Posted in NASCAR 2013

Sonoma

In years past I was a big fan of the road races, but the last several years have provided some exciting racing at the road courses.  Part of the reason I didn’t like road racing, is you would have teams bring in what they called “road course ringers”.  Teams would bring in these drivers because their current drivers just didn’t perform well on the road courses.  But on the flip side, how are drivers going to get experience and improve their skills if they never get a chance to be out on the course.  Anyway, I know some teams bring in other drivers, but we don’t hear as much about the road course ringers as we used to.

with that being said, I was ready to sit down and watch the race.  I had my notebook in hand and was settled in my big comfy couch.  I wanted to watch a race from the green to the checkers.  The last several weeks I haven’t been able to sit down and watch the races.  Of course, part of it may be because I didn’t want to mess with the mojo for Tony Stewart that seemed to be working (see previous posts). And just like the last couple of weeks, I didn’t get to watch the race.  So the mojo was still working…sorta…see more below.

I would like to congratulate Martin Truex Jr for his victory yesterday at Sonoma.  He has not had a win in since June 2007 (or 218 starts since his last win).  That’s 6 years.  While looking over my notes for this post, I noticed my youngest son had not even been born yet.  Well, I am glad he won.  He has been so close so many times this year.  I like Martin Truex.  I am glad for the race fans and as well as Martin that we no longer have the privilege of seeing him “lip sync” the NAPA Know How Jingle.  You could tell everyone was happy for him!

Kudos have to go out to both Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch on their finishes yesterday.  First up is Jeff Gordon. He was tagged for entering a closed pit road after a yellow had been thrown.  He missed it by thatmuch.  But at the time Jeff decided to pit, it was still green and it was too late to change his mind.  At that point, you are pretty much committed and you just take the penalty.  Who knows if he had made it before the yellow, if we would be celebrating with him victory lane instead of Martin. By the way, Jeff was runner-up in yesterday’s race. All I have to say when I heard Kurt got a speeding penalty while serving his first penalty for speeding on pit road…”DOH!”.  That is when you know you are having a bad day.  Despite this, Kurt finished 4th.  I loved what he said to his guys though, “We were fast, even on pit road, twice. I messed up, flat out. I was speeding both times.”  I love it.  Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that you messed up and move on.

Final thoughts…

  • Once again Jimmie is still in the lead at this point in the season.  But it really doesn’t matter if you lead the first 26 races, it matters what you do in the last ten.  Points reset and the everyone from 1-12 is reshuffled.  Right now the two wild spots go to Tony Stewart (1 win at sitting in 15th spot) and Kasey Kahne (1 win sitting in 11th).  Paul Menard is sitting in the 12th position but he does not have a win this season.
  • This has been such a feel good weekend for the folks of NASCAR.  On Sunday, we have Martin wining after a 218 winless streak.  But prior to Sunday, AJ Allmendinger took the win at Road America in the Nationwide Series.  It has been a tough year for AJ.  It was good to see him get a second chance in NASCAR.  From all the interviews I have seen of him, he is so thankful he has been given a second chance.  It was wonderful to see the joy on his face in victory lane!  I loved it when he kissed the ESPN camera!
  • I have to say, I wish those singers who get the wonderful opportunity to sing the National Anthem at a sporting event would just sing the song.  This not a tryout for “The Voice” or “American Idol”.  I don’t mind if you want to hold the notes at the end of the song.  But please how some respect for our National Anthem!
  • Cannot wait for BadGroove’s report from Sonoma.  She always has a way of sharing her adventures that make you feel like you were right there with her.  She has some of the best writing out there!  If you haven’t read her stuff, you are missing out!  There are days I wish my writing was even close to hers!  Way to go Amy!
  • I love any commercial with Tony Stewart in it.  But, I have to say I am a little creeped out with his latest one involving him doing the splits.  It’s just creepy!  Sorry Tony, I am not loving this one.  Has anyone tried the soda cookie?  Just curious…

One final message…

The last few weeks I have discussed with you the idea of not messing with the mojo.  I am very superstitious when it comes to sports.  I myself had a specific routine when I played basketball and I followed it religiously.  I know athletes at all levels I am sure are the same way.  This is the reason I didn’t want to mess with the mojo.  Since I started not watching the entire races (starting with Charlotte), Tony has not finished out of the top 10.  To increase the mojo magic, I posted a picture of Tony holding the 2011 championship trophy prior to Dover.  Guess what he won at Dover!  So I have been doing this hoping the mojo would continue.  Well, last week, I didn’t get to post things as I wanted due to work and home related matters.  I did hold up part of the mojo magic, I didn’t watch the entire race.  BUT, I DID NOT POST THE PICTURE!  And Tony finished a dismal 28th place!  UGH!  So in order to get the mojo back to where it needs to be…here it is!

