Sunday, December 25, 2011

Top 10 Best and worst surprises of the 2011 NASCAR season including Boy’s Have at it over the top, Trevor Bayne, Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski and more.

Merry Christmas readers, as 2012 is just over a week away and even Daytona testing a few weeks away, today I want to take a final look back at the 2011 NASCAR season including the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series in the form of surprises of 2011.

In 2011, there were several things that caught my attention, some were good, while others where bad or even just plain wrong. Well I have outlined the top 10 best and worst surprises of the 2011 NASCAR season and I bet at least one of them left you saying OMG!

1. Best - Tony Stewart narrowly wins the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship on a wins tiebreaker over Carl Edwards. Need I say more, there’s nothing like a championship battle that goes down to the final lap in the final race of the season with a winner take all deal.

2. Worst - Kyle Busch finally gets NASCAR’s attention after taking NASCAR’s saying of “Boy’s Have at it” way over the top with a violent incident under caution between him and Ron Hornaday Jr. during the Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. NASCAR parked Kyle Busch of the rest of the Texas weekend (rest of Truck race, entire Nationwide race and Cup Series race). Of course Kyle Busch is still going to be feeling the effects of this one throughout the 2012 season.

Personally, this incident was the latest black-eye NASCAR has received after letting drivers self-police themselves on-track and off-track. While Boy’s Have at it has gotten drivers to get up on the wheel and drive, it has also proven that NASCAR has lost control of its drivers and now needs to take a stand, make real rules and take back their sport before it’s too late. Of course to some, it already was too late.

3. Best - Trevor Bayne wins his first Cup Series race by winning the Daytona 500 in the famous #21 Ford with the Wood Brothers. You can’t get any better way to start the 2011 than Bayne and the Wood Brothers winning the Daytona 500.

4. Best - NASCAR’s New Points System. This is one area that NASCAR got it right when they changed the old points system to a simpler 1 point per position point system with 3 points for winning and a driver can get a max of 48 points. Plus 2 wild card spots that putting winning races to a premium level. This new point system gave NASCAR fans one hell of a tight points fight right down to the final lap of the season at Homestead with Smoke taking the Cup Title over Edwards on a tie breaker. You can’t get no closer than that.

5. Worst - Two-car tandem restrictor plate racing at Talladega and Daytona: Here was one topic that NASCAR fans exploded on talking about and voicing their displeasure on. Following the Daytona 500, NASCAR drivers and teams took advantage of a new type of drafting at the superspeedway races, two-car tandem racing or tag team racing and it was terrible. It took a lot of the fun out of these races (if there was any) and took half the field out of winning the race. Any driver that was pushing, basically had a 10% chance of winning the race over the driver that was being pushed.

Take the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in July, Matt Kenseth took himself out of possible winning the race by pushing David Ragan in the closing laps. Ragan won the race and Kenseth finished second. Or Jimmie Johnson wins at Talladega while Dale Jr. finishes 2nd. Only Clint Boywer has been able to overcome the stupid type racing and win by a last lap pass over teammate Jeff Burton at Talladega.

6. Best - Brad Keselowski: The Cup Series breakout star of 2011 has to be Brad Keselowski with not only his win at Kansas, he was outside the top 20 with several races to go in 2011, but even after a hard hit at Road Atlanta, Keselowski went on a streak raking up two more wins at Pocono and Bristol to make the chase with a wild card spot. In the chase, Keselowski stood tall and came away with his best point’s finish of his career in 5th spot. 3 wins, making the chase and finishing 5th in the final standings, that’s a damn good way to end the season.

7. Worst - Paul Menard’s blatant spinning out at Richmond to bring out a caution flag to help teammate. I’m surprise no other team did this or got caught in this case. At the fall Richmond race, Paul Menard was a few laps down and throughout the race was getting updates on where teammate Kevin Harvick was on-track and if he needed a caution flag. I truly believe that this was Paul Menard, his crew chief and Mike Dillions idea to help teammate Kevin Harvick has a shot at winning the race for the extra points heading into the chase over in this case Jeff Gordon. But I don’t believe that Richard Childress knew anything about it. NASCAR should have busted them, but unless they confessed, it wasn’t going to happen…Boy’s Have at it.

8. Best - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: 2011 was Ricky Stenhouse Jr’s year in the Nationwide Series. With the welcome addition of the Nationwide Series only drivers’ championship, Stenhouse Jr. showed all season long that he could run with front runners and on his way to his first Nationwide Series Drivers championship in 2011, Stenhouse Jr. collected two victories in the season, both coming at Iowa Speedway including him blowing a motor coming out of turn 4, to only get hit from behind by teammate Carl Edwards (who wanted that win badly) and winning the race. Damn what a race and a championship.

9. Best - Austin Dillion: The 2011 Truck Series breakout star and Truck Series Championship. In 2011, Austin Dillion driving the #3 that his grandfather Richard Childress drove in his driving career, became a front runner and contending for top 5’s and wins on a weekly basis. Dillion would end up winning two races (Nashville and Chicago) on his way to capturing his first Camping World Truck Series Championship.

Personally I was impress with Austin Dillion and while the win total doesn’t show it, Dillion was one of a few Truck Series regulars that could keep pace with Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick all season long. Now he is off to the Nationwide Series and his brother Ty Dillion takes over the #3 Bass Pro Shop Chevy in 2012.

10. Worst – Payback, Payback, Payback as “Boy’s Have at it” goes too far and NASCAR can’t and doesn’t want to get it under control, they call it racing for now.

Bottom line, 2011 was somewhat a lot like 2010 when it came to “Boy’s Have at it”, but at least 2011 has several good moments including Tony Stewart winning the Cup Title, Trevor Bayne winning the Daytona 500, Dale Jr. making the chase to some amazing races including Martinsville, California Speedway and of course the season finale in Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Now I have to wonder what 2012 will bring and more importantly, what changes NASCAR will make before the 2012 season. Hopefully NASCAR will wake up and get rid of Boy’s Have at it and create real rules, but not likely, I give it a 10 percent chance.

As for me, 2011 makes the end of another season and another year, but I really don’t know what 2012 will bring for me as a blogger, a person, an unemployed guy, but I can hope and work on making my dreams come true in the new year. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and/or Happy Holidays everyone.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More NASCAR off-season changes with SPEED news no where in sight.

After reading an interested article over The Daly Planet called "Week in Review: Off Season Changes", here's my opinion on it.

Three simple things:
1. NASCAR Chairman Brian France is at #17, really??? Giving Brian France this award is like giving the lady from National Grid an award, neither deserve it, because they didn't do their jobs correctly.

2. NASCAR need to partner with another network instead of making their own. How about CBS or NBC. There has to be a good network that can handle NASCAR's programming especially live ones that is both in homes all over the world and online.

3. SPEED is changing and NASCAR isn't included in these changes. SPEED Channel, the automotive channel without Motorsports or NASCAR.

By the way SPEED, come on, no Speed Center even on Sunday's, give us a break.

Can you see these four brake lights on this brake happy Dodge Ram driver?

(Photo takes by me "Brian Vermette" with my 3MP cell phone)

Sorry, I just could help myself to take this picture (from the passenger seat, no I wasn't driving) when I was coming up to the Massachusetts tolls on the MassPike yesterday after being stuck behind this Dodge Ram at the tolls. Ironically enough, we were in the Fast Lane (EZ Pass lane), no change required, just wait for the green light once it bills you. But I do have to say that I like the four different locations of the bright brake lights. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Top 10 Best Articles on RaceDriven.com written by Brian Vermette in 2011 including American Chopper, NASCAR, Corvette vs. Porsche, Justin Bieber's Caddy and taking a stand.

Welcome readers, it’s been a long and hard year for me here at RaceDriven.com that has included some ups, downs and even a hiatus breaks.

But as 2011 comes to a close in just over 2 weeks from now, here I am running strong on RaceDriven.com with some amazing traffic and discussions. Now I want to take this moment and reflect back on the top 5 best articles of 2011.

Of course this year was a little different from past years as I’ve tried and failed (trial and error) to develop two new blogs (one at a time on separate domains), one being on Tumblr and the other being on Posterous with most of the articles written on those blogs being moved here to RaceDriven.com to have a second and in most cases, successful chance (of being read).
1. American Chopper: The Build-Off - Paul Jr. Designs beats out Jesse James and OCC to win Build-Off.

While I was disappointed in this Build-Off 3 hour event, at least we got some amazing creations. But its just too bad that none of them can being ridden across country. No not even Jesse James’ bike. But this article is the most read article of 2011 on RaceDriven.com and it was only publish just over 1 week ago.
2. Congrats to Tony Stewart on winning the Ford 400 and the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.

