There is only ONE Oklahoma

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Change it, just change it

Change it
According to Jenna Fryer's article, Nascar is considering relaxing its testing rules, which is a good thing. But one has to wonder how the fans may react to another mid season rule change, no matter how much that rule change makes sense and can only be positive.

Before the C.O.T. and when teams needed to have 25 plus cars in their stable in order to be competitive, the expense of almost weekly testing was more than many teams could financially handle. Now with the C.O.T., teams simply need more time to understand how to make the car turn and how chassis changed effect the car.

Right now, teams are testing at 'non-sanctioned' tracks such as V.I.R. and Nashville using either 'very old' Goodyear or Hoosier tires. When they can't test, many teams have been forced to purchase '7 post rigs' in order to simulate actual testings. What started out by Nascar as a good cost cutting rule has now morphed into something that is not helping all the teams.

But of course, this will be one mid season rule change that the Nascar Naysayers will ignore when the next rule change happens that they don't approve of.
This is a dumb idea: the United Football League
Mark Cuban is the first official owner of a new football league that wants to attempt to rival the NFL. This would be the 4th (AFL, XFL, and IFL I think) league to try and rival the NFL. The ONLY way another league would work is if they played in the Spring. I would watch football in the Spring. There is no way you can survive competing with the NFL in the fall.
You think Nascar is inconsistent with their penalties?
In the next few months the NCAA will have completed their investigations of a few high profile schools. But there seems to be a prevailing notion that one school is going to get a slap on the wrist, while another school gets the hammer. There will be much more on this topic at it develops, but one can't help to wonder about the obvious. $750,000 is greater than $18,000. Maybe the NCAA needs a math refresher course. And some think Nascar is inconsistent. More on this topic in the coming months.
and Lasty a bit of irony
What is the deal with Virginia pro athletes and dog abuse? Not just stating the obvious with Micheal Vick and his alleged and simply amazing underworld, but there is a reason why using dogs for deer hunting is illegal in most states, and even in most parts of Virginia. To date, no one has been able to directly connect Vick with an actual 'dog fight', or place him at the scene. So even though it is illegal to stage dog fights in Virginia, should it also be illegal to train, breed or even own those type of dogs in that state? Of course it should be. I guess it is a good thing that in a few select areas of Virginia, having a pack of dogs chase down a deer for miles until the deer simply tires and 'gives up' is considered 'sport'. So now the A.S.P.C.A. has a 'poster child' for its campaign against dog fighting, it may only be a matter of time before some other animal rights organization like P.E.T.A. finds some famous athlete for its cause. Isn't it ironic?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Im LOST, who is with me?

In one short word, this TeVee drama is simply ‘brilliant’ and season three (especially the season finale) provided much food for thought to just what will be the end game result for this great show. Frankly, I am just as lost as ever. (just as I was at the end of season two, and the end of season one) The writers/producers of this drama most certainly understand the term ‘cliffhanger’.

Season three took up where we left off, 68 days after Flight 815 had mysteriously crash in the island. Some 30 days later, we saw the events of the season finale and the question and answer sessions till season four can commence.

The season finale centers around Jack and in a genius twist instead of the familiar ‘flash back’ stories about the character, ‘flash forwards’ are used. There are numerous hints to this fact. 1) the cell phone Jack uses was not introduced to the public until late in 2006. The funeral home's name is an anagram for FLASH FORWARD. The date of the newspaper where Jack finds out someone he knows has died is April 5, 2007. It maybe a coincidence, but when Jack is driving to the funeral home, he is listening to a Nirvana song, and April is the month of Cobain’s death. Lastly, when Jack meets Kate at the airport, he tells her that ‘we have to go back’, referring to the island. But I am getting a bit ahead of myself (pun intended)

Who died, and who is in the coffin?
Probably the greatest cliffhanger since ‘who shot JR’ and ‘what is in the hatch’. Jack reads an obituary from the newspaper and is compelled to go to the funeral home in what appears to be a run down and socially deprived part of L.A. When he enters the viewing room, he finds it empty and is informed that no one had attended the viewing. He also states that he is neither friend nor family to the funeral home director. The main clue we have so far is the newspaper clipping and what can be deciphered from it.