2011 championship

Posted in NASCAR 2013

The Tricky Triangle

Disclaimer…I am apologizing to all of these out there who have math phobias for my usage of math lingo in this post.  Sometimes my geekiness just can’t help itself.  I hope I have done my math teachers proud by the use of this math terminology!

A usual NASCAR race occurs on an oval track which gives us four turns of action.  But there are on a few occasions where NASCAR takes their show to the not so oval tracks.  This weekend the Cup drivers will tackle Pocono Raceway aka The Tricky Triangle in Long Pond Pennsylvania for the Party in the Poconos 400 sponsored by Walmart.

To be honest, I don’t know a whole lot about this track.  The only thing I know it is in the shape of a triangle, albeit a rounded triangle.  I still shudder and get chills every time I think about triangles.  I think this all goes back to one of junior high math classes where I had to memorize the Pythagorean Theorem (note…I still can recite it word for word…the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides).  Hopefully the drivers and crew chiefs won’t have to use that kind of math to get around the 2.5 mile triangle this weekend.

I can see how the track is called the Tricky Triangle.  None of the sides are the same length or in math lingo a scalene triangle.  So no chance of using that pesky Pythagorean Theorem I mentioned earlier because you need a right angle in the triangle to use this theorem.  Can you imagine if one of the turns was a right angle?  Any way, here are the specs for the triangle the drivers will have to contend with this weekend.

  • Frontstretch = 3,740 feet
  • Long Pond Straight = 3,055 feet
  • Short Chute = 1,780 feet
  • Turn 1 = 14 degrees of banking
  • Turn 2 = 8 degrees of banking
  • Turn 3 – 6 degrees of banking

There is much in the way of banking like there is say at Daytona or Talladega.  This is a flat race track which requires the drives to contend with very different corners and straightaways.  Currently, there is one driver who seems to have mastered the domain of Pocono Speedway.  Jeff Gordon has the most wins with 6.  His last win coming last year at the Pennsylvania 500.  He has also lead the most career laps at Pocono with 965.  So if you have a fantasy league, I would definitely put Jeff Gordon on the team this week.  Another driver who has some success at Pocono is Denny Hamlin with three wins.  He swept both races back in 2006.  If Denny is looking to bounce back from last week’s race, this would be the one race to do it.

I will be watching Tony Stewart this week.  After his win last week at Dover, and his top-10 finish at Charlotte, he is riding some momentum into Pocono this weekend.  Tony’s win at Pocono was in 2009 at the first race in Pocono.  I have been following Tony’s career for several years and this is the time of the year he gets things started.  I am hoping he take this momentum to Victory Lane and get his second win of the season!

If you are headed out to Pocono this weekend have a great time!  If you are thinking about taking in the race, but don’t want to spend too much of that budget, you can still purchase concourse level tickets for just $25!  That’s right…$25!  These tickets normally would sell for $55, $50, $45.  That’s quite a deal when you think about it!  It basically means you can get two tickets for the price of one.  If I had that kind of savings, it would mean I could buy another Tony Stewart souvenir for my already overflowing souvenir collection!  You can buy these great tickets online at http://www.walmart.com/cp/1091705 or Pocono Raceway

When I started researching things about Pocono Raceway I wasn’t sure what I was going to find.  I wasn’t familiar with the track and to be honest it usually isn’t one of the races I have circled on my calendar to watch.  It’s not because there isn’t exciting racing, it’s usually the fact that I am on vacation during this time and don’t get a chance to watch the race. You need to check out the Pocono Green Initiatives!  The one program I like is the NASCAR Clean Air Tree Planting Program.  Ten trees are planted for every green flag of NASCAR race at Pocono.  Ten trees per race that’s twenty trees a year!  Pocono is definitely leading the way in conservation in NASCAR!

