(Kendra is the daughter of All-Star Champ, Kenny Jacobs.
She is a college student in Ohio, and is also handling public relations
for the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Support Series.)
· Steve Kinser announced
recently that he would be committing to Hoosier tires for the 2000 racing
season. With Steve's caliber of racing, and his worldwide fame, he will
give Hoosier the competitive edge against long-time racing tire powerhouse,
Goodyear. Maybe Jeff Shepard won't be the only one shouting, "Hoosier Daddy!"
at the races this summer!
· Brian Paulus will be on tour with
the World of Outlaws again this summer. Paulus' gold and silver #28 will
be touring full-time; however, he will miss a few Pennzoil WoO dates, as
Paulus will also be competing with the USAC Silver Crown Series. Good Luck
· Kenny Jacobs will try to defend
his All-Star Championship again in 2000. Aaron Hammer will be back as crew
chief. I printed earlier that the Mouse would adorn all of Kenny's wings
this season, however that decision has been vetoed. The team is currently
busy getting ready for the annual trip to Florida.
· The Support Series' inaugural
race will be held at the famed Lernerville Speedway on April 14th. The series
will also be competing with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws at most televised
shows, for their own point standings. Terre Haute Action Track will hose
the season finale on Oct. 14th.
Happy New Year to all of you! I hope you all brought in the new millennium
in an unforgettable way. I had the privilege of ringing in 2000 with John
Mellencamp! Ok, not a real low-key private celebration…but I do think he
winked at me a couple of times while singing, "Keywest Intermezzo." During
one quick bathroom break, I ran into none other than Shanon Saldana! (In
a crowded fieldhouse, in the middle of the concert, what are the chances
of me running into another racing girl?) The concert was excellent! John
is not only an incredible singer, but he is an incredible performer as well.
No special effects, no major changes, just good music that everyone can
sing along to. And, after talking with Shanon, I realized how much Mark
Kinser and John Mellencamp really DO resemble each other! If you are by
any means a John Mellencamp fan, try to get to one of his concerts, you
will NOT regret it!
Less than a week after New Year's,
I left for Tulsa, Oklahoma. After picking up my sidekick Mindy Stephens
in St. Louis, all systems were go for Chili Bowl 2000. Unfortunately, my
trip this year was not a Christmas gift. BUT…I did have the extreme privilege
of writing a column for the Chili Bowl program. I figured, "I can't write
a column in the program and NOT be there." So, I ordered my airline tickets
and didn't think twice. WOW…what a difference a year made. I LOVED the Chili
Bowl this year. When I first wrote this column, it became a drawn out lengthy
speech about how good the racing is. But, that can be said in one sentence…as
it just was. I could describe every detail about the nightlife and post-racing
excitement. Though I am quite sure that many of you can picture a bar filled
with race fans all talking about earlier racing thrills.
I am going to do is fill you in with little news and notes from the long
weekend: First and foremost, I have to thank Mindy Stephens for being my
roommate for the second year in a row. We always have a blast together,
and the Chili Bowl was no exception. Nothing beats sleeping in late, shopping
all day, and watching the races all night. You are an amazing friend who
has seen all of my many moods…and somehow accepts each one. I don't know
what I'd do without you cowgirl. My father didn't exactly have the best
weekend of racing. Persistent problems within the car's steering helped
to secure a spot in the back of Saturday's D Main. While this isn't exactly
the event I like to watch my father compete in, I have to say that I enjoyed
it. The steering was fixed in time for Saturday's event, and it was fun
to watch my father bounce around the turns and slide his way around cars.
No, he didn't transfer to the "A", and yes his weekend of racing was executed
with the drop of the checkered. But, when I arrived at the trailer, he was
grinning from ear to ear. He definitely has the "bug" for the Chili Bowl
now, and has full intentions of competing again in 2001.
