Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Sunday, December 25, 2011

What Does NASCAR Get For $15,231,323.00?‏

By John "Dawg" Chapman

What does NASCAR get for 15 million, 231 thousand, 323 dollars?
Not much as it turns out. That's how much prize money the Start & Park
teams took home in 2011 for showing up so that the starting formation
would look the same on TV for the parade lap.

I've heard it said that a part of the TV deal, was that NASCAR would
start 43 cars. I doubt this is accurate, but for some reason NASCAR
seems willing to reward the teams that show up, with no intention
of adding anything to the show.

My question is, do you think NASCAR's getting their money's worth?
Remember we're talking $15 million, 231 thousand, & change. What's
the difference if 43 cars start, & we're down to 37, or so, after 30
laps. Or if only that number started the race?

I've heard all the excuses for allowing this to go on.

First thing people throw out is that these teams are going the S & P
route to keep their teams together, until they can come up with the
money to race. Fair enough, I can understand that, but at what point do
they have to say it's not working? Over the last three seasons, Phoenix
Racing, Phil Parsons, have started 88 races, not counting the ones they
were unable to qualify for, & been running at the end in 5 of them.

Over this same stretch Joe Nemechek (a driver who's skill I admire)
has started 102 races, been running at the end in 7, 5 of them in '09.
Joe was the most successful S & P owner this season. Qualifying for all
36 races, plus running Kevin Conway in 3 more. Joe was able to finish
just one race out of the 36. In these 3 races, Kevin ran a total of 4,
count 'em 4 laps, while winning $234,238. or an average of $58,559.5 per lap.
It would have been $78,079 if he hadn't gotten a little crazy, & run that second lap.
Good work if you can get it.

Another excuse I've heard is that these teams provide employment
in a tough economic environment. OK, things are tough all over. Suppose
that people were hired to build roads that no one was ever going to drive on.
That would provide employment also, but would you consider it money well spent?

I do have to kind of admire Joe Ruttman for showing up at The Rock
in '04 without a pit crew in James Finch's car. I mean at least he was
honest about it. Why would he need a crew? He was allowed to start.
Ka Ching, then was parked by NASCAR on the first lap. Mission

As I said I can understand the strategy, of hanging in, while trying
to put things in place to be able to compete. I just have to wonder,
at what point does it become a business plan?

Both Front Row Racing, & Tommy Baldwin have used the S & P
at times due to economic necessity, but are now racing full time.
More power to them, the only problem is that due to funding, &
the mega-teams. Both programs are mired mostly in the 30's.
Dave Blaney was in line for a good finish at Daytona, until
he was wrecked by Kurt Busch. He steered clear of Kurt at
Talladega, & was able to pull off a third. Got interviewed on
TV afterward. Had to have been a real boost for the team,
as well as Golden Corral, whose Kids Eat Free, promotion
kicked in.

Front Row has both of their cars, the 34, & 38 locked in for the
first 5 races on the new season.

Tommy Baldwin also has the 36 locked in, & is trying to get
the 35 up to speed. I do find Geoffrey Bodine a curious choice
but sounds like he's bringing a little money, & for these teams
money not only talks, it screams.

Kevin Buckler's TRG Racing has come up short, finishing
the season 36th in owners points. Any time teams that really
show up to race, fall out of the top 35, as the 71 did. They
are then subject to being out qualified by the S & P cars.
Thus making it likely that they stay mired below the magic
35th place. Making it that much harder to come up with even
a one race sponsor, much less landing a full season deal.

I'm not meaning to imply that the cars that come to race are in any
better than the S & P teams, quality wise. In fact Joe Nemechek, if he
were to get a little backing, could easily be a solid mid 20's place car.
He regularly qualified well, up among cars with much better backing.
He didn't get the nick name Front Row Joe, for nothing.

For the 71 team next season, finishing 46th shouldn't really be a problem
because of 4 qualified teams going away. At least 2, the 33, & 6, probably
will keep their points & run Daytona. The 33, probably with Austin Dillon,
& the 6, maybe with Ricky Stenhouse. That would leave the slots from the
2 Red Bull cars. So the 71 & 7 should move up based on their finishes.
But this being NA$CAR, & NA$CAR being all about $$$. These spots will
go to the highest bidder, rather than to the next in line. Kevin & Robby
could well end up with them, but they're going to have to pay.

