Sunday, April 30, 2006

Aarons 499 Postponed Until Monday

Rain never allowed the Aarons 499 to take the green flag, so the race will be postponed until Monday at 12 EST.  The race will be seen on FX.


Saturday Night Action: Todd Bodine Wins Missouri/Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200



Toyota made Gateway their own personal playground Saturday night with Todd Bodine taking the win and leading the most laps with 4 Toyotas in his rearview mirror.  The race was a crash-filled affair with 9 trucks suffering a DNF.

Ted Musgrave, David Reutimann, Jack Sprague, and Johnny Benson complete the top 10.  Aric Almirola was the top finishing rookie in 10th place.

Full results from the Missouri/Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Saturday Roundup: NFL Draft, Busch Series Action, Cup Predictions

The first round of the NFL wrapped up at around 5:00 today. 

As expected the top 5 was chalk with NC State DE Mario Williams formally introduced as the number one pick, with USC RB Reggie Bush gladly taken by the New Orleans Saints with the second pick.  The Tennessee Titans placed their bet on Texas QB Vince Young over USC's Matt Leinart.  A very tough decision was made by the New York Jets, who elected to re-build their line with Virginia's moster OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson.  Green Bay and San Franciso then took the guys they had their eyes on, LB A.J. Hawk from Ohio State and TE Vernon Davis from Maryland respectively.  Leinart fell into the waiting laps of the Arizona Cardinals at the 10th pick.  Leinart could very well have a dream scenario here with two young stud WR's and Free Agent RB from Indy Edgerrin James.

This year the first round was marked by three trends: secondary help, quick selections, and teams moving up for their selections.

7 Cornerbacks and Safeties were taken in the first round.  Oakland made S Michael Huff  from Texas the first, with Buffalo surprisingly taking S Donte Whitner from Ohio State one spot later.  Whitner was considered to be a mid-later first round pick.  Following those two, Back-to-back picks also 15th and 16th as St. Louis took CB Tye Hill from Clemson after trading picks with Denver and Miami drafted DB Jason Allen from Tennessee one spot later.  Also going in the first round were CB Antonio Cromartie from Florida State, CB Johnathan Joseph from South Carolina and CB Kelly Jennings from Miami.

Teams this year didn't milk the entire 15 minutes the way they have in years past.  I for one am glad to see that because it keeps things moving.  The NFL still needs to shorten the first round to 10 minutes and make the second round 8 minutes, but the NFL isn't perfect.

Four teams felt the need to move up in the draft to secure they players they wanted.  Confusingly, the Baltimore Ravens felt the need to swap their 13th pick with Cleveland's 12th in order to draft Oregon DT Haloti Ngata.  Also moving up was Denver to 11th to draft Vanderbilt QB Jay Cutler.  A move for the future by the Broncos to get a QB that can learn from Jake Plummer (how crazy does that sound?) for a few years.  Moving up to 25th were the Pittsburgh Steelers who took Ohio State WR Santonio Holmes as the first WR taken to replace the departed Antwaan Randle-El.  One spot later the Buffalo Bills made a very suprising move to take NC State DT John McCargo.  This pick will be killed for the next week and rightfully so. 

My Carolina Panthers had their choice of running backs, either LenDale White from USC or Deangelo Williams from Memphis.  The team chose to take Williams.  I can't say I would have felt bad either way.  Williams is more of a DeShaun Foster-type back, with speed, elusiveness and was a beast playing behind a mediocre line.

Now, guys, you have millions of dollars... smile for the camera!














Martin Truex Jr. Takes Third Consecutive Aarons 312



Despite not competing in a Busch Series race thus far in 2006, the two-time Champion picked up where he left off with a strong effort at Talladega.

The Aarons 312 provided the fast and furious action we've come to expect from a Busch race at Talladega.  Within the first 10 laps alone four different drivers would lead.  Most of them finished, with a notable exception of Tony Stewart.  On lap 66 Stewart would go for a wild ride after attempting to come down in front of Kenny Wallace.  However, he didn't have the clearance and came across the car and then flipped and slid on his roof in the 33 car.  He was then slammed into by the 50 of Danny O'Quinn.  Both guys were fine and walked away. 

The strongest threats of the day for Truex were the Hendrick duo of Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers.  They combined to lead 40 laps and were often lined up together and always at the front.  The final caution came when J.J. Yeley was turned into the wall with 6to go.  The restart with 3 to gowas dicey, as Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, and many other guys shuffled positions over the final exciting laps.  Truex was more than capable though, and he sped away for the win.

The top 5 consisted of Truex, Harvick, Busch, Vickers, and Bowyer.  The top rookie was Mark McFarland for the first time this season.

Full results from the Aarons 312.

----- Nextel Cup -----

Cup qualifying rolled off in the late morning and into the afternoon prior to the Busch race.  Elliott Sadler won his third pole at Talladega in six tries.  The Roush-Yates engine look to be dominant this weekend as six of the 10 drivers in the top 10 run the package.  The top 5 for the race include Sadler, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Dale Jarrett, and Kurt Busch.

Mr. Insignificant for the day was Kenny Wallace, who won't get to take his notes behind the wheel this week for NASCAR Victory Lane.

Race lineup for the Aarons 499.

Happy hour yesterday meant exactly nothing, so I'm not gonna bother posting the speeds, now on to my race predictions:

WINNER - Matt Kenseth

A lot of guys in the Cup Series are due for restrictor-plate wins.  Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick are the ones at the top of the list.  Kenseth has had a car capable of winning at Daytona and Talladega for the last 3 years and tomorrow he will break through.

DARKHORSE - Sterling Marlin

Not ordinarily a darkhorse, but considering the year Sterling has had and the little amount of attention he gets, this week he'll find himself in the top 10 for a good finish for that team.

WILL CAUSE THE BIG WRECK - Kyle Busch

I'm gonna be the house in this blackjack game and bet on that 5 car.  The WCTBW prediction is a restrictor-plate special.

Tonight the
Missouri/Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200 from Gateway starts at 8 on SPEED.

Tomorrow we have the Aarons 499 with coverage beginning at 1:30 on FOX.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday Notes

"And then these guys come in and if somebody says something to them,they get all upset and all this kind of stuff. I think it's a littlesissy more than anything else as far as I'm concerned." - "The King" Richard Petty

With that, we'll get into the weekend of one of my top 10 favorite races of the year, the Aarons 499 at Talladega.

- Ricky Rudd?!  Wow, there's a name I haven't heard this year.  Out of the blue he now gets mentioned as a candidate to drive for Toyota?  First, that would be awesome as he can still get it done.  Second, he would give Toyota credibility.  Great move if it happens.

- Hmm... who didn't see the 61 team looking for a way out?  Here is a better question: do any of these sponsor/owner teams ever work out?  The bad thing is, that team isn't that bad.  Lepage does his best work with the crappiest teams.

- The International Motorsports Hall of Fame inducted new members.  I think that gives it more weight for people that still celebrate Dale Earnhardt's birthday.  I myself do not see why but to each his own.

- The fall race in 2003 I still have on tape.  I have it because NBC had the best opening video package for a race that I have ever seen.  It started with Bill Weber talking about the perils of the track and various "big one" moments and other 3 and 4 wide moments.  It is especially memorable because of the great music choice playing under it.  The Undertaker's music from circa 1997 was playing ominously.  This gave the race a whole different feel because you just sensed the danger that this track has.  This week we'll be treated to more crap from FOX.

- Someone should get behind The Spotter's efforts to make the Talladega Busch race.  Wonder if anyone will pull out the good ol' start and park for this one?

- Time for the Channellock Tool of the Week! 

This week I'm going outside racing for it.  The recipient of the CTotW recently resigned from the Bush White House because well... he is a piece of trash.  Former Press Secretary  Scott McClellan wins the award!  Good job sir. 

I'll  preface this by saying I am conservative and Republican and a supporter of the Bush White House... but McClellan was a dope.  The way the Bush Administration has treated the press during their tenure is just going about things entirely wrong.  When McClellan took over he was just a robot that didn't engage the press.  Like my grandma said "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar" and it applies here because you're just pissing people off by stonewalling and not giving clear explanations of things.  This is where I hope Tony Snow can turn things around somewhat.  Snow's been a favorite of mine on Fox News and if he really is involved in decisions then its not a bad thing.  Mr. Bush is extremely loyal to his top aides and they to him but the administration is stale.  They need new blood badly and Snow was a good place to start.  Holy crap I feel like a Jade Gurss blog.  Someone shoot me.

----- Talladega Preview -----

- Last year at Tallaega it was experience over youth in victory lane as Jeff Gordon won this event 1 year ago and last October it was Dale Jarrett (!) with a surprising win. 

- I never like predicting races at Talladega because most the fun is the unpredictability.  The favorites are the favorites, the Gordon/Johnson/Jr/Stewart quartet figures to play a central role, flanked by Kurt Busch, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray (yes, Jamie McMurray), Kevin Harvick, and the Yates twosome. 

- Last year's Talladega Busch race was... something.  A grand total of 7 cars finished on the lead lap, a race won by Martin Truex Jr. and Jon Wood finished 2nd.  Truex is making his first Busch start of the year in the same car.

- The Craftsman Truck Series returns to action at Gateway.  Last year Ted Musgrave walked away with the race, leading all but 2 laps.  I expect a more competitive race this year (well damn what WOULDN'T be more competitive?) as Germain tries to hold off their fellow Toyotaytes and the Roush rookie duo of David Ragan and Erik Darnell.

- Brief race schedule:

Friday - Busch qualifying
Saturday - Cup qualifying, Busch race, Truck qualifying & race
Sunday - Cup race

- I'll be back tomorrow after Cup quals.  Enjoy the day...and night ;-)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

NFL Draft Extravaganza Part 2

I'm back to wrap it up kids.

