Friday, October 16, 2009

High Schoolers Teach Harvick Fast Way Around Track

It was a great event in Bakersfield Wednesday as NASCAR Sprint Cup star Kevin Harvick mingled with some of the local area teens who came from several schools to test their abilities against the local racing hero. Kevin flew in late Tuesday evening for the special event held the following day to help get the Kern Youth Racing Series up and running once again in Bakersfield. Before race time Kevin was excited to see the kids back on the track.
"A lot of people in the community have put a lot of time and money into the effort and it's great to see it all come together ... to see it finally come to the race track and see the kids in the car. It's going to be a lot of fun. I'm really excited about it" Harvick said.
The resurrected High School Racing Series this time around will run Mini Stock class cars instead of the more powerful Hobby Stocks they ran on the paved 1/2 mile Mesa Marin racetrack a few years back. Mini Stocks are a four cylinder, American or import, front or rear drive, stock compact car fitted with racing safety equipment. They are an inexpensive way to go racing on Saturday nights. The high schools are responsible for building the cars which are driven by students.

During the afternoon practice sessions, Kevin was passing out helpful advice for the young racers on how to negotiate the 1/3 mile clay oval. Kevin has some experience at dirt racing having been in several of Tony Stewart's Prelude To The Dream events and, last year, making his first appearance here at Bakersfield Speedway in an IMCA Modified race car in The Inagural Run In The Dirt. Kevin, though was quick to point out he is not an expert dirt racer.
"I don't know if I'm the greatest teacher on dirt. We should have went and got Dick Shepherd or somebody to help them learn," he said. "But tonight is all about them having fun and learning what the cars are all about. I can guarantee they're going to have a good time and that's what it boils down to."
Come race time, the kids took what they learned from Harvick and headed out on the track. Porterville High Motor Sports driver Trent Carter (there at right) was the one to give Kevin some lessons in their heat race taking the checkered flag. His right front wheel disintegrated immediately after crossing the finish line and he was towed back to the pits and fitted with a new wheel. In the 20 lap main it was Carter once again pacing the field with Kevin close behind. It was a classic short track dirt race with lots of hard close racing and some beatin' and banging. Some of the econo cars could not handle the intense action and flat tires and broken wheels were the end result for many hard driving teens. Trent would fall victim to his second busted right front while leading the race with two laps to go. He again was towed to the pits while receiving a standing ovation from the packed crowd for his dominating effort. That left only two cars on the track for the final dash to the finish, Kevin Harvick and Centenial High School's Dakota Schweitzer in the red #5
(Though Carter was able to get another wheel mounted on his car and return to the track). Schweitzer and Harvick battled for the lead swapping positions several times. At the flag it was Dakota edging out Kevin for the trophy and more importantly, bragging rights for having outlasted all his competition and beating a Cup level driver.

After the race Dakota Schweitzer was ecstatic, "That was the most fun I've ever had in a car. He came into me so I went into him. I had the momentum. I want to say thank you to everyone who helped out on the race car. It's been an awesome time." Harvick had fun racing with the kids too,
"It was pretty cool," he said. "Like I said earlier, it was just a lot of fun seeing the kids. I wish you could have seen the kids working in the pits on each other's cars."
Everyone in the stands had a great time too, including me. The evening was just plain fun with some great racing by a couple of talented young drivers. Hopefully, this will become a regular feature at the speedway next year. If it does, I know I'll be spending a lot more time at my local short track on Saturday nights.. If you haven't been to a short track race - dirt or asphalt - lately or ever, do yourself, and your family, a favor and go check it out. There may not be any Sprint Cup stars there, but I guarantee you'll have a wonderful time and just maybe you'll get a chance to see the next Kevin Harvick in action.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Harvick To Give Driving Lessons To High School Kids.

