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May 22, 2009


May 22, 2009

May 22, 2009

Memorial Day


What’s Up With Howard Black


Howard Black

Howard Black



By The Grace Of God And Contitutionally Guaranteed, 

Howard Black Pokes Fun At Life, Politics, And Human Insanity!


May 25th is Memorial Day.  It’s more than just a day for picnics or relaxing.  It’s more than wearing poppies or just flying a flag.  Memorial Day is important because it pays tribute to common citizens that were willing to defend this country, and give the final sacrifice. 

Bette Cobb, daughter of Medal of Honor recipient Henry “Red” Erwin said, “It is hard to think of being so unselfish, but those who had been raised like my parents to help others don’t think.  They don’t think, they do what they can to help, even if it means losing their own lives in the process.”

From the Revolutionary War this country has sent an estimated 43-million men into war, over 653,000 never came home alive, and approximately 1.5 million were injured.   Memorial Day honors those sacrifices, but more important, it’s a validation that freedom is worth defending.  It’s a courageous statement to the world from the common citizens of this country, that we are free and willing to fight to maintain our freedoms.

My son left for boot camp at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas approximately two weeks before September 11th.  During the time that he was there I was filled with different emotions about possibly losing my son in conflict.  When we finally heard from our son, his only words to me were, “I would have joined anyway!”

Memorial Day is about the sacrifices that our military makes, but it is also about the families that support every soldier that leaves home to serve.  It’s about the mothers that say goodbye to their sons and daughters.  It’s about the wife that waits at home, and the father that worries while trying to sleep.  It’s the absence of a brother or sister while they serve, and the children that can’t understand why men wear uniforms.  

Paul Paitist wrote in an email to Colonel Rauthaum, “In 1999, I laid flowers at the grave of a young U.S. fighter pilot who was KIA in my village in 1945.  In the Netherlands I know of schools adopting graves of Allied servicemen, keeping those graves in excellent condition.  Is there any school in the US that does this?

It’s shameful that America has forgotten what Memorial Day is about.  It is shameful that Americans have forgotten what freedom is about.

Lee Greenwood said it best when he sang, “And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.  And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.”



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State 3A Basketball Title to Remain Vacant

What’s Up In Local Sports

By: Calvin Hastings

Forestview head basketball coach Don Ghent took it pretty well.   His team had lost the state 3A boys basketball championship back in March by a 66-54 score to Northern Guilford.   This past week the North Carolina High School Athletic Association stripped Northern Guilford of its title after the team used two ineligible players.   Many thought that Forestview would be awarded the championship but that didn’t happen.   The Athletic Association has ruled that the title will remain vacant for the 2008-2009 season.   Ghent said the ruling was fair and if the Jaguars were awarded the title it wouldn’t be fair to the five teams that Northern Guilford defeated on their way to the state title.  After thinking about it, I believe Ghent is right.  It’s just tough to know how close you came to a state title and was denied because a team “cheated” to win.  

The state high school baseball playoffs are underway.  Last Friday several area teams were eliminated including Highland Tech, Crest, Shelby and East Gaston.   Play continues this week.

The season ended for the Forestview Lady Jaguars soccer team as they fell to Asheville 1-0 last Saturday.  The Jaguars ended their season with a 13-5-1 mark.  

Three East Lincoln Mustang lineman have inked contracts to continue their football play.   Derek Sullivan has signed a letter of intent to play football at Guilford College.   Malik McConnico has signed a letter of intent to play football at Fayetteville State and Ryan Goggio has signed a letter of intent to play football at Methodist University.

The Shelby Golden Lions boys track and field team won the Western 2A Regional Championship last weekend.   Shelby was led by Larry Raper who was named the  Most Valuable Athlete in the track events.   Shelby will move on to the 2A state meet this weekend at North Carolina A & T University in Greensboro.

Hats off to Crest Sophomore Kendall Kee.  Kee won the 100 meter championship for the Chargers in the Western 4A Regionals last  Saturday at Asheville.  Kee along with teammates Kwame Petty, Harvey McSwain, Wayne Ledbetter and Jason Ross will move on to the state 4A championships this weekend also at North Carolina  A & T University in Greensboro.

