Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Brian will also be running nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for Michael Waltrip Racing, in the No. 55 Toyota.
The last time Vickers ran full-time in the "Nationwide" series, was 2003 when it was called the Busch Series... and he won the championship for Hendrick Motorsports.
Vickers credits his relationship with Toyota for getting these rides in 2013, and, with his being in what is called one of the best Toyota teams in the Nationwide series, I think he's got a great chance to make something of it this year.
It will be good to see him in a full-time ride. He's a likable guy!
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
I mean, wow, a dirt race back in the NASCAR circuit? I'm surprised the race took this long to sell out! The Truck Series race is called the "Mudsummer Classic" and July 24th is a Wednesday night.
But wait!!! Just because the grandstand is sold out doesn't mean they don't still have a few tickets left. Turns out they still have around 300 general admission tickets for the event, where you can hang out around the hillside, if you're up for it.
Of course, in the amount of time it took me to write that, they probably just sold out!
The format of the race is still shaping up, but it looks like they'll have heat races leading up to the main event, which will probably include 30 trucks. Plus, with no pit road, there might be new methods for giving the teams a chance to make adjustments during the race, like an intermission.
And yes, splitters will be removed for this dirty event at Eldora!
It looks like Richard Tocado Companies, a real-estate firm, will be adorning the hood of the car and the first race is going to be at Charlotte in May.
It's been a long road for this team, which started up in 2004. A bumpy road at times as Steve was either caught up or started up some great show-stopping wrecks, but it's all in the learning curve.
Will Steve have what it takes to make this new opportunity work for Richard Tocado Companies? I'm sure fans hope so. It seems to be an odd sponsor for NASCAR fans, but hey, if it works, it works! Right?
Austin Dillon will be driving a Hendrick powered car at Vegas for James Finch... the No. 51 car.
Kyle Busch officially resigned up with Joe Gibbs Racing. And in that renewal, I believe are terms that will keep him from racing against JGR in the Nationwide series.
Rumors say Kevin Harvick is going to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.
For some reason, Jeremy Mayfield says he'll do anything to get back in to the fold. Good luck with that one buddy. After all the hoopla and lawsuits you've lobbed, I'd be very surprised if anyone takes you up on your hopes.
Going into the 2013 season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is looking at an unsponsored car for 13 races.
Golden Corral is staying with Tommy Baldwin Racing.
CSX Transportation is getting on the metal of the Front Row Motorsports team for 2013.
Hertz is creating a collaborative association with Penske Racing. Also, Shell and Pennzoil are sticking with the team in a multi-year deal.
Chip Ganassi Racing has Cessna and Textron as sponsors.
I find Cessna an odd sponsor. The usual fan in the stands and watching TV, I thought, isn't one to run out and buy an airplane. If you believe the damn ads on TV (And now on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, NASCAR fans eat Viagra for breakfast, lunch and dinner!)
Any way, those are the latest news bits from NBaP.
Monday, January 28, 2013
And his sponsor, plastered all over the front and back of the uniform, loved it. So many folks took to the video channels and over-layed the telecast "run for the Gordon" with the 5-Hour Energy theme, and the sponsor themselves, said,
["It was the best commercial for us I've ever seen," Rise Meguiar, 5-Hour Energy vice president of sales, said with a laugh. "The company loved it. We played it over and over and over again. We even put it on our website. There were some YouTube things that fans did with it, too. We just loved it."]
Saddled in between serious sponsors, the team behind the energy drink says they feel vindicated to be there, amongst some of the biggest power-house marketers in the market.
And NASCAR fans are some of the more loyal sports fans out there.
And what 5-Hour gets out of their NASCAR relationship, over say, the NFL, reports Marty Smith of ESPN, is that they get "...direct marketing to consumers, and for retailers."
If you're curious, the rest of Smith's article is pretty informative when it comes to the marketing angle of the sport. But it was also a tickle to be reminded of that momentous dash by Clint...
Aside from the obvious initial emotional reactions, there was concern about favoritism that might be shown between these two drivers while on the track.
To be honest, the middle third of any race is give and take and I'd expect the same from these two, between them.
But when it got down to it (no pun intended there), I don't think they'd give too much to each other on the track.
And even if they did, so what? There are teams out there and to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if this happened out there. Folks give each other room at times, or let someone lead a bit for bonus points. It's just racing.
But if these or any two drivers were at the top of the points facing off against the other driver in the points standings, I bet it would be serious business, no matter who is looking for a spot.
I'm not too worried about it... are you?
