Friday, May 31, 2019

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


Well, once I get this written, my vacation officially begins!  Don’t worry, my picks will still be forthcoming, but they’ll be coming forth from the sunny beach house I’ve been able to call home for two weeks a year for the past decade.
While we’re on the subject of annual traditions, isn’t it about time Nascar gave up on the whole 600 mile race thing?  I know, I know, tradition and all, but its not like a full day of racing ending with more Nascar than usual is keeping people up late.  Heck—I dozed off before the halfway point.
Anyways, here’s the picks—and I’m officially on my way to the shore!

CUP SERIES Pocono 400: Mystery Picker picks Martin Truex Jr.  Favorite (3 wins): Kyle Busch—It’s a Toyota-filled week here in the Cup Series picks.  Next Favorite (1 win): Denny Hamlin—its his house (well, kinda).  Dark Horse: Erik Jones—gotta stake his claim to the 20 ride in 2020.

XFINITY SERIES Pocono Green 250 (6 wins): Austin Dillon—he may win in the 10 car, but he’s still no Jeff Green.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Opening a Sealed Box of 2019 Donruss Racing Cards PACK 10


Recently I got a sealed box of 2019 Donruss Racing Cards—24 packs, 8 cards per pack.  Join me as I go through the entire case, pack-by-pack, to see what awaited me. (Click any picture to enlarge)

PACK 10 OF 24: One Contenders, No Pretenders, and A Digit Bender

OVERVIEW: Some pretty stacked talent in this pack—heck, even Michael Annett is in the win column now.  While Michael McDowell is arguably the caboose in this talent train, at least he looks like he’s about to give someone a hearty handshake.

SPECIAL SPECIAL: Jimmie Johnson—the 48 driver of the 48 car.  Kinda redundant, Donruss, but kudos on the Trevor Boys reference on the back.

IN FOCUS: Of course Richard Petty is a RACE KING, but maybe they could’ve found a picture of him where he doesn’t have a wide collar—looks like a cross between Dr. Evil and a bad night out at the disco.

SPOTLIGHT: Denny Hamlin is the first of the “CONTENDERS” series to show up in this set, and while the “ticket” is a nice touch, all of them have the same Section, Row, and Seat.  Why not have some fun with it and have them correspond to their car number, win total, or career races?

SCORE: 9 windshield tear-offs out of 10

Sunday, May 26, 2019

BREAKING NEWS: Joe Gibbs’ Golf Cart Brushes Wall After Tire Failure


The tire issues for Joe Gibbs Racing have continued tonight, as team owner Joe Gibbs’ golf cart veered towards a pit road area wall after experiencing a front right tire failure.
CLICK HERE for today's Indy 500 Article
“The important thing is that everybody’s fine”, an unharmed but visibly annoyed Coach Gibbs said upon exiting his golf cart and examining the damage.  “But we obviously have some sort of issue going on here.  Either we’ve been a bit too aggressive with our setups—recreational vehicles included—or Goodyear doesn’t like us again.”
Gibbs’ golf cart, being used at the time to go from Erik Jones’ hauler to the 19 car’s pit stall, showed numerous scratches on the right side, rubbing off several of the dozens of logos of team sponsors.  The golf cart’s driver was also forced to go to the infield medical center, despite complaining of nothing more than “…a slightly bruised finger nail”.
The Gibbs-owned cars experienced tire issues during yesterday’s Xfinity Series race (one of seventeen with Alsco as a title sponsor) and the first car to wreck in tonight’s 600-miler was Erik Jones.  This was followed soon afterward by a crash by Gibbs-affiliate team driver Matt DiBenn, DeBine…Matty D, which was in turn followed by a wall-brush by the Gibbs-owned 19 car of Martin Truex Jr.
“I was on my way back to the 19 team’s pit stall to give the guys a quick pep talk”, Gibbs said after the golf cart incident.  “I knew it was gonna be really tough on Martin (Truex Jr.) with this being one of his home tracks and all.”
The Gibbs team is exploring a number of options for the rest of tonight’s race, including coating the right sides of their cars with Crisco to let them glide off the walls, and getting fellow driver Ryan Newman to simply block them from hitting the walls.

