Sunday, August 19, 2012

Let's go Michigan!

For a change, I'm at home to watch a race.  The last time NASCAR ran at Brooklyn, Michigan was in June, and that was the first win for Dale Earnhardt Jr. for a long time.

Can Dale Jr. do it again?  The odds are against him, since wrecking his primary car during Happy Hour puts him at the back of the field.  Can he do it?  Of course he can.

I'm looking forward to watching a race live today, instead of getting my information second hand.

I hope everyone has a great day and I hope we have a safe, competitive, and fun race.

Friday, July 20, 2012

With apologies to all of you.

The time I've had to spend on this site has been limited over the last several months, and even the last year and a half or so for a variety of reasons.  I apologize for not posting more, but I will try to post more during the second half of the NASCAR season.

In some ways, I like the racing more this year than in some of the last few years.  To me, the competition is good, and many, if not most of the races are close, right up to the last lap.

I know many fair weather racing fans have lost interest in the sport over the last few years, for a variety of reasons.  I have not lost my interest.  I watch as many of the races as I can, and read at least a little bit of racing news every day.  I have hopes of traveling to either Atlanta or Charlotte later this year and attend a race for the first time in a while.  I feel like it's important to recharge the batteries once in a while and actually be at the track.  I'm going to make a real effort to do so in the coming months.

How about that Dale Jr.?  He finally got the monkey off his back with a win, which I celebrated along with some of my fellow Junior fans.  It's great to see the consistency keeping him up front all season.  A couple more wins and he might be the man to beat in the Chase.

Overall, I've enjoyed this racing season.  Probably, I've enjoyed it more than last year or the year before.  Jr.'s win notwithstanding, I feel like the racing is better this year, for some reason.  I can't really put my finger on the exact reason why.

Congratulations to Delana and Kevin Harvick and Krissie and Ryan Newman for recent additions to their families.  I wish all the mothers and fathers and children my very best wishes.

You can find me on Twitter and Facebook when I'm not here.  Give me a shout sometime and let me know what you're doing and what you think about the current state of stock car racing.  I'd love to hear from you!

Much, much more to come soon.

In the immortal words of Joe Cartoon, "Stay tuned, I'm going to do it again!"

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Apologies to Dale Earnhardt Jr.

I've been somewhat tough on Dale Jr. over the last few years.  He's one of my favorite drivers.  He has been since he's been racing.  Like millions of other Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans, I've been bewildered by his lack of points wins over the last few years.

In past lives, I've been a bit of a hellraiser, but tried not to be a lawbreaker.  I understand the desire to celebrate life's small victories.  Since 2001, Dale Jr. has curtailed that habit quite a bit.  So have I.  I'm a lot older than Dale Earnhardt Jr. so I should have learned that lesson a little earlier, but being me, it took a while.

For too long, the expectation has been there that Dale the younger would become Dale the older.  That's simply an unreasonable expectation, and I've come to realize that.  My dad is my hero, much like Dale was Dale Jr.'s hero.  My dad fought in a war in Europe in the 1940's.  Since I was born in the 1960's, I'll obviously never be able to duplicate that.

The death of a parent is a sobering moment.  It was for Dale Earnhardt Jr.  It was for me.  I lost my mom, who was the one person who I think ever totally understood me.  She died on November 15, 2010.  I was involved earlier with a marriage that practically no one knows about.  My best friend and soul mate, next to my my mom, Laura, had died earlier that year.  I'm keeping the exact date private, for reasons that are known only to Laura and me.

Mom and Laura defined my existence for a couple or more years, especially toward the end.  I saw Laura dying, and there was nothing I could do about it.  I loved her, took care of her, and tried my best to make her comfortable until she finally passed away.  I did the same with my mother.  Many more people were involved with both, and if you're reading these words, you know who you are.  Laura died of lieukemia.  My mom died of complications from Altzheimers.  I was in a funk for a while.  I tried to get out of it, but couldn't seem to.

A former boss and a friend from a company that I used to work for called me and offered me a job, which was good, since I'd been mostly out of work for the past year.  Working made me feel good, and I'm still working there now.  Today, I'm a reasonably happy guy, looking forward to new opportunities as they come along.  I'm not totally healed from the year 2010, and I probably never will be, but I'm working on it.  I have sad days, just remembering people who are gone now, but I'm alive, strangely enough, and I'm looking forward to being part of something again.  When I went back to work, I had exactly $7.00.  That was it.  Thanks to Tim, Brian, Judy and all the others that made this happen.  You were all a Godsend to me, though I probably didn't realize it at the time.

