Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ho-Hum Homestead is Here--Does Anybody Care?

Barring a last place finish by Jimmie Johnson and a 1st or 2nd place finish by Carl Edwards at the same time on Sunday, that NASCAR Cup trophy which has had Johnson's name etched on it since the Chase started will be a total waste of a race day. NASCAR brass are finally panicking at the future forecast of their sport--something they have been in denial about for the past 3-4 years much as an ostrich with his head in the sand standing on the beach as a tidal wave descends denies that he is going to get wet.

Did you ever think DEI would have to merge with anyone? Did you ever think you'd hear about shortening the racing season? Did you think you'd hear about the ratings being down an average of 10% below the figures from last year, which were 6-9% below the figures from the year before? Did you ever think you'd see so many empty seats at Atlanta that you could actually count the attendance? Did you ever think NASCAR would consider eliminating testing as a cost-savings measure? Did you ever think that the Winston-Salem Journal, which has been covering NASCAR since 1949, would ELIMINATE its NASCAR coverage at the end of November?? The multi-millionaires that own and run the sport have been out of touch with the common folks--the folks that built the sport through their enthusiasm, caring and support.

NASCAR, indeed, could have stopped some of the apathy that's become apparent during the Chase by making changes that would have leveled the playing field--such as having qualifying for Cup races the days after rainouts set the field. That in itself can be credited for the championship Johnson is poised to 'win.' There is absolutely no reason qualifying could not have been held for the rainouts in the Chase. NASCAR has changed rules mid-season before. It's not like it would be a precedent.

Cale Yarborough WON 3 consecutive championships in a time where there were not million dollar motorhomes, full time race day crews, flights in and out on raceday, 100,000 square foot shops and an industry built around racing. Cale's wins were tough, competitive and gruelling. To try and compare Johnson's soon to the 3rd consecutive 'championship' with Cale Yarborough's is ludicrous. Johnson may tie Yarborough, but there is no comparison as to the feat. It's like in the olden days of baseball when the Baltimore Orioles had four 20-game winners in 1970 -- and the wins were NOT aided by setup men and closers. If a team today has one 20-game winner (a rare feat), it is not done without limiting pitches and having top-notch closers. That's much the same type of difference between racing in the 1960's-1980's and today. Teams today are corporations and to try and compare a feat like 3 consecutive championships in Cale's era versus today is simply ridiculous.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Kyle Busch Shows True Class While Tying Sam Ard's Record--I Dare the Other NASCAR DRIVERS to Match him!!!!

Kyle Busch's 10th win of the season at Texas Motor Speedway in the NNS Series on November 1 tied the record held by pioneer Sam Ard. Maybe a lot of the 'new' race fans don't know of Sam Ard--but if they love the sport and learn the history, they certainly should! Celebrating his own milestone victory, Kyle not only mentioned that he has a lot of respect for Ard's achievements in the Busch (now Nationwide) Series but added that he is donating $100,000 to Sam Ard to help with his medical bills as Ard battles Alzheimer's Disease. The 23-year-old racer dedicated his win to Ard, a two-time Busch Series champion who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and in tough straits financially. "Sam Ard was one of the pioneers of the sport and this really means a lot to me," Busch said after his now-traditional victory bows to the crowd. "I got to thinking about it and I decided I'm going give him $100,000 to try to help him out."

Kyle Busch has shown more class and altruism in his short career than most NASCAR drivers have exhibited in longer and less stellar careers.

Well, how about it--all you CUP and NNS and CTS millionaires? Do you have the generosity of spirit to match Kyle Busch's contribution? Do you recognize what Sam Ard did for your sport? Do you have the compassion to help out a driver whose achievements have allowed you to be where you are today?

I hope so. I hope we hear of many other drivers helping out Sam Ard. A true racer and champion who needs your help now. How about it?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Qualifying Rain Out on a Thursday Nite for a Saturday Night Race? What a Joke!!!

Unbelievable. Rain caused cancelling of qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night. So, Jimmie Johnson is on the pole...Wow... What a surprise.... (NOT!)...NASCAR continues to trudge forward and help Johnson out every chance they get. There is no reason whatsoever qualifying could not have been rescheduled for Friday or even least if it rained, then, it wouldn't look quite so suspicious.

NASCAR, no doubt, is sticking to its antiquarian rules about qualifying....oh, that's right. They can change the car's body (COT), change the point system (Chase), change whateverinhell they want...but this last bastion of control, qualifying, has yet to be altered. And, no wonder ratings are down an average of 5% per race, and TICKET SALES are down at ISC tracks (as announced today) 10-15% from last year...and it's not getting better.

Way to go, NASCAR. Continue to favor the 48 team. That'll get you new fans.......Not.....

Friday, September 26, 2008

Montoya's Pole Time Disallowed so that Jimmie Johnson Can Start First

Leave it to NASCAR to start 'Jimmie-ing' things at Kansas for the 48 car. Juan Pablo Montoya's pole winning time was disallowed after qualifying was done today because 'the car's rear shock exceeded the maximum pressure allowed' according to NASCAR.' That allows the 48 Lowes car driven by Jimmie Johnson to move from second to the starting spot. What, with the mysterious car failures of Kyle Busch's #18 in the first two races, one can only wonder how much NASCAR is working to fiddle with and handicap the outcome of the Chase for the Cup. Many fans have reached the point where we do not trust NASCAR at all, particularly when it comes to officiating the races and overseeing the cars. Particularly when, every time this happens, it appears to benefit the Rick Hendrick Racing entries.

To quote an article on

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Juan Montoya's misfortune was serendipity for Jimmie Johnson, who will start from the pole in Sunday's Camping World RV 400 at Kansas Speedway after Montoya's qualifying speed was disallowed.

Montoya turned a lap in 31.368 seconds (172.150 mph) Friday to knock Jimmie Johnson (172.007 mph) out of the top starting spot for Sunday's race -- only to see his time disallowed because the nitrogen gas pressure in the rear shock absorbers of his No. 42 Dodge exceeded the 75 pounds per square inch allowed under NASCAR rules...

