Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of RaceDriven.com of the 2000s

Hi, my name is Brian Vermette and I started RaceDriven.com almost five years ago, March 12, 2005 to be specific and since RaceDriven is being upgrading from a personal blog to a niche blog on January 4, 2010, where I will blog on NASCAR and the Auto Industry, I though a best of 2000 was in order. These are the articles and postings that are simply the best of the best on RaceDriven.com in this decade.

Cruise Night Car Show featuring Jack Roush at Imperial Ford in Mendon, Massachusetts. Best article of 2009, most traffic, most exposed including being listed on the dealership’s website and Roush Performances blog. Most incredible event of the 2009 and I took it in with my sister and brother-in. I couldn’t believe I meant Jack Roush. If you haven’t read this article and you’re a car enthusiast, it’s a must read.

Highlights from the 2007 Barrett-Jackson including an all new record of 5 million dollar bid for a Shelby Cobra. The most expensive car hammered away in Barrett-Jackson history, a $5 Million dollar Shelby Cobra owned by Carroll Shelby.

Emotions, Emotions, Emotions – Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin as Clint Bowyer wins the 400 at Richmond. If you’re a NASCAR fan, you remember watching back at Richmond 2008 when Kyle Busch took out Dale Earnhardt Jr., in turn made Kyle Busch famous and a NASCAR bad boy.

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

How we got rid of our junk car. & Can you really afford not to check your auto insurance policy regularly? These two articles go hand in hand, with the junk cars, it’s a personal experience of getting rid of my junk car that I will never forget. The second is a encore of my first article on car insurance back in 2008. It turned out to be on premium article that explains everything.

From the garage to the pits: The Best Seat in the House in New Hampshire. My first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in person and sitting on top of Kevin Harvick’s pit box.

My Take: Dale Jr. will be driving the #88 Mountain Dew, Amp Energy & National Guard Chevrolet for Hendick Motorsports in 2008. Dale Earnhardt Jr. leaves DEI to join Hendrick Motorsports to drive the #88 Chevrolet.

NASCAR penalized Kurt Busch for last weeks Dover pitroad incident, not suspended. A bad call by NASCAR period.

800hp biodiesel 65 Chevy Impala on Pimp My Ride.. Most searched posting on RaceDriven.com.

New England Intl Auto Show: Camp Jeep and Gillette Bike. Camp Jeep, you get driven around a course in a Jeep, cool experience, it left me breathless and speechless.

What a list and now as New Years 2010 is just 12 hours away, midnight tonight, let us countdown, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…, you are just going to have to wait for the ball to drop in Time Square New York City at midnight tonight to call it, have a great new year everybody and be safe.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

JibJab says "Never a year like 2009", do you agree?


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Simply put, there right, there has never been a year like 2009. If you think back over the year, NASCAR came out in good standings compared to just about everything else. Think about it...President of the United States Barack Obama, the health car bill that will never really pass with ot without a public option, John and Kate plus 8, kids, kids, kids and more kids, Kanye West interupting Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV VMA's, bailouts, raising fees, raising taxes and the economy just to name a few. I just have to wonder, what will 2010 be like? Let's hope not like 2009.

Top 10 Best Articles on RaceDriven.com of 2009

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, it’s been another good year here at RaceDriven.com and at this point as 2010 is already here, I just wanted to take this moment and reflect back on the top 10 best articles of 2009.

When I look back over the last year, for some reason or another I’m amazed at all that has happened from Mark Martin in NASCAR, General Motors and Chrysler going through bankruptcy to Taylor Swift having banner year in country music. It’s all been great, but what’s been the best of articles 2009?

1. Cruise Night Car Show featuring Jack Roush at Imperial Ford in Mendon, Massachusetts. Best article of 2009, most traffic, most exposed including being listed on the dealership’s website and Roush Performances blog. Most incredible event of the 2009 and I took it in with my sister and brother-in. I couldn’t believe I meant Jack Roush. If you haven’t read this article and you’re a car enthusiast, it’s a must read.

2. Seeing Joey Logano win the Lenox Tools 301 in person at New Hampshire was perfect. All I’m going to say is watching NASCAR on television is exciting, but watching the race at the track in the grandstand is unbelievable and if you’re a NASCAR fan, it’s a must.

3. Meeting Chip Foose and taking pictures at the 2009 World of Wheels in Boston. One of the best moments of 2009 by far, last January taking in the World of Wheels and after waiting 6 hours in line, I meet Chip Foose. There is a picture of us on my Facebook page.

4. Video: "I Told You So" Carrie Underwood duet with Randy Travis on American Idol. One of the popular postings on the RaceDriven by far, Carrie Underwood singing a duet with Randy Travis on American Idol.

5. The history continues in the 25th NASCAR All-Star race as Tony Stewart wins $1 Million Dollars. The race that finally got NASCAR to add double-file restarts in both the Cup Series and the Nationwide Series in 2009.

6. NASCAR Atlanta race debate continues: Gas Man suspended for four races and 94,400 at Atlanta race on Sunday. It’s the debate that had NASCAR talking, media outraged and fans puzzled.

7. Is blogging dead, is Lifestreaming the future? A classic question that was listed on the off topic section, but was very popular.

8. Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift take top honors at the 2009 ACM Awards. Loved the 2009 ACM’s.

9. What are the top 5 NASCAR stories of the 2000s?

10. 2009 Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale: Dale Earnhardt Racecar, 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback “Eleanor” among my favorite top 5 sellers.

Like I said, what a good year for RaceDriven.com and here’s to a better 2010, but as I say goodbye to 2009, I will also be saying making a change to RaceDriven.com, RaceDriven will no longer be a personal blog. Yes, finally I have upgraded the site to a niche blog. On January 4th, 2010, RaceDriven will be strictly NASCAR and the auto industry articles/postings. No more off topic articles, that means no more country music, politics and so on, just NASCAR and the auto industry. I'm excited about this move and it should be good for my readers.

With that said, I would just like to thank to all my readers and sponsors for a good year. Can’t wait to see what 2009 will bring.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Danica Patrick will be racing in the IRL and now in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2010.


(Photo Credit: Motorsports Images & Archives via NASCARmedia)

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, yes it’s Christmas Day (Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays) and I’m talking Danica Patrick. It’s been one of those rare off seasons, I can’t remember the last NASCAR off season that the fans and the media have received so much news and all before Christmas time, let along before New Year’s 2010.

In the last three weeks, the NASCAR media has been in full swing since the recent trip to Las Vegas for the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series awards banquet outside of New York City in 27 years. The NASCAR awards banquet was one that I actually watched and liked. It’s always cool to see NASCAR racecars doing burnouts on the strip and in the parking lot at the Wynn Hotel. And at the same time seeing Chad Knaus turn the tables on the media with his handheld digital camcorder, nice touch.

Anyway following the awards banquet, the news shifted to one of America’s Sweethearts, yes Danica Patrick has made it official when she first announced that she has signed a three-year deal to drive the #7 GoDaddy.com indy car in the IZOD IndyCar Series for Andretti Autosport.

We all had to know that this first announcement was coming, but I was surprised that it took everybody this long to sign a three-year contract. Danica Patrick leaving the IRL and going full-time in NASCAR right now in my mind just wasn’t her, I mean she hasn’t finished what she started years ago. And despite the fact that I’m a fan of the IndyCar Series, I believe that the IndyCar Series will be gone by 2013 anyway, so she should enjoy it and so should the fans unless something big happens, remember this is a business.

However just days after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series banquet in Las Vegas, GoDaddy had a press conference to announce that Danica Patrick will drive the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet in a part-time Nationwide schedule in 2010 (I believe I heard up to 13 races, but other than racing at California Speedway in February, no schedule has been announced.) Danica Patrick will be racing as a member of the JR Motorsports (JRM) team owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Rick Hendrick, Kelley Earnhardt and Tony Eury, Jr. through 2011. The deal includes running in the ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway in February.

Undoubtedly the news comes after months of speculation and to the delight of some. This past weekend at Daytona International Speedway, among more than 50 drivers at the ARCA Racing Series test, Danica Patrick turned laps on the famous superspeedway. From the reports, each day came with a new learning curve including drafting practice and that she did very well.

As a NASCAR fan and NASCAR Citizen Journalist Media Corp member, I could sit here listing many comments until I’m blue in the face including predictions, but it would do you no good nor myself to do so considering with the exception of a few test days at Walt Disney World and Daytona, she has no experience in a stock car, so I’m going to leave this incomplete. I’m waiting for not only the ARCA race at Daytona in February, but her first Nationwide Series race at either Daytona or California to really make any predictions.

So now it’s a wait and see thing, but welcome to NASCAR Danica Patrick, this is a performance business, let’s see what you can on-track and off-track.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NASCAR once again changes the Budweiser Shootout for 2010 and its lineup is unique.

As if last year’s Budweiser Shootout and no preseason testing was enough as well as all of the NASCAR news that has recently come out especially this close to Christmas, NASCAR fans and media found out today in yet another announcement that NASCAR is changing revising the 32nd annual Budweiser Shootout, at least the driver lineup is interesting.
According to the NASCAR press release, the new driver lineup will be made up based upon the following qualifications, and the driver must have completed within the last two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seasons: The 12 drivers that qualified for the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Past NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions, Past Budweiser Shootout champions, Past Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola champions and the reigning Raybestos Rookie of the Year.

