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Posts Tagged ‘Prairie Dirt Classic’

Hello, It’s Me-No, Not Todd Rungren, Ron Meyer AKA Bruton

December 23, 2017 1 comment

Wow, I am doing a blog post. That hasn’t happened in quite some time. I have reasons, but if I am honest, they are just excuses. I can say I will try to do better, but being honest again, I know that isn’t so. Anyway, quality is better than quantity, right?

It is still not too late to get someone special a Christmas present, and you don’t even have to fight all the nut cases at the mall. I have three suggestions that any race fan would appreciate.

First, is a subscription to www.DirtonDirt.com. First because I just happened to do what I am saying you should, give a subscription. If you love late models, and most of you reading this blog do, this site is a must. Day after day all the information you could possibly want about the sport is on display. The articles are great, even though they don’t think I am good enough to write for them, and the videos are top quality. DOD also does PPV’s, and does them professionally-to me they do live late model races better than the networks cover NASCAR races. And often subscribers get a package deal that is better than what non-subscribers get. For example, DOD is covering all six days of the Wild West Shoot-out from Phoenix in January. Non-subscribers have to purchase the races each day, but subscribers get a package deal that saves them more than $50 off the non-subscriber package. Check out the site for more information. And yes, I am a subscriber. Actually I am to all three of these sites.

The next subscription you could give that race fan of yours is to Lucas Oil Racing TV. LORTV is going to provide live coverage of 17 nights of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, including 8 nights of racing in late January and early February from Georgia and Florida. That alone makes a subscription a great deal, but as the commercials say, “wait-there is more.” For open wheel fans-and there are a few reading this, LORTV will air one night of the Chili Bowl, and 8 nights of the Lucas Oil ASCS 360 sprint car series. 10 ARCA races will be shown live, including races from Nashville, Toledo, Elko, Madison, and Berlin-that is in Michigan, not Germany. There are 16 other live events scheduled, meaning 53 live events will be aired. AND, there are over 80 different shows covering any division of racing you can imagine. This is a great value-like DOD and Speed Shift TV.

Yes, Speed Shift TV is the other site you can subscribe to. Thanks to Speed Shift TV I watched more sprint car racing in 2017 than I ever have. And yes Speed Shift does late models, modifieds, and midgets too. The site has 23 events scheduled for January and February-starting with the Ice Bowl from Talladega, and every month has 10 or more live events.

I know some reasonably intelligent people who do not like the onset of racing coverage on the internet. I like it. I never stay home and watch an event on the computer that I would otherwise go to-OK, the Beatrice spring and fall races are ones I might attend-rather, I get to see races at tracks around the US that I would never visit otherwise. Sprint cars in Washington, modifieds in California and New Mexico, USAC sprint cars in Indiana and Pennsylvania, late models in Arizona and Mississippi, and midgets indoors in Oklahoma. I watched them all in 2017 and will again in 2018. Do these races keep me from going to weekly shows at a local track? NO. With the advent of 6 (or more) weekly classes at most tracks, I have no desire to go to weekly shows.

As far as specials Matt and I will attend in 2018, there are only three for sure-the Silver Dollar Nationals in Nebraska, the Prairie Dirt Classic in Illinois, and the Knoxville Late Model Nationals from Iowa. A USAC sprint car race-if there is one-in Nebraska is a possibility, as is a USAC midget race from Fairbury-in Nebraska, not Illinois. Matt seems to think a show from Park Jefferson and one from Junction Motor Speedway are musts for us, and I go, reluctantly. Matt also has been talking up a WoO Sprint Car race at River Cities Speedway in North Dakota. That is a far away track, but no further than FALS in Fairbury, Illinois and like the journey to FALS, all but about 75 miles are on Interstate highways. Who knows?

2018 is going to be an important year in my life. Yes, the Sunset Speedway book. Yes, my grandson’s activities-personally I which he had games every night as I would rather watch him play than watch any pro event. I don’t know if I will still be working full-time as I am now in Omaha or if I will be working part-time, temporary, or not at all. I do know that January 25th is a big day, and one I am concerned about. My left knee will be replaced that day, and I am more than a little worried. But I survived prostate cancer in 2016 and I know I will get through the knee surgery too-but keep me in your thoughts in late January.

