Friday, August 26, 2011

NASCAR: Hendrick Motorsports unveils Kasey Kahne’s 2012 Farmer’s Insurance paint scheme.

(Source: Hendrick Motorsports)

I’ve got to say as a Hendrick Motorsports fan myself, its actually a pretty good paint scheme, but I have to say that this #5 Farmer’s Insurance paint scheme means a lot more than just the look.

But rather its a sign that finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel for his fans to see him drive for Hendrick Motorsports in the Cup Series in 2012 and beyond after waiting so long since they signed the contract and announced it back on April 13, 2010.

Personally I hope Kasey Kahne does find success driving for Hendrick next season, meaning being a contender for wins week in and week out and even making the chase. Good Luck to him in 2012.

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

(Photo Credit: theautoinsider)

The ad is right, I didn’t spend my youth dreaming of owning a Nissan or Mitsubishi, but to be honest, while I like Porsche’s and have a picture of three Porsche’s in my bedroom, I actually spend my youth dreaming of own a Chevrolet Corvette because that’s the first car I feel in love with when I first saw it at the age of 4, let along heard it. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Interesting Facts About General Motors of Canada

During the mid 19th century, Robert McLaughlin, a farmer by trade, self taught himself the art of carriage making. His first project was a horse drawn sleigh fashioned from a picture he saw in an old catalog.

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His second project was another sleigh for a neighbor who saw the first sleigh as it was being made. From this humble beginning, McLaughlin learned how to fashion wood, iron and leather to design and make horse drawn wagons and carriages. Carriage making eventually grew into several branches throughout Canada, starting in Oshawa, Ontario, known as The Company.

McLaughlin had three sons. John went on to earn a degree in chemistry and founded the Canada Dry Company. The other two sons, Sam and George, became partners in the McLaughlin Carriage Company.

After a ride in the horseless carriage of the company bookkeeper, the brothers began pursuing an engine they could mount into a carriage and join the automobile industry. An agreement with the Buick Motor Company in 1908 created the McLaughlin Motor Car Company. They made 154 automobiles their first year.

In 1909, a Buick car was the winner at the first Indianapolis 500 race and Buick sales rocketed in the United States and Canada. In 1915, Louis Chevrolet, a race car driver from France, won the Indy 500 with his modified Buick which became known as the Chevrolet. The Oldsmobile became a part of Buick production in America, so by 1915, the Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Buick line of cars united and became known as General Motors.

Meanwhile in Oshawa, Ontario, Sam and George convinced their father to close the horse drawn carriage division and open a production line for Chevrolet automobiles along with the Buick line.

General Motors bought McLaughlin Motor Car Company in 1918 with the stipulation the brothers continue operating the Canada division. Sam and George served until their retirement in 1948, and Sam served as the chairman of the board until his death at age 100 in 1972. By 1938, one million cars had been produced at the Canada GM plant. Currently, one million cars are produced annually at Canada GM.

Two trade agreements, the Canada-U.S. Automotive Products Trade Agreement (AutoPact) of 1965 and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1994, encouraged increase production capacity of GM Canada. During the 1980s, GM Canada became the most modern, integrated vehicle manufacturer in North America at the Oshawa plant, GM Autoplex, and ninth in world production of automobiles.

Presently, over 9000 people are employed by General Motors of Canada Limited . The dealer network of General Motors of Canada Limited employs over 23,000 people throughout Canada.

GMCL is a leader in automotive design and engineering plus conducts development activities with leading Canadian research institutes and universities in green technologies including the development of an electric vehicle and testing the affect of cold weather conditions on their full line of vehicles.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Did you feel the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Virginia, US at 1:51pm today?

According to preliminary reports, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in Virginia at 1:51pm. The earthquake was felt as far away as New York, New England as well as North Carolina. (Source: HuffPost - For all of the updates including video, check out the article on the HuffPost)

Personally I live in Central Massachusetts and even though the earthquake could be felt all the way up here, I didn’t fell it at all. But I did get several updates all over the east coast within the few hours especially on Facebook and Twitter.

