Saturday, March 29, 2008

A pair of KITT’s and the rights to the last 2009 KR gets $300,000 at the 2008 Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Car Auction.

A pair of KITT's from NBC’s Knight Rider Movie.

(Credit: Both Photos from Website.)

This could have well been the final chapter in NBC’s Knight Rider Movie that premiered with high ratings and mix reviews. The movie left some Knight Rider fans including me asking why did you create this movie, the first time I heard that NBC was recreating one of my favorite television shows, I thought alright a Knight Rider rebirth television series, but the whole thing of just a two hours movie really didn’t interest me, if you are going to go recreate it, at least make it into a six one hours mini-series, that would have been better, however for what it was worth, the movie wasn’t bad at all, it was a nice touch to have the next driver be Michael Knight’s son.

As for the rebirth of KITT, keep in mind that there was already a Knight Rider Movie called Knight Rider 2000 and in it had a red Knight Industry Three Thousand (KITT) car in it, so it was a little weird seeing the next-generation KITT, however I loved the look of the new KITT, making the new next-generation KITT from a 2008 Ford Mustang GT was a little bit of a streight for me considering the original KITT was a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am and the second version for the Knight Rider 2000 movie was a Pontiac Banshee prototype, so in reality the third version and beyond would be from Pontiac or at least General Motors, however the only version I heard of was a 2008 Pontiac Solstice wouldn’t have worked, however a new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro with some custom work would have worked for me, but considering this car isn’t out yet, so the 2008 Ford Mustang GT made to look like a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 KR worked for the part for me.

With that said, today’s auction as a little bit of a surprise to me for this pair of movie cars that only got a total of $300,000 with a couple of extras thrown in for a higher bid including rights to the last 2009 GT500 KR #1576, the first super KITT was built off of a 2008 Ford Mustang GT with a 4.6L V8 Automatic that was upfitted with a Ford Racing Whipple Super-charger to make 400 horsepower, GT500 KR fiberglass hood with KITT heartbeat light installed, and a lot more. The second KITT was the attack mode KITT car that that really looked the part with all Proceeds to benefit Salute To Education.

I would have expected $500,000 considering they are movie cars and proceeds go to charity, anyway good looking pony car that has that presence to it and this from a Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Corvette fan. I wonder if NBC will make a Knight Rider Television series, that’s would count on it. Comments.

- Racedriven

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Payback for Matt’s backdoor eviction continues with evicting Chelsia in Big Brother 9, who’s next for Natalie?

The past couple of weeks have been interesting to watch to say the least, two weeks ago, the house voted for James to re-enter the house by a vote of 5-3 as America’s Vote was denied and what a stupid mistake that has turned out to be as James started his comeback with winning HOH and in the process, striking a deal with Natalie to not put her or Matt up for eviction. Like I said, a stupid mistake, I even voted for Alex to return, everyone knows that whoever the returning houseguest would be, would be at a disadvantage in the game.

With that said, as Big Brother fans know already that James as HOH in fact put up Ryan and Shelia on the block, however James winning the POV, not only removed Shelia, but put up Matt on the block and in the process going back on his word. At the live eviction, the house voted 3-3, putting the eviction in the hands of James which evicted Matt. Now why do I bring this up, well two reasons, one, I don’t speck last week and two, more importantly it serves as a back drop in the story before I get to the happens in the house now.

Since Matt’s eviction, one thing is for sure, Natalie is out for payback and in my eyes, its working, to a point. You can never get rid of all threads in a very short period of time, however she is off to a good start, first with one in her alliance winning HOH this past week, yeah, its Adam getting HOH and with Natalie’s help, he made the right calls in who to put up. One thing, what’s with the baby food, I mean normally what each HOH gets in there room wouldn’t even draw any attention, I mean it’s normally normal items, CD, chips, cereal, you know general snacks, but baby food, what????

Anyway, Adam as HOH went as expected, he put up James and Chelsia on the block, they are a power couple and also not in their alliance. Of course the POV proved to be interesting, not for who won the POV (he’s a hint, James), but for guest, the man himself that played a nasty, but effective game, Evil Dick returned at day break and in style (Entertaining guy, but don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Dick, but he just played a nasty game), I liked what he said, the exact same pots, as he banged them together in the first bedroom to get everyone up for the POV competition in 10 minutes which was similar to what he did last season in BB8 to some houseguests during the night or early morning.