With the shrinkage next year, there will be more opportunities for S & P
teams. Cars are available at bargain rates. Plenty of drivers, with Cup experience,
& skills to get them in the field, & who can blame them?

That begs the question, how many S & P teams are too many?
Next year, instead of 6, we could see 9 or 10.

Here's what I'd really like to see happen. NASCAR could cut the field to 40,
& the 3 less cars would never be missed. Then make the same payout that they
had when the field was at 43. The last thing I'm trying to do is to allow
NASCAR, or Bruton to put more money in their pockets.

In a season when we've lost 4 quality cars, do we really need 4 more field
fillers running around, even if they could get them all to race?
As the field gets weaker, the top 35 rule makes less, & less sense.
The timing is perfect to dump this turkey.

If another of the cuts were to be the past champions provisional,
well I could live with that too.

For an average race this should give them around $200K to work with.
Graduate the money to raise the purse on the bottom third, to help the
teams that need help the most.

Even better would be a pay structure with a straight graduation from
1st, to last, but I'm we'll probably never see that.

For example, at Talladega, Michael Waltrip finished 9th. His payout was
$83,500. Carl finished 11th, his was $128.866. Some of this pay structure
is a holdover from the days when NASCAR promoted 60-70 races a year, & was to induce the top cars to show up. How long ago did that ship sail?

To make sure the money goes where it does the most good, ANY car that falls
out before half way, without a verifiable reason would have their payout cut
by half. In other words, it would no longer be cost effective to S & P.

I want to see the payouts raised, I just hate to see someone like Kevin
Conway who in 3 races, ran 4 laps total, & in each, collected within
500. of what someone got for running the entire race. That's just wrong.
In a perfect world, I'd love to see all cars start that be capable of

Racing is not a perfect world. Never was, never will be. I'd just like see
NASCAR help the teams that are really trying & stop subsidizing the ones
that just show up to take the money & run. Run for home that is.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Random Ramblings

By John "Dawg" Chapman

Overall I think this season ranks as one of the more interesting in recent

Week to week, the actual racing wasn't always spectacular, but the variety
of winners was quite refreshing.

Starting with Daytona, just like last year, we were treated to another
"feel good" surprise winner. While most everyone else was focusing on
Trevor Bayne. I must confess, I was focusing on the Wood Brothers.
This is a team that I greatly admire, for a variety of reasons.
Their history, the fact that they haven't resorted to starting, &
parking, & they haven't given up. What's not to like? The same goes for
Trevor Bayne. I've said that the racing wasn't always exciting, & that goes
in spades for the plate tracks, Daytona included.

If not for a rule infraction, David Ragan probably would have been the
winner. It was like Trevor just ran out of anyone to push, & sort of had
the win thrust upon him. David's ill advised move, is right up there with
Marcos Ambrose's fuel conservation move at Infineon. If David hadn't
changed lanes early & had won. He & UPS would have both basked in
the glow of a big win. He'd probably still have UPS, his ride, & a lot of
hardworking people at Roush, would still have their jobs. Funny how
things work out.

From The Department Of Meaningless Statistics
(I think modeled after Monty Pythons Department of Silly Walks.)

After every plate race, the talking heads are quick to point out how many
lead changes there were. This is usually followed up with articles from
outlets with a vested interest. Such as, & NASCAR's TV partners.
All this really tells us is with this tango style racing, anyone can be pushed
to the lead. That is, if they're not scared to be up front. Come on guys, give us
a little credit here. We're not as gullible as you think we are. If you're going to tout something, make sure it has some relevance.

Thinking of rather meaningless things, brings my next topic to mind.

Andy Lally wins Rookie of the Year!

Last years winner was Kevin Conway. No slight on Andy intended.
He's a strong driver with a great resume in sports cars. Kevin managed
to log laps, & bring his cars home in one piece, though usually 4-5 laps down.
I do have one question. Who'd they beat out to win?
Thirty seven year old Dale Junior has a girlfriend & it's considered news.
I don't know about you, but I find this just a tad on the strange side.

Way to go, Furniture Row.

