Commonsense Prevails

I doubt I will be pulling some NAPA knowhow anytime soon, but I sure do respect NAPA for taking a stance (it’s always about the money) on the shenanigans pulled by Michael Waltrip racing at Richmond.

A statement from sponsor NAPA on Thursday read: “After thorough consideration, NAPA has made the difficult decision to end its sponsorship arrangement with Michael Waltrip Racing effective December 31, 2013.

“NAPA believes in fair play and does not condone actions such as those that led to the penalties assessed by NASCAR. We remain supportive of the millions of NASCAR fans and will evaluate our future position in motorsports.”

Team co-owner Michael Waltrip insisted that his team was not immoral following the penalties.

Keep on believing that Michael Waltrip … it doesn’t change the fact that your team was caught cheating, and trying to screw over Jeff Gordon, which was not really appreciated by Gordon’s fans.


NASCAR Pushes Chase To 13 – Gordon Makes The Chase

So now what? NASCAR has decided all the shenanigans at Richmond last weekend completely hosed Jeff Gordon out of the Chase. So Gordon is in, but not at the expense of Logono or any other driver. Instead, we now have the Chase + 1, and JJ is none too pleased:

“Of course I am very happy that Jeff’s in the Chase,” Johnson said. “In my opinion, though, I think there should be 12 cars. One in, one out should be the deal. It’s not. There’s a lot of things to consider. It’s been an interesting week to say the least.

“As a competitor, one of the 12 in the Chase that was in the Chase, you just changed the odds and the ratio tremendously adding a 13th car. I feel Jeff should be in, so I guess the 22 [Logano] would be on the outside looking if they removed one. That’s a good team. They won the championship last year with the 22 car, and Joey is doing a great job and earning a lot of points. It changes the dynamic of the Chase quite a bit with 13 cars.”

I actually agree with JJ, but I am of course happy Gordon has made the Chase. The problem with NASCAR continues to be the subjective way rules are or are not applied depending on which direction the wind is blowing. If the NASCAR brass had any balls, this off season they would throw out the current rule book, and re-write things in such a way as to avoid what just occurred last weekend at Richmond.

A good starting point would be to keep the current Top 10 + 2 Wild Card format, but the actual point system should be revised. Give bonus points for wins once the Chase starts; that makes sense. For the Top 10, give them bonus points as well, similar to a F1 style race finish (i.e. 25 for first, 18 for second, 15 for third, etc.). This would prevent Bowyer style “itch scratching” because there would be too many bonus points at risk. This format change would also make the regular season relevant (similar to the pre Chase days) while still awarding for wins and consistency.

A lot of people, myself including, were really turned off by the WWE style antics that occurred during the Richmond race, and the circus style rules changing that occurred afterwards. NASCAR can say what they want, but there was enough evidence to doc Bowyer enough points to knock him out of the Chase, which would have put Gordon in without resorting to an unlucky #13 format.

If anything, maybe bad press is good press, which will result in a positive ratings increase due to the interest around booing Bowyer, but the other risk NASCAR runs is that they will alienate their fans due to NASCAR’s seat of their pants rules enforcement. I for one am a little bit jaded.


NASCAR Pushes Limits …

“If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying …” and of course everyone also knows that “It ain’t cheating unless you get caught.”

Well guess what? Michael Waltrip Racing not only blatantly cheated, attempting to manipulate the outcome of the final Chase standings, but they were caught. Punishments ensued, but as Ed Hinton pointed out, Jeff Gordon was still hosed in the process.

“Gordon also lost enormously to the spin, lost a Chase berth via the point standings, to Joey Logano, by a single point. Now questions have arisen whether Logano’s Penske team might have gotten help in track position from another Ford team, Front Row, and David Gilliland, at Gordon’s expense. NASCAR continues to investigate.”

While I do agree with Mr. Hinton, I will also point out that Jeff Gordon put himself in this position by not being able to win a race leading up to the Chase.