Dale Jr. had a landlord, a boss, a person mapping out his career, and a father when Dale Earnhardt died on February 18, 2001.  Dale Jr. lost the most important person in his life.  Dale was Dale Jr.'s hero.  Dale Jr. was expected to fill his father's shoes

Think about it.  Who could fill Dale Earnhardt's shoes?  Kevin Harvick, who took over as driver for the team at Rockingham, never minced words about it.  He's in the car, but he is not the answer to replace Dale Earnhart, who once drove the very same car Kevin was driving.  Richard Childress, the owner of the team, wisely painted the car white and chose a different number.  The 29 seems to have worked out pretty well so far.

Dale Jr. is his own man.  He's got sucessful business ventures going on.  Dale Jr. is a sucessful business man.  He's a good driver.  He takes care of his family.  In other words, he's a good guy.  To me, Dale Jr. is a good guy, leading by example.  He took care of all the family he could.  I'm trying to do the same. 

I don't care if Dale Jr. ever wins another race.  I've now walked a mile or two in his shoes, though without the media scrutiny that's had to endure.  I couldn't imagine putting up with all that Dale Jr. has had to over the last 11 years.  I would have faded out and become a recluse.  Dale Jr. has soldiered on. 

Give him the respect that he deserves.  He's earned it. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Ready, Ready, Green Green Green! Go Go Go!

The Budweiser Shootout is almost upon us! I’m all atwitter, trying to figure out my wardrobe. I just don’t know what to wear!

Of course, I’ll probably be watching the first real action of the 2012 NASCAR season from my home, alone, but wardrobe is important for the breaking of the ice, so to speak. Mostly I’m not worried about my clothes, I’m wondering which hat to wear.

I’m jazzed this year. There are a lot of changes in the works. Mark Martin is no longer at Hendrick, but will be sharing a ride with Michael Waltrip in the 55 Toyota. Kasey Kahne will be filling Mark’s old spot in the 5 car, even though he’s still recovering from knee surgery.

Kasey Kahne, I hope, is in for the ride of his life. He’s got the best stuff he’ll probably ever have, and I think the man has the talent to make it work. I’m hoping some young blood at RHR will revitalize the other 3 drivers as well. (Those of you who know me know who I’m really talking about.)

It’s a brand new season. We’re wiping the slate clean. All of our favorite drivers are tied in points right now, and will be until the end of the Daytona 500. This is the best time of the year, anticipating what’s going to happen, talking smack with other racing fans, just getting in the groove for the long haul that will find a champion in November, which is thankfully so many, many months away. NASCAR still has the longest season in sports, and I’m thankful for that. I can only take so much dormancy.

Best of luck to all the drivers, teams, fans, and officials. I hope we don’t have any tragedies this year in the stock car racing world. If you’re going to the races, be careful out there. The fan that get’s run over might be you!

Racing is fun. It’s supposed to be fun. Have a beer or two, but please don’t drive when you’ve had one too many. Let’s keep racing fun, and not add to the morbid side of the sport by being a statistic.

Let’s get ready, ready, ready, Green, green, green, go, go, go!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

About the art work above

It's awesome.  I love it.  I will give the creator credit if I can find it.  I hate posting pics without giving the photog or creator credit.  If you created this pic, please let me know with details, and I will either give you full credit or remove it, at your request.

I'm not trying to rip anyone off here, so I'll use it until I hear otherwise.


Jimmy C

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Are You Ready for Speed Weeks?

I know I am.  For many NASCAR fans, including myself, that anticipation leading up to the Daytona 500 is almost palpable.  The fact that it's finally February makes a tingle go up my leg.  Hey, Chris Matthews has President Obama, I have NASCAR!

I'm anxious to see how the new rules for the plate tracks (Daytona and Talladega) are going to play out in the actual races.  I'm really hoping to see a break from the tandem drafting we saw last year.  Some drivers liked it, some didn't.  Some fans liked it, some didn't.  I didn't.

My biggest problem with tandem drafting was the total dependence of a team mate or drafting partner.  A driver could do virtually nothing on his own.  If the guy he was drafting with couldn't run well, neither would he.  He either had to find a new drafting partner, or drop out of contention.  To me, that's not racing.

After Daytona, I still miss the show going to Rockingham, but I guess that's what's called progress.  Either way, I'm just ready for all the excitement that Speed Weeks brings, because it signals something meaningful to look forward to every weekend!

Let's light this firecracker!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Johnny Van Zant - American Hero

Now that I'm back online, I've been catching up a little.  I've been watching a lot of music, including one of my favorites, Lynyrd Skynyrd.

I don't know that anyone on earth could have possibly taken the place of Ronnie Van Zant, who died in a plane crash in 1977, but his younger brother took on the task, and has done an excellent job.  Johnny has a presense on stage that almost rivals his brother's.

