Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Its March 31st and April Fools jokes are already in full swing on the internet.

Early today I have read two news headlines that were in fact April’s Fools Jokes. Yeah I have to say that while I’m not much for April fools jokes, these two grow into a lot of talk.

1. Over at From the Marbles – A NASCAR blog, he had a headline that read “Would you change your name to TexasMotorSpeedway.com?"where Gossage offered Dallas country-music morning show host Terry Dorsey $100k to change his name to TexasMotorSpeedway.com for one year and have a tattoo. Later, it was said that Dorsey accepted the offer to change his name for one year. Now TMS has announced that it was all a hoax.

(From the article) "We meant no malice," Gossage told ESPN.com's Terry Blount on Wednesday. "This started when the radio station [KSCS 96.3-FM] asked us if we would play along. We thought it would only be a radio promotion and that would be it. But it kind of caught fire and grew into something we didn't expect."

What a little promotion this was, but you know when something hits the internet and especially on a slow day, the story headline has the possibly to explode into national headlines. And ladies and gentlemen this was no different. This story took off like wildfire and it’s gotten big.

However this leads me to ask, was the headline positive or negative for them? I know that TMS had no idea that this wasn’t going to hit the internet and get so big, but now they know and TMS all I got to say to you is: welcome to the digital age where Twitter, Facebook, Lifestreams, Blogs, Forums and sites play a huge role in life and getting the stories out. People share just about everything like crazy and when we get it, it sometimes goes like wildfire.

Personally I really didn’t notice to much on this headline, especially as I had published an article here on RaceDriven.com a few weeks ago asking “Does this advertisement really sell tickets for the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway?” where I got interesting comments to say the least.

Now you might be wondering what’s next, well…

2. Over at ProBlogger, a blogging site I read daily and have emailed to my box, has published this April Fools joke that read “ProBlogger Acquired by Google”. Needless to say, this one caught many readers as well off guard as today is March 31st (here in the United States), but its April 1st in Australia where Darren lives and runs ProBlogger. With this one, good one Darren, you even had me going there for a moment.

If I read anymore that are really interesting, I will publish them right on this posting, so until next or until RaceDriven gets acquired by Google, Happy April Fools Day.

Now I’m going back to my flooded basement (two inches of water) and that’s no April Fools joke neither as I live in Massachusetts, first time too.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How has the economy effected NASCAR and can you really compare it to the Master’s Tournament?

Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Welcome to a unique prospective that even I really never expected to address and yet here we are. This all started last week when I asked a question to my readers about the TMS “Approved” campaign that uses wrecks to promote the upcoming race and sell tickets. And while the responses where both positive and negative, one response warranted this article on it.
Comment: Anonymous said “How do you account for the large numbers of empty seats at races, the steep decline in NASCAR revenues and the near bankruptcy of the souvenir side of the racing business, not to mention the disappearance of many publications and the firing of numerous media types? By the way, Tiger Woods is selling tickets like hotcakes. Just try to get a Masters pass.....”
Wow, I was surprised by this comment especially after a previous comment about Tiger Woods being compared to NASCAR, which there is no comparison, its night to day.

Let’s start with the Master’s, the Masters Tournament is one of the four major championships in professional golf which is held at Augusta National Golf Club (in early April), a private golf club in Georgia, USA.

While the tickets are not expensive, the tickets to the actual tournament are sold only to members of a patrons list. Augusta National Golf Club does not announce attendance figures, but from what I have read, people close to the club figure that about 35,000 ticket-holders attend the Masters each of the four days of competition and about 45,000 are allowed inside on each of the three practice days. If that is somewhat correct, damn.

If you compare that NASCAR, wow, you’re on a different planet. But numbers is what it’s about and when you compare that to New Hampshire that sells out with 95,000 seats and Bristol at 165,000 seats, that’s almost 3 times just for New Hampshire along and anybody can buy a ticket at NHMS, but not for The Masters.

With that all said including the Master’s and Tiger Woods, let get the meat and potatoes of this comment. I want to first start by saying that for the last few years, we as a country and beyond has been hit by a tough economy and as more and more America’s especially have lost their jobs, times are tough and that means cuts backs to say the least. Companies are cutting back is a big way.

Which bring us to NASCAR. These cut backs are effecting everybody including NASCAR teams, drivers, owners, race tracks, sponsorships, and all the way right down to NASCAR themselves.

Sponsors are cutting back too. Long are the days that most sponsors are willing to spend $15-20+ million dollars a year per car. Now we see multi-sponsors picking up a season on one car. Roush-Fenway racing is a classic example, they have several sponsors that buy races, not seasons. But the key here is sponsors are still advertising in NASCAR, of course that’s mainly in the Cup Series.

But even more so, the cut backs are affecting the average NASCAR fan too. Which includes (but not limited too) buying tickets and souvenirs. The average NASCAR fan simply doesn’t have the money anymore to attend a lot of races nor buy souvenirs anymore. I can say in this house, money’s tight period and buying especially diecasts over $60 isn’t going to happen. As far as tickets go, we will be lucky to do one race this season at $39 per ticket (2 tickets need) and that most likely wouldn’t happen neither.

Which brings us to the so-called empty seats? When I look back at 2009 and the first five races of 2010, I’m surprised to see that racetracks are selling more tickets. One reason is the $40 tickets. This helps out NASCAR fans big time. If racetracks are not offering tickets starting at $40, they’re losing big. But as I keep saying in previous articles, NASCAR fans want to see a god product meaning good racing and some just don’t have it.

Several racetracks including Bristol, New Hampshire, Charlotte (that I know of), Las Vegas, Phoenix, Talladega, Richmond, Darlington and Homestead have all sold a lot of tickets and for most are either are near sell out or sold out on race day. New Hampshire and Bristol especially are near sell outs each time.

