Tuesday, February 26, 2019

My Guest Spots on Nascar America: Motormouths

DA DA da da DOO DOO DOO,
DOO DOO DOO,DOO DOO DOO
doo doo doo doo da da da da da
da da da DA DA
Some of you have asked and yes, that WAS me you heard on Nascar America’s new Wednesday call-in show, Motormouths. For those of you who missed it, here’s a transcript.

Rutledge Wood: “OK, it’s time for our first caller of the day—you’re on the air!”

Me: “Thanks Rut, I have a question for Pittman, first name Stu.”

Rutledge: “Wait—Stu Pittman? I’m sure I can take that question.”

Me: *laughs*
Rutledge: “What’s so—oh, WAIT A MINUTE! If I ever find you I’m gonna tie you to the back tire of a car and make it do hot laps!”
*deep breath*
Rutledge: “Sorry about that—let’s move on to our next caller.”

Me: “Yes, I was curious what you thought about the hot young development driver Esboring. I think his first name is DeShow.”

Rutledge: “Hmm, the name kinda rings a bell, what does the crew think about DeShow Esboring?”

Me: *laughs*

Crewmember: “You’re the cause of that, Rut!”

Rutledge: “ITS YOU AGAIN ISN’T IT! Listen you little punk! When I find you I’m gonna take your guts apart for inspection and make sure you fail multiple times!”
*frustrated sigh*
Rutledge: “Again I apologize. Ok, let’s try another caller here.”

Me: (heavily disguised voice) “Hello, I am, uh, new to this sport, and, uh, I’m looking for a driver to, uh, follow. I was thinking, uh, about that guy Gimmick, first name’s, uh, Ima.”

Rutledge: “Ima Gimmick?”

Kyle Petty: “You got that right!”

Rutledge: “Oh now THAT DOES IT! I’m gonna find you, take you down to the track, and beat you to death with my microphone in the urinal stalls!”

Me: “Yeah that’ll be another segment you do that’ll be a bathroom break!” *hangs up!*

Rutledge: “OH THAT SON OF A...well, I think that’s all the time we have for to...wait, we have one more caller? It’s not that guy...oh, good, ok, you’re on the air.”

Bill Weber: “NBC still owes me money from my work for Champ Car”


Rutledge: “CLOSE. BILL’S. MIC. NOW.”

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Jimmie Johnson’s Car Impounded for Hideous Paint Scheme


The 2019 Nascar Cup Series season was supposed to be a comeback year for Jimmie Johnson, who appeared to have started on the right foot (well, unless you’re Paul Menard) with a win in the Advance Auto Parts Clash exhibition race.  However, this year has been thrown into question as Johnson’s car has been impounded by Nascar officials due to the overall ugliness of its primary paint scheme.
“We don’t take situations like this lightly”, said Nascar spokesman Ron Mastrio.  “However, we felt that the 2019 48 car paint scheme was so egregiously awful that we had no choice but to ban it from competition for the rest of the year.”
Mastrio continued that “…Hendrick Motorsports is more than welcome to come back to the track next weekend, as long as its with something that looks less like a printing error on a 7th-grader’s Trapper Keeper and more like a dignified race car.”
Jimmie Johnson had established himself as a relatively staid driver with tasteful, understated paint schemes for longtime former sponsor Lowe’s.  However, the introduction of new sponsor Ally brought with it a new look that has been roundly rejected by fans.
“It looks like something you’d see in a bad video game”, one fan said at the track.  “I was getting ready to cancel my tickets for the season, but thanks to them banning that ugly, ugly car, I’ll hold onto them.  Well, at least until the next thing happens that annoys me, then I’ll threaten to cancel them again.”
Nobody from Ally, an online bank, was willing to comment on the record as to the thinking behind such a bizarre look for the company’s debut in Nascar.  However, rumors have persisted that such a paint scheme may have been the work of a marketing executive’s child, or perhaps a combination of committee thinking and a bad batch of seafood at a company meeting.
“You know, I don’t really think it looks all that bad”, Johnson said upon seeing his car being loaded up into an official Nascar hauler, presumably to be destroyed.  “In fact, I have a big announcement coming up regarding these penalties.

“OK, here it is—we’re appealing them.”

Friday, February 22, 2019

Spade Racing Picks: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Atlanta


Good show, Mystery Picker, good show.  You nearly had the win at Daytona, a great accomplishment at a track as random as Daytona.  While this was the last edition of “Restrictor Place Roulette” (“Tapered Spacer Tarot Cards”?) the REAL season picks up this weekend at Atlanta.
My strategy this year is pretty much the same as in the past—go with who has the “hot hand” and riding Big ‘Mo(mentum), while taking into account who dominates at said tracks.  Here’s hoping the old standards do well by me this weekend, as the rest of my life is up in the air.  Well, not the WHOLE rest of it, just work—there’s a big meeting EVERYONE needs to be at this upcoming Monday, and I’m hoping that they don’t shut down our store.  Unemployment isn’t the worst thing in the world, but having too much time to waste on gambling sure is.

