Monday, October 09, 2006

151st Army Band - UAW 500 - Talladega

image copyright Wes Freed 08/06

What a kooky race. Cecil left message on the answering machine directly after the race ended (a/k/a "Poached Raisch") to inform me that the race had ended, he had no idea who won or what was going on, but assured me that he and Rankin' Rob had nothing to do with any debris thrown onto the track after Brian Vickers's incredibly unpopular "oops!" win. Poor kid gets his first win after how many years, and he's met with the fucking loudest boos I've ever heard at a Cup race. 140,000 drunk, crazy rednecks just screaming their lungs out.

Ya see (Jinxy), Dale Earnhardt Jr. is The Man at Talladega. Of the hundred and forty plus people in attendance, at least half were sporting red shirts representing Jr. & his sponsor Budweiser. Junior was leading on the last lap. Jimmy Johnson (who is not terribly popular with the Dega crowd) was right on his tail, but it looked like Junior could stave him off. Johnson peeked around Junior's underside to try to make one final attempt to pass him and win the race just a heartbeat before the checkered flag.

BUT! Johnson's soon to be ex-team mate, Brian Vickers - Excitable Boy that he is - tried to "help" Johnson scootch up past Junior, and well... he kinda wrecked both of them as he went on to take the checkered flag. Poor kid. What a shitty way to win. I felt sorry for him. If Earhnhardt Sr. woulda pulled that, the crowd would've cheered wildly and said "That's just racin'!!" to anyone who was a fan of whoever Ironhead would have wrecked. But it wasn't Ironhead. It was Howdy Doody. Poor kid.

That 25 car that Vickers won in is widely known as being jinxed. The late Tim Richmond, who died of AIDS complications, was the last to have a win in that car. (I think.) After that Ken Schrader drove it for awhile with no luck at all. It's a Hendricks car, and all the rest of the cars in that stable have always been mighty. But not the 25 car. Makes ya wonder. Especially since Rick Hendricks's son Ricky (who was killed in that horrible plane crash on the way to Martinsville a couple years back) had hand-picked Vickers to drive that car.

So anyhow...

THE INVOCATION: Reverend Mike Jackson, Alabama Raceway Ministries. Rev. Jackson's sermon was plain and sincere without any lighthearted racing references, merely an emphasis on keeping everyone safe. When you come screaming around a turn at 195 mph in the middle of 43 complete maniacs, you tend to worry about folks getting hurt.

As Ken Schrader's son said, when asked if he was going to be a race car driver like his daddy, "I dunno.... looks kinda dangerous to me."

NATIONAL ANTHEM: performed by The 151st Army Band, Alabama National Guard.

Unless you get somebody really cool to sing the anthem, somelike like, say, Billy Joe Shaver, I think a nice army band is the way to go. (Although the choir before the Craftsman Truck Race was very nice.) These ladies and gentlemen did a lovely job, nothing kooky or fancy. Unfortunately the snare drum did rimshots through the entire song, which was totally right on and effective, just waaaaaay too loud. Sounded like a June Bug in a coffee can. Kinda annoying.

Still, nothing you could do about that.

FOUR STARS from Dixie.

THE COMMAND: Director of UAW Region 8, Gary Casteel, had a little "ooomph" to him, but he got all wordy. "For all the men and women of the United Auto Workers and Ford Motor Company, Gentlemen! Start your engines!!" He mighta packed a little more punch if he hadn't run out of breath sayin' 'hey' to everyone, but it was what it was. It wasn't so bad his wife & kids would be ashamed or anything.


I think it's interesting that all of this past weekend's ceremonies were some of the most traditional and tasteful examples of any race this year when Talladega is infamous for state-of-the-art redneckery.


Blogger Jinxy said...

O.K., between your post and Rob's, I'm definitely going to watch the race there next year.

I hate NASCAR, but I will watch it for the Redneck debauchery.

Unless there's a college football game on.

I think Akron plays Murray State.

Can't miss that one.

Also, there's actually a "Alabama Raceway Ministries"?

Who knew.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright by goddammit. I'm gonna catch Brian Vickers and stuff him ass up in a barrel, and drop him off on a dark corner in the gayest part of Midtown Atlanta with a sign saying "Free Pecker Massages! Poke here!" stuck on his back. That will teach him to mess with Junior's obvious victory. I'm still mad. By God.

Remus Dawson

6:09 PM  
Blogger The Dixie Butcher said...

Awwww, c'mon, Remus, have a heart! That poor red-headed step-child was gonna come out a villain regardless of what he did at that point. If he woulda stuck with Jr., he certainly woulda pushed Jr. to the win and had to listen to the #48 whine about him not being a team player. If you reassess the whole scenario, it's actually all Jimmie Johnson's fault - had he not waited until the last fucking minute, he might coulda got it done with Vickers's assistance, but he procrastinated.

To Jr.'s credit, he was in a pretty jolly mood post-race. Complimented Vickers and him and Tony Eury Sr. were actually laughing about something.

Also kudos to Jeff Gordon, who, despite the way the way the reports look in the newspapers, was tying not to talk about Jr. at all, and when he was forced to, he was being complimentary, but the reporters were trying to put words in his mouth.

Jinxy, of course there's a raceway ministry! For heaven's sake!! On race days, Talladega is the third largest city in Alabama. They have a court and jail in the infield!! You'd best believe they got some preachers scootin' around, too. Preventative medicine, maybe?

9:47 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Talladega blows. Take off those plates, dadgummit!

1:38 PM  

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