They failed to state the exact numbers telling how severe (or not) the infraction was...

Does NASCAR already have Jimmie Johnson's name engraved on the Cup trophy, too?

Dover's ratings were down drastically. Look for more of the same at Kansas. And, if NASCAR keeps Jimmie-ing the Rules, it is not going to get any better. At least there's a full slate of NFL games on Sunday....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Is Kyle Busch's Car Being Sabotaged?

It's sure looking suspicious. Kyle Busch's car has had two major failures in the first two races in the 'Chase for the Cup.' Denny Hamlin has also had difficulties. These Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) cars have been stout all year; Kyle came into the Chase with a substantial lead, considering the point system for wins and laps lead. First in New Hampshire--the sway bar problem (which looks like it was tinkered with). Now, in Dover on Sunday, an inexplicable problem arises again.

One has to wonder if Joe Gibbs Racing has hired any ex-Hendrick employees this past season? Inquiring minds want to know. Or has someone on the inside been bought off? At the risk of sounding conspiracy theorist, it certainly looks like sabotage. After all; this is for a multi-million dollar championship.

Who's sabotaging the 18?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

NASCAR's Brass is SOOOOOOO Funny (About time for the drug testing!!)

NASCAR announced today that they are instituting a drug testing policy--something this writer has advocated for about 5 years now. NASCAR sez that they are being 'pro-active' and it is not in response to demands for this.

ROFLMAO..............Pro-active? NASCAR? In ONE SENTENCE?????

The folks who run NASCAR have such super over-inflated egos and opinions of they truly think they came up with this idea all along--and it was not in response to finding out that more than one driver has used drugs over the past several years and been under the influence on raceday.

As John Stossel says, "GIVE ME A BREAK!!"

NASCAR pro-active. Now, THAT's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time....

Guess the bottom line is that they are FINALLY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT A DRUG TESTING POLICY, no matter how long it took or silly they look in trying to claim it was their idea all along. After all, all the MAJOR SPORTS have had a drug policy in place for some time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

'Sliced Bread' Logano Looking for Dough and Fame

ESPN's E-60 featured an interview with Joey Logano--you know, the kid dubbed the 'best thing since sliced bread'--earlier this evening. Logano is already living the Richie Rich lifestyle and his parents falsified his age (listing him as 12 when he was 10) so he could compete in the Donnie Allison Pro Legends series 8 years ago--or was that 6 years?...Some of us will have to be convinced of the superior talent of this youngster. After all, when you compete with top-notch equipment, like Jeff Gordon did when he was a child beating up on the other poorer kids whose dads worked to put their cars together, it is hard to get a genuine feel on talent. Same for Matt Martin, who is no longer racing--his father Mark Martin made sure the kid had Jack Roush engines when he competed against the other 12 and 13 year olds. One wonders how these kids would have done in equally prepared equipment. Motorsports allows the more affluent parents to buy better equipment to give their little darlings an advantage. So, the question certainly remains--how good is Logano? We've seen many young drivers brought up too early, too highly touted, and gone after a year or so. It will be interesting to see how Logano fares when he is in the Cup Series. I'm not quite ready to put him on a pedestal with former Cup champions.

Joey Logano also sounds quite immature when he is interviewed. His main interest is, apparently, becoming a 'famous' driver. Well, he has that already.... The question remains as to whether Sliced Bread will be a fresh face and talent -- or just become toast. ;)

Monday, September 1, 2008

YAWN.....Did anyone on the East Coast Care about CaliBOREnia's Race?

What a yawner. The Cup race at CaliBOREnia was uninteresting, unexciting and unbearably boring. The only thing the COT has brought to racing is little passing and little racing. Who didn't know that Jimmie Johnson was tapped for the win after 2 days of hype by the racing analysts that 'no one has ever won from the pole'.....Hopefully Richmond will be better this weekend. And, how about all those empty seats in California? Darlington NEVER had that problem on Labor Day Weekend. NASCAR blew off a lot of fans when they destroyed the tradition of a Labor Day Race at the Track Too Tough to Tame. What IDIOT thought that moving that race to California was a great idea? Bet they're last name is France....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tony Stewart MUST Make Savvy Decisions for New Teams' Crews

At last Tony Stewart will be back in a Chevrolet--something long-time Stewart and Chevy fans are quite happy about. With the recent announcement that Ryan Newman will drive the second Hass-Stewart NASCAR Cup car in 2009, the next question becomes exactly who Stewart will hire to manage the teams and crew the cars. Rumors surfaced this morning that Darien Grubb, a Rick Hendrick engineering manager for the #5 and 88 cars, would be hired as a manager for the new teams.

Tony Stewart needs to put the right folks in place with his new teams. Hiring a Rick Hendrick Racing (RHR) employee might sound good from the outside, but hopefully Tony will be smart enough NOT to let a fox run his henhouse. The relationship with RHR concerning the engines that RHR has provided Haas in the past is troublesome enough; adding a RHR employee in the mix to run things could prove to be a very bad move if that employee has RHR interests at heart and not the interests of Tony Stewart.

Smoke needs to be cautious in adding the best folks he can find. Go back several years to when Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) dominated the restrictor-plate tracks. Then, DEI hired former RHR employee Richie Gilmore, and over the next few years RHR racing became proficient in restrictor plate racing. Hmmmmmmm...... no connection there, eh? And no one seemed to connect those dots.

There IS no such thing as 'Coincidence.'

Be careful, Tony. Some of us already don't trust that your team will get comparable engines to those that the 24 and 48 get....after all, the 88 and 5 RHR teams don't get the cream of the crop in engine work. Why would RHR give something that good to someone who is one of the best racers in NASCAR--especially when he's not on their team? Stay tuned....

