Friday, June 29, 2007

Blaney in his Toyota scores bud pole at NHIS and the final say on three penalties

Congratulations to Dave Blaney!
Perfect, Dave Blaney scores Toyota's first Nextel Cup Bud Pole on Friday afternoon in Loudon for Sunday's 300 miler while post-qualifying inspection revealed that Brian Vickers COT car was an 1/8th of an inch too low in left front and since he is a go or go homer, his time was disallowed and he will go home. The next in line is Chad Chaffin and he will race on Sunday instead.

A couple of notables from New Hampshire includes Dale Earnhardt Jr starting in 6th, Jimmie Johnson in 10th, Jeff Gordon in 8th, all three with fill-in crew chiefs and on the flip-side, Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett and Kenny Wallace don't qualify and will go home.

While were on the subject of NASCAR in New Hampshire, NASCAR dropping the hammer down sort of speck on some Nextel Cup and Craftsmen Truck Series Drivers and Teams and the talk in the garage area continues to make news and add that with the announcement that Hendrick Motorsports wouldn't appeal on the #24 & #48 penalties, what a blow, but that just added to the opinions that continued on with Friday's press conference with Jeff Gordon saying that he is disappointed in NASCAR over the penalties, shocked was more like it.

Not to be out done, NASCAR continued to make news on Thursday with the Headline reading "NASCAR hits grand-slam by suspending Ted Musgrave for one-race after the on-track incident with the #21 truck at Milwaukee." That's my headline, but while I like to see that NASCAR finally gets it, they have also backed themselves into a corner with everyone including me asking what is the difference between what Ted Musgrave did at Milwaukee and what Kurt Busch did weeks ago at Dover?

There really is no difference here between the two and yet the penalties are completely different. There was a points and fine penalty that comes with it, but in both cases it shouldn't have been about money and points.

Bottom Line here, either NASCAR finally got it just to late or that Kurt Busch is a past NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion, think about it? I like to think that they just finally got it and if you park a driver for a race, they will get the message crystal clear, it worked for Kevin Harvick Martinsville years ago.

Since we are on penalties and not to harp, but what about the Kyle Petty/TNT language oops last week during the TV broadcast in Sonoma? See Yeah!

News Flash - SPEED to re-air Tony Stewart's dirt-track race at Eldora next Sunday (July 8th) at noon time. Can't wait to see this one as I didn't get a chance to watch it live.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

NASCAR continues to change the cars into IROC-style with yet another penalty.

Well, today I have learned a couple of things from NASCAR, first being that Hendrick can't buy the #8 nor DEI can sell it because NASCAR released a statement saying that numbers can't be bought or sold and they owner the numbers. No surprise here, I wondering what NASCAR thought and something I thought too, basically Dale Jr fans can only hope that DEI is willing to let Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Jr. have the number in good faith or even maybe doing a trade of number for number. (Example: #25 for the #8 considering the #5 has so much history with Hendrick Motorsports.) The other thing to consider is reserving another number like the #81, #23 or something along those lines.

The second being that earlier today NASCAR hand-down yet another COT penalty, this time for the #24 and #48, both drivers have been docked 100 points, the crew chiefs fined $100,000 and suspended for six races. Hendrick and Gordon both docked 100 owner points too. At least they are consitant in there penalties expect for the Kurt Busch one they never got. The updated points now have Gordon's lead to 171 over Hamlin, Johnson down to 5th and only 623 points to 12th place Dale Jr. Like I said, Gordon has a 620 point buffer between him and 12th.

To me, all this penalty serves is a reminder that NASCAR doesn't want anyone to so much as touch let along modify the Car of Tomorrow at all, welcome to IROC style cars, as far as Gordon and Johnson go, with the way the points standings including the Chase is setup, it doesn't do anything, they will still make the chase without a problem. Now what if NASCAR docked them 100 points once the chase started in New Hampshire, there's an interesting thought.