At the POV meeting, I thought it was a nice touch to put up Sharon against Chelsia, that basically sealed the deal that Chelsia was going home and if that didn’t do it, Chelsia loosing it a couple of times sure did. At the live eviction, in a way I can understand why no one voted against Sharon, I mean if anyone did, they would have been targeted, however, aren’t they already targeted now anyway…

Anyway, Chelsia evicted… nice, and the new HOH in an interesting HOH competition, congrats to Natalie, the payback continues…

I will leave you with this thought, Natalie only has three choices to put up, so a safe bet is that she will put James and Josh or maybe a little change, Josh and Sharon and if the POV is won, James will be backdoored. If Natalie doesn’t get James out, she must get Josh out. Now, I can’t wait for the final 6. Comments.

- Racedriven

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The success, the top 35 battle and the struggles after five races in NASCAR’s Cup Series.

With a much needed off weekend for the drivers and teams that falls just after the five races of the 2008 season, NASCAR fans have already begun to see the top contenders emerge for not only the race victories, but also for the Chase for Sprint Cup and at least in my opinion, the results are surprising in some ways, remember it’s not about where you start the race, but were you finish and some drivers just can’t seem to endore the entire race for whatever reason.

So far the top contenders, the successful one’s seems to be with all four manufacturers, starting first would be Toyota, I know that some fans didn’t want to see that, but it is what it is and Toyota’s Motorsports program at least in NASCAR is paying off. The Gibbs drivers (Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin) don’t really surprise me at all even with Kyle Busch getting Toyota’s first Cup Series victory at Atlanta, however hats off to Michael Waltrip Racing, all three cars are in the top 35 in owners points, plus one Red Bull is in the top 35 as well, that’s huge.

Besides Toyota, Dodge has had one race or two that they have shined and of course with Penske Racing and Ryan Newman including Newman’s impressive victory in the Daytona 500, plus Kurt Busch has returned to the top 10 in owners points after that fun points swap.

When you look at Ford’s success, one team comes to mind, Roush-Fenway racing and the first thoughts that come to my mind is victories, however you wouldn’t know it by looking at Carl Edwards points standings, that Las Vegas penalty has already been felt and will be felt again once the chase begins, I expect to see two Roush cars in the chase including Edwards… Watch for Kenseth and Biffle to move up.

However, for this racing fan, over the past couple of years, I seem to have become a Chevrolet fan more and more and not just in NASCAR, but in general including ALMS to name another and yes, even with Tony Stewart switching to Toyotas. So I am a little surprise, but not concerned with the start of Hendrick Motorsports with the exception of Dale Earnhardt Jr., which is my favorite driver, yes I know, I’m trying not to play favorites, but hay, this is cool so far for Junior, he is having his best start this season in years and despite the California finish, his results are great, 3 top 5 finishes and a top 9 finish at Daytona, plus he is the one who is carrying the Hendrick banner right now. For those who are concerned about Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, don’t be, never count either of them out, they’ll be there in, in the chase.

Staying with Chevy, the RCR guys are slowing moving in, watch these three, there silent, but fast and if Bristol was anything with a 1-2-3 finish with Burton in victory lane which it is, there here.

Oh yeah, that covered top 35… NASCAR has seemed to have created a new drama show to watch somewhat, the top 35 bubble, that 35th spot that the fight is on weekly with Sam Hornish Jr. in it and Jamie McMurray, Dave Blaney and others want it.

I have never been a huge supporter of the top 35 rule, it’s a golden pass and whoever has it can start the weekend working on race setup while the driver’s outside, are pure qualifying setup and on wondering if they will be in or out. I know NASCAR isn’t going to give the top 35 rule up, however here’s three suggestions:
1) Change the top 35 to top 22 or top 25, the fight would have more drama on pole day, that’s 10 to 13 more cars, think about that...
2) Once the season starts, no owner’s points swap, NASCAR can’t stop it in the off season, however during the season, no way, now that effecting the sponsor, drivers and the teams, one minute your in and the next your out. When you start the season, you have what you have until the end of the season, no exceptions.
3) Qualifying for the go or go home drivers must if possible take place even if no qualifying for the top 35 drivers can, there’s a huge difference, the top 35 drivers are already in the race and are just simply qualifying for a starting position and a better pit selection, while the go or go home drivers are fighting for survival to just make the race, put them out back, at least they have a shot this way.