I am not real hung up on making sure I say Merry Christmas. If someone says Merry Christmas to me I say the same to them. If they tell me Happy Holiday, that is what I say to them. No one has ever said Happy Hanukkah to me, but I am saying that now to several of my readers. Mainly just enjoy the season is what I have to offer. That, and a big thanks for stopping by.

 

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Silver Dollar Nationals vs. Prairie Dirt Classic-And The Winner Is: Race Fans

August 6, 2017 Leave a comment

I watched some of both nights of the Belleville Nationals. I was disappointed that a legendary event had only 24 cars in the pits. I am not into open wheel racing enough to comment on the obvious difference of opinion between USAC and POWRi, but there were 35 cars at the POWRi show in Peveley, Missouri.

One of last night’s heat races was supposed to start eight cars, started only six, and one car was black flagged for not maintaining a competitive speed. Five cars on the track at Belleville is simply ridiculous.

The grandstands at Belleville seemed full, but the pits certainly weren’t. For shame.

Earlier this week I mentioned I would do a blog on comparing fields at Late Model crown jewel events. I would rank the events as follows:

#1-The World 100 at Eldora.

#2-The Dream at Eldora

#3-The Knoxville Nationals

#4-Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway

#5-Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway

#6-USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway

#7-Show Me 100 at Lucas Oil Speedway

#8-North/South 100 at Florence Speedway

Some might argue about #4-#8, and I admit there is room for argument. I am just going to compare the PDC and the SDN though.

Josh Richards was at the SDN, but not at the PDC. Bobby Pierce was at the PDC but not the SDN. Both have won major events. Richards is a multiple time WoO champion, while Pierce is a multiple time Hell Tour champion. Both are capable of winning any event they enter. I would give a slight nod to Richards and the SDN though as Richards does not make the too aggressive mistakes Pierce does.

Steve Francis was at the SDN, but not at the PDC. Rick Eckert was at the PDC, but not at the SDN. Francis is on the Lucas Oil tour, Eckert races with the World of Outlaws. Eckert has several wins this season, so a slight edge to the Eckert and the PDC.

Hudson O’Neal was at the SDN, Devin Moran was not. Moran was at the PDC, young O’Neal was at home. Both have plenty of potential. Moran does have a national tour win on his resume, so slight edge to Moran and the PDC.

Jimmy Mars was at the SDN, Shane Clanton was not. Shane Clanton was at the PDC, Mars stayed closer to home to race with WISSOTA. Both have big wins and Clanton is a former WoO champion. Mars is on the downhill slope of his career, Clanton is in his prime. Big edge to Clanton and the PDC.

Nebraska locals were at the SDN, Illinois locals were at the PDC. If 12 local Nebraska Late Model drivers were in a feature race with 12 local Illinois Late Model drivers, I believe the top half of the finishers would show far more Illinois drivers than those from the Cornhusker state. So talent wise the PDC comes out ahead of the SDN on local drivers involved, but also on numbers. There were 65 Late Models entered in the PDC, just over 50 in the SDN. To me, the big difference is the number of local drivers entered in each event.

That is just about the quality of the Late Model field. The USMTS Modifieds at the SDN are more talented as a group than the UMP Modifieds at the PDC. The USMTS does not time trial at the SDN and for some unknown to God or man reason, the UMP Modifieds do time trial at the PDC-a big waste of time in which a lot of the grandstands at FALS empty out.

There are multiple racing grooves during the feature races at both the SDN and PDC. Three wide racing is common. Both features are always exciting, and the reason I would give the nod to the PDC is that it is a smaller track and there is absolutely no let up to the action. It is simply insane for 100 laps. Perhaps some of that comes from being so close to the action-at the PDC we are close enough to be pelted with mud flying off cars entering turn three. At the SDN my left knees complains about the 47 steps I climb to my seat.

Anyway, while the PDC gets the nod over the SDN-just my opinion-BOTH are great races and the best back to back racing Late Model Specials period. Now if I could figure out how to post photos on Word Press I would show you a few Matt great overhead photos Matt sent me.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Prairie Dirt Classic-Nothing Like It

July 31, 2017 1 comment

After riding in the Illinois 491 yesterday-the distance between our hotel in Bloomington and home, my mind rebelled at the thought of posting a blog. Instead I took a well-deserved nap.

