Friday, October 31, 2008
Niki Taylor and husband Burney Lamar is expecting their first child. They were married in La Jolla, CA in December of 2006 and are the little one is due in March.
Believe it or not, they met when they were slated to sit at the same booth to sign autographs for a charity event. Lucky bastard!! I wonder if they've pondered sending that charity coordinator a thank you card?
In lieu of gifts, they're that asking donations be sent to Victory Junction Gang Camp.
Because he's using the NASCAR medium that can potentially reach millions (If the networks give the car the proper exposure in the next few races) he's being called a reckless spender for blowing the money on a NASCAR sponsorship.
Maybe they should take a peek at the $37 million spent by McCain on his campaign LAST MONTH alone!
On Feb. 17, 2009, television stations will start broadcasting in digital instead of analog signals. The effective result, so they say, will free up valuable airwaves for both public safety announcements and wireless providers.
After Feb 17 (Which is two days after the Daytona 500) televisions that are using "rabbit ear" antennas will need a converter box to receive signals after that.
I've read in places that we (The U.S.) are just trying to play catch up to Japan, but that could just be hearsay.
As we head into the final races of the season, it seems almost like a certainty to most that Jimmie Johnson will be collecting his third CONSECUTIVE championship NASCAR Cup Title.
I'm a cautious one at times and say "Hold on there folks. There's a few races to go."
In fact, 7 races ago, everyone was all but certain that the championship was going to Kyle Busch. Yet with bad luck, fates and my unlucky hat, that isn't going to happen anytime soon. (I'll be explaining my "unlucky" hat in a later article.)
What I'm trying to say is that with three races to go, anything is still possible: engine or tire failures; getting caught up in someone else's wreck or bad pit road driving.
If something were to happen to Jimmie, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and even Jeff Burton are ready to pounce. So I'm not getting ready to buy my championship Jimmie Johnson diecast just yet.
Here's a gander at the top 5 in the points standings and you'll see what I mean.
(Photo Credits: Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images for NASCAR)
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The winning car earns that manufacturer 9 points.
The second-highest manufacturer receives 6 points.
The third-highest manufacturer receives 4 points.
The fourth-highest manufacturer receives 3 points.
I find that interesting that the lead car of that manufacturer gets points, but subsequent cars behind it doesn't.
Food for Thought:
What if a Chevy wins, followed by 5 Fords, then 3 Toyota's and then a Dodge and then more Chevy's? Obviously the Chevy's would be at the bottom of the pack in points.
On the other side of the coin:
But this system does seem to buffer the fact that Chevy makes up a large chunk of the field so possibly this levels the math a bit. Or maybe they should divide the points by the number of cars of that make in the field. That would statistically help smooth out the numbers advantage.
Manufacturer Points As They Stand Now
Looks like Dodge needs some work. Oh yea, we already knew that! But at least this year, with Toyota in the mix, there would appear to be parity in this points table!
ALL TIMES PACIFIC!! HA!!
On Friday, we have the Craftsman Truck Series on SPEED at 5:30 PM.
Saturday sees the Nationwide Series on ESPN2 at 12 PM.
And Sunday has the Sprint Cup Series on ABC at 12 PM.
The real question though remains: Will ABC actually pick up the pace and improve on their coverage? Despite exciting developing stories with driver changes and 4 drivers in contention for the Cup (At the moment), ratings are flat lining for the free telecasts on ABC as folks head to other sources for their race info. The Daly Planet touches on this issue while I have to ponder why ABC has it's crack staff ask such redundant questions every week instead of trying to mix it up a bit.
If you stop to digest what the reporter is asking, you'll see what I mean. How many times can you ask a driver how a wreck felt? (That elicited my ever popular response: Smack them upside the head with a piece of car hood and say: "Like that.")
Why not ask if they were expecting it, or what was the very first thought you had as it started, or when it ended. Do you hang on to the steering wheel or let go. Do you close your eyes or keep them open. Are you glad you at your Wheaties this morning? Will you have to answer for this come Monday morning?
It's true, there is very little that you can ask that's different, but you can at least try to mix it up. In my other media job, I've interviewed folks and asked about their intentions, or hey, I have a few questions, but first, is there anything on the table you want to address? Let them start the conversation and bounce off what they say.
ABC - We know how a wreck feels. In fact, before the director sends the reporter to ask that fateful question, maybe we should introduce him to the car hood!
I don't see the No. 10 car getting in.
The No. 77 Dodge is beleaguered as it is... I wouldn't be surprised if they don't make it.
OK, I'm clueless as to what the No 347 is, but he's only 80 points back from 35th.
The No. 84 has been dabbling above and below the magic 35th spot for weeks.. almost months it feels like.
I fully expect to see Robby Gordon pull his car out of the Mikey Waltrip reserved spot... and be in the top 35 for next year.
I have no read on the No. 22 car. I'll let you know what I think after the last race!!!
|38||--||#10||George Gillett, Jr||2295||-3953||28||-231|
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Oh, it wasn't anything too big... just that Mark Martin might finish out the last three races of the season in the No. 5 while Casey Mears could possibly start driving the No. 33 Chevy for RCR at Homestead.
It was a quick snippet Larry McReynolds put out there.