Bristol in Spring 2010 had around 90,000-100,000 people and on a rain threading day. The night Cup Series races normally sell out though.

However California and Atlanta markets for example as well as Martinsville just can’t hold two dates anymore, we have known this for a long time, and of course weather does play a role. But I will say that saying that racetracks are not selling a lot of tickets to NASCAR races is simply incorrect, seats do sell. Just watch the races.

Souvenirs? NASCAR fans are buying, but at nowhere near what they use too. The prices are one big reason, but people are cutting back there the most. Jackets are $100 plus, shirts are $25-$30, that’s just an example. Although diecasts are simply too expensive and they make too many them on top of that. Hell, the diecasts lose their value in less than one year because there are so many of them on the market. As for less popular drivers, they just don’t sell as many, so they are left with a lot of inventory.

The tough economy has also affected many publications both print (magazines, newspapers) and online. I will say one thing, consumers are getting their news online through blogs, forums, and sites and not to mention on television.

BUT they are NOT buying newspapers. Newspapers in my opinion are a thing of the past that few buy regularly now. We get just the Sunday paper and it’s not worth much. Newspaper sales are down heavily all over the country and if consumers are not buying, then advertisers are not buying and then newspapers are not making money and no money equal laying off staff. You get the picture, supply vs. demand. I learned this school.

So it doesn’t surprise me that the first people to go is in sports and motorsports reporters including NASCAR media. That’s just a product of the economy and newspaper sales being down.

The same goes for online, but in a different way. Advertisers simply are not spending as much money as they use too. They are cutting their budgets in half. As a person who accepts advertising here on RaceDriven.com, my sales are down because advertisers are tightening their belts.

But at the end of the day, NASCAR isn’t over by any means, it’s just changing with the times. Economy affects everybody period and everybody includes NASCAR. However NASCAR still has a huge fan base, is very popular and continues to runs strong in my opinion.

But I will say that NASCAR isn’t the hot trend as it was years ago and people need to relies that, it has leveled off and that begins to really show the true NASCAR fans in full force and that’s a good thing. So many people follow the hot trend now a days, well guess what, they moved on from NASCAR, now you have the diehard NASCAR fans to come out and watch on TV.

However I before I end this one, the television ratings. I believe that the television ratings are down because more NASCAR fans either are finding new ways to watch and follow the races and/or they just don’t like the television broadcasts on FOX, TNT and ESPN. ESPN is the worst of all three from what fans say.

Bottom line, one, NASCAR isn’t dead or over, it’s simply changing. Two, the economy plays a huge role in just about everything and that includes NASCAR in many ways. And finally, to compare Tiger Woods and the Master’s is like comparing night to day. But one question, to the commenter, are you a NASCAR fans or where you? Your answer will explain some of it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Who are the top 5 Heroes, Villains, and Underdogs in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series?

Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, the theme today is an interesting and after the current events two weeks ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the Kobalt Tools 500 with Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski, I thought that this was the right time for this article.

It’s who in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is a Hero, a Villain or an Underdog? I got the concept for this article after watching one of my favorite reality shows Survivor. Right now Survivor is on its 20th season and the theme is Heroes vs. Villains and even though the Villains are winning right now, I’m thinking it will come down to a Hero vs. a Villain.

So that brings us back to this article, who is the Cup Series are the top 5 Heroes, Villains and Underdogs? I really thought about this list. I read blogs, forums, NASCAR sites and listened to what the fans and media were saying and while I’m sure that most drivers on this list will come as no surprise to anyone, some will earn a second look for sure.

The Heroes of the Cup Series:

Each driver has their own way of doing something, but in NASCAR on-track, it’s all about respect and what the fans think of you.

1. Mark Martin is most likely the most respected driver in NASCAR today.
2. Jeff Burton is the unofficial mayor of the garage area.
3. Jimmie Johnson is four-time Cup Series champion with 50 wins. He races people clean and he’s just that damn good.
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the NASCAR’s most popular driver by far.
5. Kasey Kahne, the quiet driver that makes his moves at just the right spot.

Villains:

1. Kurt Busch, the driver that really has tried to clean up his image, but still acts nothing like a Cup Series champion should on the race track.
2. Kyle Busch, is simply put, NASCAR’s bad boy and he’s proud of period. But I will give the guy credit, he can drive.
3. Denny Hamlin, I don’t know what to say about Denny Hamlin, he’s the veteran driver that acts like a rookie. He has a problem with several drivers and half the time even I don’t know why.
4. Juan Montoya, just watch his driver, your figure it out why. He drives a lot like Kyle Busch and when something happens, he says “Get over it.”
5. Brian Vickers, I have no idea why he’s in the series, but he really can’t drive. His first victory came at Talladega years ago after he wrecked his teammate Jimmie Johnson and the former DEI driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. Am I missing something with Vickers? Anybody?

Underdogs and ones to watch:

1. David Reutimann, one of the most quietest drivers and unrated in years.
2. Joey Logano, the upstart rookie that has a lot of talent and this 19 year old is one to watch every week. And after 5 race in 2010, is the best Joe Gibbs Racing driver in the JGR stable by far and the most talented.
3. Marcos Ambrose, the Austrailian V8 supercar champion turned NASCAR driver. There is more to Ambrose then just the label road course driver.
4. A.J. Allmendinger, despite a few areas and mistakes, A.J. can drive and win the NASCAR. He had several wins in the former Champ Car series and now drives for RPM.
5. Brad Keselowski, Brad has a big future NASCAR, is very talents and will win races and championship before too long in the Cup Series once he gives a little on=track to his competitors.

The concept of rating each driver especially into one of in this case three categories is nothing new, the media and fans have been doing it for years, so has NASCAR. So when I started to think of this article and look at the cast of drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to choose from, it became apparent that there would be a few drivers that automatically fit one category by majority vote and others that didn’t fit any.

