Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Random Ramblings by John "Dawg" Chapman

Will the real Carl Edwards please stand up. What's up with this? Did some mutant mind control virus, worm it's way into Carl's brain? I'd be happy to explain Carl's suddenly becoming a backmarker, but I don't have one. This is the guy that Ford stepped up for. To keep him in the Blue Oval camp.
No such help forthcoming for Matt, Ford's most recent Champion, & defending Daytona 500 winner. Bye Bye, Ford, & Roush's loss, is Toyota, & Gibb's gain. Give him a season to settle in, (he'll still make the Chase) & then watch out. Matt, & The Biff, both made the Chase, but neither really made much noise, despite Matt picking up a win. All in all, despite the Daytona bright spot, & winning the regular season points, (meaningless) this was a sub-par season, in the house Jack built.
Last time Kyle Bush missed the Chase, I thought that not having to care anymore about points would free the team up, & let then just concentrate on winning. I remember saying he'd be "like a pit bull on Red  Bull". Didn't happen then, didn't happen this time either. Normally, Kyle has been a pretty good closer, but boy has that gotten away from them lately. The pattern recently has been when they've had a good car, is for the team to come out strong.
Lead the most laps, then seem to miss the setup on a late race pit stop, then watch someone else win. As a matter of fact, the entire Gibbs organization has seemed to be about half a bubble off this year. The strongest car since about mid season, has been the 20. Picking up Matt, could well be the key that was missing. Don't know what this season has done for Hamlin's head, but I don't think it could have much of a confidence builder, & he seems prone to getting down.
During the pre-season media tour Chip Ganassi , called his teams 2011 performance "pathetic." Correctly placed the blame on the cars, rather than his drivers. Then went over the personnel changes they'd made during the off season to right the ship. During my pre-season assessment of His teams, I said that "Jamie, in particular needed a much better season, if they wanted to hang on to his sponsor. Well the jury's in, & it's not pretty. During the Daytona 500 Juan Pablo Montoya, garnered way more attention than Matt Kenseth. All Matt did was win the race, while JPM, was able to turn a jet dryer into a giant fireball, fed by a full tank of jet fuel. Sadly, this was the high point of the season for EGR, W/Felix Sabates. After that it was pretty much all downhill.
Another bright spot, in this, (no pun intended) was Bad Brad using this incident to become an instant Twitter superstar, thus garnering massive amounts of interest for both himself, & NASCAR. & unlike the his Last tweets, these didn't even cost him any money. Let's be fair with NASCAR here, they weren't rely upset about his real time tweets, they just thought maybe he was calling up his fuel injection system. Hello, give me fuel miser setting, we're going for it.
Chip announced that he was ditching the Childress engines, in favor of Hendrick power next season. Here's hoping that helps, & that they can put together a sponsorship package for Jamie, & next year turns out to be more like they needed this year, because it was not pretty to watch.I'm from Missouri, & our state nickname is the Show Me State. I started the season off by taking some shots at my favorite punching bag. Michael Waltrip racing. Show me. they did. Well, I've already done my apologies, so that's out of the way.
I do think they probably even surprised themselves over there this year. Everyone wants' to talk about momentum, they've got that in spades. By putting both of their full time cars in the Chase they equaled Childress, & Gibbs, combined.
Having said that, let's talk about the 55 car. Least anyone think I've swung 180 degrees, & this is turning into a love fest think again. First off, I've always thought that Reutimann, got a very raw deal, being unceremoniously cut loose at the 11th hour, with absolutely, no chance of picking up another decent ride. I would have loved to have seen what David could have done with this ride, after the program turned around.
Speaking of the 55, with the high & mighty, Chase being the end all, be all, goal for every team, & sponsor.How much sense does it make to keep this Chase quality car, as a senior tour ride? Wouldn't it seem to make more sense from a marketing standpoint to put Vickers in the ride full time & let him try to put it in the Chase. If Michael still wants' to impersonate a Cup driver in the plate races they should have cars available without him jumping in the 55.
It's a shame that an ill timed,(for him) caution cost Martin Truex a victory. Winning these things are tough, hope he can pull it off next year.
Was happy to see Clint salvage second at Homestead, as he was realistically out of the Championship picture before getting mugged, taking second from Hendrick, was a pretty good consolation prize.
Petty, has been an also ran, as far back as the last years that the King drove. This was the year that they seemed to see a little light at the end of the tunnel. The way Brad was running with Dodge, I was pretty optimistic, when it looked like Petty, & Dodge stood a good chance to be reunited. Then it all went away. Did the people who make the decisions at Dodge really think that they had a better shot, with a startup team from Michael Andretti, than with the King? If so then it's easy to see why they decided to dump their NASCAR program. Talk of coming back is just posturing, & a little face saving. Don't hold your breath.
Then it sounds like Ford got their shorts in a twist because Richard tested the waters, & apparently decided to punish them. They finally resigned but I think, at a lesser level of support than previously. Yes we do need the manufacturers in the sport, & Ford has been, & are good for the sport, but I hate to see the tail wagging the dog. Even with all the distractions this season the two car Petty team significantly out performed Ganassi.
Another team that seemed to be racing under a black cloud was Childress. If what Chip said about their engine program was correct that would explain some of it. But it also raises other questions. Namely, why a supposedly championship caliber team wouldn't correct a problem that ought to be that obvious. The announcement that Harvick was leaving really came as no surprise to me. The only surprise was that it was a year out. This looks to me like a recipe for disaster. Harvick seems to be pretty much a pain in the ass, even when things are going good. I don't expect things to go good next year. Yes they did back into the Chase, & managed to snag a win, but it has to have been a tough year.
I really don't know why Jeff Burton keeps hanging around for. At this point it really shouldn't be about money. This team should have been sponsored by The Walking Dead, because that's the way they raced all season.
Paul Menard, is a very capable driver, & the team showed flashes of making some noise, but it just never came together. When an entire three car team has a season this uninspired, it's not the drivers.Everyone knows where RCR is headed. Looks like it's going to become a family team. The kids are showing lots of talent but a family team is pretty limiting over the long haul.
Last year, Tony backed into the Chase. Then seized control of it like a Bull Dog. Winning 5, to tie, then taking the crown on a tie breaker. All this with a Crew Chief, that he'd already fired.This year he came into the Chase, in good shape. Then promptly laid down, & rolled over like a puppy wanting it's belly rubbed. Wonder what he'll do for an encore this season?
Next year, Drama Queen Danica, is moving into Cup full time. In a rent-a-ride, no doubt drawing a big salary. While Ryan, drives under sponsored, & reportedly, driving for only a share of his prize money.I fully expect Danica to be a distraction for the team, as long as she's part of it.

