Thursday, August 26, 2010

Poll & Thoughts: What is your biggest complaint about NASCAR even with the good racing?

As I sit here at my desk after an interesting Bristol quad-header weekend, I began thinking about the racing so far in 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and yet there is always a complaint or two, but in all of that, what is your biggest complaint (and please keep it to racing and not saying Kyle Busch is winning, Jimmie Johnson is winning or whatever)

1. The Chase itself.
2. The COT.
3. The 3 attempts at a green-white-checkered finish
4. The cookie cutter tracks on the schedule.
5. The lucky dog free pass (including the multi-car wave around)

Personally, my vote would be #1, the chase itself. The reasons are:

First while the COT isn’t what the fans wanted (including me), nor does it look like a car off the showroom floor. However with the next generation rear spoiler and especially the safety, I can live with the COT and it does produce good racing at several racetracks.

Second, with the exception of Daytona and Talladega, I like the three attempts at a green-white-checkers. However when it comes to Daytona and Talladega, one attempt is enough and even that causes wrecks because of very aggressive drivers.

Third, the lucky dog free pass gives drivers a second chance. Sure it needs to be tweaked like how many times a single driver can use it during one race or even that you can only get the lucky dog if you’re one lap down, not several. But it adds to the racing.

Fourth, the schedule is a mess and while we need more short tracks and road courses, the cookie cutter tracks aren’t the biggest problem with the racing. No it’s the chase.

I believe that the chase has gotten stale or is out of date and it takes away from the first 26 races. Not only that, but the points system is broken and any driver not in the chase is treated like a second class citizen. NASCAR needs to completely redo the entire points system and that along will help the chase. Other ways to mix it up would be to put new tracks in the chase like Bristol, Sonoma, and end in Las Vegas. I will get into the schedule another time.

Of course I believe that getting rid of the chase completely and replacing it with a 34-race schedule, a tight points system and one champion is the better way to go. That would mean that all 34-races equally mean the same and reward the same, no points reset and no driver just gets 12th for sticking around in the chase even with mediocre performances, while another driver outside the chase can’t get higher in the standings.

And in order for a driver to win the championship, they have to be good all season long and not just in the chase.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Top 6 NASCAR things learned from Bristol – Kyle Busch wins triple in Bristol, but isn’t the best in NASCAR.

Well ladies and gentlemen, in this week’s edition of the “Top 6 NASCAR things learned”, I give you my take on all of the racing action from the bullring in Thunder Valley, yes none other than Bristol Motor Speedway.

NASCAR gave fans a special treat this weekend, a quad-header (if you will) at Bristol Motor Speedway with four NASCAR series in action from the NASCAR Whelon Modified Tour and the Truck Series on Wednesday night, the Nationwide Series on Friday night and of course the main event, the 500 lapper Cup Series race on Saturday night.

But I do have to say that last week was very special for me as it was my birthday week. I know birthday week, well hay you only live life once and for one week a year, I celebrate my birthday. But consider this, it’s a week long of racing entertainment leading up to my birthday last Monday, yes August 23rd where I turned 31 years old. Now life really begins and that’s a good thing.

Anyway on to the racing action from Bristol and the previous week’s NASCAR edition of news. So what did we learn?

1. The 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule was released, one word “frustrating”. All I kept hearing for the last few months especially from Brian France was that NASCAR wanted to make well bold moves, change the schedule and make it better for the fans. Well, where was the schedule better for the fans exactly? A perfect example of frustration had to making Phoenix the second race of 2011 and a day race. Placing it there right before Las Vegas is a mistake, Phoenix is 300 miles from Las Vegas and that market can’t handle two dates one week apart. And Phoenix as a night race is amazing.

I’m not excited about Chicagoland playing host to the first chase race nor moving New Hampshire’s first Cup Series date back to the middle of July. And of course Kansas got their second Cup date just because NASCAR owns ISC and there is a casino and hotel next to track. Give me a break, what a joke. They don’t need or can handle a second date plain and simple.

2. Best race of the week had to be the NASCAR Whelon Modified Tour. I have to say that Wednesday night’s running of the Whelon Modified Tour race was the best race of the Bristol week hands down. What a battle lap after lap with the best series in NASCAR. In being from Massachusetts, I know what the Whelon Modified’s are and have been a fan for years and watched them at New Hampshire when I can. The racing was perfect.

A few drivers swapped the lead several lead for most of the 150 lapper between Ted Christopher and Mike Stefanik, before Ryan Newman took the lead in the late stages to win again this season.

3. Why Dale Earnhardt Jr. running well in the Nationwide Series is a good thing. I’ve been a Dale Jr. fan since around 1997, just before Dale Jr. started running in #3 what id now the Nationwide Series and winning back to back championships. I believe that Dale Jr. can drive, but the COT has not been his friend at all since it was introduced back in 2007. However I believe that the answer to Dale Jr.’s quest to get back into victory lane actually is at JR Motorsports with his running the #88 out of his own shop with Tony Eury Sr. and Jr. on top of the pit box.

I believe that Dale Jr. would fair better driving for himself like Tony Stewart does at Stewart-Haas Racing with Tony Eury on the pit box. He would be around family and family for Junior is huge. With the exception of Rick Hendrick, Dale Jr. doesn’t really have anybody at Hendrick, but he does at JR Motorsports. Just a thought, but he has already won at Daytona and finished fourth at Bristol in the #88 this season in the Nationwide Series.

4. Enough with all of the Cup Series drivers in the Nationwide Series already. I really don’t need to say anymore.

5. Brad Keselowski calls Kyle Busch an a** during Saturday night’s Irwin Tools 500 intros. And Brad got a huge crowd reaction. You see in the Nationwide Series race at Bristol, Kyle Busch took out Brad Keselowski and went on to win. And of course with Brad under probation, there was nothing Brad could do and Kyle could just run all over him.

6. After Kyle Busch sweep all three National series race at Bristol this past weekend, SPEED’s RaceHub on Facebook asked “Kyle sweeps at Bristol...is he the best driver in NASCAR?”

Simply put “NO”. While I will give Kyle Busch a lot of credit, he can handle a racecar like very few drivers can whether its loose or tight and drive/win in several types of racecars including Cup, Nationwide, Trucks, East Series, Dirt and etc., the fact is, is that Kyle Busch isn’t the best. He has yet to win a Cup series championship, learn how to act and be respectful to other competitors on and off-track and he is driving some of the best equipment in the Nationwide Series and Truck Series.

I believe that it will be along time before Kyle Busch is the best in NASCAR. Call me when he has over 100 NASCAR wins, a few championships and grows up. And keep in mind, I’m talking about Kyle Busch, the professional racecar driver, not Kyle Busch in his personal life, I’m sure he is a nice guy in his personal life, but he has a lot to learn as a racecar driver. Oh yeah “Deal with it!”

And with that, I’m off, see you next week.

Friday, August 20, 2010

American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior – Your 15 minutes of fame is up.

Last Thursday night was the season or what TLC called the series premiere of American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior and like I said last week, if anybody was expecting either a completely new show or a show that returned the good old days of American Chopper that showcased a company with a group of guys building one-of-a-kind choppers that became works of art, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s the same old show just several months later.

If that wasn’t enough, last night’s episode was even worse, Paul Sr. decided to go on a rant again about Paul Jr. and his pursuit of building a new bike building company. One former fan and reader of RaceDirven.com commented on the first two episodes:

enriquemichaeltijerina has left a new comment on your post "American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior – It’s the sam...":

I am inclined to agree with you. first of all the first two bikes built by OCC in the first two series were completely uninspired and unimpressive. I stopped watching when the series became all about Paul Sr.'s childish blow ups and his total lack of respect for the people who helped make OCC a success. Paul Sr. has shown in the first two series his complete lack of fatherhood instincts and respects for his sons ambitions. I look forward to Paulies first build and hope it blows peoples socks off.

