Saturday, January 9, 2016

Saturday night for a sickie!

Well, this upper respiratory infection that I've had since last year just won't let up. I missed all of last week from work because of it, and now.....tonight I had to miss the Eagle Raceway banquet!!! Yes, the second of those happenings upsets me greatly, and YES; the first does also, as hard as that may be to believe.

So, I thought I'd take this time to write my first blog in a couple of years.

I really, REALLY wish I was at that banquet tonight!! It's been 4 months since the last race at Eagle, and I haven't seen any of my racing family since. The first night at Eagle is exactly 3 months away!! Did I mention that I miss my racing family? We are in the dark times for racing around here in the Midwest, and the light at the end of the tunnel seems extremely far away right now.

As for the banquet, I love going each and every year. It's a time to get back together with your friends, give them a hard time and just bask in each other's company. You get to eat a big dinner, have a few drinks (adult or non-alcoholic in our cases), then see the smiles on the faces of all of the drivers as they go to collect their trophies for wherever they finished in the points. At the end of each class you get to watch as the points champion goes up onto the stage for their final moment of glory as they give their acceptance speech. These proceedings are handled by the incomparable Stan Cisar and his sidekick Tom Grasso.

Then, it's on to the other awards. Hard charger, most popular, best appearing car, Slick Chick, Most Improved, and a whole lot more. Plus, a huge amount of contingency prizes that go with the awards.

Of course, we have Roger Hadan's yearly state of the track speech; which is always highly entertaining. It is usually not exactly politically correct, but then again; if you know Roger, you wouldn't expect that from him. That is one of the things that I enjoy most about Roger. He'll tell you like it is!

I remember the first couple of times that I saw Roger. He promoted a couple of shows at Eagle Raceway when Craig Cormack still owned the track. I was in the Pit Shack, and honestly, my first impression of Roger was "What a dweeb!!!". What do they say about judging a book by it's cover? Was I ever wrong!!! Well, kind of anyway.

Roger may be a dweeb (I've heard him called a whole lot worse, and I'm sure he has also), but as far as being a business man, track promoter, etc. I'd say he is one of the best!! That is just my opinion of course, and we all know about opinions. But, since I've been around this dirt track racing thing for 62 years now, and rapidly approaching 63, I would say that he definitely has the respect of almost all of the people he deals with.

Then you have Michelle, who keeps Roger in line; or tries her hardest to anyway. Roger is the "Idea Man" and Michelle is the one who minds the facts and figures. Between them and Racine who handles most of the day-to-day things, they have things down to a T!! Are there glitches from time to time? Of course there are; but when you deal with human beings, and rely on them, that will happen.

Thanks go out to the 3 of them from the bottom of my heart. Roger most of all, because he saved Eagle Raceway when it was up for sale. Then another thanks to Roger for keeping me on in the pit shack and then allowing me to write up the stories of the racing every week for the website. Thanks to Michelle for all that she does; most of which nobody ever sees, and definitely no one ever thanks her for. And a big thank you to Racine for running the place and keeping all of us employees in line!!

My wife Linda and I can't thank you three enough for allowing us to work at Eagle Raceway all of these years. You have become more than just employers to us, you've become friends!

Speaking of next year at the track, here is the tentative schedule for 2016 at "America's Home Track":

“Keep Calm, Race On” 2016 Eagle Raceway Tentative Schedule

Sat Apr 9  Open House Practice -All Classes Welcome

Fri Apr 15   Ice Breaker Challenge* -Mod Mania & twICE is nICE Challenge -M,B,H, T
Sat Apr 16  Ice Breaker Challenge* -Mod Mania & twICE is nICE Challenge  -M,SSN Sprints,B, Stock Cars

Sat Apr 23  RACE ON! -Season Opener -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sat April 30  RACE ON! -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sat  May 7  Keep Calm, it’s a Mother’s Day Tribute  -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sat May 14  RACE ON! -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sun May 15  Kenny Wallace Racing Experience*

Sat May 21  Keep Calm, it’s Armed Forces Night… Military Salute! -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sat May 28  Keep Calm it’s a Memorial Day Extravaganza! -Driver Appreciation Night  -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sat Jun 4  Eagle Nationals* –ASCS National Sprints,M,T

Sat Jun 11  RACE ON! -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sat  Jun 18  Keep Calm it’s a Father’s Day Tribute  -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Fri Jun 24  Rumble in the Bullring* –USAC 410 Wingless Sprints, SSN Sprints

Sat Jun 25  RACE ON! -Kid’s Color Run –Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sat Jul 2  Keep Calm, It’s Freedom Fest* -Fireworks Extravaganza –Weekly Racing     -S,M,B,H,T

