April 29, 2008
Bobby Allison is a tough act to follow. Add to the Hall of Famer a roster of Boris Said, ARCA Insider and former Talladega winner, Phil Parsons, ARCA Iowa winner Matt Hawkins and Red Bull crew chief Patrick Donahue….. Well Steve had a big show to live up to. And he did!
Today – with prayers to the live radio gods – ON PIT ROW will have David Ragan to talk about a week that included a road course in Mexico, plate races in Talladega and short track testing in Toledo.
Later we’ll have Yates Racing driver David Gilliland and one other surprise guest. You’ll have to tune in or come on out to the Toledo Speedway Bar & Grill for that one.
INSIDE ARCA will feature ARCA RE/MAX Series points leader Matt Carter, a return visit from Patrick Donahue – this time as the crew chief of the Kansas 150 Grand winning #2 driven by Scott Speed.
Our ARCA Insider Phil Parsons will be here for his weekly look into the ARCA RE/MAX Series and Kansas Race winner Scott Speed will join us as well.
Rounding out the night of ON PIT RADIO is the ARCA Short Track Report with guests Michigan Motorsports Hall of Famer, Gary Lindahl and ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series points leader Steve Christman to talk about his win at Anderson Speedway.
So what are ya’ gonna do next week Steve?
UPDATE: The surprise guest was Andy Hillenburg, owner of The Rock – Rockingham Speedway - and is Andy ever pumped for this week’s Carolina 500! Did you know that they are going to start 50 ARCA RE/MAX cars in that race? Can’t wait.
Photo credit: Icon Sports Media, Inc.
April 26, 2008
Race Day. Up at 5:00am. Shower. Breakfast. Coffee, eggs, grits, ham with red eye gravy. I arrive at the track at 7:00am. We meet in the Media center coffee, doughnuts and cookies are available for the drivers and friends and family who have come along for support.
Check-in includes showing the confirmation letter and signing a one page release form. I have no clue what I really signed, I could’ve been giving away all my worldly possessions to some freaky cult. Aside from the check-in tables, there were about 20 rows of chairs in the room facing an approximately 52” flat screen TV on which they were running a DVD overview/ad for the Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure.
At 7:30am they asked us to have a seat. The future drivers were easy to spot -they sort of had that deer-in-the-headlights stare. I was strangely calm. When they started the class, I listened intently to how to find my line, when to shift, how to pass (there would be five other drivers on the track) and most importantly how to avoid kissing the wall. Each driver also would have an in-car instructor. He would be there to give me hand signals on how to drive and maybe a nudge or two to keep me in line. I studied the chart that had the hand signals on it that I would be receiving while on the track. Thumb left; move down; Thumb right: move up; Thumb up: Speed up; Thumb down: Slow down; Fist: Brake; One finger: Shift into first; Two fingers: Shift into second; Three fingers: Shift into third etc. After the class, everyone headed to the pits and were given a ride in the dualies to get the feel for the track. When you are down on the apron, Talladega looks like a wall. My first thought while riding around the apron was ‘No way I’m gonna be driving up there!’ Next my instructor drove up on the 33deg bank and stopped the truck dead. He wanted to show that it would not fall off the steep bank. I, however, had to hang on to the hand strap to keep from ending up in the instructor’s lap. I attentively watched how he moved on the track and got the feel for how to follow the line.
Afterwards, I headed over to the pit area to be fitted for a fire suit and helmet. Then, I went to a table that asked the one and only question of the day : “How tall are you?” I am apparently the same height as Joe Nemecheck because I was assigned to his car. The day was overcast and drizzly and there was a wet spot on the track that needed to be dried so
we were delayed until it was cleaned up. In the meantime, the instructors took all the friends and family members for rides around the track in the dualies. Finally, the time had come. I donned my skull cap and helmet and climbed into Joe’s car and the instructor told me to push the clutch all the way to the floor to make sure I could reach. Then the pit crew
strapped me in (although the guy in charge of connecting the buckle across my crotch was hesitant to reach down and latch me in.) ‘Uh I gotta ….’ He said, and gestured towards my nether regions. I chuckled and replied ‘Strap ‘er in!’ He gave the device one last pull and reached over and turned the ignition on. The car rumbled to a start. The pit crew walked
around the car giving it a final once over then gave the ‘O.K’ to move out.