I am not one who would tell someone he isn’t a race fan because he has never been to Daytona or Charlotte, Knoxville or Eldora. If you are reading this blog you are a race fan no matter where you have or have not been. BUT, since you are a race fan you do yourself an injustice if you never make a pilgrimage to the Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway in Fairbury, Illinois.

Perhaps the Meyer family endorsement means little to you, but we made the trek last year, returned this year, and on the way home yesterday Matt and I started planning our trip for 2018. AND, I believe for the first time-I can’t remember for sure if I bought a Final Sunset t-shirt, I bought a race event t-shirt. Yes, I did. And I’ll be wearing it in the future. The 28th Annual Prairie Dirt Classic. That is a very big statement from me.

In the best possible context, the PDC at FALS is insane, utter chaos, extreme motorsports, total excitement, and there is nothing else like it in dirt track racing. Heck, make it all of racing.

Start with a staff-mostly volunteers-that want to make fans happy. Add concessions that are reasonably priced. And a midway selling more souvenirs than anyone could possibly want. Throw in a well-prepared track and some great racing and you will see a sight rarely seen at any race track these days-signs reading “SOLD OUT.” I almost forgot-“Welcome Race Fans” signs on nearly every business in town.

Year after year people make the trip to central Illinois from all over the U.S. For three blocks-on both sides of the street, and outside of turns 1 and 2 and the back stretch are hundreds of campers and RV’s. There is a line waiting when campgrounds open, and the 300 available spots are gone long before any racer fires an engine. And golf carts-there are more golf carts driving around the track AND on city streets than you will find at any golf course in the country.

I need to add something to my endorsement. Our seats are 7 rows up on the backstretch grandstands where cars enter turn three. I was hit by mud clods during hot laps on both Saturday and Sunday. That is not a complaint-the last time I remember getting hit with mud at a race track was at Sunset Speedway and you know how I feel about that place.

Our seats not only give us a perfect view of turns 3 and 4, but also a great view of the entire backstretch. I have always defined good racing as side by side racing, but when 29 cars are racing around a 1/4th mile oval that is automatic. How about three wide for second place? Even better, how about three wide for first place? Or the first six cars in a pack so tight that barely a tick of your watch passes as the cars do? That is the PDC at FALS. A fan has to really concentrate to figure out just who is leading the race with cars all over the place.

OK, before I continue on with this love song, I did have one problem this weekend. No, thank you Lord, there were no B-mods on hand. But there were 72 UMP Modifieds signed in. And, my friend Big Show would be thrilled by this-71 of the Modifieds time trialed. That was 40 minutes of my life wasted. I am of the belief that NO support class should ever time trial. Actually I am not a big fan of the feature class time trialing, but that is an argument for another time.

Since UMP does not race in Nebraska I have no clue if time trials for Modifieds running the Summer Nationals is standard procedure. To me, it doesn’t matter if it is. If I-80 Speedway can get the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series to change its format for the Silver Dollar Nationals, FALS can get UMP to agree to no time trials. If they won’t agree, well, “hasta la vista baby.” Don’t let the pit gate hit you on the butt on the way out. The track could do unsanctioned Modifieds as a support class. Make the race open to drivers that have ran a weekly show at FALS at least twice in the season. Pay $3,000 to win and there would easily be 50 Modifieds in the pits.

Yes I do know that UMP and the WoO are owned by the same people. The WoO is NOT going to pull out of the PDC if the track says n Modified time trials. The WoO needs the PDC more than the PDC needs the WoO. The WoO has few crown jewel events, and if they pulled out, the Lucas Oil series would be there in the blink of an eye.

And, change the race order both nights. On Friday, run two of the Modified qualifiers first, then run all the Late Model qualifiers, and end the night with the final two Modified qualifiers. On Saturday, run the 40 lap Modified feature after the 100 laps Late Model feature. People are not coming to Fairbury from all over the country to watch Modifieds race. They want to see the Late Models. I am guessing no more than 10% of the crowd is there because of Modifieds-hey, they do have family and friends so 10% sounds about right. After the final Last Chance Race for Late Models ended, the backstretch grandstands almost emptied before the start of the Modified feature and stayed that way until the Late Models returned.

Kyle Bronson, Scott Bloomquist, and Shannon Babb finished 3rd-4th-5th in the Silver Dollar Nationals feature. Not one of them made the PDC feature in Friday night qualifiers. Neither did Billy Moyer, Don O’Neal, or Earl Pearson. Bronson, Bloomquist, Babb, and Moyer did not qualify in the Last Chance Races either. Amazing.

