Gentlemen Start Your Engines

With baseball season now over the amount of Diamondbacks press coverage has dwindled to a trickle. The local newspaper barely even acknowledges the team’s existence. They are busy building up the Phoenix Suns establishing Planet Orange as the place to be. They also dedicate large amounts of print space to the Arizona Cardinals as they try to explain how this year’s team implosion is different than all those that occurred previously since the team moved here. This weekend though I found a few stories surrounding the Arizona Diamondbacks and in the most peculiar place.

NASCAR has invaded Phoenix and tens of thousands of fans were expected to accumulate at Phoenix International Raceway for some big car race. From that statement it is probably clear to see that I am not a huge NASCAR fan. I don’t think I could name one driver nor could I tell you outside of this race where any other races are held. It’s hard for me to get into a sport where you only turn one direction. Not to mention the noise levels that has to accompany an event such as this. I don’t think I am alone on the lack of interest in NASCAR. While preparing this entry my spelling checker flagged the word “NASCAR” as incorrect. Curious I clicked to see what it recommended in its place. According to my spell checker the word I was trying to spell was “mascara”. Interesting, my word processer must think stock car races are for girls or cross dressers. My attitudes are a little more open than the close-minded software engineers who developed the program.

Given my apathy towards motorsports I think the baseball gods thought this would be the perfect opportunity for a practical joke. Arizona Diamondbacks General Partner and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Moorad and Diamondbacks Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Garfinkel announced that they had purchased a controlling interest in Hall of Fame Racing which races on the NASCAR circuit. That alone isn’t so bad. Just because I don’t care for racing doesn’t mean everyone feels the same way. Based upon the attendance figures touted by NASCAR I seem to be in the minority. After all, outside of baseball I have other interests too. That doesn’t mean I expect everyone to ride a Harley-Davidson motorcycle or collect Olympic pins; I only expect the cool people to do that. What I had not expected was that at the announcement at Phoenix International Raceway the Diamondbacks would announce that the team’s logo would be featured on car number 96 along with the Western Divisional Championship logo above the wheel well. tonyraines.jpg I have no idea who car number 96 even is and if I had not seen a photo of the car I would not have been able to tell you that the primary sponsor was DLP HDTV Chevrolet.

For the rest of the day I went in search of information on the elusive car number 96 and what it might look like with the Diamondbacks logo. I found out the driver’s name is Tony Raines and he races for Hall of Fame racing. He is involved in the NASCAR circuit and has been since 1990 when he won rookie of the year (an award no Diamondbacks player has earned). Tony started in 8th place at the race in Phoenix but finished in 37th place after an early accident. Hopefully he has insurance because the car did look like it sustained some damage. Hopefully the Diamondbacks logo didn’t get scratched.

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