Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Marc Davis Gets A Chance

Braun Racing puts the young driver in the #10 for 6 races, including the upcoming stretch of Dover, Nashville, Kentucky, and Milwaukee.  Davis has potential but thus far hasn't been able to lock down a ride.  He competed with Joey Logano in the Camping World East Series, and even ran a race for Gibbs in the #18 at Memphis last year.  However, Gibbs didn't have room for him in the Nationwide program, and Davis and his family started their own and made 2 races this year at Bristol and Richmond.  The #10 isn't a shabby ride, as the #32 and #38 are among the top unaffiliated teams in the series.  It'll be up to Davis to make a good impression as, obviously, he has more riding on his shoulders than the usual young driver entering the series.

Tony George Removed From Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Big news from Indy this morning, courtesy of Robin Miller.

UPDATE - 3:33 PM: Well, maybe not so fast...

Intrigue runs deep.  Probably won't be the last update.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mike Bliss Nationwide Victory Interview

Pictures

Victory Interview with Mike Bliss from NASCAR Nationwide Series at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. 

`In winning the 11th Nationwide Series race of the year at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Mike Bliss was good and lucky. The 44-year-old veteran qualified 10th but had to go to the back because his Miccosukee Chevy team had to swap out a motor. Bliss then methodically drove up through the field and when he stayed out longer than anyone during the long green flag run late in the event, found himself on the lead lap with only one other driver. When a yellow came out just as Kyle Busch and the other top cars had pitted, the race restarted with Bliss leading but in mid-pack with the top cars who had pitted lining up in front of him on the tail end of the lead lap. Bliss then found himself battling for the top spot with Brendan Gaughan who passed him briefly and had no idea rain was fast approaching. 

Bliss: 

I really didn’t know Brendan was there until he got by me. They said that’s your leader now. So I had no idea. I know when Brendan went by I knew I’d get back by him but I had no clue that there was any rain. We went through one and two and there was a little rain and then we went back through again and there was about five of us and we all went sideways and it came down pretty hard over there. 

Gaughan: 

We were battling pretty good for awhile, I was hoping for a little bit longer run and try to get back by him later but second place with the hard luck rusty wallace racing team man. The number of stupid things we’ve had were just nobody’s creation, I’ll take a second place any night.   

For Brendan Gaughan the runner-up was a Nationwide Series career best. Kyle Busch came home third. He was second fastest in qualifying but an engine change had him also starting in the back. It took him however only 35 green flag laps to take the lead. 

Busch: 

Just went to the top when they were on the bottom, went to the bottom when they were on the top. Just kind of made my way through there, picked them off one at a time. Sometimes two at a time but we made it up there pretty smoothly and pretty much had to pass his car figured we should have won the race but third place I guess is good and as everyone else would probably say it’s a good points day but I’m not worried about points I want wins. 

It was the second race in a row where Busch led the most laps but did not wind up in victory lane. Finishing fourth was Brian Vickers with Joey Logano fifth. Sixth to tenth at the end were Jason Leffler, David Ragan, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards. Eleven to 15: Scott Speed, Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Justin Allgaier and David Gilliland. In the battle for the 2009 Nationwide Series Championship Kyle Bush leads Edwards by 73 pts and sitting third is Leffler minus 173. After leading three times for 21 laps, Bliss won his second career Nationwide Series race and both have come at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway but five years apart, the other one coming in 2004. 

Bliss: 

I don’t know why this track is very aggravating in the day and you get really mad and at night it just changes and becomes a better track. I kept over driving the car into the corner which would make it tight so I had to really concentrate and tell myself to back off a little on entry. I don’t know why I run good here and it’s only two races I won. It’s alright it’s close to home I can be in my own bed. 

With rain cutting the race short by 30 laps and Kyle Busch the quickest, Bliss was more than willing to admit this is one victory he might have stolen. 

Bliss: 

I don’t care, yes I did. From the guy who is winning too much anyways. We had a good enough car to run top three all night. Yes, 18 was the best car but he wins too much and nobody likes him. That’s just funny. 

Not to Kyle Busch. 


Pictures and interview courtesy of Nationwide.  Follow them on Twitter here.

I wanted to do something since it's a rare feat for a non-Cup driver to win on a weekend loaded with the Cup drivers.  Congrats to Bliss.

Calling Out Ed Hinton Once Again

The title of Hinton's column after the Coke 340.5 is "Nice guy Reutimann finally finishes first."

Um, ok.

If someone like Robby Gordon had one, would it be "Bad boy Robby steals win"?  

If it were Jamie McMurray, would it be "Pretty boy Jamie wins 2nd race at Lowes"?

