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Archive for May, 2016

Just A Little Faster Than 80 On 80, Plus More

May 30, 2016 1 comment

On Friday Jane and I made a trip to Sigourney, Iowa to decorate graves of her family members. It is 265 miles there, though about 190 miles of the trip is on interstate highways. In Iowa-unlike most other states-the posted speed limit on interstate highways is 70 miles per hour. I set the cruise control on the rental car at 80 and felt like I was a Roush Fenway Racing driver in a Sprint Cup race getting passed by car after car after car. I bumped it up to 85 miles per hour and was still getting passed, but not by as many cars.

Iowa also sets the speed limit on non-interstate highways at 55 miles per hour. It felt like we were standing still after we got off I-80, and that was just going from 85 down to 60 miles per hour. I can see why NASCAR drivers get pit road speeding penalties having to go even slower on pit road, and coming down from 180 miles per hour.

The Iowa State Patrol was out in force on Friday and I say numerous cars pulled over. I do suspect that unlike Carl Edwards in the NASCAR race most of the scofflaws settled at getting just one speeding ticket. Edwards got a drive through penalty for going too fast on pit row, then compounded his problem by going too fast on the drive through, causing him to receive a stop and go penalty. Broke my heart, not.

I watched the Memorial Day 1100 on Sunday.  Actually I also watched a little of the F1 race from Monaco, definitely a race I would love to go to if only I had the money of my friend Tony Anville. I will state with 100% certainty that the Indy 500 was much more fun to watch than the Coca-Cola 600. There were actually lead changes at Indianapolis, and yellow flag pit stops reminded me of leaving Park Jefferson Speedway after the races-totally insane. Congratulations to rookie Alexander Rossi on winning the Indy 500, even if it was a gas mileage win.

I am very much OK with Martin Truex Jr. on winning the Sprint Cup race at Charlotte. His no luck if not for bad luck streak ended in a convincing fashion with Truex leading 392 laps of the 400 lap race. However, when one driver is that dominant, the only word to describe what happened is B-O-R-I-N-G. At least Joey Logano or Brad Keselowski didn’t win.

The Roush cars may have had their best overall average finish in 2016 last night. Greg Biffle finished 11th, Ricky Stenhouse finished 15th, and Trevor Bayne ended up 25th. If my math is correct, that is an average of 17th place, still quite mediocre, but not as mediocre as most weeks.

A Kentucky Pure Stock driver was charged with DUI and assault after striking a track worker at Paducah International Raceway. The track worker suffered a broken leg and was airlifted from a local hospital to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Sometimes I just shake my head at things that happen in this sport. One can only hope for some jail time here, and of course a permanent ban for the driver by all tracks and sanctioning bodies.

Famed oval Rockford Speedway in Illinois is laying down 200 truckloads of clay to cover its asphalt surface and will race WoO Sprint Cars and Late Models in a very special event. The winged wonders will run on the ¼ mile track on Wednesday June 29th, while the late models will race on Thursday June 30th.  Hey, plenty of asphalt tracks seem to be willing to bring in a little dirt to run on, but I don’t see any dirt tracks being covered with asphalt for a special event.

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. That asphalt dirt crack was irony.

 

 

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A Lot Of Roads Led To Off Road Speedway Last Night

May 22, 2016 2 comments

After weeks of waiting, Matt and I finally made to a race last night-the SLMR show at Off Road Speedway in Norfolk. It was a long day for us as first we drove to Lincoln to watch the NU baseball team finish a sweep of Indiana. After the game my knowledge of the highways and byways of eastern Nebraska came into play as we navigated our way from Lincoln through Valparaiso, Prague, North Bend, Snyder, Dodge, Howells, Clarkson, and Stanton with just one slight detour.

What awaited us was a very windy, not quite cold night at the track. I very much want to like Off Road Speedway, so I will keep to the facts without a lot of editorializing. With the wind I am not sure the track prep crew could have put enough water on the oval to keep it from getting dusty. The late models were the main dust problem though, seeming to create their own weather problem. They generated enough dust it was almost impossible to watch them exit turn four unless you were wearing safety goggles and maybe a breathing apparatus too.