“We’re always looking at ways to make this event bigger and better for our fans and we believe the new format for the Budweiser Shootout puts together an exceptionally strong lineup of our top drivers,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition.

“In our discussions with the track, we thought by placing an additional emphasis on the drivers who had performed well at Daytona over the years would create an even more compelling element for the fans to get excited about at the beginning of the season.” - (Quotes from NASCAR PR)

The race distance will continue to be 75 laps (187.5 miles), consisting of two segments – 25 and 50 laps. Both green-flag laps and yellow-flag laps will count. Between segments there will be a 10-minute pit stop allowing teams to pit and change tires, add fuel and make normal chassis adjustments. Crews will be permitted to work on cars and will be allowed to perform functions they would do on a normal pit stop in a regular NASCAR Sprint Cup event. All work must be performed on pit road or in the garage. Changing of springs, shock absorbers or rear-ends will not be permitted.
Finally it’s not all about the manufacturers, but wait until you see the list of eligible drivers this one will leave you saying why? At the same time, I remember last January the subject was why isn’t Tony Stewart in the field before changing, for this season, I was wondering how NASCAR was going to get my favorite driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. into the Budweiser Shootout considering he hadn’t won a race since 2008 Michigan, sorry I know it hurts to read/here that.

Well threat no more because he is a past winner of the Daytona 500 and the Budweiser Shootout and he’s in, but so is other drivers that I never would of thought of.

Now of course you have to 2009 chase driver Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and Brian Vickers.

But here’s where the list gets interesting, the past winners at Daytona and the past Cup Series championship include John Andretti (Coke Zero 400), Geoff Bodine (Daytona 500), Jeff Burton (Coke Zero 400), Kyle Busch (Coke Zero 400), Derrike Cope (Daytona 500), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400, Budweiser Shootout), Kevin Harvick (Daytona 500, Budweiser Shootout), Sterling Marlin (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400), Jamie McMurray (Coke Zero 400), Ken Schrader (Budweiser Shootout) and Michael Waltrip (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400) as well as the past series champions, Bill Elliott, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, and Terry Labonte. And finally the Reigning Raybestos Rookie of the Year Joey Logano is in the 2010 Budweiser Shootout.

What a difference from not only last season, but the All-Star race, I mean the NASCAR All-Star race has tighter restrictions, for example NASCAR didn’t even let Michael Waltrip in the field because his All-Star win was back in 1996 and there was a 10 year. And yet Geoff Bodine, Derrike Cope, Sterling Marlin, Terry Labonte, John Andretti and Ken Schrader all are eligible to run in the Budweiser Shootout? I think NASCAR has gone overboard here, I think for a driver to qualify/eligible, the driver must have at least attempted to make all of the (72) races in the last two seasons, but what’s new.

However even with the changes I have to say that I am excited to watch the Budweiser Shootout in February in Daytona because it’s the unofficial start of the 2010 NASCAR season and that’s what matters. Yeah you can tell that I already miss my Saturday and Sunday races on television. If I don’t talk to you before Christmas, Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays everybody.

Monday, December 21, 2009

NASCAR says goodbye to the Milwaukee Mile as they return to Road America 2010.

As if the Danica Patrick news was enough for the NASCAR community (fans, media, drivers, teams & owners) to get a grip on, today NASCAR announced that they will continue its 17-year streak of racing on a national-series level in Wisconsin by racing at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn track known as Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. on Saturday June 19th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2010.

“We’re excited to be staying in Wisconsin and racing in front of the passionate fans there at a historic venue that’s new to our NASCAR Nationwide Series,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s vice president of racing operations.”

“It’s a really great race track,” Menard said. “It’s in a very picturesque setting in the Wisconsin countryside. It has every kind of corner you can imagine. When I was a kid, my dad would take me to Road America. The fans love it there. By the second practice, I’m sure everyone will be up to speed because the drivers are so good in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Braking will be the hardest aspect. Strategy will play a big part in this race. I’m really excited about (the series) running there.”

“Road America is a very unique track that will provide great racing and will test driver skill and ability on what is a very large course,” said Joe Balash, director of the NASCAR Nationwide Series. “And yes, we’ll be prepared to race in the rain if necessary,” he said, in reference to the series’ last two races in wet weather in Montreal. The 2008 event was the first NASCAR national series points race contested in the rain.” – (Quotes from NASCAR PR)

Of course this comes after news that the historical Milwaukee Mile will not be on the 2010 NASCAR schedule. I have to say that I liked the Milwaukee Mile for its challenges; there is no other racetrack on the NASCAR Nationwide Schedule that is a real flat track like this one was. The Milwaukee Mile will be missed. Short-track racing is a huge part of NASCAR and hate to see another leave, but hopefully NASCAR will find another short-track for them to go to, however at least we have the addition of Iowa Speedway which located 320 miles away.

In the same context, road racing is how NASCAR started in the first place on the beaches in Daytona and I have always wanted another road course added to the NASCAR schedule, but racing at Road America is only for the Nationwide Series, but what the Sprint Cup Series?

Road America will join the two other road course races on the Nationwide Series schedule in 2010, of course I’m talking about Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal Canada and Watkins Glen in New York. But one thing still bothers me, why did NASCAR pick Road America when NASCAR has wanted to race in the Northwest for some time now, why didn’t they pick Portland International Raceway?

Well I will be interested in see what the NASCAR Nationwide Series can do racing wise at a 4 mile road course of Road America that is by far the longest race track any of NASCAR national series will race on in 2010, that should be interesting. By the way in case you were wondering, NASCAR has raced at Road America before, on Aug. 12, 1956, Tim Flock won the only other NASCAR national series race, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, at the then one-year-old track.

I wonder which road course ringer will race at Road America in 2010 in a Nationwide Series racecar?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Can you really afford not to check your auto insurance policy regularly?

Every month, more and more American’s dread that one or two days where they have to take time out, sit down at a table typically with a computer in front of them and pay their bills. We all do it, whether your 16 years old, 21, 30, 45, 60 or 90 years old, we all do it and every month most of us say “Where can I save money?” Typically we look at the cable or satellite, telephone or even the food bill, but have you ever considered changing you auto insurance?

When it comes to buying auto insurance, I’m not talking about cutting coverage, because that would be wrong and could land you into some trouble down the road if you have an accident, but I am talking about simply going online and doing some research, and you could save hundreds of dollars a year on your auto insurance and if you have a collector car, that is even bigger.

Step 1: Find out what companies do business in your state. This is key because each state has their own policies on auto insurance. For example, Massachusetts is one of the worst because they have interesting regulations in place then other states do. So you want to check your states official website. For Massachusetts residences, that would be Mass.gov. California is ca.gov, Rhode Island is ri.gov, if you don’t know your state, just use a search engine like Google, Yahoo, whatever and put in the name of the state. Most likely the address will be a .gov or state.something.us.

Step 2: Collect all of your information, personal information, driver’s license, registration, title, make and model of your car and etc. When you go through the process for obtaining a quote like starting with you state or zip code, you will be asked a lot of questions, so be prepared. Don’t forget to include the extras like airbags, car alarm, and more, they can save you money.

Step 3: Now you are ready to get a quote. You have several options in this category; you can visit an auto insurance agent. For example if you have AAA, visit their offices and see what discounts and help they can give you. Go directly though the company’s website and of course visit a couple of independent sites looking for “Free Car Insurance Quotes”, again, this is where a good search engine is useful. For more info on car insurance visit Carinsurancelist.com.

You also might want to consider a company that deals in life, home and auto insurance, bulking can save you money.

Please keep in mind when you are visiting these sites just what type of coverage you are looking for, from your liability coverage, to the comprehensive and collision insurance coverage, uninsured motorist insurance and more, plus your make and model plays a big role here including the engine size.

Step 4: Now that you know what companies do business in your state, have your information, and have quotes, now you need to know just who you are doing business with. Before you do business with a company, I like to check around the internet to see what type of a company they are. One way is to check with the BBB.org, check for complaints and if they have been resolved. Tip: Don’t believe everything you read on the internet, believe me it’s like reading reviews of electronics, sometimes its good and sometimes its bad.

Step 5: What is your deductable? $250, $500 which is common and $1000 and you might even want to put away that deductible amount just in case you need it. Work and adjust your deductible, you don’t want a low deductible because you will pay more and at the same time, you don’t want a high deductible because you will have to cover that deductible when fixing your car, it’s what works for you.

Step 6: Once you have your quotes and have picked a company, you can either go through an agent or order directly. Don’t forget to get an insurance card, if your vehicle gets towed like in Philadelphia or Detroit for example, you will need your valid driver’s license, valid registration and a valid insurance card.

And just remember, finding affordable car insurance doesn't mean giving up the best coverage to lower your premium, however, you might just be surprised at what you can save.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Kyle Busch jumps into the Truck Series by starting KBM.

Earlier today live on SPEED, NASCAR’s bad boy and 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Kyle Busch announced that he is starting a two-truck team to compete full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2010. He will bring along legendary and 2009 NASCAR Truck Series champion crew chief Rick Ren to run the day to day operations.


The driver lineup will include Tayler Malsam who will run full-time in the # 56 Toyota Tundra, while Brian Ickler and of course Kyle Busch will share driving duties in the #18 Miccosukee Resort & Gaming Toyota Tundra Truck.