CUP SERIES Folds of Honor 500: Mystery Picker picks Erik Jones.  Favorite: Kyle Busch—Uh, Mystery, ya picked the wrong JGR guy.  Next Favorite: Kevin Harvick—if he wins, will he celebrate with one of those special cans?  Dark Horse: Austin Dillon—can you say “fuel mileage”?

XFINITY SERIES Rinnai 250: Christopher Bell—a dominant season starts now.

TRUCK SERIES Atlanta 200: Kyle Busch—Its just like Groundhog Day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Problem We All Live With

Do you find yourself feeling left-out? Uninformed? Confused as to the state of things? You’re not alone. For the past few weeks millions of race fans have found themselves afflicted with...

Jayski Withdrawal

Are you suffering from Jayski Withdrawal? Here are some of the symptoms:

—Wondering about Silly Season and feeling paralyzed as to where to go. 

—Uncontrollable rage towards ESPN. 

—Scanning AP reports hoping for a spelling error. 

—Looking longingly at the “J” key on your keyboard. 

There are several treatment plans for Jayski Withdrawal—bookmarking other reputable sites, watching RaceHub and Nascar America, and such.  The afflicted are warned not to try synthetic Jayski substitutes like Reddit or Twitter without having received their BS-vaccination first. Also, please resist all urges to move to Cape May Court House, NJ. 

Together, we can fight these symptoms and win. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

100 Stock Car Racing "What Ifs": Brett at the Brickyard

Nascar has a long and storied history, but it also has a past littered with “What If?” questions.  Join author Mike Mackler as he takes a look back at stock car racing’s 100 most-intriguing hypotheticals in “100 Stock Car Racing ‘What Ifs’”, the book available on Amazon in both Paperback and Kindle formats.  Here’s a preview of one of the one hundred “What If” questions asked throughout the book:

46. What if Brett Bodine had won the first Brickyard 400?

The OTHER big thing for Brett that day
Background: In 1994 the unthinkable happened—Nascar came to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first-ever running of the Brickyard 400.  One of the biggest events in Nascar history saw the sport shed its southern roots as IMS, in turn, finally opened its doors to a second race.

What Actually Happened: Jeff Gordon and Ernie Irvan dueled for the lead for most of the final third of the race, until Irvan ran over a piece of debris, cutting his tire.  This allowed Indiana’s own Jeff Gordon, Nascar’s biggest rising star, to hold off journeyman veteran Brett Bodine for the historic win.

What Could Have Been the Turning Point: What if Brett Bodine closed the gap and pulled off the major upset?

What COULD Have Happened: The win would have arguably tarnished the first-ever running of the Brickyard 400.  While Brett Bodine was a competent racer, his only other Cup win prior to this was as the result of a scoring error, and he had close to zero national recognition, whereas Gordon was rocketing towards worldwide prominence as the face of stock car racing.
The top two that day

And if THAT Happened…: However, Nascar would have had a juicy followup storyline.  Brett Bodine infamously tapped his brother Geoff into the wall, the result of a family feud boiling over onto the track.  While the idea of brothers trying to destroy each other might not have been the image Nascar wanted, it would have certainly piqued interest.

What Else Could Have Happened: It wouldn’t have hurt Jeff Gordon’s ascendency any in the long run.  He’d already won a “major” in the 600 miler at Charlotte and would add another the following year with his first Southern 500 win.

Why It Had to Turn Out The Way It Did: Jeff Gordon succeeding at the venue where a few years earlier he’d been turned away for not having monetary support was too good to miss, and Rick Hendrick and Ray Evernham gave him a car that could dominate.