Some final thoughts…

  • I was so EXCITED about Tony’s win last weekend!  I didn’t catch much of the race.  It was just difficult to watch when you are feeling like death warmed over.  I did, however catch the last several laps!  I hope my neighbors can forgive me for the yelling and screaming I did.  If not, WHO CARES!!!
  • With this win, Tony would be in the Chase as one of the wild cards.  He is currently 16th (up four spots) and has one win.  The only other driver with one win not in the top 12 is David Ragan.  He is sitting in 27th place.  So if the regular season ended today, the wild cards would be Jeff Gordon (sitting at 11th spot) and Tony Stewart!  But the regular season doesn’t end after Dover so there is still a lot of racing left.
  • I believe NASCAR made the right call with Jimmie Johnson.  From the video I saw, it seemed Jimmie was ahead of Juan in the restart zone, he continued to be ahead of him and the field after the green flag flew.  I just thought it was one of those good restarts Jimmie usually gets, but in the case not so much.  Whether or not Juan held back or not, that is not for me to say.  Sometimes restarts are about gamesmanship.  Perhaps this was one of those where Jimmie got outplayed.  Either way it cost him the race win.
  • I am somewhat superstitious when it comes to sports.  I have been known to sit in the exact same spot, where the same clothes and I have even go so far as to have the same type of food and beverage to help give my driver good mojo.  I know this may seem a little odd for those who don’t follow sports, but hey, you don’t mess with the mojo!  So with that being said, I am going to post a gratuitous picture of Tony to give him so good mojo for this weekend!  The same one I posted last weekend!

2011 championship

Posted in NASCAR 2012

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!

Posted in NASCAR 2011

“We just beat Kyle Busch!”aka Phoenix…better late than never

I know this is somewhat late in the week to be talking about last week, but if you knew the kind of week I had you would certainly understand.  With that, I won’t make this very long since I am getting for the Vegas race.

Congratulations to Jeff Gordon for his victory in Phoenix last Sunday.  With the win last week,  he snapped his 66 race winless streak.  His last win prior to last week was at Texas in 2009.  He also is now tied for 5th with Cale Yarborough on the all-time win list.  I have to say when Jeff moved Kyle B. it was awesome.  I did not want Kyle Busch to win last week.  Sorry Kyle…but that is just how this NASCAR fan feels.  The move he put on you was, in my opinion, classic Jeff Gordon.  And the other cool thing, the crowd cheered for him.  Even when he got of his car in victory lane, there were a little more cheering than he has had in the past.  I mean he has had beer cans thrown at his car.  I guess it is all about the level of dislike you have for the driver.  I guess more people dislike Kyle than they do Jeff Gordon.  Either way, it was nice to see such emotion from a driver in victory lane. 

Jeff Gordan is just one of several drivers who are still struggling with their winless streaks.  Here are some of the drivers still looking for victory lane.

  • Mark Martin-47 races
  • Kasey Kahne-49 races
  • Joey Lagano-57 races
  • Matt Kenseth-72 races
  • Jeff Burton-79 races
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr.-95 races
  • Martin Truex-133 races
  • Bobby Labonte-254 races

Will today be the day one of these drivers end their winless streak?  Guess we will all have to tune in today to find out.

Now on to Vegas…heard Tony Stewart was driving a taxi in Vegas.  Can you imagine that?  At least he would get you where you needed to be in a hurry.  Also for those of you who are thinking about shoplifting in Vegas, make sure Morgan Shepherd is not hanging around.  Amy over at Bad Groove has made her yearly pilgrimage to Vegas. From her Facebook postings, I can’t wait until I see her posts. On that note, if you haven’t checked out her site, it is a must read.

Well…let’s kick the tires and light the fires…HAPPY RACE DAY EVERYONE!

Posted in NASCAR 2011

Pre Season Thunder-Day 2

Another day of testing, but not as much as yesterday.  Testing was a little delayed this morning due to Mother Nature.  I guess she is getting her hits in early for 2011.  But the boys were able to get out on the track this afternoon for some more testing.  Several teams were practicing the drafting process.  I can’t believe we are under 30 days until Daytona 500. 

