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Heading to the Racetrack? Here's my own tasty dish for your tailgate party.
Betty Jack DeVine's Race Flags Salad
Put in a big bowl --
3 cans of garbanzo beans (drain and rinse)
1 can black beans (drain and rinse)
1 can diced Rotel (drain, chop more and reserve liquid)
1 each red, yellow and green peppers (sliced and diced)
1 purple onion (chopped)
Dressing: whisk together --
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tb ground cumin (rounded)
1 tb crushed dried cilantro (rounded)
3 crushed garlic cloves (or garlic powder)
Mix up your dressing in a side bowl, then pour it over all the other ingredients.
As you can see, you have here all the necessary colors to represent the green, yellow, red, black and checkered flags! I like to dice my pepper slices in a diagonal fashion -- it makes them look more like flags, I think! Alter the garbanzo/black bean ratio to suit yourself. If you can, fix this a couple of days in advance -- keep it in the fridge and stir or shake daily to reflavor everything. Eat up, y'all!
my bud Michael's racing blog
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who are y'all, anyway?
Gaytona.com is a project of Betty Jack DeVine, who creates the content, and Dixie Richardson, who designs and maintains the site.
Are y'all a gay couple?
Yes, since 1981!
Where do y'all live?
Atlanta and Daytona Beach.
When did y'all start watching NASCAR?
In 2001. However, because we are both natives of South Crazyland, we were aware of racing from our babyhood.
When did you start Gaytona.com?
In 2002. We announced the members of our first DeVine 9 1/2 fantasy team in 2003 and began posting commentary about the races that year.
What's the purpose of the site?
The site is our attempt to offer appreciation and commentary about the season from a gay point of view. We love racing and the great people you meet at the races!
Are there any gay NASCAR drivers?
There might could be -- and that's great if so -- but that's not what the site is about. We're just having some zany gay fun with America's coolest sport! I did go out on a limb at the end of '08 and predict that a Cup driver would come out this season. If that happens, I want credit for my future-seeing!
How do you pick the members of the DeVine 9 1/2?
We pick guys for the team who are sharp, fast and amusing -- guys who make the sport interesting to watch -- guys we want to win -- and guys we'd love to see show up at the trailer late one night in the infield, when the Crown is going around and everyone's feeling fine!
Why "9 1/2"?
That is Betty Jack's shoe size.
Our Darling racer is still going!
EVAN DARLING IS A PROFESSIONAL RACECAR DRIVER BASED IN FLORIDA. CHECK OUT EVAN'S WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION
October 17 , 2011
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
I hope everyone's enjoying the Chase -- we're proud to
have Brad, Jr. and Jeff of our DeVine 9 1/2 representing! Most spectacular, of
course, is the mid-season surge of Brad, whose career took a stellar upturn just
after Dixie and I personally met him in Daytona Beach, at the Discount Tires. Since
that time, Brad has won FOUR Nationwide races and TWO Cup races. Before that time,
Brad had won just one Cup race this year. If anybody thinks they can show why Dixie
and I should NOT claim some credit for Brad's turn-around, they need to speak up --
or better yet, shut up now, before they even start talking. I'm just saying. Stand
on it, Brad, and make us all so proud!
WETLANTA: It was bitter bad luck when a weeks-long drought across the Southland was broken by a tropical storm that, cruelly on cue, rained on the Atlanta Labor Day
race. Despite the looming rain, Dixie and I tailgated at Atlanta Motor Speedway on
Sunday afternoon, and we had an excellent time trolling around. We saw at least two
other gay couples (all bears; the dressed-up Yorkie he was walking tipped us off about
one guy). Another gay thing was people playing the Dale Earnhardt Jr. "cornhole"
game. (Cornholing is very popular with speedway campers). We even got to hear the
Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, which ended with an extra-long rendition of "Free Bird"
(prompting Dixie to remind me how Homer Simpson once yelled "get to the good part!"
at Skynyrd during this song.) Office work prohibited me from attending the race when
it was run on Tuesday; it featured an exciting late-laps duel between Jimmie Johnson
and Jeff Gordon, who won.
Before the weather intervened, this action-packed weekend featured victories by Ron Hornaday in Truck and Carl Edwards in Nationwide. But the Cup rain-out was a real bummer for many thousands of Atlanta race fans who now have just one chance a year to see NASCAR racing. I'll say it plain: the Atlanta region is big enough and important enough to have two
Cup weekends a year -- and not the first weekend in March, either, like the old
Spring race, but a good weekend, like in May.
PREACH ON, TOBY! Even conservative country superstar Toby Keith thinks it's time to
call off the war on gay marriage. He recently told CMT: "That whole gay issue thing,
that's never bothered me. First of all, we're going to stop somebody from getting a
marriage license because they're gay? You won't stop them from living together, so
what have you accomplished? ... Wasting a lot of money here and a lot of time that
could be spent working on this deficit that we're under. ... I never saw the
reasoning behind getting in people's personal lives." Now really: If a big redneck
like Toby Keith can figure out gay marriage, I think everyone else ought to as well.
The biggest rip-off in this country right now is the way gay people are robbed of
THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS in benefits our partners would be entitled to if we were
straight. The straight married person who sits right beside you at work is a
accumulating a fortune in survivor's benefits for their partner --
but you are not. It is ROBBERY, rank and bald, and we ought to be furious about it
Friends, thanks for reading this short update. I'm off to Daytona Beach for
Biketoberfest! Meet me at the Streamline!
Betty Jack DeVine
August 2, 2011
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
I hope your Summer is going great -- we've been having a blast "All Summer Long," as Kid Rock sings! Don't let work and worry steal your Summer -- call up the girls and mix up a little something -- get your FUN on!
SWEET HOME HOTLANTA! Wherever your Summer takes you, the ONLY place to be Labor Day weekend is Atlanta Motor Speedway for the three-race show and the big concert by Lynyrd Skynyrd! You've heard "Sweet Home Alabama" played at every NASCAR event you've ever attended, so seeing the boys perform it live before the Sunday night Cup race will be terrific! This action-packed weekend has become a Southern classic in just two years -- you mustn't miss it! Order your tickets today at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com
GAYTONA DOES DAYTONA! Summer Speed Week was loads of fun, and the best part was David Ragan winning the Coke Zero 400! After his last-minute loss in the Daytona 500, it's super to see David's name added to the list of winners at Our Sport's most famous track. (At Monkey Island, our home in Daytona, one wall in our game room is reserved for the autographed photos of drivers who've won here. With great ceremony, we conveyed our Ragan picture from the other wall to the Wall of Glory!) A highlight of the week was meeting 2010 Nationwide Champion Brad Keselowski. Brad was charming and signed a photo personally for Amy and AJ -- sweet! He's cute and definitely has an impish look. Wouldn't you know it? Just a week after Dixie and I slung our fairy dust around that Discount Tire event, Brad won his first Nationwide race of the year! He did not thank us directly, but he looked so happy that we knew he was giving us some credit. And he went on to win the Nationwide race at Indiana, too!
KY NIGHTMARE! Speaking of Kentucky, that speedway's inaugural Cup race will be remembered not for the boring show on the track but rather for the traffic meltdown outside. An estimated 20,000 ticket-holders missed the sold-out event because they were stuck in traffic jams up to six hours long. Can you imagine? This combines two things everyone really despises: being stuck in traffic and being terribly disappointed. NASCAR was clearly not pleased, and there was speculation that Kentucky's 2012 Cup date might be in jeopardy. The bitter irony is that this race was once Atlanta's Spring event. Now, thanks to millions in state road improvements, AMS has great access and a marvelous traffic plan -- and only one race weekend a year. The government in Kentucky -- which already spent a reported $87.7 million improving the roads around the speedway -- should take note if the track's "solution" is to ask for more public funds. You can spend a ton of money and still lose your race.
THESE HAIR-DO'S ARE HAIR-DONT'S! In my decade as a NASCAR fan, I've often noted that when it comes to hair, "fluffy is fast." And the opposite is true: The quickest way to the last row is a "mental patient," "Roman soldier" or otherwise chopped-off-looking haircut. Trevor Bayne got rid of the boyish locks he sported when he won the Daytona 500 -- and what's he won lately? Over in Formula 1, the same thing happened when Sebastian Vettel traded his adorable surfer-boy hair for some boring short do. Boys, please! Don't let a bad haircut ruin your season! FLUFFY=FAST!
Thanks for stopping by the trailer, y'all! Let's all meet up down at the Track Bar!
May 27, 2011
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans! Well friends the upcoming Memorial Day weekend looks should be a back-to-back-to-back blast for race fans: We've got Nationwide and Cup at Charlotte, the Indy 500, and F1 on the glittering streets of Monaco! "Better put on a pot of coffee, Marge!" as Homer used say back when "The Simpsons" was funny. The Monaco race is my favorite F1 event: It's like a car race and a boat show, with scores of luxury yachts pulled right up to the racecourse, and the enormous mega-liners of the massively rich anchored offshore. It's a great start for your race-filled Sunday.
