Monday, February 27, 2006

Michael Waltrip Will Have It His Way

While I wastrying to fall asleep last night I heard Lee Spencer say on Fox SportsNet's Around The Track show that Burger King will sponsor Mikey in 5races this season and full-time in 2007.  The reason I don'tbelieve it totally is because she is usually wrong about thiscrap.  The stuff on Yahoo! Sports and The Sporting News doesn'thave a very credible track record of being true.  So if it is trueyou heard it here first, if not, I'll blame her.

Roush Racing Gets All The California Love

Matt Kenseth parlayed a great pit stop - and a sour engine for GregBiffle - into his 11th career Nextel Cup win and his first of 2006 atthe Auto Club 500.



Kenseth began the race in31st, but quickly moved up the field, and he ran in the top 10 themajority of the race.  Teammate Greg Biffle dominated the event,amassing a 13-second lead at one point during the race.  However,bad luck followed for him as his engine soured and he was down on 7cylinders with 24 laps to go.  His decision to remain near thefront of the field was controversial, prompting Mark Martin to commentover his team's radio "I can't believe he's starting up there"referring to Biffle.  On the start, Biffle quickly moved upoutside as the field flew by and Biffle pulled into the pits. Biffle's stats for the day: 168 laps led, finishes 42nd.  The endof the race was green-white-checker for the second straight week, butJimmie Johnson was no match for Kenseth and could do no better thansecond.  Carl Edwards passed Kasey Kahne with 2 to go for third,and Jeff Burton came in fifth.

The Roush cars proved thatthey are going to awfully tough to beat this year, as McMurray andMartin ran well and finished 6th and 9th respectively.  CaseyMears came back from early trouble to record a 7th place finish, andthe 2006 rookie class proved they have the mettle to compete at theNextel Cup level right now.  J.J. Yeley started the race 4th andran solid all day, spending just about all his time in the top 10 andcoming in 8th.  His JGR teammate Denny Hamlin overcame a detourthrough the grass while attempting a green flag pit stop to finish12th.  Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. both hung around the top20 all day, and made the most of a late caution by pitting for newtires and making their way into top 15 finishes as well.  EvenGanassi's youngest driver got in on the action, as Reed Sorenson had agreat car after starting in 29th by making his way into the top 10,even running 8th at one point... but he suffered later troubles andended his day in 21st.  Most everyone seems to be selling this kidshort, but he beat out Denny Hamlin and barely lost to Carl Edwards forBusch Series ROTY in 2005.  Tony Stewart's engine gave way aswell, and he brought up the rear of the field after an up-and-down day.

The Charger vs. Intrepidbattle was in fact won by the Charger, as the highest-finishingIntrepid was Ryan Newman in 20th.  Those Penske cars looked worseand worse as the day went on.  It will remain to be seen what willhappen at Las Vegas in two weeks.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Saturday Roundup: Biffle Gets First Win Of The Weekend, Second Tomorow?



Biffle wins the Stater Bros. 300 tonight, the first win for AmeriQuestin Busch and an impressive 5th straight win for Roush Racing atCalifornia in the Busch Series.  Ryan Newman finishes 2nd and CarlEdwards 3rd, although he may well have had the best car for theday.  Jeff Burton and Jamie McMurray finish out the top 5. Cup drivers took the top 11 positions, the top Busch-only regular wasrookie Todd Kluever, who seems to be driving more confidently than hedid in the Trucks most the year last year.  Full race results here.

For the Cup side, Matt Kenseth recorded the top speed in happy hour,with Brian Vickers, Kurt Busch, Biffle and Mark Martin all running atthe top.  If Roush doesn't win, they'll certainly pepper the top5.

My predictions:

WINNER: Greg Biffle
Pretty much a safe pick, but he has as good a chance as anyone to wintomorrow.  I just as easily could pick any of the other four towin.

DARKHORSE: Brian Vickers & Casey Mears (tie)
Really can't separate the two here, they both stand a chance of their first career win.

Race goes tomorrow at 3 on FOX.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday Notes Part 2

- Cup qualifying: Kurt Busch takes the pole, his first since the Ford400 in 2004.  I guess that Intrepid is running pretty good,eh?  Newman and Labonte qualified 11th and 27th respectively.

- The rest of the top 5 runs Biffle, Johnson, Yeley (uh oh...) and Hamlin.

- Mr. Insignificant: Morgan Shephard..

- Click here for the official race lineup.

