The 2008 Duel in the Desert is in the books and David Murray Jr. has been crowned the champion for the second time in his career. I enjoyed the racing action in the feature event as the track had several grooves and a lightning-fast line around the top side. My experience at this year's event was far from usual. I found myself behind-the-scenes in the announcer's tower with race control and scoring in the next booth over. Most of the time I get in the car when it's my turn and go home when it's over, never giving much thought to the effort that goes into putting on the show.
The announcers are amazing and do a great job of keeping on top of car numbers, driver names, hometowns, sponsors, chassis types, and finishes. Computer keypads are clicking away on the announcing side while on the other side the pens and pencils are scribbling away keeping up with the scoring. Two-way radios carry the chatter of officials on and off the track as everyone communicates to keep the show moving. At times I found myself just sitting there listening, trying to take in all the organized chaos going on as the cars circled the track at high speed. Hats off to all the officials who worked so hard this weekend to help bring a great show to the fans and the racers.
Race fans certainly saw a racing variety show. Fifteen-year-old Nate Caruth and seventy-five-year-old Sherman Barnett won heat races in the modifieds. David Murray won the feature event riding the high line of the race track, Johnny Saathoff went through the middle groove to make his way to the runner-up spot and Reese Coffee hugged the bottom groove to make his way from the back to the front of the field. When the roar of the modifieds and full bodied stock cars subsided it was replaced by the bee-like buzz of the motorcycle powered Legend's cars. The final events of the night got you feeling a little nostalgic as the Bombers and Nevada Coupes took to the track for their feature events.
I really want to thank Chet, Chris, and Toby for putting up with a rookie in the booth, and LVMS for giving me the opportunity to see the other side of a race event. The experience will give me a greater perspective and has changed my attitude about racing in general. It was announced that the event will expand to four days of racing in 2009. I suggest you start planning, saving and preparing now. The racing action at this event is second to none. I cannot count how many times the announcers would say in unison, "WOW!" Don't believe me? Come see for yourself in 2009!
See you at the races, Dan Fitzgerald