Sunday, August 08, 2010

"Blog Extra August 8, 2010"

When reading Jim Donnelly's collaboration with Don Miller (retired VP Penske Racing South), I wasn't expecting to find out much more than what he did with Penske and the full fendered cars.

The book ("Miller's Time A Lifetime at Speed, Coastal 181 Publishing opened a window into the life of someone who changed the way drivers in all of auto racing make money. For it was Miller, working with Roger Penske, who put together what today would be looked at as a tiny trailer with what at the time was called "trinkets and trash" and discovered a revenue stream that, today insures racing drivers in all series a comfortable income--that is, of course the souvenir trailer. Miller was a drag racer of some repute, but was an even more effective marketer and builder of relationships. His relationship with the Captain's long time PR whiz Dan Luginbuhl, and what those two men would do to get the job done, were crucial to the success of Penske Racing.

Miller and Donnelly didn't sugarcoat the incident at Talladega in 1974 which cost Miller's right leg, and left him with injuries that plagued him through the years. Those would have sidelined a less dedicated person.

The most interesting facet of this book is the relationship building; not just those with Roger Penske, the Goodyear tire people, sponsors, drivers, media and fans--it includes the relationship he built, and maintains with Pat, his wife of some 48 some years. Some were fruitful, others not so much.

The net proceeds from this book are pledged to help fight child abuse and neglect in the Carolinas, which is reason enough to buy it. The other is for the window that Miller and Donnelly opens into the world of big time stock car racing.

We'll also link to Coastal181 (who's published books with Ken Schrader and the racing equivalent of the Eveready Energizer Bunny, Kenny "Herman" Wallace) from our listener page. That link is .

Now more comments.

If a person or organization has built a relationship on openness and candor, then it causes the parties in the relationship--be they customers, fans, employees, contractors or competitors--cognitive dissonance when the first party in the relationship backs away from the openness and candor, and begins to suppress that in the name of protecting the "brand" or "relationship" (Our Twitter page says we tweet for thinkers; we've always blogged that way, and encourage you to research cognitive dissonance). Hint: it concerns perception and reality and the differences between what you think, and what really is.

If a party to a relationship backs away from candor, or punishes it, it begs some questions:

  1. Can the relationship ever regain full trust?

  2. What is the other party hiding?

  3. Is the relationship mutually beneficial, or is the other party trying to exert unfair control over the other party, when confronted with a show of equal power?

Let me state for the record that NASCAR is a private organization, and can do or say anything they please that is legal--and will most likely continue to do so. Their past history shows that they like to have a "gotcha" sanction and vague hammer that they can hold over the independent contractors who drive and compete in their series (Rule 12-A actions detrimental to stock car racing, and the absolute lack of specificity in all but the construction of the cars that compete in its series).

One does not build trust for the long run by having "gotcha's" in a relationship, be it personal or business. When Moses came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments, there were no vague clauses--just simple, measurable, definable rules on a tablet for all to see.

NASCAR--get back to being Moses, and not a Pharisee.

Comments are welcomed, and moderated for propriety, grammar and length. The best ones may be mentioned on a future "Race-Talk" program.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Information on Podcast Links
I upgraded the software which is used to encode our Motor Sports Radio podcasts so you can find them with programs like Juice, etc.
It generates a different file, with a different file extension.
The updated link is at our listener page, which is:
In case you enter links manually, here they are:
I wanted to make sure that all subscribers to the podcast (all over the world--thanks!) notice no disruption in the download.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns-don't hesitate to contact us on our feedback (a) e-mail address.

