Thursday, July 30, 2009

Formula 1: Michael Schumacher to return in Felipe Massa’s car and BMW to leave F1.

The 2009 Formula 1 season has seen several different twists from an new ugly looking car that still doesn’t create good side-by-side racing and passing on-track and the FOTA looking to take its teams and drivers out of Formula 1 to create a breakaway series in 2010, but so far is still in talks to resolve some differences for the upcoming 2010 season including budget cap to BMW recently announcing they are going to leave F1 at the end of the 2009 season.

The idea of BMW leaving Formula 1 is not a giant surprise to me at all, in this tough economy, manufacturers are cutting back on just about everything and there Motorsports programs will be one of the first things cut and if that means leaving one of the most expensive sports in the world, in this case Formula 1 then that’s it, BMW isn’t the first to leave nor will be the last. Looking at not only Formula 1, but Motorsports in general, I’m surprised more with how many manufacturers are still in Motorsports today. And don’t forget, Honda sold their team to Brawn GP last year.

The biggest question is, which manufacturer is going to leave Formula 1 for example next, personally I’m think Toyota, however that is not a rumor nor official, it’s just my opinion.

However nothing compares to and was more shocking then the terrible crash this past weekend in the qualifying session for the Hungarian Grand Prix where a rear spring came off of Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn-Mercedes, bounced on track and two to three seconds later bounced up into Felipe Massa's car striking Massa in his helmet and Massa’s car hit the outside wall in turn 4.

“Felipe was conscious at the arrival at the hospital,” said a Ferrari statement, adding that Massa had suffered a cut on his forehead, concussion and a bone lesion of the skull. Massa underwent surgery to treat these conditions, the outcome of which was positive. He will now remain under observation in intensive care. (From Formula1.com)

As a result, (according to Ferrari.com) Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro intends to put Michael Schumacher in Felipe Massa's car until the Brazilian driver will be able to race again. Michael Schumacher said he is ready and, over the next few days, will undertake a specific training program at the end of which confirmation will be given of his participation in the Championship with effect from the European Grand Prix on the 23rd of August.



Remember what Formula 1 use to be back in 2006 when Michael Schumacher was racing for Ferrari against not only his teammate Felipe Massa, but against the youngest World Champion Fernando Alonso? (Source of picture: Motorsport.com/xpb.cc)

First I have to say that wish Felipe Massa well I hope he has a full recovery. Second, it doesn’t surprise me to see that Ferrari wants Michael Schumacher to retain at the European Grand Prix, of course Ferrari is the one that had him retire at the end of the 2006 season, but it will be interesting to see what he does in Formula 1 now (here in 2009) especially this new looking car, I might just have to watch the race which is on my birthday (August 23rd).

What does everything think; will Michael Schumacher make a difference at the European Grand Prix and in the rest of the season?

More: Michael Schumacher has cancelled his return to Formula 1 in 2009.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why the controversy with Juan Montoya’s speeding penalty in the Brickyard 400?

Goodyear rebounds, but the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard was boring.
It’s the third biggest race weekend on the 2009 NASCAR schedule from the Truck Series and the Nationwide Series which were running at the tight .685 mile ORP while the main event for Cup Series is racing across town at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

The weekend started out with a bang at the tight .685 mile racetrack known as O’Reilly Raceway Park (formerly the Indianapolis Raceway Park) with first, a nail bitter of a Truck Series race where after 199 laps, it come down to the top four drivers fighting for the victory between the leader Ron Hornaday Jr., 2nd place Mike Skinner, 3rd Aric Almirola, and 4th place Dennis Setzer which lead to Ron Hornaday Jr. barely holding off Mike Skinner to pick up his fourth consecutive victory, in winning at ORP, Hornaday became to first driver to win four-in-a-row, of course next week he will go for five at Nashville.

Second in the Nationwide Series race, we saw one good battle earlier on between the upcoming talent of Trevor Bayne and Steven Wallace, however a bad call by NASCAR (yes I don’t always agree with NASCAR) and in this case, the #99 and the #66 should have gotten their positions back after the pace car darted out on the racetrack for the caution in from to the leader Trevor Bayne that hit the brakes and got ran over by second place Steven Wallace, but the race would come down to the Kyle Busch vs. Carl Edwards show with Edwards winning at ORP.

However when it came to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the third biggest race of the season, the Brickyard 400, let’s put it this way, the headline on Monday read “Goodyear rebounds, but Allstate 400 at the Brickyard was boring” and “Jimmie Johnson holds off polesitter Mark Martin to win third Brickyard 400” but that isn’t were the story ended.

During what was a boring Brickyard 400 that was dominated mainly by Juan Montoya that lead 116 of 160 laps, under green flag conditions, Montoya was making his final pit stop with 35-36 laps to go, Montoya, who had a good lead over second place (I believe Mark Martin) when was coming down pit road to make his final stop and after his pit stop, he was caught speeding and was given a drive thru penalty, that’s what it is for everybody.

So where’s the controversy, some believe NASCAR screwed Montoya when they gave him a speeding penalty, so did NASCAR get the call right?

That question is harder to answer then anyone thinks, first NASCAR uses a computer to track each car’s speed on pit road in segments, on Sunday, there were eight segments and the speed limit was 55mph, NASCAR gives teams a 5mph buffer that teams use to the fullest and according to NASCAR (and the computer) they said Montoya was doing 59 mph in six segments and 60.06mph in the second segment (zone 2) and 60.11mph in the 4th segment (zone 4).

Of course Montoya replied with: "If they do this to me, I'm going to kill them," Montoya said on his radio. "There's no way. I was on the green [dash light]. "Thank you, NASCAR, for scrwing my day. We had it in the bag and they screwed us because I was not speeding. I swear on my children and my wife." (Source of quotes: ESPN)

So he was speeding and that’s it right?

Nope, some people believe that NASCAR made the wrong call, screwing Montoya out of what looked to be a victory, and the way one fan sees it, there is really no evidence to prove otherwise (that he was not guilty), the computer says he was speeding and that’s that.

I will say that while I am not questing the Montoya speeding call, I will admit I have questioned one or two speeding calls in NASCAR history, one being a few months ago in a Nationwide Series race that saw several drivers caught for speeding, but I didn’t hear anything like that on Sunday.

Basically in NASCAR’s eyes, Montoya was speeding, in turn they gave him a drive thru penalty which took him out of the lead and might have cost him (Montoya) the victory. BTW, it would have been cool to see Montoya win the Brickyard 400 on Sunday.

So what now? There is only one way to fix this, show the fans and everybody each car’s speed on pit road, every TV broadcast (FOX, TNT, ESPN/ABC) show the speeds on the racetrack, so why not show the speeds on pit road, then at least fans can see the speeds.

Of course this was brought up a while back, maybe a year or two and NASCAR said no and restricted the TV broadcast from showing the speed, however in this day in age and given NASCAR’s state in some of their fans eyes, it would be a good move for them to show the speeds of each car on pit road.

Even more, if the driver is speeding, the speed would go red to indicate to the everyone they are speeding, I know some many not like this, but the technology and the outcry is already there and if you can get the speed to be exact, then I think it’s worth it.

Did NASCAR screw Montoya on Sunday? Should the TV broadcasts be allowed to show the speed of the cars on pit road? And was the 2009 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard boring?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Last Chance: The photo contest “Win 1 of 2 Armor All Complete Car Care Kit Gift Packs” ends July 31st.

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.

This photo contest has heated up over the past very weeks with several entries from a 1972 Chevrolet Nova and a red Hummer to a 1967 Porsche 910 that was taken at Road America during the Brian Redman International Challenge, however there is still time to get your entry in for 1 of 2 Armor All Complete Car Care Kit Gift Packs”, the contest ends July 31st (next Friday). Check Here for details.

While you’re entering my photo contest for a chance to win, check out the “Off Track with Tony”, where Armor All has 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.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

NASCAR Silly Season 2009: Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Danica Patrick, and more

For the last several months, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series silly season has been in full swing, it’s always interesting to hear and see where some of these drivers, crew chiefs and team members will end up. One thing to keep in mind for the average fan is that most of the rumors and speculation are false.

