16 and 21

Hey folks, long time no post. What are those numbers for? Glad you asked! 🙂

For the 51st time in NASCAR the Daytona 500 will get the green flag to start the 2009 season in 16 days. This race is the Superbowl of NASCAR. Why? Well for the most part it is made up of last years winners, previous champions, and all the all-stars from the sport. But this year NASCAR and the France family in their infinite wisdom has thrown a curve to all us fans. It could be good, but some purists (like Dale Jr.) don’t really like the new format. Before the 500 there are races called the Bud Shootout where past pole winners and race winners from the previous season get to race each other to get into the 500 (really its just for starting positions, they pretty much all make it in if they were in the top 35 in owners points). But this year with all the changes to teams and drivers switching to different cars, its a little fuzzy.

For example, Ryan Newman (NEWMAN!!) who WON the 2008 Daytona 500 and got a pole in race 8 at Phoenix will not be elegible for the Shootout and thus will not be able to defend his title. Why? Because the owner points he got while racing for Penske in the #12 Dodge will not transfer over with him when he sadles up in a new Chevy racing for Stewart-Hass Racing. Terrible isn’t it? Yeah I agree. NASCAR is taking the top 6 teams and one wildcard from each manufacturer for the Shootout. Here is the unofficial lineup.

One last thing, if you did not get to see the movie The Ride of Their Lives you can order the DVD. It was a great movie.

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The second number signifies the start of the Bassmasters Tour for 2009, which gets underway on Feb 20th, 21 days 14 hours from now. The Classic is the Superbowl of bass fishing as well (odd that they have these at the beginning of the season huh?). This year the Classic will be at the Red River in Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

Qualifying for the Classic is similar to the Daytona 500. Last years Champion, Alton Jones is in. The top 36 anglers in the Angler of the Year competition are also in. Here is a chart that shows who is in and how they got there. The Federation Nation and Weekend Series champs are basically amteurs. And for the first time there will be a woman competing in the Classic. It will be Kim Bain, who is the WBT (Women’s Bassmaster Tour) Champion from 2008. It will be a Classic indeed. Can you believe it? For the first time in 38 years there will be a woman in the Superbowl of this great sport! Cool! Good for her and I wish her good luck. Read her story on the link above, its a good one.

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2009 is looking to be a great year in NASCAR and Bassmasters fishing. Hope my DVR can handle all the excitement!

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This is pretty cool.

Just this past Monday it was announced that the merger between GEM and Petty Enterprises would be named Richard Petty Motorsports as I wrote about in my last blog. Today I did a search for richard petty motorsports on Google and found this. I will let you read what the owner of that site has to say but it is very cool what he did. If you don’t feel like going there I will summarize. When he found out that the two teams were going to merge he did a search to see if http://www.richardpettymotorsports.com was available and to his (and probably most other race fans) it was, so he purchased it. Not sure who through, doesn’t really matter. You can get a domain name for under 10 bucks these days so no skin off his back I would guess.

Anyway, he posted a note on the site saying that he is going to give the domain to RPM free of charge if they want it (who wouldn’t). He is doing this because a few years ago Richard Petty, Greg Biffle, and Darrell Waltrip went to Washing state (where this guy is from as well as Greg Biffle and Kasey Kahne) to talk to politicians up there to see what they can do to get a racetrack and Sprint Cup race in the Northwest. According to Dale Renner, owner of this site, they were basically laughed out of the state.

By Dale giving this domain to the new RPM team, it is his way of apologizing to the three men who came to spread NASCAR to the Northwest. I say good for you Dale! I hope there are more people out there like you and I hope they are all NASCAR fans! This is what Yahoo! sports blogger Jay Busbee had to say about this site. This was also posted before the name was announced.

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24 days 21 hours until the Daytona 500!

Richard Petty Motorsports is born!

