:'(

I’ve nothing to say today other than how utterly devastated I am. James Hinchcliffe, driver of the #5 Arrow Electronics Honda IndyCar for Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports (and my personal favorite driver) failed to qualify for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500. Due to a mechanical failure, he was unable to make the speed necessary.

Only 33 start the race. That’s the way it’s always been. With 35 entries, that meant two were going to be hung out to dry. I just never anticipated it would be any of the “full time” drivers. I was sure it would be two “Indy-only” cars (for reference, all the other races only have between 20 and 24 cars and there are only that many full-time drivers).

That said, I commend Hinch on his sportsmanship and, through his pain, he didn’t point fingers or try to pass blame. That is the mark of a true sportsman. Many professional athletes across all sports disciplines would do well to learn from his example.

Good luck in the next race, Hinch, and I’ll see you at Texas Motor Speedway soon.

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When Vacation Goes Horribly Wrong…

So it’s back to work for me after a rather cold NASCAR weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in No Limits, TX. What should have been a fun time wound up with some ultimate suckage.

My woes started Friday afternoon when I arrived at the track for qualifying. Due to a massive thunderstorm qualifying was ended after round 1. After looking at the radar I felt it would be safer to go on to the hotel instead of waiting around so that’s what I did.

This turned out to be the correct decision as just as I got on the highway it hit full force. My GPS routed me some back roads to avoid traffic and go around the storm so I arrived safely at the hotel.

That’s when another round of woes started – I couldn’t check in because their computer system was down. Go figure, right? So I waited around in the lobby for some time. After I finally got situated I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner but she got sick this week so we had to take a rain check. I wound up consoling myself with some sushi and sake instead.

Saturday was just ridiculously cold – barely above freezing, very unusual for April in Texas. I decided to try a new cold weather look, which kept me reasonably warm but it was still cold. Alas, I was not about to skip a race I had already paid for – that would be a waste of money.

After enduring 5 hours of cold I retired to my hotel to warm my bones and stream the IndyCar race which was in Arizona that night. Internet troubles at the hotel kept me from doing that smoothly and I only caught a few snapshots of it. I was left feeling very frustrated.

So Sunday comes around and it’s still cold – not as cold as Saturday but still rather cold. After fighting traffic for a parking space (NASCAR Cup Series races always draw a much bigger crowd than the lower series and/or the Verizon IndyCar Series) I settled in only to watch my man Martin Truex Jr. wreck out on lap 81 for a last place finish. As if that wasn’t enough, my most hated driver – Kyle (Cryle-Rowdy-Dickhead) Busch won the fucking thing. Kyle Busch is an embarrassment to NASCAR and motor sports as a whole – he acts like a toddler, has zero sportsmanship, talks trash, drives like a dick, you name it. It made me sick to see that sorry son-of-a-bitch win.

Then it was time to fight traffic out. Thank goodness I have a TxTag pre-paid toll account or it would have taken me forever. As it was I was able to take a couple of toll roads and save about an hour probably.

So I finally got home at around 9:15 CDT last night, feeling tired, hungry and totally demoralized. This was a weekend from hell. What should have been a vacation was anything but – it was pure misery.

Oh well, maybe IndyCar weekend in June will go better. If anything the blistering heat might make me wish for the freezing cold again. On the upside, I did rock the shorts-with-leggings look and got a picture with a racecar. I was long overdue for a new profile picture anyway. That’s something, right?

Oh well. Onto the next one.

And Now For Something Totally Different…

Well, I told you I’d be doing something wild and crazy today, but just what I’m sure most of you were unaware. Well, I shall reveal that to you.

Let me just say that yesterday was a total bust. Qualifying got rained out after the first round and a friend I was supposed to meet up with for dinner got sick as a dog so that got thrown out of the water too. Bleh.

At least I got a pic with the legendary Jimmie Johnson’s #48 Chevy Camaro ZL1:

profile

And it cost me nothing. Love this pic – so much it became my new FB profile pic and probably my new Gravatar and “About Me” photo.

Anyway, enough about yesterday – onto today. Today is going to be cold as shit here in No Limits, TX. This Xfinity Series race is going to be one cold motherfucker. Yes, even it gets cold in Texas, but for it to get down to freezing in April? Not so common.

