There is only ONE Oklahoma

Monday, July 28, 2008


Sadler's weekend would have made a good spaghetti western!

The Good:
I am not really going to go off on a TIRE-ade concerning the obvious problem with yesterday’s race, but will touch on the exceptional performance of the 19 team. “Team” being at an utmost importance.

In a race that in all honesty was about a dozen or so ‘heat races’, the 19 team’s success started near the end of the first practice on Friday. Stuck deep in the speed charts, the 19 team made some significant changes near the end of first practice and by the time the 2nd practice before qualifying was over, the 19 looked to be a pretty fast car. Sadler did indeed back up those practice runs with a solid qualifying effort, something that would prove to be beneficial on Sunday.

Come race day, after the first 10 laps, it became painfully obvious that this race was going to require a unique strategy. Like Sadler said in his post race interviews, track position was key. Now I don’t 100% agree with this statement (see the 88’s ability to move up through the field), I think for the 19 it was imperative to stay in touch with the leaders. The car simply was not ‘good enough’ to make wholesale passes ‘on the track’ with the exception of one 10 lap segment in the later stages of the race, but it was good enough to ‘maintain’ positions even when others behind had four fresh tires as opposed to the 19’s two.

The driver made few mistakes on the track (maybe once when the 19 get hung out and lost a half dozen spots, but Sadler later in the same run was able to make those spots back). The over the wall gang seemed to be flawless as well. The crew chief had a plan, and stuck to it for the most part (aside from going with Sadler on a wedge change, only to ‘change it back’ the next stop. TAKE A DRINK!!!)

All in all, it was a great team effort for the 19. Something that could fuel the flames of optimism for the remainder of the season, and build to 2009. It was an impressive day.

The Bad:
A while back I mention about the demise of the ‘Victory Lane Players’ (VLP) with no warning to the paying fans. It has been over two weeks since Sadler fans were cut off, and even though they have raised questions, not a peep from either Sadler, or PR dude, Brett Griffin. (In fact, neither have even logged into the fan club since the beginning of June) Leaving room for much speculation and even animosity. But what really happened to VLP? We may never know, but at the very least an explanation should be in order from the ones that pitched this deal to their fans in the first place.

I don’t lay blame on Sadler, Griffin or even VLP for this fiasco, but maybe it was just a deal that went bad. Or just making poor choices from the very beginning when VLP announced that they would be partnering with Power Play Development. Power Play Development’s stability (or lack there of) is well documented by simply tracking their stock value. That value started the downward trend at the beginning of 2008, and ended a few weeks ago with a value of zero. Thus the shutdown of VLP.

But for the ones that had their names imprinted on this deal, I would be very surprised if they had no knowledge of what was about to transpire. If they did know, that’s fine, but at least let your paying fans know after the fact of the circumstances. If they didn’t know, well that is just poor business and would lead to skepticism for any other deals. (See Sheridan Ridge?) I am not saying the Sheridan Ridge is a bad investment, but what I am implying is that there seems to be a long list of ‘its going to be great’ plugs from Sadler that after a year or so, simply get swept under the rug. Compound this with the fact that both VLP and Sheridan Ridge are represented by the Cox Group. If that name rings a bell with long time Sadler fans, it is because Cox represented Sadler when he was with the Wood Brothers and how Sadler and Brett Griffin met each other in the first place. Rumor has it that at the very least, Cox has been stepping up to the plate attempting to honor complaints from disgruntled paying members for their prizes and/or refunds. Too bad you had hear that from me, and not from Sadler himself. It is the least he can do, but enjoy the silence.

The Ugly:
Elliott Sadler, if you have a beef with Jack Roush, why don’t you just come out and say it?

Sadler on Yates Racing this past week;

"When I was there, they never helped us," said Sadler, who drove for the Yates organization from 2003 until the middle of the 2006 season. "And [RFR] still doesn't help them. I really feel for those guys [at Yates Racing].”

Be careful Elliott when using such extremes as ‘never’ as one can just flashback to the 2006 season to see the beginning of the Roush/Yates partnership in it’s infancy. Roush began providing chassis to Yates that spring, and it was at Chicago where Sadler drove a Roush chassis. You should remember that weekend Elliott, as you complained about the car from the moment you climb in it. Complaints from the pedal configuration to the seat height to lack of handling. The Roush-Yates engine alliance was formed during Sadler's tenure at Yates as well. In early 2006, he whined alot, about how bad the Yates built chassis's were, and how good the Roush ones were. So Robert got him a Roush chassis, and Sadler couldn't drive it for whatever reasons.

