Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Which was the most entertaining race to watch…Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 or The Coca-Cola 600?

What a sight for racing fans to watch this past weekend and whether you are a Formula 1 fan, an open wheel fan, a NASCAR fan or a like me a huge Motorsports fan that mainly enjoys watching NASCAR whether it’s on television or at the racetrack in the grandstands or on pit road, this weekend was for you, a triple header day that had fans logging the entire day in front of the TV set. So would my predictions came true, well we start he at 8am on the East Coast (at least my DVR started at this time, I for one didn’t as I had been sick due to bad food since last Thursday night).

In Formula 1, the Monaco Grand Prix is the superbowl, just like the Daytona 500 is in NASCAR, I don’t know what it is, but even for a person who has since walked from Formula 1, it still draws me in and for this year’s Monaco GP, despite the lack of passing for the lead with only 3 lead changes, this was a good one. Normally F1 races are mostly parades with little passing throughout the field, however when you throw in a wet racetrack at the drop of the green flag and drying throughout the race, no traction control (that’s the way it should be), you have a completely different race.

Drivers are now the ones in control, they have to handle their formula cars just right within less than an inch of the wall around each and every turn or there done and most of them did just that. Fans saw even the most experienced drivers loss control at least once during the race and whether it was Lewis Hamilton tagging the wall early on, Felipe Massa who lead in the wet early on loss it going into a runoff which gave up the lead, Alonso trying to make a pass Nick Heidfeld and in the process making a stupid move in turn 6 colliding with the BMW, to Kimi Raikkonen losing the rear end of his Ferrari braking hard into a tight turn 10 and unfortunately taking out Adrian Sutil in the process, the race would come down to a little pit of pit strategy, hard driving laps on dry tires and a little luck as Lewis Hamilton (who was my dark horse) would win his first Monaco Grand Prix.

Now we move to one of the greatest spectaculars in Motorsports, the Indianapolis 500 where during the telecast, the ABC crew said the buzz is back at Indy, do you agree? I would say Yes and No, why, this race still needs a better schedule and qualifying format leading up to the Indy 500 and it wouldn’t hurt to see the Indy 500 start an hour earlier neither, other than that, while this one was a good one, it wasn’t better than last years. They really couldn’t get going, so many rookie mistakes and not many lead changes to bout. I was surprised to see caution after caution, I ended up getting up at noon time and watching the Monaco Grand Prix that I had on DVR with the picture and a picture on with the Indy 500 in the small screen until just less than 100 laps to go and even then no one could do too much with the leader as the man who was fastest all month long, the polesitter Scott Dixon won the 92nd running of the Indy 500. Robin Miller said the right man won, I congratulate him, he did a good job and was the fastest and hats off to Vitor Meira who finished second, good run, personally I picked Helio Castroneves (finished 4th) to win with Tony Kanaan (out in a crash) as the dark horse. I would rate this year’s Indy 500 at a 6.

Believe it or not, to some, Dixon winning the Indy 500 wasn’t the biggest story, it was Danica Patrick who got taken out by the rookie Ryan Briscoe with around 31 laps to go on pit road. Briscoe, you were at fault from what I saw and that’s it, just say that. After the wreck, Danica nearly made it to Briscoe’s pit to tell him just what she thought, but was stopped two pits away. She had every right to be mad period, next…

Oh man, if you thought that the Monaco GP or the Indy 500 was most entertaining race to watch, not so fast as the drama of NASCAR’s longest night would get under way with the Coca-Cola 600 and just like so many races this season, it was all about survival, going 600 miles and even with this stronger COT car, some just couldn’t do it.

First it was Kurt Busch leading, blow tire, then Dale Earnhardt Jr. leading, another blown right front tire, this would be the theme all night long, what a race. The Brian Vickers crash looked more like an axle or something rather than a simple blown left front tire. The first 500 miles is just a warm up to the final 100 miles and as Larry Mac said “Your on borrowed time” and he was right, so many went down. After 550 miles, it would all come down to fuel mileage, DW said it the best “It isn’t over till it’s over” and he right as one by one drivers would have to pit for fuel and in the closing laps, one by one would take the lead, and you hear it, this round would hand Tony Stewart the lead, two to go, down the back straightaway, problems for Stewart as he has a blown right front tire and that would hand the lead to last weekend’s winner Kasey Kahne as he would do the double winning both the All-star race and the Coke 600 (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR). Great victory, like I said from the beginning, survival was the key and the drama of the final miles makes the Coca-Cola 600 the most entertaining race to watch on last Sunday.

