Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Right Sides Only

This week's RSO finds the Cup series in Western Pennsylvania for the second time in less than two months. In this day and age of GPS systems and the like, who goes to West Pa twice period? NASCAR's brilliant schedule makers, that's who.

Last time here, way back in June of 2009, Tony Stewart won his first race as a car owner. Gas mileage, yeah. Maybe NASCAR figures this is the way to make the Brickyard seem exciting....follow it with Pocono.

Only 43 cars are entered for Pocono. Even the start and parkers won't take the easy money just to show up here. Bobby Allison and Tim Richmond both won three consecutive races at Pocono. Hendrick Motorsports has 11 total wins here, including one by Richmond.

Drivers still looking for a breakout at Pocono (or, maybe just to get out of Pocono) are Juan Montoya with five starts here and one top-10 finish. Paul Menard has five starts, and no top-10s. David Stremme also has five starts and no top 10s. Reed Sorenson has seven starts, and, you guessed it, no top-10s.

Penske Racing celebrates, sponsor, PPG's 25th year with the team with a special PPG paint job on Sam Hornish's #77 on Sunday. Marcos Ambrose steps his game up with on his #47. Tony Stewart gets his swag on with Old Spice Swagger on the SHR #14 this weekend.

Mustang will be the COT for Ford in the NNS next season. Can Challengers and Camaros be far behind? Jeremy Mayfield's step mother, Lisa Mayfield, filed a defamation lawsuit against Jeremy this week. Claiming that she "suffered damage to her reputation." I think I speak for all men when I ask, "Just what does this golddigger look like?"

Jamie McMurray is out at RFR. Roush claims that if a sponsor can be found, J Mac's 26 team will be moved, intact, to Yates Racing. McMurray's old sponsor, Crown Royal has moved to the #17 of Matt Kenseth. Kenseth's current sponsor, DeWalt, has pulled out of NASCAR. McMurray is also on a short list to go drive EGR's #1 after Martin Truex gets out of it to go to MWR.

Yates is saying that Paul Menard, and more importantly Daddy's funding, is not leaving after the season. Reed Sorenson is in danger of losing the seat in the famous #43 sooner, rather than later. AJ Allmendinger will be in that car in a matter of weeks.

Big get well wishes to my favorite F-1 driver,Felipe Massa. Dude suffered multiple skull fractures after being hit in the helmet by debris during practice last week. Consiga bien pronto, hermano.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

View From The Flagstand

This week's View from the Flagstand is the worst view in NASCAR. The only thing you can see is the frontstretch. The rest of the view of the cars is blocked by the infield grandstands for about 45 seconds of a 60 second lap. Yipee!

CHECKERED FLAGS.....Go to race winner Jimmie Johnson who stalked the leaders all day, then finally made his move near the end of the race by passing teammate, Mark Martin for the lead on a restart. Juan Pablo Montoya also gets a checkered flag for leading 116 laps and having the race well in hand until he was popped for speeding during a green flag pit stop.

GREEN FLAGS....... Martin ran second most of the day to Montoya, and he wound up second to Johnson. Greg Biffle brought it home in third. Brian Vickers ran a good race and finished fifth.

YELLOW FLAGS......Montoya lost the race by speeding on pit road. It was a heartbreaker to dominate the race like he did and fall to an 11th place finish. So, I'll give him a pass on all his whining and crying on the radio after being penalized.

RED FLAGS......The race. A snoozefest for the first three quarters and very little action at the end with the pit road penalty and JJ's late pass of Martin being the only drama. I think there were two actual green lap passes for the lead. Meanwhile less than 10 miles from the Brickyard, ORP put on possibly the best Truck and NW series races this year on Friday and Saturday night. Am I the only one who would like see the Cup race taken from Indy and held at ORP?

