Monday, May 31, 2010

The Fast 3: #99 Jon Fogarty retaliates on #01 Memo Rojas in opening laps of Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, I have decided that since I’m not just a NASCAR fan, but a Motorsports fan too, I’m renaming this article that was formerly known as “NASCAR’s Best and Worst moments” to “The Fast 3: Best and Worst Motorsports Moments from the past weekend.”

Best moments:

1. #99 Jon Fogarty retaliates on #01 Memo Rojas in opening laps of the Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park, CT.

Normally, retaliation is something that I don’t like seeing at all, however when a team has been taken out several times and exhausted all other recourses in dealing with another team, then and only then is retaliation justified in racing and today it happened.

I’ve been watching not only NASCAR, but Motorsports fan for almost the past two decades now includes watching the Grand-Am Series, the #01 especially with Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas seem to get away with everything. They take out several drivers in the course of a season and in a lot of cases, it was avoidable and one car is the #99.

So today, the #99 found themselves in an interesting position, the chance to bump the #01 out of the way on purpose and did it in the opening laps of the race. The bump sent the #01 into the dirt and grass which tore up the front end, ripped off the nose, grill, radiator and more. I have to say that to the #99, good move on Rojas, I just wonder why the #01 was outside of the #99 in the corner in the first place…

The #99 was blacked flagged for avoidable contact and sent down pit road. SPEED interviewed Jon Fogarty, driver of the #99 GAINSCO/ Bob Stallings Racing on the incident and he said: “It was one of those out there today. You know it’s not a fair fight, between the BMW and the Chevrolet and you just get tired of having your head held under water and when things are unfair, things tend to get dirty. But on the same token, (Memo) Rojas realizes he’s leading the championship by a country mile and there’s no reason why he had to put himself in that position.”

Personally this should be a wakeup call for the #01 and there driving, but all this payback is going to do is get more payback from the #01 because both Pruett and Rojas are hot heads and don’t get it on the racetrack and show no respect. I wonder what will happen next?

Oh by the way, this move also cost me points in my WindTunnel fantasy pick as I choose the #01 to win the race today.

2. NASCAR media plays up “new Kyle Busch” while Jeff Burton tells Kyle Busch to use his head and show respect.

Jeff Burton tells Kyle Busch to use his head and show respect after last night’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. I have to admit that it’s not very often that I see Jeff Burton really get upset, but this one was something I’ve been waiting to see for a long time. Finally a well respected driver, Jeff Burton specks on Kyle Busch.

Basically during the late stages of the Coca-Cola 600, Kyle Busch made it three wide with Burton and teammate Bowyer and cut down Burton’s rear tire sending him up the track and out of contending for the victory.

Now I have to say that Kyle Busch didn’t make any friends last night nor in the past few weeks, just ask Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, and now Jeff Burton. All I have to say is Kyle Busch prides himself on being NASCAR’s bad boy and he’s shown this time and time again, what do people expect. I guess somebody is going to have to talk to him or worse.

Check out SceneDaily.com’s article called “Angry Jeff Burton tells Kyle Busch to use his head and show respect” for quotes.

Worst moment:

3. Sebastian Vettel wrecks teammate Mark Webber, costing Red Bull a 1-2 finish and put Vettel out of the race.

At yesterday’s Turkish Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel takes out teammate Mark Webber, costing Red Bull racing a 1-2 finish and the victory. However this stupid moment has an upside, with Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber running now in third, it put McLaren-Mercedes into the top 2 spots with Lewis Hamilton winning the Grand Prix.

This move also cost me points in my WindTunnel fantasy pick as I choose Vettel to win the Turkish GP.

What a Memorial Day Weekend of Motorsports this was, now I only hope that the Monaco GP will be back on this weekend in 2011, but that depends where Easter is on the Monaco calendar.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Spectacular last lap crash saves Dario Franchitti as he wins his second Indianapolis 500.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to this beautiful Memorial Day Weekend and as we take time to remember our U.S. men and women in the military services, the 2010 Indianapolis 500 is in the record books and what a race this one was.

Heading into today’s Indianapolis 500, I predicted that not only Penske Racing would win the 500, but Helio Castroneves would join an elite club of four victories. However anything can happen and today it did.

Just after 1pm (12 noon), the green flag flew and it only took Dario Franchitti a good 10 laps or so to grab the lead from the polesitter Helio Castroneves and never really looked back. But it would be a battle to keep the lead.

During the 500, there were several things that left me scratching my head, starting with the black flags for John Andretti and Graham Rahal. Did I miss something in that you’re not allowed to defend your position?

I always thought that holding your line to the bottom going the front straightaway was legal, but I guess it’s not when you have another competitor behind you, instead it’s called blocking. Or I didn’t even catch the Graham Rahal one. But it was really funning to watch Graham Rahal come back of the pits after serving the penalty right in front of the leader and just run his line all the while Dario Franchitti, the leader was trying to get by.

The officials asked for curiosity, but come on, you just blacked flag the guy, and he’s not doing anything wrong as he’s staying on the lead lap, so as one person put it to me while watching it, the officials can “go pound sand”.

Anyway, after a few wrecks and Team Penske basically taking themselves out of the running with several mistakes on pit road including Ryan Briscoe’s pit stop, the Indy 500 would change from a fast & furious race to a fuel conservation race that let’s be honest is boring to watch plain and simply.

At one point in the final laps, lap speeds came down about 20 MPH, yeah that’s not fun, but it’s part of racing. Now at this point, I thought for sure the Dario would have to pit and Dan Wheldon would sweep by and win the race. However all that went out the window as Dario took the white flag, a huge two-car spectacular wreck in turn 3 and turn 4 with Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway resulted in the race was over, fans wouldn’t see if Wheldon could close enough to challenge and Dario Franchitti would become a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.