Personally I picked Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win, he finished 5th, did anyone not see that coming from me, your new hear right…look at Kasey Kahne (last week’s winner), look at Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin and Jeff Burton, those three know how to win in long races, they save their equipment. Comments.

- Racedriven

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What is going on this Memorial Day Weekend with the F1, Indy 500, Coca-Cola 600 and more?

As the NASCAR All-Star Race is in the record book with fan voted in Kasey Kahne winning last weekend, now Motorsports fans will set their sights on this marathon of Motorsports weekend, but wouldn’t you it, before going into this spectacular weekend, Speedway Motorsports made two announcements that for one reason or another shocked me.

First, yesterday it was SMI announcing that one of the best promoters, H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, who is COO and president of Speedway Motorsports and Lowe's Motor Speedway, is retiring from both positions following the Coca-Cola 600. Retire, interesting statement, after hearing some of the comments, it more like forced out. I don’t think Wheeler really wanted to retire right now and he said so, but nevertheless, why now? Humpy Wheeler is one of the best promoters in the sport, he made the All-Star Race successful including putting it under the lights which had never been done before. Wheeler puts in amazing shows including pre-shows and knows how to draw the fans in, he will be missed, good luck Wheeler, what a consultant somewhere? One day later, SMI has agreed to Purchase Kentucky Speedway, not worth it. Check this article out.

Enough about announcements, what the marathon Motorsports weekend ahead. Sunday makes for a long incredible day, a marathon and it will all start bright and early in the morning (hear in the United States) with Formula 1’s biggest race, the Monaco Grand Prix. This will be the second Formula 1 race I watch this year as I am not a F1 fan any longer, however when it comes to Monaco GP, I’ve always enjoyed watching this race every year and I’m not going to stop now, I don’t what it is, its Monaco, it’s an interesting racetrack to see formula 1 cars race around at high speed and while Ferrari will most likely win, I’ll give you a dark horse, Lewis Hamilton. See yeah on SPEED just before 8am.

But that’s nothing compared to one of the greatest spectaculars in Motorsports, the Indianapolis 500, which also marks the first Indy 500 since the unification of the IndyCar Series and Champ Car and while I really don’t think that the Champ Car guys are going to get a top 5, let along win, it’s still going to be fun to watch. The who to watch list is the normal suspects which include, well you have a Ganassi Racing front row with Scott Dixon on the pole and teammate Wheldon along side, Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick for Andrett-Green racing. Personally I’m predicting Helio Castroneves to win with Tony Kanaan as the dark horse, either one could take this. Two drivers keep in mind are Graham Rahal and Bruno Junqueira, trust me. See yeah on ABC for a preshow at Noon time and the race sometime around 1pm.

Oh yeah, NASCAR’s longest night, the Coca-Cola 600 under the lights at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, this should be a good race, unlike last Saturday night’s NASCAR All-Star Race which was boring and had sideways/crabby cars. There are two questions going into this 400 lapper, the new car, how will the COT race 600 miles and what if any will the sideways/crabby cars affect the race? During the Cup Series practice on Thursday on SPEED, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds voiced that they were concerned with these sideways cars not making the entire 600 miles, McReynolds commented on what he saw come off of Sam Hornish Jr’s car after last Saturday night’s race that those rear-end pieces didn’t look so good, I have to agree, could Chevrolet be at an advantage since Dodge, Ford and Toyota are all running this toe out version? Who to watch, well Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, the list is long, however for predictions, I’m going with Dale Earnhardt Jr., did anyone not see that coming from me, your new hear right…look at Kasey Kahne (last weeks winner), look at Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin and Jeff Burton, those three know how to win in long races, they save their equipment.

