My racecars are better than your racecars

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Way back when at  Hialeah Speedway,  I remember talking to an  old timer sitting beside us in the stands.  It’s hard to judge age when you are in your mid teens;  people 21 look old, never mind 30-something folks, they are  positively ancient, ya’ know.  On reflection over the years I think he was in his mid 60′s. I do remember there were Late Model Modifieds   lining up on the front straightaway  for the event everyone had been waiting for; The Modified feature...

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“Hey, it’s just one subscription, how could it matter….right?”

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Back in the mid 60’s when I was a young teenager going to the races at Hollywood Speedway  there was this old character who ambled through the stands and the pits as the night evolved. He was short, stocky, hard to tell his age, when your 14 everyone else usually looks either very old or very young.  I do remember he was wizened, and had the ambling, bow legged gait of an old seaman with a hip injury. He wore a this battered old black beret cap, had a grimy old canvass change purse around his waist…..and under his arm he carried a stack of National Speed Sport News. As he ambled around, this booming voice would cry out; ” HEEEEEYYYYY…SPEEEEEEDDDD… SPOOOORT… NEEEE WWWSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!”  I would make sure I got my copy each and every week...

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Back to the 70′s in more ways than one down in Florida

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We took our annual pilgrimage to Daytona for Speedweeks  this past February. How could we not?  I have been going to Florida races in February since 1966.  In fact, I have not missed a single year  since then. Of course, it helps to be from the place!  But even recently when we did our  Pacific NW experiment for three  years, we still managed  every year to get back to Florida in February. It so happened that we were standing in the pits at East Bay Raceway down in Gibsonton in 2008 as the All Stars were  being pushed  out  for their feature on the final night when  Debbie turned to me and said, ” lets move back.” I said “ok”, and that was that.

So I know something about racing in Florida during the 70′s, and this year there really was a 70′s flavor to things down here...

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Tough Guys

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Race car drivers are a special breed, this we know.  As has been mentioned, in some quarters they are knocked because of how ‘easy’ it all seems to be. Of course, we know this is not the case at all. While it may be called many things, blasting down  Mulsanne straight at 3am at the 24 hours of Le Mans at 180mph  in the pouring rain three hours into your stint behind the wheel, with the windshield fogging up and the tail lights of a far slower car in another class growing larger at a rapid rate with the harsh glare of one of your same class competitors headlights  flickering inside the cockpit and an hour to go before you get to the pits again… yes…there is much to describe that, but ‘easy’ does not come to mind.

And after what they do is described as ‘easy’, more often than...

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No Respect

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Way back when, in a time when the only auto racing that ever appeared on your  Television screen was shown on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, sandwiched in between the national Badminton championships and Sumo wrestling, I can still remember something that I heard on the local TV station. It was after the Indy 500, sometime in the mid to late 60’s, best as I can remember. The announcer was giving a couple of one liners about the race, and then announced the winner’s  share of the purse, around 200 grand I seem to recall. Then he said; ”……..and that’s a pretty good payday for driving a car around in a circle for a couple of hours.” The other talking heads predictably shook their heads with suitably derogatory expressions mirroring their college’s disdain...

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Nascars real problems and solutions, part 2…the solutions

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Its easy to criticize, all you need to do is turn on talk radio, or read a blog or two for that matter. Like many others, I have also criticized  the countries largest and most important  racing sanctioning body, Nascar. Having said that, unlike many, I have some possible solutions to some of the most onerous bones  of contention that seems to be sticking in some folks throats, as well as some thoughts as to how Nascar could both improve the races in ways that both the fan and the racer would appreciate.  Last column I said I would address some, so without further ado:

About those double file restarts…..”shootout style”...

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Nascar’s real problems and solutions, part 1

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Before we go any further here, I want to congratulate Kevin Harvick and all the rest of Richard Childress racing for a well earned 2010 Sprint Cup Championship. As we all know, Harvick beat Jimmy Johnson by 285 points, talking the title  from Jimmy Johnson, who won his second championship last year……..oh wait, none of it happened that way, did it?? That’s right, thanks to Nascar’s obsessive  tinkering, JJ has won his 5th in a row. And for all of the sanctioning body’s  gyrations and the breathless hype from their talking head syncopates   they still could not  match what would have happened using the old point system in 2006, when Jimmy Johnson would have beaten Matt Kenseth by a whopping 4, that’s right, 4 points...

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Nascar and the IRL might both need to look over their shoulders

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The Indy car finale at Homestead Miami Speedway this past Saturday evening…or was that late afternoon, had everything this season had shown all year. Thrilling, wheel to wheel, side by side, nail biting, edge of your seat racing, spirited individual drives, and compelling drama.  In other words, everything racing was meant to be. As an added bonus, Indycar races do not drag on for hours and hours at a time, the action is fast and furious, when you’re cranking  out 200+ mph lap speeds, a 300 mile race goes by at a pretty rapid pace. Perfect for the busy modern lifestyle for sure...

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Will Nascar ever stop pandering to the couch potatoes?

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The now familiar sight of empty seats in the cup series has continued into the chase. But it was truly shocking to see the entire section of turn 3 seating naked for all the world to see. That’s in addition to  the swaths of empties scattered throughout   the stands at Dover recently . There is absolutely no doubt that the non recovering economy is a huge factor in this. And at the same time, neither Nascar nor its car owners seem to care about its current car destroying double file re-start system. In a very subtle way, the rich of Nascar’s ‘ruling elite’ mimic the bankers and congressman who are perpetuating misery on the unwashed masses….the same ones who nowadays cannot  afford to take their families to the races near as often as they used to. Yet…...

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What does Nascar think it is doing?

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Its been fascinating to watch the gyrations of Nascar this season as they perform their version of moving heaven and earth to keep their worse nightmare from happening.  And that would not be Danica saying she wants a career in Indy cars, where she has a chance of leaving a reasonable  legacy, forgoing a back of the pack cash cow career for the jr./Hendricks empire.  No, what Nascar’s worse nightmare would be is for Jimmy Johnson  and Chad Knaus to win a fifth championship….in a row.

When the Johnson/Kaunas combo racked up #4 last year, in the very format Nascar created to keep this exact thing from happening,  breaking a cherished record from one of the sport’s cherished icons, the Ivory towers in Daytona shook with frustration...

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