Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stewart Fined For Being Stewart in USAC

After conducting himself unbecoming of a NASCAR driver, oh, wait, this is a USAC fine.. sorry.

Calling his behavior "unacceptable," Tony Stewart was fined $10k and placed on probation for the rest of the year within USAC.  He could make it the perfect sweep and get on the S-List of NASCAR too if he tries hard enough.

On top of that, Stewart will also be paying to replace the radios and uniforms of the USAC officials.  (What the heck did he do to them?)

source:  http://www.thatsracin.com

Stewart's Temper Flares In USAC?

The Pensacola News Journal is making note that Tony Stewart had another emotional spat moment the other day but we missed it because we were all busy looking at diamond cut track surfaces cutting up tires.

They're saying that while Stewart was representing himself as a USAC Midget car owner, got into it with officials where he slapped the headset off one official and shoved another.  It's reported that both of these magic quality moments was caught on video tape.

When he was quizzed by a reporter about last Friday, Stewart referenced it as a "disagreement."

Is Tony already letting the stress of his new upcoming Cup scenario get under his skin to the point where he's reverting to his natural, snappy state of being.  The Tony we all first were introduced to in his early years in Cup under Joe Gibbs Racing?  It is the persona many have grown to enjoy and maybe it's not a bad thing, but hopefully shoving officials was just a simple misunderstanding because frankly, it does not make sense to me that he would do something like that this late in his career.

Source:  pmj.com

Thursday, July 24, 2008

July 25 Weekend TV Schedule

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at ORP will be on at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday on SPEED
The NASCAR Nationwide Series at ORP will be on at 7:30 p.m. ET Sat. on ESPN
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be at Indianapolis at 1 p.m. ET Sun. on ESPN

NASCAR Trying to Level the Nationwide Playing Field Yet Again

Remember with the old car, one car had more spoiler, or less valance, or different bumpers, so it was always a constant ever changing template as balance was constantly shifting between the manufacturers.

Now, with Toyota being so dominant through the first half of the year,  NASCAR has mandated that Toyota tone down their NATIONWIDE engines since Toyota has won 14 of the 21 races so far this year.

The mandate says to use a smaller spacer to reduce the horsepower by 15 horsepower.  Ouch.

You'd think they'd have dyno'd out the engines and seen the disparity before unleashing them on the field this year but I guess this is one of those unknowns.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

An FYI to my One Loyal Reader

OK, I have three or four loyal readers...  and I say thank you to you.  You know who you are.

I'm headed to Comic-Con Wednesday and will be there through Sunday.  I will be pretty busy reporting on the Con while there for another site but if I can, I'll try to post some relevant info.

But I haven't disappeared...  Like you care!  -Bruce

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The 2010 Chevy Camaro

Yesterday the new, 2010 Chevy Camaro was unveiled.

Eh.. I'm not too impressed.

But the Lakers Cheerleaders seemed happy enough about it.

OK, they weren't there... but I thought I'd spruce up the Camaro somehow.

Terry Labonte Staying in No 45 for Indy

Taking advantage of Terry Labonte's past champion provisional, Petty Enterprises is keeping him in the No 45 Dodge for the upcoming weekend of activity at Indianapolis. 

It is the best thing for the team, but what a confidence deflating scenario for Kyle Petty, to not even be in the car when he has the time.  Wow.

The car, right now, is 41st in Owners Points.   (Do I even go that low in my charts?)


Tony Stewart's Number and Sponsor(s) will Be...

Tony Stewart's number for 2009 under his new program of Stewart Haas racing will be the No. 14 Chevrolet and sponsorship for the car will be shared between Office Depot and Old Spice.

I hope he keeps that metallic red look we've seen from the Old Spice sponsored car we've seen in the Nationwide series... that's hot.   (for a diecast)

Ahh, the No. 14.  Anyone remember that green Conseco sponsored No 14 when it was driven by Ron Hornaday? (I got a diecast of it... like that's a shock.)

Source:  http://www.thatsracin.com/topstories/story/16736.html

Karvick Wins Oxford Plains TD Banknorth 250

Ahh, my old stomping grounds where I went to my very first stock car race, Oxford Plains Speedway.

It's been a long time since I've been there, but it's neat to see it in the news, and to see Kevin Harvick at my old stomping grounds as he stuck around for the rain delayed race to win the thing over the locals.

Harvick being on an off NASCAR weekend, decided to vacation by racing, saying "It's got to be fun," Harvick said before the race. "It's an off weekend from my normal job. That's the first priority, to have fun."

That's 'Happy' for ya!


NASCAR Switching Gears: Broadcast Gears

After it's short run on TNT, where the ratings stayed on par with last years shows, NASCAR coverage, per confusing contractual agreements, has swapped over to ESPN for the moment.

So keep on your toes and look for your local coverage to be on your cable providers ESPN channel.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Jeremy Mayfield Wishing for a Ride, but Behind it All, An Interesting Stewart Tidbit

Jeremy Mayfield is wishing for a ride.  He's probably not going to have anyone chomping at the bit though and by his own admission, he's made mistakes.

  • In 2001 he was let go by Penske after taking shots at the organization.  (If I remember correctly, didn't he lob a lawsuit at them for that?)
  • In 2006 he was let go after taking shots at Ray Evernham spending too much time with Evernhams "development" driver, Erin Crocker.  There, Mayfield did sue to block his release.
  • He had a ride in 2007 at Bill David Racing, but the sponsor bailed on their bills, bailing on Mayfield.
  • He spent seven races in 2007 at Haas-CNC racing.

The interesting tidbit:  During the Interview, before Jeremy could stop her from making the statement, Shana blurted out that Haas-CNC had a bigger agenda with Stewart coming in.  Maybe it was just a frustrated blurt, and then again, maybe not... I found it interesting at best, probably nothing concrete though, but these kind of big changes in NASCAR don't happen overnight, that's for sure.

Either way, at this point, Mayfield is desperate enough to get back in Cup racing that he's willing to work without a contract and for a percentage of his winnings without a guaranteed salary.  Yea, that's what happens to bad commentary, lawsuit lobbing folk...  people watch, listen and take care of their own shops.

Regardless, I did think he had what it took, but we may never know.

The article is a bit lengthy, but a good read over on ESPN.

NASCAR Racing Simulation Games; A Perspective on EA Games

by Bruce Simmons :

Over on the217 gamersguide they have a great little article that takes note that the EA NASCAR 09 has a serious glitch on the XBox 360 and that the only way to fix it, to date, is to delete your saved games. Regardless of whether your 30 minutes or 30 hours into the game.

They go one to say
"It's things like this that make me genuinely believe that Electronic Arts does not care the slightest about the quality of their games."

Read the rest of NASCAR Racing Simulation Games over on Nascar Bits and Pieces.com. Yea... my new location!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Flip Carl, Flip. Edwards Wins at Gateway

Carl Edwards went past Jason Leffler with 49 laps remaining in the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway, marking his 2nd win in three years at this track.

Joey Logano finished second after starting fourth.  He was followed by Jason Keller, Brad Keselowski and Landon Cassill.

The race didn't go without it's own big incidents as we saw an approximate 30 minute red flag session for cleanup of a multi-car wreck with 84 to go when Landon Cassill got into the back of Scott Wimmer, sending Wimmer hard into the outside wall and catching a bunch of other cars in the wrecking yard that they called the front stretch.  It caught up Mike Bliss, Reed Sorenson and Steve Wallace.

