2014 Season

I can believe the start of the 2014 season is upon us.  There are so many story lines that have come out of the off-season.  It has been one of the busiest off-seasons I have seen in a few years.   Here are some story lines coming into the 2014 season.

The Chase–new changes are here! 16 drivers, a win gets you in the Chase if you are in the top 30 in points, eliminator rounds in the last 10 races and a 4 car shoot out at Miami.  Not sure what to think about the changes, I will just have to wait and see

Qualifying–You will have three rounds at 1.25 miles or longer and 2 rounds at tracks less 1.25 miles.  Round 1 = 25 minutes to post qualifying time-after which the 24 registering the fastest will advance to 2nd round. Those not advancing to Round 2 will be sorted based on 1st round times in descending order. Round 2 = 10 minutes to qualify, 12 fastest in this round will move onto the final round, those not advancing will earn positions 13-24 based on time.  Final round = 5 minutes, fastest times from this session will determine 1-12 positions.  There will be a 5-minute break between each round where teams can make adjustments.  They will not be allowed to jack the vehicle or raise the hood and once the car enters the garage, it will no longer be permitted to return to the track for additional qualifying attempts. Of course is you are at tracks 1.25 or less, drivers will only have two rounds to get things done.  Did you get all that?

Jimmie Johnson–Will he or won’t he get to that magic mountain of 7 championships this season?  I haven’t heard much chatter about it, but it is still early in the season.  But I am sure somewhere down the line, it will be mentioned.

Stewart Haas Racing–I think this is the team that you need to watch our for in 2014 (of course I am a little biased).  SHR went from a three-car team to a four car team.  SHR added new drivers Kevin Harvick (who replaced the departing Ryan Newman who is now in over at Richard Childress Racing) and Kurt Busch driving the #41.  Danica Patrick will be starting her 2nd year in Cup.  But all eyes I think will be on Smoke, aka, Tony Stewart.  More about my thoughts on Tony later.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.:  I am interested to see how Dale Jr. will fare this year.  It was announced that his crew chief, Steve Letarte, will be leaving at the end of the season to join NBC when they take over the final part of the NASCAR season next year.  I am sure the good folks over at Hendrick Motor Sports have started looking at who will replace Letarte.  Letarte has done good things for Junior since becoming his crew chief.  I don’t cringe every time Dale is interviewed.  He looks more relaxed and upbeat.  Steve Letarte will be missed, but I am looking forward to him in the broadcast booth next year.

The #3–It is time.  It has been 13  years since the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr.  Richard Childress has been very respectful about bringing back this iconic and revered number iconic back to the Cup level.  Dale Sr.’s legacy to me is more than just the number.  That’s what I focus on when I look back at his career.  Is Richard Petty’s legacy diminished because someone else drives the #43?  I know there are some small faction who would like to not see the #3 back on the track and that is ok.  But I am excited to see it back on the track and I think Mr. Dillon will do the #3 proud.  Note to those crazy loons who wear the aluminum hats–there is no conspiracy with the #3.  Are you kidding me?  You know how many people you would have to involve to pull off that kind of thing?  You guys need to stop drinking that “special Kool-aid”.  If you really want to scream NASCAR is on the take and fixed, how come Junior hasn’t won a championship or for that matter multiple championships?  RCR has always had fast cars at the restrictor plate tracks.  So take your aluminum hats and black helicopters and go back to figuring out something more important, like why do hot dog packages come in packs of 10 and buns in packs of 8!

Sprint Unlimited–I liked the racing even after the 9 car crash that took out some of the major players in the race.  There was side by side racing.  Denny clearly had the car to beat it seemed.  He won all three segments and stood in victory lane for the first time in the Unlimited since he won the thing back in his rookie year.  Of course, the weirdest part of the night was when the pace car caught fire!  You heard me, the pace car caught fire!  I mean two years it was a jet dryer up in flames!  At one point, I was waiting for the mayhem guy from the All State commercials to pop out!

Thank goodness this race occurred AFTER Valentine’s Day.  It looked like Danica Patrick was going to make it thorough the big crash, but only to be hit by her boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  It never saw her.  I would have loved to been a fly on the wall in that trailer home to hear the conversation.

I’m telling ya, it had to be the full moon that was hovering over the race track.  That would explain so much!