Kevin Harvick has announced that he will be returning to his hometown of Bakersfield, Ca. to resurrect a local racing series that has been near to his heart for many years. The Kern County Youth Racing Series will have a special one night event at Bakersfield Speedway on Wednesday October 7. The incredibly popular racing series has been absent from local competition since the famous Mesa Marin Speedway closed in 2005.
The Kern County Youth Racing Series (formally know as the High School Racing Series) was the first of it's kind in the country that encouraged local high schools to build, race, and crew their own stock cars. Seniors working on the cars took turns at the wheel in the weekly racing series. At its peek in the early part of this century, more then a dozen schools were represented from around the central valley area with some traveling as far as 150 miles on race night. The talent of the young drivers, boys and girls, ranged from "scared out of their wits" to "future stars". There where rivalries developing between powerhouse teams from Mojave, Tehachapi and Kevin's alma mater, North High. I remember one Saturday night when my little brother-in-law got his chance behind the wheel of the beautiful blue Frazier Mtn. High School Chevy Nova. He decided to take the cautious approach and let the leaders battle it out. A couple of spins coming out of turn two hard on the gas left him smiling ear to ear and with a mid-pack finish. I must say I was very proud of him and very jealous at the same time.
While the series has it's roots in asphalt racing, the delay of the new Kern County Speedway has forced the high school kids off the track for far too long for Kevin's sake.
"We've been supporting the Kern County Youth Racing Series for a few years now and we want to give these kids the opportunity to race, so we're coming to the Speedway to help make that happen."
In conjunction with Bakersfield Speedway (the local 1/3 mile clay oval) and Kevin Harvick, a special one night race has been sanctioned to get the kids back to racing and show off what they can do. Along with giving the teens helpful advice, as a special incentive, these young racers will have the opportunity to whoop a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver's butt. Yes, Kevin himself will be racing a Hobby Stock class car along with the kids and hopefully not getting too embarrassed in the process. Can you imagine the ribbing he would get from Clint Bowyer and others if he was to get outrun by some snot-nosed high school brat?
This won't be the first time Kevin has taken to the clay oval at the track he grew up so close to. Last year, he made his Inaugural Run In The Dirt at the speedway in a modified race car that brought past champions and hot shots from around the western states. You can check out that story here if you missed it. It was a fun night for all, although I seem to remember a bit of a headache the next morning. I can thank the King Of Beers for that.

Kevin's duties at the speedway won't just be helping the kids get back on track. He will be kicking off the Prelude To The Nationals (where have we head that before) Hobby Stock race that is the start of the Budweiser Nationals for Late Models, Modifieds, Hobby and Street stocks. And curiously the track owner and promoter, Scott Schweitzer, has left a provisional spot open just in case. Will Kevin take to the track again against the best the junker class has to offer? That is, if there is anything left of his car after he concludes driver training with some of today's youth. I hope to bring all the details of the night's action to you following the event, providing I can elude the King Of Beers long enough to log the festivities.

Side note: It's a shame that Mesa Marin had to close because of housing developments that surrounded and engulfed the track. The new facility fell victim to the real estate collapse here in the Bakersfield area. Land sales that were to finance the project never reached close of escrow. The Collins family, who were such pioneers of the Craftsman Truck Series, the High School Racing Series, and the 911 Race For Youth where local firemen, law enforcement, DA's office and other public servants raced each other to help support the D.A.R.E. program and other local activities, are still hopeful that the new track, that is 90% complete, will be finished and the great tradition of Bakersfield racing will once again lead the country in innovative forms of racing.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nascar's Stepchild Readies To Steal The Show

The start of the 2009 Nascar season is just around the corner and the anticipation for the drop of the green flag at the most prestigious race of them all, the Daytona 500, is beginning to swell. I must admit that I can hardly wait myself. The Shootout, Pole qualifying, the Duels, it's a grand spectacle indeed. 

But I'm looking forward to something else just as much. Something a little less flashy with a little less notoriety. Something where good ol' boys still are welcomed to race. Where young hotshots can learn what it's like to run with a salty veteran and leave with some earned respect. 

I'm waiting for the return of the Nascar Camping World Truck Series.

Yes, that little series that started on the same track where Kevin Harvick honed his driving skills, Mesa Marin Raceway, in Bakersfield California. The same production based trucks designed by track owners' son Gary Collins and off-road racers Roger Mears, Dick Landfield, Frank "Scoop" Vessels, Jim Venable, and Jimmy Smith.

