Sweet Home Alabama!














Yes we all have heard the song from Lynard Skynard, but you might have forgotten the lyrics.  So I will refresh your memory:

Big wheels keep on turnin’, carryin’ me home to see my kin.

Singin’ songs about the Southland, I miss my family once again and I think it’s a sin.

Well I heard Mr. Young sing about her.

Well I heard ol Neil put her down.

Well I hope Neil Young wil remember a Southern man don’t need him around, anymore!

Sweet home Alabama, where the skies are so blue.

Sweet home Alabama, Lord I comin’ home to you.

Here I come, Alabama.


I know, once again you are wondering just how does Lynard Skynard, those Jacksonville, FL wild boys,  all fit with NASCAR and racing????  How can this guy tie those two widely divergent thoughts into a common theme???  Well, here I go sports fans!!!


Twice a year NASCAR comes to Talladega, Alabama for a game of HIGH SPEED, HIGH STAKES, CRAP SHOOT STYLE racing!!!!  With this track being the longest race track on the circuit, you drive it with loud pedal flat on the mat.  So you really do want make sure that  ” the big wheels keep on turnin'” as the first lyric of the song goes!  Historically, this race did carry some of the drivers back to see their kin.  There was the ” Alabama Gang” consisting of Bobby and Donnie Allison, Neil Bonnet, and the ageless Red Farmer.   So when NASCAR goes to Talladega, Lynard Skynard and Talladega really become one, and we sing about her!!!  Thank God for those “WILD EYED SOUTHERN BOYS of Lynard Skynard, God rest in peace the soles of those departed!!!!!


Tony Stewart was declared the winner yesterday in a very controversial finish.  The yellow line on the inside of the race tracks only come into play at two tracks, Daytona and Talladega.  At these two tracks the rules state that you cannot go below the yellow line to better your position.  You also cannot force someone below the yellow line.  Either of the previously mentioned offenses could get you a penalty.  This reporter will have more to say in my commentary following the column!


There are a few historical facts that warrant mentioning at this time.  The first race was held on Sept. 14, 1969.  The first winner was Richard Brickhouse.  Now you are saying Richard Who????  Well, when Big Bill France opened the track up for the first race many of the drivers felt that it wasn’t safe to drive that fast there yet.  So, they elected Richard Petty to be the spokesman to go to Mr. France and state their position.  To make a long story short, most of the big names loaded up their cars and went home.  Big Bill in return ran the race anyway with whatever drivers there were, many were what was later called the Busch/Nationwide Series drivers, one notable driver who raced that day was a man named Richard Childress!!   The fastest lap time ever recorded in a stock car is held be “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville”, Bill Elliott.  That speed is 212.8 mph!!!  Another interseting fact to mention is that roof flaps came about from a horrific Rusty Wallace crash at Talladega.  Finally the last piece of information to talk about is the beginnings of the restrictor plates.  That resulted from a nasty crash involving Bobby Allison.  He got turned around in the tri oval and got up into the catch fense, tore out about 100 feet of the fence and almost got up into the grandstands!!



I have viewed the end of the race several times and have formed my own opinion.  It appears that Regan Smith tried to go by Stewart on the outside and Tony moved up to block him.  Then Smith moved down to the bottom to try to get around Stewart, and in fact had a fender on Tony.  Tony moved left to block him again, running Smith down below the yellow line.  Keeping in mind the rules of Daytona and Talladega, Smith had three options.  First option be a nice guy and get out of the gas, let Tony win, and loose a few more spots.  That runs counter to any racer!!!!  Second hold your line and wreck Stewart, yourself, and possibly those immediately behind you.  Again, that just doesn’t sound like a great option!  Or the last option; stay in the gas, even though you were forced to go below the yellow line, and race Stewart to the finish line.  To me that is the only decision to make!!!!  But NASCAR  didin’t see it that way.  Stewart is declared the winner and Smith is penalizied to the last place on the lead lap!!!  It is this reporter’s opinion that NASCAR has just sent the message to the drivers that may warrant more horrific wrecks!!! 


Last night Greg Bifle stated on NASCAR NOW, that because of that ruling, he has decied that if he is put in the position that Regan Smith was in, he will hold his line and wreck whomever is in front of him!!!  It will make for a really spectacular finish!!!

