Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top 10 Best Hot Topics and articles on RaceDriven.com in 2010

1. American Chopper: Here on RaceDriven, despite the fact that the American Chopper TV Series including the so-called new series American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior was the same old, same old thing, nevertheless the show was a hit all year long no question.

- American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior – It’s the same old show with no real bike building.

2. Edwards vs. Keselowski: In NASCAR, the one of the biggest headlines happened back in March when sparks flew when Carl Edwards lost it and a lot of NASCAR fans respect when he blatantly wrecked Brad Keselowski at the spring Atlanta race.

- Carl Edwards makes a blatant payback move wrecking Brad Keselowski in Kobalt Tools 500 in Atlanta

3. History Channel’s MadHouse TV Series: The MadHouse TV Series sparked off a lot of readership and a few interesting comments to say the least including questioning me on was I really a racing fan as to which I am. I wrote two articles within a month.

Part 1: Column: History Channel’s Madhouse: It’s scripted, it’s a soap opera, its war, but it’s NOT racing.

Part 2: Column: Real racing vs. History Channel’s MadHouse - Part 2

4. BP Oil Spill:

Column: No sympathy or business for BP until BP plugs the well and begins to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf.

5. eBay.com user vs. California Car dealership: A story back in March that got a lot of car enthusiasts attention on several auto blogs and forums. Basically a car enthusiast in Southern California nick named “Hitman” wanted to buy a 2009 Dodge Challenger, so he saw the opportunity to buy one for several thousand dollars off sticker on eBay from a dealership auction, he bided and won. However the car dealership didn’t want to honor it. But after several days and talks of lawyers, finally the dealership sold the 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 to the ebay auction winning for the winning bid.

As a matter of fact, in November I did hear from Hitman via email, he said that he is enjoying his Dodge Challenger, joined a car club and thanked me for my support.

- Column: Advice for eBay users after a car dealership is accused of backing out of an eBay auction for a new 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8. UPDATE2

6. Kevin Harvick in the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet in 2011: Back in August, RCR, Budweiser and Kevin Harvick announced they’re joining forces for 2011. And two months later, Kevin Harvick unveiled his new black 2011 Budweiser paint scheme on Twitter.

a. It’s Kevin Harvick in the Budweiser Chevrolet vs. Brad Keselowski in the Miller Lite Dodge for the battle of the beers in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2011.

b. Kevin Harvick unveil 2011 Budweiser paint scheme, that's cool!

7. Selling NASCAR tickets in this economy and how to do it: Back in March, Texas Motor Speedway touched off a debate especially with me with their new advertisements on selling tickets to the upcoming Cup Series races. Does this advertisement really sell tickets for the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway?

8. The Barrett-Jackson in the O.C.: 1970 Road Runner "The Hammer" hammered down at $175,000 at 2010 Barrett-Jackson Orange County.

9. Matt Kenseth, Inside NASCAR and RCR-Bowyer conversation:
- Matt Kenseth discusses Hot Topics on Inside NASCAR about from crew chiefs, the chase and more and I’ll give you my take as well as the RCR-Bowyer appeal results.

10. Saving money on car insurance: 6 ways to lower your car insurance bill

And that ends 2010 here on RaceDriven.com, but get ready for 2011, as next year will be my 6th year blogging on RaceDriven.com and it should be an interesting year to say the least especially for this now personal blog.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top Gear USA takes a shot at designing a 2011 Buick Roadmaster, but how about this…

On last Sunday night’s episode of Top Gear USA, Adam Ferrara, Rutledge Wood and Tanner Foust set out to Detroit in a challenge to choose their favorite old GM cars and put them through a series of challenges to decide which one should be brought back into production.

Ferrara choose a 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass, Foust choose a 1980’s Pontiac Fiero, and Wood choose a 1990s Buick Roadmaster wagon. The episode had most of the same challenges as Top Gear UK’s Season 10, the £1200 British Leyland cheap-car challenge. Yes that would include a hill handbrake challenge (different grade with a bowling ball), filling the car up with water and driving around the racetrack and more.

By the end of the challenge, amazingly enough, Rutledge Wood’s 1990’s Buick Roadmaster wagon had won the challenge and below is a 2011 Buick Roadmaster sketch that the hosts would like to see built.


However considering I’m a blogger, a car enthusiast and blogging is about giving your opinion, I feel that a 1990’s Buick Roadmaster slightly redesigned wouldn’t save GM in my eyes. But I do believe that General Motor’s Buick line does need a Roadmaster in the near future, so what about a modern version of the amazing 1955 Buick Roadmaster pictured below. And yes that is a picture of Jay Leno’s 572 big block Roadmaster, now just imagine it being a modern version. Hay, at it’s got the power that a Buick should have.

Any thoughts?

Source: Autoblog.com and NetCarShow.com

Video: Jay Leno picks up his Chevrolet Volt...and yes a Volt is better than a Prius.



I saw this video on YouTube of Jay Leno picking up his new Chevrolet Volt in California and I thought that I had to share this with all of my readers and my opinion of the Volt.

Personally as I was watching his video, I agree with Jay Leno, electricity is only going to take you halfway, gasoline is going to take you the rest of the way and that's exactly what the Volt does. I particularly like the Chevrolet Volt for the combination of electricity and gasoline, but it needs more improvements such as having the vehicle run in E85 or bio-diesel, now that would be a real green car to me. But of course the fuel of the future in my opinion is hydrogen if the supply is there.

But in my opinion, pure electric vehicles aren't the answer to the United States or the worlds oil troubles, however combination vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt is a good start.

As for the Toyota Prius, personally I wouldn't own one. I believe that while Toyota does make several good quality cars most of the time, buying a Toyota is a huge turn off. Simply put, I hate the way that Toyota handles recalls and complains, namely there customer service is terrible. Toyota would rather blame the driver for an accident (which I believe sometimes the driver is at fault), then admit and take responsibility for a fault part or faulty software on their vehicles.

And as a member of my family looks to buy a new or used car within the next month or two, a Toyota is no where on the list. He wants a car or SUV that is made in the USA.

Source: YouTube via Autoblog

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top Gear USA is a hit, but how does the show compare to Top Gear UK?

Source: Jalopnik.com

Just before Thanksgiving and after an already failed attempt by another network (NBC) and some bad predictions, Top Gear USA debuted on the History Channel to mixed reviewed by many. One of the reasons for the mixed reviews was no one really know what to make of the three hosts Adam Ferrara, Rutledge Wood and Tanner Foust.
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Of course for me, while I don’t know Adam Ferrara, but am a fan of Tanner Foust, it was Rutledge Wood that was the question mark and still is as I’m also a NASCAR fan and that’s where Wood’s comes from. Wood use to be on the SPEED Channel and in my opinion that wasn’t a success, but after four episodes, he seems to doing ok right now.

However, once the season started rolling out and fans started to get to know the hosts, Top Gear USA has became a hit. The show has received better reviews. I truly believe that the more episodes that the History Channel comes out with especially this season and at the level there at now, car guys will continue to embrace the show.

The format for Top Gear USA is pretty much the same thing as the Top Gear UK version. Of course you have the reasonable priced car, the Stig setting fast lap in each car and the challenges.

In the reasonable priced car which is a Kia Rio, wow could they spare it and get an American made car like a Ford Focus or a Chevrolet Cobalt, I mean this is the US version. But anyway, after five celebrities that have taken time, amazingly enough Kid Rock in the wet, set an impressive time of 1:43.9.

The Stig has made his first impression as well with the fastest lap around the Top Gear test track which the record is currently held by a Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR at 1:22.0 followed closely behind by both a Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera at 1:22.8, and a Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce at 1:23.4. But the most impressive fast lap wasn’t in a supercar, but a truck, a Hennessey F-150 VelociRaptor 600 at a 1:39.0, yeah a pickup truck, damn that was cool to watch.

But for me, it’s about challenges and so far the Top Gear hosts have done a few interesting ones to date, but it had to be the $1000 moonshine run challenge where the Nissan beat both a Cadillac and a Ford Thunderbird that caught my eye. Moonshine to NASCAR, what a concept…

But the most impressive had to be both the race up and down a mountain against skiers in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR and Foust driving a Ford F-150 Raptor pickup through the desert at about a 120 MPH with cattle around to try and beat a parachutist. Both were priceless.

But how does Top Gear USA stand up against Top Gear UK?

As a huge fan of Top Gear UK that is about to enter its 16th season next year with hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, the concept of having another network in another country recreate Top Gear leaves me with mixed feelings especially in the United States. One thing to remember is that the BBC funds this show, not advertisers, so the hosts can say just about anything they want within reason about each car.

With that said, I would say that while it really is too earlier to tell, I can say that Top Gear USA follows most of the same lines as the UK version including most of the challenges like the $1000 cars. However I’m always going to favor the UK version, it’s the original that set the bench mark with some of the most extreme challenges and the outrageous hosts. But so far in the US version, the hosts haven’t had too much to say meaning negative against any of the tested cars and that’s one big thing that the UK version is known for.

But both are hit shows. What do my readers think?