Well, so far for the owner’s points swap, there isn’t any from Roush-Fenway nor Petty Enterprise, however what if Hornish Jr. goes out after Martinsville, there’s a queston mark. However when it comes to the points swap for the #00 and the #44, I am expecting to see David Reutimann take his owner’s points that he earned with him to the #44, it’s a 94 point difference, that’s huge and it’s not really a points swap because he earned them.

The struggles, this will not include Johnson and Gordon, nor for Edwards, there not even close, however with that said, I am surprised to see Casey Mears down here, he can drive, I know he can. As for Kyle Petty, all I got to say is, he’s in his normal spot, however I’m waiting for two open wheel invaders make there mark, first Dario Franchitti, who is still searching and getting experience, second, Patrick Carpentier, who is getting stronger. I’ll leave this part with one comment, as much as I respect these two drivers, it’s still too early to be in the Cup Series for A.J. Allmendinger and Dario Franchitti, run these two in the Truck series or at least in the Nationwide Series, they need seat time period.

Now I will leave you with two thoughts: First, if drivers want more seat time for the Cup Series COT, drive in the Truck Series, not the Nationwide Series, these Cup Series COT’s handle little a Truck, the trucks have the splitter and are a handful and that’s the description of the COT.

Second, When I look at the first five races, it’s all four manufacturers in, it’s about as even as it’s going to get, they all have at least one team or owner in it competing for victories on a weekly basis, they all have at least one victory, isn’t that was NASCAR wanted? I only wish it was the same way when it comes to the Goodyear tire tests... Comments.

- Racedriven

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Survival is still the name of the game at Bristol.

When the subject of Bristol racing comes up among racing fans, the react seems to be very surprising since NASCAR and the Bristol Motor Speedway both introduced two new eliminates into the racing, the first one coming from NASCAR being there new Car of Tomorrow that debuted at this very race last year under heavy criticism, the second was introduced last fall by Bristol Motor Speedway themselves, the new variable banking with a smoother surface. Both have resulted in fans asking what happened to the old Bristol, why change Bristol?

When I look back at the previous Bristol races that most fans remember (1992 – 2007), the first description that comes to mind is a one grove racetrack that in order to pass, the driver would have to almost and in some case bump the car in front and move them out of the way, if you went into the higher grove, you got freight trained to back and at Bristol, that doesn’t take much… it’s a beating and banging race of survival that created instead excitement.

Three races that come to mind during are, first August 1995, one the last lap, Dale Earnhardt tries to pass to Terry Labonte and clips him, sending Terry into the wall across the start finish line winning the race, the victory picture was amazing, how about the spring 1994 race were Dale Earnhardt spun out Terry Labonte into the wall and went on to win, or even the famous last lap bump and runs that went down countless times, one that I remember in 1997, Jeff Gordon gave a bump and run to Rusty Wallace in the middle of 3 and 4, like I said, all legendary races, some of the best races and best finishes in NASCAR history were at Bristol.

So when you look back at all of that excitement that fans live for, what’s the real difference between then a now? In a lot of ways, you can’t compare, it’s was a different track, different car, different time and for many, different drivers (Earnhardt, Labonte, Waltrip, Wallace, Jarrett to name a few), welcome to the new age. Through the eyes of this racing fan, the old Bristol, the concrete, one grove, game of survival days that produced amazing racing for the fans and nightmare for the drivers, now, with the new COT that debuted at this race one year ago, that still produced good one grove survival racing that was a little different, but not much.

So, what about this past weekend race (Spring 2008), this one was one for the record books in my opinion, I would say it’s more like the asphalt surface days, the side-by-side racing that produced good racing before the concrete was laid. That was a time that some remember, however don’t when they are describing Bristol, it was the days of Petty, Earnhardt, Waltrip, Allison, Yarborough, Gant, Junior Johnson, the days mostly before I started watching, those races were on asphalt which included Darrell Waltrip’s 7 consecutive victories from 1981 - spring 1984, those races remind me a lot of today’s racing. It’s still mostly the same, a game of survival and this time, even if you got the bottom grove, there were no guaranty of making the pass.