Yes, dust-and tiny dirt clods too. It has been years since I was pelted with clods, maybe clear back to the Final Sunset. And speaking of Sunset, I am thinking the last time I was so dust covered was at Sunset. Like in the early 70’s when the track’s season finale ended up being run on a Sunday afternoon.

Anyway, Bill Leighton Jr. led all 25 laps to claim the first place prize. All time win leader Kyle Berck was not a factor in the feature. Berck arrived too late to run his heat, started at the back of a B feature, and ended up having to take a provisional to run the feature. Apparently he was late finishing up building a new car. Well, the car looked good and sounded good, but there was not a lot of passing in the feature. The 14 was stuck in mid-pack racing cars he likely will not race again in an SLMR feature this season.

The track was far less dusty for the support class races, and I always enjoy seeing the IMCA Stock Cars and Hobby Stocks in action. I was surprised at the speed and quality of the IMCA Sport Compacts, and their feature race was actually quite good. And of course no race is complete without IMCA Northern Sport Mods in action. Three yellow flags before one lap was complete started the race, and a red flag after 5 laps led to a stop in the action. B-Mods, gotta love them.

Again, the late models produced a dust bowl, but this is a track I want to like-not a bad trip from Fremont, seats are close to the action, the safety crew is great, concessions are good, especially the popcorn, and as I mentioned, two of my favorite divisions race there. Plus this is just their second year, so they will get better I am sure.

Pet Peeves:

-B feature B-Mods. It goes without saying, but I have said it many times before and will say it many more times. These races drive me insane.

-Crack addicts. In this case I mean butt cracks. I saw far more than I cared to see twice at the NU baseball game and numerous times at the race. I have a big butt, and I keep it covered. If your ass is as big as mine-or even bigger, please, please, please keep it covered.

-Announcers who say “just a short 10 minute intermission,” when it is NEVER just a short 10 minute intermission. I would much rather they say “hey, we are taking an intermission and it is going to be a long one, so tough.”

-Parents who do not supervise their kids. I did not pay $17 to watch your kids misbehave.

-This is for Haymarket Park only. Crappy, overpriced concessions coupled with L-O-N-G waits in line. Off Road Speedway had better concessions, priced fairly, and no long waits in line.

-Finally, this is a big one. Parents who bring babies to races. Two thumbs down. Get a babysitter. However, parents who bring babies without proper protection really deserve everyone’s ire. Last night one baby had summer like clothes on and it was chilly last night. Someone behind this person finally wrapped the baby in a blanket. Plus, this baby had NO ear protection. ALL children at the track need protection for the ears-preferably earphones to block out the noise. Even with something protecting their ears, no baby was protected from the dust getting in eyes, nose, and throat. Leave them with a babysitter, even if it means a few less beers at the track, and one less pack of cigarettes during the week.

Earlier this week I watched sprint car racing from Des Moines in Speed Shift TV. 18 Sprint Invaders and 18 Racesaver sprints “filled” the Iowa State Fairgrounds Speedway pits. 6 of the 305 sprints on the big ½ mile track seemed like watching cars pass by on a Nevada backroad, and even 6 of the 360’s in a heat left a lot to be desired. For me, the highlight of watching the race was when track announcer and race writer par excellence Jeff Broeg was shown interviewing the winner of the Sprint Invaders Scramble Dash. I don’t know how big the crowd was-those grandstands can swallow up even a good crowd, but sprint fans seem to come out no matter what. “Hey, we went to the bar and a winged sprint race broke out.”

“I’m psyched, I’m psyched, I’m ready to go.” Don’t know who sings that, but I am psyched and I am ready to go watch the Lucas Oil late models in action at I-80 Speedway on Tuesday. Jonathan Davenport, Scott Bloomquist, Jimmie Owens, Don O’Neal, and others will be on hand for a Silver Dollar Nationals prelude. Qualifying will be regular Lucas Oil time trials and heats, but it still will be fun watching the best of the best in action. I am going to cheer for Davenport, but it seems like Bloomquist owns the place. And I am looking forward to an I-80 Speedway pork tenderloin sandwich so don’t run out.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

Categories: May 2016

Two Posts In Two Days-Amazing!!!

