Friday, July 20, 2007

NASCAR's Kyle Busch hits the track at WIR

Last night, Kyle Busch, NASCAR's most recent hit, found his way to the track at Wisconsin International Raceway on his state tour. He'll return Aug. 7 to race the real deal, but this visit was just to get used to the track and see if it was worth racing.

Nevertheless, it was somewhat momentous to have a driver from the NASCAR circuit at the track, although few fans came exclusively to see him. Most people in the stands didn't even know he was there until they heard it announced over the loudspeaker. Here at WIR, Kyle Busch was one of many – just one in the crowd – at a 1/2-mile track best described as a haven for "grassroots racing" enthusiasts.

My job on this story wasn't to show Kyle Busch. That's easy. Any hominid with a right index finger could do a decent job at documenting his existence. My job was to show Kyle Busch, a Las Vegas native, at WIR and show the readers what was unique about his visit here.

We're local-centric. As a journalist for my community, the question I always have to ask myself on stories of national interest is: "How do I localize this?"

The photo above is of Busch holding up an oversized dice before the race. The oversized dice is unique to WIR. After qualifying, drivers roll the dice to help determine their starting position for the actual race. Let's just say that NASCAR has other methods and formulas for determining this. Busch's slightly puzzled and humorous body language was illustrative of the notion that he wasn't in Vegas anymore.

Just like all the other drivers, Busch had to get his instructions from the WIR officials before the race.

Busch drove a local car, #51, instead of his usual #5.
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