Ryan Newman makes it on point penalties applied to Martin Truex, but what about Jeff Gordon? He was in a position to make the Chase (by 2 points if I am not mistaken) at the time Bowyer decided to “scratch his itch.”

When asked about his team allegedly talking in code during the race, Bowyer said that he had poison oak all over his arm from cutting down a tree last week. His crew chief had inquired about his arm right before the spin, at one point saying, “I bet it’s hot in there. Itch it.”

NASCAR could prove only one action — radio communication between Norris and Vickers in which a confused Vickers was told to pit as the field went green with three laps to go. The request was made in an effort to give Joey Logano position on the track to pass Jeff Gordon in the standings and knock Gordon out of the Chase so that Truex could gain the wild card.

But it is all good; at least we know that Michael Waltrip Racing is not immoral:

“We’re not immoral, we’re not irresponsible. Decisions were made just based on circumstances. As we look back, we would’ve been smarter and done things differently.”

I guess smarter means not getting caught. Oh well, I’m done with NASCAR for this year.


Historic Day

Sunday, November 20, 2011, was very much a historic day as one of my top three favorite NASCAR drivers, Tony Stewart, became a three time Champion. I think it is pretty amazing that an owner/driver (Stewart-Hass racing) was able to achieve this accomplishment.

Stewart’s Homestead-Miami Speedway victory and Championship drive was even more amazing considering Stewart apparently fired his crew chief Darian Grubb earlier in the Chase (Charlotte Motor Speedway).

If this was not going to be Jeff Gordan’s year, then Stewart was a great replacement for 5-time Champion Jimmy Johnson.

L.A. Galaxy
Completely switching gears, not to be out done, the L.A. Galaxy finally managed to get that elusive Championship that seemed so automatic after the David Beckham signing in 2007; it just so happens to be Championship number three for the Galaxy.

With no regional MLS teams to cheer for, I keep my interest playing as and along with (in various FIFA games for the PS3) Donovan, thus the Galaxy connection.


Danica Patrick – NASCAR’s New Marking Machine

How’s this for negative reporting? I’m only quoting the negative stuff. In this case, I think it is fitting to jump right into the details

Patrick will indeed contest the full NASCAR Nationwide Series with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports team next season, as well as a limited run of Sprint Cup Series races with Tony Stewart’s Stewart-Haas Racing team. She will also end her long association with Andretti Autosport in IndyCars. However, the specifics of her Cup schedule remain to be ironed out, as does the possibility of her continuing to race at the Indianapolis 500.

I have always found it interesting that Danica is such a polarizing figure. I think this is a blow to IndyCar. Say what you want about drivers with more talent not getting the exposure due to the Danica marketing machine (and dare I say hype), but in this day and age, the financial side of motor racing is critical.

Sponsors (Danica’s or any other for that matter) know that if Danica runs OK, they are going to get exposure because the fans love Danica. Where does IndyCar turn now when a would be almost convinced sponsor decides not to throw in a few hundred thousand dollars because there is not an extra exposure boots without Danica?

Dustin Long of ‘INSIDE NASCAR’ ( has three comments I would like to tackle.

[Brad Keselowski (Twitter handle @keselowski)] Then he wrote on Twitter: “All that said, her assent up the ladder of the sport thru various branding ‘techniques’ (swimsuit ads etc) only serves to undermine the … future credibility of female races who wish to make it based on skill, mental toughness and a never give up attitude. That to me is wrong. Essentially, she has opened a pandoras (sic) box for all female racers. If she doesn’t succeed, no female will get the chance for years to come.”

100% true, and I am glad Keselowski brings up this point. It is kind of hard for Danica to have it both ways. In a male dominated market, sex of course sells. Just look no further than the SI Swimsuit issue. Anyone that doubts Danica’s ability points right away to some of her adverts.

I have mixed emotions on this one. On the one hand, Danica should capitalize on her brand, and if trying to be sexy works for her, then go for it. On the other hand, I think her approach prevents whatever natural ability she has to speak for itself.