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Yes, I Am Still Here"

I have been Tweeting, much more frequently than I've been blogging; those of you who have discovered our listener blog and have bookmarked this site see the Twitter links, which update much more frequently.
With BlackBerries, iPhones and mobile web updates, it is sometime easier to Tweet than blog.
Be assured that if there's a situation that demands more than a special podcast or a Tweet, you'll find more information here. I believe that you listeners and blog readers deserve an explanation of how I make editorial judgements on how I get information and commentary out.
If you think I need to blog more, shoot me a note to feedback (at), and tell me where I can do better.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Pothole

I posted this earlier on Twitter, but thought it might be useful to have it available for you to look at, and see for yourself why this was a problem for the Daytona International Speedway and NASCAR in its biggest race of the year. Pity it happened. In any other time, the pavement holds up. Given the age of the pavement (August 1978), the below normal temperatures, the position on track (where it goes into shadow quickly and loses the benefit of direct sun for warmth), the rains, and the propensity for water to seek its own level. The beat scribes + scribettes are trying to create controversy by suggesting that there was some nefarious scheme to cover up the defect.

I will be asking for your Tweeted comments on what Daytona should do to fix this once and for all.

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Crown Royal Presents the Heath Calhoun 400"--May 1, 2010
Tweets say it all about this soldier.

Monday, February 08, 2010

"Fame Monster" Doubles Down; Stock Car Debut Part Deux
Danica Patrick, as you have seen and heard in the Twitterverse, and soon elsewhere, will continue her learning process this weekend at Datytona International Speedway when she enters and runs the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday, February 13. Her entry will get the guaranteed points from a car acquired by JR Motorsports--so Kelly Bires ought to be able to compete.
Her debut in the ARCA race was not spectacular, but solid. She dodged flying sheet metal, felt a few nudges, gave some back, and brought the car back into the garage area 6th--on the lead lap. Patrick showed some car control skills during a spin--which will be necessary to perfect as her time in stock cars continues. Randy Bernard, IndyCar Series CEO, can only hope that her new found notoriety in the stock car arena is a good thing for Patrick's day job--competing in the IndyCar Series full time for Michael Andretti.
We're taking care of other business, and will have a very busy Race-Talk this week. We will likely be busy for CBS News, Radio, as the hype continues for the 52nd Daytona 500--which, it seems, is being overshadowed somewhat by Patrick's stock car debut

Saturday, February 06, 2010

"The Danicar"
Mattel's iconic Hot Wheels brand of miniature cars returns to the racing market with JR Motorsports and Danica Patrick. Kelley Earnhardt (left) says the company will have an associate sponsor position for Danica's foray into the world of full fendered racing in NASCAR's Nationwide Series. In August at Michigan International Speedway, Danica's #7 Chevy Impala will wear full Hot Wheels livery.
When asked if she had Hot Wheels when she was younger, Patrick replied, "I'm a girl--I had Barbie dolls." Dale Jr. didn't say too much except that he had Hot Wheels in his youth.
Keep your eye on the Tweets for fresh info.

