Category:Auto Racing
Posted on: February 22, 2011 11:53 pm
 

Youth Was Served

On Sunday, February 20th, Trevor Bayne became the youngest driver to ever win the Daytona 500.  At 20 years and one day, Trevor raced himself into immortality by winning NASCAR's biggest and richest race or the season.  It was remarkable to see the undiluted joy in that young man's face in the after race video from Victory Lane and in the interviews that came afterward.  He drove like a seasoned, mature, veteran who just happened to be wrapped up in a young package. 

While all of that was going on, another group of hard working young people were doing something remarkable 1800 miles away on a balmy Sunday in the Midwest.  118 kids from 8 to18 were finishing up a musical they had poured their hearts and souls into since late fall.  The Wizard of Oz isn't the easiest production to perform.  It is a legendary musical that is truly an American icon, burned deeply into the minds of every generation since 1939.  Yet the kids brought the house down, generating loud applause and cheers while setting their school's all time attendence record.  The last weekend was a total sellout of 850 for each performance.  Extra chairs were added to Sunday's show and those who ahd bough tickets and had someone not show up gladly let the theater dept. use the tickets and accomdate everyone who wanted in.

And me, I was helping with the silent auction, watching my son (for all 6 performances and a dress rehersal) and others on the big screen TV's in the lobby while using my cell phone to follow the race.  To see the passion for what they were doing from young Mr. Bayne and those school performers struck me as a rare moment in life.  Youth was served on Sunday and it made one 54 year old feel. well, not older but a bit younger.  Younger and soulfully fulfilled for at least one very fine February day.
Posted on: May 13, 2010 3:05 am
 

I'm Jealous of Charlotte

This week saw the opening of what looks like the best hall of fame in this country anyway, the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  It is a near 200 Million project in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, smack dab in the middle of traditional stock car country.  From what I've seen and heard in the media, it chronicles the rich history of NASCAR and stock car racing from many series all over the country.  It has exhibits, memorabilia, interactive displays, and an excitement that finally, after 60 years, a sport has a place to honor it's own.  Just one little itty-bitty problem.  D2Moo is jealous, and badly jealous at that.

Why am I so full of jealousy.  I wanted it here, in the heart of the Midwest, in my home area of KC.  Yes, i know that NASCAR's roots are Southern, and the Hall was built exactly where it should have been, in the Carolinas.  Yet in my heart. I wanted it here.  Here where it was more readily accessible to NASCAR fans and auto sports fans from everywhere in the country.  Not all the fans were from the Southeast.  Racing has a colorful history in the heartland, and Wisconsin, and Iowa, and Texas.  KC is a cheap flight form the West Coast and Southwest.  A beautiful HOF on a bluff, overlooking I-70 and I-435 in Kansas, less than two minutes from the Kansas Speedway would have been an ideal showcase and easily accessible too.  It would also cap a great tourist destination that already has places to eat, shop, a huge Schlitterbahn water park, a soccer stadium, a minor league stadium, the Speedway, lots of hotels, and a Hard Rock Casino going up in turn two of the Speedway as well.  Oh, did I mention there are a lot of places to eat.  I don't know what is in downtown Charlotte, but I bet you can't go down a water slide there.

So I'll settle for being happy that NASCAR finally built their palace to honor the sport.  Maybe all those extra exhibits could make their way here someday, at a smaller but heavily visited NASCAR Museum West.  It will be sitting on that same bluff overlooking hundreds of thousands of vehicles going by every week.  And seeing all those cars from the past, and the vintage videos will help me finally want to head for Charlotte and see the Big Hall.  Yes, someday I'll get there for very sure.

As soon as all the green leaves my eyes.  That friends, will take a while.

And they build that huge water slide within walking distance.
Posted on: March 26, 2010 12:42 am
 

Pictures Can Invoke Unexpected Thoughts

Pictures can convey powerful images and emotions.  All of us have experienced the good and bad emotions photographs invoke in all of us.  Sometimes they come at us from an unexpected source.  The other day, a photo from an unsuspecting place moved my thoughts in a way that was very hard to imagine.

