The road trip to Bowling Green

have a new found respect for the men and women of the Midwest. Well, especially those Kentuckyians. This winter they endured how many weeks of ice storms and no power? Only to suck it up and turn out in droves to Bowling Green in conditions this California boy can only describe as hellish. I haven’t felt heat and humidity like that since my annual summer BMX touring days in the '70s. One race, I remember was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and it was just as stifling. It was canceled because of low turnout and heat. That was fine because I wasn’t coming out of the motorhome's AC for nothing!

Here is my only heat joke:  It was so hot… (How hot was it?) World famous AA/FC racer Randy Walls went to the hospital for heat exhaustion…and he is FROM Kentucky! And he had just been inducted into the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame! Rimshot! Thank you, I’m here all week. Try the veal.

Now, you lucky folks get to hear more about my trip to Bowling Green. Driving into the facility is breathtaking. Beautiful homes and lush countryside. If you have never been there, the facility is off the hook! There is a roller coaster (that scares me. Well, they all scare me) and tons of other rides for the young and old alike. A full boat RV park with clean showers and plenty of hook ups (even for the RV’s themselves, yuk, yuk.) The car show was packed with a bigger variety of rides than I have ever seen at a West Coast cookie-cutter, every-car-must-be-painted-red event. The swap meet was stocked with loads of cool buys. The diecast vendor had Pisano Hot Wheels and they sold out within minutes!

This was really a great event that I am so glad I had a chance to be a part of. We also had a ton of fun watching the variety of cars drive to and from the racetrack. Heck! There were C/Gas coupes cruising the main drag on Friday and Saturday night!

The on-track action was mostly dominated by the Geezer Gasser gang. What a bitchin’ group! The brackets had racers from all over including our own Lucky Hudson. The Cacklefesting deal had Larry Dixon Sr. and Jr. involved. Even Big Daddy was there. Big Mac was on the mike a lot of the time.  I even yelled at Vance Hunt when he ran through our pit area to “get out of here!” and watched him do an impromptu Texas two-step out of our space. I always love to chat with Vance. Is Vance ageless or what? We even had “Chi-town Brown” helping fix our ailing Pro-Jacks much like he did for me in '04 at Indy. The Greek walked by when I was getting in the car and muttered something like “better you than me, kid.” Uh, thanks.

The gang doing the match race, Funny Cars vs. Fuel Altereds were there and I had a chance to hang with that motley crew for a bit. There were other classes like Top Fool and stuff, but whatever on that.

No, I take that “whatever” back. I want to wish my buddy Troy Green and his team a hearty congratulations on winning Top Fuel. However, I want to wish him and his much-better half an even greater congratulations on becoming parents and starting out on the greatest race/adventure you two will ever compete in. Congratulations on your first Father's Day, both in and out of the car! I have to admit the highlight of my weekend (after the 6.21 of course) was getting the call from Thing One and Thing Two wishing me happy Father's Day. I have to wonder if the call was coached by their Momma Pam when the questions ranged from “How did you run?” to “Will the thing 60-foot?” to “Where are you on the ladder?”

All in all, a fun weekend that, despite the heat, I would do again. Now, I get it when the guys and gals from the Midwest talk about wanting firesuits that are thinner but still meet the SFI spec. The heat was brutal … until the motor started. Then, you forget all about it. Until the shut-down when you can’t get out of the car fast enough or get your clothes off fast enough. Hmm. Mental note on where to hang next year with a cold bottle of water for the gal racers… So, If you can, please hit Bowling Green next year or sometime soon!

Some random thoughts in the heat of the summer… Congrats to Leah Pruett-LeDuc and team Jennings for running the first 250-mile-per-hour run in Nostalgia Funny Car per the NHRA rules. Quite a few teams have wanted to do this and have actually concentrated on this. Wonder if we will see a move to M/T tires? Do they have more roll-out than Goodyears? The Bubble Up car has run 249 with Goodyears. I bet Roland has been on the phone to M/T…

Not to take anything away from Leah, Lee and the gang, but didn’t Jim Holtz run a 251 blitz a couple of years ago? Why did we ignore that run? Was tech inspection unscrupulous at Sacto? Was it any better at LACR for Holtz’s run? How about for the 249 at Pomona for Capp? (Which I watched from the other lane…ugh.) Didn’t Richie Hartman go 258 in his nostalgia car a while back? I was expecting Doc Halladay to go 250 first because he runs 36-inch tires.

If the Heritage Series goes away next year, will any of this matter?

So, there you go. Just some thoughts before I head out to lifeguard tower 26 with the Things for a few waves. Hope you and yours are having a great summer!