhouse ended up 22nd.  That averages out about 18th, which is much better than they usually do. For the year, Biffle was 20th, Stenhouse was 25th (four places behind his girlfriend), and Bayne was 29th.

-The race winner/championship interview given by Kyle Busch was really good. A few years ago he could not have, or at least would not have given such an interview. I was impressed. I mentioned before how his injuries, his wife, and his son brought about changes, but I am almost ready to become a Kyle Busch fan.  Yes, I said it, no I have not been kidnapped Ivan.

-Jeff Gordon’s visit to Victory Lane to congratulate Busch was a class gesture on his part. If only all the young drivers would watch what he does off the track as well as what he did on it.

-Matt Kenseth was suspended for two races and he still ended up beating Clint Bowyer for 15th place in the final standings. Interesting-I wish Clint would not have fumbled around his interview yesterday, and just came out and said “I messed up and wrecked all those cars.”

-Joe Gibbs Racing teams finished 1st-5th-9th-15th.  Stewart-Haas teams finished 2nd and 8th. Hendrick teams finished 3rd-10th, and 12th.  Penske Ford miscreants were 6th and 7th. Work on gaining some class to go with your talent Joey.

No more races in 2015? Not quite. Speed Shift TV will have two nights of racing this weekend-the 27th and 28th, the Turkey Classic from Cocopah Speedway in Arizona. I suppose Ivan Tracy will be there is person-he sent me a photo from Tucson last weekend, explaining what real retirement is. Speed Shift will also be showing the Winter Heat Sprint Showdown from Cocopah in January.

Racefeedx.com has two nights of racing from Bakersfield, California this weekend, two nights from South Texas Speedway the following weekend, and two nights from Greensboro Coliseum in mid-December.

If anyone has ideas for posts, please email me: brutonnb@yahoo.com

Anyone except Randy Palmer. And Tony Anville.

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S.-I almost forgot, Roush Fenway Racing was champion of the NASCAR XFINITY Series-or as the Omaha World Herald called it, a “second tier” series.  Kind of the Omaha Storm Chasers won the Triple A crown in 2013 and 2014.  Nice, but second tier. Anyway, Chris Buescher was champion of the XFINITY Series.

 

 

 

 

 

R.I.P. Special Girl Kahlua

November 22, 2015 4 comments

This isn’t about racing, so if that is what you are looking for today, go ahead and sign off.

Matt, Steph, and Henry’s silky terrier Kahlua had to be put down today. She has been sick for some time, the tumor was obvious and growing. The veterinarian did a biopsy last Tuesday and the results showed the tumor was malignant, would rapidly advance, and this beautiful little puppy would suffer greatly.

Matt and Steph made the right decision, but it was not easy, and our entire family is heart-broken today. Before Kahlua Matt wanted nothing to do with dogs. And I did not either. A week after Steph brought her home, Matt still was not convinced he wanted her around.  He told Jane and me “if she doesn’t change soon, she is going back.” That was before the magic of this little-and she was tiny even for a small dog-captured his heart too.

And mine. She was precocious, a real diva, and try as I might, I could not help but fall in love with this special creature. My daughter Amanda wanted a dog for years, and Kahlua increased her desire for a puppy even more. Amanda would babysit Kahlua, even have her for a “sleep over” on occasion. Every time I was around Kahlua my defenses were broken down until finally I agreed that Amanda could get a dog. Because of Kahlua, Sophie came to our home and is a big part of our life.

Kahlua changed our life for the better, and I will always have memories of her-when tiny Sophie first met her cousin, and walked under Kahlua-as she grew she became much bigger than Kahlua. I will remember her running down the hall at our house and jumping on me from about five feet away.  Kahlua was quite the swimmer, and I will remember this summer when she was in Matt’s pool with Matt and Henry and swam and swam and swam.

Well, all good dogs go to heaven, and Kahlua is there bossing all the other good dogs around. She is no longer in any pain, and can run, play, and be happy again. Thank you for sharing your love with us Kahlua.

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Retired-Me Again As Of Today, Jeff Gordon On Sunday

November 20, 2015 Leave a comment

At 12:30 p.m. today I officially became a retired person again. My two month stint at Total Wellness ended as their busy season is now over. I have to admit I very much enjoyed this job-the people, the work, the atmosphere. It reminded me of my first full time job as Assistant Plant Manager at Blevins’ Popcorn Company in North Bend, maybe a big city version of Blevins.

I do have several applications out, one for a full-time position, one for another temporary assignment, so hopefully I won’t stay retired long. This week Jane is getting ready for Thanksgiving, so I know I will be involved with that, and busier than with any job.

Caught up in the hoopla surrounding the retirement of Jeff Gordon, not much is being said about Homestead being the final race for Michael Waltrip Racing.  You remember MWR, Toyota’s version of Roush Fenway Racing. I don’t see MWR going out with a bang, unless Clint Bowyer blows an engine on Sunday.

