Sunday, August 30, 2009

West Coast Schaefer

With recent successes by hall-of-famers Rookie and UDR to spread the Schaefer influence, the pressure was on me to step-up. I flew to San Diego today and had tentative plans to meet up with a fellow Petty fan out here. Because I knew Schaefer wasn't distributed out here, I took matters into my own hands and packed a few in my suitcase so we could share some.

I was very pleased when I unpacked how cool the cans still were even after a 4 hour flight. I guess a chilled can, wrapped in socks in the middle of a suitcase, and in the belly of a plane flying at below freezing temps keeps a beer relatively frosty.

Unfortunately, my bud wasn't able to make the trip from LA to San Diego. However, did that deter me from cracking a Schaef anyway? No way.

After having one, I spent a bit of time walking around and having dinner. Upon returning to the room, it seemed only appropriate to have a Schaefer night cap. Because as the jingle says: "Schaefer is the one beer to have when you are having more than one."

A west coast toast to fellow Schaefer fans and my Hall of Fame Homeys UDR and Rookie! Sal-oot!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Schaefer HOF Street Team

The Schaefer Hall of Famers are alive and well. They've represented the brand, our race tradition, and HOF responsibilities exceptionally well the last couple of Cup races.

First, UDR scored some Schaef in Cleveland and shared it with his brethren at the race at the CARFAX 400 at Michigan.

Last weekend, another HOF'er - Rookie - lived way large and left the yard with the Bristol Grand Slam. He attended the modified, trucks, Nationwide, and Sharpie 500 Cup races. Enough large living - including with Schaefer - to kill most grown men.

All this Schaefer sharing once again affirms our HOF commitment to take it to the streets baybay.

Now its my turn. I'm headed to San Diego Sunday. Unfortunately, I will not be attending a race - unless those docksider-wearing yacht cap'ns drink Schaefer. Then maybe I'll go racing with them!

Based on distributor information available at Schaefer's website, the beer isn't available in Cali - at all. So smuggled in my suitcase will be a sixer to share with a friend who's never had the pleasure of drinking one.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

My favorite racer names

Today's NASCAR has a roster of safe, sponsor-friendly driver names - few, if any, of whom cause snickers from their uniqueness or double-entendres. Driver names such as Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, or even Juan Pablo Montoya don't raise any giggles. Probably the only name that even remotely raises an eyebrow is Kurt Busch.

But the drivers of the past? Ahhh, now we're talking. Here is what I believe are my top ten favorite unique and/or funny names as well as a link to their NASCAR history. Some stays were short-lived - other drivers were around for a while. Enjoy the snickers, the research, and the "I had no idea" revelations.

10. Dick Trickle - Let's go ahead and get him out of the way. A funny name, a logical choice, but also a driver most everyone already knows.

9. Nero Steptoe - From Albany, GA - apparently of native American descent. Only raced in 5 Grand National (now Sprint Cup) races.

8. PeeWee Jones - Pee Wee gets ranked slightly above Nero because he raced in 7 GN races.

7. Spook Crawford - Spook only ran 6 GN races, but his name is still better than Nero or Pee Wee.

6. Crawfish Crider - Actually Crider's first name is Curtis - a pretty good in its own right. But his nickname of 'Crawfish' allows him to split the bottom 5 from the top 5.

5. Jocko Maggiacomo - Not only did Jocko have a great name, he was also from a CITY with a great name - Poughkeepsie, NY. Jocko's final year in Cup racing was 1988. One of his final races was in June at Pocono. He and Bobby Allison wrecked hard on the first lap of the race. Allison was t-boned and suffered traumatic head injuries. Jocko returned to race another time or two in 1988 before leaving the sport.

4. Friday Hassler - from Chatta-dadgum-nooga, Tennessee. My sister-in-law almost married one of his relatives (great nephew, grandson, 3rd cousin, or something like that). Friday was tragically killed at Daytona in 1972. What a great name - to be named after the start of the weekend. Too bad his name wasn't Friday Five O'Clock.

3. Frog Fagan - I know very little about Frog, but I think of the Little Rascals character every time I hear his name.

2. Dick Passwater - Maybe he took more Flomax than Mr. Trickle.

1. Possum Jones - How can you not like a driver named for an ugly rodent often found dead in the road? And yes, this Possum is different than the legendary country music singer George Jones who often goes by the nickname Possum.