For their part, tire supplier Goodyear stated that there was nothing wrong with the tires examined after the incidents (including the golf cart tire), and pointed out that not a single Goodyear tire failed in today’s Indy 500.

The Gear Box

Second of Three Articles Today!--CLICK HERE for today's F1 post-race

(Scene: Harding Steinbrenner Racing headquarters a few weeks ago)

“Y-you wanted to see me, Mr. Steinbrenner?”

“Yes yes, come in George, come in.  Costanza, I’m happy with the progress you’ve made on our race team.”

“Thank you, Mr. Steinbrenner, but it was really the crew—“

“Now, now, Costanza, don’t sell yourself short—you’ve given those boys a heck of a pastry tray before each race.”

“Thank you, but really I think I’d do better back in New York—“

“That’s why I’m bumping you up to the race day crew—from now on you’ll be in charge of the gear boxes, Costanza, they’re YOUR respon-sa-bil-i-ty.”

“Wow, I’m-I’m flattered, sir, but Mr. Steinbrenner, I don’t really know much about cars—“

“George, let me tell you something, you don’t get to where I got without knowing a few things about people.  I started this company with nothing more than my parents’ connections, millions of dollars, and a dream.  I knew that if I put Colton in that car he’d set the world on fire, even if he looked kinda silly with that cowboy hat on.”

“Yeah, the hat, but Mr. Steinbrenner, don’t you think a mechanic would do better—“

“Costanza, I want you to scout the top gearbox manufacturers and have the report on my desk by noon tomorrow.  I don’t want you going with the easiest one to find—the thing could break on us in the first six laps.”

“Mr. Steinbrenner, sir, I really don’t think—“

“You can start with some of those companies with the little decals on the sides of the cars.  I think most of them make car parts.  (Costanza begins to walk out)  I often wonder if those decals create any drag on the car.  You could run a sponsorless car and pick up a few miles per hour each race! (Costanza walks out)  Of course you’d lose money on the deal…”

Formula 1 meets Nascar meets Hollywood: Nascar movies made F1-style

First of three today!

There’s been a few Nascar movies made over the years of varying levels of quality, success, and believability.  Unfortunately these movies have a relatively limited audience as Nascar has little appeal outside the United States.  Here’s how Nascar’s silver screen star turns could be made with an international, F1 flair:

Speedway (1968): Renamed “Street Course”, this sees Elvis play against type—instead of playing a southern, singing race car driver with a heart of gold, he plays a British, singing race car driver with a heart of gold.

43: The Richard Petty Story (1972): Originally this was a study of the career of Nascar’s most popular hero, Richard Petty.  As required by law, any study of Formula 1 “genius” will focus exclusively on Ayrton Senna (don’t worry, they’ll still gloss over the time Senna dated a 15-year-old).

Stroker Ace (1983): Made instead as a short film, Stroker still signs a deal with Sir Clyde of Torkelfunn, but instead when he starts to bristle against his new boss’s demands, he’s summarily fired, banned from the sport, and winds up with the ultimate indignity for a Formula 1 driver—being offered a ride in IndyCar.

Days of Thunder (1990): The film starts out the same (although Cole Trickle is instead a hot-shot rally racer), but when he and Russ Wheeler are called to a meeting with series director Max Mosley, it turns into a bizarre erotic horror movie.

Talladega Nights (2006): Renamed “Monaco Nights”, Jean-Girard is instead the hero of the movie, although for purposes of clarity the villainous, boisterous American race car driver is simply represented by archival footage of Michael Andretti.

Logan Lucky (2017): The caper instead takes place at the San Marino Grand Prix, but the movie retains its original feel of being terrible.

