Archive for January, 2016

I Would Rather Be At The Winter Challenge In Phoenix Than Face The Upcoming Nebraska Winter Challenge

January 28, 2016 2 comments

The past 8 days have been tough ones for my family.  I am still terribly saddened by the loss of Amanda’s puppy Sophie-well, maybe a better description would be that we were Sophie’s humans-and I expect I will be sad for some time. I would like to thank three friends for their comforting words when I really needed them-thank you racing friends Craig Kelley and Ivan Tracy, and writer friend Salley Shannon.

Ivan is in Phoenix taking in the Winter Challenge at Canyon Speedway Park. I watched Sunday’s racing on Speed Shift TV and was surprised to see only 17 USAC Sprint Cars on hand. While that is plenty for me, I am not so sure that open wheeled fans would agree. Anyway, Ivan mentioned there was a $325 entry fee for the event and I wonder if that didn’t contribute to the low car count. Of course, even with cheaper fuel, Arizona is a long haul for many of the USAC drivers, plus staying in Phoenix for at least 10 days would be expensive too.

Maybe there will be more cars on hand for the final weekend. The event also features IMCA Modifieds, and on Sunday had support classes of Pure Stock and Mini-Sprints. There were roughly 80 cars in the pits. Friday’s action will start at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, while Saturday’s racing will begin at 6:00 p.m. CST. Both nights will be shown on Speed Shift TV, so check out the Speed Shift website for further details. I will be watching Friday night, and depending on Matt’s plans, Saturday too.

The World of Outlaws Late Models Wild West Tour has 7 Midwest/North Central races scheduled over 10 days in July. The schedule makes more sense to me than previous WoO schedules have, with all the 2016 events in Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota. It starts at Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City on July 7th and ends at Park Jefferson a week before the Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway. Both national tours in the area in a single week is almost too much of a good thing, but I won’t complain come July.

Are we four days away from a blizzard and a foot of snow? Forecasters say it is still too early to track just where the snow will hit. My back is already aching just thinking of a big snow. Of course Henry has told me he would shovel my drive and sidewalk-for money. He actually does a very good job-and not just for a 4-year old. Well, as long as everyone remains safe and healthy, I can’t deny I wouldn’t mind a big storm tracking through Auburn, Nebraska. No special reason, Tony.

I appreciate everyone’s patience with me. I know I haven’t been keeping up my end of our bargain, but first the job search and now the loss of Sophie has me struggling with my writing. Stay with me-and thanks for stopping by.







Winter Challenge-No, Not My East Coast Friends Shoveling 30″ Of Snow

January 24, 2016 Leave a comment

I am still not ready to do the “Sophie Story.” The story deserves the best words I have in me, and right now, the grief is still too real to tap into that source.

Yes, the grief is real, overwhelming, and not something I am getting through. When we lost Kahlua we knew it was coming-it had been for several months and it was still incredibly difficult to deal with our feelings. With Sophie it was totally unexpected, and unlike with Kahlua I was there for all the bad. If someone wants to say “they were just dogs,” well that is your problem. I know better. These two beings had more humanity by far than the Oompah Loompah narc who reported on my blog writings to the biggest waste of oxygen on the planet-them and their bastard in training as well.  Why something happened to Kahlua and Sophie and not those scum has me confused and angry, and letting God know my displeasure with him-although I have been told plenty of times the past few days that God doesn’t work the way I have accused.

So now is not the time to write of sweet, sweet Sophie. I have too much anger over the loss. The pain of my daughter is beyond description-if I could take it on myself I would. At the vet’s on Wednesday I prayed for God to take me, not Sophie, and that didn’t happen either. The words will be the best I can write when I do. For now, I can only say I have a hole in my heart big enough to drive a truck through and she is missed and will be forever.

I did go to some basketball games this weekend, trying to get out of the house, trying to get my mind on something other than my grief. It didn’t work well, but I thank Matt for trying. I am watching the Winter Challenge from Canyon Speedway Park as I am typing. Well, I am listening. I watched the USAC Sprint Car and IMCA Modified heats, but am passing up the Mini-Sprint and Stock Car Races.

As with USA Raceway in Tucson, I do enjoy the desert scenery off the backstretch of Canyon Speedway Park. Actually, I have always loved the scenery flying into Phoenix or Las Vegas, but the sunset views at the track are awesome.