Those updates including the impact it had, if any in the NASCAR community. The quake could be felt as far south as North Carolina around several teams raceshops. But thankfully there wasn’t much for damage. Richmond International Raceway reported that they have no damage.

Disappointed to hear that a 2012 Toyota Camry will be the Official Pace Car for the 54th Daytona 500 “The Great American Race”.

(Source: DIS Communications)

Earlier today, Toyota made a few announcements live on Toyota.com and one of those announcements is that the 2012 Toyota Camry will serve as the Official Pace Car of the 54th annual Daytona 500 coming up next February at Daytona International Speedway.

Now before I get into why I’m disappointed about this announcement, let me state my opinion of Toyota first.

I’m not a fan of Toyota at all and that’s putting it loosely. Simply put while they normally have good products including there cars, its there customer service that is terrible and that especially goes for the way they handled recalls.

Of course that would include one of the more recent recalls or issues dealing with the gas petal. I mean it even told the Federal Government to tell Toyota to stop selling these vehicles in the United States.

Now I realize that the Feds have cleared Toyota, but I have NO faith in those tests at all. I truly believe that when an issue comes up, Toyota has shown that they would rather cover it up and not deal with it.

Or just blame it on the driver, no matter the issue. Sorry those are my personal feelings.

But with that said, it isn’t my personal fellings that is fueling this disappointment in NASCAR and/or Daytona International Speedway for allowing the Toyota Camry to serve as the pace car next February.

But rather as a NASCAR fan that has been watching for the last two decades, I believe that the fact that this is the Daytona 500, The Great American Race, and the official pace car of the Great American Race should be an American car period.

Now of course that will touch off a big discussion of what exactly is an american made car including the argument that the Toyota Camry is build here in America (Lafayette, Indiana), but in this case, the pace car should come from Detroit, namely the Big 3. Ford, Chevrolet (General Motors) and Dodge (Chrysler).

But did you know in the history of the Daytona 500, only once has an import paced the race and that was a Porsche 914 in 1971. Other than that, the pace car has been a Pontiac, Buick, Chevrolet, Dodge, Plymouth, of course Fords including most recently a Ford Mustang Gt in 2010 and the Chevrolet Camaro in 2011. (Full list of Daytona 500 pace cars)

Basically I’m disappointed, nobody could have gone and gotten a 2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 to serve as the Official Pace Car??? Disappointed, I wonder what’s next, Lexus LFA made famous by Kyle Busch speeding in it, a VW Beetle, or how about a Lambo. Oh Brother.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup: Marcos Ambrose becomes the 5th driver to score their first career Cup Series victory this season, who will be next?


(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

As NASCAR fans continue to talk about Monday’s Heluva Good! at the Glen Cup Series race that included a massive last lap wreck with Boris Said and David Regan getting together and David Reutimann getting the worst of it to Denny Hamlin losing his brakes and hitting head on in the turn 1 wall.

The big story coming out of Watkins Glen is that Marcos Ambrose has become the 5th driver to pickup his first Cup Series victory in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

Personally, it was cool to watch Marcos Ambrose hold off a hard charging Brad Keselowski and Kyle to pickup his first career Cup Series victory at Watkins Glen. The victory came after several near misses including Ambrose having issues with his starter at the end of the Sonoma Cup Series race last June, a race he should have won.

But even more, Ambrose winning at Watkins Glen on Monday also marks Richard Petty Motorsports first Cup Series victory following last season’s RPM restructuring. It’s great to see all of RPM’s hard work pay off and Richard Petty in victory lane again.

This season has been amazing for first time winners from Trevor Bayne winning the Daytona 500, Regan Smith winning the Southern 500, David Regan winning the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona and of course Paul Menard picking up a surprise win in the Brickyard 400 to now Marcos Ambrose winning at Watkins Glen.