For more race details check out: NASCAR

Nationwide Results
Nationwide Standings

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ryan Newman Gets Road Named After Him

A small section of Lincoln Way West in South Bend, Indian has been renamed to Newman Way.  During the road naming ceremony, the speedster made a comment in regards to the 45 mph speed limit, wondering if the could up it a bit for his section of the road. 

Source:  http://www.whas11.com

GM Ending Deals With Two NASCAR Tracks

Here comes the economy.

General Motors (GM) has started taking it's cost cutting measures as they trim the excess spending that's been bleeding them dry in this economy.  At present, GM has contracts with 12 NASCAR tracks.  The first two tracks to take the hit are Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks
  • Bristol Motor Speedway and
  • New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
In these cases, the sponsoring contracts will expire and not be renewed.

On top of these two moves, NASCAR is not the only avenue of cost cutting measures.  They are also suspending its stock dividend and will sell up to $4 billion in assets.

Of a quick note:  Richmond International Raceways contract with GM runs through 2010 and that includes being the title sponsor for the The Chevy Rock and Roll 400 and Chevy's status as the official vehicle of the track.

Source:  http://www.inrich.com

Friday, July 18, 2008

Loose in Turn Three: What's Going To Happen To Budweiser

This week is seeing quite a few changes in how the economy is hitting different levels of sports and what not.  Auto manufacturers reevaluating their spending, teams that have already looked to outside investors, possibly needing to do more of that from other teams, and now our beloved beer that was the staple on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car, Budweiser is even changing.

NASCAR has introduced a non-American manufacturer, Toyota, into the mix and it's doing pretty well.  But now Budweiser is becoming a Belgian beer!!

Wow, what's the world coming to?  A staple to many, an important food group to some, but really, a major brand in the world right behind Coca-Cola, the Anheuser-Busch (A-B) company, or Budweiser to the many fans and connoisseurs of the world has been sold.

A-B declined the first offer of $46 billion, but agreed to a higher offer of $52 billion.  The purchaser of the all American brewer is the Belgian beer giant InBev. The new company will be called Anheuser-Busch InBev.  InBev makes Becks, in case you didn't know.  And an interesting twist in this whole thing is that InBev had sold Rolling Rock to A-B, and now they're getting it back!   (Source:  Consumerist)

Historically, I haven't seen any sports sponsoring from InBev, but I just don't know everything.  Prior to this purchase, InBev is a result of a merger of the Interbew and Ambev.  Both contenders in the world market of beer brewing as Interbrew was the third largest and Ambev the fifth largest brewers in the world.  Can you guess who's number 1?


The question I tossed out to the guys Loose In Turn Three, Tim Zaegel of DoYouNASCAR and Charlie Turner of On Pit Row is: 

Do you think that the purchase of Anheuser-Busch by InBev will have any sort of impact on the sponsorship of NASCAR teams and events?

Bruce:  If they're smart, and I think they are, they'll leave things alone and let A-B coast along doing what it does best...  marketing the living heck out of itself with well spun ads and product placement.  If they think they're going to be original and put their own spin on the business of A-B, that could be doom.  They better not pull sponsorship!  Budweiser has been a dang near staple in the world of NASCAR sponsors, not to mention one of the main dietary food groups for me!!

Tim:  I don't think you're going to see any sponsorship withdrawals anytime soon because InBev already knows that there's going to be some gung-ho American-brand-only good ol' boys that will probably boycott the label, so they're going to try to cut that damage anywhere they can, and pulling out of NASCAR definitely wouldn't help that situation. What it does do, however, is pretty much solidify the fact that Gateway International Raceway will probably never get a Cup date. Saint Louis, where Anheuser is currently headquartered, has already garnered a struggling economy over the last two years with the closing of several banks and car manufacturing plants. While InBev has vowed not to close any of the Anheuser plants, I believe some cutbacks are emminent, and that's just going to damage the economy even more.

Charlie: I would think that InBev would be buying Budweiser's marketing success as much as the actual product. The Bud NASCAR brand is a big part of that. Can't see them changing that. Maybe InBev will use NASCAR to promote some of their import brands here in the states.


Tim on DoYouNASCAR asks
What Stewart Haas Racing can accomplish next season compared to what the expectations are for them in 2009.

And Charlie OnPitRow asks
Who is your choice as the next driver at Penske Racing?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Are the Busch Brothers About to Break A Brotherly NASCAR Record?

Something to ponder

In 1995, Bobby and Terry Labonte won two races in a row:  Pocono (Terry) and then Michigan (Bobby).
In 1978, Donnie and Bobby Allison won three in a row in 1978.
In 1952, the Flock Brothers, Tim, Bob and Fonty, won four in a row.  Playland Park Speedway, Monroe County Fairgrounds in Rochester, NY, Asheville-Weaverville Speedway and Darlington.

Right now, Kyle and Kurt have four consecutive wins.  IF they pull off a win at Indy, this will set them apart with the best record of consecutive wins in NASCAR.

Unfortunately, we don't think they're going to pull this one off. Kurt's been way off his game this year and Kyle says he's not that hot at the flatter tracks.  I guess we wait and see.

source:  http://www.frontstretch.com

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

NASCAR TV Schedule for July

NASCAR Nationwide Series Gateway | 9 p.m. ET Sat. | ESPN2
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Kentucky | 6:30 p.m. ET Sat. | SPEED

There's no Cup action this weekend, until
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Indianapolis | 1 p.m. ET 7/27 | ESPN

So it's all Nationwide and Truck Series racing on Saturday.

Owners Bubble, After Lieflock 400

After the Chicago race, the bubble chase "looks" tight, but it just depends on who starts when as far as who gets the points.

You can see who got jostled around after last week... with the No. 55 car of Michael Waltrip getting the worse of it after coming in 36th.

As usual, the point spread around the 35th spot is snug as usual this year.

28 1 #44 Michael Waltrip 1623 207
29 1 #22 Bill Davis 1594 178
30 1 #7 Robby Gordon 1572 156
31 -3 #55 Michael Waltrip 1563 147
32 -- #41 Chip Ganassi 1545 129
33 -- #01 Teresa Earnhardt 1497 81
34 1 #77 Roger Penske 1422 6
35 -1 #00 Rob Kauffman 1416 0
36 -- #66 Joe Custer 1403 -13
37 -- #84 Dietrich Mateschitz 1294 -122
38 -- #96 Jeffrey Moorad 1256 -160
39 1 #10 George Gillett, Jr 1190 -226

GM Support of NASCAR Diminishing

by Bruce Simmons :

I know we've been told we're not in a recession, but during this non-recession we're being hit with a miserable housing market, stupid fuel prices, and everything else dependent on fuel prices and housing responding likewise.  I guess we can call this an adjustment phase.  Nothing new.  It's just part of the cycle.

Unfortunately, part of that cycle in this economy is when major companies and brands (IE:  Ford, Toyota, Dodge)  reevaluate how they spend money or support marketing efforts.  Now we can add GM to this list.

As the major car manufacturers respond to this economy, they've been laying off workers and other cost cutting measures.  That includes how they're spending money on their racing support.

All levels of GM supported motorsports, including NASCAR, Sports Car Club of America, NHRA, USAC midgets/sprints and the American Le Mans Series are not immune and GM looks like they will be changing their "marketing footprint" in NASCAR and the other racing venues.

