Sunday, October 31, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 29, 2010

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 24, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

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


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

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

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



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

(Video Source: SPEEDtv.com)

Monday, October 18, 2010

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

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

Sunday, October 17, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 15, 2010

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



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

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

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

But this is Jimmie Johnson's championship to lose.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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

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

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

1. David Pearson. The Silver Fox was one of the best drivers just about every time he came to the racetrack. Pearson is a three-time NASCAR champion (Those were his only three full seasons), has 105 wins that’s spans from 1960 to the 1980 Darlington 500 and is most famous for his 1976 Daytona 500 when he was battling Richard Petty on the final lap as they slammed into each other which ended with Petty and Pearson both wrecked in the grass, but Pearson was able to limp across the finish line for the victory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

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

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

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

(Photo Credit: Stewart-Haas Racing Facebook)


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Speedlinking: NASCAR’s “Boy’s Have at it” plays a role in Kyle Busch vs. David Reutimann: The fans, media and Inside NASCAR weighs in.

Everyone from NASCAR, the NASCAR community, Inside NASCAR on Showtime, media members, and the NASCAR fans themselves all seem to have an opinion on the Kyle Busch vs. David Reutimann battle at Kansas Speedway. So did Kyle Busch deserve payback from David Reutimann at Kansas?

The results, namely what I have read on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums and what not all seem to be mostly siding with David Reutimann. Some believe that Kyle Busch deserved everything that he got from Reutimann. While others believe that Reutimann completely over reacted to the situation and shouldn’t have done anything.

So here is a few articles on what I have read and be sure to read some of the comments in some of the articles, they really tell an interesting story.

1. Inside NASCAR on Showtime (video from show)


2. David Reutimann pays back Kyle Busch after earlier race incident at Kansas – Go Reutimann. This article is written by me (Brian Vermette) that I published on my new personal blog BrianVermette dot Com.

3. David Reutimann And The Art Of Overreaction. A different opinion by T.C. on The NASCAR Insiders that received several opposing comments.

4. Reutimann needed to retaliate to stop hits.

5. Kansas payback is a bitch. Straight to the point, I love it.

6. David Reutimann and Kyle Busch ruin each others' day.

7. Kyle vs. David: Who was in the wrong? Public reaction.

8. Reutimann says he's not proud of what he did to Kyle at Kansas but also says he had to stand his ground by Dustin Long. Reutimann had a lot to say on this a few days later while at Martinsville Speedway. Here are his comments.

So did Kyle Busch deserve retaliation after spinning David Reutimann at Kansas?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A loss-loss situation: Bowyer-RCR losses final appeal and NASCAR losses in the eyes of some fans.

Not surprised that Bowyer-RCR lost appeal, they got the right penalty for the crime in the end, but NASCAR lost as well in the eyes of NASCAR fans for not explaining the situation, the penalty and process of why the #33 passed post tech at track, but failed at R&D Center. They needed more details.

Well ladies and gentlemen, it has been a long three weeks for Clint Bowyer, the #33 team, Richard Childress Racing, the NASCAR community and the fans. I’m even shocked and that doesn’t normally happen.

This whole episode started first after Richmond with NASCAR telling the RCR #33 team that there Richmond car was close to failing tech. But it would go from a huge high the next Sunday with Clint Bowyer winning the first chase race in New Hampshire to an even bigger low three days later (Wednesday) as NASCAR dropped the hammer on RCR and the #33 team with a big chase crushing penalty.

Clint Bowyer, the #33 team and RCR would receive: The crew chief and car chief would be suspended for 6-races, the crew chief would be fined $150k and 150 driver and owner points.

This penalty and the lack of information from NASCAR set the NASCAR community and especially the fans into a tailspin. The media for the most part didn’t know what happened or how to explain it and the fans were very frustrated. I believe that this was the latest incident of many that just left some fans saying goodbye and it shows in the attendance and TV ratings. This was a turn off.

We hadn’t seen a penalty like this from NASCAR in a while.

Note: I remember the Clint Bowyer victory at New Hampshire back in 2007. You see I remember that race because I was not only at the race, but guests of Kevin Harvick’s sponsor Shell-Pennzoil and sitting the the #29 pit box. It was a great win for Bowyer that day. But it was sad to see that that victory didn’t have the same effect, a good final points standing finish.

Now of course RCR has gone through two appeals processes, the first was last week, Richard Childress would plead his case to a 3-person panel that in the end upheld the penalty. One week later, Richard Childress would make one final attempt to get the penalty over turned by appealing NASCAR’s new Chief Appellate Office, John Middlebrook.

According to the press release, Middlebrook ended up reducing Crew chief Shane Wilson’s fine from $150,000 to $100,000 and Wilson and car chief Chad Haney’s race suspensions from six to four. Both are suspended from NASCAR until Nov. 3 and are on probation until Dec. 31. But the big one, the loss of 150 championship owner and driver points remains intact.

