Friday, July 3, 2009

The Two Faces of Jimmie Johnson!

All we normally see of Jimmie Johnson is the Mr. Cool exterior that he portrays during interviews. Well those of us with's Trackpass got more than that on Saturday night.

During and after an altercation with the 6 of David Ragan, Jimmie let his darker side out of the box. Understandibly angry with David after being ran into, JJ let loose a flurry of expletives and threats. At one point he was so angry he was unintelligible. There was also talk of ripping his MFing head off. When told that Ragan hit the wall after hitting the 48, Jimmie replied " Good for that MFer"

Lest all you 48 fans think I am bashing Mr Johnson for this outburst. Please refrain from attacking me. I found it refreshing that Jimmie has this mean streak. Its nice to see him show that emotion. I am sure he has these outburst from time to time. Its to be expected from all the drivers. It was just the first time I ever heard it from him.

Just so everyone doesn't think I am getting all cozy with the 48 and the HMS crew, I do have a few other revelations learned from listening to the highlights of Johnson in-car audio.

I think Chad Knaus, in addition to being a top notch crewchief, would also make a great Lamaze coach. I counted atleast 3 times were he told JJ to "calm down and take a deep breath". It was quite funny.

The quote of the night from the 48 in-car however was during the stop in which Kevin Harvick helped Jimmie park his car at a 90' angle to the wall. After getting the car pointed the right direction, Jimmy said " @#%& What did we do to deserve all this". Then I thought I heard him ask for a tissue. Well just kidding about the tissue part.

Anyway just some insights from the 48 in-car radio, some I were impressed with, others well lets just say I got a good laugh.

Seriously though, I am not a paid shill for that service, but it does add a little flavor to just watching the races. It usually gets a little behind due to buffering, but it is uncensored and great entertainment. I recommend it highly, you can get great insight into your favorite driver and his team.

Is Jimmy Johnson Overrated??

I have seen this question posed about Dale Jr. and it got me thinking about who else could be overrated in Nascar. Let me point out that i neither like nor dislike JJ as a driver, and that i am no fan of HMS as a team. Also let me say that i think Jimmie is a good driver. However I think his success outweighs his ability.

What does that mean you say?? It means that i think if you put any number of "good drivers" in the 48 with Chad Knaus as crewchief, they would put up "great driver" numbers.

The proof you ask?? Well there really isn't any, but let me ask you this. Did anyone know who Jimmie Johnson was prior to 2002, when he won 3 races. Lets look at his history..
He started out racing motorcycles and off-road trucks. He did well here, but is off-road racing a sign of a great Nascar driver. No, see Robby Gordon for defense exibit A.

He then went on to run ASA and the then Busch series. In 1999 he ran a full ASA season winning twice and finishing 3rd in points. Is being a good ASA driver a sign of a great NASCAR driver. No, see Frank Kimmel for defense exibit B. In 2000 and 01 he ran full Busch seasons, finishing 10th and 8th in pts. Sure sign of greatness, Nope see Elton Sawyer ( finished higher in pts both years) for defense exhibit C.

Then in 2002 a miracle for Jimmy happened. He came to Sprint Cup in great equipment (the HMS 48) and was paired with Chad Knaus. Low and behold a 3 win rookie season and finished 5th in season points.

We all know the rest of the story. Now before you start the angry, your a JJ hater, comments. Please note i am not saying that Jimmy is a bad driver. I just think that Chad Knaus's ability to adapt the car to changing track conditions, with the obvious quality of HMS cars adds up to a package that would make any good driver into a "great one"

I would love to see what would happen if you put Jr into the 48 and JJ in the 88. My guess is that Jr would start competing and Jimmy would be begging to go back to the 48.

So anyway, that just my opimion i could be wrong, but probably not. Let the angry comments begin.....

Would You wear an M & M's jacket??

A recent blog by NBA Outlaw caught my attention. Not only well written but also interesting questions. Now all the other excellent FoxBloggers answered his questions, so i didn't feel i needed to post this as a comment.

There has been a big discussion about about how Jr sells more "stuff" but Kyle is a better driver. i am not here to debate that. i personally am more of a Kyle fan than a Jr one.