NEVER MISS A RACE ON TV AGAIN! Bookmark www.racefantv.com and check it every week. It's an essential part of our weekend planning here at Gaytona.com!
TREVOR WATCH: I know you all join me in continuing to send good wishes to Trevor Bayne, whose year has gone badly off the rails since his sensational win in the Daytona 500. Hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic for symptoms blamed on a severe reaction to an insect bite, Trevor has continued to miss races, including this past weekend's All-Star and Iowa events. Trevor's happy smile and courtly manners bring a much-needed brightness to NASCAR, and his glorious win at Daytona made us all believe dreams can come true. Let's hope this charming young gentleman is soon well, first and foremost -- and then able to continue delighting his many fans at the track. Late-breaking update: It was announced May 25 that Trevor will miss the 600 -- but Roush Fenway hopes he will be back in the car at the Nationwide race in Chicago next week.
GO RICKY! Congrats to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for his strong drive to victory at Iowa. It was so good to see a Nationwide driver win the Nationwide race, for the FIRST time this year. In a welcome break from trends elsewhere, the Iowa race was a sell-out! I'm sure the tickets just FLEW out of the box office after the fans heard Kyle Busch would not be taking part. Instead, the #18 was helmed by the pleasant Michael McDowell. I've read that Ricky and Michael are part of a weekly Bible study group that also includes Trevor and Justin Allgaier -- good for them.
HEY KIMI! There was a bucket of buzz over the NASCAR debut of handsome Kimi Raikkonen, F1's 2007 Champion and an 18-time race winner, who hails from Finland. (Ah, wonderful Scandinavia! Their "normal" drinkers make our "drunks" look sober!) Anyway, Kimi started the Truck race 31st and finished 15th, a very respectable showing! Let's hope his Nationwide run this weekend is even stronger!
THE MR. NASCAR PAGEANT -- OOPS, I MEAN THE ALL-STAR RACE: Despite the relentless build-up that Speed TV cranks out all season long, I've always viewed the All-Star race as a distraction. The crazy rules could have been conjured up by a pack of nine-year-olds after OD'ing on Pixy Stix, Atomic Fireballs and Lemonheads. The "parade of queens" introductions are so ridiculous, you embarrassed for the for the teams. So what if one rich guy gets another million? No points are awarded, so it really doesn't matter. Our DeVine 9 1/2 ran well in the race-your-way-in pre-race race, with David Ragan and Brad Keselowski coming in one-two. Jr. -- of course -- was voted into the Lil Darlin' fan-favorite spot. Carl Edwards won but wrecked his car on a manhole cover while trying to tear up the grass in a burn-out. It was fun watching Larry Mac and Hammond learning to work their set's new "touch screen" video screen. I think they stole that idea from Tucker Hope's regular segment on the Brooke Alvarez-anchored "FactZone," on the Onion News Network. Now that's a show that rolls the news up and smacks you across the nose with it until you understand! Am I right, Brooke?
KEEP REPEATING: IT'S ONLY A RIB, IT'S ONLY A RIB: Speaking of getting smacked across the face with something, have y'all been paying attention to Mikey's commercials this season? First we had the one where he and Martin Truex Jr. sing about NAPA while shooting each other snarky looks like feuding queens. But the real wiener, I mean winner, is the Tums spot about "your food fighting you," Mikey is trying to bite a fat, greasy rib that flops around and repeatedly smacks him in the face. It's a rib. But you'll think you're watching a porno.
ONION BITES NASCAR! Don't miss "NASCAR Awards Driver $50,000 for Homophobic Comments" at the Onion. Of course it's made up craziness, but the bratty way they portray Kyle Busch seems so life-like!
OLD FLORIDA ON PARADE: I love attractions and recently made my first visit to Silver Springs in Ocala. Now maintained and safeguarded, thank goodness, by the state, this park is a wonderful reminder of a time before mega-theme parks -- when Florida itself, in its wildly exotic natural glory, was reason enough for tourists to make the long journey South. What a treasure, and a trip! Loudspeakers suspended high in palm trees fill the air with "beautiful music," so you think you're in a movie before you even get inside. And what great movies they've made here! From the famous glass-bottom boat ride, you can look down at the actual cave that was the home of "The Creature from the Black Lagoon," and marvel as the spring currents gaily toss glittery seashells up from the bottom. You'll think you're frolicking inside a snow-globe! And the "Lost River" boat ride takes you right by the jungle island where North America's largest free-range monkey tribe has flourished for generations. We caught a glimpse of one! The boat captains all have that agreeably robotic quality that develops when people say the same things repeatedly all day. ("In the event of an emergency ... your life jacket will hold your head and shoulders above the water -- while the alligators have a good time with the rest of you!") We went on a Tuesday, and it was not crowded at all. Check the website for 2-for-1 admission! Visit www.silversprings.com/.
READ GAY DAYTONA MAGAZINE! I'm delighted to be writing a regular column for Gay Daytona magazine. Go to www.gaydaytona.com and click on the magazine link.
Thanks for stopping by the trailer, friends! Let's all meet up down at the Track Bar!
Betty Jack DeVine
March 30, 2011
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
You know you're a race fan when you watch three races in one day, as I did Sunday (and made it to church, too!). It was fun seeing both the IZOD IndyCar and F1 season-openers on the same day.
THE STREETS OF ST. PETE: The Indy race really showed off gorgeous St. Petersburg, Fla., on a day when lots of the nation was chilly. Dario Franchitti took the win, but the real news was the magnificent campaign of Simona de Silvestro, who blasted from a 17th place start to finish 4th! "On a rail," she was, just passing car after car in her unfortunately sponsored "Nuclear Energy" car. I suspect it was out of deference to the growing international panic over the nuclear disaster in Japan that the announcers avoided saying "the Nuclear Energy Honda" the way they say "the Geico Honda."
CALIFORNIA SLEEPIN'. I'm not a Harvick fan, but like the rest of America and the known world, I was oh so glad to see him whip both Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch in the final laps of the California Cup race. That 19-lap sprint was like a terrific Saturday night race out in the country -- but the rest of it was pretty much of a yawn, action-wise. I missed the opening ceremonies because we were so busy watching Simona's terrific run. Congrats to Brian Vickers (19th to 8th) and Kasey Kahne (22nd to 9th) on their strong showings. Brian looked SO handsome -- living in Ft. Lauderdale must really suit him!
G' DAY, F1 ! Ultra-foxy World Champion Sebastian Vettel got his season off right by winning from pole on a beautiful day in Melbourne, Australia. Lewis Hamilton ran 2nd even though something broke on his car and a piece dragged a long time at the end. With all that's going on in the news, it totally slipped by me that F1's planned season opener in Bahrain was scratched because of all the rioting there. F1 is keen to reschedule it so they won't lose their $40 MILLION fee. Good luck.
KYLE BUSCH IS KILLING NASCAR! Just ask Bristol. The track's management had put out the word that the race would not sell out, but still, it was flat-out shocking to see so many empty seats. Not many years ago, you heard about how Bristol tickets were among the most subscribed and cherished tickets in sports. The announcers described the attendance at the 160,000-seat facility as "an estimated 130,000," and then later, "over a hundred thousand."
Is it just a coincidence that Kyle Busch now has won the last 5 NASCAR races at Bristol, and now that famous speedway has thousands of empty seats? Anywho, the opening ceremonies were fun -- we loved seeing Trevor Bayne leading everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance! And it wouldn't be Bristol without an invocation from the preacher at the Vansant Church of Christ, which I used to think had something to do with Lynyrd Skynyrd. But that National Anthem by Billy Ray Cyrus! When someone really overdoes a song, we say they're "licking it," and honey Billy Ray licked that song until it was sore. A couple even wrote a letter about it ("Another Agonizing Anthem") to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, asking, "Is there any hope that NASCAR will require that the stars sing the song appropriately?"
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS MOVIE! If you are a Comcast/Infinity subscriber, you MUST hit "On Demand" and select "Speed Lovers" from the free movies. This 1968 drive-in special is set against the "backdrop" -- and by that I mean they drop in stock footage -- of Daytona and the then-Atlanta International Raceway. Mainly, the action takes place at the old Marriott in downtown Atlanta, and some chubby gangster's mini-mansion -- complete with a pool deck where chippies groove to a portable hi-fi! Oh, and there's an outing to a swank Atlanta bar called the Brave Falcon (it actually existed!) for some dancing. Real-life NASCAR driver Fred Lorenzen plays himself -- and he's probably the best actor in the cast! Watch this one when you're up for something ridiculous! I've actually watched it twice -- it's that unbelievable. Hurry! It ends April 1.
