Atlanta "News" and Notes

--Well, Kurt Busch is officially in the as-yet-unnumbered Haas Automation car for Stewart Haas Racing in 2014.  Which means that he should be back to driving for independent teams "…just trying to have fun" around 2016.

--Meanwhile, Kyle Larson has officially been named the driver of the #42 Target Chevy for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, also effective next season.  Some people think that Larson is being rushed into Cup far too young.  But hey--its not like there's a bunch of drivers who've been rushed into Cup before, so how would they know?

--Meanwhile (again), AJ Allmendinger is all-but-confirmed to take over the #47 Lotsa Sponsors car for JTG/Junebug Racing.  Rumors have the 47 team migrating to Chevy in 2014 and forging an alliance with RCR.  This upgrade in horsepower and technology means that they will go from only being a threat on plate tracks to only being a threat on plate tracks AND road courses.

--Speaking of the 47 crew, kinda-sorta-former driver Bobby Labonte is being held out of this week's race (he was due to run the #51 car) due to broken ribs sustained in a cycling accident near his home.  While Bobby Labonte's ribs are in bad shape, Willy T. Ribbs remains in excellent yet ornery condition.

--Oh, and by the way--there IS an actual race this weekend!

Ryan Newman's Head Explodes

The Nascar world was shook early today when Kurt Busch announced that he had signed with Stewart-Haas Racing for 2014 and beyond.  Mere minutes later, the greater Charlotte area literally shook from the impact of Ryan Newman's head exploding.
"Artist"'s Rendering
"Obviously, we don't get too many earthquakes here", said North Carolina Department of Geology director Clayton Stevens, "but we noticed a bump in our detection devices late this morning.  Upon further investigation, we found that this came from a man named Ryan Newman, whose head apparently exploded at the same exact time."
Newman, who was let go from Stewart-Haas effective the end of the season, was said to have been eating a late breakfast when he heard of the news of Busch's signing.  Mere seconds afterwards, his head apparently detonated, sending literal shockwaves throughout the region.
"Mr. Newman's home obviously had the strongest effects of the blast", Stevens continued, "but we had reports from as far away as Uptown Charlotte of people's windows rattling."
Newman was immediately rushed to the Mooresville Intensive Head Care Center to have the situation remedied.  Despite losing his head, he is expected to recover in time for this week's race at Atlanta.
"We admitted Mr. Newman early this afternoon", a spokesman for the Care Center said, "and we are working diligently to repair the damage.  In fact, we have a new head ready for placement, if only we could find the patient's neck."

Kasey Kahne Furious with Kasey Kahne

Bristol Motor Speedway is always the site of feuds, fights, and tempers boiling over.  After tonight's Irwin Tools Night Race, runner-up Kasey Kahne was ready to start a fight with runner-up Kasey Kahne.
"When I see Kasey I'm gonna..."
"Man, Kasey just didn't get the job done tonight", Kahne said post-race.  "I feel like, if it weren't for Kasey, I'd be in Victory Lane.  Instead, I'm stuck talking to you on pit road--no offense."
Kahne blamed Kahne for not being able to "put the chrome horn" to leader--and eventual race winner--Matt Kenseth.  He also blamed him for other issues the team has been having lately.
"Kasey was also the one who put the bullseye on our backs for Joe Gibbs Racing", Kahne added.  "I mean, how can I go out there and race when I have Kasey Kahne making threats to other drivers?  He's really got to grow up."
Kahne proceeded to blame Kahne for such diverse problems as staying up too late the night before, eating too much at lunch, and "…getting the whole La Leche League on my back".  Kahne also hinted that there may be some retribution coming soon.
"Tomorrow morning, the first thing I'm going to do is drive on over to Kasey Kahne Racing's shop over in Mooresville", Kahne said.  "I'm going to wait there on the front lawn until Kasey Kahne comes out to apologize.  I don't care WHO you are--Kasey Kahne does NOT take any abuse from Kasey Kahne."

