Saturday, July 14, 2007

"The Republic Of Chris Auto Racing Association"

Skip to the random thought

When I started this blog, I had a bunch of material to work with. I had a new job, lived in a new apartment in a new city, and had a new Tivo-like device. But now...not so much. So, you get posts like this one. Six posts/week is probably a bit ambitious these days, but it's not like I don't have time to write them.

So, when I was a kid, my mom bought me some Matchbox-type cars. Eventually, I graduated to toy NASCAR replica cars, which you could get them for about $1.49 at Wal-Mart or Target. Naturally, I started to conduct races with these cars. Then, I made up my own tracks, and placed them in the Republic of Chris. And once I assigned each of my stuffed animals to one of my cars, a league was born, which I called the Republic Of Chris Auto Racing Association. Because, of course, any racing league with the word "CAR" incorporated into its acronym has instant credibility.

I don't remember everything about ROCARA, but I was able to find some old statistics. Here's what I do know. Before each race weekend, I would get out the old poker chips and set up the race track, either in my bedroom (short tracks) or around the pool table in the living room (superspeedways). Then, on Friday after school, I would have the "Grand Republic" race (a.k.a. the Busch Series). Then, on Saturday, I would have the "Republic Cup" race. As for the races themselves, I got on my hands and knees and moved all of the cars around the track. The average race was 10 laps long or so and took about an hour. (Eventually, I transitioned from a fixed number of laps to a strictly timed race.) Each season consisted of between 30 and 36 races, and I would work the schedule around family vacations and Boy Scout camping trips. It was pretty sweet. Of course, I was in direct control of the outcome, so that took a little bit away from it. Although I did write a computer program in Pascal to produce semi-random qualifying results. I ran the league for 3 complete seasons, and one incomplete season. I don't remember quitting in the middle of the 4th season, but I don't have any stats beyond the 26th race. Bah! What happened, Chris?

I wasn't the only Allen brother with a racing league. James had one too, called the "James Republic Auto Racing Corporation" (JRARC). The only "tussle" between our leagues was after the second season of ROCARA. In order to fill out an entire two series' worth of drivers, I had to include some of James's stuffed animals in my league as well. But he wanted some of them back for his league. So, I released three drivers from their ROCARA contracts, and they defected to JRARC. Even I was a driver in the league for one season. I was in the Grand Republic series, and as you would expect, I won the championship. How lame is that? I removed myself from the league after that.

Once I "outgrew" the league, I tried to keep the league going by simulating the races on the computer, either with simple programs written in Pascael, or in the "NASCAR Racing 2" video game. But it just wasn't the same. I think James kept JRARC going longer in computerized fashion, though. He even kept his website going. Such was the life and death of ROCARA, the product of a child with an obsession with auto racing, stiff knees, a minimal knowledge of the Pascal programming language, and nothing better to do on weekends.

But wait...there's more! In 2004, I thought I'd try to resurrect the series in the NASCAR Racing 2003 Season video game, with a simple "ratings algorithm" that I developed to progress and regress drivers up and down the rankings between seasons. It was fun, and it lasted one 36-race season, but afterwards I decided it might be more fun to race against real people I knew in high school and in college. Thus, I started the Chris Allen Racing League, and it's still going today in it's 27th season. (Which, I actually call this season "season 28", because that first season with the ROCARA crowd was "season 1", and I didn't start over when I ran the first CARL season. Thus, the first season of CARL was actually "season 2". Oops.) Next time I can't think of anything else to write about, I'll get into the "nitty gritty" of CARL, because as I may have mentioned in this blog from time to time, I think it's really umm..."neat". (If you don't, well...you're more than welcome to e-mail me with blog post ideas.)

Last Year: "47 Down, 3 To Go - Part 2". A recap of states 26 through 47 that I visited in my lifetime. Since then, I've also visited state #48, Rhode Island. Apparently, I wrote that blog post long before the Nova Scotia trip was planned. I've also stayed overnight in Maryland since then, so now I know I've spent the night in at least 35 states.

Tomorrow: "Where's Dopey?" If you get bored at work on Monday, maybe this will help.

Today's random thought:

- I could have put this in "Last Year", but...eh. In last year's random comment #1, I talk about the Baltimore Orioles games that are shown locally in Raleigh (Cary). Well, they haven't been shown locally this year, I think because MASN (the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network) now has exclusive rights to show their games. And since Time Warner doesn't carry MASN, I now receive no local baseball on television. (Not like I watched that many Orioles games last year, but still, it's nice to know I could if I wanted to.) I think I could get MASN if I had satellite, and I think they're trying to get into the North Carolina market (they advertise at the Carolina Mudcats games), but it's not on cable here, at least yet.

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