Friday, April 30, 2010

A one-time deal that honors father, family, fans - Dale Earnhardt Jr. to drive No. 3 Wrangler Chevy in July NNS at Daytona.

Photo Credit for both #3 photos: Mary Ann Chastain/Getty Images for NASCAR

What a unique announcement that came yesterday at Dale Earnhardt Day in Mooresville, N.C. Dale Jr. will team up in a collaboration between Richard Childress Racing, JR Motorsports, DEI and Wrangler to honor Dale Earnhardt’s Hall of Fame induction by driving the #3 Wrangler Jeans Chevrolet Impala in the upcoming Subway Jalapeno 250 powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Nationwide Series race in July at Daytona International Speedway.
"This was an idea that came up as a way to pay tribute to my Dad, and it's pretty cool that it's a collaborative effort between JR Motorsports, RCR and DEI," said Earnhardt Jr. "The Wrangler car is definitely in the top-10 of coolest cars that have ever been on the race track. A lot of people identify with it, and I can't think of a better way to honor my dad and celebrate his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame than to bring the Wrangler colors back with the No. 3 on the side, similar to the 'Wrangler Jean Machine' scheme of the 80s. I think it will be worth seeing, and I'm looking forward to driving it at Daytona."
When I say unique, mean unique, as I never thought that I would see the day that all 4 organizations would team up in this caliber to run a Nationwide Series race. I mean sure the JR Motorsports and Wrangler doesn’t surprise me as Dale Jr. and Wrangler have a personal contract nor does JRM, Wrangler and RCR, but the addition of DEI, there’s the surprise.

However when it comes to honoring Dale Earnhardt, his family and fans, you have to include DEI, it’s just natural that way. And what a way to do so, as not only a Dale Jr. fan, but a huge Dale Earnhardt fan, it’s really amazing to see this retro paint scheme of Wrangler Jeans and the 3, its all the way back to the 1980’s and boy does it look the part.

The only area that I don’t care for is it’s on this new Nationwide Series COT Chevrolet Impala. I’m disappointed in Chevrolet for not bring the new Chevrolet Camaro to the Nationwide Series, that would have been picture perfect, but in this collaboration, the Impala is the only thing that they had to work with.

And even more, thank god that they didn’t use the #3 black GM Goodwrench retro paint scheme, I just believe that several fans including myself wouldn’t have been that excited about it.

I’m still on the fence about seeing anybody running a black #3 Goodwrench retro paint scheme in what is now called the Sprint Cup Series or the Nationwide Series. I’m still that type of fan right now that doesn’t want to see the black #3 back in the Cup Series for a long time.

Now I’m just looking forward to seeing the Nationwide Series race in July at Daytona, it should be a shootout under the lights for sure.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Win a Buffalo Wild Wings cooler backpack Contest.

Update: This cooler backpack contest has ended and the winner of the cooler backpack will be sent out this week by Buffalo Wild Wings PR. Thank you to everyone who entered.

Disclosure: I was provided with two cooler backpacks, one for this giveaway and one for myself. The cooler backpacks were provided by Buffalo Wild Wings for giveaway and nobody is obligated to return it.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, last October after the NASCAR community that is made up of NASCAR owners, teams, members, racetracks, people involved in NASCAR and the fans voted, NASCAR announced the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The five members of the much anticipated inaugural class to be inducted are Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Junior Johnson.

So in honor of the long awaited grand-opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 11th, 2010, the exclusive restaurant of the Hall of Fame, Buffalo Wild Wings is giving away one cooler backpack that is pictured on the right.

To win this Buffalo Wild Wings cooler backpack, all you have to do is answer on simple question: When was NASCAR founded by William France, Sr., on with the help of several other drivers of the time? I’m looking for the month, day and year.

Hint: The year was 1948, you can try googling it or wikipedia.org for the answer.

The rules are simply:
Send an email to racedriven@gmail.com, please use “Buffalo Wild Wings cooler backpack contest” in the subject line, the email must include:

1. The answer to this trivia question: When was NASCAR founded by William France, Sr., on with the help of several other drivers of the time? I’m looking for the month, day and year.
Hint: The year was 1948 and try wikipedia.org for the answer

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

- I will email you if you have won to confirm your mailing address.
- Only one entry per shipping address, per email address per person.
- Contest is open to United States residents only.
- Contest starts Thursday, April 29, 2010.
- Contest ends Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 1:00pm.

I will randomly choose the winner the following day.
The winner will receive one Buffalo Wild Wings cooler backpack.

