Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Pure thoughts with my real life goals.

This is something that I normally don’t blog on, being that of my personal life, but in this case, it has to do with more.

Earlier tonight, I was watching the reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond, the episode entitle “Six Feet Under”, its mainly about Ray’s midlife crisis.

Now while laughing and enjoy this episode, I got to thinking, here is this guy living the life like most of us want to, Ray has everything including a great loving wife, three kids, a sports writing job that pays good and a nice big house on Long Island and all he can is say is this all.

My reaction was, are you kidding me, I know this is a comedy, but it really makes a person think, I’m offen asked about my goals in life, well, here’s mine, a great loving wife, one or two kids, a nice house or townhouse and most of all, a career that pays well and that I enjoy, whether its writing like I do now on my blog, an IT job, a printing job, a real estate job, or something completely different and with that, that’s living the life hands-down.
Just some thought…See Yeah!

Monday, March 26, 2007

It’s here… NASCAR in Bristol racing the Car of Tomorrow.

Going into Bristol, I really didn’t know what to think and once I say the lineup of COT’s on pitroad, I thought, I don’t know about this, its ugly, but damn its Bristol, a half-mile bull ring, what’s better in racing. I believe that one of the Speed reporters said it the best, you could drive tractors around Bristol and you would still get a good race. I believe that.

Despite throwing the COT in the mix, I really didn’t see a difference between yesterday’s race and years past. The action was all the same, betting and banging for 500 laps and if at the end you were within the top 3 spots, you had a shot to win.

Most of this race was dominated by Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin, even the #18 car got in on it by leading a couple of laps, but it all changed with first a fuel-pump gone bad and then Jimmie Johnson cutting down a tire and not getting on the apron quick enough, that gave Busch the lead. Then it began…

What a final couple of laps showdown, Kyle Busch leads, Jeff Gordon second, Burton third and Harvick/Biffle fighting for fourth. When it went green for the green-white-checkers, it was on with Burton grabbing second on the high side going though one and two and fighting Busch for the lead, but it wasn’t to be for Burton, Kyle Busch holds on by inches to win the first COT race and gets 600 victory for Chevrolet. Now that’s Bristol racing at its finest.

I have to say two thing, being first that Jeff Burton was a class act all the way, he raced Busch clean and second, if Jeff Gordon was behind Busch, Busch wouldn’t have won the race, Gordon would have done a bump and run just like in years past.

So, what about the Car of Tomorrow or whatever we are calling now a days, some drivers said the COT doesn’t drive anything like the current, well yeah, it wasn’t designed too. That brings us to WindTunnel’s question of the week, Now that you have seen it race, what do you think of NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow?

Basically, I need to see it race more on different tracks and Martinsville next week isn’t going to tell me anything, I am talking about Talladega, Atlanta, New Hamphire, Michigan, Watkins Glen and etc...but so far, I like the safety, and that was tested during the race with Jarrett and Gilland and it looks like it passed. The COT is a box, straight edged, like the cars Back in the Day.

How about things I would change, starting in the front, did anyone see Sunday’s 2007 Chevrolet Impala SS pace car, it had a body kit including a better look up front and in the rear, a large black rear wing…the front of the pace car looked better, start there. The green house is flat everywhere, but going to the back, the rear wing… a couple of things would include going Dave Despain’s idea of putting a giant decal over it so it doesn’t and out or better yet, take a page from the Modified Series cars and put in a large clear rear wing.

One change that must be made today is a smaller front splitter, fans say a lot of cut tires mainly from contact with the front splitter. Who knows what’s next for this car besides Martinsville next week, but its here to stay and I would say in 2008, it will be full-time…See Yeah!

(Image Credit: Motorsport.com - thats both images)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

You Tube: What's NASCAR fans thoughts on Johnson's Nextel Commericial?

Originally I had wrote about this Elliott Sadler/Jimmie Johnson/Nextel commercial last week which is about a conversation with Sadler giving Johnson some advice about getting into the corner and Johnson replying with calling for the Nextel Cup and saying "I'm sorry, what was that.." and then Sadler just says "Good talk Jimmie", calling it stupid.

