The former DEI #8, now EGR#8 Chevy is off the track most likely for good!! The team has laid off 40-50 personnel. The latest news out from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing is that the #8 EGR Chevy is without sponsorship, and therefore they suspended the operations for that team! This was once the “hallmark” team of DEI!!!! The #8 was the pride of a “BIG E”!!! The #8 held special meaning to the Earnhardt family. That was the number that Ralph Earnhardt, Dale Sr’s father, raced for many years and won a championship. The #8 team was what Dale Earnhardt, Sr. built DEI all around. This team was going to be his (Dale , Sr.’s) centerpiece for Dale Earnhardt Inc.!!!! Now it is just a memory!!
It appears that DEI is crumbling into ruins, kind of like the Roman Empire did mor than a thousand years ago!!! The reasons behind this failure belong to just one person, Mrs.Theresa Earnhardt. First Theresa refused to come up with a new contract to keep Dale, Jr. racing for DEI in the #8 Budweiser Chevy. Because of that decision, the next domino fell really fast and very hard. Budweiser left DEI and took their HUGE dollars over to the #9 GEM Dodge. That deal alone caused DEI a huge financial hardship, which will be shown to be the pivotal decision in the ultimate collapse of DEI!!! It is this reporter’s opinion that Theresa Earnhardt has made some really incredibly stupid decisions since her late husbands untimely death!! But by far the biggest blunder of all was allowing her stepson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to walk away from the empire that Dale, Sr. had built!!! Because once Jr. walked away from DEI, the dominoes just started to fall sequentially and nothing could be done to stop the uncontrolled fall in the abyss!!!
There are many rumors in the mill around the garage area related to this story. One is that because of the #8 operations being suspended, that might allow Martin Truex, Jr. to become a free agent soon. If that happens, what will become of the EGR #42 team? Ultimately, what is that organization’s long term future in NASCAR anyway?
What is your take on this news???
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.
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!!!
THIS WEEK’S STORY LINES
1. JIMMIE JOHNSON WINS THIRD CHASE IN A ROW:
2. CARL EDWARDS WINS AT HOMESTEAD:
3. DEI-GANASSI NAMED EARNHARDT-GANASSI RACING:
4. EARNHARADT-GANASSI RACING RUNS CHEVYS IN ’09: (espn)
5. STEWART MOVES OVER TO STEWART-HAAS RACING:
6. CREW CHIEFS NAMED FOR STEWART-HAAS RACING: (TSC/SHR PR)
7. NASCAR BANS ALL TESTING IN 2009: (winstonsalemjournal)
8. CALE YARBOROUGH ABSENT FROM HOMESTEAD: (orlando sentinal)
The 2008 NASCAR racing season has come to close. The running of the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Raceway has ended with excitement and a place in the record books of NASCAR. The winner of the race, Carl Edwards, won it in a dominating fashion, however that was only one half of the story. Edwards attained his ninth win of the season, the most of any driver this year. He also led the most laps enroute to the win. Unfortunately, “Cousin Carl” couldn’t overcome the 141 point disadvantage in this last race. He did, however cut a significant amount of points off from Jimmie Jonhson’s lead! Edward’s surge over the last four races was short of a miracle in the NASCAR ranks!!
The real story of the weekend was Jimmie Johson’s third consecutive championship!. That feat had only been accompolished once in NASCAR’s 60 year history. Johnson got himself in the history books along side Cale Yarborough as the only other driver to score three championships in a row. The consecutive championships won by these two individuals were exactly 30 years apart!!
At last, you say, I can finally figure out the title, the picture, and their relationship to NASCAR!! Well let me tie them together anyway for you. A few years ago Tom Wolfe wrote a book titled “The Right Stuff”. It was a book chronicaling the beginnings of supersonic flight in the 1940’s and 1950’s, the brave adventerous pioneering pilots involved, and the teamwork that it took to overcome the dauting tasks that was before them. There were heros, rivalries, brilliant people, and hard partiers, but the common theme was TEAMWORK!! Everyone would sacrifice whatever it took to accompolish the goals given them. You might remember or recognize some of those men, Chuck Yeager, Scott Crossfield, Bob Hoover, Neil Armstrong, John Glen, Buzz Aldrin, Deke Slayton, and James Lovell just to mention a few names. They all hold their place in aviation history.
