Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The 2018 Xfinity Series Grand Finale at Miami—Non-Fatal 4-Way

This Saturday four men will enter, but only one man will leave victorious.  Four trained combatants will do battle in the 1.5 mile squared-circle with thirty-plus lumberjacks prepared to throw them into the wall if they get out of line.  Here’s a look at the championship contenders in this non-fatal 4-way:

Christopher “Ring My” Bell—from Norman, Oklahoma (so you just KNOW JR is gonna push him to the moon).  Member of the TRD (Tyrannical Racing Dudes) Faction.  Finishing move is the Bell-Ringer (flying headbutt).  Catchphrase is “And after that we want the gold—Denny Hamlin, we comin’ for YOU, FedEx!”

“Young King” Cole Custer—from Ladera Ranch, California (and its a planned community, so don’t put a cowboy hat on him).  Youngest member of the SHO (Stewart Haas Order).  Finishing move is Custer’s Last Stand (bearhug).  Catchphrase is “Don’t cross the boss…because he’s my dad!”

Daniel “The Kannon” Hemric—from Kannapolis, North Carolina (nickname runner up was HemRic Flair).  Valet to the track/ring is Kenzie Ruston.  Just inducted into The Dillon Family stable.  Finishing move is the No-Win Situation (sharpshooter).  Catchphrase is “Who’s Next?  I hope its me…”

Tyler “Big” Reddick—from Corning, California (do ya think that’s next to a town named Owens?).  Recently defected to The Dillon Family stable from The J.R.M. Squad.  Finishing move is the Tyler Defiler (camel clutch with theatrics).  Catchphrase is “Red…In…Peace.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Nascar Truck Series Championship 4: A Closer Look

Friday night will see the best of the Nascar Camping World Truck Series compete for the final NCWTS championship, as the series transitions to the cool-looking NGOTS championship in 2019.  Before we move on, let’s take a Gander Outdoors at the four drivers who can win it all this week (sorry for that pun):

Next year's logo.  The rectangle is
likely to convey squareness.
Brett Moffitt—#16 Toyota for Hattori Racing Enterprises (5 wins).  Brett’s made his mark this year by scraping together enough sponsorship to take this small team all the way to the final race, simultaneously making himself look good and Ryan Truex look bad.  Moffitt enters on a high note after winning last weekend at ISM Speedway, formerly Phoenix International Speedway, formerly Stan Barrett’s Demolition Derby.  Another win for Moffitt could finally sew up that elusive Curds & Whey sponsorship.

Noah Gragson—#18 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports (1 win).  Noah has put together a consistent season for KBM, which has become the preeminent developmental team for Hendrick Motorsports.  Gragson, who will be leaving for the Xfinity Series in 2019, would be able to leave on a high note, joining such luminaries as Austin Dillon and James Buescher.  If it rains and he’s in the lead, prepare for 40 days and 40 nights of Noah’s ark puns.

Johnny Sauter—#21 Chevy for GMS Racing (6 wins).  Johnny’s the only former champion in this quartet, having won it all in 2016 in his first year for GMS—no joke here, that’s just really impressive.  A seasoned veteran, Sauter is a good reminder of the series’ roots as a place for longtime short-track aces to ply their trade, as well as a good reminder that AOL used to be a thing.  Fun fact: 1 out of every 12 Wisconsinites is related to a Sauter.