The COT does make for better racing and remember what I said after last fall’s Bristol race, give the surface some time to age, the racing will get better and what do you know, it has gotten better, I can’t wait until the fall Bristol race under the lights, I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday (August 23rd).

This Bristol racing was a good combination (being the COT and new surface), it worked for me, it wasn’t boring and as always, it produced a great finish, who would have thought Burton in 5th place with less than 10 to go would have won this one, although new tires and avoiding a late race wreck will do that, how many times have we seen that and just like back in Daytona with Newman winning the 500, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, Chevrolet back in the winner’s circle. One person told me, he was routing for anyone not driving a Toyota, damn, it’s still an American sport, but that’s for another time.

Like I said, one for the record books including a RCR 1-2-3 plus Dale Jr. in 5th, a good day all around. Comments.

(Image Credit: Terry Labonte 1995 Bristol win - AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

- Racedriven

Friday, March 14, 2008

One year later for NASCAR's COT – Is it any better and what is the future?

At this time last year, drivers, teams, owners, media and the fans were all talking about what was about to be introduced, the controversial Car of Tomorrow, it was NASCAR’s answer to controlling the series better including limiting changes that crew chiefs could make to their cars and to save the teams money, having the same car run on all four types of racetrack, so what would be the future for this ugly, yet more safer car for the Cup Series?

Last Year after the conclusion of the Bristol race, I wrote this:

“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, beating 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 600th victory for Chevrolet. Now that’s Bristol racing at its finest.”
Since that debut race at Bristol one year ago, everyone including NASCAR has gone through a learning curve for this car and now that it has run in 19 races and has gone full time in 2008, there is some pros and cons to this one:

Pros, the impact of the COT has been felt in several ways,
1) the COT has created better racing at most tracks it has be run on including under the lights in Phoenix, 2) the same COT can run on all four types of tracks, you can test one day at Talladega and run the same COT the next weekend at Bristol or Phoenix. 3) the jury for the safety aspect is for the most part in and the results are good, I have seen this car take a beating and still keep going, since its debut, there has been one wreck recently that stands out to me, Jeff Gordon’s wreck at Las Vegas two weeks ago when he lost it coming off turn 2 and hit head on into a concrete wall that was curved and while the front end was totaled, Jeff was able to walk away, and in the process speck to the media with no problems, that was good to see that Jeff was standing right there a couple minutes later after the wreck.

Cons are simple to state, while NASCAR has not only limited the crew chiefs changing the COT which is good in some ways, they have created a simply zero tolerance policy that has meet with NASCAR handing down several heavy penalties against drivers, teams and crew chiefs that are for the littlest thing out of place or changed and that in some cases were hard to handle including their one size basically fits all penalty that everyone who was handed a penalty received

The most outspoken one came back at Las Vegas when in Carl Edwards and the #99 team was hit with – docked 100 driver and 100 owner points, crew chief was suspended for 6 races, fined $100k and on probation, plus a twist if you will, if the #99 makes the chase, they will not receive the extra 10 point bonus for winning the Las Vegas race and all this for a oil lid that was found several inches off and it was reported that the rear window had loose bolts on it… Personally I find it hard to believe that 3 threaded bolts all backed off during the race and came off, now going into Bristol, Roush-Fenway racing will not appeal and I think that’s wise, they wouldn’t have won, I think the penalty would have been raised.

As for the future of the COT, NASCAR said it,”get use to it, it’s here to stay” (paraphrased) and it is, the future is somewhat bright for this car, it is still ugly and does have a couple more safety issues to address, however, so far in the first four races of the 2008 Cup Series Season has made racing better, but like I said, there is still two big safety issues and one ugly look holding the COT back from being successful.

What are the safety issues? First is the tires (No, I’m not bashing Goodyear, however I just want good racing period.) and second, the front grill, wiping the front grill with the strips in front of it is dangerous and a crew member can get hurt. Comments.

- Racedriven

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Big Brother 9: America’s vote denied by house as James is evicted and voted back in?

