Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hocus Pocus or Now You See It, Now You Don't

By "Dawg" Chapman

Lately NASCAR Cup broadcasts, on Faux, seem to be a lot more hocus, than pocus. A lot of this, I attribute to the presence of two, count‘en two Waltrips in the booth, but that’s another story, for another time. We’re subjected to a constant barrage of Mikie, shilling for his sponsors, DW, shilling for Mikie, & both shilling for Toyota.

While the Waltrips may be the worst example of the conflict of interest, it’s by no means the only one. We’ve had RAY Evernham, Rusty Wallace, (that had to have been tough for Rusty, at times,) Brad Daugherty. Sort of a special case, is Kyle Petty, aside from the family connection, Kyle is pretty much separated from RPM. Does a very good job in the booth, & I don’t think we can count him.
With all the people to choose from, I’m surprised that the TV partners continue to allow this.

While I’m thinking about it, what’s up with Jeff Hammond? They don’t seem to have a clue, what to do with him this year. So he goes to different spots around the track, big deal. What does this add to the broadcast? It’s kind of like a Where’s Waldo segment. With as little time allotted to actually showing the race, between commercials, I find this a total waste of time.

I love to go to races. I love the sounds, & the smells, my absolute favorite being the smell of methanol. There’s no experience quite like being there. My personal “bucket list” includes some tracks that will involve some long distance travel. That having been said, I just don’t go to Cup races. There, I’ve said it. I want to drive in find a parking spot. Walk up to the ticket window, buy my ticket. Walk in, find a seat, (I prefer high up at the entrance to the number one turn) plop down my cushion, & enjoy the show.

I don’t enjoy sitting in traffic 2 hours to get in, then doing it again for 4 hours, to get out. Not to mention, paying 350. a night, with a 3 night minimum, for a 75. room. I strongly suspect that I’m not alone in this.

That’s why I satisfy my NASCAR jones, in front of the TV. There is, however one pretty serious fly in this ointment.

We can only watch what the TV producer chooses to show us. When I’m at a track, it’s a very rare race that hasn’t got something interesting to watch. It might be two guys racing each other hard for tenth place. Whatever it is, it’s there, if you look for it. As a TV fan we just don’t have that option. We can mute the sound, & go with MRN, or Serious, I know many people do. We can use Hot Pass if it’s available, but the vast majority of fans can only watch what the TV chooses to show us.

I’m a fan of the split screen, during commercials, but I remember one race earlier this year. When the split screen mostly showed us the wall, while the camera searched around for something to show. About the time they finally locked on a car, they changed to another camera,& it started all over again. A small glitch, to be sure but these guys are supposed to be professionals. What the TV cameras mostly show is the leader. Makes no difference if he’s being challenged, or cruising around with a 20 car lead.

When Faux first came onboard, they tried the heavy handed method of hi-jacking the sponsors, by blocking out the hood logo if the sponsor hadn’t paid them “mention money.” They caught so much flak, that they backed off almost immediately. They still lean toward showing cars, whose sponsors are buying adv. space but it’s not so blatant.

It’s not that every race doesn’t have elements of interest; it’s just that the TV producers don’t allow us to find them.

The Truck races, on Speed should be mandatory viewing for anyone associated with the Cup broadcasts. Another series that they should watch is F1. Not so much for the TV coverage, but to listen to the announcing crew. Week in, week out, they’re the best in the business. David Hobbs,Is a particular favorite of mine.

I’m not going to stop being critical of NASCAR, when I think they have it coming.
But I think that NASCAR could be much better served by its TV partners.
If the coverage were better, NASCAR would come off, looking better.
A great race, could overcome lackluster coverage, but pair that coverage with a below average race, & they tend to highlight the flaws in each other.

Random Ramblings

By John "Dawg" Chapman

Random Ramblings

Denny Hamlin wins his first race with new Crew Chef Darien Grubb. We
get a spate of stories about who'll be the winner of the CC battle
between Darien, & Tony's  new CC Steve Addington.  Then Tony, &
Steve answer with one of their own. More stories, Tony, & Steve pull
ahead, & we get even more stories, then Denny, & Darien, even things
up at 2 all. Oh well, I guess this gives all of us something pretty
mindless to write about.