I really don't care what NASCAR says, or how much they hype it.
The Daytona 500 will never be the biggest race, as far as I'm concerned.
it will always be the Southern 500. This is the granddaddy of them all.
At the track too tough to die. Despite NASCAR's best efforts to kill it.
They took it's date. They took it's race, (at least they got the name back.)
This track is about as far from Cookie Cutter, as you can get.
This was my feel good story of the year. Well done guys.
We had a number of races decided on fuel mileage. Put me down as one
of the fans who think these fuel mileage races SUCK! NASCAR, (& they're
not the only ones) have been known to resort to a caution when they feel
that a race needs help. I'd dearly love to see them be honest,& up front about it.
Why not just throw a competition caution with 25 laps to go if it looks like fuel is going to be an issue.

Make it a timed stop. Give them 25 seconds, for final adjustments, fuel,
& tires. Then line them back up in the order they were running. Anyone
exceeding the time limit would go tailback. This would take out the fuel
& tire strategy. Then the race could be decided the way all races ought to
be decided. They could just race, & may the best car, & driver win. Sure
it's contrived, but with phantom debris cautions, the Chase, & the Top 35 Rule.
We're pretty much conditioned to contrived by now.

For the second year, we had a driver, out with a mysterious medical
condition. Last year Brian Vickers, this year Trevor Bayne.
Thankfully, both were resolved satisfactorily.
Speaking of Brian Vickers, Usually when a driver knows in advance that
he's losing his ride. The remaining time becomes an audition.
Brian appeared to have been auditioning for a ride in a demolition derby.

I expect that the Busch Brats, have been at this sibling rivalry for a very
long time. This season they seemed to be in a "can you top this"
competition. Back in the day, when the "Battling Bodines” were going at it.
They kept it in the family. If the Busch Brats were on that program, I think
the TV ratings would go up enough that sponsors would be coming out of the
woodwork, everyone would still have rides, & jobs. Instead they took their
frustrations out on everyone around them. How'd that work out guys?
Personally, I think Sprout won, but Baby Face is out of his ride. By mutual
agreement, he hastens to add, go figure.

One thing that struck me is that Dr. Jerry is a much more tolerant person
than I am. Was it just me, or did anyone else sense just the slightest note
of insincerity in Richard's apology? As a watch collector, I did admire his
attention to detail.

Note to NASCAR collectors, items from teams the Busch Brats have
been fired from could make an interesting collection. For as talented as
they are, they sure get around. Baby Face's Shell 22 stuff is probably on
super close out. Your chance for a good buy, from the good bye.

I seem to remember a song lyric, about "One being the loneliest number." If
Earnhardt- Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (what a mouthful, somebody's
not pulling their weight in that outfit) doesn't get their act together. They & Jamie
might find out how lonely it really is. They've made some changes, I just hope
they're enough. Next year could be very important for them.
I really admire the teams on limited budgets that show each week, to
actually race. Usually for not much more prize money than the S & P
teams take home for their 20 laps or so. I'd love to see these teams form
some kind of alliance along the lines of the old RAD, (Richard Childress,
Andy Petree, & Dale Earnhardt.) To share information, test results, etc.
This would allow all of them to do more with less. The big drawback to
anything like this actually happening, is the top 35 rule. As long as this is in
place they'd have a tough time working together. With such an alliance in
place, it should give them a better shot to out qualifying the S & P teams.

Junior wins most popular driver award. The Sun came up in the east,
this morning. Neither was much of a surprise.

Well, the Crew Chief Silly Season chips have mostly all fallen.
Still hearing rumbles about Zippy. Seems a little late for this to happen,
but as we saw with Darien Grubb, anything's possible. Be interesting to see how things shake out for all the new combinations.
As of this writing, the hot rumor is that Baby Face maybe picked up by
RPM. Haven't read too much about this from the King himself.
After what he's been through with his last partner, I'd hate to see
anyone thrust on him that he doesn't want. Richard's so straight laced
that he didn't even run the Busch Beer contingency sticker on his car,
& was thus ineligible for the Busch Clash for pole winners.
He & the elder brat would seem an odd mix. One other thing to be
considered is Ford. He dropped the brand like a bad habit when he
was the their defending Champion. Sometimes something that didn't
seem all that important at the time could come back to haunt him.