Well, I still think that this commercial is stupid, but going even further, this commercial really makes Johnson look bad, that since he is the 2006 NNC Champion, that he is the best and everyone else don't count. To me, thats not who Jimmie Johnson is.

Personally, if it was me in Sadler's spot, I would have restarted the conversation with saying the same thing, finished it and said, your Nextel Cup is dirty, you must do this alot.

So what does everyone think, do you feel the same or have a different opinion? Please keep the comments clean... See Yeah!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Final thoughts on the Forza Motorsport Showdown on SPEED

What an interesting way of putting on a real life showdown based on a video game. After watching this four-part mini series a couple of times, I have to say I enjoyed watching it. I will say that I was a little shocked at the outcome, not who won mind you, but the way the entire thing went down.

In all of the events including the Atlanta Dragway At Commerce's Quarter Mile, Road Atlanta's Autocross for Drifting , Two Road Courses and Lanier Speedway's Oval Track, it was the final event on the road course that everything fell apart. Surprised would be an understatement, all of the six car which were a 2005 Ford Mustang GT "Woodward GT" with supercharger from Team Air Ride, a 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe from Team LG, the two that I picked as favorites of mine, a 2004 Nissan 350Z from Godfather Customs, a 2003 Nissan 350Z from Team Royal Purple and finally a 1969 Chevy Camaro and a 1973 Dodge Challenger both from Team Year One (Two different teams for the Showdown), they had problems.

I would thought yeah, maybe one or two cars would have gone out, but all six cars had there issues. All through that final race, the corvette lost most of its power and also in that category was both the 350Z’s, and the Chevy Camaro lost a drive shalf (I think), so it really came down to the damaged, but still moving Ford Mustang and the Year One Dodge Challenger.

What a match up, This race would have been almost a run away, but a caution was out due to so many stopped cars on track, the Challenger that mind you had not been challenging in most events due to one problem after another was leading with the Mustang one lap down. When green flow, the challenger had to pit (so they said) for fuel, they could have made it and when they did, the Mustang un-lapped herself and then chanced down the Challenger, passing him on the last corner to win.

In the end, I was surprised to see that the Chevrolet Corvette broke, but not surprised at all to see the Ford Mustang GT driven by Angela Cope won the challenge and the entire showdown.

If whoever produced this comes out with another edition of this challenge, I would watch it. Also, if I owned the XBOX 360, that’s a pricey item, the Forza Motorsport 2 game would be on my short list. All in all, a last lap, last corner pass for the victory and $100,000 is a great way to end the showdown…See Yeah!

Was it just good hard racing or not in the GT2 battle at the 12 hours of Sebring?

With another 12 hours of Sebring in the books, as I look back at this race, its was no surprise to see Audi continue its winning ways in picking up its 8th straight victory after first making history last year with winning the 12 hour race and becoming the first diesel car in the world to win a major sports car race.

In the P2 class, Andretti-Green Racing in Acura's debut won the class and the Chevrolet Corvette continue there winning ways in picking up a 1-2 victory in the Gt1 class.

But the big story of the race that over shadowed everything else was the battle in the GT2 class. This battle got physical on the backstrenght when they started banging fenders, but the real hits would come coming off the final corner with the Porsche on the outside and the Ferrari coming back on the inside hitting the Porsche and trying to squeezing the Porsche into the wall, the Porsche had to lift giving the Ferrari the victory. After the race, the officials said "It was just good hard racing".

It was dirty driving by the Ferrari, plan and simple. I will say this, the Porsche had a skilled driver behind the wheel (Bergmister), if it was a rookie in that driver's seat, we would be talking about Porsche takes out Ferrari in defences and goes on to win and not this...

Do you agree? Look at the video and leave your comment...keep the comments clean.

See Yeah!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

NASCAR in Atlanta was just good racing with its average drama.

When it comes to some of my favorite NASCAR tracks, Atlanta just about tops that list with its good side-by-side racing and its really close finishes, so it should be no surprise to anyone that I enjoyed Sundays Cup race.

