Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of RaceDriven.com of the 2000s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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


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

Top 10 Best Articles on RaceDriven.com of 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 25, 2009

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


(Photo Credit: Motorsports Images & Archives via NASCARmedia)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 21, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 14, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 11, 2009

Kyle Busch jumps into the Truck Series by starting KBM.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 7, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 4, 2009

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

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

Best of 2009

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

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

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

Worst of 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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