Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sliced Bread and Bitter Pills

"The greatest thing since.... Sliced Bread"

Joey Logano turned 18 years old, and now officially joins the ranks of drivers in NASCAR's upper levels. The young racing sensation makes his first NASCAR Nationwide series appearance this weekend at Dover International Speedway.

Nicknamed "Sliced Bread" by Randy LaJoie, Joey has been signed with Joe Gibbs Racing for a few years as a development driver. Once he reached his majority, he re-signed with Gibbs. The young phenom already has a very lucrative Motorsports Authentics contract. It is hopeful that Joey lives up to his hype. It would be a shame to see him suffer the fate of other promising young stars that were unable to live up to early expectations. (photo from Daylife)

Bitter Pills #1

There has been much discussion on the air waves, and on the 'net, that Kyle Busch's incredible Joe Gibbs wins are being fueled, in part, by his bitterness from being cast-off by Hendricks Motorsports to be replaced by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. And now, it appears that Jeff Gordon agrees with that assessment. (photo credit AP, Jim Cole)

Gordon said during a break from Tuesday’s Sprint Cup test at Pocono Raceway that he believes Busch may harbor some bitterness toward his former organization, which let Busch go to make room for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to join the team in 2008.

Well, duh! Jeff! Ya think?

Bitter Pills #2
(Photo credit, NASCAR Scene Daily)

NASCAR warned us. They told us and told us they were going to escalate their penalties if the new car was 'messed with.' I am sure that the owners, the crew chiefs, and the car chiefs of Haas/CNC Racing are all smarting from the latest round of penalties. The rules were clear. What next? Drivers sitting a race in front of the TV, instead of beyond the wheel? At this point, NASCAR's message is loud and clear!

I think Sliced Bread is far more palatable than Bitter Pills!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Wide Awake Racing Attitude!

The Coca-cola 600 was a race that was predicted by media and fans to be long, boring and a snoozer. I am sure there are fans out there who are on that bandwagon, but there is a field of NASCAR drivers who have a different attitude.

In fact, the racing in the NASCAR's top three racing series can be summed up in one word - ATTITUDE!

The Ohio 250 race at Mansfield was such a typical mess. For some reason the half mile tracks and the trucks seem to mix it more than the Cup drivers at Martinsville. Rookie Donny Lia smacked David Starr out of the way to steal the win. His jubilant attitude was evident in his post-race, however the final comment shows a different attitude.

You know, I got into (David) Starr right there a little bit and hey, that's last lap racing and I'm sure he owes me one now but that's cool. You know if it’s the last lap and I'm in his position then I'm going to anticipate him hitting me anyway whether I did it today or not. That's just short track racing and you know, I just can't believe we are here right now it’s just really unbelievable."

David Starr gave an impressive interview after the race, marked by the amazing amount of restraint in his comments. The 'read' certainly does not show how David was struggling to control his emotions. That struggle said far more than any angry outburst could have.

Can you talk about the last lap?

"It was just good short-track racing. He (Donny Lia) got a run underneath us, I guess. I left a hole open, and he got into me in the left-rear, as you can see. It's all beat up back there. It was just enough to break my momentum. Once we broke the momentum, we broke traction in the rear. We just drove into turn three on a prayer. He had the preferred line. It was a great race. I just feel bad this Red Horse Racing team. They did a heck of a job. Jamie Jones (crew chief) did a heck of a job. We had a good truck the whole race, we just didn't finish it off. Not a bad finish, but we're disappointed. We thought we should've won the race. That's just good short-track action. You just never know what's going to happen until the end."

Saturday’s Nationwide event at Lowes Motorspeedway, the Carquest 300 had more attitude than a bar full of retired Air Force pilots. Kyle Busch, in a non-Gibbs car, vowed to break the Gibb’s winning streak, and he succeeded!

"I said before the race that hopefully we could bring this Dollar General Toyota home in first, and the Joe Gibbs Toyota could be second. And fortunately, tonight it worked out that way……"That JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) team has been pretty stout this year and I've been fortunate enough to drive their cars a couple times and it's really been nice to see how fast those things are. But we had our Braun Racing car pretty fast tonight too. It sucked that we brought the streak to an end, but I'm glad that at least it's a JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) driver streak.

Amazingly, the attitudinal happenings were all taking place behind Kyle this time, involving the next three cars in the finishing order. Brad Keselowski, during a caution period, place his front bumper under the rear bumper of the car of Denny Hamlin, lifting the rear wheels a tad, or maybe it was a shove. Denny pulled back even with Brad, and then made a move into Brad’s car, damaging the left front of Brad’s car. Dale Jr, in 4th place, moved forward to give Hamlin another shove to the rear.

The emotions of that on-track episode spilled over into the pits, in the form a melee between the crew members of JR Motorsports and Denny Hamlin’s crew. (image courtesy of Getty Images)
Even more tense, were the two drivers, during the post-race press room interview. Watch for yourself!

In my opinion, Denny came off looking a bit worse than Brad. Hamlin fans will probably disagree. The real shame though, both of those boys? men? used to race with each other in Dale Jr’s DMP sim league. I would think that at one time they were friends. It does not appear that there is any friendship left between Denny and the Jr Motorsports drivers.

The Big Show on Sunday, Humpy’s Last Hurrah, the Salute to the Troops, had many salutes of other kinds! Mostly digits on hands wedge between A-posts and window nets.

Jeff Gordon:
YOU JUST HAD A CONVERSATION WITH KYLE BUSCH. WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT? “I don’t know. I guess he doesn’t like people to race him. You know, Kyle and I never had any issues. But I raced him hard tonight just like I did everybody. And when track position is as important as it is here, you’ve got to race every single car for every single position. And I wasn’t going to give anybody an inch and I was racing for position. He’s got an issue because he gave me the finger and you know what? That’s not necessary for a guy he just didn’t like racing him the way I did.”

Really Jeff? Then talk to your buddy, Jimmie Johnson. I heard he was displaying the same finger to at least one other driver during the race! Was it necessary then?

Tony Stewart, on his radio, was wondering what was going on with Juan Pablo Montoya, saying he had ‘gotten’ bad again. Patrick Carpentier should realize that he doesn’t get points for every pinball hit he makes.

David Gilliland was the recipient of the ‘What in the HECK was THAT award.” He suddenly went from a 20th place car in the lucky dog position, to having his hood bashed in by the loose wheel from Brian Vickers machine. Fortunately, David was not physically hurt, nor were the fans in the infield. It is always a scary moment when a 75 pound wheel goes flying in the air. Hmmmmm! I wonder what happened to the tether those wheels are supposed to use? And Brian said he was going to send some 'stuff' over to the camper site. I wonder what he would give David?

And, as America spends this Memorial Day Monday relaxing and visiting with friends, remember the real reason for this holiday. Thank a member of the military today. The ones that survived can be thanked verbally. The ones that didn’t, please send a prayer of thanks for them. And remember, we wanted out drivers to show emotion. We have it, but we must accept it from all drivers, whether or not we like that driver. Thank the military for giving us the freedom to speak our minds!