LIZ TAYLOR AT THE NASCAR RACE! We at Gaytona deeply mourn the loss of Elizabeth Taylor, and we give thanks for her great art and her enormous work against AIDS. The Charlotte Observer's Theoden Janes wrote a charming piece on how Liz was grand marshal of the 1977 World 600 Labor Day race. She was accompanied by her husband John Warner, then a Virginia farmer hoping to become a US senator. Of their prerace lap on the back of a gold Cadillac, Miss Taylor said, "I'm parched already from smiling, and all that wind going through my teeth. I'm hungry. I'm thirsty. I want a beer." Later in the press room, "she snacked on Holly Farms fried chicken and sipped iced bourbon from a Styrofoam cup." I'll bet that calmed her down real good. Thanks for the memories, Miss Taylor.
TURN IT UP! Attaboy to Atlanta Motor Speedway for booking Southern rock giants Lynyrd Skynyrd for a full-length concert before the big Cup race on Labor Day Sunday! With three races and a rock concert, AMS will be THE place to be that holiday weekend. Get your tickets now at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.
READ GAY DATYONA MAGAZINE! I'm delighted to be writing a regular column for Gay Daytona magazine. Go to www.gaydaytona.com and click on the magazine link.
Thanks for stopping by the trailer, friends! Let's all meet up down at the Track Bar!
Betty Jack DeVine
March 2, 2011
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
Well we're only early into the season, but so far NASCAR has a hot streak going: The wildly exciting Daytona 500 was followed by an uncharacteristically entertaining race from Phoenix. And there was a satisfying symmetry to the fact that the Phoenix winner was Jeff Gordon -- the boyhood hero of Daytona 500 Champion Trevor Bayne! You've gotta love it for Jeff: It had been 66 races since his last win, leading to the inevitable speculation that he was stumbling toward that grey and murmuring zone where people ask (behind his back, of course) "Why can't he admit he's finished, get him a Pepsi-Cola and some Gold Bond Powder, and just go set down and pet the dog?" Jeff's joy was clearly that of a man who'd feared all his victories were behind him.
As Sunday dawned, though, it didn't necessarily look like we were in for a good show. Kyle Busch had won both the Truck and Nationwide (led all the laps) races, leading to the inevitable "broom" metaphors and talk of a track sweep. Happily, this was not to be.
Early in the race, we were oh so sorry when our new hero Trevor wrecked during a sloppy pass of Travis Kvapil. A tough break for our boy, who had clearly enjoyed starring in a pre-race featurette that might have been called "Trevor's Big Week." (Trevor made the rounds of talk shows and received congratulatory calls from the White House and Tim Tebow, among others, all the while flashing that chunky gold champion's ring!) With a wisdom beyond his years, Trevor -- whose Phoenix weekend included a practice crash and a wreck in Nationwide, in addition to Cup -- observed that "ours is a humbling sport."
The next caution waved after Kyle Busch brushed Carl Edwards, setting off a chain-reaction wreck that also involved Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick. That was nothing, though, compared to what followed. After Matt Kenseth turned Brian Vickers sideways, a massive wreck broke out on the backstretch and damaged 13 cars. The resulting red flag lasted 14 minutes. Jeff led some laps, then had to drop back because of trash on his grille, then got cleaned off and took the lead back from Tony Stewart at lap 125.
Gay NASCAR fans, let's all stop right here and send some serious love to David Ragan. Last week he looked SO sad after his restart mistake cost him the lead and likely the win at Daytona. This week, he brought out the 6th caution with a huge slam into the "un-SAFER" wall after a right front flat. We met David once, and he SO cute -- shake it off, bro!
Long about lap 133, FOX reported that Kevin Harvick had been on the radio cussing out his crew for being too slow. (Typical rich person. I wonder what nickname his crew calls him when he's not around? I bet it's not "Happy.")
After green flag pitstops, poor lil Joey's engine blew and the 7th caution fell. In a preview of what was to come, Jeff led Kyle at the start.
Andy Lally's wreck set up a big finish. Tony was leading at the restart with 23 to go, but soon it was between Kyle and Jeff. With about 12 laps to go, Jeff masterfully poked under Kyle just enough to slide the #18 up the track a tad --then it was "got it and gone!" The roar from the crowd when Jeff took the lead was awesome!
So, super! NASCAR is "two-for two" on great races, and DeVine 9 1/2 fantasy team members won them both! So far so good for 2011 !
MONEY, HONEY! Jayski recently ran a Forbes item reporting the highest-paid drivers. Jr. is on top with $29 million, followed by Jeff with $25 million and Jimmie Johnson with $24 million. The rest of the top 10 are Tony, Harvick, Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kasey Khane, Hamlin and Kenseth. Now listen to me, all you dudes that are race fans and are looking for a rich husband: four of these rich boys aren't married, and if you don't try you don't win, right? Talk about some eligible bachelors ...
VIVA LAS VEGAS! Thanks to Michael at queers4gears.com for sending folks to read our Daytona coverage -- I'll return the favor and advise you all to check out Mike's site this weekend, as Vegas is his home track and I'm sure there'll be lots to see!
Thanks for stopping by the trailer, y'all! See you in Vegas -- Let's all meet up down at the Track Bar!
Betty Jack DeVine
LIVE FROM DAYTONA BEACH SPEED WEEK 2011
Tuesday February 22
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
Here in Daytona, we're all still trying to catch our breath after that fantastic 500! One of THE most thrilling finishes ever AND the excitement of the youngest winner ever! What a thrill it was to see Trevor Bayne -- heretofore, best known as the driver of the OUT! Pet Care car in Nationwide (gotta love it, gay race fans!) leave Our Sports' giants in his dust and win the biggest race during only his second start in Cup! What an extraordinary victory!
A quick stop by Saturday's Nationwide contest: The race started with Clint Boyer and Landon Cassill on the front row -- and it nearly ended that way, except Tony Stewart had advanced from his 14th place start to win his fourth consecutive Nationwide season opener. Jr. started 3rd and finished 4th -- not bad, considering he missed his pit on one stop and, on another, had to return for a penalty because he'd left his spot with the gas can attached. Reed Sorenson's 5th place finish was a nice surprise.
Now, on to Sunday: The show got off to a great start with a great set by Brad Paisley. In his opener, "Water," Brad delighted the crowd by punching-up the line "Daytona Beach -- on Spring Break!." Then he moved on to his latest instant classic, "This Is Country Music." Brad finished with "Mud on the Tires," his love song to a new Chevy truck -- quite fitting, since the Pizza Hut Pre-Race Show was also brought to you by Chevrolet, and both logos stayed up the whole time.
(I forgot to mention that right before Brad's set, we rushed outside and caught sight of the US Air Force Thunderbirds taking off right over Monkey Island! Now, that was exciting!)
Shortly after Brad's set, Dierks Bentley hit the stage and performed a customized version of his hit "Sideways." The new NASCAR-oriented lyrics didn't have the snap of the original, but it was still fun to see him sing it for the fans.
The Rev. Donald Durham of Daytona Beach led us in the invocation, and Martina McBride sang the National Anthem. That she made no mistakes was deemed worthy of remark by more than a few. The T-Birds flyover was awesome and included a pass -- in formation! -- right over our neighborhood! Josh Duhamel and some other non-puppet participants in the latest "Transformer" movie gave the command.
With pole winner Dale Jr. sent to the back as a result of his crash in practice, the front row was occupied by Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch, who led the first lap. As planned, all but the cars themselves fell silent on lap 3, and all those in attendance -- an estimated 180,000 fans -- held up three fingers to memorialize Dale Earnhardt Sr. on 10th anniversary of his death here.
The first caution gave the first indication that the "usual suspects" might not be the ones we'd be talking about after lap 250: Kyle Busch went for a spin. Mikey, always making friends in the stands, may have helped a little, tee hee!
The next yellow was for the smoker of J.J. Yeley, who became the first car out (taking home a mere $268K!). The real story of this caution, though, was that Martin Truex Jr., who apparently failed to see the yellow, nearly ran over the slowing car of Dale Jr. Since it was a tangle with the #56 Toyota than knocked Jr. from pole to back row, this almost-wreck was quite ironic.
Brad Keselowski was the leader at the restart. Repeating their pair-up from Twin 2, Jeff and Trevor hooked up tight as a tick. (What a thrill for Trev, who grew up carrying a Jeff Gordon lunchbox to school!)
Another giant fell at lap 22, when past Daytona 500 Champion Kevin Harvick lost his engine. Jeff Gordon (who would finish 28th) messed up the car of Robby Gordon (who would come in 16th).
Then on lap 29, business really picked up. Mikey got into the back of teammate David Reutimann, setting off a 17-car freak-out that put the smackdown on the Daytona 500 chances of many big names, including Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. At the restart, Jamie was leading with a push from Juan Pablo.
