Monday, June 30, 2008
With the rain taking the blunt of the blame, we still have to keep the fuel mileage thing in mind. That brings to light that when the yellow came out, who stayed, who pitted, who took chances?
Kurt Busch said that with a few laps of caution, they probably would have won or contended for the win because of how they managed the fuel mileage.
Michael Waltrip, who finished 2nd, echoed the sentiment, saying strategy put him where he was, not rain and he even felt he could have contended for the win with Kurt Busch if the race stayed green. (Is Kurt running that badly these days?)
Reed Sorenson, who finished 6th said they stayed out just because the rain was that close.
What befuddled me a bit was when they showed the weather radar at one point near the end of the race, there was a massive yellow section indicating heavy rain heading for the track and it wasn't far off, why more top contenders didn't take the chance? Yea, it is a big chance, but the radar looked pretty nasty and if you knew it was coming, why come in? Live on the edge boys!
Tell you what though, this little fuel / rain debacle mixed up the points standings a little bit and definitely juggled up the bubble zone in Owners Points around 35th, but I'll be touching on that in a later post.
When all is said and done, I wasn't there, so obviously things looked different to different folk, but I'm just wondering out loud from my perspective on the couch, where I didn't get rained on.
Source: NASCAR News
Sunday, June 29, 2008
1 Patrick Carpentier*
2 Bobby Labonte
3 Kevin Harvick
4 Scott Riggs
5 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
6 Reed Sorenson
7 Dario Franchitti*
8 Martin Truex Jr.
9 Matt Kenseth
10 A.J. Allmendinger
Interesting observation: Lap 100 saw Dale Earnhardt Jr. 9th, he was followed by his old sponsor Budweiser, who was followed by Jr.'s old car, the No. 8!
After 111 Laps, and only one caution, the field settled out with the biggest position changes from the start being:
Scott Riggs dropped 36 spots to 40
Dario Franchitti dropped 36 spots to 43rd
Brian Vickers climbed 36 spots to 4th
Patrick Carpentier dropped 30 spots to 31st
Tony Stewart climbed up over and around 25 other cars to 3rd
Casey Mears snuck up 23 spots to 1st by not pitting under caution
Elliott Sadler slid back 21 spots to 32nd
Sam Hornish Jr. regressed 19 postiions to 39th
Jeff Burton came 19 spots from 31st to 12th
Travis Kvapil dropped 17 spots to 38th
Jimmie Johnson gained 16 spots to be in 7th
Stewart took the race lead on lap 141 coming out of the pits from a caution stop and held the lead until the very end.
The last half of the race was a race as teams had a feel that the weather was coming, but the real excitement wound up with around 25 laps to go the word rain was mentioned.
The race pace was slowed by 2 cautions in the last 25 laps.
Lap 271 saw Dale Earnhardt Jr. get speared by Jamie McMurray as the 88 car was pitting for fuel.
Lap 280 saw some excitement as Hornish spun and collected Bowyer in his mess. The ensuing pace lap saw Montoya hit Kyle Busch and Busch spun.
The 2 cautions slowed down the race enough to let the rain come in. The irony was that the top 15 cars had pitted for fuel since they couldn't make the whole length of the race. Others made the gamble and stayed out.
The others that stayed out, being Kurt Busch, Michael Waltrip, J.J. Yeley, Martin Truex Jr., Elliott Sadler, Reed Sorenson, Casey Mears, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson were the top 10 cars when the red flag came out for rain and subsequently, the top 10 finishers when the race was called for rain.
Go figure, a 2nd place finish for Michael Walrip!
NASCAR Unofficial Results
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Weather.com is saying there's a 60% chance of precipitation, with Thunderstorms projected. (At the time of this posting.)
Let's keep our fingers crossed gang!
Bu bye Casey.
Despite the announcement, Mears had known for a couple of weeks about this development, quoting having such a bad year this year.
This year, they moved Casey from the 25 to the 5 car and they've just not quite hit the right setups. He noted an odd sensitivity to set ups in the new chassis.
I think this bites for Casey. He's under a good roof, probably one of the best in the business and now he may have to consider a 2nd rate team. It will just never be the same as it is at HMS. On the other hand, you have to wonder if HMS isn't pouring just a little bit more resource into Gordon, Johnson or Earnhardt Jr's camp to keep the performances up under public scrutiny / pressure.
Now the pressure is on. I feel like he's got it in him to contend up front, but what a wacky year he's had. He started out 2008 with 3 finishes of 19th and worse, popped off 7 top-10's, then 15th, and four consecutive races where he came in 25th or worse. Sonoma was his bright spot in all this with a 4th place finish.
He ran well at New Hampshire last year, if you count winning, but the pressure is there to repeat or at least finish well to keep his Chase chances alive.
So all together now, Clint Boyer fans, start crossing your fingers and hoping for good!!
