Monday, December 17, 2012

Sixth Annual Loopies, More Serious, More Funny!

Is it me, or are the Loopies starting to really catch their wind and picking up some energy?  Because the following press release is a hoot...

via press release...

The Sixth Annual Loopies: Now With Even More Loop

No Championship, No Biggie For Loopie Winners Johnson, Busch


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 17, 2012) – Kyle Busch has frequently called this the worst year of his motorsports career.


We've got news for him: He's wrong. So, so wrong. His tune will change by the time he reads the next 1,271 or so words. There's some hardware in his future. And not just any hardware … Loopie hardware. And not just any Loopie hardware … the granddaddy of them all.


So paraphrasing Ralph Wiggum, who once succinctly said "Me fail English? That's unpossible," we say: "Congratulations Kyle, you've won the Stefan Kretschmann Lifetime Achievement Award. Worst year ever? That's unpossible."


A quick primer for those just tuning in: For the sixth consecutive season, the NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications team has pored over a season's worth of Loop Data and filtered out the top statistical performances of the 2012 season. After a painstaking review, a select committee created awards to recognize those drivers who numerically excelled this season. Those awards have evolved into arguably the most coveted prize in all of NASCAR. They are – and this is – The Loopies.


The envelopes please…


Loop Top Dogg: This award yearly goes to the driver who led the most Loop Data categories. Every week, NASCAR releases a season-to-date Loop Data stats packet that charts 15 different statistical categories. This year's winner of the "Loop Top Dogg" led an astounding 13 of them.


Congratulations, Jimmie Johnson. Johnson's ranked first in the most important of all Loop Data stats, Driver Rating, with a gaudy 109.5. That was eight points higher than second-best Kyle Busch.


In all, Johnson led Average Running Position, Driver Rating, Fastest Early in a Run, Fastest Late in a Run, Fastest Laps Run, Fastest on Restarts, Green Flag Speed, Laps in top 15, Laps Led, Miles Led, Percentage of Laps Run on the Lead Lap, Speed by Quarter (by the way, he also led each quarter overall) and Speed in Traffic.


Quantity of Quality Award: This award goes to the driver who led the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in Quality Passes, which are passes of cars in the top 15 while under green flag conditions.


The winner, who will have to clear up even more mantle space, is Brad Keselowski. Keselowski, who led the series by more than 200 quality passes, tallied 2,201 quality passes overall.


This is significant. These are the toughest cars – with the most talented drivers – to pass, and Keselowski did it more often than any other driver.


And considering his average starting position of 16.2, he had to do it often. Did You Know: Keselowski is the first champion to fail to win a pole in his championship season since Matt Kenseth in 2003.


Most Improved Driver: Awards like these are usually given after taking into account a number of different success barometers. But this is the Loopies. And our nominating committee needs only one measure: Driver Rating.


The driver with the biggest improvement in Driver Rating from 2011 to 2012, and winner of the coveted Loopie: Greg Biffle. Biffle, who finished fifth in 2012 after missing the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2011, ballooned his Driver Rating by 13.6 points over last season. Last year, he had an 85.9. This year: 99.5.


In all, six drivers enjoyed a double-digit improvement in Driver Rating from last season: Biffle, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson.


Least Improved Driver: Not all Loopies are coveted. That's what makes these awards so unique, and dare we say, unrivaled.


Here's one of them. The driver with the biggest drop in Driver Rating wins this Loopie, and it goes to Carl Edwards – with an asterisk. Edwards actually only had the third-biggest drop – 16.8, from 101.0 in 2011 to 84.2 this season. But it was the biggest drop among drivers who didn't switch teams, and therefore the committee made an executive decision to allow Edwards to take home this award.


In actuality, David Ragan suffered the biggest drop in Driver Rating. In 2011, Ragan had a Driver Rating of 78.3 for Roush Fenway Racing. For Front Row Motorsports this season, it dropped to 49.2. Kurt Busch, who went from Penske Racing to Phoenix Racing and Furniture Row Racing, dropped 22.7 points.


Coffee's For Closers Award: Stealing a line from one of the most famous scenes in cinematic history, this "Glengarry Glen Ross"-themed award goes to the top "Closer" in the series. The "Closer" statistic measures the positions gained or lost in the last 10 percent of races. The top Closer this season: Ryan Newman, who improved 68 total positions in the last 10 percent of races this season.


"He's Partially Sponsored By An Energy Drink, So Doesn't Need Coffee, Thankfully" Award: (If by now you haven't realized that these awards are all in good fun – and, well, ridiculous – hopefully this award's name has sealed the deal.) This one goes to one of the worst Closers (again, not all of these awards are coveted). And the winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt lost 41 spots in the last 10 percent of races this year, among the worst of any driver. But, with a sponsor like AMP Energy, he doesn't need coffee to keep him caffeinated, anyway. Nor does Kurt and Kyle Busch (Monster Energy) or Clint Bowyer (5-hour Energy), all of whom also were in the red in the Closer category.


