Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Loose Lugnuts by Mike Sanders

Jason Leffler's Passing...From A Slightly Different Angle

The recent death of Jason Leffler has been covered from just about every conceivable angle in the two weeks since it occurred. But I wanted to touch on it from a slightly different perspective, one that ties in to something I've spoken about before (it's not as important as life and death in the grand scheme of things, but still...). Jason made his 73rd and final Sprint Cup series start three days before his death, driving an unsponsored and underfunded 19 car for Humphrey Smith Racing at Pocono in place of Mike Bliss. As was expected, after he finished 8 laps he pulled the car into the garage for the rest of the day. As is the custom with start-and-park cars, the broadcast crew in the TNT booth never mentioned his name. A small picture of him was shown on screen above the car number and his starting spot during the parade laps, but because he was not starting in the top 20, his name wasn't actually spoken aloud. The ticker at the top of the screen showing driver names, car numbers, current position, and intervals showed his name a couple of times while he was still in the race. Then, after returning from the first commercial break of the race, the ticker showed that his car was "off", then "out", meaning it was not to return. And that was it, the end of his Cup racing career. In silence. Unnoticed by the race announcers. And this goes, somewhat, to something I have spoken about before: that more than any single thing, television coverage could bring about an end to start-and-park cars and possibly undersponsored cars in general. Think about it this way: if you're in charge of a small company with a limited budget for advertising, and you were thinking of putting up the money to have your company's name on the side and hood of a car, would you be willing to spend that money if there was a chance that the car it went to wouldn't be seen by the cameras or mentioned by the race announcers? What should happen, and probably won't, is that during the parade laps, every car in the field, from 1st to 43rd, should be shown on camera for at least 5 seconds, and the play-by-play announcer in the booth should say the driver's name, the car number, and the sponsor(s) of that car. Then, once the race starts, spend most of the first 5 to 10 laps showing the cars in the back of the field, the ones that most likely are the underfunded teams. Put them on camera and talk about them. You'll have plenty of time to show the cars up front later. Give the "little guys" a taste of the spotlight. Maybe you'll be able to convince some potential sponsors that their investment won't be wasted.

Okay, Once Again For You Stupid People

And by "stupid people", I mean, of course, the NASCAR media. Three days ago I read an article that said that Flipper's third place finish at Sonoma had narrowed the gap in the standings between him and Bent Sh!tcan to a "manageable 25 points" by making up 6 points on Sunday. Okay, Mr. Mensa, let me explain it to you (and your brethren out there) one more time, and you may take notes if you wish: after race number 26, the points get reset and the resulting point gaps (if any) are determined by the number of races a driver has won up to that point. That's it. It doesn't matter if Flipper was in 10th place and 225 points behind the points leader, or in 6th place, 118 points behind; if he's won the same number of races after race number 26, they're tied. So the only way Flipper can "narrow the gap" is to win more races between now and the start of the Chase. That's it. Get it? I doubt you do...

Quite A Contrast

I celebrated a Bimbo-free Indy 500 (there were actually four female drivers in the field, but none of them were Bimbos) this year by watching the entire thing for the first time in about 25 years. First, a slight departure: congratulations to Tony Kanaan for winning his first Indy 500. I'm not a real big IRL fan, but I saw a feature on Kanaan a few years back and he seemed to be not only a good driver but a real good guy, so I started rooting for him (and tell me that if they ever made a movie about his life, that Vin Diesel wouldn't be the perfect pick to play him). One reason I wanted to watch was to contrast the coverage that ABC provided for the Indy 500 and compare it to FOX's coverage of the Coca-Cola 600 later that night. Well, it wasn't close: ABC's coverage was vastly superior. First, the guys in the ABC booth didn't talk down to the audience; they talked as if the audience knew something about racing. Contrast that to FOX, and to DW in particular. DW always, and I mean ALWAYS, talks to the audience as if they have the collective IQ of a turnip. Yes DW, I know what "loose" means and I know what "tight" means. Etc, etc, etc. ABC had an advantage when it came to camera angles; the majority of the time, several cars were on the screen at the same time. Not so with FOX, who obviously has producers that believe that it's better to show one car at at time, for some reason. Now to the commercials: over the 200 laps of the Indy 500, ABC had 14 commercial breaks: 3 during cautions, 11 during green flag racing. 9 of the 11 green flag breaks were side-by-side; only 2 were full screen commercial breaks. In total, only 8 of 179 green flag laps were missed. Over the 400 laps of the Coca-Cola 600, FOX had 31 commercial breaks: 14 during cautions or red flags, 17 during green flag racing. Only 2 of the 17 green flag breaks were side-by-side, the other 15 were full screen commercial breaks. In total, 87 of 339 green flag laps were missed. So, let's recap: ABC showed, full screen or side-by-side, 95.5% of the green flag laps run; FOX showed 74.3% of the green flag laps run. Yep, just a little bit of a difference...