The name is official! Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM, get it :)) is the new team formed from the merger of Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Petty Enterprises. petty_logoThey will field four cars this year with Kasey Kahne in the #9, Elliot Sadler in the #19, Reed Sorenson in the famous #43, and A.J. Allmendinger will be in the #44. So far it seems that Kasey and Elliott will keep their sponsors from last year. No word on the sponsors for the 43 and 44. Also not sure where the #10 will be that was part of GEM last year.

All I can say is that I am pumped! Admittedly I have only been a Kasey Kahne fan since last year and mostly for my daughter Savannah. It’s going to be a great year for Kasey. Savannah just turned 9, Kasey drives the #9 and its 2009! And now he will be part of RPM! This is just way too cool. I am so glad that there will be a strong Dodge team this year. Seems like they don’t get any credit. Yeah, they only won 4 races last year and one of those was a rained shortened (by only 7 laps) race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway won by Kurt Busch, but I really feel that the Dodge drivers will step it up this year and get to the front much more often and stay there!

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In other news, Bobby Labonte and his new #96 gets the points from Yates Racing’s #38 who finished 27th in owner’s points, to be locked into starting the first 5 races of 2009. All cars who finished in the top 35 in owner’s points get a guaranteed spot in the first 5 races each year. They still do the qualifying for the race but it is only for starting position, not to get in, they are locked in from points. This only goes for the first 5 races, after that you have to stay in the top 35. If you fall out of that, you have to qualify to race. If you don’t, you go home. Bobby Labonte will be the only Ford driver I will pull for. Period. I am a Dodge Fan after all!

Bobby Labonte will drive in 09!

Hot on the heels of my long winded rambling yesterday about the mix up of drivers and teams in NASCAR, it was unofficially announced today that Bobby Labonte will drive for the new Hall of Fame/Yates Racing team that just announced their alignment as well. Bobby will be driving the number 96 Ford Fusion for Hall of Fame team. According to the Wikipedia Yates Racing will field 3 cars but according to Yates Racing’s own website they only have 2 cars. The number 28 driven by Travis Kvapil (pronounced kwapil) and number 38 driven by David Gilliland.

Hall of Fame Racing is co-owned in part by Dallas Cowboys QBs Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. The ties are solid with Bobby Labonte. Hall of Fame Racing was formed in 2006 and their first driver in the Daytona 500 was Bobby’s older brother Terry. Also in 2001 both Bobby and Terry were inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Who else was in that class? Troy Aikman.

Will this be the year for a nice rebound for Bobby? Only time will tell. I will certainly be pulling for him, Ford or not. For those of you who may not know Bobby Labonte won the Championship back in 2000 while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. He is also the ONLY driver in NASCAR history to win both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series Championships (2000 and 1991). For good measure he also won the IROC in 2001. IROC unfortunately went out of business in 2008 from lack of sponsorship. Sad indeed. The IROC took identically prepared cars that were built all by one team and invited a small number of drivers to race them at a few tracks each year. It was kind of like The Masters in golf. Check out the Wiki article to see past winners.

Looking forward to a very exciting 2009 season in the WORLDS GREATEST SPORT (now that the nfl season is over for me :))

I don’t usually post 2 in a day but…

…since the football season is essential over for me (I’ll watch the remaining games, it IS football after all and there is this one game called the Superbowl that will be played on Feb 1) I will turn my attention to the only other sport that really means anything to me and that is NASCAR. Seems that the mergers have settled down a bit so everyone can get ready for Daytona, or at least they have been finalized with the exception of the name of the new team formed by GEM and Petty Enterprises. Supposedly the name Petty will be prominent in the new name but like Kyle Petty said the Petty Enterprises that we have all known and loved (or hated) for the past 60 years in NASCAR ceased to exit when they merged with Boston Ventures and basically kicked Kyle to the curb. He said their is no bitterness. He knew there would be a time when he wasn’t racing full time, but I think it came sooner than he wanted it to.