Serenity Now Award: A happy driver is a successful driver, and that's certainly true with the winner of this award, Kurt Busch. When Busch announced his move to Furniture Row Racing during the Chase, he exuded calm and joyfulness. The results were immediate.   A tale of the tape breakdown of Busch in his new No. 78 Furniture Row ride compared to his stats in No. 51 Phoenix Racing car:


-          In only 6 races, he had more top 10s in the No. 78 (three) than he did in in 29 races in the 51 (two)

-          Driver Rating: 86.6 vs. 67.8

-          Average start: 17.7 vs. 22.7

-          Average finish: 14.3 vs. 25.0

-          Average Running Position: 14.6 vs. 22.2

-          Pass Differential: +13 vs. 0

-          Laps in the top 15 percentage: 47.8% vs. 21.5%

Stefan Kretschmann Lifetime Achievement Award: It's the moment we've all been waiting for. A brief setup of this one: Stefan Kretschmann works for our partners at Stats, LLC in Chicago, and is considered the godfather of Loop Data. His brain created the formula for Driver Rating, and many of the other formulas that make Loop Data so interesting and invaluable. We started this award last season to honor a driver who has been statistically strong throughout the Loop Data Era (2005-Present). Jimmie Johnson took home the inaugural Lifetime Achievement trophy.


This year's recipient is a man whose talent has landed him an unparalleled 20 perfect Driver Ratings of 150.0 throughout NASCAR's three national series. Congratulations to one of the all-time stat kings: Kyle Busch.


Here's a back-of-the-baseball-card view of an amazing career that shows little sign of teetering:


-          Among drivers with a minimum of 50 races, Kyle ranks third in NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver Rating (97.6); first in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (113.8) and first in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (119.3).

-          More perfect driver rating than any other driver.

o    15 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and five in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

-          Best career Average Running Position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (6.683)

-          Most Fastest Laps Run in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (5,031)

-          NASCAR Sprint Cup numbers: 4,328 Fastest Laps Run (third-best); 59,961 Laps in Top 15 (third); Average Running Position of 12.8 (fourth)

-          More top fives in this year's Chase (seven) than any Chase driver. 

-          Cracked the 100-point Driver Rating threshold in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the third time. That's second only to Jimmie Johnson, who did it six times.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tony Eury Jr to Crew Chief the No. 30 Toyota!

In a bit of good news for Dale Jr. family fans, it looks like Tony Eury Jr. lands on his feet and gets a new job.  Check out the good news...

via press release

Swan Racing Hires Tony Eury Jr
Eury to be Crew Chief for No. 30 Toyota
Tony Eury Jr. will be the crew chief for Swan Racing's No. 30 Toyota driven by David Stremme for the 2013 season.  The move comes just days after the new team, owned by Brandon Davis, was formally announced. 
"We have a long-term vision for Swan Racing and the addition of Tony Jr. is another step in that process. Tony brings a world of experience to Swan Racing and will be part of our long-term success," said Davis. 
"I am really impressed with the team Swan Racing is building and I am proud to be part of it," said Eury.  "I am looking forward to working with David Stremme behind the wheel and with competition director Steve Hmiel." 
Eury began his NASCAR career in 1991 when he was hired to work for Dale Earnhardt, Inc.  He has been a part of 19 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories with Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr. including twice winning the Budweiser Shootout in 2003 and 2008.   In 2006, Earnhardt qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and finished 5th in points with Eury making the calls on race day.   Most recently, Eury was Danica Patrick's crew chief/co-owner JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.  The team won the Coors Light Pole in Daytona for the 2012 Drive 4COPD 300. 
"Tony Jr. has pretty much done it all from tire changer to crew chief.  His experience and knowledge will be pivotal to the success of Swan Racing," said competition director Steve Hmiel. 
Driver of the No. 30 Toyota, David Stremme said, "The team has transformed itself virtually overnight. It's hard to believe just how different this team is in such a short period of time.  This is how you build success from the ground up; you hire quality people, put their experience to work and execute on race day.  Lets go racing." 
Swan Racing is located in Mooresville, N.C., and will get its horsepower from Triad Racing Technologies, a top engine builder. 
For more information about Swan Racing go to, become a fan on Facebook at and follow on Twitter at

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top Moments

The gang at NASCAR put together a short list of some top moments or events from the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season.  It's a great collective of moments, races and what not.  They touch on Brad Keselowski's performance, Jimmie Johnson's lug nut, Clint Bowyer (no, not the run.).  They also touch on a night race from  Bristol, and Watkin's Glen race.

Check it out, see what you think:

via press release:



2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top Performances

New King Crowned As Keselowski Topples Reign Of Johnson, Stewart


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 6, 2012) – No one saw this coming. No one.


Brad Keselowski won his first race in 2009 at Talladega Superspeedway, running a part-time schedule with single-car team Phoenix Racing. It was a nice story in a long season, one that ended with Jimmie Johnson winning the championship.


His second victory came in 2011 at Kansas Speedway while in his second full season with Penske Racing. That win moved him into 21st in points. Again, a feel-good story to weave into the year; one that culminates with Tony Stewart capturing his third title.


Big-picture speaking, Keselowski's yearly career followed a similar story arch. Flashes of brilliance wherever he drove – be it the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series or his thus far brief tenure in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – all followed by a premier series title by two no-doubt-about-it NASCAR legends: Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart.


