Monday, June 29, 2009

Is blogging dead, is Lifestreaming the future?

When I woke up this morning and started reading several blogs, I started noticing your normal Monday morning chatter and yet something different called Lifestreaming.

Let me state the obvious, first, is blogging is dead? Even with the impact of Twitter, Facebook and more, no it’s not dead, one blogger said it the best, “it just needs a reboot.” Blogging though is getting bigger everyday and more and more people are doing, and loving it. I love blogging on a weekly plus basis, not daily though, writing a large number of articles/posts is hard to do, but it’s a passion of mine, not to mention is a good therapy for everyday.

Blogging is writing on just one subject or niche to several subjects or niche regularly, it’s sharing your thoughts (opinions) on that subject, what you thought about it whether its sports, NASCAR, automobiles, celebrities, events, to how to blog period, it’s not for everybody, but it’s fun.

With blogging, people are looking for ways to make it easier, using an iphone for one, I am too looking to use my cell phone. I have been blogging here at RaceDriven for over four years now and I have no plans on stopping, but changing with the time is reality which including using Facebook and Twitter as tool, I use Twitter and MySpace, sorry no Facebook.

Second I had never really heard of Lifestream, a service called Posterous or I just never paid any attention to it. Now while I was read several blogs, I came across a posting entitled “Steve Rubel Quits Blogging” over at the Blog Herald, basically Steve Rebel has decided to quit blogging and create a Lifestream using Posterous. His site on Posterous looks interesting and he has it linked to his old blog which he has evolved, personally if that’s what he wants, good luck to him, especially if it fits his needs, personally he hasn't quit blogging, so don't think that.

What is a lifestream or lifestreaming? In its simplest form it’s a chronological aggregated view of your life activities both online and offline. It is only limited by the content and sources that you use to define it. – Lifestream Blog

If you are using social media and online social networking like Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed and more than you have most likely heard about, Lea Woodward says ”Lifestream is like a mini blog - updates on what I’m doing throughout the day, pics to prove it and sometimes random thoughts and feeling that pop into my head.” That’s what it is, that’s what it looks like and while I says good job to people who want to create a lifestream, it’s not for everybody, nor is it for me.

Personally while leaving blogging and just focusing mainly on sharing links (could be using Delicious – bookmarking), photos (maybe using flickr), videos (using YouTube), Music that you are listening to (like last.fm) and most aspects of my day to day life (using Twitter, Facebook, and more which might including MySpace) and more (that’s sharing just about everything I doing regularly) is not for me, I have been thinking about the future as well.

For example, over the past several months, twice I have tried to start a second blog, first one was on New Year’s day using my real name as the URL (BrianVermette.com), the problem was simple time vs. using my name like that.

The second came at the beginning of the month (June 2009) with BrandingBrian.net, that blog was originally to be a replacement for RaceDriven, but after doing some research especially with my advertisers and readers, I decided to remove that idea from the table and was thinking about building a photography blog, but it’s not me neither, so what now?

The lifestreaming seems like a pretty good idea to me however I want something more, something in between lifestreaming and blogging, so even though I use Twitter, MySpace, tried Facebook, but deactivated it, I will continue to blog while working on ways to evolve my online presence, but of course that is what I have been doing all alone through trial and error. My advice, people should try something that works for them and meets their needs whether its blogging, creating a Lifestream or something in the middle like me.

So, what do you think about Lifestreaming? Do you have a lifestream site? Do you have a blog? What do you think is the future of blogging and lifestreams?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sights set on New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Cup Series drivers as the Race to the Chase begins.

Well here we are again and yet so soon, the Race to the Chase race begins this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with the Lenox Tools 301. Over the years, this race has been something interesting at least for the media including the guys on the TV Broadcasts, however for the fans, it really doesn’t say much of anything, unless if your favorite driver whether its Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton (entire RCR that should run well), Kasey Kahne or even Dale Earnhardt Jr. (like mine is), this is races isn’t go time, its means floor it if you want to make the chase after Richmond.

However for the fans, racing at New Hampshire over the last year or two means another exciting Phoenix type race, that in this case means better side-by-side racing (at least in my opinion) especially with this ugly prototype COT racecar with actual passing for 301 laps.

One person asked me, oh what will the extra mile do for the race, of course my response was beside an extra added element for the race promoter’s that makes the race stand out, I added anything can happen in just 1 lap or 1.058 miles including running out of race fuel.

So sense this is the first race to chase race, there are a few drivers that just need to (and I hate to say it, but…) point’s race for at least the next few races until they are firmly in the top 12, of course no one is really safe in the top 12 until they are officially locked in to the chase, then go for just victories. Those drivers include Carl Edwards who is fifth in points straight down to Clint Bowyer, 16th in point’s, of course Clint Bowyer is a favorite in New Hampshire after he won his first career cup series victory in September 2007.

Race to the Chase: June 28 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway, July 4 – Daytona International Speedway, July 11 – Chicagoland Speedway, July 26 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Aug. 2 – Pocono Raceway, Aug. 9 – Watkins Glen International, Aug. 16 – Michigan International Speedway, Aug. 22 – Bristol Motor Speedway, Sept. 6 – Atlanta Motor Speedway and Sept. 12 – Richmond International Raceway.

A few drivers to watch, first has to be Greg Biffle, he won here last September, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, and a dark horse (if he can get the car just right would be Kevin Harvick). Now I know that I left out Kyle Busch, with the exception of winning this race back in 2006 even after a long green-white-checker finish, NHMS hasn’t been good to him, Jeff Gordon hasn’t had much luck neither.

Now New Hampshire also marks my home racetrack and this Sunday I will be up at the racetrack as a race fan in the grandstands watching the race (the last two times I was lucky enough to attend as part of Shell’s Best Seat in the Hose program), this should be a lot of fun. Normally the last thing my father and I could afford is Cup Series tickets at $65-$70 per ticket (which is ridiculous), however we were looking for tickets for Saturday’s Modified race and Nationwide Series race price at $45 at the gate, we saw the Speed Zone $39 tickets. $39 for Cup Tickets and on easy pay, perfect we are going.

So with a $39 ticket (regularly $70), a backpack or small duffle bag, water, G2, a headset, a scanner and more, we are there and at 8am in the morning too, that should be fun, of course I have done 8am before, but not in the grandstands, needless to say I will be taking my time getting to my seat, tour everything from collectible’s to displays outside the speedway.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Double-file restarts even at Infineon Raceway for the NASCAR Cup Series race prove to be exciting for fans.

Road course racing in NASCAR doesn’t normally produce good, side-by-side racing with a lot of passing on-track and that seems to be the reason why some NASCAR fans don’t like road racing on the NASCAR schedule. However for this NASCAR fan, I think NASCAR needs to add more road course races, road course racing is a completely different animal from oval racing no matter if it’s at Daytona and Talladega or Martinsville and Bristol or even Charlotte or Michigan, road racing really is interesting to watch.

Road racing shows just how good a driver is not only turning left, but turning right. In a lot of ways though, it also defines a NASCAR Cup Series champion, to be a champion in this series, I believe the driver has to be able to not only master short track racing, intermediate and superspeedway track racing, but a driver needs to also be able to master or survive racing on road courses as well.

Anyway, last Sunday at Infineon raceway had a new element, double-file restarts. Some drivers though that it might be interesting, but others were nervous at to just what was going to happen and in my opinion rightfully so, however most seem to agree that it would be good for the fans and that’s why double-file restarts where inserted in the first place earlier this month in Pocono.
For last Sunday’s short race and I mean short race, the racing had a different flavor to it, the driving throughout most of the race went from a little bit of give and take to “take no prisoners” driving, make the pass anyway you can. In some cases, I say drivers driving way over their heads including trying to outbrake a another driver (competitor) going down into turn 11, what an action packed turn, I will not name any names, but damn, what where some drivers thing (cough…Denny Hamlin).

Another fun corner had to be turn 7a, just before you get to the S’s, unfortunately after a long race, 7a is where JR Nation saw their driver Dale Jr. running good in and round the top 10 to top 15 get tagged by another driver that got hit by I believe Carl Edwards who just drove it in too deep, another driver, there were so many drivers driving in over their heads, it was ridiculous.
For the restarts themselves, originally I was thinking ok this is going to hurt, however that wasn’t the case earlier on in the race, but as the laps wound down, the double-file restarts made for an exciting conclusion to the race, but it also produced some spin outs or taken drivers out, anyway, I like the idea of double-file restarts even on road courses, that yield some good results for most of course.

But what a Toyota/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, I thought from sure Robby Gordon had this one or Marcus Ambrose was going to win last Sunday, both cars where at least a 10th of a second faster than the rest of the field, but you also have to have good track position and one key of the race had to do with pitting before the caution comes out late in the race which nailed Robby Gordon, as for Marcos Ambrose, what a good job he did, he finished in third place.

