Sunday, May 31, 2009

Congratulations Banktruck!

Please join me in congratulating and firing up a cigar for Banktruck. He and his wife just had their first child Friday! Hoo-ah!!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fun times at Coke 600 - part 2

Toomuchcountry simply had toomuchfun at Charlotte to cram all the memories into a single blog entry. So here is part 2 of the fun stuff crammed into 3 days.

Meeting Rick Petko from American Chopper at the Orange County Choppers souvenir trailer.

Monte Dutton singing his own songs such as Furlough Blues, Wherever You Are, Gotta Be Somebody (written after seeing the ugliest woman of all time in the worst bar of all time in a Kentucky joint named "The Blue Moon") as well as a few others such as Charlie Robison's Barlight, a Charlie Pride song, and Jambalaya (on the Bayou). We all had a big time listening to Jambalaya as he sang the chorus over and over in different voices - George Jones, Ray Price, Charlie Pride, etc. He also served up one of his racing songs for us - Martinsville:

Hearing a great story about Buddy Baker winning at Charlotte in 1967 or 68. He was driving a factory Dodge for Ray Fox, and it was one of Buddy's first really big wins. After winning, a reporter asked him what he was going to do with his prize winnings. Without thinking, Buddy blurted out to everyone "I'm gonna buy me one of those fancy Cadillacs!" Oooh, wrong answer Buddy.

More Schaefer celebrations

Running into my ol' long-time bud, Dirttracker38, and his son as they enjoyed race weekend from West Virginia.

Seeing the black #3 on the track again - even if it was a dirt late model driven by Austin Dillon (Richard Childress' grandson). Of course, a lot of Earnhardt fans say they miss the black #3. But Dale Sr didn't drive a black #3. He drove a white #3 - on a black car. Oh well, semantics, semantics.

An induction ceremony into the Schaefer Race Weekend Hall of Fame. We have 2 HOF charter members (one being yours truly). Most folks are in the Ring of Honor - but are not in the HOF. This weekend the executive committee voted to elect UDR into the Hall of Fame along with the 2 charter members and 2 additional HOF'ers. Congrats UDR on joining Rookie and Terry! And thanks to Reverend Randy for your tear-invoking induction words.

Seeing Tony Stewart's first win trophy as a car owner/driver only 6 days after the win - and teammate Ryan Newman's Coors Light flag less than 24 hours after winning the pole at Charlotte.

All race mornings should begin this way - cheesy eggs, sausage, and a Schaefer.

Oyster shuckin' and slurpin'

Noticing that Dale Jr's crew had TWO pit boards to minimize the risk of his blowing through his pit stall yet again.

Shockers and Cuppers

Getting chills watching the World of Outlaws sprint car race pace lap before they dropped the green.

Seeing a fan's hot tub from way atop our grandstand. The thing was foaming over which was funny in its own right. But some cat was sitting in it talking to a girl, and he was wearing a white, open-faced helmet! Who knew why - but we laughed heartily. I did the best I could to grab a photo - but it was a bit challenging with my camera lens, the distance, and volume of products from St. Louis and Milwaukee coursing through my system.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Coke 600 Weekend Memorable Moments

Schaefer flowing freely - early and often

Race rookies with their yellow rookie stripes

A class act by NASCAR to stop the race at 2:57 PM so cars could be brought to a stop, crews could line up along pit road, and all could spend a moment of silence at 3:00 PM for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the freedoms and liberties of this country continue.

Competitive Cornholin'

NASCAR sportswriter Monte Dutton spending a couple of hours with us - singing, telling us race stories, having some fun, and then writing about it

Seeing a bootleg Dale Jr t-shirt that read AMP - Another Missed Pit

Dirt trackin'

Trailer trashin'

Race shop visits to Richard Petty Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, and Stewart-Haas Racing

Great time as always with friends

Hearing the moans and groans of Dale Jr. fans who now want to pull for Tony Stewart or some other driver because they've lost faith that Junebug can get it done. It was as if the rats were fleeing the ship.

Downing a Jaeger Bomb with a guy named Earnhardt

Freshly shucked oysters

Happy 6th Anniversary! Awww, now aint' just the sweetest thang ya ever seen?

Rain. Rain. Rain. Didn't like it - but it was memorable.