That's a lot of swap ups for drivers, cars and contracts / sponsors. Is this possible? Will this happen? We only have to wait a few days indeed.
(Photo Credit: Chris Graythen / Getty Images)
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
So how'd he do?
How's 6 laps down in 36th sound to you? Yea. What a resounding success of a replacement!
Kyle's take on the matter was that the company that bought into Petty Enterprises, Boston Ventures, has not done anything to help the team become more competitive. Kyle also made note that none of the mergers have done much to help the other teams who have merged either, in as much as performance goes.
Personally, I never expected improvement in any team after being absorbed. For me, mergers just meant the new entity gets exposure to the NASCAR fanbase while helping the merged team stay afloat. It's almost a pure marketing ploy if you ask me. But that's just me.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Their reasoning is that they feel they have a better fit with golf while highlighting their digital brand and hope to engage more overseas customers, since 60% of their sales is overseas.
Along with the sport, they are, of course, severing their ties with Penske Racing also.
Working the Steering Wheel
My peer Scott called it an "ice rink" or "skating rink" affect that we were seeing this last weekend at Atlanta Motorspeedway for the Pep Boys Auto 500. After the first few laps after a stop, drivers were literally skating all over the place as we watched them "saw" their steering wheels to keep the cars under control.
So I wondered the following thoughts:
Is this yet another function of the Goodyears issues with blowing out as much as they did in the previous races or an expected result of just good racing? I'd think is just good old fashion tire wear and racing for once and it probably is not any side affect of tire issues, perse.
Goodyear has been hammered enough as it is.
Not to mention it's fun to see just who can handle their cars under these conditions and who can't. I hate to bang on Mikey (Michael Waltrip) but we had at least three cautions from his car disintegrating for one reason or another throughout the day. If it weren't for bad luck, he's have no luck some days!
Non Performance: You know who surprised me? Tony Stewart finishing 17th in The Home Depot Toyota No. 20 on the tail end of the lead lap. I've always thought of him as a wheel man of sorts and thought this kind of condition would be right up his sleeve. Are we seeing a short timers perspective / attitude from his team or Tony? Or were they literally that lost on a track condition we've seen them conquer before?
Good Performance: Kudos goes to A.J. Allmendinger for bringing the No 10 Sears Auto Center / Valvoline No. 10 into 14th. I'm glad he's out from under his old team and getting a chance to show just what he can do. And A.J. is doing it under a new team in an infrastructure he's not ingrained in, not familiar with.
Wow. When Jimmie Johnson was busted for speeding on pit road and he had to take his medicine under green, my only thought wasn't that he's doomed his championship, but how will the team manage to salvage the day. From a lap down to 2nd ain't a bad way to salvage it. That's for sure.
Expected or Not: Despite driving the bastard child of the Penske garage, Ryan Newman got his No. 12 Kodak Dodge up into 16th on the lead lap at the end of the day. Admittedly, I was busy doing other things during the race, but I'm not sure just how much or little media exposure Ryan got on Sunday. Maybe he did - I was just busy writing, but near the end of the race, you can see he repainted his car with the colors of the wall and still managed a 16th place finish. Nice... and kudos to Ryan once again for taking decently supported equipment from KHI and putting it in the winners circle for his debut in the Truck Series race on Saturday!
See the new article over at my new site, Brothers in NASCAR.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
It wasn't as exciting as when he rub passed Jimmy Johnson in previous years, but with Jimmie Johnson getting fresh tires with 8 to go, and after having sped on pit road earlier, Johnson showed why they are in contention for the Cup by finishing 2nd as Carl Edwards fought his Roush Fenway Ford up to the win in the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Johnson almost got taken out by Denny Hamlin when Hamlin slid up the track sideways a bit into Johnson, but Hamlin saved it and Johnsons day!
Matt Kenseth was 4th,
Kyle Busch was 5th.
It wasn't a good day for some of the Cup chasers.
On lap 302 we saw a multi-car crash with Jeff Burton slipping up a notch and bumping Dave Blaney, but that was all it took to start the incident that collected Juan Montoya, Reed Sorenson and Joe Nemechek.
Michael Waltrip just disintegrated through out the day with a tire issue and then ensuing debris calls from car parts flying off his call. Mikey was the yellow flag on three different occasions.
We saw a lot of coverage of the chasers and a lot of coverage on the wrecks with good lists of who was involved in the incidents.
The chaser finished in the following spots:
- Edwards - 1st
- Johnson - 2nd
- Hamline - 3rd
- Kenseth - 4th
- Ky Busch - 5th
- Jeff Gordon - 9th
- Biffle - 10th
- Earnhardt Jr. - 11th
- Harvick - 13th
- Stewart - 17th
- Burton - 18th
- Bowyer - 20th
Carl Edwards moved up 2 posts into 2nd,
2 points behind Carl is Greg Biffle,
Jeff Burton slipped a spot into 4th, 218 points behind Johnson.
Harvick moved up one spot into 5th - 312 points behind Johnson.
Though nobody is mathematically eliminated yet, it seems that unless something happens to the top 5 drivers in each of the next 3 races, inevitability is starting loom on the horizon. For one moment, after Jimmie Johnson got nailed for speeding on pit road and had to take a green flag drive through penalty, it looked like a chink in the championship armor but the Hendricks No. 48 Lowes Chevy team proved why they are in first place in the standings today.