Kyle Petty — He’s been among the most vocal critics of Patrick’s move. If she fails, Petty’s stock could rise in the broadcasting arena, further enhancing his image as one who is not afraid to hold back on what he thinks. If Patrick succeeds, there will be those who will want to tell Petty, “I told you so.” Then again, Petty is telling it as he sees it and isn’t that what an analyst is supposed to do?

Female drivers — Patrick is scheduled to make her Cup debut next year, a decade after the last female, Shawna Robinson, competed in the Cup series. Patrick will be only the second female to compete in Cup in more than 20 years. If she succeeds, she could create opportunities for other female drivers working their way through the ranks. If she fails, the path to Cup could become much more difficult for other female drivers unless they truly stand out on the track.

Kyle Petty obviously has years and years of experience as a back-marker, so you have to take his ability to call out similar talent into consideration.  You also have to question his ability to judge said talent.

Other female drivers will have a tough sell if Danica fails; see swimsuit and sex symbol type ads. And I would be remiss if I did not point out that Danica is not all that hot, but I guess some guys are desperate for T&A.


NASCAR Fails Again …

OK, I admit it. I am a Junior fan; really wanted Earnhardt Jr. to win the Coca-Cola 600 last night. With that said, Earnhardt’s last win (104 or so races back) at Michigan (June 15, 2008) was a fuel mileage win. Not that those should not count; they should and of course do. I just hope that when Junior finally starts see the checkered flag(s), he wins on merit.

The good news for NASCAR is that Junior is running well, currently sitting 4th in the standings. Junior is to NASCAR what Ferrari is to F1. It would have been great for NASCAR if Earnhardt Jr. could finally get the monkey off his back. Instead, he has to wait knowing that he continues to run (and race) better with each passing week.

The bad news for NASCAR is that the run towards the checkered flag looked to be a bit of a fix. NASCAR has throw caution flags for lesser incidents than the mayhem on the final restart. A caution would have setup a green-white-checker finish, and of course relegate one Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the back of the pack as he would have to stop for a splash of gas. Instead the NASCAR race officials kept the yellow hanky in their pocket, giving Junior every possible chance to win.

The end result was an interesting race, and of course a lot of rumblings about why NASCAR held the caution. At the end of the day, this could be good news for NASCAR as it builds up more attention for the summer races, but NASCAR did nothing to further the stigma that it puts of a show, playing favorites, and ultimately controlling the outcome of each race.


Two Down, One (OK, Make It Two) To Go

Could you ask for a better day of racing? Monaco was fantastic; would Alonso have managed a pass on Vettel if the red flag didn’t come out? Can you imagine how long JR Hilderbrand is going to think about doing things differently in turn 4 at Indy?

As the hotter than heck day turns to night, I hope Jeff Gordon stop the Carl Edwards train in tonight’s 600?

And what’s that you say? Still some burgers in the fridge for tomorrow’s Grand-Am race at Lime Rock? You bet; and another round of wings to boot.

Happy racing weekend!


Spectacular Day of Racing

I kicked off the weekend with a slow cooked Boston Butt Roast; I am biased, but it was fantastically delicious. Watched some of the Nationwide action to see what the Ice Man would do. He was doing OK until a little over midway in the race he was penalized with a drive through penalty for leaving the pits too fast.

Quick digression; I also watched some Dawgs baseball. They managed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament by virtue of a decent run with wins over the Fighting Chickens and Gators. Too bad they could not manage a second win against the Gators in the elimination bracket. Georgia’s record may look flimsy, but when you look at their quality schedule, I hope they get consideration for the Tournament.

In a few minutes it’s onwards to Monaco, followed by some Indy 500 action and eventually some 600 miles NASCAR racing action well into the night. It is too much to take. I think throwing some wings on the grill and a cooler full of High Life and Miller Lite will just have to help me carry the day.


