Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Image result for boredom       Image result for boredom     Image result for boredom

I watch exactly three things on television: the news, NASCAR and Outlander. Both NASCAR and Outlander are on hiatus and the news as a stand-alone is mostly a downer. I belong to some NASCAR groups so that helps some. I keep up on what is going on in the sport - who is getting a new crew chief and who is moving to a new team and who has a new sponsor. I see pictures of drivers and their kids or their dogs.

I now know who the richest drivers are (Junior is Number One, of course) and who has the most Twitter followers (Jimmie!) I know who had babies (Kasey Kahne) and who had surgery (Kyle Busch). I know where drivers went on vacation and what grades they got for 2015 from the media. I’ve watched retrospectives of Jeff Gordon’s illustrious career. I’ve read so many year-end reviews, they have all run together in my mind.

I’m sick of all that now. I don’t want to see anymore look-backs. I wish the season started right after the first of the year. Enjoy Thanksgiving, celebrate Christmas, ring in the New Year and then directly into racing or at least Media Day in Charlotte, with Daytona starting the next week.

I need some excitement in my life. I need some suspense. I can’t wait to see who profited the most from their off-season and starts the year off with a bang. Will Kyle Larson lose his Sprint Cup virginity? Will the Number 24 bring beginner’s luck to Chase Elliott?  What will the tracks and fans do this year to acknowledge how much Tony has given the sport, as they did with Jeff? Will Danica experience a breakthrough this season? At what race will Jimmie tie Dale Senior....and then move past him? 

I want to see double-wide restarts and bump and runs and slide-jobs and angry drivers and fuel mileage races and sometimes, somebody who simply has the force with them and dominates. 

I really need to see cars on the track. The NASCAR off-season is boring.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Reach for the Stars

I write this on Thanksgiving. I'm certainly not thankful NASCAR is over for the season but I am grateful there is always next year to look forward to fill our lives with joy and heartbreak and suspense and excitement.

We ended this year with great story lines galore. Jeff Gordon in his last year. It wasn't perfect but it was good. He was there clear until the end and that's all any driver can really hope for. The same with Martin Truex, Jr. Finally, of course, Kyle Busch won in a triumph over adversity having spent the first 11 races on the injured list before bounding past the competition when he came back.

NASCAR fans love their controversies and some fans have grumbled about Kyle being allowed to compete for the championship after missing so many races. They grouch that there should be an asterisk beside his name in the championship rolls. If that's so, it should be an asterisk that says - "winner, despite having given his competition an 11 race head start."

It was quite a season for the M&Ms driver. Not only did he win the Sprint Cup but his truck team won that championship too with Erik Jones, 2015's wonderkind, and the youngest truck champion ever.

And congratulations to Chris Buescher for earning the Xfinity series championship. Chris doesn't have that outgoing charisma some of the young guns have but he kept his cool and just drove steadily forward to victory.

I'll say, as I've said before - I like the Chase but I really don't care for the elimination aspect NASCAR added. I think it plays to other qualities besides team and driver performance but having said that, I'm old and the crowd NASCAR is trying to lure in are the younger folks. They are X-Gamers and adrenaline junkies. They have shorter attentions spans so you have to keep it constantly thrilling to draw them. Whatever NASCAR does, I'll still keep watching....even from the nursing home.

Right now, the Daytona 500 seems so very far away. I always say that but it's here before I know it. Next year will be another nostalgic season as we say good-bye to Tony. He's getting a new crew chief for 2016. I don't know what his problems have been but I hope this change fixes them so he can drive off from the front like Jeff.

