Sunday, July 30, 2006

Weekend Thoughts

So I watched the Busch race last night and it turned out to be a better race than it usually is.  Watching Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards fight it out throughout the race was a joy.  Hamlin's team sure screwed up the end of that race.  PK and the 60 team took a great gamble with 2 tires and it didn't even matter that Carl missed pit road the lap before.  Another win for Carl but yet again, not much of a gain in the points as Harvick still has a monstrous lead.  I was impressed to see Kevin Grubb in the top 10.  His comeback is coming along nicely.  Erin Crocker finished 19th!  Is the sky falling?

Today I was ready to watch some IRL action at Michigan only to find a rain delay.  I watched long enough to see the AGR camp do their jokes then I was flipping around and came across the Champ Car race on NBC.  I think I give them a bad rap sometimes.  Its not that bad, and it makes me wish there was one series because if you combine IRL and Champ Car then you could have a good series.  The street course was also better than most I've seen.  It didn't bore me the way they usually do.  But of course the big story was Paul Tracy and Alex Tagliani's dust-up.  I'm sure you've seen the clip: Tracy runs off, spins the car around, and comes in just in front of a full speed Tagliani, destroying both cars.  Needless to say, Tagliani was none too happy and behind the pit wall we got a great moment in racing for 2006.  Tagliani grabbing on Tracy's firesuit demanding an explanation, some shoving, then just when you think its over... DING DING DING!  THEY'RE TRADING BLOWS!  WE'VE GOT A DONNYBROOK HERE!  Unfortunately, NBC stopped showing the live feed of them and instead focused on the pit stops.  Honestly, who cares about pit stops when two drivers are fighting on behind pit road?  Yan Beeker (I think thats his name) interviewed Tracy a few minutes later and he had a cut on his head.  Simply great stuff.  Sebestien Bordais won, his 278554th win in Champ Car competition.

One last thing about the IRL:  its pretty sad that out of three networks, none of them saw fit to show the race live.  That just shows how much they think of the series.  And it shows how badly we need a respectable unified series in the country.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Off Week

So, who will have the week off?

Nextel Cup: check

Busch Series: no

Truck Series: check

IRL: no

Myself: check

Yeah, my recent malaise in posting will continue throughout the weekend.  With my new NFL column, a job search and a few other things, I can't devote as much time to proper blogging that I should.  I'll return on Monday (hopefully) full of vigor to do it right.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Get Well Soon, Benny

The AP story:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Former NASCAR champion Benny Parsons hasbeen diagnosed with lung cancer and began chemotherapy treatmentsWednesday.

Parsons, the 1973 Cup champion and currently a NASCARcommentator on NBC and TNT, was diagnosed two weeks ago after he hadtrouble breathing.



"Needless to say this was a huge shock," Parsons said.  "The firstthing everyone asks me is, 'Are you a smoker?'  The answer is that Ismoked my last cigarette way back in 1978, and since then I've hatedbeing around smoking."

"I don't even allow anyone in my foursome to smoke on the golf course."

The 65-year-old Parsons will undergo chemotherapy three days aweek for three weeks, and also will receive radiation five days a week.  He's seeing Dr. Steven Limenpani, who treated NASCAR car owner RickHendrick during his battle with leukemia in the early 1990s.

"I'm determined to pull through this and I appreciateeveryone's concerns and prayers during this time," Parsons said.  "Everyone I work with has been gracious and accommodating.  I plan tokeep on talking about racing for as long as I can."

Parsons plans to remain in the booth during his treatments.

"One of Benny's greatest qualities is how unconditionallysupportive he is to the racing community," said Dick Ebersol, chairmanof NBC Sportss.  "Now it's our turn to provide that support to him.  Iask all of his friends and fans to put him in their prayers tonight."

Parsons, chosen as one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers in1998, made 526 starts from 1964 until his 1988 retirement.  He won 21races, including the 1975 Daytona 500, and 20 poles.

He also had 283 top 10 finishes, led at least one lap in 192races and finished no lower than fifth in the points from 1972 to 1980while earning more than $4 million.

Parsons was born in Ellerbe, N.C., but spent time in Detroit,where he worked at a gas station and a cab company owned by his father.  When he first started racing, he often listed "taxicab driver" as hisoccupation on entry forms.

He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall ofFame in 1994, and the National Motorsports Press Association's StockCar Racing Hall of Fame in 1995.

Parsons began his broadcasting career in the 1980s as a pitreporter for ESPN and TBS, when he was still racing a partial schedule. He moved into the booth for good in 1989 for ESPN and won a Cable ACEAward for best sports analyst.


I hope everything goes well for Benny.  I admire that he is continuing his work in the booth while undergoing treatment. 

