Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Petty To Merge With Gillett Evernham

Lee Petty at FOX Sports is reporting that sources close to the deal are verifying that Petty Enterprises will be shutting their doors on their much storied shop and joining forces with the GEM shop.

Trying to keep, or take advantage of the brand, the newly formed team will be rebranded under the Petty Banner.  Yet we all know it won't be and thus ends another NASCAR legacy, making way for the future.  The future being where it will more than likely be 5 massive teams facing off against each other in the 43 car field.

Kentucky One Step Closer to Cup Date

SMI completed it's purchase of Kentucky Speedway today, giving Bruton Smith a wee bit more leverage towards that coveted Cup date.

This completed sale makes the count of tracks SMI owns up to eight.

source:   FOX Sports

The Largest Win Margin in NASCAR

Who's got the largest win margin in NASCAR?

In a race marred with all kinds of problems, the 1965 Southern 500 at Darlington booked out with all kinds of issues and merits.

In this race, rookie Buren Skeen died in the early laps of the race.
Cale Yarborough ended up rolling his car 6x ending up at the end of the parking lot.

Ned Jarrett ended up winning the race: By 14 laps. The largest margin of victory in NASCAR history.

At that point, I'm guessing he could save his equipment!


Drivers to Hit the Slippery Slopes of the Sled

The Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge is lookin' to take place this weekend, January 2-4 in Lake Placid, N.Y.. A bunch of NASCAR drivers are lined up for the event.

That includes Johnny Benson, Todd Bodine, Joey Logano, Brian Loftin, Philip Morris and Boris Said. One other personality I do know about is Dave Moody from SIRIUS Satellite Radio. He was going on and on about it so I thought I'd include him. (On and On meaning how he may die, who's the safest to ride with, etc..)


Sunday, December 28, 2008

A.J. Allmendinger To Replace Sadler at Gillett Evernham?

Marty Smith from ESPN is reporting that team sources are saying that A.J. Allmendinger is set to replace Elliott Sadler in the No. 19 Dodge in the upcoming 2009 season.


I thought that Sadler had a continuing contract with GE through 2010?  According to sources, because of this change some sponsors left the team.

If this is true, I am happy for Allmendinger, or 'Dinger to his buddies.  He deserved a good ride considering his level of talent.  But what the heck will happen to Elliott Sadler?  That's nuts and not fair to him, if the obvious happens.

Obviously, there will be more to follow as things develop.

source:  espn

Friday, December 26, 2008

News From The Past Week... or So

Ryan Newman Foundation raises $155k for conservation and animal welfare efforts.
It was presented by Alltel Wireless as they try to squeeze everything they can out of their wanning days with Ryan. Of which I'm bummed. All my Ryan diecasts are Alltel. Now What!!??

They had 319 fishermen, and a different event with celebs and pro fishing guys.

Pretty cool. You can see more over on NASCAR.

Here's a reminder: Drug Testing Commences for NASCAR in January.
NASCAR will start testing drivers in the 3rd week of Jan. while crew members must submit their own drug test results from approved labs no later than Jan 16th.

What was once a floating threat of an occasional drug test has become a standard regime of presence after the Aaron Fike scenario over in the truck series.

Now we see how it all goes. source

Another one Bites the dust as Bill Davis Racing has sold majority ownership of both his race team and his engine company in an effort to stay afloat. Not sure you can call selling off the majority of your team as "staying afloat", but there it is.

Mike Held, a California businessman, and Marty Gaunt, an executive with Bill Davis Racing, are the new majority owners and have also taken control of Triad Racing Development, which supplied engines, chassis and bodies for all three of NASCAR's top series.

They've changed the name of the company to Triad Racing Technologies.


NASCAR Settles
Like all large entities that see the cheaper side of litigation, the discriminatory litigation between NASCAR and Mauricia Grant has been settled.

And done so on mutually acceptable terms. Whatever acceptable terms could be from a $225 million lawsuit.

This was all in relation to 23 specific incidents of alleged sexual harassment and 34 specific incidents of alleged racial and gender discrimination during her employment in NASCAR, January 2005 until her October 2007, for the Nationwide series.

During this whole ordeal, NASCAR did fire 3 officials.

The specific terms of the settlement are confidential.

source: NASCAR Public Relations

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays to Everyone

Brotherly Wins in NASCAR - A Look From 2008

When Kyle Busch won at Infineon Raceway, followed by brother Kurt's win at New Hampshire, this gave them the first back-to-back wins by brothers since Kyle won at California and Kurt at Richmond in September 2005.

See the rest at Brothers In NASCAR

Monday, December 22, 2008

Poll Post - What Do You Want To See

Hey faithful readers, hope all is treating you well these days.

I'm pondering changing up what I report on, or write about in this newsletter of mine, NASCAR Bits and Pieces and I'd like your opinion.

Ive been reporting news and what not, but there are so many sources for news,
  • I have to wonder if you like my news or not?
  • Is it redundant?
  • Do I select the best news for you?
  • Are my opinion pieces like Tight in Turn 2 fun for you?
  • Do I pick the right news for you?
  • Am I duplicating your RSS feed.
Questions like that run through my mind and I'd like to make this place a fun place to visit.

So I have generated a poll for you to vote on, or you can leave your thoughts here on my newsletter comment section.

If you receive this newsletter via RSS or Email and the news is useful, let me know it's useful, or

Just leave a comment or click on the poll. It's open until Jan 31 so there's plenty of time, but the sooner, the better for me!

Like they always say, if you want to know, just ask. Well, I'm asking! Thanks for coming by, singing up or flitting through my little world of NASCAR folks!


Ron Hornaday Sr Passed Away

Ron Hornaday Sr, father to Ron Hornaday Jr, died December 21, 2008.

Reports are that he succumbed to cancer.

Our condolences to the Horndays.

'Tis The Season

It's Christmas Week!!! Anyone have a problem with me taking a day off or a week off?

We'll see if I can stay away!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Curious Notes From The 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season

Ryan Newman posted the first Daytona 500 victory for a Dodge since Ward Burton won in 2002. That victory was the only other restrictor-plate victory for Dodge.

Tony Stewart won at Talladega Superspeedway in his 20th attempt.
That leaves only three active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tracks at which Stewart has not visited Victory Lane:
  • Auto Club Speedway,
  • Darlington Raceway and
  • Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Among active drivers, only Jeff Gordon has won at more tracks. Gordon has yet to win at two tracks:
  • Homestead-Miami Speedway and
  • Texas Motor Speedway.
By contrast Jimmie Johnson has yet to visit Victory Lane at five active tracks:
  • Bristol,
  • Chicago,
  • Homestead-Miami,
  • Michigan,
  • Infineon.
Dude, get the lead out!! Oh, wait, he did. THREE TIMES!

Kasey Kahne was the only driver with three top-10 finishes in the first three races this season. In 2007, Kahne did not get his third top 10 until race No. 24, at Bristol.

Jeff Gordon won the pole at Atlanta, making this his 16th consecutive year with a pole.

He is third on the all-time list for consecutive years with a pole behind David Pearson (20) and Richard Petty (17).

Jeff Gordon finished 43rd after his accident at Texas, just the second time in his career that he finished 43rd. The other also came at Texas (March 1999).

Greg Biffle won the pole on the newly-repaved Darlington Raceway, breaking Ward Burton’s 1996 track qualifying record.

Burton’s was the longest-standing qualifying record at an active, nonrestrictor-plate track.

Denny Hamlin led 381 laps, setting the record for the number of laps led in a 400-lap race at Richmond.

Denny eclipsed the mark of 369 set by Bobby Allison in September 1979.

The record for laps led all-time at Richmond is 488 of 500 on the half-mile configuration by David Pearson in September 1970.

Kyle Busch led 786 laps in the first 14 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season. He had also led the exact same number through the first 15 races (the same weekend) in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The man is a freak of skills! Skills we all wish we could freak at!

Kyle Busch led 415 laps at Bristol, the 13th time a driver has led 400 laps or more at the Tennessee short track.

The standard was set by Cale Yarborough, who led all 500 laps in March 1973.

Busch became the third driver to lead over 400 laps and not win the race, joining
Richard Petty (442 laps in July 1964) and
Rusty Wallace (409 laps in August 1993).

42 cars completed the Pepsi 500 – setting the track record for cars running at the finish for Auto Club Speedway.

• The 43 cars running at the finish in the second Richmond race is the first time that all the cars have been running at the finish of a Richmond race, breaking the record of 39 which occurred four times.

It was just the second time since the field was mandated to 43 cars that all starters finished a race. The other was at New Hampshire in September 2007.

