Monday, December 31, 2007
How will Junior do at Hendrick? How many folks truly care anymore? It still leaves a hollow feeling and taste for true Earnhardt fans. And these attempts to re-engineer history by claiming that Rick Hendrick and Dale Earnhardt were friends, buddies....Does anyone REALLY believe that? Some us us have been race fans since the mid 1970's. And, we have a loooooooooonnnnnnggggg memory when it comes to Dale. It's a moot point to argue that if Dale were around he'd be livid with Junior. Because, frankly, if Dale were still around--well, you can bet your last dime that Junior would not have defected to the enemy camp.
Folks are trying to make Teresa Earnhardt the wicked stepmom, but if you think this through--there was a LOT more to the sudden demand by Junior and sister Kelley for 51 percent of DEI. Some clever person in the background--probably someone who has a history of lies, deceit, bribery--was the mastermind behind that. What better way to cause a rift at DEI? This person has been playing Dale Jr. like a violin...and it's not to Junior's benefit, unfortunately.
So, this is my crystal ball background for 2008. It'll take a few months, but the defection of Junior to Hendrick Racing is not going to be the answer for him, unfortunately. It's going to take awhile, but that initial comment by Hendrick, "there's no room at the Inn" (kind of appropriate for this Christmas season), which suddenly became "Of course we have room for Junior!!" will prove to be prophetic. There IS no room at Hendrick Racing for Dale Junior--unless Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are going to move over. Why should they??
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Congratulations, JPM -- probably the most experienced 'rookie' to race in NASCAR Cup in a long time!!
I have never heard such a trite, unprofessional job of calling a race before tonight. What promised to be (and was--if one could ignore Waltrip's commentary) a superb ending to the CTS with the down-to-the-wire finish between Ron Hornaday and Mike Skinner was dismally blotted by Waltrip's commentary. Obviously devastated that his beloved Toyotas were not going to win the CTS championship. Even with less than 20 laps to go, and Skinner in 35th place (out of 36 trucks), well, you have to admit that Waltrip was loyal to the bitter end. And, it must have been bitter for him, since Hornaday won the championship in typical Hornaday championship style.
Waltrip's comments seemed to be over-the-top pathetic in trying to root for his Toyota favorite. The only good thing about the end of the truck racing season is that we don't have to listen to Michael's whining and whimpering any more.
Congratulations to Ron Hornaday and the Kevin/Delana Harvick-owned 33 team for a fantastic finish. Hornaday is a true champion and deserved the championship this season.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
That was Dale Earnhardt Junior's comment after the Homestead race on Sunday.
Nice going, Junior. Whatever class you had is swiftly departing as you join your new Hendrick 'family.'
It's hard to think that Dale Sr. would have approved of Junior's bailing out of DEI. As a matter of fact, those who knew Dale Sr. feel he would be pretty angry and appalled at the way things turned out this year.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
NASCAR ratings are consistently, seriously down -- not just the 4 or 5 percent we saw last season and earlier this season, but to the tune of a whopping 16-20 percent per event. NASCAR's Brian France dismisses this stat with a notation that 'all sports ratings are down.' Huh??? Well, maybe he's referring to soccer or badminton. Sports ratings for the major four are thriving, and college football is enjoying an excellent season, as well. Sponsors are not paying for fans not to watch the sport, after all. The 'Chase,' to be blunt, is BORING. Drivers have been warned by NASCAR officials to stay away from the top 12'ers and not impact the Chase.
A large majority of long-time race fans are truly sick of the politics, money, greed and over-promotion of the sport. Then, we have the 'car of tomorrow' (COT) which NASCAR has contrived as a sort of generic car for the sport--a car which is not racy, not particularly fast, not well-handleable, and not liked. It doesn't look remotely stock. And the fact that manufacturers have had to 'brand' a name for their COT (Avenger, Fusion, Camry and Impala -- and I've yet to see a 2-door Impala at my local Chevy dealership), it just makes for a cruddy looking product. Not to mention the COTs are not delivering any sort of exciting racing for the fans.
Add to that the Dale Earnhardt Junior defection to Hendrick--he's been a lame duck since June 13, 2007, when he had his press conference announcing he was leaving DEI to go to greener pastures--and you have a perfect storm of the type that NASCAR hoped never would happen. One which has resulted in 1 out of 5 fans NOT watching racing. Not caring which Hendrick team wins the Cup. And, it's interesting that Budweiser made no effort to try and stay with Dale Jr. Actually, it's very telling. Their marketing folks created the 'cool Dale Jr.' persona in the ads; no doubt they will help Kasey Kahne develop an image/persona of his own. These folks (Anheurser-Busch) spend over $225 million each year in ADVERTISING alone. Don't underestimate that they are one of the biggest spenders in all sport.
