Taxes are my life, except on most Sunday afternoons from mid-February until Thanksgiving. And the occasional Saturday and some Fridays, too. Those are the days that I pay attention to racing.
I've been a NASCAR fan since the early '90s when, as I was channel surfing, I caught what was then the Busch series. A car that looked like a rolling Baby Ruth candy bar was leading, so I decided to watch.
I worked for Nestlé at the time -- yes, the candy maker, although execs at the Swiss headquarters prefer to point out that it's the world's largest food company, not just a confectioner -- so one of our brands rolling around the track definitely caught my eye.
When the car pulled into Victory Lane, a very young man with a very bad mustache climbed out to accept his trophy. That was my introduction to four-time (and counting) NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon.
I was hooked on the sport and the driver, about whom I've blogged (previewing Jeff's 77th win to break Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s total, and congrats upon accomplishing the feat) on the ol' tax blog. And the hubby and I have attended several NASCAR races.
So when I was asked to be the racing columnist for Randall-Reilly Publishing's trucking magazines, I was thrilled. Now I get the opportunity to put some of the things I yell at my television on race days -- Cleaned up, of course! Those tales of scatological truckers are just rumors. -- into print.
The magazines also provides me an audience beyond only the hubby, who not only shares my love of NASCAR and IndyCar racing, but also introduced to me to Formula 1, and who now serves as first editor of my racing column.
My Crazy Woman Driver column (yes, I came up with the name and thanks to my editors for sharing my skewed sense of humor) debuted in the March 2008 issue of Company Driver/Owner Operator.
Since then, my racing rants and raves have appeared in other Randall-Reilly magazines, including a version in the company's flagship publication, Truckers News, with a "saner" name, Views From The Grandstands.
My logo also has morphed from the stylized image seen here to my photo. The image change was probably for the best, since my then-longer hair in the logo looks like a stereotypical good ol' gal mullet.
Digital driving: In addition to bound formats that drivers can carry with them in their cabs, the magazines are online in digital versions. That explains all the WiFi service at truck stops nationwide.
So in case you're not near a truck stop, below are links to the digital versions of the magazines, most recent issue first, with the columns.
If you're a racing fan, bookmark this page. As my columns are published, I'll provide those links here.
And feel free to drop me a note if you agree, disagree or have a racing topic you think I need to address.
- NASCAR Drivers Do Good Off Track. Professional racers know they live charmed lives. That's why most of them give back to others through their charitable foundations. August 2013, page 14. (page 16 JPG; page 18 JPG; page 20 JPG; full text as PDF)
- NASCAR's War on Crew Chiefs. Two premier teams have been hit with extreme penalties for car violations. Is NASCAR being too tough as crew chiefs adjust to the new Generation-6 vehicle? July 2013, page 10.
- Big Changes for Two Top-Tier Teams. Silly season last fall turned out to be serious, and so far successful, race business when two world-class series champions unexpectedly changed teams. June 2013, page 22.
- Let All-Star Race Stars Shine. The annual NASCAR All-Star race is this month. There are some ways the race be tweaked to make it a true, and fun-for-fans, showcase of the sport's best drivers. Changing Lanes, May 2013, page 34.
- Digital Savvy Equals NASCAR Success. It's time for NASCAR to embrace 21st century communications and the drivers, like 2012 Sprint Cup Champ Brad Keselowski, who know how to use them. Changing Lanes, April 2013, page 22.
- The Rest of Racing Revs Up. NASCAR got the green flag last month. Now it's time for Formula 1, IndyCar, NHRA and American Le Mans drivers to hit their tracks. Changing Lanes, March 2013, page 18.
- NASCAR gets ready to roar into 2013. It's a new season for America's favorite form of auto racing, with a new vehicle and some different faces expected to be leading the pack. Changing Lanes, February 2013, page 13.
- Racing 2013 as seen on TV. Most fans depend on broadcasts to catch their favorite racing series. They'll discover some channel changes this year. Changing Lanes, January 2013, page 34.
- Christmas candy or coal? With the arrival of the holiday season, here are some suggestions for Santa's naughty or nice list of racers. Changing Lanes, December 2012, page 22.
- Sports Car Combo Coming. The two American sports car racing leagues have agreed to erge. That's good news for fans -- if the union is done properly. Changing Lanes, November 2012, page 18.
- IndyCar Speeding Ahead. Last year was particularly tumultuous for America's open-wheelers, but the series maneuvered some tricky tunes and is headed in the right direction. Changing Lanes, October 2012, page 18.
- Car trouble? No car, no problem for today's kids. But this anti-auto trend could mean big problems for NASCAR. Changing Lanes, September 2012, page 26.
- An overabundance of cautions. Safety is paramount, but is NASCAR overdoing the yellow flags? Changing Lanes, August 2012, page 18.
- Racing report card. The various race series are far enough into the 2012 season to be graded on how well they and their drivers are doing. Truckers News, July 2012, page 16. Changing Lanes, July 2012, page 28.
- Racetrack vacations. Whe it comes time for your annual summer sojourn, check out these three tracks that dedicated gearheads must see at least once. Truckers News, June 2012, page 20. Changing Lanes, June 2012, page 10.