- Mark Martin wins the Truck Race for the second consecutive week, andGermain takes 2 and 3 for the second consecutive week.  Reutimannand Sprague round out the top 5.  I didn't get to listen to therace, just from watching... Martin and Bodine traded the lead late andMark being Mark, he cooled his tires to make a run late.  Damn,Mark's good.


- Full CTS results here.

Friday Notes

Welcome to the show folks!  It's Friday, so that can only mean one thing... Friday Notes!  Let's do it.

- This race will tell more than Daytona, of that you can besure.  More than likely, we’re going tosee the return of Roush to the front. Biffle has owned this track over the last few years, Edwards hasn’tfinished worse than 6th here ever, and McMurray has some topfinishes here as well going back to Ganassi. Martin also always runs well.  Fromnon-Roush teams, my strongest threats for the weekend are Tony Stewart and KyleBusch.  Kyle will be looking to go 2 in arow and Tony is Tony.

- I’ll be interested to see what happens in the firstdownforce race with the new Fusion.  The Fordteams have all raved about the Fusion being a better car, but come on… thereare still questions and the setups are gonna take some time to tune in. 

- How many Dodge teams will say FU to the Charger and run anIntrepid?  Answer: three.  Lastyear at Homestead the Intrepids of Ryan Newmanand Kasey Kahne did pretty well in the race, this week at California the Pensketeammates of Newman andKurt Busch along with Bobby Labonte in the 43 will run Intrepids thisweekend.  I for one am going to keep aneye on it.  The model is still approvedby NASCAR.  Kind of a sad situation withthe Charger though, but its Dodge’s own fault the Charger has an ass backwardsdesign of a nose.  On the bright side though, the nose of the Charger may be copied by this product:

- My other guys to keep an eye on this weekend: BrianVickers, Casey Mears, and Elliott Sadler. Vickers because it is about time he gets himself a win, and this seemslike a race he could doit.  Mears alsoneeds a win badly, and the Ganassi teams seem to have improved from the lastfew years.  The 42 team has been on thedoorstep of the top 10 and Mears really improved with the 41 last year, so thenew combo could very well be celebrating in victory lane.  Sadleris a guy a lot of people sleep on, butYates has a renewed commitment to excellence this year with two newproven crewchiefs guiding the cars, and Elliott knows how to win at California.

- FOX is back broadcasting the races… did you missthem?  I did a little, because NBC grateson your nerves for different reasons. Just take it all in, because the first race FOX has is the best and itgoes downhill from there.

- The Buschwackers invade California, and for the first timeKevin Harvick will compete in a Busch race in his own equipment as he takes thewheel of the 33.  Although you can’treally say they’re Buschwackers if they’re running the full schedule though,can you?  I’m still trying to figure outwhere I stand on it.  On one hand, itreally prevents guys from getting opportunities and you end up with a situationlike the 5 car last year with Krisiloff, Reid, and Feese never getting a chanceto develop and accordingly they tore up the equipment.  But on the other hand, the Cup guys help theBusch Series sell tickets, train crew members, and they’re racers… when theresa race, they race.  I’m really torn aboutit.

- We alsoget to see which young drivers will be able to back up solid Daytonaruns.  Burney Lamar, Jon Wood, and Todd Kluever all responded tooff-season hype by posting top 10's at Daytona, so it will beinteresting to see if they can back it up.

- Threeearly storylines to the CTS season I've picked up on: first, themanufacturer battle may be Toyota vs. Ford.  The Ford teams seemto be back to form this season, last year was nothing spectacular butthe presence of Mark Martin making several appearances has made theRoush camp step up after a disappointing year last year, and ErikDarnell is farther along this season than Kluever was last year. The Wood Brothers/JTG teams also could make some noise, but perhapsonly as long as Stacy Compton and Jon Wood are in there.  Toyotadidn't lose much, if at all, and also gained the reigning CTS Championin Ted Musgrave after Ultra closed up for whatever PR reason theygave.  Lastly, the lack of sponsorship in the Trucks is somewhatalarming.  We're seeing a lot of blank trucks out there, and fromsome good teams no less.  Mike Bliss and Xpress, David Reutimannand DW, Bobby Hamilton's teams don't have much, even Bobby switchednumbers to accompany a new sponsor.

- As I waswriting this, CTS qualifying wrapped up and the practice sessions forBusch and Cup were going on.  For the latest info, check either NASCAR.com or Backstretch Motorsports to stay up on whats up.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Chad Knaus: Cheating Bastard

The poll onNASCAR.com currently shows that 59% of fans don't think the penalty washarsh enough.  I would be included in that 59%.  A paltry 14%think the penalty was too harsh, I'm sure the overweight single moms,housewives, women known as Carrie and ugly teenage girls that idolizeJimmie and/or Chad voted for that... but the real fans with abrain?  We know he got away with it... again.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

This and That

In lieu of making an actualentry, this will be one of those "jumbled" entries.  Today, I'mjust link to some cool stuff that I either check regularly or are justneat to do.