Friday, August 1, 2008

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Whining About Pocono Race Being 'TOO LONG'

Hey, Junior--why don't you reimburse all the fans who have bought tickets about 1/4 of their ticket prices, if the race is too long for you. Or, better yet, why don't you go and run your Whiskey River bar instead of racing, and free up a seat for someone who wants to RACE???

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Boreyard 400 - The Fix was in?

If ANYONE ever doubted that NASCAR could control the outcome of a race, the results of Sunday's debacle at Indianapolis Motor Speedway should effectively put those doubts to rest. This was a classic example of NASCAR controlling a race, from start to end. When the weekend started, NASCAR knew there would be major tire issues. Rather than let those multi-million dollar, well-paid prima donna teams run their own races -- those guys knew they'd need to pit every 10 laps or so -- NASCAR effectively and efficiently maneuvered the race and its outcome, while piously contending they were acting in the name of safety. In a situation like this, who else but the car in the first pit stall had a major advantage?

NASCAR has proven beyond a doubt that they can control how a race ends. We suspected it--now we know....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Competition Yellows by NASCAR Turn Brickyard into Boreyard

NASCAR ought to refund the ticket money to every single person who attended the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis on Sunday (July 27). It is unfathomable that a NASCAR Cup race was run entirely under the issuance of 'competition yellow' flags. Apparently, NASCAR felt that the teams were incompetent to police themselves when the Goodyear tires were shown to be extraordinarily poor in performance on the track. NASCAR's answer? Throw a caution every 10 or so laps, to force the teams to pit and change tires. Amazing. This effectively turned one of the true gems on the NASCAR race schedule into a colossal deadly bore of a race. Add to that the unusually poor ESPN quality of transmission--several times the television screen went totally blank--and it all added up to NASCAR's version of Much Ado About Nothing.

It is not racing to run a 400 mile event stopping every 10-12 laps. This sets a new height of absurdity in NASCAR micro-management of racing. They should have let the race run. If a driver felt a tire was going down he certainly could have pitted to prevent damage or wrecking.

We thought we'd seen everything. Leave it to NASCAR to come up with yet another twist.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

NASCAR Doesn't Play Fair

The Toyota teams had 9 cars confiscated after the last race in order for NASCAR to evaluate the horsepower in the engines. The David Reutimann car was found to have an approximately 3% advantage in horsepower over the other makes.

Where was NASCAR when the Rick Hendrick Racing cars, particularly that of the 24 and 48, were running rampant over the other teams a few years ago? NASCAR didn't confiscate any of the RHR cars to evaluate their engine packages.

Once again, NASCAR is using their clout to affect the playing field. RHR tested the COT last year and had an advantage. This season, Joe Gibbs Racing did their homework and it has paid off in victories, particularly for the #18 Kyle Busch Car.

Guess it all depends on who NASCAR is trying to push. Lord knows we've all had enough of them pushing the Gordon and Johnson cars down everyone's throat the past few years. Looks like those teams whined enough this season to convince NASCAR to penalize the competition. Particularly since the competition has outclassed them in performance and talent all season.

Makes one hope that the Kyle Busch team continues to dominate. That, at least, would prove that NASCAR isn't controlling the racing outcomes so far. If they were, the 24 and 48 would have made it to victory lane by now.

Parity and NASCAR -- does it ever really exist??

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Maybe Dale Jr. Should Change his Last Name

Dale Earnhardt Junior is sounding more and more like a member of the Hendrick family. Maybe he should change his name to Dale Hendrick...Post-race after the NNS race at Daytona last night, he came across with his new, bitchy attitude about how he was going to have to go back and talk to the team about the bad pit stops for his 'protege', Brad Keselowski. By the way, it's rather interesting when you note the pattern of 'young' drivers brought along by Rick Hendrick. And don't think that Hendrick was not instrumental in having Shane Huffman fired and Keselowski hired. Hendrick has been in the background pulling the strings for JR Motorsports for a lot longer than most folks believe.

Just MHO.....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A 'SELLOUT' at New Hampshire?????

Wow, there must have been a LOT of matchstick thin folks in the stands at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Cup race on Sunday (June 29) --because there were OBVIOUSLY thousands and thousands of empty seats. According to Jayski's report New Hampshire was proclaiming the 27th consecutive sellout.

Oh, maybe the folks were at the restrooms...or getting a hotdog...or visiting the souvenir haulers...

The empty seats at Michigan last week were rather obvious--this looked even worse. At least at Dover the speedway attempted to cover blocks of thousands of seats with advertising intended for television....

Oh, by the way, did you miss me? :D

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dale Jr -- We Hardly Knew Ye

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has truly become an adopted son of Hendrick Racing. No longer does he speak and have the confidence he showed for years as Dale Earnhardt JUNIOR. Now he stammers and scrounges for words when he is interviewed. He does not sound confident, self-assured, or even like he did a few years ago.

He has bonded, lock, stock and barrel with Rick Hendrick. If Dale Jr.. thinks Hendrick is a substitute for the father he lost, he is sadly mistaken.

Dale Sr. would never have approved of Dale Jr.'s deserting DEI, especially for the Hendrick camp. Dale Sr. would have expected more of Dale Jr.

So did we.

Dale Jr. Obviously, we overestimated you and did not know you as well as we had thought.

In the recent interview with ESPN the Magazine, it was confirmed what we had intuited long ago. Rick Hendrick was behind the attempted takeover at DEI by Dale Jr. last season. It was obvious, really. Who else would have attempted to appear so 'clever' and have tried (successfully) to get Dale Jr. to make a power-play for half of DEI....Hmmmmm...who could that be?...................

Rick Hendrick is playing Dale Jr. like a cheap Stradivarius knockoff....He'll do so as long as it keeps the 24 and 48 teams ahead of Dale Jr.

Funny, one would have thought an Earnhardt would have had more 'street smarts.'

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Dale Junior a Cheap Date?