In February, everyone has an equal chance. Every hope hangs out there as a bright shiny possibility. As a Jimmie fan, I will anticipate JJ's first race win of 2016 when he will match Dale Earnhardt, Sr's win total....and then the next race when he surpasses Dale. I will root and pray and hold my breath and keep my fingers crossed for Jimmie's 7th championship. For others, there may be different dreams. If they are transferring their allegiance from to Jeff to his replacement in the 24, they may be dreaming for a bang-up rookie season for Chase Elliott. Some may hope to see Danica in the top 10. Or for another new driver to take home the Cup, like Denny Hamlin or Joey Logano or heck, even Kyle Larson. Any of those things could happen. As it stands today, everyone is equal and that means we can all reach for the stars.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Anybody But Kevin

Well, that was a sort of a mixed up muddle, wasn't it? A seven-hour rain delay. Then, right off the bat, Kurt Busch got the chance of a championship taken away by a picayune matter of beating Jimmie Johnson to the start line by about a foot. That meant a pass-through penalty and going to the back on the re-start. Jimmie was in the lead then until he got caught speeding on pit road and had to join Kurt at the rear and his chance to win the race was, zip, gone.

I have to say it was exciting watching those two race their way back toward the front, as heartbreaking as it probably was for them. One or the other of them just may have made it if they'd raced to the end instead of being rained out two/thirds of the way through. As it was, Jimmie finished 5th and Kurt 7th.

Then Kevin Harvick took over and it looked like a pretty sure thing that he was going to Victory Lane until a caution fell during green flag pit stops, leaving Junior in the lead when the rains came again, stopping the race.

I was three/fourths happy with the way it turned out. I don't want Kevin Harvick to win the championship for the second year in a row, not that I especially dislike Kevin. I just appreciate the other three stories more.

My first choice is Jeff. I think it would be an incredible outcome if he won his fifth championship (and his long coveted first Sprint Cup championship) in his last year. That would be a storybook ending if there ever was one.

Almost as good would be Martin Truex, Jr. pulling it off. A one-car team, a first championship and a really nice guy who had to face a lot of personal adversity in the last couple of years and carried it off with grace. It would be heartwarming to see him prevail.

And finally, speaking of adversity, there is Kyle Busch having to fight his way back after missing the first 11 races due to a wreck that left him with a broken leg and foot. And NASCAR didn't make it easy on him. He had to win a race and climb into the top 30 in points. In fact, he won four races on his way to accomplishing that feat. He definitely earned his shot at the championship.

So my mantra next weekend in Homestead will be Anybody But Kevin although Kevin is probably who'd I'd bet on if I considered only my head and not my heart.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

JJ Crashes the Party!

                                           Image result for jimmie johnson wins texas 2015

I know I've been slacking but my heart just hasn't been in it. I've learned since becoming a NASCAR aficionado (first race - 2008 Brickyard 400) that sports fans are a strange lot, giving their total loyalty to their race teams or ball teams,  and I don't exclude myself from that. Non-NASCAR friends try to tell me - "don't get so emotional, it's just a sport, it's just a race." But, of course, it's way more than that to that us. NASCAR is an integral part of our lives.

In the beginning, older fans told me I needed to pick a driver to root for so I decided whoever won the first race I watched would be my guy. That was the infamous exploding tire fiasco in Indy which Jimmie Johnson won. I didn't know any of the drivers at the time so I had no idea that I was jumping on the bandwagon of a champion but wow, am I glad it turned out that way! Jimmie has given me so many hours of pleasure and triumph since then.

And its not just because of his winning ways. Turned out, he is exactly the kind of athlete I admire. I prefer scalpels to Bowie knives. I respect grace under pressure versus fiery-tempered passion. I lean more toward clean competition than "whatever it takes to win". As in - the finish of the Texas race. Watching two champions plan their strategy, lap after lap, at almost 200 miles an hour, without damaging either car is as good as it gets for me.

This has not been a great last half of the season for 48 fans. After four wins, the team seemed to be stuck in the 7th to 12th range while JGR, Penske and the 4 car showed phenomenal speed. Still, Jimmie entered the Chase fifth in points until the disastrous part failure at Dover did him in.

I still watch the races. I'd never quit doing that but I admit, it's not as much fun when my driver is out of the running. My other preferred teams started to fall one by one. First, it was Junior and then it was Matt. I still have Jeff and Martin Truex, Jr. though.