- - -
Seriously... Ricky aimed for the older woman. Zing!
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
As of today, NASCAR has 3.2 million Facebook fans and over 870 thousand followers on Twitter alone. They've taken back their digital rights so their website from Turner, and it is now their own to do with as they please. And they have done just that.
And the fan needs to figure out how to sort it all out. If you follow enough folks associated with NASCAR, aka, reporters of the sport, you often see the same content hashed over in the flavor of the writer. Or the organization.
You know what I mean. On Twitter I have my main feed and who I follow. But the main feed is useless to me with so many folks updating and retweeting. For me, Twitter Lists of select accounts is the way to go. But what am I missing when I focus on those lists? What's gone by that might have been critical to me in that haze of a feed where dozens upon dozens of accounts are pummeling my update window?
NASCAR has taken a step back, seen what's going on, and has then stepped up to try and sort it all out, to understand what the social media landscape means to the sport of NASCAR, both in a overall mode, and at the most pressing times, during a race.
Hence, the "NASCAR Fan and Media Engagement Center (FMEC) presented by HP," located in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
This space-station looking control center will be the hub of all content, as conversations are watched and monitored and recorded. Or as they put it,
"to better serve its industry, partners and fans through a cutting-edge technology platform that facilitates near real-time response and analytics of traditional, digital and social media."
But it's not just social media that will be watched, but also traditional media. It will help the sport connect information between the fans and the sport but also connect this information with NASCAR's business partners.
I think it's important that they consider all the forms of communication, meaning adding traditional and broadcast media analysis to their collective. That's because, despite how it looks to some, social media is not the end-all of opinion or information. Social media users do not account for the majority of the fans.
It's been reported that just over 50% of internet fans are on Facebook and 10% are on Twitter. And television accounts for approximately 50% of the sports fans information. And "Enthusiastic sports fans account for 19 percent of overall online users."
Yes, this new piece of equipment is a collector of opinion and news. An aggregate of information that will help NASCAR forge its future. As they put it,
"The FMEC will provide NASCAR the ability to monitor, analyze and better understand the current media landscape in order to respond more effectively and efficiently to fans and respond more rapidly to national, local and global media.
Measurement also will be a key function of the Fan and Media Engagement Center. Those capabilities will expand across qualitative and quantitative measurements, including tonality, volume, proximity and other coverage attributes in regular reports the FMEC will generate for its industry."
So the next time you make mention of something on Facebook or Twitter, your thoughts will or could be contributing to a new mindset. If enough folks echo your premise, then you could become part of the changing landscape. Your voice could actually help things move forward.
And that sounds pretty neat. I'm not sure what other sport or organization is like that.
But don't be fooled either. When they mentioned "to better serve its industry, partners and fans," the first two terms mean how to better shape the marketing of the sport, at least that's my presumption.
Now, as information is tallied, NASCAR can focus a sales pitch like a laser-beam, for any new or potential advertiser. It can report to existing "partners" how things are going and what can be or could be done to improve the return on their dollar.
That, in the long run, is the bottom line. That's not an evil thing, it's just the pervasive attitude of running a business. That's how to better serve both the business end of this model, maintaining or improving profits, while also better serving the fans. Or how to pull in new fans.
The TV landscape over the last few years was a huge push/focus for the sport, but things may have flattened out a bit there. And like many other TV monitoring processes like the Nielsen system, NASCAR is now looking at capturing the digital data of the social world.
That social world... is so much more immediate these days than yesteryear. I'm reading a novel written back in the late 1800's, and for someone to learn about something, much foot-work was needed, along with "posts" sent by carrier back and forth, and then someone had to put all the paper notes down, look them over and re-transcribe them to their best effort. A process that could take weeks or months.
Today, with a digital center like the FMEC, oodles of data will be transcribed in a matter of moments now.
We live in one fascinating era! That's for sure!
