Dover "News" and Notes

--Click here or scroll down to see my long-form Hall of Fame article.
--From the "There is a God, and (S)He has a sense of humor" department:  Jennifer Jo Cobb and Mike Harmon are starting on the same row for today's Truck Series race.
--Its going to be HOT this weekend, so prepare to hear people who get paid to talk about racing for a living indoors to complain like crazy.
--Jamie McMurray is running a "Parade" magazine paint scheme on Sunday, surprising those of us that thought that Parade went out of business a decade ago.
--A local furniture store is running a promotion--buy anything this weekend before 1pm Sunday, and if Dale Jr. wins, its free.  I'm guessing the insurance policy they took out on this promo was PRETTY cheap.
--A reminder that Dover International Speedway does NOT have lights.  The most-commonly given reason is that the nearby Air Force base would be obstructed by the light towers.  But I hear that the REAL reason is much simpler--cheapness.
--So, Miles The Monster--is his middle name "The"?

The Hall of Fame Game

Fresh off the announcement of the next Hall of Fame class, its time to look at today's active drivers and peer into the future.
Which of the current active drivers in Sprint Cup competition will make the Hall of Fame?
Obviously, this is just one man's opinion, but feel free to save this article, then present it to me in 40 years (well, assuming I haven't died of radiation poisoning by then).

Jimmie was getting ready
to go to a Bar Mitzvah
after this pic was taken
LOCKS--these are drivers that will make the Hall of Fame soon after they retire, unless they do something completely bizarre like beat up Brian France or steal another driver's hauler, then lie to police about it.
Jimmie Johnson--In fact, I'd wager that Jimmie, Chad Knaus, and Rick Hendrick all make it in, though they'll have to fit it in Chad's hectic schedule of getting suspended.
Matt Kenseth--While a one-time champion, he has enough big-time wins to sooth any irritable voters (and yes, I am imagining Bob Pockrass).
Jeff Gordon--When Jeff finally does retire from full-time competition, it won't be long before he joins the all-time greats in the Hall, and makes all of us who remember his rookie season feel very, very, VERY old.
Tony Stewart--Although it would be funny to see someone block his candidacy.
Bobby Labonte--Here's hoping that the end of his career doesn't mar the fact that he was a big winner until he tragically convinced himself that Petty Enterprises was ready to turn the corner.
Terry Labonte--Not only is he a two-time champ, but he has a decent shot to set the record for shortest acceptance speech.

REALLY GOOD SHOT--These guys SHOULD make the Hall, but a crummy string to end their careers would make for a lively discussion amongst the voters, along the lines of this past year's "Well, do we call a taxidermist about Jocko Flocko?".
"But I don't WANNA go to the
induction ceremonies!!!
Carl Edwards--More "really really good" than great, but would clinch entry with a championship.  Here's hoping the Hall can use his Talladega car that went into the catch fence for his display.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.--While he hasn't won much lately, remember that he was a consistent winner early in his career, AND is a two-time Nationwide Series champion.  Besides, they can invite Teresa just to make things insanely awkward.
Kevin Harvick--He has a slew of big-time wins, gave back to the sport with his own team, and could undergo a Matt Kenseth-like career revival next season.  I think that's enough to outweigh that dumb "flaming smiley face" logo.
Brad Keselowski--My thinking is that all former champions will eventually get in, but Brad seems to be irritating the France family to no end, which could put him in the "Curtis Turner Memorial Shut-Out Spot".
Kyle Busch--Yeah, yeah, I know.
Kurt Busch--Probably the former champion who has the toughest chance to get in, but if/when he does, do they portray him with or without his ear surgery?
Mark Martin--Probably the modern-era's non-champion with the best shot to get in the Hall.  Personally, I'd love to see him get in the same year as Richard Childress, just to see the smoke pour out of Mark's ears anytime they show highlights from 1990.

