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Silver Dollar Nationals-Or Why I Haven’t Posted Since December 17th

December 31, 2016 Leave a comment

No, I didn’t forget how to write. No, I don’t have writer’s block. I actually started a post after Christmas, but didn’t finish it. Yes, I do feel guilty, but obviously not enough to sit down at the keyboard before now. I’ll use the excuse of “the holidays,” plus working 98 hours this pay period. A little lame, but that’s all I have.

Here is my unfinished Christmas blog:

It has been decades since I last dreamed of a white Christmas. To me, perfect December holiday weather is sunny, with temperatures in the 50’s. I can’t say that I have ever dreamed of a thunderstorm Christmas like we had on Sunday, but every drop of rain meant fewer snowflakes and less shoveling, so if it can’t be 55 and sunny on Christmas day, I am OK with 55 and rainy.

 

The Meyer family had a nice Christmas. Matt, Steph, and Mr. Henry Ross Meyer spent part of the day with Jane, Amanda, and me, as did my Mom. The excitement of five year old Henry opening presents would have made the day, but a nice meal (Amanda’s fantastic homemade vegetable beef soup, with sandwiches, relish tray, chips, and too many Christmas goodies) and good conversation made for an even better day.

 

I don’t want to admit that my family knows me too well, but among my gifts were five books and an Amazon gift certificate. I hadn’t finished the seven books my writer friends sent me as I was recovering from my surgery, so I have plenty of reading material stacked beside my bedside table, enough that I shouldn’t need more for a few months.

 

Anyway, I hope all of you had as nice of a Christmas as I did.

 

I don’t know how the chemicals in my brain work much of the time, why I think of things I haven’t thought about in years, but here is one I bet only a few of you remember-the McDonald’s All-American Meal. What was it? A hamburger, fries, a chocolate shake and change back from a buck. This was back when you walked up to a window to order, the sign out front said “Millions Sold,” and it was years before cities the size of Fremont saw the Golden Arches. I thought it was a big treat when we stopped at the 84th and Dodge location-no longer there. Even with changes I think their fries are still the best. The hamburgers? Tolerable. The chocolate shake? I don’t know what they have done with it, I hate it, and haven’t ordered it since I discovered they changed it.

 

Of course thinking of no McDonald’s in Fremont had me thinking of the Gold Key Drive-In (a bank is now there), and A & W Drive-In (now a parking lot for Mac’s Restaurant). Which led to missing my all-time favorite sandwich, A & W’s Mexiburger-a kind of sloppy joe. They had just the right amount of grease-i.e. the hamburger bun was soaked, and a Mexiburger with a frosty mug of A & W root beer definitely hit the spot. At least my spot.

 

And this let to thinking of what was really a cheap date-Putt Putt golf, which is now a Scooter’s Coffee shop across from the Fremont Medical Center, then known as the Dodge County Memorial Hospital. I read in the Fremont Tribune-no longer deserving of the title “newspaper” that when the new $15,000,000 aquatic center-next to the ice rink-is completed, the Fremont Y will be the largest in the United States. Wow. I can remember when old YMCA at 5th & Park, with a basketball court straight out of the movie “Hoosiers,” and a swimming pool a little bit bigger than a rich person’s hot tub.

 

Good memories. Too many bad ones from 2016. Jane nearly dying from being over-medicated after knee replacement surgery in October. My prostate cancer-I am now cancer free, but still not fully recovered from the cryoplasty procedure. And losing our beloved silky terrier Sophie in January.

 

I am counting on 2017 being a much better year. Unlike the 29 years previous, I love going to work in the morning, and don’t even mind the commute to Omaha. This will be the year I get 1, maybe 2 new knees-and hallelujah to that. Before and after the knee surgery I am going to have to lose weight. Hopefully I will be as successful at Jane in doing so.

 

Matt and I have talked-and talked, about racing plans for 2017. On our way to Fairbury, Illinois last year we detoured to visit Iowa Speedway. Just looking impressed us enough to want to return for a race-probably the NASCAR XFINITY Series event in June. Obviously we will not miss the Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway, and cross your fingers the other Lucas Oil show there won’t be rained out.

 

Fairbury and the Prairie Dirt Classic is on our list too. If you have never been to Fairbury American Legion Speedway go. And try to get seats on the back stretch. Matt and I sat close to turn 3 and it was so good it was almost overwhelming.

 

The Knoxville Nationals-late model version-is a mainstay on our list, and this year there is no work conflict for me. The SLMR at US 30 Speedway makes our list, though I am hoping for a racier track there. Matt wants to go to Corning for a USMTS and SLMR show. I don’t much, but I am sure I will go.