The fifth caution flew for Robert Richardson Jr.: Travis Kvapil had tried to push him, but just ran over him instead. Terry Labonte showed the way at the restart. Big-one victim Brian Vickers -- who was joyously welcomed back all Speed Week after being sidelined by health problems last year -- made it back on the track but faltered, bringing out the sixth caution. The seventh came when Kvapil pounded the wall. The eighth fell for the Montoya machine -- then again with the Kvapil car for caution number nine!
We restarted with 73 to go, but soon Labonte limped his ride to the garage. The 10th caution was for a crash in which Greg Biffle smacked Matt Kenseth, sending the #17 off the track and into the wall. At the restart with 61 to go, Boyer was out front with support from Paul Menard. Biffle next got together with Montoya, tying the record for Daytona 500 cautions (11). Causing the 12th caution was Travis "I'm Still Out Here!' Kvapil, who hit the wall again! Caution 13 waved for Brad, Robby Gordon and Regan Smith.
At the restart with 30 to go, Jr. again led briefly, delighting everyone. With 25 to go, David Ragan was leading with a strong push from Trevor! With 19 to go, a flat right front sent Kasey into the wall and brought out the caution.
With 16 to run, Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin led. Then came the pivotal late-race caution with a wreck among the cars of Boyer, Newman and Hamlin. Our first attempt at a green-white-checker finish ended with an accident affecting Jr., Truex, Allmendinger and Newman. The officials' decision that leader David Ragan had changed his position before hitting the restart stripe likely cost him the victory.
In the second attempt, the line-up was Bayne, Stewart, Bobby Labonte and Martin. Attempting to pull his usual superspeedway last-lap run, Carl Edwards zoomed up the inside but won for himself only second place, as the Trevor Bayne held strong and sailed into history as the youngest-ever Daytona 500 Champion! What a fantastic wrap-up to a terrific week of racing!
The finish, of course, set off a media scramble to learn more about the new champ. So far, we've learned that Trevor's parents run a Knoxville business that takes care of grocery stores' floors; that Trev has been through "like 20 cell phones in the last year," because he's always breaking or losing them; and that the White House called him Sunday asking him to plan to visit in the very near future!
In other good news, the race's TV ratings were up 13 percent from last year. And in a very classy move, DIS donated 7,500 pounds of leftover fresh food to Daytona's Second Harvest Food Bank, which will distribute it to needy folks in the area.
As I wrap up my Speed Week coverage, I must say a big Thank You to the post-surgery care team at Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach. The week before Shootout, I checked into this beautiful facility for some tune-up work, and all the folks there really treated me right. I was not well enough to attend any of this week's events in person, but thanks to the Good Lord and the wonderful nurses and doctors, I was well enough to enjoy all the action from my sofa at Monkey Island, and I continue to get better every day. I've enjoyed spending Speed Week with you, friends! Come back by the trailer all year long -- here's to a fantastic 2011 NASCAR Cup season!
Betty Jack DeVine
Saturday February 19
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
It's a gorgeous Saturday morning in Daytona, with warm temps and the lightest breeze. All of y'all headed to DIS for the Nationwide contest, you've got a great day for it!
TWIN TALK: Twin 1 was a drowsy affair, with just two cautions. Harvick led the most laps but Kurt Busch took the win. It's funny how Kurt had never won here before this week but now has bagged the trophies for the Bud Shootout and Twin 1. It's like, once he figured it out, there was no stopping him! (Reminds me of a young pal I knew some years ago: Poor dude went around dateless and frustrated for the longest time -- until he turned it around and scored with three gal-pals in the same week! You gotta "swing while you're winning" as the saying goes!)
In Twin 2, the action picked up considerably. Trevor Bayne showed great skill and nerve pushing Jeff Gordon, who logged 10 laps up front, though Trev did wreck at the last. Because it's important to keep Daddy happy, Brad Keselowski pushed big bro Brian (who started 24th of 24) into the Sunday show with a 5th place finish. Mikey not only raced his way in but finished 3rd, another numeric memorial to Dale Sr. on this anniversary weekend. Jeff Burton grabbed the win with a big push from teammate Clint Boyer.
MIKEY TAKES TRUCK TROPHY: In Speed Week's continuing line of coincidences, Mikey took his first-ever Truck victory on Friday -- 10 years to the day after his first-ever Cup victory, which of course happened concurrently with the Earnhardt tragedy. Mikey was quite overwhelmed as he recalled that day's events while celebrating in Victory Lane. The race itself has been most snoozy up until lap 76, when a big-league bang-up collected a dozen cars in Turns 1 and 2. Johanna Long, who had started 5th, got some of the big wreck and drove down pit lane to avoid another, finishing 32nd. Jennifer Jo Cobb, who started 31st, drove to a 6th place finish; unfortunately, she had failed to qualify for the Nationwide race. We were sure sorry Alli Owens did not make the Truck race.
ALL THAT JIZ! On Practice Day, Dixie snapped these photos of Jr.'s Suave car's glass-sided hauler. Is it just me, or do you think Jr. looks most uncomfortable here? (Like, "oh brother, what am I endorsing today?"). But check out that JR Motorsports logo. I know it's supposed to be a J and and R, but it you look at it sideways, it's like a J, an I, and a Z. See what I mean? Hey, I'm just sayin ...
Welcome to the holiday weekend, friends! Have a great day and enjoy the Nationwide race!
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
Practice Day's gloomy weather foretold heartbreak for Jr. Nation, which saw Junebug wreck in a crash with longtime buddy Martin Truex Jr. Driving his backup car, Jr. will now start on the last row Sunday. What a bummer! Worse, Jr. had not wanted to be on the track, which got a good soaking overnight and into the morning. "I didn't think I needed to be out there practicing. I had a bad feeling about it," Jr said. Whoever pushed the hardest to send the 88 out on Wednesday must be hiding under the bed today.
Another day, some more new rules: Still trying to rein in the cars on the super-fast new surface at DIS, NASCAR has indeed issued a new restrictor plate to shave another 10 to 15 hp off the engine output. Even with the new plate, though, four guys were running above 200 in Wednesday's practice.
The most-watched of today's Twins will surely be the second, where the field includes reigning Daytona 500 Champion Jamie McMurray and Michael Waltrip, who must race his way into Sunday's show. Mikey is enjoying even more attention than usual thanks to his well-reviewed book about the 2001 Daytona 500.
Enjoy your day, friends -- talk to you after the Twins!
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
On this crystal-clear Tuesday morning in Daytona Beach, the light breeze is carrying the summery buzz of racecars to my Monkey Island home. But since the weekend's excitement is past and there are no official events scheduled at DIS until Wednesday, I think, it's probably just fans keeping the "Be Petty Experience" rides busy. And a lovely day they have for it, with the temp expected to reach 68.
As expected, seeing "206" on their speed-trackers did indeed prompt NASCAR to mandate some equipment changes, which were delivered to team leaders on Sunday. To limit the duration of the two-car "lovebug drafting" -- you gotta love it, Florida drivers! -- that built the Shootout's super speeds, NASCAR is putting a smaller grille opening on all the cars, and a pressure-relief cap on the radiators. The hoped-for effect is that the pusher will only be able to stay hooked-up for a finite amount of time before the threat of overheating forces him to duck out from behind the pushee to grab some cleaner, cooler air. Sounds like an interesting approach.
On the other hand ... that kind of weaving opens the door for stepping out in front of someone coming by. (Spotters: You better work.) Plus, it seems like repeatedly getting out from behind the front car, then lining up and pushing him again, raises the chance of hitting the pushee off-center and sending him for a ride. Once the cars get out there and going, it won't take long to find out what's going to happen, Of note: NASCAR kept hands-off the restrictor plate in this round of fixin, but left open the possibility that more changes could follow.
If you're lucky enough to be here in the World Center of Racing this week, here are a few special events you may want to add to your own to-do list. I'm looking forward to:
*The Ford Rock and Race Fest -- Tuesday and Wednesday, on Beach Street. Local favorite Alli Owens' big fundraising drive put her over the top, and she'll be making her NASCAR debut in the Truck race Friday. But before that she'll be signing autographs at this fun, free festival, so go by and say hey! I've haven't found a schedule or list for the rest of the driver appearances, but I'm really hoping Ford driver Trevor Bayne will be hanging out and making friends -- what a cutie!
*Beach Parade -- Tuesday in Daytona Beach Shores. This is one of my favorite events -- collectors and actual former drivers and mechanics bring out their majestically preserved racecars from the past and parade them down the beach. Fabulous, and free!
*Practice Day -- Wednesday at DIS. The parking is easy, the carnival of souvenirs is open for business, the cars are running at speed and you can sit anywhere you want to watch it all. Practice Day is uncrowded and uncomplicated -- a terrific way to experience DIS without feeling smushed. Unfortunately, the admission price has gone up to $20.