There is also a possibility the KBM will field a third team in 2010 with Johnny Benson if sponsorship can be found. As Kyle Busch continues to build his race shop in Mooresville, NC, he has purchased the #16 Xpress Motorsports Truck Series team and will use that race shop for now. The teams will have support from Joe Gibbs Racing to help with the possibility of running a third team

I have to say that I’m surprised to see that especially in this economy that a business person would want or have the support to start a new team. Although it doesn’t surprise me that Rick Ren would join the team. Many crew chiefs are looking to move up the latter after so many years and if you are going to start a team, a former crew chief like Rick Ren is a great place to start, he has seen it all and brings with him two truck series championships.

However in looking at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, in my opinion, it’s a series that while it puts on good racing across the board from Daytona to Homestead, the outlook of the series doesn’t look so promising. The Truck series has seen several teams close down like Roush-Fenway Racing or downsize as well as a lack of manufacturer support and sponsorship in the series. One thing many fans of the series including myself have seen in this past season is a lot of blank trucks racing in the series.

But at the same time, I would like to see the series succeed, however I will mention that my thinking one year ago was merging the Truck Series with the also hurting NASCAR Nationwide Series would be the only way to save, improve the outlook of one series. I don’t know what this announcement is going to do for the series, but if a driver has this much convince in the truck series, then it might look better to some other owners and sponsors to do the same.

It is too early to say what the team is going to do, but expectations look pretty high especially when Kyle Busch is the owner and driver. I would say that KBM will win a race in 2010, but is going to take some time to get the teams to gel and be consistent. I will also be watching Kyle Busch himself and how he acts considering he will be answering to sponsors now.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What are the top 10 moments of the 2009 NASCAR season?

Let’s face it, everything is about moments in the season, not the entire races, and so for that reason instead of doing the top 5 races of 2009 like so many have, I have decided that the top 10 NASCAR moments of 2009 would be a better fit and what moments we have had both on-track and off-track in all three NASCAR national series (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series).

10. Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Juan Montoya gets caught speeding and has to do a drive through penalty, while going down pit road, Montoya tells NASCAR “Thank you NASCAR for screwing my day”. I still to this day believe that NASCAR didn’t really screw Juan Montoya and that his tack was set wrong or he plain went over the 5 mph buffer.

9. Copart 200 at Gateway (Truck Series): Matt Crafton first wrecks Todd Bodine in the late stages of the race going into turn 1, on the next restart, Crafton then wrecks Ron Hornaday Jr. in turn 1. After the wreck, two quotes would be made famous…Todd Bodine “You can’t fix stupid” and Matt Crafton “I ain’t scared”.

8. Nationwide Series rivalry between Denny Hamlin (with Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski: I had written about this whole episode before, but it bears repeating, Denny Hamlin just hates to be raced hard in the Nationwide Series by anybody and in May 2008 at Charlotte, Denny Hamlin found out just who Brad Keselowski and didn’t like him one bit. Brad doesn’t pull over at for anybody, he races for just about every position period and Denny Hamlin just doesn’t get that. One thing, at least when it comes to Kyle Busch, he has talent, he can drive just about any type of racecar and win in it, Brad Keselowski, he has talent and I don’t mean wrecking people, he can drive, but Denny Hamlin can’t period.

7. North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway (Truck Series): Mike Skinner gets turned on the front straight away and hits head on into the outside wall, launching the #5 truck into the air. That had to have been one of the hardest hits this season or this decade for sure in all of NASCAR, but Skinner walked away thank god.

6. Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway: after several restarts and the introduction of double-file restarts on the road course Kasey Kahne holds off Tony Stewart to win the race, but the victory lane celebration was that key moment because for the first time since John Andretti won at Martinsville back in 1998 (under Petty Enterprises), Richard Petty was in victory lane as a car owner.

5. AMP Energy 500 at Talladega: Once again we are talking about wrecks, and yet this was a game changing race in itself with no bump drafting in the corners, Ryan Newman getting turned around, going up in the air and landing on his roof on top of Kevin Harvick’s windshield. If that wasn’t enough, in the final laps as well, Mark Martin would get turned around and flipped on the front straightaway. Talladega needs help now, before someone gets seriously hurt or worse and that could be anybody.

4. Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway: Simply put, Mark Martin wins at Phoenix and picks up his first victory driving the #5 for Hendick Motorsports. That was incredible to watch, that was some moment and that race win would make him a championship contender.

3. Coke Zero 400 at Daytona: Coming out of turn 4, racing back to the finish line, Kyle Busch blocks, Tony Stewart goes high, Busch blocks again and Stewart holds his ground which sends Busch into the outside retaining wall and Tony Stewart wins at Daytona. Kyle Busch would get hit twice more by Kasey Kahne and teammate Joey Logano.

2. Aaron’s 499 at Talladega: One of the most horrible wrecks I’ve ever seen in NASCAR history, Bobby Allison had the same wreck in the same place years ago. Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski racing for the lead, Carl blocks, Brad blocks and Carl goes off the front end of Brad’s car and goes flying into the outside catch fence where several fans did get injured and Brad Keselowski would win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. So I guess you could say that there was two moments there, first being the Carl Edwards wreck and second being that Brad Keselowski won his first race.

1. Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway: Back in July 2008, Tony Stewart announced that he was departing JGR to form his own team Stewart-Haas Racing under the Chevrolet banner. Last May in the All-star race, the final 10 laps would turn out to be the best racing as not only Kyle Busch, but double-file restarts would play a role in the race. In the final laps, Tony Stewart would pass Matt Kenseth and set sail to win the All-Star race, his first victory as a car owner. Within a month, Tony Stewart would win at Pocono after starting from the back, what a season for Tony Stewart.

But where does the Crown Royal presents The Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond come in as well as the Southern 500 at Darlington? Do you agree (and not because of the order considering I had trouble with that part)?

Monday, December 7, 2009

What are the top 5 NASCAR stories of the 2000s?

Over the last decade, there have been so many big stories in NASCAR, so today I’m going to be talking about the top 5 biggest stories so far this decade. Where do we begin, well how about with one of the biggest shocking stories of that even I still think about today.

1. Death of Dale Earnhardt: On February 18, 2001, at the end of the Daytona 500 as his company DEI was about to win with Michael Waltrip and his son was finishing runner up, in a turn 4 crash, the sport lost one of the best drivers in NASCAR history, Dale Earnhardt. I’m thought about that day from time to time and it has always left me speechless, it’s like losing a member of your family. But I will say that following Dale’s death, NASCAR reacted by putting into place all of the safety that we have today including the Car of Tomorrow, the head and neck restraint and the safer walls. It was great to see that this October, NASCAR announced that Dale Earnhardt will be part of the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Dale Earnhardt would always be known as one of the best drivers in NASCAR, top 2 for sure next to Richard Petty.

2. Jimmie Johnson four-peat: Jimmie Johnson, a Hendrick Motorsports driver that has yet to get the credit and respect that he has earned, made history this year in Homestead when he and the #48 team captured his fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. No one in NASCAR has ever won four consecutive Cup Series championship before, only Cale Yarborough came close when he won three consecutive NASCAR Championships back in 1976, 1977 and 1978.

But where does Jimmie Johnson rank among the best drivers? Just outside the top 5 or fifth. The top 5 greatest drivers has to include Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson, Junior Johnson, Cale Yarborough and now Jimmie Johnson.

3. The Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship: Back in 2004 when Nextel signed on as title sponsor of the Cup Series after Winston left, the chase for the Nextel cup was introduced. This type of playoff format had never been done in NASCAR before and while it still needs some tweaks from time to time, the chase format in my eyes has made the racing better as well as racing for the championship. But there is no such thing as Jimmie Johnson proofing the chase.

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. leaves DEI and join Hendrick Motorsports: NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for 7 years running first came into the Cup Series in 1999 driving for his father’s company DEI. Dale Jr. would win his first of 17 wins at Texas in 2000, but after months of speculation, on May 10, 2007, Dale Jr. announced that he would be leaving DEI to join a new team in 2008. The next month, on June 13, 2007, e would announce that he has signed a five-year deal to drive at Hendrick Motorsports. Whatever Dale Jr. does is big when it comes to NASCAR, so this announcement to leave DEI and join Hendrick Motorsports was history in the making, no one could really believe that he would leave DEI.

5. The Car of Tomorrow: The Car of Tomorrow that was introduced into the Cup Series in 2007 in a few select races, the first one being at Bristol Motor Speedway. The new COT has made the racing better at several tracks including Phoenix, Martinsville, New Hampshire and more, but has made the racing worse at other tracks. The car is described as ugly, but its best feature is the safety that has been proven time and time again from Las Vegas by Jeff Gordon, Texas by Michael McDowell, Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman at Talladega and more. The COT is a huge step in the right direction for safety, but a giant step back for looking like a car off the showroom floor. NASCAR still has issues with the car including getting it to race at some tracks including California and with the fans in terms of looks.

If you look back so far over the past decade, you will find a lot of big stories, but you will be hard press to find anything bigger than these five stories above. However if I were doing the top 10, I would have to include not only the arrival of Toyota not only into NASCAR, but into the Sprint Cup Series, that was big, but not as big as JGR leaving Chevrolet to join Toyota, that’s where they Toyota shined. And Tony Stewart becoming 50% owner of Haas Racing and forming Stewart-Haas Racing. Do you agree?