What a great story it would be if Jeff won in his final year. Or Martin and Furniture Row, a single car team based out of Colorado. I would thrill to either of those championships.

It is difficult to talk about the last few weeks without bringing Matt and Joey into it. I've avoided it because I'm a Matt fan but not particularly a Joey fan and I'm not sure how much that colors my thinking.

To me, Joey wrecking Matt was the opposite of the finish of the Texas race. He'd already won a race in the Contender Round so it wasn't desperation that drove him. I understand that race car drivers want to win every week. I understand that it would be irritating to be blocked by a slower car. But instead of displaying the patience of a Jimmie Johnson and waiting to make a clean pass, Joey chose to spin out his competition. He justified it because he said you do what you have to do to win.

I don't agree. You do do what you have to win...up to a point. Granted, it is a fine line but there is a line - last lap, no wins and a driving need to remain in the battle. Yes, I could understand that but that's not where Joey was. He knew he was moving on to the next round. I'm not saying roll over but I believe in Joey's position, you should fight as hard as you can but stop short of wrecking the other guy. Sometimes, honor is more important than even winning.

And what did it gain him? Another win he didn't need to accomplish his ultimate goal of a championship. And retaliation by a furious colleague who believed you'd done him dirty. A loss of respect from your fellow drivers. Now Joey has to win in Phoenix to make it to Homestead. He'd have been better off to have taken the second place in Kansas.

And as for Matt, it seems he simply decided that what goes around comes around. Was he right to wreck Joey at Martinsville?  Probably not but sometimes, the paybacks are worth the price you have to pay.

And what about NASCAR itself? I'm certainly not the first to note that in some instances, this being one of them, they are inconsistent. I remember back when Carl Edwards deliberately came back on the track 105 laps down and stalked Brad K and then wrecked him, NASCAR was in their "boys, have at it" mode then and did nothing. And that was at a super speedway whereas Matt chose a track that was less likely to cause real harm but he got a two-race suspension anyway. We've seen other instances of retaliation, some of which brought penalties and some not.

My own opinion is that NASCAR functions too much as Big Brother, not only in these cases, but in the ever tighter box they put the teams in regarding both building and setting up the cars. When it all comes down to thousandths of inches, it's over-kill.

We either want a sport that is regulated to the nth degree in all areas or we want one that allows for innovation and creativity and passion and drivers policing themselves. I vote for the latter.

In the meantime, I'm glad Jimmie played spoiler in the Chase party.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Eliminate Eliminations

I've decided I don't like this Chase format. I don't mean the Chase itself. Having been a NASCAR fan only since 2008, the Chase is all I've ever known. It is the elimination aspect of it I don't care for. I may be accused of being biased because my driver, Jimmie Johnson, was knocked out in the first round. And I don't deny that may play a part but I honestly think that is the least of it.

We all know that luck is critical in stock car racing. So many things can go wrong to determine where you end up. A wreck you had nothing to do with; a $10 part that inexplicably fails - either of them can have a huge impact on your race and your standings in the points.

Luck is part of it, whether you are helped by good luck when the caution falls just when you need it to or hurt by bad luck when a tire goes down and pitches you into the wall. Drivers know this and accept it and so do fans.

But having said that, I think we should minimize the role luck plays as much as possible. Racing should be primarily about skill. The garage's skill in building a fast car, the crew chief's skill in setting it up and making the correct changes throughout the race, the driver's skill in controlling it and communicating what is happening, the over-the-wall crew's skill in pitting it.

To me, it seems that 26 races gives everyone plenty of time to see who has proven themselves to be championship contenders. I think 12 or so drivers was about the right number. Now it is 16 but we pretty much know that anyone who is 14th, 15th or 16th most likely isn't going to challenge. Did anyone really think Paul Menard had a prayer of actually being in the championship hunt?