"Man found dead in downtown loft.... The body of J___antham(definitely antham) of New York was found dead shortly after 4:00 am in the _______ of grand avenue.", "*somebodies name* a doorman at the tower heard loud noises coming from ______antham's loft."…….. " uncovered the ______the ____ from a beam in the _______."

First thing that comes to mind is that so far there has not been a character introduced with the first name starting with a ‘J’, and last name ending in ‘antham’. However, there are a couple of possibilities for this. 1) Since it is in the future, a character could have changed their name. 2) It is a new character.

There are only 3 male characters from New York, Michael Dawson and his biological son Walt Lloyd, and Bernard Nadler, the husband of Rose. Assuming that the flash forward truly is in April of 2007 that would mean three years have past since the ‘satellite phone call’ was made to the freighter (we don’t know yet if the result of this phone call actually rescued the Losties however) and would place Walt in the 13 to 14 year old range as he was ten years old at the time of the crash. Since the newspaper clipping described the death of a ‘man’, this should rule Walt out. Bernard should also be ruled out of the ‘plainness’ of the coffin and simplicity of the funeral home and viewing. One would think that a successful dentist would have had more of a nest egg to fall back on. That leaves Michael. He is the most logical choice of the three and because he had committed crimes on the island (murdered Anna Lucia and Libby) and betrayed the Losties, he did have reason to use an alias upon return to the ‘real world’. Kate also has little interest in attending this viewing when she states, ‘why would I go to the funeral?’, even though Jack feels like she should have. They both know this person and Kate still has animosity towards him. So right now, my money is on Michael. But the first question would be, where is Walt and we wouldn’t he attend the funeral?

Adios Charlie!
It appears the Desmond’s visions finally came to pass without Desmond interfering. It also appears that Charlie had come to terms with his own fate and that his destiny was to sacrifice his life to save the Losites, and more importantly to him, Claire and Aaron. I think he realized his true destiny when the code for the jamming device was revealed and that the code was something that only a musician would be able to understand. Some feel that Charlie could have shut the door from the outside, thus saving himself, but watching Desmond’s reaction to hearing Penny over the incoming transmission prevented this. Had Charlie not acted quickly and sealed the door, the risk of Desmond dying would have been more of a chance. Once again, it appears that Desmond has another purpose in this story. Since he is the only one alive that knows that Naomi’s freighter is not connected to Penny Windmore, he maybe the key to early next season. So yes, Charlie has truly perished, but he also fulfilled his destiny.

Our hero Jack
So Jack stops his car on a bridge and appears to be contemplating suicide by ‘Peter Panning’ off the side of the bridge. About that moment there is a car crash and once again, Jack is at the right place at the right time, and is labeled a hero. But just who is this woman and her son that he saved? Once again, assuming that the year is early 2007, many think that the women could be Juliet’s sister, Rachel Carlson. But there are a few problems with this theory. We know that on the day of the crash, Rachel’s son was a little over 2 years old. When the chief of surgery of the hospital was speaking to Jack about the ‘details’ of the crash, he mentions that the boy he pulled out was ‘8 years old’ and Rachel’s son would only have been 5 years old at the most. Also, the name used for the woman and on her chart does not match (although she could have had a last name change via a marriage) So this mystery is something that there maybe only cryptic clues at this time.

