Monday, November 27, 2006

What To Do...

Reflection of the 2006 season has quickly given away to speculation for 2007.  Per usual, teams that run well in the Chase and were outside of the top 10 are quickly moved into top 10 contention while drivers in the Chase that may have stumbled or run bad are discounted immediately.  As for myself, I'm not about to pick a top 10 - way too early for that (and if possible, not at all).  Of the drivers outside looking to make it back in, I of course think Tony Stewart is a mortal lock.  After him I think Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, and Casey Mears all stand excellent shots.  I think Mears could have a big year in 2007.  There is guarenteed to be one more open spot with Mark Martin running a part-time deal in the 01 and the promise from Brian France that more drivers will be eligible for the championship.  Even still I think Jeff Burton and Denny Hamlin are kind of iffy.  I know what you're saying: "Hamlin finished 3rd he was a rookie he is a great driver" but everyone said the same thing about Carl Edwards one year ago and look what happened.  It says nothing about Hamlin as a driver or the team itself but I'm borrowing the "luck bank" theory from DW.  I think that the 11 team turned a lot of decent runs into great runs and the opposite could happen in '07.  Just a feeling.

Later on this week my own list - the list of unresolved questions heading into 2007.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone... enjoy the day with your families and loved ones, eat a lot of food, and enjoy the football. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

TCS Paint Scheme

What do you think?  I like the red as the link color.  Any suggestions on what looks good?  In a non-fem way I do like to coordinate and stuff.

Did Someone Mention 2007 Announcements?

All the items I could find listed here with my comments:

Haas Racing opens new shop, will run two teams

Wasn't Gene Haas arrested and stuff?  Anyway, it appears that Johnny Sauter and Bootie Barker will team up for the #70.  I was hoping Johnny would jump to Robert Yates myself.

Robert Yates secures sponsorship for #88

Rumored, of course, to be a Mars brand.  That narrows it down, considering there are about 50 different brands owned by the company.  I would love to see a return of this car to the track:

Although it probably end up being Pedigree or M&Ms deux.  That wouldn't be all bad as long as they switched the scheme up, maybe go with the peanut or peanut butter on the 88.  There are a myriad of possibilites.  The same can be said for potential drivers. 

Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle to share Brewco Busch ride

It isn't a Roush car for Jamie, but it is a Ford.  I'm sure there is Roush technology on the car as well.  Biffle has driven for this team in the past two seasons and they're a solid team.  He'll spend most of his Busch time in the #16 with Todd Kluever since it appears Jamie will drive this car more than Greg.  Interestingly Brewco calls it the #66 but it has already been stated that RWI will get the number back in 2007.  I suspect the team will return to it's old Timber Wolf number of 37 or possibly the 26 or 28 in an upset.

J.J. Yeley to drive the #1 Phoenix Racing Chevy

Interestingly JGR couldn't get a sponsorship deal together for J.J. so he will compete in the #1 with teammate Mike Wallace in the #7.  There is a chance that Yeley could run the full schedule if he is in contention for the championship.  I think that could easily be a possibility.  As for the Gibbs program...

Tony Stewart, Aric Almirola, and Denny Hamlin in the Gibbs Busch program

Almirola will split time in both the #'s 18 and 20 next season with Stewart in the #18 and Hamlin in the #20 in part-time efforts for both.  According to JGR another development driver will be in the #18.  Somehow, I think Almirola will end up driving that car more often than not.  This could be a prequel to a full-time ride in Busch in 2008 along with some Nextel Cupstarts.  It remains to be seen how many races Stewart will drive in the #18.

Travis Kvapil to drive the #6 Truck for Roush Racing

All in all, I like the move.  I'm not a fan of Kvapil after he lucked into the 2003 championship in the series but I take the stance of "when a former champion is available, you sign him."  Reportedly the Canadian from Driver X Pete Shephard will drive the #50 but nothing official.

David Gilliland, Richard Johns team up in #25 freecreditreport.com Busch car

Gilliland, yes.  Richard Johns?  Who?  Could be another Cale Gale (mechanic-turned-driver) but that remains to be seen.  Ford's Busch program is actually looking pretty good with Rensi, Brewco, ppc, and of course Roush.