With NASCAR arming the 2011 season with a new points system, fans got one hell of a chase that would end in a winner take all race and a tie in points for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with the tie breaker going to Tony Stewart over Carl Edwards. That was just incredible to see one of my favorite drivers Tony Stewart win his 3rd Cup Series title. What an ending to a interesting season.

3. Photography: SEMA 2011: Justin Bieber’s Batman-Themed Cadillac CTS-V Coupe.

While I don't listen to Justin Bieber's music (although I do listen to his current girlfriend Selena Gomez's music and have a crush on her), I do love cars and this custom Cadillac CTS-V Coupe that was built by West Coast Customs on Inside West Coast Customs is one hell of a ride that even I would be proud to own and drive everyday as a daily driver.

4. Photo: I spend my youth dreaming of owning a Chevrolet Corvette, not a Nissan, Mitsubishi or a Porsche.

Sorry Porsche, as much as there campaign was right that people didn’t dream of owning a Nissan or Mitsubishi, they wrong in one part, I dreamed of owning a Corvette since I was 4 or 5 years old, not a Porsche. However I do like Porsche’s.

5. My Take on Dario Franchitti- Takuma Sato incident during Indy 225 at New Hampshire and Will Power inching closer to Franchitti in 2011 IRL IndyCar Series Championship hunt.

I truly believe that 2011 IRL IndyCar Series will be remembered for the Indianapolis 500, the drama of New Hampshire and the tragic event at Las Vegas that claimed a great racecar driver. But the article link above is all about New Hampshire and its hard racing, bad and dangerous calls and two angry birds.  

6. Glad to hear Brad Keselowski walked away from a testing crash at Road Atlanta. Damn, what a hit.

2011 was a surprise type season for NASCAR that included Brad Keselowski breaking out and winning 3 races, making the chase and finishing 5th in points. Of course even with the hard crash at Road Atlanta, Keselowski won a few days later at Pocono and started a hell of a climb into making the chase. “NASCAR: Brad Keselowski goes from wreckers earlier this week to checkers at Pocono capturing his second win of 2011.”

7. American Chopper: Sr vs. Jr: Paul Jr Designs beats OCC in Cadillac Build-Off in my opinion.

Simply put, OCC just couldn’t compete with Paul Jr. Designs when it came to the Cadillac Build-Off where PJD delivered one hell of a chopper. There is no other way to say it in my opinion, PJD delivered period.

8. NASCAR: Drivers just can’t handle “Boy’s Have at it” and “I’ve had it” with this “hook racing”, time for some real rules from NASCAR.

2010 and 2011 will be remember for many things, but one in particular is NASCAR’s lack of rules and caring when it comes to drivers and there new saying “Boy’s Have at it”. Both seasons where a turn off in this area for me and I’m disappointed with NASCAR for it.

9. Made in America does mean something especially when buying a car.

Made in America, we need more of it.

10. From RaceDriven to Arcadia: Time for you to learn the difference between discussion comments and spam (advertisement) comments.

Finally, this one was written on a day when I was at a point where I (as a blogger) had enough with junk comments and spam and decided to tell one person (who just kept coming) just how I felt. It was also the day that finally started to look at disabling comments and as 2011 comes to end, comments has been disabled on RaceDriven.com and wouldn’t return.
Damn, what a year 2011 was, a year filled with trial and error, heart breaking decisions, drama, bring lost (blogging wise) and yet exciting at the same time and while I don’t know what 2012 may bring. I’m still happy with the outcome of 2011 here at RaceDriven.com especially the American Chopper articles.

To me, blogging is all about having a voice, being heard and everyday therapy and I can honestly say, this year, RaceDriven.com has given me that even if I went on a long journey to find that out. Thanks readers for a good year.

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

John beats Antone and Ramon to win season 12 of The Biggest Loser.

Despite the fact that the live Biggest Loser season 12 finale should have been named "let's talk for two hours" and saw just 6 people weight-in (3 finalists for the at home prize and 3 finalists for the $250,000 prize). Its all about the end result of this weight loss journey and whoever has lost the most weight (in percentage of weight loss) wins and on this night, it was Jennifer losing 145 pounds to win the at home prize of $100k and John losing 220 pounds to win $250,000 and be crowned the season 12 Biggest Loser winner.

But I have to hand it to everyone, everyone dropped a lot of weight and looked great with their new looks especially country music singer Vinnie who is engaged as well as Ramon and Jessica who found love on teh ranch. I wish them all the best of luck moving forward.

And if that wasn't enough and despite the fact that I named this one "Let's Talk for two hours", the format of weighing in of all of the at home prize people backstage and then just having the 3 finalists weigh-in live again on stage for the at home prize is a good format, it moves the show along, but still showcases each person.

Now I'm looking forward to season 13 of The Biggest Loser (No Excuses) with two trainers and a new twist that I might like, each pairing is two family members, but they're playing as singles. I don't care for the teams at all and would prefer to see them all play as singles. But this could work because its the best of both worlds. Sad though to see that Anna isn't returning to the show, but we still have two great trainers with different styles. I can't think of a better way to start off the new year then with weigh lose. Its a new years resolution for me. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lowe’s pulls advertising from TLC TV Series, AT&T/T-Mobile merger, Grubb to crew chief for Hamlin at JGR: My Take on Trending Stories.

Welcome readers to today’s edition of “My Take on Trending Stories” that features three hot topics that have me in some cases scratching my head from the Lowe’s/TLC controversy and AT&T/T-Mobile merger to yet another off season crew chief move in NASCAR.

1. Lowe’s pulls advertising dollars from TLC’s "All-American Muslim" after a conservative group known as the Florida Family Association complained… (Read full article from the Associated Press)

My Take: I going to say the same thing that I said earlier today on the Consumerist.com. The only two issues I see here is, first, this legislator (California Sen. Ted. Lieu) should be in investigated for wasting taxpayer money.

And second, since when is it "un-American" or wrong for a company (in this case Lowe's) to pull their advertising dollars from something because they want too. Maybe Lowe's just wasn't getting their investment back from the program. At any rate, they DO have the right to pull the money, its money to do what they want with.

Personally I don't believe that Lowe's should have even advertised on this TLC Series in the first place, you could see the firestorm coming from this decision, It would have been better to advertise on "The Playboy Club" if it was on USA Network, then this TLC Series. But they do have the right to pull their advertising dollars after the fact if they want too and no legal issues should keep them from doing so. And I will continue to shop at Lowe's Home Improvement Stores.

Although I do have to say that me using “un-American” wasn’t about reading between the legislator’s comments lines, but rather just trying to make a simple point. Basically I don’t see the issue here, plain and simple.

2. AT&T/T-Mobile “possible” merger

My Take: I’ve been reading and hearing about this whole AT&T/T-Mobile merger deal and all of the lawsuits, withdrawals, and whatever else that this deal has gone through and personally I only really see one good outcome out of three possible outcomes.

I don’t like the idea of AT&T merging with T-Mobile because it takes away one more wireless communication's company that I can do business with especially in finding a better price tag for the service I want as well as more job lose. On the other hand, if this merger doesn’t go though, then AT&T’s coverage map wouldn’t get better and let’s be honest, I would give T-Mobile 5 - 10 years tops of surviving in this business.

But I do like the idea of AT&T and T-Mobile remaining as separate companies with a technical alliance. Hopefully that means that both the AT&T and T-Mobile coverage areas would improve as well as data speed without losing another wireless communications company. One could only hope. Keep in mind that right now I’m an AT&T GoPhone customer who almost picked T-Mobile if it wasn’t for its terrible coverage in my area.

3. Darian Grubb will be the new crew chief for Denny Hamlin at JGR. (Read full article)

My Take: This is a mixed bag for sure, on one hand, Grubb lands a new crew chief job as getting let go from being the crew chief of Tony Stewart despite winning the Cup Series title in 2011. Keep in mind that this decision was made way before the end of the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series season and then winning the title.

But on the other hand, my headline reads Grubb crosses over to the dark side to become crew chief for Denny Hamlin at JGR. Sorry, from Chevrolet to Toyota. Tony Stewart made that same move and lost in fans base and considering I only support Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge in the Cup Series, Toyota is the dark side to me.

This was an interesting first edition article of My Take on Trending Stories. Sure I could have created three separate articles out of these three headlines, but I really wanted to try this new article format out especially considering it’s a good talking article.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

American Chopper: The Build-Off - Paul Jr. Designs beats out Jesse James and OCC to win Build-Off.

Earlier tonight, Discovery Channel showcased American Chopper: The Build Off that featured Paul Jr. Designs, Jesse James and Orange County Choppers. I've been a fan of American Chopper since the first episode aired and while the show has changed, I still watch the show now only to see what Paul Jr. and PJD can turn out.

