Outside the Lanes - Randy Cunningham's fresh perspective

Straight Line Today introduces Randy Cunningham, who in his 9-to-5, nitro-less life is an elementary-school counselor at Baytown, Texas, and is author of the book “Building Great Kids -- No Assembly Required!” He said following the drama of drag racing is no different than what he encounters every day: “Y’all just wear bigger underwear.” Randy is a drummer in a local band, so he knows that drag racers often march to their own cadence. And he's fascinated by watching how ESPN2 captures all the sensory-overload action and the personal drama and fun. He'll share his insights with you about the broadcasts from each NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event. Enjoy!

Once upon a time there was this guy who loved drag racing. He adored it even more than nachos with extra cheese. We’re talking some serious emotion.

Anyway, this guy (Let’s call him Fred) landed in his Barcalounger one Sunday evening, doublefisting his favorite soda with an overflowing, extra-cheese and peppers, gooey plate of nacho love. With five minutes to spare before the ESPN broadcast of the NHRA something-Nationals, Fred was all prepared for his three hours of nitro-burning, piston-popping, crankshaft-turning, full-on motorsport action.
But, life has a way of throwing fastballs…sometimes directly at a person’s head. See, moments later, with three minutes and change remaining before the beginning of the broadcast, a voice from upstairs sent chills down Fred’s spine.

“Fred, we’re leaving in 10 minutes. Are you ready?”

Nacho cheese dripped from the corner of Fred’s mouth. His soda went immediately flat.

“Wha…? Huh? When? Where? Why?” He moaned, as the cheese continued to slide.

“I told you a week ago! We’re going to the Martin’s house for supper! Cindy has a new recipe for pot roast!”

Ten minutes, nine steps up the stairs, eight seconds to pull on his pants, seven ticks for the socks, six mumbled words, and five brushes of his hair later, Fred grumbled to the car. As he forked his way through Cindy’s apparently-world-changing pot roast, he almost screamed out loud after remembering: “I forgot to record the show!”

After returning from the pot roast extravaganza, Fred sat silently in his Barcalounger. The plate of nachos congealed close by on the TV tray as a tear crawled down his cheek. No relief was in sight. The NHRA tour would continue…in two weeks.

OK, so maybe your moment didn’t involve a pot roast. Perhaps you:

-found yourself face first in tile as you caulked the shower…for two hours

-fell asleep after a day of taking the kids to the zoo to see Tony the Wonder Elephant.

-were out of town and simply missed the ESPN broadcast

Hey, stuff happens. Thank goodness for “Outside the Lanes”, the blog that highlights amazing moments and outstanding insights during the ESPN broadcasts of NHRA events during the 2012 season.

So, maybe you weren’t able to watch the broadcast and only heard about Dave Rieff’s insightful interview with John Force. You’ll find a review of it here. Perhaps Lewis Bloom (the “Stat Guy”) amazed us with an obscure fact about women racers. If so, we’ll post it. And when Mike Dunn breaks down a budget-busting engine explosion using the Super Slo-Mo camera in a way that we all understand, you will read all about it.

“Outside the Lanes.” Your eyes and ears for ESPN broadcasts of NHRA events.

Just make sure you’ve got plenty of cheese for your nachos. Soda, too.

Randy Cunningham

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