Today, the track that was acting more like a large version of Martinsville than a speedway.
Cup Series Results
Cup Series Standings
Saturday, October 25, 2008
What happens when you put a good driver in good equipment? You get a first time winner, that's what you get. In the past I've noted how the Penske shop seems to never quite get the No.12 car in a consistent performance mode. In the long run, we see the driver, the face of the team as the icon of the performance. I've been a tolerant and patient fan of Ryan Newman since his 2nd year scene on Cup and it's nice to see that when he gets put into decent equipment, he takes advantage of it.
Today (Saturday, Oct 25) in Ryan Newmans first start in the Craftsman Truck Series, he took the win in the E-Z-GO 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Newman took the race lead with 8 laps to but Ron Hornaday Jr still had something to say about it as they swapped the lead one more time. Newman stayed in the high line and thus, had the momentum in the corners.
Behind it all, Denny Hamlin came in third, Todd Bodine fourth and the spirited Scott Speed rounded out the top 5.
This win puts the count for Ryan Newman at 21 victories in the top three series in NASCAR.
- 13 wins in Sprint Cup.
- 7 wins in the Nationwide Series.
- And now,
- 1 in the Truck Series.
Does this bode well for Ryan? Getting this win is his first in a Chevy. He's moving to a Chevy in the Cup Series driving for Stewart-Haas Racing next year. (2009)
Truck Results | Points
(Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The 12 Car Gets Yet A New Driver
Rumors: Stremme to the No. 12
NASCAR Nationwide Series
At a time when he needs it most, Carl Edwards won the Kroger 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park. The race ending was pretty exciting and was an exemplary demonstration of good clean racing.
With a green / white / checkers restart, David Reutimann was on Edwards bumper but never tried moving him with his bumper... good clean racing. In a post race interview, it seemed that Reutimann was regretting not moving Edwards for the win but reconciled himself that he races clean.
Edwards and Reutimann were two of the seven cars left on the lead lap as they were followed by Kenny Wallace in third, Austin Dillon finished fourth and Joey Logano was fifth.
Even though the finish up front was exciting, the action was back in 13th when Bobby Hamilton Jr. spun off the bumper of Landon Cassill, relegating Hamilton to 21st. After the checkers, Bobby cut Cassill off on pit road, got out and had a chat with Cassill in his window. It looked like Bobby reached in the window but I'm not sure what came of that. According to Cassill, Bobby's head was in his window and bobbed up and down and left and right, but since Bobby never lifted his face plate, he didn't know what he said. LOL.
We'll see what comes of this later on, early next week.
Tomorrow (Sunday, Oct 26th) the Cup Series race is at Atlanta, on ABC at 1 p.m. ET.
N'wide Results | Points
(Photo Credit: Dak Dillon for NASCAR)
Do you know what he's doing?
Getting ready to finish 6th in the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville.
He was the lowest finishing Hendricks driver in the field. Hendrick cars have won nine of the last 12 races at the classic paper clip shaped race track.
You know what else he is? A new poppa!!
He and his girlfriend Trisha Grablander welcomed a baby girl on Oct. 7th., named Samantha Mae Mears who weighed in at 8lbs. 7oz.
He's finishing out his last 4 races with Hendricks on what looks like might be a good run.
Congrats and good luck Casey!
Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Friday, October 24, 2008
Offbeat / Fun Stuff
SPEED Channel is opening a new cantina next to Phoenix International Raceway and should be ready for business by the time NASCAR hits the track next month.
SPEED wants to connect with the fans and offer more to them via the cantina so that when people go home, they have fallen victim to the marketing scheme and turn on SPEED when they get home.
The cantina will open on November 7th, the night of the truck race and network personalities will have a presence there. (Now if someone could buy them a lot of drinks, you might get some inside scoops!)
I think this is nice, and not.
From a fans perspective, I'd love a NASCAR themed "joint" to hit up in my local town. Even a SPEED Channel themed place. Staff it with Hooters girls, and the divorce rate would skyrocket in that town!
Fans are a helter skelter collection of hubs on the internet, tracks and the occasional diecast store.
I've hit up Twitter a few times asking folks from my region of The Bay Area in Northern CA if anyone knows of such a "joint" and no one comes up with an answer, so they are lacking. And when I say joint, I don't mean a place with peanut shells on the floor and one hood hanging form the ceiling. I mean a fully NASCAR committed, NASCAR decorated establishment. In fact, they have to have more stuff on their walls than I do at home!
The SPEED Cantina sounds like just the venture. Yet, I have to travel to Phoenix to get it? Nah.
On the dour, business side of things, I get the lack of licensing for such a venture from NASCARs side of things as they want to have quality control over their image and product. They would also probably swing some serious licensing fee$ out of the whole deal too. That in itself is probably a hefty pill to swallow.
And what happens in the off season? Unhappy hour until Daytona kicks in again? At least that's my take.
