John Potts

John Potts

We heard some talk during the week about the “splitter” on the COTWINTCOT (Car Of Tomorrow Which Is Now The Car Of Today) possibly cutting a tire or two during the Bristol race.

NASCAR pointed out that fenders have been cutting tires for some time now, and said it wasn’t a problem.

OK, fine. However, it did bring to mind a story someone told me a few years back about a “prong” that Lee Petty used to put on the outside of his front bumper in the old days.

The old driver who told me said, “He’d get up on the inside of you, and without you realizing it that thing would rip out your valve stem, and a lap later you had a flat tire.”

I asked Petty about that once, and all I got was an incredulous “Me?”

• We understand Michael Waltrip has been “relieved” of his duties as one of the participants in Speed TV’s “Trading Paint” show. Big surprise, with the problems Michael and his team are having.

I notice that he is still on the panel of “Inside Nextel Cup” on the same network on Monday evenings, and I have to wonder how long that’s going to last.

I had to laugh pretty hard at the Aaron’s commercial with Sammy Hagar in it.

If you haven’t seen it, Michael and Dale Jarrett are walking down the hall, with music playing “I Can’t Drive 55,” when DJ asks if that isn’t Sammy Hagar.

After Michael confirms that it is, DJ says, “He’s singing about the Aaron’s Dream Machine, isn’t he?,” and then notes that it’s pretty loud.

Michael opens a door and asks Sammy if he can turn down the amp a little.

Sammy’s answer: “Sure I can, can you drive a little faster?”

• The death of Eric Medlin in a practice crash at Gainesville Raceway following the Gatornationals was a serious blow for drag racing, John Force Racing, and all of us who love the sport.

I didn’t know Eric well, but his father, John Medlen, was always friendly to me when I was at what was Indianapolis Raceway Park. Once he even brought Don Prudhomme’s Top Fuel car out to let us display it at an oval race.

The word is that Eric was actually shaken to death, and you can be sure everyone is working hard to find a solution to whatever the problem was. It was the first Funny Car fatality since 1969.

I can recall Prudhomme telling me and another fellow in the tower during a post-U.S. Nationals test back in 2000 that steering a Funny Car was extremely difficult at the top end. He said that when the car is going around 300 mph, the downforce against the body makes it awfully hard to turn the steering wheel. His point was that the long drag link in the steering mechanism began to bend. He said there had to be a better way, and maybe they’ve come up with it by now.

At any rate, God Speed Eric, and our prayers are with the family.

• In this area, we lost a good supporter of racing and a member of the racing family last week when Roger Bargo, the father of driver Mike Bargo, succumbed to cancer after a long fight. Once again, our prayers are with friends and family.

• Weekend Winners...

At London Dragway:

Super Pro: Marty Bain of Barbourville. Pro: Josh Epperson of Barbourville. Footbrake: Steve Foley of Barbourville. Junior Dragster: Caleb Stringer of Somerset.

At Lake Cumberland Speedway:

Late Model: Tyrel Todd. Open Wheel Modified: Dennis Robertson. Road Hogs: Larry Wayne. Chevettes: Mike Todd. Front Wheel Drive: Sarah Patrick.

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