Category Archives: Stock car racing

To Clean or Not to Clean

This morning as I sit in my recliner marks the beginning of a new state in my life. Yesterday my daughter and grandson moved full-time into their apartment along with my other daughter. Today is the first day of classes in the fall semester at college for them.

As I was reading my emails this morning and looking around my all too quiet house I noticed the french doors for my sun room. They stand open from the livingroom inviting you to enter the sun room. At the angle they are open and where I am sitting I can see through the panes of glass. They are completely covered with tiny fingerprints and nose prints.

My grandson loves to play in the sun room. Most of his toys are in there. After he learned how to open and close the doors he would close one side and stand inside the porch and make faces at us through the glass as we sat in the livingroom. His version of Peek A Boo.

We had a great last couple of days with my daughter and grandson. We left Thursday evening for the race track where my husband was racing in a two-day event. My daughter and grandson came with us. It was a long two days for my daughter to entertain her son and figure out nap times and bed times away from home but she was good sport about it.

Thursday evening my husband won the “The King of Dirt” title in his division so he was pretty excited and my grandson was so excited about the trophy that he gave it a hug.

The second night of racing didn’t go as well with my husband being hit late in the race and spun into the wall. It will be the end of racing until some major repairs are made.

Yesterday morning I watched as my daughter loaded up her car to leave. Most of their things are already at the apartment but all the favorite last minute items were loaded last. We got our hugs and kisses goodbye and watched them leave to start a new chapter in their lives.

I think I will leave the window pane just as they are for a little while…..


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It Doesn’t Get Much Better

Friday evening my husband and I took our daughter and her son with us to the racetrack. My husband hasn’t raced much this summer but he had his truck ready to go and we went.

When we arrived at the track after an hour and a half drive first thing on our list was to unload the truck and get something to eat.

My grandson’s favorite is a corn dog which I knew they had at the food stand. And yes, that little guy did eat the whole thing although it took him awhile.

















After we unloaded the truck we headed over to the pit grandstand to watch a couple of heat races before my husband’s turn to race.  Jack didn’t take his eyes off the track for a minute and was concerned when they had to send a tow truck out to take a car off the track that had spun out.

















Jack’s favorite movie is “Cars”.  This was like seeing “Cars” in person. He pointed at everything and talked in his two-year old jibberish about everything he saw and every other word that came out of his mouth was “race car”.

































Squeals of delight were heard as the racecars turned corner number four. Our night was cut short by storms rolling in. We ended up running to the truck in pouring rain and driving in torrential rains home. We will head back to the track on Thursday for  “King of the Dirt” night.  Hopefully he will get to see Grandpa race.




Posted by on August 14, 2011 in Family, Photography, Stock car racing


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Weekly Photo Challenge:Red

This week when they posted the theme for this week’s photo challenge I was on my way to racetrack. I was thinking about what I could use for the challenge not really thinking of a race track theme.

I was watching out the truck window trying to see some old red barns or farm buildings but there weren’t many within shooting range of the freeway as my husband was driving.

We arrived at the racetrack and everywhere I looked I saw red. After a while of wandering around the racetrack in the far back corner of the pits I found this on the side of a piece of farm equipment and decided my theme for red is versatile.

As we arrived at the track this was the first scene I saw when we checked in. I love the red-checkered shirt. It was a very cold 41 degrees with a strong north wind with an occasional misting.

After we checked in I saw the pace truck that carries the flag around the track during the National Anthem each week.

Then we headed up to the grandstands to grab a cup of coffee to warm up before the races started. It was the first of many trips up the hill to the grandstand that I made last evening in an attempt to warm up from the inside out.

After retrieving our coffee we headed over to the tech shed for the drivers meeting and saw this old car that has gone through a few changes. It’s not one of the cars that is raced at the track just a hobby car for one of the guys.

My favorite picture was a photo I took of the tech shed last week at the track under much warmer conditions. I love the reflection on the pond of the red truck.


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Two Seasons

In Minnesota we often joke about there only being two seasons, winter and road construction. In our home we have our own version. Our seasons are winter and racing.

Last evening the racing season officially began which means winter must finally be over. Each Friday evening after work we load up the race truck and head north for about 90 miles for three hours of racing. At the Fergus Falls Racetrack they have five different divisions of racers. My husband races in the Short Trackers division which features 4 cylinder vehicles. He drives an S-10 pick up truck.

HIs truck was built and raced originally by our oldest son Curt. At one time my husband and two sons each raced a truck each weekend. The boys have moved on to other interests like home ownership and hobbies.

This is a typical scene at the racetrack each Friday evening. It is an interesting mix of food smells and race fuel.

Out behind the pit area at the track is a small lake or pond. I don’t know it’s name but have always been drawn to it because of its serene look which is such a contrast to all the noise and activity going on nearby with the racers coming and going out of the pit area.

Tonight before the races began I walked down by the lake and took out my camera. I tend to shoot in the auto mode on my camera but tonight I turned it on manual and kept playing with my settings until I got the exposure that I liked best. I took me about twelve different settings to get this shot. The colors look much richer than those I tried in auto mode.


I will definitely have to keep trying different shots in manual mode.


