Flying High??


We are approaching the one quarter point of the 2009 season and some teams are flying high, and some are still in the holding pattern waiting for their approach clearance!! 

It is no surprise that two of Hendrick Motorsports teams are first and second in the standings.  The teams of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have performed up to their early season’s expectations.  The #24 Dupont Chevy finally broke their winless streak of 47 races by winning at Texas!  Even without that victory, Jeff Gordon has been finishing in the top 5 ,week in and week out, in the early part of the 2009 season.  The Lowe’s # 48 Chevy is just now starting to hit on all 8 cylinders, hey look out they are coming on strong!! 

The two Joe Gibbs Racing cars, #11 FedEx Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin and the #18 M&M’s Toyota driven by TLVW, aka ol Kylie Busch are steadily plotting their course pointing towards the front, as well.

Two of “The Roushcateers” are holding up their end for the Ford’s.  The #99 Scott’s Ford piloted by “Cousin” Carl Edwards has been very consitent in scoring top 10 finishes so far this season.  The #17 DeWalt Ford Fusion of Matt Kenseth also has been a force.  After Kenseth’s red-hot start of back-to-back victories, he has settled down into a steady performer.

There are a couple of suprises at this juncture of the season.  The #14 Stewart-Haas Chevy  driven by Tony Stewart, aka “THE SMOKER” is sitting in 5th place in the satndings!  Even though it is THE SMOKER  driving this car, it is a new team in essence!  This reporter didn’t figure this team “to be in hunt” at  all this season!

Additionally, there is great surprise that the Richard Childress Racing #33 General Mills Chevy driven by Clint Bowyer, is anywhere near the top of the standings!!  This team is truly a brand new, startup team!! 

Still another surprise, as compared to where he finished last year, is the Penske Racing #2 Miller Lite Dodge of Ears Laid Back, aka Kurt Busch.

The Michael Waltrip Racing #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine piloted by David Reutimann has come from nowhere to  land firmly in 11th place.  That is quite a leap from last years position of thirty-something!!

Missing from the top twelve is the most popular driver of NASCAR, none other than Dale Earnhardt, Jr.  What is happening to the Hendrick Motorsports #88 AMP/Natonal Guard Chevy???  What seems to be going on with that team?  Does anybody have a clue??

For those teams “flying high”, they really must stay focused knowing that they have a target drawn on their backs by the teams stuck in that holding pattern I alluded to in the beginning of this article.  For those teams still in the holding pattern, it is time to exit the holding pattern and make that perfect landing beginning at Phoenix this weekend!!  They can not afford to stall out now! 

As always it is time to tie the picture together with the article.  If you haven’t figured it out, the F-15 Eagle “is flying high”!  The picture was taken at the March race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  For those of you who have never been to LVMS, the track is located about a mile to the northwest of Nellis AFB.  So while you are at LVMS, you get a great air show from all the fighters that transit through the air base.   Also, the USAF Thunderbirds precision demonstration team winters there, too.  So you also get a glimpse of the boys doing their practice show in preparation for their annul tour!! 

We live in fame and die in flame!!!   GO USAF!!!!

Viva Las Vegas!

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      (nationwide series insider)



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!!



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!!


2009 Daytona 500

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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:   (

7.  DirectTV Hot Pass free:(

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.



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!!