After that, prior to the changes, the drivers in the Chase had ten full races to try to be to get to the front of the standings. That didn't take luck completely out of the picture but it ameliorated its most drastic effects. If you had misfortune, you still had time to over come it.

Now, some of the best drivers are knocked out early with no hope of coming back. Yes, Jimmie, for one. Maybe after Talladega, it will be Matt and Junior and Kyle. After that, even if you win three or four races, it doesn't matter.

Without rounds that are independent of one another, it would be unlikely that those four drivers would be mathematically eliminated so soon.

And it isn't as much fun without them. I love NASCAR but when everyone I'm rooting for is gone, I lose part of my interest. I still watch the races but not the pre- and post-race programs. I still root for Jimmie to win the race and for Danica and Kyle Larson to do well but my heart isn't really in it.

Besides, has the eventual winner really been tested against the best clear to the end this way?

And I hate that the championship comes down to a single race. I think the Cup championship should be a marathon, not a series a quick dashes.

Just my view of it. Your mileage may vary.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bubbles and Troubles and Brouhahas


What a week this has been in NASCAR. In New Hampshire, Jeff Gordon was crowned the sport's new Iron Man, breaking Ricky Rudd's old record with 789 consecutive starts. NASCAR talks frequently of amazing stats and there really are a lot of them but 789 consecutive starts is one of the most amazing. That's never missing a race in his entire career....for tragedy, injury, illness, babies or anything else. Being far less dedicated, I can't even think how many days I've had off in the same period of time. And look what he's accomplished in those 789 starts - in-freaking-credible!

This is Jeff's last year before retirement and we've spent the entire season honoring him and now it appears we will do the same in 2016 as Tony Stewart has announced that he'll hang up his helmet. So that's two of our most beloved heroes in two years. There are other great drivers, and I think some of the kids coming up will join them, but these two will stand out as special no matter how many years go by.

The talk is that Clint Bowyer will boot Justin Allgaier out of his ride in the 51 car in 2016, then take Tony's place in 2017 at Stewart-Haas. Poor Justin, I think he's given that car a good run and I hate to see him kicked to the curb especially for a one-year place holder. Can't blame Clint. I'd do it too but....

In the Chase, there were some surprising developments in what turned out to be a fuel mileage race. Some people hate races that end this way but no one can deny that they add suspense. We held our breath wondering if Kevin would make those last laps without running out of gas. He didn't and that left last year's champion in a huge hole that only a win next week can pull him out of. Kyle is in much the same boat. After all the triumph of coming back after his injury to win four races and make the Chase, he's now fallen back out so he needs a really good result. At least, one of them is probably going to be disappointed. If I had to choose, I'd choose Kyle because Kevin has his championship and Kyle had to overcome a lot to have the opportunity to try for his. (Not to mention that Kevin pissed me off last week). Junior didn't do himself any favors in the points running out of gas either. He's now the Bubble Boy.

Jimmie and Brad could have found themselves staring at disaster as well Jimmie cut a tire and Brad got penalized for jumping a restart but both both teams fought their way back to a decent finish to keep themselves in contention.

Speaking of the restart, it's caused a typical NASCAR brouhaha, hasn't it? The very same people who were pissing and moaning the last few weeks because NASCAR needed to Do Something about restarts are now pissing and moaning because NASCAR said, "okay, folks, if that's what you really want, instead of using some judicious decision-making, we'll penalize every infraction, no matter how small." It's the old be-careful-what-you-wish-for-because-you-might-get-it scenario.

Roger Penske was one of the biggest complainers but ironically, it was Brad who paid the price. Karma is a bitch sometimes.

Myself, I'd rather see NASCAR ease up on the rules and regulations, not only for restarts but in other areas as well, I'd like to see more flexibility, not less. They've got teams and drivers strapped down so tight, they can barely move. I think its more fun when everyone has a little more leeway for creativity and ingenuity. I'm not so hung up on that perfectly level playing field as some.

