Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday Notes

A brief Friday Notes today, I'm off to Martinsville for the weekend to be a fan.

- One thing I wanted to say something about earlier: I absolutely love the NASCAR sky cam on FOX, I believe its called the DLP Cable Cam.  Its a really neat concept to show a different view of the race.  I give FOX thumbs up for bringing it here.

- Last year at the 'ville, Jeff Gordon doubled his pleasure in an otherwise horrible year.  I would expect him to be strong, along with Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Mark Martin, and Kasey Kahne could really be a sleeper.

- Race schedule for Martinsville:
Cup qualifying - 3:30 today
Truck qualifying - 12:05 Saturday
Truck Series Kroger 250 - 3:00 Saturday
Nextel Cup DirecTV 500 - 1:30 Sunday

- My picks for the race are:

WINNER: Tony Stewart

DARKHORSE: Denny Hamlin

Since I won't be here, stay up on whats up by visiting NASCAR.com & Backstretch Motorsports.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Wednesday News Report

Just a random note to anyone who may be viewing this and has some money to spend: you can sponsor The Catfish Show!  Email me for details.  Seriously.

Taking a look at what is making news this week:

Jeff Gordon fined, placed on probation for post-race incident with Matt Kenseth at Bristol

$10,000 for Jeffy to look like a bobblehead, pop out of his car and shove someone?  To be expected of course... Hendrick gets away with whatever they want, which is documented numerous times over the last several years.  Anyway, just another reason I couldn't be NASCAR President: I would have fined Jeff $75,000 and took 25 points away.  I also would force his car to be painted with pink and purple flames for the next 2 weeks.

FOX lets out a profanity over the air

Oh good god.  It's sad that in this day in time, a story like this is dragged throughout the week.  Back in the old days (before the new TV deals) something like this would be broadcast, the play-by-play guy would apologize, then no one would sit around and bitch about it being over the air.  I distinctly remember a race at Atlanta in the late 90's where Todd Parrott said "motherfucker" over the air and I don't remember anyone crying about it the next week.

Jimmy Spencer to replace Brent Sherman at Martinsville

Does BAM have extra bars to support the extra seat weight?

No surprise that someone comes in for Sherman, who had at least kept his nose clean the first few races, but its really fallen apart for him the last 2 weeks.  I can't say I feel sorry for BAM, because he obviously wasn't ready for Cup (hell, he isn't even a mid-level Busch driver) and he was hired because he had a sponsor.  Too much of that happens at this level and its not a good thing.

Jimmie Johnson crashes in tire test session at Lowes Motor Speedway today

:-)

Tires continue to be a problem at Charlotte

This almost makes me not want to go to the race this May.  If it is anything like last year, I would expect and fully hope that everyone who spends their money walks out.  Last year was horrible, so, this year they repave it make it FASTER?  That's a recipe for disaster and everyone knows it.  This little paragraph for NASCAR.com's story really scares me:

Rick Heinrich, Goodyear's product manager overseeing the test, said thetire wear was more severe on Wednesday than it was in October. He isworking under the assumption the tires developed from the tests willsolve the problem.


So, do we need any further evidence that NASCAR, the tracks, and Goodyear have no idea what each other are doing?  We need to get the ball rolling a NASCAR Commissioner and fast.  Someone who isn't a relative of the France family and someone who's only interest is to make the sport better for everyone involved.  I can put up with a lot of things, but what I can't put up with is a sanctioning body waiting until another driver is killed before changes are made.

TNA will be promoting two shows in the Martinsville area this weekend, with appearances from Hermie Sadler and Jeff Hammond


I'm psyched about it, I have tickets to the Martinsville show on April 1.  I'll be there marking out and being a fan getting to see TNA up-close and personal for the first time.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Panthers 3/28 Update

No need to worry, my NASCAR news/Martinsville preview will come tomorrow.

Now, I get to talk about my Panthers.

One of those few and far between moments occurred last week.  This moment was having the Carolina Panthers as the headline on ESPN.com.  As I'm everyone around the league has heard, the Panthers signed WR Keyshawn Johnson to a four-year deal last week.  At first, I was against the move.  "Me"-shawn as was known for years was never a favorite of mine, nevermind the fact he played several years with teams I despise (Tampa Bay and Dallas).  But as I thought about it, I realized something: this is a guy we need.  The 2003 season was the best-ever for the Panthers.  The WR core was solid with Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammed as the starters with Ricky Prohel as the 3rd WR.  Then, Smith got hurt the first game of the 2004 season and his year was over.  Moose filled in the lead role admirably, and rookie Keary Colbert did a solid job as his complement.  Smitty came back with a vengeance this past season, but Moose left as a FA and signed with the Chicago Bears.  Colbert sucked as the other WR, forcing the team to rely on Proehl and little-used Drew Carter as the other WR threats.

So, what have we learned from that little history lesson?

Signing a big, tough WR was a priority this offseason.  Moose did the things like run blocking and catching the over-the-middle and red zone passes when Smith was either double-teamed or used as a decoy.  Moose was able to keep doing that in '04, but without a big target this past season, the team had to look at someone else.  Colbert, Proehl, and Carter wouldn't cut it for another season.  Enter Keyshawn Johnson.  After Dallas decided to gamble on Terrible Owens, Johnson was released and he began looking for a new team.  The Panthers finally came to the table after Keyshawn expressed interest with them, and they hammered out a deal.  Now the WR corps are as strong, if not stronger than 2003.  Keyshawn will do everything Moose did, not to mention he brings a Super Bowl ring from Tampa to the team.  After all that, I'm officially stoked about him being here.



John Fox signed a new deal with the team as well.  Words cannot express how awesome Fox is,I'm very happy he will be with the team long-term.

The team announced a pair of signings today, re-signing Punter Jason Baker and signing CB Reggie Howard.  Howard was actually with the team a few years ago, he was one of the starting corners in the 2003 season.  I've never been a fan of him, I was close to bringing back the Doug "Toast" Evans Memorial nickname for him.  I think he'll be a solid nickel/dime corner instead facing the other team's best WR.

The NFL Draft is exactly a month and a day away.  Its always hard to predict where your team will go with a pick if its anywhere from 20-32.  I'm not gonna try and pretend I know, but I will say I don't expect to see a TE taken as so many mock drafts predict.  Dan Henning doesn't believe in using a TE as a third WR on the field, he likens them to a 6th blocker/red zone target.  The team, I believe, will look at either an OL or LB in the first round.  My outside chances are RB if someone falls that far or a DB if someone of value is there.


On This Day...