That comment was right now.

At this point, I have four things to say:

1. Paul Sr. should be worried about his own falling company (OCC) and not his son trying to return to his roots and passion and do what he does best, design and build choppers.

2. I’m also looking forward to Paul Jr’s first build and I hope it blows people away too.

3. Thanks TLC for ruining what was once a great show, most fans didn’t want just another drama filled, trash talking reality show and for that I say good-bye to writing about American Chopper unless Paul Jr. builds an amazing chopper. I wish another network would have signed Paul Jr. Designs and developed a real chopper show.

4. Just so everyone is clear, it was Paul Sr. that started a custom chopper company (OCC), but it was Paul Jr. (and of course the crew at OCC like Vinnie, Rick, and more) that made OCC famous with his designing and building one-of-a-kind theme choppers. Yes one-of-a-kind theme choppers like the Jet bike, Fire Bike, Lincoln Mark LT Bike, Black Widow Bike, Liberty Bike, Gillette Bike, Mercedes-AMG Bike, HP Bike, and Intel Chip Chopper, OCC wouldn’t have been so famous. Of course being famous only lasts for so long and then it’s up to you to keep the success going and some have it, while others don’t.

However I will say that when Paul Sr. built the POW-MIA bike that was impressive too especially with Justin’s paint job.

What’s Next…

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

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

Image Credit: RCR Facebook page

Its official, Budweiser will sponsor the #29 Kevin Harvick RCR Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2011. The partnership announced Tuesday will put Budweiser as the primary sponsor for the #29 Kevin Harvick RCR Chevrolet in 20 races, the 2 points races during Speedweeks and co-primary sponsor of the All-Star race. Budweiser will also be an associate sponsor for the (16) remaining races on the schedule.

So that means that they need at least one more sponsor to cover the 16 remaining races which is pretty common especially in this economy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more sponsorship deals like this where the company sponsors most of the schedule.

But as I sat in my chair catching the end of the Budweiser, RCR and Kevin Harvick press conference on NASCAR.com where Richard Childress, the rep from Budweiser and Kevin Harvick tossed their new found relationship, I began to think about where Budweiser has come over the years especially in the last 10 years from Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne to now Kevin Harvick.

I have to say that as a NASCAR fan, I’ve seen some interesting partnerships or sponsorships over the years, but this Kevin Harvick, Budweiser deal struck me as odd. What I mean is, when Dale Jr. had Budweiser, it was a match made in heaven, the two made a great combination. Then when Kasey Kahne joined Budweiser, it took a little while, but it became a good match. However Kevin Harvick and Budeiser leave me with questions. I don’t know, the match doesn’t hit me right.

And think about this, Brad Keselowski will be the new Miller Lite driver of the #2 Penske Racing Dodge in the Cup Series next season as well. The point is, Kevin Harvick doesn’t strike me as a person who sells beer because that’s what sponsorship is, the driver is the spokesmen for that company. But then again, maybe at Daytona next season when Harvick is in Budweiser red, I will see this partnership more clearly. Yeah that’s a good plan.

Now of course this means with Kevin Harvick in Budweiser and the previously announced deal of Brad Keselowski in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in 2011, we have a very interesting battle of the beers next season. It’s the second year driver Brad Keselowski vs. veteran driver Kevin Harvick, this should be fun to watch.

Image Credit: Budweiser’s Facebook page

Related article:
- 2010 NASCAR Silly Season Part 1: The facts, the speculations and the predictions. UPDATED which has been updated.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Speedlinking: Carrie Underwood gone Wong, Tony Stewart auction, NASCAR at Michigan with Logano vs. Newman and the national anthem. What was that?

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, its been awhile since I have done a speedlinking, but I thought that on this Monday evening I would write one with the theme “What was that?” and boy do I have a few treats for you today.

In this article, I touch on Logano vs. Newman yesterday at Michigan, Harvick or Johnson in the chase, what was up with the national anthem before yesterday’s Michigan Cup Series race and even a Tony Stewart auction, but we start today with a YouTube video of a 52-year old man singing a Carrie Underwood song, what the…just go with it.

1. Carrie Underwood Gone Wong, Very Wong from GACtv.com via YouTube (link to video above). A 52-year old man, Robert Wong was performing on stage in a “Carrie-Oke” contest that was put on my the local TV station KSN-3. The song was Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats”. Any thoughts, any at all?

2. Logano, Newman exchange pleasantries after Michigan race by From the Marbles Blog. Last Sunday (yesterday) after the Cup Series race at Michigan, in the garage area, there was a heated conversation and a little physical (if you call it that) between Joey Logano and Ryan Newman. During the late stages of the race after a long battle on-track, Ryan Newman was trying pass Logano on the high side and Logano got lose and got into Newman’s right rear quarter and spun him out. Oh brother, and all I can think about is Bristol is next Saturday night, damn that should be a good race especially for paybacks.

3. The Meaningless Rookie of the Year Award by The NASCAR Insiders. The guys over at NASCAR insiders have hit on something here with this one. You see in years past, NASCAR has had several rookie drivers each year coming in and run for ROY and in the end, one worthy driver would end up with the coveted award. However for 2010 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, disaster, NASCAR only has one ROY contender and he’s not even a contender. It’s Kevin Conway which up to last week at Michigan had a ride and was running in the back of the pack most in races, but was in the top 35. Now Conway has been replaced in the ride, but will most likely still will ROY by default. I hate this, the ROY award is huge, but this isn’t right. It’s a good article.

4. Harvick, not Johnson, now the driver to beat on Yahoo! Sports. The first line asks Is Jimmie Johnson still the driver to beat?

I’m going to answer that question, YES, wait I’m going to repeat it, YES. I realize and understand that Jimmie Johnson is not running as well as to be expected and maybe the golden horseshoe might not be working right now, but I wouldn’t count out Jimmie Johnson when the chase comes up next month at New Hampshire. The #48 team can get the job done, I just believe that they’re trying a few things over the past several weeks. And consider this Jimmie Johnson has five wins on the season.

One side note: Of course this is why I want NASCAR to get rid of the chase, I’m sick of this whole 10 chase races is the season, instead of 36 races, what about a 36-race chase for the sprint cup, a driver would have to be good all season long. But for this to work, NASCAR would have to fix the broken points system. Just saying…

5. When Did NASCAR Stop Loving America? by Race Journal Online. Now while I believe that the title of this article is wrong, the subject is dead on when she asks did you hear the national anthem before Sunday’s Michigan race?

Personally I did and I thought it was a joke, where did they find him… I mean that was terrible to listen too and this is the hot topic following the race, most people are asking this same question and talking about it. And most people said the same thing, it was terrible.

Even Jayski on Twitter comments - @jayski_nascar: oh my, that is one of the worst National Anthems I have ever heard, I think I heard booing.

Point is, that was terrible, hopefully Bristol will have a better one. One can only hope.
Well that wraps up this edition of Speedlinking that was fun. Look for another edition next week, the theme might be birthday as next Monday is my birthday and Kenny Wallace’s. Enjoy the rest of the week and if you’re a NASCAR fan, its Bristol baby.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Top 6 NASCAR things learned from Michigan and Darlington – Kevin Harvick wins CarFax 400.

Well ladies and gentlemen, for this week’s edition of the “Top 6 NASCAR things learned”, I come to you from the hills of Michigan International Speedway and the track known as too tough to tame Darlington Raceway.

This week all three NASCAR national series were in action with both the Nationwide Series and the Cup Series in Michigan, while the Truck Series returns to Darlington and the racing had mixed results.

But before I jump into this article, I just wanted to say that after writing this for the last few weeks, I have decided to make this “top 6 NASCAR things learned” article a weekly thing. I have been searching for a new weekly NASCAR article or column for a while now and with the steady traffic this article receives, it was a given for a weekly thing.

Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR
Brad Keselowski waves an American flag out of his window in celebration of winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series CARFAX 250 at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.

1. Nationwide Series, Nationwide COT and Michigan make an interesting combination. Yesterday, Brad Keselowski in his Dodge Challenger dominated and held off Carl Edwards to win the Nationwide race. Now I have to admit, I only saw the last 50 or less laps of the race because I had things to do out. However from what I saw, the Nationwide COT does make for some good racing. But why is Chevrolet and Toyota running such terrible looking cars?

Nate Ryan on Twitter wrote “GM officials: Still no plans to bring Camaro into Nationwide Series in 2011. But they'll consider if NASCAR allows more side/rear identity.” That’s a slap in the face to NASCAR fans and is terrible for the Chevrolet brand, they aren’t making the most of there exposure in NASCAR. Put the Camaro into the Nationwide Series, instead of that terrible looking Impala SS.

As for Toyota, they could put the Prius, Corrolla or Scion tC in the Nationwide Series and run that. The point is, the Camry is horrible, this isn’t get the Cup Series, get with the program. Hopefully for 2011, both brands will give fans more to cheer about.

2. Kevin Harvick wins the CarFax 400 earlier today. In winning the race, it puts RCR back into victory lane at Michigan and more importantly especially for Harvick fans, he is locked into the chase and leads the points.

3. Michigan only needs one Cup Series date. I realize and know that I’m going to get blasted for this comment considering this is the motor city, but enough is enough, California lost one date, now its time for Michigan to loss one Cup Series dates as well. I don’t know what the attendance figures were, but look at the grandstands and more so, I just don’t find the racing at either California or Michigan entertaining period and that’s what really matters to NASCAR fans.

4. No Cup Series drivers in Darlington Truck Series, now that’s racing. For the second week in a row, the Truck Series race a stand alone event with no Cup Series drivers in the race. Of course the man and points leader Todd Bodine won the race, but the race was good to watch last night on SPEED. However the crowd is another story, but I will leave it to the media to discuss that issue. This event though for crowds should have been a doubleheader with another series like the Nationwide Series or even the Cup Series.

5. Silly Season moves. We now know that Kasey Kahne will drive a Red Bull Toyota in 2011 and Paul Menard will drive at RCR in 2011. I’ve already discussed this topic, click to read that article.

6. 2011 NASCAR Schedule. On Wednesday, August 18th, NASCAR will release the Cup Series schedule and with most of the tracks already making headlines with releasing their 2011 schedules and several media outlets already have a rough draft, I have to say that if what I saw was the final copy, I’m disappointed fully. NASCAR was trying to make bold moves, they didn’t, NASCAR went in the wrong direction. I’m interested in seeing the final copy of all three series that should be fun. All I got to say is Kentucky, Chicago and Kansas gain, while Phoenix, California and Atlanta lost on 2011 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

Well that raps up this NASCAR report, now its time to look forward and its Bristol baby and my birthday week starting tomorrow. Yes next Monday, the 23rd, I will be turning 31 and I’m looking forward to the next week and I love Bristol racing especially with the Truck Series and Modified Series on Wednesday, the Nationwide Series on Friday and the Cup Series main event on Saturday night. What does everyone think?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Jack Roush returns to Michigan International Speedway – Q&A in media center.

On Friday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway, Jack Roush who was in a plane crash back on July 27 and was just released from the hospital last Wednesday, returned to the racetrack. What a good sight to see. During his return to the racetrack, Roush held an impromptu question and answer session with members of the media.

JACK ROUSH – Owner, Roush Fenway Racing – WILL YOU NOT BE ABLE TO FLY ANYMORE? “I think it’s very likely that I’ll be able to fly. I’ve got to get recovered. I have to go through my recovery. Wiley Post was a one-eyed pilot and there’s no restriction. Maybe if you’re an airline pilot you can’t have one eye, but there’s not a reason why I can’t fly with one eye.”

DO YOU FEEL LUCKY? “I feel very lucky. I’ve had several bites at the apple here. I’m really proud at the way the organization has rallied. We were gaining in our performance moving from not where I wanted to be in an area of the top 10 into the top five. Robby Reiser and Chris Andrews and Greg Erwin and Bob Osborne and Jimmy Fennig and Donnie Wingo have done a great job keeping the cars going. Roush Fenway Racing will out-live me, and it will out-live anybody else that is with the company today. We’ve got the plans in place for that. This was a little test case. How can you do without Jack? Well it’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than anybody. The organization has been very strong and we’re peaking at the right time of our year. We’re approaching the Chase here, with I think there’s four races including this one left, and so if we don’t have a mechanical error and miss a wreck, we have a good chance to put three cars in the Chase. With the way the cars are running right now, I think that we’re in a position to be better for the end of the year than we have been all year. My point was the momentum for that, the things that were in place, were not impacted by the fact that I had a problem. It happened that I wasn’t on my way to a race track. It wasn’t something silly I was doing erratically or something else that you would say was risky or foolish. It just happened.”

FROM AN INTELLUCTUAL , EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE HOW DO YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING AND SAY I SURVIVED TWO PLANE CRASHES WHEN MOST PEOPLE DON’T EVEN SURVIVE ONE? “I survived two car wrecks too, both of them in racing. I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to have been able to survive and I feel in some ways unworthy. I’m not sure I’ve done enough yet for the chances that I’ve had. Maybe that’s recognized and they’re just giving me more time.”

WHAT IS THE EXTENT OF THE INJURIES? DID YOU HAVE A SURGERY AND WHAT SURGERY DID YOU HAVE? “I had a damaged left cheek. I had a broken jaw and I had a compression fracture in my back and I’ve got a back brace for the compression fracture. I have hardware in my cheek. I still have packing in my nose because they say its biodegradable and it will come out on its own. I’m still uncomfortable with the fact that I can’t breathe clearly through my nose. Everything will come back and I was blessed to have great vision in two eyes and now I’ve got great vision in one.”

IT’S THE LEFT EYE CORRECT? “Yes, the left eye.”

WHAT’S THE LONG TERM PROGNOSES? “Well, I won’t be able to read power plugs in my left eye, but I always use my right eye for that because that’s the dominant eye.”

CAN YOU JUST GIVE US THE CLIFF NOTES VERSION OF WHAT HAPPENED? “I filed my NTSB report today, which is a matter of public record. It speaks for itself. The reality of it -- on a trip arrival into Oshkosh, Wisconsin I was put in conflict with the flight plan of another airplane close to the ground, and I was unable to address the conflict and keep the airplane flying. I ground-looped the airplane and I have a compression fracture in my back. I have some damage in my left eye and I’ve got damage to my left cheek. I’ll recover everything but the sight in my left eye.”

Source: Ford Racing Media Relations via Email.

Car repair: Top Five Do It Yourself Jobs vs. Top Five Best Left to the Experts Jobs.

In this tough economy, one of the biggest parts of a person or family budget is spent on one or more automobiles. So in trying to save money, more people are becoming do it yourselfers and learning simply jobs that they can do instead of paying a expert.

But did you know that according to AutoMD.com, there certain jobs that you do it yourself/car owners should be doing, while there certain jobs that are best left to the experts?