With this out of the way, now maybe everyone can focus on the job at hand. I'm not dissing Greg. I'm just saying that all the oversights and bad luck might just go away now that everyone is back on board and all looking in the same direction.
The odd part about it all is that despite missed lugnuts and sporadic engine issues, he's still seventh in the standings.
Good for Greg. I'm not sure I could have seen in my mind him driving anywhere else.
Source: Boston Herald
Friday, June 27, 2008
Now I read that Sorenson missed his first possible pole and is sitting in sixth.
On the other hand, Patrick Carpentier is now the proud holder of his very first Cup pole of his career. Bobby Labonte is sitting outside of the all Dodge front row. I bet this is sitting well his his fan base. I've been a fan for sometime, so it's nice to see.
Row 1: Carpentier, Labonte
Row 2: Riggs, Harvick
Row 3: Earnhardt Jr., Sorenson
Row 4: Franchitti, Truex Jr.
Row 5: Kenseth, Allmendinger
An interesting set of front 10 drivers.
Tony Raines and Marcos Ambros did not make the show for Sunday.
See the rest of the line up at NASCAR
It's Friday and we've survived another week of fun filled work. That means we're coming at your with another edition of Loose In Turn 3 (LIT3) Despite most of them being millionaires, or dang close to it, NASCAR drivers are saying that even they are feeling the pinch at the pump.
Traditionally, airplane fuel has always been much more expensive than automobile fuel and the teams are feeling the pinch more acutely as they shuttle everything everywhere: team members by plane, equipment by 18-wheeler. Eesh, that has got to be expensive with the oil system being able to freely boost and dump oil prices at their own whim.
The Gillett Evernham shop says it costs ~$1500 to fill up their semi that hauls around 80,000 lbs of equipment each weekend. For them, the last track, Infineon, was fairly pricey for them since their haulers had to make 2 stops going, and 2 stops coming from the track to the shops.
At the track, all the fuel is supplied by Sunoco, who we are reminded by the airwave media every time they mention the gas, it's the Sunoco gas. (Has to be some concerted effort via a request to be more consistent in their product placement. My guess, Sunoco wants to make sure there's no confusion about who the official fuel is while Shell sits on Kevin Harvicks Chevrolet.)
This upcoming weekend, Sunoco (The official Fuel... on never mind) will be bringing nearly 3,000 gallons of race fuel for the NASCAR event at New Hampshire. By all estimations, each team will be using about 64 gallons of gas just for Sunday alone.
The fuel is a special make of fuel designed for the race cars themselves, and is made in a refinery in Marcus Hook, Pa., near Philadelphia.
Obviously NASCAR is aware that folks are eying the sport in these fuel pricey times. NASCAR says:
"The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series uses about 135,000 gallons of fuel, racing from Daytona and all the way through to the [season-ending] Ford 400 [in Homestead, Fla.]. And that compares to 360 million gallons used by Americans every day."
(Ouch, why don't they just come out and say it: Carpool or pedal to work!)
With that in mind, I thought I'd toss out the following question to my LIT3 Gang:
Fuel prices are going up and up. Everyone, everywhere is feeling the pinch in every aspect of our lives. Our beloved sport is starting to be looked at as a gas guzzling sport. Should NASCAR and Sunoco make a concerted effort to convert the sport over to a less fossil fuel centric sport?
Bruce: No. Not yet. Some say it's necessary as our supply of crude dwindles, so inevitably, something has to give. But as far as costs and environmental impact goes, on the surface, ethanol looks attractive. The underlying costs of farming, processing and converting the crops into Ethanol offsets most conservation that is initially apparent, never mind the pollution that comes from the efforts noted. Solar NASCAR. It just doesn't have the same punch now, does it?
Charlie Turner:(OnPitRow) Nope. That wouldn't solve the gas price problem. This is too big an issue for NASCAR. Leave it to the manufacturers and politicians. They have to do the big work on this issue.
Tim Zaegel:(DoYouNASCAR) Look, I'm all for limiting the use of oil in every sense of our everyday lives that we possibly can, but with or without NASCAR or any other motorsports - this problem lies within the realms of since an politics. I think we're headed there, though, because alternative energy is the next step that our nation needs to take to stay ahead of the curb. So, in that essence, NASCAR needs to start thinking ahead. Manufacturers and oil companys are already planning for the next phase, and NASCAR needs to do the same. There's no need to impliment any sort of alternative fuel policies with the sport just yet, but they need to be ready for the day that the rest of the country does in fact go green.
Of course, the boys had their own questions to ponder in the group:
Charlie (OnPitRow) asks: After what we saw at Infineon Raceway, is there still a place for "road course ringers" in the Cup Series?
Tim (DoYouNASCAR) Pondered: Can the no. 16 team keep it together long enough through the next 10 races to keep Greg in Chase contention?
