2014 Daytona 500

                      By: Tim Pafford

       2014 is just around the corner and a totally new season of NASCAR (with all new rules and points systems) is just about.to.get undeway.  SpeedWeeks have been going on for weeks and we recieved the rare treat of watching Rusty Wallace piolet the"Blue Ducce" again.
       I'm not sure all the new formatting will increase viewer ratings; I do know I can not wait to see this year's Daytona 500 & this season's 1st winner.
       

A Confession

By Tim Pafford

 
       My love for Stock Car racing came from a long trip of library hallways and family trouble.  I used the sport to help me through tough times as a child, so I could just keep going.
       This is not to say we had problems as a family.  But I speak of problems that came as obstacles for us to overcome and to find ways to stay sane during these patches of hardship.
       My mom always encouraged me to read.  I needn't read the most complex or extensive of topics.  But, "Just so much as I did read something" was all that she asked of me.  What I unusually read was sports fiction.  As I grew older that fiction changed from soccer and baseball stories of little leagues to auto racing.
      I'd read fictionalized accounts of great battles between great rivals.  They would battle till the very end and the antagonist nearly always died from a racing accident that was the result of battling too hard and not using their head.
        Into Jr. High school I found that races, just like I had been reading, were televised every week end.  These started my love of watching the action unfold before my eyes instead of just inside my imagination.
       As time went on these races helped me escape.  My dad was fighting through cancer treatments.  Every few weeks he'd spend weeks in the hospital hooked up to an ïv drip hoping that the chemicals would kill all the cancer without killing my dad.  Watching those cars speed around circular tracks for personal glory kept me from thinking of a world with out my dad.  It helped me to divert my fears to what "could happen" on the race track.  Seeing races unfold at such high speeds was much easier  for me than watching my dad go through more and more treatments; slowly hoping for positive effects on the inside while his body grew sickly and bald on the outside.
       Thankfully, my dad faired better overall, and throughout ,than my favorite drivers.  My dad fully recovered, and never has had a recurrence of cancer to this day.  (I only hope it stays this way.)  I went off to school and did all that I could to find a real me.  I still look for this "real me" in the words I type and the stories I tell.  Never really sure who's really there.  But I do know I owe it to my dad to be the best I can be.
       He never gave up.  He worked full time while going through treatments.  I don't  know how he did it, but he did.  If he can go through that, be a great dad, provide for his family, and kick cancer's ass the whole time, I can get through my issues and do the same things in my life.
       I do thank NASCAR, and the up and down joys, of being a Wallace Clan Fan for helping me through the tough times when I was young.  I still watch to see Rusty and Kenny give first person accounts of what it was like to race those cars back before the sport was as popular as it is today.  NASCAR isn't what it was back then, but it is still a reminder of my favorite youthful crutch.  Thank you, NASCAR and the thousands of miles of racing I have enjoyed throughout by life.  It has been a joy.

Rusty Wallace

By Tim Pafford

        I have been a Rusty Wallace fan since watching my very first NASCAR event.  

        That race was the 1993 Daytona 500 from Daytona Beach, FL.  And what a race that was.  Near the 3/4 mark a huge crash broke out with a car flipping down the back straightaway.  It was the #2 car of Rusty Wallace.
        Once all the dust cleared and safety works were at the scene, Rusty was getting out of his car and waving to the crowd.  He seemed shocked and a bit shaken, but one could tell he was relieved to be safe.

         As the year went on I found that my grandfather knew Rusty Wallace on a business level and it gave me even more interest in watching Rusty race.
         That season went on and I watched Rusty compete for the championship that year.  It seemed like a dead heat between Rusty and Dale Earnheart for that year's point lead.  Rust would lead for a while, then Dale caught back up after Rusty was injured in another roll over accident at a super speed -way race.
         Rusty had a broken left hand and   a concession after bouncing off of Dale Earnheart's car  on the final lap of a race at Talladega.  Though Rusty's car crossed the finish- line 6th it took him several races to get back into full form.
       He did win 10 races that season, but it was never enough to regain the points lead that year of 1993.
      Forever after  that race I cheered for Rusty.  He never did win a championship while I was a fan,   but he won many races and always competed for the championship.

      I made it a point to watch every lap of the 2005 retirement tour.  Once again, he was always competitive, but bad luck kept him from repeating his feat of 1989.

       I still enjoy hearing him commentate on the TV broadcasts.  The racing isn't the same as it was back in 1993, but hearing Rusty talk about it; and give a driver's perspective, always makes the rare NASCAR  Sunday viewing a treat.

My Pick This Year.

By Tim Pafford

 
 . . . I am sure it is no shock to those who read my posts who I pick to win the championship this season.
 
 . . . After being brushed aside by RCR Racing last year, Clint Bowyer is having one of the best seasons of his career.  He has 3 wins, 4th in the current point standings, and has been consistently running up  front this season even more than he ever did for RCR Racing.  Plus, the next several tracks the teams are going to fit nicely into Clint's driving style.
 
 . .   He maybe an outside chance to most.  But I feel he has the ability and team to take him to the end of the season fighting for the number one spot in NASCAR'S top series.  

Did I Call It? Or Did I Call It.....

By Tim Pafford


         Wow.  I totally called the Daytona 500 this year.  If only I had done so in a printed format like this page before it took place...  Oh well.
        
          I woke up that morning telling my wife:
         
         "I think Clint is going to run super strong all day and get involved in a wreck that takes him out right at the end.  Then we will see a win by some one no one really knows much about."  Well that's what happened!
         Clint Bowyer lead the most laps for the day, but got involved in a crash with four laps to finish the event.  Then, to the shock of many, Trevor Bayne wins the Daytona 500 in only his 2nd points event in a Cup car!

NASCAR Mix blog featured writers David Schildhouse, Keegan Sturdivant
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