Monday, October 25, 2010

Hey Hey My My, Schaefer Beer Will Never Die

What? Richard Petty Motorsports is in dire straits? The King is between a rock and a hard place...again?

Aren't you concerned TMC? Stressed? Anxious? Beside yourself?

Well, maybe I am a bit. But any anxiety I may have can wait another day to be blogged - because I found THIS today. A rowdy Texas party band covering Neil Young's rock anthem staple: Hey Hey, My My.

In digging around a bit, I learned the song is by a band named Loco Gringos. According to their still-standing MySpace page, they were a punk-drunk-rock band from Dallas many years ago. Having gone separate ways, they apparently reunited a couple of years ago and are back for more.

From the songs I listened to, it seems to me they could have been channeling The Beat Farmers a bit. Also, I saw they were influenced by another one of my favorites from the late 80s, The Hickoids. (I had the cassette of one of their thrashing but hilarious releases: We're Only In It For The Corn.)

I found this 2007 photo of the Loco Gringo guitarist's axe that says it all...

You can still purchase their self-titled CD with intriguing song titles such as:
  • Fruit Fly
  • Ain't No Corndogs
  • Hug a Jug
  • Nurture My Pig
Sadly, the Schaefer track doesn't seem to be included on the CD.

Maybe the Schaefer Racing Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor should hire the band for the 20th Annual Schaefer Racing Schelebration in 2011. Wonder if they'd accept a 30 box as payment? Hmm...


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

TMC picks for 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame

As I understand it, the voting for the second class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame is scheduled for Thursday, October 13. Those chosen will be inducted into the Hall in May 2011.

I'm really not sure who the voters are. If I really cared to know, I'm sure the info is out there to be found with a token Google search. But tonight, I really don't care about how the voters will cast their ballots. I'm here to state a case for my own choices.

The Patriarch - Lee Petty

The stats:
  • 54 Grand National wins - a NASCAR record Lee established with his final win in 1960 and stood until broken by his son, Richard, in 1967.
  • 3 Grand National championships - the last in 1959. This record stood for 10 years until David Pearson matched it. His son later shattered it by winning 7 championships.
  • Winner of the inaugural Daytona 500 in a photo finish.
  • The patriarch of the Petty racing family. For a painfully brief period of time, four generations of racing Pettys were alive - Lee, Richard, Kyle, and Adam.
The Silver Fox - David Pearson

The stats:
  • 1960 Rookie of the Year
  • 105 Grand National/Winston Cup wins
  • 3 Grand National championships - 2nd to reach that accompishment
  • 1973 - Won 11 of 18 races entered
  • 1976 - Won 10 of 22 races entered
  • Winner of 1976 Daytona 500
  • 11 consecutive pole positions at Charlotte Motor Speedway from 1973 through 1978
  • 3 World 600 wins
  • 3 Southern 500 wins
Bobby Allison
The stats:
  • 85 Grand National/Winston Cup wins
  • 1983 Winston Cup champion
  • 3 Daytona 500 wins with 3 different car owners (Bud Moore, DiGard, and Billy Stavola)
  • Countless short-track late model wins from coast to coast and north to south
  • 2 time participant in Indianapolis 500
Cale Yarborough

The stats:
  • 83 Grand National/Winston Cup wins
  • 3 consecutive Winston Cup championships - the first to accomplish it
  • 4 Daytona 500 wins - three of them with different car owners: Wood Brothers, Junior Johnson, and Harry Ranier
  • 5 Southern 500 wins
Raymond Parks

The stats:
  • Pioneer stock car racing car owner
  • Car owner for NASCAR's first two seasons of Strictly Stock/Grand National series with World War II Red Byron as driver and Red Vogt as mechanic (all 3 shown in above photo)
  • Fielded cars for legendary modified and early NASCAR drivers Roy Hall, Lloyd Seay
  • Attended the late 1940s meeting called by Bill France in Daytona Beach, FL where the founding of NASCAR resulted.
  • Helped the fledgling sanctioning body by providing Bill France Sr. some much needed financial support.
Personally, I believe Raymond Parks and David Pearson should have been in the inaugural class over Dale Earnhardt and Bill France, Jr. But what's done is done. The 5 who made it in the first class were indeed deserving. For this second 2011 class, I'm certain the 5 who make it will also be very deserving - regardless of whether they match my selections or not.

