• NASCAR Birthdays

    Born in APRIL

    18 Geoff Bodine, Tyler Labonte, Kale Kahne, Melanie Self

    19 Robert Yates, Richard Yates, Jack Roush, Greg Erwin, Kevin Grubb, Al Unser Jr., Aaron Keuhn

    20 Frank Stoddard, James Barnwell, Ron Barfield, Adrian Fernandez, Dustin Skinner, James Barnwell

    21 Bruce Silver, Bill Ingle, Greg Zipadelli, Bob Varsha

    22 Raygan Swan, Stella Paysor, Wesley Gantt

    23 Brian Whitesell, Jason Keller, Phil Gould, Joe Keller, Skip Manning, Terry Glotzbach, P.J. Jones, Tommy Croft, Charles Gafrarar, William Shakespeare, Jacob Meetze

    24 Hermie Sadler, Harrill Hamrick, Stephanie Hillin, Amanda Lorenzen

    25 Alkie Cunningham

    26 Martha Oliver, Jimmy Kitchens, Eva Busch

    27 Shelly Bose, Jason Haynes, Jason Sheets

    28 Tyler Hmiel, Jeff Neuendorf

    29 Dale Earnhardt, Larry Frank, Angie Skinner, Chad Little, Jerry Schweitz, Alexandria Fennig

    30 Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Andy Hillenburg, Joe Millikan, Amelia Joy Smith, Chris Browning, Ashton Glover, Frank Kimmel

    Born in MAY

    1 Randy Dorton, Johnny Sauter, Jimmy Parrott

    2 Ed "Uncle Bud" Adamczyk, Kyle Busch

    3 Greg Ely

    4 Randy Tolsma, Bobby Burrell, Jennifer Eolin

    5 Larry Pollard, Bob Welborn

    6 Mike Borkowski, Tammy Jo Kirk, Jeff Hancock, Dean Mozingo

    7 Dave Steele, Danny O'Quinn Jr.

    8 Bobby Labonte, Nathan Buttke, Don Hume, Jay Stewart, Judy Childress

    9 Tim Fedewa, Scott Page

    10 Amelia Andretti, Andy Rueger

    11 Glenn Bobo, Tim Flock, NASCAR Hall of Fame

    12 Jabe Thomas, Debra Adamczyk

    13 Rich Bickle, Scott Eggleston, Bob Kennedy, Jim Spencer, Linda McReynolds, Kirk Almquist, Maggie Feeney Rossi

    14 Steve Letarte, Bill Brooks, Dave Munari, Danielle Del Corio, Scott Lynch

    15 Shane Hmiel, John Hubner

    16 Josh Walker

    17 Mike Shiplett, Craig Ferguson, Kevin Pennell

    18 Mike Motil

    19 Dario Franchitti, Jody Ridley, Danny Culler

    20 Tony Stewart, Steve Portenga, Dave Despain, Eric Norris

Times are a Changin….

I’ve always directed my support to the underdog, the guy that didn’t have a chance. I think in part because the reward is so great when they pull off the win and there is very little dis-appointment when they don’t run well. Believe it or not there was a time when Jimmie Johnson didn’t win, that’s when I was a Jimmie Johnson fan. Once Jimmie started to win I moved on. It’s not that I just pick a loser, I pick a driver or team that is capable of winning but just hasn’t got it together enough to put one in the win column.  I can’t stand to see the same group of guys fighting for the win every week. I love a close finish, I know this is going to sound crazy but I would rather see a close finish with my driver losing than my driver winning by 5 car lengths. What I love about racing is the “race”, the battle, the bumping and banging.

This season is starting to take shape and it looks like NASCAR’s efforts over the last couple of years to level the playing field is starting to pay off. At least judging by the point standings it is. Judging by the point standings it looks like it’s going to be an awesome season, we’ll see some first time winners, we’ll see some guys who haven’t won in a while, and the fans will get to witness some great finishes.

1. TONY STEWART 113

2. KURT BUSCH 113

3. CARL EDWARDS 106 

4. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA 106

5. RYAN NEWMAN 103 

6. PAUL MENARD 96 

7. MARTIN TRUEX JR. 95 

8. DENNY HAMLIN 95 

9. A J ALLMENDINGER 94 

10. DALE EARNHARDT JR. 91

Just take a look at the points, look at Menard, Truex ,Allmendinger and even Earnhardt these guys are getting it done. Now I smart enough to know this doesn’t  mean they’ll finish the season in these positions. But it may be an indication that the playing field is becoming more level and that these drivers and teams have stepped up their game.