Justin Haley—#24 Chevy for GMS Racing (3 wins).  The nephew of NBS 24/7 legend Todd Braun, Haley has proved to be a friend in the draft and a FOE on the hood (again, sorry for THAT pun, too).  He is not to be confuses with J.J. Yeley, Cameron Hayley, H.B. Bailey, or Hailey’s Comet.  The youngest of the four at just 19 years old, he is not, despite popular belief, just there to make you feel old.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Wanted: Race and Alive

Good afternoon citizens. As members of NASCAR Nation it is our civic duty to be on the lookout for crime. This Sunday a quartet of quarrelsome criminals will attempt to pull off the heist of the year—apprehending the NASCAR Cup trophy!
These men have been dubbed “The Miami Four”. Also known as “The Big Three Plus One”, “The Homestead Hoard”, and “Brian’s Kids”, they’re easily spotted by the distinctive “Winner” decals on their getaway vehicles. Here’s their dossiers:

Kevin “The Spoiler” Harvick, aka “The Bakersfield Basher”— sought in conjunction with 8 counts of illegal modifications to race cars against their will. 

Kyle “Rowdy” Busch, aka “Chocolate Thunder”—charged with 8 counts of bowing without a license. 

Martin “Jersey Boy” Truex Jr. aka “The Colorado Connection”, wanted in connection with 4 counts of operating a notorious “Clam Scam” without the proper kickbacks. 

Joey “Sliced Bread” Logano, aka “Double Deuce”, jumped bail on 2 counts of stealing steering wheels in a cloud of tire smoke. 

If you spot any of these men at Homestead Miami Speedway notify the authorities immediately. No reward is being offered for their capture other than being criticized endlessly online for ruining their season, Denny. 

Do your part—and we’ll see YOU on Sunday!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Furniture Row Racing: A Look Back

Next weekend will be the final race for Furniture Row Racing, a team which rose from obscurity to become the 2017 Cup Champions on the backs of driver Martin Truex Jr., crew chief Cole Pearn, and team owner Barney Visser.  Here’s a look back at the team’s major highlights:
From ugly paint scheme...

2006: The team competes full-time for the first time.  While a team running out of Colorado was seen as bizarre at the time, they did manage to fit in by doing what all first-time teams do—failing to qualify for about half its races and running a hideous paint scheme.

2008: FRR runs with a single driver for the entire season for the first time as Joe Nemechek pilots them to a 42nd place points finish.  Highlights include three top 20 finishes and resisting the urge to hire Kevin Conway.

2011: Furniture Row has a breakout year with driver Regan Smith posting the team’s first-ever win at Darlington.  He beats out Carl Edwards for the feel-good win, something it seemed like EVERYBODY did that year.

2013: The hiring of Kurt Busch provides clear dividends as the team posts several top-five finishes, contends for wins, and comes home 10th place in points.  Furthermore, Busch provides plenty of laughs around the sport with repeat viewings of “The Outlaw” documentary. no paint scheme

2015: Martin Truex Jr. returns the team to victory lane at Pocono and finishes an amazing fourth in the final points standings.  Fans have to be reminded constantly that, technically, FRR was a satellite team of Richard Childress Racing, and not the other way around.

2017: Furniture Row Racing peaks as Martin Truex Jr. wins the Cup championship on the back of eight wins.  Meanwhile, Erik Jones shows promise in a second car, coming home 19th in points in his rookie campaign.  Equipment provider Joe Gibbs Racing, embarrassed at being outperformed by a “satellite team”, ominously puts “Project Kvapil” into effect.

2018: 5-Hour Energy announces it will depart FRR, setting in motion a chain of events that would lead to the team’s demise.  Nascar experts pretend to be surprised that something as small as losing millions of dollars in outside sponsorship would cause a team to shut down.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Overhauling Nascar’s Penalty System: Pros and Cons

Nascar’s recent penalty of Kevin Harvick for using an unapproved spoiler setting has, as usual, set up a firestorm of criticism towards Nascar.  Oddly enough, some are claiming that Nascar was too strict in penalizing Harvick 40 points and not allowing his win to count towards playoff advancement, while some felt that Nascar didn’t go far enough.  With Nascar reportedly looking at changing its penalty system for failing inspection next season, here’s a look at the different ways the sanctioning body could go, with the associated pros and cons of each plan.