Red Bull Racing unveils #4 Kasey Kahne and #83 Brian Vickers 2011 paint schemes on Twitter.

Earlier today on Twitter, Red Bull Racing (@redbullnascar) unveiled their 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series paint schemes with #83-Brian Vickers and #4-Kasey Kahne. I find it interesting that Red Bull Racing was able to change Kasey Kahne's number from #82 to #4 considering Morgan Mcclure Racing has had the number 4 in the Cup Series for decades now, but at least the number has a good home now.

Now I can't wait for February in Daytona, 2011 is already shaping up to be an interesting year especially with all of the crew chief, driver and sponsor moves..

Source: Red Bull Racing Twitpic via Jayski.com

Monday, December 13, 2010

8 Bold moves NASCAR should make before the 2011 NASCAR season to get fans back.

Today, I’m finishing off my three-part series that focuses on looking back at both the 2010 NASCAR season and the 2010 Motorsports season. In this edition, I’m putting myself into the shoes of NASCAR for one day and addressing some of the hot topics and problem areas in NASCAR.

In 2010, NASCAR had amazing competition on the racetrack and they had a good product too, however that was over shadowed as I would actually describe the 2010 season as a year of frustration and that was primarily due to NASCAR announcing last January “Boy’s Have at it”. Nevertheless, here are my top 8 bold moves that I would make before the 2011 or at least 2012 NASCAR season to get NASCAR fans back.

1. Repeal “Boy’s Have at it” and replace with a simple set of rules including conduct.
Right now NASCAR seems to want to be more like the NFL and if that’s the case, then they need to have black and white rules like the NFL does too. With the introduction of the “Boy’s Have at it”, it opened the door for blatant take out moves on the racetrack. One example of that was and is the Carl Edwards vs. Brad Keselowski. That feud got way out of hand and needed to be handled, but all NASCAR did was meetings with no penalties. Someone could have seriously been hurt and not just these two drivers neither. What about fans, other drivers, crew men and what about all of the damages to other cars as well.

The point is giving driver room to breathe and be themselves is one thing, but to be reckless on track is another and this was a huge turn off for several fans including me. It’s like “letting the inmates run the asylum”, it’s not right and it is a turn off. Basically NASCAR should get rid of “Boy’s Have at it” and the blatant take out moves like Edwards vs. Keselowski, Kurt Busch vs. Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch vs. Keselowski just to name a few. There has to be a balance with the rules period, otherwise it’s not entertaining to watch.

2. Shorter Races
I know that there are some NASCAR fans including me that like long races, but even I have to admit that some races are just too long. So with the exception of The Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, Brickyard 400 and the Sharpie 500 (August race at Bristol), all races should be 300 miles (not laps) in length. So that means that Bristol, Richmond, Martinsville, New Hampshire, and Phoenix are all the right distance races. But the other races such as Charlotte, Texas, Atlanta, Daytona in July, Chicagoland and more all need to be shortened. Shorter races should equal more excitement. There is less time to get to the front, less pit stops and more racing to the checker flag. And the final races are the most exciting, drivers are going for the victory.

3. Road Course race added to the chase
Currently the chase for the Sprint Cup is all ovals and that includes mainly cookie cutter racetracks. If NASCAR wants fans attention, they need all different size racetracks and that includes a road course. Try moving Sonoma into the chase. Moving Sonoma might increase attendance with cooler weather as well. Or try adding another road course that isn’t currently on the schedule.

4. New simple Points System.
Currently NASCAR’s point system is a decades old system that needs some serious over haul. No other Motorsports series has such a huge point system. I would like to see a tighter points system. What about:
- Award 2 or 3 points per position for #1-30.
- Award 1 point per position for positions #31-43. That would help with brokens coming out of the garage to gain extras while getting in others way.
- Award 5 extra points for qualifying on the pole, leading the most laps, and leading one lap.
- Award 20 points for winning a race.
- And if NASCAR is going to keep the chase, award an extra 50 points to the points leader at the end of the regular season.

5. Retire the chase or change the chase to 5 or 6 races and 10 drivers without a separate points system.
One aspect of NASCAR that several fans aren’t a fan of including me is the chase. I have to go with the old school way of thinking in letting drivers race all season long, best driver in points wins the championships. And not manufacturering a champion. Plus, without the chase, each of the 36 races in the season mean the same.
However if NASCAR really wants a chase, they need to make it simple for everyone to understand and watch. I hate awarding drivers for mediocre performances, so shorten the chase to 5-6 races, the top 10 drivers make the chase and if a driver falls over 200 points back from the leader after 4 races, they are dropped from the chase and have to once again fight to be inside the top 10. Plus 11th spot should be awarded $1 million dollars for winning the position and can go to the awards banquet.

6. Limit commercial breaks
The television package is getting out of hand, each network nails the broadcasts with a lot of commercials. I know that the TV coverage has improved over the years especially from the 1970’s, but NASCAR wants fans to watch, but with all of these commercials, what are we watching. How about more races with TNT’s wide open coverage or side-by-side coverage like the ESPN has for the IRL IndyCar Series. Even just putting a sponsor at the bottom of the screen during the race coverage would be better than just keep going to commercial. Fans want to watch the race, put the race on.

7. Set fair race start time for east coast to west coast NASCAR fans.
In 2010, NASCAR made a bold move that worked for east coast fans, but not really for west coast fans and that was the 1pm, 3pm, 7:30pm start times. Personally I love a set start time, it made it simpler for the fans to know what time the races start and shows has a uniform look.

But to help the west coast fans, maybe a simple change would work better. So what about 2pm for east coast races that helps during football season. Typically the NFL starts at 1pm, so NASCAR could start at 2pm and gain fans due to switching over 1 hour into the football game.

So 2pm for east coast races, 3:30pm (12:30pm local) for west coast races and 8pm for night races, all eastern times. Night races should be 2.5 hours to 3 hours tops in length for fans. Anything over 11pm isn’t going to go well with some NASCAR fans. And NASCAR should even consider Saturday afternoon races too. Any movement for NASCAR away from the NFL schedule should help in ratings.

8. Shorter schedule or better schedule including more Saturday night races.
It’s simple, one Cup Series date per racetrack except Daytona, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Bristol. I see it every year, several racetracks that don’t deserve two Cup Series dates while other tracks have only one date or none.

How to determine which track gets one date or two dates is simple, it’s the product that NASCAR puts on namely the racing, is it exciting or not at that track. And second, the attendance. No one should be looking for a sellout crowd, but each track should have good attendance.

Both New Hampshire and Bristol are classic examples of two tracks that pack in the fans. While California, Atlanta, Kansas, Charlotte don’t. Even Indianapolis and Chicagoland need help.

In addition, NASCAR should add more road courses like Laguna Sega, Portland, OR or something as well as Iowa Speedway and a racetrack in both Washington State and Canada. Canadians have been showing up at the Montreal Nationwide Series race for years now and they have earned a Cup Series date.

And with that, what about my readers, what would you like to see NASCAR do, what would you like to change above, comment in the comment section and let me know what you think.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Top 5 Biggest headlines of the 2010 Motorsports season

Today, I’m continuing my three-part series that focuses on looking back at both the 2010 NASCAR season and the 2010 Motorsports season. In this edition, I’m focusing on the top 5 biggest headlines of the 2010 Motorsports season.

I would describe the 2010 Motorsports season as filled with high’s, low’s and what most of us tune in for, good real racing.

1. The 2010 Formula One season was one for the record books from some of the races being entertaining especially the return of the Canadian Grand Prix that Lewis Hamilton won, the always entertaining Monaco grand Prix that was a few weeks early that Mark Webber won, the return of Michael Schumacher to Formula 1 despite some issues for him and of course the terrible Korean GP. That Korean GP track looked good in video games and on paper, but was terrible in person (or on TV for me).

But I will remember the 2010 F1 season for the real (not manufactured) tight points battle that went down to wire at the season finale in Abu Dhabi that Sebastian Vettel ended up becoming World Champion after winning the race.

However in watching the season finale in Abu Dhabi, a tricky track I might add that includes a tunnel under some of the track for the exit of pit road, I found the race funny at times to watch. Going in, I was really hoping that either Lewis Hamilton who was fourth in the world championship points or Mark Webber that was second in points win the 2010 World Championship.

At the same time, I found it even more interesting that all the points leader Fernando Alonso had to do was finish 3rd, but that would prove to be too much of a challenge considering Alonso couldn’t even mount a charge past the two Renault’s of Vitaly Petrov and Robert Kubica. Of course with Fernando Alonso and even Mark Webber right behind him for some of the race, that in my opinion opened the door for third and fourth in the points, namely Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton to take the World Championship. At one point, I thought Hamilton had a chance, but Vettel was too strong as he would win the race and the World Championship.

The way I look at with Sebastian Vettel winning the world championship, it’s both rewarding and disappointing to see him win. The rewarding part is that Vettel the most races (5) and he beat out Fernando Alonso out for the title. But disappointing to see this “cocky” kid win and represent Formula 1 as champion.
Now hopefully Sebastian Vettel can be a good World Champion as he needs to grow up in how he races his teammate, how he races other competitors and giving them room to race on track and how to treat the media to at least a point. 2011 should be interesting to watch.

