Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another Race, Another Lug Nut

Dial "L" for Lug Nut
the continuing saga of the Maltese Lug Nut
It was a dark and stormy night. At New Hampshire International Speedway, two unidentified persons were lurking around the garage area.

“They know about the fake.” one of the unknown subjects said.

“Relax. All they know is that it’s fake,” counseled the other shadowy figure. “They have no idea where it came from or that we’re behind it.” The two people talked for a few minutes longer then went their separate ways.


Meanwhile, in the Todd Bodine Meeting Room at the track, NASCAR’s start and park drivers were awaiting the arrival of Mike Helton so they could begin their weekly meeting. Helton was using the start and parkers as his eyes and ears in the garage as a means of having them earn their prize money each week. As Helton strolled into the room, the drivers took their seats.

“Good evening, gentlemen,” Helton said addressing the group. “What can you tell me?”

“Not much,” replied driver Dave Blaney. “The Valus Gang was all over the race track at Sonoma, and we couldn’t keep up with them. Plus, Kristen was nowhere to be found after Friday.”

“Yes, we know about Kristen’s disappearance. There was an unfortunate incident in the press room,” Helton told the assembled drivers. “What else you got?”

“There’s a rumor going around that Jack has hired his own investigator to find the Lug Nut,” Joe Nemechek offered.

“I’ll have a chat with Jack. We don’t need a bunch of outsiders poking around the garages,” Helton responded. “Anything else?”

“Oh yeah,” Todd Bodine chimed in. “There’s this guy named Hanner going around asking questions about Dale Jr. and Vicky. Seems she’s not real happy that Junior hasn’t been to see her in awhile.”

“We’re well aware of Mr. Hanner,” Helton bristled, “and I’ve had a little ‘chat’ with Vicky. Don’t worry about them; just find that Lug Nut!!” Helton turned and exited the room.


Meanwhile, a cell phone rang in California.

“Hello,” a female voice answered.

“Good evening, Melissa.” It was Jack Roush. “I see you received the envelope.”

:”Yes, sir.” she replied.

“I apologize for not contacting you sooner, but it’s taken longer than I expected to get through all your film from Sonoma,” Roush began. “What did you find out?”

“Not much, sir.” she responded. “It was rather difficult with Kristen lying low all weekend.”

“Ah, yes. The unfortunate press room incident,’ the team owner commented. “Funny thing about that. I’ve seen Smoke go ballistic at other reporters for asking a question like that. I wonder why he didn’t blow up at her. I also noticed that Ryan and Kurt have been spending a lot of time together at the track. Perhaps you should spend more time around the #14 team at your next race.”

“But sir,” the girl protested, “Ryan and Kurt were teammates. I’m sure there’s nothing going on there. Besides that, Kristen would NEVER give the Lug Nut to Tony. She’d give it to a start and park team first.”

“Maybe,” Roush said, “but nevertheless, I want you to check it out at your next race. Kristen’s dislike for Stewart could be an act. As Shakespeare once said, ‘Methinks the lady doth protest too much,’ and remember, it’s for the good of the team.”

“Yes, sir.” the girl answered.

“Very good, I’ll contact you again soon. You know what to do with the cell phone?” Roush asked.

“Yes, sir.” The two parties disconnected the call.


One week later at Daytona, Helton approached the hauler of Roush/Fenway driver. Carl Edwards. Jack Roush was standing outside talking with the driver.

“Carl, Jack,” Helton said acknowledging the two men. “Carl, if you don’t mind. I’d like to speak to Jack privately.” Edwards looked at the owner and walked to the garage. Once Helton was sure the driver was out of ear shot, he turned his attention back to Roush. “Brian would like you to come watch the race from the suite tonight.”

“I’ll be in Carl’s pit,” Roush responded. Helton looked at the team owner sternly.

“I think you misunderstood me, Jack,” Helton said authoritatively. “This isn’t a request. Brian expects you to be there before the green flag drops.” Roush glared as Helton walked away.


Fifteen minutes after the green flag dropped, Roush walked into Brian France’s suite.

“You’re late,” France said. The tone of his voice clearly showed his displeasure with the team owner.