Sleepers of the draft:

Maurice Drew RB - UCLA: Back in November UCLA was the "hot" team that could upset USC and Drew was the reason why.  It obviously didn't happen but that doesn't take away from how good Drew is.  If he goes in the third round, thats a hell of a steal.

Devin Hester KR/PR - Miami: The most electrifying return man east of Reggie Bush, Devin Hester will make someones team as a return man - and he can adapt to either CB or WR if given a few years and contribute there as well.  His mentor is Deion Sanders, that has to be worth something.

Anthony Fasano TE - Notre Dame: A very underrated weapon of the Notre Dame passing attack was Fasano.  He is projected as a second round pick and will be a very good value pick for someone.

Taitusi "Deuce" Latui OG - USC: This mammoth of a man will be a difference-maker for the offensive line for a team.  He was the roadgrader for the greatest tandem of rushers in college history and I'm shocked he won't be a high pick.

Derek Hagan WR - Arizona State: The first of my two WR sleepers is Hagan, who once was a first round lock until he didn't perform this past season and at the combine.  Nevermind that, I think he is a player and worth the risk in round four, which is where I see him going.

Mike Hass WR - Oregon State: The next Ricky Proehl.  Great hands and he understands separation.  It more than makes up for his lack of speed.  A solid possession guy.

Jeremy Bloom WR/KR - Colorado: The NFL loves athletes and Bloom is an athlete.  He is an Olympic skier for crying out loud!  After the NCAA booted him he had nowhere to go but the NFL.  He'll be a late round pick or may not be picked at all but I would give him a look.



Carolina Panthers talk:

This year's draft may the one I've looked forward to the most in Panthers history.  The team is more put together now than at any other point in their 11 year history.  In fact, the team won't need a starter from the draft for the first time.  Its all about depth in this draft.

In the first round I want either LenDale White or Deangelo Williams.  I was set on White only but Williams is tough and he has a similar body to Foster so that could push DeShaun and make him work harder - and get even better.  No matter who it is they'll be a welcome addition as the team has suffered more than their share of RB troubles.  The next area I want addressed is Safety.  Minter and Branch will more than likely be the starters but someone like Darnell Bing would be great if he somehow makes it to the second round selection.  In the third round the team has back-to-back picks (thanks Chicago!) after Ricky Manning signed with the Bears, thus giving the Panthers the pick.  Right here I want a return man after an abysmal effort last year from Rod Smart and a decidedly average showing from Jamal Robertson.  Devin Hester or Will Blackmon makes sense as Steve Smith should be relieved of his punt return duties.  In the later rounds I think the team will add 1 or 2 more offensive linemen to the program which as been their M.O. for the last few years.  Needless to say, I'll be watching Saturday... and Sunday (during the 'Dega commercials).

NFL Draft Extravaganza

Saturday will be great for two things: 1) Busch racing at Talladega and more importantly 2) the NFL Draft.  I'm a draft nut and sad as it sounds, I watch it from beginning to end.  I love the draft.  It is true reality TV at its finest.  Plus you get to see Mel Kiper's hair.  Classic stuff.

This draft is absolutely, insanely deep this year.  When I look at guys like Tamba Hali and Eric Winston and the like and they're not even projected to go in the first round, that's huge.  The class that appears to be getting a lot of picks early will be the defensive backs.  Mel Kiper's projection has no less than 10 DB's selected in the first round alone.  The Wide Receivers this season lack the depth of recent seasons with Chad Jackson, Santionio Holmes, and Sinorice Moss the only guys that are going in the first round.  I'm shocked that the Running Backs this season aren't going to be picked higher, with the exception of Reggie Bush, of course.  Deangelo Williams, Laurence Maroney, and LenDale White all are looking to be selected in the 20's or even at the end of the first round.  NC State should be proud as both of their defensive ends are going to be drafted in the first round.  I think this is the first time NC State has more than first round pick in... ever.  Mario Williams is being compared to Julius Peppers (ha) and has an outside shot of being picked #1 by Houston.

I think I'm really going to overextend myself and go through all 32 picks in the first round: (note: taking the mock drafts from Yahoo! Sports, Mel Kiper, Scouts Inc., and NFLDraftCountdown.com)

1. Houston
The pick: Reggie Bush - RB USC, Mario Williams - DE NC State
Common sense says Bush has to be the guy.  He is only the greatest college football player ever.  Williams has been mentioned lately and championed by Michael Smith on ESPN.com but I don't see how anyone can pass up Reggie Bush.

2. New Orleans
The pick: Mario Williams, D'Brickashaw Ferguson OT - Virginia, Matt Leinart QB - USC
The 'Aints hold the keys to what happens next.  They could take Williams (or Bush if Houston fucks up), Ferguson, or trade out and someone like the Jets could move up and take Leinart here.  New Orleans seems to like Williams more but Brees needs Ferguson.

3. Tennessee
The pick: Matt Leinart, Vince Young QB - Texas
The Titans are pretty much set to take a QB here.  The coaching staff likes Leinart because he played for Norm Chow at USC and he is more familiar with him.  The front office likes Vince Young.  I don't think we'll know the answer here until the commish announces it.

4. New York Jets
The pick: Mario Williams, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Matt Leinart
Infactuated with Leinart are the Jets.  This is the team most likely to make a move up if they like him enough to part with some draft picks.  If not Ferguson will be here at 4.

5. Green Bay
The pick: Mario Williams, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, A.J. Hawk LB - Ohio State
Green Bay would love to have Williams or Ferguson but it doesn't look too likely unless Tennessee takes Young.  Hawk is a stud LB that will give the defense a spark and some toughness.

6. San Francisco
The pick: Vernon Davis TE - Maryland, A.J. Hawk
Davis is the logical pick and Hawk would only be available if somehow he fell down to them.  Alex Smith needs weapons and Davis is a lethal one.

7. Oakland
The pick: Vernon Davis, Vince Young
Oh, the intrigue.  Young could very well be here for Oakland at 7.  They'll be sure to snatch him up if thats the case.  Although I am worried about putting him with a nutcase like Al Davis... and Randy Moss... and Aaron Brooks... think Young is praying Tennessee takes him?  I do too.

8. Buffalo
The pick: Winston Justice OT - USC, Haloti Ngata DT - Oregon, Brodrick Bunkley DT - Florida State
Buffalo needs help pretty much everywhere.  The trenches look to be where they're looking with either Justice or one of the big guys.  Since I have no idea what Buffalo is up to I'll say they go with Justice because he has shot up the charts lately.

9. Detroit
The pick: Michael Huff DB - Texas
God I wish they would take a WR for the fourth year in a row.  In what is a broken record, I think Detroit could do pretty well if they draft this guy.  Their new coaching staff couldn't do any worse than the previous 2.

10. Arizona
The pick: Jay Cutler QB - Vanderbilt, Ernie Sims LB - Florida State
Count me as a guy on the Cutler bandwagon but I like the kid.  He is fearless and he has a cannon.  I don't know if Arizona will take him or not, if they do it would be contrary to their previous offseason plan of trying to make a playoff run.  I would like them a lot more if they had re-signed McCown instead of Warner.

11.  St. Louis
The pick: Chad Greenway LB - Iowa, Jimmy Williams CB - Virginia Tech
I've also seen that Cutler could go here but St. Louis doesn't like QB's that are drafted so they'll go with someone like Greenway or Williams.

12.  Cleveland
The pick: Kamerion Wimbley DE/LB - Florida State, Brodrick Bunkley, Haloti Ngata
I can't believe I'm saying this but Cleveland could be a pretty good team next year.  In one of those twists of irony they're becoming New England west after Belichick failed to make Cleveland the Patriots 12 years ago.  Wimbley could be the next McGinest and will have Willie himself to learn from.

13.  Baltimore
The pick: Brodrick Bunkley, Haloti Ngata
I really hope they take either Bunkley or Ngata because they need to replace the beef on the inside to keep linemen off Ray.  I would be shocked if they do anything different than one of these guys here.

14.  Philadelphia
The pick: Ernie Sims, Winston Justice, Chad Greenway
The rebuilding of the Eagles will begin with defense and more than likely it will be Sims.  I almost think they should go with a WR but then again I hope they suck every year so they shouldn't listen to me.

15.  Denver (f/ ATL)
The pick: Chad Jackson WR - Florida
Another consensus pick from the mock drafts.  Good player, good team, good fit.  I have to give Denver credit for how they fleeced Atlanta out of this pick just to be a broker in a trade.

16.  Miami
The pick: Johnathan Joseph CB - South Carolina, Donte Whitner S - Ohio State, Santonio Holmes WR - Ohio State
Miami is a team I think has a legitimate shot to get to Super Bowl XLI from the AFC.  The lineup they have is impressive and Sabin has proven he can get it done.  I think they'll go with one of the secondary guys because their unit desparately needs some new blood.

17.  Minnesota
The pick: Ernie Sims, Jay Cutler, Jason Allen S - Tennessee
If Cutler falls here that would be perfect for Minnesota.  If not I think they'll go for defense here, more than likely Sims if he is thee.

18.  Dallas
The pick: Donte Whitner, Jason Allen, Manny Lawson DE/LB - NC State
I really see them taking Lawson to give them one more LB for their defense across from the kid they got last year that turned out to be a beast.  The NFC East will certainlybe interesting for the upcoming season.

19.  San Diego
The pick: Antonio Cromartie CB - Florida State, Johnathan Joseph, Santonio Holmes
The story of this Cromartie kid is amazing.  Injured the entire year in 2005, started just one game in 2004, and he will be a first round pick.  He has fantastic size for a corner and fantastic speed, but I'd be a bit leery because of the learning he'll have to go through to get back to playing shape.