Friday, May 24, 2019

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


Getting ready for my annual shore trip—starts this weekend and goes for (almost) the next two weeks!  I don’t take my duties as chief BBQ cook lightly—its all about having the right meats for the right people at the right times.  And yes, Karen, I *WILL* have some Boca burger patties on the grill this year.
Its a triple-header weekend for the racing world—Sunday is the high holy holiday for gear heads.  I’m not gonna lie—I barely follow anything outside of Nascar, but I’m cool with giving picks for Monaco (Charles Leclerc) and Indianapolis (Simon Pagenaud).  So enjoy the holiday weekend, and stay tuned—even being on vacation won’t stop me from delivering my picks!

CUP SERIES Coca-Cola 600: Mystery Picker picks Jimmie Johnson.  Favorite (3 wins): Kyle Busch—bouncing back from a rare crappy run at a 1.5 miler.  Next Favorite (1 win): Kevin Harvick—the long race allows him to balance out his pit crew’s miscues.  Dark Horse: Kyle Larson—and he won’t even need a qualifier race to make it.

XFINITY SERIES Alsco 300, the 2nd one (6 wins): Christopher Bell—how long till the “Bell to the 20 Cup car” rumors officially heat up?

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Controversy, A Shutdown, and Rebirth—Petty Enterprises in the mid-1980’s (PART 3)


Imagine a team winning ten championships, then sliding a bit down the Nascar totem pole but still winning races.  Imagine this team making driver and manufacturer changes, then shutting down due to a lack of sponsorship.  Then imagine this team simply starting up again a year later.
Well, that was Petty Enterprises in the mid-1980’s, as Nascar’s most-fabled team dealt with change, controversy, and closing down, only to restart again a year later.



The King's homecoming car

1986—HOMECOMING
Unsurprisingly, Richard Petty was looking to leave the unreliable Curb team, feeling he still had good years left in him.  Surprisingly, he would wind up where it all started—back at Petty Enterprises.  Richard himself would help lead a revival of his family-founded team, bringing back his famed #43 and, more-importantly, lucrative sponsorship from STP.  Furthermore, Petty Enterprises would return to fielding Pontiacs, ending their brief, unsuccessful flirtation with the Ford Thunderbird.  But that’s not all.
Dale Inman had won a record-settling eighth championship as a crew chief for Terry Labonte in 1984, but couldn’t resist a chance to, like his cousin Richard, come back to where it all started.  So in 1986 Inman returned to the pit box at Petty Enterprises, also taking on an increased leadership role with the team.  With Maurice and Lee taking reduced roles with the team, Richard Petty and Dale Inman were now in control at Petty Enterprises.
Funnily enough, Richard would finish the same spot in drivers’ points that he did the year before with Curb—14th.

1987-1992—A SLOW SLIDE
Richard Petty's final car
The reformed Petty Enterprises had one last hurrah in 1987, posting nine top-five race finishes, good enough for an 8th-place finish in the final season points standings.  However, issues with Pontiac’s ever-changing body types, Richard’s advancing age, and (ironically) the encroaching preponderance of multi-car “mega-teams” would see Petty Enterprises fade into mediocrity.  1988 would see Richard post his last top-five race finish of his career, while 1989 would see him fail to qualify for four races, leading to Nascar implementing the “Past Champion’s Provisional”.  By The King’s final season as a driver in 1992, it appeared that Richard had held onto the steering wheel for too long.