Ladies and Gentlemen, good luck and have a nice day.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What do you think of restrictor plate racing at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway?

Ladies and gentlemen, I will keep this brief as I have a statement to make on restrictor plate racing. But first things first, I want to congratulate both Kevin Harvick for snapping his 115 race winless streak in the Aaron’s 499 yesterday at Talladega and Brad Keselowski for winning the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega right after the Cup Series race, however while the spoiler was great to see, there is nothing more to say about Talladega except…

Now let me state the obvious, I’m not a huge restrictor plate racing fan period, as a matter of fact, while I don’t hate restrictor plate racing, I don’t like the racing neither and I’m glad we only run these races four times a year.

Restrictor plate racing in my eyes is a heart-stopping, yet hard to watch at times (or form) of racing especially in NASCAR. I would describe restrictor plate racing as a giant chess match and at the same time, a game of survival. Drivers don’t win one of these races, they survival these types of races, you just came in first in the game of survival. (It’s like winning CBS’s reality show Survivor”, you outwit, outplayed, and outlast your competitors, of course in this day that could describe most racing at this level.)

Of course when you talk about restrictor plate racing, you always have the fear of “the Big One”, however now a days, the big one can happen at any race during just about any time that is caused most of the time by aggressive driving or just one stupid move.

Amazingly enough, when it comes to restrictor plate racing, there is a good sized difference between Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Daytona is more of handling racetrack; drivers have a little bit more control, not much, but a little bit. The racing is better at Daytona as well. As a matter of fact, I would rank the 2010 Daytona 500 in the top 5 best races so far in 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

However when it comes to Talladega Superspeedway, that's a completely different story, at times it’s hard to watch a race in any series there. There’s really no control and if you have read my blog before, while I have called one or two races in the past several years good, most of the time the headline has read "Demotion Derby at Talladega.... for NASCAR", its survival, period. That’s it, that’s not like watching a race at Richmond, Bristol, and Martinsville or even at Atlanta, but it is the art of restrictor plate racing.

Bottom line, yesterday’s NASCAR double-header at Talladega Superspeedway was a lot like having no racing at all. The racing just wasn’t my cup of tea. However just for the record, the Cup Series race was better than I thought it was going to be, but it doesn’t make my top 5 list of best races in 2010 so far.

One Talladega race per year on the schedule and it’s a non-points race? Hello yeah, it would be an off weekend for me. However ISC could also just build a Bristol, Richmond or Martinsville in the superspeedway’s spot that would work for me too. Where do you stand on restrictor plate racing?

Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shell/Pennzoil, Miller Lite and Penske racing gain in 2011, while questions remain as RCR losses a sponsor.

Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR

Last night before I went to sleep, I read on a few blogs a rumor that predicted this very move of Shell/Pennzoil to Penske Racing with a few driver and number changes. Of course like most rumors I dismiss them, especially this one.

So imagine my surprise when I wake up this morning that this rumor came true. I don’t know what shocked me more, SPEED’s Rudledge Wood would co-host History Channel’s U.S. Top Gear or Shell/Pennzoil leaving RCR and Harvick to Penske Racing and Kurt Busch. Actually believe it or not, this Shell/Pennzoil move.

Basically in a nut shell, in 2011, Kurt Busch will drive the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Penske Racing Dodge while Brad Keselowski will now drive the famous #2 Blue deuce (Miller Lite) Penske Dodge. The move also means Shell and Pennzoil will be the "Official Fuel and Motor Oil Supplier" to the Penske organization in the U.S, what a global move.

So is this a good move for Shell and Pennzoil and Kurt Busch?

Yes, this is a global business move for Shell and Pennzoil as a whole, I mean they will sponsor the #22 Dodge driven by Kurt Busch as well as associate sponsorships promoting Shell V-Power® with IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe. Plus it’s a huge move outside of Motorsports as they will be the "Official Fuel and Motor Oil Supplier" to the Penske organization in the U.S. I wish the company well.

As for Kurt Busch, this will be interesting to watch.

Is this a good move for Brad Keselowski driving the #2 Miller Lite Dodge?

As a Rusty Wallace fan, you can imagine what my opinion was not only when Rusty Wallace retired, but he chose Kurt Busch to fill the seat of the famous Blue Deuce. However considering I’m a Brad Keselowski fan, this will be cool to watch. I’m excited to see Brad Keselowski driving the blue deuce in 2011. It’s going to be good to cheer on the blue deuce again after so many years off. Of course that will be along with the #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #14 Tony Stewart.