Be Careful What You Wish For

As bad as FOX's race coverage is, and as badly as we wanted them to go away, some aspects of TNT's coverage is just as bad or worse. First, the number of commercials and missed green flag laps seems to be higher. I haven't watched the tapes and crunched the numbers yet (I'll do it before the next Loose Lugnuts), but it can't be my imagination. It seems that the number one phrase uttered by Adam Alexander in each race is "while we were away". And if those are your most oft spoken words, you know your race coverage sucks. And while the booth bozos of TNT don't have the same love affair with Mini Douche or Princess Provisional that DW has, they certainly have a love affair with the 48 team (both Bent Sh!tcan and Cheating Weasel). I think Larry Mac brought that over with him from FOX. It was especially nauseating during the Michigan race. I had to watch that race with a barf bag at the ready.

I Think NASCAR Needs A New Savior

If Princess Provisional was supposed to be the sport's new savior (evidently, Junior has an expired shelf life, or something), well, Brain Dead needs to go back to the drawing board. Let's look at what has happened to TV ratings so far this year compared to 2012. Total viewers for the 16 races held so far in 2013: 114.439 million. For the first 16 races of 2012, total viewership was 114.210 million. The numbers are essentially flat from last year to this one. If you take away the numbers from the Daytona 500 in both years (this year's numbers were way up due to the bogus pole for The Princess), then this year's numbers are down 2.7% from last year. To make things worse, this year's numbers are down 9.6% compared to the same period in 2011. And if her merchandise sales are supposedly so huge, why aren't the fans attending the races wearing her gear? Now, I've only been to two races this year (the Daytona 500 and the Southern 500), but at both events her trailer wasn't exactly doing a lot of business, and the number of fans I saw actually wearing 10 gear at both races I could have counted on both hands and had a few fingers left over.

The Gen Sux...err, Six Car

Yes, we know the new gen six car is faster than the POSOT (and if we didn't know it, DW was there to tell us that about every 3.7 seconds during every practice session, qualifying session, and race), but clean air still rules, and therefore boring-as-hell, single-file-all-day races like Fontana, Pocono, and Michigan are still boring as hell single file races, but just a little faster. And most of the passing for the lead still occurs on pit road. So what exactly were the advantages of the new car supposed to be? Oh yeah, they look (somewhat) prettier than the POSOT. Of course, that's not saying much. That would be like saying that your new wife looks prettier than your old wife...but your old wife was Helen Thomas.

An Update

I haven't done this in a while. here is an updated list of the top 10 drivers as far as the number of columns, stories, articles, etc. in which their name appears in the title. This list is from the period of January 10th to June 26th (today). Guess who's still number one:

Princess Provisional: 445
The Hamster: 332
Bent Sh!tcan: 317
Mini Douche: 262
Junior: 255
Matty Ice: 246
B-ski: 244
Smokeless: 203
Burnt Toast: 160
Unhappy: 131

Splash And Go

Short takes on a variety of subjects:

1. It may be a very long time until Maxi Douche wins another race. If his car is good, he screws up; if he appears to have his head together, his car takes a crap.

2. The road race at Sonoma takes place in a perfect location for Princess Provisional: California "whine" country.

3. Maybe The Hamster should just give up trying to make the Chase this year, turn the 11 car over to someone else for the rest of the year, and have the back surgery he appears to need a few months early to ensure he's healthy and ready to go for 2014.

4. Bobby Labonte's consecutive races started streak comes to an end this week at 704. And it ends on a less than stellar note, with his two 43rd place finishes in the last two races.

5. Maybe now we can stop counting how many races it's been since Martin Truex, Jr. won a race. Because right now that count is at zero.

6. It appears that One Problem Wrecktoya most likely will be back in the 42 again next year. So where will No-Neck land in 2014? Well, Unhappy is taking his ride at SHR, so why not return the favor and get behind the wheel of the 29?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Left, Right, & Wrong by John "Dawg" Chapman

First I want to take a minute to think about Jason Leffler, & Danish driver Allan Simonsen, who lost his life at Le Mans. No matter how many safety features that are built into cars, of whatever type. When you drive cars at the limit, the danger is always there, & everyone who straps in, & buckles on a helmet, knows it.I do love road racing! First I got to watch the end of the 24 hours of Le Mans. Seemed to be a wine country, road racing kind of day. As a loyal diesel driver (overall winner) & a Porsche aficionado (class winner) it doesn't get any better than that.

If you're like me, more than a little jaded by the NASCAR, cookie cutter parade. Then one of NASCAR's all too infrequent forays into Road Racing is just what the Dr. ordered.

This got interesting, for me early on. When the entry list came out it showed Jacques Villeneuve in James Finch's 51. We promptly had several drivers weighing in on his past indiscretions in the Nationwide Series. I get it, but one thing I found particularly interesting. Here we have Villeneuve, Indy 500, winner, Record holder for most F1 wins by a rookie, 4, now shared with Louis Hamilton, F1 World Champion, won going head to head with then 2 time Champion, Michael Schumacher. Being dissed by Queen Danica. This is a driver that's won exactly 1 race at the top level in any series. Sounds like someone's been reading their own press releases.