Racing has its men that have “The Right Stuff” also. Try on a few of these names on for size, Lee Petty, Richard Petty, Fireball Roberts, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Marvin Paunch, Buddy Baker, Benny Parsons, Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Darrell Waltrip, and last but not forgotten Dale Earnhardt, Sr (in the staute above). These men were just some of the brave pioneers of NASCAR. They, too, were heros, rivals, hard partiers, and yes they were brilliant in their own way! They were focused on accompolishing the dauting tasks of winning races and being better than their competitors day in and day out! They realized that it took TEAMWORK to succeed!!!
Well add one more name to the history books. What Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Lowes HMS Chevy accompolished in the last three years has cemented their place in the NASCAR history books!! That whole team sacrificed everything to be the best when the going got tough!! Winning three consecutive championships put them in the same sentence as Cale Yarborough. Until Sunday there was only one driver and team that could lay claim to three championships in a row.
MOVE OVER CALE, HERE COMES JIMMIE!!!
THIS WEEEK’S STORY LINES:
1. AIR FORCE LEAVES WOOD BROS. FOR GEM #10: (jayski.com)
3. BB&T SPONSOR #33 RCR CHEVY IN ’09: ( RCR pr)
4. RED BULL TEAMS SWAP DRIVERS FOR LAST RACE: (redbullracing pr)
5. BRIAN FRANCE’S TAKE ON SWITCH TO ESPN2 FOR FINAL MINS. OF PHX RACE: (jayski)
6. KESELOWSKI TO RACE @ HOMESTEAD
7. AAA SPONSORS HORNISH IN ’09: (penske racing pr)
8. FURNITURE ROW RACING RUNS A LIMITED SCHEDULE IN ’09:(furniturerowracing)
No I haven’t completely gone off the deep end! There really is a corelation between the NYC Naked Cowboy and NASCAR. How can that be, you say?? Well folks, take a closer look at that picture. He is standing all alone on the island in the middle of Times Square in New York City for everyone to see!! He is unique and has no peers! He is vunerable yet he journeys on with total disregard to personal security!!! That, my friends, is just exactly what the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion is!! He is unique, has no peers, extremely vunerable, yet he sojourns on with total disregard for his own personal safety! And in December, he will in fact be on a stage for all to see at the NASCAR Banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria!!!
It is very obvious that the last man standing for this year’s Chase will be Jimmie Johnson. He has but one race left before he marches into NASCAR history. All the #48 Lowes Chevy has to do is finish 35th or better and he has the 2008 Championship lock, stock, and barrell!! In the 60 years of NASCAR racing there has been only one individual to win three consecutive championships in a row, that being “the Timmonsville, S.C. Tornado”, William Caleb (Cale) Yarborough. That feat was accompolished in the period of 1976-1978 with the car owner and crew chief, Junior Johnson!
This reporter has been following many forms of racing, Indy Car, NHRA, local short tracks dirt and paved, as well as NASCAR for more than 45 years. What the entire #48 Lowes HMS Chevy team is about to accompolish is of historic proportions! It is a dynasty pure and simple, similar to the NY Yankees in baseball. You might remember those days with “the Mick” Mickey Mantle (my boyhood hero), Yogi Bera, Whitey Ford, Elston Howard,”Moose” Skowron, Roger Maris, and Bobby Richardson. The Boston Celtics with “Big” Bill Russell, Bob Cousey, K.C. Jones, and Sam Jones were equally a huge dynasty in the NBA. These two sports franchises stand head and shoulders above all the rest in “stick and ball” sports!! They are what legends are made from! So observe this weekends event, soak this up, because it may not come our way again for another 30 years!!!
The one thing that we, as fans, learned this season was a reinteration of the old story of “The Hare and The Tortise” Just because somebody starts off the season fast and dominates for 2/3’s of the season, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going be there in the end!!! Ol Kyle Busch started off “smokin”hot”, but completely fell apart in the Chase! It was bound to happen, a team just absolutely cannot dominate all 36 races in the season, PERIOD!!! Somewhere, someplace, somehow, mistakes and bad luck will come to haunt you!! It happened just as the Chase started for the #18 M&M’s JGR Toyota this year. Will ol Kylie, aka TLVW, be a factor next season, you better bet on it! That team will be better next year than they were this year, if for no other reason than “SPERIENCE”(a DWism for experience)!!!
This off season will be a time of great turmoil and upheaval in the garage. It started this week with the announcement of the DEI-Ganassi “merger”. The sponsorhip dollars are tight and the teams are feeling the pinch. There are still rumblings in the garage of Petty and GEM looking to merge. There are even Penske merger rumors!!! The possibilites are truely endless!!!!
GOD SPEED, JIMMIE JOHNSON!
Stay tuned, ’cause God knows it is going to get interesting!!!!
