Saturday, September 22, 2018

Ryan Newman One More Team Away from Free Hat from Nascar.com


With tonight’s announcement that Ryan Newman would be departing Richard Childress Racing for Roush Fenway Racing in 2019, the “Rocket Man” will have raced for his fourth team in Nascar’s Cup Series, leaving him one team away from earning a free hat on Nascar.com.
“The chance to sign with Roush Fenway (Racing) was a natural move for me”, Newman said.  “A shorter commute to work, less pressure, and more importantly it gets me another stamp on my “Frequent Team Changer” card I got when I started in this sport.  Just one more team left and its a free hat for Mr. Friday!”
Newman has raced, so far, for Team Penske, Stewart-Haas Racing, and RCR, with RFR due to become his fourth team.  Nascar apparently instituted the “Frequent Team Changer” program shortly before Newman’s rookie year, although rumors persist that such a spiff was actually a practical joke from Rusty Wallace.
“A free hat?  Well, maybe losing my ride at JTG-D isn’t so bad at all”, A.J. Allmendinger said when reached for comment.  “Who’s gonna turn down a free hat?  As a matter of fact, who’s gonna turn down anything free that someone gives you?”
Newman is reportedly already looking at a hat-winning fifth team to race for post-Roush, considering such options as Richard Petty Motorsports, GoFAS Racing, and whatever it is Obaika is planning.
“I plan on staying full-time in the Cup Series for the near-future—I think I still have some good years left in me”, Newman said.  “Besides, the bar’s been set so low by Trevor Bayne, all I have to do is get some top-20s and I’m golden.”

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Nascar Pick Challenge: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Richmond


I love autumn—football, meaningful baseball, more football, the Nascar Playoffs, and most importantly, lots of football.  This always reminds me of my time on the high school football team.
Oh what, you didn’t know that ol’ Uncle Max played some high school ball?  Well I did…sorta.  I was the varsity football team manager my Junior and Senior years—and DON’T call me a “Water Boy”, I never once handled a single bottle.  I was really in charge of keeping the statistics during the games and making sure all the equipment was back on the bus after a road game.  Sure I wasn’t the most athletic teenager in the world, but at least I got two varsity letters.

Xfinity Series Go Bowling 250 (5 wins)—Tyler Reddick: Another young gun makes himself visible for a Cup ride.


Cup Series South Point 400—MYSTERY PICKER (4 wins) PICKS Ryan Newman.  Favorite (4 wins): Denny Hamlin—I’m picking a mild surprise to win, but Mystery might need to be drug-tested.  Next Favorite (5 wins): Kevin Harvick—a recovery from last week’s tire disaster is in order.  Dark Horse: Alex Bowman—been awhile since we had an real oddball winner, eh?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Unboxing and Unwrapping: Parts 9 & 10


9. The #2, Danica deux, and a pill that’s blue

OVERVIEW:  Not too much success beyond the 1990’s in this set, although we do get a nice shot of Kevin Harvick’s car.  Its worth noting that pretty much every pack seems to come with one “horizontal” card showing a car rather than a driver.  This is the time to make a “I’d sure like to get Danica horizontal!” joke, so do so if you’d like, weirdos.

BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  Speaking of Danica, according to Clint Bowyer’s card-back “…Tony Stewart assembled an all-star cast in 2017, grouping Clint Bowyer with Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick”.  Um, right.

PICK OF THE PACK:  We get a nice shot of Mark Martin in his second-most famous sponsor’s gear—why not Valvoline?  I’m guessing someone at Donruss/Panini has the maturity of a 12-year-old by choosing Viagra colors.

FINAL RATING:  3 annoying commercials out of 10


10. Happy, sappy, and a legend who got “lappy”

OVERVIEW:  A nice collection of talent here—even with two each of Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch, there’s some real star power in this pack.  The only two outliers are Brandon Jones and Ned Jarrett—while Ned is no doubt a champion, holding the record for largest margin of victory in Nascar history, its odd that they chose what appears to be a wax figure of him for his picture.

BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  Brandon Jones gets the lame descriptor of “baby-faced”…hey writers—pretty much any young driver is going to look “baby-faced”.  And we never get the opposite.  I’d love to read at least once, “Matt Kenseth, whose face looked like the surface of the moon crossed with an old wallet you’d find at a Goodwill store…”

PICK OF THE PACK:  Brad Keselowski gets in a shout-out to his hometown on the back of his Race Kings card.  Here’s a point to ponder—if the “trophy” they give out at the end of the race is in no way a trophy (grandfather clock, live lobster, etc.), is it really a trophy?

FINAL RATING:  6 sponsors out of 10

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Double-Back—What Tracks Need to Do to Get a 2nd Cup Race


Nascar’s Cup Series made its first-ever second trip to Las Vegas Motor Speedway today as the 1.5 miler earned a second date on the schedule this year.  Here’s what Nascar’s other once-a-year Cup tracks need to do to get themselves that coveted return trip:

Atlanta—Figure out a way to prevent it from raining like it seems to do at EVERY DAMN RACE they have.

Auto Club—Let more people into their precious “Auto Club”—just because a guy doesn’t live in California doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve to get that 10% off coupon at Jiffy Lube!

Chicagoland—1.) Invent a time machine.  2.) Go back in time.  3.) Let the track architects know that having a racing surface with no true straightaways doesn’t make it cute, it makes it incredibly dull.

