Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fuel Injection, Milwaukee Mile, Tiger Tom, Heat Races, Money, & Other Things

Fuel Injection & Other Engine Developments
Fuel injection has been around for over a century. It was developed by Herbert Akroyd-Stuart. His fuel injected engine first sold commercially on 8 July 1892. The first use of direct gasoline injection was on the Hesselman engine invented by Swedish engineer Jonas Hesselman in 1925. In 1940, the first electronic fuel injection was used on an Alfa Romeo in the Mille Miglia. With the advent of World War II and high performance aircraft, direct fuel injection was employed in a number of aircraft.

Mechanical fuel injection was being offered to racers back in 1940 but the war sort of brought a stop to that. In 1952, Bosch offered the first commercially produced mechanical fuel injection system. This system was also a direct injection system. Chevrolet offered mechanical fuel injection as an optional item on their 1957 model 283 V-8 engine that came in the Corvette. Bendix developed the first commercial electronic fuel injection system and it was offered by American Motors Corporation (Rambler. Remember them?) in 1957.
The first functional supercharger for a two stroke engine was developed in 1878. The first car equipped with a supercharger supposedly reached speeds of 100 mph back in 1908. The first production model cars with superchargers came from Mercedes in 1921.
By 1957, fuel injection and superchargers were being offered on production model cars here in the USA as an optional item. Bill France Sr on the other hand had a different idea. Instead of helping the automotive industry further develop this technology, he banned them from being used in NASCAR.
Now, here we are in 2012, with the Daytona 500 not too far off. For years we’ve heard how NASCAR has helped advance racing & street technology. And yet, the France family has hindered the development of innovations which could’ve led the auto industry into a fuel injected, turbocharged, or supercharged era many years earlier. NASCAR finally joined the later part of the 20th century by instituting the use on an obsolete fuel injection system that has yet to be fully run or tested under actual racing conditions from a manufacturer who has no experience with high powered, purpose-built V-8‘s like is used in NA$CAR, much less run under full race conditions with a restrictor plate. I hope the brain trust in the Ivory Towers has been finding Jesus because if this fuel injection system fails and cars lunch engines left and right, it’s going to be a PR disaster of nearly biblical proportions from which even the best PR, media, and spin doctors will have a tough time trying to put a good face on.


This should put a little more perspective on the size of the NA$CAR fan base. I realize not everybody has a Facebook account. As of when I gathered these numbers:
Top Gear (UK-version): 10,337,303 Facebook Likes
NA$CAR: 2,504,183 Facebook Likes
WWE: 7,753,565 Facebook Likes
John Cena: 10,403,001 Facebook Likes
The Walking Dead: 6,011,882 Facebook Likes
ARCA: 6,167 Facebook Likes
NHRA: 314,963 Facebook Likes
Survivor: 2,591,134 Facebook Likes
Top Gear America: 109,176 Facebook Likes
SCCA: 6,706 Facebook Likes
Dale Jr: 1,240,400 Facebook Likes
Ferrari: 137,499 Facebook Likes
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: 439,555 Facebook Likes
Roush Fenway Racing: 32,161 Facebook Likes
Carl Edwards: 201,149 Facebook Likes
Lotus F-1 Team: 14,934 Facebook Likes
Speed TV Channel: 291,197 Facebook Likes
Jeff Gordon: 418,032 Facebook Likes
US Air Force: 699,976 Facebook Likes
USMC: 2,105,440 Facebook Likes
Twitter Followers:
WWE 859,322
NASCAR 386,657
NASCAR Hometown Tracks 14,533
NASCAR on Focks 76,667
Jabber Jaws 71,897
Brad Keselowski 59,330
Jimmie Johnson 126,204
Matt Kenseth 39,678
Daytona International Speedway 24,304
Front Row Motorsports 3,686
Robby Gordon 33,400
Wendy Venturini 38,912
John Daly (The Daly Planet) 7,829
Bristol Motor Speedway 15,891
Orange Cone 9,745
The Catch Fence 1,047
Jet Dryer 1,044
Not Bruton Smith 375
Not Brian France 1,108
Wood Brothers 7,984
Dale Jr 42,024 *       Hasn’t sent out a single Twitter
Ken Schrader 7,667
IndyCar 45,540
Tony Kanaan 438,476
Pippa Mann 9,870
Indy Motor Speedway 24,677
Simona de Silvestro 15,142
Penske Racing 19,764
Formula 1 208,029
Lotus F-1 Team 72,873
NHRA 18,116
ARCA 5,131
Scuderia Ferrari (F-1 team) 189,447
So what does this say? Everything and nothing. NA$CAR, which has live shows from February through November, has far fewer fans or followers than some canned TV shows which do not run any live shows and only a limited number of new shows per season. Other racing series don’t fair as well on Facebook and Twitter as others. Not all racing series have an official Facebook or Twitter account. Not all drivers have a Facebook account. Not all race teams have a Facebook or Twitter account. And that some networks & TV shows really know how to use social media and capitalize on it to get the word out to fans, followers, sponsors, potential sponsors, and maybe even lure in new folks.