One question, What happened to the Petty/TNT language oops during the broadcast penalty, NASCAR handed-down stuff before on this including Dale Jr at Talladega a couple years, what about this?

Finally despite it all, I can't wait to see just what this Car of Tomorrow looks like in person soon and I still enjoy watching this sport, I just wish NASCAR would stop trying to copy other leagues including the NFL for the Chase and Grand American Road Racing & IROC for the cars, NASCAR has higher rates for a reason, because they were different, now let's try get back to that time and then NASCAR will continue to grow.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Now it’s time for everyone to “get over it” and move on to New Hampshire.

What a weekend this one was in Sonoma for the Cup Series first road course race of the season and using the COT. Sunday was on to remember for some and others to just say “Now let’s Get over it and move on”, as this turned from an action-packed race in the early stages, to a fuel-mileage race with hard driving by many, I have to say I was looking forward to watching Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon crave there way to front, but it really didn’t happen, I was taken by watching Robby Gordon, McMurray and of course F1’s road course man Juan Montoya craving there way up through the field including a couple of rough driving incident for Montoya, but I wouldn’t have predicted this ending, Juan Montoya winning, picking up his first career Nextel Cup victory, first Formula 1, now this. Despite maybe or not who won or some of the off camber stuff, this one was a good race to watch and I am looking forward to Watkins Glen.

I have to say, once again it wasn’t the road course ringers making noise, but the Cup regulars doing it again and again, maybe in Watkins Glen, owners will let there regular drivers race for a change, then again its fun to watch some of these ringers go at it and show what they can do.

I was recently ask if I was impressed with Juan Montoya? At first when he came in the Series in last year and even in Febuary and March I was and I even purchased a 1/64 scale action, but now, no way. On Sunday at Sonoma, Montoya drove through just about every driver and he does that at most tracks as well. He goes beyond aggressive driving, I can understand somethings on the road course yesterday, but not at most tracks. Good luck to him, someone does need to sit him down and have a long talk with him. Now if Montoya wins another race this season on an oval and does it cleanly, I will say then he made history and congrat him.

In regards to road course racing being on all three of NASCAR top series schedules including the Cup Series, a champion is a driver who can drive on all different types of courses including short tracks to superspeedways, to road courses and even dirt tracks, I With that said, I would like to see three road course races and three superspeedway on the Nextel Cup Series Sschedule instead, one idea would be, turning the July race at Daytona into a night road course race using the same infield course they use now for the 24 hours of Daytona and the now gone IROC race or using the road course in Homestead, What a show either one of those would be.

On Friday, the story read NASCAR busts the #24 and #48 for failing inspection and parks them. Let’s be honest here, they really didn’t fail inspection, all of the templates matched up, but NASCAR noticed that both cars had some mods on the hood or fenders, they put bumps on the fends for down force between the lineup marks also know as the gray area. As a result, Parked, no practice or qualifying on Friday for both cars and they would start in the back.

After all of that, I will leave you with two questions:
First: What will the penalties be from NASCAR on the #24 and #48 – namely the modifications made to the fenders that NASCAR didn’t like (being they messed with the COT as well as what is believed to be Kyle Petty saying “What the F*** was that!” during the race on a lap 1 turn 11 incident replay with his in-car audio?

Second: Should drivers, teams, and anyone talking on the in-car and team radios be fined for what they say or should NASCAR just put a large disclaimer to anyone listen (fans and TV broadcasts included) use at your own risk?

What else could happen this week, now it’s really off to New Hampshire for me on Friday or Saturday with my headset, ticket, water, scanner and bag in hand, I’ll be in the grandstands. See Yeah hopefully in Loudon.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Denny Hamlin and Aric Almirola win the AT&T 250 at the Milwaukee Mile.

Say what, yes you read the headline correctly, they combined to win the AT&T 250 in Milwaukee and what a race this one was. Under the lights in Milwaukee really doesn’t make for a huge race most of the time, but for what transpired all thoughout this race, it sure did.