But after all is said and done, I leave you with a question: Is it wrong, argent or just showing pride that Ganassi had the 2010 Daytona 500 trophy (from Jamie McMurray) and the Indy 500 Borg-Warner Trophy in victory lane?
So say that Chip Ganassi is being argent, while others say it’s just showing pride, what does Motorsports, NASCAR and racing fans think…

(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

After a late race surge, Kurt Busch wins the NASCAR All-Star race, but what about the Coca-Cola 600?

Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

Last Saturday night was the 26th running of the NASCAR All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway that was anything but boring to say the least. Of course I will say that I have to give it to the NASCAR media and NASCAR in general for blowing the surprise of who won the fan vote on Twitter.

The first race of the night was the always exciting Sprint showdown, a last chance qualifier for two drivers to get into the All-Star race or go home.

The Sprint Showdown lived up to its name as several drivers found themselves running good, but to only go home instead of making the All-Star race including Juan Montoya getting crashed out with Regan Smith. After the race on twitter, @JennaFryer: ``That's what happens when you start by lottery and not by performance and he doesn't have any,'' said @jpmontoya. By the way, qualifying was rained out with only 3-4 cars left to qualify. You win some and you loss some.

It would also be a short night for Jeff burton who finished 3rd and the fast A.J. Allmendinger in the famous #43 come so close, but not make the All-Star neither. But it was Martin Truex Jr. making his way into the All-Star race by holding off Greg Biffle to win the Showdown.

There was one more way in to the All-Star for those still not qualified, the fan vote. However it was here that NASCAR made a mistake. About a half hour before the All-Star race and the announcement of who had won the fan vote, on NASCAR’s twitter, fans saw two tweets that left me saying, thanks for blowing the surprise guys.

@NASCAR: The fans vote Carl Edwards in #NASCAR #AllStar at 6:25pm, fan vote revealed at 6:55pm on television. Followed by @JennaFryer: Carl Edwards wins the fan vote. Breaking news.

Oh brother. Of course when it was announced, it was also “tweeted” live…@MissSprintCup: Thank you NASCAR fans for all your votes! Congratulations to the 2010 Sprint Fan Vote winner...Carl Edwards!

Note, in watching all of the All-Star coverage, I felt like I was watching a giant Sprint commercial about another new phone, wow look what Sprint has on their 4G network. Oh please, I bet that AT&T and Verizon’s 3G coverage is faster than Sprint’s 4G coverage any day. By the way, just for the record, I’m on Verizon prepaid and my father is on AT&T GoPhone and we both left Sprint a few years ago for better service.

Anyway, I was surprised to see that Carl Edwards won the fan vote, I mean my first reaction was alright the fans didn’t pick the winner like in 2008 with Kasey Kahne, so who’s going to win especially with this format of 50 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and 10 lap shootout.

In the first 50 laps, there was a mandatory green flag pit stop (lap 25). I would have thought that spreading it out between lap 20 to lap 30 would be better, but of course a caution could come out in the middle. It was Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch dominating this segment. For everybody who is hitting the panic button on the #48 team, let it, there’s nothing wrong with this team. Kurt Busch wins segment #1.

In the second and third segments it was simply Jimmie Johnson. But you know the first three segments don’t mean anything, they are tuners for the final 10 lap segment and that’s where the battle will be won or lost. Personally at this point, I would prefer segment two and three combined to a single 40 lap segment, it would be better.

During the All-Star race, even I once again embraced Twitter with these tweets:
1. @4wide Hay, I'm actually enjoying the All-Star race. There's hard, competitive, side-by-side racing, go with it. Last 10 laps, watch that. TweetDeck in reply to 4wide
2. I wish Dale Earnhardt Jr. could run a black and silver paint scheme or american flag one ever race, great touch.
3. #NASCAR, I'm loving the RaceBuddy, can we have this every Cup Series race, now that's coverage and racing.
4. SPEED's Steve Burnes, there is no "new kyle busch", give us a break, its just something the #nascar media created.

But in the final 10 laps, all hell broke loss as Mark Martin would get turned going into turn 1, collecting half the field. The junkyard is filling up fast. Then the action shifted to teammates Denny Hamlin vs. Kyle Busch. Hamlin did nothing wrong here at all, Kyle Busch wasn’t even up to Hamlin’s rear tire, so Kyle Busch can be pissed at himself for driving stupid. Plus, this is the All-Star race, you don’t give up the lead. Nobody remembers second place.

Kyle Busch you don’t have the race won, and there is no “new Kyle Busch” especially when he is sitting in the 11 Hauler.

Amazingly enough, the action had just begun as Jimmie Johnson would be the next victim as he spun off turn 4 and went through the grass and took himself out of the race too. What a plow that splitter makes.

But even after hitting the wall two-three time, swearing his head off at his guys and what not, Kurt Busch wins the 2010 NASCAR All-Star race. However the story to me really was Martin Truex Jr. finished second, now that’s something to be proud of.

Can Penske Racing sweep both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday?
I’m going to simply say it’s possible, but no, not in my eyes. Earlier today, I wrote an article called “Can Helio Castroneves win the Indianapolis 500 from the pole and become a four-time winner?” where I said I believe that not only Penske racing can win the Indy 500, but I believe that Helio Castroneves will win it all and become a four-time winner.

However as for the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR longest race, that is a completely different story. I can’t even count on both hands how many driver shave a chance to win the 600 on Sunday night, that’s how competitive and unpredictable this race could be. Sure you have your normal cast of winner and and Jimmie Johnson stands on top of that list.