Sat Jul 9  RACE ON! -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sat Jul 16  Keep Calm, It’s Fan Appreciation Night -$5 admission -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sat Jul 23  Keep Calm, It’s Kid’s Night -Bike Giveaway -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sat Jul 30  RACE ON! -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sat Aug 6  RACE ON! -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sat Aug 13  RACE ON! -Kid’s Car Rides -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sat Aug 20  RACE ON! -Weekly Racing -S,M,B,H,T

Sat Aug 27  RACE ON! -Season Finale -Weekly Racing -Banner Contest -S,M,B,H,T

Precise Racing Products presents RaceSaver IMCA Sprint Nationals Weekend
Thu Sep 1  Open House Practice & Tech -All Classes Welcome
Fri Sep 2  RaceSaver IMCA Sprint Nationals* -S, Lightning Sprints
Sat Sep 3  RaceSaver IMCA Sprint Nationals* –S,B, Lightning Sprints
Sun Sep 4  RaceSaver IMCA Sprint Nationals* –S,H,T (Rain Date: Monday, Sep 5th)

Fri Sep 9  Nebraska Cup* –SLMR Late Models, SSN Sprints, NE 360 Sprints

Sun Sep 11  Kenny Wallace Racing Experience* 
*Special Events Schedule is tentative and subject to change S-RaceSaver IMCA Sprints, M– IMCA Modifieds, B- IMCA Sport Modifieds,  H- IMCA Hobby Stocks, T- IMCA Sport Compacts

The first night is April 9th, which is an Open House Practice for all classes. The first actual racing will be April 15th and 16th when the Ice Breaker Challenge is on the slate.

The biggest nights will be the Ice Breaker Challenge, then the Eagle Nationals on June 4th when the ASCS National 360 Sprints come to run against our local area racers.

Friday June 24 is the Rumble in the Bullring, featuring the wingless 410 sprinters of the USAC National Tour.

Next the Racesaver IMCA Sprint Nationals Weekend is September 1st through the 4th. Will this be the year that the entry list tops 110?? Come out and see Racesaver teams from all over the country and even outside of the US!!

The final event will be the Nebraska Cup on September 9th, featuring the SLMR Late Models, Sprint Series of Nebraska Racesaver Sprints and the Nebraska 360 Sprint Series.

The Kenny Wallace Racing Experience will be on site twice this year for those who would like to actually experience racing around the high banks in a real race car!!

If you've never had the pleasure of visiting Eagle Raceway, do yourself a favor and put it on your racing calendar as soon as you can!! You won't be disappointed. And, if you make it out, stop by the Pit Shack and say hello; let me know what you think.

I will try to do better about keeping this blog updated regularly. I apologize again for being so lax in my duties, but lately it seems that real life has had other plans.

Keep checking back!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Okay, is this really happening again??

I know that we all get frustrated, and feel like there's no hope at times, but today is a new high for me personally. When your child calls and you can hear the hurt and frustration in his voice, it tears you up!!!

Let me start by stating unequivocally that if you are easily offended by talk about minorities, Obama's presidency, or any other touchy subject that no one is supposed to address in these Politically Correct times, close this window right now. Do NOT continue reading this blog. I have at no time said what I REALLY wanted to say, but the meaning is clear nonetheless.

Secondly; this blog reflects my opinions and feelings. Mine and mine alone! None of my family, friends, employers, co-workers or anyone else had any input into this in any way shape or form and most likely will be ashamed of even knowing me after reading it!! If, after reading it you are offended despite my clear and uncomplicated warning, TOUGH!!!! You were warned.

As a few of you already know, several weeks ago my youngest son's vehicle was hit by a male person of Mexican heritage. This caused my son's every day driver to be totaled! As I understand it, the driver could not even speak enough English to communicate with the officer that responded. And the person translating for him was slightly more fluent in our language, but only slightly.

Claiming to have insurance, he was given a ticket and let go. Of course, he had either let the insurance lapse or cancelled it shortly after obtaining his drivers license. Again, this is supposition on my part, but judging from past happenings, it is an educated guess.

The previous happenings I speak of include the first time that my youngest had a car totaled by another male of Mexican heritage who had done exactly that; got insurance, got his drivers license and then cancelled the insurance immediately. That time the car that got totaled was a 1970 Impala 2-door hardtop that we were working on restoring slowly as money came available. Right before the accident I had gotten a couple of thousand dollars work done on the steering of the vehicle to ensure it was safe for him to drive daily. Well, that went out of the window in a flash. He had only liability on the vehicle and all his insurance paid for were his medical bills.