Junior's fans seem to think that he will receive the same equipment and technology that the 24 and 48 receive.....HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA....ROFLMAO, as they say. The 24 and 48 shops are at the top of the hill at RHR. The 5 and 25 shops are, and have been, at the bottom. Why do you think Kyle Busch bailed? And Brian Vickers? Even Terry Labonte finally got fed up with the food change at RHR. Little ol' Casey Mears appears to be content to be an also-ran. This is the situation, and it will not change. One can foresee Hendrick throwing Junior a bone or two when the season kicks off, but the bottom line is that there are two premier teams at Hendrick Racing. Unless one of the two (Gordon or Johnson) leaves--or retires--there's still not really 'room at the inn' for Dale Junior (to quote Rick Hendrick in May 2007). Why should this change?
Thursday, November 8, 2007
People used to complain about Dale Sr.'s aggressive driving. In all my years of following stock cars (beginning in 1976), I don't recall cheating being leveled at Dale Sr. or his teams. I'll take aggressive driving over cheating any day of the week.
Looks like Dale Junior is already learning the nefarious, crooked cheating ways of the Rick Hendrick organization. Integrity obviously is no longer an issue for the JR Motorsports team.
Anyone who thinks Dale Earnhardt, Sr., would approve of Junior and the course his career has taken obviously has no concept of what Dale would have thought of this. It would hardly be approving.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
They could take it a bit further. How about disallowing the prize money?? That should go to the Busch/Nationwide regulars. It would afford them a better payday, and they certainly have been shafted in that area particularly in the past 5 or so years. If a Cup team wants to do their R&D in the companion race, why is NASCAR paying them to do that? Seriously, this is something that should be thrown on the table.
The Busch Series was developed and intended as a developmental series, not as a practice round before the Cup race. It's about time that the AAA-leaguers were given priority in their own league. Watching a Kevin Harvick or a Carl Edwards come in and run the Series with their Cup money, development and team members, while amassing 800-900 point leads is disheartening to those who are trying to get the proverbial foot in the door.
Hopefully NASCAR will make some better decisions for the future of the new Nationwide Series. Going to what are termed 'pony cars' (Mustangs, Camaros, etc.) would also be a good way to separate the two Series. Perhaps we'll actually be able to applaud NASCAR on this one someday.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Joe got the Yankees into the playoffs every year he's managed them. Even this season, which started so poorly and had folks writing the team off -- well, Joe got the boys to the wildcard position.
Joe will be in the HOF as a manager; that's a given. As usual, he has managed to out-class George Steinbrenner. Look for the Bronx to be burning once again...
Saturday, October 13, 2007
If the resources of all the other 'chasers' were put together, they still would not be able to compete with the Hendrick teams. And, I'm not talking racing talent. It's equipment, checkbook, and the usual 'gray areas' of the rule book being overlooked for RHR. Any one of the other Chasers (or for that matter, just about any Cup or Busch driver) could compete and win effectively in either the 24 or 48 car. Now, the other Hendrick teams--well, that's another story. Only Kyle Busch has shown he has the ability to compete and win in the lesser Hendrick equipment. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out next season when Dale Jr. takes over that ride. After all, the 5 shop is NOT located in the same area as the 24 and 48 shops. Nor is the 25 team, for that matter.
Television ratings are down for virtually all NASCAR events this season. Look for the last 6 races in the chase to continue to drop in viewership.
It's ironic that the chase was extended to 12 drivers this year, instead of 10, in hopes of Dale Jr. making the field. Well, that didn't work....
Too bad the Busch Series doesn't have a Chase format. Never thought I'd say that...This second season of a Cup driver (this year Carl Edwards, last year Kevin Harvick) running away with the points lead has really put a damper on that. On the one hand, drivers can race for the event win, so that makes Busch racing a little more exciting than Cup has been. Cup racing has been more of a 'don't wreck the chasers' drivers meetings mandate from NASCAR. Who knew that Talladega could be made boring? NASCAR certainly managed to make it so with the use of the car of tomorrow (COT).
For awhile, it looked as though at least the Busch Series' dynamics might change for next season with their using stock cars and not COTs--but if the COT is run in Busch next year, that will certainly not help level the playing field. Hopefully, they will stick to the plan of not using the COT in Busch til 2009. Too bad they can't plan just to not use it all all.
What's the difference between an IROC and COT? NA$CAR couldn't make any money off the IROC Series. It was neutral and competitive.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
This just ain't right. NASCAR always claims to want to give the fans a show. Well, give 'em the FASTEST 43 cars in the field!!! That's racing.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
"In light of what's happened ... now I could take that $200 million and maybe another $100 (million) or $150 million and I could build a new facility," Smith said.
Talk about wanting to cut the nose off to spite the face! What an idiotic reaction. Sounds more like a self-centered teenager than a multimillionaire businessman. So much for history, community, and smart business practices. Hey, Bruton--since you have money to burn, send a few million my way. Apparently, you won't even miss it...Maybe you can rent the old speedway out to Hendrick racing for their practice sessions - oh, wait, that's right. They already use it for that...
The antics of Britney Spears, particularly in the past few weeks, reminds one of Bruton's reaction. Boo hoo hoo.... I'm above the law and they won't go along with me, so I'll show them! Yes, Bruton--show the racing community that you are an over-inflated egomaniac. Yep. That'll show 'em...