At the end of the day in my eyes, this was a loss-loss situation for everybody involved. Bowyer-RCR lost there two appeals and a realistically chance at winning the chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. And NASCAR lost in the eyes of NASCAR fan not just because of the penalty, but more so on the way they handled this penalty with the fans.

I wish NASCAR would realize that the fans are important too and that they have to take time out and explain to us what exactly is going on.

With that said, I have to say that I don’t like the idea that a car can pass tech at the racetrack (namely in this case New Hampshire), but fail two days later at the R&D Center. I know that NASCAR can’t do all inspections at the track, but this is terrible. Like Dave Despain said on WindTunnel last Sunday night, what happens if the championship car fails post tech at the R&D Center two days after Homestead and the Champion is already crowned, that is ridiculous, terrible for the sport and confusing for the fans.

I also believe what happened was that when Clint Bowyer’s #33 car arrived at New Hampshire, it was on the edge of being illegal with tolerances. That is how the crew chief and/or car chief set it up. However after the race, I believe that factoring in several factors, the car was illegal period with no room for movement and NASCAR had ever right to give Bowyer and RCR a 150/150/150 penalty. I would have felt different if the infraction of how the body was married to the chassis was 6-thousands of an inch off, but it was 60-thousands off, that’s huge especially in NASCAR in this day and age when everything is so close.

But the way that NASCAR failed in the eyes of fans was that they didn’t explain everything to the fans themselves. On Sunday night after New Hampshire, the #33 past tech. However two days later, it failed, what??? A lot of fans asked how? I even answered questions within my family and friends on this, but I had little answers.

Of course NASCAR did get on TV and explain it a little bit, but most NASCAR fans aren’t technical nor am I for that matter and had no idea or concept of what happened. Even the media didn’t have all of the information. NASCAR was more concerned about winning the appeal, then explaining to the fans what was going on. And that where NASCAR lost, with the fans.

The bottom in is that Bowyer-RCR lost both appeals and NASCAR lost in the eyes of some NASCAR fans period. NASCAR needs to be more transparent with fans, otherwise fans in general will be turned off.

NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon are the ones to watch in Race 4 of the Chase at Fontana.

As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series enters Race 4 of the chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, the numbers have changed in the points standings after Greg Biffle won in Kansas and now we see the famous 4-time champion #48-Jimmie Johnson a top with a slim 8 point lead over second place Denny Hamlin. While Tony Stewart sits 10th in points -127 points out

But one thing I do every week in the NASCAR season is fantasy picks (WindTunnel on SPEED), so my picks this week are Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon to have good top 5 runs in Fontana. However I wonder who’s next in the “Boy’s Have at it” controversy and how will the race play out…thoughts?


Contest: During the Pepsi Max 400 this weekend, Pepsi Max will be awarding 400 lucky winners one of 400 prizes in 400 miles! On October 10th, 2:30PM EST on ESPN, where Jeff Gordon will be revealing, during his pre-race interview, the unique word that fans can text to 73774 or enter online at www.facebook.com/pepsimaxusa for their chance to win. Prizes include trip packages to Vegas, Bristol Motor Speedway and Hendrick Motorsports; autographed PEPSI MAX hats; and a phone call from Jeff Gordon. Photo and Contest Source: Matter-Edelman PR.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What should be the next step in evolving RaceDriven.com?

Right now as I sit here today (October 4, 2010), I have invested over 5 ½ years into RaceDriven.com. I started with just an idea, a passion for blogging, writing, automobiles, motorsports, entertainment and NASCAR, a domain name and a drive to develop an amazing blog.

RaceDriven.com began as a personal blog and as time went on RaceDriven has evolved into a niche blog, a lifestream and of course now a blog of observations and insight into The Auto Industry, Motorsports and NASCAR. I can honestly say that in blogging and branding RaceDriven, I have succeeded in building a cool brand. I have even got the attention of several companies, media members and yes even NASCAR considering I’m a member of NASCAR’s Citizen Journalist Media Corp.

In a lot of ways, RaceDriven has opened doors that might not have been available without the site, although I will say that the blog has never gotten me a job which at this point I am looking for as I’m currently unemployed. But the blog has even made me some extra money and in this economy, every little bit helps.

However in blogging and branding RaceDriven.com over the last 5 ½ years, I like so many in this position have gotten to the point where I’m tired, exhausted and ready for a change. So here I sit at a crossroads on just what to do with RaceDriven.com.

I also have to say that I believe that readers are simply not as interested as they once were in reading long articles especially on NASCAR or the Automobile Industry as they use to be. But instead of reading long articles, people in this face pace world are more interested in social media, short articles and postings that get to the point quickly. And as we all know, Facebook and Twitter are leading the way in this ever changing way people get there news and opinions.