When you take double duty Nextel (or Sprint) Cup drivers and through them in with having to quickly fly cross country from the road course in Sonoma where they drove the Car Of Tomorrow and try and end up in Milwaukee on time and get them to drive a completely different car with no practice, that makes for one long, interesting night. However since Denny Hamlin was in Sonoma, Aric Almirola had to practice and qualify the #20 Chevy grabbing the pole in the process, you would think since Hamlin was still in the air, Aric Almirola would be able to drive it. Green flag and there under way with Almirola on pole and running in the top 3 just behind leader Carl Edwards who just made it in time for the race and then it happens, one move that had everyone questioning just what they were thinking, Hamlin arrives and 60 laps in, pulls Almirola out of his 3rd place car and in goes Hamilin now a lap down.

I have to say, between watching a couple of mistakes on pit road, the stupidest call of the race on pit road and some Busch Series regulars making some noise, this one got good in a hurry. Both Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards had to not only make there laps up during this one, but had to come up through the field twice to try and have a shot at the victory while Busch regulars were showing what they can do. For Hamlin slicing and nearly missing several cars passing on his way up to the front was pure entertainment and using the outside line to boot, what a show. By the end of this one, it looked like once leader Denny Hamlin was just going to run out of time with Scott Wimmer pulling away, but with so many caution flags at the end of this one, that gave Hamlin the shot he need to grab the lead and never look back as took the victory.

To everyone including me, the bigger questions were one being why did the team decide to take out Aric Almirola and put in Denny Hamlin 60 laps into the race when Almirola was running 2nd or 3rd and who really won the race? Like I said earlier in this one, the move to replace Aric Almirola was not the correct call at all, it was his car, but it was said on the broadcast that this was the sponsers home area and they wanted to see Hamlin win, so a sponser took this kids shot for his first victory away, damn that’s not right. Second, nevertheless, this is still is Aric Almirola’s first victory (at least in the record books) despite the fact that Denny Hamlin was in the car, relief drivers don’t get credited with the victory, what a way to go, again no victory lane, no celibration for a first victory, no wonder he was upset after lap 60 and that on top…

What a good race, especially for under the lights in Milwaukee, that one could have gone so many different ways, so it an Almirola/Hamlin overall victory, now were in sports car racing, oh wait that’s next on my DVR… See Yeah! (Image Credit: Racingone.com)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What’s the future of the Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix?

First, Looking back at the 2007 United States Grand Prix at Indy this past weekend, I really didn’t watch to much of the multi-hours of coverage as I had in years past, but from what I did see leading up to race wasn’t bad. Multi-teams showed speed in practice including Alonso. However when it came to qualifying, the 22 year Lewis Hamilton continued to show just how good he really is with for the second straight race grabbing the pole over his teammate Alonso.

What a race despite the fact that there was really no lead changes throughout, behind the pole winner Lewis Hamilton and his teammate Alonso, there was a lot in the battles, this race was exciting to watch in terms of just what a Formula 1 race can process, the highlight’s wouldn’t come close to the 2005 Japanese Grand Prix, but nevertheless it was better than most races this season. I didn’t know that two formula 1 cars could go side by side throughout most of this race track, but they could and multi-times to boot. I have to say watching Lewis Hamilton battle his teammate Alonso for the top spot including the blocking of Alonso with 34 laps to go, I was impressed, he held off Alonso on each and every attempt leading wire to wire and winning his second straight race and adding to his points lead in the driver’s world championship.

Finally, the future of the USGP…
The Bottom Line after reading up on all of the talks between Bernie Ecclestone and Tony George including the deadline I read for the announcement for a long term deal coming hopefully no later than July 12th, the fact that there will be no changes to turns 1 and 2 of the track despite the fact that its really needed and hearing Bernie Ecclestone comments…
“It is not vital to Formula 1 to be in the United States,” Ecclestone told Britain’s Daily Express newspaper. “There are bigger markets for us to be in other parts of the world. We could be in India soon instead of the United States. We don’t have a lot of sponsors from the U.S., no American teams and only one driver,” he added. (From Racer Staff on speedtv.com)
I really don’t see this one happening for Formula 1 at Indianpolis unless its another one year deal, I could be wrong if those comments above are just a tackic...