Now it's Keselowski's turn. Keselowski turned in a championship-worthy Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, besting both Chase-participants Johnson and Stewart. His average finish of 6.3 in the Chase was the exact same figure of Stewart's last season. He won twice, including an opening salvo at Chicagoland Speedway that set the rest of the sport on high alert. So, for the first time since 2004, NASCAR has a premier series champion not named Johnson or Stewart. 


From the first primetime Daytona 500 through Keselowski and owner Roger Penske's first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, the 2012 season was filled with drama, intrigue and more than a few "Top Performances." Here are a few of them, and as always, the choices are always up for welcome discussion.


Top Driver

Brad Keselowski: His series-high five wins notwithstanding, Keselowski's clutch playoff performance may live as the most memorable chapter from his first championship. He tallied two wins and eight top-10 finishes in the 10-race Chase. His worst finish was just 15th in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway – the exact finish he needed to guarantee the championship. In the last 40 years, Keselowski became only the third driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup title within his first three seasons, joining NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon.


Jimmie Johnson (Honorable Mention): A missing lug nut and a rear gear problem in the season finale destroyed any chance of a sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup championship for Johnson, one of the few blemishes in yet another brilliant season. Johnson led the series in Driver Rating with a 109.5 and tied for the series-high in wins (five), including his record-tying fourth victory in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


Comeback Driver of the Year

Clint Bowyer: In 2011, Clint Bowyer eked out one win, at Talladega, and missed the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in his final season with Richard Childress Racing. Even Bowyer admitted that his move to Michael Waltrip Racing for the 2012 season likely wouldn't lead to immediate success. Wrong. Bowyer won three times this season, leapfrogging Jimmie Johnson in the season finale at Homestead to finish a career-best second in points. Those three wins all came on different layouts – road course (Sonoma), short track (Richmond), and intermediate (Charlotte). Along with teammate Martin Truex Jr., the duo gave MWR its first Chase berth since joining the series fulltime in 2007.


Greg Biffle (Honorable Mention): Greg Biffle, one of the more understated drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, slogged through an uncharacteristic 2011 season. He went winless, with only three top fives and 10 top 10s, missing the Chase en route to a 16th place points finish. This year? Call it a comeback, a big-time one. Biffle won twice, with 12 top fives and 21 top 10s, the latter tying a career-high. Holding the points lead after a series-high 14 races this season, he finished fifth in the final standings, his third top-five points finish and first since 2008.


Top Team

Hendrick Motorsports: Usually this spot is reserved for the championship team, but it's impossible to ignore – and tribute – Hendrick Motorsports' history-making and milestone-achieving season. HMS, with Jimmie Johnson at the wheel, captured its 200th victory in one of NASCAR's crown jewels – the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. It also won the Brickyard 400, also with Johnson. In all, HMS had a series-high 10 victories (Johnson, 5; Jeff Gordon, 2; Kasey Kahne, 2; Dale Earnhardt Jr., 1) and placed all four of its drivers in the Chase.


Penske Racing (Honorable Mention): With Brad Keselowski leading the improbable charge, owner Roger Penske won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in a NASCAR career that began in 1972. The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge won five races, which was tied for the series high with the No. 48 driven by Jimmie Johnson and the No. 11 driven by Denny Hamlin. Penske's other fulltime car – the No. 22 Dodge – chipped in a Coors Light Pole at Kansas Speedway by AJ Allmendinger, along with four top-10 finishes (three by Allmendinger; one by Sam Hornish Jr.)


Top Breakthrough Performance

Brad Keselowski: In 2011, Keselowski made the Chase as one of the two Wild Card contenders. This year, he made it as the fourth seed. There's little reason to believe his meteoric rise to stardom won't continue for years to come. Keselowski's five wins this season came on some of the tougher tracks in the series, including Bristol, Dover and Talladega. But his ability to brush off pressure – and a five-time champion – during the Chase made him a champion, and a breakthrough performer.


Martin Truex Jr. (Honorable Mention): Truex's "breakthrough" was a long time in the making. Since his first Chase appearance in 2007, from 2008-11, his average points finish was just 19.5. This season was a rebirth of sorts for the New Jersey native. He had seven top-10 finishes, which is one short of the last four seasons combined. His 19 top-10 finishes are as many as the last two years combined. And his season-ending Driver Rating of 95.6 ranked 11th – which was also his final points position.


Top Races

IRWIN Tools Night Race, Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 25) – Bristol's night race evolved into Bristol's Night Race – capitalized – because of the emotional fender-bending, bump-and-running and temper-igniting qualities that blossom under the lights on the high banks. This race had all that, and more. The racing? Intense: Thirteen different drivers led a lap, three short of the all-time Bristol record. The action? Robust: There were 13 cautions, the most in the last 11 Bristol races. Denny Hamlin won the race, but two side acts stole the show. One, of course, is Tony Stewart's helmet toss at Matt Kenseth's No. 17. The other, an undercard to Stewart vs. Kenseth, was Danica Patrick's finger point at Regan Smith after a wreck in her first Bristol race.


Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen, Watkins Glen International (Aug. 12) – Road course races have provided some of the most thrilling NASCAR moments, especially in recent years. This year's Watkins Glen race was no different, especially on an epic last lap that will be remembered for years to come. Three prominent road course talents – Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose – battled for the lead on the last circuit, trading paint, running off course and doing literally anything to capture the checkered. Ambrose finally won the race, and earned it. According to NASCAR's Loop Data, Ambrose and Keselowski traded the lead four times on the final lap, a rarity on road courses.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How I Think Brad Keselowski Won The 2012 NASCAR Cup Championship

And so it is written, Brad Keselowski has won the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.  But that news is pretty old.  Jimmie Johnson missed that ever elusive sixth title to add to his mantle and last year's contenders, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards were no where to be seen.

But some question just how Brad Keselowski actually came from the back of the "expectation pack" in his No. 2 Penske Dodge to take the title?  I have a working theory and it involves that broken ankle of his that I've been known to joke about over the last year or so.


Back in August of 2011, Brad had an "unfortunate" moment and broke his ankle in a road course testing incident.  I remember it vividly and back then I was concerned how that might impact his performance.  HA!  He then went on the win the Pocono race right after, and oddly, started performing rather well the rest of the 2011 season.

My first thought was he's driving differently because of the joint injury and it may pass as soon as it gets better.  But this "driving better" fad did not pass and it got me to thinking.

Bear with me on this.

From my racing simulation days, I had learned an interesting lesson about being "fast," and that was you don't have to drive the fastest to end up being the fastest.  In one race, I had an altercation at Dover and my sheet metal was crumpled up a bit.  This extra aero-drag impacted by straight-away speeds as a car or two or three would pass me every time I turned my wheels straight coming out of four and two.

But this meant I was hitting turns one and three a bit slower than everyone else.  The effect this slower entry speed had was that I outlasted everyone with tires and as a fuel-run ran on, my tires were becoming the superior set of rubbers.  Fortunately, the race had mostly long fuel runs and I managed a win out of this experience in my online league.


Back to the Real World

As a professional bowler, I had always noted that when I bowled injured, I always bowled better.  I quit trying to apply excess energy to my shots while things hurt.  So I had a few data points about lessons to be had from being hurt.

I think when Brad broke his ankle, it impacted him in such a way that he may have had to do something to modify his driving technique.  And whatever he had to do, taught him something of great value.  He not only took note, but probably started applying it from that day forth.  And hence, he not only started to shine at the end of that "ankle" season, but he also showed up in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season having retained that lesson.  And he applied it properly, let Jimmie Johnson out-drive himself, and was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the situation.

And that's how I think Brad Keselowski brought it strong for the 2012 Championship season.  It's only a theory.  But what I do know is that ever since he did break his ankle, he's been a notch better than he's been before.  That, I do know.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NASCAR Truck Series 2013 Schedule! Eldora, Rockingham, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park! Sweet

Well, it's true.  The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is headed to Eldora and NASCAR returns to Rockingham!  All I can say is this will be one sweet race season to watch... 

check out the press release below on the 2013 NASCAR Truck series season schedule:



Retrofitted: Eldora, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Give Trucks Throw-Back Feel

New Additions, Classic Look For 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Schedule


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 28, 2012) – NASCAR today announced the 2013 schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, a slate that includes two exciting firsts: the series' first race on dirt and its inaugural international event.


On July 24, the trucks will make their dirt debut at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, the.5-mile track owned by three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. This event will be the first of two Wednesday night races for the series, joining Bristol Motor Speedway's popular mid-week race on Aug. 21.


"We've had talks about getting the trucks on dirt in the past," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "The door-to-door racing that our truck series is known for plus Eldora's popularity and Tony's dedication to putting on great shows for the fans is a perfect fit. We'll have a maximum starting field of 30 trucks at Eldora. More details on the race format are still being developed."


Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), a 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course in Bowmanville, Ont., will host its inaugural truck event on Sept. 1, becoming the first road-course track for the series since 2000, and ensuring a NASCAR national series presence in Canada for a seventh-consecutive season.


"It's very important that we maintain our national series presence in Canada," O'Donnell said. "We've accomplished that goal while also bringing a world-class venue like Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on board. The Canadian fan base is so passionate and has a high regard for NASCAR. We're excited to increase our role with our great partners at Canadian Tire while also introducing the truck series to our fans in Canada.


CTMP, which has hosted NASCAR Canadian Tire Series events since 2007, becomes the fifth different track to hold a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series road-course event, and first since Watkins Glen International on June 24, 2000.


Also beginning in 2013 as was recently announced by NASCAR, at road courses and tracks measuring 1.1 miles in length or less, the driver age restriction will be lowered to 16 years old. Currently, the minimum age to compete at the national series level is 18.


The balance of the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck schedule, the series' 19th season, maintains a familiar feel, opening with Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 22 and culminating on Nov. 15 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.


Next year's schedule also includes a return to Rockingham Speedway for the second consecutive season. Earlier this season, Rockingham re-joined NASCAR national series competition for the first time since 2004.


See below for the current version of the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule.



Date                 Site

2/22                  Daytona International Speedway

4/6                    Martinsville Speedway

4/14                  Rockingham Speedway

4/20                  Kansas Speedway

5/17                  Charlotte Motor Speedway

5/31                  Dover International Speedway

6/7                    Texas Motor Speedway

6/27                  Kentucky Speedway

7/13                  Iowa Speedway

7/24                  Eldora Speedway

8/3                    Pocono Raceway

8/17                  Michigan International Speedway

8/21                  Bristol Motor Speedway

9/1                    Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

9/8                    Iowa Speedway

9/13                  Chicagoland Speedway

9/28                  Las Vegas Motor Speedway

10/19                Talladega Superspeedway

10/26                Martinsville Speedway

11/1                  Texas Motor Speedway

11/8                  Phoenix International Raceway

11/15                Homestead-Miami Speedway


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When Sponsorship Dollars Are The Wrong Call For The Sport of NASCAR (Townley Has A Ride?)