The NCWTS (formally the Craftsman Truck Series) has taken the Nascar world by storm the last few years with their side-by-side racing, photo finishes, and culminating with the closest title chase in series history as Johnny Benson out runs Ron Hornaday Jr. with the championship being decided on the final lap of the last race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2008

That first Truck Series race at Daytona not only jump started the popularity by running at a super speedway, but also because of two very unique and opposite events that happened that day. The first was Geoff Bodine disintegrating his truck in a ball of flame in the tri-oval and the second came about because of the resulting red flag period. It seems Mike Wallace and some other drivers, who had stopped on the back stretch and had gotten out of their trucks, became the first, and so far the only group of drivers, to initiate a middle of the race autograph session with the fans. That act endeared many to the hospitality of the truck racers. 

This year the Camping World Truck Series will hit network TV with two races scheduled for airing on Fox. The second race of the year at Auto Club Speedway will be seen at 3pm eastern and the first of two Martinsville Speedway races will air at 2pm eastern. The exposure on Fox, and the earlier start times, should provide a much greater percentage of the Nascar fan base the opportunity to enjoy what the Speed Channel viewers have been raving about. 

Johnny Benson will be defending his title in 2009 with a new team at Red Horse Racing, opting to leave Bill Davis Racing at the end of the '08 season with championship in tow. The economic woes of the nation took it's toll as Bill Davis Racing was later sold and one of the pioneers of the sport was no more. 2009 will also see the first full year for Randy Moss Motorsports with vetern Truck Series driver Mike Skinner coming on board. The addition of a 25 win caliber driver should put RMM in contention for some wins this season. Three time series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. is back at Kevin Harvick Inc. to once again challenge for his fourth title and show the young'uns how it's done. 

All in all 2009 is shaping up to be another great year in the Camping World Truck Series. I'm looking forward to more "rubbing is racing" old school style fun on Friday nights (and a couple Saturday races as well). For those of you who haven't checked out this cowboy caddilac fun, shame on you, but you now have no more excuses with Fox bringing it right to your easy chair. So sit back, grab a frosty mug of your favorite beer and hang on tight, cause this is the best racing you'll see all weekend. Guaranteed! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Plight Of A Nascar Junkie

If your like me these past two and a half months have been tortuously long waiting for the start of the 2009 Nascar racing season to begin. The elimination of testing has ground the information super highway to a screeching halt. Teams that are normally scurrying from track to track trying to find that magical setup that will give them the slightest of edges come race day, are now stuck at their shops methodically checking and rechecking every nut, bolt and template for days on end. 

The normal trickle of video clips and photos of masked race cars circling vacant speedways have all but disappeared. In essence, Nascar has gone cold turkey on us. The complete lack of a 3500lb. "stock" car circling a track has me in the mitts of full blown Nascar withdrawals. 

I have turned into that trembling, shaking hulk of a human being normally reserved for nicotine junkies and crackheads. Well manicured fingers are now reduced to bloody scabbed nubs, and if the evils of time had not taken it's toll on this middle-aged body, I'm sure the toe nails would be next. The flowing mane of hair I was so blessed with at birth has now become but a tuft of straggly locks, trying to burn off the intake of Amp, Red Bull and Jeff Gordon energy drinks I have become accustomed to drinking on race days. 

Sleep has become impossible as I scan my cable guide looking for anything that remotely has some kind of motorized competition to it. Sports car races with engines that have barely more horsepower then my Hoover vacuum cleaner have taken on great importance in the wee hours of the morning. Renaming the various drivers Happy, Smoke and Jr. somehow make the racing more tolerable as that Nissan Sentra blazes past the Mazda 3 at a blistering 50 miles per hour. 

The endless parade of import car peep shows designed to titillate teen graduates do nothing to satisfy the insatiable need for American horsepower. Sideshow demolition derby's and trailer races only exacerbate the feelings of hopelessness. 

