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Posts Tagged ‘NASCAR’

How Many Sprint Car Races Can Hold My Attention, Plus NASCAR Ratings Tank

September 25, 2017 Leave a comment

Though I didn’t leave home, I watched plenty of races this weekend. I watched sprint cars from Wheatland, Missouri and two Pennsylvania tracks, and five different IMCA divisions from Beatrice, Nebraska. Yes, I did do a lot of switching around-whenever there was a break in the action at one track I clicked on another. And yes, I got enough sprint car viewing to last me for the rest of 2017.

I have watched very little NASCAR this season. I simply have not been interested. Apparently I am not the only one. The Chicagoland race-first in the NASCAR play-offs-was down 14% in viewership from 2016, and 28% from 2015. It was the lowest rated Cup race at Chicagoland since the race was first televised in 2001.

Of the 26 Cup races through Chicago, 22 have posted declines in ratings and viewership. 21 of those races were at either an all-time or decades long low.  I am not enthused about Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., or Joey Logano winning races. I once thought Kyle Busch might be someone I could cheer for, especially after his terrible Daytona wreck. He seemed a changed man, more mature being married and having a son. Now it appears the old Kyle has regained control, and that is not someone I like. I am OK with Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Jimmy Johnson, and Kevin Harvick, but not so big a fan as to bother watching. In the end, like millions of others I tune out.

Not that long ago I never missed a NASCAR race, went every Sunday night to races at Sunset Speedway and then Nebraska Raceway Park, and when the NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour or the WDRL was not too far away, I went to specials too. Now, as I said, I don’t watch NASCAR. I try to avoid weekly shows as much as possible. I still enjoy going to specials, but I admit that it is the crown jewel events like the Silver Dollar Nationals, the Prairie Dirt Classic, and the Knoxville Late Model Nationals that really capture my attention.

I am sure this trend will continue in years to come as more and more of family free time will be taken up attending activities of my grandson Henry. We haven’t taken him to any races yet, and we really haven’t even considered it much. Baseball, basketball, swim lessons, running club all are time consumers. Would I rather watch a B-Mod B-Feature or watch Henry play ball? Yeah, that is a no-brainer for sure.

I suppose NASCAR can change and once again pique my interest. Of course it seems like they try a dozen new things every year and none of them work. Dirt track promoters could actually start on time, run fewer classes, get done at a reasonable hour, but I don’t see that happening either. So big time features it will be, along with remembering what once was. Sometimes change isn’t for the better.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

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MIA Blogger

March 19, 2017 Leave a comment

No question I have been missing in action. I can make up excuses like I did not have much to blog about, but the truth is I just have not felt like writing. It isn’t writer’s block. I am not sick. As some of you are aware I have other things on my mind, but those concerns should not keep me from writing. I haven’t been pleased with some of my recent posts, but that should make me work harder, not write at all. Again, I have not felt like writing, and I feel more guilt than desire to write today.

The last month has been about basketball. Matt and I traveled more to games this year than we ever have. We have been fans of Wahoo Neumann basketball for several years and actually saw more of their games than we did Fremont High School games. And enjoyed each game, and were pleased when they won the Class C1 championship last week.

As always, we spent two days at the State Tournament. On Thursday we only stayed for four games, but in the semifinals on Friday we watched all six games. Thursday was about an 11 hour trip, while Friday was 17 hours. I know-I scream about race programs that last five hours, but love a long day at Pinnacle Bank Arena. How do I justify that? Every basketball game started on time. There was no water truck driving around 45 minutes after the event was supposed to start. AND, there are no B-Mods in basketball. That alone is worth hours and hours of me not complaining.

This weekend was more about baseball than basketball. OK, it was the first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament, but Matt and I went to Lincoln for NU baseball games yesterday and today. The State Basketball Tournament is the sports event of the year for us-we have only missed one tournament in the last 32 years. NU baseball is becoming #2 for us. We have had season tickets for several years, and look forward to every outing at Haymarket Park.

After the State Tournament and NU baseball, I would put the Silver Dollar Nationals weekend in ranking our favorite sports events. Instead of traveling hundreds of miles to watch the best of the best dirt late model drivers in action, we have them in Nebraska. I hope that the Lucas Oil late model show at I-80 Speedway in May will turn into a one day mini-SDN.

I am typing this during the NASCAR race from Phoenix. I am not watching the NASCAR race from Phoenix. I did not watch the NASCAR race from Las Vegas. I watch very little of the NASCAR race from Atlanta. And most surprising, I watched maybe just half of the Daytona 500. 15 years ago I would not miss a NASCAR race. Even 10 years ago I would not miss a NASCAR race. Just five years ago I watched most of the NASCAR events. Now? I would rather read a book to be honest about it.

