Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Small Teams and Charters, Part 1


I had to take a day to cool off.  There is absoeffnlutely no way I could have written a nice response to a derogatory tweet in reference to small nascar teams yesterday.  It would have resulted in an inordinate amount of cursing and some very disparaging name calling.

Let’s be honest, Rob Kauffman (per my conservative estimated net worth time the market return of 6%) makes more money in one month than I will make in my lifetime.  That makes him loaded in Ron White terms folks.

Small teams are NASCAR.  Hell, even Rick Hendrick started small.  I’m old enough to remember Richard Childress as a driver.  Gibbs didn’t come into the sport with four cars and neither did Roush.  So to make a statement that small teams don’t belong at the Cup level is idiocy at best.  At worst, that statement has pissed at lotta folks with a background of working and supporting small teams.
The one time I was a car owner, South Boston

I’d recommend hitting twitter and reading Tommy Joe Martins and Brian Keselowski time lines.  They both share a small team driver and owner perspectives much better than I could.  However, since a small team is where I started and what currently pays my bills, I felt like a responses was more than warranted.

I didn’t like the Charters when they first came out.  Today, I’m still not sure that I like them.  I certainly don’t see where the charter system has created value in relation to the value of a national franchised team, ie NFL, NHL, NBA etc.

My first annoyance with the charters was leaving out the Wood Brothers.  That just got right under my craw and burrowed in deep.  Hit the beep beep button.  What was the RTA and Kauffman thinking?  The freaking Wood Brothers are NASCAR, its history and its future.  That was a deep, deep pile of doo doo and instantly sent my little financial radar to tingling. 

Have the charters protected investments and done what the RTA intended for them to do?  I don’t think so.  Now I don’t have access to the balance sheet of most race teams.  But being a (beep beep) accountant and pretty good with assets, I can tell ya that the big teams aren’t hurting.  If they are making like a BMW (more beep beep, you figure it out) about costs, then hire some better bean counters.

I once told an ARCA team you can poor mouth all you want.  I don’t need to see your deposits to know what you are spending.  Same goes with NASCAR.  Pissing and moaning about travel costs when the Concord airport looks like a G3 dealership.  

I kept digging, wondering why the leadership of the RTA would tweet something so ludicrous.  I looked into as much as his financial past as I could.  Prior to the economic turmoil that kicked a lot of small teams in the gonads, Kauffman was worth over 1.7 B.  I’m sure he lost a good bit of that, because its paper money.

His background is in hedge fund management. I’m not saying how that money was made, but I’d take a long look into the history of hedge funds and the market meltdown associated with the mortgage mess. Considering his financial associations with investments firms, it would appear to the financial novice that perhaps Kauffman intends to make a bid for NASCAR. 

Lastly some points to consider

Hendrick started with two cars, a borrowed motor and nearly shut down its 1st year.

Kauffman owned a team that cheated (work the gray areas, but don’t be stupid) and lost a major sponsor.

The Big Four (Hendricks, Childress, Gibbs and Roush) aren’t hurting or they’d restructure their expenditures.

Does the Charter system exclude more than it protects?


Monday, May 21, 2018

Planning for Daytona


Things have been very busy around the Thorpe household these last two weeks.  We’ve been winding down the school year, summer ball and getting adjusted to our summer schedule.  It’s been kinda nice to have the eldest home, running the family shuttle.  And to have Scott home these past two weekends, even though he’s been busy mowing and mechanicing.

No, my car isn’t fixed.  I’ve been fretting as my Grandma NancyBelle would say.  Do we rebuild the transmission? Buy a low mileage used transmission? Do I junk the whole thing and take on another payment? Horrors, no.  I’m cheap and really hadn’t planned to start seriously car shopping for one more year.  It’s not in my projected budget.

I guess we are going to check into repairing it. When, I don’t rightly know.  Right now I’m driving the Rover to work.  However, the old girl bad needs a tune up and won’t go far.  So essentially, no one get bad sick or die. 

On the racing front, Scott has painted another car and has started Driver (aka Jeff Green’s) Daytona car.  He should get it wrapped up this week in time to head to Charlotte.  With the demise of ol Bessie, we more than likely won’t be making the trip up which disappoints me as the All Star race was great.

