Sunday, July 31, 2011

Create-a-caption: ‘Damn it’s the NASCAR media again, I bet they’ll ask me about my contract negotiations again for the billionth time.’

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Above is a photo of Carl Edwards that was taken during one of the Friday practice sessions at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preperation for the 2011 Brickyard 400. Now with all due respect to Carl Edwards, this camera man caught Edwards in just the right look.

Now it was a look that I just couldn’t resist doing my first “create-a-caption” for. So what is the photo saying, well giving Carl Edwards current state of his 2012 and beyond plans in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and mainly that every week, the NASCAR media asks him the same question on how his contract negotiations are going and who will he drive for.

I came up with the caption ‘Damn its the NASCAR media again, I bet they’ll ask me about my contract negotiations again for the billionth time.’

Now I have to say that I have commented on Carl Edwards current contract negotiations twice (on another blog) and have basically left it at that. I said that Carl Edwards has two real choices:

1. Stay at Roush-Fenway Racing and continue driving the #99 Ford Fusion. The only issue here to me is does Roush have enough sponsorship to keep him in that ride…

2. Leave RFR and join Joe Gibbs Racing driving a Toyota. Now this rumor has been spinning around the garage area for months now and considering Gibbs has said he is interested in Edwards or has talked to him. I would say this is a good option. Now the rumor has him either taking over the #20 Home Depot Toyota or driving a fourth car for JGR.

Of course this move could be news to Joey Logano as he would either have to move to a fourth JGR car or he would be out completely.

Personally once Carl Edwards makes his announcement on where he will be driving in 2012 and beyond, that will create a domino effect and set off several other drivers to sign a new dealf or them.

Now, if Edwards goes to JGR, I believe Logano should try and sign with Roush-Fenway Racing and drive the #99 Ford. I believe Logano needs a change in race teams to really showcase his true driving talents. Keep in mind that Joey Logano is only 21 years old (turned 21 back in May) and he has been in the #20 Home Depot Toyota since 2009 running full-time.

With all that said, to the NASCAR media, stop asking Carl Edwards about his contract for next year, he has said all he is going to say until he is ready to make an announcement. And find something new to take about.

Paul Menard becomes the 14th different driver after winning the 2011 Brickyard 400 to visit victory lane in the Cup Series in 2011.

As Paul Menard climbs from behind the wheel in victory lane after the 2011 Brickyard 400 presented by BigMachineRecords.com, I have to say that I’m shocked to see this outcome.

Paul Menard is one of the last drivers I would have ever picked to win any Cup Series race let along the Brickyard 400 and while I’m still saying I can’t believe this, congrats to Paul Menard, Mr. Menard, the entire #27 RCR team and of course Richard Childress on winning the Brickyard 400.

Now if you’re like me and you not only still can’t believe this outcome, nor thrilled with this win (and I’m being honest here), you at least have to be happy to see Richard Childress win the Brickyard 400 as a car owner, I know I am.

But what about the Brickyard 400 itself?

The race itself was alright, I mean I came in about 20 laps into the race and at least the first half was boring to me. It was predictable that this race would be that way. But as the race got past half way, the racing finally begun to pick up. Strategy started to play a role and more drivers were getting racier and yet fuel mileage was also starting to play a big role in the race.

I have to say that when it got to 10 laps to go, my heart rate picked up, I really didn’t know what was going to happen, nor who was going to win this race. I also have to say that I was routing for Mark Martin or even fellow Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon to win this one. But it wasn’t meant to be, but still an interesting one.

However all wasn’t good as I would have to give ESPN a grade of “C” for there TV Broadcast. I just found that they wanted to stay with the leader more than cover the real racing back in the pack. I tune in to see racing even if its mid-pack, not a lead riding around the race track. I would also suggest that ESPN do less talking in the booth about everything else and just stay with covering the race itself.

Well now I leave you with this reaction, “oh brother”.

NASCAR: Travor Bayne winning the Daytona 500 is the biggest surprise win so far in 2011, but Paul Menard winning the Brickyard 400 is definitely a surprise win.

