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Where in the World is TJ Slideways?

By TJ Buffenbarger

4/21/99: There is only one thing worse than a racing off season, it’s getting a taste of outdoor racing and having to take two weeks off from it! Just to clear things up I haven’t moved to Germany, I didn’t run off to Nashville to become a country music star, and I did not give up racing to follow Phish all around the country this summer. Many of you might not know that I’m full time college student studying computer networking. I was a music major before switching fall semester to computers, but still play in many groups at the college. One of the ensembles I play in is now involved in a Riverdance type production called “Arete'”, which is Greek for “Excellence”. I’ve been in rehearsal’s since last Saturday night preparing for this show. The only other musical thing I’ve ever done that received more press was when I played for then President Gerorge Bush as part of the Charlotte Oriole Marching Band.

Of course there are many reasons for missing races to do this show. I have this ensemble as a credit and will fail if I don’t show up, it’s a wonderful musical experience, and it’s a chance to perform in front of a full auditorium for four nights. Or, it could be the fact I’m one of the only guys surrounded constantly with girls in leotards that are beautiful, nice, and pretty smart. That should answer where I have been of late, and will be back at the track as early as Limaland’s weekly show next Friday night and at the New 96 Speedway opener on Saturday.

Either way, it’s been a lot of fun. I do still just have this itch to go racing. The feeling similar to when I get rained out of a race. When I get rained out the entire day is shot. All my friend have already made plans and have headed out for the night, so I’m stuck at home watching VH-1’s Behind the Music about Fleetwood Mac for the 432nd time! There has to be something better!

This is when I crawl down to the video cabinet and pull out racing videos. There is no smell, no dust, and the noise just isn’t the same, but the great job these video people do is enough to get me through the day. Here are a list of some of my favorites:

All Star Circuit of Champions Season in Review: It’s the same night the Outlaws are supposed to race at Bloomington, and it’s raining outside (Figured I should use an example everyone could relate to from the past year and a half!). I could watch a three hour video about a big boat that I know is going to sink at the end, or I could watch highlights from every All Star Circuit of Champions event from the 1998 season shot by Jeff Kristensen and narrated by Kevin Eckert.

Not much of a choice here. Jeff Kristensen’s work gets the nod on a long soggy evening. The tape has highlights from every All Star sprint car event during the 1998 season. Some of the best features of this tape are the multiple camera angles from Jeff and his crew, and multiple interviews with all the drivers throughout the season. There is even some bonus footage from the Attica USAC event, The Historical Big One, and excellent coverage of the Amoco Knoxville Nationals.

It’s worth sending check or money order for $39.95 plus $5 s&h payable to Jeff Kristensen, 518 1/2 North Cory Street, Findlay, Ohio 45840. You can reach Kristensen Productions by phone at (419) 425-5248, fax (419) 425-5269, or email ALLSTARVDO@aol.com. The Bob, Rod, Todd crew gives it ***** on any rainy night!

Racin’ With D.O. Racin’ Thrill’s ’99: I’m not into the thrills and spills videos at all, but Racin’ Thrills ’99 is a completely different animal. Wheel stands, great finishes, and yes the crashing is all part of this tape. However, D.O.’s commentary during the video will have you rolling on the floor laughing, and is also very informative. Some of our favorite scenes were from Kokomo where you can hear the oohs and ahhs from the very enthusiastic crowd. As a bonus there are even music videos at the end. Very cool tape, and we give this one a ***** stars as well. Check out D.O.’s site at http://www.racersdirect.com to order.

Gas City I-69 Speedway’s Race of the Year: In case you were under a rock last year, everyone probably heard about the race I missed at Gas City I-69 Speedway between Jeremy Sherman, Mike Mann, and Dave Darland. Consider video man Ron Smelter only uses one camera, he knows where the racing is at Gas City. This night it was a three car battle for the win between the drivers listed above. Every inch of the race track was used and the drivers were three wide for the win all the way around the 1/4 mile oval. This one will have you standing off the couch cheering. So if you were disappointed in your Indiana Sprintweek, see why you should have attended Gas City the Friday night before everything kicked off with this great tape. **** on this one from the BRT crew.

I think the rain is letting up, and I have to go bang on my drums and hang out with these dancers. I kind of relate this to covering races for the Slideways page: It’s a rough gig, but somebody has to do it! I’ll see everyone at the track next weekend.