Charlie, you got anything on NASCAR bars... I mean "joints". Damn... I bars... I meant "cantina". Didn't I? (source)
Charlie Turner from ON PIT ROW: Well I've been to the NASCAR Cafe in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina a couple times. A Google search of "NASCAR Cafe" turned up one in Vegas at the Sahara Hotel and another at the Universal City Walk in Orlando, Florida. I think there may be more, but I'm not sure.
Personally, I'm partial to the Toledo Speedway Bar and Grill right here in my town.
It's a real racers' place, loaded with authentic memorobilia, including the coolest kind - a real race track right outside the back wall of the place. We broadcast ON PIT ROW live every Tuesday all year long, from the place affectionately known as the BAG. During racing season we also do the INSIDE ARCA show on the same night. One night this season, while we did the show, Brad Kesolowski's no. 88 Navy Chevy could be loudly heard during the show as he tested the JR Motorsports ride, right outside.
There's nothing like a racing bar.
Bruce sneaks in a counter-reply: Have I mentioned I hate this guy? I'm officially jealous now!
Over on Charlie's site, On Pit Row, he asks:
Is there any good reason that you see for a Petty Enterprises and DEI merger?
It would seem it's coming down pretty good right now, at the time of this post.
After the Martinsville race, the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota was one of the additional cars that was randomly selected to have further tests / examinations conducted on it. It's kind of like an anti-lottery.
After Brian Vickers 11th place finish, the car was taken to the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. where they found the issue.
The issue being that the team altered the sheet metal on the car to make it thinner than required. The sides of the car —the doors, fenders and quarter panels — were too thin. And changing the sheet metal, changes the weight of the car. This makes it lighter. More maneuverable in the corners.
The vapor pages of the NASCAR rule book says a car must use a minimum of 24-gauge (0.025 inch thick) sheet steel for their car bodies.
The process of thinning metal is called the practice of "acid dipping" or "chemical milling,". This is specifically forbidden. (Like I said, they booted the gray area to the curb with this one.)
- Brian Vickers was penalized 150 driver points
- Crew chief Kevin Hamlin fined $100,000
- Car owner Dietrich Mateschitz docked 150 owner points
- Kevin Hamlin will be watching the race from his couch. (Suspended indefinitely)
- Car chief Craig Smokstad will be watching with him on the same couch. (Suspended indefinitely)
Red Bull Racings general manager Jay Frye, accepted responsibility and will not appeal the penalties.
Frye also said: "This approach to racing is against the values of the Red Bull Racing Team, and the necessary steps will be taken to rectify the situation ensuring it does not happen again."
For now, the teams research and development manager Randy Cox would act as interim crew chief this weekend at Atlanta.dOh!
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen / Getty Images
Curious about some numbers from Atlanta for the upcoming PepBoys Auto 500? Check 'em out here:
Atlanta Motor Speedway Data
Race #: 33 of 36 (10-26-08)
Track Size: 1.54 miles
Race Length: 325 laps/500.5 miles
• Banking/Corners: 24 degrees
• Banking/Straights: 5 degrees
• Frontstretch: 2,332 feet
• Backstretch: 1,800 feet
Driver Ratings at Atlanta
Jimmie Johnson 113.4
Tony Stewart 104.4
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 103.6
Carl Edwards 102.8
Greg Biffle 102.3
Jeff Gordon 96.6
Matt Kenseth 94.1
Jeff Burton 92.8
Clint Bowyer 89.4
Kyle Busch 88.5
Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2008 races (7 total) at Atlanta.
2007 pole winner: Greg Biffle, 192.453 mph, 28.807 secs.
2007 race winner: Jimmie Johnson, 135.260 mph, 10-28-07)
Track qualifying record: Geoffrey Bodine (197.478 mph, 28.074 secs., 10-21-05)
Race record: Bobby Labonte (159.904 mph, 11-16-97)
Estimated Pit Window: Every 48-52 laps, based on fuel mileage.
Image and data source: NASCAR Press Release
The title contract will be for a seven-year span, giving Camping World the exclusive rights to sponsor the series.
The 2009 Camping World Truck Series (Feels weird writing it.) will feature 25 points races at 23 tracks in North America.
All the Camping World Truck Series races will be broadcast live on SPEED or FOX which will result in over $100 million worth of exposure for the new title sponsor.
source: NASCAR Press Release
Thursday, October 23, 2008
You have SPEED, ESPN Classic, ESPN2 for coverage and Cup coverage on ABC.
For my 1 regular reader, if you want a detailed account of what's on where when, check out The Daly Planet. They have a very comprehensive listing of the details of the different shows happening.
Right now, there are 15 points between 34th and 35th. Part of this was due to an early exit at Martinsville by Robby Gordon, but nonetheless, he needs to make sure that doesn't happen anymore... somehow.
The No. 22 car seems to be confidently in 33rd, BUT if anything happens to them in the next 4 races, that could be a different tale of stress for the Bill Davis team. The same could be said for the 01, 66 and 41 cars. They need to make sure they don't DNF a day away.