This week, Eddie Gossage offered Dale Earnhardt, Junior $100,000 to drive an IndyCar in the IRL race at Texas; the money to be donated to a charity of Dale Jr's choice. It's not surprising that Dale Jr. refused the offer. He's hardly capable of jumping in an IRL car and racing. Besides, the IRL folks would make him go thru rookie training and orientation. Junior gave what has become a typical Dale Jr. smart-ass remark (ever since he joined Rick Hendrick racing fans have seen a snide, defensive side to Jr. we'd never seen before), that Eddie Gossage must think he's (Dale Jr) a 'cheap date.' I guess when you're Dale Hendrick, Jr....or was it Dale Earnhardt, Jr.,...$100,00 IS just chump change. For most of us that might be a combined couple's yearly salary if both have good jobs.

Poor Junior. Sometimes he might need to learn to think a bit before he comes up with a 'witty' retort. He's been in hot water all week for not aiding teammate Jeff Gordon at Talladega last week. Seems Junior has only traded one prima donna -- leaving DEI at the end of last season -- for another....

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dale Earnhardt Day in Mooresville Still Helps Fans Heal

On this, the anniversary of Dale Earnhardt's birthday, it's terrific to see so many folks turn out for 'Dale Earnhardt Day' in Mooresville. ESPN's NASCAR Now had a very nice hour-long show from the DEI Motorsports facility, culminating with interviews with Jerry Punch and Richard Childress.

It's still very hard for those of us who loved and supported Dale for over 20 years, in many ways, to think about the loss of someone we so admired, respected, and loved. I had the good fortune of speaking to Dale twice, and have never forgotten how gracious and concerned he was about the fans.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Danica Patrick Deserves to be Congratulated!!

I have already seen one Yahoo sports columnist diss Danica Patrick's IndyCar win at Motegi. Because she won a fuel milage race.

Funny; I didn't see a similar column from this yahoo last week when Jimmie Johnson won a fuel milage race.

Will women always face a double-standard in racing? With attitudes like that of writers like Bob Margolis, I guess so. His article at Yahoo was condescending and a backhanded insult to women in racing. Never mind the driver paying her dues, racing full-time, and still being a comparative newcomer. Teaming up with Team Andretti was a terrific move on Danica's part. I dare say if Marco Andretti had won a race on fuel milage, that writer would have been singing a different tune.

How many drivers have scored in a major victory in a major racing league in 50 starts? A lot of NASCAR's 'superstars' are still waiting for that moment in time.

Frankly, however, Margolis' opinion means little -- if anything -- to real race fans who are glad to welcome a new race winner into Victory Lane. I didn't see an article by him condemning the Rick Hendrick Racing Money Machine's win by virtue of 'fuel mileage' at Phoenix.

Congrats, Danica!! I'm glad you haven't let critics like that stand in the way of your racing. The confidence from the first win is something that carries over and helps in future racing. And, they can't take that away from ANY first time race winner.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

NASCAR Refuses to Act for Safety

NASCAR's President, Mike Helton, says it's not a problem. Brian France, whose family owns NASCAR and who wrecked his Lexus on the way home one night in Florida last year without even getting so much as tested for DUI for formality's sake says it's not a problem. Well, the lack of drug testing in racing IS a problem.

The drivers want it, a large majority of fans and sportswriters want it, but NASCAR -- operating on a 'wait until someone gets killed or injured, then we'll react' policy, has dug its collective heels in and is refusing to consider testing drivers and team members for drugs. Like I said in my last blog, it's more about not wanting to put up the money to set up a testing system. Why else? What's it going to take for NASCAR to admit they need to have routine drug testing in this sport? I daresay none of the older, established drivers would be stupid enough to race while on heroin or speed or marijuana, but what about some of the unknowns? Like say, Aaron Fike -- who stated in an ESPN The Magazine interview that he used heroin on race day more than one time. There is not one, single solitary reason for the biggest racing circuit in the USA not to drug test the drivers.

NASCAR claims they're all about safety. That's why the big push for the COT. Well, if they're really concerned about safety, the driver testing should be their paramount concern. One wonders what the multi-billionaires running NASCAR are thinking by refusing to safeguard the drivers via drug testing. Isn't about time they dug their heads out of the sand and used some intelligence in this matter?

Friday, April 11, 2008

NASCAR and $AFETY -- What's the Real Issue?

NASCAR brass 'talk the talk' but we're not seeing them walk the walk, as the saying goes. For several years, many of us have said and written many times our belief that NASCAR should start taking proactive responsibility for the drivers' physical safety. Now, I am not talking about the COT. There are other equally -- if not more -- serious issues that NASCAR has repeatedly refused to consider, despite many drivers, fans, owners and others in the sport feeling that these should be addressed. The Aaron Fike issue that just surfaced publicly this week -- that Fike admitted actually using heroin on race days -- is yet another prime example of NASCAR not wanting to step in and take care of a situation which can easily be monitored. Since when is NASCAR concerned about the privacy act? It's more likely that NASCAR will only ever react when someone is killed on the track after either a run in with a driver on drugs or a driver using drugs themselves dies. Is that what it takes for NASCAR to see a need to get involved??? That's a truly sad, horrific and scary thought.

For years, many of us have advocated a 'Safety Safari' such as the NHRA and IRL/CART has. If you don't know, that's an entire medical team that travels from event to event as part of the show, along with the race officials. They know the drivers; they have their medical records.They are on the spot and react quickly to medical emergencies. Each track, instead, has their own team which does a competent job; still there are times where if you had a state-of-the-art team like the NHRA/IRL/CART has, it just might make a literal life-or-death difference.

Dare we say it might be MONEY which is keeping NASCAR from enacting routine drug testing and a Safety Safari? The poor, poor France family that owns NASCAR has their spot on the roster of the 100 RICHEST PEOPLE IN THE USA. Guess Brian and his Uncle can't spare a few dollars to quite potentially save the lives of the drivers who make their sport what it is. One can only conclude that the Frances and Company don't want to dip into their millions in profits to help safeguard the lives of the drivers on the track. After all, the COT didn't cost NASCAR anything....