ON THE FENCE--The way things are now, they have a legitimate shot, but it will probably come down to how the voters determine Hall-worthiness in the future.  I, for one, can't wait till the public debate on the merits of Gary Bradberry's candidacy.
"...I can't believe Jack's wearing a
hat indoors."
Clint Bowyer--He's doing alright now, but where will his career be in the future?  Still needs a few more years to prove he's not a flash-in-the-Jello-mold-in-the-shape-of-Kansas.
Kasey Kahne--Kasey's been hurt by losing a good chunk of his career to RPM and Red Bull Racing.  On the other hand, he's helped by what will hopefully be a long career ahead of him, likely with Hendrick-Gordon-Johnson Motorsports.
Greg Biffle--Greg's had a very solid Cup career, but that's all its been--solid.  His Truck and Busch/Nationwide championships help, as does his wooden acting in those "Nascar Green" commercials.
Ryan Newman--His early-career pole runs help his cause, but his lack of winning in the past few seasons doesn't bode well for his future.  If he winds up with Front Row Motorsports next season, push this one to "Probably not".
Jeff Burton--Another "good, not great" driver who's obviously helped by his good standing in the garage.  And lets be honest--don't we ALL want to hear Jeff be induced by his brother Ward?
Denny Hamlin--Probably has the best shot of all the people in this group, but he still has a ways to go in his career.  Doesn't help that his friendship with Michael Jordan could lead to about half-a-dozen "retirements".
Michael Waltrip--The combination of Daytona 500 wins, success as an owner, and media presence likely means that he'll eventually make it in.  And yes, I can't stand the fact that I just typed that.

UNLIKELY--These drivers would have to seriously pick things up on-track, marry a France family member, or pay admission to make the Hall for sure.
He of the puffy hair
Martin Truex Jr.--Yes, he's a Nationwide Series champion.  Yes, he's made the Chase.  But he just doesn't win.  Anybody with just one more win than Steve Grissom, Robert Presley, and me probably won't make it in.
Paul Menard--One Brickyard win and a previous career of "job-hopping" doesn't make for a great Hall of Fame resume.  Then again, what DOES his resume say?  ("1998-Present:  Worked for Dad).
Jamie McMurray--Even with the big-time wins, Jamie's gone through some pretty long winless streaks.  It'll take a return of Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing to championship lev--nevermind.
Joey Logano--Even with a pair of wins and a job with a competitive team, you gotta figure that he'll be run out of the sport at this pace by about 2016.
Ken Schrader--Too bad, since his acceptance speech would likely include the fantastic "Dale Jr. Strip Club" Story.

TOO SOON--Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Danica Patrick--they're both just rookies, but both have what it takes to succeed longterm:  Ricky's got the talent, and Danica's got the sponsorship.

Timmy's fire-suit points
to who Timmy Hill is
NOT GONNA DO IT--Aric Almirola (Denny Hamlin would take over his speech anyways), Marcos Ambrose (could get an exhibit "down under" in the basement), Juan Pablo Montoya (would attract too many Douglas Adams fans anyways), Casey Mears (no gang-affiliations allowed), David Ragan (unless Front Row lives up to its name again), David Gilliland (too pushy), Dave Blaney (too Blaney-y), JJ Yeley (yeah, right), David Reutimann (head will explode when Mikey gets in), David Stremme (sorry, Mom), Travis Kvapil (going to dying teams is not a skill), AJ Allmendinger (better chance at Indy immortality), Scott Speed (better chance at obscurity), Michael McDowell (unless Mike Curb pulls some strings), Timmy Hill (is he even getting paid?), Scott Riggs (made the mistake of associating with me), Regan Smith (unless he becomes this generation's Sam Ard), Brian Vickers (would need a comeback like Mark Martin's second comeback), Trevor Bayne (one hit wonders don't make it in), Landon Cassill (no hit wonders don't make it in either), Joe Nemechek (though Joe 1988-2002 would have a chance), Mike Bliss (sorry).


Well, it was a long day of racing.  A usual Monaco.  A thrilling Indy 500.  A truly bizarre Coca-Cola 600.  But lets focus on what's REALLY important:

Great mysteries solved!

How did Hut Stricklin get the nickname "Hut"?

Well, wonder no more!  (Well, sorta).  Because now there's!  That's right, your one-stop source for all your nickname-related needs.  Going from the stars of today back to the first to cross the Daytona beach course, its all here.  Take your time, look around, and pass the word along to your friends, family, and hangers-on.  What's in a name?  It's ALL in the name!

