News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Ramblin' Reck

August 2, 2011

RAMBLIN' RECK: Week filled with competitive golf, multiple racing events

PLAINFIELD — Last week was a busy one but a nice one with golf, harness racing and automobile racing on the hot, humid schedule.

The week began with the championship match of the Terre Haute Women’s Golf Association match-play championship, otherwise known as the women’s city tournament.

This match at Hulman Links pitted eight-time winner Cara Stuckey against 2010 runnerup Mackenzie Mack. It was another good one and Stuckey won on the 17th hole.

Mack is in graduate school at Indiana State University and will complete work in December. Her home is in Las Vegas but we hope she is around next summer to play in the city. She lost to Rachel Pruett in 20 holes in 2010.

Two days of Illinois fair harness racing at Paris were next on our schedule.

We’ve always enjoyed watching the trotters and pacers in action and there were some close finishes in the 12 races on the Edgar County Fair card.

Good crowds were in the grandstand but nothing like the 12,000 or so who attended the races 50 or 60 years ago, according to some published reports.

For those who enjoy this type of racing, action is on tap at the Coles County Fair at Charleston this week. Post time is 12:30 p.m. CDT today, Thursday and Friday and 5:30 p.m. CDT on Wednesday.

Last item on the schedule was the 18th running of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Paul Menard was the winner, being the first driver to win his first Cup race at Indianapolis. He did it in his fifth race.

As noted in our stories from Indy, he is the son of John Menard, who was much involved in IndyCar racing at Indianapolis for many years. The winning driver said Sunday’s victory was for his father.

He edged four-time race winner Jeff Gordon at the finish to win as Gordon made up a 12-second deficit in the last 12 laps. The dramatic finish gave the Speedway two exciting finishes for the year; Dan Wheldon won the Indianapolis 500 when J.R. Hildebrand crashed on the last turn.

Some fans who were blogging on predicted Menard would do something not to win. It didn’t happen.

Menard is 30 years of age while Gordon turns 40 this week.

Race fans know, of course, that Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994 — his second year in NASCAR Cup racing — as he fulfilled his dream of racing at IMS.

Gordon was born in California but grew up in Indiana and graduated from Tri-West High School. He began racing in the U.S. Auto Club races and often drove at the Action Track in Terre Haute.

Attendance was down again for the event but still was one of the top crowds on the NASCAR circuit, with NASCAR reporting 138,000.

We weren’t surprised to see empty seats in the stands in the third turn but we were surprised to see a lot of empty seats in many sections of the main grandstand.

And so it went.

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