We had thought that possibly he could go after the company whose van the male was driving. Guess again!! It's just a group of Mexican males who hire out to do carpeting. Subcontractors as it were. My son's attorney told him he would be getting nothing. Even if he got a judgement it would do no good as he would never collect a dime.

So, this time it was deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra said. Another vehicle totaled and no recourse to recoup anything, other than by scrapping his vehicle and getting a couple of hundred dollars out of it. Anyone out there know of a good, reliable vehicle that can be gotten for a couple of hundred dollars??? I feel like some damned body owes us something for all we've given out!! I have a friend who keeps preaching to me about karma. Okay Gary, where the F*^# is the karma now??

I am so sick and tired of good, hard-working Americans doing the right thing and shelling out more and more every year so that the people who sneak across the borders or do nothing but sit home and collect Welfare, WIC, Food Stamps, free health care, free housing, etc. can just do whatever they want at our expense. Yeah, yeah...I know...they just want a better life. Well damnit, so do I!!!

Hey, Obama, where the hell is my hand-out? How about something from all of the dollars that I've donated to the federal coffers over the past 48 years?? How about giving my son a new car, or paying his mortgage? What about free daycare for the daughter that they are expecting in November? Where is the break for the people who do everything right and just get crapped on by life??

When is enough enough??

Friday, May 3, 2013

50th season opener at Eagle is in the books

I apologize for not getting this up last Sunday when I wrote it. I SWORE that I hit publish, but evidently not.

Well, the wife and I are back working at Eagle Raceway. We worked a practice night Thursday and then the first actual racing Saturday night.

I was really pleased and surprised at the size of the crowd; it was REALLY good, considering that the temps got down to the mid-40's by the time the racing ended a little after 11. Yes, I know that's late, but when you have 164 cars in the pits, it's going to take some time to get all of the races run. I guess that's the price that Roger pays for being a good promoter.

I'll be honest here and say that it was TOUGH getting back into the swing of things, even after having a bit of a free trial Thursday. Thank God Michelle had someone come up to handle the IMCA licenses and a lot of the minor registrations!! I was really worried about being able to keep track of the racing, get it down in a manageable format to allow me to write the story for the website, but it looks like I made it through with only minor hitches along the way. The story is up on the website and e-mailed to those who requested it and the media outlets as well.

As for the evening's events, I'd say that it was a great night. The track started out a little dusty, but the moisture ended up coming up and the track went dry-slick. I personally prefer a dry-slick track, because as the sprint winner Jeff Edgerington said "you have to drive on a dry-slick track". You can't just stomp and steer. Yes, there were ruts in the track, but that comes from the wet weather we've had lately. Most of the drivers I interviewed agreed; the ones who actually knew about such things did anyway.

Of course, one of the big stories of the night was the new sprint car class having it's first races at Eagle. We only got 16 cars, which is about the same as we were getting in the 360's last year, but I thought the racing was pretty damned good! In the feature defending 360 sprint car champion Mike Boston got in a car for someone else because his motor wasn't ready yet. He won his heat and got DQéd for being too light at the scales, so he started at the back of the feature. He ran up to second before losing the nose wing from his car and being sent to the back. Well, as you would expect from Mike, he ran that thing back to second and actually took the lead for a short time right at the end. His banzai move put him out front, but he slid up and Jeff took the lead back and held on for the win.

I'd say that the 305 Racesaver class has a real future at Eagle; at least I sure hope so. Rumor has it that we lost 1 of the new drivers who decided to give the class a shot because he can't handle the sprint (he hit the wall both Thursday and Saturday). I surely hope not, because we need all of the cars we can get to be sure this class goes over. Then there's the case of the young ladies in the class. They both did VERY well!!! Given that neither of them has ever raced a sprint car before (at least not a full-sized one), I'd say that they did very well. Shayle Bade ran 5th and Lacey Tuttle grabbed 6th in their inaugural feature.

All in all, a good night. A long night, and a tiring night, but a good one.

Here is the link to my write-up of the events and the full results: http://www.eagleraceway.com/EagleRaceway/?p=4383

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My apologies

I have to apologize to those of you who read my blog. I haven't posted in nearly 9 months.

Between Mom living with us, Linda's health problems and then Mom passing away, I haven't felt at all like writing anything. No articles for Flat Out, no blogs, NOTHING!! More on that a little later on.

Then, to top it all off, the pissing match between Eagle Raceway's owners and a few of the 360 sprint car people last season ended up getting me wet. I don't know if it was the stress of everything already going on or what, but I ended up leaving Eagle Raceway. Quite unceremoniously I might add. I posted on Dirt Drivers, and that was that.