1993-2008—CHANGE, TRAGEDY, AND THE END (FOR NOW)
Once Richard Petty stepped out of the driver’s seat, there was some hope that new blood could return Petty Enterprises to its former glory.  However, while drivers like Bobby Hamilton and John Andretti would return the 43 to victory lane, the team was a shadow of its former self.
Meanwhile, new hope sprang up with two more family-developments in the late-1990’s.  Kyle Petty merged his Petty-allied team fully into Petty Enterprises, taking on a bigger leadership role with years of seasoning under his belt.  Furthermore, Kyle’s son (and Richard’s grandson) Adam Petty was developing into a promising future star, using his on-track talent, family name, and sponsorship appeal to bring much-needed money and exposure to the team.  With a manufacturer change to a returning Dodge on the horizon, the future, for the first time in decades, looked bright.
One of Kyle Petty--and Petty Enterprises'
--final cars
However, 2000 would see tragedy strike the team.  Lee, the team’s founder, passed away from natural causes.  Then, shortly after making his Cup debut in anticipation of a full-time run in 2001, Adam was killed in a practice crash at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  The death of such a young, promising racer shook the team to its very core.  Kyle’s plans to ease into driving retirement were put on hold, and the team’s switch to Dodge in 2001 would fail to net positive results.
Thad Moffitt--the next generation of Petty
In the mid-2000s Richard would take one last gamble on the team’s success, signing former champion Bobby Labonte to team with Kyle in the drivers’ seats.  However, it still wasn’t enough, and an ownership stake was sold in 2008 to investment firm Boston Ventures.  When sponsor General Mills (STP’s replacement) announced their departure from the team, Boston Ventures essentially shuttered Petty Enterprises as a racing operation.  A period of uneasiness between Richard and Kyle followed over the way things ended at Petty Enterprises, notably Kyle’s decision to run a partial schedule in order to pursue a broadcasting career.  Richard, for his part, continued the Petty legacy by taking his famed #43 to what would become Richard Petty Motorsports, a team he still co-owns today.
As for Petty Enterprises, it has reinvented itself as Petty’s Garage, making performance vehicles for everyday drivers.  Occupying the same hallowed Level Cross ground as the race team before it, Petty’s Garage shares space with the Richard Petty Museum, which shows the history of the team’s former glory.
While the Petty Enterprises story seems to have a firm “The End” on it, there’s always the chance—however small—that a younger member of the Petty clan could restart the team in the future.  After all, when you were in business for fifty years and have already come back from a one year break, what’s one decade off?

Monday, May 20, 2019

Controversy, A Shutdown, and Rebirth—Petty Enterprises in the mid-1980’s (PART 2)


Imagine a team winning ten championships, then sliding a bit down the Nascar totem pole but still winning races.  Imagine this team making driver and manufacturer changes, then shutting down due to a lack of sponsorship.  Then imagine this team simply starting up again a year later.
Well, that was Petty Enterprises in the mid-1980’s, as Nascar’s most-fabled team dealt with change, controversy, and closing down, only to restart again a year later.
1984—CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
Richard Petty & Mike Curb
To the shock of the Nascar world, Richard Petty departed his family-owned team to run for music impresario and politician Mike Curb in 1984, taking sponsor STP and car number 43 with him.  Originally Richard’s deal was to run with engine support and possible partial ownership from the RahMoc team, only for the RahMoc-Curb portion of the three-way agreement to fall apart.  In order to salvage his season, having already signed an agreement with Curb, Petty brokered a deal to run with DiGard engines for 1985.  While DiGard was known for making stout, powerful engines, they were also known for being notoriously difficult to do business with.
Most fans know the highlights of Richard Petty’s 1984 season—wins number 199 & 200, the latter of which came with president Ronald Reagan in attendance.  However, friction behind the scenes between Curb and DiGard regularly threatened to derail the team’s efforts.  In fact, a payment disagreement almost saw DiGard repossess an engine right out of Richard’s race car—at the Firecracker 400 race where he’d win his 200th race!  Not surprisingly, the Curb-DiGard agreement was allowed to expire.
Meanwhile, over at Petty Enterprises, things weren’t much better.  The switch to Ford saw Kyle slip in drivers’ points from 13th to 16th.  However, a greater cause may have been the external pressures of running for Nascar’s most-famous team.  Forced to race under his father and grandfather’s enormous shadows, Kyle had the added pressure and responsibilities of trying to run part of the business side of the team.  Feeling he needed to get back to being a driver-only, as well as needing to establish himself away from the Petty homestead in Level Cross, Kyle left the team at the end of the season—taking his sponsorship (7-Eleven) and car number (7) as his father did before him—to longtime Ford team Wood Brothers Racing.

