Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Odds & Ends

I want to send out my condolences to my good friend, racing buddy, and fellow veteran Richard over the passing of his wife Judy. Judy was an avid race fans for many years. When it came to calling things the way she saw them, Judy would tell you exactly what she was thinking, whether it was racing, politics, or living. It wasn’t until last year that Judy was diagnosed with brain, bone, and lung cancer and she fought it right up to the end. She had been admitted to the hospital for pneumonia and passed away. I’m going to miss Judy’s straight forward answers, humor, and honesty.
Official Ferrari Team Tested at Daytona
The official Ferrari team tested at Daytona on the 26th & 27th. Factory driver Jamie Melo was expected to be the lead driver in the test. Several of the new cars are expected to compete in the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29, 2012. I don’t know if they’re doing this just because it’s the 50th anniversary and they want the publicity surrounding it or if they’re going to compete as a regular competitor for the next several seasons. It’s my understanding that the Ferraris are being built to Rolex Series specs and won’t be a true Ferrari 458’s. Sort of like what we have with the Cup and Busch Series generic race vehicles only with actual working lights and more of a resemblance to the street version that what we have with the Cup and Busch Series cars. Ferrari won’t be fielding a factory team as such but will campaigned as “privateers”.
3rd Generation Daytona Prototype Cars
From what I’m hearing, the 3rd generation of the DP cars is becoming more generic. What I heard was the front of the DP was to more closely resemble the street versions. The aerodynamic front ends will have more upright fascia, meaning more drag. The rear ends will be generic. Currently there don’t seem to be any renderings of what the car will look like. The one picture of the current Ferrari being tested for Grand Am makes the car look about as wide as it is long. Grand Am is making a big mistake going in this direction rather than moving more towards something like the DTM-style cars. That would make them look more like their street counterparts and less like a generic vehicle, which seems to be what NA$CAR wants to do with all the racing series they sanction.

Murdock Phone Hacking Scandal
I have not heard it mentioned, but the phone hacking scandal could have big implications for NASCAR. Depending on lawsuits and regulations stemming from what occurred, Rupert Murdoch may have to sell off some assets. They could include Speed TV and could impact Fox’s ability to bid on NASCAR’s next contract. It could mean jettisoning the high priced booth bozos. And if Murdock takes a big enough hit financially from these lawsuits, you can forget about Focks renewing their part of the TV contract come 2014. It’s quite possible Focks & Speed TV could break their contract with NA$CAR.
Terry Checks In
Our man in the stands out West, Terry, checked in on the Kentucky fiasco and the JGR engine deal with this:
Only saw the last half of Kentucky and didn't find it much different than most 1 1/2 tracks. Feel sorry for the people who got screwed by the mess they had. Listening to NASCAR radio last week they really pissed off a lot of people. One other thing this summer is how Gibbs seem to get away with things, once again two sets of rules.
IndyCar Engines
The Leaders Circle in IndyCar has Chevrolet aligned with Penske. Honda is aligned with Ganassi's four cars and AJ Foyt. Expect an announcement soon on more Honda teams. Speculation is that Andretti Autosports, Panther, and possibly Sarah Fisher Racing will be in the Chevy camp. There is talk the KV (Lotus) is leaning towards Honda. Judd, which was to be badged as Lotus, may now just be Judd, if KV does lean to Honda.

IndyCar has limited the annual lease for engines to $690,000, actually far less than the current costs ($1.5 million a year). The manufacturers will be limited top supplying no more than 10 teams/cars.
Honda is furthest along, while Chevy is estimated to be 45 days behind, and Judd another 45 days behind Chevy. But all are expected to be ready for next year.
Women’s Soccer Vs NA$CAR Ratings
USA Today reported that the USA-Japan final drew 7.4% of U.S. households. NASCAR had a 2.9 rating (2.2 million), which was up 12% from last year’s comparable coverage. TNT’s NA$CAR ratings will finish up over last year, given its rating were already up 7% heading into its final race.
Now compare that to Focks which was down or just barely equal to its 2010 numbers. It speaks volumes about the poor coverage and commentary provided by Focks. Too bad Focks’ Hill does not wake up and drop Jabber Jaws, rather than putting him on more often.
Have at it…Unless You’re Mr Happy
Most folks have probably heard the comments made recently by Mr Happy regarding Mafia Mike telling him to stay away from Shrubbery on the track. You have to wonder exactly why Mafia Mike did this. Did Shrubbery’s manufacturer get upset that Mr Happy might keep Shrubbery from formally winning the Chase for the Chumps? Or maybe the team owner overheard something said in jest in the garage? If NA$CAR is going to “have at it”, then it needs to apply to everyone and not just certain drivers. Otherwise, get rid of it and go back to having a bunch of light weights on the track.