Earlier today in the Brickyard 400 presented by BigMachinesRecords.com at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR fans saw the third surprise victory of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series when Paul Menard, yes that Paul Menard with his father's Home Improvement store sponsoring his car, won the Brickyard 400 over Jeff Gordon. (Read all about on ThinkingBrian.com)

But the question that I had before me was, "what was the biggest surprise win of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season?"

Well I had three to choose from:

1. Trevor Bayne winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway
2. Regan Smith winning the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway
3. Paul Menard winning the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

But in my eyes this question is simple to answer, I truly believe that Trevor Bayne driving the famous #21 Ford Fusion for the Wood Brothers and winning the 2011 Daytona 500 over Carl Edwards back in February was the biggest surprise win of the 2011 season so far. That one win gave me goosebumps when I was watching it. I simply couldn't believe what I was seeing. What an incredible victory for everyone involved.

(Note: I rewrote this article from being a question to being an opinion with an answer after I realized that I recently turned off comments because I had/have enough with dealing with everything. But feel free to link or the share article on social media.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

2011 NASCAR Nationwide: Steven Wallace wrecks Jason Leffler, but Wallace says Leffler wrecked himself as Kyle Busch wins again.

As the NASCAR Nationwide Series races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the New England 200, but during the race at around lap 100, #38-Jason Leffler was racing hard for position with #66-Steven Wallace and they made contact.

However coming off turn 2 and down the backstraightaway, Steve Wallace on the high side and Jason Leffler on the inside were both racing, but Wallace lifted and turned down right into Leffler’s right rear quarter panel and turned Leffler into the outside wall and put him in the garage for repairs.

But leave it to Steve Wallace to not only NOT take responsibility, but instead say this on his radio: “I don’t know why that 38 car kept hitting me. He then turned right up in front of me and wrecked himself.”

Now in watching several angles of the wreck on ESPN’s TV broadcast of the race, clearly Steven Wallace turned his wheel into Leffler’s right rear quarter to blatantly wreck him. If a driver is going to go to all that trouble of wrecking another driver, he should at least have the guts to admit it that he dumped him.

If that wasn’t enough, Steven Wallace also send #20-Joey Logano in the late stages of the race for a ride collecting Trevor Bayne and Wallace also had words for other drivers as well. Someone needs to park Wallace to come him down. Of course Rusty Wallace in the booth said that the Logano crash was his son Steven Wallace’s fault. I don’t know, I guess that Wallace being an announcer, not a team owner at that moment.

As for the rest of the race, while several fans for one reason or another say that this race along with other races up at New Hampshire are boring, this race was fair from being boring. I was actually quite entertained. I mean this is a technical track, but the reconfiguration in both turns 1 & 2 and turns 3 & 4 made for some good racing and passing for position.

But in the end, it would come down to a green-white-checkered finish as Kyle Busch would win again in the Nationwide Series after complaining about the lack of passing early on in the race and making kids noises over the radio.

Boy does it suck seeing Cup Series drivers, especially Kyle Busch win in the Nationwide Series and here comes the latest talk about NASCAR wins and Nationwide wins, notice I didn’t say anything about Sprint Cup wins because this isn’t a Cup Series race.

Wins:
49 in NNS
29 in NCWTS
22 in NSCS

By the way, in order to compare Kyle Busch’s numbers to David Pearson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt and of course the king Richard Petty’s numbers, Kyle Busch needs some NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins and championships which is at 22 wins and 0 championships, not NASCAR wins.

Friday, July 15, 2011

2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup: 6 things I’ve learned from both the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona and the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky. Kentucky Speedway blow it for there first Cup race.

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Welcome readers, for the past two weeks now, NASCAR has been taking a big hit from the fans following back to back disappointments when it came to both of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona International Speedway and Kentucky Speedway. It looks like a black eye for sure to me.

However in and among all of the racing and talk, I’ve managed to come up with 6 things I’ve learned from both races.

1. Most NASCAR fans don’t like the tandem two-car drafting “prom date”, “tag team” or whatever you call it racing at Daytona or Talladega. In my 20 years of watching NASCAR, I don’t think I’ve really seen one thing that NASCAR fans have hated more than this tandem racing.