NASCAR has announced a number of changes coming, & they're all good, but more are needed. I'd call all except the new car, (owners, start your wallets) tweaks, rather than changes.
Changes would have been shortening the schedule, shortening the races, making California speedway, into a short track. Admitting that the Chase has done more bad, than good, & going back to a Season Championship. Thus making all the races important, rather than just the last 10.

I mentioned The Biff winning the regular, (pre) season, & getting squat for it.I think the regular season winner should get a points bonus equal to 2 race wins. I also feel that winning a pole, ought to be worth at least a point. you beat everyone, you deserve at least as much as someone who stays out an extra lap under caution.This is always referred to as a performance business, these are two performances that ought to be rewarded.
One change, I particularly don't like. Going back to unlimited use of the Past Champions Provisional. This needs to go away. If a past Champion can't make the field on a regular basis, that should tell him something, & he needs to listen. This is just welfare for someone like Terry Labonte, (& maybe Bobby soon) to get a car into the good paying races, that really doesn't deserve to be there. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy seeing Terry, & Bill Elliott, make a start or two, but only if they earn it.

I mentioned the election didn't I? Win, or lose, have you had enough of it? Me too, but it doesn't seem to be going away. Seems like people have already started running for 2016. Sheese, give it a rest already! OK, I'm going to make my predictions. 2016 is going to be Hillary, vs. Chris Christy. If anyone really cares at this point.

2013 is going to come down to Bad Brad vs. Clint Bowyer.

If that turns out to be right, remember where you heard it first.

If not forgedaboutit!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Random Ramblings By John "Dawg" Chapman