Through my haze of cold sweats I hear the sounds of familiar voices...Roberts, McReynolds, that Nascar Preseason Thunder? Can it be that teams and drivers are at Daytona? The 500. The Duels. That...that means the Shootout is THIS WEEKEND! I can hold onto my sanity for another few days, I can do it. The fix my mind has waited so long for is with-in reach...smoking tires, military flyovers, beer and hot dogs, and those four words that are salvation for a Nascar junkie...GENTLEMEN START YOUR ENGINES!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gibbs Teaches By Example

Joe Gibbs has always been a great motivator and mentor whether coaching the Washington Redskins or molding young racers for future stardom. His newest ball of clay is young phenom Joey Lagano, who will be taking over the Home Depot #20 Toyota. He has taken this teenager under his wing as he has done with Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin. 

Tony has praised Joe for teaching him the business savvy needed to run his dirt track and sprint car teams, and now the biggest undertaking of his career, Stewart Haas Racing. Tony is using JGR as the model to assure his team has the necessary pieces to be competitive right out of the box. 

So, we know Gibbs is a good teacher when it comes to the business end of racing, but what is he teaching these young minds of mush about the art of driving a 3500lb missile. 

Well last Thursday night the fans at the Hampton Coliseum got to witness the driving techniques of Joe Gibbs when he was pitted against Interstate Batteries chairman Norm Miller during the intermission of the indoor Arena Racing USA series. The 6 lap race saw Miller leading from the pole until the final turn when Gibbs dove to the inside for a patented slide job, only to come up a bit short and T-boning Miller, sending the #18 rolling over into the outside wall

Now if that 'less than sportsman like move' looks familiar it does. Two nights later at the Toyota All Star Race at Irwindale Speedway, the very impressionable Joey Lagano is performing that very same move on nationwide TV.  The newest member of the Gibbs day care center made a desperate attempt to win the 250 lap Camping World series main event but over shot the final turn spinning race leader Payton Sellers straight into the outside wall. 

It appears Gibbs philosophy of leading by example is leaving an impression with his young toddlers. I think we now know where Denny Hamlin learned to drive like this and it makes you wonder what is in those inspirational speeches to have cultivated thoughts like these  in new team leader Hamlin. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chip And Dale Are Running Out Of Nuts.

I know times are tough these days in the Nascar world with teams joining forces in an attempt to stave off extinction. We've even seen the near collapse of the Kingdom of Petty and their rebirth
The joint effort of Hall of Fame and Yates Racing. But the most mind boggling situation has to be the union of Chip Gannasi Racing w/ Felix Sabates and that of the iconic Dale Earnhardt Inc.. 

In a seemingly crazy move Tuesday Earnhardt Ganassi Racing swapped it's Target sponsorship from the unmanned #41 to Jaun Pablo Montoya's #42 Chevrolet that supposedly already had full time sponsorship according to Martin Truex.  

What makes this bizarre is the fact that the # 8 car driven by Aric Almirola is completely unsponsored except for the the first race at Daytony on February 15. 

Now I'm no rocket scientist but if you have one car with full time sponsorship and no driver and another car with a driver and no sponsorship, it would make more sense to me to marry those two programs together and end up with one solid entry for the remainder of the season. But what do I know. 

The fact that that wasn't done has to lead you to believe that Target had no confidence in the young Almirola or any of the free agent drivers on the market today. 

With the 2009 season almost upon us it is becoming more and more obvious just how bad a situation EGR is really in. I wonder if Teressa spends sleepless nights reminiscing what was and regretting what could have been. 

Harvick / Carmichael Go From Two To Four

Kevin Harvick Inc. announced Tuesday that their Camping World Truck Series second entry will be changing it's number from last years #2, that Harvick and Ryan Newman raced to wins at Phoenix and Atlanta, to the #4 for 2009. Along with the change comes former Supercross superstar Ricky Carmichael who will pilot the #4 Monster Energy Chevrolet in at least 14 races for Kevin and Delana Harvick. Ricky will also drive for KHI in the season opening ARCA race at Daytona.
"....this is an opportunity I’m really excited about. I think this is my best shot to learn and the best chance to become a successful NASCAR driver. I’m going to give 110 percent to make it worthwhile for myself and the entire team.” said Carmichael.
The 29 year old Florida native, who has used the #4 his entire career, is a six time AMA Supercross champion and considered the greatest rider of all time. He has numerous Outdoor National Motocross titles under his belt along with two X Games gold medals. 

