GUARANTEED PURCHASES OF WIDGETS

Let’s pretend we’re a manufacturer of widgets (School of Business lingo for generic products) that are purchased by the government. The government, however, has decided to grandfather in 35 of its last year’s suppliers of these widgets and any other manufacturer must meet certain minimum specifications on its widgets before the government will purchase them.

Even if our widgets exceed the minimum specifications, the government might not purchase them because the other manufacturers who are also not grandfathered into the agreement have also exceeded the minimum specifications. Even if any of the 35 suppliers that were previously grandfathered in as guaranteed suppliers meet only the minimum specifications and are bypassed by any of the other non-guaranteed suppliers, the 35 still have their products purchased.

Eventually, the stockholders of our company see the “handwriting on the wall” and sell their shares in our company and buy into the 35 companies that are guaranteed to have their widgets purchased, thereby making those companies even more successful because of the increased capital.

Is the government’s policy really fair for all? Why grandfather 35? Why not grandfather only, let’s say, 12? Now, substitute the following in the appropriate places: NASCAR, Nextel teams, qualifying times, sponsors. Get the picture?

Jon

Bugs, Blocks and Bananas

I like Bristol. I really do. It takes me back to my boyhood days when I watched the Allisons, Red Farmer and a host of others (yes even DW) at the short track at the Nashville Fairgrounds.

That said, I was a bit worried Bristol would be a smash and crash event this year — but it was tame. The COT didn’t stink up the joint (but that wing! Bring back the Plymouth Superbird, I say) and there was a lot of “racin” actually going on. So, all in all, a bit tamer Bristol (but remember as the song says “The night time is the right time”) and some real racin equals a pretty good show for the fans .

Unfortunately for the orangeman, half a race is not enough. The commentators said that Tony could drive a cockroach (and by the end I bet his car felt like one of those little hellions) or a brick to victory if you could put wheels and an engine on either one.

Weird.

So I guess we will have to say that the banana KB requested earlier in the race gave the tigerman the day.

That reminds me — I’m hungry. Guess some milk and Kellogg’s would be a great snack.

See you in Henry County on, gasp, April Fool’s Day!

That’s the view from here…..

Michael

FAN LOYALTY TO SPONSORS VERSUS DRIVER LOYALTY

Everyone who follows NASCAR knows that fan loyalty to NASCAR sponsors is the highest for any major sport. We shop at The Home Depot, drink Coca Cola and drive Chevys.

So what about the drivers? How much loyalty do they have for their sponsors? I would suppose a great deal.

So let’s look at a situation where a driver chooses to NOT race in support of his sponsor. Everyone likes Mark Martin, the current “dean” of drivers. After announcing his retirement last year, he turned around and signed a deal to drive for Ginn Racing — although on a limited basis. Well, as luck would have it, Mark sits in first place in the standings after the first four races. Yet, rather than continue to drive his 01 U.S. Army car, he has chosen to sit out the next two races and allow a rookie to take over.

I wonder if Joe Gibbs would allow Tony Stewart to continue driving if Tony decided to take a couple of weeks off?

Although not driving full time was part of the agreement with Ginn Racing, Martin seems not to recognize the responsibility to his sponsor and team owner that others would deem required, especially given his place in the standings. It appears Martin has placed himself as “01” instead of the U.S. Army and Ginn Racing. As a result, upon returning to the 01 car for the Texas race in April, he’ll be no better than 36th place.

So much for loyalty.

– Jon

Battle of the Home Improvement Houses

It was a better day for one big orange team (my alma mater Tennessee) than another.

There may be some gnashing of teeth at 2455 Paces Ferry Rd. NW in Atlanta (Home Depot’s HQ) as their rivals from Mooresville win again in a fairly ho-hum race. Guess sales of wood and washers will be better tomorrow in the land of the blue and gray houses … but second isn’t bad and it keeps you in the points race (think Top 12 boys, think Top 12) as Mr. Army decides to stand down for awhile.

So strategy is the name of the game and we see some beginning to develop.

Now we go for the thunder — not down under, but in the valley in my home state. And COT gets its debut — could be a ‘slammer’ in Bristol. (I think there are several good junkyards nearby.)

Rock on, Rocky Top, rock on ….

That’s the View From Here

Michael

Other Notes:

1. JPM can do the oval. Bristol should be a real fun time for him.

2. I give Toyota a score of “minus-4″ — two off for continuing to fail in qualifying and two more for poor race performance. But let’s have good memories and remember this is kinda like the late 50′s and their intro to the US — they failed but they came back.