Friday, February 05, 2010

"When the Iron's Hot, Strike!"
Danica Patrick, meeting most of the NASCAR beat reporters after the final ARCA practice was washed out at Daytona International Speedway, who kept asking her the same questions shw was asked yesterday--and weeks before, about her motivation to try racing full fendered stock cars.
We called her the "Fame Monster"--and I submit that the attention she'll receive from this race, the Super Bowl commercials, the CSI episode (where she plays a race driver, go figure!), and her long awaited Nationwide debut (whether that's next week here, but definitely at Auto Club Speedway at Fontana on February 20) qualifies her.
With the birth announcements for Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Elliott Sadler and the Kyle Busch engagement--the old-school NASCAR scribes are eagerly awaiting some racing action to talk about, instead of the minutia that masquerades for news in the off season. So too, are we.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Danica-Mania, Shootout Style
Thanks to Mark Williams of MrNews Productions ( for this picture of Danica Patrick, just a few hours before a four hour and 50 minute practice for the ARCA cars at Daytona International Speedway.
Jim Hunter, the VP for Corporate Communications at NASCAR is battling cancer. He stopped by media days, and reporters offered well wishes. I knew he was on the mend when he told me "not today" when I asked him if he was ready to play nine (holes of golf, Hunter enjoys his time on the links) with a wink. Everyone hopes Jim will get back to the trail (and the links soon).
Danica Patrick suggested that she was not aware that the ARCA race here could, and has in the past turned into a crashfest. That was a rather curious remark.
Jimmie Johnson met the media and said that he'd really like to win Daytona for his crew chief, Chad Knaus. One will remember that Knaus spent time in NASCAR's doghouse for rule violations here, and his replacement, Darian Grubb, won the 500 in 2006.
The Rolex Series gremlins that befell AJ Allmendinger still haunt him--but he says running the #43 Ford with Yates horsepower gives him confidence for the 500.
More later.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Speedweeks/Tailgating/Racing's Fame Monster
Random comments about the brief time I spent at the Rolex 24 Grand-AM 24 Hours of Daytona:
  • Crowd was its usual enthusiastic self--but not as big as it's been.
  • Michael Shank Racing and AJ Allmendinger cannot buy a break at the (TM) World Center of Racing, it seems. Every racing gremlin (not the American Motors car) seems to camp out at the 6 or 60 car garage, and waits until things are going better than well to strike.
  • How about a Porsche team taking the win with a V8 and not the legendary and proven boxer 6? And how about the fact that it's sharing garage space and engineering smarts in Jacksonville with the Brumos Porsche team?
  • With the hoopla about NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers in the race--the only ones with significant hardware were Max Papis and part-timer Scott Pruett in the Riley BMW, finishing second to the Action Express Porsche Team in the Daytona Prototype Class and second overall for the Chipster. Ganassi's other BMW Riley ran like Jack the Bear until it expired with about 9 hours to go (Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya in that seat).
  • Doubtless you saw the NFL stories on increased security. Wonder what that would be like if NASCAR and the track operators tried that at a place like Pocono, Talladega or any one of the other venues where the folks like to pop off firecrackers, have a couple barley-pops and grill a steak.
  • Auto Racing's "Fame Monster", Danica Patrick, will make her initial stock car foray at the 200 mile ARCA race on Saturday, nestled between the 36 Hours of Daytona (Sprint Cup restrictor plate qualifying seems to take that long) and the all-skate Budweiser Shootout that evening. She will have to at least qualify in the top 10 (should be no problem to do that given JR Motorsports' ingenuity) and would have to have a top-10 finish to be taken seriously given all the hype. Even though her handlers are doing their best to lower expectations, her fans and sponsors expect a bit more. It would make a good story if she were to win the ARCA race, then change her mind and add the Daytona Nationwide race to her 2010 schedule.
  • Lost in all this is Hurley Haywood's last hurrah as a sports car driver at Daytona. Haywood will give up driving the #59 Porsche Daytona prototype...but not an affiliation with the legendary Brumos Porsche team.

You will hear the reason why the Action Express team won in the winner's comments this week on Race-Talk, along with some chat with the aforementioned Ms Patrick. You may always hear this week's program, as well as the past two editions on our Motor Sports Radio archive page:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Since we did not venture that far from our cave ( in the past month, we got a chance to ruminate on the racing developments--a short take is included in the Race-Talk program for this week...along with the last question in our Twitter contest.
You can hear any of our programs(present and a few past programs) at this link: .
Our season is ramping up--fast for our broadcasts and for the coverage I produce for CBS News, radio--Next week I'll originate the programs from Daytona.
You may have seen some tweets from our CBS News colleague Peter King--the situation is as bad there as anyone can imagine--perhaps worse. Catholic Relief Services is co-ordinating the response from the Roman Catholic bishops here in the US. The Haitians can use a bunch of help, which CRS wants so desperately to provide--one may text the word "relief" to 30644 ; call them toll free at 877-CRS-HELP or go on line at to send a donation.
Now for some more crockpot fun from the old bachelor man--this time beef barley soup.
1 small to medium onion chopped
1 15 oz can mixed vegetables
2 packs low sodium Herb-Ox bouillion powder
1/2 to 3/4 lb lean (90 per cent) ground beef, browned
two or three shakes of worcestershire sauce on ground beef while it's browning
1 187 ml bottle of red wine (hint here--use the small version of what you'd usually drink--adds extra flavor
1/2 of the 15 oz mixed vegetable can of water
2 to 4 ounces of pearl barley
Brown the ground beef, as though you were going to make a rare hamburger. One may add a few of the chopped onions to brown up with the beef if desired. Drain excess fat, chop or crumble the beef and place it into the crockpot. Pour in the small bottle of red wine and the bouillion. Stir to mix it up.. Turn the crockpot on high for a few minutes till it gets warm. Now add the mixed vegetables, half can of water, pearl barley, and the rest of the onoins, stir, and turn on low for about five hours.
You can use this for a starter for your own recipe, adding or subtracting worked very well for football watching. One could use this for a tailgating recipe made in advance if going to a spring race or fall football game where the weather gets a bit chilly--and it does not cost that much to make!
See you on Twitter, and "Race-Talk". We'll use this blog for catching up, and takes that won't fit into 35 seconds or 140 characters..

