Bud Shootout

Congratulations to Kurt Busch for winning the 2011 Bud Shootout. 

This was definitely an exciting, well as exciting as it can be with that few cars on the track.   I wasn’t sure what kind of factor the new racing surface would on the racing tonight.  All I can say that was definitely some fast racing out there on the track.  The average race speed from the first 25 laps was 196.857 mph.   Throughout all the interviews and coverage this week, the surface of the track was all the talk.  Many of drivers as well as commentators were saying it was going to be more like Talladega.  Drivers are just not going to be able to go as wide as they can at Talladega.  All I know, if the racing is this exciting with just 24 cars on the track, what is it going to be like with 43 cars?  I for one can’t wait until next Sunday.

As with restrictor plate racing there were a few incidents on the track.  The biggest one occurred early in the 50 lap segment.  Regan Smith got into Carl Edwards who then turned into Dale Jr.  This incident took out several cars for the evening.  Another crash with Kyle and Mark Martin pretty much ended Kyle’s night.  From what I could tell of the incident, neither one really did anything wrong.  Neither one seemed very upset about the crash.  Mark, as I knew he probably would, apologized for the incident.  He wasn’t sure what happened, but he was having a good time out on the track.  A similar incident occurred between Michael Waltrip and Tony Stewart.  It wasn’t anything, in my opinion, either one did, it was just a racing incident.

The last laps of any race at Daytona gets dicey.  The four cars on the lead pack (Newman, Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and McMurray) were all waiting for the last minute to make their moves for the lead.  It came down to Newman/Hamlin pairing and the Busch/McMurray pairing.  I was holding out hope that Newman would hold his line, but it wasn’t the case.  Out pulled Denny as the four pack headed toward the final turn.  Unfortunately, Denny went below the double yellow line as the checkers began flying.  This is a big no-no at Daytona.  This violation resulted in Kurt being named the winner of the Bud Shootout and Denny finishing 12th.  After the race was over, Denny said he had a choice to make either to crash into Newman or not.  He chose to not hit Newman. I sort of like his explanation since it was just the Bud Shootout.  I guess sometimes you have to make a decision and live with it.  He wasn’t too upset about it.  I mean it was just the Bud Shootout in his opinion.  I wonder if he would feel the same way next week?

I really don’t know what happened to Tony tonight.  He was racing up front during the first part of the race, but during the second segment not as competitive.  I wonder if he received some damage in the dust-up with he and Waltrip.  Either way, he never really got back up front to make a challenge for the win.  Tony paired up with Denny several times during the night, but Denny didn’t seem to be able to keep up with Tony.  That’s alright for Tony.  His teammate, Ryan Newman, finished 3rd tonight.  I for one am happy for Stewart Haas Racing.

Tomorrow is qualifying for the front row for the Daytona 500.  I would love to see a SHR front row with Tony in the P1 spot.  But who knows what kind of qualifying it will be tomorrow.  The rest of the field will be set on Thursday with the Gatorade Duels.  I won’t be able to be home to watch the races, but you can bet I will be listening to the race on NASCAR.com.

The Bud Shootout is just enough of a racing fix to get me through until Friday night when the trucks take the track for the start of the 2011 NASCAR season!

He’s here, he’s there..

I am not a huge fan of the NBA.  I occassionally watch the Dallas Mavericks becuase well..that’s my team.  But for the most part I would rather watch college basketball than NBA stuff.  The basketball to me is much more exciting and thrilling. 

In case you have been living under a rock, Lebron James who currently plays for the Cleveland Caviliers is a free agent.  This means he can resign with his current team or go elsewhere.  For over the past year all the sports stations have been trying to guess where Lebron is going to play next year and beyond.  Several cities have been courting him…NY, Chicago, Miami.  I guess everyone who follows the NBA has been waiting for this day to come.  Well, guess what NBA fans, your weight looks like it will be over.  Lebron will make his announcement on Thursday in a 1-hour Primetime special on ESPN.  Yep…a one hour special.

What the hell?