Don't forget about the NASCAR Craftsmen Truck race from Ohio and the Nationwide Series 300 from Charlotte both on Saturday and the Grand American Rolex Series GT only will be racing live on Monday from Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, CT, Road Racing, live on SPEED 2:00 p.m.. This will be a fun to watch and it’s only 2 hours from my home.

- Racedriven

David Cook wins American Idol, why did I watch this season finale last night?

Last night I did something completely different, I watched American Idol for the first time, why I watched the season finale last night, I really don’t know, however I have to say that I rather enjoyed most of it. Has anyone ever noticed that these finales are long and draw out, but the performances were very interesting including seeing one of my favorite singers which is also a former American Idol winner Carrie Underwood. She did a good job singing her new hit “Last Name”, nice touch, besides that, the ZZ top performance with David Cook was entertaining as well.

Since this was my first time watching American Idol, not only this season, but ever, I really didn’t have anything to go off of when it came to choosing a winning between the two David’s, but after hearing David Cook sing, I see why he won and there I thought that with all of the hype and most people saying that the other David was going to win, I was a little surprised, but he did a good job, now I look forward to seeing what he brings out for his first album and I will either buy a song or two online or pickup the CD at the store.

Well, 2 hours and 5 minutes of an American Idol season finale and it all comes down to the last 5 minutes, wow. Well, maybe next season (January) and could you believe it, Simon said I’m sorry to David Cook, that was a stunner in itself, What’s Next? Comments.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello via Charter.net article)

- Racedriven

Monday, May 19, 2008

Taylor Swift does it again with her performance of “Should’ve Said No” at the 2008 ACM Awards.

What a show last night at the 2008 ACM Awards in Las Vegas and whether it’s the awards and/or the performances that get your attention, it was a good night all the way around in country music and that goes double with having Reba hosting the event for the 10th time.

I am always surprised with the number of stars that come out for the award shows, let along how many them perform on stage and last night was no different, I loved that the show started off with Carrie Underwood performing her latest hit “Last Name”, have you seen the video of this…damn and she picked up Top Female Vocalist award, nice touch. One of the highlights of the night had to be Garth Brooks in first singing a couple of his greatest hits including one with his wife Trisha Yearwood, that was cool to see and they topped it off with him winning the Crystal Milestone Award, what a legend, it couldn’t have gone to a better guy. Specking of legends, it was an interesting to have Kenny Chesney and George Strait perform separately and then do a duet of “Shift Work”. Kenny Chesney won his 4th in a row Entertainer of the Year that this year was voted on by the fans.

But you know, just like last month at the 2008 CMT Music Awards, I was most impressed with the newest talent in country music and one of my favorite artists (next to her best friend Carrie Underwood) Taylor Swift, who was shocked when she won Top New Female Vocalist, personally after the CMT awards, I wasn’t, see deserves it, but then she followed that up with shocking and yet soaking performance of “Should’ve Said No”, look at the picture on the right (Photo Credit: gossipgirls.com), tell me that that isn’t cool to see, even Brooks and Dunn was stunned with that performance as they were about to announce the nominations for an award, I just wish I had the video of it because no picture does it justice. Like I said, what a good night for country music all the way around and I can't wait for the next award show, so until then, enjoy the rest of the night.

- Racedriven

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Has NASCAR finally had enough with this new modification “crabby” Cup Series COT cars?

For the past couple of weeks, numerous media, drivers including Jeff Gordon (and here), teams and fans have noticed this new tread in how to get this COT Cup Series car to handle better with adjusting the rear end so the COT car turns better in the corners, but goes sideways down the straightaway’s and in a world were NASCAR is penalizing so many drivers and teams for messing with the COT, how is this passing every inspection?

This picture of the #77-Sam Hornish Jr. and #84-AJ, if you look closely at the rear tires, you can see something is completely off and if you watched last week at Darlington and last night’s All-Star race, you could see how bad it was with the rear end, I thought I watching drifting for a moment there and it wasn’t just on those two cars, but also with all five Roush-Fenway cars, other Fords, Dodges and Toyota’s are all doing this at most tracks from Charlotte and Darlington to Texas. Now I understand that all drivers and teams are looking for an advantage enabling them to win, but this at least in my opinion looks like a safety issue, it could be dangerous all the way around, not only for the driver himself, but for the drivers racing around them, not to mention a driver could break rear end leaving parts scattered around the racetrack.

