Why We Loathe Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch drives the #18 car in NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup series. His team is Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), one of the top title contenders year-after-year. Through their manufacturer Toyota, JGR consistently fields some of the fastest cars on the grid, including (below) Kyle Busch’s #18.

Kyle Busch won the (then) Sprint Cup title in 2015, and is one of the winningest drivers remaining on the circuit. And yet so many racing fans dislike this guy and here is why?

These screenshots are all from 8-6-17 at Watkins Glen, NY– which is a road course.  In the first shot below, we have an aerial view of #18 Kyle Busch and #2 Brad Keselowski spinning off the course.

 

There are only two road-course races per season in NASCAR Cup competition, and they are considered ‘wild card’ races, which means they get more heated than usual, as more drivers feel they can actually win this race.

Above is Kyle Busch screaming into his radio, blaming (and threatening) another driver after he himself caused the spin-out, by trying to pass where he shouldn’t have. Drivers can’t pass around the ‘bus stop’ at Watkins Glen, and everyone except Kyle Busch accepts this. But instead of being contrite, Kyle is mad.

Sidenote: The last time Kyle Busch tried to ‘kill’ a Penske driver after a race was here, a few months ago:

In this video (which is hilarious) Kyle Busch was again driving way too aggressively in the corners, pinning a competitor too far down until he spun out. Kyle Busch gets REALLY mad when the wreck he causes spins into him, and causes him to wreck instead!

Professionally, that looks really bad so immediately he flips into spin mode. Whenever he’s yelling at whomever on his radio, it’s all a bleep-show for ScanAll & NASCAR America. Kyle Busch is mad, get out of his way– he owns the road!!

Kyle Busch is actually the worst form of driver, and there are far too many of his imitators out on our public roadways. Joey Logano handled himself beautifully, and I honestly became a bit of a fan for #22 at his “None on me” comment. Also gotta love the ninja skills in action.

Back to Watkins Glen:  Here is the dialogue between Kyle Busch and his crew chief (Adam Stevens), after the caution flag (which he caused) came out:

And here is Kyle Busch’s response:

Then the #18 spotter (Tony Hirschman) tries to settle his driver down, but Kyle Busch isn’t listening. As you can see below, the #18 is already into the #10 car on the re-start, as this conversation is happening…

…and there she goes again!!

If this was a serious racing series, the #18 car would be black-flagged as the race continues under green. Not a chance in NASCAR. In the earlier incident between Busch & Keselowski, the yellow flag was immediately thrown, even though both cars were able to get safely back onto the track. This is because both drivers are NASCAR favorites, and they can’t be allowed to lose valuable track position. There is no such concern for Danica Patrick as far as NASCAR goes, so it stays green as the field zooms by:

Here’s #10 car driver Danica Patrick’s initial response on the radio:

Then a more measured one:

Video is definitive evidence in NASCAR. Here’s the Fox Sports video from which these screenshots were taken.

Final thoughts: What’s the point of running against overgrown babies like Kyle Busch, who have superior cars and the freedom to wreck others? Kyle Busch insists on using dirty tactics whenever it suits him, then denies & blames others, knowing there will never be any serious repercussions from NASCAR. In fact it’s just the opposite, Kyle Busch is constantly promoted as one of NASCAR’s biggest stars.

Honestly, he’s just another reason to tune out.

Bristol Update (race held 8-19-17): Fans understand how much it helps Xfinity & their truck series to have star drivers like Kyle Busch competing in their races, they just aren’t THAT impressed when he clearly has the fastest car in the Cup event on Saturday night. “Crazy fast” was how another Cup team identified the #18 car on ScanAll/Radioactive. So how could minor-league drivers have a ghost of a chance against that package? Great sweep for him, but we’re just not as impressed as NASCAR die-hards & Kyle Busch. Brad Keselowski was right, JGR has been sandbagging. We’re 2 races from the Chase, and it’s showing up for real now.

As far as who NASCAR should hitch their wagon to for the next 10 years or so, it’s age-25 Kyle Larson. Kyle Busch is age 32. NASCAR is getting younger, and Kyle Busch will start seeing more competition from “teammates” Erik Jones & Daniel Suarez, as JGR commits to youth in 2018. If Busch can’t help develop these youngsters into elite drivers (because he’s only concerned with his results), then he quickly becomes a liability to JGR. Slippage will start to show soon at his age, since NASCAR is now becoming more of a sport.