STAY THE SAME—things stay exactly as they are, with drivers being penalized points and wins not being allowed to be used for playoff advancement, while race victories stand in the record books.
Pro: A measured response allows for nuance and understanding amongst the fanb—sorry, I can’t even type it anymore.
Con: Reminds everyone of the year of encumbered wins (shudder).

GO LENIENT—wins by cars that fail inspection are still not counted for playoff advancement, but with no points being deducted, a driver in Kevin Harvick’s situation would still be able to easily “point” his way in.
Pro: Awesome when its your favorite driver who’s innovating in the gray area to gain a competitive edge.
Con: Horrible when its your most-hated driver who’s blatantly cheating to gain an unfair advantage.

GO STRICTER—wins are taken away when a car fails inspection, no exceptions.
Pro: Excitement of tuning into Nascar America on Wednesday to find out if the winning car made it through Nascar tech.
Con: Being reminded a dozen times each post-race “…now these results are unofficial”.

GO STRICTEST—if a car fails pre-race inspection, that car is not allowed to race that weekend.
Pro: Well, qualifying coverage would finally be interesting again.

Con: Just think of how angry sponsors like Tennessee Shine Co, Bully Sticks, and Dustless Blasting would be.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

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

Haha!  I have taken the lead over Mystery Picker!  It just goes to show you that if you stick anything out long enough with grit and determination, you’ll wind up winning in the end!
Its just like at work—I had to work a bunch of overtime last week that I *DON’T* get paid for thanks to my management position.  There seemed to be no end in sight as I was stuck putting the seemingly endless finishing touches on our holiday setup.  And then, there it was—I eeked out a win in my fantasy football league to earn our halfway point bonus!  Then, right after THAT, I come home and realize that I didn’t have to pay my rent—I already paid it a few days earlier by mistake!  Yep, its a pretty good run lately for ol’ Uncle Max, and I hope to see it keep going right through to the championship weekend next weekend!
(and yes, my win last weekend with Kevin Harvick STILL STANDS)

Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 (4 wins)—Johnny Sauter: Gonna keep riding the Sauter wave.

Xfinity Series Whelen 200 (5 wins)—John Hunter Nemechek: Staking his claim for a full-time ride in 2019.

Cup Series Can Am 500—MYSTERY PICKER (4 wins) PICKS Martin Truex Jr.  Favorite (5 wins): Kurt Busch—Why outpoint a guy when you can just win the race?  Next Favorite (5 wins): Joey Logano—Keeps the Playoff drama back in the pack.  Dark Horse: Jimmie Johnson—Power of Pride.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Unboxing and Unwrapping: Parts 23 & 24

23. Limited Edition “Pole Position” and a war of attrition

OVERVIEW:  I’m not gonna lie—its been pretty tough coming up with 24 different rhymes for each title in this series.  Guess I made the right move by not pursuing that free-style rap career.  Anyways, another nice combo of current talent here…and Reed Sorenson.
BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  “BK” apparently went to the cliche store for his quote here—“They’re 500 miles, and a lot can happen”.  Guessing he said how he’d take it one race at a time shortly afterwards.
PICK OF THE PACK:  How do you write about a backmarker driver for a backmarker team?  Well, in Reed Sorenson’s case, you talk about how friendly you are with the team owner.  Really—what was he going to say?  “I can’t stand that guy, he never buys the kind of soap I like for the raceshop bathrooms”?
BONUS:  Dale Jr’s pole position at Daytona in July 2017 gets a fitting “Pole Position” card—one of only 99.  I wonder if this set was around when Ryan Newman was winning every-other pole—would they have about ten different cards for Mr. Friday?
FINAL RATING:  8 paint schemes out of 10