Federal Case Dropped
Faux King Brian has dropped his Federal case against his ex wife regarding her taping their phone conversations. My guess is his lawyers finally figured out that her taping their conversations was legal under NC law. As to the other lawsuit, I guess neither team of lawyers has figured out that since the divorce doesn’t involve an undercover officer, a police informant, or a sexually assaulted minor that the files aren’t supposed to be sealed. But that’s for another day in court.
Another NA$CAR Safety Fallacy
Over the last decade, Cup drivers have suggested time and again that some sort of device be put in the Cup cars to let them know when a caution is brought out and Mafia Mike and company have always laid out some lame excuse as to why it couldn’t be done. One of their favorites being about the technology not existing. Well, the technology does exist and has existed for a while. IndyCar has had a visible warning device in their cars, installed in the steering wheel itself, which shows visible yellow lights which flash and a red light installed on the back of the cars that flash which warns all of the drivers that there is indeed a caution in addition to the yellow flags, flashing yellow lights around the oval tracks, flashing lights on the pace car, and audible transmissions on the team radios that there is indeed a caution. So how hard would it to be to incorporate this same existing technology into all NA$CAR race vehicles? After all, if they can do it in IndyCar they can easily do it in NA$CAR and NA$CAR isn’t afraid to take somebody else’s idea and use it like they have with the generic race cars and play-off system. NA$CAR’s conjoined twin hasn’t has any problems with using the SAFER walls which were developed by IndyCar or making full-face race helmets and HANS devices which IndyCar made mandatory way before NA$CAR even considered it. So why don’t they do it if driver safety is supposedly of such a high concern to them?
Lack of Hype for Indy Race
Leading up to this year’s Cup race at Indy, there hasn’t been a lot of hype regarding the race. Ever since the Badyear tire fiasco, attendance has dropped by 50+% . But of course, the problem with attendance won’t be the poor performance of the generic race vehicle or the poor leadership of NA$CAR. It will be the economy or possibly even the current budget entanglement going on in DC.
Saving Money
If you’re active duty, reserve, or former military and have Farmer’s Insurance for your vehicles, be sure to show them your military ID or a copy of your DD-214. This could save you some money every month on your insurance. As tight as things are, we all need every penny we can lay our hands on and if you can save yourself an extra $50-$60 a month on auto insurance, it’s well worth taking the time.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More Kentucky Opinions

I asked fans what they thought of the race at Kentucky and here are their opinions:
Race Mama had this to say:
ok this is to you 2 from me a race fan....

I think what is funny is the horrible traffic issue seems to have made many (not all) forget about commenting on the absolute HORRIBLE excuse of a race....

that track SUCKS too flat for stock cars.....
I am glad Jimmy didn't talk me into going there.

Instead of a gazillion articles about traffic there should have been a gazillion about the lack of racing!

K just my .02 worth

Mary, Chip’s mom, wrote this:
It was another stinkeroo aero/clean-air race that was determined by set-ups. Most of the driving skill is taken out of this kind of race except for them trying to dodge each other during the restarts. The 1.5 mile tracks are good for one thing. You can get other stuff done around the house because if you walk away from the television you won't miss much.
Unkle Phil said:
I was glad to see Kyle win; there is no doubt that Kyle has it in his ass, or he can feel what the car needs, unlike Jr. Joey Logano was a snoozer.
Richard H. replied:
Actually it wasn't awful. The bumps made it impossible for the drivers to just cruise around. The usual drivers, Kyle, Jeff, Jimmy, Carl, went to the front. Good race by Root too.
This is from Pat G.:
A snoozer....really, I fell asleep with 30 to go.....I read who one the next day

