KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race


CONCORD, N.C. — Since this is the first version of the Friday Morning Heat Race being written away from the friendly confines of Hudspeth Road in nearby Harrisburg, N.C., we are going to alter this week’s format a little.


The offices of National Speed Sport News are officially closed following Wednesday’s auction of the desk furniture, memorabilia and other items collected during the newspaper’s fantastic 77-year run.


We must thank the motorsports community for turning out and supporting the event including Chris Paulsen, Roger Slack, Ray and Erin Evernham, Ralph Sheheen, Buz McKim, Tom Cotter, Tom Deery, Chris Dolack, Sid Waterman, Andy Stapp, Perry Tripp, Jordan Anderson and many others.


It was somber day, but one which included many great memories, stories and a few laughs.


We hope to continue NSSN’s history of journalism integrity online operating from our new home office. It’s a damn short commute.


That said, let’s go racing. Ten laps is the distance.


1. To steal, a portion of a great line from NSSN writer Bruce Martin following the Daytona 500, we wonder if Noah will show up at Talladega this weekend with cars racing two-by-two-by-two?


2. FOX anchor Mike Joy has been named the 2011 winner of the Henry T. McLemore Motorsports Journalism award. The McLemore is the most tenured motorsports journalism award, beginning in 1969 with inaugural winner Bloys Britt, who wrote for the Associated Press for 17 years, beginning in the late 1950s.


3. Our condolences to former NSSN staffer Brit Fryer and AP racing writer Jenna Fryer following the death of Brit’s dad, a longtime newspaper man himself, earlier this week.


4. We’re impressed by the entry list for the Indianapolis 500. There are some very talented drivers listed on the 42-car, 35-driver entry list. But something still seems missing. We just felt, or hoped, we’re not which, that there would be some surprise entry that would knock everyone’s socks off for this 100th anniversary running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.


5. Friends and family, including 10 former NSSN staffers, gathered last evening for a final send off to longtime NSSN Production Editor Sheena Baker, who is returning to her native Keystone State. Good luck She Bake.


6. The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series heads to the Midwest beginning tonight and it will begin the stretch of the season where we all find out who the man to beat for the championship will be. Joey Saldana, the dominant winner the past two seasons, leads the standings, but he’s still looking for his first title. Former champions Steve Kinser, Donny Schatz and Jason Meyers all remain very much in contention.


7. It was too bad that a stormy night in North Carolina stole some of the flare with which The Race, a late-model event at North Wilkesboro Speedway was to carry last Saturday. It would have been held under the lights, but instead was run Sunday afternoon with Colorado college student Chris Eggleston working with legendary short-track racer and crew chief Butch Miller to claim the $75,000 triumph.


8. Will Sebastian Vettel win every grand prix this season?


9. We’re undecided if the dominance of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in their Ganassi Racing No. 01 in the Grand Am Rolex Series is a brilliant display of consistently overwhelming performances or it’s just a sad lack of competition. Either way, there’s still a long way to go this season and a lot could change.


10. That’s the checkered flag for this week. We’re off to Carolina Speedway for some short-track sprint-car and late-model action this evening.


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Mike Kerchner
Mike Kerchner is a veteran racing journalist and has been a member of the SPEED SPORT family since joining Chris Economaki at National Speed Sport News in 1991. He is now the Editor-in-Chief of SPEED SPORT Magazine.