There is only ONE Oklahoma

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Emptying the INBOX

Contrary to some beliefs, I do and will answer every email I receive. Some take longer than others, but this past week I was able to catch up and get ready for the start of the new season. Below are a few notible questions asked or topics that were posed to me via email. (For those who don't know, most blogger's email addresses are listed in their blogger profiles.)

Steve asks:
'Are you going to blog more about the TV show LOST?'
Yes, I plan on it, but with the long period between season 3 and season 4, it has been difficult to hypothesize which direction the show is going. With Season 4 starting soon, this topic should be brought up more.

Jenni asks:
'What did Elliott Sadler ever do to you to make you write those terrible things about him? If you are not one of his fans, why can't you just leave him alone?'
Elliott Sadler has never done anything to me personally, in fact I have only met face to face with him on a handful of occasions. I do separate his on track persona from his off track persona and I will post my observations of both. I still consider myself a fan of the on track Sadler, but once he steps out of the car, my opinion of him turns south.

RYR3888 asks:
'Whats the deal with the Yates cars and having no sponsors?'
I think it is a combination of a few things. 1) lack of recent on track success and 'sponsor friendly' driver bolting. 2) Transition to new leadership 3) Uncertainty of the Roush relationship 4) Current drivers are not that will known, fan wise. But more importantly, I don't think Yates Racing is in a huge 'panic mode' or feel like the clock is ticking just now. The plan (and budget) is to run two teams whether their is sponsorship or not. Just be in the top half of the field consistently in the first five races, and getting decals for the hood won't be a problem.

Mike asks:
'Why do you always take up for NA$CAR?'
I really don't 'always' take for for the governing body, even though it may appear that way. In many cases, the 'blame' for a particular issue doesn't lie in the hand of the governing body. Although the public perception is that they control 'everything'. I have not resorted to painting with such a broad brush just yet!

Amy asks"
'Did Spotterman really show up at your camper during a race weekend at 3 in the morning?'
Yes he did, but it was more like 1:45 in the morning.

Todd asks:
'What other blogs to you read?'
The ones that are on my 'LINKS' are the ones a frequent almost daily. While I am not active in most, I also frequent a couple of dozen message boards in the Nascar family as well.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Now here is a good idea

Just last week, I blogged about the new Nascar mantra of 'getting back to their roots', and that it really wasn't Nascar that controlled this, but the individual race venues. This morning i read this little blurb concerning a track that has started their effort in the right direction to 'give back' more to the 'average Joe' race fan.

Darlington Raceway will join the list of tracks offering “all you can eat” food and drink concession areas to its grandstands for its May 10 Dodge Challenger 500. Tickets start at $60 for adults for seats in the Colvin Grandstand in Turn 2 with unlimited hamburgers, hot dogs, soft drinks and snack items.

Fans who already have tickets or have seats in other areas can add the concession feature for $15 for adults and $10 per child under 12. The Colvin Grill area will be open two hours before the start of the race.

It maybe just one grandstand (and probably a grandstand that for what ever reason has a history of not selling out) but it does give the average Joe race fan a place to watch an all day event and not have to worry so much about spending over a $100 a person on food and drinks.

I would be curious to know what other tracks are making such an offering, but either way this is a step in the right direction.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Back to their Roots

‘Back to their roots’ is a phrase we have heard from Nascar fans for close to a decade, and this pre-season seems to be the catch phrase for the Nascar hierarchy and the media that follows the sport. While just about every article or quote I have seen supports this catch phrase, I am just not 100% sold on it.

Are we really sure that we want Nascar to return to the ‘bubba’ mentality or the renegade, barnstorming perception of the sport from the ‘good old days’? Some how in this day of instant access, I don’t think that would be a good thing.

The ‘good ole boy’ mentality of the sport’s roots no matter how one spins it is simply not the most positive thing for the sport. Yes, there are still many ‘good ole boys’ that spend their hard earned paychecks in order to attend races, but I am not sure if the mantra that these fans seem to wish for will keep the sport in a growth mode.

This mantra consists of moving races back to old, antiquated race venues like Rockingham, and even North Wilks and ignoring the ‘Westward’ expansion which has contributed to larger race winnings, more sponsorship opportunities and moving the sport from a ‘regional anomaly', but to a 'national spectacle'.

I once saw this banner being towed behind a small plane at Dega and really wondered what the point was. Nascar and many of their fans have done their best to get away from that ‘Confederate Battle Flag’ mentality and for a good reason. I have even asked a few Rving buddies who fly that flag on top of their flagpoles what the reason is for doing that, and of course I get the ‘it is our heritage’ response. While I don’t always agree with that, it is their right and I respect that. But also one should remember that right, if they ever stumble upon a group Rving at TMS with a Mexican flag proudly flying a top their flagpole. After all, in Texas, that flag represents much more ‘heritage’ than the Confederate Battle Flag. Both are just as equally controversial and are asking for questions and opinion.