This 500 miler had its fair share of drama, nothing mind you like next week’s race at Bristol will have, but it did having some in many different aspects.

The sponsorship debate continued with Robby Gordon and Jeff Burtons cars with first, Robby Gordon having Motorola on his car and after being told on Friday to remove the decal because it had to do with Verizon Wireless, NASCAR on Sunday then told Gordon he could have the Motorola back only as its Digital Audio Player. The other sponsorship problem with Cingular now the new AT&T, AT&T is sueing NASCAR because of it. Who knows…

Picture on the right (Image Credit: Robby Gordon's Website.)

While watching this race, I was impressed with Juan Montoya, the rookie (at least on ovals), his performance of running most of the day in the top 5/top 10 shows that he can adapt to just about any type of track. The only problem Montoya really had all day long was with a lap car holding him up, of course that was Jeff Gordon, other than that Montoya brought it home in the 5th position.

On incident that really caught my eye and I still don’t understand what really happened was on lap 231 with Biffle, Vickers and Reutimann. While going down into turn 3 with Vickers up high, Biffle was below him and Reutimann came up on the highside behind Vickers and after watch the video a couple more times and listening to the inside Nextel Cup crew, Biffle looks to be coming up to enter the corner and Reutimann was doing the opposite coming down to end and contact was made sending all three cars into the wall with Kasey Kahne having no were to go and getting into it.

After the race, Biffle said it was Reutimann's fault. On Inside Nextel Cup, Biffle was on and at the end of the talking, its was a racing deal and nothing more. I agree with that one in that it was a racing deal.

Coming right down to it, the final caution raised a lot of people in the fact that FOX didn’t show the debris and only said Debris in turn 3.Damn, another phantom caution that had a direct impact on the out come of the race. I have to say, I am not happy with seeing phantom cautions happen at all, it’s the television broadcast’s job to show the reason for the caution and if its debris, find it and if not found, tell us that they couldn’t find the debris. In that case, fans will say its phantom caution and that’s that.

There’s no doubt that this was a phantom caution which means no debris shown, its phantom. So if NASCAR did throw a it, why? I agree with Dave Despain on this in that it wasn’t thrown to help Johnson/Hendrick Motorsports, rather to get the side-by-side finish and not just have another fuel ecomony race.

In the end, even after the Stewart-Johnson fight ending with 2 laps to go with Stewart into the wall and Johnson going on to victory, this weekend’s racing was just your average race and like the title says, its just good racing. See Yeah!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

You Tube: 2007 Jeep Patriot commerical and My Take on what I think of Jeep.

From Chryslerweblog featuring a piece from the detnews.com : “In the film — “The Way Beyond Trail,” which can be viewed at www.patriotadventure.com beginning Thursday — viewers can follow three characters as they search for a buried treasure. Those characters also will star in the 30-second TV spots.”

Take a look at the commerical and the website devoted to the Patriot marketing. Is Jeep getting the Patriot’s marketing message right? Or did they miss the mark like the last few iterations of the Jeep Compass gimmicks.

Here's my response on Jeep's marketing of the Patriot and Compass...The Compass and Patriot are geared towards the younger crowd because they are basically the same vehicle which is based on the Dodge Caliber with Jeep sheet metal. However I don't agree with the marketing, both of these vehicles should be marketed towards the up to 65 age instead because thats who's buying. But Jeep is consistent, the same vehicle to the same crowd.

From my own point of view, if I (a 27 year old)were in the market for this type of vehicle, I would buy the Dodge Caliber with the 2.4L engine in R/T and not the Compass. As for the Patriot, thats easy, the only way I would purchase the Patriot would be the trail-rated 4x4 model.

Here's something to keep in mind for Jeep, When I think of a Jeep, the first thing that comes to mind is off-roading, a trail-rated 4 wheel drive vehicle that I can drive almost anywhere and a vehicle that I can get to work in no matter what (That would be snow and ice for us in New England). The Compass is not what I think when it comes to Jeep nor a 4x2 Patriot.