But even more, you can’t count out Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, and the list goes on and on. Even Jamie McMurray ad Kevin Harvick would make this list.

So for Penske Racing’s own Kurt Busch or Brad Keselowski, that would be a huge uphill battle for sure. And given Kurt Busch’s attitude in the car, a very big uphill battle, but anything can happen.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Can Helio Castroneves win the Indianapolis 500 from the pole and become a four-time winner?

Helio Castroneves wins Indy 500 pole, Tony Kanaan bumps his way in as Paul Tracy is out.

Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves, and Will Power on the front row for the 2010 Indianapolis 500. Image Credit: Indy500.com.

Last Saturday at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway was pole day to determine the starting lineup for this Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. In the past, the speedway had four full days of boring qualifying to sit through that included a pole day and a bump day. Thankfully for 2010, the speedway/series cut the qualifying back to just two days and introduced the fast 9.

Heading into last Saturday, I had a feeling that it was going to be a classic Penske Racing vs. Ganassi Racing for the pole and I was right. Of course most U.S. open wheel racing fans could have guessed the same thing. All though out the day, it was Penske Racing vs. Ganassi racing.

One of the new additions to pole day is the fast 9 where the top 9 qualifiers in the regular session would square off to see who would win the pole and who would start where. But it didn’t take that long for a winner to emerge as the first qualifier Helio Castroneves would take the pole and never really look back.

I really don’t know what it is with Helio Castroneves and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but wow what a connection Helio has with this speedway. Not to be outdone, his teammate Will Power will start second and Ryan Briscoe starts 4th.

One part of the day had to hearing Chip Ganassi screaming fowl. It’s was just too funning watching him have a giant issue with Penske racing sending his driver out to run out the clock at the end of the session just to keep Helio on the pole, when in fact Penske really wasn’t. Considering Ganassi has done it in the past. By the way the two Ganassi racing cars will start 3rd (Dario Franchitti) and 6th (Scott Dixon).

As for the format for qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 with 3-4 attempts, I really don’t get it. Call me weird, but NASCAR’s one attempt to qualify works great by me, maybe I could see 2 attempts, but 3 or 4, please, what a waste. Put more thought into it.

However those attempts would become a huge game changer on Sunday for bump day. I have to say the bump day sure did live up to its name, but what a nightmare to watch on television, didn’t anybody on these crews pay attention to the speeds in the last hour.

We started out with Tony Kanaan having to bump his way into the field after a Saturday crash and a Sunday morning crash. People in the media were watching the coverage and thought that the network was replaying Kanaan’s crash from Saturday all the while they were looking at a live feed of Tony Kanaan crashing for a second time. I felt so bad for Tony Kanaan, here is a driver that has had such bad luck at the Brickyard and two crashes in two days didn’t help any. But he got in (33rd) and that’s what count.

However the same couldn’t be said Paul Tracy as in the late stages of bump day, made a mistake and withdrew his 32nd time to better his position over 33rd Howard, but couldn’t. The whole this was a game of leap frog with Jay Howard vs. Paul Tracy with neither driver getting into the field, because neither had the speed to get back in.

Instead it was a crash out Sebastian Saavedra that would make the field with a team of a few guys that worked out of a truck. What a story there, hats off.

Like I said, you win some and you loss some, but for Tracy, he should have kept his time, but that’s life.

A couple of notables to watch for on Sunday are:

- Alex Tagliani starts 5th
- Graham Rahal starts 7th
- Justin Wilson starts 11th
- Danica Patrick starts in the middle of row 8.

Can Helio Castroneves win the Indianapolis 500 for the fourth time?
I believe that there is a good chance that not only the winner of the 2010 Indianapolis 500 could be out of the Penske Racing stables, but could come from the pole with Helio castroneves. Helio seems to have a huge bond with Indy and considering he won back in 2001, 2002 and that emotional victory last year in the Indy 500 after the whole tax evasion thing, he is poised to win for a fourth time.

If Helio where to win on Sunday, he would join an exclusive club for drivers who have won the Indy 500 four-times. That’s history if he can do it and Helio could join A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977), Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991) and Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987). That would be cool to see, go Helio.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's official: Formula 1 will return to the US in 2012 in Austin TX, but where...

Wow ladies and gentlemen, this came out of left field. It was only last Saturday in an article called "Is Formula One returning to the U.S. at a place called Monticello Motor Club in Upstate, NY?" that I discussed the possibility of Formula 1 returning to the United States at of all places, a private motorsports club in Upstate, NY.

In that article I said:
"as a Motorsports fan, I would like to see Formula 1 return to the United States. The U.S. is a huge market for not only Formula 1, but for several of the car manufacturers in F1. However personal I really don't care where the venue in the U.S. for the Grand Prix is so long as they actually have one here.

Now as I say that, I really am having a hard time trying to imagine just why there hasn't been an F1 race in the U.S. since 2007. I mean is the hosting fee to big for most venues to handle or there more that F1 looks at then a track that hosts let's say a NASCAR Cup Series race."
Fast forward to yesterday as Formula 1 announced that they are officially returning to the United States in 2012 and the United States Grand Prix will be held in (wait for it...) Austin, TX. I first read this on Speedtv.com and I thought for sure that this was a typo, so I checked Formula1.com and sure enough its official, Austin, TX will host the United States Grand Prix.

I said that I didn't know where the USGP would be held, but Austin, TX wasn't even close to what I was thinking nor thought of. However Austin promoters must of had to put something big up to satisfy Bernie Ecclestone and all of his requirements for hosting a race including hosting fees, the way the pit road looks, more.