With no Cup race this week, I've decided to give the WNR another week off.  This weekend we have the Busch race at Gateway with the big question mark of unleaded fuel, and the IRL takes to the track in Michigan in what is always an entertaining race.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Welcome To The Team Danica




Today, it was made official that Danica Patrick would be joining Andretti Green Racing for the 2007 IRL season.  No NASCAR in her future but a spot with AGR may be just what she needs.  As I said earlier, I'm not sure which car she'll be taking over in 2007 as both Herta and Franchitti are not signed.  Regardless, it is a bit of irony that Danica joins the team that boycotted an IRL autograph signing because of her a year ago.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Observations | Pocono

- I think we may see the Busch race at Martinsville off the schedule next year.  The track may just be too hard for the majority of the drivers in the series to handle.  Seriously, 19 cautions in a 250 lap race?  Imagine if these guys had to go 500 laps.  The race would have to be called due to darkness. 

- Boy, Tony's got some balls, huh?  Invoking the 3 car during the post-race interview about the young guys that he perceives as not understanding give and take.  Tony is right about the guys not getting it, I just question he approach about it.  People want to look at someone as being "the new Intimidator" and Tony fits the bill the best (look at his win at Daytona a few weeks ago) so I think its his responsibility if he feels that strongly about it.

- OK, who saw Dale Jr. falling out of the top 10 coming?  I sure didn't.  This year he looked like he put the consistency together and it showed, but thats what two consecutive 43rd place finishes will do for ya.  This year the number of the group of drivers that could fall out and could jump in is deeper than ever.  How often can a guy go from 3rd to 11th, 12th to 4th, and anywhere in between?

- One more thing... raise your hand if you're already getting a little tired of hearing about David Gilliland.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Pennsylvania 500 Belongs To Denny Hamlin For Second Points Win



Denny Hamlin led 151 laps at Pocono today to dominate the Pennsylvania 500 and sweep the races at the track in 2006.


What can you say about the race?  Denny Hamlin owned.  The Chase took another topsy-turvy turn with Dale Earnhardt Jr. falling to 11th and Greg Biffle falling to 12th.  With an off week coming up, it'll provide ample time to reflect on things.



Saturday, July 22, 2006

Kevin Harvick Takes Win In Goody's 250



Kevin Harvick was able to hold off teammate Clint Bowyer in the last half of the Goody's 250 today, a race that featured an inordinate amount of cautions and gave Harvick a historic win - tying him with Dale Earnhhardt Sr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Harry Gant on the all-time win list. 

Linkage:
The Spotter's Live Blogging

NASCAR.com

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Notes

Welcome kids, the Talladega Nights video this week features some public service announcements from Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr. that are hilarious. 

Now time for the Friday tradition:

- Sadler’s announcement is official: bye bye RYR.  Who’s ready to star in the Yateseidon 2?  Stephen Leicht and Ward Burton, come ondown!  We’ll see what Leicht does thisweekend at Pocono.

- Tony Stewart donated another million to the VictoryJunction Gang Camp last week, just once again showing how awesome Tony is withhis money and his causes.  He is alsofunny with his rivalries, which I firmly back on this guy…

… because Ryan Newman is a prick.  He rates right at the top among the mostornery, bitch drivers in NASCAR.  I’venoticed it since his rookie year: he doesn’t realize that when you don’t havethe car, there is no point in racing a guy with an obviously better car justfor spite.  Several times you’ll seeNewman with a bad car racing guys entirely too hard too early in the race andit leads to shit like what happened last week. Hey Ryan,

- Danica was on PTI yesterday and it was prettyinteresting.  The interview was fine, butthe end was no words and a lot of speculation. She refused to comment whether she was leaving Rahal Letterman, aboutNASCAR, and about Ed Carpenter.  Italmost seemed that it was a done deal for her to be elsewhere next year.   

- MB2 changed hands again this week with the Ginn guy thatsponsors the car part-time bought the majority stake.  I’m not sure if he’ll improve the teams ornot but if he pours more money in, that’ll be dandy.  Hopefully it goes better than most of thesponsor/owner combinations in the past.

----- MartinsvilleBusch Preview ----- 

I don’t do this every week, but this race is different.  The Busch Series makes its return to thesouthern Virginiatrack for the first time since 1994. Among the entries in the race are Darrell Waltrip in the 99 for his nextlast race and it will be good to see Ricky Craven back on track (albeit in aFitzBradshaw POS).  I’d give the Cup guysa big advantage in this one, I just wish I was there to see it.  Newsom’s gonna be there though, so check outThe Spotter where he’ll be live blogging from the track.  And the winner will be: Denny Hamlin.

----- Pocono Preview ----- 

This could be the weekend of Denny Hamlin.  At the Busch race I think he is the favoriteand of course, he recorded his first Cup win here just six weeks ago.  Since the race wasn’t that long ago Iwouldn’t expect too much to change in the race. The top 10 of the race was: 

Denny Hamlin
Kurt Busch
Tony Stewart
Brian Vickers
Matt Kenseth
Greg Biffle
Kasey Kahne
Scott Riggs
Jeff Burton
Jimmie Johnson

I think the chances are very good for each of them to finishin the same spot; Gibbs is looking good because both Hamlin and Stewart coulduse a win to boost their Chase standing. That said, here are my choices:

WINNER – Denny Hamlin 

For reasons stated above. 