Two dominating performances by Kyle Busch. Yet two unexpected wins by the darkest of horses - Mike Bliss and David Reutimann - because of rain and great calls by their respective crew chiefs.

50th World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (or Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway ast they call it these days)

For any of you who may be reading this who and joined us over the weekend, thanks for making the 2 days such a fun one - regardless of all the rain we had.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Schaefer nectar - Race weekend can proceed!

Three cheers for the Wedgehill Market in Nashville, TN! I learned today from a Nashville beer distributor that the market is one of nine remaining establishments in my area still selling Schaefer.

One of those places is The 5 Spot, an East Nashville bar - so that doesn't count when you need to buy multiple cans to go. Two of the places are in an adjacent county - but too far away for me for them to be practical. One of the places was a grocery store where I went Wednesday only to discover they were sold out. So of the remaining places, I started with Wedgehill.

I was relieved when I saw multiple 12 packs sandwiched neatly into the chiller. Right where they ought to be. Next to the malt liquor and surrounded by Mexican beers. Somehow Miller Lite tried to shoehorn its way into this distinguishes club. Fortunately, I rescued a case of Schaefer for its rendevouz with destiny and took it away from that khaki chino and light blue oxford buttondown Lite.

A nice Asian man ran the register. I told him his store made my day and weekend because he had the Schaef. I don't think he really understood. All he knew was how to ring my transaction. Before leaving, I told him he might sell another 12 pack before the day was done.

After leaving, I phoned a friend who was also looking for Schaefer to do a remote- celebration with us on Saturday. We'll be in Charlotte, but he plans a Schaefer Sah-LOOT from middle Tennessee. Sure nuff, he went by the store about an hour after I did to buy his supply.

I don't speak or write any Asian languages. Any attempt I could make to pronounce any of them would likely come across as too stereotyped and reminescient of the "ancient Chinese secret" phrase from the 1970s Calgon detergent commericals.

But apparently, he asked my friend "whaa evrybahdy want Schaeferbeer today?"

So I've got my Schaef, the truck is packed, and we'll be on the road early Friday. Just hoping I didn't get any sort of communicable disease in the Wedgefield Market.

As an aside, the market is truly and ideally situated as illustated by Google Maps street view.

Street view of the Market:

Suitably across from the now-closed White Trash Cafe

And just below the back gate of the famed Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway - where I cut my teeth on my racing interests. How appropriate I should return to the roots of my racing to get our 2009 racing elixir.


Carl Long suspended

Part-time, underfunded, journeyman driver Carl Long was busted by NASCAR for having an oversized engine in the all-star hooligan race last weekend. NASCAR successfully killed a fly with a sledgehammer by laying down the following penalties:
  • A 12 race suspension - even though Carl hasn't entered a Cup points paying event since 2006
  • A 200 point fine - hmmm, I guess Carl won't make the Chase now. A real shame - he was sooooo close.
  • A $200,000 fine - NASA just begin recycling urine into water. Maybe they can help NASCAR figure out how to get blood out of Carl's turnip.
NASCAR's legacy has always been to bust the little guy and then use his carcass as a message to the big guys. They put on a big display to the media saying "see this? we're not afraid to flog anyone else". In reality, we all know a blind eye is turned to infractions amongst the heavily funded teams who put butts in seats and t-shirts on backs.

Am I the only one who finds humor in NASCAR's busting a guy named Long for being oversized? I hope while Carl Long is benched he successfully lands Enzyte as a sponsor for a future race.

I bet NASCAR's inaugural rookie of the year from 1959 - Shorty Rollins - was never busted for such an infraction.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Weekend race plans

Charlotte Motor Speedway is turning 50 years old this year! Originally built by Curtis Turner, the track was purchased a few years after it opened by current owner, Bruton Smith.

I'm really jacked up about being there for the golden anniversary of the World 600 and all the other related race-weekend activities. Here's our planned itinerary for the weekend using graphics.






Sunday, May 17, 2009

All Star Race - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

banktruck and I agree on many things - but we don't see eye to eye on the so called All Star race. I was reminded yet again of how stupid and trivial this event is. Admittedly, I sat there and watched it all - burnouts, hooligan race, and the main event.

