Thursday, August 21, 2008

Magnets and Marble Musings

Some more Random Thoughts just keep popping up. This week's Magnet-Gate is still seething and roiling on the NASCAR airwaves! Talk about a storm!

Just because Jack seems to whine a lot, it does not mean that he is wrong!

As the engine dyno was revving in the background at Michigan, Nationwide race-winning owner Jack Roush gave a detailed account of the initial advantages Toyota was given to help the Camrys get up to speed when the manufacturer entered the sport in 2007.

"(NASCAR) gave them a bunch of considerations from a parameter point of view, a dimension point of view that was outside the box in terms of what the Ford engine was," Roush said. "The pushrods are straighter. The camshaft is higher. The pushrods are shorter. The valve train is stiffer. The cooling system works better. All of those things were things that NASCAR uses discretion to approve that obsoleted the Ford engine and we can't make as much power as they do with the parts we have and right now we can't afford to obsolete all the parts that we have.

"So NASCAR, in the interest of fairness and balance in the competition from a potential point of view, after they went to great lengths to be able to check the engines to find out what they were doing, decided that they needed to rein Toyota in and that's what they did. There's crying and complaining about it, but the problem was when they submitted the engine, Toyota had approved things that obsoleted, really, everybody else, and now we've all got the necessity to come back and re-design and obsolete our current engines in order to get competitive.

"The error wasn't ours for getting behind. The error was in what Toyota offered and what NASCAR approved."

Joe Gibbs claims he is taking the hard line:
Team owner Joe Gibbs issued a statement saying the orgnanization would impose its own penalties with "the minimum being suspension for the remainder of the season for those involved, including our two Nationwide Series crew chiefs."

One would think from Joe's statement, that the "Magnet Seven" are all gone from the shop. Someone might want to give Kyle Busch the news!
“They’re still going to be at the shop putting together some race cars and doing all the work that they need to do to keep the stuff up to par. We’re just going to have different guys here at the race track to crew-chief during the race.

This situation has certainly shattered trust in NASCAR and in the workings of the Gibbs organization. The last time news of this magnitude rocked our NASCAR world is when Michael Waltrip was accused in the "Sterno-Gate" disaster last year in Daytona. One has to wonder how this impacts all of the sponsors at JGR. It certainly taints our sport.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Musings from the Marbles

NASCAR's constant ritual known as Silly Season is in full swing, with new news almost every day!

Texaco will be leaving the sport at the end of the year. It will be sad for a large group of Robert Yates fans, who associate Texaco-Havoline with Davey Allison. I can certainly understand, that in these economic times, Texaco may not have received great value for their money in recent years. However, the exit of this iconic brand may have great impact on the future of Ganassi racing. The OTHER sponsor of the 42, Wrigley, is facing an acquisition by Mars, who happens to be the primary sponsor for the Joe Gibbs #18 car. While Mars, last year, helped out Yates Racing by sponsoring two cars, I think it is far too much to expect them to continue the Wrigley sponsorship after this year, and certainly not with another organization.

Carl Edwards seems to be one of the hottest properties in the garage. It appears that not only will he have the primary deal with Aflac, he may well have partial sponsorship from Subway and the US Army. It appears that part of the reported $26 million a year from Aflac will be sold off to other sponsors.

Yates Racing is listed on ESPN as making a play for Paul Menard. I am sure that the Menard's sponsorship is very attractive. I am hoping this is part of a three team plan, as I feel very strongly that David Gilliland and Travis Kvapil both deserve to continue with Yates Racing.

Much of the racing world was stunned to hear about Magnet-Gate at Joe Gibbs Racing. Many times, we hear the perpetrators of scandals in this sport deny and swear they will follow through with in-house punishment. I don't believe most of them, however, I do believe Joe and JD Gibbs when they say they will take care of the issue in-house, above and beyond whatever penalties NASCAR will hand out on Wednesday.

A three-way schedule change for the Sprint series gives a Chase date to the Auto Club Speedway, also known as California Speedway. However, this has to be the 'make or break' deal for the Fontana race. They have been suffering from incremental declines in ticket sales for the last few years. Gillian Zucker has declared the hot weather over a California Labor Day weekend to be keeping fans away. Indeed, it has kept me away for a few years. But now, it will be 'Step Up or Step Away' time for the track, its fans, and for NASCAR to make a decision on retaining two races at that venue. While Atlanta, another track in this swap, also suffers from lagging attendance, its figures are still very high when compared to Fontana.

This week is Bristol week! Look for some switching around in the points as teams try to take advantage of the side by side racing provided by the new track surface!