Well, I've done it. Missed another Snowball Derby. After I promised myself
this was the year. Guess I'll have to fall back on the Cub fans annual
refrain, "wait 'till next year". Bummer.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Hot Seat

By Dawg Chapman

Unless you're like the guy in the insurance commercial, & live under a rock.
Just why this guy would need insurance always puzzled me, but you get
the idea.

Then you know that as of this writing, a winning Cup seat just become
available, on very short notice. This came about because of a mutual
agreement between Penske, Shell, & Kurt Busch. This strikes me as pretty
significant, because it's probably the only time Bush has been agreeable the
entire season. In a few short months, I'm going to agree to pay my taxes.
It's pretty much the same deal, I expect.

This has to be considers a real serendipitous stroke of luck. Just when some
name drivers had pretty much given up hope of landing a quality ride for 2012,
& were sifting through the available rides. Looking, I'm sure for something
that offered a glimmer of turning into something more than another year of
just hanging on in Cup.

The names most often mentioned are David Reagan, Brian Vickers, David
Reutimann, & Sam Hornish Jr. It's a shame that Clint Bowyer had settled for a seat owned by in his words, "the worst driver in NASCAR." Hmmm, I wonder if there's anything like the "10 second rule" applying to NASCAR contracts? Maybe it could be annulled like a marriage that was never consummated. I really like Clint, but I'll
be unable to pull for him as long as he's driving for Super Shill, but I digress.

One thing that I noticed, was that Elliott Sadler's name was never

I do have a few fantasy picks, & I'm sure you probably do too.

I'd love to see Bobby Labonte, in a good car again. This isn't a put down
of the 47, but as a single car team, they have lots of room for improvement.
Getting out from under Super Shill's umbrella is a good first step, but there's
a lot more steps to be taken before they get to where they want to be. I doubt
Bobby's got time to make the trip. Terry got a similar chance with Hendrick,
late in his career & picked up a second Championship, as a result. Who knows,
maybe lightning could strike twice?

Another good choice, & my personal favorite, would be Robby Gordon.
After 6 Busch years, (sort of like dog years) having Robby on board,
would seem a lot less difficult. Robby's been plowing pretty rocky ground
the last couple of years, & might have a different outlook on being a
little more of an organization man now.

One spot that's empty in Robby's crowded trophy case is for the Indy 500.
If an Indy seat were part of the deal. This could be the perfect win, win
situation for all involved. Another plus that Robby could bring, would be
a ton of very loyal, hard core fans. Way more than any of the other drivers
being considered.

It's no secret, that I think Dave Blaney has been on the short end of
the stick, his NASCAR entire career. I'd dearly love to see what he
could do in a top ride. Again, no disrespect to the 36. I'm happy that
Dave's got a full time ride, that is actually able to race, but...well, you

At this time, it looks like David Ragan his the inside track on the ride,
& of the drivers most mentioned, he's probably the best choice.
One thing is certain, he'll never embarrass the organization, or the
sponsor the way Kurt did.

Whoever ends up in the seat next season, is going to find it a
"hot seat." They're not going to measure up to the criteria that
Shell wants in a driver, so it's sounding like they will be on a one
year contract.

When you consider the alternatives, any driver that's offered the ride,
will jump at the deal. But they need to consider it a year long try out,
& a year like they had this year won't cut it.

Another driver who's in a pretty hot seat, would be Kyle.
I really think both of the Busch Brats should be looking for work
now, but neither his sponsor, or owner was willing to take that

I've said several times that "I don't see Kyle as a candy salesman."
One more embarrassing temper tantrum, & Mars/M & M may well
come to the same conclusion.

You can conact Dawg HERE

Monday, December 5, 2011

Yes Virginia, There Is A Consequence

By John "Dawg" Chapman

Well, the already long NASCAR unemployment queue just got longer by one

While my heart goes out to the hundreds of crew, or more correctly, former crew members, & their families who are looking at not only a bleak holiday season. But most probably a pretty bleak future in their chosen field as well. We've all heard the phrase, "you'll never work in this town again", for many this could be true.

These are people who have worked incredibly long, & hard to put the very best car, or truck, on the track each & every week, & have done it for pride, rather than just for a paycheck. While some of these skills are transferrable to other jobs. It will never be the same. These folks are unemployed, through no fault of their own.