In addition to Jacques, we had Victor Gonzalez Jr. in the 36, Tony Drissi, in the 87, Paulie Harraka, in the 52, Alex Kennedy in the 19. What was this, the rent a ride week?

I'm sure that all of these drivers come with solid road racing credits, but with the cars they were in. Michael Schumacher, couldn't have done much better. In addition to the newcomers we also had Boris Said, & Ron Fellows, both these guys had to have an extremely, frustrating day. Being used to top notch rides to match their talents, this wasn't one of those days. I was really surprised that Ron wasn't able to get more out of the 33.

Things got interesting on pit road, before they even got onto the track. Someone stopped unexpectedly, & Paulie, nailed him solidly. I can understand pre race jitters, & nerves, but in this case they seem to have been well founded.

I remember an instance where Mark Martin wrecked while warming his tires, before the green flag. But I don't ever remember a wreck before the cars even got on the track. Then we had Jacques 51 car up on jack stands. Don't think the talking heads, (thankfully no Waltrips) ever said, but I learned from PRN, that it was hung up in second gear, the song Beep Beep, immediately came to mind. Whatever the deal was, it lead to an early retirement, before Jacques could make any new friends.

Them we had the start delayed because Bobby Labonte's 47 puked out it's coolant on pit road, this was getting stranger, & stranger. Due to the cleanup delay, the crew was able to either change the radiator, or fix the leak, in time for the start. Just in time for the car to die on track, before the first lap was completed. I will have the picture stuck in my mind of Bobby sitting dejectedly on the car waiting for a tow. Kind of brings to mind the line from the Gambler, about knowing when to fold 'em. It's really sad to see a Champion go out like this. They put A J, in the car last week, & will again next week, to get some feedback. Wonder what kind of feedback Bobby gave them about this fiasco.

We watched the early laps, while the BJ Thomas line about "raindrops falling on my head" ran through my mind. Makes me wish that NASCAR trusted their drivers enough to equip the cars with wipers, tail lights, & rain tires, & just let them race. Even the "big boy" road racing series, are smart enough to realize that sometimes the rain is just too heavy to race in, but sprinkles? Come on NASCAR, if you're going to road race, then commit to it, quit half assing around!

We were treated to some 3 wide racing, in places that they shouldn't have been able to get away with it, but somehow, they did. I'm really impressed by how much improvement that the drivers have made in their road skills. We were reminded several time during the broadcast, that this wasn't Junior's favorite track, that his finishes weren't good on road courses, etc, etc. We are also treated from time to time that it still isn't too late for Junior to win a Championship, ( but it is.)

Today with the amount of help available, there's really no excuse for any driver not to have the skills to get it done on the twisties. The fact that a few still don't, to me, shows a lack of commitment to the so-called, big picture.

One thing I noticed early, & put in my notes, was that Truex, was putting on a clinic for good, smooth passes. You didn't see him beating on anyone, or leaning on them. He was making clean passes, the kind that wasn't going to make anyone mad in the process.

Speaking of smooth passes, Montoya, was making passes also, but they weren't always so smooth. One of his early ones, sent Kyle into the spin cycle. Kyle might have been a little upset, by this. But by the end of the race he was probably getting used to it. Not one of his better days.

You can't watch a NASCAR race, without seeing way too many commercials. Two that really stuck in my mind, were the Mikes Hard Lemonade ones, & the Hopper, spoken with a harsh New England accent, The Hoppah! I finally decided Mikes were just really strange, but the Hoppah, was annoying as all hell. If I had their network, I'd cancel it!. As I've always been attracted to strange, I might just try a Mikes sometime.

I was particularly impressed with Kurt Busch, I'd think it would be particularly hard to drive a road course, after shooting yourself in both feet. But he pulled it off. When you have to go to the back, on a road course, that's a real penalty. The thing he had going for him, was that he had his trouble early enough to recover, & his recovery wasn't just good, it was great. He also gave a grownup interview afterward. So I have to give him props, all the way around.

Speaking of having trouble, & having recovery time. Jamie Mac. was trying to take care of his stuff, but he finally got bit. His real problem was that it happened late, & he wasn't able to get come back. Seems like a variation on the same story week after week.

Montoya was on a real charge late, but he ran out of fuel, (the only one to do so) & fell from 2nd, to 35th. Chip has made a lot of noise about turning his teams around, & they both are showing good speed, evidenced by the pole run. But they're still at least a tick off, & in Cup, that's not even close to being good enough.

Petty's operation seems to fall into the same category.

Queen Danica had a bad day, but then she really hasn't had many good ones.

We were even treated to some TV love for Jeff Burton, & that was before he & Tony mixed it up.