DARKHORSE – Scott Riggs

Don’t look now, but Riggs is 21st in points and how couldyou forget that he even missed the Daytona 500! This team is under the radar but performing rather well given thecircumstances. 

Here is your channel surfing schedule: 

Today
Cup qualifying at 3:30 on SPEED

Saturday
Busch: Goody’s 250 at 3:30 on NBC 

Sunday
Nextel Cup: Pennsylvania500 at 1:30 on TNT


Outro – Busch on NBC, Cup on TNT?  Which race is the bigger one this week?  I vote for Martinsville.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I have to level with you: I haven't had the inspiration or drive to make a post today, so this is all I got through after a whole day of thinking about it, typing a bit, then doing something else.  I'm reveling in the debut of my new column, The NFL Extravaganza, on 411Mania.com.  You can see the first edition of the weekly column here.

Here is what I feel like is worth talking about:

The Sadler/Yates/Evernham Saga 

Boy, Yates will be a totally different team nextseason.  With Jarrett and UPS gone andnow Sadler leaving, it will definitely be a new era of RYR.  That future could bode well if Stephen Leichtis everything the team thinks he is, and if the second driver the team hires issomeone like Ward Burton.  It will stillbe strange to see for a while.  I don’t knowexactly what Elliott sees in Evernham’s team, I have a hard time picturing heand Kahne together.  Sadler and Riggssounds like a mediocre team.  That leavesJeremy Mayfield elsewhere, most likely the 00 team for Michael Waltrip. 

Danica Moving To Andretti Green? 

Since AGR is the official IRL team of The Catfish Show, I feellike I have to talk about this.  First, Iwould be all for it.  Danica CAN win, ifshe has the right team.  What most of themainstream writers and personalities seem to don’t get is that her team and hercars aren’t as good this year as they were last year.  AGR could fit that role for her to deliver onthe hype.  The question, though, is whowill be replaced on the team.  Obviously,Marco is safe and I’d bet TK is safe as well. Both Herta and Franchitti’s contracts are over at the end of theyear.  I assume that one of these guyswon’t be back, and you could make the argument for either; Franchitti becausehe never seems happy and Herta because of his lack of production.  If I had to guess right now, I’d say Franchitti– but either wouldn’t surprise me.


Also, DJ will most likely be in the number 44 next year.

This week the Cup Series is in Pocono while the Busch Series will make its long-awaited return to the Martinsville Speedway.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Kyle Busch Has The Fuel To Finish In Lenox 300

Kyle Busch wins the Lenox 300 holding off Carl Edwards and holding enough gas to cross the line.

Congrats to the weekend winners:

Busch winner Carl Edwards


Jack Sprague passed Erik Darnell to win the Truck race, which made me mad so he doesn't get any props.

Finally, the brat is back in victory lane




Interesting race yesterday.  The fuel thing was pretty nerve-racking and it was enjoyable to watch because something like that doesn't happen that often.  Everyone was worried as hell about the fuel and it provided some "drama" that TNT loves.  It also shook up the points, leaving Tony Stewart outside of the top 10 and vaulting Shrub into 4th.  Lets see if that lasts.  I told yall a few weeks ago that this would be the group of death and it would be must-watch TV.  So far its proving to be true.  Lets hope it continues.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday Notes

The YouTube video of the week – Two words guys, Talladega Nights.  Jaynelle took my idea again!  YouTube has several versions of the trailers for the movie.  So each week I'll bring you a different one until the release date of August 4th.
 

Now time for the Friday tradition: 

- Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart are entered in the modifiedrace at NHIS this weekend.  I’ll beinterested to see where they finish and it would be cool to see the racebecause those modifieds can be pretty racy. 

- Speaking of Carl, Bob Osborne could return to the 99team.  I’m not sure what I think aboutthat, it makes the moves earlier in the year all for naught because Jamie stillisn’t doing that well.  On the brightside it has shown that Wally Brown is capable of being a Cup crew chief.  I think a team swap may be in order becauseJamie just doesn’t seem to do well with that group.  At the same time, the only team that it wouldeven be logical to switch with is the 6. 

- One more Roush item: Pete Shephard of Driver X fame isentered in the Truck race this week at Memphisin the 50.  Not a bad move in myestimation.  That’s quickly becoming theinternational truck with Jourdain there (Shephard is Canadian). 

- Richard Petty took part in the Goodwood Festival of Speeda week ago in England.  I remember DW and Jeff Hammond the same a fewyears ago, about time The King gets some international acclaim.  I would like to attend that event some time. 

- Is there trouble brewing at KHI?  Jeff Burton will run the 77 car in place ofBurney Lamar this weekend.  Wouldn’t ithave been much easier to put Burtonin the 33 and let him use of the 77 cars? Lamar’s running for points and for ROTY so I don’t get taking him out ofthe car. 