Inspiration for my article / question: http://www.boston.com
Thursday, June 26, 2008
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Loudon | 12:30 p.m. ET Sun. | TNT
NASCAR Nationwide Series Loudon | 2:30 p.m. ET Sat. | ABC
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Memphis | 8:30 p.m. ET Sat. | SPEED
With that said, here's how NASCAR.com ranks the drivers:
Kyle Busch (Can't Argue this one)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Staying consistently in place in the standings, but can he really contend for the Cup with the Shrub in it?)
Jeff Burton (Quietly lurking in wait for someone to falter)
Jeff Gordon (A big boost from Infineon, Let's see if he can keep the momentum going.)
Jimmie Johnson (Dude, not the best of years, but I'm expecting Chad to pull it out soon)
Greg Biffle (If it weren't for bad luck, this cat would be all over the top half of the chart!)
Tony Stewart (Mr "You weren't in the car Marty" (wah!) stays put near the bottom, but everyone is looking for his usual late season pile on!)
Brian Vickers (May have dropped 2 spots, but he'll recover)
David Gilliland (I don't think he's top 15 material yet.)
Casey Mears (Good day, miserable rumors floating over head... Prove them wrong Casey!!)
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
As you can see, the 00 and 55 cars benefited from the road course. Let's see if they can take advantage of that momentum now.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Don't count out Kevin yet because he is only 2 points behind 12th, in 13th. David Ragan is 47 points off the bubble.
The biggest mover in the top 12 was Jeff Gordon, leaping over three spots to 6th with his 3rd place finish last weekend.
|3||--||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||2256||-152|
|CHASE FOR THE SPRINT CUP BUBBLE|
Sunday, June 22, 2008
The reason he didn't do the back flip was the way that he won the race. Several laps prior to the end of the race Carl ducked down under Clint Bowyer to pass him in the corner but instead, they touched, sending Clint sliding up into the wall, but Clint saved it, only losing a few positions, eventually getting back up to third.
In the end, Carl said the way he won, in regards to hitting Bowyer, did not deserve the standard back flip we've come to expect. The crowd booed aggressively about the development, since they watched Carl for some laps, expecting the usual victory celebration.
Carl won the Camping World RV Rental 250, followed by NASCAR's newest golden child, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, David Ragan and David Reutimann rounding out the top 5.
In one respect, it was an admirable decision to not "celebrate" his win by spin. Hopefully that will help Bowyer understand his sincerity. On the other hand, it's all about the fans, and we were shorted our standard celebration we love to see. No one wins in this one, but in the end Edwards may have very well made the best decision for himself.
The rest of the results of the Nationwide Race at http://www.nascar.com
Short tracks, Medium tracks and now road courses. That makes it official: Kyle Busch has won just about on every track type there is. We need to get him in ice racing, see how he does there!
As much as I beat on him with his antics, I have to respect his talent. This year alone in Cup, he's won at Atlanta, Talladega, Darlington, Dover and now Infineon Raceway as he smoothly hit his marks all day long, followed by David Gilliland, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer and Casey Mears rounded out the top 5 spots of the Toyota / Save Mart 350.
And for the first time, the crowd cheered him rather than the usual crowd of boo's.
Overall, it was a quiet, uneventful race until the closing laps. The most notable yellow flag involved 4 cars as they had wound down to 6 laps remaining and what looked like a rather overly aggressive move Kevin Harvick hit turn 4 a bit too quick, losing it and involving Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart and Ron Fellows. The wreck eliminated McMurray and Stewart from the chance to cone in 2nd behind Kyle Busch 'cause no one was touching him on the restarts.
Unofficial results at: http://www.nascar.com
So what do you do when you have exclusive rights to recycle the 85,000 used tires that come off of the cars in NASCAR each year after a race?
Why create "used artifacts", or to be more specific, 32 lb beverage coolers that can fit several (5 1/2) cases of your "favorite" beverage with 30 lbs of ice?
Kevin Burns, who runs Racecooler Co., wrangled those rights, and recycles the tires into these alternative products. Back in 2005 he noticed that fans wanted to buy the used tires, but NASCAR / Goodyear wasn't selling them. So rather than the usual route Goodyear took of converting the used tires into asphalt, he was looking for a way to help preserve the tires and make them available to the fans.
Adding this to the idea that Burns realized one fascinating demographic is that 72% of NASCAR fans are more than likely to purchase products with a NASCAR affiliation. He confirmed that by making a few hundred of these coolers and took them to the Daytona 500, selling them for $200 a piece and he didn't have to bring any inventory back home.
With that said, he charged on forward and just started up a website recently to help deliver these NASCAR themed coolers for our kegging ways at http://www.racecooler.net, and there, at the moment, he only has two products featured on his site HERE.
