Just need to make this announcement

It has be said that a grown man who cheers for the likes of Kasey Kahne is more like a middle aged woman! I am far from that so I decided to take this time as the first of the Gatorade Duels get underway.

Growing up I wasn’t really much of a NASCAR fan even living here in Charlotte just a stones throw away from the track. I did go to a World 600 (what is now the Coca-Cola 600) when I was 11 back in 1978 when Darrell Waltrip won the first of his five 600 wins. No I’m not a DW fan. After that I never really followed NASCAR all that much. Sure I knew who the popular drivers were and I did like Alan Kulwicki back in the early 90’s. He has been missed in NASCAR, he was a great driver and a great Champion (92). I was also a Rusty Wallace fan! There was Dale Sr and Bill Elliot and the Allisons, the Labonte brothers, Jeff Gordon, and all the others since then.

Well when I got out of the Navy in 97 and moved back to Charlotte and married my high school sweetheart and when Dale Sr died in the Daytona 500 in 2001 I started to really get into NASCAR and tried to pick a driver I could get behind and follow.

It took a couple of years but I had decided on one, the Number 1, Martin truex, Jr. Why? Because I wanted to pick someone that came up new from the then Busch Series and follow them into the Sprint Cup Series. Martin is a two time champ of the Busch Series from 04 and 05. I was getting into fishing and loved going to Bass Pro Shops so it was a great fit for me.

Then I bought a Dodge. Ok its just a Neon, but it is still my Dodge. I went headfirst into Dodge, their history, racing, all that stuff. And at the same time I dragged my daughter Savannah into my obsessive love of Dodge. I wanted her to have a driver she could root for too and she has a friend who is a Kasey Kahne fan so we also started rooting for him. My willingness and desire (sometimes going overboard) to give Savannah what she wants, I have unkowningly become a true Kasey fan as well.

Am I saying that I am turning my back on Kasey or Martin? Not at all. Could I be tagged a fair weather fan? Maybe. Martin didn’t have a good year in 08 and I wasn’t a fan of DEI after Dale Jr left so the Number 1 Bass Pro Shops car got kind of put on the back burner. This year could be a good year for Martin. I’m still no fan of the new EGR but I think Martin’s team has better equipment and a better attitude this year and you will be hearing a lot from him in 09.

You will hear a lot from the Number 9 as well. The new Richard Petty Motorsports is going to be in it every race. I really believe they will be a contender in each race this year and Kasey will make The Chase if not one of the other drivers from that team. Reed Sorenson and Elliot Sadler are going to elevate their games this year. Mark my words.

Oh yeah, one more drive that I like to follow is Bobby Labonte, the 2000 Champion. Although he is driving in a Ford this year and was spurned (imho) by Petty Enterprises, I will be keeping my eye on him this year as well.

So for being a middle aged woman or a Kasey Kahne fan or bouncing back and forth….guilty (ok maybe not-guilty on the middle aged woman thing!) but all I know is that it is NASCAR season and I will be watching every single race from green to checkered. I love this sport! I love the excitement! I love the fans!

Let’s go racing folks!

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Martin Truex Jr gets the pole at the Daytona 500

Well NASCAR is upon us and what a great start. The Bud Shootout was a bit different this year than in years past, but still a very exciting race. I think almost every driver led at least one lap and Kevin Harvick squeaked out a win. Or as Mike Joy, commentating on Fox (which by the way had horrible audio problems), said “Watch him squirt like a hotdog out of a bun”. Congrats Kevin! I don’t really know who had the audio issues, could have been Directv. A friend of mine has Dish and he had no issues.

Anyway, the pole qualifying took place yesterday and one of my favorite drivers, Martin Truex, Jr won the pole. He will be lined up next to Mark Martin who got the outside position. These two guys will be locked in with the rest of the field determined during the two Gatorade Duel races this Thursday (my birthday!). There were others that got in also, some of the drivers that were not in the top 35 from last year like Bill Elliot who is running for Wood Brothers Racing in the famous #21. Bill won the 87 Daytona 500 for Wood Brothers and now they will try again. Good luck Bill!

Loving it that NASCAR is finally here! It will be an awesome week!

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.

*****

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!

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!

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!