THE STORY LINES:
1. JOHNSON WINS AGAIN!
2. QUALIFYING RAINED OUT FOR 9TH TIME:
3. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS DOMINATES @ MARTINSVILLE:
5. PETTY RESURRECTS #44: (espn.com)
6. JEFF GORDON CLOSING IN ON 20,000 LAPS LED:
7. ROCKINGHAM RACEWAY BUILDS A “LITTLE ROCK” ON PREMISES:
8. AMBROSE IN #47 (WAS #44 MWR) REST OF YEAR:(MWR PR)
Well folks, it happened again! The #48 Lowes Chevy dominated the race. Jimmie Johnson led over 330 laps of the 500 lap race, a true sign of domination. The Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) Chevys all had a good day at the track. Just to let you know how the HMS teams have done over the years at Martinsville, here are some facts. Prior to Sunday, HMS had posted 11 victories and 78 top 10’s there!! Now make that 12 victories and 82 top 10’s!! They have completed over 96% of all laps entered. Jeff Gordon has posted 7 victories there alone! They have now won 9 out of the last 12 races at Martinsville!! HMS now have a total of 174 wins and 7 Sprint Cup Championships in NASCAR!!!! These numbers are staggering!
The merger rumors are running rampant in the garage area this week. There are talks rumored between Petty and DEI. There are rumors of talks between Petty and Ganassi. There are rumors that Gilette-Evernham (GEM) are leaving Dodge and heading to Toyota. It is truely “The Silly Season”!!! IT APPEARS THAT NOT ONLY IS “JOE THE PLUMBER” HAVING TOUGH FINANCIAL TIMES, THE CUP TEAMS ARE EQUALLY FINDING THE TIME A ROUGH GO!!!! There appears to be a changing of ownership coming to the garage area. Financial partners and mergers seems to be the key to suviorship here in NASCAR!
Remember the first 26 races of this season??????? Ol Kylie Busch, aka TLVW, was truly dominating the entire field each and every Sunday. What happened?????? Everyone was singing the praises of TLVW, how he was running away with the championship lead! Well, did everyone forget how the #48 Lowes Chevy came from the cellar last year to put the BIG WHOOP on the other 11 contenders in the Chase?????? DON’T LOOK NOW, BUT HE IS ABOUT DO REPEAT THAT SAME FEAT THIS YEAR!!!!!!!
This reporter was one of the naysayers this year. I repeatedly said that the #48 Lowes Chevy team could not possibly win 3 championships in a row! After all, it had only happened once in the history of NASCAR, so that by itself shows the difficulty of that feat. By the way, that one feat was accompolished by one William Caleb (Cale) Yorborough from 1976-1978. But don’t look now, it is about to happen again!!!!
SO THE ANSWER TO THE TITLE OF THIS BLOG WOULD BE A RESOUNDING NO!!!!!
ONCE AGAIN I LOOKED IT UP SO THAT YOU WOULDN’T HAVE TO!!!!!
THE STORY LINES:
1. JIMMIE JOHNSON WINS @ KANSAS:
2. WALTRIP COULD ADD AMBROSE? (SceneDaily.com)
3. ALMENDINGER IS OUT OF #84 NEXT WEEK: (NASCAR.com)
4. STANTON BARRETT TO IRL: (SceneDaily.com)
5. MIKE WALLACE TO DRIVE #33 FOR RCR @ TALLADEGA: (RCR PR)
6. PAUL NEWMAN PASSES AWAY: (ABC News)
7. PAUL MENARD MOVES TO YATES RACING: (AP)
8. KYLE PETTY OUT OF #45? (Winston-Salem Journal)
9. DEI STRUGGLING TO FIND SPONSORSHIP:
10. ARMY MOVES TO #39 STEWART-HAAS CHEVY: (captainthunderracing.com)
“The three horse race” just distanced themselves a little further from the pack Sunday. It appears the Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, and Greg Bifle teams are turning up the heat on the rest of the “Chasers”!! Sunday they all, in their own way, showed dominance during the Kansas race. It was an extremely exciting final three laps!! With Johnson leading the race, Edwards made up about ten car lengths down the back stretch of the last lap. Going into turn three Edwards drove it so deep and blew by Johnson by approximately 3 car lengths, but couldn’t keep his Ford off the outside retaining wall. Edwards just hit it hard enough to slow his momentum and Johnson went back by him as they exited turn 4 heading to the finish line!!! What a finish to the race!!!!