Anyway, ain’t no way I can go bare legged as in the photo above in that cold of a temperature. I have quite a tolerance for cold but not quite that much of one. Alas, I’ve never worn long pants to the races and I have no desire to start now, so what am I to do?

Well, I throw some leggings on under my “Davy” Dukes of course:

leggings

Yep, this is my first time trying the whole “shorts-with-leggings” look but I think I’m a fan. I can already tell they’re keeping my legs warmer than long pants actually and although I’m still not sure about the tightness of them on my legs I do love the softness of the fabric.

What I like is that not only do they keep me warm you can still very clearly see the profile of my legs – which I do regard as my best physical feature. I ran my ass off to get legs like this, I’m gonna flaunt the hell out of it. Maybe now I have an option to do so in cold temperatures such as what we are facing in No Limits, TX today (right at freezing this morning, low 40s F/mid-single digits C at green flag and only topping out in the mid-to-upper 40s F/upper single digits C at the end of the day).

I’ve always been one to do things my own way, and maybe this is just a new avenue for me to express my true inner self. I’m gradually coming out of hiding and more into my own than I ever have and I consider this to be a good thing. It continues to improve my overall satisfaction with life so I can’t complain too much huh?

Well, it’s off to the races for me. Catch you all later!

So have you ever worn shorts with leggings? Did you like the look? Do tell me what you thought!

*Note: Leggings are West Loop brand L-XL size – $5.99 from Walgreens. Fit me all but perfectly – for reference, the shorts pictured above are standard men’s size 34. 

A Near-Tragedy to Triumph Story – Martin Truex Jr.


(Photo credit: Martin Truex Jr. Official Facebook Page

Ever since I’ve been a racing fan I’ve been a fan of Martin Truex Jr. He’s a gentleman, a fun guy and a hell of a driver, but he just never seemed to have the support structure around him to allow him to reach his full potential. That is, until this year – Martin Truex Jr. is your 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Champion; capping off his season with his 8th win this season to bring home the title at Homestead-Miami Raceway.

It didn’t come easy for him, though. He was sure put through the ringer along the way. From his former team (Michael Waltrip Racing) folding, then wondering if he’d even have a ride, to taking a ride with the then mediocre-at-best Furniture Row Racing, to the championship three years later. All while battling his own personal life demons with his longtime girlfriend suffering from stage III ovarian cancer, I can’t think of a much better near-tragedy to triumph story in the world of racing (maybe with the exception of James Hinchcliffe in the IndyCar series, but that’s also why he’s my favorite IndyCar driver).

It’s moments like these that serve as a real reality check for me. Just when you think it’s all over for you, when you think there’s no way forward – maybe there’s that tiny glimmer of hope things might turn around for you.

Now, do I have any aspirations of ever being a racecar driver? Oh, not at all. Would I like to maybe do the NASCAR or IndyCar experience someday? Oh totally, but I have no interest in doing it as a career. Nonetheless, when it seems your dreams are so out of reach, stories like that of Martin Truex Jr. just go to show that they might not be out of reach as they seem.

So yes; there will be a party in my house tonight, but beneath that partying is a whole new fire under me – a fire fueled by desire to chase that which seems so distant and unattainable at this point. I’m a beaten dog, I’m in dire straits, but I ain’t dead yet. As Project Semicolon states “your story isn’t over yet” (religious bullshit aside), and mine isn’t. Neither was (nor is) Martin Truex Jr.’s. I still have so many personal demons to battle and lay to rest, so many ongoing challenges that won’t ever completely vanish (damn you autism!!!) and so much personal growth to do, but my dreams are not, and never will be, truly out of my reach. The only time they will be is when/if I give up. Alas, that’s not happening anytime soon.

Cheers to you, Martin. This has been a long time coming and you and your team totally deserve this. Thank you for the great season, your inspiration and your inner strength. Here’s to 2018!

Obsessive or Just Well-Prepared?

So this weekend is one of the biggest weekends for a racing fan living in Texas – this is Verizon IndyCar Series weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, featuring a Friday race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (Rattlesnake 400) and the featured IndyCar race Saturday night (Rainguard Water Sealers 600). Needless to say I got tickets and pit passes as soon as I could. This ought to be fun.