By the way, I got the idea for this article from Jay at "From the Marbles - NASCAR Blog", check that article out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Best and Worst of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series In 2009

This past season will definitely be known for some of the best racing in the Truck Series that I have seen in years, however where were the fans, let alone the sponsors? Right now (2009) in the Truck Series, the racing has been heart-stopping most of the time, sure some races have seen runaway victories or two or a driver just dominate the race, but for the most part, Truck Series fans (what few there are) have seen amazing racing from Daytona in February to Homestead in Florida.

Best of 2009

Some of the best depends upon who you are and more so who is your favorite driver. Ron Hornaday Jr. in the #33 KHI Chevrolet Truck has to be a stand out in the series. In 2009 he won his fourth NASCAR Truck Series championship fending off a hard charging Matt Crafton and Kyle Busch. Hornaday Jr. made history during this past season when he and his team won an impressive five consecutive races, starting at The Milwaukee Mile and extending through Memphis, Kentucky, ORP and down to Nashville and I’m sure he didn’t smash the Nashville guitar that he won.

2009 was also filled with some success stories and first time winners were a big one in the Truck Series. NASCAR saw Brian Scott pick up his first career Camping World Truck Series victory at Dover, Colin Braun picked up his first victory at Michgan, Johnny Sauter in Las Vegas and Timothy Peters in Martinsville. And NASCAR fans also saw Kyle Busch win seven races in the #51, of course he was his usual self.

One of the best of 2009 would have to include the Television coverage by SPEED. SPEED had the fans covered from a half-hour pre-show, excellent race coverage and a post-race re-cap. For the most part, they were spot on all season long with of course the exception of the Talladega Halloween race, not their finest race, Batman and Robin oh brother and the batmobile. Of course SPEED also put on a chicken car, but not sure what coverage that was on.

Worst of 2009

The worst of 2009 had to center around some of the decisions in Truck Series made by NASCAR, let’s start with the pit stop rules. Already I can understand five crew members over the wall, but the tires or gasoline on a pit stop was too much. A lot of the time, we saw the Trucks coming on to pit road twice to first get tires and then get fuel.

Luckily enough in 2010, we will return to normal pit stop rules. Another one had to no double-file restarts. NASCAR introduced double-file restarts in (June) Pocono in the Cup Series and the Nationwide Series saw them a few months later, but nothing in the Truck Series despite the good racing in Cup and Nationwide and fans asking for it.

However I’m going to remember 2009 for one thing in particular which just so happens to be the worst and it’s the survival of the sport. Despite the fact that Camping World has come on-board as the title sponsor for the series, during the entire season, one couldn’t help but notice all of the blank trucks on track. One of the biggest stories shortly after Daytona was Todd Bodine not having sponsorship to continue the season despite his winner races.

Right now in the Truck series, there is a lack of manufacturer support and sponsorship dollars and while teams can get by without the manufacturer support, the sponsorship is what keeps a team going, without it, it’s over period. That is exactly what happened to many drivers during the season, one being the 2008 NASCAR Truck Series champion Johnny Benson. It’s sad when even the past champion can’t get sponsorship to race the entire season.

I honestly don’t have any idea what is going to happen to the Truck Series and if that wasn’t enough, even Roush-Fenway has decided to pull out of the series in 2010, I can’t imagine that that will look to potential sponsors trying to come into the series. The question is despite the good television coverage by SPEED, what is going to happen to the Truck Series with such little sponsorship available. NASCAR can only do so much.

I will leave you with this, I have been suggesting this for over a year now and I know that NASCAR wouldn’t consider it right now, but I think that the Truck Series and the Nationwide Series should merge. Just think about the possibilities, but for now, I wonder what is going to happen to the series, maybe it will be a cost effective, crate motor, pre-made truck series.

Now I can’t wait until February for Daytona, that should be good, but now that Rick Ren, the crew chief for the #33 Ron Hornaday Jr. has left KHI, who is going to be the new crew chief?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Have you ever used NASCAR Trackpass and/or TNT RaceBuddy?

Let me start off with what we call a disclaimer. Just before the season finale for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway, I was asked by a PR guy with NASCAR to do a NASCAR giveaway here on RaceDriven.com, the two prizes were a subscription to NASCAR Trackpass that was good for one year from activation and the second prize was a NASCAR Prize Pack that included several different things. For running the giveaway, I received both prizes.

So with that said, what did I think of the NASCAR Trackpass experience?

A few weeks ago during the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Ford 300, I activated the NASCAR Trackpass to use during the race and see what it was like and what an interesting experience it was to say the least. There were a few good points as well as a few bad points.

But before I get into my experience, here’s what the NASCAR Trackpass has to offer:

“View real time driver data positions with the leaderboard, updates on the race including pit stop times, driver’s time behind the leader, drivers’ speed, RPM, brake, throttle, and race positionand more, watching LIVE racing from 3 virtual camera angles, listen to exclusive driver and team communication for all 43 drivers with scanner, Listen to the NASCAR Officials discuss the race and more.”

Now I have been watching all of the NASCAR races all season long on TV and with the exception of attending the NASCAR race last June in New Hampshire and watching a few of the races at someone else’s house, I watched them at home on television with NASCAR on FOX, NASCAR on TNT and NASCAR on ESPN/ABC, those experiences are another article all together.

Anyway during the Ford 400, I had the NASCAR on ABC coverage on TV with the sound muted for most of the event. I’ve seen and heard the ESPN coverage before in general and it’s scripted. However instead of listening to the ABC coverage, I switched between the MRN/PRN Radio coverage which is always great to listen to considering they have to paint a picture for the listener and the scanner to listen to NASCAR and any of the 43 drivers.

I was a little bit surprised that the radio coverage was basically live or so it seemed. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the ABC coverage which seemed like it was five or seven second delay or a straightaway behind. I was hearing about a battle between the leaders going into turn 1 and the ABC coverage was just coming off turn 4 heading for the start/finish line.

Even more so, the scanner feature was delaying further then the TV coverage. For example during one of pit stops, I was listening to Jimmie Johnson’s radio during a pit stop, about the time when the crew chief Chad Knaus calling Jimmie into the pits and making sure the guys changed every right, the pictures on TV showed Jimmie Johnson already done his pit stop and going down the back straightaway.

I also found the leaderboard helpful as well as the pit stop times, lap times and the chase standings. However the other features just didn’t work for me like the virtual pictures, I need real cameras, not fake.

I would say that while I liked the opportunity to use NASCAR Trackpass and will continue to use it, I wouldn’t pay all that much for it. However during the NASCAR summer series, namely TNT’s coverage, TNT added an online feature called TNT Racebuddy which was on NASCAR.com as well. It’s a free feature that had the extra features that the NASCAR Trackpass lacks.

The cameras which included a shot of pit road, a roof camera which a Pocono was on the #14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet and other cameras controlled by the TNT crew was a welcome pleasure. I didn’t even mind the four advertisements that were on it, but I didn’t like hearing the TNT TV crew.

My opinion is, combine the NASCAR Trackpass with scanner function, leaderboard and the live cameras from the TNT RaceBuddy for free with ads or no ads for a small fee and you might have a good product that NASCAR fans would use. Just watch the price tag, in this economy where money is at a premium, fans will either pay for it or not especially if they don’t like the TV coverage.

I will say that in watching just the TV coverage for ESPN/ABC, the radio and the scanner helped and in some cases was a completely different race. So have you used NASCAR Trackpass and/or TNT RaceBuddy and if so, what did you think?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Anger, drama in the last few weeks leaves NASCAR fans wanting more after finale in Homestead.

Denny Hamlin pays back Brad Keselowski, but Hamlin ends up looking like a rookie

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, about one week ago at Homestead-Miami Speedway, all three of NASCAR’s national series had their season finales on the 1.5 mile track that ended with its normal fireworks. But it’s been the last few weeks that still have NASCAR fans talking and wanting more after the action on the racetrack has heated up.

All three series as a matter of fact have had their moments of anger and drama from Ron Hornaday Jr. and Todd Bodine getting wrecked by Matt Crafton in St. Louis where Crafton’s comment was “I ain’t scared” while Todd Bodine’s comment was “You can’t fix stupid”. Crafton spend the rest of the season playing brides made, finishing runner up in several races and the championship and dodging a few angry drivers. Of course also in the Truck Series was Ron Hornaday Jr. getting pushed around by Kyle Busch, but it was Texas that that battle had its moment when Kyle Busch nailed Hornaday Jr. for no call going down the back straightaway to take the lead.

By the way, it was Kevin Harvick who won the last two races of the season, first in Phoenix and second by dominating in Homestead.

Then there was the anger that broke out in and among the chase for the championship where Jimmie Johnson won his fourth consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championship in the Ford 400 with Tony Stewart and Juan Montoya. Oh boy, can you imagine it, two of the toughest guys in the garage that simply will not back down from anybody going at it on the track in Homestead, that was classic. First it was a slide job by Stewart on the front straightaway that leads to a bump from Montoya to Stewart, then some good contact going down the back straightaway from Stewart on Montoya that cut down Montoya’s right front sending him and his teammate into the outside wall.