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Exciting Race Surprises Idiots


Worry was everywhere throughout Speedweeks as a lack of entertaining preliminary races had some predicting a dull, actionless Daytona 500.  However, today’s race—with passing, multiple racing lines, and even a few wrecks—came as a complete surprise to idiots who have no idea how racing works.
The same people who hate "boring" races
also claim to hate multi-car wrecks
“Jeez, after I saw the Clash, I was thinking the 500 would be a snoozefest”, said fan/moron Zane Brian.  “I was complaining online to anyone who would read my tweets that Nascar was dead and that it wasn’t ever coming back.  Boy, is my face red!”
Longtime stock car racing observers and experienced fans correctly knew not to use an exhibition race and two qualifying races to predict a 500 mile event with a full-field and the richest purse of the season.  However, these pleas for an open mind fell on deaf ears to the sport’s more-imbecilic fans.
“And I *STILL* say that a qualifying race at night can predict how the racing will be in a regular race during the day!”, said dunderhead Felix Biggs.  “They just got lucky in the 500—next week we’ll be back to single car racing with nobody passing—last year’s package didn’t work, and THIS YEAR’S package won’t work either!”
Other fans cried foul about today’s race, despite it being almost universally-praised by those without an agenda and with a fully-functioning worldview.
“Didn’t you hear—Jim France (Nascar’s acting leader) told drivers to try the low line today in the pre-race meeting—it was a fix!” said dummy R. J. Fynch, who appears to have less reasoning skills than the average eight-year-old.  “When a France family member tells you to do something, you do it.  I can’t believe he was so brazen about letting everyone know about it!”, he said, failing to recognize what was obviously a joke.

Fans on the lower end of Nascar fandom’s intelligence scale are regrouping, preparing to complain next week about either the lack of passing or the manufactured drama at Atlanta.

Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/spaderacing.com and Facebook at www.facebook.com/spaderacing

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Spade Racing Picks: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Daytona


Well, the Super Bowl is over and for some people that means the “dead zone” of sports.  But not for Nascar fans like us!  Yep, I really have to thank my nephew Mike who runs this site—he got me into Nascar, which is the perfect thing to watch on a cold February Sunday afternoon.  Thankfully I should be getting off almost every Sunday this year from work—one of my old buddies from my early days here got promoted back to this store as the manager, and he’s already taking care of his ol’ buddy Max!
As for Mystery Picker, I still have no idea who (s)he is.  My nephew Mike hasn’t given me much info either, but I was able to extract a pretty good concession from them this year—if I can beat Mystery Picker in Cup Series picks AGAIN this year, then Mystery will be forced to reveal themselves at the end of the season.  So sit back, relax, plunk some money down at your nearest legal sports book, and prepare to spend the season winning with Uncle Max!

CUP SERIES Daytona 500: Mystery Picker picks Kyle Busch.  Favorite: Kevin Harvick—Harv is also my pick for the 2019 Cup Series regular season championship.  Next Favorite: Kyle Larson—KLar kicks off a year of Chevy finally figuring out the Camaro.  Dark Horse: Erik Jones—reminder that to qualify as a “Dark Horse”, said driver must be outside the top-10 in points and not have scored a win this year.

XFINITY SERIES Nascar Racing Experience 300: Brandon Jones—A good enough reminder as any that JGR has TWO Xfinity drivers running the full schedule.

TRUCK SERIES NextEra Energy 250: Grant Enfinger—Enfinger points to the front (sorry).

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

2019 Cup Preview: What are the odds? Part 2: The Non-Playoff Drivers


2019 sees not only Nascar, but all American sports entering a brave new world of legalized betting.  Expect to see a much-bigger focus from Nascar’s media partners on the gambling aspect of the sport, from traditional bets like race winners to stranger prop bets like the number of fans who will wear Cole Whitt merchandise in the grandstands.  Here below are some odds for the 2019 Cup season—teams with known charters listed, major known sponsors in parenthesis.


17. (“Ooh—SO CLOSE” Award) 3–Austin Dillon (Dow, American Ethanol)
Odds of winning a race: 15:1
Odds of winning a non-plate, non-fuel mileage race: 75:1

Pretty cool how a top-level Nascar team
has both a Mexican and a Cuban-American
driver on their roster.
18. 41–Daniel Su├írez (Arris, Haas)
Odds of winning a race: 30:1
Odds of finally snapping about his time at JGR: 20:1

19. 17–Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Fastenal, Sunny D)
Odds of winning a race: 50:1
Odds of being referred to as Roush Fenway Racing’s “lead driver”: 2:1

20. 6–Ryan Newman (Oscar Mayer, Performance Plus)
Odds of winning a race: 40:1
Odds of Matt Kenseth being rumored for a comeback in this car: 5:1

21. 13–Ty Dillon (Geico, Twisted Tea)
Odds of winning a race: 100:1
Odds of his hauler driver getting lost on his way to their new shop: 25:1

22. (Rookie of the Year Leader) 8–Daniel Hemric (Caterpillar, Cessna)
Just like Dale Sr.'s Bass Pro car in
The Winston where he finished...19th?!?
Odds of winning a race: 50:1
Odds of running a Hut Stricklin throwback scheme at Darlington: 50:1 (sadly)