- New Technology Drives Racing. Significant technological upgrades in racing aren't new, but 2012 brings more than usual to the major motorsports series. Truckers News, May 2012, page 26. Changing Lanes, May 2012, page 34.
- Racing's Young Guns. Newbies have invaded NASCAR, boding well for the sport's future. Truckers News, April 2012, page 22; Changing Lanes, April 2012, page 36.
- The Rest of the Racing World 201. NASCAR has been running in circles for a few weeks, but most of the other major racing circuits crank their engines for the first time this month. Truckers News, March 2012, page 20; Changing Lanes, March 2012, page 42.
- NASCAR 2012 Preview. Fans, start your engines! Here's what to look, and hope for, as NASCAR gets back on track for a new season. Truckers News, February 2012, page 28; Changing Lanes, page 24.
- It's Danica Time. Get ready NASCAR fans, our sport is about to change with the full-time arrival of the darling of the racing world. Truckers News, January 2012, page 30; Best Driver Jobs, January 2012, page 80.
- Dear Racing Santa. It's that time of year again, so here are some suggestions for the perfect presents to the racing world. Truckers News, December 2011, page 28; Best Driver Jobs, December 2011, page 80.
- Talking Turkey. There's a lot of racing to be thankful for, but there also are a few forgettable events each year. Truckers News, November 2011, page 36; Best Driver Jobs, November 2011, not yet online.
- Crew Chief Shuffle. As Chase competition intensifies, team leaders become an easy target on lagging teams. Truckers News, October 2011, page 36; Best Driver Jobs, October 2011, page 80.
- Mix it up. NASCAR's Chase for the Championship needs revamping to recapture its appeal. Truckers News, September 2011, page 36; Best Driver Jobs, page 80.
- Hail to NASCAR's Bad Boys. It's time to quit worrying about corporate images and celebrate the bad boys of NASCAR who bring passion, thrills and fans to the sport. Truckers News, August 2011, page 36; Best Driver Jobs, August 2011, page 98.
- Racing Report Card. At mid-season, things aren't looking so great for all your racing series' grades. Truckers News, July 2011, page 36; Best Driver Jobs, July 2011, page 54.
- What's the Points? NASCAR's revamped driver points system is better, but not good enough. Truckers News, June 2011, page 32; Best Driver Jobs, June 2011, page 40.
- Glad Tidings ... And Good Luck. As the Indy 500 celebrates its 100th anniversary, recapturing series glory days presents big challenge. Truckers News, May 2011, page 40; Best Driver Jobs, May 2011, page 38.
- Better, Not Shorter. Attention-challenged fans, TV execs and even some drivers say NASCAR's problem is too-long races, but they're wrong. Truckers News, April 2011, page 34; Best Driver Jobs, April 2011, page 38.
- NHRA is the USA. The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) is a perfect microcosm of the United States and the world. Truckers News, March 2011, page 34; Changing Lanes, March 2011, page 40.
- King of the Open Wheel. Chip Ganassi's open-wheel teams were 2010's cream of the crop, but his Spring Cup lagged. Truckers News, February 2011, page 34; Changing Lanes, February 2011, page 42.
- What's Wrong With Junior? NASCAR's most popular driver is raking in the bucks in endorsements, but his racetrack perforance is a bust. Truckers News, January 2011, page 34; Changing Lanes, January 2011, page 38.
- Dear Racing Santa. St. Nick knows a thing or two about speed, seeing as how he gets around the world in one night. So he's in the perfect position to bring us fans, drivers and racing leagues just what we want for Christmas. Truckers News, December 2010, page 32.
- Racing Thanks. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are some specifics that make us glad for all the on-track action. Truckers News, November 2010, page 34; Changing Lanes, November 2010, page 33.
- Wanted: New Young Racing Guns. NASCAR's ranks are devoid of up-and-coming young drivers. The sport needs to remedy that situation and fast, or it risks losing an entire generation of fans. Truckers News, October 2010, page 36; Changing Lanes, October 2010, page 24.
- Backmarkers, Be Gone! It's time for NASCAR to get tough with drivers who just aren't competitive. Truckers News, September 2010, page 38; Changing Lanes, September 2010, page 24.
- Bring Back NASCAR's Crown Jewels Competition. Want to increase interest in NASCAR? Give fans a chance to see drivers compete to win three of four races on thesport's toughest, most historic tracks. Truckers News, August 2010, page 38; Changing Lanes, August 2010, page 22.
- Cost of Cost Controls. NASCAR's efforts to make the sport more affordable is actually hurting smaller teams. Truckers News, July 2010, page 40; Changing Lanes, July 2010, page 22 (not available online).
- Bring Back the No. 3. After a decade without the classic Earnhardt car in NASCAR's top-level races, 2011 is the perfect time for Richard Childress to put that ebony icon back on the track. Truckers News, June 2010, page 46; Changing Lanes, June 2010, page 40.
- It's time for NASCAR to take charge. Despite Carl Edwards' admission that he intentionally crashed a fellow driver, he didn't face any real punishment by NASCAR. Why? Because the sport has decided this year to let the drivers handle things on their own. Not a good idea. Truckers News, May 2010, page 42; Changing Lanes, May 2010, page 36.
