California Dreamin’

2009 Daytona 500 123

 

THIS WEEK’S STORY LINES:

1.  KENSETH WINS AT CALIFORNIA:

2.  DW INTERVIEWS DALE, JR.:

3.  RAIN THREATENS BUT DOESN’T INTERFERE:

4. OL KYLIE (TLVW) WINS TRUCKS AND NATIONWIDE RACES:

“All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray.  I ‘ve been for a walk on a winter’s day.  I’d be safe and warm if I was in LA.  California Dreamin’ on such a winter’s day.”( John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas

Well the NASCAR boys were, in fact, in LA this weekend.  And the lyrics of this song rang true, all the leaves were brown, and the skies were gray!  And I might think that some of the drivers felt safe in LA, maybe the SoCal natives!!

For sure one driver felt very safe in LA this weekend, Matt Kenseth!  After not winning a single race in 2008, Kenseth wins two races in a row.  He is only the fourth driver in all  of NASCAR history to win the first two races of the season.  The other three drivers to accompolish this fete were, Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, and Jeff Gordon. 

 

Additionally, Ol Kylie Busch (The Las Vegas Weasel) did something that has never been accompolished in NASCAR history!  TLVW won both the Trucks race and the Nationwide race in the same day, Saturday.

 

COMMENTARY:

It has been seven days since the 2009 Daytona 500 and quite possibly the most talked about race crash since the 2001 Daytona 500 occured, that is when Dale Earnhardt, Sr. lost his life in a last lap crash.   In an interview between Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. broadcast on Fox before the running of the Auto Club 500, the obvious question was put to Dale, Jr.   His answer to the query regarding the Vickers-Jr. crash was in the typical Dale, Jr. fashion, straight from the hip and honest.  Earnhardt, Jr. agreed that he had made a couple of crucial errors in the pits that were very costly!!  He further admitted that because of those errors, the impending rain, and it was THE DAYTONA 500, he was driving very agressive!!  He also said that he felt bad for 80% of those caught up in the accident.  But for the other 20% he had no concern at all.  He further stated that he had  a big run on Vickers and thought that Vickers saw him coming.  (Pretty obvious that Vickers did see him, cause he put a big block on Jr.)  Jr. said that he really didn’t expect Vickers to put a BIG block on him.  But he takes full responsibility for the wreck.

From my poll question posed to you , it appears that the majority of the voters indicated that they would HOLD THEIR LINE and KEEP IT MATTED!!!!!  

Therefore, my conclusion is that Jr  did just what the majority of you would have done, hold your line and keep it gassed!!!

I LOOKED IT UP SO THAT YOU WOULDN’T HAVE TO!!!

Daytona: The After Math

2009 Daytona 500 219

THE  STORY LINES: 

1. CONTROVERSEY STIRS , VICKERS-DALE, JR WRECK:

2. GILLILAND RELEASED FROM YATES RACING:(YatesPR)

3.MWR PLANE DIVERTS TO LAS VEGAS, ENGINE TROUBLE:(LVSun)

4. DAVID STARR DRIVES THE BLACKJACK RACING #51:

5. TODD BODINE IN THE GUNSELMAN MOTORSPORTS #64:

 

The fallout from “The Big One”, which eventually was at the end of the Daytona 500, still stirs controversey.  Was Vickers out of line to block Dale Jr. with 75 laps to go?  Should Dale Jr have gotten out of the gas and lose his momentum?  Or, was Jr. justified in keeping it “on the mat” and holding his line?  Those questions are still unanswered as of this writing.  But the fact is that there are two sides to this story, each participant feels justified in what he did prior to the crash!

It is official, David Gilliland has been released from Yates Racing.  He was the odd man out when Paul Menard brought his “daddy’s money“, Menards,  to Yates Racing.  Gilliland, however, has landed a ride for at least a few races with TRG Racing.

A Canadair CL 60 jet that is owned by Michaels Waltrip Racing developed engine troubles and diverted into McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada Thursday. It is unclear what the specific problems were that led to the diversion to Las Vegas.

Now I have a poll that I would invite you to participate in: 

2009 Daytona 500

2009 Daytona 500 123

 

This week’s story lines:

1.  Matt Kenseth wins the 2009 Daytona 500:

2.  Dale Sr. will be remembered on 2/18/09:(EGR PR)

3.  Gilliland to drive the TRG #71 car for the four races:(TRG PR) 

4.  David Starr to drive the Blackjack Racing #51 at Calif:

5.  Kyle Petty not happy about merger:(st.petetimes)

6.  Rusty Wallace, Inc. considering Cup move with RCR help:   (nascar.com)

7.  DirectTV Hot Pass free:(directtv.com)

8.  Is Dale, Jr. running out of time for championship?(espn)

 

Sunday February 15th marked the 51st running of The Great American Race, better know as the Daytona500.  With a testing ban at all NASCAR sanctioned tracks, the teams did little to no testing at all this winter.  So when the haulers pulled through the tunnel prior to the Bud Shootout, about ten days ago, it was the race teams first glance at “the world center of speed” since the race in July of 2008.