14 years ago today, the greatest college basketball game ever was played.  The game featured the defending NCAA National Champion Duke Blue Devils against the Kentucky Wildcats in the East Regional Final in Philadelphia.  The winner of the game would go to the Final Four.  This game will forever live in the annals of college sports history as a true classic.  I've watched this game several times (I was a mere 6 years old when it was played) thanks to ESPN Classic, although I do faintly remember the game.  Of course there was the shot by Christian Laettner, but the game had so much more than that.

For the Kentucky program, Rick Pitino had a group of seniors he had inherited after a scandal at the university placed several NCAA sanctions on them.  The team went through the pains of a reduced roster, learning how to play under Pitino, and they had finally arrived in the '92 season with the help of a stud named Jamal Mashburn.

Duke had history on the line.  After finally excercising the demons of UNLV in the 1991 National Semifinal then going on to win the first Championship in school history, this team was on the brink of winning back-to-back for the first time in over a decade.  The names on this team are still as familiar to me now as they were back then.  Laettner, Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley, Antonio Lang, Thomas Hill, Cherokee Parks... this was the quintessential dominant Duke team. 

The "Duke" attitude had a face on the court, that of Laettner.  Everyone is quick to point out his less than flattering pro career, but for four years at Duke Christian Laettner was the best player in the country.  His attitude was a straight-up "I'm better than you" and he was an assassin.  In fact during this game, he stomped on the lower abdomen (commonly misrepresented as the chest) of Kentucky's Aminu Timberlake after Timberlake fell down after he fouled Laettner.  The mean streak of this team is both endearing (to Duke fans) and reviled (by the Duke haters).  Obviously, I loved it.  The legacy of this team truly built Duke into the program they are today.

The game was led by Duke until the last 5 minutes of the second half.  Then, Kentucky shot its way back into the game and the teams traded the lead continuously.  No way this game ends in regulation.  And, of course, it didn't.  Overtime featured more of the same.  The poise both teams had to make shot after shot in such a tense environment is still a marvel to this day.  Laettner took over in the last few minutes, scoring from the post or the foul line.  This guy was 10-10 on free throws, and every single one of them mattered.  Kentucky was no slouch either.  As is said many times, "its a game that someone has to lose this game". 

7.8 seconds left on the clock.  Sean Woods gets the ball and he drives, and he makes an INCREDIBLE shot!  Kentucky leads by 1!  Coach K immediately takes a timeout.  In the huddle, Coach K tells his team repeatedly "we're going to win this game."  Then he asks Grant Hill if he can throw a baseball pass down the court.  You know who will take this last shot. 

2.1 seconds are left.  Hill takes the ball and Kentucky doesn't guard him.  Hill fires it to the free throw line, Laettner jumps and grabs it.

Laettner dribbles

what is he doing?

He spins to left

hurry up!

The shot is up

can it?  CAN IT?

GOOD!  DUKE WINS!  HOLY SHIT, DUKE WINS!



This game still gives me goosebumps whenever I see it.  The greatness of Christian Lattner, of Duke, of the NCAA Tourament is all shown in this game.  The game also shows the essential truth of why sports mean so much: it gives us a reason to believe, a reason to hope... even when everything around us tells us not to.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Eventful Food City 500 Features Familiar Ending

Kurt Busch reaffirms his stranglehold at Bristol Motor Speedway, nudging his way past Matt Kenseth in the closing laps of the Food City 500.



Sometimes, the best car does win.  Kurt Busch was strong all day in his #2 Dodge, and he put it to use by forcing Matt Kenseth up off the bottom (with an assist to Dale Jarrett) to win a race dominated by early flat tires and a mind-numbing 18 cautions.  The race began with a great welcome back greeting for Chad Knaus, as the 48 suffered enough bad luck to make up for the first 4 races of the year.  Jimmie was never a factor and finished 13 laps down in 30th.  Tire problems early gave the cars of Busch and Greg Biffle trouble, as both suffered flat tires within just a few laps of one another.  Biffle also was penalized for speeding on pit road.  Tony Stewart led the race early and often, and he inherited the lead when the two former teammates suffered from troubles.  The comebacks began soon, though.  Busch received the lucky dog on lap 109 to get back onto the lead lap.  By lap 160, Biffle had earned 2 of his laps back the hard way by passing the leader on a restart.  Overall, no less than 5 teams suffered tire problems in the first 200 laps of the race.  A caution on lap 187 caused a brief red flag for cleanup after a multi-car wreck.

The race continued to be peppered with cautions for the next 200 laps, as cars were eliminated from contention - but not from becoming moving chicanes for the lead cars to deal with.  I believe Brent Sherman spun out about 4 or 5 times during the race.  Martin Truex was spun out twice by lead cars, first by Jeff Gordon, then after trying to retaliate against the 24, he was spun by Stewart.  Matt Kenseth had taken over the lead over the last part of the race, his team was flawless on pit road which allowed him to exit first on the pit stops.

Kenseth continued to lead, but the 2 of Busch was closing, along with Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon.  With just under 10 laps remaining, Kenseth appeared to be slowing and Busch was right on his bumper, then Busch used it to go by Kenseth and Harvick followed through.  Harvick could never get close enough to do the same thing to Busch and Busch crossed the line first.  On the last lap after Kenseth had been touched by Gordon and sent to fourth, Kenseth spun Gordon around to re-take the spot, and with no caution, Gordon fell to 21st in the finish order.

It just wouldn't be Bristol without more shenanigans once the race was over.  Kenseth came up and got into Busch's front end on the cooldown lap.  Then as the competitors got out of their cars, Kenseth went over seemingly to apologize to Gordon.  Gordon wanted none of it.  Still with his helmet on (what a man, huh) he pushes Kenseth, and people got in the middle to stop anything else before it got started.  Busch's celebration was a hit with the crowd, as he got out of his car and did some snow angels on the start/finish line.

The top 5 finishers of the day were Busch, Harvick, Kenseth, Carl Edwards, and Bobby Labonte.

Biffle's comeback fell short of a top 5, but he made up three complete laps and rallied for a 7th place finish.  Not bad at all, and it was a very good day for the Roush short track program, save a wrecked car from Jamie McMurray.  Kasey Kahne also had a solid day and he collected another top 10 finish at a track that hasn't been kind to him.  The top finishing rookie of the day was Denny Hamlin in 14th.

I nearly had it pegged with my picks.  I was pulling hard for Matt to hold on, but third plus getting the point lead was a great day nonetheless.  Schrader sucked early, but he didn't do too badly, even passing Stewart to get back one of his laps.  Maybe I should have gone with Labonte, but would that be a darkhorse now?  I don't know.

Full race results from the Food City 500.


Dan Wheldon Edges Helio Castroneves in Toyota Indy 300



A tragic day at Homestead gave way - for a bit, at least - to some great racing in the IRL season opener.  The field was decidedly short, as Paul Dana's teammates at Rahal Letterman Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick were withdrawn from the race.  The start certainly gave the feeling no one wanted to be there, as the car of Bryan Herta never made it off the grid to start due to engine problems, and the debut race of Marco Andretti ended pretty much before it started as he was penalized for jumping the start, then broke something in his car just laps into therace.