BLACK FLAGS.....The start and park teams. I don't mind them filling out the fields, but they are getting too much money for doing nothing. Joe Nemecheck ran 21 laps and finished DFL, 43rd. He took home $142,000 for not breaking a sweat. Meanwhile, Bill Elliott qualifies in the top five, runs in the top 15 most of the day, completes all but one lap, and takes home $148,000!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Right Sides Only

Brian's Traveling Road and Medicine (OTC only) Show swindles into Indiana this weekend. Yes, much like an unwanted Cousin Eddie, Indy turns up once a year. We all know the history. Too bad for NASCAR all that history is in open wheelers. Who knows *wink* maybe the double file restarts (following the mystery debris cautions) will add a smidgen of excitement to this annual 400 mile parade.

This race starts yet another TV network down the path of certain viewer ire. ESPN returns without making any major changes to it's on-air "talent". "Is Rusty still in the Navy?" Unfortunately, no.

We've seen 11 different winners in the 19 Cup races so far this season. Who will be number 12? Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Denny Hamlin, or Greg Biffle? Paul Menard is offering his daddy's sponsorship money to any team that will take it. Even though he has no top-10s this year, he will get multiple offers.

David Ragan is reportedly the odd man out at RFR. That's what happens when you don't have a top-10 since February, or a Fortune 500 father. Kasey Kahne makes his 200th consecutive Cup start this week. 81 year old Herschell McGriff made a start last Sunday in the CWW series race in Portland. Not just a gimmick, McGriff finished 13th.

Four drivers have started all 15 Brickyard 400s, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, and Mark Martin. Burton is the only driver to be running at the end of each of the 15 races. His #31 Chevy will be sporting the purple Prilosec flair this Sunday.

Juan Montoya has one top-5 in his two Brickyard starts. Of course, he won the Indy 500 in 2000. This year, his #41 will have the same Target paint scheme as his Indy winning racer did. Viva la Retro!

Terry Labonte brings his past champion's exemption to the #08 this week. Kyle Busch will be talking Snacklish in the #18 Snickers Toyota. Robby Gordon hooks up with Johns Manfield at Indy again. Martin Truex Jr tries to rock out with Guitar Hero on his #1.

Bill Elliott has 14 starts here with one win and nine top-10s. Kevin Harvick has eight starts with a win, three top-5s, and five top-10s. Kurt Busch has three top-10s in his eight starts.

Tyler Hansbrough, the NBA Pacer's first round pick, will be the Grand Marshall. Infineon's Grand Marshall, that ever irritating tool bag, Guy Fieri has his mug on the hood of Mike Skinner's #36 at Indy. This car has been a start-and-park all season. Here's hoping that nothing changes.

One slice that tells all we need to know about the state of NASCAR: There are still tickets available for next month's night race at Bristol!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Graham Rahal: Racer

Graham Rahal has used driving skill rather than marketing or branding to become one of the stars of the IRL series. Now in his third season of driving the 02 car for Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing, Rahal has become more comfortable with the team and the series. While doing so, the 20 year old Ohio native has set three rather impressive records in open wheel racing.

In April of 2007, then 18 year old, Rahal finished second at Houston to become the youngest Champ Car driver to earn a podium finish ever. In his first IRL start, on April, 6, 2008, at the age of 19, Rahal became the youngest winner of a major open wheel series race when he took the trophy at St Petersburg. This April, Rahal became the youngest IRL pole winner ever when he qualified first at St Petersburg as a 20 year old.

Rahal is chilling in Canada this week, preparing for this weekend’s IRL race in the Great White North. He took the time to answer a few questions for SRM.

What has to be your biggest moment in racing, so far?

“Winning at St. Pete in 2008, to become the youngest winner ever!”

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

“My father, without a doubt.”

The father is, of course, 1986 Indy 500 winner, Bobby Rahal.

What do you consider your highlights so far this season?

“It would have to be being on the podium at Richmond and a strong series of qualifying efforts all year.”

Any special projects?

“Yes, my charity, The Graham Rahal Foundation.”

Now, we have a little something new for the drivers and fans to have a little fun with. Until I can come up with a better name it’s being called the ‘Eight to Debate’. These same eight questions will be posed to different drivers in this forum.

Graham Rahal’s ‘Eight to Debate’.

Foyt or Andretti?

“Mario Andretti specifically. He is a great man and has accomplished amazing things.”

