Welcome To The Hotel California!

Jimmie Johnson heads to the top of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(photo courtesy of racintoday.com)

Twelve drivers, ten races, one championship.  That is the cast of characters, the venues, and the grand prize  in what is known as The Chase to the Sprint Cup!

The cast of viable characters has now dwindled, venues have now shrunk to six, but there is still only one champion to be crowned.  NASCAR just finished their pilgrimage to the West Coast with the culmination of the race at Auto Club Speedway( the former California Speedway).  At the end of the race, the cast of characters that have a realistic chance has shrunk to most probably just six.

It is about this time in the Chase for The Cup, at least for the past three years anyway, that the Hendrick Motorsports #48 Lowe’s Chevy revels their “killer instincts” for all to see!  Sunday was witness to this fact!  With Sunday’s victory,the #48 Lowe’s Chevy has now won 2 out the 4 races ran in The Chase in 2009.  They have now won 16 race out of the 54 races in this new format.  Does that make them a dynasty?   Do the math, that is a winning record of 29%, think about it!

My point is that, as much as I have said that the #48 Lowe’s team can’t win four championships in a row, it sure has the familiar smell to it!  ( Oh by the way, does anyone know where I can order up a Crow Dinner?)  The other five teams that still have a legitimate shot at capturing the Championship need to REALLY step up their game, because the three time champion has just “let the dogs out of the yard”!

By virtue of the victory at Auto Club Speedway Sunday,  Jimmie Johnson moved into the points lead over the HMS #5  Kelloggs/Carquest Chevy, driven by Mark Martin, by a mere 18 points.  The Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing #42 Target Chevy, driven by JPM (Juan Pablo Montoya), is still holding onto third place, back 58 points from the leader. Next in the pecking order is the Stewart-Haas Racing #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy, driven by Tony Stewart, currently in fourth place- down 85 points from Johnson.  Meanwhile, the HMS #24 Dupont Chevy of Jeff Gordon is holding down fifth, 105 points behind the leader.  And lastly, the Penske Racing #2 Miller Lite Dodge, driven by the crew chief impaired Kurt Busch, mired down in sixth place back 121 points from the leader.

The positions 7 thru 12 are more than one race worth of points behind the leader and, therefore, virtually they no chance of catching the leader!


In comparison, if Richard Petty would have won 29% of all his 1200+ races he would have won in excess of 348 races!  As it was, the King won a remarkable 200 races, while second place David Pearson has a very distant total of 104!

I will leave you with the lyrics to, what I believe is the world’s greatest rock and roll song!  Addtionally, it contains the greatest rock and roll guitar solo! Long live Don Henley, Glen Frey, Joe Walsh, and Don Felder!


“On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair.

Warm smell of colitas rising up thru the air.

Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light.

My head grew heavy, and my sight grew dim, I had to stop for the night”

(The Eagles)



Logano Wins NNS At California

Joey Logano wins Copart 300

In a post race altercation Logano’s father Tom Logano walked up to Biffle’s car on pit road and had a verbal altercation with the driver that included calling the Roush driver “number one,” via a hand gesture – if you get my drift.

As a result the elder Logano’s credentials have been pulled and NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Tom Logano was meeting with officials to talk about the incident.

The Nationwide Series race Saturday at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA was won by the JGR #20 Game Stop Toyota driven by Joey Logano for his 5th victory of the 2009 season.

Logano took the lead from the pole only to be overhauled on lap 3 by, a rather ill feeling, Kyle Busch.  At the first yellow flag, Kyle Busch relinquished the lead and his driver’s seat of his JGR #18 Nos Enery Drink Toyota to relief driver, Denny Hamlin.  Hamlin resumed the race after a pit stop that relegated him to restart from the 20th position.

During this run Logano was racing for the lead with Greg Biffle.  Oddly enough, the two were racing down the back straight-away when Biffle appeared to run Logano into wall.  The damage that Logano’s car received pancaked his car’s entire left side and he fell back to 20th position.

As the race progressed towards the end, it became obvious that it would boil down to a five man race, Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, and Denny Hamlin.  Yes that same Logano that got “stuffed into the fence” on the back stretch by Greg Biffle!

With 11 laps to go, Keselowski was racing Hamlin for the lead. As they were exiting turn 4 Keselowski was making a move down low on Hamlin for the lead, when Greg Biffle made a run on both of them up high.  The only problem for Biffle was that there was not enough room between Hamlin’s car( he was in the middle), Biffle’s car, and the fence.  Biffle’s run on the outside for the lead, only resulted in his car and Hamlin’s car getting waded  up and wrecking.  That wreck increased the number of cars that Biffle  put into the fence to 2!

