Playing the Rain Game

If you don’t know what that means, stick around for a bit and I will explain.

There are strategies and then there are strategies. Whats the difference? Well one allows you to out wit, out last, and out play (Survivor anyone?) your opponents. The other one is more luck than anything else. In NASCAR at least, the latter happens when a race is threatened by rain or some other type of natural phenomenon that would otherwise prevent the race from completing on its own. When this happens after half the scheduled number of laps have been completed, NASCAR officials will normally call the race as complete. Some other sports like baseball do this as well. If it is before half way, they try to postpone it until Sunday or Monday and if they can’t get the race completed, they will call it.

This happens at least 2 or 3 times a year in NASCAR, thrice this year already. The SuperBowl of NASCAR, which oddly enough is at the beginning of the season, the Daytona 500, was called on the account of rain as some would say (including me) a bit earlier than they should have. The Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway was delayed after the start until Monday and then it rained more that day and was called 27 laps past halfway. And then just today, the Lenox Indutrial Tools 301 in Loudon, NH was shortened because of rain.

Why did I drag you all through that? Because in each of these races, the winner may not have been the best car on the track or someone who may have won had the race finished normally, but someone who played the Rain Game. Here is how it works. All the pit crew boxes have a lot of computer equipment where they track their cars telemetry (speed, rpm’s, tires, fuel mileage, etc.). They also track the weather. As the race progresses, crew chiefs monitor storms as they move towards the track. What they are hoping for is to be in first place when NASCAR calls the race. Does it work? It does if you are Matt Kenseth, David Reutimann, or most recently, Joey Logano. Was he the best car on the track today? Hardly. Was he lucky? Absolutely. He even said it himself, “I guess I’d rather be lucky than good right now, obviously, we didn’t have the car to win, but we’ve overcame a lot [Sunday] — tires down and more issues than you can imagine.” Read it here for yourself.

With the win, he has become the youngest driver to win a Sprint Cup race and it is his first win in the series.

Do I like it? No. Is it a strategy? Yes. Is it risky? You bet. Joey ran out of gas when they finally brought the field down pit road and red flagged the race. If they restarted it his car would not have.

But like they say, to finish first, first you have to finish. I guess that is what Joey did today in New Hampshire.

Just barely.

Second race of the season…NASCAR season that is

Well what a week it has been in NASCAR. Who would have thought that the biggest race in NASCAR would have ended on the account of rain? Not taking anything away from Matt Kenseth who ended up winning, but this race should have been at the very least post-poned until Monday so that they could finish. Matt led hardly one lap before the caution came out for rain and then not long after, they called it. Oh well. Also did Dale Jr take out Vickers or was it just racing? You decide.

Now we are in California and the restrictor plates will be off for awhile and we will get to see some real racing. Hang on to your ballcaps folks! Let’s go racing! Go Kasey Kahne! Go Jimmie Johnson! Go Bobby Labonte! Go Martin Truex Jr!

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And in the other season that started this weekend, the Bassmasters Classic is still going through the final weigh-in out in Shreveport, LA. I will update you with the winner as it comes in but as it stands now Mike McClelland from Bella Vista, AR is in the lead with a weight of 52 pounds 1 ounce with a limit of 15 fish over the three day tournament.

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!

The end is near for Petty Enterprises

Well nothing is comfirmed yet but it is probably all said and done. PE will most likely merge with Gillett Evernham Motorsports giving GEM the famed number 43 and will most likely be driven by Reed Sorenson. Bobbly Labonte who was driving the 43 for the past couple of years is still without a car or a job. He won the Championship (the Winston Cup) back in 2000 and is now unemployed. Sad times indeed.

I did not want to start out 2009 with a sad report but that is one of the things that I read first so I led with that. Not too many people reading this blog yet anyway. Hopefully that will change 🙂

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Well the NFL playoffs have begune with all 4 road teams this weekend being favored over the home team. First time that has happened since NFL-AFL merger. Arizona bucked that right off the bat by beating visiting Atlanta 30-24 to advance to the second round. Colts-Chargers are playing now and I will update tomorrow night after the other 2 games are played. Panthers, Giants, Titans, and Steelers have this weekend off.

Till tomorrow…