Thursday, October 29, 2009

Right Sides Only

This week we go from NASCAR's smallest track at Matinsville to it's largest one in Talladega. See, this is the kind of Wildcard they throw into the Chase to make it more exciting. Right? Goosebumps, yet?

Ratings Killer

Look for NASCAR to realy shake up the Chase format during the offseason. Their TV ratings have went Tango Uniform this year. Jimmie Johnson's dominance is only hurting as several long time fans have said, "Enough!"

Since it seems as no one can work hard enough, or spend enough, to beat the 48 team, look for NASCAR to bring some kind of 'luck of the draw' element to the Chase or the Race for the Chase. Something that will allow something totaly random to factor into the competition.

He hasn't driven one lately.

Elliott Sadler will be in the #19 Stanley Tools Ford this weekend. RPM will be getting a head start on their merger with Yates by putting E Sad in a Ford for this restrictor plate race. Evidently this is just a test session to collect data for next year's Daytona where RPM will have four Fords entered.

Was that his name?

Steve Addington is out as Kyle Busch's crew chief after the race Sunday in Talladega. Addington was paid a lot of money to listen to Busch complain. In return he got to call himself a crew chief. A title that he will never hold again in the Cup series. Did he ever make a pit call that won a race for Kyle? Magic 8-Ball says, NO!

While it would have been interesting for Busch to take one of Dale Jr's old crew chiefs and turn him into a winner, JGR has already announced the new chief. Dave Rogers comes over from the JGR #20 NNS car where he won the Owner's Championship last year while using four different drivers. About the same amount of personalities that Kyle has, so Rogers should be perfect.


Bobby Labonte has met with Robby Gordon Motorsports. I would like to say that it wasn't concerning a ride for Labonte next season, but I can't. It's bad enough that Robby Gordon is out there running 36th every week, but why would a champion like Bobby want to become a ham and egger also? RGM would like to have a second car next year, and Bobby has a past champion's provisional that they could use.

Labonte left a sweet ride at JGR a few years back and began a shamefull slide into pity and obscurity when he went to Petty Enterprises. From there he dug farther down until he found himself at Hall of Fame Racing. Now RGM? Bobby, you are the only thing Hall of Fame worthy at HOF Racing. If you can't get a ride with a team that has won a race in the last three years....retire. Please!


Monday, October 26, 2009

View From The Flagstand

With just four races remaining in the Chase, all of Jimmie Johnson's closest competitiors lost ground to the current, and future, champ Sunday in Martinsville. That's the bad news. The good news is that at least he didn't win. Or is it? He didn't win, yet still padded his points lead.

CHECKERED FLAG.....The Commonwealth of Virginia's own Denny Hamlin won at Martinsville, Virginia's tight half-mile roller rink for the second time in his career. He led a race high 206 laps, including the last 138. Some people (me) thought that Hamlin would fall to pieces after a disastrous start to his Chase efforts. Yesterday, he and his crew kept their cool through several restarts at the end of the race and earned a tough win.

GREEN FLAGS.....Juan Pablo Montoya was back on the podium with his hard fought third place finish. Kyle Busch overcame a lot of adversity to score a 4th on Sunday and a 2nd on Saturday in the NNS race in Memphis. Jamie McMurray (6th) and Kevin Harvick (10) broke into the top-10 for a rare visit Sunday. Bobby Labonte qualified 8th and hung around the top-10 most of the day, and finally came home in 13th. A lot tougher than a 13th at most tracks these days.

YELLOW FLAGS.....The following drivers all were involved in at least one crash, most of them more than that. Scott Speed (31), Kasey Kahne (32), David Stremme (33), AJ Allmendinger (34), and Sam Hornish (35). None of these guys has ever been a contender at Martinsville, and it doesn't look like they will be for a long while.

RED FLAG.....Carl Edwards on his on track tete-a-tete with rival Kyle Busch, "I don't know what his problem is. I got into him, he hit me back, then I hit him back, so we're even." Maybe you shouldn't have dropped out of that community college, Carl. You admit you hit him first, AND now you're even?