I guess I care enough to comment on two issues though. I give a thumbs up to the new “stage” racing format, awarding points for running order at various times in the race. In the past a driver could have an outstanding day turn very bad getting caught up in someone else’s mistake. Now if a driver does well in the first two stages, but something causes him to finish the race poorly, he (sorry, or she) can still have at least a fair points day.

The other issue is Las Vegas gaining a second race next season. I don’t think we need more races on the cookie cutter 1 ½ mile tracks, but since the Las Vegas race comes at the expense of the fall New Hampshire race, I am OK with it. I wouldn’t mind seeing a Pocono race go elsewhere.

And that is all I have to say about NASCAR.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Categories: March 2017, Uncategorized Tags: ,

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.

 

 

I Am Sick Of Being Sick And I Don’t Like Joey Logano Either

November 13, 2016 3 comments

For those of you who don’t want to read about my health maladies, skip down. Anymore I am confused about what is happening and why, so it isn’t much fun to write about either.

I visited the urologist 4 times last week, a neurologist twice, and my family physician once. I’ve had new meds prescribed and I guess there must be a reason in that. Wednesday I awoke with a numbness in my outside right leg from my hip down to my knee. My urologist took me to a neurologist in the next office over, and the neurologist gave me some kind of pill that supposed healed nerve damage. Whether it did or not is open to debate, but one thing it did was knock me out like anesthesia.

Thursday had been the day I was waiting for-the day the @#$% catheter came out. First though was a stop at the neurologist. It takes a while, but it hit me that the numbness and fiery pain in my right leg, the terrible ache in my back, and knees that simply felt leaden was exactly what I had felt when I had shingles in March.

And the neurologist agreed I might very well have shingles again. Damn, can’t anything go easy for me? Well, that was the bad news for the day. The good news was the catheter came out. Thank you Lord Jesus and all your disciples. I would say the good news outweighed the bad news on Thursday.

On Friday the urologist called and told me to come out for a bladder scan. I did. When he came into the examination room with his right hand extended I nearly cried. No need for a catheter to be put back on.

The shingle pain if that is what it is was strong, but thankfully I had pain pills to deal with that. I am thinking of stamping “stupid” on my forehead though. I should have got a shingles shot and I did not.

Hopefully both Jane and I will have more than normal to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. Our lives have been a mess since Jane’s knee replacement surgery on October 3rd, and enough is enough.

RACING. For the second weekend in a row I watch sprint car racing on Speed Shift TV. This week was the Budweiser Oval Nationals from Perris Auto Speedway in California. I only knew a handful of the drivers racing, but still enjoyed the action. I even watched all of Saturday’s A feature and it ended up well after midnight. These meds I am taking must really be messing my mind. Anyway, Damion Gardner-a driver I do know of and like-led all 40 laps of the feature, collecting a $25,000 first place prize.

The shingles knocked me for a loop on Sunday and I watched very little of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Phoenix. Just as well with Joey Logano winning. So, Logano, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, and Carl Edwards will battle for the championship at Homestead-Miami. As far as my favorites, it would be Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, and Logano in that order. I have become a real Kyle Busch fan the past several years, though it would be OK if Johnson joined Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. as seven time champs.

I’ll have to get out my “ABJ” t-shirt, or “Anybody but Joey.” Or maybe make up a voodoo 22 car and start sticking pins in it. Hopefully the season finale will be a good one.

This is the time of year I get my invited to Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon in Las Vegas. Many of the secondary Sprint Cup awards are handed out at this luncheon. I would really love to go, but just can’t make it work. I have already missed too many days from work, plus I don’t feel I am healed enough for a long airplane journey. Always next year I guess-the story of my life.

Thank all of you for stopping by and staying with me these past three weeks. It means more to me than I could ever say.

 

Racing, Icing, Fussing, Whining

November 1, 2016 1 comment

I have been somewhat remiss in printing my friend Tony Anville’s thoughts on his visit to Talladega a few weeks ago. Here are a few of his thoughts-hey, he doesn’t have all that many to begin with.

 

“This was the first time I’ve sat in the front row of the tri-oval. But it will not be the last. The most interesting thing…after the field goes by you would immediately expect a rush of air. Nope. That doesn’t happen until the cars are exiting turn 2. I found that very interesting.

 

One thing I’ve noticed over the past 30 years at Talladega…the drinking crowd in the grandstand is nearly non-existent. They still drink…but nothing in comparison to what it uses to be. It’s much more family.

 

Also, a younger crowd than I see at Kansas. More kids with parents.”

 

Thanks Tony. Hope not too many teenagers egged your house last night.

 

I am sure the pack going by someone sitting in row one of the tri-oval at Talladega is quite a rush, no pun intended. I thought a handful of cars going by 100’ away at Kansas at about 190 miles per hour was wild, so 40 cars doing nearly 200 miles per hour at Talladega must be extreme.