Darlington—Force every race fan who says they’d go to a second race here to actually buy tickets to said second race.

Homestead—Run the race in the heat of the summer during the day and promote it as an endurance race.  First driver to pass out from dehydration gets a stage point.

Indianapolis—Have half the field run as usual and the other half run the road course.  Include a few barrels on the track and some oil slicks for fun.

Kentucky—Redo the track layout so that instead of the track and garage spelling out “DW”, it spells out “BF”.

New Hampshire—Dismantle the track and reassemble it in the greater New York City area.

Sonoma—Just run the second race at “Sears Point” and add a chicane or two—most people won’t be able to tell the difference.  Oh, and water the damn grass.

Watkins Glen—Free admission to anyone named “Glen” should keep the track’s sellout run going.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Nascar Pick Challenge: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Las Vegas


And now, for your gambling pleasure, here’s Uncle Max’s Nascar Playoff Preview:
Round of 16 Eliminations: Austin Dillon, Alex Bowman, Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney
Round of 12 Eliminations: Clint Bowyer, Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson
Round of 8 Eliminations: Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr.
Round of 4 (Homestead) Eliminations: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski
2018 Nascar Cup Champion: Kevin Harvick

Truck Series Westgate 200 (3 wins)—Matt Crafton: if anyone knows how to “flip the switch” in the playoffs, its him.

Xfinity Series DC Solar 300 (5 wins)—Christopher Bell: making it harder and harder to keep him in Xfinity next year.

Cup Series South Point 400—MYSTERY PICKER (4 wins) PICKS Joey Logano.  Favorite (4 wins): Kevin Harvick—time for The Closer to start closing in on his second championship.  Next Favorite (5 wins): Kyle Busch—it IS his hometown track, after all.  Dark Horse: Jimmie Johnson—pretty much ANY Chevy is a dark horse on a 1.5 miler this year.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Unboxing and Unwrapping: Parts 7 & 8

7. Jamie’s jaw, Tyler raw, and breakin’ the law(?)


OVERVIEW:  Nice mix of the slightly-old and new in this set, though one has to wonder what went through the minds of Donuss/Panini when they selected that picture of Tyler Reddick.  He looks sick to his stomach in that shot—maybe he just caught a glimpse of some of Greg Biffle’s “security footage”?

BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  Steel-jawed Jamie McMurray gets some nice compliments on his card, at least that was the intent.  “Second-most top-10 finishes of his career”?  “finished seventh”?  Talk about damning with faint praise, guys.

PICK OF THE PACK:  Race King Jimmie Johnson gets the individually numbered treatment here, and this card was easy as pi.  Sorry.

FINAL RATING:  6 stage wins out of 10


8. Cale, Dale, and alluding to a fail


OVERVIEW:  A pretty great selection of former drivers with three Cup champions and a darn fine racer in Harry Gant to boot.  No idea why Donruss/Panini chose to make their “CLASSICS” series cards look like the infamous Billy Ripken, um, “Ford Face” card of the late-80’s.

BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  A nice reminder on the back of the Dale Jr. card of just how lacking he was in the qualifying department.  Just another connection between Dale Jr. and Matt Kenseth, who entered the sport together, left full-time racing together, and have equally insufferable fanbases.

PICK OF THE PACK:  There’s always going to be some “common cards” in any set.  Case in point: Michael Annett.  I don’t know how you can call “six top-10 finishes during the regular season” a “successful return”, but what do I know?

FINAL RATING:  7 trophies out of 10

Monday, September 10, 2018

Missing the 2018 Nascar Cup Playoffs—What’s YOUR Excuse?


The field for the 2018 Nascar Cup Playoffs has been set, and as usual there’s more than a few drivers left angry, disappointed, or worse.  Spade Racing obtained some exclusive interviews with these disappointed drivers to figure out why they didn’t make it this year:

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: “I was starting to wonder about my abilities as a driver, but then I saw how crummy the 6 car ran when they put (Matt) Kenseth in there for a few races, which kinda made me feel better.  Its kinda like getting a bunch of C’s on your report card, then finding out that your older sister got waitlisted for community college.”

Ryan Newman: “We had a challenging year at RCR, but I think we did as well as we could with what we had.  And by ‘we’, I mean ‘anyone at RCR who doesn’t have ‘Childress’ or ‘Dillon’ as a last name.”
Menards going to the Playoffs...in a manner
of speaking

Paul Menard: “I knew that going to a team with Penske power would prove my driving skills to everyone, and sure enough it has.”

Daniel Suarez: “Everybody was talking about the difficulty I would have living up to the standards of Carl Edwards, but I really wanted to focus on the example set by OTHER drivers in the 19 Cup car in the past, guys like Loy Allen Jr. and Gary Bradberry.”

Chris Buescher:  “I didn’t really contend for wins this year, I was an afterthought in the points standings, and I have no idea where I’ll be racing next year.  But at least I got a cameo in the Nascar on NBC intro package.”

Ty Dillon: “Just tell (Ryan) Newman I heard what he said about my family, and I look forward to swapping rides with him for 2019.  Let’s see how HE likes having people quote Geico commercials to you all day long.”

Landon Cassill: “Running with a new team like StarCom Racing, making the playoffs was really an unrealistic expectation.  But I’m glad with all we’ve accomplished in such a short time, and I’m hoping that I can save up enough money for a haircut sometime this fall.”