23. 47–Ryan Preece (Kroger)
Odds of winning a race: 400:1
Odds of his story of rising from obscurity to the Cup Series being run into the ground: 3:1

24. 37–Chris Buescher (Kroger)
Odds of winning a race: 200:1
Odds of his last name being misspelled: 2:1

25. 38–David Ragan (Love’s, Shriners)
Odds of winning a race: 400:1
Odds of being called Front Row’s “veteran leader”: 15:1

26. (Disappointment of the Year) 21–Paul Menard (Menards, Motorcraft)
Odds of winning a race: 100:1
Odds of losing his sponsor: 10,000:1

27. (“Nearly wins a race on fuel mileage” Award) 43–Bubba Wallace (???, WorldWide Technology)
Odds of winning a race: 300:1
Odds of people claiming RPM is on the brink of shutting down despite being majority-owned by a billionaire: 10:1
...and apparently this sponsor is based
about 10 minutes from where I live

28. 95—Matt DiBenedetto (Procore, DumontJETS)
Odds of winning a race: 400:1
Odds of his ascent to a mid-level ride being used as proof “the system works”: 4:1

29. 34–Michael McDowell (MDS, K-Love)
Odds of winning a race: 400:1
Odds of me making a McDowell’s/Coming to America joke: 5:1

30. 32–Corey LaJoie (Keen/Corvette Parts, Schluter Systems)
Odds of winning a race: 500:1
Odds of doing or saying something stupid: 5:1

31. 36–Matt Tifft (???)
Odds of winning a race: 500:1
Odds of winning Rookie of the Year...the special edition Blu-Ray Henry Rowengarter Edition: 100:1

32. 77/40—Multiple Drivers (???)
Odds of winning a race: NO LINE
Odds of Jamie McMurray being awkwardly interviewed on Daytona’s pit road by Michael Waltrip: EVEN

33. 15—Ross Chastain (???)
Odds of winning a race: 1,000:1
Odds of things getting awkward between him and Kurt Busch: 40:1

34. 00—Landon Cassill (Starcom, ???)
Odds of winning a race: 1,000:1
Odds of Landon ever matching team manager Derrike Cope’s luxurious mustache: 10,000:1

35. 51—??? (???)
Odds of winning a race: 1,000:1
Odds of this team running all three manufacturers: 3:1

36. 52—??? (???)
Odds of winning a race: 1,000:1
Odds of Cody Ware making an idiot out of himself online (again): 8:1

Monday, February 11, 2019

2019 Cup Preview: What are the odds? Part 1: The Playoff Drivers


2019 sees not only Nascar, but all American sports entering a brave new world of legalized betting.  Expect to see a much-bigger focus from Nascar’s media partners on the gambling aspect of the sport, from traditional bets like race winners to stranger prop bets like the number of fans who will wear Cole Whitt merchandise in the grandstands.  Here below are some odds for the 2019 Cup season—teams with known charters listed, major known sponsors in parenthesis.

1. (Regular Season Champion) 18–Kyle Busch (M&Ms, Interstate Batteries)
Odds of winning a race: EVEN
Odds of the Skittles car being the best-looking car all year: 3:2
"But if Bass Pro Shops and Auto-Owners
is still sponsoring him, why did Furniture
Row have to shut down?" --because when
you're a multi-millionaire, you can.

2. 19–Martin Truex Jr. (Bass Pro Shops, Auto-Owners)
Odds of winning a race: 2:1
Odds of broadcasters bringing up his vow of revenge against Joey Logano: OFF (due to unpopular request)

3. 22–Joey Logano (Shell-Pennzoil, AAA)
Odds of winning a race: 3:2
Odds of Martin Truex Jr. actually wrecking him: 100:1

4. 4–Kevin Harvick (Jimmy Johns, Buschhhhh)
Odds of winning a race: EVEN
Odds of Mobil 1 running another “Tiny Kevin” commercial into the ground: EVEN

5. 42–Kyle Larson (Credit One, ???)
Odds of winning a race: 2:1
Odds of DC Solar appearing on the car: 500:1

6. 9–Chase Elliott (Napa, Hooters)
Odds of winning a race: 2:1
Odds of Bill Elliott being shown in the closing laps of that win: 3:2
WARNING--paint scheme may be
uglier than it appears

7. (Comeback Driver of the Year) 48–Jimmie Johnson (Ally)
Odds of winning a race: 10:1
Odds of the current Ally scheme being revised by the end of the season: 2:1

8. 11–Denny Hamlin (FedEx, SportClips)
Odds of winning a race: 8:1
Odds of a rumor spreading that Denny’s getting “bad equipment” so Christopher Bell can get this ride in 2020: 4:1