Monday, October 1, 2007
What the hell was that at Kansas Motorspeedway Sunday??? The race starts, then is delayed by rain. The race restarts. A little after halfway, a downpour halts the race. NASCAR rushes to dry the track (why? Because the 24 and 48 are a lap down because of green flag pitstops?). The race is restarted with NASCAR announcing that lap 225 will be the last lap. A wreck occurs. NASCAR announces that the race will end at lap 210, since it's getting dark. With less than 4 laps to go, another caution flies when the 42 car blows a tire. Since it's getting a bit dark, NASCAR then announces that the race is over. Greg Biffle is in the lead. Biffle does NOT cross the start finish line; he pulls off the track. NASCAR says Biffle won it, anyway, because the scoring loops (which are the PREVIOUS point at which a car is scored, around the track) show Biffle was leading (even though he did not cross the finish line first) are where the field was 'frozen.' Huh???
If you don't cross the finish line, then you really shouldn't get the win. Sorry, Biff -- you blew this one.
NASCAR had to issue YET ANOTHER 'clarification' as to how the end of THIS race was scored.
We need to stop insulting the WWE. At least they don't pretend they're not scripted.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
How Come NASCAR Allowed Johnson to Pull Backup Car out Even Before He Got the 48 Car off the Track??
NASCAR officials have always made the decision as to whether a care is repairable or whether a backup car may be brought out. Surface sheet metal damage was minimal and NO NASCAR officials were shown around the car while the team decided to bring out the back up car. Frankly, this was quite surprising. NASCAR always says they run the show. In this case, it looked like Hendrick Motorsports was calling the shots for NASCAR once again.
If NASCAR was keeping tight control over this situation, well, it sure didn't look like it!! Guess they were too busy worrying about Tony Stewart's being caught cussing in the garage.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Kyle used his position to really run his mouth about Hamlin -- and that seemed unusual for Kyle Petty. Kind of wish he had seen a few replays first. You can't put this one on Denny. And, Denny's comments about Kyle's cars usually being a second or so slower than the other cars are also true.
NASCAR should have fined Kyle for slapping Denny's helmet in the garage, while he was strapped into the car.
Kyle's getting a new spotter, starting this weekend. Interesting, eh??
Monday, September 17, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I thought AP writers had to have higher standards and more ethics than that.
More fuel for the conspiracy theorists. And, hey, sometimes I am one of them, too...But, in this case, it's laughable because it's so utterly preposterous. If Dale Jr.'s hard luck and misfortunes are to be put at anyone's feet, it is his own; after all, he has kept basically the same shop team and crew together and he's had similar misfortune the past several seasons. He went into the last race to the Chase over 100 points behind 12th place. It wasn't as though he was in 11th or 12th and holding off the competition.
DEI and Budweiser and Chevrolet have too much at stake, and while many of the newer Junior fans might think it's fun to make charges such as this at Teresa Earnhardt, the facts remain that she is CEO of DEI and has a lot at stake financially. It would be petty and beneath her to order something like that done. And, do you really think that 'secret' could be kept in this sport? There are few secrets in the garage. The gossipiness of racing crew members is legendary. This alone would preclude a secret sabotage effort.
The likeliest culprits are the folks on Junior's crew that deal with the engines. That's where fingers need to be pointed. If I had five or six engine failures, I know I'd be reassessing who is working on the engines and what they are doing. Not trying to blame Mrs. Dale Earnhardt for trying to keep her step-son out of the Chase. After all, that sure would have helped sell all that leftover Budweiser and #8 souvenir swag that is still hanging around; most of it at half-price.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
We never whined about that when the NASCAR race was at DARLINGTON, where is should have been kept at.
Monday, September 3, 2007
This year, ATT and Cingular merged, so naturally one would expect the car sponsorship on the Richard Childress owned 31 car, driven by Jeff Burton, to switch to ATT. That would have been the obvious, polite and normal expectation. NASCAR, as usual, had other ideas and stepped in to 'protect' it's new multi-million dollar title sponsor. Apparently, they don't see an anomaly in NEXTEL's change to Sprint next season and why everyone else is confused as to why it's OK for NEXTEL to change a name brand with a sponsor's merge, but it's NOT OK for Cingular to change to ATT when those two companies merged earlier this year.
If NEXTEL thinks that this suit is making fans of their product, they might do well to reconsider this PR blunder. All that this tells this race fan is that they are two-faced, petty, insecure, do not respect an owner who has been a respected mainstay in this sport for over 30 years, and that they are definitely NOT the product for me. I just got a new Cingular phone; this is certainly not making me think that NEXTEL is the better product. Just the more obnoxious, pushier, insecure and pathetic one.
NASCAR claimed that the telephone carriers who were sponsors were grandfathered in when NEXTEL bought the naming rights to the Cup Series after Winston left. Now they are arguing that this does not, ahem, include name changes with business mergers...oh, wait...then where does that leave Sprint? Race fans are so tired of the two-facedness of NA$CAR. Wouldn't it be nice if they could play nice just this once? A competitor and a series sponsor are two diffenent things. It begs the question: Doesn't Brian France have enough money yet to retire and buy that NFL team he wants for the west coast?