Biagi-DenBeste announces the greatest sponsor, Kibbles 'N Bits!

I cannot wait to see Kibbles 'N Bits on the track next season with Auggie Vidovich and the #4 team.

Eric McClure to drive for Johnny Davis with Hefty sponsorship

The quintessential underdog team actually has a full-time driver and sponsor.  Will it help?  I think it'll help a bit if they team up with Morgan-McClure which, of course, will happen.


To close, I find it unbelieveable that Danny O'Quinn has no sponsor and may not have a ride in 2007 after defeating John Andretti for the Busch Series Rookie Of The Year title.  I have some hope because his deal this season wasn't put together until December last year but come on... the kid has talent.  He won ROTY even after sitting out two races.  I don't think a part-time deal like Kluever has will work either.  He needs to run full-time and I think if Roush can't make it happen, someone else will.



2007 #6 AAA Fusion?


The car David Ragan will drive next season succeeding Mark Martin?  Possibly.  Surfing the Team Caliber site (when does Motorsports Authentics finally kill them?  Anyway...) I found this along with a few other items.  The die-casts were without pictures and for the other things, this is the best I could find.  A lot of white on the car which I don't mind and it appears that AAA decided to scrap the black and gold that ruined the '06 scheme. 

Monday, November 20, 2006

The 2006 Nextel Cup Champion: Jimmie Johnson



I'll give the devil his due, he earned the championship this season.  My dislike of Johnson, Knaus, and Hendrick as a whole has been well-documented but this team had a great year and they should be celebrating.  Winning the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in the same year as a championship is special and doesn't happen often.  The 48 team showed they had matured after the two previous Chase seasons and made a strong run to take the title. 

I don't look at the 2006 season as a disappointment for Matt Kenseth and the 17 team.  Second place in points with 4 wins is something to be proud of and I don't think anyone would disagree with the statement that they are just as good as the champs.  This season will be remembered for the emergence of Denny Hamlin and the 11 team and the re-emergence of RCR and DEI.  2007 will change a lot of things in NASCAR so I want everyone to soak up the 2006 season for what it was as we go through withdrawals for the next three months until the engines fire for the Daytona 500 in February.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Homestead Update #5

Red flag withdrawn and the field runs under caution.  22 cars are currently on the lead lap and the NBC crew continues to fawn over the 48 team.  Looks like we'll get the green 11 to go.  The running order goes Yeley, Biffle, Kahne, Hamlin, Kenseth, Johnson, Truex, Stremme (!), Edwards, and Bowyer.

10 to go: Biffle shoots past Yeley and Kahne does the same while dealing with the lap traffic.

6 to go: Mears off the pace, blown engine.  Caution is out and this race will not end.

The restart will come with 2 to go.  Single file, no lucky dog, just 2 laps left in the 2006 season.  This restart will constitute a GWC so if the caution comes out again it's over.  Yeley is out of fuel and has stopped on the backstretch. 

Biffle takes the checkered flag, Truex 2nd, Hamlin 3rd, Kahne 4th, and Harvick 5th.  Jimmie Johnson is the 2006 Nextel Cup Champion.

Homestead Update #4

21 to go now and Ryan Newman spins and the caution comes out.  Hmm... pit stops~!  The big question will be who does what on pit road...

Bill Weber makes a big speech about 35 races and how it all comes down to this blah blah blah.

Kenseth takes 2 tires and a wedge adjustment, Hamlin takes 2, Johnson takes 2.

Off of pit road the order is Biffle, Kahne, Hamlin, Kenseth, Johnson, Truex, Stremme, and Edwards.  Couldn't tell if anyone stayed out.  Dale Jr. took 4 tires.  They should go back to green with about 18 or so to go. 

16 to go and holy crap Montoya's car is on fire.  He makes it out as flames erupt out of the back of the car with the fuel cell busting.  He says someone took him out.  J.J. Yeley did stay out and is the current race leader.  NASCAR puts out the red flag and the cars rest on the track for cleanup.  Replays show Montoya and Newman getting together prior to Newman's spin and then Newman with the payback.  No-neck is definitely on the short list of biggest pricks in the series.

