Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gordon, Johnson... Gordon, Johnson















That, in a nutshell, has been the 2007 NEXTEL Cup season. What makes those totals so unbelievable is the fact that in a bunch of those races (including Sunday) neither of them had the best cars. Sure, the fastest car doesn't always win - but what they've done this year has gone beyond luck. Still, I'm not bitter. Earlier in the year, I was bitter... but I'm not now. Enough time has passed that these other teams should be on Hendrick's level in these races. That's something that should change next year. Don't forget, Roush won 15 races back in 2005 along with putting all 5 cars in the 10-man Chase. Since? Results have been mixed. Dominant teams don't stay on top forever. This has been an extraordinary year for Hendrick, but don't be surprised to see the Gibbs trio, a Roush contingent, the Childress trio, and some new faces take at least half of those wins away and possibly more. With 3 races remaining, it's Gordon vs. Johnson for the championship. May they destroy each other in the process!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DirecTV NASCAR Hot Pass

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Setting another new benchmark in TV sports programming, DIRECTV will produce a world’s first for NASCAR fans by taking them deep inside America’s fastest-growing spectator sport, alongside their favorite drivers, through an exclusive new television service - NASCAR HOTPASS™ only on DIRECTV.

Each week during the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR HOTPASS™, only on DIRECTV, will put race fans behind the wheel, in the pits and around the track with their favorite NASCAR drivers and teams, by offering a variety of features allowing fans to follow five different drivers during every race. Each of the five dedicated driver channels will offer multiple camera angles, real-time statistics, in-car audio communication and a dedicated announcer team. The new HOTPASS service, combined with race day telecasts and nascar.com coverage, will give fans the most comprehensive and powerful NASCAR experience possible.

While the NASCAR viewing experience to date has focused predominately on the race and the ongoing battles taking place on the track between teams, the new DIRECTV service will bring to life the drama that exists within each racing team as they execute the decisions that make or break success. Much like in football where the play-by-play decisions of coaches provide drama for the millions of “armchair” quarterbacks as they predict and analyze what the team will do next, such is the case with NASCAR HOTPASS only on DIRECTV™ as fans are privy to the dialogue and strategy involved in every critical move.

“NASCAR fans are the most passionate and committed fans in all sports,” said David Hill, president, DIRECTV Entertainment. “Their depth of knowledge of what it takes to win the Cup is matched only by their commitment to their favorite driver. So we’re giving the fans of five drivers a race, the chance to live the entire race sitting next to their favorite driver. They’ll hear driver conversations with the spotter and crew chief, they’ll hear and experience every decision, and watch every move they make—right or wrong. For NASCAR fans this is the ultimate thrill ride as they, like the crew chief, will know where the driver stands in the field because both the network broadcast and the driver cameras will be on the same screen, giving fans a chance to fully experience the drama of the race.”

"NASCAR is always breaking ground in presenting new ways for our fans to become fully immersed in the NASCAR experience. DIRECTV is a company consistently on the leading edge of sports television innovations, so this was a perfect fit,” said Dick Glover, vice president of Broadcasting and New Media, NASCAR. “We’re thrilled to have DIRECTV as the exclusive distributor of this exciting new programming service and are confident that together we will make NASCAR HOTPASS™ a must-have for every race fan."

In 1994, DIRECTV broke new ground in televised sports by partnering with the NFL to launch the exclusive NFL SUNDAY TICKET™ service. NFL SUNDAY TICKET™ and subsequent sports programming packages with Major League Baseball, the NHL, NBA and NCAA among other leagues have firmly established DIRECTV as the leader in specialized sports programming. DIRECTV has continued to utilize sports to drive the evolution of advanced television services, most recently with the exclusive 2006 US OPEN INTERACTIVE service and the NFL SUNDAY TICKET SUPERFAN service, an optional interactive tier for NFL SUNDAY TICKET customers that launched in 2005. It’s fitting that this year DIRECTV continues its leadership in specialized and interactive sports programming bringing it to NASCAR, the number-two ranked sport in terms of national television ratings, trailing only the NFL.

DIRECTV is an official sponsor of NASCAR and an official sponsor of Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and the # 07 car.

OK, so normally I don't do this stuff... but I've always been a fan of DireTV's Hot Pass feature and envy those that have it. For more information, visit DirecTV.com for more information.

Monday, October 22, 2007

What Really Happened Here? You Be The Judge

Admittedly, I didn't see this last night on Victory Lane, but apparently Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth are having serious problems. This video from post-race leaves me wondering what occurred yesterday. I'm withholding my judgment for now, but let me know what you think:

Friday, October 19, 2007

Martinsville Weekend

So, the final short track race of the 2007 season is upon us. In the previous 5 this year, we have 3 wins by Jimmie Johnson and 1 each from Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. The race in the spring was entertaining, with Jeff Gordon hitting Johnson more than once but not having it be enough for him to get the win. This week, I at least hope someone gives them a challenge... possibly from Stewart or Hamlin, or a darkhorse pick of Jeff Burton. I won't be around this weekend, but I want to leave a few things to arm yourself with:

Cup entry list
Truck entry list
Toyota All Star Showdown entry list

I mention the last one, as the members of the Whelen late-models and Grand National divisions take to Irwindale for the All Star showdown. I can't wait to see it replayed on SPEED when I get back. Enjoy the races this week.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Brace Yourselves Everyone

You're looking at the 2007 Nextel Cup Champion.