It seems to me that no one has really asked the right question.
That would seem to be, who was the real loser in this deal. It seems
pretty evident, that would be Roger Penske, AJ Allmendinger, & the
entire 22 crew. Not that I blame Steve for leaving. Given the
information he had at the time, I agree with it. I only wonder if he
could have known about Kurt getting the heave ho, would he still have
left. Dinger may not be the driver Kurt is…yet, but I watched
him drive the final stint in the 24 Hours of Daytona, this guy can
wheel a car, & he doesn't rattle easily under pressure. He's a lot
better than the car he's been given, to date.

I've been reading stories for weeks now, about the Indy 500 going on
without Danica. What no one, (until now) has seen fit to mention is
that it's going to go on without Sam Hornish also. I mean Sam's not
only a former winner, but an Indy Car Champion as well. He just doesn't
have as good a press agent, or look as good in a bathing suit.

While I'm thinking about Danica, after watching most of the NNW
races, it's pretty evident that she's in over her head in the
Nationwide cars. A season in the ARCA series probably would have been
much better for her development. It just wouldn't have been nearly as
good exposure for her sponsor. If she's over her head in Nationwide,
she'd need an extension ladder to see out of the hole she's in, with
Cup.  I guess she's not too worried about damaging her "brand," as
it doesn't seem to be performance based anyway.

I don't know about you but I've heard about all I want to from the
talking heads trying to spin her various laps down runs. No she's not
wrecking her car. That doesn't happen when you run at 75%. I just
finished a 444mi. bike ride. I'm about as ready for the Tour De
France, as Danica is for Cup next year. But to quote one of my
favorites, JJ Cale, "money talks, It says strange things."

Contrary to what you might think, I'm not anti Danica; I am however
very anti the hype, & the sense of entitlement that surrounds her.
I said in the pre-season that Chip Ganassi, had lots of work to do
this year. Chip must have agreed with me. I think he called last
season's results pathetic. The organization made sweeping changes.
Only problem is, they don't seem to be working. Currently his cars
stand 19th, & 22nd, in owner points. I don't know when his contract
with Bass Pro Shops, is up, but if it were me. I don't think I'd feel
too confident seeing the PBS logo all over Tony's  stuff, both Cup &
Sprint Cars. Winning a race, didn't save the 6 car, I'm not sure it
would save the 1 either. My suspicion is that it needs to make the
chase. At this point, it's going to have to be a wild card. It would
be a real shame to see this team that used to field a combined total
of 7 cars, shrink to a single entry. But it could happen.

Congratulations to Chip on his Indy 500 victory, but he's got lots
of work to do in Cup.

Think about this, how many stories have you read about Jr.
winning?  Kasey Khane's  600 victory, kind of puts a period on this
story. Jr's having a very good points season, he will make the Chase,
but he's not really contending for wins. That door doesn't always
swing open on its own. Sometimes you have to batter it down. JJ gave
Rick his 200th Kasey, his 201st. If Jr. wants to join the party this
team needs to step it up.

Speaking about stepping it up, how about the King's cars locking up
the front row for the 600. I think they made a very good move picking
up Mike Ford. Their speed was blazing in qualifying, but it fell off
precipitously in race trim. Marcos was running like the 9 used to
run, before the hub problem took him out of contention. Maybe not
this year, but Marcus will win on an oval if they can secure
sufficient funding to keep things going.   

I hated to see Erich fade, but I thought he did pretty well for
someone learning on the job. Kyle Busch's stated purpose was
to have fun this year. I wonder if he's having fun yet?

His recent meltdown at Darlington, probably didn't help his chances
any too much. He's really lucky he was able to hide from Newman's
irate tire carrier. Man, that guy was way bigger than Jimmy Spencer,
& just as mad. 