I won't pretend I watched the entire thing, because I didn't.  I did, however, see the final laps, which didn't disappoint.  Castroneves led with Wheldon continuously wearing out the high line, as they raced side-by-side for several laps.  Wheldon then tucked behind him to prepare for his final move.  On the last lap Wheldon went high in turn 2, then they bobbed and weaved down the backstretch as Wheldon got a run to the outside and took the lead by inches and they crossed the line that way.  Great racing yet again from the IRL.

Rusty is simply a natural on commentary.  Scott Goodyear is there to be like Larry Mac, but Goodyear is a lot more boring.  Marty Reid is alright, but I don't want him to be doing Cup races.

Full results from the Toyota Indy 300.

A tough day for the racing world ends with two great races.  That is the best therapy of all.

Paul Dana: 1975-2006

For those that may not have seen... IRL driver Paul Dana has died following a practice crash at Homestead with Ed Carpenter this morning.  Carpenter's condition is reported as being awake and alert.



More info available here and here.




Saturday, March 25, 2006

Saturday Roundup: Kyle Busch In Right Place At Right Time

Kyle Busch follows big brother's Bristol's prowess and wins the Sharpie Mini 300.



During a race marked by a snow delay (yes, snow) Kyle Busch benefited from some late troubles by Greg Biffle and held off Kevin Harvick to take home the trophy from the Busch race.  Harvick started on the pole thanks to qualifying being cancelled for the Busch cars as well, and Harvick had the best car for most of the race.  He lead a race-high 120 laps, but suffered from a flat tire and couldn't get back to the lead.  Other early leaders included Denny Hamlin and Michael Waltrip.  Pit strategy and getting off sequence proved to be a deciding factor over the last 100 or so laps from the race.  Carl Edwards used this strategy, but couldn't make his tires last long enough and we was ran down and fright-trained.  Biffle then took the lead and looked as if he could have held the field off, but a loose wheel forced him to pit road with 12 laps to go and that put Kyle Busch in the lead.

The race featured 13 cautions, which it to be expected for Bristol.  Not even the leader was immune from contact, as he and Matt Kenseth had a tussle during the course of the race.  Kenseth was third, Hamlin fourth, and finishing out the top 5 was Carl Edwards.

The top rookie from the race was Danny O'Quinn, who was solid all day long and brought home a respectable 11th-place finish.  A surprisingly good run also for Tracy Hines in the 14 car as he finished 13th.  A tough day also for Steven Wallace, the son of Rusty Wallace making his first career start in the 64 Dodge.  He led 3 laps early and was punted after a caution came out by Scott Riggs.

I thoroughly enjoyed the snow delay.  The teams were having fun, the fans were having fun, it was like being a kid again.  Snowball fights broke out, drivers being pelted with snowballs, teams rolling around in the snow, and the 41 team built a snowman in their pit lane.  I would hate it for anyone that missed it.  It was just fun to watch those guys show a side the fans at the track usually don't get to see.

Full results of the Sharpie Mini 300.

----- page break ------

Now, time for the Cup side of the Saturday activities.

Kurt Busch led happy hour in the 2 Dodge, certainly most will pick him as the favorite for the race.  Jeff Gordon was second and you can't overlook him at a short track.  Finishing out the fast cars from practice are Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, and Kyle Busch.  My predictions for the race:

WINNER: Matt Kenseth
His Sharpie 500 performance alone makes me want to pick him, but Bristol is a place that Matt excels no matter the series.  He'll be able to start in the top 10 because of qualifying being cancelled, I feel good about his chances.

DARKHORSE: Ken Schrader
Driving the 49 the past several years, Bristol was always a place Ken would run better than average at.  I'm hoping that streak continues, as the 21 should be better than the 49 for him.  Plus, who doesn't love seeing Ken running well?

Don't miss the Food City 500 at 1:30 on FOX, its Bristol.  That should be enough of a hook.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Friday Notes

- I more than likely won’t be saying anything else about theNCAA Tournament.  Last night did it forme.  A sad way for J.J. Redick to end hiscollege career.  I’d rather not talkabout it.

- The IRL kicks off the 2006 season this weekend.  Did you know? Yeah, I didn’t either.  When Iturned on the TV this morning, I saw that the guys from 1st and 10were on location… at Homestead,ready to kick off the IRL season.  Thishas to be a production of the Gene Simmons School of Marketing.  It is now my personal mission to come up withas many puns as possible this season involving Gene.  If you have any of your own, feel free toemail them to me.

- I was reading my free USA Today and noticed that the IRL isreally getting a lot of attention. Among the articles that interested me was one about Rusty saying hewants to promote and build the ratings for the IRL.  Did anyone else know Rusty was such afan?  I thought he was doing this so hecould learn how to talk over an announcer in preparation for next year.  He even said he wanted to continue to callIRL races while working with NASCAR.

- My new favorite driver in the IRL has to be P.J.Chesson.  I saw his interview today onCold Pizza and the guy is crazy.  He wasreally cool, he wasn’t uptight at all. Then he showed off all these tattoos he had, ex-girlfriends names he hadtattooed… the guy is nuts!  I don’t knowanything about his racing pedigree though, so we’ll see how he does.

- The big offseason moves from the IRL that may or may notchange how the series standings looks: Dan Wheldon decided he didn’t likewining races and championships, so he left Andretti-Green to go to Ganassi;Rahal Letterman for whatever reason let go of Vitor Meira and signed Paul Dana,a guy I’ve never seen run in the top 15; and the next generation of Andretti ishere as Michael’s son Marco takes the wheel of the fourth AGR car.

- In deference to FOX, I’m deciding against using the phrase“Bristol Stomp” at any point this weekend. They’ll say it enough for everyone. Unlike Tennessee football, Bristol is one thing thatis guaranteed not to suck from year to year. 

- How long can a driver hold a stranglehold on a track?  I’ve seen how Kurt Busch is listed as thefavorite for the race Sunday by some, but I don’t know.  Granted, the Charger shouldn’t be an issue atBristol, but Ijust don’t see him winning the race.  Ithink he’ll be strong and run in the top 5, but I don’t see a win.  His run from 2002-2004 was magical, but Ithink it’ll be a little while longer before he gets back into victory lane.

- NASCAR.com stole my thunder a bit with this story.  I wanted to talkabout the uniform companies.  Here theydescribe the question of safety vs. profits. I’m all about profits because I don’t know enough about nomex lining totalk about it.  Don’t worry, that featureis still coming.