Take Hamlin, and the Busch brothers, it was easy for me to choose them for the Villains category because they are and most fans know it, none of them get it and when it doesn’t go their way, they loss it period.

While Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, and Jimmie Johnson were easy picks for the Heroes category. They are well respected drivers on and off-track, the other competitors look up to them and they are winners in my book among others.

Now some drivers didn’t make the list because I was only picking 5 per category or they just didn’t fit a particular category. Take Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards, they are not Villains although they do act unique, there not Heroes nor underdogs, but Carl Edwards if he keeps it up, may just past Vickers on the Villains list, however that would take some time. As for Jeff Gordon, he would have been 10th on the villains list and for sure Robby Gordon would have been 6th if I was counting 6.

If you created a list like this, who would be in your three categories and did I miss somebody? Do keep in mind that I’m a Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart fan plus Mark Martin is my sentimental favorite. However I’m not a fan of Denny Hamlin, Kyle or Kurt Busch, none of them get it and when it doesn’t go their way, they loss it period.

Any thoughts and/or surprises?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bullrun 3 One Helluva Ride hits the streets as the season is just heating up.

Five teams have already gone home, Team VW, Team Corvette, Team Viper, Team Mini and Team Mustang are all sent packing.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to “My Take” on season 3 of Bullrun with everything that has happened so far. In watching the first two seasons of Bullrun, you would have thought that the game would have once again came with a few more tweaks, bigger challenges and be the same as the previous seasons. However season 3 is anything but normal Bullrun style.

In season 3 of Bullrun, the rules are basically the same as season 2 which is a good thing, but with two changes. First there is no Goldberg’s way or the highway, like I said, a good thing. And the second change is… On select stages, the first team to reach the special checkpoint if you will gets an immunity wrench. That team if they’re chosen to be thrown into the challenge, then that team can use the immunity and another team will be selected. A wrench, fitting isn’t it for Bullrun.

However season 3 is more like CBS’s Big Brother in which the slogan is “expect the unexpected” and boy is that so true. The season 3 theme is let’s be aggressive and for some be dirty.

In every season of Bullrun so far, you will end up seeing those teams that you love, those teams that you hate and those that are just going home for whatever reason. In season 1, it was Team Lotus and Team Olds that were the teams to hate. While at least for me, Team Charger and Team Trans-Am were the teams to cheer for. Of course it was Team Trans-am that won.

In season 2, it was Team Avalanche and Team VW that were the teams to hate. While at least for me it was Team Corvette and Shelby (Shelby GT500 Super Snake) were the teas to cheer for. Of course it was Team Shelby who won it.

Now, as for season 3, as I sit here watching the first 5 episodes, right now what a group of people and vehicles, 12 teams, 12 completely different vehicles and the first impressions are unique. It’s Teams Lambo and NSX that really stand out considering they’re the teams hate so far this season. While Teams HEMI Cuda, Hummer and now Team Challenger is the teams to watch and cheer for.

But going more in-depth into each team…

- Team Lambo is the team to beat, but are playing dirty by stealing road signs, creating fake immunity cards and more. Although somebody called the cops on them (but I’m thinking Team Lambo called on themselves, just a thought.) Team Lambo’s strategy is to not win legs, but get immunity wrench and have. But mainly stand out like a sore thumb.

- Team NSX is fast, but is stealing some maps. However they said somebody stole their map, my take is what goes around, comes around, next. In the last episode, they are currently teaming with Team Challenger for navigational help mainly and someone to talk to.

- Team Challenger got off to a slow start, but is coming on strong and is contending against Team Lambo. Team Challenger has won legs and got the immunity wrench, but also thrown into challenges.

- Team HEMI Cuda has won legs as well, but also completed in challenges. They can navigate most of the time, but haven’t been consistent yet. The driver (father) will drive that HEMI Cuda for all its worth.

- Team Hummer (H3) is strong especially in challenges, but need to learn how to navigate.

- Team Lexus is just like last season, two women running hard, but can’t navigate their way from checkpoint to checkpoint. However nonetheless is fun to watch if their car can keep running?

- And Team BMW, I would say I haven’t been able to figure them out, they might be the next team to go home.

What about? Well Team VW, I never got the chance to see as they were first to be eliminated. Unlike last year, Team Corvette never really got up to speed, nor did Team Mini or Team Mustang. However Team Viper was the leader of the pack, but slow in their challenge and sent packing.

After five episodes, season 3 is just heating up.

- The legs are longer, demanding and finding the checkpoints are becoming more difficult, part of Bullrun is navigation period.

I especially loved it when the leg included driving through LA rush hour traffic. Personally I’ve never been off the east coast, so that includes I’ve never been to LA neither, but I know traffic sucks in LA. It’s just a widely popular area.

However the night leg is the real challenge and that’s just part of Bullrun.

But two keys points that are not what Bullrun is about. First had to a team calling the cops on Team Lambo, now nobody knows who called the cops, by Team Lambo was the second thought. I would never involve the cops in a television show, it’s a giant waste of the police officers time and the cities money. Not to mention, it’s illegal to make a false claim. That person better hope we don’t find out who make the call.

And second, stealing maps and roads signs, come on, that’s not Bullrun, that’s just another reality show gone bad. There’s no place in Bullrun for this.

- The Challenges are more dangerous, demanding and exciting them ever, but I wonder what the breaking point is, just asking? Bullrun has thrown explosions, on road, off-road and more at these teams…damn!

The liked the challenge in episode three so far the best. Each team had to navigate a tight course on-road and in the dirty. In the middle, they had to blast through glass, find a briefcase and race off-road and on to the finish line. I was impressed with Team HEMI Cuda and Team Hummer here, they gave it everything. But Team Viper just couldn’t do it especially in a Viper with no traction whatsoever.

