Thursday, August 29, 2013

Drivers Are Getting Broken Up in NASCAR (Truex, Labonte UPDATED: Hamlin)

Wow, rough week gang.

Last weekend at Bristol, the in-car cam showed Martin Truex Jr. getting into that wreck.  The one thing I saw instantly was how he did not let go of the steering wheel immediately, and then held his wrist close to his chest for a moment.

And then get out, pretending he's fine.

But what I saw screamed broken wrist.

Guess what?  Truex will be driving with a cast this weekend at Atlanta and beyond.

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Bobby Labonte broke three ribs in a bicycle accident and will be missing a few weeks from the car, while Mike Bliss steps in at Atlanta.

Bobby has NOT been having a stellar year, from mid-quality equipment to race break downs.

Hell, I had impromptu quality time with Bobby at Sonoma because his car broke down before the green flag and I happened across him while he was standing around in the infield waiting for transport.

The guy's had crap luck this year.  Last weekend was starting to look good and he got caught up in someone else's crap in Bristol.

On top of that, JTG has replaced Bobby in 2014 with A.J. Allmendinger.  Arg.

Sometimes an era must come to a graceful close, no matter how much we don't want to see that.

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Which still has me wondering where Ryan Newman will end up?  Will he take a mediocre ride, fill the seat that Kurt Busch just vacated for SHR or hold out?  And why is Danica... oh never mind on that one.

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UPDATE:  And now we find that Denny Hamlin will be driving with a splint this weekend because he got his wrist caught up in the spokes of his steering wheel in the same accident Truex was in!  Dang!  Bristol really was a bull ring last weekend!

(article originally published 8-29-13, updated 8-30-13)
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Is Haas the NASCAR Outlaw, or Will Someone Else Take That Mantle in 2014?

USA Today say the new outlaw of NASCAR is Gene Haas for the trick he pulled with hiring Kurt Busch.

The story goes as follows:

Ryan Newman is being let go from Stewart-Haas Racing because Kevin Harvick is coming into the mix and the team can not support four race teams at this time.

That was last July.

But now, Kurt Busch is going to drive for SHR in a fourth team.


Gene Haas will be dropping his sponsorship dime on Kurt in the new team.  So it wasn't about money, but Ryan's end-performance under the SHR roof.

Many folks see this as a crap of a truth fail, as far as Ryan being told he can't stay because of money, when suddenly money is coming out of the woodwork for the biggest bad-mouth driver, Kurt Busch.

Hopefully, Kurt won't be spending too many weeks at home in 2014 for one of his verbal (or otherwise) escapades that got him fired from his cherry ride at Penske.

Tony Stewart already had his detractors and with this new development, it doesn't help.  But the real issue came from the other half of the team ownership duo.

Not to mention, I believe Haas pissed of Stewart in the process.  (More meds Tony... stay calm!)


But wait... even though Haas is bucking for the new outlaw title, per USA Today, I think there might be another personality entering the 2014 Sprint Cup fray,and that's the rumored hiring of Kyle Larson by the EGR for the No. 42 car.

As you know, Juan Pablo Montoya is out of the EGR No. 42 when this season is up, and from how he tends to drive on-track, there's speculation he won't be finding a ride for 2014 in NASCAR.

Either way, it seems that from what I've seen of Larson, if he continues driving like I've seen, we'll have a new, talented driver that will give Kyle Busch a run for his attitude and penalty bucks!

[ USA Today ]

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Kurt Busch Leaving FRR for a Ride Under the SHR Roof

It would seem, per word on the street, that Kurt Busch is landing a ride in another quality team next year, leaving Furniture Row Racing to run under the Stewart-Haas Racing banner in 2014.

Official press releases and conferences will be coming soon, but be it as it may, with Ryan Newman getting squeezed out of the equation.

For now, it looks like SHR will have Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick under their banner, with Patrick paying all the bills and the boys paying out at the finish line! 

(OK, every driver has their own sponsor scenario, but seriously, Danica Patrick is in the most perfect situation and needs to start the mystery improvement slope with her on-track performance.  Then again, as long as GoDaddy and everyone under the sun wanting to get their name associated with her, how can she not be a keeper, no matter what?  But if she were any other driver, you have to wonder how fast she would have been dropped.)

For now, that's the deal though no word on what Furniture Row Racing will be doing for a driver.

