Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Kahne beats out Johnson in a frustrating Coca-Cola 600 and final thoughts on Memorial Day Weekend racing

With the Indy 500 in the books and the quick turn around, it was time for the Nextel Cup Series longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 from Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, how would it play out with the harder tires, the 13.5 gallon fuel cell and the must needed racetrack repaving..

The 600 was a longer version of the All-Star race, and I would describe as frustrating from the first caution flag coming out on lap one when R. Gordon's bone-headed move going into turn three that took out Jarrett, to the endless pitstops, I lost track how many times they pited and for what, the pitstrategy was interesting with just fuel or fuel and either two or four tires, but having to pit every 18 mins or so was outragis and seeing that clock come up every now and then and once it come up, something would happen on the track to bring out yet another caution flag.

The did however like the race once the sun finally went down and the race was finally under the night sky, by that time, you know what you had, the last 100 laps was interesting, they got down to racing.

There were a couple of positive things about the race and one big surprise to me, first, I agreed with Jeff Gordon in what he said during his interview about the harder tires, the racetrack and that they could have put on a better show, second, good side-by-side racing for the remainder of the last 100 laps, third, no more "this is my house" from Jimmie Johnson, sorry Jimmie its not funny anymore and finally, that Kasey Kahne not only survived, but won the Coca-Cola 600.

The 600 was just what DW commented "the race will be more getting on and off to pit road than on the track.", well put.

Final thoughts on Memorial Day Weekend racing from Saturday to Monday..
The Craftsmen Truck race from Ohio had its moments with good side-by-side racing, and seeing Ron Hornaday Jr. win, capped off a good Saturday. The Busch Series race "or Cup Lites" was a shorter version of the 600 with 24 buschwackers in the field, enought said..the 90th running of the Indy 500, described as "the Greatest spectacle in racing" lived up to its name creating the 2nd closest finishing of all time with a first time winner, Sam Hornish Jr. over a very impressive Marco Andretti. The Coca-Cola 600 was simply frustrating...and finally a interesting GT race from Lime rock. Great weekend, don't forget to support our troops.

From my desk at home, this is Brian saying See Yeah Next Week..its Dover and Watkins Glen.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sam Hornish Jr edges out Marco Andretti for the Indy 500 victory

Yesterday's 90th running of the Indianapolis 500, described as the Greatest spectacle in racing lived up to its name creating the 2nd closest finishing of all time.

Just after 1 p.m., the green flag was in the air, the 500 played out early on with the two strongest teams of the 2006 season and the fastest all month long at the brickyard leading the way, third-fourth place Ganassi drivers Wheldon and Dixon jumped out to the lead over the two Penske racing boys and domanating throughout, after a couple of caution flags including one for Helio crashing and hitting the wall and anyother with a refueling problem on pitroad involving Sam Hornish Jr.'s crew resulting in a fuel spliling and IRL sending Hornish to the back for leaving to soon, the race would came down to pitstrategy and who would have enough fuel to make it to the end and who would have to do a splash for gas.

Michael Andretti and Sam Hornish Jr. both topped off after a caution flag and could go to the end without another stop, the final caution of the day came out with just under 10 laps to go with Michael Andretti staying out to take the lead and several other drivers pitting for either fuel or fuel and four-tires.. would it be a Andretti finish...with Michael staying out front on the final restart, it would be an Andretti trying for the victory, but it was the rookie Marco Andretti passing his father Michael going down the backstrentch and taking the lead with Sam Hornish Jr. quickly running him down, on the last lap with Marco leading down the frontstrentch, Hornish slipped screened to the inside and by less than 0.7 seconds, Sam Hornish Jr. edged out Marco for the victory.

What a finish and congrads to Sam Hornish Jr. for picking up his first Indianapolis 500 victory and what a race for the young rookie Marco Andretti who just got edged out at the end.

One thing cames to mind after hearing the WindTunnel question of the week, Is the Indianapolis 500 still 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing'?

