Brian France Exposed: A Spade Racing Investigation

A North Carolina judge has ruled that the details of Brian France's divorce proceeding can be released to the public.  We here at Spade Racing have received an advance copy of the transcripts--here's some highlights:

--During a brief period in the previous decade, legally changed his name to "Brian Freedom".

--Actually thought the wing on the Car of Tomorrow was a good idea.

--Holds in his possession the world's rarest piece of Nascar memorabilia--the only known picture of Mike Helton smiling (taken at Rockingham, February 1998).

--Tony Stewart smells like pork rinds.

--Whenever he feels sorry for himself, just remembers that he's not Tony George.

--May have briefly used a Verizon phone sometime last year.

--Is contesting the provision of the prenuptial agreement which gives his ex-wife possession of one of his chins.

--Makes a heck of a homemade Orange Julius.

--Is really rich.

Catching Up: The Truck Series

"I know what you're thinking--did I go six laps down or only five?"

No doubt you've been busy lately--what with the holidays, weather changes, false apocalypse and whatnot.  Instead of forcing you to scan typo-riddled Jayski articles, here's a quick rundown of some recently-announced…um, announcements from the Nascar Truck Series:

--Joey "JoJo Junior…Shabadoo?" Coulter has signed with Kyle Busch Motorsports for next season.  Its starting to look more and more like RCR is going to become Legacy Kid Racing.

--Speaking of Legacy Kid Racing, Brendan Gaughan will compete for RCR in the Truck Series next year, with sponsorship from his Daddy.

--Jon Wes Townley moves to Red Wes Horse in 2013, bringing his joined-at-the-hip Zaxby's sponsorship with him.  This displaces Todd Bodine about three years later than it should have.

--Joe Denette Motorsports and NTS Motorsports are merging to form what they call a "powerhouse".  Um, I don't think that any organization with Ron Hornaday playing a major part could be considered a "Powerhouse".

--Jeb Burton joins Turner "No Fans Allowed!" Motorsports for 2013.  Jeb's father Ward will also join the team in a management position, working on what he calls "Dwivah Devewopmen".

-Parker Kligerman is leaving the Truck Series to run full-time in the Nationwide Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports.  Hmmm--Kligerman, Kurt Busch, they're really establishing a dream team of former Penske-affiliated drivers there.  Where's David Stremme when you need him?

--Finally, SS Green Light Racing is looking for a replacement for Ross Chastain, preferably one with watermelon-based sponsorship.

Catching Up: The Nationwide Series

The Nationwide Series' Most-Profitable Team?

No doubt you've been busy lately--what with the holidays, weather changes, pending apocalypse and whatnot.  Instead of forcing you to scan typo-riddled Jayski articles, here's a quick rundown of some recently-announced…um, announcements from the Nascar Nationwide Series:

--Elliott Sadler officially announced that he and sponsor One Main Financial are moving to Joe Gibbs Racing.  But without Austin Dillon as a teammate, who will he blame when he has a crappy setup?

--Brian Scott (also known as Car Spinning On The Backstretch) moves from the #11 car to Elliott Sadler's old ride with RCR.  In case you're wondering, Brian Scott is a lot like Danica Patrick--gets rides based solely on sponsorship, wrecks all the time, has little respect of their competitors, etc.--but without the irritating commercials.

--James Buescher might be running in the Nationwide Series in 2013.  James, let me just let you know, you married the world's most-perfect woman--a hottie whose dad owns a race team.  Don't screw it up!

--Cole Whitt might be the odd man out at JR Motorsports, which currently has funding/sponsorship to run two full-time teams next season (one for Regan Smith, one for the Hendrick Driver Smorgasbord).  Well, at least he can always go back to Red Bull Rac--oh, right.

--In a scheduling change, the Nationwide Series will make Nascar's first-ever appearance at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  Sure, it won't have Montreal's exact layout and may not have Montreal's thrilling finishes, but at least there won't/shouldn't be anyone throwing shoes.

Hanukkah, Nascar-Style

"'Hire Brett Bodine' they said.  'He'll be great' they said."

As a semi-Jewish Nascar fan, of which there are seven of us, I'm proud to be celebrating Hanukkah, aka That Holiday Around Christmas With The Candle-Things.  Here's a quick explanation for those unfamiliar with the Festival of Lights:

--The holiday itself commemorates when the Maccabi's survived a siege, were left with only a day's worth of oil, but were able to stretch the oil out for eight days.  No word on if they made it work by throwing the Menorah into neutral in the turns or by drafting other tribes.

--Notorious hyper-miler Brad Keselowski would make a great Hanukkah spokesman, but I heard he would have forced a name change to "The Festival of Lites".

--Jewish children traditionally receive "Gelt"--chocolate wrapped in gold foil--for Hanukkah.  If you've never had Gelt, its the world's worst chocolate--even worse than the Big 'Mo candy bar.

--Another custom closely associated with Hanukkah is the Dreidel, a four-sided spinning top used to play a game of chance.  I think this is how Front Row Motorsports decides what sponsor will be on the hood of the 38 car (A&W, Long John Silver's, TMone, or Gimmel?)

--Hanukkah goes on for eight nights, which means its STILL shorter than the qualifying process for the Daytona 500.

--Hanukkah is a time you are likely to see the international symbol for Judaism, The Star of David Ragan.

--When lighting the menorah, all men must be wearing head-coverings called Yarmulkes, which is the only word more-difficult to spell than Villeneuve.

--And always remember--we know the story of Hanukkah to be true because Mark Martin was there.