Is this really would NASCAR envisioned with the Car of Tomorrow, I know that drivers, teams, owners, nor the fans like rules changes in the middle of the season, but this is needed, well I guess NASCAR has gone drifting full time, what a shame. What does everyone think, this is right to let continue or does NASCAR need to make a change? Simply put, yes. Just as I was about to publish this article, I am now reading what NASCAR has said:
(From Thatsracin.com - Expect NASCAR to tell Sprint Cup teams that they've gone far enough - and in some cases, too far - with making crooked cars. Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said Saturday that teams will get a memo, likely this week, telling them to "clean up" the way they're turning their wheels to help the cars handle better. "They need some of that, but there are some of them that have pushed it," Darby said. The rear wheels on some of the cars were turned to the point that some were having difficulty being pushed onto the scales used in inspection.)
Hopefully at the next race, the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR teams will straighten out there cars and we will not have this issue again, but I have to wonder, what’s next for teams to try? Comments.

AJ Allmendinger leads Sam Hornish Jr. in the closing laps of the Sprint Showdown. Both drivers transferred into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images via NASCARmedia.com)

- Racedriven

Saturday, May 17, 2008

NASCAR All-Star Race – Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards as Kasey Kahne, the fan favorite wins.

You know, last month I wrote a controversy article asking the question, should the NASCAR All-Star race be moved? My whole look at this was moving the All-Star race to a racetrack that either doesn’t already have a Cup Series date or only has one Cup Series date. At Least to me, the All-Star is a lot like a Cup date, it’s huge, it for the most part draws in record number of fans and even though I still believe that the All-Star race should be on a short-track like Iowa Speedway (but not that far away), I understand why the all-star race is so successful in Charlotte, it’s home. Over 90% of the teams are located in and around the Concord and Charlotte area, plus Humpy Wheeler does do a good job putting on a good show, now if they could only fix the fall charlotte Cup Series race, maybe that should go instead.

So with that said, what an emotional weekend, hats off to Matt Crafton as he picked up his first Truck Series victory in 178 starts, this is for everyone including the fans and the fans there was a special addition, oh yeah, a burnout and donut challenge called the Pennzoil Platinum Victory Challenge where five drivers competed in Petty Driving Experience prepared cars and in order to win you had to keep the rear tires spinning while starting with a burnout, then doing two donuts and ending in a box, well at least they tried. Poor Clint bowyer had to go out first, he didn’t know what to do, a tip of the hat goes to Jimmie Johnson, good job, but even though Greg Biffle won the challenge with the best time which includes $10,000 to the Greg Biffle Foundation, however Kevin Harvick (just like I predicted) won this challenge hands-down, once he completed his required burnout and donut, he put the car up against the other wall and “Burn it down baby, burn it down” and blow the rear tires up, now that’s a burn out, maybe next year, each driver will bring their own car, oh boy, that might not be a good idea, everything needs to be modified.

I would describe this night in general as a night of survival once the burn out and donut challenge was over and this was exactly what it was all about in the first couple of laps in the Sprint Showdown, let alone the segment two as A.J. Allmendinger (who took out Elliott Sadler in the first segment) won the Sprint Showdown over second place Sam Hornish Jr., however when it came to the fan vote, sorry Elliott Sadler as his teammate Kasey Kahne got voted in.

However that wouldn’t be the case once the All-Star Race came around, at least in the first three segments as first Kyle Busch would spank the field, but in the second segment, Busch blows up as Carl Edwards leads at the end of segment two. Once segment three started, the action began to pickup just a little bit more as the battle for the lead finally heated up between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth as Greg Biffle wins third segment. With three segments down, it’s as DW says “Its money time.”

It might have been money time, but there was no contest for the fan voted in driver Kasey Kahne as he wins the All-Star race. I’ve seen more action earlier this year at anyother race including the dominated race at Texas than tonight in the All-Star Race, as for what I think about the format, who knows, 100 laps is good, but 10 laps in final segment would work better.