20.  Kansas City
The pick: Tye Hill CB - Clemson
Another consensus pick here.  Herman Edwards wants defense and this guy seems to fit in nicely for 4 different mocks to agree on him.

21.  New England
The pick: Manny Lawson, Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, Richard Marshall CB - Fresno State
Arguably the best drafting team over the last 5 years New England continues to pull rabbits out of hats or do better homework than everyone else.  The pick here could be Holmes to elevate their receiving corps but another DB is just as likely.  Not like you'll get Belichick to say anything that could even remotely reveal what his plans are.

22.  San Francisco (f/ DEN)
The pick: Kamerion Wimbley, Manny Lawson
The 49ers need all the help they can get which is why they made this deal for a second first round pick.  Defense should be the priority, which it looks like it will.

23.  Tampa Bay
The pick: Tamba Hali DE - Penn State, Jimmy Williams, Antonio Cromartie, Johnathan Joseph
Outside of Hali Tampa appears to be leaning toward the defensive backfield.  Joseph will most likely be the one around for them to take here.

24.  Cincinnati
The pick: Donte Whitner, Marcedes Lewis TE - UCLA, Jimmy Williams, Leonard Pope TE - Georgia
The number of Tight Ends in the draft is staggering as you see here, with Lewis and Pope listed as possibilites here.  Not a bad choice here to take one as a guy to take some pressure off of Chad Johnson.

25.  New York Giants
The pick: Chad Greenway, Kelly Jennings CB - Miami, Bobby Carpenter LB - Ohio State, Demeco Ryans LB - Alabama
Are they still looking for a LB after signing the overhyped LaVar Arrington?  They should be.  Ryans or Carpenter would be solid additions but they'll probably draft Jennings.

26.  Chicago
The pick: Sinorice Moss WR - Miami, Richard Marshall, Ashton Youboty CB - Ohio State
After their embarrassingloss to the Panthers in the divisional round of the playoffs Chicago went after Ricky Manning and got him, giving the Panthers their third round pick.  I don't think they'll get a CB but Moss doesn't make sense either.  I have no idea where they're looking.

27.  Carolina
The pick: LenDale White RB - USC, Deangelo Williams RB - Memphis
I've been hopeful for White and now it looks like he'll be there for the taking.  As much as I like him the idea of Williams here excites me as well and now I'm torn on the two.  More about the Panthers separately.

28.  Jacksonville
The pick: Demeco Ryans, Deangelo Williams, Mathias Kiwanuka DE - Boston College, Marcedes Lewis
I think Jacksonville will go with Ryans here because of their need for a linebacker after failing to bring in Arrington.  But this is a team that doesn't look to convention in the first round so we'll see.

29.  New York Jets (f/ DEN)
The pick: Manny Lawson, LenDale White, Laurence Maroney RB - Minnesota, Bobby Carpenter
I think Carpenter would be an excellent fit for the Jets defense since I think Lawson will be gone by this pick.  The Jets could also take a RB as the heir apparent to the ageless Curtis Martin or even possibly trade this pick as part of a package for Matt Leinart.

30.  Indianapolis
The pick: Laurence Maroney, LenDale White
Running Back is a big need for Indy after letting Edgerrin James walk and Maroney appears to be the guy they've targeted.

31.  Seattle
The pick: Antonio Cromartie, Ashton Youboty, Richard Marshall, Kelly Jennings
The defending NFC Champs will look for a corner after getting exposed in the Super Bowl, more than likely it will be Youboty.

32.  Pittsburgh
The pick: Jason Allen, Sinorice Moss, Nick Mangold C - Ohio State
Moss would replace the speed Randle El brought but the Steelers won't make a bad choice here regardless of who they draft.


This is just part one, folks.  Coming late tonight/Friday: part two with sleepers and extended Panthers draft talk.

Wednesday News Report

First off, my apologies for not following up on the NFL Draft post.  I'm working on it for Thursday.  One thing you won't have to wait for though is Brett Farve's announcement: he'll be back in Green Bay next year.  Somewhere, John Madden is eating a bloomin' onion from Outback Steakhouse on his patio from Ace Hardware with his feet up to help his athletes foot with BOOM! tough actin' Tinactin and celebrating because for one more year, he can say Brett Favre.



Brett Favre.

Now time for some racing news.

Brett Favre.

 Top 8 Stories of the Week (not named Brett Favre)

Two fans electrocuted at Talladega and are killed

Just... wow.  Very sad story about two fans just hanging up a flag of their drivers and to die.  From the story I've read, they were moving the flagpole away from power lines at the track and they were pronounced dead on the scene.  It adds to the long, very strange history of Talladega.  As many of you know, the track is built on an old Indian burial ground and the track may indeed be cursed, haunted, whatever you want to call it.  This story just adds to the unfortunate events that have plagued the track since its inception.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., DEI to run tribute schemes this weekend

Initial reaction: awesome

When the rumors began about it Sunday I thought it was a really cool move.  Then I saw the scheme today and its almost chilling how much it looks like DE's old car.  What I don't like, though, is everyone else in the DEI stable running the scheme as well.  It's almost overkill at that point to have Truex and Menard in the Busch Series running the scheme, as well as Truex in the Cup Series.  To me it takes away from the specialness of Dale Jr. himself doing it.  Still, I love the tribute and I won't be disappointed if that black 8 wins Sunday.

Is a manufacturer looking to leave NASCAR?

Every once in a while something like this will come up.  That said this day in time it has more teeth to it than it would otherwise.  Considering the miserable financial condition of Ford, DaimlerChrysler and especially GM it wouldn't as much of a shock to me as it would to others.  When a company like GM eats the amount of money they do each quarter and haven't turned a profit in years you have to wonder.  But will it happen?  Very, very unlikely.  I'm sure Toyota wouldn't mind if it did, though.

Busch Series could get new cars in 2009

Finally someone with some damn sense gets the message.  You want these Cup guys to stop running Busch races?  Make the cars so different that it isn't a test session on Saturdays.  Sure some guys will continue to run Busch but thats always been the case.  A different car will give Busch its own identity again.  Don't stop with the cars either.  Throw a stand-alone race on the day of a Cup race somewhere to break up the scheduling with Cup.  Busch is getting their own TV deal next year, they deserve their own indentity as well.

As The Toyota Turns...

Dale Jarrett and his gracious sponsor UPS are the next targets of the Toyota Cup effort.  Bill Elliott went from Fords to Dodge for the last 3 years of his career so it wouldn't be unheard of for one of Ford's biggest faces to jump to the new kid on the block to close out his career.

Kevin Harvick wants to be at Richard Childress... we think.  Richard Childress wants Kevin Harvick... we think.  So what will we know?  Remains to be seen.  The lure of Toyota's money could be very powerful.  Childress is performing at a level not seen since the 3 was on the track last.  The team has three good drivers and teams for the first time in its history.  Is Harvick driving for a job?  Recent performance has to indicate yes.

Kyle Busch not penalized for bumping Casey Mears under red flag at Phoenix

Dumbass. 

Tire testing at Indianapolis wrapped up Tuesday

Not really that important... but why does Stewart get to tire test there after he won last year?

Tigers Woods can drive... really

Tiger won the second of two celebrity stock car races in New Zealand Monday and started from the back, no less.  Pretty good stuff there from Mr. Augusta.  He and his bully of a caddy Steve Williams also bungee jumped while there.  I mention this because 1) its a neat story and 2) Tiger Woods is filthy rich.  He had a customized firesuit from Nike for God's sake.


One news item/rumor even I couldn't put there was the Jimmy Fennig to Ganassi rumor.  Seems kind of like odd timing to me.  I'm going to discredit totally though.  I have it on somewhat good authority that the move is indeed going to happen.  Apparently its out with the old, in with the new at Roush Racing.  Plus if I was Jimmy, being a Cup team manager > being a Busch team manager.

This week also marks the return of the Craftsman Truck Series after a three week period to rebuild their torn up trucks caused by Erin Crocker (kidding... I think).  I'm looking forward to seeing if Germain can retain their momentum and how David Ragan does in his first race with the A team.

That's a wrap everyone.  Be sure to check back often for my NFL Draft special.  It's gonna be grand.  I guess I like using that phrase in a semi-self-deprecating way.

Oh yeah... Brett Favre.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Observations | Phoenix

I'm gonna copy the Observer here, who not only have 3 race reports and 2 David Poole columns, but also have an Observations part that is brief.  I'm either calling it that or "the shit that I forgot to put in the race recap".


> My favorite quote from the weekend was what DW said after a debris caution: "these cars must not be put together as good as they used to be".

> A whole cycle of green flag pit stops happened Saturday night.  I don't think I remember the last time that happened.

> It was funny that Mike Joy had to point out the irony of the debris caution on lap 200 that "saved" Jeff Gordon from going a lap down.  Good job there by Mike to cater to the conspiracy theorists by mentioning that little tidbit.

> I heard Rusty say something during the IRL race that was really, really stupid.  He said that Penske and Ganassi were "the class of the IRL" which granted, they're the only two teams that have won thus far.  Then he said that Andretti-Green was "doing pretty good over the last few years".  I nearly fell out of my chair when he said that.  Doing pretty well?  DOING PRETTY WELL?!?!  You know, they're doing pretty well.  They've only won the last 2 IRL Championships with 2 different drivers and have won more races than any other team over that span.

> I literally wrote this down on the caution with about 110 laps remaining: GOD MARK'S PIT CREW IS SCREWING HIM.  I believe that it had to have been the third or fourth time Mark had a top 5 position and a chance to win, only for his crew to leave a wheel loose or something stupid like that or have a slow stop.  Poor Mark is already stressed out enough, then the team adds to it by constantly dropping the ball when it matters.  The only thing that I see keeping Mark from a Championship this year is his crew.