What about Formula One in the United States in general, there has been a lot of talk on this subject too, a change of venue could be somewhat more interesting, think about it, there are a couple of tracks that the USGP could be at including, Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio, Road America, Laguna Sega, Long Beach and etc. of course the adding of the F1 extras and way more grandstand seating…

That’s something to consider, but one thing is for sure, the United States is one of the biggest markets that Formula 1 should be in, including its one or the biggest market for the car manufacturers to be in as well including BMW and Ferrari. If it happens, it happens, I would like to see a 2008 USGP somewhere including Indianapolis, but hold your breathe and in terms of those comments that are either just a tacklic or not, think again. The United States auto racing will go forward with or with out Formula 1. See Yeah!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day


The winning #1 Audi R10 with Marco Werner, Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. (Image Credit: Eric Gilbert at Motorsport.com)

To all of the dad's out there, Happy Father's Day... To my dad, Happy Father's Day dad..
To those dad's who are Motorsports fans, the Audi TDI has just won the 24 hours of LeMan Again, welcome back Travis Kvapil as he wins the Michigan Truck race and in biggest upset in Busch Series history, Stephen Leicht wins in Kentucky after passing Brad Coleman with 13 laps to go.
What a raceday today with first at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the USGP where Hamliton won his second straight race this season over his teammate Alonso and ending all of it with the Michigan 400 where after a long winless since 2005, Carl Edwards wins over Martin Truex Jr., a couple of notables, Dale Earnhardt Jr. came home in 5th and Michael Waltrip, yes that's Michael Waltrip in the #55 NAPA Toyota came home in 10th spot.
Enjoy the rest of your day.., this is Brian Vermette...See Yeah!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My Take: Dale Jr's announcement on joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2008 and his options for car number and sponsor.

As I sit here writing this just after watching the latest press conference where Dale Earnhardt Jr. had just announced that he will be joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2008 and that while some details have not been finalized yet, this is going to be a 5 year deal.

All during this announcement, I had begun thinking about last months announcement that Dale Jr. that he would be leaving DEI at the end of this season and then hearing all of the rumors starting to fly on just where he would end up. I had even heard a rumor that night that he had already signed a contract with RCR to drive a fourth car. The rumors never really stopped in him going to Gibbs Racing, Ginn Racing and even starting his own team.

Now also during this announcement, Hendrick has said followed up with a press release by Kyle Busch that Busch would be leaving at seasons end to drive for another team. (Rumor has him at DEI.).

I do wonder if after 5 years, what he will do next, maybe there could be a part ownership in his car like Jeff Gordon has in his #24 team.

As Phase two has been signed in where Dale Jr’s future will be, now we wait for the final announcement in terms of just what his car number will be and his sponsor.

Personally for me, this Dale Jr. fan, I have already said in the past that I would support just whatever decision he had made and I am happy to say this is a good one. I had chosen RCR for the simple reason of that’s where his father had driven for in the past and earned six of his seven championships and I also understand why he choose Hendrick, it’s a great and winning organization and he has know Hendrick since before he was 15 years old. Next season will be one to watch for me starting in Daytona and one thing that did concern me once he made his announcement last month is that he would be in a completely new car either for an existing team or his own team is owner points. Well with Dale Jr. taking over one the Hendrick rides, thats no longer a problem.

