KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race
The end of the week is here. The keyboard is oiled up, and hopefully its user is not. Let’s get right with it. This week’s Friday Morning Heat Race through the racing world is 10 laps in length.
1. Lynyrd Skynyrd is playing a pre-race concert prior to the Labor Day weekend Sept. 4 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. We’ve long wondered why the Southern Rock legends aren’t on the bill for every NASCAR weekend? It’s a match made in heaven.
2. It seemed strange to this observer that Brian France took the upturn in NASCAR’s television ratings in stride during a news conference earlier this week. It would have been our advice for him to proudly announce NASCAR as back and it’s because of the fantastic racing during the first three races. While that may not be entirely true, when you get a wave, ride it like the wind. Opportunity missed in our book.
3. Yellow flag. Being penalized by the NCAA for accepting improper benefits because I took a complimentary drink from Penske Racing’s hospitality area in 1999. Oh, the NCAA doesn’t govern racing. That’s good news.
4. The IndyCar Series season begins in two weeks and still no ride for Tony Kanaan.
5. If he qualifies for the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500, John Andretti will have raced at Indianapolis in four different decades. He’s 48 years old tomorrow (March 12).
6. If you live in the Charlotte area, you like racing and enjoy festivals, head out to Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday and check out Charlotte SpeedFest, which will include participation from many of the NASCAR teams and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
7. Speaking of Charlotte Motor Speedway, we heard they are having the ridiculous burnout contest prior to the All-Star Race again. Wonder how much $4 per gallon fuel they will waste this year. Here’s our alternative idea. Take the gas money and give fuel cards to fans who traveled long distances to attend the event. And even better make them run relay races, eat large amounts of fried chicken or yodel “JoonYour” in order to win a gas card. That beat’s the hell out of a burnout.
8. Keep an eye out for Kyle Larson this weekend. The teenager, who has a solid midget ride with Keith Kunz this season, and won last year’s Golden State Challenge title, may do double duty at Silver Dollar Speedway this weekend, racing in midgets and with the World of Outlaws during two nights of dirt-track action at the quarter-mile oval. Larson has already won in a midget and in ASCS National sprint-car competition this season.
9. Amazingly, Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya and Australian Marcos Ambrose finished third and fourth in last week’s Sprint Cup race and NSSN received no letters calling for “foreigners” to be banned from NASCAR racing.
10. With NHRA officially kicking off its 60th anniversary celebration at this weekend’s Gatornationals, it’s the appropriate time to say I miss the days when The Snake, Big Daddy, Cha Cha and The Mongoose were the stars of the show. Now, outside of John Force, there is very little personality remaining in the straightline sport.