Day O’ Racing

I hope everyone enjoyed the Day O’ Racing.  

The day started out with the Indy 500.  It was nice to see Jim Nabors back this year singing the traditional “Back Home in Indiana”.  He was sick last year and was unable to make the festivities.  

Congratulations to Scott Dixon for winning his first Indy 500 and doing it from the pole.  Say what you want about Danica Patrick, but she isn’t afraid to let you know how it is going to be.  After getting crashed into along pit road by Scott Briscoe with 29 laps to go.  She got out of the car and headed towards Briscoe’s pit.  Luckily for Briscoe, Danica was directed away before she got to his pit stall.  It would have been interesting to see what she would have done and said once she got there.  In the words of Danica…“Probably best I didn’t get down there anyway.”

After the Indy 500 was over, I didn’t have to wait much longer for the festivities to begin for the Coke 600.  I always get chills during the prerace festivities on Memorial Day weekend.  I loved the bagpipes playing amazing grace and the ultimate salute to our members of the military, the 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps.  I wish the people on pit lane would put their hands over the hears when the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner is played.  It just bothers me a little bit.

Now onto the race…

The race started out with Kyle Busch leading the field to the green just as he did last Saturday night.  Early on Kyle Busch began having alternator issues, but as we all know this is a long race and anything can happen.  First part of the race was pretty much uneventful.  I have to give driving props to Juan Pablo.  He spun out without hitting anyone and right across the Circle K logo “I Love This Place”.  I just had to chuckle when I saw this.  I felt bad for Brian Vickers.  He had a great running car, but you just can’t run a race car on three tires.  His tire bouncing all over the place reminded me of that McDonalds commercial with Larry Bird and Michael Jordan shooting hoops…Vickers tire when off the track, off #38’s hood, off the catch fence, over the infield wall, onto the camper roof…nothing but net!  I thought someone was going to have a great souvenir, but the NASCAR people came to take it away.  Party poopers!

The next part of the race begin to fall into place.  Nothing really exciting happened.  Kyle was still having voltage problems but still making his way around the track and staying somewhat competitive.  Sorry for all you Dale Jr. fans (well sort of).  I can’t say that I was upset by this chain of events.  Dale Jr. cut a tire and ended up scraping the wall.  I don’t know if JJ Yeley’s spotter let him know about Dale Jr…but dude…you had to have seen Jr. up against the wall.  Oh yea…it was mentioned that this was probably going to ruin Junior’s chance to get a win.  During this caution, Kyle came in to get his battery switched out.

Once again…Jimmie was making his way through the field and he eventually got to the front of the pack.  This didn’t surprise me one bit, because Jimmie has a way of rising to the top, but just like his teammate it wouldn’t be Jimmie’s night.  Jimmie’s engine decided it had had enough racing for the evening.  With about 50 to go Jimmie’s night was over.  Once again the face of the race changed again.

Well…guess who was in position to lead the race?  That’s right Tony Stewart.  I held my breathe though.  With the way things were working out, I was hoping Tony could pull it through to the end.  He came into the pits around lap 13 to top off with gas so he could make it to the end of the race.  And just like Junior and Jimmie, it wasn’t going to be Smoke’s night.  Damn tires!  I guess that bitch Karma came back to bite Tony is butt.  I think I said every kind of “not so lady-like” words at the television set.  With this set back, this gave the lead to none other than last week’s winner Kasey Kahne.  With his victory, Kasey became only the 6th driver to win both the All-Star Race and the Coke 600 in the same year.  Oh by the way…Kasey broke his 52 race winless streak tonight as well!  And Junior STILL hasn’t won.

With all the problems and struggles tonight, Kyle finished 3rd, Jeff Gordon finished 4th, and Junior finished 5th.  Where did Tony finish?  18th.  Ugh!  I have to give a high five to Elliott Sadler (8th), David Reutiman (10th), Bobby Labonte (11th), David Ragan (12th) and former Indy 500 winner Sam Hornish (13th).  Way to go guys!

Thanks for the memories Humpy! You may be stepping down, but your impact on NASCAR will be felt for years to come.

One more thing…

There were couple of commercials that I have to say made me laugh.  I love the Holiday Inn commercial where Jeff Burton is asked questions by random people.  My favorite question, “How come you don’t have a mullet?”  The look on his face when asked the question is hilarious.  The latest Vitamin Water commercial with Carl Edwards was funny.  Gotta love Ralph Macchio.  I am going to assume this was paying homage to his most role as the Karate Kid.  But of course these commercials don’t even come close to this one by Budweiser.

This commercial does remind me of the first race I went to at TMS. I don’t recall who was on stage at the time performing during the prerace show, but when soldiers were walking out to prepare for other prerace festivites, everyone in the stands stood up and cheered for them including myself. As we continue to move throughout the rest of the night and tomorrow, remember the real reason for Memorial Day. If you see a soldier or know a veteran, stop and say “Thank You”. I would like to say thank you to my Uncle Cecil, Uncle Junior, Uncle Bill, Uncle Chris, my cousin Joe, my father-in-law, and my father. Thank you for serving honorably for our country. I love you all.