Bristol "News" and Notes: The Theme Songs

Bristol Motor Speedway combines door-to-door action with high-energy theatrics and Bruton Smith's massive ego.  A big part of pre-race activities are the driver introductions, which feature driver-selected theme songs for their walk to their cars.  We don't really know what songs each driver will pick, but here's some suggestions:

Jamie McMurray:  "One" by Metallica, as interpreted by The Hamburglar

Brad Keselowski:  "You Talk Too Much" by George Thorogood

Kasey Khane:  Farmers Insurance theme, nightclub megamix

"There is none more black"
Dave Blaney:  anything from Spinal Tap's "Black Album"

Marcos Ambrose:  "TNT" by AC/DC, re-imagined as "ABC"

Danica Patrick:  "Suffragette City" by David Bowie ("Wham, Bam, Thank you ma'am!")

Denny Hamlin:  "Pretty Fly (for a white guy)" by The Offspring

Casey Mears:  anything by Jim Morrison, The Lizard King

Mark Martin:  "Substitute" by The Ramones

Clint Bowyer:  "Fifteen" by Taylor Swift

Greg Biffle:  "Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.:  Zest bodywash theme song

Kyle Busch:  "18 to Life" by Sebastian Bach

Mike Bliss:  "White and Nerdy" by Weird Al Yankovic

Matt Kenseth:  "Theme from The Jeffersons" (since he's been Movin' on up since he left Roush)

Joey Logano:  "This is the Time" by Billy Joel

Jeff Gordon:  "Old Man" by Neil Young

Paul Menard:  "Yellow" by Coldplay

Kevin Harvick:  "Not Now (Jimmy) John" by Pink Floyd

David Stremme:  something from "The Black Swan"'s soundtrack

Jeff Burton:  "18th Avenue" by CAT Stevens

Ken Schrader:  "Why am I Still Racing?"  by Ken Schrader

Landon Cassill:  "London Calling" by The Clash

"Mwah mwah mwah mwahhhh"
David Ragan:  any music from a "Peanuts" special

Josh Wise:  "Short People" by Randy (Carson-) Newman

JJ Yeley:  some spoken word verse from JJ Dillon

David Gilliland:  "Dock(side) of the Bay" by Otis Redding

Ryan Newman:  "Brick House" by The Commodores

Tony Raines:  "Blame it on the Rain" by Milli Vanilli

Juan Pablo Montoya:  "A Million to (Juan)" by Jimmy Charles

Aric Almirola:  that dumb AAMCO song

Bobby Labonte:  "No, why am *I* still racing" by Bobby Labonte

Jimmie Johnson:  "Get Low(es)" by Lil Jon

Ryan Truex:  "Fortunate Son" by CCR

Brian Vickers:  "Dreams" by Van Halen

Martin Truex Jr.:  Theme from "Martin"

Kurt Busch:  the old Busch beer theme (head for the mountains)

David Reutimann:  "Saved by Zero" by The Fixx

Joe Nemechek:  "We're in the Money" (traditional)

Dale Earnhardt Jr.:  "(Unintelligible mumbling)" by The Dale Jr. Band

Travis Kvapil:  "Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground (one time I got busy in a Burger King bathroom!)

Scott Speed:  Theme to "Speed Racer"

Michael McDowell:  "Its a Small World" by The Mike Curb Congregation

Carl Edwards:  "Johnny 99" by Bruce Springsteen

Tony Stewart Extends Offer to Kurt Busch While Under Influence of Pain Medication

Shortly after the completion of the Pure Michigan 400, the Nascar world lit up with the rumor that Kurt Busch had been offered a ride at Stewart-Haas Racing.  Spade Racing has since confirmed the offer, made early Sunday evening by a dazed and disoriented Tony Stewart.
"Hey, lets start a fourth team, guys!", Stewart was quoted as saying on a post-race conference call.  "It'll be fun, guys!  We'll get Gene (Haas, team co-owner) to sponsor it himself!  C'mon, EVERYBODY needs a CNC Machine!"
Stewart's official written offer to Busch
Stewart, who broke his leg in a sprint car accident weeks ago, has been kept heavily sedated to deal with the excruciating pain of recovery.  He was said to have been taking morphine, codeine, and  bilkeene in heavy doses.
"Here's the best part--we'll get Kurt Busch to drive it!", Stewart continued on the call, with his voice randomly changing octaves and volume.  "We'll put his cars right in the shop next to Kevin (Harvick)'s, it'll be hilarious watching 'em work together!  It'll be like a SITCOM!"
Director of Competition Greg Zipadelli--who Stewart repeatedly referred to as "Zeus"--has said that he will talk to Stewart's medical team about significantly lowering his medication intake.
"Smoke isn't big on medicine, so I'm sure the doctors just pumped him full of drugs to keep him calm", Zipadelli said.  "This is worse than the time he mistakenly took too much allergy medication and ordered Ryan Newman to drive a whole race naked.  Thankfully none of those pictures got out."
In possibly-related news, disgraced former driver Jeremy Mayfield was spotted driving towards Stewart's house to "take some of those meds off his hands".