2. Speaking of tight points battles that go down to the final race, the IZOD IndyCar Series had a good one going into the season finale in Homestead with Will Power (the Road Course points champion) vs. Dario Franchitti (the Oval Points Champion) by a slim margin. I came into that season finale hoping that the Penske Racing driver Will Power would win his first IRL Championship, but unfortunately in the finale two races, it all went wrong with fuel mileage and him crashing at Homestead.

But it was cool to see the 2010 Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitt and second in points coming in to Homestead win his second straight IRL Championship. What a good way to go.
I just wish the IRL would get a new TV package, enough with Versus already, the preshow’s suck and so did some of the races.

Of course I will be interested in seeing what the 2011 IRL season with all ISC tracks gone and SMI tracks replacing them and especially the 2012 IRL Season with Lotus and Chevrolet coming on back with engines.

3. John Force capturing his 15th NHRA Funny Car Championship. I have to admit that while I only watched most of the U.S. Nationals and no other races, I am a fan of John Force and JFR and its cool to see John Force win his 15th championship. I don’t know if I can even put that into prospective, but that is a huge accomplishment especially with the crop of drivers the NHRA has in the Funny Car class right now. Hats off to the master.

4. Audi swept the podium at the 24 hours of Le Mans with the #9 Audi R15 TDI plus that was driven to victory by Mike Rockenfeller, Timo Bernhard, and Romain Dumas over the powerful Peugeots that were favorites to win the race, but none finished. Personally what will take away from Audi winning at the 24 hours of Le Mans is the use of alternative fuels in Motorsports, namely racing doesn’t have to use unleaded gasoline to have powerful racecars, we can use other forms of fuel and still having exciting races. I know it sounds weird in some ways, but now is the time to change and Bio-fuels is the answer.

5. The #9 Action Express Racing Daytona Prototype wins the 24 hours of Daytona (Rolex 24) that was driven by Barbosa, Borcheller, Dalziel and Rockenfeller over the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing BMW. This one was actually a really good race although it was under 50 degrees at several times during this race. It was one of those races that had the hard racing that the series should have at all events. And it was actually a simple mistake in the pits on the #01 BMW that opened the door for the Action Express prototype to take back the lead and drive into the sunset with their first victory.

I have to say that I mainly watch NASCAR, but I also try and watch the IRL IndyCar Series, some Formula One races as well as most of the major races like the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500, the 24 hours of Daytona, the 12 hours of Sebring (that saw no Audi’s complete), the 24 hours of Le Mans and more.
This was a good Motorsports season all the way around and now I can’t wait for the 2011 Motorsports season to begin in late January (2011) with the 24 hours of Daytona.

Thoughts?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Shell-Pennzoil and Penske Racing unveil Kurt Busch’s #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge and Helio Castroneves’s #3 Shell Dallara/Honda in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Yesterday (Dec. 2, 2010), Shell and Penske Racing unveiled their 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge that will be driven by Kurt Busch and  IZOD IndyCar Series #3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Dallara/Honda driven by Helio Castroneves at the Penske-Wynn Ferrari dealership at the Wynn Las Vegas in Las Vegas, NV.

In addition to SHell-Pennzoil sponsoring both Kurt Busch in the Cup Series and Helio Castroneves in the IndyCar Series, the company will also be associate sponsorships promoting Shell V-Power® and Pennzoil Ultra™ with IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe. 

“I am honored to represent the Shell and Pennzoil brands in the NASCAR Cup Series starting in 2011,” said Busch. “I look forward to building on the success of our storied past at Penske Racing with our new sponsors at Shell and Pennzoil.”

“I am very excited to be working with Shell and Pennzoil this season and I’m proud to have the opportunity to drive the beautiful Shell V-Power®-Pennzoil Ultra™ car in the 2011 Indianapolis 500 representing the No. 1 premium gasoline and Pennzoil’s most advanced motor oil in the U.S.,” said Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Team Penske IndyCar.  “Shell and Pennzoil have such a great history in IndyCar racing and they have certainly had some special moments with Penske Racing at the Indy 500.  I hope we can create a little bit more history together this May at Indianapolis!”

“Shell has more than a half-century of motorsports expertise and alliances allowing our organization to bring quality fuels and lubricants technology from the track to the road,” said Lisa Davis, President, Shell Lubricants, Americas.  “Strategic alliances are very important to our organization and the new relationship with a winning team like Penske provides us with additional opportunities to continue furthering our technological leadership and product development through the invaluable knowledge gained both on and off the track.”

“Shell and Pennzoil are two established and winning brands and they will be strategic business providers for our Penske Automotive Group and Penske Truck Leasing businesses,” said Roger Penske. “This is a very important global relationship for our organization and we look forward to producing many victories for Shell and Pennzoil in NASCAR, in the IZOD IndyCar Series and across our businesses.”

Personally I’m looking forward to both the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season. And it great to see that even in this economy especially with most companies cutting back, that there are still companies out there that find the value in sponsoring cars and series in Motorsports. The dream is still alive and kicking in racing.

Kurt Busch's Dodge

Helio Castroveves's car

Source: www.shell.us/racing via Shell PR

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Top 12 Biggest Moments and Stories of the 2010 NASCAR Season

Today, I’m kicking off my three-part series that focuses on looking back at both the 2010 NASCAR season and the 2010 Motorsports season. In this edition, I’m focusing on highlighting some of the biggest moments and stories from the 2010 NASCAR season.

I would describe the 2010 NASCAR season as action-packed, competitive, but because of the “Boy’s Have at it”, I would say very frustrating at times as well. However I’m focusing on the biggest moments and stories, so here we go:

1. “Boy’s Have at it” got way out of hand and is a classic example of Letting The Inmates Run the Asylum. In some ways, I will give NASCAR credit that they would let the drivers be more open sort of speak, but NASCAR would end up taking this way too far and NASCAR new policy ended up letting the inmates runs the asylum.

A classic example of this new frustrating policy had to be the Edwards vs. Keselowski at the spring Atlanta Cup Series race when Carl Edwards lost it and a lot of fans respect at the same time when he decided to blatantly take out Brad Keselowski on the front straightaway with a few laps to go. The Edwards move, which took no talent or brains what so ever send Brad Keselowski flying in the air on to this roof and back on all four tires.

Of course another example was later in the year when Edwards would step out again at the Summer Gateway Nationwide race when Carl Edwards fearing he will lose the Gateway race in front of his hometown crowd, once again took out Brad Keselowski coming to the checkers. The incident would cause a mult-car pileup just before the start/finish line.

I blame NASCAR for not doing something about this war and this is what’s frustrating about NASCAR right now.

At this point I could go on and on from Kurt Busch vs. Jeff Gordon at Martinsville to Logano vs. Montoya at Homestead, but I wouldn’t. Its all the same anyway.

2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Wrangler colors: As a Dale Jr. fan, I would say that one incredible moment had to be back in July at Daytona when Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving his father’s #3 Wrangler paint scheme in a one race deal with JR Motorsports, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, and RCR won the Nationwide Series race in the new Nationwide COT car. I would have to say that if you’re an Earnhardt fan, that moment will stick with you for a long time to come.

3. 5x Champ Jimmie Johnson: With all of the hype about the chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, the trash talk and the -46 difference between three drivers heading into the final race at Homestead, Jimmie Johnson was able to clinch his fifth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. That is a huge accomplishment for any driver and team to do to win 5 straight championships in any sport, let along NASCAR. This will be a hard record to beat for decades to come.

This leads to a question, Is Jimmie Johnson the best ever?
No, however Jimmie Johnson is the best active driver. I believe that “The King” Richard Petty with 7 champions and 200 victories is the best in NASCAR. And Richard Petty over his career also drove several different types of cars and won in them including the Plymouth Superbird.

4. NASCAR All-Star race – Hamlin vs. Busch: At the 2010 NASCAR All-Star in the closing laps, Denny Hamlin leads, Kyle Busch closes fast. Coming out of turn 2, Denny Hamlin takes his normal line towards the outside grove as Kyle Busch, who is on his rear end drive straight into the outside wall. Kyle Busch would blame it all on Denny Hamlin, instead of his stupid driving. Basically, Denny Hamlin was just racing for position and did nothing wrong. Kyle Busch wrecked himself.

5. Danica Patrick invaded the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2010 and after a decent finish at Homestead in 11 races, I would say that she showed a lot of talent and promise for a career driving in NASCAR. However those 11 races also told me that she has to commit to NASCAR full-time to be successful. Running a part-time schedule in NASCAR and a full-time schedule in IndyCars simply isn’t going to work. Those two cars are completely different and time is tight.

I predict that 2011 will be better for Danica Patrick, but not the success that she really wants.

6. Jamie McMurray: The biggest comeback of the 2010 season had to be Jamie McMurray. Shortly after McMurray re-united with Chip Ganassi for 2010, McMurray would go on to win two of the biggest races of 2010, the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. Even more, McMurray would finish second in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega and at the Coca-Cola 600. I would say that 2011 might be another good year for McMurray and he is a dark horse to make the chase as well.

