The NST weekend opener at Tulare has come and
I hit Highway 99 like there was no tomorrow. I
couldn't wait. I didn't sleep the night before. I find It funny how
these things can make you act like a little kid. I was like a bull
in a china shop getting out of town.
I've been doing this for a while now, and I
think my passion for the sport has actually deepened.
(One of California's finest - Ronnie Day)
Anytime I can see a Sprint Car race , I feel
it's an absolute honor. I've been watching them get after it for 35
years now and I still get the chills when the cars hit the track.
I can only report on Friday's inaugural race. I
came down with a flu that Joe Frazier couldn't whip. So I only was
able to take in a couple of Saturday's heats. Hey, we've gotta look
at the glass half full though. I still was able catch a Sprint Car
As I entered the speed plant, I saw a lot of
beautiful race cars. Even today, when I enter a pit, I still get
those butterflies. Do we have a great sport or what!
As I was doing my pit stroll, I came across the
always entertaining Steve Osborne. Race fans, if you want to meet a
really nice guy, go check out Steve.....you can't go wrong.
I was so overwhelmed when I entered the pits.
Lots of color, and lots of neat people walking around. My girlfriend
really liked The Selma Shell 11H, (I think she liked Lucas) she said
it was pretty, but I told her 'pretty' is not a word I want to use.
I said that's a 'badass looking car!'
Other 'pretty' cars
she liked were the Forbrook 5, Rudeen Motorsports 26, and of
course her favorite, Brent Kaeding's black 69. Yes, she is partial
to Brent. I think if the Kaeding Performance #69 was a bucket of
rust she would find it 'pretty'.
Car fans should note, Brent Kaeding is back in the familiar black.
Brent looks like he has been in the gym, and with his 'new look' and
the car black again, watch out!
Friday in the
autograph booth were Lasoski, Meyers, and Lucas Wolfe. I was wearing
a Chad Layton shirt, and as I approached Lucas, his eyes widened! At
first I thought my ugliness startled him, but he was interested in
how I obtained my Layton shirt. What a nice kid. He had a tough
weekend, but in this writers opinion this kid is a gasser and a
class act. I can see why he was a fan favorite in Pennsylvania.
I made my way
through the breezeway and finally to the frontstretch to check
things out. In the infield they had these huge speakers. Blasting
out of those speakers was Aerosmith. Some music mixed in with the
smell of the race track, oh baby! I was getting excited, I'm doing a
little dance on the straightaway, my girl just doesn't understand,
but I don't care. I'm in my element......my home so to speak.
I was enjoying a
great conversation with flagman Jake Vickers. Look for Jake on flag
stands throughout California. He will be waving the green flag for
the GSC and selected Civil War shows.
rumble, rumble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here they come. As they idle past, I
can't get enough, so I move in closer. I need that methanol to burn
my eyes! Do ya feel me!
Hot lap time! As
they idle under yellow, everyones excitement builds. Jake flicks the
green light on------------WHOOSH!-WHOOSH!-WHOOSH! These guys are
My girl has been to
many Sprint Car races, but she hasn't really been on ground level,
or that close. I looked over at her after the first hot lap session,
and her eyes were as big as softballs!!!!! I loved every minute of
(Shane Stewart and
I get off on the
sound of Sprint Cars period. But when it's one of those wound up
410s, you just can't put it into words.
Before we get into
the actual racing, I want to touch on results. They can be
deceiving. They show where you started and finished, but obviously
don't carry the excitement of the race or tell the whole story.
Take for example
Heat 1 - TK and Kevin Swindell waged high speed war with one
another. Tim got Kevin on the last corner of the last lap, and
proceeded to go upstairs to do it. The fans went wild........And so
did I! Also in this heat, Ronnie Day was flat on the gas. He started
in the back, and the veteran made some crafty moves to earn himself
a transfer into the main. Great job Mr. Day!
In Heat 2 - Tatnell
was gone. He and the car became one!
Heat 3 - Wolfe did a
superb job. For his first time at Tulare, he Hit all his marks and
got around the joint like he's been there before.
Heat 4 - The
youngster from Rocklin, California, Robert Ballou held off
Steve Kinser and Joey Saldana to catch a very entertaining heat
With the dash wins
coming from the Steve Kinser Racing stable, that put Tim and Steve
on the front row. Tim elected to start on the outside for the
The 4 transfers out
of "B" were: Jason Solwold, Travis Rutz, Garrett Ishii and
As we move to the
"A". NST officials were throwing shirts into the crowd, as
well as cannon balling them into the air.
(TK and Steve going
Main event time; The
cars went into 4 abreast formation, to salute us great fans. They
didn't go around just once for us, but twice! My adrenaline was on
The green comes out!
Kinser and TK go at it! Ronnie Day is making some sweet moves. Here
comes Joey! Here comes Solwold! Guys are making move after move!
Shaffer is on it! Here comes Sammy!
We have some
yellows. That didn't take away from the action though. My heart was
pumping out of my Chad Layton shirt!
TK goes under Kinser
during a restart! Kinser gets the point again, but HERE comes
TIMMY!!!!!! Working through traffic, and the fans going wild! Sammy
and Saldana side by side, with the cars dancing in unison! Day pulls
a front stretch wheelie and passes Shaffer!
Oh no, Jake waves
the white flag, I realize the race is coming to an end.........then
the checkered........Steve, Tim, and Jason Meyers round out the
I rush to where
Steve pulls up. He's tired and sweaty. The guy is a warrior, not
just a legend. Writer Bill Sessa was standing next to me, and I said
to him 'You know, I never get tired of watching him win'. I really
don't. I'm just so honored to be able to watch him race.
I had a great
Friday. Some people may have seen this race differently than I did.
But I look at it like this; My worse day at a race track is better
than my best day at work! Life is too damn short to always be
grumbling, or always wanting to find something bad about our beloved
(A happy Steve Kinser in victory lane)
I choose to see
what's right about our sport, and to enjoy it to it's fullest while
I'm still here. I want to make it clear that I'm not partial to any
one club. I just love Sprint Car racing. I'm a fan before a writer,
and that's how we here at "Interrogation" choose do it.
I want to also go on
record and state that I love the World of Outlaws too. And for some
to call those guys the 'Lean 15', and bash them, is in my opinion,
leave the politics to some of the experts on the message boards.
All Photos Courtesy
of John's Racing Photos www.JohnsRacingPhotos.com