What about Sam Hornish Jr. as Mobil 1 leaves Penske Racing?

Unbelievably enough, instead of Penske sending Sam Hornish Jr. packing either to the Nationwide Series or back to the IZOD IndyCar Series, Penske Racing is committed to 2011 with Sam Hornish and to find some partners for 2011 to compete with a third team. I don’t agree with this move, Penske has invested a lot in Hornish, but hasn’t got too much for his investment. Face it, some drivers just isn’t going to make it in the Cup Series and Sam Hornish Jr. has been one of them. Sam should go to Nationwide Series or the Indycar Series and race.

Where does this leave Richard Childress Racing and Kevin Harvick in 2011?

I don’t believe that Kevin Harvick is going to be at RCR in 2011. However I do believe that we still haven’t heard the last from RCR and remember Budweiser and several other sponsors are floating around and looking for a home. I believe that RCR will find a new sponsor to replace Shell and Pennzoil and a new driver as well. RCR should try for Mark Martin, he would be perfect for the #29 RCR Chevrolet.

What do think and what’s going to be the next domino to fall in the 2010-2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Silly Season?

Maybe Sprint will leave as title sponsor of the Cup Series, in turn that would allow Verizon Wireless and AT&T will be able to return to the NASCAR Cup Series as Subway signs on to sponsor the Cup Series…one could only hope.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kasey Kahne’s move to Hendrick still leaves several unanswered questions including RPM.

Right now in NASCAR, one of the biggest stories is the recent announcement of Kasey Kahne leaving RPM at the end of 2010 and moving to Hendrick Motorsports to drive the #5 Chevrolet in 2012. However this move still leaves a lot of unanswered questions. So today I’m going to give you my opinion on this move and the unanswered questions.

1. Is Kasey Kahne moving to Hendrick Motorsports to drive the #5 Chevrolet in 2012 a good move for him?

Yes, it is. I believe Kasey Kahne has a huge amount of talent and he just needs the right people and equipment behind him to get him to victory lane and win a championship and Hendrick Motorsports can give him that.

Now I hear it time and time again, NASCAR is a performance driven sport and business and each driver, crew, crew chief, team, owner, person has to be doing his/her job and especially with the driver, he/she has to be winning, getting, top 5’s, top 10’s and championships. So with that, I believe that Hendrick Motorsports is the place he needs to be, they are the best right now.

However I will say that I believe that Kahne would have been successful if he joined Roush-Fenway Racing, RCR or Joe Gibbs Racing as well. But Hendrick Motorsports is still the team on top right now.

2. Where will Kahne drive in 2011 as the #5 Chevrolet does come available until 2012?

Is this interesting, all we know right now is that Kahne will be leaving RPM at the end of this season (2010) and driving the #5 in 2012. However Rick Hendrick has said that it falls on his shoulders to get Kahne a ride in 2011.

I believe that Hendrick has several options and just because he can’t add a fifth car at HMS, doesn’t mean his out of options. There is a third car at Stewart-Haas Racing (which gets engines and cars from Hendrick), Phoenix Racing (which is where they put Brad Keselowski in 2009 for several races which included 1 win at Talladega). He can also run a Cup team out of JR Motorsports if need be as well as Kahne’s race shop. Hendrick can also talk to another raceteam. But right now, your guess is as good as mine.

3. What happens to Mark Martin in 2012?

Mark Martin has said he isn’t retiring from racing, but is leaving the #5 Chevrolet in good hands. I believe Mark Martin would be a great driver for Stewart-Haas Racing’s third team (if Stewart wants one) or a start up Cup Team at JR Motorsports (if Dale Jr. wants one) or another team. Mark Martin is a class act driver and I don’t want him to retire or leave racing and time soon.

However I do think he will drive in the Nationwide Series or Truck Series in 2012 or beyond. And I see him at JR Motorsports in the #88. I also see Dale Jr. at JR Motorsports in 2013 as he has a 5-year contract at Hendrick, that’s what I remember it to be.

4. What happens to Richard Petty Motorsports with Kasey Kahne leaving?

Basically Kahne leaving puts them in a bad spot, Kahne was RPM’s star driver. However this will not be the last domino to fall at RPM, but I have no idea where they go from here for RPM that raceteam needs help…

Related article on the internet that is interesting to read on RPM -- Where Does RPM Go From Here?

