Monday, August 28, 2006

Another tight points chase and a 1st time winner leaving Somona


A surprising but not unpredictable finish to the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma when rookie Marco Andretti became the youngest driver in IRL IndyCar Series history to pick up his first career victory with a fuel saving strategy on Sunday.

The points contenders had an up and down day with mixed finishing results, now points leader Helio Castroneves finished 5th while his teammate and now second in points Sam Hornish Jr. battled back to finish in 9th position.

Leaving Sonoma, the points chase has tightened to just 1 point between first and second place and Penske Teammates with Ganassi Racing 19-21 points back. Now there's just one race to go, the season finale, the Showdown at Chiacgoland on September 10th.

(Photo Credit: IndyCar.com)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Tight points chase after Bristol and final thoughts

Before I get to the Race for the Chase, the Sharpie 500 won by Matt Kenseth, something caught my eye during the closing laps of the race, Riggs was racing the Jeff Gordon for 4th position and Riggs asked his spotter to ask Gordons spotter to ask Gordon to move over and let him by because he was faster...when did racing become asking the person ahead to move over for position instead of racing for it...you want that position, race for it, no gifts here and certainly not in the closing laps of any race.

Following the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Sharpie 500 last night, the Race to the Chase has gotten tighter with just two races to go. On the TNT broadcast, the announcers kept saying that this race was the wild card, don't think that for a second, every race is a wild card, anything can and will most likely happen in the final two races. California Speedway is D-shaped 2 mile oval similar to last weeks Michigan race and Richmond is a 3/4 mile short track filled with action, both with unknown results and under the lights racing.

Right now as it stands, from 4th place #5 Kyle Busch to 10th place #6 Mark Martin is only 48 points difference. The only two drivers going in to California in the points standings that are (somewhat) safe, is the points leader Jimmie Johnson and second place & winner of the last two cup races Matt Kenseth who has both clinched a spot in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. But some of NASCAR's biggest names have found thereselves on the bubble including 7th place Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. to 10th place Mark Martin.

The picture for these bubble contenders is not as dark as some may put it, unless Greg Biffle and/or Carl Edwards who are over 251 points out of 10th get lucky with bad luck on the other contenders part, the race is down to Kasey Kahne in 11th place vs. 3rd to 10th in the points. Kahne is 90 points out of 10th place and could make that difference up in the last two races.

Where these drivers finish in the final two races and every bonus point could be the key to being in the chase after Richmond or not.

Final Thoughts on Bristol:
As always, I look forward to the two Bristol races among others every year including racing under the lights, and the racing this time didn't disappoint with Mark Martin dominating the Wednesday Nights Truck race and Matt Kenseth sweeping both the Busch and Nextel Cup race.

Bristol needs to change the Busch race from 250 laps to 300 lap race like they did in the spring race. As for the Cup race, I believe both races should be under the lights or the race ending under the lights. Night racing seems to bring out something in drivers...action. Only a thought.

Now its on to the labor day weekend race, California Speedway for the 500.

The Car of Tomorrow:
NASCAR Performance touched on several different aspects of the COT and did a great job in the process, but the fact remains, according to NASCAR, the COT is the 2007 and beyond car for the Nextel Cup Series starting at Bristol in 07 and at select races until 2009 season. Now how do we get it to look good and create better/safer racing?

See Yeah!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

NASCAR gives Carl Edwards fine and probation only for Michigan Busch race incident.

From NASCAR.com Article: NASCAR announced Tuesday that Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Ford in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been fined $20,000 and placed on probation until December 31st due to a rule violation at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 19. No points taken away.

Does the punishment fit the crime?
Simply put NO, it was a slap on the wrist and nothing more. I will refer you to my posting from last September's incident in the Busch Series race in Richmond "Gesture costs Truex Jr. 25 points, $10,000 ", what's the huge difference? I know all incidents are different, but wow.

NASCAR.com's board has been busy with responses, check them out.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

NASCAR's Car Of Tomorrow final version coming at you


(Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images for NASCAR from SPEEDtv Article)

Above is the 2007 Toyota Camry COT tested yesterday at Michigan International Speedway along with 13 other Nextel Cup Drivers among Toyotas, Chevrolets, Fords and Dodges.