• The 40 cars running at the finish at Dover set the record for cars finishing a race there.

• The 42 cars running at the finish at Kansas set the record for cars finishing a race there.

Chad McCumbee started his first Lowe’s Motor Speedway race, becoming the 500th different driver to compete at LMS.

Mark Martin has started second six times in the 2008 season – all as a result of timed qualifying.

The modern era record for second-place starts is 10 by Jeff Gordon in 1996.

Richard Petty (1964) and David Pearson (1968) each had 17 second-place starts – the all-time record – but both came in seasons with more than 48 races. (Wow, a 48 race season!!! Gotta wonder how many networks would cover that in this era!?)

-Oh crap... I'm out of curious facts from the 2008 season... now what?????

source: nascar press release

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tidbits to Ponder - Kenseth, Robby Gordon and Labonte

Matt Kenseth gets a new crew chief in Drew Blickensderfer.
Robby Gordon is playing musical chairs with manufacturers and is switching to Toyota.

And something to ponder:  IS Bobby Labonte going to be driving the No. 41 Target car for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing?

(Just thought I'd say hi with something besides a statistic!)

Curious Records from the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season

Current Streaks
Kevin Harvick extended his current streak of running at the finish to 80 races.

That is the all-time record for consecutive races without a DNF.

Harvick’s Richard Childress Racing teammate, Clint Bowyer, is second on the list, currently on a 73-race streak of running at the finish.

Note: Herman Beam completed 84 consecutive races that he competed in (1961-63), but he did not race in all of the scheduled events during his personal streak. His longest consecutive-race streak was 35 races.

International Flare Grows
Five foreign-born drivers participated at Infineon Raceway:
  • Marcos Ambrose (Australia)
  • Patrick Carpentier (Canada)
  • Ron Fellows (Canada)
  • Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia)
  • Max Papis (Italy).
This was the largest contingent of foreign-born drivers in a race in NASCAR Sprint Cup history.

This eclipsed the previous mark of three which was set eight times – most recently at Infineon in 2007.

Sounding More Like An Olympic Venue!
At Watkins Glen, three nations were represented among the top five for the first time in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history.
  1. Kyle Busch (United States)
  2. Tony Stewart (United States)
  3. Marcos Ambrose (Australia)
  4. Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia)
  5. Martin Truex Jr. (United States)

Lap Leaders in a Race
The 28 different drivers that led at Talladega-2 set the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series record for different lap leaders in a race.

It eclipsed the mark of 26 set at Talladega in July 1986 and tied in April 2001, also at Talladega.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Manufacturer Notes From the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Terse Review)

Manufacturer Championship
Chevrolet won the Manufacturers’ Championship with 219 points – its sixth straight title and 32nd overall.
Ford had 215,
Toyota 207 and
Dodge 151.

Chevrolet and Ford both had 11 victories in 2008.
Toyota had 10 victories while Dodge had four wins.

Top Four
All four manufacturers have been in the top four finishers four times this season:
  • Texas,
  • Charlotte,
  • Michigan and
  • Indianapolis.

source: nascar press release

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Quick Look At Penalties from the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season

When I said quick, I meant it!!


There have been 619 on-track penalties issued in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season.

Penalty Recap:
  • Pitting Before Pit Road is Open 310
  • Too Fast Entering Pit Road 63
  • Too Fast Exiting Pit Road 87
  • "Others" 159

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Labonte Released From Petty Enterprises

Bobby Labonte was released from Petty Enterprises today, despite singing a four year contract extension.

Here's a funny:  At the time of writing this, my SOURCE link that got me going on this subject from BizJournals says "Labonte had driven for the Petty team for 15 years and won the NASCAR championship in 2000.".  Well, they got some of it right.  Now if they only said, in Bobby's 15 years of racing.  It really sucks when a writer doesn't know what they're talking about and only skims their source article.

Part of the issue was that Petty (Besides quietly circling the drain, dumping Kyle Petty from the team and a complete lack of competitiveness) Enterprises lost General Mills as a sponsor to RCR.  Which means they need to restock on a totally new breakfast cereal now.

SIRIUS Satellite NASCAR Ch. 128 was reporting that Bobby may be looking at the Target sponsored No. 41 car for next year.  If true, then Bobby truly is going to the dark side of racing in the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing shop.  You know, if they called it Earnhardt Ganassi Garage, that would be EGG!  I Shudder at the thought that Labonte would be driving for them but he'll put on a strong front if so.

Meanwhile, PE and GEM are still in the deliberations that they are denying they're in!

Here's hoping Bobby has a fighting chance in whatever ride he does get!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sam Bass On The Mend

Today while talking to Dave Moody on SIRIUS Speedway w/ Dave Moody, Sam Bass talked about his recovery with Dave. Yep, recovery.

He's diabetic and had some complications with his condition. This complication led to his having had surgery resulting in the amputation of a foot.

Sam is incredibly upbeat and looks at this development as a new lease on life. Once he gets his prosthetic, he's eager to get back on track.

Before the surgery, he cranked out some holiday products so that he wouldn't disappoint his customers / fans.

Sam is an incredible inpsiration with his upbeat attitude and more power to him and his family.

Thanks for the holiday inspiration Sam.

See his site, Sam Bass Online Gallery.

Owner Hilights From The NASCAR Sprint Series 2008 Season

Here are some selected tidbits on team owner statistics from the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season

• Ryan Newman won the season-opening Daytona 500, his first career restrictor-plate victory.

Teammate Kurt Busch finished second, giving car owner Roger Penske his first restrictor-plate victory and first 1-2 finish in 25 years of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing.

Richard Childress Racing followed that up when RCR captured the top three finishing positions in the first Bristol race of the season: Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer, respectively.

It was the first 1-2-3 finish for a car owner since Roush Fenway racing captured the top four spots at Homestead in November 2005: Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, respectively.

• Joe Nemechek won the pole at Talladega, giving car owner Barney Visser his first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup pole. It came in Visser’s 49th as a car owner.

Hendrick Motorsports began competing in NASCAR Sprint Cup in 1984 and won its first race in 1986. Since then, HMS has posted at least one victory in each of its 22 seasons since and has gone past the seventh race of a season before posting its first win eight times – but only four times since 1994 (including this season). The deepest that HMS has gone into a season before scoring a win was 1992 when the first victory did not come until race No. 23.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Michigan and became the 14th different driver to win for Hendrick Motorsports.

Every full-time driver for Hendrick Motorsports since 2000 has posted at least one victory while with the organization.

If statistics hold true for next year, then we can fully expect to see a win out of Mark Martin in 2009 then!

• Marcos Ambrose posted a third-place finish driving the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford at Watkins Glen.

That was the first top-five finish for the Wood Brothers since Ricky Rudd’s fourth at Bristol in August 2005.

• Carl Edwards posted only the second NASCAR Sprint Cup-NASCAR Nationwide Series weekend sweep at Michigan when he won both races there in August. Both came with Jack Roush as the car owner.

Mark Martin posted the first in 1993.

Roush Fenway Racing swept the top three finishing positions at Dover-2: Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards.

It was the second 1-2-3 sweep by a car owner in 2008.

source: nascar press release

Monday, December 8, 2008

Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise & Others

I wrote up a wee bit of a piece that kind of started growing into a full fledged article and thought I'd put it up on my Entertainment Review newsletter, Cinema Static.

I touch on Costner and Cruise being at the Banquet, then went on and on about Kelly Clarkson, Keifer Sutherland and the IMAX 3D movie.

Check it out over at Cinema Static.

NASCAR Sprint Cup: Rookie and Lap Notes from 2008

Looking back at the 2008 season of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, I'm glad to see that Regan Smith took the Rookie award for the year. Following this little segment of numbers is a quickie observation on lap leaders.

Rookie Performance
• Regan Smith won the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year Award.

• Five different drivers were the highest-finishing rookie in 2008:
  • Regan Smith (12)
  • Sam Hornish Jr. (11)
  • Patrick Carpentier (seven)
  • Michael McDowell (five)
  • Dario Franchitti (one)

As far as laps led in the 2008 season:

Laps Led
• Jimmie Johnson led 1,959 laps this season, more than any other driver.

• 50 drivers led at least one lap this season. No one has led in every race.

• 11 drivers led the most laps in a race this season:
  • Jimmie Johnson (10)
  • Kyle Busch (seven)
  • Carl Edwards (five)
  • Tony Stewart (four)
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (three)
  • Matt Kenseth (two)
  • Denny Hamlin (one)
  • Greg Biffle (one)
  • Kasey Kahne (one)
  • Mark Martin (one)
  • David Reutimann (one)

source: nascar press release

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Another NASCAR Banquet Has Come and Gone

Well, another year, and another Bank-Qwet has come and gone.

