“THE STATE OF NASCAR”—A Panel Discussion

We are pleased to announce that on Thursday, September 6, beginning at 3 p.m. a panel discussion on “The State of NASCAR” will be held at the Student Commons on the Monroe Park Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Mr. Josh Lief, General Manager and Counsel of VIRginia International Raceway, will serve as Panel Moderator. Panelists include David Caraviello of NASCAR.com, Gene Laverty of Bloomberg, Dustin Long of the Virginian-Pilot, Greensboro News & Record and Roanoke Times and Nate Ryan of USA Today.

Each of the panelists will begin with prepared remarks and then answer questions posed by Mr. Lief. The program will end with the panelists fielding questions from the audience. There is no charge for admission but seating is limited. The Student Commons is located at 907 Floyd Avenue.

All NASCAR enthusiasts and interested individuals are welcome. Mike and Jon have arranged this program.

ANOTHER PREDICTION MET!

In our original list of 10 predictions for this year, no. 5 was “JPM finishes well and two more F1/INDY drivers follow”.

Well, guess what?

It appears that Jacques Villeneuve will drive for Bill Davis Racing in ’08. In addition, we’ve seen Sam Cornish, Jr. in a road race as well as Patrick Carpentier. There has also been some talk about Scott Speed and Dario Franchitti driving next year. Success breeds success — and we’ve hit two predictions correctly (the third, “nobody tops BP” is a given). Still waiting on Toyota to post a win. We’ve seen some success with top 5 finishes and a pole. It may be a little late in the season but I’m still holding out.

So who cares what Danica does?

Jon

THE PERILS OF RACE SCHEDULING

When you consider the number of races and the limited amount of time to run them, you begin to realize how cramped the Nextel Cup schedule is. Consider the consequences if NASCAR had had to move Michigan to the end of the schedule AFTER Homestead.

First, Richmond wouldn’t be the final Race to the Chase, which diminishes some of its luster.

Second, Ford, the sponsor of the “Ford 400” at Homestead, would find itself sponsoring not the last race but the next to last race. Don’t you think that Ford chose to sponsor Homestead simply because is was the deciding race in the championship — and all the publicity that brings to Ford?

Third, brrrrr!! — Michigan over Thanksgiving? You would need extra antifreeze (in all forms) for that to happen.

Dustin Long, who writes for the Virginian-Pilot and other regional newspapers, had an interesting blog on Monday in which he talks about some of the above issues. He also stated that a PR person from one of the race teams had suggested that NASCAR consider running on Monday nights —ala NFL— in early spring to mid summer. Thought that would increase TV viewership. I’m not certain of that but I am certain that track attendance would ultimately suffer. If you run a race on Monday night, you’d get the Busch race (or truck race or ARCA) on Sunday but most people will miss two days of work — Monday and Tuesday, since no one will attempt to drive home after a race that finishes at 10:30 with 2-3 hours of sitting in line to exit the track. I just don’t see Monday Night Racing as feasible.

Final note: It doesn’t look very good for Jr.!

Jon

The Mystery of “Eight (8) “

Well, it looks like Junior will not have the number eight after all. But, why all the fuss?

Let’s look at the mystical hold this number has and perhaps we can understand better why he wants to hold onto it (other than annoying Teresa).

Physics — it is the second ‘magic number’. (Ok, ok,’2’ is the first one)

Not sure how to classify it — In Dr.Timothy Leary’s world it is the highest stage of evolution — the Model of Consciousness. Supposedly at this level one could operate beyond any concept of space and time and the limits of relativity. Hmmm … I don’t think this is the reason. And it sounds too weird, anyway. We’re talking about racing after all, not E=mc2

Astronomy — there are now only 8 planets around our sun.
Hmmm… Junior and Pluto have something in common here, so this could be it.

Chemistry — It is the atomic number of oxygen. Well we might be getting closer as some events this season have sucked the air out.

History — the “War of the Eight Princes” around 300 A.D. This conflict greatly weakened the strength of the Jin Dynasty. Hmmm….any NASCAR lessons here?

Astrology — It is the sign of Scorpio, eighth sign of the Zodiac. (Closer, as Junior was born just before Scorpio)

Music —The Beatles had “Eight Days a Week.” Nah, even though everyone probably feels like they are working eight days a week to survive in NASCAR.

Literature — Eight apparitions appear to Macbeth. Ooh, spooky. (Wonder who they would be if they were NASCAR folk.)

Television — In the Stargate series, when you dialed an “8” chevron address you opened a wormhole to another galaxy. Hey, what a way to escape all this mess!

Slang (American) — Section 8 is common slang for “crazy.” Well, we do have ‘silly season’ every year.

Slang (Chinese) — ’8′ is used in chat speak as a term for saying ‘bye’.
Wow, really similar vibe here, huh…

Elsewhere — It means eternity. No start and no end. (Almost like the rains at Michigan). Like: “It will be eternity before you get to use the number 8, buster.”

Oh well who knows why. I say pick either 88 (twice as good, 08, or even, dare I say it, 03).

Thanks to Wikipedia.com for all the enlightenment.

Michael

SILLY SEASON IN HIGH GEAR

Well, the “silly season of NASCAR” appears to be gaining momentum as JJ Yeley is officially out at JGR and Kenny Wallace is climbing out of the 78 car of Furniture Row Racing. Add Sterling Marlin to the picture and we can see some major shake-ups coming by the end of the racing season.

Usually, one of the reasons for announcing driver changes is to allow the “former” driver an opportunity to find a ride for the following season. Clearly, however, such is not the case so far as JJ’s demise is the result of the dominoes that have fallen at DEI and Hendrick Motorsports. Both DEJr and Kyle are quite high-profile drivers and were courted by several different teams. JJ, Sterling, and Kenny — although nice guys — aren’t in the same bracket and will find it more difficult to find rides for next season.

Still, DEI needs a driver — assuming Budweiser stays onboard with the #8 team (now that the #8 is not going over with Jr.) — so JJ might have a chance there. Or, DEI may woo some other high-profile driver who is looking to move into a more publicized position.

One more random thought: If Jr. doesn’t make the Chase in ‘07, there may be less pressure on him to win a title next year and simply zero in on making the Chase in ’08. That actually may be the better scenario for him. Your comments are welcomed.

Jon

Could this be “JJ’s pink slip”?

Dear JJ:

It is unfortunate that we must tell you that your services will no longer be needed after this season. It’s not that you don’t share the family values that we espouse at Joe Gibbs Racing. You see, it’s just that we were fortunate to snag another driver — one who has shown his ability to win. Despite your one pole this year, second place finish in the Coca Cola 600, and 21st place in the points, we think Kyle will make the No. 18 a little more competitive and that’s what it’s all about, right?.

Now that Ray Evernham has a partner and more money, he may be looking to add another car to his stable so you might want to send him a resume. I know there are several former Ginn employees who are also out of jobs with the sell-out to — sorry, merger with — DEI so Ray should have no problem finding people to work on another car. You may certainly use me us as a reference should you decide to talk with Ray.

You might want to talk with Kyle to see how he’s adjusted to being the “lame duck” at Hendrick so that you don’t make the same seething remarks and then have to retract them. Be certain that 11 and 20 will continue to be team players with you so, unlike 24, 25, and 48, you know we’ll be there for you.

Best of luck as you pursue your racing career.

Sincerely,

JGR