The are only three reasons why the Patriot is any good, first, because the Patriot comes with the off-road package if you order it that way, second, it reminds me of the old Cherokee with its 4x4 system and I-6 that you could go just about anywhere in. and third, it's the best bang for the buck when it comes to gas mileage vs. power vs 4x4 vehicle out there.

One thing, (From two Jeep Customers) when it comes to buying a Jeep, its NOT about the gas mileage, its about the go anywhere including getting me to work no matter what (Again snow & ice) and its about the (Jeep) Brand. Can you do that in a Compass or a 2WD Patriot? No...Its that simple...See Yeah!

A dose of photography - 2002 Chevrolet El Camino SS Concept

Image was taken by me with a Kodak EasyShare DX6490.

Keeping with the auto industry theme, a 2002 Chevrolet El Camino SS Concept car that was on display back in September 2003 at the Sylvania 300 for the NASCAR Cup Series at New Hampshire International Speedway.
This car reminds me of Tim Allen's 1996 (I think) Chevrolet Impala that he customist and was featured in Car and Driver Magazine...See Yeah!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Over 365 posts in two years and still running strong.

Wow RaceDriven.com :: The Blog has been up and running for over two years now.

I started blogging here on March 12th, 2005 and in the process of looking back at those first postings, one being about my passion for cars entitled "American Hotrod - The Rat Rod Build off" and the other being about my passion for Motorsports including NASCAR which is entitled "Jimmie Johnson wins in Las Vegas", all I can say is, incredible...and I continue to write about the same today.

My future plans for RaceDriven are simple, I will continue to develop my columns, dose's of photography and writing style, plus the design of Racedriven which will including better navigation, loading time, as well as adding more pages to the blog...to all my readers and advertisers, Thank You.

See Yeah!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Its always something in NASCAR...this time its Las Vegas Baby.

Jeff Burton makes the pass to win the Sam's Town 300 in Las Vegas and second place Kyle Busch spins out. (Image Credit: Motorsport.com)

What an interesting weekend in Las Vegas for the television viewers, first on Friday, if the drama of who is going to make the race wasn't enough, Paul Menard in the DEI #15 Menards makes the field on his first lap and going for more on the second takes a wild ride by spinning off of turn 4 and going through the grass with at one point going airborne and crossing the finish line, no time.

For Saturday, besides all of the talk about the newly paved track combined with harder tires, the Busch Series race ends up as it always does with the Nextel Cup Series dominating the event...the event in which I would describe as the first 185 laps as a Demotion Derby, followed by the final 15 laps of side-by-side on the edge racing and then capped off with a thrilling pass for the lead just off turn 4 with Jeff Burton winning at the line and second place Kyle Busch spinning across the finish line and nailing the outside wall.

What really shocked me, even though it shouldn't have, were Kyle Busch's reactions after the race, first a hand-shack to Burton and then his post-race interview saying this "He beat me fair and square. He got a run on me on the topside and I tried to block it, I just didn't get high enough in order to squeeze him in the fence. Congratulations to those guys, they had a better car definitely at the end." (Credit for Post-race comment: NASCAR.com Article) Unreal, he admitted he was trying to squeeze Burton into the fence, I wonder if anyone else heard him...

Finally, Sunday's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 (267 laps), this race was most of the same as the Busch race, but less of a Demotion Derby with more lead changes, in the end, Jimmie Johnson "This is my West Coast House" with a sailing off into to the sunset victory....plus Dale Earnhardt Jr finishes 11th putting him 28th in points (+12) and Kenny Wallace grabs 24th.

Two things that I have noticed during the 2007 season that has got my attention in the sponsorships, first being, with all of the problems that Cingular is having with changing its name to AT&T on the #31 Cingular Chevrolet driven by Jeff Burton, they find new and interesting ways to spread the word about the name changing including most of the time the television cameras are on the #31 either on board or just talking about it, the bottom of the screen says "Cingular, The New AT&T". I'm surprised that Cingular just can't put that same saying on this racecar, the car would still say Cingular with the logo, come on, get creative.