NASCAR will look you in the eye, point their finger in your chest, square their jaw and absolutely refute any connection between its race product and wrasslin. Yet, that's exactly the pre-determined, amateurish, slop they put out there with this farce of a wasted weekend. If the Cup series is so grand (which I believe it is), they ought to be running for points -or- giving the drivers a well-deserved weekend off so they can put on a better race for fans in future, legitimate races. I think the whole concept is obsolete. I'll likely write a separate entry on that topic alone.

Nonetheless, they ran it. I watched it. And now a few takeaways for me.

The Good

  • A popular win by arguably the sport's latest most popular driver, Smoke.
  • Fans boo Kyle Busch - a lot - when he wins. And they cheer - a lot - if he leaves a race early. I don't do either. But I do watch him closely. The moves this guy makes are amazing. On a restart, he immediately jumped to the outside and flirted with the wall as they barreled down into turn 1. When the caution came out, NASCAR said 'no sir' we'll have none of that. So Kyle said fine & immediately buried his way like a meat in the sandwich between Gordon and Kenseth. You shouldn't be able to make that move - yet he did. And he does it with increasing regularity. The last driver who I remember to make such bold moves was Ernie Irvan. But more than not, Irvan never could make the moves stick - or any hero move he made early would generally be offset by a goat move later.
  • Ryan Newman's near win. Not because I was pulling for him but because I wanted NASCAR to have egg on their face. Flyin Ryan had a monster run at the end - until he, Kyle and Gordon clanged together. But he should never have been in that position. He lost a lap early and should have lost a 2nd one had it not been for the incestuous sandbagging by Jimmie Johnson. Being 1 lap down, NASCAR gave the 39 the 'lucky dawg' free pass to get his lap back. When its a supposed all-star race with a million bucks to win, you don't give out friggin' charity laps! I hate the dawg anyway, but its particularly unnecessary in a race of this type.
The Bad
  • Single file racing in the hooligan race - Hornish gets out front. Hornish leads. Hornish wins. Good for Penske I guess. Congrats to Sam for winning...nothing. You could have had the same perks as the 2nd place guy, Jamie McMurray. Nothing against either of them. It was just a bad race. I'm afraid I may see 390 laps of that same crap at the 600 once we get the first 10 behind us.
  • A burnout 'competition' with Cup drivers who aren't allowed to burn out Cup cars? Just to pimp out Jeff Gordon's driving school?
  • Darrell Waltrip's commentary - DW: Look at Newman's splitter. Its dragging. Something's broken on the car. 39 Spotter: Ryan, your splitter's fine. DW: silence
  • No real explanation from anyone as to why Dale Jr. was pimping JR Motorsports on his hood, hats, and uni. Is the economy suffering so bad that National Guard and Amp opted out of the all star event and a replacement couldn't be found?
  • The photographer who was almost in the wrong place at the wrong time during Friday night's truck race. Mike Skinner had a nasty wreck that looked like it could have been the 2nd coming of Carl Edwards' wild Dega ride. When the photog saw Skinner's truck a'comin, I'm sure first he said it and then he did it! - (Check out around 1:20 mark of the video.)

The Ugly
  • Ric Flair serving as a burnout judge? Too bad he wasn't a 'burnout' competitor. He would have won hands down.
  • Ric Flair - AGAIN??? - introducing Joey Logano?
  • A singer named Jessie James? Who tried to look like Danica?
  • Joey Lagono? The fan's choice? A make-up, compensatory selection for Coach Gibbs and Home Depot because Smoke's departure meant no 20 otherwise? Uhhh...yes.
  • Jeremy Mayfield v. NASCAR - coming soon to a courthouse near you - Someone is lying big time in this one.
  • Speed TV's announcers hype pre, during, and post race - time to go for the dough, checkers or wreckers, in it to win it, Krista Voda - "no other sport has all star race like this one", Jimmy Spencer - "I'll remember this one as one of the best all star races ever", Kenny Wallace - "he's ready to fly and not afraid to die", DW/Larry Mc - "Have you ever...?" "No I haven't." Yes we have fellas - many times - matter of fact BOTH of you have been involved in Winstons/All Stars with more drama than this year's entry.

All Star Racin'

In spite of all the non-racing silliness around it, I do enjoy the All-Star race. There's something about the best of the best with a small field and nothing to lose and $1 million to gain.