My question is Do you think the type of sponsor affects merchandise sales? Jr has cooler sponsors than Kyle. Seriously, Mountain Dew, Amp and formerly Bud, are definetly more hip that M & M's, Snickers, Pedigree and Interstate.

Being a Rusty Wallace fan, i was ok wearing all the Miller Lite stuff, even though i don't drink beer. Now i am conflicted. Can i buy a Jr hat (i love mountain dew) but i don't want people to think i am a Jr fan.

I am sure the type of sponsor has a great deal to do with sales. Only the most die-hard Mark Martin fan wore Viagra gear, and i have seen people wearing Bud and Amp gear that i know couldn't pick Jr out of a line-up.

I really like Kyle Busch, but until i see a M & M racing hat that isn't violently yellow, i will stick with the RedBull gear. I am a fan of both drivers and the hats are cool.

What say you Nascar Bloggers, any gear you wouldn't wear even though your a fan of the driver?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sick of Hearing about Tony Stewart's NEW Team!!

First let me start off by saying that although I am not a Stewart fan, I respect his driving ability and his career up till this point. I mean the Indy 500 - Coke 600 doubles were enough to gain most peoples respect, throw in the multiple championships in different series and cars, the talent in the man is undeniable.

That being said, I wish people would stop acting like he created a whole team and is being successful right off the jump. I just read the article by Rea White, titled "Has Tony Stewart silenced his Critics" My first thought was WHO was critical of Tony taking that deal. I mean who in their right mind would pass up half ownership of a race team for Free!! Sure some people might have said leaving Gibbs was a mistake, but he was looking for a way out of JGR as soon as they went to Toyotas.

So back to my point. Tony did not start a new team. He didn't have to build a shop, hire employees, buy equipment etc.etc. Basically he went in, hired a few key managers, and made a deal to buy Hendricks equipment. Is this wrong? NO its smart, but don't say you started a new team.

For all the C@#$ Mikey Waltrip gets, he started a new team, not only that, a new team with a manufacturer new to the Series. Same with Red Bull. As you can tell by the results, the fruits of these labours are just starting to be born. More for Red Bull than MWR, but the 00 isn't running to bad.

I give them much more credit for starting teams. Tony should get credit for reviving the Haas organization, not starting it.It took a driver/owner of his stature in the sport to bring in the sponsors he did. Without them, Stewart/Haas would be in the same boat Haas was in before, running subpar equipment with smalltime sponsors. The dollars Old Spice, Office Depot, the Army and Burger King put into the organization, allowed Stewart the financials to partner w/Hendrick and get cars and motors.

So please stop telling me how great Tony's NEW team is doing. Just go back to saying what a good driver he is.

thats just my opinion, i could be wrong, but probably not!

Favoritism AT Hendrick Motorsports (Reprint from 3/09)

At California two of the 6 HMS entries blew motors. Notice I said "6" entries, I consider Stewart/Haas a HMS entity. Basically just Rick's way of getting around the Nascar Superteam rule.
Being an anti Hendrick person, I wasn't sad to see these motors blow up, but it got me wondering why only two. It was supposedly a parts issue. Well if the motors are all made at one specific shop, then transported to the race shops, WHY didn't all of them blow up?

Now like I said, I am not a big HMS supporter, I am more of an underdog kind of guy, but I wonder why guys like Dale Jr and Mark Martin would knowingly go to teams that get inferior or R&D equipment. Just look at the performance of the 5 and 25/88 teams over the last few years. How many wins did Kyle Busch have in the 5 versus last year in the 18 (first year in a Toyota and with a new team)

You can't tell me that the 5 and 25/88 get the same stuff as the 24 and 48.
As much as I dislike Roush, atleast he seems to give everyone the same equipment, and leave it to the driver and crews to thrash it out on the track.

Which brings me back to why on earth anyone would go to these two teams, knowing that the 48 and 24 get better stuff. Jr had his choice to go anywhere to any team. I am sure RCR would have made room and given JR the best cars and crew he could, even if it meant Harvick would suffer. Or maybe does Jr. want out of the limelight and thought HMS would be a good place to play 3rd string be JG and JJ.

Just my opinion, it could be wrong, but probably not.

Race Fans- Nature or Nurture (Reprint from 03/07)

As I sit here during the off week, I thought back to when I first became interested in racing. I began to wonder why I love racing so much, and others dislike it.