> and finally... watch out NASCAR, the purple car mafia is on the loose.  The 26 with McMurray is running purple in about 21 or so races this year.  Then Ryan Newman and Jeff Burton showed up at Phoenix both in purple cars.  Were they coordinating on this?  Am I the only one who noticed?  Cared?

Tomorrow I'll talk about... something.  The NFL Draft is 5 days away now so that will be one topic.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Kevin Harvick Drives Away From Field in Subway Fresh 500

Kevin Harvick had the car - and enough gas - to bring home a sweep of the spring Phoenix events and earn his first win since the Food City 500 at Bristol in 2005.



The second annual spring race at PIR proved to be an exciting race topped off with a nail-biting finish.  Harvick started the race in 15th and patiently made his way into the top 10.  The lead early was traded from Greg Biffle to Kyle Busch and back to Biffle, as the daylight was good to the 16 car.  On lap 66 Mark Martin made his presence known by storming to the front and arguably had the fastest car most of the night.  A caution on lap 100 brought out a brief red flag, as Kyle Petty ran over the back of Michael Waltrip and the track became blocked with several other wrecked cars.  Also in that period, an unrelated incident between Casey Mears and Kyle Busch sent Shrub into the fence.

Trouble for Mark Martin came after a caution on lap 200 where on his pit stop, his crew screwed his chances for winning yet again as Mark had to come in to tighten a loose wheel.  Martin would lead 111 laps during the race.  This set the stage for Tony Stewart, who started from the rear of the field due to tire troubles before the race, to take the lead and complete his journey from 43rd to 1st.  It wouldn't last long, however, as Biffle would win the battle off pit road on lap 225 and lead from then until lap 302.  Biffle led the most laps of the race, totaling 151.

Harvick's patience paid off as he slowly rose to the top 5, then torched the field in the final running, passing Biffle with ease for the lead on lap 302 and rocketing to the finish.



Late in the race fuel mileage became the name of the game, as concerns over who could go and who couldn't were answered for a change as no caution would come out and we saw who was bluffing and who was full of it.  The Roush teams were affected the most, with Biffle pitting with 3 laps to go and Martin running out on the frontsretch while taking the white flag.  Also running out were Brian Vickers, Sterling Marlin, and Martin Truex Jr.

The top 5 finishers were Harvick, Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, and a fantastic run from rookie Clint Bowyer.  Martin finished 11th and Biffle finished a disappointing 16th.

Impressive runs came from the RCR camp, as they placed all three of their drivers in the top 9 with Jeff Burton 9th.  Bobby Labonte continued to show flashes of a Petty renaissance with a solid top 10 finish. 

My picks were decent, I suppose.  Edwards lucked out by having the gas to go to the finish and snapping up 4th place, while Brian Vickers looked good early but for whatever reason never materialized into a threat and he finished 14th.

Boy, it sure was good to see a race finish with no PDC's (phantom debris cautions) and drama TNT would have told us about... incessantly.  Next week its a totally different animal, kids.

Full race results from the Subway Fresh 500



Helio Castroneves Wins Indy Japan 300



Castroneves re-established himself with back-to-back 2006 wins as the favorite for the Indy 500 next month.  He flat out dominated the Indy Japan 300, seen Saturday afternoon on ESPN after being run at about 11:30 PM Eastern time on Friday night.  Castroneves led for 184 laps and was never seriously challenged in the event.  The Target Chip Ganassi cars look to be back in their previous form as Scott Dixon ran in 2nd throughout most of the race until stalling his car late, but teammate Dan Wheldon picked up where Dixon left off to finish 2nd.  Tony Kanaan, Sam Hornish Jr., and Buddy Rice rounded out the top 5.

More than ever, the IRL is a playground for about three teams - four if you want to count Rahal Letterman.  Penske, Ganassi, and Andretti-Green are the class of the IRL and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if no one else from another team won this season.  The Indy 500 festivites start and run throughout the entire month of May, with the 90th Indy 500 the next race on the IRL schedule.

Full results from the Indy Japan 300.


Boxing: Byrd vs. Klitschko

Tonight on HBO live from Germany, IBF Heavyweight Champion Chris Byrd will take on Wladimir Klitschko in a rematch of the two's encounter 5 years ago.  Remember the time of the match, 5:00 Eastern with a replay at 10:00.



We have another championship fight as Chris Byrd continues his rivalry with the Klitschkos against the only that still fights.  The general consensus I'm getting from the analysis of the fight is that Byrd will be behind but inflict enough damage to Wladimir to force a late-round stoppage.  I think its risky to pick something like that.  That said, Wladimir has Byrd's number and both men aren't what they used to be.  It will come down to who wants it more, and I go with Byrd.

WINNER and STILL IBF Champion: Chris Byrd

Friday, April 21, 2006

Kevin Harvick Goes Back-to-Back in Busch Competition

A wild night at Phoenix ends with an increasingly familiar result - Kevin Harvick in victory lane.



The Bashas 200 wasn't the prettiest race in the world, and the continuing pattern of numerous late yellow flags was seen yet again for the Busch Series.  Harvick was out front when it mattered, after previous leaders Jason Leffler, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, and Kurt Busch all were sent to the back for one reason or another and he never relinquished his mount and led the final 53 laps.

Reed Sorenson finished second, followed by Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, and Mark Martin.  The Roush contingent also took 6th (Greg Biffle), 7th (Kenseth) and 14th and top rookie, Danny O'Quinn. 

Full race results of the Bashas Supermarkets 200.

----- Nextel Cup -----

Greg Biffle paced happy hour earlier in the night, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, and Brian Vickers.  Now time for some predictions:

WINNER - Carl Edwards
Is this a ledge?  Sort of.  I just have a feeling that Carl really wants to do well to show that he can adapt and succeed with anyone and he wants to do it as soon as possible.  That gives me enough reason to pick him.

DARKHORSE - Brian Vickers
This kid had a great run at this race a year ago and has really been forgotten about this season by just about everybody.  He just might break out of his funk tomorrow night and get back into the race for the next first-time winner.

Tune in at 8:00 Saturday night for the Subway Fresh 500 on FOX.

Friday Notes

Subway... eat fresh!

Preparing myself now for the commericals that will be running throughout the races this weekend.  Actually Subway has partnered up with Reggie Bush and launched a website well... all about Reggie.  Still its cool and Reggie keeps a blog going here.

The valley of the sun holds court this weekend, lets get to it:

- I can't believe that the stuff from the Nicole/Eva brief encounter is still being talked about by so many people.  Just wait until the race Saturday night, they'll have a camera pointed at Nicole the entire race to capture her reactions to every thing that happens on the track.  I wouldn't be surprised if they follow her to the bathroom. 

- It's good Crown Royal isn't going overboard with the stuff they sponsor, oh wait...

- The IRL gets back to oval racing on the egg-shaped Twin Ring Motegi late tonight, with the race being shown on ESPN at noon tomorrow.  Qualifying was canceled so your front row is Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon.

- Unleaded fuel could be tested again later this year in the Busch and Truck races later in the year.  I guess its a good move, am I missing something that makes this big news?

- Also in the above story it mentions Roy McCauley (crew chief of Kurt Busch) will be at home after having a procedure done to alleviate blockage.  I have a really bad joke I could make here but I'm gonna restrain myself.

- In news that no one gives a shit about but me, Pennzoil signed on to sponsor Todd Kluever for the fall Texas Cup race.

- Time to adjust the stats of the greatest Busch driver of the 2000's after Harvick won last week at Nashville.  Well, Biffle won this race last year and very easily could win it here again as well. 

- Now, its the Channellock Tool of the Week!

A really slow week for anyone to cause trouble and really deserve the award, but when you're in a pinch, there is always an easy target: Kurt Busch wins this week.  Kurt has a great shot at being the tool of the year as well.  The deciding factor was his absolutely pathetic attempt at a first pitch at the Arizona Diamondbacks game this week.

----- Phoenix Preview -----

- Last year it was Busch bash at the track as Kurt Busch dominated the spring event en route to a win and little brother Kyle picked up where Kurt left off in the fall, where Kurt was suspended.

- On a brief side note about the spring race last year, it was Prom Night for yours truly.  Hard to believe a year has passed since then.  Man, time flies.  Remember everyone who will be attending their prom event (as you should... unless you're a lazy bum) don't drink and drive... drive to where you'll be drinking and stay the night.

- It'll be interesting to see how the guys with new crew chiefs perform this week.  As far as favorites for the race, I certainly would look at Hendrick Motorsports to be strong.  Other guys include Dale Jr., the former Phoenix master Jeff Burton, and Denny Hamlin... I'm smelling a race pick among those guys.  I think it goes without saying that I think the Roush cars will be strong.

- Kyle Busch won the pole for the Subway Fresh 500 in this hideous car.  Following him are Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, and Carl Edwards. 

- Mr. Insignificant is... Steve Portenga.  He narrowly beat out Morgan Shephard.

- Full qualifying results for the Subway Fresh 500.

- The Busch Series qualifies and races today with the race at 8:30 tonight on FX.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

NBA, NHL Stuff

NBA

My two NBA teams both did pretty well for the type of team each are.  The Spurs have been my team for years and I'm pretty well set with them, but I have to be honest... the hometown Bobcats are growing on me. 

San Antonio



What's not to like about a team thats so good and don't have to tell you why they're so good?  Tim Duncan is the best, most consistent big man in the league.  Everyone on the Spurs is a smart basketball player.  Watching them is a joy because they want to do the little things it takes to win.  They play defense as well as anyone.  One fault, if you can call it that, is that they are bored during the regular season because they play their best basketball in the playoffs.  The player that perhaps symbolizes this the most is Big Shot Bob, Robert Horry.  This is his time as well.  San Antonio is the best team until someone proves otherwise.  A team that won a championship last year added guys like Nick Van Exel and Michael Finley to an already loaded team.  Tony Parker solidified himself as a top PG this season and he lead the league in points in the paint.  What else can be said for a team like this?