However the story doesn't end there as its less than 24 hours later and the new story has changed from is Formula 1 returning to the United States, to where in Austin, TX will the race take place. According to the article on Speedtv, the promoter doesn't have a site picked out yet, but is working on it.

Now I would have thought that one of the biggest parts of landing a deal to hosting a F1 race would be having a venue either completely built or at least secured for the construction of the road course. However that's not the case here at all. In reading that, I believe that this story is far from over and it should be interesting to see the final details including the site and a picture of the road course itself.

All I can say now, F1 and Austin, TX have made it official, now make it happen.
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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Is Formula One returning to the U.S. at a place called Monticello Motor Club in Upstate, NY?

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According to Autoweek.com via Autoblog.com in an article called "Formula One returning to the U.S.? Monticello Motor Club talks to Bernie Ecclestone", a private country club in upstate, NY called the Monticello Motor Club is talking with Bernie Ecclestone about possibly bring Formula 1 back to the United State at their private motorsports club that is located about 90 minutes by car from Manhatten and has an international airport about 10 minutes away.

Putting the location into more prospective, the Stewart International Airport is 50 minutes away that is located at the junction of I-87 and I-84 near the famous Orange Country Choppers shop in NY.

With that said, as a Motorsports fan, I would like to see Formula 1 return to the United States. The U.S. is a huge market for not only Formula 1, but for several of the car manufacturers in F1. However personal I really don't care where the venue in the U.S. for the Grand Prix is so long as they actually have one here.

Now as I say that, I really am having a hard time trying to imagine just why there hasn't been an F1 race in the U.S. since 2007. I mean is the hosting fee to big for most venues to handle or there more that F1 looks at then a track that hosts let's say a NASCAR Cup Series race.

At any rate, it would be nice for F1 to return. However I will say one thing, unlike most countries, the Grand Prix in the United States has to have a title sponsor in order to pay the costs of the event.

And that unlike most countries that host a F1 race, the US Government doesn't sponsor or put up the money for the race period. Motorsports isn't something that the U.S. Government doesn't believe in sponsoring or putting up the money for and as a U.S. citizen, I completely agree. Taxpayers shouldn't pay the bill for motorsports, thats what sponsors and companies are for.

I really do hope that F1 returns to the United States, but from what I understand, it will be a uphill battle. as for what venues should they consider?

Watkins Glen International in Upstate, NY, Mazda Raceway Laguna Sega in California, The street of Long Beach during the now IRL IndyCar Series weekend, Infineon Raceway in North California, Virginia International Raceway just to name a few.

This should be interesting to see if anything comes out of these talks or is the United States just not going to host an F1 Grand Prix. Any thoughts including venues?

Friday, May 21, 2010

What are the Top 6 greatest NASCAR All-star races?

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Image Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, as the 26th annual NASCAR Sprint All-Star race nears this Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. There has been 25 All-star races in NASCAR history and in and among those 25 races, there has been several memorable moments that have left people saying “what was that” and how did he do that?”

One of the NASCAR All-Star races that I recently watched in a highlight reel was the first NASCAR All-Star race way back in 1985. Wow what a way to start a good race off. Can you imagine these drivers back in 1985 hearing the announcement that there will be an All-Star race with just money to the winner, a non-points race, what must of went through their heads?

Sure it didn’t pay $1 million Dollars to win, but damn what a show these racecar drivers put on. This race just happen to show that Junior Johnson as a car owner and strategist knows engines and just what his driver Darrell Waltrip is capable of as Darrell Waltrip would make a late race pass for the lead, win the All-Star race and all of a sudden, his engine blowup going into turn 1.

So, what are the top 6 most memorable moments and races that stand out among the rest?

6. (1996) Michael Waltip does it, winning the all-star race after making a last segment pass on a battling Dale Sr. and Terry Labonte.

5. (1997) One shot deal for T-Rex: The famous #24 “T-Rex” special one-race racecar with Jurassic Park paint Scheme that sent Jeff Gordon to victory lane and Bill France Jr. saying don’t bring this car back.

4. (1995) The famous 1995 All-Star race that say a battle between Dale Earnhardt in his silver Chevrolet against Darrell Waltrip only to have dale get loose off turn 4 and wreck both of them. Jeff Gordon would go on to victory.

3. (1989) This all-star race would change history for two drivers. Darrell Waltrip vs. Rusty Wallace coming off turn 4 where Wallace spun Waltrip into the grass and Rusty Wallace would go on to win the race. However in doing so, Rusty Wallace would become the new bad guy in NASCAR as Darrell Waltrip would turn from bad guy to good guy.

2. (1987) Dale Earnhardt wins after his famous save (or pass as some call it) in the grass and holding off Bill Elliott.

1. (1992) Davey Allison vs. Kyle Petty vs. Dale Earnhardt: Earnhardt spins, Allison won, but Petty wrecks Allison at the finish line. Allison would not celebrate in victory lane, instead in hospital.

Now I wonder what tomorrow night’s NASCAR All-Star race will bring for moments is? What’s your Top 6 list?

Racing Dreams Film review – The film that showcases how NASCAR’s future stars get their start.

And what these future NASCAR starts have to go though on a daily basis.

Ever wonder how your favorite NASCAR drivers got to where they are today like Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick and more? Well most of the NASCAR drivers that we know and route for most likely got their start by racing go-karts at a young age.

Racing Dreams is a documentary directed by Academy Award Nominee Marshall Curry and executive produced by Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson that showcases three racecar drivers completing in the World Karting Association’s five-race National Championship series over the course of one year.

The quote at the beginning of the film says it the best: “In the life of every great racecar driver there was a year, before the money and the fame, when they stood at the crossroads and found out if they had what it takes to make it. For the three racers, this would be that year.”