Again, congrats to Kasey Kahne who won this the hard way, by first being voted in by the fans and then gambling at the end to win the all-Star race and $1 Million Dollars and to Dale Jarrett, great career. Thanks Dale Jarrett – A Champion, A legend, and now an ESPN broadcaster. Now I look forward to the Coca-Cola 600, What’s Next? Comments.

- Racedriven

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What victory celebration do you like the most in NASCAR and in Motorsports in general? Burnouts, Donuts, polish victory lap or?

With once again the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte playing host to this coming weekend’s NASCAR All-Star race which will not only include the Sprint Showdown qualifier race that last year had both the winner Martin Truex Jr. and the second place driver Johnny Sauter a slot in the All-Star event, followed by the main event which for 2008 has an updated format Sprint All-Star Race that now has four 25 lap segments – 100 laps of beating and banging side-by-side racing that hopefully is better than last year which in the end Kevin Harvick held off Jimmie Johnson to win the Nextel All-Star Challenge.

With that said, there is a new element to this year’s All-Star event, during the preshow before the Sprint Showdown, fans will be treated to a Burnout and donut contest. This is something new, normally fans are treated to a burnout, donut or something once a driver wins an event, but not before an event, so this should be interesting considering I’ve never seen a burnout and donut contest before.

So with the new element of a burnout and donut contest, I ask this question, what victory celebration do you like the most in NASCAR and in Motorsports in general? Keep in mind it can be just about anything from a donut, burnout, a polish victory lap, to Tony Stewart climbing the fence or Carl Edward’s famous back flip.

I personally like a Polish Victory Lap that entails the driver turning his car around and driving in the opposite direction, which is clockwise on a NASCAR track which in most cases includes the driver holding a checkered flag outside the driver’s window. This lets the driver solute the fans in the grandstands and it doesn’t burn up there equipment. Alan Kulwicki was the first driver to do a "Polish Victory Lap" following the Checker 500 on November 6, 1988 at Phoenix International Raceway. (Photo and info on Polish Victory Lap: Wikipedia.com)

Predictions on who will win Saturday Night: Let's start off with the Burnout competition, I choose Kevin Harvick, he has some of the best burnouts, next in the Sprint Showdown, Kasey Kahne, in the Fan vote In, thinking Elliott Sadler since Dale Jr. has said he wants him in and we know how huge JR Nation is which includes me and finally staying with the winner of the 2000 All-Star Race, I choose Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win the $1 Million Dollars.

Let's Go Racing!

(Photo Credit: NASCARMedia.com)

- Racedriven

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

From David Pearson and Darrell Waltrip to Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Darlington is still Darlington.

There’s a reason why Darlington is known as the track “too tough to tame” and the “Lady in Black”, because Darlington is one of the toughest tracks on the NASCAR schedule for both the Nationwide Series and the Cup Series.

Going into this past weekend’s only Cup Series Darlington race on the schedule this year, there was so much happen, both on and off the track, first from seeing the 8-time Darlington winner David Pearson in his #21 Wood Brother’s Mercury leading Edwards in his #99 Roush-Fenway Ford on a couple of pace laps around Darlington on the new surface, that is a perfect sight considering I had never gotten the chance to see David Pearson race during his historic career (keep in mind I am only 28 years old), to second seeing Darrell Waltrip’s #11 Mountain Dew Chevy sitting side-by-side with Dale Earnhardt Jr’s new #88 Mountain Dew Chevrolet Impala SS and you know DW is right in away, with the exception the frontend’s and no rear wind, DW’s #11 Chevy is very similar to Dale Jr’s new car today and in some cases, they most likely drive the same too.

What got to me even more in some aspect was the speculation that with the new pavement on the track, the racing and the legend of the racetrack was going to change, Darlington wouldn’t live up to its name and there wouldn’t be good racing, not to mention that the Nationwide Series race the previous night turned out to be a wreckers just to get to the checkers…

However while the Nationwide Series was what it was, the same couldn’t be said for the Cup Series race and even despite the fact that the Toyota’s, Dodge’s and Ford’s were all looking like they were driving sideways down the straightaway’s considering they were (trick in the rear end I guess), the combination of the new surface, the yet again sold out crowd and the new COT produced in my opinion one hell of a good race and I can safety say that Darlington at least in my eye’s is safe on the schedule.