And to my friends across the country: Be sure and watch the premiere of ESPN's new documentary on Wendell Scott, the pioneering African-American NASCAR driver. It will air Sunday at 9 p.m., after the Daytona 500. I'm especially interested in this because our Daytona Beach neighbor, Mrs. Porter, used to entertain the Scotts in her home and still keeps up with Mrs. Scott.
More news as I get it. Thanks for stopping by the trailer, and enjoy Speed Week!
Sunday Feburary 13
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
I'm writing to you this beautiful Sunday morning from Monkey Island, my tropical estate within earshot of the World Center of Racing! Well sir, it's 12 hours later and I've finally been able to turn aloose of my chair arms after holding on for dear life through that rocket-fast Bud Shootout!
Everybody knew the buttery new asphalt at Daytona International Speedway was fast, but well above 200 mph? Time after time, the two-car teams, fleeting friendships, roared past each other to swap the lead, coming just a whisker from tangling at the highest speeds seen on this storied track since the 1970s.
The last lap added to DIS' long line of famous, and potentially controversial finishes, as Denny Hamlin crossed the stripe a nose first in the four-car pack. Kurt Busch, however, was quickly declared the winner, given that Denny grabbed the front spot only by diving below the double-yellow to swing past Ryan Newman. Kurt's big win was in large a courtesy of Jamie McMurray, whose massive pushing had given the edge to the Busch machine. Kurt reveled in visiting stock-car racing's most famous Victory Lane, sharing credit in a way that should give Jamie fans big hopes for his runs this week: "He stuck with us and had an unbelievable amount of power," Kurt said.
DIS wisely peppered the broadcast with ads for next Sunday's epic contest, the clear suggestion being that if you like seeing 24 cars top 200, you'll love seeing 43 do it! Smart marketing, for sure. But I've got to wonder how NASCAR will next react to the speeds clocked last night. Whip-fast testing times already prompted the officials to increase the restrictor plate's speed-tamping power once -- an effort to keep these wild horses safely reined inside the track's tall fences. Will NASCAR decide another such change is necessary to protect the fans and drivers? And if so, will NASCAR withhold that announcement as long as possible, to ensure that Saturday night's dizzying display sells the maximum number of tickets? Y'all keep checking back -- I think we're in for a most interesting Speed Week!
NASCAR 2011 PREVIEW
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
Well, along about the time when the departure of the last
of those collapsed blowup yard Santys signals that Christmas is finally over --
until September, anyway -- I get a powerful craving for Springtime and the return of
Our Sport! Here's to warm days in the sun, on the deck and at the track, enjoying
another fantastic NASCAR season with friends and family -- and to Gaytona.com, our
virtual bar, beauty shop and party hut at the speedway!
DAYTONA ON MY MIND! I was lucky to visit Daytona International Speedway a couple of
times during its mammoth repaving project. In December, it was great to see a "Be
Petty" car out sailing around the new blacktop, which looks incredibly smooth. The
surface really has a new look, so I imagine it must feel completely different. The
testing speeds were so fast -- 197 -- that NASCAR decided to reduce the restrictor
plate by 1/32, thus cutting a few horsepower. Even so, the teams are bragging to the
press that they expect a thrilling show for the fans, with three- and four-wide
racing comparable to that at the repaved Talladega. I can't wait! OH -- and if you
need another reason to get your tickets now, the speedway announced that the US Air
Force Thunderbirds will do the flyover! The T-birds were at the iconic 50th
anniversary Daytona 500 we attended, and their three-pass flyover was a spectacle
for the ages! Here is a fan's great video of the approach and
ALL IN FOR ALLI -- According to Godwin Kelly in the Daytona Beach News Journal, ARCA
driver Alli Owens is in different kind of race these days. It seems that Alli was
informed only in late November that her sponsorship deal was being withdrawn. Now,
spurred on by the contributions of fans and friends, Alli is optimistically trying
to raise the $35K she needs to make her scheduled NASCAR debut in the Truck race at
Daytona. She's raised $10K so far but has only two more weeks to get her money
right. A Daytona Beach naive, Alli has three top 10s in ARCA and was on the outside
front row last year at Daytona. Dixie and I met her one year at Ford's Rock and Race
Festival, and she was as nice as can be and not stuck-up one bit. I do hope Alli is
able to make the start! If you want to learn more or kick in a buck, visit
If you make any contribution, they'll post your name -- mine is
up there now!
HOW MUCH IS THAT CUDA IN THE WINDOW? For me and my gang, the build-up to Speed Week
begins with the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction from Scottsdale -- and this
year we're getting six days of BJs, starting on Tuesday, Jan. 18! We love to join
with thousands of other car lovers in playing the Hagerty Fantasy Bid game -- though
we're never anywhere near the hammer price -- and the whole thing just puts you in
the mood for driving South in something shiny! Check it out on Speed TV.
MARK MARTIN, CARRY ON !! For years now, we've been keeping score of who'll work the
longest after "retiring" : Cher, whose 2002 farewell tour lasted years and played
the same towns more than once, and who now right now this week is still working at
Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas -- or Mark Martin, who retired at the end of the 2006
season and was never really gone, and just announced that he will compete in ALL
THREE series in 2011! I still hope Mark will be the first driver to take the Cup
championship after "retiring."
SPEAKING OF ALL THREE SERIES: NASCAR has wisely decreed that drivers can compete for
only one championship, which should greatly improve the outcomes. Watching the "big
boys" come down and snag championships in series they've supposedly "graduated from"
has never seeming sporting to me.
BOOKMARK THIS! As we gear up for the season, don't forget to bookmark these sites:
www.Queers4Gears.com, which offers great race reportage from a gay viewpoint, and
www.racefantv.com, which is your one-stop site for every type of racing coverage!
Every week, I plan my own race watching with RaceFanTV !
Let me hear from you, gay NASCAR fans! We're working now to select the 2011 DeVine 9
1/2, and we're getting so amped up for Speed Week! Thanks for stopping by the
trailer -- Let's all meet up down at the Track Bar!
Betty Jack DeVine
R E M E M B E R I N G
N A S C A R 2 0 1 0
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
As the season winds through its final laps, I hope you and yours are well. Here's a quick update on the events we've been busy keeping up with here at Gaytona.com.
THE SENSATIONAL F1 SEASON! In just a few short years, I've gone from F1 doubter to F1 fanatic. This year, the entire season boiled down to the last race at Abu Dhabi -- a setup of almost insane luxury, where the world's most expensive racetrack sits on a manmade island alongside a fabulous marina with hotels and the crazy Ferrari World theme park! (Check out their wicked-fast race-themed roller coaster here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGyqztIdUiQ.)
In an almost unbelievable turn of events, the darling 23-year-old German Sebastian Vettel led from pole and kept the other contenders far back enough that he clinched the championship -- even though he'd not been first in points anytime before that race! We've loved Sebastian for years. A couple of seasons back, it seemed he would never get to complete a lap: He wrecked week after week on his come-out roll. But after he hit his stride, this handsome lad proved he is ripping fast and not scared a bit. With many exciting races and unanticipated events -- plus a four-man shoot-out in the final race, this was widely hailed as the most exciting season in F1's 61-year history. Congratulations to Sebastian and to Team Red Bull, which also hauled home the F1 Constructor's trophy.
TEXAS TORNADO! The Texas contest may turn out to be the deciding event in the Chase for the Championship. But the next day, what really had folks talking was not Denny Hamlin's victory but rather how Jeff Gordon opened a big can of whup-ass on Jeff Burton after he bizarrely wrecked the #24 under caution. Plus everyone got a big thrill when Kyle Busch's flip-off of a NASCAR official turned his bad day awful.
DAYTONA 500 EXPERIENCE GOES DARK. In one more sign of how the poor economy continues to undo years of growth in Our Sport, Daytona International Speedway closed the Velocitorium, the shiny museum at the center of the Daytona 500 Experience. This was one of those things that, while perhaps not completely unanticipated, still managed to shock. I'm afraid it's just one more example of soaking the fans one time too many. Admission to the D5E ran about $100 for a family of four, and it's had to imagine spending more than a couple of hours there. In addition, there was a significant upcharge for the Acceleration Alley simulator, which was the D5E's most high-tech feature. The D5E was actually a well-done attraction -- but like so much else these days, wasn't nearly worth the cost of admission. You can still tour the speedway -- but the basic 30-minute tram ride will run you $50 for two adults and two kids.
