Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bristol Bound!

The fine folks of the Louisiana bayou have a fine word to mean "a little something extra": lagniappe.

My plan for the 2010 Cup season was to attend two specific races: Las Vegas and the Coca-Cola 600. Mission accomplished. Both came off without a hitch, and I had a fantastic trip to both races as blogged here.

And then a little something extra comes along. A friend of mine is taking his son to college this weekend in WEST Tennessee. A big conflict arose for him because he has tickets to the Bristol night race in EAST Tennessee the same weekend.

His misfortune has become my good fortune. He offered me the tickets for Friday's Nationwide race and Saturday night's legendary Cup race. Clearance was obtained from The One who makes the key decisions around here, the Schaefer was already chilled in the fridge and begging for another race trip, a traveling race pa'tner quickly agreed to go, and now I'm just marching time for the next couple of days until Friday morning arrives.

Saturday's race will be Bristol's 100th Cup race since its opening in 1960. This will be my 10th trip to Bristol - the first being in 1986 to see Rusty Wallace win his first Cup race.

However, this will only be my 3rd night race - and my first since 1998 when Mark Martin won. The most memorable though of the two previous ones was the 1995 finish between winner Terry Labonte and runner-up (and runner-in to everyone one the track) Dale Earnhardt.

This weekend will be my first opportunity to proudly wear my previously-blogged-about Schaefer Hall of Fame shirt to a track. As a second helping of lagniappe, Schaefer Hall of Fame co-founder Philly was able to score tickets for he and his son Wilbur. We'll land in Sullivan County, TN about the same time, don our SHOF shirts, and enjoy yet another race together.

Twenty years - count 'em - 20 - we've been racing together. Great times all of 'em. From Darlington to Vegas. Daytona to New Hampshire. Texas to Rockingham. Dega to Indy. And now our Xth trip together to Bristol Motor Speedway nestled in God's country of deep East Tennessee.

Yet another dollop of lagniappe will be ladled upon the weekend. At least four Schaefer Ring of Honor members will be in attendance - including a Cup lifer and fellow Petty fan who is dragging his motorhome all the way from New Jersey to attend what is about his 210th NASCAR Cup race!

Am I excited? You betcha I am.


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