On the other hand, the sport as a whole does need to recognize the ‘average Joe’ fan and the fact that this fan is truly being priced out in attending races live. Yes, like death and taxes, ticket prices can and will have to be raised every so often, that is just a fact. But what I am seeing as that race venues are seeing a growing group of fans (most the average Joe fan) that spend much more time at a venue than just the actual race.

Texas Motor Speedway is a good example of this: While TMS boasts that their ticket prices have not significantly increased over the past 4 or so years, other aspects of the race weekend experience have doubled and even tripled. Ten years ago, RVing/Camping at TMS outside the track, ranged from $40 to $100 per race weekend. This up coming season, the price has risen to $175 to $325 for those same camping areas. Yes, the demand for RV/Camping has risen each year, but TMS has also tripled the amount of spaces available over that time.

Other race venues do not allow even small coolers to be brought into the race venue and then charge $3 or more for a soft drink or a bottled water. Not being able to bring your own food and drink for an ALL DAY event may not be a bad thing if one is setting up in some corporate catered suite or sky box, but for the average Joe fan, this option simply isn't realistic, nor even wanted.

All in all, it is really not ‘Nascar’ that controls much of this getting back to their roots, it is the race venues themselves. Some might say that they are one in the same, but the hammer lies with people like Humpy Wheeler, Eddie Gossage and other race venue Presidents.

The average Joe race fan is ready to see if 'back to their roots', really has any teeth.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I hate the WRITER'S Strike!!!

Mainly because it has made for some horrible winter TeVee watching. So the other night in my boredom, I was scanning through the google hits from this blog and noticed that while I don't blog about it, there are a huge number of race fans who are interested in the status of Elliott Sadler's personal relationships. aka 'Elliott Sadler's Girlfriend'

On the list of sites from the google hit, there was one that was simple pure gold. A message board (from reading, must be un-moderated) where there are a few threads that are almost 'Jerry Springer' like, but like the Springer show, sometimes you just keep watching, but you really don't know why.

The message board in question is the "ELLIOTT SADLER TOPIX FORUM". You will find the usual race stuff, but there are a couple of threads that have been ongoing for over a year that make some amazing claims. From "Is our boy in some legal trouble?", where claims that the 'Southern Gentleman' is being named is someone else's divorce settlement. To that marathon thread of "Breakup?", which chronicles much of the 2007 season of the Southern Gentleman's off track antics and appears to be continuing in 2008.

Some of these postings claim to be from the 'inside' and have first person knowledge of the ramblings, while others hypothesize from afar. There is even a touch from the 'Tartan 20 minus 1' if you look hard enough where the player's posting locations can be seen. Some are more obvious than others, but the Sybil like ramblings are transparent.

Who knows if even 1% of these claims have any validity or truth, but with the writer's strike, the off season, no college football and cold spell in Texas, it does make for some light entertainment.

If you have a couple of hours to kill (and I am guessing we all do right now) and you want some tabloid talk show time, there is a message board just waiting for you. Who cares about some writer's strike when you have this gold!

JERRY!!!! JERRY!!!!!! JERRY!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Last week, the ‘Southern Gentleman’, Elliott Sadler was participating in Daytona testing, so naturally we got to hear a few quotes from him. One particular Sadler quote stood out for me, but for a different reason than most might think. While this quote was referring to ‘on track’ performance, maybe Sadler and his handlers should apply it to their treatment of his fans, and more specifically his paying fan club members.

“It's easy for me to sit here and say, 'We're gonna do this, we're gonna do that,' but we have to show it,"

‘Show it’? Instead of just talking about it? Now that’s an interesting concept. If only this premise was applied to Sadler Fan Club Events and Promotions. Flash back to the 2007 SFC Fan club Event and this press release after the event; just watch the ‘show it’ in action.

“Hermie and Elliott would like to thank everyone for their support not only for this event but for everyone's support this season. What was the highlight of the night? Well, the roar of the evening was when Elliott announced plans for the 2008 Sadler Barn Party. Look out because we've been given the power to make it bigger and better than ever before. For those of you that came to Race for Hope or the Barn Party last year, you know what that means!!! This will be huge!! We've always wanted to have great fan club events and for 2008 this will be the best event of the year for NASCAR fans. Stay tuned and look for details soon!!”

This press release was made on SFC in early October of 2007 and almost immediately the speculation commenced of just what race date could be used. The ‘natural date’ for such an event would be a race date in the fall, with some sort of close proximity to Emporia. Problem is, that could be a multiple of race dates (Richmond, Mville, Lowes) spread out over a seven-week period. So the SFC fan was put in ‘wait and see’ mode.