- The Busch Series is again having a problem with shortfields.  I think that’s a problem. 

- Testing at Indy this week brought pretty much everybodyout to run.  I think it just re-affirmshow big the race is in just the 12th running. 

- One more thing about Ed Carpenter: he wouldn’t get firedif he killed the grand marshal during driver introductions.  Perks of having a team owned by daddy who isalso the president of the IRL!


----- New Hampshire Preview -----

Loudon likes to favor repeat winners.  Several times in the track’s history if a guywins the summer race, he’ll come back in the fall and take that one aswell.  It happened back in 2003 withJimmie Johnson and the following year, it was Kurt Busch.  Jeff Burton has also done the double.  In fact, given his recent tear I think JeffBurton will be the odds on favorite this year. I’m forced to combine Friday and Saturday’s blogs into this one becauseI’ll be without computer pretty much the entire day tomorrow.  I’ll get into the predictions: 

WINNER – Jeff Burton 

It’s time for Jeff. It would be a sweet win and I think it will be a popular win as well.

DARKHORSE – Robby Gordon

Why not?  He has wonhere before and I didn’t want to go with a rookie for this race.
 

Here is your channel surfing schedule: 

Today
Cup qualifying at 3 on SPEED

Saturday
Busch: New England 200 at 3on TNT
Trucks: O’Reilly 200 at 9 on SPEED

Sunday
Cup: Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at 1:30 on TNT
 

While I’m away, check out the news sites on the right of thepage to stay up on whats up.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ed Carpenter Is My Hero

No time to link, just posting the whole thing:

Driver: 'Time of month' could help Danica in NASCAR
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A fellow IRL driver says Danica Patrick has what it takes to succeed if she switches to the paint-swappingworld of NASCAR and she's plenty aggressive in open-wheel racing whenit's "the right time of the month."

Ed Carpenter,who trails Patrick by four slots in the IRL IndyCar Series' pointsrace, made the comment when asked how Patrick might handle NASCARracing during a radio appearance to promote Saturday night's FirestoneIndy 200.

"I think Danica's pretty aggressive in our cars," Carpenter said Wednesday on WGFX-FM in Nashville.

"Imean, you know especially if you catch her at the right time of themonth, she might be trading plenty of paint out there," he said. "But Ithink she'll hold her own. Who's she's going to drive for is hard tosay. I don't think she's leaving, so we'll see."

Carpenter later told The Associated Press he didn't mean to be disrespectful of Patrick by using a female stereotype.

Hesaid he was trying to make the point that Patrick is competitive andalready proven as a capable driver. He predicts she'll stay in theIndyCar Series.

"It's obvious when you're around her, she's verycompetitive," he said in a telephone interview afterward. "I think shehas goals that she hasn't accomplished yet in the IRL Indy cars. That'sgoing to want to make her stay."

Patrick, a presenter at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles onWednesday night, didn't take offense when informed of Carpenter'scomments.

"That sounds like a good joke to me, it's pretty funny to me,"she said backstage. "No big deal. Ed is a really nice guy. There'sno drama there. I think it's funny. I'm glad he's showing somepersonality."

Therehas been wide speculation that Patrick will switch leagues after herIRL contract ends this season. Her father was a guest of Roush Racingat Chicagoland Speedway for the Nextel Cup race last weekend.

Carpenter,who is married, drives for a team owned by his mother and her husband,Tony George -- chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League.

Patrick,who won three poles and was rookie of the year in 2005, ranks 12th inpoints this year, best on the Rahal-Letterman team.

"She's kindof leading the way for her team and putting up the best results for herteam. She's going to get shoved around over there just because she's agirl, but I think she's going to be able to hold her own -- if she evengoes over there," Carpenter said.


Aside from the obvious, Ed gets kudos from me just for saying it.  I hope no one gets riled up, but I enjoy stereotypical humor.  I think Ed was sorta joking when he said it, I don't think anyone is that backwards to actually think something like that.  Mainly, I got a kick out of it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Wednesday News Report

My apologies to the race winners of the past week, who didn't get the credit they deserved:

Casey Mears won his first NASCAR race at the Busch race in Chicagoland



With Ron Hornaday picking up his second win of 2006 in Kentucky





 Top 8 Stories of the Week 

The Latest On Juan Pablo Montoya: Released From McLaren,Will Start NASCAR Sooner Than Later 

So it begins.  McLarenpretty much said FU to Montoya and will put Pedro De La Los De Rosa in his spotand Montoya will get to come here now and start his stock car experience.  Today I read that Michigan invited him to run the ARCA andBusch races this August.  If I were incharge of this program, that’s exactly what I’d do: Speedway ARCA races, Buschraces, and if possible, 7 Cup races.  Onerace I think he would have to run is the ARCA race at Talladega in October.  At any rate, it will be an interesting nextfew months to see how he handles the cars. 