NASCAR's Press Release:
NASCAR Launches State-Of-The-Art Fan And Media Engagement CenterCollaboration With HP Brought OnlineDaytona Beach, Fla. (Jan. 14, 2013) – NASCAR and HP today unveiled the new NASCAR Fan and Media Engagement Center presented by HP. This first-of-its-kind resource will enable NASCAR to better serve its industry, partners and fans through a cutting-edge technology platform that facilitates near real-time response and analytics of traditional, digital and social media.NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and HP Enterprise Services Vice President Charles Salameh were on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the center at NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, N.C."The Fan and Media Engagement Center build has been a thorough process more than a year in the making, and we are excited to see it come to life," France said. "We believe this tool has the potential to be the best of its kind in sports – the first ever to combine not only social, but also traditional and broadcast media analysis. We'll be able to use this to help our industry and business partners and better connect with NASCAR fans across the world. It's another example of our commitment to innovation."HP collaborated with NASCAR to design and build the Fan and Media Engagement Center. The center is a showpiece on the 8th floor of NASCAR Plaza, where NASCAR's Digital team operates. Physical features of the FMEC include all-glass walls, a monitor bank of 13 47-inch HP displays, and the latest in touchscreen and AV technology. Behind the scenes, HP's custom-developed technology and services, based on its Autonomy analytics solutions, is the engine that processes a massive amount of data into relevant, actionable insights."The FMEC is the culmination of a collaboration between NASCAR and HP," said Salameh, vice president – Americas region, Communications, Media and Entertainment Industry, Enterprise Services, HP. "HP's integrated solution not only benefits NASCAR's complex ecosystem by allowing real-time data capture and analysis across a wide variety of media, traditional as well as digital, tailored to specific audiences within the industry."The FMEC will provide NASCAR the ability to monitor, analyze and better understand the current media landscape in order to respond more effectively and efficiently to fans and respond more rapidly to national, local and global media.Measurement also will be a key function of the Fan and Media Engagement Center. Those capabilities will expand across qualitative and quantitative measurements, including tonality, volume, proximity and other coverage attributes in regular reports the FMEC will generate for its industry.About NASCARThe 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 175 countries and in 25 languages. In the U.S., races are broadcast on FOX, TNT, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, SPEED, Motor Racing Network, 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 and the American Le Mans Series, known for 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. The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be The Sprint Unlimited on Feb. 16 on FOX. For more information and a complete schedule, visit www.nascar.com. Follow NASCAR on www.facebook.com/NASCAR or on Twitter: @NASCAR.About HPHP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. The world's largest technology company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure to solve customer problems. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com."
via press release:
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
In 2013 he'll be behind the wheel in 24 races.
Kurt Busch had a quiet off-season. We didn't hear about him cussing out any press or getting arrested for anything.
So that means he can focus on his newish ride with Furniture Row Racing. I almost forgot he started with the team in the last 6 races last year with the team.
There's also a good chance that Kurt can be looking at a long-term contract with FRR. ANd I presume, that's contingent on his not blowing up any time soon at anyone or anything.
And team general manager Joe Garone said they want Kurt to focus more on the car than anything else, and to relax about any image issues.
And that may very well be the key to helping him mellow out, to not keep him focused on the very thing that has riled him up.
He should make a good showing this year with FRR. We'll see.
I almost forgot that amongst all the news of the upcoming season, that Kevin Harvick is leaving RCR for Stewart-Haas Racing. And Richard Childress himself confirmed where Harvick is going.
Harvick and SHR have not confirmed or deny the move. Contractual obligations are just plucky annoying.
It will be a good year for Harvick to show just what he can do. He's been subtle and quiet in a consistent fashion. Nothing that stood out with winning lots of races, but he's always been in the hunt.
There's just one magical piece of "go" that's been missing and if they hit that mark, he could be a force to contend with.
And once he leaves RCR, no news is floating around as to whether Budweiser will be going with Harvick or staying with RCR.
If (really? If?) Austin Dillon steps into the car in 2014, one has to wonder if Budweiser will take a chance with this young, proven performer.
And that's been one of NASCAR's goals, to somehow shorten the race rain delays.
In fact, estimated dry times include 30 minutes for Daytona and 15 minutes for Martinsville! All this, and the process will be more green than the previous technology.
What NASCAR is looking at is a compressed air heating system rather than a small jet engine mounted on the back of truck!
It still has to debut on the track but it's been tested at Daytona and Charlotte.
And the hope is that it will debut by Speedweeks. Or, at least be ready to debut by then... depending on the weather.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Denny and his girlfriend, Jordan Fish, welcomed daughter Taylor James Hamlin to the world. Taylor weighed in at 6 pounds, 5 ounces. And I presume there she was within all template tolerances!
Denny (http://twitter.com/dennyhamlin) tweeted,
"Introducing Taylor James Hamlin!!! Born Jan 20 at 20:20! Weighting 6lb 5oz and 20 inches in length."
He cut short his testing at Daytona to be with Jordan for the momentous occasion. Or to be exact, to be ready to shuttle her off to the hospital when the moment came along.