In my opinion, the Indianapolis 500 is one of the greatest spectacles in racing, but not "the greatest", simply there isn't one great anything really. There are a few greatest specticles in racing including the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and maybe even the Grand Prix of Monaco because Monte Carlo is the superbowl of Formula 1, but the Indianapolis is still at the top of the list.

Most people (non-racing fans) know what or have heard of the Indianapolis 500.

See Yeah!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Preview: This weekends running of the Indianapolis 500, Coca-Cola 600 and Beyond

Welcome to one of the biggest weekends in Motorsports today with over four different racing series in action from Saturday to Monday night.

IRL Indy Cars: For this years running of the 90th Indianapolis 500, Penske Racing and Ganassi Racing are the front runners leading up to the green flag with polesitter Sam Hornish Jr. and his teammate Helio Castroneves in the middle and Ganassi's Dan Wheldon on the outside of the frontrow. Last years Rookie of Indy, Danica Patrick will roll off inside row 4 (10th). Green flag just after 1 p.m. EDT on ABC.

NASCAR Nextel Cup Series: Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte will play host to Sunday night's Nextel Cup's long race, the 600...if the All-Star race last Saturday night was any sign including the 13.5 gallon fuel cell and harder tires, the race well (As DW commented "the race will be more getting on and off to pit road than on the track). The frontrunners will be of course Jimmie Johnson, who owns this track in victories, "Smoke" Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin and anyother driver who doesn't make a mistake. No predictions here on who will win...the green flag sometime after 5 p.m. on FOX. One thing: 35-38 laps fuel window.

Grand Prix of Monaco
Formula 1: Monte Carlo, I don't know why, but I love watching this Grand Prix, Monaco is a sight to see and a very tight street course. Saturday holds qualifying, but this season has been a battle or who can top who season between last years champion Fernando Alonso and 7-time champion Michael Schumacher, but don't count out those McLaren-Mercedes cars for the victory in this race, anything can happen and the polesitter will have a huge advantage. CBS's race coverage (Taped Delayed ofcourse) at 12:30 p.m., yes Indy 500 time.

One Note: SPEED should always have live coverage of all Formula 1 race, I hate Tape Delayed, if CBS wants to reair, so do it, but show the race at 8 a.m. live and again at 12:30 p.m. taped.

Grand American Rolex Series
A Monday live race from Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, CT, Road Racing, live on SPEED 2:30 p.m.. This will be a first for me.

Don't forget NASCAR's Craftsmen Truck race from Ohio and the Busch Series 300 from Charlotte both on Saturday.

See Yeah after the races...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Surviving the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge

With last nights or early this mornings NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge in the books for yet another year, the racing last night was anything but boring, the new pavement, harder tires and 13 gallon fuel cells all played a part in last nights carnage of aggressive driving...turn 4 was the biggest problem all night showing great saves and off the wall spins and wrecks.

After the Nextel Open were Scott Riggs domainated with taking the lead on lap 2 and never looking back, it was on to the main event, the Nextel All-Star Challenge, the introductions were mixed, polesitter Kasey Kahne getting a great responce while Kyle & Kurt Busch getting the worsest reponses I have heard yet. Kyle Petty was voted in for the fan voting, most people including myself voted for him because if he got in, Victory Junction would get a large donation, so why not...

The Nextel All-Star Challenge has 3 segments, in segment 1, mandatory green flag pit stops had to happen and after a caution period, the next lap would be the first of pit stops with a hole pack of cars coming down with Jimmie Johnson making his pit stop and sparking off a spin...the next two laps would give others there chance to pit under green, when it was all over, segment 1 ended with Kyle Busch picking up $75,000 leading at the end.

Segment 2 included an invert of the top 10...During segment 2, the big one happened just off of two 2 with two cars hard into the outside wall and a huge chain reaction taking out a good chunk of the field. Kevin Harvick survivied leading at the end.

