Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25 - Kyle's Rockingham Romp

October 25 - Happy Birthday to 2012 Schaefer Hall of Fame inductee, Bruton! (Also known as @DollarDawg43 on Twitter.)

October 25 is also the anniversary of Kyle Petty's dominant win in the 1992 AC Delco 500 at Rockingham. For younger readers and/or novice NASCAR fans, the pony-tailed, goatee-sporting, hat-wearing, talking head you see on Speed's Trackside, Raceday, and Victory Lane shows was once a pretty good driver. Though he had only eight career Cup wins, Kyle had a lengthy career and was in the points hunt a couple of years in the early 1990s. Driving for SABCO Racing and sponsored by Peak Antifreeze and Mello Yello, the 42 Pontiac was almost unstoppable at Rockingham from the late 1980s through the early 1990s.

In the 1992 fall Rockingham race, Kyle's father - Richard Petty - made his final start at the track. The King started every race at Rockingham from its inaugural event in 1965 through his 1992 retirement season, and had eleven wins in his 54 starts.

Fittingly, Kyle won the pole for his father's final Rockingham start, and he then led all but eight of the 492 laps en route to victory.

Perhaps because I remember Kyle's win, 1992 doesn't seem that long ago. Yet its been 20 years - 2 decades - since his win. The passage of time and advances in technology, however, can perhaps best be illustrated by looking at the cell phone Kyle used to call car owner Felix Sabates from victory lane. An iBrick?

Before NASCAR's premier series was sponsored by Sprint (and Nextel before that), R.J. Reynolds' Winston cigarettes brand was synonymous with the sport for more than twenty-five years. I'm reminded in the following photo of the cute and classy Miss Winston ladies. No knock on today's Miss Sprint Cup girls but having them dressed in firesuits is just dumb.

The Petty family and racing are inseparable. For many of Richard's wins - especially those at tracks in North Carolina - his family was able to join him in victory lane. For Kyle's Rockingham victory, he continued the tradition. Interestingly, the one person noticeably absent from the group is the King himself.

Here is a revisit of the final few laps of the race and Kyle's victory lane interview. The YouTube clip is timed at about one hour; however, the content ends around the 30 minute mark.

Source: Portsmouth Daily Times via Google News Archive
So as we reflect upon Kyle's dominating day at The Rock in 1992, the Schaefer Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor wish Bruton a Schaeferiffic birthday. Just don't live too large Bruton - we'd hate to see you fade early.


TMC

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Massey's Run

Back in April, I blogged about Richard Petty's second career win. He won the Virgina 500 at Martinsville on April 10, 1960.

Finishing second in that race was Jimmy Massey from Mebane, NC - about half-way between Greensboro and Raleigh-Durham. In a 10-year, part-time career, Massey made 51 NASCAR Grand National starts and 57 NASCAR convertible series starts. Between the two series, he banked three convertible wins and 32 combined top 5 finishes. 

His top finish in Grand National competition was second - two times. The first one was in 1957, and the second and final time to finish second was in the 1960 Virgina 500. In both instances, he drove a Ford for the famed Wood Brothers team.

Recently, a friend tipped me off to a tune by the songwriting duo of Doug and Telisha Williams titled Massey's Run. They are from ... yep, Martinsville, VA and now living in East Nashville.

The lyrics seem to have sprung from a what-if scenario. What if Massey had held off the Randleman Rocket that day?

Here are a couple of versions to enjoy...



The lyrics fly by pretty quickly - and are a bit tough to understand in the couple of YouTube videos I found available. But to fully appreciate the tune, one needs to read the lyrics while listening to them. The Williams may have taken artistic liberty with Petty's career by putting him in a red, white, and blue STP car in 1960 as Richard's association with STP didn't begin until 1972. As they say, however, never let the facts get in the way of a good story song.

Listen again as you read the following.

Massey's Run - Doug & Telisha Williams

Well, he's the one they always talk about
the name that's always thrown around
He's the best that's ever held a steering wheel

With his straw hat and feathered cowboy crown
he's the King of going around and 'round
If you're out front, he's nipping at your heels

After all the races that he's won
All the tires he musta spun
Its no wonder folks still go on about him

But with twenty-six laps
In the spring of 1960
He was behind me

Chorus:
Right there in my mirror
That red, white and blue STP
If it hadn't been for the number 43
I coulda been the King

I held him off through every turn
My tires were bald and my brakes were burned
I took everything ol' 21 could give

He was coming up the inside fast
And I knew he was gonna try to pass
So I got down low and I kept him there behind me

Until the final time around turn four
He finally got me door to door
And that paperclip, it turned into a drag race

But with twenty-six laps
In the spring of 1960
He was behind me

Chorus

I drove it like a demon
On that final death-wish track

And I know I almost had him
'til I crossed that checkered flag
He was behind me

Chorus

Well I crossed the line in second place
The day Petty won his second race
Since then, he's won a hundred-ninety-eight more

But I like to think I did pretty well
Raced him tight and gave him hell
He probably don't think about me anymore

Sometimes at night I still dream
Still hear those pistons scream
I can still see that Petty blue

I'm crossing the line
In the spring of 1960
He was behind me 

Chorus

And with 26 laps
In the spring of 1960

Doug and Telisha have been performing the song during several 2012 performances, but the track hasn't been officially recorded and released yet. As an effort to help raise the money needed to cover the costs of recording the songs they've written (including Massey's Run), Doug and Telisha set-up a Kickstarter project. If the funds can be raised, they hope to record and release their next album in the first half of 2013.

TMC update: Doug and Telisha added a drummer to their line-up and took the name of Wild Ponies (web | Twitter). Their Kickstarter campaign was successful. Massey's Run was included on their 2013 release, Things That Used To Shine.

Consider joining me in helping them out if you like what you've heard and dig what they're doing.

TMC

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15 - This day in Schaefer history

October 15 - Today is Schaefer Hall of Fame member Cuba's birthday!

October 15 is also the anniversary of the final career win by Dale Earnhardt. He came from deep in the field to the head of the pack in just 3 laps in the 2000 Winston 500 at Talladega. I was at Dega that day along with fellow SHOFers Philly and Paducah.



Though I was never a big Earnhardt fan, I always respected what he could do behind the wheel. I was as stunned as everyone else when he lost his life just four months later in the 2001 Daytona 500.


The 2000 Dega race is easily in the top 5 races I've been fortunate enough to attend. Back in 2009, I blogged about my memories of the race - and some of the stories that unfolded after it.

And here is a revisit to the last few laps of a remarkable finish.


So while thinking of great memories from Earnhardt's final victory, the Schaefer Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor wish fellow Schaefer brutha Cuba a Happy Birthday! SCHA-LOOT!!


TMC