Finally after Montoya’s car was fixed, Montoya drove right into Stewart coming off turn 4 to spin him out, look he did a Denny Hamlin, I will get to that in a minute. Of course NASCAR would penalize Montoya 2 laps for rough drivers, of course that did nothing considering Montoya was already several laps down. Neither one of these drivers is going to get pushed around and not give something back. We have seen Montoya and Gordon recently in Martinsville, but this case Stewart pushed back. Ehen will Montoya learn, you just don’t mess with some drivers. “You can’t fix stupid”, I love that line.

However none of these even compare to the rivalry/battle in the Nationwide Series that has been going on for over a years and a half now. Of course I’m talking about Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch vs. Brad Keselowski.

The feud between Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski all started or came to a head for the first time back in Charlotte at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (the CarQuest Auto Parts 300) in May 2008 when Bad was driving the #88 U.S. Navy Chevrolet. I remember this race, because it was a race that I would never forget. Brad Keselowski is known for a lot of things and being a hard driver (even aggressive at times), meaning will fight for every position not only to get, but keep and during this race, #20-Hamlin was trying to catch leader #32-Kyle Busch and he was getting raced hard by Brad.

This is what you are suppose to do in a race, race hard every lap for every position, it doesn’t matter if you are racing for the lead, 5th, 10th, or 30th, you race and Denny Hamlin didn’t like it one bit. The truth is, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch hate it when other drivers in the Nationwide Series race them hard, they think because they are “Cup Series drivers” that other drivers should move over. The Nationwide Series in their eyes is there play ground, but it isn’t.

So Denny Hamlin came up alongside Brad Keselowski and hit Brad’s left side fender. Now Brad’s owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. was driving the #83 that night was right behind him and came up and hit Denny Hamlin in the back bumper. After the race, a fight broke out between the #88 pit crew and the #20 pit crew. It was dirty on the part of Hamlin, he just doesn’t get it.

Since then, there has been on track battles between not only Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski, but Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski. There are several cases that come to mind, but Hamlin said that he was wrecked four times by Brad. One had to be in Dover in the final laps when Hamlin left the door open on the bottom and Brad went for it, but closed too quickly, which resulted in contact and Hamlin into the outside wall. You know I have to say that Brad has been in a few accidents from Bristol with Justin Alliger, Carl Edwards at Memphis, but he has taken responsibility for all of them, but you don’t hear Hamlin or Busch for that matter taking responsibility for their incidents.

Of course at Phoenix, Hamlin got into Brad on the back straightaway, so Brad spun Hamlin out on the next corner. After the race Hamlin said "there's a lot of guys that owe him" and "a lot of guys that have a lot of chips that they're going to cash in.

“I'm just going to be the first to the pay window," said Hamlin. Hamlin would carry out that threat when he spun Brad out early in the race at Homestead (look he pulled a Hamlin) which lead to a one-lap penaliy for rough driving by NASCAR.

After the Homestead race, Denny Hamlin said "I've been wrecked four times by him. I've not wrecked him any. So, it's a one-sided scale that eventually has to even up. Maybe not fully, but that scale has got to tip a little bit," said Hamlin, rapidly becoming the most outspoken driver in the garage. "I've gotten the short end of the deal every single time, and it's not just me. He's wrecked our cars. He's put our fabricators through hell. And it's not just us. [There are] four guys at Memphis that he wrecked. There are just a lot of guys, and that's the part he's going to have to work on. He's got the speed and everything. It's just he thinks that the way he does things is the right way, and truthfully it's not. Anybody inside this garage that knows anything about the sport will tell you that it's not." – (Quotes from NASCAR.com Article)

I was amazed that a veteran driver would be so happy that he spun out another driver, of course he didn’t finish the job, but got penalized for it, came back with a top 5 finish and felt like he won the race. I mean “You really can’t fix stupid”, all I can say is, it was Hamlin who looked like the rookie last Saturday and I really hope that not only Kyle Busch, but Denny Hamlin get what’s coming to them and get spun out, it’s the only way they will learn.

What a season it has been for NASCAR, congrats to Ron Hornaday Jr. for winning his fourth NASCAR Camping World Series Championship (1996, 1998, 2007 and 2009), Kyle Busch wins for winning 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship (well at least he can drive) and Jimmie Johnson for captures his fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, it’s been great and while part of me wishes it wasn’t over, the other part does.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The stage is set for NASCAR season finale in Homestead

Well folks, it’s come down to this final race in all three of NASCAR’s national series (the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the Nationwide Series and the Sprint Cup Series) and there is still a lot on the line. In the Truck Series, it’s the owner’s championship that is still to decide between the top two in points. #33 Kevin Harvick Inc. with driver Ron Hornaday Jr. has a 60 point lead over second place #51 Billy Ballew Toyota driven this week by Kyle Busch.

In the Nationwide Series, its not about the championship as Kyle Busch will clinch as soon as the green flag comes out, but one thing to keep your eye on in the Nationwide race, over the last two seasons, there has been a rivalry or a battle if you will going on between the Toyota drivers of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch vs. Brad Keselowski. Since I’m not only a fan of Brad Keselowski, but really don’t care for both Hamlin and Busch, you can see what side I am on here.

Brad Keselowski believes that there is nothing there, however after the latest run in with Hamlin vs. Keselowski at Phoenix, I would say that there is especially after the comments that Denny Hamlin made in post-race interviews, where he said: "there's a lot of guys that owe him" and "a lot of guys that have a lot of chips that they're going to cash in."

"I'm just going to be the first to the pay window," said Hamlin (Quotes from ESPN Article)

I believe NASCAR should keep a close eye on Denny Hamlin, because right now he is making the threats and in my book, if he carries them out, NASCAR should park him. They did the same with Kevin Harvick at Martinsville years ago after he had run in after run in with other drivers in the Truck race. To me, I believe that Hamlin and Busch fell that the Nationwide Series is their playground and they hate it when other drivers race them hard. Brad races for every position period, I wonder….?

Finally when it comes to the Cup Series, most have written this championship chase off with Jimmie Johnson winning his fourth consecutive Cup Series championship, however not me. I’ve learned that it isn’t over until it’s over (checkered flag) and anything can happen. I do believe that it will be historical if Jimmie Johnson wins, but it be memorable if Mark Martin wins the championship too. I personally don’t care who wins because it will be cool to see either one, history will be made on way or another.

As if that isn’t enough, there is also bragging rights on the line, there are so many drivers that haven’t won a race in 2009, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman, the list goes on and they all want that victory and it’s also the final race for many in their positions like Jamie McMurray and Roush-Fenway Racing.

Contest has ended - Win a free NASCAR Trackpass or a NASCAR Prize Pack



To kick this season finale weekend off, thanks to the PR guys with NASCAR and The Garage Blog, I’m giving away two prizes:

First place prize is: One free subscription to NASCAR Trackpass (it’s good for one year from date of activation), that means if you activate it this Sunday, you will have it until just before the Homestead race in 2010.

Second place prize is: One NASCAR Prize Pack which includes Messenger bag, Travel mug, Water bottle, Flash drive and a Cooler. Now one thing, I haven’t seen the prize pack and it’s shipped by their rep.

All you have to do is answer both questions below correctly in an email to (brian@racedriven.com):

1. Who won the 2008 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway? I will give you a hint, he is winless so far in 2009.

2. Who won the 2004 Daytona 500? I will give you a hint, he is also winless so far in 2009.

The first person to answer correctly wins the first place prize, the second person to answer correctly wins the second place prize.

Remember, all you have to do is answer both questions below correctly in an email, send it to brian@racedriven.com and include your name and shipping address (address must be in the United States or Canada). Thank You and congrats to all the winners.

Monday, November 16, 2009

NASCAR’s triple header in Homestead marks final race of 2009 and final race for many.

This coming weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway will mark the season finale for all three of NASCAR’s major series, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the Nationwide Series and the Sprint Cup Series, but it will also mark the final race for many in their current positions, the end of an era if you will.

1. Michael Waltrip – Homestead will mark Michael Waltrip’s last race as a full-time driver. Michael will continue to be a driver in the future, but only on a part-time basis like the Daytona 500 and few more races in 2010. I wish Michael Waltrip well in not only his last ride as a full-time driver, but in MWR.

2. Martin Truex Jr. – After several seasons at what was called DEI, that is now EGR, Truex will be leaving the #1 car and Bass Pro Shop to move to Michael Waltrip Racing to drive the #56 NAPA Toyota. This is a good move for Martin Truex Jr..

3. Pat Tryson – Homestead will mark the final time that Pat Tryson will crew chief for the #2 Kurt Busch at Penske Racing. He is moving to Michael Waltrip Racing to crew chief for Martin Truex Jr. I will be interested in see just what this paring will do in 2010.

4. Jamie McMurray – Ever since NASCAR dropped the hammer on their teams that limits each organization to four team/drivers, the speculation had been flying of just who the five car team of Roush-Fenway Racing would loss and now we know that it will be Jamie McMurray. So on Sunday, McMurray will be in his last race for RFR. No official plans have been announced yet, but he is thought to be moving to thee #1 EGR ride.

5. Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing – Once again, another year, another merger. It wasn’t too long that we said good bye to Petty Enterprises when they merged or got bought out Evernham Racing, however now Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing is merging into one company Richard Petty Motorsports and under the Ford banner. Yates will continue to build engines for RPM and I think for Roush Fenway Racing too.