I am aware of the fact that LeBron James can play some ball.  I am not your average sports fan.  I know one of the best players in NBA.  But come one now…one hour.  It’s not like he is announcing he has found a cure for cancer or something that important.  All we are getting to hear is where he is going to play next year.  I know there are several NBA franchises who are waiting in the wings to hear this important news, but seriously folks.  Of course my opinion means nothing to most people out there. 

I feel like I have been on this ride before.  Back in 2007 Dale Jr. announced he was going to leave DEI.  It was all the talk of NASCAR.  What team will Dale Jr. drive for in his quest for a championship?  Speed TV carried his news conference I believe.  Either way it was the talk of NASCAR.  All of Junior Nation was in a state of flux.  I mean he is the son of Dale Earnhardt Sr, NASCAR’s most sacred hero.  For weeks NASCAR Nation debated what team he would end up.  When the announcement came, that he would drive for Hendrick Motor Sports it was not as much of a shock as I thought it was.  It didn’t surprise me in the least, but it left Junior nation torn.  For years HMS was the team Earnhardt Nation hated.  Now their driver was joining their ranks.  So I can understand all this speculation on where LeBron James is headed, but like I said with the whole Junior thing and now the LeBron thing…ENOUGH ALREADY!

Oh by the way…where Favre will play this year or not is still out there…let the speculation begin!

The “Bermuda Triangle”

The first race at Pocono this season is in the books.  Pocono is different than the other tracks the drivers go to on the circuit.  You have three turns that are completely different from each other.  And to boot, it is 2.5 miles around the thing.  This can make for a long and at times boring race.  I wasn’t worried about missing part of the race today with my weekly yard chores. I finished the yard work and came in to enjoy the air conditioning and lo and behold Mother Nature struck at Pocono.  This isn’t unusual for Pocono.  Sometimes it could be raining on one part of the track and dry on the next.  I mean afterall it is 2.5 miles around the dang place (oh yea I did mention that before).

Congratulations to Denny Hamlin.  This marks Denny’s 4th win at Pocono in nine starts.  I would have to say Denny knows how to get around the “Triangle”.  From what I saw of the last 80 laps, it was clear who the class of the field was at Pocono.  Even with late race strategies, Denny made his way to the front of the pact along with his teammates Kyle and Joey.  At one point it looked like the JGR team was going to have three cars in the top 5 along with a former JGR driver.  But that wasn’t the case…apparently Kevin Harvick had other ideas about the ending.  Kevin, in his typical Harvick fashion, laid a bumper to Joey and well…that’s where Joey went around.  It looked he was going to keep it from spinning, but the #20 was just too much for Joey.  The fireworks didn’t end there.  Joey definitely wanted to confront Mr. Harvick about his actions.  I have to say good for you Joey.  There are times I wonder what Harvick is thinking behind that wheel.  From what I could see from the replay, this spin did not have to happen.  Of course I wasn’t behind the wheel of the #29 so who am I to say what could or could not have been done to avoid the #29 laying the bumper to the #20.  This is not the first time Harvick has done this and as I can assume it will probably won’t be the last.  Either way, it was good to see Joey stand up and take it to Harvick.  

Quote of the weekend from Joey Lagano…”I don’t know what his problem is with me but it’s probably not his fault.  His wife wears the fire suit in the family and tells him what to do.”

What was the deal with the big crash?  That looked like a crash you see at Talladega not Pocono.  When Kasey came back across the track, you knew it was going to pretty.  Mark and Greg pretty much had nowhere to go.  From the what I could tell, it looked like Kasey was trying to make a move around his teammate and AJ through a block.  A block that pushed Kasey all the way to the grass.  Grass + NASCAR car at high speed = not a good outcome (excluding the “Pass and the Grass” move).  I guess it itsn’t the year for the word teammate. 