I dread the annual event that drones on and on for more time than is necessary on my television. My biggest issue is the female announcing voice that pitches the award recipients in such a wAy tHAt emPHasIzes thINgs in sUch a stUpid tonality that I can't help but wonder if this is an attempt to create comedy in the show. But alas, no, it is not. What I don't get is that according to sources over on Daly Planet, say that it's Tia Texada. Yea, Tia Texada. I've seen her in a number of shows and it never struck me that the over dramatized vocalization came from an actress who has been shows like Criminal Minds, CSI: Miami, The Unit, Third Watch, etc.. Does she not know how she sounds? It's corny. Eh? If you do a google search on her name, then click on Images, well, I guess that's what NASCAR is trying to pitch.

If her sounding annoying is well, annoying, I'm thinking that ESPN had to do one last "eff you fans" move of the year with their last broadcast by having the label LIVE in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Wow, it's amazing that after all these years of not covering the sport, they haven't changed their attitude in the slightest towards us, the NASCAR fan.

Well, it was live when they TAPED it for rebroadcast. This was the same timing set up as last year.

My problems with this time-shift issue and the bank-dwet were:

  • On the West Coast, we were told the show was starting at 7 pm Eastern. That's 4 PM West coast time. But the show didn't start on ESPN Classic until 6 PM my time. Hmm. If you have a SIRIUS radio and turned it on, you'd hear just how far behind the TV telecast was. One commentor on Daly Planet coined the network BSPN. Nice.
  • If Kevin Costner is a hired fan, how is it that he can refer to Dale Earnhardt as The Terminator? Wrong movie Kevin.
  • While I'm watching the "LIVE" telecast of an event that is over an hour old, I get an email from the NASCAR Press Office at 8:31 PM telling me that Cale Yarborough surprised Jimmie Johnson with the Champion Ring presentation. Hmm... that email ruined my surprise which was still 30 odd minutes away for me. Sigh.
  • If this thing is tape delayed, which means someone COULD be editing it, how does it run over? My TV menu schedule said it ended at 9 PM.
  • During some of the segments, someone really screwed up with video compilations, repeatedly. ONE example was when Clint Bowyer was on stage. The film recap showed the No. 18 car wrecking the No. 88. Eh? Then it went on with footage of Clints car. This happened a few times with the speaker that was on stage.
  • What in blue blazes was Tom Cruise doing there????? Oh no, are we smelling a Days of Thunder sequel!? Sigh.
  • It's classic that Carl Edwards bolted after his stage time. Kudos to Carl. I now have to buy a diecast of his, to show my support.
  • Where'd Jimmie's multi-million dollar check go? We didn't see it this year.
  • At one point, this thing was droning on so painfully that I was starting to wish that the ABC owned ESPN network really would go to America's Funniest Videos. (No ABC, I will never let you or anyone forget that the leader of the band pulled that one on us.)
  • The camera "work" made me feel like I was watching a Quentin Tarantino sequel production of Pulp NASCAR Fiction! Must have been the same camera director who insisted on endless bumper and in-car cam shots at the worse possible times... like during the race.

What did I like about the show?:
  • Rick Hendrick asking Kyle Busch how old he was because he acts like an 18-year-old.
  • The 2nd set that the comedian did was pretty funny. He let loose with his own material rather than forcing league related humor.
  • That Carl Edwards left as soon as he was done with his piece. Nice!! He must have learned that from Kyle Busch.
  • That the show ended.
Well, we only have 70 some odd days until the Speed Week-less Daytona 500.

By then, we'll have heard whether the auto manufacturers tap-danced their way into their own bail out, or if the government treats them like any other of the thousands of businesses going under without so much as a public whimper with no help from anyone else.

Friday, December 5, 2008

NASCAR SprintCup Race Numbers from 2008

Races and drivers... some stats for the curious about the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2008 season.

The Races
• 71 drivers qualified for/participated in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this season.

• There were 12 different race winners this season:
  • Carl Edwards (nine)
  • Kyle Busch (eight)
  • Jimmie Johnson (six)
  • Greg Biffle (two)
  • Jeff Burton (two)
  • Ryan Newman (one)
  • Clint Bowyer (one)
  • Kasey Kahne (one)
  • Denny Hamlin (one)
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (one)
  • Kurt Busch (one)
  • Tony Stewart (one)

• 37 different drivers have posted at least one top-10 finish in 2008, led by Carl Edwards with 27.

• Eight drivers had a best finish of second this season:
  • David Gilliland
  • Jeff Gordon
  • Kevin Harvick
  • Matt Kenseth
  • Paul Menard
  • Juan Pablo
  • Montoya
  • Brian Vickers
  • Michael Waltrip

• There were nine green-white-checkered finishes this season:
  • Bristol
  • Texas
  • Richmond
  • Michigan
  • Infineon
  • Daytona-2
  • Talladega-2
  • Martinsville-2
  • Phoenix-2

• The race was won from a top-10 start 28 times this season.

• The deepest in the field that a race winner started in 2008 was 34th, by Tony Stewart at Talladega-2.

• Nine races were won from the pole and the average start of the race winner in 2008 is 8.00.

• The pole winner (or driver that started first in cases of no qualifying) finishing position:
  • First 9
  • 2nd-5th 8
  • 6th-10th 3
  • 11th-30th 11
  • 31st or beyond 5

• The lap leader performance of the pole winner (or driver that started first in cases of no qualifying):
  • Led First Lap 26
  • Led at All 35
  • Led Most Laps 12
  • Won Race 9

• The race winner’s starting positions:
  • Pole 9
  • 2nd-5th 12
  • 6th-10th 8
  • 11th-30th 5
  • 31st or beyond 2

• The lap leader performance of the race winner:
  • Led First Lap 7
  • Led Most Laps 17
  • Led Mid-Race Lap 9
  • Led With 10 to Go 24
  • Led With One to Go 35
Note: Mid-Race lap is as scheduled regardless of shortened or extended race length.

source: nascar press release

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rumors of Petty and Gillett Merging - Can It Be?

The Associated Press is reporting that Petty Enterprises (PE) is in the chat mode with Gillett Evernham Motorsports (GEM) to merge. Of course, sources are saying don't tell them I said it, since they're still formulating the business plan.

And the plan is to move the No 43 car into this merged entity, giving the new team a 4-car effort for 2009.

Right now, this makes a bit of sense in the logic department if you recall that Sports Illustrated was saying the Petty Enterprises isn't returning to the field in 2009, but how accurate are these speculations across the board?

Additionally, I have to wonder just what benefit this merge brings to GEM? GEM is fine without PE, unless PE is dumping cash into the bank account of GEM to help them stagger through 2009.

And if this happens, when the storied history of Petty Enterprises, already diluted by their previous sell-out to Boston Ventures, what does happen to Petty Enterprises? Was the first sell out to Boston Ventures the first death knell in the wind? Is this it? Gone. After all this time? It can't hurt in present day, with the lack of performance that PE has been delivering, even if there looked to be a bit of hope here and there for PE from the No 43 camp.

Ideas for names, anyone: Gilletty Entersports? Pettette MotorPrises?

Or will this new, rumored team name just get ridiculously longer: Gillette Evernham Petty Motorssports. GEPM?

Of course is it possible that Gillette will remove Evernham's name from the team, since they bought him out in November? Evernham is not looking to own another team (source), but he did buy a dirt track (source), so hence starts his new racing endeavor. I guess we'll have to watch ray in the broadcast booth, but I can hope he sticks around NASCAR with a bit more intervention than that.

Then again, do you think his unspoken, surmised engagement to Erin Crocker might have some bit of fuel under his decision making?


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

NASCAR SprintCup Qualifying Numbers from 2008

Here's a curious tidbit about qualifying efforts from the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

• 84 drivers attempted to qualify for at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this season.

• There were 15 different pole winners in 2008:
  • Jimmie Johnson (six)
  • Jeff Gordon (four)
  • Kyle Busch (two)
  • Greg Biffle (two)
  • Kasey Kahne (two)
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (one)
  • Ryan Newman (one)
  • Joe Nemechek (one)
  • Denny Hamlin (one)
  • Patrick Carpentier (one)
  • Paul Menard (one)
  • Brian Vickers (one)
  • Carl Edwards (one)
  • Travis Kvapil (one)
  • David Reutimann (one)

• There were four first-time pole winners in 2008.
This continued a 22-year streak of at least one first-time pole winner (1987-2008).
  • Patrick Carpentier (New Hampshire)
  • Paul Menard (Daytona-2)
  • Travis Kvapil (Talladega-2)
  • David Reutimann (Homestead)

• Patrick Carpentier and Paul Menard won consecutive career-first poles – the first time that career first poles had been posted in back-to-back races since David Green (Homestead) and Kevin Lepage (Atlanta) in 1999.