But not be outdone, the last challenge with the dirt track, the two mack trucks, a police car and a chase Mustang was especially interesting. And Team HEMI Cuda tank slapping a mack truck, but winning the challenge, that was cool. Not much for damage, but since he has a body shop, he can fix it.

Bullrun is going to really come down to teams winning legs by making the right navigational choices, teams picking the right teams to throw into challenges (Team Lambo would be my first choice) and most importantly, your vehicle being able to raise to the challenge. The first thought was Team Lexus on that one. Now I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Thoughts?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Would the price of car insurance on a particular make and model sway you in buying it?

The Top 20 most and least expensive cars to insure among 2010 models.

Last December I wrote an article called “Can you really afford not to check your car insurance policy regularly”. So in keeping with car insurance, did you know that the make and model of a car does make a big difference in how much you pay.

I have to admit as my family considers buying a used car in the future and as a car enthusiast, I have allows wondered what cars are the most and the least expensive to insurance among 2010 models.

So did you know that the least expensive car to insure is a 2010 Dodge Caliber (passenger car), a 2010 Mazda Tribute I (2WD four-door SUV), while a GMC Canyon WT (2WD 2 Door 2.9L) is the least expensive pickup to insure, and the Honda Odyssey LX (5 Door 2WD SOHC) is the least expensive minivan to insure.

Notice in the SUV and truck category that both are 2WD that has an impact as well on the annual price of your car insurance. It cost more to insure a vehicle with 4WD than 2WD. Another consideration in buying a car is how much horsepower the vehicle has and the model’s “loss history”.

However while the average consumer isn’t going to be buying a supercar, and as an auto enthusiast, I’ve allows wondered about insuring a supercar which brings us to the most expensive car to insure, the 2010 Porsche Carrera GT2 two-door coupe. A 40-year-old male would pay a national average of $2,943.78 for car insurance annually.

The least expensive 2010 vehicles to insure

1 Mazda Tribute I 2WD 4 Door Utility 4 Cylinders $1070.25
2 Honda Odyssey LX 5 Door 2WD SOHC Van 6 Cylinders $1095.26
3 Mazda Tribute I 4WD 4 Door Utility 4 Cylinders $1103.29
4 Chrysler Town & Country LX 2WD 4 Door 3.3L Wagon 6 Cylinders $1119.83
5 Jeep Wrangler X 4WD 2 Door 3.8L Utility 6 Cylinders $1124.38
6 Mazda Tribute S 2WD 4 Door Utility 6 Cylinders $1128.29
7 Dodge Grand Caravan SE 2WD 4 Door 3.3L Wagon 6 Cylinders $1131.06
8 Toyota Sienna CE 4 Door Wagon 6 Cylinders $1133.97
9 Hyundai Tucson GLS 2WD 4 Door Utility 4 Cylinders$1134.08
10 Kia Sportage LX 2WD 4 Door Utility 4 Cylinders $1138.41
11 Honda Odyssey EX 5 Door 2WD SOHC Van 6 Cylinders $1139.80
12 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 4 Door 2WD Utility 6 Cylinders $1141.07
13 Jeep Patriot Sport 2WD 4 Door Utility 4 Cylinders $1145.58
14 Honda CR-V LX 5 Door 2.4L Utility 4 Cylinders $1146.29
15 Dodge Grand Caravan C/V 2WD 4 Door Van 6 Cylinders $1146.53
16 Mazda Tribute S 4WD 4 Door Utility 6 Cylinders $1146.69
17 Toyota Sienna LE 4 Door Wagon 6 Cylinders $1148.78
18 Dodge Journey SE 2WD 4 Door 2.4L Utility 4 Cylinders $1149.59
19 Ford Escape XLS 4WD 4 Door SUV 4 Cylinders $1149.67
20 GMC Canyon WT 2WD 2 Door 2.9L Truck 4 Cylinders $1152.39

The most expensive 2010 vehicles to insure

1 Porsche 911 Carrera GT2 2 Door Coupe 6 Cylinders $2943.78
2 Mercedes S65 AMG 4 Door Sedan 12 Cylinders $2863.03
3 Dodge Viper SRT-10 2 Door Coupe 10 Cylinders $2851.89
4 Porsche Panamera Turbo AWD 4 Door Sedan 8 Cylinders $2837.39
5 Dodge Viper SRT-10 2 Door Convertible 10 Cylinders $2815.90
6 Mercedes CL600 2 Door Coupe 12 Cylinders $2754.80
7 Audi R8 2 Door Coupe AWD 8 Cylinders $2751.55
8 Porsche Panamera S 4 Door Sedan 8 Cylinders $2744.78
9 Mercedes SL600 2 Door Convertible 12 Cylinders $2715.86
10 Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo 2 Door Coupe AWD 6 Cylinders $2706.04
11 Mercedes CL65 AMG 2 Door Coupe 12 Cylinders $2699.74
12 BMW M6 2 Door Convertible 10 Cylinders $2689.13
13 Mercedes S600 4 Door Sedan 12 Cylinders $2667.48
14 Mercedes SL65 AMG Black Series 2 Door Convertible 12 Cylinders $2655.15
15 Mercedes SL65 AMG 2 Door Convertible 12 Cylinders $2653.53
16 Mercedes CL63 AMG 2 Door Coupe 8 Cylinders $2646.92
17 BMW M6 2 Door Coupe 10 Cylinders $2627.27
18 BMW 760Li 4 Door Sedan 12 Cylinders $2565.59
19 Jaguar XKR Portfolio SC 2 Door Coupe 8 Cylinders $2537.79
20 Jaguar XKR Supercharged 2 Door Coupe 8 Cylinders $2533.48

Average car insurance premiums for the top 10 selling vehicles

1 Ford F-Series pickup $1492.71
2 Toyota Camry $1274.61
3 Chevrolet Silverado pickup $1383.10
4 Toyota Corolla $1302.68
5 Honda Accord $1301.20
6 Honda Civic $1362.97
7 Nissan Altima $1399.35
8 Honda CR-V $1161.52
9 Ford Fusion $1354.84
10 Dodge Ram pickup $1467.63

What a list and while some of the vehicles and total have left me scratching my head as to why, what do you think?