Yes, I recognize many of the names on this list are nicknames vs. the God-given named laid on them by their mamas. Yet even at the nickname level, these names still trump Smoke, Shrub, or Cousin Carl.

Honorable mention goes to drivers such as Buckshot Jones, Glenn 'Fireball' Roberts, and Jimmy 'Smut' Means.

How 'bout it? Who did I forget who was deserving of being on the list?


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

NASCAR's straight line racing history

Each season, fans and media debate the merits of having 2 road courses on NASCAR's Cup schedule. Some say its two too many. Others say it adds diversity to the schedule along with varying short tracks, intermediate cookie cutters, and superspeedways. Yet others say the Chase should include at least one of all types of tracks - including a road course.

So while everyone bench races the pros and cons of having a lefty-righty race amongst all the lefties, I thought I'd throw a little history lesson in for good measure.

Did you know NASCAR sanctioned drag racing in the 1960s? Yep, you read that right.

I've known for years Richard Petty went drag racing for about half the year in 1965. NASCAR put a rules change hurtin' on the powerful hemi engine Richard used in 1964. As a result, Chrysler boycotted NASCAR and parked its factory-supported teams. Petty Enterprises raced to make money. While the company honored the factory boycott, Lee, Richard, Maurice, and Dale Inman still wanted to race and chose drag racing as the venue.

Petty Enterprises built a Plymouth Barracuda for Richard to run.

43Jr. ran series of drag events throughout the first part of 1965 - including the drag strip in Bristol, Tennessee.

What I did not know until recently is NASCAR sanctioned drag racing as a separate series for a while.

Here, the King is shown racing in a NASCAR sanctioned event. So even with the Chrysler boycott, NASCAR still found a way in 1965 to make a nickel off their budding new star.

I'm hardly the educated historian of this segment of NASCAR's past; however, my research led me to a couple of pretty good sites worth reading.
A settlement between NASCAR and Chrysler ended Richard's brief drag career. By mid-year, he was back to regularly running and winning Grand National (now Sprint Cup) races.

Before returning to the ovals, however, tragedy intervened for Petty. The photo below was shot at a drag strip in Dallas, Georgia on February 28, 1965. As the two cars green-lighted, Petty had problems, veered off the track, and plowed into some folks standing too near the strip. A young boy -8 year-old Wayne Dye - was killed.

Despite NASCAR's limited involvement in drag racing and the unfortunate death in Dallas, GA, I personally think the NASCAR Hall of Fame organizers should establish an exhibit dedicated to this part of the sanctioning body's history.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Heluva Good Race. Amen.

Not bad racing for a road course but Mother Nature stole the show again. Flashing lightning as race control counted down from 10 seconds until the command to fire engines. Somebody get these guys a weather scanner or something. Or The Weather Channel (available on the internets at

But for me, the best part of this weekend's Heluva Good Sour Creme Dips at the Glen was before the race even got started, as the invocation was offered (with a thunder cell in full view in the distance).

The minister from some Wesleyan Church in some town I dont remember, during the invocation, actually thanked the Lord for the Heluva Good Sour Creme Dips race.

Maybe I've heard it all now. Ricky Bobby would be proud.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Tricky Triangle?

I like Pocono. Family owned and independent. 3 (not 4) very different corners that challenge driver and crew chief alike, including the likes of Bobby Allison and Jeff Gordon in dramatic wrecks. Triangle design. Looooong straightaways that challenge engine builders to find enough torque to pull off the corner with enough speed at the end of the straights and surviving a long day of high sustained RPMs. 4 or even 5 wide on the frontstretch. Even some drafting. Old school interstate-style guardrails on the inside of the Long Pond straight where more than 1 driver has ended up on top the guardrail.

But the nickname? Are they that desperate? The Tricky Triange... I'm OK with the Lady in Black, the Track Too Tough to Tame, and the Monster Mile. But the Beast of the Southeast and the Tricky Triangle seem a little bit like your friend in junior high that didnt leave "funny enough" or "cool enough" alone and pushed it to where it was neither funny nor cool.

Nickname aside, I'll take it over cookie cutter 1.5 mile ovals any day, even if the field gets strung out for most of the day.