Where do we go from here?
That is the genius of LOST, there are so many possibilities and encrypted messages that we probably do need till February of next year to digest this whole season. Just who shot J.R. anyway?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Slow Wednesday

Nascar has forgotten it’s common fan?
Maybe, maybe not, but one thing is for certain is that the NFL obviously has. With the recent announcement of North Texas hosting the Super Bowl in 2011, also came the speculation of the face value for tickets to attend this grand event. This year’s Super Bowl ticket is $600. Tickets for ‘Super Bowl 45’ will be at a minimum of $900 a seat, and may go as high as $1000. I wonder how many actual ‘NFL season ticket holders’ will be able to attend this event in 2011? My guess is not very many. While the ‘old guard’ Nascar fan still complains about the rising ticket prices and how ‘corporate America’ is taking over the sport, I have yet to see any significant jump in ticket prices for the Daytona 500 that is not in line with inflation and the value of a dollar.

The C.O.T. to go full time in 2008:
This can only be a good thing for the sport and will help the lesser-funded teams like this program was designed to do. A ‘did you know’ comes from the 31 team where they have run the same chassis in 4 of the 5 C.O.T. races. What maybe more important, is that they have managed a top ten in C.O.T. race points. Imagine running the same chassis at Bristol and Richmond which is something that is unheard of with the ‘car of today’.

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure:
The latest item to be auctioned by the Sadler Foundation is a pair of “2007 Puma racing shoes worn in NASCAR events by Elliott Sadler various times during the first 10 races of the 2007 season”. With a little over four days left in the bidding, this pair of used shoes is getting $325 for the highest bid. That is pretty amazing for a pair of shoes that only garnered one top 10 finish (at a plate track) and an average finish of 21st. I guess the old saying is true; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Hope the item comes with a few boxes of baking soda!

No room in the Inn:
So Rick Hendrick is the first owner to publicly state that there is no room for Dale JR on his race team. This may or may not be the case, but I wonder if Hendrick really didn’t want to go with a potential PR mess when JR ‘demands’ 51% of RHR in 5 or 6 years. Realistically, there is only one place for JR next year, and that is driving the 33 car for Richard Childress.

Tony Stewart is grinning:
One has to think that Tony Stewart has to be secretly grinning over the performance of Juan Pablo’s first 10 races. JPM has been called a ‘weapon’, and ‘wreck waiting to happen’, and a few other things. But I remember the same things said about Tony his first few years in Cup as well. A few years after that, Tony was holding up the Cup on the big stage in NYC.

Take it too the bank:
Got a chance to see the Nextel East/West series on HDTV last weekend and while the racing was good, the race venue was even better. The Iowa Speedway is doing it ‘right’. They are not trying to over build before the track surface has matured, but built a ‘race track’ first, then built facilities around it. Next step I’m thinking we will see a Craftsman’s Truck Race at Iowa in a year or so, and I would not be surprised in 4 or 5 years see a CUP/Busch weekend there. The 7/8 mile bank tri-oval may actually be ‘better’ racing right now than Richmond.

Programmer's note:
Its the LOST season three finale tonight. and then many of us LOSTies can speculate till January of 2008 about what is going to happen on the island. Oh the humanity of it all.

Monday, May 21, 2007

a Red Letter date for RYR

This past weekend’s announcement of the return of long-time team engineer Kevin Buskirk may just very well mark the turning point for the race team. It has been close to a year and a half since Buskirk left RYR for a similar position at Richard Childress Racing in March of 2006. While RCR was already on the mend, one can’t help to think that Buskirk’s influence contributed to the success seen in the 29 and 31 teams.

Buskirk brings hands on engineer experience of the ‘miracle tool’ that seems to be finding it’s way into many race shops. RCR has been using an in house ‘Seven Post Rig’ for over a year now and this experience may just get RYR’s program on the fast track.

Also RYR announced that they would reintroduce a dedicated testing team. Something RYR did employ in the early 2000s but for some reason got away from doing. An R&D and testing team can only help in the C.O.T. research and over all performance. It is no secret that RYR got off to a slow start with the C.O.T., but that may have been due to the fact that RYR didn’t build any C.O.T.s until late in the testing phase in the fall of 2006.