The same can't be said of the latest person to join that sad line. Kurt pretty much volunteered, to join. I'm going to have a really hard time working too much sympathy for him. He does have something few others in line possess. He's got talent, but that's not it. Everyone in line has talent, or they wouldn't have been there in the first place. What he has is a very fat wallet to soften the blow.He's not going to have to worry about the house, & car, payments. The kids orthodontist, or all those other things that most of his neighbors in line have to deal with.

This whole deal reminds me of the Billy Joel song, Somewhere Along the Line.

"I knew that there'd be hell to pay,
when the fun falls through,
& the rent comes due.
Somewhere along the line"
The difference between Kurt, & the guy in the song, was that the song Dude, (& no, I'm not talking about Mr. Penske) knew that the day of reckoning was coming. I seriously doubt that Kurt had figured that out. When you've always gotten a pass, why would you expect anything else? He will have his own unique worries to deal with.

Do I think that Kurt will never have another steady Cup ride? No I don't think that at all. Of all the words that have been written about the brothers Busch. No one has ever questioned their talent. Do I think that he's just left his last really competitive ride? Obviously, the jury's still out on that, & it's way too soon to tell, but I do know this.When "A" company signs on as sponsor, the driver becomes the face of the company.Without a solid sponsor, all that is available to any driver is the "shirt tail" rides. I'd say at this point, it's pretty much a coin flip.

The net, is like print books. Once it's out there, it's pretty much always  out there. If anyone cares to look, it can be found.You can bet that when Kurt, or an owner approaches any corporation for sponsorship. That corporation is going to look at everything they can find on him, as they would, & should for any driver.What they'll find on the social networks, is not some bleeped out network footage. Sanitized for the kiddies, but exactly what he said, & what he said,was way beyond what most corporations want to be associated with. I expect these things are far from done, biting him in the butt.

As of now, Kyle has a distinct advantage, with his deal because his current sponsor, Mars/M&M is not a public company, so the family can make a decision & not have to worry about blowback from stockholders. Kurt's not so lucky.

Either way, I think we can safely say, for Kurt. "The fun's fallen through and the rent's come due."

We tend to focus on the drivers, & Crew Chiefs, because we have names & faces, but don't forget about all the other NASCAR folks in line ahead of Kurt.

The off season might indeed be short, but for these families, there's no new season coming up. With highly specialized job skills, in a very weak job market, it could be a long cold winter.

You can contact Dawg HERE

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tony Bought Zippy A Corvette by John "Dawg" Chapman

As a thank you, after his second NASCAR Championship in '05. Tony bought
then Crew Chief, Greg Zipadelli a Corvette. A nice gesture indeed.

For his third, & perhaps his finest he gives Darien a pink slip. I'm not talking about a pink slip, as in car title. This pink slip as in the kind every worker dreads finding in his pay envelope. Oops, kind of dated myself, in this day of direct deposit didn't I? Trust me, you didn't want to find one. The more I learn about this deal, the less I understand. There has to be more to this than meets the eye, & we may never know the whole story.

Earlier this season Bobby Hutchens was let go from his job as director of
competition. With the season that Stewart-Haas had to that point, I can kind of
understand this move. We all know that Steve Addington has come on board as Tony's new Crew Chief. As of now, no announcement has been made about the director of competition.

Normally in sports, when someone gets fired. The next person brought in has some time & latitude to turn things around. The St. Louis Cardinals won the world series about the same way Tony won his Championship. Pretty average to below average season. Killer post season. Tony La Russa elected, (as opposed to being fired) to retire on top. Both La Russa's retirement, & Darien Grubb's firing, are fairly unprecedented.

As neither of these teams need turning around. Both Mike Matheny, the Cards new manager, & Steve Addington are stepping into Championship spots. They better hit the ground running.

Speaking of thank you gifts, kind of makes me wonder what Tony's going to give to Jeff Burton. In the closing laps at Phoenix, as Carl was trying in vain, to run Kasey Kahne down for the win. Tony was also trying to catch Jeff Burton for 3rd. The announcers made reference to this, but it wasn't shown on screen. On the crawl at the conclusion we could see that Tony was able to move into 3rd, thus maintaining the 3 point separation he had going in.

From writers who were there, we later found out that Jeff, loyal Chevy team member that he is. Had allowed Tony to get by, thus gaining what ultimately proved to be the Championship winning point.