- Have I mentioned how much I love back-to-back short trackraces on the schedule?  Now we just needto send the Trucks to North Wilkesboro the week before Martinsville and we got ourselves some greatracing from all three series.

- Nothing is better than an ARCA plate race for a demolitionderby, but this week provides an opportunity for the Busch Series to claimnumber 2.  The Sharpie Mini 300 has anadditional 50 laps (previously, it was 250). My over/under on the cautions Anthony Foyt will be a part of is 4.  Of course, the winner Saturday will be a Cupguy.  Which one it is remains to be seen.

- My latest Friday Notes feature is the Channellock Tool ofthe Week. 

- Every Friday,I’ll give the prestigious award to the lucky guy (or girl, in some cases) whohas earned it.  The first recipient ofthe award goes to… ChadKnaus!  Yes, for everything Chad has doneand gotten away with, the first recipient of the Channellock Tool of the Weekis the guy sitting on the 48 pit box for the first time this season.

- Well, that sucked. Qualifying for the Food City 500 was cancelled and the field will be setby owner points.  The outlook is a bitbetter Saturday, but not much.  The rainshould be gone for Sunday according to the guy from CNN Weather.  I need to make my TrackPass subscriptionworth the money so I’m taking his word for it.

- The washout puts Tony Stewart on the pole for the race withGreg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Mark Martin, and Jimmie Johnson filling the top 5.

- No Mr. Insignificant based on time.  Owner points-wise, its Chad Chaffin.

- Full race lineup here.

- Tomorrow (hopefully) the Sharpie Mini 300 rolls off at 3 onFX.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Such Fond Memories

Bristol. 

Just mention the name to NASCAR fans, and you'll immediately see a smile.

Bristol.

Mention the name to drivers, you'll see that same smile.

Bristol.

To crew chiefs, one of the most stressful races to keep your driver - and your equipment - in one piece.

Bristol.

This week the Nextel Cup Series ventures to the Tennessee mountains for the first short track race of the year, where some scores will be settled and more potential feuds will be started.  Last year, Kevin Harvick drove to a victory after some controversy over his crew chief.  In the night race, Matt Kenseth led over 80% of the race en route to his first victory of the year - and the final boost to his remarkable run to the Chase last year.

My memories of Bristol are too massive to list fully.  The ones that stick out the most are watching Dale Earnhardt run over Terry Labonte more than once.  In particular the '99 race, when I nearly kicked a hole in the television after Labonte was punted.  I also love Bristol because my ex-favorite driver, Kurt Busch, has had a dominant run in the last several years.  From me yelling with delight after Kurt knocked Jimmy Spencer out of the way to later claiming his first win, three spring wins in a row, and the tumultuous 2003 night win... Bristol is a centerpiece of the NASCAR schedule.

Bristol.

I can't wait.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

NCAA Tourament Part 2


DiGiorno... jerks.

The easiest way for me to talk about the Tournament thus far would be to revisit my post last Tuesday and see how well or not so well I predicted what would happen.  The original predictions are in bold, with my thoughts about them today below.

Final Four - Duke vs. Gonzaga, UConn vs. Boston College
National Championship - Duke over UConn

Well thus far, my Final Four is still alive.  The only ones I’m shaky on right now areGonzaga and Boston College, simply becausethey’re going up against higher-seeded teams.

Upsets - (11) San Diego St. over (6) Indiana, (12) Montana over (5) Nevada,(11) UW-Milwaukee over (6) Oklahoma

Hey, credit here!  Inailed two of three.  I don’t thinkanyone saw Bradley, George Mason, or Northwestern State.  Steve Alford shouldn’t even have gone back toIowa.  He should stay at a dorm at Indiana until they hire him.

A few other surprises I have are Michigan State over UNC in thesecond round.  Everyone seems to be falling in love with UNC because ofthe late-season tear they went on, but this Michigan State team always shows upto play in March.  Paul Davis, Maurice Ager, and Shannon Brown are betterthan Tyler Hansbrough, Rayshawn Terry, and David Noel.  After that, I havethem going all the way to the Elite Eight. 

Boy was I wrong about this. Michigan State really disappointed me.  They are consistently a great team in March,and I usually pick them to go far, but this year they really let me down.  My analysis of UNC was spot on.  I just didn’t think it would be George Masontaking them down.

I also have Georgetown goingto the Sweet 16, knocking out Ohio State in Round 2. The Princeton offense + athletic bigs =nightmares for teams in the tournament. 

Again, I got this one right. I was convinced of Georgetownwhen they beat Duke back in January. 

I was captivated by the run by Syracuse in the Big East… That said, I'mworried they won't be able to get on an emotional high like that again. 

Ugh.  I was close topicking Texas A&M, but I really wanted Syracuse to make it there.  It still affected me when they lost more thanI thought it would.

The teams I'm not sold on are Kansas,UCLA, Tennessee, and Ohio State. 

SCORE!  3 of the 4teams I said I wasn’t sold on are GONE. There had to be a reason I didn’t trust them.  Just a gut feeling, if you will.  Kansas losesin the first round (again); Tennessee and Ohio Statewere the same team basically.  They faced15 seeds that gave them all they could handle then were dispatched in roundtwo.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Worth The Wait: Kasey Kahne Takes Win In Golden Corral 500

On the day after the race was scheduled to be run, it made no difference to Kasey Kahne when the race started.



The skyline was the same Monday afternoon as it had been Sunday afternoon, with the exception of the downpour of rain.  The weekend belonged to Kahne and the Dodge team, as he backed up his pole-winning speed with a solid, smart race and found his way to the win at the Golden Corral 500.  The front of the pack certainly seemed to be trouble for most that were there, as tire troubles reared its ugly head in the worst display of tire management since last October at Charlotte.  The early part of the race provided a blast from the past of sorts, as the 43 with Bobby Labonte at the helm jumped out to an early lead and looked like the King himself back in the day.  It wasn't to be, as engine troubles sent the team to the garage before we even got 50 laps in.

Greg Biffle looked to have the dominant car for the second time this season, as he was really fast and at times looked uncatchable out front.  Tire problems befell guys early (Kyle Busch), in the middle of the race (Robby Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch) and really bad later in the race (Biffle, Gordon again, Clint Bowyer, etc.).  Following Kahne in the running order are Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, and Tony Stewart.

The bad luck continues for Carl Edwards this season.  He really has been snakebit, perhaps DW's "luck bank" theory is coming into play there.  He really looked good early, then didn't see Dave Blaney on pit road and Blaney turned to get into his pit stall - at the expense of Carl's right front and nose. 

Great job today from DEI.  Dale Jr.'s fans have something to be excited about for the first time in a while.  A nice job working into 3rd place with a car that probably wasn't even a top 5 car.  The Cupwacking Paul Menard turned in a great effort, finishing 7th and gathering his first Cup top 10 in just his third career start.

