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The first race of the season was yesterday. I am so pumped. I can’t wait for the other 35 races. Honestly, I’m so tired of people saying that NASCAR isn’t a sport. Seriously, where else do athletes brave 120 degree heat in a fire suit for nearly four hours racing at nearly 200 mph within inches of each other.

I’ll be putting together a listing of “isms” for NASCAR fans. It should be fun. One per week.

1) You wait for “the big one”.

2) Loose in and tight through the middle isn’t something naughty.

3) Thunder doesn’t necessarily mean a rain storm.

4) You know a friend by their number.

5) The “Bristol Stomp” is more than a song.

6) Co op a tion is the name of the game.

7) Wreckers or Checkers

8) You love to watch the winner “melt them down”.

9)  Word association “aero”  “push”

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The winds of change are blowing into Nebraska. Earlier this week, Steve Peterson was fired as AD at UNL. It didn’t surprise very many people in this state. Peterson fired Frank Solich after a 9-3 season. Peterson said that the Cornhusker football program was “gravitating into mediocrity”.

Tom Osborne has been hired as interim AD. That didn’t surprise very many people either. Osborne has a very positive image in Nebraska. He coached three teams to national championships. Nebraska loves him. Osborne retired from coaching to start a political career. He served three terms representing District three. District three covers about 75% of the state.

It is next to impossible to watch the news. The first 15 minutes of each newscast is all the hype of the second coming of Tom Osborne. Osborne was a great coach. There is no doubt he knows college football. He was a very successful college coach no matter what era if you would like play a game of comparison.

Conversely, there are only a couple reasons Tom Osborne was “chosen” to be the AD. Tom Osborne will calm the Husker nation’s fears about state of Husker football. He has the ability to unite the sea of red. He is the tradition that Husker fans have spent nearly two generations loving. Tom Osborne will be able to bring the boosters back to NU. He will be given the tough task of evaluating Callahan. Osborne likes to tell the story (all Nebraskans have heard it hundreds of times) that after he won the Blue Bonnet Bowl early in his career as head coach a booster came up to Tom and said that he was glad he won the game. Tom said he was glad too. The booster said that if he would have lost the boosters were going to request his firing. Osborne has been in Callahan’s shoes.

Nearly everyone in Nebraska is wondering what will happen to Coach Callahan. If he goes, then who? Here are some of my suggestions.

I don’t think Nebraska will be bringing back any former coaches. Husker nation may want old school football but the game has changed a lot since Dr. Tom left the game. I don’t think someone like Bo Pelini will be back at Nebraska. He is a great coach. I can’t think of anyone that knows the defensive side of the ball better. He’s resume in many ways is very similar to another successful college coach (Bob Stoops). There is just too much bad blood even if the AD that caused it is out.

Other names that have popped up are the Cinderellas of the last couple of years at Rutgers and South Florida but what a veteran coach like Glen Mason from Minnesota.

Could lightning strike twice in Wyoming? Husker fans may remember that Bob Devaney was the head coach of the University of Wyoming before settling in at Nebraska. Devaney coached the mighty mighty Pokes to a 35-10-5 record from 1957 – 1961.

U- Dub’s current coach, Joe Glen is a Nebraska native. I think, he has a good idea what it will mean to coach in the shadow of a legend. No matter how well Nick Saban does at Alabama, he will always be compared to Bear Bryant likewise with Nebraska. Bob Stoops will always be compared with Barry Switzer. That is one of the things that Bill Callahan didn’t consider or realize before he took the job at Nebraska.

Glen has turned the program around. The year before he arrived at U-Dub the team was in the cellar of the conference. Last year, they finished third in the conference behind BYU and TCU. “The Sporting News” has featured him as an up and coming college coach.

No matter who ends up with the position of head coach, one thing is for sure. Nebraska cannot afford to make a bad hire.

Mergers.  They happen all the time.  Really, I think that we have become desensitized to it.  Mergers are very ugly things.  Mergers mean that not everyone will be able to keep their jobs.  Mergers could mean relocation.  Mergers means acclimating to a new corporate culture.