BLACK FLAG......NASCAR'S dumb ass rule about freezing the field the instant a caution comes out. This would also do away with other dumb ass rules for the lucky dog and the wave around. Twice now in the last month, there has been a wrecked car sitting at the finish line on the last lap. Twice now, NASCAR has waited too long to throw the caution.

In the previous instance, they showed the yellow when the leader was exiting turn four. Yesterday they threw the caution and checkered flag simultaneously as Hamlin hit the finish line. That meant that Hamlin raced back to the line but no one else could, as the field should have been frozen as soon as the yellow was displayed. Check the replay out and see if Busch passed Jeff Gordon for position before, or after, the yellow flew. It was close, and Gordon may have backed off for the caution.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Right Sides Only©

The Jimmie and Chad Show heads to a NASCAR legacy track this weekend. Martinsville Speedway has seen 'em come and go for sixty years of short track, slam bam, excitement. This flat, paper clip is where feuds used to be it's where Chase points are counted.

Ho Hum

In the last 31 Chase races, Jimmie Johnson has 11 wins, 21 top-5s, and 27 top-10s. He also has not finished lower than 15th in that 3+ years. That is how Chase championships are won. Why don't any of the other teams try this formula? Juan Pablo Montoya's team tried to, this year. Made the Chase, and lasted all of four races.

He has now hit everything but the lottery

Michael Waltrip, once again, showed off those razor sharp reflexes Wednesday night. Seems Mikey missed the entrance to the ol' Crystal Pistol Saloon. No spotter, I guess. Then, like the pro he is, pulls a Uwee. Like most of his route changes on the track, this one ended with contact.

A motorcycle just happened to be in the way of Mikey's u-turn. The cyclist was transported to an area medical center, and is okay. Waltrip was given a field sobriety test and passed. Finally all the years of training pay off. Waltrip only showed a .06 blood alcohol level on the Breathalyzer. Under North Carolina's .08 limit. Not bad for 7:30 in the evening, Mikey.

In a related note, Waltrip's sponsor this week at Martinsville is NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads which feature 'stop on a dime' braking power. I wonder if there's time to change the slogan to 'stop on a Harley' braking power?

Who's the bad guy, and who's the good guy?

JGR teammates, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano will be the guest hosts of Monday Night RAW this Monday night in Buffalo. It will be a live pro wrestling show in which the guest hosts usually have some interactions with the wrestlers. Will Kyle turn against the upstart Logano? Is Ric Flair coaching Kyle? Tune in at 9pm et on USA Network to find out.

More Kyle, Really?

This weekend Busch competes on two NASCAR tracks that he has yet to win on, Martinsville on Sunday and Memphis Motorsports Park on Saturday. The #18 Toyota will feature a Halloween paint scheme this weekend at Martinsville.

The new American Formula One team, US F1 wants Busch to be their driver in 2011, after his JGR contract is up in 2010. A lot of smoke being blown in search of a sponsor. This team would take Danica Patrick if she brung the noise.

Don't sing it, bring it!

2007 F1 Champ, Kimi Raikkonen is being dropped by Ferrari and has no racing plans for the future. When asked if he would consider NASCAR Kimi said, "I could race there if I wanted, but I'm not one of the biggest fans of NASCAR."

Seems he would like the F1 like qualities of NASCAR, where one car gets out front and no one can pass him.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

View From The Flagstand

This week's view from Charlotte was wet, and cold. Not the greatest weather in the world to sit outside, at night, just to watch a rerun of a show you didn't like the first three times you saw it.

Yes, Saturday night's win at LMS by Jimmie Johnson showed even the densest among us the two foot high letters that were written on the wall. This is where the season may as well be over, and it is for a lot of teams and fans.

CHECKERED FLAGS......Jimmie Johnson has won the last three Sprint Cup championships, and with his latest win on Saturday, they may as well engrave the trophy in his name now. Kyle Busch won the Nationwide race on Friday and finished 8th on the Cup side.

GREEN FLAGS.......Plenty of non-Chasers made the top-10 at LMS. Among them Matt Kenseth in second was either strong, or surprising. Others who made a rare visit to Toptenville were Clint Bowyer (6), Casey Mears (7), and Martin Truex Jr (9).