This makes a bit of logical sense.  As they cut jobs and production to save money, they're dropping millions in research and development not to mention whatever they've spent baiting Tony Stewart under the Chevy logo again.  Funding this kind of racing-support of championship caliber teams can cost GM up to $30 million a year and they support 12 teams right now.

Though it looks bleak, one aspect that is on the bright side of things is how NASCAR fans are the most diligent in recognizing and supporting NASCAR sponsors and NASCAR is still viewed as a good investment.  The different entities just have to lean up the excess outflow of funds right now.  In my mind, this means that if you're not housing a recent champion or hot commodity, you might find less help from your manufacturer and this probably means more outside investors in the individual teams.  Sigh.

Source:  http://www.theolympian.com

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ambros to Cup; ESPN Analyst Daugherty to Field Cup Team

Catchy title, but the two items are related.

Marcos Ambros has been tagged for the Cup series in the 2009 season and he'll be driving for JTG Daugherty Racing. Yes, Brad Daugherty of ESPN Analyst notoriety.

It's an interesting pairing, with both making a pretty big new venture into the Cup series.

Interesting things about Brad:
Daugherty has had prior experience fielding NASCAR teams. His team, Liberty Racing has fielded such drivers in the Nationwide and Truck series as the late Kenny Irwin Jr., Wayne Anderson and Kevin Harvick. He also teamed up with Brian France to start NASCAR's Diversity Council.

Thanks to fullthrottle.cranialcavity for the info, cause I didn't know this about Brad.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ryan Newman, Free Agent or ??

by Bruce Simmons :

It was announced today that my man, Ryan Newman, will have his ties cut with Penske Racing at the end of the 2008 season.

Ryan was looking to weigh his options, but Penske Racing jumped the gun on that one and announced today that the waiting is over and they've made the decision for him.

Ryan's had a lousy year aside from the Daytona 500, and he wanted to balance out what options lay where... so much for that plan.

Ryan's record has:
243 starts
13 wins
63 top-five's
105 top-10s.
He can also tout 43 poles to his credits.

Penske right now is probably looking at Casey Mears or David Stremme to put in the ill-fated No. 12 Dodge. I only say that because no one has amounted to much in that car, but then again they could call Martin Truex Jr. to come on over!

So where does Ryan go? What options are there for him?

Popular lore for the moment is the odds on favorite of joining Tony Stewart at Stewart Haas Racing. (SHR) But there are other, though improbable options.

There's the newly available seat in the Gibbs garage, but we think that Joey Logano may be slated for the No 20 Toyota. There's also RCR.

More than likely, I think Ryan's headed to SHR. Hopefully we'll hear in a little while.

As for me, this will be the last year for my growing collection of Ryan Newman / Alltel diecasts where the count stops at 75 with the 2008 car. Now I gotta wait and see what new sponsor will be adorning my display case and walls next year!

source: nascar.com

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Driver Standings After the LifeLock.com 400

These are preliminary stats until it becomes official:

The top 6 spots stayed put, with Kyle Busch extending his lead over 2nd place driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. to 262 points.

Greg Biffle moved up 4 spots with his 4th place finish to 7th, now 35 points in front of the Cup Bubble.

Denny Hamlin dropped to 12th after his 40th place finish from mechanical difficulties.

Clint Bowyer dropped 3 spots to 13th, outside the top 12 by 27 points from his 22nd place finish.

The contention for the Cup is closing in on the drivers and there's only a 155 point difference between 7th and 13th places. There's only 7 races to go until the chase erupts on us.

1 -- Kyle Busch 2881 Leader 598
2 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2619 -262 336
3 -- Jeff Burton 2590 -291 307
4 -- Carl Edwards 2509 -372 226
5 -- Jimmie Johnson 2494 -387 211
6 -- Jeff Gordon 2384 -497 101
7 4 Greg Biffle 2318 -563 35
8 1 Matt Kenseth 2317 -564 34
9 4 Kevin Harvick 2308 -573 25
10 2 Tony Stewart 2305 -576 22
11 -3 Kasey Kahne 2295 -586 12
12 -5 Denny Hamlin 2283 -598 0

13 -3 Clint Bowyer 2256 -625 -27
14 1 Brian Vickers 2188 -693 -95
15 -1 David Ragan 2185 -696 -98

Complete Driver Standings

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Kyle Busch Wins the LifeLock.com 400

You'll never guess who won the Lifelock.com 400 that took place at Chicagoland?  Yep. 

On a late race restart with 2 laps to go, with Jimmie Johnson in the lead, he couldn't make his car wide enough to hold back Kyle Busch who had started behind him as Johnson ducked to the low lane and Busch went high.  His car held the high line and he got by Johnson to take the lead and keep it for the last lap and a half.

Coming around turn 4 to the checkered flag, Johnson was driving the No. 38 Lowe's Chevy so hard, it got a wee bit sideways and he didn't have a chance to catch Busch.

The race had a few cautions.  Debris, blown engines, car spins.  The usual.

An interesting note was as the race got underway, J.J. Yeley was black flagged.  I don't remember the term used to describe the penalty, but basically they used lead weighted Gatorade bottles that they were going to toss out as the race got under way.  This got the No 96 car a pass through penalty, putting them off the lead lap almost immediately.  They ended up in 24th after all was said and done.  I guess had he won, he'd be thanking be thanking Gatorade profusely.

Kyle Busch won the race, followed by
Jimmie Johnson,
Kevin Harvick,
Greg Biffle,
Tony Stewart,
Brian Vickers,
Matt Kenseth,
David Ragan,
Martin Truex Jr., and
Ryan Newman rounded out the top ten.

Of note: 
Jeff Gordon finished 11th,
Dale Earnhardt Jr - 16th,
Carl Edward - 32nd.  (Broke his front splitter just past the half way point, affecting his down force.)

With Kyle Busch winning the race, he swept both races of the weekend.

Results for the race, unofficial at this time.

Should Presidential Campaigns Come To NASCAR Hoods?

by Bruce Simmons :

In yet another unique sponsorship idea, BAM had offered some NASCAR Cup sponsorship time to Barack Obama's presidential campaign bid. They've even put out offers to John McCain's camp and one other party.

But at this time, we will not be seeing presidential bids on the hoods of any NASCAR Cup cars.

And rightfully so.

For one, I'm guessing no candidate wants to look like they're hard wired into supporting any one NASCAR team. It might say too much about their affiliations and it might alienate them from other demographics, and as we all know, winning an election is more about the projected image than fact.

Face it, people outside the sport continue to think it's filled with rednecks. I got that 'tude from someone just yesterday, and all I could say was "The only bass-ackwards attitude I see is yours buddy." That went over well with my co-worker, but I don't care. If you walk around with blinders, I'm going to "gently" remove them for you!

Besides, I think if we started seeing campaigns on car hoods, it would open a can of worms and suddenly every election in the country would be pouring in to take advantage of the situation. It would probably be good for teams for sponsor money, but it doesn't feel right to me. As one person put it that I overheard the other day, it just wouldn't look right to have someone's head on the hood of a car. I can't disagree with that.

That's my thought.

Inspiration: Boston.com

Driver Channels and Fan Favorite Choice on Sirius Satellite

Today's LifeLock 400 (barring rain), as always, is transmitted on Sirius Satellite Ch 128.
In addition to that channel, they have 5 additional channels that broadcast the event, but with the race broadcast, they overlap / interject on-board driver to crew chief radio chatter.
Sirius picks four of the channels, and the viewers / listeners can vote on the 5th, fan-favorite channel.  This week, is David Ragan.