For the record, here's my call for the third class for 2012:
  • Dale Inman - long-time crew chief for Richard Petty - only crew chief with 8 championships (7 with Petty and 1 with Terry Labonte)
  • Darrell Waltrip - 80 wins, 3 time Cup champ, 1 Daytona 500, multiple wins in World 600 and Southern 500
  • Ned Jarrett - 2 time champion, multiple wins, and successful transition from competitor to media member on radio and TV
  • Herb Thomas - 2 time champion in 1950s, 48 Grand National wins - most driving the Famous Hudson Hornet (popularized in the Disney/Pixar movie, Cars)
  • Bruton Smith - This is my soft pick. I'm not convinced of it just yet. His mark on track ownership is undeniable. How he got his tracks, how his races were promoted, etc. is somewhat questionable. I'll likely wrestle with this one a bit more the next 12 months.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 5 - This day in Petty history

October 5, 2010, for the most part will be just another day. A Tuesday - no holidays, no quarter-end financial date, no tax filing date, just another work day, and just another school day. Not the beginning of a long weekend or the end of one. Its not even humpday.

In researching the day, October 5 has had only a smattering of what I'd call memorable events. Some of the ones I found unique are:
  • 1902 - Wiry-haired Stooge, Larry Fine, is born.
  • 1921 - The World Series is broadcast on radio for the first time.
  • 1925 - WSM-AM radio begins radio transmissions from Nashville, TN. The call letters stood for We Shield Millions - the marketing tag line for the station's owner: National Life and Accident Insurance Company. A couple of months later, WSM aired the WSM Barn Dance - which later became known as The Grand Ole Opry.
WSM tower 2002-03-05
  • 1962 - The Beatles release "Love Me Do".
  • 1962 - Michael Andretti is born.
  • 1965 - NHL great Mario Lemieux is born.
  • 1969 - Monty Python's Flying Circus begins airing on BBC.
  • 1969 - Tom Dempsey from the New Orleans Saints kicked a 55 yard field goal - unheard of in that era. A season later, he kicked a 63-yarder. That record still stands and has been matched by only one other kicker.
While October 5th trivia is unique but a bit limited, the date is a good 'un for Petty Enterprises history.
  • 1957 - Lee Petty wins a 200 lap race at Southern States Fairground, a half-mile dirt track in Charlotte. The picture below shows Lee leading the last race run at the track in 1960 - where Richard won his first of 200 Grand National/Winston Cup wins.
  • 1958 - Lee Petty wins at Salisbury Speedway in North Carolina. Two Chevrolet entries owned by Lee's brother/Richard's uncle, Julian Petty, and driven by Roy Tyner and Ken Rush finished 5th and 9th, respectively. (Rookie Richard finishes 22nd in a Petty Oldsmobile numbered #2.)
  • 1963 - Richard wins at Tar Heel Speedway in Randleman, NC. Bob Welborn finished 3rd in a second Petty #42 entry. This race was the third and final GN race at the track, and all of them were held in 1963. Plymouths fielded by Petty Enterprises won all three races - the first two by Jim Paschal and the third one by Richard. For an interesting story about Tar Heel Speedway's history, read this excerpt (PDF) from Perry Allen Wood's book, Silent Speedways of the Carolinas.
  • 1968 - Richard finished 3rd in the Augusta 200 at Augusta (GA) Speedway. OK, so a Petty car didn't win on October 5th for a change. But a top 5 on any day is a great day.
  • 1969 - Richard finished 2nd to rival David Pearson in the Wilkes 400 at North Wilkesboro. Yes, these were the days before the explosion of cookie-cutter intermediate tracks that bumped tracks like Wilkesboro off the schedule.
  • 1975 - Richard wins his 12th race of the season, the National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Despite running well and Petty Enterprises cars winning races at Charlotte with other drivers, Richard struggled to "close the sale" at the track himself until 1975. Finally, he nabbed the World 600 in the spring and backed it up with the second win in the fall event.
  • 1980 - Kyle Petty - a second year driver still with rookie skills - finished 9th in the National 500 at Charlotte driving an all-red STP Petty Chevrolet Monte Carlo. His top 10 finish, while not a win, was a notable finish considering how Kyle tried to knock the wall down during qualifying for the World 600 in 1979. He qualified for the fall 1979 race. In 1980, he scored a pair of top 10 finishes at Charlotte - a nice recovery considering his less-than-stellar debut at the track.
  • 1992 - Like his dad, Kyle got around North Wilkesboro really well. However, UNLIKE his dad, Kyle never took home hardware for his efforts. On this day, he finished 3rd in a caution-free Tyson Holly Farms 500 at North Wilkesboro. (Richard finished 27th in his final race at Wilkesboro.)
  • 2008 - Bobby Labonte finished 6th in the Petty Enterprises/Cheerios #43 Dodge in the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega. The King was known for his wins at Daytona - both in the 500 and the Firecracker. Lee Petty and Pete Hamilton also scored victories for the team on the Daytona and Talladega superspeedways. Otherwise - especially after Richard's retirement as a driver - Petty cars didn't have much to show for their efforts on the big tracks. So for Labonte to score a 6th place finish, that in itself is a notable achievement.