I don't see anyone beating Gordon or the #24 team this year. If not Dale Jr., this has to be NASCAR's second-favorite driver to win the championship. He'll be up to 5 titles now, 2 behind The King and The Intimidator. Prepare yourself for lots of picture and stories featuring Jeff, the Cup, the wife, and the baby. The question now is where Jeff ranks in terms of all-time drivers. Some already place him 3rd, I still defer to the guys in front of him on the all-time wins list. Still, there are 5 races left and as they say, anything can happen...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Yes Yes, I Know

So it only took me a week to come back to my blogging duties. Actually, I was on fall break at the end of last week and the beginning of this week and took the opportunity to sit back and enjoy racing the way I used to - just on TV, no internet. Did everyone enjoy the UAW-Single File Racing 500? NASCAR needs to find a way to get the cars racing at Talladega again, because this single file running the high line for 3/4ths of the race is about as fun as watching an F1 race, complete with seeing Jacques Villeneuve running at the back with damage. I'll even give Jeff Gordon his due, I thought it was a gutsy move jumping out in front of a charging Tony Stewart to pass Jimmie there on the last lap. Tony really knocked the hell out of Jeff and that was the difference. The open wheel drivers made solid debuts, some better than others. I'll tell you something - it's gonna fun watching Dario racing a truck at Martinsville in two weeks. This week though, the series returns to a bit of normalcy as the traditional cars head out to Lowes Motor Speedway Saturday night.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Busy Week? I Think So

After my post yesterday, the hum of the news grew to a collective roar. Consider:
  • NASCAR and Nationwide are having an announcement today to formally introduce the insurer as the new sponsor of the #2 series. I'm going to be the smartass and point out the irony of calling it the "Nationwide Series" when it is a nationwide series. I'll be here all week...
  • Dario Franchitti gets out of his AGR contract and officially signs on to drive the #40 for Ganassi next year in the Sprint Cup Series. AGR has chosen Vitor Meira to drive for Franchitti in the ALMS race at Road Atlanta, perhaps hinting who will drive the #27 in the IRL next year.
  • M&Ms made their formal announcement today that they would be moving to Gibbs and the #18 of Kyle Busch. I couldn't think of a worse spokesman, but that's just me.
  • Doug Yates made his first bad decision of the newly-named Yates Racing by releasing talented driver Stephen Leicht at the end of the year. Nevermind that Leicht sits in the top 10 in Busch points and has a win at Kentucky on his resume. I fully expect a bidding war for his services.
  • Scott Riggs signs with Haas CNC Racing for 2008. I think this pretty much assures us that Patrick Carpentier will drive the #10 next year and if the Haas team is smart, they'll put Riggs in the #66 and keep Johnny Sauter in the #70.

More will surely come on some of these stories. I'll try to be around to give the real story on them.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Way To Go, Andy!

Former NASCAR driver Andy Hillenburg bought the North Carolina Motor Speedway, better known as The Rock today for $4.4 million. Hillenburg plans to move his driving school to the track and also plans to host a USAR or ARCA race at the facility in 2008. I'm happy to see the track go to someone who wants to use it for racing, not to tear it up. I wish Andy and everyone involved the best of luck and if a race is there next year, I personally would help promote the hell out of it.

Other stuff has happened this week too:

Subway, Nationwide battling to sponsor the Busch Series in 2008
I personally give the edge right now to Nationwide, as Subway had been rumored for months but nothing official ever happened between the company and NASCAR. Still, the whole Busch Series to something else could prove to be just as hard to remember as Winston Cup to Nextel Cup (and, next year, Sprint Cup).

Bruton Smith, City of Concord at odds over dragstrip
OK, so there's some pretty rough language on both ends of this: Smith wants to expand the Lowes Motor Speedway compound and add a dragstrip, which started being graded this past week. However, the Concord city council is not allowing a dragstrip to be built because of "noise concerns." The huge cannon shot came from Smith, who said he would be looking to MOVE LOWES MOTOR SPEEDWAY somewhere else if he didn't get the dragstrip. Stay tuned on this one, folks. It could get pretty nasty.

Yeah, I didn't post anything following Kansas. I was in shock the rest of the night Sunday and into Monday. I'll be honest - I fell asleep during the rain delay. I flipped over to see the Panthers playing like a division 3 college football team and I got really, really depressed. So I took a nap. I woke up when the game was over and I realized the race might still be on. I turn it to ESPN2 and what do I see? Greg Biffle's sitting in Victory Lane! And Clint Bowyer's crying about something! I didn't know what had happened until I watched Victory Lane on SPEED. Better bookmark this one, because I don't say it often... I agree with NASCAR's ruling (gasp!). When the caution's out, the field is frozen, and in my opinion, as long as the leader is moving, he's still the leader. The car made it to the start/finish line and he deserved the win. On the downside, the Chase standings have been completely turned upside down and we now have about 8 or 9 guys over 100 points behind the leader. Talladega's looming though... funny things always happen there in October.