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Can't wait to see how you NASCAR COT folks manage to ruin Talladega. Oh well, maybe there'll be a football game or something else to watch.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Good for Teresa sticking to her guns!! The number 8 belongs at DEI. It belonged to Ralph Earnhardt, Dale used it, and it belongs with DALE Sr.'s company.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Latest word is that Gibbs racing does have a governing board, and their three current drivers are on that board. Hopefully they will be able to make a case for keeping JGR with Chevrolet. Sure hope so!
Toyota's entry in Cup has been less than stellar, shall we say, and jumping ship next year would be a tremendous hurdle for a team changing manufacturers. No matter how good JGR is, that will be a 'lost season' for any driver of Tony's or Denny Hamlin's talent.
Joe Gibbs still runs JGR, even if son J.D. is managing the race teams. Hopefully this is just one of those rumors that will go away.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Rick Hendrick has his fat checkbook out ready to buy the number 8 from DEI. Teresa--you don't need his bribery-tainted funds. Hendrick's history (as a convicted felon, charged on 15 counts of bribery in the Honda scandals of the early 1990's, who pled guilty to one count in a plea bargain) is well known among the long-time fans of the sport.
The number 8 belongs at DEI. To give it over to Hendrick would be blasphemous. After that, then what? Is the number 3 going to be up for sale, too?
NASCAR proclaimed they would not interfere with any private sale of the number. As usual, NASCAR has let the Hendrick bank account interfere with their thinking. Either NASCAR controls the numbers--or they do not. Which is it, Brian France? Do you have any inkling as to what is going on in the sport?
Teresa, the true Dale Sr. fans hope you keep the number 8 safe along with Dale's legacy. There's enough sell-out in racing today. Some fans hope you keep the number 8 at DEI, where it belongs.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Now NASCAR is toying with an idea to let the teams NOT locked in qualify in a separate group. This does not solve nor resolve anything. It's still a matter of disallowing some cars which may well be faster than some of the 'locked in' cars from racing.
If a Cup team -- regardless of WHO they are -- cannot make the show on speed, well then, So What??? The fastest 43 cars qualifying should race. Even the 'Champion's Provisional' which has notoriously been used this year to get Toyota into 6 races with Dale Jarrett, and is now available to Bill Elliott, among other past champions, is still an uneasy way to get into a race. Among this year's tinkering with the rules for qualifying past champions are now limited to using the provisional 6 times per year. This is something that should be either unlimited--or eliminated. Do one or the other.
It's frustrating to see a team which would have otherwise made the field go home because a driver in the lower 35 in team owner's points is guaranteed a spot.
With the multi-million dollar teams out there competing--if they can't make the race on time, they SHOULD go home. The bottom line is, once again, the fans are being cheated of the best event because of another inane NASCAR rule.
Come on everyone at NASCAR -- think about it. The fans want to see the fastest cars race. What's wrong with that?
Sunday, July 15, 2007
It's really very simple. The top 43 cars in qualifying should be the 43 cars in the race. No provisionals, no 'special rules.' The fans deserve to the the best/fastest cars race. If a team cannot make the race on time, then they should not be allowed to run. And, that includes if a car does not attempt qualification for whatever reason (wrecked in practice, etc.). We've seen a few cars race that did not qualify on time.
As they used to say--you can't win the race if you don't qualify. And, if you can't qualify on time, you shouldn't be in there anyway.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
What a raw deal for a very talented racer. Shane Huffman deserved better of JR Motorsports. Perhaps the bigger issue was that for some reason DEI did NOT have a Busch car entered for the Friday night race. So, was this the real reason Shane was ousted? Because Junior needed a Friday night ride to prep for the Saturday Cup race at Daytona?
That's the most likely scenario. Hopefully some of the other team owners have taken note of Shane's success in what is now admittedly below par JR Motorsports race cars. He's a good, solid racer and needs a break. And, apparently, some decent equipment.
Friday, July 6, 2007
Suspended Crew Chiefs banned from the track: NASCAR has changed its policy and will not allow crew chiefs to attend races while they are suspended, NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Previously, the policy was to simply suspend a NASCAR license, meaning crew chiefs and others under suspension could not enter a track's garage area or pit road.
The suspensions were never intended to allow the crew chiefs to continue to work on the cars. Enough outrage about this was made in the media and online that NASCAR realized what was going on. About time.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Doug's latest column includes (these are his words):
"Last time I linked to a rant by Valerie Wood she e-mailed me an angry message that said I was rude. I warn you that her opinions are heavily weighted by her love for Dale Junior and her hatred for everything Hendrick. Last time she defended Talladega's beer-throwing fans saying malicious destruction of property and borderline felonious assault are the only form of expression open to her sunbaked Budweiser-powered faithful. This time I actually agree with part of what she is saying. The three suspended crew chiefs were at New Hampshire leading their teams from motor homes a few steps outside the garage -- meeting the letter of NASCAR's laws. As for spirit, NASCAR doesn't care about anything that isn't the color of money. It is a farce and it made Valerie mad. She's fun to read when she's angry."