And I like watching the Wingless Sprint Cars. I was going to call them the Sprint Cars without diapers-aka wings, but that would be me just trying to irritate one person, so I won’t. This is my first night of watching the Winter Challenge, but unless you are a big Bryan Clauson fan you didn’t miss much as the Indiana driver won both features. Ricky Thornton and Hunter Marriott won the first Modified features.

Tonight the stands look a little empty, but it is just the bottom row of the stands that Speed Shift TV shows as cars pass by on the front stretch. There may be plenty of others in the stands. I know Ivan Tracy is there, and if I had my druthers, I would rather be in Phoenix than in Nebraska tonight. Of course I would rather be in Nebraska than Washington D.C. or New York City tonight with their over two feet of snow.

Only 17 USAC Sprint Cars in the $4,000 to win feature. I suppose if it were 305 Sprint Cars there would have been 57 on hand tonight. Like B-Mods and mosquitoes they seem to breed rather quickly. Most of the Sprints on hand were from the Southwest or West Coast. Oh, and like there winged brothers, they do need to be pushed off to start. A shame for sure.

Josh Hodges won the Sprint feature, followed by R.J. Johnson, and Clauson. All three led the race-Johnson most of the race, Clauson for less than the front straight, and Hodges about the last five after taking the lead in traffic.

Oh no. They have a Mod-Lite feature. I hope there is no B-Mod feature surprise. Good-there isn’t. Modified A feature time. Speed Shift TV has at least 80 race dates scheduled for 2016 so far.  Check out there site for more details.

It is just 8:00 p.m. MST-9:00 p.m. here in Nebraska, and the night’s racing from Phoenix is done. I like that. Ricky Thornton started on the pole and led every lap of the feature. Thornton was followed by Tim Ward and Hunter Marriott, and Anthony Roth of Columbus, Nebraska finished 4th.

Yes, I will be watching the Winter Challenge on Speed Shift TV again next weekend. Thanks for stopping by.






Saddened By A Terrible Loss

January 20, 2016 Leave a comment

I am terribly distraught, totally devastated as I write this. For the second time in the last two months my family has lost a four legged member, this time Amanda’s Silkie Terrier, Sophie. Amanda lives with us, so Sophie was a BIG part of our household. We loved her very much, and this was so sudden-two days ago she seemed fine.

I can’t write more. Maybe after grieving.

Categories: January 2016


January 19, 2016 1 comment

Surprised to be reading this? I am surprised to be writing it.  It only seems like weeks since I last posted a blog. OK, the last blog post was not written by me, so it has been awhile. Other important issues have taken up a lot of time, there has not been much to write of, and honestly, I just haven’t felt much like writing.

I did watch several nights of Winter Heat from Cocopah Speedway, but just one night of the Wild West Shootout from Tucson. Jonathan Davenport won three of the Late Model features, Don O’Neal won two events, and Darrell Lanigan won the other ‘A’ main. Although the Shootout was not sanctioned, Lucas Oil drivers obviously were dominant, winning all six races.

And yes, the Lucas Oil Late Models will be making two visits to I-80 Speedway this season. Thank you Joe Kosiski.

In 2017 the Wild West Shootout will move to Arizona Speedway which is a 3/8ths mile oval near Phoenix. The event will continue to run six nights with the schedule showing racing on January 7th, 8th, 11th, and 13th-15th. Non-stop flights to Phoenix from Omaha push the WWS to an even higher spot on my bucket list.

Winter Heat saw Dale Blaney, Kyle Larson, and Danny Lasoski each win one feature, while Shane Stewart finished first two nights at the desert speedway. I do like no time trials for qualifying in this event, with combined points of heats and qualifiers determining the first 16 spots on the starting grid. Sorry to any sprint car fans reading this, but watching 40 sprint cars pushed started to run two time trial laps is b-o-r-i-n-g.

For those of you not named Ivan Tracy who already has an RV parked at the track, week one of the 2016 Winter Challenge from Canyon Speedway Park will be shown on Speed Shift TV. The Peoria, Arizona track will host wingless USAC Sprint Cars-aka the ones that are fun to watch-and IMCA Modifieds on Friday-Sunday and then again on January 29th-30th. TROTD Speedway will be open at least a few of those nights-cheap concessions, temperature of 68, and just feet away from my bed.

