There is only ONE Oklahoma

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It Never Gets Old

Another TMS race weekend has come and gone and as usual, the weekend can only be called a success. A few quick hits from the week's activities.

You never know who you are going to meet
A full week before the race, we take the RV to the track and begin a small set-up of the camp site. It just is much easier to do as the areas have not filled up and there is more room to maneuver and get parked. But while waiting in line to fill the water tank at the track, Kevin Harvick's motor coach driver pulls up in a very nice rig. Instead of going back to North Carolina after the Busch race in Nashville, he simply made the haul to Ft. Worth.

A ticking time bomb
We have all heard and read about the storms that blew through the track area Friday evening and the praise for the Motor Speedway being pro-active, but lets be realistic here. There are very few places in this world that are fully prepared to evacuate over 90,000 RVers and campers to 'safety' at a race, football stadium or festival. While TMS did make attempts to let people know that there was bad weather approaching, the problem was where to go, and how long it would take to get there. By the time that our camping area was notified to 'take cover' and head 'under the track grandstands', the impending storms were just 'minutes away'. Being over a mile from this 'shelter', there was not nearly enough time so like most campers, we just had to ride the storm out. Thankfully for us, the brunt of the storm seem to split the track area and pretty much missed us . Just a bit of high wind and heavy rain for about 5 minutes, followed by a rainbow and even some sunshine. But someday the unthinkable will happen, and a storm will hit a venue filled with fans (be it a football game, race, or concert) and yes, there will be finger pointing for responsibility. My only question would be, 'just where does that many people go, on such short notice'?

Another reason not to watch the Busch Wackers!
The unseasonably cold weather Saturday gave me just one more excuse not to attend that day's race. So once again, Okla21fan gives his tickets away to some RVers who wanted to go. According to them, they had a great time. I also had a great time watching the broadcast on the TeVee at the campsite. Gotta love Dish Network.

Texas is becoming more and more bi-lingual
And listening to the the 19's scanner chat, one would think that the driver/Crew Chief conversation were just as bi-lingual. As they certainly don't seem to be on the same page. But then again, this problem has haunted the driver over the years when it came to communication with his crew chiefs, so I am not surprised that this has continued. I really don't have an answer or solution other than to site an observation from some other successful race teams. Those teams seem to have someone (be it the driver or the CC) that has the hammer when it comes to making the calls. It seems that both the 19 driver and his CC are walking on eggshells when it comes to making early race chassis changes. To me, this is the CC's responsibility, and the driver's job is to report what the car is doing, and how the changes effected the car, and of course to drive. But don't tell that to some of the old-school drivers like Rusty Wallace or Mark Martin.

Score five bonus point for 'Spotterman'
The year after the 'Southern Gentleman' made his only Chase run, one of my biggest complaints about the team was their lack of situational awareness when it came to 'stealing' five bonus points for leading a race. This was especially disconcerting when the team would be deep in the pack, and were going to make some pretty big chassis changes under the caution thus re-starting at the tail of the field. I counted over 50 points of 'opportunity' that was missed in that season. While that is not a huge deal, it very well could be the difference in making the Chase or not this season. Well, 'Spotterman' must be on the same page, as coming out of turn four, he suggested to stay out and not pit, thus leading a lap and getting five bonus points. This would have been the only opportunity for the 19 to do this the rest of the 200 or so laps remaining in the race. The 'keystone cop' banter from the driver and CC on the following lap concerning if they pitted or not and would they still lead a lap only goes further to show the need for a 'in race strategy' coach, to pre-determine these calls. But still a nice call by the eyes in the sky, now just figure out the Monday thru Thursday stuff!

Who says nice guys finish last
Sure was great to see the last 20 or so laps and really not knowing who was going to drive into victory lane. No need to use the chrome horn, not 'moving' the guy in front of you. Just some could old fashion door to door, making a run, lifting when the pass was not quite completed to avoid hitting the other guy. Both drivers involved in that shootout should be commended for their clean racing of each other. I for one, enjoyed it. (but then again, i enjoyed the last few laps at Mville a couple of weeks ago simply because both drivers tried to win the race as cleanly as possible).

Eddie gets it right again

TMS General Manager Eddie Gossage must be proud of his legacy that he is building as each race passes. Not only does he put a good product out on the track, he also does his best to make sure the the Nascar race day fan has the most enjoyable experience possible. It seems that each year there is some tweaking that I notice and this year it was the advertising on a couple of portions covering the backstretch seating. Knowing that TMS (and few other two race date venues) will completely sell out their seating. Gossage decides to not let that space go unused. Instead he sells that space for advertising and I am guessing the gross sales of that advertising was more than what would have been the gross sales for those 10,000 or so tickets. Even with those unused seats, TMS still is a top 5 draw when it comes to race day attendance. But there will always be someone who will complain about that. You can bet on that. After all, most race venues use there back stretch for 50 or so Prevost Motor Coaches, instead of over 30,000 grandstand seating and thats just fine and dandy. Not an empty seat could be seen on the 'world longest continuous grandstand ' representing over 125,000 race fans.

1 comment:

Vroom! said...

I like your new blogger look, you Boomers know how to get powdered up.

Fotos from TMS are gr8!