I thought the passing and side by side racing was prenominal.  The cars didn’t look slow to me.  And damn, what is slow when you are running over 150 mph?  I’d much rather see the race we got Saturday night compared to the majority of the D ovals. 

Our next schedule race to attend is Daytona.  The girls want to go for the beach.  The race just happens to be their reason to get there.  I’m not a big fan of the sand but will happily go along for the ride.  Since Ryan has a gift for the draft, I’m looking forward to seeing what he and Mike can pull off at Daytona.  And I never, ever count out the centrum silver gang and Jeff Green. 


Carlee, AnnaBell & Maddie Daytona 2016
So far this year, the superspeedways have been very kind to RSS. Ryan finished 21st at Daytona and 6th at Talladega. Jeff Green finished 11th at Daytona and 13th at Talladega with JJ Yeley finishing 18th at Daytona and 11th at Talladega.  Considering that running 3 cars at a superspeedway is a ginormous task, these finishes are even more amazing because RSS is a small non cup affiliated independent team.  As in, no cup help.  All 3 cars finished both races and in the top 13 at Talladega.

Plus this little team is like a diesel engine.  They might get off to a slow start, but by Daytona in July, these guys are chugging along.  I have no doubt that either of these three drivers could pull off a win at Daytona.  And to experience Rod Sieg in victory lane, I’ll put up with a little sand. 

See y’all in Daytona.  I’ll be under a tent, wearing a hat, under a towel with about four teenage girls with me.  Come say hey and join in on the fun.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

FSBO


Who’d thunk that sign would ever appear next to the world center of motorsports?  Not me.  Like most folks in the NASCAR and racing community I’m a little shocked or at the least mildly surprised from yesterday’s rumors of NASCAR putting out the for sale sign.  Having deep thoughts about the future of what pays my family’s bills is NOT how I envisioned the next couple of off weeks.

My husband has been very blessed to work for the only NASCAR team in Georgia.  In fact, he’s always worked for Georgia teams.  Billy Ballew, Mark Gibson, Charles Hardy, and Kerry Scherer are a few of the owners his been fortunate to drive their haulers. He is in his fourth season with RSS Racing and driver Ryan Sieg. 

We had hopes that he could essentially retire (he’s way older than y’all think) right here racing with the Seigs.  So yeah, we have a little apprehension about any type of sale of the sanctioning body. Not bragging, but Scott is one of the best damn hauler drivers in the sport.  So sure, he could find another type of motorsports to drive in, just probably not in our back yard.


Like most folks, i.e. racing fans, I would like to see more competitive racing.  I’m not, nor have ever been a fan of these D shaped mile n half tracks.  They. Are. Boring.

I would like to see NASCAR make a major schedule overhaul, especially to the Xfinity series.  I had hopes we would see this in 2019 schedule, but realize that most of the contracts with tracks for next year have been signed.  So 2020, in my mind, is the year for those changes.  And I mean BIG.  Like swing for the fences big.  So yeah, I’ve been expecting some pretty significant changes in the very near future.

But sale NASCAR?  What???  Where did that come from?  I’m trying to wrap my mind around it.  Is the France family cashing out?  Or is it too much, or too big? Granted NASCAR’s popularity has waned over the past decade.  We can argue til the cows come home that is partially due to a lack of leadership from the France family.  But outright sale the whole kit and caboodle? 

Flabergasted.  And right after buying the ARCA series.  I just can’t wrap my mind around all of this yet.  I’m sure more information will start trickling out.  We will soon find out how this impacts the racing community and yes, directly my everyday life.

Until then, we will mow some grass, spread some pine straw, fix a few broke down vehicles and enjoy this break in the schedule.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Dashing for the Cash


UPDATE: Due to a NASCAR rules violation, Ryan and the RSS Racing team will be eligible for the Dash for Cash $100,000 at Dover. 


This is a great accomplishment for a small nonaffiliated family owned team.  Like it’s a really BIG deal. It’s also a lot of pressure, but we aren't too worried about that.  Ryan has a great record at Dover, having never finished out of the top 20 there.  Crew chief Mike Ford doesn't do too badly there himself with 7 top ten finishes there in his Cup career.

What will this mean for the RSS team?  Well there will be tremendous media coverage.  During the race, the Dash for Cash drivers are highlighted in the running order for the entire race.  They receive many more mentions than the other drivers. So if you are a statistics person, who have access to the Joyce Julius reports, you realize that adds up to a lot of media value for sponsors.