The three karting stars are:

Annabeth Barnes: At age 11, as the talented daughter of a retired race driver that has grown up dreaming of being a racecar driver someday. She spends nearly every weekend at the track as she fights for a spot in NASCAR’s racing diversity program. And in that time, she struggles to find the balance of racing vs. being a normal teenage girl.

Josh Hobson: At age 12, Josh has been racing since he was five, is focused on driving a racecar, winning races and championships. The 7th-grader obsessively studies driving and interview styles of NASCAR stars and understands that success requires media savvy, satisfied sponsors and a professional attitude above all.

Brandon Warren: At age 13, Brandon is funny and charismatic, with a quick temper that leads him into trouble and looking to win the championship that he lost in the previous year when he was disqualified for rough driving. Brandon also struggles with a difficult home life, racing for him is as much an escape as a passion. But he has a good head on his shoulders as he looks to succeed in life.

During the course of the year, each of these young racecar drivers have to learn the ins and outs of a go-kart, how to drive the racecar at over 70mph including what line to use around the racetrack that will get them the best lap time without getting them passed, how to drive around other racecars drivers, how to make passes cleanly and more.

These racecar drivers also had to learn how to handle themselves in an interview as well as how to work on their go-karts.

Think of it like this, as a racecar driver continues to grow, get more experience and become more talented, one part of being a successful racecar driver is sponsorship.

The interviews are a huge part of that. You as a racecar driver are trying to get a company to sponsor you, in turn your becoming a spokesman for that company. These companies want to see how you handle yourself on-track including the rough driving, in interviews as well as off-track.

In watching this film, you could see exactly what is going through the heads of these three racecar drivers. Amazingly enough, the film also focuses on the bigger picture and it’s a universal story about growing up, figuring out what life is going to be like, family and romance for the first time.

This is Racing Dreams. You can view the trailer for the film trailer here: RacingDreamsFilm.com.

Related Stories:

- Q&A: Annabeth Barnes, go-karter from ‘Racing Dreams' documentary. At age 15 now…

Thursday, May 20, 2010

NASCAR breaks rules in letting Casey Mears sub for Brian Vickers in NASCAR All-Star race.

Casey Mears isn’t qualified for the All-Star, he should have to be in the Sprint Showdown.

Last week before Dover, Red Bull Racing announced that due to Brian Vickers' diagnosis of blood clots and on- going testing and treatment, that Casey Mears would be subbing for Vickers in the #83 Red Bull Toyota at Dover.

Now with the 26th annual NASCAR Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a non-points race that is coming up this Saturday night, would Brian Vickers return at the All-Star race and drive the #83 or not.

Yesterday, Red Bull Racing would answer that question when:
Red Bull Racing announced that the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota has requested a driver change and has been cleared by NASCAR to participate in Saturday's Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Casey Mears will again pilot the No. 83 because of primary driver Brian Vickers' diagnosis of blood clots and ongoing testing and treatment.

"Given the extenuating circumstances we have dealt with this past week regarding Brian's health, we would like to thank NASCAR for their assistance and understanding of this unique situation by allowing us to compete in the All-Star Race," said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team general manager and vice president. (Red Bull Racing Press Release)
This has touched off a huge debate on which drivers should be eligible and which drivers are not eligible including the fill-in driver Casey Mears.

Here is the way I look at it, what some don’t understand and judging by this announcement neither does NASCAR is that the driver qualifies for the race, not the team or the owner. So when it comes to Brian Vickers and the #83 Toyota, Brian Vickers qualified for the All-Star, not the #83 Toyota with just any driver.

Now I realize that Brian Vickers is out because of a medical condition that will not let him drive and rightful so, and that the #83 Red Bull Racing has the right to have a fill-in driver, but that fill-in driver has either has to be already qualified for the All-Star race or that driver should have to race in the Sprint Showdown and either win or place second to get into the race.

In the case of Casey Mears, he doesn’t qualify for the All-Star race, there for Mears should have to complete and advance through the Sprint Showdown to be allowed into the All-Star race. That’s not fair to all of the drivers who qualified, nor NASCAR fans. If a driver is in the All-Star race, that means he qualified either by being a past All-Star winner (within the last 10 years), winning a race within the last season.

Now before I go, I do want to say that some fans are questioning why the #09 Phoenix Racing isn’t allowed to have a fill-in driver considering Brad Keselowski won last year at Talladega, which qualified Brad Keselowski for the All-Star race, but is driving the #12 instead. The key is Brad Keselowski qualified, not the #09. If the #09 wants to be in the race, get a driver that is either already qualified or drive in the Sprint Showdown.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What were NASCAR’s best and worst moments from Dover – 5.14.10

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Welcome ladies and gentlemen to another installment of NASCAR’s Best and Worst moments, this time the NASCAR schedule brings us to the Monster Mile, Dover Speedway.

What were the Best moments?

1. The best moment for sure had to be in Friday’s Camping World Truck Series race when Aric Almirola made a late race pass for the lead on Kyle Busch on a restart to pickup his first career Truck Series victory. And get this, Almirola didn’t wreck Busch, unlike Hamlin in the Nationwide race.

I remember watching the controversial JGR decision back in June 2007 in the AT&T 250 at the Milwaukee Mile that took Almirola out of the #20 who was subbing for a running late Denny Hamlin. The headline read “Denny Hamlin and Aric Almirola win the AT&T 250 at the Milwaukee Mile.”

Since then, I have wondered where this guy would end up racing and I believe that Almirola has found a good ride in the #51 Billy Billow Truck in the Truck Series.