Coming into tonight, I expected custom bikes that would be featured on a typical "Biker Build-Off". As several fans might have seen, I'm talking about a Discovery Channel show from several years ago that featured The Martin Bros., Denver Choppers, Rick Fearless, Arlen Ness, Cory Ness, the late Indian Larry, Hot Match... for example.  Typically a chopper that can and must be ridden for several hundred miles and then the fans voted for their favorite.

But I should have known better as American Chopper: The Build-Off between PJD, Jesse James and OCC was simply who could get the biggest response from the crowd with their off the wall creations. But I will say, each bike was completely different from each other.

Paul Jr. Designs: Winner
While I was expecting something along the lines of the Anti-Venom, The Black Widow or a Cadillac Bike, I will give him credit, the bike or chopper above does remind me of plane, its a bike and it is creative. But I dare him to ride this bike from Las Vegas back to New York. I don't think so, especially with that exhaust and 1 gallon gas tank. And yes I voted Paul Jr. Designs, it was the best of the 3 bikes.

Jesse James: Second

I was expecting a lot more out of Jesse James considering I've seen several of his bikes from almost a decade ago. But that was almost a decade ago and while I will give Jesse James credit, he did build a bike from the ground up including the front end and the frame itself, this simply wasn't it. One question, why does this remind me of a 57 Chevy?

Orange County Choppers: Third

Honestly, I'm disappointed with OCC. I was expecting a traditional chopper or Old School chopper that can be ridden across the country and enjoyed. But instead we got this Electric Monster above. Don't get me wrong, its an amazing creation and its electric powered, but simply put, its not a chopper plain and simple, its a showpiece. 

With all that said, Discovery Channel, congrats, you made this, just like the latest American Chopper episodes, a personal tale of three builders and not about the bikes themselves especially with a sit down interview before the vote was revealed. But at least we had some interesting creations. Hats off to the builders for creating them and its Paul Jr. that comes out on top over Jesse James in second and OCC in third. Congrats PJD.

(Photo Credit: Discovery.com)

Monday, December 5, 2011

With Penske Racing and Kurt Busch officially parting ways, the question is who will drive the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Cup car?

Earlier this morning, Penske Racing announced that they and Kurt Busch have officially agreed to part ways. In a statement:
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (December 5, 2011) - Penske Racing announced today that it has reached a mutual agreement with driver Kurt Busch to end its driver/race team relationship, effective immediately.

The team will evaluate its options for the driver of the No. 22 Sprint Cup Series car in the future while Busch will seek new opportunities with another race team.

"I appreciate the victories that Kurt has brought Penske Racing and our sponsors over the past six years," said Roger Penske. "While I am disappointed that Kurt will not be racing for our team in the future, both Kurt and I felt that separating at this time was best for all parties, including our team and sponsors. I wish Kurt the best in his future racing endeavors."

"I am grateful to Penske Racing for six very productive years," said Busch. "Together we won a lot of races -16 in all. Leaving a great organization and a lucrative contract is not easy, but it's an important step for me and allows me to take a deep breath to work on things that can make me a better driver and a better person. I want to personally thank Roger Penske for the opportunity that he has given me." (Source: Penske Racing)
Of course with this announcement, this just leaves one questions, who will drive the Shell-Pennzoil-Penske Racing Dodge in 2012 in the Sprint Cup Series?
There are a lot of rumors going around following not only last night's report from Thatsracin.com, but earlier this morning's official announcement. Of course I don't expect Penske Racing and Shell-Pennzoil to make an official announcement for a little while. Personally I know that I've heard David Ragan, Sam Hornish Jr. and Steven Wallace, but those are only rumors and rumors are junk.

Personally from a fan stand point, I would like to see veteran driver David Reutimann who was released from Michael Waltrip Racing a few months ago because of a lack of sponsorship.   

Friday, November 25, 2011

NASCAR Fines Kurt Busch For Actions At Homestead-Miami Speedway

Earlier today, NASCAR dropped a $50k fine on Kurt Busch for “Angry Bird” in the NASCAR garage area a few laps into the Ford 400 at an SUV that was associated with the First Lady Michellle Obama (her people), and his actions towards ESPN media reporter Jerry Punch.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 25, 2011) NASCAR has fined Kurt Busch $50,000 for his actions during the Nov. 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

NASCAR determined that Kurt Busch violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing – inappropriate hand gesture; abusive language) of the 2011 NASCAR Rule Book.

In issuing the penalty, NASCAR cited Kurt Busch’s “poor judgment in making an inappropriate hand gesture” when he drove his car into the garage early in the race after it experienced transmission problems. In addition, NASCAR said Kurt Busch showed “disrespect towards a media member,” an incident that followed similar inappropriate media confrontations earlier in the season. (NASCAR PR - NASCARmedia.com)
NASCAR, its about time you wake up to Kurt Busch’s actions that have been seen by all, all season long. And its not a secret fine, what a concept.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Photography: A 1970 Plymouth Road Runner that is nicknamed “The Hammer”.

(Photo Credit: Hot Rod and Barrett-Jackson.com)

This is one Dream car that I’ve never seen in person, but is one amazing ride that even I would love to own myself. It’s a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner that is named “The Hammer”. I first saw “The Hammer” on RIDES (TV Series) a few years ago when the guys at Pure Vision Design when the team was racing to debut this muscle car at the upcoming SEMA show in Las Vegas.

The car has an all aluminum 526 HEMI big block engine and was featured on RIDES, in Hot Rode Magazine, at SEMA and of course in the movies Fast & Furious 3 and 4.

Of course the is muscle car returned at the 2010 Barrett-Jackson in Orange County where it was hammered away for $175,000.

But I do have to say that “The Hammer” is also available in a 1/18 scale GMP Scale diecast as well. personally I’ve been looking to buy one of them, but just haven’t been able to get my hands on it since they go for so much money. I figure if I can’t own the real thing, then at least I could own it in diecast form and it woudl go right next to my 1/18 2008 Ford Mustang Roush Stage 3 diecast that signed by Jack Roush himself.

Photography: Tony Stewart’s Hearse, "the Smoke Deville" from Unique Whips.




(Photos were taken by me - Brian Vermette)

While I was looking though my digital photography collection, I came across those photos and I decided to share them here on ThinkingBrian.com. The photos above are Tony Stewart’s custom made Unique Hearse that is nicknamed “The Smoke Deville” that Tony Stewart had built years ago by Unique Autosports that was featured a SPEED Channel show called Unique Whips.

Back in 2008 at a Motorsports show called Speedway Expo in E. Springfield, Massachusetts, I saw this ride for the first time. I walked by this hearse a few times and on the final time by, the Unique Autosports crew had turned on the inside lights and damn, with the lights on this one just shines. The photos above don’t do this hearse full justice.

Of course I do own the two episodes that show them building it. I just bought them on Amazon and downloaded them to my notebook so I watch them whenever I want too. And I hope to have them on my Android device real soon.

Can you imagine driving around in a custom hearse? I could and would.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NASCAR fans boo First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at Ford 400, a silence response would have been a better choice.

Last Sunday before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale, the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, that saw Tony Stewart capture his 3rd Cup Series title by winning the race, made headlines before even the drop of the green flag. You see, (President Barack Obama’s wife) the first lady Michelle Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden were in attendance to be the grand marshals of the race and when they were introduced and gave the command “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines”, they were booed by several NASCAR fans in the crowd.

You could hear the booing on the live ESPN telecast and it was disrespectful. The fact is, you just don’t boo the first lady, nor do you boo women in general. However, if you want to voice your displeasure of someone or in this case, you didn’t like the First Lady being at a NASCAR race and that would include me, then try being silent. I truly believe that a silence is a bigger response makes a statement than booing someone, besides you’re not being disrespectful and rude if your silent.

Oh yeah to the mainstream media, NASCAR is a national sport that has millions of fans, try reporting on, on a weekly basis in positive way for a change.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Taylor Swift Beats Out Lady Gaga, Adele for AMA Artist of the Year.

(Shared Link: Taylor Beats Out Gaga, Adele for AMA Artist of the Year | Country Weekly)

My Take: It is crazy, but Taylor Swift’s music is amazing and heart filled to listen too, she deserves the award hands down. I believe that one of the songs that won her this award was “The Story of Us”. Personally I love the song and the music video for that matter.

A little nugget, country music tv stations like GAC and CMT didn’t play “The Story of Us” music video, MTV did.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The only way I would play Zynga’s FarmVille game again is if I owned a copy of the game like I do with EA’s SimCity 4.

You see everyone, up until the end of last month (October 2011), I was one of millions of people worldwide that not logged onto Facebook either once or several times a day to play FarmVille over the few years.

FarmVille is a social game that you play with your friends online (Facebook) where you build and harvest a Farm trying to master crops and animals. In the game, you buy items to put on an open field that you develop into whatever farm you want. Think of FarmVille as an online farming version of EA Sports SimCity type game.

