February 7, 2009
The 2009 NASCAR season unofficially begins tonight with the "pre-season" Bud Shootout race at Daytona. I'm looking forward to enjoying the race along with Restrictor Plated, a new site that's pairing NASCAR commentary with the micro-blogging service Twitter.
We'll see how it works out.
February 27, 2007
Mark Martin dominated the California truck series race last Friday night (he has an almost disgusting 7 wins in 18 races record in the truck series) in his first ride with the Wood Brothers. That is until five laps to go when he was bumped out of the way on the restart and finished 23rd.
And what did Martin have to say about it?
"The Wood Brothers, to see there stuff out front like it was in the '70s, that means something to me," Martin said. "That means more to me than a championship and is probably something only the gray haired fans can appreciate."
Who else would just roll with it like that? That's why Martin is the nicest guy in the garage area. But nice guys don't always win championships.
November 13, 2005
Beginning with the Daytona 500 at the beginning of the season we've seen UPS commercials talking about how Dale Jarrett will finally race the truck. Aside from the fact that it's just a goofy little joke, when is he actually going to race the truck? When do we get to see a commercial with the UPS truck rolling around a track?
I'm tired of the goofy commercials with jet engines on UPS trucks or using Dale's old cars to deliver packages. Let's see a commercial with the UPS truck rolling around some high banked track like Bristol. That would be hilarious.
Or at least have Dale race a brown UPS-logoed Ford F-150 in the truck series. That'd be acceptable.
November 8, 2005
Last month NASCAR CEO Brian France addressed the southern image of NASCAR on 60 Minutes, specifically the confederate flag that many fans display:
"It's not a flag that I look at with anything favorable. That's for sure. I can't tell people what flag to fly. I can tell you the flag we get behind: It's the American flag."
Many fans are upset at what comes across as a blatantly politically correct mindset, simply to broaden the appeal of the sport. The southern redneck image doesn't get NASCAR very far, so by distancing themselves from that image and encouraging minorities and women to take part in that sport they can pull in more fans.
At least that's what some fans assume. These same fans seem to think NASCAR is only for them and it's sacrilige if somebody likes NASCAR without knowing who Dale Earnhardt is. Please. Yes, a sport needs to remember and honor its history and heritage, but let's not club the newbies who are still figuring it out. Once upon a time you were once a NASCAR newbie, too. When more people like the sport it doesn't mean NASCAR is selling out. [And hello, it's NASCAR. Racing has been about selling out since the first sponsor was slapped on a quarter panel.]
It's this kind of attitude that sees distancing the sport from the Confederate flag as some kind of bad move. Hello? It's the Confederate flag. It's a symbol of white supremacy and slavery. Many may argue that it's simply a flag of southern pride, but please. Is the Nazi flag a banner for German pride? I don't think so. Try flying the Confederate flag in a black neighborhood and see how many people congratulate you on your southern pride.
While France's motives may be questionable, there's nothing wrong with distancing NASCAR from the Confederate flag.
November 7, 2005
Everybody has a right to complain, but it really bothers me when some people are just never happy. Take a spin around the blogging world of NASCAR and you'll see a few fans who never seem to be happy. There's always something to complain about, always something to whine about.
The race had too many cautions. Boring. The race had too many green flag runs. Boring. Would you make up your mind already?
Yesterday's race was not boring. Now all my friends who scratch their heads and stare at me blankly when I tell them I'm going to spend my Sunday afternoon watching NASCAR would probably think it is boring, but any fan should know better. Yesterday we had the shifting fun of a track changing as the sun went down. We had the seemingly unstoppable Tony Stewart marching towards his second championship. I loved watching Matt Kenseth try to hold off Stewart to keep him from leading a lap and keep him from getting five bonus points. We had a few guys who haven't been running well suddenly running up front with Casey Mears and Brian Vickers. We had hard charges from the back of the field from Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards, one of whom went on to win the race. We had a round of green flag pitstops, which are always more exciting than pitstops under caution. And finally, a late caution with 10 laps to go shuffled up the field and made it anyone's race. The classic "to pit or not to pit" question came up, teams gambled and we had 10 laps to sort it out. The winner came from sixth place with 10 laps to go, passing those five cars plus a bunch of lap cars to make it out front. The winning pass came with two laps to go.
What's so boring about that? If you were looking for mangled race cars and the spectator "fun" of crashes, yesterday's race was probably pretty dull. Did anybody even hit the wall? A couple of spins, but not much mangled sheet metal.
Sorry, but I had a blast watching yesterday's race.
October 5, 2005
It's an 8-year-old's dream. Combine NASCAR with the podracing from Star Wars: Episode I: rocket-propelled aircraft racing. How cool is that?
