Hot Atlanta

Congratulations to Kurt Busch for his victory today.

I am proud of the #14 team today. They started out at the back of the pack after changing engines after the last practice yesterday. He, and the #39 team, were experiencing drive train issues so it is better to be safe than sorry. Tony finished 13th. I would have liked better for Tony, but after having a tough day with the car, I will take a 13th finish.  Ryan Newman finished 17th.

Tires seemed to be the issue of the day (outside the whole Carl/Brad incident).  Several drivers, including Ryan Newman and Mark Martin had blown tires.  I can’t remember whose tire they showed, but it was shredded to pieces.  Were some of the teams too aggressive on their setup for yesterday’s race?  Perhaps, but you should be able to depend on one’s tires during a race especially if they were specifically tested at the track. I guess Goodyear needs to go back and do some more testing before the boys return to Atlanta in the fall.

Now for what I am sure will be the talk of all the NASCAR radio shows tomorrow on Sirius as well as everywhere else. Prior to the start of the season NASCAR told the boys to “have it”. There was quite some debate around this topic. How far would the leash be released before NASCAR would pull it back and say that’s enough boys?  Well, today will test this whole idea of “have it boys”.  Early on in the race, Brad K. clipped Carl which sent Carl up the track and into Joey Lagano.  This wreck pretty much ended Carl’s day.  Brad had minimal damage and was able to continue on with his day.  It looked like he was going to have a good finish. However late in the race Carl let Brad K. know how he felt about the earlier incident.  When Carl was interviewed after the first initial incident, he played it off as if it wasn’t a big deal.  Well, I guess it was a bigger deal for him than we all thought. I know this is going to set a firestorm of debate between all NASCAR fans.

The boys are off next weekend so this will give everyone a chance to spend some quality time with friends and family who are feeling neglected because of NASCAR. Heck, be daring and watch some other kind of television on Sunday. Have a great week everyone!

Sqare peg…round hole

That’s what it feels like it times.  I am the square peg trying to get through that round hole.  Not matter how much I try it doesn’t seem to fit.  It was a rough day at work.  No matter what I did today someone somewhere was mad, angry, and not taking responsibility for their choices.  I am trying to teach Little Smoke about taking responsibility for his bad choices.  This is a difficult thing to teach a 6 year old, but I am doing my best.  In my line of work I see those who blame others for their bad decisions instead of taking responsibility.  It’s just very frustrating, but I carry on as I do…after all tomorrow is another day. 

I am very excited about tomorrow.  I get to see Jeff Dunham in concert tomorrow.  If you don’t know who Jeff Dunham is, you need to travel on over to You Tube and type in “Jeff Dunham”.  I guarantee you will laugh until it hurts.  Maybe that’s what I need to get over today’s hellish day of work.  It’s going to be a great concert!

I missed the Cup boys this past weekend, but I did catch the Nationwide race up in Montreal.  I felt so bad for Marcus.  On the last turn of the last lap…it just sucks.  But I have to applaud him for his professionalism as ESPN interviewed him after the race.  Yes, it was brief, but very professional.  I wonder how Kyle would have reacted if he was the one in Marcus’s situation.  I think we can all guess what would have happened.  Labor Day weekend is upon us my friends and that means racing under the lights on Sunday at Atlanta.  This is going to be interesting.   There is only Atlanta and Richmond until the final 12 are set for the last 10 races.  I really want to see Mark Martin in the Chase.  It would just suck if he wasn’t there.  I am pretty ambivalent about Kyle. 

Congrats to Brad K. for signing with Penske and the #12 team.  I think he will have success over there with the #12 team.  He has proven he can drive with the big boys.  I am sure Mr. Hendrick will still be keeping his eyes on the young man.  It wouldn’t surprise me if in a few years that Brad returns to drive for HMS.

Don’t forget all you Tony Stewart fans, the Prelude to the Dream is scheduled to run next Wednesday, September 9.  It was originally scheduled for June, but due to Mother Nature it was postponed until next Wednesday.  So head on over to your pay per view channels and order your Prelude.

