#33 General Mills Team

2009 Daytona 500 118 

THIS FROM THE “WHERE DID HE COME FROM” CATEGORY????????? 

This off season Richard Childress Racing started up a fourth Cup team.  It was decided that Clint Bowyer would move over from the #07 Jack Daniels team to drive  for the new team.  Part of that transformation was at the behest of General Mills.  You see RCR had just signed young Casey Mears to be part of that new team, however having been sponsored by Kelloggs at Hendrick Motorsports, General Mills thought that Mears would be kind of a conflict of interest as a driver. 

 

So Richard Childress had the chore of assembling this new team in a short amount of time.  Fortunately with the economy failing and mergers in the NASCAR world leaving a few unemployed, Childress had the opportunity to hire some quality people to start this project off on the right foot!  So his first step was to find a good experienced crew chief to head up this #33 General Mills Chevy, fortunately Shane Wilson was available!  Shane has worked for several NASCAR teams over the past few years, most notable Petty Enterprises

 

Needless to say, Clint Bowyer was reluctant to buy into this new deal.  Afterall, he was just getting comfortable with the #07 Jack Daniels team, wininng a couple of races, and being a top 10 team in 2008.  Now he was being asked by his boss to leave the comforts of his present team and be a part of a start up team, not a warm and fuzzy feeling!!  But, nonetheless he agreed to become part of the #33 General Mills?Cheerios/Hambuarger Helper Chevy team.

 

So in eight weeks this teams is put together.  This year there was no preseason testing to try to get all the pieces of this team to gel together before Daytona.  So you would expect a brand new team to have some  “growing pains”.  But if you look at the standings, you will see just where this new team sits so far in 2009, no apparent growing pains with this team!!  That is right the #33 General Mills Chevy sits in the second place in the Cup standings after 6 races.  That is a really an accomplishment!!!!

 

So where did he come from so quickly???????????????????

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

Martinsville….Johnson Hitting His Stride??

2009 Daytona 500 147 

THE STORY LINES

1.  JOHNSON WINS AT MARTINSVILLE:

2.  JEFF GORDON CITES BACK PAIN: (mikemulheim.net)

3. EGR #8 LACKS SPONSONR AFTER TEXAS: (scenedaily)

4.  SATRUDAY NIGHT SPECIAL @ BRISTOL REVIEW:

5.  SPEED AND ALMENDINGER ON SHORT LIST FOR US F1 TEAM:

      (autoracingsport.com)

6.  HENDRICK WANTS MARTIN’S ANSWER BY JULY: (espn)

It appears that the Hendrick Motorosports #48 Lowe’s Chevy is finding its stride a little earlier than they did last year!  Although the FedEx #11 led the most laps at Martinsville, he did not lead the one that pays the money- the final lap!!  With the #48 Lowes Chevy getting on track this early, that can only spell TROUBLE  for the rest of the field for 2009.  This was Johnson’s 6th win at Martinsville in 14 starts, his first victory of 2009, and his 41st victory in 261 total starts in Cup.  In fact, Johnson has won 5 of his last 6 starts at Martinsville!  That is a sign of dominance!

This victory by Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports celebrates the 25th anniversay of HMS first win at Martinsville with the #5 with Geoff Bodine at the wheel in 1984.  Back then Hendrick Motorsports was called All-Star Racing and was a new start-up racing venture by  the very young Rick Hendrick and his dad, Papa Joe!!  Since those early days of 1984, HMS has been a force to be reckoned with!!  Rick Hendrick has employed drivers like Geoff Bodine, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Mark Martin!! 

 Since those early days of 1984 All-Star Racing has gone though some dynamic changes.What started out as a racing venture of 5 employees and a rented work space of 5,000 square feet, HMS has grown into a business of 500 employees on a campus of over 500 acres!!!  Along the way in those 25 years, HMS has accumulated 12 championships, eight (8)  of them at the Cup level!!  Included in those 12 championships are 175 victories, QUITE IMPRESSIVE!!!

