The Frontstretch: Potts' Shots: NASCAR Odds 'N' Ends From Michigan ... And Beyond by John Potts -- Monday June 14, 2010

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Editor’s Note: Our popular Driven To The Past columnist, Corbin Speedway’s John Potts, has a new column where he’ll give his thoughts from time to time on small little tidbits within the racing world. Written in an “Odds ‘N’ Ends” style, each comment’s got a little bit of racing humor, analysis, or even history attached to it as he sorts through the small stuff like only a true racing insider can. So, without further ado … enjoy the latest edition of “Potts’ Shots.”
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By a unanimous vote of those participating on the Frontstretch live blog, the Adam Sandler/Kevin James rendition of the command to start engines for the Michigan Cup race was voted “the worst ever.” Personally, I’m just a little tired of all the snarling and yelling out the command, but then I’m probably something of a traditionalist (ya think?). I still think the late Wilbur Shaw had it down best – a dignified announcement. I try my best to emulate that whenever I have the opportunity to do it.

On the upside, the U.S. Army Choir’s Acapella Team did an outstanding job with the National Anthem. I’m looking for a copy of it to put on my DVD of the National Anthem that I use at the short track. I’ve got a real selection, with a number of college and military bands, and a choral arrangement by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir that is also outstanding…
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One of the best comments of the day at Michigan came from Mike Ford, Denny Hamlin’s crew chief, when NASCAR threw that last debris caution as he was running away with less than 20 laps left. As one of our staff members who was at the track and listening to a scanner reported, Ford said, “That’s what a nine-second lead will get you.”

Reminds me of the time Bill France, Jr. allegedly called either the Woods or the Elliotts in and told them it was OK to win all the races – but they weren’t going to win them all by two laps. The more things change…
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I like replica and even “throwback” paint schemes on race cars. All you have to do is pick the right scheme, I guess. That old Budweiser car a few weeks back looked a little plain beside all the fancy stuff they’re doing now.

I think they look best on short track cars, and even on smaller cars. At our little quarter-mile, we’ve got five of them racing in two divisions.

Our point leader in the 16-and-under Mitchell Foods Mini-Slammer Series drives a Honda Prelude painted in one of Kasey Kahne’s white No. 9 schemes.

Over in the WKFC-FM Modified Mini Series, which is for Chevettes and four-cylinder front wheelers, we have a Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Goodwrench No. 3 tribute Ford Escort, a yellow Kodak No. 4 Nissan Sentra, a red-and-yellow Kellogg’s No. 5 Ford Escort, and a green No. 33 Ford Escort that is a dead ringer for one of Harry Gant’s cars without the Skoal logos. I’m thinking of taking up a collection to buy the guy those decals.

We’ve also got a black Chevette with No. 14 in red on the side of it, one that I’m trying to get the team to put the Copenhagen logos on the quarter panel so it’ll look like one of Foyt’s Oldsmobiles. Maybe another collection.

About that Dale Earnhardt tribute car… it’s driven by a lady who made some history just last Saturday night.

The Cup Series isn’t the only place where you’ll find tribute cars today. Just like this Earnhardt No. 3, they’re run at local short tracks across the country, in memory of the drivers those men and women want to grow up to be.

In 2009, a 13-year-old named Jessica Norman won two features in that kids’ series, but last weekend Stacy Harrison became the first female driver to win an adult division feature race in the 58-year history of our track.

Fittingly, she won it by about two feet, as the Kodak No. 4 was trying to pass her on the outside as they came to the checkered flag.

Stacy said there was no way she was going to lose that race, which told me she would have put him in the fence if necessary. Now, that would have been just like Dale Sr., but it would have had a downside. The guy driving the Kodak replica owns both cars.

You go, girl.
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One of our fan bloggers on Sunday had an interesting idea. Since races at Michigan often come down to fuel strategy, she suggested NASCAR give everybody a full tank of gas, close pit lane, and see how far each car can go.
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Everybody knows, I suppose, how much I love short track racing. I think there should be a moratorium on building any new tracks larger than 3/4 of a mile.

An even better idea, and probably way too far out in left field to be considered, would be to award only ONE race each year to each track over that distance with the exception of Daytona and Talladega, and increase the number of short track events.

Would it hurt the crowds? Not if the short tracks got with the program. Bruton Smith has proven you can get 160,000 people at a half-mile track.
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I didn’t get to watch much of the 24 Hours of Le Mans because of announcing at Corbin Speedway, and having to sleep at least some before getting up to do the race stories, participate in the Frontstretch live blog, etc. What I did get to watch, however, I enjoyed. I got to see two French engines blow up.

Contact John Potts

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Jennifer Magee
06/15/2010 03:00 AM
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Please do a piece on the Redbull issue at MIS. Casey does not deserve the negative comments that he received from the team or the press.

Michael in SoCal
06/15/2010 09:51 AM
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I totally agree about no more tracks bigger than (I’d say) a mile. Too many 1.5 & 2.0 mile cookie cutter tracks on the schedule now.

old farmer
06/15/2010 12:21 PM
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Re. Jennifer:

Casey Mears never did have more than a family name going for him—that’s why he lost all those good rides (eg. Hendrick). The truth of the matter is that he’s just not very good, and that Uncle Rick’s last name got him those rides—for a very short time.

Steve
06/15/2010 03:52 PM
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I had mixed emotions about the command on Sunday. I started laughing, but not sure if it was because they were funny or if it was just plain stupid. I find them both entertaining on screen, but not sure about that command they gave. Having said that, I would rather have some enthusiasm shown from the command than someone up there just ho humming the command being all corporate, which happens alot. If I had to choose I would take Sandler/James any day.

wcfan
06/15/2010 05:19 PM
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Why not have 8-12 yr old saying the command, this would really be a big deal for them. If you are an adult and this is real important to you. I feel for you.

don mei
06/15/2010 09:19 PM
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Why dont we just can “the command”…its trite and ridiculous. Next thing you know we will have Jim Nabors singing at all the events. Bread and circuses…God.