Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Still Waiting....

If you have not seen the new NASCAR commercial, you've got to go now and take a look. It is terrific!

Unfortunately, not so much for Go Daddy's Super Bowl commercial featuring a darling little puppy who gets lost, finds it's way home and is then sold! Why anyone in their right mind thought this would be an appealing way to sell Go Daddy products is beyond me. Watch some Budweiser commercials, Go Daddy, then try again!

Speaking of Go Daddy, that means Danica, who is in the last year of her contract with Stewart-Haas. I know lots of Danica haters would laugh and stomp with glee if her contract wasn't renewed but I just heard that Gene Haas said they are planning to stick with her. As long as Go Daddy is willing to foot the bill, why not? Yeah, all these team owners hope to win championships but first they have to have a team and having a team means having a sponsor. We call NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers the 43 best drivers in the world but are they? Really? All of them? Or are they the dozen or so best drivers and another 31 who are lucky enough to have sponsors, especially those whose sponsors are also their families and will fund them to the bitter end?

The biggest news out of NASCAR this off-season is that this will be Jeff Gordon's last full year of racing. NASCAR without Jeff Gordon. It's almost hard to imagine such a thing. But as I hear it, he will be going to the broadcast booth and that should give us some particularly interesting insights.

I personally admire anyone who chooses to go out on top. I do wonder a little though if he wasn't encouraged to make this choice to create space for Chase Elliott - not that I think Rick Hendrick would ever push him out if he didn't want to go but maybe Chase breathing down his neck helped him make his decision. HMS did lose Brad Keselowski because they didn't have a slot for him. I don't think Jeff wanted to pull a Mark Martin on the Chase deal.

Many kudos and congrats to Chip Ganassi and the whole Ganassi team but especially the NASCAR pair, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson, and Jamie even more especially as the designated winner of the Rolex 24. Wow, what a coup for Jamie and it shows us again just how talented young Kyle Larson is in any type of vehicle he's put in.

As I write this, it is 24 days until the Daytona 500 but I'm starting my count from when the first cars are on the track to practice. It doesn't have to be a points race or even a race at all - just the sights and sounds of race cars flying around a circle. I want to see those familiar faces and firesuits and paint schemes and some that aren't so familiar. Yes, I even want to hear Darrell Waltrip say, "boogity, boogity, boogity".

In the meantime, I guess I'll listen to the endless controversy about under-inflated footballs. Bah! Tell me about under-inflated tires, and maybe I'll listen.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Keith Olbermann Doesn't Know When To Quit

Keith Olbermann


Jimmie Johnson

And the winner is!      Jimmie!

Well, hell - I've always been rather a fan of Keith Olbermann. He's a political liberal, as I am. And he often employs a cuttingly sarcastic tone, which I generally like in a person. But he has now taken it a step too far when got into a Twitter feud with NASCAR fans, particularly, Jimmie Johnson.

At his current position as a sports reporter for ESPN2, it all started when he decided to troll NASCAR about the bitter court battle in which Kurt Busch is embroiled with his former girlfriend. True, it's not one of NASCAR's finest hours but Keith was so hot to take a shot at NASCAR that he couldn't even get his facts straight and used Kyle Busch's name instead of Kurt's. That's an amateur mistake on the part of someone who fancies himself a big-time sports reporter.

But, hey, it happens. If he'd just taken the hit and shut up, he probably would have been all right. But he couldn't let it go, so he responded to NASCAR fans taking him to task by saying:

"Ok NASCARniacs. It was a typo. Settle the eff down and be happy something interesting happened in your simplest of sports."

And when someone tweeted wondering how he kept his job, he answered with:

"Largely by ignoring NASCAR boredom".

He then named Jeff Gordon the week's Second Worst Person in Sports for engaging in a tricycle race at an NBA game as part of a Daytona 500 promotion. Olbermann said it was "like having Hank Aaron blowing bubbles to promote the baseball all star game." (I'll grant you that NASCAR drivers are induced to do some pretty stupid things for the sake of p.r. from time to time).

Olbermann then went on to say about the earlier Busch story - "why would I make that up? No, I don't like NASCAR and some of its brainier fans are freaking out on the Twitter because we did the Kurt Busch paid assassin story yesterday, but why would I make it up?"

At this point, Jimmie Johnson enters the scene. Having heard quite enough trash talk about NASCAR and its fans, Jimmie tweets -

"We get it @KeithOlbermann, you're not a fan. That's your prerogative. For the benefit of all, spare us, go away. Thank you. ."