Speaking of TV love, & the lack thereof. We were shown an action shot, that showed a car sliding through the shot. They then cut back to the leader running around by himself. Absolutely no mention of the accident. After a while they cut back to the 19 car sitting stalled. No star power at work there.

Another thing that caught my eye, & I've been seeing it all year, it just never really registered before, was how much the uniformed NASCAR officials resembled Pillsbury Dough Boys. One even tried a weak trot, but it was more like trotting in place. Come on NASCAR, the crews all have fitness coaches, maybe it's time the pit road officials followed suit. Maybe they could practice the 15 yard jog, & cut down on the 12oz, curls.

At the end of the day, the day belonged to Martin Truex Jr. He's shown that he had the chops before. This time he had the luck to go with it. I was a little surprised that there wasn't a late yellow, but I guess race control finally decided to "let them play." He took a giant step, toward putting himself in the Chase. Well done to both Martin, & the entire 56 crew. A driver who wins on both the road tracks, & the ovals, can take his place on the top of the pyramid.

Come on NASCAR, get your head out of the dark place, look at your races, your numbers, & listen to your fans. Ditch a cookie cutter, & give us another Road Race, (maybe Road America, or Road Atlanta) & put it in the Chase!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Misreporting, Dega, JGR Engines, and Other Stuff

Mayfield Misreporting


About a month ago there was an article saying that some of the guns that Jeremy Mayfield owns were stolen. If you go back to the beginning of this entire episode, the guns were processed by the County Mounties and all of the guns came back clean and legally owned. So why report that some of the guns were stolen? Either the reporter didn’t check his facts or the DA is trying to muddy the waters in an already murky case.


Some examples of the murkiness involved. The supposed stolen furniture that was in the Mayfield residence had been legally purchased at auction in a lot sale several years before the local constabulary arrested Mayfield. Mayfield has the receipts for the furniture however the DA has yet to release the receipts to Mayfield’s attorneys so he can prove his innocence on those items. Sounds a bit like obstruction of justice on the part of the DA to me.


Then there’s the money that was in the safe at the Mayfield residence that was never logged into evidence according to the evidence logs. Who emptied the safe? Why the County Mounties did. So why wasn’t the money entered on the evidence logs based on the charges leveled against Mayfield? From what residents of the 2 counties involved in the arrest of Mayfield have told me, there is corruption not only in the local constabulary but also in the DA’s office. So where did the missing money go?


Then there’s the hearings that kept being postponed. Every time Mayfield’s hearings were postponed, the hearings for the supposed star witness were also postponed. Just why is that? Coincidence maybe? And yet charges against one of the 3 alleged to be involved in the theft were dropped altogether after the death of the star witness, who was trying to outrun cops on a motorcycle which had both cash and meth hidden in a compartment on the motorcycle and ran headlong into an SUV killing both himself and his passenger.


The longer the case goes, the stranger things get, and the more you have to wonder about whether or not this whole thing was a set up to begin with.



The Invisible Man Racing at Talladega


It appears that the Queen of Hype was bumped by the Invisible Man at Talladega causing her car to turn right into another car. It seems the unauthorized 44th car on the track had been borrowed from Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. The Invisible Boat Mobile. When reached for comment the Invisible Man said:

“                                                      ". “                                              ". “                                                                              ".


Newman Sounding Off


And rightfully so. Nearly a 4 hour rain delay, sunset rapidly approaching, and instead of calling the race at the half way point, which they could’ve and should’ve done, the bumbling bureaucrats in the race control booth decided to have them race some more. It proves that driver safety is of second importance to the Beach Boy Bubbas. I’d rather have a race called for rain than have drivers and possibly even fans injured because greed over-ruled common sense.


And is it coincidental that after the carnage at Talladega that James Finch announces he’s going to pull the plug on his race team? He specifically mentions having a few unwrecked cars to run until the race at Indy at which time he‘ll close the doors.


NA$CAR can review Newman’s statement they want to. The fact is Newman is right. But because he did heavily criticize the sanctioning body albeit not in name, he will face some sort of penalty whether from the official rulebook or the Double Secret Probation rulebook.


JGR Innocent of Engine Wrong Doings


Yes, you read that right. So who’s actually guilty. Well TuRD admitted to their part with the lightweight connecting rod. But that’s only a small part. The guilty parties actually reside within the Ivory Towers in Daytona Beach. Faux King Brian and his band of court jesters. You have to go back to when the Japanese company first arrived and bought their way into NA$CAR for $84 million. Part of the deal was that their engines would be sealed and could only be opened by a technician from their company and only in the presence of NA$CAR officials. No representatives of the other manufacturers nor the media could be present when their engines were opened up for inspection. And Faux King Brian and his court jesters signed off on it. So if anyone is truly guilty in this affair it’s Faux King Brian for not having the foresight to see what a sealed engine program run by one specific manufacturer could cause. This may not get JGR off the hook but at least folks will know who the guilty party truly is.