Milwaukee Mile Back

After dropping the Milwaukee Mile from the earlier IndyCar schedules, they’re back and will be hosting races on June 15-16 thanks in part to Andretti Sports Marketing Wisconsin. Tickets go on sale March 1.
Tiger Tom Pistone

A short statement from Tom regarding his induction to the Illinois Stock Car Hall of Fame:
Thank you for voting for me. I’m honored to be going in Illinois Hall of Fame with so many great friends its humbling. Thank you art and Mike with hall of fame. Thank you my friends, my fans, my family, my friends no longer with us, this is for them to.

Your friend,

A great quote from Tom when he was asked what he thought when he saw the track at Daytona for the first time. “ ‘Wow’ big very big like a kid in candy store. Couldn't wait to get on the track”.
Mo’ Money 

The cost of racing is even higher this year than last. Jack Roush estimates it’ll cost him $4-$5 million dollars to have his cars run the new fuel injections system. It’s not simply a matter of bolting on the new injection set up. The cars have to be re-wired to accommodate the new system. Fuel lines have to be replaced to accommodate the higher fuel pressures being used. New fuel cells installed in each and every car. Plus, there’s the matter of the fuel pumps to provide fuel to the new injection system. We’re talking about fuel pumps that crank out about 2,000 psi.
Entry fees went up from $2400 a car to $4500 a car. Hard cards are now $3400 a piece. The at-track inspection fee is $1500 a car. If it fails inspection, it’s another $1500 to get the car re-inspected. If you have to roll out a back-up car, it’s another $1500.
So let’s see if I’ve got this right. The teams have to buy a car kit that doesn’t come with all the parts for $250,000 a kit. Then they have to pay $22,500 to have the assembled kit certified. Then they have to add in another $275,000 for everything that’s not in the kit including the new fuel injection system whereas the old cars cost $150,000 each with everything in them. The entry fees have been jacked up. The cost of hard cards have been jacked up. The teams have to pay for certification of the electronic chip for the fuel injection system. Now tell me again just how NA$CAR is saving the teams money?
IndyCar to Use Heat Races at Iowa

When IndyCar shows up in Iowa for their June 22 event, they’ll be using heat races rather than single car qualifying to set the field. There will be three heat races of 30 laps each would follow practice earlier in the day. Three groups would be determined by practice times. One group for the top 10 that would set starting positions 1-10, another for odd-numbered practice positions that would set starting positions 11, 13, 15, etc., & a third for even-numbered practice positions that would set starting positions 12, 14, 16, etc.

Since the implementation of the Top 35 Rule and the Chase for the Chumps, I have had a lot of racing fans say that NA$CAR needs to use heat races to set the field. It would definitely make for a more exciting race weekend. The field would really be set by their competitiveness and speeds. And even high dollar sponsors whose cars didn’t make the field would still be getting exposure. But then I keep forgetting. If it makes sense and/or would improve the actual races, NA$CAR won’t do it. They prefer gimmicks.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Get Well, Congrats, Blurry Lines, Old Tracks, & Other Stuff

Get Well Soon
Donnie Allison was unable to make the Legends Helping Legends event due to having the flu because he didn’t want to get fans and other legends sick. And Bobby Allison called from an emergency room where he had taken his wife to let folks know he wouldn’t be attending. I hope everyone is well.
Congratulations To Tiger Tom Pistone & Fred Lorenzen
Tiger Tom Pistone, former stock car racer and inventive genius behind a lot of racing parts and safety innovations still being used today, will be inducted into the Illinois Stock Car Hall of Fame as part of their inaugural induction class. The induction ceremony will take place on April 14th. Also included in the induction group will be the original Golden Boy, Fred Lorenzen and Andy Granatelli of STP Indy car fame. They’ve included 15 folks in their inaugural induction class. Something the NA$CAR Hall of Fame should’ve done.
Winning Hearts & Minds…NOT!
It seems that at the fall Richmond race, a young driver was on his way to the media center while walking in the Cup garage when he was suddenly shoved from behind not once but twice. And who did the shoving? Why none other than NA$CAR’s celebrity spokesmodel having one of her petulant frenzies and her accompanying bag, I mean PR lady.
Despite the lamestream media refusing to show the darker side of NA$CAR’s latest messiah, reports of her misbehavior and poor interactions with fans and other drivers still are making their way out of the garage area. As are reports that the lamestream media is receiving “suggestions” to spend lots of time singing her praises from the mountain tops. Or atop the scoring towers at the tracks. You don’t win people over by being rude or uncouth. Especially when you’ve already got a bull’s eye painted on you for being rude to fans and having a potty mouth. You do realize who the fans are? You know, the ones who buy or use your sponsors products & services. The ones who directly or indirectly pay your paycheck.
The Lines Grow Blurrier
“I guess NASCAR thinks ’Hey, wrestling worked, and it was for the most part staged, so I guess it’s going to work in racing, too’. I can’t understand how long the fans are going to let NASCAR treat them like they’re stupid before the fans finally turn on NASCAR”. “I don’t know that they’ve run a fair race all year.” - Tony Stewart, 2007. 

On WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” show, it was announced that WWE wrestler John Cena would be the starter for the Daytona 500. Obviously somebody down in the Ivory Towers hasn’t been paying attention to what the fans have been saying regarding how the races are manipulated and NA$CAR’s taking on the appearance of pro wrestling. Don’t get me wrong here. I like John Cena because of his support for the troops. I watch the WWE from time to time. It’s like a soap opera for men & boys. But when you’ve already got lots of fans suspecting the sanctioning body of using the same sort of behind the scenes manipulation that’s used in pro wrestling to affect the outcome of races, the last thing you want to do is add fuel to the fire. Add this to last week’s points buying so that NA$CAR’s celebrity spokesmodel can make an appearance at the Daytona 500 and it really goes from racin‘ to motorasslin‘.

What can we expect next? Good ole JR (John Ross) and Jerry “The King” Lawler to bump Jabber Jaws and his parrot from the announcing booth? Cousin Carl & John Cena to administer some pre-race body slams to the Busch brothers? The Big Show giving Mafia Mike Helton a choke slam in Race Control? Maybe a TLC match between Vince McMahon and Faux King Brian? How about a post-race Diva’s Lumberjack Match with NA$CAR’s celebrity spokesmodel versus The Glamazon? Or will an announcement be made that Vince McMahon purchased NA$CAR back in 2004 and Faux King Brian has been merely a puppet running things? Maybe a change to what NA$CAR actually means? Instead of the National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing, it will stand for National Association for Spec Cars and Rasslin’? Or maybe they’ll adopt the rasslin’ moniker of NWO? NA$CAR World Order with Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash replacing Faux King Brian and Mafia Mike?
Maybe at this point Vince McMahon should furnish some real writers to develop more believable storylines than what’s been coming out of the Ivory Towers week after week since 2004.

I did see one suggestion that makes sense. Have John Cena wave the yellow flag for the mystery debris cautions. It’s a “perfect marriage” of both sports entertainment organizations.
Historic Cleveland County Speedway Re-Opening

I don’t know how many folks have visited this historic old track in Shelby NC but thanks to renown racing artist Michael W. Smith, the track is getting new life breathed into it. On April 20-21, the First Annual NC Vintage Championship Exhibition and RacersReunion will be held at the track. Plans currently call for a vintage racing exhibition, a racing celebrity autograph session, family fun, food, & vendors. As soon as I find out who all will be signing autographs and other plans, I’ll let folks know.
Southern National Motorsports Park Added to Rolling Thunder Modified Schedule

Southern National Motorsports Park has been added to the Rolling Thunder Modified 2012 schedule and is slated for SNMP's final weekend of their 2012 season on September 29, 2012.
IndyCar Testing

IndyCar will be having an open test at Texas Motor Speedway on March 13th and March 8-9 at Sebring along with a private test session on March 5-6 at Sebring International Raceway.
Some Worried About Ugly F-1 Cars

There seems to be a growing concern about the new front end design on the F-1 cars by manufacturers and other companies involved with F-1 because, quite honestly, they’re so damned ugly. Even if you understand the reasons behind it, it's like a face that only a mother could love. Obviously F-1 didn’t bother checking out the fan reaction to the Camry of Today (COT) and how fans have reacted to that. Fan reaction to the new DW-12 for IndyCar seems to be getting a more positive  response. Maybe the leadership at F-1 should’ve looked at what IndyCar was doing before coming up with their new design for the 2012 season?
Nissan Returning to Australian Touring Car Championship

Nissan, which has been absent from the Australian Touring Car Championship for 20 years, will return in 2013. Kelly Racing will be fielding 4 cars under the name Nissan Motorsports and will be a factory team.
I haven’t quite figured out how they’ll be competing in the V-8 Supercar Series as Nissan doesn’t have a V-8 in any of their street models. It’s supposed to be a part of their Car of the Future (COTF) program (sound familiar?) which is supposed to help reduce the cost of racing (also sound familiar?).

Unlike NA$CAR’s failed and highly disliked Camry of Today, the COTF will maintain the manufacturer’s bodylines and identification, 4 doors, rear wheel drive, and V-8 engines. Which leads me to ask again, where will Nissan get their V-8 from for their cars?
Interesting Stats

Based on stats used during an interview by Neil Cavuto with Faux King Brian, NA$CAR estimates 30% of the US population is a NA$CAR fan. That means approximately 90 million people as the US population is about 300 million. This is up from the previous estimates of 75 million. And yet with the poor TV ratings and attendance, I don’t see how there can be more than maybe 15 million and that’s being overly generous.
Kyle Lockrow Live

Seems like young Kyle Lockrow is becoming popular. Kyle will be a guest on MotorWeek show with Patrick Reynolds on Feb 27th @ 7:15 PM. I expect you’ll be seeing more of and about Kyle over the next few weeks and months.

