Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Junior Wins Martinsville

We drove up to Martinsville in the early dawn on Sunday, leaving before much light. We'd paid a bit extra so we could go to some events with drivers in the morning, and the events included free coffee and doughnuts. Then we would get to go onto the actual track and watch driver intros, and stroll around touching close to the cars and pits. It was pretty darn fun. Libby bumped fists with almost all the drivers as they walked to the pickup trucks that they parade around the track in, before the ceremonies crescendo into the fly over and the roar of the engines and that faint sweet smell of the fuel mix. I stood a little back during the fist-bumping, but I think Kyle Busch saw my Interstate Battery 18 cap, and Miss Danica was lovely up close in her green sunglasses with the real gold frames, which I'd expect she put away before she put on her helmet. I mentioned those glasses to Libby and she said, well yes, Danica has a nice sunglasses line. But of course. People get on Danica, but there's not many models can drive a race car, and she can do that for real. As usual she did a fine job of the race, working her way up towards the front and past her relatively rookie boyfriend Stenhouse, although she got caught up in a late wreck involving Keselowski slowing down suddenly when something broke on his rocket and setting up an accordion wreck that left Kasey Kahne and Casey Mears smoking and still on the front stretch, and a silent few moments when the ambulances drove up, until the two guys climbed out their windows and waved ok to the crowd.

The two Palin cousins who were drinking beer just below us in the stands, and cheering wildly for Junior, gave her the finger when she limped past on her last lap, front wheel broken, to go behind the wall for good. The skinny one had some kind of cat's paw print tattoo behind her ear. But it did turn out that Junior won, which was great for everyone. Deal is, particularly in the south, at Martinsville and Darlington and Charlotte, Richmond and Bristol, Junior is everybody's favorite. Indeed, you can have a favorite, and still root for Junior too. In the driver intros we got to watch, Junior got three times the volume of whoops as any one else. Same, earlier, in the crowd Q&A sessions. During that, Junior said he never wanted to own a race team, but that he planned on racing till he's 80. Ten better than Mick said on Cavett, way back. Who knows, it might come true. In the Q&A we also got to listen to the new kid, Kyle Larson. This year the big deal rookie is one of the Childress grandkids, Austin Dillon, who affects a big Stetson like Richard Petty and swaggers without even knowing it. As Kyle pointed out modestly, he is eighty points up on Master Austin. Just sayin'.

So anyways, after 500 laps, Junior won, first time. The fall Martinsville race commemorates, for his team owner Rick Hendricks, a horrible event of ten years ago, when a plane carrying much of his family and friends crashed killing them all, on the approach to the Martinsville airport. Fog or something. He lost his twin nieces, his brother, his son, and a number of folks who worked for him. Ten. Junior said after the race that he knew sorta what that felt like. Jimmie Johnson said his wife was supposed to be on that plane, but got delayed at the last minute. It means a lot for a Hendricks driver to win at Martinsville, as they frequently do. Junior did a heartfelt burnout as you can see. Everyone left happy. Except for Harvick I mean. Harvick was pissed off and said that if he didn't win, neither would Kenseth, who had lost his footing in turn one (just below us) and collected Harvick as well. Junior said, before the race, that there's no point in getting mad at Martinsville. All the cars bang against each other.

Monday after a bleary work day I early voted. It was a relief. The Republicans think the voters are so stupid, it's reason in itself to vote all Democratic. Right now they're running incessant ads by a geezer named Randy Owen who once was a southern rock star in the band Alabama. He says absolutely nothing that might be construed as an actual reason to vote for Tillis, the crew-cut Republican badass who's trying to take Hagan's seat. "Just feels so right," he sings, over and over. Must have been one of his big "hits," back in the '70s. They played the damn thing three times running between innings last night in the KC/SF game. No doubt only in NC. Strikes me that the GOP in North Carolina has a bit of worry, otherwise why spend the money.

In the larger world, things go on. Here's something I read:

This morning I also read, on our local TV website, that there's a big Southern Baptist gathering going on, and the faithful are being exhorted to "hold the line" against same-sex marriage. No doubt the faithful will imagine that Mr. Tillis is doing just that. Meanwhile, the faithful will carry on, having affairs, divorcing, chuckling at their old neighbor the florist who's just a little "light in the loafers," and ordering the flowers for the next wedding and/or funeral from him.

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