I will get to my comments about the headline in a moment, however first, last week’s twist in the game turned couples into individuals and I’ve got to say, all hell has broke loose and with Ryan as the HOH to start of this new twist, the house has become divided, everyone needs to pick as side, however those sides changed regularly.

For alliances, I see Ryan/Matt/Natalie/Adam/ vs. James/Chelisa/Sharon/Josh, Shelia is a tosh up in my eyes right now and let’s be honest, so is Natalie in some ways at least aligning with Matt.

Even with watching the Big Brother Afterdark for 3 hours a night, it still is hard to say who is with who, and the players change almost daily or should I say nightly because when the sun goes down in this house, the true player does come out. I really didn’t know what to think about Ryan becoming head of household, he’s a wild card and he really doesn’t speck all that much, he really had his hands full dealing with his partner Allison (who is very interesting to watch because od her game play), however one thing I like about playing the game as individuals, you have to think for yourself or you are going home, you have to make moves that are best for you to advance further in the game and hopefully into the finals.

For Ryan, he originally took the advice of James and put up Sharon and Chelsia which was a strangle move at first, but in order to show he (James) can stand on his own, it was an interesting move none the less. So up goes those two, however that wouldn’t be for long as the POV showed Ryan passing by the POV and taken $10,000 and I might add, Shelia in a unitard, that is best left alone. That was a good move for Ryan, let Chelsia use the POV on herself and put up another, I really thought that Chelsia might be the pone anyway, although voting her out would have been a good move because she is strong and her mouth got he in trouble twice this week alone.

The POV meeting was picture perfect, Ryan heard what James/Chelisa/Sharon/Josh had to say and with a two week save deal included, I thought that that might be a sure move, however I don’t trust anyone in this house including Josh, so instead acting on something he learned after a late night meeting with Shelia, he choose to originate from the plan of backdooring Matt and instead made a huge power move and aligned with Matt to put up James. Yeah, that worked… he’s were Josh on the feed showed more by dumping either ice water or pickle juice over Natalie’s head, I think it was pickle juice, because both happened. One thing, Ryan looks to have a secret deal with josh…

Fast forward to tonight as for the past week, America had been voting to vote back in one of six evicted houseguests and America chose Alex. I choose Alex, from the comments online, I thought maybe Allison or Alex, I was surprised to see Parker came in second in votes.

My headline for eviction night: America’s Vote gets denied by house… after all the voting, America got no say tonight, what was that for anyway? Once James was evicted, the house learned that either the box with a once evicted house guest or James would be voted back in, then the house voted 5-3 for James and sent America packing.

“My Take” This could have gone down in two ways, 1) The house could vote in America’s two chooses (evicted houseguests) in, Alex and Parker as unknowns or 2) the house would votes in James and Alex, not the choose Big Brother gave use, nothing.

I want to see a shack up in the house, not the same houseguests from a week ago, the game is too have twists and turns, not a free week, fine James comes back, but with Alex and the game shifts again, What’s Next? Who will be the new HOH? Do you feel the same? Comments.

- Racedriven

Ferrambo Wins 2008 Ridler Award!

I don't believe I have ever seen one of these before, a 1960 Rambler station wagon that is complete with a 2002 Ferrari Modena 360 engine and Ferrari front and rear suspension wins the 2008 Ridler Award at the Detriot Autorama this past weekend and in Ferrari red, what a look inside and out.

(Credit: Images from Divers Street Rods and Information from Street Rod Magazine)

- Racedriven

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What is the biggest story to start the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season?

When it comes to picking the biggest story so far this season, that’s a tough one considering all that had gone on in just the first four races (Daytona, Monday in California, Las Vegas and Atlanta), so what are the top four?

First, the manufacturer war between not just Chevrolet and Toyota, but Ford and Dodge has started to step up too.

When Toyota signed Joe Gibbs Racing last year, it gave Toyota a huge piece of the puzzle that they were looking for to compete with the Detroit big three on a weekly basis and since the beginning of the season at Daytona, all four manufacturers – Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge and Toyota have all been running up front, first Dodge won at Daytona with Ryan Newman, then Ford won with Carl Edwards back-to-back races at California and Las Vegas and just this past weekend at the not so hot Atlanta, Kyle Busch in his Gibbs Racing Toyota gave Toyota there first Cup Series victory. A major part of Toyota’s success right now is Gibbs racing and Kyle Busch’s victory.