“So? What are you going to do about it?” Roush asked as he took a seat. Helton feared an escalation of the scene and stepped in.

“Look, Jack,” Helton said, trying to keep the meeting civil, “we need to talk about the Maltese Lug Nut.”

“It’s mine, and I want it back,” Roush asserted.

“We’re doing all we can to find it,” Helton tried to reassure the owner. “Word around the garage is that you’ve hired your own investigator.”

“Who told you that?” Roush queried. “Your start and park spies?”

“I have my sources,” Helton said. “The point is we don’t need outsiders poking around NASCAR business.” Roush got up from his chair and headed for the door.

“Look, you leave the Lug Nut to me,” Roush said as he opened the door to the suite. “Besides, you’ve got bigger things to worry about. It won't be long before that Hanner guy blows the lid clean off the Junior and Vicky deal."


  1. LOL!

    Did the phone self-destruct?

  2. RA6AN-

    No, in order to erase any trace of the call, you gave the phone to a battered women's shelter. They put a new sim card in it and gave it to one of their clients. There is no record of the call from Jack.

  3. Thrilling stuff, SB. I hope Roush gets parked for insubordination.

    Can't wait to see how this turns out, and if that Hanner guy ever solves his case.

  4. Thanks, Hanny. I can't wait to see how it turns out, either. Don't know about Roush getting parked, though.

    From the look of things this weekend, I'd say Hanner is getting closer and closer to solving his case.

  5. I think this mystery will never be solved... just like the Junior/Ms. Lane saga.

    Great writing girl!

  6. Feeling physically ill at the prospect Smoke got the lug from me, NEVER!!!

    The saga continues...cant wait to see who finds the Lug on whose wheel!!

  7. someone might want to sniff around KHI....5-in-a-row ain't easy to pull off in any series :P

  8. Look at me -- I'm environmentally friendly and community conscious!

  9. HFL-

    I don't know about never, but it will definitely be with us for a while. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Kristen-

    Like Jack said, "Methinks the lady doth protest too much(I knew that line would get you) :o).

    And on and on it goes...

  11. Tez-

    JJ pulled off 4. I say if Hornaday wins again tomorrow, Kevin and Delana have some explaining to do :o).

  12. RA6AN-

    Absolutely. I'm a very big proponent of donating old cell phones to battered women's groups, so when Jack sent you an untraceable cell phone...(gee, I've been playing Mafia Wars too much. I've got untraceable cell phones on the brain.)

  13. Very good. I agree this may never be solved either!

    By the Way, Victory Junction Gang Camp accepts donated cellphones too - sprint has a prepaid envelope you can pick up at the track to send it in (or at least they did the last time I checked).

  14. Hmmm...Has anyone checked Mark Martin's car lately? Maybe that lug nut is in storage just waiting to be brought out so Mark can finally win his first championship.

    Great story. This story and Hanny's stories keep me on the edge of my seat.

  15. " There was an unfortunate incident in the press room,"

    That line had me laughing. Great story, can't wait to get to the endings of these two torrid stories.

  16. IG-

    Glad you enjoyed it.

    Nice to know there are other organizations that will accept old cell phones and put them to good use.

  17. Tsfan-

    After what happened in Michigan, I don't think Mark has it.

    Stay tuned for more...

  18. Stork-

    LOL! It does make it sound like she had a "Girls Gone Wild" moment in the press room, doesn't it????(although, if she did do something like that, it would be in front of Jr not Smoke)

  19. Well, it's not like she asked Tony about double tongue techniques!

  20. LOL CR-

    I now have this vision of Kristen asking the actual question and Tony responding, "Yeah, would you like a demonstration?"

  21. UGH! SB and CR you two are making me ill again! Blech! The visuals are killing me!

    and it would have been a Gorillas Gone Wild moment! =P Go GGW Racers!

  22. Now we are getting down to the nitty gritty of what team has it. I tend to think it was past to the 88 team when he came in with a vibration and not to let any know it didn't show how good he was till the end. Now who pick that driver in last weeks trifecta?

    Great job on this. Cheers2You

  23. F2-

    If Junior had the Lug Nut, he would have won the race last weekend.

    Something tells me, we'll find it where we least expect it.