Needless to say, I loved the Kentucky Xfinity race. Kentucky is a great track and seeing the kids duke it out with each other without Cup drivers there makes it more enjoyable for me. Congratulations, Ryan Blaney.

Austen Dillon won the Truck race but I was fine with that because he wasn't driving for his grandfather's powerhouse team but rather he delivered the first victory in the series to Maurice Gallagher, owner of GMS Racing and to crew chief Shane Huffmann.  So that balances it out.  I don't mind Cup drivers racing for young teams or major teams giving young drivers a chance but not Cup teams and drivers together.

I often hear it said that fans want to see Cup drivers but wouldn't it be more interesting to see what they can do with a slightly sub-par car rather than dominating the race with

So next week four drivers will be cut from the Chase. Who will they be? Will either Kyle or Kevin race their way back into this thing? Will another top team have a disastrous night? Will a bubble driver win or maybe even a driver who isn't in the Chase? The Monster will decide.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Chase a Rainbow, Follow Your Dreams

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I'm running late writing a blog this week because I've been engaged in what seems to be becoming an endless floor project. I took up the carpet I've hated for 15 years (wine-colored, my landlord's choice). He loved me so he bought me the best grade of carpet, guaranteed to wear like iron. And it has. There isn't even a traffic path but 15 years is long enough to tolerate something you despise so I pulled it up. My house is over 100 years old and these were the original hardwood floors beneath it. Red oak, intricate inlaid pattern but by no means in pristine condition.

I googled cleaning hardwood floors. There were a ton of suggestions - vinegar and water, peroxide, clorox for the darker spots (light = dampness, probably from a potted plant - dark = pet pee - or maybe its the other way around). I tried Murphy's Oil soap and some kind of Amish miracle cleaner. All of them might have worked on laminate or even newer hardwood but it did not work on ancient dirt and stains. However, I practically lived on Google. I learned enough to write a Master's thesis on hardwood floors.

I bought lots of stuff to go along with my cleaning - I now own 3 different kind of mops with different heads (plus extra heads for all) and a steam cleaner and two kinds of Swiffer (with extra pads) and sanding sponges and putty crack fillers and staining pens and numerous bottles and jars of cleaning products. I will probably need to build an addition onto my laundry room to hold it all.

I've spent a small fortune.

In the end, when it was as clean as we could get it, I stained it chestnut (it is still only half done and my furniture is all stacked in one corner of the living room). All the breakable items from the curio cabinets and shelves are piled on the spare bed. My cats are stressed to the max and so am I.

I mutter to my son - "dammit, Honey, where are you when I need you." If he hadn't died, I would have trusted him to sand the floors but sanding is tricky and I don't know any experts. John had advised me not to take this on and he is probably muttering back, "I told you so, Mom. I knew it would be a lot more of a challenge than you thought."

I'll stain the rest, then apply a sealer. I probably have at least another week of living in pure chaos. I hope it will be worth it in the end.

So NASCAR has taken a back seat during all this discombobulation. I did stop everything to watch Richmond though.

Congratulations to Denny. He can relax for a couple weeks knowing he's in the next round. He won with a gutty call by Darian Grubb to leave him out on old tires and in spite of being a lap down at one point in the race as well as starting 29th.

Kevin, Jimmie and Joey were involved in an incident in which Joey pushed Jimmie, who was running behind Harvick. Jimmie was forced down onto the apron and was lucky he saved his car. When he had to get back on the track, Kevin wouldn't give him any room so they touched. The result was a tire rub for the number 4. The tire eventually went down, sending Kevin into the wall and to a 42nd place finish.

Naturally, with so much at stake, Kevin was pissed and confronted Jimmie when the race was over, pushing him in the chest, like the asshole he often is. As if Kevin wouldn't have done exactly the same if the positions had been reversed. Meanwhile, Joey said he's staying out of it. Yeah, I expect he is since he was the initial cause of it all.