Wait? Todd Bodine is out, and John Wes Townley might be in?

I just heard over my SiriusXM smartphone feed (yes, I finally shelled out the extra bucks, and I'm glad I did.) that Todd Bodine may very well be out of a ride at the Red Horse Racing truck team.  The word is that they're laying people off because they can't land a sponsor for Todd for the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season.

Before all the words hit my ears, I was already thinking that's a bummer for Todd and how this economy, no longer the fat economy that it's been, is really hitting home.

But then I heard the rest of the news piece and just shook my head in silence.

That NASCAR news being that though they're parking Bodine's truck, Timothy Peters will be driving one of the two trucks next year, alongside his new teammate, John Wes Townley, who brings his family-owned Zaxby's sponsorship with him.

And this is where the buck speaks louder than the talent.

To let go of Todd Bodine because someone else brings sponsor monies with them seems to be a crime and seems to dilute the sport of racing.  But it drives home the power of the dollar.

Admittedly, Townley did finish 16th in the standings from the 2012 Camping World Truck Series season with 21 starts, with two top-10 finishes.  In fact, since 2008, he's had a total of 28 starts in the truck series and these top-10's were his only.  (Is he maybe improving?)  In the Nationwide series, he's had 43 starts since 2008 with no top-10 finishes.

But fans have never seen anything exciting out of him in the Nationwide or Cup series.  In fact during the 2012 season, he had a shot at a nationwide race, but wrecked the car in practice and the team benched him before he even got going.

But he was given that chance because of the money that's backing him.

And here's where I have to wonder if Zaxby's is ever getting tired of dumping money on their own family member.  I also wonder if they ever considered dropping the same dollars on someone like Todd Bodine, who might pay off more dividends in the on-track advertising?  Or bankrolling John, and doubling up their investment with another truck?

I don't know.  I do know fans were in an uproar when he got the Nationwide ride last year.  I was secretly hoping he'd pull one out of the hat, just to get some heat off his backside, but that didn't happen.  It needed to be a bigger hat.


Any How...

This piece was motivated because it's a shame a proven driver gets ousted because of sheer marketing dollars a driver brings.  Any driver.  And some teams though, are in pickles and have staff and other considerations that force their hand at times.  So I'm not blaming Red Horse Racing.  We might make the very same call if we were in their shoes, trying to pay their bills.

But it sure is a dang shame.  I know one thing.  If this (unsubstantiated) piece of news is true, and Townley is in for the 2013 season, there is going to be a contingent of fans whose sharp eye will be holding RHR accountable every time (if) Townley hits the wall.

Now, let's be the best NASCAR fans we can be, and attempt to be supportive of the team, the drivers and the processes and see what happens.  Who knows, maybe we'll get surprised.  Just maybe.

Just sayin'.

Jeff Burton & Richard Childress To Unveil 2013 Chevy in Peoria, Ill (Appearance Alert)

Jeff Burton and Richard Childress are making a public appearance on December 5th.

Sometimes, fans have to scramble to catch their favorites in some of their public appearances.  I remember chasing down Jack Roush at a Galpin Ford in Van Nuys, CA and getting autographs.  It was cool to do.  Now, if any fans live near Peoria, you could have a shot at seeing Jeff Burton or Richard Childress!


via RCR Press Release

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Burton and team owner Richard Childress will unveil the 2013 No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS on Wednesday, December 5 at the new Caterpillar Visitors Center located behind Caterpillar world headquarters in downtown Peoria, Ill.

"Caterpillar has invited Richard (Childress) and I to tour their new world-class Visitors Center and we are encouraging NASCAR fans to come visit too," said Jeff Burton. "We are bringing the No. 31 hauler for fans to tour and unveiling the new 2013 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS that I will be driving next season. I think fans are really going to like the look of the new car."

Burton and Childress will take part in an autograph session 5 to 7 p.m. Central Time and everyone attending the event will receive a 2013 Sprint Cup Series schedule poster. The Richard Childress Racing No. 31 team hauler will be on display for fans to tour throughout the day beginning at 10 a.m. The 80' hauler transports the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet to all 36 Sprint Cup Series races across the country.

For additional information on this event, please visit and  For ticket information, visit


Danica Patrick Headed Down the Single Route Boys!

Danica Patrick and her husband of seven years, Paul Hospenthal, are parting ways.  Patrick announced this to her fans on her Facebook account.  Though not a real issue perse, there was a 16-year difference between them.  Again, I'm not thinking that's got anything to do with it.  I've seen relationships with huge age differences work.

Here's the quote from FB:

"I am sad to inform my fans that after 7 years, Paul and I have decided to amicably end our marriage. This isn't easy for either of us, but mutually it has come to this. He has been an important person and friend in my life and that's how we will remain moving forward."

Any dissolution of a relationship is hard to deal with, even when you want it.  But I think we all know that.