I would say 8 out of 10 rumors are false the rumor has no truth to it, while 2 out of 10 either have some truth or are going to happen.

Most rumors are created either on the internet by some person who thought they heard something or even more, someone in the garage area at the racetrack that has an active imagination or just wanted to test the waters on how that rumor might be and someone else picked it up and published it.

Personally I try not to read too much into rumors nor write about them, however today I am giving my take on several drivers and teams and where some of the drivers might find themselves come either next season or in 2011.

However, a week or two ago, Michael Waltrip took himelf out of the rumor mill when he announced that he is going to semi-retire for the Cup Series, Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 NAPA Toyota part-time in the Cup Series next year including running the Daytona 500, NAPA and MWR announced that they have signed Martin Truex Jr. to a multi-year contract to drive the new #56 NAPA Toyota full-time in 2010. Last year Truex Jr. was looking to leave EGR, but couldn’t, but it’s good to see Truex move on to a new team, let’s see what he does both for the rest of 2009 and next season in 2010.

How about Stewart-Haas Racing – Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski? Ever since Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing said that a third team is possible if the right driver and sponsor came along has set off a media world spin of rumors and speculation from Danica Patrick to Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski joining the team.

Let’s start with Kevin Harvick and his status. It have been reported that Harvick isn’t happy at RCR and that he might be looking to get out of his contract one year early. Both Kevin Harvick and his sponsor Shell-Pennzoil’s are signed thru 2010, however while Richard Childress has said neither the driver nor the sponsor are going anywhere in 2010, I believe otherwise. Here is why, I believe Richard Childress should explore the idea of finding another driver for the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, it might be what that team needs to be successful again.

Harvick is a good racecar driver, but the magic, the chemistry has gone away in that team and it seems like Harvick would be better at another team. Now I can completely understand Richard Childress’s position in this one, but another driver could be an option in the #29 Shell-Pennzoil next season. Harvick with another sponsor could be good in a third car at Stewart-Haas Racing, however there isn’t too many other rides open for Harvick for 2010, so making plans for 2011 might be exactly what he should do.

With a possible Stewart-Haas Racing opening or RCR opening, either one might be perfect for the rookie Brad Keselowski. Brad is a talented racecar driver, he has 7 starts in the Cup Series in 2009 with 3 top 10’s and won the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega earlier this year. Brad Keselowski is trying to get a Cup Series ride at Hendrick Motorsports or a Hendrick support team like Stewart-Haas Racing or the #09 team. He might be a candidate for the #29 RCR car or a third Stewart-Haas Racing car, but I don’t see him anywhere else right now.

What about Red Bull Racing? Scott Speed is staying in the #84, that’s a given, that’s there boy, however for Brian Vickers, I don’t see a contract renewal here although for Red Bull, signing him might be there only real option.

One hard to imagine and hard to believe (of course most rumors are possible) rumor is Red Bull Racing will leave Toyota and move to Chevrolet with Hendrick support. This move could open the door for Brad Keselowski to drive the #83, I don’t have the quote, but I thought I heard Hendrick say they have room to support Red Bull Racing. That would be a shocker to me, I know that Hendrick support is big, but leaving Toyota which has big TRD support for Chevrolet that is cutting back on manufacturer support, I think tthey will sign with Toyota again and this one will be done.

What Roush-Fenway Racing and going from five teams down to four? Who will be moved to Yates Racing, Jamie McMurray or David Ragan? Personally I think he should drop Ragan to a full-time Nationwide Series ride and drop McMurray to either Yates or completely, that would free up a ride for another talented and ready for the Cup Series driver, that’s it, that was easy, of course that is just my opinion.

What about the famous IRL driver Danica Patrick? Let’s be straight here, in my opinion Danica will stay in the IRL IndyCar Series. She has a good IndyCar career there and should see it through, but it doesn’t hurt for her to explore her options, of course she made headlines when she recently visited SHR, RFR and too many more to name. I would say that one option could be her joining Ganassi Racing in the IndyCar Series in a third car for a 3 year contract, during that time, she could start a few races in the Nationwide Series races and in 2013 (when quite possibly the IRL folds), she would move to a full-time NASCAR ride with EGR.

Of course she could also stay at Andretti-Green Racing in the IRL and she if she could drive in another series, not sure what AGR has in the ALMS or Grand-Am series, could have some affliction there.

Well that is just a few silly season rumors and speculations, however what you, the reader should take away from this article are two things, first drivers, crew chiefs and team members can land just about anywhere were they can get a job, especially in this economy.

Second, rumors are rumors, if you are interested in a particular rumor, check the source first, but chances are its false, personally I like to say it’s a rumor when it is and wait for an official announcement for reporting on it.

One more thing, for crew members and team members who might find themselves involved in this silly season, I feel bad for them especially all of stories the last two years on DEI, that was horrible to hear, I can’t imagine what they might be thinking as if read this.

(Source - Photo: Michael Waltrip Racing website)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

NASCAR announces Citizen Journalists Media Corps, but what does it really mean for bloggers?

Last month (June 2009), NASCAR announced its intention to invite the top independent NASCAR-related Web sites to join a newly formed "NASCAR Citizen Journalists Media Corps." NASCAR is providing this group of new media access to cover the sport while maintaining their independence. (Press Release)

Last week, NASCAR announced the list of members (sites) that are in NASCAR’s Citizen Journalists Media Corp that contains 28 sites that cover NASCAR in one way or another. However a few bloggers have raised questions about the program, one, since the press release came out last week, how come there hasn’t been a lot of media on it? Two, what does this mean for those who are now members and three, if you’re a member of NASCAR’s Citizen Journalists Media Corp, what do you plan on doing with it?

(Press Release - DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR on Friday announced the members of the newly formed NASCAR Citizen Journalists Media Corps. This group of new media consists of a range of professional and amateur experience covering NASCAR. One common theme is that each site is dedicated to providing information about NASCAR to a growing readership.

"We have been overwhelmed by the positive response since our initial announcement to form the NASCAR Citizen Journalist Media Corps last month," said NASCAR managing director of corporate communications Ramsey Poston. "More voices speaking about NASCAR is good for the sport and is fan-friendly. We intend to make the most of the changing media landscape."

"The National Motorsports Press Association comprises journalists dedicated to informing the public about motorsports,'' said Dustin Long, president of the NMPA. "We welcome citizen journalists to the media center in hopes that it increases the depth of knowledge of the fan base.''

"The sport is there, the fans are there, the need for information is there," said Jim Pedley, managing editor of racintoday.com and NASCAR Citizen Journalists Media Corps member. "As more and more fans turn from newspapers to new sources for their racing information, and as more Web sites become more professional, NASCAR had to take notice and act. You've got to believe the fans will be the beneficiaries."

After a lengthy review process, which included evaluating independent Web sites on professionalism, reporting and commentary, and use of social networking tools, 28 sites were invited to be part of the new media corps.

Members of the corps will have the opportunity to apply for media credentials but like all media, will be expected to abide by the standards of professional conduct (i.e. no autographs, photos with drivers, etc.) They will also have access to other media-driven events and teleconferences and NASCAR's media-only Web site. NASCAR will provide access to the information; it's up to the journalists to tell the story.

The traditional media that cover the sport on a day-to-day basis will continue to be the cornerstone of NASCAR news and information. However, as traditional news coverage continues to decline across the board for all sports, it is important to recognize the emerging media sources that provide unique points of view to growing audiences.

The Citizen Journalists Media Corps includes:
• Autoracing1.com/nascar.asp
• Badgroove.com/
• Benchracing.onpitrow.com
• Bleacherreport.com/nascar
• Bump-drafts.com
• Catchfence.com
• Dalyplanet.blogspot.com
• Everyjoe.com/topic/auto-racing
• Thefastandthefabulous.com
• Finallapradio.com
• 4ever3blog.com
• Frontstretch.com
• Greenwhitechecker.typepad.com/greenwhitechecker
• Haddockinthepaddock.com
• Hardcoreracefans.com
• InsiderRacingNews.com
• Paddocktalk.com
Racedriven.com
• Racejournalonline.com
• Racetake.com
• Racingnewsdigest.com
• Racintoday.com
• Rowdy.com
• Rubbingsracing.com
• Speedwaymedia.com
• Thehotlap.com
• Theracinggeek.com
• TruckSeries.com

(Source: NASCAR.com and NASCARmedia.com)

As a blogger, I really didn’t know what to think of NASCAR’s newly formed NASCAR Citizen Journalists Media Corps. As the month progressed and I started to read more into it and at the same time I started thinking about just what the traditional media does week in and week out, I have begun to understand where they are going with this new program.