The next thing I saw, was my instructor’s index finger in my peripheral vision (The sign to shift into first) I was on my way. I drove around the apron gaining speed ; Thumb right; up I went. The Thumbs up: Oh man! Here I go! I pushed my foot down and felt the car speed up. 100mph. I watched the wall coming at me as I constantly guided the wheel left. 120mph.
Lap2: The wall seemed to always be directly in front of me. Keep steering left. At that moment, I was totally convinced that I would hit the wall soon. I felt the icy coldness that turns into paralyzing fear. ‘OMG!’ I thought, ‘I can’t do this! Get me the Hell off this track before I kill myself!’ But then, I remembered that icy road in Kentucky and all the fear melted away. The instructor gave the wheel a little nudge and I focused on my line.
Lap 3: I settled in and started to get the hang of where to move the car. 150mph.
Lap 4: Thumb Left. My car is merrily moving up the track where it wants to be and now I have to move it down to pass someone. Slight nudge. ‘O.K! O.K! I’m moving! Whew! That’s over!’ I’m thinking, ‘I’m nervous out here with five other drivers, I can’t imagine what it would be like with 43 cars out here. Wow.’ I consider the fact that in most sports the participant is pretty confident that they will walk away after it’s over. A race car driver knows there is always a chance they won’t.
Lap 5: Thumb Up. I push down on the accelerator. At this point, the lines on the track appear like dots. Very focused. My instructor gives a nudge to the right on the wheel. I am suddenly right up against the wall. You know – where they said not to go. WTF? Then…
Lap 6: Thumb Up Going faster. Thinking about the speed. The car in it’s line. Checkered Flag. 163mph. Thumb Left. I veer down onto the apron. Thumb Down. I take my foot off the accelerator and feel the car coast.
Turning into the pits. Hard Fist: I put my foot on the brake and come to a stop just barely missing a flustered pit crew member. I’m laughing. My instructor is laughing. He says, “It’s not as easy as it looks!” I reply, “Oh Hell No!”
Photo credit: BethAnne Heisler – ON PIT ROW
April 25, 2008
It was February in Northwest Ohio. A time plagued with seemingly endless weeks of cold, wind, sleet and snow. As often happens that time of year, I had thoughts of heading south .
I had won a three lap ride from The Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure and going to Alabama for a few days of relief from the ‘Great White North’ was very appealing. Besides…Racing…So I gave the DJRA base camp in North Carolina call and made a reservation. Then, I decided that a 3-lap ride just wasn’t for me– so I upgraded to a 6 lap drive. I mean, if I was just looking for speed I’d go hop on a roller coaster. I mean how many chances will I get to drive a Cup car?
My drive was scheduled for the 7:30am session on a Saturday so I decided to drive down on Thursday and have time to acclimate myself to the area. It’s approximately a 12 hr drive from where I live to Talladega, so figuring in stops for food, gas, etc. I decided to get up and head out about 4:00am. Now my brain starts processing the reality that I am actually going to be driving a race car on Talladega Superspeedway. It seems unreal. I’m conjuring up mental worse case scenarios. It’s been a while since I’ve driven a stick and I keep hearing that the clutch in these cars is tricky. So I’m picturing myself stalling endlessly in the pits trying to get out on the track. Or maybe I’ll freak out and slam the damn thing into the wall. Possibly, I’ll simply be a wuss and not get the car over 80mph …..Nah….