(Source: Insure.com)

Disclaimer (from press release): To arrive at the average premiums, Insure.com commissioned a study from Quadrant Information Services that calculated premiums for a 40-year-old male driver (see full profile below) using car insurance rates from six large carriers in 10 ZIP codes per state. Not all models are available for calculating average rates, especially exotic cars, which is why you won't see Bentleys and Lamborghinis on the list - although you can assume those carry hefty insurance bills.

Averages are based on a single 40-year-old male driver who commutes 12 miles to work, with policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. The policy includes uninsured motorist coverage. Rates were averaged across 10 ZIP codes in each state and six major insurance companies. Average rates are for comparative purposes; your rate will depend on your personal factors.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

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

Disclosure: If you have read this article before, you will have noticed that I have not only updated the article, but rewrote it. This is a first for me, however I wanted to make sure that my readers understood both parts of this article. Part 1 is advice for eBay users if you have a problem with the legally binding contract that both the seller and the buyer have entered it. Part 2 is the widely talked about story of a man who won an eBay auction and dealer is backing out of the deal. There is more to this story then people know.

Over the last several years, some eBay users may have found themselves in a particular spot where the buyer or seller wouldn’t honor the contract because of a number of reasons, but mainly due to the fact of human error or they didn’t get the price they wanted.

There has been several cases and yes some have included buying a new or used car on eBay Motors that an eBay user bids on a car and wins the vehicle with a lowball or lower offer than the seller wanted. Now the seller has decided not to honor the deal and the problems and maybe a lawsuit begins.

Over the last couple of days, I have read three cases including the one I will talk about in particular. First would be a BMW dealer in Lincoln (end result is eBay customer gets car for auction price). The second was a Hyundai dealership in Lexington, KY that backed out of a deal on a Hyundai Genesis Coupe (Heard Hyundai might be getting involved now). I haven’t heard a ruling. Now we have the third case and the real reason for this article.


I first noticed this article on AutoBlog.com that told the story from a posting by the eBay user on ChallengerTalk forum. Over the last few days I have been following this story and I have to say that it has so many twists and turns.

Basically from the way I understand it, a California resident in or around Long beach has been looking to buy a Dodge Challenger SRT8 in plum crazy purple for some time now by working with the dealership, but they couldn’t come to a deal partly because he couldn’t get the color he wanted. However last Friday he noticed a 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 on eBay from that dealer that was blue (pictured above) and decided to put a bid of $29,100 in. He didn’t expect to get it, however he was told by eBay he won it and that’s where the trouble began over 5 days ago.

This story has taken some twists and turns and some in which I still have questions on. However over the past few days, Jalopnik.com has been covering this story from all three sides, the eBay and dealership customer, the dealership themselves and of course eBay.com. They have done a great job, so I have linked to them below including the original article.

- The first article is called “Car Dealer Trying To Screw Enthusiast Out Of Challenger SRT8 Auction?”

- The second article is called “Did Challenger SRT8 Auction Expose eBay Reserve Pricing Error?” By the way, I looked at the auction page on ebay and under the 15 bids, it says Reserve met.

- The third article is called “Challengerwatch: eBay Says "No Problem," Dealer Says Otherwise” which was published today (3/18/2010). More to come.

By the way, I still have questions:

1. Hitman (the user name on the forum that the eBay user uses) said he used PayPal to send the $500 deposit, however the article says dealer refused money. So where is the $500, does the dealer have it, PayPal or Hitman?

2. According to the article, the dealership has responded, but why did it take them 4 or 5 days to response? According to Hitman, they have been giving him the run around in saying they wouldn’t honor the eBay auction price. He has gone down to the dealership with the money ready, but has left with no car.

Now the dealership is talking about their side of the story and is kind of making themselves into the victim here, but they’re not. They have said that they are talking to the Hitman in trying to work a deal with him to buy the car at a discount, but not the auction price. But where were they on day 1? Yeah telling him get lost, but now there trying to fix it after the negative media exposure, please.

3. Where is Dodge in all of this? This dealership is a 5 star dealer, Dodge this is your problem too and now you need to step in period. This dealership represent you and this bad press, doesn’t look good for you neither.

From what I have read, good luck to Hitman.

Anyway, in reading this article, it got me thinking, and saying “when will people learn?” and offering some advice to anybody who finds themselves in this position and every eBay user, buyer and/or seller should take note.

Here’s what I’m thinking…as an eBay.com user myself who has both bought and sold on eBay. As a seller, you allows want to get the best price and there has been times where I should’ve gotten more money, but once the auction is over and a winner has been notified, that’s it. You are legally binding to honor the contract and that’s the way it works. And as a buyer, you want to get deal each time, but once you place the bid, you have to honor it period, that’s it.

In any case whether it’s a car dealership or not, the buyer and/or seller are legal binding to this contract and must sell or buy this item no matter the price. I don’t understand the problem, especially when it comes to this dealership in particular, they set a reserve price (which is their problem, not the buyers), bids were placed, the auction went completely to the end with reserve met, and a winner was declared, the buyer should get the car period.

I will say one thing, if a person finds themselves in this spot, you have options.

- Get a copy of the auction page and all of the documents involved, you will need them. A .pdf would work.

- Contact eBay themselves and tell them what is going on, of course they might not be able to do anything on it, but they are a start. Then contact the Better Business Bureau on BBB.org and file a complaint against the dealership. Include everything. I have used the BBB before and got results. No business wants to have a complaint filed against them especially with the BBB and they will contact on it to resolve or at least try. One good point here, the customer or eBay buyer is also from California that helps.