If it were Bill Elliott, would it say something like "Old man Elliott steals victory"?

I digress, but Reutimann being a good guy or perceived as a good guy has nothing to do with why he won the race yesterday.  His team made a call that somoene always does when rain plagues a race and it paid off.  Same with Kurt Busch's so-called win at Loudon last year when he stayed out and the rain didn't stop.  I'd rather someone with the experience of Ed Hinton talk about the steady improvement of MWR as a team and the progression of Reutimann from Trucks to Nationwide to Cup.  If anything, I think this race shows that if Mikey put a good driver in the #55 there's no reason not to think it wouldn't be a top-20 car.  I've been on this for over a year.  I'm not quite sure I believe the Truex to MWR rumors but we'll see.  I figured it was a lock for Truex and Bass Pro to move to Stewart Haas.  

For all the work he's done, I'm surprised Hinton is letting the ESPNification bleed into his writing.  Maybe I'm overreacting.  I don't know.  But I can think of better ways to describe the victory for Reutimann than just saying a nice guy finally finished first.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Pick To Win The 93rd Indianapolis 500

I don’t have a great track record with my Indy pick, mainly because I kept picking with my heart instead of my head.  The head’s prevailing this year though, and it’s time for this driver to step into the spotlight as one of the top drivers on the IRL circuit.  I’m picking Penske Racing driver Ryan Briscoe to win the Indy 500.

It’s Briscoe’s time to win.  He finished 5th two years ago and last year had an incident with Danica Patrick that gave him a lot of negative press… until he went out and won the very next week at Milwaukee.  Briscoe improved drastically from the beginning of 2008 through the end of the year, racking up 3 wins on his way to finishing the year 5th in points.  This year he won the season-opener in St. Petersburg and recorded a solid 4th place finish in the only oval race before Indy at Kansas.

Briscoe has been fast all month at Indy as his top practice speeds were the best pre-qualifying before being edged by teammate Helio Castroneves.  Since then he has been fast too, among the top 5 cars in every session.  I believe Briscoe has the talent, the temperament, and finally the experience to get the job done and win his first Borg-Warner trophy Sunday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jeremy Mayfield Starring In Saving Abel "Drowning (Face Down)" Video

I got this a few weeks ago and subsequently decided whether to post it after the drug test incident.  Yet I find myself coming closer to his position than NASCAR's.  The truth is somewhere in the middle to be sure, but for now enjoy the video that takes a more truthful and powerful tone today than it did when it came out.












Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Winston

Yeah, that's right.  The Winston is coming up Saturday night.

I'm living in the past I guess.  I can't help it.  I grew up as a fan of this race, and the great feel that came around the event.  These last few years, can anyone really look at me and say that feeling is still there?  This used to be an event the drivers loved to be in.  The special paint schemes, the cars that were made just for this race, it was all there.  What happened?  This race just isn't what it once was.  Now we have a fan vote to put drivers in the main event.  Driver and team talent has nothing to do with it.  Kasey Kahne didn't belong in this race last year.  If NASCAR wants to know why things aren't as popular as they used to be, this is one reason why.  The best of the best are not represented.  Back in the mid-90s the top 5 drivers would qualify for the main event.  Rules change over time but this one wasn't and still isn't a positive step.  

After all that, though, I'm going to to be in the stands for this race Saturday night.  I'm praying that it's more exciting than the one last year, when it was just about track position.  Given this car and this tire I don't know if a 10-lap dash lends itself to anything but that.  We shall see.  I'm not asking for this race to top One Hot Night, but I want a race I'm glad I paid money to see.

Come on, NASCAR, make this race great again.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jeremy Mayfield Drug Identified

I'm going to break some news here.  I've found the drug that caused Jeremy Mayfield to fail his drug test.

It was this.

OK, OK, sorry... couldn't resist.

Really, though, it's this.

It's the first sports drink to use the stuff.  Even Wikipedia has it's own page on the product with a subsection called "Controversies" in the article.  I smell conspiracy led by NASCAR's insatiable desire to freeze out competing products.  All Sport joins the list that includes AT&T and Verizon.  Nevermind you can't actually find it in a store.  

Anywho, while Mayfield looks for a new sponsor (aka suspension) J.J. Yeley will deliver the requisite DNQ's and 40th-place finishes.  

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wall Street Journal Takes On NASCAR

Or should I say Nascar... non-sports newspapers and their funny way of not recognizing NASCAR is an acronym and not a type of car.  I like the etching of The King though.

But on to the blogging!

The WSJ takes on the duel problems of Chrysler's bankruptcy and NASCAR's sagging popularity.  My thoughts will be in bold.