Memorial Day Racing

I love kicking off summer with the Monaco GP, Indy 500, and 600 laps of NASCAR; all in one Sunday of back-to-back-to-back racing action. I’ll throw a Boston Butt Roast on the grill on Saturday, and grill a boatload of wings on Sunday between F1 and Indy racing action. What could be better?

How about having the Ice Man in NASCAR? If Kimi Raikkonen does in fact enter and qualify for this weekend’s Nationwide race, that will be another event to throw on the TV this weekend, in what has to be considered one of the greatest weekends in motorsports!

Technically I already kicked off summer a couple of weeks ago with a lovely trip to the Gulf Coast (Carillon Beach, FL), but we all know that summer ‘officially’ begins this weekend, with Memorial Day sitting in as the three day kicker.

I would be remiss to not thank our military, their loved ones, and of course those that have sacrificed their lives in the name of this great country.

Wishing you and yours a very safe Memorial Day weekend!


Would anyone care if she did not have breasteses?

I know I am part of the problem by posting this article, but would anyone care if Danica Patrick was not trying to sell herself as a sex-goddess that happens to race cars? So she finished 19th in the last Nationwide race. She finished on the lead lap – remarkable?

The IZOD IndyCar Series regular led her first laps and managed to finish on the lead lap in what turned out to be an incident-filled event. She finished 19th – her first top-20 result – in her 13th outing in NASCAR’s second-tier series.

It is not like DP even looks all that hot; I mean if she was a Victoria’s Secret girl we would have a good reason to rise and take notice, but blah, I wish the media would calm down on DP. Maybe next year she really will improve and get some top 10 finishes. At least then we would have a reason to talk about her NASCAR achievements.


NASCAR and Cheating …

You’re not trying if you aren’t cheating? It is not cheating unless you get caught? Oops. RCR and Bowyer get it handed to them by the powers that be at NASCAR. There is a great interview with NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darbyposted at RACER:

Q: Is it possible that on-track contact could have caused the problem? The car had to be pushed in by a tow truck. Could that have caused the problem?

ROBIN PEMBERTON: We looked at a lot of different things, and we feel like we have a lot of documentation from cars for the last four years or so, and we understand that we have had cars with some severe body damage and cars without, and we don’t feel that the incidental contact from a push from a wrecker helped push this car out of tolerance at all.

RCR is going to mount a “the wrecker did it” defense, which is pretty lame considering that everyone in the garage knows that NASCAR will have none of it.

Cheating or not, I think NASCAR should doc the full 195 points plus an additional 25 or so if they are going to say that RCR cheated with an illegal spec car. I can live with them keeping the win intact; why try to f’up history, which shows that Bowyer won on the track?


Edwards-Keselowsk: Just Racing?

At points yesterday the Atlanta race was not very interesting, especially as my favorite drivers fell out of contention thanks to poor setups with Goodyear tires. Then shit rained from the sky. Oh wait; that wait that was Brad Keselowski after Carl Edwards intentionally wrecked him, presumably as payback from earlier in the race and maybe as pent up frustration from other Keselowski run-ins.

Tom Bowles of SI’s Inside NASCAR, sums things up as “just racing” …

Which brings me to my third and final point: what Edwards did was no different than what any other driver has done through the years in retaliating for a wreck that took him out of contention. There was no intent to injure, and both drivers understand what happened and why. When the smoke clears, people need to realize this incident was “just one of those racin’ deals” and move on.

I agree with Bowles on his previous point; NASCAR has a tough call here. They said the boys could take care of things on the track. Edwards serves up the first test for this new hands-off stance.

My first reaction was to suspend Edwards. I really think payback should have come at a future race, not later in the day when Edwards was obviously hot headed, and ultimately reckless. I am still thinking things over because at some point someone else will be killed, which would be a damn shame, especially if my kids are watching with me.


Sunday Stuffs

The weather this weekend has been absolutely wonderful – upper 60s and blue skies on Saturday and Sunday. We spent most of our free time outdoors – throwing footballs, practicing soccer, riding bikes, going on long walks, and cleaning up the year. You get the picture. It would have been a perfect weekend for shooting the airguns – the R1, R1 Carbine, R7, and the Marauder – however I never had the chance. Not that I am complaining that there were always kids in my shooting range; maybe next weekend.