Petty or Earnhardt?

“Earnhardt, you have to respect what he accomplished.”

Indianapolis or Daytona?

“Indianapolis without a doubt, doesn’t compare.”

Monaco or LeMans?

“LeMans. The history and cars are incredible, as is Monaco, but LeMans is a wonderful event.”

Dirt or Asphalt?


Oval or Road Course?

“Road Course.”

Goodyear of Firestone?

“Firestone. Doesn’t compare.”

‘Days of Thunder’, or ‘Talladega Nights’?

“Talladega Nights, because, sadly, I haven’t seen Days of Thunder.”

We won’t hold that against you, Graham. Thanks for being the first in this series on young driving stars, and good luck in the future.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Right Sides Only

No Cup race this week, but still plenty of headlines from NASCAR. Also, NNS boys are in St Louie, and the CWTS guys are outside of Cincinatti at Kentucky Speedway. Both those series race on Saturday night, with the trucks starting at 7pm et, and Nationwide jumping off at 9pm et.

The Jeremy Mayfield story won't go away, and it's getting stranger. NASCAR is blabbing that he failed their drug test last Monday. Mayfield says that he passed a test earlier that same day, and another one 30 minutes after NASCAR took their sample. Guilty, or not, why is NASCAR releasing his purported results to the public? What kind of doctor or medical professional does that?

Mayfield's stepmother, Lisa Mayfield, has sworn that she witnessed him snort Meth at least 30 times over a seven year period, and that she saw him cook his own meth until the ingredients became too hard to buy. Another evil NASCAR stepmother? Nobody breaks their stash out in front of their stepmother, unless she was hitting it too. Mayfield chacterizes Lisa as a golddigger, saying, "She's basically a whore."

Mayfield's father, Terry Mayfield, was found dead on Jeremy's property in 2007 from a gunshot to the chest. Lisa said that Terry committed suicide because he was depressed about his relationship with Jeremy. Mayfield says that Lisa has been hounding him for money, as Terry's will left her nothing. Jeremy says that Lisa killed Terry and he's filing a wrongful death suit against her this week. I guess it took Jeremy two years to get the evidence together?

Kevin Harvick reportedly wants out at RCR. His buddy, Tony Stewart, would welcome him to SHR. Especially if Happy brings along Jack Daniels sponsorship. Danica Patrick was at the SHR race shops on Monday, touring the place, and even signing autographs for some fans there. Stewart, Harvick, and Danica? Poor Newman.

Brad Keselowski is supposedly NASCAR's hottest free agent. He's said to be Penske's number one choice to drive the #12 next year. Red Bull may also be in the bidding too, especially if they switch to Chevy, as speculated. Disappointing Red Bull rookie, Scott Speed, is getting married this Saturday in N.C. He may need that second income next year.

The Nationwide team of Rusty Wallace may be changing manufacturers for next season. They're in Chevys now, but GM is slashing budgets everywhere. RWI just joined KHI in an information sharing deal that had Steven Wallace driving a KHI Chevy last week. Didn't help.

A couple of developmental drivers with bright futures get another chance Saturday at Gateway. Ricky Stenhouse Jr is in the RFR #16 again, while Brad Coleman gets another shot in the JGR #20.

After 18 of the season's 36 races the Jr scoreboard was even all the way across. Sam Hornish Jr, Martin Truex Jr, and Dale Earnhardt Jr all had 6 races in which they were the highest finishing Jr. Surprisingly, or maybe not, Sam Hornish Jr leads the other two Jrs in top-10s. Sam has four, Martin and Dale have 3 each.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mike Hanner: Private Eye VI

There may be more constructive ways to spend a Tuesday afternoon, but drinking cool ones at the Double L Lounge was working out pretty good so far. I’d been there for almost three hours, drinking the usual, and mixing in the occasional shots and shooters. Seeing as how I was pondering the Dale Jr/Victoria Lane case, I consider this billable hours.


I turned in my chair, “Wha…”

“Mike Hanner, what are you doing in here?”

My eyes were focusing now. “Traci? Traci, with an i?”