- Contact you state’s attorney general’s office, they might be able to help as well or at least the state.

- And contact a lawyer. Have the lawyer call them that might do it or even better, go to the dealership with the lawyer and ask to speak with the manager and the salesmen involved. The dealership can call the police, but puts them into a whole new problem.

- This idea was taken right from the forum and is NOT mine: In some cases, you could even talk about the story online on a site, blog or forum like this guy did. Of course there could be legal problems later with doing this one.

At the end of day, the business/seller and in this case, the car dealership could loss there eBay account, get a complaint filed against them with BBB and the state of California, California themselves could investigate and the car dealership themselves could loss big including in business (future customers) and in bad press. No business wants to go through this especially in this economy.

The best thing for any eBay user especially this dealership and the others to do is to honor the deal with the buyer and sell the car for $29,100 plus the out the door costs and learn from the experience to not do this again. Good luck to eBay buyer and owner of the car, you’re going to need it.
[Source: Autoblog, Jalopnik.com via Challengertalk]

UPDATE2 on 3/21/2010: Yesteday was the big day as Alex "Hitman" sat down with the dealership to work out a deal. Early this morning, Hitmas posted this message on the Challengertalk forum: "First of all, "Thank You" to everyone for cheering me on and helping me move forward in a positive way. A lot of message boards picked up this thread and have to thank everyone for passing the word around too.


There you have it. Visual of the keys in my possession of the SRT8 deal that Glenn E. Thomas Dodge honored for $29.1K plus tax and license fees of course.

Both parties had plenty to talk about that day but in the end of it all, things worked out for everyone. So there is praise to be made to both sides, especially the dealer who did honor the auction. Would encourage everyone to send them praise and not attack anyone in that establishment as this was not the point of this thread. I'm sure there will be question on how things went down."

A few hours later, Hitman posted this: "I'll be out driving around town and taking it easy on the SRT8, want to make sure I read the owner's manual and get familiar with all the options/features. Burnouts, pics, and more to come a bit later. I am too excited about actually owning right now!"

This is all great news, finally the dealership know that they were wrong and decided after 5 days to do the right thing and honor the eBay sale price of $29.1K for the 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8. Congratulations Hitman, you held your ground and in the end won what was rightfully yours.

I would have hoped that the dealership would have come to this conclusion on Day 1 and saved themselves the trouble and pain and kept there reputation. Now I wonder what they have left? I will talk more about this topic in general (wthout names) in a few days (after this update) over on my lifestream at BrianVermette.com. Hitman, enjoy the car, drive it, and please post pictures, just one tip...leave the license plate and a photo of your home out of the photos.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Does this advertisement really sell tickets for the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway?

Photo Credit: Texas Motor Speedway via Motorsports Blog with Eddie Gossage. The caption read: Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage hesitated to go with this ad campaign, but NASCAR's decision to not suspend Carl Edwards helped him make his final decision.

The question for my readers is: Does this advertisement above really sell tickets to the upcoming Samsung Mobile 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race next month at Texas Motor Speedway and would this campaign make you buy tickets?

Last Friday was the first time I actually noticed not only the above campaign advertisement, but the “APPROVED” campaign itself and that was only after another blogger mentioned it on his blog and then again on SPEED’s WindTunnel last night.

When I first saw this campaign, I actually questioned it in saying why would a racetrack want to promote their racing by using a controversial wreck that happened at another racetrack namely Atlanta Motor Speedway?

But as I come to find out not only by the WindTunnel interview with Eddie Gossage last night and but also by reading Gossage’s article on Motorsports Blog with Eddie Gossage, this is a series of advertisements with the words “Approved” on it.

By the way, I hate “Yes men” too, I like to be creative and speck my mind. Anyway, according to his latest blog posting, he mentioned two more “Approved” campaigns. The first one was Joey Logano's car flipped repeatedly during the 2009 AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway where the ad pitch was: "Tailgating. Approved."

The second one was Jimmie Johnson had his car mangled during the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. The ad pitch in this case was "Door Dings. Approved."

There are two points that I want to make here. First all three of the “Approved” advertisements campaign basically focus on the same thing, a wreck that happened either at Texas Motor Speedway or another racetrack which would be Dover and Atlanta Motor Speedway.

I don’t really understand why you would want to promote a race using a wreck as your main focus or at least that is how I interpret all three ads. But I will say that the ad is getting attention and that’s good, but what type of attention is needed to get people to buy tickets is the question. This is the debate.

Now I realize that some NASCAR fans do watch NASCAR either for the wrecks or affiliate wrecks with NASCAR racing, however for a lot of fans including myself, I watch NASCAR for the racing and while I know wrecks can and most likely will happen, I don’t expect them. Of course that statement goes against “Expect the unexpect”, that saying is the saying on CBS’s Big Brother reality show.

As the “Approved” Campaign that features the Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski payback wreck, I will say that Eddie Gossage did say that he thought long and hard about using this controversial wreck, however since NASCAR just gave Edwards a 4-race probation and no one was hurt, that sealed the deal for that one.

In all three cases, I do find that while they are a strength campaign, they do have some interest in getting NASCAR fans to buy tickets to the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race that the ad is promoting. But I will also say that I don’t find them offensive.

Now as for the question of whether I think this advertisement above really sell tickets to the upcoming Samsung Mobile 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race next month at Texas Motor Speedway and would I buy tickets?

Well I would have to say that first it is still up for debate as to whether it works, because the Samsung Mobile 500 isn’t until April 18th. I wish them the best of luck, I want to see racetracks sell tickets and have sellout crowds, but in this economy, that is tough to do.

As for me buying tickets, the “Approved” campaign wouldn’t sway me in the least if I was on the fence. There are two things that I can honestly say would get me to buy tickets and I should mention has made me buy tickets. Of course this is assuming I have the extra money in the first place.