I was a little surprised to see the race come down to Kasey Kahne vs. Tony Stewart. The way the race was shaping out, I thought that Tony Stewart had the upper hand, my god, Stewart had several chances to get at him, meaning double-file restarts. Stewart tried so many times to just get along side, let along pass Kahne, however I have to say that what a great victory for Kasey Kahne and his guys, but that was interesting, as much as I am a Tony Stewart fan, I thought that the right guy won the race, plus great to see “The King” Richard Petty get into victory lane as well as Dodge. Look Dodge can win a race.

I now have to wonder, what are double-file restart’s going to do at the next road course race, yes Watkins Glen, especially with that first turn down hill and then doing up through the S’s, double file will be tough their too, anyway I can’t wait to see that race.

(Photo Source: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images via NASCAR PR)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Speedlinking: NASCAR, F1 vs. FOTA’s New Series and Blogging to a simple father’s day car show.

Well here we are for my third edition, however some of you may be saying third edition, where was the first two? Originally I had been blogging over at BrandingBrian for this column, however I have on Saturday, I decided to changed that blog into a spinoff of RaceDriven (which includes bringing all of the previous posts over where they belong) to BrandingBrian.net, a dose of photography site and future expansion site for me, in less than a day, the change has resulted in been huge.

Anyway, welcome to five wide, a look at what I have been reading within the last few days (mainly this time over the weekend) and what I am thinking about each article.

1. Father's Day, 90210 style: The 2009 Rodeo Drive Concours d'Elegance: First up, is for all of the Father’s after last Sunday, Happy Father’s Day, I know that my father wanted to go to a car show yesterday, however it was raining, so that didn’t happen, but pictures are always good, so check out the gallery and enjoy some gullwing’s, classic Ferrari’s, classic Mustangs and more…enjoy.

Of course if you want something from the east coast from back at the beginning of June, then check out the photography from the 2009 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance: The British, the Aston Martin gets my attention.

2. BREAKING: Formula 1 Teams Association announces breakaway series for 2010: This really going to happen, eight Formula 1 teams breaking away from F1 to create a rival series? No, we have watched this movie before, someone gets too powerful or I should two people in this case (you know who they are, I don’t need to say it), thinks they are all that and doesn’t want to make things better, but instead run things like dictatorship, instead of making the series better (hint, hint parade), eight teams, in this case Ferrari, Renault, Red Bull, Toyota, just to name a few, have had enough and are threatening to start their own F1 Series, already have a new name, a 17-race calendar and more, and yet this in my opinion isn’t going to happen if the FIA is smart. Otherwise, say goodbye to Formula 1 and the new rival series in a few years, just like CART is dead and so will the IRL by 2013, what a shame and all this because one big ego guy decides he knows best and has money or so that person thinks.

3. Truck and Nationwide Series TV networks Awaiting Rules Changes: I read this one yesterday afternoon and this was spot on, the Truck Series race to me wasn’t that entertaining, I mean when you have less than 15 trucks on the lead lap, that’s sad. As for the Nationwide Series race, I am so tired of the Kyle Busch vs. Carl Edwards show, this is ridiculous to watch, every time these two show up, which is every race in 2009, it’s all about them, I mean I like Carl Edwards, but damn. Well at least they had to start from the rear, but they were in the top 10 somewhere around 60 laps in, I don’t know what ESPN can do with their coverage, but the double-file restarts would help there too (as well as the Nationwide Series.)

4. Share What You Love/Hate About Blogging: I have to say, what I love about blogging is somebody is listening or reading my thoughts on any given subject. Right now, blogs are widely searched for information and it’s amazing what you can read on them and yes NASCAR is one huge subject. The power is amazing too. What I hate about it and one comment in this article hit the nail on the head, which went something like, blogs are like children they demand consistent attention, but too me, it’s not just putting up content a few times a week to several times a day (I prefer a few times a week if possible), it’s the site maintenance, links, answering emails, basically customer service, it’s tough to keep up with. All I got to say is Team blogs, it’s still a good idea.

5. What In The (Expletive) Is Going On?!?!, from the NASCAR Insiders, yes it’s on NASCAR and the Monday morning chatter, just read it, that’s all I am going to say.

Well, until next time, have a nice day and be sure to check back not only here at RaceDriven.com for articles/posting, but also check out my new site over at BrandingBrian.net, a dose of photography site, it’s a sight to see.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tony Stewart's Unique Hearse and "Off Track with Tony" video series.


Photo taken my me (Brian Vermette) at the 2008 Speedway Expo in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Every wondered what cars are in a NASCAR driver's car collection, well Armor All has put together a new series of videos called “Off Track with Tony” that included a tour of Tony Stewart's Car Collection including that Unique Hearse (picture above).

What a dream car collection, although I didn't think Smoke would keep his 2001 Daytona 500 #20 Home Depot car that he wrecked on the back straightaway, but it doesn't surprise me that he has a 1957 Chevy, a 1979 Pontiac Transam (I perfer the 1977 Pontiac Transam), a GTO and if you are looking for a picture of his Unique hearse, check out the one above. Last year at the 2008 Speedway Expo is Springfield, MA, I took this picture, believe me when I say it. the picture doesn't do this hearse justice.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Carl Long’s penalty reduced to 8-race suspension, but NASCAR still in danger water.

Welcome back ladies and gentleman, well I guess third time is a charm, the reason why I say that is this is the third time I have written on this Carl Long penalty from the first article I wrote here on RaceDriven called “NASCAR: Should we expect that this record penalty against Carl Long will be the normal penalty for everybody?”, then at the beginning of the month (June 2009) after the NASCAR appeals board heard the penalty and only reduced the suspension to the Cup Series, I wrote on this for a second time in an article I called “NASCAR and the appeals board gets it wrong with the Carl Long penalty.

So here we are again for the third and last installment because there’s no other options, since then after an unsuccessful appeal with the appeals board, Carl Long filed a final appeal with the Stock Car Racing commissioner Charles Strang and that final appeal was heard on Monday in Chicago, yesterday, the commissioner ruled and only reduced the suspension from 12-races to eight races, but the fine of $200,000 remains.

After hearing everything and reading the appeals stuff, here is where I stand as NASCAR fan:

First to me it doesn’t matter who the driver and team is, so Carl Long was just that person who made a mistake. NASCAR can’t play favorites, every driver and owner should be treated the same (we will see how true that is later).

Long’s engine was too big, even though it was only .17 cubic inches over, that still is too big and ultimately it is his responsible for his car and that includes the used engine that he purchased back in January, not the engine builder and it’s his job to make sure everything including the engine is correct with the rule book.

Second the penalty, a penalty that was and is warranted here, however not this extreme. Looking back at the penalties over the past year, NASCAR hit the mark on most of penalty from the $200,000 fine (NASCAR had fines the #66 and #70 teams $150k), so $200k fine is right in line. Docking the driver and owner 200 points each is right in line too, however here’s where the penalty goes wrong, the 12-race suspension that has been reduced to 8-races, that suspension includes the driver and owner, not just the crew chief and that’s where I am having a problem with it.

That brings me to my third point, the suspension in my opinion to include both the driver and the owner is very dangerous for NASCAR, if another team does this, NASCAR could have a serious problem on their hands 9what am I talking about, they already do), like it was mentioned before, if Chad Knaus for example makes a mistake, you could see (and will most likely see) not only Chad Knaus suspended for 8-races plus, but also the driver Jimmie Johnson and owner Jeff Gordon. NASCAR hasn’t suspended the driver and owner before and they shouldn’t have started here either.

This is a ticking problem (I would have used other words, but this is post 911, however you know what I am saying), I just hope NASCAR fans don’t see this result if another team does it.

Fourth, in light of this, NASCAR should be more transparent and before someone does something wrong again, we know that will sometime in the future, NASCAR should release what the penalties are going to be period, no surprises, just black and white.

Now finally in my opinion, the penalty should have been: $200k fine, docked 200 driver and owner points and 6-race suspension for the crew chief, not the driver or owner.

Now as for Carl Long, there are no more appeals, also the $200k fine is right on, so now it’s time to accept the penalty and move on.

To NASCAR, you have made your bed, now it’s time to lie in it and next time, I wonder who is going to get this penalty next, on the other hand don’t want to know.

And NASCAR wonders why they have a drop in TV ratings and attentions, NASCAR fans can’t stand this closed policy, fans just want NASCAR to be clear and fix a few things including these penalties and the ugly COT car just to name two.

It’s never over until it’s over – perfect example Joey Logano wins in Kentucky and Braun wins in Michigan.

You always have to say, what happened and in this case, in both the Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway and the Truck Series race at Michigan, both races showed that even thou a driver dominates the race, the race is never over until the checkered flag is waved and you cross the finish line.

Let’s start with the Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway, lost in all of the talk of GM cutting support to both the Truck Series and the Nationwide Series, there was an interesting race going on on-track for the Truck Series, however when Kyle Busch is leading and dominating the race, some NASCAR fans tend to change the channel, but I’ve learned that is not a good idea, because a race can change in just one lap and it sure did when a lap car racing on the middle to bottom trying to get out of the way of the leaders lead to Busch going below, which slowed Busch down, that lead to Colin Braun going to the outside, making the pass and going on to capture his first Truck Series victory and Roush’s 50th Truck Series victory.