2. Another good moment came on Saturday in the Nationwide Series race when Clint Bowyer had enough with Denny Hamlin after being wrecked, so before a G-W-C finish, Bowyer retaliation on Hamlin. This move would cost Hamlin ultimately a top 2 or a win in the Nationwide race.

Now I will go on record as saying that I’m not a fan of retaliation and 9 times out 10, retaliation only leads to more retaliation, however the other 1 time is a last resort and must be a strong, hard message. This was one of those last resorts, Hamlin deserved what he got. Of course Bowyer would be parked for the remainder of the race and NASCAR will most likely give him a 3-race probation.

3. At this point, some maybe saying what about yesterdays Autism Speaks 400 presented by Hershey's Milk & Milkshakes, well let’s put it this way, the only good thing about the race was that it brings awareness for Autism, that‘s it. This race really needs to be a 300 miler for starters.

What were the worst moments?

1. Amazingly enough for me, the worst doesn’t come from the racing itself, but from the PR department at Dover Motorsports, NASCAR.com and SPEED. As most NASCAR fans know, typically SPEED broadcasts are live, however in some cases like this past weekend, SPEED taped delayed the Friday Camping World Truck Series race because SPEED wanted to attract a bigger audience, so they put it in primetime.

Well this creates a problem, in the digital age that we live in, information is published as it happens. And I know that information gets out, so I typically stay off Twitter and Facebook and Jayski just to name a few just so I don’t get the results from a taped delayed race.

However Dover Motorsports PR published the info during the SPEED broadcast though email. They sent me a Press release just as field got the green flag with the subject “Aric Almirola wins his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Dover” and full results. I have to say that as a NASCAR fan, I was upset, they couldn’t have waited until 11pm EST? Now I will not even check my email during a taped delayed race either.

2. Another moment come also on Saturday, this time it was the Nationwide race itself. I have to say that while the Truck Series and mostly in the Cup Series races are exciting and unpredictable to watch, the Nationwide Series races are anything but exciting or unpredictable. Boring comes to mind period. It’s the Joe Gibbs racing show. At one point during the race, I looked at my father and said do you want to go shopping for flatware (silverware). And we did, it was that boring. I went to Walmart during this race.

I came back just in time to see Bowyer take out Hamlin before a G-W-C and of course Kyle Busch wins.

Well that’s it for this installment, but before I go, I just want to say that I’m excited to hear that practice for the Indianapolis 500 is underway at IMS, that means that the Indy 500 is less than two weeks away.

What were your NASCAR best and worst moments from Dover?

Image: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Red Bull 1-2 finish in an early Monaco Grand Prix, but no Memorial Day weekend triple header for this Motorsports fan.

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Well as some of you could imagine, I’m disappointed that my triple header Memorial Day Weekend Sunday schedule of Formula 1 in the morning, the Indianapolis 500 at noon time and the Coca-Cola 600 in the evening into the night isn’t going to be in two weeks as Monaco is now.

Yeah that was heaven for this motorsports fan, however Memorial day came two weeks early as the Monaco Grand Prix kicked off earlier today and not in a good way. But before I get into the Monaco GP, some may be asking why Monaco is two weeks early.

Well according to the SPEED announcers, the Monaco Grand Prix has to be exactly 6 or 8 weeks after Easter (I forget which, but it takes 6 weeks to set the track up) and since Easter was earlier this year on the calendar in Monaco, the Monaco Grand Prix ended up being two weeks early as well.

As a matter of fact, when the FIA Formula 1 takes up making the next season schedule, the first date that needs to be determined is the Monaco Grand Prix because of this reason.

I originally was really upset about it, they wrecked my weekend, however believe it or not after hearing that explanation, I understand. I just wish the Monaco Grand Prix could be solidly put on Memorial Day weekend that would be something better especially for Monaco.

With that said, the Monaco Grand Prix is one of those races every year that I look forward to, it’s the superbowl of Formula 1, the Daytona 500 of NASCAR, the Indianapolis 500 of the IRL, you get the picture and it’s the most historical race on the F1 calendar. And the sight of race and course is unbelievable too.

Personally I have never been to Monaco, however what a sight to see just on television. The course tight, narrow, amazing waterfront street course complete with a few long straightaways, a tight hairpin, a few passing zones and even a tunnel, what racetrack on the Motorsports calendar has a tunnel on the race course.

However like I said in the beginning, the race was disappointing. I have to say that I was hoping for a little bit of rain. For some reason in Formula 1, a wet racetrack makes for a good race, it evens up the field somewhat, it makes drivers really get on it. But sleeper races are just not entertaining, nor are follow the leader or no real passing.

The only excelling part was watching Fernando Alonso race from last to finish in the top 6. Watching Alonso get frustrated with some other drivers was funny too. I mean they are racing for position too, this is racing, not move over and race single file.

But in the end, it was the duo of Red Bull racing’s Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel that stole the show for a 1-2 finish.

One side note, wow, it must be a contract year for Mark Webber because up till now, Webber really hasn’t been on the radar unlike his rookie teammate Vettel. I heard during the Monaco GP that Webber might have resigned, well that means Vettel can be a contender once again.

At least both are leading the points over Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso heading into the Turkish Grand Prix in two weeks. Wow, Formula 1 in Turkey on Memorial Day Weekend, yeah I’ll set my alarm…

Image by xpb.cc

Monday, May 10, 2010

Reminder: The win a Buffalo Wild Wings cooler backpack Contest ends Saturday, May 22, 2010.

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.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Who are the top 5 NASCAR crew chiefs that deserve an award for the thickest skin in the garage area?