Credit: Jayski.com, by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR

This is Martin Truex Jr. testing DEI's COT at LMS back on May 30, 2006. You know the story, some fans don't like it and the manufacters don't look too much like there street version.

Most readers here at Racedriven.com know just what I think about NASCAR's Car Of Tomorrow, simply put I don't like it, but I have been looking at the Toyota Camry for Red Bull Racing and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS that Truex Jr. tested in Sears Point, I have noticed that the COT does look similer to the street verson after all, at least the Toyota and Chevy versions do, picture the stock Toyota Camry or the stock Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS (pictured to the right) with a ground effects/body kit and an aftermarket rear wing and you are close to the COT. Just look at it, I will be interested in seeing the final verson next year and then I will really have something to say. (Photo Credit for the stock Chevrolet Monte Carlo: Chevy.com), for more Car Of Tomorrow photos, click on over to Jayski.com.

A previous Car Of Tomorrow posts of mine:
- NASCAR Car of Tomorrow in 2007?

FastMachines.com asks the question Is "The Car Of Tomorrow" The Ugliest Race Car Ever? Interesting Comments.

See Yeah!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Looking back at Watkins Glen, Nashville and Denver and a preview on to Michigan

Looking back at NASCAR Busch and Cup Series races at Watkins Glen, the Truck Series at Nashville and the Champ Car race from Denver, all had three things in common, aggressive driving, payback and one bad deal.

Which driver was guilty of a last-lap violation of racing etiquette?
A. Robby Gordon - Watkins Glen Busch Race
B. Paul Tracy - Denver Champ Car Race
C. Mike Skinner - Nashville Truck Series Race
D. Todd Bodine - Nashville Truck Series Race

Answer: C. (Note: Removed B.)

For the Watkins Glen Busch race, the last-lap racing for the victory between Kurt Busch and Robby Gordon met at a head in the interloop when Robby Gordon made a bonsi move through the grass into the leader Busch which led to the both of them looking for control coming out of the interloop. If Kurt Busch had went into the wall, it would have been called a penality, but looking at the outcome, it was just simply hard racing and nothing else.

The Denver Champ Car race was guilty as charged, because there is no way that move was going to work and Paul Tracy just took out the McDonald's car, resulting in Paul Tracy docked 3 championship points, $25,000 fine and three-race probation.

Update: Its 4 days later and I have thought about this Denver race and that replay many times and after viewing the replay several more times, I am wrong, I admit it, I'm wrong...this was a racing deal and nothing more, they both went in hard for position and Tracy got loss and thats that.

The Nashville truck race - the setup for yet another Green-White-Checkered finish with Mike Skinner leading was a showdown that turned from a bump and run to pure payback. Going into turn 1 Mike Skinner blocked Bodine which resulted in contact with Skinner putting him up the track and into second behind the new lead Bodine, but on the last-lap, this was simply payback with Skinner's bonsi move into turn 1 and into Bodine's back bumper putting both of them into the wall, yes 1st and 2nd wrecked with 3rd place Johnny Benson being in the right place and the right time going on to victory and Bodine finished 8th and Skinner finished 17th. The both of them could have handed this better and for Skinner, he could have taking the lead in turn 3 and 4, but we will never know.

Now the one bad deal was for Kurt Busch during the Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen, the green flag pitstop turns into him going to the back of longest line because he pitted under caution.. this is a problem, Busch saw green light, but the yellow came out just before he got to the light, a bad luck deal that now needs to be addressed with better communications to the team and drivers. The pitroad light needs to be both at drivers eye level and at spotters level.

Looking ahead to Michigan, the Nextel Cup Points chase is heating up with just four-races to go, 13-14 drivers in the battle to be in the top 10 after Richmond. Its all in were you finish.

Elliott Sadler will be driving the #19 Dodge for EMS. No comfirmation on the #38 yet.