Bill Lester finished about where I expected him to today.  He didn't try too hard, he ran his race and got seat time.  Kudos to him for finishing, no easy feat.  Contrary to the belief of some so-called NASCAR bloggers, I harbor no ill will towards Bill.

Today may have been my best thus far for my picks.  Martin came in 2nd and I really thought he could have won, but Kahne was just a bit better.  Robby was simply awesome today.  It really looked like he could have won, no one wants to give the 7 team credit for the improvement they've shown.  Robby is showing he is more than just a road course driver.  He can run well just about anywhere.

Today's race also saw a potentially serious situation on pit road, as Robby Gordon's catch can man John Slusher was upended by Reed Sorenson during a pit stop, and he lying on pit road for a time.  He was shown as being alert and talking to the paramedics, even giving the thumbs up to the camera before being loaded into the ambulance.  The latest I've seen is that he is OK after the incident.

Full race results from the Golden Corral 500.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Golden Corral 500 Delayed

The Golden Corral 500 will be delayed until Monday at 11 AM.  Be sure to tune in tomorrow and enjoy the NCAA action today!

6:32 update

I had a friend call me from the track today and she was pretty disappointed about the rain delay, because she can't stay for the race tomorrow.  Rain delays are torture for those that fly across the country in hopes of witnessing a good race, especially with great seats and pit passes, to just have it rained out.  I guess we can say "that's racin" and forget about it, but for those close to a sitation like that... it sucks.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Saturday Roundup: Jeff Burton Returns to Victory Lane

Jeff Burton made his long-awaited return to Victory Lane today in the Nicorette 300.



On a day in Atlanta marked with freightening tire troubles, Jeff Burton was able to avoid trouble and find himself crossing the checkers first.  The early leader of day was polesitter Kyle Busch, who led for 25 laps until Matt Kenseth passed him for the lead.  It looked as if Kenseth would run away from the field in the race.  A bad pit stop allowed Jeff Burton, who was on his heels most the day anyway, to take over the lead and Burton himself led a lot of laps, making his pass for the win with a little under 20 laps remaining after Kenseth's car fell off.  Kasey Kahne crossed the line in second, with Greg Biffle third, Kenseth fourth, and J.J. Yeley with a solid top 5.

I don't believe I've ever seen a blown tire explode the way they did on the cars of Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman today.  As DW said, it sounded like a bomb exploding under the right side of the car.  I'm not sure what those cars have in common, but I just hope it doesn't happen tomorrow.

Full race results here.

On to the Cup side...

Roush cars were 1-2 in happy hour, as Carl Edwards looks to go back-to-back in the Golden Corral 500 and three in a row at Atlanta tomorrow.  The 99 looks strong and hopefully the same problems at Las Vegas won't be a factor tomorrow.  Teammate Mark Martin also ran strong in practice, and Mark is always a factor at Atlanta.  The rest of the top 5 includes Kahne, Kurt Busch (sporting a Charger) and Robby Gordon.  My picks for the race:

WINNER: Mark Martin
I should preface this by saying that it was really hard not to pick Carl, but I really think Mark's team is a bit closer to closing the deal and winning at this point in time.  The team had a bad pit stop late at Vegas that cost Mark a chance to win, and I really think they want to make it up to him.

DARKHORSE: Robby Gordon
One of the top stories thus far in the season that no one is paying attention to is the performance of Robby Gordon and his 7 team.  Ever since he began using DEI engines, this team has consistently been in the top 15 week after week.  Robby's best effort yet could very well be here.

Take a break from the NCAA Tourney and catch the Golden Corral 500 on FOX tomorrow at 1.


Saturday Specials

Tonight, two events that aren't usually seen will be on TV.  I'm referring to the return of the WWE's Saturday Night's Main Event and live Boxing on HBO.



On NBC, SNME returns for the first time in 15 years.  The show features the main events from WrestleMania facing off in a handicap match, as WWE Champion John Cena and Triple H take on
World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio, and Randy Orton.  Also on the show are Shawn Michaels vs. Shane McMahon in a street fight and JBL vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin in a beer drinking contest.



Boxing returns to HBO tonight, as World Champion Hasim Rahman puts the title he didn't win on the line against James Toney, who is seeking to become the second fighter to go from Middleweights to Heavyweights and to become the undisputed champion.  I haven't seen much buildup to the fight, but it should be a good one.  The heavyweights have taken a lot of heat since Lennox Lewis retired, but this should be one to watch. 

Analysis: Rahman packs a deadly knockout, but isn't a technically gifted fighter the way Toney is.  Toney is actually the favorite in this fight, and I predict that Toney will take it to Rahman become the new champ.
Winner by unanimous decision & NEW World Heavyweight Champion: James Toney

Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday Notes

I've figured out what I compare Friday Notes to.  It's kind of like Diamond Notes by Peter Gammons.  Except I'm not from Boston.  And I'm not a baseball insider.  And I don't work for ESPN.

That said, here is the weekend breakdown for the action in A-town.

- So, its good to know that having a career average finish of 20th in the Craftsman Truck Series and a best points finish of 14th can land you a Cup ride for three races, and the possibility of a full-time schedule. 

- In case you didn't catch my drift there, I'm referring Bill Lester.  No, I don't have a problem with him being black.  This isn't 1906.  My problem is 1) NASCAR uses him as an official product, notice that his sponsors are usually Official NASCAR Sponsors as well; and 2) he hasn't earned a promotion.  It would be one thing if he was gathering top 10 finishes and BDR thought he had earned a promotion based on performance.  But Lester qualifies well, then is nowhere to be seen during the race.  One thing he has never picked up is how to race for 200 miles.

- Just absolutely terrible news about Bobby Hamilton.  Cancer is something that should never be taken lightly, hopefully Bobby's treatment goes well and he can drive again, if that's what he wants.  As for his team, his son Bobby Jr. will take over the 18 after the race tonight.  Go 18!

- So, paving is complete at the Lowes Motor Speedway.  Yikes... err... I mean, great!  According to the story, its the best job the group has ever done.  Can I be the first to say that "hope it goes better than levigation"?

- Ah, yes... DW is coming back yet again.  This time, the commercials were bad enough that Mikey and Aarons are putting DW in the 99 Busch car at Martinsville.  How many more races will DW need to do before reaching "KISS Farewell Tour" status?  Please, DW... just stop.  It was tough enough that you didn't make the Truck race at Martinsville last year in the spring, and you were becoming less and less competitive each time.

- So, who was it that said Burger King would sponsor Michael Waltrip?  Well, I was just about right.  I was half asleep when I heard it.  Always nice to have Bill in the field, but the MWR equipment isn't exactly what Bill is used to driving.

