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.
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.
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.