One thing I've noticed is that James still hasn't been able to
attract a paying sponsor. His wallet must be getting thinner by the

Talking about stepping it up, what's the deal with Jeff, & the 24
crew. It's like the Rainbow Warriors, have been struck by lightning.
This is so uncharacteristic for this team. Maybe Jeff needs a jolt.
He should talk to Bobby Labonte, about what it's like when you fall
from the mountain top.

Last season we had the most first time winners that I can remember.
This season, it's another story. Three multiple winners already, & I
doubt any of them are finished, with wins clustered like this. I
expect the Wild Card entry this year may be very different. We could
see 3 or 4 teams with single wins. Two wins, will be pretty much a
lock, but with 1 they better have the points to back them up.

Speaking of first time winners, my money's still on the Dinger. But
the Captain's going to have to get the team up to speed.
To sum this up, a friend of mine owns a music store. I recently
purchased a CD by an artist that I really like. Next time I say him,
he asked me how I liked it. I told him that "if I wasn't already a
fan, it wouldn't make me one."That statement pretty much sums up my
feelings on the Cup season so far, as well.

As this was finished on Memorial Day, My hat is off to all the
Veterans. As the red necks like to say on the back window of their pickups:

"Hell No We Ain't Forgettin' ". 

Thank You.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Loose Lug Nuts

Race Mama has been busy for the last month and is still busy. So the articles you normally find at will be here for the next few weeks until the work backlog is cleared up.

By Mike Sanders

First Of All

It was good to meet Jo Ann and Jimmy and the gang at Darlington. I
already can't wait for next year.

Catching Up

Thoughts on a couple of older subjects:

1. Everybody remembers Reuty Tooty limping around Martinsville until
his car died and he brought out a caution just as Jeffy had passed
Bent Sh!tcan for the lead with just 3 laps to go. Reuty claims he
kept his car on track in an attempt to stay inside the top 35 in
owner's points (okay, we get that), but for his benefit and not the
benefit of The Bimbo. Sure Reuty, sure...we believe you. Or not.

2. Speaking of late race cautions: the late race phantom debris
caution at Richmond that probably cost Smokeless a win wasn't what
some people thought it was. More than a few observers thought that
caution was payback for the earlier penalty against Flipper, when he
jumped a restart due in part to bad communications by everybody
involved. I think what that caution really was, was NASCAR telling
the fans to STFU. If you remember, the two races immediately
preceding Richmond (Texas and Kansas) were relatively
boring...alright, they were DAMNED boring! Long green flag runs with
the cars spread out and not a whole lot of passing or even
side-by-side racing. Fans had started complaining again about boring
racing. To be honest, most of the Richmond race was less than
exhilarating as well. So I think the NASCAR chuckleheads-in-charge
said "okay, you think the racing is boring because there aren't
enough caution flags, well we're gonna throw one at the end of this
race that'll be so dubious that it'll have WWE fans shaking their
heads. Now shut up and just enjoy the racing". To make it worse,
NASCAR chucklehead-in-charge of competition Robin Pemberton said
"Sometimes, some people are a little more needy than others and they
want to see that (the debris) for whatever reason". Gee, Robin, ya
think? Richmond is a 3/4 mile short track, and FOX Sports has about 3
gazillion cameras stationed around the track (give or take a
gazillion). They should be able to see a mosquito's butthole. But
they can't see the debris that brings out a caution flag that
influences the outcome of a race? Yeah, we "needy" people want to see
the debris to see if the caution is on the level. A lot of people see
NASCAR as nothing more than the WWE on four wheels. You'd think that
as a high-level muckity muck in the organization you'd be more
concerned with the integrity of the sport, or the lack thereof. I
guess not.

R.I.P. Carroll Shelby

He passed away last week at the age of 89. He will be missed by
those of us who like to drive fast. He was quite the innovator.

Speaking of FOX's Camera Work At Richmond...

One other aspect of the coverage of the Richmond race: how is it
that you have 43 cars (until the start-and-park guys head for the
garage) on a 3/4 mile short track and the camera work is so atrocious
that you'd swear it was a qualifying session instead of a race because
all you see is one car at a time? It takes real talent to screw up the
production like that. If we were real lucky, we got to see two cars at
one time instead of just one. Part of it was an obvious attempt to
camouflage the fact that there were a lot of empty seats, but come
on. A six-year-old with a red crayon and five spare minutes could
have designed a better race coverage.