 

COMMENTARY

Last year this reporter was one of those naysayers when it came to Jimmie Johnson’s chances of winning three Cup Championships in a row, OOPS!!  Again this reporter is a naysayer on the #48 Lowe’s Chevy chances of wininning a fourth championship in a row.  Having made the above staement, this reporter will admit that the #48 Lowe’s chevy team is already flexing its collective muscle in 2009. 

Here are the reasons that are against Johnson winning a fourth championship in a row: 

Reason number one is that it has NEVER been accompolished in the  60 years of NASCAR history.  That in itself is a huge uphill battle!  There is a teammate by the name of Jeff Gordon that is HUNGRY to win  his 5th championship of his career.  Also Johnson has two other teammates that have the desire and the ability to scoop of the championship out from under his grasp,  the #5 Kelloggs Chevy of Mark Martin and of course the rock star of NASCAR, the #88 AMP/National Guard Chevy of Dale Earnhardt,Jr.  To say that Hendrick Motorsports has a very strong team this year is a huge understatement!!

Now if those reasons were not enough, try on a couple of the Rousch-Fenway teams for size.  First and foremost is the #99 Scotts Ford of Carl Edwards.  Last year had he not caused the huge pile-up at Talladega and had just one engine failure (DNF), he would have been the 2009 Sprint Cup Champion.  Never count out the #17 Dewalt Ford of Matt Kenseth. He seems to go thoughout the season flying under the radar, and suddenly as the Chase unfolds……here’s Matt!!!

Still there might be a couple of “sleeping underdogs” to watch out for this season!  Can the #14 Office Depot Chevy of Tony Stewart be a contender in his newly merged organization, Stewart-Haas Racing?  How ’bout the #14 FedEx Toyota of Denyy Hamlin, is he hungry enough? 

But the biggest question of all is the #18 JGR M&M’s Toyota of Kyle Busch!!!  We know that he can win and dominate races! But can the team win the BIG ONES in the Chase?????  Is the pressure to much for TLVW  to handle at 23 years old???  LAST YEAR THEY FOLDED UNDER THE PRESSURE!!!!!!!

Your comments on these subjects are invited, no in fact they are encouraged!!!  Log in on these questions, let this reporter know what you are thinking!

 

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

The Cul-de-Sac 500!!

IMG_0122 

 

THE STORY LINES

1.  OL KYLIE WINS AGAIN:

2.  YATES #28 WILL SUSPEND OPERATIONS  WITHOUT SPONSORSHIP: (espn.com)

3.  RPM ADDS 4 RACES TO ALMENDINGER’S SCHEDULE (scenedaily)

4.  DALE JR. DEFENDS CREW CHIEF, TONY EURY,JR:

 

There have been numerous observations made when trying to describe what it is like to race at Bristol Motor Speedway.  But this weekend Darrell Waltrip made two that seemed to sum it up in a nutshell!  One of his observations was; put a bunch of fruit or vegetables in the blender, turn it on, then take the top off while it is still running!!  That  is Bristol!!!  The other observation that was equally appropriate was; take 43 of your neighbors’ cars and put them in a cul-de-sac and race 500 times around that cul-de-sac!!!!  Both of these observations would leave your feeling either sick or very messy!!  In either case there is a mess to clean up!!!!!

There are two things that get hurt at Bristol Motor Speedway, your race car and your fellings!!  As a driver you can try your best to protect your race car.  But short track racing is such that you cannot protect your feelings!!!  When you put 43 cars weighing 3400 pounds on a track measuring .533 of a mile, things happen.  At the start of the race all the drivers are very kind and caring, they practice the old game of “give and take”.  But as the race lingers on and the laps  start to wind down, the name of the game changes from “give and take” to just plain TAKE!!!!!   They are willing to put their nose in a place where the end results is a broken nose, or at least cuts and bruises abound!!! 

 

 Watching a race at Bristol reminds me of a few songs.  One of the songs is one  from Martha and the Vandellas, “Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide” !!!!! Another song is by Steeler’s Wheel “Stuck in the Middle with You“!!  I have linked both of these songs with video for your listening and viewing pleasure, just in case you forgot just what those songs sounded like!!  Check them out!!!!

