Archive for the ‘NASCAR’ Category

Carl Edwards

March 7, 2010

If NASCAR doesn’t suspend him for at least one race they are one of the sorriest and most feckless operations known to mankind.  The total disregard for the sport that he showed in intentionally wrecking Brad Kesolowski in the waning laps of today’s race in Atlanta was the act of a coward that has no regard for others.  Parking him for the last 5 laps of a race that he was 160 laps behind in was no punishment.  Fining him and docking him Nextel Cup points would be a punishment of sorts, but what he did today needs punished more severely than that.  He needs to spend a weekend watching someone else drive his car losing money and the chance at Cup points.  Then maybe next time he’ll be less cavalier about trying to spin someone into the infield, causing them to go airborne into the wall instead.

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Great American Race

February 14, 2010

First of all I would like to thank the caretakers of Daytona Speedway; by having two red flags because of a pothole the race didn’t end until after the afternoon Olympics coverage and the golf, so it was easy to sit there and watch the last 39 laps intently.  Obviously a great run after the last stab at the green/white/checkered by Jamie McMurray to get the win.  Also, as Darrell Waltrip elegantly put it, where the heck did Junior come from?  10th to 2nd in the last lap is insane, but anything  is possible at Daytona.  The race lacked a lot of its top stars being a factor, with Jimmie Johnson having tire issues and Jeff Gordon stuck back in the pack, then wrecking on the final lap.  But that really didn’t matter to gearheads, as this was still a very memorable race.

Of course, in the aftermath a lot of questions have to be asked about the condition of the track.  How does a pothole form in the middle of the race on any NASCAR track?  Let alone Daytona?  My understanding the track hasn’t been resurfaced completely since 1978.  It might be about time they do it again.

Weekend in Sports

July 5, 2009

Certainly a big Independence Day weekend in the world of sports:

1) Steve McNair found dead: Obviously very tragic news.  While the police aren’t willing to say it yet, signs seem to be pointing towards a female acquaintence murdering him in a murder/suicide.  Certainly when you ponder his NFL career the two words “tough competitor” leap to mind.  It seems he was always hurt, indeed that he was always nursing multiple injuries at the same time.  But he almost always played through it and played very well.  I don’t think that you would consider his career Hall-of-Fame worthy, but it was rather close to being that good.  And, either way, a tragic ending to a short life.

2) Tony Stewart survives at Daytona: I haven’t sought out much in the way of postmortem coverage, but I would hope Stewart isn’t being blamed too much for the final turn of final lap wreck that gave Stewart the win and massively re-shuffled the final race order of finish.  Kyle Busch was leading with Stewart right behind.  Tony went to pass low and Kyle blocked, so Stewart then went to pass high.  Busch went to block, but Stewart already had his front even with Busch’s rear, so when Kyle went up they clipped and Busch was spun into the wall, while Stewart was able to maintain control and take the checkered flag.  This wreck was Busch’s fault for trying to block when Stewart was already beside him.  Really, at that point, I don’t think Busch even needed to try and block; just race Stewart to the finish line.  Either way, it made for a dramatic finish to the restrictor plate race.

3) Federer wins 15th Slam title: Wow what a match!  16-14 in the 5th set which pulverized the previous Wimbledon and Grand Slam records for length of final set.  Basically, if Andy Roddick had played that well at any time in the past 5 years he’d have more than 1 Slam title and be better than 2-19 all-time against Federer.  Federer never broke his serve all day until the decisive game.  I’m sure Roddick will rue blowing a 6-2 lead in the 2nd set tiebreaker, but he really doesn’t have anything to be ashamed of.  With Sampras’ record broken and with Federer completed the career grand slam with last month’s French victory, is he the best male tennis player of all time?  Hard to say, but he’s certainly in the discussion.  On the ladies side Serena won the most recent version of sibling rivalry, but will remain 2nd to Dinara Safina in the world rankings despite having one 3 of the last 4 Slam titles.  Oh well, everyone knows who the best 2 players in women’s tennis actually are.

4) Speaking of best, we already knew Tiger was the best golfer going before he won his own tournament, the AT&T National at Congressional by staring down a final round 62 by Hunter Mahan.  With a hot 2nd half of the season he could catch Nicklaus for 2nd all time in PGA Tour wins.  On the ladies side a South Korean named Yi got her first LPGA Tour win by beating a late-charging Morgan Pressel on the first playoff hole at the Owens Corning Jamie Farr Classic in Toledo.  I guess the Buckeye in me could point out that people don’t win in Ohio while wearing Maize & Blue.  Also noteworthy was the final round 64 that vaulted Michelle Wie into a 3rd place finish.  A double bogey on 18 in the 2nd round is essentially what kept her out of the playoff.  Her game is certainly coming around, and I think its a fait accompli that wins will come for her.  Next week at the Women’s US Open I think would shock no one.

