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 (halifaxareanewswatch.com) 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: