Thursday, February 11, 2010

Right Sides Only

And so it begins. The NASCAR season roars into the new year and rumbles along the asphalt high banks of the World Center of Speed.

Season Opener

No one drags out a season opener like the crew in Daytona does. NASCAR parcels out a handful of races over a two week period from the end of January until the middle of February. Speed Weeks is the official end of winter for a race fan. The days are getting longer, and the sun is much warmer in Daytona than you would expect. Hold off on that last one, going to be in the 30s at night down there this weekend.

Buyer's Market

NASCAR has finally determined that the economy may be affecting the live attendance at their events, but being broke should not keep fans away from their TV sets. So, the powers that be have brainstormed a bunch of new rules to enhance the competition. Some of the new twists are promising, and I bet that we will see more changes during the year if the ratings stay down. NASCAR has never minded changing rules as they go along.

New Blood

Where are the next generation of drivers coming from? So far this year there are two drivers signed on as Rookie of the Year candidates. Terry Cook and Kevin Conway. Both are with underfunded teams and neither will be in the Daytona 500. I'll also predict neither one is around when the series returns to Daytona in July.

Must See

Two new TV series this off season have stoked interest in auto racing. 'Madhouse' is a recap of last year's wild modified series at Bowman-Gray Stadium. By far, the best racing show ever. The other show is not bad either. 'Jimmie Johnson 24/7' on HBO follows JJ and Chad Knaus for the month leading up to the Daytona 500. This show gave a great behind the scenes look at the champ and his team.

Must See?

Fox TV airs the first half of the season, and just like Groundhog Day, nothing's changed. After wincing through their Bud Shootout coverage last week, I can see that they think the way to deal with falling ratings is to play the same cards over and over. Is no one else insulted that they think so little of the NASCAR audience that they foist the same fourth rate announcers and directors off on us year after year? One bright spot.... Digger was mighty scarce during the Shootout.

She's Sparkly

You may have heard, Danica Patrick was in the ARCA race last weekend. Much like her Indy starts, she led no laps, and finished sixth, in one of the best cars. She now will appear in the NNS race on Saturday. She is not ready for that level of competition, on that track, right now. But, there is no such thing as bad publicity. What are a few broken bones and torn up race cars anyway?

The Sure Thing

Daytona 500 winner.........Tony Stewart

Dark Horse.........................Matt Kenseth


  1. Gene, I'd have thought you'd pick Kyle to win it! Smoke's a good choice. Should he win, I wouldn't be surprised if Happy gives him a push to the checkered flag.

  2. Since you didn't mention Junyer, I suppose that means this year will be "same old, same old"?:(

  3. Good opening RSO of the season. NASCAR Drivers 360 was also a great show when it was on back in the day.

    FOX just cannot seem to realize how bad they need to kick Darrell Waltrip out of that booth! Good replacement for him: Kenny Wallace.

  4. hey Gene, I may have missed something in the translation and all that but was the fact that both duels were won by the inside line ever talked about at all?

    I mean, ignoring last years shortened 500, the previous two were decided by the guy who popped out into the outside line (Kevin and Ryan)...seems like a rather big thing they missed if no one said anything, lol

  5. Ah, I have missed your blatherings in the off season Gene.

    Keselowski didnt play his cards right for ROTY contention but he is at least "fresher" blood.

    Did you know Digger has his own merchandise hauler at the track now? Apparently it was more crowded than Juniors but less than Danicas...

    Winner - Kurt Busch
    Dark Horse - Cupcake

  6. Please please please can we see some unbiased reporting/commentating. The M.Waltrip cheerleading squad on Speedtv(FOX) was an embarassment. I almost won't watch the FOX broadcasts. OK,,,, I said almost. I wonder how the other guys who had stories and drama during the duels felt while Speedtv focused on Mikey. Sad but the directors missed the oppurtunity to really catch more of the drama while focusing on a guy who CRASHED when given the chance to get in on his own. FOX telecasts blow. We need something similar to a Joe Buck and Troy Aikman or Al Michaels and Cris Collinswoth type broadcasts. Troy and Cris were former players and are not afraid to call someone out when they screw up. Al and Joe are great play by play guys who stay calm and tell us what is happening.
    Sorry ..... Rant over. But that telecast was BS yesterday.
    Great RSO...

  7. Funny, among the Nascar announcing groups I think the Fox crew is the least annoying. Not saying they're great just saying they tend to annoy me the least. Mike, Larry Mac, and DW basically do a decent job. The TNT and ESPN/ABC telecasts usually make me turn off the volume and have music going instead. I guess it's just personal preference.

    Anyways, I still think the SPEED F1 announcing trio (Varsha, Hobbs, and Matchet) is the best I've recently heard in motorsports.

    Nascar by far has the shortest off-season I've ever seen. It seems like they take off, what, like two weeks! I'm exaggerating of course but compared to other motorsports Nascar is about as close to a completely year-round series as I've seen.

    At some point there becomes too much of a good thing. I believe the technical term might be called "over-saturating the market"?

  8. Jon....I just have a feeling about Smoke after watching him in action this past week. Can't alway's play the favorite card.

    ATH....I expect NASCAR to really pull some sketchy deals to get Jr reacquainted with Victoria.

  9. Glad Right Sides Only is back for another season! So far I'm pleased with what I've seen on the track this week.

    I believe Inside NASCAR also debuted on Showtime this week but I didn't catch it. Looked like they had an interesting panel though.

    As for the ROTY deal, it's not good that there are no contenders this year, but I think the young guns that have come into the sport over the past several years are now maturing and establishing themselves as the new "core" group of drivers. I think this is just a temporary lull.

  10. Gonger....thanks. Kenny Wallace might be okay if they could get him away from Jimmy Spencer.

    Tez...I haven't heard any comments on TV about it, but, going back to the Shootout, the inside line seems to be the fast way around.

  11. KLV...Yes, I suppose BK is fresh blood.... it only SEEMS like he has been around awhile.

    I have seen the Digger rig. Too bad they don't rent air rifles.

    Jamie Mac is a great pick this year at the plate tracks.

  12. SoCal.... Much like a current administration, the powers that be at Fox think the great unwashed aren't smart enough to know when they're being taken for granted.

    There must be some elitist mentality at the top of Fox. They think we bumpkins will just swallow their pablum year after year, no questions asked.

  13. What, a BC 525 sighting. Did he see his shadow? LOL. I guess we all can't have the same preferences, or we would all be looking for blondes with big chests, skinny legs, and low self-esteem.

    They really should cut back to 30 races, and not compete with the NFL in October and November. Then take off four and a half months and build up our anticipation.

  14. JM....I don't have Showtime, but I hear Mike Waltrip is on the show. I can miss that.

    You're right, there are plenty of young, talented drivers to carry the sport for the next 15-20 years at least.

  15. Gene, I was thinking of the NASCAR schedule being shortened. I'll post a blog on that soon and give my 30-race schedule. Great RSO as usual (sorry I didn't say that on my earlier post).

  16. The first stop of the year! I have been away for a bit, glad all the old familiar faces are still around. Look forward to a great season.