The two met in January of 2007 at a Charlotte Bobcats game, where Jordan was a member of the team's dance team.
I saw this bit on the Detroit Free Press.
The options fans get to choose include
Race Format: How should the three race segments be divided?
- -- 40/20/15 laps
- -- 35/30/10 laps
- -- 30/25/20 laps
Pit Stop: Should there be a required pit stop at the end of the first segment?
- -- No pit stop
- -- Yes, 2 tires
- -- Yes, 4 tires
Elimination: How many cars should be eliminated at the end of the second segment?
- -- None
- -- 2 cars
- -- 4 cars
- -- 6 cars
Sprint Cup Girl Firesuits
Voting ends on February 13th.
(See link for voting at bottom of article)
(Did you catch who the new Sprint Cup girl is for 2013?)
- - - - -
This seems to have inspired some conversation as to whether the fans have too much to say within the sport of NASCAR. I don't think so.
Fans Don't Have THAT Much Control
For one, I think it's pretty awesome that NASCAR does turn to the fans to get their opinion. How many sports do you know do that?
For another, in a survey taken by statisticbrain, 56% of internet users are on any one social network, with 54% of them on Facebook and 10% of them on Twitter. (I don't suggest the aforementioned survey be the end-all of stats on this matter, but survey samplings can be pretty close to the mark, giving a general consensus on an issue.)
And though we might think that social networks, especially like Twitter, might have an impact, I think NASCAR understands that though vocal, the Twitter demographic does not represent a huge percentage of fans. Just the vocal ones. At least right now.
But then NASCAR takes it a step further and eliminates that particular potential for skewing any free-for-all trend by holding their surveys on their own website. This could in fact, de-trend the voice of Twitterees, and make the voting a more fair process.
But my final perspective on this issue of fan control is that though some think fans have the control, it's not so much as you think.
Fan Control Filtered
If you think about it, fans may all have their own ideas about what is or isn't good for the sport. And that NASCAR is listening to the fans or the NASCAR Fan Council. But if you take a step back and look, NASCAR is still guiding the fans.
If there were absolute fan control, original ideas and content could be making it to the head offices of NASCAR. But some of the fine ideas fans come up with don't clear the first hurdle!
Instead, what NASCAR does is present options for fans to vote on, like in this latest poll for the Sprint Unlimited race. Fans don't have a blank option to fill in, but rather, they vote on options that NASCAR has chosen to provide.
In the end, NASCAR has the control, but is letting fans fine tune the end results. Period.
But it's still pretty special that fans have this kind of interaction and influence on some of the details with the sport of NASCAR.
[source links: NASCAR Sprint Unlimited Poll; Statistic Brain]
If you like my perspectives,
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Saturday, January 19, 2013
Who is Brooke Werner?
I used my internet forensic skills and aside from some of the basic info being passed out associated with her new position, I found a few other tidbits about her.
Brooke Werner hails from Vermont, her parents are Steve and Kathy Werner of Granville & has a sister, Becky. Her grandmother's name is Vivian.
Brooke likes hiking, bluegrass music, skiing, and old movies. She has a degree in public relations from Champlain College.
UPDATE: They've released an intro video with Brooke saying "Hi!"
She was also Miss Vermont in 2009! After that, she competed in the 2009 Miss USA contest, representing Vermont.
But I kept digging around to see what else I could find out for you, my readers. There's not much info to add. What reasonable information I found, I already noted. But I did find a few accounts that she had maintained.
This is her latest Twitter profile image from @BrookeVT:
Oh my, this is an old Twitter profile / image:
Oh she is going to hate me for this one...
Veteran Sprint Cup girls Kim Coon and Jaclyn Roney are both still representing Sprint, alongside Brooke.
Resource and Other Links:
Latest Twitter Account: BrookeVT,
Older Twitter Account (While it's still there): BrookeWerner,
(I fully expect that latest account to be deleted. Hence, the screen shot of the entire page.)
A Pinterest page Brooke started up,
A photographer's FB page with respectable pics of Brooke,
News on Brooke' entering Miss USA: Champlain edu,
The Herald of Randolph, and
Friday, January 18, 2013
Turns out that RCR, Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing are using the NASA Shuttle Landing facility that's located south of Daytona for straight-line car testing.
The facility is flat, smooth and very long. 15,000 feet long or close to a 3-mile long strip that's perfect for some aerodynamic testing. That and it's closer to North Carolina than a proving ground facility in Arizona is.