The Dash for Cash drivers are also highlighted on other media sources such as twitter with a hashtags #Dash4Cash.  Search the hashtag on twitter and see the mentions.  Google Dash for cash NASCAR and see there are many articles written about the upcoming Dover race.

What are our chances you ask?  Well 1 in 4.  I have no clue what the Vegas odds are of RSS wining the dash, but a 25% chance is the same as the other 3 drivers.  However, I’m not that clueless.  I’m aware that Jr Motorsports and Gibbs have much deeper pockets and way more resources than a small family owned team.

Sixteen (16) of the 41 teams entered into the race are cup backed or affiliated.   Competing with these teams each week is extremely difficult as it’s hard to match their budget and personnel. The Dash for Cash is an opportunity for the Siegs’ to attract attention to their program. That’s exactly why this is so cool and amazing for the Siegs’ and their small north Georgia team.

Regardless of the outcome, I’m looking forward to seeing these guys get a little media love and attention. You may not have a favorite out of Justin, Elliott, Brandon or Ryan.  But this one time, I’d urge you to pull for the small team, the underdogs of the Dash. 
















Tuesday, May 1, 2018

TMI #One


My 2003 Chevrolet has decided to bite the dust. Again.  Last time, a local dealer said it needed a motor.  I nearly wept.  With 233,000+ miles, I highly doubt that our friends @Chevy make ‘em as good as ol Bessie. This go round, she croaked on Scott on the way home from work.

He was able to nurse the old girl home in 2nd gear.  She made it, but barely.  He thinks it’s the transmission.  Our son Brandon, thinks it’s possibly solenoids in/on the transmission.  At this point, we can only hope and pray that it isn’t terminal.

Of course, she only acts up when there is another major bill due.  Like you know, tuition.  Of course last time it nearly died, it was two weeks before Christmas and 3 weeks before spring tuition was due.  When is summer tuition due, you ask?  Only in 8 days.

It is the curse of the Thorpes’ and how it normally works in racing.  If it’s gonna break down or tear up, it normally does the day before Scott leaves to go out of town.  Semantics, two days before he goes out of town.  Regardless, we are down to one wore out vehicle.

I know, go buy a new one.  Have you met me?  I’m probably one of the most frugal accountants you’ll ever meet.  I like to plan a purchase and hunt the best price.  80% of our furniture is either 2nd hand or given to us.  I don’t thrift, I just don’t like to shop.  And I especially abhor car shopping.

Note:  We did recently purchase our eldest a brand spanking new 2018 Rav4.  Her previous car was about dead and it too only broke down when Dad was out of town.  Since she is an extremely motivated student and has Zell plus other scholarships and works multiple part time gigs, we decided to go ahead and purchase new.  Plus a Toyota.  She has aspirations of grad school and to become an orthopedic physician’s assistant.  I wanted to purchase a car that she could get 10 solid years out of.

Conversely, my usual car philosophy is buy lightly used and drive until they are dead.  Wring all the goody out of them, and then get some more.  I’ve only bought two vehicles since I graduated from college, not counting the Rav4.  Occasionally, when we are going through a breakdown, I get pissed and look.  Then I get even madder at Detroit.  Have you seen those car prices?  Outrageous.

But just in case an overly generous person is reading and feels sorry for me, I want a Tahoe, a shiny red one, preferably with a heated steering wheel for my arthritic hands.  Heated seats are pretty standard these days and a backup camera for my achy shoulders would be bliss.  Hit me up for the delivery address.
What I really really, really really want.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Richmond Night Race


Also known as:  Why I love close to home Friday night races.

The RSS team traveled to Richmond this past Friday night.  It was a one day show and definitely a physically hard race for the team.  Their morning started about 6 am and didn’t end until the haulers were loaded about midnight.

Scott and Tony pulled out of Richmond and stopped about an hour south to get fuel and sleep.  They were some wore out puppies.  The guys rolled into Buford about 3 pmish Saturday afternoon.  Being they are awesome hauler drivers, they unloaded the bottom of their wagons, cars too, before coming home.

Being the senior citizens of the team, Scott spent the evening resting before going to bed early.  Not a problem because he had ALL day at home Sunday afternoon.   This is unusual for us because by the time they race on Saturday afternoon, its late Sunday afternoon or night before he gets home.