I'm not going to rag on this, it's up to each fan to decide how they feel about it. Ford kind of opened this door at Talladega, so I suppose it was tit for tat. I must admit to being a little uncomfortable with the way things came down at Talladega, as well as Phoenix.

The manufactures have their own Championship. Chevy won again, this time clinching at Kansas. I do wish they'd stick to their own Championship, & leave the drivers Championship, to the drivers, but I suppose that's too much to ask in the $$$ charged world of NA$CAR. Oh well, I can always dream.

At Talladega, the maneuvering certainly didn't help Jeff Gordon, but it didn't cost him the Championship either. At Phoenix Jeff Burton's help, or interference, depending on your outlook. Most definitely cost Carl the Championship. Tony still needed to win, & to his, & Darien's credit he did. But given Carl's finish, without that all important point, winning wouldn't have been enough.

Either way, it was by far the best Chase that we've seen. As good as it was, it still wasn't enough to win me over.

You can contact Dawg HERE.

Sanity?, RGM 2nd Hummer, Lotus, Cotton Owens, & More

RGM Fielding 2nd Hummer for Dakar Rally
Robby Gordon is fielding a second Hummer for the Dakar Rally with 2011 Dakar Champion Nasser Al-Attiyah as the driver.

You have to wonder what Stewart is thinking by firing his championship crew chief Darian Grubb. When was the last time a Super Bowl winning football team dumped their coach? When was the last time a race team owner fired a championship winning crew chief? It really makes you wonder if maybe Tony needs to be taking some medication.
Of course, by hiring Addington, he’s hiring a crew chief who is use to being abused and berated by the likes of the Busch brothers. So that is one plus in his favor.
Maybe Darian should go have a chat with another Floyd VA native Jeff Agnew about being his crew chief on Jeff’s Truck Series team? It may not have the glory of being a Cup team but they’d get the support of a lot of the county’s 14,000 residents.
Jimmy Clark's 1965 Lotus Type 38
Lotus Advantage for DW12 Car
It seems that with the rear weight problems that seem to be occurring with the DW12 car that IndyCar is testing, Lotus may have a decided advantage. They produced an engine that is lighter than both the Honda and GM engines. This could give the returning Lotus a handling advantage on both the ovals and road courses. As it stands right now, the GM and Honda powered cars don’t seem to do that well on the oval tracks because of the weight issues and lack of thrust. So this could make Lotus the king of the oval tracks.
Speaking of Lotus, it was announced that Simona Di Silvestro will be sporting the traditional Lotus colors next season. That should bring back a few memories for those of us who remember the glory days of Lotus with Jimmy Clark at the wheel.
Perfect Crew Chief for Busch Brothers 
Considering the amount of abuse the crew chiefs for the Busch brothers have taken, I think I’ve figured out who would be the perfect crew chief for them. Retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey. He wouldn’t take any lip off of either of them and would break them down into nice, polite, civilized human adults instead of their current status of spoiled brats. I can just hear him telling Schrubbery, ”Drop and give me 20 maggot!”. He might not win a race as a crew chief but he’d win some hearts and minds in the garage and the grandstands.
The Hype Has Already Faded
The championship hasn’t even been decided a week and already the hype is fading from not only the lamestream media but also NA$CAR’s controlled, Kool Aid drinking media. What does that really say about the significance of not just Stewart’s win but of NA$CAR overall?
Interesting Coincidence
We had 5 championships in a row won by a convicted felon team owner. This season, the championship was won by a convicted felon team co-owner who bought cars from the convicted felon team owner.
And while the convicted felon co-owner was serving his time, who was given stewardship of his team and made some major mistakes in paying personnel and their federal income taxes? The same convicted felon team owner that he buys generic race vehicles from.
Another Coincidence?
With the comparisons of NA$CAR being like the WWE on the rise since 2003 and having WWE Hall of Famer Sgt Slaughter as the Grand Marshal for the Busch Series race at Homestead, you really have to wonder. By having Sgt Slaughter as the Grand Marshal, it confirms to some folks that NA$CAR is “in bed” so to speak with the WWE. The scripts for the races being too close to the scripts being used by the WWE.
If you look at Tony Stewart’s wins in the Chase for the Chumps, it’s much too close to the classic Hulk Hogan script. And the Homestead race was even more like the classic Hulk Hogan script. Tony started good then went back to 40th after some repairs were made. And like Hogan after being beat down by his opponent, Tony makes the miraculous recovery and goes on to win the race in much the same way Hogan would suddenly finds a reserve of strength to come back and beat his opponent in the ring.
So you have to wonder. Will Vince McMahon be the Grand Marshal for the 2012 WWE, I mean 2012 Daytona 500?