If you subscribe to www.DirtonDirt.com, you can go to the website and watch a 20 minute video of the 100 lap feature. It will be 20 minutes well spent if you do. So, I’ll skip a race recap and go right to my Random Thoughts:  

-I thought my friend Big Show was a PDC no show, but the track announcer kept on talking about “fat heads” in the backstretch grandstands. Made me wonder if he made it after all.

-Matt keeps telling me that Chris Simpson is the good brother and that Chad is bad. Well, the good brother put on a great show. Late in the race he was second and trying to pass Brandon Sheppard for the lead. He faded some at the end, but still ended up with a 7th place finish.

-I was the first person to write about Devin Moran, in an article for Dirt Late Model magazine some years ago. I think many more people will be writing about the son of Million Dollar Man Donnie Moran. The young Moran set fast time and won his qualifier on Friday, and ended up 3rd in the 100 lapper. Two thumbs up for the WoO Rookie of the Year contender.

-Ryan Unzicker is a solid Late Model driver from El Paso-the El Paso down the road from Fairbury, not the one in Texas. Unzicker vied for the lead early, faded, and then came back strong to finish second in the feature.

-Brandon Sheppard has my vote for driver of the year. Well, he would if I had a vote. Winning the PDC isn’t easy, though the Rocket house car pilot made it look that way. What a week B-Shepp had. From 32nd to 2nd at the Silver Dollar Nationals (that is what garnered my DOY vote), a WoO win at Fayette County Speedway in Illinois on Wednesday, a PDC qualifier win on Friday, and the big win on Saturday. Rocket Shepp has seven WoO feature wins, earlier this summer won five straight UMP Summernationals features, and his earning in the eight days through Saturday amounted to nearly $65,000. His season earning on the WoO circuit are $159,950. Not quite the year Jonathan Davenport had a few years ago, but still a super one.

-I like the farming done by the track prep crew at various times during both Friday and Saturday. Yes, it does at to the length of the show, but it also leads to incredibly competitive racing as well.

-I would like to thank a number of people for a very enjoyable weekend. First and foremost, my son Matt. All I had to do was show up, get in the car to ride, and he did all the rest. I appreciate all he did and his patience with me too. My g.d. left knee is going to be replaced sometime in the next six months, but right now I am terribly afraid it is going to lead me to a fall and far more damage than I need. He really did do so much for me this weekend and I can’t tell him enough how much I appreciate him and all he did.

-I would also like to thank Michael Rigsby for his hospitality. Michael is a class act and yes, he does a fantastic job with www.DirtonDirt.com. Matt counts Michael as a good racing friend, and loves to talk racing with Michael and the rest of the Rigsby Mafia at events like this.

-I would also like to thank Barry Rigsby for two outstanding pork chop sandwiches. Last time I had pork chops sandwiches at a race track was year’s ago at Fairmont Speedway in Minnesota. Those were good, Barry’s were great.

-I would also like to thank Matt Curl, FALS race director and promoter. First for the amazing job he does with this event, but also for the media pit pass. I don’t avail myself of this type of pass often, but then again I don’t do 1700 word blogs very often either. So thank you Matt. I know my Sprint Car fans will disagree and say the best two straight weeks of dirt track racing are the Knoxville 360 and 410 Nationals. Sorry, I think the best two straight weeks of dirt track racing are the Silver Dollar Nationals and the Prairie Dirt Classic.

Tomorrow I am going to post comments from a few people who wrote me about the Silver Dollar Nationals. I am also going to talk about the quality of fields in what I consider to be the top five Late Model events of the year.

For now, once again, if you are a Late Model fan you owe it to yourself to make at least one pilgrimage to FALS for the Prairie Dirt Classic. And yes, it is almost a religious experience. And yes tickets are incredibly difficult to come by, so plan early and watch for when they go on sale. There is nothing like the PDC.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

How I Have Been Spending My Summer

August 21, 2016 4 comments

Below is a link to this year’s Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway in Illinois. If you can watch this video and not want to go to FALS for the 2017 Prairie Dirt Classic, you are either an auditor or not much of a Late Model fan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3McMF2E1ag

During last night’s lengthy rain delay at Bristol I turned to my trusty remote to find me something entertaining. I stopped pushing buttons in HBO land where the movie “Mad Max, Fury Road” was showing. It took me 10 minutes watching before I realized this wasn’t filmed on the streets of Knoxville during the Sprint Car Nationals. Hey, look at the “warriors” in the movie and look at the average Sprint Car fan. The resemblance is uncanny.