AutoMD.com’s Top Five Repair Jobs You Can (and Should) Do Yourself

1. Replace Wiper Blades: This is one of the simplest jobs and most important jobs that a car owner can do themselves.
2. Replace a Fuse:
3. Replace a Light Bulb: Changing a light bulb can be a difficult job depending upon which one you’re changing. If the bulb is in the headliner, that should be a snap. But changing your headlight or taillight on a foreign car especially can be a little tricky. I know that my 1995 Nissan Altima headlights had to be changed by the dealership. If you got to the dealership, have it included in with another job like an oil change.
4. Replace an Air Filter:
5. Change your Engine Oil and Filter:
I'm not sure that I agree here, personally I don't change from own oil or filter. But if you are willing to do the job, you can save alot of money over time. You can go to a local autoparts store and buy the correct oil and filter. While you're their, check to see were you go to recycle/dispose the used oild and filter.

The biggest advice I can give anybody who is going to do any of the do it yourself jobs, read the owners manual for your vehicle first. I would even go so far to say read your owners manual from cover to cover or at least go through it so you know your vehicle. Knowledge is power

AutoMD.com’s Top Five Jobs Best Left to the Experts!

1. Replace an engine

2. Replace a transmission
3. Replace a clutch
4. Replace A/C components
5. Perform a wheel alignment

And I completely agree, I am not a mechanic, so changing an engine, transmission, and clutch or doing a wheel alignment, is way out of my league and especially in some vehicles can be very time consuming. However I have had an engine, transmission and clutch changed and it’s expensive. Of course on the engine and transmission, they were both used.

What do you think and do you perform any of these jobs on your vehicle?

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

Just finished watching the (so-called) new series American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior and if anybody was expecting either a completely new show or a show that returned the good old days of American Chopper that showcased a company with a group of guys building one-of-a-kind choppers that became works of art, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s the same old show just several months later.

I guess as a former American Chopper fan, I would hope that the show would be a little bit like Builder Build Off on Discovery with instead of fans voting, it would showcase two companies building choppers, but no. It’s all about the still steaming hot family drama that is worthless to talk about.

But at least beyond a couple of guys talking crap about each other and a family drama that is worth nothing, fans say one stunning chopper unveiled, I just wish we could have seen what American Chopper was all about in the beginning, enthusiasts building a chopper from start to finish in two episodes.

And that’s it for this long tweet.

Related Article:
- American Chopper's Sr vs Jr.: Paul Jr. Designs unveilings in Sturgis. Article on BrianVermette dot Com

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kentucky Speedway gets 2011 NASCAR Cup Series date – Fans get what they want, now will it be worth it?

Well Darrell Waltrip, the Kentucky Governor and Bruton Smith are glowing, so that must mean that their 11 year journey of getting a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series date (Saturday, July 9, 2011) has finally been realized. Now I have to say that I’m still not in favor of Kentucky Speedway getting a Cup Series date.

One reason is because that area of the country already has Cup dates in it which includes Indianapolis and Bristol. Another reason is simply NASCAR doesn’t need another cookie cutter 1.5 mile racetrack. But NASCAR does need more short tracks and road courses. And of course you have the lawsuit that just ended.

However I do believe that NASCAR does need to change with the times and that includes changing venues as the fans who buy the tickets dictate and I also believe that fans shouldn’t have to drive several hours to go watch a race at the nearest venue and for Kentucky fans I guess this fits. And at least NASCAR didn’t just add another cookie cutter track to the schedule, they simply moved a date from one cookie cutter to another.

So Kentucky NASCAR fans, it’s your turn, now you need to buy tickets and attend the race in huge capacity just like every other track. Personally I will love to see the figures in 3 years from now and see if this whole episode and pain was worth it or not, and if it was, I will admit it and I will keep an open mind next July when I watch the race on television. Hopefully Kentucky puts on a good Saturday night race.

Rick Hendrick makes it official: Kasey Kahne to Red Bull in 2011 for one year deal, surprised?

As each NASCAR track is beginning to roll out their 2011 NASCAR schedule, I would have thought that those pieces of news would be huge, however after last night’s so-called breaking news on both SPEED’s Race Hub and NASCAR Now that reports put Kasey Kahne at Red Bull in 2011, I knew this week would be interesting, but I didn’t think that I would be this shocked at one move, especially a move that doesn’t make sense to me.

In a press release early this morning, Red Bull Racing announced that Kasey Kahne will drive Red Bull Toyota in 2011. Kasey Kahne will drive a Red Bull Racing Team Toyota in 2011, the team announced Tuesday.

“We were fortunate to have the opportunity to hire a very talented driver for the 2011 season and we took it,” said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team Vice President and General Manager. “This is a unique situation that doesn’t happen every day. Kasey is a perfect fit for our company, team and Red Bull.”

Kahne, 30, owns an impressive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series résumé. He has 11 wins, 17 poles, 47 top-five and 84 top-10 finishes and twice was a Chase participant in 2006 and 2009.

“This opportunity places me with an established, competitive team that has proven they can win races and make the Chase,” Kahne said. “I have great respect for Red Bull, so to have the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing Team in 2011 is a great fit for me, both personally and professionally. It feels good to be able to finally put this to rest and focus my energy on finishing the season strong for the 9 team and our sponsors.”

“This obviously all happened very quickly,” Frye added. “Over the next month, we will finalize the specific team details.”

Red Bull Racing Team’s final driver lineup for 2011 will be confirmed later this year. (Red Bull PR)

After this mornings announcement, Rick Hendrick had this to say "Kasey is going to a competitive organization that made the Chase last season and has great leadership and resources," said Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "Of everything we looked at, he and I agree it's the best opportunity for him to be successful in 2011, which was always our number-one priority.

"The process went on longer than any of us anticipated, but I'm glad that we took our time to make sure it was right. And although I'm not looking forward to racing against him next year, I'm comfortable knowing this is the best situation for Kasey." (Hendrick PR)

And @KaseyKahne said on Twitter: Looking forward to driving for red bull in 2011. Its going to be awesome!
Wow, like I said above I was pretty shocked that Rick Hendrick would want Kasey Kahne to drive for Red Bull next season and then move him to the #5 Hendrick Chevrolet in 2012. Now some might say why are you so shocked considering the news broke last night.

As a NASCAR fan and a blogger, I tend to dismiss most published reports especially ones that have no logic behind them. The words “Published reports say” or “sources confirm” doesn’t mean anything to me, it’s not news unless it’s announced or made official by the actually person or in this case the team.

The second reason for me being shocked is that for 2011, Kasey Kahne will be driving a Toyota despite the fact that Kahne is signed to drive for Chevrolet in 2012. Of course this means that Kahne will have driven for Dodge in the past several seasons, Ford now in 2010, Toyota next season and Chevrolet in 2012, boy Kahne is making his rounds to all of the car manufacturers in NASCAR. And here I thought that manufacturers keep their star drivers exclusive.

And third, why would Red Bull Racing want Kasey Kahne for one year? That’s the main part that doesn’t make sense to me. I understand and realize that Red Bull Racing has been going through a tight time with Scott Speed running in the back of the pack this year and Brian Vickers out for the season for medical reasons. But why would the team want to have to develop chemistry with Kahne for one year and then turn around and develop chemistry with another drive in 2012.

But you have to hand it to Rick Hendrick, he is a man of his word and he told Kahne that he would find his a ride next season and he did, but nothing that I thought of.