1985—1 IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER
Dick Brooks and the unsponsored
Petty Enterprises #1 Ford
In 1985 Kyle Petty would have a breakout year for the Wood Brothers, finishing in the top-ten in drivers’ points for the first time on the back of seven top-five race finishes.  However, there was little else to celebrate around the Petty family otherwise.  While Richard had gotten away from the fractious Curb-DiGard engine agreement, he was now stuck with racing engines from, of all people, Dan Gurney’s All-American Racers, an open-wheel team in which Curb had an ownership stake.  The 43’s on-track performance suffered greatly as the team frequently dealt with engine failures, posting a single top-five race finish all year.  By mid-season, The King was looking to get out of his deal with Mike Curb.
Meanwhile, Petty Enterprises—now helmed primarily by Maurice Petty—was stuck without much of anything.  Now running car number 1, the team had no driver, no sponsor, and little beyond some leftover Fords from the previous year and the team’s historical pedigree.  In a move that would’ve been considered unfathomable a few years prior, Petty Enterprises only raced four times that year—three with journeyman Dick Brooks, and once with upstart Morgan Shepherd.  Not since 1965—when Nascar infamously outlawed the Pettys’ prized Hemi engine, forcing a Plymouth-backed boycott—had Petty Enterprises not run most or all of the Cup Series schedule.  Concurrently, the team essentially shut down, with the Level Cross garages mostly shuttered and seemingly ready to pass into history.

Or were they?

Check in a few days from now for Part 3

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Controversy, A Shutdown, and Rebirth—Petty Enterprises in the mid-1980’s (PART 1)


When Furniture Row Racing announced that they would be shutting down at the end of the 2018 season, fans were shocked that a championship team with a superstar driver could fold so quickly.  While there were a number of understandable outside factors—most notably 5-Hour Energy’s decision to leave Nascar—many found it strange that such a successful team could simply give up the ghost so quickly after such success.
But you know what’s even stranger?
Imagine a team winning ten championships, then sliding a bit down the Nascar totem pole but still winning races.  Imagine this team making driver and manufacturer changes, then shutting down due to a lack of sponsorship.  Then imagine this team simply starting up again a year later.
Well, that was Petty Enterprises in the mid-1980’s, as Nascar’s most-fabled team dealt with change, controversy, and closing down, only to restart again a year later.

Family patriarch and team founder Lee Petty
BACKGROUND—A FAMILY AFFAIR
Founded in 1949 in Level Cross North Carolina, Petty Enterprises (formerly Lee Petty Engineering) had always been a team owned by Pettys, for Pettys.  After stepping out of the driver’s seat following a harrowing crash in 1961, Lee maintained executive management of the team while the next generation took control of the on-track product.  Richard Petty would surpass his father’s three Cup championships, winning seven of his own, all in Petty-owned equipment.  Richard’s brother Maurice tuned the engines, getting the most out of already stellar equipment, making “Petty power” the envy of the rest of the garage.  Cousin Dale Inman, meanwhile, innovated the position of crew chief, making in-race calls for the famed 43 car.

1979-1983—SPLINTERING & THE NEXT GENERATION
Richard Petty's final Daytona 500 winning car
1979 would prove to be a pivotal year for Petty Enterprises, a sort of “tipping point” for what was far and away Nascar’s most-successful team.  Richard Petty would win his seventh and final championship, rebounding from a winless 1978 that would see him switch from Dodge to GM brands.  Furthermore, Richard’s son Kyle would make his racing debut in a second Petty Enterprises car.  At the time, running more than one full-time team was thought to be near-impossible, and unfortunately the Pettys were not up to the challenge.  Friction developed on the team with much of it centering on engine builder Maurice, wondering who was getting the “good” equipment.  Reportedly, the team began to splinter into two camps—one with Lee and Maurice, the other with Richard and crew chief Dale Inman.

However, following the 1981 Daytona 500—one that Richard would win for a record-setting seventh and final time—Inman would depart Petty Enterprises.  After spending a winless 1982 adjusting to new manufacturer Pontiac (which Petty would race for for the rest of his career), 1983 would see Petty rebound with three wins—but not without controversy.  In Petty’s last win of that year, the 43 was found to be running improper tires and an oversized engine.  This would prove to be the breaking point for Richard, who stepped up efforts to drive for a new team for the following year.  Meanwhile, Petty Enterprises would concentrate on Kyle Petty’s efforts, buoyed by Kyle’s sponsorship with 7-Eleven and arrangement to run Ford equipment.