May 9, 2016 1 comment

Two posts in two days? What am I trying to do?  Well, it is a long story and includes needing a new battery, a new alternator, and a trip back from Omaha on a flat bed. Also, I didn’t write this post-my friend Tony Anville did. It is basically his reaction to a weekend spent at Kansas Speedway.

Anyway, Tony is the friend that I most often harass on this blog. Why? Anyone who knows him will tell you he deserves it. Just ask Matt or Lee Ackerman. They will say I need to hit harder. I would but he is a Roush Fenway fan and I figure that has to be depressing enough.

I did not edit this-I haven’t yet at least. I’ll see how his spelling and punctuation is. The Rest of the Dirt does not endorse any of the opinions stated in this particular blog post. OK, so I agree with some of them, I just said I don’t to avoid any legal difficulty. I would hate to have TROTD sued for all it is worth, which is almost $4.00.

From Tony:

“It was another fun weekend at Kansas Speedway.  The two Kansas weekends, the Silver Dollar Nationals, the Knoxville Late Model Nationals and an occasional Talladega weekend make for a damn good life. 

As corny as it sounds, I always enjoy the team haulers pulling in to the infield.  They line up on Thursday afternoon outside the track so everyone can get pictures, etc.  Then at “7:30” they file into the infield tunnel.  The only problem is, it’s never at 7:30.  It’s normally around 7:00ish.  NASCAR (or Kansas Speedway) needs to get the time figured out.  A lot of fans show up for this…and some left angry as they saw the last two haulers pull in at 7:30. 

It’s just as fun watching them all leave around 10:30 after the race.  It’s a much more frantic pace and with all the trailer lights…it’s pretty neat to see. 

The Truck race was very exciting.  The Cup was one of the more lackluster I’ve seen.  NASCAR was in fine form again. Not throwing a caution when Austin Dillon cut down Trevor Bayne’s tire.  Yet immediately throwing a caution when Daddy Warbucks car (John Menard) had a tire go down.  It’s obvious to me NASCAR is out to get Jack Roush. 

NASCAR has serious problems with the future of the sport.  I’m not sure what the answers are.  But some serious brainstorming needs to take place.  I’m gravely concerned there could be no racing in 20 years or less.  No racing of any kind.  Seats were aplenty at the Cup race.  There were only 5 people in my row.  There were a couple rows below me with only 3 or 4 people.  If you didn’t like the seat you bought…you could easily move around and find another after the race started. 

The souvenir experience for the fan has taken quite a change in the past year.  I’m sure it’s less of an expense on some of the teams…but it’s not as fun for the fan.  Instead of each team /driver having their own trailer, you now go into a portable Wal-Mart like set up…and each “aisle” has a driver.  The selection is down big time.  But I’m sure the overhead is down…and I’m also sure NASCAR makes more money.

It used to be bad enough that Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse would be the only two drivers to acknowledge the fans lined along pit road prior to driver intros.  Now, even those two can’t if they wanted to.  The ropes to keep fans back is further away from pit road.  Then the cars separate the rope from where the drivers walk.  Every time I ever saw Bobby Allison and Richard Petty, before or after a race, they always acknowledged me.  Never once did they not go out of their way. 

It was very cool to see a local…Raymond Bartunek…running the NASCAR inspection station prior to the race.  It’s been a long time since Sunset Speedway.        

Kansas Speedway gave all season ticket holders “parking passes” this season.  That’s a nice gesture that I’m sure many enjoy.  But my regular parking spot is still better…so I passed up their offer once I saw where they were leading me.  Personally, I think the speedway needs to rethink where these parking places are located…but in general, getting into and out of Kansas Speedway is one of the easiest in racing venue history (as it’s always been). 

I enjoyed the activities at Lakeside Speedway Thursday.  I walked Lakeside for the first time.  I’ve never seen a dirt track front stretch (or backstretch) as smooth.  It was like an asphalt city street.  I’m not sure if this was unique to the night…or if it’s always like this.   

I’m not sure if it’s the drivers in this era…the on-track competition, the endless money teams have spent in the past which has now backed them into a corner, NASCAR, or the fact it’s 2016 and people aren’t as into their cars.  Or maybe a little of everything?  But I’m seriously concerned about racing.  Oh…and when Dale Jr. retires….well…I’ll let you do the math on that.”

