When your time comes Buddy, I hope you will do the same and go to God with a smile. You’ll have the love of everyone that ever knew you to carry you home. We, all of us, will be the wind beneath your wings on that flight dear man. Just know that you were loved, not just by some, but by all; not just a little, but a lot. Bon voyage, Aufweidersehen, Sayonara, Adieu, but most of all, Vaya con Dios… Go with God. An angel on earth will then be an Angel in Heaven.
Until we meet again…
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and extend a hand of welcome to our assigned NASCAR person, reading here today. You really didn’t get the short straw. We usually generate some very interesting conversation here, and unlike some of the bigger sites… nascar.com… our readers respond with sense and knowledge far beyond those that can’t do better than “NASCAR sucks”, or other such generalizations.
This weekend our next adventure takes us to the land of bluegrass and Bourbon, that little traffic jam in Sparta called Kentucky Speedway. As usual, partner Jim has provided me with a map denoting the presence or absence of SAFER barriers on the Kentucky walls.
This time, he sent the map with kind of a groan, as it shows the greatest lack of SAFER barriers of any track we’ve visited so far this year. Let’s take a look at what he sent.
Wow! That is decidedly a barren landscape, where safety is concerned. I see SAFER barriers only in the turns, and only on the outside of those. The backstretch and front tri-oval are completely devoid on the outside, and the only SAFER on the entire inside wall is that tiny stretch of green we see on the backstretch, where it’s probably safe to assume a wreck of some magnitude mandated that SAFER be erected in that area. It appears that no one bit the bullet and added an extra inch or two, either on purpose or by mistake.
But… before we condemn, these maps are not always as current as one might like. This one gives an imagery date of 9/22/14, and a lot can change in 10 months. According to what I could find on the World Wide Web, there probably has been some addition since the Kyle Busch accident at Daytona in February. The following comes from Jayski.com, dated 2/24/15, so at that point, it was but a promise. Let’s hope that at least the promise has been kept.
Kentucky Speedway adding SAFER barriers to walls: Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger says track officials have long considered adding more Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barriers to the Sparta, Ky., track's walls. "And then with what happened to Kyle Busch, it ratcheted up the urgency," Simendinger said Monday. Simendinger said Monday that by this July's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend, his track plans to add the so-called soft to its back stretch. "Sometimes you have to see what can possibly happen before you realize that you've got a problem that needs to be corrected," Simendinger said. "Obviously it's an expensive thing to do. It takes time. But it's something we're committed to. I've always said safety is our No. 1 thing, so that's what we're going to do assuming we can get the work done between now and our races," set for July 9-11. Already, SAFER barriers cover Kentucky's entry to corners through exits -- spots consultants deemed most likely to result in contact with race cars. Along the backstretch, the new walls could catch spinning cars off Turn 2. Ultimately, Simendinger says that "as an industry" NASCAR-sanctioned tracks will eventually cover every inch of exposed concrete wall. But it comes at a hefty cost -- approximately $500 per square foot. "It's something we work hand-in-hand with NACAR and their consultants on," he said. "...But there's not that many people that make SAFER barriers, so we've got to make sure we can get it, get it installed and do it properly."
Pretty words Mr. Simendinger, but merely upgrading that short backstretch wall to SAFER barriers on the outside only is far from sufficient! It’s time for all tracks to follow Daytona’s lead and realize that “eventually” has passed and has become “now.” I am wondering exactly how Bruton Smith got NASCAR sanction for this track without erecting better coverage with SAFER barriers than what I’m seeing today. Cars have been known to crash into inside walls… cars such as the one Kyle Busch was a passenger in when it careened wildly into the inside turn-one wall at Daytona last February. We, the fans that care, expect to see a whole lot more of those life-saving barriers in place when we visit your track next year. Are you listening Marcus? Charlotte is looking better, but this one over here needs some attention.
Time now for our Classic Country Closeout. Did someone say “Kentucky?
When one thinks of Classic Country and Kentucky in the same sentence, several songs come to mind, but none more prominently than the “Kentucky Waltz” and though recorded by everybody that was anybody, the biggest seller was this one, by Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. Please enjoy:
And one from the distaff side is next in the queue. This one had at least two smash hits on the Country charts, one by Emmy Lou Harris and this one, by Loretta Lynn. Hey, it’s my column so I get to play my favorites, and Lorretta Lynn is surely just that, one of my favorites. Here then is Loretta doing her favorite song, “Blue Kentucky Girl.”
In conclusion, one could never sing songs of Kentucky without including this sad, echoing refrain from the pen of Stephen Foster… “My Old Kentucky Home.” I was sure I had this one by Clyde Julian “Red” Foley, Kentucky born and bred, but to my dismay, I do not. Still, I’m certain that within only the past couple of weeks, I heard Red sing this, and it was lovely. However, a search of YouTube proved useless, so now I’m at a loss as to where I might have heard it. Ah, but while I was searching YouTube, I came across this version, which I knew before playing that I would love. Probably no one ever accused Paul Robeson of being a Country star, but this man has one of the loveliest voices with which God ever blessed a man. I’d never heard him do this one, but many of my older readers will recall him singing “Old Man River” in the original version of the musical, “Showboat.” Please enjoy my choice of the song of the day, and weep no more my ladies and gentlemen, though the song may bring a tear unbidden.
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling. It looks so good on you!