Race Journal Online est. October 4, 2006"I believe anybody who tells you he is unbiased is a liar. Being human gives you bias, and you can't avoid that. The best you can ever hope to be is fair." -David Poole
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"Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. These guys all want to win. That’s why they came here. That’s why I came here, too." -Kevin Harvick, PIR Winner in only his second race with SHR
CHEERS to races at PIR because we love the later start times. Isn't it funny how even a later start time doesn't help us like Fontana, though?
CHEERS to Ricky Stenhouse's prerace preparation being the same every week. We expected all but the last... Firesuit on, steering wheel on, ear plugs in (first the right, then the left), then Chapstick, then finally... chewy SweeTarts?
JEERS to Michael Waltrip's odd grid walk hat. Even as I read that, though, I wonder if the word "odd" is in the right place in that sentence. And with only two drivers this week, I wonder if there were more PR people scurrying about to block the interviews after learning last week that it was an option.
CHEERS to fifty years of racing at Phoenix. And do you know who won the first race, 50 years ago? Tony Stewart's friend, AJ Foyt. Seems like a great day for Smoke to return to Victory Lane, then, doesn't it?
CHEERS to a great invocation! If God is for us, who can be against us? And everyone said, "Amen!"
CHEERS to what we've all been waiting for -- it's the Daytona 500!
CHEERS to Chris Myers, because when he introduced the Jimmie Johnson piece with, "In a car, on a bike, with a bat, or a ball..." I thought he was going Dr Seuss on us.
JEERS to Michael Waltrip saying to Kyle Busch, "What a hot lookin' rod you've got here." And it's so fun to see these boys when they're not in their driver's suit. Then saying Brian Vickers has been in rehab for a couple of months. I cringed when I thought of new viewers seeing that and what they must now think about Brian Vickers...AND NASCAR!!
JEERS to no hats. I finally figured it out while looking at Denny Hamlin. I couldn't understand why so many drivers' hair looked weird, but then I realized it's because we don't usually SEE their hair! For some reason, there seems to be a trend of going hatless.
JEERS to me and an apology to you for a rough off-season. I've never up and disappeared that way before, and I thank those of you who have read for so many years, and came by looking for new things to read. I'm sure we'll have opportunities to discuss all that happened, but for the moment, let's get on with our first CHEERS and JEERS of 2014.
CHEERS to the sentiment that nothing makes a driver hungrier than finishing second, but JEERS to Michael Waltrip throwing his own driver into that statement, "There's nothing -- Bowyer can tell you -- there's nothing that can make you hungrier than finishing second." Uh.. thanks, boss.
JEERS while I'm thinking of it, to all the coverage this past week that somehow had the height of Phil Parsons varying by as much as a foot. I don't know if there was a platform for Mike Joy and Larry Mac in the booth, or if Phil was "doing the Dillner", but he was notably shorter than either of them. On another show, he was sitting at what I'm going to continue calling "The Speed Desk", and his chair was lowered and he looked a little like a kid that had just graduated to the adult table at Thanksgiving. But when he stands next to tall Rick Allen, he's only a few inches shorter. Yes, it's random, and perhaps I'm the only one that noticed, but it had to be mentioned!
Parents aren't supposed to outlive their children. It's as simple as that. When they do, the heartache is greater than any other grief a person can feel. Martha Earnhardt outlived her son, Dale. Her house in Kannapolis is like a living museum of the very best kind -- a momma's pride in her boy.
Recently Steve Byrnes paid a visit to her and they talked about Dale for a feature piece on Race Hub. It was a very sweet visit they were having as she showed off some of her favorite pictures. Then they sat down for a more formal interview. When he asked how she felt about seeing the #3 car back on the track, her response brought tears to my eyes, followed by disgust.
"I have mixed feelings because I was told I would never see another 3 on the race track after Dale died."
NASCAR announced a new championship format today that will put greater emphasis on winning races all season long, expands the current Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field to 16 drivers, and implements a new round-by-round advancement format that ultimately will reward a battle-tested, worthy champion.
“We have arrived at a format that makes every race matter even more, diminishes points racing, puts a premium on winning races and concludes with a best-of-the-best, first-to-the-finish line showdown race – all of which is exactly what fans want,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. “We have looked at a number of concepts for the last three years through fan research, models and simulations, and also maintained extensive dialogue with our drivers, teams and partners. The new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be thrilling, easy to understand and help drive our sport’s competition to a whole new level.”
Penske Racing has changed to Team Penske. So now their initials have gone from PR to TP. I dunno about you, but when I hear TP, there's really only one thing I think about.
I wonder how NASCAR feels about the new nose on the Fords, an improved design to stop their fake grille bars from making debris. Maybe the new design isn't to stop the debris as much as it is to hide the launching mechanism that lets a driver shed that piece when he most needs a caution.
So Tony Stewart who's been married and divorced three times in six years to his crew chiefs has declined Zippy's offer to remarry. Seriously. Nobody looked better standing next to Tony during the anthem each Sunday, and nobody handled his roller-coaster emotions better. Come on, Tony, take him back!
Ready or not, here comes the #3 car back to NASCAR's top series.
I'd love to be a team player and say how great this is, but I'm just not feeling it. I think the number should have been retired. I don't buy the argument that if we start retiring numbers we'll run out. There are only two that should be, at this point, retired -- #3 and #43. Now since Richard Petty is still in the sport and wants to use that number, so he should. But when a time comes that he is no longer involved, it should be retired. And the #3 should have already been.