Spade Racing's Awards Season Movie Previews

Its that time of the year--the days are getting shorter, the air is getting colder, and Hollywood is trotting out its "Prestige" movies for a shot at Oscar gold.  Here's a look at the movies with Nascar connections:

Playing for Keeps--Richard Childress figures out the best way to keep Kevin Harvick from going to Stewart-Haas in 2014--chains, a chair, and a heavy-duty lock.

Lay the Favorite--Pit Lizards (women who troll the Nascar scene looking for sugar daddies) try to seduce Brad Keselowski before his wedding to beer.

Cheerful Weather for the Wedding--Beer gets frost-brewed ice-cold feet the day before its wedding to Brad Keselowski.

Save the Date--Michael McDowell announces the single race where he's going to try and run the entire distance, all for that extra $2,000.

This Is 40--A documentary on how David Stremme spends his spare time--converting old Coors Light diecast cars into Inception Motorsports diecast cars.

Jack Reacher--Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall reunite to tell the story of Cole Trickle's last shot at glory--a jackman with 10-foot-long arms.

The Impossible--Can Chip Ganassi take his team back to its former glory?  Well, look at the title.

Not Fade Away--Bobby Labonte continues his years-long battle against obscurity.

Parental Guidance--Just two hours of incredibly awkward conversations between Richard and Kyle Petty.

The Hoodie Awards

Bowling trophy to be used until we pick up a sponsor

Thanks to the invention of graphical wraps for stock cars, special paint schemes aren't so special anymore.  Instead of freaking out about Burger King replacing Mom N' Pops on Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s lower quarter-panel, anybody can be a sponsor for a single race.  On the plus side, it makes it easier to promote a company.  On the negative side, it means we fans have to listen to announcers whine about how hard it is to follow the cars.

But who's the most prolific at putting different sponsors on their cars?

That's where I come in.  Using the indispensable Jayski Paint Schemes page, I went through to count the number of different sponsors on each car's hoods.  The team with the most will then become the First Annual Hoodie Award Winner.

Just a few ground rules:
--Sponsors owned by the same company (like Stanley & DeWalt, or Kingsford & Clorox) count as separate sponsors.  But if its the same company with a different product (like 3M & 3M Filtrete), that counts as the same sponsor.
--Slight variations on a primary sponsor don't count--there has to be a change to the paint scheme noticeable to someone besides a die-cast geek.
--"Sponsorship partners", where a product sold by the sponsor is put on the hood, don't count either, since the company is a partner, not a sponsor.  Sorry, Paul Menard fans.
--Team owners who put their own company on the hood also don't count--so Medallion Financial (owned by RPM honcho Andrew Murstein) and Taco Bell (franchised by Front Row owner Bob Jenkins) don't count.  A special exception was made for, since they sponsor so many teams.  Same goes for blank hoods (aka the Michael McDowell Special).
--Modern iterations of the "Special Paint Scheme" don't count either--so movie cars, tv show cars, etc. aren't counted towards the final total, unless they are the legitimate sponsor of that race.

Listed in order from least sponsors to most

Regan Smith/Kurt Busch: 0  --Team owner Barney Visser owns sponsor Furniture Row, thus continuing the great tradition of Jasper Engines.

Brad Keselowski: 1 (Miller Lite)  --And as the Homestead post-race showed us, Brad definitely enjoys the product.

Danica Patrick: 1 (GoDaddy)  --Remember all those racy, PG-13 commercials with simulated nudity they did with Mark Martin?

Juan Pablo Montoya: 1 (Target & partners)  --Seriously, Huggies was a partner this year.

Jimmie Johnson: 1 (Lowe's/myLowes)  --Even his sponsorship packages are boring!

Martin Truex Jr.: 1 (Napa)  --No truth to the rumor that Cal Naughton Jr. will be driving this car next year.

Casey Mears: 2 (Geico, Valvoline)  --Truth is, that Geico commercial is a ruse:  VALVOLINE is what REALLY goes into Casey's "Secret" BBQ Sauce.

Clint Bowyer: 2 (5-Hour Energy, Aaron's/Alabama)  --And as the brawl at Phoenix showed, Clint and his crew definitely enjoy the sponsor's product.

Trevor Bayne: 2 (Motorcraft, Camping World/Good Sam)  --The only team running a partial schedule with a shot at contending each week (well, unless you counted Danica Patrick's team, which no one did).

Mark Vicktrip: 2 (Aaron's, Freightliner/JetEdge)  --Excludes the various companies owned by Robert Kaufmann, the brains and money of this operation (yes, believe it or not, Mikey is the TALENT of that pair).

Joe Nemechek: 2 (AMFM Energy, Genny Light)  --It costs a lot of money to run seven laps a week.  Wait, no it doesn't.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: 3 (Best Buy, Rancher's Reserve, EcoBoost)  --Ricky's Nationwide sponsor, "BEEF" (by way of Cargill), is about as vague as you can least until we get "MEAT" as a sponsor.

Tony Stewart: 3 (Office Depot, Mobil 1, Bass Pro Shops)  --Office Depot leaves after this season, so I hope that Smoke stocked up on staples and pens.

Joey Logano: 3 (Home Depot, Dollar General, Redbeacon)  --Joey, you're not orange anymore.

AJ Allmendinger/Sam Hornish Jr.: 3 (Pennzoil/Shell, SKF, Auto Club)  --I tried to join the Auto Club, but they rejected my application.

Josh Wise: 3 (MDS, LoanMart, Rick2012)  --Nothing to see here.

Paul Menard: 3 (Menard's & various partners, Peak Antifreeze, Quaker State)  --Menardburns had a different partner on the hood in almost every race, but only Peak and Quaker State got to meet the guy who played the banjo in those Menard's commercials.

Kevin Harvick: 3 (Budweiser, Rheem, Jimmy John's)  --I've only eaten at Jimmy John's once, but I'd imagine that I'd need LOTS of Budweiser to actually enjoy the food.