Bet You Didn’t Hear About This
Air National Guardsmen from the 129th Rescue Wing here performed a rescue mission 200 miles off the coast of California on Feb. 4.

Responding to a call from the Eleventh District Coast Guard at Alameda, Calif., pararescuemen, two HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters and one MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft departed here mid-morning and were on scene by noon.

The team provided medical assistance to a 54-year-old male who had suffered stroke-like symptoms aboard the cargo ship MSC Beijing. Guardsmen performed a medical evacuation, taking the patient to the San Jose Regional Medical Center in San Jose, Calif.

"This is a prime example of how the 129th and California National Guard is ready to support civilian authorities at a moment's notice," said Col. Steven J. Butow, the 129th RQW commander. "The Coast Guard knew they could depend on our specialized capability as one of the premier rescue units in the nation."

Great job folks. From one old war horse to our citizen soldiers.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Up & Comer Kyle Lockrow

When I was at the Legends Helping Legends Fundraiser, I met Kyle Lockrow. He’s a young up & comer from Maryland. I know some folks will be saying “Who’s that?”. Well, you’re about to find out.

What’s unusual about Kyle is that he’s one of the few up & comers that I’ve met at the Legends Helping Legends Fundraisers over the past 6 years. He also has a different attitude than some of the “pretty young faces” we’ve been “blessed” with in Brian’s Big Top. He’s polite, well-spoken, honest, and unlike the crop of brats we have suffered through, Kyle actually takes time to talk with folks, shake their hands, and looks them square in the eye. You don’t have to count your fingers or rings to make sure you got them all back.

Kyle’s taking the time to get the experience he needs to move up through the ranks. He’s also got a summer internship lined up with a NASCAR team which also runs a sports car team. This should benefit him as he moves up. He’s choosing the right path to advance rather than suddenly being thrust into a series where he doesn’t have the skills to compete. He’s got a good head on his shoulders.

So, without further ado, 20 Questions:

1.) How did you become interested in racing?

My interest in racing started back in 1997 because of two factors: a family friend and being a Scooby Doo fan as a kid. The family friend was Andrew Montag and his Dad, Denny. They introduced me to the old NASCAR ’98 game and I fell in love with playing it. The Scooby Doo connection was because of Robert Pressley racing the number 29 Cartoon Network car back during the 1997 season. After that, the rest has become history and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

2.) When we chatted, you mentioned you were going to school. What are you majoring in?

Currently, I am attending Towson University in Towson, Maryland majoring in Mass Communications with a minor in Communications Studies. My main track is Public Relations and if the driving does not work out, I hope to still work in NASCAR as a Public Relations person for a team or driver.

3.) Who were your heroes growing up?

My heroes growing up were my father, Jeff Gordon, Brian Vickers, Michael J. Fox. All of these people were hardworking, determined and passionate individuals in their respective professions; they are also great role models that anyone could model themselves after which is what I have done.

4.) You were at the Legends Helping Legends Fundraiser this past Saturday signing autographs and rubbing elbows with some of the greatest names in stock car racing. What was it like?

Saturday was a once in a lifetime experience because I was able to be in the same room with the heroes who were responsible for making NASCAR the success it has become today. I only wish that there had been more time for me to sit down with each one and pick their brain about different aspects of racing, as well as life.

5.) Was the fan turnout what you expected and how were the fans?

The turnout on Saturday was much bigger than I expected, only because that was only my fourth or fifth autograph signing and it was the biggest one I have even been a part of. The fans were awesome because they were so friendly and welcoming of me especially for being a “young gun” that was among the real heroes of racing.

6.) What sets you apart from other young racers working their way up through the ranks?

I feel that my loyalty, determination, and passion separate me from other drivers because racing is not just a job with me, but is a way of life that has helped make me who I have become today. I understand the importance of representing your professionally on and off the race track, being a responsible individual because you are a spokesperson for multi-million dollar entities, and the fact that I study racing by watching many races from seasons past and this has helped me take the learning to a whole new level.

7.) Where does loyalty rank with you?

Loyalty is one of the top three qualities that a person should have because loyalty is what makes friends and shows dedication to something or someone. I always try to make sure that when I am involved with a team or significant other that I am serious about the situations at hand because it leaves a lasting impression, whether it be good or bad.

8.) Having followed the sport since the early 1960’s, I’ve seen a lot of different sponsors come and go. Sometimes because the sponsors decided to go in a different direction or because they weren’t getting the Return On Investment (ROI) they were expecting. What can you do for a sponsor that would benefit them the most and give them the ROI they’re looking for?