NASCAR is not a cheap business.  The supply costs are unbelievable.  I know that the cost to put a car on the track to qualify is more than I will make in the next ten years.  Amazing.  It shouldn’t be surprising that team owners are looking for wealthy people outside the business to fund their teams.

Earlier this year, Roush Racing became Roush Fenway Racing, Jack Roush sold a portion of his team to the Boston Red Sox.  It also should come to no surprise that other teams are doing it to.  Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) recently merged with Ginn Racing.  Ray Everham, also recently, merged with the NHL team owner George Gillett Jr.

It has long since been known that Everham dating his development driver, Erin Crocker has caused a riff or two.  Jeremy Mayfield, last year, accused Everham not only to the media at the track but also in court that Everham doesn’t spend as much time at the track since the dating began.  The racing teams were suffering.

Everham and Crocker’s relationship seems to be the real deal.  It seems like a match made in some sort of geeky heaven.  Crocker does have a degree in engineering.  She is also an attractive woman.  Some might use the terms “Hot” or  “Babe”.  Everham is probably best known as being Jeff Gordon’s crew chief before leaving to become the owner the racing teams that include drivers Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler.

The deal with the merger, it seems that Ms. Crocker will have to race for someone else.  It seems that Mr. Gillett is saying that sleeping with the boss is not a good thing.  It is projecting am image that Mr. Gillett a.k.a. Mr. Money Bags would prefer not to deal with.  Everham insists that she is a great role mole for young women.

Crocker’s numbers just don’t add up.  Unfortunately, sponsors look at the numbers.  She has done well in the ARCA series but continues to struggle in the Craftsman’s truck series.  Crocker is consistently ranked in the top 25.  There are on average 30 trucks racing per week.

I’m a very big fan of the sport.  I love watching cars go fast.  It doesn’t matter if it is a dirt track or concrete.  It doesn’t matter if it is a road course where yes, drivers turn left and right or not.  I am also a female fan.  I would love to give the old battle cry of “I’m woman.  Hear me roar “. There are other options if the performance isn’t there.

Personally, I don’t think she should even try the Busch series on a consistent basis yet.  There are so many “Buschwackers” that running Busch is like running Cup.  It would probably behoove her not to mess with Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Robby Gordon or Kyle Busch.  All have the potential to let emotion get in the way.

I’m not really sure how I feel about her as a role model.  Sure, I think it is fantastic that women are breaking into the upper levels of the sport.  I also think that it is super that she earned her spot before she started dating Everham.  She appears to be tough and gritty.  I just don’t see other women like Danica Patrick or Sarah Fischer dating their bosses.  Really, at the end of the day, it appears that what she has done in her personal time as hurt her credibility at best.  Maybe Gillett is right.  Crocker moving on is best for all those involved.

So any who, the news have been out for nearly a week. Everyone has their theory about where Jr. is going to go. If by saying “Jr.” and you don’t know who I’m talking about, you should probably stop reading now. My friend in Phoenix asked what about at Hendrick? Although I agree that if he wants to win championships that would be a great place to go, I’m not sure NASCAR nation could handle it. I think the sport just might implode. But no, Mr. Paul had his own ideas. Before you get along and read what Mr. Paul had to say, I somehow feel I need to preface this. I can’t imagine this but I did get a really good chuckle, followed by a few giggles.