I believe that NASCAR should change there view here and rework the restrictor plate racing and at least make one rule change for the upcoming Talladega Superspeedway race this fall during the chase to have these races become more entertaining for the fans and that also puts more control in the drivers hands instead of one driver having to say I’ll finish second.

2. After the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, only David Regan with the entire #6 UPS Roush-Fenway Racing Ford was the only one’s happen, while the rest of the field, along with the teams, owners and fans left angry.

3. Jimmie Johnson is still the man to beat if the #48 pit crew can get the pit stops correct. Earlier this week on RaceHub on SPEED, it was said that the #48 team is in tryout mode for the pit crew. While I don’t want to second guess this, there is clearly an issue here and the #48 team should be the last team to be testing out new pit crew members regularly. This is this teams weakness.

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. needs some luck. Over the last four races, Dale Jr. went from good luck and solid finishes to just plain bad luck. Daytona was him getting caught up in a wreck and Kentucky say the #88 blown a left front tire coming off pit road. Right now, as a result of a few bad finishes, Dale Jr. has dropped from 3rd to 8th in the points and is only 21 points ahead of 11th Tony Stewart. Hopefully this team can find some luck and rack off some top 5’s and top 10' finishes starting at NHMS.

5. Kyle Busch is coming. As much as I hate to say this, but Kyle Busch is right now is leading all drivers. Busch is the points leader, has 3 wins and is becoming a championship contender for the upcoming chase. He’s on the HOT list right now.

6. Finally, the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky was a complete embarrassment for both NASCAR, the Kentucky Speedway with SMI.and has left the sport with a huge black eye as a result.

Keep in mind that Kentucky Speedway is not a new track and it has been dealing with traffic nightmares with 40,000 fewer fans for over the last several years.

In watching the media coverage, SPEED showed a shot of the traffic nightmare of traffic coming into the speedway or at least trying. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I-71 has three-lanes of traffic going in each direction. Now I’ve been in traffic up in New Hampshire and they only have two-lanes going in each direction and they have a good traffic pattern.

I personally believe that Bruton Smith is once again blaming someone else and trying to get another state or county to give money to his track to keep a Cup Series date. He did the same to Concord, NH and Concord, NC and look how that turned out. Smith, SMI and Kentucky Speedway should be taking at least 90% of the blame here for the traffic mess.

They are the one’s that screwed up, added 40,000 new seats, but didn’t added enough parking and accommodations for the fans. And if that wasn’t enough, it took them three press releases to even think of giving the fans an apology and it was weak.

Plus, all SMI did to accommodate the fans that were turned away was a ticket exchange program and not a full refund. What a joke, fans can either pick a Cup date from the remaining SMI tracks on the Cup schedule this year and drive to that track which aren’t close by, by any stretch or accept tickets to next years Kentucky Speedway Cup Series races.

Bottom line, Kentucky Speedway blow it for there first Cup Series race, the traffic was a mess coming in, several thousand fans were turned away after hours in traffic and no parking, the race itself wasn’t that good to begin with and wasn’t that entertaining despite a few double-file restarts thrown in at the end of the race. And then, it was a traffic nightmare trying to get out of the speedway.

I just have to wonder if fans will give Kentucky Cup race another chance in 2012? I believe some will, but the new will ware off and no ladies and gentlemen, Kentucky Speedway wouldn’t be the biggest race of the Cup Series schedule. Daytona, the Brickyard, Bristol, Martinsville, Richmond and more are way bigger than Kentucky, what a joke to even think that.

Thoughts? And be sure to check out my new blog ThinkingBrian.com on Tumblr.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What TV Shows Can't You Quit?

You know I love to watch TV every night of the week and while I have several favorite shows, there is three shows that I know that I should quit watching, but really can’t seem to stay away.

The first one has to be American Chopper which has been renamed American Chopper: Sr vs. Jr. I truly believe that the only reason why I watch this show is because I’m still a fan of Paul Jr. and Paul Jr. Designs. I really want to see what he is up to, but the show now isn’t about building bikes anymore, its about the family feud, drama and trash talk. Of course I watch the reruns weekdays as well.