Legacy Kids: 3 (Kroger, South Point, American Ethanol)  --Driven by the son of a casino owner, the son of a truck-stop magnate, and the grandson of the team-owner.  And Stephen Leicht.

Kurt Busch & The Replacements: 3 (, Tag Heuer, Me)  --No, the smiley-face doesn't count.

Marcos Ambrose: 4 (Stanley, DeWalt, Mac Tools, Black & Decker Gyro)  --All owned by StanleyBlack&Decker, who REALLY needs to come out with a line of You Call That A Knives.

Denny Hamlin: 4 (FedEx, SportClips, March of Dimes, Autism Speaks)  --Here's hoping that Denny picks up sponsorship from a dance school.

Greg Biffle: 4 (3M, Bondo, Fastenal, Meguiar's)  --A slew of 3M products adorned the quarter panels this season, but its their Bondo division that stuck with me.

Kyle Busch: 4 (M&M's, Snickers, Doublemint, Interstate Batteries)  --Ms. Brown is NOT happy with Rowdy's performance this year.

Michael McDowell: 4 (K-LOVE, Presbyterian Healthcare, Let It Start With Me, Tracqm)  --K-LOVE, the company that sounds like a 70's soul music label.

Jamie McMurray: 5 (Bass Pro Shops, McDonald's, Belkin, LiftMaster, Banana Boat)  --Bass Pro leaves for Tony Stewart next season, so maybe they could find a sponsor that "pairs up" with McDonald's better--like Gas-X or Pepto-Bismol.

Kasey Kahne: 5 (Farmers Insurance,, Time Warner Cable, Quaker State, Rockwell)  --Sadly, Rockwell is a power tool company, not the comeback project from the "Somebody's Watching Me" guy.

Jeff Gordon: 5 (AARP, DuPont, Pepsi Max, Farmville, TMNT)  --"TMNT" is the latest iteration of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is ironic, since it was DuPont chemical sludge that first mutated the turtles in the 80's.

Dave Blaney: 5 (Ollie's Bargain Outlet, Seal Wrap, Golden Corral,  Mohawk, Window Wax)  --Ah, Ollie's, the place that makes Wal-Mart look like Nordstorm's.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 5 (National Guard, Mtn Dew, Amp Energy, The Dark Knight Rises, Dale Jr. Foundation)  --Look for a new sponsor to join this team next season, but don't expect to hear about it from Dale Jr.

David Reutiman et al: 6 TMOne, Accell, Tradebank, Ice Age, Carport Empire, Relyco)  --If Boardwalk Empire is on HBO, then Carport Empire should be on Cinemax.

Jeff Burton: 6 (Caterpillar, Wheaties, BB&T, Rain-X, EnerSys, Armed Forces Foundation)  --Because any time you can sponsor a guy on the back-end of his career, you take that opportunity.

Matt Kenseth: 7 (Best Buy, EcoBoost, 5/3 Bank, Zest, Fastenal, Tunnel to Towers, Valvoline)  --NESN (owned by the "Fenway" part of RoushFenway sponsored The Biff for a single race this year, bringing awareness to the terribleness of the Red Sox this season.

Ryan Newman: 7 (Army, Quicken Loans, Outback, Aspen Dental, Children's Tumor Foundation, Code 3 Associates, Workshops for Warriors)  --Next year, the Army goes AWOL.

Carl Edwards: 8 (Fastenal, Kellogg's, Cheez-It, Aflac, Geek Squad, Ecoboost, UPS, Subway)  --No, he didn't retire after last season.

David Gilliland: 9 (MHP/PowerPak, LoanMart, ModSpace, Autism Speaks, Glory Foods, The Band Perry, House Autry, Mossy Oak/Pursuit, Peanut Patch)  --Lotsa sponsors for a one-hit wonder, no?

The Frankie Stoddard All-Stars: 10 (Federated Auto Parts, Southern Pride Trucking, U.S. Chrome, North Country Ford,, SOFA, C&J Energy, Herr's, Green Smoke, Faith & Freedom Coalition)  --Lots of sponsors for this independent team, including a personal favorite, Herr's Potato Chips (seriously, try their Firehouse BBQ Chips, they're crazy-good!).

David Ragan: 11 (MHP/PowerPak, Al's Liner, Barrett-Jackson, Peanut Patch, US Conveyor, Scorpion, 8-Hour Alert, Glory Foods,, Shriners Hospitals, Where's Waldo)  --Where's Waldo?  Eating PowerPak Pudding in the Peanut Patch, apparently.

Bobby Labonte: 12 (Kingsford, Clorox, Bush's Best, Bubba Burger, Reese Towpower, Scott, Luke & Associates, Kroger, Charter, Miller/Freightliner, Pine Sol, Wounded Warrior Project)  --A strong contender all year, but fell just short, unlike their season, which fell waaaaay short.

(drum roll please...)
Aric Almirola: 15 (Smithfield, Farmland, Gwaltney, Super 8, TrimFit, Advocare, Eckrich, Air Force, Transportation Impact, JaniKing, Gravely, STP, Sail/Verifone, Charter, ALM) --And we have our winner!  And we didn't even have to include Medallion Financial to get there!  Well, if Aric or someone else from the team will get in contact with me, I'll get you your trophy.

Danica Patrick's Divorce Ruins Brant James's Thanksgiving

"Shoot, I won't be coming home.  Get it?!?"