7. Gordon vs. Burton fight: One of the biggest moments of 2010 happened between a very unlikely pairing at during the chase race at Texas Motor Speedway. Jeff Burton had had enough with Jeff Gordon and decided to tell him so. However Burton would make a mistake and drill Gordon into the outside wall off of turn 2, killing the #24 DuPont Chevrolet.

But on the back straightaway, Gordon would get back at Burton in a classic fight that started with a push. I was even surprised by this one

8. Elliott Sadler scares NASCAR fans at Pocono: With 35 laps to go in the Sunoco American Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, a vicious, scary wreck involving Kurt Busch and Elliott Sadler left me speechless. I still don’t know exactly what happened, but Kurt Busch and Johnson with Bowyer got together and as a result Kurt Busch and Elliott Sadler would both go for a wild ride that would leave Kurt Busch’s right front when ripped off and after Sadler’s car hit the inside wall hard, only the driver’s cockpit would remain as the engine would be completely ripped out of the car and left on the ground on the back straightaway.

9. Jimmie Johnson captures number 50: At the spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson would make history when he won the race, winning his 50th career NASCAR Cup Series victory.

10. Kevin Harvick makes it look easy at Talladega: Kevin Harvick makes a perfectly calculated last lap pass on Jamie McMurray coming to the finish line to win the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega.

11. Joey Logano comes out of his shell in 2010: 2010 will make a big year Joey Logano as he showed everyone that he can race and isn’t afraid to defend himself. Earlier this year at Pocono, Kevin Harvick would dump Logano going into turn 3. After the race and a heated discussion between Harvick with crew and Logano with crew, Logano would give a classic quote, "I don't know what [Kevin Harvick's] deal is with me," Logano said. "It's probably not his fault. His wife wears the firesuit in the family and tells him what to do. It's probably not his fault." (Read More here…)

12. Clint Bowyer comes up short in 2010 despite two wins: By the time the Cup Series got to Richmond in September for the chase cut off, it was the dark horse Clint Bowyer that would make headlines by making the Chase by the narrowest of margins. But for Bowyer and the #33 team, the chase would be filled with high’s and low’s starting with a NASCAR warning about his Richmond car.

Despite the warning, Clint Bowyer would go out and on fuel strategy win one of the most competitive New Hampshire races in a while. But the victory would be short lived as NASCAR penalized the #33 150 driver/owner points and suspended his crew chief. The penalty would touch off a no win situation for all involved.

At the end of the year, I will say this, Bowyer deserved the penalty he got after the New Hampshire race, his car was illegal and that’s it. However NASCAR messed up when they didn’t explain everything, leaving fans and media in the cold. I explained everything in an article entitled “A loss-loss situation: Bowyer-RCR losses final appeal and NASCAR losses in the eyes of some fans.

Well, the 2010 NASCAR season is over and what a top 12 we have here. I know that I have left several key moments off this list, but between the top moments and headlines of 2010, I did cover most of it. Now I’m looking ahead at part 2 of this four part series with the “Top 5 Biggest headlines of the 2010 Motorsports season – Championship Edition”. Until then, see yeah!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jimmie Johnson captures his 5th straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship: The Top 7 NASCAR things learned from Race 10 of the chase in Homestead.

Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, sorry for the delay, I was under the weather. But wow, here we are the last edition of the top 7 NASCAR things learned from a particular race weekend of the 2010 NASCAR season and unlike in past years, Homestead finally lived up to most of the hype as it should every year.

Of course most of the hype was around the final three chase drivers still fighting for the Sprint Cup, namely points leader Denny Hamlin, second place Jimmie and third place Kevin Harvick. But Homestead was a 400 mile race that includes 43 drivers, not 3 like the Disney’s movie Cars. So I was watching a lot of battles including the highest finishing non-chase and personal victories.

1. A perfect example of NASCAR’s new policy of Letting The Inmates Run the Asylum with “Boy’s Have at it”. Feud part whatever: Logano vs. Montoya. During the race, Montoya wouldn’t give Logano any room and ended up wrecking him on a restart in front of huge group of cars including Denny Hamlin. But what the TV didn’t show or I just didn’t see it, Logano went back out on track and waited 25 laps, then took out Montoya under caution, putting Montoya into the outside wall.

2. Jimmie Johnson wins his fifth straight Sprint Cup Championship. On last Sunday, Jimmie Johnson made history by winning his fifth straight Cup Series championship, something no one including his co-owner Jeff Gordon has done and he did it five straight times. However I can see how this one is different, Johnson came in -15 points behind the points leader and had to fight for it in a one-race take all deal. And Johnson with the #48 team delivered and with a 2nd place finish clinched his fifth title and making Jimmie Johnson the best active driver in NASCAR.

3. Feud of the week: Kevin Harvick vs. Kyle Busch goes up in flames. Kyle Busch drivers everyone aggressively and at times dirty. So at Homestead, it didn’t surprise me that Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick would get together in one way or another. But while every driver wants space to race, not too many give it and Kyle Busch learned that the hard way as Busch cut in front of Harvick and no brake as Harvick clipped Busch, sending the #18 hard into the inside wall. As Kyle Busch drove around the racetrack on the apron, his car ignited up in flames and that moment ended his 2010 NASCAR season. And Kyle Busch got exactly what he deserved.

4. #11-Denny Hamlin/Joe Gibbs Racing team lost as a team. I’m NOT fan of Denny Hamlin at all and on last Sunday, Denny Hamlin lost the championship (sort of speak) before the race even started and then continued a downhill motion from there. After having a 12th place finish at Phoenix, Jimmie Johnson’s comments and the media hype, Denny Hamlin was feeling the pressure heading into Homestead and it showed.

But even more, so was the entire team. Throughout the weekend, the #11 team had a poor qualifying effect, Hamlin hit Greg Biffle in the rear quarter during the race, damaging both cars, the crew chief made a few bad calls on pit road including getting there, the crew on pit stops and Jimmie Johnson with the #48 team being on their game ended Denny Hamlin’s championship hopes period. They lost as a team period. End of discussion.

5. Carl Edwards gives Ford and Roush-Fenway Racing hope for 2011 after back to back wins at Phoenix and Homestead. I don’t know if Carl Edwards is going to be really hunt for the 2011 Sprint Cup, but over the last few weeks, Carl Edwards has won two races and finished 4th in points and that is a good sign that Ford can win.

6. All three RCR teams are champion material in 2011.

7. Kevin Harvick had the best overall performance all season long and in 2011 will be a threat for the 2011 Sprint Cup Series championship if he can relax and stop yelling at his life line, his pit crew and crew chief.

Well that’s not all folks, between now (Wednesday, November 24, 2010) and the 2010 Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony on Dec. 3 at Wynn Las Vegas, I will be rapping up the 2010 NASCAR season with several look backs including was my predictions a hit or miss. And be sure to comment in the comment section on what you think of this article and season.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Final Predictions: Who will be the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion: Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson Or Kevin Harvick?

As the sun set in Phoenix last Sunday, Carl Edwards and the #99 team found themselves gambling on fuel mileage and it paid off big time as they went to victory lane in the Cup Series for the first time in 2010 and break a two-year winless drought.

At the same time, while Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick made their fuel mileage game work for both of them as well to finish 5th and 6th, the championship leader Denny Hamlin found himself pitting for fuel late on, finishing in the 12 spot and frustrated.

Personally I thought that everybody was going to have to pit for fuel as well. It didn’t even cross my mind that several drivers could actually make it on fuel to the end. But thank god that they did, because the Phoenix II race was shaping up in a unusually boring race and a large championship lead heading into Homestead.

Now of course after the fuel mileage finish at Phoenix, NASCAR, the media and some of the NASCAR fans have gotten there wish, we now have one of the closes chases in the chase history on our hands heading into the season finale at Homestead. And of course the sponsor for this race now gets what they want sort of speak with the Ford Championship weekend actually meaning the big race will include a championship on the line, unlike in past years.

So with that said, here is my opinion on each driver, what they need to do and who ultimately is going to the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

- Kevin Harvick, who is 46 points out of the championship lead. As Happy Harvick continues his rants on Twitter and playing the “no respect” card saying “@dstrissel disrespect is what has been given for 10 weeks to our team from all the media so the heck with them all!”

The fact of the matter is, Kevin Harvick and the #29 team have there work cut out on Sunday if they want to win the championship, but make no mistake, it can be done especially if his other two competitors have there normal Homestead races.

For these guys, its simple, Harvick needs to qualify upfront, jump to the lead, lead the most laps, win the race and let the chips fall were they may. That’s all that they can. Hell, if they get behind, they can gamble on fuel or get two tires for track position, to try and win the race that way. They have nothing to lose and all to gain on Sunday.

- Jimmie Johnson, who is only –15 behind the championship leader. For the first time in several years, Jimmie Johnson and the #48 team find themselves in unchartered waters. Normally they would come into Homestead with a good lead in the chase and all they would have to do is just finish in a decent place to win the championship.

