Let’s hear it for the old guys
After Rusty Wallace’s win last weekend at Martinsville and Ricky Rudd’s pole performance for today’s Talladega race, I’ve got to go out and get one of those “Old Guys Rule” t-shirts!
Being of the “mature” persuasion myself, it’s good to see the veteran drivers hand the young lions their heads once in a while. Speaking of which, I had a lot of fun doing just that at The Next Level driving school at Reno-Fernley Raceway last weekend. If you missed my article about the experience in Wednesday’s Appeal, never fear. School founder E.T. Thomas has told me she wants me to take the second level of the school later this year, using the school’s race-prepped Camaro rather than my street car.
She didn’t have to ask twice! I’ll be filling you in on that experience sometime this summer or fall. By the way, if you want to test at the Reno-Fernley road course, you’ll have to have a valid competition license or be a graduate of The Next Level school. Operations at the road course are suspended right now, as paving is beginning on the second section of the course, which will lengthen the track to approximately 2.5 miles.
It was announced last week that Kenny Brack will not be competing in this year’s Indy 500 after all. Brack decided that he hadn’t recovered to 100 percent physical capacity after his horrendous accident at Texas Motor Speedway last season, but said he still intends to return to the IRL IndyCar series later this season. Brack had been tentatively scheduled to drive for Team Rahal along with Buddy Rice and Roger Yasukawa. Before I had the opportunity to call Bobby and ask if he was interested in hiring a recent graduate of The Next Level driving school, he tapped Vitor Meira for the ride. Oh, well. Rookie orientation is scheduled at the Speedway for tomorrow, and I probably couldn’t get off work anyway.
Although former winner Brack won’t be in the field for this year’s Indy 500, Sarah Fisher will. She has teamed up with Checkers Rally Stores and drive-in restaurants to drive the No. 39 car in the race. The team is affiliated with the Cure Autism Now (CAN) Foundation, and will donate up to $100,000 to the charity through sales of soft drinks. And if you’re interested, Checkers/Rally’s is also the Official Burger of the Brickyard 400
Another veteran driver that won’t be seen in this year’s Indy 500 is Robby Buhl. Buhl, driver and part owner of the Dreyer & Reinbold team’s Purex Dallara Chevrolet, announced his retirement last week, effective immediately. A replacement has not yet been named. Buhl was one of two remaining active drivers from the IRL’s first season in 1996.
Today is the first of four Desert Rose 100 open competition shows for Super Late Model stock cars at Champion Speedway here in Carson City. The show starts at 1:30 this afternoon, so set your Tivo or VCR to watch the Talladega Nextel Cup race, and get some live racing action into your life. General Manager Les Kynett assures me that upwards of 20 fast cars are expected from tracks all over Northern California plus our own local hot shoes. Besides, you can watch the Cup race in half the time when you get home if you zap the commercials.
I’ve spoken a couple of times in this space about the SPEED channel reality series “NBS 24/7,” which gives an inside look into the pressure cooker that is Busch Series racing. I’ve recently gotten hooked on another SPEED show, “Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain.” I’ve long been a fan of Despain’s, having watched him broadcast everything from motorcycle races to the Can Am series, but I think he’s finally found his niche in the talk show format.
He’s one of the most knowledgeable guys around on any aspect of Motorsports, and he has a down-home, easygoing way of dealing with callers and interview subjects alike. And he gets some of the best interview subjects: drivers who have just won a major race can’t wait to get on Despain’s show, which airs Monday through Thursday on SPEED at 7 p.m. If you haven’t caught “Wind Tunnel” yet, make time to do so. You won’t regret it.
Contact Roger Diez at email@example.com.