Well, with being a young driver in racing and growing up in the technology era, there are many new options that are available to offer a potential sponsor or investor with social media and website space. I can offer sponsors website space, constant plugs through Facebook and Twitter, and press releases about certain upcoming events or races to inform fans and media. Outside of social media, my personality is a big plus for a potential company because I enjoy meeting with the fans every day, I am a well spoken individual, and my loyalty to success and the people who are providing those tools for that are the number one priority.

9.) What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen a driver do?

The craziest thing I have seen a driver do is really hard to pick out or narrow down to one because I have seen some real interesting events. The craziest good thing was when Kyle Busch passed 5-wide on the apron during a Truck race at Atlanta back in 2006 or 2007. The craziest bad thing I have seen would have to be again with Kyle Busch at Texas last year in the Truck race when he turned Hornaday into the fence head on.

10.) What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen a fan do?

The craziest thing that I witnessed from a fan occurred at the Watkins Glen Sprint Cup event multiple years ago during a red flag. This fan jumped the fence and guard rail, and then ran over to a driver’s car to ask for an autograph. That is dedication ha-ha!

11.) What’s the nicest thing you’ve seen a driver do?

The nicest thing I have seen a few drivers do would be their constant involvement with charities and causes, as well as making sure fans feel welcome at the track or an event.

12.) What’s the nicest thing you’ve seen a fan do?

There really is not one thing that I have noticed a from a fan, but what I enjoy seeing from fans is the bond they form in camp grounds and how they are willing to help each other in any situations.

13.) I know you’re single. Are you dating or in any sort of relationship? I’ve got to ask because I know there are female fans out there that will be curious.

Actually, at this point and time I am currently single. I am not dating anyone or involved seriously with anyone. If something happens to arise in the future that would be awesome, but till I get some serious interest, all of my focus will be on the task of getting to Sprint Cup.Actually, at this point and time I am currently single. I am not dating anyone or involved seriously with anyone. If something happens to arise in the future that would be awesome, but till I get some serious interest, all of my focus will be on the task of getting to Sprint Cup.

14.) Do you have a favorite spot you go to or have a place you’d like to visit someday?

My favorite spot to go hang out at is the beach and my goal is to actually go to the Bahamas one day and learn to wake board.

15.) What’s your favorite food?

I love to eat ha-ha! Favorite types of food are Mexican, Italian, Chinese, and most recently have acquired a taste for some Sushi. My all time favorite dish has to be ziti.

16.) What type of vehicle do you own?

Currently, I drive a black 2009 Honda Civic Si, 6-speed (I hate automatics!), with V-Tech.

17.) What’s your favorite movie(s)?

My favorite movies would have to be the Back to the Future Trilogy, Dale, Rudy, The Hangover, Dodgeball, Christmas Vacation, Ironman (1&2), Captain America, Green Lantern, Batman, Forest Gump, and Sherlock Holmes (1&2).My favorite movies would have to be the Back to the Future Trilogy, Dale, Rudy, The Hangover, Dodgeball, Christmas Vacation, Ironman (1&2), Captain America, Green Lantern, Batman, Forest Gump, and Sherlock Holmes (1&2).

18.) Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

The biggest influences in my life have probably been my Dad and my Grammi. I have modeled myself after my Dad because of the good qualities he demonstrates on a daily basis. My Grammi, I unfortunately lost her this past August, was my biggest supporter for anything I had an interest in and her opinion was a very important aspect of my life.The biggest influences in my life have probably been my Dad and my Grammi. I have modeled myself after my Dad because of the good qualities he demonstrates on a daily basis. My Grammi, I unfortunately lost her this past August, was my biggest supporter for anything I had an interest in and her opinion was a very important aspect of my life.

19.) Do you have any siblings?

I have a 16 year old brother who is a junior in High School and is currently a volunteer Fireman and EMT. Also, I have a baby brother named Reagan, which is our family beagle ha-ha!

20.) Anything you’d like to say in closing?

I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and followed me since I started chasing this dream in 2007. I also want to make sure that fans and potential sponsors know that I am very serious about making a career out of driving a race car, plus I will do whatever it takes to make sure the fans get back to being the main focus because they are a big reason that drivers are able to get out of bed every day and “play” for a living. I promise to be the same person no matter what success happens to come my way and the potential money will not change where I came from because that is what made me who I am. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and followed me since I started chasing this dream in 2007. I also want to make sure that fans and potential sponsors know that I am very serious about making a career out of driving a race car, plus I will do whatever it takes to make sure the fans get back to being the main focus because they are a big reason that drivers are able to get out of bed every day and “play” for a living. I promise to be the same person no matter what success happens to come my way and the potential money will not change where I came from because that is what made me who I am.

I want to thank Kyle for taking time out of his schedule to do the 20 question thing. I hope this will give race fans out there a little better idea of who Kyle Lockrow is and what we as fans have to look forward to as he advances through the racing ranks. I like his sense of humor about his “baby brother”. It reminds me of myself talking about our cats being our “kids”. He’s chosen some good role models and from talking with him he’s doing right by them. I like his choices in food. A man after my own heart.