Passing was and will always be at premium at this track and nothing changed there, but the higher speeds and the tougher car made it really interesting to watch, during the race, time and time again, the Darlington strip count which was very generous was climbing even on the lap 1 and throughout the night, I saw several drivers including Dale Jr., Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, oh damn the list is shorter of who didn’t hit the wall with their right side a ton, bounce off and keep going… and yes the biggest surprise to me was just how hard (NASCAR’s version of wreck anyone to win) Kyle Busch bounced off the wall and kept going, I thought he was done a couple of times, but amazingly enough, his JGR Toyota kept going and going on to victory.

But in my eyes, there were three things to keep in mind when you ponder this race, first Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues his top 5, top 10 finish runs with another fourth place finish and he’s 3rd in points, staying with that, Jeff Gordon finished 3rd, a good finish for him. Second, I felt bad for Greg Biffle, he had a good car last Saturday night and as a matter of fact, for the last couple of seasons and he should have more victories, but he has no luck, at Darlington, he suffered a transmission issue, that’s just the tip of it. Third, Carl Edwards, he’s coming for the championship and for that matter, so is Dale Jr., watch these two.

To me, I know that NASCAR is in the business of making money, yeah I get that, but to me it’s history too, keeping your history and just like Martinsville, Bristol, and Richmond, Darlington is part of NASCAR’s history and that’s huge to fans including me, we need to keep these racetracks on the NASCAR Cup Series Schedule and not let them fall like Rockingham “The Rock” and North Wilkesboro, two great tracks, with that said, while it’s nice under the lights on Mother’s Day weekend at Darlington, I will ask this question, Is it time for the Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend at Darlington to return?

One word YES, that’s all I am going to say and while I know that that would be tough to do, I would still love to see that happen.

By the way: I didn’t get the chance to say thank you to Andy Hillenburg for not only buying Rockingham Speedway “The Rock”, but bring back racing to the Rock, starting with the ARCA Series for the Inaugural Carolina 500 and even though the race turned out to be dominated and won by Joey Logano (who if Tony Stewart leaves JGR for a Chevrolet team, will be the new driver of the #20 in 2010), it was still great to see a race start just after noon time and with 50 cars, Good Job and NASCAR should look too.

David Pearson drives the famous No. 21 Wood Brothers Mercury ahead of Carl Edwards in his No. 99 Office Depot Ford during Darlington Raceway's media day in advance of the Dodge Challenger 500 (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images via NASCARmedia.com)

- Racedriven

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What do I think of the unification of the Champ Car/IndyCar Series and what does the future hold for the unified IndyCar Series?

So, with last year’s IRL IndyCar Series Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti departing for NASCAR along with former series champion Sam Hornish Jr., and series champion and star Scott Sharp driving over in the American LeMans Series… so I ask this question to everyone, what do I think of the unification of the Champ Car/IndyCar Series and what does the future hold for the unified IndyCar Series?

When I first heard that of the Champ Car World Series and the IRL IndyCar Series was going to become one under the IndyCar Series banner, I had mixed thoughts on the unification, on one hand I was thinking that finally the IndyCar Series will have more competition not only more drivers going for the victory week in and week out, but larger fields and a better television package, one can only hope.

But on the flip side, first, the media kept making the mistake of calling this a merger, this was no merger, this was survival for the Champ Car Series and a buyout with Tony George and Tony getting exactly what he wants, he nearly destroyed open wheel racing in America which included the departure of a lot of good indy car drivers and now he gets his vision and basically complete control while the Champ Car World Series formerly known as CART is history after around 27 years.

Leading up to the Indianapolis 500 were I believe most of the teams will be on somewhat equal footing was an interesting blend, basically you had a big learning curve for the old Champ car drivers on the ovals and the opposite somewhat for the street circuit in St. Pete, plus you had the final showdown between the IRL IndyCar Series racing separately in Motegi, Japan, while the Champ Car teams where racing at the Long Beach Grand Prix.

