Inventors Wanted

New challenges call for new innovations. Sometimes meeting a new need first is a quick way to make a buck. Lacking capital and being lazy by nature I'll throw out some ideas for new products the market demands now, some serious and some not so serious.

Clear Plastic Scanner Bag- I'm serious, someone stands to make a lot of money here. Since NASCAR's hard sided cooler ban, race fans have been forced to choose whether to bring their familiar old scanner bag or one of those new downsized soft-sided coolers. But the rules do allow for an additional item, a clear plastic bag of a given size. Someone needs to design a clear scanner bag that meets that size requirement.

Currently the ISC says fans can bring in their scanner attached to their belts, a pretty sure way to drop the dang thing during the long walk from the car to the track being jostled in the crowd or while rising and sitting back down in the grandstands. What's worse, is one good soaking in a rainstorm (and it does rain at racetracks sometimes) and your scanner is suddenly good for nothing except as an overpriced wheel chock. At the first hint of rain I'm used to tossing my scanner in its bag, but throwing it in a cooler would be counterproductive.

What's more, for many men, myself included, the scanner bag doubles as a purse. In looking at mine right now, I'm seeing my Bearcat Scanner, two sets of headphones, a splitter, my digital camera, a small bottle of Tylenol, suntan lotion, a garbage bag (emergency poncho) my sunglasses, ear protection, three spare sets of batteries for the scanner, my frequency list, a notepad, several pens, and all the other foofoo and debris I've found its best to bring to the track. Stuffed down in the bottom of one it's multitude of pockets is my emergency $50 in the event I lose my wallet. (the wallet usually gets tossed in the scanner bag on race day too as well as a sandwich and my ticket stub or credential.) Try fitting all that crap in your pockets, around your neck or clipped to your belt. Best of luck. Me, I'd rather buy a clear scanner bag. It'll work until someone develops the ultimate solution, freeze dried beer you only need to add water to.

Internet Free Afghanistan- It didn't take much more than a few firecrackers to bomb Afghanistan back to the stone ages, but perhaps we overdid it a little last fall. Now, as the United States typically does, we're paying out the big bucks to rebuild the country. Part of reintroducing Afghanis to the real world is training them for high tech careers. I'd suggest whatever university is teaching HTML coding have its students work on a free website that provides live time scoring from NASCAR events and qualifying as well as a link to the MRN broadcast. Doubtless the site would draw a lot of race fans who refuse to give in to Uncle Ted's extortion at NASCAR And I'm relatively sure that piracy laws in Afghan, if they exist at all, are pretty basic and unenforceable. Besides, which Turner official is going to volunteer to go over there and tell those folks they have to stop?

Boris Badenoff Smoking Cloaking Device- What race teams need for those pesky red flag periods is a device mounted beneath the car that a driver could trigger to hide his car in a dense cloud of white smoke. Once the car was obscured the driver could hop out undetected, yank out a fender, make a wedge adjustment, or pour a couple gallons of fuel into his car, before scurrying back inside, belting himself back in and practicing looking innocent as the smoke dissipated. Chip Ganassi's research and development group are said to be working hard on such a device right now.

Star Spangled Banner Octave Modifier- Available either as a pair of head phones or an audio converter for race fans TV, when it sensed the opening notes to the National Anthem the device would trigger itself into action. The fan would hear the singer's voice two octaves lower than the actual performance (unless Barry White was singing) so that when the artist hit the final word of the line "The land of the free!" the final word wouldn't be delivered at a pitch only rodents and housepets can hear. The device would also limit the length of the phrase "Free" to three seconds, more than adequate, but roughly one tenth of the time some singers who have been mangling the anthem at races lately have chosen to drag it out.

Dale Earnhardt Junior "Puddle O' Puke" diecast- You have the Major League Ball diecast representing the car Junior drove to an emotional victory last July at Daytona. You have the confetti strewn diecast representing the car Junior used to win at Talladega. You have the diecast car with "Wilson the Volleyball" inside commemorating that patriotic win at Dover last fall. But your collection isn't complete until you get the Dale Earnhardt Junior "Puddle O' Puke" car he drove to an emotional 26th place finish a mere two laps off the pace at Rockingham last weekend despite a bad case of the flu. Car has realistic vomit splattered interior, and a folded up copy of the New York Times Book section showing Dale's book "Driver Number 8" in fifth place on the best seller's list in the trunk. (Note: This item replaces the previously announced "Dale Earnhardt Junior- 2002 Winston Cup Champion car which evidently will not be produced.)

Military Issue M65RF Field Jacket- Your all familiar with the olive drab military surplus M65 field jacket that was the dress uniform of stoners back in high school. Well, as noted above race fans tend to bring a lot of stuff to the racetrack which is a problem with the new limits on what you can carry inside. As the "LSD for Lunch" crowd can recall the field jacket had four extremely large pockets which could carry all sorts of goodies. With a few modifications it would be perfect for race fans. One pocket would be insulated and large enough to carry a 12 pack. Another would have a scanner sized compartment as well as space for spare batteries, a frequency sheet etc. A third would hold a camera and film and be lead lined to prevent damage when going through airport security. A fourth would accommodate all the foofooraw necessary on race day for the active fan, and two generously sized inside pockets would contain the overflow. The tail of the jacket would be extended and include a built in seat cushion with Velcro straps so the fan could flip it down to protect his or her delicate buns from cold slabs of aluminum or concrete posing as seats. A clean vinyl pouch added to the left front breast pocket would allow a fan to display his ticket stub so he didn't have to dig it out of his pockets every time a security dude asked to see it. A waterproof hood in the collar would be perfect for those rainy afternoons at Atlanta and Darlington. And for the truly hard core, an insulated bottle connected to catheritization equipment would ensure a fan never had to leave his seat during the entire race.

Newbie Fan Diecast- Is there anything as troubling for a newer race fan as wondering what diecast car to buy while leaping from bandwagon to bandwagon depending on who is winning that week? The Newbie Fan diecast would be gray primer, with static cling decals representing all the different team's paint schemes, which would allow its owner to change the car weekly and claim to have been a fan of the winning driver all along.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2002

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