The owner called me the next week saying "You can't do this to me!". I told him "Yes, I can and I did". Oh, I told him how sorry I was, but that I needed to be with my mother since she had a short time to live. I know that he understood, but it really hurt me to have done it. It still hurts to this day that I did it. I hope that Roger and Michelle can forgive me.

Thankfully, they were silly enough to want me to come back this season. After a long talk with Linda, we decided to both go back. We miss all of the folks at Eagle, more than I can tell you in fact. I suppose we owe going back, partly at least, to Kevin Anderson. Kevin bought us tickets to the Eagle Raceway banquet with the express intent of making me want to go back. Well, it worked Kevin; and thank you!

Going back to my last blog before this; Linda ended up not having heart problems. It ended up that one of the medications that she was taking was messing her up very badly. So, she stopped taking the medications and VOILA!! no more heart problem symptoms.

Mom passed away September 16, 2012. We went to bed the night before and when Linda got up the next morning Mom was gone. 89 1/2 years of vibrant life ended quietly in her sleep. Hard work all of her life, tempered with lots of fun left a legacy that all of those who knew her will treasure.

That brings us to today. As I mentioned above, I haven't written diddly squat since....well, it seems like forever but has really only been less than a year. It's been a LONG time since I contributed to Flat Out, but I'm changing that. Today I got around to working on an article for them. No, I won't divulge who it is. You're going to have to wait to find that out.

I'm also working on something for Eagle Raceway. This is the 50th Anniversary of Eagle's opening season, and I was commissioned to do something about the first 50 years.

That made me think about an idea that I had 2 years ago. I had the idea that a book about Eagle would be a great idea. As I told Dave Argabright "I've lost 2 home tracks already; Capitol Beach and Midwest Speedway with no evidence to preserve their memories and I don't want that happening to Eagle". Yes, Ryan Tunks has the Midwest Preservation Website, but you all know what I mean.

So, that little thought that rattled around in my head for 2 years has bounced back to the front again. I posted about it on Facebook, and the responses were all positive. The people think I should do it. But!! I'm pretty sure that they have no idea what all is involved; both monetarily and time wise. I figure about a year (or more) of research, followed by probably 6 months of writing. Then, I need to find a publisher willing to put the thing out. There it has to be proof-read, I need to make changes, then re-read. After that it has to go to an editor who will tear it apart as they see fit, send it back to me for more changes, then I send it back. Wash, rinse, repeat.

All of that costs quite a bit of moolah, and that's just the beginning. Next comes the price of the actual publishing. I did get a price from one company who said that for an 8 1/2 X 11" book with 50 pictures would be around $4000 for the first 250 copies!! Guess I need to find a third job; but, if I do that, I won't have time to write the book. Heck, between my "Real Job"and working at Eagle, plus making sure that Linda is taken care of, I'm not sure where I'll find the time now!!

Anyway, that catches you all up on what's been happening with me.

As always, please feel free to comment on this (or any other) blog.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Some personal stuff, and lots of racing

I ended up staying home from work again today, because my wife was feeling very poorly. She's having heart troubles, and someone had to stay and take care of my mother, so I was elected since Linda couldn't do it. She's had an overnight stay at St.E's Hospital and then another trip to the ER at Bryan LGH. Despite I don't know how many tests, they can't find out what the cause is. We've discussed the wife's problems with several of Linda's doctors, and Ed Raines of course, and we'll talk it over tonight after I get Mom in bed and make our decision then as to what we're going to do. Her cardiologist and Dr. Raines both said she should probably have a pacemaker, so we'll decide on that and go from there. We've got insurance, but the co-pay is going to be a biggun I'm afraid. I just pray that I don't run out of vacation time before the end of the year. I sure can't afford to take a day off without pay since I'm the sole source of income in the house.

Mom's doing as well as can be expected, so we can be thankful for that. I cherish every day that she's with us, and want every one of them to be the best that they can because those days are numbered.

Speaking of Ed Raines, it was SOO nice to chat with him again, even considering the circumstances. I miss him terribly already, at the track and outside of it. We were never really close friends outside of racing, but it was a great comfort to know that he was available whenever we needed him. I doubt that will change, and I wish him well wherever he lands. I know he'll do great, and many lives will be saved thanks to him.

Speaking of racing; we've actually gotten 4 of the first 5 race nights in this year. If you recall, that's pretty good compared to the last couple of years. The only one that we missed out on was the World of Outlaws. That really bummed me out, because it's been 3 years since they've been at Eagle and I really miss seeing all of my friends on the tour. The race has been rescheduled as a mid-week show in September. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that Mother Nature doesn't rear her ugly head for that one!!