In 2008 Ricky raced for Ken Schrader in the Camping World East Series for 13 races, finishing 6th. at years end. 

Kevin Harvick feels his championship experience will be a benifit to his team:
“I like the fact he has the determination and the drive to have won multiple motocross championships,” said Daytona 500 champion, Kevin Harvick.  “I believe he will put the same effort toward his stock car career.  He knows how to race and he takes care of his equipment.  Every time I’ve seen him race, he has shown great promise.”
I have watched Ricky race for his entire career and have been impressed with his smoothness and control of whatever machine he was chosen to race. He's not the kind of guy that will bounce his race car off the walls and other drivers. He instead uses finesse to weave his way through the pack, if he ever finds himself in that position, to get back to the front where he is so accustomed to be. 

This is shapping up to be another exciting season in the CWTS. I have one of my sports heroes in Ricky Carmichael, racing for my hometown boy Harvick, in the most exciting series in Nascar. What more could a guy want? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Saturday Night Short Track Takes Center Stage

The Toyota All Star Showdown has been refered to as the "Daytona 500" of short track racing and is ready to fire up again this coming weekend. On January 23-24 the Speed Channel will be televising the action live starting at 7:00 PM Pacific Time on both nights. 

Three time Craftsman (now Camping World) Truck Series Champion Ron Hornaday Jr. will be competing for the first time in the All Star Race but is no stranger to the 1/2 mile oval in Irwindale, Ca.. 
"I remember like it was the back of my hand, because it was racing just like Tucson where I kind of made a name for myself," he said. "It’s a triple-groove race track, where you can run the top, middle and bottom." 
Hornaday raced at the speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Series West, making 46 starts and narrowly missing the title in 1996. Ron expects the competition to be fierce this weekend in the 250 lap Nascar Toyota All Star Showdown with Camping World Series West Champion Eric Holmes and East Champion Matt Kobyluck in attendance, along with 2007 West Champion Mike David. 
Hornaday is from Southern California, having grown up in Palmdale, and is looking forward to meeting some of his old friends. 
"I’ve got a lot of friends that I grew up with and went to school with and some who have followed my career. It’ll be great to see them," he said.
 Joining Ron Hornaday at this event will be fellow Camping World Truck Series driver Matt Crafton who also hails from California. Crafton will be returning to Toyota Speedway for the first time in 8 years. His only race at the track was a mixture of highs and lows. Matt led 194 laps of the Nascar Camping World Series West season finale only to be beaten in a "Green, White, Checker" three wide finish by Bobby Dotter. The .024 second loss is still ranked as the most exiting finish of the series and garnered Crafton a Truck Series ride the following season. 

Also returning to this years event will be last years race winner and the new driver of the #20 Joe Gibbs Home Depot Chevrolet , 18 year old phenom, Joey Lagano
"I can’t wait to go back," said Lagano. "I’ve got the same car and that track is just a real cool race track. And we had a great time out in Southern California. I really enjoyed being out there."
Lagano's teammate Marc Davis will be in Satuday nights race along with past Camping World Series rookie of the year winners Jason Bowles, Payton Sellers, Jeff Barkshire, and Austin Dillon.

In addition to the Toyota All Star Race there will be a 150 lap Super Late Model event on Friday and a 75 lap Modified race Saturday. 

For more information contact Toyota Speedway at Irwindale

Have Nascar Fans Gone To Far?

I just read a letter from Eric from Pratt, WV. that stopped me dead in my tracks. It was a slap in the face to all those nay sayers and traditionalists, drivers and media that are constantly demeaning our great sport. Have fans become too critical of every detail and are harming this sport that we love? 

Eric makes an eye opening statement:
 "When was the last time you heard Brett Farve or Peyton Manning trashing their sport or the stadiums they play in?"
Should fans just accept the way Nascar is progessing with the COT and reaching out to a wider segment of the population, or do fans have the right to complain and demand a voice in the direction of the sport? 