Did You Notice?

Aside from good camera work, did you notice the one other thing that
is missing from FOX's coverage this year? The Rodent is gone! Yes,
they killed Digger and the rest of the resident rodents. I guess FOX
finally gave up trying to pursue that all-important 6-8 year old

Say It Ain't So

When you talk about races at Talladega and Darlington, one word that
is never (or at least rarely) used is "boring". Well, NASCAR has
outdone itself by making these two races boring. The pack racing was
back at Talladega, but the cars were usually spread out a bit, with a
car length or so between them. No bump drafting. The attempt to break
up the tandem drafting went too far, and cars were overheating after
the slightest bit of contact drafting. Until the last 45 laps or so,
it just wasn't the same as the old pack racing days. Darlington
started out with over 170 laps of green flag racing. Sitting in the
Tyler Tower, I kept scanning the track to see if there was any
side-by-side racing going on outside of the top 10 cars. None...well,
maybe not none, but very little. Much less than you'd usually see at
The Lady in Black. There weren't many drivers willing to take any
chances. Points racing, instead of going for the win, has brought us
to this point. And things are going to get worse as we get nearer to
The Chase.

For The Second Year In A Row...

The most excitement at Darlington occurred on pit road after the
race was over, and it involved one of the Douche brothers. Last year
it was Mini Douche and Kevin Harvick getting into it, this year it
was Maxi Douche mixing it up with Ryan Newman. Or at least their pit
crews were involved in most of it. I look at Mama Douche when she
accompanies her sons across the stage during driver intros and I
think she must be so proud to have raised two weapons grade d-bags
like her sons. Good going there, Mom.

200 For The Felon? BFD

Yeah yeah, Bent Sh!tcan gave The Felon his 200th win in NASCAR. How
many of them are tainted? Hard to tell, just as it's hard to tell how
many of Barry Bonds' home runs are tainted. You just know that all of
them aren't legit. But hey, The Felon's not doing too bad for a liar,
cheat, and crook.

Notes On The Bimbo

1. I've been to both of the Cup races that The Bimbo has
participated in. I have made it a point to peruse the crowd before,
during, and after the races to see how many fans are wearing her
gear, in order to gauge her (supposed) popularity. At the Daytona
500, I saw one lonely Bimbo fan wearing her gear. Out of thousands
and thousands of fans I saw. Underwhelming, of course. At Darlington,
her popularity had exploded! I mean it was an exponential increase!
There were actually four Bimbo fans in Bimbo t-shirts. Yep, she's
having a real impact...

2. Evidently, D.W. gave The Bimbo a grade of A+ for her 31st place,
6 laps down effort at Darlington, because it is a tough track and it
was only her second Cup Series start. I wonder what kind of grade
D.W. would give Trevor Bayne for HIS second Cup Series start: the
2011 Daytona 500. I've been led to believe that the Daytona 500 is
important or something, and the kid won the race. Maybe that earns
him a grade of A+++++++++. Nah, he drives a partial schedule for a
small, underfunded team. I guess he earns a C-.

3. One more piece of evidence that NASCAR is now all about style
over substance: 2003 Cup champion Matt Kenseth, who is still one of
the ten best drivers in the sport, has to fight for every sponsorship
dollar he can get; yet The Bimbo, who has accomplished nothing in
NASCAR, doesn't have a sponsor-related care in the world.

Military Sponsorships Under Fire Again

Remember early last year when Representative Betty McCollum
(Dirtbag-Minn.) tried (unsuccessfully) to get military sponsorship of
motorsports events done away with? Well, since every other fiscal
problem facing the country has evidently been solved, she's at it
again. This time she has help...Republican Jack Kingston of Georgia.
And the ban would be expanded to include not only motorsports but
fishing tournaments and wrestling events. Let's hope this attempt
gets shot down as well. Rep. Kingston should be ashamed of himself.
There are a lot of military bases in Georgia. You don't want to piss
off those guys and gals.