This blogist still believes we have only seen the tip of the iceberg — both in Toyota’s abilities and in other future foreign nameplates. After all it’s strategy, boys, strategy and we haven’t seen the long run … yet.

Meet Lucky Jackson…

I’m gonna give it everything I’ve got
Lady luck please let the dice stay hot
Let me shout a seven with every shot
Viva las vegas, viva las vegas,
Viva, viva las vegas
(Words and Music by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman)

I like statistics. But I am certainly no statistician, so someone smarter will have to calculate the odds of winning three straight at Vegas (or any track for that matter). JJ and the Hendrick crew seem to have figured it all out so I deem Mr. Johnson the new “Lucky Jackson.”

You say you do not know Lucky Jackson? Well, fellow sports fans, he was the man who came to LV in 1964 looking to win the Las Vegas Grand Prix. Only problem was he came a bit underfunded (like he had no engine underfunded). Somehow he gets the $$ and all is (relatively speaking) happy afterwards.

So I dub Jimmie Johnson the new “Lucky” although he came with plenty of funding and, hey, probably left town with more (how may folks can say that after a few days in Vegas? Remember, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”)

So now it is time to leave the glitz and head for the grits as Atlanta looms and we edge closer to the COT.

I’m Michael and that’s the view from here…..

PS – By the way, the real “Lucky Jackson? Why none other than Elvis in “Viva Las Vegas.”

PPS – Mark. Don’t go. It’s too much fun.

Hey, how much do you make?

Recently while talking to a reporter I was asked if I had done any research on drivers’ salaries. My response was candid — no, most drivers’ salaries are not made public.

Then, after talking with my colleague, Mike, we started researching this issue. Mike found a couple of contracts for Kasey Kahne that were entered into court records several years ago. I followed up by contacting Dustin Long, a reporter for several newspapers. He confirmed that Kasey’s contract was reflective of the norm.

But I still wondered why the drivers’ contracts were so “hush-hush‿ — especially given how open the media is with contracts for players in the NFL, NBA, etc. So a little more research showed that in 2005 Jeff Gordon’s salary, winnings, and endorsements placed him 19th on Sports Illustrated’s list of the top 50 paid athletes, while Tony Stewart ranked 34th.

Darrell Waltrip has written that when owners are discussing deals with sponsors, the drivers might not even be discussed before the deal is sealed. Given how often we learn of salaries of professional athletes, CEOs, and even college professors (I’m at a state institution where my salary figure is readily available if anyone cares), why aren’t drivers’ salaries disclosed? Should they be? Do sponsors eventually know? Do we even care? Just a thought.

On another note, in case you missed it, Washington state House Representative Larry Seaquist made it clear he does not want NASCAR and its fans in his beloved home state:
“These people are not the kind of people you want living next to you,‿ he told a Fox television news station. “They’d be the ones with junky cars in their front yards and would try to slip around the law.‿

Guess he hasn’t seen the motor homes of fans at the race tracks!

– Jon

(More on the Washington racetrack debate: (1) http://www.nascar.com/2007/news/headlines/cup/03/05/gbiffle.washington.track.support/; (2) http://www.nascar.com/2007/news/opinion/03/06/jmenzer.washington.track/)

“It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” or Lights, Camera, Suspense, Mexico!

In the movie referenced above, the character Ding Bell (played by Mickey Rooney) says, “Pass that cab!”

To which Eddie Anderson (playing another cab driver) replies, “What’s the rush?”

Benjy Benjamin (Buddy Hackett) then retorts, “What do you mean rush? We ain’t in any rush, we just wanna get there in a hurry.”

I can imagine that JPM and Scott Pruett probably rehearsed this scene after yesterday’s Busch race for an upcoming act of their partnership. I believe Scott wasn’t too pleased with JP’s acting skills as I swore I saw him give the ‘thumbs down’ after the race when questioned on that subject.

Oh well, boys will be boys, and there is still plenty of time in the season to practice the timing between partners
(Lewis and Martin anyone or maybe Larry, Moe, and Curly?), and I am confident that we will see great things from this team.

By the way, Scott, wasn’t it Nietzsche who said “What does not kill me makes me stronger?”

That’s the view from here…
– Mike

PS – To me, it looks as if Scott cut down on JP — so where was the spotter and what was he saying?

PPS – Viva, Mexico!