The races of Speedweeks 2009 were very exciting.  The Bud Shootout had a new format for getting into the race,which put a different twist on that race.  It has become a manufacturer’s race now.  Nonetheless, it was an exciting “shootout” Kevin Harvick taking home all the marbles!

The Duel 150’s were very exciting and really action packed races with Jeff Gordon winning the first race and (TLVW) Kyle Busch winning the second duel.  Both of those races were action packed and very tight racing!

On Friday, The Camping World Truck race lit the night sky at Daytona.  It was a very action packed 250 mile race.  There was many lead changes and of course the impatient drivers making risky moves!  But that is the hallmark of this series, which serves to increase the use of the “rollbacks” and tow trucks at the track! 

On Saturday the Nationwide Series was main attraction at Daytona.  It sounds repetitive, but the Nationwide boys also put on one whale of a race.  There was lots of side-by-side racing throughout the entire pack, not just the front runners!  The final results was that Tony Stewart(The Smoker), won the race in the #80 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.  This new affiliation occurs because of  The Smoker’s new team, Stewart-Haas Racing, buys their cars and engines from Rick Hendrick.

On Sunday, under threatening skies, THE GREAT AMERICAN RACE takes center stage at Daytona.  With the threat of rain in the back of all the race teams minds, the green flag drops and the drivers strategy is that they need to race hard immediately.  The reason for that mind set is that the race may be called officially over once they complete the half way mark.  So the race pace and moves were furious and risky!! The racing was two wide, three wide, and sometimes momentarily four wide!!!  The drivers were racing every lap like it was the last one!   The drivers were really trying to get to the front by the halfway point, just in case the rains arrived. 

It reminded me of an old song by Steeler’s Wheel.  The lyrics go something like this “clowns to the left of me  jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you”!!!!!  The rains came and went intermittenly thoughoutthe race, but it finally cut loose and the race was called with Matt Kenseth in the lead and delcared the winner.

 

COMMENTARY:

This reporter, along with his sidekick Jim,  arrived at Daytona for the four action packed days of racing starting with the Duel 150’s and culminating THE GREAT AMERICAN RACE, the Daytona 500.  There is something magical about Daytona that you must experience if you are a race fan!  There are only two venues that stand head and shoulders above the rest, Indianapolis and Daytona.  Having been to both venues several times, the atmosphere is charged with electricity and a great anticipation resonates throught the grandstands prior to the races there.  However, it is this reporter’s opinion, that Daytona has now far exceeded the gala at Indy( you can thank Tony George for singel-handedly mortally wounding open wheel racing)!!!  Tony George’s arrogance played right into the hands of NASCAR and allowed them to really grow their brand starting with the 1996 season, that was the first year of the IRL/CART split!

 

P.S.   There is candle light vigil at DEI headquarters tonight to honor Dale Earnhardt, Sr.  It was eight years ago the he lost his life on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.  He was in third place behind the eventual winner Michael Waltrip , and in second was his son Dale Jr.  Both of those cars were out of his stable at Dale Earnhardt, Inc.  This repoter is reasonably sure that THE INTIMIDATOR is quite proud of the way his son has handled himself since that tragic day, February 18, 2001!!

REMEMBER, I LOOKED IT UP SO YOU WOULDN’T HAVE TO!!!

The 2009 Daytona 500 Preview

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At long last, with the running of the Bud Shootout, the “off season” has come to an end!  The format change for the 2009 Bud Shootout had this reporter somewhat leary of the quality of the racing that we would see.  But let it be known that there was no let down in the “wild and crazy” compettition that the Bud Shootout has come to represent at Daytona!! 

The Bud Shootout and the COT created a very aggressive and tightly bunched pack of cars vying for the lead all race long!  It put the fans on the edge of their seats for the entire race!!  I believe that same quality will exist for the 2009 Daytona 500 on Sunday.  These race cars have become “a handful” to drive and that makes for some interesting racing!!

 

In looking forward to this Sunday’s “GREAT AMERICAN RACE” at Daytona, the plot lines thicken.  With economy continuing to worsen, sponsorship money has gotten harder and harder to find.  That has created a couple of problems/opportunites.  Some of the race teams were forced to merge to “save their lives”.  But that also created some opportunities for a few “privateers”.  A few of those came in the names of Tommy Baldwin Racing, the former crew chief on the BDR # 22 Toyota, Jeremy Mayfield and Mayfield Motorsports, “Front Row Joe” Nemechek and NEMCO, Boris Said (who said?) and Brian Nemo, as well as a few more hardcore racers.

 

In all, some 56 cars timed at Daytona on Sunday.  That is a very high car count for “troubled times”!  Now the next test for alll of those race cars is Thursday and the Duel 150″s.  There are about 22 cars racing for the final 8 spots of THE GREAT AMERICAN RACE.  That will prove a daunting task for those teams.  The old addage that Jim McKay ( may he rest in peace) from ABC’s Wide World of Sports coined years ago will ressonate loud and clear Thurday evening after both Duels are run.  The 22  race teams will experience “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”  Those who have raced their way into the Daytona 500 will feel like they have just scored a huge victory, after all the last place finisher will receive slightly more that $250,000.00!!!

