Friday, June 20, 2008


Here are a few more photos from the June 20, 2008 front-page feature on Sherri Heckenast, owner and promoter of Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway.

Sherri Heckenast and her dad, Frank Sr., watch a heat race from her office on June 12 at Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway. Frank Heckenast bought the race track for his daughter to run under stipulation that she quit racing.

Sherri Heckenast checks the books in her office between races at Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway on June 12.

Sherri Heckenast and Late Model driver Jason Feger, Bloomington, Ill., share a quick hello before the Summernationals race on June 12 at Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's June for crying out loud!

Less than 24 hours after the NBA Finals Championship game, I'm being entertained with college basketball bracketology.

College basketball!

Don't get me wrong, I love the hardwood probably just as much as anyone else in Kentucky. But it is June. It's officially summer. I'm ready for dirt track racing, NASCAR, golf and sunny vacations. Basketball is such a consuming sport, so I can't help but enjoy my vacation from it.

Talk about football season isn't even going as hot fired as it should be. Camps open up in late July/early August and I've heard nary a word about the teams.

I'm just not to a mental state where I can contemplate hoops hoopla.

Anybody else not ready for basketball?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Summernationals at KLMS 6/12

Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway opened up the UMP Summernationals tour Thursday night with one of the best races I've seen in a long time. There were lead changes, crazy driving (by Jason Feger who led about 25 of the 30 laps) and big names. And the racing in both the Modified division and Crate Late Models was great, too. KLMS got Thursday night right.

The Summernationals tour will swing through six states in 31 days giving fans 27 chances to check it out. The tour will be at Paducah International Raceway on June 26.

Here's a few photos from the event:

An example of the types of "rides" you can have. Big, bigger, biggest.

Christopher, Ill., driver Kevin Cole as he gears up for hot laps.

You won't see these two in the same room much. That's Bill Roth, PIR's track manager, and Sherri Heckenast, owner and promoter of KLMS.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sunburns and softball

After spending the weekend covering Reidland's trip to the Kentucky state fastpitch softball tournament, here are a few of my musings:

Owensboro is exactly like Paducah, only not. Things seemed bigger (like the riverfront development), the soon-to-be closed Executive Inn was decked out in red neon lights, and the town had a mall, but also had a TARGET.

Oklahoma signee Kirsten Allen was more impressive because of her stature rather than her fastball. Allen, Ryle's pitcher, is 5-foot-11 and looks like a giant in the circle. Her fastball is clocked at 67 mph. She's worth her scholarship.

While it takes a good pitcher to get a team to the state tournament, it takes good hitters to win the tournament.

A 16-team, double-elimination high school softball tournament is too much to be held in just two days. One, it's a mouthful for me to work into my stories. Two, it's physically draining for all involved. Count in mid-90s temperatures this weekend, and we're talking a safety concern. I don't pitch, I don't bat, and I don't run, but I felt beaten by the time I made it to my hotel Friday after covering three softball games. I'd like to see something similar to baseball's eight-team tournament and semi-state series. I could go on, but I'll cease my rant for a year or two.

Sweat-proof sunscreen really does work! But when you miss a spot or have the strap of your messenger bag rub it off your shoulders, the point ceases to be relevant. I've been burnt worse, but I will never have tan lines as ugly.

I've never seen a worse omen for the outcome of a ball game than when Christian County's Allie Blauser sent Cassee Layne's opening pitch to the outfield for a single. Wait. Nope. Felt the same thing when Kasey York hit a home run off Layne for Lawrence County. Both 9 a.m. games were losses for Reidland.

Just because a hotel or media event has wireless Internet, doesn't mean a Mac can access it. It also doesn't mean I can use the newspaper's server with the open wireless connection once it works on my laptop. Just a few small challenges we Mac users face as we relish in the beauty and excellence of our svelte machines.

Getting hot and dusty at the tournament made me think of dirt track racing and how much I can't wait to get back to the tracks.

I got a GPS unit for my birthday, and so far it's been very helpful (finding schools and ball fields in Kentucky is not an easy feat). But is not infallible. It did not list the Panera Bread Co. as a possible food option to take me to, so I had to improvise and drive down Frederica until I found it. And it was good, as usual.

The tournament marked my one-year anniversary in Kentucky and with The Paducah Sun. I have now officially experienced nearly everything sports-related pertaining to my job. Things from here will be old hat (I hope). My favorite events this year? I've got to say, the regional volleyball tournament rocked my face off — one of the best post-season atmospheres I saw. And accompanying the Murray State women's basketball team to Maryland for the first round of the NCAA tournament was one of the most fun things I've done all year.