Well, I did email Doug. I said (verbatim from my email):
You'll never understand the whole thing with Gordon. And, no, I don't "HATE" him and I don't appreciate your putting that out there as you did. It is true I don't admire him. You and the NASCAR media are never going to change that fact...Not for me and for a very large majority of fans. There's too much I know about him, from being around the sport for 35 years, but you might be a little more discerning if you're going to cruise around the web looking for fodder for your articles. Not that we mind being quoted!! But, come on. Don't say I hate someone when I don't. That was rude.
Not that Doug ever gave me the courtesy of a reply. It's true -- I don't like being accused of 'hatred'. That's a bit overblown. I don't like cheating, lying, stealing, bribery, and just about any other felony you could name. If that makes me a 'hater' in someone's book, well, perhaps they should re-evaluate their own opinions and definitions. Some of us, with the 4th of July upon us by the way, love truth, justice and the American way....
Thanks, Doug, for the mentions! How can I be mad at someone who loves to quote me, and who takes me so seriously? At least he realizes my opinionated commentary is very often humorous...
Monday, July 2, 2007
The crew chiefs are allowed to text message, cell phone, email, etc. On tonite's NASCAR Now, Tim Brewer stated that both Knaus and Letarte met with their interim crew chiefs prior to and after the race. I'm sorry--what part of suspension don't we understand???
The fact remains that in REAL sports, suspensions are SERVED, not worked around. I've been defending NASCAR as a real sport for over 25 years....guess that stance needs re-evaluation once again. This year has been one of the worst dog-and-pony shows in a long time. Add the COT to that, and you really get a mangled season....
If a team is caught cheating over and over, do you really think they are going to suddenly abide by the rules???
Saturday, June 30, 2007
A far less extreme case a few weeks ago, when a wrong bracket set was left on the 8 car of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., resulted in a 100 point penalty against the driver, the owner, $100,000 fines, and a 6 race suspension for the crew chief. The details on this however, clearly show that it was an error on the team's part for leaving the wrong bracket on the car. Initially, NASCAR was working with three sets of brackets for the COT and the team tested with one of the three sets issued before the final decision was made as to which would be used. DEI's engineers, working on the testing for the COT, sent the car to the track with the wrong brackets. Beyond that, the car went thru initial inspection, pre-qualifying inspection, and post-qualifying inspection before NASCAR noticed that the wrong bracket set was on the car. And, the part would have given no advantage to the race team. With all that in mind, the penalty issued by NASCAR was intended to keep the strong message Don't Tamper With the COT, in the foreground.
The same penalty, for a far more egregious violation, was levied against the two Hendrick cars last weekend. Yes, you could argue that parking the cars for the first day of practice was also a part of the penalty, but face it. That made little difference in the outcome of the race. Yet the Hendrick outfit, apparently used to their pocketbooks talking, has expressed outrage at the penalties. Actually, it could be argued that a 200 point/$200,000/12 race suspension would be in order.
Nevertheless, to hear that the crew chiefs are onsite, at Loudon, NH, running the show by remote, is a clear flip-off at NASCAR and its governing of the races. A suspension should be a suspension, period. If a baseball manager is suspended, he doesn't get to sit in the clubhouse and run the game. Likewise in football, basketball, hockey....Apparently the Hendrick teams cannot even interpret the meaning of suspension without trying to get around the rules and cheat. Cheating at a suspension should be an additional fine and penalty. If NASCAR is truly running the show, they need to step in and stop this absurdness right now.
Cheating a suspension. Isn't that the height of hubris? (e.g., arrogance, greed, self-importance)...
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Sure would be nice if NASCAR actually stuck to their guns for a change! But, of course, Hendrick's history of bribery cannot be ignored.....
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
“Well, you know, this is all brand new,” said Busch. “I hadn’t talked or discussed or done anything with any other team. There had been a rumor that flew around that I was unhappy at Hendrick Motorsports, which was untrue. I was just frustrated with the way things were going, that I wasn’ able to get results. We had been running good and been fast everywhere, but we just had some bad luck and were crashing, and whatever. “That rumor started, and then after that rumor, it was that I was getting offers from other teams, which, I had never talked to anybody.” Busch said he hadn’t been given any indication that he wouldn’t be back at Hendrick until Monday."
Rick Hendrick can't even lie well....
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Does Jr. really think his fans will follow en masse? Oh, the newer ones who have no idea about the history of the sport, nor the history of Rick Hendrick will. Those of us who've been around for 20 or 30 years or so have a lot more knowledge about the way that outfit got started and operates. Maybe Jimmy Spencer had more insight about Kelley Elledge than we gave him credit for. Obviously she is not in tune with the fans and the timbre of the sport.
What a colossal shame. Knowing Dale Sr., he is certainly NOT smiling down on this one.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Yet another yellow flag, rain shortened win for the 24. What's that make it now, 25 won that way?
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
The media has chosen to focus on the passing of the 74-year-old France, to the point where it's like, Oh, by the way, Truex got his first win.
That's rather sad. France, who unquestionably brought Cup racing to the forefront of sport (while making himself and his family billionaires at the same time), had been out of racing for several years (even though he had kept a hand in the pot, as they say).