First has to be the price of the seat. This ad has one thing I love, the price is “Great Seats as low as $40”.

Second is what I get for the money; that would be where the seat is and the entertainment factor including whether or not I like the racing at the racetrack. If I don’t like the racing, you got nothing.

You see last June, I was online trying to find the schedule of what practice, qualifying and races would be on Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on the NASCAR weekend. However when I was looking at the list, I noticed that NHMS was selling ticket for $39 each and the tickets I was looking at for Saturday where $45 each.

That right there and the fact that you could pay interest-free payments for the tickets as we bought two is what sold me on buying tickets. That and of course taking into account where the seat is and the entertainment factor. The seats were in the middle of the Laconia Grandstand.

By the way that was the rain-shortened Lenox Tools 301 where Joey Logano won the race. It was great to be there, that is what tickets at least in my eyes. To recap, price is first, and what type of entertainment is included in the price as well as where the seat is.

I will say that if I do buy tickets again in 2010, I would buy a ticket in the Concord Grandstand. The Laconia Grandstand in turn 3 & 4 is too far for me from everything including where we parked. I felt like I watch several miles that day, of course I went through all of the souvenir trailers twice and they span from turn 1 to turn 4, yes the hole straightaway. And I even took in SPEED’s RaceDay outside turn 1.

What do you think? And be sure to check out my new lifestream on Posterous at BrianVermette.com.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Picture Perfect: Clint Bowyer at a Goodyear Tire Test at Darlington with new rear spoiler.

Credit: MotorRacingNetwork.com

The picture above is a picture of Clint Bowyer at Goodyear Tire Test Tuesday at Darlington Raceway.

Since 2007 when NASCAR officially launched the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Car of Tomorrow with the rear wing at Bristol Motor Speedway, NASCAR fans have stated that they don’t want the rear wing or the COT in some cases.

Now most NASCAR fans will finally get their wish when NASCAR replaces the rear wing with the original style rear spoiler that has been on NASCAR racecars for decades. It’s amazing, I would describe NASCAR as a stubborn old man that wouldn’t listen to anybody else and does what they want in the beginning. However will later on come back and listen to the people around him. (Think about the logic before you comment and not that it makes a joke against an old man.)

This was just one of many discussions that NASCAR has made that hasn’t been popular with the fans and that now will change. I wonder what’s next.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

NASCAR’s inconsistency is the most frustrating part of the Edwards, Keselowski incident.

“NASCAR has left it up to Brad Keselowski to hand out the punishment with the new Boy's have at it rules.”

NASCAR has labeled the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as the season of “Boy’s have at it”. NASCAR is trying to put more of the racing into the drivers hands. The move is meant to go back to basics with racing in creating hard, competitive and side-by-side racing.

However the move also enables the drivers to handle on-track actions themselves, basically the drivers police themselves. Self-policing can be a good thing, but also a bad thing. The self-policing in someways does create a problem spot though, drivers taking things in the own hands and if they see fit, possibly taking another driver out – payback, retaliation on-track which sometimes leads to a whole new set of problems.

Which brings us back to last Sunday’s heavily discussed incident’s in the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway that went down between Good Guy (label made before last Sunday) Carl Edwards and rookie (label made before last Sunday) Brad Keselowski. By the way, it was great to see Brad climb out and ok after such a terrible wreck.

I stand behind what I wrote earlier this week in an article called “Carl Edwards makes a blatant payback move wrecking Brad Keselowski in Kobalt Tools 500 in Atlanta.” in that Brad Keselowski did deserve a wakeup call, but not this way. And that Carl Edwards made the wrong call -- wrong place, wrong time.

On Tuesday, NASCAR placed Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, on probation for the next three series events for a rule violation he committed during the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 7. Edwards’ probation will run until April 14 of this year.

With that all said, here is what I think…

Brad Keselowski

As being a fan of his, this is hard to say, but Brad drives a little aggressively. But he has to understand that having the respect of your competitors is not only hard to get, but hard to keep just ask Carl Edwards now. Brad is a good driver, talented and he will not only win races, but championships.

However while Brad is entertaining and I like to watch his style of driving, racing hard for every position. Brad does however need to give his competitors more room on-track. I believe you give a little, you get a little. But if someone does you wrong, that’s completely different.

Brad’s aggressive driving has been a problem almost since he entered NASCAR a few years ago, but it also got him his ride with JR Motorsports and now Penske Racing. I believe Brad needed a wakeup call from another competitor; however Carl Edwards wrecking him on the straightaway wasn’t it. This move does nothing, except want to race Edwards even harder and possible pay him back, isn’t that the NASCAR way...

Hopefully now Brad will get the message, but keep racing hard. However at the same time with a little more respect. But I hope that Brad (as one NASCAR fan put it to me) follow Carl Edwards around on-track, stay in his rear view mirror most of the rest of the season just to get on Carl’s nerves.

Carl Edwards

Carl lost a lot of my respect on Sunday. While I can understand that Brad deserved a wakeup call and that Carl had every right to be mad at Brad for past incidents (except the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega last Spring, that was a product of the yellow line rule) Carl should have waited until after the race or Bristol.

Carl even said Sunday night on his Facebook “My options: Considering that Brad wrecks me with no regard for anyones safety or hard work, should I: A-Keep letting him wreck me? B-Confront him after the race? C-Wait til bristol and collect other cars? or D-Take care of it now? I want to be clear that I was surprised at his flight and very relieved when he walked aw...ay. Every person has to decide what code they want to live by and hopefully this explains mine.”

This blatant payback move was terrible for Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and the sport as a whole, it was the wrong place, wrong time. You don’t wreck someone at the fastest track on the schedule… Atlanta, come on, I thought he was a veteran driver. I believe that after this incident, his competitors will race him differently including Brad and not in a good way. I also believe that Brad will come back and payback Carl Edwards some day in the future.

