Monday, April 09, 2007

Three Wide

Our first blog of Three Wide is up!

And for the first week, we have yet to slug each other! Shew!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

High-pitched Whining in Vegas

The CHAMP car race in Vegas provided me some degree of racing satisfaction for a substitute for no NASCAR racing. Due to the Easter weekend, which for some reason is a Primo Chocolate-selling event, I made a run to one of the Las Vegas Downtown stores on the same weekend as the CHAMP race. I was toting a load of chocolate bunnies through the parking garage, when I heard an amazing sound!


(Wow, if I were in the middle of a SciFi movie, I would think I had been buzzed by a Giant Skeeter!)

Dang, that does NOT sound like a race car, but I found myself running to the balconey for a view anyway! While I did not get a chance to hang around and watch the race, as chocolate Bunnies tend to get all soft & mushy in Vegas heat, I did resolve to watch the race on TV the next day.

Being an NASCAR fan, I like to think I can be a fan of many types of motorsports. When watching a CHAMP race, there are very obvious differences when compared to NASCAR. However there were a few things that struck me as WAAAYYY different.

  • This was a TIMED race. While it would certainly guarantee no TV coverage over-runs, it was a bit disconcerting! Fortunately, I located a web-based leaderboard at that kept me informed of the remaining time for the race. NBC finally put a timer up in the remaining minutes. But, this may be a product of the series having to buy their air time, unlike NASCAR that has the networks jumping hoops to pay NASCAR for the right to film.
  • Staggered starts? Alrighty then! Twice! Looked awkward, was awkward, and hopefully they learned their lesson.
  • While the streets along the course were empty, by design, it did not look as if there were many folks in the Main Street grandstands. Certainly, it was not a sell-out by the standards of NASCAR. Hopefully, enough money was made by the promotor to fulfill the promise of 2 more years,with options for 2 more, in Vegas.
  • We know that our NASCAR road-course drivers learn to turn right. In this course, there was a section of the course the screamed out RIGHT LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT YEEEEHAAAWWWW!!!! That Ogden Street Bridge tunnel made for some exciting photo-opportunities.
  • It looks like CHAMP just jumped right into their vesion of the Car of Tomorrow, without the fanfare of our COT. Their newly designed racecar had some glitches and gremlins, much like our COT. The gremlins, in the form of the fuel valve, had an impact on the finish of the race. And oh yeah, they ran the same cars. (Wait, that is not such a big difference!)
  • TWO kinds of tires with different hardness. AND, the teams had to use both during the race. Hmmm...Goodyear?
  • Six cars finished on the lead lap. Of course, the field also only had 17 entrees. The leader coasted to the finish line with over 16 seconds to spare. The third place car was 27 seconds behind the leader. Now that was an exciting battle to the checkers! (not)
  • And oh, the purse! The winner won $75,000 (the series champion will take home $500,000.) There are several NASCAR drivers who couldn't buy furniture for their mansions with the check the CHAMP Champ brings home.
Other then that, the similiarities were prevalent. Tire problems, parts failures, rookies having problems in the first lap, two cautions before completing the fist lap, long green flag runs creating time for a short power nap, fuel strategy, and of course, a charming winner by the name of Will Power! What a marvelous name for a racer!

La Triviata on a quiet Sunday

It is an off-week for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Drivers. The Busch series raced in Nashville. Las Vegas had its first CHAMP Car race today, running a 2.4 mile circuit in the downtown area.

Since there is not much happening this post will not have a single theme, but I will provide some trivial thoughts and observations. Of course, as some of my 'Friends of NASCAR' would say, "SNAFAM is nothing BUT trivial!"

  • David Poole, in his That's Racin article about Mark Martin, talks about how Mark keeps giving back to the fans. Martin's annual Fan Event is truly awesome. Several have related to me how Mark will stay for hours, signing autographs for every person who shows up. He does not charge for it, does not offer VIP privileges (pay a higher fee to get closer) and does not turn a fan event into a charity opportunity. He merely opens the doors of his dealership to his fans, and he stays until the last fan leaves. Way to go, Mark!
  • HAIR WARS? Two drivers will be asking their fans to help create what could well be the charity event of the season. By now, all have heard that Tony Stewart made a casual comment about body waxing on his Tony Stewart Live show on Sirius. (It actually originated when they were discussing another driver who allowed himself to be waxed for a show on ESPN. Tony vowed he wouldn't do that for $50K. Yokum asked about $100k, and Tony thoughtfully replied "Maybe, but it would be for charity!")
Kevin Harvick has taken up the challenge. The money will be donated by Harvick's fans, and will then be turned over to Victory Junction Camp. Stewart has challenged Kevin to let Tony shave his head, with a like amount being donated. After viewing the waxing scene from the movie 40 Year Old Virgin (WE'RE GONNA NEED MORE WAX!), I think Tony will suffer far more than Kevin! To donate to the cause, visit Kevin Harvick's website. Through Friday, more than $15,000 had been donated. One can't help but wonder if some of Tony's peers might offer larger sums to 'the cause.' Some might even want to help with the waxing!
Way to go, Kevin and Tony! It is amazing how casual comments can become major media events! And HUGE Kudos to the fans of Harvick!
  • I would also be willing to donate a few pennies to see the disappearance of the pathetic facial hair on Shrub's chiny-chin-chin!
  • The Busch series had its stand alone race this weekend in Nashville. Few Cup drivers arrived to stink up the show, but one who did arrive ran away with the field. Carl Edwards won again. (BTW, congrats to Stephen Leicht and David Reutimann for their finishes!) Carl is leading the series by 321 points, which leads one to believe that A) Jack Roush and Carl Edwards really really really want to have a Busch Championship this year , and B) the Busch Championship may well be decided long before the season is complete.
If we indeed have two years in a row with a huge gap from first to second, I am sure that NASCAR will step in to manipulate the points rules in that series. A Busch Chase may be in the future!