Charlotte



I'm slowly becoming a homer with these teams.  This was the Bobcats second year in the NBA.  I didn't really pay attention to them in the expansion year, and I was annoyed when they drafted two UNC players in the draft.  Nonetheless, I'm becoming hooked on this team after seeing them play this year.  The Bobcats have heart.  The team still has holes, but they are building the team in absolutely the right way.  Small payroll, young guys at every position, and solid improvement.  To make matters worse the team suffered with entirely too many injuries this season.  Emeka Okafor and Sean May, two lottery picks, missed the majority of the year and that forced a guy like Gerald Wallace to play at PF for the team when he is a natural SF.  Raymond Felton was great this year and he earned the starting PG job next season.  The team is a SG, a scorer, and a dominant C away from being in the playoffs.  Hell, they could easily make the playoffs next year ifeveryone is healthy and they have a good lottery selection.



NHL

New Jersey



I've been a New Jersey Devils fan since I've been a Yankees fan.  Actually I knew nothing about hockey growing up and still don't know that much now, but they used to be owned by the same group as the Yanks so when I needed a team to cheer for, why not stick with some common bonds?  Anyway, they've won 3 Stanley Cups in the last 11 years and when I got a chance to see them play it was always interesting.  The defensive style they employed was in your face and it was rough.  Scott Stevens was one of my favorite players ever.  Martin Brodeur is my favorite hockey player that I've ever seen, even as a goalie.  He is dominant.  This year the team started off horribly and I was worried they wouldn't even make the playoffs.  Silly me.  The team rocketed in the last 3 months of the season, winning 11 straight and stealing the division away from the Rangers and Flyers.  Gionta emerged this year as a great scorer and perhaps as the exception to the rule, the Devils win with whoever the coach is.

Carolina



Since when did Raleigh become a hockey town?  I have no idea when... or if it is, at least yet.  Truth is, the Hurricanes have been good for 2 years and pretty bad for the rest.  This year they were good... really, really good.  2nd seed in the Eastern Conference good.  Whenever the Devils didn't play them, I would root for the 'Canes.  The only major professional sports team in the Carolinas that isn't in Charlotte is the Hurricanes, which is probably good for them.  It just sucks that the games are blacked out so I can't watch them.  Blackout rules are dumb.

Etc.

Baseball is the only sport that hasn't infiltrated the Carolinas yet.  I'm still hopeful that it will happen at some point in my lifetime.  If Charlotte can keep growing and the areas around it keep growing, I think it will only be a matter of time.  Selfishly I want the Marlins to move here, because that franchise has won 2 World Series titles with 2 completely different rosters.  The Carolinas' biggest problem is that everyone seems to be diehard Braves fan for some reason.  Once that sickness is cured we'll all be better off and MLB in Charlotte will be closer to reality.

Tomorrow I'll be pounding away at the keyboard again, because that's how I roll.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wednesday News Report

"I think most people don't like Tony because he's a competitor. Most people don't like Kurt Busch because he's a dork!" - Kevin Harvick

With that, time to talk some racing.

 Top 8 Stories of the Week

New bumpers coming for Talladega

Something had to be done I suppose, and this makes more sense than a no bumping zone monitored by NASCAR.  The only way the drivers will stop using the bumper as a battering ram would be to change the bumpers and make them easily crumpled.  Selfishly I enjoyed bump drafting because some of the guys know how to do it well.  A lot of guys out there don't understand the draft and they just come up and nail someone from behind then let the gap form after they hit said guy.  There is a reason why the same guys are usually in the top 10 at most of these races.

Mark Martin gives approval of new LMS surface

Mark would know, right?  I'm still not sold.  He didn't go out there in his race car, he went in a Mustang and didn't get to full speed.  I think Mark's trying to help LMS out by coming out and saying it.

Kyle Busch "chirped" his tires?

Heh... too bad it didn't happen in Arizona, that would have been the highest of comedy.

Entry list for Indy 500

The entries from the Indy 500 are in and I'm not sure if its for the 2006 races or the 1986 race.  Its cool to have Michael back because he can still get it done, and I don't think anyone believed he could stay away for good.  Also back for the cash are Eddie Cheever and Al Unser Jr.  This is also Danica's best chance to win this year because of the immense track time she'll get as a part of the Indy festivities.  Just like last year, her best finish was at Indy.  I'm disappointed that the Champ Car guys won't be back.  Last year I loved having Newman-Haas here with Bruno Junquiera and Sebestien Bordais, but Bruno was nearly killed and Bordais was wrecked near the end so I guess its a good decision on their part not to be back. 

Jason Keller, AJ Foyt IV released from rides

I was really surprised Keller was released.  James Finch can't keep a driver for longer than a year.  Makes one wonder what was going on behind the scenes there.  Maybe Keller didn't wreck enough for the team.  Filling in will be the Tommy Lee to Finch's Pam Anderson, Mike Wallace.

AJ's released just in time to compete in the Indy 500, what joy.  He can't drive an Indy car and he can't drive a "taxi cab" either.  Good riddance.  Brilliant move by Akins to hire Ryan Moore to drive the 38.

More team/crew chief shakeups

Andy Graves resigned from Chip Ganassi yesterday.  Graves has been with the team forever, from Sabco to the change to Ganassi.  This move was just on the heels of a crew chief shakeup there as well, as Steven Lane was named David Stremme's crew chief.  I don't think a crew chief is what Stremme's problem is...

IROC in Eldora?

After Tony won the Texas IROC race, he made a challenge to IROC to have a race at his track, Eldora, next year.  IROC told him win the championship and you're on.  Everyone that wants to see IROC racing on a dirt track, give me a hell yeah.

Red Hot Chilli Peppers to perform at All-Star race

I only mention this because 1) I'll be at the race and 2) it would have been an awesome show 12 years ago.



The guys from NASCAR on FOX both posted columns this week about the Roush crew chief shakeup.  Both Hammond and McReynolds think its a good move so HA.  Hammond worked at Roush and Larry Mac was part of the greatest crew chief shakeup in history.  I certainly hope the move pays off for the teams. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Early Season Baseball... Wake Me When Its June

When did the MLB season start?  Hell if I know.  I don't watch much, if any baseball until June.  Why, you ask?

The MLB season is 162 games long.  Think about that: 162 games.  From April to September.  Do I really need to pay attention to what happens right now?  No.  One recent example: my Yankees last year didn't start off the year well.  Not well at all.  And here is the crazy part: I didn't care.  Not that I didn't care how they were doing, but the season is so long that a team like the Yanks will make it up.  I believe at one point they were 10 games under .500 in May.  Still there I was, wearing my NY hat about every day and shruggling off the "whats wrong with the Yanks?" questions I was pelted with.  My answer almost never changed.  It's early, they'll make it up.  The other teams will come back to them.  They're too good to not come back.  Of course, I was right.  The team came back and won the AL East yet again.

Let me ask you this: anyone ever say "you watching the baseball game today" in April?  Of course not.  If its on, fine.  If nothing else is on TV, maybe you'll watch a few innings.  None of it really matters as a fan these first two months.  I hope the Yanks do well, but as long as they tread water and kick it up in the summer thats just par the course.  Take a team like the Baltimore Orioles last year, who had a hot start to the year and got several games up on everyone in the AL East.  Where did they finish again?  No one remembers.  Or cares.  I'm tired of hearing about Barry Bonds.  It doesn't matter that Chris Shelton is leading the league in homers.  One thing is always true about baseball.  The stars will be stars and the cycle will never end.  But the stars are not made in April.  They're made in October.

Monday, April 17, 2006

NBA 2005-2006 Awards

First, hope everyone had a good Easter. 

The NBA season is drawing to a close this week, did anyone notice?  Care?  Anybody?

Anywho, this was a pretty fun season whenever I checked in to see what was happening, mainly I would watch the Bobcats (being in Charlotte, obviously), Spurs, Pistons, Suns, Bulls, Lakers, and the Knicks (comedy value).  The race for MVP has been a hot topic among people that give a shit, so I'm going to hand out my awards for the year.

MVP: (tie) Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns and Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

It's nearly impossible not to have a tie here.  Nash is doing more with less this year than he did last year with the Suns.  With a starting lineup featuring Boris Diaw and Raja Bell, and without Amare Stoudamire and Joe Johnson, the Suns won the Pacific division going away and are the #2 seed in the Western Conference.  Kobe is Kobe, hands down the best basketball player alive today.  Kobe provided the most OMG! moments of the year, from the 62 points against Dallas in 3 quarters to 81 against Toronto, Kobe carried a team with Smush Parker as its third-best player to the playoffs this season.  I think thats amazing.

Rookie of the Year: Chris Paul, New Orleans/Oklahoma City/whatever the hell they're called Hornets

Not even close here, Paul seemlessly went from dominating college basketball at the PG spot to becoming one of the top PG's in the NBA in less than a year.  With no real changes in their lineup, a team that didn't win 20 games last year was fighting for a playoff spot this year.  Paul is the reason why.  If an award went to best rookie in the second half of the year, the Bobcats' Raymond Felton would in it... watch out for Charlotte within the next few years.

Coach of the Year: Larry Brown, New York Knicks

This is an embarrassment to the award, which typically goes to the best coach.  But I'm voting for Larry Brown because the train wreck Isiah gave him was steered into a ditch by Brown, who certainly can't help matters with his "play the right way" doctrine on notorious selfish, me-first Point Guards that suck at passing, especially Marbury, who is the NBA equivalent of Michael Vick.  I'll tell you one thing, though... its been fun to watch a team go from horrible to homicidal in one year.