- Latest update on the Charger vs. Intrepid battle: looks like the Charger is going to win.  At Vegas, Bobby Labonte ran a Charger (and still ran as bad as Cali) while Penske stuck with the Intrepids.  This week, Kurt Busch and the 2 team will run the Charger, while Newman's still hanging tough with his Intrepid. 

- Kasey Kahne is on pole for the Cup race, as he breaks Newman's stranglehold on the top spot at the track.  Newman didn't fall far, as he is on the outside of the front row.  Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte, and J.J. Yeley finish out the top 5.

- As I'm sure will be talked about all weekend... Bill Lester made the race, qualifying 19th.  He can drive, he just can't race.  Let's see where he finishes.

- Mr. Insignificant is: Chad Blount.

- Full qualifying results here.

12: 35 Update
Truck Series Recap: Todd Bodine Wins John Deere 200



Todd finally broke through, beating Mark Martin at Atlanta tonight to win his first race of the year.  I didn't get to see this one... anyone know a good witch doctor so I can make some voodoo dolls of my cable company?  Anyway, I listened to it on TrackPass and it sounded like a great race.  I can't wait to see the highlights, more specifically the four-wide pass.  Martin finished second, thereby allowing Ragan a bit more leeway when he steps into the 6 at Martinsville.  Johnny Benson was third, followed by Jon Wood and Ted Musgrave (who always finds something to complain about).  There also was a big wreck at the end of the race, triggered by Aric Almirola. 

The Busch Series Nicorette 300 goes off tomorrow at 3 on FX.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Is It Just Me...

Or does there not seem to be anything to really talk about for the season?  Jimmie Johnson... meh.  Well there is Tony Stewart... blah.  It just seems to be a struggle to find something to talk about during the week.  Things should pick up as the year progresses.

I was looking at FoxSports.com today and I saw the headline for Hammond's column and it made me chuckle.  Someone had sent him an email asking if because the Grubb guy was doing so well, would Chad Knaus quit being the Crew Chief?  Um, hello... Chad is the entire brains behind that team.  Grubb isn't making calls that decide the race, he is doing a great job of not screwing up.  It makes it even worse that there is a poll asking who should be Johnson's Crew Chief, and Grubb is winning with 59%.  That's laughable.  Knaus is a lot of things, but sadly, one of them is top Crew Chief and great team leader.  So I give the prick his due on that. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

NCAA Tournament Preview

This ad is not endorsed by me.  Stupid CBS SportsLine.

The NCAA Tourney startsThursday (!) so everyone get excited.  Yes, I've filled out a fewbrackets.  No, I don't expect them to be right.  That's why I don'tgo crazy over brackets, because to a point you miss the unpredictability of thetournament that makes it the best postseason tournament in sports.  Youstart acting like an idiot because you didn't call an upset or someone youdidn't pick is busting the bracket, people start going apeshit and missing thewhole point of the Cinderella stories.

I guess I'll break down and show my Final Four and upset picks:
Final Four - Duke vs. Gonzaga, UConn vs. Boston College
National Championship - Duke over UConn
Upsets - (11) San Diego St. over (6) Indiana, (12) Montana over (5) Nevada,(11) UW-Milwaukee over (6) Oklahoma
Miscellaneous - A few other surprises I have are Michigan State over UNC in thesecond round.  Everyone seems to be falling in love with UNC because ofthe late-season tear they went on, but this Michigan State team always shows upto play in March.  Paul Davis, Maurice Ager, and Shannon Brown are betterthan Tyler Hansbrough, Rayshawn Terry, and David Noel.  After that, I havethem going all the way to the Elite Eight.  I also have Georgetowngoing to the Sweet 16, knocking out Ohio State in Round 2. The Princeton offense + athletic bigs =nightmares for teams in the tournament. 

One thing that I guarentee will screw myself up is my bias toward teams. As a Duke fan I naturally pick them to win it all, but its far from a lock thisyear.  A lot of teams I enjoy watching are in the same bracket,sadly.  I was captivated by the run by Syracuse in the Big East.  I was luckyenough to have been in Dick's Sporting Goods for the last 2 minutes of theCincy game, seeing McNamara hit that floater 3.  Then the next 3 games Iwatched too, and it was amazing to watch that team.  That is what collegebasketball is all about.  That said, I'm worried they won't be able to geton an emotional high like that again.  But, you can't take away thosemagical 4 days from them, and I'll certainly remember it for a long timetoo.  The other teams in the Atlanta regionthat I like are West Virginiaand NC State.  WV is the most old-school team I've seen thismillenium.  I love watching them play, going back to their run lastyear.  NC State is like the little engine that could, a likeable team oncethe tourney starts because they're ACC.  The teams I'm not sold on are Kansas, UCLA, Tennessee,and Ohio State.  The reason is simple: Ihaven't seen them play.  I have no idea how good or bad they are. I'm an east coast guy.  I watch the ACC mostly.  Then, I watch theBig East.  The only team in the Big 10 I try to watch is Michigan Statebecause Izzo is the man.  That's pretty much it, save for a Gonzaga gamelate at night on ESPN2.  I'm sure that'll screw up my picks too.

There are a few first-round games I'm looking forward to watching.  The first two games on the schedule are going to be good to see.  The Big East takes on the Missouri Valley in the opening game of the tournament, as (7) Wichita State faces (10) Seton Hall.  My first predicted upset game also starts, as (11) UW-Milwaukee takes on (6) Oklahoma.  I'm interested also to see (15) Winthrop against (2) Tennessee, (9) UNC-Wilmington vs. (8) George Washington (I'm still pissed about the Charlotte/GW bullshit regular season finale), and I'm watching Duke start their journey for the Siemens Trophy.  Friday's games I'd like to see are (15) Davidson vs. (2) Ohio State because everyone was talking about Davidson as a potential Cinderella, that is until they were a 15 seed... but they still could give Ohio State fits.  Both 8/9 games should be fun, I'm picking both the 9 seeds, Bucknell and Wisconsin.  I'm also going to try and catch (6) West Virginia vs. (11) Southern Illinois and (9) UAB in a rematch of last year with (8) Kentucky for the Friday nightcap.

For those playing at home, games start at 12:15 Thursday.

Carolina Panthers Update

If you're not a fan of the NFL or College Basketball, you might as well check back tomorrow.

This is possibly the greatest month ever for sports.  Not counting the baseball players in Florida and Tampa scratching their asses for a month, NFL free agency is going on, college hoops tips off the NCAA Tournament this Thursday, plus the seasons in the NBA and NHL winding down plus NASCAR revving up, this month may be one of the least productive for sports fans.

