NASCAR has a new star in Trevor Bayne

| March 2, 2011

No one will ever confuse me with an auto racing fan. When I was in the Army at Fort Benjamin Harrison in suburban Indianapolis, everyone in our company had free tickets to the Indy 500. All we had to do was wear our uniforms.

Some of my buddies and I chose to go to Purdue and IU campuses and check out the girls.

Major auto racing events still bring back thoughts of its origins when “˜shine running was why cars had to be fast to outrun the law. “˜Shine is short for moonshine whiskey.

One year when I taught in a one-room school in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, two of my female students always missed on the first day of the month. Yet they would ride by as fast as they could on horses with saddle bags bulging.

Kids will tell you everything. They told me that the girls’ daddy shined and they were taking it down the road where a man from another county would pay them for the whiskey.

They would,  be back in school the next day.

Roar of engines

After I came to Louisville I would take my kids to Fairgrounds Stadium to see the Triple-A team play baseball, but it didn’t take long for them to hear the roar of engines racing at the nearby Fairgrounds Speedway where Bob Hall was the head man. My kids would say, “That sounds exciting; let’s go over there and see the cars race.”

Something happened last week that might make a racing fan out of me.

A young, clean-cut, well-spoken driver just a couple of days over 20 won the Daytona 500 in his first attempt. He was a breath of fresh air for auto racing, so happy and unbelieving that he had just won a million dollars and the Daytona 500.

He’s from Knoxville!

NASCAR – that stands for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing – is hurting and Trevor Bayne may just be the spark that could add millions of young fans. The only thing that Kentuckians may have against him is that he is from Knoxville, Tenn. You know what Tennessee football team plays in Knoxville.

The new Daytona 500 champion said, “I keep thinking I’m dreaming, I really do.”

If Bayne isn’t a flash in the pan and keeps winning, he could be the spark that ignites NASCAR’s engine. One thing’s for sure, he will bring out the young girls.

Now back to ball

All during this topsy-turvy college basketball season, I have had a feeling that this will be one NCAA championship made to order for a great coach to steal. I only know one really great coach and he is Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.

Duke is pretty good. No really big ups or downs. Its players are smart. The Blue Devils don’t beat themselves. And in my readership area, this may be surprising but Duke has some seniors!

Experience counts

If you are a UK fan and don’t like Coach K, you should, and here’s why: The last game that Cawood Ledford, the Voice of Wildcat football and basketball, called was when Duke knocked the Wildcats out of the NCAA on Christian Laettner’s shot in overtime 104-103 in the East Regional at Philadelphia.

One of the first things that the Duke coach did was to walk across the floor and tell Cawood how much he meant to college basketball and that he was sorry that the great broadcaster was retiring.

Heard it all?

Just when we think that we’ve heard it all, some idiotic Alabama fan poisoned two oak trees where Auburn football fans gather before football games. Police have charged him with dumping poison that most likely will kill the trees. Before the trees die, he should be made to climb one of the trees with a rope around his neck – and jump!

Visit mountains

A nice thing occurred recently when some small private schools in Louisville traveled to Jackson, Ky., to play in an invitational,  basketball tournament sponsored by Riverside Christian, a small school in Breathitt County. The school has just 37 students. The tournament was played at Breathitt County High’s gym in Jackson.

I hope that the Louisville schools can have an invitational next season in the state’s biggest city and let Riverside’s kids see (maybe even play!) at KFC Yum! Center.

What a joyous education tool that would be.

Many moons ago, coaches of two mountain schools, Carr Creek’s Morton Combs and Hindman’s Pearl Combs, started bringing their teams to Louisville to play Louisville Central and St. Xavier. Then the teams would switch opponents the following night.

When Central returned,  games in Knott County coach Bill Kean’s all-black Yellowjackets would stay in the homes of mountain kids.

Talk about a learning experience!

Riverside Christian is at Lost Creek, Ky.

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Category: Sports

About the Author (Author Profile)

Earl Cox, Sports Columnist

Earl doesn¹t just write about sports legends, he counts many of them as his
friends. A member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, he has been writing
about sports for 60 years. Incidentally, that¹s about how long it’s been
since he¹s cleaned his desk but he knows where everything is.

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