There was talk that Nascar might supplant football as the most popular professional TV sport in the U.S... Not anymore. Nascar television viewership fell to an average of 6.83 million viewers last year, off 18% from its peak in 2005 of 8.35 million, according to the Nielsen Co. Nascar ticket sales are down by as much as 20% at some races, with gaping blocks of empty seats at tracks in Atlanta, Fontana, and even the hard-core racing town of Talladega, Ala. The Texas Motor Speedway has taken out 21,000 seats, 13% of its 159,000 seat capacity, to make room for recreational-vehicle parking. Nascar teams and tracks have laid off more than 800 employees in the past year.

After such impressive growth, a correction has to be necessary to bring the numbers in line.  The market for racing needed to contract a bit and at least NASCAR responded by moving California out of the valuable Labor Day spot because no matter how much they tried, the racing sucked and didn't belong.  If you're going to try and make a primetime event at a prestigious track, make sure the track doesn't suck, K thx.  I'd also be willing to bet the campgrounds will be better than ever and build longer loyalty to tracks that do it right.  Plus, for the city the race is in, having more people there for longer periods of time will be an added stimulus to the local businesses.  Gotta run to the grocery store, gotta get gas, etc.

But one thing is certain: The sport has slowed down. Many longtime fans say that's because Nascar has wandered too far from its roots, when the races were run by stock cars -- vehicles assembled from the American-made muscle cars in dealers' showrooms, with add-ons available from any auto-parts store.

Very true and very valid, but growth did get out of control and things haven't been helped by the idiotic leadership of Brian France.  He could really put this sport in the ground and should probably go ahead and buy that NFL team in Los Angeles so he can turn this sport over to someone that actually gives a sh*t.  I'm not opposed to growing the sport, as I think some of the die-hards are, but things haven't gotten past the point of no return.

Some red-meat Nascar fans were mortified in 2007 when Toyta Motor Co. (pronounced Tie-yoda by Mr. Petty and many other Nascar aficionados) entered the sport and quickly emerged as a dominant brand -- winning 10 races last year compared with four for Dodge.

"It was hard seeing Toyota get into it," said Steve Gormley, a 47-year-old telecommunications engineer from Mechanicsville, northeast of Richmond. "Well, good for them, bad for us."

Boy, I really hate seeing this dead horse brought back from the graveyard.  Come on WSJ, you're better than that.  But shame on these fans that still resent a company that employs workers across the country and don't belong to a corrupt union like UAW.  

Mr. Busch was driving a Toyota Camry -- or at least that's what it was called. Nascar, which is a privately controlled enterprise owned by the same family for three generations, irritated legions of fans with new rules last season that standardized the body types of all race cars. Since then, all vehicles in a Nascar race have the same boxy body style, with a futuristic back wing and a road-hugging shelf-like splitter in the front. Mr. Busch's car looked just like the other 42 except for colors, his number and a few details like fake headlamps similar to a real Camry's.

The uniformity was meant to focus competition on the skills of the driver. An unintended result has been cars so similar in speed that fans gripe that they bunch up like taxis circling the airport -- no passing, no thrills. Nascar counters that the competition is even keener now that cars are alike, with narrower margins of victory and about the same number of lead changes as there were 10 years ago.

Well... can't really complain here, but I'm glad to see they're skeptical of NASCAR's lies about keener competition and narrower margins of victory and same number of lead changes.  That's not real racing and most fans see through it.  There should be greater variance between cars but it won't happen with this one and it would turn my stomach to see another new car.  Maybe the new car can be modified in some way with the grill to bring some sense of stock back to the cars.  It's hard to market yourself as 'stock' when your cars are no different than Indy cars of F1 cars. Sometimes an outsider opinion is needed before people start to get the message.

FYI, the article also has a nifty interactive chart to check out.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Kevin Grubb

It's always sad to hear about someone you've seen and know of dying.  Kevin Grubb was 31 years old and was found dead in a motel.

Whatever his circumstances were following his racing career, they're not important anymore.  RIP.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Still Not The Southern 500

The promoters at Darlington decided to bring back the name "Southern 500" this year.  

Sorry.  It's not the same and won't be recognized, at least on this blog, as such.

The last Southern 500 was won in 2003 by Terry Labonte.  It was not the 2004 race in November, won by Jimmie Johnson.  No, this race is simply a continuation of the the spring Darlington race, which of course in recent memory includes the fantastic duel between Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven, which was also the last win for Pontiac.  

This race has become a good one to set up 2 weeks of fun in Charlotte, but alas, is not the Southern 500, Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com, or any combination of those names.