But for 2010, they have to race for it and that could be a good thing for them. Johnson has never won at Homestead before and now considering the fact that Chad Knaus is on top of the pit box making the calls, Johnson has to have a good qualifying effort, a good solid pit position (not near the #11) and at least a top 5 finish on Sunday to have a shot to win the championship. And he’s the favorite to win.

- Denny Hamlin, who leads the chase has everything to lose on Sunday and from where I sit, that will be interesting to watch. Nobody really knows the strategy for the #11 team on Sunday, but I’m sure it wouldn’t include gambling in anyway. If most of the field pits, he pits, 4 tires and fuel. The pit stops have to dead on, 12.5 seconds or better to maintain position on track.

Who will win the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship?
Let’s be honest here, anything can happen during Sunday’s Ford 400 for any of the championship competitors, another competitor can take one out especially with payback, any of them can get a flat tire, a blown engine, a leak, be caught up in heavy lap traffic, anything.

But with that said, I don’t see Denny Hamlin winning his first title in 2010. Hamlin hasn’t been in this position before as the championship leader going into the season finale and with his history of blown engines and traffic playing a role, I just don’t see it.

Kevin Harvick, I see Harvick playing a big role in who wins the championship. Harvick has nothing to lose on Sunday and is in a good position to win. But while he is in a good position, he’s not in the best. He, like Hamlin has never been here before, but unlike Hamlin, Harvick has a better shot, just look at Formula One as Sebastian Vettel came from 3rd in the points to win his first championship in the last race, but like Vettel, he will need help.

But I have to go with experience, talent and skill and Jimmie Johnson/the #48 team has that especially with a golden horseshoe for luck. So I choose Jimmie Johnson to win his fifth straight Cup Series championship.


I know that some believe that if Johnson wins his fifth straight, it would be bad for the sport, but I don’t think so. Johnson has proven himself as a racecar driver time and time again and he represents this sport very well as a champion.

In 2010, Johnson has come out even further and as a once Vanilla driver, isn’t no more. Johnson does speak, he does show emotion, both good and bad and acts like a championship driver should. I know he doesn’t come from North Caroline, but who cares, neither does most fans including me.

Johnson is exactly what this sport needs and he doesn’t wreck people just for the fun of it neither. He races pretty clean and that’s what a good driver is to me.

As for Sunday’s Ford 400, Brad Daugherty said it the best on Inside NASCAR on Showtime later tonight, “You cannot play this race safe. You have to throw caution to the wind and get yourself up front. You have to be on your game, driving as hard as you can.”

Any thoughts?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick separated by only 46 points after the Kobalt Tools 500 in Phoenix: The Top 7 NASCAR things learned from Race 9 of the chase.

Welcome readers, after this past weekend’s racing at Phoenix International Raceway, the NASCAR Cup Series chase for the Sprint Cup has just one race to go in the 2010 season and now sees a 3-man battle for the championship heading into the season finale next weekend. So what are the top 7 NASCAR things learned from Phoenix II race.

1. Johnson and Harvick gain in points heading into Homestead. As the Kobalt Tools 500 in Phoenix was passing the midway point, Hamlin found himself upfront, but as the checkered flag flow, Denny Hamlin found himself finishing 12th after a late race pit stop, while his championship contenders Jimmie Johnson finished 5th, closes to -15 points behind Hamlin and Kevin Harvick finished 6th and closes to -46 behind leader Hamlin.

Well despite having the chase, NASCAR has a tight points battle on their hands as the top 3 in points are separated by only -46 points, that’s interesting and none of the top 3 drivers are favorites to win at Homestead. Homestead is a Roush-Fenway Racing track and Edwards and Biffle are favorites. Good luck.

2. Todd Bodine clinches the 2010 NASCAR Truck Series Drivers Championship. Yeah, after several tight points battles in the Truck Series over the last few years, Truck Series fans wouldn’t see that fight next week at Homestead because the 2010 Truck Series championship has already been clinched with one race to go by Todd Bodine, who finished 12th last Friday night. But for Germain Racing, life isn’t all championships as Kyle Busch Motorsports has a big lead in the Owner’s Championship.

It’s kind of sad to see the driver’s championship go to one driver with team, while the Owner’s Championship go to another team despite the fact that NASCAR is a team sport, but that’s NASCAR.

3. Ron Hornaday Jr. signs multi-year deal with KHI to drive in the Truck Series. Yes, despite having a lot of bad luck most of the season, KHI has signed Hornaday to drive the #33 Truck for years to come. I believe that this is a good move for KHI. Hornaday can still contend and win races and championships in 2011 and beyond without doubt. I expect Hornaday to be a contender in 2011.

4. ESPN, cover at least the top 20 including non-chase drivers already, enough with just the top 3 chasers. Every week, I sit here watching the Cup Series races on television and its frustrating seeing ESPN basically only cover the top 3 in points and the chase for the Sprint Cup. I want to see the racing all the way through the field and what other drivers are doing. This is racing, I want to see it period. Hell, last week I didn’t even see Dale Earnhardt Jr. all race long, at least I saw him this race.

5. Joey Logano of non-chasers is very impressive right now. Logano now has his 3rd straight top 5 finish after Phoenix and now finds himself in the top 15 in points.

6. The Kobalt Tools 500 (312 miles) is the perfect length for most NASCAR Cup Series race. This past weekend’s race at PIR only took less than 3 hours to run and I believe that 312 miles, 312 laps is the perfect distance for most Cup Series races hands down. It’s not too many miles and it’s not too short, it works, maybe NASCAR can have all but 6 races with this same distance. I will get into this one deeper over at BVBLG on BrianVermette.com

7. Carl Edwards breaks 2-year winless drought by winning the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix.

Well, here we are, as the Phoenix sun sets and the checkered flag has flow, the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is down to one to go, Homestead…episode 10…to be continued next week.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Inside NASCAR not impressed with Jeff Gordon vs. Jeff Burton fight at Texas and compares them to other fights in history including Harvick vs. Biffle at Bristol.



The media and the NASCAR fans are still buzzing about several key moments during last Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway from the Kyle Busch penalty, the #48 and #24 pit crew swap that is also in effect for the remainder of the season, but the big one is the so-called fight between Jeff Gordona nd Jeff Burton had even lite up Twitter for a while during the race and in post-race.

Well now even the Inside NASCAR on Showtime bunch has had there say in it and from the video above, they weren't too impressed especially Michael Waltrip.

Personally the 1979 Daytona 500 fight on the last lap inside the infield on the final lap was a classic as well as Kevin Harvick vs. Greg Biffle at Bristol with Harvick clearing two cars just to land right in front of Biffle, man was Biffle surprised.

Of course for more of my comments on all three of these key moments from last Sunday at Texas, besure to check out my blog post entitled "NASCAR: Jeff Gordon vs. Jeff Burton, Kyle Busch vs. NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports swap 24 and 48 pit crews for rest of season after AAA Texas 500 at Texas." on my new personal blog BVBLG on BrianVermette.com.

Monday, November 8, 2010

NASCAR: Denny Hamlin leads chase over Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick heading into Phoenix; Nationwide and Truck Owner’s Championship still on the line as well with 2 to go.

As the 2010 NASCAR racing season is coming down to the end, at this point, we are normally talking about at least one NASCAR championship in one of the three national series that will come down to the final race. However this year we are in fact only really talking about one championship and that would be the chase for the Sprint up in the Cup Series. But did you know that in fact there are three championships still yet to be determined in NASCAR?

The Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship is on with 3 drivers in the hunt

Heading into this past weekend’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson held a slim 14 point lead over 2nd place Denny Hamlin and a 38 point lead over 3rd place Kevin Harvick.

However with just 3 races to go heading into Texas, the fact is that a good top 10 finish just simply isn’t going to be enough if the other points contenders finish in the top 3 or win the race. And that’s exactly what happened at Texas.

All three chase contenders each had their high points and low points during the race on Sunday, but it was Denny Hamlin that emerged victorious at Texas winning the AAA Texas 500. While his two rival championship contenders both found themselves finishing outside the top 5.

Kevin Harvick would run pretty good for most of the day, but it would be a late race caution that would save Harvick and the #29 team from disaster when the #29 crew got there boy out in front of the cars that pitted after a two tire stop and on the inside line for the final restart. Kevin Harvick would end up marching his way up through the field to finish in the 6th place. Harvick would gain and loss all at the same time in the points as Harvick now finds himself 59 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.

Jimmie Johnson on the other hand would get hurt most of the day as a combination of bad pits stops during most of the race and an ill handing car would make Johnson fight for each position. However as NASCAR fans have come to almost expect, Johnson would rebound enough to go towards the top 5 after the #24 pitted his car.

But on the final restart with no new tires and starting on the outside line behind Greg Biffle, Johnson would fall back as Biffle who had no 2nd gear and stalled in front of Johnson. And Johnson would fail to rebound no better than a 9th place finish.

For the first time in years, Johnson now finds himself 2nd in points, -33 points behind Denny Hamlin with two races to go. But the prediction here is different as I believe that Johnson will go out, lead the most laps and win next week at Phoenix, closing the points gap and making this a race for the championship go into Homestead (which I will address next week).

Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship

Last Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway, Brad Keselowski, who had a huge points lead over Carl Edwards in the Nationwide Series Drivers championship clinched his first NASCAR drivers championship with a 3rd place finish in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge. Congrats to Brad Keselowski, hell of a job.

However in the Nationwide Series, there is a second championship still up for grabs with 2 races to go and that would be the Owner’s Championship. Yes race fans, Penske Racing hasn’t won the championship yet and #18- Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota normally driven by Kyle Busch still holds the lead with an 81 point lead over Penske Racing with the #22 Dodge driven by Brad Keselowski.

I’m not surprised that this Owners’ championship has ended up like this and JGR can thank Kyle Busch for this one and in one part to Kyle Busch putting Brad Keselowski into the wall at the summer Bristol Nationwide Series race. So if the points stay the same it could be Brad Keselowski winning the drivers championship and JGR as the Owner’s Championship and I have a feeling that’s exactly how it’s going to happen.

Truck Series Owner’s Championship

With 2 races to go in the Truck Series season, the drivers championship is just about over considering the points leader Todd Bodine has a 230 point lead over second place Aric Almirola, the main focus now turns to the Owner’s Championship that ironically looks a lot like the Nationwide’s Series Owner’s Championship with #18-Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota having a 72 point lead over second place #30-Germain Racing Toyota.

In a lot of the same ways as the Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship, I would say borrowing a bad finish, the standings with stay the same with Todd Bodine as the drivers champion and Kyle Busch Motorsports winning the Owner’s championship.

I do have to say one thing in that I think it sucks that when a full-time driver with the same team all season long wins the drivers championship only, that is terrible, but that’s racing and as of now that’s NASCAR’s way of thinking.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and wild card Martin Truex Jr. are the ones to watch in Race 8 of the Chase at Texas.

As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rolls into Race 8 of the chase for the Sprint Cup Championship in the Long Star state at Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s race, the numbers have changed in the points standings after the spoiler Clint Bowyer survived the Big one and narrowly beating his teammate Kevin Harvick to win at Talladega Superspeedway.

Right now, Jimmie Johnson has a slim 14 point lead over second place Denny Hamlin and a 38 point lead over third place Kevin Harvick. As of now, it’s the top 3 in points that are contending for the championship with 3 races to go.

However as the top 3 in points as well as chase driver Jeff Gordon are the favorites heading into Texas Motor Speedway, the non-chase drivers are more of the ones to watch again this week including MWR driver Martin Truex Jr. who is coming off a 6th place finish at Talladega last week and heading into Texas will be driving a special NAPA Paint Scheme that features more than 2,400 names of breast cancer survivors and victims written in pink on a blue car.

Anytime I see a special paint scheme that honors the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, I tend to take notice and while I don’t know anyone in my life that is a breast cancer survivor, I am blessed to have my sister, my mother, my grandmother in my life today.


No. 56 car breast cancer tribute paint scheme to run this weekend in Texas - The NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota will feature more than 2,400 names of breast cancer survivors and victims written in pink on the blue car. Additionally, NAPA AUTO PARTS is donating $250,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

(Photos Source: MSLGroup for NAPA AUTO PARTS and Michael Waltrip Racing)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Clint Bowyer beats Kevin Harvick by a nose as Big One happens in the AMP Energy 500 in Talladega: The Top 6 NASCAR things learned from Race 7 of the chase.

As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is shifting gears and sets off from Talladega to race 8 of the chase at Texas Motor Speedway next weekend, unfortunately they will do so will heavy hearts as NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter, (whose career in motorsports spanned portions of six decades as both a journalist and public relations professional), died last Friday night in Daytona Beach, Fla. following a 12-month battle with cancer. He was 71. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

With that said, this past weekend say plenty of action as Race 7 of the Chase at Talladega Superspeedway proved to be just another wild card in this year’s chase. So here are the top 5 things learned from Talladega.

1. Clint Bowyer survives and win the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega. As the white flag comes out, the Big One happens with A.J. Allmendinger going air born, meanwhile when the caution came out, Clint Bowyer was just a nose in front of his teammate Kevin Harvick and won the race.

2. Pit crews. Isn’t it funny that when Clint Bowyer won today’s race, he won with Harvick’s former #29 pit crew (and a different crew chief). I truly believe that it isn’t just the pit crew that was the problem, but more so the driver Kevin Harvick in that case. And I also believe that Harvick yelling at his crew members over the radio doesn’t help none either. It’s all in how that driver pumps up his crew that’s makes a difference especially with all of these professional pit crews. 

But I do feel bad for the former #33 crew as they don’t get to celebrate in victory lane with Clint Bowyer because of the swap.

3. Chase drivers. The top 12 chase drivers had mixed results and top 3 emerge as true contenders with now three races to go in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

As of 5:22pm, Jimmie Johnson finished 7th and is the points leader, Denny Hamlin finishes 9th and is now 2nd in points, –14 behind and Kevin Harvick finishes 2nd and is over 30 points behind.

4. Non-chase drivers find success as well at Talladega. David Reutimann, Juan Montoya, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. all finished in the top 6.

5. Robby Gordon creates new energy drink (SPEED Energy) to sponsor race team. On Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, Robby Gordon introduced a new energy drink that he developed to sponsor his race team.

This one is interesting to me especially considering Gordon use to have Monster Energy drink as a sponsor, however I will give Robby Gordon credit, since many companies are cutting budgets and not sponsoring race teams right now, Gordon decided to create his own sponsorship sort of speak or potential revenue source for his race team. And while there are several energy drinks on the market right now including Monster and AMP, it’s a good idea to at least try and develop something new and if it works, that will be big for him and his racing career.

6. Jamie McMurray ran Dale Earnhardt Bass Pro Shop paint scheme from the 1998 NASCAR All-Star race at Talladega. Honestly, while I really respect the fact that drivers and of course T. Earnhardt (and Richard Childress sometimes as this is an EGR car) wants to run special paint schemes to honor Dale Earnhardt, I really don’t understand this one though. Dale Earnhardt ran this famous paint scheme back in 1998 at Charlotte in the All-Star race, not at Talladega, so why run it here at Talladega? Why not run a black with bright red strip paint scheme with instead of GM Goodwrench on the hood, have Bass Pro Shop on it at Talladega considering 10 years ago was Dale Earnhardt’s last Cup Series victory. I’m just saying especially as a Dale Earnhardt fan.

Note: I realize that so many NASCAR fans, media members, drivers and more circle both Talladega Superspeedway Cup Series races on the calendar because of what they call the excitement factor. However I have to say that in watching most of this 188 lap race, I was so board in watching this race, it wasn’t even funny. I find no real excitement in either Talladega races and that’s just my take. But below I broke the race, headlines and results down as best as possible. 

All I can say now is thank you that NASCAR is finally past all four restrictor plate races and the Cup Series drivers can now get down to some real racing especially in who wants the Sprint Cup Championship. The next stop is Texas Motor Speedway with Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin among the favorites to win the race.

Friday, October 29, 2010

NASCAR: Harvick vs. Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon vs. Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch vs. Johnson, sounds like Martinsville too me.



As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has already unloaded and practiced at Talladega Superspeedway, I just wanted to take this moment and put a period on last week's episode if you will in the chase for the Sprint Cup.

The above clip is from this past Wednesday night's Inside NASCAR on Showtime and after hearing what these four guys thought, here is my take, and yes Chris Myers was right, Harvick does come off sounding like a jurk on the radio.

Note: Inside NASCAR seems to be a show that I'm actually enjoying and that is mainly due to the multi-part recaps of the previous race including all of the unedited radio chatter which gets heated at times.

And as I say that, Martinsville was some of the most heated radio chatter I've heard all season long from Harvick vs. teammate Burton, Kyle Busch vs. Jimmie Johnson to Jeff Gordon vs. Kurt Busch. Isn't amazing, we basically have most of the case of suspects on this list.

First, Johnson vs. Busch: Jimmie Johnson's job isn't to pull over and let Kyle Busch pass him, instead its to make him work for it. Both are running for a championship and points matter, but so does racing. This is a race, race for the spot period. And good for Johnson to make Busch earn the spot, but I don't know about the middle finger part, wow...

Second, Kevin Harvick vs. Jeff Burton: Burton was just plain racing and especially at Martinsville where everything is tight, you are bound to upset people. And Harvick does sound like a jurk on the radio especially with his pit crew. Personally I didn't see Burton do anything wrong, he was just racing for position and trying to get into to position to possibly win the race.

Third, Jeff Gordon vs. Kurt Busch: Gordon went into turn 3 hard and pushed Busch out of the way. However at this point I would have expected Busch to go into turn 1 and do the same to Gordon. But instead Kurt Busch loss all respect and any class and wrecked (payback) Gordon the straightaway instead, basically ending any hopes for Gordon in the championship.