Besides the obvious, do you know what else is neat about these products? Burns enlists the help of hundreds of disabled veterans to make his products. Hey Kevin, I'd be more than happy to field test any of your ideas if you'd need a field tester!
If anyone has one of these babies, let me know how you like it!
Inspiration Source: Article by Laura Baverman at Business Courier
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Kyle Petty made a very interesting statement and it pretty much boiled down to how writers spend a lot of time and energy writing about the threat of road course ringers and yet a Cup driver wins the race every time and to be honest about it, every time we visit a road course we're always looking at Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. We also look at drivers like Robby Gordon, Terry Labonte, Joe Nemechek to be competitive in the race.
So while we talk about how a team devalues their regular driver with ringers, I'd suggest they put their drivers in some "quality time" with road course training like DEI did a few years back. That way, they can show some in-team solidarity rather than quickly shuffling their primary driver to the back seat the moment a road course shows up in the schedule.
I'm just sayin', that's all.
Inspiration for this thought: Sporting News
It is with a sad heart that I echo the reports that Scott Kalitta died today as a result of an accident where his DHL Toyota Solara burst into flames midway down the track and slammed into the end of the track during the final round of qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.
Kalitta was transported to Old Bridge Township Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Our sympathies go out to his family and friends.
It's a sad day in the world of motor sports, regardless of what anyone is driving. Whether it's an airplane, a dragster, a stock car, motorcycle - everyone involved in any form of racing a machine is part of a larger common community of daring athletes who put their lives on the line every day and we get so complacent about the contests that fans become numb to the idea that someone can get hurt until something like this happens.
We just need to remember that during all the griping about rules or restrictions or new chassis', terrible TV coverage or what not, these rare personalities we call drivers need to be appreciated with every lap made, every race won... or lost.
Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson own the front row of the Infineon Raceway race on Sunday, with Kahne on the pole.
Row two has Kurt Busch and Bobby Labonte,
Row Three - Jeff Gordon and Elliot Sadler.
(Sadler looked like he had the pole but he hit turn 11 way too hard and slid up to the outside in the turn, losing his lead slot in the process.)
Row Four sees Marcos Ambrose and Robby Gordon.
(Marcos topped the speed charts, surprising everyone, including I think, himself.)
Finally, Row Five residents are Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle.
Oddly, Greg Biffle and Terry Labonte tied in time, but ties are figured out by standings position, and so Terry is relegated to 11th, but good job Terry.
7 Dodge's in the top 11 spots. Maybe I'm making a snap judgment, but it seems that the Dodge camps have the handling aspect of the car down pat. But could there be something with the aero of the make that holds them back on ovals? Just wondering out loud. Anyone have an opinion on this?
See the rest of the line up at NASCAR.
Friday, June 20, 2008
You bet they are? With the price of gas on the rise as America gets squeezed by OPEC, we're feeling this from every angle. Products we buy, services we use and especially at the pump. Back in the late 80's I always wondered when we would start paying prices like the British do and other places. I guess I finally got my answer.
The pump prices aren't being looked over either as far as NASCAR track attendance goes. Though NASCAR isn't exactly free with it's statistics, insiders have been reporting that right now attendance is seeing a decline of about 10%, which doesn't seem big, but if you think 60 to 100 thousand fans an event, the number suddenly is huge. Even on TV or Radio, the fans are starting to pass up the RV's and driving smaller vehicles.
Different tracks are doing different things to help stave off the additional damage to the wallet with incentives, specials and arrangements for the fans in attendance at their events.
When I lived near CA Speedway (Sorry, Auto Club Speedway) they had a pretty neat system where the local train services would set up rides from all over the region and there's a train station right at the track. After a long hot day at the track, it was sweet to go sit down in an air conditioned train car and sleep it off.
Infineon has been reported to me as being a bear to get into and out of, not to mention the heat, but the track has teamed up with different organizations so if I wanted to, as part of my ticket purchase price, I could catch a party bus in San Jose and they would drive me to the road course... if I wanted to spend those kind of bucks in blistering heat. (IT IS HOT right now.) I could also get a limo ride for almost the same cost.
New Hampshire, which is also a bear to get into and out of because unless they added roads since I've been there, was only service by one two lane road, is offering to pay someone's mortgage for the rest of the year. (OK, now I'm thinking I need to go again! See! It's working on me already!)
And while we're seeing empty seats at the races now, it's going to get worse. Right now is when we are being hit with the high price of gas and as we look to the fall, we now are aware how much more it's going to cost us to get to a track and the anticipation is that attendance is going to decline even further.
Source: LA Times, Jim Peltz
This week I brought to the table the validity of NASCAR telling the drivers to quit complaining about the COT. Tim of Do You NASCAR? asks if a 2008 Cup start is too early for the up and coming star, Joey Logano and Charlie is wondering over at On Pit Row if it's OK that Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke some rules and got away with it while winning a race?
