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!


SHR and That Dang Ol’ Racing Show

I wasn’t sure if I was going to write about the new addition to Stewart Haas Racing.  I have read several articles about Kurt Busch coming to SHR as well as other media sites about the story.  I just don’t know if there is a need to write another story about it.  I have not been quiet about my dislike for Kurt Busch over the years.  He is a hot-headed and quite frankly he can be a complete a-hole.  He has tangled with Tony Stewart along with other drivers on his new team.  He is a polarizing figure in the sport.  Every time he is announced at driver introductions, he gets more boos than cheers. So why would you want someone like this on your racing team?

The man can drive a car and he knows how to win.  Why wouldn’t you want the man on your race team?  Was he the driver I would have loved to seen go to SHR?  One word-NO (and I believe Tony wasn’t on board right way).  Think about the make up of the 2014 Stewart Haas Racing Team (prior to the addition of Kurt)–Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, and Danica Patrick.  These drivers have been known to say what they think and make no apologies about it.  They can be a little hot-headed at times.  One just has to look at the last Saturday’s race at Bristol.  Kevin thought he was wronged by Denny Hamlin.  He went over to his car while on pit road to discuss the matter further with Denny.  Or who could forget last year at Bristol, Tony throwing his helmet at Matt Kenseth’s car.  If you need any further evidence, just check out You Tube.  Now throw in Kurt Busch…wow!  Some of the commenters out there believe Kurt Busch has anger management issues.  Who doesn’t on some kind of level?  Some are better than others at controlling their anger.  Tony is no stranger to anger management issues.  I think he has “mellowed” a little over the last several years.  I contribute this to getting older and being a team owner.  But don’t make this mistake in saying this mellowing means his passion for the sport has changed.  It hasn’t.  I think Kurt has proven he can still be upset about things, but he has done some mellowing himself this year.  Despite his past shenanigans, I still believe this is a good move for SHR.   With Kurt Busch you get a driver who has 24 wins, 95 top fives and 185 top 10s not to mention he won a championship in 2004.  He was the first driver to win a championship under the Chase format.  He is currently sitting 12th in the standings on the bubble of making the Chase this year with a one-car team.  And I have to admit I like that fact he isn’t afraid to race his brother, Kyle.  I mean look what happened in the 2007 All-Star race.  Of course I for one would take out my own grandmother for a million dollars.  I believe the brothers didn’t talk to one another until their grandmother stepped in.

I am ok with Kurt Busch becoming part of SHR.  With that being said, I am did not like how it all came about.  I know Gene Haas was the one who wanted Kurt in the SHR stable.  That’s fine and dandy.  NASCAR is a business and it is all about making the most of your investment.  Tony Stewart understands all of this.  Gene Haas is a co-owner of SHR along with Tony.  I get all that.  But in the end, Tony Stewart elevated his racing team.  He won a championship within 3 years of creating SHR.  It was just weeks ago, Ryan Newman was let go because there was not going to be enough for a fourth team.  You have to wonder if Mr. Haas wanted to keep Newman around on SHR.  During his time at SHR (this also includes his time this year through 24 races) Newman has 4 wins, 28 top 5s, 70 top 10s.  He has won 7 poles and qualified for the Chase only twice since joining SHR in 2009.  Compared to Kurt Busch over this time with Roush/Penske/Phoenix and Furniture Row, Kurt has 6 wins, 34 top 5s, 70 top 10s, 6 poles, and qualified 6 times for the Chase.  It can be compared they both look similar on paper.  But I guess Mr. Haas wanted Kurt Busch on the team.  I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Mr. Haas and Mr. Stewart discussed this matter.  I bet it was an interesting conversation and I am sure it didn’t sit well with Tony.  I just think the timing of it all is rather hinky.  Was there another team entertaining Kurt an offer besides Furniture Row and Mr. Haas wanted to pinned down Kurt while the iron was hot?  No matter what any of us think Kurt Busch is now a member of Stewart Haas Racing.

How happy will I be to watch all four members of SHR next year?  Happier than a camel on Wednesday!  (sorry, for the shameless use of a Geico commercial)

Some final thoughts…

If you missed last night’s That Dang Ol’ Racing show, you must have had something more important to do last night.  I was able to win free pizza from Domino’s by winning last week’s Dang Ol’ Racing Challenge.  Thanks to Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, and Jimmie Johnson for racking up some serious points for me.  Does this mean I have to share my pizza with them?  I hope not, because I am not good at sharing.  This week the boys are headed to Atlanta and I have chosen Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, and Matt Kenseth.  Let’s hope these boys get it done, so I can be a two-time winner!  As I mentioned in previous posts here in The Park, I was excited to hear about this new show.  For years now I have been posting about NASCAR and looking for those of you out there who are willing to banter with me about the sport.  I have those who tolerate this obsession of mine.  I have tried to explain things to hem and even invited them to watch a race or two with me, but to no avail.  Now I have a place I am able to share my thoughts on NASCAR.  For my friends and family, you should send on Mr. Ryan Hyatt a thank you.  I don’t have to bother you as much or subject you to this thing I love called NASCAR.   Well, if you want to catch That Dang Ol’ Racing Show, just tune into 98.5 Real Country every Tuesday from 6-7. You can also find the show on Facebook (That Dang Ol Racing Show,) or on Twitter (@dangolracing).  You can find that show blog on my blogroll, just go over to the right side under Infield and click and boom…there you are!  So join the show next week,  you can have a chance to win free pizza from Dominos and who doesn’t like free pizza!  Please note I am not a paid spokesperson or am I compensated in any way shape or form.  I just like the show and want others to join in on the fun!

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)


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! 

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.

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!!


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.

Tony-Person of the Year

I have to say I am a little down this morning…my beloved Red Raiders got their assess handed to them on a silver platter on Saturday night by that team from Norman. But I am ok and have come in off the ledge thanks to this…


That’s right…”the other man” in my life has been named Person of the Year by NASCAR Illustrated.  If you have not picked up your copy of NASCAR Illustrated I would suggest you pick up your copy now.  Not only is there a great article on Tony, but there is an extra bonus…a fold out poster that is suitable for hanging in my office.   

I can’t wait until the 2009 season begins…according to the clock on my desktop..it’s 2 months, 21 days, 8 hours and 39 minutes.

Oh…and the newest Tony wear is now available for purchase at both NASCAR.com Superstore and Tony Stewart.com.

I just purchased this shirt from Tony Stewart.com. My first, new Tony shirt for 2009! Don’t worry, I will have more in my wardrobe shortly.


I am hoping someone who really knows how much I need new Tony shirts will order this one from NASCAR.com Superstore (wink, wink Postman, Ms. H., or whoever feels the need to help a Tony fan out).  If you are not sure where to go, just let me know and I be more than happy to guide you there. I am also open to other new Tony items as well. Postman already has the new car on order from our local NASCAR dealer. Gotta love someone who takes care of this Tony fan.



Update…I am planning to work on the 2009 Trixies over the Thanksgiving holidays.  I have quite a bit of spare time since I am not pulling off the entire Thanksgiving day dinner.  WOO HOO!!

It’s Official, well sort of

I got a NASCAR alert via my email just a few minutes ago….Ryan Newman headed to Stewart- Haas Racing beginning with the 2009 season.

This is from NASCAR.com article, “Ryan Newman’s long-anticipated move to Tony Stewart’s new race team will become reality Friday in an announcement at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR.com has learned.”..driver on over

Wow…never saw that coming!