If I were a driver I would write a nice letter to the other car owners, apologizing for the cars that I am going wreck!!!  I would also tell them to send the bill to Brian France and NASCAR!!!!!








Rain, Fuel, and Pocono


Story lines:

1.  Pocono History :

2.  Track Design:

3.  Fuel Strategy:

5.  Newman says he has made his decision.  www.jayski.com

6.  Reflections on Indy:  www.nascar.com

7.  Crunch time for the Chase:


Pocono is the last race track to be independently owned.  The track was the idea of Drs. Joe amd Rose Mattioli of the Philadelphia area.  Back in 1952 Joe and Rose met at Temple University. Joe was going through Dental School and Rose later became a Podiatrist.  In 1960 they purchased some land in the Pocono Mountains of Pa. with the thought of bringing racing to the New York-Philadelphia area. 

The first track was a 3/4 mile track on site, but by 1971 the track was rebuilt to be a 2 1/2 mile tri-oval.  The track was designed by former Indy 500 winner, Roger Ward.  There a three very distinctive turns and the longest straight way on the NASCAR circuit.  Turn #1 is modeled after the now defunct Trenton Speedway in NJ with a banking of 14 degrees, the Champ Cars used to race there in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s.  Turn #2 is modeled after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a banking of 9 degrees.  And finally, turn #3 is modeled after The Milwaukee Mile with  banking of 6 degrees.

Notable NASCAR firsts at Pocono:

1.  Richard Petty wins inaugural race in 1974.

2  1986, Tim Richmond wins after recovering from an early crash to beat Ricky Rudd and Geoff Bodine in a photo finish.

3.  1988, Bobby Allison suffers a career ending injury in a first lap crash getting T-boned by by #63 Jocko Maggiacomb.

4.  1999, Bobby Labonte sweeps both races.

5.  2000, Jeremy Mayfield knocks the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr. out of the way to win the race. 

6.  2006, Rookie Denny Hamlin sweeps both races.


Once again rain played an integral part of the race weekend.  Qualifying was completed on Friday, but Saturday’s practice was completely washed out.  So when the race started, it was the first time that the drivers were in the cars since Friday afternoon.  The drivers made it all the way to the tunnel turn, turn# 2, before there was a wreck!!  Joe Nemechek got under and into Kevin Harvick turning both of the cars around.  Fortunately, nobody got in the retaining wall.  This reporter will admit that ol “Happy ” Harvick really got “up on the wheel” and kept it off the wall!!  It looked a liitle like the race a few weeks ago at “Smoke”‘s track in Ohio where they were sideways slinging dirt everywhere!!!  That race was the Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway that many Cup drivers participated to raise money for The Victory Junction Gang Camp.


The race was relatively incident free except for when Menard tangled with Nemechek about mid-race.  Shortly thereafter with 69 laps to go, the rains came.  The rain mainly fell back on the tunnel turn, but NASCAR threw the Red Flag. The delay was fairly short and the NASCAR officials got the track dried and the race was restarted. 


Now the crew chiefs had to formulate their fuel strategy.  Could they make it on one more stop or do they have to make two???  The calculators were a smokin’, the tension and excitement was escalating!  As the laps were winding down there was many strategies that were unfolding.  Some teams waited til their pit window opened up, some short pitted, and some were rolling the dice staying out to the end!  Which strategy would be the winning one?


Carl Edwards’ crew chief elected to keep him out, hoping that they had enough fuel to go to the end.  It worked!!!  Edwards held off the rest of the field.  A few of the competitors, Dale Jr. included ran out of fuel coming off turn 4.  A slight miscalculation that caused them eight places in the finish!  Remember that I said that Harvick was involved in the first lap spin, he came all the way back and finished fourth today!!


With just five races left until the Chase begins, the drivers and the the teams are feeling the pressure.  It is crunch time!  For those on the outside, it is time to make your move to the front!  For those in positions 6-12, you have to solidify your efforts and your position in the standings.  Consistency is key to making The Chase!


Finally, both NASCAR and Goodyear have publically apologized to the fans and the race teams for really missing the tire setup last week at Indy.  It is this reporter’s opinion that, in this day and age of technology, it is almost impossible to think that the tire compound was so far off!!!  With all the research that was done prior to emplementing the new car, both agencies should have known the characteristics of the car and the associated tire wear tendencies.


You didn’t have to look it up, ’cause I aready did!!!!!