Thank you Tony. Great post with lots to think about. He is one of the good guys, though if you are reading this I will claim he hacked into my site and added that to the post.

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. Remember-the Lucas Oil late models will be at I-80 Speedway two weeks from tomorrow, on Tuesday May 24th.

 

 

Speed Shift TV Steers Into The Cornhusker State, NASCAR Visits The Jayhawk State

Thanks to Speed Shift TV I was able to spend three nights watching races this weekend. Well, only two were on the computer, the other was the Kansas NASCAAR Sprint Cup race on Fox, but without Speed Shift TV I would only have watched one night of racing.

The computer webstream site visited Nebraska on Thursday and Friday, stopping at US 30 Speedway on Thursday and heading to I-80 Speedway on Friday. Thursday was the US 30 Speedway regular show, while the I-80 races featured NSL 410 sprints.

88 cars filled the US 30 pits-and naturally the most of any of the five classes racing were the IMCA Northern Sport Mods. These cars are like the biblical plague of locusts. 29, or 1/3 of the cars signed in were the B-Mods that so drive me insane. Anyway, I watched 12 heats and 1 B-feature before signing off.

I enjoyed promoter Mari Melcher talking with the crowd during intermission. Thumbs up to any promoter who thanks fans for coming out to the track, and I also liked to hear her talk about making evenings at US 30 Speedway fun. Another thumbs up for having fun.

As far as results, well go to the US 30 forum on www.dirtdrivers.com. Or, go to the US 30 Facebook page and you can actually watch videos of the features. Good stuff.

The track was holding a contest to come up with a new concession stand item. Since I wasn’t there, I figured I wasn’t eligible to compete, but I did have a thought for a new item. Start with a hamburger, always a good start for a concession stand. Add a slice of cheese, and three slices of crispy bacon. Top it off with a splash of barbecue sauce.

Did I say “top it off?” No-throw on another hamburger, three more slices of crisp bacon, and another dab of barbecue sauce. Wrap it all in a toasted on the grill bun. And make it a combo-no, not fries, a drink and dessert. Throw a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream into a cup and include a cold bottle of Mug Root Beer-some of it to drink while eating the sandwich, some to go with the ice cream for a root beer float.

Oh, and call it “Abe’s US 30 Special,” honoring track founder Abe Lincoln and also noting that racing at the track west of Columbus is certainly special on Thursday nights. OK, so my concession item is not fancy, no exotic taste treats. BUT, the sandwich really represents how I view the track-a grassroots, blue collar, back to the basics, no frills venue.

Friday, I logged back on Speed Shift TV to watch some of the Dirt Classic NSL race. 410 sprints were the feature class and of course the support class was B-Mods (hey, like a plague of locusts). Nebraska is not exactly a hub of 410 sprint car racing, meaning no locals joined tour regulars, meaning only 20 of the powerful open wheel racers were on hand. With roughly 30 B-mods also signed in, the track’s infield pit area looked more like a mall parking lot after closing than the pits for a special event that paid $10,000 to win.

I do not understand sprint car fans obsession with time trials. I have said before, they are a waste of TIME and a TRIAL on my patience. But every open wheel special seems to have to have them. So, I watched hot laps, time trials, two sets of qualifying races-sorry, 6 car qualifiers do not excite me-and the B-Mod qualifying and heats before moving on to something else. Again, if you want results go to the NSL or I-80 Speedway websites.

I watched all of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Kansas Speedway. And basically enjoyed it. No doubt that Martin Truex Jr. had the dominant car and deserved to win, but a late race pit stop error caused Truex to have to return to pits a second time and sent him a lap down. He recovered to finish 14th, but deserved better.

I can’t complain about the results. No Penske cars won, and Joey Logano wrecked. Break my heart, not. A certain friend of mine has been fans of five different drivers since I have known him. By mid-race four of them had experienced difficulty with the Kansas Speedway walls. I kept hoping the fifth driver would also smack a wall, and darned if he didn’t. Yes, I did laugh long and hard.