And now that Kahne’s plans have been made official, I believe that several media members owe Mark Martins an appoligy for “disrespecting him” and calling him out for wanting to drive the #5 car next season for Hendrick Motorsports. That is terrible when some media members disrespected Mark Martin, he has been in NASCAR for decades now and is one of the most respected drivers on track and in the garage area and he didn’t deserve what he got.

Good luck to Kahne and Martin in 2011, next season should be a good year for both drivers. And good luck to Kasey Kahne fans as well, I feel for you, you now will most likely have to buy new Kahne gear for next season and in 2012 has he will be with different teams in both years. Wow, Kahne drove for Dodge from 2003-2009, Ford in 2010, Toyota in 2011 and Chevrolet in 2012.

Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR via NASCARmedia

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Video: Tony Stewart dumps Boris Said after being squeezed at Watkins Glen.



I have already commented on this Stewart/Said incident in my earlier article "Top 6 NASCAR things learned from Watkins Glen and Nashville – Juan Montoya wins the Heluva Good at the Glen." That I published earlier today.

However just like so many of my article ideas come from, I was on WindTunnel’s Facebook page and I read a comment that just begged for a real explanation considering the two incidents are completely different.

The person commented "why is it tony admits he dumped sedd and no one says a word but carl dose it he gits fined its bull?"

Where do I start with this question, well let’s look at the Tony Stewart/Boris Said incident which is the video above. On lap 65 of 90 in the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen, Boris Said was attempting to make a pass for position on Tony Stewart going into turn 1. When the two drivers came out of turn 1 and was racing down to turn 2, Said was squeezing Stewart out of the top groove towards the outside wall, Said in an interview said he thought that Stewart had fallen in behind him and yet his spotter said inside to your door just before the incident.

When Said didn’t give Stewart any room, Stewart held his ground and as a result Said went off his front bumper, spun around and hit hard into the outside wall which ended his day in the #83 Red Bull Toyota. Now I do have to admit that Stewart did dumped Said, but I believe too that Stewart was holding his ground. No driver deserves to be squeezed out like that. The incident took place in a braking zone at the Glen going into turn 2, keep that in mind.

Now switching gears, the Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski incidents have been going on over the last two seasons. The first incident in the spring 2009 Talladega Cup race which Brad won was a racing deal that happened because of blocking, hard racing and NASCAR’s yellow-line rule. If anybody is too blame, it would be NASCAR, Brad did what Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart said to do, hold your line and don’t go below the yellow line.

The next incident, Brad Keselowski said and apologized for getting into Edwards back at Memphis in the 2009 Nationwide Series race in route to the victory.

Then comes the problem, at Atlanta earlier this season, after a wreck between Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Carl Edwards was a racing deal, Brad had no where to go period and even Edwards said he didn’t blame Brad. But in the late stages of the race, Carl Edwards was back on track and it took him 60-something laps and with a few laps to go, after missing the time around, Edwards retaliated on Brad Keselowski on the front straightaway at high speed at Atlanta, sending Brad flying in the air.

And finally last month at Gateway during the Nationwide Series race, after a good side-by-side battle and Brad Keselowski washed up into Edwards, but gave him room in turn 1 and 2, Edwards said your not stealing this victory from me (in victory lane) and coming off turn 4, Edwards drove into Brad Keselowski’s quarter panel and again wrecked Brad on the straightaway which caused a huge pileup and damaged several cars.

Basically, Stewart dumped Said in a corner, in a low speed area and isn’t trying to kill him, but with Edwards/Keselowski, Edwards continues to wreck Brad Keselowski on high speed tracks on the straightaway and these moves are so dangerous not only for Brad Keselowski, but for all of the competitors on-track. And Edwards doesn’t believe he has done anything wrong especially at Gateway.

Personally, Edwards has been slapped on the wrist and will wreck Brad Keselowski again this season. That’s the difference. It doesn’t take any talent or driving skill to drive into another competitor’s rear quarter and turn them around at high speed on the straightaway.

And Boris Said deserved what he got, while Brad Keselowski didn’t no matter what Edwards thinks.

Top 6 NASCAR things learned from Watkins Glen and Nashville – Juan Montoya wins the Heluva Good at the Glen.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, for this weeks NASCAR racing edition column, we find ourselves in the picturest hills, Watkins Glen International, the 2.45 mile high speed road course for the Nationwide Series and the Cup Series while the Truck Series was racing at the Nashville Superspeedway.

Over the last few years especially, in my opinion, the road course races have gotten more competitive and produced better racing, I believe that reason for the better racing on road courses is because more NASCAR drivers have learned how to road racing in both the Nationwide Series and the Cup Series and that would make for more competition on-track.

Like in every week during the NASCAR season, there always seems to be a news story or two that takes headline status and this week is no different. So here are the top 6 things learned from the Watkins Glen and Nashville races.

Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Marcos Ambrose captures his third consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series checkered flag at Watkins Glen International -- tying Terry Labonte's streak from 1994-1996 on Saturday in Watkins Glen, N.Y.

1. Marcos Ambrose wins third straight Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen. What a performance by Ambrose on the road courses, that’s fun to watch when he is coming through the field. But unlike the road course ringers and other drivers in NASCAR, Ambrose has had several good runs all season long and I look forward to seeing what Ambrose will do in 2011 where ever he lands.

2. NASCAR needs three road course races. NASCAR needs a third road course race on the Cup Series schedule and one road course race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. One reason for adding another road course race is that these teams spend a lot of money to get up to speed and develop their cars for the road races and having only two is a little bit of a waste of money. I think that using the road course race at Daytona could be an option, using the road course at the Brickyard (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) to add more excitement to the race or even going to Portland International Raceway because NASCAR isn’t in that market yet.

3. Atlanta Motor Speedway losses one Cup date in 2010. Earlier this week, Atlanta Motor Speedway announced that they will have only one Cup Series in 2011 and that will be on Labor Day Weekend which is a good date for them. Now the speedway needs to promote and sell tickets to that race. Of course with Atlanta losing the date and that Kentucky Motor Speedway has a press conference set for this week, it looks like Kentucky and NASCAR’s battle is over and the speedway will get there long awaited Cup Series date. Of course even with this move, that isn’t good enough for Bruton Smith/SMI and they will go after a second date for Las Vegas in 2012.

In my opinion, I didn’t want Kentucky Speedway to get a date, we don’t need another cookie cutter track on the schedule, but let’s see what the attendance will be in 2014 to se if it’s a good match or not. The reason why I said 2014 is that the first two races in a new venue is the must thing to do in that area and that’s not much of a measuring stick for how the speedway will do. Well Kentucky, you got the date, now use it and attend the race.

As for Atlanta losing a Cup date, its not a surprise, the racing hasn’t been all that good in resent years and the attendance has been sluggish for the last few years now. But I believe that Atlanta having one date will bring that speedway back up in attendance and hype.

As for Las Vegas, that track should have one Cup Series date and it should be the final race of the season or finale and have the Cup Series banquet the next Friday night after the race. It would be the perfect place to have the finale and with the banquet already in Vegas, that would be a perfect match. But no second date, the market is too heavy with Phoenix and California Speedway within 3 hours of Las Vegas.

4. Jason Leffler and Boris Said. Both drivers need to learn how to give a little more room to other competitors when racing especially going into turn 1 (up through the S’s at Watkins Glen).

First, in the Nationwide Series race, early in the race, Jason Leffler went off track coming out of turn 1 and comes back on-track in front of on-coming traffic and creates a 10 car pileup. I couldn’t believe this one, but good heads up driving by Kevin Harvick in stopping just before the wreck as others pile in.