Over the past year, like the press release says, the landscaping has changed with a lot of the media that use to cover the sport for media outlets, newspapers and more now find themselves laid off because of either cut backs or there company has completely removed there NASCAR coverage.

At the same time, bloggers who have been around for several years, not to mention those media members who use to cover the sport via traditional media are starting to be recognized for their hard work, and yes its hard work to build a site from scratch, write articles and cover the sport without all of the media tools that available to traditional media.

So, one, since the press release came out last week, how come there hasn’t been a lot of media on it? I believe it is going to take time before the traditional media, not to mention bloggers and fans really hear and recognize Citizen Journalists, especially these sites that now find themselves on this list. Time will tell what will really come from this, however I believe starting especially next year even at the Daytona 500, media, NASCAR and maybe even fans will start to see this new crop of people applying for media credentials and attending and covering each race, but this is the difference, it will look like a different select number of people at each race.

Most bloggers don’t have the money to fly all over the United States and even into Canada to cover the sport every week, they just don’t have it, so because of that, they will mostly come out at select events. One of the bloggers on the list that lives in California I wouldn’t be surprised if they find themselves attending and covering three-six races per year in California, Las Vegas and maybe even Phoenix with media credentials and that’s what I mean, it will be a different group of bloggers just about every week.

Question two and three pretty much go hand and hand, from what does this mean for those who are now members and if you’re a member of NASCAR’s Citizen Journalists Media Corp, what do you plan on doing with it?

Personally as the owner of RaceDriven.com that is one the list above, (by the way, I received a simple email asking me if I would like to be a member,) first I have to say that I have been blogging for over four and a half years now and it’s a blast, but there is nothing like being recognized by NASCAR and its people of your hard work. I congratulate everybody that the list, most of the sites I visit regularly and do good job covering the sport with basically no media tools available to them.

Basically as a member of NASCAR’s Citizen Journalists Media Corp, according to the press release, each member "The Citizen Journalists will have the very same access as the traditional media including credentials to race events, access to media centers, press boxes, press conferences, teleconferences, news releases, video, audio, photos, stats and graphics.”

What do I plan on doing with it? I actually have a little bit of a leg up with the media tools, first, thanks to Shell-Pennzoil, Richard Childress Racing and especially Shell’s PR company Edelman PR (articles here and here), I was able to participate in Shell’s Best seat in the house program twice up at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that included media credentials -- a hot pass which gave me access to the garage area and pit road on race day before, during and after the race, a seat on top of the #29 Kevin Harvick Shell RCR pit box during the race, access to the media center and after the race, access to victory lane.

It is an experience that I will never forget, from being in the garage when the teams are making final preparations in tuning their racecars, there is nothing like hearing that V-8 engine fire up right next to you and while the car is up on jack stands, spinning the rear wheels to walking up and down pit roads watching the cars be weighted, setting up the pit boxes and the cars being placed on the grid.

As a result, I already have access to NASCARmedia.com, however what NASCAR’s Citizen Journalists Media Corp does is gives me media credentials once again, you see I need help getting them and the PR company, RCR and Shell had to get them for me, now with this program I can submit to NASCAR and to a racetrack for media credential and possibly receive them.

Basically give it time, nothing in this area is going to happen overnight, one because there is a six week to two months deadline before each race to apply for media credentials and two, NASCAR, the media, bloggers and everybody for that matter are still learning more about this program, but I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Question: First for the for the bloggers and new media on this list, what do you think and what are you going to do with it? Second, what do the traditional media think of NASCAR’s Citizen Journalists Media Corp?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Speedlinking: Brickyard 400, TV Ratings, Chicagoland, Double file restarts and Brian Vickers.

Welcome to another edition of five wide. Normally when I do a five wide edition, I highlight five articles that I have read in the past few days and enjoyed, however for this edition, I’m highlighting just one article today, the article is called ”A few quick questions for you” from a blog I read almost daily called 4ever3blog.com, however rather than just highlighting the questions for NASCAR fans, I am taking it one step further and going more in depth with each question.

At the same time, I am also announcing a change here at RaceDriven.com. Change is a part of life and evolving your site or blog is needed to keep with the times, so I have removed the “nofollow” on comments. So basically U Comment, I follow. Now that doesn’t include a link in the name, I am still working on that to whether or not that would be a good idea, but putting your site address inside the comment section along with a good comment is acceptable, however no comments that just say "Love your blog" or "great post" followed by a URl is rejected and that goes double for ads.

Anyway, as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to the third biggest race behind The Daytona 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the schedule, here are a few questions going into the 16th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard (formally known as the Brickyard 400 from 1994-2004).

1) After last year’s (2008) Allstate 400 at the Brickyard tire gate where NASCAR fans saw a race pleaged with tire failures and tires going straight to the cords in 10 laps which resulted in a caution every 10 laps to change tires, are you (NASCAR fans mainly) going to watch the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on television? Are you going to be attending the Sunday’s race at IMS (buying a ticket and sitting in the grandstands)? Why or why not?

Answer: While I will not be attending the race in person, I will be watching the 2009 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard this Sunday on ESPN. I will be watching to see not only who wins, but if Goodyear has fixed the tire issues that they had last year and asking myself whether or not the Indianapolis Motor Speedway should be in NASCAR’s future or not.

As for attending the race, if I lived up in Indiana, it would be hard to say if I would attend the race or not. If the ticket price is $40 or less, I would consider it and most likely buy one. Why? Because it’s the Brickyard race, sometimes people and in this case races deserved a second chance and since Goodyear did do a lot of work on improving the tire to run there, I would attend it, however I will say that if I attended the race last year (2008), I might not because I paid a lot for a ticket and got basically nothing, so if you attended the last year’s race, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t attend.

2) Is the reason why the NASCAR TV ratings are down is because of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s on track performance is down too?

Answer: The idea that TV Ratings are down because of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s performance is down is completely wrong, not everyone is a Dale Jr. fan, just for the record, I and, but I am also a Tony Stewart fan and a NASCAR fan, however NASCAR and everyone has to remember that NASCAR was once what’s hot right now, it’s the “NOW” thing, now that was so a year or two ago. NASCAR fans might not be watching because they are tired of Mayfield vs. NASCAR, their policies (drug policy), how about the ugly car, that is just the tip of the iceberg.

The biggest might just be the television coverage. Fans are finding other ways to watch the races from everyone getting together in one place like a Superbowl party or they just don’t like the television coverage period, but I hardly think Dale Jr. is the reason or even part of it (there are other drivers too).

3) Some people may have noticed that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland a few weeks ago was not only NOT a sellout, but had (I heard) 20,000 plus empty seats, then recently on NASCAR.com, there was article called “Relief may be on the way for angry Chicagoland fans”. Since Chicagoland opened back in July 2001, they haven’t sold single day tickets, so if you wanted to buy a ticket to the Cup Series race, you had to buy what they call a track pack. A track pack is tickets to the cup series race, Nationwide Series, Truck Series and I believe the ARCA race and IRL race together. Do you buy that?

Answer: Chicagoland made a huge mistake right from when they opened and as a result, they might not be able to recover from it with fans. The idea that fans can’t buy a single-day ticket to an event is wrong, stupid to say the least, you don’t make fans do that. I don’t buy what is commonly referred to as a track pack or season ticket, if I called for tickets and they told me I had to buy a track pack, I would have said NO, get lost and went and bought a ticket at another race track.

4) What do you think about double-file restarts, are they good or bad? If good, should they be in all NASCAR series?

