Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Michael Schumacher Returning To F1*

Michael Schumacher is coming back to F1, but with a catch... he's taking Felipe Massa's seat while Massa is injured.

This is bigger than Lance Armstrong returning to the Tour de France. I may have to watch the next F1 race to see how he does. This is good for F1 after their struggles w/ putting together a deal to keep things intact for 2010.

News Pt. 2

Let the party continue!

-- I'm pretty excited to see the Ford Mustang coming to NASCAR, even if it is just a nameplate. The Nationwide COT will be a better car than the Sprint Cup COT and you can take that to the bank.

-- Speaking of manufacturers, BMW is pulling out of Formula 1 at the end of this year. Can I be the first to speculate it's move to NASCAR?

-- Scott Lagasse Jr. will be out of the CJM Nationwide car after this week's race in Iowa. Replacing him will be Denny Hamlin for a few races, then possibly Kelly Bires. I guess Gibbs (which has an affiliation w/ CJM) wants to get Matt DiBenedetto a ride for 2010.

-- Ron Hornaday can't lose. Hornaday's racked up an impressive four consecutive wins in the Camping World Truck Series, and has raced out to a points lead that will be difficult to catch. People talk about Mark Martin and his year, but what Hornaday's doing is nearly as impressive.

-- Finally, a hearty Get Well Soon to Felipe Massa.


I Take A Break, News Breaks Out

I've been on hiatus the second half of this month, hey we all deserve it, right? The time away from worrying about writing has actually been good. I've been active on Twitter with NASCAR comments, you can follow me if you can stand everything else I tweet about.

-- The big news today was the expected move of Crown Royal from the Roush #26 team to the #17 with Matt Kenseth for 18 races. I wonder if the rest of the Kenseth sponsors - USG, Carhartt, R+L to name the major ones will be back. Between them they were the primary sponsor for around 10-12 races, so the Roush sponsorship search is far from done.

-- Jamie McMurray is looking likely to bolt from Roush and avoid the move to Yates by reuniting with Chip Ganassi and EGR (or as I've trademarked them, GanassEI) in the #1. That's probably the best move for him in all honesty. He never fit in with the Roush team completely and sometimes that just happens. Consider this: his 2004 season with Ganassi saw McMurray record 23 top 10 finishes. His 4 seasons with Roush? A total of 30. (h/t to my friend Hester)

-- One more Roush item: Scene Daily interviewed Roush at ORP and we got a glimpse into his 2010 Nationwide plans. The shocker? At this point, Erik Darnell is nowhere to be found. Roush plans full-time teams for Colin Braun, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Carl Edwards, and... Paul Menard?

-- Red Bull Racing has given no intention of their plans and Brian Vickers is freaking out. Is Vickers really going to be allowed to walk? It looks possible since they're still sitting on their hands. Perhaps Hendrick wants to stick it to BV if Red Bull kisses the ring and moves from Toyota to Chevy.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Reviewing My 2009 Predictions At The Halfway Point

This should be fun.

Sprint Cup

Champion - Carl Edwards
OK, OK, so Carl's not leading the points. Oh, he hasn't won this year either... well, at least he's run good... well, good enough, at least right now. I really thought the #99 team was loaded this year but they fell behind and are now catching up. A bad night at Chicagoland notwithstanding, they've got the cars to contend for wins now. Problem is, they'll need to win 2 or 3 to get in contention after the Chase cutoff in Richmond. I think he could win at Michigan, Bristol, or Atlanta. I'm still holding out hope, but Mark Martin winning the title wouldn't be a bad outcome either.

ROTY - Joey Logano
Young Joey Logano has continued to impress, winning at Loudon and running better than most imagined he would. The other ROTY contender, Scott Speed, has really disappointed those expecting a battle for the award. Speed took to ARCA and Truck racing fast, but is really experiencing a learning curve at this level.

Nationwide

Champion - Kyle Busch
Yeah, this one's not gonna be close unless Carl goes on a run like he did last year. Even then Bowyer was a smart enough driver to keep a commanding lead. This is Kyle Busch, though, so smart points racing won't come into play.

ROTY - Michael Annett
I didn't forsee this ROTY battle to be so loaded, and my Annett pick is looking rather lowly right now. That's not a dis to him, it just shows how packed the Nationwide ROTY class is and the NASCAR rules that allow it to be that way. Seriously, Brendan Gaughan and Michael McDowell are ROTY material? They've both competed full-time in Sprint Cup. Take them out and Annett is running 3rd and close to Scott Lagasse Jr. Don't count Erik Darnell out either. In 15 races he can accrue a lot of points because the trophy isn't a season-long thing, it's top finishes. If Darnell keeps recording top 5 and top 10 finishes he could upset everyone. At this point though, I think Allgaier's the favorite.

Trucks

Champion - Mike Skinner
Skinner is currently 3rd in the standings and has a win. Not bad. As everyone knows, these Truck Series championships always go down to the wire and it should be no different this year. The sight of Skinner and Randy Moss spraying champagne in Homestead should be enough for anyone to cheer for him to win the title.

ROTY - Tayler Malsam
Malsam has run pretty well this year and has benefited from being teamed with the veteran Skinner. He leads Johnny Sauter, who, thanks these weird ROTY rules, is running for the award. If Malsam holds him off it'll be all that more impressive. Going into Kentucky he leads by 1 point.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jimmie Johnson's Self-Help DVD

The folks at Funny Or Die sent me a link to a new video with Jimmie Johnson. I must say, it's hysterical. Check it out:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Martin Truex Jr. Brings Championship Experience To MWR

I think a lot of fans and media have forgotten that Martin Truex Jr. is a 2-time Nationwide (Busch) Series Champion. Truex racked up wins, top 5's, and points racing experience while driving for DEI in that series. Michael Waltrip and David Reutimann don't have that. Reutimann is gaining it this year for sure, but adding Truex is a major score. I like it a lot.

As for EGR, is Aric Almirola really the best option to put in the #1? Juan Pablo can't compete with EGR as a one-car operation. A quick split of EGR back to DEI and Ganassi wouldn't be a surprise. Ganassi has to be eyeballing Toyota. Or, he could just be waiting for Honda to make a move to Cup when their deal in the IRL is over. Heck, EGR could end up folding into the RCR tent if they can't re-sign their sponsors and cut Casey Mears loose.

Finally, Mikey will be done as a full-time driver after this year. Praise the lord!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

BREAKING: Mayfield Wins Injunction

Scene Daily with the details.

Midweek Linkage

- NBC Universal was nice enough to send me some info on a CNBC special set to air July 9th at 9:00 PM, titled "Inside Track: Refueling the Business of NASCAR" with host Darren Rovell. Here are some web extras to whet your appetite and watch the preview below.



- The Jeremy Mayfield suit began today, with NASCAR promptly reversing itself and now saying that Mayfield tested positive for methanphetamines after not revealing the result and allowing ESPN to carry a 'source' claiming it was meth.

- The 25 people named finalists for the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame are being released this week with Cale Yarbrough and Darrell Waltrip named yesterday, and Glen Wood and Richard Childress named today. Thursday, the full list will be made available.

- Double-file restarts are slated to begin in the Nationwide Series this Friday night at Daytona. The complexion of restrictor plate racing is about to change again with this rule.