So for me it looks like it’s going to be a great season. Publically I’m behind Allmendinger but just between you and me I’d love to see Menard and Vickers in Victory Lane this season.

I’m not sure if it’s time to eat my words yet, because as some of you may know I’ve been very critical of the decisions NASCAR has made over the last couple of years but it would appear the steps they have taken has leveled the playing field a little.

Kahne at Red Bull

Take a look at the #4 Red Bull Racing Toyota that has been prepared for Kasey Kahne.  http://twitpic.com/3fwkk3

I’m still not real sure what all this means, what I mean is Kasey signed with Hendricks to drive a Chevy in 2012 when Mark Martin vacates the #5 car. Red Bull is a Toyota team with a tremendous amount of Toyota support, so how did Red Bull get Toyota to sign off on the deal that was brokered buy Hendricks (a Chevy guy) (?). I can understand why Red Bull and Hendricks did it. I believe Red Bull will be switching to Chevy in 2012 or 2013 and if the top Chevy team (Hendricks) needs a favor you do it. But why would Toyota go along with it, Kasey and his cronies will be in perfect position to learn about what makes Toyotas so fast. There’s more to this story than meets the eye.

How easily they forget…..

Yesterday (Thurs. Dec. 3rd) was the NASCAR Partners Awards Day. It’s where NASCAR sponsor and partners hand out various performance based awards.  Sometimes I think it’s more about their favorite drivers than performance.

Here’s the List of Thursdays Award Winners

* Buddy Shuman Award Dale Inman
* NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award Michigan International Speedway
* NMPA Myers Brothers Award Barney Hall
* Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver Award Dale Earnhardt Jr.
* Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award Joey Logano
* DirecTV Crew Chief of the Year Award Darian Grubb
* Dow Automotive Strategic Call of the Race Award Jimmie Johnson
* Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Year Award Drew Blickensderfer
* MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award Hendrick Motorsports
* Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Award #42 team
* Mobil 1 Command Performance Award Juan Pablo Montoya
* O’Reilly Parts People, Services and Performance Award Denny Hamlin
* Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award Jimmie Johnson
* Tissot Pit Road Precision Award #16 team
* WIX Filters Lap Leader Award Tony Stewart
* Coors Light Pole Award Mark Martin
* Sunoco Diamond Performance Award Jimmie Johnson
* Goodyear Award Jimmie Johnson
* Championship Sponsor Award Lowe’s
* Champion Crew Chief Award Chad Knaus

There’s a few here that I think they missed the mark on or they have very short memories. Here’s the mistakes I think they made, I really think most of you will agree.

* Dow Automotive Strategic Call of the Race Award Jimmie Johnson
This one to me is a No Brainer-Should have Been  David Ruetimann I beleive it was the Coke 600 the call was to stay out instead of pit then the race was called for rain and David got his 1st Cup Victory.

* Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Year Award Drew Blickensderfer
Again this ones a No Brainer, I’d have to say Frank Kerr of the #83 Red Bull Team deserved this one. Remember during the Pep Boys 500 in Atlanta when Brian Vickers broke an axle, 99%of the time teams don’t even pull a wheel off on pit road they just take it to the garage to replace the axle but Kerr had the team do it there on Pit Road and luckily they were able to fish out both pieces on the axle and slide a new one in that decision allowed Vickers to make the Chase. That’s solving a Problem!!!!

* Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Award #42 team
This one should go to the #83 Team for the broken axle repair at Atlanta’s Pep Boys 500. That repair allowed Vickers to make the Chase. (Explanation under the above Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Year Award)

* Tissot Pit Road Precision Award #16 team
This one Again should go to the #83 Team for the broken axle repair at Atlanta’s Pep Boys 500. That repair allowed Vickers to make the Chase. (Explanation under the above Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Year Award)
This is an amazing repair to be done on Pit Road, Luck has to be on your side because first of all when the axle breaks it usually breaks into a few pieces because of that usually you have to remove the gears from the rear end to get all the pieces.  So o.k. you get lucky and it’s only 2 pieces, you still have to get those 2 out and then slide the axle in place and get it to seat right but really where all the difficulty comes in is because your on pit road with the pace car coming around in about 30 seconds, so hurry get it in and tires back on to get him back out so he can come around and get 4 fresh tires , fuel and any other adjustments. Tough call to attempt on pit road and even tougher to get it done!!!!