YELLOW FLAGS.....Numerous Chasers lost the tenuous hope that they carried into Saturday night's race. Juan Pablo Montoya saw his string of top-5s in the Chase come crashing to an end...literally. Denny Hamlin looked to have a car to contend with after leading early. Alas, the Virginian's race, and Chase, hopes were dashed. Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers, and Greg Biffle also had their fates revealed during the 500 miles at Charlotte. Not good.

RED FLAG.......Should there be a night race in North Carolina in mid-October? Temps in the forties, rain, and wind all weekend were not conductive to a memorable time at the old racetrack. There were plenty of empty seats in attendance, that just makes it seem colder.

BLACK FLAG......The Chase. Let's see if Jimmie can win a real championship. You know, like Cale Yarborough or Darrell Waltrip racing EVERY week of the season. Not just for ten races at the end of the year. What a joke!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

ARCA Pics From The Rock

Here are some random photos from the ARCA American 200 at Rockingham Speedway on October 11, 2009

.......................................................................Alli Owens

.....................................................................Brett Moffitt

...................................This dude came all the way from France, Michel Disdier

........................................................... Early end for Bryan Silas ....................................................... King of ARCA, Frank Kimmel

.................................................... Humpy Wheeler and Justin Marks
...................................Alli Owens says hello to her number one fan in Alabama

..................................................... David Ragan's brother, Adam

................................................ Alli Owens in the Venturi MoSpo Chevy

....................................................... Race winner, Parker Kligerman

.....................................................2009 ARCA Champ, Justin Lofton
................................................. Ken Schrader and fan from Hanahan, SC

Friday, October 16, 2009

Right Sides Only©

The boys are back in town. After a two week western swing, the NASCAR Chase continues at the home of most of the teams, Charlotte, NC. This 500 miler under the lights will be the halfway point in the Chase.

The official NASCAR Hall of Fame announced it's inaugural class earlier this week as part of the race week festivities. Instead of putting the five best drivers in the first class----like baseball did with it's players----NASCAR's first class will nave the France family as 40% of the inductees. Yeah, that doesn't make the sport look like a bunch of hayshakers and carnies.

Bill France Sr deserved to go in first. He took NASCAR from nothing into a high profile major league sport. Bill Jr did a lot for the sport also, but I doubt that even one fan ever bought a ticket to see him on Sunday. The drivers are the straw that stirs the drink here....not an executive.

Lesa France Kennedy (Brian's sister) was recently named the most powerful woman in sports by Forbes Magazine. She is the CEO of International Speedway Corporation. I guess we'll see Lesa in the Hall of Fame next year.

Lots of different sponsors and paint schemes for Saturday night's race. Almost half the field will be sporting something different on their wrappers. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and several cars will be rocking pink in support of this and the Susan G Komen for the Cure.

Among those going pink are...Kyle Busch in the M&Ms Toyota #18, Bobby Labonte's #96 AskMen Ford, Bill Elliott and his #21 Ford, Elliott Sadler in the Stanley Tools #19 Dodge, and Mike Waltrip in the #55 NAPA Toyota.

Lowes Motor Speeday held their first race on October, 16, 1960. It was won by the Woods Brothers. They will make their 100th start at Lowes on Saturday. Maybe after the entire France family gets in, the greatest driver the Woods ever had, David Pearson,will make the Hall of Fame.

Check the replays out folks, Da Biff never touched Joey. He carried him high going into the turn, definitely not his normal line. Free advice to time someone gets you in that situation, tap your brakes. Or, turn left, not right!

Since 2000, four drivers have scored their first Cup win at LMS. How many can you name?


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

View From The Flagstand

Jimmie Johnson continued his dominaton at Auto Club Speedway, and in the Chase, on Sunday. He led just over half of the 250 laps in the Pepsi 500.

There were a reported 70,000 fans in attendance at Fontana on Sunday. It seems to go down every race there.

CHECKERED FLAG......Jimmie Johnson could have led a lot more laps. He constantly gave up his lead on pit stops under caution. Not really a bad thing, as his crew knew he had the car, and they just wanted to make sure all servicing was complete each time. If JJ wins this week in Charlotte, the Chase will be over, and NASCAR's TV ratings will sink faster than the President's approval ratings.

