Category: Checkered Past

Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: World of Outlaws 1980

The year was 1980. Georgia peanut farmer Jimmy Carter was President. The Wall by Pink Floyd ruled the radio. The Empire Strikes Back was box office gold. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia were champions of football and baseball while Philly basketball and hockey topped all but Los Angeles and Long Island. U.S hostages heard the Super Bowl

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Racing Is Resilient

The World of Outlaws has paused many times. It has been rained out from Florida to Seattle and hammered by hurricanes in Houston and Santa Cruz. It was too windy in Oklahoma City, too rough to race in Nevada and New Mexico, and Michigan was too full of stones. Outlaw competition director for 12 years,

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Lone Star Lullaby

There are 47 of these United States in our Lower 48. Then there’s Texas. It has its own language, attitude and longest stretch: 825 miles from the Rio Grande to Sabine Rivers. In between is everything from desert reeking of petroleum to pristine beach at South Padre Island. No state has more cattle, horses, sheep,

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Reindeer on Rails

Christmas is a time for family. Religious affiliation does not matter nearly as much as hugging mothers and fathers, laughing with brothers and sisters, and seeing pure joy on the faces of their children. Dad did not seem especially fond of Christmas (bills), but mom sure is. Perhaps it was her German childhood or the

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1.03.94 Peoria, AZ
Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Slick 50

It sounded too good to be true. Ten weeks of World of Outlaws Sprint Cars from legendary Manzanita Speedway during the dead of winter all on live television had to be a pipedream. Yet there it was each Sunday evening on The Nashville Network following football on network TV. Couch potatoes did dance. People lucky

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Outlaws Hunt Turkey

Outlaws can be grumpy bears. Three months between World Finals and Florida Speedweeks make them miserable. Some bears refuse to hibernate. They board flights to Australia or New Zealand to race all 12 months like Jason Johnson or Danny Smith did. Others try the Turkey Night Midget Grand Prix, a Southern California tradition for 79

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Cool Hand Luke

Auto racing has never seen a career quite like that authored by Jimmy Sills, co-author of the new autobiography “Life With Luke” with Dave Argabright. Sills was an outlaw before the World of Outlaws. He first diced among the Pennsylvania Posse in 1975. His first Knoxville Nationals was 1976. He did four Dirt Cups before

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Final Bend

They’re going down to the wire. Like two thoroughbred horses rounding the clubhouse corner neck-and-neck, dominant Donny Schatz and never-been-champ Brad Sweet are taking the 2019 World of Outlaws title fight to a Can-Am World Finals photo-finish. Such suspense is historically unusual. Schatz and Steve Kinser earned 30 collective crowns long before the final night

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Cricket, a profile of Craig Keel

Craig Keel was outlaw by nature. Non-conformist to his core, Keel unconventionally converted a late model to a modified then went sprint car racing when there was no place to race them within 200 miles of Keel Heating Oil in Weedsport, NY. “He drove it that first night and said he’d never drive the modified

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Super DIRT Week

Syracuse 1974 was the biggest road trip in my eleven-year life. Dad dispatched us to bed to rise before dawn for the four-hour pilgrimage up I-81. Bob was happy at Reading, but his brother had hit pits of the first two modified classics on New York State Fairgrounds. “It’s the New Langhorne,” George Eckert declared.

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