The No 00 car is only 75 points behind 35th. They need to be more dependent on someone having a bad day as much as a lucky top-10 finish to get them up there in contention. Or do they? Actually, no. Keep in mind that Michael Waltrip Racing swapped car numbers and points around so they're looking pretty for the upcoming '09 season. That means he'll be applying the No. 44 car owner points to the No 00 Toyota. The No. 44 car is 26th in points right now and Waltrip is returning the car number to Petty Enterprises. So there's no real pressure on Michael McDowell, except to pad his resume with the best results possible!
|38||--||#10||George Gillett, Jr||2174||27||-271|
Owner Points Table on NASCAR.
In so sticking with Roush Fenway, they've cut their overall NASCAR marketing budget to keep things viable.
Despite the big cuts with their marketing program, they are also going to continue supporting Yates Racing and Wood Brothers Racing in the Cup series in 2009. They will also continue to lend its support to the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck series teams with contingency programs and engineering assistance.
This mix of budget decisions says a lot of what the execs at Ford think of Roush Fenway Racing versus their presence in the NASCAR realm as a whole. And I think it should be. Lots of fans don't flock to the TV to see the sport, NASCAR. They flock to the tracks and TV to watch their preferred drivers and teams.
Ford needs to keep a competitive balance in the field with the momentum that Toyota has added to the manufacturers race now that the manu race has 4 name tags in it. Ford needs to step up in the statistically ladened field of Chevys.
Good for Roush.
Then partly cloudy for Saturday and Sunday.
See Wunderground Weather for more details.
Why Wunderground? Because places like AccuWeather confuse me while they report light rain on Tuesday when there's nothing but blue skies above me! I couldn't help myself. I took screen shots and outside pictures just say "Hey!"
He has more wins during the Chase – 13 – than any other driver. The No. 48 team statistically shows that they operate at their best in the Chase. And that can't be good news for anyone else in the Chase.
Johnson has some pretty solid ratings at the Chase tracks.But with four races remaining in the Chase, drivers Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards – all within 200 points of Johnson, have a chance to take their shots at Johnson.
Greg Biffle trails Johnson by 149 points in 2nd place. Since the current points structure was implemented in 1975, the biggest comeback to date with four races left in a season is 144 points. In 1992, eventual champion Alan Kulwicki trailed Bill Elliott by that many with four to go.
This doesn't mean it's impossible.
Biffle and Edwards, both from the Roush Fenway stable, have some pretty good opportunity since this garage is good at the 1.5 mile tracks, which make up 3 of the next 4 races. But can they pull it off? Edwards has four wins and a Driver Rating of 101.5. Biffle has four wins and a Driver Rating of 99.5.
There's just one teeny, tiny statistical problem: Jimmie Johnson has six wins and a Driver Rating of 109.6.
Source: NASCAR Public Relations
But there's chatter going on that there is some chatter going on between Petty Enterprises and DEI to explore joining forces to some degree.
Loomis was quick to point out that there's no decisions yet and there's chatter with other organizations.
They're comparing what teams are considering, or pondering, with banks merging in these economic times.
Like I said, I was joking. I don't know anything, even if I'd like to say I have a scoop!
Putting A.J. Allmendinger in a decent car at Martinsville was a good thing. Even if Martinsville wasn't his first choice of tracks to show his wares.
He finished in 15th after a long day in the Gillett Evernham Motorsports No. 10 Dodge. Way to go A.J..
Right now he's in a bit of a limbo for 2009 but will be finishing off the 2008 season in the No. 10 car, keeping the seat warm for Reed Sorenson when he comes on board in 2009. Hopefully driving a quality backed team like the No. 10 car will help him as he pads his resume with results like the one he got at the TUMS QuikPak 500.
Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
For 2008, The NASCAR Foundation Volunteer Network is supporting USA WEEKEND’s Make A Difference Day by featuring messages at selected racetracks and at NASCAR.com/foundation
Paul Newman supported Make A Difference Day for 14 years. His legacy continues through his food company, Newman’s Own, which will fund this year’s awards.
“In a world that’s changing so fast and leaving so many people in need, the caring actions that take place on Make A Difference Day are more crucial than ever,” says Marcia Bullard, president and CEO of USA WEEKEND. “For 18 years, Americans have reached out on this day to help others and make our communities better places to live. The Day is an inspiring and reliable reminder of the best of this nation’s spirit.”
Thousands of projects are being planned by corporations, communities, non-profits, entire states and everyday Americans. Below are a few examples of projects. For more, go to makeadifferenceday.com.
- On Oct. 26, the NASCAR Foundation Volunteer Network Track Walk at the Atlanta Motor Speedway concludes a week of charitable efforts, including outreach to hospitalized kids and an online auction at NASCAR.com/foundation featuring driver memorabilia.
- In our nation’s capital, volunteers from USA WEEKEND, Greater DC Cares, First Book and Washington Parks & People will clean Marvin Gaye Park in the northeast section of the city. In addition, volunteers will make the first distribution of what will total 25,000 donated books — Hoop Kings and Hoop Queens — to students in D.C. Public Schools.
- In Minneapolis, 250 volunteers — fueled by a breakfast of Newman’s Own Sweet Enough cereal and led by Volunteers of America-Minnesota — will be fanning out to multiple sites across the city. This is one of 10 projects and thousands of volunteers nationwide receiving a cereal donation from Newman’s Own.
- In 10 states and Washington, D.C., staff and residents in 180 AvalonBay Communities, led by chairman and CEO Bryce Blair, will support volunteer efforts from Long Island, N.Y. to Bellevue, Wash.