If that wasn’t enough, I have decided to evolve even more by branding myself Brian Vermette by launching my own personal blog and site called BrianVermette dot Com that is live right now. I feel like this is a good move for me, a personal blog and site expands my online presence could open even more doors for me.

But let’s stick with the matter at hand namely what is the future of RaceDriven.com? At this point I have several different options, from creating a human interest site, a site using Twitter (I’m not giving away all this one has to offer), a motorsports directory, or continue evolving the current blog as is with shorter articles and posting.

I have to say that even though shutting down RaceDriven isn’t an option for me especially with how much work I have put into the site, I might consider selling the domain name only RaceDriven.com in the future if the right opportunity comes along. Of course anyway that I go has to include keeping my word and honoring my advertising contracts.

So the big question is, where do I go from here? I would like to know what my readers think, what should I do with RaceDriven.com, creating a human interest site, a twitter type site that actually uses Twitter, a motorsports directory, or continue evolving the current blog as is with shorter articles? Or any suggestions?

Once I decide what to do next, it will be launched as RaceDriven.com v5.0. Hopefully that will be sometime during the course of this month (October) or sooner. But until then, I’m going to continue blogging as normal and testing a few thing.

But don’t forget to follow me on BrianVermette dot Com, the personal blog is where I discuss hot topics and more.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Jimmie Johnson takes points lead after 2nd place finish in Race 3 of the chase: The Top 6 NASCAR things learned from Kansas including Greg Biffle winning.

(Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to my weekly NASCAR column that features the top 6 things learned NASCAR Nationwide Series and Cup Series are racing in Kansas, while the Truck Series is off until Martinsville.

1. Greg Biffle makes a statement by winning at Kansas and Race 3 of the Chase. Kansas was anything but boring as Kansas has been the wild card race so far this season. But for Greg Biffle, they needed to come into this race and gain big time and they did. Congrats to Greg Biffle on a much needed win.

2. What a change in the chase for the Sprint Cup Series standings after Kansas, right now the top 9 are only separated by 101 points in the championship hunt heading into California next weekend.

Right now, Jimmie Johnson is the points leader by 8 points over Denny Hamlin. The good thing for Jimmie Johnson is that history is on his side as the points leader coming out of Kansas 4 out 6 times has gone on to win the Cup Series championship. Kevin Harvick is 3rd (after finishing 3rd) with Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon round out the top 5 (-58 points back from the leader). But even more, it’s good to see that after 3 races, the top 9 (Jeff Burton in 9th) are within 101 points of the leader. And Tony Stewart is still in it, in 10th, -127 points back.

And yes even Kyle Busch (after David Reutimann paid him back) came out with a decent points day as Busch is only -80 points back. It could have been worse.

However I would say that Matt Kenseth in 11th and Clint Bowyer in 12th are out of this one borrowing a surge. Of course, anything can happen with 7 races to go especially with Talladega on this horizon later this month.

3. David Reutimann pays back Kyle Busch after earlier race incident at Kansas – Go Reutimann. (Read more on my personal blog BrianVermette dot Com…)

And to Kyle Busch, it means more (gets the other drivers attention more) to take a driver out while that driver is in the thick of a chase fight. And just for the record, Reutimann's payback steams more than just the early race contact at Kansas, but no doubt, Busch deserved it especially after comments and contact last August at Bristol race.

4. Nationwide Series only drivers finding it hard to keep rides. Earlier this week, fans were very outspoken and voiced their displeasure to Michael Waltrip Racing after they announced the release of Trevor Bayne and that the Truex Brothers would share the #99 MWR Toyota for the remainder of the season. I wasn’t surprised that fans were upset especially on MWR’s Facebook page.

However for a talented driver like Trevor Bayne, it didn’t take long for another team, namely Roush-Fenway Racing to sign him not only for Kansas, but to a long term contract. On Thursday, it was announced that Bayne would drive the #17 at Kansas and more details would emerge soon. (Read More).

5. Joey Logano makes late race pass for the lead on Kyle Busch with Brad Keselowski’s help to win Kansas Nationwide Series race. It’s nice to see someone else win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, but the fact still remains, the Nationwide series needs some major help, right now it’s the Cup Lite Series or the (Kyle) Busch Series.

6. Clint Bowyer continues to slide in the chase standings to 12th after losing appeal on 150 point penalty. Right now I would say that he is all but out of this chase for the Sprint Cup. Never in history (that I know of has) a driver made up a 250 point gap with 7 races to go in the Cup Series season. I also believe that even if Bowyer’s penalty is reduced (by winning last option appeal), he still is out of it.

Note: Starting next week, this weekly column will expand to a championship battle edition for all three of NASCAR's national series.