Sports by Randy Charles Morin.
Copyright 2005-10 Randy Charles Morin
Owned by Rapid Spiral Development Inc.
Guess where I went on July 27th? I stopped by the Darlington raceway. Didn't intend to. The wind brought me there. I was driving thru South Carolina and noticed Darlington was fast approaching. I immediately thought Darlington Raceway. Then a sign from god. Or was that a road sign. Darlington Raceway turn off ahead. I turned off.
I think it was 13 miles from the I95. WOOT!
Historical plaque located outside the museum.
A birds-eye view of the racetrack.
All the past champions. Winners of the Southern 500 and other Sprint Cup races held at Darlington.
The building is draped in classic images of the greats. Dale and Bobby.
Cale was one of the favs growing up. He was winning when I was a kid just learning about racing.
Love Darrell. But only after he cried when his brother won the Daytona 500 the day Sr died.
The real oldies.
Johnny Mantz was the 1st to win the Southern 500.
The museum has a bunch of old NASCAR cars. Bill Elliott, an all-time fan fav.
I believe this is what was left of Darrel Waltrips car.
Not that's not Kurt Busch's Miller Lite #2. That's Rusty Wallace's.
The blue #43 Plymouth.
Johnny Mantz was the 1st to win at Darlington.
The classic Hudson Hornet. The judge character from Cars was created from this car.
Some of the favs in the Stock Car Hall of Fame.
The trophy for fan fav.
Bill Elliott and Jr own this one.
The Southern 500 Trophy.
You can walk up these stairs and overlook the track.
Once inside the Pocono Raceway, your options compared to other tracks like Daytona, become very limited. The raceway is in the middle of nowhere, so walking outside and around the track isn't very fun at all. It's surrounded by forest. Inside the track, there is some entertainment, but very little.
They had a Bacardi tent that served alcohol, a stage where they played blue-grass Friday and Saturday nights, some discount NASCAR shopping tents, Gyro hut, Coco Bongos (virgin mixed drinks), the SpeedTV stage, a Kid's Zone. Some pics attached.
We had about 3-4 gyros, a half dozen virgin mixed drinks, a half dozen corn dogs. We walked back and forth from the entertainment area about twice daily. You have to make your own fun to fill the gaps.
Twenty years prior, Richard Petty won his last of 200 races. It was on July 4th at Daytona. The race was called the Pepsi 400 back then. It was recently renamed the Coke Zero 400. This video shows Richard Petty in his old familiar 43 STP pacing the field before this year's Coke Zero 400 on July 4th, exactly 25 years later.
The national anthem and flyover prior to the 2009 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. Sorry, my kids and I were singing along and my awful singing was closest to the mic.
The Subway Jalapeno 250 is the NASCAR Nationwide race at Daytona Speedway, the night before the Coke Zero 400. We were camped inside turn 4. Here's a pic of the Goodyear blimp.
Two pics of the flyover.
And a pic from atop the motorhome.
Kyle Busch finished 2nd to Clint Bowyer. Kyle has been on a roll this year in the NASCAR Nationwide series, finishing 1st or 2nd in most of the races. This was the first double-file restart race in the Nationwide series.
Video from the first Coke Zero 400 practice at Daytona raceway (2 weeks ago). We were allowed to enter the pit area (free) during this first practice.
We were at the Coke 400 on top of our RV inside turn 4 at Daytona. Tony takes out Kyle right in front of us. It was spectacularly awesome.
Tonigh I watched Dale, the Movie. It's a documentary about Dale Earnhardt's quest to win the Daytona 500 and his death at the very same race. Dale's triumphant race in 1998 and death in 2001 combined to put NASCAR where it is today.
The movie doesn't quite explain the details that made these races great. Here's some details that weren't made obvious in the movie. Darrel Waltrip, the long-time rival of Earnhardt's and one of the greatest NASCAR drivers ever, was announcing his first NASCAR race. He's the guy who says "Boogidy, boogidy, boogidy, let's go racing boys" on TV at the start of many of the NASCAR races. Darrel's brother Michael was driving one of Earnhardt's cars along with Dale's son, Dale Jr. Earnhardt was blocking the entire field in 3rd place with his two cars (Michael and Jr.) in 1st and 2nd, when his overly aggressive blocking sent him into the wall and his death. Darrel, the announcer, was in tears as he watched his brother win. That was also Michael's 1st win. Michael has since won a 2nd Daytona 500 and two other plate races (Daytona Pepsi 400 and Talladega). He has never won a non-plate race. After spending his entire life trying to win the big race, Dale Earnhardt Inc. (his company) won 3 out of the 4 races following his death; Michael Waltrip in 2001 and 2003 and Dale Jr. in 2004. In 2007, Kevin Harvick, who took over Dale Sr's car, also won the Daytona 500, giving Dale and his cars 5 wins in 10 races.