(Credit for photo: FoxSports.com/Allwaltrip.com/Mountain Dew)

Straight from AllWaltrip.com: During a Michigan Busch race, Brian Vickers goes back to the future with a retro ride reminiscent of Darrell Waltrip's No. 11 Mountain Dew 1981 championship-winning car.

Well, See Yeah!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Big Brother 7: All-Star with My Take on the first 44 days

Whoever said that Big Brother is just a game, forgot to tell these houseguests..wow

I have been watching Big Brother on CBS since sometime during Season 3 I think, I remember seeing Danelle in that season and Marcellas. Unlike last season were I bloggered a couple times a week on Big Brother, this season I haven't. I am just watching what is on TV, after seeing really nothing but fish last season, I also didn't waste my money on the online feed. Going past that, for me, this is my first column on Big Brother 7: All-Stars.

Welcome instead of Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches, Big Brother slop. No Thank You.. With that said..

So heres My Take on the first 44 days in the Big Brother House and the first 5 evicted houseguests. Let's rewind to the openning of the Season 7 All-Star edition of Big Brother doors.

Day 1 in the Big Brother house brought 14 of 20 All-Stars into the house who got the most votes from America's Choice. I voted for Marcellas, Allison, Jase, Danelle and Kayser from the previous seasons, I wanted to see what each of them could do this time around.

The entry list was Alison, Danelle, Diane, Erica, Chicken George, Howie, Janelle, Marcellas, James, Jase, Kayser, Mike Boogy, Nakomis and winner of season 2 Dr. Will. What alineup and in this group, no big surprises.

In the first week, the first twist was two HOH's with both of them having to agree on the two nominations, the two HOH's was Janelle (no surprise here) and Jase. The idea going around the house was that Jase shouldn't agree with Janelle and if that happened, both HOH's would become the nominations. Not a good idea going from HOH to the nomination block. The idea was first from danelle and Alison, then it like most things ran through the house with both of them becoming the nominated. Alison became the first evicted houseguest.

Following by the 2nd evicted houseguest Nakomis, then here's were backdooring comes into play (meaning the evicted houseguest was nominated to take the place of the veto winner and didn't get to play to get themselves from being evicted.) The next three evicted houseguests were backdoored out of the house, I hate this type of playing.. Third evicted houseguest was Jase, 4th Diane and the 5th was Kayser.

Janelle and the Big Brother Season 6 houseguests have ruled this season so far, but after lossing Kayser and now James (Just like last year) playing bothside, Season 6 allies is down to two with the leagen of doom having four.

So as it stands rightnow, Janelle is HOH, Danelle just won the veto in a really creative way with the help of her allie (James, Mike and Dr Will) and took herself of the block, its Erica and Marcellas are on the block going into the live evictions on this Thursday night along with the winner of the biggest power in the house, the Coup d'Etat.

So what about it, my full thoughts, interesting so far, I don't like backdooring people at all and Jase, Diane and Kayser all got a bad deal. I voted for Jase to come into the house and I wanted to see just what kind of game he could play. Janelle has rules this game claiming three HOH's, Kayser, James and Danelle have held one HOH apiece. It all comes down to who you are aligned with and how well you complete, plus your truth to lieing balance. Now I am a fan at home, so this take is just that, a fans take, but you have to lie a little to say in the game and hopefully win, but damn.

A couple of notables in lieing, Marcellas, James, and Dr. Will are playing bothsides, Janelle and her follower Howie are in an allies, James is playing along with Season 6 allies, but is in the leagon of doom with danelle, Mike and Dr. Will and the others are floaters. ChillTown is Dr. Will and Mike (plus maybe Erica). One more thing, I don't know what about these games brings out love, but I don't know about Erica and Mike Boogie together?

If I could evicted two houseguests rightnow, I choose to evict Janelle and Howie.

Well thats what's up with most of going's on in the Big Brother House this season, I know I missed some of it, but I am only human. I still don't know everything.

Note: for up to date info, go to BigBrotherLink.com, great site with spoilers...

