New Hampshire Nonsense 2003
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and a cordial “Hey there” to our assigned reader of all things NASCAR on this extremely warm… OK, HOT (!) day in the hills of North Georgia. Today we’re taking a bit of time travel, back to the year 2003, or as I like to call it, the last year with the best sponsor any sport could ever have… R.J. Reynolds and their Winston brand! The track we’ll visit is of course, Loudon New Hampshire. This was the first of two at that track in those days, not because the racing was so great there, but because Bob Bahre bought half-interest in a much better track known as North Wilkesboro and selfishly took away the race date for this pathetic flat track up North.
Our tour guide will of course be the irascible Lady in Black, so for those with short memories or those not familiar with her nick-names for drivers and other racing personnel, you can find the actual race results HERE. Now, without further ado, I give you over to the Lady for the call of the race.
Good day, race fans. This is your raving reporter, the Lady in Black, coming to you from Bob Bahre’s little Track in Black (New pavement again this year) way up in the hills of New Hampshire. To those of you wondering, yes, they actually do have summer up here and this year it was on Sunday, which worked out well for the kids racing for the last ever Winston Cup.
After dealing with the weekly inclement weather that follows this series around like a bill collector, qualifying was cancelled and the kids were lined up by ability. I’m not sure if that was driving ability or the ability to hold one’s beer, but it put Mutt Kenseth on the pole, flanked by Jeffy Grody. Behind them, we saw the Bud Stud and the Interstate Battery Charger, so I think driving ability may have played a part there.
When they finally dropped the green (Sorry, no more Boogity this year) flag at around in the afternoon, Mutt held on to lead a lap before surrendering it to Grody on lap 2. He in turn gave it up to the Bud Stud on lap 3 but reclaimed it by lap 5 and would lead a disgusting amount of laps by day’s end.
At lap 10, ol’ Mongo bit John Android in the rear end, which caused John to spin into the wall. (Something that #0 car is very good at) It seems that John didn’t much appreciate having his afternoon cut short. At twilight, he was still telling anyone with a microphone about the dirty dog that bit him. I think he had euthanasia in mind. Some of the boys out back stopped at the bar for a quick one, but the leaders liked the fresh air too much to give it up yet.
At lap 17, we watched the Interstate Battery machine appearing to lose its charge, but it was just a problem with Booby’s air filter, which was blowing pieces of itself into his eyes. At lap 20, the Coors Beer Mug sprung a leak in the right front tire (Again?) and headed for the bar, but not before circling the track on the rim. That prompted the second yellow rag of the day, since he left a few silver pieces behind him. Once more, some of the boys in the back room ordered up a beer, but the leaders stayed put.
Sometime after that restart, we noticed the Good Shepherd making repeated pit stops. Knowing that Morgan does not touch hard drink, NASCAR questioned that and found that he was scuffing tires for another team that remains anonymous. Shortly after that, he retired from the race with last place money (over $48 K) plus whatever he earned from his little side business. I guess it was worth the ride up here.
Lap 61 brought out the third yellow of the day (Stick around and keep counting), once again for the Silver Bullet, which had still another right front go down, but this time it was tarnished by the wall. Pit strategies were diverse on this stop, with some taking four shoes, some only two and some beer only. Ol’ Mongo even stayed on the track to lead the dog pack for a bit and earned five biscuits for that. That must have really ticked off the gang at Net Zero, because they gathered up parts and pieces of their wounded ride and flung them at Mongo’s hauler. They’ll probably get a ticket for littering, but I’ll bet it was worth it.
At lap 101, the yellow rag waved again, this time for debris. Honest, I saw it, though I have no idea who dropped what. The Bud break that followed put some two-tire changers in front. They were Grody, Stewpot, Dollar Bill, Mini-me Grody (#48) and Ricochet Craven. They had just gotten back up to speed when we were treated to the battle of the beer wagons. Little Junior Jerkhardt decided that Crusty’s Miller Lite had no business being in front of him and summarily whacked him into the infield. That was good enough for the fifth beer break of the day. This time it was Miller Time. Greg Baffled and the Greenhorn thought they should have been given laps back, but Grody saw it differently and beat them back to the flag. Baffled didn’t take kindly to that move and gave Grody a little boot in the rear. On the restart, he once again took a swipe at the leader and managed to get around him for about half a lap before Grody silenced him yet again. NASCAR must have liked all that because they invited Baffled, along with his car owner and crew chief, to a party in the big red trailer after the race.
