Saturday, October 25, 2008

Qualifying Rain Outs

Much is being said this season about this subject. Rightly so I guess as we have had a record ten qualifying sessions canceled due to rain. What happened? It rained a lot on Fridays. There is a lot of talk that NASCAR should reschedule to Saturday or even Sunday morning in the event of rain on Friday. After all, they have plenty of time available. Do they?

I don't know for sure, but all the Saturday's I've been at the track, everybody look's pretty busy to me. We do know that NASCAR will not have a qualifying session without having a practice first, which makes sense to me. It also makes Saturday more tricky. You have to wedge in at least a one hour practice in addition to at least a two hour qualifying session.

The perception that they have plenty of time could be comming from looking at the schedule and seeing two or three hour's of no car's scheduled to be on the track, or "hey, there's no cars on the TV right now so the team's must not be doing anything". Unless it's an impound race, that's not likely. As far as the driver's go, I am sure there are a lot of sponsor obligations both at and away from the track. Most might say that those shoudn't get in the way of the racing. I would say if not for those obligation's, we night not be racing.

Big time racing has always been a business. You have a product and sell ticket's to folk's to come see it. It has become a much bigger business today. Some say it's a bad thing, some it's a good thing. Me? I say it's a thing. It's here and there will be no going back. I am sure that the driver's would rather be on the track. I am also sure that the team (at some level), believe that these obligation's are one of the most important activity's of the weekend.

So I don't buy in to the "they have time" theory because I don't know, for sure, that they do and neither do most of the people who say they do. But I certainly doubt they do. What we have here is a very unique weather pattern. An anomaly. Why turn the qualifying process upside down because of it. The next several years could well go back to a few rain out's or none at all. Some say that lining up by point's isn't fair. Of course it could be that their favorite driver is in a position where it hurts him. But it's as fair as it can get. If they line up by points and your not in the race, you need to work harder. As one well respected (at least by me) poster said on the Speed boards, "Big time racing isn't t-ball, not everyone get's to bat".

The Geeze
I welcome your comments. Click on the
comments link below and follow the instructions.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The National Anthem

Okay, the motivation for this is not racing related. But it does play a part in NASCAR. I just watched the national anthem performed at the first World Series game by the Back Street Boy's.
I was appalled. Why do people seem to think they have to make the anthem a pop song. Make it their own as it were. It's not yours, it's mine, it's ours. This happens at NASCAR races quite often.

I am now of the opinion that it should not be performed by someone who has a tour or new CD out, but by a military band. Or at least a standard be set. I listened to Michael MacDonald sing it once, and he did an excellent job. If he can do it why can't some of the other pop star's do it. I don't want to hear your interpretation of it, I want to hear Francis Scott Keys interpretation of it. It's our national anthem for god's sake.

Okay, I'm done. Just a pet peeve of mine.

The Geeze

I welcome your comments. Click on the
comments link below and follow the instructions.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

NASCAR is Not Racing Anymore. It's Entertainment

I see this statement a lot lately on message boards and blog's. I am of the opinion that the folk's who make that statement have either forgotten the past or never saw it. It has always been called "the show" among the promoters and participants. I am sure one of Big Bill France's motive's in starting NASCAR was to help racer's race and do so in the knowledge that they will be treated fairly and nobody would disappear with the prize money before the race ended.

I also believe that if this was his only motivation, we would be saying NASCAR? Never heard of it. He wanted to make money. Nothing wrong with that. Most of us do. How did he make money? He put on a show. And he sold tickets. He had a product, the promoter's had the track's. Big Bill was always telling driver's to not stink up his show. When he wanted to run some convertibles at a race, and not enough showed up, he offered teams with hardtop's money to cut off the top and run as a convertible. They would hire people to do death defying stunt's before the race to sell ticket's.

It's always been entertainment. From the get go. The sponsors sponsored cars for the advertising value. Those sponsor's reflected those who went to the race. Car dealer's, body shop's, and other automotive related products. As the sport grew and more mainstream people started paying attention, the sponsor's changed to reflect that. Back then, paying to be the sponsor of the race was not something anyone thought anybody would pay for. Now it is. Times change.

I'm starting to ramble so it's time to wrap this up. The bottom line is, NASCAR has always been about entertainment, and always will be. Why do people like myself go to races every chance they get? To be entertained of course. It's just bigger now.

The Geeze

I welcome your comments. Click on the
comments link below and follow the instructions.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Auto Club Speedway Track Bash II

It's time for the semiannual bashing of Auto Club Speedway on the message boards. Why to people do it? There is the "NASCAR doesn't belong outside of the southeast. It belong to us" Also, the ever popular "NASCAR doesn't belong in California. They just jumped on the bandwagon when NASCAR started getting popular".

My first exposure at a NASCAR race was at Riverside Raceway in the Mid 70's. Where they had raced since 1958. So, if history doesn't back you up make stuff up. There is also the "California stole dates from some of NASCAR's most historic tracks" Stole? If I remember correctly, NASCAR moved the dates from track where folks just weren’t showing up.