The documentary itself was still awesome. When I chose this movie last night, the kids asked "Is this one of those boring documentaries?" I told them that if it was too boring that we'd put another movie on. We watched the entire movie. My wife even joined us for the death scene, which we rewinded over and over.
Next week, we'll park the RV in the middle of the same very track. Our spot is about 100 feet from the spot where Dale's car came to rest on the grass. We'll be watching this movie in the RV line of sight from where it all actually happened.
This summer, I'm going to the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. We are parking in the infield RV parking on turn 4. We'll leave Brampton at noon on Sunday June 28th and return July 11th. We'll likely stop by Hersheypark on the return trip. Here's the racing schedule that weekend. It's gonna be awesome!
Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola Schedule
Thursday, July 2
2 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series practice
4 p.m. – 5:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice
5:30 p.m. - 6:25 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series practice
6:35 p.m. – 8 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice
Friday, July 3
1:05 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying (all positions)
4:10 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying (all positions)
5:30 p.m. NASCAR Nationwide Series autograph session (Sprint FANZONE)
8 p.m. Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Nationwide Series race (120 laps, 250 miles)
Saturday, July 4
8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.: Grand-Am Rolex Series practice
11 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.: Grand-Am Daytona Prototype qualifying
11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.: Grand-Am GT class qualifying
Noon – 12:30 p.m.: Grand-Am final practice
2 p.m. Brumos Porsche 250 Grand-Am Rolex Series race (70 laps, 250 miles or 2 ½ hours)
8 p.m. 51st annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race (160 laps, 400 miles)
Today, I won both the Nextel Chase for the Cup and the Daytona 500 on EASports' NASCAR 08. This game got horrible reviews, but it's the only video game to catch my fancy in the last decade.
In the my first year of Earning Your Stripes, I started in Whelen, although I had qualified for Craftsman (the 2nd level). I wanted to experience the entire game, but after winning by first 7 Whelen races, I decided to move up. Although I missed a couple of early season Craftsman races, I still won the entire series in my first year. Moving up to NNS proved difficult and took me about a year. This allowed me to win my 2nd Craftsman Truck Series title running away. In my 3rd year, I started in NNS and again won this series running away. The game didn't allow me to qualify for Nextel until the last 12 races of the season. I easily and quickly qualified. My teammate was Mark Martin and I was able to share draft him into winning the last couple races of the season and qualify for the Chase. I then share drafted him to victory a few times in the Chase, while putting Kurt Busch into the wall a half dozen times as he was winning enough to compete with Martin. Martin won the Chase with me pushing him across the finish line.
I was excited with the start of my 4th year with a chance to win the Nextel Cup and Daytona 500. I used my winnings to upgade my engine for the Daytona 500. Oops! The upgraded engine caused my tires to overheat and I had to pit earlier and more often than I had hoped. It took another race before I realized my mistake and corrected it by reducing my gear setup. I went on to win 23 of the 36 races. I then won the Daytona 500 in my 5th year and retired. I also won the NNS in my 4th year giving me 5 titles (2 Craftsman, 2 NNS and 1 Nextel).
Here's hoping NASCAR 09 is more challenging. NASCAR 08 is very intense and the career mode is awesome, but I found the game rather easy. The reviews of 09 seems to indicate I might get my wishes.
This last weekend, we camped in the middle of the Pocono Raceway and watched the Pennsylvania 500. The experience was awesome and we'll be doing this again every year. The infield camping area was a party. We watched the races from our motorhome's roof and from the infield fence-line. My kids cheered on Mark Martin, Dale Jr. and Jimmie Johnson. All three racers did well. Martin could've gambled on fuel to win the race, but took the safe route. Both Dale and Jimmy placed in the top 5. The kids will remember that weekend for the rest of their lives. I'm thinking Daytona and Indianapolis are in my future.
This week, we added forums for all the AAA, AA and most A ball teams.