5. Should Richard Petty step away from NASCAR and protect his legacy?

I believe Richard Petty needs to leave RPM, this isn’t Petty Enterprises anymore, nor is it his team. Gillette was just looking for name to run the team on. But Petty shouldn’t leave NASCAR. Petty is huge for the sport and NASCAR needs him

Related article on the internet that is interesting to read on Petty -- Richard Petty should step away from NASCAR and Protect his Legacy.

6. Is Hendrick Motorsports becoming a Monopoly in NASCAR?

NO, that’s it right there, no. I could leave it there, but I can’t, I need to give a reason why. Yes Hendrick Motorsports in 2010-2011 and 2012 will have some of the biggest named drivers in NASCAR with 4-time consecutive Cup Series Jimmie Johnson, 4-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and NASCAR’s most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. Plus 2-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman over at Stewart-Haas Racing (who gets Hendrick equipment) and future star Kasey Kahne.

However you have Roush-Fenway Racing, RCR, Michael Waltrip Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Penske racing and more in NASCAR and they have several hot named drivers to in their camps. And with NASCAR’s four-team rule, the answer is no, Hendrick isn’t not a monopoly; he’s just good with his raceteam and people.

What do you think?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I agree with Eddie Gossage: NASCAR Start-and-park teams just 'stealing'

While the NASCAR Nationwide Series is in a rain delay at Texas Motor Speedway, I was online getting caught up in the daily NASCAR news when I read this article called "Eddie Gossage: Start-and-park teams just 'stealing' - ESPN.com" by Terry Blount.

The article details an interview with the outspoken Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage who is talking about NASCAR start and park cars. In the interview, Gossage said the so-called start-and-park teams in each NASCAR race are "stealing money" and steps should be taken to stop them.
"The start-and-parkers are simply stealing," Gossage said Saturday. "I don't blame them for finding the loophole, but they are going to steal a half a million dollars here tomorrow [in the Samsung Mobile 500] of our money.

"They add nothing to the show, not one darn thing. They're stealing. I want real racers, but they're not racing."

Gossage pointed specifically at the #66 Toyota owned by Phil Parsons who has start and parked five of the first six races of the season finishing 41st or worse in those races.

"NASCAR has an obligation to the fans to not allow this," Gossage said. "People are stealing in broad daylight in front of 150,000 fans in the grandstands and millions of people watching at home."

Gossage went on to suggest that NASCAR should reduce the Cup Series field from 43 to 36 cars or change the way the pirse money is distributed. Did you know that the 43rd place finisher will get $85,000.

Despite his strong feelings on the issue, Gossage said it's not his biggest concern. And that he likes the changes NASCAR has made so far.
My first thoughts had to be finally a person that doesn't like start and parks teams, calls them for what they are they are "stealing" and isn't defending them like Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond on FOX and SPEED have done in the past.

I have talked about start and park teams for over a year now and I squarely point the figure towards Prism Motorsports with its two-car team. Two start and park cars out of one organization, now that's taking advantage of a loophole that NASCAR needs to close.

But it isn't enough that we simply talk about start and park cars, but offer suggestions on how to fix the problem. Some believe reducing the fields from 43 to 36 cars. The only issue there is there are teams in NASCAR that are coming to the track to race every week and you don't want to shut them out in the process.

Another is change the money payout, that could be something, but that's up to NASCAR. However NASCAR could make every team check in on Friday with documentation of purchasing tires, having sponsorship, having a crew chief, crew and the necessary equipment (racecar, pit box, gas can and etc.) to run the entire weekend including the race.

Or if anything else, limit a team to six races as a start and park car. This would work like a championship provisional, you have six provisionals and once your out, your out. But in this case if you use up you six S/P's, your disqualified. This way a team that has a few holes in their schedule can still complete full-time while at the same time those teams that are just there are a paycheck will get paid 6 times without doing anything.

Whatever the case or solution, there has to be a solution, because right now this is an issue in NASCAR, but like Gossage said as well, start and park cars isn't the biggest issue in NASCAR, but it is something that needs to be addressed.

Related Posts:
- How do you get a moral victory if you’re a NASCAR start and park team?
- NASCAR needs to police the start and park cars starting with Prism Motorsports.
- There is no place in NASCAR for start and park cars.

Friday, April 16, 2010

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

Disclaimer: The only way I could write about MadHouse on RaceDriven.com is in a column considering it has nothing to do with racing, motorsports, automobiles or NASCAR, it's a scripted show.

There has been a lot of buzz, talk about this new series on the history channel called Madhouse. The buzz has been more negative than positive especially if you’re a NASCAR fan. So after watching the entire first season of MadHouse, I actually had mixed feelings about this show just like so many viewers have.