Buskirk’s business like approach to the engineering side of racing will be a refreshing addition to RYR. His impact can be immediately seen with RYR testing both the 38 and 88 at Nashville with Buskirk heading up the test.

Now for this red letter date to go full circle all that needs to take place is the return of Scot Elkins from the Champ Car Series. Elkins has headed up the series’ Director of Technology in the Champ Car Operations Department after leaving RYR early in the ’05 season. With RYR, Elkins was the Chief Engineer and was responsible for all engineering functions for the team. His duties included race simulations, race day fuel mileage calculation and Damper build specifications. Elkins also headed up the team’s wind tunnel and seven post testing programs. Over the past month or so, Elkins has made an appearance at the RYR shop, so one could speculate that Robert maybe courting him once again.

Hey Scot………We are getting the band back together!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

An Embarrassing Night

It has been six years since I witnessed live one of the most embarrassing on track moments as an Elliott Sadler fan. In many ways, I have been fortunate (or not so fortunate) to be sitting in the stands for some significant ‘Sadler’ racing events. The high point was witnessing the very exciting TMS win, to the low point of the endless flipping on the backstretch at Dega. But the ‘Helmet Throw’ was something that I never thought I would have seen from the ‘Southern Gentleman’. That being said though, there was a little bit more to the story then just a bad moment.

Sadler became eligible for the ‘Winston’ in 2002 from his spring 2001 win at Bristol with the Wood Brothers. But 2002 also presented Sadler with one of his first career decisions, which was to announce that he was leaving Wood Brothers Racing for greener pastures. The All-Star Race meant a lot to the Wood Brothers and Sadler understood this, but his success with the team for this non-points event was more of Sadler getting pushed around. Two years before it was Mike Skinner pinching Sadler into the wall all the final laps of the ‘open’ while both were running first and second, and the year before it was Sadler getting caught up in someone else’s mess while running in the top five.

The 2002 All-Star race was a race where Sadler felt he had something to prove. At the time he was still denying the reports and rumors that he had already agreed to drive for Robert Yates Racing or DEI in 2003 (history shows that a verbal agreement had already been reached between Sadler and RYR that week) The Wood Brothers intermediate program at that time was still pretty competitive, (starting 2nd at TMS a few weeks earlier and a week after the All-Star Race starting 2nd once again) and Sadler had a knack for getting around those 1.5 mile high banked tracks as well as anyone. So his expectations were rightfully very high leading up to this race.

But those high hopes were dashed very early that night in what some would call a ‘move’ that was not prudent for that early in the race. What happened next was something I never thought I would see. Sadler had been known to show his frustration with other drivers from this race in previous years, but that frustration was limited to raising his arms in question. This time I guess Sadler had enough, and let his emotions get the better of him. While he was showing some athletic hand/eye coordination, it was very clear that from the moment that helmet came rolling off the banking after careening off the 12 car’s B post, Sadler was embarrassed. His almost immediate ‘apology’ to his sponsor and team was spoke volumes for the “Southern Gentleman”, although Nascar still levied him with a $5000 fine.

Staying in Concord that week at the track’s campsites the whole incident was the subject of many mid week campfires. Frankly, I was embarrassed and to this day take the stand that this was something that does nothing positive for racing. Others (some Sadler fans) felt that it was ‘about time’ Sadler finally stood up to other drivers who were being over aggressive especially at this non-points race.

I think Sadler learned a lesson that night and in the past 6 years since, he has had plenty of reasons and opportunity to repeat this embarrassing act, however he has taken the high road and squelched those emotions. Good for him.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Its All-Star Week

Maybe one of my favorite race weekends of the season, and I think it has more to do with the format than anything else. What appeals to me is the shortness of the segments, that only green flag laps are counted and the over all sense of urgency of getting to the front seen much of the night.