With the tough times ahead for Nascar teams and tracks maybe a little more understanding, patients and support will help assure there is stock car racing for many years to come. 

Stremme Gets Unlisted Phone Number

David Stremme is replacing Ryan Newman in the Penske #12 for the 2009 season joining the Alltel circle of friends. But there seems to be a small glitch now that Alltel has been purchased by Verizon. Due to a 2004 ruling banning rival telecommunications companies of Sprint/Nextell from advertising on the cars, Stremme will be circling the track incognito for the next few years. Alltel has signed a long term contract with Penske but since Verizon has choosen to use it's own logo that violates the ruling and they will not be allowed to be displayed. According to Walt Czarnecki, the executive vice president of Penske Corporation, "The [Cup] car will be identified and branded as the Penske Dodge Charger". 

The #31 car of Richard Childress Racing had the same trouble when Cingular Wireless was purchased by AT&T terminating the grandfather clause allowed to Cingular. A court ruled that the AT&T Globe could be displayed but not the name and only for a limited time. Childress will have to remove all AT&T/Cingular logos from the car after the '09 season and or find new sponsorship. 

It looks like Alltel/Verizon is stuck footing the bill with little or no recognition. Off track indorsments are not affected and I would look for David to be very busy, where Ryan left off, stealing wheels and generaly harassing those other guys. 

One good thing about Stremme's situation is, he won't be bothered by relentless sales calls during dinner time. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Nascar's Big Names Raise Big Bucks For Charity

The 2009 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Phoenix Arizona attracted some of the biggest names in Nascar to help raise awareness and collect some serious cash for several charitable organizations. With the Daytona 500 still a few weeks off Hedrick MotorSports owner Rick Hendrick and 7 time Nascar Cup Champion Richard Petty ventured out west to help some less fortunate people.

On Saturday Mr. Hendrick offered up for sale a slightly used Chevy Monte Carlo that just happened to be decked out in DuPont rainbow colors. This particular #24 Nascar stock car was a two time winner, at Chicagoland in July '06 and at Lowes Motor Speedway in October '07, along with four top fives and five top tens to it's credit. All documentation including race winning videos and photos went with the car.

All proceeds from the sale went to the Hendrick Marrow Program, started by Rick after he survived leukemia in 1996, which helps secure private resources for the National Marrow Donor Program. The enormous generosity of the automobile community shone bright as this Rainbow Warrior was gaveled out at $500,000.00.

That was only the second highest donation received as the King himself drove onto the stage in a 1970 Plymouth Superbird custom tribute recreation. The car was the result of the collaborative efforts of YearOne, Gillette Evernham Motorsports, Muscle Magazine, and former WWE superstar and avid car nut, Bill Goldberg. This was a street legal version of a Nascar stock car complete with an 800hp GEM Dodge spec. engine.

This one of a kind tribute to Richard Petty was donated by Bill Goldberg and the proceeds are to benefit the Darrell Gwyenn Foundation which helps spinal cord injury patients with services and equipment. Their Wheelchair Donation Program provides powered wheelchairs to children and young adults in need across the country. Once again the wealthy in attendance opened their wallets and pushed the winning bid to an astronomical $551,100.00

A 2007 Tony Stewart #20 Chevy Monte Carlo also went up for bid to benefit the Darrell Gwyenn Foundation on Sunday. Tony's three time winning ride garnered $181,500.00

Rick Hendrick wasn't through for the evening turning the tables and taking on the role of bidder on the very first 2010 Chevrolet Camaro. General Motors made the donation to benefit The American Heart Association. The bidding was at a fever pitch for the rights to create the first production model of the next generation Camaro, but Rick would not be out bid looking to give back what others have donated for his foundation. His winning bid for this soon to be collectors item was $350,000.00

Our buddy Rusty Wallace even got in the spirit pitching a 2009 60th. Anniversary Nascar Motorcycle built by Destination Daytona to the multitude if collectors and museum owners in the crowd. The one of 60 custom built motorcycles was auctioned off for $50,000 and all monies donated to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

A total of fourteen vehicles were auctioned off to benefit a variety of charities. For a complete list of vehicles check out Barrett-Jackson.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gordon Makes Valiant Effort In South America