Tony Stewart–It has been a long off-season for us Tony fans.  I mean, we haven’t seen our driver in a car since August.  I for one am pumped to see Tony back in his #14!  He seems very upbeat about getting the 2014 season underway.  That was clearly evident on Saturday night.  He looked great out there.  It was if he had never been gone.  But my excitement was short-lived thanks to that 9-car pile up courtesy of Matt Kenseth. Saw this quote on Twitter from Tony, “I’ve waited for 7 months to race, I damn sure wasn’t going to sit there and ride around.”.  Now that’s the Tony I love!  I am hoping 2014 is the year of #14.  I want to see him win the Daytona 500 this year.  Of course if he does all those crazy conspiracy loons will come out of the lead line caves screaming CONSPIRACY!  But you know what, let them cry all they want.  Just like Dale Sr., he has won everything he can at Daytona.  He knows how to get around the place.  But that just goes to show you how tough winning the Daytona 500 can be.  Some of NASCAR’s best drivers, have never one a the 500.

Hope that has caught you up to speed for Daytona.  Now here are a few house keeping things I need to take care of.  If you are in Raiderland or listening outside the boundaries of Raiderland, check at That Dang Ol’ Show.  You can listen to the show on Monday nights from 6:00-8:00 pm on The Red Dirt Rebel (105.3).  If the wind is blowing just right and the sun is setting in the west, you might just hear me call in and talk a little racing.  Plus, you might learn a thing or two in the process.

And finally….since there are only 5 days until Daytona (February 23, 2014)…I need to put the disclaimer out there for everyone.

Attention to all of my family, friends, co-workers and complete strangers, NASCAR season is upon us.  I will NOT be available for family functions, outings, or get-togethers on Sundays.  If there is an event on said Sunday, you will have to understand they must be held prior to the start of the race or after the race.  If you must schedule things during the raced be aware I may not attend your function or request that I have access to a television set.  This also applies to races that are held occasionally on Saturday nights.  If you wish to spend time with me, you must understand the topic of conversation will be predominately about the upcoming race, the previous Sunday’s race, Tony Stewart, or anything in general about NASCAR.  This is the time of the year all projects are put aside unless they involve a NASCAR related event.  Please don’t be offended if I ignore you on Sunday or the occasional Saturday…it’s nothing personal…IT’S NASCAR!

SMOKE YUMMO.CHARLOTTE COKE 600.2010

Party in the Poconos 400

I was already to go for the race last Sunday.  For the first I was pumped up for a Pocono race.  Of course, it helped that my driver won the week before race.  I just had this feeling about Tony that he would have a good weekend.  Thanks to Mother Nature, qualifying for the race was rained and the field set according to points standing.  This meant Tony would be starting mid-pack.  I wasn’t worried though.  Tony has a history of not lighting up qualifying.  It doesn’t matter where you start, it is where you end up that counts!

Of course, with qualifying being rained out this meant Jimmie Johnson, aka 5-time, wasNASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09 starting on the pole.  This doesn’t always bode well with the other 42 competitors.  When Jimmie gets out in front and takes control of a race, well, it makes for a long day for the those who aren’t Jimmie fans.  I think Jimmie wanted to win this race and in a dominate way.  He felt cheated after last week’s race at Dover.  When Jimmie has a chip on his shoulder watch out!  And that was the case on Sunday.  I started watching the race and Jimmie took command of the race.  Then for some reason, my body chose to take a nap.  I woke up with right before the 2nd caution of the race.  I guess I didn’t miss much in between because one there had only been one caution, and two, Jimmie was still in the lead.  And that is pretty much how it ended.  Congratulations to Jimmie for his third win of the season.  He is now tied with Matt Kenseth for the most wins so far this season.  He still has the points lead folks.  But does it matter that he has the points lead now?  Nope.  Everything resets for the final 10 races.  There is still quite a bit of racing until Richmond!

NASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

This was the third week in a row, Tony finished inside the top 10 with a 4th place finish.  I am telling you guys do not mess with the mojo I have going on with the #14 team.  Once again, I didn’t watch the entire race AND I posted a picture of Tony with his championship trophy from 2011.  I am so proud of the #14 team.  They have jumped up 7 spots in the last three weeks from 20th to 13th!  If they continue the move up the points standings, Tony will be in the top 10 before you know it.  I still think he needs at least one more win to secure himself in The Chase.  Tony seems to be on the upswing compared to the first part of the season.  So without further ado and to keep the mojo going…

2011 championship

Some thoughts from the weekend…

  • First race of the TNT race schedule.  I am not a fan of the TNT coverage.  I just have to remember they have only 6 races.  One down, five to go.  It’s going to be tough, but I think I can make it.
  • Enough with the restart controversy.  Move on, let it go.  Jimmie Johnson got punked at Dover.  He tried to outsmart Juan, and well, Juan outsmarted him.
  • In the waning moments of the race on Sunday, I found myself rooting for Dale Jr to pass Jimmie.  This for me was like choosing between cheering for Michigan to beat the University of Texas in a football game.  I DO NOT LIKE either team (I am a big Ohio State fan and Texas Tech alum).  But I like one just a little bit more than the other.
  • Here are some pics from the race weekend I thought you guys might enjoyNASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

NASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

NASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

NASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

Daytona and Other Musings

Beginning on Valentine’s Day with Media Day through yesterday’s Daytona 500, I can say it has been an interesting Speedweeks 2013.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  This was probably the first time in a long time I followed everything that was NASCAR during Speedweeks.  I found craving anything NASCAR.  I came across several NASCAR events over on ESPN Classic.  I loved watching previous Daytona 500s.  It was fun to see the cars, the drivers, and yes, the racing.  Coverage of the sport has come so far since some of those 500s.  despite what Daytona 500 I was watching, they all ended the same way, the winner experiencing the biggest joy of their racing career.  It was awesome to see!

I had waited all winter to see the Daytona 500.  I had settled in with my snacks and media setup.  After some delays with NASCAR.com, I was able to get my Raceview set up.  This was going to be a historic Daytona 500.  A week ago Sunday, Danica Patrick because the first women to win the pole at Daytona. This was the first points race of the season with the new Gen 6 car.  it was just going to be one of those days.  I was hoping Tony Stewart would get his first Daytona 500 victory.  The day before he had won the Nationwide race tying Dale Earnhardt Sr with 7 wins in Nationwide races at Daytona.  It was a very subdued celebration for Tony due to the chaos of the crash.  I am still processing all that happened on Saturday.  Much has been said about the crash that occurred on Saturday.  I just remember seeing Kyle Larson’s car and wondering where the front part of his car was.  Then we all knew.  His engine and one of the front tires was in the catch fence.  His other front tire and what seemed to be part of the axle (I think that is what was still attached) landed several rows into the grandstands.  Even though parts of debris landed in the stands, the catch fence did it’s job.  It kept Kyle’s car from entering the grandstands.  It was just so surreal.

I was hoping for more of the same from Tony Stewart on Sunday.  The Daytona 500 has been so elusive for Mr. Stewart.  For some reason he has the car to beat on Saturday, but he seems to be snake bit on Sunday.  The race started out great.  It seemed everyone was minding their Ps and Qs.  But around lap 35 that all changed. From what I could tell from the replays, Kyle Busch got into the back of Kasey Kahne.  Kasey ended up spinning in front of the field.  It looked like Tony was going to make it through, but next thing I know Kevin Harvick gets into Tony.  Another Daytona 500 gone!  Let’s just say this was NOT A HAPPY TONY STEWART FAN!  I don’t normally throw electronic equipment, but in the air my iPad went.  I had to restrain from saying some very choice adult words due to my children in the room.  But none the less Tony’s day was done more or less.  I have to give major props to his crew for getting him back out on the track to get those precious points.  As we all know, EVERY SINGLE POINT counts in Cup.  What was even cooler, was Tony was helping his crew out on the repairs.  (Photo courtesy of Stewart-Haas Racing Twitter Account)

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Even though Tony was knocked out early in the 500, his Stewart Haas Racing teammates had a much better day.  Ryan Newman finished 5th and Danica finished 8th.  All in all the SHR team had a good Speedweeks.  Thanks to Newman’s finish in the top 5, everyone can get a Bloomin’ Onion at Outback!  Of course once race does not make a season.  There are still 35 races left in the season.

I can’t even describe what I felt on Saturday while watching the Nationwide race.  On one hand I was excited for Tony’s victory and on the other I was concerned with the drivers and the fans.  When I first saw the crash happen I didn’t know Kyle Larson’s car had ended up into the catch fence.  All I saw was half of his car and wondering where the rest of the car ended up.  I had never seen anything like that before.  Then we all knew.  The rest of his car ended up in the stands as well as the catch fence.  Tony Stewart is a class act.  I know as much as he wanted to celebrate his victory and revel in tying Dale Earnhardt Sr, he was more concerned about the fans in the grandstands.  I also have to give major props to ESPN in staying with the story despite the fact they were bumping up against the North Carolina and North Carolina State basketball game.  But the biggest props goes to SPEED television and their crew.  They did an excellent job in reporting this fluid story.  NASCAR does everything in its power to protect everyone at the track from fans, to crew members, and to drivers.  Even with all the safety devices and procedures in place, NASCAR is still a dangerous sport.  Drivers know this.  The catch fence did its major job, preventing a race car going at close to 200 mph from entering the grandstands.  Yes, parts of the car did end up in the stands, but this could have been so much worse.  The engine and one of the tires remained in the catch fence.  Thoughts and prayers are with those fans who were injured.  I am hoping for a speedy recovery for them.