Just stuff

It’s that time of the year…NASCAR and Football!!

I have been watching quite a bit of NASCAR lately trying to get pumped up for The Chase here in a few weeks.  Congrats to Tony for his win at Watkins Glen.  That makes three wins this year and 30 bonus points and he is securely in The Chase.  I was a little upset that Mark’s crew chief tried to play the gas mileage game last week at Michigan.  Mark was not in a position to go for the win last week unlike Jimmie Johnson.  It was not worth the gamble and well..Mark is now 12th in the standings.  Congrats to Brian Vickers last week for his first win in the #83 and his Red Bull team.  Plus his stock went up with me because frankly, Kyle needs his ass kicked.  He is a good driver don’t get me wrong, but enough already.  I agree with Brian Vickers…I didn’t get the memo stating either that it was the Kyle Busch show.  It’s called racing Kyle did you get THAT memo?  It’s great Kyle is passionate about his racing, but you aren’t going to win every single race.  Sometimes the mark of a good racer is the way you behave when you lose. 

I have my fantasy football set for this year.  This will be first time I have ever attempted fantasy football.  I didn’t go to the draft part because I was dealing with a cranky infant.  However I sent Postman with my game plan and budget and to be honest he did pretty good.  I really, really wanted Peyton Manning as my other quarterback, but he just went for too much money and to be honest that was not where I needed to put my money.  Besides I do have his brother Eli as my main QB so I am pretty OK with the team.  I would rather have a team with several good players than a team with one star and crappy players.  We shall see how things go for me—stay tuned.

Work has been somewhat interesting and stressful of late.  But hopefully things have turned the corner…as they say hope springs eternal

I am excited about how the Texas Rangers are challenging for the playoffs this year.  I have actually enjoyed watching them.  And now that Pudge is back it’s going to be interesting to watch that Wild Card race with Boston and Tampa Bay.  Go Rangers!  Hopefully the Cowboys are somewhat better than last year.  I think with TO leaving and Romo able to get focused on things on the field instead of what’s going on in the tabloids etc.  It’s going to be interesting as well for my Red Raiders.   I am excited though.  I don’t know if it will be as thrilling as last year, but I am sure the Red Raiders will have some surprises this year.

Little Smoke starts first grade on Monday!  Woo Hoo! We still have some issues we all have to work through, but he is improving and I think things will settle down once he gets into his school routine.  He is playing flag football this year and Postman will be his coach.   Postman may have to ban me from his games because I can get a little passionate about football and no I am NOT one of those moms either.  I respect what the coaches do and let them do their job. it me you’re lookin’ for?

I am still here plugging away.  The Park has been neglected somewhat and the weeds are starting to grow around the place. 

This is the second week in a row the Cup has been delayed.  I guess Mother Nature is not a race fan.  I did listen to last week’s race and I have to say for a Pocono race is was somewhat exciting.  I wish I could have seen some of the race, but momma has to work.  Looks like I will be doing the same thing tomorrow.  I would love to see the double file restarts coming down into Turn 1, but once again Momma has to work.  I think I feel a cold comin’ on (cough cough). 

I caught the Nationwide yesterday.  Congratulations to Marcus Ambrose for his second win in a row at The Glen.  I like Marcus.  He is a breath a fresh air and every time I see him interviewed he always has something positive to say even when it’s going bad.  I was disappointed at what Kyle Busch had to say about the end of the race.  I have to laugh at Kyle Busch calling out Marcus for aggressive driving.  Are you kididng me?  Now I like Kyle for his driving becuase he wants to win every single race and he isn’t happy that he doesn’t.  He is a passionate driver and damn the man can drive, but his little “oh poor me, I’m not getting my way, taking my toys home” attitude is beginning to wear on me.  He is not endearing himself to me.  But Kyle is Kyle.  Can you imagine if he focused soley on his championship run in Cup instead of running all three series, where would he be?  I had this conversaiton with Postman.  Can you imagine?  I mean if you look at those at the top of the standings, they don’t run in all three series.  I know Tony has in the past and Jimmie occassionally does, but look at those who pull several double duty weekends.  They are at the top and well Kyle may find himself out of The Chase even with those wins.