Of course the major battle cry is the racings boring. I have been to all but one of the races there and have never been bored. I have always been able to find great racing throughout the pack. I have also never heard anything about boredom from any of my seatmates or those around me.
So what are these people basing this "the racing is boring" on?

Television of course. They watched a boring race on TV. Or I should say, they watched a boring race telecast. This week, we had the Kyle Busch / Carl Edwards rivalry. I haven't watched my entire TiVo copy of the race yet, but what I have seen showed me a lot of shot's of those two weather they were close to each other on the track or not. I saw a lot of a car whooping the field. They had their story line and were sticking to it.

To their credit, ESPN did show more racing back in the field than they normally do, But this was basically due to fact that Jimmy Johnson was putting a licking on the field and they finally decided they had to show some of the racing.

To make a statement that Auto Club Speedway is boring just because the TV broadcast was is silly. The print media also has jumped on the boring bandwagon. Why? Because in my opinion it's the safe way to go. Nobody wants’ to read what a good race it was. They don't expect that. We have a reporter for the local paper here that does this twice a year. That's it. Never hear from him again until it's time to rip the speedway. A one trick pony.

Oh, don't forget the " It's always 105 degrees out there this time of the year". I have lived here for 57 years and can say with all certainty. NOT! It was 85 at the green flag and in the upper to mid 70's during the race. That's about normal.

All right. I have to give the basher's the falling caution light. Criticism well deserved. Some poster's went over the top on it of course. "They can't even tighten a bolt". That sort of thing. But it did fall and shouldn’t have.

So, after all is said and done, we still have two dates, only one has been moved into the chase starting next year. All I can say to that is neener neener.

The Geeze

I welcome your comments. Click on the comments link below and follow the instructions.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Staying with the "gate" theme, I would like to share my thought's on the Joe Gibbs Racing magnet fiasco. By now most already ready know what happened, but here's a little background.

Earlier this year some of the non-Toyota driver's started talking about a horse power andvantage that Toyota had in the Nationwide series. Dyno test were done and sure enough, they had a 20-30 horsepower advantage (these number's have varied based on who who listen to). As a result, Toyota was issued a smaller restrictor plate than those used on the other cars in Nationwide. This was an effort to bring all the manufactures in line.

At the Michigan race, it was widely known that NASCAR would be testing some cars on the chassis dyno. This was to verify that the Toyota plate was doing it's job. Apparently, some people on the #18 and that #20 team's were concerned about this. It appears they felt that they still had advantage, and if NASCAR found out about it, they would take it away.

So how do you make a chassis dyno test ( the entire car is on the dyno) come up with less horse power than you have. You limit the throttle travel. If the throttle is pushed to the fire wall but only produces 95% of full throttle, the butterfly valves on the carb will only open to 95% and there you have it.

So you take a magnet whose thickness is calculated to only open a given percent, between the pedal and the firewall. But how do you get it there without being seen. The driver does it while still in the car after the race? I've spent 30 laps in a cup car, and beleve me, there is no way I could even come close to touching the pedal let alone put something behind it. Even with the steering wheel off. ESPN was widely criticized for suggesting the driver's did it. I don't buy it.

So that is one of the mystery's, how did they get it in there with the car being in constant control of a NASCAR inspector. We will probably never know, as I suspect a real flaw was found in the inspection process, and NASCAR won't want to publicize what it was. Another mystery is who at Gibbs knew about it. Did it go to all the way to the top? I doubt it. and here's why.

This was possibly the dumbest move I have ever seen. The risk versus reward was horrible. The guy's who decided to go through with this were not the sharpest knives in the drawer. And Joe and JD Gibbs strike me as pretty sharp knives. Add to that, as it turns out, it wasn't even necessary. When tested without the magnet, there was only an 8 horse power gain. Toyota wasn't even in the lead. You mean to tell me that a team the caliber of JGR didn't know the actual horse power the cars were putting out? That they thought they had something to hide? Very strange.

So, all that money, all those employees who might never see the light of day at JGR, all that for nothing. JD Gibbs has said that they will add to the penalties of the employees once they know what they are. But they will not fire them. I'm not asking for blood, but if it was me, I might consider letting the person or person's who signed off on this go based on a lack of good judgment.

The Geeze

I welcome your comments. Click on the
comments link below and follow the instructions.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Alright, I know this is late in the game for this topic, but a few comments have urged me on to post more so here it goes.

The Indy tire debacle. What a mess for NASCAR, the track, and the fans. Tony George has been blamed. Goodyear has been blamed and of course NASCAR has been blamed. So who's fault was it?

Tony George laser ground the track two years ago. That made it more abrasive. Why, thats it of course. We have our fall guy. But wait, we have raced there twice without near the tire issues exhibited this year. Why now? Maybe he's not or fall guy.

Goodyear had a tire test at Indy with three cars. The compound they brought to the test proved to be pretty durable, but the driver's felt they were to unstable. Now what? Bring the same compound to Indy that was used last year. They had some tire issues last year but nothing horrible. A reasonable decision one would think.