24. A middling run, some Menardburn fun, and we’re DONE

OVERVIEW:  The last pack is nothing special, though its nice to see Hershel McGriff get some love.  Both Dillons get some attention in this pack, as well as twice the Jamie Mac.
BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  Casey Mears’s card includes an Auggie Vidovich reference—what are the odds?  Let me see…ah yes: 1 out of 1,434,509.
PICK OF THE PACK:  Paul Menard’s Daytona performance in 2017 is nothing to sneeze at with a pair of top-fives.  So there’s no explanation why his facial expression on his card could be best-described as “witnessing your favorite car get run over by a tank”.
FINAL RATING:  3 primary sponsors out of 10

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Driver on 107 Race Winless Streak Mulling Nascar Career

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso is wrapping up his illustrious F1 career this season with an interesting wrinkle—a “ride swap” with Jimmie Johnson before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.  This has sent the Nascar world into a tizzy of speculation on if the driver on the 107 race winless streak could be coming to stock car racing in 2019.
“Just think of the global attention Alonso could bring if he came to Nascar”, a member of Nascar’s media corps said, ignoring Alonso’s five consecutive winless seasons in F1.
“That’s just what this sport needs—some new blood”, he said, simultaneously ignoring that Alonso is twice the age at which most drivers begin in stock cars.”
Alonso has flirted with shifting his career to the United States in the past, ramping up efforts in 2017.
“Did you see what he did at the Indy 500”, a fan said, seemingly not referencing his 24th place finish.  “The attention!  The media coverage!  The global flair!  He’s got it all!”
Alonso has been rumored to be exploring a race or two in one of Nascar’s national touring series in 2019, now that his F1 career has finally petered out after five years without a single podium finish.
“Well, he could step into a Cup car for Sonoma or Watkins Glen, boy would THAT be interesting”, said Nascar insider Scott Wilson, ignoring that a “road course ringer” hasn’t won a Cup Series race since 1973.  “Of course, he COULD give it a go on an oval like Kimi Raikkonen (finished 15th and 27th in only two oval starts) or Jacque Villeneuve (top oval race finish of 14th)—just look at how great THOSE champs adapted!”.
Johnson, for his part, was quick to ‘pump the brakes’, so to speak, on Alonso’s Nascar prospects.
“Fernando’s a great racer, there’s no denying that.  In fact, I can see some similarities on our careers—both of us are former champions, both of us have dominated, and both of us now seem to be hurtling towards irrelevancy.  But you can’t just come into Nascar and win right off the bat.
“Besides that, he’s had a bit of a rough go of it lately with that uncompetitive McLaren car”, Johnson continued.  “Although, to be fair, that might prepare him for racing a Chevy.”

Top 10 Martin Truex Jr Excuses for Not Exacting Revenge on Joey Logano

Checking out early from today's vibrationthon--check in early to this hot rumor

10.) Going to try to beat him in Kevin Harvick’s charity softball game instead

9.) Don’t want to disappoint team owner. Well, NEW team owner, who technically hasn’t been announced yet...

8.) “Oh yeah? Well you’re just lucky my chick’s here!”

7.) Revenge is a dish best served cold—let’s see how Joey reacts when he gets punched in the back of the head in 2027!

6.) Nobody got to see the actual revenge—calls from a burner phone asking for Mike Hunt. 

5.) Every time he got to the 22’s bumper, he just, push? Yeah, that’s it—just couldn’t put the bumper to him. 

4.) Trying to uphold the good name of New Jersey’s drivers nationwide. 

3.) Seeking revenge through legal means instead—that Shell logo looks a bit too big on the hood, doesn’t it?

2.) Already challenged Joey to a battle no Logano has ever won—a beard-growing contest. 