The picture was on an item that usually brings great joy, my Kansas Speedway tickets.  The image on the Camping World Truck Series ticket was the one that moved me.  Holding up high the winner’s trophy was Ricky Hendrick.  His only win in NASCAR’s top series was at Kansas in their inaugural truck race in 2001.  His dad, the famous race team and car dealership owner wasn’t there that day.  I have read and seen on documentaries what a proud day it was for the family.  They thought at the time Ricky would win other races.  It would be his last one as a driver.  He retired in 2002 to become a car owner like his dad Rick.  His life ended too soon in the now infamous jet crash in Oct. 2004 on the way to Martinsville from the Charlotte area.  The coincidence with the trucks and Cup series at Martinsville this week is one that I cannot discount either.  It's almost movie script like in the timing.

Then my thoughts turned to my own son, now 14.  I never want to know how devastating it would be to lose him at a young age.  How hard it must have been for Rick Hendrick to go through that.  My parents never fully recovered from sister’s death in her mid 20’s.  Yet life does go on and the good memories are kept close to our hearts and fresh in our minds.  A good photo helps too, say one of a trophy held high in joy and triumph.

Funny, just as I was ready to open up Word to finish this blog, my son finished his piano and viola practice, came over and gave me a hug good night.  I wonder if he knew what I was going to write about tonight?  I think we sell teens short sometimes.  They know more than we suspect they do.

And this set of ticket stubs for the truck race is going in the collection downstairs when the race is over in May.  They’re definitely keepers.

Posted on: March 2, 2010 10:54 am
 

You Just Never Know Who You'll Meet in Vegas

Trips to Las Vegas never cease to amaze me.  The town always springs a new surprise on me every time I go.  This trip out to see the NASCAR races were no exception.  However, the unexpected event this time was more than just something cool that happened for the weekend.  I’m getting the lawn mowed all summer courtesy of my 14 year old son.  Here’s the scoop.

 The Saturday of the Nationwide race, my friend Ron and I are scoping out all the manufacturers displays.  Over at the Chevy pavilion there was a sight that would catch any race fans attention, a very two tone pink race car.  Extremely pink to be sure.  Had to go over and check the Chevy out.  I thought it might be a Breast Cancer awareness car.  Well, there were breasts on it all right, a very striking pair in a photo belonging to one Kim Kardashian.  That’s right, the same Kim from the TV show and Reggie Bush’s main squeeze.  She was promoting her new perfume line and she was sponsoring Mike Bliss and the 36 car.  Yep, that 36 was a long way’s off from its M & M’s days for certain.  Then we saw the sign.  Kim herself was going to appear at the LVMS to sign autographs.  Didn’t think much more of it and we moved on.  I was anticipating getting Ned Jarrett’s and Junior Johnson’s autographs the next day.  After the race, we ate and got back to the room.  I called home.  A fateful call it turned out to be.

 “Dad, can you really get Kim Kardashian’s autograph?”  During the call home I had mentioned that KK was coming to the track for an autograph session.  My intent was to tease him for not coming out to Vegas with us.  What I ended up with was a desperate plea to get her signature by any means necessary.  He watches the show sometimes and enjoys it.  So I agreed, a little miffed at myself for now forgoing Ned’s and Junior’s autographs.  Then a strange and wonderful idea came across my mind.  It was an inspired moment in any adult’s life for.  A way came available of ridding myself of a summer chore.  “Son, I’ll get it for you under one condition, you have mow the lawn for me all summer.  No alternating every other time.  I’ll give up my autographs for you if you agree.”   Being 13, almost 14, he rapidly agreed.  “You dog,” Ron tells me.  “Good luck getting him to follow through when it’s hot in July.”  The deal was done though.  I now had to go get her signature.