But you see that’s also the problem for me, the one biggest difference between FarmVille and a game like SimCity 4 is? FarmVille is a social game that while you can and will in most cases put real money, let along real time into, you (the user) don’t own a copy of the game like people can with games like SimCity 4.

Basically I hate the idea of putting in so much time, let along real money into something that I not only don’t own, but will one day come to an end and I wouldn’t be able to play no matter if I want to or not.

So I would suggest that Zynga create FarmVille and maybe even CityVille bundled together for purchase on DVD and buy it in the store and/or online like you can with The Sims, SimCity 4 and other cool games for PC, Nintendo Wii, xBox 360 or PS3. This would enable everyone who enjoys this game to be able to play Farmville whenever they want online or offline.

But the magic question is, how would Zynga continue to make money with people who bought a copy of the game? That’s easy, many games have downloadable packages of items and add-ons that you can buy or are free in some cases that include new buildings, animals, and more. They are called software updates.

The bottom line is, I’m not going to put my time and hard earned money into something especially a game if I don’t own a copy of the game for me to enjoy for a longtime to come period.

I own several games including the SimCIty games, Midtown Madness 1 & 2 as well as other games for my PC, let along my Nintendo Wii that I enjoy and that in my opinion is the only way to go. Besides if I own the game, I don’t have to deal with server errors including “out of sync”. So until them, I have other things to do.


(Photo taken by me on my Facebook FarmVille game which I took earlier this year.) Just a little explaination on what you see. The mansion and sitting area is on the upper leftside, the Winery and vineyard on the upper right. The matter horn (mountain) and waterfalls in the upper center, while I have a Spa below the mansion and tons of animals with barn below the winery. Cap that off on ground level with a crafting building and my aviator in the center with my dog.

Congrats to Tony Stewart on winning the Ford 400 and the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Oh man what a race, what a day. The Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway not only lived up to the hype, but surpassed it with this tight points battle as it was a dead heat between Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart coming in to Homestead and it was a dead heat between the two down to the end.

The last 30 laps were heart pounding, but of course so was most of the race in watching Stewart carve his way through the field a few times after the team had to fix a big hole in the grill from what I would say was parts from Kurt Busch’s blown transmission.

But damn, what a drive for Tony Stewart, he drove from the back to the front a few times including a four wide pass to do the only thing he could do, win the race, to win the championship and that’s exactly what Tony Stewart and the entire #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Team did today.

Yes Stewart and Edwards tied in points with the tiebreaker of most wins goes to Tony Stewart.

That is one hell of a win for Tony Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing. And with that, Tony Stewart wins the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship, his 3rd Cup Series Championship.

- 2002 Winston Cup, 2005 Nextel Cup and 2011 Sprint Cup now as an driver/owner).

Notebook:
* Tony Stewart won 5 chase races (Chicagoland, New Hampshire, Martinsville, Texas and Homestead), that’s the way you do it.

* This was one of the best championship battles since 1992 when Alan Kulwicki narrowly won the championship over Bill Elliott and Davey Allison and even 1979.

* “Wins mattered in 2011” - Kenny Wallace, well said.

* I know that I will get blasted for this next comment by some considering I’m not a Carl Edwards fan, but I want to tip my hat to Carl Edwards for a good season, he did everything he could to win this championship. He had a good run for sure. And so did Roush-Fenway Racing.

* And don’t get all over Jimmie Johnson, he is the 5-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion and I have a feeling that he will be back next season for number 6.

Well ladies and gentlemen, that’s all for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, until tomorrow, good night.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NASCAR: Brad Keselowski holds off Ricky Stenhouse and Carl Edwards to win the Ford 300 at Homestead, what a way to finish out 2011.

(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Damn, that was one hell of a finish to the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series with Brad Keselowski holding off a hard charging and sliding Ricky Stenhouse and Carl Edwards to win one wild Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

I really thought that Carl Edwards was going to move Brad Keselowski out of the way at one point with 2 laps to go. But out of nowhere, comes Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (the new 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series Drivers Championship) to pass Edwards and challenge Keselowski for the victory.

And of course with Carl Edwards finishing 2nd, congrats to the #60 Roush-Fenway Racing Ford on winning the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series Owners Championship. Well I have to say that that is cool because I am a fan of Jack Roush (I’ve meant Jack Roush up here in Massachusetts back in 2009 at a local car show) and Roush-Fenway Racing.

Just one thing, ESPN needs to cover the race, not just the championship points standings during a race. ESPN could have just put a points chart under the ticker on screen.

Congrats to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for winning the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series Drivers Championship.

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Well ladies and gentlemen, that’s all folks for the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series Drivers Championship and the #60 Roush-Fenway Racing Ford won the Owners Championship. Roush-Fenway Racing sure did one hell of a job in 2011 and they all earned the two championships that they won today.

* Congrats to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for winning the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series Drivers Championship, he earned it.

* Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won 2 races in 2011, both at Iowa Speedway including that wild finish at Iowa where Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came off of turn 4 and half way to the finish line, he blow an engine, but Edwards who could see nor control his car, nailed Stenhouse Jr. across the line for the race win.

* Congrats to the #60 Roush-Fenway Racing Ford wins the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series Owners Championship.

* Hats off to Elliott Sadler for a good year and finishing in 2nd spot in points.

* Congrats to Timmy Hill on winning the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year, last year it was Ricky Stenhouse Jr. that won ROTY.

* Yes I finally came around 2/3rds though this season, I give NASCAR credit on changing the Nationwide Series championship contenders requirement, its cool to just see all Nationwide Series drivers racing for a Drivers Championship.

* But keep one thing in mind, it made NASCAR look pretty bad when during the first 33 laps of this race when the big discussion on Twitter was about has the several Start & Park drivers listed themselves as OUT yet so he could clinch the championship. Keep in mind that this statement has nothing to do with Stenhouse Jr., I’m just making a point.

What a way to cap off a good, yet frustrating at times season. Hopefully Ricky Stenhouse Jr. gets a sponsor and will be able to run full-time in the Nationwide Series next season in 2012 at RFR.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Congrats to Austin Dillion for winning the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship.

(Photo Credit: RCR via Email) Note: I replaced the previous photo of the entire field coming to the green with this championship photo. The previous photo was the only one I could find last night when I was writing on Dillion winning the championship. And this photo is perfect for this article.

That’s all she wrote, the Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway was called due to rain and even though Johnny Sauter did everything he could by leading the most laps and winning the race. Austin Dillion (who was 10th) has just won his first Camping World Truck Series Championship. That is cool to see, he deserves it.

But I do have to give it to Johnny Sauter, he did do everything he could to win the championship today and he was even holding off the hard charging Cup Series drivers of Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. And also good job to James Bouescher as well, he was in the hunt.

* Austin Dillion wins the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivers Championship by 6 points.

* Joey Coulter wins the 2011 Rookie of the Year in the Truck Series.

* The #2 Kevin Harvick Inc. wins the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owners Championship. BTW: This truck wll now be owned by RCR, but what a good 10 years for KHI.

What a good season in the Truck Series and I can’t wait until next season.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grand-Am: Chevrolet Unveils 2012 Corvette Daytona Prototype and will debut in Grand-Am Rolex 24 in January..

Will debut in GRAND-AM Road Racing Series Rolex 24 in January.

Yesterday (Tuesday) at Daytona International Speedway, Chevrolet unveiled their 2012 Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype that will make its debut at the 50th anniversary of the Grand-American Road Racing Series in the Rolex 24 at Daytona next January 2012.


(Photo Credit: Autoblog.com via Chevrolet)

Four teams will campaign the Corvette Daytona Prototype in 2012: No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing; No. 10 SunTrust Racing; No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and the Nos. 5 and 9 Action Express Racing teams.

In looking at this Daytona Prototype, I have to say with what Chevrolet had to work with including putting a few different design looks like the rear split windows and the taillights onto the racecar from what I can imagine what are from the new Corvette C7, they did a good job. Its good to see a manufacturer get so heavily involved in Motorsports like GM does. To me at least, some Motorsports still do offer “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday”.

Now let’s just hope that these Chevrolet Daytona Prototype can go head to head with the Ganassi gang in there BMW’s and win straight up. Besides not too many fans really want to see the continued dominance of the Ganassi racecars.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Insight: 3 points now separate Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart heading into the season finale in Homestead for the 2011 NASCAR Chase for the Championship. It’s a dead heat for the championship on Sunday.

Well NASCAR fans, the jury is still out on whether or not you got what you wanted when comes to the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, however I have to imagine that NASCAR got what they wanted for sure.

Following last Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at the newly redesigned and improved Phoenix International Raceway, we saw a good race for the most part. It was Tony Stewart that dominated this race while Carl Edwards was right behind him for the most part. But it would come down to a late race pit stop that would take Stewart out of the contendion for the victory when they simply over adjusted, but instead of Edwards capitalizing, it would be Kasey Kahne jumping to the lead with around 14 laps to go and never looking back to capture his first victory since 2009.

