The loss of the catch can pit crew member is going to bring a number of changes to race strategy.ï‚§ The new method is slower and there is no sure indication that the tank is full ï‚§ The gas man will have to handle the empty can plus get a second full can.ï‚§ Someone will have to make adjustments that the can man used to make. ï‚§ With E15 there is going to be a decrease in mileage so there will be more pit stops. I hope this does not lead to an increase in fuel mileage deciding the winner. I do think we will see an increase in 2 tire stops starting at Daytona with the new surface. With backstretch exceeding 203 MPH this may create a problem that will get worse with the hotter track temps of summer. Felix Sabates, a co-owner of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, says he never complains about drivers salaries but he does think there should be a 20 second pit rule and this would eliminate the need for highly skilled pit crew members that can make $5000 A weekend. I would bet he makes more than that a weekend, not a good idea to make enemies of you pit crew Felix. Also a tire allotment has been discussed as the Nationwide series has. Maybe if the owners would stay home or at least live the wife’s at home this would be a bigger savings then cutting pit crews or tires. With the speeds we are seeing so far this year I think cutting tires would present a safety issue. Of course with the ratings falling maybe NASCAR would like to see a few more flying cars.Target has sponsored Ganassi for 23 years, unheard in sponsorship changes taking place this year.
Rick Hendricks changed pit crews for the Championship which I agreed with, he put all his marbles’ in one basket and I am sure the professionals his employees are they agreed with him maybe not happily however.Now he is switching crew chiefs. Mark Martin and Lance McGrew will team up he who was with Earnhardt, and Jeff Gordon’s crew chief Steve Latarte will go to Jr and Gordon will get Alan Gustafson who was Martin. I believe this is a last ditch effort to get some wins for Jr. He is also switching garages, 48 and 88 will share a shop and the 24 and 5 out of the other shop. Seems like a little overkill, but Rick is a very successful owner, 5 Championships in a row. He did leave the 48 crew the same, don’t mess with success. In 2012 Kasey Kahne takes over the 5 car I am sure he will be a winner for Rick.I think this is a last ditch effort trying to make Dale Earnhardt a winner. I donr think it will happen Jr is a decent driver but he can’t communicate with his crew chief what the car needs during a race. No matter how will the car performs at the beginning it seems to fall off during the race maybe Steve Latarte is the answer but I doubt it. What is going to Happen to Danica Patrick? She never really had that much success in open wheel. Her only win was in Japan and that was a fuel mileage win. She has been in the top ten in several races but a real win has escaped her. I know Jr has a lot of cash but with the money in Nationwide how long can he continue fixing her car? Go Daddy must have really stepped up to the plate with some cash if they could both start winning it would be a sponsor pot of gold but the key word is if.Next year could be interesting there are a number of drivers out looking for rides. RPM has finally emerged from his money problems, or so he says, and will go with 2 cars. The difference between winning and losing is so close luck still pays a big part.
At the start of the Indy 500 Mary Holman George is introduced by the announcer saying” and now for the most hallowed words in racing followed by “Gentleman start your engines. Why do so many NASCAR races demean these hallowed words? Kevin James and the other idiot comic doing some strange dance to some fool from Sylvania turning on a huge switch to start the NHMS race. I can maybe go along with a VERY short Thank you to employees or including them as part of the announcement but that is it, less than 10 words, but preferably just the announcement. I would imagine that the tracks are having a problem getting corporate sponsors for races and are having to bend to get the sponsors on board. Just remember these are hallowed words of racing not a commercial.