I have been hearing quite a bit of anti-Earnhardt discussion.  I hate to see him struggle like he has over the past few years.  I know he made the Chase last year, but he didn’t shine at all.  I have many discussions with my friends who are part of Earnhardt nation.  When he was going through his last year or so with DEI, they thought if he was in better equipment all the other drivers better watch out.  Well, here we are folks year 2 of better equipment and he still is struggling.  Mr. Hendrick pulled the trigger and replaced Tony Eury Jr.  It might take some time for the team to feel comfortable with one another.  Also, and I know Junior nation may not like this, but Junior is struggling with a confidence problem.  He was having a good run at Indy and then the engine gave way.  It’s seems like he is taking two steps fowards and two steps back.  I am not a fan of Earnhardt, but I hate to see a good driver struggle.  He didn’t forget how to drive, he just needs some good runs to get back some of that confidence.

I miss The Park. I was able to come here and be myself.  As I struggle with some things right, perhaps I should return more often than I have these past few months.  It might just be the medicine I need.

The Brickyard

I can honestly say I was excited about yesterday’s race.  To me, Indy is the holy land for racing.  I was on pins and needles at the prospect of tony winning and putting that #14 back in victory lane, but we don’t alway get what we wish for.

The day started out with Mark Martin and Juan Pablo Montoya on the front row.    What a way to start a race!  Mark Martin, who I think has stole the show this year in NASCAR (excluding Tony) and Juan Pablo who would have a chance to win both a 500 and a 400.  It looked like most of the day this would be the case for JPM.  He had a 5 second lead on Mark at one point and it looked like no other driver was going to touch him.  Until JPM hit pit road late in the race and got nabbed for speeding not in one zone, but two zones.  JPM was angry and he even said so over his radio.  I can understand his frustration, but you made a mistake.  He finished 11th.  Not the finish I am sure JPM wanted, but still keeps him in the Top 12.  It’s hard to keep your eye on the big picture sometimes, but I think now that he has had some distance away from the race he can reflect on his effort. 

This whole speeding on pit road issue was the topic of conversation on Sirius this morning.  All those conspiracy theorists were calling in talking about how NASCAR rigs the races, etc.  There are times I wonder because things after in the strangest ways, but come on now.  Drivers are even given 5 miles over the posted pit road speed limit.  JPM was nabbed not in one spot, but two.  I could also understand if more than one driver was nabbed for speeding.  It wasn’t like that truck race a few months ago where it seemed everyone was getting nabbed.  NASCAR doesn’t have some state trooper down with his trusty radar gun hiding behind some tree.  No it’s done electronically.  Besides, I believe it was Junior in a post race intereview commenting on the fact that he was hoping NASCAR would have thrown a few more cautions.  Now that statement boggled my  mind more than the whole speeding incident. 

Speaking of Junior, it doesn’t look like he will end up in the Chase this year.  He finished 36th after starting 4th.  He currently sits in 21st spot in the standings, 367 points back of 12th place, Matt Kenseth.  There are only 6 races left until the Chase begins. If he is going to have a shot at even getting to #12, he is going to have to light it up in the next 6 races as well as have those ahead of him have bad races.  To be honest I don’t see that happening…he would have to jump over Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, David Reutiman, Clint Bowyer, Brian Vickers, Jeff Burton, Marcus Ambrose, Jamie McMuray, Joey Lagano.  I am sorry, but yesterday pretty much put the nail in the coffin.

Congratulations to Jimmie on winning his second Brickyard in a row.  I have never been a big Jimmie fan and I have stated that here in The Park, but Jimmie and Chad always find a way to get themselves in position to win a race.  It’s not just here and there…it’s every week the #48 team is a threat.  I guess that’s why he has won the Championship three times in a row and is making waves for that 4th one.  Of course, this doesn’t mean I am going to run out and stock up on Jimmie stuff.  I am just saying as a NASCAR fan I have to respect the talent and tenacity of a team to come with both barrels loaded every week. 