- In Nashville, Broken Bow recording artist Randy Owen — lead singer of the legendary group Alabama — teams up with Clear Channel’s The Big 98 WSIX and Hands On Nashville, to lead hundreds of volunteers in multiple school-based cleanup projects. He’ll conclude the day with an acoustic concert at Hall of Fame Park. Owen’s debut solo album, One On One, and his memoir, Born Country, hit stores in early November.
About USA WEEKEND Magazine
USA WEEKEND Magazine is a national weekly magazine distributed through more than 600 newspapers in the United States. Awarded for its journalism and design, USA WEEKEND focuses on social issues, entertainment, health, food and travel. The magazine provides Newspaper in Education classroom guides to partner newspapers. Its website, usaweekend.com, provides enhanced content and interactive magazine features. USA WEEKEND is a Gannett Co., Inc., publication.
About The NASCAR Foundation
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Inc. (NASCAR) launched The NASCAR Foundation in January 2006. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity that embodies the compassion of the NASCAR Family and its commitment to serving communities. The Foundation supports a wide range of charitable initiatives that reflect the core values of the entire NASCAR Family. The NASCAR Foundation will use the strength of the sport and its people to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most. For more information on The NASCAR Foundation, please visit the website at www.nascar.com/foundation.
source: NASCAR Foundation Press Release
The Nationwide Series at Memphis will be on ESPN Classic at 3 p.m. ET on Sat.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from Atlanta at 1 p.m. ET Sunday on ABC
They have formed a technical alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota Racing Development.
JTG-Daugherty Racing will be operating out of the MWR racing facility in Cornelius, North Carolina. In this agreement, they will receive cars, engineering, mechanical and other technical support from MWR.
Considering how "well" MWR is, or isn't doing, I'm not sure this is going to be much of a benefit to everyone except to possibly share expenses. Do you have a take on this?
With so many at SMI loyal to Wheeler, three top executives in the company leaving has eyebrows raised, and minds wondering.
Smith is down playing the departure and says it's business as usual.
Some tidbits: When Wheeler left, Smith put his son in Wheelers position when many thought that Lauri Wilks, who's been with the company since the early 90's should have been promoted.
She ended up resigning last week. See! Eyebrows raised yet?
Well, if you're interested, you can read more of the gory details of the article over on NASCAR.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Officials are initially thinking his throttle stuck open, leaving him helpless to control his car.
His fiancee and father were there at the time.
Our condolences to his family and friends in this tragic moment.
Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) is picking up the car No. 47 for the last 4 races of the 2008 Cup season, and Marcos Ambrose will be driving the car at Atlanta with Little Debbie as their primary sponsor.
MWR will be returning the No. 44 car number to Petty Enterprises and the owners points that the No 44 accrued this year will be switched over to the No. 00 for the 2009 season. It kind of works out for everyone, right?
Does this have something to do with the talks that Petty and DEI are having?
Monday, October 20, 2008
That's the good news.
The flip side of the coin is that Ford is pulling it's financial support of the Truck Series support next season.
That's the bad news.
Unlike Dodge though, they will still provide technical and engineering support.
You've threatened Matt Kenseth with air punches, and now you've TRIED to start something with Kevin Harvick and failed miserably.
You keep pitching this good guy aura in your interviews, but the jaw grinding tension you cover up is evident if one looks close enough during those same interviews. And that's fine. It's the edge needed to want to win and help you win.
Dude, the pictures that seemed to have taken an oddly long time to get released kind of tells the story. You aren't the best scrapper in the bucket. Stick to back flips.
Let Jimmy Spencer and Tony Stewart do what they do best, or at least better than you. But pick a character and quit pitching this good guy thing.
A great piece by Jeff Wolf at Review Journal inspired this bit. Source
Sunday, October 19, 2008
With that bone to chew on, I found out the following information:
It's being reported at drinkthis that he is engaged to Dr. Katherine Downey.
She's 28 and from Columbia, Mo, like Carl. She's presently an asst. professor of Clinical PM&R working with patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries and other general rehabilitation. (drinkthis)
The below slide show is also from DrinkThis. Interesting site, indeed.
Carl Edwards (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
The last few weeks the right side tires have been the issue of focus. With the brakes baking the tire beads, I don't think we should be too quick to castrate Goodyear, but it's hard not to.
The broadcast booth from ESPN says the heavier cars are harder on the brakes, and hence, more brake heat. More stress on the tires from that heat.
The early part of the race saw an array of normal race issues:
Electrical system issues for Kasey Kahne on lap 62;
Brake fluid leak on the RR for Kurt Busch on lap 70. His day gets worse;
Jamie McMurray got spun off of the front bumper of Dale Earnhardt Jr. on lap 82. Jr seems to be using his bumper with a liberal ease of use as he moved up through the field.
On lap 89 Regan Smith spun it and his RF tire / brake combo erupt in flames.
The interesting tire behavior kicked in around lap 162 when Kyle Busch, Sam Hornish, Tony Raines all got flat RF flat tires in the same lap, same corner. Wacky. Then Kyle's luck got worse as he was held 2 laps for intentionally bringing out the yellow flag.
