Friday, December 19, 2008

"Random Musings--December 19, 2008"
  • Detroit In The News-- GM and Chrysler, their employees, suppliers and a lot of other people can breathe a little easier. Earlier today, President Bush approved some 17-billion dollars of bailout money for the General and Chrysler. Now, they have to go to work to keep up the quality and reduce expenses dramatically, which is the task that faces everyone of us in business. Multiply that by hundreds of billions of dollars...
  • Labor Day on Belle Isle Takes A Year Off-- Roger Penske's sponsors of the Belle Isle Grand Prix for the IndyCars and American LeMans Series cars pulled back some of their support...and the Captain said "enough." The Labor Day Weekend won't happen in 2009...but may return in 2010 (may is the operative word).

Maybe that's all for this weekend...and we can sit back at the mothership with a big drink of eggnog for a couple of days at least, before we resume blogging, and producing our year end programs. Our Christmas week "Race-Talk" reveals the identity of Santa's Racing elf...and brings back a tradition--Father Phil DeRea is the IndyCar Series Catholic Chaplain, and in past years, before he was posted by his order to a cathedral in Rome, Padre gave a Christmas perspective to our listeners from the open wheel standpoint. Father Phil is back in the USA, and will resume his comments for Christmas. We hope you'll listen. The podcast link is:

which will download the newest edition every week.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Grant v NASCAR Settled"
The 225-million dollar payday for Mauricia Grant in her lawsuit against NASCAR will likely be MUCH less. Grant and her lawyers from Morelli Ratner PC, and NASCAR and their lawyers from Jackson Lewis went to mediation in New York a couple of weeks ago. Here's the legal boilerplate:
The lawsuit has been settled, with neither NASCAR nor Ms Grant admitting liability or wrongdoing by way of the settlement. The terms of said settlement remain confidential. Neither side will discuss the settlement, or details of the case.
A smart move on NASCAR's part. They have other, more pressing issues to deal with.
North American Car and Truck of the Year Finalists--Detroit North American International Auto Show 2009
The finalists for the 2009 North American Car of the Year honors are the Ford Flex, Hyundai Genesis and Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Finalists for the 2009 North American Truck of the Year award are the Dodge Ram, Ford F-150 and the Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTEC. Those finalists were announced at the press luncheon for the North American International Auto Show, biggest in North America, held in Detroit in mid January.
General Motors had two good years in 2007 and 2008, taking the North American Car of the Year both times.
This award is picked by a panel of auto writers and broadcasters who do primary reporting on new cars and trucks. While I do enough reporting on the topic, it's a part of my reporting, not the majority.
It could be a good show for Detroit's Blue Oval gang. Or maybe not. That's one of the reasons we're going.
So much for a break....

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Cute Little Children's Racing Book--Race Car Driver's Night Before Christmas"
How does Ol' Saint Nick tune up for that big sleigh ride on December 24? If kids are asking you that question, you can answer it with "Racecar Driver's Night Before Christmas" by Una Bell Townsend and illustrated by Rick Anderson. It's inspired by Clement C. Moore's classic "Night Before Christmas" and takes place on a superspeedway. A Christmas Eve special race is taking place...and to everyone's surprise...a tricked out car that would, on any other day, have officials bumblin' stumblin and mumblin made an appearance on track, decked out in tinsel and smellin' of pine...but hey, it IS Christmas Eve...and they did let him race.
We won't give away the story...but the drivers all went away happy.
The book is Race Car Driver's Night Before Christmas, by Una Bell Townsend and illustrated by Rick Anderson. It's published by Pelican Publishing Company ( . We will link to Pelican from our links page for books we've reviewed.
Note: If you are ever in the Johnson City New York area (our home base), you should make a stop at Your Home Public Library, 107 Main Street. After we review books for Race-Talk, we donate the gently read copies to the library, so others can read about the history and workings of auto racing.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

NASCAR's Top 12 Drivers--2008
The hoopla is over...and these 12 drivers are on their way to a little longer offseason, except for the driver next to Jimmie Johnson (extreme right). That would be Carl Edwards...who's going to leave his pet duck behind, and represent the United States in the Race of Champions in Europe. To show you how seriously they take this race in Europe, two of the Roush Fenway people told me that even the thread on the driver suits had to be approved so the integrity of the fire resistance would not be compromised--as is done in Formula One Grand Prix Racing.
This business about either/or/all three of the Big Three Automakers going bankrupt spooked the drivers...from Johnson, Edwards, and even to Rookie of the Year Regan Smith. Kevin "Happy" Harvick was concerned, but pointed out to me that there were opportunities available for sponsorships and racing revenue from other businesses that are doing well (and there are some) , if better than routine efforts were made to find them. Fans like "Happy" because he does not mince words (as Juan Pablo Montoya and others will attest).
We'll take a bit of a off season break from the blog (barring major developments) but not from our "Race-Talk" and "Radio-Road-Test" programs. We'll resume with blogging from the North American International Auto Show (probably one of the most important in history) in early January.