Segment 3 (the finale) Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth got together going into turn 1 taking them both into the wall and out of the race, I will leave the comments aftermath out...after the restart, it was single file to the end with Jimmie Johnson winning in his house...and 1 million dollars.

Thoughts: If this is a preview of what might happen next week in the 600, all I can say is for fans and drivers, be ready for anything...as for the all-star races, I didn't know what to expect going in, even after I enjoyed Friday night's trucks, but I don't know about the All-Star race, I had had enough after the big one in segment 2...
See Yeah!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What happened and whats next for Darlington in NASCAR?

As yet another Darlington race is in the books on this Mother's day for the Busch and Cup Series, the debate lives on as we sit back and reflect on what has happened and what the future holds for next year and beyond for Darlington.

Both the Busch and Cup races remind me of last years racing, fast, rim riding, tight and aggressive, so what is it about Darlington and racing once the sun goes down... I don't know, maybe its the cooler temps or the lights, but for whatever the reason, racing this way is a must.

For Friday night's Busch race, a short 200 mile sprint race, Cup rookie and polesitter Denny Hamlin showing the field of Nextel Cup and Busch drivers just what he could do with running up front and leading late on with holding off a hard-charging Matt Kenseth and the early race leader Jamie McMurray to pull off a mother's day Busch series victory.. for Hamlin, welcome to victory lane at the lady in Black, complete with a darlington stripe.

For Saturday night on the other hand, 500 miles is not a sprint race, but once the race got into the night and the give and take driving was over, the track and drivers came out and showed action. For the FOX crew, one touch of interest was the Darlington stripe counter totally 25 the last time shown. But for this race, waiting until the last 50 miles was the key or at least 50 laps with the chase beginning, Greg Biffle up on Jeff Gordon and the gap getting tighter and tighter, 40, 30, 20, 10 to go, closing fast, 1st to 2nd, closing to within just a couple of car lengths, 5 to go with lots of traffic, 4, 2, 1, not going to do it, Greg Biffle breaks bad luck in victory lane. What a race, not bad..., did I get your attention.

With the racing done, now the debate of were exactly does Darlington belong on the Nextel Cup schedule will begin again, maybe the 500 miler should be under the lights on Saturday night Mother's Day weekend or in September on Labor day weekend or somewhere in between?

Basically, The idea of losing Darlington is on my mind more than where the 500 should be on the schedule, one thing is for sure, racing at Darlington during the day is ok, but under the lights on Saturday or Sunday night is a must. Racing under the lights at this track with all of the improvements is where its at, I would like to see the 500 back on Labor day, but its not important, just keep the race under the lights. Its that simple.. Improve the track, add more seats and have a sellout crowd year after year.

There's nothing more for me to say about Darlington, see you next Mother's Day weekend for yet another 200 and 500 miler.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Photography: 2006 Foose Motorcycle Serial #001

(from Unique Performance) Designed by award winning Chip Foose and built by Unique Performance Customs (UPC) and Quality Metalcraft (QMC), this is the first of a limited edition 2006 Foose Motorcycle Serial #001. Photos & Article..
Long, stunning and perfect...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Rundown in Motorsports this weekend: May 12-14

This is an off-posting from the columns that I normally write weekly, but this is for all of those Motorsports fans that don't know what to do this weekend after they visit or call there Mother's and wish her a happy mother's day.

Enjoy the Motorsports with just a preview of whats up this weekend on Television.

(All East Coast Times)
NASCAR Busch Series Darlington Diamond Hill Plywood 200 - FX 8:00p

American LeMans GP of Houston - CBS (Tape Delay) 1:00p
Grand American Grand-AM Cup in Laguna Sega - SPEED (Taped from last weekend) 1:00p
IRL Indy Car Indianapolis 500 Pole Day - ESPN2 12-2p
IRL Indy Car Indianapolis 500 Pole Day - ABC 3-6p
NASCAR Nextel Cup in Darlington - FOX 6:30p
Champ Car World Series GP of Houston - Race Live 9:00p ET SPEED