Last night in particular, what a display of wheelsmanship by Smoke. The joy of that team in winning was refreshing, they truly wanted it, and not just for the $1 million. Why Kenseth didnt stay in the low line where Tony needed to run is beyond me, but I dont have a Winston Cup on the mantel either.

I think the pitcrew push-the-racecar challenge is silly. I think the fanfare of driver intros is silly, with drivers entering thru a Sprint phone the icing on the cake. At least a crewman didnt dive into the evaporating mosh pit where the waters parted like the Red Sea and hit the deck this year. I thot the inversions were silly and I'm glad they're gone. I think the mandated cautions with a 10 minute break before the last segment is silly. I think having the winner stop on track while they setup victory lane destroys the spontenaiety and is silly.

But I do like the qualifying procedure which includes a pit stop. Much better way to get the pit crews involved with some skin in the game than a pit stop in an arena pushing Mrs Driver to the finish line. I do like the Open (whatever its called now) giving the have-nots a chance to race into it. At least they dont let 10 in....

Instead of the segments as done, I think making the segments heat races would be terrific. In fact how about 2 heat races transfer half their fields into the main with a brief, say, 5 minute pitstop before the main, enough time to change a shock or something, but not enough time for the drivers to get out and parade around for TV. Sortof a hodge podge of local track shootout and the Daytona duels.

I also think the All Star race should rotate to different all-star tracks the way NHL NBA and MLB do it. Weather shouldnt be a problem in May and nobody except the locals care about having it in the stock car racing capital city. Imagine the all-star race rotating to places like Bristol, Darlington, Texas, Vegas, Atlanta.

For last night's race in particular, sure there was no pass in the grass and no Busch brothers wrecking each other, but great racing all night. The feature featured no clunkers this year (except for Keselowski and the transferees), and the only non-clunker in the Open was Truex. A perfect setup. True to form, the only wreck before go time featured a clunker dressed in Mobil 1. Ahh then it was go time. Rubbing, pushing, leaning, pinching, loosening, 3 wide comin thru's, jumping restarts, blocking, multiple tire strategies on a notoriously fickle track, two-wide (sometimes three) restarts, last minute passes, this race had it all.

If you love racing, this was a great night. If you love Sprint, ditto. If you're not so fond of the latter, well, get used to it, at least we had racing and not just wrecking to go with all the silliness this year.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Kyle Petty's Charity Ride in Tennessee

Kyle Petty's charity ride made a stopover in Nashville last night. They started out this morning with a breakfast stop at the Brentwood Chick-Fil-A (20 minutes south of Nashville). I went out to see him and the rest of the riders. Unfortunately, they were not greeted with Chamber of Commerce weather. Its been raining pretty hard off and on all day. They all showed up this morning in their rain slicks riding gear.

But everyone that I got to talk to still had high spirits. Today is the last day of the ride. From middle Tennessee, the route was going to take them to Greensboro, North Carolina and the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

I got to meet Kyle again and get his autograph. I also took with me the souvenir program from the 1978 Music City 420 at Nashville Speedway. That race was my first Cup event to attend, and I got to go into the pits after the race. I met Kyle for the first time that night. He was just a crewman on the 43. We were both teenagers back then.

Program - Kyle's autograph from way back when is a bit hard to read. He used a ball point pen I must have borrowed from someone. I didn't know about Sharpies back then - if there was such a thing.

Close-up of it.

I also got to meet and chat a bit with Pattie Petty (Kyle's wife), his daughter Montgomery Lee (who turns out lives about 5 minutes from me), Harry Gant, Robert D. Raiford (from John Boy & Billy show), and Hershel Walker.

The Rev. Franklin Graham opened the breakfast with a prayer. I know he is a biker, but I don't know if he was just in down for this event or if he's been along for the full ride.

Matt Kenseth was not with the riders as he had to return to Charlotte for the All-Star race. I also thought golf Davis Love III might be with them, but he may well have parted ways with them for a weekend tournament.

Kyle's bike

Kyle at his bike getting ready to saddle up

Pattie's bike

Pattie getting ready to roll out.

Hershel Walker's bike

Pretty fun way to start - if rainy - Saturday.