Homestead Update #3

As of lap 200 I wanted to say a few things:

- Jimmie's going to win the championship... I'm not expecting anything to happen.  No one else is forcing the issue and the 48 seems to have some steam in reserve in case someone does make a move.  Kenseth and the Killer Bees have been good today but not spectacular.

- The race here is awesome.  Dale Jr. has been running the high line better than almost anyone (Kyle Busch and David Gilliland tried and failed) but his teammate could pull off the win.  Truex has run great today.

- Maybe it's just me, but the top 10 at these races here at the end of the year are peppered by names you wouldn't expect to see.  Gilliland ran great until smacking the wall, he was in the top 5 all day.  Elliott Sadler currently leads the field thanks to nearly everyone in the field playing some sort of pit strategy.  Joe Nemechek is in the top 5 in his final race with the 01. 

- I think DEI has an excellent chance of winning today along with Biffle, Kahne, or Riggs.  Everyone has to make one more stop and I hope that it happens under green.


Well, nevermind... caution out after Mike Bliss' engine expires and the field can make it from here.  Kenseth takes 2 tires, Hamlin with 2 tires, order out is Kahne, Riggs, Kenseth, Biffle, Hamlin, Harvick, Dale Jr. Sadler, Johnson, J. Burton.  Looks like nearly everyone took 2 with a few guys taking 4.  59 to go.

Homestead Update #2

Green flag pit stops for everyone are almost complete here on lap 110.  No gaffes from the contenders or the Chase drivers.  Johnson manages to lead a lap so 13th or better will do the trick now.  Pretty clean race after the first few cautions.  The top cars appear to be the 5, 8, and 9 at the moment with the 10, 17, 38, 16, and 48 not too far behind.

Lap 121: Kyle Busch hits the wall twice a few laps ago and pretty much ends his day, as nearly everyone pitted on the cauton save for the DEI cars.  This restart has looked pretty crazy with the cars going 3 and 4 wide.  Johnson currently in 16th after staying in the pits for a few extra seconds to tighten a lugnut.

Homestead Update #1

Two cautions, both involving Kurt Busch.  On the first stop, Harvick, Kenseth, and several others pit.  Several laps later, Busch spins again and Jimmie hits a small piece of debris from the wreck.  The 48 was held on pit road as the team repaired the damage.  The damage sorta looks like the punch game from The Price Is Right.

Homestead Pre-Race

I'm going to do a modified form of the updates, not as often as the Texas race though.  I love the choice of "Metalingus" for the Kenseth video package.  I'm really hoping that the changes made before happy hour will work for him today.  I have a funny feeling that Jimmie could have an off day and it might leave the door open.  63 points is a lot and a little at the same time.  If Jimmie wrecks, it's a little.  If he does just enough to stay inside the top 15, it's a lot.

This race seems to be the end of an era... Mark Martin leaving the 6 car and Roush, the final full season before the Car Of Tomorrow rolls out to possibly ruin the series, and we have a transition into the era of international drivers as Juan Pablo Montoya runs his first Nextel Cup race.  The green flag is scheduled to drop at 2:55 PM.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ford Championship Weekend - Two Down, One To Go



Friday night Todd Bodine won his first national championship in NASCAR as Mark Martin won his 6th race in the series at Homestead.  As hot as the year started in the series, I have to say I thought the year in general was subpar.  Maybe its because I didn't watch or listen to the races.  I just felt disappointed.



Tonight, Matt Kenseth won the final Busch race of 2006 and goes back-to-back with wins in the 17 Fusion.  I actually enjoyed the race tonight even though the championship was decided about 7 months ago.  Several announcements of 2007 plans were made today in Busch and I'll have the full scoop next week.  A few mild surprises among them.




Tomorrow should be a busy day.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

2006 Nextel Cup Rookie Grades and 2007 First Look

The grades for the 2006 rookie class:

11 Denny Hamlin: A+ = Hamlin's had one of the top rookie seasons ever, up there with the first years of Davey Allison and Tony Stewart.  A rookie championship contender doesn't happen often.

07 Clint Bowyer: B+ = A very solid driver and a solid team that should only get better.

41 Reed Sorenson: B- = Has put up some respectable numbers for the little amount of experience he had in February.

1 Martin Truex Jr.: C = Starting to come around, but honestly I expected more from the two-time Busch Champion and the 1 team.