Just a week or so later, ‘spotterman’, aka Brett Griffin makes mention while addressing some of the speculation on the SFC message board that ‘the plan is to announce a fan club party (aka barn party) 'details' before the end of the year.’ So the ‘wait and see’ mode is continued for at least another two months.

In Early January, even the ‘Southern Gentleman’ himself made an unusual appearance on the SFC message board and once again ‘talked’ about what they ‘were going to do’ instead of following through with what they said they were going to do.

“This year we plan on having more fan events including a bigger and better barn party. Our folks are working out the details now and we're hoping you'll like the lineup of drivers and entertainment we're trying to put together. We should have details out regarding the event in September by February.”

While this post does give a bit more of a hint as to the date of the 2008 event, it still doesn’t answer speculation as to the actual date. Not even narrowing this down to a week. An educated guess would be that this event would fall in the first week of September prior to the fall Richmond race. However, it also could be early in the week FOLLOWING the Richmond race. For the ‘regular’ NASCAR fan, what maybe more important to know is the actual day of the event (be it Wed or Thur of that first week in Sept or whatever it is) as not only the obvious travel plans have to be made. But for many, the first of the year is when vacation or paid time off, has to be submitted/bidded to their respected employers. For this very reason, there were many paying SFC customers that missed out on the 2007 event who had full desire to go.

Just a handful of days ago, a very long and well thought out suggestion post was made by a long time member of SFC in which she raised many legitimate concerns and offered a few solutions to the way the fan club was operating. To date, the only 'official' response was from the SFC Webmaster (aka the 'goatfish') was this:

"We should have some information to announce for the Barn Party soon along with other Fan Club news for 2008. "

So we go back to the original quote:

“It's easy for me to sit here and say, 'We're gonna do this, we're gonna do that,' but we have to show it,"

Bottom line, announcing a ‘bigger and better’ event and still four months later not even announcing an event date is not ‘showing it’. The specific details and “who’s who” of this event is not the priority for the everyday fan at this time. After all, history has shown that SFC fans have been disappointed before because they were forced to speculate on event dates, and even questioned the fan club about said dates, only to be later told that no event would be held. The sting of the 2004 ‘fan event’ still bites at many of the Sadler Fans who have continued to stay on the band wagon. But that wagon has more room on it every day.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Since this is the age of the internet, many (if not most) NASCAR fans get much of their information via message boards and articles posted on the web. Every once in a while you can stumble across post and you just have to laugh at just how some NASCAR fans revise history in order to fit their mantra. Case in point from the official Ricky Rudd Fan Club Message Board a thread titled "The Mars people lied again-Snickers 08 paintscheme".

"Compared to Ricky's it $ucks!
The Mars people should get their ducks in a row before making comments. First it was M*Ms isn't coming back, then didn't they say they wouldn't use Snickers!?! They should make a paintscheme with cracked m&ms because you know Kyle will tear up some cars this year."

Followed by this:

Same Flames... except of the "Metal Backround"
I HATE MARS! Reese's should get on the #28!!!!! Then we will show them!

Now I understand that some fans can get emotionally distorted with their perception of history and even not liking a similar scheme, but lets flash back to the original Joe Gibbs Racing press release:

During the 2008 season, Mars U.S. brands will serve as the primary sponsor of JGR’s No. 18 Sprint Cup Series team for a total of 30 point races. Mars will feature the popular M&M’S® Brand colors beginning with the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17. SNICKERS® and PEDIGREE® also will serve as primary brand sponsors for several races. Additionally, COMBOS®, TWIX®, SKITTLES®, STARBURST and MILKY WAY® brands will provide support as associate sponsors.

Now I am sure by the time this gets back, the retractions will be in full force, but the point is that one should not let their emotions get in the way, especially for a Ricky Rudd fan. When SNICKERS (aka M&M Mars) came on board very late in the game last winter, they were actually a 'God send' for RYR and yes RR fans as well.

If I was to speculate on what really went on to pull this deal off, it was the greatness and also understanding of a long time NASCAR Sponsor that got the 88 team logos on the hood and quarter panels in the first place. At the end of the '06 season, M&Ms had just completed one year of a three year deal. The 88 had just lost it's sponsorship with UPS bolting with few prospects lining up to sign with RYR.

What M&Ms Mars did was to step in and sponsor BOTH RYR cars with the contention that by doing so, the '3 years' of the contract would be converted to 'three seasons' (two in the 38, '06&'07 and one in the 88 '07). This was a win/win for all parties involved including the fans of the driver of the 88 car. Was I happy the M&M Mars bolted to the 18? Not really, but this company wants to get back into victory lane, and they just raised the bar from what it has been over the past 5 or so seasons.