East Lincoln won the 2A Midwest Track Regionals last Saturday at Monroe High School.   The win propels the Mustangs to the 2A state meet Friday at North Carolina A & T State University in Greensboro.   

The Crest Lady Charger softball team has advanced to the second round of the state girls softball playoffs with a 9-1 win over McDowell on Tuesday.  The Lady Chargers are now 21-1 on the season.  Bailey Smith led the Lady Chargers with a four hitter and striking out 12.  Crest will host either Freedom or Berry Academy in round two on Friday.  

Congratulations to the Crest Charger girls softball team.  The Lady Chargers own the Big South 3A/4A tournament championship last week with a 4-1 win over East Gaston.  Junior Bailey Smith tossed a three hitter for the Lady Chargers who improved to 20-1 on the season.   The Lady Chargers will begin play this week in the state tournament.

Former Shelby High football player Jeremiah Washburn has  signed as an assistant offensive line coach for the Detroit Lions.   Washburn has spent the last six seasons in the player personnel department for the Baltimore Ravens.  And has served as an area scout in the Southwest, United States.  In 2002, Washburn was a football operations assistant with the Carolina Panthers.

Hats off to Lincolnton’s Barbara Wilkes.  Wilkes caught a 32.5 pound catfish that measured 38.5 inches long on her first fishing trip with her husband Michael.   Wilkes caught the fish around Lake Marion/Santee Cooper on an artificial lure.

Congratulations to the Belmont Middle School.  On Monday, Belmont downed Cramerton by a 4-0 score to win the Gaston County Middle School Baseball Championship.  Andrew Locklear fired a one hitter for the Wildcats who finished their season at 12-0.  Derek Perry and Chuck Lawing provided the offense with two hits each.   Sam Pruitt is Belmont’s head coach.

The Belmont Abbey baseball team is heading to their second straight NCAA Divison II World Series appearance after winning the Southeast Regionals last weekend.  The tournament will get underway Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm when Belmont Abbey meets Mesa State.   The championship is set for next Saturday, May 30th.

Gardner Webb men’s basketball has announced five new signees.   The include forward Keith Manley, point guard Eddie Gray, forward Luke Engelken, shooting guard David Brown and forward Stefon Johnson.   

Hats off to Zach McKelvey.   McKelvey won the 2009 Pete Webb Memorial Golf Tournament last weekend at the Cleveland Country Club.   Cody Dellinger was runner up followed by Mike Boatwright and Chuck Hamilton.   

Finally, we say goodbye to former coach Tony Leigh.   Leigh lost his bout with cancer last week at the age of 60.   Leigh was a former coach at Bessemer City, Kings Mountain, East Gaston and West Lincoln.  During his 30 year coaching career Leigh coached football, baseball, girls basketball, softball and track. 

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“Let’s Talk Bible” -  Since 1975

Evangelist  W.C. “Dub” Dellinger - Age 90


Why write on repentance?  Well, here in the good old American style, some have just about put true individual repentance in a box and shipped it out.  And, this is what the father of all goodness hates.  Box it up and send it out.  No Godly sorrow.  The Bible does say Godly sorrow is repenting.  Never does it say forgive me of my many sins.  Back in the book of Ezekiel, it talks about many sins: “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, and he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him in his righteousness that he hath done, he shall live.”  I hear so many praying on radio and in churches saying “Lord, forgive me of my many sins.”  I heard this said, and I asked them to tell me one sin that they had committed.  They could not.  The Bible is against sinning.  Never just say a prayer.  The prayer that Jesus taught the disciples to pray…don’t just say it; pray it.  I hear some say they don’t believe He hears their prayers.  If you are a sinner, He will only listen when you ask for forgiveness.  Mark 1:15 says “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel.”  There is a saying I heard as a small boy growing up in the south that says you can depend on God, the question is, can he depend on you.  Living a Christian life is not easy until you have submitted your whole soul, mind and body to Him.  That means you are dead to the world’s offerings, sayings and doing.  That means that a good spirit is in control, and not the body.  Happiness then is true in your life because you have some of your Savior’s spirit inside of you.  That adds up to everlasting life where there is always peace and contentment.  I have heard a person say the Lord made them do something.  I can tell you with assurance, the Lord will never cause you to do wrong.  Under NO circumstances will he do THAT.  It is true that you can feel that you have been done wrong, or overpowered in some way; but, you can just feel assured that the Lord does not and never will work against you. He won’t do it against a Christian or even a sinner.  You study the life of Jesus.  While He was here, He always worked for the best, and in all Christians he expects the same.