Was the real reason for the split with Yates and the ‘difference in philosophy’, the impending merger with Roush racing? The Sadler animosity towards Roush could be seen as far back is his Wood Brothers days when he also voiced concern about the lack of Roush support. Even though his lone win with the Wood Brothers was with a Roush motor and chassis.

The timing of Sadler’s statement is interesting and comes on the heels of Roush’s comments concerning next-door neighbor, Jamie McMurray’s lack of production, and Jamie’s future status with Roush. This could fall in line with the rumors of Jamie either leaving the Roush stable, or that he is the candidate of being the team that goes to Yates when the 4-team rule is in effect. Remember, even Robert said that once Sadler heard how much money Jamie was making, that Sadler lost his focus while at Yates.

I really think that Doug Yates and Max Jones are getting exactly what they are paying for. They are buying chassis, and with that purchase they receive the engineering help. I wonder though, because Doug owns part of the engine deal, we rarely see Yates cars getting sub-par powerplants, when compared to Jack's cars.

Roush also has helped in the marketing for both the 28 and 38 this year and been instrumental in many of the sponsorships seen on the Yates cars.

Do I think that the 28 and 38 are getting top of the line equipment from Roush? I think the obvious answer is NO, and frankly, that is not the deal. But I do think that Roush's second level equipment, if that is indeed what Yates is getting, is still far better than what many of the teams out there have in their stable, and especially better than what equipment we seem to see with other teams get with their ‘alliances’. I also have to wonder how Robby Gordon feels about the equipment he is getting from GEM these days.

It also should be noted the Sadler comment after the '600' at Lowes this past spring where Sadler was even questioning the equality of equipment compared to his team mate in the 9 car. CC Rodney Childers explained to him that he is "getting exactly the same stuff, except for the front end stuff that you (Sadler) don't like." Sadler then requested to 'forget the stuff I like, just give me the same stuff as the 9". Whether that has happened or not has never been clear. But it is safe to say that the problem may not always be equal equipment, but what Sadler likes and dislikes.

Glass houses Elliott, glass houses.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Yes, I “online race” and while I don’t think I could ever see myself piloting some 3000 lb ‘weapon’ (and if I was to do it, ‘weapon’ would be the correct term for me) for real, I have learned to appreciate just what CUP drivers do with their skill week in and week out vicariously through online computer sim racing.

A little history;

It was sometime in the early 1990’s when I casually picked up a copy of a Papyrus game called “Indianapolis 500, The Simulation” that probably sparked my ‘racing career’. This 16-bit technology was pretty neat, but even then I came to realize that ‘racing’ against the computer AI was very predictable. A few years later, ‘NASCAR 1’ was born and shortly after the release, more importantly, ‘online racing’ came to fruition with the creation of ‘Hawaii’. Hawaii was a ‘dial-up’ host in which racers could log in and race using a long distance phone connection. Needless to say, for many, racking up triple digit phone bills was not uncommon.

But around 1996, something very unique happened in the on-line racing community that had never been seen before. The ‘Total Entertainment Network’ (TEN) was created and we saw an explosion of growth for sim racers. For 15 or so dollars a month, one could race online against others ultimately up to 43 car fields. Friendships, racing teams and on-line leagues were formed and this greatness continued till late 1999 with the emergence of ‘NASCAR 3’ which featured ‘online racing hosting’ capabilities. This ‘hosting’ capability was the end of TEN and also the end of the ‘sim racing community’ as we knew it. Leagues, race teams, and racers were now segregated into much smaller groups and this hurt online racing as a whole.

Yes there still were the very established leagues and race teams that continued on and even more sophisticated race simulations developed, but something seemed to be missing for many of us we enjoyed TEN. There was something to be said for ‘pay to play’ race networks that brought out ‘better’ racing for some reason. (If anyone experienced the chaos of a free Papy pickup race server, you probably understand where I am going with this)

So for many, sim racing online became something of a weekly ‘mundane’ event consisting of logging in to a league server, and spending a few hours racing in their league, then logging out. It sometimes became a blur and the numbers seemed to drop every year, even with better sims being offered.