Lap 196: Elliott Sadler makes like a top and spins out.
Lap 351: being 4 laps down, Kyle Busch has to pit for a RF flat.
Lap 362: RF for Stewart
Lap 380: RF for Kurt Busch 3rd time for Kurt today and he wants to park it.
Lap 437: Another LF for Kyle Busch?
It's a bad day to be a Busch.
Lap 453: RF for Stewart, again.
Green flag with 8 to go saw Jimmie Johnson lead them to the green, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon. Jimmie pulled away while Dale and Carl played tag spot for 2nd then Ragan spins with 3 to go, setting us up for the Green/White/Checkered finish.
Jr didn't even have a chance. Jimmie just pulled away, end story.
This is Jimmie Johnson's 5th win at Martinsville. He led the most laps today. 339 laps. The most he's ever led in any race in his career. (The Sprint girl was different than the usual one and wasn't nodding in the background as if she was in a conversation she didn't understand.) That was a nice change.
In a post interview question, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he wanted it to go green the rest of the race with 100+ to go, but he said that wouldn't happen with how NASCAR tends to find cautions near the end of the race to make it exciting. Huh?
I'm thinking there might be some interesting media on that one, and Brad Dougherty pointed it out in addition a few minutes later, so ESPN wasn't going to let that rest either!
Let's see if we get public retractions or explanations, depending who has to speak up first. (Gee, I wonder who that will be.)
TOP 10 TODAY at Martinsville:
1 Jimmie Johnson
2 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
3 Carl Edwards
4 Jeff Gordon
5 Denny Hamlin
6 Casey Mears
7 Kevin Harvick
8 Matt Kenseth
9 Martin Truex Jr.
10 Clint Bowyer
Complete, unofficial Cup Series Results
(Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images)
The cause of death has not been released yet for the 51-year-old.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
With qualifying having been rained out, the line up at Martinsville is lined up by driver points. That would mean that the favorite driver at Martinsville wil be leading the pack to the green flag... if there is no rain and weather reports say it will be fine. Clear and a high of 61 degrees.
|2||31||Jeff Burton||Chevrolet||AT&T Mobility||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|3||16||Greg Biffle||Ford||DISH Network Turbo HD||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|4||99||Carl Edwards||Ford||Office Depot||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|5||07||Clint Bowyer||Chevrolet||Jack Daniel's||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|6||29||Kevin Harvick||Chevrolet||Shell / Pennzoil||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|7||20||Tony Stewart||Toyota||The Home Depot||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|10||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||AMP Energy / National Guard||N/A||N/A||N/A|
See the rest at NASCAR.com
Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
With just a few caution periods the Kroger 200 truck race had a few ill timed petrol shortages at the worst possible time by the Kevin Harvick Inc teams.
First, after leading for 154 laps, Ron Hornaday with 3 to go, and then Kevin Harvick himself with 2 to go ran out of gas.
Effectively giving Johnny Benson the win.
With Benson winning, the points race swapped up some spots in the Truck Series giving him a 65 point lead over Ron Hornaday.
Truck Series Results
Truck Series Standings
Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images
- Have a rough initial year in NASCAR
- Will get on a first name basis with the jury in the NASCAR Trailer
- Will fit right in, with the old school mentality of police your own
Cause in the ARCA series he had a bit of a tiff with another competitor.
All Speed had to do was finish the race to take the championship. He got wrecked by the 2nd place points contender, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.. Stenhouse would have taken the championship but Speed got his car back out and instead of riding laps to take the title, Speed intentionally takes out Stenhouse so he doesn't take the championship.
Speed will fit in just fine. Now if NASCAR would just stick to their word and let the drivers police themselves, next year could be fun.
Image: Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR
The FCC is sponsoring the No. 38 Ford Fusion of David Gilliland in the Cup series for 3 races.
They are banking on the draw of the NASCAR being the No. 2 rated regular-season sport on television and being the leading spectator sport to help get their message across to those they hope haven't seen it yet.
Surprisingly to some of the critics of the moonshine origined sport, NASCAR is one of the 17 of the top 20 highest-attended sporting events in the U.S. annually.
Friday, October 17, 2008
NASCAR has situated itself in a pickle of bits. They've grown the sport in a reasonable fashion and in so doing, are asking comparable prices for such exposure and popularity. But can NASCAR sustain the return on the advertising dollar?
It may no longer be the prudent financial decision to sponsor a team from $10 to $25 million a season. That kind of advertising is pricey these days, especially when you can probably get a better deal with a direct ad on television itself. Or can they? If there is continued meltdown, future financial expectations will be affected. As it was, we can see swaths of empty seats at some of the NASCAR venues.
In other spectator sports, some venues with the largest stakes to lose are those that have heavy debt financing for acquisitions or stadiums and other sports that don't have the income from national TV deals and income producing components like long-term lease agreements on luxury suites in stadiums.
Even the NFL is pondering a limit on teams' access to an NFL managed line of credit.
Here's an eye opener: Britain's soccer leagues have amassed $6 billion debt for their venues as a whole. WOW!!
With these kinds of tidbits of info floating around out there, I have to wonder just how well NASCAR can fare the financial storm that not only just plowed through everyone's wallets, but next year while we still deal with the after affects?