CALLING ALL FANS... REALLY! Time changes things. Toward the end of the season, we've almost gotten used to the copious empty seats that so shocked us back in the spring. NASCAR tracks, it seems, have just stopped selling out. Races were filled with ads for other races, and at some venues you could snag a Sunday ticket for about the same price as admission to one of the Metropolitan Opera's Saturday movie-theater simulcasts. Again, this year, DIS did not even try to sell the Superstretch for the July race. In a clear and obvious recognition that something is wrong, DIS has already announced new liberalized cooler and bag policies for next year. (You'll now be able to bring in a softside cooler big enough to hold 36 cans -- a big bump from the previous eight -- as well as a school-size backpack.)
Recently installed DIS President Joie Chitwood III personally announced the changes. (Joie is the former president and COO of Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- where the gate policies are so strict, you'd think you're getting on an airliner -- and got his start in his family's Chitwood Thrill Show, which many country folk remember for their daredevil automobile performances at county fairs.) With ratings on the skids, even for marquee events like Talladega, some commentators have suggested far-out approaches like shortening the season itself, and the length of the races. What? How is giving the fans LESS going to pack the stands? One more fact of the recession, and then I'll quit my bitching: If your town lost (like BOTH mine did) in the contest to host the NASCAR Hall of Fame, be very, very glad. Though local planners supposedly built in "firewalls" to keep the hall's finances from bankrupting Charlotte, indications are that first-year attendance may fall half-a-million visitors short of the 800,000 target figure. Firewalls or not, I'm glad I don't get a property tax bill from Charlotte.
CONGRATS, QUEERS4GEARS.COM! A big woo-hoo to Michael Myers, whose excellent gay racing site got a nice write-up in the New York Times! You can read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/sports/autoracing/14gears.html. Like me, Mike is a native of South Crazyland -- now ain't that weird?
OH, ATLANTA! A huge crowd turned out for the Labor Day Sunday night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and AMS again proved it knows how to treat the fans right. Thanks to Marcy Scott and all the excellent staff and volunteers, who really show what Southern hospitality is all about. The gorgeous weather had everyone in a super mood, and we had a million laughs. (I expect attendance was probably helped by the announcement, just weeks before, that AMS would not host a Spring race next year. Anybody who'd wanted to come to a race but was "on the fence" probably came, realizing it would be a whole year before the big show stops in our town again. )
WHAT'S SHORT -- AND CRAZY? I have to tell you: During our terrific October vacation in Daytona Beach, Dixie and I took in the short-track Saturday night excitement of New Smyrna Speedway -- and we had a real big time! The cars were just tearing around this half-mile banked concrete oval, so close it was just nuts! There were numerous exciting wrecks, including one where the officials had to restrain the victim, who jumped from his smashed ride determined to pound on the dude who wrecked him! There were some unique sponsors, too. Our favorite was the Apopka Pain Clinic -- the car said "STOP THE PAIN!" and promised "ON-SITE DISPENSING!" We'll definitely hope to return: The action was hot and heavy, and the fans were all as nice as pie.
Thanks for stopping by the trailer friends. Here's hoping for a good race Sunday, and a champion who is NOT Jimmie Johnson!
Betty Jack DeVine
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
And a super tall-n-frosty welcome to all of y'all heading
to Atlanta for this weekend's huge party at Atlanta Motor Speedway! If the weather
cooperates -- and we're keeping our eyes on Hurricane Earl, shoo, shoo! -- we think
this Labor Day race could be even bigger than last year's inaugural event. Why?
Because Atlantans love huge, wild parties -- old-timers, remember the Ramblin' Raft
Race, and gay Pride before the Piedmont Park Snob Association ruined it? The night
race at AMS is that kind of extravaganza: a big-ass, crank it up throw-down for
grown folks who love fun! Hats-off to the AMS team for always working overtime to
ensure that the fans have a fantastic experience at NASCAR's fastest track!
Here are a couple of quick reminders for your raceday checklist:
SUNSCREEN! Even though the race will be under the lights, most fans will be in the
stands long before the sun goes down. And because of the way the track is situated,
the front-stretch faces west toward the setting summer sun. That means you'll want to slap on
lots of Coppertone to keep from getting crispy while you're getting toasted waiting
for the green flag.
ALCOHOL! You can buy beer at AMS, but remember there are NO Sunday retail sales of
alcohol anywhere in Georgia. (I know, crazy, right?) Be sure to make that Jager run
before the package stores close Saturday night! Then, remember to decant that sweet,
sweet liquor into non-glass bottles; see next item.
CHECK THE RULES! Most Atlanta sports and concert venues have onerous, draconian
rules about everything -- you literally cannot even take in a sip of water, or a
single peanut. AMS continues to let fans bring in their drinks and snacks, with few
restrictions. To pack your cooler for a hassle-free trip through the gate, read the
rules here: http://www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/fans/faq/.
"HEY, THERE'S [YOUR FAVORITE DRIVER] !" There's always a large crowd of
driver-cruisers along the fences in the area between the drivers' RV lot and the
pit/media area at AMS. I got a good picture of Carl Edwards there the year he swept
both AMS Cup races. And last year, it was funny to see NASCAR President Mike Helton
duck out into this very public area, mixed drink in hand, to take a cell call. But
really, I've spied a lot more drivers at the other end of the RV lot, where the guys
come and go on their golf carts. Stake out a spot around the secured gate, across
from the hospitality area, and you're sure to have some good sightings!
GOT YOUR TICKETS? Don't wait to the last minute! You need to be getting your tickets
today! Visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com !
DAYTONA PAVING UPDATE: Finally, I promised you an update on the repaving of Daytona
International Speedway, which I visited last month. This truly is a mammoth project:
Among other steps, they had to remove all the lights in the turns so they could make
a roadway on which ride the bulldozers that anchor, with heavy chains, the paving
machines on the highly banked track. It's really something to see! In the best
France family tradition, the public is invited inside for an up-close look at the
work! In the 4th Turn Clearance Center -- the very best spot for bargains on NASCAR
merchandise -- we met the friendly clerk Russell, a long-time DIS employee. This
charming fellow allowed that he'd expected business to fall off badly during the
project, but instead was surprised that DIS was drawing even more visitors than
usual! Right after I left Daytona, the News-Journal ran a funny article about how
the guys working the paving job are having to adjust to having an audience! One
worker said that most jobs only attracts the attention of retired paving guys who
want to tell you how they did it back up North!
Well friends I'd better close and get back to making my race preparations! If you're
lucky enough to be in the infield this week, look for us down in Turn 2, the Flock
Bros. Corral! Happy Labor Day! Let's all meet up down at the Track Bar!
Betty Jack DeVine
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
Sorry not to have updated in a while, but mercy, I've been busy! I just got back from my beloved Daytona Beach -- wish I could have stayed on through Summer Speed Week, as the stores were already decorating and folks were getting into the spirit! It was hot there but not as hot as Atlanta, where all the dogs' tongues are about to drag on the ground.
Since we last chatted, our darling Brian Vickers has had to withdraw from the season due to a problem with blood clots in his legs. This news was quite disturbing to the whole NASCAR family, as Brian is so well-liked by many. I know we all send Brian our love and want him to put his health first. Brian was replaced in the #83 Red Bull Toyota by Casey Mears, who bless his heart, has struggled and even lamely crashed his team mate Scott Speed at Michigan. ("Bad form, crashing a team mate," Mother Burnside might say.) Georgia boy Reed Sorenson is now helming the #83 Toyota -- go get 'em Reed!
There's been a powerful lot of fussing between Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick, who just flippantly wrecked Joey out of a top five spot at Pocono. Joey was so mad that he about drove his car right across Kevin's whole team right where they were standing, and then he told an interviewer that Delana tells Kevin everything to do, anyway, so it's probably her fault. I think the fans are behind Joey, and they should be. NASCAR fussed at Joey's daddy after it said Mr. Logano shoved a broadcaster on pit road; dad denied it.
Jamie McMurray has been doing great! He took his third second-place finish of the year in the extra-long Coke 600 -- coming oh so close to giving team owner Chip Ganassi the prize of having his cars take Charlotte and the Indy 500 on the same day. (Speaking of, what about the way Miss Ashley Judd got crazy after hubby Dario Franchitti pulled that one off? She was like part movie-star, part church-lady, part Gretchen Wilson, in her sundress, hat and shades running barefoot on the track toward Victory Lane. But what about that victory lap as the Chip, Dario & Ashley stood/sat in the back of a tiny convertible? She got herself in there, all right, but you better believe Chip Ganassi sat his big self right practically in her lap the whole ride! I hope she's all right.)
Just finished watching Danica's return to NASCAR in the Nationwide event at Loudon. She started 25th and finished 30th, five laps back. Poor thing's day went south right quick when she and Morgan Shepherd had damaging contact in lap 7, and she never really recovered. (BTW, the New Yorker recently ran a long and interesting profile of Danica, including how she dropped out of high school to race, and her family basically bet the homestead on her career. She apparently taken flak from some for her sexy commercials, but please, why not? Racing is show business, too, and what's the point of looking that good if you don't work it?)