Things I hope to see this weekend:

Pretty sure it has been close to 15 years since a driver has come through the Open and won the All-Star race, it is time for that to happen again.

Who ever the driver that is voted in by the fan vote, I hope he is able to run competitively with those front runners.

While some think the Las Vegas style driver/team intros are a beating, it is still nice to see the teams not wearing their helmets and looking like they are having some fun.

There is only one other racing venue that should ever be considered to run this All-star race, that being Richmond. But over-all this race needs to stay right where it has been run the passed 20 years.

a couple of random thoughts:

With Bill Elliott piloting the 21 for the 600, I wonder how long before Daryl Waltrip's phone begins to ring. Actually, it maybe the only way for the 55 to make a race. The kicker just might be that a sponsorship campaign has already been in the works for years with DW driving the 'Aaron's Dream Machine' I am sure that NAPA would have little problem letting Aaron's foot the bill for a handful of races.

After this week's penalties handed down to the 8 team, I guess we can all put away the theory of 'favoritism' in Nascar. Teams were warned and even though this may have been an 'honest mistake', Nascar followed the letter of the Law concerning their memo to the teams about messing with the C.O.T.'s rear wing. It reminded when the 96 attempted to pass pre-qualifying inspection with the wrong sized carb for a plate track. Owner Troy Aikman was 'confused' about the penalty and felt that concession should have been made for a new team. Nascar didn't see it that way, just as rightfully so they don't see that because the C.O.T. is 'new', is any excuse.

Monday, May 14, 2007

What is wrong with the 19 team?

an objective look.

The Driver:
For years I have been concerned about Elliott Sadler's 'focus issues' as the season wears on, and this season is no different. Maybe it is time to lay off the Trackside Live appearances, the radio shows, car dealership commercials and other non sponsored driver signings and spend a little more time trying to understand how to make the 19 car go faster and turn left better. The driver still needs to be more grounded, and show better communication skills to his team when asked specific question.

For example, late in the race at Darlington yesterday, after countless changes to the car and countless reactions ranging from, 'this is by far the loosest race car I have ever driven (this is about the 4th week in a row we have heard this), to 'Tight, Tight, Tight!', Sadler was asked by his Crew Chief, just what one single problem needs to be change the most to might the car faster? Sadler answered with close to a minute long convoluted answer ranging from fixing the 'tight middle', to fixing a little bit with the loose off, then ending with the loose entering the corning problem. So with that answer, Sadler is basically saying that the whole car in the corners were the single most problem, in other words, he needs EVERYTHING fixed. That to me is the difference between many very successful teams, and the driver of the 19 car. The ability to prioritize the handling problems with the car, instead of simple listing all the problems in no special order.

the Crew Chief:
Much of this season, it seems that especially early in races, wholesale changes are being made to the chassis. While these changes maybe warranted, the problem lies with the number of individual changes made per stop and how the car is reacting to those changes. (could be contributed by the driver wanting all handling problems fixed at once) Some help, while other hurt the handling, but the problem lies in fully understanding which is which? How many times have we seen the 19 make changes, only to reverse those same changes two stops later. Is this all that CC's fault? Maybe, maybe not, as Sadler has been quoted before this season began that he was responsible for making the chassis change calls during the race. That being said, it is time for the 19 CC to take a more active and firmer hand on the 19 driver. Make the changes based on the feedback from the driver, live with them, and adjust those changes on the next stop. As sited above, Sadler has a tendency to want everything to be fixed in one 16 second pit stop. That simply is not always realistic. The 19 CC needs to understand that and force the driver to prioritize his feed back.

the pit crew:
Really this crew has been as consistent as one could ask for. Very few mistakes during stops week in week out contributing positively to the over-all performance of the team.

the Spotter:
Another consistent contributor to the team. Even to the point of adding his two cents on 'in race' strategy which has helped the team's results. However, yesterday over the scanners I heard something that I had not heard before. With the 19 car being the first car a lap down, and about to be passed by the leader, we heard the 19 spotter after seeing another car brush the wall, tell the CC to make the 'plea for debris' to Nascar race control. Understand that this is coming from a person who is standing above the press box and within a split second, seems to be able to see this over a half mile away.