Joey Logano Defeats Mark Martin In The Name of Ted Musgrave

Joey Logano's win in today's Pure Michigan 400 not only solidified his Chase for the Cup chances--it also helped him live out a dream he's had since he was a little boy.  That dream is to destroy Mark Martin at every opportunity for stymying Ted Musgrave's Cup career at Roush Racing.
"Woo!  We beat that old man again!", Logano said upon exiting his car in Victory Lane.  "Every time you can beat that Valvoline-sponsored, Reese's-eating, resource-stealing driver, its a GOOD day!
What a hero looks like
"This is all for Ted Musgrave, as is everything in my career", Logano continued after a shower of confetti.  "'Mad Dog' Musgrave, he's been a hero of mine ever since I can remember.  And seeing him get second-rate equipment week-after-week in the early-90's, it made me determined.  Determined to win.  And determined to beat Mark Martin every chance I got!"
Logano, who held up 10 fingers and six toes in honor of Musgrave's 16 car (during his Roush days), said that Martin has been his biggest enemy since his childhood days.
"Oh, it was WAY before the whole 'sliced bread' thing", said Logano, in reference to Martin's famous assessment of Logano's talent.  "When I put Mark in the wall at Pocono last year, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.  All those years of watching Family Channel, paying extra for PrimeStar satellite service, they finally came together.  But it really only made me hungrier for more.  And today, we got more!"
Martin, for his part, was conciliatory in his post-race comments.
"Joey obviously was a huge Ted Musgrave fan growing up, and I understand that.  He's a great competitor on the track, and if 'gunning' for me makes him a better driver, so be it.  Besides, I'm far more-focused on seeking my revenge against Richard Childress for 1990".

Michigan "News" and Notes

--Well, after months of speculation and weeks of promotion, Fox Sports 1 will finally be replacing Speed Channel.  Its good to know that the same people who brought us "Drexel's Class", "When Animals Attack", and a glowing hockey-puck will now be responsible for about half of Nascar's total tv coverage.

--Though Jimmie Johnson has clinched a Chase spot, the rest of the field is wide-open.  With that being said, pretty much the top seven in the points are virtual locks for the Chase.  Well, unless something REALLY bizarre happens, like crashing in a sprint-car race in Iowa on a Monday.

--Kurt Busch is claiming that Colorado has adopted Furniture Row Racing as a "Fifth Sports Team".  Um, I think that the priorities of Colorado sports fans are as follows:
1. Broncos
2. Broncos
3. Broncos
4. Broncos
5. Broncos (unless the Nuggets are doing well, in which case its "Broncos").

--Ryan Newman is inexplicably running a PTA-themed paint scheme this week.  Its good to know that, after all these years, the PTA has NOT disbanded.  (*Jumps back into meeting*)

--Has Marty Reid ever made it through an entire broadcast without screwing up?

--Kasey Kahne has had nothing but trouble with Joe Gibbs Racing drivers this season.  In fact, he threatened to go down to the JGR shop after last Sunday's race.  Well, take it from me, Kasey--JGR is HARD to find.  You have to go around in that circle and there isn't really even a sign for it!  Oh, and the Nationwide Series shop isn't open to the public.

Silly Season Kickoff--er, Green Flag

Not affiliated with Domino Sugar
Nascar experts always say that, when it comes to driver and sponsor movement for the following season, they're "waiting for the first domino to fall".  Well, a whole bunch of them have fallen this week, and before the next one does, here's a quick recap:

--Brian Vickers has officially been hired to drive the #55 car for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2014 & 2015.  Vickers and Waltrip unveiled next year's paint scheme at the Nascar Hall of Fame, thus keeping MWR's streak of being the first to release paint schemes intact.