I have to say that was a nice piece ESPN did with Tony and AJ Foyt.  How many of us get to meet our idol and let alone become friends with that idol.   Thank you ESPN.  On that note, you can always tell when ESPN takes over coverage of a sporting event.  With the littlest stories, there is this dramatic buildup, the story and the dramatic ending.  Some times their stories even make you cry.   It does make you wonder sometimes if there are trying to see how many people they can fit in a broadcast booth.  Remember the first year…OMG!  That was too much for me to take in before, during , and after.  I still think some of it could be scaled down, but one thing I am glad they did…keep Rusty out of the broadcast booth.  I don’t mind the pre race stuff, race break commentary, or even the post race stuff, but calling the race not his forte.  I do like Ray Evernham.  He has the unique insight that keeps me engaged. 

It’s going to be an interesting over the next few races to see who gets in…who doesn’t. Either way…I am looking forward to the racing.

Back and sort of better than a few weeks ago

Sorry for not posting in a long time, but I was having internet issues.  My only access somewhat has been at work before I get going or during the lunch hour.  I did get some things done during this down time, but the laundry still is fighting the good fight. 

You would think the off week would one for all of us to recover and get ready for the push towards the Chase and the Chase itself.  But alas, the whole did he or didn’t he thing took center stage again.  Yes…the whole Jeremy Mayfield is still around.  I know this story has more sides to it than a Rubik’s cube, but I am so tired of it all.   There are more interesting stories to talk about this year.  Take for instance…Mark Martin.  He now has 4 wins this season.  Who would have thought he would have more wins than his teammates, Jimmie (2), Jeff(1)  and Junior (0), combined.  He has a renewed motivation that he didn’t have towards the end of his tenure with Roush.  He clearly is having a blast!

What about Juan Pablo?  He is having a good year.  He is 9th in points even though he has no wins, he has 9 top tens.  Not bad for a driver on a team that really hasn’t been going anywhere this year.  At first I didn’t like JPM, but I think he has realized that in order to have a good season you have to finish races.  You can’t always go out and race balls to wall all the time.  You need to be there at the end.

Silly season is among us now.  Kevin Harvick may want out of his contract at the end of the 2009 season, but still has one year left on his contract with RCR.  His sponsor, Shell’s contract ends this year.  Richard Childress states Kevin will not be let out of his contract.  Gee…isn’t that what owners usually say?  As I recall Tony was supposed to be finishing out his contract with Gibbs this year and we all know how that ended up don’t we?  Do I think Kevin Harvick will end up at Stewart Haas Racing?  I don’t see why SHR could run a third car and perhaps Kevin needs a new team.  I mean he has been running the #29 since 2001 when Dale Sr. died.  Plus Tony has driven for Kevin in the Nationwide for Kevin Harvick Incorporated and they are great friends.  But as I can attest working for and with your good friends don’t always work out.  But if the success they have had in Nationwide can be translated to a team for SHR watch out. 

Of all the race weekends I am looking forward to the most this year is coming up on Sunday.  Tony comes into the Brickyard in the points lead.  He is driving the #14 which just happens to be his idol’s, AJ Foyt’s number, and he is part owner of the team he is driving for.  How wonderful if Tony could get this victory at The Brickyard this weekend?  It might be a little sweeter than his first victory back in 2005.  Watch out everyone!  I hope the tires will last longer than they did in last year’s race.  From what I can tell, this tire Goodyear is bringing this year has been thoroughly tested and should be ready to go for the race on Sunday.  Here’s hoping.

One more thing…love the double file restarts!

Some non-NASCAR items…I have made the leap into fantasy football.  I have joined the same league as Postman.  My goal for the season try to outdo Postman and if a kick a little tail on the other teams icing on the cake.  My QB is Eli Manning.  I would rather have Peyton, but I can’t go wrong with Eli.  Wish me luck!