Several driver changes were announced or hinted. A. J. Almendinger has been released from the #84 Red Bull Racing Toyota. The team announced that Mike Skinner and Scott Speed will share ther ride for the rest of 2008. Next year Scott Speed, the former Formula 1 and possibly new ARCA champ, will be the new pilot of that ride. Paul Menard will take his Daddy’s money, Menard’s Home Improvement Stores, and leave DEI for Yates Racing. Speaking of DEI, the Army sponsorship is leaving and moving over to the #39 Stewart-Haas Racing Ryan Newman Chevy. That leaves DEI in a quandry over sponsorship money!!! The #8 and #15 have no sponsorhip money, likewise the #01 has only a 12 race deal. There is likely a change of driver for the #45 Petty Dodge. It appears that there is a power stuggle going on in that organization! VP of Operations, Robby Loomis, is intimating that Kyle Petty has driven his last race in the #45 Petty Dodge. However, Kyle doesn’t seem to be going along with that decision!! Lastly, there is a rumor flowing through the garage that Michael Waltrip Racing may be interested in adding Marcos Ambrose and his sponsor Little Debbie’s to his stable.
In conclusion, this reporter would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the passing of Paul Newman. Not only was Paul Newman an extrordinary actor, father, husband, entrepenuer, and philanthropist; he was an excellent race car driver in his own right and CART/IRL car owner. To this reporter, there were several characters he portrayed that were memorable! Newman played the title character in “Cool Hand Luke” and the phrase that resonates in my mind is “what we have here is a failure to communicate“!!!!! His role in “The Hustler” and reprised again in “The Color of Money” were classic!! Lastly his two pictures with Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, were classic Paul Newman!!!!Newman started the company, Newman’s Own, giving all the profits to charity!!!
He was intrumental in starting “The Hole In The Wall Gang”, a non-profit camp for terminally ill children. He gave to charity tens of millions of dollars in his latter years! The Hole In Wall Gang idea was influential to Kyle and Patti Petty in forming THE VICTORY JUNCTION GANG CAMP.
Go rest high on that mountain, Paul Newman, your work here on earth in done!!
1. BIFLE WINS TWO IN A ROW:
2. ALMINDINGER OUT OF #84 ON 2009: (ESPN Sports)
3. MAYFIELD TEST #42 @ LOWES: (scenedaily)
4. BUSCH IS “DEAD” LAST- 210 POINTS OUT OF LEAD:
5. KESELOWSKI MAKES CUP DEBUT @ LOWES IN #25 GODADY.COM: (hendrick motorsports)
6. ROBBY GORDON AND DEI MERGER??? (winston-journal)
7. WALTRIP COULD ADD A 4TH TEAM:
Could we be seeing another repeat of last year’s Chase?? Remember last year when Jimmie Johnson won 4 of the 10 Chase races. Well, Greg Bifle has won the first two back-to-back!!!! Bifle is starting to show the same kind of dominance that Jimmie Johnson’s team showed last year!! He has come from the back of the pack to now be considered a favorite!! The Rousch-Fenway 3M #16 Ford Fusion has really stepped up their game when it counts! The first two races have been on one mile tracks, however vastly different in their configuration. Louden is a FLAT one mile track, unlike Dover which is a highly banked, extremely fast, and a self-cleaning, racing facility!!! It would appear to this reporter that the #16 3M teams has their one mile program where it needs to be. However, do they have the rest of their program fine tuned to the caliber needed to take the championship home!!!! Stay tuned for eight more weekends!!!!
The race for the Chase is slowly “thining out the herd”! It is this reporter’s view that the race has narrowed to nine teams now that have a reasonable chance to capture the championship this year. It appears that the #18 M&M’s JGR team is facing “extinction”! It is also this reporter’s opinion that the #11 FedEx JGR team is on the “endangered species” list! Likewise, the #17 Dewalt Rousch-Fenway team is closely following the previously mentioned teams! All three teams NEED to run exceptionally strong in the final 8 races to have a remote chance to win the championship. In fact, it is time for the “true contenders” to separate themselves from the “pretenders”!!
If you got something for ’em, NOW is the time you got to let the “BIG DOG EAT”!!!!!
THE CHASE STANDINGS:
This week is Kansas and more will face elimination!!!! Who will prevail??? Who will fail????
What do you think?
GETCHA FOUR FRESH GOODYEARS, A FULL TANK OF SUNOCO FUEL, A LITTLE WEDGE, AND MAYBE A SPRING RUBBER. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY…….PULL THOSE BELTS TIGHT ONE MORE TIME, AND LET’S GO RACIN’ BOYS!!!!!