Bruce: As it stands, there are around 26 teams that right now have full time sponsors and others like are juggling multiple sponsors to cover a year, like Stewart Haas Racing is doing with Ryan Newman, and the Army only sponsoring his car for a partial year.
Sadly, I think the monster teams will survive better than the smaller teams and in a fantasy worse case scenario, it's all going to end up under one garage roof: The Hendrick Childress Roush Evernham .... well, you get what I'm saying.
NASCAR may have very well priced itself out of some sponsors markets and wallets and it will be interesting to see how the teams will fare and if NASCAR will have to actually step in and lend a helping hand. It's hard to predict, but if we take another market hit like we just did a few weeks ago, you can bet we'll see something in our beloved sport affected by it.
Hey Charlie Turner, over there at On Pit Row. What's your take?
Charlie: Well, NASCAR doesn't exist in a vacuum. The current economy has affected the teams and the sponsors in the sport. Things will change. But it's a cycle. And a cycle that NASCAR has weathered before.
The sport is just too strong to fail as a system. Individual teams and sponsors will undoubtedly fail. Remember all the "dot com" sponsors of just a few years ago? Remember Ginn Racing? It happens.
Maybe the current climate will cause the topic of franchising to re-surface in a big way. I'm sure that it's proponents will sieze the day, if they think that they can.
But NASCAR will go on. The casual fan will probably not notice anything has changed. It's the fanatics like us, the hardcore fans that will note the passing of manufacturers and familiar paint schemes. For about a month.
Remember how tramatic it was for Junior to leave DEI and the Budweiser #8? What number and sponsor was Mark Martin inseparable from? Life goes on. NASCAR will too.
Charlie does have a point about how the sport will go on, but I don't have the confidence in sponsors that maybe I should have.
Over on Charlie's site, he asks:
According to various reports, Felix Sabates and or Chip Ganassi are predicting that NASCAR will reduce the size of starting fields in the three top series to as few as 36 cars. Do you agree?
Go see what we have to say on that issue over On Pit Row.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Congrats to a very popular win when Jeff Burton powered his ride across the line first after a grueling 500 mile race.
Do you realize it only takes them roughly 3+ hours to pump out 500 miles? That would be like an 18 hour drive to go from coast to coast! Just thinking out loud.
The news of the night for me was
ABC showing a football game that ended early enough, but then switching over to another game that was drawn out and overlapped the beginning of the pre-race show. For just one quick moment, I thought we'd see timely coverage, but naw! ABC took care of that.
It was also reported over on the Daly Planet that many ABC markets, for whatever reason, didn't show some of all of the pre-race show.
They saw local news, inserted local programming, a local charity telethon, college football highlights of local teams.
When I first heard back when ABC /ESPN got the NASCAR TV contract, I thought awesome! I could not imagine them treating NASCAR today, like they used to in the past when all other sports overlapped and took precedence to the race event. True, NASCAR is not the only sport out there, but at least give NASCAR it's due coverage like you do other sports. Is that not the case of a good request?
This coverage they're producing just reminds me of the coverage of yesteryear of ESPN and ABC. As JD says over on The Daly Planet, "These ABC stations have proven to be a cagey bunch over the last two seasons where NASCAR coverage is concerned."
Then the wrecks started.
The first one was Jessica Simpson, screeching out a country drawl that is not her own, and getting the words wrong to the National Anthem. Smooth move girl.
Then tires were taking people out, like last week. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was one lap shy of pitting when he was just cruising around and the tire went.
I know the economy is getting thin, but is Goodyear's rubber getting thin too?
But as it stood, the top 10 finishers, or survivors were:
Check out the official results at NASCAR: Official Results
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
The U.S. Army will be adorning Ryan's car from 2009 and onwards.
It's a unique deal. The contract is for 23 races this year. The three year deal is actually a renewable option at the end of each year. This way the Army is not locked into the contract if they feel they're not getting what they need from the business relationship.
SHR said they're real close to finding a sponsor for the remainder of the races this year.
Robby Gordon's car is in the 35th spot, but he's being bested by teams with fewer starts than him. That either bodes well for the other teams, and / or bad for Robby's team.
Then there's the team that Roger Penske dumped his drivers owners points on in the beginning of the year to give him a fighting chance, the No. 77 Dodge of Sam Hornish. We can see that the owners boost did not, in the long run, help the No. 77 car, but more than likely put Kurt Busch off balance and kept him struggling through the front of the year for no apparent reason.
Remember, Owners Points are just for starting a race, they can help determine garage spots too. That can be pretty helpful to some, while others get stuffed in the undesired spots of the garage that are too far out of the way, inconvenient, etc., etc. I don't know all the nuances, but I bet what there are, can be pretty important.
So the race in the race, we need to keep an eye on the No. 55, 22, 66, 84, 7 and 00 cars to see how they pan out. As the end of the season approaches, this 35th spot is becoming more coveted with each race. Anyone in 35th and up is guaranteed starting spots in the first few races of the 2009 season.
|RANK||CAR||OWNER||POINTS||STARTS|| Pts around 35th |
|39||#10||George Gillett, Jr||1986||25||-338|