Those who “hate losing more than they love winning” are the biggest jerks, sucking the joy out of everything [1]. It’s what makes them the biggest losers in the end, and it’s why so many loathe Kyle Busch. Yes, he can drive, and he’s active at all levels which is good for NASCAR, I guess? We just don’t understand him taking bows after winning truck-series races, against up-and-coming drivers who know they can’t compete with his far superior equipment & driving experience. It’s shooting fish in a barrel, and sportsmen (& women) don’t respect that so much.

 

      1. Haters, Step Aside - Ric Size

 

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NASCAR Wrecks Daytona 500

The carnage, madness, metal & humanity are all back, and NASCAR decided to tinker with its race format– starting with it’s Super Bowl. Bad idea. I’m writing this piece as the race concludes. I don’t care who wins, and neither to most racing fans at this point.  When the race is still going, and many of the superstar drivers are personally feeding their social media, that ain’t good.

Facebook posted February 19 at 11:56am

NASCAR 2017 Monster Energy Cup Predictions:
1) The new staged-race format will not last into April, stupid idea.
2) The new rules on not being able to go into the garage and then back out on the track, etc… are great rules changes that will stick and lead to more safety improvements.
3) Danica Patrick will find another primary sponsor to compliment Aspen Dental/replace Nature’s Bakery, and she’ll get wrecked…

Kyle Busch #18 didn’t win the Daytona 500, after crashing out due to a Goodyear tire blowout. (Always mention the sponsors).  But he did win the first ‘stage’ and play-off point– so congratulations, I suppose? I wonder if he’ll take pride in it?

Nature’s Bakery bailed as Danica’s Patrick’s primary sponsor for the #10 car a few weeks before Daytona, and is now trying to stiff her team (SHR) in court for $32M owed. Turns out, NB’s food isn’t so healthy, and neither are their business practices. The most popular driver in NASCAR had to hustle for a new primary, and proved she is still fast on her feet, by getting Aspen Dental to extend their commitment to “double digit” races.

There are 36 races in the season, and Tax Act sponsors three for her. That leaves her with a sponsorship gap, which will need to be filled during the season. Her car looked faster at Daytona today, until she was caught up in the huge stage-3 wreck pictured above. I had wondered if actually paying the bills would put more speed in her car, and I think it might. Imagine that?

My final fan comments on NASCAR’s 3-stage race format is that I only care who wins the third stage, and same goes for everyone else. Too many re-starts leads to too many multi-car crashes, like the one that obliterated stage 3.  A race is supposed to have a rhythm to it, and this gimmick destroys it. NASCAR has mangled their Super Bowl.

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Top Post-Race Driver Comments [1]:

Kyle Busch (38th): “I don’t know if it was a left rear that went down or the right that went down but man, tore up three JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) cars in one hit and also Jr. (Dale Earnhardt Jr.). So I feel bad, horrible, for those guys, but man, nothing that we did wrong. You know obviously Goodyear tires just aren’t very good at holding air. It’s very frustrating when we have that down here every single year we’ve been here. Last year we had it as well too. … Thankfully we have I guess a segment point you know out of this day. That’s a positive. But man, you’re trying to win the Daytona 500 here you know. It’s just so disappointing.”

Joey Logano (6th): “I just couldn’t get anyone to go for it at the end. Everyone was so conservative and I don’t understand why. We kept trying to go to the bottom and make a run down there and no one would go with us. We had three cars that kind of wanted to do it, but it’s a matter of getting the right run and getting the right cars behind us and we didn’t have enough of them and couldn’t get up to the lead pack. I don’t know why everyone was so conservative today. … It was crazy to say the least. Right after the last segment it was like everyone turned up the wick a little bit and at the end it was like it burned out.”

Kevin Harvick (22nd): “We just got some cars up there that didn’t need to be up there and wound up doing more than their car could do. … We had, I felt, the fastest car in the field and right in contention for both segments and then it’s all tore up and it came to an end. What do you do? … I think that’s the fastest car I’ve ever had here, so it’s kind of disappointing.”

Jimmie Johnson (34th): “That could have been avoided and it wasn’t called for. From the minute, I got off of Turn 2 on the entire back straightaway, I kept getting hit and the rear tires are off the ground. I know there is a lot of energy behind me in the pack, but I didn’t have a chance. I fought it the whole straightaway and finally got turned going into (Turn) 3. It’s very unfortunate. I hate it for Lowe’s. I hate it for Chevrolet. We’ll go to Atlanta next week and see what we can do there.”

Danica Patrick (33rd): “I don’t really know. I just know we were all three-wide and it looks like the 6 (Trevor Bayne) and 48 (Jimmie Johnson) had something happen. There was nowhere to go. They just kept coming and hitting me. … It was the funnest 500 I’ve ever had. Well, probably not 500, more like 300 or 250. It is a real shame. I feel like we could have been a contender at the end, for sure we could have been an influencer.”