Answer: Double-file restarts are huge in the Cup Series right now, they do help the racing and at the same time help the fans follow who is racing who. Double-file restarts do add drama and sometimes cause wrecks too, however double file restarts should not only stay in the Cup Series, but should be in all NASCAR series, it would add some excitement.

5) Will Brian Vickers be back next year with Red Bull Racing? Will Red Bull Racing be running Chevrolet next year? (Note: This last question is just a taste of what I will be writing on NASCAR Silly Season next week.)

Answer: Simply put, I wouldn’t expect Brian Vickers to be back with Red Bull Racing. There are better drivers without rides that could get the job done period. Some would say, he has 5 poles, yes he does, but hasn’t backed it up with anything. And by the way, his only victory was at Talladega after he wrecked not only Dale Jr., but his own teammate (Jimmie Johnson). Now the concept of Red Bull to Chevrolet doesn’t do it in my eyes, I don’t see it, Toyota gives a lot of support, why would you move to Chevrolet that is cutting support? If they do, it would be a shocker.

Video: Bugatti Veyron VS Nissan GT-R

A Bugatti Veyron vs. Nissan GT-R, in my eyes at least, this isn't much of a competition for the Veyron, think about it for a minute. The Bugatti Veyron has a Quad-turbocharged DOHC 64-valve W16, 1001 HP, four wheel drive, a top speed of over 253 mph and 0-99 mph in 5.5 seconds. Now compare that to a Nissan GT-R that has a twin-turbo V6 engine, 480 HP, four wheel drive, a top speed of over 193 mph and 0-60 mph on average of 3.5 second.

With that said, a few things, first I like seeing comparations between vehicles, I mean yeah most vehicles are for taking a person from point A to B, however a vehicle says a lot about the owner and a sports car or a supercar is alot more to own and a whole lot more then just getting from A to B, its getting there is style, making a point and how fast you got there.

Second, I have to say that I have a poster of the Nissan GT-R handing in my bedroom (yes I'm single, if I were married, it would be in a rec room or office) and third, even after all of the numbers, I would still buy a Nissan GT-R for around $80,000 over a Veyron is which goes for something over $1.5 million dollars.



And another view of the action on the racetrack from inside the cars.



What do you think?

Source: Wikipedia for Nissan GT-R, Bugatti Veyron info and You Tube

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Speedlinking: Jeremy Mayfield vs. NASCAR, Eating while driving, why online and why not a higher gas tax?

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, it was some weekend for me and yet in to some degree I am still get over it. Last Saturday I helped (one of many people on hand) move my auntie and uncle out of their house up here in Massachusetts which left me sour. Sunday, I attended my third wedding in two years, first my cousin got married in August 2007, my sister got married in Dec 2008 and this past weekend my cousin Becky got married to a nice guy, congratulations to both Becky and Rob on married.

Anyway, now that its Wednesday and I have finally gotten back into the grove of thing and catching up on everything going online from NASCAR and Automobiles to Big Brother and beyond, it’s time for another edition of five wide, here’s what I am reading today.

1. In NASCAR right now, there is one story off track that is stealing all of the headlines and getting the most attention, yes Jeremy Mayfield vs. NASCAR. Now personally I don’t comment on lawsuits, because it’s the perfect way for one to get suited themselves, however that doesn’t mean that I can’t point out an interesting article that was published last week that I think people should read, check it out it’s called “JENSEN: Mayfield’s Mayhem Tarnishes Sport”.

2. Now that we have cleared that NASCAR story, how about something entirely different, KickingTires has an article called “Ten Foods Insurance Companies Don't Want You to Eat While Driving”. What a list, personally I hate to eat while I drive, adjust the radio, or deal with a cell phone for that matter, but what do you eat while you drive? I know a lot of people who drink coffee while they drive, guess what its number one on the list.

3. Over at ProBlogger, he has an article I recently re-tweeted because I believe that it is worth reading for bloggers and advertisers. The article is called “22 Why Reasons People Go Online: Which is Your Blog Connecting With?” In essence it surveys those going online on the reasons that they go online.

4. If you’re into car shows, you might want to take a quick break sometime today to check out a few photos from the 2009 Bay State Antique Auto Club Show (and here too) in Dedham, Massachusetts, I also love to see a cool classic Mustang.

5. Finally I leave you with a debate that I’m sure with rage on for months and years to come until the next fuel comes along, “Why not a higher gas tax?” I will be in part fueling this debate later, however where do you stand right now on it?

Well, what do think, anything above that interests you or do know of something different, comment below and remember, RaceDriven.com just enabled “U Comment – I Follow”, yeah I know I am a little late, but evolving you blog is part of blogging, you have to keep up with times.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Playlist: Gloriana, Carrie Underwood, ZZ Top and more.

After reading an interesting posting over at the CMT Blog about what one blogger is listening too right now, I decided to use that same theme and detail what I am listening too right now. Now I’m sure some of my readers are wondering why?

Music is an amazing thing to listening too in my eyes. In a world filled with everyday drama, excitement and nightmares and in search for happiness, there are very few things in life that in one way or another relaxes me or gets me going, let alone acts as good therapy for everyday life writing is one and second is listening to great music. And if that isn’t reason enough for you, I also believe that some of my reader would find it interesting to see what songs I am listening too right now.

Normally I am listening to country music including Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, however today I am listening to mix of country and beyond and I do mean beyond.

1. Carrie Underwood “I Told You So”
2. Gloriana “Wild at Heart”
3. Taylor Swift “You Belong With Me”
4. Lady Antebellum “I Run To You”
5. Miley Cyrus “The Climb”
6. Gavin Degraw “In Love with a Girl”
7. Kelly Pickler “Best Days of your Life”
8. Elvis “Jailhouse Rock”
9. ZZ Top “Viva Las Vegas”
10. ZZ Top “Gimme all of your Lovin’”

I said it wasn’t just country music, the last three are something that different from what I normally listen too, however after watching WWE Monday Night RAW last night, which had ZZ Top on as the special guest hosts on, I decided to check it out and its good music, as for Elvis, well that’s just great to listen to anytime.

So what 10 tracks are you listening too right now?

BTW: I can’t wait for November 3rd, the release date for Carrie Underwood’s yet-to-be-titled third album.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Something different, a 1950's Studebaker.



A dose of photography: A picture of a 1950's Studebaker that was taken by me (Brian Vermette) at the 2009 World Of Wheels in Boston back in January, for person who loves photography and is a Motorsports & Automobile Enthusiast, this was something that was completely different and i believe is the only one at the World of Wheels, what a classic ride.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A 1941 Willys Coppercino, what a sight to see.


(Photo by me - Brian Vermette)

Welcome to a dose of photography v2.0 on RaceDriven.com. This past January (2009), I took in the 2009 World of Wheels in Boston, Massachusetts and this Willy's was sitting just beyond the line to meet Chip Foose, even though the pictures doesn't give this ride, a 1941 Willy's Coppercino justice, it still is an amazing ride.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The success, surprises and the struggles 19 races into the 2009 Cup Series Season.

In watching the now NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for over 17 years now and blogging on among others subject NASCAR for over four years, you tend not to be too surprised with some things that go down in the season, however when it comes to the 2009 season, I would call it a season of “surprises”.

Last season (2008) was a year “survival”, drivers, teams and owners had to just survive races in order to finish anywhere in the top 10, let alone the top 5 or even god for bit win a race, but 2009 is a year surprises, and just to keep things in the same area of surprises, I originally thought that I would pick 3 drivers out for each category and talk about them, however that was so last year, for this round, I am going to highlight a few teams that has caught my eye in general.

In the success stories, it’s hard to ignore the success of Hendrick Motorsports, one of the best teams in NASCAR that has had their highs and lows so far in 2009 all across the board. Jimmie Johnson despite a few bad runs this season is my pick to capture his fourth consecutive NASCAR Cup Series Championships in 2009, he is 3rd in the points and has two victories so far including one coming at Martinsville and the second coming at Dover after an amazing duel between him and Tony Stewart in the late stages of the race.