Boris Said on the other hand decided to try and pass Tony Stewart late in the race, Boris Said didn’t give Stewart any room on the outside, forcing him just about into the safer barrier. All Tony Stewart did was hold his line and Boris Said went off his front bumper and spun around hard into the outside barrier. Boris Said in an interview that he thought that Stewart had fallen in behind him into line. I believe that Boris Said just didn’t give Stewart any room which isn’t the first time this year (Sonoma) and Stewart wasn’t going to be pushed around. Its late in the race, Stewart did nothing wrong.

5. No Cup Series drivers in the Truck Series race at Nashville made for a better race. I watched Saturday night’s Truck Series race at Nashville and for the first time in a while, there finally was no Cup Series drivers in the field and while I didn’t notice attendance, it was good just to see the Truck Series regulars go at it on-track with ultimately Todd Bodine holding off the field and winning his first guitar.

6. More Silly Season 2010 news. Read “2010 NASCAR Silly Season Part 1: The facts, the speculations and the predictions.” For all the latest updates as of August 8, 2010.

As Juan Montoya wins the Heluva Good! at the Glen, picking up his second career victory on a road course (congrats to Brian Patty on picking up his first Cup Series victory, he earned it especially in being Montoya’s crew chief), NASCAR is off to the Irish Hills, Michigan International Speedway for the Nationwide Series and Cup Series races and as we get closer to Richmond for the final Race for the Chase, we can now start locking in some drivers for the chase. But I wonder why will get the gift of 12th spot?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

What is the one device or accessory you would like to have in your car, but don't today?

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, today’s discussion centers around a new Autobytel “What’s Hot Now?” report, Wired-in-the-Car, (that I received by email) that asks people several questions from “Do you think the ability to surf the internet in your car represent a significant safety issue?”, and “What is the one device or accessory you would like in your car, but don’t today?” and the answers are as expected.

In the survey question, “Do you think the ability to surf the internet in your car represent a significant safety issue?”

64% - Yes, Significant
23% - Yes, Moderate
13% - No.

Personally, I believe that having most electronics in the car are a distraction especially cell phones, iPods/MP3 Players, GPS/Navigation, TV/DVD Players and more. However none of those even compare to having the internet in the car that does represent a significant safety issue and internet shouldn’t be an option in a car. Drivers get distracted way too easy and given them another device is just asking for trouble.

But if we are talking about a limo, that’s different, but not normal cars, even drivers behind that car can see screens and get distracted too.


In the survey question, “What is the one device or accessory you would like in your car, but don’t today?”

30% - In-Dash GPS/Navigation
24% - I can live without technology
14% - Voice-Controlled Phone, Radio, Navigation, etc.
8% - Rear seat Entertainment (TV Screen(s), DVD Player, audio output, etc.)
7% - Other
6% - Bluetooth Connectivity
6% - iPod/MP3 player input
5% - Ability to surf the internet

Personally, I would love a GPS/Navigation, I consider myself smart, but when it comes to reading a map, it’s just not going to happen period. However, I wouldn’t want an in-dash GPS/Navigation, the cost to either buy in a new car or have installed is expensive and if the in-dash one breaks, the repair cost is huge too. I would much rather buy a portable GPS/Navigation unit that I could switch between cars, hideaway in a lock box in my car and if it breaks, it doesn’t require a trip to a dealership, just an electronics store for warranty replacement or buy a new one.

The second item isn’t really on this list, it would be a hard drive attached to stereo system that has all of my music on it so everything is controlled either on the steering wheel or in-dash unit. The concept of even using an iPod does pose a safety issue when trying to control it. I believe that most electronic devices in your car will be voice-controlled in the near future.

I realize and believe that a car is more than just a car that you drive from point A to point B, but when did having all of these electronics in a car because the “must have” thing and when did a car become more than just a driving experience. I know that we need stereos to listen to music, I know that we need something to keep the kids entertained on short and long trips, and GPS/Nav systems to find where we are going, but most of these electronics isn’t what we need and is a safety issue.

A car is for driving, not a home office, not an entertainment system and not another thing people can think of. Get what you need and drive safe.

Friday, August 6, 2010

2010 NASCAR Silly Season Part 1: The facts, the speculations and the predictions. UPDATED

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, today the discussion is all about silly season and where drivers and sponsor will be heading for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. As of today, there has already been a lot of news released by teams as well as a lot of speculations and rumors of who is going where.

So let’s start with what we know to be fact or made official:

1. Kasey Kahne has signed a multi-year deal to drive the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in 2012. And Mark Martin and Rick Hendrick have said that Hendrick will honor Mark Martin’s contract and Martin will be driving the #5 next season. That was made official back in April.

However on the speculation side, rumors have been running wild as to where Kasey Kahne will be driving next season. All we know for sure is, its Rick Hendrick’s deal and he will tell us when it ready. The options could include Kasey Kahne driving the #9 in 2011, a third car team at Stewart-Haas, Hendrick affiliated with James Finch like they did in 2009 with Brad Keselowski or even Kahne running out of his race shop with everything made at Hendrick. The options are there and its Rick Hendrick, he will make it happen. (Read more…)

UPDATE: On August 10, 2010, Red Bull Racing and Rick Hendrick made it official, Kasey Kahne will drive the Red Bull Toyota in 2011. The move means that Kasey Kahne will have and be driving for Dodge for several seasons, Ford this season, Toyota next season and Chevrolet in 2012. (Read my article here...)

2. UPDATE: On August 11, 2010, RCR announced that they have signed Paul Menard with father’s company to a multi-year deal to drive the fourth car at RCR. This speculation turned official news today has been around for the past week or so and I’m laughing at this point. I’m sorry, but why would RCR want Paul Menard considering RCR’s 3 car team is running good and Paul Menard while he brings sponsorship, isn’t a top driver. I know the sponsorship is there, but why… But now that its official, I guess time will tell if it was a good move or will it just end like all of the rest. Personally if Paul Menard is running good in the Nationwide Series, then that should be his series. Learn the car, drive and contend week in and week out for race wins.

3. Shell-Pennzoil will join Penske Racing in 2011 to sponsor Kurt Busch in the #22 Dodge. With his deal, Brad Keselowski will now move over and drive the #2 Miller Lite Dodge. This Shell-Pennzoil deal is huge for the both the company and Penske racing. (Read more…)

4. Marcos Ambrose will leave JTG Daugherty racing at the end of the 2010 season. However even Marcos Ambrose himself doesn’t know where he will drive in 2011. On the speculation side of this is that Ambrose will drive either the #9 or #19 if sponsorship can be found at RPM. He isn’t ruling out returning to Australia, but I hope he stays in NASCAR.

5. Bobby Labonte will drive the #47 JTG Daugherty Toyota in 2011. This has been made official. This will be a good ride for Bobby Labonte and I wish him well in his quest to return to victory lane.

6. A.J. Allmendinger has just signed a multi-year deal to stay in the #43 RPM Ford, but sponsor unknown for sure. And David Reutimann just signed a multi-year deal to drive the #00 in 2011 as well.

Speculation, rumors and predictions:

1. Who will drive for Richard Petty Motorsports and how many cars with RPM field? I’m thinking two, maybe three cars due to lack of sponsorship and drivers leaving. The #43 with A.J. Allmendinger is a lock, but the #9, #19 and #98 are all up in the air. I think Marcos Ambrose will end up either in the #9 or #19 in 2011 with an unknown sponsorship. Kasey Kahne could stay in the #9 and so could Elliott Sadler stay in the #19. Nothing has been made official, so doors and rides are open.