Charlotte "News" and Notes

--So, does anybody know why it seems like all the pre-race on-track activity takes place on Thursday and not Friday?  Is Friday the Bruton Smith Awards Banquet?  (This year's winner--Bruton Smith).
--Dale Jr. is running his National Guard "Camo" paint scheme this weekend.  Because when your car isn't fully-funded for the entire year, the best thing to do is figure out how to NOT stand-out on the track.
--Speed Channel made a pretty egregious error during the All-Star Race when they said that Jimmie Johnson should have come into the pits in 11th place.  What they meant to say was, "This obvious mental math error is brought to you by Fox Sports 1, destroying the goodwill Fox has built up with Nascar fans starting August 17th."
--…so, will Jocko Flocko's great-great-great-great-great grandson be allowed to attend the Hall of Fame ceremonies?
--The Jennifer Jo Cobb/Mike Harmon feud is the biggest blow-up between two no-names since Jimmy Spencer went after Wally Dallenbach Jr.

Lets Blow it Up and Start Over: The All-Star Race

In the fifth entry into an ongoing series capped at "several", we take a look at an aspect of Nascar that needs improving, then completely change it from the ground-up.

I think that the proof that Nascar had really "arrived" as a major-league sport was when fans started complaining non-stop about its All-Star event.  Think about it--when was the last time you were excited for the NHL's All-Star Game?  The NBA's?  When was the last time you even WATCHED the Pro Bowl?  Sure, baseball's still gets decent ratings, but other than when players are ready to retire, when was the last time you really cared about it?
With that being said, "fixing" the Sprint All-Star Race is a pretty tall order.  Its tough to get people fired up about a non-points event (see: the Sprint Unlimited) but we can still try…

Eligibility:  Drivers who have won this season or the season before are eligible, as is the defending All-Star winner.  And as far as automatic births go, THAT'S IT.

Track/Timing:  This is a pretty big can of worms.  People always talk about moving the event around, but would anyone else besides Las Vegas or Texas really want to host it?  Also, wouldn't some of the teams complain to high heaven if their built-in off-week disappeared?  So here's my idea:  Have the All-Star race in Charlotte every-other-year (say, even numbered years).  In the other (odd numbered) years, move it around to different venues.  Keep it the same week on the schedule, and open the race up to bidding by the tracks.  And hey, if nobody wants it a second time, take it back to Charlotte permanently.

The Showdown:  Keep it to where anybody who's in the top-50 in points (who hasn't locked himself into the All-Star Race) is eligible.  Have a 30-lap segment, then a 5-lap competition yellow (to allow teams to pit if they so choose), then a 20-lap segment to finish it out.  The winner and runner-up make it in to the All-Star race.  Yes, this isn't much different from what they do now, but the event is pretty well meaningless anyways.

The Fan Vote:  Now THIS is an idea whose time has clearly passed.  I'd say to get rid of the fan vote entirely.  It serves virtually no purpose, and letting people like a slumping Dale Jr. or Danica Patrick make the race devalues the entire concept of an "All-Star" event.

The Race Format:  The format's been changed so many times, its tough to figure out if ANY of the ways work best.  That's why they need to do something VERY simple:  SIMPLY IT.  Take away some of the gimmickry and only have one-or-two "tweaks", and it'll be a better judge of the best of the best, instead of who can game the system better.  (And while we're at it--Speed/Fox, if you screw up your on-air math again, you're gonna get smacked).  I'd like to see a mix of a long-run and a short-run, so maybe a 50-lap segment, followed by 5-lap competition caution with a mandatory four-time pit-stop.  Then, a 30-lap segment, followed again by a 5-lap competition caution with an optional pit stop.  Then a 20-lap dash to the finish.  Oh, and if a driver wins all three segments, he doubles his winnings.

So, that's it!  (Message for Bruton--don't call me, I'll call you)