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Final Day-After Commentary:

I actually believe I have understated how much NASCAR has de-valued their product & alienated their fanbase.  A MLB rules-change equivalent would be: instead of playing a nine-inning game for the win, they ‘improve’ it by making three-games-in-one: innings 1-3, 4-6, then the big finale 7-9.  Each segment would award ‘win shares’ and ‘play-off points.’  It would be SO interesting and surely embraced by fans everywhere.  Just watch this idea catch on, like ‘new’ Coke in the mid-1980’s.

Final NASCAR Notes 2-28-17:
NASCAR must fix this list to stop the hemorrhaging, and take advantage of the sport’s current growth potential. 1) Dump the segmented format, and go back to racin’. 2) Reduce the grid size to 30 maximum. There are simply too many drivers who aren’t good enough to be out there, trying to compete with top professionals. These minor-leaguers clog up the track, and create the majority of wrecks because they are in-over-their-heads, and at ~200 MPH– that’s some serious bleep. On a short-track such as Bristol, it’s impossible to have a decent race, because there’s just no room with only one good groove on the track and 40 cars jammed within 1/2 mile of each other at full speed. It reminisces your favorite interstate traffic jam at rush hour. 3) More road course races. This tests a broader range of driving skills and gives different teams competitive advantages, which is good for any sport. 4) Severe punishment for intentional wreckers. This means penalties that start with driver/team suspensions, up to banishment from the sport. Driver safety must be the priory, so NASCAR never has another Dale Earnhardt tragedy.

NASCAR is a private enterprise owned by the “Big Bill” France family. They take all revenue from NASCAR ticket sales, merchandising, concessions, television and other media. The drivers are paid purses & prize money from NASCAR, which doesn’t come close to paying the bills on a race car & its team. When it comes to the problems of NASCAR, the common denominator is always ownership. Until the fans & drivers unite against this monopoly of stupid self-interest, this sport will continue to wreck itself.

3-7-17: Atlanta Motor Speedway Wrap-up: The Monster Cup series points leader after two races is Kevin Harvick, who finished 22nd at Daytona and 9th at Atlanta. This points debacle is because of the new staged-race format. Racing fans are not intrigued by those battles for 8th, 9th & 10th at the end of stages 1 & 2, which now (too much) determine cup points. Adding false drama to a sport doesn’t make it better. Racing is about one winner, and then rewarding those who finished 2nd-on-down appropriately. The point is, you wait until the race is over to do it. So, where does the handing out a trophy for winning stage 1 (during the race!), rank in the all-time most-embarrassing NASCAR moments?

Final Danica Update: NASCAR is about being competitive on the 1.5-mile tracks, so Atlanta is the first true test of the season. Danica Patrick would have gotten lapped at the end of stage 1, if the race leader hadn’t been teammate Kevin Harvick, who eased off the gas and still cruised to the stage win. If a car doesn’t have the horsepower to stay on the lead lap on a 1.5 mile track, then it has no chance in ~30 of the 36 races. The only places a slower car can hang with the leaders are the super speedways (Daytona & Talladega– restrictor plate), and the two road-course races (Sonoma & Watkins Glen). This only means competing for a top-10, forget about winning.

Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has four teams. Kurt Busch’s #41 won the Daytona 500. Kevin Harvick’s #4 should have won in Atlanta. Clint Boyer’s #14 (replacing retired Tony Stewart) started 6th at Daytona (but was wrecked), and finished 11th at Atlanta. Three of the 4 SHR cars have speed to win. The fourth doesn’t even have the horsepower to stay on the lead lap. This is (again) the problem for the driver of the #10 car, who possesses one of the best overall skill-sets in NASCAR.

Over & Out

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Shifting & Drifting: NASCAR Chase Nonsense

NASCAR kicked off it’s 2016 ‘Chase for the Cup’ at Chicagoland Speedway last weekend. The best promoter for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 was (as usual), a non-Chase driver:

danica-patrick-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-car

The actual race was a microcosm of the entire 2016 NASCAR season, as Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Toyota’s were the fastest cars in the field.  Martin Truex, Jr. (#78) is not officially affiliated with JGR, but his Furniture Row Racing team receives plenty of support and he is considered a ‘5th driver’ for Gibbs Racing.

martin-truex_chicagoland-2016

The story on Sunday was #78 dominance on the track, then its failing the post-race laser inspection station (LIS).   The LIS measures tolerances for aerodynamics of the car  body, which are set by NASCAR.  Jimmie Johnson (#48 Hendricks Racing) also failed post-race LIS.  Under the existing rules, as ‘P2’ penalty would have to have been enforced on both drivers, with the 10-point deduction being more severe for Johnson, who would have been in immediate danger of missing the next round of cuts in the Chase.

