Tony Stewart has been tearing up the track in NASCAR Nextel Cup lately, winning three of four races and vaulting up the "Chase for the Championship" order.
And that's not all he's been vaulting, as he has added fence-climbing to his victory celebration. However I have to take issue with what Tony said in an interview at Loudon New Hampshire last weekend. Stewart claimed to have originated fence-scaling as a celebratory activity, conveniently forgetting that another driver has been doing it for more than five years.
Open-wheel racer Helio Castroneves first climbed a fence to salute fans after his Champ Car win on June 18, 2000 at the Detroit Grand Prix, and has replicated this feat 12 times including twice after winning the Indy 500. I'm sure that fact just skipped Tony's mind when he claimed to be the innovator who dreamed up the maneuver.
For his part, Castroneves said that he was flattered to have Stewart follow his lead.
"I think it's great that Tony (Stewart) is climbing the fence after he wins - it's good to see drivers showing their emotions when they win," Castroneves said. "I'm flattered that he has chosen my way to celebrate. Every time I see a driver climb the fence, it makes me smile because I think it says a lot about the excitement that I convey to the fans when I take the checkered flag."
Hey, Tony? Why don't you do a Carl Edwards back flip instead if you win at Pocono today?
This is the best time of year for classic car fans. Hot August Nights will take over Reno in a couple of weeks, making the already congested traffic in the Biggest Little City just about unbearable. But if you want to get your classic car fix without the traffic and the hassle, check out Carson City's own Silver Dollar Car Classic coming up this next weekend.
Things start hopping on Friday night with the traditional Street Dance in the Nugget West parking lot right on Carson Street. Route 66 will be playing the oldies for your listening and dancing pleasure. Saturday and Sunday the show moves to Mills Park for the Show and Shine, with a pancake breakfast (open to the public) both days, courtesy of the Dayton Kiwanis Club.
There will also be lots of crafts, music, and displays on hand. In the evening participants can cruise to Virginia City or participate in parade laps and race-watching at Champion Speedway. The show wraps up Sunday with the Million Dollar Poker Run, a barbecue, and the Awards ceremony.
If you have a ride you're proud of, SDCC is more accommodating than Hot August Nights, too. There's no age limit, so you can bring out your C6 Corvette, Dodge Viper, or Cobra replica as well as your '57 Chevy or classic Thunderbird. The cost for a full entry is only $75 and includes lots of goodies.
A Show & Shine only package is a mere $55 to join in the fun. Call the Carson City Convention & Visitor's Bureau, 687-7410 to get an entry form. And if you don't have a car to show, head down to Mills Park anyway to check out some beautiful machinery and have a great time.
The other night I watched what is arguably the best racing movie ever made on the TCM channel. It was the film "Grand Prix," which I first saw in a theater in 1967. The movie follows the 1966 Formula 1 circuit, and stars James Garner, Yves Montand, Jessica Walters, and a host of real contemporary F1 drivers.
The movie's real draw is the camera work, with in-car footage from 40 years ago that compares favorably with that of today. Director John Frankenheimer captured the speed and excitement of the F1 experience of the time masterfully. For me the movie is a little more special than for most, because I had the opportunity to drive the same car Garner piloted in the move at Willow Springs Raceway in 1972. If you get a chance to catch Grand Prix on TV, do so. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to log on to Amazon.com and see if I can order the DVD.