 5:30 AM comes awfully early, even in a city like Vegas.  But there we were, getting cleaned up and heading off to the races literally.  The first 100 people in line would get the wristbands that would allow one autograph from Kim.  Pulled into the preferred parking and headed for the Chevy display area.  We arrived there at 6:35 expecting a horde of people.  To my amazement there were five people in line.  Five.  Not a mass of humanity like was waiting in line to get Joey Logano’s signature.  Five.  We all formed a line.  By 7:00 there was 50.  By 7:15 the wristbands were all gone.  Now came the wait.  Passed some time listening to AJ Allemdinger being interviewed at the Speed Channel pavilion by the PRN Radio Network announcers.  Then it was time to go get in line. 

 The line had an eclectic mix of folks, but the majority of the folks waiting were under 30.  It was an opportunity to talk and be friendly with those around us.  At 9:10, Kim showed up in a white Suburban.  She was wearing a black bodysuit with pink accents.  Very stunning in person I must say.  She is in excellent shape and her shape is excellent.  The really large caboose she was famously teased about is not as big anymore.  She was friendly and posed for a ton of pictures from the media and fans.  Then she began signing cards that promoted her perfume by Sephora.  She allowed pictures and acknowledged  everyone when they said thank you.  Overall it was a very pleasant experience.  She had to rush tough because signing 100 autographs in 15 minutes is not easy.  Funny, only at a race track would Kim Kardashian be pushed aside for Ryan Newman.  Ryan, Kim, Kim Ryan, don’t tell me there’s something very wrong with that dichotomy.

 So there you have it.  I’m typing this into Word as my Frontier flight cruises at 30.000 feet above Kansas.  I never would have believed this if you would have told me.  Ned and Junior, forgive me.  Under the same circumstances, you two might have done the same thing.

 

Posted on: February 3, 2010 11:37 am
 

Do NASCAR Fans Really Need to Complain So Much?

Let me preface this entry in the Moo Report by saying I am a huge fans of almost all tpes of motor racing.  I enjoy watching races on the TV and even more so in person.  In the U.S. right now, NASCAR is the 800 Lb. Gorilla of motor sports.  They have the most fans, most recognizable drivers, and most sponsorship dollars.  Yet there always seems to be trouble brewing in Paradise.  If you read posts here on CBS, listen to some on Sirius, and pay attention to all other forms of racing media, one would think that there are no fans of NASCAR left.  So it begs my question, Do NASCAR fans really need to complain so much?

It is not my intent to take away the right of fans to complain about things they do not like.  All of us need to exercise that opportunity from time to time.  I applaud the sport for changing starting times to earlier and consistent starting times.  That came from fans letting the sport know late starts kept them from watching the whole race on Sundays.  that's not the type of complaining I'm refering to.

The type of complaints I make reference to are the people who say everything was better years ago.  They refuse to watch or go to a race because Dale isn't here anymore, or Junior isn't winning races, or they don't like the tracks.  They can't stand the top 35 rule, or hate the wing, I want spoilers/love the wing, hate the spoilers.  They won't watch until the cars look like factory cars again.  They won't go because the races suck (obiviously they haven't been watching..having Petty or Pearson win by 2 laps was real exciting).  Jimmie Johnson wins all the time and I don't like him.  They complain about the sport for any myriad of reasons.  Again, it is the right of everyone to like what they want to like, but here is the question, why do they cheat themselves?

Why do you give up something you obiviously still want to enjoy.  Change is hard on fans.  As the sport evolved from a predominately Southern sport to a national sport, it needed to appeal to more people who were the non-traditional fan.  As NASCAR attempted to please everyone, appeal to everyone, and attempt to make teams happy and competitive, they lost some of the traditionalists. 

What I am angling towards is for fans to stop and think before they gripe.  Is the problem an actual problem?  Is the problem so bad it will chase me away if it isn't resolved the way I want it to be?  All I wan't folks to do is look at the sport anew every year.  Pick a driver or two, cheer for them.  Pick a villian an hope the drive fast and turn right.  Just do your best to have fun again and work for change as you watch.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com