The cliché is that anyone who writes about sports probably never played them.
Ask Kurt Busch about that.
As part of a sponsor tie-in with State Water Heaters, Sprint Cup driver Busch agreed to be the dunk-ee in a dunk-tank outside the infield media center Saturday. Various longtime racing writers and broadcasters were each given three throws at a target to send Busch slashing down.
As Busch joked, jousting with the press horde, try to hit the target instead of hitting “send.”
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Turns out some in the media have some decent arms. Five of the first seven contestants hit the bell, sending Busch into the drink, and a couple who missed their third try just ran up and punched the bell anyway.
Busch was getting dunked so often he cracked, “Did (NASCAR president) Mike Helton work on this thing? He didn’t even hit the target” and the seat still flipped down.
Your arteries will thank you later: You know that expression, “Everything is better with bacon?” Well, not a deluge.
Smithfield was set up to host a bacon-eating contest to be judged by Richard Petty and driver Aric Almirola. Pounds upon pounds of pig were stored under a tent in the fan zone outside Turn 1. This game of gluttony was scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Not on the schedule was a storm that swept over the speedway at roughly 4:15 p.m. This was no cloud burst; a video board inside the track warned fans to seek immediate shelter as the rain fell and the wind blew.
After about 20 minutes there was standing water under the tent and some of Smithfield’s supplies were getting flooded. Hence, no contest and some soaked swine.
Contestants were told they’d receive autographed merchandise for their trouble. And lots of bacon to go. You were on your own for the waffles.
Cart world: If you don’t have the skill to drive a Cup car, then the second-best way to become fabulously wealthy at Charlotte Motor Speedway would be to own the golf-cart concession. Anyone who is anyone scoots between the garage, Victory Lane and the media center in some version of a golf cart.
You have your basic carts, your multi-row carts, your carts with roofs (very popular during that storm), your carts with flat-bed storage areas (kegs optional). Even an EMS golf cart with a siren and flashing lights.
You aren’t really part of the NASCAR scene if you don’t have a story about nearly being run down by a speeding golf cart. When you hear “behind you” be ready to dodge.
Happy birthday, Junior: Fans were encouraged throughout the day to sign a gigantic birthday card for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who turned 40 on Friday. It was supposed to be presented to him about 5 p.m., but the rain was still coming down in buckets then.
Friends and family: Since Charlotte is considered the “home” track for most of the Cup drivers, Charlotte Motor Speedway arranged for drivers to pick a family member to introduce them before the race. Nice chance for the wives and kids to get a moment to remember.
Choppers: At about 6:40 p.m. four Apache helicopters flew in formation over the track. With sunset coming that was about as late as they could be displayed and still be seen well by the crowd. Too bad they couldn’t fly a little lower and help out the Air-Titan track driers.
By the way, if you haven’t seen an Air-Titan, think of your leaf blower. Now think of your leaf blower attached to a jet engine. Quite noisy, but effective.
Aussie attendance: Charlotte Motor Speedway keeps close track of its customers. By the track’s research, those attending Saturday’s race hailed from 2,800 cities worldwide, including 11 foreign countries. The most distant traveler to the race? An Australian.