- First, if you haven't done so already, go here and bookmark Backstretch Motorsports.  Also check out the new web page design, it kicks ass.

- The next website on the list is 411 Mania. Mainly, I look at it for the Wrestling information and columns, usuallythey are top notch and beneficial to read.  However, there's moreto the site, and its worth it to check out.

- You Tube is a place to searchfor videos, and if you avoid the weird shit you actually get to seesome cool stuff.  I come for the wrestling videos, but they alsohave TV shows and other cool stuff.

- Looking for a NFL Draft website but aren't an ESPN Insider?  Then NFL Draft Countdown is your place.  Good info, and if used with another source you're covered for the draft.  As far as the NBA Draft, nbadraft.net is a pay site but you get an entire mock draft for free and thats good enough for me.

- Two basketball places to see:  First there is a great website all about Duke basketball, Duke Basketball Report. They're very classy guys and not only write their own things, but theylink to other reads, track Duke players playing professionally, andcover recruiting.  The other site isn't really a site at all, butif you wanna have some fun ESPN has a NBA Trade Machine where you get to play GM, and the machine will tell you if the trade works or not.

- I have two more racing websites that you can look at.  David Smith Motorsportsis a self-proclaimed driver talent scout and has rankings of drivers inthe Busch, Truck, and various other racing series and their prospectsof getting to the top.  The best part of the site is this guy hasevery team's drivers under contract listed.  Lastly, www.motorsportsone.net is a great resource for stats.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Daytona In The Rearview/The Season Really Begins

I'm sure everyone watchedDaytona, and everyone and their mother has an opinion on whathappened.  But I do want to discuss a few things.  First, didTony Stewart hop in a time warp back to 2002/2003?  I would place50/50 of the Gordon deal on them, but Tony's chip on his shoulderyesterday may have affected his vision after he blatantly nailedKenseth and his game of bumper cars with Kyle Busch.  I was reallypissed about what he did to Kenseth, and he was clearly in the wrongand had the gumption to blame Kenseth?  Excuse me?  I'vealways liked Tony and I still do but the shit like this just makes youshake your head.  I guess Tony thought the media was portrayinghim in too good a light so he had to get some negative pressagain.  Matt Kenseth will be smart enough not to get bogged downin a drawn-out feud with Tony.  And good god, did anyone else seethe confetti after the 48 pulled in the victory lane?

Don't get me wrong about what I'm about to say.  The season reallybegins now.  I'm a huge plate racing fan, because I absolutelylove drafting, the deal-making (and breaking), the pit stops, and thegeneral chess match of it all.  California begins the stretch ofwhen we'll sort out who is in this year and who is down.  All duerespect to Mears, he could either be for real or another season-openingwonder.  Remember Scott Wimmer in 2004?  But I would look tothis race as more of a tell of who is legit.  We'll also getbacked to our regularly scheduled media reporting, which means showslike Around The Horn, PTI, etc. won't pay any attention at all.  Ithink SportsCenter may have more than usual because they have Rusty andthey are liking their chops for 2007 to get here, but NASCAR stillisn't at the point the NFL is of every week being important. Hell, even during the summer the MLB still takes precedent overNASCAR.  That is the "last frontier" as far as establishing NASCARas a true national sport that gets the attention it deserves.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Hershey's Kissables 300 Turns Field Into Melted Chocolate

Damn, what acrazy race that was... unbelieveable the things that happened. Jason Leffler proved yet again why he can't drive, and it ruined Menardand Edwards' days.  I was watching the race with a friend and shepointed out that a lot of the young guys don't know how to work adraft.  I would have to agree.  These new guys don't know youdon't have to hit the guy in front of you, and you see the veteranslining up together and driving to the front.  I really felt likethat was the case today.  Take Kasey Kahne for example.  Hedidn't stay in line all day, and no one wanted to work with him. I think he car was strong, but he just doesn't get the draft and how toline up and make a line "go".  The same thing happened in thetruck race, with Martin, Bodine, Musgrave, Sprague, etc.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Friday Notes

Yes everyone, itsthe return of Friday Notes... I know you're as excited as LindsayJacobellis at the end of the event, but don't stop now and ruin theending.