Here are some other tidbits from Daytona.

  • Danica Patrick was the belle of the ball in Daytona. Yes, she receives quite a bit of media attention.  But look at what she accomplished during this Speedweeks:  winning the pole for the 500, lead a lap during the 500, raced in the lead pack most of the day, and briefly had a shot to win.  She finished 8th in the 500.  That is the best finish int he 500 since Janet Guthrie in 1980.  She finished 11th.
  • Congrats to J.J. Yeley for his top ten finish yesterday.  This means Kids Eat Free at Golden Corral today!  With two kids I was going to take advantage of it today, but with blizzard conditions out here in Raiderland, looks like grilled cheese sandwiches tonight.
  • Little Keelan Harvick is such a cutie!  He was Daddy’s little good luck charm for the Spring Unlimited & the Dual race.  Unfortunately that was it for little Keelan.  Daddy was collected in the early crash that took at Tony.  Even though Kevin didn’t make history, I think he will be a force this season.
  • Not a fan of Rusty Wallace.  While watching the pre-race show for the Nationwide race, he stated he didn’t understand why Dale Jr. was racing in the Nationwide race.  Wasn’t the goal for Junior to win a Cup championship and shouldn’t that be his focus?  Rusty also asked was is it his duty to help build the Nationwide Series or win the championship.  He just didn’t understand why he was doing all this stuff.  Seriously?  Why is he calling out just Junior?  Why not call out Tony Stewart?  I mean Tony was racing in Nationwide on Saturday.  He also own a Cup team.  He also has Tony Stewart Racing and Eldora Raceway.  Plus he races at other tracks when he is not racing in Cup.  Seriously Rusty…ugh!
  • To borrow from a Mac Davis song (Happiness is Lubbock, Texas)…hey Carl, what is the best view of Daytona?  In your rearview mirror.  Man Daytona wasn’t kind to Carl.  He was involved in 5 crashes (4 during Speedweeks and one during testing in January).

And finally the “Fan Driven 400” at Pocono Speedway!  Today is the deadline for submitting idea for the name of the June 9, 2013 race at Pocono.  You can submit your idea at walmarturl.com/FanDriven.  Three submissions will be chosen and fans can vote from March 11 to April 8.  additional information about other ways to be involved in the “Fan Driven 400” check out my post at https://trixiestrailerpark.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/fan-driven-400/.  Good luck! 

By The Time I Get To Phoenix…

Before I get to my post about this weekend, I want to wish all my fellow Texans “Happy Texas Independence Day!”

Now on to Phoenix.  I like watching all the activities of Speedweeks when it rolls around every year.  It means that the NASCAR season is upon us.  Preparing for the Daytona 500 is a different element.  Qualifying has two parts.  You have qualifying day where the front is determined.  the other drivers that day are then sorted out into two dual races which sets the field for the 500.  The 500 is the only race on the circuit that has this type of qualifying.  Teams can’t judge where their season will end up after the 500.  I mean look where Jimmie Johnson is now sitting.  You can’t tell me he won’t be challenging for the championship come fall. 

This week begins the real start of the season.  This is wear teams begin their normal routines fo race week.  The boys are in Phoenix this weekend.  This will be the 2nd race on the new configuration. Phoenix has over the last couple been a place where drivers who have had a long winless streak have won.  Last year it was Kasey Kahne in the fall race and Jeff Gordon in spring race.  Will Phoenix have the same result this year?  Will a driver who has not seen victory lane in a while win?  Or will it be a driver from Hendrick Motorsports?  From what I can tell HMS drivers have a pretty good record at PIR. Here is what I found regarding HMS current paddock of drivers.  Jimmie has 4 wins at PIR.  Jeff and Dale have 2 wins.  While Kasey has one.  From these numbers HMS is a strong team going into PIR. 

But I wouldn’t count out the Roush drivers either.  Ford has shown how strong they are already in the season.  Matt Kenseth not only won his dual race, but the Dayton 500.  Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle qualified for the front row last week.  Greg finished 2nd and Carl finished 8th. 

As we know, I will be strongly cheering for my driver Tony Stewart.  He has not won at PIR since 1999.  He has 8 Top 5s and 11 top 10s.  I am hoping he has a good showing at PIR this week.  I was unhappy with his finish at Daytona 500 after winning his dual race and starting the 500 3rd. 

But what we know about NASCAR, each race is different and sometimes it can be a crap shoot on who is going to win.