But now with Ambrose becoming the 5th different driver to win his first Cup Series victory in 2011, I have to wonder, which driver will be next? How about the second RPM car, yes A.J. Allmendinger. That would be cool to see A.J. break through to victory lane this season.

But it doesn’t have to be a first career victory for it to be amazing. There are several drivers yet to win in 2011 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. tops that list as well as Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr. and Jeff Burton. Amazing things do happen and yes even in NASCAR.

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Take on the David Reutimann-David Regan wreck, Boris Said vs. Greg Biffle and Marcos Ambrose breaking through to victory lane in Monday’s Heluva Good! at the Glen.

After Mother Nature forced NASCAR to postpone the Cup Series race on Sunday due to heavy rain (something rain tires couldn’t even have helped with in this case), NASCAR and the Cup Series did get the Heliva Good! at the Glen fully in even under interesting conditions.

And boy did NASCAR fans that were not only in the grandstands, but watching live at 10am on the TV broadcast (as these races aren’t televised live on the internet, something NASCAR needs to work on), fans saw one entertaining (in the dry) race to say the least.

In race that saw Kurt Busch blow a right front tire and hit the turn 5 outside wall and Denny Hamlin lose his brakes heading in turn 1 that ended up with Hamlin hard into the outside wall, a hit that instantly reminded me of Jimmie Johnson’s Busch Series wreck over 10 years.

This race would be remembered for three key moments during and after the race.

Marcos Ambrose picks up first career Cup Series victory at Watkins Glen:

Marcos Ambrose held off a hard charging Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch in the final two laps to pickup his first victory in the Cup Series and he did it at Watkins Glen. Personally, I think it’s really cool to see not only another Cup Series driver pickup their first victory in the Cup Series, but to see Ambrose get his first win after so many near misses and misfortunate’s including stopping on track at Sonoma last season in a race he should have won.

But Ambrose winning at Watkins Glen is the first victory for Richard Petty Motorsports after RPM’s restructuring. It’s cool to see all of RPM’s hard work pay off and Richard Petty in victory lane again.

David Reutimann-David Regan wreck

(Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

In NASCAR, we talk about violent wrecks ever now and then, but one team that has had their big share of them are the drivers at Michael Waltrip Racing. First it was Michael McDowel at Texas back in 2007, then more recently at Martinsville and the following week at Texas with martin Truex Jr..

But damn, on Monday on the final lap of this race, it was David Regan racing Boris Said coming off turn 1 and heading for turn 2 when it looked like David Regan moved down on Boris Said, who was just trying to stay on-track and not get squessed off line, made contract, sending Regan spinning and hitting David Reutimann hard first into the inside wall and they getting air born into the outside wall.

Words can’t describe of scary this wreck was especially in TV, I jumped out of my seat, just saying what just happened. But thankfully everyone especially David Reutimann and David Regan, both drivers who took the worst of the hits walked away and are ok.

I have to give a tip of the hat once again to NASCAR and all of the research and development they did on this COT car to make it safer for drivers, not to mention the safety in the wall construction. Of course at Watkins Glen, there was no safer barriers, there drivers hit guard rails instead.

Boris Said vs. Greg Biffle in the garage area following the race

Unfortunately while the cameras were a little late to seeing the confrontation between an angry Boris Said and a well guarded Greg Biffle, Boris Said did give one hell of an interview. But before I get into that, according to Boris Said’s crew chief, him and Biffle have had issues a few times in the past at these road course races and during Monday’s Cup Series race, Said believed that Biffle (who at the time was 2-3 laps down) raced him way to hard for a lap car. The TV Broadcast didn’t show it.

But following the race, Boris Said decided to settle this one with Biffle with his fists, but was pushed several times away by Roush-Fenway Racing crew members and Regan’s crew chief. Personally I hate when someone puts their hands on someone else, but that’s for another discussion (and that goes for the crew chief that just kept putting his hands on Boris Said.