While the battle is all four manufacturers right now, I still believe that by the end of the season in the most wins category and for the championship, it will be a duel between Chevrolet (mainly Hendrick Motorsports, but look for RCR Racing to contend) and Toyota (Joe Gibbs Racing)

Second, the better racing of the full-time COT.
So far this season except for Atlanta, there has been better racing all the way around and I believe that to be mainly because of the COT. The safety is also better with the COT, but more can be done.

Third, the two penalties handed down by NASCAR to first Robby Gordon after Daytona for an unapproved nose and second to Carl Edwards for an oil lid being found several inches off and loose bolts on the side rear window.

I can’t believe that these penalties in reason weeks have been the headline grabbers even with the better racing on-track, but when you have a one size fits all penalty that is handed down for any COT infraction, you are bound make headlines let along the infractions themselves. First after Daytona was the Robby Gordon penalty that was over turned in the appeals process to just a fine, a real big fine of $150k which goes to the NASCAR foundation, is NASCAR looking for donations? While the Gordon penalty has concluded and was over turned, I can’t say the same for the Carl Edwards penalty, ironicly enough, the penalty he got could fit the bill, well there’s a first for everything.

There has been more and more info coming out about this controversy, but how much of it is true? “My Take”, after hearing and seeing a couple of examples of what happened, I find it hard to believe that 3 threaded bolts all backed off and came off, resulting in the oil lid being found several inches off and to top it off, there are pictures showing that the side window had loose bolts on it and that would open letting the gas out. I’m amazed that fans haven’t heard of this sooner and for that matter, why hasn’t teams tried this sooner?

Fourth, believe it or not, the Top 35 in owners points vs. the Go or Go Home drivers.
Since NASCAR created the top 35, it really hasn’t been much of an issue until last year and this year it’s even worse, it has created a whole new story that really shouldn’t be (at least 35, why not 22?), anyway, next week’s race at Bristol marks the final time that the 2007 owners points for the top 35 will be used and then starting at Martinsville, it will be the current 2008 owners points and there’s were it gets fun. Over the off season, one story was Penske racing robbing #2-Busch’s points to give to #77-Hornish, now Hornish Jr. finds himself outside the top 35 along with among others and what will be the next new story, the #45-Kyle Petty, what story? Petty Enterprises is considering swapping the #43-Bobby Labonte’s points with #45-Kyle Petty because like I said, the slow car of Petty is outside the top 35, just one question, I understand since Jarrett is retiring after Martinsville and Busch is back in the top 35, Labonte would be the next champion in line for the championship provisional, but what happens when the #45 drops again? Not cool to even think of and in mid-season. That's not the only point swap, Penske Racing could make the switch again sending Busch outside the top 35 with 5 championship provisionals left, plus other teams could do it as well.

NASCAR, see loop hole, fix it please.

So after looking at all four chooses and taking into account all four races (Daytona, California, Las Vegas and Atlanta), and even though the penalties raised a lot of headlines, I would still say that the manufacturers war is the biggest story of the season so far, why? While the penalties are big, those have and will fade, the manufacturer wars one the other hand has made huge headlines from the very beginning even before the Daytona 500 and with three manufacturers winning this season including Kyle Busch’s victory for Toyota, its finally somewhat equal (I think Toyota does have more power, but NASCAR will study that). The biggest surprise that I don’t think will continue is Chevrolet not winning even though Dale Jr. among others Chevy drivers has been right there.

Before I go, I would like to say three things, 1) the Atlanta race wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good. 2) I have noticed that Kyle Busch is getting better with his interviews, I see a little of Joe Gibbs in him, I think Gibbs has really talked to him and told him how to handle himself, good job. 3) The COT isn’t anything like the Nationwide car nor last year’s Cup Series car, it needs a totally different tire, nothing like what we have now, I like Ray Evernham’s suggestion on NASCAR Now, he said maybe it’s time for the COT to have a wider right side tire or a different size tire… Think about this, the Modified Tour Car that run at New Hampshire Motor Speedway among other tracks, run a wider right side tire and it looks like it works. Comments.

- Racedriven

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Everybody loses with NASCAR’s one size fits all penalties for COT infractions.