FRR has had the worse luck keeping drivers and they obviously have one of the better "border-line" operations.  Word was that FRR offered Kurt an extension, but he's moving on.

I wonder (or maybe hope) that Ryan Newman gets that ride.  The team has potential. Kurt has shown that.  Newman, if he gets that seat, will have to drive like it with the enthusiasm and gusto of a young man.  Balls out and to the wall if he's going to make that ride work.  (This, on assumption they might offer Ryan the seat, and Ryan takes it.  But then again, the No. 42 team will be looking for a driver for 2014 also.)

We'll see how things go from here.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Apologize, But SPEED is Now 'Fox Sports 1'

The network that pulled us in to all things auto racing, has been shelved by its parent network, Fox, and has now become Fox Sports 1.

Oh goody.

FS1 promises to continue to deliver our NASCAR content, but now it will be delivering other sports as well.

Maybe this is a good thing.

No, not for us, the viewing fan.  But for the sport of NASCAR.  Let me explain this idea I'm working on about supply and demand.

When SPEED was up and running, we had content all day long, 7 days a week.  And I'd be willing to bet that the content was dilluted because it was on so often.  And when it's on so often, folks are not so inclined to stay on top of it.

It's like a TV show season.  Everyone piles in for the premiere and the finale episodes, but they fade from the episodes in the middle of the season.  But as the show is coming to a close, or has a fresh and new start, they pile in.

So maybe, with auto racing being diminished in its coverage, possibly more folks will tune in when it's available.


There's my above theory and also, I can't wait to see if Fox pre-empts pre-race shows and other content for little league games and reality TV shows, or if we'll actually get our content, as we'd like to, as promised in our TV schedules.


Fox Sports 1 Press Release:

To our valued NASCAR fans:

America's new 24-hour sports network, FOX Sports 1, has arrived. We are proud and excited to tell you the network will continue its extensive coverage of NASCAR for many years to come.

FOX Sports 1 offers you the level of access to NASCAR content you've been accustomed to with SPEED. To go along with nearly 5,000 hours of live event, news and original programming annually, FOX Sports 1 is the home of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, select NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races (2015), select NASCAR Nationwide series races (2015), as well as SpeedWeeks events including Daytona 500 Qualifying, Sprint Unlimited at Daytona and the Budweiser Duels.

Popular established NASCAR-specific programs, including NASCAR RaceDay, NASCAR Victory Lane and NASCAR Race Hub continue on FOX Sports 1, as does live coverage of practice and qualifying sessions from all three national series.

On launch day, FOX Sports 1 brings you more than 6 hours of NASCAR programming, highlighted by coverage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from Michigan International Speedway - the first live event on America's new sports network:
Saturday 8/17 highlights:
      •     NASCAR Live - 8am ET
      •     NASCAR Sprint Cup practice - 8:30 am ET
      •     NCWTS Qualifying - 9:30 am ET
      •     NASCAR Sprint Cup practice - 11am ET
      •     NCWTS Setup - 12pm ET
      •     NCWTS Racing - 12:30pm ET

For a full schedule, details, and to find out which channel you can find FOX Sports 1 in your home, please visit

From your friends at Fox Sports

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Brian Vickers in the No. 55, Mark Martin Out and Moves To...

Brian Vickers is getting some much needed pre-season testing for his new ride in the No. 55 car, by being allowed to jump in to the car for Michael Waltrip Racing for twelve of the final 13 races in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

Of course one wonders wtf, for Mark Martin.

But never fear.  Turns out a broken leg is good for most involved.

Mark Martin might be getting out of the No. 55 car, but he's not out of a ride.

SHR (Stewart Haas Racing) is reporting that Mark Martin will be taking over duties for the No. 14 car for Bristol and eleven other races for the rest of the year!

That's good news all around!

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Brian Vickers Goes Full-Time in the No. 55 Car

Brian Vickers fans are going to be very happy, being that Aaron's just signed a multi-year agreement with Michael Waltrip Racing to sponsor the No. 55 car with Brian Vickers behind the wheel!

I think this is great news for Vickers, being able to get back behind a wheel full-time.