jimmie-johnson_-chicagoland-2016

NASCAR couldn’t let that happen to one of their most-popular drivers, so it changed the rules (again) in the middle of the season to clear both Martin Truex, Jr & Jimmie Johnson.  This is the final NASCAR penalty report from Chicagoland 2016:

092116-nascar-chicagoland-penalties

As you can (or can’t) see, #16 Greg Biffle & #43 Aric Almirola (both non-Chase drivers) were assessed the severest sanctions, P3 penalties for a missing lug nut and a broken stud.  Newly-modified rules on lug nuts are already being pushed to (and past) their limits by many teams.  Six to eight cars are chosen at random for post-race inspection. How random, is anyone’s guess?  If every car was inspected after every race, surely more than half wouldn’t pass an inspection at this point.

lis-penalties-2016

NASCAR just announced that it will change its post-race inspection penalty structure for infractions stemming from the LIS, eliminating the P2 and P3 levels for those violations. The P4 level for LIS infractions remains, and violations at this level will remain “encumbered.”  NASCAR is the only sport I know that constantly changes its rules during its regular & play-off season.  [1]

NASCAR defines the concept of an ‘encumbered victory,’ meaning a driver would keep the trophy but would lose the other benefits of a win, meaning it would not ensure advancement to the next round of the Chase.  The idea is to discourage blatant infractions of the rules, but still allow cheating at a certain level. The drivers and their teams are already two steps ahead of this NASCAR rule-tweaking, you can be sure. [2]

jgr-logo

Note that having the fastest car doesn’t make Truex the best driver. Not by a long-shot. Check out his performance in NASCAR ScanAll starting at 2:45.  [3]

2:45: #78 Martin Truex Jr. (the fastest car all day) crawls up her ass and exclaims, “Get that (expletive) #10 car out of the way. I want the bottom.”
2:48: #10 Danica Patrick (at the top of the track, up against the wall) says to her spotter, “I give these guys the bottom lane and it just confuses them I think.”

She’s correct, and once again proven a better driver than the race winner (and current Chase leader); she just has no speed in her team or car. Typical NASCAR nonsense, and this is how some people feel about them and their HQ in Charlotte right now:

nascar-hof-charlotte-riots

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NASCAR’s All-Star ‘Shoot-Out’ & ‘Fan Vote’

Charlotte is now considered the NASCAR capital/headquarters, so their annual All-Star race is held at Charlotte Motor Speedway, built in 1959.  Most drivers are positive about this 1.5 mile quad-oval track, although NASCAR’s new ‘low downforce’ package has turned each track into a new experience this season, so questions always remain.

CMS

It’s been raining on & off all weekend and the track is slick, so “if you’re tight, you’re gonna be tighter and if you’re loose, you’re gonna be looser.”

Fifteen past champions and top-winning drivers are automatically entered into the All-Star race, which fields only 20 cars– half the normal field.  Here are their practice results for starting position:

NASCAR-All-Star-practice-results

This All-Star race has no ‘Cup points’ attached, but rewards $1,000,000 to the winner. NASCAR gets back to its ‘Chase for the Cup’ next weekend with the Coca-Cola 600, which runs at Charlotte Motor Speedway every Memorial Day weekend.  This week is supposed to be the ‘relaxed’ weekend, although it’s filled with plenty of NASCAR promotional work for its top drivers.

Danica-Patrick-Uber

The rest of the regular NASCAR field must qualify for the 5 remaining spots in a ‘shoot-out’ race, which this year is formatted as a 3-segmented race.  Each segment winner earns a spot in the All-Star race. Also, the top two ‘fan vote’ winners get in.  Danica Patrick’s clout assures her a spot, as the top vote-getter.  Still, the fan vote winners aren’t announced by NASCAR until after the shoot-out qualifier, so Patrick must participate, even though everyone knows she’s easily an All-Star.

Chase Elliott #24

Chase Elliott narrowly loses the final shoot-out segment to Kyle Larsen.  Then it is announced he (along with Patrick) have received a ‘fan vote’ spot.   In fact, NASCAR announces that Chase Elliott was the ‘fan vote’ winner, with Danica Patrick (evidentially deducted several million votes) as the runner-up.  Note that no actual vote totals are released.  [1]

All-Star Shoot-Out results 2016

Above were the shoot-out results, with Trevor Bayne & Greg Biffle (listed at the bottom) winning the first two segments, rounding out the 20-car field.  I’m in favor of reducing the grid size, so I wish NASCAR would use this exact same format every week, as it would keep much of the trash off the track.