Just how far is NASCAR going to go with their policy of letting them race. The Edwards Keslowski run in was as blatant as I have ever seen. A little rubbing or nudging is OK but when you intentionally wreck someone in obvious retaliation it is time to draw the line. I know TV ratings are down but let’s not get someone killed or seriously injured for ratings. NASCAR is lucky that the newer cars are safe or this would have already happened. I think that a sponsor is going to step up and draw the line or the owners have to get together and put a stop to this. It is expensive to rebuild a race car and money is getting tight. Drivers are not alone they need a team to win and this must be discouraging for fab shops to rebuild cars wrecked on purpose. At some point in time they are going to say why should we put forth our best effort to just have them wrecked. I think if a driver wrecks a car he should help rebuild it. O f course with the demands on their time this is not going to happen. Some time ago during a radio conversation between Jr and his crew chief the crew chief said “oh you are actually going to come to the shop”. I think this is happening with all the NASCAR drivers. Bottom line if NASCAR is to exist at has to get back to its roots. I know this is going to bring me a lot of flack, but putting the # 3 Wrangler car in the Hall Of Fame is a mistake. I am a Dale Sr fan and he did win 7 Championships but there are a lot of other drivers who also contributed to the sport and they also deserve recognition.Since becoming a Father Jeff Gordon has been in a slump will the other drivers who either have just become fathers or soon will follow the same course. You only have to hesitate for a split second and it will make the difference between winning and not. Jimmy Johnson is first in mind and he is just out of a slump.
NASCAR is going to try to introduce ethanol in 2011. This is a surprise to me as I thought they would change to fuel injection first or at the same time but there is no mention of fuel injection as of yet. Roush Yates Engines is already doing some testing but I don’t see many problems as they are using E15 or a 15% ethanol mixture. Indy cars are already using a 100% fuel grade ethanol, they switched in 2007. Fuel mileage will be a concern as it will drop by 4-6 miles on a fuel run. I don’t think this will cause a problem as they are not that accurate with all the yellow flags. The one drawback I see is on a warm day it may cause a problem. NASCAR still runs a mechanical pump so the fuel pressure is low and we may see some vapor locks, the engines will be harder to restart when they are hot. As they are going to fuel injection at some time maybe they will switch to an electronic fuel pump. Still the fuel pressure would be low for the carbureted engines.NASCAR always drags out any announcement so more changes in the near future would be no surprise.
With Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt on the front row for Daytona is there any doubt that Rick Hendricks is going to continue where he left off last year. Jeff Gordon was the odd man out and I don’t think he looked that great in the Shootout. Did you notice where my black horse Kasey Kahne was running before the last accident, I just hope Petty can keep bringing in the resources necessary to give him the tools he needs? Carl Edwards was running well until he too was caught up in the mess. I hope Carl can have a better year but Rousch has some problems that need to be addressed and I don’t know if they have figured the problem out completely as of yet. They keep talking about new engines but none of them seem to work out on the track. Ford is the only big three not to borrow from the government so I hope the cat in the hat can keep them happy. Good news there were 54 entries for the 500 so maybe there is still some teams that have the monies to run of course it always seems like after Daytona many of them fade into the sunset. Speaking of underfunded teams I hope NASCAR does something about the start and park, true they need to fill the field but let’s try and do it with teams that are competitive.
At last, the long-awaited announcement is official Go Daddy is taking Danica Patrick to the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2010. Danica will drive the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevy in a partial Nationwide schedule next season, plus one ARCA race. The Go Daddy Girl will be racing as a member of the JR Motorsports (JRM) team owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Rick Hendrick, Kelley Earnhardt and Tony Eury, Jr. through 2011. “It’s been a long time coming, but the stars finally aligned for me with Go Daddy and JRM,” Danica said just before making her announcement. “I have always said I love to drive, and if I could make it work to race in both IndyCar and NASCAR with the right sponsor, like GoDaddy.com and the right team, like JRM then I’d love to drive in NASCAR!” Go Daddy CEO and Founder Bob Parsons introduced Danica today as she made it official with the unveiling of her new stock car in front of fans and media outside Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. Parsons and the Go Daddy Girl driver were flanked by the brand new bright green #7 GoDaddy.com Nationwide Chevy and the equally distinctive 2010 IndyCar at today’s news conference. Go Daddy is leveraging its existing relationship with Earnhardt, Jr. who has also driven for Go Daddy in the Nationwide Series and will continue to work as a Go Daddy spokesperson. Danica’s NASCAR races would take place before, after and in between her IndyCar schedule. Michael Andretti, owner of Danica’s IndyCar team, Andretti Autosport, addressed that issue. “Danica and I are both working hard for a win at the Indianapolis 500 keeping the race schedules separate will help keep her focused,” Andretti said. (GoDaddy.com PR), It was also announced that Tony Eury, Jr. would be her crew chief.