The series Madhouse takes place at a short track called Bowman-Gray Stadium which is a NASCAR sanctioned 1/4-mile asphalt flat oval short track and football stadium located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It is one of stock car racing's most legendary venues, and is referred to as "NASCAR's longest running weekly race track". (From Wikipedia)

The series follows several key drivers around both on and off-track in there every day lives. The key drivers in this series are the 8-time champion and veteran driver Junior Miller. I have to say, age really doesn’t play a factor in racing, it doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you’re 18 or in this case 58, as long as your healthy enough and have the experience, you can race.

But for Miller, it isn’t about his age as much as his history of revenge and its shows. In my opinion, revenge really doesn’t have a place in racing, everybody is trying to get every position they can to get into position win the race, but the only revenge in my book is beating on the track fair and square. That means winning races, beating for position, not wrecking them, especially not to a point of no return in a race.

Along with Junior Miller (who is in a family feud with the Myers) are Burt Myers and his brother Jason Myers. Jason Myers is a racer that breaks through to win every now and then, but isn’t in to the whole retaliation thing.

Burt Myers became the youngest Bowman-Gray Stadium track champion in history called “The golden boy”. As such, Burt Myers and Junior Miller as a result of the family feud have a history of wrecking each other.

In the first episode, it showcased the 2008 Bowman-Gray Stadium final race and that Miller spun out Myers, then Myers returned the favor in a big way by spinning out Miller. After the race, Myers rammed his car into Miller’s passenger side door and right front twice. And Miller and Myers talk about unfinished business, wanting to take the other out and trying to carry it in 2009.

However when you have two of the star drivers feuding with each other including wrecking each other, it opens the door for other drivers to sneak in and steal a victory or two. And that brings me to the third driver is Tim Brown.

Brown seems to be that driver that regularly capitalizes on Miller and Myers feud by waiting for them to wreck each other and then going on to take the victory. But don’t think that that is only way he wins. Brown is 8-time BGS champion, runs in NASCAR's Whelen Southern Modified Tour, has landed a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ride and works for Michael Waltrip Racing. But despite what Miller and Myers thinks in that Brown winning is a cake walk, in watching the racing, it’s anything but especially beating the rest of the field.

If that wasn’t enough, you have Junior Miller’s second driver “Jon Boy” Brown who is already making his name in racing by wrecking other drivers to win a race. But not to be outdone, you also have Chris Fleming, who is a hard racer on a small budget and that is saying something.

In watching all of the episodes, the series has left me with sort of a bad taste in my mouth and saying is this real. I mean in all of the episodes, the show basically showcases some of these drivers along with a few others that talk all week about unfinished business, namely what they want to do to other drivers including wrecking them and in most cases, they actually go out and do it. What kind of a racer is that?

Now there is a huge difference between real racing and Madhouse in my opinion. In being a huge racing fan that has a huge passion for racing that not only watches on television, but attends races every year including races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway where I watch all three of NASCAR’s national series (Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Truck Series) as well as the regional series of east series and the NASCAR Modified Tour, Madhouse is anything, but racing.

An example of a product of good racing is; in not only watching the NASCAR Modified Tour at NHMS which always amazing, but back in 2008, my family and I attended Seekonk Speedway to watch weekly series and they had the TrueValue Modified series. That’s what racing is supposed to be all about, but they didn’t go wrecking each.

Racing is also filled with emotions and tempers, and sometimes they get the best of you, but this racing on MadHouse isn’t it, I can’t even call it a Demolition Derby, it’s a war between some drivers on a tight ¼ mile track that they settle on the track and that’s dangerous… These other drivers are there to win too, but they don’t want to wreck people nor wreck their own cars.

Bottom line, I believe that MadHouse is a weekly scripted soup opera about SOME drivers in and among a field of racers that build modified racecars to win races and championships at any cost and if another driver gets in their way, retaliation is the only answer. I’m not surprised that MadHouse has become a hit with some, it’s something that Hollywood would script for an action-packed series, but to racing fans like me, it’s an insult and showcases something that shouldn’t even be called racing…but a MadHouse. At least they got the name right.

I hope that people don’t compare real racing at a weekly, regional or national level like NASCAR to MadHouse, because they have nothing to do with each other. What do you think of MadHouse?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Did you know that you can even buy insurance for your racecar?