She laughed a little. “Traci with an i. You remembered.”

I told her, “Of course I remember. Who could forget?”

And that was no lie. Those Caribbean blue eyes were rather unforgettable. She was standing too close, wearing a bikini top and some kind of something wrapped around her hips. I wasn’t sure if it was the shots of Jose, but I was feeling uncomfortably warm all of the sudden.

I thought quickly and asked her, “You’re a NASCAR fan aren’t you?”

“Yes, I love it.”

I continued on, “How about Victoria Lane, what’s her story?”

She laughed, “Let’s just say that she gets around. Girl loves to party.”

“She’s not a one man kind of woman?”

More laughter, “Hell no. she likes ‘em all. Old ones, young ones, chunky ones. And that’s just in the last month or so.”

I arose from my chair and told her, “It was great seeing you again, but I have to run. Have to get back to my office before end of day.”

“Don’t tell me you’re afraid of little ol’ me, Mike.”

“No,” I stammered. “Well, maybe.”

“Why didn’t we ever hook up, Mike?”

“Probably because we both had someone waiting at home?”

She pressed closer, “You have a girlfriend now?”

“Not really. But, there is someone who would be mad if she heard me say that.”

I walked quickly out of the conditioned air of the bar into the blasting heat of Carolina in mid-July. Between the heat from the girl and the 100 plus degrees simmering on the asphalt parking lot, I was sober by the time I climbed into the old Chevy.


I got back to my office and turned the thermostat down to sixty. Even with the A/C on full blast in the El Camino, I could feel my shirt clamming to my back.

I needed to make some phone calls, and try to glean some more information about Miss Lane. Something just wasn’t right with her damsel in distress act. I know that the only time women act helpless is when they need a patsy. I know that, yet I keep falling for it time after time.

I looked up Frothy’s phone number, and called up there hoping to talk with that barkeeper, CK. He seemed to know a lot about the inner workings at the race track. He wasn’t there so I left my number and a message for him to call me.

Shaft called back first. He seemed excited, and Shaft never gets excited.

“Yo, Hanner.”

“Yeah, what you got for me, Shaft?”

“Man, my baby girl has hacked all up in NASCAR’s computer system. And, whew, do those cats have some dirty deals being done round there.”

“So where does Victoria Lane get involved in it?”

“Bruh, she’s in it. NASCAR’s in it, they kingpinnin’ it. The TV networks are in it. It’s big, dude.”

I hoped that Shaft wasn’t exaggerating, “Cam, Is this legit?”

“You know I ain’t never lied to you. This is the real deal, straight up as six o’clock.”

“Alright Shaft, I need to see this stuff for myself. You have anything on paper?”

“Paper! Damn, son, my girl’s got it on disc. How you live like that?”

“Sorry. I need that disc, bro.”

“Well, you know I like doing business with you Mike, but that disc is worth a lot of money to the right people. How high can you stack the cheddar?”

“Damn, Shaft! How come you want to do your boy like that.”

“It’s just business, Mike. I got to make a couple more calls, then I’ll call you back at seven o’clock.”

Son of a bitch! I couldn’t believe that Shaft was getting so greedy, over something that I turned him on to. Damn!


My cell phone rang at eight, it still wasn’t Shaft. The caller ID lit up, Frothy’s Bar, Brooklyn, Michigan. The bartender was calling me back.

I hit the send key, “Hello.”

“Is this Hanner?”

“Yeah, how’s it going CK?”

“This isn’t CK. He can’t make it to the phone. Ever.”

I felt the adrenaline, “Who is this!”

“There you go asking questions again, Hanner. That’s a real bad habit you got there, that and sticking your big nose in other people’s business. You know that bad habits kill people, don’t you?”

“Who in the hell is this?”

“This is someone with some advice that may keep you alive, Hanner. Everything was fine until Victoria wanted to see Jr. We sent her to you because, well lets face it, even Ace Ventura has solved more cases than you. You need to go back to what you do best, drinking. Keep filing those BS reports with Vickie, and this will all blow over. Capiche?”