Secrets, Strength, and Self-Control

What’s Up with Vincent D. Hefner, Pastor

First Baptist Church, Cherryville

Judges 16:5 says, “The rulers of the Philistines went to her (Delilah) and said, See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him.” The story of Samson has probably captured the imagination of every child who was told the story in Church. I had always envisioned Samson as a big man with lots of muscles. The great feats of strength that he performed while judge over Israel would lead you to believe he was the biggest and bravest man alive. When you read the Bible you get another answer. The Bible never said that Samson was big and muscle bound. As a matter of fact, his enemies had no idea where he received his strength, but they believed it was from something other than his physical abilities. In other words, he was of ordinary size, but possessed extraordinary out of this world strength. Samson’s source of strength was a secret. 

Samson led Israel for twenty years against her enemies and they could not outwit or defeat him. In Judges 13 the story of Samson’s strength is revealed. He was to be a Nazirite. A Nazirite was someone who took a vow of separation and self-imposed discipline for the purpose of some special service for God. Samson knew about his purpose in leading his people and he was a good leader. He loved his people, and they could depend upon him in times of crisis. However, Samson had a problem that plagued him during his time as leader over Israel. He had no self-control. I want you to get your Bible and read this story for yourself and see the lack of self-control in Samson’s life. 

Samson convinced himself that he could speak for God, defend God’s people, but not honor God in his own life. Samson lived by one set of rules (his own) and expected everybody else to live by another set of rules (God’s). You can call this a mess! Samson’s enemies were looking for the secret of his strength and he didn’t believe that he would ever be defeated. He thought God would continually overlook his mistakes, but he was wrong. Remember that God is just, and His judgment applies to all of us. 

The reason I shared this story with you is to remind you that no one is above sin or accountability to God. Samson was not worried about the Philistines because he had whipped them for twenty straight years. He should have been worried about his relationship with God, but he wasn’t and it cost him more than he wanted to pay. I know that it is easy to look at the Church and find fault with her members and say that you will never step inside a church because of old “so and so.” Trust me, don’t worry about old “so and so” and worry about the One who sits on the Throne in Heaven! He is the one that we will all answer to one day, and maybe it is sooner than any of us realize. The Christian needs to remember that his or her strength does not come from himself, but from Jesus Christ! We need self control in our lives to let others know who we follow.  Honor Him today by being obedient to Him everyday, starting today! Remember, don’t give in to sin. Think about it!

What’s Up at Hospice



Brittney Horn

Brittney Horn



Brittney Horn, a Kings Mountain High School Senior, recently devoted her senior project to Hospice Cleveland County. The project was done in memory of her father, Randy Horn, who died February 7th, 2001 with kidney cancer. “I wanted to give back to Hospice for their caring and expertise with my family. Because of Hospice, my family was able to be with my Dad in our home rather than in a hospital. We are so thankful!” Brittney said.

With the help of her family, Brittney sponsored a Concert & Bake Sale at Patterson Grove Baptist Church on April 18th, 2009 that raised over $400 to benefit the new Kings Mountain Hospice House. Performing were the Patterson Grove Praise and Worship Team, Wagon Wheelers dance group of Shelby, and special music by Hope Hutchens of Spartanburg, SC

Brittney’s senior project also included a six-page thesis entitled, “More Government Funding for Hospice.” In her thesis, she cites the need for more funds to help families with medical costs that occur from life-limiting illnesses. “There is just not enough insurance to take care of all the needs.” she stated.

Brittney is studying to become a pre-school teacher and interns at West Elementary School. She is the daughter of Sharon Horn who was a big supporter of her project in addition to other family members. Pam Isaacs, Director of Community Outreach, for Hospice Cleveland County was Brittney’s mentor for the project. “Brittney is a bright, energetic young lady, and was a joy to work with on this project. Hospice is grateful for all her hard work and dedication in helping us help others in need.” Pam said.