In an odd sense of things, this may even make her more marketable.  It's one thing for some fans to admire her multitude of "business efforts" from afar, but marketing studies I've seen do suggest that single models have a fascinating bit of extra draw.  Just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What Entertainment Is In Store For the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet

NASCAR announced the lineup of entertainment for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet on November 30th. 

The show will be hosted on SPEED (soon to be no more) TV, Motor Racing Network Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.  The venue includes host Howie Mandel, the top 10 drivers in the Cup standings interspersed with a few musical acts.

The entertainment includes Train, Lifehouse,
Natasha Bedingfield, Phillip Phillips and a bit more.  All of this will be interjected into a serious number of thank you speeches from the drivers who, well, will try their best to deliver some words.

In between thanking every single sponsor every single time, we'll get some music.

I've watched the show a few times.  Gave it my best and it takes the true die-hard fan to endure this multi-hour extravaganza!

My only recommendation is that they get a host who is familiar with NASCAR, beyond the standard, quick brush-up artist I've seen in the past.  It's a bit silly and frustrating to have someone up there making jokes that don't always gel with the mindset of the sport.

Below, the press release:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 20, 2012) – The Wynn Las Vegas will truly be star-studded on Nov. 30, when Train, Lifehouse, Natasha Bedingfield, Phillip Phillips and performers from The Beatles LOVE take the stage during the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards will be hosted by "America's Got Talent" judge Howie Mandel and will begin at 8 p.m. ET with live coverage on SPEED, Motor Racing Network Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The awards are the culmination of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week™ and will honor the 2012 champion along with the rest of the top 10 drivers in the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ standings.

Three-time Grammy® Award-winning and multi-platinum rock band Train is quite familiar with performing in front of NASCAR audiences. Lead singer Pat Monahan sang the National Anthem for the 54th running of the Daytona 500 this past February, and the entire band performed hits from its new album "California 37" at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway in July. In addition to boasting three Grammy Awards, Train has won two Billboard Music Awards for Top Rock Artist and Top Rock Song, as well as the 2011 American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Pop Music Award for Song of the Year for "Hey, Soul Sister."

American rock band Lifehouse and international pop singer and songwriter Natasha Bedingfield, known for her Grammy Award-nominated single "Unwritten" and other chart-topping hits like "These Words" and "Pocket Full Of Sunshine," are set for a compelling joint performance of their new hit single "Between The Raindrops." Lifehouse broke through in 2001 with the Billboard Hot 100 Single of the Year Award for its hit "Hanging by a Moment." Since then, Lifehouse has had 15 consecutive singles appear on multiple charts making them one of the most successful bands of the 21st century. Lifehouse's new album, "Almeria," will be released on Geffen Records on Dec. 11.

Since winning the 11th season of "American Idol" in May, 22-year-old singer and guitarist Phillip Phillips immediately launched his single entitled "Home," eventually seeing it go double platinum after elevating to No. 1 on the iTunes Pop Chart. Phillips released his first major label album entitled "The World from the Side of the Moon" on Monday, Nov. 19. His live performance at the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards will be one of his first following the release of his debut album.

Additionally, NASCAR fans will be treated to a special performance from the cast of The Beatles LOVE. Combining the magic of Cirque du Soleil with the spirit and passion of The Beatles, LOVE celebrates the musical legacy of the Fab Four through high-energy fusions of urban, freestyle dance, acrobatics and fast-paced athleticism.

The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Brad Keselowski, was crowned on Sunday, Nov. 18 following NASCAR's premier series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Keselowski took home his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title in just his third full season in the series, and it is also the first championship in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for team owner Roger Penske.



The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for one of North America's premier sports. NASCAR races are broadcast in more than 150 countries and in 20 languages. In the U.S., races are broadcast on FOX, TNT, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, SPEED, Motor Racing Network Radio, Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM Radio. NASCAR fans are among the most brand-loyal in all of sports, and as a result more Fortune 500 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), four regional series, and one local grassroots series, as well as three international series. Also part of NASCAR is GRAND-AM Road Racing, known for its competition on road courses with multiple classes of cars. NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races at 100 tracks in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., NASCAR has offices in eight cities across North America. For more information and a complete schedule, visit Follow NASCAR on or on Twitter: @NASCAR.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Keselowski Persists and Johnson Burns Out

The fight during Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway between Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski, despite seemingly insurmountable odds against Johnson, was touted as a could-be situation for him, if something went wrong for Keselowski during the final race of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season.

But alas, thought many watched with baited breath, nothing went wrong with the No. 2 Dodge from Penske Racing.  And in fact, that something did go wrong with the No. 48 Chevy of Johnson's.

After the half-way point, it still looked like something unique or exciting could happen by the end of the race.  (As it was, Johnson had a good enough car to make this an exciting race.)

But then things went haywire.  On a pit stop, a lugnut was left off the LF wheel on the No. 48.  Then a few laps later something broke on his car and he was done.  Game over for Jimmie Johnson and no 6th title.

And it goes...

Brad Keselowski is the 2012 Sprint Cup Champion.

This was owner Roger Penske's first title in NASCAR's premier series.  He's been in the sport since 1972 chasing this elusive dream.