Amazingly enough later that night in the Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway, a similar thing happened and yet to the same person, NASCAR’s bad boy Kyle Busch lead 162 laps, however in the final laps, Joey Logano made the pass that may where waiting for and went on to win his second Kentucky Nationwide Series race in a row.

Joey Logano NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion Interview – Kentucky Speedway If Kentucky Speedway were a lady, Joey Logano would be proposing because the two certainly have a major love affair going on. He’s now run two Nationwide Series races on the 1.5-mile track, both times he captured the pole position, then wound up in victory lane. Last year Logano won when Kyle Busch crashed. This time after an eight-minute red flag following Mike Bliss’s wreck, the 19-year-old blew by Busch with 10 to go and then drove away to a 1.6 second win, over his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, who led 162 laps to Logano’s 20.

Joey Logano: Yeah, I was sitting there in the red flag and I was thinking what do I need to beat Kyle Busch. That’s one of the hardest things in NASCAR. I was sitting there thinking and I knew I had a really fast racecar so I just kind of sat there and I thought about it, got the green state within a car length and got closer and closer, finally I was able to work around to get to him, he went off the track a little bit at the same time and I was able to get there. That’s the only way I was going to be able to pass him was to have a run and have him slip up a little bit, so that’s what I was able to have, got underneath him once he got that clean air his game, it seems, was gone.

All that happening, after Logano had to make a come back, from an early race pit road speeding penalty.

Logano: I just had to be patient, that was the biggest deal but you had to be aggressive at the same time. You get back there and that’s how you get caught up wrecks so you know get by him as quick as I can but don’t put my car in a really bad position. For the most part I was just smart getting up through there, knowing how good of a car I had.

Coming home third, another guy who was busted for speeding, Brad Keselowski.

Brad Keselowski: Either the cone was not in the proper place or the speed trap was not calibrated right because there’s no way when you go all the way down pit road, at the same speed, that you can be speeding in one and not the other. You’d be speeding in all of them, much like if you were going down the freeway at 45 than you’re going to be speeding in every segment. And I know I held a consistent speed down pit road so something was off on that last box.

On the night NASCAR issued what has to be a record 27 speeding penalties. Nailing Carl Edwards at one point three times but for those who said NASCAR had to have some sort of technical glitch, Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash explained.

Joe Balash: We’re very confident in our scoring system on pit road tonight. We didn’t see any issues with the data. There were a number of pit road speeding penalties tonight. Not all penalties were in the same location. They were spread out throughout pit road and some of the pit road speeding penalties were very close.

Finishing fourth was Brendan Gaughan and right behind him fellow rookie Justin Allgaier.

Justin Allgaier: We had to come back from some adversity; we got caught speeding on pit road. It was really unfortunate because we were actually getting past when we were a bunch of us speeding so we just ran out of tires and car right there at the very end and it’s a shame because we felt like we should have really finished third but to come out of here fifth, getting the points we’ve gotten, all in all a great night and glad to be done with Kentucky but ready to come back here too as well.

Sixth to 10 at the finish were Jason Leffler, Michael Annett, Burney Lamar, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kelly Bires. Eleven to 15: Erik Darnell, Trevor Bayne, Scott Lagasse Jr., Steve Wallace and Kevin Conway. Carl Edwards came home 30th but losing three laps because of the three speeding penalties and now trails Kyle Busch by 137 points in the battle for the Nationwide Series Championship. Brad Keselowski is third minus 208 and just 10 behind him is Jason Leffler. There have now been nine Nationwide Series races at Kentucky Speedway, with Joey Logano the first repeat winner and the first, to get two checkered flags in a row.

Logano: To win two for two here that’s really cool for me and the whole team here. I guess that’s the first time anyone has ever done that here. It’s pretty neat, you know we got two poles two wins, perfect record here so that’s pretty cool. – Nationwide.com

After reading the interview above, I have to say that I was very surprised that there was 27 speeding penalties issued during this race, two or three to Carl Edwards along. Of course for Carl Edwards, I am thinking that either NASCAR had a problem down at the end or Edward's tack was set wrong, honestly not all of the penalties were in the same spot, but 27 speeding penalties is alot, are these drivers really going to the ragged edge on the pit road speed? I'm thinking they are, but NASCAR does need to look at the data and explain it to the drivers and the fans this weekend at The Milwaukee Mile of what they saw.

Just remember NASCAR fans, in racing, the race is never over until the checkered flag flies and you cross the finish line, congratulations to both Colin Braun for winning his first Truck Series victory and to Joey Logano his second straight Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway, now it’s off to The Milwaukee Mile for a Truck Series and Nationwide Series double header, while the Cup Series is turning both left and right on the road course in Sonoma, this should be interesting with the Cup Series double duty drivers.

Speedlinking: NASCAR, Pony Cars, Alternative fuels and the Boston Globe, what a five wide this week.

In the course of a week, I read several articles from life stories, NASCAR news, Motorsports, the auto industry and more to politics on a daily basis, today, in this edition of “five wide”, I want to share what I am reading along with a few thoughts on each article, welcome to five wide…get it five articles, five wide.

Pony cars coming to NASCAR: Fox Sports is reporting that NASCAR looks to be bringing pony cars to the NASCAR Nationwide Series with the new Nationwide COT car. You know the Ford Mustang and the Dodge Challenger, however Chevrolet will not be running the Camaro, instead it will be the Impala and Toyota doesn’t have a two-door coupe, so they will run the Camry. One question: Why the Nationwide Series and not updated cars in the Sprint Cup Series?

GM's cuts in Truck, N'wide heighten carmaker stress: General Motors is cutting manufacturer support to the Nationwide and Truck Series teams. This isn’t a surprise to me at all, the Nationwide Series and the Truck Series both have issues and at the same time, GM has to make cuts, however I have to wonder, how long will Ford and Toyota continue in these two series? I’m not sure if Dodge still does manufacturer support in the Nationwide Series, but none in Truck Series.

Autoline on Autoblog with John McElroy: IT'S A FUEL PROBLEM, NOT A FUEL ECONOMY PROBLEM: This article was published back in April, however I believe it should be repeated and all I am going to say is “Let's get something straight. Oil is a poison.”

Diesels finish 1,2,3 again at 24 Hours of Le Mans!: Personal I’m a fan of the Audi, however it was nice seeing the Peugeot win too and it also shows that diesel in motorsports is not only possible, but completely do able and that is cool to see, of course if only NASCAR would look at ethanol or bio-diesel to run in all their series, that would be huge and huge for the manufacturers as well. Can you imagine a NASCAR COT racecar running on 100% ethanol made with waste or corn stock, just one question: what would the racecar sound like? To some racing fans, the sound of a V-8 gasoline engine is part of racing, no one wants silence at a racetrack.

Boston Globe's future remains uncertain as negotiations continue (read about here) I understand that jobs on the line here, however should the Boston Globe really be saved? First Boston already has the Boston Herald, do we need two newspapers in this economy and are people really buying newspapers anymore? I know in this household, it’s only the Sunday newspaper we get now, if we want weekdays, we will buy the newspaper online instead.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Sugarland, and Rascal Flatts takes top honors at 2009 CMT Music Awards.

Well ladies and gentlemen, if you are a country music fan, chances are this is your night, it’s the 2009 CMT Music Awards in Nashville and it is a star-studded night with most of country music’s elite (including Taylor Swift, Trace Adkins, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley just to name a few) coming out to enjoy a night filled of awards that unlike most award shows, these are voted on by the fans and some incredible performances.

As a country music fan, when I watch the awards shows, the biggest part that seems to pop out at me has to be the performances. I mean what is better than seeing Carrie Underwood back in 2007 perform “Before He Cheats”, Rascal Flatts in the show perform one of my favorite songs “Life is a Highway” or even better, last year watching Taylor Swift do an amazing performance of “Picture to Burn”, what’s next?

However when I describe the 2009 CMT Music Awards I have to say that the show wasn’t about the performances to me tonight (I mean granted the performances were good, but not like in years past), but rather the night was mainly about the who won what awards, and that’s not normally me to say that.

You know I had to ask the question of what’s next and yes I was warned a head of time of Taylor Swift’s “Dream” – NFL player, rapper (yes I saw the photos, but who is T-pain?) and being in the already released Star Trek movie and above all else hosting the CMT Music awards. It doesn’t surprise me that the show started off with one country music’s raising stars (and a huge favorite of mine) Taylor Swift, but the rap video, the dreams, was a little over the top for me and then of course in the same category you had Bill Engvall (normally very entertaining with me), but over the top as well tonight.

Nevertheless, the performances are still key here, just like at most award shows and one that caught me by surprise had to be Sugarland singing “Love Shack” with the B52’s. That wasn’t what I expected at all, but not bad either, it worked, especially when you have Jennifer singing Love shack, what a voice. I have been really getting into Keith Urban as of late from his performance at the 2009 Daytona 500 to me buying his 18 kids album and his specials on another network, I can even see him singing “Country Girl” with Jason Alden.