9. 2–Brad Keselowski (Miller Lite, Discount Tires)
Odds of winning a race: 2:1
Odds of saying something on Twitter that seems profound but is actually pretty dumb: 5:4

Maybe its just me, but I LIKED last year's
red numbers on a blue background
10. (Breakout Driver of the Year) 24–William Byron (Axalta, Liberty U)
Odds of winning a race: 15:1
Odds of former Jeff Gordon fans already thinking of him as a “disappointment”: 3:1

11. 10–Aric Almirola (Smithfield)
Odds of winning a race: 5:1
Odds of being cursed out by Richard Petty fans: 4:1

12. 12—Ryan Blaney (Menards, PPG et al)
Odds of winning a race: 8:1
Odds of outrunning the other Menards-sponsored Cup car: EVEN

13. 14–Clint Bowyer (Rush Truck Stops, Haas)
Odds of winning a race: 10:1
Odds of Tony Stewart being shown atop his pit box: 5:4

14. (Top Non-Winning Driver) 88–Alex Bowman (Nationwide, Axalta)
Odds of winning a race: 20:1
Odds of Alex appearing in a Nationwide commercial: 40:1

15. (“Wait—didn’t he win already?” Award) 1–Kurt Busch (Monster, McDonalds)
Odds of winning a race: 3:1
Odds of actually retiring after the 2019 season: 50:1

16. 20–Erik Jones (DeWalt, Reser’s)
Odds of winning a race: 10:1
Odds of being rumored for the 95 car next year: 4:1


NEXT TIME—The Non-Playoff Drivers

Sunday, February 10, 2019

2019 Xfinity Preview: Organizing with the Spadie Kondo Method PART 2


Thanks to Netflix the organizing methods of Marie Kondo are all the rage.  Thankfully her third-cousin Spadie Kondo is a racing fan and has her OWN method of organizing…race car drivers!

Drivers/teams listed in their categories in projected order of finish for the season.

KEY: Car # Team Name—Driver (Biggest Announced Sponsor)

TPR—TEAM PROBABILITY RATINGS:
3—Confirmed; definitely running
2—Most-likely running but situation COULD change
1—Team is assumed to be running based on information available
0—Status is unknown, may not run in 2019

Click here for Part 1

TEAMS WITH MULTIPLE DRIVERS
Its put-up or shut-up time for Jeffrey
18 JGR—Jeffrey Earnhardt & The Rowdy Bunch (Extreme Concepts)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: Win the 2019 Owners’ Championship
What They’ll Need to Throw Out: Idiots complaining about “An Earnhardt in a Toyota?!?”

8 JRM—Zane Smith & The Boys (???)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: Contend for the 2019 Owners’ Championship
What They’ll Need to Throw Out: Elliott Sadler’s UNC Tar Heels stuff from his locker

12 Penske—The Penske Posse (???)
TPR—3 (part-time team)
Realistic 2019 goal: Win multiple races
What They’ll Need to Throw Out: That one speck of dust on the shop room floor, near the tear-down area.  Yeah, Roger saw that.

21 RCR—Pop-Pop’s Crew (???)
TPR—2 (possible part-time team)
Realistic 2019 goal: Top tens in standalone races, a couple of wins with Cup drivers in the drivers’ seat
What They’ll Need to Throw Out: Fans at the shop demanding to know what Shane Lee’s REAL name is
BJ McLeod, with the same haircut as
your cousin who still listens to Emo

86 BBM—Brandon Brown, ??? (Coastal Carolina)
TPR—1 (possible part-time team)
Realistic 2019 goal: Running a majority of races, attracting more sponsorship
What They’ll Need to Throw Out: People who “helpfully” point out what 86 actually means

99 BJM—JA Joe Avila McLeod Jr. (Diamond Gussett)
TPR—2
Realistic 2019 goal: Making every race
What They’ll Need to Throw Out: Me, for making too many “Crew Chief?” “McLeod!” jokes

THE BACK OF THE PACK (Realistic 2019 goal for all these teams is to make as many races as possible)
36 DGM—??? (???)
TPR—1
They’ll NEVER Get Rid Of: Their King Autosport apparel

13 MBM—Chad Finchum (Smithbilt)
TPR—2
They’ll NEVER Get Rid Of: That car Carl Long flipped to smithereens at Rockingham
Expected paint scheme for
Caesar Bacarella at Daytona