Curmudgeon-in-Chief Bill sent this:
What race? I gave up on moto-wrasslin' when they began to manipulate the outcomes.
I suspect that a good close inspection of schrubs car by one of the other teams would reveal far more than any numbcar inspection ever will. Just my thoughts.
Tom B. replied:
You know to be honest, my interest has waned so much, never even thought of watching.
Bill the Mechanic wrote:
Another cookie cutter snoozer?
Truth is I didn't watch much of it. Saw a bit at lap 20, till the competition caution break, went to dinner, then watched some at the middle. Towards the end I kept going back & forth between the race and the drags. When it looked like Kryle was going to win I didn't go back.
One thing I did notice though. Finally, they weren't ashamed to show a wide shot of the (full) grandstands for the first time this year.
With all the reported traffic woes, I'll bet they don't get anywhere near a capacity crowd from now on.
Oh, and Bruton should be ashamed of himself, expecting the state to upgrade the roads for his benefit. He created the problem, let him pay to fix it!
Isn't Kentucky having money problems like most every other state?
Geoff has this to say:
Typical mile and a half snoozer, track position, clean air, two green flag pit stops, and the leader has a 7-9 second lead and the old debris caution, BIG SHOCKER.
Drivers take your wave around.
A couple laps of green, oops, a car wiggled in the corner, might be some oil, better check the track for "safety sake".
Drivers take your wave around.
Whoever invented that new clear and dustless oil dry, is a genius.
If you add 30-40 thousand extra seats to a place, you would think the State and Local Dept for building and zoning would verify that you have parking for the extra seats before they OK it.
Not adding volunteer people or staff to check coolers, is a cheap lame ass excuse. But they "LOVE" the fans.
I also think all the Official Statements left out a line at the end of them.
Ya'll come back now, Ya hear.
Richard, one of our Canadian race fans, sent this:
watched it on & off. If your man is leading, the race has to be good, so that would make me rather bias.
I loved the Fri race when Brad K 'toyed' with Harvick. Of course Brad won & Kevin was notably pissed.
Fast fwd to Sat. Brad led for a lot of laps but just couldn't get going during the restarts over the last few laps. Would have been real interesting if he could have been side by side with Kyle at the end. Interesting that they all complained about the rough track, but if one got in the lead, he was hard to catch. So, you had periods that one car was pulling away which some would conclude was not good racing. My view....overall, not a bad race.
Sounds like there was a real problem with traffic. Seems like 20,000 ticket holders never got to the track. Problem with roadways and a severe lack of parking space. Both the track & NA$CAR are all over the media apologizing and promising better for next year. They need to give all those who couldn't get to the track tix for the next cup race.
Glenn had this to say:
One thing I found interesting…..and Kyle Petty made mention of it.
When Kyle Busch would pit……..his crew chief would say go, go , go…….all the way to the 42.
It seemed that the Gibbs cars new exactly where the “speed traps” were on pit road.
I would think that would provide a heck of an advantage if “everyone” wasn’t privy to the same information…….wouldn’t you?
Jules the Engine Guy added this:
Obviously there were fans that cared and were treated very badly.
The track staff knowing full well that there were people either walking or waiting in the hot sun for several hours did the Humanitarian thing by tripling the cost of the already over priced bottle of water to $10.
I don't following horse racing or visit the dog track because I feel its cruel so why would continue to follow NASCAR?
Chris, a student at UNCC added this:
If Bruton and Marcus had taken a page from a successful track opening instead of their own history or that of the later owners of the previously successful tracks, they'd have put as much into KY Speedway as Curtis Turner put into Charlotte Motor Speedway or Roger Penske did into California Speedway. Instead of expecting taxpayers to pay in order to play; Roger negotiated to secure public transportation (light rail) to come to the track even before the first event. When one aspect of the first year event went wrong, Roger paid to fix the problem. Then again, the Captain actually was on site to supervise the event he put together. Is it any wonder Bruton and Marcus are making such unprofessional faux-pas when they don't follow common supervision practices? Is there a track left in the SMI portfolio that hasn't had some tainted action take place since Marcus became COO of SMI?
This is from a person I’ll call Anonymous to protect his identity:
Good article, Mikie! One thing, though… as one of those state employees, I can tell you that IMO (as well as many of my coworkers) those unpaid furloughs were the Governor’s retaliation for not getting his “expanded gambling” bill passed through the legislature. Funny how his ‘shortfalls’ turned into a big budget surplus, and that no additional furloughs are being called for this year (which just happens to be an election year).
Dave From Texas Had This to Say:
I read the articles in the Kentucky and Cincinnati newspapers - what a mess!!
If I am reading them correctly, no food, drinks or coolers allowed in the speedway? The gates didn't open until 2:00 pm? Water was $4.00 a bottle? That alone would make lots of people never show up again.
Lots of comments were posted to the effect of this is what happened when the Busch race sold out many years ago - big traffic mess. So they already knew what was going to happen. People were saying that no one bothered to scan at least half of the tickets - they just waved people in without checking *anything*!! So no wonder the GM says he doesn't know how many people didn't get in! He also said, in a round about way, that there will be no refunds. Since they have no way to prove if you went in (or what time) that's going to be a big mess to sort out too.
And virtually no porta-potties outside? And no trash cans? Guess they wanted to cut costs as much as they could - just like TMS is doing now.
Also, I wonder how they all got *out*? Must have been an even bigger mess!
Question for you: Any chance the reason they didn't scan most of the tickets is because the place was over sold? They sold more tickets than the place would hold so the stands would be full no matter what? Just a thought.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sponsors, Media, & Real Stock Car Racing