If you want to follow Kyle on Twitter, you can follow him at @KLockrow , check out his web site at , or follow him on Facebook at!/pages/Kyle-Lockrow-Racing/109360867384

Sunday, February 5, 2012

6th Annual Legends Helping Legends Fundraiser

If you didn’t make it to the 6th Annual Legends Helping Legends Fundraiser, you missed out on a great event. Despite the bad weather which kept some of the bike riders like Don Tilley away and caused a delay in Buddy Parrott showing up, the number of drivers, media people, and former crew chiefs was amazing.
The crowd of autograph seeking fans was backed up when I arrived, so I did a quick pass-through to see who all was there signing autographs. Perennials Ned Jarrett, my good friend Rex White, Rex’s former crew chief Slick Owens, writer/author Tom Higgins, Li’l Bud Moore, Jim Vandiver, Brownie King, my “neighbor” and friend Peanut Turman, Paul Lewis, Bill Mangum, along with a few others that slip my mind were there along with some returning folks like championship crew chief Waddell Wilson, Neil “Soapy” Castles, Mitzi Moody, and others.
For the first time, America’s winningest driver (with over 1,000 wins) & former Cup and Busch Series driver, Dick Trickle was there. Lynn Evans (widow of Richie Evans) and Richie’s crew chief were there along with the HOF ring. That’s the first time I’ve seen any sort of ring like that. The blue stone in the center definitely caught my eye.
I ran into a few friends I hadn’t seen recently. Don Good, who first told me about the Legends Helping Legends events 6 years ago, and race fan extraordinaire Harlow Reynolds. Don was joking with me saying I needed to write more because everything I’d been writing lately he’d agreed with. Harlow asked me how I snuck in without him noticing me. Maybe it’s good to be incognito sometimes.
I decided to join the line of fellow fans and make my way through the autograph tables. Waddell had the “seat of honor” I guess you’d call it being first up. My favorite Wisconsin driver, Dick Trickle, sat next to him. Dick noticed the t-shirt I was wearing. It’s my sole surviving Dick Trickle Fan Club shirt. It just so happens that the cards Dick was signing were of the artwork that were used on the shirt. I still had one of the old Schneider National Cards from when Dick drove for Jimmy Spencer, which he was surprised to see, and a die-cast of the Junie Donlavey #90 Taurus he drove. I asked Dick about the “White Knight” car that was behind him. He said it was a replica built by some fans in Chicago. I thought that was an awesome tribute to Dick.
As I made my way around the tables, a number of folks mistook my Dick Trickle shirt for a Carl Edwards shirt because of the #99. Francis Flock, Tim Flock’s widow, was being interviewed as I worked my way around. When I got near where my buddy Rex White had been sitting, he spotted me and rushed back over to his seat to autograph a couple of photos I had taken at a previous Legends Helping Legends event. Rex was looking pretty dapper in his turtle neck shirt and sports coat. He asked me if I had dropped off some crackers for him. Of course, I had. It’s sort of a tradition between the two of us. As we’re both diabetic, I know Rex always keeps a pack or two of crackers with him in case his blood sugar drops. He said “I was busy signing autographs, looked up, and there were all these crackers there”. I asked Rex when he’d be back home so I could call him and we could do some talking. So now that I know when, I’ll be giving him a call. He said the last time he visited his family for a week, his answering machine was so full of messages he knows he missed a bunch of calls.
Margaret Sue Wright, Curtis Turner’s daughter, was busy doing an interview so I didn’t get a chance to talk with her but Harlow filled me in that she’s planning on putting together an event on the first Martinsville race weekend involving the old bootleggers’ roads and routes. That should be interesting considering I’ve driven a few of them locally. One of the more famous ones around here is actually named after the bootlegger who used it. Daniel’s Run. So as soon as I get some info on it I’ll be putting it out there.
Lynn Evans told me an interesting story. Lynn had always been interested in meeting a NASCAR driver from Wisconsin. So Richie called her up and told her she needed to get down to Daytona so she could meet one. Sure enough, Lynn made the trip to meet the driver. He had been a competitor of Richie’s in some races and she’d never paid attention to him back then. The driver? None other than Dick Trickle.
Barry Dodson had a funny story about Dick. Barry was Dick’s crew chief and at one track Dick was driving around the circuit during the parade laps. He got on the radio and said “Barry, I think we have a problem”. Barry radioed back asking Dick what the problem was. Dick said, “I can’t find my goggles”. This was before the full-face helmet was mandated and most drivers still used the open face helmet. Barry got back on the radio telling Dick to look around. Dick got back on the radio a little bit later and said, “Barry, find me some goggles, I’ll stop in the pits next time by and grab them”. Barry had one of the guys on the crew find some goggles. Dick gets back on the radio and tells Barry, “Never mind. I found them” (meaning the goggles). Barry radios back, “Where were they?”. Dick replies, “On top of my helmet”. You’d have to know Dick to understand how hilarious that was. During his career he made some of the funniest comments on the radio and in interviews and did them all with a straight face.
A gaggle of old timers were discussing Jeremy Mayfield and his situation. I’m not mentioning their names in order to protect their identities. One had said he’d seen Jeremy a number of times at his home and outside while Jeremy was working. He said that most drug users he’d seen showed a definite loss of muscle and muscle definition. Jeremy didn’t show any signs of that. It seems Jeremy has some “guns” on him that the driver’s suits didn’t reveal. He also said Jeremy didn’t show any of the sores or other signs of meth use. One of the other old timers said “Jeremy messed with the powers that be and you know what happens when you do that”. Considering who stated that, I found that to be very interesting based on his years of Cup experience.
As things wound down, I had a chance to talk with Dick Trickle a little more. He isn’t racing now. He said he’s doing the “grandfather thing”. I know how that goes being a grandfather myself. When Dick moved to North Carolina, he bought a nice sized chunk of land and built himself his country home on it. Then his daughter decided to move down and he gave her an acre. Then his son decided to move down and he gave his son an acre. It seems that Dick’s kids all wanted to be near their dad and left Wisconsin to join him. He still makes a few public appearances as Grand Marshal for some races like the Slinger Nationals. On the weekends, he might watch a race or two during the season just to keep up with things but doesn’t spend every weekend glued to the TV keeping up on what‘s going on. Dick still has two of his old race cars. One of them was the one he built to run in the 1989 season but got called to race in the Cup Series. He’s thinking about finishing it up and maybe restoring the other one. When Dick decided to hang up his helmet, he didn’t think it was fair to his fans to keep his fan club going so he dissolved it. His daughter put a lot of work into that fan club. I had some dealings with her during the years it was active and she was a great lady to talk with. One call from her sort of changed the way my life went when she told me I had won pit and garage team credentials for the April 1999 race at TMS. It sort of lead me to where I am today. Dick said he plans to continue to appear at the Legends Helping Legends events. So for all you Dick Trickle fans who are going through withdrawals, you might want to make your plans to see him at the 7th Annual Legends Helping Legends Fundraiser next year.
I’ve got to thank Alex Beam and his family for hosting this annual event and allowing fans to meet some of the racing greats of yesterday and some up & comers of tomorrow and all for a great cause. Helping out those who have medical needs who gave everything for NASCAR that NASCAR won’t help.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Z-Line Gone?, Ward Returning, Awesome Bill, & Some Other Things