The is a special guest post from the writers over at GoBankingRates where they tell us how you can even buy insurance for your racecar. Remember, your racecar is your investment, protect it and yourself from a financial nightmare.

If you're looking to get into racing or have recently purchased a race car in hopes of one day circling the track in a NASCAR series, it's important to think about racecar insurance.

Insuring a race car isn't the same as insuring a typical every day driver. In fact, most insurance companies like All-State, State Farm or Progressive won't even take on such a high risk. Keep in mind, it's not required by law to buy auto insurance for your race car if you're only driving it on a track, but if you can't afford to repair your car every time something goes wrong, it's probably a good idea to look into getting an insurance quote.

Where to Start Looking for Insurance

First, research which companies actually do insure race cars. A few good companies to start with are Allied Specialty Insurance, Heacock Classic Insurance and Hot Rod Insurance. These companies insure classic cars, race cars and hot rods. However, the price range varies. Classic cars are generally less expensive to insure because the nature of the driving is less risky.

Keep in mind you are dealing with companies who know they are taking on high risk clients. The more documentation you provide them detailing the car's maintenance history, value and specifications, the lower your premiums will be.

Your driving history will be another factor in determining your insurance rates. Don't lie about your record because these companies will find out. Chances are, as a race car driver, you like to speed and have probably gotten a speeding ticket or two in your day. This doesn't mean you won't get insured, you just might be considered a higher risk.

Bumps and bruises

The most important thing to realize about race car insurance policies is that they most often don't cover the car while it's on the track. The policies are more to cover the normal wear and tear that occurs from driving the car so hard. If you do want on the track insurance, it's going to cost even more. There are no exact numbers because every car is unique and every driver has a unique history.

When you decide to buy insurance, Go Insurance Rates will find you the best insurance quotes and rates. Once you are put in touch with an insurance agent, you need to be patient and discuss the policy thoroughly. Make sure that you develop a thorough understanding of exactly what is covered and exactly how much you are going to have to pay for deductibles and premiums.

Losing your beloved race car could be devastating, but if you get the proper coverage you'll be able to get through it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Which 12 drivers will qualify for NASCAR’s chase for the Sprint Cup?

Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

In January before the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season began, I sat down and wrote three articles detailing predictions for the upcoming 2010 NASCAR season. In those three articles I predicted that Mark Martin will win the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, who's going to be 2010's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series breakout star, the Top 6 biggest NASCAR storylines to watch in 2010 and of course who will make the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup?

However as I sit here six races into the 2010 NASCAR season, I have to say that while I stand behind Mark Martin winning the championship, the top 6 biggest stories that included Danica Patrick and the resurgence of RCR, I would like to update who I think which 12 drivers will qualify for the NASCAR’s chase for the sprint cup.

I believe simply that there are 15-18 drivers that have a shot at making the chase in 2010. Of course only 12 drivers will get in, but that’s really up to the teams and the drivers performance. NASCAR is a performance and results driven sport and business.

So here we go and in no particular order:

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Greg Biffle
3. Mark Martin
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Jeff Burton
6. Kurt Busch
7. Jeff Gordon
8. Tony Stewart
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
10. Joey Logano
11. Kyle Busch
12. Clint Bowyer

Now I have to say that I’m not sure about Matt Kenseth, Paul Menard, Brian Vickers, Denny Hamlin, and Juan Montoya. Matt Kenseth doesn’t have the consistency that is needed right now, Paul Menard just there right now and so is Brian Vickers, but I don’t see them staying past 12 races in. I don’t know what’s up with Juan Montoya, but its early. And Denny Hamlin…the ACL leg injury and surgery took him out of this one.

As for Dale Earnhardt Jr., that strictly a wild card from this JR Nation fan.

So what’s your list?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Top 6 most interesting stories so far in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, as Easter and my chance at getting some more Cadbury cream eggs has gone by; today I want to discuss some of the most interesting stories in the first six races of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

1. Good bye rear wing, welcome the “next generation” spoiler. Now when I say new generation spoiler, I mean next generation spoiler. This new piece is a lot like the rear wing, it’s made to NASCAR specs and given to the teams for use. And not made by the teams themselves nor currently adjustable and it comes with a shark fin that runs down the rear window and across the decklid to the rear spoiler.

With that said, NASCAR fans are already welcoming the new change because fans identify with the spoiler, because the spoiler has been a part of NASCAR for decades now. I personally like the look of the spoiler back in NASCAR, but as for the racing aspect goes, that’s a wait and see type deal.