So strap on in and let's see what everyone has to say, here where three guys have three opinions on three subjects at three blogs on "Loose In Turn Three":
When Mike Helton calls a mandatory meeting for drivers and team owners, you just know something bad has happened. But on this occasion, it was the basis of NASCAR telling the teams it's time to stop airing their gripes about the COT and let it settle in with the fans.
To some degree, I'm not surprised by this. As a professional bowler, (PBA), we have rules and guidelines. All athletes do. When you're first indoctrinated into them, it can range from humorous to confusing. In the PBA's case, one rule states that we're not to bash the lane conditions or the house management, etc., etc.. In NASCAR, it surprised me how much constructive criticism came out of the garages and now NASCAR has put their foot down.
Basically, NASCAR is saying "Quit bashing the product" and hence, fueling fans unrest about the new car. Or maybe also, quit pointing out NASCAR's perceived flaws.
So the next time we see a driver get out of car, slide to the ground from heat exhaustion on an 80 degree day and he's asked what's up, he'll just start talking about his crew and how well they set up the car, and avoid mentioning why he's beet red, or bright pink after he got out of the car.
With that being said, I presented my question to the other guys in our Loose In Turn Three forum to see what they had to say to compliment or correct my opinion:
Tim Zaegel: I don't really think that NASCAR's telling the drivers not to talk about what's going on with the car, but it's got more to do with the manner in which they address it, and from a business standpoint, NASCAR is spot on in this case. What's happened is that so many of the drivers have - at times - talked so poorly about the car and the tire packages, that what it's accumulated into is one big verbal lashing on the COT. In turn, what that's done is prejuduiced the average fan's mind as it relates to the car, and now NASCAR's left with a product that the fans are upset with. And, to your point, Bruce, we're still going to know what the issues are with the car - if from nowhere else, the race broadcast booth - but, the issues can be addressed without giving the appearance that folks are airing their dirty laundry.
Charlie Turner: The message that drivers have been sending - and Pocono was the worst example yet - has just been negative and whiny and bitchy. It is counter to NASCAR's marketing message and I think that was/is the problem. I can see why NASCAR would want that to change. I can also see drivers ignoring the request, unless there are some kind of real consequences should they do so. Tony Stewart paid lip service to the spirit of the request after the Michigan race.
So there you have it on the teams' COT opinions and ours. Check out the other questions asked and what we say in Loose In Turn Three:
Over on Tim Zaegels Do You NASCAR?:
Is a 2008 Cup start is too early for the up and coming star, Joey Logano?
Charlie Turner asks over On Pit Row:
Dale Earnhardt Jr broke a NASCAR rule at the end of Sunday's race at MIS, went unpunished and won the race. Do you have a problem with that?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Saturday evening we have the Nationwide race on ESPN2
and on TNT, the Cup Series comes at us from the West Coast, right up the street, so to speak, from me.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Milwaukee | 8:30 p.m. ET Fri. | SPEED
NASCAR Nationwide Series Milwaukee | 8 p.m. ET Sat. | ESPN2
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Infineon | 3:30 p.m. ET Sun. | TNT
|3||--||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||2129||-84|
|CHASE FOR THE SPRINT CUP - CURRENT CONTENDERS|
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
My first take was that he's just not winning, so he won't waste his time. I got that from a statement he made early on in the year and it seemed a wee bit aloof-ish, but he's at least sticking to his guns on that one. Even if several other drivers who aren't contending for a championship are still going to race the secondary divisions of NASCAR. At least the fans will have the benefit of enjoying those Cup drivers on the track.
On an interesting note, there's one pretty good reason that Kyle might want to stay away from the Truck Series and his name is Ron Hornaday Jr.
It seems that Hornaday is at wits end with Kyle and has said as much:
Last weekend Kyle had both Hornaday and his truck owner Kevin Harvick ticked off at him as Busch ended up "helping" Hornaday from a 5th to a 23rd place finish in the last lap of the Truck Series race at Michigan.
Hornaday felt that Busch drove into him as retribution for a maneuver he pulled off earlier in the race and 1/2 way into the race Busch indicated his frustration at someone else driving like him by lifting the back of Hornaday's truck up.
As Hornaday stated:
"If he is going to race that way that is pretty chicken -- he doesn't deserve to be a racer. He has a lot of talent, but that is just flat stupid. If Billy Ballew needs a championship that bad for owners, he has the right driver.
"I don't knock any other driver, but I will tell you what, that kid has just about done wore me out. I don't know if I have to give up this championship to teach him a lesson -- I hope I don't hurt him, because if Joe Gibbs lets him do this, I am ashamed for them.
"I tried to talk to him as a friend. He is just out there; I don't know what it is. I guess it is an ego trip and if he is going to wreck me every week, I guess we are going to have to do it back to him."