Sunday morning was busy.  The grass got mowed!! Needless to say, the dogs were ecstatic, the kids were ho-hum and the neighbors almost organized a block party. The puppies ran around in their freshly mowed pen and the dandelions are gone.  Scott also helped me re-pot vegetable seedlings for our summer garden.  OK, he emptied some old flower pots and toted the bags of dirt for me.

After our yard work, we spent the rainy afternoon watching old movies and just hanging out. I fixed dinner and our eldest daughter, a freshman at UGA, came home to eat with our family.  You know, normal, mundane family stuff, right?

Friday night races give us a rare occasion to have an almost “normal” weekend.  Sometimes I wish we had more of them.  Yes, I’m a proponent of a shorter season and even double header weekends like we did in the old ARCA days.
Carlee, Scott, AnnaBelle & Maddie at Darlington Raceway
I take about every opportunity to tweet and advocate for a major change in the Busch/Xfinity schedule.  This definitely would be an in-depth post for a later date.  The short of it is, I’d like to see a 28 race schedule, ending sometime in October.  More short tracks, fewer mile n ahalves, one less road course and less time spent on the west coast.

Of course, my perspective is one as an accountant and wife of the hauler driver/crew member.   And maybe there’s a little SEC football fan mixed in there as well.  Nothing wrong with saving a few bucks and a longer off season and more time for football.

Friday, April 20, 2018

When Dad’s Away Racing


No, Mama and the girls aren’t at home playing.  We haven’t mowed the grass either.  Or got the oil changed.  Sigh

Most days, you can find me running the family Uber.  Our middle daughter doesn’t drive and attends high school out of district.  Just getting her to and from school can be a family affair. The baby, also known as “God has a ginormous sense of humor”, is in 7th grade.  She plays basketball and throws shot and discus for track.  Many days, I’m rushing to get her to practice and pick up the other kiddo from after school tutoring.

You know, that’s just the normal Mom stuff with Dad on the road.  It is kinda comical how many people assume, and not correctly, that since the hubs works in racing that we are rich and I don’t work.  After I get over a hysterical bout of laughter, I ask them what would ever give them that impression.

I’m an accountant and work at least a 40 hour week, often working overtime during audit, fiscal year- end, and calendar year end.  Yayyy W-2s and 1095C’s.

But I know how it is these days with social media.  All these wives and girlfriends of drivers and crew chiefs are posting all over the place.  Well heads up: ladies y’all are giving us lower series wives are bad rap.  Please quit posting all those Instagram pics working out and looking cute.  And those of your cute kiddos, clean and dressed up, all matchy matchy.  THAT is not the normal life for most of us crew wives.  We don’t live that high on the hog.

I don’t have a maid. Heck fire, I’m just happy most days that we can see the floor. Shhh, don’t tell the middle child that.  She’s got her Daddy beat in the OCD department and keeps the kitchen pretty spotless.  But with three girls we fight about the laundry, (There is soooo much laundry…), who’s cleaning toilets and feeding the dogs.

No pool boy either.  Or a pool, but a girl can dream, you know?  Right now I need a yard boy or a herd of goats.  No lawn service for us, even though I did offer to Scott to pay for lawn care during the race season. I’m figuring he’ll cave about the end of May. Until then, I’m working a deal to borrow the neighbor’s goats.  If that fails, I guess we will start push mowing on Sunday afternoon.
I gotta dawg in the G.  Maddie Thorpe, UGA freshman
I’m pretty certain that I’m just one member of a much larger group of very independent spouses.  We have to be in order to be Mom and Dad 33 weekends a year. Over the years, the girls and I have gotten pretty good at doing our thang.  Which just happens to be be GDay this Saturday. The joys of living right outside of Athens and be a fan of all things red and black...Go Dawgs! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bristol After Party


Wow, just wow.  I can’t remember when the racing at Bristol has been this good.  It’s been years since I’ve seen the track this racy.  Of course all that bumping, grinding and rubbing comes at a price.  There was a lot of torn up race cars loaded up at the end of the xfinity race and somebody has to fix them. Quick. Before Richmond. Friday night.
I’ve seen the hubs less than four hours since he got back to the shop at midnight Saturday.  That is indeed the woes and misery of short track racing.  He got home about 1:30 am Sunday morning.  He spent a few hours with the family (and the dogs) then headed back to the shop in Buford.