As it turns out, the ride down to Alabama was far more frightening than driving a cup car. Cruising along I75 at about 75mph most of the way things were looking good very few slow downs due to construction, the traffic was moving fluidly except for the steady sprinkling of rain everything was going smoothly-that should’ve been my first warning. Suddenly, about 20m from the border of Tennessee the black pick-up truck directly in front of me abruptly veers off an slams into the side of the mountain and flips over on its cab. I take my foot off the accelerator and let the car coast. I can feel the tires wanting to slide sideways. In a matter of seconds, the road has become one gigantic skating rink. In front of me are a row of semis not driving more than 5mph heading down a steep downgrade and all along the sides of both south and north bound I75 are vehicles waylaid by the road conditions. (I stopped counting after 8).
One hour and five white knuckle miles later, the road is clear as if there was never any ice at all. It was at that moment that any trepidations I was experiencing about Talladega melted away. After all, in the Cup car, I would be protected by a steel roll cage, strapped in by a Hans device, protected by a helmet, Safer Barriers and surrounded by various other safety precautions not included in your standard passenger vehicle traveling down your local highway. When I arrived, I spent the evening just chillin’.
On Friday morning, I left my hotel and headed over to the track so I could time how long it takes to get there (I so totally don’t want to be late on Saturday). While there, I visited the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum. In the silence of being the only one there and looking at the cars of legends and personal favorites like Richard Petty, Fireball Roberts, Bill Elliott, Shawna Robinson, Patty Moise and Louise Smith, I felt like I was in church. I was keenly aware of the rawness of the inside of the vehicle, thinking of a person rattling around in a sparsely padded passenger compartment for hours sometimes in unbearable heat was awe inspiring. (especially after how uncomfortable I felt after my 12 hours in a cushy vehicle) I took it all in like an unspoken prayer. Then, in a moment of pure orneriness, I grab my cell phone “Hey Steve, guess who’s car I’m standing in front of right now? I’ll give you a hint: he holds the fastest Qualifying record…” (He’s a big Bill Elliott fan) Yeah, I had to rub it in.
Part two tomorrow. Come on back.
Photo credit: BethAnne Heisler – ON PIT ROW
April 22, 2008
NASCAR legend Bobby Allison will head another stellar cast of contributors to our weekly night of racin’ chat, broadcast live from the Toledo Speedway.
ON PIT ROW will start the night with Fox Sports senior writer Lee Spencer and her insight into everything NASCAR. Lee is one of our favorite people and she always has the good stuff on what’s happening at the track and in the garages.
Bobby Allison will return for his third time ON PIT ROW. Who could be better than one of the original Alabama Boys to talk about Talladega and NASCAR.
The On Pit Radio night continues from the Speedway with INSIDE ARCA. Listen live to The ARCA RE/MAX Power Hour featuring Iowa winner Matt Hawkins.
We’ll check in with our ARCA Insider Phil Parsons and get the scoop on the Iowa weekend and what to look for at Kansas. Crew chief Patrick Donahue will be back with more on the nuts and bolts of running an ARCA operation.
The ARCA Short Track Report will feature short track veteran Ron Allen who is closing in on his 100th ARCA victory.
You can listen to all of this right here as well as at ArcaRacing.com for the ARCA programming.
Update! Steve-O came through again! Special guest at 6:05 PM EDT – Boris Said!
April 21, 2008
Rowdy has made the 2008 NASCAR seasons; Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck, look easy. As Charlie wrote earlier in “Is Kyle Busch the best driver in NASCAR..” The Shrub has been having an unbelievable season so far.
Ambrose and Boris Said had a run in early in the race on Sunday. Said was mad enough to let everyone know his displeasure with Ambrose:
“Just cheap-shotted me and took me out, He hooked my left rear in turn one. He had me sideways for a while and then just turned me around. … I’m not going to cry about it, but I’m going to go apologize to his crew chief because it’s going to cost him a car.”
This type of controversy has become standard when the Nationwide Series moves across the border, whether its north or south.