Around 2004 rumors spawned of a ‘new’ development team pulling their resources to create a new and innovative online racing concept. With the backing of John Henry (yes, the same John Henry as in Roush/Fenway Racing) IRACING.COM was established. 4 years of ‘development’ and beta testing later, IRACING went ‘live’ with a limited release last month. I was given the opportunity and given an invitation for this limited release and while I had my doubts about the concept originally, I can safely say that I am hooked once again.

The IRACING concept is pretty simple. Start our as a ‘rookie’ in a ‘Legends’ car, and work your way through the ranks by obtaining higher licenses which enable you to drive in a more sophisticated race series. Something else that IRACING does is when joining a race; the software pairs you up with other drivers based on skill level, and ‘IRating’. Thus helping eliminating the ‘sand bagging’ that can go on in pick up racing.

Back in the ‘TEN’ days, I would occasional get in a race with Dale JR or T.J. Majors but those days have been long gone, or so I thought. In a recent race night, I raced against the likes of A.J. Allmendinger and Brad Keseloski, as there are a handful of NASCAR drivers who also enjoy passing some time on IRACING. While I see his stats a lot, my racing times are not nocturnal enough to see JR on the track yet.

Also, after less than a month of racing, many of the old ‘TEN’ names and friends have come out of the woodwork. It is truly amazing catching a name in one of the pre-race chat rooms and getting their on-line racing pedigree and where/what they have been up to since those TEN days. One common theme that has come up is the ever-growing ‘cheating’ theories that always seem to along with most online gamers. However, IRACING seems to have had this in mind with their presentation of the gaming platform. There was little downloading of software and all your gaming information and software drivers are hosted on their servers. Now I am not 100% sure this format is ‘cheat proof’, it is something that has not been seen in online racing ever.

This passed week, I ‘purchased’ a late model car in preparation for moving up from a ‘rookie’ license to a ‘class D’. So practicing with much more power under the hood, and a larger and heavier car to control is a must. While the Rookie Legends aren't so much of a handful to drive, they do require a bit of smoothness and tenacity to get the best from them. Be it ‘nerfing’ off the apron at South Boston, or feeling the tire spin or roughness of the NASCAR pit box at the Lowes ‘legends infield track’, these little cars are a blast to drive around the short ovals. In fact when I ramp up my Logitek G25 force feedback and 40 laps will have you feeling quite exhausted both physically and mentally as you lap 4 turns in 18 seconds or so with 11 other racers. The rookie models are rev limited but still pretty tail happy. The advanced rookie models really scream and feel quite wild. I have had to go back to my old set-up notes from the old days and that just adds more to the fun (Where is my race team's engineer when I need him? Maybe I can solicit the help of Josh Browne, wonder if he has some spare time for a sim racer? Probably not though, the 83 and 84 cars are running pretty good these days)

The heavily controlled race environment IRACING offers was something that I was skeptical about. Especially with the ‘pay to play’ and ‘World of Witchcraft gaining level after level’ theory, but I must say that the concept is very enjoyable and so far worth the 20 bucks a month (although I’ll probably soon change my subscription to an ‘annual’ membership that comes out to around $13 a month).

So after a little over a month of racing, I can safely say I am hooked on the IRACING concept.

My name is Phil, and I am an IRACER.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

CAT FIGHT!!!!!!!

Even the 'girls' have their issues on the track. Warning: Danica drops and F-bomb! Milka thinks Danica needs to cool off and gives her a great towel throw (twice).

UPDATE: This newer YouTube video adds a bit more to the story by showing some of the practice session and why Danica got her feathers ruffled.

Friday, July 18, 2008


According to 'NASCAR fan' Jonathan Lee Riches (inmate #40948-018), currently incarcerated at the Williamsburg, SC Federal Correction Institute, feels he is in imminent danger thanks to Elliott Sadler and Dave Blaney.
On April 10th, 2008, Riches filed the above in the South Carolina Federal Court claiming that Sadler and Blaney had conspired in an attempt to gain an advantage during the Pennsylvania 500 by giving other drivers 'left over' M&M's and Jack Daniels causing a 'sugar high and drinking high', and crashing. The motive given for Sadler and Blaney was not the obvious (winning a race), but more political in nature. Giving Presidential candidate Barack Obama an advantage by controlling the automotive industry. Riches seeks a restraining order against Sadler and Blaney. Somehow , I am thinking the neither CUP driver will be visiting the Williamsburg, SC Federal Correction Institute any time soon anyways. What a country.