From Buford, he went to the paint shop in Tucker aka the original race shop.  Most folks might not know, but Scott paints cars, chassis, tool boxes and other stuff in the off season.  Back in south GA, he even painted an airplane.  No lie.

He’s painted four cars in 3 weeks.  His assistant, helping him tear down, tape up and prep?  Well none other than the driver himself.  So yesterday evening, while other xfinity drivers were hanging with their families, Ryan met Scott in Tucker to help him get a car out of the booth and transported up to Buford.

With so many torn up cars, he needed to head out to Charlotte first thing Monday morning. We live about an hour from the shop. But you know ATL traffic, so Scott slept in his big truck Sunday night.  He then went to Charlotte Monday morning, dropped off a wrecked car, picked up parts and headed back to the shop where at 10 pm at night, the entire crew was still working.

It’s a tight turn around between Bristol and Richmond.  The haulers need to leave Thursday morning to park that afternoon.  With three cars to get ready, and two of your short track cars out of commission, it will take everything this small team has to be ready to load by Thursday morning.

And week after next is Talladega.  So Scott left this morning to go back to Charlotte to get the speedway car and pick up more parts.  At some point, he’s got to do some laundry, unpack and repack.  And the grass needs mowing.  At this point, I’m considering borrowing the neighbor’s goats.  They got out last week and seemed to really like our grass.

Most of the bigger teams (cup affiliated) probably have their Richmond, Dega and Dover cars sitting on jack stands and ready to load.  Or at the least waiting on an engineer to pull down and set up.  But the small teams, after a race like Bristol, are all scrambling trying to get cars, motors and haulers turned around for the next race.


Lil Dawg fans: Carlee and Boo in the back; cousins CJ and Sadie in front at Sanford Stadium, home of UGA Bulldogs.
Back to back short track races will be awesome for Rebecca the race fan.  I’m even hyped up that they race on Friday night so I can go to GDay on Saturday. Go Dawgs!! But note, that the hubs and all of RSS are really busting it to get ready for Richmond.  I’m pretty sure that the majority of the smaller Xfinity series teams are too.


Update: Scott's Departure has been pushed up a day.  He will be rolling out today sometime after lunch.  Eeek! He and driver partner Tony will stop in Charlotte to pick up a car and some more racing stuff then its on to VA.  Its about an 8 hour ride from the shop so hopefully they will make the trip without any issues. 

Trucks park at noon.  Due to the construction at Richmond, teams will drive haulers in, unload and drive out.  Repeat the process to go home.  Old timey ARCA style right there.  Makes you have flash backs to Toledo.  Just don't lose that pit box going down the hill.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

It’s Bristol, Baby!!


The last Coliseum, short track heaven, destruction on wheels…call it whatever you want.  Bristol, even in its latest form, is still one of the best short tracks in America. Salem is my fav, so go ahead, @ me. 

I’m not sure why the fans no longer flock there as in the olden days.  It is by far one of the best sight line tracks that NASCAR goes to. So if you are in the area, especially on Saturday, I’d urge you to attend.  There really isn’t a bad seat in the house. Kids 12 and under get in free, so load up the neighborhood kids and take them for a  inexpensive and fun event.

Bristol, being just a short ride from the house, was on my list to attend. But motherhood intervened.  Instead, I will be attending DD3’s basketball tournament over the weekend.  Yes it is possible to watch basketball and racing at the same time, thanks to twitter and the NASCAR app.  Somebody remind me to purchase some ear thingies. And set the DVR. 

My preference is by far the short tracks.  If Brent Dewar let me set up the xfinity schedule, I promise it would be shorter and at least 60% short tracks.  Why? Short tracks are action packed and up on the wheel demanding.  And I’d like to see the hubs a little more often.  Call me selfish, but I’m willing to bet a 28 race schedule with the addition of some historic short tracks would not only revive the series, but give much need financial relief to the owners.

Where do I want to go?  Well when it’s hot down south can we go to IRP or Milwaukee?  And in the spring I’d like to go to South Boston, Myrtle Beach or Pensacola.  I’ve already named Salem as my favorite short track.  My favorite win there was Justin Allgaier in September of 2007.  Lil Gator shore could wheel it around that place.  He went 3 wide with Kimmel and a lapped car can came out victorious.  Besides, September weather in Indiana is beautiful.