I think that would be pretty cool, to be able to attack a huge straight piece of smooth pavement where I could put my foot into it and not let up until the car can't go any faster... or I ran out of runway!
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
(CONJECTURE:) With Cassill out, this makes room for David Reutimann to take control of the wheel for the 2013 season for the BK Racing Toyota. (The No. 83 car.)
This is sad news for Cassill fans, but Reutimann fans are probably pretty ecstatic.
Cassill left gracefully, noting the facts about his contractual issues, and adding that,
"I would like to thank my BK Racing team and especially Burger King and Dr. Pepper for the opportunity to represent such iconic brands.. I'm looking forward to my next opportunity in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series."
Leaving gracefully is always a bonus for any professional athlete and Landon seemed to conduct himself rather intelligently.
If you live in the Charlotte region and you're a NASCAR fan, you're in luck! More preseason testing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Gen-6 car will be taking place at Charlotte Motor Speedway this upcoming Thursday and Friday. (Jan 17-18, 2013)
This test session is another shake-down for the new, lighter car, and at this moment, thirty-three drivers will be testing.
Haulers are scheduled to arrive at 7 a.m. and testing is scheduled for 9 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-4 p.m.. (Local times)
If the weather cooperates (Rain is predicted for Thursday at the time of this post) admission to the track is free during this 2-day test and the following drivers are slated to be there:
- Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
- Brad Keselowski Penske Racing
- Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports
- Marcos Ambrose Richard Petty Motorsports
- Danica Patrick Stewart Haas Racing
- Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing
- Casey Mears Germain Racing
- Tony Stewart Stewart Haas Racing
- Clint Bowyer Michael Waltrip Racing
- Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing
- Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing
- Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing
- Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Racing
- Joey Logano Penske Racing
- Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports
- Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing
- Kevin Harvick Richard Childress Racing
- David Stremme Swan Racing
- Jeff Burton Richard Childress Racing
- David Ragan Front Row Motorsports
- Dave Blaney Tommy Baldwin Racing
- Ryan Newman Stewart Haas Racing
- Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
- Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports
- Bobby Labonte JTG-Daugherty Racing
- Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports
- Mark Martin Michael Waltrip Racing
- Martin Truex Jr. Michael Waltrip Racing
- Kurt Busch Furniture Row Racing
- Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Motorsports
- Scott Speed Leavine Family Racing
- Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Racing
Have fun if you go, get great pics and let us know if you went or not! Me, I'm insanely jealous right now.
Over on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on The Morning Drive, the guys have been touching on an interesting thematic conversation this week, and that's how people perceive athletes in different scenarios.
The most common perspective seems to be the disdain against the athlete who wins so much that it gets old. They touched on how your favorite driver keeps getting dusted by Jimmie Johnson while JJ keeps winning championships (well, was) and races. And him and his teams performance earned him boos. Boos for excelling. I have to wonder if you were the best employee in your company, and you worked hard to get there, how you'd take it if you had peers who sneered at you. (For some, that's called jealousy.)
I've always found that to be a bit crass, to jeer someone who has worked so hard at his craft that he and/or his team get booed. I don't hear anyone jeering on Channing Tatum or Jennifer Lawrence, but that's a fantasy kind of appreciation. Sports is the best in reality TV, period. So my guess is that the jeering comes from frustration and nothing more.
Then today (Wed 1-16) they touched on what makes a driver a villain? At first it was touched on that Johnson can be considered by some to be a villain and then they segued into drivers who may drive too aggressively and not take ownership of the incidents they cause, with Juan Pablo Montoya being the prime example.
But for me, I went right to a few thoughts about who could be a villain...
Back in the day, despite the love for the man now, Dale Earnhardt (Sr.) was the nasty man who drove through the grass or your back bumper to win. From what I understand, he was probably the villain of the day.
For me, I remember Kurt Busch's early days in the Cup Series and his altercations with Jimmy Spencer. Being someone who appreciated Spencer's honesty (though politically, that nipped him in the butt), I took to slotting Busch in the bad guy basket. And then when Spencer manned up and did the NASCAR thing the punched Busch, for me, it was settled and they were done. Oh, and they were. I don't remember Busch ever getting in his face again after that. (Or was that selective memory?)
And through the years new rookies would come into the sport and drive like they stole it, ticking off drivers and seasoned fans alike.