Hospice Cleveland County exists to provide high quality skilled compassionate care and support for patients with life-limiting illness, their families, and the community, regardless of ability to pay. If you would like to know more about Hospice Cleveland County please visit our website at www.hospicecares.cc or contact us at 704-487-4677.



Elizabeth Turner, a Senior at Burns High School, is the McDonald’s/WADA/What’s Up Shopper Scholar-Athlete of the Month.  Elizabeth is on the Cheerleading Squad at Burns.

Elizabeth has earned a 4.7381 grade-point average at Burns while taking advanced-placement classes in Calculus, Biology and U.S. History plus she has taken many honors courses.

She is a member of The National Honor Society, Spanish Club, Student Government, Dance and Relay for Life Team.

Upon graduation from Burns, Elizabeth plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and major in Elementary Education.

Elizabeth is the daughter of Richard and Patti Turner of Shelby.  She is a member of Kistler’s United Methodist Church where she is active in the Youth Group

Among her community activities, Elizabeth volunteers at Hospice and the hospital.  She also tutors, is a Dare role model and is an Elementary Cheerleading coach.

The McDonald’s/WADA/What’s Up Shopper Scholar-Athlete Award recognizes a student athlete not only for accomplishments in athletics but also for achievements in the classroom and for overall school citizenship.

Poor Draft Success Potentially Dooms Bobcats

What’s Up with Hollywood Sports

By Kevin “Hollywood” Hastings


Once again lady luck danced with everyone but the Bobcats in Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery.  The lottery was so exciting this year ESPN actually got away with breaking for a commercial break before the last 3 picks!  What!?  Why did we need to know about Mr. Clean’s new doggy disenfecting and hair pickup baby wipes? I can’t believe they got away with that but the Kings were the big losers dropping to 4th despite having 25% of the ping pong balls in the machine. Jumping to #1 and the winner of the Blake Griffin sweepstakes is the woeful Los Angelas Clippers.  With 43 picks in Clippers lottery history they have chosen exactly ONE All-Star!  That’s pitiful but what’s worse is the player they drafted, Antonio McDyss never actually played for the Clippers.  It’ll be interesting to see how they mess this up! 

With the Bobcats not moving up and staying in the 12th position, local experts are saying that the Bobcats have had bad luck in the lottery and in the draft. But did it really matter if the Bobcats were to get lucky and move up? The front office has missed a few times in past couple of seasons.  In fact they’ve missed big time not only on the players they drafted but they let superstars slide right by them year after year for a team who’s never had a superstar.  They’ve never had an Alonzo Mourning or Larry Johnson; no Glenn Rice or JR Reid; no heroes like Mugsy and Dale Curry. 

The local fans have become callous to this team because we’ve been scorned by the Hornets and the Bobcats have never had a face of the franchise.  It was suppose to be Okafor but the way Dwight Howard turned out, who was picked one spot ahead of Okafor, makes Okafor look like somewhat of a small dissapointment.  He didn’t become the superstar Charlotte needed from a #2 draft pick.  That season the Bobcats picked Okafor and let players such as Ben Gordon, Devin Harris, Andre Igulodala, Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, JR Smith, Jameer Nelson, and Western Carolina star Kevin Martin get by them.  I wouldn’t trade Okafor for any one of these guys right now because you just don’t find the next Ben Wallace with a 10-foot jumper every day.  The draft class of 2004 was probably the weakest in the last ten seasons.  

The next season again saw the Bobcats pick one spot behind the best player taken in the draft at #4, by our old nemesis the Hornets, and got a hall of fame point guard in Chris Paul.  The Bobcats would then select Raymond Felton who has turned out to be an above average NBA point guard.  The next pick the Bobcats had in the draft was at #13 and decided to take newly crowned NCAA Tournament M.O.P. Sean May from North Carolina.  Jordan and the Cats refused to look at May’s lack of work ethic at Carolina and the fact he has never been in shape.  It’s not his fault he has foot injuries but the little extra fat can’t help.  May needs to take a real hard look at what Big Baby Davis is doing in Boston because that could be him but it’s not.  He doesn’t want it bad enough.  In the 2005 draft the Cats passed on Rashad McCants, Danny Granger, Gerald Green, Nate Robinson, and David Lee.  Now I would take any of these over Sean May.  