There are actually so many historic short tracks that have the capacity and facilities to host a truck/xfinity double header.  The schedule could have some variety instead of the boring tri-ovals.

Where would I cut races?  I see no point in going somewhere twice, other than Iowa.  And yes, that includes Daytona.  I’d take out a Dover, Chicago, Atlanta (sorry homies, it’s boring) Charlotte and Indy. That gets us down to 28 races.  End the season by Halloween.  And why are there THREE road course races in one month?  Redundant much?  If I wanted to watch a road race I’d be an IMSA fan.  Lose at least two of those and replace with short tracks, please.

If we’re going to continue to do the west coast, at least replace Vegas and/or Cali with short tracks.  That’s way too much sugar for a dime for me.  I’d be quite happy if they never went back to Cali and just picked up Irwindale and run the whelen, trucks and xfinity series together.  What a trifecta!

Each month should have a weekend off to give the independent teams some catch up time.  This might mean running some Wednesday/Saturday or some other combination of multiple events.  I’d like a Friday night/Sunday afternoon myself.  This leaves Saturday night open for the local tracks.

It is possible to tweak this series, make it more fan friendly and appeal to the core of short track fandom.  Y'all have fun at Bristol.  Hoping its a paint trading fender banging of a good time.


Monday, April 9, 2018

It is day 7 of 22 days


So far, all the vehicles are still running, the plumbing hasn’t clogged up and all the critters are well.  Oh yeah, the girls are doing fine too. 
These are major accomplishments in the Thorpe household.  Nothing ever tears up or breaks down until Scott is on a road trip.  A Three week road trip could be a recipe for calamity at our house. 

With all this rain, we will probably have to do some push mowing next week. I can literally hear the grass growing.  And I don’t think the grass is going to hold out until Scott gets home. Three acres ain’t a lot until it is. I’ll video us pushing that mower.  If nothing else, it should be some great comic relief.

Oh, where’s he at?  Scott, husband and Dad, drives the hauler for Ryan Sieg Racing.  He’s on the 3 week west coast NASCAR run that seems to get longer every year.  Due to logistics and resources, the team stays out.  Note:  I’m an accountant and we’ve owned a trucking company.  It is much more cost effective to stay out than run back and forth to Georgia.

The guys are currently still in Las Vegas, hanging out at South Point Casino.  OK, they are working on the cars too.  There’s always motors to pull and cars to scale. They will probably drive down to Phoenix Thursday morning and then on to Cali before making the long trip back to Georgia.

I know, I know…I should be use to this by now.  Scott and I met racing at Nashville Fairgrounds.  He worked for Billy Ballew and I had gone up to work the race for them that weekend.  That’s been 21 years ago.  I’ve been a race wife for a very long time.

I’ve pretty much adjusted to being a single “married” parent during the season.  In the early days when the girls were younger and not involved in a lot of school activities, we pretty much did what we wanted on the weekends.  We would visit Mimi and Poppy, go see friends and cousins and occasionally go to the race track.

Fast forward and today we have a freshman in college who played three sports and was very active with adaptive PE and special Olympics in high school; a junior in high school that’s very social and on the “spectrum”; and bringing up the rear, a 7th grader in middle school that has just started the “sport” life.  Oh, yeah…all girls.

We got your drama at the Thorpe house.

I spend a lot of time on the sports shuttle, taking to and picking up from practice as well as taking to school and picking up afterwards.  I also work full time as an accountant. You can believe I’m making lots of laps with Scott out of town for nearly a month.  When he gets home, once the grass is mowed, he gets carpool duty for at least a week.

So yes, we are counting down the days until Scott/Dad gets home.  The dogs miss his early morning routine.  The cat doesn’t have a workout buddy. I’m sure the oil needs changing in something.   And Mom and the girls are getting over all the extra free time.

Don’t tell the stove, its enjoying the break.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter NASCAR Break

As the wife of a former hauler driver, let me testify on just how long the season can be on the spouses and children of team members.  LONG.  Very, very long.  Even though the season is just a few races young, this break comes on a holiday weekend and around spring break.