The Biffle/Hamlin wreck and the ensuing restart allowed Joey Logano to race for, and take, the lead for his 5th victory off 2009 in the Nationwide Series.

In a post race altercation Logano’s father, Tom Logano, walked up to Biffle’s car on pit road and had a verbal altercation with the driver that included calling the Roush driver “number one,” via a hand gesture – if you get my drift.

As a result the elder Logano’s credentials have been pulled and NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Tom Logano was meeting with officials to talk about the incident.


“California Dreamin”!

Denny Hamlin claimed the pole at Auto Club Speedway Friday. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images)

(photo courtesy Rusty Jarrett/ Getty Images)

Well NASCAR has invaded the West Coast this weekend for the fourth race in the Chase for The Sprint Cup.  Needless to say, all of the Chase contenders are, in fact, California Dreamin’!

To the bottom four teams it is time to “let the big dog eat”! Starting with Ryan Newman, who is 164 points behind, Carl Edwards is165 points down, Kasey Kahne is back 190 points, and Brian Vickers is 250 point out of first place, they all must have a terrific race or it is OVER! These four drivers are slightly more than one race worth of points behind the leader! The most points that a driver can make up in one race is 161 points.

With the passing of each of the next 7 races, the number of teams that have a legitimate shot at the Championship will die on the vine.  There are no “mulligans” left for the teams to use!

Saturday Denny Hamlin, driving the JGR #18 FedEx Toyota, cranked up the heat on his competitors by scoring fast time and securing the pole position for Sunday’s race.  Has the #18 FedEx Toyota team re-grouped and re-focused for the remainder of this Chase?

Hamlin sits 99 points out of first place, with just 7 races to go for the Chase.  The time is running out very quickly.  If this team is going to have a chance to win the championship there are a few things that must happen.  Denny Hamlin and crew chief, Danny Ford, must live, breathe, and sleep as one!  In addition to that fact, the entire team must perform without error for the remaining 7 races.

So as the season winds down to precious few races left, the Chase contenders just might be singing this 1966 Mamas and Papas tune, CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ while racing Sunday!

“All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey.

I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day.

I’d be safe and warm, if I was in LA.

California Dreamin’ on such a winter’s day”

(The Mamas and The Papas)


Nationwide CoT Mustang

(photo courtesy of Ford)

Here is the Ford Motor Company’s entry to the Nationwide CoT.  Ford has decided to offer the Ford Mustang as its Nationwide Series car.  The CoT will be unveiled for 10 races beginning in 2010.

Roush-Fenway Racing is the lead team in testing the new Ford Mustang for the Nationwide CoT car.

NASCAR announced its plan for the introduction of the new car in the Nationwide Series.  The new car will compete in four points races during the 2010 season beginning with the July 2 race at Daytona International Speedway, followed by the August 14th race at Michigan International Speedway, the September 10th race at Richmond International Raceway, and finally at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 15th.

Full integration will come with the 2011 season.


Hamlin Is Still Hot!

Denny Hamlin is still steamed at Brad Keselowski more than two weeks after their incident at Dover. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

(photo courtesy of NASCAR)

The driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing #11 FedEx Toyota, Denny Hamlin, still has not forgiven Brad Keselowsi for their on-track skirmish nearly two weeks ago in the Nationwide race at Dover!  Hamlin hasn’t put that incident on the back burner, brushed it aside, hasn’t swept it under the carpet, no matter how you cut it he definitely hasn’t forgotten about it!  Hamlin is still issuing very unflattering remarks about Keselowski’s driving talents.

When asked if he and Keselowski have talked about the incident, Hamlin just shook his head from side to side signifying the negative.  “No haven’t talked to him at all”, Hamlin replied.  ” I don’ think he’s man enough to call me face-to face.  Just don’t think it’s his style”.

What Hamlin believes is Keselowski’s style is to sometimes- often times- drive beyond his capabilities.  “How he uses his talent to me is questionable,” Hamlin continues.

However to be fair, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. thought enough of Brad Keselowski’s talents two years ago to hire him to drive for his Nationwide Series team.  Additionally, The Captain, Roger Penske has just signed Keselowsi to drive his #12 Verizon Dodge for the 2010 season!  It would appear that such support speaks volumes for Mr. Keselowsi’s racing talents!

Just don’t ask Denny Hamlin for any endorsement!

What is your take on this issue?


J.C France Arrested On Drug Charges!


This just in off the associated Press wire!

Associated Press

MIAMI — A grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France was arrested early Thursday on drug charges in Daytona Beach, according to a police report.