One performance that I liked came from Lady A when they performed “Lookin’ for a good time’, the performance was something of a live video if you will because it was the same right down to Hilary wearing that blue shredded dress.

However like I said in the beginning, for 2009, the award show was mostly about who won what award and there were a lot to give out, but with country music, you always have those few categories that even before their names and songs are called, you pretty much have know who’s going to win from Sugarland wining Duo Video of the Year for “All I Want To”, Brad Paisley winning Male Video of the year for “Waitin’ in a women” to Rascal Flatts winning Group Video of the year for “Every Day”. In all three categories from Duo, the first Duo I think of is Sugarland hands down, and the same goes for Brad Paisley in the Male category and especially Rascal Flatts for group of the year, all three are the best in their categories.

On the flip side you have a few categories that are closer starting with Female Video of the year with Taylor Swift winning for “Love Story”, yes I believe in Love Stories. The category was a tossup because you can’t out Carrie Underwood “Just a Dream”, see’s amazing in that video. And of course Collaborative Video of the year, there were a few choices in there as well, but a sure fire pick had to be Brad Paisley with Keith Urban “Start a band”, good music video and song.

But what would it be an awards show without a few surprises starting with Breakthrough video of the year, the Zack Brown Band “Chicken Fried”, that one is huge for them. My father loves this song, he has it as a ringtone on his cell phone or Wide open county video of the year won by Kid Rock for “All summer long” (although I will say that I voted for Taylor Swift and Def Leppard, but the Kid Rock song even got my father’s attention as well and that’s not easy to do.)

Right down to CMT performance of the year which went to the performance on CMT Giants: Alan Jackson, Derks Bentley, Brad Paisley and George Strait for “Country Boy”. I watched this CMT Giants one and saw the video, it’s always cool to see some big names come together and sing a country song.


(Photo Credit: Gloriana Website)

One award I left off is a little personal to me, everyone has their favorites and while mine does include mainly Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, it also includes a new band that I believe will be big this time next year, Gloriana, they won the “Nationwide on your side award” for one great song “Wild at Heart”.

Well every show must come to an end and this one award is huge, Video of the year that no one know the results of because fans were still voting for it right up to the last minute and the top honors goes to Taylor Swift for “Love Story”. Perfect! Of course if Carrie Underwood for “Just a Dream” that would have been just as perfect!

Now I leave you with two things:
First Taylor Swift performing “You belong with me”, good song, However I am more use to the white dress for Taylor and it would have helped if the telecast didn’t screw up during this performance with the audio. And on the same grounds, Taylor Swift and Def Leppard recreating their CMT Crossroads by performing “Pour Some Sugar On Me”. I liked the CMT crossroads. But not the rap video with T-Pain.

Second, what is award show without at least a performance by Carrie Underwood, what gives?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mark Martin and Chevrolet grab victory from Johnson and Biffle in LifeLock 400 at Michigan.


(Photo Credit: NASCAR.com via Yahoo Sports inside Gallery)

In the Irish Hills of Michigan lies the 2-mile D-Shape oval known as the Michigan International Speedway. Michigan Speedway is known for a few good races here and there, but mainly the racing on the track is long (green flag runs) and stretched out, but ends up becoming a nail bitter of a finish thanks to what turns into a fuel economy races.

The Michigan Speedway also sits in what was in some cases known as the “Big 3” automakers backyard, however earlier this weekend as one of the “Big 3” Chrysler exited bankruptcy and was taken over by Fiat, Chevrolet (who is in bankruptcy now) announced that they are making “NASCAR-wide” cuts. The NASCAR cuts include the Nationwide Series and the Truck Series teams will loss factory support and that will not be it, it is unknown if Chevrolet will cut some support in the Cup Series, but to this NASCAR fan, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few Chevy teams were cut, but that’s my opinion.

The automakers though still do believe in “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday”, I even believe that automobile manufacturers do sell more cars because they are in NASCAR, of course that slogan has to include Toyota.

Anyway, earlier today’s LifeLock 400 marked the one year anniversary of NASCAR’s Most popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr’s last victory, yeah as Junior fan I really didn’t need to be reminded of that, of course Dale Jr. is one of the most talked about stories in NASCAR and so is Kyle Busch which you can read about here at my second site BrandingBrian.net in an article I call “It will always be Kyle Busch with his fans vs. Dale Earnhardt Jr. with JR Nation, for 2009 anyway.

As for the race, Vickers on pole is nothing new, of course some new would be the rumors that Red Bull might be switching to Chevrolet, I really don’t believe this one, but I would be surprised if in 2010 Vickers and Speed were in Chevrolet’s considering Chevy’s cuts, but in the Cup Series, manufacturer support is good, but not going to shut down most teams if they don’t have it, it will mean cutting costs in other areas.

The LifeLock 400 was really nothing more than just about any other NASCAR race at Michigan Speedway, long green flag runs, finding your grove, but at the same time passing high, middle and low with 3 wide racing. I know some fans find Michigan boring and sometimes it is, but it does define racing, passing a huge part of racing and there was passing. Fans will not see short track racing here, but it’s not really a sleeper race neither, it all depends upon how you define racing.

However Michigan is also known for fuel economy races and today was no different. The first 140-150 laps is to get your racecar handling, fast and up in the top 5, all so you can save fuel by coasting into the corners, lifting on the throttle more, treating your gas petal like it has an egg underneath it (not a magnet, come on it’s a joke…), kick the transmission into neutral and even shut off the engine under caution and coast so you can make it to the end of the race without stopping and here’s where the nail biting comes from, you don’t know who has saved enough fuel and who hasn’t.

I have to say, I thought Jimmie Johnson was going to win the race, but he was two laps shy and ran out just past pit entrance, Greg Biffle comes up next taking the lead, while Mark Martin is coming on, but saving fuel, white flag is out, but then down the back straightaway Biffle runs out, Martin goes low, makes the pass, saves enough fuel and wins the LifeLock 400. What a great sight, seeing Mark Martin, Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports win this race, although it is interesting to see Chevrolet win this race, lead in the manufacturers championship and yet they say they will do cuts, although again not surprised to see support cut in the Nationwide Series and Truck Series.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
When it comes to Dale Jr. today, I was watching his progress, however I am going to stick by what I said before and see where he is after Chicagoland, but I do like seeing a new crew chief on top of the pit box, sometimes change is needed and in this case change was needed and there is some improvement.

I will say that Junior really hasn’t gotten worse from last year so much as everyone has gotten better and not everyone can finish in the top 10, top 15’s in the Cup Series are hard to come by too and 14th was it for Junior today, of course 13th was all Kyle Busch could muster today as well.

Double-File restarts
Double-file restarts to me are more for the fans, mostly they don’t do too much, but they do have some of an impact on the racing, it makes it interesting for drivers because now they racing the drivers lined up underneath them for position and this rule change also helps the fans know who is racing who and who is on the lead laps, so far good change here.

Of course I should mention that next Sunday at Sonoma (Infineon Raceway), the road course will have double-file restarts, oh boy that will entertaining and I predict someone will go off at the top of the hill for sure after a restart, can’t wait.

And Johnny Benson, get well soon.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It’s over in Dover for NASCAR on FOX for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, but how did they do?

I know that I am a little late to the party, however you know me, I like to make a grand entrance, anyway, in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the first 13 races from the Daytona 500 to the Dover 400 are broadcasted on FOX. Over that time, while the racing has been good to watch with the exceptions of a few races that just didn’t go so well, the TV ratings have seen a double-digit drop in most cases.

I have to say, in watching all 13 races which included a rain-shortened Daytona 500 won by Matt Kenseth, the Monday rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 won by David Reutimann to the Southern 500, Phoenix cup race, both won by Mark Martin, and the Aaron’s 499 that included two Big One’s, Carl Edwards fling through the air into the outside catch fence and a last lap, tri-oval pass for the lead with Brad Keselowski capturing his very first Cup Series victory, the television broadcasts have been pretty good, of course some better than others.

In watching all of those races, I have to say that first the announcers actually had magic in the booth sort of speck from Mike Joy who towards the end of the 13 races really started calling out cautions, wrecks and taking control. Joy knows his NASCAR and was entertaining. For Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds doing Color Analyst, every TV broadcast team, not to mention radio teams in NASCAR needs a former crew chief and a retired driver in the booth and these two know exactly what they are talking about, they have been there winning races and championships.

The pit reporters did a good job with Dick Berggren, Matt Yocum, Steve Byrnes and Krista Voda, all four reporters where on top of changes to the cars, pit stop times and tell the fans at home what the drivers where saying about their cars.

And yes even having Jeff Hammond hosting the pre-show and doing updates throughout the race while at the same time while using the cut away car to explain any problems that teams or drivers maybe having with car from lug nuts to engine, transmission and fuel filling. And of course keep the turn cam at the race tracks as a matter of fact every track should have cameras in the turns to show the action during a race.