Bridgestone is leaving Formula One after next year and Pirelli, Goodyear and Michelin have no interest in jumping into the fray. Hankook and several other brands have been mentioned but so far no takers. Honda and BMW have left the series and now Renault is leaving and Toyota is only staying through 2010. Brawn the 2009 manufacturer winner is having money problems after losing Virgin and Honda dollars. Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes are still on board. Max Mosely was forced out after his sex escapades became public. At least now the story of Danica Patrick makes sense as she is leaving a sinking ship and may well stand a chance to win the Indy 500. I just hope she hires Jimmy Spencer to teach her how to handle the politics of NASCAR in his out behind the garage way. I think she could hold her own against Jeff Gordon among others.
Record purses totaling more than seven million dollars are up for grabs as NASCAR drivers compete in this weekend’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Drivers racing in four NASCAR series races will be chasing their share of $7,005,549 in prize money, the highest in New Hampshire Motor Speedway history. The NASCAR Sprint Cup purse is $5,423,189, up from last year’s track record. The Lenox Industrial Tools 301 features the sixth-highest purse per-mile on the series schedule to date [of 17 races”>. The NASCAR Nationwide Series will be racing for the $1,197,559. The chain-link fences at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be replaced with welded wire fencing in time this weekend’s race partly in response to Carl Edwards’ airborne accident at Talladega Superspeedway. Burton Smith finally spent a little money $400,000 when there was not a profitable upside. He is also trying to add lights but has a problem with an agreement signed by the previous owner that they would not night race.Many have picked Kasey Kahne to win 2 in a row, this is a possibility but it is really tough to do in the present NASCAR climate where all your ducks have to fall into a row to win and his last win at California was really a pit strategy win. If I was to go out on a limb I would have to pick Jimmy Johnson, he is overdue, Mark Martin is also a possible winner and Dale Jr is a dark horse and he has to win one soon, super speedways are coming up on the schedule if he doesn’t win there I just don’t see how he can hold a sponsor, of course he is still the most popular driver but Tony Stewart is close behind.
As I along with many others anticipated Rick Hendricks has removed Tony Eury Jr as crew chief for Dale Earnhardt JR. Brian Whitesell will crew this weekend at Dover and Lance NcGrew will become interim next week. Whitesell is known as a no nonsense, do it my way leader. I think this is exactly what Jr needs. He lacks the skill to convey what the car needs to the crew and this puts them chasing the track and loosing. I also think he expects more from the car then it is capable of. Rick said they never caught up to the COT and no testing has hurt them. They had the car full time last year and part time the year before when testing was available and that didn’t seem to help. Nice spin Rick, but I don’t buy it. Seems like every since he caught fire in that Corvette a few years back he has slowed down. This is Jr last crack at proving he can drive, he used DEI as an excuse has had Tony to fall on lately but with a new crew chief and 2 of Hendricks top chassis engineers in his camp it is time to fish or cut bait. I don’t think he is the driver his dad was but I think he is capable of doing better. The other drivers in the Hendricks stable are doing great so time will tell. Dale and tony are Grandsons of Robert Gee one of Hendricks first employees. Where Tony is going in the organization has not been announced. There are a number of excellent crew chiefs out looking for employment right now. Brad Keselowski won the Nationwide race Kurt Busch led the most laps but after being nudged by Joey Lagono, watch your back Joey, He either had a flat or one was caused by his run into the marbles hard to tell and he did a normal Busch exit walked off pouting.Keslowski did not qualify for today’s race at Dover in a car owned by Dale Jr and Hendricks. Also Jeff Gordon had to use a provisional and will start last, Dover is a tough track and I am sure his bad back will take the blame. Would not be surprised to see him give it up soon. Fatherhood has slowed him down.