18 J.J. Yeley: D+ = Yeley is still learning, but he really should learn to finish races and learn to get on pit road correctly.

40 David Stremme: D = To Stremme's credit the 40 is running about where it did last year with Sterling Marlin.

Brent Sherman: Incomplete = HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


2007 First look:

00 David Reutimann: His season will depend on everything around him - could be top 20, could be out of the top 35.

01 Regan Smith: He'll have a great mentorto learn under... but does he have the talent?

6 David Ragan: Huge shoes to fill in the 6 car but if he has his head on straight and is patient he'll be fine.

11 Paul Menard: The early favorite in my book.  He has the experience, team, and equipment to be a solid top 20 team a la the 07 this season.

42 Juan Pablo Montoya: He'll get the most attention next season but I think everyone should guard against expecting too much too soon.  Obviously the talent is there and win wouldn't be out of the question.

84 A.J. Allmendinger: Could have tough first year but he will definitely succeed at this level.  Like Reutimann, it will depend heavily on how good the Camry is.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

2006 Championship Standings

Going into Ford Championship Weekend, here are the championship standings for each series and my comments on each:

Nextel Cup

1 Jimmie Johnson 6332 (--)
2 Matt Kenseth -63 (--)
3 Kevin Harvick -90 (+2)
4 Denny Hamlin -90 (--)
5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. -115 (-2)
6 Jeff Gordon -167 (--)
7 Jeff Burton-225 (--)
8 Mark Martin -273 (+1)
9 Kasey Kahne -319 (+1)

10 Kyle Busch -359 (-2)

Sadly, it appears that Jimmie Johnson will win the 2006 Nextel Cup Championship.  After the past two seasons of "crying wolf" the 48 team will officially become the best team in NASCAR.  Of course, Homestead isn't a given but how often does a championship change hands at the last race of the year?  Not too often.  As bad as the 17 team has been I'm shocked they're still in 2nd place.  Both Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin should be proud of their seasons, not to mention the return of Dale Jr. and the 8 team to the top 5 in points.  This year has been one of the wildest as far as the twists and turns of the standings since New Hampshire in September.

Busch Series

1 Kevin Harvick 5493 (--)
2 Carl Edwards -844 (--)
3 Clint Bowyer -940 (--)
4 Denny Hamlin -986 (--)
5 J.J. Yeley -1166 (--)
6 Paul Menard -1588 (--)
7 Kyle Busch -1612 (--)
8 Greg Biffle -1753 (--)
9 Johnny Sauter -1833 (--)
10 Reed Sorenson -1860 (--)

Yawn.  The top 10 hasn't changed for weeks.  All that happens is Harvick's lead grows and everyone else scores top 5 and top 10 finishes.  No wonder I haven't watched a Busch race in a month.

Craftsman Truck Series

1 Todd Bodine 3566 (--)
2 Johnny Benson -112 (--)
3 David Reutimann -183 (--)
4 Ted Musgrave -316 (--)
5 David Starr -357 (+2)
6 Ron Hornaday -374 (--)
7 Jack Sprague -393 (+1)
8 Mike Skinner -410 (+2)
9 Rick Crawford -432 (-4)
10 Terry Cook -440 (-1)

The battle here is between Todd Bodine and Johnny Benson, if you want to call it that.  Bodine just needs to keep the 30 truck on the track for all 200 miles and he'll take home his first championship. 


Tomorrow, I'll have my rookie of the year analysis for each series -  as well as an early preview of the 2007 classes for each series.

Monday, November 13, 2006

After PHX



Kevin Harvick sweeps, Jimmie's pretty much got the point title locked up, and the 17 team once again has a mystifying bad run.  I didn't watch the last half of the race yesterday but instead was on the road headed back here and was able to enjoy MRN's coverage for the first time in a while.  I think it may have been the best coverage I've heard in two years for a race.  A novel idea would be to put those guys on TV. 