Z-Line Gone?
It appears that Shrubbery’s attempted homicide of Ron Hornaday at Texas Motor Speedway angered Z-Line Designs to the point that they’ve pulled the racing sponsorship across the board. Not just in NA$CAR but also IndyCar. I guess this is sponsorship “black eye” goes rather well with the sunglasses sponsorship.
Magical Media Tour

Once again, the Magical Media Tour took place and we had pretty much a rehash of last season all the way down to Faux King Brian’s “State of Racer-tainment” speech. The lamestream media was quick to take the team and NA$CAR PR sheets, reword them, and sing the praises of the infinite wisdom of Faux King Brian. Same thing as last year.
One of the things that came out during His Majesty’s speech was that there won’t be any more secret fines. Gee, do you think that maybe this is an effort to try to remove the 50 feet of tarnish on NA$CAR’s reputation? Faux King Brian said that you can’t denigrate NA$CAR but you can express your opinions about other things. So I guess it’s now OK to call Faux King Brian a bungling incompetent, Helton a over-bearing bully, & the rest of NA$CAR’s leadership & officials whatever you feel like just so long as you don’t denigrate NA$CAR itself.
"Now, having said that, you can be critical of things you don't think we're doing well, in particular a race call. You can say, 'I don't think I was speeding; I disagree with that.' We understand that. It's when you go after the integrity of the sport is where we will step in, and they will be public." 

So I guess when a driver complains about the numerous on-track appearances of Ms Terry DeBris, they’re getting into a gray area. They can say they think the appearances by Ms Terry DeBris are a major inconvenience but they can’t say the timing on them sure is funny because they always seem to come out when one of the Chosen Ones is about to get lapped.
Much Ado About Nothing

NA$CAR and the Kool Aid drinking media all seem to be going gaga over the 2013 NA$CAR model Fusion that Ford’s rolling out. While the nose looks a little more like the car it’s based off of, you can still see the Camry of Today (COT) bodylines in it. Of course, the one issue that wasn’t addressed by the media is a major problem of the Camry of Today. The mechanical issues. Things like all the mandated, sole-sourced parts and the inability of the vehicle itself to turn. Whatever happened the test results from the different tire, suspension, and steering set-ups that were done? Are we going to see a vehicle which will actually be able to turn or will it still be the same non-turning piece of junk we’ve seen before that drivers have complained about til they‘re blue in the face?
Happy With TV Contracts

It seems that Faux King Brian is oblivious to the complaints of the fans and the networks regarding the race coverage:
"We really like our current partners," he said. "My expectation is they want to renew their involvement with NASCAR, and my hope is at the right time we'll figure that out together. If it happens early, it's possible, or it might not. We're having conversations." 