Fans Agree--Dull, Unpopular Finish was Rigged

Fans across the nation took to message boards and chat room to voice their opinions tonight, and the feeling was nearly unanimous:  the thoroughly unexciting, less-than popular results were fixed by Nascar.
"Oh come on, Nascar rigs all the races so Jimmie Johnson wins!", typed Jesse Clayton of El Paso, Texas.  "You've seen how the ratings are skyrocketing after every dull, dominating win by the 48 crew!  Brian France just wants his family business to succeed through lowered market valuations!"
Fox's statisticians, hard at work
"This happens every week now--Nascar lets the 48 crew get away with everything so they can win", said Steve Gallagher of Hopkins, Minnesota.  "I mean, Fox SAID that Jimmie should've pitted in 11th position!  And last time I checked, I'm not going to believe a major sanctioning body over a company owned by Rupert Murdoch!"
Polls have shown that nearly 80% of fans believe that Nascar has done its best to ensure that drivers with little-to-no public persona win as much as possible, while keeping those with broad fan bases to no more than one win per four years.  There also seems to be a consensus that people talk way too much about driver Danica Patrick.
"When I'm on the message boards, all I do is talk about how everybody focuses too much on Danica", said longtime fan Joel Nelson of Flemington, New Jersey.  "When I'm on sports radio, I complain about everyone talking too much about Danica.  I make sure that EVERYONE knows that all I hear about all the time is Danica Danica Danica!  Why won't everybody shut up about Danica?!?"
The fans agreed that they plan to spend the week complaining about Rockingham no longer being on the Cup schedule, Johanna Long not having a competitive ride, and Dodge no longer being in the sport.  There was also agreement to brag about Ed Carpenter winning the pole at Indianapolis despite having little resources beyond his millionaire track-owner step-father.
"I thought the race was boring, but then again, most All-Star sporting events are", said Jimmie Johnson of El Cajon, California.  "I mean, I know that the 48 crew is difficult to like, but at least we don't talk about Danica all the time."

Rest in Peace Dick Trickle

Undoubtably you've heard that former Nascar driver (and all-time short-track legend) Dick Trickle passed away yesterday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  It seems that Dick had been suffering from chronic pain lately, and while suicide is never the preferable outcome, we can only hope that Dick has reached some point of peace.  A few stray thoughts on the life and career of Dick Trickle:

--I met Dick once, in the Dover garage (thanks Dad!) when he was running part-time for Dave Marcis' old team.  I was watching him work with his bare-bones team--they were all dressed in short-sleeve button-down uniforms, like you'd see in an auto-body shop.  Eventually, Dick noticed me and simply said, "Can I help you?"  He then gladly signed an autograph and (if I remember correctly) posed for a picture.

--Dick's nephew Chris was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting outside of Las Vegas.  The crime, despite being featured on America's Most Wanted, has not been solved to this day.  An intriguing footnote was that Chris Trickle was replaced in his short-track car by a then-unknown Las Vegas native, Kurt Busch.

--The video below remains one of my favorite Nascar commercials of all-time.  Besides showing a time when Napa would do commercials without Michael Waltrip, it shows a legendary driver who has no problem poking fun at himself.  And the closing line makes me chuckle every time.

Its Just a Big Popularity Contest

"Wait, so they just let you race without entering
the Showdown?  Man--being a winner is GREAT!"

With the All-Star Race just around the corner, fans have their chance to have their voice heard--which winless driver would they most-like to see in the main event?  And for the first time in years, the answer ISN'T "Dale Jr.".  Lets take a look at the options available to the voting public:

A.J. Allmendinger--Once he looked like he could be the next A.J. Foyt.  Then he looked like the next Jeremy Mayfield.  Now he looks like the next A.J. Foyt, only not nearly as talented.

Aric Almirola--Better tell your older relatives that no, there isn't a legendary driver in the 43, just a hard-working guy trying to get a win…besides, John Andretti retired years ago.

Dave Blaney--If he gets the most votes, be prepared for loud cries of "Hey, they spelled Sony wrong!"

Mike Bliss--Just think, he could start and park in two consecutive events!

Jeff Burton--If "The Mayor" wins THIS election, it'll be the first time he's won anything in five years.  No, really, you can look it up.

Landon Cassill--Do it for Little Joe!

Bill Elliott--Wow, Bill Elliott's SO popular that he can even enter fan vote contests for races he's not entered in!  And what if he wins?  Will they try to airlift him to the track from Dawsonville?

David Gilliland--David Ragan should really repay his teammate for the push at Talladega by voting for him 7,000,000 times.

Travis Kvapil--Sponsored by Burger King, where finishing 29th is king!

Bobby Labonte--When Bobby won the fan vote last year, I think that everybody in America was shocked that he'd be racing in the main event--including Bobby Labonte.

Terry Labonte--We'll have to see if he can carry the "Scrawny kid from Maryland" vote from Timmy Hill.

Michael McDowell--STILL waiting on a "McDowell's: Home of the Big Mick" special paint scheme.