Since I'm ready for 2007 to be here, I found pics of the #16 AmeriQuest Ford Fusion that Biffle will drive next season:





I also can barely see to type what I'm doing since I'm feeling pretty bad so I'm gonna get off here.  I should be feeling better in a few days.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I Beg The New York Times To Stay Out of NASCAR

Or, as they say, Nascar.

This article I found today seemed like about as much drivel as you would expect.  They're all too willing to kill the Drive for Diversity program instituted by NASCAR and the teams that are running drivers under it.  To start off, DfD is affirmative action at it's finest.  Let's look at this article's highlights:

Nascar officials have promoted their diversity efforts for years, hoping toerase a long-held image of stock-car racing as an all-white sport. Butthe Drive for Diversity program, which began in 2004 and was billed asan attempt to integrate drivers, has yet to produce a member of aminority group, or a woman, who has moved into the upper echelons ofthe sport.

Well I'll be damned no one has moved up.  Nevermind talent, we'll promote people for race or gender only.  I guess Aric Almirola in the Trucks and part-time Busch doesn't count.  Ditto for Erin Crocker.  Oh wait, when we talk about minority we're really only talking about one race.  What bugs me about this article is that we're assuming that there are bunches of talented race car drivers that are being kept out of the sport and that simply isn't the case.  There isn't a Negro League the way it was in baseball that was full of talented players so to expect a Jackie Robinson to come in year two of this program is extremely unreasonable. 

And now the father of an African-American stock-car driver oncecalled a top racing prospect said the highly publicizedNascar-supported program was a failure. Joe Henderson Jr. said his son,Joe III, was under contract to MB2 Motorsports from 2005 to 2006 andwas used for publicity but was given poor equipment in 2005 and noteven provided a racecar in 2006.

“It’s a sham,” Joe Henderson Jr.said in a telephone interview Friday. “The program is not designed tobe successful because, No. 1, it’s not properly funded.

“They claim that it’s a pipeline. Well, nobody came out the pipe.”

Again, umm, year two.  People today want to live in a microwave society where everything happens in a matter of minutes.  Life isn't like that.  Racing sure as hell isn't like that.  I'd love to know what "bad cars" were there because I would bet you he had one of the best cars on the track because how many Nextel Cup teams have a vested interest in late model programs?  Joe Henderson Jr., your soon needs EXPERIENCE.  On down in the article:

“MB2 is very committed to the Drive for Diversity program,” Jay Frye,the MB2 chief executive and general manager, said in a telephoneinterview yesterday. “Everything that we did last year was allbrand-new equipment and basically, when the season ended last year, wehad a meeting with the Hendersons. They wanted us to graduate him tothe next level. We didn’t feel he was ready for that. At that point, wesaid, ‘If you can find another deal, find another deal, and we’ll dothe same thing.’ ”

I can't say I'm surprised.  First year teams with brand-new cars don't typically perform well.  Ask Toyota next year what they think.  Again, sounds like the overbearing daddy wanted something before he was ready.  People don't realize how long drivers stay in late models before advancing to the touring and national series.  Go ask guys like Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, etc. about their path to Nextel Cup.  It wasn't an overnight success.  Here is the kicker:

Jesus Hernandez, who replaced Joe Henderson III in the MB2 diversityprogram, had two victories in Late Model competition at Hickory usingwhat Frye said was the same equipment. Hernandez will move up to someCraftsman Truck races next year, Frye said.

Well now, isn't that interesting.

I'm not going to totally kill the article because it raises fair points in the rest.  Some fans of the sport still aren't willing to let others in and that's a shame.  NASCAR like any other business is about who does the best job.  Some guys are just better than others.  I'll all for giving equal opportunity but you need to prove your worth by running well.  Marc Davis has had a field day at Hickory this year because he has the talent.  Some guys do, some guys don't.


