The Frontstretch: Too Far Away by Mike Neff -- Thursday June 8, 2006

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Too Far Away

Full Throttle · Mike Neff · Thursday June 8, 2006


NASCAR is a way of life for me. I admit that I am probably more over the top about the sport than most people. When I’m not covering the sport myself, I can not only watch the races on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but the pre-race, post-race, practice, qualifying, and commentary shows, not to mention reading everything I can find on Frontstretch, Jayski, ESPN,,, and hordes of other local media outlets. A good part of it comes from the fact that I was transplanted from the Midwest to the heart of NASCAR country. Another part of it was the split between IRL and CART. I was turned off to open wheel, and NASCAR was exploding. It all came together at a perfect time for me.

So imagine a nut like me transplanted to a location where there is little access to my NASCAR fix. Last week was my annual vacation to Canada. Every year I head North of the border with my buddies Mike, Matt, and Mike for a Memorial Day week fishing trip. It is a perfect time to hit the water we fish in, because the big fish are shallow and easy to catch. Unfortunately, it is also the greatest time of the year for automobile racing; I am forced to miss the Coca-cola 600 and the Indy 500 every year. It is a very trying time for me, but it is a sacrifice that I have made almost every year for the last 17 years. There were a couple of years we went a week later, but we have since fallen back to the Memorial week.

Luckily, the last two years my one buddy has been able to bring a laptop with him. Rich, the guy who runs the camp we visit, has a wireless network set up on the island so we at least have some connection to the outside world. Before that, I was forced to huddle close to a static filled radio to try and pick up any information I could possibly glean about the events that took place during the races. At least now I get about a half an hour each day to pour over as much racing data that I can possibly find to satisfy my addiction.

Being separated from your passion helps you realize just how much a part of your life racing has become. It makes me miss the ridiculous debris cautions. I long to hear Larry Mac and Darrell making their goofy comments during qualifying. Heck, I almost missed Boogity, Boogity, Boogity. OK, I didn’t miss that. I did miss the races, however. Reading up on what happened after the fact is simply no substitute for watching the race on TV or, better yet, seeing it in person.

As much as the excessive commercial breaks and visits to the cutaway car cut into the racing, it is still better to see most of the race than to have to find out after the fact. I cherish my Canadian vacation and wouldn’t pass it up for the world. I just wish I could get my buddies to go during a NASCAR off week.

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Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
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06/09/2006 09:03 AM

I totally agree with you on your passion. I am the same way, I schedule all my weekly things around the upcoming race. People have a hard time even getting me to leave the house if there is a race on or even qualifying. My friends laugh at me because if there is a race on and it is nice outside, I take my tv out there just so that I have the best of both worlds.
So, I know what you mean…and agree with you 100% that it is better to see most of the race than none of it at all. And maybe people just think that you are totally crazy being that obsessed with the sport, but when you love something like we do, you will give it 110% of your time.

06/09/2006 08:15 PM

I can relate. I was talking to my 16 year old daughter and said that Pocono was a pretty boring race. She asked if I was going to watch it anyway and I said “of course”. I’m so addicted that I watch the Truck, Busch and Cup races and then watch all of the shows on Speed channel before and after the races. If I have to go somewhere when a race is on, I tape it so that I can watch it later.


Contact Mike Neff

Recent articles from Mike Neff:

Thinkin' Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
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