Sadler was not alone on April 10th in the SC Federal Court as Riches filed nearly 70 claims on that day, including his team mate, Kasey Khane, and owner GEM. Other notables filed that day were Martin Truex JR, Scott Riggs, and even Cinco de Mayo (yes, the holiday).

At least this filing was not as detailed as "Riches v. Gordon et al" filed on Sept 12, 2007 where Riches alleged that defendant Jeff Gordon conspired with Barry Bonds, Michael Vick and others to drive his life insane, create madness in the world, and use #24 as a weapon of mass destruction. Riches further alleged in the 3 page filing that defendant tied him to the bumper during the Talladega race, took Kit from Night Rider, used his #24 car in illegal car fights at Jiffy Lube Express, and used the #24 to hit Juan Valdez's horse. Riches seeked a preliminary injunction to prevent defendant from driving off without paying at Sunoco stations.

Wikipedia has this to say about Riches:
Since January 8, 2006, Riches has filed over one thousand lawsuits in federal district courts across the country, some of which have received considerable press attention. Among the more famous defendants of his lawsuits are New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, U.S. President George W. Bush,entrepreneur Martha Stewart, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, entrepreneur Steve Jobs, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton,and pop star Britney Spears.

So what does Elliott Sadler (or Even PR dude Brett Griffin) think about this? Chances are he hasn't heard a word about it. (until now) The courts dismissed the case almost immediately and probably didn't notify Sadler or even send a note from them saying what happened.
Jonathan Lee Riches

According to the Federal Bureau of Prison's Web site, Riches' projected release date is March of 2012. It also states that the crimes that landed him in jail in the first place were mainly related to identity theft and fraud. Note to Elliott Sadler, you might want to stay away from South Carolina for a while in 2012!

Yes, July is a 'slow' month for racing!!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Testing, Testing, One Two Three

Well, I had almost finished my thoughts on the new Nascar Cup testing proposal but when I glanced over to the 'Queen of NASCAR Physics' blog, I saw that a teacher could do a much better job of breaking these rules down. Stop by Stock Car Science for Diandra's 'lecture', it is worth the time.

Seems the rumors over the past month or so have come true and VLP.net have closed their doors. No longer are the references to VLP on any of Elliott Sadler's official websites. Judging from the slowness in other updates from his sites, its pretty clear that the Sadler PR machine had much pre warning that this was going to take place, unlike the PAYING members of the site. I guess its just too bad for those paying SFC fans who were coaxed to play in a 'members only' tournament with Sadler himself that won a '30 day free membership', just a couple of weeks ago. Chalk this up to another 'failed' venture in which Sadler claimed was 'going to be great'. Maybe it was, but short lived and once again, it is the fan that is being slighted.

The Great American Lager?
With the sale of Anheuser-Busch to InBev for a reported 52 billion dollars. There are already the mumblings the the new owners will be scaling back their advertising campaigns. A-B is probably the most recognized sponsor in any sport, be it football, baseball or even NASCAR. In the short term I can't see how this would effect the GEM 9 car team, but one has to wonder if GEM maybe sponsor searching a couple of years down the road.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Let the Dominoes fall

With the news that Tony Stewart has been given the official okie dokie to leave Joe Gibbs Racing, the path has been cleared for the falling dominoes of this summer’s silly season. So the seat that has produced two CUP Championships is now open and it goes down hill from there. So lets put on the tin foiled hat and see what opportunities are out there for Elliott Sadler and see if another ‘plan’ is in the works. [insert music ‘Tempted by a fruit of another’, by Squeeze]

Now I realize that Sadler has just recently signed an extension to his contract with GEM which runs though 2010, but we all know that is just a piece of paper. I also realize that Sadler has also been quoted during the announcement that "This is the place where I want to race," when referring the GEM. But let’s be frank here, Sadler has been known to say one thing to the press while at the same time making ‘deals’ behind the scenes. [insert 2nd chorus ‘Tempted by a fruit of another’, by Squeeze]

Also during the announcement Sadler can be quoted; “I think what we are building here is special and something other drivers and crew members envy”. Ironically he said very similar things after signing his extension with Yates only to bolt less than a year later. Yes, the 19 team is running good, although the over all results don’t show it all the time. But when ‘Tempted’, Elliott Sadler has that wandering eye, no matter how happy he says he is.