Anyway, following that, Boris Said in a post-race interview with ESPN the Magazine - “I’m more upset about Greg Biffle,” Said said. “He’s the most unprofessional little scaredy-cat I’ve ever seen in my life. He won’t even fight me like a man. So if somebody will text me his address, I’ll go visit him at his house and show him what he really needs. He needs a whooping, and I’m going to give it to him. He was flipping me off, giving me the finger, totally unprofessional, two laps down. He’s a chump.”

Said continued: “I went over to go talk to him, he gets out and throws some little baby punches, I get out and he goes and hides behind some big guys, but he won’t hide from me for long. I won’t settle it out on the track, it’s not right to wreck cars, but he’ll show up at a race with a black eye one of these days. I’ll see him somewhere.” – Quotes from Yahoo! Sports blog “From the Marbles”

Personally, first, I have never seen Boris Said so upset before and I think that was really one epic interview especially along the normal interviews in NASCAR. I guess NASCAR got what they wanted.

Second, while I do believe Boris Said’s crew chief in saying that Biffle was blocking him or holding him up in this race even with being a few laps down, calling Biffle out on the radio and saying I’ll talk to him after the race (or something like that) and going there ready to fight. It doesn’t surprise me that Biffle had several people around him. I would if someone was looking for me like that, Said was pissed and ready to fight.

Of course I remember Biffle vs. Harvick years ago, that was entertaining to say the least and Harvick wouldn’t take Biffle’s crap then, Said isn’t taking it now. But Said could have handled it better and waited until he cooled off and then had a clam discussion or clam down and go to the NASCAR hauler, it would have been done privately, but at least it would have been talked out and Biffle would have hard to attend sooner or later.

Nor do I think Said should have said in his interview about getting his address and meeting him and something about a black eye…

But third, really, I’m not surprised to see another driver pissed off at Biffle, Biffle just seems to race people beyond what he should be. He’s like Ryan Newman, he doesn’t give any room. If you’re a few laps down, move over and let the lead lap cars through.

And personally and I really shouldn’t be thinking this out loud, but after all of the yelling Biffle has been doing to his MUTE (they can’t say anything back) crew chief and crew members during the races this season so far, nice to see Biffle getting it back. I hate hearing drivers chewing out their crew members and crew chiefs during the race on the radio, I know this isn’t the same thing, but damn.

But damn what a good race.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Poor calls by the IRL IZOD IndyCar Series officials in a bizarre race overshadows Ryan Hunter-Reay’s win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

This article is part of a cross-promotion between both my blogs RaceDriven.com and ThinkingBrian.com. Over on ThinkingBrian.com, I discussed Dario Franchitti-Sato incident and the championship outlock.

Over the past two seasons, one of the biggest problems that IRL IndyCar Series drivers and owner, not to mention some fans including me on some cases, have been poor officiating (namely poor calls by the officials in charge) from the tower on race day. I mean one poor call that struck a chord with not only a driver, but the fans were last year’s black flag call on Helio Castroneves at Edmonton, Canada where the headline read “IRL IndyCar Series officials screws Helio Castroneves out of win and hands it to Scott Dixon.

However in my opinion Castroneves’s black flag doesn’t even compare to watching today’s IndyCar Series race from New Hampshire Motor Speedway because that was a blocking call with a line on the restart, as today’s issue was with the officials in the tower putting drivers safety at risk.

I realize that this is a strong statement to make and even after Brian Barnhart (the President of Competition and Racing Operations for the IZOD IndyCar Series) came on to the ABC telecast to give his prospective, I still believe that they made several bad calls that put drivers in a bad spot.

In this case, it was going back to green flag racing a few times when the track was still wet and one slick tires in a light weight open wheel indycar with tons of power, that doesn’t make for a good restart nor a controllable one.

But in the end after the officials said we’re going green despite conditions for what would be another pileup on the front straightaway, the final call to make the final restart as a missed restart was a good one because it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

So with all that said, according to the ABC telecast, here are the unofficial results from this one.

1. Ryan Hunter-Reay,
2. Oriol Servia,
3. Scott Dixon,
4. James Hinchcliffe,
5. Will Power,
6. Danica Patrick,
7. Takuma Sato,
8. Ryan Briscoe,
9. Charlie Kimball
10. Vitor Meira.

