What a surreal moment to see Kyle Busch jogging past our pit area after Monday's Truck Series race. I know he's still a young 'un, but that kind of immature behavior won't win him any fans anytime soon. Being a poor loser is one thing, running away from your team (for the second week in a row) is another. In case you missed it, NASCAR.com has the video of the post-race jog...
It was a great day for KHI, finishing one-two, but a long, tough and rainy weekend for their third truck - the No. 4 Oakley-sponsored truck team. Ricky Carmichael is a quick learner and should be good at Kansas in late April... I thought it was only a Cup and/or Dale Jr. thing to see fans grabbing at loose pieces of bodywork and debris from a crashed race car, but now I've learned it's not. Within seconds of Carmichael coming to the pits with a damaged nose of the No. 4 truck, people had gathered nearby to scavenge any piece they could carry, cut or tote away. As you can see in the picture, one fan even brought his work gloves to get a better handle on the jagged bits after a wreck. I know folks love souvenirs, but it was a bizarre sight to watch...
I had a decent week in SPEEDtv.com's Super 7 Sweep game powered by Wind Tunnel- finishing second to one of my favorite guys, Tommy Kendall, in the "SPEED contributor's" league, and 45th overall among 1300 entries. (I would have really cleaned up if Busch hadn't pulled his bonehead move to drop to 17th place on Monday...) You can play one week or every week and win prizes. Check it out here.
Now's your chance to prove you know more than I do about picking winners in the Super 7 Sweep game powered by SPEED TV's Wind Tunnel. Each week, pick seven drivers from among the top racing series in the world (NASCAR, F1, IRL, Sports cars), and then compare your results against mine and other SPEED personalities. You can create your own fantasy league as well to compete with your friends and enemies. Starting this week, you can qualify for great prizes and make it to "the Chase" for the grand prize - an off-road adventure in Ensenada with Wind Tunnel host Dave Despain. Click the link above to sign-up and get started by building your own race team.
I've made my picks for this week - now is your chance to see how you match up!
Watch for my SPEEDtv.com column on Thursday (instead of Tuesday) this week as a part of their Formula One season preview.
If you were in Las Vegas this weekend, you'd never know the country was in a recession.
The City of Glam and Sleaze was as busy as I've ever seen it for the first four days of the NCAA basketball tournament. I met a group of close high school friends to watch the tournament - and we ended up in the main concert hall at the Paris hotel and casino, along with thousands of fans and glassy-eyed bettors watching huge video screens from each of the tourney sites across the country.
It was a raucous crowd - drunk since 9am each morning from the combination of a great basketball event and Buckets of Bud Beer for $20. (Actually, the buckets held five iced Bud Light aluminum cans - not literally a bucket of beer...) It was the first time I've been at an event with "grown" men cursing at 18- and 19-year-old kids on giant video screens. The biggest cheers were not for victories - but for teams that covered the point spread or scored enough points for the "over" bets.
Now I need to fight the crowds at the airport and hope it'll be a safe bet getting home amidst the cattle-like nature of modern air travel.
I've had an icon in the right-hand column for a few weeks, but I've not written about the new social networking site from Kevin Harvick Inc.-- Fan Central.
Kevin and DeLana have created a Facebook-of-sorts for fans. You can create your own blog, make friends, upload pics and videos and also get the latest race news.
It's a fun site - and I also encourage you to sign up for the "No. 4" Truck Series Group. (We need to overtake the No. 33 bunch for total members!) Group members get all news releases, practice and qualifying updates and post-race reports delivered right to their email in-box. Check it out!
Look for Ricky Carmichael and a cool sponsor on the No. 4 truck at Martinsville. He was not scheduled to run the event, but KHI has secured a primary sponsor and a rad new paint scheme for the Martinsville race - stay tuned for the full news.
UPDATE: OAKLEY will sponsor Carmichael at Martinsville. Thanks to Oakley for sponsoring KHI and RC for the Martinsville short track Truck Series race!
It was a small surprise to learn today that Anheuser-Busch - now part of Belgium's InBev- has chosen to end a 30-year relationship with Kenny Bernstein Racing in the National Hot Rod Association at the close of the 2009 season. Bernstein was a multi-time champion in both Funny Car and Top Fuel, and his son Brandon continued in the cockpit when Kenny decided to step aside earlier in the decade. It was the longest continuous primary sponsorship in American motorsports - topping the lengthy reign of STP/Petty Enterprises. No one was as good as the elder Bernstein at personally marketing the brand - especially with the wholesalers and retailers in race markets.
Bud will also cease as the official beer of the NHRA - following their withdrawal as the official beer of NASCAR in 2008 - as an attempt to direct more funds toward "younger drinkers in the 21-27 year old range." Is this a bad sign for the NHRA, who saw a number of energy drink sponsorships come and go in the past year? Could drag racing's demographics skew too old to make an impact in the current economic climate?
This is more evidence that beer is no longer a recession-proof product (see this startling data from the FiveThirtyEight site). But is this move purely a sign of the economy, or does it foreshadow changes in sports marketing philosophies for the new owners of what had been America's top sports advertiser?
The dramatic new regulations are in place for the 2009 Formula One season - and it's almost as if they have taken cues from NASCAR's CoT with the restrictions. Here's Sebastian Vettel and a brilliant animated segment to explain the new aerodynamic package, the new tires and what in the world "KERS" really does. Enjoy.
In the category of unbelievable Formula One Fun - check this out! Bluetooth connectivity taken to its extreme. Watch to the end to see Lewis Hamilton and his mobile telly... so nice to have Vodafone as a sponsor.
I have no idea which of the urban legends is the true origin of the superstition (you'll get as many different stories as the number of people who claim to know its origin) - but I do have a strong memory of an October afternoon at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte. The Budweiser team was preparing for the 500-mile race and a well-meaning crewman's wife or girlfriend had made a nice trail mix blended with Halloween candy and brought it to the hauler for the crew to enjoy. However, when Tony "Pops" Eury Sr. saw that the mix contained peanuts, he took the Tupperware container, opened the side door of the hauler and threw the container with all his might down the side of the trailer. The Tupperware flew like a Frisbee, its contents flying in every direction...
The best article I've see to explain the various racing superstitions comes from Brant James at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. You can see his 2004 story here. The fear of the color green is no longer what it once was - purely from sponsors who demand green hues in their paints scheme. Money changes all - just don't include any $50 bills - those are bad luck...
The green from the Monster Energy logo is not considered bad luck, so check out this slick video of Ken Block testing his Monster Subaru for a Gymkhana. Not sure what a Gymkhana is? Check out the video or read the wiki here.