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Archive for February, 2017

Rain, Hail, Snow, Basketball And Racing

February 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Well, with snow on the ground and more forecast plus winds howling, I decided to take a day off from commuting to Omaha for work. And, it has been awhile since I last blogged, so now is a good time to post something.

I have been much more into basketball than racing the past month. Instead of watching late models from Volusia Speedway Park, last night Matt and I drove to Waverly to watch the battle of Wahoo in a sub-district basketball tournament game. Wahoo Neumann beat Wahoo High School 72-46 and as always played very well. I only went to one Fremont High School game this year, but have watched the Cavaliers play in Wahoo, Columbus, Springfield, Grand Island, and Waverly. I like coach Mike Weiss-a Midland graduate, and his team plays the game the way I think it ought to be played.  With wild cards in class C, they are a lock to get into the State Tournament.

Last night it was raining when we drove to Waverly. After the game we came out and it was still raining, but there was thunder and lightning as well. Heading west on Waverly road to Highway 77 we ran into freezing rain and hail. Going north on Hwy. 77 it was snowing so hard it was difficult to see the road. It was like that all the way back to Fremont. Matt did a very good job of keeping us out of a ditch and not hitting anyone else. I was more than happy to reach the city limits of Fremont.

We are hoping to see one more district game before the State Tournament. Winnebago plays Columbus Scotus for a district championship, and hopefully that game will be played at Midland University. We love watching Winnebago play-we’ve seen them play in Ralston and Grand Island this year-and that will be a great match up. Winnebago is number one in power points in C-1, Scotus is number two, and Wahoo Neumann is number three. All three appear to be State Tournament bound.

I did watch all the Lucas Oil late model racing the past few weeks from Georgia and Florida and it was outstanding. OK-Josh Richards, Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, Don O’Neal, Jonathan Davenport, Darrell Lanigan, Earl Pearson Jr., Steve Francis, and Tim McCreadie as tour regulars, you know it is going to be good. All of them have won one or more national tour championships.

The racing at East Bay was outstanding this year. Young guns, veterans, side by side racing-and passing. McCreadie started 18th on the Thursday night Winternationals show and won. Josh Richards won at East Bay and in Georgia. Bloomquist won at East Bay and lost on a last lap, last turn pass by Brandon Shepard at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala.

The Lucas Oil series has a lot of star power, no question. However, I think it is important that someone not named Richards or Bloomquist win some races. Don O’Neal’s 16 year old son Hudson raced during Speedweeks and did a good job. It would be great to see a youngster like that in victory lane. An occasional win by some of the big names would be nice too.

Thank you Joe Kosiski for booking the series twice at I-80 Speedway. The first visit will be several days prior to the Show Me 100 in May, and of course all the stars will shine in July at the crown jewel Silver Dollar Nationals.

Who is going to win the Daytona 500? Personally I would like to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. take the checkered flags. Jimmie Johnson or Kevin Harvick would be OK too.

With several score dirt track races available on the computer and Jeff Gordon no longer racing NASCAR, the Daytona 500 does not have the same anticipation factor for me as a few years ago. I will watch it and am hoping for a good race, but if something happened and I did not get to see it, I would not feel cheated.

Driving to Waverly last night, Matt and I discussed the future of NASCAR. Ratings and attendance continue a downward trend, and many of the stars of the sport are nearing an age when they will be considering retiring-Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick are all over 40. Harvick has stated that the pressure of The Chase-now simply The Play-offs, is such that no driver will race into his 50’s. Earnhardt Jr. would retire if that elusive championship became his. Would Johnson step aside if he won his eighth championship?

Where are the big guns of the future? Chase Elliott? Maybe. Sorry, never been a fan of the Elliott’s, Chase or his dad Bill. Certainly not Bayne or Stenhouse in Roush Fenway cars. Daniel Suarez? Possibly. Joey Logano-everyone knows how much I like Logano and his partner in crime Brad Keselowski. Not at all is how much. Kyle Busch will be around for some time yet. Since his marriage, accident, and birth of his son, the younger Busch brother has matured and I am starting to like him. Denny Hamlin? He is just Joey Logano from Virginia. The Dillon Brothers? Thumbs down for Austin, thumbs down for Ty. Ryan Blaney? That would be OK.