Congrats to Ryan Hunter-Reay on his victory and a win is a win, but this race will go into the record books as being just another example of poor calls by the IRL IndyCars officials and that’s what it will be remembered by.

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.

Unfortunately for the IRL IZOD IndyCar Series and the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the Indy 225 at New Hampshire will be remembered for a wreck filled, rain, red flag, poor called, bizarre race that ended in controversy and not for Ryan Hunter-Reay picking up the victory.

But for me, I’m thinking more about the IndyCar Series Championship and the two main contenders of Dario Franchitti’s and Will Power.

During the Indy 225 at New Hampshire, Dario Franchitti was well in control of this race as he dominated the early laps with as much as a 10 second lead over second place while Will Power was about to go a laps down outside the top 10. Power just wasn’t having a good day so far.

However on a normal restart, Dario Franchitti was leading on the outside with second place Takuma Sato on the inside. When the green flag flow, it appeared to me that Dario Franchitti moved to the inside on Sato and was clipped in the left rear by Sato sending Dario straight into the inside wall collecting a few drivers in the process.

In watching several replays of the restart and despite hearing Dario’s post-incident interview on the ABC Telecast, I believe that this was all on Dario Franchitti and I didn’t see where Takuma Sato was at fault at all. Dario had plenty of room to his outside, but for whatever reason not only choose not to use it, but move to inside where Sato was and paid for it was a wrecked indycar.

I hope Dario Franchitti watches the race at home later this week and sees that Sato did nothing wrong and admits he simply made a mistake or the car just moves over too much. However and I mean however, if Dario Franchitti isn’t going to admit he came up on Will Power at Toronto and clipped Power spinning him around, I don’t see him admitting to making a mistake in this case neither. Sorry, I call it like I see it.

But make no mistake, I know that Dario Franchitti is a championship racecar driver in the IndyCar Series, I just disagree with his assessment sometime after these races.

But while Dario Franchitti had went out early, this would become at least on the surface, a good day for Will Power. Just beyond halfway, Will Power made his way into the top 5 in the race due to race strategy, but with 5 laps to go, the IRL IndyCar Series officials made a poor call, and let’s be honest here, this was one of many that would have bad results.

The track was still wet, but nonetheless, one the restart nobody could get going and Danica Patrick among others spun setting off a chain reaction, wrecking several indycars including putting Will Power into the inside wall.

That would have been the end for Will Power, but because finally the IndyCar Series official realized that they made a big mistake, they decided to reverse the last restart and reverted to the order before the restart and due to rain, called the race with 5 laps to go. That move put Will Power in the 5th spot in the final restarts.

But before Power know of the results, he was pissed and he had every right to be upset. Unfortunately for Power, he didn’t realize that the ABC Telecast cameras were on him when Power gave two middle fingers up to the tower in frustration and in his post-race interview, had a few words for the series officials.

I really don’t know what the penalties are here in the indycar series, but I would imagine that Power will be looking at a big fine and nothing more like a point’s penalty. As a result of the finish, Power moves within striking distance of Dario Franchitti, just -45 points behind unofficially. Let’s hope that stands.

But I would say that while Dario Franchitti does have a good lead in the points, with five races to go, anything can happen and Power needs finish in front of Franchitti especially in the next two races which are on road course, Sonoma and the Baltimore Grand Prix. This should be interesting.

UPDATE - 8/15/2011: Following the publishing of this article, it was reported that Sato said that something got into his eye and he made a mistake. However I still stand by my original thoughts on this incident that Dario Franchitti was at fault. Franchitti did crowd Sato and he was in the middle of the track versus being on his side of the track.

The second update was the title. Simply put even with having over 6 years of blogging experience, I am still trying new ways of writing posts and killer headlines.