Jamie McMurray--#1 on the door, probably #7 in the voting, and usually #18 on the track.

Casey Mears--The Dreaded Mears Gang is like The Kennedys of Nascar, if there wasn't already a bunch of people named Kennedy in Nascar.

Paul Menard--He'll have to survive on nothing but his talents, his wits, and billions and billions of dollars in family money.

Juan Pablo Montoya--When Kyle Petty first met Kyle Larson, he asked him "Hows it feel to be the most-talented driver signed by Chip Ganassi?"  Because if anybody knows about disappointing people in the 42 car, its Kyle.

Danica Patrick--Never heard of her.

David Reutimann--Have it YOUR way, David!  And I'm assuming his "way" would be to beat the tar out of Michael Waltrip.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.--Just think, if Ricky wins the vote, we can look back in a few years and say "Man, remember Best Buy?"

David Stremme--If he wins the vote, expect people to rush out to their local stores to buy plenty of Swan Energy.

Martin Truex Jr.--Ladies and Gentleman, The Real Life Cal Naughton Jr.!

Michael Waltrip--Wait, so Swan Energy is running TWO cars?  Better stock up on EXTRA Swan Energy, Swan Energy retailers!

Josh Wise--Um, why?

JJ Yeley--Hopefully his car isn't naked this week.

Fox Swarms Samantha Busch for Post-Race Insights

Shortly after Matt Kenseth won his first-ever Southern 500, the Fox crew ambushed Samantha Busch (wife of driver Kyle Busch) for her post-race comments.
"Well, um, we're really disappointed that Kyle's car went away at the end", Samantha said to Fox reporter Steve Byrnes.  "But we're still happy for Matt and the whole Home Depot team.  And his son won too, didn't he?  Russ, right?"
 "Oh God, Jeff Hammond's going
to try to hug me again..."
Samantha Busch, a longtime participant on social media, was focused on for most of the night by the Fox camera crews.  The decision to focus on a non-competitor was defended by Fox producer Warren Coleman.
"We like to provide our fans with a comprehensive look at the action, on and off the track", Coleman said post-post-race.  "Whether its showing where Danica Patrick is running on-track, or showing a driver's wife in a tight top on the war-wagon, we'll show it to you.  These comments are brought to you by Fox Sports 1."
Race winner Matt Kenseth, meanwhile, was met in Victory Lane by a single camera crew and Some Guy From MRN.
"Um, where did everybody go?"  Kenseth asked Some Guy From MRN.  "You know, I bet Jack (Roush) is behind this".
Samantha Busch confirmed post-race that husband Kyle, who had been dominating the race, had a cut right rear tire, which contributed to his disappointing (for him) finish.
"I want everyone to know that Kyle is VERY disappointed that he didn't win, and wanted to bring this one home for all his fans.  You guys might think that Kyle is a jerk who doesn't do interviews, but he's really a great guy."
Kyle Busch was unavailable for comment.

Darlington "News" and Notes

--Late-Breaking News:  Clint Bowyer just picked up sponsorship from KFC's "I Ate The Bones" campaign.  I guess it goes to show you that if you do about 40 different commercials in 2012, there's almost nobody left to sponsor you in 2013.
--More Late-Breaking News:  Danica Patrick will be switching to a backup car after brushing the wall at The Lady in Black in practice.  Jeez, why can't women get along with each other?
--Kurt Busch passed his Rookie Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, filling Nascar fans everywhere with dreams of someone finally taking Kurt off our hands.
--Denny Hamlin plans to run the entire race this week, meaning that Brian Vickers will have to go back to his old raceday routine of getting on Mark Martin's radio and asking if his refrigerator is running.
--Joe Nemechek's new sponsor this week, "Royal Teak Collection", produces high-quality outdoor furniture made of teak wood.  In case you're wondering, this company has nothing to do with Jeremy Mayfield's last sponsor, Tweak.