90 King Autosport—??? (???)
TPR—0
They’ll NEVER Get Rid Of: Their DGM Racing swag

42 MBM—??? (CrashClaimsRUS)
TPR—2
They’ll NEVER Get Rid Of: All the old “40” stuff they can’t cover up with a “42”

38 RSS—JJ Yeley (???)
TPR—2
They’ll NEVER Get Rid Of: All the Delaware Dept. of Safety accessories JJ brings

52 JMR—??? (???)
TPR—2
They’ll NEVER Get Rid Of: Jimmy Means’ lifetime supply of Alka-Seltzer

25 RWR—??? (???)
TPR--1
They’ll NEVER Get Rid Of: Voicemails of people unable to properly say “Rick Ware Racing” (go ahead, try saying it three times fast)

74 MHR—Mike Harmon (???)
TPR—1
They’ll NEVER Get Rid Of: The belief that black is a slimming look
Body type: Bowling Ball

89 SRV—Morgan Shepherd (Racing for Jesus)
TPR—2
They’ll NEVER Get Rid Of: Morgan Shepherd—this could be a Weekend at Bernie’s scenario

93 RSS—Jeff Green (???)
TPR—2
They’ll NEVER Get Rid Of: Excuses (handling, vibration, too slow, etc.)

DEFUNCT TEAMS
16 RFR
What happened?: Sponsor Lilly Diabetes decided to leave the sport
How do you thank it? “Well, at least we can throw out all that sugar-free candy”

35 GGR
What happened?: Joey Gase took his funding to MBM
How do you thank it? “Go Green Racing, what’s with the generic name?”

42 CGR
What happened?: Sponsor DC Solar was raided by the FBI (seriously)
How do you thank it? “Sorry, I’m not able to comment on the situation at this time”

60 RFR
What happened?: Roust-Fenway simply decided to stop its Xfinity program after losing two of its drivers
How do you thank it? “I still have those Winn-Dixie commercials stuck in my head, MARK.”

Friday, February 8, 2019

2019 Xfinity Preview: Organizing with the Spadie Kondo Method PART 1


Thanks to Netflix the organizing methods of Marie Kondo are all the rage.  Thankfully her third-cousin Spadie Kondo is a racing fan and has her OWN method of organizing…race car drivers!

Drivers/teams listed in their categories in projected order of finish for the season.

KEY: Car # Team Name—Driver (Biggest Announced Sponsor)

TPR—TEAM PROBABILITY RATINGS:
3—Confirmed; definitely running
2—Most-likely running but situation COULD change
1—Team is assumed to be running based on information available
0—Status is unknown, may not run in 2019

NOTE—all picks made after “greeting the track” earlier today.  In an unrelated note, I’ve been banned from Dover International Speedway.

DEVELOPMENTAL DRIVERS
20 JGR—Christopher Bell (Rheem)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: Several wins and the 2019 championship
When will you see him in Cup?: 2020 assuming Denny Hamlin’s back doesn’t give out before this season is over
The Toyota Supra will be run in the
Xfinity Series in 2019.  Oh, and
BLAH BLAH BLAH BMW BLAH BLAH
BLAH UGLY BLAH BLAH BLAH

00 SHR—Cole Custer (Haas)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: 2-3 wins and making the final round of the playoffs
When will you see him in Cup?: 2020 although it would likely be with a satellite team like Front Row Motorsports, Pinnacle Pro Racing, Spire Motorsports, or Victory Circle Racing (see if you can figure out the two I just made up)

22 Penske—Austin Cindric (MoneyLion)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: Better consistency, much fewer wrecks, and hopefully a win or two
When will you see him in Cup?: 2021, aka When He Changes His Name to Austin Menard

23 GMS—John Hunter Nemechek (FAS)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: A win (maybe more?), a deep Playoff run, and establishment as the top developmental driver unattached to a Cup team
When will you see him in Cup?: 2021 but with a crappy team, 2022 with a mid-level team, 2023 with an alien-owned team, 2024 with a cyborg-owned team

2 RCR—Tyler Reddick (???)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: Making the Playoffs while scoring a win or two
When will you see him in Cup?: 2021, finally bringing back the #30 Cup car (sadly, no Jeff Green)

98 SHR/BDB—Chase Briscoe (Nutri Chomps)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: Making the Playoffs and holding onto this ride for 2020
When will you see him in Cup?: 2021 in the Roush-Fenway 6 car (NOTE: if you’re actually going to bet on this, seek professional help immediately)

19 JGR—Brandon Jones (Menards)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: Making the Playoffs and attracting some Cup ride attention
When will you see him in Cup? 2021, but sooner if Kyle Busch decides to get suspended again
Gragson.  Noah Gargson.  What kind
of fans like Noah Gragson?

9 JRM—Noah Gragson (Armour)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: Win Rookie of the Year
When will you see him in Cup? 2022, but not with JRM (they’re staying in Xfinity, people!)