Sponsors aren’t Racers

 

  Red Bull is a perfect example why sponsors should not own race teams. Red Bull is probably the best at what they do, make and market energy drinks. But that’s it.
  They have no business making decisions on the drivers of there race teams. That should be Jaye Fryes job he’s the professional they hired to manage there NASCAR race teams. The big wheel(owner) in Austria made the decision to let A.J. Almendinger go and put Scott Speed in the drivers seat. It was a huge set back for the team, they had just started to turn the corner with A.J. he was qualifying well and had gotten into the top 35 which guarantees the team a starting spot. They were finally going to be able to run competitively and bam in one stupid decision the team was setback two years but thats only if all goes well and Scott Speed steps up his game which hasn’t happened yet.
  I was completely against the swap, I think A.J.’s the drive to be successful in NASCAR in the same breathe I think it just might have been the best thing to happen to A.J., he’s with an owner(Richard Petty Motorsports) that see’s his talent, he’s with an owner that wants to win as bad as he does, and he’s with an owner that has experience in the sport. Those combinations along with A.J.’s attitude is recipe for success.
   I really don’t think Scott Speed will be in Cup to long. Other than Red Bull teams can’t go a season and only run 4 or 5 races and right now thats all your going to get with Scott Speed unless you put someone in the car to get them back in the top 35 and then put Scott in to see if he can hold it there. But Scott is not going to get the car into the top 35.

Not a Minute too Late…..

Red Bull Racing has decided to temporarly replace A.J. Allmendinger with Mike Skinner in the #84 Toyota Camry. Jay Frye the teams V.P. and General Mgr. said “AJ’s our guy and he’s a talented driver, but there’s a lot being asked of him. In order for him to be successful, we have to get this team pointed in the right direction. We hope we can do that with the help of a veteran driver.” Mike Skinner’s history with Red Bull Racing Team dates back to 2006 when he served as a test driver for the team. Skinner’s history with Allmendinger also dates back to 2006, when he mentored teammate Allmendinger during the rookie’s part-time ride with Bill Davis Racing NCTS team. Frye hopes with the help of Skinner, that RBRT will have the program turned around and the ride returned to Allmendinger in no time. AJ Allmendinger, #84 Red Bull Driver said: “Let’s not kid ourselves; I’m a racer and I want to be racing, but I get the big picture here and obviously we need to improve our program. Do I want to be out of the car? No. But, I know Skinner can help both me and my team. All I can say is he better be prepared for me to eat, drink, and sleep with him. Ok, well maybe not the sleeping part, but I’m ready to attach myself to him and learn everything I can.” Substitute #84 Driver and Bill Davis Racing- Truck Series Driver Mike Skinner said “The first time I ever met AJ, I took an immediate liking to him. He’s not just a great personality; he also has a remarkable amount of talent. He took on a huge challenge jumping into stock cars last year, and I’m glad I can be the one to help him and his team figure out where the glitches are in their program. This is a positive thing for AJ as a learning experience, for the Red Bull Racing Team to get back on track, and for me to have the opportunity to help another Toyota team that has great equipment and potential.” said Skinner.

This just might help the team Mike Skinner over the last 3 or 4 years has been the guy teams call on when their program gets in trouble, Mike is a great qualifyer he’s probably one of the only guys who has repeatedly stepped into a car with little or no seat time and managed to get the car in the show while pointing out the problem spots so the team can make instant changes that are seen on the track before the end of the weekend. I truly beleive they made the right decision and are going with the right driver. It would appear when a team hires a temporary driver the only thing that driver is concerned with is himself and his next ride. But what you get with Mike Skinner is dedication, knowledge, and loyalty he’s not concerned with fame and fortune his concern is doing a good job and helping the team. Mike Skinner is old school racer and he knows if the teams is taken care of then the driver will be but the team has to come first and everything else will fall into place.