Anyway, with the races coming up this weekend I’m just agonizing over every aspect of getting ready. I want everything to go absolutely perfectly and without issues so I’m making sure I cross off all my necessities – tickets, igh-SPF, non-comedogenic sunscreen (oh man does it suck having hormonal teenager skin), insect repellant, seat cushion, in-ear plugs, earmuffs, sharpie for autographs (in case I get a chance to get a couple), backpack small enough to carry into the speedway, cooler, beer, water, sandwiches, etc. etc.!!! A lot goes into preparing for a weekend at the speedway!

Anyway, those around me always go crazy when I think and re-think to make sure I’ve got everything I need for anything, but I’m a firm believer in being over-prepared. It’s always better to have stuff on you that you won’t need rather than to not have stuff you might need, because lo and behold you will wind up needing it. That’s just the way it works, and with my autistic wiring needing something you don’t have on the fly is a sure-fire way to induce a meltdown because I’ll be freaking out.

Nah, I might agonize over it for several hours but you damn well better believe I’m going to have everything I might need in that little backpack I’m allowed to carry into the speedway. It will go with me everywhere, including into the pits and the garage so I’ll always have it on me ready to go. Again, better to be over-prepared.

So as I get everything ready, I’m gradually building my TMS “survival pack” and I’m sure to have a great time. This is going to be awesome, I can feel it. If any of my readers will be in attendance, if you run into me please say hi. You should be able to recognize me by the short shorts and the tattoos. 😉

Anyway, my fellow “neurodivergent” people (see, I’m trying to use politically correct terminology, LOL!!!), what say you? Are you the overprepared or undeprepared type?

(Not So) Song Lyric Sunday 3/26/17 – Beethoven’s 5 Secrets Featuring Voiceover by James Hinchcliffe

Healing, such a broad and vast topic so a rather interesting choice for Song Lyric Sunday (though a fitting one). I’m glad Helen is back and her fiance is on the road to recovery. Even in a way it was fitting for me this week as I have a fresh tattoo that’s healing up nicely (Saniderm came off this morning, now the rest is downhill).

Well, it’s also a complicated topic for an atheist. Most songs about healing are religious in nature (and mostly of the Christian religion) so finding secular songs about the topic was a challenge, and by the time I’d decided to go with something someone had already taken my idea (that’s what I get for being late on the draw!). So I’m going to take this a totally different direction and post a not-really-a-song song and go from there.

If you’ve followed me for awhile you’ll know that I am a big racing fan with a particular fondness for IndyCar and it just so happens that my favorite IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe was a competitor on Dancing with the Stars Season 23. Hinch and his pro partner Sharna Burgess made it all the way to the finals and finished 2nd behind gymnast Laurie Hernandez and her pro partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy.

Anyway, before I show you the musical piece, dance and voiceover I’ve selected, it helps to see the background. In May 2015 Hinch suffered a brutal practice crash that in all honesty should have killed him. Part of his front suspension failed sending him careening into the barrier wall at 224 MPH, knocking him unconscious and driving the severed part of the suspension through his leg and hip. The surgeon replaced all his blood three times over and Hinch even flatlined at one point. Here was that crash:

Alas, somehow he beat the odds, recovered and was back in the car for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar series. Which brings me to the musical piece I’ve selected: Beethoven’s 5 Secrets (arr. Piano Guys and OneRepublic). This was the piece Sharna used to choreograph their finals freestyle dance and added a voiceover by Hinch himself because she didn’t feel like any song could tell his story quite like he could. Hence for “lyrics” I’m using his own words and I think it not only applies to racing but could apply to any miracle bounce-back, be it from physical or emotional injury. Warning: Have a tissue handy.

“My life can be stressful, but being in the racecar is when I’m most at peace. 
Ironically it’s what slows me down. 
I know my sport has risk, and I accept that. 
But when you’re behind the wheel, you have to believe it won’t happen to you…
…Until it does. 
I remember entering turn 3 and then everything goes…black. 