I agree with Kyle Petty in a sense (on the incident) when he said “That's just flagrant. That's flagrant. They throw people out of basketball games for that. It's called a T. Go to the locker room. ... This is a black eye on NASCAR. This is a black eye on the competitors. This is a black eye on everybody. I don't care. This is wrong. This was blatant, flagrant foul and he ought to be parked.

"He shouldn't show up at Bristol and that's my opinion. Brad Keselowski said the ball is in NASCAR's court. We're going to see if they've got a pair now. I'm just throwing that out there. They need to park him and send him home.''

The penalty and NASCAR

I believe that NASCAR gave Carl Edwards a gift on Tuesday by giving him a three-race probation. But to me, it isn’t even the incident that has me so frustrated anymore, it’s the fact that NASCAR has no consistency in there rulings. It’s like there is a new set of rules every year in NASCAR and you can’t be doing this.

But I want to add one thing, I want to see NASCAR be more consistent. In the five years that I’ve been blogging here at RaceDriven.com and the 18 years or so I’ve been a NASCAR fan, I have always said that I want to see NASCAR be more consistent in their calls. There calls on race-day, there penalties, everything, they just seem to change it so often, that’s the frustrating part of this incident and the sport itself.

Bottom Line

I believe that the incident between Edwards and Keselowski was the wrong place, wrong time. Edwards simply was so upset at Keselowski that Edwards thought that on-track payback was the not choice.

As for penalty, it was a gift. I was expecting something, at least 50 driver/owner points and a $50,000 fine, however I don’t think a suspension would have been in the cards. But this was NASCAR’s chance to send a message to Carl Edwards and to all of the drivers that we are giving you more room, but if you take a mile, we will penalize you.

NASCAR said Carl Edwards “crossed the line”, but penalty says “Boy’s have at it”, do what you want. But be warned that you other competitors have the same right to do it to you.

As for payback, retaliation on-track, it’s a part of NASCAR, it’s been happening almost since NASCAR began. I understand it and accept it so long as it’s done in a normal way sort of speck. But this move by Edwards was reckless, plain and simple. I’ve seen retaliation done at Richmond, Bristol, Martinsville, you name it and in simple ways. For instance, driving down into a corner, hitting the rear bumper or rear quarter panel and spinning out the other driver, it’s all part of racing.

Now I just have to wonder, how many more drivers are going to do blatant retaliation moves on-track in 2010 and how long can NASCAR keep this “Boy’s have at it” attitude up before something even bigger happens, there has to be a breaking point somewhere?

Photo credit: AP via Yahoo! Sports NASCAR section

Sunday, March 7, 2010

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

What will NASCAR and Brad Keselowski do next?

As Kurt Busch celebrates winning the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta in victory lane, the big story is Carl Edwards with five laps to go or so made an attempt coming off turn 4 to take out Brad Keselowski and missed to only come back one lap later and successfully took out Brad Keselowski on the front straightaway sending Keselowski airborn at 190 mph into the outside catchfence and coming to rest at the top of turn 1 & 2 with a badly bent up racecar that shows a serious hit to the windshield and roof.

FOX had shown video that this could be pay back from last spring in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway where Carl Edwards was racing Brad Keselowski and Edwards went to block and the yellow line came into effect and Brad had to hold his line and Edwards was set flying into the outside catchfence. However this is a completely different thing from what we have here at Atlant and I’m disappointed in FOX for putting that out there like that. It’s completely different situation FOX, get it straight.

Everyone (FOX included), this situation comes from Carl Edwards saying that Brad Keselowski doesn’t give him any room on-track.

Two cases come to mind, first last season in the Nationwide Series particular last year at Memphis in the Nationwide Series race. But this was more from an incident earlier on in Kobalt Tools 500 when Carl Edwards was racing had for position in turn 1 & 2 when Carl came down looking for room and Brad Keselowski was there, they made slight contact sending Carl up the racetrack into Joey Logano and the outside wall.

Now even though I believe Brad Keselowski when he said he tried to stay off Carl Edwards in the opening laps, I also believe that Brad could have given him just a little bit more room there.

However as far as the pay back goes, I’m sorry but I know that Brad Keselowski does deserve a wakeup call as he does drive a little aggressively in both the Nationwide Series and the Cup Series, but I don’t believe Carl Edwards should have wrecked Brad Keselowski at 190 MPH At Atlanta, this was completely uncalled for.

And while I don’t know what NASCAR is going to do considering there “Boy’s have at it” way of thinking, I do believe that in two weeks at Bristol Motor Speedway, Carl Edwards should watch out, Brad Keselowski might just pay him back.

By the way for Carl Edwards, not cool man, not cool, you should have waited until Bristol to have something to say or do, not Atlanta. What a dangerous game that was, I thought we were veteran drivers here, not a bunch of rookie drivers, you pulled a Denny Hamlin, but was successful.

But this does lead to a question, is Brad Keselowski too aggressive?

The answer is yes in a sense, but I would like to point out two factors.

First when it comes to Denny Hamlin vs. Brad Keselowski, Hamlin deserved what he got from Brad last year in the Nationwide Series. Denny Hamlin comes into the Nationwide Series and drives like he owns the series and wants everyone to get out of his way and of course Brad Keselowski will race you for every position, so you can see where that was going. The same goes for Kyle Busch.

Second however, in the Cup Series, this is the elite series and my advice to Brad Keselowski is, at Bristol, go talk to Mark Martin and Jeff Burton and do what they tell you. Both drivers are highly respected in the garage area and on-track. But as far as the Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski feud, this one is far from over and while I understand where Carl Edwards is coming from, the pay back at Atlanta was uncalled for at Atlanta, plain and simple.

Bristol should be entertaining, but I wish Bristol was a Saturday Night race instead of a race on Sunday during the day.