2. Who will sponsor Kevin Harvick in 2011? After his rant on Shell-Pennzoil, I think the doors are closing quickly. I’ve heard online and Twitter that sponsors are interested in RCR, but not Harvick, who said that I don’t know. But I do know that Shell-Pennzoil didn’t deserve what they got from Harvick and they got a good deal with Penske Racing, something RCR couldn’t match. I’m thinking maybe Budweiser, Mobil 1 could be possible.

3. Where will Elliott Sadler drive in 2011? This isn’t a rumor, but my opinion, I believe Kevin Harvick should sign Elliott Sadler to drive the #2 in the Truck Series after his Pocono victory. Sadler would be a contender in the Truck especially in KHI equipment and a good teammate for Ron Hornaday Jr.

4. Red Bull Racing? Brian Vickers health condition is still unknown and Scott Speed hasn’t shown much in 2010. This isn’t a rumor, but my opinion, As for Speed, find the Nationwide Series and gain experience period. Red Bull should bring in a veteran driver like Terry Labonte and get their Toyota program back into the gear.

5. Will Joe Gibbs Racing expand to a fourth car team? I really don’t think so especially considering they need to work on their current 3-car team with Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin. However a fourth car team with a veteran driver would help if driver and sponsor could be found. I always look at Terry Labonte in cases like this where a veteran driver is needed.

Who is in place in 2011:

Roush-Fenway Racing is locked with (Biffle, Kenseth, Edwards and Ragan), Hendrick Motorsports is locked with (Gordon, Johnson, Martin and Earnhardt Jr.), RCR is locked with (Harvick, Burton and Bowyer), Michael Waltrip Racing is locked with (Reutimann, Truex Jr. and Labonte including JTG Daugherty Racing), JGR is locked with (Busch, Logano and Hamlin), Stewart-Haas Racing is locked with (Stewart and Newman), EGR is locked with (Montoya and McMurray – McMurray is staying, there’s no question there), Penske Racing is locked with (Busch and Keselowski)

Red Bull Racing, RPM, Phoenix Racing and Sam Hornish Jr. are question marks.

All in all, I believe that pretty much covers the 2010 Silly Season as it stands now, what do you think, any predictions, questions, concerns?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

History Channel’s MadHouse and Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski feud among the recent discussions on RaceDriven.com.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, within the past week, I received several comments and among those comments are two interesting ones that in both cases call a hot topic to attention with a strong argument and I felt like the best way to comment back is to bring them front and center in an article that will allow other readers to comment directly, create a discussion and for those commenter’s and other readers to see where I stand on these two issues.

But before I get into these comments, I wanted clarify where my racing knowledge comes from and where I stand on commenting.

I’ve been into cars since I was four years old, a NASCAR fan for around the past two decades, a Motorsports fan for several years, blogging for almost five and half years to date, and I’m 30 years old. I attend a race yearly from New Hampshire Motor Speedway since before 1999, as well as local shorts when I can. But make no mistake, I’m not an expert, nor do I claim to be one. I just have a lot of Motorsports (mainly NASCAR) knowledge and know what I like and see and what I don’t.

As for the comments, I love getting comments, when people take time to write a real, clean comment that adds to that posts conversation, I take notice and try and respond as best as possible if a response is warranted. When commenting, it really doesn’t matter if you agree with me or disagree so long as you add to the conversation and keep it clean. As a matter of fact, I welcome comments that disagree with me especially that put up a good argument, who knows, you might just change my mind with good argument.

Here are the comments in question and my response below:

1. From swb200020 on "Column: Real racing vs. History Channel’s MadHouse...":

"...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..." ...Seriously...??? I do have to question your Extensive Race Knowlege. I've Seen every bit ot it. You should take into account the size of Bowman-Gray, very small with little banking. To pass someone, you almost HAVE to use the bump-and-run. That causes conflict. Also, theres Junior Miller, Washed up and beat down with a personal vendetta for the Meyers. He gives the track a bad look. I can name characters from the show every week At my local track. I am one of them.
It’s interesting, for the second time in this MadHouse two part series, a reader has questioned my experience and/or passion I have for racing. I have a lot of passion for watching racing, but I’m not a driver, a team member, or an owner, I’m a fan and that is where I’m coming from when I write on anything including racing.

With that said, I stand behind what I said in both articles, MadHouse is scripted, it’s a soap opera, its war, but it’s NOT racing” and “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.”

This is my opinion and I believe that most of it isn’t real, it certainly isn’t racing. But in the articles, I named a few drivers, not every single driver or person on the show, because not every single driver was reckless. I advise you to watch MadHouse before you call me or anyone else who wrote on the show out, it wasn’t what most NASCAR fans would like. History Channel didn’t make MadHouse right. Even the 8-time champ Tim Brown didn’t like the way the show portrayed or showcased him.

I have gone to Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts and the racing was good, fast, hard, competitive, but there wasn’t any retaliations that especially included slamming someone into the outside and using their car as a battering ram. Several racetracks ban that type of driver.

If you were on the MadHouse (the TV Show), then next time you should tell me who you are, so I can tell you how you did on the show. I just call it like I see it. But note, I’ve never been to Bowman-Gray stadium.

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

2. From Anonymous on “Edwards/Keselowski feud: NASCAR gets it wrong and penalizes both Edwards and Keselowski after Nationwide Gateway race, anyone surprised?”

Anonymous said: “oviously your a brad crashalowski fan seems you forgot about talladega where your boy put edwards in the fence & almost seriously dangered some fans i guess thats ok, your boy has been over agressive since the day some one put him in a nationwide car, i guess he figures he needs to be agressive right away to get attension he needs to go back to arca where he belongs he is lucky he is not racing against earnhart sr,or david pearson etc, they would have definately put this punk in his place”
As a NASCAR fan for the past two decades now, I have seen my fair share of NASCAR driver feuds over that time span that has even made headline news, but this Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski feud is in my opinion not good for the sport of NASCAR and is already becoming a dangerous situation for not only the drivers involved, but for all of the drivers on the track in any race these two are entered in together.

But it seems that some fans aren’t clear as to what happened at the 2009 spring race at Talladega and who was at fault. Talladega has been a key moment for several media members and fans to refer back to, to support their arguments on where the two drivers first really came together. However to this day, I nor several fans and media including Dave Despain see what Brad Keselowski really did wrong at the end of that race.

What happened: In the 2009 spring race at Talladega Superspeedway for the Cup Series, both Carl Edwards in the #99 and Brad Keselowski in the #09 where racing on the last lap for the victory.

Basically both the #99 and the #09 where drafting coming off turn 4 and down the front straightaway (its curved), the #09 looked to the outside, the #99 went outside with the #09 hugging the yellow line and going to the #99’s inside. This is where people need to remember that NASCAR’s yellow line rule was and is in effect and the #09 couldn’t go any lower. So the #09 could either hold his ground like so many driver stated including Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon or pull back.

The #09 held his ground and the #99 came down, clipped the #09 front end and went for a ride. Of course with contact from the #39-Ryan Newman, the #99 went airborn into the catch fence that injured I believe 9 fans total.

Bottom line, first, I don’t believe Carl Edwards was at fault, he was just racing, blocking and defending his position while going for the victory. Second, I don’t believe that Brad Keselowski was at fault neither. He was simply racing for the lead as well and trying to pull off a sling shot move on Edwards. Brad had to stay above the yellow line or NASCAR would have blacked flag him. Brad did nothing wrong that day.

However on the flip side, I blame NASCAR because of their yellow line rule and the racing itself at Talladega. And here is what happened.

Nonetheless, the incident was a racing deal and Brad Keselowski did nothing wrong, I advice people who think otherwise to visit YouTube and search for that video of the 2009 Spring Talladega Cup Series race won by Brad Keselowski.

