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Let’s go racing, boys!

Captain’s Log: Star Date Twenty Zero Nine; Second Month; Fifteenth Day; 08:52 Hours…at the helm of vessel’s main navigational system in anticipation of blast off of multiple units at Fifteen Hundred Hours, today’s date, from Florida city by the ocean.

Translation: I’m sitting at my computer at the News-Herald office at 8:52 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009 trying to cram in some work before watching the Daytona 500 that is scheduled to get underway at 3 p.m. today.

After a long, cold lay-off, NASCAR season has returned, and just in the nick of time for yours truly.

I’ve watched all the pre-season hype on ESPN and the SPEED Channel. I’m aware of all the moves made during the off-season; the fact of old drivers making the transition to new teams as well as the mergers of several racing teams as everyone is seemingly scrambling to make ends meet in these tough economic times.

Last week I was able to wet my whistle for racing by watching the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. This past Friday night, after working to 9 p.m., I took in the final few laps of the Camping World NASCAR Truck Series. There, Todd Bodine held off Kyle Busch on the final lap to win the season-opener.

Both the first and second place trucks were Toyotas. As a matter of fact, six of the top-10 finishers drove Toyotas.

One new rule, a stupid one at that, in the Truck Series this season is that teams cannot refuel and take on tires in the same pit stop. What’s next…you have to use another pit stop to clean the windshield?

In Saturday afternoon’s Nationwide Series race, Tony Stewart shot to the lead in the closing laps and somehow managed to keep his Chevy from losing momentum after a hard bump on the final lap from Busch to win 2009’s first race. It was Busch who lost the momentum, opening the door for Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer to gain positions as they finished second and third respectively. Busch came across the line in fourth.

Captain’s Log: Star Date Twenty Zero Nine; Second Month; Fifteenth Day; 13:00 Hours…departing base command in Star Fleet auxiliary unit for warp speed rendezvous to outlying territory for visual/audio absorption.

Translation: I’m leaving the News-Herald in my Ford Ranger pick’em-up truck and heading to my nephew’s (Patrick Bryant) house in the Pinetops community of Northampton County where my brother (Tommy Bryant, Patrick’s dad) will join us in watching the Daytona 500 on Patrick’s wide-screen, high-definition TV.

Captain’s Log: Star Date Twenty Zero Nine; Second Month; Fifteenth Day; 19:14 Hours…arriving back at base command from outlying territory following visual/audio absorption that was halted due to H2O.

Translation: I’m back at the News-Herald. Patrick, Tommy and I were extremely disappointed that the race ended 50 laps or so short of completion due to rain.

The only good news was at least Jimmy Johnson didn’t win. Congratulations to Matt Kenseth and his car owner, Jack Roush, for their first-ever Daytona 500 victory.

(Cal Bryant is the Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be contacted at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or at 252-332-7207.)