11 Kaulig—Justin Haley (LeafFilter)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: Win Rookie of the Year
When will you see him in Cup? 2022, hopefully having stayed with a team for more than a season by that point

XFINITY VETERANS
7 JRM—Justin Allgaier (Brandt)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: Multiple wins and the 2019 championship
Does he spark joy?: Considering he’s one of the few drivers who looks, acts, and lives like a normal human being, yes

New number for Michael A and Flying J
1 JRM—Michael Annett (Pilot/Flying J)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: A race win and/or a solid Playoff berth
Does he spark joy?: No, but then again you shouldn’t have ANY sparks near a gas station

4 JDM—Ross Chastain...mostly (FilterTime)
TPR—2
Realistic 2019 goal: Contending for a Playoff berth and attracting more sponsorship
Does he spark joy?: Yeah, until you realize how he lost his Ganassi ride

35 MBM—Joey Gase (Eternal Fan)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: Top-10s in plate and standalone races
Does he spark joy?: As much as anyone with such a goulish-sounding sponsor can
"No, Phil, NO!!!"

0, 01, 15 JDM—The JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Trio (Flex Seal)
TPR—1
Realistic 2019 goal: Putting at least one car in the Playoffs
Do they spark joy?: Not until Phil Swift saws a car in half, puts it back together, then races it to the pole

61 Fury—Kaz Grala (???)
TPR—0
Realistic 2019 goal: (for Kaz) Running close to the full schedule
Does he spark joy: As long as you don’t think too long about how to pronounce his last name

51 JCR—Jeremy Clements (RepairableVehicles)
TPR—3
Realistic 2019 goal: Contending for top-20s and a Playoff spot
Does he spark joy?: As long as he keeps his mouth shut
Still The Official Underdog

39 RSS—Ryan Sieg (???)
TPR—2
Realistic 2019 goal: Continuing to make races and contend for top-20s when able
Does he spark joy?: Well, as The Official Underdog of the Xfinity Series, I think he’s required to

?  BJM—Matt Mills (???)
TPR—2
Realistic 2019 goal: Make every race, contend when the funding is there, come back for more next year
Does he spark joy?: Once you realize he’s not the guy from REM, I guess so

07 SS-GLR—Ray Black Jr. (???)
TPR—2
Realistic 2019 goal: Hold onto this ride for the entire year
Does he spark joy?: Can you make sparks underwater?

08 SS-GLR—Gray Gaulding (???)
TPR—1
Realistic 2019 goal: Make it through the entire season without any sponsorship/payment issues
Does he spark joy?: When was the last time a guy named “Gray” sparked anything?

78 BJM—Vinnie Miller (???)
TPR—2
Realistic 2019 goal: See Matt Mills
Does he spark joy?: Yeah, until you realize that “Vinnie” is somehow short for “Vance”

COMING UP NEXT: PART 2

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

2019 Truck Series Preview: What Happened?!?


2019 will be a season of change in the Nascar Truck Series, with very little continuity from 2018 (except the schedule, unfortunately).  Here’s a look at who’s been confirmed to race in 2019 and what’s changed for them.

Nascar Gander Outdoors Truck Series
What Happened?: Business magnate Marcus Lemonis has switched his series sponsorship from one company (Camping World) to another in his portfolio, Gander Outdoors.
Prediction: Fans will see the new acronym of “NGOTS” and wonder if it stands for “Nascar Grammy Oscar Tony Series”

(NOTE: teams listed in order of predicted regular season finish)

*—team’s plans are not confirmed

SINGLE-DRIVER TEAMS:
88 Matt Crafton (ThorSport Ford)
What Happened?: Well, my theory gets blown up in my first entry—never think that I just do these predictions for comedic purposes.  Nothing’s changed for Nascar’s most-consistent team.
Prediction: Multiple wins and the regular season title

24 Brett Moffitt (GMS Chevy)
What Happened?: Last year’s champion got released from his ride at Hattori Racing due to lack of sponsorship, then latched on with GMS, unseating Johnny Sauter in the process.  No idea how or why this happened, but perhaps Brett simply works cheaper (after you’ve worked for Michael Waltrip, you’ll work minimum wage to stay away from him).
Prediction: Multiple wins and coming on strong after a slow start

18 Harrison Burton (KBM Toyota)
What Happened?: After dabbling in the Truck Series for the past three years, the son of Jeff moves up full-time to replace Noah Gragson, who followed the usual KBM pipeline to JR Motorsports.
Prediction: Multiple wins and the Rookie of the Year title

51 Todd Gilliland (KBM Toyota)
What Happened?: The youngest of the racing Gillilands prepares for his first full season in the Trucks, free from age restrictions ironically put in place to stymie his truck owner, Kyle Busch.
Prediction: A win and a strong regular-season