The second one I would have to say in WWE Monday Night RAW. I’ve been a fan of the WWE since I was in college (1999-2000) when my friends told me to check out WCW, but instead I preferred the WWE. The show is a giant weekly soup opera. But I guess its you want to see what the writers come up with next and how the storylines continue to play out.

And the third is The Apprentice, but unlike the first two shows, I don’t have a reason why I haven’t quit watching The Apprentice and that includes the Celebrity Apprentice.

I know neither one of these are on the top list, but I actually don’t watch any of the shows that are on that list including Weeds and Glee.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Kyle Busch wins first Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway in front of a sold out crowd.


As NASCAR, the media, SMI, NASCAR fans in Kentucky and the Waltrip Brothers celebrate the fact that the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway is in the record books. The fact is while I hate to rain the everyone’s parade, this race simply wasn’t all that entertaining to watch live on TNT, even with a few late race restarts thrown into the mix.

But that wasn’t even the big story neither, as the race progressed, the talk on Facebook and Twitter wasn’t all about the race, but rather the nightmare traffic jams that faced NASCAR fans coming and going from the race at Kentucky Speedway. And that NASCAR was the only one’s apologizing for the traffic mess.

Well NASCAR fans, this is the racing that replaced Atlanta Motor Speedway’s racing, but at least for 2011, they did it in front of 107,000 fans (sell out), second largest event in Kentucky from what I read, behind the famous Kentucky Derby.

Notebook:

1. David Reutimann shows his strengths as he comes home in the 2nd place, beating Jimmie Johnson to the line.

2. Brad Keselowski leads several laps and comes home in the 7th spot. Another good run for the blue deuce. Now he is 21st, -1 point out of 20th.

3. Kyle Busch leads the points.

4. At least the Kentucky Cup race will go down in the record books as real racing, opposed to last weeks racing at Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400 which wasn’t even racing nor entertaining.

And NASCAR, record lead changes and leaders during the Firecracker 400 doesn’t mean it was a good race, because it certainly didn’t mean it was entertaining.

Good night ladies and gentlemen and good luck to the NASCAR fans who are leaving the Kentucky Speedway, I hope everyone gets home safely and in a reasonable amount of time.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Photography: A classic Cadillac.


I took a picture of this Cadillac back in August 2009 at a Cruise Night at a local dealership in Massachusetts that featured Jack Roush signing autographs. What an amazing classic ride.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

NASCAR should run the Brickyard 400 4-race Super Weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2012 all on the IMS infield road course including the Brickyard 400 itself.

Yesterday’s press conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway confirmed the last few weeks’ speculation that the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the Grand-Am Road Racing Series including the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge would join the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to create a 4-race Brickyard 400 super weekend.

The Grand-Am Rolex Series and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge would race on the 13-turn IMS 2.523-mile infield road course Friday, July 27, while the Nationwide Series and of course the Sprint Cup Series would complete on the 2.5-mile oval on Saturday (Nationwide) and Sunday (Cup Series).

But while the press conference was good news on NASCAR, IMS and the Grand-Am Road Racing Series, fans were left with mixed feelings and left some unanswered question marks as well.

Like for example, why NASCAR would take a good race from the 0.686-mile short track and move it to the 2.5-mile oval at Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Will the Truck Series continue to race at the newly bought and renamed Lucas Oil Raceway in 2012 and beyond?

I know for me personally, I have mixed feelings about this announcement. I mean, I’m happy to see that Indianapolis Motor Speedway finally added another race to the schedule which is the Grand-Am Road Racing Series. They tested back in 2009 and it seems like a good series to be racing on this historical track.

However the downside is that I’m a big fan of both the Truck Series and the Nationwide Series running over at Indianapolis Raceway Park, a 0.686-mile track which has been bought and renamed the Lucas Oil Raceway and seeing the Nationwide Series leave LOR and move to IMS is sad. The races are amazing, it’s good old fashion under the lights short track action and while the speedway only has about 30,000 to 40,000 seats, it’s still a good race.