Unfortunately MWR’s demise means Waltrip has more time to spend on his Fox announcing job. I read an article about Fox revamping its NASCAR coverage, but mostly that is adding Jeff Gordon to the broadcast booth.  I certainly will welcome that addition come Daytona, but the one revamp I wish the network would do wasn’t mention.  That would be to get the other past Sprint Cup champion announcing the race to quit saying “boogity, boogity, boogity” before the start of every race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he would block for Jeff Gordon at Homestead. Wow, now if Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson go along with the program—–.

Would Joey Logano spin out Jeff Gordon near the end of Sunday’s race?  Wouldn’t surprise me.  Would anyone else? Brad Keselowski-probably.  How the other championship contenders? Chances at a championship don’t happen every year.  The pressure from sponsors to grab the cup has to be incredible. I just don’t see Harvick, Busch, or Truex spinning anyone out to win it.  They may try every trick possible to make a driver loose, but spin out ala Logano/Kenseth, I just don’t see it.

Will Gordon-Harvick-Busch-Truex need to win the race to win the championship? I don’t think so. I think a second or third place finish could bring home a championship. Of course I am wrong in my predictions 97% of the time.

I am looking forward to a good race-and hopefully one that is over in the afternoon, not late in the evening. With the 24 winning the championship.

July 22nd and 23rd-yup, the 6th Annual Silver Dollar Nationals are just a little over 8 months away.  That is the start of dirt late model racing’s big dollar month. SDN will pay $40,000 to win, followed by the Prairie Dirt Classic, the USA Nationals, and the North-South 100. The PDC pays almost $30,000 to win, while winners of the other two races will collect $50,000. No, it is not too early to hype the biggest dirt race in the Cornhusker State.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Categories: November 2015

Call It Instant Karma Joey, And Too Bad Brad

November 17, 2015 1 comment

No, I haven’t forgotten how to write. Yes, Randy, I never knew that well to begin with. No excuses-well, maybe one. I knew I could not write last week without yucking it up over the Texas tragedies of Penske racing, and I was afraid if I did that it would jinx the outcome of the Phoenix race, that somehow Logano would end up winning in the desert and Keselowski would manage to qualify on points for the championship.  I wouldn’t want to be the cause of that.

But the rain in Arizona fell mainly on PIR and for once I cheered a NASCAR call-the one ending the race with Earnhardt Jr. in first and Say It Ain’t So Joe and Too Bad Brad going to Homestead on Sunday with no chance of being champion. And Cousin Carl Edwards finished out of championship condition too.  Break my heart-not.  And the older Busch came up a little light after jumping the start of the race (Busch Light, get it).

Hey Joe, where are you gonna go?  Instant Karma got you, knocked you on the head. And a more deserved outcome could not have happened. So, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. will battle for the Cup.  And all are good stories.

How could any ending be better than Jeff Gordon winning his 5th championship in his last race? Harvick winning back to back championships might come close though. Same with Kyle Busch coming back from terrible injuries suffered at Daytona last February. And for a feel good ending, the Furniture Row entry of Martin Truex Jr. would be Cinderella for sure. The little team that could, the team out of Denver, not Charlotte. The team with just one car, not four like the other contenders.

I’ll make no predictions, I just hope for a good race, with the contenders battling for a win, and finishing 1-2-3-4 just seconds apart. Yes, I do want the 24 to win, but for some reason I like Harvick too.  Kyle Busch seems to have grown up-thanks to his wife Samantha and his son, and no one should feel bad if Truex won.

Enough NASCAR. No, I did not print up my www.DirtonDirt.com Top 25 last week. For the first time ever I did not submit one. Any reason I would give would just be an excuse, but missing once in several years is not too bad.  The main change I would have made is putting Jonathan Davenport back in the number one slot over Scott Bloomquist.

I haven’t watched any racing on the computer lately either. The WoO finals were up against a Nebraska football game, and even an under-performing NU team gets the nod there. And, I am afraid that RaceFeedx was more than a little overpriced for the Duel in The Desert, so I didn’t go there. Speed Shift TV will be showing the Turkey Classic from Cocopah Speedway the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, and hopefully I will be able to tune in then.

This isn’t about racing, just about genuine joy at the Meyer household. My daughter Amanda has a new job, one that is only about 10,000% better than her old one. There are no Three Stooges creating a hostile work environment at this business. She is happy, I am happy. Both of us have discovered there are places to work that aren’t poison. And that is all I have to say about that.

Thanks for stopping by-I’ll try to write again this week.

 

 

Collecting Memories At The Track

November 11, 2015 2 comments

Following is the second in a series of articles on racing memorabilia by my friend Steve Basch, aka Race Guru, aka Guru. When it comes to dirt, Steve has been there, done that-from the Chili Bowl in Tulsa to the World 100 at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway. When it comes to racing, he knows what he is talking about, especially collecting. From Steve:

 

September brings my two favorite races, the World 100 and the Knoxville Late Model Nationals. I made my annual trip to both again this year, met new friends, saw great races, and added new items to my ever growing racing collection.