Disheartening Rain
• Qualifying was canceled due to inclement weather at the Auto Club Speedway, Bristol, Michigan, Chicago, Watkins Glen, Richmond-2, New Hampshire-2, Lowe’s-2, Martinsville-2 and Atlanta-2.

• 49 different drivers have posted at least one top-10 start, led by Jimmie Johnson with 27.

• The pole winner (or driver who started first) won nine times and finished in the top 10 in 20 races this season.

• Two pole winners went on to finish last in that race: Ryan Newman (Phoenix) and Greg Biffle (Darlington).

• The average finish of the pole winner in 2008 is 12.28.

• Landon Cassill won the pole for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at New Hampshire and Patrick Carpentier followed up with the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race. It was the first time ever that two Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates swept the poles at the same track in a weekend.

source: nascar press release

Monday, December 1, 2008

The 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season

Jimmie Johnson won the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship – his third consecutive, history tying title. He joined Cale Yarborough (1976-78) as the only drivers to win three consecutive series championships.

In 2008, Jimmie Johnson had seven wins, 15 top fives and 22 top 10s, and finished the 2008 season 69 points ahead of Carl Edwards.

Three of his victories and eight of his top-10s came during the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers won all 10 Chase races:
  • Jimmie Johnson (three),
  • Carl Edwards (three),
  • Greg Biffle (two),
  • Tony Stewart and Jeff Burton (one each).

Chase Notes: After Race 10
• All 12 Chase drivers have posted at least one top-10 finish in a Chase race.
Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards did so in eight.

• All 12 Chase drivers have led laps in at least one of the first nine Chase races.
Jimmie Johnson led in nine.

• Chase drivers led 2,642 of the 3,234 laps (81.7%).

• Greg Biffle became the first driver to win the first two Chase races.

• Jimmie Johnson has won 14 of the 50 Chase races run since the inception of this playoff system.

2008 Season Highlights
• Ryan Newman won the season-opener Daytona 500, his first career restrictor-plate victory.

• Carl Edwards won back-to-back at California and Las Vegas.

• Kyle Busch won at Atlanta, giving Toyota its first victory in the Cup Series.
This was the 40th start for Toyota in Cup and was the first by a foreign-based manufacturer since Jaguar won with Al Keller at Linden (N.J.) Airport in 1954.

• Jeff Burton won at Bristol. He had teammates Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer on his tail, giving car owner Richard Childress his first-ever 1-2-3 sweep.

• Carl Edwards won at Texas. Carl joins Jeff Burton as the only drivers with multiple victories at Texas.

• Kyle Busch won at Darlington and became the youngest race winner there.

• Kasey Kahne followed up his All-Star race win with a victory in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Doing this made Kasey the sixth driver to win both races in the same season.

• Kyle Busch wins at Dover. This makes him the first driver to have four wins at Dover.

• Kasey Kahne won the Pocono 500.
He became the third multiple-race winner of 2008.

• Junior Nation rejoices. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Michigan, ending a 76-race winless streak.

• Kyle Busch won at Infineon Raceway.
That was number one for Kyle on a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series roadcourse.
This also meant he's won on all four types of tracks in NASCAR’s premier circuit.

• Kurt Busch won at New Hampshire. His first since Michigan in August 2007.

• Kyle Busch got 2008 win #6 in the July race at Daytona.

• At Chicagoland, Kyle Busch won back-to-back races for the first time in his career. That's #7.

• At Indianapolis, Jimmie Johnson won his second race of 2008 – his second win at the Brickyard. The race of a thousand trophy dashes!

• Carl Edwards won at Pocono Raceway after waiting out rain and fuel issues for win #4 of the season.

• Kyle Busch won at Watkins Glen, completing a sweep of the two road-course races this season.

• By winning at Michigan, Carl Edwards completed the second NASCAR Sprint Cup-NASCAR Nationwide Series weekend sweep.

• Carl Edwards posted back-to-back victories for the second time in 2008 when he won at Bristol.

• Jimmie Johnson dominated the field at Auto Club Speedway.

• Jimmie Johnson won at Richmond. Win #4 of the season.

• With his victory at New Hampshire, Greg Biffle became the 11th different race winner in 2008.

• Greg Biffle won at Dover, posting consecutive series wins for the first time in his career.

• Jimmie Johnson won the Camping World RV 400 presented by Coleman at Kansas Speedway.

• Tony Stewart won at Talladega. That's win # 33 in his career. His first in 2008 and his first win at Talladega Superspeedway.

• Jeff Burton won at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. That makes 2008 his first multiple-win season since 2001.

• Jimmie Johnson won at Martinsville. He led 339 laps – the most he has ever led in a race in his career.

• Carl Edwards won at Atlanta. That's #7 for him in 2008.

• Carl Edwards won at Texas.

• Jimmie Johnson had win #7 of 2008 at Phoenix. Much to the chagrin of Carl Edwards.

• Carl Edwards posted his series-leading ninth victory with his win in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Source: NASCAR Press Release

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Preview: Upcoming Articles on NASCAR Bits and Pieces

Over the next few weeks I'll be publishing a series of articles that are going to be covering different facets of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from the 2008 season, in a statistical take on things.

It's a TERSE look back at selected statistics from the year.

  • The 2008 season in general, on Dec 1st
  • Some Qualifying stats on Dec 3rd
  • Some race numbers on Dec 5th
  • Rookie notes and Lap count notes on Dec 8th
  • Team Owner Notes Dec 10th
  • A real short look at Penalties from 2008 on Dec 12th
  • Manufacturer notes on the 15th
  • Curious tidbits on Dec 17th
  • and some "Notebook" factoids on the 19th.

I've got an exciting month planned for everyone so stay tuned and check out the tidbits coming at you, in "Bits and Pieces".


NASCAR Nationwide Series 2008 Season Recap, Pt 2

As promised, the 2nd part of the season statistics recapped for the NASCAR Nationwide Series 2008 Season Recap:

• There were 12 different race winners in 2008:
  • Kyle Busch (10)
  • Carl Edwards (seven)
  • Tony Stewart (five)
  • Denny Hamlin (four)
  • Brad Keselowski (two)
  • Mark Martin (one)
  • Matt Kenseth (one)
  • Clint Bowyer (one)
  • Scott Wimmer (one)
  • Joey Logano (one)
  • Ron Fellows (one)
  • Marcos Ambrose (one)

• 49 drivers registered at least one top-10 finish in 2008, led by Clint Bowyer with 29.

• 10 races were extended by green-white-checkered finishes in 2008:
  • Las Vegas
  • Atlanta
  • Phoenix
  • Richmond
  • Darlington
  • Charlotte
  • Daytona-2
  • Dover-2
  • Memphis
  • Phoenix-2

• Two races were shortened in 2008: Bristol (171 laps) and Montreal (48 laps).

• With Denny Hamlin's win at Richmond, it was the fifth consecutive victory for Joe Gibbs Racing.

This was the first time in the history of the NASCAR Nationwide Series that an owner posted five straight wins.

• Busch’s win at O’Reilly Raceway Park gave JGR it's 14th win of the season.
That broke a tie with Richard Childress Racing for the most by a car owner (2007).

Unique Statistic
• James Hylton competed in the second Daytona race At 72 years, 313 days old, making him the oldest competitor in any of NASCAR’s three national series.

The Pole Winner/Race Winner
• The Coors Light Pole winner (or driver that started first in cases of no qualifying) finishing position:
  • First 7
  • 2nd-5th 9
  • 6th-10th 5
  • 11th-30th 8
  • 31st or beyond 6

• The race winner’s starting positions:
  • Pole 7
  • 2nd-5th 13
  • 6th-10th 5
  • 11th-30th 7
  • 31st or beyond 3

• 60 drivers led at least one lap this season.

• Kyle Busch led 1,933 laps in 2008, more than any other driver.

• Drivers who led the most laps (number of races):
  • Kyle Busch (14)
  • Carl Edwards (five)
  • Tony Stewart (four)
  • Clint Bowyer (four)
  • Denny Hamlin (three)
  • Mark Martin (one)
  • Scott Pruett (one)
  • Brad Keselowski (one)
  • Marcus Ambrose (one)
  • Jeff Burton (one)

Nationwide Series standings
• Two drivers have ranked in the top 10 in points all season: Carl Edwards and David Ragan.