1.) “I think we got in their heads” (to be said as the 22 crew hoists the championship trophy in Homestead. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

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

I spent most of my Monday off of work investigating the mystery of, well, Mystery Picker.  Just who is this person?  What’s their secret?  And why won’t my nephew reveal it to me?  In honor of this weekend’s tripleheader, here’s my three biggest deductions into the identity of Mystery:
(note: for reasons of flow, I’ll refer to Mystery as “he” even though Mystery could very well be a woman)
1.) He’s an expert.  I give credit where credit is due—Mystery knows his stuff.  I was pretty new to the sport when I started making picks here, and while Mystery MIGHT be new to the gambling game, he obviously knows the sport inside and out.
2.) He goes with his gut.  Mystery will seem to go with the obvious pick (like this weekend), then pick someone completely out of left field.  How the heck does he make some of those picks, anyways?  Is he just picking names out of a hat?
3.) He’s rich.  Why else wouldn’t he want people to know who he is?  My theory is that Mystery’s toying with me (and, by proxy, you, the readers of this site) and is making bank with his Nascar picks in Vegas.

Truck Series Jag Metals 350(k) (3 wins)—Johnny Sauter: Sorry I didn’t pick ya last week, Johnny.
Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 (5 wins)—Elliott Sadler: A long wait ends at one of the longest races of the year.

Cup Series First Data 500—MYSTERY PICKER (4 wins) PICKS Kyle Busch.  Favorite (4 wins): Kevin Harvick—Shifting to another member of The Big 3.  Next Favorite (5 wins): Brad Keselowski—Time to spoil the party.  Dark Horse: Erik Jones—Wish I could count last week’s Jimmie Johnson sponsorship announcement as a Dark Horse win.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Unboxing and Unwrapping: Parts 21 & 22

21. DiBenedetto, a kingly duo, and Derrike overflow

OVERVIEW:  Derrike Cope would you please leave now!  Other than Spanaway’s finest continuing to clog up this box, there’s a nice mixture here, including Official Cup Series Underdog Matt DiBenedetto.  Also, oddly enough we get the two most-recent drivers of the 43 car, along with the man who made it famous (no, not Dinger).
BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  Matty D gets accused of using “…an old Willie Nelson tour bus”.  Ignoring the fact that this would be incredibly easy to prove or debunk, its fitting that Willie’s bus would be taken over by a guy from Grass Valley.
PICK OF THE PACK:  Bubba Wallace gets the “Rated Rookie” treatment in this pack, mentioning his strange streak of five-straight sixth-place finishes in the 2017 Xfinity Series season.  Thankfully they leave out how he lost his ride shortly after—Jack Roush apparently likes his Xfinity drivers to win at Daytona and lose everywhere else.
FINAL RATING:  7 charity events out of 10

22. C.Bell, backmarker hell, and Brendan’s swell

OVERVIEW:  This pack is REALLY across the board—everything from a pair of Kevin Harvick cards to proven race winners like Joey Logano and Mark Martin to Corey Lajoie and (limited edition) David Ragan.  We also get a contented look on Brendan Gaughan, which is how I’d probably look if I was the scion of a rich, powerful family with unlimited buffet comps.
BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  “Rated Rookie” Christopher Bell gets his Truck Series exploits touted—well, through the start of the 2017 playoffs.  A pretty cool card to hold onto when you look at his career prospects, although it would’ve been nice of them to add in a quick “oh yeah he done good”.
PICK OF THE PACK:  “Happy”.  Funny, “Happy” is how I’d describe my general satisfaction with my life.

FINAL RATING:  5 rain delays out of 10

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Timmy Hill Exploring Nickname Possibilities