How soon we forget. Now if YATES RACING can just pull off another miracle and get some logos on the hood and quarter panels of the 28 and 38 before the Daytona 500!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


And we now have crowned a new College Football National Champion in one of the strangest years in recent memory. It is fitting that the National Champion sports a two-loss record this year. It simply puts an exclamation point on a season that opened with a D1AA beating a ‘top 5 team’, another mid major having a Cinderella season, and weekends where 7 or more top 10 ranked teams were upset.

But what I found very interesting that in such a crazy and entertaining year, the National Championship game’s TeVee ratings actually dropped over 17% from the previous year. How many times do we hear that Nascar TeVee ratings are down because people are ‘not happy’ with Nascar? But one aspect that these fans omit is that there has been a trend, especially over the past 5 years in ALL televised sports. That trend has been a decline in TeVee ratings. So are ALL sports fans getting frustrated with their perspective sports and making conscious decisions to not watch broadcasts? The simple answer is no.

So what (or who) is to blame?

In a nutshell, Sports related TeVee ratings are declining due to the multitude of gadgets and services sports fans have to entertain themselves. Whether it's downloading their favorite shows to their iPod, watching clips on their cell phones, scrolling through Web sites or tuning into a niche cable television show, finicky fans have more options. And maybe more importantly, these fans have an almost instant recall via such mediums like TiVO, YouTube, and Sports Center on ESPN. There simply is not the necessity to be forced to watch a broadcast ‘live’ now, for fear of missing something.

But it is not just Sports Broadcasts that are suffering. 15 or so years ago, the leading prime-time network program, ''Seinfeld,'' averaged a 20.4 rating; in 2003 the top show, ''C.S.I.,'' generated a 16.3, and last year ‘American Idol', the top rated prime time show, averaged a 17.3 rating, down from the previous year as well.

Will the Daytona 500 rating be in decline from previous years? The answer is probably, but that has little to do with the disgruntled fan.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Has your coach run off to another school? Have you suffered a disappointing loss? Or do you just need a happy ending to that Cinderella season? We can help!

YOU can be the next team to experience the uplifting, healing power of defeating "National Powerhouse" Oklahoma University on the national stage in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

We'll win our conference, and that, plus our name and storied tradition, will guarantee you underdog status. Our dull and uninspired play at game-time will make your emotion and intensity shine all the brighter.

Just ask Boise State and West Virginia about the exultation that will be yours! Just as we did for them, we will give YOUR program a memory it will cherish for years!!

The application period begins in September! But start your preparation NOW!
Dial 1 (800) BCS-BUST.

Seriously though: Five ways OU beat themselves

1. Stoops calls destroy momentum. When OU pulled it to 20-15, OU was in control of the game. There was very little up-side to going for two points. And much less to going for the onside kick. That sequence was the back-breaker IMHO. Going for it on 4th down in the first half, in our own territory was questionable, at best.

2. Key missing players: Malcolm Kelly, Auston English (played very little due to flu, leg, etc.), Demarcus Granger, Lendy Holmes, Reggie Smith. This is a huge factor. The late losses of Kelly, and especially Granger's stupidity, had to contribute to the lack of fire we showed in the first half.

3. Penalties. Penalties. Penalties.. OU shot ourselves in the foot over and over and over.

4. Beaten on the edges. Very surprising to see Loadholt getting routinely abused like that. It looked like something was wrong with him. He was bending at waste and reaching all night.

5. Lack of killer instinct. Despite pyss poor play in the first half, OU STILL had the ball three times near or in the red zone, only to emerge with a paltry two field goals.

My last bytch-and-moan comment: I absolutely HATE giving this type of ammunition to the press: four BCS losses in a row. Pardon me while I gnaw my own arm to a nub at the elbow.

How many days till Daytona?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Frank Broyles typical Old Guard attitude

During the Cotton Bowl game he said he thinks all the talk and controversy about who the College Football champion is, is good for College Football. As long as these old geasers are still alive and teaching this out dated bullcrap of a bowl system and the money that these same old gasbags keep raking in we will never have a playoff in Div.1 Football. Just more meaningless bowl game blowouts.

What I don't understand is if these old geasers are so enamored with keeping "the integrity of the bowls", then why are they so quick to sell out by changing the names, locations and dates of the original bowls? Where the heck did the Peach Bowl, Bluebonnett Bowl and the Aloha (Seattle) Bowl go? We now have the Chick-fil-a Bowl, the International Bowl and the Emerald Nutz Bowl.

The bowls that supposedly enhance "tradition" do nothing more than allow ESPN to do something besides covering the World Rock-Paper-Scissors Championship. By that I mean it's all about money-money-money.

Here's an idea "proud sponsors..."

Instead of seeing a fat guy dance in the endzone with his Dr. Pepper 15-20 times per game, how sponsoring that game? I mean, seriously... "Papa Johns .com Bowl?

And many say that NASCAR is 'all about money', they might be, but then again they are in good company with most every other sport as well.