Playing The Race Card


Catching Up With Opie….

No, No….

     This is not about that tremendously overused and trite statement that has become prevalent in American rhetoric.

     That statement irks me about as much as “doing work that Americans just won’t do” and is also right up there with the propensity for the news media to use ‘gate’ as a suffix to any scandal….

But I’ll touch on those things at some other time…some other post…

     This is, again, my patient readers (Why does that make me think of ‘A Clockwork Orange’?) about auto racing.

     I have been missing from my own blog post for longer than ever and have been trying to….well…experience, and survive,  life.  (Got a few things to talk about…)

  And to borrow from Jerry Garcia…

“…what a long, strange trip it’s been…”

     This past weekend was the 19th running of the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis.

     That race was held on Sunday, but starting on Thursday, I covered four other races (and skipped one), so it’s a full weekend of motor sports.

     I will have to admit, the smell of burning fuel and rubber has become a sensory experience that I have grown accustomed to….and, as many sensory experiences go, it conjures a certain thrill.  And the ‘visuals’, aside from the racing, are….well….

(BTW….for what it’s worth… I, like Mitt Romney, know more race car owners than fans. Though I have never had to defend my success to anyone. I wish I had to!!)

  The Grand Marshall of the Brickyard 400 was none other than Ron Howard.


     I know he is a great film director, but for someone my age, he is still Opie Taylor!

Sorry, Ron…

     (I once saw him on The Letterman Show wearing a t-shirt that read “Call Me Opie and I’ll Kick Your A**!”

(So I didn’t call him that!!)

IDK…. there’s something about seeing ‘Opie’ (again, sorry Ron) behind the wheel of a Corvette that just doesn’t fit with my memories… but it didn’t stop me from jumping out in front of him to grab a picture….)


     On Thursday night the Midgets and Silver Crown cars raced on the short track at Lucas Oil Raceway (formerly O’Reilly Race Park)

Here’s a couple of shots of a little rough and tumble action…

   You can click on each one to make it larger….but no matter how often you click, they won’t get any sharper…. partially due to equipment capabilities…partially due to the “Oh look out!…look what’s happening!” factor.

Nobody hurt….well…physically, anyway!

     Friday was the first ever GrandAm road race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Not quite as grueling as the 24-hours at Daytona, but historical, in auto racing, nonetheless.

     On Sunday morning I was asked to ‘cover’ pace car rides for members of the Contemporary Christian band “No Other Name” and the guys from K-Love, a Christian radio station who sponsor Michael McDowell’s Curb/Agajanian car. Michael’s car was disqualified due to a mechanical error, so Michael was gracious enough to drive the pace car for his sponsors.

After all the rides were done, Michael asked if I would like to take a spin…..

What could I say to that?      Uh, YEAH!

     As I was trying to wrangle the back seat seatbelt around myself and my camera bag, Michael looked back and with his boyish grin said,

“Yeah…that’s probably good… but if we hit something, you’re going to need more than that!”

      Somehow, that didn’t phase me. I had supreme confidence that if this guy could work his way around the track for 3 hours at 170 mph, with only inches between himself and a ‘magic carpet ride’, a quick one lap jaunt in a 2012 Camaro was a Sunday drive.

       I had the camera to my eye through almost the entire lap, and wished later that I had spent a little time simply enjoying the ride…all….what?….. 2 minutes?

     I guess it was akin to riding the world’s greatest roller coaster while studying the amusement park map to ascertain the location of the next thrill.

I’m told that we hit 140 mph on the backstretch.

Don’t try this at home!!!!!

Oh, yeah…

Here we are ‘Catching up with Opie’ as he practiced his role…

Tus-ca-Roar-uh!! (Probably only diehard “Andy of Mayberry” fans will understand…)

     The National Anthem, on Sunday, before the Brickyard 400 was sung by Raul Malo, formerly the lead singer for The Mavericks and…

He nailed it!!!!

No useless, ostentatious ornamentation.

Just a beautiful voice singing a….maybe not so beautiful, yet hopefully still important song…Or…Theme.   Quite possibly the best version I’ve ever heard!

     At this moment, I was far enough away to give up on the camera and just listen.

I was lucky!

     Though I’m still a novice at the actual mechanics and personalities of racing, I find that there are some ‘visuals’ that I can’t resist.





~ by rkpowers on August 9, 2012.

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