The rest of the race finished about as expected. Only 3 of the top 16 weren't in the Chase - Kyle Larson, Aric Almirola and David Ragan. The Chase drivers who weren't in the top 16 were: Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer. If this round ended now, the four who would be eliminated would be: Bowyer, Menard, McMurray and Harvick. The only surprise there is Harvick. His bad luck probably does mean he needs to win one of the next two races to stay in it.

To add insult to injury, NASCAR penalized Bowyer 25 championship points for some esoteric violation I don't understand, something about allowing to much play in the track bar. Poor Clint, he's had a rough year and its probably not going to get better next year although we don't know that yet.

I popped into the Xfinity series race and saw that Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth were leading and popped back out again. I checked later and yep, that's the way it finished.

It was great to see John Hunter Nemechek get his first win in the Camping World Truck series. I bet Joe was one proud Papa.

Okay, the rest of the time I was mopping or Swiffering or steaming or staining. I'll try to do better next week.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Old Is New Again at Darlington

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 The Southern 500 is back at Darlington for the Labor Day weekend and all's right with the world! And Darlington did this Throwback weekend up right. What fun to see all the old cars and legendary drivers and announcers. Plus all the various nostalgic throwback paint schemes. Kyle Lawson won the Best paint scheme with his 42 Mello Yello Chevy. Had there been a Best Driver theme, he'd have won that too with his Kyle Petty wig and mustache. Aric Almirola looked pretty sharp too with his Richard Petty facial hair. The Wood Brothers pit crew wore their old-time uniforms.

It was great for me as a fairly new fan to see some of the Hall of Fame drivers and owners and cars I've heard and read so much about but I expect it was even better for those who'd experienced their exploits first-hand to acknowledge them again. I loved listening to Ken Squier and Ned and Dale Jarrett in the booth. They did a terrific job and they do have a different style than the announcers now. A little more colorful instead of so cut and dried.

Speaking of announcers, I really enjoy Burton and Latarte but hey, Guys, at least tell us who got the Lucky Dog. Some of us care if our driver is mired in the back.

There was a light-hearted air about all the pre-race festivities but that disappeared once the green flag dropped, replaced by focused intensity. There were lots of cautions and restarts and plenty of Darlington stripes. Cars were able to pass. This aero package is an improvement although I'm not sure there is an answer to the front car's advantage in clean air.

There wasn't much in the way of pit strategy. It was four tires every time, even after just a few lap run. The Lady in Black ate up the tires Goodyear brought like they were candy. I personally think that's a good thing (although it bit my driver in the butt). There is no such thing as riding around at Darlington. Drivers have to fight for control on every lap but especially when they're on old rubber.

Congratulations to Carl Edwards. He didn't make it easy on himself, being two laps down at one point but he persevered and prevailed. Kyle Busch clinched his spot in the Chase.

Now there's only one more make or break race.

McMurray, Newman, Gordon, Menard and Bowyer are in the bubble spots. If we have a new winner, it will probably be one of those five. The only one I see below 16th with even a prayer is Kahne. He pulled it off last year but how likely is it that lightning will strike twice? My guess is that the Chase field is more than likely set.

It really hurts me to say it but I don't see any of the Hendrick crew winning the championship this year. They are a step behind and running out of time to catch up. If I had to bet money on where the champion will come from, I'd lay a few bucks down on Harvick, Logano and Kyle Busch. Okay, picking three is hedging my bets but there are too many variables in this play-off system to be any more precise. Too much luck is involved.

NASCAR gossip - Michael Waltrip Racing laid off over 200 of its employees - a sad ending to a valiant effort to build a champion quality race team. Jenna Fryer, who I'd consider pretty reliable, has hinted that Clint Bowyer may join Stewart-Haas IF Tony decides to retire next year but that is certainly not confirmed. I've also heard Clint's name linked to Ganassi and Petty. It will be interesting to see where he lands in 2016. And poor David Ragan is left looking for a ride....yet again.

Denny Hamlin won the Darlington Xfinity race from the pole. Wow, that's a surprise!