Is this playing out again just like Kurt Busch and Jimmy Spencer?? Is Kyle stewing for a thumping?
I think so, but we'll just have to tune in each and every week to As the Truck Spins!! (I'd happily donate to Hornaday's penalty fund!)
With NASCAR investigating the $225 million lawsuit brought on by Mauricia Grant, they've taken an early set of actions after chatting with everyone involved and sent 2 Nationwide officials on administrative leave until things can be sorted out in the long haul.
I'm not sure if that's a "Look we are taking action" statement by NASCAR or if they actually did find something. I'd be shocked if that's the case (found something) just by image alone of the sport that I get from the drivers, crews and team owners. But I need to keep in mind that we don't see or hear anything about the track officials on any sort of personal level during the sport, so we, as outsiders looking in, have no real clue.
We can only hope these allegations just aren't the case. It would be very damaging if they have any substance what so ever.
Besides the officials put on leave, the investigators noted that they did not uncover a single instance of Grant having complained to any of her supervisors or other NASCAR employees during this distressful time in her employment, though she states she has both e-mails and text messages to support her claims.
What that means is now they need a computer forensic expert to investigate these windows of proof. I say that because I could send myself an email or fake headers and what, in both email or text messages to make things look a certain way. (My computer admin past) A computer forensic investigator will need to verify the emails, and the routes it's taken, and possibly trace it back to it's source to prove it's source validity. It's a bit of work, but it's doable if all parties have retained their server records of such transactions, which most ISP's do. It's the same for text messages. Your cell phones work off of computer systems that are the same in principal.
For now, we wait and see. Time will tell all.
Meanwhile, Brian France took a pretty strong verbal stand over the weekend in hinting (Or just outright saying) their perspective.
France did say,
"Obviously we found some violations of our policy. I would not jump to conclusions" and further added "I would be very, very cautious in making a leap of faith, even if we take action on any official in this investigation."
One thing he noted was the method of communication of the lawsuit and the lack of real time complaints about the scenario while it was actually, allegedly occurring.
"The most disappointing thing to me is that we found out about these alleged claims after you did in the media via a national lawsuit that seeks a lot of money," France said. "That's very disappointing because if any of those claims turn out to be accurate and have substance, we would have liked to have known about that two years ago so that we could have reacted and done something about it -- because it's inconsistent with anything, from a policy standpoint, about how a work environment for our officials should be."
He further pointed out that it seemed that Grant chose to make it about money, and they will deal with that approach in their defense.
(Source: Google AP News, NASCAR News )
Monday, June 16, 2008
Whether it be Ron Hornaday and Kevin Harvick having words with Kyle Busch about his driving techniques after the race, I think the fact that race officials had to seriously resort to reviewing the ever faithful photo finish!
The Cool City Customs 200 at Michigan had the No. 99 and No. 23 trucks side by side coming out of the final turn and crossing the finish line with Eric Darnell taking the checkered flag by a mere 0.005 seconds in front of Johnny Benson. This finish made this the closest in NASCAR history since the inception of electronic timing!
Despite all the technological advances we see in the Cup side of things, the truck series has given us some good, technological free racing. When a driver gets the boot from Cup because they aren't the youngest or hottest commodity out there, they can come to the truck series and either get a ride or make a ride for themselves and Bobby Hamilton proved that.
The ruck series is where the real wheel men can still do just that, wheel the beasts around the pavement. The COT is coming along and is now closer than ever to the trucks, but I've always enjoyed the racing where it can still get pretty rough and fender bumpin' and still be good racing and not be aero dependent like the old cars were.
What a finish. Sorry Ricky, we now have a closer finish to fawn over for a while!!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Barring the rest of the chess match of the race, the last 20 laps got very interesting with fuel mileage.
My favorite dark horse driver, David Ragan, had the lead and I thought maybe the race, but he had to come in for a splash and go, and that gave the lead to Dale Earnhardt Jr., whom we know had to look to conserve gas but he got into racing with McMurray and Jr. Nation watched and worried.
Then, the worst possible anxiety inducing situation occurred. A caution was brought out by Sam Hornish Jr spinning the the No 77 Dodge.
Under caution, Jr had to run below the white line, coasting and intermittently passing the pace car to coast to conserve as much fuel as possible.
When the green flag flew, Jr. Nation held it's collective breath as Jr. had the best car and pulled away from the pack with a good restart, followed by Kasey Kahne, who had plenty of gas.
Crossing the line for the white flag, the 55 and 10 cars got together in the front stretch, bringing an end to what we know was the inevitable. Jr motored across the finish line getting his first win in 76 races and giving proof that he can win under his new team banner, Hendrick Motorsports.
As soon as he crossed the line, he made a U-turn up pit road but still ran out of gas and had to be pushed to victory circle.