Edwards would have to settle for second and Tony Stewart would come home in 3rd place. But no points where gained and no points where lost for that matter.

So here we are, after the Phoenix race which mathematically eliminated 3rd through 12th in the Cup Series point standings, it’s now down to 2 drivers, Carl Edwards vs. Tony Stewart, separated by only 3 points heading into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway this Sunday.

Insight:
In what I’ve been hearing and reading, several fans are happy to see that NASCAR will have a “Peoples Championship” sort of speak no matter who wins the championships on Sunday. Even more, fans are excited that Jimmie Johnson is out of the chase. For some, it’s not that they don’t like Jimmie Johnson, but rather the fact that they want to see someone else win the championship this season.

Personally as a NASCAR fan as well as a Tony Stewart, Dale Jr. and Jimmie Johnson fan, it’s a mixed bag for me for sure. But as much as I don’t care for the chase itself, it’s like playing god in some ways, this seasons chase has shaped up to be something historical as this is the closes point battle in recent history. And I have to say that that is due in part to the new 1 point per position points system that NASCAR introduced at the beginning of 2011.

At the same time, sure I would like to see both Jimmie Johnson and Dale Jr. in the hunt as well, but I have to admit that even I do want to see a new Cup Series Champion this season and that is going to happen. So Jimmie Johnson being out of it is alright, but he will be back next season. I think this is going to make Johnson and the #48 team stronger for sure in 2012.

Now though, the talk should turn to two drivers battling it out for the championship, Carl Edwards who is leading by 3 points over second place Tony Stewart. This is a dead heat heading into Homestead and that’s cool for sure. However from my point of view, I want to see Tony Stewart pickup his 3rd Cup Series championship this season over Carl Edwards. In my own opinion, I really don’t want to see Edwards win it and that is because I’m NOT a fan of Edwards.

I’m not a fan of Edwards because of the way he drivers on the racetrack, especially the way he handled himself with Brad Keselowski last season. Keselowski didn’t deserve what he got and NASCAR should have handled the incidents better including taking away the victory from him at Gateway in the Nationwide race. But it is what it is and I blame NASCAR for that.

So I’m rooting for Tony Stewart all the way on Sunday to win the championship.

But I will say that Edwards learned well from his teammate Matt Kenseth in how to points race and he has earned his spot in this chase and I mean that. Edwards is consistent, something NASCAR could learn from as they aren’t.

Bottom line, it’s a dead heat, Carl Edwards nor Tony Stewart have any type of advantage heading into the season finale, sure Edwards has a 3 point lead, but Smoke wins in the tie breaker if it comes up. No driver has an advantage here. Both drivers have won at Homestead in the past and will have good cars on Sunday.

I would say that qualifying will play a big role in Sunday’s race. Last year Denny Hamlin screwed himself over by wrecking early in the race and playing ketchup after starting in the back. I look for Carl Edwards to go out and run their normal race and get what they can get.

While I look for Tony Stewart to keep doing what he is doing and go out and dominate the race, leading the most laps and letting the chips fall where they may. I truly believe that this one will go down to the last lap for the championship. Oh yeah, the only clinch deal for these drivers is win the race and in most cases, they will win the championship.

But hopefully the other Ford drivers as well as Chevrolet drivers (that goes for the other drivers too) will stay out of this and let these two race for it man to man.

And all I can stay from a bloggers stand point is, let the best man win.

But personally, Go Tony Stewart.

Oh Yeah one more thing, you can agree with me or disagree with me, but stop with the nasty comments already, I don’t care to listen to it, this is my opinion and I’m entitled to my opinion. And I know that Carl Edwards fans will read this article and all I got to them (especially the one Tumblr) is, this is my opinion, you stand behind your driver and I will stand behind my driver and let the chips fall where they may. See Yeah!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Photography: SEMA 2011: Justin Bieber’s Batman-Themed Cadillac CTS-V Coupe.

Earlier this year, the guys over at West Coast Customs built Justin Bieber his latest ride, a brand new Batman-Themed Cadillac CTS-V Coupe that is completely blacked out. The ride features black leather and swade custom seats with a strip of purple stitching, suicide doors and a matt black finish. The vehicle appeared on the season finale of Inside West Coast Customs. Out of all of the rides customized on this season’s show, this was the best in my opinion.

Personally, I like sleeper cars, something that people wouldn’t normally take a second look at as well as blackout cars and this one fits into that category perfectly. This is definitively a dream garage type vehicle.

Now the ride along with several others includes a few from their hit show Inside West Coast Customs where showcased earlier this week at SEMA 2011 in Las Vegas.


(Image Credit: GTSpirit.com) Be sure to click over to GTSpirit.com to see 10 different images of this ride including the rendering.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Guest Post: Five Frequently Asked Question About Car Insurance

Car insurance can be a very confusing subject for a lot of people. And unfortunately, the only time many of us think about insurance is when we really need it. By educating yourself about car insurance you can be sure you're making wise decisions when it comes time to make a purchase, and know exactly what your coverage is if and when you do get into an accident.

Let's take a look 5 of the most frequently asked questions about auto insurance. Read on, because some of the answers may surprise you.

Question 1: What can happen if I decide not to purchase car insurance and still drive my car?

Answer: Almost all states have very strict laws regarding the responsibility of drivers to purchase car insurance. If you ignore these laws, you risk losing your driver's license, having your car taken away, and also open yourself up to expensive law suits should someone be injured. It's a wise move to cover yourself by purchasing car insurance.

Question 2: Does my driving record affect how much I will have to pay for insurance?

Answer: Your driving record will affect how much your insurance premium will be. Insurance companies typically look back around 5 years, consulting with the registry of Motor Vehicles in your state. Any past accidents or moving violations you've had will show up on your record. Statistics show that drivers with these sorts of issues tend to be a greater risk.

Question 3: Are there minimum requirements for car insurance?

Answer: Every state requires you to carry some sort of liability auto insurance. A substitute for that would be to prove financial responsibility, but this is only accepted in a few states. As far as financial requirements, the minimums vary widely depending upon where you live, so you'll have to check your own state's insurance commissioner. By driving into another state, you automatically get that state's minimum coverage.

Question 4: I have insurance, but what if someone else is driving my car, are they covered?

Answer: Yes, in almost every case, and it does get a bit tricky. If someone has your permission to drive your car, and you have reason to believe that they can operate it safely, they should be covered. Here is the tricky part. Everyone in your household must be listed on your insurance policy if they have a license, in order to be covered when driving your car. Even this differs from policy to policy, so be sure to check with your agent to know what your specific policy covers.

Question 5: What other coverage do I need besides liability?

Answer: Again, each state has specific requirements, so to know for sure you'll need to do some research for your living area. However, if you have a loan on the vehicle, most lenders will require you to carry full coverage auto insurance, which is the addition of collision and comprehensive insurance. These types of insurance cover the cost of repairing the car so the lender can get its money back if the car is totaled. Once again, talking to your insurance representative can answer many of the more specific questions you have regarding the details of your policy

Bonus Question - Do all states have financial responsibility laws?

The answer is yes. All states require you to prove financial responsibility to be able to operate a motor vehicle. Just what that proof is differs from state to state, but everyone would agree that the easiest way to offer such proof is to purchase car insurance. Car insurance protects you in many different ways, and every responsible driver should have an up to date insurance policy.

As you can see, unraveling the mysteries of auto insurance can be quite a task. Do your research before shopping for quotes so you can be better prepared to make a wise purchasing decision. It will also help you "talk insurance" with your agent when the time comes.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fan Insight: Winners & Losers of NASCAR AAA Texas 500 at Texas – Tony Stewart wins, Carl Edwards still points leader while NASCAR parked Kyle Busch and fans saw a boring race.

(Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

As the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season heads down the final stretch of the season, here is my final thoughts on yesterday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway:

Notebook:
1. Finally NASCAR wakes up and instead of taking the punishment from the NASCAR community (fans, drivers, teams, owners and etc.), NASCAR parks Kyle Busch for the rest of the Texas Motor Speedway weekend after he blatantly retaliated on Camping World Truck Series driver Ron Hornaday during the early stages of the race.

This was way overdue for Kyle Busch and he deserved it. Of course I would love to have seen Busch be suspended for the rest of the 2011 NASCAR season and that includes just staying home and no access to racetracks, but at least NASCAR parked him for the rest of the weekend.

But it was cool seeing Kyle Busch on the pit box watching his #18 M&M’s Toyota go around the racetrack without him driving it. He looked bored at times, perfect, I hope he finally got the message.