The amazing thing about Ronnie Van Zant was his presence.  He walked out on every stage like he owned it, the joint they were playing in, and the city where the venue was located.  In person, he was rather soft spoken, almost shy.  Johnny has been doing that pretty well since his first appearance with the band.

Lynyrd Skynyrd is iconic in southern culture.  If you're under the age of 80 and live in my part of the country, you've heard them.  If you haven't heard "Sweet Home Alabama", "Tuesday's Gone", "Simple Man", or "Free Bird", you're missing a lot of American culture, especially the southern part of it.

Kudos to Johnny Van Zant, carrying on in the tradition of his big brother and keeping the music alive.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I Noticed Something Today

This piece is not in the least way NASCAR related, so if you surfed in here to read it, I'm sorry.  I would like to share with you a personal reflection though.

Today, I arrived back at work after my lunch break. I didn't eat lunch, but I got some stuff accomplished.  I don't have a key to my part of the building so I had to wait until the guy that did have the key got back.  I parked in front of a chain link fence looking down the side of the steel warehouse that I work in.  From where I sat I could see the truck docks that supplied and relieved the building that I worked in.  Close to me, there was a small patch of grass beside the building, leading up to the heat pump that supplied cold and hot air to the section of the building in which I work.

When I stopped watching the activity of the truck currently parked in our dock, my attention shifted to the small patch of grass directly in front of me.  I noticed there were some small birds, gray on the back and wings, with white bellies.  They were pecking around on the grass.  Apparently they were finding something worth their time, because there were several of them pecking around.

I have to admit that I became lost in that moment.  These tiny birds were finding some sort of sustenance right here on our little patch of lawn here in early January.  Even here in this part of the south, winters can be cold and brutal, at least by our standards.  This morning it was 19 F. when I left home. Sunny south?  Sure.

It occurred to me that I didn't know what kind of birds these were.  When I was a child, my father taught me a lot about birds.  My father was not an expert, but he knew a lot about birds.  He taught me a lot about the birds that he had seen around where ever he was, which included Europe in the early 1940s.  He always liked birds and studied them.  Around his house there are probably a handful of bird guides.

These birds were surrounded by a chain link fence topped with barbed wire.  Not razor wire, just barbed wire.  We really don't have that much to steal here.  There is only one gate, which is open during the day, as it was today.  The gate provides access for trucks going in and out of our modest facility.  At my particular location, only 5 people work full time, including me.

While I watched the birds today, the gate was open.  After I had watched them for about 5 minutes, the heat pump near them kicked on, and the birds scattered with that sudden noise.  It wasn't that harsh of a noise, but it was sudden.  The birds flew up, over the fence, into a nearby group of pine trees.

What struck me was that the birds could have exited the property by the gate, but they didn't have to.  The fence that would have kept most people behind it was no problem for them.  The fence was simply an obstacle to be overcome.

Sometimes I wonder how many of us live inside fences, circumstances from which we feel that we can never escape, and don't know that it's really as simple as spreading our wings and flying over. 

I once knew a man who owned a dog, a big, healthy dog.  I noticed that the dog would never jump over or climb under a hassock that the man set out in a doorway.  I asked the man why the dog stayed behind that hassock.  The man told me that the dog stays behind the hassock because he does not know that he could easily jump over or climb under it.  The dog could easily do either but he never knew he could.

Are we this way?  I sometimes wonder.  Are we like the little birds out there just looking for a scrap of food to keep us going?  I know that I am sometimes.

I still don't know what kind of birds I saw today, but I'm going to pick out one of my Dad's guide books and try to identify them.  I want to find a way to fly over that fence that I can't seem to get out of.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We're Back!

At least I hope so.  I've been trying to get back to this for quite a while, and it has been a while, as you can see.

I'm hoping to make more changes to the site over the coming weeks and get back into the full swing of the season as the month of January goes along.  I want to wish Tony Stewart and the entire 14 team, as well as all the good folks at Stewart-Haas Racing heartfelt congratulations over their NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in 2011.  I also want to congratulate Ricky Stenhouse and Austin Dillon for their championships in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series.

I was very impressed by how Tony Stewart and Darien Grubb overcame an obviously uncomfortable situation in the Chase.  To have been told that your services will no longer be needed after the year and still manage to get your driver the championship took quite a lot of doing.

I can't wait until Daytona.  This is a time of year full of anticipation for not only the fans, but also the drivers, teams and sponsors.  It is a time for rebuilding and recharging the old batteries.  It is a time for reflecting and reforming.

I wish everyone the best new year ever, and look forward to bringing you my perspective on the 2012 NASCAR season as it unfolds.

I'm looking forward to getting this party started!  I hope you are too.