Sunday, February 18, 2007

"Happy Harvick" (Kevin, 2007 Daytona 500 winner by .020 over Mark Martin, in Daytona International Speedway's Victory Lane)

Who'd think the "Happy One" could rebound from a 34th place start and enough wrecks to start a small junkyard? Harvick also won the Busch series race here yesterday.

This begs a the 2006 momentum on going, or a one time occurrence?

Paul Kaminski


"Too Much Hype"
We join you from the infield at Daytona...where we are just steps away from the "Room of Doom"...and in sight of race control where some wags insist that the "call"** is about to be made.
Who'd benefit from a call**:
Juan Pablo Montoya--Hispanic connection, starts 36th, he'd be the big story with winning both ends of Speedweeks
Tony Stewart--a win would complete his quest and perhaps make up for missing the "Chase" in 2006
Mark Martin--part timer...likely the best of the 43 drivers never to have won a 500, would give the Army brass here a reason for a "HOOAH"
David Gilliland--Butch's son would sure enjoy the notoriety for the win; he missed the usual Daytona 500 polewinner buzz. A rookie winning the 500....
Michael Waltrip--his "scandal" got more notice for NASCAR than what might normally happen. The actions belie the words spoken about all the "drama" could be the linch pin for a nice little Machievellian scheme.
**--For the record: The vaunted "call" is supposedly made by NASCAR to the "race winner" before the race, letting them know it is their turn to win. In practice, it would be difficult, since EVERY team member would have to be "gagged" so as not to leak the information.
I do not believe NASCAR pre-ordains a winner. I do believe that the entertainment aspect does lend credence to the theory that the sanctioning body can influence events in general to promote said entertainment.
Paul Kaminski

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Room of Doom"
Each year, NASCAR finds a way to stir up controversy with its Daytona 500 inspection process. The garage area wags call it the "Room of Doom". Last year, it was championship winning crew chief Chad Knaus' troubles. This year, drivers and crew chiefs from Roush and Evernham have felt the lash of NASCAR Justice in the "Room" (another word for the inspection area).
Just an aside: Each Car of Tomorrow (CoT) chassis has nine (9) radio frequency ID devices so NASCAR can sniff (by radio) whether approved cars/chassis are actually on track, and supposedly make the insepction process less arbitrary. The ID stuff I for the long as the entertainment aspect is wagging this dog, there will STILL be areas where an arbitrary interpretation will still be possible, and more than likely probable.
And another thing: If TV gets all the GPS data for their tracking, and if NASCAR uses RFID to identify cars, then why can't the teams use transmit only telemetry in competition? Case in point: Indy style cars have automatic tire pressure monitors, which can alert a team if a tire is going down, so it can be changed. On Thursday, Friday, Saturday and of course Sunday, there will be a likely "big one" (multi car wreck) in any or all of the events. It's possible and probable that one of those wrecks could be tire related. The Luddites of NASCAR could care less about all the torn up sheet metal by their rules which do not allow at least tire pressure telemetry to be transmitted real time. I think team fab shops would like that as well.
We're stuck in probable 30 inch snow for the moment...we'll rejoin you from the corner of Bill France and International Speedway Boulevards if at all possible.
Another sign of the apocalypse: John Henry and the Boston Red Sox group are purchasing a significant stake in the Jack Roush racing operation...that announcement will come later. Roush says he makes 3-5 percent profit with his racing operations right now, and was hacked off when Toyota teams started hiring the "best and brightest" for more money. Roush says he needs more resources to compete.
How long do you think John Henry will stand for a 3-5 percent return on a multi-million dollar investment/purchase? Is Roush's racing operation worth more to stockholders in operation, or in liquidation? When you introduce stockholders (even in privately held companies), you also introduce the expectation that they will receive a return on investment. Expenditures in racing sometimes mean that you throw short term money at a solution or situation. It is easier to do this with sole ownership or partnership.
Or is the Red Sox group making SO much money that they need a tax loss to reduce their corporate tax liability? Judge Learned Hand said in his opinion on tax evasion and avoidance, says that arranging your affairs to avoid paying a lot of money in taxes is legal, but evading the payment altogether is not.
Paul Kaminski