Baseball was in denial over steriods. Looks like NASCAR is once again in denial over drugs in racing (never mind the Shane Hmiels, Tyler Walkers and Aaron Fikes of the sport). Not only should drivers be tested weekly, but crew members should also be tested at least a few times during the season. It only takes one incident to turn into a tragedy. As a long-time fan, even one tragedy is too many.

Drivers such as Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman and Jeff Burton, to name the more prominent ones speaking out about safety and drug testing are ignored by NASCAR. There is no real leader in the garage who has NASCAR's 'ear' when it comes to what needs to be done for the sport.

I applaud Kevin Harvick for having the courage to speak out this week about drug testing. After all, if you're not using drugs, why would you have an issue with being tested? Maybe the NASCAR officials and sport owners need to be tested. Particularly the owners (not team owners but the NASCAR hierarcy). Because the decisions they are making on this issue are not sound. As I recall, a year or so ago Brian France crashed his Lexus on the way back to his home in Florida. It seems he wasn't tested for anything, either. Hmmmmmm........

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Martin Truex Not Worried About Negotiations for his DEI Contract?

Maybe that's because he's been busy auditioning for his old buddy, Dale Jr.'s, team. It was interesting that Truex tried to qualify the #5 Dale Junior/Rick Hendrick Grand National car a few weeks ago....Casey Mears might well watch his back; sure is looking like Hendrick via Dale Junior is trying to woo Truex away from DEI.

Teresa and Max--you'd better watch the shop, as they say. Hendrick already fineagled Dale Junior away from you. Truex is likely to be next.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Claim Jumpers is About the Dumbest Thing Fox Has Come Up With

Fox broadcasters are trying to be clever and top 'BuschWhackers' -- which is what a LOT of us old time writers have called the Cup drivers who cherry pick in the Busch (or Nationwide now) Series taking points, wins and money away from the drivers trying to get experience and their big break in racing.

Honestly. Claim Jumpers? That sounds pretty pathetic.

We've offered other alternatives since BUSCH is no longer acceptable in the broadcast booth...

Saturday Cupsters, Cherry Pickers, Low Down Mangy Varmints....Visit FOXSPORTS/NASCAR and send your ideas in to them via their contact form.

There has to be something better than claim jumpers.....

Monday, March 17, 2008

FoxSports Bristol Coverage Had an Eerie Sound

For whatever reason, Fox must have insisted Darrell Waltrip be in the booth for Sunday's race at Bristol, inspite of an incredibly hoarse and raspy voice. Guess Fox doesn't give 'sick leave' to the announcing reached a point where I burst out laughing whenever Waltrip spoke, because his voice sounded like a really, really bad imitation of either the Godfather or a horror show demon voice. Whatever it was, I hope it's cleared in up in 2 weeks, because I don't think we can take much more of the evil Darrell twin doing the commentary...

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Tire Issue: Smoke Speaks Up When No One Else Wants to

You've all read all week -- or heard live on television last weekend -- Tony Stewart's angry but well-voiced remarks about the extremely poor quality of tires Goodyear has been sending to the track, culminating with a really bad product at Atlanta. After all, when you think about it, drivers really do put their lives on the line literally race after race, and it is reprehensible that a company would provide a part of the equipment -- in this case the tires -- that is not up to par with what the drivers and teams need and expect. The performance of the cars, and the other drivers' overall agreement with Stewart's remarks should be taken as speaking volumes. No one wants to rock the boat or be the 'bad guy' and once again Tony is put in the position of speaking up and being honest, at the cost of being criticized for being outspoken. Tony Stewart has, reluctantly I feel, had to pick up the torch as far as being the voice of the racers in the garage, since the loss of the late great Dale Earnhardt. Other big name drivers tend to stick to the NASCAR party line and try not to take responsibility. Tony has the maturity, ethics and sense of responsibility to try and address an issue when it becomes potentially dangerous to the drivers. It's admirable to see someone willing to speak up at the risk of NASCAR's ire.

Stewart is one of the few racers in the series who has raced in virtually every major racing circuit out there (with the exception of Formula One, IF you want to call that a major racing circuit -- but that's another blog for another time). With the experience Stewart has, if he says the tires Goodyear is bringing to the track are garbage, then you can pretty well bet the ranch on that.

I've heard it said the past few years that Goodyear has been 'clearing out the warehouses' and getting rid of a lot of tires via what they bring to the races.

NASCAR has been on the safety high-horse the past 7 years since the death of Dale Earnhardt. The shoe box COT is NASCAR's answer for more in-car safety. Why aren't they at the forefront of this question trying to find out what Goodyear really is sending to the track instead of sticking their feet in cement and doing their usual lip service to a vendor they do not wish to offend? Mike Helton went on Tony Stewart's Sirius satellite show this week and tried to tone down things, but only came across as a NASCAR apologist. Yes, I know. That's his job. It's what he does.

If one of the premiere racers in NASCAR says there is a tire problem, you can pretty well believe that where there's Smoke, there's fire...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Strange Bedfellows Redux - or - What is DEI doing working with Hendrick?

It was announced that Martin Truex is going to drive the #5 JR (Dale Junior/Rick Hendrick) Motorsports NNS car at Bristol...Mark Martin has already driven for Hendrick this season, even thought both of these drivers are DEI drivers. What gives? No loyalty anymore or are the contracts so open that anyone can drive anywhere? This was interesting....

Starting to wonder if Teresa Earnhardt and Max Siegel know what they are doing. You just don't let your drivers zip back and forth to the 'enemy camp.' And, yes, other Chevy teams are definitely the enemy camp.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

NASCAR Actually Got the Robby Gordon Appeal Right (well, almost)

On Wednesday, March 5, NASCAR reviewed Robby Gordon's appeal and rescinded the 100 points for driver and owner and the crew chief suspension. Curiously, they increased the crew chief's fine from $100,000 to $150,000... All in all this was a very successful appeal for the Robby Gordon team. Just strange that the fine was increased. It should have been reduced if not omitted. Nevertheless, it's amazing to find that NASCAR actually basically did the right thing. After all, the part number on the 'wrong part' and the 'right part' were the same. Even NASCAR couldn't find a way to make an honest mistake cheating.