When the last rain delay at Bristol came, I got online to watch the Topless 100 from Batesville Speedway in Arkansas. The rain played havoc there too.  With 6” already fallen and more to come the event was cancelled.

I suppose next weekend will be totally dry in the Midwest, when I wouldn’t mind seeing rain at all on Saturday. USMTS Modifieds, OK. 360 Sprints-a reluctant I suppose so. Sport Mods and Sport Compacts-can any track in the area run a special without at least of these divisions? Apparently not. Yeah, I am talking about Park Jefferson on Saturday. For some reason my son continues to want to visit PJ, ACS, and JMS while I wouldn’t mind simply saying “adios amigo” to all of them. But I like my son and will tag along anyway.

On Sunday the SLMR Late Models will visit US 30 Speedway for the second time this season. I do like that the races will start at 5:00 p.m. that night. I also like that Hobby Stocks will be part of the program. I don’t think that adding IMCA Northern Sport Mods makes the program better, but they will be there anyway. I still like the track though and think the Melcher’s are doing a great job promoting.

What did you do on your summer vacation? The proverbial question asked of returning students everywhere. Me? I didn’t really have much of a vacation. I had about three days in between when my temp job ended and my new permanent full-time position started. Later I did have two days off to go to Fairbury, Illinois for the Prairie Dirt Classic, and that was the simply outstanding. But, I have experienced a rather eventful summer.

Back in mid-July I had what I thought was a routine doctor’s appointment, one I have to schedule occasionally to have my prescriptions refilled. I try to put these off as long as possible, because I do not like getting on the scales, and I hate having blood drawn for a test. Rarely does the first stick work on me, and three times before getting blood isn’t uncommon. But, I was out of refills, so in I went.

Four days later I got a call from the doctor. My PSA level was high and I needed to see an urologist ASAP. Thus began my summer of high anxiety and hurry up and wait. Even with my doctor’s help it took me several days to get an appointment with the urologist. There I had blood taken-great fun, not-and an ultrasound. Yeah, even less fun than the blood draw. A week later the results came back from the lab and showed that I had a better than 50-50 chance of having prostate cancer.

This was on a Wednesday, and the next day Matt and I were leaving for Illinois. Not a good start, but fortunately the trip turned out wonderful. The doctor wanted to do a biopsy on Friday, which was out as far as I was concerned, so I did not have a biopsy until 10 days later.

As Lynyrd Skynyrd sings “let me tell you son, it ain’t no fun.” That was the biopsy. Deep breathing technique was the order of the day. Then came another week long wait. Logically I knew the results were going to be positive, emotionally I was hoping one more time to dodge a bullet. I would say that “the waiting is the hardest part.” Yeah, thanks Tom Petty for that line.

But it is true. It was not a good week for me or my family. And the results came back that four of the samples taken were positive for cancer. After the long waiting, the next two days were hurry up. I had a CT scan on Thursday and a bone scan on Friday. Nothing like a barium cocktail to start the morning on Thursday and an injection of radioactive material to begin Friday. However, both tests were clear, which should mean that the cancer has not spread from the prostrate.

I am very pleased with Dr. Khan, my urologist. He requested the bone scan be read immediately at the conclusion of the test and that the results be emailed to him so he could give them to me Friday afternoon. Yeah, Friday afternoon, a time most doctors spend out of the office.

There was some disturbing news from these tests, but I really don’t want to go into that right now. I have to deal with one problem at a time, and cancer is the problem I am dealing with right now. Again, Dr. Khan felt the cancer has not spread outside my prostate and we discussed treatment options.

I can tell you for a fact that I feared surgery because of risk factors. Age, weight, diabetes, and high blood pressure are not a welcome combination for a surgeon or anesthesiologist. I can’t do anything about age, but the doctor (and Jane) were quite forceful in stating I must do something about the others. Anyway, my treatment started on Friday. First up was hormonal treatment to reduce the size of my prostate gland. Two shots in the stomach made my day. Well, it was a start and I want to get better and will deal with any discomfort.