Everyone has likely read about Tony Stewart’s altercation at the Chili Bowl in Tulsa. Apparently a drunk, off-duty cop was heckling Stewart and indicated Stewart was #1 with an extended middle finger. So Stewart, along with event security, went into the stands to confront the misguided soul. Oh, Tony. If a person wanted to confront every drunk at an open-wheeled event, well, just say it would take a long, long, long time.

My take is that if the situation was really bad, complain to security and let them handle it. Instead Stewart took matters in his own hands and all over the internet we see stories and videos of “Stewart goes into grandstands after heckler.” If I was Stewart’s PR person I think I would cry myself to sleep every night. This should be a year to celebrate the man’s accomplishments as he is retiring from NASCAR. And now it starts off with yet another negative. Maybe it will get better. I hope so.

I promise it will not be so long before I post again. Thanks for stopping by.




Behind The 8-Ball

January 11, 2016 1 comment

Occasionally someone sends me an email that I would like to share with you. I received the following from my friend Tony Anville last week. Tony visited The Alpine Inn last Friday and had this to say:

“I enjoyed

spending the evening talking with Glenn Robey.  I still think he may be the only driver (or close to it) in American racing history to win a main event in each of 6 decades.  But if he started in 1949, then did he win in 7 decades?  Maybe he didn’t win that first year?  The only driver I think that could possibly claim this is Alabama’s Red Farmer.  But I’m not sure when Red started. 

 He gave me a detailed account of his huge win at Eagle in 2000.  He said this happened the night after he turned 70 years of age (he said many accounts are this was actually his 70th, but it was the night after).  He said he simply worked the high side and had one caution go his way.  The rest is Nebraska racing history.  My personal memory of the night was as he took his victory lap, the fans practically tore the grandstand down.  As he came by the front stretch, he was pumping his fist out the top of the cars roof hatch. 

He also gave a detailed story of how the number 8-Ball came to be.  I’ve always enjoyed stories why a particular number was chosen.  He said at one of this first few races, he needed a number that was easy to paint on the car.  They didn’t have time to paint one at the shop, so he had to do it at the track.  The number 8 was available that night and it was easy to paint on the car.  He motioned his hand in the shape of an 8.  He said when they arrived back home after the races, his sister in law thought they should “spice it up” and make the number 8 into an 8-Ball.  And that too became a piece of Nebraska racing history. 

My very first race ever, at age 5…was at Whitehead Speedway.  The only racing memory I have of that hot, miserable, dusty Sunday afternoon…was a guy driving a white Chevy, with an “8-Ball” painted on the side.  I remember this because I could see he was driving with one hand tied to the side of the seat.  Glenn went into the details of that afternoon by telling me he had broken his wrist the week before.  He’d seen a guy at Playland drive with one hand years prior…so he figured he could do it that weekend at Nebraska City and Sunset.  He said he didn’t fair too well and actually pulled off the track early because the fast high banked Nebraska City track was a bit much for one handed driving. 

I’m amazed at the detail in which he recalls such events.  He was very glad I stopped by and talked in detail of all the events I remembered him from.  There are two things I didn’t get around to…but would like to stop and chat again about.  That would be his July 4th win at a special at Harlan…and then racing at the old Topeka Fairgrounds track.”

Visiting with Glenn is like taking a history course on Midwest Dirt Track Racing. I wrote about him a number of years ago and also did the Alpine Inn visit. His scrapbooks are simply incredible-I suppose Lee Ackerman has already laid claim to them-and Glenn will talk for hours about old times. If you are lucky like Matt and me, you might even get a tour of the shop that produced the famous 8-Ball cars.

Thanks Tony, and thank you for stopping by.   


Cocopah, Pizza With Friends, And By The Time I Get To Tucson

January 7, 2016 1 comment

After watching Midland University basketball games last night I came home and watched the conclusion of Winter Heat from Cocopah Speedway. I saw part of one B and all of the second B feature, but couldn’t really tell you much about either, except winged wonders were traveling a dirt oval at a high rate of speed.