2. Seeing Tony Stewart pickup his 4th win of the chase at Texas was great. Last week he said that he wasn’t going to make it easy on point leader Carl Edwards and he didn’t. But Edwards is sticking in there with another good finish (2nd place) and now has a 3 point lead. Borrowing a miracle or a bad run for both Edwards and Stewart, this is a two-man race because Kevin Harvick is -33 behind and Matt Kenseth is -38 points behind.

3. Jimmie Johnson is just about out of this one for the Sprint Cup Championship despite the fact that I would have loved to see six straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Championships. Personally over the last few years, I’ve become a fan of Jimmie Johnson, he’s a talented driver and NOT vanilla (my yogurt is vanilla, not him.)

4. I have to give it to Kasey Kahne and his #4 guys, he is making the final days of Red Bull NASCAR racing team look good. Could it be that all that team needed was a veteran driver with a good crew chief combination to be successful? I truly believe so.

5. Despite all of the hype and even with Kyle Busch being parked, the AAA Texas 500 was boring as hell. Tip to ESPN, as a NASCAR fans and a racing fan, can you please show more than just the chase drivers and the ones racing upfront and go back in pack a little bit and show some racing back there. Same goes for the talk.

6. On the losing end, not much to say about Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend except for Denny Hamlin as he was the only driver to finish on the lead lap and in the 10th spot. Joey Logano had a bad day with a blown engine and Michael McDowell (who replaced Kyle Busch) in the #18, finished 33rd, 3 laps down. I do have to say one thing, while I’m NOT a fan of Kyle Busch and got what he deserved, I do fell for his #18 team, the crew chief, pit crew, and people back at the show that work on this car didn’t deserve what they got this weekend at all.

Now with two races to go in the Chase for the Championship, who will win next weekend at the newly repaved and redesigned Phoenix International Raceway? I would guess that Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards will be in the hunt as well as Jeff Gordon who won there in the spring.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My Take: NASCAR parks Kyle Busch for rest of NASCAR Texas weekend after on-track incident.

NASCAR has parked Kyle Busch for the remainder of the Texas Motor Speedway weekend that includes today’s Nationwide Series race as well as tomorrow’s Sprint Cup Series race after a blatant retaliation move on Ron Hornaday Jr. in last night’s in the Truck Series race. Personally NASCAR needed to wake up and suspend (park in this case) Kyle Busch, his reckless driving is very dangerous and needed to handle in the right way. I’m thrilled with this result, but I wonder what’s next?

Friday, November 4, 2011

NASCAR: Michael Waltrip Racing hires Mark Martin and extends Aaron’s through 2013 in the #00; Reutimann out. UPDATE

Update - 11/23/2011: MWR announced that Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip will honor the sponsor (Aaron’s which was founded back in 1955) by driving the #55 in 2012 and 2013. (Read NASCAR.com article)

Original Article:
Last month, the first domino fell at MWR as Michael Waltrip Racing announced that they had signed Clint Bowyer to drive the #15 Toyota with 5-hour energy starting in 2012.

But then came the second domino earlier this week as after a few days of rumors and speculations, MWR announced that they will be parting ways with David Reutimann at the end of the season (2011). This would leave an open seat, the #00 at MWR.

Now the third, but not last domino has fallen as MWR announced earlier today at Texas Motor Speedway that they have hired Mark Martin and extended the Aaron’s sponsorship through 2013.

The deal will give Mark Martin what he has been looking for, a part time ride in the Cup Series for the next two years as Martin will share the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machie with car owner Michael Waltrip. MWR plans to run a combination of drivers and sponsor partners to fill the remaining races when Martin and Waltrip are not behind the wheel.

Martin will drive in 25 races starting at the 2012 Daytona 500. While Michael Waltrip will drive the 5 races including the three other restrictor plate races and the Kentucky Cup race in 2012 and 2013. (Read PR)

Personally I have mixed feelings on this announcement. Sure its a good for MWR to continue to improve on there Cup Series program with the addition of Clint Bowyer and especially Mark Martin. And I was really hoping that Mark Martin would find a ride for the next few seasons in NASCAR that he truly wanted.

However there are two downsides or sticking points for me, one Mark Martin will be driving a Toyota, instead of a Chevrolet, Ford or Dodge. I’m a Toyota fan and wouldn’t own a Toyota and that includes Scion period. Of course I should note that if VW was in NASCAR, I wouldn’t have a problem with them.

And second, this move puts David Reutimann out of a ride as of now for 2012. I believe that Reutimann is a talented driver and in the right equipment and good people around him, he can be a contender for race wins. MWR, why couldn’t they part ways with Martin Truex Jr. instead of David Reutimann, things aren’t working with him neither, why not make a change there instead. Truex Jr. doesn’t seem to be able to put things together in the #56 over the last few years.

I guess time will tell what will happen at MWR, but with the addition of Bowyer and Martin, this is a step in the right direction.

NASCAR: Stewart-Haas Racing and Danica Patrick unveils the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet and 2012 schedule which includes 2012 Daytona 500.

Earlier today at Texas Motor Speedway, Stewart-Haas Racing with Tony Stewart and driver Danica Patrick unveiled Patrick’s 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule and her 2012 #10 Godaddy.com Chevrolet Impala SS.

Three things caught my eye from this announcement.

1. The 10-race schedule, 2 of which will be chosen at a later date are all races that would make even get the attention of a veteran driver and this schedule starts off with the 2012 Daytona 500 in late February. This is a bold move for sure as this is NASCAR’s superbowl race.

Follow the Daytona 500 up with Darlington, Bristol, Atlanta, Chicagoland, Dover, Texas and Phoenix and you have one helleva race schedule.

May 12:     Darlington (S.C.) Raceway
Aug. 25:     Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway
Sept. 2:      Atlanta Motor Speedway
Sept. 16:    Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Sept. 30:    Dover (Del.) International Speedway
Nov. 4:      Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
Nov. 11:    Phoenix International Raceway

But one thing, since the Nationwide Series is running at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway next August anyway, why not include the Brickyard 400 as well as teh July race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the other two dates. Both add major value and would complete the scope of racetracks.

2. Unlike what some NASCAR fans might think, there is something in the number of the racecar, whether its the #5 for Hendrick Motorsports, the #6 for Roush-Fenway Racing, to the #14 and #39 for Stewart-Haas Racing, those are all important numbers for those teams and seeing Danica Patrick chose the number 10 for her Sprint Cup Series debut doesn’t surprise me. She drove the #10 back in her early days of racing.

But the all green paint scheme, damn at least you’ll never miss her on the track.

(Source: NASCARmedia)

3. What is Tony Stewart and SHR going to do about the other 26 races? Keep in mind that MWR has just signed Mark Martin to a two year deal, so who would (with a sponsor of course) be willing to run the #10 for 26 races in 2012? I truly believe that SHR needs to run this car full time especially if you are going to have owners points for Danica Patrick to not have to qualify on speed for all of her 10 races.

Personally 2012 will be an interesting learning curve for Danica Patrick with her full-time Nationwide Series schedule and her 10 races in the Cup Series. I just have to wonder just how she is going to do especially in the Cup Series with Boy’s Have at it, those drivers are out of control at times, of course NASCAR made them that way.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Photography: SEMA 2011: The Hot Wheels Chevrolet Camaro Concept revealed at SEMA.



(Photo Credit/Source: General Motors Facebook Page)

Damn, personally I don’t really care much for stock vehicles anymore and would prefer seeing some type of customization to a ride (Paint, Wheels, New Hood or something). But when you cross a muscle car (Chevy Camaro in this case) with my childhood favorite (hot wheels), now that really gets me interested. And even with the green paint, this Camaro looks cool.

But for the record, unless I’m showing a vehicle at a show and shine, I actually love sleepers and blacked out cars more. Something that catches other car guys off guard.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

NASCAR: Tony Stewart fights back, holds off Jimmie Johnson to win a wild Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville.

(Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Damn, this one especially from where I was sitting here at home was a wild one for sure. When NASCAR dropped the green flag, all of the drivers that were actually running the entire race must have said, “I’m going to give it everything and nobody is going to get in my way no matter what” as the word “wreckfest” was used several times during the race. Can you say 18 cautions.

Notebook:
1. Tony Stewart had a good car earlier on, but fell back outside the top 20. However when it came to 100 laps to go, there was Tony Stewart making his way up through the field, picking them off one by one. And after a late race restart caused by Brian Vickers yet again, Smoke passed a hard charging Jimmie Johnson to win the race.

2. Brian Vickers was one name that was in the headlines all race long and not in a good way. It seems Brian Vickers had a very busy day with him driving way too far over his head and was either getting into other drivers or other drivers including Matt Kenseth were getting into him and wrecking him. In the closing laps, Vickers had a hand or brought out several cautions. NASCAR should be talking to Vickers, but oh wait, NASCAR doesn’t do that anymore.

3. Carl Edwards may have dodged a bullet during this race in finishing 9th (pure luck there), but this way of driving isn’t going to win championships and last week at Talladega of riding around in the back neither isn’t going to win you a championship. Tony Stewart has Carl Edwards number.