But now fans are going to see another short track leave the schedule and be replaced by a 2.5-mile race track that if it’s another like the Cup Series race, it will be boring too. I don’t agree with this move at all and it’s not a win for NASCAR despite what they may think.

And I don’t think that a racetrack that can hold 250,000 fans is going to see a major pickup in attendance even if there is 3 days, 4 races on the same weekend, but they might see more campers.

Now if that wasn’t enough, I just read a USA Today article that not only talks about this announcement, but also leave me wondering if the Lucas Oil Raceway will be on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule at all in 2012. The article had this quote:
Lucas Oil Raceway general manager Wes Collier said it's unlikely the track would host NASCAR events in 2012. He said the track, which also has held a Camping World Truck Series race since 1995, wasn't offered a chance to bid on keeping the race.

"We were just told it's going to be moving," Collier said. "I know IMS obviously has wanted to help maybe inject some life for that weekend. Clearly, I think that was part of the decision." – USA Today
If this is true and NASCAR doesn’t even have the Truck Series racing there on Friday or Saturday night, this announcement will most likely draw more negative, than positive reactions and it would be very sad to see the Truck Series too leave the 0.686-mile short track for nothing.

With that said, since NASCAR has gone ahead and made this big move, I would like to suggest something, NASCAR, what about having the entire Brickyard 400 super weekend run on the IMS Infield road course instead of half on the road course and the other half on the oval?

Think of it this way, the Brickyard 400 in recent years, the attendance has dropped because of tire gate and boring races. But since NASCAR fans are looking for more road course races and there is no room on the schedule to add another venue, this would be a great option at least for one year, just try it to add a third road course race to both the Nationwide Series and Cup Series schedules. It could draw more fans in and make the TV broadcast more exciting too.

I wonder if NASCAR would even consider it…any thoughts?

(Image Credit: Ron McQueeney, Indianapolis Motor Speedway via NASCARMedia)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What are gasoline or diesel prices where you live?


What are gasoline (and if possible Diesel) prices where you live?
Here in (Central) Massachusetts, United States, gasoline prices continue to hover at $3.67 a gallon and diesel prices are at $3.89 per gallon for about the past two weeks now. Stable is a good thing here, but so are lower gasoline prices.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

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

About a month ago, American Chopper had there two part season finale where Cadillac commissioned both Paul Jr. Designs and Orange County Choppers to each build them a new chopper to be auction off for charity (Cure Duchenne)

PJD built a modern amazing chopper that features a smaller version of the rear end of the Cadillac CTS-V and air ride suspension with pipes coming out of the bottom that when lowered, acts as the kickstand.

Front and side view of PJD Chopper

Rear and side view of PJD Chopper

(Both PJD Images are from PaulJrDesigns.com)

OCC built an old school Cadillac Chopper that features of all things a nitrous bottle in a hitten place where the gas tank would go and an exhaust coming out the back above the rear tires. But I have to hand it to Jason Poole, he designed a cool bike and while it isn’t my cut of tea, it still looks cool.

Front and side view of OCC Chopper

Rear and side view of OCC Chopper

(Both OCC images are from Discovery/OCC)

Personally at the end of the day, I have to say that PJD built the best chopper to roll out of both Paul Jr. Design and OCC hands down.

I got this email... Restrictor Plate Racing. Question: Do you like or dislike restrictor plate racing in either form?

When I woke up this morning and checked my email, I found an interesting email that I have to imagine was addressing not only last night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway which was won by David Regan with help from Matt Kenseth, but restrictor plate racing in general.
This is not racing... they need to do away with it... fans need to stop attending these stupid events... if you thought last nights finish at Daytona was good for racing you are wrong.  Do away with this dumb form of racing.

Regards, Ray (last name removed)
Personally I would like to thank Ray for voicing his opinion especially in a clean way. I always like to hear what other fans of NASCAR, country music, and entertainment in general have to say.

So now I'm asking my readers, do you like or dislike restrictor plate racing? And did you like the old packing racing or this new "tag team", "prom date", "partner" form of racing that we have been seeing at Talladega and Daytona as of late?