Imagine Hendrick going 1, 2, 3, 4 in next year’s chase… Imagine all of the confused race-fans after the first race of the year when Gordon and Junior smile and hug after a 1-2 finish with Johnson and Busch dancing jigs around them to celebrate their 3-4… Then do the same thing every race for the whole year only with mixed-up finishing positions. What about all four dudes doing a synchronized burn-out at the end of a race? They’ll need a name like Rat-Pack, Brat-Pack, and Frat-Pack. The Convoy? The Mule Train? The Four Amigos? Chevy’s Heavies? If they can all make the pole and start 1-4, they can just run 4 wide at every race and not let anyone pass. They could put stickers on the rear bumpers that say things like “C-Ya” and “If you can read this, you’re a loser” and “Tell your mom to quit calling me.” Gordon and Junior can do cute commercials together like Magic and Bird, or Papi and A-Rod, or Montana and Marino. They can hang out together and get spotted in all of the cool night clubs and get their pictures in all of the celebrity magazines. They can go to other sporting events together like all of the actors from Fox when they show the All-Star game or the World Series and get spotted by the cameras watching the game. They could film a reality show. Better yet – a sitcom – The Hendrick Bunch. Or they could go A-Team style and drive around in a Nascar wrecker with guns and get the blue collar everyman out of bad situations with rotten crime bosses. Or Dukes style and use their actual race cars, and use bows and arrows and moon shine instead of guns. They could get that Fatback guy to be Cooter, and Richard Petty could be Boss Hogg, and DW could be Roscoe. What if they went totally Hollywood – started acting like jerks and snubbing fans and being curt with the media – like, Junior wins and with Gordon standing over his shoulder (both wearing mirrored sunglasses) he’d say, “Yeah, my Budweiser Chevy was great today. Best car on the track every week because of Pepsi and those dudes who sponsor Kyle. I gotta go – I’m getting a text from Jimmy on my Alltel. Come on Jeff – lets ditch these losers. Peace out!” And Gordon would say, “Word.” Or maybe he’d just chuckle and give a half-mouth semi-grin as he shook his head while they walked off posse-style. Or what about Ricky Bobby style shake and bake. That total arrogance where they know they’re the best and they don’t realize that other people think they’re not so they don’t know they’re arrogant – they just think it’s all the truth. They could walk through crowds and one would say, “Jeff and Junior,” while the other answered, “Shake and Bake,” like a weird game of Marco Polo with Jimmy and Kyle as the trailing entourage doing the point-smile-nod thing. “Jeff and Junior,” “Shake and Bake,” “Jeff and Junior,” “Shake and Bake,” “Kyle out of water?” “Nope,” “Jeff and Junior,” “Shake and Bake.”

I see the future, and it is glorious.

What a race! I love to watch cars race. I love getting my near weekly dose of NASCAR through out the year. I especially like ’em under the lights. Oh man, that’s so awesome!

Last night the Cup series raced in Phoenix. There was some good racin’ no matter who your favorite is. Well, there was some good racin’ if you are a fan of Chevy’s. It seems that the Chevy teams have really got this COT (Car of Tomorrow) figured out. There some questions with the COT. This was the first race in the COT that wasn’t on a short track. Although Phoenix is far from a super speedway, the mile flat track was going to be a test. No one since this track started running Cup, I believe in 1988, has won from the pole.

Honestly, Denny Hamlin, in the FedEx Kinko’s car, had the best car out there but mistakes on pit road put him in the back of the pack. He did a fantastic job coming through the field finishing third. That on it’s own was no small feat. Did you see how he thread the needle on some of his passes? It was amazing.

Jeff Gordon had an historic weekend. He won the pole. He now holds the record for the most poles in the modern era. He won the race from the pole at PIR (Phoenix International Raceway). No one has been able to do that. Jeff finally earned a victory one of three tracks that he hasn’t been able to come up with the win. There are just two tracks left Texas and Homestead. His win ties him with Dale Earnhardt with most career victories. I did think it was classy of Jeff to pay tribute to Dale Sr. Gordon is first in points. He stepped out his lead by 71 points. The nearest competitor is 79 points back.

The season is, of course, still young. The Chevy’s have dominated. There have been 8 races thus far and seven Chevy victories. Five of those wins are from Hendrick Motor Sports (Gordon 1, Johnson 3, Kyle Busch 1).