There are certainly some possibilities, but to me drivers like Saurez and Blaney need to prove they are legitimate winning against the over 40 stars.

Matt also questioned if the current NASCAR business model is sustainable. What happens when Penske, Roush, Hendrick, and Gibbs want to retire as owners? How many corporations will justify spending $500,000 a week in a sport that is seeing dwindling TV ratings and attendance? Both are good questions. NASCAR does face some difficult questions in the coming years. I hope the leadership can find the right answers. I am fearful they won’t.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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Prime Rib, Racing, Basketball, And Good Conversation

February 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Matt and I drove to Grand Island yesterday for the Heartland Hoops Classic-8 high school basketball games featuring match-ups that don’t happen anywhere else. Eight games are too much for us. We arrived at half-time of game 3, watched all of games 4-5-6-7, and left at half-time of game 8. Yes, we were there for about 9 hours.

I can hear I-80 promoter Joe Kosiski telling Matt “your dad complains about how long our shows are and they aren’t 9 hours long.” Well three things:

-every one of the games started on time. Not 15 minutes late, not a half-hour late, they started on time.

-we were back in Fremont by midnight. There have been far too many times when I have been at a race track-and not just I-80 Speedway-well past the witching hour.

-I did not have to suffer through 4 heats, a consolation race, and an A-feature of the infamous B-Mods.

All in all it was a great night. I enjoyed the two hours of conversation driving to Grand Island, and the two hours of conversation on the ride home.

Admission was $16, far less than any race special. AND, Matt found us seats in a three seat row so no one was crawling over us every five minutes. Courtside seats cost $75. We were maybe 20’ away from the court and could see the action far better than if we were in the courtside seats. Two thumbs up for Matt.

On Friday we went to Z’s Bar and Grill in Scribner. I have no idea why small towns like Waterloo, Hooper, and Scribner can have good steak houses but Fremont does not. Anyway, that was our first visit to Z’s, but it won’t be our last. Good food and good service too.

I got home just in time to watch the B features and A features of the Lucas Oil series race at Golden Isles Speedway in Waynesville, Georgia. It wasn’t great late model racing-very little passing, not unusual for a track’s opening night, but it was still late model racing with plenty of name drivers in the field.

As seems to be the case every race, Scott Bloomquist arrived late. He tagged on the rear of a B feature so he could use a provisional to start in the A main. Yeah, he finished at the rear of the B feature, and was even worse in the A. He spun out early in the race and then was going so slow that leader Billy Moyer Jr. virtually ran over the Zero car, spinning him out a second time.

Whether the wreck damaged Moyer’s radiator or the 21 Jr. was overheating for some other reason, both Bloomquist and Moyer Jr. left the track-Moyer after leading the first 37 laps. Brandon Overton led the final 13 laps and collected $10,000 for the win.

I do not know who won last night’s race. And don’t want to know. I will watch the race on Lucas Oil Racing TV later today. That is a nice feature of having a LORTV subscription-all the live events are archived.

The Lucas Oil series takes tonight off, but will be back in action tomorrow at East Bay Raceway Park near Tampa. And yes, LORTV will be covering the event. Late model racing on a Monday night in February-fantastic. East Bay is late models only, and the track runs all of the races quickly, no messing around. So yes, I will be watching.

I will admit that even though the temperature at TROTD Speedway will be a comfortable 68 degrees, and even though the concessions at TROTD Speedway are as good as at any race track-and far cheaper, and even though my bedroom is only steps away, it is not quite the same as being there. I do envy my friend Ivan Tracy who has been doing his usual winter thing in Arizona attending races.  Yeah, I wouldn’t mind doing that, even watching sprint car races. Maybe someday when I get older.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

I Have Not Forgotten How To Write

February 1, 2017 1 comment

Congratulations to Jeff Gordon. Gordon’s team won the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, making Gordon only the 4th driver to win both the Daytona 500 and the 24 hour race. It was no surprise that A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti were also winners of both races, but I was surprised that Jamie McMurray was the other winner of Daytona’s classics.