#18     Kyle Busch     Ch. 122
#20     Tony Stewart     Ch. 126
#88     Dale Earnhardt Jr.     Ch. 125
#99     Carl Edwards     Ch. 127
#06     David Ragan     Ch. 123


Friday, July 11, 2008

Dale Earnhardt Jr: You can Take it Or Leave it

Last season, Teresa Earnhardt did not want to sell a 51% interest in DEI to Dale Earnhardt Jr.. Bummer.

They're denying the internet rumors of course, so if the rumor were true that DEI is up for sale, Dale, in no uncertain terms indicated that he has no interesting in buying DEI, or from the horses mouth:

"I don't mean this in a bad way, but I would not have any interest in purchasing it,"

Jr. also didn't think it was a move that Teresa would make.  Being stubborn about her goals and all, but he further added:

"But maybe she sees the trend and some of the other things that are happening with other owners. Maybe she's changed her mind."

Guess it's a bummer for DEI, regardless of what happens, or could happen.  Guess they shoulda shared.  I'm not crying.  Are you?

Source:  espn

Chicagoland: First Time Under Lights and Weather Woes To Date

by Bruce Simmons :

Last nights Cup Qualifying was pulled due to rain... again. Grr. And this is the first time that Chicago is having a race under the lights, so it would be nice if mother nature cooperated. So far, we've had our fair share of weather concerns this season, but mother nature has been kind to us so far. Statistically, we're due for a rain out, I hate to say it.

Weekend Outlook
Over on the weekend outlook for Joliet, IL, Weather.com, it says that for
  • Friday, we have a 30% change of precipitation. Isolated T-storms.
  • Saturday, 80% chance of precipitation. T-storms. (They outright left off the "isolated" part)
  • Sunday, 20% chance of ra... I mean precipitation and Sunny.

The Good and the Bad
The downside: We may be seeing movies on other cable channels on Saturday night, Friday seems to have a better chance though.
The upside: Sunday looks good for racing. So if the Lifelock 400 gets postponed, stay alert as to what local cable station the race may be played on. Being the weekend, who knows.

Know Your Local Affiliate:
In the past, for me, local affiliate stations have played races, but those are the stations you never know about, like what channel it's on - so be prepared and find your affiliate TNT station beforehand! I hate scrambling around trying to figure out while the opening laps of the race are merrily on their way.

Have a great weekend folks.

UPDATE: July 12th, 12pm, CA time: The weather link I've put in this post now tells us that it will now be partly cloudy with 20% chance of rain! We may not need that affiliate info after all. Awesome!

What's Up With Ryan Newman Being Loose In Turn Three

Hey, it's Friday. It's time to hit the pedal and get ourselves a little Loose In Turn Three with me, Tim Zaegel and Charlie Turner. Loose is fast, right?

These days, Ryan Newman is in the news and the rumors, no matter how quiet he stays.

He's way outside the top 12 with only 8 weeks to go. What's up? His big year was more about fuel mileage than kicking butt, yet he is slowly climbing the record books in pole positions. The man can be fearless behind the wheel. But yet, he's not up front every week in the No. 12 car.

The No 12 car in the Penske garage has always been in the background, never quite up there with the No 2 car... usually. I don't believe this, but I have to ask: Is the 12 car just getting the short end of the stick all the time?

With that in mind, I've asked my Turn Three peers the following question:

With the rumors of the possibility of Ryan Newman signing on with Tony Stewart under Haas-CNC, I mean Stewart Haas Racing, and Jack Daniels being rumored as his sponsor, do you think his on-track performance will finally improve?

I'm probably one of the bigger Ryan Newman fans out there. I've been subtle in my hopes for his performance improvement since the year he had so many wins, but those wins weren't so much about performance as it was about fuel mileage and the smaller fuel nozzle / jet sizes. I haven't seen him be too competitive in that No 12 car of Penske's. Then again, has anyone had the best of runs in the No. 12 car, or is it the drivers they snag for the car?

I think he's got it in him to get his butt back in contention and wheel his car to the front. His ever building number of pole positions says so to me, and though that's not racing itself, you can see he can at least drive fast! If this comes to be, then as I always say, 'Time will be the Telling Factor!'

Tim Zaegel of Do You NASCAR? says:
Man, that's tough to answer. I've always thought that Newman drove his car too hard to early at the beginning of his career and that was what was keeping him from becoming a complete racecar driver, but he seems to do a better job handling his equipment these days. I think the big problem with him right now is that he's gone through what, three crew chiefs now in the past three seasons, and the Penske stable as a whole seems to have hit a rough patch. Will his performance improve at a Haas CNC Racing team that featured both him and Stewart? Probably not immediately, but that all depends on what kind of equipment they're able to give him. I do, however, think that a move to RCR or even Ganassi would suit him well at this point. And, if he were able to somehow fanagle his way into a Gibbs car, then watch out.

Charlie Turner over On Pit Road says:
In the next couple of days Ryan Newman will officially become a lame duck driver. I have never seen one of those guys do anything significant after the announcement. Ryan hasn't done much since Daytona. There is some kind of disconnect at Penske. I don't know what it is. Maybe a fresh face is what's needed in the #12. But, for sure, the latest developments won't help that team's performance.

Anyone have any other ideas or thoughts to add to what we've said? Let us hear it here.

With that said, since I tormented Tim and Charlie with my question, they tossed out their own curiosities:

Tim asks on DoYouNASCAR:
With Tony Stewart's departure from Joe Gibbs Racing, who should they look to fill the #20 seat?

And in keeping with the swaps and changes, Charlie on BenchRacing On Pit Row asked:
It has been reported that Dale Earnhardt Jr's JR Motorsports has lost the Navy sponsorship for the #88 Nationwide Series car for 2009. If you're Junior, now what?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Allmendingers Take on Computer Simulation Racing

A.J. Allmendinger, "dinger" to his buds, made a funny comment about online racing:

He noted how he practices online, racing in the online league the Dale Jr runs, and runs in. (The same one I've been know to visit also, but I don't want to show them up so I keep a low profile.)

In his usual humorous outtake on issues, he made a comment about being asked how realistic it is. His response, to make it more realistic, is to

"set your computer up next to a wall, make sure the chair is right against the wall, and when you spin in the game take your head and ram it against the wall in your house and tell me how that feels."

LOL... I like this guys 'tude. Every time I've heard him in an interview he's always got a great, funny attitude about things. And no, I will not slam my head against the wall. I'd be stone cold stupid by now if I did that!

I remember my first win in online racing... I was third in a three car draft on the last lap of Talladega... the first place car slowed up and the second place car hit him and knocked him out of the way. Poor guy. He inadvertently slowed down and guess who drove through him to get to the checkers??? heheh... It is fun I tell ya... but boy, the little text window sure can get busy at the bottom after those special moments!

RCR Is Contracted through 2009 with Jack Daniels

Richard Childress made the following statement in regards to the noise about Jack Daniels leaving RCR:

"Jack Daniel's and Richard Childress Racing have a contract through the 2009 season," said Childress. "Any reports in the media to the contrary are simply not accurate."

Notice the carefully crafted words. It's not that they aren't leaving, it's just that they have a contract.

I say no more. I've done enough damage here!

Dale Earnhardt Jr Interviews Rick Hendrick

Dale Earnhardt Jr wants more hits on his website.
He says Jayski is not linking to his site.
So he interviewed Rick Hendrick.
And without beer.

