Published Friday, May 3, 2013 AT 1:13 PM / Updated at 1:39 PM
Friday Tailgate (Ak-sar-ben/Google Earth edition)
Tom Shatel Omaha World-Herald

The response to my column on Ak-sar-ben was incredible. I’m not surprised.

Ak was an icon for a generation, or two, of Omahans, Nebraskans, Iowans, and people throughout the region. Those memories still touch people. That old track, I think, will always live in this city’s soul.

But what’s this thing called Google Earth?

Several readers alerted me to the concept of using google to find where Ak-sar-ben race track would be in today’s world. Cliff Todd of the Omaha City Planning department was the first to send me a map, and others followed.

I don’t have the map for this blog. I’m going to try and use it with my First Downs And Second Guesses column next Tuesday in the World-Herald.

But what I can tell you is, it’s an amazing picture, seeing the track superimposed on the Ak-sar-ben property today. I can also tell you that, Greg Hosch was close. Very close.

At least one reader wondered why I didn’t just use google to begin with. The easy answer is, I’m not that technologically savvy.

But if I had been, I’d do it all the same. I loved watching Hosch drive around and find things by instinct, by memory. That made the search, and the story, better. And to find out that he was just about right on, well, that shows what observations, and a memory, can mean.

You know what would be cool? Take google from 1965 or 1975 and put it on Dodge Street or 72nd Street or West Maple or the north downtown area. Heck, I can’t remember what was on the current Century Link Center 15 years ago.

>> Nebraska’s at home, Creighton’s on the road. But because of the weather, mostly because of the weather, it doesn’t feel like we had a college baseball season this year. And there’s only three weekends left in the regular season.

>> Maybe the Huskers and Jays can make a run at winning their leagues, but this season is destined to matter most in three weeks, during the league tourneys.

>> I don’t watch the NBA during the regular season. I love the playoffs. My Lakers are out. I’m actually happy about that. They were one hard team to watch. I’m ready to trade for Fletch.

>> Meanwhile, Golden State-San Antonio is going to be a lot of fun. Steph Curry by himself is fun to watch. Celtics-Knicks is mildly amusing, only because it’s fun to watch any New York team melt down in the biggest moments.

>> You know how you know there’s not much going on? Because everyone is overanalyzing the Big Ten divisions and the selection committee for the college football playoff. Guilty, here.

>> Had a great talk with the gentlemen in charge of finding events for the new Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, and what that means for Omaha. Sounds like a Sunday column.

>> If I don’t have softball or soccer on Saturday, I may see you at Horsemen’s Park for the Derby. You have to throw a couple bucks on Rick Pitino’s horse, don’t you? Talk about being on a roll.

>> Have a great weekend. There’s no snow in the forecast. So we got that going for us, which is nice.

About Tom Shatel

Tom Shatel is a columnist for The Omaha World-Herald. You can get in touch with Tom on Twitter (@tomshatelOWH), or send him an email at