Rookie Performance

• Three rookie contenders won poles this season: Landon Cassill (Memphis), Bryan Clauson (Daytona-2) and Dario Franchitti (Watkins Glen).

Owner Highlights

• Joe Gibbs Racing set the mark for the most owner wins in an NASCAR Nationwide Series season with 19, breaking the record set by Richard Childress Racing.

• Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 40 Dodge posted back-to-back poles at Montreal and Watkins Glen – with different drivers at the wheel – Scott Pruett (Montreal) and Dario Franchitti (Watkins Glen).

Car Owner’s Championship
• Joe Gibbs Racing won the car owner’s championship with the No. 20 Toyota finishing the season 12 points ahead of the No. 2 of Richard Childress Racing.

• The 20 car posted nine victories with four different drivers: Tony Stewart (five), Denny Hamlin (two), Kyle Busch (one) and Joey Logano (one).

• This is the third time in series history that there has been a split championship. All three have occurred since 2003, all involved multiple drivers for the winning car owner and all have involved Richard Childress Racing.

• There were 512 on-track penalties issued this season.

• Penalty Recap:
  • Pitting Before Pit Road is Open 205
  • Too Fast Entering Pit Road 63
  • Too Fast Exiting Pit Road 57
  • Others 187

Manufacturer Notes
• Toyota won the manufacturers’ championship – its first in the series, with 253 points. Chevrolet was second with 201. Ford had 199 points while Dodge had 117.
• Toyota had 20 victories in 2008; Ford nine and Chevrolet six.
• Toyota swept the first three finishing positions at New Hampshire – the best performance by a manufacturer this season.

And there ya have it for the 2008 season!

source: nascar press release

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tight in Turn 2: A Dour Look At The Awards Banquet

This is another segment of Tight in Turn 2 where Charlie Turner (Of On Pit Row) and I exchange banter about various subjects.

This week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Banquet in New York is what's on my mind:

Well, the 2008 season is over.

History has been made and matched. Television delivered and yet at the same time, ticked us off on occasion. Drivers have switched teams and some have been screwed by the new rules for the first demo race of the year. Meanwhile others have been screwed by the new testing rules. Running the show is Brian France, and yet fans don't think he's qualified. It seems at any one time, not all of the people will be happy all of the time.

Case in point: The NASCAR awards banquet. I cringe at the thought of the event.

The annual awards banquet brings us the hi points of the year and presents awards to the top drivers in each of their categories as well as some other features. It's treated as the gala event of the year for the sport.


For me, it is the longest 10 hours of my life. No, it's not 10 hours long... it just feels that way. In fact I no longer watch it live. I record it and watch it later.

What I don't get is that NASCAR, with their mucho denero resources, has access to the best and the brightest of the entertainment world and yet they don't seem to hit their mark.

Entertainment wise, they fall short every single year... in my humble, dis-stressed opinion. Are they pinching pennies when in fact they should be spending them?

The issues I experience are the following:

The Writing:
Whether it's the emcee or the host, the narratives fall short. Granted, the emcee's are usually sports reporters and not entertainers so I give them that. Though it wouldn't hurt to send them to a quick impromptu acting course to generate some real "genuine" emotional delivery when they actually deliver an old, just out of elementary school type joke that someone, somewhere thinks is "funny". It's not. And if it could be, it's killed by the monotone delivery of the line.

The host is usually a known brand name. Last year it was Jay Mohr.

Jay Mohr has a funny, dry sense of wit and timing. Yet it's obvious that the material he's given just isn't up to par, and from what I can tell, he had restrictions on the ad lib opportunities, because who I saw on stage was not the Jay I know. Either that, or the material is so far off from funny that even Jay can't save it.

Speaking of Restrictions
OK, when the drivers come up to chat on stage, I cringe for them. I know this is a big moment but when they get up there, they are so rehearsed that it looks pretty uncomfortable. I'd rather see Tony Stewart's ease of chat or the "old" Jimmy Spencer type deliveries that come off the cuff.

I'd love to see them be themselves.

The background announcer who presents the information for each upcoming award needs to be... something different. It's monoton-ish while whoever it is tries to deliver feeling in some way that comes out as failed emotional implications. It hurts to listen to her and I'd like to hear a different, more soothing voice. Not the roller derby queen sounding voice they have had in the past.

Awesome. NASCAR gets some name brand entertainment on stage. I wish the bands would have more runs at playing their tunes across the night. It would dispel the emotional pain that develops unabated throughout the show.

I break it down to what NASCAR is willing to pay for and I wish they would bust into their profit margins just a little bit more and give us something worth looking forward to that is also entertaining. They need to edit the show.

To be blunt: The awards show does not need to be as long as the usual length that a race runs. The Academy Awards takes the incredibly boring parts and does separate award presentations for things like the scientific awards of excellence and what not because people really don't care who made the special effect... or how. The audience just wants to see Hollywood while it spins around kissing it's own... well, you get the point. They don't want to be bored.

That's my take on the whole thing and like every year, I hope they kick it up just one more notch so I can almost enjoy the show. At least more than the year before.

Even though they're paid the big bucks for winning the Championship, I feel for the Lowe's team members and wives that have to sit up there on stage all night. I cannot imagine being in plain view of the world, in proper attire, in proper posture for such a long period of time all the while trying to look interested. Wow... that's worthy of some kind of hazard pay.

With that being said, I asked Charlie Turner of On Pit Row his take on the show:


Bruce I guess it just depends on what you expect.

NASCAR is great - though plenty will argue with this too - at putting on a show at the race track. Better than anyone else in the business, in my opinion, anyway.

But there are two things they've proven that they can't do well at all.

One is make a credible movie about stock car racing. Talladega Nights wasn't even a good Will Farrell movie - how do you screw that formula up? And two, they can't duplicate the Academy Awards. Damned if I know why they even try.

So, around ON PIT ROW-land, we just go with it. We'll do a live blog and act like we're doing Mystery Science Theater. We'll make fun of the thing and have a blast. It actually makes the two hours or so pass by pretty fast.

My only fear now is that they'll hire someone who knows how to make one of these things work, and it will actually be good. Then what?


Charlie inquires over on his site: Is NASCAR competitive enough for you? Check out his take and my two cents!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day


Happy Thanksgiving to all.  (If you are reading this afterward, I hope you had a good one.)

I'm thankful for many things in these tough times and I can only wish you all the best and thank you for spending some of your valuable time here with me as I rant and report.

Best Wishes,


Nationwide Series - A Look Back at 2008

Clint Bowyer won the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, his first series title.

He finished the season 21 points ahead of Carl Edwards, the fourth closest championship margin in series history.

Bowyer finished the 2008 season with one victory, 14 top-five finishes and 29 top-10s. He had no DNFs.

There were 12 different race winners in 2008, led by Kyle Busch who tied a series record with 10 wins this season.

2008 Season Wins & Highlights
• Tony Stewart won the season-opener at Daytona then repeated in the second race (Auto Club Speedway). It was just the third time in NASCAR Nationwide Series history a driver had won the first two races of the season (Dale Earnhardt in 1986 and Chad Little in 1995).
• Mark Martin won the third race of the season at Las Vegas.
• Matt Kenseth won at Atlanta.
• Clint Bowyer won at Bristol.
• Kyle Busch posted his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of 2008 at Texas.
This win makes this the fourth consecutive season Kyle Busch has won in all three series.
Only two other drivers have accomplished the feat and both did so just once – Kevin Harvick in 2003 and Terry Labonte in 1995.
• Kyle Busch became the second repeat winner with his victory at Phoenix.
• Kyle Busch posted his third consecutive victory of 2008 with his win at Mexico City.
• Tony Stewart won his second restrictor-plate race with his victory at Talladega.
• Tony Stewart won his fourth race of the season and the sixth consecutive win for Joe Gibbs Racing with his win at Darlington.
• Kyle Busch became the second four-time winner of the season with his victory at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
• Denny Hamlin won at Dover.
• Brad Keselowski became the first driver to post his career-first victory in 2008 with his win at Nashville.
• Joey Logano won at Kentucky and became the second first-time winner. He also became the youngest winner in series history with this win, being at the ripe old age of 18 years, 21 days.
• Carl Edwards edged Clint Bowyer to win at Milwaukee, posting his first victory since Nashville in June 2007.
• Tony Stewart won at New Hampshire.
• Denny Hamlin won the July Daytona race. This gave the JGR No 20 car its ninth victory this season.
• Kyle Busch won at Chicagoland.
• Carl Edwards took the checkered flag at Gateway. His second win in 2008.
• Kyle Busch won at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, leading 197 of the 200 laps. His sixth victory of the season.
• Ron Fellows won the rain-shortened Montreal race.
• Marcos Ambrose posted his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory by winning at Watkins Glen.
• Carl Edwards won at Michigan.
• Brad Keselowski posted his second career victory at Bristol.
• Kyle Busch posted his seventh victory at the Auto Club Speedway.
• Carl Edwards won his fourth of the season at Richmond.
• Kyle Busch got win #8 at Dover.
• Denny Hamlin won the Kansas Lottery 300.
• Kyle Busch won the Dollar General 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Number 9.
• Carl Edwards won his fifth race of the season at Memphis.
• Kyle Busch ties the all-time win record at Texas Motor Speedway. Sam Ard won 10 races in 1983.
• Carl Edwards won at Phoenix, making that win # 6 of the season.
• Carl Edwards won the final race of the year, #7 of the season.