Underdogs Upset the Script


Front Row Motorsports upset the big teams and the script provided by Daytona Beach by winning at Talladega. Jabber Jaws and his balding parrot could do nothing about them running in the lead pack and being shown on TV. Even Tommy Baldwin’s cars were being shown totally disrupting the normal infomercial presentation.


It seems that the bumbling buffoons in race control didn’t like the fact that there were 4 Fords in the first four positions when the race was red flagged for rain so they didn’t call the race off. Heavens forbid the brand that isn’t the preferred brand of Faux King Brian and Jabber Jaws should win the race. So in their finite, myopic wisdom, they decided to run the rest of the race despite both rain and sunset approaching. Drivers were complaining about the darkness and the increased safety risk. We at home could see some raindrops on the camera lenses which means that the track was slick in those parts and increased the odds of a serious wreck. And sure enough we got that wreck leading to a Green, White, Wreckers finish. With drivers jockeying around and trying to block, two teammates hung together and made it to the finish line first and second. Both driving Fords. As did the 3rd place driver. So despite trying to manipulate things, Ford still won.


What was amazing was the humility of both drivers and the fact that the first thing they did was to thank God. Anyone remember when Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, and some other drivers use to do that back in the 90’s? The win by David Ragan and 2nd place going to his teammate David Gilliland has to be the feel good story of the season. And with Talladega having the 2nd largest purse behind the Daytona 500, you know their team owner Bob Jenkins, who has been paying out of pocket to run his team, is probably dancing a jig.


So I’m sure Jabber Jaws is having to mull over how he can omit interviews with both Davids come next week when they go to Darlington since they aren‘t in the script. But he can console himself in that Motormouth Mikey will be back in the Infield Outhouse screaming, swooning, and shilling for everything and everything he’s getting paid to shill for. And you know jack Roush has got to be kicking himself in the butt for letting David Ragan go. But Jack can take some conciliation in the fact that it was a Roush-Yates engine that finished 1-2-3.


Penske Guilty, Penalty Reduced Somewhat


NA$CAR’s Kangaroo Court Chief John Middlebrook pronounced Penske guilty as charged for violating the rulebook. No surprise really. What was surprising is that he was feeling benevolent and cut the length of the suspensions of the crew chief, car chief, engineers, and the competition director of Penske South. However, the points docked and the financial fines are still in effect.


For those not familiar with Middlebrook, he was one of the execs at GM they helped drive it into bankruptcy by giving consumers cars they didn’t want to buy and is a personal friend of The Felon. He’s also reduced some penalties in the past such as with Robby Gordon where he eliminated the points docked but increased the financial penalty by doubling it.


Where’s the Gas Coming From?


And no, I’m not talking about what happens after eating some beans. I’m talking about the fuel that’s being used each and every weekend at the tracks. Sunoco sold off its refineries in 2011 which means that somebody else is making their fuel. So who is it? VP? Shell? Renegade? Who is the actual fuel manufacturer? It sure isn’t American Ethanol as their primarily a lobbying group for ethanol subsidies unless they bought some refineries and I don’t find anything about that on their web site. A little subtle deception going on for marketing purposes? It wouldn’t be the first time.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Our Two Cents: Fontana

Move of the Race

Mad Mikie: The #18 car staying high while Logano & Hamlin were battling it out in the middle of the track and taking each other out.

Mike Sanders: Gotta give this one to Mini Douche, for hanging around in third place on the last lap while he waited for Burnt Toast and The Hamster to wreck each other, then going up high past the two of them and winning the race. It always helps to be in the right place at the right time.

What the Fans Are Talking About

Mad Mikie: Once again, it’s not about the race itself. Denny Hamlin’s injury is a hot topic right now. Of course, there’s also 104 laps of sheer boredom with the last 2 laps being the only real excitement shown on TV between Hamlin & Logano battling it out for the lead then taking each other out only to have the #18 car slip by and take the win. Then the post-race excitement between Stewart and Logano on pit road.

Mike Sanders: Wow, where to begin. There are several topics this week: The Hamster's injured back, which will cause him to miss at least five races and thereby ending his title hopes this year; the bumping and banging between Burnt Toast and The Hamster on the last lap (was it retaliation, or was it just good, hard racing?); the post-race melee between Burnt Toast and Smokeless; and the issue of why Fontana doesn't have a SAFER barrier covering the entire inner wall (and btw, has anyone followed up on whether Michigan did anything with the end of the pit road wall the 55 car got shish-kabobbed on last year?)

Most Impressive Run by an Underdog


Mad Mikie: Casey Mears, a non-story because of the info-mercial coverage, managed to come in 15th with a single car team. We did see some accidental shots of Casey but only because he was being passed or racing near one of the info-mercial cars. Considering everything that happened up front, making it to the end without getting caught up in somebody else’s mess is a major accomplishment. And the Dinger deserves an honorable mention for his 16th place finish despite driving a car that’s a subsidiary of another team.