What's on his hat?  Its
either a REALLY cheap
San Antonio Spurs logo
or a uterus.
--Aaron's has decided to stay with the 55 team, expanding their sponsorship to the entire season.  So if you're keeping track at home, that means that Brian Vickers and Martin Truex (with Napa) are both fully sponsored, while Clint Bowyer--arguably their most-talented driver--is only sponsored for about 2/3rds of the schedule.  I guess that even the commercial makers think that Clint's in too many commercials.

--These moves free two older drivers for next season--Michael Waltrip and Mark Martin.  Waltrip has not announced if he will continue to run a partial schedule in 2014, but if he doesn't, be prepared for the most overwrought retirement speech in sports history.  Martin, meanwhile, has already announced his retirement in 2005.

--In mostly-unrelated news, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and possibly Leo Jackson has (un)officially announced that Juan Pablo Montoya will not return to the team in 2014.  Juan Pablo has yet to say where he will be pissing people off next season.

--Who will step into the 42 car?  Rumors abound, but the most-prominent one has Kyle Larson stepping into the ride.  Because anytime you can hire a driver with zero Nationwide Series wins, you do that.

Kyle Busch Uses 10 Seconds of Nationwide Seat Time to Win in Cup

Kyle Busch was able to race to the front of the pack in today's Cheez-It 355 at The Glen, but it was yesterday's performance that enabled him to do so.
"I tell everybody, 'The reason we run Nationwide and Truck Series races is to get more seat time'", said Busch in his post-race press conference.  "Those 200 or so feet of track time we got yesterday really made the difference today.  Without our Nationwide Series program, there was no way we'd have won today's race."
Busch, a regular "ringer" in the Nationwide and Truck Series throughout his career, ran near the front for one straightaway yesterday before colliding with Mike Wallace.  Busch credits his dominating performance today to what he learned on Saturday.
THIS is what wins races
"Before I ran that Nationwide Series race, how was I to know that running into the back of another car wasn't a good idea?", said Busch.  "We learned sooo much in those 10 seconds yesterday, I don't think you can really quantify it.  I mean, I also learned to stay as far away from Wallaces as possible, but that's pretty easy nowadays in Cup."
Busch also seemed to gain an advantage by running the rest of yesterday's Zippo 200 several laps down in a badly-torn-up race car.
"Running a race car that's THAT damaged, it taught me that its not a good idea to run a race car that's THAT damaged", Busch continued to the media contingent.  "That's why I had a note taped to my steering wheel before today's race that said, 'Don't wreck'."
Busch's performance seemed to leave most of the media members befuddled, except for a single Fox Sports executive.
"We're proud that Kyle Busch, owner of the Fox Sports 1 Toyota Tundra, was able to run Fox Sports 1 lap yesterday, then come in Fox Sports 1'st place today.", the executive yelled to anyone who'd listen.  "Fox Sports 1--your new home for what today's young folks want to see in a sports network, like Regis Philbin and Jay Glazer!"

Watkins Glen "News" and Notes: Ringer Edition

With Nascar making one of its twice-yearly trips to a road-course, a number of special substitute drivers will be in the Cup cars this weekend.  Yeah, pretty much none of them have a good shot to win, but let's take a look at 'em anyways.

14 Max Papis (in for Tony Stewart):  Pretty last-minute here, as Smoke is out indefinitely with a broken leg.  With Ryan Newman out the door next season, this means that the driver with the "highest-standing" at Stewart-Haas right now is Danica Patrick.  Think about that.

19 Alex Kennedy (in for Mike Bliss):  Nascar's best start-and-park operation is running with a sponsor called "Media Master"… sounds like one of those old high-school projector machines, doesn't it?


33 Ron Fellows (in for Landon Cassill):  Ron brings back Canadian Tire sponsorship, as Landon Cassill shifts to the new #40 team.  Kind of sad that a country as big as Canada only has one tire, though.

36 Victor Gonzalez Jr. (in for JJ Yeley):  Can he improve on his 37th-place finish at Sonoma?  Well, yeah, probably.

51 Owen Kelly (in for AJ Allmendinger):  Dinger transfers over to the #47 JTG Daughtery car, putting Kelly in the car that was supposed to have shut down by now.