PR Man/Spotter Brett Griffin has been AWOL for SFC for months now (something he also did in the ’06 silly season. Is a ‘plan’ in the works?) Lets get that tin foil hat on and have some fun (if Jayski can do it, why not myself)by starting at the top and look at some of the possible open rides.

Sadler to the 20 car?
The main problem here has little to do with on track performance or even off track fun. The real problem is that Sadler or his family does not own any Toyota dealerships, or do they? Not to mention that Sadler's ‘new’ house has just recently been completed, so there goes any chance of a “Home Depot’ home improvement advertising campaign.

Sadler to the 1 car?
If Truex leaves DEI [insert 3rd chorus ‘Tempted by a fruit of another’, by Squeeze] and if the rumors are true that BASS PRO is signed through 2010, for some reason I am thinking that Sadler would be the sponsor’s dream. Maybe even better than Purina when Sadler was in the 38 and having a gazillion dogs! I have always felt that Sadler would end up at DEI at some point in his career, may as well strike will the iron is hot.

Sadler to the 12 car?
Either Alltel or if the merger works out, Verizon should be on the 12 car in ’09. Since Sadler has been involved in an on and off ‘long distance’ relationship and now a date has been set, the chances for a no ‘family plan’ ad campaign could be in the works. Only one draw back might be for a driver who has a history of bad ‘driver/Crew Chief’ communication skills, shilling for a communications mogul might be a problem and nix the deal.

Sadler to the 21?
Just like ole times and little has changed. Sponsorship problems, low expectations, no pressure. Sadler could ‘work hard and play hard’ all he wants and the owners would just be happy to be there. Drawback is that the 21 would fail to make too many races, forcing Sadler to have to pay out of his own pocket to jetset from track to track.

Sadler to the 33?
Another DEI/RCR venture looking for a pilot. General Mills/Cheerios is the sponsor and there are some good possibilities here. ‘A WAFFLE MAKER?’ not being a ‘morning’ person Sadler could let us all know the importance of a well-balanced breakfast. Rutledge will have to been involved somehow.

So its Elliott Sadler to the 1 car in 2009, you read it hear first!!!
See? This Jayski thingy isn’t so hard!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Really, it has been a Goodyear

One of these tires will fail during the race for no reason, can you tell which one?

Having watched a plethora of plate races and it is rare that I sit back and say ‘Elliott Sadler has a really good chance to win this thing’. Now one might think that looking at Sadler’s plate finishes over the years that I haven’t been watching many of the efforts by Sadler at plate tracks. But in all honesty, there have only been two or three times when I felt that if Sadler could pilot his car to the lead in the final moments of a race, that he would be able to hold off the competition. Before Saturday night, the last time was at a fall Dega race 4 or so years ago where Sadler ended up rumbling and tumbling down the back stretch after a ‘Dale Jr fake’. But last Saturday night, I thought the 19 did have a car that could have held off the front-runners, it is just too bad we will never know if I was right.

It was truly an orchestration to listen to spotter, Brett Griffin help the 19 thru the field not once but twice in just over a 100 or so laps. I have said it before and will continue until I hear different, that there is not a better spotter in the business. The symphony played last Saturday was once of enjoyment, fulfillment and frankly, racing smarts. The 19 made smart moves on the track, worked with drafting partners (even though his team mate bailed on him a time or two) and showed a lot of patience when needed. Seems the 19 team did indeed have a plan in mind when they pretty much gave up their qualifying effort in order to have a better race trim car for a night race.

But the Racing God did raise his scepter and poked a hole in the 19’s right front tire ending any chances for a ‘good day’. It happens, and it is a part of racing, and it will happen again at some point.