Here you go Dale:

Check it out at http://www.dalejr.com

Tony to Stewart Haas Racing

Tony Stewart confirmed his move out of JGR and announced the new name of the shop to be Stewart Haas Racing, of which he will be 50% owner. No names have been announced for the second seat.

Dave Moody made an interesting point that about 20% of owner drivers have won races, and the majority of them have been in the past era of racing, not the modern era. He said no more on that, but maybe he didn't need to.

Tony has not tested any Haas CNC cars yet because that would not be fair to his present contract.

Stories abound the internet say that The Home Depot is not following Tony, nor is his present crew chief, Zipadelli, leaving JGR.

Now we wait.

Microsoft Back In NASCAR

After trying to sponsor a car in the Cup series, namely the No. 49 of BAM Racing, it didn't go so well for MS with BAM pulling out of the competition immediately afterward.

Now, Microsoft has landed themselves another hood.  The hood of the No 00 Toyota Camry of Michael McDowell, and will stay on the car through the end of 2008.

Microsoft actually looked at their sponsoring of the car in a very forward looking approach.  A realistic one if you ask me.  If the No 00 car falls out of the top 35 in owners points (Check my latest top 35 owners rank chart here) and miss a race, Microsoft has plans in place where MWR can move the MS stickers to either of the other two cars, the No 55 or 44.

Smart thinkin' kids.

Source:  Business Journal

Wessa Miller's Family Needs Our Help

The other day, July 5th, I posted a little piece on Wessa Miller. 
Her notoriety comes from having given Dale Earnhardt Sr a lucky coin on the day he won the Daytona 500 back in '98.
She was at the track because of the Make A Wish foundation.

Wessa has spina bifida and her dad has had open heart surgery of late.

A website has been set up to explain where you can send donations, by either cash or Paypal.  That website is: penniesforwessa.org

I've sent out a "few" emails to cohorts to help pass the word, but I think what I'd like to do is ASK you the readers to do what you can, by either Digging or Stumbling or "whatevering" David Poole's original article that brought this to light for me, http://www.siriusbackstage.com, passing the word to your friends, and just doing what you can.

I already have.  The paypal button doesn't work right, so I just sent some funds in the mail to the address noted on the website, penniesforwessa.

If anyone has any suggestions for passing the word, please leave a comment for all of us to know about it.
The NASCAR community is an awesome collection of folk.  Let's show it yet again.

Thanks to everyone who has or can help in any way.

David Reutimann to Petty Enterprises?

Reutimann to Petty?  by Bruce Simmons

Over on Yahoo Sports, they're reporting a tiny tidbit with no real substance (yet) that David Reutimann will be announced as the replacement driver for Kyle Petty in the No. 45 car.

Interesting.  That would give Reutimann the team partner of Bobby Labonte.

My first take was, why?  I don't immediately see this.  But then I started thinking.  (I hate when that happens.)

  • Petty Enterprises has a new owner who's probably going to be very aggressive in getting the team back in the spotlight.
  • Kyle Petty (No disrespect meant here) is an awesome addition to the broadcast booth, and has not been able to get the car too far away from the 35th spot in owners points.
  • New blood in the team would be great.
  • Does Reutimann have a future in the struggling Waltrip Toyota shop?
  • UPS is headed to RCR

Right now, I've argued myself into believing this tidbit.
  • I wish Kyle would have had the chance to do nothing more than just drive the car.  The one year he stepped down from running the shop and driving the car, he did better than all the years he tried both.
  • Waltrip's Toyota shop should be doing much better than it is.  Toyota is now a proven winning commodity (JGR) and Waltrip racing has no real excuse and yet they languish more than I'd like to see.
So now we wait.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Chicago TV Schedule July 2008

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chicagoland | 6:30 p.m. ET Sat. | TNT
NASCAR Nationwide Series Chicagoland | 7:30 p.m ET Fri. | ESPN

Need I say more?

Owners Points and the Bubble after Daytona in July 08

Just for grins, I slapped in the first place car of Kyle Busch and he's got a 1300+ point advantage on 35th. He ain't in no danger of falling below the 35th even if he drives backwards the rest of the year.

The No 55 Toyota is in 28th and was looking at a good finish last weekend, but he got street swept in the last lap wreck.

The No 77 Dodge has the 35th spot all to itself and unless something really stupid happens to that team, AND the No 66 car runs every week, he's in no danger. With Kyle Petty out of the field, there's no real competition for the 35th spot* and dare I say it may just remain this way for the rest of the year. There aren't enough cars running full time to make it interesting. Yet another side affect of the economy? Probably.

If there's any fight to be had, it's between 33rd to 35th.

1 -- #18 Joe Gibbs 2686 1316
28 -- #55 Michael Waltrip 1508 138
29 -- #44 Michael Waltrip 1502 132
30 -- #22 Bill Davis 1500 130
31 2 #7 Robby Gordon 1484 114
32 -1 #41 Chip Ganassi 1475 105
33 -1 #01 Teresa Earnhardt 1436 66
34 1 #00 Rob Kauffman 1382 12
35 -1 #77 Roger Penske 1370 0
36 -- #66 Joe Custer 1300 -70
37 1 #84 Dietrich Mateschitz 1170 -200
38 -1 #96 Jeffrey Moorad 1165 -205
39 -- #78 Barney Visser 1133 -237
40 1 #10 George Gillett, Jr 1117 -253

*OK, that was mean.

Driver Point Standings After Daytona July 2008

Restrictor plate racing took it's toll and then some, but regardless of the venue, the same 'ol drivers were up there fighting for the lead positions, barring a few spins off of front bumpers, driver switches for a nasty flu and just some other things.

Despite spinning on the last lap, Jeff Gordon didn't lose any spots, Burton lost one and Biffle and Stewart lost three spots from their own situations.

The big spot climber was Matt Kenseth, moving up 4 spots into 9th.

1 -- Kyle Busch 2686 541
2 1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2504 359
3 -1 Jeff Burton 2484 339
4 -- Carl Edwards 2437 292
5 -- Jimmie Johnson 2319 174
6 -- Jeff Gordon 2249 104
7 -- Denny Hamlin 2240 95
8 2 Kasey Kahne 2177 32
9 4 Matt Kenseth 2166 21
10 1 Clint Bowyer 2159 14
11 -3 Greg Biffle 2153 8
12 -3 Tony Stewart 2145 0

13 -1 Kevin Harvick 2143 -2
14 3 David Ragan 2043 -102
15 1 Brian Vickers 2033 -112

As you can see, at the moment, from about 7th (Denny Hamlin) on back, it's a tight race for that 12th position. Anyone have a bad day and it's out of the top 12, just like that.

Traditionally, this has been Tony Stewarts time of year to kick it in gear (I don't mean buying into new teams or leaving his own), but you have to wonder if that's having any affect what so ever on him... more than likely, I'd like to think it's not. But that's me. I've been wrong before... once I think.

Elliott Sadler Renews

It's been reported by D Moody on Sirius Speedway that Elliott Sadler has extended his stay at the Evernham shop for the next three years.  He now has three years to get that No 19 car up to the front and make a name for himself!

Tony Stewart Released, CNC-Haas Future is ... ?

Joe Gibbs Racing has beat Tony to the punch in announcements.  by Bruce Simmons

Tony Stewart was scheduled to announce his leaving JGR later today, but JGR released it's own statement sooner, saying that they've released Tony Stewart from his contract effective at the end of the 2008 season.