I'm out for the weekend.  All three divisions race at Phoenix and I hope you all will be watching.  Jaynelle Ramon will be at the track and she better tell us all about her trip or I'll have to tell more Jeff Gordon jokes.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

So... Phoenix

Once again, I apologize for my lack of blogging during the week.  Yesterday during election day I worked all afternoon at my local precinct and then attended two campaign parties (Hint: if you ever get invited to the Speedway Club at Lowes Motor Speedway, go).  Luckily, the House race I worked on (8th district with Robin Hayes) should end up being a win.  Robin leads by 468 votes but the recount BS and all that will delay it being certified.  Needless to say, it was a long night for the GOP.  I'm trying to look at the bright side.  With Nazi... sorry, Nancy Pelosi as the new Speaker that scares me to no end.  But most of the people that were kicked out should have been (save Rick Santorum) because the majority of the Republican congressmen had forgotten their way as advocates of smaller government and fiscal conservatism and were spending just as much and more than the Democrats in the early 90s.  A lot of the Dems elected were social conservatives which I can deal with as long as they don't run to the left and join Pelosi and her freak squad.  Nothing of consequence will get passed as I believe President Bush will actually (GASP!) use vetoes and he'll exert even more executive authority in much the same manner President Clinton did.  Another positive step was the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense.  He needed to be gone a long time ago because he had some good ideas, but the execution has been horrible.  Rumsfeld's plans of battle to include the smallest amount of troops possible was good in theory but we need more troops to fight in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  Jesus, did I just write a political blog?  Yikes.

I hope everyone forgives me if I'm not that interested in the race at Phoenix.  I can think of better tracks that should have this important second-to-last date before Homestead but we'll work with what we got.  I would like to see Kenseth take the point lead back leaving here because I've yet to see a Champion lose a point lead in the last race of the season since the finale has been at Homestead.  It's also my birthday Sunday so I'll be out of commission for obvious reasons :-) .

Monday, November 6, 2006

Oh Snap

Harvick, Riggs' crewman have run-in after wreck

The short version: while Kevin and DeLana were walking through the garage after the race, a crew member from the 10 team confronted them and shoved them with DeLana suffering a twisted ankle.  A NASCAR official was also taken down during the incident.


To me, it's vigilante justice.  I think Riggs was wronged by Harvick because I know I'm not alone in seeing Riggs being spun by Kevin after blocking him as soon as it happened.  Sure enough, Riggs was put into the wall hard by Harvick.  At the same time, you can't go around pushing people down in the garage.  I respect Mike Dillon for restraining Harvick and preventing a total brawl that could have been really messy.  Still, a part of me feels for the 10 team.  They had a very strong run going and ended up with another 30th or worse performance.  What do you think?  Is the crewman in question a bum or do you think he was justified?

Monday update:  Well, interestingly it seems there are several accounts of what happened in the confrontation.  The original story I read on NASCAR.com said that DeLana twisted her ankle and the NASCAR official, John Sacco, was injured but didn't give specifics.  Then today I see that the AP story says the Harvicks were uninjured and the official suffered a sprained ankle.  Yahoo's story says the official suffered a badly sprained ankle and DeLana merely twisted her leg. 

In any event, it still shouldn't have happened.  Kevin, DeLana, and the official Mr. Sacco were on the ground as a result of the Riggs crewman and that shouldn't be tolerated in any sport. 

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Texas Race Update #4

Tony Stewart wins back-to-back races, the second driver in as many years to do the Atlanta-Texas double.

Johnson leads the points by 17 over Kenseth with Dale Jr. 78 behind and Hamlin 80 behind. 

Checkered flag
- Stewart wins, Johnson 2nd, Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Bowyer are the top 5

Here is the running order under caution:


Stewart
Johnson
Harvick
Ky. Busch
Bowyer
Earnhardt Jr.
Mears
Kenseth
Petty
Ku. Busch

NASCAR is adjusting things so right now I haven't a damned clue.  Two to go.

Texas Race Update #3

Lap 332 - Harvick spins Riggs to bring out the caution, Riggs in the wall HARD and Kenseth is involved in the chain reaction behind along with Edwards.  GWC to come.  Riggs had gotten loose and blocked Harvick letting Johnson go and Harvick then spun him.  You could have seen that one coming a mile away.  Still waiting to see where everyone is officially running.

Lap 329
- I got a feeling Stewart won't hold off the 48.  I had the order wrong as Riggs runs in 2nd, Harvick 3rd, and Johnson 4th.  Truex rounds out the top 5.

Lap 327
- Whoa Kahne just blew up.  Pit stops, leaders don't come in. 