USAC will be coming back on August 3rd to hopefully get in the first USAC 410 wingless sprint car race ever held in Nebraska. That's another one that I'm very jazzed about seeing, since I've never seen them before and grew up with the wingless sprints. The topless super late models will be running with them, so it should be one whale of an evening. After last year's rain-out, we need good weather for that one too.

The first 2 nights this year were the Icebreaker Challenge, and it was CHILLY both nights. The first night saw plenty of racing; even a C Feature in the IMCA Sport Modifieds. Last year's IMCA Sport Modified Champion Jesse Sobbing was there and won as he seems to do so often. Jay Noteboom came down and took home the IMCA Modified Main. Kaley Gharst won the ASCS 360 Sprint Car Feature. Kaley has been showing up every week, and there are rumors floating around that he intends to run the high banks every week this season. Stay tuned to find out if that's true or not.

The second night of the Icebreaker was a real treat for me and probably 10,000 others. After Tony Stewart announced that he'd be running that night the fans came in droves!! Heck, I bet that we had over 1000 just in the pits. Brandon Johnson won the IMCA Hobby Stock A, with Johnny Saathoff winning the IMCA Modified Feature and Ole Olsen coming home in first for the IMCA Sport Compacts. Then came the most exciting race that I've seen at Eagle Raceway in quite awhile. Last year's points champion Stu Snyder snagged the lead on lap #3 with Stewart and Jack Dover right behind him. Stewart used lapped traffic to grab the lead on lap #11. The race ran from green to checkers without a caution or red flag and I can tell you that all of the fans got their $15 worth just in that 1 race. Stewart was the master racer that he is throughout, but he never ran away from Stu! I still get excited just recalling it. Although Stewart had said that there would be no autographs, he stayed in the pits for over an hour and a half until everyone that wanted to got their autograph. I had interviewed the other winners and ended up standing off to the side for over half an hour before I could talk to him. I reminded him that I had told him earlier that I needed to interview him and he said "C'mon man! I have to be up at 8:30!!!" and it was already past midnight. As he walked into his trailer he repeated "C'mon!" indicating that I should follow him. I would have been okay with not getting the interview, considering that he still had to drive out to the other side of Lincoln, take a plane to Kansas City and then drive to the track; only to get a few (very few) hours of sleep before racing the next day, but was thrilled when he said he would. He seemed to be extremely impressed with all of the improvements that had been made since he was there 18 years before. He also praised the track conditions, which obviously were to his liking given his performance. His statement was “This track is just awesome, and it’s the perfect size and shape. It was easy to run anywhere I wanted; top, middle or bottom. The racing is fantastic. I didn’t want to get down off of my hauler for my race because I was having so much fun watching the sport compacts. I mean they were running 3-wide behind the leader!”. I gave him a picture that I had printed out of him and the trophy from his last visit to Eagle. When he saw it he called his crew together and said "Look guys!! I WAS skinny once". I hope he comes back soon and often, because he is one whale of a racer and seems to be a pretty nice guy to boot.

The next weekend was the first points show at the track, and the temperatures weren't too awfully bad during the day, but then the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped but the wind didn't and again it was a 3 sweatshirt night for this Pit Shack Guy. We got over 180 cars in the pits that night! How many dirt tracks would KILL to say that? Jesse Sobbing came back and won from the front row in the IMCA Sport Modifieds. It just isn't fair to give that good of a racer a front row spot, because pretty much everyone else is running for the rest of the purse. Jesse VanLaningham took the victory in the IMCA Hobby Stocks, Chris Alcorn was first in the IMCA Modifieds and Nick Lindblad won the IMCA Sport Compact Feature. Mike Boston got his first win of the season in the 360 Sprint Cars. Another great night of racing.

Last Saturday saw another great turnout of cars in the pits and a really great crowd in the stands. The racing was no less spectacular than the preceding weeks either. The biggest change was that instead of freezing, we were all sweating (well, as least I was) as the afternoon temperatures were above 90 degrees. The wind was relentless again (that seemed to be the rule every week so far) and the track turned dry-slick again, but that didn't mean that the racing was any less great. The competition was still 3-wide in the features. Max Harder won the IMCA Sport Modifieds. Chad Bassinger was the winner in the IMCA Sport Compacts after Scott Spellmeier was DQ'ed for a modified rear suspension. Lee Kracht won the most intense A Feature so far in the IMCA Hobby Stocks as he and Justin Busboom battled tooth and nail for the lead throughout. Johnny Saathoff again won in the IMCA Modifieds and Jordan Boston won a truly fabulous 360 Sprint Car A main, passing for the lead on lap 12 and holding off 3 really tough competitors in Trevor Grossenbacher, Mark Pace and Jack Dover.