• 162 drivers attempted to qualify for at least one race this season.

• There were 18 different pole winners in 2008:
  • Kyle Busch (four)
  • Carl Edwards (four)
  • Joey Logano (three)
  • Tony Stewart (two)
  • Brian Vickers (two)
  • Jamie McMurray (two)
  • Colin Braun (two)
  • Kasey Kahne (one)
  • Brad Keselowski (one)
  • Landon Cassill (one)
  • Bryan Clauson (one)
  • David Reutimann (one)
  • Scott Pruett (one)
  • Dario Franchitti (one)
  • Cale Gale (one)
  • Kevin Harvick (one)
  • James Buescher (one)
  • Denny Hamlin (one)

• There were eight first-time pole winners this season:
  • Colin Braun (Mexico City)
  • Joey Logano (Nashville-2)
  • Brad Keselowski (Milwaukee)
  • Landon Cassill (New Hampshire)
  • Bryan Clauson (Daytona-2)
  • Dario Franchitti (Watkins Glen)
  • Cale Gale (Bristol-2)
  • James Buescher (Memphis)

• 150 drivers qualified for at least one NASCAR Nationwide Series race this season.

(The 2008 season numbers will be continued in the next article on 11/29/08)

Source: NASCAR Press Release

Friday, November 21, 2008

Craftsman Truck Series - A Look Back At the 2008 Season

Johnny Benson won the 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship, his first series title.

He became the 10th different driver to win the series championship.  Benson finished the 2008 season seven points ahead of Ron Hornaday Jr., the second-closest championship points margin in series history.

Johnny finished the 2008 season with five wins, 14 top-five finishes and 18 top-10s. Benson's first series championship comes in his fourth year of full-time competition in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (2005-08). He has finished in the top-10 in the final points standings in all four of those years.

Benson competed in 25 series races prior to 2005.

There were 12 different race winners in the 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season:
Ron Hornaday Jr. had six and Johnny Benson, five.  At least they left room for some folk!!

2008 Season Winners
• Todd Bodine's victory at Daytona continued the streak of a different Daytona race winner for the ninth consecutive year.
• Kyle Busch won at Auto Club Speedway to become the sixth different race winner in as many races at California.
• Kyle Busch became the first repeat winner when he won at Atlanta.
• Dennis Setzer won at Martinsville.  This was his third win there, making him the all-time win leader there.
• Ron Hornaday Jr. won at Kansas – his 34th series victory.
• Matt Crafton had his first career victory at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
• Donny Lia got his first win at Mansfield.  And he only had 8 starts at the time.
• Scott Speed - Another first time winner, won at Dover – in just six Truck Series starts.
• Ron Hornaday Jr. won at Texas
• Erik Darnell won at Michigan, giving the Roush organization his 49th series victory.
• Johnny Benson won at Milwaukee.
• Ron Hornaday Jr. won at Memphis, becoming the first three-peat winner of 2008.
• Johnny Benson won at Kentucky.
• Johnny Benson won at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.
• Johnny Benson notched three in a row winning at Nashville Superspeedway.
   This was only the fifth time in the series a driver had won three in a row.
• Kyle Busch won at Bristol.
• Ron Hornaday Jr. took New Hampshire.
• Mike Skinner finally got his first win of the season at Las Vegas.
• Todd Bodine won at Talladega.
• Johnny Benson won at Martinsville.
• Ryan Newman won at Atlanta in his debut in the Truck Series.  Only Mike Skinner, Robert Pressley and Kasey Kahne have done the same.  Win in their debut that is.
• Ron Hornaday Jr. won at Texas, posting his series-leading sixth win of 2008.
• Kevin Harvick won at Phoenix.  Oddly, all of Harvick's series wins have come from Phoenix.
• Todd Bodine won at Homestead-Miami Speedway, giving him victories in both the season opener and the finale.

Stats for Qualifying and Such
• 121 different drivers attempted to qualify for at least one race this season.
• There were 12 different pole winners in 2008.
• Three drivers posted their career-first poles this season:  Justin Marks (Texas) Bobby East (ORP) Scott Speed (Bristol)
• 45 different drivers posted top-10 starts this season, led by Ron Hornaday Jr. with 23.

The Races
• There have been 12 different race winners in 2008:
Ron Hornaday Jr. (six)
Johnny Benson (five)
Kyle Busch (three)
Todd Bodine (two)
Dennis Setzer (one)
Matt Crafton (one)
Donny Lia (one)
Scott Speed (one)
Erik Darnell (one)
Mike Skinner (one)
Ryan Newman (one)
Kevin Harvick (one)

Interesting Stats on Race Winners
• The race winner's came from various starting positions throughout the field:
Pole 4
2nd-5th 9
6th-10th 5
11th-30th 7
31st or beyond 0

Laps Led
• 36 different drivers led at least one lap in 2008.
• Ron Hornaday Jr. led 1,326 laps, more than any other driver.
• There have been 314 on-track penalties issued this season.
• Penalty Recap:
Pitting Before Pit Road is Open 160
Too Fast Entering Pit Road 29
Too Fast Exiting Pit Road 41
Others 84

• Toyota won the manufacturers' championship with 178 points to 166 for Chevrolet, 115 for Ford and 91 for Dodge. It is the third time Toyota has won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Manufacturers' Championship. All occurred in the past three seasons.

• Ryan Newman became the 19th driver to post victories in all three of NASCAR's top three national
series with his win in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Atlanta.

Source:  NASCAR Public Relations

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Warning To The RCCA NASCAR DIECAST Collector About the Elite Champ Diecast

If you are an RCCA member and are looking at the RCCA website for the

Jimmie Johnson 2008 Lowe's 3X Champ Diecast.

Call RCCA to order it. I could not find the diecast on the website and they are only making 300 of 1/24 scale Elite, LiquidColor diecasts!

1-800-952-0708 is the number.

Good luck!

Check out my new location at NASCAR Bits and!

Watch A NASCAR Video on The Championship Race

Check out the NASCAR NewsCast.
It's got a quick recap, and video snippets of interviews:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cursed to Win??

Observations by Bruce:

Carl Edwards just swept Homestead with wins in the Nationwide and Cup races and in both series and he came in 2nd in the points standings in both series.

Great accomplishment Carl.... let's look to next year!

Edwards Wins the Race, JIMMIE JOHNSON Wins the CUP

Today marked last time starts with their teams today. Some of note are Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Casey Mears.

The front-row first timers, David Ruetimann and Scott Speed charged to the line leading the pack and quickly moved up to the middle line and led the first lap of the race he got his first pole in. Good job man!

By lap 10 Carl Edwards got behind Matt Kenseth, the race leader, but his teammate wasn't going to give him anything. (Are you surprised?)

At lap 21, Carl was 1st, but Jimmie Johnson was running 18th. Carl did everything necessary to be in position to take advantage of any on-track issues that Jimmie Johnson might have as Carl led the most laps in the race.

Poised to strike is the best I can coin it, but it was for naught.

In the last 50, they were both in the top 10 as the rest of the drives struggled with their own achievement issue, like not letting a win streak end.

With 27 to go, the tension is cut... nothing can be done as far as I could tell. Kurt Busch is out after multiple issues, and Marcos Ambros is 45 laps down, IF Jimmie were to lose an engine and finish 41st, Carl has to win the race to take the Cup.

With 23 to go, Tony Stewart looked at Matt Kenseth, called "Here kitty kitty kitty", then passed him for the lead. This would be a poetic popular win for him, but gas mileage had something to say about that.