I go back to see the doctor again in a month. If the size of the prostate has been reduced enough, the plan is for a cryotherapy procedure. For those of you who can remember the Cornhusker Classic at Sunset Speedway and freezing your ass off, this procedure is a little bit like that. A solution of some kind at -100 C will be injected into my prostate, freezing and destroying the cancer cells-and the prostate with it. It is an outpatient procedure, which surprised me, and I will only be off work a few days.

I have spent a lot of time online this past five weeks learning about prostate cancer. It is the most common cancer among males-over 200,000 men are diagnosed with this cancer each year, and there are over 2,000,000 survivors of this malaise living in the U.S. If caught soon enough, it is very survivable. And for me, it does appear it was caught soon enough.

So, I will do what it takes to get rid of the cancer and go on with my life. A life that has to be changed in many ways. Red meat is going to appear less and less on my daily menu. Same with white bread. McDonald’s is going to be a rare treat, not a regular stop. Pork and chicken will replace red meat. I need to start exercising again. I need to get my weight down, way down, and honestly the choices I have to make aren’t terrible ones, I just haven’t made them. Now I will.

I have no desire to leave my family. Any of them. And most especially there is a soon to be 5 year old living in northwest Fremont that I want to watch grow up to become what I know will be a fine young man. So, I am making the decision to live and stop killing myself.

I suppose from time to time I will write about this again. Most likely when the cryotherapy is done. The past five weeks have been tough ones, an emotional rollercoaster-and I hate and am afraid of rollercoasters. So, I got this off my chest. Now I can go watch the postponed Bristol night race being run on a Sunday afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

Prairie Dirt Classic-Part One

July 31, 2016 Leave a comment

Before I begin talking about Matt and Ron’s Excellent Adventure, I need to thank a number of people. First and foremost would be my son Matt. It was his idea to go to the Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway in Illinois and though I was hot/cold/indifferent about the idea he convinced me to go. And he did all the detail work too-making hotel reservations, planning travel routes, and even finding the perfect parking spot at the track. I have always been proud of my son, but all he did this weekend made for an almost perfect trip-and he had no control over the Modified races at FALS. Thank you Matt.

Next, I want to thank Michael Rigsby. Yes, thee Michael Rigsby of the famous dirt late model site www.DirtonDirt.com. The tickets he gave us were fantastic, and I appreciated the tail gate food and drink as well. I know Matt appreciates Michael’s friendship and I appreciate Michael’s friendship with him as well.

I am tired. We left the track at 12:30 a.m. and drove back to Davenport, Iowa, a 2 ½ hour journey. All the way back to the Quad Cities I was thinking we made a bad decision not staying closer to Fairbury. However, when we left for home this morning, we were that much closer, so even with less than 5 hours of sleep we did make a good decision.

This is definitely going to be at least a two part blog. A short post now and then a nap in a comfortable bed awaits me. There is too much to write about for just one post. Almost everyone who reads The Rest of the Dirt is a serious, hard core dirt late model fan. And if you are a serious, hard core dirt late model fan, at least once in your life you have to make a pilgrimage to the Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway in Central Illinois.

It is everything I love about auto racing. It is an old fairgrounds track-the front stretch grandstands are well over 100 years old, the atmosphere is electric (so that is a cliché, I can’t think of a better way to describe it), and the racing. Oh my god, the racing. Over and over and over I was doing my imitation of James Essex, saying “Are you kidding me?” OK, I am not quite as polite as James, but what I said was close to his trademark line.

You simply have to see it in person to believe it. Two wide, three wide, even four wide racing, lap after lap after lap. Unreal. I thought Michael and the DOD boys may have been a little bit homer when they named the Prairie Dirt Classic the race of the year for 2013, 2014, and 2015. I now know better. I don’t know if DOD will name this year’s race the best of 2016, but the two nights of racing at FALS was the best I have seen in person in years.

Our seats were along the back stretch, just before the cars entered turn three and right about where the cars left the track for the pits. FALS is a quarter mile black dirt oval and you can see all the racing from any seat in the house. The cars almost fly through the turns and Eric Wells on Friday and Bobby Pierce on Saturday did try to fly. Wells made a valiant attempt at leaping over the scoreboard between turns 1 and 2, and Pierce tried to knock down wall in turn 3. The action happens so fast it is almost impossible to absorb all that is happening, and no it is not because my mind is slowing down.