Teammates Shane Stewart and Kyle Larson-yes, the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver-started on the front row and were clearly the class of the field. Larson jumped to the lead and kept Stewart in the runner-up spot for 25 laps. Whether he hit a rut in the track or simply spun, Larson got sideways and Stewart passed him and led the final five laps of the race. Larson recovered and finished second.

You can catch the last two nights of racing at Cocopah on Friday and Saturday at Speed Shift TV. I think they are doing a great job of covering the event.

I do have a serious question. Perhaps regulars at sprint car races can answer it. Does it take longer to push off 24 cars starting a sprint car A feature, or does the feature take longer? Yes, it is kind of a “which came first-the chicken or the egg” kind of question. It just seems like such a waste of time watching these cars get pushed, pushed, pushed, pushed, and pushed.

Tuesday’s bench racing luncheon was a success. Those present included VOTS, Big Ack, CLK, TMC, Dirt-Ice, Humpy, Slow Hand, and me. I suspect there are plenty of groups with bigger liars than this group, but the lies told are just right by me. And I suspect there are some groups with better story tellers, but not many. I enjoy seeing these gentlemen (a term used loosely) at the track, and Sortino’s pizza and their company is a pleasant way to spend a few winter hours.

Craig Kelley has suggested to Matt several times that we schedule one of these lunches for Anthony’s. If others are agreeable, maybe we will give that a try for our next lunch.

Late models kick off their season with a bang-no pun intended-as the opening nights of the Wild West Shoot-Out are this weekend. Saturday is race number one in the six race series and unless your name is Ivan Tracy, you will probably have to do like me to see it-subscribe on  There is a subscriber package for $79.99 for all six races or you can get single night PPV’s for $22.99, except the final race which is $24.99.

I have watched these races in the past, and single races or all six events are worth watching. I have to check out my basketball schedule before deciding what I will purchase. Sprint cars are OK once you actually get them started, lined up, and pray for no cautions, but late models are the real deal.

Thanks for stopping by.


Winter Heat-Darn Sure Not In Nebraska

January 5, 2016 2 comments

There was an article in the Omaha World-Herald yesterday about a man who has never texted, never taken a selfie, and doesn’t even own a cell phone. No, it wasn’t about me. I am proud to say I have never texted anyone, nor have I ever taken a selfie. I do own a cell phone though-mainly for emergencies though. It isn’t a smart phone, rather a trac phone. Yup, me and the bad guys own throw-away phones.

I was watching GMA this morning and they did a story on detox. No, not drugs. No, nothing about dieting. It was about spending less time on smart phones. Crazy.

I did watch some of Winter Heat from Cocopah Speedway on Saturday. I like the format-no time trials is something very unusual for the winged wonders. There were five heat races with drivers drawing for starting positions and passing points being given. Following the heats were five qualifying races. The top 30 drivers in points were inverted and filled the top six spots in each qualifier. I believe it was four from each qualifier moved up to the A, and then two B features added four more drivers to the main event.

At the conclusion of one of Saturday’s preliminary races track lights went out. No harm, no foul since the race had just ended. However, the lights went out during one of the qualifying races, which had to be a little scary. Speed Shift announcers talked of 124 mile per hour speed, so going that fast in complete darkness might unnerve a driver.

I showed the scene to my daughter and she thought it would be a good idea for them to race in the dark. I am sure she meant with head lights, but if not, it would be intriguing. I have always said that sprint car fans operate in total darkness, so why not the cars too?

There is a 14 year old racing at Winter Heat. I realize I am old fashioned, but I think 14 year old kids still belong in go-karts. They don’t belong in any kind of very fast race car-not modifieds, not late models, and certainly not in a 410 sprint car. In one of the qualifiers, the kid lined up in the front row with Steve Kinser. Yeah, King of the Outlaws, who waved hasta la vista at the drop of the green, and never did see the kid again. I just don’t buy this being the best way for a youngster to gain racing experience.

Apparently it was a “chamber of commerce day” at Cocopah on Saturday. I have been hoping for weather in the 30’s so Ivan Tracy would feel like he was back in Nebraska. Maybe tomorrow-racing continues again tomorrow night-it will be colder. It has been awhile since we have been able to watch any racing, so if you are in need of a January racing fix, check out the action on Speed Shift TV.

And now I have to get ready to go to Omaha, for the bench racing lunch at Sortino’s Pizza.

Thanks for stopping by.