Now we all know what the 19 spotter was doing, and that there was very little chance that he could see if there was actual debris on the track that somehow Nascar could not see. But the fact that he is pleading for a debris caution in order to benefit his team doesn't help the position of 'phantom debris' calls tin foil hat theories. We heard this plea on two different occasions from the 19 spotter, and he is batting .500 for his efforts. Now I am not faulting these efforts in any way, as the 19 spotter is simply 'playing the game' and trying to help his team be successful. But be careful when wearing another hat and criticizing Nascar for 'timely debris cautions' that doesn't benefit his team that we have heard over the scanner a few times this season.

the Shop crew:
Sadler himself said just a few short months ago that he had personally saw that the 19 shop crew "stays ahead of the learning curve better than anybody I've ever been around. They're not going to let anything slip through the cracks. They're going to get every ounce of engineering help and speed out of their car every week. These guys are ahead of the learning curve. Not only are they preparing for the races three weeks from now, they're preparing for things happening a couple of years from now."

If truly was the case, then little blame could be placed on the 19's performance this year, but practice speeds have shown that many times the 19 was slow off the truck, and seemingly not prepared.

So what is really wrong with the 19 team? Will, there are alot of items that could be addressed that might help this team. But the real problem might be that the 19 team as a whole does not have a history of being a consistent top tier team. One can sugar coat this all they want, but simply put, the 19 is running like a mid-pack team. Looking on the bright side though, it could be worse, and the 19 team has improved greatly from this point in time last season, but there is still lots of room for improvement throughout this race team before they can say they will compete week in, week out.

Only time will tell but there really maybe nothing 'wrong' with the 19 team. Simply put, the 19 team and almost everything associated with it, is just very average which gets you consistent high teen results most weeks. Considering the competition around them, there is nothing wrong with that though.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mixed Bag of something

So Darlington proudly announces that the track has successfully "sold out" it's third straight Cup race date. While the Nascar fans from the East Coast should be proud that they are finally supporting this track the way it should be, lets put a few things in perspective. The old 'Lady in Black', has grandstand seating totaling a little over 65,000. Compare that to the Texas Motor Speedway which has a capacity of almost 155,000 permanent grandstand seating. But for some, seeing a couple thousand 'empty' or covered up with advertising seats at TMS is somehow grounds for criticism. What they don't understand is that TMS can boast a greater attendance for a 'non race day event' such as Friday Cup qualifying (sometimes reaching the 90,000+ mark)

Junior just wants to go fast and turn left:
But just not in the current configuration of the C.O.T. The problem for him is that another race team using the same manufacturer doesn't seem to be having the same 'issues' as Junior. The simple truth is that the Hendrick's organization have discovered something that is making the C.O.T. turn better than others. It won't be long before other teams also find out how to make the car turn better either. Asking Nascar to change the rules because your race team didn't do their homework and take advantage of the R&D and testing when the car was in its developmental stages for what ever reason, is simply asking for trouble.

Fan Suicide watch(s):
I mentioned this topic a couple of weeks ago, time to update.
Of course "Jet Fuel's" fans must feel like their world is coming to an end, and have to begin wondering if their boy will ever make a race. Add a new driver to the list, the 21 team has failed to make the last two races, and some 'long time' fans have been jumping ship. The finger pointing continues with in Sadler fan camp, but I find it hard to believe that last week's problems can be solely blamed on lack of equipment and poor crew chiefing. (see below) The official Ricky Rudd fan forum has this message: "Sorry, but this board is currently unavailable. Please try again later." Need I say more?