Danica’s Move? 

As if JPM wasn’t a big enough announcement, here we haveDanica Patrick’s dad coming to the track in Chicago and saying “we’re trying to get herhere.”  Umm… did he tell Danicathat?  I got the impression that he wasoverreaching when he said that and it’s him trying to convince her that itwould be a good move.  Obviously it’s acash grab for her, either to get a new deal with an IRL team or to jump toNASCAR.  If she stays in the IRL she hasto go somewhere else.  Rahal Letterman isterrible this year because not only Danica is disappointing, but Buddy Ricehasn’t exactly set the world on fire either. The same would be true for NASCAR, it would take a Roush or Hendrick orChildress for it to work. 

As The ToyotaTurns

Someone should make me a logo for this.  Dale Jarrett’s impending move to the Toyota camp was solidifiedthis past weekend as UPS announced that they would sponsor their pitchman fortwo more years.  It remains to be seenwhat number the car will be, but I have a feeling that when it’s all said anddone it’ll be 88.  There are still holesto fill on the Toyotaroster and there could be some surprise names on there.  Waltrip’s 00 is still there and I think thatit will be a veteran driver.  Either BillElliott or Ward Burton could fit in that ride. Also, don’t forget about Jeremy Mayfield.  I like Mayfield better with the Red Bullteam, though.  He and Vickers would makea solid team.  Bill Davis has a spotopen, presumably it may go to Bill Lester. I think he would be much better served by calling up Johnny Benson fromthe Trucks.  Back to the 88, only thistime from the other side…

Robert  Yates’ Plans For 2007 

I coined the team the Yateseidon this year but maybe, justmaybe thingswill turn around for them.  Sadlerswears that he is staying with the 38 so that takes care of one of theircars.  Interestingly, the team is workingto get Stephen Leicht approved so he can run the Brickyard.  I think that gives us a clue as to who will bereplacing Jarrett.  The team should get afresh start and keep the 88 owner points but sell the number to MWR.  CitiFinancial is getting established with the90 in the Busch Series and if its Leicht who gets the call, bring that combo toCup.  There is precedent for it, see the28 becoming the 38. 

Stiffer Penalties For Cheating 

Mike Helton once again makes his big tough guy stand,looking more and more like a mobster by the year.  As evidenced by the Daytona Busch race, thecrew chief suspensions are up to 6 races now. Then he told the Nextel Cup guys the same thing.  Yeah, that’ll stop it.  What else can NASCAR do to punish theseguys?  50 points?  Miss a race? Personally, I’d like to see a public beating of the offending crewchief.  And I pray to God that it’s ChadKnaus. 

Martin To Run Part-Time In 2007? 

Mark’s running part-time now?  How long until the “well, that sixth teamneeds a veteran driver, I guess it might as well be…” routine?  I’m fine with Mark running a part-time schedule.  Although I don’t see him winning, I thinkthat he should give the Daytona 500 one more chance.  I have a feeling that he’ll be in the 6 carat some point next season if Kluever is running a Busch race somewhere else.  If he does do the part-time thing though,it’ll be awfully strange to see him not in the 6. 

New Dodge Car Model 

Dear Dodge, 

The Charger was your fault. Make the nose of the car like the Intrepid and you’re set.  You needed two years to figure that oneout?  Here is a good look: put a likenessof Dr. Z’s mustache on the front grill. Ze best dezign ov German an American engineering. 

Sincerely,
Matt

A Few More Open Wheel Stories

A.J. Allmendinger won his third race in a row this pastweekend, pretty impressive for the kid. He is American too, so yay.  Maybehe’ll be a key figure in the new ChampIRL Series. 

I saw this one a few days ago and it explains somethings.  Hemelgarn and Carmelo Anthonysplit up because Hemelgarn sucks and driver P.J. Chesson is unemployed.  Whoever told Carmelo that this was the teamto invest in should be fired.  Belowaverage equipment along with an inexperienced driver is a recipe for disasterthat even I could see from a mile away. They made it through Indy and now Melo and Chesson are looking somewhereelse.  I can’t imagine where.  Oh yeah, you can probably buy a ride fromEddie Cheever.

Intermission 

You get nothing this week.  NOTHING!  HAHAHA!  Yikes... maybe I should switch to decaf...

End of intermission
 

Oneof the longest-running sponsors in NASCAR may be calling it quits after this season.  Tide has been a part of the sport for nearly 20 years and after this one, it appears that they are done.  In a fun search, I found a few pictures for a photo restrospective of their involvement in the sport.



Darrell Waltrip ran the Tide car with Hendrick for several years, highlighted by winning the 1989 Daytona 500 and his version of the Ickey Shuffle after.  Tide always got their money's worth with a mouthpiece like DW.



