Richmond saw racing and a lot more. Toyota, with track and race sponsorships (ToyotaCare 250 / Toyota Owners 400), owned Xfinity race day with a pole and a 100th series win from Toyota driver Denny Hamlin. Sunday, the day started with Joey Logano’s Ford and ended with Kurt Busch’s Chevy.

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We also saw tributes on the Pace Car, during driver introductions and reminders through the weekend and the race on the loss of NASCAR sports broadcaster Steve Byrnes. His insights and character enhanced the sport, the fans and everyone in the garage and the shops.

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We met the new Miss Coors Light at the Pole Winner presentations. Rachel Rupert has been in the Coors Light suit since 2010 and at Richmond we met former Miss Kentucky (2012) Amanda Mertz. She is outgoing, smiley and pretty and likes the sport. Good luck Rachel – We’ll miss you. Hello Amanda – Welcome.

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There was an extra day thanks to April showers. The schedule for Saturday was essentially down the drain. Fans, however, still made the best of it. They listened to the band at the Miller Lite Party Tent, they shopped for their favorite driver merch and they toured the infield and braved the weather the same as teams did going through the pre-race inspections.

I’m guessing… But it is quite possible the local economy was boosted a bit with liquid sales on Saturday just a bit beyond normal…

All in all, rain and all, the welcome of the new and the farewell of the familiar, Richmond brought the races and the memories that the sport thrives on.

The Tour de France has been on. We’ve been somewhat focused on it. It has been a remarkable year for the sport of professional cycling which is racing to re-establish credibility as the cyclists themselves turn over the pedals up every mountain and through every shoulder to shoulder sprint. Cycling, for many years, has been plagued with accusation, secrecy, cover-ups and penalties surrounding the use of performance enhancing drugs and other “illegal” actions.

It came to a head earlier this year just weeks before the Tour started. Lance Armstrong, who claimed 7 Yellow Jersey wins of the Tour de France, was caught in an unescapable vise of accusation and indictment. After years of standing on the claims of never failing a drug test and no real evidence that could taint his record he was caught in a conspiracy outlined by former team mates and others closest to him. Coercion, power, drugs and even blood transfusions and alleged payoffs all came upon Armstrong like the peloton chasing down a failed breakaway. (more…)

Brad Keselowski, the defending Sprint Cup champion, had a scheduled visit to the White House on Tuesday, April 16th.

It became a case of going forward with “business as usual” as the entire country was focused on, and rebounding from, a cowardly act of violence in Boston the day before. Some might question the follow through with the visit as the President could certainly have other things to do on such a day than talk about NASCAR and stand with some race car driver next to the car boldly displaying a beer logo.

However, as President Obama said;

“We are here today to celebrate a great American sport. Obviously we’ve had this scheduled for some time, and events have a way of intervening. Obviously, our minds right now are with our fellow Americans and the fans that came from all over the world that went yesterday to run and cheer on another great American sporting event, the Boston Marathon.” (more…)

Texas and the NRA 500…

A late race caution allowed Kyle Busch to make a run for the win following a quick pit. Martin Truex, Jr. was on the lead before that caution and ran to the 2nd spot. NASCAR inspections may cause a later issue for Truex as it was determined the nose of the #56 was a tad low.

That wasn’t the only inspection issue. NASCAR officials had issues with the #2 and #22 of Keselowski and Logano. The rear-end housings of the two Fords were pulled for inspection and Logano was put at the back of the field as the #22 wasn’t ready ready for the grid quick enough. Keselowski was outspoken and upset about all sorts of “issues” in the garage but his team was able to re-assemble the #2 and have it out in time.

Logano was still able to cross the finish in 5th despite the issues and the rear of the field start. Keselowski was in 9th.

Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle filled out the top 5 in thr 3rd and 4th slots. Jimmie Johnson held his points lead with a 6th place finish. Aric Almirola was 7th. Brian Vickers, driving Denny Hamlin’s #11 Toyota, put in at 8th and Ryan Newman rounded out the top 10. (more…)

Speed is universal. It is the variety of the vehicle that becomes a variable. It can be anything. The standard issue human body put to the test on the road of a marathon or a swimming pool or can be seen as a basis for muscle and blood endurance. Once you add a machine to the equation, the skills of handling the machine become another variable to consider.

In a very short period of time, we have been to one location to witness a range of machines and the people pushing their limits within. At Virginia International Raceway, variety is almost a constant. The terrain, the turns, the trees and the technology all come together in form and function. We have seen stock cars, prototypes, open-wheel and production based cars being raced here. Most recently, it was side by side racing with two less wheels.

Motorcycle racing is different. It is fast and fun to watch. The acceleration and the angles are multiplied by the human element which is plainly visible through every motion. The body is enclosed in a car. Surrounded by a roll cage and steel, the driver is mostly hidden from view. The motorcycle offers only a helmet and some bits of leather. (more…)

So many Americans have given so much for our Country. That sacrifice is often put to the side by many other troubles on our own doorsteps. The economy, political struggles and even the daily routine take up so much. However, there are those that step in and run with the efforts to never let these sacrifices be forgotten.

Several months ago the Martinsville Speedway held an event to announce some of these efforts to assist an injured United States Marine. Corporal J. B. Kerns was injured in Afghanistan on his third tour of duty. A terrorist’s IED roadside bomb left Kerns with amputated legs and an arm. Kerns is one who remembers that others in his outfit and all over the conflict do not come back at all. (more…)