Check back for Part 2

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Opening a Sealed Box of 2019 Donruss Racing Cards PACK 9

NOTE: Uncle Max picks Kyle Busch for this weekend’s Truck Series race (no picks for non-points events)


Recently I got a sealed box of 2019 Donruss Racing Cards—24 packs, 8 cards per pack.  Join me as I go through the entire case, pack-by-pack, to see what awaited me. (Click any picture to enlarge)

PACK 9 OF 24: Retro, Next to Go, and White Guy Fro

OVERVIEW: Now THIS is what I call variety!  Legends both old and recent, current drivers, and a look towards the future.  Even the constant presence of Terry Labonte (again!) can’t put a damper on things.

SPECIAL SPECIAL: Perhaps the only thing better than seeing the beginnings of Rusty Wallace’s legendary white-guy fro is seeing it in OPTIC form.  Helps that he has a facial expression here that matches his personality.

IN FOCUS: “NEXT IN LINE” returns for 2019 to take a look at the current “Nascar NEXT” class, drivers picked by Nascar to keep an eye on as they move up through the developmental series.  And his name is Chase, which I think was required by law back in the early-00’s.

SPOTLIGHT: Jimmie Johnson’s Retro Rated Rookie card—the only place you’ll see a seven-time champion and Loy Allen Jr. mentioned together.

SCORE: 9 spark plugs out of 10

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Kyle Larson Forced to Return to Camden, Delaware for Good Luck Charms


A week after posting a much-needed top-five at Dover International Speedway, Kyle Larson was preparing for this weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway.  However, Larson was forced to make a return trip to Camden, Delaware, in order to receive the good-luck charms he got in a pre-race segment for Fox Sports.
“Geez, another trip to Camden”, a visibly annoyed Larson posted in a short video to his official Twitter feed.  “I thought the whole thing was a publicity stunt to make fun of my bad luck so far this season, but apparently my team, sponsors, and management felt differently, so its another trip down US-13 for me.”
Larson visited a specialist in good-luck charms in Camden, a small suburb of Dover, along with Axalta executive Jeff Gordon.  The segment, while mildly entertaining, appeared to have some positive effect on Larson’s performance, albeit most-likely coincidentally.
“I’ve never believed in much of that stuff—good luck charms, reversing curses, and so forth”, Larson said while waiting for the fortune healer to open for the day.  “But (primary sponsor) Credit One liked what they saw and I guess (team owner) Chip (Ganassi) agreed.
“So here I am, waiting on a side street for a person to open their store so I can go in and have incense spread around me while I sit idly in a chair.  Yeah.”
Larson’s previously dismal 2019 was credited by most to an uncompetitive Chevy body, the loss of sponsor DC Solar, and the overall dominance of Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske.  However, Larson disagreed on these counts.
“I mean, yeah—we’re running against the best of the best every week—well, the best of the best and whoever’s in the 51 car”, Larson said, “but there’s certain racing luck involved, if you want to call it that.  The choices are simple—spend years and years working with GM on making a body style that can actually pass on 1.5 mile tracks while simultaneously rebuilding the team from the grass-roots level up to be a force on the track every week, or getting a new rabbit’s foot.  I say, bring on the fuzzy feets.”
Larson also added that he was terrified at first of going to Camden, then was reassured that it was in Delaware, not New Jersey.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

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


This past week’s been very up-and-down—much like my picks lately.  Kinda like here the small stuff has been up—been planning out my annual Shore trip, making some headway in my fantasy baseball league, and so forth.  But the big stuff?  Not so good.
There’s nothing like getting angry at work for no good reason.  Its not important why (although it might have something to do with someone copping an attitude FOR NO GOOD REASON) but I, like a lot of people, have some issues expressing my anger.  I’m not very artistic, and the only writing I do is this column, so there’s not many outlets.  Thankfully, sometimes a late night drive home is just what it takes to soothe the savage beast—well, that and punching the dashboard repeatedly.