A few quickie names that come right to mind... Tony Stewart's midget racing mindset and photographer decking attitude. Brad Keselowski and his non-apologetic ways of winning. If everyone didn't love Dale Earnhardt Jr., but stepped back and watched carefully, he takes crazy risks on the track that would get anyone else booed out of the stadium. But that's a moot point. Kyle Busch, who came on the scene, out drove everyone, drove through everyone and had a teenager's mouth about the situation. Now that, was villainous. Of late, the newest "villains" on the scene could be Kurt Busch (again) for his verbal tirades last year and the year before, and now Juan Montoya. Driving for the win, no matter how many laps down he is, has earned him a cautious spot and that bad boy podium. (And jet dryer drivers fear him!) And the reputation for not taking ownership of the messes he leaves behind seems to have put him all by himself in many people's eyes. But is he a bad guy, a gangsta, or just someone with no real manners? That's for you to decide.
For me, I have a tough time with jeering a superior performance. Don't get me wrong... I get the frustration. But then, my frustration may have started with my favorite driver's lack of success. Too many 2 or no-tire pit stops that never work out and the like just drive me crazy. But my guy or gal's lack of success is no reason to trash on the winner. There always has to be a winner and it just happens that it's the same few guys every week. (ballpark speaking that is.)
And winning doesn't warrant throwing beverage cans and bottles over the fence either. But that's just me. I just keep wishing my driver would just get better and have a shot at the championship, as I'm sure you do too.
To mark someone a villain in a sport seems extreme. To me, a villain steals, destroys, murders... etc.. In sports it's more of an emotional label than anything else. But stepping back and learning to appreciate the talent that goes into what is being achieved, well, it can be confusing, but at least you might just get it. (Then again, it makes it hard to hate a driver. I remember hating Jeff Gordon in his day. Remember that quote, why he hasn't hit the wall? Because it didn't have a number on it?)
That's my piece of mind today...
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
There seems to be some things that will take getting used to, break in period, but as we saw, or as tested, the roof flaps are bigger and a few other changes that are being predicted that will be making this 2013 Daytona 500 more of a wheel man's race than ever before.
- The new 2013 cars will sport brand identifiable body work. (Though I fear that might take us back to the era of "his brand's nose has better airflow than mine!" era)
- The cars are 160 pounds lighter.
- A couple of bars were added to the roll cage, making it more sturdy and a bit more roomier.
- A taller spoiler and new camber rules are designed to make this new car handle better.
- There's less aero-dependency, and Goodyear made a tire specifically for the new car.
And these changes make it so the car can handle better going into the corners making the racing surface more of a level playing field. At least that's the anticipations.
We also saw that bump-drafting has been changed forever (or until they change the bumpers). Dale Earnhardt Jr. took note that he could push a Toyota down the stretch, but the moment he laid his Chevy bumper to the back end of a Ford, he "wheel barreled" the car off the ground and they had a pretty decent practice wreck.
And this, NASCAR hopes, will eliminate the tandem drafting that many fans have been grumpy about.
And the general consensus from the drivers is that these changes will be good for the racing. Other consensus say there will be a huge learning curve coming into the Daytona 500 weekend. (Ebayers, get ready with your checkbooks for that scrap metal auction coming up!)
But speeds look interesting from the three-day practice session:
- Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 195.712 mph
- Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 195.385 mph
- Kyle Busch, Toyota, 195.329 mph
- Trevor Bayne, Ford, 199.650 mph
- Joey Logano, Ford,199.309 mph
- Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 199.212 mph
- Greg Biffle, Ford, 194.936 mph
- Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 194.717 mph
- Kyle Busch, Toyota, 194.578 mph
Thursday and Saturday were single car sessions and Friday was when the pack got together for drafting practice. But I don't see any Chevy's in the top-3 speeds. But that should not be an issue, this was only practice.
So after that last few years of some of the best racing I've seen out of NASCAR, the promise is that we're about to see even better racing. And there's no doubt that those first and last 40 laps of every race out there will be pretty intense. But I'm still waiting for the mid-race laps to be addressed so I can stay awake or engaged during the telecast. But that's just me and over time, I'm sure things will straighten out.
For now, it's 2013 and the Gen-6 car. And my biggest problem will be how to keep track of what new drivers are in their new rides. That might take a few laps to get used to.
Monday, January 14, 2013
NASCAR and Featherlite have officially extended their contractual relationship with each for another 6 years. That's something that in this economy, is a good thing for all involved. Plus, as it's always said, with NASCAR fans being the most sponsor loyal sports fans out there, is a good thing for Featherlite.