Going in the wrong direction?
While I am not holding my breath for some miracle turn around and see the 19 car make the Chase. I for one was not expecting much in terms of results when it came to Sadler racing at Richmond last weekend. Simple put, he is just not very good there. Never has been. I will say that I don't think it has much to do with ability or lack there of, but more to the track's nature and how it does not fit his driving style. To me, Richmond is a track where aggressive drivers can thrive. Three grooves of racing, provides ample room for those 'burn em up' drivers while the size of the track also provides enough cautions to get fresh Goodyears. Flash forward one week to Darlington, where the opposite seems to be true. A track where driver patience seems to pay off in the long run. Sadler has been successful at Darlington in both good equipment with RYR, and for better terms, not so good equipment with the Wood Brothers. Sadler's career best average finish at non-plate ovals comes at Darlington (17th). While that is not an Earth shattering stat, considering the majority of those starts came with the Wood Brothers, shows that he can 'run good' here. Unlike last week, this week's race at Darlington could give his fans a good indication of just which direction the team is going.

on the Auction block:
Yes, the 'Southern Gentleman' and his posse after a full years hiatus conducted another auction. While the item auctioned clearly wasn't intended for the 'everyday' fan (and for good reason), and seeing the winner's name of the auctioned helmet. I guess that answers the question of where all those 'expired' Tylenol Gel tablets came from in the 'Fan Club Packet'. Was this the 'special gift', that the SFC fans were told to be patient and wait for? Anyway, the helmet did retrieve a nice price (although I personally thought it would go for almost three times that) and the auction did what it was intended to do. The deadline to file Form 990's from 2006 has past and should be made public record any week now and the truth concerning the now infamous 'Fire-shirt action' could be known. And some thought that nightmare was over......... and oh yea, The claim now is to have another auction monthly beginning on the 19th of every month. Go HERE for more details. (do I get any finder's fee for this plug?)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Success and Failure


Danny Hamlin....
Move over, Elliott Sadler, Ricky Rudd, and the Burton brothers. There is a new 'favorite son' representing the state of Virginia. Both on and off the track this rising superstar in just a short time has shown that he has what it takes to be a class act and the state's fan favorite. I recently saw a claim comparing both Rudd and Hamlin, that Hamlin 'we probably win around 20 or so races in his career but will never be the driver that Ricky is'. Hmmmmm, I'm thinking this opinion maybe correct as Hamlin just may show that he can be more consistent over his career, and wont need over 30 seasons to win those 20 races. Already Hamlin has a better than 50% chance to earn a top ten finish in every start he makes.

The C.O.T.....
Complain all you want, but the C.O.T.'s performance over-all has to be considered a success. More side by side racing was seen yesterday then Richmond has seen in a few years. Yes, the speeds were down, and yes the Hendrick organization dominated, but then again, I'm thinking that is directly proportionate to the research Hendrick put into his C.O.T. program compared to the other teams. After all, most of the Ford teams didn't even produce test cars until the final stages of the pre-testing part of the development. While at the same time, Hendrick was producing and developing cars, and the results can be seen now. The C.O.T. is doing what it ws designed to do, and that was to level the playing field. The problem is that many (most) owners didn't prepare or take advantage of this change and are now playing catch up.

EMS and RYR:
It is interesting to watch the direction both these teams are going, but it is becoming more and more clear that the grass is not always as green on the other side of the fence as one thought. Case in point, the 38 and the 19. No sugar coating needed. Both these teams stunk it up yesterday, but one team was slowly making improvements as the day wore on. Now if we can just see 'Gilligan' show some patience when trying to pass other lapped cars without putting himself on a bad position. On the other hand, the 19 struggled most of the day, and once again there was little improvement and if it had not been for the attrition from others, the 19 most likely would have had a mid 30s finish. The point is that had Sadler stuck it out with RYR instead of braking another contract, and was piloting the 38 this season, his seasoning, experience and even skill would have that race team in a solid top 15 in points. Now I do understand that the 19 is currently number 15 in the points, but if you have listened to the 19 on race days, you would understand that is an apparition. On the other hand, the 38 has not been that terrible, with most of the 'bad days' being attributed to a green driver.