However in every broadcast, there were a few things that they could change, and did for the most part towards especially at Darlington.

First has to Chris Myers as host, enough already, nothing personal here, but from a NASCAR fan here, just leave Jeff Hammond in the Hollywood Hotel and the cutaway car to explain problems and let Mike Joy do his job of calling the race.

Second has to be Dinger. At first I was fine with Dinger, he was suppose to be a little gopher that sometimes pops up out of this hole on screen, screams as cars flash by him and jump back down into the hole, however it’s not entertaining to have animation cartoons, this isn’t Saturday morning cartoons, I don’t need this before or after a race and especially during a race. But I will say that Dinger is not the reason for the lower ratings.

Third, every time I turn around or in this case listen to the broadcast, I hear a plug for a sponsor being put into anywhere they can find it and how many commercials do fans need to watch.

As for the declining ratings, it really not NASCAR on FOX’s broadcast, it’s not Dinger neither, but simply NASCAR fans are finding different ways to watch races and to listen to them. Also NASCAR use to be a hot trend, now those people that follow the latest trends have moved on, but NASCAR should be concerned with their current fan base instead of trying to change everything, of course working on the COT could help and the double-file starts are helping.

Now what about NASCAR on TNT for the 6 races…last week at Pocono with the exception the guys in the booth did a good job, but wait there’s 5 more races to go, good luck fans and no more junk.

It will always be Kyle Busch with his fans vs. Dale Earnhardt Jr. with JR Nation, for 2009 anyway.

Week after week, it’s very rare that the media doesn’t talk about Kyle Busch and/or Dale Earnhardt Jr. for anything from performance issues and anything else for that matter, however over the past few weeks in NASCAR, the talk has seem to have included Kyle Busch making unique statements about either Dale Jr. or JR Nation (Dale Jr’s fans which includes me) and Kyle’s comments are normally taking a smack at Junior.

However now we have more every since Kyle Busch smashed a Gibson guitar trophy that he won after of course winning for the first time I think at Nashville Superspeedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series last weekend. I have watched the video a few times, who could miss it on television these days let along pictures of it on internet, oh wait here’s one in this posting and what a sight it is.

My reaction to Kyle Busch’s new victory lane celebration: Personally as not only a NASCAR fan, but also a country music fan, I am bothered by it, I am more of a person who goes for tradion. Gibson Guitars are American Made works of art, when you get one no matter if you buy one or be so lucky to win one like in this case you don’t smash it and I take offense to that whether its Kyle Busch or another driver.

The idea that a driver or something with the team would find this entertaining or a good way to celebrate is wrong in my opinion, I have no idea if I am the only one or not, but this is how I feel. It would be like somebody winning a Cup Series race Martinsville for example. The winner receives a beautiful grandfather clock, would sight, what a heavy clock too and then smashing it into pieces. Granted he said he did it (smashed the guitar) to give every member of his team a piece, it’s a piece of the victory, in that case buy one for each person, but nope we have to smash it and with the grandfather I wouldn’t like it one bit neither.

The same could be said if you win a Daytona 500 trophy, an Indy 500 trophy, you get the point, it doesn’t matter it’s wrong to me. Basically which side are you on: Is it tradition and respect vs. it’s the winner’s trophy and he/she can do what they want with it? Like I said for me, I didn’t like, you’re suppose to save the trophy, treasure it, not smash it or attempt to anyway, but that’s it.

One thing on Kyle, I believe Kyle Busch has a chip on his shoulder (not only for Dale Jr,) because he was let go from Hendrick Motorsports to allow room for Dale Earnhardt Jr., but I think he shouldn’t, Kyle Busch should be happy driving for Gibbs, if you think about Hendrick did he a favor, Kyle Busch wasn’t much at Hendrick Motorsports at that time, now however while Denny Hamlin is the senior driver at Gibbs, Kyle Busch is the best in the stable (most victories included), of course he needs to act more professionally, for starters, do interviews whether he wins, losses or wrecks.

As for the aftermath, Kyle Busch’s comments at Michigan: Kyle said he don’t regret it, he thought it was fun. He said Friday that he only heard one negative comment about it up at the late model race at Berlin Speedway, from a fan in Berlin Michigan “hay don’t go out and break any more guitars.”

"Everybody else out there -- 99.99 percent of them -- were for it. They thought it was great. I'm not going to speak on behalf of (team president) J.D. (Gibbs) but I believe he told me he thought it was cool and that his kids were blown away by it, like they thought it was awesome," Busch said. "It was fun," he said. "A lot of people enjoyed it, thought it was different. Sport's not so vanilla. A lot of people hated it. I guess those are the ones with 88 tattooed on their arms -- or maybe stills 8s. I don't know which."

Which let to a comment about him and Dale Jr, said Busch: "I've got no issues with Junior. It's his fans that are crazy."

Now it was Dale Jr’s turn as he was asked by a reporter to comment: "I think the guy is just trying to direct a lot of people to his website or to his column and generate ad revenue for said website I suppose," Earnhardt said. "I really don't see how that argument really is that relevant to anything and I don't even know really what kind of problem he has or what kind of solution he wants. I don't really get into it. My fans will handle themselves. They're good people."

All I really have to say is, first I don’t agree with it (smashing the trophy – Gibson guitar) and second, Junior is right, his fans can take care of themselves, I can take care of myself.

- Hat tip to Blog of tomorrow for the comments, of course I heard the audio too. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR via NASCAR PR)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Photo contest “Win 1 of 2 Armor All Complete Car Care Kit Gift Packs” on RaceDriven.com



Update: This contest is over, thank you to everyone that has entered the photo contest, I will be notifing both winners within the next week and sending out the the two gift packs. Have a nice day.

Welcome back ladies and gentleman, one thing that I like to watch is the behind the scenes videos of a drivers home, especially with their car collection, there is nothing better for a car guy than seeing a drivers or for that matter a celebrities car collection, so the people at Armor All and with their driver Tony Stewart have created a new series of videos called “Off Track with Tony”, where they have created videos of his car collection including his Unique Hearse, the Stewie Awards, a tour of his Stewart-Haas Racing shop to a tour of Tony Stewart’s property.

And while you are there, don’t forget to enter the Armor All sweepstakes that allows fans the chance to win a VIP race weekend with Tony. The sweepstakes runs through August 31, 2009.

After you look at “Off Track with Tony” video series and enter the Sweepstakes, I have a treat for you, thanks to Matter-Edelman PR and Armor All, today I am starting a contest, a photo contest where anybody in the United States can enter, all you have to do is submit a photo of either your favorite car in your collection or one they’d like to add to their collection (a real photo please) and the top two winners will each receive one Armor All Complete Car Care Kit Gift Pack.

All photos received will be published on RaceDriven.com (including my photo gallery) and/or BrandingBrian.net.

Each Armor All Gift Pack includes Armor All Original Protectant, Armor All Glass Wipes, Armor All Ultra Shine Wash & Wax, and Armor All Tire Foam Protectant.

The rules are simply:
Send an email to racedriven@gmail.com, please use “Armor All Gift Pack Photo Contest” in the subject line, the email must include:

1. A photo of favorite car in your collection or one they’d like to add to their collection (real photos please) 1MB limit on the photo please and it has to be taken by you. (I want to keep my email account and I don’t want any copyright issues)

2. Please include your mailing address. Your address will not be shared with anyone outside of Racedriven.com. (If you have sent in a contest entry with RaceDriven.com before, you must sent a new one to enter this contest, I don’t keep the entries once the contest is over and the winner receives there prize.)

- I will email you if you have won a Armor All Gift Pack to confirm your mailing address.
- Only one entry per shipping address, per email address per person.
- Contest is open to United States residents only.
- Contest starts Friday, June 12, 2009
- Contest ends Friday, July 31, 2009 at 12:00pm.
- I will choose two winners (from the photos), each winner will receive one Armor All Gift Pack.

Thank you and good luck to everyone. Please email me if you have any questions, concerns or comments and don’t forget to visit the Armor All Owner Center for tips, tricks and the art of car care.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Speedlinking: From NASCAR sponsorship and Blogging successfully to General Motors.

Just about every day at one point or another, I will launch my browser to logon to the internet, click on my bookmarks and start launching sites to see what is new. Some would ask, what about RSS reader? A lot of times, the RSS reader isn’t the best way of going for me, I want to read comments, read the sidebar and etc., so I prefer visiting the site and reading articles from there.

Anyway, in the course of reading a lot of articles on a daily basis, today I want to share what I am reading along with a few thoughts on each article, welcome to five wide…get it five articles, five wide.

1. Hard Times for NCWTS Sponsorships, I have been saying for the past year that the Truck Series has a sponsorship problem, however now in the Truck Series it has gotten to the point of buying a ride or rent a ride as Ed Hinton put it last night on NASCAR Now. The Truck Series needs help, of course the future is unknown, what about merging the Truck Series and the Nationwide Series?