CUP SERIES Digital Ally 400: Mystery Picker picks Joey Logano.  Favorite (3 wins): Kyle Busch—back on the Rowdy Train for a bit.  Next Favorite (1 win): Martin Truex Jr.—two in a row…but is it one of his home tracks?  Dark Horse: Alex Bowman—FINALLY breaking through.

TRUCK SERIES (5 wins) Digital Ally 250: Matt Crafton—surprised there’s no ringers running this race.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Opening a Sealed Box of 2019 Donruss Racing Cards PACK 8


Recently I got a sealed box of 2019 Donruss Racing Cards—24 packs, 8 cards per pack.  Join me as I go through the entire case, pack-by-pack, to see what awaited me. (Click any picture to enlarge)

PACK 8 OF 24: Top Tier, a Debut Near, and a Sponsor Without Peer

OVERVIEW: 8 pretty solid cards here, including two of 2017 Cup champion Martin Truex Jr.  We also get Johnny Sauter looking like he just found out that he’s losing his ride at GMS and yet more Terry Labonte.

SPECIAL SPECIAL: Martin Truex Jr. gives a shoutout to the military on the back of his “TOP TIER” card, which is nice.

IN FOCUS: “Hey, remember that time Mark Martin had an erectile dysfunction pill as a sponsor?  Let’s make sure we put that on a card.”

SPOTLIGHT: Christopher Bell, widely considered to be the biggest prospect in the Xfinity Series, gets the OPTIC treatment here.  Note that the actual card isn’t rainbow-colored on the bottom right, that’s just a cool side-effect of the picture-taking process.

SCORE: 8 pre-race salutes out of 10

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Daytona USA Console Announces Candidacy for President


Joining a crowded field of candidates, an old Daytona USA arcade console has formally announced its candidacy for the 2020 Presidential election. 
“Let’s go away!”, the venerable arcade candidate stated at the press conference, indicating a movement away from the current political climate.  The assembled crowd roared in approval. 
When asked about the current hot-button issue of student loan debt forgiveness, the two-seater unit gave a definitive answer of “Time extension!”, showing a willingness to allow for repayments to be made over a longer period of time.
While pundits have labeled the Beginner’s chances as a long shot, some supporters are already considering its campaign Advanced with an Expert insight into what voters really want. 
“Candidates always tell us what they think we want to hear”, a supporter said at the announcement. “They expect US to ask the questions—but Daytona USA, it asked ME if I wanted a Manual or Automatic Transmission of the campaign message.”
Little is known about the campaign itself, although the unit is reported getting advice from a mysterious “crew chief” who’s encouraged it to “hang in there!”

Friday, May 3, 2019

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


What.  A.  Week!  Its been crazy-busy at work with my working extra overtime for some extra cash—can’t wait till last minute to fill up the ol’ vacation fund.  I tell ya, you know you’re working a long day when you have lunch AND dinner in the break room.  You know you’re working late when you get home and the only baseball on is being played in Los Angeles.  You know you’re putting in the extra time when the only thing you do at home is sleep.  And you know for sure you’re working way too much when you inadvertently snap at the mailman for jamming your magazines in the mailbox again!

CUP SERIES Gander RV 400: Mystery Picker picks Jimmie Johnson.  Favorite (3 wins): Kevin Harvick—Mystery, I hope you choke on that chalk.  Next Favorite (1 win): Kyle Busch—the Pedigree car WON’T run like a dog.  Dark Horse: Kyle Larson—maybe what he needs to break his bad luck run is a concrete track, two pedestrian bridges, and really polluted water.

XFINITY SERIES (5 wins) Allied Steel Buildings 200: Christopher Bell—its just too hard to pick against him in a ringerless field.

TRUCK SERIES (4 wins) JEGS 200: Johnny Sauter—three in a row in the Diamond State.