“Now hold on a goddamn minute…”

“Hanner, you do want Shaft and his daughter to stay alive don’t you? If you do, stick to what you do best, alky.”


Monday, July 13, 2009

View From The Flagstand

This week's View is coming to us from the artery clogged suburbs of Chicago, as NASCAR was an hour away in Joliet for the weekend. In honor of the Second City I reviewed the races while partaking in a little pizza, brats, and beer.

"It's gotta be better than that slop in the Cook County slammer." Yeah, I even had time to watch the 'Blues Brothers' during Friday and Saturday night's races.

CHECKERED FLAG......Mark Martin won for a series leading fourth time this season. Yes, the world's most gracious and humble driver is on a roll. Jr Nation---- Martin's bandwagon is loading at Gate B, and Tony's is almost full at Gate A.

Some loudmouth (Hanahan, I think) predicted before the season that Martin had nothing left, couldn't get it done, wouldn't make the Chase, was over the hill, was a has-been. Stop me anytime, y'all.

GREEN FLAG.... Jeff Gordon came out of nowhere to finish second, and Kasey Kahne had a strong third place run. Pole winner, Brian Vickers ended up 7th. Nice finishes by: Clint Bowyer (9), Juan Montoya (10), and Marcos Ambrose (11).

YELLOW FLAG....Dale Earnhardt Jr was pressing a little bit, as he tried not to get shown up by a ten race rookie (Brad Keselowski) who just happened to be using Jr's old crew chief. Until some late race misfortune, BK would have finished ahead of Jr....again. Jr also cut Paul Menard's tire while racing him hard. Marinate on that one....Jr and Menard racing each other! For position!

BLACK FLAG....Reed Sorenson was black flagged for not doing a pass through penalty after passing a car on pit road. After ignoring the black flag, Sorenson was given the black flag with a white stripe on it (Uh oh, you in trouble). That flag means that NASCAR has quit scoring your car. NASCAR did quit scoring him....for one lap! WTH?

RED FLAG....Martin Truex's crew chief, Bono Manion, may be trying to leave EGR early with Truex. Truex's car was found too high in post-race inspection. That's a no-no. The resulting fine will cost Theresa E. some money, that's an even bigger no-no.

M&Ms FLAG....Kyle, Kyle, Kyle. It is one thing to have a huge chip on your shoulder and an unquenchable will to win, BUT this is geting a little ridiculous. Sometimes it's just not your night. Take the points and move on.....especially now that you are in real danger of falling out of the Chase.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Right Sides Only

This weekend, NASCAR will be putting Right Sides Only on in "that same old place, sweet home, Chicago." Nationwide series on Friday night, and Sprint Cup on Saturday night.

A Jack Roush car has never won a Cup event at Chicagoland Speedway. Along with Indy, these are the only two tracks that he hasn't won a race at. I knew I liked these two tracks for some reason.

His current Cup lineup, featuring David Ragan, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, and Matt Kenseth, have made 26 starts here, and have 8 top-10 finishes to show for themselves. Kenseth has four of those eight top-10s himself.

In the month since Dale Earnhardt Jr got his new crew chief, he's really turned his season around.....not for the better! No top-10s. And, while, pre-switch, he once was on the fringe of making the Chase, now even his Nation of die-hards are clamming up about the chances of Jr chasing anything.

AJ Allmendinger will be cooking Hunt Bros Pizza in the #44 Saturday night. Chicago style? Will Bobby Labonte have the remote to go along with DLP on his #96? Matt Kenseth will be skimming along with USG Sheetrock finishing his #17 Ford.

The #34 of John Andretti and #37 of Tony Raines will feature Long John Silvers, Baja Fish Tacos this weekend as part of a promotion to give the fish tacos away on Tuesday, July, 14. Ahh, fish tacos.....

NASCAR called Jeremy Mayfield on Monday at 1:18 and gave him a lab to report to within two hours to give a drug screen sample. Mayfield 'got lost', finally called NASCAR and was told of another lab to go to. He, instead went to his own lab and gave a sample. NASCAR reps showed up at his home that night, and after another hour of delays, got a sample. What a tangled web we weave...