The other three manufacturers finishes have been less than stellar. I’m really wondering what has happened to the House of Rousch. Just a couple of seasons ago, every driver on their team, all five, was in The Chase. This year only Kennesth is worth anything. He has consistent top 10 finishes. What happened to Everham? Kahne, Riggs, Sadler are lucky to finish in the Top 20. Last season, it seemed that Kahne could really be the next Jeff Gordon or Dale Sr. Kahne had six wins last season. Riggs seemed to be growing as a driver. Sadler is as inconsistent as they come. He is either a top 10 or a bottom 10 finisher. He doesn’t have mediocre days. He is just good or very bad.

This is Toyota’s first year in the Cup series. We know Toyota will be a dominant force eventually. Look how quickly Honda and Toyota became a dominant force in IRL. Toyota is a car company strives to do well. I just question the drivers that they have hired. Many of these drivers haven’t been to Victory Lane in a long time or have been there under questionable circumstances. It just pains me to see every week the ad Toyota sponsors showing the best Toyota performers. The drivers are in the back 25.

It was with a heavy heart that I read that Benny Parsons has passed away. He will be missed. It will be difficult to imagine watching qualifying without hearing his signature “Green, Green, Green”.
I did not as a child have access to watch NASCAR. My first glimpse at this sport was watching midgets on a dirt track in the middle of nowhere Nebraska. Yup, even in a state that is more known for college football, Warren Buffet, and agriculture, racing dreams are made on small dirt tracks. In rural Nebraska, the concept of cable wasn’t easily accessible until the mid 1980’s. My family really didn’t have the means to travel to see races hundreds of miles away. I didn’t get to watch BP in his prime.
Legends have a way about them, a presence. A presence that has earned the respect of his peers. This is what BP had. A Cup champion and consistent, fiery competitor with a cool and calm head gave all of us hope that he could beat lung cancer too. He once posted on his blog that John Wayne lived with one lung and he could too.
This just wasn’t a race that a top 5 finish would do. This was a race that he needed to win and take the checkered flag. He was cleared of cancer in mid October. He just received the white flag for the final lap. Then in December he was not able to attend the season ending banquet in New York City. We all thought that Benny was having minor complications and really it was more of a green, white, checker finish. BP still could win. His body was tired and exhausted from treatments for lung cancer. Instead cheering with you in Victory Lane, we are stunned by your passing. Goodbye BP. We’ll miss you.

Hi. I’m a NASCAR addict. I’m going through withdrawal. I’m not sure I will be able to make it another 83 days until the season begins. This is the first weekend without NASCAR and I’m not sure what I should be doing. I’m not used to having an extra 4 hours on Sundays. I would like to be watching the cars preparing to take the green flag. I want to be the odd little critter I sometimes can be and say “Boogity. Boogity. Boogity. Let’s go racing boys!” to my TV screen.
There isn’t going to be a race until Daytona in February. I guess, I should be thankful that the holiday season is upon us and for the next 5 or 6 weeks I will be focusing my energies on that. Soon afterward “testing” season will be here. I can monitor all the action from my computer. I can also monitor “silly” season as we watching the soap opera that is NASCAR. I want to know who is going to be driving for whom? Boy Howdy, the internet is super fantastic.
How much of an addict am I? I usually take the week before Daytona off from work so I can watch speed week. It just happens to be conveniently close to my birthday and my co-workers think I’m a full of myself. I love the racing, of course but to watch how quickly teams can put together those beautifully powered engines is just awesome.
Some will never quite understand why Big Scott and I can’t have a flagpole. Whose flag would be on top? In my opinion, the flag shouldn’t be orange. Something more blue would be appropriate. It is going be a long 83 days but with the support of other addicts I think I’ll be able to make it.

There are only 4 undefeated teams left in college football. Two of which don’t have a snowball’s chance of making it to the title game. I have never been a big fan of the BCS. I know no matter what new system is put into place not everyone will be happy. I don’t understand how some conferences get preferential treatment. Every team should earn their spot. Simply put, if you are undefeated no matter what conference you earned your wins. The strength of schedule argument to me is bunk if we are all playing at the same level then our playing field should already be evenly matched. The argument tries to give certain “showcase” schools a false sense of superiority and security in the BSC system. Have you ever asked yourself why doesn’t the BSC hurt an independent like Norte Dame but hurt a team like Boise State playing in the WAC?