First off, congratulations, to Mr. Penske, Bad Brad, the entire team, & Dodge.
One thing I didn't understand, was Paul Wolfe, or Brad, whoever made the call to roll the dice, & stay out, when they didn't have to. They did lead a lap, but promptly lost all the track position they'd gained. Subsequently ran it so low on fuel that it at least burped, & went a lap down after the stop. Even if the problems hadn't befallen the 48 team, they probably would still have won it, but we'll never know. This was the kind of move you make when you need to play catch up. Instead the move put them in exactly the position, they were trying to avoid.
The Dodge deal is rather bittersweet, I don't know if anyone of consequence, from Dodge was in attendance or not. But if they were, they weren't very prominent in the victory celebration. It was stated, that the head of Fiat, was in Austin, for the F1 US Gran Prix. If you missed it, don't make the same mistake next year. It was even won by Hamilton running Vettel, down & passing him on track. In F1, go figure. Only jarring thing about it, was I used to think some of the NASCAR dudes, looked silly in cowboy hats. Check out the picture of Hamilton. Ba Ba Ba BAD. But then I guess if the trophy's in the picture, nothing else really matters.
Roger did make a point of the fact that there were no engine failures for the entire season. That's not only a great reflection on the engine that Dodge had given them.
As for the race itself, I was talking about it with a friend, his comment was, "I fell asleep," enough said.
But also showed what a great job all the people from the engine shop had done. Still scratching my head over this deal. Hard to believe that someone didn't step up, & buy this operation, or that after the switch, Penske will be running Roush engines, rather than building his own. I do understand, that there are a lot of things behind the scenes that we don't know, but it's a real shame seeing the deal go down like it has.
There are lots of things that I really don't care for in NASCAR, & the fact that it's either become too complicated, too expensive, or both for the teams to build their own engines, is right up there on my list.
At the start of the season, Rick Hendrick said, that he expected for all of his teams to make the chase, & for one of them to win it. Well, 50%'s not too bad an average. I think he could live with the outcome the way it worked out for the 48. The lug nut thing could have happened to anyone, & really just gave back what the 2 team had given them, the rear gear was the killer, & that was just one of those flukes of fate.
What would trouble me, (& even if it troubled anyone in the Hendrick organization you will never get so much as a hint of it) is that Jr. after firing up the faithful, with a win, & some strong runs, was completely missing in the chase, finishing 12th again.

Yes, I know he sat out 2 races, & I applaud the fact that he got himself checked out, & brought attention to the concussion issue.He wouldn't have done it, & admitted as much, had he not effectively already been eliminated from Championship contention.
Let's think about this, they had Brad, but with the cap on ownership there was no place for him at Hendrick, they couldn't, or didn't make a place for him at Stewart-Hass. One thing we've learned about Brad, is that he goes after what he wants, not sits back waiting for someone to give it to him. So now they have Jr. chronically under performing & next year they'll have Danica doing the same at SH. At what point do Championships, trump tee shirt sales? Because trust me, this won't be Brad's last one.

While I'm thinking about Hendrick drivers, let me give you my take on the Gordon, Boyer deal. Gordon has talked all around this deal, & still can't seem to be able to make up his mind how he feels about it. One of his last takes on it was that he did it for his team. Really? I've heard about taking one for the team, I think it's the first time for giving one for the team. He not only wrecked himself trying to wreck Clint, but when he finally pulled it off. He took out Legano, & Almarola as well. Definitely bush, (no pun intended) league. Then when Legano said he called Gordon asking for an apology, not only didn't he get one, he got hung up on. Really classy. It's a good thing I wasn't handing out the penalties, I'd have let him run Homestead, because even winning it was pretty hollow as it was so overshadowed. When someone deliberately takes out a Championship contender, I'd have had him set out the first race of the 20213 season.
One of the things Gordon used to try to justify this was Clint diving under him at Martinsville earlier, costing either Gordon, or Johnson the win. One thing Gordon needs to think about, is that he came into NASCAR, with besides his talent, a helmet, fire suit, gloves, & a pair of driving shoes. I've heard his net worth now rumored to be around 150 M, & that's after Brook got through with him. The fans have been complaining about the racing, & while Clint's move didn't work out like he wanted, at least he tried it. All Gordon's money ultimately came from the fans, & they didn't pay it to see drivers fall into line & follow each other around like so many little ducks.
Yeah, the Hail Mary's (hence the name) seldom work. But they're a part of what the fans pay to see. Remember Carl trying a bank shot off the wall, trying to win? It didn't work either, but at least he tried it.
Speaking for this fan, I want to see drivers take chances to win, not just fall in line & settle for a "good points day."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Loose Lugnuts by Mike Sanders

Loose Lugnuts by Mike Sanders

You're Kidding, Right?

