It’s been interesting, that’s for damn sure. First, a shout-out to the folks at Racetickets.com; Lily (our host) and Rick (our driver) showed us all a wonderful time this past weekend.
To Saturday: So of course we were all thinking about the weather forecast for the Cup show, but first there was practice for the Cup teams. For the first time in years, I spent time on pit road taking photos. To be honest, it didn’t feel like fun. It felt somber, and sobriety seemed to be the watchword. Oh, I did enjoy it, sure; but Lisa should have been there.
In watching the NNS practice and qualifying session, I was impressed with the Toyotas; actually, that was true for both divisions. Say what you will about the manufacturer, but the teams are fully on pace. The JGR and MWR cars were particularlty hooked up. BTW, for anybody who thinks MWR is somehow less than a serious effort, just look where those teams now sit in points terms.
Nationwide race: Clean air was the key for Joey Logano. Every time he restarted in front, nobody could catch him. On that last restart, it was over. He was gone. G’night. That made me think that maybe the JGR cars would pull a repeat come Sunday….
But my hopes moved in an entirely different direction. See, Tony Stewart was always Lisa’s favorite driver. We met him one night at Berlin Raceway during his two-hour (post-race) signing session after the outlaw LM main which he won driving Randy Sweet’s amazing ride. Smoke took one look at Lisa’s Lasoski T-shirt and practically yelled, “Now THAT’S a T-shirt!” (Well, Lisa was fabulously well-endowed as well) He liked her, too. And so, Smoke was my choice for Sunday because he would’ve been hers.
The forecast had turned fairly ominous, but the question was: what time would the rain arrive? The front would move in over Mt. Baldy first so there’d be now doubt we’d see it. And we did. First, however….
I had a garage tour to do. Fascinating. Obviously, I took many photos which I will be loading as soon as I get home and clear up some nagging electronic troubles. Took a couple shots of Michael Waltrip at his hauler, and even ran into Rutledge Wood, who’s a nice guy.
And then I got separated from my tour group. Oops. Turned out it didn’t matter, though. I turned it into a self-guided tour that led back onto pit road. Turns out I walked about ten miles on Saturday and was pushing it again Sunday, so the best idea seemed the simplest: get some food and libation, and get back to my seat. Which was at the high edge of the stands. Thought I might need oxygen and a Sherpa.
After a start command from the three actors playing the 3 Stooges, we were off. And racing the rain.
Sure enough, as the race played out we saw a pale curtain descend over Mt. Baldy. Seems Smoke saw it, too, and used some real short-track maneuvers to take the lead and ultimately the win. His fellow drivers weren’t too happy with Stewart’s approach, but it worked.
As for me, I’d bought a #14 hat for Lisa which I wore instead of the SPEED cap from the day before; as it seemed more and more that he had a serious shot at winning, something happened I should’ve expected. I started crying, right there in the stands. I knew Lisa was involved in this race. Tony took the lead, and then the rains came. Nobody likes to see anyone else cry, I know, but there was no helping this, and no stopping it.
Back at the bus 30 minutes later, I still was not in control. All they had to say was that the race had been called at 129 laps and was official. Lisa had something to do with this; she was not going to let this go any other way. I bet she negotiated with God over that one.
Last night, instead of winding down, the BP troubles returned. Had a conversation with a nurse this morning who thought maybe I needed to go to the local hospital. Because I couldn’t eat or drink, this morning was no fun at all, but at least I’m sure about why: The dramatic conclusion of anxiety. So now I’m doing a bit better. We’ll see. But that’s how much this experience has meant to me. I could tell you this has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do, but you’ve just had to be here. As I’ve said before, I’m the one who was supposed to predecease Lisa, not the other way around. There was no way to be fully prepared; it had to be done before I’d know what it would take in emotional terms.
And so: This is the last long trip I intend to take in life. After this, I go home to Toronto, to stay. There’ll be exceptions, but they will be rare. I’ve seen aspects of America that gladdened me, and others that certainly appalled. For example, I was thrown out of a bar I’d just arrived to. Why? Engaging in a political conversation with a guy sitting beside me. We weren’t arguing; in fact, we were listening to each other. That didn’t matter to an idiotic bartender with delusions of grandeur, and her equally idiotic bouncer. The bar’s called Perq’s, and I’ll never go there again. Meanwhile, here at the Hampton Inn, I sat near a group of people who all agreed that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi deserved to die.
Folks, that is now America. I don’t belong here anymore. The American psychosis is more than I want to witness. More soon.