Voices from the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Saturday November 6, 2010
Trained monkeys will sell race programs at Texas: Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage has decided to monkey around with the promotion of the redesigned “No Limits” program cover and special insert that can be found in AAA Texas 500 souvenir program.
Gossage is enlisting the help of Brian and Mike, trained capuchin monkeys, to sell the race programs throughout the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR triple-header race weekend. Brian and Mike will make their first public appearance Friday, Nov. 5, from 2:30-4 p.m. CT at the infield Hot Rod Café. They will return and be stationed on the concourse at Gate 4 on Saturday, Nov. 6, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. prior to the start of the Nationwide Series O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge and Sunday, Nov. 7, from Noon-2 p.m. before the start of the Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500.
Fans cannot miss the Brian and Mike, as they will be decked out in their Texas Motor Speedway “No Limits” attire. Brian and Mike will be accompanied by their usual trained handlers as they distribute programs, collect money and conduct scheduled interviews with the media. Fans will have the opportunity to take photos, make faces and dodge feces with the duo as they sell programs throughout the weekend. If fans cannot make it by Gate 4, they can stop by and purchase their souvenir race program at all the gates, both inside the concourse and outside on the midway for $10.
NASCAR concerned about high speeds: Two unidentified drivers exceeded 201 mph in the first Sprint Cup practice Friday, causing concern by NASCAR officials. Laps of 201.664 mph and 201.109 mph were recorded by what some to believe was a Toyota. Typically, NASCAR makes a rule change and uses a smaller restrictor plate at Daytona or Talladega if speeds approach 200 mph or more.
“We’d like to take a look at it,” said Kerry Tharp, NASCAR’s director of communications. “Unfortunately both of them went by so fast, no one was able to positively identify the culprits. Some think it looked like a Toyota. Personally, I think it looked more like a Pinto followed by a Beetle that was honking to pass. It may just have been an odd situation in the draft for that particular practice session or it may have been a couple of local pranksters that snuck onto the track, we just don’t know for sure. We hope we don’t have to make a change because, if it was one of our cars well, we simply can’t tolerate that kind of speed from a safety standpoint.”
Robby Gordon questioned in possible stolen car probe: On Thursday, October 28, 2010, Robby Gordon was caught driving an illegal NASCAR race car at a high rate of speed on Highway 77 in Huntersville, NC that slowed down portions of the interstate due to ‘rubber-neckers’ gawking at the scene.
“When we had reports of a NASCAR style race car out on the public highway, we naturally assumed that it had been stolen from one of the local race shops,” said officer Hugh Jass of the Huntersville Police Department. “Once we got the vehicle stopped and saw that it was actually Robby Gordon, our stolen car suspicions quickly evaporated. After all, if we were able to run the guy down in our old cruiser here well, it was obvious that it was in fact one of Robby’s actual race cars.”
After being questioned by the local authorities, Gordon was released when it was determined that he was in fact the rightful owner and more importantly, two laps down.
“Yeah, when we found out he was that far behind we gave him a …’reach around’? Is that what they call it? No, no…a ‘wave around’! That’s it, a wave around. I knew it had something to do with the hand!”
Jeff Gordon will ‘Drive to End Hunger’ beginning in 2011: Hendrick Motorsports and Jeff Gordon have teamed with AARP and AARP Foundation on the Drive to End Hunger, an unprecedented three-year initiative to address the growing problem of hunger among older Americans, including 6 million over the age of 60.
Drive to End Hunger will be the majority sponsor of Gordon’s #24 Hendrick Motorsports team in 2011, 2012 and 2013, with primary paint schemes in 22 Sprint Cup races annually. The No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy, which will be unveiled at a later date, will race in the next three Daytona 500 events.
With Gordon as its spokesperson, Drive to End Hunger will help the millions of older Americans who are facing hunger across the United States, actually remember when supper time is and where it was that they liked to go eat. The effort will engage the NASCAR fan base, corporations and charitable organizations via a text-to-donate program; larger font sizes on all food vendor signs at racetracks across the country; further research on the causes and consequences of hunger in older Americans; and an innovative national grant program that will provide resources to address the problem at a local level.
“As I get older, I’m particularly excited about the research into what causes hunger and the consequences of being hungry in older Americans,” Gordon said during a recent press conference held at a local Waffle House. “This grant program is special too. For years we have been helping national hungry seniors but now we are realizing that lots of local older folks get hungry too! You just don’t realize how widespread aging and the need to eat really is. Hopefully in the future we will be able to eradicate hunger and older persons altogether.”
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