CHEERS to Mike Joy and Krista Voda again hosting the program. The man/woman thing is always a good combo, and both know the sport. We don't need host "ringers" in NASCAR, we just need our own people.
JEERS however, to the red carpet hosts. One is under-dressed for the occasion, and the other is barely dressed at all. And by the way, when did we start referring to the media as "sweet kids, I promise." Condescending much, Mr. Wood? Funny, I didn't notice any of them even pointing a camera his way, much less flashing.
CHEERS to husband Jimmie Johnson, "You can pick on me all you want, just don't pick on my wife."
JEERS to that too-long list of special guests because aside from Mike Joy and Krista Voda, the rest are entirely unnecessary. This just doesn't have to be the production they continue to make it. It's not a music award show, it's NASCAR.
Some of you may know I'm a Doctor Who fan. For those who aren't, or are unfamiliar with the BBC series, The Doctor can travel anywhere in space and time (and usually does so to save our world or another from some form of nefarious aliens) in his time machine known as the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space). Here's your first tie-in, but not the last or most significant - TARDIS is a six letter acronym like NASCAR. See, now you want to keep reading, don't you?
So recently, someone asked me if I could go anywhere in space and time, where would it be? Pondering that possibility, some ideas came to mind that I'd never before considered. Given that I have no "space" desires except perhaps the moon, my list covers Bible times to NASCAR.
Here we are, then, the first week of the off-season. It doesn't usually feel like it's really over until after the banquet, but this year, I'm feeling it right away. So many other things I enjoy in life that sometimes get put on the back burner between February and November are suddenly on the calendar. What? There's more to life than racing? Why yes there is! I'm glad you asked!
I'm developing a new column that will be called "More to Life". You may or may not find it listed on Jayski's page because it may or may not be race-related on any given week. If you come here looking only for technical race-only commentary (and I have no idea why you'd have any reasonable expectation of that), this column may not be for you. See, in case this has escaped you (and I know it has for a few), my interest in NASCAR has never really been of a technical nature. I don't write about valve springs or wedge or chassis adjustments too much of the time. Rather, what I like about NASCAR has always been from a human-interest story point of view. I like the players and the side stories. I like the humor and the rivalry and the families.
Junior's and Harvick are in. Who do you think will be the next winner?
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TV Times are only estimates
Sprint Cup 2014 Schedule Saturday night races in red
Feb 23 Daytona FOX 1pm
Mar 02 Phoenix FOX 3pm
Mar 09 Las Vegas FOX 3pm
Mar 16 Bristol FOX 1pm
Mar 24 Fontana FOX 3pm
Mar 30 Martinsvl FOX 1pm
Apr 06 Texas FOX 7:30pm
Apr 12 Darlington FOX 1pm
Apr 20 OFF (Easter)
Apr 26 Richmond FOX 7:30pm
May 04 Talladega FOX 1pm
May 10 Kansas FOX 7:00pm
May 17 All Star SPEED 7:30p
May 25 Charlotte FOX 6:00pm
Jun 01 Dover FOX 1pm
Jun 08 Pocono TNT 1pm
Jun 15 Michigan TNT 1pm
Jun 22 Sonoma TNT 3pm
Jun 28 Kentucky TNT 7:30pm
Jul 05 Daytona TNT 7:30pm
Jul 13 New Hampshr TNT 1pm
Jul 21 OFF
Jul 27 Indianapolis ESPN 1pm
Aug 03 Pocono ESPN 1pm
Aug 10 WatGlen ESPN 1pm
Aug 17 Michigan ESPN 1pm
Aug 23 Bristol ABC 7:30pm
Aug 31 Atlanta ESPN 7:30pm
Sep 06 Richmond ABC 7:30pm
The Challenger Round Sep 14 Chicago ESPN 2pm
Sep 21 New Hampshr ESPN 2pm
Sep 28 Dover ESPN 2pm
The Contender Round Oct 05 Kansas ESPN 2pm
Oct 11 Charlotte ABC 7:30pm
Oct 19 Talladega ESPN 2pm
The Eliminator Round Oct 26 Martinsvl ESPN 1:30pm
Nov 02 Texas ESPN 3pm
Nov 09 Phoenix ESPN 3pm
The Championship Nov 16 Homestead ESPN 3pm
When I was a little girl, growing up in Southern California, my grandma would come visit from Indiana for three months a year to get away from the Indiana winters. Oh, the stories I could tell and the memories I have of Grandma's annual visits. But one of my fondest memories is of Grandma's penchant for See's Candy. There are few stores outside of the west coast, so I remember going to the candy store to order something special with my mom, to be shipped to Indiana. Whether it was Mother's Day, Grandma's birthday, or if it had just been awhile, my mom would kindly send candy to her mother-in-law half way across the country.
When she came to visit, there'd be a box waiting for her in the top drawer of the dresser in the spare room where she'd stay, and very rarely, she'd share a piece with me. I think the rarity of the occasion made it all the more special.
It wasn't until I moved to Nebraska that I really missed seeing See's Candy stores. Nuts & Chews. That was the special mix we'd always get in the box. And the square lollypops? There's nothing like them anywhere else. Caramel and chocolate and vanilla. If you've never had See's Candy, you should try a box. I promise you'll be glad you did. I recommend the Nuts & Chews, of course, so that's the picture I've posted for you. Click it and you'll see more. Great for gifts, but even better to order your own box. And if you hide it in the top dresser drawer, I won't tell anyone where it is. -Carol