Despite being dry-slick most times this year, the track has been extremely smooth and racey. The addition of George Bogue to the track prep crew to help out Larry Tombs seems to have resolved the problem with the dip in turn 1 right over the spring that has been a problem for as long as I can remember. I even kidded him that he and Larry should try putting some water on the track and he said "We started watering at 9 this morning!!". With winds and temps like Saturday, I don't think that there IS enough water for the track. Keep up the great work guys, it's well appreciated by the drivers and fans. Even if we do have to eat a little dust, when the racing is as good as it's been, who cares???

The crowds have been good, the racing has been great; what more could we ask?? I heard that Eagle Raceway had been named the #2 dirt track in the country. I haven't verified that, but I will look into it more and see where that was published if I can. I love working at and watching racing at Eagle, so it doesn't surprise me at all that such accolades should befall the facility; because last year it was named the #2 fan venue in the state behind Memorial Stadium. Roger and the staff must be doing something right, huh??

If you want to see the complete stories (written by yours truly) and the complete results, just go to http://www.eagleraceway.com/EagleRaceway/ and find whichever week you want to know about. There is also a complete schedule and lots of other information. Check it out.

As always, I welcome any and all comments so feel free!!

I'll try to at least get results up every week, but with caring for both Linda and Mom plus working a full-time job and at Eagle it's been tough. I have 3 unfinished articles and 1 in the works that I haven't had time for either. Hopefully soon things will settle down and life will return to it's normal level. Please keep my 2 special ladies in your thoughts and prayers. Until next time, I hope to see you all out at the track!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Home life, Tony Stewart and more

Well, it's Sunday again and it has not been a good one. My wife is having a horrible day, so that leaves my mother's care to me. I don't mind, and it's not hard work, but it leaves me unable to do anything else like get the yard work done. The lawn needs to be mowed and "weed and feed"ed, but I'm stuck in here so maybe tomorrow night after work.

Mom is having a pretty good day actually, and for that we're very thankful. She even got up and walked around with her walker today; a really good day for her. Supper's going, so I'm taking a little time to do the blog that I promised in my last posting. I'll finish it after supper and getting Mom in bed and then publish it.

First off, I got a call from the owner/promoter at Eagle Raceway Friday. Nothing unusual in that, but the news he had was definitely out of the ordinary. He told me that Tony Stewart (yes, THAT Tony Stewart) was coming to run with the ASCS sprints next Saturday night at The Icebreaker Challenge at Eagle. So, after it became official I started getting the word out to the public. I received several differing responses with my announcement; and I was surprised by some of them, even though I probably shouldn't have been.

As with all famous people, Tony evokes many differing emotions in the general populace. They range from those who fawn over him, to such comments as "Big deal!!" or "He's a jerk" to "What a big ego" and even "We don't want him there!!". I even experienced a couple of folks who didn't know who he was. Now THAT surprised me, since the 1000 pound gorilla known as NASCAR is so ever-present that it seems odd that anyone could not have some inkling as to who "Smoke" is.

Quite a few said that they would come out and bring their friends just because he was going to be there, and that's the whole point. When you run a dirt track the most important thing is to fill the stands, and it looks like that will happen thanks to Tony.

I'm not worried about that so much, because I think that is a given. What I AM concerned with is that we'll have so many "NASCAR groupies" that it's going to be a disaster. It happens quite frequently it seems, because at a Sprint Cup event you have absolutely NO access to the drivers, whereas at a dirt track race you can go right into the pits either during the evening (with a pit pass) or after the night's contests are finished with no extra cash outlay. And when a certain part of the populace finds out that someone like Tony will be there they lose all common sense. They HAVE to be there!!

At Tony's own track, Eldora Speedway, they have a big late model race every year, The Dream. There also is a race with late models the night before that is called "Prelude to the Dream"!! Most of the competitors in the Prelude are NASCAR drivers or personalties past and present along with a few from other racing endeavours such as USAC and even drag racing. This year Danica Patrick is slated to race in fact. All of the proceeds go to charity, and from what I gather, the stands are PACKED!!! I've heard more than 1 dirt track fan and Eldrora regular complain about all of the "NASCAR people" who are only there to see the Sprint Cup stars. I'm hoping against hope that it doesn't happen this coming weekend. I've also got my fingers crossed that some of the folks who make their first trip to Eagle end up really enjoying the racing and become regulars. The only way that I know of to get folks hooked on dirt track racing is to get them to go to one.

