Saturday, June 06, 2009

Meandering among the Marbles! Pocono Weekend

Notes and Observations from Pocono Weekend

SPN is up to their shenanigans from last year, by not starting the Nationwide Qualifying on time. This time, it was a regional baseball tourney. It would not have been so bad, if they had considered moving the qualifying to another channel. Even the watchers most ignorant of baseball will see that when the team is at the top of the 8th with one out, that the Qualifying will not be coming up soon, unlike the scroll at the bottom of the screen kept proclaiming. I gave up after 40 minutes, and went about my life. When ESPN takes over the Cup season, we will have more of the same.

A requirement of the contract to sing our Anthem for a NASCAR race is that it MUST be sung properly. This is not an audition for American Idol or America's Got Talent!

In pre-race, Kyle Busch told of his last Dover Nationwide race, where he was 'moved' out of the way by his team mate. He admitted that he had a tire going down, and then dropped a bombshell by saying he didn't tell anyone, because he wanted to drag out the start and hope there was a wreck behind him.

"I have no issues with Joey at all," Busch said Friday at Pocono Raceway. "I must have punctured a tire I because I felt it in the last two corners before the caution came out that the right-front was getting soft. I didn't call it over the radio because I didn't want to give everybody Christmas and say that I had a tire going down.

"If I could have jacked up the restart enough and caused a wreck then I would have been fine, I would have been golden — it was a green-white-checkered so I would have won the race. That didn't happen.

"I went off into turn one and Joey was going to follow me and that's why I was as high as I was because I wasn't expecting him to follow. He got in the back of me a little bit (but) it was no fault whatsoever of Joey." (From USA Today)
Rusty Wallace called him out for it, and Kyle deserved everything that Rusty said, and all that he didn't say. Brad Daugherty even called Kyle out for not stopping to talk to the media. If Joe Gibbs Racing and M&M's haven't listened to the fans comment on Kyle's behavior, perhaps they will hear the commentary from the booth, and act on it. It is one thing to be a polarizing player in the sport, it is another to try and deliberately wreck the field. And the worst part, is that he didn't wait to talk to the media, and left his young team mate, Joey Logano thinking that he was totally at fault for the messed up restart.

Kyle further stunned the fans by smashing his guitar in Victory Lane. Forty-eight hours later, there are mixed stories on how much of this was planned, and how much was spur-of-the-moment. Sam Bass admitted that the act stunned him, but that he and Kyle talked in VL, and Sam is OK with it since Kyle has ordered two replacements. It is indeed Kyle's trophy, and he can do what he wishes with it. However, combined with the above tire issue, the guitar smashing, the refusing to talk to the press, and the general attitude that whatever he does is ok do not endear him to me, or to many fans of the sport. He may think he is a rock star, but this is racing, not rock 'n' roll!

The new restart procedures did help to jazz up the middle of the race. The long green flag runs, however, were still there, and the restarts did not counter the boredom that ensues for the hours and hours of cars all strung out.

There has been a tremendous amount of time given to the trials and tribulations of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and the crew chief changes. There has been little discussion on the crew changes for Kevin Harvick. Both will take time for changes to make an impact. Hopefully, the fans of both drivers show patience.

John Daly's blog, The Daly Planet, spent the weekend dissecting the three races. Much talk in all three events centered on Start and Parks. I am sensitive to this subject, since one of my favorite drivers and teams recently had to resort to this practice. I do not like it, and I am sure the driver and crew don't like it either. But, the economy has hit, and hit hard, among the teams on the lower echelon of each series. It is a hard decision to make, but my team is picking their races, and hope to make a showing in markets that are important to them. Frankly, I don't see many cars standing in the wings that will be able to move up to full-time racing, to replace the start and park cars.

On the Michigan!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

NASCAR Sponsor Takes Over!

NASCAR sponsors have a way of becoming a focus of NASCAR fans. We generally support the sponsors of both the teams and the sport.

As a fan of Yates Racing, there was initial excitement at the beginning of 2009 when it was announced that Bobby Labonte had signed with Yates, and brought to the table as a sponsor. That excitement quickly turned to dismay when I discovered that Bobby was 'in', and David Gilliland was 'out' of his ride. While I entirely understand the financial side of the deal, it left me feeling disgruntled., formerly known as Ask Jeeves, has made a huge mark in the NASCAR world. Not only are they sponsoring the 96, they have become the Official Search Engine of NASCAR. They are the 'go-to' source for trivia questions on television broadcasts. They have a browser toolbar that is configured for NASCAR fans. They were at each track I attended this year (California, Vegas, and Texas) handing out CD's with a contest opportunity and most likely, their toolbar.

I never loaded that CD, in part because of the YR deal with David Gilliland losing his ride. And because of a recent experience, I am glad that I left that CD sitting in my track backpack.

About two weeks ago, I downloaded a game from Facebook. It was a game from a company I had used several times, and indeed a company whose games are good enough that I have purchased three of their selections. This download, however, had a special little opportunity to download In a hurry, I did not take the time to read what I was installing, and therefor neglected to un-check the box.

Suddenly, my Firefox browser directed me to Internet Explorer did the same. Both had the toolbar loaded. And both had the search engine default switched from google to Arrrgggg!

That hurried and totally stupid download has reminded me that I need to slow down. I managed to remove the toolbar, and I managed to changed the default search engines back to google. I have, however, been wrestling with one last vestige of this pesky software, as everytime I mistyped something in my url box, it redirected me to

After two weeks, I found that removing that redirect from Firefox is an exercise in itself. You have to use the "about:config" function in a tab, to change the strings. Very scary for an Internet Apprentice (which is way below Internet Wizard on the Savvy Scale) and one that helped to increase my high-blood pressure. I stressed at the moment I saw how changing those settings could upset the stability of my machine. My MACHINE? What about MY stability?

Sadly, the easiest way to remove it is to go to, and beg them for help. There have apparently been so many problems, that they developed a special removal tool. Since it was an executable file, I was worried about downloading that one, too. But quite a bit of research gave me some courage to try it, and it seems to have worked.

While I like Bobby Labonte, I am still peeved over the Yates Racing Deal. Now I am just as peeved over the sponsor taking over my computer. For me, DON'T!