One more thing from Daytona and this will be it.  I was planning on writing a post about the influence of social media on the sport.  The impact of social media came to the forefront on Monday night.  After Juan Pablo’s car crashed into the jet dryer Brad Keselowski  from his car snapped a picture with his phone and sent it out via Twitter.  Now this was the first time something like this occurred. During the fire delay we saw Brad tweeting from his phone while other drivers gathered around him.  During this time, the number of followers for Brad increased dramatically.  I wasn’t one of the people who joined up on Monday, I had already been following him.  But I found myself following all the action during this delay via Twitter.  Normally during a delay I have been known to flip back and forth between the delay and another program.  But Monday night I found myself glued to the television.  I also found myself becoming part of the conversation.  Some people think Brad should not have been doing this.  I didn’t have a problem with it.  He wasn’t driving his car AND tweeting.  It was only after his car was stopped that he took to his phone.  NASCAR even issued publicly Brad had not committed a violation with his tweeting on Monday.  I loved it.  Brad let us view NASCAR from an insider’s view.  A view many of us never get to experience.  Thank you Brad!  I will hold off my post on social media until next week.

Happy Race Weekend everyone!  Go Tony–bring home that win!

Remembering Dale

Today begins qualifying for the 2011 Daytona 500.  But as I wait for the qualifying session to begin, I am watching “The Day” on Speed TV.  It first aired on Friday, but I had Tivoed it because I was out celebrating Valentine’s Day with my mom and my fellas.  I was going to wait until Saturday to watch it because I was very tired, but I just could not wait.  I had heard this was going to be a powerful story about that day back in 2011.  I didn’t follow NASCAR back then as much as I do today.  I knew of NASCAR and I usually watched the Daytona 500 on occasion.  I remember watching Dale win his only Daytona 500.  I remembering just crying my eyes out at the respect everyone in the garage gave him that day on pit row.  I knew this story was going to be tough to watch. 

I cannot recall what I was doing that day.  Like I said, I didn’t follow the sport back then as I do today.  But I do remember watching my local news coverage about the death of Dale Earnhardt.  I immediately called Postman (at the time we had just started dating) to tell him.  I then spent the next few days trying to wrap my head around the whole thing.  I was looking for any kind of news coverage on the story.  I wanted to know everything I could.  Media coverage wasn’t like it is today–no Facebook, no Twitter, etc.  But as with anything, I continued on with my life.  It wasn’t until I went to Las Vegas for my honeymoon in June of 2001 did I realize how much fans were still paying tribute.  We stayed at the Sahara which happens to be the home of NASCAR Cafe.  Inside the gift shop adjacent to the restaurant was a #3 car on display.  Surrounding the car was cards, signs, flowers, etc. in tribute to Dale.  It was surreal.  I think it was at that moment I fell in love with NASCAR.

“The Day” was very powerful.  I found myself emotionally drawn to the story.  It was the first, I can recall, seeing Ken Schader discussing that day.  Even now you still see how much that day has affected him emotionally.  Everything about what we know about NASCAR changed that day.  The person I feel for most is Michael Waltrip.  Michael Waltrip up until that day had not won a race.  He started 462 races and never finished first.  Dale Earnhardt took a chance on him and hired him to drive #15 for DEI.  But what should have been the most important day of his racing career turned into one of his worse.  He should have been celebrating his victory but inside was grieving for loss of his owner and friend.  Michael Waltrip has put his story about that day into the book, “In the Blink of an Eye” which was just released. 

As many of you know I am not a Dale Jr. fan.  But as someone who follows the sport I feel I can be objective when it comes to this post.  I would not want to walk in Dale Jr.’s footsteps.  NASCAR may have lost one of the best drivers of all time, but bottom line Dale Jr. lost his father.  I can’t even begin to understand what it is like to lose a parent.  But Dale lost his father with the nation watching.  He has been dealing with the loss since then.   Do I think it has affected his success in NASCAR?  I can’t answer that.  I am sure in his quiet moments he ponders this question.  When he made the decision to leave DEI, the company his father created, it probably was one of the hardest decisions of his life. 

On Friday, February 18, it will mark 1o years since Dale Earnhardt’s death.  It will be marked on Sunday with a silent lap on Lap 3 of the race.  A #3 will also be painted in the grass at Daytona the night before the race.  All of these things will be to honor not only the racer, but the man known as the “The Indimidator”. 

Note from qualifying…it looks like a HMS front row for the Daytona 500.  How appropriate that Dale’s son and friend & race rival Jeff Gordon, will be leading the pack as the green flag flies on Sunday.

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”~

Hello..is 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.