5) Rosters for the MLB All-Star Game were announced today.  I don’t really have a lot to add on that topic.  The fans made a couple logical choices, like Pujols being the leading vote-getter.  They made a couple dumb choices like NL outfielders that are injured, but that is par for the course there.  Freddie Sanchez will represent the Pirates and Victor Martinez the Indians, which is sensible.

6) Of course the biggest parlor game the past 48 hours has been trying to figure out what Sarah Palin is thinking, but I have no intention of getting inside her head.

ABC Moves End of NASCAR Race to ESPN2 for America’s Funniest Home Videos

November 9, 2008

Yes, you read that title correctly.  Penultimate race of the season, in Phoenix, was scheduled to end at 7:30pm EST.  At one point earlyish on the race was red flagged due to rain, and when it was going to run past 7:30 ABC pulled their coverage into the garage and moved it to ESPN2 in the eastern and central time zones so that an episode of AFHV would air unhindered.  I am just flabbergasted by that one.  This is NASCAR Nextel Cup 2nd to last race of the season, and its not like it was 2 hours from ending.  It ended before 8pm.  They could’ve stuck with it to the end and had their evening lineup backed up no worse than CBS, who routinely aggravates their viewers with the quixotic notion that they can show the doubleheader NFL game starting at 4:15 and be at 60 Minutes at 7pm.  And it wasn’t even for a good show; it was for America’s Funniest Home Videos, which must be at least 15 years past its prime at this point.  Frankly, if I were the head honchos at NASCAR, I wouldn’t let another one of my races air on that network again, better coverage from the folks at SportsCenter be damned.  That was bush league on ABC’s part.

Tony Gets Controversial Win at Talledega

October 6, 2008

Bound to be controversy anytime NASCAR scores as the race winner someone other than the person whose car crosses the finish line first.  And, quite frankly, they blew this call.  The rules prohibit going below the yellow line to pass.  And Ragan Smith most definitely did go down on the apron during the last lap yesterday.  However, the rules permit that if the driver is forced down onto the apron by other traffic.  And that is exactly what happened.  He went to pass and Stewart cut him off.  Smith could either check up hard, potentially causing a big wreck like the one that was seen with 14 laps to go that forced a red flag, or let Stewart hit him, which is definitely a wreck that would’ve likely caused some of the cars behind them to get caught in the wash as well.  Or he could go down into the apron.  Which is what he did.  He came back across the line onto the race track as soon as Stewart let him, and he nosed the 20 car out at the checkered flag.  But NASCAR decided to deem that an illegal pass, Smith was scored in 18th place behind all other cars on the lead lap, and Stewart motored into Victory Lane.

Debacle at the Brickyard

July 27, 2008

The #48 car of Jimmie Johnson cruised onto Victory Lane after crossing the brick finish line at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon to claim the Brickyard 400.  But the story of the day was the deplorable situation with the racing tires that simply could not withstand the rough surface.  Especially the right rear tires became completely worn out after a mere 12-15 laps.  This forced NASCAR to mar the race with numerous competition cautions so the cars could come onto pit road for new tires en masse and go back out to race a few more laps.  I realize that the Indy Speedway was designed for open wheel racing, and not stock cars, but NASCAR has been using this track for over a decade now, and converting to “the car of tomorrow” should not have made that radical a difference.  I don’t know if fault lies with the roughness of the pavement or the engineers at Goodyear, but today’s product was unacceptable.  Sprint Cup races are often won in the pits, but not solely by the guys wielding air guns for the lug nuts.  A complete race is decided by fuel strategy, tire strategy, and pitting at the correct times along with pit crew speed.  Also its nice to see stretches of more than a dozen laps of green flag racing so the drivers with good cars can better differentiate themselves.  Take nothing away from Jimmie Johnson’s win; he and his crew made the best of a bad situation, but today’s race is not what auto racing is all about, and it simply should never happen.

Dale Wins a Race

June 15, 2008

The streak is over at 76.  Long live the streak.  For the first time driving the green 88 for Hendrick Dale Earnhardt Jr wins a Nextel Cup race, the Lifelock 400 at Michigan Speedway.  And he almost didn’t get this one as a gamble on fuel pays off.  The race went overtime on a caution and the green/white/checkered finish; he almost certainly didn’t have enought fuel to go balls out on that 203rd lap.  But another caution allowed him to coast to victory.  Barely.  He had to get pushed by his crew to victory lane.  But at this point I doubt Dale cares how he got to victory lane, he just wanted to get there.  Huge monkey off his back.  More importantly, he’s 3rd in the points race as the season draws near the halfway point.