There are a lot of NASCAR-related blogs out there. Some are run by guys who are already members of the media (local or national), some by just regular guys with a passion for the sport and a bit of spare time on their hands. I try to peruse as many as I can as often as I can to see what people are saying about the topic of the day. I love it when I can see what the kool-aid drinkers in the national NASCAR media are spouting. It's even better when I can send in a comment when I think they're trying to blow smoke up my butt. Such an occasion came about after the Cup race in Kansas a couple of weeks back. In a blog penned by a well-known member of the national NASCAR media (I won't mention his name, but if I did you'd instantly recognize it). He was talking about the now infamous incident when The Bimbo got p.o.'ed at Landon Cassill and tried to wreck him, only to send herself careening into the outside wall and destroying yet another race car, while Cassill drove away laughing at her and ending up with a top 20 finish. In the last paragraph of the blog was this line: "Danica Patrick is a talented racer who will almost certainly enjoy a long and lucrative NASCAR career." I couldn't help but sending in a response to that. I said that line sounded more like a talking point generated by the cementheads at NASCAR HQ than it did a heart-felt opinion. I called her Michael McDowell with breasts, except that McDowell is a better driver in worse equipment. I also said that she'd be out of racing in five years or less and that she's already had a lucrative career, but hasn't done a thing to earn it (even her sponsor is growing weary of the lack of on-track results; after next year they could become Gone Daddy). Well, none of that sat well with the author, who refused to publish my comments but instead issued this rebuttal: "If you're looking for your comment, you will not find it. Name calling does not fly on this blog, and we also do not travel the cheap insult route. If you are capable of making your point without the trash talk (and based on your first effort, I suspect you may not be capable), feel free to try again. Otherwise, don't waste your time submitting another comment that will never see the light of day".'re telling fans who are passionate enough to not only read your blog but write in to comment on it not to trash talk? Especially when the blog that day features a story about the most polarizing figure in the sport today? Are you effing kidding me? Trash talking is part of being a fan. Hey, it's your blog so you can make your own rules, but don't expect many fans to bother reading it. Later that day I sent in a politically correct comment and he did publish it, and thanked me for not name-calling. Too late, dude. You showed yourself to be a thin-skinned coward. And yes, I still think you were just regurgitating talking points at the end of your blog.

It's Only Going To Get Worse Next Year

Other members of the kool-aid drinking national NASCAR media were gushing over The Bimbo's 24th place finish at Texas last week. Not only did she almost get a top 20 finish, but she FINISHED ON THE LEAD LAP !!!!! NASCAR is saved!!!!! Yep, I'm telling you, if she were to actually get a top 10 finish in a Cup race next year (nah, not gonna happen, but don't tell these guys that) we would never hear the end of it. I counted at least five separate articles on Monday breathlessly chronicling her day at TMS. It must have been a slow news day for NASCAR, or something. Of course we've already been subjected to complete, lap-by-lap accounts of her 14th place, 2 laps down finishes in the Nationwide Series this year as well. And I wish the media would quit referring to her as a "star". She's NOT a star, she's a publicity stunt. She's Geraldine Ferraro in a firesuit. For those too young to recognize the name, Google "Geraldine Ferraro" and you'll see why I call her a publicity stunt.

The Storyline Continues

Last year, as soon as Bent Sh!tcan was mathematically eliminated from Chase contention, it appeared that NASCAR HQ sent out a memo to the media that said that 2012's storyline would be the 48 team's pursuit of title number six. You saw more articles published about that than you did the finish of the Chase, almost as if since the 48 wasn't going to win it wasn't worth paying any attention to. Once this season started, it appeared that The Felon was going to make damn sure that the 48 did win it all again this year: what, Cheating Weasel gets busted for cheating in Daytona? Well, we'll just appeal it and I'll make a couple of rather large contributions to Brain Dead's liquor fund and all will be forgiven. (You'll notice that the 27 team didn't have as much luck with the appeal process after getting busted at Michigan. I guess Childress' pockets aren't as deep as The Felon's). And then there was last week at Texas, when Bent Sh!tcan jumped the final restart and held off B-ski for the win. Ummm...that's against the rules. But once again, we can't be interfering with the storyline, can we? So, Robin Hoodless comes out and says yes, he did something illegal, but it was so close we decided not to call it. Really? So, in order to get busted for cheating it has to be blatant? I think Clint Bowyer would disagree with that...

Something Else That's Going To Get Worse Next Year

Race attendance is bad and getting worse this year. How many blimp shots of empty grandstands (like last week at TMS; that was a real shame) do we have to be subjected to before the cementheads admit that there is a real problem? Every time one of these morons talks it always "yes, things are great for NASCAR right now". Um, no they're not. And with the economy potentially falling off a cliff next year, be prepared to see Cup races where the attendance approaches that of a high school football Alaska. Daytona, a few years back, decided to close off the backstretch grandstands for the July race because of poor ticket sales. More tracks should start thinking of doing that. Just close down the backstretch and fill up the frontstretch. Use the principle of supply and demand; it does work.

Why Do They Do It?

Sometimes it appears that the TV networks covering NASCAR deliberately try to enrage their viewers. Most viewers despise DW, so what does FOX do? Why, they give him a contract extension. Rusty, universally acknowledged to be a great race car driver, is also universally acknowledged to absolutely suck in the broadcast booth. ESPN's solution? Why yes, it would be a contract extension as well. The FOX booth bozos drool over Mini Douche, and the ESPN Chase race coverage, especially this year, is more like an on-air meeting of the Bent Sh!tcan Fan Club. And sponsors can't be happy with this, either. They're not getting a decent return on their investment, which is why so many are leaving the sport. No butts in the seats at the track, and horrific TV coverage, leading to dismal ratings. Yep, sounds like a recipe for success...