Having driven for the team before, and done well doing it, I expect some pretty big things for Brian next year and then some!

via press release:

Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN) announced today it has reached a multi-year agreement to sponsor Brian Vickers in Michael Waltrip Racing's No. 55 Toyota Camry in every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

 “Aaron’s is a championship organization – and Brian Vickers and the No. 55 team are a championship caliber team," said Ronald W. Allen, Aaron's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our customers are enthusiastic and loyal NASCAR fans and we are proud to support a sport they are passionate about. We are looking forward to continued success with Brian Vickers both on and off the track.”

 Vickers has raced the No. 55 on a part-time basis the last two seasons for MWR posting several impressive performances including his third career victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14.Beginning in 2014, he'll pilot the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine with a fresh new paint scheme, unveiled today at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, in every race.“I can’t put into words how this makes me feel,” said the 29 year-old Vickers. “I’ve really found my home at MWR over the past few years have, and I've enjoyed getting know the Aaron's associates and customers. I am honored Aaron’s is welcoming me into their family full-time. Knowing that I have a top-notch team and a dedicated sponsor for a full season is a really great feeling every driver dreams about, and like everyone else, I want to win races and win a championship. Michael and co-owner Rob Kauffman are really building something special at MWR and are giving me the tools to accomplish those goals.”

 “Aaron’s is a cornerstone to MWR's success.  This is a big announcement today because it shows a tremendous vote of confidence in the sport of NASCAR and the entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization,” said Michael Waltrip founder and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing. “The relationship with Aaron’s is very personal to me because they helped place Michael Waltrip Racing on the map in 2000 when I was running a half dozen Nationwide Series races from a small garage in my backyard. Now they are enabling MWR to continue its growth as we will have three drivers racing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in 2014 and beyond. So much of this confidence comes from the NASCAR fans who continue to support the sponsors of our teams. I want to sincerely thank the NASCAR fans who are Aaron’s customers because you make this all happen,” said Waltrip.

Aaron’s support of NASCAR goes beyond its support of MWR. In 2002, the company became a title sponsor of Aaron’s Dream Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, with the Aaron’s 312 Nationwide Series race and the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup race

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Juan Montoya To Exit EGR (Does This Spell Doom for Patrick?)

If you had not heard the news from SiriusXM, Juan Pablo Montoya will not be renewing his contract with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, when this year comes to a close.

Per Felix Sabates.

I'm not surprised.  He's been marginally successful with two wins, and drives like a man possessed, no matter how many laps down he is.  Juan... this is not Formula 1!  But I think he's figured that out by now.

At the moment, Montoya is 22nd in points on the Sprint Cup driver roster, which by the way, is five spots ahead of Danica Patrick.

I've always compared Montoya's journey in NASCAR with Danica Patrick's present attempt to gel with the ranks of some of the best auto racing drivers in the world.

I've watched Montoya struggle, with a straggle win here and there, much like Patrick has done.

But I've also seen where he is outperforming her.  (Actually even her boyfriend is kicking her ass in the standings right now.)

Many folks have said she wasn't ready for Sprint Cup racing yet.  Hell, she barely broke the top-10 in the Nationwide series and consistently got trounced by any visiting Cup driver when they came to the series to race.

The ONLY thing she has going for her is that huge fan support and expectations of what she could possibly do.  Or maybe, more to the point, what they hope she will do.

But at 411 points out of first, (more than 100 behind Stenhouse Jr. and Montoya), if she didn't have the big green sponsor or fan hopes, I have to wonder just how long she'd last as a regular Joe driver?

Just sayin'!

But back on subject, I wonder, now that Ryan Newman and Montoya are free agents for 2014, who will land the better ride?  It will be weird to see Montoya in a car that's not red.  That's for sure.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tony Stewart Out of The No. 14, Breaks Leg in Sprint Car Race

This is the huge moment every NASCAR team owner dreads, that their driver is off gallivanting around in a secondary hobby/love, and they get injured, removing them from the cockpit of the car.

In this case, the team owner himself was the one who got hurt.

Tony Stewart was in a sprint car race in Iowa Monday night when, while leading the race, ended up hitting a slower car and flipping down the track.  In the process, he broke both bones (the tibia and fibula) in his right leg.


At the moment, no stand-in driver has been announced for the No. 14 for the upcoming Watkins Glen.

But I'm guessing this would be a good time to get a medical sponsor on the hood!

Stewart is ... was the wildcard Chase contender in the top-12 in driver points.

If you're wondering, Stewart drives in about 70 sprint car races each year.  It's his first love of racing and sticks to it as often as he can.


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