So what now in terms of what this fan would like to see Dale Jr. driving in Daytona next season, well my dream list would be since we already know it’s a Hendrick, hopefully it’s either in the #8 (if DEI would let him have that number) or #5, as both numbers have a good history and in terms of sponsorship, a red Budweiser car would be my first choose, but Kellogg’s would open up a lot of doors too. If Kellogg’s is the sponsor, that would be great for his under 18 fans, now they will be able to buy his kid friendly collectibles and apparel. I remember as a teen, my favorite driver was (and still is) the retired Rusty Wallace (as well as Dale Earnhardt Sr.), buying his collectibles turned into a giant challenge and nightmare, under 18, you can’t buy Miller Lite stuff and that’s still true today, but I had to ask for it and I was limited on just what I could have.

Bottom Line here is this, this is a great place to land Dale Jr. and I am ready to watch Junior next season starting at Daytona in February, hopefully he will have either the #8 or the number 5 car number with Budweiser or Kellogg’s as his sponsor, one thing, please don’t give him the #25, I don’t even have to name the reasons. Well phase two is done and this is huge, I look forward to hearing the final announcement soon in terms of number and sponsor.

More...
From 8racingfan.com: I call on Teresa Earnhardt to make a deal with Junior or Hendrick to give Junior the number 8. The fans would appreciate and it’s good for the Earnhardt family. I call on all media outlets, including blogs, to continue this campaign.
As a Dale Jr. fan, I love this idea, the #8 has alot of history with the Earnhardt's including it was the number Ralph Earnhardt raced under (Dale Jr's Grandfather) and Dale Jr. has done this number proud including winning the 2004 Daytona 500 and it should stay that way. So comtinue the campaign and spread the word, the fans would appreciate it. See Yeah!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Left Lane Drivers of America – Please don’t put this MOVE OVER decal on your car.



After receiving an email yesterday from Left Lane Drivers of America regarding this grassroots effort to reclaim the Left Lanes on our freeways and multiple lane highways, it got me to thinking about it.

We’ve all seen it before and have heard the stories countless times, someone is driving to work or on there way home from one place or another and you are traveling along in the left lane passing a couple of cars and there is, a slow car just barely doing the speed limit and you are either boxed in or are forced to move into the right lane to make the pass and continue on your way or even worse, you witness it, a faster car coming up upon a slower car and instead of either car moving into the right lane, the faster car leans on the horn and has the middle finger out the window and you just got to wonder what will happen next and most of time the faster car will have to move over to pass with a gester out the window and flies past and thank god that’s all.

Now imagine if you have this MOVE OVER decal on your windshield and you are traveling in the left lane and come upon a slower car and that driver sees that in there rearview mirror, what is going to be there reaction?

Most likely one of two things, that driver could yield and move over and let you pass or just don’t care and your forced to move over, nothing big really, well, how about the third option, the driver in front snaps and you become the victim of road rage, you see it on the evening news, someone gets cut off or looks at someone the wrong way and the next thing you know, that other person has a weapon and someone is seriously hurt or even worse, that could happen with this decal too.

Bottom Line, I like the efforts put forth here on clearing the left lanes “fast lane” of slower cars to ease traffic and move thing along, we as drivers should move back into the right lane when we are either done passing or are just cruising along, but take my advice, word of mouth is a good thing in spreading the word about this, but this decal is not the way to do it, the experience could be good or it could be down right serious or even deadly, I’m not taking the chance and nether should anyone else.
Would you like to see this decal in your rearview mirror, when you are moving along? See Yeah!

Friday, June 8, 2007

NASCAR penalized Kurt Busch for last weeks Dover pitroad incident, not suspended.

Does NASCAR’s penalty on Kurt Busch after Dover pit road incident fit the crime?

So by now, most of us have heard the news of just what penalty Kurt Busch has received after last Monday’s incident on pit road between Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch were after an on track crash between Stewart and Busch resulted in both hitting the outside wall, Busch then processed down pit road to where Tony Stewart’s pit was where a crew member was standing on the rightside of the #20 suddenly had to jump on the hood of the #20 as Kurt Busch skidded in to Stewart’s pit next to Stewart to have a talk with Stewart about his actions during running of the Dover 400.