Ol Kylie (aka TLVW) really stunk up the show at Bristol!  TLVW  led  378 of the 500 laps Sunday.  That is almost as many laps as TLVW  last year at Bristol when he ran up front for 411 laps but last year he did not win that race!!!  TLVW is the first multiple race winner of the new year.  In fact the last three races have been won by a dude named Busch, Kyle-Kurt-Kyle!!!  Is this year going to be a repeat for TLVW?????? 

COMMENTARY

It has been brought to my attention by one of our illustrious fanatasy league members that I need to call out a couple of individuals that just happen to be kicking our collective butts!!  Prior to the Bristol race they have averaged a second place thru the first four races.  That is unheard of in this league!!  It would appear that both Jim and Jerry  are trying to do what only one other person in this league tried to do, that would be Richard the NASCAR Picker!  We were able to stop Richard the NASCAR Picker by our collective espionage work!  Therefore, I call on my fellow players to rise up a stop this BUTT WHIPPIN’ WE ARE EXPERIENCING!!! 

I NEED YOUR COMMENTS, ADVICE, AND THOUGHTS ON FOMULATING A PLAN!!!

Saturday Night Special

P1020868 

 

Saturday Bristol Motor Speedway put on “a happening”, called SCOTT’S SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL.  They promoted a charity race with the legends of NASCAR.  Try these names on for size, Cale Yarborough, Junior Johnson,  Jack Ingram, Rusty Wallace, Andy Petree, Ray Evernham,David Pearson, Terry Labonte, L.D. Ottinger, and Sterling Marlin.  Add to that some of these celebrities like Terry Bowden, former Alabama football coach, Frank Beamer Va. Tech football coach, Phila. Eagles place-kicker David Acker, Ron Capps and Doug Herbert from the NHRA, just to name a few.

 

The celebrities ran a 15 lap race to determine the starting position for the legends of NASCAR.  Andy Petree won the celebrity prelim race.  That put his teammate, Sterling Marlin on the poll and he took it all the way to the checkered flag.  It was amazing to see  these men suit up and race against each other.  Junior Johnson stated that he had not raced a car as a driver in 45 years!!  L.D. Ottinger had not raced in 15 years and charged up through the field to finish 3rd. 

 

Rusty Wallace probably had the fastest car in the field, but just couldn’t get by ol Sterling, therefore  had to settle for second place.   Terry Labonte finished fourth and “Mr. Excitement” Jimmy Spencer finished fifth.

This race was something very exciting and very good for the NASCAR fans who stuck around after the Nationwide race at Bristol!!

Blowing Off Steam!

P1020927 

 

THIS WEEK’S STORY LINES

1.  JERRY NADEAU STILL HOPES TO RACE AGAIN: (scenedaily)

2.  “SUITCASE”JAKE ELDER HONORED: (charlotteobsever)

3.  2 NASCAR MOGULS OFF THE FORBE’S BILLIONAIRE LIST: (forbes.com)

4.  NASCAR ALL-STAR RACE CHANGES FORMATS: (scenedaily)

5.  RELATIONSHIP TO START OF SEASON & MAKING THE CHASE: (charlotteobserver)

6.  KVAPIL MAY BE DONE WITH YATES RACING:

7.  TESTING AT ROCKINGHAM:

8.  RICKY CARMICHAEL COULD RUN ENTIRE TRUCK SEASON: (scenedaily)

9.  HERMIE SADLER TO RACE TRUCKS AT MARTINSVILLE: (hermiesadlerPR)

It has been a while since we have heard from Jerry Nadeau.  Every since his horrific crash in practice at Richmond back in 2003 he has been sidelined and not raced at the Cup level.  The 38 year old Connecticut native has  experienced numbness in his left side as a results of  the head injuries suffered in that crash.  However he is cleared medically to drive, but the opportunities have just not come his way.  He is just trying to figure out what is next for him.  Nadeau was attending  a benefit for “Suitcase” Jake Elder at Memory Lane and Motorsports and Automotive Musuem on Saturday.