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Earlier tonight during the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip said that Lance McGrew deserved the award for the thickest skin in the garage area for being Dale Earnhardt Jr’s crew chief.

That statement got me thinking as to who really is the crew chiefs with the thickest skin in the garage area consider especially in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, there are some aggressive drivers that are really hard on their crew chiefs. And when I say aggressive, I mean brutal at times.

Now before I continue, I believe that while Chad Knaus in my opinion is the best crew chief in the garage area, he is not on this list, why? Jimmie Johnson doesn’t even make the top 20 list of drivers that yell or are really aggressive with being hard on their crew chiefs. I believe that that’s one of the reasons why this #48 team is so good, communication especially in marriage is key to success and 4 Cup Series Championships and 50 wins is success.

Anyway, I would have to say that the top 5 drivers in the garage area that are the most aggressively hard on their crew chief are:

1. Kurt Busch
2. Kyle Busch
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Juan Montoya

In looking at that list, I would say that the top 5 crew chiefs with the thickest skin in the garage area would have to be:

1. Steve Addington hands-down. Consider this, Addington has worked with first Kyle Busch and now his brother Kurt Busch. I believe that the Busch Brothers are the most aggressively hard on their crew chiefs period, not even Dale Jr. comes close to these two. The two drivers demand perfection and if they don’t get it, they let their crew chiefs know. I never could understand why drivers go off on their crew chiefs, but hay everybody gets mad.

2. Lance McGrew. McGrew has been crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. for several races dating back into 2009 when Hendrick made the call to move Tony Eury Jr. to research and development at Hendrick. Also consider this, Dale Jr’s crew chief has to take crap from the media and NASCAR fans too. Of course I will mention that the best crew chief for Dale Jr. is Tony Eury Sr., he’s family and he doesn’t just take it, he fights back.

3. Steve Latarte. Latarte is currently Jeff Gordon’s crew chief. Being Jeff Gordon’s crew chief along doesn’t qualify you for this list, however the crap that he has taken for all of the media and the fans makes him number 3 on this list. As a matter of fact, some NASCAR fans are calling for Latarte to be fired, however I’m not. Latarte is the only active crew chief for Gordon period. Gordon is known for many things, but being so aggressively hard on his crew chief isn’t one of them.

4. Todd Berrier. Berrier was Kevin Harvick’s crew chiefs and if you have ever listed to Harvick on the radio, he is brutal at times. Of course, the entire #29 team should all have a hand in this award considering Harvick doesn’t just go off on his crew chief, but he goes off on his pit crew too. I think Kevin Harvick is a very talented driver, a championship caliber driver, but he needs his crew behind him and how you treat them is one key to success.

5. Greg Zipadelli. Zippy made this list because he was crew chief for Tony Stewart from 1999-2008. And in that time, he took a lot from Tony Stewart, the media and the Smoke fans.

Bottom line, this was a different type of article for me to write, but I had fun with this. It’s sort of like the article I wrote back in late March called “Who are the top 5 Heroes, Villains, and Underdogs in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series?”, they are both the prospective of a NASCAR fan who has been watching NASCAR for almost two-decades now.

So what do you think, do you have a crew chief for this list, comment below.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What was NASCAR’s best and worst from Richmond and Kansas?


Credit: Rick Dole/Getty Images

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Good evening everybody, today I’m starting a new weekly feature on RaceDriven.com called NASCAR’s Best and Worst of the past weekend. For this inaugural posting, we take a look back at NASCAR on Friday night and Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway and Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

But before I get into that, I just wanted to say that I got this idea for this posting off of twitter from the guys over at The NASCAR Insider Blog. They run this on Twitter asking what were the NASCAR’s best and worst from the past week. Good stuff. By the way, just so you know, I’m on Twitter too, you can follow me @brianvermette, have a look. And I do publish all of my article links from both here at RaceDriven.com and from my new lifestream on Posterous at BrianVermette.com on my Twitter account.

What was the best from the past weekend?
Just so everybody knows, it certainly wasn’t the IRL IndyCar Series race from Kansas that saw Scott Dixon dominate and win the race, but ironically enough, it was from Kansas Speedway. Yes I’m talking about the Camping World Truck Series race on Sunday afternoon at Kansas. What a weird and wild race.

Now it should be no surprise that the Truck Series puts on a good show regularly, however even with the Truck Series issues that I will get into next week in a three part series, this past weekend saw a good one, especially to write home about. First you have a simply Truck Series race under the Sunshine and then you have a heavy rain and hail storm. I’m thinking at this point, this race is over.

But nope, an hour later, the track was dry and we were back to racing. At this point even I was getting aggravated with the tire smoke off of the #33 Ron Hornaday Jr. truck, why couldn’t it have been fixed or cut away the first time.

However with around 13 laps to go, that had to be the save of the 2010 NASCAR season for sure as Hornaday going low on the leader Johnny Sauter, but Hornaday would slid up into Sauter. I thought for sure that both Trucks were done, but what a safe and in sync with each other no less. Both Trucks came around and finish one-two with Sauter winning his second career Truck Series victory and with Bomshel on board.

Note, for anybody who didn’t get what I just said, bomshel is the name of a country music duo that was on the back bed cover and one of my favorite duos in country music today.

Going along with the best, had to be the now bad boy (if you want to call him that), Brad Keselowski as he would win his second race of the season after dominating over Kyle Busch to win the Nationwide Series race on Friday night.

What was the worst?
I’m sorry to say, but it simply was the Sprint Cup Series race under the light on Saturday night. I really don’t know why neither. I just couldn’t put my arms around this race and enjoy it. I mean it wasn’t NASCAR’s fault, nor the rear spoiler or even Jeff Gordon finishing second or Kyle Busch winning for the first time this season, I just wasn’t into it. Normally I’m a NASCAR fan that loves Richmond, as a matter of fact, I wish the NASCAR schedule had more short-tracks like Richmond on it, but for some reason this time I just couldn’t get excited.