2. 13 Things I’ve Learned about Successful Blogging (This is Problogger’s 5000th post) One of my favorite sites to visit that has nothing to do with racing is ProBlogger.net, the site gives a lot of advice on blogging, how to make your site better and how to engage with your readers better. If you have never been to ProBlogger, it’s worth a look.

3. An Open Letter To GM In this open letter to GM, The Auto Prophet thinks that “Despite your decision that keeping Pontiac around is not a good business plan, I am asking you to consider saving some of Pontiac's product.” I agree with this posting, The Pontiac G8, the Vibe and the Solstice should be saved. However I have something to add, the G8 should replace the Chevrolet Impala. The G8 design is better looking and it would make a good police car. As for the Solstice, a two-seater sports car still has a good market, and as the Auto Prophet says, it could be an all electric car.

4. Chevrolet builds 1.5 millionth Corvette, with all of the auto industry bankruptcy talk in the past month; Chevrolet has built their 1.5 millionth Corvette. The Corvette is a white convertible with a red interior and a black top and as a person who loves the look of a Corvette, that’s cool to see.

5. NASCAR's most penalized driver is ... in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. As you read that list, think about that for a moment as you watch race #15 in the Cup Series season at Michigan International Speedway. I have to admit though, I never really thought about who has received what penalty whether it’s speeding, lug nuts, entering or exiting pit road and the results where interesting.

Don’t forget that the 24 hours of Le Mans is this Saturday and Sunday live on SPEED, check out the Audi R15 pictured below, what work of air, yes I said air.


(Image by Eric Gilbert via Motorsport.com)

By the way, this is my personal opinion, no one asked me to do this.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fiat completes takeover of Chrysler, so now will the Tano Nano and the Fiat 500 come to the U.S.?

First, we have been hearing about this deal between Fiat and Chrysler being in the works for weeks now, however even I don’t expect this deal to be done quite so soon, let along Chrysler being out of bankruptcy so soon, however according to New York times, once the supreme court declined to hear a challenge of the deal by three Indiana state funds and several consumer groups, that cleared the way for Chrysler to exit Bankruptcy, keep in that Chrysler was only in bankruptcy for 42 days and once done, Fiat put pen to paper, signed the deal and wired the money.

Beyond the entire Chrysler going into and coming out of bankruptcy in only 42 days, Fiat completely the takeover of Chrysler, what is going to happen next, for example when it comes to Chrysler building and selling cars and truck, the dealer network, what is going to happen with that part?

Second, one of the biggest questions on the internet right now has to do with the Tano Nano, not so much if Fiat brings the Nano to the United States, but who is going to buy it?



Tano Nano (Credit: Wikipedia)

As a consumer, I wouldn’t buy it at all, this is a cheap little car that doesn’t look all that appealing nor would I think that American’s would buy it either, granted that the Nano will have to be redesigned for the U.S. market and price tag will go up for sure, but I really don’t see this car in the US market long term. People should remember that the Smart is currently sold here in the United States, however what was once a very popular car, now isn’t so much, partly due to gasoline prices in my opinion, of course gasoline prices will change and change regularly.

However while I don’t believe in the Tano Nano, you might be surprised to know that I do think that this new deal could bring a few of Fiat’s cars over here to the U.S. starting with the Fiat 500. The Fiat 500 is sort of like the Mini Cooper and of course each vehicles has an S model as well. Mini Coopers have held their own in the United States, I do see a Mini Cooper around in Massachusetts from time to time and it’s a great pocked rocket. Very easy to add more power.


2010 Fiat 500 C (Credit: NetCarShow.com)

So the Fiat 500 could be completing vehicles against the Cooper in sales, people do want something appealing, somewhat cheap, easy to tune and good fuel economy, no, the Nano doesn’t fit here. I will also say that the Fiat 500 looks simpler to the Cooper as well.

I might consider buying a Fiat 500 if it came to the states. The Fiat 500 is sort of like a Mini Cooper, I believe that there is too much different between the Cooper and the 500. If Fiat could bring a good supply of the Fiat 500 and Fiat 500 S to the US that could contend with the Mini Cooper in sales, who knows, I would be interested in seeing the Fiat 500 in the US.

Would you buy either a Tano Nano or a Fiat 500? On the Nano, MyFordDreams and The Auto Prophet both have an opinion, check it out.

Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and double-file restarts – yes it’s an all NASCAR column.

Welcome back ladies and gentleman, as I sit here on a Wednesday afternoon watching the replay of the Pocono 500 on television from this past Sunday, however I am thinking about Kyle Busch at Nashville, the double-file restarts and Tony Stewart winning at Pocono.

Kyle Busch smashing a guitar?
Last Saturday night was shaping up to be just like so many NASCAR Nationwide Series races, Kyle Busch leading the race and in most cases dominating the race, the ESPN announcers cheering him on as they are part of his fan club, the fans waiting for just about anything to happen, the TV Broadcast following the too early to cover points fight between Busch and Edwards, but no one covering the a driver’s car on fire heading into the garage and of course Kyle Busch winning the race.

So what the headline, well leave to Kyle Busch to make a statement in his car that everyone was going to get a piece of that guitar, that’s not a bad thing to say neither that crew deserves a lot of credit, and yes they do, NASCAR is a team sport, not driver only, however no one was expecting Kyle Busch to take the trophy, a beautiful Gibson Guitar painted up that any driver would love to win and smashes it on the ground in victory lane and give pieces of it to his crew.
It should be said that unbelievably Kyle Busch asked Sam Bass and Gibson if he could smash it and from what I understand according to Kyle they approved it.

In the Nationwide Victory Lane interview from Nationwide.com,
Kyle Busch said: “We had a good day that went smooth today and we didn’t have any issues, you know we have had smooth days that were going great the past few weeks, just at the end it comes to something taking us away. So it was relief today, I mean I was actually nervous coming down to the end of the race because I wasn’t sure, something might happen. You never know, it would just be a never-ending saga really. But finally we were able to knock the monkey off the back and get a win here, for me especially to get my first Nationwide Series win at Nashville and my second guitar I won an archer race here, it’s been a long time since that day and it was very cool. “

Now the winner at Nashville always gets a custom painted Gibson guitar that every driver takes great care to get home safely. That is until Busch, who took out his acts in victory lane and did his best impression, of a rock star.

Busch: Yeah, I always said if I win here man I’d smash that thing. So I had to stick to my word man it’s karma or something I guess. So I won here so I tried to smash it up. Ozzy (Osbourne)’s done it right? I think Ozzy’s done it too; I think KISS has even done it. I mean everybody’s done it except racecar drivers. All them sorry saps they take it home in one piece and put it on the shelf. I’ll break that thing up and spread it among the team so everybody’s got a piece. He’ll have to do that by cutting it up with a saw because the man who customized the guitar, artist Sam Bass pointed out.

Sam Bass: “That shows what a quality product Gibson makes. Because that guitar did not break, the neck did not break in a half and it’s probably still playable if you plugged it in.” - Thanks Nationwide.com

The smashing of the guitar has gotten a lot of fans attention, most fans are calling this disrespect, while others are defending him, so where does this NASCAR fan stand?

Personally, a trophy that you receive by winning a race such as the Daytona 500, the Southern 500, Indianapolis 500, a Martinsville Cup Series race to a Nashville Nationwide Series race deserves respect, it says you won the race, first to cross the finish line, and with the competition so competitive, races are hard to win these days and that trophy a perfect way to cap off a good race day for the driver, the team not only at the racetrack, but back at the show, the owner, the sponsors and all the people that make it possible, so if a driver smashing a trophy whether it’s a Gibson Guitar or a grandfather clock from Martinsville Speedway, that to me is disrespectful.

I understand that the trophy in this case is Kyle Busch’s, but that’s still disrespectful. So where do you, the fans stand with any driver smashing trophy after the race in victory lane to give to your crew, is that disrespectful to the tradition or is it the winner’s trophy and they can do what they want with it?

The Pocono 500:
First, last Thursday, NASCAR announced in a press release that they are making a rule change and listening to the fans, so they have added double-file restarts to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race starting this past weekend at Pocono Raceway. (Originally I wrote this before the race, “NASCAR adds Double-File Restarts in the Cup Series – Part One: First reaction.”, check it out)

You know I have to say that any rules change that NASCAR makes sometimes just makes say what? However when it comes to adjusting the COT which they haven’t done yet or make an overdue change like in this case adding double-file restarts, I am all for it.

The Pocono 500 a race that needs to be shortened to 400 miles and that is known for sometimes producing some good race, but at the same time just ending up being a long and drawn out race that can be boring at times as well. But wouldn’t you know it, the race would mainly be a long, drawn out with few caution flags and green flag pit stops. Pocono is a 2 ½ mile racetrack that on a long green flag run can just go almost forever.

However there were a few things that caught my eye during the race:First the double-file restarts: This was a good place as any to try out double-file restart and while it didn’t have too much of an impact on the final results, the rule change did enable for some more exciting restarts. I noticed that the leader mostly started on the outside instead of normally starting on the inside, however it didn’t matter.