Like I said, while Homestead and Kansas where really no contest for the Champ Car drivers as they have little experience on ovals, however the street circuit at St. Pete was a good race all the way around and you know it was the perfect showcase for the old Champ Car drivers as the rising star Graham Rahal made history by capturing his first IRL IndyCar Series victory and in great style. If that wasn’t enough for a good showing for open wheel racing, the split weekend showed even more excitement for the rising stars as first at the IRL IndyCar Series series finale (before the series would become one again) in Motegi, Japan, as Danica Patrick (who I have been watching since she raced years ago in the Toyota Atlantic Series) made history by capturing her first victory in the Indy Car Series and becoming the first female to win a IndyCar series event.

Specking of Champ Car World Series (formerly CART) series finale, the Long beach Grand Prix, which was a good one, you had a full 20 car field that was exciting as an open wheel race could be with one of the series raising stars winning the race after going from starting fourth to leading the race by turn 1, Will Power. Fans also say what could as well be the final appearance of some of the open wheels great drivers including one of my favorite’s Paul Tracy, who reminds me of Tony Stewart, it was also cool to see Jimmy Vaser racing one more time in couch tour, so in the end, goodbye Champ Car/CART, you had a good run.

With that said, So what about the future of the IndyCar Series? Now that the two series has become one, this is where the series history will begin and it’s only fitting that this will happen at the biggest spectacular in Motorsports today, the famous Indianapolis 500.

When it comes to the future of the IndyCar Series, I see success depending upon what the series does next starting with who are the drivers? Well I am glad to see that at least 9 drivers have made the trip from the Champ Car World Series over to the unified series including Oriol Servia, Will Power, Bruno Junquiera, Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal to name a few, however one driver I don’t see on the list is Paul Tracy, who in my opinion is key to the success of the series especially at the Canadian races, not to mention his character is unmatched by most drivers. Fans either love him or hate him and that’s huge, it’s headline news and he’s one of my favorite drivers. Tracy is not afraid to get into someone’s face, nor race hard for any position. Looking on down the line, what about Alex Tagliani or Kathrene Legge, where do they stand? Like I said drivers are key and more American drivers will help the series grow in America, Paul Tracy is key in Canada.

Where does the schedule go from the current one? Adding races like Portland International Raceway, Exhibition Place in Toronto, Road America, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico to name a few would make for a good combination, while removing Richmond would be good, it’s just not exciting.

How about the next generation indy car - turbo, supercharger or normally aspirated engines, this is the drivers and teams area, I’m staying clear this one. Well that’s it for now as I turn my attention to the 92th running of the Indianapolis 500, the rest of the 2008 season and a better 2009 season. Comments. (Photo Credit: Motorsport.com)

- Racedriven

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Emotions, Emotions, Emotions – Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin as Clint Bowyer wins the 400 at Richmond.

(Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

So here’s the question of the day (the next day)…What do you consider as a good race and would you consider the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond last night a good race?

Racing under the light’s in Richmond is always exciting, a ¾ mile racetrack, a sellout crowd, 43 good drivers and 400 laps makes for an interesting night and race fans, that’s exactly what we got in Richmond regardless of what your personal feelings are after a late race battle turns to a wreck.

Like the title says, emotions, emotions, emotions, now let me state the obvious from the start, I am a huge Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan and I’ve been an Earnhardt fan for years now and for anyone who reads my blog regularly, you most likely already know this. As I sit here following the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond blogging on this short track event, I sit with emotions as to what to say about the entire thing.

While a good race to me would consist of multi-lead changes, that is not the only requirement, the others would include side-by-side racing throughout the entire field (oh I love a good short track action with beating and banging), passing which is a big key to any racing, pit strategy, action on and off the track, drama, excitement in the air, you get the picture as well as something that doesn’t look like a parade, now would Richmond qualify, oh yeah, despite the fact that Denny Hamlin lead 381 of 400 laps of the race (track record I never want to see again), this was one of the best races all season long, not as high up as Phoenix does or Bristol, but it’s up there.

Shocking enough, there was “The Big One”, one minute we are racing in Richmond and the next we are racing back in Talladega, how that happen and so fast, it was just a huge chain reaction that took out 10 cars, yeah and it was avoidable too… you can’t go three wide at Richmond, at least not for very long, boy this new car enables these drivers to really get it on at short tracks, now I just wish they could fix the intermediate tracks, we would have a real good, yet ugly car, but a real good car.