However a few hours after publishing this article, I felt like I should have written the title in a better way (like a bear huge, instead of coming directly up the middle sort of speak, so I changed the original title “Dario Franchitti- Takuma Sato incident during Indy 225 at New Hampshire was Franchitti fault; Power now within striking distance in championship standings.” to what it is now. You learn something new every day and today I did.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Stuck behind a powder-blue Toyota Prius coming home on this Massachusetts Tax-free holiday, thoughts?

(Photo taken by me (Brian Vermette) with an LG Chocolate 2, 1.3MP camera while in the passenger seat and yes, I did cover the licence plate. - 8/13/2011)

Earlier this evening, my father and I decided to go back out shopping at Target, Best Buy and Staples to check out cheap Blu-ray Players (replacing my dying DVD Player) or a Verizon Wireless Prepaid cell phone and a GPS unit.

Believe it or not, while the Massachusetts Tax-Free holiday is going on, I was looking for the Blu-ray player not because of the tax-free holiday, but I actually got an early birthday gift (money) and I wanted to see if I could replace either my cell phone or upgrade my DVD player to a blu-ray player.

Anyway, after leaving the plaza, we were heading home only after buying a few small items and my father looked at me and said hay its a Prius. Of course, I happen to notice that no dad, its a powder-blue Toyota Prius (you would only know the joke if your a Jeff Dunham and Peanut fan.

So I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the Prius with my LG Chocolate 2 - 1.3MP camera and couldn’t resist posting it on ThinkingBrian.com.

As for those other items, while I believe that maybe the GPS unit might be purchased tomorrow, I think that shelling out $90 for a Blu-ray player is a little much for me right now as I’m still unemployed, but hay the Cell Phone is more of a needed item for emergency’s out on the road and blogging from the road.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Guest Post: Button joins the 200 club with an 11th career win

British F1 driver Jenson Button recorded a win on his 200th grand prix start on Sunday at the same track at which he won his first race five years ago.

The Hungaroring provided a testing time for the drivers with changeable weather conditions across the weekend, but Button prevailed with a masterful drive to pull himself within 100 points of championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

The 24-year-old German tops the table with 234 points after an incredible first half of the season, with second-placed team-mate Mark Webber already 85 points behind on 149. Only 15 points separate second and fifth, while eight races remain on the calendar.

Button was understandably elated with his performance and had high praise for his McLaren team’s role in the victory: “[It was] a great call by the team to put me on the prime tyre when they did and a great call by all of us when we decided not to go to the inter.

“I want to say a big thank you to the whole team, the mechanics, the engineers, everyone within the team that has worked so hard to produce the car that we have now. We are going into the break on a nice high.”

It is now nearly four weeks until the next F1 weekend and McLaren have won three of the last five races, with Button winning two out of the three that he has completed. His fellow countryman Lewis Hamilton held the lead for most of the race in Hungary before struggling after he switched to super-soft tyres on lap 40. Button, Vettel and Webber all eliminated the need for another pit stop by switching to softs as Hamilton span on lap 47.

The 2008 world champion went on to switch to intermediates on lap 52 and to softs on lap 54, which then saw him incur a drive-through penalty for forcing Paul di Resta to avoid him when he recovered from his spin. He held it together to finish in fourth, though, to keep the gap between him and his team-mate at 12 points.

The two drivers will be going into the summer break in very different mind-sets ahead of the last European race of the season. They’ll no doubt be putting their performance car insurance to the test with the chance to get out of the F1 cars and into the comforts of their own supercars.

After the break, the Formula One fraternity is due to descend on Belgium at the end of this month to treat us to another Spa weekend. Interestingly, last year’s Spa saw Button crash out and Hamilton etch 25 points on the board with a victory, so we could be in for an interesting weekend.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Predictions: The cream will rise to the top in final five races of who gets into the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, but one will surprise.

As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and teams pack up and head home before heading north to the 2.45 miles road course at Watkins Glen for next Sunday’s Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen. I thought that I would take this opportunity to discussion the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup outlook and make a few predictions as to who is in the chase and who will be out. Who makes the chase will have a number next to their name.