Anyway, it was better having the lap down cars behind the lead lap car instead of lineup next to them and on the restart, you know who was racing who, the driver were racing the drivers next to them period and that made for some better restarts and enabled drivers to make moves and sure enough there were some three-wide starts to boot. As a fans, the double-file restarts worked, however it will take a few more races to really see what it can do.

Second, the television broadcast: This was TNT’s first broadcast in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and that meant that NASCAR on FOX was over. With the NASCAR on FOX broadcast, there were some positives and some negitives, first had to be dinger, I mean I am fine with dinger popping out of his hole from time to time, looking at the cars coming at him and jumping back in the hole, however the negative had to be all of the dinger animation shows, so many times we say dinger, enough already.

I will say that I did like the NASCAR on FOX crew from Mike Joy, Larry Mac and Darrell Waltrip in the booth, they have magic in the booth to the pit reporters, the only thing is just live Hammond in Hollywood Hotel along with car next to him to explain things.

However in watching the broadcast, I dreaded the NASCAR on TNT broadcasts, but with the exception of the announcers, Weber, Dallenback and Petty, (their just no magic in that booth), I enjoyed the TV Broadcast. The pit reporters where great, right on top just about everything, no weird animations yet and going through the field several times including before lap 20. Hats off to TNT having a free racebuddy on NASCAR.com, I used it, it was worth it especially during the commercial, I watched the action on track while seeing commercials on TV, wow what concept.

Tony Stewart:
Who would have thought that only 14 races into the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season that Stewart-Haas Racing would be this competitive week in and week out, while I supported Tony Stewart and his move, even I didn’t see him winning races and leading the points so early in the season, I mean Smoke really put the right people in the right places at Stewart-Haas Racing, what a change.

Tony Stewart not only won the NASCAR All-Star race and came ever so close to winning several times this season including a few second place finish, one being latest weekend at Dover with dueling with Jimmie Johnson in the final laps, However who would have known that after a harsh practice crash, going to a backup car and starting 43rd at Pocono that smoke would rocket his way up through the field, passing car after car, making the right changes on pit road would set Stewart up to win this race.

The biggest point of the Pocono 500 had to be on the from the race off of pitroad, beating Carl Edwards after the last stop for some including Smoke to that final restart to the finish, save fuel by letting off the gas petal a ways away from the corner and coast in not using the brake petal and seal the deal, Tony Stewart winning the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway.

After the final restart and everyone faned out, it was interesting seeing Smoke on-board that he was saving fuel by rolled out of the throttle very early before the corners, coasted in and then gently applied the throttle again only to do it all again in the next corner, what a way to say fuel.

Of course Tony did come over the radio at one point and say I hate racing like this, for the most part I hate seeing it, but it was needed for the victory. At one point I thought that Tony Stewart had gotten some advice from Carl Edwards who has won a few fuel mileage races in the past, but what a victory, Tony Stewart wins the Pocono 500 and in turn picking up his first victory as a driver/owner. Great job Smoke.

Smoke must have taken lessans for the Carl Edwards who has won his fail share of fuel economy races including Texas last fall and Homestead.

Monday, June 8, 2009

800hp biodiesel 1965 Chevy Impala created on Pimp My Ride is worth a second look.



In blogging for over 4 years, I have come across several different topics that are amazing to read about let alone write about, however there are always those few stories that raise about all of the rest that are worth a second look and one of them that I blogged about back in April 2007 over at my first site (Blog) RaceDriven.com is the famous 800 Horsepower 1965 Chevrolet Impala powered by bio-diesel fuel.

I remember watching this pimp my ride episode when it first aired, I wrote this:
“This was on the first cars in a while that I liked on this show, so much so that I would want something like it as my daily driver or classic. I like the concept, the technology, the look, the entire package and the fact that this impala can go 0 to 60 in around 3.5 seconds, plus get 25 mpg to boot (according to the show). All I can say is, you will see more cars like this either with Biodiesel, Natural gas, ethanol, a hybrid and etc. and that's cool.”

Up ‘til then, there were very few bio-diesel powered muscle cars out there especially one’s that look like this, however this one to me is one of my favorite because it showcases that muscles cars can not only be green and run on alternative fuels and yet still have a lot more horsepower and torque. I’m always looking for that next vehicle that gets me away running on gasoline and this is in the running in general of course.

With seeing this muscle car, can you now imagine Ford, Dodge or General Motors (Chevrolet) putting a diesel engine inside a Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro or someone putting a diesel engine inside a Dodge Viper or Dodge Challenger, that would be cool and it might be the only way to keep the muscle cars around long after the new CAFÉ standards take effect. This was worth a second look.

(Read original posting over at here…)


(Photos Credit: GAS

I wonder if any of these vehicles used either Battery Tender Plus for their battery or the Meguiar's Complete Car Care Kit to clean their vehicle?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sweet! Tony Stewart duels Edwards in final sprint to win first driver/owner victory at Pocono.


That's Smoken it.
(Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR via Yahoo Sports)

Who would have thought it, it was last July that Tony Stewart not only made the announcement that he was leaving Joe Gibbs Racing, but announced that he was going to owner his own team Stewart-Haas Racing. My first reaction as a Tony Stewart fan was the same as what I said when Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he was leaving DEI to join Hendrick Motorsports, “I support whatever move he makes.”

Tony Stewart never just settles, you knew that when he became part owner of Stewart-Haas Racing that he was going to bring in new people, make changes, put people in the right places and go for victory.

Tony Stewart had been knocking on the door for several races including not only winning the 2009 NASCAR All-Star race last month at Lowes’ Motor Speedway in a late race pass by Matt Kenseth to win, but recorded a few second place finishes including a huge duel with Johnson last weekend at Dover.

However leave it to Tony to start 43rd at Pocono after having crashed his primary car in the first practice, (what a crash too, it’s been a while since I have seen a crash like that at Pocono) and race his way to the front in a race that became somewhat of a sleeper at times because of its long and drawn out green flag runs to beat Carl Edwards off pitroad for the final restart, save fuel by letting off the gas petal a ways away from the corner and coast in not using the brake petal and seal the deal, Tony Stewart winning the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway.

I have to say, there were three key observations I noticed during the 500:
First that the double-file restarts, while the rule change is still new, I am beginning to like it already and it does alter the outcome just a little bit. The double-file restarts makes the restart a lot better, no laps cars on the inside, no need to clear that one long drag racing lap car to go after the lead and it’s worth noting that on the last restart, smoke choose to lineup the outside line, rather than the inside line, it worked.

Second, I have to say that with the exception of dinger (and the animation graphics throughout the race) and the constant ads throughout the race, I enjoyed the NASCAR on FOX broadcast for the Cup Series races, so going into Pocono, I dreaded the NASCAR on TNT broadcasts, however and yes there are some exceptions like the broadcast crew of Weber, Dallenback and Petty, their just no magic in that booth, I enjoyed the TV Broadcast. The pit reporters where great, right on top just about everything, no weird animations, going through the field several times including before lap 20 and the free racebuddy on NASCAR.com. The broadcast worked, but still magic in that TNT booth.

Third, In the final moments of the Pocono 500, what a way Tony Stewart saved fuel, I mean he used no brakes, which is key in saving fuel, rolled out of the throttle very early before the corners, coasted in and then gently applied the throttle again only to do it all again in the next corner, what a way to say fuel. Of course Tony did come over the radio at one point and say I hate racing like this, for the most part I hate seeing it, but it was needed for the victory. Smoke must have taken lessans for the Carl Edwards who has won his fail share of fuel economy races including Texas last fall and Homestead.

Congratulations to Tony Stewart on grabbing your first career driver/owner victory at Pocono in the Sprint Cup Series race, I can’t wait to see what he does at Michigan next weekend.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson both find success at Dover International Speedway.

As I sit here watching the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Nashville, I just wanted to put a period on last weekend at Dover International Speedway for what made to be an interesting weekend that yet yielded some unique results. Dover is a 1 mile concrete racetrack on the NASCAR schedule that is anything but a walk in the park for the drivers and teams that race on it, this high-banked track normally shows some good side-by-side racing race in and race out and this past weekend was no different.

Wouldn’t you know it, controversy at the end of the Dover 200 for the Nationwide Series, anyone shocked? Already up ‘til the final restart, this race just wasn’t all that entertaining, Kyle Busch was leading, but in a few Nationwide Series races have gone this season, there was a crash and that prompted a restart.

On the restart, Kyle Busch was leading with Joey Logano in second and Brad Keselowski in third, Busch went down into turn 1, however Busch had a right front tire going flat, but didn’t say anything, went down into turn 1 with Logano on his rear bumper, following his line into the corner, Busch’s tire went down, he slowed and Logano hit him in the back bumper, which put Logano in the middle of the track and then Brad Keselowski went underneath Logano, took the lead and never looked back to capture his 3rd career victory (all Brad’s victories have come on concrete racetracks i.e. Nashville, Bristol and Dover.

The controversy was people though that Joey Logano wrecked Kyle Busch, no way, he didn’t and he has nothing to kick himself for, Logano went for the lead, Busch had a flap, Logano got into Busch which allowed Brad to go under and win the race, no damage done here and Kyle Busch made another mistake.