Last week's race at Charlotte was much ballyhooed as Casey Mears' first Cup win. It's a pity the same thing couldn't have been done for Truex--who is driving for a far less political team.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Must be hell not to control the judicial court system.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
In USA Today, 5/19/07:
"In some ways it's been kind of like it was when we lost Dale Sr.," Gilmore said. "We went out and won (at) Rockingham the next weekend."
It's the kind of boost in morale the No. 8 team can use, particularly in the wake of Earnhardt Jr.'s announcement that he's entertaining any and all offers for his driving services beginning in 2008.
How can ANYONE even think to compare the death of Dale Earnhardt with a NASCAR penalty/fine? I have long had my doubts about Richie Gilmore anyway--he came over to DEI from Hendrick Motorsports and right after that, DEI started losing it's much prized advantage at restrictor plate tracks. Almost like someone from Hendrick was feeding info back to their own team....Who could that be? Hmmmmm.....And, to make a laughable statement like this.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
It's been an ill-kept secret that step-mother Teresa has been difficult to deal with since Dale Jr.'s teen-aged years when he and sister Kelley went to live with his father and step-mom. Teresa, by all accounts, treats all of Dale Sr.'s children by other wives diffferently than she treats her own daughter.
Dale Jr. has made the first move to distance himself from the Teresa-run DEI. Predictions are running rampant. Personally, I'd like to see him end up driving for RCR in a black and red Budweiser #3 car next season. Richard Childress has been a good friend to Dale Jr., and was his father's best friend. He has looked out after Dale Jr. like a son.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
NASCAR's media blitz over the trash-throwing at Talledaga (and Phoenix, the week before) reminds me of that time. Those of us who would never have even thought about doing something like graffiti on the walls or tearing up anything were always made to feel like we were being chastised for the few people who did the dirt and damage. The Vandals, however, were smug in knowing that no one knew who they were or they would have been singled out and punished.
Later in life, it was the office managers. Staff meetings would be held and one or two slackers would never have a clue when the boss said, "you need to look in the mirror and see if you are doing your job."
Punishing the masses for an infrigement by the few (prohibiting beer coolers has been suggested so that no one can enjoy a beer at a race because a few folks let their poor judgment get the best of them) is not the answer. A lifetime ban from buying race tickets strikes me as NASCAR's pomposity at a new height. Hey, maybe they'll put the photos of the folks not allowed to buy tickets on beer cans, so that the other fans will be able to spot them more readily.
The media and webbers are all over how the "Talladega" fans are the worst in sports. No, they are not. Again the actions of a few are being touted widely and it is mean-spirited and unfair to blame the folks who go to the race year after year for the actions of a dozen or so folks.
Probably the best way to have handled this after Phoenix was for NASCAR to keep their noses out of it and not get the print and internet media involved. That turned this whole issue into a 'dare ya' thing and there was no question in my mind (and I wasn't at Talladega--I was in Maryland) that there would be trash/beer can throwing regardless of how the race ended. Because, after all, NASCAR made sure the Vandals knew they had the power to incite.
THIS JUST IN...NASCAR is developing the "CAN OF TOMORROW" -- A styrofoam nerf can that they will exclusive $ell and market to the fans at the track. Once the beer is gone, the can will self-destruct in 5 seconds.
Only in NASCAR. Now they'll have a convenient excuse why it was not a sellout in the future. It would have been... but we banned fans from coming to the event.
No wonder it's becoming harder to defend being fans of this 'sport.'
"FANS?? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' FANS!!"
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Likewise, NASCAR's use of their 'pit road speed limit.' NASCAR recently maintained they now have a 5 MPH leeway; of course that depends on where and when they clock the car from. Denny Hamlin was accused of going 50.1 MPH over the tolerance established for Phoenix (45 MPH + 5 MPH), so he was penalized for speeding. This is only one of many instances in the past couple of years where some drivers are penalized while others who consistently smoke their tires in and out of the pits, like Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, are rarely if ever caught speeding.
NASCAR spokesmen said they were "disappointed" in Tony's comments regarding NASCAR and Pro Wrestling. Guess the truth hurts.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
It was definitely not a friendly "rivalry" when Earnhardt was racing Gordon and to pretend it was is insulting and tasteless. If Gordon wishes to revise history, this is not the way to do it. His actions smacked of sheer gloating, ignorance and irreverance. And, whether or not he said anything in Victory Lane (and the first thing out of his mouth was about Dale Earnhardt), the fact remains that he is so keen on trying to be compared to Earnhardt, he will do anything to further that goal. It would have been a helluva lot more classy had he used a Virginia Tech flag, to salute the University after last week's tragedy. But, that's right--Gordon was born in California. He's not a native Southerner...Gordon plays the humble role well, but sincerity is not one of his better personality traits. Revisionists try to portray Earnhardt and Gordon as being close friends. They were business partners in many efforts, but Dale was the consumate businessman. Every driver wishes he were Dale's best friend, but from all accounts that role still fell to Richard Childress and a few others. All of a sudden we're hearing what great friends Dale and Gordon were. Come on....get real. A friend is someone you chat with on the phone, go hunting with, or socialize with. I don't ever recall seeing a photo of Dale and Teresa and Jeff and Brooke out on the town having dinner.