 

Speaking of “Suitcase” Jake Elder, the legendary NASCAR crew chief, there was a benefit honoring him in the heart of NASCAR country last Saturday.  Mr. Elder is to crew chiefs what Richard Petty is to race car drivers!!  “Suitcase” Jake”  got his nickname because he was a well traveled crew chief in the Cup level of NASCAR.  Jake Elder worked for all the top level NASCAR Cup car owners.  He revolutionized so many things mechanically in the NASCAR racing field!!!  As ol DW says, “Jake was a rule maker, not a rule breaker”!!!!!!!!

The economy has hit the NASCAR crowd pretty hard!  There are two of the big moguls that have fallen off the “Forbes Billionaire Club ” list!  Both Roger Penske ande Bruton Smith have fallen off that austere list.  But don’t go feeling sorry for either one of these individuals, they won’t be at the Soup Kitchen anytime soon!!!!

 

Just like the Bud Shootout, the All-Star race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May will have a different format.  The exact changes will be announced shortly.  So keep tuned and be prepared for another exciting, all out, no holds barred, Saturday Night Gunslinging affair!!

 

This was an off week for NASCAR, but that doesn’t mean that there was no activity!!!  My next post will have some really exciting things regarding some possibilities of new Cup owners and some possibilities of Nationwide owners stepping up to Cup, etc.  In actuality, the uncertainity in the economy has actually been a blessing to some of the NASCAR people.  It has allowed some “marginal” people to step up to the plate and put a Cup team together and compete, ie, Tommy Baldwin and Jeremy Mayfield in particular!! 

 

REMEMBER, I DID LOOK IT UP SO THAT YOU WOULDN’T HAVE TO!

Back To Back Bushwacked!!

2009 Daytona 500 122 

 

THE STORY LINES:

1.  KURT BUSCH LEADS 235 OF 330 LAPS:

2.  TRUEX PASSES KIDNEY STONES SAT. NIGHT:

      (foxsports) (AMS pit notes)

3.  NASCAR CREATES FORMULA FOR SETTING RESTART 

      ZONES:

4.  NASCAR SCRUTINIZING “START & PARK”:

5.  FAIRGROUNDS SPEEDWAY @ NASHVILLE OFFERS TESTING:

      (middle tenn. racing news)

 6.  OL KYLIE (TLVW) WINS THE TRUCK RACE:

This is the second time in as many years, that the Busch Brothers, ol Kylie aka TLVW and Kurt aka EARS LAID BACK (ELB), have won successive races at the Cup level.  To say that the “Blue Duece” was thoroughly dominating at Atlanta Sunday, was a huge understatement!  Kurt Busch led 235 of the 330 laps of the race!! 

In the off season, NASCAR granted Dodge a new engine and some modifications on their nose cone.  It appears that the new nose and the new Dodge engine are paying dividends for Penske Racing.  FYI, Penske is the only Dodge team currently using the new Dodge engine, Richard Petty Motorsports is still using the old engine. 

The #24 National Guard Chevy of Jeff Gordon ran up front all afternoon, as well.  But in the end neither he, nor Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, and Brian Vickers had anything for “The Blue Duece”!

Kurt (ELB) was even more dominating in the Cup race, than ol Kylie (TLVW) was in Saturday’s Truck race.  TLVW  showed those boys the fastest way around AMS on Saturday.  On the last restart, TLVW  was leading them to the green, but only had two gears 1st and 4th left in the trannie.  So he dropped back as far as 9th with 8 laps to go.  But he roared back to the lead with 3 laps remaining and won the race!!

 

COMMENTARY:

This just in from the definition of tough!  Saturday evening Martin Truex, Jr. was taken to the hospital with lower back and abdominal pains.  Around 10pm Saturday evening, he passed a kidney stone, and by 1pm Sunday he was sitting in his race car ready to go 500 miles!!  He was not allowed to take any pain medication and race.  Now that is TOUGH!!!!