J.C. France faces charges of possession of narcotics and driving under the influence. France posted $4,500 bond and was released from Volusia County jail Thursday afternoon.

France, 43, was driving a 2007 green Lamborghini when he was stopped shortly after midnight Thursday. Authorities believe he was racing his half-brother, 40-year-old Russell Van Richmond. France failed to stop at a traffic light and swerved on the roadway before coming to a stop in a parking lot.

Richmond, who was driving a 2003 Porsche when he was stopped, reportedly threatened the officer during the arrest.

“No, this is a mistake for you,” he told the officer, according to the report. “I’m a France, we own this city.”

Authorities continued with the investigation, and Richmond called for their commanding officers.

“You’re done,” he reportedly told an officer. “Your job is over. This is the biggest mistake ever and your [sic] so done in Daytona.”

While conducting a search during the traffic stop, authorities found containers with a “white cakelike substance.” The substances gave a presumptive positive reactions for cocaine when they were tested.

Richmond faces two counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, driving under the influence and two counts of threatening a police officer. He posted $10,500 bond and was released from custody Thursday.

France is the son of NASCAR board member Jim France and a driver in NASCAR’s Grand-Am Series. Richmond is the son of Jim France’s ex-wife. The two share a home in Daytona Beach, according to the police report. A telephone number listed for Richmond rang unanswered Thursday evening. A man who answered the phone at a number listed for France said he was not available.

NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston released a statement saying France has been suspended from all competition.

“Grand-Am has issued a penalty notice and suspended J.C. indefinitely from all competition for actions detrimental to racing,” Poston said. “The penalty is not appealable. J.C. is being treated like any other competitor. His suspension is immediate and indefinite.”


This is very interesting, in light of the NASCAR/Jeremy Mayfield legal battle over Mayfield’s failed random drug test earlier this year!  What is your take of this latest news out of the France family?  Will the head of the sanctioning body of the Grand-Am Series, which happens to be J.C.’s daddy Jim France, really attack J.C. with the same vengeance?  It also sounds as if Jim France’s step-son is in “deep doodoo” as well!


NASCAR Standardizes 2010 Race Start Times

NASCAR chairman and CEO, photographed here in Daytona last year, said Wednesday that the starting times of races would be changed. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Photo by Rusty Garrett/ Getty Images)

NASCAR CEO Brian France announced, during a teleconference Wednesday, that the start times for 28 of the 36 races will be more standardized with a 1 pm Eastern start time.  The teleconference also featured executives from all three of NASCAR’s “broadcast partners, Fox, TNT, and ESPN/ABC.

“The new starting times for the 2009 race schedule of 1pm is a response from the NASCAR core fan base”, say France.  “They want to start watching the race at an earlier start time”, he continued.  France went on  to say that the new start times were not easy to “birth”.  He said that all three networks had to juggle the schedule to make those times work for 2010.  The new start time will not apply to the West Coast races, their start times will be 3 pm ET.

The Daytona 500 will be included in the 1 pm ET start times for 2010.  That moves the start of that race two and a half hours earlier, reflecting the start time of the race prior 2003.

In another related topic, France stated that there will not be a trend towards two day events, such as was the case at Atlanta over Labor Day.


What’s All The Hoopla Over Danica?

Danica Patrick will reportedly to the right thing – remain in IndyCar. (Photo courtesy of the Indy Racing League)

(photo courtesy of Indy Racing League)

I have resisted writing articles on Danica Patrick, her contract negotiations, and her possible foray into NASCAR.   However, I could no longer sit idly by and not voice an opinion on this media circus!

It seem that this summer there hasn’t been a week go by without some articles written about Danica Patrick and her supposedly interest in coming over to NASCAR.  She has been seen at Stewart-Haas Racing, Junior Motorsports, and just lately Micheal Waltrip Racing!

So what is all this hoopla about?  Why are the NASCAR  race teams seemingly breaking their necks to try to recruit one Ms. Danica Patrick?  What does she have that the NASCAR race teams are interested in acquiring?  Is her racing skills that deserving of all that interest?

Let’s examine those questions and try to answer them honestly.

First and foremost Danica Patrick is pleasing to the camera and the eye!  As far as her racing skills are concerned there are some questions left unanswered.  Danica Patrick races for one of the premiere racing teams in the Indy Racing League, Andretti Green Racing.  That organization has won many IRL races and a couple of championships as well.

As far as Ms. Patrick’s career goes, she has but one victory in here IRL career.  What she has really proven to be is a “journeyman” racer in the IRL.  As her racing career has progressed, her skills have not!  It appears that the more she races, the more obvious the fact that she will never win a championship becomes.  She has gone from an up and coming star to a mid-level competitor at best!