Not to be outdone, Jeff Gordon is in the top 5 in points and one victory with several good runs including a second place at Chicagoland, but don’t forget about Mark “the kid” Martin, despite a bad start, Martin has not only rebounded, but done a complete 180 and now is 11th in points and has four great victories one the season so far including Phoenix, Darlington, Michigan and most recently at Chicagoland Speedway.

However when it comes to Dale Earnhardt Jr., even after a crew chief change, while he continues to improve, he still runs mid-pack, somewhere around top 15 in each race. My advice is simple, Dale Jr. needs to get away from NASCAR for a weekend, if he had a weekend off and just go race in some late-model race and enjoy it, I went and watched a good modified series race last (2008) Father’s Day and it was a blast, no weird calls, just racing and that’s what it is all about.

Joe Gibbs Racing, the rookie Joey Logano is coming along and even though he has a lot of learning to do, he is doing great so far including having one victory in the rain-shortened Lenox Tools 301 at New Hampshire, but even without the victory, he is doing better than so veterans in the field. Denny Hamlin, the leader at JGR is contending weekly and fifth in points, of course then you have NASCAR’s bad boy Kyle Busch who has had a up and down 19 races with three victories on the season, but not where he was one year ago.

The surprise story has to do more with one of the best teams in NASCAR and one of the newest teams in NASCAR, yes Stewart-Haas Racing. Ironically enough Stewart-Haas Racing is a huge surprise on the season as well, it was only one year ago at this very weekend that Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing where Tony Stewart not only announced that was leaving Joe Gibbs Racing after 10 years and two NASCAR Cup Series Championships, but that he was developing Stewart-Haas Racing, but even I didn’t think he was going to have this type of success so early.

Tony Stewart is one of my favorite drivers, he is very outspoken, but the difference between him and several others drivers that are outspoken is, he can back it up on the racetrack and for 2009 Jimmie Johnson better watch out, there a new contender for the Cup Championship this year, Stewart is first in the points, have three wins in 2009, one coming in the NASCAR All-Star race at Charlotte in amazing fashion, his first career victory as an owner/driver at Pocono after going to a backup car and a victory two weeks ago in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, of course that was after an incident on the last lap with Kyle Busch, which Stewart did nothing wrong in, not to mention a lot of top 5 finishes as well.

Not to be out down, the other half of Stewart-Haas Racing Ryan Newman started out with troubles, but has rebounded nicely where he finds himself 7th in points with several good runs and a contender week in and week out for victories.

Unfortunately you have the teams that is some ways are struggles and point blank has to be Richard Childress Racing and most of that has to be due to just plain bad luck. It would be better if they had no luck at all then this. Jeff Burton runs well in most races, but several times this season has just gotten caught up in someone else’s mess and has ended up with a wrecked racecar. And despite a crew swap, both Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears continue to experience trouble. However not all is lost on RCR, they not only continue to improve, but Clint Bowyer has been there in several races this season and sits just outside the top 12 in points and still has time to get into the chase.

Roush-Fenway Racing, this is not where I expected them to be at all for this five team operation. One year ago, Carl Edwards had three victories on the season so far and higher in points. Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle both find themselves as well not where they were last season, but Kenseth does have two victories so far in 2009, the Daytona 500 and the California race the next weekend, but all three drivers are in the top 12 right now. However Jamie McMurray and David Ragan both are struggling, half the time I don’t even see them on television, unless it’s a through the field rundown.

For a raceteam that needs to loss a team at the end of the season, it will be either Ragan or McMurray, partly due contracts ending.

Finally Red Bull Racing, poles are great to have, starting position means a lot, but you have to back it up on the racetrack and for Brian Vickers, you have to back it up with results and there is none. The same can be said for Scott Speed, he has failed to qualify a few times, of course he has driven Joe Nemechek in a few of those races, but just struggles during some races, but improves at the same time.

What a list, but I have to highlight a few surprises after 19 races that didn’t show up above, first David Reutimann and his teammate Marcos Ambrose. Both drivers continue to impress on the track, Reutimann picked up his first victory in a rain-shortened Monday running of the Coca-Cola 600 and is 14th in points. Ambrose is right there every week, especially with a third place finish at Sonoma, 7-top 11 finish in 2009, that’s improving in only his first full-time season in the Cup Series.

When I look at the first 19 races of 2009, I see a lot of contenders and surprises. Double file restarts are amazing to watch, the racing is good at most tracks, drivers are driving their guts out every time they strap in, however there is one misconception, I have to say that while victories are the thing that everyone wants, we should be not only noticing, but measuring driver success by not only top 5, and top 10 finishes but also those drivers who each week races and finishing in the top 20.

A top 20 finish in the Cup Series is hard to get and drivers should be recognized for it.

Formula 1 needs to drop the budget cap in favor of other cost cuts and improving the racing.


(Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports)

I consider myself not only as a NASCAR fan, but as a Motorsports fan, I watch several different series throughout the course of a year from most NASCAR series and the IRL IndyCar Series to Road Racing, Off-Road racing and Formula 1, however when it comes to Formula 1, there is a series that has a lot of history, but needs a lot of work done to it to improve the racing greatly, let alone the leadership and rules.

One concept floating around the FIA and Formula 1 is a budget cap. Now I really don’t know too much about it, but as a Formula 1 fan (somewhat), as much as I would like to see Bernie (another guy who thinks he knows best) not running Formula 1 anymore and a new series is born, I would hate to see a series with so much history and known for some of the best racers in the world go straight down the tubes. F1 needs to have its big teams like Ferrari, Renault, Mercedes, Brawn GP and big drivers including Lewis Hamilton in the sport, however the same can be said for Ferrari, Renault, Mercedes and Brawn GP and the drivers, they need F1 too, basically they need each other, so both parties need to work together or else.

The or else part, well for example, open wheel racing in the United States is almost died in my eyes and that is partly due to Tony George, he create a giant split years ago from CART when he didn’t get his way and created the Indy Racing League, fast forward to 2009, first there is no more CART, partly due to a so-called merger, it was a buyout plain and simple, but second, the IRL IndyCar Series is only a few years from dying off completely, the series needs a lot of work to attract more fans and sponsors. Fans and sponsors is what drive’s the sport, just like in NASCAR and without them, there will be no sport.

Now I should mention that Tony George is only one element of it, I’m sure someone else would have come up with the same idea, but the point is, he created the split and now open wheel racing is in doubt and at the same time, there is no CART anymore neither and no history. I had read an article on an interview with Tony George back in December that said (From the article): When pressed about the possibility of being profitable by 2013, George responded, “It has to be, or or there won’t be a 2013. We expect a return on that investment.”

Personally even if the article is false, if a series doesn’t post any profit, it’s not going to stay in business for very long and I don’t see it, but more importantly, if the IndyCar Series goes away, that’s it for the most part for open wheel racing in the United States, of course you will still have some smaller series that still exist. The IndyCar Series right now needs a lot of work and it’s not CART.

The same concept could apply to Formula 1 and the new FOTA break away series, I feel this is the time to stop and work together and not just leave completely, however it’s really simple, the FIA needs to drop to budget cap in favor of working on better racing and more so on other cost cutting ideas for 2010. The FIA also needs to drop the concept of having the World Champion be determined solely on number of victories as well, both ideas, concepts if you will, will not work in this day and age.

The budget cap, there is really no way to police the sport on what each team spends, reviewing books, come on, try again. Teams are going to spend what they want to spend, that’s unavoidable, but cutting costs in other ways will enable more teams to not only complete in Formula 1, but win in Formula 1 and that is the goal here. The manufacturers will have to make cost cutting to their budgets too, they can’t continue to spend this type of money, especially if they don’t see anything, otherwise they will sellout and leave, i.e. Honda, I’m Toyota next, but that’s my opinion.

A few concepts would be:

1. Limit the number of crew members that service the car. Every time I watch a Formula 1 pit stop during a race, I see a mass of crew members all over the car from changing tires to refueling, adjusting wings, and whatever, no, you don’t need it. Limit it to 10 people total. The same for the number of people that each team brings to the track on a race weekend, limit that too by using credentials (if F1 doesn’t already do that).