As much as I'm not a Gordon fan, Gordon didn't deserve what he got. Of course Busch now claims its payback that goes back in the #2's history including when Rusty Wallace drove the car. Busch, deal with what Gordon did to you, and let Wallace deal with Gordon himself (which he already did several times) and Kurt Busch should get a life and learn how to drive. That move took no talent, no skill and no brains, it was the wrong move to make and in the perfect NASCAR, he would have been parked for the remainder of the race.

Well that basically caps off Martinsville, now I wonder what will happen Sunday at Talladega...oh brother, I don't like Talladega period.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kurt Busch makes a blatant payback move wrecking Jeff Gordon in the Tums 500 in Martinsville: The Top 6 NASCAR things learned from Race 6 of the chase.

Welcome readers, after this past weekend’s racing at Martinsville Speedway, the NASCAR Cup Series chase for the Sprint Cup has just four races to go in the 2010 season and now sees a 3-man battle for the championship. So what are the top 6 NASCAR things learned from Martinsville II race.

1. Kurt Busch takes a page from Carl Edwards playbook and makes a blatant payback move wrecking Jeff Gordon. This terrible move by Kurt Busch couldn’t have come at a worse time for Jeff Gordon as unlike Kurt Busch who just quit the chase last weekend at Charlotte, Gordon still had a decent shot at his fifth championship, that until after a turn 3 bump, let Kurt Busch to make a blatant payback move on Jeff Gordon on the front straightaway. That move by Kurt Busch took no brains or talent by Kurt Busch to pull off and yet the stupid this is he will get away with it because NASCAR doesn’t care. This is the junk that turns me off about NASCAR.

NASCAR, this is what NASCAR racing is suppose to be all about, fans cheer for there favorite driver and in this case, its Dale Earnhardt Jr. who lead at Martinsville and finished 7th. And not the "Boy's Have at it!" (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR via Yahoo! Sports)

2. Mark Martin has another good run, finishing in 2nd at Martinsville. After a long season for Mark Martin, Martin in a battered racecar ends up being the fastest car in the long run to charge his way up and finishing in 2nd. Good job.

3. RCR swaps pit crews between #29 Kevin Harvick and #33 Clint Bowyer and proves #29 pit crew can get the job done. Honestly in a lot of cases in NASCAR, it isn’t the pit crew or the crew chief that is the problem, but the driver. And in the case of Kevin Harvick vs. his old pit crew, Harvick in my opinion was the problem.

Now of course I wonder how long it will be before Harvick blames his pit crew, his life line in racing for his problems during a race? Give it one or two more races before it all comes apart for the #29 team. But I do want to add something, if Jimmie Johnson doesn’t win this championship, then I would like to see RCR finally win another Cup Series championship.

4. Kasey Kahne release from RPM, joins Red Bull Racing early, starting at Martinsville. (Read more…)

5. Denny Hamlin wins at Martinsville, and is within –6 points of Jimmie Johnson in chase standings. Wow Denny Hamlin winning at Martinsville, there’s a shocker and yet the big story is Kurt Busch vs. Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin finishing 2nd, oh well, better luck next time Denny, now its just page five news.

6. NASCAR Facebook page surprises 1 Million “Likes” or fans. On Thursday, I received a PR email saying that the NASCAR Facebook page passed 1 Million “likes”.

As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has just four races to go, many in the media have pegged Talladega as the wild card race. However while I peg every race as a wild card, it will be interesting to see what will happen at Talladega Superspeedway and who will emerge as the championship leader. But I do dread Talladega, I just simply put dislike Talladega racing period, so next week might be an off week for me.
And after a good run for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Martinsville, can Dale Jr. win at Talladega, anything can happen.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kasey Kahne released from RPM, heads to Red Bull Racing effective immediately, but what does the future hold for Richard Petty Motorsports?

As I sit here on a Thursday evening reading some of my favorite blogs, forums and websites, I came across several bits of news that was released not only last night, but also throughout the morning and noon time hours.

Kasey Kahne to Red Bull Racing effective immediately:
Over the past week, one of NASCAR’s rising stars Kasey Kahne has had a tough time. During last weekend’s Charlotte 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kahne crashed on-track and the car went to the garage area. The #9 Budweiser Ford would return to the racetrack, but instead of Kahne behind the wheel, it was JJ Yeley as the team stated that Kahne was sick. During the race on Twitter, it was said that Kahne wasn’t sick, but mad about the car.

However on Wednesday night, Richard Petty Motorsports announced they are releasing Kasey Kahne effectively immediately. It was also announced that Aric Almirola who was scheduled to drive the #83 Toyota, now will be driving the #9 at Martinsville.

It’s also great to see that teams are calling Aric Almirola to drive there cars, he deserves to be able to prove himself in NASCAR.

But it didn’t take long from Kahne to land at another team. Earlier today, Red Bull Racing released a statement that said Kasey Kahne will be driving the #83 for the remainder of the 2010 Cup Series season starting at Martinsville.
MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Kasey Kahne’s year-plus stay in a Red Bull Toyota starts early and he’ll begin driving the No. 83 this weekend at Martinsville Speedway, Red Bull Racing Team announced Thursday.
Kahne was released from Richard Petty Motorsports on Wednesday night, paving the way for the 30-year-old to drive the No. 83 in the final five races beginning with Sunday’s Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Kahne will drive a Red Bull Toyota full-time in 2011 before moving to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.

“With our agreement only being for one year, there is a great sense of urgency to get started on 2011,” said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team’s vice president and general manager. “With Kasey coming earlier than planned, we are excited to have a five-race head start.”

For Kahne, the Martinsville weekend allows him to get acclimated with Red Bull Racing Team cars and personnel. He, crew chief Jimmy Elledge and the No. 83 crew open the weekend with practice Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET. (Source: Red Bull Racing)
Now of course, I will be interested in seeing how the chemistry is between Kasey Kahne, his new crew chief Jimmy Elledge and the rest of the #83 team starting this weekend at Martinsville and throughout the rest of the 2010 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Can Kahne be successful in his new ride especially with this early start?
I think so and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kahne make the chase (if there is one) in 2011 and be a contender. And maybe win a race or two in 2011. Kahne has the talent to win races and championships, he just needs a good team with good equipment behind him.

What is the future of Richard Petty Motorsports?
In and among all of the Kasey Kahne news online and on Twitter, several news reports said that according to sources, Richard Petty Motorsports might not make it financially past this weekend’s Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway and that Roush-Fenway Racing has repossessed engines and chassis's from RPM over no payment. At the same time, it was also rumored that one reason why RPM released Kahne was that they owned him back pay.

Now, none of this has been made official or confirmed and for anybody who knows me, I hate dealing in rumors and speculation. So on that note, my opinion is that I’m not surprised that these rumors are coming out especially after last year’s nightmare that RPM put Reed Sorenson went through in that Reed had to drive for free just to keep the team member paid. And I wouldn’t be surprised if RPM didn’t exist next season. But I will say that I feel bad for Richard Petty himself because he is in this mess and his name is on this race team.

If RPM closes up shop, where does Marcos Ambrose go in 2011?
I’m thinking at Roush-Fenway Racing especially if Ford wants him to and maybe even driving the #6 UPS Ford. I know that, that is a bold prediction, however this is NASCAR and just about anything is possible and if a person wants something to happen especially a manufacturer, it might just happen.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kevin Harvick unveil 2011 Budweiser paint scheme, that's cool!


(Photo(s) credit: Tweet from @Mother_Function: @ getting ready to unveil 2011 Budweiser paint scheme in New... http://twitpic.com/2z1ryw and http://twitpic.com/2z1mqp

I always thought that there was something missing from the normal Budweiser paint scheme as well as Kevin Harvick's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racecars, now we know, they need to be black with red detailing. Now I can't wait to see this one on track at Daytona in February.

Formula 1: Red Bull takes a lap of the new Korean Grand Prix track.



Boy, Red Bull sure does lay it on thick with this virtual lap, I mean one car spins out half way through the lap, while the other goes on and yet coming to the line, they are side-by-side, door to door for the lap lead. But in all seriousness, this new Korean GP circuit looks cool in virtual layout and on paper, but I wonder if its the real deal in person? I will be interested in seeing juist what Formula 1 can do on this new circuit. And I sure hope that the race does including some real life passing and not just virtual ones.

(Video Source: SPEEDtv.com)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jamie McMurray wins, more chase drivers drop in points, while Johnson spins and recovers to finish 3rd: The top 6 NASCAR things learned from Race 5 of the Chase - Charlotte.