Mike Sanders: know I left out Maxi Douche from last week's underdog report. I know Furniture Row Racing is a small single-car operation run out of Denver and not out of a city in North Carolina, but the team has won a race before and they have a former Cup champion as their driver (no matter how much of a douche he is, he's a damn good driver when he puts his mind to it). Therefore, they're not a true underdog like some of the other smaller teams; however, I guess I can give them some credit. So, this week, the 78 team is the runner-up for Underdog of the week. The award this week goes to Dave Blaney and the 7 car from Tommy Baldwin Racing, who finished in 21st and on the lead lap. Honorable mentions to Casey Mears, who keeps the Germain Racing 13 car inside the top 15, and to the Dinger, who gave James Finch another top 20 finish this week.

Bonehead Move of the Race


Mad Mikie: That would have to be Hamlin & Logano taking each other out costing both of them a chance at the win.


Mike Sanders: A couple of options here, but I'll give this one to Smokeless, who continues to be a world-class hypocrite when it comes to blocking. He continues to do it with sometimes disastrous results (Talladega last fall, anyone?), then issues some lame apology (yeah, I'm sure that made One Trick Pony feel MUCH better) and hopes nobody is mad enough to beat the crap out of him. However, if someone blocks him, he gets pissed off enough to come after the offending driver with his helmet (Matty Ice at Bristol last fall) or his fists (Burnt Toast at Fontana). Hey Smokeless, what B.T. did to you on that final restart was perfectly fine; going after him post-race was a bonehead move.

Grading the Race


Mad Mikie: The radio coverage would have to get a solid A while the TV coverage gets a solid D-.


Mike Sanders: I'll give it a B, and here's why: due to a very nasty storm (the same one that caused the Bay Hill golf tournament to be postponed; I live a little less than 20 miles from Bay Hill) with 70+ mph wind gusts, hail, and all manner of other unpleasantness, I lost power about half an hour before the race started and I was only able to watch the last 40 laps of the race (without the sound, which may have been a blessing in disguise) at a local sports bar. Friends I talked to that watched the entire race said I didn't really miss much, that it was a typical sleep-inducing Fontana race. So, all of the fireworks of the last lap and post-race only bring it up to a grade of B.



My Two Cents/Random Thoughts


Mad Mikie: My how soon Tony Stewart forgets about his blocking at Talladega which caused a 30 car pile-up and then he uses a 3350 pound battering ram on pit road and tries to go after Logano for doing the same thing that he himself did. At least Logano didn’t cause a 30 car wreck with his blocking. Logano also brought up 2 other valid points. One has to do with the restart itself. The rules state that you can’t beat the leader to the start/finish line. So he had to hold back on the throttle not to violate that rule. The second is protecting your line, which he did by blocking Stewart rather successfully. While some folks may fault him for the blocking, he was well within the rules on the restart.


The race coverage followed the storylines, pre-race interviews, and pit reporters stories. Jabber Jaws and Motormouth Mikey both rambled on about how Mr Toyoda’s company had never won a Cup race at Fontana, how JGR hadn’t won at Fontana using Mr Toyoda’s cars, how both TRD and Mr Toyoda’s American headquarters were nearby. They also talked about Shrubbery, Brad K, Biffle, Johnson, Hamlin, Bowyer, mentioned the Queen of Hype’s Kid Choice Award, how Stewart was struggling, the Twitter battle between Hamlin & Logano, Motormouth Mikey on pit road saying something or getting a comment from Jeff Gordon and Jamie Mac, Jabber Jaws picking Bow Wow Bowyer to win, how Dale Jr was consistent, Matt Kenseth getting a plug, and constant plugs and mentions how the COT II was so great. The only other cars to get shown were caused that had problems like Marcos Ambrose, Front Row Joe, and Josh Wise.


Despite the fact that Jeff Gordon’s Belgian wife can show respect to our flag, One Problem still has a problem with it.


Plenty of empty seats were visible and you have to wonder how many of the seats that were filled were actually from free tickets as each track worker could have up to 10 free tickets to give away to family and friends.


The race didn’t get far into the first lap before the gimmick cam shots were being used. 3 on the first lap alone. Of the 104 green flag laps almost shown, there were 256 gimmick shots used all from cars whose sponsors buy commercial time. 62 green flag laps were lost to commercials along with at least 10 laps being lost to the Hollyweird Motel and the Booth Buffoons. And if you count NA$CAR’s exclusive Myopic Vision race coverage, there were maybe 20 actual laps of green flag racing shown. So from what’s advertised as being a 200 lap race, we actually get to see 20 laps of it on TV. Don’t you just love the Beach Boy Bubba’s providing the script on what stories will be covered and Jabber Jaws having creative control over the race and only showing 20 real laps of racing? I know that’s what I pay my cable bill to see. NOT!


