Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Sometimes History is NOT Made with a Bang"
Jimmie Johnson does not appear to be an "excitable boy" (the likes of Kevin "Happy" Harvick, Tony Stewart, et al). That does not mean that he is not competitive.
There can be no doubt that Johnson has cemented a place in NASCAR history with his championship winning season of 2008, which tied Cale Yarborough's feat of back to back to back wins in 1976, 77 and 78.
He wants more...and in the next couple of weeks on our off season Race-Talk programs...we'll let you hear from him...and crew chief Chad Knaus--before the big-post season doings in Manhattan.
We became extremely busy after the race...since CBS News, Radio thought the accomplishment important enough for me to explain it to their listeners on CBS News on the Hour Sunday night. I therefore ask your pardon that I didn't post a snapshot from the post-race news conference.
We'll try harder when we are in New York for the Post Race festivities to post some photos and other commentaries. Our advice for you is to enjoy family and friends as much as you are able...take some time away from the day to day routine and give thanks. We'll try to do this ourselves as we wind down from 2008.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Buzzie's Kid on Pole; Red Bull 2nd; Champ starts 30th--Cousin Carl 4th..and still no wins for Kevin 'Happy' Harvick"

David Reutimann (son of Northeast modified legend Buzzie Reutimann) won his first pole in Sprint Cup competition for the season ending Ford 400 at Homestead, with a lap timed at 171.636 miles an hour. Scott Speed jumped into the Red Bull #83 car and proceeded to put it on the front row...while teammate Brian Vickers drove the #84 Red Bull car to a 20th starting position (all about the points for 2009--very important for Speed...since he'll be a rookie without any NASCAR testing).
As for the points race...Jimmie Johnson didn't qualify well...but they don't pay points for qualifying. Johnson will start the race 30th...and if he finishes there, he locks out "Cousin Carl" Edwards, who starts from the outside of Row Number 2 (4th).
What is interesting here, is that the #29 car (pictured above) of Kevin "Happy" Harvick, has yet to visit Victory Lane in 2008..."Happy" starts 5th. The other surprising non winners are Matt Kenseth (3rd) and Jeff Gordon (37th).
But Wait, There's (Really) More: The NASCAR testing ban goes into effect on January 1, 2009. Like all other NASCAR rules, it is written in pencil, with a big eraser. To hear major domo Mike Helton explain, the ban will supposedly save teams 100K per test per car--almost 100 million dollars over the entire industry. No tests can occur at NASCAR sanctioned tracks. Will tests occur? The tire supplier--Goodyear--will continue their program, and benevolent NASCAR will jawbone racing boss Stu Grant to make sure all teams are represented fairly--Stu says no problem.
Fairness is supposedly a part of NASCAR's decision loop. Fairness would dictate a rules freeze for 2009. Fairness and NASCAR are, in reality, mutually exclusive terms.
We'll post some comments and snapshots from the Ford 400.
Also...there will be a very trying time for the industry beginning Monday. NASCAR teams are expected to begin layoffs and downsizing once they return to North Carolina. This downsizing will spread--no doubt--to the way the series is covered by print and broadcast media outlets.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid
A car related post...this is the pace car for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It is a hybrid, with similar running gear to the Ford Escape Hybrid. It has been redesigned so the car will go up to 47 miles per hour on batteries, before the Hotchkiss 2.5 four cylinder engine kicks in. Engineers from the Blue Oval gang say the car will get over 700 miles per tankful of gas around town.
One thing we find with that most of them will start well enough on the electric power and around 12-26 miles per hour before the gas engine kicks in. This changes the equation--and that development is big news for those who drive a LOT around town...cabs come immediately to mind...along with those who don't do a lot of urban driving.
And this is the first public appearance of the 2010 Fusion's sporting some camouflage because the formal introduction is a few days away. It'll make an appearance at a Ford store near you in spring.
The racing stuff will start tomorrow.