6. Brad Keselowski – Saturday will mark Brad’s last race in the #88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series, as he has already joined Penske Racing to drive the #12 Verizon Wireless/Penske Racing Dodge as well as a full-time ride in the Nationwide Series with teammate Justin Allgaier. Like I said:

“Personally the idea of Brad going to Penske Racing doesn’t sound too good to me, yes Penske is big, but that’s in IndyCars, not NASCAR. Brad needs a veteran driver to coach him a little bit like Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart or Ryan Newman, but at Penske while they have the resources, they lack that “professor” driver. The only options I see is one, run part-time in Cup while running full-time in Nationwide, two, Stewart-Haas Racing, three, Harvick leaves RCR and Brad into the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy.

In my eyes, the same that I said for Penske is the same for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing (EGR), yes the #1 car is open, but no real help. I hope if Brad goes to Penske which is still unconfirmed, he gets the time he needs to succeed.” – Read article here.

Keep in mind that Penske Racing will be the sole three-car Dodge team as RPM is moving to Ford.

And there is move, however what about the stuff that hasn’t been confirmed yet, like will Danica Patrick be racing in NASCAR in 2010 and for who? Where will Jamie McMurray, David Stremme, Casey Mears (if no sponsorship for the #07 can be found), Reed Sorenson David Gilliland go in 2010? That is only the tip of the ice berg as there are a lot of unknowns and the off season between Homestead and February in Daytona should be interesting.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Speedlinking: Taylor Swift on SNL and CMA's, GM expanding, and NASCAR.

Welcome to another edition of speedlinking. I have to admit, I love creating a speedlinking post, it spreads the word not about some interesting and/or helpfull articles that I am reading, but maybe sharing some other blogs that you didn't know about or haven't read in a while.

One of the biggest headlines over the last week has been 19 year old Taylor Swift. Most readers of RaceDriven.com already know that I am a huge fan of Taylor Swift, so it should be no surprise that she is in here. I am also talking GM and NASCAR.

1. REPORT: GM to let rejected dealers apply for new franchises - the reason why I bring this up is I think General Motors is going the wrong way. They have shut out several people world wide with their taking Federal Bailout money and then finally doing bankruptcy and leaving us with their debt. I'm not going to go into specifics, but they have already stopped the sale of Opel, Saturn wasn't sold and it will fall it Pontiac instead. What are they doing, going back to the company of old?

2. Taylor Swift holds her own hosting Saturday Night Live for the first time.

3. Review: Survivor Samoa - Tastes Like Chicken - If you haven't been watching Survivor, you are missing a good season. yes it started out a little slow, but Evil Russell just will not leave. I have to say that he is palying the game hands down. he has found two immunity idols with no clues. Judging by the preview of next week, all hell is going to break loss as Russell searches for a third idol as everyone else chases him. I have to say that Evil Russell has one more piece of business before he gets eliminated because we all know he will, get Laura out first.

4. Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum takes top honors at the 2009 CMA Awards. I'm still shocked that Taylor Swift won Entertainer of the Year, she deserves it.

5. Financial filing offers rare glimpse into NASCAR sanctioning stipulations - Interesting reading if its true, but keep in mind that NASCAR isn't Formula 1.

6. Modern Muscle Comparo - Personally, I love the look of the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro and the 2009 Dodge Challenger, however while I love the look if the 2009 Ford Mustang, I don't like the new 2010 Ford Mustang. The look, styling just isn't there for me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway teaches NASCAR media not to write it before it happens.

8 down, 2 to go, what should we be watching in Phoenix and Homestead for the Chase for the Sprint Cup?

First, coming into Texas, the big story wasn’t Jamie McMurray winning a wild Amp Energy 500 at Talladega nor would he get a ride because of the victory but rather it was an ESPN report on during the week that said that JR Motorsports will sign Danica Patrick to a three deal to run somewhere around 13 races in the Nationwide Series, however the way I look at it here is, one, I will believe it when I see it. Two, we all know that the brand Danica Patrick will be big, but how will the on-track performance be. I’m not going to make any predictions on this one and it’s just a wait and see.

The main story before the start of the race was Jimmie Johnson’s 184 point lead over second Mark Martin and 192 over Jeff Gordon with just 3 races to go. Some of the media had already written the chase for the Sprint Cup over, where calling for fixes, engraved Jimmie Johnson’s name on the trophy and looking to 2010. I can tell you from experience (17 years of being a NASCAR fan) that nothing is every over in NASCAR until the checkered flag waves in the season finale and in this case it would in Homestead. Every race is wild card race including Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.

Well Texas would end up teaching the NASCAR media not to write it before it happens as on lap 3 the point’s leader Jimmie Johnson would Johnson got took out by Sam Hornish Jr. that did get a tap from David Reutimann.

I would imagine that once news spread throughout the field, especially the chase drivers that there focus suddenly would turn to making the best of the points leaders troubles. I have to say that even I was wondering just who would capitalize on this misfortune. But I had to laugh when after the green flag came back out at the conversation that Carl Edwards and his crew chief was having over the radio.

The crew chief was telling him (Carl Edwards) that Jimmie Johnson is in the garage and that car was badly wrecked. Carl Edward’s response caught my attention and inspired the title of the piece, he said “Maybe that will teach all those media a little lesson they are going to have to rewrite their articles from this morning”.

The Texas race actually taught me two things, first that crew chief Chad Knaus and the entire #48 team is a championship caliber team that will do what it takes to get the job done and in this case they took a wrecked race car, rebuilt it and got it to run at the minimum speed to gain a few spots, and finish the race. That shows a lot of talent out of that group and if they don’t win the championship for any reason, it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

I have to say that the Dickies 500 was all about fuel economy, at least it was in the end. If you know that you’re going to be short on fuel right after you make the final pit stop, then the crew chief has two chooses, one tell your driver that you are too many laps from making it and to stand on it and get what you can get. Or tell the driver we are a few laps from making it, start saving fuel, but you don’t do it with less than 30 laps to go.

I couldn’t believe that this race would come down to the Busch Brothers, Kyle out front and Kurt Busch already saving fuel in second or third. It really didn’t surprise me that Kyle Busch ran out of fuel with a few laps to go and more so that Kurt Busch won the Dickies 500. If the fact that Kurt Busch winning the race bothers you, consider this, with this victory the 2009 Dickies American Worker of the Year, a Teacher and horse trainer Michael McGee becomes millionaire thanks to Kurt Busch winning the race. One Million dollars, after taxes, what is he going to do with the money?

And second, I was surprised that really only Kurt Busch and maybe Mark Martin and Tony Stewart would be the only drivers to capitalize on Jimmie Johnson’s misfortune and not by much neither.

At the end of the day, Jimmie Johnson’s lead 73 points over second place Mark Martin and 112 points over Jeff Gordon. I really don’t see Kurt Busch who is 171 points back winning the championship, but dispite what the stats or history says, this championship isn’t over yet and Mark Martin still has a chance, but he needs to finish in from of Johnson, lead the most laps and finish in the top 2 at both Phoenix and Homestead.

Following the Texas race, the #1 Martin Truex Jr. failed post race inspection, the car was too low, on Tuesday, NASCAR handed down the penalty, crew chief Kevin Manion was fined $50,000 and remains on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Car owner Teresa Earnhardt and driver Martin Truex Jr. were penalized with the loss of 50 owner and 50 driver points. The penalty is right in line with NASCAR has handed down in the past.

As I look ahead to Phoenix, it’s going to be a good old fashion short-track style race in the desert, this is exactly what fans need right now especially after the weak Talladega race a week ago. As for predictions, I look for Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, to all be threads to win the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil. Two dark horses would be Kevin Harvick who runs good at this race track and Dale Earnhardt Jr. who has been running better in reason weeks, but has had no luck in finishes.

Beshore to check out my new blog, ThinkingBrian.com where I am thinking out loud on life on just about any topic including NASCAR, Automobiles, Entertainment and Beyond.

(Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Frustration lives with the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2009 for me.

I’ve been watching the NASCAR (now) Nationwide Series for years now and I have to say that this year (2009) will go down in history as one of the most frustrating seasons to watch period. Where do I begin and I can’t and won’t put all of the blame on NASCAR’s shoulders neither.

The fact is, the problems are all around the series from the Cup Series drivers invading the series in every single race, the ESPN coverage focusing mainly on the Cup Series regulars and simply the domination of Toyota.

Let me example, let’s start with the ESPN coverage. I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to people and work with what’s there, at the same time I am a firm believer in when it’s broke, fix it. One of the biggest reasons for the Nationwide Series is for bringing up drivers, getting them ready to run in the Cup series, but it’s also a series about putting on good racing and showcasing the regular drivers in the series.

With ESPN, they have the general basis of covering the series, but they need to fine tune it to cover the series correctly and have entertainment. With the exception of a few races this season where ESPN has highlighted most of the drivers not only racing for the win, but racing throughout the field like ORP (Indianapolis) and Watkins Glen, they seem to focus on just the Cup Series drivers. I remember watching one race, it might have been Nashville or Kentuckey where Kyle Busch was down a few laps, Carl Edwards was having troubles and they were just covering them, while another car was on fire going into the garage.

The point is, in covering a race, you have to cover the racing from 1st to the back of the pack, especially the battles in the middle of the field, damn, that is where some of the best racing is half the time. My advice would be, have two in the booth, one person at the cut away car explaining what just happened if a part brakes and a few key players on pit road covering the race itself with who changed what. Use the camera men like ESPN does in the NHRA series.