Good Luck Dustin Long
I don’t know how many folks have read Dustin’s work over the years but the paper he works for just decided to downsize and eliminated his position just like a lot of other newspapers have done. While he still has his job writing an occasional article for Sports Illustrated, he won’t be going back to his normal newspaper reporting. I may not have always agreed with what Dustin wrote, just like folks don’t always agree with me, but he did a good job of reporting and was innovative with his own fan council, Backseat Drivers Fan Council, in using their ideas and opinions to show what the fans truly thought about what was happening on the track unlike the NA$CAR fan council which is nothing more than a marketing research operation. Hopefully a major news operation will snap Dustin up so he can continue with his reporting of NA$CAR and use his ideas to really get a true feel of what race fans think.
A Little Bit of History
I don’t know how many folks have watched the movie “The Last American Hero” with Jeff Bridges, a movie based loosely on the life of Junior Johnson, but go back and have another look at it. You’ll see Jeff “driving” the #00 car. The car is actually Busch Series Champion Sam Ard’s car.
And speaking of Sam Ard, he and his wife are still in need of help. If you can help them out with donations or can do some repairs on their house, it would be greatly appreciated.
Going Bananas
I hope the Charlotte tourism folks aren’t thinking that Chiquita moving into the office building next to the NA$CAR Hall of Fantasies is going to get them off the hook financially with the Charlotte taxpayers. Do they really think the Chiquita folks will go bananas over being next to the HOF and spend all their free time visiting it? Plus the tax breaks that Chiquita will get, rumored to be between 50%-90%, isn’t really going to endear them to the Charlotte taxpayers either although it will result in some jobs with the company. Know matter how you slice it, the HOF is a financial disaster for the taxpayers of Charlotte and will never see any black ink.
RCR Auctioning Off #33 Team Equipment
With the #33 team officially shut down, RCR is using Iron Horse Auction Company to sell off the equipment from the #33 team. This is also the same company used by Jeremy Mayfield to sell off his race team gear and equipment along with some personal property. I hope RCR isn’t planning to get a lot of money off of the Camry’s Of Today they’ll be selling. No other racing series uses them and Mayfield was only able to get about $8500 for one of the generic race vehicles he had for sale. That’s less than what teams get for the old “Twisted Sister” cars which usually pull in at between $10,000-$30,000.
Racing Great Battling Cancer
Both Cotton Owens, legendary owner & driver, and his wife are both battling cancer right now. So if you can add them to your prayers or keep them in your thoughts it would be appreciated.
IndyCar Viewership & Attendance Up 2 Years in a Row
While NASCAR has been beating their chest over the fact that their races TV ratings were up but nowhere what they were in 2008, IndyCar’s viewership was up 28% overall. Race attendance was up 22%. Compare this to what we’ve seen NA$CAR do this past season with attendance being off at the majority of its tracks and ratings. Up 3% for BSPN/ABC, 16% for TNT, and 9% on Focks.
The attendance figures for NA$CAR that have been released can’t be trusted as we’ve seen races claimed to be sell-outs had ¼-½ their seats empty plus tracks removing seating or changing their seating to give fans more room. Bruton reports an 8.8% decrease in attendance through September 2011 when compared to the same time in 2010 according to the SEC filings. I$C has an 8.7% decrease in attendance in comparison to the same time in 2010.
“INDYCAR had one of its strongest years in growth on TV and in live audience in 15 years on the last year of our current car. We believe that the new car along with Honda, Chevy and Lotus coming into the IZOD INDYCAR Series will help the sport show positive momentum for 2012” said Randy Bernard, IndyCar’s head honcho. I predicted that IndyCar’s new car, the DW12, would increase their TV ratings several months back and it seems to be reflected in Bernard’s opinion. I guess we’ll see what happens next season.