Sunday (Mother's Day):
Formula One GP of Spain - CBS (Tape Delay) 12:00p
IRL Indy Car Indianapolis 500 Time trials - ESPN2 1-4p
IRL Indy Car Indianapolis 500 Time trials - ESPN2 6-7p
Grand American Grand-AM Cup in Phoenix - SPEED (Tape Delay) 1:00p
Grand American in Phoenix - SPEED (Tape Delay) 3:00p

Monday, May 8, 2006

Victory for Dale Jr in Richmond

The words "great racing under the lights" term has been used many times to describe racing at most short tracks across the country, but that term doesn't even begin to describe what happened in the Nextel Cup race last Saturday night, all I can really say is that, thats what NASCAR racing is all about, side-by-sidebar two-by two beating and banging racing on a 3.4 mile short track, am I wrong...

What a domination early and throughout the race by Kevin Harvick and that RCR team, Harvick has been on a tear as of late in both the Busch Series with three+ victories, the points lead and in the Nextel cup with a victory at Bristol, and most of use thought that he was yet again on his way the victory lane in the 400, but that one non-adjustment of whether or not to take tires came up to bite him late on and once you go back in the field, its hard to come back up in little time. For Dale Jr, his team made all the right calls early and offen that got him up front with the other two contenders Kyle Busch and young Denny Hamlin in his first Richmond cup race who both battled for the victory, but had to settle for runner up as Dale Jr as many headlines showed sunday, "Earnhardt Jr. is back" as he lead the last 20+ laps in route to victory. What a victory... and now 6th in points.

One thing: What a great run for the new 78 team of Kenny Wallace who not only made the race, but finished 25th, good job.., the beginning.

Darlington Preview: Next up the Busch and Nextel Cup series are off to Darlington for a high-speed under the light racing event, if last year was any clue as to what might happen, this race will be interesting..

Monday, May 1, 2006

DEI's Special paint schemes for Talladega

(Credit & Copyright: Harold Hinson/Dale Earnhardt Inc.)

This past weekend at Talladega for the Aaron's 312 Busch race and Aaron's 499 Nextel Cup race, Dale Earnhardt Inc. showcased four special paint schemes to Salute Dale Earnhardt. (DEI article with all four cars pictures)

Pictured above with Teresa Earnhardt are Paul Menard's #11 Menard's (Busch Series), Martin Truex Jr's #8 Bass Pro Shop (Busch Series), Dale Earnhardt Jr's #8 Budweiser (Nextel Cup) and Martin Truex Jr's #1 Bass Pro Shop (Nextel Cup).

Congrads to Martin Truex Jr. for winning the Aaron's 312 for three-in-a-row.

Thoughts on NASCAR Restrictor Plate Racing

Last night on WindTunnel, the question was "What's your take on restrictor plate racing", with Dave Despain saying that he doesn't hate it.

My Take on restrictor plate racing, is simply put this: I agree somewhat, I don't hate it, but don't like it too much either. It is only run four times a year and its a giant chess match, but its also the fear of "The Big One". I do enjoy watching both the Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400, you have to have a handling car to win Daytona, but as for Talladega, that's different, its hard to watch a race at Talladega whether its a Busch Series or Nextel Cup Series. If you have red my last couple of articles on Talladega, the headline has red "Demotion Derby at Talladega.... for NASCAR" in two parts, its survival, period. Thats It, thats not entertainment and its not Richmond, Bristol or Martinsville racing, but what were they thinking.

One other thing: One thing is clear to me, at these race tracks, NASCAR has to leave the restrictor plates on these cars, there is no reason for these car to run 230 miles-per-hour around Daytona or Talladega.

Results from Talladega:
Martin Truex Jr wins the Aaron's 312 for three-in-a-row.
Jimmie Johnson wins the Aaron's 499 and "The Big One" appears on Lap 9. Good Job to Brian Vickers finishing in 3rd, he was leading with 1.5 to go.

See Yeah!