 

There is a thread on www.dirtdrivers.com Eagle forum that I read from time to time, and find interesting. It is posted by Eagle Pit Shack Guy and is titled “Meet some of the drivers for the Racesaver IMCA Sprint Nationals.” No, I have not been kidnapped and no, my mind has not been addled by a bunch of pain killing drugs taken after my cancer procedure (actually I am not taking any right now).  Greg and I have disagreed about some things, but I very much respect his passion for racing-and I am one who likes to learn more about drivers from around the country, even sprint car drivers. Check out the thread.

 

I would like to say I spent an enjoyable week off work last week-I started back today. I would like to say that, but it wasn’t really so. I wouldn’t call any day fun, but the weekend was beyond “un-fun.” It appears that my recovery will be a long, slow, frustrating process. BUT, it will be a recovery, and that is what is important. Actually, I should have said FRUSTRATING. Took a step back today-ended up going home early, and have two doctor visits scheduled for Tuesday. There is a quaint somewhat profane saying someone might use when someone or something irritates him that kind of says it all in my situation. Unfortunately it is too appropriate.

 

As I said, last weekend was not real fun for me. I watched less than a quarter of the NU vs. Wisconsin football game. I watched at most 10 laps of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Martinsville, and I did not watch any of the WoO season ending PPV from Charlotte.  Whether I missed much is open to debate.
This week I plan on doing some watching, especially the National 100 on www.DirtonDirt.com. DOD is planning 3 nights of coverage from November 4th-6th. Super Late Models will be racing all three nights, with 42 lap features paying $5,000 to win on Friday and Saturday. The 100 lap feature on Sunday pays $20,000 to win.

 

A 3 day package for DOD subscribers costs $39.99. Add $10.00 if you are a non-subscriber. Single day packages run $19.99 per day for November 4th and 5th, and $24.99 for November 6th.
If you are an open wheel fan, Speed Shift TV is your place to be this weekend. Speed Shift will bring you the 49th Annual USAC Western World special from Arizona Speedway on November 4th and 5th. Non-wing 410 sprints will be featured and USAC 360 sprints will also be on the bill. Honestly, I may tune into some of this show too-I do like the non-winged open wheel cars.
With his win at Martinsville, Jimmie Johnson will be one of four drivers vying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship at Homestead, Florida later this month. Who will be with him? Well, given that a win at Phoenix will put a driver into the championship bout, it seems like Kevin Harvick is likely to be one of the four. My guess for the other two would be Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Oh wait, no Roush Fenway drivers qualified for the Chase AGAIN this year. OK. How about Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth? That would be a fun event to go to, but I’ll just watch from the comfort of an easy chair.

 

Not much else to say today. Thanks for stopping by.

 

Two Thumbs Down To JGR Teams

October 23, 2016 Leave a comment

What left the strongest impression from this afternoon’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Talladega? No, not the lap after lap of three wide racing, though I am a big fan of three wide racing. Not that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in the NBC booth as a commentator-and the thought entered my mind that may be where we see him not just next week at Martinsville, but maybe in that spot permanently. Not that Martin Truex Jr. lost a chance at the championship when his Toyota engine erupted in smoke-and that is a shame. No, not that Brad Keselowski also lost an engine and a chance at being the Sprint Cup champ in 2016-I don’t see that as a shame at all. And though I am not a Denny Hamlin fan, it did not bother me that he beat Austin Dillon by one point to advance to the championship round of eight. No, none of those things left the biggest impression on me.

What did impress me-very negatively-was that three Joe Gibbs teams chose to do nothing more than ride around the 2.66 mile Alabama tri-oval. Before the race even began Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, and Kyle Busch dropped to the back of the starting grid and remained there through much of the race, finishing 28th, 29th, and 30th.  Yeah, this was a “bigger picture strategy,” designed to miss the Talladega big one-which didn’t happen anyway. I for one think this sucked.

Fans pay a lot of money to go to Sprint Cup races. They go to watch the best drivers race, not to watch pampered millionaires cruise around 300 yards behind all the other drivers. The JGR driver actions was an insult to fans and to the sport. Bobby Allison gave the start engine command, and Donnie Allison waved the green flag to start the race. I can’t see either of these Alabama Gang members or Richard Petty, or Cale Yarborough, or David Pearson EVER stroking it. I guess the new NASCAR cliché can be “where the best drivers in the world always drive to win, except when they don’t.” Two thumbs down to JGR.

I am going to root for Jimmy Johnson and Kevin Harvick. I can’t bring myself to cheer for Joey Logano or Kurt Busch, but I hope these drivers will be the four to make it into the winner take-all at Homestead in four weeks.

I have been watching plenty of racing this weekend. Friday night and last night I was on Speed Shift TV switching back and forth from IMCA races in Memphis, Missouri to USRA races in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Today it is the finale of the New Mexico show. I envy the people there-it is in the 80’s this afternoon. But it is comfortable here at TROTD Speedway too.