With five races to go before the cutoff point after the final race at Richmond, I believe that these drivers will make the chase for sure.

1. Carl Edwards (1 wins)
2. Jimmie Johnson (1 win)
3. Kyle Busch (3 wins)
4. Kurt Busch (1 wins)
5. Kevin Harvick (3 wins)
6. Matt Kenseth (2 wins)
7. Jeff Gordon (2 wins)

All seven drivers above have shown all season long that they are truly Cup Series Championship contenders including Jeff Gordon who is trying for his fifth Cup Series Championships.

However not everyone is comfortable right now with five races to go. These two drivers I believe will make the chase, but wouldn’t be locked in until Atlanta or the cutoff race in Richmond.

8. Ryan Newman (1 win)
9. Tony Stewart (no wins)

Both drivers are having a pretty good year, but I am surprised to see Tony Stewart in this group. I would have thought that he would have been higher up in points and have one win by now. But it is the summer months and this is where Smoke shines. So I’m not going to hit the panic button on him.

Now comes the in trouble drivers. These three are not only on the bubble, but could get bumped out at anytime. The next five races will determine whether they make the chase or not. I have to say that while I do like the slots when it comes to gambling every now and then especially 7’s, I wouldn’t gamble when it comes to this type of risk. However two drivers do at least have 1 win this season, if not two.

10. Brad Keselowski (2 wins, 18th in points. Brad must continuing climbing into the top 12 in points to really make this one work for him.) Wild Card Spot and surprise.
11. Denny Hamlin (1 win, but he has no real luck) Wild Card Spot.
12. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No wins, but is 10th in points and 20+ over 11th Denny Hamlin)

All three drivers have to have good finishes to seal the deal at Richmond and for Dale Jr., he has to either move up in the points or at least score one win before Richmond to be in the running for one of the two wild card chase spots. But I have to say that Dale Jr. is having a good season and his best with Hendrick Motorsports so far since he started in 2008.

Now if only Dale Jr. and his team can figure out how to close the deal at the end of each race, he would be in a better position.

Finally, here are two drivers to watch for that last minute shot at making the chase, but I really don’t see it unless one of the three drivers above take a hard hit in points and either one can make a charge.

- Clint Bowyer (11th in points, no wins)
- Greg Biffle (12th in points, no wins)

And of course, even with one win each on the season, I don’t see David Regan, Paul Menard, or even Mark Martin or Kasey Kahne making the chase at all, even if they win another race. Sorry. But mark my words, we haven’t seen the end of one drivers coming out of nowhere to make a run at the chase.

(Image Credit: NASCAR)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

NASCAR: Checkers and Wreckers for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Roush-Fenway Racing at Iowa Speedway.

(Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Earlier tonight at the Iowa Speedway where the NASCAR Nationwide Series was racing in the U.S. Cellular 250, four drivers (Carl Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Elliott Sadler and Michael McDowell) during the race were in contention to win all night long.

But it was the on going battle between Roush-Fenway Racing teammates Ricky Stemhouse Jr. and Carl Edwards that would be the talk of this race as the two would get into a heated on track battle for the lead that included a few bits of contact. It would take Jack Roush and two crew chiefs to settle these two down.

Carl Edwards said over the radio that they’re even after the contact, while Stenhouse Jr. was still hot from the contact. Personally I believe both drivers were racing for the lead with (whatever laps to go, more than 70 to go I know) and both could have used cooler heads on-track, but it made for a great battle up front for the fans to watch.

However it would the last lap that lead to most saying that was one hell of a finish.

Ricky Stemhouse Jr. was leading over Carl Edwards by several car lengths, but when Stenhouse Jr. came off of turn 4 and was half way to the finish line looking at the checkered flag, Stenhouse Jr.’s #6 RickyvsTrevor.com Ford blow a engine and slowed to a crawl, but still moving around on track.

