Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014: A Schaefer Year in Review

The Schaefer Hall of Fame once again had a great year in 2014 - when its distinguished members schelebrated together or individually. A look back...

May - The SHOFers and Schaefer Ring of Honor gathered as is the custom on Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway for a splendid weekend of fun and frivolity. Oh, and some racing too.

We wanted to give a nod to our new friends at Starters Sports Bar in Phoenix that we met in November 2013.

SHOFer Kuzzin and now-official SROH member Kristi.

Though the 300-mile History Channel 300 Nationwide race was sparsely attended, the SHOF was there and represented well.

Schaefer AND race rookies were given the customary rookie stripe. A bit more lip from this (of-age) young cuss and we may have resorted to moving the tape to his mouth.

Though no new entrants were inducted to the Schaefer Hall of Fame, the SHOF did formally admit its representative to the Puerto Rico chapter into the Schaefer Ring Of Honor. Big Moe punished an XL shirt (largest size available with the SHOF's limited operating budget) - but was delighted with his selection.

On the day of the Coca-Cola 600, many folks participated in the annual Schaefer Racing Cornhole Tournament. The team of SHOFers Rookie and TMC withstood the challenges of several worthy teams and captured the coveted trophy!

After a group shot, we headed to the track for 600 miles of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing!

Right from the start, Rookie disappeared. No worries. We knew he'd return with his traditional, gut bomb turkey leg.

This sad sack clearly had enjoyed too much of a good time. It's doubtful Schaefer was involved. Our guess, however, is he had taken several strong pulls from a strong-smelling mason jar.

July - Rather than drive to Daytona for the race, SHOFer Bruton enjoyed Independence Day in a far more relaxing and quiet manner on a Georgia lake. Warm sunshine, cool water and a cold Schaefer - a commercial that needs to be made.

August - SROH member ZimRick was the sole Schaefer representative at Bristol's NASCAR modified race. Judging by the crowd, he was close to being the sole fan there period.

September - Original SHOFer Philly took in NHRA's top straight-line racers at Z-Max Dragway in Charlotte - a track whose drag strip is as long as a Schaefer bullet is tall.

October - Though Bruton didn't endure Daytona's heat for the summer 400 race, he did make it to the famed beach in the fall. Sea, surf, sand and Schaefer. Ahhhh...

October - As Bruton headed for the east coast, TMC headed for the west one. I flew into Ontario, California's airport with an eventual destination of Palm Desert. Before doing so, I had to seek out two things.
  • The west coast's long-standing yard beer: Olympia. 
  • The remnants of Ontario Motor Speedway
For years, Oly was a racing sponsor supporting drivers such as Hershel McGriff and Ray Elder. Like Schaefer, Oly is getting tougher to find. I made several stops, drove and backtracked many miles, and chewed up about 90 minutes before finally finding a store with it. After trying it though - eccckkk - the search was more enjoyable than the brew.

The second item on my agenda was more rewarding. Ontario Motor Speedway opened in 1970 and was modeled after Indianapolis Motor Speedway. NASCAR ended its Cup season there from the mid 1970s through 1980.

Dale Earnhardt made his first start with Wrangler Jeans as his sponsor at Ontario in 1980, and Richard Petty won his 7th and final championship in 1979 after a season-long competition with Darrel Waltrip. The battle was settled at Ontario.

After 1980, however, the track bellied up. The property was redeveloped, and NASCAR moved it's season ending race to the nearby road course in Riverside.

With an assist from Scott Baker at, I found my way to the grounds where the track once stood. A sports arena now stands where the infield once was. Sidewalks and common area cover what was once the frontstretch and start-finish line.

Credit to and courtesy of
Turns 1, 2 and 4 are no longer recognizable as their spots are now occupied by buildings such as CarMax, Kohl's and an office building. For whatever reason, the land where turn 3 once was has not had anything built on it yet. Though it's clearly just a patch of dirt, I could hear the cars rumble off the back stretch and sweep through turn 3 as they set-up to glide through turn 4.

After my photo-op and quick meal at In-N-Out Burger (a luxury of traveling to the west), my next destination was my final one: Palm Desert.

The Schaefer tradition began in 1992 at Talladega with two of us.
  • Accommodations: a tent. 
  • Tickets: back stretch GA. 
  • Seating: lawn chair.
  • Amenities: sunburn, dehydration and dietary indiscretion
With age, experience and a desire for change, I've up'd my expectations a bit in the two decades since - at the track and away from it.

October - For the first time since 1993, I returned to Charlotte for the fall Bank of America 500 to join a few of my SHOF and SROH brethren. Plenty of food and drink were available to all - including homemade grilled pizza and an ample portion of Schaefer.

With a smile on his face and a look of resignation on ours, Rookie kept his one-man tradition alive. TURKEY LEG! WHOOO! he proclaimed.

October - The stakes are raised even if the skill level declines when Schaefer is served at a neighborhood poker game. ♫ Ya gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to drink 'em

November - Following the race trip, TMC was back on the road again - this time to Newark, NJ. I felt confident Schaefer would be readily accessible there vs. other parts of the country - and the store near my Hampton Inn did not disappoint. I wanted to invoke the words of Mr. Cresote in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life - I'll have the lot.

Traveling by air vs. car, however, limited my opportunities. So I settled on the purchase of one 30-box. As a bonus, my in-room fridge kept the cans cold during my stay.

Several ziploc bags plus a flight home put 30 fresh ones in my home state. Well, 28 since I allowed myself a couple in Jersey.

I also made a return to the Spring Lounge in New York City (aka The Shark Bar) -  a truly local joint who can always be trusted to have Schaefer available.

November - The Big Finish of 2014 - an idea that germinated over PBR and a Fireball shot at Starters in Phoenix in November 2013 - the NASCAR season-ending weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida (and a lonnnnng way from Ontario and Riverside).

After taking in the next-to-last race of the season at Phoenix in 2013, the SHOF wanted to attend 2014's season-ending one at Homestead. The desire to do so was increased with NASCAR's new championship format.

SHOFer Cuba was a committed Schaefer mule. He safely delivered an sufficient supply for the 5 of us to enjoy throughout the weekend. With Schaefer, tickets, hospitality arrangements, and Hot Passes in hand, it was time to live large.

In case anyone is curious, yes Homestead also sells turkey legs.

While in town, the SHOF visited a local outlet mall. Yes, there is a first time for everything. Good fortune smiled upon us as we met Awesome Bill from Dawsonville. SHOFer The Rev was sporting his Schaefer shirt, and we were able to give Bill a condensed version of the SHOF origins - which involved a protest of Elliott's sponsor at the time: Budweiser.

Even pit lizards are attracted to Schaefer.

A Schaefer Schelfie?

To my knowledge, the only other time the SHOF has represented at a season-ending race was in Atlanta at the 1992 Hooters 500. Philly, TMC and Bruton were present to see the King's final race, Jeff Gordon's Cup debut and an epic finish for the race and the title between Bill Elliott and Alan Kulwicki.

Twenty-two years later, the end-of-season thrill was still off the hook. Kevin Harvick and his team did an exceptional job preparing for the race and then executing their plan. He claimed the race and the title.

December - Philly and his SROH SIL know how to prepare for the holidays in style.

As the calendar turns to a new year, the SHOF is confident plenty of memorable Schaefer experiences remain ours for the taking. To you and yours, have a Schaeferiffic 2015.



No comments:

Post a Comment