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Danica Patrick (stunned, thankful & amazed that she was selected again [!] by the fans), has a video thanking everybody up on her Facebook page within an hour.

NASCAR-Danica-Patrick-Chase-Elliott

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Update 5-22-16:  The All-Star Race was rain-delayed, and had a crazy new format which no one really understood, so I skipped it.  It turns out I was quite correct, as “dumbest format ever” and “no one knew what was going on” were the most-common post-race complaints from drivers.  While it is an All-Star showcase, certain drivers still have to be more careful than others, otherwise they risk being heavily fined by NASCAR elite.  Note the nifty driving by #10 Danica Patrick who came through clean when leading vote-getter (according to NASCAR) #24 Chase Elliott ‘checked-up’ suddenly, causing a crash.  It’s all discussed & shown in this link [2].

There were 19 NASCAR All-Stars, and one rock-star on the track in Charlotte last night.

Danica Patrick

She’ll be on display again @ CMS next weekend for the gruelling 400-lap (600 mile!) contest.  How about a ‘hats off’ to a true American hero for Memorial Day weekend?

 

NASCAR Wreckers

“We fought hard. We overcame adversity,” said McDowell after the race. “We were in position there to have a top 10 and we just got caught up in a wreck. Not sure exactly what happened, just got hit from behind, ran into the No. 10 and she spun. It was just one of those chain reaction deals. I will have to go back and see. Everyone did good, the Thrivent Financial Chevrolet was up front, got some TV time, was running hard, unfortunately, we didn’t get the finish.”  [1]

Here’s the video of the wreck Michael McDowell #95 (pictured above) caused, by slamming into the Danica Patrick’s #10 car in the middle of a pack at 190 MPH at Talladega:

Patrick called it the “hardest hit of her career.”  Matt Kenseth #20 was flipped and tumbled several times.  One announcer feared Kenseth was going to hit the catch fence, which doesn’t ‘catch’ much of a car flying at 190 MPH. Physicists hired by NASCAR to study aerodynamics, have stated that 150 MPH is the limit for preventing cars from being lifted into the air when suddenly turned.

Automobile Physics

It’s pretty clear in this interview that she’s NOT okay after being wrecked by McDowell, she simply fears being fined by NASCAR, for speaking out over a reckless idiot who doesn’t belong on the same race track:

Note: Any wrecked driver should be immediately tested for concussion, if driver safety actually matters.

The issues are clear, and yet NASCAR (like the NFL on concussions) takes a ‘wait and see’ approach to participant safety. NASCAR fears: 1) loss of revenue; and 2) more than anything else, the redefinition of their sport.  There are major egos involved here.

Driver safety had never been much of an issue, until Dale Earnhardt was killed at Daytona in 2001. This prompted NASCAR to finally get with the program, which the rest of motorsports had already adopted– finally modernizing safety features for their cars & drivers. [2]

Now ‘stock car’ racing reaches 195+ MPH at it’s fastest super-speedways (Talladega & Daytona), and this is with restrictor plates.  All-out speeds without plates is 230+ MPH. [3]

Rusty runs unrestricted

Stock car racing is defined as ‘bump & run’ style. This is different from ‘open wheel’ racing, such as Indy car, which is from where Danica Patrick came.  Patrick ran an unofficial practice lap at Indianapolis Speedway, at a micro-second under 230 MPH– which is still the record for a woman.  Arie Luyendyk is the fastest lap ever– at 239+ MPH.  [4]

On just casual evaluation, Patrick’s driving skills are clearly superior to two-thirds of the NASCAR field, and arguable one of the best.  She’s either 1) been given a slower car & team, or 2)  gets wrecked whenever she’s having a good run.

Top NASCAR photo: Talladega

Racing is a team sport, and every NASCAR Sprint Cup driver has an 8-man team:

Front Tire Carrier
Front Tire Changer
Rear Tire Carrier
Rear Tire Changer
Jackman
Gasman
Spotter
Crew Chief

The top 6 listed are the pit crew, responsible for refuelling, new tires, chassis adjustments & on-track repairs. The spotter is posted high in the stands, and uses binoculars to communicate by radio with the driver– an extra set of eyes, with a panoramic view of the race.

The crew chief is the equivalent of the head coach in American football. He coordinates the race plan with the driver, the racing equivalent of the quarterback. It is ultimately the driver who takes responsibility for the race, as each must repeatedly make split-second decisions on the track.