NASCAR did not hold a mass testing at Indy to run in race conditions. A mistake? Probably.
So, the big question here is what was different this year than the last two year's? The track? no.
The tire? No. The car? Whoops.

The car. The COT. You know, the one that the teams have to use the tires as the suspension so it will turn. The car that is notoriously hard on right side ties. The car that appeared for the first time at Indy this year. The only variable was the car.

Now, I'm not a COT basher. It's just not there yet and they need to keep working on it. Had NASCAR run a full three day testing session at Indy this year, would we have seen what we did during the race. I doubt it. While it's true that with Indy booked up in May for obvious reason's, the test would have been held in April under quite different weather condition's than it was on race day, I think that a tire not lasting more than ten lap's would have reared it's ugly head.

So there you have it. Not enough testing of the new car on a track it's never seen before. Was the track a factor? Sure. Was the tire a factor? sure. But I don't think they would have been had they done a full test.

As far as how NASCAR dealt with it on race day, there didn't seem to be much of an option. Do they pack it up Saturday night and go home? Yeah right. You think people were upset with the way it went, you would've had to evacuate the folks from the infield in helicopters under heavy guard.

Some people were upset that NASCAR didn't leave it up to the teams as to when to pit for new tires. I was listening to several driver's radio's. Most could not wait for that ten lap competition caution. They kept asking "how many more laps till we pit. I've got cording, Ive got a vibration".
That would indicate to me that a lot of the teams would have done what NASCAR did anyway.

Other teams would try to push it. Thats what racer's do. They don't like to pit. Some would think that if they could just stay out for fifteen to twenty laps, they could get an edge. Based on what I saw, that would have been an accident waiting to happen.

So when it is all said and done, NASCAR did the only thing they could do. As a side note, I saw some pretty good racing during those ten lap sprints.

The Geeze

I welcome your comments. Click on the
comments link below and follow the instructions.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Claim Jumper's

Claim Jumper's, Busch Whacker's, what ever you call them, why do cup driver's and cup team's run in the Nationwide series, and should they be allowed to? The "to get information for the cup race" theory doesn't cut it anymore with the COT and the tapered restrictor plate. The cars are no longer even remotely close to each other. Do they do it for the prize money? Clint Bower received $54,695 for winning at the Bristol Nationwide race. While that's a lot of money to you and me, it isn't for these guy's.

I would think that it would cost much more than that just to show up. Especially at a stand alone Nationwide race. Do they do it in order to run for the championship? If so, only a two or three out of the ten to twelve cup driver's are doing it. Are they doing it because they are racer's and just love to race. I'm sure for some that's a big part of it.

As far as whether the cup driver's should run the Nationwide races, there are numerous reason's why they shouldn't out there. It is a fact that two or three full time, single car Nationwide teams will go home as a result of the big money cup teams out qualifying them. Some will say that those Nationwide teams should step up their game to compete with the cup driver's. I don't see where thats possible from a financial standpoint.

Some will say that the only thing keeping the Nationwide series alive is the presence of the cup driver's. I'm not sure I buy that. Being somewhat old school, I remember the Busch Series from the 1980' and 1990's, when the series and it's driver's had it's own fans. Guy's like Randy LaJoie, Jack Ingram, Tommy Ellis, and Jimmy Hensley. There has always been a history of cup driver's in the Nationwide/Busch series, but not to the point it is now. Not going for the championship.

The full time Nationwide driver's seem to have different opinions on this. The newer driver's seem to say that it's a good test to race with the cup guy's. That they learn a lot. The Nationwide driver's that have been around for a while don't seem to think it's such a good idea. That it takes spots and prize money from the full time driver's and team's. I tend to agree with that.

In my opinion, the lower series has lost it's identity due to the influx of cup driver's. Especially those running for the championship. It's almost like watching a mini cup race. Good and talented drivers like Brad Coleman, Bryan Clausen, Bobby Hamilton Jr and many more, seem to get lost in the shuffle as far as coverage goes. Brad Kowalewski gets some coverage but thats probably due to his driving for Junior.

The money. At Daytona, Cup drivers won 43% of the prize money. Think about that, 43%. How long can a full time Nationwide, single car team adsorb that? In the first six Nationwide races this season, cup drivers have dominated the top ten. The least being four out of ten at Nashville and the most being 9 out of ten at Daytona. That can't be good for the full time Nationwide teams.

What to do?

Don't allow full time cup drivers to earn points in Nationwide races. No points, no championship runs.

This would open up the championship to the full time Nationwide teams.

Limit how many races they can run in a season.

This would open up the prize money to the full time teams who very well may need it to survive.

Don't allow cup drivers to run the series at all.
Probably not the best solution. The Nationwide Series could still use some of the interest that cup drivers generate until some of it's own stars emerge.

Do Nothing. Don't change a thing.

Not a good option in my opinion. This series is quickly becoming Sprint Cup Light. There are to many talented drivers and teams to have them ignored and have them wither on the vine.

The Geeze

I welcome your comments. Click on the
comments link below and follow the instructions.