 

As this reporter gets ready to pack his suitcase this morning in prepartion for the journey to Daytona, there is excitement and anticipation in the pit of his stomach.  If the Bud Shootout is any indication as to the type and quality of racing that this year’s “GREAT AMERICAN RACE” will produce, he is fully prepared to “tighten those belts down one more time”!!!

“BOOGITY,BOOGITY,BOOGITY, LET’S GO RACIN’ BOYS” (ol DW)

I have included a poll.  I would be greatly interested in finding out your thoughts!!

Happy Birthday Dad

Happy Birthday to ME!

I guess I am the first guest blogger here on this site. I Just wanted to say thanks for being my dad. We have had ups and boy have had our downs, but the last few years have been Priceless!!! Dad I love you, all of you including your 1 million T-shirts. As I sit here and think of you Dad I remember:

  • Standing up in the middle of the sit in the blue Ford Courier while getting some errands done with you.
  • Going to air shows at Travis and seeing the C-141 and C-5 airplanes.
  • Riding roller coaster rides at the several amusement parks.
  • Always hearing you say “Work smarter not harder”,  I guess that is why I am a computer geek.
  • Hearing you say “The decisions you make now will come come back haunt you, so choose wisely.”
  • Skiing in down a big long trail on the last run of the day.
  • Eating at Burger King with when you came to Fresno to visit.
  • I can’t forget getting a NASCAR T-shirt every time you came into Fresno

Oh and the reason why this site is here, going to see races, be it the Outlaws at hanford ,  NASCAR in Atlanta or California or the drags in Denver. Thanks for all the memories you have created and I look forward to all the memories we will create together in the future. HAPPY 58th BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!

2009 Season Predictions

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It is 13 days til the green flag drops for start of “The Great American Race”, the Daytona 500.  The pundits are gathering to express their predictions for the 2009 season!  As the season unfolds, there are numerous thoughts on this reporter’s mind that must be resolved.

 

First of all, Tony Stewart (The Smoker)(two time champion) and Ryan Newman (2008 Daytona 500 winner) have left their prospective teams and joined forces in the newly formed Stewart-Haas Racing with Hendrick motors.  Will either one, or both of these drivers have any impact on the 2009 season??

Secondly, will any of the Hendrick drivers be a driving force in the 2009 season?  Can Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Lowe’s team make it four championships in a row?  That feat has NEVER been accompolished in the 60 year history of NASCAR!  How ’bout Jeff Gordon’s “drive for 5”?  Can he pull it off or is his prowess over?  Can Dale Jr have a break through year and finally shut up all those “nay sayers” !!!  Can Jr close the deal?????  Now that Mark Martin is in the #5 car, can he finish his career at the top of the podium??

Next to be discussed is the Joe Gibbs boys.  Kyle Busch (The Las Vegas Weasel) sputtered when the going got tough!  Can he actually perform at the end of the season like he did up until the Chase started???  Can Denny Hamlin crank up the intesity and be more consistant throughout the entire season?  And new kid on the block, Joey Logano (Sliced Bread) how will he fit in at JGR?  Did they rush him into Cup too fast?  Can this 18 year old phenom be really that good?  Can Logano stand the pressure involved in this level of  performance?

Richard Childress Racing started a fourth team for the 2009 season.  But, because of sponsorship concerns Mears was put into the #06 Jack Daniels Chevy.  General Mills was concerned that Mears wouldn’t fit into their profile, since last season he was driving the Kelloggs #5 HMS Chevy.  So Mears tgets into the #07 with a top 35 points from 2008.  That moved Clint Bowyer into the newly formed #33 General Mills Chevy with NO points to start the 2009 season.  Bowyer must “race into the big show”!!!  Can Jeff Burton finish in the top ten consistantly?  Kevin Harvick needs to step up his game, at least one more notch, in order to put pressure on the other frontrunners in 2009.

Lastly, can the Roush/Fenway drivers keep the pressure up on thall the rest of the contenders?  Carl Edwards is the franchise driver of the Roush/Fenway stable.  It would appear that he has the hunger and the ability to “dethrone” the 3 time Champ, Jimmie Johnson!  Greg Bifle really came alive in the early part of the Chase last season, is the fire still burning????  Matt Kenseth is probably the most consistant steady driver in that stable, but can he step it up???  David Ragan is the newest and youngest of the Roush/Fenway drivers and had some sparks of brilliance in 2008. 

 

So my question to all of you is this.  Having read this article and using all your worldly racing knowledge, consulting your psychic, reading your tea leaves, possibly picking straws, when the checkered flags falls at Homestead, who will reign as the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion?????

 

REMEMBER THERE IS ONE THING THAT YOU CAN COUNT  ON:

I LOOKED IT UP SO THAT YOU WOULDN’T HAVE TO!!

GO #88