With a repeat fuel saving performance, Carl Edwards almost looked like he ran ot of gas as he slowed down to make it to the finish line on the fuel he had left in the tank and it works as Carl wins for the 9th time this year, the Ford 400 but Jimmy Johnson finished 15th and wins the Sprint Cup Championship.

Carl needed to be pushed to victory lane.. no mo gas!!


in 2008 at HOMESTEAD.

History is being made for us as we live through it.
Jimmy gets a three-peat.
Rick Hendrick gets his 8th championship.
Chad Knaus gets his own history mark as being the ONLY crew chief to win three seasons in a row.

What an honor to at least be a part of the fandom and reporting world of this historic day in NASCAR history.


Crossing the line of the Ford 400, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer were the top 5.

(But we wouldn't have known just watching the coverage.. it was all Jimmie... rightfully so, but it would have been nice to know about Kevin, Jamie and Clint.)

See the rest of the info at:
Cup Race Results
Cup Final Standings

A.J. Allmendinger finished 11th in the No. 10 Dodge. Good job 'Dinger.

You know what this means for me? I will now have 3 Lowes championship diecasts in my collection. I was hoping to add a different scheme / sponsor to my display case.

DEI Ganassi Racing Affects The Top 35 Owners Race

Wha' happened? With the formation of DEI Ganassi Racing, two slots are about to be opened up in the Owners Top 35 Race.

Top 35 Impacted The team merge changes things up big time, for a few teams. All four DEI cars are in the top 35 Owners points.

14 -- #8 Teresa Earnhardt
16 -- #1 Teresa Earnhardt
27 -- #15 Teresa Earnhardt
30 -- #01 Teresa Earnhardt

If DEI doesn't sell or swap their car numbers with anyone and they drop two cars from the the field, we effectively will be looking at the top 37 in owners points for the focal point. Or, as the two cars would no longer be in the points standings, everyone is bumped up two spots.

This is WAS good news for the No 84 and No 77 cars, if the 77 had actually made the Ford 400 field.

As it stands now - The No. 10 Dodge driven by A.J. Allmendinger, (Who was running 31st on lap 36 of the Ford 400) can benefit if he can make up the 59 points that he's lagging behind the No 77 Dodge by in the Owners Points standings. This means he needs to come in 34th or better to get that car up in the Top 35.

Allmendinger has been able to show his obvious talent level when he gets himself behind the wheel of decent equipment and I dare say he will probably do what he needs to get that car up there, barring any in-race issues.

Yea... no pressure there.

Reader comments are always welcome on NASCAR Bits and Pieces.

A Brad Dougherty of ESPN Prediction

When Brad Dougherty was asked who he think is the champion, he answered that Carl Edwards has a fire in his belly that he likes.
He thinks Carl Edwards will be the champion...  in 2009.

OK gang, let's see how that pans out.
We can hold him to that prediction here!!


DEI Ganassi - An Interesting Scramble

DEI and Ganassi are now one.
Fans who have been with this sport for many years are just plumb shocked to see what has become of DEI. Emotionally, we all think this would never have happened if "Sr" were around, but Dale made practical business decisions and this economy probably would have forced this situation anyway.

Will this merger act like a real math problem?
In math, when two negatives are multiplied together, they create a positive result. But will conjoining two teams that are struggling on their own actually help them create a positive

Who's got the pull?
Obviously we see who had more pull between the two organizations today. I mean face it, Teresa has never backed down for anyone and I'm not surprised to see the DEI moniker first in the name plate. Unless they were just listing it alphabetically.

Dude, we merged. Oh, we still need sponsors!
These two teams come together, losing staff and dropping cars, and still not having sponsors for their entire garage. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (Eh? That's one long team name.) and will field cars for Martin Truex, Aric Almirola, Juan Pablo Montoya and one unnamed driver yet.

They bring together a sponsored car with no driver, a driver with a full sponsorship (Truex), a driver with 1/2 a sponsorship (Montoya) and ??. This sounds like another ill-conceived bail-out package that will be drawing funds and sponsors from a turnip that will not give up any blood.

Some sarcastically or humorously predicted that DEI will become a museum. After DEI took over the GINN facilities, the original DEI garage has become a museum.

But more importantly, you need to take a peak at my Top 35 Race Update post. The DEI merger impacts this scenario more than you think!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Clint Bowyer is the Nationwide Series Champion!

with 52 laps to go, the intensity of the Nationwide series took a focus on the end lap.

Kyle Busch was looking to make history with an 11th win in one season, breaking Ard's 10-win record.

Carl Edwards was hanging on with his destiny completely out of his hands as he ran in the top 5 most of the day.

Clint Bowyer and his team performed beyond expectations as he manipulated his car up into the top 5, keeping his points buffer in front of Edwards. After 29 weeks of leading the points standings, it came down to a few laps.

Earlier in the race, the Championship contenders were tied for score, but as Clint moved up through the pack, that points lead grew.

With 45 laps to go, Bowyer held a 41 point buffer in front of Carl.
With 20 laps to go, it was down to a 21 point lead as Carl took the history making lead away from Kyle Busch.

At this point, the collective breath is held by all concerned, hoping against hopes of any tire or engine failures.

With 10 to go, Clint holds 5th, needing to finish 9th or better.

A Caution came out with 9 laps to go, bunching the cars up around the 3 drivers looking to make a bid for their own personal goals. With 4 laps to go, the unknown variable was Kyle Busch, looking for that 11th win, sitting behind Carl Edwards but nothing untoward happened to an of the drivers.

No tire issues, no engine issues, just plain old fashion race to the checkered flag.

Despite Carl Edwards winning the race, Clint Bowyer finished 5th and becomes the Nationwide series champion, BY 21 POINTS! The closest points race in "Nationwide" history.

Carl Edwards,
Kyle Busch,
Brad Keselowski,
Jason Leffler
Clint Bowyer

Round out the top 5 finishers of the Ford 300 at Homestead.


Nationwide Race Results | Points Standings

(Photo Credit: Robert Laberge / Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson, The Ford 400, The Race Lineup

Right now, if you were to look at some stats, it's not looking good for Jimmie Johnson. For others, the stars have aligned nicely.

David Reutimann got his very first pole for Sunday's race while Jimmie Johnson looked to struggle and has qualified 30th for the Ford 400 at Homestead, putting the team at a disadvantage in the pits.

His 30th place starting post does not belie the fact that in the first practice session, Johnson was 6th quickest - so the starting spot isn't too worrisome. This is the kind of drama NASCAR likes!

Edwards has it a little better, as he's got himself the 4th starting spot and finds himself 7th on the speed charts from the first practice session.

Carl has better pit position but we have all seen how Johnson and his team handle adversity, not to mention all he has to do is finish in front of a few cars to lock himself into the Cup, the will runneth over when he crosses the finish line 36th or better on Sunday.

Behind Reutimann, is Scott Speed, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards & Kevin Harvick rounding out the top 5. (screen shot,

Cup Lineup | Practice 1

Jimmie Johnson turns laps around Homestead during practice for Sunday's Ford 400.
(Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Johnny Benson is the TRUCK Series Champion

Johnny Benson just took the Truck Series Championship by finishing 7th, 1 spot in front of Ron Hornaday Jr, who finished in 8th.
WOW! What a race. The whole night was a tight competition where at one point, Ron had 27 points on Johnny.

The last 40 laps were about these two drivers as they battled with each other throughout the end game.

A late race caution had Johnny stay out and Ron pitted, taking 4 tires and set himself back too far in the field. Another caution came out and it was a green / white / checkered and on the restart Ron was held up by a slow start by Scott Speed and he had just too much distance to make up to pass Johnny.

The LAST Craftsman Sponsored Champion as Craftsman heads out to pasture and Benson's first Truck Championship.


Oh, yea... Todd Bodine won the race... almost forgot!! Rounding out the top five were Brian Scott, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Dennis Setzer.

Johnny Benson (23) and Ron Hornaday Jr. race side-by-side during the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Benson finished seventh and Hornaday finished eighth, giving Benson his first series title.
(Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Truck Results | Points

Johnny Benson photo cr: Marc Serota/Getty Images for NASCAR

Truck Series Logo For 2009 Revealed

NASCAR and Camping World unveiled the logo for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Friday.

Camping World will be the new title sponsor beginning in 2009 for the Truck Series. Craftsman will be taking it's leave of the series this year, after 14 years of sponsorship by Craftsman.

NASCAR and Camping World announced a seven-year partnership agreement on Oct. 23.

The inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season will kick off Feb. 13, 2009 at Daytona International Speedway. The series, which features 25 races at 23 tracks located across North America, will be exclusively broadcast on SPEED and FOX.

