By Rich Phillips
The Loud and Proud Prerace Show with Sammy Hagar and the Circle almost feels like it was something Texas Motor Speedway did just for me. Like many of you I’m a longtime Hagar fan from Three Lock Box, Heavy Metal, and I Can’t Drive 55, to his Van Halen days with Best of Both Worlds and Why Can’t This Be Love. But it’s even more than a musical connection I have with Hagar, it’s the experience.
The Texxas Jam
Anyone who was around the DFW area in the 70’s and 80’s has certainly heard of the Texxas World Music Festival, known more commonly as The Texxas Jam. It was an annual rock festival held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas every summer from 1978-to-88 with many huge acts performing each year. Sammy Hagar was on the bill time after time.
Hagar was at the annual show a total of six times, among them 1986 as the leader singer for Van Halen. That was also the first time I ever attended a rock concert, a young teenager dropped off by his dad at the Texas State Fairgrounds to find my way to the Cotton Bowl. There were numerous bands that performed that day, but I could barely believe my eyes or my ears when the lights went out for the headliner and Hagar took the stage. Even though I was hundreds of yards away in the opposite end of the stadium, it seemed to me as if I was right in front of Hagar, signing along to song after song.
Hagar and Van Halen would come back for the final Texxas Jam in 1988, and I like many was a bit let down as the lead singer was losing his voice. During the course of the night he promised all of us in attendance he would return to Dallas for a free show to make it up to us, and believe it or not he did.
The Free Show
It was a weekday afternoon in 1991 that Sammy Hagar led his band out on stage in downtown Dallas. Tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of the West End, myself included. I’ll never forget nearly falling down multiple times as the crowd swelled back and forth, having to go up and down the curb on the edge of the street. But it was more than worth it to see the Red Rocker once again, and finally this time up close.
Hagar to No Limits, Texas
Hagar has been through Texas and the DFW area many times before and since, and with many different bands. Whether it be with Montrose, as a solo act, with Van Halen, Chickenfoot, or the Circle, he’s the ultimate party ring-leader.
I’ve seen hundreds of shows over the years at various venues all over North Texas. But it’s that first show with that party ring-leader that I’ll never forget. I’m planning to relive that magic coming up on Sunday, November 8th, when Sammy Hagar and the Circle come to No Limits, Texas.
By Rich Phillips
Two weeks into NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup and we’ve seen both the expected and the unexpected. Two drivers are locked into the Contender 12 round with just one race to go Sunday before the field is trimmed from 16. And one notable driver is clinging to his Chase life.
Joe Gibbs Racing was red-hot going into the Chase and they haven’t let up. Denny Hamlin won the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway, and teammate Matt Kenseth followed suit at Dover. Ten of the last 13 Sprint Cup races have been won by a JGR driver, and Kenseth now leads the series with five victories this season. In addition to Hamlin and Kenseth being locked into the next round, Carl Edwards is in great shape to advance, sitting third in points. But Kyle Busch has to be careful at Dover thanks to his wreck this past week. Busch is on the outside of the top 12 but by only one point.
Chances are most of you that filled out a Chase bracket had Kevin Harvick at the very least going into the final round. Many probably had him repeating as Sprint Cup champion. It’s hard to believe that Harvick may very well not even be around for round two, and it’s really because of poor decision-making by the #4 team.
It wasn’t Harvick’s fault that he was run into by Jimmie Johnson on a re-start at Chicago in week one. But either Harvick or crew chief Rodney Childers has to take the blame for not making the call to pit immediately after they had a tire rub. Instead, they elected to stay out and see if it would clear up. It didn’t, cutting the tire and putting the car into the wall, leading to a 42nd place finish.
This past Sunday at Dover the #4 team either had a bad plan going into the race or they got greedy. Either they believed the only way to make up a 22 point deficit on 12th place was to win, or after seeing they had the best car they decided to gamble for a victory. The one thing Harvick couldn’t afford was a bad point day and he got just that. With 87 laps to go Childers called for a fuel only stop under caution. Then on the ensuing yellow with 60 to go they opted to stay out. That was pushing it too far as Harvick ran out of gas with less than three laps remaining and ends up 21st on the day. Childers offered this explanation on Twitter after the race.
Harvick actually lost ground in the championship hunt, slipping to 23 points out heading to Dover. And the Monster Mile is not one of his best places. Dover is one of five current tracks where Harvick hasn’t won, and it’s in the bottom ten of average finishes for him.
Scrambling to Stay in
It would be quite the downer for Jeff Gordon’s last ride in the Sprint Cup Series to end in the first round of the Chase, and that could happen. Gordon was able to fight his way back to a seventh place run at New Hampshire, moving him up two spots to tenth in points. He only has a 12 point cushion over 13th place before the elimination this weekend. Sounds easy enough, but Gordon was still in the top four leaving Texas last year and looked on his way to advancing to the championship race. Finishing second the next week at Phoenix wasn’t good enough as Harvick won and knocked him out of the Chase. Gordon will be gunning to repeat his win at Dover in last year’s Chase to secure his spot in round two.
The field will be cut from 16 to 12 after it's over in Dover on Sunday. And by the time they reach Texas Motor Speedway only eight will still be alive. Come see them in the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday, November 8th, at Texas Motor Speedway.
Rich Phillips is the host and producer of the weekly radio show, Texas Motor Speedway’s Total Access. Click here to find a station near you.
We know by now that Red Bull Air Race’s seventh stop at TMS is happening September 26-27 will be well worth the price of admission. What you might not know is that along with the world’s best pilots competing for Air Race glory, there will be a number of other extremely talented athletes on hand showcasing their own skills. Check out some of the highlights!
Red Bull Air Force
With so many planes in the air Red Bull thought it might be a good idea to have their most decorated sky divers jump out of one. RBAF members Miles Dasher, Amy Chmelecki and Texas-native Luke Aikins will be putting on breath taking aerial acrobatics performances during breaks in the action.
BMX Freestyle Show
Not all the action will take place in the air September 26-27. Some of the most decorated BMX athletes in the world, including Coco Zurita and Daniel Dhers will be showcasing tricks on a pop-up BMX freestyle course set up outside of TMS that ticketholders can check out as they make their way to the gate.
Stunt Motorcycle Show
Geoff Aaron and Aaron Colton are two of the most agile riders on the planet and will be treating the TMS crowd to amazing tricks with Geoff using ramps, barrels and other props while Aaron rides on flat ground utilizing just himself and his bike. They’ll be pulling off stunts known as hyperspins, cliff hangers and a southern favorite, biscuit eaters, on the TMS track in between Air Race pilot runs. You may be wondering what those moves entail. Well, head to TMS to find out, but let’s just say they are well beyond the standard wheelie!
D-town Throwdown All-Star Skateboarding Showcase-
The very best of Texas and Oklahoma skateboarding will be greeting ticket holders at the TMS entrance by performing their most difficult tricks on the pop-up street course complete with grinding rails. Some of the biggest pioneers in skateboarding including Oklahoma’s Dakota Camp and Texas’ Mike Whitehouse, Nick Holt, Kechaud Johnson and Taylor Bray will be throwing down for the TMS crowd.
And oh yeah, there’s a little something happening about 80 feet off the ground at speeds of 230mph as well, so you might want to look up and check it out! Tickets are still available for as $29 for the day and $39 for the weekend. For more info on all things Red Bull Air Race Fort Worth go to: http://www.redbullairrace.com/en_US/event/fort-worth-2015