NASCAR has finally come up with a policy for the restart zone at all the race tracks.  They have been toying with the idea for the first four races of the season.  Now they are going to double the speed on pit road,convert that to feet, and that is the restart zone.  For instance, if the pit road speed is 55 MPH, then the restart zone would be 110 feet prior to the start/finish line. 

What is wrong with what has worked for 60 years??  The leader sets the pace and GASSES WHEN HE IS READY!!

Lastly, NASCAR is looking closely at “start and park”.  This reporter is holding out on judgement on this subject pending further evidence and discussions.  However, your opinion is invited!

 

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

 

Here is another poll that I encourage you all to weigh in on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Viva Las Vegas!

2009 Daytona 500 183 

THE  STORY LINES:

1.  TLVW (OL KYLIE BUSCH) WINS AT LAS VEGAS:

2.  ENGINE PROBLEMS UNRELATED AT LVMS:(espn.com)

3.  NATIONWIDE LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

      (nationwide series insider)

4.  TODD BODINE RACES AT ATLANTA FOR GERMAINE:(scenedaily)

5.  GEOFF BODINE DRIVES  THE #64 TOYOTA AT ATLANTA:

The NASCAR boys returned to Las Vegas last weekend and the ghost of ELVIS PRESLEY resonnated hauntingly throughout the weekend!  There were loud engines and show girls abounding!!  What a strange combination, but leave it up to Las Vegas to make it work!!

Ol Kylie Busch ( aka The Las Vegas Weasel, hereafter referred to as TLVW), finally pulled off a victory in front of the hometown folks in SIN CITY!!!  It was not his typical ” take no prisoners approach”!  TLVW  started out the weekend by posting fast time and winning the Coors Pole Award.  But becaused his team had to replace the engine, TLVW had to start at the back of the 43 car field.   The #18 M&M’s Toyota methodically worked his way thru the field so as to place himself in a position to race for the win.  TLVW really didn’t show his face till the last fifty laps.  But, sure enough there he was as the Checkers fell, out in front and bringing home the win!!!

There were a number of engine failures at  Las Vegas Sunday.  Most notably was the the winner of the first two races of the season, Rousch -Fenway Racing’s #17 Ford of Matt Kenseth.  His engine starting going sour at the drop fo the green flag, and finally went up in smoke on lap #7!  Following that engine death, there were a few more, most notably Roush-Fenway Racing’s #6 Ford of David Ragan, Hendrick Motorsports #5 Chevy of Mark Martin, and a few more along the way!  Since the re-configuration of the track, it appears that there is a greater toll on the engines.  The higher banking allows the drivers to run at greater speeds and keep the motors wound up in the 8500-9400 RPM band longer.  That really never allows the engine to “breathe easy” for any length of time!!

 

COMMENTARY

This reporter is still recovering from 5 days at LVMS!!  The  LVMS always puts on some great dirt racing during the NASCAR weekend!!  In addition to the Saturday Nationwide Series race and the Sunday  NASCAR Cup race, Weds. night at the dirt track the USAC midgets and wingless sprint cars put on one whale of a show.  There were race cars from all over the U.S. for this event!!  If that wasn’t enough, on Thurs. night The World of Outlaws put on a great show of 410 c.u. dirt slinging, high flying , all out haulin’ the mail sprint car racing!!!! 

But back to NASCAR, the racing at the LVMS is always very exciting, this race was no exception! There were a number of yellow flags early in the race, but as usual there seems to be a long green flag run in the middle of the race.  And, towards the end of the race, there appeared another round of yellow flags as the drivers feel the urgency of  ” GOTTA GO“!!  Las Vegas is one of my favorite tracks, along with Daytona, Talladega, and Atlanta.  These tracks seem to put on very close, exciting, and action packed races!  The fans walk away from these venues feeling that they got every dime’s worth of their money!!!  

Speaking of Atlanta, that is next up on the schedule!  It should be another great action packed weekend of high stakes racing!!

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