2. Martinsville and Bristol were the two best races so far in 2010. Last weekend’s Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway was the best race so far this season followed by the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. In watching both the Bristol race and the Martinsville race the following week, these two races showed what racing is supposed to be all about. It’s the door to door, side-by-side, hard, competitive racing that frankly NASCAR has been looking for, and for some time now.

However the only thing NASCAR needs to change with these two races are the dates. I mean racing at Martinsville and Bristol this time of the year is terrible. The weather is always an issue. Martinsville needs to return to the end of April. And as far as Bristol goes, this race needs to be moved to a part of the schedule that can support a Saturday night race instead of a Sunday afternoon race. Nothing says Bristol like short-track racing under the lights on a Saturday night.

3. NASCAR’s Boy’s Have it”: While I’m going to write a separate article on this shift of power and NASCAR allowing the drivers to self-police what happens on track. I do want to say that some of this has been good for the sport, while other parts of it have given the sport a black eye.

The black eye actually comes from the Carl Edwards giving payback to Brad Keselowski at Atlanta. I believe that Carl Edwards used a lack of judgment here and in this case should have gotten more than probation. Taking somebody out at a 1.5 mile track is going to have consequences period and Carl should have known that. You can read more on this one on my original articles “Carl Edwards makes a blatant payback move wrecking Brad Keselowski in Kobalt Tools 500 in Atlanta." and “NASCAR’s inconsistency is the most frustrating part of the Edwards, Keselowski incident.”

This should be interesting to see what happens next.
4. The resurgence of RCR racing. Even though RCR has yet to win a race in 2010, I believe that 2010 has been a good year so far for RCR. All three cars are running upfront in the races and in the championship hunt as well as contending for wins every race.

5. Jimmie Johnson winning 3 races in the first six races. Nobody really expected Jimmie Johnson and the #48 team to come out of the gate and win three of the first six races in 2010. But one thing to remember here is that Jimmie Johnson only dominated at California Speedway leading the most laps. However at Las Vegas and Bristol, he mounted a late race charge to win the race. Jimmie Johnson in NASCAR is what people are calling a good closer. And Jimmie Johnson has earned his four-consecutive Cup series championships and 50 wins, so it’s time to give Jimmie the credit he is deserves. He is a champion period.

6. Miccosukee hotel and casino pulls sponsorship after 11th hour vote from Phoenix Racing at KBM and nobody really said a word including NASCAR. When NASCAR got to Daytona, the drama from an unlikely source had already started as I have to say that felt bad for James Finch. Here is a guy that is a racer and was in Daytona practicing for the Daytona 500 with 18 races sponsored and all of a sudden he got the news that the Miccosukee tribe would be pulling its sponsorship effective immediately for both the #09 Aric Almirola for all 18 races in the Cup Series that they had under contract as well as the #1 James Buescher for a full Nationwide Series schedule. The news also affected Kyle Busch Motorsports as well, but they seems to be in better standings.

I couldn’t believe that a company, no less a business or in this case a tribe like this would hold a vote at the 11th hour to determine if they would continue to sponsor teams that they already had a contract with for the upcoming 2010 NASCAR season. But after they elected a new chairman, they did just that and worse yet, they pulled their sponsorship from Phoenix Racing for the 2010 season, you got to be kidding me.

I was even more surprised that nobody really mentioned this news story at the beginning of the season besides FOX Sports online. Now that’s sad. I guess because there a tribe, and there was no recourse, then why talk about it. But neither most NASCAR fans nor I would see it that way, what do you think?

Note: I will address NASCAR’s “Boy’s Have at it” statement in a separate article which will include the Atlanta, Martinsville, and in the Nationwide Series race at Nashville payback/retaliation stuff.

Bottom line, the first six races of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season has seen some exciting racing and at the same time, seen some lack of judgment and that’s putting it loosely. But even after all of the headlines above, in my opinion is, NASCAR races is here to stay and in most cases is what racing is all about. Now I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Is the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington the start of more things to come in NASCAR with sponsored titles for historical races?

Ladies and gentlemen, for especially the last decade or two, sponsors have become a huge part of NASCAR and they pay for just about everything. Corporations (sponsors) have a hand in paying for teams, drivers, crew chiefs, over the wall crew, people back at the shop to the equipment that is on the cars and that includes the cars themselves.

Sponsors also pay for most of the races and the racetracks as well and that now includes putting their names in the actually titles of racetracks like the former Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte and races like The Winston years ago.

I remember The Winston; that was cleaver considering calling it The Winston would insure that the sponsor Winston was in all of the articles and would be mentioned for years to come.