Cover the entire races from 1st to the back of the pack, do top 20 run downs and talk more about the Nationwide Series regulars. And stop covering just the Cup Series drivers and the point’s standings five races, 10 races into the season. Also check out this article on TDP on ESPN coverage.

Speaking of the Cup Series invasion, I really don’t understand this and at all of the races. The truth is, I will admit that the series does need a few cup series regulars to run and it’s great to have them. However having them run for the championship is terrible. The Cup Series drivers when they race in most of races bring a new element for the Nationwide Series regulars, a new challenge for them, can they beat them and while a few have, most haven’t.

I also believe it hurts the Cup Series drivers that are running full-time in both series like Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch, yes both drivers are running well in the Nationwide Series if not winning, but in the Cup series, they aren’t. I believe the drivers should have to choose what series they want to run full-time in and part-time in. But there is no way around the Cup Series invasion, I can only say, they shouldn’t run the entire schedule, share the ride with up and coming drivers, some Nationwide series regulars that need experience, that’s one key aspect about the Nationwide Series.

The third is the JGR Toyota domination… Let me put it this way, how many races did a NASCAR Nationwide series regular win so far in 2009 and name the drivers? Two, what, Two drivers. One win for Mike Bliss and four wins for Brad Keselowski at JR Motorsports.

I ask that question to prove a point, the Cup Series invasion has yielded most of the victories some in which include four for Carl Edwards, two each for David Regan, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle, while Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart with one each.

The rest of the time has been the Toyotas. In 2009, there has been several rule changes from adding restrictor plates or restrictors on the engines and even restricting more on just the Toyota engines, however it’s done little if nothing the curve the dominations. Racing is all about having the best car, the best driver and the best team, and in most of the races, you have to have the perfect storm to win one of these, but come on, Toyota can’t have this many perfect storms.

Take this past weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, after winning the Truck Series race after roughing up the champion Ron Hornaday Jr., Kyle Busch dominated the field in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race, leading 179 laps of 200 laps to win his 8th race of the season and pretty much lock up the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship with a 279 point lead over second place Carl Edwards.

And you know it isn’t just Kyle Busch, so many times it has been a duel upfront between Joe Gibbs Toyotas, the other being Joey Logano.

I really don’t know what the answer here is, not even Hendrick Motorsports in the Cup Series is this good. Is Toyota putting in that much more then the Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge or what and it isn’t even Toyota, its JGR Toyota. Anyway, I understand domination, I understand when one team, driver or stable has found an advantage, but when you look at the races, especially in yesterday’s Nationwide Series race, no one could touch Kyle Busch even on old tires vs. new tires for everyone else.

All I got to say is, NASCAR needs to work on the Nationwide series, but I will say that the Nationwide series COT does look pretty good considering what the Cup series COT cars look like. The Nationwide Series needs an identity and some pony cars is a start. How about the NASCAR Nationwide Sportsmen Series?

NASCAR also needs to test the JGR cars regularly just like they do the #48 and #5 in the Cup Series, enough is enough with the Nationwide Busch Series already.

(Photo Credit: Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Martinsville vs. Talladega: NASCAR style

In the past two weekends, NASCAR has raced on one of the shortest racetracks that they go to Martinsville Speedway, a tight paperclip half-mile speedway where you will find some of the best short track racing on the NASCAR schedule. And the next weekend (this past Sunday) at the largest racetrack on the schedule, Talladega Superspeedway, a 2.66 mile high speed oval simply known as restrictor plate racing.

Martinsville Speedway
Last weekend at Martinsville Speedway, the site of the Tums Fast Relief 500 that saw some of the better side of racing in NASCAR. 500 laps around a tight paperclip half-mile speedway, short-track racing at its finest are what racing is all about whether it’s NASCAR or just a short track bullring all around the United States, Canada and beyond.

Last weekend’s Tums 500 saw Juan Montoya roughing up several drivers including Jeff Gordon to make his way to front of the field. I like what Jeff Gordon said early on during the race after Montoya went by him, “He’s got the best car out here, but doesn’t know what to do with it” and I agree with fully. I will go on record as saying I will be completely surprised when he wins again in NASCAR so long as it’s not on a road course. This was one of those races that had action throughout the field at any given time.

One theme had to be pass or a lack there off, however it’s not supposed to be easy. I never expect a driver to just pull over and give up the position, especially on a short-track like Martinsville. This is racing, you have to earn each and every position period.

At the end of the 500 laps, it was the classic rivalry of Jimmie Johnson vs. Denny Hamlin with this one going simply to Denny Hamlin. However just like Denny Hamlin said in victory lane, the story was Jimmie Johnson finishes 2nd and extends his points lead, while tucked in the right hand lower corner was Denny Hamlin wins Martinsville.

Talladega Superspeedway
Well now this brings me to Sunday’s AMP Energy 500 at you guessed it, Talladega Superspeedway. I would describe restrictor plate racing as a heart-stopping, yet hard to watch at times type (or form) of racing in NASCAR.

Now I watched Sunday’s Cup Series race at Talladega I agree with several drivers, the racing just wasn’t there. I believe the race was boring. During the race, two drivers talking on the radio to their crew chief/crews summed up at least the first 80 somewhat laps of this race. Kevin Harvick asked for his iPod, of course the response was we can put it in your drink cup on the next stop (I hope I got that right, don’t quote me), but even better, Tony Stewart said “Somebody tell me something to keep me awake”, unfortunately I didn’t catch the response from his crew.

The first 80 somewhat laps was racing single-file, it was a parade, we don’t have parades in NASCAR during a race on track, come on.

However when the racing finally got going, the fans commented later that they hated some of the strategy of running in the bad until the closing laps and then making their way to the front to try and win the race. Case in point was Jimmie Johnson, he hung out in the back until 15 almost 10 to go before moving up. I even thought that he was too late.

But you know that it had to happen sooner or later and two “the Big Ones” happened. 5 laps to go had Newman getting turned with his teammate Tony Stewart going into the outside, Ryan Newman ended up getting turned, going airborn, coming down on Kevin Harvick’s hood and windshield which I think softened the blow if that is possible, before flipping several times, and coming to a stop on his roof. Race at this point was red flagged. What a wreck, I was glad to see him walk away.

Then coming to the white flag, another wreck happened with I believe Brian Vickers hit Brad Keselowski who hit Kurt Busch (bump drafting) which touched off a chain reaction that also saw Mark Martin get hit in the right rear quarter and flip wildly, several involved and the race was over. I couldn’t believe it, Jamie McMurray wins at Talladega, but the bigger story once again, Jimmie Johnson finishes (6th as of Sunday night) and extends his points lead.

Two races that were completely different, but really shouldn’t be considering the goal of all NASCAR races is to put on a show for the fans period, well Martinsville in my opinion did, however Talladega didn’t. What’s next for NASCAR, what can they do about the restrictor plate racing?

Monday, November 2, 2009

2010 already underway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup for some…Keselowski and Rogers in

Over the last few weeks, team in all three NASCAR national series have been making preparations for the upcoming 2010 NASCAR season and especially in the Sprint Cup Series, changes are in full swing.

Early today, Penske Racing announced that Brad Keselowski would get a jump start on 2010 and replace David Stremme in the #12 Dodge in the upcoming races at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. (Penske Racing PR)

I believe as a Brad Keselowski fan that this is going to be great opportunity for Brad to get some more seat time. Who knows, maybe this is exactly what the series needs in the final three races, Brad coming in and racing hard against some of his rivals Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and even Juan Montoya. Brad isn’t just going to move over, the last three races will be a learning experience. Also consider this, Brad has been driving Hendrick Motorsports equipment in both the #25 and the #09 (the #09 Chevy’s are Hendrick stuff), now he will be running Penske Dodge’s…he’s going to need those three races period.

Last week saw two crew chief announcements…
First it was announced that Dave Rogers would replace Steve Addington on the #18 Kyle Busch Toyota starting this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway (Joe Gibbs Racing PR).

I have to admit that this move caught me off guard. Steve Addington is one of the best crew chiefs in the garage area. It wasn’t too long ago that Kyle Busch led the series in victories, but this is a performance driven business and crew chiefs are the first to be changed. But my main question is, where does Steve Addington go from here? He knows this car, if JGR doesn’t have room for him, maybe on his fourth car, then another program will, maybe even with Kyle’s brother Kurt Busch at Penske Racing? Good luck to Steve Addington if he going there.

And second, Lance McGrew was named the full-time crew chief of the #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet after being an intern crew chief since he replace Tony Eury Jr. As a Dale Jr. fan, I believe that this is a good move, but the #88 is far from getting to where they should be. I still believe that Hendrick/Dale Jr./Lance McGrew now needs to start from scratch with this team for 2010, all new people working on this car. I don’t know what the #5 and the #88 do in that shop, but they need to make it like the #48 and #24, one team, two cars.

However this will not be the end of 2010 changes, in the rumor mill still has Kurt Busch getting a new crew chief before Homestead, but don’t think for a moment that Penske is going to let Pat Tryson go over and start at MWR, instead I think Tryson will just be sitting home until after Homstead, then he’s free.

And finally, where is Talladega winner Jamie McMurray going to go? I’m hearing back to his old team owner Chip Ganassi at EGR. I think this will be interesting, one McMurray is an outdoors person that seems to be the problem, Bass Pro Shops wants a marketable person for their brand, Martin Truex Jr. was an outdoors person… maybe Bobby Labonte would be a better choice.

