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Tyler Erb. (Mike Reufer photo)

KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race

Despite the FIA’s efforts to keep us from doing it (turns out we’re in no way affiliated with the Andretti family), we’re back with another edition of the Friday Morning Heat Race.

Hot Laps: Time Keepers

It still baffles my mind that in the technologically advanced world that we live in with a race series highlighting hybrid cars, the checkered flag could wave before the 24-hour time period elapsed.

Yet, that’s what happened with the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Synchronize your Rolexes, please!

Qualifying: Announcers

Watching racing on streaming video certainly demonstrates the importance of having an excellent announcer.

A good announcer, such as the World of Outlaws’ Johnny Gibson, can make an event look and feel important, whereas an uninformed or uninteresting race call can make one opt for the mute button, or reruns of “Friends.”

First Heat: Where Were The Fans?

I went to the grocery store on Sunday morning and there were more people in the checkout line than there were in the grandstands at the Clash at the Coliseum the previous night at the famed L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

For decades, racing events were deemed successful based on the number of folks who bought tickets.

Strange, how times change.

Second Heat: Are Stripes In?

Tyler Erb (pictured in the featured photo above) may have worn the ugliest fire suit in motorsports history when he won Wednesday’s Lucas late model race at East Bay Raceway Park.

It was breathtaking — in a look away kind of way.

Third Heat: Us Vs. Them?

It’s interesting to see the attitude of a lot of fans regarding the start of the sprint car season with drivers committed to High Limit Racing and the World of Outlaws squaring off in the WoO season opener at Volusia Speedway Park.

Two series are new for most sprint car fans, so measuring how the regulars from each performed appears to be a measuring stick.

That said, the late model division has had two national touring series for decades, drivers cross over from one series to the other frequently and there seems to be little “us vs. them” conversation.

Fourth Heat: Unaffiliated

There are High Limit drivers and World of Outlaws drivers and “unaffiliated” drivers. Maybe they should get their own T-shirts? This group includes Brian Brown, Anthony Macri, Danny Dietrich, Sam Hafertepe Jr. and Ryan Timms.

Dash: Is It 1992?

Anyone reading the headlines regarding this week’s UMP modified races at Volusia Speedway Park, may think it’s 1992.

Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace, who were both racing in NASCAR at that time, won DIRTcar Nationals features on three consecutive nights. Schrader, who is 69, won on Tuesday and Thursday, while Wallace went to victory lane on Wednesday night.

B Main: Survey Says!

The Pew Research Center polled 12,000 American adults across and asked the following question: “If you had to choose one sport as being ‘America’s sport,’ even if you don’t personally follow it, which sport would it be?” 

The responses weren’t good for auto racing, with only three percent selecting the option, while 53-percent of those surveyed selected football as “America’s Sport.” Billed for decades as “America’s Pasttime,” baseball was mentioned by only 27-percent of those polled.

Feature: Difficult To Believe

It stopped us in our tracks when we read that next week will mark Kyle Busch’s 20th Daytona 500.

It’s even more amazing that he’s never won it. If he prevails on Feb. 18 at Daytona Int’l Speedway, he’ll match Dale Earnhardt in winning The Greatest Spectacle in Racing in his 20th attempt.

Interesting that legends of the sport have had a difficult time at Daytona. Earnhardt won in his 20th start, Darrell Waltrip triumphed in his 17th Daytona 500 and Tony Stewart and Mark Martin never won the 500.