Take I-80 Speedway and turn the intensity dial from moderate to extremely high, and then throw in a few bottles labeled ‘insanity,’ and you have FALS. At least you have the fans at FALS. They are passionate to the point of fanaticism. And I offer that as a compliment. However, I was surrounded by Fat Heads on Friday.

Yes, Fat Heads. Not auditors working for the Nebraska Department of Revenue, blown up head shots of drivers. Some were photos of favorite drivers. Others were not of favorites. The person sitting next to me had one of Bobby Pierce, with the caption “Overrated.” Love it. They yell and cheer for their favorites-99% of their favorites are FALS weekly drivers, and yell and salute the drivers they do not like-I can’t repeat the yells, and those salutes are often a middle finger extended. And yeah, I even liked that. Perhaps I am turning redneck in my old age. I wish Nebraska fans had as much passion.

And I wish Nebraska late model drivers could compete with tour drivers as well as the Fairbury locals did. Kolby Vanderbergh set fast time in Group A qualifying, and veteran Kevin Weaver set fast time in Group B. Vanderbergh won his heat as did Mike Spatola and Dereck Chandler. Nebraska drives can’t put that on their resumes. Few qualify for the Silver Dollar Nationals feature through the heat races. Not many make it through a B-feature either. Track and SLMR provisionals seem to be the way locals make the SDN field. So that is why Matt and I drive 500 miles to watch a race on a Friday night, instead of 50 to a local track.

OK, not everything at the Prairie Dirt Classic came up smelling rosy. Just like I wrote about modifieds at the Silver Dollar Nationals, I am going to right about modifieds at the PDC. Not with the same anger, but with some annoyance. Oh, and speaking of anger, modifieds, and the SDN, I talked briefly at the DOD hangout with Ben Shelton, and asked him why he participated in the criminal act of out of the car interviews of USMTS drivers racing in a dash. It was not Ben’s idea, he was supposed to interview only two of the drivers, but someone with a lot of USMTS power “urged” that all ten of the drivers be interviewed. I believe most of you can figure out who that was.

In an irritate Ron card game, out of car interviews of drivers in a dash (SDN) trumps two modified non-qualifier scrambles (PDC), but just barely. I’ll write about PDC modified scrambles and more tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. Forgot this Michael. Thanks also for having a place at FALS where Matt and I could meet Tim Christman, Series Director of the World of Outlaws late models and Matt Long, Senior Director of Business Development at Charlotte Motor Speedway. And I liked Matt’s thinking, both Matt Long and Matt Meyer of limiting the number of mods at specials like the PDC, by making the support class an invitation only event.

 

 

Head East

July 28, 2016 1 comment

News Flash-As you are reading this post, Matt and I are on our way to Illinois-somewhere along I-80 in Iowa, being irritated by Iowans, and we know what the Iowa acronym stands for. Anyway, Thursday night in Davenport. We talked about a trip to Maquoketa, which is about 40 miles northeast of Davenport. Unfortunately the fair race tonight has about every IMCA class except for Southern Sports Mod (they do have the Northern version though) and the 305 sprint cars. You know how we feel about back gate classics.

Friday morning it is on to Fairbury, Fairbury American Legion Speedway to be exact, and two nights of the Prairie Dirt Classic. For the past several years this event has been touted by www.DirtonDirt.com as the season’s best race, and we want to see what the hullabaloo is all about. Tickets are not easy to come by, but thanks to one of the drivers who normally runs the PDC being suspended by the World Group, a certain party had tickets available for us. No, it wasn’t tickets to be used by Bloomquist fans, it was another of the Eldora 5.

In addition to our back stretch grandstand seats, I have a media pass-only the third time I have ever done that-and Matt is getting a two day pit pass, so we will be roaming around talking to drivers and crew. And maybe some tailgating with Matt’s friends-yeah, everyone seems to like Matt.

This is likely to be our road trip for the year. At least my road trip. Time constraints with my new job, and Knoxville changing dates this year rules out a trip there in September. Jane is having her other knee replaced in October, so that means no Friday jaunt to Kansas when the NASCAR Sprint Cup series visits. I am looking forward to our visit to FALS.

I will report on it when we get back. Maybe Sunday, maybe Monday. Maybe both.

Thanks for stopping by.