Tony finished 3rd.  Tony needed this finish.  He hasn’t exactly been lighting it up on the race track lately.  He has moved up to 13th in the standings.  Next week is Michigan and then on to Sonoma for some road racing at Sonoma.  Tony definitely  can make up some ground and perhaps get back into the top 12 in standings.  I loved his post race interview with TNT.  He wasn’t too upset about his finish considering he won the race last year (his first in the SHR #14).  I also have to chuckle at his beard.  Perhaps Denny, along with Tony’s teammate Ryan, should have used their pull as Gillette Young Guns get Tony a new stash of razors.  And can I just say…NO TO THE MULLETT!  That’s right…JUST SAY NO!  Neither Kyle or Ryan can pull that look off…and to be honest can anyone really pull of that look?

Day O’ Racing

Happy Day O’ Racing!  It is one half over.  Congratulations to Dario Franchitti on his 2nd Indy 500 win.  That win makes Chip Ganassi the first car owner to win both the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 in the same year.  Is this a sign for tonight’s Coke 600?  It would be kind of cool, but sorry Chip, I’m pulling for the #14.   I am looking forward to watching the race.  Yes, I am allowing someone outside the immediate family to be part of my Day O’ Racing, but sometimes it’s all about the sacrifices we make in life.  Speaking of sacrifices, mine pales in comparision to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  I want to say “THANK YOU” to those men and women who made that sacrifice so I could enjoy today.  I also want to say “THANK YOU” to the men and women whether you have already served or currently serving. 

Stay tuned for the second part of Day O’ Racing….

Congratulations to Kurt Busch!  This the second week in a row the #2 team has seen Victory Lane.  I was hoping Jamie would get the win for Ganassi, but that darned yellow came again.  I have to say I didn’t watch much of the Coke 600.  We had some friends over for a cookout.  We rocked it out on some Rock Band, watched a little Star Wars, and had some cake and ice cream sundaes.  Some times you just have to stop and enjoy those types of moments.  Oh no…you spin me round and round…loving that tune there Jimmie?  I love the fact that Jeff Burton got in Kyle’s face and put him in his place.  You know you have done something wrong when Jeff Burton is in your face.  Maybe some of the other veteran’s need to get in his face.  Was it a racing deal?  More than likely, but Kyle pushes the issue too much sometimes and well, there you go.  Jeff was respectful when being interviewed. He doesn’t mind Kyle being aggressive, but when it affects him,  he isn’t going to stand for it. 

Well, it has definitely been a fun Day O’ Racing.  I hope everyone else had a great day as well.  On a personal note, I have to say it always brings tears to my eyes when the fallen are honored…the 21-gun salute and then Taps.  I may not have had a family member die in the service for his country, but I awe of those who make the ultimate sacrifice.  I try to live my life the best I can so their sacrifice is not in vain.

Alive and Kicking!

That is what is has been of late for me.  I really haven’t had any desire to write.  I don’t know what it is.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about, but I just haven’t felt the desire to do it.  There was at one time where I couldn’t wait to post something in The Park.  I would spend hours developing posts and thinking about how to entertain my readers.  Well, now, I just don’t know.

There’s been lots to talk about around NASCAR since I last posted something back in April (yes April…April 18th to be exact).  I believe that is the longest I have gone between posts. 

