Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kenseth vs. Kenseth: this time it's for real!

Wry wit and knowing smiles await the loser. It will be just awful.
Matt Kenseth will compete against his 16-year-old son, Ross, on Saturday in a limited Late Model race at Madison (Wisc.) International Speedway. They’ve never competed against each other in an actual race on a track. Sarcastic Midwestern bragging rights figure to be the prize. And neither one will want to be on the business end of that.

Monday, August 24, 2009

If the pitch is a strike, can he start on Thursday?

Clint Bowyer is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Kansas City Royals game on Tuesday. Hopefully he'll need a glove. Hopefully he'll bring this one.
Honestly, this was just my excuse to post my favorite NASCAR picture of the season.
But the Royals could use a fresh arm about now. And after finishing 21st at Bristol on Saturday night, Bowyer is likely to need something to occupy his thoughts in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the state of NASCAR and the car of "now"

I just think, that everyone needs to ... what I am getting at is I think we need to open our eyes a little bit, everyone. I think media could address it a little stronger. I think that the drivers could be a little more vocal about it. I think NASCAR could probably be a little more urgent in improving our product. With the ultimate result is great, exciting racing that the fans will enjoy. That the drivers enjoy and so everyone is happy. That should be our quest always, even when things are good. I feel like especially right now, we need to really, really try to turn over every stone.
That includes where we are with this COT and where we feel like its development is. And where we feel like its future goes and where we feel like this car goes; how it evolves. I just have a sense of urgency over the last couple of weeks I guess to see if we can' do better.

The reason, I think, where that comes from, is the double-file restarts and the spark that really put in to the racing. I enjoy it, I think all the drivers enjoy it. I think the fans love it. We need more of that. We need to do that. Things that are tangible such as the cars themselves and think of more ideas we can do within the races to add more of that. The double-file restarts gave us an opportunity to be exciting for only a moment and we need to figure out how we can maintain that throughout the entire race. “I feel like, I just remember how the other cars drove. I liked how they drove and I like how this car is safe but I want to be able to race it like we raced the other cars.

NASCAR is open to all of the drivers. I was just asked a question and gave an answer. I'm not trying to start a crusade against nobody or cause anybody problems. We all, I think, the drivers, myself included, we all work together with NASCAR to do this. I am just trying to remind everyone of the optimal goal and prize for us is to have better racing.

Even when things are good, we shouldn't rest on any success we may be having. We are not really where we want to be, I don't think, as a sport. We need to do thinks to excite corporate America. Excite the fans. We need to get proactive immediately to make that happen.

Dale wags the dog no more? NASCAR dismisses Earnhardt Jr.'s thoughts

There was a time when a pointed critique from Dale Earnhardt Jr., seemed to send papers shuffling inside the NASCAR officials' hauler. At least that was the perception, which alone is a powerful notion within the sport. NASCAR's most popular driver and crown prince at times seemed amused and empowered by that realization.
He equated launching beer cans with free speech when they rained upon the track at Talladega Superspeedway in April, 2004 after the field was frozen under caution in the final laps and Jeff Gordon coasted to victory, one spot ahead of the crowd favorite. Oddly, he mused how it might have been good that he finally got the bad end of a controversial decision.
But three months later, the green-white-checker rule took effect, eliminating such situations.
So Earnhardt's candid, measured assessment of the current Sprint Cup car last weekend would seemingly have some clout. Apparently not so much anymore. After his string of disappointing seasons, his fall from the ranks of the weekly competitive, is he just another voice in the garage? He, after all, and his family have been around this sport for a couple of years.
NASCAR president Mike Helton didn't sound very accommodating - borderline dismissive - in response to some of Earnhardt's suggestions.
"There's some frustration there that I think contributes to his comments," Helton said. "His dad would come in when he was having a bad stretch, he (would say), 'Man, I'd like to change something.' And I think that's what (Junior) was talking about."
Didn't sound like it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bourdais looking for a team that trusts him, would love it to be Newman/Haas/Lanigan again, but considers a return unlikely in current climate

Exchanged e-mails with four-time former Champ Car champion and Formula One refugee Sebastien Bourdais - Toro Rosso actually fired him in a text message? Classy - after he returned from vacation (or would that be holiday?). He's open to a return to North American open wheel racing, would love for it to be with Newman/Haas/Lanigan, where he dominated prior to his F1 attempt in 2008. But he's not sure it's a viable situation, even though the team said last month it would do whatever it could for its former star.

Q: Is it your preference to remain in F1/race in Europe or are you open to returning to North America?
A: It doesn't really matter. The most important (thing) is to find an exciting racing program and to be competitive. I need to find a place where the people I work with trust me, so I can enjoy myself driving race cars again.

Q: Which begs the question, have you spoken with Newman/Haas/Lanigan about returning, either this year or next? Or spoken to other teams?
A: I have stayed in touch with NHLR ever since I left, but unless the team finds more sponsors it doesn't seem very likely (even if I would love to). Regarding the other options, I am quite open, however a lot of teams are struggling to find the money they need to run at the top and/or at all.

Q: How much more attractive is a unified North American open wheel series than when you were in Champ Car?
A: IndyCar isn't as strong as the open wheel fans would love to see it, but open wheel is doing a bit better now than when I was in Champ Car. I always had a lot of fun racing in the States and IndyCar surely is one of the very few options if I am to stay in open wheel.