Most Improved: Elton Brand, Los Angeles Clippers

Again, not the pick you expect but hear me out.  Typically, most improved would be a guy that sucked and found out how to play in the NBA and became a nice player.  I'm going to think outside the box, though.  Brand was already a guy that could make a living for the next 10 years as a good PF on a decent team and make a few All-Star games and have a nice career and that would be all.  Brand is the exception to the rule.  He got a big contract and... he decided to get even better!  Blasphemy in today's NBA!  Brand went from a 20-10 guy on a team that didn't make the playoffs to becoming one of the best players in the league this season.  He now averages 25 points a game to go along with 10 rebounds, and upped his blocks per game to almost 3.  That's what I call a most improved player.

Coming tomorrow... why baseball in April/May isn't worth following, at least to me.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Kevin Harvick Takes Pepsi 300



Harvick leads the last quarter of the Pepsi 300 and wins, holding off teammate Clint Bowyer after Reed Sorenson smacked the wall with 6 to go. 


Denny Hamlin led the most laps on the day and finished 3rd, followed by J.J. Yeley and Carl Edwards.  The top Busch-only regular was Jon Wood in 6th.

Full race results from the Pepsi 300.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday Notes

With another week off for Nextel Cup... the Busch Series is in Nashville going it alone.

- Those Busch brothers.... allow me to say this: HAHAHAHAHAHA

- As I've said before, the Cup schedule is too choppy here at the beginning of the year.  The schedule makers need to do something to string together more races early in the year to save an off week later in the year.  It would take some serious rearranging, but why not put a Cup race on Easter weekend and let it run on Friday night?  That way if it rains out, there is Saturday to do it.  I'm still pining for a week off from the 26th race of the year and when the Chase starts.

- Those worst non-AmeriQuest crazy paint scheme of the year belongs thus far to Kevin Harvick in the 33 at Texas:



I like using more pictures than I have in the past.  Makes it more fun.

- One little project that I started to look at was this: Mark Martin is the best Busch Series driver in history, but who is the driver of the 2000s?  There are only 2 obvious answers: Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick.  After looking at the numbers, it is an absolute dead heat.  Follow me here...

Starts
Biffle - 150
Harvick - 138

Wins
Biffle - 18
Harvick - 17

Top 5's
Biffle - 74
Harvick - 68

Top 10's
Biffle - 96
Harvick - 95

Poles
Biffle - 14
Harvick - 19

Championships
Biffle - 1
Harvick - 1

So, who's the top driver?  Biffle has a slight numbers edge.  Harvick has his in slightly fewer races.  It's a real toss up.  Right now my edge goes to Biffle.

- Interestingly, the top 5 Busch-only regulars are Johnny Sauter (7th), Paul Menard (8th), Jason Leffler (9th), Jon Wood (12th), and Jason Keller (14th).

- The Busch rookie standings aren't as close as Cup, as it is now pretty much a two-horse race between Burney Lamar and Todd Kluever.  John "the one that can't drive" Andretti is within striking distance, with McFarland just behind him.  Danny O'Quinn hasn't done well at all thus far but I think that was expected.  He will be a Busch regular forat least two, more than likely three years.

- The Pepsi 300 is a two-day show, with qualifying at 11 AM tomorrow and the race at 3:30 tomorrow on FX.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Well, This Doesn't Happen Every Day Either

Roush Racing PR

Wholesale changes for the Roush Cup operation with the two disappointing teams thus far.  Carl Edwards' crew chief Bob Osbourne to the 26 and Jamie McMurray, Jamie's crew chief Jimmy Fennig leave Cup (for good?) to head the Roush Busch operation/17 Busch Crew Chief, and the lead engineer Wally Brown becomes the new Crew Chief for Edwards.

After the shock of it happening this soon, I like the moves... I think.  Fennig I had presumed would take on a management-type role by the end of the season.  I guess the fact that he and McMurray don't "click" sped that up.  All his years of experience will be invaluable to the Busch operation with two rookies and a second-year guy.  I've heard Mark talk about Wally Brown for a few years now as being a key member of his team and in his job as lead engineer, so I would expect him to be able to get the 99 team out of its funk.  Bob Osbourne to the 26 could be a great move.  After all, sometimes you gotta shake things up.

Well, This Doesn't Happen Every Day

Classes were cancelled today at UNC Charlotte, while maintanence was working a power outage a manhole between two of the buildings exploded.  The story is here.  I had heard about the news on the way to class, and when I got there my roommate called me and told me about it.  I saw no less than 3-4 helicopters flying by... I wondered what in the world was going on.  I knew by then classes were cancelled, but I had to investigate for myself.  Turns out, I couldn't get close to see anything.  Every news station was there and there were fire trucks everywhere.  At that point after talking to other people to see what they had heard, I left.  Normally it wouldn't bother me to miss a test (had one scheduled for the day) but the fact that people were seriously hurt sort of puts a damper on things.  Now, we have an unexpected four-day weekend.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wednesday News Report

First off... I watched American Idol last night for the first time since they showed the really bad singers.  Kellie Pickler is my girl, ok thanks.

Now, lets talk racing.

The Top 8 Stories of the Week

Kurt Busch/Greg Biffle feud, including the women!

Busch sure does a great job playing a weasel, doesn't he?  Greg's engine didn't lose a cylinder, Busch just plain punted him for no reason... well, I guess there was a reason.  Busch is still carrying a huge chip on his shoulder (the only thing about him thats huge... aside from his ego and his ears) from last season.  This is going to come to a head sooner than later.

I think the most entertaining part was the Nicole Lunders/Eva Bryan "words."  For a clip that lasted approximately 10 seconds, it sure got its play nationwide.  Even the evening SportsCenter did the bait and switch with it.  I wonder how many people will be ignorant enough to say that women don't belong on the pit box now.

ESPN talks NASCAR TV deal

Later start times... joy.  Am I the only one who misses 12:00 start times?  That said, I'm still happy they're gonna be back showing races.  If they can mirror their presentation the way the Sunday Night Football was (soon to be Monday Night) and they really try, anything NBC tried to do will be blown out of the water.  And I still think FOX isn't a professional operation.

Toyota making overtures to several drivers?

Not saying I trust Jayski or the Jayski of the newspaper world, but the Winston-Salem Journal put out two stories about Toyota and the people they're trying to get - first Dale Jarrett, then the Joe Gibbs operation.  That would be huge if it happened.  The way Robert Yates is going, they're going to need to get some new blood behind the wheel.  Either Stephen Leicht or Matt McCall will be in Cup sooner than later... right now I'd give the edge to Leicht.  This Red Bull team is shrouded in secrecy, and dammit I want to know what they're planning.  The only reason being, they're the most likely of all the "new" teams to get off the ground. 

Smaller fuel cells for the races at Lowes Motor Speedway

A 14 gallon fuel cell for the All-Star race and the 600 hopefully will be short enough to keep the track from becoming a junkyard... or worse.  It's sad that the track is in this horrible shape to begin with.  I'm ready for some racing, I just hope that it will... you know... actually be racing.

Matt Kenseth's Crew Chief fined, suspended

This headline just about gave me a heart attack yesterday, until I clicked it and saw that it was Chad Norris, the Busch Series Crew Chief.  For the third time this year, he was fined for something illegal.  What the hell dude?  His ass is more than likely going to be gone.

Jason Leffler to share sponsorship with Anthony Foyt

God has mercy on our souls!  Anthony Foyt is running a reduced schedule!

As much as I like to make fun of a guy like Leffler, the 32 is a solid team and Jason is a consistent Busch driver.  They have an alliance with the 38, supposedly the teams are combining at some point although they run different makes.  Great Clips will be on the 32 for some races this year.  Now instead of having a wrecked car, they'll be ones wrecking other cars.

Former Boston Red Sox OF Mike Greenwell to compete in CTS race at Mansfield

I only mention this because 1) the Red Sox suck and 2) whatever happened to that deal for the Red Sox to sponsor the 99?  I'm glad it didn't happen but for so much talk, it just fell off the map.

Non-NASCAR news: Sebestien Bordais, Melanie Troxel

Bordais won the Champ Car season opener, watched by approximately 4 people.  This guy ran IROC last year and won a race.  Ford has several teams he can go to for a NASCAR career.  What's taking them so long?  I initially didn't care for him because he is French, but he has grown on me because he is a racer.

Troxel is a damn good drag racer.  This season, she has won twice and made the final round in every race.  It would really be something should she win the top fuel championship, and I think the can - and will.


Now, a moment of silence for the Intrepid, officially retired from competition in NASCAR - Dodge's orders...






...and we're done!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Phil Mickelson: 2006 Masters Champion



In between commercials of the race and after the race was over I flipped to CBS (gee, they should pay me for all the publicity I'm giving them lately) to watch the Masters.  I'm not a golf guy, hell I only play about 2-3 times a year.  But I watch the majors because they're the majors.  Especially the Masters.  Augusta is a special place, a place hopefully I play one round of golf one day of my life... but more than me, I'd love for my dad to play the course.  Anyways, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Phil win for the second time there.  Just to show how big the Masters is compared to everything else, I completely forgot Phil won the PGA last year.

Mickelson's one of my favorite guys to watch play because I like him as a person too.  I've heard people say he is bitch, but hey, I admire what he's done.  He has a beautiful wife, three kids, a big house, and he isn't a guy with tunnel vision that doesn't care about anything else (cough Tiger cough).  I've read stories about Phil that paint him as a person, not just a golfer.  Often times, those stories are negative.  I like what I see about Phil.



