Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Schaefer Shuttle launch

The oft-mentioned, self-created NASCAR Schaefer Hall of Fame has 5 members:
  • One in Charlotte NC
  • One in Wilmington NC
  • One in High Point NC
  • One in Cleveland OH
  • and yours truly.
Uncle D is the most recent inductee into the HOF. His induction ceremony was at the Coca-Cola 600 in May 2009. While not a huge beer drinker and not even my own uncle, he is a fervent supporter of the HOF, always enjoys the ceremonial Schaefer brew at each race weekend we gather, and is a great ambassador for the Schaefer tradition.

Earlier this week, he raised the bar for the rest of us. He and his nephew-in-law made the road trip from Cleveland to Cape Kennedy, FL to not only witness the launch of the space shuttle Discovery but also to commemorate the occasion with a Schaefer.

Of course, what would a road trip be without quality side trips. After a a brief stop at a fellow HOFer's house in Charlotte, they were on their way.

First stop: Old school. Rockingham in the sand hills of North Carolina. To paraphrase former boxer Larry Holmes, California Speedway couldn't carry The Rock's jockstrap.

After a Schaefer and a photo op, it was back in the truck and on to the next destination: Darlington. Uncle D told the ticket office folks what he wanted to do. They told him the track wasn't open for tours. They also advised him, however, the Buck Baker Driving School was open. So he thought it was worth a shot to schmooze them to see if he could pull it off. Success!

Because they were already in the neighborhood, the war cry of "why not?" sounded. So off to the Buck Baker school for a short run. (Notice the absence of Schaefer in the following photo. Even Uncle D knows you'll run a'foul the law if you drink and drive a (race) car. Take note of that kids.)

After what I'm sure what was a rush to drive around the lady in black, Uncle D got back in his Chevy and headed way Daytona Beach!

He was there...almost. Just a short hop, skip, and jump to the Cape. And he still needed to make sure the Schaefer made it to the viewing area with him. He did a dry run the day before the launch. He met a security guy and explained the Schaefer tradition. Upon hearing it, the guard laughed and started singing the Schaefer commerical jingle:

Schaefer... is the... one beer to have
When you're having more than one

Uncle D told him he wanted the photo op at the launch. He was greeted with a smile and the OK to get the shot.

So at 6:21 AM EDT on April 9, 2010, Uncle D took the Schaefer HOF tradition to new heights by having Schaefer photographed 3 seconds into the successful launch of STS-131 Discovery.

The column of smoke in the following photo is 20 seconds into the launch. While Uncle D didn't tell me any particulars about the picture, I'm hoping he was swilling that well-traveled beer after such a tremendous job-well-done.

Sal-OOT Uncle D! you could maybe get one of the astronauts to smuggle one into space for us? Maybe give it a spin or two in zero-gravity? Think about it.


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