Lap 326
- Caution for Greg Biffle hitting the wall.  Well now, this changes things.  Less than 10 to go.  Will the leaders pit?  Stewart leads, Kahne 2nd, Johnson 3rd.

Lap 316
- Pit stops galore as most teams are taking two tires.  The 8 and 48 took 4.

Lap 305
- Kenseth and the 17 team decides to short pit and take 4 tires and see what happens.  Kinda risky if you ask me.  I don't believe anyone will try and make it until the end.

Lap 299
- All green flag racing as the field is separating itself.  Kahne could have something for Stewart as the strategies for the final stop are debated.  Teams need a bit of fuel but the question is who will take tires and who will not.  Top 5 is Stewart, Kahne, Johnson, Harvick, and Riggs. 

Lap 258
- Pit stops for the leaders as Stewart, Kahne, Harvick, and Johnson are the first four off.  Teams still not able to make it from here so a splash-and-go at the end is very likely to happen barring another caution.

Lap 256
- Robby Gordon blows an engine and brings the caution out with 78 to go. 

Lap 235
- Stewart, Bowyer, Kahne, Johnson lead the field off of pit road.  Should be interesting to see what approach teams take for the final 100 laps.

Lap 233
- Caution out right at 100 to go for Reed Sorenson.  He got loose under the 5 and slid down the track, hit the flat part, then slid back up.  The Busch brothers barely miss both spins.  Should be having pit stops as teams can make it from here on one more stop.

Lap 205
- Stewart has this thing locked up barring pit strategy or something else unforseen.  Kenseth runs 19th while Johnson still maintains a top 5 spot.

Texas Race Update #2

5:55 - Caution for Paul Menard blowing an engine.  Hahahaha Tony was bump drafting the pace car.  That's great.  Pit stops for everyone: Kyle Busch with two tires, Stewart, Bowyer, Harvick, Johnson, Kahne lead off of pit road.  The battle between Stewart and Bowyer is razor-thin.

5:45
- Another caution as Robby Gordon gets loose in front of Greg Biffle and spins, Kenseth nearly hit twice but comes through it unscathed.  No other cars involved.

5:36 - Caution out again as Ken Schrader wrecks which in turn leads to an accident involving Mark Martin and Sterling Marlin (second week in a row...).  Mark doesn't have any big damage.  Schrader goes to the garage, didn't see anyone making any stops but I assume that the guys at the back will.

5:30
- Kenseth has sucked today but he stays out and leads a lap for the bonus points, race is at halfway.  Looks like a few new faces will populate the top 5 as Carl Edwards had a great pit stop.

5:27
- Caution as Dale Jr. hits the wall as Clint Bowyer goes by for 2nd.  Leaders make pit stops, can't tell if he is on pit road or in the garage.  Car is on pit road at the moment, damage isn't as bad as Burton's was.

5:23
- Jeff Burton's back on the track and could gain a few spots and get a few more points.  Kenseth has fallen to 28th.  Stewart still leads over Dale Jr. (who is sick) and Clint Bowyer has rose to 3rd. 

5:08
- Caution out for debris on the frontstretch, yes there is actually debris there.  Leaders in for pit stops.  Stewart, Dale Jr., Johnson, Bowyer, Gordon, Truex, Edwards, Harvick, Kurt Busch are the top 10 off pit road.

5:03
- Kenseth says his car feels "weird" but he has picked up 6 more spots to 21st.  Mark Martin's day couldn't get much worse.  Next update will come for pit stops or a caution.

Texas Race Update #1

5:00 - Tony's just killing the field today.  He looks really, really good and I don't think anyone has the car right now to match him.  Johnson and Jr. look pretty good, along with Kahne.  Kenseth reported possibly having a flat tire, but it looks like it wasn't after all.  He had fallen to 30th but at last check he was running 27th. 

4:37
- Well, scratch that.  Jeff Burton blew a right front tire and brings out the caution.  The damage looks pretty substantial.  He might be done for the day.  Pit stops ensue for the leaders.

4:30
- Stewart continues to lead with Kahne, Johnson, Earnhardt Jr., and Scott Riggs in the top 5.  Matt Kenseth runs 22nd with a car that isn't handling to his liking but appears to be getting better.  Next update coming at 5:00.