We'll provide extra security for Tony and his team, but not just because he's a star; but still partially due to that fact. He has given and continues to give back not just to dirt track racing but also to charities in significant amounts. I personally think that he deserves the right to use his free time as he wishes. If that means going to and competing at a dirt track like any other racer, so be it. We provide the same courtesy to folks such as Larry the Cable Guy who has made numerous trips to Eagle Raceway. Larry wanted the ability to just sit and watch the races with his family, and we made sure that he could do exactly that. Just because you're famous, or rich, doesn't mean that you can't have some peace and quiet when you want it.

The long and short of it is, Tony wants to be just another sprint car driver for the night. He doesn't want to be pestered by autograph seekers, or drooling fans who want to get close to a star. No autographs, no pictures with your kids, none of that. Seems like a fair request to me. Should he give the autographs and take the pictures? Maybe so, but that's his call; not mine or anyone else's.

I admire Tony's accomplishments in the racing world today. Many people have deigned him the modern day AJ Foyt; a designation with which I wholeheartedly agree. He can drive and win in almost any type of race car. He's a past NASCAR Champion, IRL Champion, USAC Champion, he won the Triple Crown, even snagged a World of Outlaws race win last year. He drinks plain old beer, plays poker, and enjoys what he does best; RACE!! If I weren't just a lowly pit shack guy I'd love to be able to pal around with him because he seems to me to be just a regular guy who makes a VERY good living racing. Sadly, not everyone sees it that way.

I once wrote an article for a long-defunct website that I titled "But I paid for this ticket". It was basically telling the average race fan that the price of a seat in the stands did not entitle them to anything but a good show. They didn't buy the right to pry into or discuss the drivers' personal lives, or those of the owner or promoter of a race track, or those who put the teams out there for our enjoyment. I think that goes for the present situation especially. Do people come to where you work and pester you for an autograph, or a picture of you with their children or themselves? Doubtful. And don't give me the same, tired old excuse of "They're famous. They aren't like everybody else". Of course they are, they're just famous. If you don't like what you DID pay for, you can complain. But, if you complain, you'd better be able to offer a better way of doing what you didn't like. A reasonable way that actually will work without bankrupting the track or causing more headaches that it solves.

And that takes me off of the soap box and onto another subject that is reflected above. A certain bloviator....excuse me; blogger; embodies to the Nth degree the sort of thing that I mentioned above. Although they admit to being nothing more than a grumpy fan (read bleacher creature) he constantly berates promoters as if though they were second class citizens, not normal human beings. Where this attitude springs from is up for debate, and his actions are a matter of humor even to his friends. I've been told that more than once in fact. This person also is constantly putting me down for my attitude towards race tracks and their owners & promoters. My only belief is that the owner/promoter that I deal with constantly is a great guy. He took over a track that the previous owner was losing large amounts of money at and was prepared to sell to the highest bidder. It didn't matter to him what the purchaser wanted to do with it. Land development, housing or keep the facility going; it wasn't important. The new owner didn't want to see the track close, so he not only purchased it, he made a go of it, and is finally turning a profit at it. I read that Eagle is the second highest attended fan venue in the state, behind Memorial Stadium. No, it doesn't hold the most, but over a year's time, it draws the 2nd highest amount of people. I believe an average weekly show is around 2500 people. Pretty good for a dirt race track I'd say, and the envy of some much more well-known ones. With so many dirt tracks folding every year, it's a shining example of what can be done at one.

One wish I have is that this person and his fellow complainers would actually have control of a dirt track for just 1 year. After they implemented all of their fantastic innovations and lost a huge amount of money and failed miserably in their attempt they most likely would STILL refuse to believe that they didn't have the know-how to run such a facility and would blame it on God, the previous owner or something else. Maybe if this blogger would actually WORK at a track and be a part of the inner workings of said facility they might realize that a lot of what they think are brainstorms are really only brain farts!!

Oh well, I suppose that will never happen. And the blogger will keep on complaining about tracks and promoters with no workable solutions  to remedy what is perceived by them as a problem. And, they'll probably insist on continuing their 5-year old game of "I know something that you don't want to be told and if you aren't careful I'll tell!!". Just another perceived but untrue situation that I know the truth of. There is no problem, as both parties involved were pleased with the arrangement that was agreed upon and fulfilled.