A typical hourlong race imagines a spectacular X-Racer liftoff allowing fans to follow each rocket plane by tracking their 20-foot exhaust plumes and watching large-screen TVs.
Streaming multi-angle video would be available from each aircraft, showing cockpit, "on-track" and "side-by-side" and wing-angle views. Fans also would be able to track races by using hand-held GPS devices connected to WiFi systems.
The rocket planes will have a liquid oxygen/kerosene fuel mix, calculated to have a burn time of four minutes, requiring pilots to shut down their engines repeatedly and glide, then restart to pass opponents at up to 300 mph.
The race course would be two miles long, a mile wide and about 5,000 feet high.
They hope to have an exhibition race in 2006 with league racing potentially starting in 2007. No estimates were given for league start-up costs, but each plane is supposed to cost under $1 million. Sounds pretty cool... as long as there's no bump drafting.
September 25, 2005
Last week at New Hampshire when Robby Gordon's race car was wrecked and he'd finished trying to run over Michael Waltrip, who supposedly took him out, and thrown his helmet at Waltrip, Gordon was approached by the TNT reporters and in an emotional outburst on live TV Gordon called Waltrip a "piece of sh-t."
The TNT commentators immediately apologized for the profanity and fans everywhere wondered why there was no delay to catch such profanity. NBC/TNT producer Sam Flood has a simple answer: "It's cable," Flood said. "TNT isn't on a delay, was never on a delay and will never be on a delay."
Because TNT is a cable network, the FCC has no jurisdiction and there are no indecency violations. So as long as NASCAR is broadcast on cable, the drivers can swear all the want and the FCC can't do anything. Of course today's race at Dover is the last TNT broadcast of the year.
And NASCAR has a thing or two to say about televised profanity, whether it's on cable or not. Robby Gordon was fined $10,000 for his outburst, which he later apologized for:
First and foremost, I want to apologise for the words I chose immediately after our race had ended. We had a decent car and we were obviously hoping to give our sponsors Jim Beam, Harrah's and Menards a top-10 finish. For some reason Michael obviously wanted that spot a lot more than I did because he flat took me out as I was cleared in front of him. I let my emotions get the better of me and I apologise. We bumped door to door when I went around him, and I don't know if that made him mad or what.
September 22, 2005
Who would have thought a tempter tantrum could be worth so much money? After Robby Gordon (yes, it's Robby with a 'y' not Robbie Gordon) whipped his helmet at Michael Waltrip's car in Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race in New Hampshire, Gordon decided to auction off the helmet for charity. Bids had reached $10 million before eBay had to step in and call off the auction for bogus bidding.
Gordon later relisted the helmet with better credentials and bidder verification, starting the bidding at $5,000. With one day 22 hours left in the auction the bidding was up to $55,600. All of the money will be donated to Harrah's hurricane relief effort.
Seems like Robby Gordon should be raising money to pay for his fines. Or maybe some anger management classes (he should talk to Tony Stewart). But if somebody doesn't do something it's only a matter of time until we'll be cleaning up after another bout of Hurricane Robby. He did have the most wrecks of all drivers in 2004 (17 crashes, which is 47% of the races). Or maybe Robby Gordon is just upset that people keep spelling his name Robbie Gordon.
August 28, 2005
Acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino took a ride in a stock car at Bristol Motorspeedway on Saturday and was left speechless. His ride came with former driver and TV commentator Wally Dallenbach as part of his "Wally's World" segment where he gives celebrities rides in a stock car.
"Yeah, Baby! That's what I'm talking about!" Tarantino said when he finally overcame his silence. "That was incredible. I didn't 100 percent know what to expect when I got here. I was very open to be intoxicated, and I most definitely was."
August 22, 2005
Championship racing mogul Jack Roush is joining the reality TV world. Racing for the Ride will appear this fall on the Discovery Channel and chronicles the selection process of young, rookie drivers who might get the chance to join Roush Racing. It's actually a format Roush has done since 1989, but this is the first time it's been filmed for reality TV.
In 1999 the winner of Roush's contest was Kurt Busch, who went on to with the Nextel Cup Championship in 2004. Roush drivers Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards served as judges to whittle down the field to six and then four. Two finalists will race each under the lights at Darlington Raceway.
In case you ever watch NASCAR and feel like it's all Dale Earnhardt Jr. all the time, you're not alone. With appearances in commercials from Budweiser, Chevy, Napa, Wranger, Enterprise, Dominos, Sunoco and more, it seems like we see more of Earnhardt during the commercials than we do during the race. Especially this season when he's mired back in 16th place for the championship, mostly likely out of the Chase.
Marty Smith at NASCAR.com agrees saying it's Earnhardt overkill, especially since he hasn't delivered on the track.