Journeyman Nascar driver Timmy Hill has recently confirmed that he is considering adopting one of a number of potential nicknames, apparently in an attempt to increase his marketability and raise his public profile.
“All the Nascar greats have nicknames—‘The King’ Richard Petty, ‘The Silver Fox’ David Pearson, ‘Rainbow Warrior’ Jeff Gordon.  Well, maybe a cool nickname is all that’s missing from adding MY name to that illustrious list.  ‘Illustrious’—did I use that word right?”
Hill explained that he’s been hard at work exploring possibilities for a nickname, many of them focusing on his given name.
“I love my family, but let’s be honest—‘Timmy Hill’ doesn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of other drivers, does it?”, Hill said.  “So if more racers knew me as, say, Timmy ‘The Thrill’ Hill, they might think twice about blocking me when we’re battling for 32nd place.”
Hill released the following list of names he’s said are ‘On the shortlist’ to be adopted:
Timmy ‘The Thrill’ Hill
Timmy ‘King of The’ Hill
“Hill Power”
“The Hilleon”
“The Timm Reaper”
Timmy ‘Gimme a’ Hill ‘Yeah’
Hill stated that while those names are his finalists, he’s also considering a few others “…a bit more out of left field”.
“I kinda like Timmy ‘Wood Chopper’ Hill ‘Topper’, but I think that might be a bit too long.  Also, I’d love to go with ‘The InTIMMYdator’ but I think there could be some copyright issues with that one.”
Hill said that he plans to announce his new nickname the morning of the season finale race at Homestead.  He also said that he plans to announce his plans for racing in 2019 the morning of the first points race of the year at Daytona.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

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

As we close in on the end of the season, I’ll ask it again—WHO THE HECK IS MYSTERY PICKER?
My nephew won’t tell me a single thing about him (or her), only to say that Mystery has some sort of “system” that (s)he swears by.  Well what kind of system is it?  And what kind of system picks Erik freaking Jones to win at Martinsville?!?  I mean, some of the picks Mystery’s made are solid, but some seem to really be as random as can be.
And with all that being said—how can Mystery have as many correct picks as me?  I mean, I do my research.  I look at the trends.  I apply my gambling expertise.  And the only advantage Mystery has over me is that they get to pick first.
WHO ARE YOU?!?!?!?

Truck Series Texas Roadhouse 200 (3 wins)—Todd Gilliland: Really, Texas Roadhouse?  You couldn’t wait just one more week to sponsor a race at, y’know, TEXAS?

Cup Series First Data 500—MYSTERY PICKER (4 wins) PICKS Erik Jones.  Favorite (4 wins): Kyle Busch—Sticking with Rowdy this week.  Next Favorite (5 wins): Kevin Harvick—another member of the Big Three triumphs.  Dark Horse: Jimmie Johnson—why?  Because Martinsville.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Unboxing and Unwrapping: Parts 19 & 20

19. Advocare, facial hair, and a name to share

OVERVIEW:  Dueling mustaches in this pack as Kerry Earnhardt goes against Ernie Irvan (I’d give Kerry a slight edge in this competition).  Also note how Clint Bowyer and Erik Jones wound up with pretty much the exact same pose, just with different facial expressions.

BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  I don’t know what’s worse—bragging about Trevor Bayne’s tenth-place finish in the 2017 Daytona 500, or the fact that that WAS one of his season highlights.

PICK OF THE PACK:  Chase Cabre gets some love in the “Next in Line” series.  One of these days I’ll figure out why those in the racing industry (fans, drivers, etc.) all started naming their sons “Chase” in the early-90’s.

FINAL RATING:  6 Chases out of 10

20. More Cope, Ragan’s mope, and little hope

OVERVIEW:  There’s…not much in this pack.  You know how when you were a kid opening up baseball cards, there was always one guy who seemed to pop up in every-other pack?  That’s Derrike Cope for me in this box.  There’s not much star power here, nor much future potential here beyond Alex Bowman and Erik Jones.

BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  “You can bank on Denny Hamlin to deliver when the pressure’s on.”  No wonder he has so many championships…

PICK OF THE PACK:  David Ragan gets a backhanded compliment on the back of his card, lauded for his prowess on Daytona and Talladega, two tracks that tend to produce winners both random (Derrike Cope) and obscure (David Ragan).  Maybe THAT’S why he looks so depressed in his picture.

FINAL RATING:  1 start-and-park excuse out of 10

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Ultimate Race Shop

Programming Note: That pesky thing called "real life" is getting in the way of watching today's race, so there'll be no regular "Burnout" article this week.  Enjoy this instead!