The impending divorce of Danica Patrick from her husband, physical therapist Paul Hospenthal, may not impact your life much--besides inspiring some lewd website comments.  But for writer Brant James, his life--and Thanksgiving--are completely changed.
"Jeez, I was going to go visit my folks, but now I'm gonna be stuck writing articles about the breakup", a visibly-disappointed James admitted with a heavy sigh.  "The responsibility, however, falls to me, to explain to readers how Danica is moving on, and how it might affect her merchandise sales."
James, a writer for espnW ('s women's sports-centric outlet), has averaged about 23 articles about Patrick per week.  With this late-breaking news, however, he expects at least a dozen articles before his now-cancelled flight home on Wednesday evening.
"Yep, instead of stuffing and turkey, it'll be calling Greg Zipadelli and texting with Cole Whitt", James continued, unpacking his suitcase.  "Neither holidays nor families nor mom's famous glazed yams will stand in the way of what really matters--the divorce of two people, one of which I've covered so close that she considered filing stalking charges against me.  That kidder, Danica--I just know Uncle Fred (James) would've LOVED that story!"
Although's traffic tends to decline on Thanksgiving Day, James has said that he needed to continue updating the situation "…for the crucial overseas markets who've followed her from IndyCar to Nascar."  James also expects to do at least two articles on the media's handling of the divorce, followed by at least three on the media's handling of the media's handling of the divorce."
"I'll have a pot of coffee on and my phone charged up", James said.  "I'll be burning the midnight oil on this story, because the only thing more important than family is the collapse of one."

Jimmie Johnson Transfers Golden Horseshoe to Brad Keselowski

Jimmie Johnson literally saw his championship hopes go up in smoke when a rear gear failure relegated him to the back of the field.  After the race, in a show of sportsmanship, Jimmie reluctantly gave the fabled "Golden Horseshoe" to the new champion, Brad Keselowski.
"AHHHH!  ARRRRGGGHHHH AHHH IT HURTS!" Johnson screamed as he slowly removed the Horseshoe from his backside.  "AHHHHHH--ahh, better!  To be honest, its nice to have that thing out of my body."
Johnson, appearing more comfortable and a few pounds lighter, was gracious in defeat.
"Brads' going to be a great champion for our sport", Johnson said while holding the foul-smelling piece of metal.  "We hoped that we'd have a shot to win this thing, but I guess it wasn't in the cards for us.  At least I'll be a lot more comfortable sitting down now."
Johnson then walked over to Keselowski's car, people ducking out of the way upon seeing the brown-coated horseshoe.  Upon reaching the 2 crew's celebration, he presented the horseshoe to a confused-looking Keselowski.
"Brad, man, this is for you", Johnson said, holding out the smelly object.  "It always hurts to lose one of these things, but I'm glad its going to you."
"Um, thanks, I guess", Keselowski said.  "Guys, can someone get this thing cleaned?  Like REALLY cleaned?  NOW?"

Homestead "News" and Notes: The Tale of the Tape

This Sunday, Nascar will crown its latest Sprint Cup Champion.  The only two drivers with a chance to win the Sprint Cup are Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson.  Let's break down the match-up:

--Team Owner
Brad Keselowski: Roger "The Captain" Penske
Jimmie Johnson: Rick "The Felon" Hendrick & Jeff "Holdmeback!" Gordon

Brad Keselowski: Miller Lite, aka Pain Go Bye-Bye Juice
Jimmie Johnson: Lowe's, aka WHY CAN'T I FIND THE DAMN LANTERN SECTION!?!

--Relationship with Fans
Brad Keselowski: Connects using such irritating platforms as Twitter
Jimmie Johnson: Still gets requests to get Dale Jr's autograph for them.

--Crew Chief
Brad Keselowski: Brad Keselowski
Jimmie Johnson: Chad Knaus (Gary Nelson without the charm)

--Teammate Distractions
Brad Keselowski: AJ Allmendinger tested positive before a race.
Jimmie Johnson: La Leche League protests of Kasey Kahne.

--Memorable Pre-Race Shout-Out
Brad Keselowski: "Kyle Busch is an ass!"
Jimmie Johnson: "Hope we can have a good race out there today."

Hold Me, Thrill Me, Stop Me, Drop Me

The eyes of an assassin

Shortly after intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon pulled his car into the garage, got out, and was jumped by Clint's crew.  Or so we thought.  Later video evidence showed Jeff being pinned against a "war wagon" by two crew members and what looked like a PR flak.  Why didn't they let Jeff go into full-on attack mode?  Well, here he is to explain his actions (or lack thereof):

You don't even know man--you don't even KNOW!  I might look scrawny and Logano-like, but I'm one HECK of a fighter.  You've heard of cage-fighters?  Well I'm not, because NO cage can hold me!  I've spent years in the offseason learning super-secret ninja skills at the DuPont Experimental Station--I know 25 ways to kill a man with a paint-brush.  When I go to the Hendrick Motorsports Gym, I'm only known as Jeff "The Gorilla" Gordon.  Guys'll be like, "Hey Jeff 'The Gorilla' Gordon, what move you workin' on today?'  And I'll be like, 'Hey man, if I told you, I'd have to kill you, bring you back from the dead, then kill you again.'  My crew knows the real me--they know that anytime there's a problem, they call up ol' Jeff, and BOOM--problem solved!  Problem is, I solve the problem TOO GOOD, and then there's just a bigger problem, it's like a problem on top of a problem, and that just makes me madder, man!
What I'm trying to say is, its a good thing my crew was there to stop me, because there's nothing scarier than a 5'3'', 130lb. guy with "AARP" on his firesuit running at you.

For the record, Jeff has been fined $100,000 and docked 25 championship points (aka "We really hope we can keep him out of the championship banquet").  On the plus side, Jeff won't have to listen to Howie Mandel make lame jokes about Tony Stewart.