Keselowski's championship came in his 125th start, the fewest since Jeff Gordon captured his first of four titles in 1995 in 93 starts.
At age 28, Brad is the eighth-youngest driver to win a first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

Brad also
joins Bobby Labonte as the only two drivers to win both a NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

This is Dodge's fifth championship, and the first since 1975 with Richard Petty.  Too bad they pulled out of the scene for next year.
Congrats to Brad Keselowski and Penske Racing.  A job well done... or a job, whose integral component included patient racing, got them to the biggest finish line of them all.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NASCAR Championship Weekend... Quickie Schedule Info on the Three Races

So what time is what and when?  Glad you asked.  Below are the basic race schedules and a tidbit about Kes as he and Penske sit, looking at both their first title in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing....



The Race: Ford EcoBoost 400

The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway

The Date: Sunday, Nov. 18

The Time: 3 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN, 2 p.m. (ET)

Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90

Distance: 400.5 miles (267 laps)


The Race: Ford EcoBoost 300

The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway

The Date: Saturday, Nov. 17

The Time: 4:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN2, 4 p.m. (ET)

Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90

Distance: 300 miles (200 laps)


The Race: Ford EcoBoost 200

The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway

The Date: Friday, Nov. 16

The Time: 8 p.m. (ET) 

TV: SPEED, 7:30 p.m. (ET)

Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90

Distance: 201 miles (134 laps)


If Brad Keselowski wins this, he'll be the first new name on a Championship Trophy since 2006.  (Stewart and Johnson seemed to have reprint rights over the last few seasons on that big shiny cup.)

But Jimmie Johnson has come back from a deficit in the last race before.  

Back in 2010,  he was trailing Denny Hamlin by 15 points (equates to four points under this current points system), and he finished second to take the title.

But can Penske pull this off?  It would be their first championship.  Worst case scenario, nerves could get the best of anyone on the team...  ranging from the driver, to the crew on pit road to even the crew chief. 

We'll see.

Has Lady Luck Graced Brad Keselowski? Will Foul Play Erupt At Homestead?

When the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season started with this new points structure, I knew that this system would not allow too many mulligans.  You could get away with one or two bad days, but they better be early on so you have time to recover.  Case in point might be Jimmie Johnson's fantastic result from the first race of the season at Daytona.

But by season's end, we had ourselves twelve Cup contenders.

Again... I thought to myself that with only ten races in the Chase for the Cup, my guesstimate was that the top-12 drivers could maybe get away with one mulligan a piece.  And past Chases have shown that everyone pretty much encounters a situation in these last ten races that a mulligan happens.  But usually something tends to happen to everyone of the twelve contenders.  Then by the last race or two, the teams have sorted themselves back out and the race is on for the championship.

But Brad Keselowski has shaken off the dark side of lady luck and has competed consistently.  In the first nine races of the Chase, he finished 11th of better, shoring up a pretty decent run at Jimmie Johnson.  Here's how they've both stacked up over the last nine races of the Chase

B.K.: 1st,  6th, 1st,  7th, 11th, 8th, 6th, 2nd, &   6th.
 J.J.: 2nd, 2nd, 4th, 17th,  3rd, 9th, 1st, 1st, & 32nd.

And that decent run has paid off when Johnson had his 2nd fumble last week at Phoenix, due to a "tire bead" of all things.

No folks are wondering, if something goes well enough for a long enough period of time, when will the other shoe drop?  And I have to wonder if the Penske team, taking every measure possible, can't help but wonder if lady luck (the dark side) might not finally rear her head.  (The force is strong in this one, ask Jimmie last weekend!)

If nothing goes wrong, all Brad has to do is cruise to a 15th or better position to take the championship.  And per his stats, plus adding how the team has been performing this year, I expect that to happen. Barring the thing the team and Brad's fans are worried about.


I Don't Think So

Someone had sent me an email asking if I thought an HMS related team might not try taking out BK?  And to back their guess, they pointed to how Jeff Gordon took out Bowyer right in front of BK at Phoenix. 

My reply was that last weekend's incident took place when it was available for Gordon to effect his frustration.  He didn't have the car or luxury of waiting and plotting until just the right time.

As far as team orders go...  I just don't see that happening.  At least as far as wrecking BK goes.  That seems absurd.  

Now if Brad finds himself surrounded by pit stalls occupied by HMS teams, he might have a few challenges in the pits.  That, I'd expect!  It is one of those pesky nuances of sports.  But I don't expect blatant wrecking.  That's not what these guys are about.  Well, most of the time unless you spend the entire season ticking off Jeff Gordon, or Carl Edwards.  Or Juan Pablo is 5 laps down racing hard for a 30th place finish!

But that's another tirade for another day.  Maybe during the off-season.


What are your thoughts on the matters?  Think lady luck might step up at Homestead?  Can Brad pull off a NASCAR championship for himself and Penske, all things considered?  Will something devious happen to help "five-time" make it "six-time?"


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Matt Kenseth's Last Roush Ride This Sunday

An era is coming to a close and I am preparing for the confusion that will be set forth next year as Matt Kenseth is looking to take his last laps in a Roush Fenway Racing Ford this Sunday.

When Matt starts this Sunday, it will be his 471st start behind the wheel of a Roush machine. 