My OTHER website has relaunched with all new information, updates, and pics!  With that in mind, here’s what *I’D* like to see in a race shop:

—“Great entrance” featuring giant sign saying “If this were any other sport, you’d have been kicked out by now”.

—Wide variety of hero cards backed by a glowering image of the team owner to dissuade eBayers from taking a dozen to sell online. 

—Gift Shop staffed by receptionist who doesn’t mind if you just walk around aimlessly for an hour. 

—“Fan Walk” showing the millions of dollars and hundreds of hours that go into building each and every one of these cars...that could be destroyed in a single second. 

—Used sheet metal for sale, divided into “Normal wrecks” and “Wrecks caused by Ricky Stenhouse Jr” sections. 

—Flatscreen TV showing highlights properly voiced over by someone you can’t quite place (“I think it’s Marty Snider, but maybe it’s Steve Richards?”)

—Interactive displays simulating for a fab what it’s like to race for four hours in incredible heat only to immediately have a microphone shoved in your face. 

—Outdoor viewing area for pit stop practice, complete with free lug nuts (they’re the world’s best paperweights!)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

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

Sorry for another kinda short entry here, but I’m been slammed busy both in and out of work.  In work, this is what happens when you’re short-staffed on assistant managers a few weeks before the holiday help comes on.  Outside of work, it seems like I have about a dozen errands to do every single day!  Sometimes I wish I could have a simpler life, like Mystery seems to have.

Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 (5 wins)—Christopher Bell: Too tough to pick against him and Toyota on a 1.5 miler.

Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400—MYSTERY PICKER (4 wins) PICKS Joey Logano.  Favorite (4 wins): Kyle Busch—See my Xfinity comments and repeat.  Next Favorite (5 wins): Brad Keselowski—And wouldn’t you believe it, its on fuel mileage.  Dark Horse: Erik Jones—now that the pressure’s off, the build for 2019 can begin!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Unboxing and Unwrapping: Parts 17 & 18

17. Newman, New men, and blue men

OVERVIEW:  There’s an odd preponderance of the color blue in this pack—six guys have it in their fire suits, including Daniel Hemric who has it in his sponsor.  Speaking of which, this has what I think is the best possible combo of young talent—guys who are “already there” (Chase Elliott & Ryan Blaney), guys on the cusp (Erik Jones & Austin Dillon) and a possible future star in Hemric.

BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  Ryan Newman scored his 111th career top-five finish?  Wow—if he ran for Joe Gibbs, there’d probably be merch commemorating it!

PICK OF THE PACK:  Erik Jones gets the limited-edition “Studio” treatment here, including a mention of the time Ken Squire called him “That Jones Boy”.  I wonder if Dale Jarrett’s cards back in the late-90’s referenced when Ken called him “the legend, Dale Earnhardt”?

FINAL RATING:  7 racing lines out of 10

18. Old school style, “Phenom” on file, and some rubber from Kyle

OVERVIEW:  Another memorabilia insert!  This time its a piece of Kyle Larson’s race-used tire to go along with his autograph.  Kyle dominates this pack with three different cards, but we also get an appearance by Penske protege Austin Cindric as a “Phenom”—I’ll keep that in mind next time I see him wreck in Xfinity (which should be next week).

BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  Junior Johnson gets a shout-out from Bruce Springsteen!  Better to have it be in a lyric than in one of his interminable pre-song rap sessions, “Y’know mah ol man used to tell me about racing…”.

PICK OF THE PACK:  Gray Gaulding!!!  Nice to see him consider running in the mid-30’s and not getting paid as “…a dream come true”—that’s the spirit!

BONUS:  The memorabilia cards don’t have much in the way of back-of-the-card information, which is understandable considering that they’re likely to wind up on someone’s wall.  Also, no, I haven’t tried to “scratch n sniff” the tire rubber.

FINAL RATING:  9 pre-show interview segments out of 10