GREEN FLAGS....Jeff Gordon (2), and Mark Martin (4) completed the HMS exotic trifecta box finish. Juan Montoya was third, and now has five top-four finishes in this year's Chase. David Ragan (7) makes this list for the first time this year.

YELLOW FLAGS....Dale Earnhardt Jr had his fans wishfully imagining a possible top-10 finish until his team pitted him on the next to last caution. This, in turn, led to him being in the right position to be a major player in the last caution. Denny Hamlin found out the hard way that Montoya doesn't give an inch. You're either clear, or your not, Den.

RED FLAG.....Tom Logano. Joey's dad had his NASCAR credentials taken as a result of his actions after Saturday's NNS race. This was not Tom's first run in with NASCAR personel. He has a bit of a temper, and a bit of a track record.

Greg Biffle told his team, via radio, that he would wreck Joey Logano. Biffle then raced Logano high and hard into a turn, Joey bounced off the wall, then touched Biffle. Biffle never touched Joey to send him into the wall. He came very close, but never touched him.

NASCAR knows that almost every driver out there has threatened, by radio, to wreck a fellow competitior. Kind of hard to punish just one of them. On the other hand, Tom Logano has a history of irratic behavior, temper tantrums, and death threats against others.

BLACK FLAG......The phantom debris cautions. At least half of Sunday's eight yellow flags were for debris, or a restart wreck after a debris caution. Kudos to Kasey Kahne for speaking out about the phantom debris flags. NASCAR claims that there was debris on the backstretch apron to bring out the last debris yellow. Um, okay...but if that 'debris' was so dangerous, why wait until all the cars had made their green flag pit stops before throwing the caution?


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

75 Year Old Superman

Seventy-five year old ARCA driver, James Hylton was involved in a violent, fiery, wreck during Sunday's American 200 at Rockingham Speedway. Hylton was taken to an area hospital where he was treated and released with no major injuries.

The top pic is of Hylton during pre-race ceremonies at the frontstretch stage. The other pics were taken during the race. The race was red flagged while emergency workers had to cut his steering wheel off to extricate Hylton from his wrecked car.

Hylton says he will race again and plans to attend ARCA's post season award's ceremony in December.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Right Sides Only©

Race four of the NASCAR Chase finds us in Fontana, California for the Pepsi 500. Do they make Double Caffeine Pepsi?

It might be interesting to see how moving this race from the Labor Day holiday to the Chase will affect ticket sales. Surely, having to be at work the following day, instead of it being a holiday, should increase sales. No?

Could NASCAR be *this* close to giving up on Auto Club Speedway? Moving this race to the Chase won't help attendance. By giving the Labor Day date to Atlanta, NASCAR helped that track to sell out.

Previous plans to increase the degree of banking in Fontana's turns, and narrow some parts of the track have been put on hold. Why? Why isn't NASCAR in a hurry to dump more cash down this money pit? Are they really making more money from TV and movie shoots at the track than from their version of 'racing'?

NASCAR listened to the fans and will start races at 1 pm/et next year. Hey, it works great for the NFL. Five western races will start at 3 pm/et, and night races will all start at 7:30 pm/et. The lone exception is the Coca Cola 600 which keeps it's 5:45 pm/et start. Indy is moving it's 500 start up next year, but couldn't the 600 have moved back 45 minutes, to help any drivers looking to double dip?

A movie (infomercial) on HMS airs this Sunday before the race on ABC. "Together" celebrates the 25th anniversary of Hendrick Motorsports. The narrator is Cole Trickle.

GoDaddy would like Danica Patrick to run a limited NNS/ARCA schedule next year. She has met with Stewart/Haas Racing, and Mike Waltrip has thrown his team into the mix. But JR Motorsports, which already has GoDaddy funding, appears to be the front runner. When she and Jr finally go public, ratings will skyrocket. Even more so if she joins his race team.

Carl Edwards is one of six 'coverboys' on ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue" out this week. Anyone? Anyone at all?