Austin Dillon Parachutes into Victory Lane

A week after having his car dinged by a skydiver at Texas, Kevin Harvick recovered for a win in the crash-marred AdvoCare 500.  However, his car was not in perfect shape, as RCR Nationwide Series driver parachuted into it as it rolled into Victory Lane.
"Wait, what's this car doing here?  Oh boy, my 'mistake'!", said Dillon, making the airquotes around "mistake" that Michael Waltrip hates.  "I just wanted to come in and congratulate Pop-Pop (Richard Childress) on another great Cup win…ok, *A* great Cup win!"
"I was watching most of the race from our private jet--just like Ronald Reagan did in '84", Dillon said, while putting on his gigantic cowboy hat.  "Once I saw there was a red-flag, I got into the jumping position.  By the way, what WAS that red flag for?  Some fluid on the track or something?"
Dillon, who managed to block Kevin, DeLana & Keelan Harvick with his gigantic face, redirected the focus of the media to the Nationwide Series' championship battle.
"We're still in the hunt, only 25 behind (Ricky) Stenhouse.  I think there might be another guy, y'know, that guy who runs for the Wood Brothers, running in between us, but I'm sure he'll have a little, shall we say, 'Engine Trouble', next week, right Pop-Pop?"
Childress, owner of his grandson Austin Dillon's race-team, was congratulatory of Dillon for his aim.
"He really was right on the mark, wasn't he?"  Childress said to the assembled media, with Harvick trying to peek over his shoulder.  "I still think that they should've called the race after that wreck with the caution coming out, but hey, we don't race for wins.  We race for wins in 2014."

Phoenix "News" and Notes

--New York City and parts of New Jersey have implemented gasoline rationing in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the recent Nor'easter.  Brad Keselowski, it might be time to share your "hyper-miling" tips.
--I knew David Reutimann was cool, but I had no idea that he was XXXtreeeeeeeme!
--Kyle Busch felt terrible about missing the Chase, but now he's feeling much better--he knows he won't have to talk to Howie Mandel.
--So if Rick Hendrick had Junior Johnson on the pit box last weekend, doesn't he need to find a guy named either Jeff Kahne or Kasey Gordon for this weekend?
--Elliott Sadler is shaping up to be this generation's Kenny Wallace: Always on TV.  Always running in lower-tier series.  Is a petulant little crybaby.
--Does anybody know what "Blickensderfer" sounds like with an Australian accent?

Junior Johnson Arrested by FBI in Victory Lane

Be sure to check out my Presidential pick in the article below this one

A wild finish to today's Sprint Cup race had a sour coda in Victory Lane, as former moonshiner Junior Johnson was arrested by the FBI for outstanding warrants.
"We'd just like to thank Mr. (Rick) Hendrick for cooperating with us" said FBI Special Agent Glen Mills.  "Mr. H had some, lets just say, reasons to cooperate with us, and we'll be sure to go easy on him the next time he doesn't want to pay people overtime."
Johnson, who appeared shocked as he was placed in handcuffs, exclaimed, "I thought we took care of this in the 50s boys!", and wondered how he could be arrested on a decades-old trafficking charge.
"C'mon, I was pardoned, I served my time on the state farm, I don't gotta go back!" Johnson pleaded.  He then quieted up when he was threatened by FBI agents with a taser.
"Its great to win, and its great to see justice served", winning driver Jimmie Johnson said upon exiting his car.  "Agent Mills warned us about this years ago, so we just had to string Junior along for about 40 months.  To see a great plan like this finally come together is really satisfying."
Hendrick later admitted that he felt bad lying to Junior Johnson that he was his "lucky charm".
"Sure, its never fun to lie, but he should've seen right through it", Hendrick said.  "I mean come on--anyone who watches my race team knows that guys named Junior don't help me win anything."

Spade Racing's Presidential Candidate Endorsement

"The President gets criticized all the time--how do YOU deal with it?"

Just two days away from the general election, everybody has been wondering who we, at Spade Racing, are officially endorsing for President of the United States of America.  Well, after careful deliberation and discussion, we are proud to announce our pick…


Joe Nemechek is a man who knows what its like to be in the midst of an economic crisis.  As a small business owner, he's one of the few Nascar team owners/drivers/janitors to turn a profit consistently.  He'll end our dependence on foreign petroleum by switching to AM/FM Energy's wood pellet stoves.  And nothing says "work ethic" like working all week to run about 10 minutes against Nascar's best.

Joe Nemechek cares about our nation's elderly.  While other drivers might CLAIM to help out the oldsters (*COUGH* Jeff Gordon), Joe put Bill Elliott to work on his race team, ensuring that Awesome Bill from Dawsonville had a roof over his head, food to eat, and protection from being tickled to death.

Joe Nemechek has worked with the US Army.  He's worked with the UAW.  He's worked with Burger King for some reason.  And he knows the pain of being screwed over in a real estate deal.  If elected, Joe will put Bobby Ginn where he belongs--behind bars.

This Tuesday, Start your engines by Parking your vote for Front Row Joe.  Remember--a vote for Joe Nemechek is a vote for level-headedness.

Paid for by Nemechek for President, Martha Nemechek Treasurer.

Texas "News" and Notes

--Now that the championship seems to be down to two drivers, be prepared for ESPN to cram Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski down your throats for the next three weeks.
--Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing will no longer use Earnhardt-Childress Engines, switching to Hendrick power in 2013.  For those of you keeping score at home, that means that a company won't be using its own product.  Um, yeah.
--AdvoCare has announced that they will sponsor Austin Dillon in all 35 Nationwide Series races next year, looking to build brand-awareness though a guy who wears a stupid-looking cowboy hat.
--Representatives from Trios-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada will be traveling to Texas this weekend to try and bring a Nationwide Series race to their city.  Doesn't that sound like the plot to a bad movie that plays on TV when there's a rained-out baseball game?
--Texas brands this race as the "Nitro Circus".  By that logic, shouldn't the Nationwide race be the "Thunder Circus", and the Truck race be the "Saturday Night Circus"?