Dale Jr. is too nice and too much of an ambassador for the sport than to do anything other than he did and congratulate Gordon. Junior has a lot of clout with the fans--but this is not about Dale Jr. It is about honoring Dale Sr. -- something a great many race fans feel was NOT done. Bet you won`t see Gordon driving around with a Cale Yarborough or Darrell Waltrip flag when he likely ties their records.
This sport truly changed for the worst when Dale Earnhardt, Sr. was killed at Daytona in 2001. A fake-feeling tribute by a driver who is widely disliked because of his owner and team`s history of bribery and cheating was a poor choice, done in poor taste. As my mom used to say, "Consider the source."
All week long there have been articles defending Gordon`s actions, trying to portray this as a "tribute." A tribute is a very honorable and personal thing--and this did not feel that way. It felt more like a "Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na" braggadocio. It was not spontaneous. It was premeditated, as we heard on the voice feed on the television broadcast. Perhaps if so many of Gordon`s wins had not been under questionable circumstances--even this one, with the so-called safety problem of not having his radio work so the race was delayed til he got a new helmet (wonder if it had been Kenny Wallace or Mike Bliss - would they have been allowed to get new equipment while NASCAR put the start on hold? Past history of NASCAR says No Way)....
If Gordon wins 100 races, it will not make him one bit more popular with the fans who have seen too many shenanigans out of the Hendrick camp for them to ever like him. Even with NASCAR`s blessing, though, he will never match Petty`s 200 victories. And, even if he did, that would not change the feelings of the fans who detest Gordon and what he represents. And, like it or not, the fan is the backbone of the sport and the fan has a right to voice an opinion, whether the Gordon fans like it or not.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
If NASCAR had wanted to do it up right, they would have asked Jay Signore, of IROC fame, to oversee a program setting up a generic car. At least the IROC cars were competitive and racy. Instead, they created a one-style car and convinced the major auto manufacturers to put their name brands on this styless, non-stock car. Go into your local Chevy dealership and ask for the car that 'won on Sunday.' It cannot be had. But then, who would want it anyway? The 'Impala,' 'Camry,' 'Avenger' and 'Fusion' names on the cars are just that--names. It's hard to believe that NASCAR convinced the folks running Ford, Chevy, Dodge, and yes, even Toyota, to go along with the COT thing.
The upcoming race at Martinsville also features NASCAR's concept car. Too bad. Martinsville is usually another exciting, competitive race. No doubt NASCAR will refuse to admit they made a bad call with this COT project. Instead, they'll keep forcing it down the teams and fans' throats because--mark my words--somehow, somewhere, the folks that run NASCAR will be making the profits off of the COT. Maybe they've even bought an automotive plant to manufacture the things. Whatever, however, there is only one bottom line for NA$CAR and that is the dollar.
Race winner Kyle Busch's first words after winning the Bristol event was that the car 'sucks.' Kyle, I could not agree with you more.
Monday, March 19, 2007
All winter, all we heard in racing news was about Michael and his newToyota teams -- how grand it was going to be, the new shop being built, hype after hype...Now, having missed 3 races in a row, one wonders how long Toyota is going to stick with Michael as the flagship for their Cup teams. He's giving new definition to the term, 'Go or go home.' ...Of course, NASCAR is rushing the car of tomarrow into usage an effort to help level the playing field for the Toyota teams. One wonders if Toyota was sold a bill of goods that was undeliverable. From an objective point of view, it rather looks that way.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
In Sunday's race at Las Vegas, a NASCAR Official intercepted a tire that came off of Jimmie Johnson's car during a pitstop at the end of the race. The equipment (tire) left the pit box and was out of control. Only the official's action kept this from being a potential safety issue. That said, NASCAR declared that they did not charge Johnson with the usual penalty for this infraction because it was a 'discretionary' judgment call. Oh, boy!! Now we have a new NASCAR policy as to when the officials decide whether or not to enforce a penalty....Or, Johnson has added a NASCAR Official to his Pit Crew....Did Johnson's whining about the late caution at California 2 weeks ago, which took him out of the lead of the race, cause NASCAR to get all touchy-feely about Poor Jimmie?...Ah, yes...another black mark on the dark and sooty face of NASCAR...and they they wonder why fans get upset that they appear to make up the rules as they go along -- even though the sport has been around for over half a century.
I can't wait to see what happens the first time Jimmie loses a lug nut during a pit-stop. Perhaps the official will go over and help put it back on the wheel. With NASCAR, one never knows...
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Former Cup Crew Chief Tim Brewer has been a marvelous addition to the broadcasts as a race analyst. One of NASCAR's most successful crew chiefs in racing history, Brewer was on the comm for 53 wins, 55 poles and 2 Cup championships. What I especially admire is that he has a talent for explaining the more technical racing issues in layman's terms without being condescending to the viewers. (How many times have we heard the Fox 'experts' start every sentence with, "For you new racing fans...."?) Brewer has a quiet charisma, and his down-to-earth approach is certainly a blast of fresh air for long-time race viewers.