2006 took the cake for the Bobcats wonderful drafting strategy.  With the #3 pick Jordan selected Adam Morrison thinking Morrison would become the next Larry Bird.  Morrison wasn’t even the next Big Bird.  The Bobcats passed up on: Shelden Williams, Brandon Roy, Randy Foye, Rudy Gay, JJ Redick, Ronnie Brewer, Rajon Rondo, and Paul Milsap. 

Now in 2007 the Cats were at it again with two picks in the first round at #8 and #22.  This year they took Brandan Wright at #8 and traded him to Golden State for Jason Richardson.  At #22 the Bobcats took SF Jared Dudley who’s averaged 5, 3, and 1.  Now Richardson is in Phoenix and that pick has turned into Boris Diaw and Raja Bell.  This trade would have made the Bobcats a title contender if the previous years were drafted differently.  Here’s who the Bobcats passed up from 9-21: Joekim Noah and Al Thorton.  Overall A+ move for the Bobcats, their best ever, if they had made the earlier right picks.  After the #22 pick the Cats could have had Portland Guard Rudy Fernandez.

The 2008 draft was the most perplexing in Bobcats history I think.  With the #9 pick and needing a big man the Cats passed on Brook Lopez who averaged 13, 8, 1 as as a rookie this season.  The Bobcats picked PG DJ Augustin even though Felton was already on the roster.  Then with the 22nd pick they picked a player the draft analysts described as “he can come off the bench for 5-8 minutes a night after three or four years in Europe! Why would we picked someone with that scouting report at #22? If they wanted to pay someone a few million a year to waste a pick they damn sure could have picked me! I know you don’t hit big usually from 22 but Ajinca?  If they were smart they could have picked Lopez at #9 and Mario Chalmers at #22 filling both needs of a center and a point guard.  Hindsight is 20/20 and I know its unfair to judge but this could be the Bobcats’ lineup:


PG - Raymond Felton

SG - Brandon Roy

SF - Gerald Wallace

PF - David Lee

C - Emeka Okafor


PG - Mario Chamers

SG - Raja Bell

SF - Rudy Fernandez

PF - Boris Diaw

C - Brook Lopez

This isn’t just crazy trades it’s what the Bobcats roster would look like with good drafting.  They could have a title contending team by sitting in a room and saying “we’ll take him.”  And yet we’ve never got to see the Bobcats in the playoffs.  All this leads us up to this season’s draft.  Charlotte will have the 12th pick and all the mock drafts have them taking SG Gerald Henderson to fill out the SG depth chart.  I know you Duke fans are going to say there he goes again being a Tar Heel but I’m for real.  Gerald Henderson will be a good pro and I like him as an athlete but would taking Hansbrough really be that more of a chance than Henderson? Henderson isn’t a lock to be a contributor much less a superstar but you know what your getting with Psycho-T.  Larry Brown doesn’t have the time to be around for Henderson to grow into an NBA scorer.  I think the Bobcats should take PF Tyler Hansbrough instead.  Last year the Bobcats decided on not taking Brook Lopez because they were falsely relying on Sean May and he barely played in another season.  It’s time to fill that hole at power forward and take Hansbrough.  Let him play behind Diaw who Hansbrough reminds me a lot of and learn to play the in the NBA.  Hansbrough already has a fundamentally sound shot.  All he has to do is backup a few feet and practice the NBA 3 daily, which if you know Psycho-T then he will be.  Larry Brown will love the work ethic and intensity Hansbrough will bring to the court and Bobcats Arena will also intensify not to mention move Hansbrough jerseys like hotcakes.  I’ll be in line at Wal-Mart the next day if Charlotte takes Hansbrough,  because he’s a face of the franchise the Bobcats desperately need.

Grill Pack in the Flavor

What’s Up With The NC Cooperative Extension


Melinda M. Houser

Extension Agent

Family and Consumer Sciences


Keep your kitchen cool during the warm spring and summer season by grilling food outside. As you probably know, this is a great way to cook food for family and friends. Soon there will be an abundance of local vegetables available for your enjoyment. In addition to the many ways of preparing vegetables, foil-wrapped packs are easy to make, quick to cook and very little clean up time. The vegetables maintain their fresh flavor and texture, and have a caramelized, grilled taste. Use heavy-duty foil or aluminum grilling bags. Seal seams with a double fold and be careful not to puncture. Some of the vegetable packs to prepare may include:


Cauliflower florets – 1 ½ c. cauliflower florets, 1 ½ c. broccoli florets, carrots cut in 1 ½ inch pieces, 1 teaspoon of your favorite seasoning—garlic, Italian or lemon pepper – and 1 Tbls. water. Grill time 20 to 25 minutes.