Hurricane Hijinks

I'm happy to report that everyone here at Spade Racing is fine after weathering Hurricane Sandy (and by everyone, I mean me).  For the rest of you who live in a hurricane target zone, here's a few pointers on how to survive the next big one:

--After a hurricane comes on shore, it may stall over land, otherwise known as "Start and Park"ing.

--Be sure you have a Universal Power System backup for your computer.  That way, you can keep up-to-date with what FedEx depot Denny Hamlin is visiting on Wednesday.

--Always have a "to go" bag ready in case you are told to evacuate.  But only take the essentials--a change of clothes, necessary medications, and your Tony Stewart workout DVD.

--If the power goes out, take some quiet time to work on a long-delayed project.  Take me, for instance--I put the finishing touches on my false advertising lawsuit against Front Row Motorsports.

--You can still support your favorite drivers by patronizing their sponsors before the storm hits.  After all, what better time is it to buy a Caterpillar bulldozer than right before a natural disaster?

--If even an inch of water seeps into your house, climb on a chair to keep from drowning (Jason Leffler only).

--As always, stay calm, stay safe, and stay alert.  Or just do what I did and get really drunk.

Matt Crafton Ruins Denny Hamlin's Day With Diabolical Plan

After Denny Hamlin punted Matt Crafton out of the lead in yesterday's Truck Series race, Crafton swore that "…what goes around, comes around".  Today, it came around in a big way, as Crafton was able to destroy Hamlin's chances with a diabolical plan.
"Denny learned the hard way that you should NEVER cross a Crafton!", Crafton said from outside the track, twirling a handlebar mustache he appeared to grow overnight.  "That'll be the LAST TIME he comes down to our lower series and tries to increase fan interest!"
Crafton, who remains in contention for the Camping World Truck Series championship, was spotted inside the garage area earlier today.  Afterward (once the race started), he sat behind a large wooden desk in a parking lot, stroking a fluffy white cat.
"It was real weird, seeing him sitting in that swivel chair outdoors", said race fan Will Minton, who'd parked next to Crafton's "lair".  "I mean, he just kept petting that cat of his, and occasionally rubbing both his hands together like Paul Bearer used to do."
Crafton was said to have stayed up through the night practicing his "evil, maniacal laugh", refused to divulge the details of his scheme, pointing out that he may need to use it again in the future.
"True geniuses NEVER reveal their methods", Crafton cackled, "besides, a plan so dastardly and devious could never be properly explained to a mere mortal!"
When asked if he simply switched the Master Switch in the #11 car with a faulty one, Crafton complained that they were "…ruining it for him."

Martinsville "News" and Notes

--After a brief hiatus, Nascar's most popular driver is back behind the wheel of the #32 Federated Auto Parts car.
--Roush Racing makes its 3,000th Cup Series start this weekend, and Ted Musgrave plans to celebrate by yelling at his TV.
--Jeff Burton is already calling the 2013 season a "Make or Break" year for him.  Well, if he breaks, Austin Dillon gets his ride.  And if he makes, well, Austin Dillon still gets his ride.
--Brian Vickers makes his last scheduled start of 2012 this weekend.  Next year, why don't they just put him in the #47 JTG-Daughtery car?  Oh, yeah, that would make too much sense.
--If I at any point in my life date someone named "Lyn-Z", you have my full permission to shoot me.

Auction Action

This can all be yours!!!

After being in business for what seemed like two weeks, Robinson-Blakeney Motorsports (aka "That Israel Team") has shut down.  The good news is you can own your very own piece of the dream, as the team's entire inventory is being auctioned off on Tuesday.  Here's a preview from the auction's official website:

--Soap Dish Antenna--for those of you who like to catch Pakistani Westerns AND need a place to store your Ivory.

--Tungsten--help, I need Tungsten to live!  TUNGSTEN!!!

--Quick Releases--you mean like drinking, porno, and weeping?

--Fire Bottle--I can't tell you how hard it is to bottle fire.

--Four Tier Cart--Sick and tired of not having enough room on your three-tier cart?  Well have we got the item for you!

--Tin Snips--As in tin snips, tin snails, and tin puppy-dog tails.

--Carbon Fiber Breather--Breathe deeply through the cross-hatched interior that costs a bunch more.

--Bolt Bin--Maybe this is the best place to store used San Diego Chargers.

--Jack Stands--My dad has a cousin named Jack, and I think he can do a handstand.  Nah, probably not the same guy.

--Nuts & Bolts--I like the idea of going to a major live auction and walking away with a bunch of random fasteners.

--2-1/2 Sway Bar--The hot new sitcom from CBS that I won't watch!

--Wiggins Fitting--WARNING: Only works on fit guys named Wiggins.

Matt Kenseth Wins at Kansas, Drinks Entire Bottle of Zest

In a crash-filled race at Kansas Speedway, Matt Kenseth came out victorious in the Hollywood Casino 400.  Kenseth then celebrated in Victory Lane by drinking an entire bottle of Zest Body Wash.
"Wooo!  Yeahhhh!!!"  Kenseth yelled upon finishing the body wash, throwing the now-empty bottle into the air.  "We did it today!  Wooo!"
Kenseth then continued, "This just shows what this Zest Ford Fusion can do", Kenseth told Dr. Jerry Punch with bubbles coming out of his mouth.  "To be able to win a crazy race like this, car wrecking left and right, its just an amazing feeling."
"People have said Matt was a lame-duck driver, that's just wrong", said crew chief Jimmy Fennig, who looked on visibly horrified as his driver drank an entire 16 ounce bottle of soap.  "Matt's a true champion, he's gonna give it his all till the final checkered falls at Homestead."
Team co-owner Jack Roush congratulated Kenseth, remarking that he was "…very proud of Matt", and that his breath smelled a little bit like deodorant.  "Its been great having a driver like Matt on our team all these years, a real privilege", Roush said, after checking to see if Kenseth was vomiting.
"This is really what its all about", Kenseth added to reporters, most of whom were asking him if he needed an ambulance.  "We're all winners here, and I hope that next week I can drink a jar of change for Fifth Third Bank."