- Trimming the Tracks. NASCAR's schedule has race fans seeing double too much of the time. It's time for the sport to shorten its season and include a true mix of courses. Truckers News, April 2010, page 38; Changing Lanes, April 2010, page 38.
- Around the Racing Circuits. NASCAR started its engines a month ago, but March brings even more motorsports. Truckers News, March 2010, page 40; Changing Lanes, March 2010, page 24.
- NASCAR's Toughest Competition? Rain. There's no way to beat Mother Nature, but NASCAR can improve how it competes with her. Truckers News, February 2010, page 34; Changing Lanes, February 2010, page 13.
- It's Time to Change the Chase. If you can't beat 'em, make 'em better. Here are some ways that NASCAR can improve its chase for the championship playoff. Truckers News, January 2010, page 37; Changing Lanes, January 2010, page 13.
- Dear Santa, Here's what racing needs. Here are some suggestions so St. Nick can put the perfect present under racers' and racing fans' trees. Truckers News, December 2009, page 41; Changing Lanes, December 2009, page 20.
- C-O-T needs T-U-N-E-U-P. The Car of Tomorrow may sound like it's humming, but an overhaul is in order to keep fans and drivers happy. Truckers News, November 2009, page 41; Changing Lanes, November 2009, page 31.
- Ageless Champ. Mark Martin is is acting his age, and like a champion. As NASCAR's oldest full-time driver, Martin is peerless on the track,where he's having a career year. Truckers News, October 2009, page 41; Changing Lanes, October 2009, page 19.
- Get the big boys off the other tracks. In this tough economy it's time for NASCAR to quit letting the top tier drivers pick the pockets of the lower-level series' teams. Truckers News, September 2009, page 52; Changing Lanes, September 2009, page 23.
- A New Era. It's the All-American sports car. But on the track it's even more. Corvette Racing approaches a decade of phenomenal American Le Mans Success. Truckers News, August 2009, page 46; Changing Lanes, August 2009, page 21.
- Wrecking Isn't racing. Hey, all you so-called "fans" who watch NASCAR just to see crunched sheet metal, I have two words for you: Go Away! Truckers News, July 2009, page 46; Changing Lanes, July 2009, page 27.
- Multicar mania. There is strength in numbers. Just ask Rick Hendrick, the man who gave NASCAR the modern-day multicar team concept. His drivers are always near the top of the standings. Truckers News, June 2009, page 40; Changing Lanes, June 2009, page 25.
- Doing Double Duty. A plea for IRL and NASCAR to settle their differences over the biggest weekend in racing. Truckers News, May 2009, page 44; Changing Lanes, May 2009, page 20.
- A Perfect Partnership. Now that Kyle Petty no longer has a full-time NASCAR ride, it's time for the sports leadership to hire Kyle as its official goodwill ambassador. Truckers News, April 2009, Page 42; Owner Operator, April 2009, page 25.
- A Triple Crown. NASCAR's grueling season needs to hand out more hardware to reward competitors' efforts. Truckers News, March 2009, Page 35.
- NASCAR's Personal Touch Makes the Sport Special. NASCAR executives recognize the value of their fans. Owner Operator, February 2009, Page 22.
- Qualifying the Hard Way (or as it should be). Let's make getting into the race as fun as the race itself. Owner Operator, January 2009, Page 51.
- Uh oh, Donner's Spun Blitzen into the Wall on Turn Four. Crazy Woman Driver's racing wish list for Ol' Saint Nick. Owner Operator, December 2008, Page 34.
- Fights Under the Lights. Saturday Night is alright for NASCAR racing. Owner Operator, November 2008, Page 45.
- Open-wheelers go home! NASCAR interlopers aren't cutting it so it's time we sent most of them back to the unfendered circuits where they can do less damage to cars are well as their careers. Owner Operator, October 2008, Page 42.
- F1 is Fun! American race fans, here are some reasons why you should give Formula 1 racing a chance. Owner Operator, September 2008, Page 40.
- Rick was Right. In NASCAR, chemistry is king and that was the key in bumping Kyle Busch from his HMS ride. Owner Operator, August 2008, Page 36. (Check out my blog addendum for a bit more on this topic.)
- Women Racers Rule! OK, not quite yet. But female drivers are making inroads at types of tracks. Owner Operator, July 2008, Page 40.
- The last NASCAR hero. It's probably not who you think. Owner Operator, June 2008, Page 48.
- The Brickyard is Back! Tony George tried to kill U.S. open wheel racing, but reunification (finally!) means we might once again see some decent racing at Indianapolis. Owner Operator, May 2008, Page 38.
- NASCAR needs to put fans first. Making up is hard to do, but NASCAR could try. Owner Operator, April 2008, Page 35.
- Get Real Europe! Questionable world rankings put down NASCAR stars. Company Driver, March 2008, Page 30.
Now it's getting close to the the green flag, so I'm pulling into the blogging garage for a while. And, oh yeah: Go 24!
A version of this page originally appeared as the April 6, 2008, blog post Crazy Woman Driver takes a Sunday drive.