But at that very moment, Carl Edwards would come out of turn 4, hit the oil that the #6 laid down and couldn’t see a damn thing…#60-Edwards would nail Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the #6 hard in the back end propelling him across the finish line to win the U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway, while Carl Edwards would skid to a stop near the pit wall.

Edwards would finish second, while fans, teams and the media would be left speechless especially on Twitter say that was one hell of a finish to say the least. I know here at my house, both my father and I couldn’t believe what happened and I know I needed a replay to figure this one out, and I know three announcers in the ESPN booth sure did.

Damn, what a finish to a good race.

But two notes:
1. I loved the fact that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. not only kept pace with Carl Edwards, but would stand up to Edwards especially while that battle was going on on track. Finally a driver that wouldn’t let Edwards push him around.

2. Just one question, when does Iowa Speedway get a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series date, by this track doesn’t disappoint and they deserve a Cup date for sure.

NASCAR: Brad Keselowski goes from wreckers earlier this week to checkers at Pocono capturing his second win of 2011.

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

It has been a long week for Brad Keselowski for sure. Last Wednesday, Brad was testing with his #2 Miller Dodge Cup Series team at Road Atlanta when during testing, Brad had a practice crash. (Read entire article)

But fast forward to earlier today at Pocono Raceway where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series were in action for the Good Sam RV Insurance 500 were after a hour plus long rain delay with 76 laps to go, Brad Keselowski took the lead late on a restart and held off a charging Kyle Busch to capture his third career Cup Series victory.

Personally as a fan of Brad Keselowski, I believe that Brad is showing exactly what he can do in a Cup Series car.

But even more in terms of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings, this win at Pocono puts Brad Keselowski in a good position as he moves unofficially into the 18th spot. And more importantly, as this is his second win of the season, it puts him in one of the two wild card chase spots with just five races to go and currently he is the only driver in 11th through 20th that has two wins.

Notes from Pocono:

1. Jimmie Johnson continues to makes moves in preparations for the upcoming Chase for the Sprint Cup Series finishing in the 4th spot. But in the final laps, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch had there own issues including contact and ended up with a somewhat heated discussion on pit road in front of the cameras.

2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran in the top 10 for most of the day and ended up with a solid 9th place finish.

3. Jeff Gordon makes an impression as well as he finishes in the 6th spot.

Next up is Watkins Glen next Sunday.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Carl Edwards re-signs with Roush-Fenway Racing, now can we please get back to some real racing instead of this media hype!

After over 6-7 months of the same questions from the NASCAR media and all of the rumors and speculation that has been flying around about where Carl Edwards will be driving for in 2012 (RFR or JGR), Roush-Fenway Racing announced earlier today that Carl Edwards has re-signed a multi-year deal with Roush-Fenway Racing to continue driving the #99 Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Personally, first I would like to congratulate Carl Edwards and Roush-Fenway Racing on continuing there partnership for several more years in the Cup Series.

Second, I have to say that I’m disappointed in all of the coverage that has been given to these rumors and speculation by the NASCAR media. While its interesting to think about a big domino effect happening in NASCAR, the fact is that this story had gotten way out of hand and it shows that we would rather talk about rumors of where a driver is going ad haunting a driver, rather than what we are really here for and that is NASCAR racing.

Its pretty bad when the action off the track gets double the press and coverage than the action on-track. It also shows that NASCAR racing in general needs some work done to it including real straight forward rules because clearly these races can’t stand on there own.

Finally, at this point, I hope that now we can talk about racing and enjoy what is left of the 2011 NASCAR season before it all ends for the off-season.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

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

(Photo Credit: Jimmie Johnson via Twitpic)

Earlier today at Road Atlanta, Brad Keselowski was testing his Cup Series car in preperation for the upcoming road course race at Watkins Glen when he had a problem heading down into turn 1 doing 155mph and hit a non-safer barrer and crashed his car hard. But after all that including a mandatory trip to the hospital, I’m glad to hear that Brad Keselowski is ok. However I can’t say the same for the #2 Miller Lite Dodge. Thanks @JimmieJohnson for the info and pictures.