And depending on knee surgeries, there might be a trip to Kansas City for one of the qualifying days for the NASCAR Sprint Cup oops, Monster Energy Cup races.

 

If I didn’t already know it was New Year’s Eve, my email inbox would tell me. So far I have had 17 different emails telling me that today is the last day to get a tax break by donating to their cause. Sorry, gave at the office. Well, actually I did give at the office, and many other places too.

 

Have a safe night and a good and Happy New Year too. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Nice Way To Spend An Icy Cold Night-The Gateway Nationals

December 17, 2016 1 comment

I left work a little early yesterday so I did not have to drive home after sunset-I know, there wasn’t any sun-with freezing rain falling. Going west on Dodge I felt like a Roush Fenway driver in a NASCAR Cup race. Yeah, I was in the middle lane and getting passed left and right.

Actually, it took me over an hour to get home (usually it takes about half an hour). A wreck by Valley turned Highway 275 into a one lane, go very slow route from the Waterloo viaduct to Valley. Further on there were two incidents on the east bound lanes, and then a long line of cars following a snow plow.  I made it safe and that was all that mattered.

I got home in time to watch the Alphabet Soup portion of the Gateway Nationals from St. Louis. I admit I was a little nervous about getting my money’s worth from this PPV, but it was worth more than I spent for sure. In only its second night of action, this event got put on my “to do” list. Anyway, the Alphabet Soup I mentioned was the D-C-B-A features. The modifieds and late models had two each of the consolation features before the A mains.

I wondered about the set-up and track in an indoor facility, but it was obvious a lot of thought went into how to make it all work. A line-up lane surrounds the 1/5th mile track and also provides a safe space between race cars and fans in the front row of the grandstands. The track itself is about the size of tracks in Macon and Belle Claire, Illinois. The turns are tight, so handling is much more important than raw horsepower. There was action around the track, often three wide racing with lots of bumping. Lots and lots of bumping. Did I mention bumping? Yeah, plenty of it.

St. Louis area promoter Kevin Gundaker was in charge of track prep, and the track prep crew is outstanding. After each of the alphabet letters, there was a brief intermission to air out fumes and to work on the track. The topside was constantly watered, tore up, and repacked. By the time the A features came around it could not have been much better.

Scott Bloomquist started on the pole in the A feature-boo, hiss-and jumped to the lead immediately. He was pressured by Darrell Lanigan and hit the wall several times in the opening laps. Bloomquist led every lap until catching up with lapped traffic late in the race. Shannon Babb, Lanigan, and Jason Feger were ready to pounce on any Bloomquist mistake. The four cars reminded me of the pack racing of Pro-Am stock cars at I-80 Speedway. You don’t see that much in late model racing. Anyway, Bloomquist pushed up coming out of turn two in the final laps-maybe he hit a rut-and the other three drivers were able to pass him.

The race was simply outstanding. It far surpassed my expectations. Other than the Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway, this was the best feature race I saw all year.

Shannon Babb was the winner, and surprisingly it was his first win of the season. Babb, Lanigan, Feger, and Bloomquist all qualified for tonight’s $20,000 to win feature as did Chris Simpson, Chad Zobrist, Don O’Neal and Kevin Weaver. Name drivers who will have to qualify through consolation races include Kent Robinson, Bobby Pierce, Brandon Sheppard, Ray Cook, Billy Moyer Jr., and Devin Moran.

www.DirtonDirt.com provided excellent coverage of the event with two announcers, two roving reporters, and more cameras then I would have believed. Yes, I am going to purchase today’s package-racing action will get underway around 3:00 p.m. I give the coverage two thumbs up. Next year I hope to talk my son into going. It isn’t a bad drive from Fremont to St. Louis, and it is just a short flight from Omaha to St. Louis, and it would be nice to get a bunch of friends/fans to go in 2017. Yes, I do think there will be a 2017 Gateway Nationals next December.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Categories: December 2016

Lots Of Puzzle Pieces

December 11, 2016 Leave a comment

Bits and pieces you probably already know:

-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been cleared by doctors to return to the 88 car, and will be back in the saddle for the Daytona 500 in February. I am not sure who is happier, Earnhardt, NASCAR or the Junior Nation.

-In a related story, not sure how or why, Earnhardt Jr. and Amy Reimann are getting married on New Year’s Eve. In order to keep away 47,000 uninvited guests, the location was not disclosed.

-Monster Energy is the 2017 sponsor of what has been known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. No word yet on what the series name will be, but I am pretty sure it will NOT be the NASCAR Monster Energy Rest of the Dirt Cup series. No, I have never tried a Monster Energy drink, but there are many days I feel like I good use more energy.