Second is the stupid commerical with Sadler and Jimmie Johnson, with Sadler trying to giving Johnson some advice at the track about how maybe to get through the corner better and he counters with calling for the Nextel Cup and saying "I'm sorry, what was that..", personal, I would have restarted with saying the same thing, finished it and said, your Cup is dirty, you must do this alot.

Well, That’s all of got to say about this…another repaving job, combined with a untested tire change that created a Demotion Derby, what a shocker there…See Yeah!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

You Tube: More of the 2007 Jeep Patriot on and off-road.

Found this 2nd You Tube Video on Chryslerweblog.com.

Readers might wonder why I have published not only the first 8 min video of the Jeep Patriot, but now this 2nd video, well, I got a chance to look inside and out at both the new Dodge Caliber and the Jeep Compass and while I liked the Compass somewhat, I really did like the Dodge Caliber. Its not cheap including the dash and its confortable. Now fast forward to the new Jeep Patriot. I recently also saw the Patriot on display at the same autoshow and I liked it too...its that simple and I'm also a Jeep fan since we have one in the family...See Yeah!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Northeast season opener at the 2007 Speedway Expo in Springfield, Mass.

Image was taken by me with a Kodak EasyShare DX6490.

Just like most of my racing trips, a planed yet on the fly trip, this one way an 1.5 hour highway drive to Springfield, Massachusetts for the first annual (I think..) Speedway Expo that is put on by Dick Berggren’s Speedway Illustrated and Town Fair Tire. This I believ is the replace for Racearama.

Once we get there, it starts with a $5 parking fee which includes a $5 off coupon for Speedway Illustrated Magazine one year/12 issues. Now that that’s over, $15 each for admission…now we are up to $35 total plus gasoline and Mass Pike tolls (unknown.)

I have to say, compared to the 2001-2003 Racearama shows I went to at the same location, it lacks by at least 50%, my first and second show filled three builds, this one filled one building, plus part-way for the second building. But I enjoyed the show anyway, there was collectible dealers, plus show racecars on display and racing gear. They also had autographs and some events, but for us, we watched a couple of minutes of the first discuss of media or something, toured the main building twice and left. I really didn’t find the events interesting nor did I want to listen to the three or four discussions standing up.

Anyway, here are a five more photos (out of 21 photos) taken and copyrighted by me. Five photos out of that 21 are Tony Stewart’s Modified car from NHIS last July and different angles of other cars.

Image was taken by me with a Kodak EasyShare DX6490.

Tony Stewart’s 2006 NHIS NASCAR Modified Car.

Image was taken by me with a Kodak EasyShare DX6490.

Top Row: Mike Olsen’s 2006 NASCAR Busch East Series Championship car & Jeff Burton’s 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Lenox #31 Car.
Bottom Row: Shelby GT350 & Sean Caisse’s #44 NASCAR Busch East Series runner-up championship car.

Keeping in the them of a long day trip to Springfield and back, after the even was over, we made a stop at McDonald’s. On of things I tend to notice there and as a matter a fact, anywhere is prices and looking at the receipt. I have noticed that each McDonald’s really has there own pricing, but while I was eating, I noticed this on my receip that after meal orders prices and the Sub Total, there was this, a Eat-In Tax of 0.62.

What, is up with a 62 cent eat-in tax, would I have been charged this if I took it to go. IO have never noticed this before. Its just another small tax that consumers have to deal with. Next time I will get my meal to go and check the receipt too.

Well, who knows if I will go next year, it was better than last year’s Racearma in Foxboro at least, but I will have to wait and see, rightnow I am waiting for July 1st and September for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series weekends at NHIS…See Yeah!

Monday, March 5, 2007

And the NASCAR Busch is green in Mexico with Montoya winning.

Oh yeah, the first Busch Series road course race of the 2007 season and we have gone International.