So far in the record books, NASCAR has been running the COT for 16 races last season as an introduction to getting teams, drivers, fans and even NASCAR a custom to this new monster and now, as we sit three races into this season (19 COT races total), two things are for sure, 1) the racing has gotten better with the addition of the COT and 2) the penalties are just like the COT, one size fits all and on both sides of that, neither way works.

The one size fits all for templates are giving no real identity to each manufacturer besides decals, however that isn’t the subject right now, it’s the penalties issue that seems to be popping up several times over the past several months, to date, NASCAR has handed down five penalties at least that I remember for COT related issues which basically means another that has to do with COT and they have all been for totally different “issues”, basically unrelated to each other.
The penalties are basically all the same, the driver and owner are docked 100 points each, the crew chief is fined $100k and suspended for 6 races, plus probation and when you factor in what the penalties are given for, it doesn’t make sense at all.

To date, the #7-R.Gordon (found in pre-qualifying) penalty was for an unapproved nose, #8-D. Earnhardt Jr. (found in pre-qualifying) for modified rear wing brackets, and #24-J. Gordon & #48-J. Johnson (found in pre-qualifying) for two crew chiefs making modifications to the front fenders.

Last month, an outcry came about after Robby Gordon was given the one size fits all penalty for an unapproved front nose that was issued to him from his new manufacturer Dodge that had the same part number with a dash after it, the piece hasn’t been approved yet and Robby Gordon didn’t know that.

Previously I had said (and I still say) on this very subject that: “While I don’t agree with the penalty at all and I feel for Robby Gordon, however since NASCAR has backed themselves into a corner with issuing the same penalty to every offender, there for I still believe that NASCAR made the only call that they could and it is the correct one, at least they stayed consistent.”
You know with every statement which in this case is “at least they stayed consistent” is good in most cases, however in this case, the consistent with a one size fits all penalty makes every penalty questionable at best.

Now as I sit here and write this, two more penalties have been effected within the past couple of hours, first NASCAR has handed down there penalty for Carl Edwards and Roush-Fenway Racing, yes another one size fits all with a twist, Carl Edwards is docked 100 driver points, Roush is docked 100 owner points, Bob Osborne crew chief was fined $100k, suspended for 6 races and probation, plus the twist, if the #99 makes the chase, they will not get the 10 bonus points for winning Las Vegas… Wow, what a twist, they got penalized twice, first the normal (to NASCAR anyway) and again for at the beginning of the chase. So this one’s a double hit all for the oil tank reservoir cover being off which does more harm at least to the driver then good. It’s not an aero advantage, it will however cause harm to the driver. Again they gave Carl Edwards the same penalty for something totally different.

However if you thought that was huge, Robby Gordon’s appeal was heard and… the new penalty reads $150k fine which goes to the NASCAR Foundation for its charitable initiatives, no points docked… Congrats to Robby Gordon, the penalty in the beginning was unfair and what a blow to NASCAR’s penalty system, like I said in the beginning, one size doesn’t fit all period.

With that said, now it’s NASCAR’s turn to make things right in 2008, (I understand that it’s a learning curve for the COT, but you still need to make things right) starting with Carl Edward’s penalty as Robby Gordon’s penalty was changed, however what to give Carl Edwards “for a safety or is it in your case aero advantage” is debatable, going by past penalties for either way, how about docking Carl Edwards 50 driver points, #99-Roush-Fenway Racing 50 owner points, the crew chief is suspended for four races for a safety issue or aero advantage. This is the same penalty that #17-M. Kenseth and Roush Racing received after a Daytona 2007 infraction and that wasn’t a COT penalty.

So basically, 1) will NASCAR make it right starting in 2008 with Carl Edwards/Roush-Fenway Racing with a better penalty, 2) what will the appeal be for Edwards if not and 3) have we all learned anything?

Check out this article: The Science of... missing oil tank covers
Credit for the list of penalties goes to Jayski.

- Racedriven

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Revealed: Big Brother 9 ‘til death do you part turns to individuals as Allison is evicted?

What a night for Big Brother 9 fans as at least for this fan, it couldn’t have come at a better time. The headline doesn’t give what happened justice, but does say a lot as Big Brother has turned the tables on houseguests and at just the right moment for one houseguest in particular.