CNBC has a special report concerning the economic state of NASCAR. "Inside Track: The Business of NASCAR" airs Thursday, July, 9 at 9pm, 10pm, and 1am. It reairs on July, 12 and 13. I doubt this will be too warm and fuzzy. Tune in to, hopefully, see Brian France get hammered like a co-ed at a keg stand party.

The #47 Toyota in the NNS series has run out of sponsorship while sitting in 11th place in the point standings. Michael McDowwel is out, and Kelly Bires will be starting and parking it in Chicago.

On the other hand, 18 year old, Trevor Bayne, driver of the MWR #99 in NNS, has had his schedule increased from 8 to 12 races, including Friday night at Chicago.

Kyle Busch has finished in the top two in the last five NNS races.

Congrats to Theresa Earnhardt for finally getting rid of the last reminder of Dale Sr's legacy at DEI when Martin Truex Jr moved on. Truex will be in the NAPA #56 next year for MWR. Sad.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Web Site

Just a quick announcement on a restart of a web site that I'll be the NASCAR writer for. Sports Review Magazine has been around since the 1940s. They went electronic in the last decade. I started writing for them last summer, and this is the second overhaul since then. Hopefully this will be the last one.

We should be up and running this month. All the major sports will have dedicated writers, even hockey. I'll have links on my blogs, and I hope everyone checks it least once.

Here's a link for a sneak peek. Top secret..........


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

View From The Flagstand

This week's view was smoky in more ways than one. Tony 'Smoke' Stewart led the most laps and won the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona on the Fourth of July. And we had plenty of on track fireworks to celebrate our nation's birthday as well.

Throw in a couple of the now standard, 'big ones', and this race was rockin'. All night long. Even the very best of the best drivers in the world was Kryptonited.

Checkered Flag....Goes to Tony Stewart. He led the most laps, and looked to have the fastest car all night. His pit crew was also the very best on this night. Time after time, they got him out ahead of everyone else. TNT network's Wide Open coverage of the race was outstanding! If NASCAR or any other networks care, or want to improve ratings....THIS is how you do it! Sadly, the ratings for this race won't reflect true appreciation, as the race was televised while millions of race fans were watching fireworks away from their TVs.

Green Flags....Denny Hamlin finished third, and didn't run much lower than that all night. Jimmie Johnson was second and was in the top four most of the race. Kurt Busch was top five most of the night and finished fifth. Marcos Ambrose (6), Brian Vickers (7) had decent finishes as they were also helped by the wreck on the last lap.

Yellow Flags....NASCAR's famous mystery debris caution at the end of the race. "Lets bunch all the cars back up and have a short shootout....and another 'big one'! We'll be sure to make the first half of Sports Center if we do that...again!" I guess we're going to be stuck with that script until someone famous gets hurt.

Black Flags....Did anyone think that Hamlin had two wheels completely under the yellow line? And was not forced down there? And that he improved his postion? Yeah, me too. Wally and KP sure danced around it while wondering if NASCAR would let any driver not named Jr get away with something so blatent. Surprise, they did!

Red Flag.....Blocking. I don't like it anywhere, but it is ridiculous at the plate tracks. Kyle Busch paid a hell of a price with his last lap blocking Saturday night. Carl Edwards paid even more doing the same thing in the last plate race. I'm not sure what NASCAR can do to curb it, but I'll be watching closely to see if Kyle and Carl are gun shy about blocking the next time.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Daytona Fail

The 400 miler at Daytona on Saturday night certainly provided an exciting finish as Kyle Busch caused the 'big one' and took three hellacious hits in less than five seconds. All in all the race was a good one to watch mainly because the caution would come out every time the drivers needed to stop for tires. Tires looked to be a major factor, as cars with the right setups didn't have tire problems while those who missed the setup were hanging on for dear life, or suffering blowouts.

Back to Kyle Busch, once again Saturday night he proved that he still has a lot to learn about plate racing. Yes, he has won at Daytona and Talladega, but in both of those races last year he didn't have to pass anyone or block anyone on the last lap. That's where he falls short.