Immediately after all that, Mike Wall-Ace aced the wall with some help from Wawd’s big Cat. That would make six yellows to that point. They might want to think about just painting it on the starter’s stand and saving the trouble of waving it.
Things calmed down for a bit after that, until lap 145 when Germy Mayfail gently stroked Toad Bodine and got a flat left front for his trouble. Though most took full advantage of the Coors call, Jiminy McCricket and Cow Patty remained on the track and became the front-runners for a short while.
Lap 153 saw the Hermanator break something important in his front suspension and drive straight into the side of Jeff Booten who was just minding his own business until he hit the wall. It was only half over and that was caution number eight.
Number 9 would come on lap 165, when the Miller Wagon forced the Home Depot Forklift up into the wall. As Stewpot bounced off the wall, his front bumper met with Crusty’s rear one, stripping off the rear bumper cover. (The part that says, “Miller’s) Evidently, Crusty didn’t appreciate having the track decorated with pieces of his car, so he gave Stewpot a whack in the rear. Now, that is like waving a red flag in front of a charging bull, so of course, Stewpot drove up and returned the favor, only harder. Do you wonder why I call them kids? Those two were both awarded a failing grade in “Plays well with others.”
After those shenanigans, they actually raced for almost 30 laps before we saw Jiminy McCricket’s car with the star doing something that resembled the Watusi. Within two laps, the car was in the wall and we watched the rear deck-lid sail over the fence and into a small crowd of spectators. (To be continued, I’m sure) It was suggested later that a broken brake rotor was the culprit. It must have been getting very warm, because all the combatants came in for a drink.
They had just taken the green flag when the yellow came out for the 11th time. It seems that the rooster on the cornflakes car must have had an accident, because there was a huge puddle in that pit. Out on the track lay the coupling from the gas can, which had followed Lobotomy out of the pits. Of course, he received an invitation to come right back in. Once they’d mopped up pit lane and spread the kitty litter, a few came back to the pits for another short drink.
At lap 233 we saw the 12th and final caution of the day when the NAPA Noodle head rudely dispatched the little Christian lad into the inside wall, spilling Cheerios all over the place. On the restart, it was Flyin’ Ryan, followed by Rubby Gordon, SParky, the big brown truck (Where’d he come from?), Junior Johnson and Havoc. The only trick was that no one knew who, if any, had enough gas to go to the end without pitting.
On lap 243, Mongo thrilled the crowd with a 360º spin and received a 9.40 from the judges but no caution. Five laps later Captain Nemo slowed but he’d only gotten up in the “loose stuff.” By lap 258 Grody’s Mini-me had caught up to Flyin’ Ryan, and passed him at lap 265. After that, it was all about who had enough gas in the tank to finish.
Lap 293 saw a flag of a different color as they waved the black rag over Mikey Wall-Trip for dragging his tail on the track. (Or was that tail pipe?) The applause we heard was from the Pittifaulty pits.
On lap 296, we found out that Dollar Bill didn’t have what it took to finish, and neither did Captain Nemo, but he managed to get the Nautilus into port. On the last turn of the last lap, Rickety Rudd and Johnny Sour both ran dry as well.
At the checkers, it was Grody’s Mini-me, followed by Havoc, Mutt, Flyin’ Ryan and Rubby Gordon. It was hard to believe that they’d only gone 317.4 miles. With all the yellow flags and caution laps, it seemed like we’d just sat through the World 600.
exactly the way it was in
And off into the sunset she goes. Thanks for the laughs Lady in Black. Sometimes I forget how much fun you can be; then I remember how much work was involved in producing something that seemed so simple, and I lock your closet door again.
Time now for our Classic Country Closeout and once again we’ll go back to the 1950s and the days of my teens. This week we’ll hear the best of 1957. Please enjoy!
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling. It looks so good on you!