 

During the World 100 Eldora is an amazing place. You can turn your 3 day race tickets in and for $5 get a wrist band for the weekend. The band allows you to not have to worry about getting passes in and out during the races and also serves as your pit pass. I know not all tracks have a tunnel or the facility that Eldora has, but being able to freely come and go to the pits before and during the races is just another reason I enjoy the place.

 

This year I wandered too far from camp on Friday and was wet and cold all day long. Friday’s show cancelled due to rain, and two complete shows ran on Saturday. The event also had an autograph session scheduled for Saturday, a welcome addition to an already great weekend.

 

When I’m at the big races I don’t always make the autograph session but I always seem to have things with me to be signed if I do. At Eldora I purchased a new Bobby Pierce World 100 die cast. The Bobby Pierce car was a special paint scheme for the race and was limited to only 350 pieces. My friends also buy die cast cars and we were able to get $5.00 off each car using the bundling technique. With Bobby’s talent, a fifty-five dollar car with the limited quantity seemed like a good investment-if not it will always remind me of the run he had to finish second in the race behind Jonathan Davenport.

 

We have stayed in the nearby town of Greenville the last few years during the World, but have befriended a couple from Pittsburgh. He is a great cook and we pitch in for food and tailgate just outside the track. During the rain delay we were looking at a Pittsburgher 100 program they had picked up at the race, and I was able to buy it $10 dollars. It has pictures of the top ten cars in Lucas points and I thought it would be really nice signed.

 

I haven’t missed any of the Knoxville Late Models Nationals. O.K. I may have missed a D feature standing out by my car drinking beer, but I have been to all of them. The weather and races this year were fantastic, and we are set to return next year. One of our traditional activities is the auction held on Saturday afternoon. I rarely buy anything, but I enjoy seeing the race memorabilia and the crazy prices thing sell for. This year an autographed helmet sold for $900 and a door from this years (blue) Bloomquist car sold for $1150.00. My buddy purchased a signed piece of the deck lid of Bobby Pierce’s Eldora truck for $100.

 

I did add another piece to my die cast collection, Jonathan Davenport’s merchandise manager caught me looking at the trailer and showed me a special Davenport die cast celebrating his amazing season. I was told it was 1 of just 12 and priced at $150.00. I watched Jonathan win the World 100, and I was very impressed with his interview on Friday at the museum. He won Thursday’s preliminary and he was looking go for the Knoxville title also. It didn’t quite work out as I hoped, as he went up in smoke during the feature Saturday, but the car is signed and proudly displayed in my case.

 

I managed to hit the autograph session at Knoxville. I had to get my Pittsburgher program signed, along with a Bloomquist die cast, a recently purchased 1995 Short Track Magazine with Bloomquist and the #18 Late Model on the cover, and a few old Billy Moyer driver cards that I had found. I also picked up driver cards from Jason Feger and a few others that were being handed out. I spent about an hour waiting in line but had a good time talking with Scott McBride who was getting stuff signed for his son.

 

As I sit at my desk looking at the walls of my basement I have over 130 postcards and programs displayed. I have several hundred more in binders and a large file box full of race programs. I am not of sure the value of these programs, but each piece takes me back to the race, the driver, and the family and friends I was with during the event.

 

My dad passed away few years ago, He is where my love for this sport began. My favorite piece I have ever collected at a dirt track was a 2002 World 100 Brian Birkhofer champion poster. I think I paid $5 and had Brian sign it at a track somewhere. At dad’s first World 100 he had picked Birkofer to win and Birky’s slide job coming out of turn four was one of the greatest moments I have ever had at a race. Every time I look at the picture I relive the moment, and think of all the great times dad and I had at the races.

 

In my last article I mentioned my dad had worked on race cars when I was young.  The Nebraska Hall of Famer Bob Parker drove the #61 in the Late 70’s at Sunset, Nebraska City and Harlan. I remember when I was young they always sold pictures of the cars under the grandstands, but if I ever purchased one it was destroyed years ago. If anyone knows of where those old pictures are or any old track programs from any of those tracks that mentions Bob Parker and the #61 Late Model I would be interested in purchasing them Please contact with information or any collectible questions through the blog.

TROTD: Matt has visited Guru’s “man cave” and was amazed at all the racing memorabilia he owns. Whether or not his collection is a good investment really isn’t important. As you can tell from reading Steve’s article, the memories generated by the pieces in his collection are priceless.

 

As he mentioned above, if you have any collecting questions, or know of where Steve can find any Bob Parker memorabilia, I can give you Steve’s email address.

 

Thank you Steve for a great post, and thanks to all my readers for stopping by.