Kansas "News" and Notes

--People are saying that since being resurfaced Kansas Speedway has become a whole new track.  Great, ANOTHER cookie-cutter race that can't sell out.
--Our long national nightmare may be over:  Go Daddy is considering dropping Danica Patrick from their TV commercials.
--Geoff(rey) Bodine announced his retirement this week, 11 months since he last competed in a Cup Series race and 16 years since he was last relevant.
--To everyone who thinks that the Nationwide Series should cut its fields to 12 cars ("since that's how many drivers actually have a chance to win"), that's the way it's always been in the Busch/Nationwide Series.  Its not like Todd Kluever and Glenn Allen Jr. entered every race gunning for first.
--Regan Smith might be going to JR Motorsports next year as a teammate to Cole Whitt.  Hey Regan--listen to Cole, and he will tell you the secrets of moving up to Cup to start and park for a guy named "Little Joe".

Sly Like Fox

Fox Sports Media Group has announced that it had extended its TV rights deal with Nascar through 2022.  While most of the contract stays the same (first 13 races for Cup, the entire Truck schedule), here's a few changes both parties agreed to:

--Nascar will work to find more random out-of-the-way places to put Jeff Hammond during the pre-race.

--Rick Allen and Phil Parsons will be allowed to pursue their dream of forming a progressive-rock band, The Allen-Parsons Project.

--The 33% increase in rights fees will be paid for by fining Darrell Waltrip $50 for every time he says "Kenseths".

--Fox will still be able to farm out its crew for TNT's "Summer Series", where they can join an NBC Sports import who must have some VERY compromising pictures of Ted Turner.

--Pre-race coverage will be expanded to three hours to accommodate Michael Waltrip's sponsor plugs.

--Nascar's Hall of Fame will allow Mike Joy to campaign for Kevin LePage's induction.

Michael Waltrip: "Good Things Happen to Bad People!"

Celebrating in Victory Lane with driver Clint Bowyer, team owner/media personality Michael Waltrip admitted his good fortune, saying that he is living proof that good things happen to bad people.
"You know, after I sucker-punched Lake Speed on pit road, you figure I'd be marked for life as a jerk", Waltrip said amid a shower of 5-Hour-Energy, "but as the past few years have shown, I've been able to become a successful team owner AND an irritating tv commentator!
"I mean, really, after the first DWI I narrowly avoided (in 2007), I thought, 'OK, you're screwed', and after the SECOND near-DWI (in 2009), you'd think they wouldn't let me NEAR an automobile.  But not only do I get to run a successful race team, but people get to think that I'm a real success story for building my team up from 'nothing'!"
Race winner Bowyer was similar in his praise of bad-person Waltrip.
"I myself said that Mikey was the worst driver in Nascar", Bowyer said, "and we all remember when he cheated to beat out a 70-something-year-old to make the Daytona 500.  But heck, I guess some guys are just lucky.  I mean, REALLY lucky."
Waltrip, well-known for berating an ESPN reporter for mentioning his winless-streak, has pledged to enjoy this win "…as long as my Karma gets delayed.
"Whether its annoying fans with my constant sponsor plugs on TV, or using business deals with Cal Wells and Doug Bawel to keep my team afloat--oh, and Bill David too--I guess I'm just lucky!"
Upon hearing these comments, Robby Gordon reportedly punched his fist through a wall.

Charlotte "News" and Notes: Special Early Edition

A lot has happened in the past few hours, so lets see what changes you'll see on the track Saturday Night.

--Dale Earnhardt Jr. is sitting out the Charlotte and Kansas races while dealing with the after-effects of a concussion.  Dale Jr. thinks he suffered it after looking at the weird checkerboard pattern on his test-car at Kansas.
--Regan Smith will sub-in for Dale Jr. in the 88 car for the next two weeks.  Smith was originally going to be in the 51 Phoenix Racing car, having been released from the 78 Furniture Row Racing ride in favor of a driver with SEVERE brain damage.
--A.J. Allmendinger was tabbed to drive the 51 car this weekend at Charlotte, provided that he lays off the funny stuff, doesn't touch the wacky tabacky, and won't get hepped up on goof-balls.
--Kurt Busch, meanwhile, continues his quest for fun, stepping into the 78 car formerly driven by Regan Smith.  If you're keeping track at home, this is his fourth chance.

A Commercial I'd Like to See

(Open with images of the old "Red Bull Racing" shop sitting empty)

(Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" plays in the background)

"Spend all your time waiting, for that second chance, for a break that would make it OK"

(dissolve to shot of Sarah McLachlan sitting with Brian Vickers)

Sarah McLachlan: "Hi, I'm Sarah McLachlan.  Every year careless Nascar team owners negligently let drivers like Brian here go, with no place to call home, no car to drive."

(Images of Reed Sorenson looking mournfully into the camera)

"In the arms of the angel, fly away from here"

SMcL: "That's why I'm urging you to join me in supporting the APCMD: The Association to Prevent Cruelty to Millionaire Drivers.  Your donation will go straight to work, helping keep Nascar's former drivers of the future from winding up in an ESPN 30 for 30 special."