One thing not being mentioned much by the NA$CAR-controlled lamestream media is the fact that Bobby Labonte’s car was laying down some grease on the track from a rear axle problem which may have very well been the contributing factor in Logano and Hamlin getting together. Why wouldn’t they want to mention it? Because it disrupts all of the hype about the alleged rivalry between the two. Heavens forbid that the wreck was actually caused by grease on the track and NA$CAR didn’t throw a caution flag to clean it up. Imagine how few articles there would be criticizing NA$CAR for putting drivers unnecessarily in jeopardy over and above what they already do. You might actually get 2 brave souls with credentials to actually write about it.



Mike Sanders: Somebody had better give Burnt Toast a bigger shovel, because the hole he's digging for himself continues to get deeper. He's managing to piss off a lot of people in the garage, and payback can be hell. Smokeless is after him and you'd better believe that The Hamster won't wait until the last lap of a race to exact his revenge. Was that last lap good, hard racing (ala Ricky Craven and Maxi Douche at Darlington) or was it payback on B.T.'s part for what had happened at Bristol the week before? B.T.'s own comments right after the race, before he knew of The Hamster's back injury, seem to indicate it was payback more than anything else. He has since changed his tune after the extent of the injury became known, but his comments now ring hollow. Martinsville is the perfect place for a little "accidental" nudge into the wall, and I wouldn't put it past Smokeless to wreck half the field again to get his payback against the 22 car. One potential fallout from this whole situation: no fines will be levied against any of the drivers involved in this mess, so I guess "boys have at it" is back in vogue again. And that could lead to some very messy situations in the coming weeks. One final thing: there is absolutely no reason for Fontana not to have SAFER barriers around the entire track on the inside and outside walls when next year's race is held there. They've got an entire year to make it happen. If NASCAR was truly worried about driver safety, they would demand it, no matter what the monetary cost. Actually, every track on the circuit should have them all the way around on the inside and outside walls.




Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My Two Cents Worth: Las Vegas

My Two Cents Worth

Mike Sanders: I sat down to watch a bunch of commercials and a stock car race broke out. Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. The frequency of the commercial breaks is getting to be too much to take. When you factor in the "on air personalities" we have to listen to its making races impossible to watch on TV. But it only gets worse in two years, when the contract extension FOX signed this year takes effect. Their rights fees are going up 36% over what they pay now. You know what that means: even MORE commercial breaks. And the "side-by-side" thing is worthless. The racing portion of it is about the size of a postage stamp. And btw, both Chris Myers and Mikey tried to out-stupid each other today. It was painful to listen to. Enough already...

Racemama: Well, like I said there was an improvement in the racing on the first 1.5 miler we raced on this year. BUT we will have to see where it goes from here. Did I sit spellbound to the TV? NO. I had to get up and do something because I started dozing in the first half the race. Things picked up in the last 100 laps. I really think we need to go to heat races. The drivers only want to get it on for 30 to 50 laps than let’s race 30 to 50 lap segments.

This week again it was all about who got out of the pits first and the fuel mileage talk. THAT IS NOT RACING! Make the tires wear out and fuel mileage won’t even be discussed because drivers will be screaming for tires at every opportunity.

On NASCAR and the Hamlin fiasco, NASCAR just can’t seem to help them selves from looking foolish. That being said I don’t see Hamlin winning his appeal. I also see many speeding penalties in his future.

Mad Mikie: The tone of the race was set during the pre-race segment. Cheerleading from the get-go for Hendrick & MWR. Johnson got 15 mentions versus the reigning MPD who only got one and the reigning Cup champ who got 2. The COT II got more mentions than both Bad Brad and Jr. combined with 5. Stewart came 2nd in 10 mentions and both the Queen of Hype and her boyfriend tied for 3rd with 7 mentions.
273 total gimmick shots were used during this race. With only 198 laps of both green and yellow flag racing being shown. That works out to 1.378 gimmick shots per lap. Of these, 43 involved the #48 car with 31 of them being the gyro cam.

There is a discernible pattern with the gyro cam shots if you haven’t figured it out by now. It’s the #48 and then particular race sponsors like Bud and 5 hour Energy. Next came Stewart and the reigning MPD. You’ll be extremely lucky to see a gyro cam shot from Trevor Bayne, Dave Blaney or Michael McDowell even if they were leading the last lap.

There is also another pattern developing. The closer the end of the race, the more myopic the coverage gets. From Lap 247 through the end, it was the 20 and 5 being covered with a couple of quick shots of the #2 and #18.

Excuse of the Race has to be Jabbers Jaws making excuses for the Queen of Hype. At Daytona, it was her talent that got her on the pole. Last week, it was a tire blowing out. No mention of her running into Yeley pushing in the right front fender cutting the tire. This week’s excuse was a bad car. Jabber Jaws rambled on how she was unable to set up her car because of the rain-out for qualifying. He sure seems to forget that in her IRL and IndyCar days she had to have her teammates set up her cars. And the excuse of being a rookie doesn’t hold water either. Her boyfriend is a rookie too and look where he finished. 15 spots ahead of her. And the excuse of only racing for 3 years doesn’t hold water either. She’s been racing at the professional level since 2005 and with NA$CAR since 2010 which makes this year her 4th year. Jabber Jaws needs to take his own advice regarding what he said about Hamlin. “Work with your hands and not your mouth”.