Wonder how long this new, improved NASCAR will last?

Friday, February 29, 2008

Why is Mark Martin in a Hendrick NNS Car??

It's bad enough seeing Mark Martin come over to DEI to co-run the #8 car this season. Martin is a long-associated Ford driver whose name is well connected and associated with that brand. While DEI is trying to field the 8 car this year competitively, it has greatly irked many Chevy and DEI fans to see Martin come aboard to drive the 8 -- a car made famous by Ralph Earnhardt and Dale Junior. Of course, the big story this past year in NASCAR was Dale Junior leaving his father's team to go race for Rick Hendrick -- something else particularly grating to dedicated Earnhardt fans (whether Dale Sr. or Dale Jr.). So, watching this collusion between the drivers of the two teams does not make fans of one -- or the other -- team happy.

DEI's President of Global Operations, Max Siegel, was interviewed on ESPN this past week. He's pretty polished and slick at doing his job--trying to make it look like all is roses and candy between Dale Junior, DEI and Rick Hendrick Racing -- but one has to wonder, after seeing some of Dale Junior's interviews the past 2 months, how true this is. Junior does not sound nor look like the Junior of old. His expression, body language and demeanor does not come across like someone who is entirely pleased with how things have turned out. Maybe he's starting to realize that he's no longer the big fish in the small pond, but rather the smaller fish in the bigger pond.

We've noticed that racing revisionists now claim that Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. were colleagues, and that Hendrick and Dale Sr. were buddies. Well, that's not the way that those of us who have followed stock car racing for the past 30+ years remember it that way. 'Back in the Day' you pretty well were either Ford or Chevy and many a battle took place off the track by the fans. NASCAR, in their attempts to make the sport more homogenized, has tried to take the emphasis off of car makes. While our own American brands are having financial difficulty, and charity should begin at home, NASCAR has taken the stance that foreign car makes are going to bring yet more $$$ into their ever-burgeoning coffers; hence the push for the generic COT. It has yet to be revealed 'who' is profiting from the new car design. The shops are not allowed to fabricate the bodies any more. Someone has to be providing all this new stuff...I have my suspicions...

If Martin is in a Hendrick NNS car, then what he is doing driving a Cup car for DEI? That's the main question. Doesn't Hendrick have all these 'talented' drivers, and upcoming stars-in-grooming like Landon Cassills, to put in cars? Top that off with Martin's forays into CTS racing -- again, taking the proverbial food out of the mouths of those that need it for their teams to survive -- and one has to wonder about Mark Martin's ego and what it takes to feed that.

Martin has no firm allegiance to anyone, apparently. Jumping between make-to-make of car from each Series (Cup, NNS and CTS) grates on some of us 'old fans' that NASCAR is committed to wooing back. NASCAR is determined to deemphasize the 'branding' of the cars by ramming the so-called COT (car of today which, last year, was the car of tomorrow) down everyone's thoats.

It's ironic that Martin tries to appear as a mentor to young drivers when, in fact, his actions generally serve to help send the less-financed driver, who is trying to break into the series and gain experience, and his team, home.

DEI might think about how their information is being shared with their good buddies at Rick Hendrick Racing. No one is going to go back and forth between teams and not dish about it.

Speed Channel is Worried about what to call 'BuschWhackers'




Or just plain 'WHACKERS...

Or ... THIEVIN' VARMINTS!! Yes, that's the one...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bank the Track at California? How About Just Stopping the 'Weepers'??

The other day, Mikey Waltrip voiced an opinion in the media that he thought the track at California should be banked like Daytona or Talladega for restrictor plate racing. Well, that's one of the silliest things I've heard in a long time. Guess Michael's had too much time on his hands, what which his breakout Toyota season last year....

Before they worry about repaving the track and building up the banking, maybe they should figure out how to get rid of the underground water/weepers that plagued the track this past weekend.

A more fan-friendly proposition might be to take away one race from California and give it back to Rockingham. Or, move the race date to Darlington...Fans want good old fashioned racing at those tracks, not the creation of yet another restrictor-plate track.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Why Does NASCAR Hate Robby Gordon?

Poor Robby Gordon. You gotta feel for the guy whether you pull for him or not. Once again, NASCAR has come down on him with both feet for a 'violation' of the rules that was not even of his own making. And, it was obviously not to gain an 'advantage' or an attempt to circumvent the rules or cheat. What gives? This isn't the first time NASCAR has hefted a pretty heavy penalty at Robby; although it certainly is, by far, one of the hugest issued by NASCAR to date.

Robby has been pretty well the last of the 'independents' for a few years now. A couple of weeks before Daytona, he switched from Ford to Dodge, to work with Gilette Evernham Motorsports (GEM). He gets new car parts on the fly, a minuscule problem is found in pre-race inspection at Daytona with the wrong nose being sent to his team for the new Dodge, and he is hit with a $100,000 fine, 100 points, and suspension of his crew chief. Yikes!!! Yet, NASCAR sure doesn't come down on legitimate cheaters like Hendrick Motorsports, with the Dale Earnhardt Junior car being found deliberately bodily altered before the 'Nationwide' Series Daytona race. Junior's Hendrick team was fined $50,000 and 50 points (driver Earnhardt Junior and owner Hendrick) -- and this was for an alternation intended to make an advantage for the car.