Typical Jimmie, huh? Polite, to the point. If you don't like us, just go away.

And then the coup de grace from Olbermann.

"And you are who, sir? @Jimmie Johnson."

I'm assuming that tweet was Keith Olbermann trying to be a smart ass because no sportscaster with even a modicum of self-respect would admit they didn't know who Jimmie Johnson was even if they aren't a supporter of NASCAR, would they? You know - six-time champion, Athlete of the Year, etc, etc.

But Olbermann trudged on - "You know how you get rid of #NASCAR fans trying to annoy you on social media? Just turn right."

Ha! Ha! I practically split my sides laughing at that bit of deadly wit.

And finally, still determined to have the last word -

"I'd like to thank fans for proving every cliche about themselves. And creating new ones. "

I hardly ever comment about football or baseball or basketball or hockey because I wouldn't know what I was talking about. I don't understand the finer points of the game. I do know that lots of fans love all those sports and that's what they are about, entertaining huge numbers of people.

There are no "good" sports and "bad" sports. We all get to choose which to watch and which to ignore, which one thrill us and which ones bore us. Keith Olbermann doesn't get to decide for us.

If Keith Olbermann doesn't like NASCAR, as Jimmie said, that his prerogative. But if he is going to report a NASCAR story, then he should care enough about his viewers to at least take the time to get the names right....and if he doesn't, he should simply apologize.

Instead, he chose to carry on a Twitter war with NASCAR fans and to become progressively more insulting as he went along.

So, I'm sorry but we're not friends anymore. I'm sure you probably don't care. Neither do I.

Friday, January 9, 2015

What Have You Got To Prove?

The heck with it! I usually try to be very impartial and unbiased in my blogs. I don't think I show my support for my favorite driver too blatantly but this is my first of 2015 and I'm starting with a picture of MY driver, Jimmie Johnson! So, there you go - go, 48 team in 2015! Revin' for Se7en! All right, that's out of the way.

I read an article on one of the NASCAR sites talking about which drivers have "something to prove" in 2015. Coming off his worst season in Sprint Cup, Jimmie was one of them. I disagree with that to some extent. With 6 championships under his belt, I don't really think Jimmie has anything to prove. If he never won another race, he'd still be one of the best ever. But having said that, I'm sure everyone involved with the 48 is hoping to redeem themselves in the coming season.

I don't remember who all the others were in that story but to me, both Carl and Matt have something to prove. I imagine it is rather nerve-wracking to go to another team like Carl is doing and try to get a running start after years with the familiarity of your old team. I know I was always anxious starting a new job until I saw that I was going to do okay. So, the first few races will probably be stressful for Carl until he gets his feet under him.

Matt has already been through that movie and emerged a big winner. His first year with Gibbs was his best. Last year wasn't too shabby either but he'll definitely be wanting to win again in 2015.

Ryan Newman will want to prove that he can be as consistent as last year but with at least one win thrown in for good measure.

Danica Patrick will want to show that she is continuing to improve.

Tony Stewart, yeah, he need to prove to himself most of all that he can bounce back from a terrible year.

Kurt Busch, like Tony, will want to convince everyone that his off-track problems don't affect his on-track performance.

Aric Almirola and A. J. Allmendinger will want people to know that their appearances in last year's Chase were not flukes (although they probably were).

Roush Racing will simply want to show they are still relevant in Sprint Cup....and the same with Michael Waltrip - and while we're talking about MWR, positive thoughts are going out to Brian Vickers who recently had heart surgery.

Kyle Larson doesn't have to prove anything. He just needs to keep on keeping on. Rookie of the Year in 2014, won the Sprint Car Winter heat Showdown last week, practicing for the Rolex 24 today and qualifies for the Chili Bowl on Tuesday.

NASCAR fans keep on proving that many of them lack class. It was the same old, same old name-calling on a recent Danica article on Yahoo. Dumbica, Danicunt, get the picture. There are two kinds of hate - passive and active. When you seek out the target that supposedly disturbs you so just so you can tell the world about it, that is active hate and it is the ugliest kind.

NASCAR, of course, wants to prove that the changes they continue to make are positive ones for most of their fans. I think that was generally the case in 2014. In 2015, we'll have less horsepower, a shorter rear spoiler and a track bar that will be adjustable by the driver so, once again, we'll get to see how those changes affect the teams from the git-go.

And as for us, all we have to do is sit back and watch and sometimes grumble and sometimes cheer and sometimes some of each all at the same time.