At Daytona last year a caution came out during the green, white, checkered just as it looked like Carl Edwards would pass him for the win. Edwards was denied the win because of the yellow flag. At Talladega last year Busch also won during a G,W,C finish. Having to only hold of Juan Montoya....not exactly a plate race master himself.

For the last three years, if he's not leading, Busch has made very poor decisions at the superspeedway tracks. His finishes have suffered as a result of those poor choices.

Two years ago, at the July Daytona race Busch let Jamie McMurray outdrive him to the checkered flag. Think about that one, Jamie MCMurray OUTDROVE anyone let alone Kyle Busch. Three years ago, in the Daytona 500, while Matt Kenseth and McMurray were causing the 'big one' on the last lap coming off of turn four. Kyle turned left and lost it while in the inside lane. The wreck was just starting in the outside lane. He could have held his line and finished in the top five easily.

This year it seemed that the McMurray finish was on his mind, as Busch wanted no parts of a side-by-side drag race with Tony Stewart to the finish line. Turns out that his chances would have been much better doing that than coming down into Stewart's car and causing the 'big one'.

The problem is that Busch has so much talent that he thinks his talent will override that restrictor plate....wrong! The draft and aerodynamics mean more than talent at the plate tracks, re: McMurray.

Talent doesn't always win out at Daytona. Three time champions, the Labonte brothers never won at Daytona. Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt each took 20 years to win the Daytona 500. Mark Martin has never won at Daytona. While Mike Waltrip has two 500 victories, wth!

Busch has a hot setup at the plate tracks....for now. That won't last forever. He needs to study up, and learn more about the drafting techniques involved in a shootout than trying to rely solely on his talent.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Right Sides Only

The NASCAR boys are bringing their toys to the beach this week. Back to the scene of the year's first rainout finish. Yeah, Matt Kenseth's rain shortened Daytona 500 victory is nearly forgotten, as David Reutimann's and Joey Logano's wet wins will soon be also.

Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 should be a great one. Don't know about having a Zero in the name of a sporting event though. The July race was called the Firecracker 400 for decades. Now, that's a name. Firecracker! Put Firecracker 400 on a trophy and even Kyle Busch would cherish it.

Twenty-five years ago Richard Petty won his 200th (and last) Cup race in the Firecracker 400. Forty-five years ago AJ Foyt won his first (not his last though) Cup race in the Firecracker 400. Two years ago Jamie 'Cupcake' McMuray won his second (and last) Cup race in the Coke Zero 400.

Jeremy Mayfield found a judge to give him a temporary injunction allowing his return to NASCAR. The judge basically scolded NASCAR's half-assed drug testing program. NASCAR did present signed statements from some drivers including Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon stating that they wouldn't feel safe competing against someone who had failed NASCAR's drug test. Wonder if NASCAR will be paying for JJ and Jeff's lawyers when Mayfield cleans up, ala Marcia Grant?

Some good news from TNT, Bill Weber has been replaced as lead announcer for their remaining race telecasts. Ralph Sheheen will take over. Seems Billy boy didn't play well with others in N.H. last week.

TNT will also be broadcasting Saturday night's race in a widescreen letterbox format. Also, no national commercials will be shown during the race. Instead on screen graphics and messages will be scrolled during live action.

Dale Earnhardt Jr has two wins at Daytona and 11 top-10s in 19 starts. Jr will be sneaking up on everyone in a special hand painted U.S. Army camouflage car this week. Martin Truex Jr has made eight starts here and has yet to garner a top-10 finish. Must be those tricky restarts.

Mark Martin has never won at Daytona, in 48 starts. Tony Stewart has two wins and 11 top-10s in 21 starts. Kyle Busch has one win and four top-5s in 9 starts here.

Mike Wallace has five top-10s in 18 starts. Wallace will be driving the #64 with Fred's Discount Stores on board. Gander Mountain is sponsoring Tony Raines in the NNS and Cup races at Daytona this weekend.

Happy Indepence Day everyone! Freedom isn't free!