After DW left, it was Ricky Rudd who took the Tide colors first with Hendrick and the #5, then when he started his own team and switched to the number 10 and Ford.  This was a steady combo for years and Ricky would win in almost every single one of those years.  I remember two wins more than the rest: his Brickyard win and a win in Martinsville where he got out of the car and had to lay down in victory lane because it was so hot. 



Now, we see the end of Tide.  Ricky Craven gave them two wins in 2001 and 2003, both being memorable in their own way.  PPI has now run the 32 into the ground.
 

The Cup and Busch Series invade New Hampshire this week in what could be a Chase preview at Loudon, the Trucks go short trackin' in Memphis and the IRL takes to the concrete oval in Nashville.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Monday Stuff

- The big driver announcement to come out of Chicago was Juan "please call me Pablo" Montoya's confirmation to drive the #42 next year for Ganassi in Cup.  The announcement was certainly shocking, to say the least.  Montoya was a monster hit here in CART and he won the Indy 500, then promptly moved to F1 and never fulfilled his vast potential.  So now he will come back across the pond to drive in NASCAR and will do it next year.  I hope everyone thinks realistically when it comes to his performance.  It won't be much.  Its gonna be his first full year in stock cars, and he may run 5 Busch races at the most this year in preparation.  Good thing the 42 will be locked into the field.  Montoya has loads of talent, no question.  In a few years, he could become a pretty good driver.  Not right now and not the next year either.  Its a calculated gamble for Chip to do this, ensuring that Reed Sorenson will be his most experienced Cup driver next year.  At the same time, it will bring a lot of curious fans into the sport anxious to see what Montoya can do. 

- This bomb dropped today: Danica Patrick's dad is working to get her a development deal in NASCAR.  Ohhh boy.  If that happens, imagine the publicity everywhere.  Is the talent there?  Somewhat debateable.  Like everyone else that has tried and is planning on trying, it won't happen soon.  She'll struggle and she'll tear up equipment.  That's a given.  But if the right team lands her and is patient enough, who knows?  We'll await more details if/when it becomes a reality.



Who Doesn't Have An Opinion About Jeff's Spinning Of Kenseth?

I've expressed mine, what are yours?  Is Jeff little Napoleon on the track or did Matt have it coming? 

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Matt Kenseth Robbed Of Victory In USG Sheetrock 400

No race recap this week, no way I'm being objective.  I hate that Matt was spun like that by Gordon, but nothing I can do about it.  I think its pretty obvious that Matt was spun.  I watched the race and I could see the writing on the wall; Jeff's car was better.  What irks me is that Jeff makes all this talk about "hating to win it like that" when he could have went around him just as easily.  Matt hit Jeff at Bristol on the last lap.  Let me break it down for you that can't wrap your brains around that.  That happens at Bristol, what Gordon fans seem to forget is that Kenseth was bumped himself out of the lead to begin with.  Thats short-track racing.  So yeah, tough shit.  Chicago isn't Bristol.  You don't spin a guy out on a 1.5 miler like that.  I don't care that Matt isn't leading the points, I don't care that Jeff was better, its Jeff being a hypocrite about racing and Matt losing those spots because of it.  Come Monday its on to New Hampshire and I'll move on.  I can only hope everyone else will as well.


Addendum: 8:36 PM

I left the house a little while after the race ended and put on my Kenseth hat and headed to Food Lion to pick up some things.  The store happened to be playing some post-race show on PRN, I can't remember who the people hosting were.  I tell ya, I was already sick of hearing about what happened.  I hate the fact that its gonna be the top story of the next few weeks.  For the hundred thousandth time, NASCAR doesn't allow rivalries.  It won't happen.  NASCAR also won't penalize Chevy teams during races, that we've known that for years.  I'm putting a period on the discussion for the night.  Tomorrow should be fun (or not).

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Saturday Previews

This is one of those weird weekends where the Busch race doesn't start until late afternoon and the Truck race doesn't start till tonight, and I won't be around tonight to post anything.

Busch race: USG Durock 300 @ 4 on NBC

Truck race: Built Ford Tough 225 @ 8 on SPEED

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

Jeff Burton won the pole for the USG Sheetrock 400 yesterday, a very rare pole for him.  The rest of the top 5 includes Brian Vickers, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson.  Bill Elliott put the Burger King car in 24th and Todd Kluever made the race in 35th position.  Missing the race somewhat surprisingly was Paul Menard.

Mr. Insignificant was Carl Long, who had I been blogging several years ago would be one of the all-time leaders.

Full qualifying results here.

Happy hour was lead by Greg Biffle today.  Following him were Burton, Dave Blaney, Harvick and Kyle Busch.  Time to do some predictions:

WINNER - Matt Kenseth

Matt really should have won this race last year.  He will this year.

DARKHORSE - J.J. Yeley

Yeley's best track has been Chicago.  Back in 2004 he nearly won here when he ran part-time in the 18 Busch car.  Last year he qualified for Tony Stewart in the 20 and put it in the top 15.  Chicago suits Yeley and he may well win the Busch race and finish in the top 10 for the Cup race.