They didn’t think I’d race again; they didn’t think I’d walk again.
They weren’t even sure I was going to live…
…But here I am.” – James Hinchcliffe 

So there you have it. Please don’t sue me for doing something totally off-the-wall here. I hope you enjoyed the music, Hinch’s poetic words and the beautiful dance (which earned a perfect 40/40 from the judges).

Firestone 600: Reflections on Attending My First Race

As I reflect on my first ever live race, I smile from ear to ear. It was a great experience all around.

It was a hot Texas day so I definitely prepared for the weather – plenty of high SPF, non-comedogenic sunscreen to protect both my skin and my ink from the blazing sun as well as a full gallon of drinking water and a six pack of one of my favorite swill beers, Lakewood Lager. I opted for a moisture-wicking shirt and a pair of Barbarian New Zealand style rugby shorts (2” inseam) to stay cool. I was a wee bit apprehensive that I might have gotten bounced for my “too short” shorts (it’s happened before, but not from a race track obviously; it’s just the whole bullshit about how guys aren’t supposed to wear short shorts), but not a word was said except by a couple of smartass fans (which of course I paid no attention to). Just a quick cooler check (to verify I had no glass bottles) and I was through the gate and made my way to my seat. I had a great seat and great view as you can see here:

So I found my seat, popped my in-ear plugs in just in time for the practice sessions to start. Earmuffs on over and before I knew it I was watching the rockets of racecars otherwise known as IndyCars fly across the track for the practice sessions. It was an exhilarating experience watching them blaze past the starting line and feeling the vibrations of the engines deep into my core. If this was a small taste of the mayhem to come, man I was super excited for the actual race.

I unfortunately was not quick enough to the autograph line for the autograph session so I missed out on that. I kind of expected as such but it was still somewhat disappointing. I was really hoping to get 2016 Indy 500 champ Alexander Rossi’s signature but that didn’t happen. Oh well. It was also during this time I dropped my cell phone screen first and shattered the screen and also messed up the focus gyroscope so every picture I got after that was blurry. Gotta have some hiccup in every great thing, don’t you?

Anyway, after that it was back to my seat for some of the big screen pre-race entertainment. Some funny, some serious, but it passed the time. Before I knew it, it was time for the famous words: “Gentlemen, (re)start your engines!” (Restart as this was a resumption of a race already in progress).

Then there were two caution laps which built the tension and excitement, followed by the green flag and then things heated right up! Sure, watching racing on TV can be fun but it’s nothing like the real thing! Adrenaline pumped through my body in excitement as they rounded the corner for turn one. Sparks flying from under the cars, the noise, the crowd, everything. It was pure mayhem for sure. Before I knew it the pack had rounded turn four and were back to the starting line. One lap already complete.

We stayed green for almost 140 laps, driver #5 James Hinchcliffe practically opening up a can of whoop-ass on the rest of the field until the first caution tightened things up. This was the first of three back-to-back accidents in a very short period. We stayed green for two more laps, at which point the 2nd place driver wrecked his car and emerged very visibly pissed off (understandably so). We get cleaned up and another green flag. If I recall we didn’t even make it a full lap until the third wreck happened, slowing the race yet again. By the time all the nonsense was said and done, the final restart came with only 8 to go. What was a runaway for the leader quickly turned into a tight race.

The race was decided in the final few laps. Drivers had narrowed the gap and we were running 3 and 4 abreast on the track toward the end. Though he fought valiantly to keep his lead, Hinch ultimately finished 2nd to Graham Rahal (who seemed to just emerge out of nowhere) by .008 seconds! It was a photo finish. Here’s what that margin looks like (photo courtesy IndyCar and Texas Motor Speedway):

It was appropriately an exciting end to an exciting race. The feelings of pure adrenaline and exhilaration stayed with me while I watched the celebration from victory land and for the entire 164-mile trek home. As a die-hard IndyCar fan, this is an experience I won’t soon forget and you can bet I’ll be back for the 2017 iteration of this race and this just solidified for me that I absolutely want to attend the Indianapolis 500 live at some point.

Very rarely is it that I have anything exciting in my life, but this was one of them. I don’t at all regret attending. It was nice to forget my stresses and just engage in the race. It’s good for all of us to pull the plug on social media and whatever for awhile and just enjoy something. Try it. You’ll be surprised at what it does for you.