By now, every schoolyard tot has heard the story of how Big Bill France and other key drivers and team owners got together and hammered out the basics of NASCAR racing back in 1948 in the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach. But did you know that the last man standing from that crowd of pioneers just recently passed? Mr. Raymond Parks of Atlanta lived a life right out of a movie script. The oldest of 16 kids, he ran away from Dawsonville, Ga., as a teen and set out on a career running moonshine to Atlanta. He worked hard, saved his money, always wore a suit and snappy fedora, opened business after business -- liquor store, service station, jukebox company, running the numbers -- bought and sold huge tracts of northwest Atlanta, went to prison twice, fought in the horrific Battle of the Bulge, and helmed NASCAR's first championship team. In the opinion of some, Mr. Parks came quite close to winning for Atlanta the prominent position in racing that Daytona Beach now enjoys. For an enthralling look at the wild and ragged early days of stock car racing, and more about Mr. Parks and other overlooked racing legends, check out Neal Thompson's excellent history "Driving with the Devil." I thought I knew a lot of this stuff but was amazed at all I learned when I read it.
Our darling Scott Speed has some funny lines in the AP article this week about the 20th anniversary of "Days of Thunder." Check it out on theHuffington Post ; . "I'm droppin the hammer!"
Well friends I'll close now and get ready for this very exciting Independence Day race weekend! Thanks for stopping by the trailer -- let's all meet up down at the Track Bar!
Betty Jack DeVine
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans!
It's off the newsstand now, but last week the National Examiner tabloid did a big "Who's Gay?" cover story and the biggest picture was Dale Jr.! I was only half awake after an exhausting day and, like a fool, did not buy it. When I went back to get it, it was gone.
While trying to find the article on the Web, I came across coverage of it on the site stockcarspin.com. Apparently, the Examiner's evidence included that Jr. is "35 years old with no girlfriend" and "never has a woman standing next to him in Victory Lane." It also talks about how Jr. has introduced a new candy bar called "Big Mo," and that is apparently "a gay slang." (There is so much slang -- thank goodness we have urbandictionary.com to explain it all to us: big mo is short for "big homo.")
Once he's set the stage, however, stockcarspin's Ben Montedonico starts blowing more hot air than a jet-dryer -- and not just because "You can't believe everything you read." If the article wasn't the work of "a bunch of no-name writers trying to make up a bunch of crap so that they can be known," he says, then surely it must have come from "a group of liberal you-know-whats trying to push some radical agenda."
Ben assures us that "Earnhardt is a conservative, with a predominantly conservative fan base" and notes, "If a driver promotes a product, fans of that driver tend to buy the product." Then, however, Ben trembles as he ponders, "But what if a driver promotes a radical agenda, and that driver happens to have half of America cheering for him?"
In one scenario, Ben imagines "the fans would break away from their driver and jump on other drivers' bandwagons...."
"But, and this is the scary part, the best case scenario for the magazine would be if the fans decided to support their driver and his outlook on gay marriage. In all likelihood, those conservatives who were once against gay marriage would now be for it, and the magazine's mission would be successful. That's the power of super-stardom."
Like, wow. Ben seems Absolutly petrified that Jr. is going to come out and be some kind of gay Martin Luther King Jr. -- a person in whom the power of truth is so strong that even his enemies will come around to his way of thinking. In Ben's scary world, if a person of Dale Jr.'s caliber ever came out, that radical agenda we gays are always pushing -- you know, the right to take care of our families the same way as the straight folks? -- would be as good as inscribed in stone.
Here's the bottom line: Every time a gay person -- famous or not -- comes out and the world keeps turning, we gays are one step closer to getting the rights and respect that are our fair share. Thank you, Ben Montedonico, for daring to imagine something that would indeed advance our "radical agenda:" An adored sports superstar comes out as gay, his fans shrug it off and love him anyway, and people everywhere start to get a clue that being gay is just not a big deal.
Betty Jack DeVine
The most fabulous start for a NASCAR season ever.
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans,
Thanks for stopping by the trailer -- I have to get my Atlanta wrap-up in the Public Record before we head to Bristol. This was the first ATL race weekend in several years when I wasn't at the track -- it's always something, as the feller says, and I just wasn't able to make it this time. And wouldn't you know it: I missed a heck of a race! I felt kind of like the kid who stayed home with a sore throat on the very day his class just happened to take a surprise field trip to the Fireworks, Candy and Puppy-dog Store!
Briefly: Jr. took the pole to the delight of a the hardcore fans who braved Friday night's extremely chilly weather. He would not, however, lead even one lap in the show on Sunday. After we went green, tires quickly became an issue. By lap 20, we'd seen a blowout on the Robby Gordon machine, as well as Clint Boyer zooming in under green for new Goodyears. David Ragan suffered the next flat.
Then came the incident that set up the day's biggest controversy. Brad Keselowski, running on the inside, moved up a tad and into Carl Edwards, who slid up and collected Joey Logano. Interviewed outside the Infield Care Center, Carl did not immediately blast Brad, other than to note that Brad "never gives me any room." But wait, there's more ...
Back on the track, Mark Martin lost a left rear and tore up the grass some. After a while, Brad climbed to 4th. Kasey and Kurt swapped sweat for the lead with 85 to go. Kasey was running in front with 42 to go! Denny Hamlin had a flat, bringing out the eighth yellow. At the restart, Elliott Sadler ran into Max Papis, who cut down a tire for the 9th caution. Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth were up front at the restart. But with 15 to go, it was Juan Pablo Montoya running in second, the fastest car on the track!
Then with 10 to go, Carl Edwards, running 156 laps down, booted Brad from behind on the front-stretch. Brad got completely airborne and came down on his nose and roof. It was a huge relief when Brad tumbled out, OK but very shook up. NASCAR quickly parked the #99 and called Carl directly to the trailer. DW declared the wreck "very unnecessary." Brad invoked the specter of death on the track and in the grandstands as he described the danger of being hit that way coming down the fastest part of the track; he made it clear he thought NASCAR should come down hard on that kind of driving. Back to this in a minute.
In the first attempt at a green-flag-checker finish, there was a fat wreck that involved seven cars. Just before the second attempt, DW hollered out, "Honey! Put the food back in the oven and bring me a belt! I've got to tie the TV down!" That DW is one wacky hillbilly, I must say. Kurt held on for the final laps, and this time we all got to exhale, and finally, sit back down.
A lot of people were, I think, pretty surprised when Tuesday came and NASCAR wagged its finger at Carl, handed him three weeks probation, and sent him on his way. Sure, we'd all heard the "have at it, boys," hoo-ha. But come on, now: It's one thing to race hard -- even to the point of wrecking out when cars are contending for position and the trophy -- but something entirely different when a guy who's just logging laps knocks out a top-five guy. That's entertainment? Do we really want races where any bozo with a chip on his shoulder can wreck out a contender on the last laps? Are we watching a top-class race, or that nutty Lucas Oil-sponsored wreck-a-bration that Speed TV shows on Saturdays? Don't get me wrong -- I love watching wicked-fast school buses miss each other by a whisker at the cross of the the figure-8 -- but I don't think Our Sport can really be taken seriously if that's what we have to offer. It's too random, isn't it? Just too... common?
But barring incidents that are truly dangerous and that compromise the integrity and entertainment of the competition, I'm certainly not opposed to an exciting feud. Let's see how the boys play when they get to Bristol. (You know, sometimes when people fight all the time, it means they like each other. A lot. Like Luke Snyder and Dr. Reid Oliver on "As the World Turns." Y'all know what I'm talking about?) We'll find out when we get to Bristol, I reckon! Let's all meet up down at the Track Bar!
Betty Jack DeVine
Welcome, gay NASCAR fans! It's taken me two weeks to recover from the wild excitement of Speed Week in Daytona Beach, capped by the screamin-n-cryin joy of Jamie McMurray's epic run to Victory Lane in the Daytona 500! What an amazing show! What a terrific new face for NASCAR! And what a king-size payoff for all of us who have pulled for Jamie for so long! GO JAMIE GO !!!
Of course, Jamie had to share the spotlight with a pesky pothole, whose sudden appearance and refusal to be ameliorated by nary a compound (except that jack-leg save-all, Bondo) drove the race from chilly day to colder night. Even so, nothing could diminish the glory of Jamie's Daytona 500 Championship. Among his many public appearances during the week, his stop by the David Letterman Show was especially well done. If you haven't seen it, watch it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_KVMB7yf0E.
The action started off in high gear with the ARCA race and the accompanying media frenzy over Danica Patrick. Without a doubt, there was an incredible amount of attention paid to Danica throughout the week. But Danica's 6th place finish in the ARCA event -- distinguished by a masterful save of what could have been a race-ending wreck -- and her subsequent OK performance in the Nationwide contest clearly showed she has the chops to race in those series.