Yet Another Sponsor Heading for the Door
Sponsors seem to be heading for the door more and more often the last couple of years. It was recently announced that Red Bull was leaving as a team owner with no plans towards sponsorship of another team. And now Crown Royal is heading out the door.
Let’s go back to when Crown Royal first showed up. Roush Racing had lined them up as a sponsor for the 2004 season. But due to a major case of greed, Crown Royal was snagged by NA$CAR and its incestuous twin I$C as the official liquor of their tracks and milked for sponsorship money for a full season before being allowed to continue on as a Roush sponsor. They had the reigning Cup champion as their spokesman in the #97 car in 2005 but got some bad publicity (guilt by association) from the Phoenix reckless driving incident and the residual dislike of the 2004 champion from his incident with Jimmy Spencer in which Spencer was forced to sit out for a week. The champ was released early by Roush, the car renumbered to the #26, and Jamie Mac took over the sponsorship. McMurray’s ride at Roush was pretty lackluster overall which didn’t do much for Crown Royal. McMurray left for DEI after the forced downsizing by NA$CAR and the sponsorship was moved to the #17 car, who had a previous sponsorship of another alcohol company. Matt Kenseth hasn’t exactly had a lot of shining moments since the Crown Royal sponsorship was put on his car. This is due in part to the network bias and coverage of the Japanese automaker and their drivers by Focks rather than covering all the cars and drivers. Plus it didn’t help that one of the commentators during the first part of the season has a problem with Ford and that he is “owned” by the Japanese automaker and is their head cheerleader. So even if Kenseth did good, his performance tended to be ignored by the commentators from Focks.
Another part of the problem is that NA$CAR’s blue collar fans, who made up the bulk of the fan base, were primarily beer drinkers so Crown Royal didn’t get the Return on Investment (ROI) they had hoped for. Crown Royal isn’t exactly allowed to be carried into the track whereas beer is. Plus the size of the Grand Am crowd, even though they might be more prone to drink Crown Royal, doesn’t make up for the loss of ROI on the Cup side of things. So farewell Crown Royal. Maybe you can find a sport which will give you the ROI you need and not be forced into various side deals by the sanctioning body of that sport.
Will the Queen of Hype Be Without a Sponsor?
Patrick's good run came on the same day as her sponsor announced the company had been bought by a group of private equity firms for a reported US $2.25 billion.
While Patrick did get pushed around the track well until her teammate pushed her, the future has just gotten murky. Despite what’s being said publicly by the former owner, investors generally do not spend money on racing. There are not many teams that want her in IndyCar. The Andretti gig was related to the money she brought, first with Motorola, next with Grope-Daddy. Her hope is that she has not worn out her NA$CAR welcome, so she can maybe get something put together there. However, if the new owners move in a different direction with their advertising campaign and marketing money, this could very well leave the Queen of Hype (QoH), JR Motorsports, and Slick Rick without a major sponsor. Which leads to the question of will any race team actually hire her without a major sponsor? There have been great drivers with 100 times the driving abilities and skills of the QoH who couldn’t find a ride because of the lack of a major sponsor. So will anyone hire her without a sponsor? We’ll have to see what unfolds with the sale of Grope Daddy.
Real Professional Stock Car Racing Returning to America
It was announced that the Australian V-8 Supercar Series will be racing at the Circuit of the America’s in Austin Texas in a 5 year deal. For folks who enjoy seeing stock cars racing and not just generic race vehicles, here’s a chance to actually see cars which resemble their street counterparts racing each other. While the NA$CAR TV audience has been shrinking over the last several years, the V-8 Supercar Series audience has been growing. This is the same series where Marcos Ambrose got his start and won back to back championships bringing Ford back to life in competition down under. And you’ll even recognize some of the sponsors. Jack Daniels and Jim Beam are just two that NA$CAR fans are familiar with that sponsor Aussie V-8 Supercar teams.
Just How Big is the Fan Base?
Based on some info from one of my sources, the fan base isn’t anywhere near the highly touted 75 million fans Faux King Brian likes to go on about. The fan base is closer to 7 million fans. This would go a long ways towards explaining why the normal TV ratings don’t get much above 1.5 million viewers during the majority of the season and why so many sponsors have cut back or left completely. This would also explain why so few folks go to the Hall of Fantasies in Charlotte.
How Desperate is Daytona International Speedway?
This is off of the speedway web site:
Girl Scout Summer Slumber Party