2. Limit the testing to a few dates during the off-season, F1 has the track open for a 3 day block for every team to attend, of course it’s optional to attend, but they will. No testing during the race season. Now I should mention that in F1, they do have limits on testing, but while you have to allow testing, more restrictions can be applied, but within reason of course.

3. Remove a few bits of technology from these Formula 1 cars, what is a diffuser on the back of the car?

What is KERS? The acronym KERS stands for Kinetic Energy Recovery System. The device recovers the kinetic energy that is present in the waste heat created by the car’s braking process. It stores that energy and converts it into power that can be called upon to boost acceleration. – From Formula 1 website

The KERS is an interesting device, but everybody has to use it, otherwise cut costs. I understand that Formula 1 is about technology, but some things have to go.

4. Tires. I liked the softer tires vs. the hard tires, just no rules on them, let the teams use both types during the race, each team has a few sets of each tire, but limit the number of tires per race weekend.

5. Make these rules easier to follow during the race too, it will make it better for the fans watching not only at the racetrack, but at home. Start with the points standings, you’ve got me there.

6. Create a town hall meeting, talk and work with teams, there has to be a compromise, its everyone’s sport, everyone has a say.

These are just a few ideas, just look at NASCAR and other racing series, you would be surprised what type of racing you will have with a lot of the cost cutting in place. Other things that can be done in the series is give the manufacturers something more for their money, which should include better racing, I’m talking about more side-by-side racing, more passing, passing is racing ladies and gentlemen and without passing, you have a parade.

Another way is to race again in North America, preferably in the United States and Canada. Manufacturers sell their products in the US, there for they want F1 here too. In the United States, it doesn’t have to be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we have several different size venues, just work with a race track or build a street circuit, just don’t ask the government to pitch in money, we don’t do that here in the US, it’s not their job, that is what sponsors are for (and no, I don’t blame Tony George for losing F1, if a track can’t make any money off a race, it’s not going to happen).

The point is, the FIA and Formula 1 can help cut costs in several different ways in the series without enabling a budget cap, especially with a few ideas above which I am sure the FIA has already looked at before, but also the point here is, the world doesn’t need another Formula 1 series, it already has one, so I do hope that cooler heads do prevail and the FIA and FOTA can work out several cost cutting measures without a budget cap and not end up having two separate series.

If there are two separate series, it will only be a matter of time before Formula 1 will not exist anymore and formula racing (or open wheel racing) will be no more.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Was the finish to the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona just racing or did Kyle Busch get dumped?

Coke Zero 400 at Daytona was an encore presentation of Aaron’s 499 at Talladega.


(Photo Credit: NASCAR.com)

As another Saturday night NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at this time Chicagoland Speedway is on the horizon, I’m still thinking more about last Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.

Now let me state the obvious, when it comes to restrictor plate racing, most of the time, you get an exciting, heart pumping, yet heart stopping, hard to watch at times race and basically every plate race is an encore presentation of either the previous tracks race or in this case, the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in my eyes was an encore presentation of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega a few months ago.

So let’s get right into it, on the last lap coming to the checkered flag, was the incident coming into the tri-oval between #14-Tony Stewart (who was running in second at the time) and #18-Kyle Busch (who was leading on the last lap) just racing or did Kyle Busch get dumped?

First I thought that the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona was just another restrictor plate race, Daytona is handling race track so you have to have more than just speed to win here, with the exception of the finish of the race nothing really surprised me at all. Mark Martin getting tagged up off turn 2 was just simply a product of getting tight up off and another driver was there, Matt Kenseth did nothing wrong and it was a racing deal.

“The big one” as most people call it reared its ugly head again as it normally does during most restrictor plate races and the back straightaway was the hot spot, unfortunately several drivers just got caught up in one person’s mess, which set off a chain reaction.

However, what about Tony Stewart vs. Kyle Busch? I have watched the reply so many times from so many angles, it makes my head hurt, but I see the same thing each time that I saw on the first shot in real time, Kyle Busch came off turn 4 with the lead, Tony Stewart was right there on Kyle’s back bumper, Kyle went to block, Stewart went high, now this is where Kyle Busch should have stayed low, the yellow line didn’t play a factor in the incident, if Kyle would have stayed low, then he might of won the race.

But the first reaction of most drivers is block and Stewart was already to Kyle Busch’s outside, Kyle Busch came up to block, hit Stewart’s left side, which sent Kyle Busch into the outside wall just before the tri-oval and Tony Stewart won the race. I was glad to see that all of the drivers were ok after that both the Big One and the last lap wreck on the front straightaway, from Kasey Kahne having no were to go and slamming right into a basically stopped Kyle Busch to even more a few more drivers slamming into Busch after the tri-oval including his teammate #20-Joey Logano, there was really no place for most drivers to go.

Fast forward to earlier today (Thursday at Chicagoland), Kyle Busch was interviewed in the media center and said "NASCAR should look at it when a second place driver dumps the leader, then black flag his (left out word) and he doesn’t get the win, if he is on him from behind and moves him out of the way, but there is no wreck, then he wins the race, but if you along side of him and you dump him, then they should give the win to the third place guy." (took from the SPEED Live of the video from the NASCAR Media Center at Chicagoland Speedway). Kyle Busch was also asked if last week’s incident, would that be considered a dump in your mind? He siad "It would be considered a dump yes."

Kasey Kahne said that that incident was a long ways from a dump in his mind, they were both battling for the win (there was more in the audio after that). Tony Stewart said he talked to Busch on Tuesday and everything was fine, so he will go off of that conversation and leave it at that.

Personally I am trying to stay objective and my opinion and say what you will, but Kyle Busch has nothing to complain about, Stewart didn’t dump him, if anything Kyle Busch came up on him and wrecked himself, however I see it as, it’s just racing (a racing deal or incident), welcome to restrictor plate racing, I am giving Kyle Busch the benefit of the doubt and the first thing most drivers do in that case was block, so it’s a racing incident.

As for Kyle Busch’s comment that NASCAR should look into this when a second place driver dumps the leader, the win should go to the third place driver, NASCAR already does that, case in point, in January at the Toyota All-Star race at Irwindale Speedway, on the last lap, Joey Logano made a mistake and put Peyton Sellers into the turn 4 wall with a video game move and even though Logano crossed the finish line first and originally I thought he won, Logano was penalized to last place and third place Matt Kobyluck won the All-Star race.

Daytona was Daytona, just like Talladega is Talladega, welcome to restrictor plate racing, did you enjoy the race?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Speedlinking: Goodwood Festival of Speed, MWR, Gas Tax helping GM and Carrie Underwood question.

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, today I’m talking five wide, a regular column of mine that details five articles, stories or posts throughout the internet that I’ve read within the past few days. The way I look at it, I just re-tweeted five articles that I liked, just in one article and more than 140 characters, anyway, let’s get right into it:

1. Michael Waltrip Racing’s announcement: Earlier today, Michael Waltrip Racing and sponsor NAPA announced that Michael Waltrip would step down as a full-time driver and drive a part-time schedule which includes The Daytona 500 in the #55 NAPA Toyota. This was not a big surprise, personally I think Michael should drive full-time in the Nationwide Series too.

However one of the biggest names (at least in the Nationwide Series) to come along in recent years, Martin Truex Jr. announced that he will drive the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota full-time in 2010 and beyond. It was interesting to see the #56 on his car, that number 56 was the number he drove throughout his early career before coming to NASCAR in what is now the Nationwide Series and teh number was his father's too.

2. Over in England at the 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed, NASCAR was well represented with several NASCAR drivers and former champions cars making laps around the track and while seeing former Truck Series champion Mike Skinner driving the #83 Red Bull Toyota, former NASCAR Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace in his #2 Miller Lite Dodge and Hendrick Motorsports driver Landon Cassill driving the #24 T-Rex Chevrolet, it was great seeing photos of Dale Earnhardt’s famous #3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet that Dale drove to his last win at Talladega in 2000 drive under the bridge by his daughter Taylor Earnhardt.


(Photo Credit: All three photos from the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England were taken by Peter Fox/Getty Images for NASCAR)

But if you’re not a NASCAR fan, have no fear, other forms of Motorsports including Formula 1 were well represented at the 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed and Autoblog has the gallery and what a gallery it is.