Problems occur when crew chiefs (or other team members) get an ego over who should be in charge.  Every position on all 40 Sprint Cup teams every week is occupied by a man.  Danica Patrick is literally the only woman in NASCAR, and she faces challenges within her own team that no other driver has.

NASCAR comes from the South, and southerners are not known as good losers.  This is traditionalized today by the cheatin’ SEC in college sports. Historically it goes back to Booth assassinating Abraham Lincoln, and losing the Civil War which ended chattel slavery.  This is what Danica Patrick (from the midwest, who represents driver safety & civility) is up against.

Since she is a woman, a large group of people (called women) care about her safety. Many educated & young men care too. This frightens NASCAR, as they fear losing their sport to a new demographic, which will redefine it in a way they don’t prefer.  It’s much easier for them to keep letting Danica Patrick be a crash test dummy, until she’s killed or quits.

As far as Patrick winning a race, or consistently running top 10– that will not be allowed. It’s clear to anyone who follows these races. that any good-ol-boy-of-the-week will be allowed to wreck her a high speed– without penalty. [5]

Brian France :CEO NASCAR

This comes down to Brian France & Richard Petty, who own NASCAR in every sense.  Also notice how all this nonsense is broadcast, either by FOX or NBC.  As long as these prejudices are allowed to rule, driver’s will continue to be dangerously be wrecked, until someone is permanently crippled or killed.  These charlatans will only shed crocodile tears, unless it’s one of their truly-favored saints who is victimized.  Unfortunately martyrs remain dead.  Apparently, Danica Patrick counts for less-than-most (if not at all) in the estimation of NASCAR, FOX and the rest of this corporate parasitism.

Top NASCAR photo: Talladega

Of course, all their lies are simply attempts to put reality on its head.  For example, the NASCAR All-star race to be held in Charlotte later in May, is an annual showcase event where the fans vote-in their favorite driver. Guess who now wins (in a landslide), year-after-year?

Vote Danica!

NASCAR still tries to sell everyone that Dale, Jr #88 is their most popular driver; to the point where he’s probably embarrassed by much of it.

Jr loses wheel

Dale, Jr tweets steering wheel fail

This writer respects Earnhardt, who is probably the most-loved figure among NASCAR’s traditional base, but Danica is a global icon. No other NASCAR figure can claim that.

Big Bill

Brian France has run NASCAR since his father died in 2003.  He was born and raised as his grandfather Bill France, Sr ran upstart NASCAR with an iron fist.  Big Bill died of Alzheimer’s in 1992, turning NASCAR (by now a multi-billion dollar industry) over to his son Bill, Jr.  NASCAR today has huge clout.  [6]

Steve O’Donnell (shown above) is now NASCAR’s #2 man. [7]  Since Brian France is a redneck, a slicker more polished pitch-man is now required in this sophisticated & modern age we live.  O’Donnell’s job is to blow smoke up everyone’s ass, whenever there’s a serious issue making NASCAR look bad.

Blabber & Smoke

‘Everyone’ includes the drivers, media, and fans; and the issues pertaining to driver safety range from dangerous racing speeds to intentionally wrecking to lug nuts. [8]

NASCAR apologists 1

As you can read below, sometimes even their top spokesman reveals too much (for which they always later correct– by deleting).  Steve O’Connor explains, “With each incident, you never want to learn through those instances but you always do.”

NASCAR apologists 2

NASCAR (the France family) takes virtually all the money from it’s races. That’s why all the teams have sponsors wrapped all over their cars and patched on their uniforms, as they are necessary to pay all the expenses for these high-performance cars and its specialized personnel.  Prize money available for the teams is only a small fraction of what NASCAR rakes, and it doesn’t come close to covering any team’s expenses.

danica-patrick-natures-bakery

NASCAR will only change for the better when its fans & drivers & teammates join together. and take this form of racing as their own, as it shouldn’t be a whim of wealthy, ignorant, and drunken prejudice.  The lives on the track and in the stands, and the enjoyment of all its fans are worth much more to human society.

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It’s Bristol, Baby

FOX is unwatchable for any sports.  Best way to follow NASCAR online?  View NASCAR Live Leader board while streaming radio from Performance Racing Network (PRN) at goprn.com

…or Motor Racing Network.  They alternate free streaming broadcasts

Top 5 starting @ Bristol:

Carl Edwards #19, Matt Kenseth #20, Joey Logano #22, Denny Hamlin #11 & Kyle Busch #5– all but Logano are with JGR Toyota.  Martin Truex Jr. #78 (Toyota & working with JGR) starts 8th.

JGR clearly have the fastest cars, their problem is there’s precious little room for drivers to maneuver & pass with 40 cars on this short (half-mile) track.  Bristol really tests a driver’s patience.