Welcome readers, after this past weekend’s racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is official half way home in the chase for the Sprint Cup which means we have just five races to go in the 2010 season. So what are the top 6 NASCAR things learned from Charlotte II race.
1. Jamie McMurray is the comeback story of 2010. Since Jamie McMurray joined back up with Chip Ganassi and his raceteam Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing with Felix,  McMurray, who is having his best season to date in his Cup Series career, has found success in several races this season including winning the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 and last Saturday night’s Charlotte 500 along with finishing second at Talladega in the spring race and now being 13th in points. What a run for McMurray, now all he needs is a contract for 2011.
2. Jimmie Johnson and the #48 team are both lucky and good. Earlier on in last Saturday night’s Charlotte 500, Jimmie Johnson found himself spinning off of turn 2 after getting loose on his own and with a stroke of luck and some good car control, Johnson managed to keep the car off the wall and didn’t get hit. From that point, the #48 team kept their car on the lead lap and in contention. Johnson would end up battling his way back up into the top 5 to finish 3rd on the night and ahead of his nearest championship competitors.
3. Several chase contenders had a bad night and fall further down in the points. Several chase including Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards now find themselves over 200 points out and realistically out of hunt for the championship. You just can’t make mistakes at this point in the season and even if Johnson has a bad race, they will just gain a little bit on the him, but not over take him for the lead.
4. Non-chase drivers Joey Logano and David Regan come home with top 10 finishes.
5. Kasey Kahne counting the days to leaving RPM. During the Charlotte 500, it was reported that after Kasey Kahne went to the garage for several laps for repairs, Kahne was sick and left the track. JJ Yeley would finish off the race more than 120 laps down. However according to reporters on Twitter, he was mad and sick of his car. Kahne has had an up and down season and has to be read for 2011.
6. Nationwide Series race at Charlotte was more exciting than Cup Series Charlotte 500 race. As Brad Keselowski outdueled both Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch to win last Friday’s Nationwide Series race at Charlotte, which was the final race for the Nationwide COT car, I found that the Nationwide Series race with the new COT was more entertaining to watch then the Cup Series race the following night for the most part. Simply put, the racing was better with more side-by-side racing especially late in the race when Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. where swapping the lead around and going door to door for several laps. This should be interesting in 2011.
Final Lap: I leave you with this question, “how does NASCAR justify giving Charlotte Motor Speedway two Cup dates and the All-Star race after another race with low attendance, when there are several other tracks that could do better with the date?” Iowa Speedway should be given a chance to prove themselves.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Poll: Who is most likely to win the Sprint Cup championship this year

Over on Speedtv.com, the site is currently running a poll that asks Motorsports fans "Poll: Who is most likely to win the Sprint Cup championship this year:".

The chooses are:
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kyle Busch
4. One of the 9 other chase drivers.

At the time of posting this, Jimmie Johnson leads with 55.13%, while 31.03% voted for one of the 9 other drivers.

My Take: I would say that Jimmie Johnson will most likely win and take his fifth straight championship because he and the #48 team is just that good. However as one fan put it to me earlier today, there is still five races to go and he believes that one of the 9 other drivers will surge forward, over take Johnson and Hamlin and win the championship. As of now, I see the top 6 driver still in this despite being -177 points out. Anything more is too much to gain in five races.

Anything can happen in the last five races: Martinsville, Talladega, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami, they are all wildcards in this day and age.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Video: Tony Stewart on Inside NASCAR: “We can win this championship.”



As the Charlotte 500 approaches tomorrow night at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, it will be Race 5 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. So far after 4 races, Jimmie Johnson has a slim 36 point lead over 2nd place Denny Hamlin and a 56 point lead over 3rd place Kevin Harvick.

But after a good finish at Kansas Speedway and a victory last week at California Speedway, Tony Stewart has made up a good 60 points on championship lead Jimmie Johnson and now finds himself 5th in points and more importantly only -107 points out of the lead. Right now for the top 5 in points, any one of them have a good shot at winning the Sprint Cup this year. However just like at any race anything can happen.

Personally, I believe that Tony Stewart can win his 3rd Cup Series championship this year, but in order for Smoke to win, he would have to continue finishing in front of the points leader (in this case Jimmie Johnson) and gain a good 20-30 points per race. And yes history has shown us it can be done.

But this is Jimmie Johnson's championship to lose.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

NASCAR: Pearson, Allison, Petty, Jarrett, and Moore are the 2011 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Today at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, NASCAR (with Brian France announcing) announced the 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductees. I believe that each year is going to get harder as we go along, but that’s the way it should be.

But even more after all of the debate, including who should be in and why vs. who shouldn’t be and why, we finally have the second class of the Hall of Fame. So without further delay, here we go.

1. 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.

2. Bobby Allison. 1983 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and winner of 84 races.

3. Lee Petty. Winner of the first Daytona 500 and first three-time series champion.

4. Ned Jarrett. Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and TV Broadcaster.

5. Bud Moore. 63 wins and two NASCAR Sprint Cup titles as a car owner.

Wow, I have to admit, I’m shocked in a lot of ways with this list. I really only picked 2 out of 5, but one I should have looked at even further. Of course they are all deserving to be in the Hall of Fame.

But I will say that David Pearson was a no brainer and he should have been in last year. Lee Petty is the same way. Petty won the first Daytona 500 and was one person that made a living out of racing in NASCAR. He formed Petty Enterprises.

One the other hand, I felt that Bobby Allison as well as Ned Jarrett were both surprises. However Bud Moore was a welcome treat. So many drivers have driven for Bud Moore including Darrell Waltrip.
As for 2012, I would have to say that Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, and Dale Inman are all favorites for next year, but I do hope that some would consider the Nine-time NASCAR Modified champion including eight consecutively from 1978-85, Richie Evans as a contender next year. The NASCAR Hall of Fame isn’t just for the Cup Series, its for all of NASCAR.

But like this year told us, nobody is a lock.

Related Article:
- Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson, Bill France Sr. and Jr. are the Inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

NASCAR: Tony Stewart wins, several chase drivers fall, Mark Martin leads most laps, while Johnson extends points lead after Race 4 of the Chase - California.

As several people decided to mourn this past weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Southern California as the Pepsi Max 400 was the final fall race at the speedway, I have to admit that I believe NASCAR made the right call in pulling one of California Speedway’s Cup dates. However I also will say that the date should have been either open or go to Canada or even Iowa Speedway and not to Kansas Speedway.
But it is what it is.
However even though there wasn’t a big crowd on hand for Sunday’s Cup Series race, the final fall race at California Speedway would go out in style as being an exciting race to watch. I especially loved the fact that California Speedway and NASCAR made this race a 400 mile, instead of 500 mile. Here are my top 5 things learned at California.
1. Kyle Busch vs. David Reutimann and Chase drivers vs. Non-chase drivers.
When it comes to Busch vs. Reutimann, I have to say that I agree that Reutimann had to strike back. Kyle Busch has to learn that he can’t keep running his mouth and and driving so aggressive or even dirty against his competitive, otherwise he will be on the receiving end of payback. And I will go on record and saying this wouldn’t be the last time we see a feud that includes payback. Another driver will payback Kyle Busch this season, most likely in Homestead especially if that driver is going for a championship right now.
As for Chase driver vs. Non-chase drivers. There is no free pass for a chase driver and all 36 races in 2010 are 43 drivers, not 12. All drivers on the racetrack are competing for the victory, a points position and should be respected.
(Read more…)
2. Tony Stewart makes statement and wins Pepsi Max 400. On Sunday, Tony Stewart refused to quit when it comes to the championship hunt, but even more, Stewart is now on a hot streak after two bad chase races (New Hampshire and Dover) to continue his strong finishes. Stewart held off a hard charging Clint Bowyer and a fast Jimmie Johnson. Tony Stewart now finds himself 5th in the points standings and –107 points back.
3. Several chase drivers fall. Last week, I could honestly say that the top 10 drivers were still realistically in the hunt for the chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, but now its more of the top 7 drivers in the chase are contenders. Carl Edwards is right now on the bubble –162 back, I believe 162 is border line and is one race out. Anything more with 6 races to go, is a strength at best. But on Sunday, at least 9 chase drivers had issues in the race. Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, and Kyle Busch all had engine issues and finished in the back. Jeff Gordon had a speeding penalty just to name a few.
4. Mark Martin lead the most laps on Sunday. Mark Martin was the driver I picked before the Daytona 500 to win the Cup Series championship this season. However it wasn’t meant to be as this season has been anything but championship contending here in 2010. But its good to see that the #5 Mark Martin was running up front on Sunday and hopefully this good run will continue on into next weekend at Charlotte.
5. Jimmie Johnson despite not being the favorite to win is still leading the chase. As the 2010 Cup Season is in full swing with the chase, it has been anything but a normal season especially with NASCAR’s “Boy’s Have at it”. And that goes for Jimmie Johnson as well, he hasn’t had that impact season. However Johnson is still out front of the points standings with 36 points over second place Denny Hamlin and 54 points over 3rd place Kevin Harvick.
Now we look ahead to Charlotte Motor Speedway for this Saturday Night’s 500 miler. I would have to say that the favorites would have to be Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mobil 1 joins Office Depot as a co-primary sponsor of Tony Stewart's #14 in 2011. (Photos)

Earlier today at Stewart-Haas Racing, it was announced that after months of speculation and rumors, Mobil 1 would co-sponsor Tony Stewart's #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet Impala SS in 2011. Also revealed at the press conference was the new 2011 Chevy Impala SS nose that looks similar to the Nationwide COT car.

As a Tony Stewart fan, Tony not only winning last Sunday at California, being now 5th in the championship standings and now signing Mobil 1 as a co-sponsor is great to see. And what a good look for the new car.

(Photo Credit: Stewart-Haas Racing Facebook)