Wow, the end of one of the top storied legacies in NASCAR:  The No 20 car, Tony Stewart and The Home Depot, 11 years.

On the bright side, they say they are parting under good terms and with Joey Logano lined up in their stable, I think JGR will survive just fine.

Stewart may be announcing in the very near future that he's acquired majority ownership of Haas, which has been run by general manager Joe Custer since owner Gene Haas began serving a two-year prison sentence for tax evasion in January.  dOh!!  And the rumors are that Ryan Newman may be joining him there, though Ryan has been his usual, quiet, stoic self on the matter, so far.  Newman is in his last year of his non-performing Penske contract in the beleaguered No. 12 Dodge.

This also brings to question about Greg Zipadelli.  Will he do a Eury and go with the driver he's worked so well with or stay with the shop that's paid him well?

In Joe Gibbs announcement, it sounded like The Home Depot is staying with Gibbs, but they sure have an interesting decision to make.  Stay with their tried and true driver who's almost become the face of The Home Depot in NASCAR, or ride with the new kid on the block, Joey Logano, who's as hot, or maybe hotter than Tony was when he came on the scene.

Is Home Depot's contract timed with Tony's contract?  Some contracts are like that.

Regardless, Joe Gibbs referenced it by saying that only one piece of the puzzle will be gone and the No. 20 team will remain strong.  Not so fast Joe.  Not until you re-upped The Home Depot and Zipadelli.

Obviously as the year progresses, we'll find out where the other two puzzle pieces are going.

source:  http://www.idahostatesman.com

Quick Snippet on DEI

Max is denying reports that they've hired anyone to help sell the company and has called a company meeting to set things straight with their beleaguered garage.
(Sirius Satellite, The Morning Drive)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Truex DEI - Penalized

As par for the course on COT infractions and the result of infractions found on the No 1 last July 3rd:

The No 1 car was found to be in violation of Sections
  • 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing);
  • 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules); and
  • 20-3.8A (roof of the car does not conform to the specifications)
of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rule book.


Martin Truex Jr has been penalized 150 driver points
Teresa Earnhardt has been penalized 150 owner points.
Crew chief Kevin Manion has been suspended from the next six Cup Series events and put on probation until Dec. 31.
Car chief Gary Putnam has been suspended from the next six Cup Series events and put on probation until Dec. 31.

Additionally, Manion has been fined $100,000.


Stewart AND Newman to HAAS-CNC?

As noted on sirius-speedway.com, the sponsor dominoes are falling.

Heck, usually it's driver silly season, but this year the dominoes are the multi-million dollar contracts on the hoods of the cars.

Tony Stewart is expected to announce his 2009 move to Haas-CNC, with Office-Depot and Old Spice.
Ryan Newman is being rumored to hop on board with Stewart, with Jack Daniels on his hood. (Damn, does this invalidate every Alltel diecast I've ever purchased?)

UPS is headed to the No 07 of Clint Bowyer. That's how Jack Daniels is becoming available for Newman.

And as noted in the post quoted, we have a number of other drivers whose driving contracts are up and due or are in question:
Scott Riggs, Johnny Sauter, Martin Truex Jr., David Reutimann, Reed Sorenson, David Ragan, Paul Menard and Dave Blaney.
It's nuts and we're only in July of the year.

DEI Looking To Sell or Find Backer

by Bruce Simmons:

Teresa Earnhardt
has tapped the services of Bear, Stearns and Company to find a financial backer for Dale Earnhardt Inc.  Reports say that she is looking to either sell all of DEI outright, or will accept a financial backer to come on board as a minority investor.  And thus, DEI appears to have hit that hurdle where it's make it or break it time.  (sirius-speedway.com)

I'm thinking their best option is a full-on buyer for the company that has been on the down side of the hill for quite some time.  Since the passing of the late and great Dale Earnhardt, the way the DEI was run changed drastically as the publicly introverted Mrs. Earnhardt played absentee owner, and just didn't mix with the NASCAR garage well enough to make the best connections. 

From where I sit, she seemed to want to do it her way, outside the normal processes of networking that would have rather done her better.  Her stubbornness is exacting it's price now.  But this isn't too much of a surprise to any of those who have been following this travesty since that fateful day in 2001, or not, to the new fan.

I can't see any minority investor coming on board.  Most investors want majority control, like Jr. did.  Teresa wouldn't even budge on giving Dale Earnhardt Jr. controlling ownership and since his and Budweisers' departure, the business version of the black hooded sickle carrier has been standing on the front lawn of DEI, patiently waiting for the inevitable.  Every thing she's done has been a stop gap and very little seems geared toward the leap frog ahead mentality.

And all she had to do was give Dale Jr. 51% ownership.  Instead, he moved on to a revitalized career and the selling point for the whole DEI garage having left, the mice are scurrying off the ship.  Jr. and Budweiser were subtle add-ons with the other sponsors of the DEI stable and with that leverage gone, no one can find reasons to pour money into this cause.

Mark Martin is leaving at the end of this year, and Regan Smith's No 01 car is not lined up for a sponsor and Paul Menard may be shopping his sponsorship also.  And if anyone has got an eye on the talent of Martin Truex Jr., someone should get that man an offer.  Heck, his own garage just dumped on his Cup  contention chances with the recent rules violation and confiscation of his car last weekend.

I truly wish them the best of luck in whatever they end up doing.  For some though, this is the just deserts.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Reminder on the Old School Racing League

Old School Racing league's inaugural event slated for Nashville, on July 18th.
If the race gets rained out, the worlds longest autograph session will ensue.


Track Info: www.musiccitymotorplex.com
Ticket Info: Order Here

Sunday, July 6, 2008

BAM Coming Back?

As they said when they took their leave of competition a few months back, BAM just may be trying to return to the track for July 27's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Cup event.

This includes Kenny Schrader as well!

When they last were spotted, they only had one sponsor, but with their innovative sponsor packages, the word is that they may have a few decals on the car now.  Good for them.

Source:  http://www.longislandpress.com

Having A Hoot Watching F-1 Rain Racing

by Bruce Simmons:

I'm watching an F-1 race on Fox right now and it's raining on the track.  (Not being an F-1 guy at all, I think it's a replay of the British Grand Prix)

Some teams are trying to outlast the rain and not come in get "full-wets" tire sets, but in 2 laps we've seen a mess of spins and slides on this rain slicked road course as cars slide through grass, into the gravel traps and what not.  The gravel traps seem to be a one way route to being hopelessly trapped and out of the race.

In one shot you can see the massive speed difference between a car with full-wets and one that had not come in yet and the announcers are going nuts wondering why some of the teams haven't brought their teams in.

This is FUN!  Yea...  NASCAR needs rain tires.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Coke Zero 400 Notes

by Bruce Simmons

Crazy finish, but then again, it's Daytona.

After the start of the race, Tony Stewart relinquished the No 20 Home Depot Toyota to J.J. Yeley due to flu like symptoms and J.J. wasn't doing too bad in the car.  Nice to see him driving top notch equipment to see how he'd do.

Lap 104 we saw Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Elliot Sadler, Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin leading the pack that was just pacing themselves out.
With 40 laps to go, the field started to compress into a smaller footprint as the closing laps loomed ahead and pacing was becoming a receding thought.

