TJ’s Notebook Before a Big Weekend of Sprint Car Racing

By T.J. Buffenbarger, photo courtesy of Mike Campbell

Wyoming, MI — The staff at is preparing for sprint car overload over the next three days with several of the biggest dirt events in the country taking place, one of the biggest pavement races to take place that nobody is really talking about, and a full slate of Australia action to wet the racing palette.  Here are a few last moment items before the big weekend.

Notes and other items…

  • With the World of Outlaws World Finals coming up Saturday LIVE on SPEED starting at 8:00 p.m. EST with a replay scheduled at 11:00 one has to wonder if the program will run over as long as the Williams Grove National Open did in October. The Grove Open ran well over an hour over the scheduled viewing time (who picks up the tab for that?), but traditionally the World Finals have gone off on television without a hitch.
  • Whenever a live sprint car program is about to take place on SPEED the enthusiasm towards the division picks up with a lot more print coverage on SPEED This week a story appeared about Steve Kinser’s upcoming back surgery. Writers like Jim Chiappelli and other people at SPEED appear to be big sprint car fans, unfortunately there just isn’t quite the demand and funding to do more of it live on television.
  • Along with following all the big events this weekend I’m M.C.’ing the ASCS Sprints on Dirt banquet on Saturday night. Needless to say there will be a lot of people DVR’ing the World Finals while accepting awards in Mason, Michigan. Look for a full Great Lakes edition blog following that banquet. Best tip of the weekend is to take in the Whiskey Barrel Saloon after the banquet to see if the champion rides the mechanical bull. Last year’s champ did, and held on for a considerable amount of time. Of course this year’s champ is the same as last year’s, Brett Mann, so hold on to your hats!
  • Several AVSS drivers have found rides for the North/South Shootout taking place at the Concord Motorsports Park, just down the road from the Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  Jason Blonde, Ryan Litt, and several others are going down to take on the best of the TBARA.
  • Speaking of beer, the brew you drink during the 50th Knoxville Nationals could have a have a bit more buzz than in previous years. USA Today reports that Iowa is the latest of several states pushing to get the increasing the legal alcohol-by-volume cap for beer courtesy of the Iowa Brewers Guild. Several States have already doubled the alcohol content in their beer.
  • With the announcement on Toyota pulling out of Formula 1 to “focus on their core business” has to make one wonder where their sprint, midget, and Silver Crown car programs stand for 2010? As of now Toyota’s foray into the short track open wheel world is factory directed, and it will be curious to see if the parts and engines will be available to all engine builders at any point. One disappointing part of the Toyota pullout is wondering where F1 fill in driver Kamui Kobayashi (he’s not the hot dog eating guy) will end up? Kobayashi was extremely entertaining to watch the last third of the season in the F1 car after racing in the F2 series.
  • Continuing with an unusual Formula 1 theme, if you ever wondered where your $2.75 at the gas pumps were going the partial answer was revealed when laying eyes on the Yas Marina Circuit during the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The television images from the event made the facility appear like F1 was racing in a space station. The futuristic look of the facility was incredible during the race that transitioned from day to night thanks to the largest collection of Musco lighting I have ever seen.
  • I knew our new website format would be popular with mobile internet users, but not to the extent that we have seen so far. It seems we have a lot of blackberry, iPhone, and opera mini users are heavy TJSlideways users. If you are one of these mobile users drop us a note and let us know if you like having our news formatted to your device.