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Crawford and Harvick win at ORP & Jimmie Johnson survives at the Brickyard


(Credit for borrowed Photo: Shawn Payne/IMS)

First up, last Friday night at the newly renamed O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis (I would have prefered IRP by O'Reilly), the NASCAR Craftsmen Trucks Series was in action for there 200 lap sprint race with Rick Crawford holding off Denis Setzer and the master Ron Hornaday Jr. to grab the victory. This truck race also showcased a new racing grove, the very bottom of the corners below the yellow line just about to the grass, for anyone who could get there truck to handle down there including the winner, made short order of the lap traffic.

Last night (Saturday), the Busch Series was in action with another 200 lap sprint race, were history would repeat itself for two drivers, Denny Hamlin make the call that didn't get him the track position at the end, Hamlin found himself in the back on one of the final restarts were in the closing laps, he used the outside grove next to the wall to make up over 10 positions passing cars to finish 8th instead of outside the top 20.

But the night belowed to Mr. Busch Series himself, Kevin Harvick who added to his huge points lead by grabbing another victory..Harvick made real short-order of traffic by using the lowest grove on track. Now Harvick has a 374 point lead...

This Busch race needs at least 50 more laps. How about the Kroger 250?

On to the Sunday, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard for the Nextel Cup Series, 160 laps, Jeff Burton grabbed the pole yesterday during qualifying with his RCR teammate Clint Boywer starting 2nd. During yesterdays (and Fridays) practice sections, tire ware was a huge problem with tires only being able to go about 9 - 15 laps total per set, would that come into play Sunday?

Green Flag in the AllState 400 at the Brickyard were NASCAR had two caution flags set for just after lap 15 and around lap 40, but the first caution cameout for Elliott Sadler on lap 2 when he lost it in turn 2 putting hime into the wall and ending his day. Jimmie Johnson also blow a left front tire, but he would recover and Jeff Gordon broke a front swaybar putting him laps down to fix that and all this before lap 10.

The tire problem really didn't show up too much thought the 160 lap race. Jeff Burton showed the way early on and thoughtout, he would struggle to find the ballance on his racecar. The race played out just like your average Nextel Cup race, slow but steady with lots of pitstops to control the any tire issues.

The bold moves of this race would come on the last caution were pit stragory would come into play, Kyle Busch and Dale Eanhardt Jr. rolled the dice by staying out and Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth took on 4 tires. I don't really know where Jimmie Johnson came from, towards the end of the race, he just fought his way to lead and after getting by Busch and Dale Jr., Jimmie Johnson cruised to his first Brickyard victory. What a drive for the 48 team, coming back from a blown left front tire to win, were have I heard that before...

Note: Dale Jr finished 6th.

Final Thoughts: I always look forward to the Indianapolis trip to both the short-track at Raceway Park at Indianapolis and the Brickyard itself. all three races were good to watch, no sleepers here, just good side-by-side racing with lots of passing. Tire problems at the Brickyard really didn't play a part in the final outcome, Goodyear and NASCAR both said the tire ware would be better and it was.

I felt bad for Michael Waltrip, not qualifying for the Brickyard 400, but his MWR #00 with Bill Elliott did make the 400, I will end this column with a question:

Question: With Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) along with BDR changing over to Toyotas in 2007 and MWR currently running one Chevy Monte Carlo for the #00 already, why don't he change his NAPA Dodge over to a Chevy Monte Carlo SS?

Just a question from this NASCAR fan, Mikey needs to get ready for 2007 and getting into the top 35 in points is a must...anyway, next up, Watkins Glen for both the Busch and Nextel Cup Series.

See Yeah!

Jenson Button captures 1st career victory in a wild Hungarian Grand Prix

Round 13 in the Formula 1 World Champion, the Hungarian Grand Prix would be one for the record books as rain and a very wet racetrack would play a huge factor in what would be describe as an exciting and unpredictable race.

In yesterday's qualifying section, Kimi Raikkonen grabbing the pole, while both Alonso and Schumacher were given time penalties putting them in mid-pack of the starting grid.

On the start of the race, it was the two McLaren-Mercedes up front leading the way with the Renaults and Ferraris fighting it out for position behind. The wet racetrack made for lots of passing and even more incidents, including Kimi Raikkonen's wild airborn ride as he tried to make his way by a lap car, making contact shedding his car's frontend in pieces putting him out of the race.

