I want to send my condolences out to Ken Schrader, his family, and friends over the passing on Ken’s mom. And say a few prayers for Mary, a long time race fan who’s going in for some major surgery.
It Finally Happened!
1960 Grand National Champion and my good friend Rex White was finally inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (IMHOF). It’s about 35 years overdue in my opnion. The great thing is that Rex is still here to enjoy it. Other inductees to the IMHOF haven’t been so lucky. Now the challenge is to get Rex into the NA$CAR HOF while he’s still with us and before the place either becomes a total ghost town, gets shut down, gets bought by Rick Hendrick and turned into the Jimmie Johnson Shrine, or becomes the Palm Tree Hunter Center of Worship for "Soda" Spilling.
White Line Fever
It looks like JC France, who was busted for street racing and cocaine possession which were later dropped thanks to Judge Kennedy (who dismissed cases against other France family members), is back racing in the Rolex Series again. At a recent testing event, he kept the nose of his car right on the white line all around the track. An unconfirmed rumor has it that the white lines had to be repainted as they disappeared when JC’s car supposedly snorted them.
Bayne, what’s next, and Follow the Wood Brothers
I’ll be curious to see what happens with Trevor Bayne. Although he’s a Roush “property“, it’s looking like he’ll run at least 17 races with the Wood Brothers. It’s possible he could run some more if some sponsorship comes through. After the news that Bill Elliott was going to drive for James Finch and then it was denied, I can’t say as I blame the Wood Brothers for wanting to run Bayne the full season.
And speaking of the Wood Brothers, you might want to follow them on Facebook and Twitter. From time to time they run a trivia contest and you can win some interesting swag. I know because I played on Boxing Day (December 26th) and won a t-shirt, driver’s card, and two decals. Not bad for answering some pretty simple (to me anyways) questions about the Wood Brothers. Of course, you might want to bone up on their history first if you’re not familiar with them.
German TV Gets the Racing Right
German Sky, a German TV network, will be not only broadcasting F-1 in HD but also without commercial interruption. How long have we race fans across the board been wanting something like this? Imagine seeing the entire Daytona 500 or World 600 at home without commercial interruption? Or the NHRA Winter Nationals? Or ARCA races? The German Sky network execs know they’re competing against other series, sports, and shows so by foregoing the commercials they’re looking to pull in the maximum number of F-1 fans and gear heads they can. Hello Ivory Towers?
In today’s Buyer Beware category, it seems that a NA$CAR personality may have tried to pull a scam in the past. It seems that when asked for paperwork regarding the charity that this NA$CAR personality had established, this personality fails to produce it. It didn’t matter if this personality was hired for a personal appearance or an autograph session. Supposedly the money collected for these appearances goes to their charity but as the paperwork was never produced for that charity, it’s hard to say if the money is actually going where it’s supposed to. Apparently, failure to produce the charity paperwork is illegal according to what I’ve read.
As a kid, one of my favorite racers was Fred Lorenzen. Fred was the original Poster Boy when it came to good looking drivers promoting the sport and promoting Ford, which is what he drove at that time. He was well spoken, clean cut, and an all-around decent guy not to mention one heck of a driver. As time has marched on Fred’s mental health has slowly deteriorated and he’s now living in an assisted care facility. While he can remember races from the old days, he has trouble remembering what’s happening today. If you want to make his day and give him some words of encouragement, you can drop him a card or letter at the following address:
Bridgeway Christian Village
Attn: Fred Lorenzen
Room No. 146
111 E. Washington
Bensenville, Ill. 60106-2674
I need to give credit Rick Houston at NA$CAR.com for the great article he wrote about Fred.
He’s a real commode-ian. He should be flushed with success.
Like the separation of church and state, I sure hope that The Human Shill can keep his day job as a supposed comedian separate from his night job as a shill/cheerleader on Speed‘s coverage of the Truck Series. It’s bad enough having to put up with his constant shilling for his team’s sponsors and his manufacturer plus the cheerleading he does for select drivers who drive the same make of truck. The fans at home don’t need to have him testing out his comic material on them during the truck races. Although when you consider the fact that some fans consider his racing career to be something of a joke, maybe he’s finally in the right line of work?
Daytona 500 Conspiracy Theory
With the Daytona 500 coming up along with the 10th anniversary of the death of Iron Head and Faux King Brian in desperate need of some major headlines to try to lure in more of the Short Attention Span Crowd and in desperate hopes of getting a few old fans to return, wouldn’t it be a real coincidence if Jr. won the Daytona 500? If you think back to the wins Jr. got on certain anniversaries, it definitely makes you wonder and lends some credence to this theory and it’s something that a lot of conspiracy theorists point to. Jr’s wins on the various anniversaries. So think about it, draw your own conclusions, form your own opinions, and see what happens on February 20th. If the conspiracy theorists are right, it lends even more credence to Steve O’Donnell, VP of Racing Operations, and his sworn statement that the sanctioning body and its’ activities are sports entertainment and not actually a motorsport. If the conspiracy theorists are wrong, then they’re wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time and probably wouldn’t be the last. So think about it and don’t go blasting me for putting this idea out there or say I‘m a Jr. Hater. I want folks to think about it and discuss it. And for those that think a race can’t be rigged, go back through NA$CAR’s history and you’ll find several races that were manipulated or had some irregularities that were overlooked, encouraged, or swept under the rug by both Big and Little Bill. The very first Strictly Stock race in which the winner was DQ’ed because Big Bill didn’t like a bootlegger winning the very first race and the tone that would set historically, Fireball Roberts being DQ’ed in order to keep Kiekhaefer’s mega-team in NA$CAR, Joe Weatherly and Curtis Turner being awarded points for a race they didn’t participate in, and the King’s 200th win are just some examples. So cuss and discuss the upcoming Daytona 500 and the possibilities the conspiracy theorists are putting out there.
Gone with the Wind
At the end of the 2011 season, Firestone will not renew their contract with IndyCar. While no official reason has been given yet, it could be for financial reasons. Bridgestone, the parent company of Firestone, is pulling out of racing across the board. This leaves the 2012 season wide open for a new tire provider to work with IndyCar. Michelin, Kumho, Hankook, Cooper, and Dunlop could all be in the running to replace Firestone for the IndyCar Series and a load of other companies could replace Bridgestone in the series that they’re involved in. So it’s possible there could be some tire wars going on this season in a bid to replace both Firestone and Bridgestone.
Two Thumbs Up to IndyCar
3 time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford, Mario Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Sarah Fisher, Davey Hamilton, and Larry Foyt will be doing the Indianapolis 500 Centennial Tour, which is being coordinated by Morale Entertainment Foundation and Armed Forces Entertainment, in conjunction with the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and they start this week. The 10-day goodwill trip to Europe and the Middle East has a goal of boosting the morale of a lot of troops they plan to meet during the 10 day tour. Their first stop will be the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl Germany, which was next to door to where I was stationed, Ramstein AB from 1980-1985.
The last time I heard of a NASCAR driver or personality doing something like this was several years ago when Jeremy Mayfield visited the troops and even went to one of the outlying outposts in a hostile area to meet with some race fans. So to the IndyCar folks and the racing greats involved with this tour, two thumbs up, a checkered flag, and a trophy for this great effort.