The 43 is know in the hands of the new team without a driver and lest we forget, Bobby Labonte was driving it and he is still without a car. Funny how that worked out huh? Well he might be going over to the newly formed Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team driving the number 41 that used to be driven by Reed Sorenson. That new team has Martin Truex, Jr in the number 1 car, Aric Almirola in the number 8 recently vacated by Mark Martin, and the 42 still driven by Juan Pablo Montoya, although last year that car was a Dodge, but will now be a Chevy and he does not have sponsorship for the entire year in that ride.

Over at the yet-to-be-named-merged-team-of-GEM-and-PE were the 43 is, there are rumors that Reed Sorenson could drive that car. They were also almost sued by Elliot Sadler as I wrote about earlier, but that has been settled. He will be in the 19, leaving AJ Almendinger to drive the number 10 which was vacated by Patrick Carpentier (thats pronounced kar-pan-tee-ay, he’s French Canadian) after he was fired for poor performance.

Confused yet? There’s more. Over at Hendrick Motorsports, Mark Martin (who was with DEI) signed up for a full schedule running in the number 5 that Casey Mears was driving in 2008. That was the car that Kyle Busch was in before he got canned and moved over to Joe Gibbs Racing, where Tony Stewart had been for every year of his career (10) before getting an offer he could not refuse and became an owner/driver of the new Stewart-Haas Racing team where he signed Ryan Newman away from the only team he had ever known in his career, Penske Racing.

The aforementioned Casey Mears is now at Richard Childress Racing driving the number 07 Jack Daniels car that was driven quite well by Clint Bowyer. He is in a new car, the number 33 sponsored by General Mills and Cheerios which got pulled away from Petty Enterprises (because they weren’t winning any races) and was in my opinion the beginning of the end to Bobby Labonte driving for PE and PE itself.

Whew! Did you get all that? I certainly hope so cause I’m still a bit confused if not frustrated at the state of NASCAR. And I’m as confused as an Amish electrician! Why do the college bowl games get all this money from sponsors who are pulling back from NASCAR? Citi Bank threw all kinds of money at the Rose Bowl this year and it wasn’t even the National Championship game (don’t get me started on that one). Yet that was a one time event. NASCAR is all year long. I just don’t get it. How can you not spend money on advertising your company or product on something that gets national attention ALL YEAR LONG!!! Yeah the networks may not show every car for the entire race, but hey when you have 160,000 fans jammed into a speedway someone is gonna see it right? I mean come on.

2009 is going to be a strange year for NASCAR, but there will be racing, there will be a Chase, and there will be a Champion (maybe Jimmie gets 4 in a row or Kasey Kahne gets his first!). I can’t wait for it to get started. Only 34 more days left for the Daytona 500 on Feb 15th. What a great birthday present I get every year!

I am embarrassed!

My oh my how a season of unbelievable football can go down the toilet that fast! What in the world were the Panthers doing? I’m no football coach, but to not stick with what has been so successful all year long, too not cover one of the best receivers in the game (Larry Fitzgerald), and to not take Delhomme out of the game (as a good friend suggested should have happened, although he admits he is not a Delhomme fan to begin with) after he threw – oh I don’t know maybe his 3rd of 5 interceptions??? It was painful to watch after thier opening drive resulted in a touchdown and first stop of the Cardinals in the beginning of the game which had us all on a high and then have the rug pulled out from under us. The fans were duped. This was supposed to have been the Panthers year. They should have handled the Cardinals better and at least made a game out of it. Fans were leaving before the 3rd quarter was over and the only ones left were the Arizona fans. It was so bad I even got a text message from a friend in Arizona rubbing salt in the open wound. Thanks Scott!

Well I was pretty far off on my predictions. Good thing I don’t gamble. The only home team that won this weekend was Pittsburgh. And really that was the only good game as well. I’m and NFC fan but I think the Steelers might be the new champions in a couple of weeks. They will have a tough fight on their hands next week when Baltimore comes to town, but playing in Pittsburgh in January? I wouldn’t want to do that.

Next week should be a couple of good matchups, but I really think the AFC will win it all this year. We shall see.