The crew members, especially the road crews, are getting some very precious time at home.  Just think about what you have planned for the holiday weekend and next week.  Easter with family, spring break vacation plans, mowing yard, you know the same stuff us folks with normal work schedules do.
I pretty much adjusted to being a single “married” parent, but for the kids, it is always harder.  At the time that Scott was racing, my kids were younger and not involved in a lot of school activities.  We pretty much did what we wanted on the weekends.  We would visit Mimi and Poppy, go see friends and cousins and occasionally go to the race track.

This all changes when the kiddos hit the ages where they are involved in sports and other extracurricular activities. Fortunately, the ARCA series isn’t too demanding throughout the school year and is spread out enough that when Scott was gone, it was mostly during the summer.
But what about the Cup families?  That is a brutal schedule for a single person to manage a life around.  For parents, even harder. Can you imagine your kid playing sports, being in the church play or having some kind of weekend recital?  And where is Mom or Dad?  They are at the racetrack, of course.

So this weekend is for those folks.  The newly married get some time together during the week and a whole weekend.  Dads and Moms can attend baseball and softball games.  Go to swim meets and soccer games.  Maybe go to the beach or the lake for spring break.  Or even take the whole family fishing.
The non-racing parent gets to be good cop for a change.  The racing parent gets almost two whole weeks of just being there, taking the kids to school, maybe picking them up and running the family shuttle service.

I hope each and every team member enjoys this down time and makes the most of it.  Less than a week away, the haulers will be pulling in at Martinsville.  And I have a small little feeling that there is gonna be some highly competitive racing and perhaps some beating and banging to kick off this next long stretch of racing for the summer.

No fines, No Foul?

Needless to say I was very surprised that the NASCAR powers that be let it all slide from this past Sunday.  I figured Tony S and Tony G and a few crew members would at least get fined.  I’m guessing the very strong fan reaction to an actual race in Cali deterred the NASCAR fine police.  For their wallets, let's hope so.

Lets also hope the racing stays this strong for the remainder of the season.  I, for one, am glad to see these drivers earning their very large pay checks.
I'm also glad that Denny isn't critically injured and has a very good plan to recover from his back injury.  Once again, even as diligent as NASCAR and the tracks have been, there is always more room for continued safety improvement.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Who Woulda Thunk it?

The most competitive race of the season at Fontana?  The track designed to induce a coma?  Never.  Wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t seen it myself.

The typical race on the left coast is normally a fuel mileage sprint to the end, with a very lonnng nap at the beginning.  Not so yesterday.  There were enough blown tires and motors to pretty much keep even the most jaded of NASCAR fans tuned in.  With less than a 100 laps to go the race got busy and interesting, really quick.
It’s safe to say that bunching up the cars with 40 to go, would cause a little fender rubbing.  However, I was certainly surprised to see so many drivers in the hunt and so obviously hungry for a win.  Not sure if this is them trying to prove something with the new car or just a side effect of a bad economy and trying to keep sponsors happy.

Nevertheless, if you boys would drive like that every weekend your fans will come back.  Dang, I’m almost tempted to go buy a ticket.

Tony, Tony, Tony
I say this at least once per season, “Tony, what were you thinking?”.  Now sing it like Dierks.  Dude is it blocking on the last lap at Homestead?  Should little Joey ask “WWTD?”  Come on.  The kid had a lightning fast car, was up front all day and digging for a win.  And he beat you.  Get over it.

Your words were uncalled for and made you look more like a jerk.  Now you get to work ALL season to prove that Tony isn’t a mean bully.

Denny, Denny, Denny
“You, too?”  As the kids on the playground say…you started it.  Yep, you hit him first.  And please let the record show, sometimes Michael Waltrip just needs to Shut up.  Or at least review the last three laps before bowing down to the Toyota gods.  Darrell and his sidekick race commentators, said with 2 ½ laps to go that Denny would put the bumper to Joey if he caught him.  Well Denny caught him and got Joey squirrely.

Did he expect Joey to just move over?  Or give him any more room?  I don’t know what kind of issue Denny has other than my previous post alluded to sleep deprivations, but he needs to get some help or a nap.

Way to NOT back down Joey.  Don’t take no crap off the old guys.  You got a great ride this year.  Keep it up front and make them race.  Because that’s what you all get paid to do.

I’m soooo looking forward to Martinsville.