The USG Sheetrock 400 starts at 3 tomorrow on NBC.

Sunday Afternoon Update:

Race is on TNT... I could have swore it was NBC.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Friday Notes

The YouTube video of the week:  This week its not a comedy, not by a longshot.  But its enjoyable and incredible.  The video is the final laps of the 2000 Winston 500 - you know the race, Dale Earnhardt charges from 18th to the win in 5 laps.  But don't watch it just for that.  No, there is definitely more to it.  The way Earnhardt moves, how he bullies his way through guys, and how this particular package was so condusive to lead changes and four-wide racing.  Just go watch. 

 

Now time for the Friday tradition: 

- Gah… just when I thought I was done with this Europeanstuff… first, Dr. Z (Dieter Zetsche)who I’m not quite sure why I’m supposed to care about was interviewed by FOXSaturday night and said that the Dodge teams wouldn’t be pulling out of NASCARand a day later said that McLaren from F1 and Evernham Racing will “partnerup”.  I’ll leave it to them to figure outexactly why this will work since I really don’t see a connection.  Oh, and one last thing: apparentlyJacques Villeneuve will consider NASCAR an option next year.  Yep, a guy that can’t drive F1 anymore willbe looked at over guys 15 years younger than him and won’t need to learn atotally different driving style. Yep.  Smart one, that Villeneuve.

- Winston Kelley of MRN fame and currently an executive withDuke Energy was chosen to be the Executive Director of the NASCAR Hall ofFame.  Excellent choice here, a guythat’s knows his stuff on the track and in the business world. 

- I won’t forget when this happened, even though I wasn’teven there.  It was horrifying then and Iremembered it as I walked across it six weeks ago.  I’m referring to the walkover bridge at LowesMotor Speedway, as it is back in the news to a point as lawsuits filed againstthe speedway were thrown out of court. From what I gathered it wasn’t the speedway’s fault, it was the companythat built the bridge that put a corrosive agent in the mix to help it dryfaster.  Kind of a downer to think aboutit.

- Kevin Harvick is trying to become the king of thecheaters.  How often does your crew chiefAND a crew chief that works for you get suspended all in one week?  I’d certainly like to know.  Shane Wilson, his Busch crew chief wassuspended along with Gene Nead, who works for KHI as Burney Lamar’s crew chiefafter Daytona.  I read that Nead willappeal, haven’t heard if Wilsonwill yet or not.  The 21 team also losesmore points, 50 to be exact. 

- Billy Ballew has inserted Kevin Grubb into his 15 truck, replacingKyle Krisiloff who for some reason was fired and per Backstretch,legal action against KK and his dad is coming. And I just thought Ballew was giving another druggie a secondchance. 

- The Busch Series heads to Chicagowith Cup, as another driver looks to follow in footsteps of Jimmie Johnson andJustin Labonte and score their first win at the Illinois track.  That race is Saturday at 4.

- The Trucks make their annual visit to the bluegrass statefor the Built Ford Tough 225 at the Kentucky Speedway Saturday night. 

- No IRL, Cup race not starting until 3, and Champ Car racesat 12:30 – will I watch?  Nah….

 

----- ChicagoPreview ----- 

Chicagohas been a pretty popular racefor part-timers, this year featuring two formerChampions and an extra car each from Roush and DEI.  Terry Labonte is in the 44 for this race andBill Elliott will make his debut in the Waltrip Racing 00 Burger Kingentry.  Todd Kluever will attempt hisfirst Cup race in the 06 and Paul Menard is entered as well in the 15.

The race itself may or may not be entertaining.  At Chicago,a guy can get out front and stay there… all day.  It has been done several times in the track’sfive-year history.  However, a late snagseems to hit the dominant car at the end, usually fuel mileage.  It happened in 2002, 2003, and most recentlylast year as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s only win of the year was a fuel gamble hereas he held off the dominant car of Matt Kenseth for the win.  Jr. may not have to repeat his fuel gamble torun well at the track and I certainly think Kenseth can repeat hisperformance.  On this track you have towatch for guys like Greg Biffle and Daytona winner Tony Stewart, as well asJimmie Johnson and the only repeat winner at the track, Kevin Harvick.  

Cup qualifying goes today at 4:30.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Nothing To Report

After the marathon last week, this week is... dull.  Nothing that I can find that is really worth talking about.  Jayski is even having to post some half-truths to get through the week.

The best thing NBC could do to improve their coverage is to bring back Fuel by Metallica as their primary music.  That always got me pumped for the race:


Give me fuel give me fire
give me that which I desire
OOOOH!

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Happy Fourth of July



Enjoy the day everyone on our nation's 230th birthday.  We should all be especially proud of our country on this day, so enjoy it with your family and friends.  Happy Fourth of July!