I also get the sense that Danica is on the leading edge of creating a new excitement about racing among young girls.
At Practice Day on Wednesday, Dixie and I were charmed by a daddy and daughter (about age 7) nearby in the stands during Nationwide practice. As Danica sat in her car, waiting to take her laps, the young lady behind us repeatedly asked her Dad to take her down closer to the track, "so I can see her face." Dad tried to explain that they weren't likely to get that close to Danica, but he eventually relented and led the lil fan down to someplace presumably closer to Danica's face.
Here are just a few highlights from our Speed Week adventures:
With Cup qualifying moved up a because of the Super Bowl on Sunday, the folks who bought a Saturday ticket really got their money's worth. Qualifying set Mark Martin and Dale Jr. on the front row, greatly pleasing the fans. The wrecky ARCA contest never fails to excite -- it had lots of action with a win by Bobby Gerhart and a 23rd place finish by Daytona Beach's own Alli Owens, who had run hard in the top five most of the day. Before the Shootout, we got a song by Zac Brown and his band. I was so glad he did the peppy "Chicken Fried" and not one of those droopy ballads he's churned out lately. After the invocation by the Rev. L. Ronald Durham of Greater Friendship Baptist, we had the National Anthem by... Zac Brown! And then we had the command to fire engines by... Zac Brown! (And was that Zac Brown I spied after the race on pit road, sweeping up the lug nuts and throwing down the Speedy-Dry? Why, I do believe it was!) There were several wrecks, including by Mikey and Kurt Busch. Kevin Harvick, who'd been ill, took the win under green-white-checkers.
On Wednesday, Dixie and I braved the chilly wind and headed out to Practice Day, when you can sit wherever you want for just $15. We climbed what seemed like a million stairs and tumbled out onto racing's Valhalla: the highest section of the Sprint Tower, where the seats have backs AND arms and there's actually room to walk between the rows! Best of all, the huge structure kept us out of the wind entirely as we enjoyed the sunshine and enjoyed a great view of the start-finish. (Speaking of: Did y'all notice the new flag stand -- tower, really -- at the speedway? It has these tubes with LEDs inside that change color depending on the condition of the race. But best of all, there is an elevator alongside the ladder! This innovation suggests a stream of ideas about who could now flag a race at Daytona: the oldest living US veteran! Stephen Hawking! Amy Winehouse!) There were several exciting incidents while we were there, and we saw Danica take some laps. At the carnival outside, I asked at the Earnhardt-Ganassi trailer for a McMurray sticker but was told they had none yet. (WELL HONEY I GUESS YOU HAD BETTER GET SOME NOW!, I thought after Jamie's magnificent win!)
Despite a ripping cold wind from the North, we ended our day with a trip to the Ford Race and Rock Fest on Beach Street. This is always a cute festival with nice giveaways but the weather seems set against it, year after year. We caught a couple of songs performed by cute Chris Via and his foxy guitarist Alex. In years past, NASA had had a deluxe recruiting trailer, but this time they just had a funeral-home-type tent with a few things to give away. I definitely support NASA and hope you do, too.
On Thursday, we headed for the Ocean Deck to watch the Twins. From our lovely waitress, we learned that after we'd left the festival the night before, the power failed, nixing the performance of Eddie Money. But then Mr. Money and his band piled into the Ocean Deck, where the house band stepped aside so they could do five songs! She even had a picture of them! How fun! The winners of the Twins were Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne.
Next, a big storm with cold rain moved in. NASCAR didn't give up on the Truck race until after its announced start time, but it was obvious all day Friday that no one would be racing at DIS that night -- it rained buckets. In the rescheduled event after the Nationwide contest, Timothy Peters took the checkers. The news coverage of the Nationwide race was of course over-run with Danica Mania but today she had less chance to shine, as she got wrecked out in lap 70. Tony Stewart was the big winner. (BTW, during after the Nationwide flyover, the landing jets glided so low over our house that we could see their tires!)
Sunday dawned cold but oh-so-bright and clear, and we knew we would get the race in. Tim McGraw gave a great three-song concert pre-race: "Something Like That" (aka "BBQ Stain") "Still" and "Southern Voice." Of course, we were waiting for that great line: "Sweet ice tea, and Jerry Lee / Daytona Beach, that's what gets to me!" But it looked like Tim spaced for a sec cuz he sang, "Sweet ice tea, Daytona Beach / [nothing], that's what gets to me!" It was kinda funny. Dixie thought maybe he was trying to get the audience to sing one line for him but missed a shift somewhere. (I hate it that Jerry Lee got left out -- hope he's not out right now, trying to hunt down Tim!)
The other pre-race high point was an interview with Jr. in which he said he would like to raise children but the problem was the marriage part, and he did not know how people would feel about "Dale Jr." raising children outside of marriage. Well honey I did fall in the floor a little bit when I heard that. Do what, now? Why would Jr. want children but not a wife? Who would mind these motherless children while Jr. was working, which we assume is nearly all the time? I tell you, my mind is full of questions.
I got seriously worried about the race's Woo-Hoo! Factor (TM - copyright Gaytona.com) at lap 8, when two of the wildest drivers -- new DeVine 9 1/2 team members Brad Keselowski and Sam Hornish Jr. -- got in a wreck with EACH OTHER (no guys, NO!) and Regan Smith. (It was OK: They both came back out.) Our pole-sitter Mark Martin was leading at the restart. Caution next flew for the spinning Joe Nemechek. Mike Bliss spun for Caution 3.
A great crowd unity moment occurred when Jeff Gordon took the lead from Kyle Busch: The place went wacko! The announcers allowed how the #24 had once been the bane of the fans -- then dutifully noted that he got that reaction for passing Ky Busch. The next caution -- and the last in the normal part of the race -- came out when John Andretti hit the wall.
Now the craziest thing happened: The surface in Turn 1 got a big old pothole. I'm talking cuss-out-loud, spill-your-drink-in-the-car-drink big. They had to red-flag the Great American Race. And it stayed that way. For a while.
Do you know how sometimes you're in a situation where you think things are still kind of OK, but then you pick up on something that lets you know they are really completely out of control? Well that moment for me was when Brian France HIMSELF came on Fox to beg everyone's indulgence and forgiveness over the pothole, where they were now inserting the THIRD type of patching material they had tried, the first and second having failed to adhere. This was about an hour into the delay. Worse yet, the drivers started to say things like, "I hope we get to finish this race for the fans." Jr. wryly suggested they just put an orange cone on the hole and let everyone get back to it, but that wasn't going to happen. Dixie and I looked outside at brilliant sunshine and decided to hit the beach for a walk and some ocean air! During our stroll, we heard the cars strike up to running again out at DIS, but by the time our walk was through they were back under a red flag condition.
When we got back home in front of the TV, the race was heading toward the final laps. These were a jumble of leaders, wrecks and green-flag-checkers. Jamie got a push from Biffle and made and astonishing, snake-charmer run through traffic to the front; Jr. blasted his way as far as 2nd; and at the last Jamie won the Daytona 500! And if you're gonna make fun of the man for crying in Victory Lane, make fun of me too -- because I was crying right along with him. What a fantastic victory for a great guy!
One more thing: Unless I missed it, no one mention the May 2009 flood as a possible reason for the pothole. This calamity -- the same that wrecked Monkey Island, our Daytona Beach home -- left 10 feet of water standing in the turns at DIS and completely submerged the entrance tunnel. Though the Firecracker 400 was held on the track since that time, the area also suffered a major hard freeze in January, which certainly could have added to any damage.
Did the Great Daytona Flood of 2009 cause that annoying pothole?
THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!
I'm so glad those rumors posted for months in the lobby were not true: The world-famous Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach continues in business (and during Speed Week was even the headquarters of the Herd Racing team.) ... Speaking of the Streamline, it's included in the neat racing history feature Jay Busbee has posted at http://sports.yahoo.com/nascar/blog ... You MUST bookmark this site, which tries to list ALL the motorsports-related shows that come on TV http://www.racefantv.com/ ... Thanks to Jeffrey and Andrew for a copy of "Driving with the Devil," Neal Thompson's enthralling history about moonshine and the origins of stock-car racing. This is one great read! ... Don't forget to visit www.Queers4Gears.com, where my bud Michael will be blogging live from Las Vegas .... Be sure and visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com to get your tickets to the Kobalt Tools 500 weekend at on March 7. Y'all come!
Well friends this was Dixie's and my fifth time to be in Daytona Beach for Speed Weeks, and I'm thankful for every minute of it. If you're a race fan, you owe it to yourself to visit the World Center of Racing during a Cup race. Thanks for stopping by the trailer -- let's all meet up down at the Track Bar!
Betty Jack DeVine