Regarding the penalty, which Robby is appealing, he issued a statement:

"This was an innocent mistake made by someone not even on my team. They accidentally supplied us the new Dodge noses that NASCAR hasn't yet approved because of what amounted to a clerical error. It was discovered during technical inspection and corrected before the race. It was not even close to being an intent to create some competitive advantage, and the mistake was not even made by my team. This penalty is way out of proportion when you compare it what happened last year when a team was penalized 100 points for adding a substance to the fuel, or when a team deliberately changed the bodies of the COT. To penalize my team the same amount when we didn't even make the mistake, and the mistake was nothing more than inadvertent human error by someone else is just not fair. Other teams who have had similar issues to what happened with the nose on my car were only penalized 25 points. I hope that NASCAR can reconsider when they have all the facts. In the meantime, we have no choice but to appeal this penalty. We started the season off on a high note with a top 10 finish at Daytona and we look forward to continuing that at California and Las Vegas."

Go figure. NASCAR doesn't go after the multi-multi-millionaire team owner like Rick Hendrick, whose teams seem to get caught cheating at Daytona year after year after year; they'd rather stomp on an independent who's trying to make it in the old-fashioned way, instead of buying or bribing his way in...Maybe if some serious fines were FINALLY issued to Hendrick and his teams, rather than the 'chump change' they must regard a mere $50,000 as, they'd get the message. For most people in America, $50,000 would be a great yearly salary. NASCAR's big team owners certainly are in an elite millionaires club of their own.

When Jimmie Johnson's #48 Hendrick team was caught cheating at Daytona in 2006,
NASCAR did not strip points from Johnson because the sanctioning body was 'reluctant' to force a team to start the season in the red. Guess it just all depends on whose team you race for.

Yet another reason the 'olde fans' are turned off more and more by NASCAR's ongoing shenanigans. What level playing field???

If NASCAR does not overturn this penalty completely and remove the fine and points assessed, they are doing a huge disservice not only to Robby Gordon, but to the sport itself. Unless, of course, NASCAR enjoys walking around with egg on its collective face. The fans can differentiate between intentional cheating and a genuine mistake. Can NASCAR?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Daytona 500 Was Super, but the Lead Up to Race Time Was Overkill

By the time Sunday rolled around, neither my husband nor I could bear yet another feature about Daytona. Perhaps, had all this SpeedTV and ESPN coverage been available when Dale Earnhardt was around, we would have felt differently; as it was it was beginning to get nauseating with all the hype about Dale Junior, Hendrick, and stoking the Fox commentators egos over and over and over.... Speed Channel and ESPN (to a lesser degree--since they only had Busch race (yes, BUSCH RACE!! coverage)) just overkilled on the overblown, over hyped, and overrated pre-race coverage.

On Sunday, we finally tuned in about 2:30...having not seen an actual start time for the RACE itself all week. We thought it would be around 3. Noooooooooooo, it was 3:45 by the time all of the diverse pre-race hype by NASCAR for the 50th Anniversary was done. Yes, there was good stuff, but it did not need to drag out that long!! Brooks and Dunn saved the pre-show for NASCAR as far as I was concerned. Kool and the Gang??? Guess they were there for the new fans that NASCAR isn't worried about keeping...Chubby Checker--well he is an American Classic and I guess since he's an Icon of the 1950's I can see his being there for that reason; but neither are folks that would really be associated with NASCAR. Brooks and Dunn are well known as NASCAR fans, and their performance, during which the 10th anniversary win car of Dale Earnhardt's was brought out, was the highlight of the whole shebang. The crowd looked pretty dull and uninterested until Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks kicked it up a few notches. Trisha Yearwood did a fine job on the anthem, of course.

The race didn't start til 3:45 p.m. EST....So much for pushing back start times, eh? Hope NASCAR does better for those CORE FANS they're trying to pull back into the sport.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Congratulations to Ryan Newman -- and an American Made Car wins at Daytona!!

Ryan Newman drove a smart race and pulled off a win in the most prestigious stock car race of the year--the Daytona 500. Add to that the fact that his team owner, Roger Penske, had never had a restrictor-plate race win at all, and Kurt Busch, Ryan's teammate finished second in the 50th running of the Great American Race.....well, for the Dodge fans things could not be much better.

Except, perhaps, that Roger Penske showed up in Victory Lane in a Hendrick motor sports hat. What was that all about??? You'd think Penske would be proud of his own outfit and finally winning not only a restrictor-plate race, but a DAYTONA 500 -- not promoting Rick Hendrick racing. Yeah, yeah, yeah....I heard him say he said something to Rick Hendrick and Hendrick gave him the hat. Still, it was not very flattering to his own teams.

Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart ran smart races; Busch easily had the strongest car of the day, even if it was a Toyota. Ah, well. Kyle has shown maturity and the ability to work as a teammate. Gibbs Racing has three top-notch racers under their roof. Look to them for bringing Toyota the success that Michael Waltrip could not produce last season. I'm still not a Toyota fan, but they are the lesser of some evils out there...

Most interestingly, the best laid plans of Hendrick racing didn't end up with their three top teams in the top 5. Guess you just can't buy everything....

Friday, February 15, 2008

Dale Junior's NWS Team Caught Cheating at Daytona -- or -- Lay Down with a Dog and Get up with Fleas

On Thursday night, the Nationwide Series (NWS)(formerly Busch Series) car that Dale Junior is driving at Daytona was found to be in flagrant violation of the rules.


'The #5 car Earnhardt will drive in Saturday's Nationwide Series opener was impounded by NASCAR on Thursday night after officials discovered the team altered the spoiler to create an aerodynamic advantage following inspection. The car was returned on Friday morning minus the trunk lid and spoiler, repaired and sent back through inspection.'

In all the years that Junior has driven a Busch car, there has not been a violation of this type. Of course the team owner, Rick Hendrick, is a well known convicted felon whose teams have a history of a litany of cheating violations over the past 15 years. Hopefully, for Dale Junior, his 88 Cup team won't have the same type of leadership. But, as they say, those who do not learn from the past are destined to repeat their mistakes...