 

Denny Hamlin ends Danica Patrick's practice run at Bristol

Photo above: More #11 Denny Hamlin messing with #10 Danica Patrick, this time during practice. Hamlin already had a fast car, so it didn’t matter that it ended his set-up run too.  Patrick & her #10 SHR team never got anything close to a decent car at Bristol.  Hamlin had one of the fastest cars, but kept running into things and finished 20th.

Danica Patrick @ Bristol 4-17-16

Update 4-20-16: Photo above from NASCAR America site. ‘Scan All’ is their best weekly piece, and most popular with hardcore fans. On the right, Danica Patrick is brilliantly holding off the four fastest cars for 15 laps or so, at the start of the race.  #19 Carl Edwards (the eventual race winner), # 20 Matt Kenseth, #22 Joey Logano & #5 Kyle Busch take turns– and lose the lead trying every time, until Kyle Busch (defending Cup champion) hits the wall with a blown front tire a few seconds later, bringing out a caution flag.  Patrick demonstrates how to hang in a race (for as long as possible), with basically nothing under the hood. The only speed for SHR is in Kevin Harvick’s #4, and Kurt Bush’s #41 car.

BTW:  “NASCAR America” (the 70-minute TV show) seems to have suddenly disappeared from it’s 5 PM ((ET) slot on NBCSN.  It wasn’t on Monday or Tuesday this week.  Wasn’t re-run in the morning either.  Premier League Football instead.

SHR: Kurt Busch & Kevin Harvick

Awhile later on PRN, Miss Sprint Cup take the microphone and encourages NASCAR fans to, “vote for their favorite driver for the All-Star race in Charlotte.” Then adding, “double up your vote on social media– last year, of course, Danica Patrick was top vote getter.”  NASCAR hates that, so it’s quickly back to racing action.

Danica Patrick: Nature's Bakery

Serious discussion on the Performance Racing Network concerning the ‘risk/reward ratio’ of tightening all the lug nuts.   Dale Earnhardt, Jr #88 says it “freaks him out.” [1]   I’d have to agree with him, as it’s pretty stupid to drive on 3 lug nuts/wheel; no one would willingly do it in their own vehicle. This rule was changed by NASCAR this year because pit crews were putting 5 (or only 4) lug nuts on each tire, but not tightening them– and there’s no way for an official to check if they’re tightened correctly.

Good Idea: 5 Tightened Lug Nuts per Wheel

According to NASCAR America, lug nuts are often glued on– instead of tightened (which is useless), to save time in the pits. Another few seconds on pit road to make sure the drivers’ cars is safe and will handle well, seems like a good strategy for a 3-hour race.  It’s hard to believe this is an issue, but then again this is NASCAR.  [2]

Caution-Flag

Lap 265: Caution flag; Kyle Busch wrecks. Danica Patrick, Greg Biffle #16 & Landon Cassill #38 stay out on old tires and move up dramatically.  Patrick moves up from running mid-twenties to 4th!  NASCAR announcers proceed to lose their heads, as the broadcast completely changes tone.  When Danica Patrick is in the top 10 (top 5–gasp!!), hysterics ensue among the NASCAR faithful.
Lap 303: Jimmie Johnson #48 loose wheel (lug nuts).
Lap 330:  Danica Patrick falls back to 14th on older tires, then the caution comes out again. Patrick comes out of the pits with fresh tires, and is 16th at the restart.  She picked up 8-10 spots on that decision to stay out on old tires.  Meanwhile, Matt Kenseth & Jimmie Johnson are behind the wall for repairs. The PRN announcer points out that Kenseth has had a fast-enough car to win half the races this year, and has only one top 10 finish to show for it.  He’d finish 36th today– 40 laps down.
Another caution flag– just after the restart.   Idiots!!
Lap 349: 10th caution flag.  While running 30th, Brian Scott slams into the wall.
Lap 427: Running 6th, Martin Truex Jr into the pits with a loose wheel; now running a lap down in 26th.  More loose lug nuts.  Danica Patrick falls to 27th (where she would finish), as NASCAR breathes a collective sigh-of-relief.
Lap 432: Running way back, Aric Almirola #43 wrecks– 12th caution of the day. He insists he can still race, as his car sits jacked up on a barrier. NASCAR finally insists Almirola vacate his vehicle to clear the track, and orders him to visit their trailer after the race.  He later re-enters the race 20 laps down.
Lap 485: 14th caution flag as Kevin Harvick (running top 5) spins Michael Annette #46, who was running 8 laps down.
Lap 491:  Regan Smith #7 (already 41 laps down) hits the wall– 15th caution.