(Image of Michael McDowell holding 'Will Race for Food' cardboard sign)

"You are pulled from the wreckage"

(Image of Michael McDowell holding 'Very Funny, Sarah' cardboard sign)

"Of your silent reverie"

SMcL: "If you want to make a difference, if you want to stop today's millionaires from becoming tomorrow's hundred-thousandaires, give generously.  Any amount helps, though our favorite amount is 'A Lot'."

Brian Vickers: "Um, am I allowed to talk?"

SMcL: "Quiet you."

"In the arms of the angel, may you fiiiiiiiind some comfort heeeeere"

Tony Stewart Wins Good Sam 499.5 at Talladega

Just days after welcoming in a new sponsor, Tony Stewart had more good news this afternoon, claiming victory in the Good Sam 499.5 at Talladega Superspeedway.
"I was surprised just how clean the race was today", Stewart said in the Mobil 1/Office Depot Victory Lane.  "We got lots of help at the end from Michael Waltrip and whoever's in the 13 car, it was nice to have such a calm, cooperative race."
Waltrip, running a partial schedule in the 55 car, was ecstatic with his 2nd-place finish.
"This is just awesome to put the Aaron's Dream Machine in the top-5 today.  Running with these cats around this track, never wrecking and never pushing the issue, reminds me why I got into racing in the first place--to run good at the Good Sam 499.5."
Marcos Ambrose, who also found himself in the top-five, commented, "The CAH was real good today, and we just had to make sure we had our CAH at the front for the last 4/5ths lap."
Stewart continued, "And to think, we got out of here without a scratch on the car!  I figured this was the kind of place where you finish on your side, or on another car's hood, or both.  It'll just be great to go back to Charlotte and stare at the Good Sam 499.5 trophy.  Thank God they put the start-finish line right by Turn 1."

Talladega "News" and Notes

--If Dover was "Separation Sunday" (when drivers could position themselves to be Chase favorites), then 'Dega has to be "Screwed Sunday", when a blown tire can ruin a year's worth of work towards a championship.
--Tony Stewart has picked up Bass Pro Shops as a primary sponsor for 18 races in 2013.  The announcement would have been sooner, but Smoke was busy trying to figure out why the heck Lewis Hamilton had switched teams.
--With Bass Pro Shops leaving EGR, who will sponsor Jamie McMurray next year?  Hair gel companies of the world, this is your best chance to move into Nascar.
--I have no idea why Tayler Malsam was let go by Tri-Star Motorsports, but lets take this time to point out that "Tayler Malsam" sounds like a good name for a teenage actress on an ABC Family drama.
--Its a good thing that Kurt Busch moved on to Furniture Row next season--it sounds like his brother might need the #51 ride next year to "…get back to having fun".
--Someone might want to mail one of those "Honk If Parts Fall Off" bumper stickers to Matt Kenseth.

Lets Blow it Up and Start Over: Qualifying

In the fourth part of an agitating-ongoing series, I take a look at a particular aspect of Nascar (in this case, the qualifying system), and give it a makeover from square one.

Nascar's the only sport where you don't know if you're going to compete in the real event--its not like football teams need to run a 40-yard-dash to see if they'll play on Sunday.  So Nascar's issues are pretty well difficult for "stick-and-ball" sports fans to understand.  Lets see if we REAL fans can make it better.

--The Top-35 rule was great while it lasted (you know, when there were more than 25 teams with a legitimate shot to get a top-10.)  So lets get rid of it ASAP.

--The old provisional starting system (used before the Top-35 rule was put into place) was OK, but it was too damn hard to understand.  So let's make the NEW system a simpler version of the older system.

--Here's how it will work:  There'll be one round of qualifying to determine the starting order.  The fastest 38 teams (assuming a 43-car-field) will make the race.  This will put a premium back on qualifying, as right now its more of a leisurely Friday afternoon test session.

--The five teams highest in points that did not get in on speed will fill out the final five spots (again, assuming a 43-car-field).  This gives upper-echelon teams a "mulligan" if they spin out or have a poor set-up in their qualifying lap, but is far from an actual guaranteed starting spot.

--But what if a bunch of start & park teams just set up their cars for one good qualifying lap?  Well, teams will now be able to re-adjust their cars between qualifying and the actual race (with a Happy-Hour test session to allow for tweaking).

--The past-champion's provisional, aka The Darrell Waltrip Memorial Starting Spot, is a bit of a necessary evil left over from the days of Richard Petty struggling to make races.  However, Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte have shown how much the system can be abused.  So from now on, a past champion can only claim a past-champion's provisional if they've run at least 80% of the previous year's races.  Additionally, past champions may only use this way to qualify for a race five times a year.

--Obviously the 43-car field (rumored to be a requirement of the TV contracts) has become a joke lately.  I'd like to see a more "elastic" field size based on purse money and track size.  Maybe only 40 cars per race for tracks 1-mile long and shorter, which will help to free up room on the tight pit roads of Dover and Martinsville.  In that case, only the fastest 35 cars would qualify on speed (five provisional starting spots stay the same).
Well, there you have it--oh, and the best/worst side effect of this (if its implemented in all three national series) would be Jeff Green losing his main source of income.

Chris Economaki (1920-2012)

Today we lost one of the true giants of the motorsports world, as Chris Economaki passed away at the age of 91.  To be fair, I was a bit too young to have seen and heard him on the tv or radio, but his influence is felt everywhere.  He showed how you could be a responsible journalist while also tirelessly promoting your field (in his case, motorsports).  Influential in all forms of racing, here's hoping that he gets his just due with induction into the media wing of the Nascar Hall of Fame.