Sunday at Augusta is magical because Augusta is a time warp.  People love to rag on the place and its traditional ways, but I love it.  Hootie Johnson is the man.  Notice how Martha Burk went away after Hootie came out and bitch-slapped her.  A lot of guys had a shot to win the tournament, but none of them could match Phil.  Not Tiger, not Vijay, not one of those Spanish guys, and not Mickelson's playing partner Fred Couples.  One of the defining moments of the tournament belonged to Rocco Mediate.  Mediate shot a 10 (!) on the par 3 #12, a feat so improbable that it is only topped in my memory by that French guy Jean Van De Vele in the British Open several years ago.  Mediate put 3 balls in the water on the hole.  The shame of it is, he was tied for 3rd and was on the leaderboard - until #12.

Phil Mickelson deserved the win Sunday at Augusta.  Seeing Tiger put the green jacket on him was priceless, as those two really do hate each other.  Now, hopefully we have a showdown at the US Open in June.  IfPhil wins there, he would need a British Open win for the "Tiger Slam" - and a certified place in golf history as one of the best ever.



NASCAR Box Scores

Question... anyone ever heard of a NASCAR box score?

I think CBS's SportsLine website has the NASCAR box score for each race this year.  I happened to stumble across this thing yesterday.  After looking at it, I must say its pretty damn cool.  I think SportsLine is my new favorite racing website.

This is what it looks like.

The background on the box score I read in The Sporting News a year ago or so.  NASCAR was working with a stat company to determine this stuff, after all the other sports have these sorts of things, but its been hard to look at NASCAR from a numbers perspective.  The most interesting thing about it I think is the driver rating, similar to the NFL Quarterback rating.

I'm kind of surprised I haven't heard more about this, since it represents a new way of evaluating races upon their conclusion. 

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Kasey Kahne Starts, Ends First At Texas

For the second time this year, Kasey Kahne starts on the pole and wins.



Texas provided the usual thrills and spills today, with a tradition continuing - new winners each time out.  Kahne was the best when it mattered, and was never too far from the front which was a big reason why he was able to capitalize crashes by other of the top drivers and he drove away on the final restart.

Greg Biffle's day began like the the 2005 race did, as he took the lead on lap 11 and held it for the next 49 laps.  He made what I felt like was a mistake by pitting on the first caution of the day, which was a few laps after green flag stops concluded.  Biffle found trouble as Kurt Busch punted him on the backstretch and his day was done.  Kurt Busch must not like people.

The lead would then be traded around by Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, and Carl Edwards for the majority of the race.  Edwards also crashed out, but it was his own doing and he took a nasty spill to the inside wall.

Kahne's car would take a while before it came in, but when it did, he was simply unstoppable.  His Evernham teammate Scott Riggs looked to be the same way, but Riggs would never challenge for the lead.  An impressive day for Evernham and Kahne became the second repeat winner of 2006.

The rest of the top 5: Kenseth, Stewart, Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick.

Much will made this week about the rookies in the race today, they didn't disappoint.  As hard as it is to say, they are exceeding expectations thus far in the year.  Hamlin, J.J. Yeley, Martin Truex, Reed Sorenson, and Clint Bowyer all ran in the top 5 at one point and were all contenders for a top 5 finish.

Roush's good runs with bad finishes club continued (sigh) today.  Biffle finished 42nd and Jamie McMurray was 41st after a miserable weekend for the 26 team.  Edwards placed 36th.  After last year, I guess this is supposed to happen.

My picks didn't finish as well as they ran.  Mark kept his streak of turning a top 5 effort in the first half of the race into barely a top 10, as the pit crew screwed up once again and cost him a better finish. He is still raking in the top 10's and hopefully his best is yet to come.  My boy Sorenson was great today.  The final pit stop just killed him as the team - and himself - came apart.  He rebounded for a 13th place finish.

I think the FOX team summed it up for Texas... it was a fun race.

Full results of the Samsung/Radio Shack 500.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Saturday Roundup

Kurt Busch takes the O'Reilly 300 today, thanks to a fast final pit stop and numerous late cautions



A day in Texas that started off as a lazy Saturday ending with a treacherous final 50 laps, as caution flags polluted the end and runner-up Greg Biffle could never mount a serious challenge.

Polesitter Denny Hamlin was never much of a factor after he led the early part of the race.  Kevin Harvick in his own 33 (with an ugly paint scheme) looked to have a car that was twice as good as anyone else, storming from 21st to the lead and he would remain there for 36 laps.  The usual suspects were in the top 10, as Biffle, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, and Harvick all remained tough throughout the day.

The notable exception of course was Busch, making his first career start driving the 39 car that Ryan Newman was so dominant in last year.  Busch made good on Newman's Busch Series prowess and after a final pit stop, never relinquished the lead and survived a ridiculous amount of late-race cautions, particularly a nasty one as the 01 of Jay Sauter hit the wall 3 times down the backstretch.  At the end, Busch was more than capable of taking the car to victory lane after another GWC finish.  He then would emerge from the car in his celebration and look like a complete douchebag by diving on the ground and doing snow angels.

The other three cars in the top 5 were Casey Mears, Kyle Busch, and Kenseth.  The top "rookie" in the race was John Andretti.  Full race results of the O'Reilly 300.


Tony Stewart Climbs Field, Fence in IROC Competition




The second IROC event of 2006 featured Steve Kinser flip for the second time in as many IROC races (and to think, he doesn't flip that much in Sprints).  Mark Martin led the most laps on the evening, but Stewart proved to be too much for him - and everyone else on the night.

And as is becoming tradition, Tony climbed the fence after taking the checkered flag.  Full results from IROC race #2.


On to the Nextel Cup Series...

His less than stellar Busch race aside, Mark Martin raced to the fastest lap time in happy hour Saturday, the only driver to break the 185 mph mark.  I would certainly put him as a favorite, along with guys like Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Biffle, and Kyle Busch.  The top 5 speeds belonged to Martin, Elliott Sadler, Dale Jarrett, Robby Gordon, and Busch.

Time to make some predictions....

WINNER: Mark Martin
I'm going back to the well with this pick, at Atlanta I made this pick and he came home second.  I'm hoping for 1 spot better this week.

DARKHORSE: Reed Sorenson
I'm having problems with this "darkhorse" thing, because I think someone like J.J. Yeley or Robby Gordon should be the pick, but I'm going out on the limb a bit and avoiding those guys. 

Tune in to FOX tomorrow at 1:30 for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Friday Notes

April 7th edition of the cheat sheet for the weekend I like to call... Friday Notes.

- One story I didn't comment on this week was Denny Hamlin whining about Mark Martin running him into the wall.  Denny is pretty much whining, because Mark isn't the kind of guy to do that like say... Kurt Busch... Kyle Busch... Dale Jarrett... anyway, Mark's cranky this year in the Cup races but Denny's whining.  Hamlin is a great driver with a bright future, but vibe I get from him in that he is a bit of a punk.

- Vegas is being ripped up!  The infield, that is... for two reasons.  1) track renovations to make the place better, and 2) to get the smell of Jimmie Johnson out of victory lane.

- Yesterday I was listening to my favorite sports radio host, Colin Cowherd between classes and he talked about how dumb it was for Dateline to plant some muslims at the track Sunday.  Colin isn't a NASCAR guy, but he is a sharp guy that recognizes something as popular as NASCAR is.  He went on to say that NASCAR is a dominant force because the ratings are huge and it is a nationwide sport.  The TV ratings from the Atlanta weekend showed that a RAIN DELAY beat an ABC NBA game featuring Kobe Bryant and LeBron James by 39%!  Yeah, NASCAR's all about rednecks going to the track and getting drunk.

- My take on that is yes, that presence is still there.  But it's not as overwhelming as it used to be.  Speaking of the Dateline guys...

- Time to present the Channellock Tool of the Week!

The producers of Dateline on NBC share this award.  To deliberately plant muslims into a crowd at a race hoping to get a reaction?  So much for reporting the news.  Why a NASCAR race?  Does the New York brass feel like the south will treat muslims worse than a kid from the bronx?  Good on the fans for not falling for this.  I was there, but I didn't see them.  No one would bother them, unless they had a bomb tied to their body. 

- The weekly Dodge saga with the Intrepid will be ended this week.  Still defiant until the end, the 12 team and Ryan Newman will run the Intrepid one last time here before Mike Helton points a gun to their heads and forces them to run a Charger.  This got me thinking... who else would benefit from running a previous year's model?

- The answer: Carl Edwards.  Carl has been snakebit worse than Jeff Corwin this season.  How cool would it be to see him back out in a Taurus?  He could use a return of his 2005 luck.  Hey, this would be a good weekend for it. 

----- Texas Preview -----


- Last year at Texas, Roush Racing teamed up to sweep the races.  Greg Biffle won this race one year ago, obliterating the field en route to his second win of 2005.  Back in November, Carl (in a Taurus~!) went back-to-back after having won the Atlanta race the week before and established himself as a legit contender to the Chase not only last year, but in future wins to come. 

- In Busch Series action, Kasey Kahne and Kevin Harvick won the races here respectively.  Last night in Busch qualifying, Denny Hamlin captured the pole.

- This week marks the first race of the year in which every Roush team will be at the track in the Busch Series.  Let me take a breath, and... Mark Martin in the 6 Greg Biffle in the 16 Matt Kenseth in the 17 in addition to Todd Kluever in the 06 Danny O'Quinn in the 50 Carl Edwards in the 60 and Jamie McMurray in the 64.  Random Jamie thought: perhaps the reason why he hasn't hit it off in Cup with Roush is because he driving a Dodge in the Busch Series.  Maybe its just me, but if you're trying to get more seat time, especially with a new team, maybe you could... you know... drive the same make?

- Cup first practice is complete, with Kurt Busch recording the fastest time followed by Kasey Kahne and Scott Riggs.