After all these years, I'd never suspect that Kenseth would actually leave Roush Fenway Racing.  In fact, I'm suspicious that maybe he knows something we don't about the organization.  (The rats bailing on a sinking ship thing)  So I'm going to be keeping my eyes out for any developments in the near future.

Matt Kenseth moves to the No. 20 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing, replacing Joey Logano, while Logano heads to the No. 22 Ford of Penske Racing.

Did You Know:
The only time Matt Kenseth did not start behind the wheel of a Roush machine in the Cup Series was his debut at Dover in 1998.  He filled in for Bill Elliot in the McDonald's Ford.  (Bill grieved the loss of George Elliott.)  Matt finished 6th.

His first Cup win came in 2000 at the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

He brought Roush's first ever championship to the team in 2003.


It will be weird seeing him in the No. 20 Toyota, but I think he'll be able to do wondrous things with that machine.

2013 Nationwide Series 33-Race Schedule Released (Mid-Ohio Replaces Montreal)

NASCAR released the 2013 schedule for the Nationwide Series.  Of note... Road America, Mid-Ohio.  And 6 standalone dates!  I'm bummed that Montreal is no longer on the schedule also.  It was a beautiful setting, to say the least!

Whose watching for the Camping World Truck Series sched!  Rumor says that Eldora is on the menu!

via press release


Mid-Ohio Joins NASCAR Nationwide Series Schedule In 2013

Full Schedule Announced; Racing Returns To Entitlement Sponsor's Home State


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 13, 2012) – NASCAR today announced the 2013 schedule for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, a lineup that includes a trip to Mid-Ohio for the first time in series history.


Mid-Ohio, a 2.4-mile, 15-turn road course in Lexington, marks the return of NASCAR national series racing to Ohio, the home state of the series' Columbus-based entitlement sponsor, Nationwide Insurance. Mid-Ohio's Aug. 17 addition fortifies the series' trio of challenging road courses, joining Road America (June 22) and Watkins Glen (Aug. 10).


"With Mid-Ohio on the schedule, the NASCAR Nationwide Series has another opportunity to lead the way at a new venue," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations, of the sixth time in nine years the series will run an inaugural race. "This gives us the opportunity to bring the series' signature side-by-side racing to a new fan base, and build enthusiasm among race fans that have yet to experience the unparalleled experience of attending a NASCAR event.


"This is a competitive and well-balanced schedule that challenges our drivers and teams with a variety of different tracks and distances. It's a schedule that the fans will enjoy."


NASCAR national series racing last competed in Ohio in 2008, with the running of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Mansfield Motorsports Park. GRAND-AM Road Racing has raced at Mid-Ohio since 2000.


The balance of the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide schedule, the series' 32nd season, maintains a familiar feel, with a strong mix of short tracks, road courses, intermediate race tracks and superspeedways.


Daytona International Speedway hosts the season opener on Feb. 23. That race also will feature the introduction of Chevrolet's Camaro into the series. The series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway is set for Nov. 16.


On July 27, the series will race at historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the second consecutive year as part of "Super Weekend at The Brickyard" with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and GRAND-AM.


Next season's schedule includes six "standalone" race dates: Iowa Speedway (June 8 and Aug. 3), Chicagoland Speedway (July 21), Kentucky Speedway (Sept. 21), Road America and Mid-Ohio.


Kentucky's first NASCAR Nationwide Series race on June 28, one of 27 companion weekends with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, also will be the qualifying event for the 2013 "Dash 4 Cash" bonus program. The subsequent four races make up the 2013 "Dash 4 Cash" events: Daytona on July 5; New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13; Chicagoland and the Brickyard.




Date                 Site

2/23                  Daytona International Speedway                                                           

3/2                    Phoenix International Raceway                                                              

3/9                    Las Vegas Motor Speedway                                                                 

3/16                  Bristol Motor Speedway                                                                                   

3/23                  Auto Club Speedway                                                                            

4/12                  Texas Motor Speedway                                                                        

4/26                  Richmond International Raceway                                                           

5/4                    Talladega Superspeedway                                                                    

5/10                  Darlington Raceway                                                                              

5/25                  Charlotte Motor Speedway                                                                    

6/1                    Dover International Speedway                                                               

6/8                    Iowa Speedway                                                                                    

6/15                  Michigan International Speedway                                                           

6/22                  Road America                                                                                      

6/28                  Kentucky Speedway                                                                             

7/5                    Daytona International Speedway                                                           

7/13                  New Hampshire Motor Speedway                                                          

7/21                  Chicagoland Speedway                                                                        

7/27                  Indianapolis Motor Speedway                                                               

8/3                    Iowa Speedway                                                                                    

8/10                  Watkins Glen International                                                                     

8/17                  Mid-Ohio                                                          

8/23                  Bristol Motor Speedway                                                                                   

8/31                  Atlanta Motor Speedway                                                                       

9/6                    Richmond International Raceway                                                           

9/14                  Chicagoland Speedway                                                                        

9/21                  Kentucky Speedway                                                                             

9/28                  Dover International Speedway                                                               

10/5                  Kansas Speedway                                                                                

10/11                Charlotte Motor Speedway                                                                    

11/2                  Texas Motor Speedway                                                                        

11/9                  Phoenix International Raceway                                                              

11/16                Homestead-Miami Speedway                                                                

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