There were a few cautions through to the end, including the last lap.
Lap 124, Gilliland wrecked into Newman,
By lap 127 things were getting sharkey up front.
Lap 130 McMurray spins off of Vickers nose.
Lap 136 saw Hamlin and Newman melded car, Newman got the worse for wear in this one.
Lap 140 the No 6 got into it, taking out the No. 31 and 5 cars.
The restart saw the 24, 18, 8, 9 and 15 cars leading the pack.
Lap 149, Boris Said finished up his day.4 to go:  18, 24, 99, 17, 8
Lap 157, Dave Blaney got turned up into Jimmie Johnson and collected a few others.

This led to the inevitable, but exciting green, white checkered finish.

Taking the flag for the last restart of the race:  18, 24, 99, 17, 6, 2, 9, 55, 8 & 07 cars lead the pack to the green.

On the restart Kyle Busch had a slow restart, bunching up the cars.  Jeff Gordon got slowed up and spun off the nose of Carl Edwards.  No yellow came out and the field continued under green. 

Two or three different times I thought i saw a wreck starting in three and four wide racing, but they kept saving it up until the last lap and the 77 car got into someone or someone got into him and the semi-big one happened, with review by video by NASCAR determining the finishing order.  That was one heck of a wreck yard finish.

Kyle Busch won the Coke Zero 400.  Finishing behind him, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch were the top 4.
Behind them there was David Ragan, Clint Bowyer, Robby Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Brian Vickers and Mark Martin are probably the top 10. 

The rest of the finishing spots in the field is still being reviewed ny NASCAR... I guess the cars facing the right direction versus the cars facing the wrong direction and who got under way after the wreck were some of the determining factors.  The finish focus was more on the middle of the pack positions than the front runners.

The unofficial results at NASCAR.
I'll get back to you on points and things afterward but I'm suspecting there are going to be some words next week about the slow restart led by Kyle Busch and a few other fender blending incidents.

Race Event Observations

by Bruce Simmons

First things first.  Gentlemen, start your engines.
Isn't the field supposed to wait for those "most famous words in motor sports"?
I ask because this week, and last I noticed that while the honorary starters were introducing themselves, you can hear engines firing up before the command is given.
What's up with that gang?

Observation on the TNT Coverage of the Coke Zero 400:
With the Coke Zero 400, I wasn't that impressed with TNT's "Wide Open Coverage". 

The first half of the race I started to feel like there was an ad every few laps being run in the lower right corner of the screen.  We'd get a few laps of coverage, a few laps with an ad.  When they did this, you didn't get any announcer noise.

So for a little bit, I tracked the  commercials during this "special presentation":
Ads in the lower right corner kicked in on

Lap 88, complete coverage back on lap 90.
Lap 95, complete coverage back on lap 97.
Lap 104, complete coverage back on lap 105.
Lap 107, local break, so complete commercial break, complete coverage back on lap 110.

For in those 22 laps, we experienced 9 laps of some form of commercial.  So I wasn't that far off in what I was thinking and it happened so often that it got a bit distracting.

Oh, yea, those Spring girls were back there nodding their head during the post race interview as if they were part of it.  Eesh.  I'd like them to do more than just stand there.  But that's just me.

Just thought I'd share my confusion.

A Plea for Help From David Poole for Wessa Miller

Wessa Miller is the girl who gave Dale Earnhardt a lucky penny for the 1998 Daytona 500. The very Daytona 500 that Earnhardt won.

The specialness about that was that Wessa has spina bifida, a congenital condition in which the spinal cord is malformed and lacks skeletal and soft tissue coverings to protect it. She has no feeling from the waist down and uses a wheelchair.

She's now 16. Of late, her family has had a bit of a go at it.

Wessa's dad, Booker, had emergency open-heart surgery a couple of months ago and their lives became even more complicated and David Poole put out a post on Sirius Backstage asking for some help, for them.

David Poole wrote a story about them and is alerting us to their plight.
His post on Sirius is at siriusbackstage.com
His article is over at thatsracin.com.
A website has been set up to explain where you can send donations, by either cash or Paypal.
That website is: penniesforwessa.org

If you can, check it out.
As Sr fans thankful for the little bit of luck, or NASCAR fans just looking to help, check it out.
If you can, join me in lending a bit of a helping hand.


SIRIUS Satellite Fan Favorite Channels for Coke Zero 400

For those of you with a Sirius receiver, tonights Daytona race, the channel line up is:

#24     Jeff Gordon         Ch. 119
#18     Kyle Busch         Ch. 122
#99     Carl Edwards         Ch. 123
#88     Dale Earnhardt Jr.     Ch. 125
#20     Tony Stewart         Ch. 126

Winn-Dixie 250 - Hamlin Winner

by Bruce Simmons:

Denny Hamlin had the race in hand in the closing laps and on a green-white-checkered restart, he had a superbly good restart, pulled far enough ahead, and defended well enough to stave off any contenders looking to take the checkered flag from him in the Nationwide Winn-Dixie 250.

Kyle Busch came in 2nd, Dale Earnhardt Jr 3rd, Clint Bowyer 4th and Brad Keslowski 5th.

There was an oddness to the restart as Carl Edwards drove next to Bowyer for the yellow flag laps because he believed he was in front of him and should have been there for the restart.  In a humble post-race interview, he noted how he will be awaiting NASCAR's apology on the mess up.

On the note about Kerry Earnhardt needing to put up or shut up that I wrote about earlier:  I guess neither.  He put up enough to come in 17th after starting 10th, so kudos to that finish.  It's hard to be compared in a race full of cup drivers.  To be fair, if my count is right, Kerry Earnhardt was the 8th highest finishing Nationwide driver amongst the Cup regulars in the the field.  So we give him an eighth!!  (Ya like my new math?)  The highest finishing non Cup-regular was Brad Keselowski, in fifth.

For other details on the race, check out nascar.com-hamlin.wins,
For Winn-Dixie 250 Results,
Nationwide Point Standings:  Check out NASCAR's Standings

Mark Martin to Drive for Hendrick

by Bruce Simmons: 

Remember the announcement that was made to announce an announcement that Hendrick Motorsports was announcing?  (My head is spinning too and I wrote that!)

Well, yes - Mark Martin is returning to full time driving and one more shot at that elusive championship.  (He came in 2nd 4 timesin 26 years)  All under the roof of Hendrick Motorsports.  Or, the soon to be called, the house of Ex-DEI drivers.  (Tim Z. has to be loving this.)

The championship, that for one reason or another, from dumb to stupid luck, has evaded Mark.  In my mind, he's one of the best drivers out there that HASN'T won the Cup and it would be a wildly emotional event in the history of NASCAR if he were to jump in that No 5 Chevy and crank it out.  I'd be there rooting for him every step of the way.

LA Times

NASCAR Helping With The Storm of Rising Costs

In an effort to help people deal with the raging epidemic of rising costs on everything we deal with, Motorsports Authentics has launched a "Whip Inflation Now" program.

This program is designed to help the consumer in their addiction for memorabilia.  More to the point they're helping themselves in these times, but that's both side of the coin for you.

Some product examples are Sprint Cup team jackets: price reduced by $30.  Standard die-cast: price reduced by $10.  It all starts this weekend. 

If you're an avid collector or spend-o-holic and have stashed some mad money for things like this, it might not be a bad time to take advantage of these reductions, or be patient and wait for the good prices on Ebay.  That's your call.

LA Times

Friday, July 4, 2008

Is Penkse Team Loose in Turn 3?

So 1/2 way into the season with Hornish dabbling around the anti-illustrious 35th spot in owners points I had to wonder if Kurt Busch giving up his car points to Hornish hurt the No. 2 team overall? Being as how they seemed to stall this year in performance.