The networks have been complaining for years that they’re losing money because they’re unable to sell on-air advertising time. Privately, some TV & media people are tired of NA$CAR dictating what will and won’t be covered and actually want to give the fans at home a better product. The fans have been complaining about the poor coverage and commentary that the networks provide along with interrupting the commercials for a lap or two of racing before having more commercials rammed down their throats. Just so long as Faux King Brian’s piggy bank is getting full, everything is OK.

I’ve got a feeling the Ivory Tower Gang in Daytona is going to be in for a real surprise when the networks are only willing to pony up 20-25% of what they did last time around using the same excuse Faux King Brian has been using as to why the grandstands aren‘t full and the TV ratings are scraping the bottom of the barrel. The poor economy.
Ward Burton Returning

Fellow Virginian Ward Burton is returning to the track and bringing his son Jeb with him. While the primary emphasis will be on Jeb racing in the Truck Series, if I read Ward correctly, if the sponsorship is there, we could see both him and Jeb racing against each other. I think the last father-son team to race against each other were the Earnhardts on the Cup side of things. So it could be interesting to see how well Ward & Jeb get along on the track racing each other.
Of course, with Ward’s return, Faux King Brian will have to get his translator out of retirement so he can understand what Ward is saying. The last time Ward said something that Faux King Brian took any interest in, it took over two weeks for him to figure out just what Ward had said. And Ward was 100% right. “That dog don’t hunt”.
Awesome Bill’s Return Raises Questions

Even though Bill Elliott appears to have a one shot deal for a July race, folks are raising questions about Slick Rick owning or fielding the car. Slick Rick has given an official explanation. He doesn’t own the car. So, it’s not a 5th Hendrick car. It’s another satellite team like SHR.
But if you delve a little further into the rules, a team could theoretically field a 5th car for a limited number of races. Such as putting a development driver behind the wheel for less than 7 races which wouldn’t jeopardize the driver’s rookie status. Or, for the non-points events, like when a driver leaves a team but is eligible to drive in the non-points events. The owner of the team the driver left from could field a car for that driver. For example, Mark Martin could drive in a non-points event for HMS providing he meets the eligibility requirements and Slick Rick is willing to field a car for him. Actually, field a car for Kasey Kahne so Mark could drive the #5 car again for the non-points event since Mark would‘ve theoretically been eligible as the driver of the #5 car.
Odds of this actually happening? Slim to none and Slim done left town.

VW Shooting for #1 Globally?

According to VW’s VP for Racing, VW has applied to be an engine supplier in F-1. If this is approved, it will have a global impact on VW’s sales as F-1 is a global racing entity, unlike NA$CAR which is confined to North America. Considering all the bad PR and recalls that have come from Japan the last few years, VW stands a very good chance of becoming the #1 manufacturer in the world. One question that remains unanswered is which VW entity will carry the VW on the engines? Will it be VW itself, Audi, or Porsche?
Austin Dillon in the #3 Cup Car?

Apparently there’s a rumor going around about Austin Dillon driving a car with the #3 on it in a Cup race and it has some folks foaming at the mouth. They seem to be under the misguided notion that Richard Childress owns the #3. He doesn’t own the #3. NASCAR owns the #3. Along with all the other numbers used by every single competitor. What Childress owns is the stylized #3 that was used on Dale Sr.‘s car. He holds the copyrights on it. So if he should field a car with the #3 on it, that’s his prerogative as the team owner as long as it‘s “blessed” by the Ivory Tower Gang. He could also use the stylized #3 that he has the copyrights on or he could use another font style for the #3 if he wants to.
Get Rid of the Top 35

Folks have been saying since its’ implementation that they Top 35 needs to go and we have even more proof of it this year than ever. It seems that Tony Stewart has bought the points for the #36 car of Tommy Baldwin Racing to make sure that the Queen of Hype is in the Daytona 500. And he’s also doing a deal similar to what was done at JR Motorsports to keep the QoH’s car in the Top 35 by having Roto-Reutimann filling the seats while she’s busy having temper tantrums and hissy fits because drivers are racing her too hard in the Busch Series.
By eliminating the Top 35, it would mean drivers would have top qualify each and every week except for a rain out during qualifying. If you make it great, if not, better luck next week. This would actually create competition, which is supposedly what Faux King Brian says is needed to get fans interest. We wouldn’t have teams sandbagging during qualifying and practice. They’d actually have to find the right set ups for qualifying and racing. Then they’d have to drive WFO during qualifying to make sure they got into the race.
But I keep forgetting. This actually makes sense and since it does make sense, it would immediately be disapproved by Faux King Brian and the Ivory Tower Gang in Daytona.