I have to admit I am becoming more of a Kyle Busch fan with every race. Even though Truex deserved the win, I am not upset that Busch finally won at Kansas Speedway. Stewart-Haas Racing drivers did very well too-Kevin Harvick finished second, Kurt Busch was third, Tony Stewart finished 12th, and even Danica Patrick had a top 20 finish.

Denny Hamlin needs to take the “Matt Meyer Talk Your Way Out Of Speeding Tickets” course. Hamlin was hit with two pit row speeding violations last night, and has six such penalties for the year. Late in the race Hamlin stuck his nose where it did not belong-OK, the nose of his car-wrecking his car and that of Logano (well, that was not so bad), and also ended the hopes of Kyle Larsen and Brad Keselowski for a Jayhawk State win. Amazing.

Matt Kenseth finished fifth, breaking a string of really bad luck. And, Roush Fenway Racing turned in their normal mediocre finish, with 13th-25th-27th translating into a 22nd place average finish.

Next week is Dover for the Sprint Cup Series. I am pretty sure I will not write nearly as much about the Delaware track as I did about the one located just outside Kansas City.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Not So Sweet Home Alabama

May 1, 2016 1 comment

Three wide racing at 200 miles per hour is breath-taking. Four wide racing at 200 miles per hour is gut wrenching. And simply does not work for long, even on a wide track like Talladega. Four wide racing leads to bizarre happenings, and a not so sweet Alabama home.

Brad Keselowski winning a NASCAR race ruins an otherwise nice afternoon. Let’s just say I think less of BK than John Boehner does of Ted Cruz-though I agree with Boehner about Cruz. When Keselowski wins I change the channel as soon as the checkered flag flies.

Random thoughts:

-Kurt Busch is the official NASCAR Sprint Cup Demolition Derby Champion, wrecking Jimmie Johnson and 17 other cars with an ultra-aggressive (read that as pretty stupid) bump draft move.

-It is scary watching race cars roll any time, but when they roll at close to 200 miles per hour it is beyond scary. Chris Buescher’s flip was insane, but the car was up in the air about as high as a good high school pole vaulter goes when it came down on all four wheels. Wasn’t it Bill Elliott who broke a hip some years ago when a car came down like that?

-Matt Kenseth’s roll over was frightening too. I honestly thought his car was going over the catch fence. Kenseth can’t seem to buy any luck this season, having great cars every race, but not finishing well. 23rd place after leading the race can’t be very satisfying. And it appears that Kenseth is blaming Joey Logano for being in the position to be involved in that wreck. Logano is the Ted Cruz of Sprint Cup drivers-no one likes him.

-Tony Stewart gets credited for a 6th place finish even though he ran only about 1/3rd of the laps. By NASCAR rules the driver of record is the driver who starts the race in a car, not who finishes the race. Ty Dillon finished the race for the recovering Stewart and managed to miss all the carnage. I hate to say this, but that was likely better than Stewart would have done.

-Donnie Allison once got credit for a win when Darrell Waltrip drove most of the race as his replacement. May have happened other times too.

-I am a Jeff Gordon homer, I admit it, but he is more than a breath of fresh air in the FOX Sports booth. If only FOX could get Darrell Waltrip to retire his infamous opening line.

Now it is off to Kansas for a night race next Saturday. Kansas is about a mile shorter than Talladega, but is not as wide, and is plenty fast too. Matt and I had hoped to go to Kansas Speedway on Friday, but work commitments are going to keep that from happening.

Instead of watching Sprint Cup practice and qualifying and Camping World Truck Series qualifying and racing at Kansas, I will have to get my race fix from Speed Shift TV this coming week. On Thursday Speed Shift TV will be streaming the races from US 30 Speedway-yes, from the 1/3rd mile oval just west of Columbus, Nebraska for the track’s regular weekly show. Speed Shift will be in Nebraska on Friday as well, showing an NSL 410 Sprint Car event from I-80 Speedway. So, there is an alternative if you can’t make it to the track.

AND, Speed Shift TV is fair-priced and is a good production too. I’ll be watching.

As always when a Penske driver wins a Sprint Cup race I don’t have much to say. Hopefully the 2 or 22 will not win at Kansas and I will have more to write about. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: May 2016