Rowdy’s win in Mexico City leads to this weeks BUZZ ON PIT ROW:
Kyle Busch leads the Nationwide and Truck Series and is second in Sprint Cup. Is he now the best driver in NASCAR?
photo credit: Icon Sports Media
April 9, 2008
In the preview post for yesterday’s ON PIT RADIO night at historic Toledo Speedway I mentioned a possible, surprise guest. Well that guest was Ron Drager, president of ARCA.
Ron joined us on the Speedway stage and shared with our audience the state of the ARCA RE/MAX Series including the extension of the series sponsorship agreement with RE/MAX through the 2011 season. He pointed out that, despite the rather depressed state of the housing and real estate market, RE/MAX sees the value of motorsport sponsorship via ARCA’s top series.
There was much more to the interview. There will be a podcast of the entire show at ARCA’s website soon. We’ll let you know when it’s up.
Photo credit: BethAnne Heisler – ON PIT ROW
April 8, 2008
Scott Riggs, driver of the #66 State Water Heaters Chevy for Haas CNC Racing will be one of many guests tonight as ON PIT ROW helps to kick off the race season at historic Toledo Speedway.
Scott is fresh off his 27th place finish at Texas Motor Speedway and he and crew chief Bootie Barker have the #66 solidly in the critical top thirty five of owner’s points. Riggs is a veteran – and race former winner – of the ARCA RE/MAX Series so he’s a great guest for our first ever hour of ON PIT RADIO night from the Speedway.
David Poole of The Charlotte Observer and Sirius’ “The Morning Drive” will be around for the 6:30 pm slot to talk about what – if anything – NASCAR needs to do to the new car.
ARCA star Justin Allgaier will be the first guest ever “Inside the ARCA RE/MAX Series” live from the Speedway Bar and Grill. Justin is one of the favorites this weekend at Salem Speedway after winning the fall 2007 race there.
Ron Varney, head man with the ASA will stop by to talk about the big Glass Breaker 125 for ASA Late Models and USPRO Cup Series races that will be hosted by Toledo Speedway this weekend.
And there’s more, including the strong possibility of a special surprise guest. But that’s the beauty of live radio. You just never know for sure what you’ll get. So stop by the Toledo Speedway Bar and Grill if you can. If not tune in to ON PIT ROW on any On pit Radio Network station or listen to the live streaming broadcast right here at OnPitRow.com.
Inside the ARCA RE/MAX Series can be heard on live stream at ArcaRacing.com and Wednesday nights at midnight on Fox Sports Radio WCWA 1230 am in NW Ohio.
April 3, 2008
Bench Racing Productions, parent company of ON PIT ROW, has agreed to produce a ninety minute radio show focusing on the ARCA Remax Series as well as local racing action at ARCA owned Toledo and Flat Rock Speedways.
INSIDE THE ARCA REMAX SERIES and INSIDE THE ARCA SHORT TRACKS will debut on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 7pm ET and can be heard live via the internet at www.arcaracing.com. The show will also be broadcast, on a taped delay basis, in Toledo, Ohio on Fox Sports Radio-1230-WCWA at midnight on Wednesdays.
Steve and Charlie, The Pit Crew, will be joined weekly by the stars and personalities that make up the ARCA Remax Series from 7 to 8pm. Then at 8pm the focus shifts to the local racing scene of Toledo and Flat Rock Speedways. Track announcer, Gary Lindahl, will join The Pit Crew to review race results and follow the local teams and drivers and their stories.
The new block of ARCA programming will join ON PIT ROW; being broadcast live from the Toledo Speedway Bar and Grill, located just off the front stretch of Toledo Speedway on Benore Rd in Toledo, Ohio. Fans, race teams and sponsors are encouraged to attend the live three and a half hour broadcast to talk racing and take advantage of food and drink specials, sure to add to the party atmosphere.
photo credit: Icon Sports Media