This morning, I stopped by ElliottSadler.com to get some of the ‘exclusive’ content there. And boy is it ‘exclusive’ all right. It is pretty clear that in least the last few ‘race reviews’ have not been written by Sadler’s PR man, Brett Griffin, so lets get that observation out there from the start. Below are a couple of comments about who ever is writing this ‘exclusive’ content and the spin placed on it.

1) Note to Elliott Sadler; How about ponying up and giving who ever writes this exclusive content a subscription to at the very least NASCAR.com Trackpass Scanner. The week before, when Trackpass Scanner was FREE, there were some nice ‘exclusive’ scanner chat quotes, while this week and the weeks prior there have been none.
2) ‘Getting blocked’ in the pits? I guess that’s a nice spin on the dodge post race quote of ‘I made a mistake in the pits’. Honestly, it is okay to admit that the driver messed up, it happens.
3) ‘The Gillett Evernham Motorsports team attempted to fix the damaged car but the race’s laps wound down before it could return.’????? Maybe the writer turned off the TeVee and missed that the 19 did indeed return and picked up a whopping 3 points, thanks to the hard work of the team. It should also be noted that CC Rodney Childers gave Sadler the option of ‘coming in a few laps early’ because there was nothing to gain, points wise, and Sadler chose to stick it out and not have a DNF. Good for him!
4) Where is the ‘GARMIN’ love? If one is going to embellish Dodge Post Race Quotes, one might want to get a complete sponsor plug in as well. (side bar: I just purchased a Garmin GPS this past weekend, and while I did shop for it at Best Buy, I went with Amazon.com and it’s $100 less price tag. And there is no ‘15% restocking fee’ either!)

So it is on to Chicago and the 19 team really doesn’t have much to show in terms of results the past few weeks, but the team really has become a sleeper. While not completely over the hump, the 19 team looks to have turned the corner. Chicagoland traditionally is not one of Sadler stronger tracks but the way this season has gone, who knows where he will end up. I little birdy told me that she thought that Elliott's attitude was much better than in the past couple of a years. Listening on PitCommand I would have to agree.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Answer me this?

Looking at the qualifying speeds its clear the some race teams 'locked in' the top 35 are more concerned about qualifying during the heat of the day, and racing in the evening. Its pretty clear that all three GEM teams had a plan in mind. The 9 and 19 going with the 'lets make a good night race and handling car' while the 10 ( a go or go homer) needed to have a car that could qualify on speed during the day.

Because this race is an impound race, different strategies are needed and sadly NASCAR has made a huge mistake. Race in the evening? Why not qualify in the evening?

The 10 car, even though it made the race, will now have to make major changes early in the race. The question is , will they have the 'fiasco' that the 21 car and the Wood Brothers showed us at spring Dega? Lets hope not.

As for the 19, time will tell, but I have a hunch there was a 'plan' and knew their qualifying time would stink. Come race time, if the plan comes to together, the GEM headliners should be okay.

Of course,unless 30+ other cars had the same plan.

Have a good 4th and during this great day, how about thanking a one of those police officers or firemen doing 'damage' control on this holiday. They are heroes too.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Catching Up

The 2nd quarter is now behind us and financials have been submitted in preparation for the semi annual SOX. Audit. So the past couple of weeks have been spent more on the ‘real job’ end than the blogger end. So I have a few items that need catching up.

The Queen of NASCAR Physics:
Rumor has it that Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, fondly called by some bloggers as the ‘Queen of NASCAR Physics’ will be in Daytona this weekend shadowing the 19 team and driver Elliott Sadler for a postscript to her book in preparation for the paper back release. Chances are she will also be spending some time with former 19 crew chief, Josh Browne and giving us some insight to the success of the 83 and 84 Red Bull team. They have really turned things around and it will be interesting to his take on how things are going. And I am sure she will want to have a visit with Rodney Childers to hear how the recent surge for the 19 team has effected the team's attitude as well. Not the "Driver's Speak" quotes we read week in and week out, but the real nuts and bolts of how the team is doing.

