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11-22-11

Homestead

 

Homestead Speedway is a Nascar track, but it is the closest thing to a Saturday night track that that I’ve seen in Nascar.  It’s not nearly as big or impressive as Texas or Charlotte or Daytona or many of the tracks, but this one has the Saturday night feel to it.  It’s like a personal touch.  You’re close to the track, the fans are local (come from all over Florida), and it’s a great setting for the final.  We flew into Miami on Friday and stayed in downtown Miami Beach on Collins Avenue in the Ritz Carlton.  I’ve never stayed at the Ritz before, but I’ve heard the song.  The guy that wrote the song had sure stayed there before.  Service was absolutely supreme! They greeted you at check in with champagne.  I asked what kind of champagne it was… they comped me a bottle and sent it to the room with five pieces of chocolate.  It was absolutely delectable.    Collins Avenue is the most expensive piece of real estate.  We had a $78 breakfast and a $9 beer.  The place was packed with race sponsors.   Aflac provided everything!   The reason for this is because my Sharyl was the number 1 recruiter in the SW territory of the United States.  The weather was 84 degrees, sunshine, light rain, blue in and out.   A nice 74 at night.  It always rains in Florida everyday, but it doesn’t last very long. 

All the locals were talking about the race.  There was a lot of interest in the area.  On Sunday the most fantastic part of the trip was a police escort to the race track. Now we’ve all sat in miles and miles of traffic, and they had miles and miles to get into Homestead, but to have two motorcycles flag everyone off the road, and one motor to protect your butt…there was nothing like it!!    I’ve never experienced anything like it!  When we went by all the other buses, sitting in line, the waving and cheering inside our bus was deafening.  And… the birds from the other people waiting in line flew quickly and intensely!  You can see videos of it in my photos.  You might think the race was anticlimactic after the police escort, but it was only the beginning of a truly exciting day. 

Racing just gets better and better.  The guys that ask for the old days are not the guys that went to the Chili Bowl this year because I saw the best midget race I’ve ever seen at the Chili Bowl this year.  They’re the same people that didn’t buy a tick to the Indianapolis 500 cause I’ve seen the most exciting Indy 500 this year.  And they certainly didn’t go to Homestead for the Nascar Final.  Carl and Tony were separated by three points.  Carl started off - drew first blood and got the pole. Tony started 15th, was undeterred, and his smart ass dirt track mouth just kept running.  The race started off with Carl in the lead and he stayed there. Tony had problems, and he went to the back of the field. I was listening to Tony’s scanner on the radio, and he said “Guys, this is really gonna get em when we kick their ass from the back.”  It seemed like bravado at the time, but he worked his way through the field until he was in 5th.  Then he had to go back to the back again only this time he was only 32nd he said, “This is gonna be so cool... we had to go to the back twice and we’re still gonna kick their ass.”   This time he made it all the way to the lead.  By this time Carl had cinched leading the most laps so Tony needed to win the race to get the bonus points. A bad pit stop put Tony back to 20-something and when he came out of the pit he said, “What the eff was that?” and then he said, “That’s okay boys.  Take a deep breath - we started farther back than this and got the lead, we can do it again.”  Then he proceeded to the front. 

The excitement in the Aflac booth was tremendous when Carl was leading.  He came to the booth before the race, talked to everybody, and displayed such confidence.  “We’ve won here before on this track, and Tony hasn’t under this configuration.  We’ve got the  best car and we’re on the pole, so I think we’ve got a really good chance.”  I asked him if the crack by Tony had bothered him any and if he lost any sleep.  He said that he hadn’t.  He said this is what he’s been preparing for all his life, and he was ready to go do the best he could – the best he could on this day, this second.  The best he could do on this day was lead the most laps and run second.  Tony took the win by passing 118 cars, and the bonus points he got put him in a dead tie with Carl on points.  But…Tony won the championship by virtue of the most wins. Congratulations to our dirt track hero, Tony Stewart!  Congratulations to Carl Edwards who is truly a class guy.  Thank you for the most exciting Nascar race I’ve ever seen. 

 

 

 

       


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