Potato pack – 1 pound of potatoes (cut in 2 inch cubes), ¼ c. onion, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme and 1 clove of minced garlic. Grill time—20 to 30 minutes.


Green beans – other beans with green beans (if desired), add thinly sliced, small onion, 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Grill time – 15 to 20 minutes.


Other foods to grill include salmon, shrimp, beef, pork, chicken, cobblers in foil containers, and meatless burgers (black bean burgers and Portobello burgers). Keep your menu healthy and simple. Use herbs and spices to add flavor and variety to your foods.


Remember food safety when preparing and serving food. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Don’t cross contaminate. Keep everything clean – wash hands and surfaces often. Cook food to proper temperatures.


For more information, contact your local Cooperative Extension office.


Food Preservation Workshop


Attend a Food Preservation Workshop on Monday, June 8th at 6:00 p.m. at the James W. Warren Citizens Center, Lincolnton. Topics to be discussed include: canning both high and low acid foods, freezing fruits and vegetables, making jams and jellies, do’s and don’ts in making pickles, and drying foods. Class registration fee is $5.00 which includes handout information.  Call Melinda Houser, NC Cooperative Extension agent at 704-736-8461 for more information or to register.

Stewart Is The All-Star

What’s Up in NASCAR

By:  Clint Spencer


Tony Stewart took his first trip to victory lane with his brand new race team Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  Even though the All-Star Race win was not a points paying victory it still gives the winning team bragging rights and a thicker wallet.  Stewart-Haas Racing is currently the hottest team on the Sprint Cup Circuit and the duo of Stewart and Newman have been consistent this season and absolutely stellar the last few races.  Stewart’s win gave the #14 and #39 teams that extra kick of momentum they needed heading into this weekend’s grueling Coca-Cola 600. 

The results for the All-Star Race were as follows:  Sam Hornish Jr. won the Sprint Cup Showdown followed by second place Jamie McMurray.  The first and second place drivers from this event qualified to run in the All-Star Race.  The only other driver who can make the lineup is the driver who gets voted in by the fans.  Last year, the vote went to Kasey Kahne, who would go on to win the event.  This year’s fan vote winner was Joey Logano, the driver of the #20, Tony Stewart’s former team.   The race was divided up into four segments, a 50 lap segment followed by two 20 lap segments with a ten minute break after the third segment then a 10 lap shootout for a million bucks.  During the last segment, Tony Stewart would take the lead from Matt Kenseth with two laps to go and ultimately land in winner’s circle.  Matt Kenseth finished in second followed by Kurt Busch in third.  Fourth place belonged to Denny Hamlin and rounding out the top five was Carl Edwards.


New For This Week:  Spencer’s Three Who Reek:


1. Clint Bowyer- Bowyer has dropped from second in points to out of the chase in 13th in the last five races.  Maybe someone should tell him that he no longer has to endorse his old sponsor by putting Jack Daniels in his Cheerios.


2. Jeremy Mayfield - He finally gets back into NASCAR and he throws it all away by failing a drug test.  What are you thinking?  A bad combination of allergy medicine, yeah right, Carl Edwards’ stays hopped up on Claritin all season long.


3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - What can I say?  Junior’s my boy, and I am still looking for him to rebound, but as my cousin Mr. Page put it, “I am beginning to think he is on the same drugs as Mayfield.”  Get it together Earnhardt.


Prediction for the Coca-Cola 600: Jimmie Johnson had the best car last weekend during practice and the All-Star Race.  If he can stay out front, avoid trouble and Kyle Busch then he may just win the 600 mile event.  However, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman are pumped up and ready to win, especially Stewart.  Also, how about Mark, ‘I don’t need your rocking chair’ Martin.  He has won this demanding race before and has the equipment to do it again.  This one is tough to call but I am going with the driver of the #48.  Look for Johnson in victory lane.