4. Speaking of the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, once again, there has been a big shack up in the points and while Carl Edwards still leads, its Tony Stewart that has closed the gap with this victory to just 8 points back with 3 races to go (Texas, Phoenix and Homestead), this ones not over yet.

1. Carl Edwards Leader
2. Tony Stewart -8
3. Kevin Harvick -21
4. Brad Keselowski -27
5. Matt Kenseth -36
—- 5 driver race for championship —-
6. Jimmie Johnson -43
7. Kyle Busch -57
8. Kurt Busch -58
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. -73
10. Jeff Gordon -76
11. Denny Hamlin -80
12. Ryan Newman -89

I added Matt Kenseth to the drivers still in this one because Kenseth is a favorite to win at the next race at Texas.

5. NASCAR, this is what “Boy’s Have at it” is and if this is what you want every race to be about, then you can have it. Personally, its time for you as the officials and governing body to step up, man up and take control of your out of control drivers period.

Next is “No Limits” Texas Motor Speedway, oh brother another 1.5 miler, damn, we need more 1 mile tracks and under starting with Iowa Speedway NASCAR.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Why I’m a fan of the WWE and WWE Superstar John Cena and what keeps me watching the WWE for the last 11 years or so.

Earlier today, a WWE fan asked on Tumblr, “Okay I want to know what makes you people like Cena so much?” And even though I did care for the way the question was phased, I decided to answer. However instead of just answering that question, I’ve decided to take this one step further and answer the covered question, why am I a fan of John Cena and watch the WWE every week?

For everyone out there, the answer is going to different. However for me, this is the way I look at it.

First, why an I a WWE fan?
When it comes to being a WWE fan where I watch the action especially WWE Monday Night Raw every week. That’s simple, because it is what it is, the WWE doesn’t claim to anything but sports entertainment, wrestling, rivalries, friendships, Divas, Superstars, amazing matches and a soap opera. It’s entertaining to me and that’s what draws me in.

It’s sort of like me being a fan of a reality shows, but just that the WWE is nothing more than controlled chaos in a huge way.

Second, why am I a fan of WWE Superstar and 10 time WWE champion John Cena?
Well, actually, I’ve been a John Cena fan since it all started when Cena made his wrestling debut back on June 2002 on WWE Smackdown in an open challenge match against Kurt Angle. It was during that match that I started to become a fan of his. At that moment I don’t know if it was the fact that he was an underdog or what.

But I was impressed with his stage presence, his attitude both inside and outside of the ring, his ability and talent to wrestle in the ring. You actually have to have some amazing raw talent not only to wrestle, but to be entertaining to watch and John Cena has that.

Personally I could careless that some love it, while others hate it. It’s the nature of the beast and the WWE with all of their writers bring out the good, the bad and the ugly in each of there wrestlers and fans catch on to what they what when they’re a fan of his or not.

Simply put, he’s entertaining to watch wrestle and at the same time, here what he has to say. And, he’s there wrestling every week and that’s cool. And that includes the movies he’s in too.

Bottom line:
Over the years of watching the WWE, I have been or now am a fan of The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, the Undertaker, The Big Show, Hulk Hogan, Kelly Kelly, Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson and even now with Randy Orton. They all have one thing in common, they are entertaining and have a presence that you wouldn’t believe especially Randy Orton.

But at the same time, I’m not a fan of several wrestlers for several different reasons and that list includes Alberto Del Rio, Christan, The Miz and R Truth, Dolph Ziggler, MArk Henry all the way down to Vince McMahon himself. However when it comes to Vince McMahon, that really has to do with his on-screen character as does every one else.

In watching the WWE over the last 11 years, yes that would actually be since I was in college when a friend suggested to me to check out wrestling, of course he was actually taking about WCW at that time, not the WWE, but I found the WWE to be more entertaining, for the most part I like what I see, it’s entertaining and that’s what keeps me coming back.

The same goes for several TV shows including Survivor, Big Brother, the Biggest Loser, iCarly to NASCAR and racing in general, as long as its entertaining to me, I’ll keep watching it, but once its not, I’ll move on and I’ve done that too.

I wonder if that answered the question? I guess it would for some people, but basically its entertainment plan and simple.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It’s official: Formula 1 will have a second United States Grand Prix in 2013 in New Jersey…say what, where, why?

Last Tuesday’s news press conference in New Jersey where Formula 1 officials and the Governor of New Jersey announced that they will be playing host to a second F1 United States Grand Prix race in 2013 that includes a 10-year agreement caught me off guard and also left me with several questions.

Let me example, every since several years ago when Formula 1 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway parted ways after the tire gate and some disappointing attendance numbers. I have been waiting and hoping that Formula 1, one day would finally realize that the United States is a big market and they should be in it and return to the states.

Well that hope came true when on May 25, 2010, Formula 1 officials and a promoter announced that F1 would be returning to the U.S. in 2012 in Austin Texas and that a purpose built racetrack that is called “Circuit of The Americas” would be constructed between then and what will be the inaugural date of November 18, 2012 of the USGP.

That announcement was huge and I can’t wait until the end of 2012 to see the USGP play out live on television, hopefully live on SPEED.

However when last Tuesday’s announcement was made, that left me not only scratching my head, but asking a few questions like:

1. Can the United States really support two United States Grand Prix’s?

2. Why put a second USGP on a temporary street course in New Jersey?

Well, I sure hope that the private funding can support both of these races, but only at the end of 2014 will we know if two grand prix’s can really be supported in terms of getting fans to come out or not. Well at least one is in Texas, while the other is in the northeast just below New York City.

But I don’t understand why Formula 1 (F1) officials choose New Jersey for the location of the second USGP and having it on a temporary street course when there are a lot of worthy road courses throughout the United States including the famous Watkins Glen in upstate New York.

 Yes, I said temporary street circuit. According to a SPEEDtv.com article, the 3.2 Mile street circuit in New Jersey will run along the Hudson river through the towns of Weehawken and West New York and then climb uphill before looping back around in front of the ferry terminal. The temp circuit will also feature one hairpin turn, speeds of up to 200 miles per hour and several other 90-degree turns.

The new street circuit with the New York City (Manhattan) skyline in the distance (backdrop) sort of reminds me of the Monaco Grand Prix (Monte Carlo) which is one the same type course along the water front, I wonder if that includes F1 fans will also see not much of passing and more single file.

I guess I could see having New York City, the big Apple right across the bridge could be a good thing, but even with that, I just don’t see this one working out too well and considering the promoters for these two events are already taking pop shots at each other, I have to wonder how long before the United States is back down to one USGP. ..

However, I am a fair person and as such I guess that also be fair and give the New Jersey one a chance and see how a second USGP will fair in this great country, the United States of America.

But what are everyone else’s thoughts? I will be interested in seeing how fans react to the news on forums and social media. But again, it does leave me scratching my head and asking why…

Monday, October 17, 2011

Goodbye Dan Wheldon, you will be missed.

Yesterday afternoon after a lap 11 (15-car pile up) serious crash in turns 1 & 2 of the IZOD IndyCar Series season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the sport lost a great driver, Dan Wheldon. (Read details over at ESPN - Dan Wheldon’s death stuns racing world)

There are no words to express my sorrow over the loss of Dan Wheldon, he was a good racecar driver, a fan favorite and he will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Dan’s wife, friends and family.

But the best quote I’ve heard on the loss of Dan Wheldon was this one: “Many people ask me why I sign off ‘til we meet again.’ It’s because goodbye is so final. Goodbye, Dan Wheldon.” - Marty Reid, ESPN announcer.

And he couldn’t be more right. Goodbye Dan Wheldon, thank you for the memories.

(Photo Credit: IndyCar Images)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

NASCAR: Matt Kenseth wins the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte while Jimmie Johnson crashes out late in the race.

Matt Kensth picks up his third win of 2011 at Charlotte in the Bank of America 500 over Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. But unfortunitely several chase drivers found trouble including Jimmie Johnson who crashed hard late in the race and finished outside the top 30. Damn that is terrible for Johnson, but he will rebound.

Now Carl Edwards is the points leader with a 5 point gap over second Kevin Harvick and 7 point gap over 3rd place Matt Kensth. This should be interesting.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Garth Tander and Nick Percat win a Thrilling Bathurst 1000 endorse race on Mount Panorama in Australia.

Welcome readers, up until the past few weeks ago when Speed (Channel) here in the United States started advertising on TV that they were sending Darrell Waltrip and Mike Joy to Australia to cover the famous Bathurst 1000, I actually had never heard of that endorse race nor Mount Panorama before.