The 2009 Dakar Rally has finally reached it's destination in Buenos Aires after a 5,951 mile journey around South America. Nascar Sprint Cup driver Robby Gordon raced his Monster Energy Hummer into a third place finish in the car classification. Robby's time of 49 hours 57 minutes and 12 seconds was good enough for 5th. overall in the first ever Dakar Rally held in South America (threats of terrorism and civil unrest in Africa forced the change). Gordon had to overcome a violent crash on the 4th. stage of the event and only a 1/4 of the way through the rally. I don't know about you but after I just had my own head stuck up my butt I think I'd call it a day. 

The winner of the car class and overall Rally Champion was South-African driver Giniel De Villers in a Volkswagen Touareg in a time of 48:10:57 followed by American Mark Miller in another Volkswagon. This is the first Dakar championship for VW in the 31 year history of the race. Russians Kabirov and Savostin finished 1, 2 in the truck class and 3rd. and 4th. overall. 

If you would like to see some amazing photographs taken at this years rally, the Boston Globe has posted some on it's blog. You might want to read a few of the comments as there seems to be wide difference of opinion regarding the necessity of such a race. 

Robby Gordon is now off to the Nevada desert for a leisurely 2 day drive in his off-road trophy truck. More on that to come. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Change Is Everywhere

With the election of senator Barak Obama riding his wave of change into the white house, it seems the fever is catching on in the racing world as well. Budweiser has announced that it is changing the rules for the (not yet run) revamped Budweiser Shootout scheduled for Saturday night Feb. 7.

It appears that not having two time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart in the line-up was to much for Nascar and Budweiser to swallow. The rules have been modified to allow a seventh manufacturer's car to be illegible for the race. The new rule has two parts 1) if an owner is not in the top six cars of a particular manufacturer and that the driver is a past series champion, (insert Tony Stewart) and 2) the next car in owner points standings that is not a past champion after the top six of any given manufacturer, (insert Bobby LaBonte). Labonte will get the nod in the #96 HOF/Yates entry after points from the #38 car are transferred to it.

A very special thank you needs to go to president elect Obama for giving Budweiser the indirect encouragement to make the changes necessary to ensure no major sponsor is ever left out of any Nascar function.

Caution Periods Aquire Full Time Sponsorship

It seams our wish for shorter caution periods and decreased yellow flag laps has taken a turn for the worse with the announcement that ServiceMaster Clean has become the title sponsor for all caution periods at SMI and ICS speedways.That includes Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck series events around the country. According to Jayski;
"All cleaning and drying vehicles and equipment will feature the ServiceMaster Clean logo and colors, and the clean-up teams will wear bright yellow ServiceMaster Clean jumpsuits."
I have to tip my hat to the folks at ServiceMaster Clean for realizing that a vast portion of every race was going unsponsored. That's thinking out of the box folks. Of course for us that can only mean guaranteed caution periods for every piece of hot dog wrapper, water bottle (thanks Carl) and tissue from fans crying their eyes out from fewer and fewer green flag Racing laps.

What could possible be next? " This crash brought to you by the fine folks at Big Jims Towing, where our motto is You Crash It, We Snatch It." Oh this is going to be a looong year.

Welcome To All Sports Racing

I finally got off my rear bumper and decided to enter the 21st. century. Now I know all of you have been waiting ever so patiently to hear even more rambling nonsensical opinions from me so I've given you what you wanted. What? No, that's not what you wanted? Well I didn't get Heather Locklear gift wrapped under my Christmas tree either so I guess we're all SOL.

Seriously though, I will try to give you reports, updates, opinions and hopefully a bit of humor on what's happening around the motor sports world. I have a wide interest in all forms of racing so look for blogs on Nascar stock cars from Sprint Cup to the Camping World East/West series. I'll throw in some motocross and offroad desert racing along with Saturday night dirt tracks. And of course the newly sponsored Camping World Truck series.

So, I hope you find something interesting here that keeps you coming back. And if you find something we need to share with the rest of the gang feel free to e-mail me at Thanks for checking in.