I'll be in Rockingham this weekend, covering the ARCA finale. Look for interviews, pics, and live race updates at, and on facebook.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

View From The Flagstand

Try as we may to focus this week's View back on the race at Kansas, we can't help but wonder how Fontana is the next race. Which leads us to mumble WTF, and try to guess why NASCAR thought either track belongs in the Chase, let alone with back to back 'races'.

Oh, yeah. NASCAR's shell company owns both tracks.

Now, where were we? Kansas? Righto, Kansas.

CHECKERED FLAG....Goes to the race winner, Tony Stewart. Stewart took "Right Sides Only" during the last, dubious, caution in Kansas, and held off Jeff Gordon at the end. Stewart appears to be gaining some momentum for a drive towards title number three.

GREEN FLAGS....Gordon was strong all day, don't know how he managed not to lead a single lap. Greg Biffle led the most laps and ended up third after that dubious caution. Juan Montoya (4th) has now finished in the top-4 in all three Chase races this year. Brad Keselowski started third, raced up front, led a lap, and settled for a 13th place finish. More on him later.

YELLOW FLAGS....Brian Vickers (37th) finds himself 12th in the Chase, 250 points out of first. Dale Earnhardt Jr (36th) led 40 laps early, and had his Nation all fired up. Then they came back to Earth as Jr had his usual problems on pit road before finally blowing his engine. With not a stepmother in sight.

RED FLAG.... The tracks scheduled for the last ten Chase races. Five intermediate, cookie cutter, tracks. Half the schedule! According to a recent poll of well informed NASCAR fans, a road race in Sonoma is prefered by 75% of Chase watchers.

BLACK FLAG....NASCAR! The sanctioning body actually told Keselowski's team that he should not race so hard against Montoya at one point. Why? Because Montoya is in the Chase and BK, the rookie, is not. Ridiculous! Does the NFL tell the Raiders not to play so hard against the Colts because the Colts are a playoff team? Hell no! They don't need to, after all it is the Raiders, but you get my drift. I think the NFL has actually threatened to impose penalties in the past on teams for 'coasting' at the end of the year.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Right Sides Only ©

NASCAR's Chase continues with race three from Kansas Speedway this week. This would be the ideal time for any pretenders to the throne to step their game up and try to derail the three car HMS express of Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, and Jeff Gordon. Don't hold your breath.

The Chase/playoff style format was contrived by NASCAR to try and maintain TV ratings during the fall when the NFL crushes everything that goes up against them. So far this Chase season, ratings are at an all time low. Also, more and more aluminum was visible in the bleachers last week at Dover as that race wore on, and on.

Meanwhile, NASCAR Top Gun, Brian France continues to fiddle, and thinks that his new clothes are poppin'. When asked about declining interest in his product France casually replied, "The Chase has the right storylines, the right things going on..." Storylines? You may want to hire some new writers, B.

Kevin Harvick will be in the Reese's Cup Chevy #29 at Kansas. Bright orange car, candy, Halloween must be coming. Scott Speed will try to race a Cup car at Kansas for the first time this week. Last year Speed won an ARCA race, and finished 8th in a Truck Series race at Kansas, on the same day.

David Gilliland will be in a JGR Toyota for three Cup races later this year. The #02 will carry Farm Bureau Insurance sponsorship for Gilliland. Paul Menard says he's not interested in taking daddy's money to RCR and driving the #07 Chevy. Well, RPM is in the Chase, and RCR is not.

Principal RPM owner, George "Speedy" Gillett is attempting to unload his vast pro sports holdings, including the Montreal Canadiens, FC Liverpool, and Richard Petty Motorsports. The Molsons (yeah, those Molsons) of Canada are lined up to buy the Habs. Gillett has a Saudi Prince on the hook to buy the soccer team in England, and also is trying to foist RPM on the sheik.

Prince Fasil of the Saudi royal family is reportedly going to pay up to 650 million bucks for the soccer team and part, or all, of RPM. Some of the fallout from this deal may include the Richard Petty Driving Experience coming to the middle east, and a stock car facility being built in Saudi Arabia for exhibition races. Think global, race local.

A recent poll of well informed NASCAR fans showed that 57% of them think that Dale Earnhardt Jr will make the Chase next year. While a rational 42% said, no, he won't.