Going even further in this discussion, I will go on record by saying that I believe that while NASCAR and its teams can survive without manufacturers as they only really support teams in the Cup Series now and the COT is present anyway, NASCAR can’t survive without sponsor’s period. And I mean can’t survive without sponsors.

But I also believe that as much as NASCAR needs sponsors, sponsors need NASCAR too. It’s a two way street and that’s because even with all of the talk of NASCAR being over, NASCAR at the end of the day still puts on a good product (show) and attracts millions of racing fans and for sponsors that’s gold. The key for companies is to get your product out in front of consumers and NASCAR fans are consumers.

And just think of this as well, the sponsors (companies) in NASCAR are all over everything from the drivers and crew members uniforms and the transporters and the pit box, but even more they are on NASCAR fans themselves. I just bought a Dale Earnhardt Jr. uniform jacket and that have National Guard, AMP Energy, Mountain Dew and more all over it.

Which brings me to the reason for this article, and the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway will be now known as the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington.

(From Press Release) “Showtime Networks Inc. announced a deal with Darlington Raceway to be named the official title sponsor of the Southern 500, becoming one of the only television networks ever to title sponsor a NASCAR event.”

“The NASCAR fan is a deeply loyal and passionate one,” said Ken Hershman, Executive Vice President and General Manager of SHOWTIME Sports. “With the launch of the ‘Inside NASCAR’ series, we were looking to connect with the fans in a meaningful and emotional way, and to affirm our commitment to the NASCAR family. Sponsoring a race at an historic track like Darlington Raceway, one that has hosted all the legends in the sport, was the perfect fit.”

“We are very excited to partner with a company as well known as Showtime,” said Darlington Raceway President, Chris Browning. “The timing of this announcement could not be better with the recent launch of their new program “Inside NASCAR”. From the start, Showtime recognized the value in the Darlington Raceway brand and the significant role the track has played in the history of NASCAR, which we believe makes Darlington the perfect partnership for Showtime.”

Think about this for a moment, Darlington Raceway in 2009 had originally brought back the name, the Southern 500, but now has changed or modified it to the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington. The Southern 500 that originally was held on Labor Day and is one of the most legendary races in NASCAR history and now it’s changed or modified, what do NASCAR fans think about that?

But I have to say that this isn’t the only name change of a historical race in NASCAR, the All-Star race in May has been changed several times. And so has the Brickyard 400 that is now known as the AllState 400 at the Brickyard.

Can imagine though this trend continuing on even further, I have to wonder what’s next and how far is too far?

Let me throw an example out there: The Daytona 500, NASCAR’s superbowl, the biggest race of season by far, could be imagine that name changing to either the Verizon Wireless 500 at Daytona or The Daytona 500 presented by Verizon Wireless. For Verizon Wireless, they sponsored a few things at Daytona, so that were I came up with that. And I believe NASCAR needs to allow AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless back in the Cup Series to be able to sponsor racecars. But I mean that could be the future…

Now the idea of changing the names of some of the most historical races in NASCAR to keep up with the times or money for the race isn’t really going to sit well with some NASCAR fans and in some cases it really doesn’t sit well with me neither. I understand and relies that times are changing and sponsors are huge in this sport as I already said above, but there is a limit to changing a historical name just to accommodate a sponsor into the mix as I pointed out above with the Verizon Wireless 500 at Daytona.

But I don’t know why I’m about to say this, but I’m actually ok with The Daytona 500 presented by Verizon Wireless, but NOT with the Verizon Wireless 500 at Daytona just as I wasn’t ok with the AllState 400 at the Brickyard. Some things in NASCAR just shouldn’t be changed and NASCAR finally realized that with the rear spoiler. NASCAR racecars having spoilers is what NASCAR fans want and connect with and that’s it.

So what does everybody think, do you agree with the Showtime Southern 500 name change or think they should have come up with something else? Are you ok with changing some of the historical race names to keep up with the times?

But before I go, I want to point out something, currently in the United States, there are two sports venues that are well known or people can identify just by hearing the name, The Boston Garden and the Madison Square Garden. Of course now the Boston Garden has already changed to the TD Bank Garden, but the Madison Square Garden hasn’t, what if it did? Now putting “Garden” after TD Bank doesn’t sit well with some, it is a sign of the times, but I believe that those two examples go hand in hand with the NASCAR races. Boy am I going to catch some for that statement, but it’s what I believe.

Photo Credit: NASCAR media