Alright; Mom is in bed and I'm heading there shortly. Take care, and I hope to see you out at Eagle Raceway soon. If you make the trip; and you should; stop by and say hello. As far as I'm concerned, you're either already a racing friend or one that I just haven't met yet. We may not agree on everything, but what friends do?? We need to remedy that situation!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Long time no blog

As a lot of you know, my mother is not doing very well. She moved in with us about 2 months ago in a hospice situation. She will be here until she leaves us forever, and we wouldn't have it any other way. My saintly wife cares for her while I go to work and we share the duties while I'm home. This, coupled with her having spent the previous months in and out of the hospital offset with stays in assited living facilities has meant little to no time to spare for things like blogging. For this, I apologize. I will do my utmost to keep up my duties as a blogger to the best of my ability under the current constraints.

Eagle Raceway's season starts in less than 2 weeks. The 19th of this month will be an open practice night for any and all classes. Front gates open at 6 with free admission for everyone. Pit gates open at 5 with pit passes just $10.

The following 2 nights are the Icebreaker Challenge, featuring the IMCA Modifieds. Friday night's support classes will be Lucas Oil ASCS Sprints and IMCA Sport Modifieds. Front gates open at 6 and racing starts at 8. Adult admission is $12, youths 6-12 are just $5 and 5 and under are free. Pit gates open at 4 with pit passes costing $25.

Saturday evening the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprints will again be racing, but the Sport Modifieds will be replaced by the IMCA Hobby Stocks and IMCA Sport Compacts. Front gates will open at 5 with racing beginning at 6:30. Adult front gate admission will be $15 while the youth and children's admissions prices remain the same. Pit gates again open at 4 with pit passes again being $25.

The 27th and 28th of April there will again be a double-header weekend. On Friday night the World of Outlaws presented by SLS Promotions make their return to the high banks of America's Home Track after having been absent the past 2 years. The best 410 travelling series in the world will have the mini-sprints as their support class. Front gates open at 5:30 with time trials at 6:30 and racing at 7. If you wait until the day of the show, adult front gate admission is $35, youths are $15 and 5 and under receive free admission with a paid adult. There is a package deal with both a reserved seat and a pit pass available for just $5 more. You can save $5 on adult admission by visiting participating NAPA stores. You also can purchase reduced price front gate tickets online at SLS Promotions tickets for Eagle Raceway or by calling 1-815-344-2023. Pit gates open at 4 P.M.

Then on Saturday the Nebraska Lottery presents the SuperMania 2012 Season Opener. All regular weekly shows will consist of the Budweiser 360 Sprints, Nebraska Drive Shaft & Radiator IMCA Modifieds, NAPA IMCA Sport Modifieds, Valentino's IMCA Hobby Stocks and Exhaust Pros IMCA Sport Compacts. Front gates open at 5:30 with racing at 6:30. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for youths 6-12 and 5 and under are free. Pit gates open at 4 and pit passes are $20.

There will be lots of fun for all ages with give-aways, contests and other fan interaction to go along with plenty of racing action. As I always say, "Going to the races is an event", and the events at Eagle Raceway will have you planning your next trip back there even before you leave.

The next big event will be held the 8th and 9th of June when TBJ Promotions presents the Eagle Nationals featuring the Lucas Oil ASCS National Sprints. Friday night the IMCA Sport Modifieds and IMCA Hobby Stocks will also be on the card and Saturday evening IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Compacts will be the support classes. The Eagle Nationals is always one of the most exciting and hotly contested events of the year as the Eagle regulars attempt to protect their home turf against the national touring drivers.

August 3rd the Amsoil National Championship 410 non-winged Sprint Cars will make their first ever appearance in the state of Nebraska at the Rumble in the Bullring. The event was originally scheduled for last August, but unfortunately Mother Nature decided that the previous week's lack of rain needed to be remedied and the event had to be cancelled. The NCRA/MARS Super Late Models will be running topless and the other support class will be the Mod Lites.

The 2012 season wraps up with two Sunday shows. September 2nd Budweiser presents the Eagle Super Shootout featuring the 360 Sprints, IMCA Modieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, IMCA Hobby Stocks and IMCA Sport Compacts.

The final event will again feature the Lucas Oil Sprints at the Nebraska Cup on September 9th. They will be supported by the IMCA Sport Modifieds and IMCA Hobby Stocks.

The entire 2012 Eagle Raceway schedule can be viewed at Eagle Raceway 2012 Schedule and the website is updated regularly during the season with results and news.

Eagle Raceway should be on everyone's bucket list, and there is no better time than the present to check that one off!!

I'll try to get another blog posted yet this week, as there are some things being said that need to be addressed; so stay tuned!!!

As always, your comments are welcomed and even encouraged!! So sound off.