Check out news, via press release, below:
NASCAR And Featherlite Trailers Announce Six-Year Partnership ExtensionThe Official Trailer Of NASCAR Continues Its 20-Year Relationship With The SportDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 14, 2013) — NASCAR® and Featherlite Trailers announced today that the Iowa-based company has agreed to extend its long-term partnership with NASCAR. The six-year extension ensures that Featherlite Trailers will be the Official Trailer of NASCAR through 2018. Entering its 13th year as an Official Partner, Featherlite Trailers built its first race car transporter for owner Richard Childress 20 years ago, dating its relationship with the sport back to 1993.Currently, Featherlite Trailers plays a vital role in facilitating high-quality NASCAR race events each weekend. Ninety percent of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ and NASCAR Nationwide Series™ teams rely on Featherlite transporters to move vital race equipment to every event. Additionally, approximately 10 transporters manufactured by Featherlite Trailers serve as official office and meeting spaces for NASCAR race officials and personnel each weekend across the country."Featherlite Trailers is pleased to extend our partnership with NASCAR," said Terry Carlson, chief executive officer of Universal Trailer Holding Corp. "As a long-time NASCAR partner, Featherlite is committed to the sport and its fans, as well as providing world-class support and services to NASCAR and its race teams."
In the second half of the 2012 NASCAR season, Featherlite Trailers introduced its newly redesigned custom "T1" NASCAR support and media trailer. The transporter, featuring larger and more efficient work spaces, is utilized by NASCAR broadcast partners at the track each weekend.
"The return of Featherlite Trailers benefits our entire industry, including our tracks, drivers, teams and partners," said Jim O'Connell, NASCAR chief sales officer. "The extension of this 20-year relationship ensures that our sport will continue to have the most technologically advanced race transporters and meeting spaces, critical to facilitating high quality race events each weekend."
Featherlite Trailers is a leading designer and manufacturer of aluminum trailers, including specialized 53-foot race car transporters and highly customized specialty trailers for virtually every business purpose. The company also manufactures car, recreation, utility, horse and livestock trailers. Featherlite is part of Universal Trailer Corporation's family of brands.
About NASCARThe 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 175 countries and in 25 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 and the American Le Mans Series, featuring 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. The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be The Sprint Unlimited At Daytona on Feb. 16 on FOX at 8 p.m. ET. For more information and a complete schedule, visit www.nascar.com. Follow NASCAR on www.facebook.com/NASCAR or on Twitter: @NASCAR.About Featherlite Trailers
Featherlite specialty trailers are sold through the company's corporate headquarters in Cresco, Iowa. In addition, Featherlite has highly diversified product lines offering horse, livestock, car, utility and recreational trailers through an extensive international dealer network. In addition to its "Official Trailer" status of NASCAR, Featherlite is a sponsor of many equine, livestock and motorsports organizations. Featherlite is part of the Universal Trailer Corporation's family of brands.
Turns out that after a rather productive Bible study group with some other drivers and their family, Michael thought he'd fast from tweeting!
As he put it, the social media outlets or venues are like an addiction. You want to see what family and friends are doing or saying. If you're a celebrity, you want to keep your fans or following up to speed on news and events in your professional life.
But he also noted that you miss the math and how much time you end up burning while tackling your social media fixation or responsibilities.
And if you step back you'll see that he's not that far wrong.
And to make sure he sticks to his guns regarding his "fast," McDowell has gone so far as to delete the apps from his phone.
(But he does have an automated process in place that tweets Bible verses every day.)
And a good point is being made, for whatever the reason.
Some impromptu surveys show many folks check their social media on a daily schedule, while others check a few times a day and even hourly. I write about things that catch my eye, and so I almost fall into the hourly category. But it's for a business-like purpose.
And a University of Chicago study findings suggested that only sleep and sex are stronger drives than social media checking.
We encounter it all the time. Head out to eat, to wait for the bus, walking and even in the most annoying environment, during movies. People are always head down and absorbing what their phones have to tell them.
In a study by Edison Research, looking at just over 2,000 folks, 22% of their survey testers checked their social networks several times a day, while 15% did it once a day. (Once a day seems reasonable actually.) 12% did it once a week. While 40% of their respondents never checked on the sites.
Some folk are even known to be checking their social accounts first thing in the morning. But the caveat there in my mind is that is how they get their morning news, so hence, not as unhealthy of a premise. The classic morning routine used to be coffee and the paper. Now it's coffee and the phone attached to some news source.
And then there's the vacations I've taken. Sometimes my vacations take me to mountain cabins with no service or connection to the world. It takes me a day or so, but then I settle in and enjoy living my life again and not being tethered to my laptop or phone. Though, to be honest, I don't take enough vacations.
