The White Cement of Dover
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and our always cordial “Hey y’all” to our assigned reader of all things NASCAR. It occurred to your scribe that it’s been a long time since we were paid a visit by my alter-ego, the Lady in Black… so… Here she is, from one of her earlier columns. This one dates back to the spring race at Dover in 2003, fifteen years ago.
Yes, a race from that long ago, liberally laced with nicknames from the past, can be a bit of a challenge so if you lose track of who’s who, you can find the straight up race results right here.
Before I give the column over to LIB, I’d like to first offer condolences to the friends and family of James Harvey Hylton, Sr. and Jr. who departed this world together in a horrendous crash on I-85 last Saturday morning. Condolences also go to the families and friends of Russ Truelove and Jim Foster. It’s been a rough week in NASCAR Land. To balance the news we send a warm welcome to the world to Isla Rose Earnhardt, born to Dale Jr. and Amy Earnhardt on Monday… Congratulations to all!
Good day race fans. This is your raving reporter, The Lady in Black, coming to you from the traffic capital of the East, Dover Delaware, where the Winston Cup gang threw a little party on Sunday and a race broke out.
was cold and grey, with a chilling little zephyr of a breeze, about 30 mph.
Once more cutting short the palaver from the Hollywood Hotel, the start of the
race was moved up in an attempt to be at lap 200 before the rains came.
(Haven't we seen that movie before?)
The opening ceremonies were a mixed
blessing. A stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner was
performed by a military band that treated our National Anthem with all the
respect that it deserves. God Bless
Before the race, as pace laps were being run, Robby Groanin' brought his car to pit road with a Cingular problem. It wouldn't stay running. His pit dogs climbed in, under and around the car to no avail, and sent him back to the racetrack. He made it as far as the end of pit road. Finally a push got him going again, and a very understanding NASCAR let him back in the race, but in 43rd position. Racing on the Monster Mile began with Friday Newman on the pole, but ceding the first lap to the other entrant from Pesky Racing, Rusty Nails. The race lasted all of about half a lap before Casey Smears smeared the wall and messed up his Target. As he catapulted back down the banking, someone out back checked up to miss the wreck and caused one instead. By the time they were done imitating rush hour traffic there were eight competitors involved, with two of their cars in critical condition; those of Mule Skinner and Smears. The resulting yellow rag continued to fly until lap 23, for what were described as "sprinkles." (Don't you put those on ice cream?)
When they finally went back to racing, it was that Pesky bunch leading the race and pulling away, as a determined Jeffy Grody fought his way through traffic trying to catch them.
At lap 38 Old Jimmy delivered a Sirius blow to the wall after just a bit of assistance from the Zero Hero, leaving poor Mongo with a pug nose. Action in the pits on that Bud break included Rickety Rudd pulling out of his pit into the side of Jeff Booten and having to come back in for some automotive surgery performed with a baseball bat. Sometimes racing can be a strange game. The first to exit the pits, by a whisker, was Friday Newman, replacing his teammate at the head of the class. On the restart, Mike Wall-Ace incurred the wrath of the flagman by jumping the start. His efforts were repaid with a black flag and a one-lap penalty.
69, it was Stewpot to the lead and
circled until lap 115, when we were treated to an instant replay of The Winston
as Jeffy Gougin' gave the
Silver Bullet a whack in the sweet spot and sent Tarnished Sterling to the wall
and then to the garage another time. Now, I know that ol'
At lap 138, it was Groggy Biffle's turn to star in the show as he pirouetted nicely for the crowd before losing a battle with the inside concrete. It was Miller Time again, and this time we saw a nice man in a NASCAR shirt stand in front of the Home Depot Demon for a full lap, pointing at the right front of the car, which was over the black line. My guess is that there was one Steamin' Demon in that car when they finally let him back on the track.
Green flag pit stops began around lap 195. At lap 202, the yellow rag flew for debris on the track and there was a small disagreement coming back to the line. It seems that the Demon wanted his lap back, but Flyin' Ryan decided that it wasn't going to happen as long as he was leader. Stewpot was obviously not happy about that and slid up dangerously close to the #12. I can't say for certain that he hit it, but he surely blew a great opportunity if he didn't.
Lap 211 brought us to what was probably inevitable from the beginning. The Jack of all spins did it again in the fourth turn and spoiled what had begun to look like a good run, not to mention spoiling his pretty car when it hit the wall. Behind him, all Hades broke loose as well as a bunch of cars. Involved in that mess were Ken Shredder, Cow Patty, Buschytail and Brat Bodine. Kevin Havoc, who had pitted under green and lost a lap, got it back at the waving of the yellow flag.
Around lap 239, we began to see smoke coming from the rear of the #12 car and it didn't seem to be tire smoke. Considering the recent luck in that camp, everyone was sure that Flyin' Ryan was about to puke another engine, but the engine sounded fine and the car was really fast. The word soon was passed along that the car had lost all of its power steering fluid, which meant that little no-neck would have to manhandle it all the way to the end. Gentle readers, I'm told that is not an easy thing to do!
At lap 255, the Big Brown Truck blew its big bad engine and retired from the fray. Five laps later, Idiot Sadder rolled to the garage to replace a shock and a gear. I wonder if his M&M's melted in his hand as well.
Lap 276 would see the next yellow flag as Junior Johnson took his Chevy hard into the wall and blamed it on oil on the track. It didn't take long to find the culprit. All you had to do was look at the right side of Wawd Booten's Cat car, which was covered in a gravy-like mix of oil and water that was literally dripping to the ground. Both combatants called it a day at that point.
After that, the folks in the stands saw the lead swap between Bobby Lobotomy and Jeffy Gougin' a time or two until Flyin' Ryan took over at lap 328. He continued to drag the rest of the field behind his crippled car even through a round of green flag Bud breaks that began on lap 363. On lap 389, the guys got their final break of the day when Casey smeared the wall again; this time driving pretty much through what was left of Baffle's car to get there. They restarted, with lead lap cars up front, on lap 394. There was plenty of action and position swapping behind him, but it was all Flyin' Ryan at the finish line, followed by Gougin', Lobotomy, Stewpot and Johnny Be Good. In the post-race interview, Ryan admitted that he was tired and sore, but he wasn't too sore to spray the bubbly stuff around Victory Lane. All in all, I'd say it was a good race.
That's exactly the way it was at the Monster Mile on Sunday. Would I lie to you?
Personal note: For all of you that have been following my sad story, there is a new resident in my home. He is a tiny Shih-Tzu puppy, 8-weeks old and black/white in color. His name is "Buddy." He is bright, active, adorable and healthy. He's also not housebroken, but that will come in time. He is not a replacement, but a new chapter in our lives.
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling. It looks so good on you!