So, to Richmond and then, the Chase for the Championship!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Chase Looms

        Image result for nascar 2015 bristol night race                   Image result for chad knaus engaged

I was so busy this week, I almost couldn't find the time for a NASCAR blog but there is a lot of off-track news percolating through NASCAR. Let's start with congratulations. First, to Joey Logano for winning the Bristol night race. Joey is on a roll lately.

Second, to Chad Knaus and Brooke (Werner) Knaus on their wedding which is taking place today as I write this. Having been a Miss Sprint Cup, Brooke is probably familiar with frantic Cup schedules and hectic working conditions so she should know what to expect from the obsessive Chad.

And to Kurt Busch - it sounds as though he's in love again too. Hopefully, this relationship will be somewhat less tempestuous than the last one.

Then condolences for the tragic loss of IndyCar driver, Justin Wilson. Watching the motorcade of IndyCar drivers proceeding slowly across the Golden Gate Bridge in his honor was a touching and impressive tribute.

And finally a vote of confidence for Tony Stewart in the lawsuit filed against him Kevin Ward Junior's parents. Their suit makes it sound as if Tony purposely and recklessly killed their son. I don't believe that for a minute and neither did the grand jury who heard the case and pronounced it 100 percent accidental. I certainly feel sorry for the Wards but when your child engages in a dangerous sport like Sprint car racing, the potential for catastrophe is always there.

Due to a family emergency, I only got to see the last 100 laps at Bristol. Watching Joey and Kevin (or vice versa) chase each other around the track is beginning to seem like deja vu although, over all, Gibbs seems to be the hot team right now. I was happy to see Jimmie claim fourth place considering his last few races, in which he seemed to be always stuck somewhere between 8th and 12th. Still, I think Hendrick has some work to do to catch up with Gibbs, Penske and Stewart-Haas.

Kyle Busch seems firmly in the Chase now so will any others win? If I could wish for only one new winner, it would be Jeff Gordon. He's in the Chase on points but I'd like to see him win his way in too in his last year. If I could choose a miracle, it would be for Danica or Kyle Larson but that's what it would take at this point. There could be a surprise from outside the bubble but it appears to me what we've got is pretty much what we'll have come Chase time.

No Sprint Cup race this week which means I have no other option but to go to the casino and kill time throwing money down the slot machines!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Crying All the Way to the Bank

                                                   Image result for danica patrick new sponsor

I put up a picture of Danica and her new sponsor to represent last week for two reasons: first, Michigan hardly deserves a picture and second, I knew it would piss off lots of Danica haters.

Let's start with Michigan - I give NASCAR lots of credit for trying but the new high drag package they put in place for Indianapolis and Michigan did nothing to improve the racing at those two tracks, not to mention, I hate the look of the giant spoiler. Reminds me too much of the COT.  Kentucky? Yes, that was a success and resulted in a great race but NASCAR needs to cut their losses and go back to the drawing board for Indy and Michigan.

Of course, I will admit that it is harder for me to get excited when none of my favorites are fighting for the win and that was the case in Michigan. I was cheering for Jimmie (that goes without saying) and Junior and Jeff and Tony and Kyle Larson and Danica....or I was hoping for a a new winner (any new winner). I would be pleased to see poor old Roush get a win because I'd like to see them be competitive again. I rooted for Kyle Busch to get in the Chase but now that he's pretty safely there, I've jumped off his bandwagon. I'm lukewarm about all the Gibbs cars.

Anyway, Michigan seemed pretty much like the same old-same old. Guy gets out front and no one can catch him. Well, they can catch him but they can't pass him.

You can tell me if you think my biases are showing.

On the other hand, I loved the Mid-Ohio Xfinity race. In fact, I just like road courses, period. Tagliani drove such a superb race until Regan Smith made that classic last lap pass to snag the win. He didn't wreck him or spin him out but simply moved him out of the way and charged on by. Perfectly executed.

Kyle Busch won the Camping World Truck race, if you can believe that.

