Toolbox filled with blunders, beards, Bullring

Summer is here.

No better time to clean out the reporter's toolbox. One day I'll get a really cool one with wheels, a plastic one that won't require wearing gloves to handle it like my metal one.

In the past week my rusty box became cluttered with off-track items ranging from an empty can of idiot pills to the new issue of Playboy.

First item tossed out is the most despicable.

• TRAGEDY -- The moronic promoter and the idiot who drives a Pro Mod drag-racing car must be the ones who swallowed those idiot pills.

Australian racer Troy Critchley, driving his supercharged, 3,000-horsepower Pro Mod, did an exhibition burnout that lasted a few hundred feet Saturday on a city street in Selmer, Tenn., during a car-related parade.

That act of stupidity turned tragic when the car careened into a crowd lining the street, killing six and injuring 23.

It should be ruled manslaughter. The promoter and anyone else involved with approving the stunt should be arrested and tried as accomplices.

Stupidity is not a defense.

This is one time I'd like to be an attorney in Tennessee.

• LOSING BEARDS -- Carl Edwards needed the victory in Michigan on Sunday for a much better reason than to end his streak of 52 Nextel Cup races without a win.

He didn't need it just so Tom Giacchi, his friend and motor-coach driver, finally could lose his scraggly beard. Giacchi had vowed in November 2005 not to shave until Edwards' next win.

The victory was mostly needed so a post-race celebration would divert Edwards' attention from the July issue of Playboy, which features 11 photos -- 13 if you count the cover and one on the index page -- of an au naturale Amanda Beard, Edwards' former girlfriend and an Olympic swimming star.

Beard, 25, is a former world record holder in the breaststroke. In that event she won silver at the 1996 Olympics, bronze four years later and gold in 2004.

She couldn't have picked a more appropriately named event in which to compete.

• BULLISH -- A friend approached me Monday to say she attended her first car race Saturday night. It was at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's Bullring for the weekly NASCAR All-American Series.

She loved the racing and was impressed by how many kids participated in the "box-car races." About 50 youngsters decorated boxes to carry while running a short footrace.

Among those entered was a boy with a painted moustache and a cowboy hat to resemble Richard Petty. The box mirrored Petty's former No. 43 stock car.

The best appearing car/driver according to spectator reaction was the youngster dressed in red like Dale Earnhardt Jr.

(The kids' names were not available from the speedway, possibly to protect the parents of the Earnhardt look-alike, whose car promoted "Bud," and to protect the anonymity of the Petty clone, whose moustache might be real.)

Kids festivities continue Saturday night with the "Round-up at the Races" featuring cow kissing and a petting zoo.

The first 500 fans get cow bells.

• SMOKIN' TIRES -- The fire Wednesday at Bonanza Road and D Street was fueled by bales of tires used as protective barriers during April's Vegas Grand Prix.

Downtown casino representatives who have railed against the event for not generating enough revenue for them deserved the smoking ambience.

It didn't smell much worse than some of the casinos.

The Grand Prix probably drew more to downtown over three days than the area ever had on an Easter weekend.

It's not up to race organizers to brighten casinos' atmosphere and provide quality service.

I guess it is the Grand Prix's fault that Neonopolis is a flop.

Maybe that's where the tire barriers should have been stored.

Jeff Wolf's motor sports column is published Friday. He can be reached at 383-0247 or