I had a feeling drivers were saving up there equipment for the end of this one, but boy I feel bad for Denny Hamlin, he wanted it so badly and yet welcome to Cup Series racing, don’t anyone give that line to me in a minute...

Now, just like so many times this year, like Phoenix, the final pit stops and final 50 miles of the race always seems to where business picks up – with Hamlin following back due to a slow air leak and a three wide pass, if you wert interested before, you are now…

With 15 laps to go, my heart was pumping a mile a minute with Dale Jr. leading, Jr. Nation on there feet and yet to go from seeing your favorite driver leading the race one minute and the next minute or several laps later, get wrecked by another driver (cough…Kyle Busch) is very tough to watch, I understand it is racing and while I should be angry, surprisingly enough I am very silent (someone hand me some headphone and a music player with Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift to calm me down, believe me it works), why, I really don’t know, at this point I am thinking about what Dale Jr. must be thinking as I watched his interview, what a drive not only in this race, but this entire season for Junior and yet, I am already off thinking about next weekend’s race in Darlington, plus believe it or not Denny Hamlin as well.

Denny wanted that victory so bad and for either of them not to win, that hurts. I can’t even imagine what other Dale Jr. fans were thinking and are thinking now, well maybe one, my father is already sleeping, that can’t be easy neither. As for Kyle Busch, well, good luck with… like I said emotions and for all that read this saying why are you not mad, who said I wasn’t, I just handle it my own way, sort of like you if I had a child in front of you (I don’t, no kids) or breathing… Well, congratulations to Clint Bowyer, he had a top 5, top 10 racecar, all night long and just like so many races in general, right place, right time wins races too.

I remember seeing Clint Bowyers first Cup Series victory at New Hampshire last season, I was there in his teammates Kevin Harvick’s pit (my first race too, thanks to Shell), good win for him and RCR and yeah a Chevy wins. Photo on the right taken by me.

So to answer the question, was this a good race, yes, so was Phoenix, Bristol, The Daytona 500 and even Las Vegas, for Martinsville, it was the weather – mist and cold, nothing against NASCAR, the drivers & teams, nor the track, so leave those two dates alone. Well (remembering I am a Boston Red Sox fan as well as New England Patriots fan, you can figure out the connect if there is one…), it’s off to Darlington, a Mountain Dew retro-look for Dale Junior that growing on me and another night race, and oh yeah, the ARCA race at “The Rock” later today, yeah, I'm Brian Vermette, See Yeah next time. Comments.

- Racedriven

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What is this Speed Racer the Next Generation: The Beginning DVD?

This movie is a complete 180 from what I am normally a custom to watching, I have never watched an episode of Speed Racer before today, the only animated series that I can compare it to would be The Transformers which I watched regularly years ago, is very simpler to this Speed Racer. The Speed Racer The Next Generation: The Beginning on DVD focusing on Speed's orphaned son as he juggles school life at the Racing Academy which includes the pursuit of building a car with a gasless engine, while uncovering secrets behind his father's disappearance. The movie features Peter Fernandez (as Headmaster Spritle) which is the voice of Speed Racer in the classic TV series and the man responsible for the lyrics of original Speed Racer theme song.

The DVD which is released on Tuesday, May 6th, the bonus’s include The Making of Speed Racer: The Next Generation, The Virtual Track Racing Game, Trailer Gallery and more. Speed Racer The Next Generation: The Beginning sets up and launches the new animated half-hour TV series which airs Fridays at 7pm ET on Nicktoons Network and also coincides with the Warner Bros. live-action feature film which hits theatres on May 9th.

This Speed Racer movie is a good one for kids and even though the movie is only 66 minutes long, this would entertain just about any kid.

Now only if automakers could build a car like the Mach 6 in styling and that runs on alternative fuels, we would be all set, I know I would with today’s gas prices, I would like to thank Torr Leonard of M80 and Lionsgate Home Entertainment for providing me with this preview.

The Mach 5, looks like a Chevrolet Corvette to me... Comments.

- Racedriven