I can’t believe I haven’t been here in The Park for a few weeks.  It has been somewhat crazy in my life.  I am still adjusting to a new little one in the house, but it has been fun. 

I have been watching quite a bit of NASCAR lately that I haven’t ignored.  There has been some greating racing over the last few weeks and last night was no exception.  I didn’t get a heck of a lot of race watching in because we had some friends over for the 4th.  As we all racing at Daytona doesn’t disappoint the fans.  Because there was a rainout of qualifying and by virtue of the rules, Tony was once again sitting in the cat bird’s seat at the start of the race.  But Daytona is one of those tracks where starting up front doesn’t necessarily give you an advantage. However, it doesn’t hurt.  From the part of the race I did get to watch Tony had everything dialed last night.  After shooting off fireworks outside with friends, family and a few neighbors, I came back in to watch some more fireworks. Tony was clearly headed for his second win of the season in my book, but with a late caution and the laps winding down it looks like it wasn’t going to be easy.  With the double file restarts that put Kyle Busch on the outside of Tony on the front row.  As the green flag dropped they were off.   Klye go around Tony and took the lead and the white flag, but this IS Daytona.  It ain’t over until the checkered flag is flown and the car in lead crosses the finish line.  Tony got behind Kyle in order to make his move.  As Tony moved out from behind the #18, Kyle went to block and that’s when this went crazy.  Kyle clipped Tony’s front bumper and well, into the wall went Kyle as Tony crossed the finish line victorious.  Unfortunately, Kyle got the worse end of it courtesy of Kasey’s #9 and a few other cars.   I was so excited and yes that was me and the rest of the Smoke fans cheering.  Congratulations Tony!

For those out there who may think Tony took Kyle out for the victory are just plain wrong.  It was racing.  We all knew something was going to happen.  Would I have been upset if it was Tony hitting the wall?  I am sure I would have been, but I would hope after seeing the footage I would have seen it was just a racing deal.  I hope that I would have had the objectivity to see that it was racing deal if the tables were turned.  Even in the post race interview with TNT, Tony seemed bothered by the end of the race.  TNT of course didn’t show much post race coverage, but I wonder what Kyle was thinking about the results.  I would hope he would understand like Tony it was racing.  That’s it…racing!  When you have two passionate racers like Tony and Kyle challenging for the win they would understand how things work.  Now matter what they put on a good show.

Now for the last couple of weeks…

  • I loved how the road race turned out.  I would have loved Tony to have one, but I was happy for Kasey.  I mean when you hold off one of the better road racers towards the end, you deserve the win. 
  • Congratulations to Joey Lagano for his first NASCAR win last week at New Hampshire.  I know there are those who think it wasn’t fair to get your first win on a rain shortened race, but who cares.  A win is  a win.  I am sure Joey would have like to continue the race and caputre the win a different way, but Mother Nature had other ideas.   Isn’t part of racing out thinking the other teams?  The leaders had the same opportunity to start out, but they chose to pit.  It’s not like Zippy hasn’t seen a few of these situations before.  I mean he has two championships under his belt.  Besides, Joey would have had to pit if the race had continued.  I thought it was very classy of Tony to come over and congratulate Joey and Zippy. 
  • Doube file restarts have brought a little excitement back into the racing and are going to start playing into some teams’ strategies if they have already.  I still want to see how the double file restarts would fair in trucks.  The trucks already put on some of the best racing around.  Can you imagine what double file restarts would do?
  • Jeremy Mayfield…this is going to get messier before things all settle out.  As I have said before this is going to be interesting to see if NASCAR’s drug policy stands up to scruntiny.  I haven’t said too much about the whole Jeremy saga in The Park, but the only thing that bothers is the fact he didn’t tell NASCAR about the prescription he was taking prior to the drug test.  If anything that can come out of all is that NASCAR can step and reexam it’s drug policies and procedures, then so be it.

I hope to get back on track with things here in The Park now that I have a handle on things on the home front.  I hope everyone had a great 4th of July.