16 Austin Hill (HRE Toyota)
What Happened?: After a rookie year for the mid-level Young’s Motorsports team, Hill steps up to the defending championship team.  No pressure.
Prediction: A win after getting used to a brand-new team, truck, and crew

52 Stewart Friesen (HFR Chevy)
What Happened?: The GMS-affiliated team and driver showed promise in their first full-time season, coming oh-so-close to their first win several times.
Prediction: Finally breaking through with a win while simultaneously trying to stay as far away from Tony Stewart as humanly possible

*13 Myatt Snider (ThorSport Ford)
What Happened?: The driver with a name spellcheck loves to hate posted three top-fives in his first full-time season in Trucks, with plans to compete again this year.
Prediction: A win (assuming he returns to this ride)

98 Grant Enfinger (ThorSport Ford)
What Happened?: Surprisingly little has changed lately, as the former journeyman seems to have found a home at ThorSport (which remains my favorite team name to hear Hermie Sadler say)
Prediction: A breakthrough win and a consistent season

2 Sheldon Creed (GMS Chevy)
What Happened?: After replacing Cody Coughlin, the former Stadium Truck Series standout finished strong with a top-five at Homestead, which was STILL less-sunrising than the fact that Robby Gordon is owning and operating a racing series.
Prediction: Top driver without a win

12 Gus Dean (Young’s Chevy)
What Happened?: The 24-year-old moves up to Truck competition with two years of ARCA experience under his belt.  Its depressing that a 24-year-old rookie is now thought of as relatively “old”, but that’s the situation.
Prediction: Solid year of top-tens

02 Tyler Dippel (Young’s Chevy)
What Happened?: The former GMS and DGR developmental driver moves up to Young’s Motorsports, and while he might not win Rookie of the Year, he is a mortal lock for Funnest Name to Say.
Prediction: Up-and-down year

30 Brennan Poole (On Point Toyota)
What Happened?: The former Ganassi driver is back running full-time, no doubt feeling pretty good that he’s still in Nascar while DC Solar isn’t.
Prediction: Top-20s as a goal

3 Jordan Anderson (JAR Chevy)
What Happened?: The master of the press release ran all but one race last year in his self-owned team, despite a lack of steady sponsorship and, of all things, a crime scare
Prediction: Running every race and showing some speed, if not great results

20 Spencer Boyd (Young’s Chevy)
What Happened?: After a disappointing year in the Xfinity Series Boyd slides over into a full-time Truck ride.
Prediction: A highlight of topping his previous best Nascar finish of 13th

MULTIPLE DRIVER TEAMS
51 ??? (KBM Toyota)
What Happened?: This team typically runs a combination of developmental drivers and Cup veterans as part of the Stroke Rowdy’s Ego program.
Prediction: Multiple wins for Rowdy…again

17 Tyler Ankrum (DGR-C Toyota)
What Happened?: After winning last year’s K&N Pro Series East title, Ankrum (boy does that sound like an obscure industrial company from the 60’s) will run a full-schedule starting at Martinsville.
Prediction: Contending for wins

54 Natalie Decker, Anthony Alfredo (DGR-C Toyota)
What Happened?: The two developmental drivers will share the Gilliland-Crosley truck, for which I will assign the nicknames of “Black &” and “The Sauce”.
Prediction: Occasionally running at the front but mostly “building a notebook”

21 Sam Meyer (GMS Chevy)
What Happened?: Sam Meyer is confirmed for four starts once he turns 16.  Yeah, he’s got a Nascar deal and he’s only FIFTEEN YEARS OLD.
Prediction: Building towards a more-complete schedule in the future

45 Ross Chastain, Reid Wilson (Neice Chevy)
What Happened?: Chastain lost his ride in the Xfinity Series after the FBI raid on DC Solar, but reportedly remains tied to Ganassi.  And Reid Wilson?  He finished 30th in the last race last year.
Prediction: Top fives at Daytona and Talladega, top-20s elsewhere

75 Parker Kligerman (Henderson Chevy)
What Happened?: The former Red Bull developmental driver returns to run about eight races for the small, independent team.
Prediction: About eight races that NBC will suddenly take an interest in

97 Jesse Little (JJLM Ford)
What Happened?: Chad’s son plans to continue his team’s development by attempting about half the schedule
Prediction: Several top-tens, but sadly no John Deere throwback

42 Chad Finley, Robby Lyons, ? (CFR Chevy)
What Happened?: Finley returns with his own team joined by journeyman Robby Lyons
Prediction: The answer to life, the universe, and everything