Dale Earnhardt Jr

Wrap-up: Dale Earnhardt Jr started the race with a dead battery, putting him 2 laps down before his first lap.  He finished 2nd.  He says he had “a top-ten car at best” and he’s right.   He’s just a great driver, on a superb team (Hendricks).  All the fastest cars were once again JGR Toyota, with pole sitter Carl Edwards cruising to the win at Bristol.  [3]

carl_edwards

Only about 10-12 cars in the field really even had a chance to win.  There were way too many idiots trying stupid stuff on the track, made this a not-very-interesting race to follow. When drivers are more than 5 laps down (on a track like this), they need to be taken out of the race to clear some room for the front-runners.  Otherwise it’s too much useless congestion, making it impossible to race under green for very long.  Fifteen cautions is WAY too many.

If any of this makes any sense to you, then tune in next week when this NASCAR madness continues in Richmond, VA.    [4]

Update 4-20-16:  Plenty of empty seats at Bristol, again this year. This was traditionally one of NASCAR’s best-attended events. Fans now can’t afford to go, and/or are turned-off by what NASCAR has become. Check the comments on this piece.  [5]

Bristol 2013

Update 4-24-16: Richmond International Raceway: tight in, loose off.  ‘Tight in’ means the car is pushed up the track into the turn, and ‘loose off’ means the backend slides up coming off the turn. Tires ‘fall-off’ after 15 laps, necessitating using mostly the outside lane for the rest of the run. This race has traditionally been run at night, but not today.

Typical pit-stop call on MRN Live, “Sunoco fuel, windshield tear-off, pump-and-a-half on the jack, 4 Goodyear tires, 4 lug nuts on, and he’s off!”

JGR (Toyota) dominated again, just look at the laps led in this 400 lap race: Carl Edwards (151), Kyle Busch (78), Matt Kenseth (2), Denny Hamlin (1). Only four other drivers led the race: Kurt Busch (55), Jimmie Johnson (44), Kevin Harvick (63) & Brad Keselowski (6). JGR finished 1st (Carl Edwards) 2nd (Kyle Busch), 6th (Hamlin) & 7th (Kenseth). Four wins in a row for JGR.

Martin Truex, Jr #78 (Furniture Row/JGR) finished 9th, despite more lug nut issues.

Other notables: Jimmie Johnson (3rd), Kasey Kahne (4th), Kevin Harvick (5th), Joey Logano (8th), Kurt Busch (10th), and Dale Earnhardt Jr (13th).

Tony Stewart: Smoke

With 30 laps to go Danica Patrick #10 & Tony Stewart #14 get ‘waved around’ onto the lead lap. They had both fallen off the lead lap within the first 100 laps. Patrick finished 24th, and Smoke 19th in his return to the track. Only 10-12 cars had a chance to win at Richmond. There were 8 caution flags over 49 laps, and it was a safe race as every car finished.  Pretty much the same story every week, and fans are tuning out.  Only 26 cars finished on the led lap, and for much of the race it was <20 cars on the lead lap. What’s the point in have 40 cars on the track if <1/3 even have a chance win?

Update 4-28-16: NASCAR fines Tony Stewart $35K for speaking up on the lug nut issue, and being correct.  NASCAR doesn’t like it when drivers make them look bad, so the fine still stands.  NASCAR America (NBCSN) was back on the air Tuesday evening. This was the statement they issued on their new lug nut policy:

NASCAR lug Nut poilicy revision 4-26-16

I’m actually a big fan of NASCAR America, when Dale Jarret (not Kyle Petty) is their main spokesman.  Kyle has good knowledge of racing, but too often gets caught up in his petty prejudices.  NASCAR America takes fans inside the sport every week, including great features including #MyHomeTrack.  My advice to NACSAR: keep this show on the air a few nights/week, while recognizing that Danica Patrick is a great driver as well as a pioneer in motorsports.

In just about every other sport, women don’t compete against men.  Patrick has inspired millions of young girls with her skills & toughness, something no other driver can claim. In many ways, Danica Patrick is bigger than NASCAR.  It would be nice if she (or anyone else) were allowed to speak their mind once in awhile.  [6]

Next Sunday is Talladega Superspeedway, the fastest & longest (2.66 mile tri-oval) track in NASCAR.  Talladega (along w/ Daytona) is a restrictor plate race.  A restrictor plate is a device installed at the intake of the engine, to limit its power. This lowers the top speed, to level the competition and ensure better driver safety.  FYI: hardcore NASCAR fanatics mostly hate the restrictor plate rule.

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