- It's such a welcome event to have the Twin 125... err... GatoradeDuels on the Thursday before the 500.  I remember begging my momto let me leave school early every year so that I could come home andwatch them.  Yesterday's races were both exciting, but I reallygot fed up with the way the broadcast team kept on and on "If so-and-sostays right there... HE WILL BE LOCKED IN TO THE DAYTONA 500" and itwas every lap from every person... that really got old.  And evenin the waning laps, instead of showing the fighting amogst the top 5,they kept focused on those guys.  Even at the finish, why not stayfocused at the S/F line and get everyone coming across?  I wasreally disappointed with that.

- The first Mr. Insignificant of 2006 is: Stanton Barrett

- Both winners of the Duels should be strong in the 500.  A lot ofguys looked good, but I guess the draft does that to ya.  I'mexcited about a chance for Mark Martin to break through and winit.  The Roush plate program is looking better than it has as faras I can ever remember.  And by the way I saw things yesterday,they're working together more than I've seen them do in the past on theplate tracks.

- Was that crash at the end of the 1st race crazy or what? Chaffin's right side was ripped off and the debris was all over theplace, I watched and wondered why everyone was slowing down, then rightas Sterling was slamming DJ TNT cuts to a replay of some sort... thenback, as we see the 88 spinning around and Sterling's car with massivefront end damage.  One thing I also noticed and I don't thinkanyone else did, Stewart was in the grass and when Sterling came downafter hitting DJ, Smoke turned his car to the left just enough to missgetting hit by the 14.  That took a ton of track presence torealize what was happening and to avoid it.  Kudos to Stewart.

- The race lineup you can find here.

- So, I guess I need to make some predictions.  I know I say I usually don't, but I'm gonna give it a shot.

Winner - Mark Martin
Hey, why not?  Last year's race he caught a bad break when KevinHarvick decided to slam draft Jimmie Johnson in the corner during the2nd Duel event, and his team had to rebuild the car before the race...he still finished 7th, but what could have been.  This year heavoided a mess, and the Roush program has looked great thus far. It's a sentimental pick, I think he has a legit shot at it.

Darkhorse - Jamie McMurray
Yes, I'm going to the Roush camp again.  But no one is talkingabout Jamie as a threat to win, and I think he very well could. He has excelled lately at the plate races in Ganassi equipment,including 2nd to Stewart last year in the Pepsi 400.  This team isgoing to be dangerous this year.

Will Cause The Big Wreck - Kyle Busch
Unless he gets his head out of his ass in time for the green flagSunday, the 5 car is going to be in the middle of the carnageSunday.  He drove too crazy in the Shootout, the Duels, and willmore than likely do so in the Busch race tomorrow.

- I want everyone to use their heads out there during the races.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Interesting...

I waslistening to Colin Cowherd's show yesterday when I was going to get abite to eat and he made a point about the top sports this day in timecompared to what it was 25 years ago.  He noted that back then(Colin is 42) he really cared about college basketball, the NBA, andthe MLB moreso than he does now, and that he is not alone. Looking at the ratings, the only sports in which ratings are up are theNFL, college football, and NASCAR.  Why is that, you ask? Colin believes it is because we have lives Monday-Friday now, and thatthe NFL, college football, and NASCAR are easy to follow because of onegame/race a week.  25 years ago, Celtics/Sixers on Tuesday nightwas exciting because what else was there to do?  It was beforeTivo, DVR, DVD's, iPods, video games, etc.  He said that themajority of guys nowadays are busy with everything else throught theweek that on the weekend, the sports that are easiest to follow areNFL, college football, and NASCAR. I really tend to agree with thatassessment nowadays.  My exceptions would be because of where I amand how I was raised, college basketball is still important tome.  But NBA?  I can take it or leave it pretty much up untilthe conference finals and the NBA Finals.  MLB?  I reallycan't force myself to sit down and watch a game unless it isYankees/Red Sox during the season, or when it is September.  Istill follow the Yankees, but hell, SportsCenter does a good enough jobrecapping things into an hour-long show that I don't have to watch agame at night, I can do so many other things and usually have otherthings to do.  I just thought that was an interesting piece from aguy that I have grown to really respect over the last several months.

It was in this same show that I heard him talk about how Vince Young ishesitant to throw the football for the GM's and scouts for theNFL.  Word is, he isn't going to throw at the combine.  I'vethought this all along, even after watching the Rose Bowlperformance.  I don't know if the guy can throw the ball down thefield.  Did anyone else notice that he didn't throw a deep ballall night?  He dinked and dunked and ran with the ball. Great for college, but tell me this: can he make a 7 step drop andthrow a 35 yard out route?  I don't know.  That's what weneed to find out.  I know Matt Leinart can, that's the way heplayed at USC.  But Young?  He took every snap out of theshotgun with a spread formation.  I'm not convinced he will be atop NFL QB because I haven't seen him make the throws he'll have tomake to be successful in the NFL.