3. Let me say right from the start, I am currently working on a Coke Zero 400 article, however I just couldn’t resist highlighting what the Daly Planet had to say about the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona that was live on TNT. It looks like it has taken many NASCAR fans a while to come around to NASCAR on TNT, but for the Daly Planet they seemed to have loved the broadcast from start to finish and I have to say, I completely agree.

I hope NASCAR watched last Saturday’s night’s race on TNT, because I want that Wide-Open coverage on all networks (FOX, TNT and ESPN/ABC), it was exactly what the broadcast needed and so was Ralph Sheheen in the booth, welcome to NASCAR Ralph, good job in the booth, now hopefully TNT will give him the job full time in booth next season too.

4. WSJ Column: Higher gas taxes better strategy than CAFE to save GM: Over at Autoblog Green, they highlight a WSJ column on higher gas taxes could help GM, however I was more surprised to see the gas tax on diesel fuel was so high compared to gasoline and no taxes on ethanol. It seems to me that the only way to fix the United State’s dependent on foreign oil may just start with diesel fuel considering its 30% better mileage, the gas tax should be straight even across the board, of course that would require diesel fuel gas tax to drop, gasoline tax to stay the same and ethanol to get the same tax as gasoline and diesel.

What about ethanol, it’s the answer for our dependents on foreign oil alright, but NOT for the auto industry, no ethanol is for motorsports like the IRL IndyCar Series, ALMS, and NASCAR should look at it too. BTW: Don’t touch the gas tax Massachusetts or Federal government that would be a dangerous move in any economy, especially this tough economy we have right now, give automakers and consumers the chance to use diesel fuel and if diesel fuel prices go down, so does transportation prices on our goods.

5. Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood duet? I came across an article here that highlights the talk on Carrie Underwood’s forum here that Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood could possibly do a duet together in the future. Since I don’t care much for rumors nor rarely report on them, you might be wondering why I would even mention it? Well specking as both a country music fan and a especially as a Carrie Underwood fan, just about any duet she does or song she sings sounds good to me, what an amazing voice she has and cute too.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Debate

Last Thursday night on SPEED, NASCAR unveiled the 25 nominees to be considered for induction into the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall Of Fame that is set to open in May 2010. What a list below and this list has to be huge, those five names that will be inducted in the inaugural class has to be the best of the best of who in one way or another have created and shaped this great sport known as NASCAR, this first class will set the stage for the Hall of Fame for years to come.

Everybody has their own suggestions, but I will say that I was a little surprised that one or two names where left off the list, I mean one name that was mentioned in the media and among a few drivers and crew chiefs before the 25 names were announced was Smokey Yunick, Yunick was a mechanic, builder, and crew chief. The second name that should be on this list in the next few years should be legendary crew chief Harry Hyde.

However, when it comes to picking these five names, most people will find that two names should be a lock, of course they would be 7-time champion Dale Earnhardt and 7-time champion Richard Petty, both would be perfect for the inaugural class just by their records in NASCAR, but the last three, those will be discussed at length, here are the 25 names and it’s very easy to pick at least 10 names from this list for the first class alone.

· Bobby Allison, 1983 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and winner of 84 races
· Buck Baker, the first driver to win consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championships
· Red Byron, first NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, in 1949
· Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series
· Dale Earnhardt, won record seven NASCAR Sprint Cup championships
· Richie Evans, nine-time NASCAR Modified champion
· Tim Flock, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion
· Bill France Jr., NASCAR president, chairman and CEO (1972-2003)
· Bill France Sr., NASCAR founder and first president (1948-1972)
· Rick Hendrick, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series
· Ned Jarrett, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion
· Junior Johnson, 50 wins as a driver, 132 wins and six championships as an owner
· Bud Moore, 63 wins and two NASCAR Sprint Cup titles as a car owner
· Raymond Parks, NASCAR's first champion car owner
· Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion
· David Pearson, 105 victories and three NASCAR Sprint Cup championships
· Lee Petty, winner of the first Daytona 500 and first three-time series champion
· Richard Petty, 200 wins and seven NASCAR Sprint Cup titles -- both records
· Fireball Roberts, won 33 NASCAR Sprint Cup races, including the 1962 Daytona 500
· Herb Thomas, first two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, 1951 and '53
· Curtis Turner, first to win Daytona 500, Southern 500, Coca-Cola 600 in same year
· Darrell Waltrip, winner of 84 races and three NASCAR Sprint Cup championships
· Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion
· Glen Wood, as driver, laid foundation for Wood Brothers' future team success
· Cale Yarborough, winner of three consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles, 1976-78

I believe it will be even more difficult to pick the second and third class into the Hall of Fame. Since I am a NASCAR fan and have been a fan of this great sport for over 17 years now, I have created my own top 5 favorites of who should be inducted in the inaugural class, of course everybody will have their own opinion and remember that this is my own opinion.

1. Bill France Sr.: Co-founder and manager of NASCAR

2. Dale Earnhardt: In 677 starts, Dale is a 7-time Cup Series champion, has 76 wins from his first victory in the 1979 Southeastern 500 at Bristol, his most memorable victory in the 1998 Daytona 500 to his last victory in the 2000 Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Dale has 428 Top 10’s, 22 Poles, known as not only one of the best on Restrictor plate tracks, but is the name is black. One thing I loved about watching Dale Earnhardt on track was he never gave up, whether he was racing for first, tenth or 30th, he gave it everything he had, it was amazing watching him race and you never know what he was going to do next.

3. Richard Petty: In 1185 starts, “The King”, Richard Petty won a record 200 victories in NASCAR including winning the Daytona 500 a record seven times to his last and memorable victory in the 1984 Firecracker 400 at Daytona which was right in front of the President of the United States Ronald Reagan, a record that will stand for a long time. The King has 555 top 5’s, 712 Top 10’s and is of course a 7-time champion. Richard Petty’s last race, the 1992 Hooters 500 at Atlanta was not only my first race, but also 4-time champion Jeff Gordon’s first Cup Series race.

4. David Pearson: The Silver Fox was one of the best drivers just about every time he came to the racetrack. Pearson is a three-time NASCAR champion (Those were his only three full seasons), has 105 wins that’s spans from 1960 to the 1980 Darlington 500 and is most famous for his 1976 Daytona 500 when he was battling Richard Petty on the final lap as they slammed into each other which ended with Petty and Pearson both wrecked in the grass, but Pearson was able to limp across the finish line for the victory.

5. Junior Johnson: Johnson won 50 races as a driver and 132 wins and six championships. I remember Junior Johnson more from the 1985 NASCAR All-Star race known at that time as “The Winston”, he was Darrell Waltrip’s car owner and the most of the field had already pitted for fuel and tires once their pit window had open and even though DW’s crew chief (Jeff Hammond) wanted to pit, Johnson said stay for now, finally Johnson said ok, bring DW in for fuel and tires. Once Waltrip got back on to the racetrack, Johnson got on the radio to DW and told him to get up on the wheel, of course Darrell Waltrip chased down Harry Gant on the final lap to win the first “The Winston” All-Star race. That was the same race that DW’s motor blew just past the start finish line. Johnson was known for building those short race engine, Junior Johnson was a driver, car owner, builder and more.

One note, for the second class, I would say that Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison will be among the front runners.

So what does everybody think, I know that by the end of the weekend, mostly everybody around will weigh in on who should be the first five names to be inaugural class, but I want to know what everybody thinks including my readers, who would you choose and why?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Seeing Joey Logano win the Lenox Tools 301 in person at New Hampshire was perfect.



Photo taken by me (Brian Vermette) from my seat in the Laconia Grandstand of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday June 28, 2009 for the Lenox Tools 301 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of #39-Ryan Newman, #26-Jamie McMurray, #20-Joey Logano racing coming off of turn 4 on to the front straightaway.