 

Two thumbs up to Phoenix International Raceway for making a commitment to spend $178,000,000 to upgrade facilities. As part of the upgrade, the finish line will be moved to what was turn two at the track-famous for driver’s wheeling on the track apron to try to pass others. It would be great to have a really wild and crazy finish in NASCAR.
 

Two thumbs up to Dale Earnhardt Jr. for his Tweet on immigrants. This took courage as his is far from a popular sentiment among NASCAR fans. I liked Earnhardt before, I like him even better now.

 

I am not quite sure what to say about NASCAR’s rules changes. Google “NASCAR changes,” if you haven’t already read about all the changes because there are more than I can comment on. My thoughts? IF it brings about more racing, more entertainment for the fans, I am all for it. My fear is that crew chiefs will think the rules into oblivion, everyone striving for an advantage, everyone doing the same things, and the same old ho-hum “racing” resulting. I am certainly willing to give it a chance though.

 

And The Chase is no more. Good. There will still be a 10 race play-off, but it won’t be called The Chase.
 

A number of Missouri Republican office-holders have been mentioned as potential challengers against Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat who is seeking a third term in a state that Donald Trump carried 56-38.Well-known former NASCAR driver Carl Edwards, who abruptly retired two weeks ago, has dipped his feet in the water. Why do I think of muddy water, polluted water, or cesspool when I read that?
 

Anyway, Edwards told the Associated Press that “I believe firmly in the principles that the U.S. was founded upon,” and added, “If I could help, I definitely would consider it.” Edwards said that he didn’t have any plans to run, but he went on to quote Douglas MacArthur and declare, “No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.” (OK, this is from me, not anyone else, but I have a difficult time believing that Edwards came up with that quote all by himself.) Edwards didn’t say he was interested in running as a Republican but it seems extremely unlikely that he’s thinking of challenging McCaskill in a Democratic primary.
 

If Edwards does run, he’ll have a very different profile than the myriad of other Republicans who could get in. Edwards came close to winning the NASCAR championship in 2011 and 2016, and he shocked fans when he stepped away from full-time racing earlier this month (though he refused to say he was retiring). Edwards also has a bit of a temper. In 2008, he allegedly had to be placed in a headlock to stop him from fighting another driver. Two years later, he admitted to intentionally wrecking an opponent’s car during a race. However, Edwards’ career survived both incidents, and Trump proved last year that Missouri voters can tolerate a lot from GOP candidates.

 

What do I think about Senator Carl? Well, an orange haired reality TV star is now President, so why can’t a NASCAR driver be Senator? Perhaps the times have changed, but I believe that when Richard Petty ran for Secretary of State in North Carolina he was defeated, and Petty was certainly more popular than Edwards. I don’t think Edwards can simply declare his candidacy and pack for Washington. Given the numerous times I have commented unfavorably about the Columbia, Missouri driver, it should come as no surprise if I give this effort two thumbs down.

 

I am giving ten fingers and ten toes up to Lucas Oil Racing TV. The network will be covering racing in Georgia and Florida on 2/10-2/11 and 2/13-2/19. I believe that is 9 nights of racing in February. DirTVision will carry the sprint car, late model, modified, and big block modified nationals from Volusia Speedway Park on 2/14-2/25. www.DirtonDirt.com will also carry the late model portion of this event. So, it may be cold in Nebraska, but you can definitely get a racing fix this month.

From pizza to popcorn and Diet Coke, TROTD Speedway has the best concessions around. The temperature is always 68, and the track is just seconds away from my bed. Can’t beat that.

 

And, it is only 170 days until the Silver Dollar Nationals.  Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

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