I was able to watch several of the media interviews this afternoon.  I enjoyed Kevin Harvicks’s interview I think the most today.  It was insightful to see how he handled things after Dale Earhardt Sr’s passing.  It is hard to believe it has been 10 years since NASCAR lost Dale Sr.  Sometimes I like these kinds of media events.  You get to learn a little bit more about the driver and to be honest I have a little bit more respect for Mr. Harvick.  The funniest response was from Jeff Gordon.  They were discussing how being a father has changed how he does his job, etc and he related a story about Ella.  He arrived home late  (3:00 am) from the fall Texas race.  He said Ella had awakened and realized Daddy was home.  She asked her father were you wrestling with a man?  Jeff responded and said yes.  She asked why?  He explained that Daddy was upset/angry.  Why?….Little kids say the darndest things.  He then told everyone that he called Jeff Burton a couple of days later.  Jeff has older children I believe 12/14.  They told his dad they wanted to kick Jeff G’s butt, but Burton had to example to them he was the one who did something wrong.  I just thought it was very funny. 

It was good to see Brian Vickers back in the race car and on the track driving the #83 after his health scare last season. 

I saw part of the press conference with Mike Helton, Robin Pemberton and John Darby.  It was rather interesting on what they had to say about the changes with regards to what championship drivers can compete for as well as possible changes to the points system and other things.  I am sure there will be more to come in the new few weeks.  I can’t wait.

Some of the teams probably will not be at the final day of testing.  But I am still going to check it out tomorrow.  I have to get in my fix until February 12 where the boys go racing in the Bud Shootout.  Of course, I will be watching the 24 hours at Daytona next weekend.  This has been somewhat of a tradition with me over the past several years.  I do not know a whole lot about all the drivers participating but it is fun to watch.

Well…another day of testing is under our belts fellow NASCAR cars.  I am looking forward to tomorrow because that means we are one day closer to full fledge racing!

Posted in NASCAR 2010, Tony Stewart

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”~

Posted in NASCAR 2009

Rocketman and other items

  • First Tony gets the first win for Stewart Haas Racing last week, now Ryan wins the pole for the Coke 600 on Sunday. Woo Hoo!  
  • Tony qualified 28th for Sunday’s race.  I am not too concerned about Tony’s qualifying spot.  It’s a long race and a lot can happen during that time.  I mean he didn’t exactly start up front at the All-Star race and we all know how that turned out.
  • I see Jeff Gordon received treatment for his chronic back trouble.  I can understand how he must feel.  I have chronic back pains and I know how painful they can be.  Of course, I am sure last week’s crash during the All-Star race didn’t help his back.  It would not surprise me if he continues to have trouble with his back that he retires earlier than he anticipated.  Oh by the way he is starting third.
  • I have to say I am a little tired of all the Jeremy Mayfield situation.  I can’t put my finger on it, but something just doesn’t seem right with this situation.  Could Claritin D been the culprit?  If so, is this the reason NASCAR hasn’t come out and said anything?  I mean after all Claritin D is a sponsor for a major Cup team.  It’s just a thought.  Either way this is going to be interesting to see how NASCAR’s drug testing policies and procedures stand up to scrutiny.
  • And what was up with Jimmie’s new hairstyle?  I do have to say it does distract me from his beard.  It’s not too bad.  In fact he now has the same hairstyle as Little Smoke.

I am so ready for this weekend to get under way.  I mean I will be heading out to the store to pick up supplies for Day ‘O Racing.  I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend.  As you are going throughout your weekend enjoying all that food, beverage, sun and of course racing remember what this weekend is truly about.  Stop and take a moment to say “Thank You” to a soldier or a veteran.  For it wasn’t for all the brave men and women in the military, we would be able to enjoy the freedoms we have to day.  Thank you to my dad (Air Force), my father-in-law (Army), my uncles Cecil, Junior, Chris, Bill (Air Force, Marines), my cousin, Joe  (Navy) as well as Mike (Air Force) and Jack (Marines).  You served our country with pride and honor and I thank you.