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy 2010
I'm writing this from my office, after closing out the financial books on 2009. On a weekend where the action includes TV turf wars between FOX and Time Warner Cable, the reinstatement of the original Kentucky Speedway v NASCAR antitrust suit (because some of the original owners are thickheaded) and still some unanswered questions on the economic health of auto racing, I'm looking ahead to 2010.
Daytona Speedweeks will be interesting because of the ARCA debut of one Danica Patrick.
Izod's series sponsorship of the IndyCar Series will certainly get a close look to see what, if any effect it may have in the general population.
The American LeMans Series is trying to maintain its presence in this economy--hard to do when the prototypes (the most incredibly complex racing machines anywhere) have to combine classes, and the series loses some venues.
The only series which seems to have legs is the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. They've found a niche and are super serving it for their sponsors and marketing partners. Even with 1,000 feet in the nitro Top Fuel and Funny Car classes, the racing has been entertaining and compelling.
Michael Schumacher makes his return from retirement not to the Prancing Horses of Maranello (Ferrari) but the Petronas Mercedes Formula One Team. The reported American Grand Prix entry fronted by Peter Windsor made lots of noise about trying to sign an American driver. Windsor will likely sign a European F1 veteran for the Charlotte, NC based squad--the short list of American born open wheel drivers who can play in that sandbox is all but non existent--most of them are pursuing a NASCAR career, or are getting the requisite seasoning in IndyCar or perhaps Grand Am.
That, plus doings at the Speedway Motorsports Inc. Charlotte/Lowe's Media Tour, will keep us busy for January, along with our Twitter contest. You may get the details from this link:
I'm scheduled to attend the North American International Auto Show January 11-12 as of right now.
I am going to adjust how I use the blog to help get information, perspective and images to you this year. You may have seen my Twitter feed (MSRnet) from races, which will now replace blog posts during events, and when events break. I'll use the blog posts to help provide perspective and explain complex concepts that might need more than 140 characters or a one minute segment on "Race-Talk". I will also produce special podcasts for breaking news/events.
For the rest of New Year's Day, I'll finish up with a New Year's Day tradition that is reported to being good luck to those who eat it. Not black eyed peas, but pork and sauerkraut, for all of us with Eastern European roots. I'll share my bachelor's special (all but foolproof, you can't screw this up)with you here:
Ol' Bachelor Man's Pork + Sauerkraut in the Crockpot
1 can sliced potatoes
1 can of sauerkraut, rinsed
1 3/8" thick slice of medium to large onion, diced
pinch of whole caraway seeds
one or two boneless pork chops sliced
1 12 ounce bottle of beer
Combine ingredients in a crockpot. Start the cooking on high for one to two hours. Turn the crockpot down to low heat. Leave it covered on low until you're ready to eat. Makes 3-4 normal servings.
Hope you enjoy 2010, and my recipe.