I was so excited to come home and settle in to watch the Truck series on dirt tonight- and wouldn’t you know it that there was an accident on my commute home and it took me 40 minutes to get home instead of 20. I was looking forward to the MudSummer Classic and have been since they announced it. Why? I like racing. I don’t follow the truck series that closely. I don’t follow dirt racing that closely. But combine them and I am excited beyond belief. Why? Part of it is the novelty of NASCAR on dirt. Or at least it’s a novelty to me as NASCAR hasn’t been on dirt in my entire lifespan (I think they said the last dirt race in the major series was 1970 right?). Part of it is most definitely the fact that Eldora is Tony Stewart’s
baby track- and I can only imagine the excitement and the nervousness he had going into this event (not to mention the crazy preparation for the whole Eldora staff- which apparently is 7 full time people). And of course part of it is the excitement that maybe, just maybe, NASCAR will consider bring the cup cars onto dirt. I am not even asking for a dirt points race (but that would be AWESOME). They could just make it the All-Star Race ( I mentioned in my All-Star post- see item three). Just the thought of cup cars on dirt makes me absolutely giddy.
While I didn’t get to see much of the qualifying heat races (I did make it in time for the last chance qualifying race)- I was glued to what I did see. Even the last chance qualifying race was fun- with five positions from that final group of trucks transferring into the main event. It was fun to see Norm Benning cling to that last transfer position- and not just for us at home. Brendan Gaughan was interviewed and he seemed just as excited. What you might not have known was that his truck received some fairly significant damage during the LCQ – yet no fewer than five other crews rushed in to help him repair the damage in time for the main:
Stewart was blown away by how all the crew guys cheered for Norm and how five different teams pitched in to help fix Norm’s car. Awesome.
— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) July 25, 2013
The race winner ended up being Austin Dillon- although Kyle Larson and Ryan Newman were trying their darnedest to catch him. Personally I was rooting for Darrell Wallace, Jr. Why? I can’t put a finger on it. I basically decided to pick a driver to root for since Tony wasn’t racing and just went eenie-meanie-miney-BubbaWallace. I recognized his name and face so I thought I choose you Bubba. Speaking of Tony choosing NOT to run in the MudSummer Classic- I will say this. The fan in me was slightly disappointed not to see him actually running in the race yet I think it was probably an extremely wise decision on his part NOT to. I know I probably seem like I’m contradicting myself there a little bit but this is my reasoning: The fan in me would love to see Tony go out there and just kick butt and take names at his own track. I always root for him during the Prelude to the Dream (and pretty much any race he is in- he could be racing my brother across a mud puddle in the back yard and I would still root for Tony). BUT I think that by choosing to set back and maintain just his track owner/promoter role to make sure that the race went off without a hitch- if nothing but to show that he’s serious about hopefully hosting more such events at Eldora. Speaking of which- where can I sign the petition to bring the cup cars to Eldora? I am so down for that.
One quick funny about the MudSummer Classic- my mom happened to be “watching” with me (but really I think she was playing Words with Friends more than paying attention). When Austin Dillon crossed the finish line and exclaimed a very excited HELLYEAH!!!! My mom looked up and said “Did he just yell out VELVEETA!!!? Is that a dirt racing thing?”
So now that I have said my piece about the MudSummer Classic I want to revisit something I blogged about a long time ago that has been kind of rearing it’s head lately online and has been bugging the daylights out of me. I talked about being “That Guy” back when I did a series of posts on being a Tony Stewart Fan specifically. And while that post talks about fans of certain drivers purposely seeking out fans of other drivers to put their driver down- I have seen this lately about specific methods of racing. My racing series is better than your racing series- neener neener neener kind of thing. I can NOT tell you how many times I saw things in my timelines, news feeds, and other social media about how dirt racing was better because XYZ and people who liked anything but dirt racing weren’t really race fans. Or that Sprint Cup is better than Truck Series, or that road courses are better than ovals, or that snail races are better than turtle races. I think you get the idea. Seriously people? Racing is racing- we all hold a common bond of the love of speed, the smell of gas and oil (and tire rubber- don’t forget that), of man (or woman) yearning to eek out every last bit out of that engine, those tires, that fuel, and themselves.
Maybe it’s different for me because I have gone through “phases” as a motorsports fan. I started out loving NASCAR- discovering it on TV one morning when I was about seven (my mom thought I was watching cartoons) and sitting down and watching it. I eventually waned off of NASCAR and moved onto a fairly significant IndyCar phase- ironically well before Tony Stewart was a driver (back in the days when the series was called CART) in that series because IndyCar was what was close to home for me- living just 10 miles from Laguna Seca. My first race was a CART race (despite what my father will tell you*). I remember my dad spending a mint (or at least it was a mint to us at the time) on 2 three-day paddock passes because he knew I would love them and he was right- I absolutely did. I still have my little red autograph book with Danny Sullivan’s autograph (he was my favorite driver at the time). I still remember my dad having to PUSH me towards AJ Foyt in the paddock while saying “I know you know who that is!” because I couldn’t believe THE AJ FOYT was standing in front of me! I still remember swooning (hey I am a girl- girls swoon- especially teenage girls) over Scott Pruett who stopped as he was riding his bike through the paddock to sign some autographs– he was just so damn cute. Mixed in there somewhere between NASCAR and CART was another phase where I was a diehard NHRA fan- to the point that I wanted to be like Shirley Muldowney. Now I watch mostly NASCAR (unless there isn’t any NASCAR on- and then I will settle for something with wheels- anything with wheels) but still have my “feelers” out there to other motorsports. I don’t discriminate based on number of wheels, on if your wheels are “open” or not, on racing surfaces, on which way you turn your wheels, or your horsepower. If you came up to me and offered me tickets to let’s say a motogp race or an NHRA race or heck even a monster truck race- I am NOT going to turn them down because I just love being at a track any race track. Races like the MudSummer Classic are great because they expose race fans across disciplines. There were drivers in the truck race at Eldora who were truck series regulars that had never driven on dirt and other drivers who were dirt regulars but had never driven a truck. I am CERTAIN there were fans who had never been to a dirt event there. I am CERTAIN that there were fans that had never seen a NASCAR Truck series race before. There may have been fans who were attending their VERY FIRST RACE ever. Basically what I am trying to say is don’t be that guy; the elitist who says racing is only racing if it is this kind of car, or that kind of track. Support the motorsport you love- but don’t diss it’s distant cousin.
* My dad will tell you that my first race was a dirt race at Watsonville Speedway (now called Ocean Speedway) to see a friend of his from work race his late model. He would be sorely mistaken. I have NEVER been there- he took my brother not me.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.