87 Tomy Drissi (in for Joe Nemechek):  Over/under on the number of people who go over to the car and say, "Hey, you forgot an 'm' there" is at 7.5.

Getting to Know… Max Papis

"I want you to race my car, Cole...I mean, Max...wait, what am I doing here?"

Last night Tony Stewart broke his leg in a sprint car crash.  The wreck will keep him out of Sprint Cup action for the near-future, necessitating a substitute driver.  While the long-term substitute remains unknown, Max Papis has been tabbed to pilot the #14 GoDaddy/Mobil1 Chevy this upcoming weekend at the Watkins Glen road course.  But who is Max Papis?  Glad you asked!

--Max's actual first name is "Massimiliano", which sounds like either a 15th-century Italian count, or an upgrade package on the Fiat 500.
"Take THAT, whatshisname
rookie from, um, Rouse?"

--Max's first big-time racing experience was in Formula One, running for a backmarker team called "Footwork".  Much like me on the dance floor, the Footwork was very slow and awkward.

--The pinnacle of Max's career so far have been three Champ Car/CART wins in 2000-2001.  Max left the decaying series, saying "Champ Car needs me more than I need it", which would be conceited if it weren't true for everybody in racing at the time (except maybe for Paul Tracy).

--Max has one of the most cumbersome Wikipedia pages I have ever read.  Here's a few highlights:  "His BFF driver who raced with him in Formula 1, Alex Zanadri…", "…nearly had a top ten running at Talladega…", "…Papis held onto other drivers in the top ten…".

--Sure, we all know about Max's run-ins with other competitors, but that's all because of a massive PAPis Smear campaign.

--Some experts are saying that, while stepping into someone else's car is always difficult, Max's experience gives him and the 14 team a "puncher's chance" to succeed at The Glen.  Billy Johnson, meanwhile, says he has more of a "slapper's chance".

Denny Hamlin Incurs Wrath of the New World Order

Denny Hamlin cheats death every week, driving his stock car at speeds up to 200mph with 41 other competitors (and Josh Wise).  But he may have taken his life in his hands by openly criticizing commentator Kyle Petty, honorary member of the vaunted pro-wrestling organization the New World Order (nWo).
"We're going to be beefing up security around the shop for the next few weeks", Joe Gibbs Racing team manager J.D. Gibbs said after today's race.  "We encourage our drivers to stand up for their beliefs and reputations, but we don't want any trouble from the nWo.  NOBODY does."
Hamlin, who wrecked out early in to--------
"We're bankrolled by Felix Sabates!"

--The following, is a paid announcement, from the New World Order--
"You know something brother, this is Hollywood Hulk Hogan common' at ya, brother, and let me tell ya something Hamlin--when you mess with Kyle Petty, you mess with all of us!  When we took Kyle Petty on as a member in 1996, we always knew it was more than just sponsoring him for Dan Shaver Racing.  Because when you're nWo, you're nWo for life, brother!"
--The preceding announcement, was paid for by the New World Order--

-------------edlock.  Hamlin, however, plans to stand up to the menacing group of pro-wrestlers whenever (or wherever) they attack.
"I knew that when I criticized Kyle Petty, I would have trouble on my hands", Hamlin said while clutching his lower back.  "But don't worry about me--I plan on having Sting at my side all week.  People said he was the nWo's biggest enemy.  Plus, he has lots of great stories about 'The Police'".

Pocono "News" and Notes

--Yep, we're back at Pocono again after only five weeks.  They have a quicker turnaround than a superhero movie and its gritty reboot.

--Kurt Busch is looking to run the final IndyCar race of the year in preparation for next year's Indy 500.  Why does Kurt seem to announce anytime he does ANYTHING racing/charity related?

--Figuring that having little weird guys on his car is good luck, Ryan Newman plans to run a "Terror of TinyTown" paint scheme on Sunday.  You know, for good-luck.

--Wait--Joey Logano's running the Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen?  Well its about TIME Nascar put some more Cup drivers in the lower series!  THIS is what they need to boost their sagging ratings!

--The looming debut of "Fox Sports 1" will be the sponsor of Joey Coulter's truck in this week (and next week's) Truck Series races.  Well, no conflict of interest there!