As Jr. said, it don't matter how he got it, he got it.
He was followed across the line by Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, David Ragan, Elliott Sadler and Jamie McMurray to round out the top 10.
CONGRATULATIONS TO DALE EARNHARDT JR. IN HIS FIRST WIN UNDER HIS NEW TEAM BANNER!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
He started 43rd and by the end of lap 1, was 25th. By lap 20, in the top 10 and it only took him 40 laps to take the lead and cruise.
But as it stands, Kyle's luck struck and with less than 40 laps to go, Kyle went away.
As Kyle was chasing down Joey Logano, things looked like they were going to get very interesting between the two new stars of the NASCAR Nationwide Series when suddenly Kyle Busch lost it coming out of turn 2, all by himself and slams into the outside wall, destroying the car. Destroyed might be a strong word. He just made it useless to race.
With 31 laps to go, the green flag flew for the restart and Joey Logano took the flag, kept the lead, pulled away and got his first Nationwide Series win and became the youngest winner in the series history.
Performance Delivered as Expected
Joey Logano has arrived and he celebrated his first win in proper style. His victory burn out flattened both rear tires and he had to limp the car to victory circle. As it should be.
Joey was followed across the finish line by Scott Wimmer, Mike Wallace, Brad Keselowski and Bryan Clauson.
After the race when Kyle Busch was asked if he is going to Milwaukee, he quickly said no.
One Other Notable Event
Steven Wallace and Carl Edwards got together under caution, but it was more of a spotter communication thing than something between them, like it was last year at this same track!
Congratulations to Joey!!
Jeff Burton's theory is that the front splitter is restricting some of the airflow that they've become used to and I've heard over on SIRIUS that the location of the exhaust pipe under the floor boards also contribute to the scenario.
I agree that NASCAR should step in and help with THEIR design.
But John Darby of NASCAR questions why drivers complain about the issue, but don't use some of the resources that are available to them since there are no rules restricting the application of fresh air control.
I'm thinking performance issues are what teams are worried about and I think NASCAR invalidates part of their opinion when Darby says that Carl Edwards didn't even break a sweat. So they ask the tri-athlete? The guy who bikes between states to go to races? Eesh.
Darby did concede that switching to unleaded fuel might have added 10 to 20 degrees to the interior of the car, and as far as I remember, it was already dang hot in those cars before that!
In 2005, CNN medical reporter Dr. Gupta did a series on NASCAR and what extremes the drivers go through. In that series, he noted that the interior of the car (Back then, in '95) hits around 100 degrees, and 170 degrees at the floorboards. So if we add 10-20 degrees for unleaded fuel, and who knows how much due to the new design - wow.
It's being reported that NASCAR is starting to take readings and what not from different aspects of the drivers and the cars, so more quantitative data is coming everyone's way someday soon.
So for the moment, it's not going to be too bad this weekend in Michigan, but the hot months of July and August inevitably coming at us. Let's see if someone can figure something out without incurring a massive penalty!!
Time will tell.
Sources: USA Today , CNN , SportingNews
Team Owner Rick Hendrick wants Jr.'s first season with the team to be a very successful season and in so doing, has got the team working hard at their trade, and that is how you get good.
OK, maybe Jr. is grumbling a little bit about the extra effort, and he's pre-warned Hendrick that he might do that, but he's also complying with the extra hours knowing that it's that extra effort that is going to net them what they want.
Though the No 88 team is third in the points standings, they have yet to win a points race, and they're working hard at it, while everyone else is chasing Kyle Busch.
An interesting quote from Dale Earnhardt Jr. might reflect the differences we're seeing between his days under DEI and now, under HMS:
"We've tested six, seven times in the last two months," Earnhardt said. "And I wouldn't test six or seven times in a year before."
But don't fret: Hendrick isn't just picking on Jr.. This is how he handles the other teams also.
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune
It's being reported that Kentucky Speedway has sold out their seats for the Nationwide event this Saturday, The Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo. The track has sold out each of the last seven events. In response to the sell-out this year, the track has made 3,000 additional "Standing Room Only" tickets available for $40.
Hurry, you've still got time!! (Well, at least at the time that I posted this.)
Friday, June 13, 2008
So another Pocono race has come and gone. And we will be treated to yet one more race there seven races later. Pocono just doesn't do it for me and obviously the owners aren't going anywhere anytime soon and their method of repairs seem to be strips of repair as opposed to total repaving projects like other tracks have done in the recent past.
If NASCAR retains two races at the facility, (And I don't see why they won't) I have to wonder if the track management should at least repave the track or is there something they can do to change up the action?
My thought is that it would be nice if they repaved the track. It might make for a wee bit closer racing. Heck, I'd would not even be against installing gradient banking in the corners and a dogleg out of turn 1 (turns 1/2?). Guys?