Now, to Danica. Yes, yes, yes, I know that there are other drivers you think are more worthy of sponsorship. Yes, I know you think she's all celebrity and no substance. Yes, I've taken note of all your whiny arguments. Yes, I know you believe she wouldn't be there if she hadn't used her sex appeal to get where she wanted to go unlike all those upstanding male drivers (who used family connections to get where they wanted to go. Right, Paul Menard, et al?)

But, in fact, it is Nature's Bakery that is going to be spending millions of dollars to use her as the face of their brand, not you, and they evidently think that will pay off, so suck it up. When you have the money, you can sponsor whomever you choose. And they are probably right. Danica practically made Go Daddy a household name and she can most likely do the same for Nature's Bakery. Research shows she is the third most well-known athlete in the U.S. She has a ton of fans who watch NASCAR to root for her every week (including me), people who will seek out Nature's Bakery and give them a try because of her.

So you go, Girl. Haters gonna' hate but I'm sure you'll be crying all the way to the bank.

A sad development - Michael Waltrip Racing announced it would not field a full-time Sprint Cup team in 2016. Of course, we know that Rob Kauffman bought part interest in Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates' team so that's evidently where his money is going to go. MWR has released Clint Bowyer and David Ragan to look for other rides. The assumption is that Clint and 5-Hour Energy will go with Rob to Ganassi but poor David will be out in the cold once again.

It's too bad. At one point, Michael Waltrip Racing seemed to be on the cusp of making the leap into the first tier teams but it all started to go to hell with the Richmond race when it appeared that Bowyer spun on purpose to help a teammate get into the Chase and NASCAR put Jeff Gordon in and took Martin Truex, Jr. out. Luckily. Martin landed on his feet with Furniture Row Racing but MWR never seemed to recover and they've been mediocre ever since.

Actually, its not the drivers who will pay the highest price but the engineers, over-the-wall guys, fabricators and everyone else who makes their living from Michael Waltrip Racing.

And in other racing news, though not NASCAR, Kimi Raikkonen will be with Ferrari again in 2016 - yes!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Buddy Baker - R.I.P.

                                              Image result for watkins glen nascar race

First things first -

I wasn't a NASCAR fan when Buddy Baker was a driver but in these last years, I've so enjoyed his insights and his colorful stories about the earlier days of racing. R.I.P., Buddy.


I read that NASCAR may add the "boot" to the Watkins Glen race in the future. I hope they do. I think that would be very cool. 


Well, Kyle is in the top 30 in points if he can hang on to it and I believe he will. I think most of us have seen that coming. I know it went against his very nature to save gas and preserve a second place finish rather than go for broke for the win but it really was the smartest thing to do at this stage of the game. 


It was a disastrous day for some drivers hoping to make the Chase on points - Kasey, Jeff, Tony - who are all hovering around or below the 16th place cut-off. There aren't too many races left to hope to gain points or win. Oh, man, I so want Jeff to go out on a high note. 


It looked to be a major fail for Jimmie too but he passed more cars than anyone else in the race and managed to get a top ten finish which is sort of the 48's m.o. when they have a bad day.


Congratulations to Joey for pulling off the sweep although, as you probably know, I'm rather jaundiced about Cup guys riding rough-shod over the Xfinity regulars, especially Cuppers who drive for the major teams with all the resources, like Penske and Gibbs. Greedy.


It seemed to me that Ty Dillon was in the wrong in the Xfinity race. He was upset that he was shoved on pit road after the race but who can blame Regan Smith for being angry when someone else's foolish move impacts his championship chances? You screwed up, Ty. Suck it up and move on. 


 Another fuel mileage race. I wouldn't want one every time but they certainly added suspense to the last two races. I was sitting in my chair chewing my fingernails, wondering who was going to make it and who wasn't. So, yeah, some fuel mileage races thrown into the mix is fine with me.


I am so impressed with Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte. They are both terrific in the broadcast booth.