I grew up in an average suburban home, my dad is a huge baseball and basketball fan, and would only watch a race if I made him. I have always had in interest in cars, started with Hotwheels when I was a wee tot, graduated to models and r.c. cars and finally the real thing. Somewhere in there, around the late eighties i found Nascar. I have been a fan ever since. So why do I like racing so much. Everyone else around me seems disinterested, my wife calls it Napcar, although she must learn in her sleep, because she can tell you who drive what car. My father in-law loves cars. Grew up with muscle cars, had a few, then around 50 had his midlife crisis and bought a sports car. But he doesn't like Nascar at all. I have got him slightly into drag racing, but only because i was racing his car.

Is it something in our DNA, or how we grew up? I hear alot from people who grew up around racing, so that seems like a nurture or inherited love of the sport. So where does that leave a guy like me. My dads in finance, All my jobs have been automotive related. Was there a glitch in my DNA??

I am a father now, and I want to have a better relationship with my son, than i have with my dad. So every Sunday, I scoop up the little man, and we watch the race and play cars. I just wonder if that will be enough to spark his interest, or if he will turn out loving golf or bowling or something. (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Anyway, Whats your thoughts Nascar Bloggers? How did you get into racing? Friends, family, out of the blue like me?? How about an unofficial, unscientific poll on whether its nature or nurture??

Who is the best Driver in the World (Reprint from 03/07)

If your looking for an answer to that question, STOP READING!!!!

Why did I make that the title of this post?? Well, I suppose, because it would make people look and maybe read this post. A little self serving, but then aren't we all.

In all reality its an impossible question to answer. Each motorsport has its own intricacy that makes it special, and difficult, therefore you can't compare them. Even within a single type of racing its hard to specify which driver is better. There are always differences in equipment, the best driver in the world cannot win with inferior equipment. Truthfully, even when you attempt to put drivers in equal car (i.e. IROC) that isn't a true variable either. The fact that they raced on tracks where the Nascar drivers had an advantage for the most part, throws a wrench in those statistics.

So how do we judge which driver is the best?? Highest paid, most wins, average finish, longevity, popularity?? None of these would be a true barometer of someones talent.

Now I am a Nascar fan, however I am also a fan of many other forms of motorsports. Including rally racing, drag racing, scca, Sportscar racing, plus the occasional F1 and IRL,Cart type races. I think too often we pidgeonhole ourselves into one thing or another. Plenty of people think Nascar is silly, the same can be said for IRL,CART. But I can tell you that I just love racing. Whether its the drop of the green at the Bristol night race, to seeing to guys run on the 1/8 mile drag , from driving on a autocross course, to Watching a NHRA top fueler blow through the quarter. They all get my heart pumping, the hair on my arms standing, and my adrenaline flowing.
So why I am I writing all this, well because I keep hearing people bagging on Juan Pablo Montoya, and people throwing him up as the greatest driver in history. I saw in another blog that J.P. was nothing compared to Earnhardt Sr. We are talking apples to oranges people. I mean really, come on. Sr was a great Nascar driver, there is no doubt of that. But can anyone really think that he would run all over everyone in an F1 car, or an Indy car, or a WRC type car?? In the same vain, Could Micheal Shumacher really come over here and run good at Bristol? I doubt that either one could run well, atleast not right off the bat anyway.
Anyway, there are so many variables, that we can never truly know who the best driver in the world. There are great examples of cross over type people, that i think lends them towards being at the top of the list. Earnhardt Sr did compete in several Sportscar type events and ran very well, Tony Stewart, though it pains me to say(lol) does have not only 2 Nextel Cups, but an IRL championship as well. And that brings us back to Juan Pablo. He has won in everything he has ever driven. Do I think he can drive yes, do I think he will win in Nascar at the cup level, yes. does that mean he is better than our Nascar heroes. NO, but until Jeff Gordon, or Tony Stewart gets a chance the drive in F1, we will never know for sure.

Until then I say this. Cheer for your favorite driver, but keep an open mind. Watch a Rolex Grand AM race, watch an NHRA event and think to yourself, how would Tony or Juan Pablo do in a 300 mph dragster. Watch the WRC and ask yourself if Jimmy Johnson Could go 140 through a 70 turn course on snow. I bet they could, and i would watch for sure. Wouldn't you?