The penalty was NASCAR docked Kurt Busch 100 driver points, fined $100,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31, 2007, plus Roger Penske was docked 100 owner points.

Now, also on Friday, From SPEED's Friday Practice Broadcast: Jeff Hammond talked to John Darby & Robin Pemberton and the way they said it was between being parked at Dover (In terms of lost of points by finishing 42nd) and being docked 100 driver/owner points, that NASCAR had sent the message and that was the same thing as sitting Kurt Busch out a race, as a result, Kurt Busch has dropped to 18th in the points. (More on NASCAR's reaction...)

With all that said, is it just me or has NASCAR completely lost sight of just what happened in that pit road incident, to me anyway, they have..

Is this penalty less sever than illegal mounting brackets on Dale Earnhardt Jr’s car or Kevin Harvick’s Martinville truck race incident’s which resulted in Harvick having to sit out that next day’s Cup race?

Basically the way I see it, this penalty to me has nothing to do with money or points, and it has everything to do with safety, not just the safety of the drivers, but also the safety of the pit crewmembers. NASCAR has always said that safety is there number 1 Priority, but in this case, it wasn’t, they just looked at it in terms of loss of points. This is not about points, but rather Busch’s reckless driving on pit road and endangering the life of person namely a crewmember.

If anyone including Kurt Busch had done this on public roads, this could have resulted in a suspended driver’s license and fines.

So the only real fair penalty should have been $100,000 fine, 100-150 driver & owner points and most importantly sitting Kurt Busch out one race.

In response to NASCAR's quote "we felt like we got everybody's attention", you did, but as being soft. Question: How many times does this have to happen before you finally do something about it? Its like safety, something big has to happen before they finally do something about it.

That’s My Take, See Yeah!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Martin Truex Jr. wins an action-packed Autism Speaks 400 at Dover

Before I get into this action-packed 400 miler at Dover, some sad news as NASCAR pioneer Bill France Jr. passed away earlier today. (read more..)

Yeah that title does say it all (in this my 400th post...), after a rain postponed race, Monday brought cloud cover, but no rain for this one and what a race this one turned out to be in the sixth Car of Tomorrow race and for the most part it made for even better racing as it has in the past five races.

Amazingly enough there was very few caution flags during this one, but no late race caution, NASCAR did throw two competition cautions at the beginning of this one for tire ware issues (no rubber on track) which in both cases sent everyone to the pits for tires. Really there were only a couple of COT issues in something about shock mounts and running the tires down to the cord.

Two things really made this one, first was the incident between Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart that came to a head after racing in a pack for several laps and coming up off of turn four, Kurt Busch either thought he had Stewart cleared or just wanted position and clopped down in front of Tony and Tony didn’t lift which sent Busch into the wall and both cars to the garage.


(Image Credit: RacingOne.com via Getty Images for NASCAR.)

However the real stupid move of it all (pictured above) was after when Stewart pitted to fix his car, a crew member standing on the rightside of the #20 suddently had to jump in front of the #20 as Kurt Busch skidded in to have a talk with Stewart about his actions. NASCAR nor I was impressed with that one, Busch parked for the day and team, driver, crew chief to the NASCAR transporter for a meeting asap.

I don’t know what Busch was thinking here and even in a post-race interview he even said it just added to it. Expect a penalty from NASCAR on this, I wonder what it will be, endangering a crew member with a car…think about that one.

The second, the highlight in my opinion was the impressive drive of Martin Truex Jr. as he was battling for the lead and leading the most laps all day long, what a run, as Truex jr. in his #1 DEI Chevy picks up his first career Nextel Cup victory. Great job and that makes two weeks in a row for first time winners. This was one race worth watching and even for a Monday, the stands were packed.

Well that will do it here, FOX coverage is done for the season and its off to Pocono with you guessed it, TNT coverage with Kyle Petty in the booth (that should be interesting..) See Yeah!