- Cup qualifying goes today at 4:30.

Qualifying update

- Kasey Kahne took the pole for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500, he appears to have regained his qualifying prowess from his rookie year.  Following Kasey are J.J. Yeley, Mark Martin, Jeff Green, and Greg Bifle.

- Mr. Insignificant on the day and our first repeat winner on the year: Stanton Barrett.

- Full qualifying results for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500.

The Busch Series O'Reilly 300 rolls off tomorrow at 3 on FOX.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Wednesday News Report

Featuring.... a play on words, as I break down the news stories of the week:

The "MySpace Top 8" Stories of the Week

Hendrick Motorsports looks to be back in form

Meh.  Not a fan at all of Hendrick, but they're certainly tough this season.  Jimmie's doing what he usually does, Jeff Gordon is more of a threat this year, and Kyle Busch keeps doing well.  So, where is Brian Vickers in all of this?  He still pretty much sucks, but he is getting more consistent year-by-year.  Maybe it just takes some guys longer.  The evil empire is back and stronger than ever because this is the first time they had 3 great teams at the same time.

More Car of Tomorrow testing at Bristol, Martinsville

If/when this thing ever gets on the track it will certainly be interesting to watch.  A return to the races of the '80s, anyone?  The wing on this thing still looks funny.  Maybe its just me, but something still seems "off" with the whole COT project.  I wish I knew why.

Sprint will change Nextel Cup Series name, claim they won't leave sport

Yeahhhh... so all the Nextel people that negotiated the deal are being replaced by Sprint, who got out of the NASCAR game several years ago.  Sprint doesn't care about NASCAR the way the Nextel people did, and within the next 3 years I fully expect the series to be getting another name change.  Sprint/Nextel was sort of questionable because they run entirely different networks and its going to take forever to get it accomplished.  My speculation is that Bank of America would be a very nice choice for NASCAR, their partnership is growing even since 2006 began... you heard it here first.

DirecTV has become infactuated with NASCAR

Seriously, they're clingier to NASCAR right now than a high school girlfriend.  In the past few months they've 1) became an associate sponsor for Clint Bowyer, 2) became a sponsor of a race, 3) became a NASCAR award sponsor for crew chiefs.  Not that I'm against this, of course.  Any money that comes into the sport is good, and the more the better.  I just think they're going overboard by doing so much so fast, I mean last year when did you ever hear about DirecTV except for the in-car PPV stuff?

Boris Said, Frank Stoddard, Mark Simo to start Cup team

Jayski's rumor mill was partially right here, as the team will be getting pretty much everything from Roush.  It's cool to see the Boris and Frank at least aligned with Roush.  The question I have is, what happened with MB2?  I'd like to have the details on that.  Simo was a part-owner with Ernie Irvan several years ago so maybe he knows that do to on the business end.  The last time I was at Roush I wondered what the No Fear building was for, I guess we see why now.  I wish the team good luck.

Brad Parrott signs with Chip Ganassi's Busch Series program

So, this is what he left Roush for?  To crew chief 7 races for Casey Mears?  Good grief.

Mark Martin will now pilot 6 Truck in every CTS companion race this season

I'm certainly not opposed to seeing Mark Martin racing as much as possible, especially given how quickly he adapted.  I just wonder how much this will affect his Cup ride, and the weekends where he will drive the Busch car as well.  Mark's definitely not a spring chicken.  David Ragan will now drive the 50 truck in selected races to give him more seat time, which is certainly a good thing.  He was doing pretty well at Martinsville until he crashed out.  I'd also like to see Peter Shephard get some time in the 50 when Ragan is in the 6.

Rahal-Letterman picks Jeff Simmons to drive the 17 car

I guess it had to be somebody.  I was really hoping for Kenny Brack.  Someone with experience would have been a better choice I think.  Simmons seems like a decent guy but I just think there could have been a better choice.


One thing that I've noticed this season, particulary more than others.  Every single racing website has to have a damn "power rankings" column.  It has gotten officially out of control: we've had the NASCAR.com Power Rankings, where Ryan Smithson tries too hard to be funny, David Poole's where he goes from 1-40, The Sporting News goes 1-10 and usually get it right.  Then this season I see Fox Sports has them, the wannabe sites have them, CBS SportsLine has them... maybe I'm compile the list of all of them and have the Power Rankings power rankings.  Sheesh.

Lastly, this crap about NBC "planting" muslims at a NASCAR race is disgusting.  The producers wouldn't dare drop a Jewish teenager at a mosque and "watch the reactions" when the people are done praying and leave the building, but yet its ok toget some "shock value" by doing this at a NASCAR race.  Way to be stereotypical, guys.  You can make the nation feel sorry for foreign extremists that killed innocent people on our own soil.  Dateline is in line for a special award on Friday...

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Wrestling Overload

The last four days I've been involved in wrestling as much as racing.  Sterotypes suck, but humor me for a minute.  Wrestling is a show.  As a "smark" fan I don't watch wrestling and think its a UFC fight.  I do however see how the business is run and appreciate what the guys do in the ring... its damn cool to watch.

Saturday I went to the UWF house show at Martinsville as the stars from TNA were there.  I had been looking forward to seeing TNA live because they are the #2 promotion in the nation and are steadily gaining on the WWE.  Anyway, I got in to TNA back in October once they got a TV deal.  I figured the house show would be cool and I even bought the package where I would get to meet the wrestlers before the show.

Pictures of the guys before the show can be found on my Facebook or MySpace pages.  All the guys were really nice, they were very appreciative of the fans showing up... I'd say it was a lot of people there, considering it was the old Lowes building.  When I found my seats I really felt like "holy shit!" as I was in the front row, the second seat from the left where the entrance ramp was.  Really great seats for the show.

The matches themselves were fun, if you haven't seen the Canadian Destroyer... you're missing out.  The 8-man NASCAR lumberjack match went well, including an unscripted (I think) moment where Michael Waltrip pulled down the tights of Chris Harris of AMW.  The match of the night had to be Rhino and Abyss, in a hardcore rules/falls count anywhere main event.  It was violent and it ended spectacularly with Rhino goring (GORE! GORE! GORE!) Abyss through a table set up in the turnbuckle for the win.

Sunday night, of course, was WrestleMania 22.  Hopefully I never have to hear Peter Gabriel again after the mammoth ad campaign for the PPV.  Some things were good, some things were bad about the show.

The good: Edge and Foley use the flaming table, JBL wins the US Title, Mickie James wins the Womens Title, RVD wins Money In The Bank, Shawn and HHH use the DX chop, and Rey wins the World Heavyweight Title to have that "WrestleMania moment" for Eddie along with Chavo and Eddie's wife Vicki there.  That should have ended the show.

The bad: Three words- John. Cena. Wins.

Then last night we get the all-important post-WM Raw, where Big Show and Kane lose the Tag Titles to the Spirit Squad!  Two, maybe three stars are going to come out of that stable once they drop the dumb gimmick.  Keep an eye on Johnny, Kenny, and possibly Mikey.  Mickie James once again psychos it up as she dyed her hair blonde and came out wearing Trish Stratus' ring attire.  The girl is insane and I love it.  Most importantly, Edge is back in the main event picture and Cena continues to be booed heavily.  Wonder if that will continue as hard as it was in Chicago.

I'm working on the Wednesday News Report, it's gonna be awesome.  I promise.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Whew!

I'm still tired from my weekend excursions.  I did enjoy myself though, it was really fun... including going to a race with no ticket.  I pretty much snuck around place-to-place in hopes of finding a little spot to catch the action.  I did for a while, but then my brain started working....

"Matt, you leave now, you can watch the end of the race at home then beat the traffic on your drive back to Charlotte"

"Matt, you really need to leave"

So I left at about halfway.

"Jesus Christ this is a long fucking walk"

I finally made it out after driving around looking for a place they didn't chain the gates together.  On the way back to the house, I realized how smart it was to leave... I was already pretty burned.  Sunscreen is for pussies.  So I get home and watch the race and notice that Dale Jr. is running quite well.

"Good thing I'm not there... imagine how chaotic it would be if he won"


I really give Dale props on his day.  That car was really messed up and he drove it above where it was capable of running.

I really thought Tony would win since he first took the lead.  He had that "look" to him and it seemed that he could lead at about any time, he did a good Martin-esque job pacing himself.  I really enjoyed the last several laps, when Tony beat on Jimmie's bumper and the top 4 cars were right there together.  Kinda sad I missed it, not sad at all I beat the traffic.

Speaking of Martin, anyone noticed that he is 2nd in the points?  I looked at the points for the first time today and a lot of things surprised me.  Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch are 4th and 5th, respectively.  The rookie battle is really interesing.  Clint Bowyer leads in the Nextel points and the rookie points, but after that its quite funny:

Nextel Cup points:                           Rookie points:
16th - Bowyer - 644                           1st - Bowyer - 60
20th - Truex - 597                               2nd - Yeley - 55
22nd - Yeley - 589                              3rd - Hamlin - 53
23rd - Hamlin - 582                             4th - Sorenson - 52
24th - Sorenson - 577                          5th - Truex - 51
37th - Stremme - 375                           6th - Stremme - 40
40th - Sherman - who cares                  7th - Sherman - doesn't matter

The age-old question of NASCAR's points system is rearing its head again.  The year is still young, but anyone find this interesting?  Bowyer's been the class of the field, based largely on his performance in the first few races.  Hamlin and Yeley get the publicity, but who's that guy sitting 2nd among them in the overall standings?  Truex's first TV time of the year was at Bristol.  Yet there he is, over media darling Hamlin, an improving Yeley, and the guy no one gives credit, Sorenson. 

More escapades coming tommorow, including my first-hand experience with the stars of TNA.