Monday, July 3, 2006

Observations | Daytona

- The USGP actually started all of the what... 11 cars the series has?  Michael Schumacher won and F1 failed to convince me why I should give a crap.

- The other race Sunday was the IRL in Kansas, which unfolded the way most IRL races at that kind of track do: two guys trade the lead, then on the last lap the guy in second barely loses.  Sam Hornish was the winner for the third time this season and Dan Wheldon played bridesmaid.

- OK, Daytona stuff:

- Jimmie Johnson solidified his standing as the most selfish driver in NASCAR after Saturday night's race.  If you watched it, there is no way you can disagree with me.  None.

- I really think Kenseth could have won if his team had taken just 2 tires there at the end.  He had a car capable of hanging right with Stewart, as he did for just about the entire last half of the race.  Still, 5th wasn't bad.

- Boris Said.  The guy is just great to watch, listen to, and hopefully we'll be around for some more races this year.  Sobe/No Fear, the ball is in your court.

- I was quite pleased with the way the majority of guys were driving during the race.  Six cautions isn't bad at all for Daytona and at least two of those were for debris (including the phantom debris caution making a comeback on the last lap).

- Dear Greg,

Please don't run the Subway scheme anymore.  Paint it green, paint it black, do something because everytime that car is on the track, it doesn't finish the race.

Sincerely,
Matt

- Whats the proper way to say goodbye to FOX's broadcasts for the year?  I think its good riddance, followed by oh crap, NBC.  I have always been of the opinion NBC gets somewhat of a bad rap from most fans.  I like NBC's coverage more than most.  To me its always been more professional than FOX.  Maybe I've got a few screws loose but I don't mind Bill Weber at all.  Wally's certainly much better on the mic than his 2001-2002 efforts.  I think what it comes down to though is that each broadcast team wears out their welcome so we're ready for the switch every year.  That's just what I think.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Repeat Performance: Tony Stewart Dominates Second Straight Pepsi 400

Tony Stewart took the checkered flag then climbed up the fence to get it for the second year in a row at Daytona's July jewel.



A hot Daytona night ended with a familiar color: orange.  The Pepsi 400 started on time this year, and after a Vice Presidential address the crowd was ready to see some action under the lights.  Polesitter Boris Said brought the field to the green but failed to lead the first lap as Stewart jumped ahead for the lead early.  Jeff Gordon would also lead in the early part of the race.  As is the norm, pit stops came fast and furious throughout the night.  Among the drivers that suffered damage during the race were Matt Kenseth, who had one of the best cars on the night and charged through the field after hitting Dave Blaney on pit road. 

The lead belonged to Stewart, who lead over half the 160 laps with 86 total.  Kenseth would stick to the 20's back bumper throughout the second half of the race until Jimmie Johnson's car broke loose and he ended up getting into the 43 of Bobby Labonte, who was enjoying a magnificent run at this point.  Some drivers took four tires, some took two, and when it was all said and done the lead with 10 to go belonged to the polesitter, who decided not to pit at all.  The last 10 laps featured another wreck as Greg Biffle was tapped by J.J. Yeley and sent flying into Mark Martin.  Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards also suffered damage.  Said would continue to lead until he was passed by Stewart with 2 to go and from there on out, no one was getting around the 20.



Stewart then had one of the longest celebrations in recent history, climbing the fence and getting into the flagstand, then walking down the stand and into the crowd who were more than happy to celebrate the win with him.  The Busch brothers took the next two spots in the race with Kyle getting the better of Kurt.  Boris held on for fourth in a great call for the young team, which has two top 10 finishes in their first two races.  Matt Kenseth would take fifth place and close the point differential significantly with Johnson, who managed a 32nd place finish after his wreck.  Clint Bowyer was the top rookie of the race, finishing with a solid 10th place run.

I got the winner and the other two were meh.  Tony made it easy for me to look like I know what I'm talking about.

Full results of the Pepsi 400.

Next week its on to Chicago - and NBC.

Saturday Roundup

8 Is Great Once Again At Daytona Busch Race


Dale Earnhardt Jr. led 88 laps at the Winn-Dixie 250 Friday night en route to a win, not even a GWC could help out the rest of the field that night, which ended like so many others in recent years in the Busch Series at Daytona.  Brian Vickers, Kevin Harvick, J.J. Yeley and Carl Edwards took the rest of the top 5 spots.

Terry Cook Ends Incredible Winless Streak, Takes O'Reilly 250 At Kansas




Cook won for the first time since 2002 when he drove for K Automotive to win at Kansas with his PPC Racing team for the first time.  Rick Crawford finished second.

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

Boris Said took the pole for the Pepsi 400 in an upset, driving his Roush-powered car to its first pole and Boris' second career Nextel Cup pole.  Tony Stewart will start outside with David Stremme, Jeff Gordon and Joe Nemechek finishing out the top 5.

Mr. Insignificant was Kertus The Great.

Race lineup here.

Be sure to watch the Pepsi 400 tonight at 7:30 on FOX.