4:16
- Tony Stewart leads as they go back to green, followed by Brian Vickers, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, and Jeff Gordon.

4:10
- Competition caution and pit stops at lap 40.

3:50
- Green flag!

3: 43
- Field will go under green-yellow situation to start counting laps.  I'll be back when they drop the full green flag.

3:38
- Still haven't gotten the green flag, the cars are helping dry the outside line.  I'll be surprised if this race goes the full distance.

Texas: Pre-Race Updates

3:28 - Cars on the track for their pace laps, Wally's World propaganda, and pre-race updates are done.  I'll chime in with updates when needed or around every 50 laps.  This is still a work in progress :-p .

3:22
- Terry gets a special engine start from daughter Kristen.  Looks like we're ready to go and the field gets the start as well.

3:01
- Safety vehicles on the track, drying it out but it is not raining.  I don't feel like watching 70 thousand interviews so it's back to the NFL.  Maybe they'll start this thing in 20-30 minutes.

2:54
- Terry Labonte interview before the race.  The car has an incredible paint scheme that highlights his career.  I'll give Hendrick credit, this is really cool.  Good luck Terry, we'll miss you.  Thanks for a great career.

2:45
- National anthem just played, looks like the race will get started on time.  Awfully overcast at the track. 

2:25
- The Pit Box breakdown for Texas.  If you're a nerd like me you like seeing where everyone is.

2:15 - Here is today's starting lineup.

2:00
- Rain at the track today.  NASCAR may or may not get the race in.  I'm hoping they do get it in today.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Whitest Guys On The Planet

After rolling in tonight after seeing Independence HS extend their win streak to 103 games after a 2 OT defeat of rival Butler I saw this beauty on the front page of Charlotte.com:


NASCAR official chalks up 'can't dance' query on Speed Channel to poor judgment
By Jim Utter

FORT WORTH, Texas - A top NASCAR official on Friday said that NBC reporter Marty Snider used poor judgement in comments he made during Speed Channel's broadcast of Nextel Cup qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway.

While on the air with Cup driver Carl Edwards about his lack of arecent haircut, Speed's Steve Byrnes chimed in with the following:"Another fan wrote in and said we were the whitest men on Earth."

Snider, who was standing with Edwards in the garage, then said to the driver, "Can you not dance?"

Responded Edwards: "I'm truly as white as we get. The only whitest guy (more) than me is Steve Byrnes."

Snider is not employed by Speed Channel, but the network utilizes NBC talent when it broadcasts qualifying during race weekends.

"That's just one of those things where someone used poor judgement, andthat's all we're really going to say about that," NASCAR vice presidentJim Hunter said.

Speed spokesman Erik Arneson declined to comment when asked about the remark Friday night.

Speed reporter Ray Dunlap was suspended for one Craftsman Truck Seriesrace last month after he made disparaging remarks toward Hispanics onthe Speed show, "Tradin' Paint."


I can't be the only person who thinks that this is a non-story story.  Qualifying coverage is, by nature, boring as hell.  Case in point, how many times has anyone said anything about the coverage?  Two guys talking in an interview and because it just mentions race we're supposed to say something about it.  Notice how Ray Dunlap is brought into this.  Two completely different situations here as the only guys talking were three guys that obviously know each other and kid around.  I can't wait to see the mainstream media make something of it.  Instead of talking about Matt Kenseth's poor qualifying performance or a new track record set by Brian Vickers, outlets are going to talk about the remarks of Marty Snider.  God forbid we accept racing as a true sport and cover it like one.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Texas Weekend

I'll make it quick - go to NASCAR.com for the weekend info and I'll see you here on Sunday for live updates so I can make up for being shotty this week.  Last night I was screaming my head off at the Guns N' Roses concert in Greensboro and I'm pooped.  LONG LIVE GNR!

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

I Apologize For The Lack Of Bloggage

It's that time of year again... the time where schoolwork takes precedence above well... everything.  So if you've been missing your fix of my posts don't worry, I should be good after a few more weeks. 

So, Texas this week for all three series.  I don't mind Texas, despite a rocky start the track is growing into its own with some good racing.  We shall see what happens.