  • All Star Weekend–I am thrilled that NASCAR now has a Hall of Fame.  I still not had a chance to watch the induction ceremony (have it on DVR).  I have no disagreement with the first class of the Hall of Fame.  I think the 2nd class will be harder to pick.  There are so many drivers who deserve to be in the Hall.  I can’t wait to see who gets in.  The All-Star race was interesting.  I still don’t why Kyle as to be such a toot.  I couldn’t tell that Denny did anything wrong.  I think Kyle just drove his car into hard and well, there was Denny.  I know Kyle wants to win, but sometimes you just can’t win them all.  Patience is virtue and well, it may take a little longer for Kyle to get that word into his vocabulary.  Speaking of JGR cars, what was up with Joey?  His drive towards the front took out most of the field including Tony.  Once again patience is the theme of the night.  Of course, I wasn’t driving towards one million dollars.  As I told Postman, I would run him up into the wall for a cool million.  Next to the race, I love watching the Pit Crew Challenge.  This the time for guys over the wall to shine.  This is their night to shine.  Little Smoke loved watching it as well especially when Tony’s team was on display.  Congratulations to Denny Hamlin’s crew!
  • Lawsuits–Jeremy Mayfield’s case against NASCAR was dismissed as well as the Kentucky track’s lawsuit.
  • Can’t We All Just Get Along–Thank you Jeff Gordon.  I hate to say it, but I was rather excited that you were giving it to Jimmie.  You were racing him hard.  I don’t like Jimmie.  I never have.  I am not saying he can’t drive his race car.   He just isn’t the kind of racer that I like.  I think Jeff wants to win.  He has been right there in several races and it seems like he is just snakebit.  I still would choose Jeff over Jimmie though.  Of course Hendrick doesn’t want his two star drivers at each other, but I still think if it came down to a win for Jeff and the only car in his way was the #48…watch out!  As for the Denny and Kyle feud–I really don’t care.  Let them fight out on the track. 
  • Junior–I don’t know.  I have ideas about why he isn’t performing up to the expectations of his fan base.  There are times I wonder if he truly wants to be a racer.  I see interviews with him and to be honest, it’s depressing.  I have to say I saw him interviewed shortly after the induction ceremony and it was the first time he looked happy to be interviewed.  Other times it seems forced.  One of those things, “well, guess I have to do this interview because it’s part of my job” thing.  I truly thought once he left DEI and drove for HMS he would have more success than he has since coming to HMS.  He is getting the best equipment money can buy.  He has at his disposable the best technology and resources any driver dreams of having, but just because it looks good on paper doesn’t mean it is the best in implementation. 
  • Wing vs Spoiler–I haven’t noticed anything different.  I do know the racing has been better this year than last year.
  • Day ‘o Racing–that’s right folks…Sunday is the annual “Day o’ Racing”.  Indianapolis 500 in the morning/afternoon…Coke 600 in evening.  This equals 1100 hundred miles of some of the best racers going for all the marbles.  Even though I usually just spend the day sitting in front of my tv watching all the racing action, I am celebrating this “Day o’ Racing” with some of my friends this year.  Luckily, they understand when the only thing that will be shown on the television on Sunday is racing.  I have another television of course, but who wants to watch tv on 32 inch, non-HD tv in a cramped bedroom?

Finally, what I have been avoiding to discuss…the #14 team.  Wow what a difference a year makes.  This time last year, Tony was 2nd in the standings heading into Charlotte (Dover was after Charlotte last year) coming off a win at the All-Star race.  Now…he is sitting in 14th place, just two spots outside the Top 12.  There is still quite a bit of racing and we are entering the part of the year Tony traditional starts lighting it up, but if he has more bad luck, I don’t know…we will just have to watch and see what happens.   Happy belated birthday Mr. Stewart!

Have a great and safe Memorial Weekend!  If you see a veteran or a soldier…tell them “THANK YOU”~

Mother Nature is a Major _______ (insert your own not such a nice word)

WHat’s up with Mother Nature this weekend?  Is she not getting enough sleep at night?  Does she feel the need to completly ruin the race weekend for NASCAR Nation?  What’s her beef?  Whatever it is…GET OVER YOURSELF MOTHER NATURE!!!

Now both races are to be held tomorrow…MONDAY!  Does she realize that most of NASCAR Nation has to be at work, including this race fan!  I have to sit and listen to the race via NASCAR.com instead of watching the race in my recliner on my big screen TV.  This BITES!!  Tony is on the pole and I will miss seeing him bringing the field to the green flag . 

I all have to say is Mother Nature…you have messed with race fans long enough.  Move on to some other sport, like baseball!

Note…not only did Mother Nature mess with my racing, her wrath affected other parts of the Metroplex too.  Thus causing some completly idiot driver to cause a wreck which involved one of my very bestest friends.  Mother Nature, you are lucky, she is doing alright, but you have messed with enough Texans this weekend.  I am done with you.  I guess you have never heard of the saying, “Don’t Mess With Texas!”.  Sending out my best wishes to Ms. Hader!