Hopping Into Off Weekend
April 18, 2003 | 12:18 A.M. EST
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - As the Easter weekend approaches - an off weekend for NASCAR - the list of activities drivers will be engaging in runs the gamut from vacationing to hunting, to entrepreneurship to charity work.
And what list would be complete without racing?
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver David Starr (No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet) and NASCAR Winston Cup star Ken Schrader (No. 49 1-800 CallATT Dodge) will beat all racers to the green flag while competing in a Late Model race today. The featured race will be part of the first annual Race Fan Stuff Spring Shootout at Fast Trax Motorplex in Chatham, La.
"Dirt tracks are where I grew up racing in Texas," said Starr, a native of Houston. "That's where I learned to race and without the support of the local fans at these types of tracks guys like me might not get the opportunity to learn the skills of racing. I look forward to getting back to my dirt-track roots where the fans are such a big part of the action."
NASCAR Busch Series driver Kasey Kahne (No. 38 Great Clips Ford) will be getting back to his racing roots as well. Kahne -- the 2000 USAC Midget Champion -- will be racing a sprint car at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, Friday and Saturday.
Scott Wimmer (No. 23 Stacker2/Stamina Rx Chevrolet) and Bobby Hamilton Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) -- two other NASCAR Busch Series drivers -- will be at the race track this weekend. Hamilton will visit Riverview Speedway in Carthage, Tenn., participating as a car owner of a Late Model Stock Car driven by his brother-in-law, Chuck Adcock. Wimmer will have Easter dinner with family in North Carolina, but will be at Concord Motorsport Park on Saturday.
"My younger brother, Chris, will be racing in the ASA (American Speed Association) race and we'll all go out to the track to help him out," Wimmer said.
Below is a sampling of how other drivers will be enjoying the off weekend. Todd Bodine (No. 54 National Guard Ford) is one of many drivers who will be enjoying the outdoors this weekend. Bodine, his wife, Lynn, and daughter, Ashlyn, will also be at a horse show in Raleigh, N.C., with their "highly decorated" horse, Popsicle. "I'm going to spend the off weekend doing something my wife loves to do, show horses," said Bodine, who also drives the No. 92 Herzog-Jackson Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series. "Popsicle is (my wife's) pride and joy when it comes to horses. My daughter and I will be cheering on Mom. Any chance I get to go and support her, I do. It's the least I can do considering all the support she has given to me throughout my racing career."
Count NASCAR Busch Series driver Kerry Earnhardt (No. 12 Supercuts/Jani-King Chevrolet) and NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Jeff Green (No. 30 America Online Chevrolet) among those who will be hunting. Earnhardt will be hunting for turkey in Caswell County, N.C., before heading to Virginia for a hunting trip with his father-in-law. Green will also be hunting turkey along with family in his home state of Kentucky.
Ryan Newman (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge) will be enjoying his favorite pastime this weekend, fishing. Newman will be fly fishing in Blowing Rock, N.C., and fishing for bass in Lake Norman, N.C. The Indiana native will also be putting up deer feeders on 64 acres of land he recently purchased in North Carolina.
Terry Labonte (No. 5 Kellogg's/got Milk? Chevrolet) will help raise funds and awareness for the Ronald McDonald House in the 2nd Annual Terry Labonte/Ronald McDonald House "Roam for a Home." The three-day motorcycle ride kicks off Thursday in Labonte's hometown of Corpus Christi, Tex., will pass through Austin -- the state's capital -- and go to San Antonio before circling back to Corpus Christi. The public is invited to participate in a raffle to win a new Harley-Davidson Road King Motorcycle -- custom painted by artist Nick Pastura -- at the conclusion of the ride Saturday. The drawing will be held at The Executive Surf Club in downtown Corpus Christi. Photographs of the motorcycle and additional information can be found at www.roamforahome.org.
Robby Gordon's (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet) off weekend may not be relaxing, but it should be productive. Gordon will be focusing on preparations to open Robby Gordon Off Road, a new racing shop in Anaheim, Calif. "Robby Gordon Off Road is going to be great for all off-road enthusiasts," Gordon said. "I grew up in California and did a lot of off-road racing and still have strong ties to the industry. I'm really looking forward to the store opening because it will offer customers the off-road experience they are looking for." That "experience" will include providing customers with Gordon's signature suspension lifts, wheels and tires. Gordon will be signing autographs from 4-7 p.m. Saturday, April 26 during the grand opening. The store will also showcase the five-time off-road champion's racing memorabilia, NASCAR collectibles, show cars and trucks.
Ron Hornaday (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) will be the best man at his son Ronnie's wedding on Saturday. The wedding will take place at Ron and his wife, Lindy's, home in Lake Norman, N.C. "I'm the only one that can afford to throw him a bachelor party," Hornaday said, laughing at his best man duties. "No, to be honest, I'm honored that my son feels like we're close enough that he wants me to be his best man. That's why this is so special to me. Ronnie is a great kid and I'm proud of him." ... Sterling Marlin (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge) will be vacationing in St. Thomas, V.I. ... Raybestos Rookie of the Year Contender Greg Biffle (No. 16 Grainger Ford) will be enjoying one of his newest hobbies -- riding his sandrail (dune buggy) in Glamis, Calif. ... Jeremy Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge) and his new bride, Shana, will be vacationing in the Bahamas. ... Brian Vickers (No. 5 GMAC Financial Chevrolet) will be vacationing with his family in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
"We're planning on coloring Easter eggs with (our daughter) Ashlyn as well as hiding them for her so that she can have an Easter egg hunt. Ashlyn is a very crafty girl so I'm anticipating some very colorful eggs this year. This should be fun!" -- Todd Bodine, No. 54 National Guard Ford.
"I'm looking forward to a weekend off. I plan on relaxing with (my wife) Angie. We'll hang out on the beach some. I might try to sneak in a round of golf. I'm sure we'll have some issues to take care of with the house we are building. We'll have dinner with family for Easter. We have been going full throttle since the season began. Having a break right now to sit back and relax or to catch up around the office will be great." -- Mike Skinner, No. 4 Kodak Pontiac.