But I had not only heard of the Australian V8 Supercars, but I have watched a few of the races on TV here and there including Surfer’s Paradise. However I have to say that the Bathurst 1000, which is a 1000km (161 lap) race caught my attention especially for the first time after seeing that long Mount Panorama racetrack that also is a mountain road that is carved into the mountain itself. Damn what a sight.

Of course you talk about sights, the video of Darrell Waltrip heading out on to the racetrack in one of the Holden racecars riding shotgun with a legend in the driver’s seat was priceless. I have never seen Darrell Waltrip freak out in a racecar before, although the cork screw and the downhill run is pretty hair raising and that’s just on TV, I wonder what it’s like heading down at full speed in person.

Anyway, what a 6 hour endorse race that one was and while the announcers in the booth did say that we would see some good action in the final 50 laps, that was one hell of a final run for the checkers. 6 hours and baby it all came down to two drivers racing for everything they had in the end, separated by just mere car lengths.

So with just over 10 laps to go, and after some wild crashes including one fire (thankfully the driver walked way and is ok) and several cautions, the #888 Team Vodafone of Craig Lowndes (a 5-time winner of this race) in his Holden was over 5 seconds behind leader Garth Tander in his Holden, but over the next several laps, Lowndes closed down that gap to within a car length or two by 2 laps to go, I really thought that Lowndes was going to pass Tander and go on to collect yet another victory.

But in the final two laps, the #2 Toll Holden of Garth Tander did some amazing driving in holding off the 5-time winner and by a margin of victory of .29 seconds at the line, held on to win the Bathurst 1000. What an impressive last 20 laps, especially in the last five, my heart was racing as Lowndes closed down on the leader every lap, but he just couldn’t make the pass. However both drivers did a hell of a job in racing each other and should both be proud of themselves, it was anybodies race.

Hopefully SPEED with televise the Bathurst 1000 next year too. 6.5 hours of racing and it comes down to a .29 second margin of victory, you can’t get any better than that.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Clint Bowyer and 5-Hour Energy join Michael Waltrip Racing in 2012.

(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

After months of speculation and rumors on just where Clint Bowyer would be racing in 2012, early today at Kansas Speedway, one of the worst kept secrets in NASCAR was unveiled as Michael Waltrip announced that Clint Bowyer and sponsor 5-hour energy will be joining Michael Waltrip Racing in 2012.

Clint Bowyer will drive the team #15 Toyota with 5-hour ENERGY as the primary sponsor for the next three NASCAR Sprint Cup seasons beginning at the 2012 Daytona 500. (Read Press Release on MWR website)

Personally as much as fans have heard bad comments from both Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip as racers in the past about each other, those comments were said in the heat of a battle.

So I believe that this could be a good match for Clint Bowyer, 5-Hour Energy and Michael Waltrip with MWR, especially 5-hour energy as they have come into a bigger market for there product with a good driver. The Nationwide Series and Steve Wallace is one thing, but being in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with Clint Bowyer is a completely different ball game.

Hopefully Bowyer can shed some light on what MWR can do better to improve there cars and teams to evolve them into a winning organization. I would say that Clint Bowyer could make the chase in 2012 if everything goes well starting at the 2012 Daytona 500. This should be interesting and its a fresh start for Bowyer.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Photo: Amber Heard on NBC’s The Playboy Club - A good send off.

(Source: The Best Damn Days…, I believe this is a PR photo)

I just couldn’t resist posting this photo of Amber Heard on “The Playboy Club”. I guess you can say posting this photo is a good send off. But I should mention that according to Wikipedia, “NBC is continuing to film through October 10, 2011, with the hope of selling the series to another network.” Hopefully NBC puts the show on USA Network or another cable network where it belongs.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

2011 NASCAR: Tony Stewart wins in New Hampshire and goes 2 for 2 to kick off the chase while Denny Hamlin falls 66 points behind the leader.

(Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Well ladies and gentlemen, here we are, NASCAR’s version of the playoffs, the 2011 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship and we are two races into the chase.

Last Monday in the rain delayed race at Chicagoland Speedway, fuel mileage played a big role in the outcome of the Geico 500 as Tony Stewart would roll the dice and come up with his first victory of 2011, followed by Kevin Harvick finishing 2nd and a strong Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishing 3rd, while others would run out of fuel including Jimmie Johnson who finished 8th and Matt Kenseth who received a push on the last lap, but penalized by NASCAR and had to settle for a 21st place finish.

Now fast forward to earlier today at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway that played host to the second chase race with the Sylvania 300 and wouldn’t you know it, the hype was actually right as this race would become very physical with contact early and often, but lacked in the caution department.

I was surprised to see that at New Hampshire, we really didn’t see that many caution flags for spins and flat tires as NASCAR would keep this one green for most of the 300 laps. I will say that at one point when just about every car pitted, but a few didn’t and a caution flag did come out. I was very happy with the fact that NASCAR does have the wave around rule with the Lucky Dog that would actually bring 25 cars back on the lead lap. Otherwise I would have hated to see 4-6 cars on the lead lap and all of those laps cars fighting it out for position in front of the leader on the restart. That would have been a caution for sure.

But in the end as so many of the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series races have gone this year, fuel mileage played a role in the outcome of the race as Clint Bowyer would run out of fuel with 2 laps to go, in turn Tony Stewart (who ran out of fuel here on year ago) would make the pass and go on to win the Sylvania 300 and go 2 for 2 to kick off the chase. And Tony Stewart now finds himself leading the points, 7 points over second place Kevin Harvick.

After New Hampshire, here are the unofficial points:

1. Tony Stewart, Leader
2. Kevin Harvick, -7
3. Brad Keselowski, -11
4. Carl Edwards, -14
5. Jeff Gordon, -23
6. Kyle Busch, -26
7. Matt Kenseth, -26
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr., -26 (Note: 3rd at Chicagoland, running in the top 10, but blow a tire late on, but ended up battling back to finish 17th at New Hampshire.)
9. Kurt Busch, -28
10. Jimmie Johnson, -29
11. Ryan Newman, -34
12. Denny Hamlin, -66

There are three key points to keep in mind heading into race 3 of the chase at Dover.

1. The top 11 are still well in the hunt for the Championship and yes that does include Jimmie Johnson who is sitting 10th, -29 points back. But I can’t say the same for 12th place Denny Hamlin, I just don’t see Hamlin making a late charge for the championship after seeing how his season has gone thus far.

2. Kurt Busch’s car failed pre-race inspection, the Penske Racing Dodge could receive a penalty on Tuesday from NASCAR and I have to wonder of it will be a points penalty of 6 or 25 points and/or a fine.

3. Dover is one of Jimmie Johnson’s best race tracks, if he is going to make a comeback like he has in season’s passed, this is the place for him to do it.

Next Dover.

I support having a few casinos and a slot parlor here in Massachusetts and believe that lawmakers need to pass the Casino Bill now.

According to a CBS Boston Article, a poll shows that 56 percent of Massachusetts Residents favor the Casino Bill that would allow for three casinos and a slot parlor.

As a Massachusetts resident myself, I am actually in favor of having one or two casinos here in Massachusetts as well as one slot parlor. I believe that while casinos will bring some issues, casinos will also bring in some much needed revenue and jobs for us here in Massachusetts.

It would also give so many Massachusetts residents the option of staying close to home and gambling here in the Bay State, instead of traveling over an hour or two south, down to one of the two casinos in Connecticut. And I would be one of them as I have been to both Mohegan Sun and Foxwood’s (with the MGM Grand) Casinos in Connecticut.

Now as for the current Casino Bill, while I would rather see a max of 2 casinos and one slot parlor here in the Bay State, I do support the Casino Bill with 3 casinos and one slot parlor and I seriously hope that finally after a long time of debate and seeing nothing get down, that Massachusetts lawmakers and the Governor finally pass this bill.

Besides consider this, one way or another, there will be at least one casino here in Massachusetts with or without the Casino Bill passing as a tribe has already requested permission to build a casino here and if Massachusetts doesn’t give it to them, the Federal Government will and Massachusetts wouldn’t see any money from it period. Thoughts?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A sweet 1970 Dodge Charger “General Lee Tribute” auctions away for $24,500 at 2011 Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas.

(Photo Credit: Barrett-Jackson.com)

Every year for the past several years now, I have been more and more getting into watching and now blogging on the Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions from different locations that are live on SPEED. Over the years I’ve seen some amazing vehicle that as a car enthusianst I would love to own one day if I had the money. It’s a dream ride.

Anyway, on Thursday while I was watching day 1 of the 2011 Barrett-Jackson from Las Vegas on SPEED, I noticed this 1970 Dodge Charger custom coupe that is a “General Lee Tribute” car. I know, the General Lee from the TV series the Dukes of Hazzard was a 1969 Dodge Charger, but this particular one is very appealing. I like the black and orange with a new twist to the flag on top.

The car auctioned away for $24,500, nice ride especially for the money. Thoughts?