Auto Club 500 Fontana
I am watching the closing stages of the race [50 laps left] as I write this entry; rain looms. I only watched the opening laps and this last part of the race. As mentioned above, the weather is too nice to stay inside. Fontana has never been one of my favorite tracks; just wish some of my drivers (Gordon, JPM, Junior, Smoke) where closer to the front. On the occasional look-ins, Gordon has been up front some, but it looks like he has a wounded engine.

Gaming Update
Are you kidding? With this weather? When I was not working on the site upgrade Friday and Saturday night, I was not in front of the TV. I did get in a couple of hours of White Knight Chronicles: International, which I continue to find a lot of fun. From a mechanics point of view, it is actually more interesting as you gain more skill points and build combinations.

Heavy Rain is coming on Tuesday (Feb. 23), followed by MLB 10: The Show (Mar. 2), and Final Fantasy XIII (Mar. 9). Needless to say, I have no idea how I will get in all these games, but I am going to try.

I am considering eBay’ing Madden 10 because I have not played it in a week, football season is over, and I would like to capitalize on something to put towards Madden 11. This is always a challenge – trying to hit the perfect moment to still get something for the game before the upcoming version makes the current version worthless. I am not sure if I am ready to throw Madden 10 away; it’s the best Madden in years and Madden Ultimate Team is a lot of fun. However I have not played it in two weeks, and with a slew of incoming games, my Madden opportunities are probably slim.

I’m actually having the same debate with FIFA 10. Unlike Madden, I have not gotten my money’s worth out of FIFA. The World Cup version will be here in April. I need to do some research to see what sort of gameplay upgrades the new version would offer over FIFA 10. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

More Site Stuffs – Green is Back!
I know I am biased; I love the new theme. I think it is the perfect complement to the original Calvert Games brand, without being overly done. It has taken a long time [calendar and actual weekend work] to get it back to this point. I think it was worth the effort.

As I mentioned yesterday, I still have some maintenance I need to do before I put a ribbon on this puppy and call it clean. I continued to polish the site today, and I have a few other items I would like to touch-up this week. I would also like to add in a few more plugins and widgets; nothing too over the top … just enough to make the site a more dynamic experience.


A Long Race …

I have been posting and posting and posting, for a long time. Maybe too long; maybe not long enough. For better or worse, I have thrown up daily content for something akin to 7+ months, which is a pretty nice achievement, but I am going to have to end this run sooner or later. But not today.

I considered not posting today. It would have been a good day to end my streak because the 6 hour marathon called the 2010 Daytona 500 was rather draining. So it would have been easily excusable. The Daytona 500 had a great ending, so I figured I had to at least go down swinging. Congrats to Jamie McMurray.

Sunday Gaming
I got in some quality time with Out of the Park Baseball 10 (recently joined an online league), and of course continued my assault on the surprising good White Knight Chronicles: International.


Daytona Speedweeks Is Upon Us

Speedweeks is the traditional start to the 2010 racing year, with the Rolex 24 at Daytona only a couple of weekends away (12 days to be precise). According to RACER, Team Ganassi will have the strongest driver lineup:

Ganassi, which has won three of the past four editions of the legendary endurance event, will have arguably the strongest lineup on the grid, fielding former IndyCar Series champions and Indianapolis 500 winners Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon – all former Rolex 24 winners as well – in the team’s No. 02 car, where NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Jamie McMurray will also take turns behind the wheel.

The No. 01 car will be driven by former Grand-Am champions and Daytona event winners Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, joined by Indy car hotshoe Justin Wilson and American Le Mans regular Marino Franchitti.

This year the Daytona 500 falls on Valentine’s Day. How sweet is that? I already told my wife what I want – unfettered access to the TV all afternoon watching the opening race of the year. A little something from v-secrets would be nice as well, but I don’t want to push my luck!