-LATE MODEL RACING LIVE on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, from the Gateway Dome in St. Louis. Also on the card will be Modifieds. If you can’t make it to St. Louis, catch all the action on www.DirtonDirt.com PPV. Coverage starts at about 2:30 p.m. each day, which is somewhat irritating for those of us who work, but there aren’t exactly a lot of other events to watch this coming weekend.

-The St. Louis track will be approximately 1/5th mile, or about the size of the Macon, Illinois oval. If you have ever watched racing from Macon, you know there is going to be action everywhere on the track.

-It took 140 truckloads of dirt to build the indoor track. Tri-City promoter Kevin Gundaker is in charge of track prep and I am sure will do a great job. I do wonder about the noise and the fumes, not unlike the Chili Bowl in Tulsa.

-Josh Richards switching form the Rocket house car is good news for area fans. Richards will now be following the Lucas Oil Series which will visit I-80 Speedway in May for a one night show, and again in July for the Silver Dollar Nationals. Brandon Sheppard will be running the Rocket house car in the WoO series.

-Richards, Bloomquist, Lanigan, O’Neal, Pearson, Owens, Davenport, and McCreadie. I wonder how many national tour champions those eight drivers have won. All of them will be running the Lucas Oil series. Past Knoxville National winner Jared Landers and past Dream winner Dennis Erb Jr. are also planning on being tour regulars in 2017.

-There is no WoO late model race scheduled against the Silver Dollar Nationals this year. The UMP Summernationals ends a week before the SDN. Will a $53,000 to win purse draw some WoO or UMP drivers to Nebraska in July?

-More good news for Midwest racing fans, especially those who think open wheel racing is the cream of motorsports. USAC sprint cars-you know, the ones that don’t look like stubby airplanes-will be heading to Nebraska and Iowa on June 2nd and June 3rd. The action on Friday June 2nd will be at I-80 Speedway, while the June 3rd racing is at Knoxville. Two thumbs up to I-80 promoter Joe Kosiski for making this happen.

-Still more good news for open wheel fans is that the USAC midgets will also make a stop in the Cornhusker State on their journey to the Belleville Nationals. The Jefferson County Speedway in Fairbury will once again play host to size challenged USAC hot rods, this time on Tuesday, August 1st.

-I do like the WoO coming out with random drug tests. Other sports have these tests and I see this as a commitment to safety. Reaction from WoO sprint car drivers was positive.

Enough already. I think I will watch some archived event on Lucas Oil Racing TV. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

One Last Update From The Mayo, ‘er Meyer Clinic

December 4, 2016 Leave a comment

How about one last cancer report from the Meyer clinic? Well, hopefully one last update. After finishing 10 straight days of IV infusion therapy for the infection known at Proteus, I visited my family doctor on Monday. He thought the Proteus was over and done, and while the C-diff infection was still going on, it was gradually ending too. So, I do not have to see him again until late December.

On Wednesday I went to the urologist for blood work and a review of my progress. As it should have, my PSA was 0. So, everything that needed to be destroyed was. I am healing from the procedure, and making good progress. He doesn’t want to see me for three months, and I feel the same way.

I worked every day last week for the first time since my surgery, and even worked some overtime. Getting rid of the infections I have more energy and a much more positive outlook.

Next on the agenda? Continue losing weight-I lost 20 pounds after my surgery-and make a plan of attack to replace my left knee. That is months away though.

The Gateway Dirt Nationals is coming up in less than two weeks. Indoor racing isn’t new, not even for late models-there was a big indoor event at the Pontiac Silverdome years ago. Still, late models and modifieds racing for big bucks in St Louis in December does extend the season a little longer, if nothing else. I don’t have great expectations, so even good racing will get two thumbs up from me.

I do intend to watch all three nights of the event via www.DirtonDirt.com webstreaming. DOD’s does not have a 3 night package. Thursday night December 15th coverage will cost you $14.99. The Friday package is $24.99, and Saturday’s finale is $34.99.

For those of you who prefer open wheel racing, Speed Shift TV will cover the Junior Knepper 55 from the Southern Illinois Center in DuQuoin, Illinois. The SIC is a 1/6th mile indoor oval and the race will feature USAC midgets in a non-points race. Check out Speed Shift TV for more details.

And, if you have Lucas Oil Racing TV and aren’t a big NFL fan, you can do like I am doing-watching some replays of 2016 events, including the Super Bowl of Racing from Golden Isle Speedway in Georgia, held early last February.

Thanks for stopping by.