The Frontstretch: Potts' Shots: How Much To Run It, The Bluebird Walls It, And A Name Game by John Potts -- Thursday July 12, 2012

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I got quite a few e-mails last week about my comments regarding Linda Vaughn.

One guy, calling himself simply “Old Timer” says,

I have a picture of me getting a nice, big hug from Linda in the garage in Daytona in 1972 after the Firecracker 400, when I was 12 years old! Yep, one never forgets a hug from Linda Vaughn! Especially when you are eyeball-level with her…neck.

I don’t think there is anything I can add to that.

Glen H. writes,

About Tom Dalfonzo’s statement on Andretti’s sponsors for IndyCar – NASCAR Cup racing is a lot more expensive than IndyCar. If Michael brought all four of his IndyCar sponsors over to NASCAR, he might have enough to put one Cup team on the track.

You may be right, Glen. I’m not completely up-to-date on the exact costs in either series for a full season, depending on how the sponsorship agreements are arranged. I do know that back when people were saying that a start-up Cup car cost $250,000 (car with engine & transmission, ready to run), an IndyCar chassis & body (no engine, no transmission, no suspension, no tires & wheels, was over $400,000. This was before the current rules and engine packages that they have in place for IndyCar.

I suppose that as the gap between the car costs have closed, the fact that you have to run 36 Cup races versus 15 IndyCar events also makes a pretty substantial difference.

And there’s another pet peeve of mine – the use of simply the word “Cup” in referring to NASCAR’s top series. Back in the day, it was always, “Winston Cup.” Since R.J. Reynolds departed, it’s just been “Cup,” and I think somebody in the Sprint marketing department is missing a bet or sleeping on the job.

Not that I care, really.

You never hear the name of the sponsor mentioned in connection with it, and if I was a representative of the sponsor of that series, I would be pushing to replace that word with “Series.” Think about it. It works for Nationwide. Nobody just calls them “Series” cars.

We also got some comments on our mention of how much fun things were back in the first 12 years of the ASA series.

I won’t have much more about it right now, other than to say that sometimes the parking lots were a lot like the infield is during the NASCAR weekends now – with the difference that the drivers and crews were right there enjoying it with the fans.

The annual Dri-Powr 400 at Winchester was a perfect example. Don Gregory and the St. Amant Racing crew from the Columbus, Ohio area used to bring about six motorhomes, and they’d park them in a circle. The first time I wandered in there, I asked them if they were expecting an Indian attack.

One of those Saturday nights, Steve Stubbs and I had a hard time getting back to our own motorhome because some of Alan Kulwicki’s crew were in the way. It was dark and we kept tripping over them.

The pride of Dorr, Michigan raised Potts’ ire after the Bluebird scuffed up his beloved Kroger-emblazoned wall. (Photo property of stockcar.racersreunion.com)

One of my old friends wanted to know if my attitude toward ASA changed any when I left and went to work at Indianapolis Raceway Park.Not really, at least as long as the Robbins family was still running the operation.

However, I did develop a loyalty to my new “home” and those who made our races possible. As I’ve noted before, Kroger was instrumental in bringing what was then the NASCAR Busch Series to Indianapolis Raceway Park, and until this year they were the longest running race sponsor in any NASCAR traveling series.

To be succinct, they meant a LOT to us.

At the first ASA race after I went to IRP, Bob Senneker got up against the wall in the second turn during practice, leaving tire marks for about 50 feet and doing a number on the sponsor’s name. Bob Daniels asked me what I thought we should tell them.

I went up to race control and told Rex Robbins that, as a former ASA official, there were things I would overlook. However, I said we would appreciate him telling Senneker that messing up the Kroger sign was NOT one of them. At least it was a one-day show and we didn’t have to repaint it until before the next oval race.

Otherwise, we might have asked Bob and his crew to help.

Contact John Potts

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Andy
07/12/2012 05:11 PM
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And there’s another pet peeve of mine – the use of simply the word “Cup” in referring to NASCAR’s top series

There are ads all over the car, the uniform, the race name, the track name, the tv tickers, etc. I’m not going to encourage more by giving them a free plug every time I mention the series!

Is it Citibank Major League Baseball? The Prudential NFL season? No, we have enough commercialism. Stick & ball fans mock the never-ending sponsor mentions in motorsports.

Winston worked hard and put NASCAR in front of a lot of eyeballs. They deserved some respect. Still, I wish they’d go back to Grand National and Grand American.

Chris
07/12/2012 10:02 PM
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Thanks John for the picture of Bob’s car. Those cars just looked mean. It’s nice to see a stock car that not only resembled what was on the dealers lot but also was probably built by a handful of guys in a one-stall garage. No four car teams with 50 engineers with wind tunnels, just a handful of guys doing it for the love of racing and drivers that didn’t drive for points but to actually win.

You’ve also reminded me that I have to remember to order your book. How about for your next book you do a bunch of stories that are contributed by the drivers you’ve run across through the years?

SHOEMAN
07/13/2012 03:54 PM
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The “Bluebird” was known to rub some paint off turn 4 at Winchester also. Good times.