I’ve written here that despite my ongoing fight against cancer (Score is now Bob 3 / cancer 0) this would not become another one of those hundreds of boring online cancer diaries that no one cares about except maybe the family and close friends of the cancer patient. Harsh words? Perhaps, but true words. No one wants to read how tough things are while you’re battling cancer and believe me, they’re f*cking tough!
Chemotherapy is brutal and radiation is worse. I know. I’ve had both. And if you’re a cancer patient, writing about it helps you to get through it. I did it every time I went into battle. It was cathartic to write about the pain, the nausea, the malaise. But, you know what? I never went back to read it and I definitely wasn’t going to put it online.
The past few weeks have been rough as I recover from my third round of chemo. And because I’m going into the stem cell transplant program at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital (HUP) in Philadelphia, I’ll have to have a fourth round — even though the cancer appears gone according to my recent scan. Such is the life of the cancer patient!
The reason I write all of this is to explain to you why nothing new has appeared on this page in the past couple of weeks.
I sit down to write, but the only thing that comes out on the computer screen is shit about my cancer and how I feel — nothing I care to share with anyone. And the last thing in the world that want to write about when I’m nauseous, feel lethargic and can’t eat is racing. So, as I’ve explained earlier, the cancer crap I write stays on the computer, and it makes me feel a little better writing it.
My doctors have postponed my fourth round of chemo for a week, so this week has become my week of vacation, the first week since the beginning of May I don’t have to deal with toxic chemicals being put into my body.
It couldn’t have come at a better time. NASCAR is running their first race on dirt in over 40 years this week and the Sprint Cup teams are making their annual pilgrimage to the greatest race track on the planet for another attempt at keeping us entertained for three hours – or until the final 25 miles of racing.
Unless Jimmie Johnson is leading, those last ten laps are guaranteed to be of the thrilling, sitting-on-the-edge of your seat variety. They are the reason why NASCAR has those tens of millions of fans.
I’m an aficionado, so I don’t mind watching all the stuff that comes before those final ten laps. But when it comes to the casual fan, they get lost watching cars drive in circles. And unfortunately, their hosts for the broadcast over those three plus hours – the network announcers in the booth – usually don’t care to connect with the casual fan and instead focus on talking to the viewers in the audience they assume know something about the sport.
I’m not trying to bash the announcers. Most of them (along with their apathetic producers and directors) do a pretty good job of making the broadcast unwatchable all by themselves. What I do know is that when I’m watching a NASCAR race alongside someone who is watching either in person or on television for the first time or the 20th time, the race retains their interest for its entire length. I just believe that there is so much to talk about and so much to explain throughout the race that the time goes rather quickly.
This disconnect with the casual television viewer is one of the NHRA’s biggest issues (well, along with ESPN broadcasting much of the series’ qualifying well after midnight on the East Coast). Dave Rieff and my old friend Mike Dunn do an amazing job in the booth, arguably the best in the business and Dunn is perhaps the best analyst in all of motorsports broadcasting. But, despite their best efforts, much of what is going on during the ESPN2 television broadcast goes far over the heads of the casual viewer. If you’ve ever been to an NHRA professional drag race, you know it doesn’t translate to television.
Anyway, this week is the second of three races, run back-to-back, which the racers refer to as the “West Coast Swing” and it features three of the toughest venues where they race. This weekend they’re in Northern California on the dragstrip at Sonoma Raceway. Try and catch some of the action on ESPN2. It’ll be worth your time and the finalists for inclusion in the NHRA’s version of “The Chase” which is called “The Countdown to the Championship” are being decided over the next few races.
This is getting too long….
Before I go, I have to write something about tonight and tomorrow night’s event at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Raceway. It’s this…
To the NASCAR fans who think the sport doesn’t respond to its competitors, it’s fans and its sponsors:
I believe that the idea of NASCAR returning to its roots and racing on dirt started out several years ago when Tony Stewart tried to convince the owners of the now-defunct International Race of Champions (IROC) the Signore brothers (Jay and George) to include Eldora on its four-race schedule. When that series disappeared, the idea apparently remained on Stewart’s radar. He was able to show the world that he could pack his race track with an overflow crowd by staging his “Prelude to the Dream” event, which has turned into an excellent television show. He was also able to show that his staff could deal with a large event.
Of course, tonight and tomorrow night’s show will be a true test for the track and its staff. I’m convinced they will do an excellent job.
And as for the racing…
It’s likely to be extremely entertaining and the race fans will talk about for weeks to come.
Thanks for stopping by!