Rusty Wallace, in his second year with ESPN, is doing a most creditable and credible job. I have to admit I had my doubts about how he would make the transition from racer to broadcaster. And, of course, long time pro Jerry Punch is a most welcome sight for race fans as well. While I'm at it, I've been favorably impressed by Angelique Chengelis' reporting. This veteran motorsports write has made the transition to the booth smoothly, and it's such a delight to have a woman sportswriter of her knowledge covering races.
One can only hope ESPN maintains (and why wouldn't they?) their usual professional approach. And, please, Lord, let's not hear any 'Boogity, boogity, boogity' from the NASCAR Countdown commentators!! Somehow, I don't think we'll have to worry about that, though.
Monday, March 5, 2007
Seems to me that Pruett's move to block and then try to wreck his teammate was a pretty classless move. Of course, Pruett whined after the race about Montoya 'taking him out,' but just because a driver gets camera time, it doesn't mean they're telling the whole story or what really happened....Pruett's on-camera 'thumbs down' gesture and remarks about Montoya may have been made in the heat of the moment; his team owners were more cautious and Chip Ganassi said he'd have to look at the tape before he commented on it.
If there's a faster car behind you, basically you have a handful of choices. Go faster and maintain your lead, get out of the way of the clearly faster car or, if you insist on trying to stay in front of a faster car and wind up wrecked, don't whine about it.
Congratulations to Juan Pablo Montoya on an exciting, well-deserved first Busch Series win. As I have said many times, there are drivers--and there are racers. Montoya belongs in the elite class of racers.
A little bumping and banging? Well, that's racin'.
Friday, March 2, 2007
NASCAR is trying to build up its fan base and relationship with Mexico by running another Busch race there this weekend. The third one, so far.... For the many of us who are not diehard fans of road racing, this is not exactly a riveting event. But, by not having a Cup event anywhere this weekend, NASCAR forces fans to pay attention to the race in Mexico. And, just for the record, I adore Mexico. What a gorgeous country!.... Personally, I just don't care all that much for road racing, anywhere. Oh, I'll watch the race, but we won't be glued to the television...Just seems that if NASCAR was really goin' courting, they'd have put a CUP race on the docket there and had both Series run on the weekend. That's the way to add punch and panache to the event.
Of course, we all realize this is actually PR hype for NASCAR to try and recruit 'new' fans among the Hispanic and Latin populations. Maybe NASCAR has truly put off so many of their original fans with all the constant rule changes, politics, favoritism, and eternal quest of the sports fans' dollars that they're really desperate to recruit more fans by targeting a demographic. And, by the way, there will be a race in Canada, eh? Why does NASCAR's 'brain trust' (and I use that term loosely) feel they have to dangle their wares in order to sell the sport? How many billions of dollars do the folks that run this sport need?
NASCAR has had the enormous great fortune to have a 'rookie' driver fall into their laps in the person of championship racer Juan Pablo Montoya; arguably one of the top racing talents in the world. He brings in a cosmopolitan, world-wide fan base to the sport. This native of Colombia, South America has a devoted following that will surprise even the NASCAR executive staff. And, if some of the lesser-talented folks on the track would stop angling to wreck Montoya, he quite likely would have already had a win in stock cars (Busch or Cup) -- or at least some top-10 finishes. A racer like Montoya brings far more to the sport than NASCAR realizes. Now, that's the cosmopolitan flair that will benefit Cup racing in the long run.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
...DEI engines were the only ones to blow up at California. Supposably it has to do with the change to unleaded fuel... ??? Seems like ever since Richie Gilmore came to DEI, their restrictor plate program has gone downhill, while Hendrick Racing (from whence he came) has improved dramatically...Can you say "fox in the henhouse?"
...it's taking so long for Dale Jr. and Richard Childress to team up. That's what most of Dale Jr.'s fans are waiting for.
...Steven Wallace can even see to drive, since he blinks about about 200 times a minute?
...Mark Martin can drive a Chevy in the Cup Series and Fords in the other series? What happened to brand loyalty?
...no one is stepping up to sponser the IROC Series? That's a damned shame that no one will step up to the plate and back it. Of course, it's the most neutral racing series in stock car--NASCAR doesn't have their claws in this one too much.
...NASCAR doesn't admit they blew it and give a race back to Rockingham?
Friday, February 23, 2007
For the 439 millionth time, NASCAR is a sport run and owned by one family. They have made nepotism an art. As long as one family controls a sport, the sport's rulebook is not available to the fans or public, and that family is raking in literally hundreds of millions of dollars a year of course there will be discrepancies and inconsistencies. Richard Petty tried to unionize the drivers back in the 1970's and was lucky NASCAR let him back in to their sport. Until a Board of Governors, comprised of team owners, track owners (yes, there are some tracks NASCAR's France family does not own) it's a moot point to talk about how the sport is run.
Heck, Michael Waltrip's team was fined $100,000 (chump change to them), 100 points for driver and owner (more of an 'ouch'), and the crew chief suspended indefinitely for a 'mysterious substance' found in the manifold. Now NASCAR won't even reveal what that substance was to be public. Not to worry, tho. Secrets in the garage are seldom well kept.