With a $39 ticket (in the Laconia Grandstand), a headset, a scanner, a small cooler inside a small duffle bag, food and more, this past weekend I attended what I would classify as my first NASCAR Cup Series race. I have been visiting what is now New Hampshire Motor Speedway up in Loudon, NH since 1999 and in that time I have taken in the Friday practice and qualifying, plus a race, a Saturday with practice, qualifying and most likely two race and twice taken in the Sunday Cup Series race, but from the media aspect (with media credentials).

However in doing all of this, I never could afford the Sunday Cup race in the grandstands until this past Sunday when both my father and I (yes a fellow blogger) bought two $39 Speed Zone tickets (regularly $70) in the Laconia grandstands and took in the Lenox Tools 301.

So in this Part 2 of 3, I will talk about taking in the NASCAR experience with the Lenox Tools 301 race itself after taking NASCAR RaceDay live on SPEED (which was in Part 1).

After attending the NASCAR RaceDay live on SPEED, we still had about an hour and a half before drop of the green flag. Unfortunately for everyone that day at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, rain was not only in the forecast, but mist was in the air most of the day.

I have to say, I liked the fact that NHMS put in a few more giant screens, but it was hard to see the screen from my seat fully considering it was so far away, but nice touch. One part of the pre-show I was looking forward to was seeing truckasaurus eat a car or two, but watching it on the giant screen isn’t the same, the activities was down in turn 1, but in the middle of turn 3 and 4 where I was.

I love watching a good NASCAR race on television, however there is nothing like watching the race live in person and armed with a headset and scanner, it’s amazing what you can pick up and see right from your seat. Of course you can’t see everything, but the action going into turn 3 and coming off of turn 4 is always an action packed spot and sometimes it was, not to mention that I could also see the entrance to pit road as well and that was a tricky spot for some.

In sitting in the grandstands just before the race began, I was really thinking about a few things, for example:

1. This race would be first more of a race to halfway. I was really looking for halfway at least on Sunday, reason being is that once the race goes past halfway and the rains came, the race would be called. Monday’s (and I think Tuesday’s) forecast was calling for rain, so you can were I am going with that thought.

2. What role would double-file restarts play in this race?

3. What would this race be like once halfway came – the race to the checkered flag?

This race played out just like I thought it would as it would be a race to halfway. In watching the race unfold right before my very eyes on the racetrack, I was listening mainly to the TNT broadcast, but unlike the race fans at home, there really are no commercials, instead it’s a live mike, you can hear the producers, the broadcast guys in the booth and the people on pit road and I have to say, it’s a fast pace with a person calling out what’s next from who’s in the booth and Larry Mac at the cutaway car to the pit reporters and it can change in an instant even while they are talking.

What a good race though, although it is interesting and yet hard to follow everybody while sitting in the grandstands, lap count yes, leader yes, top 7 yes, the rest of the field no. I will say that I need a better scanner, I tried my Radio Shack one and that didn’t work well, so I was forced to my ProScan from years ago, it worked but I needed more.

When Dale Jr. was up in 3rd, you could hear the crowd cheering on their driver, of course some of the same could be said for Tony Stewart leading too. One aspect I loved was the double-file restarts, they made a difference in my opinion in the racing and the results.

The battles between Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch were priceless, what a sight to see them first on the big screen battling into turn 1 and off turn 2 side-by-side, down the back straightaway and right into turn 3. Even at one point, Jimmie Johnson tried to get involved and did. Tony Stewart moving his way to the lead was cool too.

However with every advantage comes a disadvantage when Dale Jr. didn’t get going on one of the restarts that caused a huge pack up behind him and with an impassionate Kyle Busch, fans saw a huge wreck going into turn 1. I did read that Kyle Busch did admit guilt, but I don’t think Martin Truex Jr., the driver he turned around and wrecked didn’t take it well, of course I didn’t think he would neither.

The first part of the race had your usual cautions including Jamie McMurray getting tagged by Kevin Harvick, but what a long green flag run. Personally a caution would have helped get me up to speed and give the broadcast team something to talk about, let alone catch their breath, however once past halfway, the race was on in my opinion, one part due to the different strategies, but more due to rain in the air and area.

Anyway, towards the end of the race, Joey Logano had stayed out, lead laps while saving fuel was a nice sight to see considering he got two lucky dogs and spun right in the front of me on to pit road due to a flat rear tire, good save. I believe that Joey and Zippy are working very well together and it doesn’t surprise me when he did stay out, what a strategy move that paid off in a big way. By the times the rains came again, even I called the race as being over, but when NASCAR called the race and that Joey Logano had won, you could hear the cheers from the track and the fans not only in the grandstands, but where I was under the grandstands trying to make my way to exit, but before I left due to rain, I wanted to know who won.

What a huge win and well deserved win for Joey Logano who became the youngest driver to win a NASCAR Sprint cup Series race at 19 years, 25 days old, his crew chief Ziipy and the entire #20 team, hats off to JGR and a win is a win unless a driver either wrecks another driver to win or they do something illegal.

As for our adventure home including our 2 hours trying to leave New Hampshire Motor Speedway, that deserves part 3 of this series, but hint, hint, what a ride home and a nightmare to boot.

(Joey Logano photo credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Taking in NASCAR RaceDay live on SPEED at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in person.



(This photo was taken by me at the beginning of NASCAR RaceDay live on SPEED, the people are watching the show on the big screen over to the left and yes, somebody brought an American Flag, the flag in the photo, makes the photo really cool.)

This past weekend, I took in the Lenox Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, my first Sunday Cup Series race and what a day I had. In this Part 1 of 3, I will talk about one aspect of the NASCAR experience, taking in NASCAR RaceDay live on SPEED a few hours before the race itself (10:30am – 12:30pm, the green flag was at 2:17pm).

In taking in the Lenox Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in New Hampshire, we left the house around 5:20am and got to the track at about 7:30am (which normally is a 2 ½ to about 3 hours driving with traffic), but in getting there so early, we had very few things to do, so after visiting the trailers, finding our seats on the other side of the speedway, we decided to attend the NASCAR RaceDay Live on SPEED.

This is a two-hour show that is entertaining to watch on television, however it is completely different two watch live in person. When you stand there for two-hour’s straight, it’s a long, but exciting to watch.

Before the show, Kenny Wallace starts by getting the crowd going by asking them who’s going to win the race? Who’s your favorite driver - Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Dale Jr. got the crowd going) and so on…

Of course Jimmy Spencer and John Roberts come out as well to entertain the crowd too. Just before the show, two ladies and one guy will come out, pump up the crowd, tell them to look at the moving camera, make a lot of noice and enjoy the show on the big screen on the side.

What a show these guys put on, two-hours of stories, interviews, talking with the fans, drivers, temas, owners, anyone around, everything.

All throughout the show, the crowd was making noice, jumping up and down, waving their hands, showing off their signs which some people had, I didn’t like getting hit by a sign every now and then especially when you are trying to get on television, but it’s fun nonetheless. It took me awhile to really get into it, I don’t normally jump up and down, scream, everything, but I did get into it waving my Dale Jr. National Guard #88 blue and white hat around especially for free stuff. If you get a smile on my face, you’ve got my attention, don’t push it.

During the commercials, the people will come out to pump up the crowd and give away free gifts. I tried so hard to get a Home Depot helmet, I wanted one and signed by Kenny Wallace if possible (not for ebay, but for my collection and to wear the rest of the day), but I just couldn’t get one, however they also throw out t-shirts, hats and beads. Amazingly enough I did manage to catch some red beads, of course I traded them to a cute girl from some black ones (she asked, besides I prefer black ones).



(This photo was taken by me around 12:20pm, 10 minutes before the end of the show, yes we managed to get near the front of the crowd, people left, you move up. From left to right on the stage was Kenny Wallace, Jimmie Spencer, John Roberts and Hermie Sadler.)

By the end of the show, I managed to make my way up to front for the final 10 minutes of the show and love it, however also by the end of the show and since I had been on my feet since about 7:30am, I was beat, but what a show to watching in person, loved it.

Hats off to everybody with the RaceDay show, they do a good job, of course I will say that my father (who was with me, yes he is a race fan and blogger) didn’t like it as much, it’s not his thing and I’m not sure he would do it again, but I would and will if I go back in September or next June.