I read the GQ list of top 10 most hated athletes in professional sportstoday and I thought it was a pretty accurate list.  The listlooked like this:
10. Lleyton Hewitt
9. A.J. Pierzynski
8. Phil Mickelson
7. Bonzi Wells
6. Michael Iaconelli
5. Kobe Bryant
4. Curt Schilling
3. Kurt Busch
2. Barry Bonds
1. Terrell Owens

I thought this was a facsinating piece (back story: I only picked upthe magazine after seeing Top 10 Hated Athletes on the cover, otherwiseI wouldn't have touched the magazine).  Pierzynski, I've heardlots of stories about.  He is a real ass of a player, nodoubt.  He may also be one of the luckiest players, but thats adifferent story.  Anyway, no real shocker he is on the list. I'm kinda surprised Lefty is on here, I usually cheer for him wheneverhe plays.  But I can see why he is pretty despised.  Kobe ishated for tearing apart the Lakers.  Seriously, that issue shouldbe dead and buried by now.  I blame Shaq just as much for notbeing able to accept that Kobe is a better player and Shaq just keptgetting fatter and fatter and had trouble playing half a quarterwithout needed a 10 minute break afterwards.  Number 4 I totallyagree with, and I would put him even higher.  Schilling is anass.  It was funny reading what some of his former teammates saidabout him, how he is a prima donna and plays things up for the camerasand makes himself the star whenever possible.  According to thearticle, the Diamondbacks brass is 100% sure that he doctored thatbloody sock from 2004... who knows, but I still give the man his duefor pitching great with an ankle in that bad shape.  We won'tdiscuss number 3... I think we all know enough about what kind of manhe is, and that is that he isn't a man... he is a spoiled little boyblessed with incredible talent and an incredibly idiotic sense ofself-worth.  Bonds I pretty much agree with, but I don't have nearas much a problem with Barry as some other guys.  Notice also 3baseball guys on the list, more than any other sport.  TO. Uh oh.  I'll let my homie Skip Bayless handle him.

Congrats to you if you made it this far and read the whole thing.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I'M BAAACK

Did ya miss me?

Things have just been... chaotic lately.  It's amazing how thingsline up for someone at the most unexpected times.  Keep checkingback for more info on that...

Time to get back to what I do...

- Finally found a pic of the 6 truck that Martin and Ragan are sharing, I think it looks pretty cool:

- also have a few more pics of some cars:

#6 Pennzoil Fusion in the Busch Series, Martin and Kenseth will drive it


#60 Henkel car for Carl in the Busch Series


- Qualifying is actually on right now, but hell... its a 3-4 hour showof... nothing pretty much.  But the Shootout is at 4, so ya betterbe watching.

Friday, February 3, 2006

Life Is Funny

Uh oh, I'm on one of my "out there" tangents ;-)

As the title says: life is funny.  These last few weeks havepersonally taught me so much and I have learned a lot of things thathad I continued on my traditional walk through life, I would have neverknown.  It makes me realize that life is funny.  Not in thateverything is a joke, but the hard truth and vastness of how a personlikes to be seen and how they truly are can be quite ironic.  I'vealso seen how karma can bite people in the ass when they least expectit.  Yes, life is funny.

Anyway, we're getting back into that groove again: It's gonna be timefor Daytona before you know it.  Vegas testing was great, althoughI personally wouldn't know a thing that happened.  I saw that thenew Fusion was solid and Dodge still seems to be thinking "shit, whythe hell did we make such a horse's ass of a nose" more and more eachday.  I'm gonna laugh when Newman wins in an Intrepid and theChargers are being lapped.  What's the deal with the new Chevybeing called the Monte Carlo SS?  Didn't they try this before andit didn't really stick?  If you're playing at home, the BudShootout is February 11th.

My Super Bowl XL pick?  Glad you asked.  Honestly, when thePanthers lost I pretty much lost my analysis capabilities to go alongwith it.  But I've seen both teams play enough to know how it isgoing to end.  Pittsburgh will come out throwing and Hines Wardwill catch a TD.  Polamalu will sack Hasselback early and I thinkSeattle's rhythm will get thrown off.  But I do think Seattle willmake a game of it, but not enough to win.  Bettis gets the finalplay of the game, a 2 yard run up the middle to seal a 27-21 win.