Dawg: Well, I thought we were going to get through this entire race week without an engine issue from the Toyota camp. But that thought went up in smoke on lap 217, along with Travis Kvapil's Toyota engine and trust me this wasn't any valve spring. Being as it was just Travis and the 93 Burger King/Dr. Pepper team, the producer chose to ignore them. The follow up was all about Danica being behind it. While I'm thinking about Toyota, we all know that Ole DW is a bought and paid for shill for the brand but give it a rest!

As for the race. Drivers talk about getting into a rhythm, well, we fans need to do that too. But it's really hard to do when the action keeps getting interrupted every 15 laps or so for commercials. I switched over to reruns of American Pickers and had a hard time switching back.

No secret that I admire Matt, so I was pleased with the outcome. I was very happy to see that the change of brands and crews didn't change things for him. Now he's really part of the new family.

Just one last thing to say........Damn you, Denny Hamlin............ If you'd just kept your mouth shut, we'd never have noticed. Now you've spoiled it for all of us. They didn't fine you enough!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Robby Gordon Update, MPD change in 2013?, & Other Stuff

Robby Gordon’s 2013 NASCAR Schedule

Robby will race at Mid-Ohio and Road America in his own Busch Series car with Menard's sponsorship on it.

JGR to Run 6th Generation Cars in 2013

According to some released photos, Joe Gibbs Racing will be running the 6th generation of the much maligned generic Car Of Turpitude (a $475,000 vehicle designed to replace the previous $150,000 vehicle to save the teams money) for the 2013 season. Despite what Faux King Brian has been bragging about with the 2013 COT looking more like their street counterparts, the only discernable difference between the 2012 & 2013 COT’s appears to be a more rounded appearance of the actual nose of the race vehicle. They’re still the same when they’re in the “raw” (no race wraps or paint jobs). So it seems that once again, Faux King Brian has made a big hullabaloo about nothing.

Dale Jr to Lose MPD Status in 2013?

That seems to be a big concern right now among his fans. With highly touted, underperforming Queen of Hype starting a full time schedule next season in Cup, Dale Jr fans are trying to organize their efforts for the 2013 Most Popular Driver vote despite an article I wrote a while back regarding the fact that the votes for the All Star Race & MPD are fixed. So if the marketing machine in Daytona Beach feels that they want the Queen of Hype as MPD, Dale Jr doesn’t stand a chance. Even if he beat her by 1 million votes he’d still lose by royal decree from Daytona Beach.

Hyundai Coming?

That’s what several of my sources are saying. They’ll be using the “Genesis” label on the generic race vehicle. Yet another foreign label running a generic race vehicle with a purpose-built engine because they don’t make an actual car that runs a V-8. If it’s true, you can bet there will be even lower TV ratings and even emptier grandstands than what we witnessed this past season.

Auto Racing Favorite Sport With Only 5%

According to a recent Rasmussen Poll, only 5% of those surveyed said that auto racing was their favorite sport. So, if we take Rasmussen’s 5% and multiply that times the current US population (approx. 300 million), you come out with 15 million race fans. That’s a far cry from the 90 million Faux King Brian claimed are NA$CAR fans. Then you have to break that 15 million down further between the various forms of auto racing and based on some figures from a source who figured it out, you’ve got about 7 million NA$CAR fans. That’s based on a combination of TV ratings and track attendance. So maybe it’s time Faux King Brian and his henchmen submitted to a drug test because it sure seems like they’re drinking the bong water pretty hard to come up with that 90 million number.

Here’s a direct quote from Rasmussen:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of sports fans finds that 53% say football is their favorite sport to follow. Baseball comes in a distant second with 16% support, while basketball is the favorite of 11%. Six percent (6%) of Americans prefer hockey, with no other sport including soccer, auto racing, golf and tennis reaching five percent (5%).

Testing: Public Versus Private Comments

While we’re reading about how “wonderful” the new POS, I mean COT supposedly is, what I’m hearing through backchannels is quite the opposite. The “new” vehicle is having some severe handling issues. Naturally I’m not surprised at the complaints. We heard the same complaints time and again about the COT until an official edict was issued from the Ivory Towers in Daytona telling the drivers, teams, & owners to keep their yaps shut or else. Obviously they haven’t changed the steering points as was suggested several years ago or gone to different tires. So you can expect to see the “traditional” 26 car pile-up come Daytona 500 time caused by the ill handling generic race vehicles.

Who Built Charlotte Motor Speedway?

Here’s proof positive that good ole BS did not build the speedway as he keeps claiming he did. Remember, when it comes to BS, you’re dealing with BS.