My thought is that yes, the points swap just might have done something to them. They have lousy garage spots, and though it must be nice to be trusted enough to have your points pulled from you because your car owner knows you can perform, what a let down it must be to have all your hard work go to someone who is being outperformed by Michael Waltrip.

I then posed this question to my cohorts in the "Loose In Turn 3" gang, Tim Zaegel and Charlie Turner:

Tim (Do You NASCAR?): To an extent, I can agree. You bring up an excellent point in terms of losing the garage spots and things of that nature, but that's still no excuse for the team running as lousy as they have all season long. They've got one of the best Crew Chiefs in the business and Kurt's a former Cup Series champion ... there's just no excuse.

Charlie (On Pit Row): Nope. Would the Busch/Hornish points swap explain Newmans miserable season since Daytona? Kurt didn't miss any races because of the swap. Allowing Hornish to make the races gave Penske three cars in every race. The data they were able to gather should have helped the team. Something else is missing there.


In our usual state of passing questions back and forth, Tim asks:
With the recent folding of Chip Ganassi's #40 operation due to lack of sponsorship, is this a trend we can continue to expect?

And with Mark Martin Looking to run full time in Hendrick Motorsports next year, Charlie wonders out loud
What will become of Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Weekend Weather for Daytona in July

Rain and more rain.  That's what the weather.com site says.

Highs through Sunday in the mid to high 80's, with a 60% chance of scattered thunderstorms for both Friday and Saturday.
I hate rain.

Check out the latest for Daytona at http://www.weather.com

Thursday, July 3, 2008

TV Schedule for Daytona in July

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series  Daytona | 6:30 p.m. ET Sat. | TNT
NASCAR Nationwide Series Daytona | 7 p.m. ET Fri. | ESPN2

Somebody Is In Trouble With RCR

by Bruce Simmons:

Richard Childress Racing [RCR] takes it's registered, trademarked stylized numbers very serious when it comes to the business end of the stick.

RCR has sued Majestic Mountain Marketing for using three of the RCR customized numbers to sell photos, posters and prints.  Can we say oops?  Better yet, can we say:  We weren't using our heads?

The numbers in question are the 3, 29 and 31.

The suit take the perspective that because of RCR's success in racing and their commercial success of products and services using these customized logos (numbers), that they have become famous as trademarks and service marks.

Majestic Marketing, who runs under the alternate business name of Pro Sports Images says it has used confusingly similar imitations of the numbers.  Huh?

RCR is saying they want them to recall and destroy all related products and demands 3x the amount of the profit for the use of the images in damages.

So here's where I stand:  If Pro Sports Images makes money selling, well images of professional athletes, and was stupid enough to apply their imitation numbers to the cars or drivers they've been selling products of, shame on you and I'm thinking you probably aren't surprised.  That's a funny gray area you tread in the highly contractual and competitive field of professional sports.

The Devils Advocate in me says:  So how can we take a number, an item used by the world over, italicize it, and copyright it?  I know (Or I think I know... I could be wrong) that they've copyrighted the stylized 3 they've used on the late Dale Earnhardt's car and no one has really contested them in court or on product, but I have a hard time thinking they can protect their claim all the easily.

Now that the left and right sides of my brain are done arguing, I think it will be interesting to see how this little legal skirmish settles out.  If mediation will be successful or if this will drag into the legal system for the proper official fight.

Source:  http://www.bizjournals.com

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It's Make It or Break It Time for Kerry Earnhardt

by Bruce Simmons:

Every time I've watched Kerry Earnhardt drive, I've always had a quiet hope in the back of my mind that he'll show some of that innate talent that seems to come with the genes.  Most times, I walk away not quite fulfilled in that glimmer of a hope.

This weekend, Kerry will have DEI power under him as he hits the Nationwide series in the No 8 car. at Daytona.  It will be his 9th start in this series, at this track, but his first time starting under the DEI banner.

This is good, and it's not.

As always, I'll be quietly hoping, but keeping it under a conservative blanket of reality so I don't become disappointed, or publicly embarrassed.

It's good because he's going to be in a decent car for the race. 
It's not good because Daytona can eat you up in a split second and it wouldn't even be your fault.  Ask Carl Edwards about restrictor plate racing and becoming a launch ramp for other cars.

So we'll see how Kerry does, but regardless, it's going to work against him because if he does well, they'll say it's a function of restrictor plate racing and I probably won't be able to argue that.  If he doesn't do well, it will be because of restrictor plate racing.  And no matter what, we'll see the same usual front runners at the end.  Which to me, implies there's more to it than just hanging on in the draft if the same set of guys always end up at the front when the race finishes.

Martin to Drive the 5 Car?

Ya know, for a guy who is retired, he seems pretty busy, or is that addicted?  Cause once you get a taste of speed, and you don't crap your pants doing it, it's hard to let go of!

Hendrick Motorsports released a statement saying they're going to release a statement on Friday...  huh?  [*head-desk*]
The statement (on Friday) will be announcing who is replacing Casey Mears next year in the No. 5 Chevy.

All indicators points to Mark Martin getting out from under the Teresa gloom in DEI and headed to the No. 5 car.

Further substantiating information would be that DEI announced on Tuesday that Aric Almirola will be in the No 8 DEI Chevy full time next year.  Strange timing?  Was DEI trying to take the wind out of HMS' announcement?  Eh, whatever.  It's background noise.

Wow, HMS, J Gordon, J Johnson, M Martin, D Earnhardt Jr..  Next year is going to be a Gibbs - Hendrick slug fest.  Everyone else will be fighting for 3rd on back.

Source:  Scene Daily

Top 35 Owners Bubble: After NH

This week, I thought I'd look at the bubble, +/- 200 points in the owners standings. At least that way I have something to write about because judging from the number of starts, we only have 36 cars struggling for that golden (??) exemption spot.

Zoinks, New Hampshire was a good thing for Michael Waltrip, moving his beleaguered No 55 Toyota up 4 spots so he's now 127 points in front of the 35th spot bubble. The other big winner was the 78 car, but unless he continues to compete regularly, it's a moot point to mention him.

Otherwise, it was a bunch of one's and two's in both direction. Just to make sure Waltrip's camp didn't get used to total success, lady luck plucked the No 00 car down 4 spots and is now tied for 35th with the No 77 car. So much for taking the car points from the 2 car?

Heck, the No 55 car is outperforming the 77 car. Ouch.

It's tight between 32nd and 36th so the race stays a notch above boring!

27 -- #15 Teresa Earnhardt 1519 -977 17 225
28 4 #55 Michael Waltrip 1421 -1075 17 127
29 -- #44 Michael Waltrip 1402 -1094 17 108
30 -2 #22 Bill Davis 1394 -1102 16 100
31 4 #41 Chip Ganassi 1378 -1118 17 84
32 -2 #01 Teresa Earnhardt 1345 -1151 17 51
33 1 #7 Robby Gordon 1329 -1167 17 35
34 -1 #77 Roger Penske 1294 -1202 17 0
35 -4 #00 Rob Kauffman 1294 -1202 17 0


36 -- #66 Joe Custer 1269 -1227 17 -25
37 1 #96 Jeffrey Moorad 1137 -1359 14 -157
38 -1 #84 Dietrich Mateschitz 1133 -1363 14 -161
39 3 #78 Barney Visser 1024 -1472 14 -270