Now that the NFL has their CBA shit done and finished, the focus remarkably shifted quickly to free agency, and it hasn't disappointed.  Thus far, I'm very pleased with what my Panthers have done to improve the defensive and offensive lines.  I've maintained for a while that the war in the trenches is where we lost Super Bowl XXXVIII and the NFC Championship this year.  Signing a big dude like Ma'ake Kemoeatu to plug up the middle and stop the run was huge.  I follow the Ravens too and I've noticed his play improve every year, so for Carolina to snatch him up, that's a big addition.  The Panthers also signed DT Damione Lewis, who has underachieved thus far but under the Fox/Hurney Administration, they've built up enough equity to take a chance on a guy.  On the offensive line, Justin Hartwig from Tennessee signed over the weekend too.  Mitchell's declined over the last 2 years so I'm kinda glad that someone else was brought in.  Hopefully the O-line can perform more consistenly for the 2006-07 season.  Today it was also announced that S Shaun Williams from the Giants was signed, which was smart after San Diego overpaid for Marlon McCree.  Still, I was sad to see Witherspoon go... but St. Louis overpaid for him too, and I don't blame Will for taking the money and running. 

The Panther defense will look like this now: DL - Peppers, Kemoeatu, Jenkins, Rucker  LB's - Davis, Morgan, Draft  DB's - Lucas, Branch, Minter, Gamble.  On offense, Foster and Weinke returning is solid.  Yes, Chris, no one wants you to start.  You have a good situation here in Carolina.  The only thing now I would do for the offense is stock up on a RB and a WR.  I have a feeling this will be done through the draft for at least one, if not both spots.  Overall, I'm excited about the new season. 

Just have to wait until September.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Jimmie Johnson Deals Matt Kenseth Bad Beat at Las Vegas

On a day where Roush Racing didn't bring their A game, Jimmie Johnson steals a win, his second of the season.



The worries about weather this week didn't come to fruition Sunday, as the temperature was substantially more comfortable than the previous days at Las Vegas.

Early in the day, it seemed as if the Roush contingent would pick up where they left off, as Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, and Matt Kenseth all showed muscle early.  Martin in particular seemed to have the dominant car early, as he torched his way through the field and proceeded to beat then leader Tony Stewart off pit road and lead 57 laps on the day.  Through the first 100 laps, Martin and Stewart were the top two cars.  Soon after, though, Matt Kenseth put on an impressive clinic out front while the positions behind him shuffled to include Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Kasey Kahne.

The second half of the race included the world famous NASCAR Phantom Debris Cautions.  In fact, the last 100 laps of the race featured 4 of these debris cautions.  This allowed for several fun restarts, as Jeff Gordon and Biffle traded body blows and later, Stewart and Busch had some fireworks of their own.  The outside line didn't mature into what I thought it would be until late in the race.

As is the case for most of the races nowadays, there was plenty of drama in the last 15 laps of the race.  Kenseth's lead was shrinking by the lap, the 20 was falling like a rock, and the last caution of the day on lap 264 set up a GWC finish yet again.  It was then we learned that Kenseth's car had trouble under the hood - in a case of extreme irony, the exact way he won at California last week.  So on the restart, Johnson was too much, though Kenseth faught valiantly and ended up losing the race in turn 4.

One of the top stories from the day has to be the decidedly below average day for Roush Racing.  Carl Edwards really stunk it up, never being a factor and finishing a disappointing 26th.  Jamie McMurray wasn't to be heard from either, as he put in a Ganassi-esque finish of 23rd.  Martin and Biffle both failed to back up their top 5 positions from early in the day, as the track got away from them both.  Hopefully, it will be fixed and fixed soon.

Some of the solid runs of the day belonged to RCR and Robby Gordon.  For the first time in a long time, all three cars from RCR ran well all day.  At one point, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton were both in the top six and rookie Clint Bowyer continues to show he can be competitive in Nextel Cup.  Robby Gordon is really on his game right now, as everyone that wrote him off last year is being forced to revisit their stance on the man.  The switch to DEI engines has really got him competing every week.  My darkhorse pick didn't fare as well as I had hoped, J.J. wasn't able to really recover from a flat tire on lap 64 after reaching as high as third.   He finished a solid, if unspectacular 17th.

Full race results from the UAW Daimler-Chrysler 400.

Saturday Roundup: Kahne Breaks Up Roush Party

Kasey Kahne makes late pass, holds back Matt Kenseth to win the Sam's Town 300.



On an unusually cool day in Vegas, Kasey Kahne kept his.  The race was a three way battle the entire day between Kahne, Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick as each traded the lead at one point or another.  The race may very well have been a preview of tomorrow, not just the front runners but also in that the outside line could emerge to be a factor like never before at Las Vegas.  Maybe this place isn't in need of repaving after all.

The other top finishers included tomorrow's polesitter and race favorite Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, and last week's winner Denny Hamlin.  An impressive run was that of Stephen Leicht in the RYR #90 car, who in his first Busch Series race qualified 7th and finished 18th.  Not too shabby.  The other top finishing rookie was Todd Kluever.  Full race results here.

On the Cup side, Kyle Busch, Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Edwards, and Jeff Burton recorded the top 5 speeds in happy hour, this may be the best year yet for the Busch brothers to claim and hometown win.  My predictions:

WINNER: Greg Biffle
Hopefully this doesn't become a trend, me picking a driver to win and then they go out and don't back up a strong run with a strong finish.  I'm picking Biffle anyway.

DARKHORSE: J.J. Yeley
Not a darkhorse for the win, but Yeley is looking really good right now and he has the momentum to record another solid finish.

Race goes tomorrow at 4 on FOX.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday Notes

Today... a rather subdued edition of Friday Notes.  I've had an eventful last few days, none of which I care to discuss here. 

- Am I alone in feeling that the season is choppy with thebreak after 2 races?  Early seasonschedule continuity is something that really needs to return to theschedule.  That along with a week offfollowing race 26 before the Chase.

- I didn’t get to talk about the HOF,so here is what I’ll say: Atlantacan kiss my ass.  Charlotte is NASCAR, it cements it to havethe Hall here.  You don’t even havesellouts for your races, everything sells out here.  I don’t care if you came up with the idea, goodfor you, but don’t think you deserve it over anyone else.  NASCAR didn’t screw you over, NASCAR made agood business decision.

- It’s hilarious that we’re already talking about who shouldbe in the Hall when there isn’t even an actual building under constructionyet.  There will be plenty of time forthat, I promise.

- Kudos to Bank of America for stepping up to sponsor the raceat Dover afterbuying MBNA.  Speaking of race sponsors,who is FOX trying to fool with calling it the Las Vegas 400?  I guess Dodge didn’t buy any advertising forthe race.  This gets annoying.