Kyle Strikes Again

When you are hot, you are on fire. Kyle Busch will lead the field to the green on Sunday. This is the second pole in a row at Lowe’s for Kyle. And look who he will be with him on the front row…Kasey Kahne, last week’s All-Star race winner.

This will be the first Coca Cola 600 for the COT. I am interested to see how the COT will perform under the conditions of the 600. This race is about being able to make adjustments througout the entire race. The race begins during the day and ends under the lights. This is the longest race of the year and the COT has yet to impress me on this size of a race track. I know teams have been struggling with the COT this year. It seems some teams try to adjust the cars just a little during the race, but it seems to make them worse. I am hoping some of the teams were able to get some valuable data from last week’s All-Star race. If the race is anything like the the All-Star race where the person who is a lead drives away from the field, I may have to change the channel.

As with every race, I want Tony to be up front and challenging for the win. Tony has one win at Lowe’s back in 2003 at the spring race. Last year he finished in the Top Ten in both races at Lowe’s. This is the time of the year where Tony turns up the intensity. Tony rolls off Sunday 31st. I am not worried about him though. Tony isn’t always the best qualifier. It will be fun to watch him work his way to the front. I mean it is 600 mile race, not a 6 mile race.

Will Jimmie return to victory lane at Lowe’s this year? Jimmie hasn’t seen victory lane since the fall 2005 race. Of course that’s probalby what we will hear about this weekend, how Lowe’s is Jimmie’s house, blah blah..and of course someone will mention the fact that Junior STILL hasn’t won a race in the last two years.

One more thing…as we enjoy all the fesitivities, parties, BBQs this weekend, take time and say “Thank You” to a veteran or an active serviceman or servicewoman, because without the sacrifice, we would not be able to enjoy this weekend. 

Day o’ Racing

It’s Wednesday.  This means it is one day closer to Day o’ Racing.  Once again this is the one of few days of racing that I looked forward to every year.  I mean what more could this race fan or any race ask for.  First up you have the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500.  Then you have the Coca Cola 600 in the evening.  THe Coca Cola 600 can test any seasoned NASCAR driver.  It is 600 miles (0r 400 laps) of up on the wheel, door to door (ok may be not) racing.  Sometimes it’s not about track position, a good car, or something else.  It’s sometimes about survival.  Can teams keep their cars running for that long of a period of time?  600 miles…That’s almost a round trip from my house to TMS and back.  It’s 333 miles one-way to TMS from my house.  Of course it takes me a little bit longer for that trip than the boys will take on Sunday.  Makes me tired just thinking about it.

I hope all my friends and family will understand if I don’t want to leave the household on Sunday.  Heck, they can have me on Saturday and even Monday, but sorry folks I will be busy on Sunday.  I did have people over last year for a Sundy BBQ, however, racing was on and that was the way it was going to be. 

To remind my friends, family and even that occassionally coworker who still doesn’t get it (in reference to NASCAR and for this weekend only also the INDY 500….here is my disclaimer…as posted on February 7, 2008

Attention to all of my family, friends, co-workers, and complete strangers, NASCAR season is upon us.  I will NOT be available for family functions, outings, or get-togethers on Sundays.  If there is an event on said Sunday, you will have to understand they must be held prior to the start of the race or after the race.  If you must schedule things during the race be aware I may not attend your function or request that I have access to a television set.  This also applies to races that are held occasionally on Saturday nights.  If you wish to spend time with me, you must understand the topic of conversation will be predominately about the upcoming race, the previous Sunday’s race, Tony Stewart, or anything in general about NASCAR.  This is the time of the year all projects are put aside unless they involve a NASCAR related event.  Please don’t be offended if I ignore you on Sundays or the occasional Saturday…it’s nothing personal…IT’S NASCAR!!!

So please don’t take it personally when I turn down your invite to the Sunday afternoon BBQ, get together, etc or make me feel guilty about spending time with you.  I have let you know what Sunday, May 25 is for the last couple of weeks so you have had plenty of notice.

In other news…

Humpy Wheeler is planning to annouce his retirment as president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  It has been reported Marcus G. Smith, son of track owner and Speedway Motorsports INce chairman O. Bruton Smth, will take succeed Humpy.  Under Humpy, Lowe’s Motor Speedway expanded to 167,000 seats and became the first modern facility to install lights for night racing.  THe first night race at a superspeedway was in 1992.  I have to say, in this race fan’s opinion, Humpy sure does know how to put on a show for the fans.  Even though Humpy may be heading into retirement, I am sure he will be around as he always has.

Juan Pablo Montoya has a new crew chief…again. Will third time be a charm?

Three engine failures for JGR this past weekend.  That’s quite a bit of money wasted or invested depending on your point of view.  I am glad they chose the All-Star race to “experiement” instead of a points race.  But this does bring up a very interesting point I have heard grumbling in the background of the All-Star wrap ups. What is the value of the All-Star race to some teams?  I know teams are still trying to understand how the COT works and perhaps this may have been the reason some teams chose to experiment a little bit more than in year’s past.  Could this be the reason the All-Star race was as competitive in year’s past?  I don’t know.  I guess this is just theorizing on the ever changing environment in NASCAR.