There are times when I feel like a real hole.  I try very hard to understand all points of view before jumping to conclusions.  I would like to believe that I am a very open-minded individual.
Yesterday, while taking a little break from even more Autumn clean-up, I was watching a couple of quarters of the Iowa/Indiana football game on TV.  There was woman calling the game with two men doing color commentating.  I hate to say it and but I was almost offended that a man wasn’t calling the game.  I feel like such a hole.
This raises the question; why did it bother me?  I hate to think that I need a man to tell me what I am seeing.  I would hate to think that I didn’t find it “trustworthy” because of the gender the information was coming.  I just kept thinking, “This ain’t right. This ain’t right at all.”  She was doing a great job. I just continued to question her opinions and game calling.  Really, it came down to that she is a woman.  Again, I feel like a hole.

As it is with me, topic of conversation will some how lead to sports. Yesterday, I was discussing the Oklahoma football game against Oregon last week. Two bad calls has perceivably changed the outcome of the game. I was saying that it was very clear on replays that the calls were incorrect. He was saying that the replay referee doesn’t get the pretty and clear TV feeds that we see. The replay referee doesn’t get the TV feed. I can just picture some referee up in the box with a little tiny black and white 9 inch monitor. I don’t know if that is correct or not but let’s just assume that is, for the sake of arguement.
Unless, all the tools necessary are given to the team of referees, really, what is the point. If you aren’t going to do it right, then don’t do it. Half-way right just doesn’t cut it and it isn’t worth the effort.
In the beginning of 2001, I was laid off from a dot com company. This forced me to do some temp work. I was told I would be doing “some basic customer service stuff”. A small piece of advice: if the temp agency says “Customer Service” what they mean is you will be on the phones, tied to your desk by a headset and cord but I digress.
On my first day with the local newspaper, I figured we would fill out mountains of paperwork, take a little tour, meet people, and shadow someone before any training would take place the next day.
We go into the call center. Andy, our guide, is explaining the queue board. Each person is seated with a phone rep for shadowing. The queue jumps to a large number. I have only listened in on few calls. I might have been sitting with Beth for 20 minutes. Beth is trying to explain what she does, what each screen is, and so on and so forth.
The Call Center Manager tells us new temp workers, who have only listened to the seasoned team member for maybe 30 minutes, to jump on the phones and take the most complete information we can on paper. We’ll fix it later.
This poses several problems. I don’t know what I’m doing. I have never donned a headset. I don’t even have a log in. I am forced to give misinformation to customers. I don’t know how I am supposed to answer questions.
As a customer, I just want truthful and sincere answers to my problems. I don’t want someone to lie to me or give bad information. It is just common respect.
I eventually through trial and error figure out how the system works and am answering calls appropriately. Nearly 12 weeks later, the call center management team decides we need a formal training program.
Reactive management is bad management. The issues with this not-so-positive experience could have all been solved by training the temp workers first. It seems so simple. As a temp worker for this newspaper, I didn’t have the tools necessary to succeed. Had the tools been there, this would have been a much better experience.
The team of referees were not given the tools they needed to succeed either. The NCAA thought that they needed a replay/challenge rule similiar to the NFL. They rushed in and made it happen, giving themselves a gold star for making a rule change for the betterment of college football. What they did instead changed the game and not for the better.
The NCAA and the Call Center Manager believe that “fixing it later” is the answer. The reality of it is the it creates more work for other people and make the referees more hesitant to call the game correctly, taking the attitude that they would rather make it out of the stadium alive than change the call. One of the referees of the game has been receiving death threats. Would these death threats occured had he been given a complete set of tools?
The referees could have easily changed their decision given their new set of tools but the tools aren’t a complete set of tools. It’s like needing a 9/16 wrench to change your bicycle tire and only having a 1/2 and 5/8. The tools need to fit the situation and clearly here it did not.