Just a little over 36 hours until my prostate gets cryo-blasted at Fremont Medical Center. Yeah, every hour closer makes me that much more nervous. I am trying to keep my mind on more positive things. Like Thanksgiving with my family. Watching Henry play basketball at the Fremont Y this winter. Going to Kansas Speedway 201 days from now for NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying and later the Camping World Truck Series race. And then two weekends in July, the Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway followed by the Prairie Dirt Classic in Fairbury, Illinois. I have to be well to enjoy all of them, and I damn sure plan on it.

So I will be taking a few days off to rest and recover. My prostate-and my cancer-make soon be history, but my opinions will be as strong as ever when I blog next time. Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. Thanks to Kyle Ealy for reminding me that Lee County Speedway is in Donnellson, Iowa-not Bloomfield like I said. Darn, I would have been driving all around Bloomfield trying to find it.

 

Friday Night Lite

October 21, 2016 1 comment

As John Lennon sang so long ago in ‘Wait’:

 

“It’s been a long time Now I’m coming back home I’ve been away now”

 

I have been away. Working full-time, commuting to Omaha to work, a wife who just had knee replacement surgery and somehow in the process ended up with multiple broken ribs and cannot drive-well it all adds up to an overwhelmed me who just did not feel like blogging this week.  And I almost forgot-I am having a prostate cryoblation on Tuesday and that is wearing on my mind more than a little.

 

Anyway, it added up to no blog. I did watch some racing last weekend though. Speed Shift TV showed events from Lee County Speedway in Iowa, and Longview Speedway in Texas. I watch a lot of the IMCA racing from Iowa but it seemed like every time I switched to the Texas track it was intermission.  Lee County Speedway in Bloomfield, Iowa had been on my bucket list, so I enjoyed those races. And Longview Speedway looked like a nice facility, though I can’t say much about racing there.

 

I will be logging on to Speed Shift TV again this weekend as they will be streaming the USRA Fall Nationals from Southern New Mexico Speedway as well as the Fall Nationals from Scotland County Speedway in Missouri.  The USRA show will be three nights starting tonight, while the Missouri races will be tonight and tomorrow.
 

I also watched part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Kansas Speedway on Sunday. Having been there for a past qualifying day, I will attest to being there is much for fun than watching on TV. My friend Tony Anville was there and here is what he had to say:

 

The weather Sunday was better than I ever remember it. Only once in the 15 years of the fall Kansas event has the weather been even remotely questionable.  Although the empty seats are increasing, it still looked more full than most of the tracks on the circuit.  The Kansas City race attracts a lot race fans from a six state region.  The facility and service is always top notch.

 

Watching the “boring” racing on the big screen in front of me makes me appreciate that I can watch the live action and it’s not boring.  Many times in the middle of the pack they race 3 wide thru 3 and 4 and then 4 wide down the front stretch.  The parking at Kansas is second to none.  From the time I leave my seat (after watching each car cross the finish line) until the time I’m driving up the interstate is probably a max of 20 minutes.

 

One of my favorite parts of the day is roaming the pit area prior to the race.  It makes me appreciate even more the work the crews put in on a race weekend.  I’m not sure how they do it.
 

NASCAR continues to keep the drivers away from the fans by the way they put up the ropes.  One (and only one of many) of the reasons racings demise is soon to come is the drivers.  Only about 2% care about the fans.  You can tell in everything they do. I say it every time but I was never at a NASCAR event when Bobby Allison and Richard Petty didn’t sign and talk to the fans (this is when they were racing).  The current drivers (except for one) didn’t acknowledge one fan as they were riding around “waving” at the crowd.  They were too busy talking amongst themselves.  I will give kudos to Danica Patrick.  She seemed to be the only one engaged with the fans.  And that was only waves and smiles (which means a lot to some fans).

 

Already looking forward to next Sunday and being at the biggest and most bad ass of them all.  My favorite…Talladega.
 

Yes, Anville somehow manages to attend two Sprint Cup races in a row each fall. Someday maybe I will be able to attend even one. Thanks for your report Tony and I am looking forward to hearing about Talladega.

 

I am not sure I will be posting another blog prior to my procedure on Tuesday. It is being done on an out-patient basis, so hopefully I will be coming home on Tuesday. It is supposed to be less invasive than surgery and have fewer complications than surgery or radiation. A -40C gas is injected into the prostate killing the cancer cells-well, killing the prostate too. I looked up converting C to F on the internet, and -40C was also -40F. Basically damn cold. If you are old enough to remember the Cornhusker Classic at Sunset Speedway, it is that cold.
 

My plan is to rest and heal for a week and then go back to work. Yes, I do know plans often go awry. So keep me in your thoughts and prayers.
 

Thanks for stopping by.