So why are all these teams expressing interest in having Danica Patrick become a part of their organization?  Why are Tony Stewart, Rick Hendrick, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Michael Waltrip giving her the “RED CARPET” treatment and welcoming her to become part of their company?  Why would these teams court a driver of Danica Patrick’s mediocrity when there are extremely good young talented drivers out there to be had?

I believe the questions that I have just posed are called rhetorical questions!  That is, questions asked that the answers are already known or that are intuitively recognized!

NASCAR race teams are looking to Danica Patrick, not for her driving skills, but for her marketability and sponsorship dollars that she would bring to the team!  Can we all say GoDaddy.com, which just coincidentally is a primary sponsor of Junior Motorsports #88 Chevy and next year Hendrick Motorsports primary sponsor on the #5 Chevy main sponsors!

This action is called, BRINGING THE MONEY”!

In these lean times of sponsorship dollars, anyone who can “BRING THE MONEY” has a very decided edge in landing a racing job over a very talented driver with NO money! Witness Paul Menard, son of John Menard the mid-west home improvement magnet!  His racing skills are average at best, but daddy has a huge checking account, and therefore Paul Menard gets some good rides in NASCAR!


What are your thoughts about Danica Patrick and the possibility of trying to forge her way into NASCAR?  Do you think that she is on her way over to NASCAR in the short term future?


Where There Is Smoke….


(photo by Tony Bush)

Kansas is the home of Dorothy, Todo, and the Wizard of Oz.  But on Sunday Tony Stewart made himself right at home with his fourth victory of the 2009 season.  After leading the points for the “regular season”, and kind of sputtering in the final 4 races before the Chase started, it now seems that the SHR #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy has gotten itself back on track.

Even though Stewart wasn’t the dominate car Sunday, he and his pit crew rose to the occasion in the final pit stop of the race.  On that final pit stop, his crew was able to get him off pit road quickly enough to assume the lead for, what was to be, the last restart of the race.  That, my friends was all “Smoke” need to hold off the charge of  Jeff Gordon and the rest of the top five finishers.

With the culmination of the Kansas race there were four teams that have watched their chances of winning the championship go up “in smoke”!  The  #83 Red Bull Racing Toyota of Brian Vickers  is now 250 points behind the leader, Mark Martin, and their chances have all but evaporated for winning the championship in 2009.  The Richard Petty Motorsports #9 Budweiser Dodge, likewise, is 190 points behind the leader and stands an extremely slim chance of catching  Mark Martin.  Additionally, the Roush-Fenway Racing #99 Aflac Ford is 165 points behind the leader and has a slim to no chance at all of charging to the front of the pack.  Lastly, the Kansas race has dashed the hopes of the SHR #39 Army Chevy driven by Ryan Newman of winning  the championship in 2009.

Could this be the year that an owner/driver wins the championship?  It has been since 1992 when Alan Kulwicki pulled off that fete.

But where there is “SMOKE” there could be fire!!  SSSSSSSSSS!


King Richard and Prince Faisal

The King to add more royalty to his operation.   (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Most probably because of these tough financial times Richard Petty folded his racing team, Petty Enterprises, into Gillette-Evernham Racing prior to the start of the 2009 season.  Even though Petty remains the face, and quite often the voice of Richard Petty Motorsports, most think he is little more than a figurehead for the organization.

Having this knowledge, then just what does the King of NASCAR and the Prince of Saudi Arabia have in common?  Read on and you might be enlightened.

Earlier in the week it was announced that George Gillett, Jr., the largest shareholder of Richard Petty Motorsports, had signed a “commercial collaboration agreement” with Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullahal-Saud , a member of the Royal Saudi Family.  Although this agreement is a little murky, nobody really knows what this really means, but RPM surely could use the financial help!

Now there are some whispers and rumors that Gillett, who sold his NHL team the Montreal Canandians, wants out of NASCAR and his co-ownership of the Liverpool football ( soccer) team.  Prince Faisal has the interest, as well as all the money needed to bail Gillett out of all of his sports holdings!!

These questions beg to be asked about Richard Petty Motorsports.

1.  What role will Prince Faisal have in this organization?

2.  What role will Richard Petty have with the race team?

3.  Will there be prayer rugs in the RPM haulers?

4.  Will the engine be measured in Camel-power versus horsepower?

5.  Who will fill the void left when V.P and managing director of racing competition, Mark McArdle, parted ways in September?

6.  Will the race team headquarters be moved to Jeddah or Riyadh in Saudi Arabia?

What are your thoughts about this Middle East foray into NASCAR?