Success and Failure:
Richmond International Speedway:
I noticed advertising cover up a dozen or so sections of 'empty' seats. Of course there are some that would say that this is because 'Nascar has forgotten about there roots' and that fans are not supporting the sport anymore. Could be, but I would go out on a limb and claim that these 'empty' seats exist because the track recently 'upgraded' and built a new grandstand area providing much better sight lines, thus making those 'low seats' obsolete.

the 31 team:
Not really going to single out the driver here, but how in the world can a multi million dollar race team, drop 'something' in the engine and not be 100% convinced that the problem has been taken care of. At worst, that engine should have been changed instead of rolling the dice on a 43rd place finish.

Harvick's actions after Dega
Just another reason why I find myself not liking this guy. To make matters worse, now he is trying to 'fight' other driver's battles. This clip speaks for itself.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Countdown to a Letdown

In less than 12 hours, Rudd fans across the nation went from jubilee and even a 'traditional dance', to just another day in a rebuilding year thanks to Jayski. Rudd fan forums entered full meltdown mode for a few hours. An instant classic, was reborn.

Early Thursday morning good ole Jaski posted this little note:

"Fatback and Wood Bros part ways? hearing that Michael 'Fatback' McSwain, Race Director for the Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, has parted ways with the team.(5-3-2007)"

Of course within nanoseconds the call for Robert to hire Fatback as the 88 crew chief went out. Forget contracts, forget current employees commitments, forget their families involved. After all, this is a business right?

But like most Jayski hot rumors the denials were announced almost as quickly is the original rumor was spawned.

UPDATE: The rumor of Michael McSwain's departure from Wood Brothers/JTG Racing is untrue at this time.(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing)(5-3-2007)

Will such a bold move ever happen? Who knows. But the buzz today is a very good reason why Jayski 'sold out' earlier this year. He is laughing all the way to the bank. (and who says it is only the France family that profits from Nascar)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I don't have to see it to believe it

There seems to be a movement that is growing from within the Nascar faithful (or unfaithful) these days. This movement as recently fueled by Tony Stewart's comment concerning 'phantom debris' and 'fixing' races. Now we all know that this premise has been beaten to death but a more recent event has made me wonder how these very same Nascar faithful might re-act.

from the Charlotte Observer
Jim Utter

Nextel Cup Series drivers Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray were each fined $25,000 and placed on probation through Oct. 3 for a post-race incident from Sunday's race at Talladega, Ala., NASCAR officials announced on Wednesday.

Harvick and McMurray apparently traded paint on the white flag lap on Sunday's race while the event remained under caution. They were penalized for an "altercation with another competitor's car during a caution period."

Now I watched the broadcast of this race, and more importantly the final few laps, and I didn't see the TeVee Broadcast showing any of this 'altercation'. So if the premise of the Nascar faithful is true, which is in order for a debris caution to not be 'suspect', the broadcast must show the actual debris, then before Nascar should be able to take action and impose a fine/penalty to the 26 and 29 drivers, then what happened must have been shown on Tevee right?

I don't have to see every piece of debris on TeVee, that may have been the culprit for a debris caution in order to understand that when David Hoots makes the call to 'throw it out', he (and others) feel that the race track is not safe and 'ready to race'. For years when at the track I have program in my scanner as a priority channel, 'Nascar Race Control' and listened to the actions of Hoots and his team. Sometimes after a 'driver report' of debris, and after conformation, yes there are cautions thrown, but there are other times when they are not.

The morale of the story? I don't live in Missouri, so 'Show Me' doesn't apply to me. And yes, I'm believe the 26 and the 29 were playing bumper tag on the cool down lap. I didn't see it, but I believe it.