The highlight of my weekend was meeting
Dave Bowman from TNN's Shadetree Mechanic. Dave offered words of encouragement
and advice that I greatly appreciated. Our brief conversation lifted my
spirits and made me excited for my future. Thursday night was a little different
than most post-racing events. I went out with my father. Now, most of you
are thinking, "How much fun could that possibly be?" Well, first of all,
I adore my father and will take any opportunity given to show him off. Secondly,
I hated the thought of him going back to an empty hotel room and thinking
ALL night long what he could do to fix his steering. So…we went out. We
ended up meeting some other racing buddies, listening to a not-so-good band,
and playing pool all night. I watched over him like a hawk--always making
sure he was having fun and talking to someone. Then, I watched him clean
house on the pool tables. This was a great night that I never planned and
never imagined, but will always remember. Another thank you goes to Lance
Blevins for being the Tulsa City tour guide. Lance could not be happy that
week unless he KNEW that everyone around him was having a good time. Lance,
you are a card! Oh…and all Blevins fans look for Lance to be sporting a
new look this summer.
I have to admit that I was pulling
for Jason Leffler to go home victorious this year. He is an amazing racecar
driver. While luck was not always on his side, he displayed his talent by
dicing through cars and repeatedly working his way to the front…all with
grace and ease. He impressed me greatly, and I look for him to do well in
the Busch series this year. Congratulations to Bud Kaeding for his fantastic
run Saturday night. Bud had an extremely busy Chili Bowl weekend. Bud had
to fly to Indianapolis first thing Friday morning to go to the USAC banquet
Friday night. Saturday morning, he was greeted by California friends at
the Tulsa airport and escorted back to the Expo Center. No worries though…but
made it through the "B" Main to finish a commendable 3rd place finish.
The irony of fashion today: Mindy
and I appeared to be escapees from the local zoo…or farm…Saturday night.
Mindy and I arrived at the races wearing animal print clothing. Mindy in
cow, I in snake. But the best part of it all: My father's firesuit that
night was sponsored by Marsh Farms! Daryn Pittman's trailer was one to avoid
on Saturday night. Both he and his crewmember were sick with the flu it
seemed. I can't imagine how miserable it had to be to sit in that fume filled
building, then put a helmet on and race 25 laps. Ugh…not something I would
want to do!
Shane Stewart was seen with Junior
Holbrook on a few separate occasions over the weekend. Shane Stewart will
be driving a Holbrook owned sprinter throughout the 2000 season with the
World of Outlaws Support Series.
Jack Hewitt's two-seat sprint car
is one of the greatest racing "thrill" innovations I have seen. Besides
actually "driving" a sprint car, which certain individuals like myself are
petrified to do, this has got to be the closest thing to feeling the rush
that wins over the heart of every race car driver. I have watched men, and
now women, all my life fall in love with a machine. I have never understood
the hypnotic power that metal could have over someone…but I believe that
this car could help me to do so.
I'm afraid that I am not overly
original. I, like every other Motorsports columnist I have read recently,
want to feel the sheer speed of these beasts as they brush the wall at Eldora.
Too many memories of my childhood lie amid the bleachers and the gravel
and concrete of that particular pit area, for me not to finally make a memory
on its clay surface.
I boarded the plane to head north,
completely exhausted. But, nonetheless, had I not been exhausted I would
have been thoroughly disappointed. I had a terrific weekend with old friends.
I had the opportunity to meet a few new race fans…possibly ones that I will
be calling old friends by this time next year! My only disappointment of
the weekend: Where were the inflatable girls and farm animals? Come on guys…you
were slacking this year!
Finally, there is something I have
to admit to you all: I am a quote fanatic. Throughout life, I have looked
to other's words to guide me and shape my outlook on life. My close friends
have become accustomed to me offering words of motivation, inspiration,
and happiness. Now I'd like to share them with you all as well. My personal
favorite: "Dream as though you will live forever; live
as though you will die today." -James Dean