So lets look at this in the day in the life of a Busch Series member..they started there three-week long trip going racing first in California, now its on to Mexico. They left California on there way home, nope, they meet another hauler or transporter in Texas to first unload our two Busch Series California cars including gear and pickup two road course cars and gear and there off. 1700+ miles down through the International borders into Mexico (Passport please!) down to the road course in Mexico City. Friday…its Practice followed by Saturdays Qualifying, what a good race for the lead at the end of the Grand-American Road Racing Series…and now its Sunday, Race day..lineup and were Green.

First, lets skip to the what really made the highlight real and what everyone is talking about, after the restart with somewhere around 9 laps to go, Pruett leads with Montoya just making his way up from somewhere around 19th after a refueling issue of only getting 8 to 10 gallons in the car, now Montoya finds himself in 2nd and he goes down into his hotspot all race long, and contact…Pruett Spins out and Montoya grabs the lead and never looks back, victory, his first career Busch Series win with Denny Hamlin close behind.

Bottom line on this incident: You got two aggressive going for the same piece of real estate, on one hand you got Montoya, he made a rookie error, went down into the corner, he wasn’t up to the door and thought that Pruett was giving him the room. As for Pruett, he was just racing for the lead and had a somewhat late entry into the corner. There’s nothing more to make out of it.

However, I don’t agree with Scott Pruett’s actions following the race, first a hitting Montoya on the cool down lap and then in Post-Race comments, let me get this right now..of all people to take you out, your own teammate, that was just no good,low, nasty dirty driving…At the end of the whole thing, once tapes are reviewed and a couple days have past, everyone will relax and forgive. That’s It.

Finally, what about the race itself, I always enjoy watching this race every year and this race was good, it was down to three drivers, Scott Pruett who ended up finishing 5th, Denny Hamlin, who finished 2nd and of course Juan Montoya who grabbed his first career Busch Series victory.

Going beyond…Back to that three week long trip for that Busch Series member, its back up to Texas, to once again swap out cars including some gear and pickup the Las Vegas’s two Busch cars. Now it’s off to Las Vegas for the 300 miler. After that race, it’s finally time to go back to Concord, Charlotte or where ever home base is.

That little extra piece on that crew member was a piece from NASCAR Now’s insider reporter Marty Smith, he was talking about Busch series teams not getting more money (big purse) to cover these long trips. I strongly agree with you Marty, they need more money to cover these costs, don’t forget, they still have to go north of the border to Canada after the Watkins Glen race….See Yeah!

Friday, March 2, 2007

A dose of photography - Shelby GT350H

Image was taken by me with a Kodak EasyShare DX6490.

A Shelby GT350H that was on display at the 2006 World of Wheels in Boston. Enjoy it...See Yeah!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

TV Spotlight: Forza Motorsport Showdown.

Has anyone seen this show called Forza Motorsport Showdown on Speedtv, interesting...a tv show based on a video game. So hears the rundown on this show, six drivers, six cars and six events.

The six cars include a 2005 Ford Mustang GT "Woodward GT" with supercharger from Team Air Ride, a 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe from Team LG, a 2004 Nissan 350Z from Godfather Customs, a 2003 Nissan 350Z from Team Royal Purple and finally a 1969 Chevy Camaro and a 1973 Dodge Challenger both from Team Year One (Two different teams for the Showdown).

The six events are Atlanta Dragway At Commerce's Quarter Mile, Road Atlanta's Autocross for Drifting , Two Road Courses and Lanier Speedway's Oval Track.

Based on how the drivers finish each event, "credits" will be awarded, which the contestants use at the Year One Speed Shop for upgrades that the team will have to install before the next set of races. The upgrades are anything from body kits to more horsepower.

Oh yeah, winner receives $100,000.

My Opinion: So far, I like the show, its six amateur racers having fun and running hard in these cars. For these challenges, its a toss up between the 2007 Chevrolet Corvette and the 2005 Ford Mustang GT, both are impessive rides, hands down.

As for the game itself, personally of I have played it, lets put it this way, I don't own an XBOX 360, driving wheel or the Forza Motorsports Game, I would like to, it would be a great set of items to review, but no today.

See Yeah!