- The Biff is on the pole, no surprise as I expect him to be strong to pull himself out of the bad luck he has encountered thus far this season.  Stewart, Johnson, Shrub, and Kahne make up the top 5.

- The full race lineup here.

- The Mr. Insignificant for the day?  Randy Lajoie, with Dale Jr. a close 2nd, time-wise.  Of course, he is locked into the field.

- The Busch race goes at 6 eastern tomorrow on FX.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

I Lied

Well, that didn't go well.  2 and 2 on predictions.  I won't be covering everything else they way I did for round one.  And honestly, I have too much else going on.  Friday Notes will be up after Cup qualifying tonight.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

ACC Tournament First Round Preview

The games scheduled for Thursday:

12:00
Clemson (18-11) vs. Miami (15-14)
Key players:
Clemson: Shawan Robinson, Akin Akingbala
Miami: Guillermo Diaz, Robert Hite

This game will decide who gets to lose to Duke in the quarterfinals onFriday.  Both teams are wildly inconsistent, but both also possessthe talent to play well and it has shown for a few games this year, butnot many.  Winner: Clemson

2:30
Wake Forest (15-15) vs. Florida State (19-8)
Key players:
Wake Forest: Justin Gray, Eric Williams
Florida State: Al Thornton, Alexander Johnson

Wake fell farther than I think anyone could have predicted after losingChris Paul and Taron Downey this season.  However, Justin Gray andEric Williams are still on the team but for this game, Florida Statewill be too much.  Winner: Florida State

7:00
Virginia Tech (14-15) vs. Virginia (14-13)
Key players:
Virginia Tech: Zabian Dowdell, Coleman Collins
Virginia: Sean Singletary, J.R. Reynolds

This game will be worth watching to see the only All-ACC First Teamerplay Thursday, that being Virginia Guard Sean Singletary. Virginia Tech has seemingly gotten worse as the year has gone, whileVirginia has played harder into February and are simply better thanVT.  Winner: Virginia

9:30
Georgia Tech (11-16) vs. Maryland (18-11)
Key players:
Georgia Tech: Anthony Morrow, Ra'Sean Dickey
Maryland: Nik Caner-Medley,  Ekene Ibekwe

Several years ago, this would be a great game.  However, bothteams have underachieved this year and both teams need strongrecruiting classes to return to an elite level.  In this game,Maryland's will to make the NCAA Tournament will put them into thequarterfinals.  Winner: Maryland


Etc.

I'm working on a few things right now... don'tknow when I'll get to post a true entry, but its a light newsweek.  I'll have my ACC Tournament breakdowns up by the end of theday hopefully.  I have a few thoughts and ideas that I'm presentlyworking on:

- ESPN.com’s Page 2 runs a column from time to time where theyhave this guy that analyzes the patterns, changes, additions, etc. from thejerseys of the major sports organizations. Its always fun to read and look at, because I myself have always beenfascinated by it, I used to draw jerseys by hand when I was younger.  I also noticed that no one has ever reallydone it for NASCAR.  The suits thedrivers wear are never analyzed like the way they are there, and I’m more thanwilling to take on the task.

- This may be the funniest thing I've ever seen. I don't even want to ruin the surprise, but if you love college pranks,you can't pass on checking it out.  I'm still laughing at this.


Monday, March 6, 2006

ACC Tournament

I am fromNorth Carolina, as everyone who reads this knows.  So, this timeof year is extra special for a really big reason.  What's thereason, you ask?  Simple: ACC Tournament.  It's something Ijust can't describe, being from Tobacco Road and when the ACCTournament comes around, its just special.  The influence of thebig 4 schools, the fact that it is almost always in either Greensboroor Charlotte, the league is always one of the best and toughest in thenation, I mean people here take off work to watch.  In school, wewould beg our teachers to turn on the game.  Secretly, they werejust as into it as we were and obliged.  The ACC Tournament isjust so rich in tradition, in winning, and in pure collegebasketball.  It was the first conference to hold a postseasontournament and is still the premier conference tournament in thenation, even if the Big East has 37 teams in the conference.  I'mgoing to preview every game of the tournament this week, but I'll juststart off with the bracket for right now.



It figures that the year its back in Greensboro, I'm inCharlotte.  I like having the tournament in Greensboro,though.  Greensboro is much more of a college basketballatmosphere that Charlotte is.  After living in both areas, thatsone big thing I noticed.

Speaking of Charlotte, we got the Hall of Fame baby!  More on that tomorrow.

Mexico City

Denny Hamlinpretty much dominated the Busch race, I think the appropriate name isthe TelCel 200.  I honestly don't remember much about therace.  Said led early, Larry Mac and DW got to talk about roadcourse pit strategy and be wrong multiple times, Kyle Busch became notonly the most unpopular driver in the US but now in Mexico aswell.  I was quite shocked that Hamlin dominated the way hedid.  Who knew he could drive like that on a road course?  Iwasn't surprised at all with the rest of the top finishers, and I thinkthe #18 Yeley was driving had to have been a 20 Cup car.  The raceitself was just dreadful.  Everyone complained about Californiabeing bad, this was twice as worse.  If you made it through thewhole thing, I don't know whether to congratulate you or smack youupside the head.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Week Off

So, who has the week off?

Nextel Cup: check

Busch Series: nope

CTS: check

Myself: check

In other words, I won't be posting this weekend as I am taking avacation (spring break).  I figure its a good week for it, as onlythe Busch Race in Mexico City is happening this weekend.  Forcoverage on that, I would recommend BM or, if you like, NASCAR.com.

This weekend actually is shaping up to be a busy one.  The rivalrycontinues... Duke and North Carolina on Saturday night, everyone damnsure better be watching.  This is without question the greatestrivalry in college sports and I am lucky to have witnessed it from upclose throughout my entire life.  As a Duke fan, I expect theDevils to win, but its never easy.  Carolina's freshmen have farsurpassed my expectations for the year and can very well win. That said, Duke has 4 seniors playing their last games atCameron.  No way they let the team lose.  In case you wannaknow where to watch the game on TV, just turn it to ESPN.  OrESPN2.  Or ESPNU.  Or ESPN Deportes.  Or ESPN8 "TheOcho".  Literally, its on every ESPN channel.  Not that I'mcomplaining of course, but how can I watch them all at once?

What is going on in the NFL?  These CBA's and the people thatnegotiate them seem like such ass clowns when they're faced withdeadlines.  I blame the owners and I blame the players.  Iblame the owners for being greedy old bastards and pocketing the moneythe NFL generates, and I blame the players for not knowing how goodthey have it in the current system.  There is more than enoughmoney for everyone in the NFL, hell its only the biggest sport in theUS.  TV networks pay billions for the rights to games.  Ifind it unfathomable they'll just let the league fuck itself over withno new cap for next year, an uncapped year, and chaos after that.