By the mid-race point, it looked like Fernando Alonso had everyone covered with about a 30-second lead over second place. During the race, the racetrack had finally started to dry out on the racing line, begging the question, who would make the big move of race and pit for dry tires. First it was Scott Speed pitting for dry tires and after spinning out on his outlap, that sent Speed back to the pits for intermedent tires. The move of race would come on lap 50, when Alonso would suffer the same problem on dry tires as he too lost it and backed his Renault into the wall, putting the points leader out of the race.

That put Jenson Button into the lead and Michael Schumacher into second place. The battle for second place would heat up with Pedro de la Rosa chasing down and fighting with Michael for several laps before contact between the two sent de la Rosa to 2nd and with just a couple laps to go, Schumacher to the garage and out of the race. With all of that happening over 30-seconds behind Button, no one could run down the Honda as Jenson Button would pickup his first career victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix. Pedro de la Rosa in his McLaren-Mercedes would grab his career best 2nd place finish and Nick Heidfeld grabbing 3rd in his Sauber-BMW.

Update: After Kubica got disqualified, Schumacher scores 8th place and 1 championship point. I can't believe that Schumacher got 1 point after questionable driving in the final laps, FIA Formula 1, where is the penalty for cutting the corner?

WindTunnel Question of the Week: Who do you think will win the Formula One World Championship (Fernando Alonso or Michael Schumacher) and why?

I say it will be a dog fight down to wire with both drivers/teams willing to do anything to win, plus the Bridgestone vs. Michelin tires will play a roll in the outcome and in the end, it will be Fernando Alonso winning the 2006 Formula One World Championship.

One person in a comment on anyother site said Formula One is a parade and NASCAR is a race..I got to think about that statement...powerful

See Yeah!

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

"My Take" Could there be a problem in NASCARs ABC/ESPN TV deal?

I have been thinking about this subject and I pose this question to all NASCAR fans.

Question: Should NASCAR fans be concerned about the ABC (including ESPN) new TV deal for 2007 and beyond after this past weekends IRL IndyCar Series Michigan race ran over time and ABC cut off East Coast fans at 6PM for local news?

First: For people who didn't watch the IRL Michigan race this past weekend, there was a 2.5 hour rain delay and around 6pm East Coast time, the race was set to go green, but ABC said that West Coast would be able to watch the race, but the East Coast fans would be cut off. The entire race was later televised on ESPN2 at 12:15am for East Coast fans and again the next day. Note: This has happened before a couple years or so ago at Pikes Peak when rain came in to play, but that race was in the middle and ABC cut east coast fans off for local news...race won by Gil deFerran in a Penske Indy car.

In my opinion, YES, if ABC does this for an IndyCar race, then they most likely will do this to any sporting event including a high rating NASCAR event. No fan should be cutoff just because there game or race goes into over time.

A couple of things to remember:
One, the networks in 2007 have asked for a later start times for the NASCAR events including the Nextel Cup Series races for better ratings on the West Coast, that flurts with darkness at the racetrack and not much time to get the race in.
Two, Nextel Cup races most likely always go over there time limit, not just for over time, but races take 3 to 4 hours to complete even without delays...cautions breed cautions during a race.

The simple thing is that no NASCAR/Sports fan wants to be cut off, the past couple of years, fans have enjoyed there races being televised live and the networks staying no matter how long the race runs over time, including going until 12:30-1am in some cases. These networks pay enough for these TV packages and already add more than enough commericals during them, now ABC might pull this...hopefully they at least move it to another network, but that cuts of non-cable/dish customers, what's next...

Also, It was reported on Thatsracin.com that NBC has changed the start time of this season's Nextel Cup Series finale in Homestead from the evening for the race to start in the day and end under the lights to 2:30pm and that the race must be completed by 7pm, because it interfears with there Sunday night NFL game...sorry, no racing under the lights and what happens if the race goes past 7pm?

Link: My previous post with comments on the 2007-2014 TV package...

Well thats my take...See Yeah!