Start the engines, and let's go racing

February 4, 2010, 6:03 PM

By: Eddie Gossage

"Introduce yourself," said the big cheese at ESPNDallas.com. "That's probably the best way to start your first blog with us."

So, hello. My name is Eddie. Starting today I'll pretty much be working full-time here at ESPNDallas.com, blogging three to four times a week. My "part-time gig" remains the same as it has for about the past 15 years -- I'm the president of Texas Motor Speedway.

Of course, the timing is good. Racing season started this past weekend at Daytona with the Budweiser Shootout, qualifying for the Daytona 500 (how about that 51-year-old Mark Martin!) and the stock car debut of Danica (her name is Danica Patrick but like Cher, Madonna and Rhianna, everybody seems to know her by one name). I was in Daytona on Saturday for the green flag for the 2010 season, and throughout the next few days I'll blog about some of the things I learned in Daytona and -- throughout the year -- my take on issues, incidents, controversies and personalities in the sport.

As race fans -- and race car drivers know -- I have some opinions. I've been doing this for 31 seasons now and have seen it all. To put that in perspective, I had 12 seasons under my belt before last year's Sprint Cup rookie-of-the-year Joey Logano was born. In that time, I've seen first-hand as NASCAR grew from a regional sport in the Southeast to an international sport. Did you know the April 18th Samsung Mobile 500 here in Texas will be broadcast in approximately 150 countries? I've also seen Indy car racing enjoy an incredible ascent in the '80s and into the '90s, only to see it fall back down the ladder. As a guy who likes all forms of racing -- and one that has particularly loved Indy cars through the years -- it's been heartbreaking to see that happen. Hopefully better things are around the corner.

I have a deep respect for race car drivers. People have no idea of the hard work, commitment and personal sacrifice race car drivers endure to make it to the big show. Some day I'll tell you the amazing story Greg Biffle told me about his career over fried chicken one night at Babe's Chicken House. I don't think you will find a story like his in the highly competitive world of the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. But just because they have worked so hard doesn't mean they are always right (although you can pretty much take it to the bank if Mark Martin or Jeff Burton say it's so). As a result, the drivers know I'm one of the guys that will call their hand and wave the "BS" flag on them, no matter how popular they are. Ask Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica. Both are great talents but, again, that doesn't make them right all the time.

So stop in here frequently. I'll pull back the curtain and let you see backstage. I'll tell you the news of the day. I'll offer a couple of opinions. And I'll bet you will occasionally debate with me. That's okay, we can agree to disagree.

BTW, after the festivities in Daytona I went to the Super Bowl in Miami with Tony Stewart and about 10 other people with our friends from Sprint. The eight-hour, round-trip ride and spending the game with Tony is bound to be worth a couple of blogs. "Smoke" always does or says something interesting. I'll tell you about it here.

So drop the rag!

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