Charlie: What was wrong with Sunday's race? Did that short stretch of one turn that was patched cause the race to be bad? It was a great 500 mile race. 500 mile races, in 100 degree heat, are not enjoyed by any driver who doesn't finish first. Would re-paving improve the race track? It would make it smoother - and more of a tire tire which would piss off everybody who didn't finish first - again.
TZ: I've gotta go with Charlie on this one. I really didn't think that the racing was all that bad. It could've been better, but it wasn't bad. And, yeah, I think they could probably repave, but that would cost them a ton of money, I'm sure, with as big as the track is. But, really, I'm okay with them just leaving this one be.
Follow the rest of our discussion:
Charlie Turner - On Pit Row
- Would requiring race tracks that host multiple races, to have different race lengths for each race resolve the complaints of those who want to take races away from the Poconos and Californias?
Tim Zaegel - DoYouNASCAR
- Assuming that he was seriously contemplating the move, do the recent penalties awarded to Haas CNC Racing deter Tony Stewart from pursuing future ownership with that organization?
Thursday, June 12, 2008
According to "sources", (OK, weather.com),
Saturday, the 14th: AM Showers and a Precip chance of 30%
Sunday, the 15th: Isolated T-Storms with Precipitation chance at 30%
Hopefully this link to the weekend forecast for Brooklyn works:
The Weather Channel
For Sparta, KY (Nationwide Race)
They're saying AM Thunderstorms with a 70% chance of rain.
The Weather Channel
I hate rain when it comes to NASCAR and I know domed events are not a reality but that would be cool now.
Maybe we should introduce the NASCAR RC control car races or have them fight it out in Legends Cars when it rains.
At least we'd have something fun to watch! I bet the drivers would be game to play in the rain
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
One more good week from Vickers ought to get him up into the top 35 and the now infamous No 66 car is surging up two spots. Hopefully proving that their previous success was not modified induced.
Meanwhile, David Ragan quietly sits outside of 12th by 7 points, waiting for someone to stumble. Ryan Newman is just three points behind him, also stalking that spot for now.
12th is our new bubble spot excitement zone!!
|3||--||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||1939||-145|
Here's the Chase Bubble Spot Look:
|16||-1||Martin Truex Jr.||1558||-56|
Despite this change in leadershup, Richard Petty will remain involved in the organization. Barry Baker, the managing director of Boston Ventures, will become PE's new chairman while David Zucker will be the CEO.
Additionally, with the company changing hands, Bobby Labonte has signed a four-year extension with Petty Enterprises.
Who's Boston Ventures? Boston Ventures invests in media and entertainment (And now motorsports). Its past investments include Motown Records, Six Flags Entertainment, Billboard Publications, Continental Cablevision and American Media Inc., publisher of The National Enquirer. (Eww)
OK. So who's this David Zucker guy? Up until March, Zucker had been CEO of Midway Games (video games). Previous to that, he was president and CEO of Playboy Enterprises and from 1988-1999 he was an executive vice president at ESPN under the Walt Disney Corporation. He also was director of ESPN International.
And again, an outside business invests in yet another team who has to do this to maintain viability in the sport. At what point will the outside investors start to look for outside outside investors? What happened to a sport who's purse winnings helped pay a team to stay competitive? It seems that competing in NASCAR is just becoming a marketing tool for the hood and fender decals these days since the shops can't afford to spend the funds necessary to stay competitive. I could be wrong, but that's just my emotional reaction to this development. Somewhere down the road, it will be APPLE racing vs The Wall Street Journal racing teams.
You know what I do see, or more to the point, predict? Kyle Petty can sit back and actually just drive the car. The one year he did that, his performance improved greatly over his present output. If that's what he does. It would be a mistake to have him still do both now that they have an outside corporate structure. He needs to choose what he wants to do. I like him in the TNT booth. It gives us some pretty fresh, competitive perspective. I wouldn't mind if he went that direction.
Source: USA Today
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Mauricia Grant said she loved her job but there was an ongoing daily pattern of abuse during her tenure in the ranks of NASCAR from January 2005 until October of 2007 when she was let go.
She cites fascinating nicknames that the officiating staff used to reference her (You can follow the link because I am not putting that here) and various unwanted sexual advances.
The lawsuit lists 23 specific incidents of alleged sexual harassment and 34 specific incidents of alleged racial and gender discrimination.
Here's what I'm thinking: If this is true, this is going to really hurt NASCAR's image as an equal opportunity employer and their Drive for Diversity. On the other hand, I'm surprised at the allegations. My own perceptions from my few visits at the tracks or watching television, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around this. She sites very specific incidents in the article I've linked to, and some of the items just shock me that someone would actually say or do some of these things, period. Then again, I live a sheltered life inside my lab hole at work.
Like I always like to say, Time will be the telling factor in this matter.