Another charity scam?
Here we go again! Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has charged former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series owner Gene Christiansen and others with misuse of charitable funds, alleging that they diverted money from People Against Drugs Affordable Public Housing, Inc., to pay Christiansen’s salary, support the Green Light Racing Craftsman Truck Series team. Now I have read both the court filings and the Charity’s tax forms from the time in question and it will be interesting to see just how this suit plays out. Either Christainsen was ignorant of the law when it comes to charitable organizations or he was simply an idiot or arrogant, as he did little to mask where these charitable funds were going. This suit could (and should) be a wake up call to any charitable organization that ‘helps’ out even some poor local racer who also happens to be a member of the organization, in trade for of few privileges or peaks for the charity’s hierarchy. Charitable funds going for a ‘set of tires’, just might not be the most legal thing to do these days even though said organization’s logo is somewhere on the car (no matter how big or small). I wonder if the RED Cross is buying tires for Greg Biffle and the 16 team in exchange for a logo on the B post. Chances are, that answer is NO. More to come on this subject as it develops.

Anatomy of a ‘top 5’

It wasn’t 30 minutes after the ‘checkered’ flag of last Sunday’s Loudon race did my mail box begin to fill with the ‘how about that 19 finish’ emails. I think to be fair; one really should break down the race into a couple of different segments and the decisions made in those segments.

The beginning of the race, showed the 19 with a good starting position near the front of the field. ‘Track position’ was not a factor, but within the first 75 laps, the 19 car found itself falling back to the mid 20s. So much for track position, but more importantly, the 19 had missed something in the race day setup. Since Sadler first joined GEM over two years ago, the ‘two tire stop’ or ‘gas only stop’ has been a huge player. Now in some cases this is a good strategy, however too often the 19’s car handling before the stop was not to the driver’s liking. What seems to happen is that more times than not, is a two-tire stop along with some sort of chassis/air pressure change. The problem with doing that is now the 19 team has lost their baseline for latter four tire stops and chassis changes. When Sadler dropped into the mid 20s, the first words out of his mouth was ‘track position’, while CC Rodney Childers seemed to be leaning towards ‘fixing the car’. Childers lost that battle with Sadler, and went for the 2-tire ‘track position’ stop. The gamble didn’t pay off even before leaving pit road, as 20+ other cars had the same idea. Understand, I would have had little issue had the 19 been running good lap times, but this obviously was not the case. The result of this move, like so many times before, is the 19 falling a lap down before the 100 lap mark and no baseline for which direction to go with chassis changes. And 'take a drink' with the 'This is the worst the car has been all weekend' line from the driver.

But after the 19 fell a lap down, there was a change in strategy and one that seems to make the 19 car better with each stop. First, was the ‘communication factor’ between Sadler and Childers. Seems Sadler was self admittedly not being as clear as he could with his handling descriptions of the 19. (Where have we heard this before?) Once this communication issue seemed to be solve, the 19 made some changes that obviously improved the car (all four tire stops BTW). One other point needed to make, is that Sadler also changed his line coming out of turn four and as spotter Brett Griffin noticed, ‘you are killing them out of four’. After a few more cautions the 19 was able to get the Lucky Dog with 90 or so laps left in the race and now had a car that truly could run with the top 10. This was seen by marching through the mid-pack field with ease and the ever optimistic Griffin saying, ‘one a lap, go get em’.

At this point the 19 made the risky call of staying out (with a good car) and either hoping for a few race-ending cautions (not uncommon at Loudon) to stretch the fuel mileage out, or for the weather to shorten the race. Now some might think I am being hypocritical or short sighted because I feel this move was a brilliant move by the 19 team and condemning the ‘two tire stops’ from earlier in the race. The difference to me is that the 19 late in the race, was a ‘contender’ and it was not in the first 100 laps. Also the success of the 5 car staying out earlier in the race when they also had a good handling car didn’t hurt the decision either.

Did the 19 have enough fuel to go the 301 laps? Doesn’t really matter now. I guess if one can chalk up some of the recent ‘bad’ finishes to bad luck, one can chalk this one up to good luck. But I think that is a bit of simpleton thinking. There was much more involved with this finish than just luck. Next week’s plate race will have move luck involved in getting a top 5 than the one we saw at Loudon.

The Countdown begins:
Less than 60 days to the home opener for Oklahoma Sooners Football! This is going to be a very interesting year in College Football and maybe one with more balance among the top 25 than ever. My early prediction is the BCS NC game will feature both teams with one or more losses. But never the less, the countdown to football season has begun.