OK, I lied about basking in the sun in Monterey last Sunday. It was cold and rainy there Sunday morning, but the weather didn't dampen the spirits of the Cherry's Jubilee car show.
It did, however, dampen the race track at Laguna Seca, where the show is held. I had the opportunity to ride shotgun in an all-wheel-drive Porsche 996 on the damp track, at the hands of a Porsche racing instructor. And busy hands they were, as even the all-wheel-drive system had a little difficulty getting the power down without the car getting tail-happy in the corners. It was a rush, but I was wishing I had a steering wheel and a brake pedal on my side of the car!
Even as the racing season winds down, there's plenty to talk about, both locally and nationally.
Remember that recent TV series, "Men Behaving Badly?" If they revive that show, Robby Gordon should definitely get a call for a guest appearance at least. In what was probably one of the stupidest moves any race car driver has made in 2004, Gordon crashed Greg Biffle at New Hampshire last Sunday in retaliation for an earlier incident, and took two of the Chase for the Cup competitors out in the process.
Tony Stewart and Jeremy Mayfield now only have a slim chance at the title, thanks to Robby. The dumbest part is that he announced on the radio to his crew that he intended to take Biffle out! Gordon, who left the track holding a middle finger aloft to the assembled press, later apologized to all concerned. NASCAR penalized Gordon two laps during the race for the incident, but team owner Richard Childress meted out a harsher penalty, putting Gordon on team probation for the remainder of the season. Robby will probably be looking for a ride in 2005.
While we're on the subject of the Chase for the Cup, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is tied with Kurt Busch after New Hampshire. Junior is listed in first because he has more wins in the "regular season." If the old points system were still in place, Jeff Gordon would be in the lead by 42 points instead of in third, nine points back. And don't think lots of people aren't keeping score!
In other NASCAR news, Sarah Fisher, who has been notably absent from the IRL IndyCar Series this year, is getting a stock-car ride. Fisher is entered in the Subway 150 for NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series at Phoenix on October 3.
She will drive the No. 20 NAPA Filters Chevrolet fielded by Bill McAnally Racing. It will be a new experience for Fisher, who is an open-wheel veteran at 23, and only the third woman to qualify for the Indy 500. She will team with Austin Cameron, who currently sits second in series points. No word yet on whether this is a one-off drive, or whether Fisher will drive regularly for McAnally in 2005.
And speaking of female racers, congratulations to young Mackena Bell for winning the Lady Legends Dash for Cash at Champion last Saturday night after posting second-fast qualifying time of 16 cars. Unfortunately, her evening went downhill from there, ending with a totaled race car after getting caught up in someone else's accident. Fortunately, she escaped injury, but is now looking for a new Legends car. She is still racing her 125cc Outlaw Kart, and is currently third in season points in the QRC Cup with one race to go.
On the subject of Outlaw Karts, it is my sad duty to report the passing of Marvin Schaaf, father of Outlaw Kart racer Tyler Schaaf. Tyler, a resident of Milford, Calif., has been racing in Carson City since 1999, first at Fuji Park, and more recently at Thunder Bowl Speedway in Mound House.
The Purcell family of Carson City has taken Tyler under their wing and will see to it that he finishes out the season. A fund has also been established to help Tyler continue racing. Donations can be made to: Tyler Schaaf Racing Fund, c/o QRC Karts, 22805 Antelope Blvd., Red Bluff, Calif. 96080.
Roger Diez is the Nevada Appeal Motorsports Columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.