I hope this clears up where at least I stand in this discussion and if anybody is keeping score on his feud, Talladega isn’t a factor and neither driver did anything wrong, they were just racing for the victory period.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What a vicious crash with Kurt Busch and Elliott Sadler in the Sunoco American Red Cross Pennsylvania 500.

(Photos by Chris Trotman /Getty Images for NASCAR)

This one was a vicious, scary wreck with 35 laps to go that just left me speechless. I couldn’t believe that Kurt Busch’s right front wheel was ripped off, but even more, Elliott Sadler’s hit to the inside wall that ripped out the engine completely out of the car. He got hit or hit both front and back. This was the scariest wreck in recent years and of the COT’s history and that includes Michael McDowell’s wreck at Texas. Note, the driver’s cockpit was the only major piece (1 of 3) in tacked and that is a good to see.

But it was a relief to see on television when Elliott Sadler less than 10 minutes later walked out of the infield care center and did an interview with ESPN and said he was ok.

Sadler later gave a comment for Ford Racing where he said: “I’m fine. I’m okay. I’m a little sore, I think, from where the belts grabbed me. It knocked the breath out of me pretty good, but it’s definitely the hardest hit I’ve ever had in a race car. These new cars are built to be safer and if I can get out of that and walk through that, I think it did its job. I’m not sure what happened. I know some guys got spun out or moved around up in front of us, and I saw some smoke. Everybody started checking up and I checked up, but whoever was behind did not and ran in the back of us and knocked me down through the grass. It’s not the day we wanted to have with the U.S. Air Force Ford. It’s just a tough day.”

WHAT DID YOU SEE? “I saw smoke and some cars sideways up in front of me. I didn’t know what happened until I just saw a replay in the infield care center, but they started stacking up in front of us and everybody started slowing down and I started slowing down too, and somebody ran in the back of me. I have no idea. I haven’t seen the replay, but somebody just ran into the back of us and turned us inside through the wet grass into the guardrail, so I was along for the ride. It was a very hard hit. I’m a little sore through my chest and my stomach, but that’s from where the seatbelts did their job and grabbed me and kept me in the car, so I’m thankful for that.” (Elliott Sadler quotes from Ford Racing Media Relations via email)

And just before Elliott Sadler came out, Kurt Busch came out and said he was ok. When asked what happened, he said we got wrecked on the straightaway. How did it happen, Kurt said “Jimmie Johnson drove straight through us.”

In watching the replay, it looked like Jimmie Johnson was trying to bump draft Kurt Busch past the #33 Clint Bowyer down the Long Pond straightaway and Kurt Busch got loss and with contact with Bowyer sent Busch into the outside wall and then across the track and on a wild ride before he came to rest inside turn 2. I think this was a racing deal until I see otherwise.

But I wanted to say one thing, I have seen some horrible wrecks at Pocono raceway over the years from Davey Allison between turn 2 and 3, Steve Park and Dale Earnhardt Jr. between turns 1 and 2 just to name a few. Sorry I don’t know the years.

The point is, Pocono Raceway is making updates to those areas, but I believe that the Pocono needs to go from turn 1 all the way around to turn 3 making it a lot safer and maybe even getting rid of the grass and putting in an access road for cars that are in trouble to go around the track.

(Photos by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Top 6 NASCAR things learned from Pocono - The Sunoco American Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 edition.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, this week, NASCAR finds themselves on the tricky triangle in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania, at Pocono Raceway for the inaugural Truck Series shootout race and the main event, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

In every week and weekend on the NASCAR schedule, there always seems to be something that comes out that says “what were they thinking” or “damn!” and this week and weekend was no different, but what did we learn, here is the top 6 things learned from NASCAR racing at Pocono Raceway.

1. This one’s for Jack (Roush), get well soon. Greg Biffle wins a wet and wild Sunoco American Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. In a race that was filled with boredom, long drawn out green flag runs, short sprint racing, rain, red flags, scary wrecks, good racing on restarts and Jimmie Johnson dominating the race, it was one long day and I’m just glad it’s over 5 hours later. Congrats to Greg Biffle, RFR and Ford on getting back to victory lane.

2. NASCAR needs to draw a line and stick to it (policy) with what NASCAR will make public, keep private and what is “acceptable” and “unacceptable”.

Earlier this week, an AP report by Jenna Fryer talked about NASCAR secretly fining two drivers for making comments this season that they felt were detrimental to the sport or against the brand.

"NASCAR Gets Tougher To Protect Its Brand" from AP reporter Jenna Fryer.

As a NASCAR fan that has been watching this sport for about the past two decades, I have seen NASCAR transform over the years or change and for the most part for the better. I’m not a fan that typically looks to the past and say the past was better, nor do I look at the past in this case. After the latest published report, in this case secretly fining drivers for comments NASCAR felt were detrimental to the sport. NASCAR had a huge firestorm on their hands that they really don’t know how to handle.

Normally NASCAR will put out a press release out on just about everything and my email bin shows it from penalties against drivers, people who violate the substance abuse policy, results, basically almost any news, so why did NASCAR feel that fining drivers for comments that they felt were detrimental to the sport should be kept secret…

And that’s the problem I have, I don’t care about the fines, I don’t know why Ryan Newman got one, but Denny Hamlin saying races are fixed when they aren’t should get him fined, but again why do it secretly and it makes me think what else is NASCAR keeping secret that they normally would be make public? NASCAR can’t play with this, make it policy and stick to it. If you want it secret, then just say we want it secret in the future.

I am sick and tired of NASCAR drawing a line and then moving it, it’s not fair, it’s not right, it’s what turns fans off and it will hurt NASCAR in the end. NASCAR needs to stay consistent period, and this is turning me off too and that’s really hard to do.

3. Elliott Sadler and the Truck Series is a good match. On Saturday at Pocono raceway, the NASCAR Truck Series made their debut to my surprise with a 50 lap shootout or sprint race which was ok, but not my cup of tea. Anyway, in and among all that, Elliott Sadler took the pole and after holding off a hard charging Kasey Kahne and Matt Crafton, won his first career Truck Series race. Sadler also joined the elite club of winning in all three major series.

4. Truck Series qualifying was entertaining – and it only took one hour to complete. NASCAR decided to change qualifying for the Truck Series because of time constrains. NASCAR put 3 trucks out on the track at one time with 20 sec. between them with the slowest trucks from practice at the beginning to the fastest trucks qualifying at the end and fans didn’t have to wait hours to see who won the pole. NASCAR could use a modified format in all three series, but with only two cars or trucks on track on big tracks. Good results, just keep it fair.

5. Both Pocono Cup Series races need to be shorter – 400 miles would be a start. I’ve watched both Pocono races this weekend (Trucks and Cup Series) and while the Truck was ok, the Cup race was once again long, drawn out and at times boring. I know we are looking for some endurance races, but damn even at 400 miles would be an endurance race.

6. NASCAR and the talk of changing the 2011 schedule and chase format – need more information. During the past few weeks, NASCAR media has been talking about both the 2011 Cup Series schedule and the changes to chase and so has Brian France. The problem is Brian France didn’t release many details and with whole transparent thing, NASCAR should release a draft of the all three national series schedules and what they think they want to do with the chase and let the fans have a say openly.

The Final Lap:

Next week, NASCAR finds themselves for the second time this season at a road course, the 2.45 miles Watkins Glen International for next Sunday’s Cup Series race. I wonder if Marcos Ambrose and rebound and finally break through into victory lane before he exits that ride at season’s end. And congrats to Bobby Labonte in landing the #47 next season, it should be a good season for Bobby Labonte and hopefully he too can return to victory lane in 2011.