Just as the house had evicted Allison and Ryan in tonight’s live eviction, the horn (that the houseguests learned would sound in the coming weeks earlier this week) sounded and for one houseguest, it was heaven. The fans would learn just before the houseguests that the once ‘til death do you part twist was no more and each one was on their own, playing as individuals, perfect.

Because of this, the night turned for Ryan (thank you, he didn’t do anything really wrong to get evicted) as he was saved and for the time beginning, Allison was evicted. The reveal itself showed new light on the game for the current houseguests as well as evicted ones. After Allison’s eviction, houseguests found themselves already in the next HOH competition were Josh and Sharon couldn’t compete in it and now there fate would rest in the new HOH, Ryan, oh yeah, this one’s dangerous as he hasn’t said much, who knows who he will nominate, I would say Josh for sure, other than that, Natalie and James? Yeah those two might be over the top.

I will say one disappointment this season up till now is that the fans don’t have a say in anything, like I said until now as one (hoping for two) evicted houseguest will be voted back in, who will it be, Jacob, Jen, Parker, Amanda, Alex or Allison… who knows, I vote now. If Allison gets back in, she will be evicted just that quickly, Amanda and Jacob, the same way, so Parker maybe, Jen, I am not sure, the House may though he back out because of her real life relationship with Ryan, so Alex? Alex would be a good pick if he was willing fight and campaign.

So what’s next? The horn sounding is going to part in this game even more, I expect it to go off again and what about your former partner, what did you tell them?

- Racedriven

Monday, March 3, 2008

Speedway Expo kicks off the 2008 Northeast racing season, but how was it?

Image taken by me: Tony Stewart's 1980's Hearse at the Unique Whips booth.

There isn’t a year that goes by that up here in the Northeast that we don’t have a Motorsports expo of some kind that kicks off the next racing season, in the past, the show was called Racearama, that was held mainly at the Big E in Springfield, Massachusetts, last year it was the first annual Speedway Expo and this year, it was no different with the second annual Speedway Expo, however unlike the last year's, this past weekend’s wasn’t much to really talk about.

Before we even got on the road, we already had a problem, we had to try and find two $5.00 off admission coupons at an Sunoco station that carried them and believe me when I say it, only Springfield stations might have them, no such luck, all out, you think considering we are on there mailing list and have a Sunoco credit card, it would be easier, nope, full admission for both my father and I, $15 each, plus $5 parking fee, great $35 dollars plus tolls, food at McDonalds (yeah twice eating there) and of course gas at $3.15 a gallon.

So what was and wasn’t on there? Well since we were forced to go Sunday Morning, Will Castro from Unique Whips with Tony Stewart’s Custom black hearse was on hand, what a creation, I’ve never seen anything like it, we passed it three times because of its location and we walk around twice, they had the Sunoco OCC built Chopper, nice one there, very detailed, that must be fast, but those spokes are tiny and three #40 Matt Kobyluck Mohegan Sun Resort Chevrolet Monte Carlo, yeah I said three including one at the newly renamed New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s booth. At the third booth, the guy asked me if he wanted him to move for picture of the #40 car, my reply, no need, this is the third time I had seen it at this show and already have several photos, he said, yeah, Kobyluck’s team got requests for three show cars.

Well, with that said, I ask to the organizers, were was more of the NASCAR Modifieds and the Camping World East Series Cars including last year’s East Champion and winner of the Toyota Showdown in California Joey Logona’s car, how about more racing collectibles, I’m just saying, where was everything?

All in all it was an interesting show, but having to pay full admission, parking fee and not having a lot there in a smaller space, it wasn’t worth it and since we got there just after 10am, we were home before 1:30pm with a little over a hour drive, go figure, good Cup series race, second place for Dale Jr.. I’ll think about going next year.

Image taken by me with my Kodak EasyShare DX6490:

Left: Rear view of Tony Stewart's Unique Hearse, Right: Sunoco Orange County Chopper.

Left: Todd Szegedy's No. 2 Wisk-Snuggle Modified Tour car, Right: #4 Modified Tour car and #40 Matt Kobyluck Mohegan Sun Resort Chevrolet Monte Carlo East Series Car.

Hopefully I will have more photos soon, but check out that hearse with the blue led's on.

- Racedriven