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Flying on the Ground

If it’s a Friday night or an occasional Saturday evening between the months of May to October chances are you will find me at the race track.  My husband drives a four cylinder S-10 pickup truck in stock car races each weekend.  I am his pit crew, video photographer, and number one fan all rolled into one. 

When we were at the races last evening and I was sitting in the grandstand my mind started making comparisons between racing and flying and how they are similar in many ways.  One of the first things I thought of as I was sitting there was communication.  Both airplanes and race cars require some form of communication for a smooth flow in the operations at an airport or a race track.  It helps if everyone is on the same page and knows what everyone else is doing.  In most airplanes there are radios for communication with the control tower.  At most racetracks they use race receivers which allow the racecar drivers to tune into a frequency that the flag man broadcasts his instructions to the drivers. 

In the event in an airplane a radio doesn’t work or it  doesn’t have  a radio they can receive light gun signals from the tower which tell them what to do.  For example if the control tower is sending a steady beam of green light to you and you are on the ground it means you are cleared for take-off.  If you are in flight approaching the airport and you get the same steady green light it means you are cleared to land.  If however, you see a steady red light when you are on the ground it means STOP.  If you are in flight and receive a steady red light it means give way to others and continue circling the airport.

Much like the light gun signals at the airport, the race track uses color in the form of flags to let the drivers what to do.  Every one is familiar with the checked flag.  It means that if you go past that flag first you have won the race.  If you see a yellow flag from the flag man it means caution, there is a problem that requires attention on the track.  Either an accident or debris on the track that must be removed before the race can continue.  Just as at the airport if you see a red flag it means STOP immediately.  This is usually because there has been a crash on the track and emergency vehicles need to be able to move quickly to the scene.  If you see a white flag from the flag man it does not mean surrender, it means only one lap to go to the checked flag.  At the racetrack if you see a black flag waved at you it means you have behaved badly and to go to the back of the pack or sometimes take your car to the pits.  You are done racing.

Another similarity I noticed between racing and flying is the importance of weight and balance.  Every airplane has a specific useful load weight.  This is the amount of fuel, passengers, and luggage weight you can carry on the plane.  This is a very important figure because if you exceed it you can encounter handling difficulties to say the least.  It affects your take off and landings as well as maneuvering abilities.  The plane will fly differently if all the weight is put aft the center of gravity than it will if all the weight is forward the CG.  It may not even be able to lift off the ground if it is loaded excessively or improperly.  So if a pilot asks your weight prior to loading a small aircraft, don’t be offended and tell the truth.  That number is important to the safety of all those aboard. 

A racecar weight is important as well, although not life threatening as in an overloaded airplane.  Every class of racecars has a specific weight that they are not allowed to exceed or they will be disqualified.  An important part of setting up a racecar is putting it on a set of scales to see how the weight is distributed over the four wheels of the car.  You put more or less weight in specific locations to get the desired handling on the track.  There are different setups depending on whether you are racing on dirt or asphalt.  Drivers also adjust their setups according to the weather.  The tires will act one way on a cold track and another on a hot track.

Fuel management is important to both racecar drivers as well as pilots.  Both want to move their plane or racecar as efficiently as possible from point A to point B.  In the class of cars we race they actually use the same airplane fuel as we do in the Cessna that I fly, 100LL.  Both the racecar driver and the pilot do not want to run out of fuel so it is  important for both to make the proper calculations of how much fuel they will need and build a reserve into that number to allow for unforseen circumstances that will require you to fly or drive longer that expected.  The big difference is for the pilot who doesn’t manage their fuel properly is that they can be forced into an emergency landing whereas the racecar driver just won’t be able to finish this race.  He will still be around for the next race when the pilot may not be there for the next flight.

In preparing for a race or a pilot for a flight both need to “preflight”  their car or plane.  This involves checking everything over to make sure it looks and sounds as it should.  Either on the track or in the air is not the time to discover that something is not as it should be.  In both cases it is better to be found before the race or flight begins.  This begins with a general walk around the car or plane.   How does it look? Does anything look out-of-place or different?  The Cessna that I fly had a problem with the front strut.  It would collapse so there was no dampening effect for the front wheel on landing.  This was due to a bad seal.  If it was collapsed, I could readily see the difference as I approached the plane and I knew before I could fly that some nitrogen would need to be added or the seal would have to be replaced.  

Both racecars and airplanes have safety equipment.  The racecar has a roll cage and a 5 point harness system and a racing seat that is attached to the frame.  The driver wears a fire suit and helmet while racing.  There are many requirements for a safe racecar.  The airplane also has safety equipment.  There are seatbelts and shoulder harnesses for the pilot and passengers.  Some airplanes now come with airbags installed.  Some require you as the pilot to wear a parachute depending on the type of flying.  If you travel commercial airlines we have all sat through all the safety information for the plane we are flying on at the beginning of the flight.  As a private pilot you need to inform your passengers of the safety requirements for your plane. 

There are basic racecars and airplanes and there are expensive racecars and airplanes.  Whether your passion is racing or flying there is one that will fit your budget.  It’s just a matter of choosing whether you like your circles on the ground or 10, 000 feet above.  I prefer the bird’s eye view best.


Posted by on September 26, 2010 in Flight training, Stock car racing


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