Sights, Sounds and Antlers
Random observations from the weekend at Kansas Speedway:
+ Coolest name for a minor-league baseball team: the Kansas City T-Bones.
+ Kansas Speedway is a jewel of race track with purple and yellow grandstands, well-groomed grass and wide roads entering and exiting the track — the latter being essential for the race after the race.
+ Two enormous elk heads — yes, heads — graced the Cup garage Sunday morning, a couple of trucks down from the No. 83. Fresh from the taxidermist, they were the trophies of Martin Truex Jr. and crew chief Kevin Manion. Strange, however, seeing stuffed wildlife rub elbows with a stack of Goodyears.
+ The team’s self-proclaimed “fan numero uno” was in full force sporting a Red Bull can-like cape and bullhorns. Eric Novotny, 27, made the seven-hour drive from South Dakota to cheer on Brian Vickers and AJ Allmendinger. Every qualifying and race day, Novotny throws back two Red Bulls and bought 83 cans at the beginning of the season.
+ The team stayed in Overland Park, which ranks ninth on Money magazine’s 100 Best Cities to Live list. It’s also home to Sprint’s world headquarters.
+ Much of the garage was buzzing about Formula One’s first night race in Singapore. If only our races lasted 1 hour, 57 minutes and 16.304 seconds.
+ Wonder if dogfighter Michael Vick can hear the roar of the engines from his cell in nearby Leavenworth? In May, the aforementioned T-Bones wore black and white striped jerseys on “Michael Vick Welcome to the Neighborhood Night.” Their opponent sported orange jumpsuit replica jerseys.
+ The track is unique in that it was built in a large bowl, with spectator hills all the way around (pictured above). The view from RV row along the backstretch is underrated.
+ A college mascot convention broke out in the infield. Among the characters in attendance were Big Jay and Baby Jay from Kansas, Willie the Wildcat from Kansas State, Lil’ Red from Nebraska and Kangaroo Kasey from Missouri-Kansas City.