My Dover Racing Adventure

Its all fun & games until you realize
the placement of the hot sauce bottle
This space for rent

This past Sunday I missed most of the race (and by "race", I mean "rain delay") to go down to Dover International Speedway.  Why?  Because my parents bought me, as a birthday gift, 10 laps in a stock car around The Monster Mile.
I'm still trying to figure out how a successful company like Monster Racing allowed me to pilot an actual Nascar car, but needless to say, it was BEYOND AWESOME.  Here's some stray observations:
--From the "I'm sure you're not surprised" department:  All the drivers were men.
--My racing suit was pretty much logo-less, just like Mike Bliss.
--I did 10 laps around the track, and I think I was going a bit slower than the other guy on-track ahead of me, just like Mike Bliss.
"AHHHHHH!-- hey, that looks like
the old Winn-Dixie car--AHHHHH!"
--Dover has 24 degrees of banking in the turns, and boy do you feel it on the track.
--The instructor kept telling us not to lift in the turns, but not lifting in the turns meant ignoring every reflex and instinctual thought in my body.
--The cars are actual race-used stock cars, albeit with their paint schemes modified to not advertise the original sponsor.  Mine, however, was done up by the graphics guy to resemble Bobby Allison's old Mercury Cyclone.  Which makes sense, since both Bobby and I feel like we've wasted far too much time and money on Derrike Cope.
--How I felt requesting an automatic transmission:  Really dumb.
--How I felt when the guy ahead of me stalled out:  Really smart.
--The fact that my parents got this for me (and my dad went down with me as my driving coach /photographer/consigliere) shows just how cool and thoughtful they are.
--Thankfully I didn't die, although coming to grips with Front Row Motorsports actually winning a race IS pretty other-worldly.

Blame it on the Rain

A lengthy rain delay has put a damper on what has been, up to this point, a pretty exciting season of Nascar racing.  Fox is obviously straining to fill airtime--maybe they should consider the following:

--More in-depth interviews with newsmakers like Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray.

--"Who's Skinnier?" competition between Joey Logano and Mark Martin.

--Allow Michael Waltrip to talk non-stop for five consecutive hours--eventually he'll get around to how he avoided that DUI.

--Figure out a way to get rid of those gigantic rain drops from the green-screened background.

--Mike Joy sings The Great American Songbook.

--Helicopter in Kenny Wallace.

--An investigation into what Maddie's Place Rocks is, and if it does, in fact, rock.

--"Hey, lets joke some more about Chris Myers' hair!  Everybody likes jokes about Chris Myers' hair!"

Talladega "News" and Notes

--Predictions:  The first 95% of the race you'll be thinking "Good LORD this is boring!".  The final 5% you'll be thinking "I can't believe they're running that close together!!!".  And post-race you'll be thinking "If Michael Waltrip had actually won that, I would've lit myself on fire."
--Denny Hamlin has been cleared to run Sunday's race (or at least start, then turn over the car to Brian Vickers).  He'll be running to the first caution, aka Doing A Mike Bliss.
--If Furniture Row wanted to raise a LOT of money to help our veterans, they could just allow fans to punch Kurt Busch in the face for a price.  Seriously--I think I'd pay about $1,000 for that opportunity.
--I hope that the post-Nationwide Series race antics brings closer attention to the long-simmering Brazil-Idaho blood feud that's been simmering for decades.
--I hope that everybody knows to stay far away from Tony Stewart on-track this weekend, preferably by letting him run about a half-a-lap behind the lead pack.

The Greatest (and possibly Last) Day of My Life Awaits!

This Sunday, I may or may not be able to write a "Cool Down Lap" article after the race at Talladega.  Why?  Because my parents bought me a 10-lap race around Dover International Speedway!
That's right--I'm going to drive a stock car at speeds over 100mph around a high-banked one-mile oval!  And I might die!
Now, obviously, I hope I don't die.  Ironically, driving a stock-car is on my list of things to do BEFORE I die, so while this would technically satisfy that goal, I wouldn't be able to achieve other ones (like visiting Europe or finding the world's best pastrami sandwich).  Here's what YOU need to know:

--I'll be going through a driver orientation, then take 10 tentative laps around the track before pulling into the garage.  Basically, I'll be starting and parking.  Mackler 10 DNF (Fear).
--I'll try and get my marking-manager/driving-coach/dad to get lots of pictures so I can post them here.  That's right, you'll finally get to see what I look like when equally elated and terrified.
--If it rains, look for me to post some insane rants about a conspiracy involving Darrell Waltrip, NOAA, and "The Vortex Commission".

So anyways, I'll still be putting up a "News" & Notes article on Friday, and hopefully I can make it back to watch most of the Sunday race.  Oh, and hopefully I don't die.