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”~

Million Dollar Man!

smoke.330I had a post pretty much planned out for the All-Star Race Weekend, but that was all thrown out the window after the last 10 laps.  And yes that was me and the rest of us Stewart fans yelling and cheering as our man took the checkered flag tonight!!

CONGRATULATIONS TO TONY STEWART!!!!

We all knew it was just a matter of time before Mr. Stewart finished first.  That was a great pass by Tony to take the lead from Matt Kenseth.  It looked like Kyle Busch was going to be a factor in the last 10 laps and he was until he went three wide with Jeff on one side and  Newman on the other.  But there was that #14 lurking right behind them.  When Tony Stewart decided to leave Joe Gibbs Racing after 10 years with the team and start his own racing team, people were wondering what was he thinking.  I for one was unsure how this year would go.  All I knew was that Tony was going to be successful with this new team.  I felt bad for Newman because he had Kyle in his sights, but when you try to go three wide with Kyle Busch you better be prepared for some beatin’ and bangin’.  But Tony took them all to school and showed them how to do things.  Wow…what a birthday present! (Tony’s birthday is May 20).

All I have to say is…watch out boys that’s the #14 in your rear view mirror and that was the #14 passing you.

All Star Weekend

Ho Hum…the All-Star weekend is over.

Up first was the burnout competition.  All competitors definitely had fun with the competition especially Jimmie Johnson.  Congratulations to Greg Biffle for winning the inaugural Pennzoil Burnout competition.  

Next up was the Showdown.  I felt this was going to be an exciting race.  You have all those drivers fighting for two positions.  I really was hoping Elliot Sadler would race his way into the All-Star race, but it was meant to be.  AJ Allmendinger clipped him and he want sailing into the wall.  Even if he did get the vote from the fans there was no way his car was going to be able to race.  I have to give props to Sam Hornish.  This is a driver who chose to leave the Indy league for the green pastures of NASCAR.  If he was still running his Indy car he would be preparing for the Indy 500, but instead he was giving it his all to get into the All-Star.  He drove the wheels of his car.  He along with AJ Allmendinger advanced to All-Star race.  Of course there was only one more driver that still had to be announced for the All-Star race.  This driver was voted into the All-Star race by the fans.  This driver was Kasey Kahne.

The All-Star race had a little different look to it this year.  The race was broken down into four 25 lap segments with a 10 minute break at the end of the second segment and no invert (yea!).  You could feel the excitement in the air.  From the drop of the green flag, Kyle Busch took off and left the rest of the field behind him.  It looked like Kyle was going to be the one to beat, but as well know what with NASCAR what we think is going to happen doesn’t necessarily happen.  Kyle Busch took the boys to the start of the second segment and once again looked like he was going to leave them all behind.  But unfortunately this wasn’t the case.  Kyle Busch’s engine had other plans.  After the second segment, Carl Edwards was ahead and Kyle Busch’s engine was KAPUT and his night was over.  

The third segment was uneventful, but at the end of the third segment the boys were required to hit pit road.  But it was up to the teams what they wanted to do on pit road.  They could take two tires, four tires, or just stop and go.  Kenny Francis made a gutsy call last night and chose to take no tires and gas only so Kasey would have track position.  From the results of the previous segments whoever was out front ran good and that’s probably what Kenny was thinking.  If Kasey won this would be considered the best call of the night, if he lost well, it wasn’t going to be a good call.  Kasey took the lead on lap 84 after Denny Hamlin’s engine gave way.  Hamlin was the second JGR car of the night to have an engine go KAPUT.  Kasey fought off a determined Greg Biffle, however Greg didn’t have enough for Kasey.  Kasey became the first driver to win who was voted into the race by the fans.  This was a great night for the NASCAR fans.  Way to go Kasey!

I have to give major props to Sam Hornish.  He drove his way into the All-Star race by finishing 2nd in the Showdown earlier in the night.  He was hauling the nail with his #77 car.  I thought he was going to have a long night after getting into the wall, but he plowed on.  He was down two laps at one point in the night, but with getting back on the lead lap Sam Hornish finished 7th.  Well done Mr. Hornish..well done.

The race was pretty uneventful compared to other All-Star races.  There were no cautions except for the ones thrown at the end of each segment.

Smoke had a rough weekend. He was forced to start at the back of the pack after engine issues prior to the race.  Who knew he would be the lone JGR driver to finish the race last night.  He finished 5th.  With all three JGR engines having problems over the weekend, it makes me wonder if they were trying out some new engine package or were there serious problems.  I hope they were just experimenting and not planning to use that engine package for next week’s Coca Cola 600 race.  Because if this is the case, JGR is going to be in for a long night.

It was bittersweet night for Dale Jarrett.  The All-Star race was the last race we would see Dale behind the wheel of a race car, however we won’t miss him for very long.  He will be following in his father’s footsteps again by stepping into the broadcast booth.  Thanks for the memories Dale!  You are one class act.

Not to be overshadowed by the All-Star weekend, even though it probably was, Matt Crafton was his first Craftsman Truck Series race.  I have mentioned before that I really like watching the truck races.  They are shorter than the Nationwide and Cup races so it can sometimes make for some interesting racing.  I feel anything can happen on any turn of the race and Friday night was different.  Congratulations Mr. Crafton!

Today is Bump Day for the Indy 500 and I will probably be watching to get my race fix for Sunday.  I can’t wait until next Sunday.  I mean there’s the Indy 500 in the morning and the Coca Cola 600 in the evening.  What more could this race fan ask for?

Victory Celebration…NASCAR Style

 As I mentioned over Bloggers FT Digest, this is one of my favorite times of the year I love being a NASCAR fan. I am, however, very excited about the Inaguaral Pennzoil Burnout Challenge. I think this will be an interesting event.

Driver’s will have to perform the following…

  • A full drag racing-style, tire-smoking burnout–it must be maintained from the “Start Box” to a designated transitionpoint.
  • At this transition point, the driver will then throw the car into a 360-dgree spin (aka donut) without crossing onto the apron fo the frontstretch or they will receive a penalty (boo)
  • Then the driver must maneuver out of the donut and spring into a “Victory Lane” marked on either side with traffic cones and into the “Finish box” stopping the clock.
  • Winner with the fastest time after penalties (if any) are accessed.

And here are the Burnout Competitors for the 2008 Inagural Challenge
1. Jimmie Johnson–no stranger to Victory celebrations, and I even have to admit, he has had some pretty good burnouts

2. Greg Biffle–has been able to celebrate much lately, but worth watching.

3. Clint Bowyer–he should be fresh and ready to go coming off a victory a couple of weeks ago at Richmond

4. Kyle Busch–he too should be fresh and ready for this competition

And finally, my personal favorite in the contest is…

5. Kevin Harvick–this boy can do a burnout like no other…he is famous for his burnout after following his 2003 victory at Indianapolis where he left his tires and his car’s back end in shreds.  This clip isn’t all the long, but you definitely can tell, this was a good from the Happy Harvick. 
 


Plus I can’t wait to see Kevin’s burnout.  He says he will aim purposely to inflict damage, going for sytle points…”Just blow the tires out.”…that’s what I’m going forJust pop the tires.” And when asked how he will get to Victory Lane? “We can walk.”    Now that’s a man with a plan! 

I guess they were afraid to ask Smoke because he would have wanted to climb the fence.  Also why not Carl Edwards?  I mean come on now…he does have a back flip in his aresenal.  And who could forget the ever popular Snow Angel by Kurt Busch.  Jeff Gordon was invited to participate, but declined the invitation.  I guess he would lose points for trying to avoid beer cans (he he).

You can read more about the Challenge on NASCAR.com