For Michael McDowell, he's reconnecting to what's important to him and he sets a great example. But dang... once the Daytona 500 kicks it in gear on February 24th, we'll all be piling in and checking FB or Twitter for our sports updates, just like the rest of the user!
Saturday, January 12, 2013
If you are wondering how qualifying works for the 2013 Daytona 500, which takes place on Feb 24th, here's a quick and simple description for the process.
Positions 1 and 2 go to the 2 fastest cars on qualifying day.
Positions 3 through 32 are set by the finishing order in the Budweiser Duel races.
Positions 33 through 36 go to the drivers who didn't make the field through the qualifying races but posted the fastest 4 speeds in qualifying.
Positions 37 through 42 are set based on 2012 owner points.
43rd position is a provisional filled by the most recent past champion not in the field already or the next eligible driver based on 2012 owner points.
And there it is. Now you can tell your buddies how qualifying works.
Friday, January 11, 2013
He figured he can push other Chevys and Toyotas, but he learned that he can't as easily push Fords. Headed down the backstretch, Dale Jr. bump drafted with Ambrose and Dale's car nose jacked in under the back bumper of Ambrose, sending him off to the grass and catching a few other cars in the process.
Since this is just testing, most teams only brought one car, and this wreck ended the weekend for some.
But at least for me, it's good to see the cars counting off laps at speed. We don't have that much longer to go before the Daytona 500.
Below, is the NASCAR press release regarding day two....
Feeling A Draft: Pack Mentality Returns To DaytonaDrivers Test Drafting At Daytona For First Time In Gen-6 CarDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 11, 2013) – Day 2 of Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway offered a little bit of everything, with the highlight coming in the afternoon as the pack returned to the high banks.Friday's second session opened with a multi-car pack working on drafting around the hallowed 2.5-mile superspeedway. About an hour into the afternoon test session, a 12-car accident ended several teams' day.During Day 2's media availability, NASCAR's 10-time Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. talked about his anticipation for the upcoming 2013 season."I feel like that the sport is in a good healthy place," said Dale Earnhardt Jr. "We have a good opportunity to grow. With this car we have a chance to do something great and really make a big impact … I think the racing is as exciting as it has been in a long time. You look at some of these old races and look back at some of the events that we had in the '80s and the '90s … it always is changing and it always will, but I think we have improved it."Trevor Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 champion, posted the fastest lap of both days at 199.650 mph, set in the afternoon session."The biggest thing was just how the draft was working more like it used to be," said Martin Truex Jr. "There were no two-car tandems, it was cool being able to back up off the leader and get runs and take the lead and do things like you used to do. It has a little bit more strategy involved than just holding it wide open and hitting the guy in front of you as hard as you could, so I thought it was cool."With The Sprint Unlimited (Feb. 16 on SPEED, Motor Racing Network Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio) and the Daytona 500 (Feb. 24 on FOX, Motor Racing Network Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio) a little more than a month away, Greg Biffle is readying himself for what he believes will be a "fun" and "exciting" Speedweeks."The cars are stuck less and they are looser," said Greg Biffle. "That is good for racing. It is good for the fans. It will make it more exciting and make pit strategy come into play. If you put tires on, you will be able to go faster. I think all of that is good. This is going to be a heck of a race. I like that the cars were sliding around and hard to drive. It will make it a fun race."Off the track, Jimmie Johnson, 2006 Daytona 500 winner, has partnered with Daytona International Speedway to provide fans with "The 48 Experience," the ultimate race fan package for the Daytona 500."I became a fan of racing as a kid and I think the future of our sport really relies on connecting with the young kids and helping them get involved in the sport and understanding and being around it," said Jimmie Johnson. "Hopefully, this program can contribute to that.""The 48 Experience" and great seats are still available for the 55th Annual Daytona 500 on February 24. Call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit www.daytona500.com.Tomorrow concludes 2013 Preseason Thunder for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams.
Back then, pre-Teresa days, DEI was a dominant force at any restrictor plate race.
Over the last few years, I've seen no one dominating factor as the cars became more equally designed, but you still have to account for the learned skills of some of the drivers, because, face it, air is air.
With that in mind, in case you had not heard the news, Michael Waltrip will be in the Daytona 500, driving for Swan Racing, and effectively, driving with his old crew-chief, Tony Eury Jr..
The D500 will also be marking Swan Racing's debut to NASCAR Sprint Cup racing.
via press release