I really don’t even know if it was the FOX broadcast television cover, but sorry no dice, however at least the race went off without rain getting in the way, hay that’s something to be thankful for.
Anyway, I know what I’m looking forward to next weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series going under the lights on Saturday night at Darlington that should be a good one and hope Mark Martin or Dale Earnhardt Jr. can rebound and win this one, and they need it for sure.

What do you think, what was your NASCAR’s Best and Worst from last weekend?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

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

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

Two weeks ago, I wrote a column piece on History Channel’s MadHouse series where I called the series simply “It’s scripted, it’s a soap opera, its war, but it’s NOT racing.” The concept of this series MadHouse being compared to real racing especially NASCAR or Formula One for that matter puzzles me and yet some readers do.

Yesterday, I received this comment:
Christopher said (posted in all caps, just like he did): “IM REALLY NOT SURE HOW INTO RACING YOU REALLY ARE, BUT THIS STUFF GORS ON AT EVERY WEEKLY RACETRACK IN THE US! I RACES SK MODIFIEDS AT WATERFORD, THOMPSOM, AND STAFFORD IN THE EARLY 80'S, THIS WAS GOING ON EVERY WEEK AT ALL 3 TRACKS! MOSYLY IN THE SK AND LATE MODELS, BUT IT WAS EVERY WEEKEND. YOU MENTIONED TOURING CARS, NOT WEEKLY CARS. BIG HUGE DIFFERENCE. AL YOU NEED TO DO IS ASK BOB G, OWER OF THE MUSTIC MISSLE WHY HE LIVES 5 MINUTES FROM THE WATERFORD SPEEDBOWL, BUT WOULD NEVER BRING THE 4 UNLESS IT WAS A TOUR RACE? REASON, EVENTHOUGH THE TOUR COST A QUARTER MILL TO RUN EVERY YEAR, YOU CAN BRING THE CAR HOME IN ONE PIECE EVERY WEEK FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR! YES, THE MOD TOUR MOTOR GOES FOR $50,000.AND YOUR NOT GOING TO JUST HAVE ONE, AND YOU WILL NEED AT LEAST 2 CARS, AND A HUGE HAULER. BUT IT ALL COMES HOME IN ONE PIECE! NOT AT THE WEEKLY TRACKS. ITS A CRASH FEST EVEY WEEK.

TO ME, ITS THE BEST RACING THERE IS. LOTS OF FUN, AND PEOPLE LOVE IT. AND, I FOR ONE AM GLAD THE LOCAL TRACKS ARE GETTING A SHOW ON TV, JUST TO SHOW EVERYONE HOW THEY D IT AND HOW ITS DONE EVERY WEEK AT TH LOCAL TRACKS, NOT THE TOURING TRACKS!”
Yesterday, in reading this comment in my email box, I have to say that I was surprised that a reader of RaceDriven.com would question just how much into racing I really am despite how much effect, knowledge and passion I have for racing especially NASCAR.

Even more, this reader is comparing MadHouse to really racing. This is what I was afraid of happening. A viewer of this series who is a racing fan is now comparing this series to real racing and more so to weekly racing series.

MadHouse is a scripted soap opera that takes place at Bowman-Gray Stadium that hosts weekly racing series and features several driving including 3-track champions – Tim Brown, Junior Miller and Burt Myers. However the series really just concintrates on these teams building racecars out of steel to go to war and shows competitors talking about what they want to do to other drivers and sometimes doing it.

The idea that any track out condone this type of racing, if you can call it that is horrible.

Now let me state the obvious, all forms of racing from weekly, regional and national series have rivals, wrecks, beating and banging, hard, competitive racing, that’s what the fans love including me. But there is a difference between MadHouse and the racing you see at the local short-track. I have never heard or seen people punching out people, talking about taking someone out and especially ramming another competitor’s car and after the race.

There is payback and then there’s payback. One is wrecking them until they can’t move and then there’s beating them fair and square for position on track.

Now when you compare MadHouse to weekly racing series at several short-tracks around the country, it paints a horrible war like picture.

I’ve been to Thompson Intl’ Speedway, its 30 minutes from my house, Seekonk Speedway, the old Riverside and even one or two tracks in New Hampshire years ago. Back in 2008 at Seekonk Speedway, I attended a weekly racing series event that featured several series including the TrueValue Modifieds. What a show they put on and during the entire race, I didn’t see competitors taking each other out.

Sure I saw wrecks, but no retaliation, just good old fashion hard, competitive racing and that’s exactly what I wanted to see especially on that night.

In my previous article, I mention that I also watch the regional and national series of NASCAR including the Whelen Modified Tour at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Those races on Saturday (normally) are unbelievable to watch, you never really know who is going to win when they come to the white flag. It’s just that series and that car that makes for great short-track racing. NASCAR really needs to bring this series to a national level with national TV coverage, but that is for another day.

Unbelievably enough, Thursday on television was a replay of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour that had some of the drivers in MadHouse also compete in including Multi-Time champion Tim Brown, Jason Myers and Burt Myers. And in watching that race from South Boston Speedway, I didn’t see what they show on MadHouse, I just saw real racing and that’s what’s suppose to be all about.

Bottom line, there are mixed feelings on MadHouse especially if you’re a racing fan, however my opinion is this series MadHouse isn’t real racing and that’s my take. But don’t think for one moment that I’m not a true racing fan, that’s just wrong.

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