I always seem to love to hear what drivers have to say after the race regardless of if they won the race or not (of course if your waiting on Kyle Busch, unless he wins or finishes 2nd or 3rd, no dice there), so check out the Victory Interview with Brad Keselowski from NASCAR Nationwide Series at Dover International Speedway by Nationwide.com.

For the third consecutive Nationwide Series Race, Kyle Busch led the most laps but didn’t win—with the nightmarish ending happening this time on the Monster Mile in Dover, Delaware. With two laps to go in the Heluva Good 200, Busch was on the point followed by teammate Joey Logano. Between Busch’s 108 and Logano’s 87, the Joe Gibb’s duo led 195 laps. But on the re-start with the checkered flag about to fly, Busch had a problem. It could have been a flat tire, probably, or contact from Logano—maybe—Kyle stormed away without telling. Whatever the case, Brad Keselowski went from third to first and then on to victory lane.

Keselowski: I saw the 18 slow down and 20 making an evasive maneuver and I just saw a hole. Went for the hole and didn’t lift and got very fortunate that it didn’t turn into a lot of cars wrecked in the first corner and it’s just the way it goes. I didn’t know that was going to happen and I was there and ready for it and that’s really all that you can do and it worked out.
It didn’t however work out for Logano and he wasn’t sure what actually transpired between him and Busch.

Logano: He actually spun his tires on the re-start and that’s what allowed me to have a good start and get right up on him but as far as the right front down or anything like that , I don’t know, I can’t really tell you. I thought by the time I got off of him we were going slow enough that he should have been able to make the turn. But I’m not in his racecar and I don’t know exactly what happened.

Winding up third a somewhat unhappy Clint Bowyer.

Bowyer: He’s good, he just got way to loose there that last set of tires but we were good that last run or the next to last run just wasn’t our day.

Coming home fourth it was Brian Vickers who got into a heated battle for that position in the closing stages with Carl Edwards.

Vickers: I really had to earn that one. Carl did a great job putting the pressure on there the last 20, 30 laps especially right there at the very end. We were side by side there at the finish but he raced me hard and clean and I had a lot of fun.

Edwards: That was fun, I was working on him for I don’t know 25, 30 laps and there at the end we were side by side going down to turn three. My car had been hitting those bumps and I thought, man, Kyle just went behind us and all I could think of was points but then I thought, man, I got to race Brian so we went through that corner side by side. It was a pretty wild race. I just have to thank him for racing me so clean. That was fun.

Sixth across the stripe was Paul Menard with Scott Speed seventh then it was Jason Leffler, Jason Keller and Justin Allgaier rounding out the top 10. Eleven to 15: Michael McDowell, Brendan Gaughan, Kevin Harvick, Mike Bliss and Bobby Hamilton Jr. Kyle Busch limped in 17th. His lead in the Nationwide Series Championship standings cut to just 40 points over Carl Edwards. Jason Leffler is third minus 153. Brad Keselowski now has a Nationwide win to go along with his upset in the Talladega Cup race and in those two victories, he’s led a grand total of just three laps.

Keselowski: That’s awesome, I like that stat. It’s not how many you lead; it’s the ones that you lead. I race very differently than most other drivers around me and sometimes that makes them mad and sometimes that just works. You know, I work the race to where I’m in position on the last run to win and the rest of the race to me is just running laps. It’s just staying on the lead lap, gradually gaining position, keeping your car in one piece and I think that’s probably the anti-Christ to the way Kyle races. And I know that probably makes him madder than hell. But it works.

Yes it does. – The victory interview was from Nationwide.com

What about the Autism Speaks 400 last Sunday at Dover, what a race. I love watching the Cup Series races from Dover especially since NASCAR introduced this new COT racecar, yes I like the Cot on racetracks like Dover, New Hampshire, Phoenix, Bristol, but not on tracks like California, Las Vegas, but it will be a question mark on Michigan, need another viewing.

Anyway, the Autism Speaks 400 was all about rebounding, Jimmie Johnson made a 4-tire pit stop late in the race, restart around 10th and drive all the way up through the traffic to win the race and he did just that. That race had to be one the best late race battle’s I’ve seen since for example Dover last fall with Biffle vs. Kenseth vs. Edwards, however this time it was Johnson vs. Stewart vs. Biffle vs. Kurt Busch and what a race it was. I have to say, as a Tony Stewart fan I wanted to see smoke win that race and pickup his first career Cup Series (points) victory as a driver/owner, that would have been an amazing thing, but Smoke just wasn’t the best car out there, Jimmie Johnson was when he drove from that far abck passing car after car on the bottom, the middle and the top.

When Johnson got to around five to go, I know Stewart was in trouble because Johnson was right there on this bumper, Johnson tried high, he tried low, but that run off the corner on the highside made all the difference and once Johnson got past, it was basically over for everyone else as Jimmie Johnson would win the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover.

Unique way of looking at it, now what double-file restarts at Pocono tomorrow afternoon?

"No. 48 Jimmie Johnson takes the checkered flag ahead of No. 14 Tony Stewart in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips and Cheese on Sunday at Dover International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)"

Google Street view: Orange County Choppers launches Ducati dealership


View Larger Map (Credit: Google Street Map)

Here's something you don't hear about everyday and has gotten some huge reaction (I didn't say positive reaction), last April, Orange County Choppers launched a ducati dealership inside their OCC World headquarters (pictured above), and featured a blacked out custom Ducati (displayed on American chopper last Thursday night) to launch the new dealership, say what?

First what do you think of me using the Google street view map to highlight the OCC World Headquarters (still being built at time of capture)? I thought I would use this Google street view as an icebreaker, I mean doesn't everyone remember when Google launched their street map feature? What an uproar that was, the saying was something like "can you imagine, people on the other side of the country or world can see my house", well, if anybody drive by your house, anybody can see your house too. Google made a street map of most of my town and while my house and my sisters house isn't on the street view map, my childhood house is and personally I don't care.

It doesn't bother me that if the google street maps picked up my car outside my house on one summer day or not, anyone can drive by my house and take a picture just like Google did and its not a privacy issue neither.

With that said, would you like a blacked out Ducati from OCC (pictured at bottom of article)? Interesting bike, buts it's not me.

Anyway, I used the Google Street map to prove a point that that story is alot like this Orange County Choppers launching a Ducati dealership and some other stories as well. Think about it for a moment, I mean yes alot of the people (thinking American isn't a Ducati) would have preferred that OCC launched a Harley Davidson, Buell or even a Victory dealership, but let's face it, with the economy the way that it is, alot of people just can't afford a custom $35k chopper or just don't want a custom chopper, however they might want something different, for example a $20-$50k Ducati instead, either way, OCC makes a sale and they stay in business, who knows the customer might either want it customized or see a OCC production bike, now that's OCC's business.

I just have to wonder, beside OCC trying to sell their choppers internationally, this move might get they in the ground level and its appears Paul Sr. likes Ducati Motorcycles, go with what you like, however with all of the Ducati dealerships in the Northeast including upstate New York, will this move work?

Will Orange County Choppers launching a Ducati dealership be a big story in six months? No I don't think so. If I want a motorcycle, I will buy a Harley, a Buell, a Victory or something American made. Remember customers buy the product.


(Credit: Sportbikez.net)

Friday, June 5, 2009

American Chopper: OCC Natural Gas Chopper vs. E85 Chopper: Which one would you choose?

Even though I am not a huge American Chopper fan anymore, because the show has changed so much from what it once was, all about bike building to now just another drama filled reality show or a cookie cutter of the other reality shows on TLC, I still love what I lived before, the choppers.

Like I said on here “with the ever changing gasoline prices at gas station all over the United States and the talk of raising the gas tax from both Federal and State levels (Massachusetts for one), I believe that more vehicles whether its cars, muscle cars, trucks, SUV's, delivery vehicles and Mack Trucks could all be running on alternative fuels. The alternative fuels could be ethanol, E85, bio-diesel, natural gas, hydrogen (hydrogen might just be the United States best bet for the fuel), and even electric cars like a Tesla Motors, I love to see what people can build that uses an alternative fuels and in this case, Orange County Choppers first build an E85 chopper, now they have build what some are saying the first Natural Gas Chopper.”

So on that very subject, if you were shopping for a new alternative fuels chopper, you know something to get you away from just gasoline, which chopper would you pick?


First is the E85 Chopper that is powered by E85 (Credit: Autoblog.com)


Second is the Chesapeake Energy Chopper that is powered by Natural Gas (Credit: Motorcycle Forum)

Personally for me, to answer my own question, which chopper would I choose, I would have to say neither, because there is most likely only one or two natural gas filling station in Massachusetts and the same goes for E85 stations. So because of that, I love to choose a chopper powered by hydrogen, but again, no such luck, so I would have a custom built diesel. And no, Massachusetts doesn’t really have a bio-diesel pump either, I don’t know what we have for alternative fuels.