Breaking News, or Saved Tires: Testing Banned for 2009

NASCAR has banned testing for all three National Series (Truck, Nationwide and Cup) at all NASCAR sanctioned tracks next season. This decision has been made with an eye on trying to help teams save several million dollars in their 2009 budgets.

Here's where you need to shake your head: This moratorium also includes "preseason" Daytona 500 testing. I'm betting networks are scrambling to figure out time filler shows for the slots they reserved to cover the Daytona testing.

What this means is that no tests will be allowed to be conducted by any team where a Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series or Truck Series event is held.



On one side of the coin, I say good job. You've saved the little team oodles of funds.

On the other side of the coin, I say, WTH are you thinking? You know testing is going to happen and you can't stop it. It's just going to happen at non-sanctioned NASCAR tracks.

You've just made it harder for the smaller teams or new drivers to get that valuable on-track experience needed while they test. Heck, Penske was going to build his own track a few years back. I'm guessing he might be rummaging through the drawers for those blue prints right after the announcement at Homestead this morning.

If you had to cap the practice sessions, I'd say limit the tests to the number of tests the smallest team conducts. In this fashion, if teams want to test, the racing community comes together and starts helping each other so they can get their tests and everyone makes out OK.

I guess this is going to mean more NASCAR Racing 2003 simulation testing for the young guns! It worked for Carl, Denny, Dale Jr and Truex, just to name a few. They've used the software to get familiar with different aspects of tracks they've either never been to or wanted to test new ideas on. Denny's first two wins at Pocono were credited by him to the simulation. Jr and Truex both were recanting how their on-track tactics were just like a mod in the game they used, that got them to the front.

There's no reason it can't work for the newbies. In fact, it's going to have to now.

Let's see if this detracts from ABC's blunder last weekend? (No, I'm not bitter and bringing it up every chance I get. Not me.)

Oh, by the way: This new restriction will put a premium on tire testing. Tire testing has not been banned... yet. Again, probably another advantage for the bigger, experienced teams.

Tight in Turn 2 Looks At: NASCAR Media Coverage

I say "we", but it's really my rant today, here in Tight in Turn 2.

Hmm, what am I gonna touch on today? Let me think. Jimmie Johnson looking to make history? Johnny Benson switching teams after a good season? Tight point races in 2 of the 3 series? A possible milestone in the Truck Series?


The Shock:
I was distracted along with many others this week by how ABC (Entertainment) showed absolutely no respect for the NASCAR fan, the TiVo and DVR folk, and the antenna folk and shoveled the NASCAR fan off to ESPN2 so they could air America's Funniest Videos with less then 40 laps to go, in a history making season, during our playoffs, in the next to last race of the season.

In addition to cutting channels to in multiple time zones, all coverage was affected when the switch occurred because the extra pay features were interrupted for a short while also.

Everyone lost while ABC kept their Sunday night lineup just the way they want it so that the couch controlled comfort of AFV can lead into ABC Entertainments bread and butter line-up, Extreme Home Makeover, which leads into Extreme Emotional Destruction, I mean Desperate Housewives. when in fact, we were left as Desperate NASCAR fans.

I keep emphasizing the ABC Entertainment division because ABC does not have a sports unit anymore. It's ESPN, and the Entertainment division has the first and last say on what happens after 7:30 in each respective time zone. In this case, Easter, Central and Mountain were bitten by this travesty in one way or another. Even the West coast was hit because when "The Leader of the Band" changed our channels, the West Coast lost their High Def pictures.

This has been beaten to death this week like the dead horse it is. Even in the press conference I was a part of, Brian France tried to focus on the season itself, but the economy and ABC were the more focused issues that came up. France more or less indicated that NASCAR was not happy with the scenario and they've talked to them. Like that's going to change your contract stipulations!

We have to remember:
This TV thing is a team effort, or lack thereof. When the contracts are put together both sides create and prepare for whatever stipulations and events that might occur. In other words, NASCAR does not have any clauses dealing with the overrun of time on ABC, and ABC hasn't given them the time of day.

This year along, ESPN2 has screwed the pooch with the Nationwide series a few times too. How many times has the pre-race been dashed for a football game? A few, and that's fine. They stuck with the original game until it was over... Oh, there's an idea, huh? But on at least one occasion, the football game that was scheduled before the race ended a tad early. Before I could rejoice in the idea of actually watching the Nationwide pre-race show, they switched to a completely different college game and we not only missed the pre-race, but I believe the race start was put off a few minutes. LOL. Can't win for losing.

Network Confidence:
My take on the whole issue is that NASCAR was not very confident in their contract when they made the deal that lasts with ESPN through 2015 when they didn't negotiate overruns of time blocks. That's just my take, but there it is. That's all fine and dandy, but there were some other interesting tidbits that came to light from this.

Over on The Daly Planet, John touched on the ABC issue and the fans that responded were pee-o'd and ABC took a hit this week from the racing fan demographic, for sure. Additional casualties include ESPN. More and more fans seem focused on never watching another broadcast from the Mickey Mouse run companies (Disney does own ABC and ESPN's) but other options also seem diluted in marketing victimization.

Again, over on the Daly Planet, John asked his constituents about the different websites that offer NASCAR info to the fan, and there seems to be a consistent, across the board grumblings about how and SPEED were revamped, and

A: Got way too busy,
B: Completely ticked at Videos being shoved down your throat when you get to the sites,
C: Are fairly complicated in the layout to the effect of making it hard to find what you're looking for.

So basically, as NASCAR developed momentum, an oogle of marketing minds and advertisers jumped on board and made the sites either too convoluted or ad ladened to make anyone's visit easy, or not worth their while.

With that said, just what informational outlets do we have that don't inundate us with online ads, or focus on what we really want in the world of NASCAR? Are we being diluted to the point of over-saturation?

Bruce: NASCAR is on way too many channels these days and the coverage gets diluted by being on the air so much these days. If you want TV info, SPEED TV is a great source if you want to make a statement and never watch another Mickey Mouse run broadcast agin, but their website is too busy for most and the recommended approach is via RSS feeds... for now.

As far as never watching another broadcast, I don't think that's a reasonable approach either.

Even the products you pay extra for come through the network you may so fervently wish to avoid. Besides, can you really say you'll never watch the 2nd half of the season ever again, until after 2015? I know I can't. Not with what I do, but at least I can dodge the network advertisers and speak my mind with my wallet, or lack thereof on the network advertisers. Why? Cause that's what keeps the networks afloat. Marketing money and advertisers. They're the one's that need to step up and make changes, that is if they want to woo the most die-hard, product sponsor supporting sports fans.

As far as websites go, Jayski's was noted quite a few times as a go-to site, but I'm not sure folk realize that ESPN bought him out a few years ago.

I'm not changing where I go for info. I've got RSS readers and I surf the web in FireFox with add-on called NoScript. NoScript blocks java and other scripts so about 80% of the time, I don't even realize there was an ad or video on a website. I've never had to hear the video blast me on and I cruise the internet in ignorant bliss.

The bottom line: At least we have options and coverage so we can watch our beloved sport or have many resources to be able to look up decent information or opinions, just like here on NASCAR Bits and Pieces or On Pit Row.

OK, I'm done ranting. I asked Charlie Turner over On Pit Row his thoughts on the matter. I didn't leave him much room to chat about, but he still interjects that wisdom we've all come to know and love.

Charlie: I don't know that I can ad much that you haven't covered in your rant Bruce. I am surprised that the NASCAR TV contract negotiating team left open the possibility of being pre-emptented during the Chase. That was a boneheaded ommission in the TV deal.

Balancing the amount of advertising content on a website is a creative decision. Some sites care more about the look and - what would you call it, purity? - of their presentation. Others are in it to at least try and make some money, although the NASCAR blog reader is not a good demographic for that, in my opinion. Other sites seem like they have to try every new widget that comes down the web 2.0 pipe. Making content decisions can be easy or hard, depending on what you care about. Personally, I can't stand the or the new sites. They are just too complicated, slow and busy for me. But they also generate huge traffic numbers compared to independent NASCAR blogs. Personally, I think the comments that you read on either of these topics represent a very small, rather rabid percentage of the NASCAR audience. Most - maybe 95 percent of the people who watched that race Sunday - while they may well have been irritated - will tune in again. They probably couldn't even tell you what network they were watching. They were watching the NASCAR race. And they'll watch the next one too.

(Thanks to John Daly on The Daly Planet for the inspiration of this article.)


You can see the other half of the Tight in Turn Two series on Charlie's site, where he asks if I had to choose one person to pick for a fantasy league, who would it be? See my answer HERE.