On another note, much has been made of the five Hendrick Cup cars having their motors pulled -- and taken off the track back to the shop in NC -- without NASCAR having any look at or input about these 'practice' motors. It makes one wonder what else they are trying to hide, and why they rushed to get those motors away from the track.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Dale Junior's 'Win' Courtesy of Hendrick Team Orders

Wonder if Dale Junior is going to split the loot he won at the Bud Shootout Saturday night with Jeff Gordon? After all, had Gordon not backed off and took the momentum away from Tony Stewart, that race would likely not have had a Hendrick fairy tale ending...Tony's car was just as fast, if not faster--looks like the Hendrick team orders were to help out their newest driver. Junior always does well at restrictor plate tracks, so that part is not a surprise; but even Ken Squier commented on the air that, had Gordon not helped out Dale Junior, then Tony Stewart would have won that race.

This was a non-points race, anyway; it'll be interesting to see if Junior's teammates are as helpful once the season starts. Somehow, I don't think so...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

So NASCAR Wants the 'Old Fans' Back? Part 1 -- Stop Revising History!

NASCAR wants us 'old fans' back. Well, for starters, maybe the folks there could stop changing the series name references in regard to past Cup champions every time a dollar turns and the
'naming rights' to the Series are changed. Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt never were -- and never will be -- 'Sprint Cup Champions.' To hear Dale Earnhardt described on NASCAR Now as 'Seven time Sprint Cup Champion' is blasphemous to fans. The WINSTON CUP USED TO MEAN SOMETHING. Now, according to NASCAR, who clearly dictates how the television folks refer to the series, everything is put in the context of the current $eries $ponsor.

It's not 'confusing' to fans to have the right titles referred to when talking about the legendary drivers that have won the WINSTON Cup.

So, here's #1 on the suggested list of things NASCAR can do to bring the fans back. STOP PRETENDING WINSTON NEVER SPONSORED THE SERIES AND THAT THE DRIVERS NEVER WON THE WINSTON CUP....Or, are you going to go back and re-issue all the trophies won over the 31 years that the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company sponsored the series? Yeah, right...If you're going to revise history, then do it right! Better yet, stop referencing Sprint when it comes to former WINSTON CUP winners.

Richard Petty never won a Sprint Cup. Neither did Rusty Wallace, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Alan Kulwicki, Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson or any other racer who was a WINSTON CUP Champion.

That's the problem with NASCAR selling out it's naming rights in a prostitutory manner. All they had to do was NAME THE TROPHY -- how about the Bill France Cup, the Dale Earnhardt Cup, The Richard Petty Cup -- all excellent choices -- and they would not have created this problem. Ironically, in talking to so many fans over the years, a fair amount of them never really related 'Winston' to cigarettes. Winston Cup sounded regal or classy, and later fans who were not into the product often did not equate the Winston Cup to a tobacco brand.

As a fan, I still cringe when I hear someone call Petty or Earnhardt a Sprint Cup Champion. They weren't and never will be. They were Winston Cup Champions--back when it really meant something.

Friday, January 25, 2008

NASCAR Going 'Back to Roots' -- OR -- We Want Your MONEY Back!!

For the past week, articles have abounded about NASCAR, with Brian France, Rusty Wallace and Humpy Wheeler talking about NASCAR 'going back to its roots.' What does that mean exactly? Is the Labor Day Race going to go back to Darlington? Are they going to do away with the confirmed top 35 in points guaranteed a starting spot in races? Are the races going to be kept at their lengths and not shortened anymore? Is the 'Car of Tomorrow" (which should be the 'Car of Today' now) going to be the Car of Yesterday and teams actually get back to using STOCK cars? Is Toyota leaving?

Well, No, No, No, No, and No....

So far, all we've heard is that starting times for Sunday races are going to be put back to where they used to be (and should never have been changed in the first place because NASCAR wanted to accommodate the West Coast fan base. Yes, that huge fanbase that can't even fill up the seats at the super speedways NASCAR has built and promoted out in California, in particular.)

Ticket sales are flat and dropping event by event. Ratings are down a cumulative 20 PERCENT from 2 years ago. Teams are allowed to cheat -- at least certain teams -- and NASCAR refuses to do anything about it unless it's brought out in the media. NASCAR is run by a family who has become too savvy about how to spin the 'State of the Sport' and too slick when it comes to commercialization. Some of us have been vocally rumbling and grumbling for over 7 years now about how the sport has changed for the worse. NASCAR seems to be saying they are finally listening to the fans. Are they? Well, we the fan will be the judge of that.

There's an old song that goes, "too much, too little, too late." Wonder if the NASCAR hierarchy has heard that one?

NASCAR's mouthpieces - Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond, Larry McReynolds enjoy 'telling' us what we are seeing on the track. I have a problem with that. I don't need a commentator putting a spin on something and revising history concerning what I have seen while watching a race. It isn't cool. It isn't professional. It is why these guys have lost a lot of credibility with the 'old' race fans that NASCAR wants to win back. How about putting some folks in the booth that don't have an agenda? These three are entertaining, but they are NASCAR spokespersons first and foremost. Whichever network is broadcasting the race (and that seems to be a week to week change as well sometimes), the commentators need to be free to speak and be constructively critical. That would be a welcome change.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Football Humor -- Off Topic!

Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Tom Brady arrive in Heaven at the same time. They are escorted to the throne of God, where he receives them. God looks at Peyton Manning and asks, “Peyton, tell me what you believe.”

Peyton replies, “I believe in Jesus Christ as my personal savior. I believe in helping others and doing good. I believe in life eternal in Heaven.”

“Very good,” God replies. “You may take a seat here on my right side.”

God then addresses Brett Favre. “Brett, tell me what you believe.”

Brett replies, “I believe in Christian principles. I believe in humility, being thankful for your bounty, and all you have given us.”

“Very good,” God replies. “You may take a seat here on my left side.”

God then addresses Tom Brady. “Tom, tell me what you believe.”

Tom Brady replies, “I believe you’re sitting in my chair.”