July 30, 2011
Calling all Girl Scouts! Enjoy a fun slumber party inside the DAYTONA 500 Club at the “World Center of Racing,” Daytona International Speedway.
Since when are the Girl Scouts interested in stock car racing? This has got to be a joke. If it's really true then they really are desperate!!
And BTW, the Boy and Girl Scouts of Volusia County receive donations from the NA$CAR Foundation as do troops near Michigan Speedway. Not to the national headquarters where the money can be even distributed but only to these local troops.
Wasn’t it Tony Stewart who blocked Regan Smith at Talladega and forced Smith to go below the yellow line to keep from wrecking and costing Smith the win?
The is No Truth in Pravda and There’s No News in Izvestiya

This is an old saying from the Cold War which reflected the view of the average Soviet citizen. Pravda is the Russian word for truth. Izvestiya is the word for news. Pravda and Izvestiya were also the newspapers approved and run by the Communist party and were mandatory for businesses, factories, and the military. Both newspapers were used to announce official policy and policy changes. And back then, the Soviet Union was pretty much a dictatorship between a front man or actual Premier, the KGB, who controlled some leaders from behind the scenes, and the Army being the “swing vote” as it were should either the Premiere or KGB become too strong.

Now, let’s look at the NA$CAR controlled media. NA$CAR is a dictatorship controlled by one man. The “official” NA$CAR media only reports what NA$CAR allows them to report, just like Pravda and Izvestiya. The NA$CAR controlled media announces official policies and policy changes, just like Pravda and Izvestiya. And while there’s some truth in the form of fluff pieces and standardized interviews (which both Pravda and Izvestiya had for factory supervisors who reached 5 Year Program quotas), there’s more smoke and mirrors and propaganda than factual information. Some folks will take offense to this, as is their right, but folks who can think for themselves will do a little research and find the comparison quite valid.
Control of the media covering NA$CAR is nothing new. It started when Big Bill formed NA$CAR according to the late Jack Flowers. Big Bill would wine and dine members of the press in order to get positive publicity and print and for those who didn’t go along with it, they were blackballed. The same control of the media has gone on through succeeding generations of the France family to include not just NA$CAR but also court proceedings regarding other members of the France family. You won’t find much in the way of Amy France, Brian’s cousin, and her violating the custody & visitation agreement of her child by the child’s father. The most recent examples of the Frances trying to control the media regarding the courts is with the lawsuit in Charlotte of Megan France by her former husband and the heavy hand of NA$CAR censoring the Jeremy Mayfield interview by Steve Byrnes on Speed TV several months back.
Then we have the continuing saga of the Double Secret Probation Fines that have been slapped on folks like Hamlin, Newman, and others which eventually see the light of day. Organizations that have to use secrecy, threats, and intimidation in order to promote a positive image in itself isn’t very positive. And even with the “happy happy joy joy” message the controlled media tries to send, the fans who can think for themselves and have longer than a 5 minute attention span know that something is very wrong with the sanctioning body and their messengers.