The weekend of my birthday, I read some unfortunate news online about the death of Chad McDaniel, a USAC midget car driver who died of neck and head injuries sustained during a race at Knoxvile Raceway in Iowa. McDaniel was just 34 years old, and was having one of the most successful years of his career. Also, McDaniel was liked and loved by his fellow competitors and of course his family. I thought of maybe doing a video blog tribute to McDaniel, but I feared that some people might view this as exploitative and in general bad taste. So instead, I have decided to make this week's theme a tribute to the organization and sport that McDaniel loved so much - United States Auto Club racing.
The USAC hosts a variety of racing competitions, with many different sponsors. And since the late Mr. McDaniel raced in midget car competitions, I've decided to show this video from a midget car race about a week before his untimely death. This event took place O'Reilly Raceway Park At Indianapolis in Clermont, Indiana, and was the 64th Night Before The 500 of the USAC National Midget Car Series. The video here features the last 20 or so laps of the race, and the buzz of these speedy little cars puts the viewer right there in the stands as the cars whizz by. Chuck Gurney Jr. gets the checkered flag in the end, followed in second place by Bryan Clauson and Bobby East taking third. But for many, Chad McDaniel will always be first place, and I'm sure that he's making rounds in that big racetrack in the sky.