Now it’s off to Texas Motor Speedway with just three races to go in the chase for the Sprint Cup.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Do you agree with Popular Mechanics winners of 2010 Automotive Excellence Awards?

Every year, automotive magazines, websites, journalists and more come out with their picks of what vehicles they believe are the best of the year like the Car and Drivers 10Best and this past Wednesday was no different when after well over 100,000 miles of testing was done on over 100 of the newest cars, trucks and sport-utility vehicles, Popular Mechanics Magazine announced their 2010 Automotive Excellence Awards.

“Despite a tumultuous year in the automotive industry, engineers have rolled out some of the best cars we’ve ever seen,” said James Meigs, editor-in-chief, Popular Mechanics. “We are exceptionally proud of this year’s Automotive Excellence Award winners, all of which represent the innovation and foresight that will keep this industry moving forward.”

The recipients of the fourth annual Popular Mechanics Automotive Excellence Awards:

Performance: Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Design: Chevrolet Camaro
Value: Kia Soul
Fuel Efficiency: Toyota Prius
Versatility: Subaru Outback
Fun to Drive: Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Off-Road Ability: Ford F-150 Raptor
Technical Innovation: Lexus Remote Touch
Luxury: BMW 335d
Workhorse: Ford Transit Connect

However after reading this list, do you agree with Popular Mechanics winners of 2010 Automotive Excellence Awards?

When I look at this list, I have to say that while I agree on some and see where they choice that make and model, in other categories, the results have left me asking why.

Of course let’s start with a few categories that I agree with like the Fuel Efficiency going to the Toyota Prius. How on earth it gets those numbers is interesting to me, but nonetheless, it is what it is. However I would actually choice a Audi A3 TDI or a VW Jetta TDI. The advancement in diesels is amazing right now. It surprises me that more consumers don’t look into these types of vehicles, gasoline isn’t going to be around forever, you are going to have to explore alternative fuels sooner or later.

In the performance category, the Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro definitely put up some amazing numbers in performance, but I can also see how the Ford Shelby GT500 beats out the rest this year. The same can be said for design, the Chevrolet Camaro is incredible to look at. Chevrolet’s designers hit this one right on the mark. The 2010 Camaro reminds me of the First Generation Camaro (1967,1968,1969). I will say though that the 2005 Ford Mustang was incredible to look at too as is the 2009 Dodge Challenger. Both were designed with the past in mind as was the new Camaro.

Value left me wondering why, the Kia Soul might have a balance between price tag, power and everything else inside, but it’s ugly. MotorWeek compared the Kia Soul, Scion xB and the Nissan Cube and while they did end with the Kia Soul, the Scion xB was a good compromise between the Soul and the Cube. I would have chosen the Scion xB here, consider its reasonable fuel economy, space (cargo space included), power and it’s not as ugly.

However what simply got my attention had to be three categories, the fun to drive going the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, the off-road ability going to the brand new Ford F-150 Raptor and in Luxury was the BMW 335d. The Raptor was made for off-road, however in not seeing the tests on it, I can’t say for sure that I would agree here. I mean you didn’t get that off-road ability from a Trail Rated Jeep or a Land Rover, really, REALLY?

Under fun to drive, I have to say that from what I have read and seen, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a giant surprise especially considering the guys from Autoblog.com took it on the 2009 Targa Trophy rally and finished 6th, but nothing is as fun to drive is a BMW.

Finally is luxury, I’m curious why they choose the BMW 335d? Well Popular Mechanics defined it as “Luxury cars don’t have to be one-dimensional. The 335d blends luxury, performance, fuel economy and fun into one very rewarding package.” I will definitely agree on the performance, fun to drive and the fuel economy, but the jury with me is still out on the best in luxury, what about a Porsche?

Remember that there are a lot of awards that come out every single year for automotive excellence and while you might not agree with all of them (I know I didn’t as I said above), it does leave you pondering a few of them that you might not have considered before. But I will say that like I said above, the 10Best included in a Corvette, Porsche and a VW in theirs, what’s in yours?

(Source: Popular Mechanics; Photo credit: NetCarShow.com)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Health Care Reform and a Public Option: Yes or No?

No Government Public Option, instead help each state run their own that is subsidized though a health care insurance company.

One of the most talked about subjects in the United States right now is health care reform and here in the United States, it costs a lot of money to get health insurance let along dental. Now let me state the something right from the start, I don’t know too much about the current talks on health care reform going on in Washington D.C. right now, it’s only in what I hear in the media. However I have heard the talk about having a government run public option.

I have to say out loud that I’m opposed to a government run public option. As a Massachusetts resident who is currently unemployed just like a lot of people right now, I was forced to use the Massachusetts run public health care insurance called Mass Health. I fill out the forms every now and then for status and it’s a good option and model for Massachusetts residents. I’m not the only one who uses it, there is demand here for it in every state.

So with Massachusetts and a few other states already having their own health care insurance that is subsidized though a health care insurance company, why does the federal government need to have one too? And why doesn’t every state have one for their residents?

I strongly believe that the federal government needs to leave out the public option on their Health Care Reform bill.

First, think about it for a moment, the Federal Government already has Medicare and something else and it doesn’t work. Second, why should the Federal Government build one if Massachusetts and a few other states already have a public option for their residents.

So I propose instead of the Federal Government running or subsidizing health care insurance though a health care insurance company to everyone who needs it, the government should just help each states (all 50 states) create and maintain their own health care insurance using the Massachusetts model.

Personally I would rather have Massachusetts or if I lived in another state run it (which is subsidized though a health care insurance company) instead of the government. Another reason is more options for the consumer/resident who needs coverage. If the Federal Government runs it and there is a huge issue, the only option you have is private insurance company. If each state runs there’s separate, you have more options just by moving to another state.

Basically to the Federal Government and everyone in Washington, No public option, instead just add funding to each state and let them run their own health care plan options. The Massachusetts health care insurance works, so just help each state have the Massachusetts health care insurance model for their residences.

The Health Care Reform bill should work on the overall cost like for example, when I went to the hospital years ago after a automobile crash, the bill was almost $600, now the bill is even more. How about prescription costs? Doctor visit costs? Emergency Room costs? And what about waiting time to get a doctor's appointment? Work on that.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Is the world big enough for both Facebook and Twitter?

According to an article on Mashable that talks about the “The Web 2.0 Summit” in San Francisco, the Twitter CEO said “The world is big enough for Facebook and Twitter.”

In reading that one quote, that got me thinking and while I’m not going to go into full details, I truly believe that he is right for now in the year 2009. The future is bright for social networking which includes blogging, lifestreaming, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook and more, at least in my eyes.

While I will get into all of social networking in the future, today I am talking solely on Twitter and Facebook.

As a webguy who uses the internet daily from looking for articles, news, information, connecting with friends, family, old high school classmates and just exploring, both services have their positives and negatives.

I currently use both services, I have been using Twitter @RaceDriven for months now and Facebook (Brian Vermette) for two months now and both service yield differently to me.

Twitter is a basic service that you can communicate with all over the world just by typing in a short 140 character message as well as post pictures to using the Twitpic. It’s a way to get your message out, whether its announcing a protest, an article you have found, promote your site or business to ask for help. In asking for help, I mean getting answers from companies or getting answers on something that is going on either across the world, across the country or across town. It’s simple.

The downsides are that you only get 140 characters including url and for some that’s not enough. The second is URL Shorteners, this shouldn’t be used, normal url’s are better and safer. I find the service to be cool, straight forward, simple, but needs work. I use Twitter to get small bits of info, spread the word about a post/article and in some cases keep up with celebrities.

Facebook on the other hand is completely different. It’s where you can communicate with friends, family, old high school mates, play games, use apps, and post updates on yourself with more than 140 characters and that doesn’t include the url itself. I am still trying to figure out this service, but am quickly adapting.

I use Facebook in one way like I do Twitter, to promote a post/article that I have written on my blog, however I go a lot further. I use it for playing games, connecting with people (family, friends and more), I find the service to be more advanced and takes time to learn.

I don’t know what the future holds for both Facebook and Twitter. A few sceneries that could play out, one is, Twitter and Facebook could combine, yes I know it’s hard to imagine, but in this world, anything is possible. Two, MySpace could bet both out and create a combo service, three, Twitter could become more advanced now that video is being worked on or Facebook becomes the new proven thing.

However I do know one thing, while there is room in this world right now in 2009 for both Facebook and Twitter, soon there might not be. Consider that there are so many brilliant people in this world that are consistently trying to come up with something new (also in some cases, have nothing better to do) and whether its next year, in 2011, in 2015, in 2020, or beyond, someone will come up with a new service that will make both, most or all other social media service obsolete.

To prove my point, what social networking service where you using before Twitter and Facebook got so hot? I bet you were blogging and/or you could have been using a service called MySpace.

Remember this, MySpace was founded in 2003 and become the most popular social networking site in the United States in June 2006. However things change and Facebook was founded on February 4, 2004 and in April 2008, Facebook surpassed MySpace by becoming the most popular social networking site internationally. And in and among all of that, Twitter was founded in 2006 and right now (October 2009) are half the size of Facebook, but known and used in several countries that allow it and even some that doesn’t.

Where will we be in 2011 or in 2020?