Latest and Greatest

Here's hoping one of the Chevy truck teams manages to run this paint scheme Friday night.

Smart-alek in a Candy Store

Any chance to bring up the worst-named candy bar of all time is a good chance

Halloween is fast-approaching, which means two things:  1.) ESPN is officially switching over to ESPNBA, and 2.) lots of candy for the kids.  Here's a handy Nascar conversion chart:

King-Size Reese's Peanut Butter Cups: Joey Logano--because huge name-brand candy is about as rare as a driver actually dominating in the regular season AND the Chase.

Big "mystery bag": Kevin Harvick--could be a bunch of fun-size Snickers, could be expired jelly beans, could be those plastic spider-ring things nobody wants--just as much variety as a 2014 Kevin Harvick race.

Sugar Daddy: Brad Keselowski--tastes great, one less filling once you bite into it.  And now, I don't mean "Sugar Daddy" like in a relationship, since that would OBVIOUSLY be Ray Evernham.

No one has ever eaten one of these
things a second time
Unknown brand of chocolate: Ryan Newman--no one knows how it got there, no one knows why it's still there, and no one knows what will happen once it's unwrapped.

Butterfinger Christmas Tree: Dale Jr.--you know you want it, even though it's at a bit of an inopportune time.
Toothpaste, religious literature, or anything that ISN'T candy: Josh Wise--specifically Josh Wise in a non-Dogecoin car.

That giant orange marshmallow peanut: Clint Bowyer--just as stale as his career.

Candy corn: BK Racing Drivers--below-average quality and likely received for free.

Unwrapped Twix: Milka Duno--so enticing, but beware: You may get wrecked.

Candy/Caramel Apple: Matt Kenseth--something sweet (JGR power) around something dull (Kenseth).

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Beats Kyle Fowler for Win

This may or may not be
Kyle Fowler
Despite missing the Chase, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was able to pull out a positive today at Martinsville, beating Kyle Fowler for a hard-earned win.
"This was a big win for me, my crew, and the whole Hendrick team.  I was just so lucky to be able to beat that 32 car of Kyle Fowler today", Dale Junior said upon exiting his car.  "We've been wanting to win that big Grandfather Clock for a long time, and to be able to win the battle over Kyle Fowler, man, that just says a lot."
"I don't really know why he (Fowler) was gunning for us all day", Dale Jr. said post-race.  "I noticed he had that Corvette Parts thing on his hood, maybe he had a problem with Kerry (Earnhardt), or maybe he just hates beards.  I dunno, but I know that I'll have someone new to battle every week as I put him eight laps down."
Fowler did not make himself available for post-race interviews, although technically he could have and no media members recognized him.  Furthermore, most of the assembled media were still trying to figure out how Ryan Newman was second in points.
"Anytime you win a race, it's tough, but winning here, at this old, historic track--over someone nobody had ever heard of--really makes it special.  We are gonna DRINK…a lotta beer tonight so we can try to forget that a car owned by Frankie Stoddard nearly knocked us out of the race."

Martinsville "News" and Notes

--And then there were EIGHT.  And by that, I mean eight fans left in the world who haven't complained about this year's Chase format.

--Last week's nuttiness in qualifying shows that at a plate track, ANYBODY has a shot to make the race.  The time is just about right in 2015 for a Phil Barkdoll comeback!

--In a pretty cool move, Martinsville will have Junior Johnson driving the pace car this Sunday.  Martinsville is great about remembering the sport's long-ago past, what with the rural setting, legendary grand marshals, and allowing Norm Benning to remain relevant.

--Speaking of Norm Benning, the Truck Series runs on Saturday.  The Nationwide Series remains on its brief hiatus while Elliott Sadler tries to figure out who to blame for not winning the championship.

--The #44 team has made a name change, from Xxxtreme Motorsports to Team Xtreme Racing.  Team Xtreme--66% less X's, still completely pointless.

A Nascar Nationwide Series Championship Speech I'd Like to See

"In the tradition of Jack Ingram, in the tradition of Larry Pearson of the Pearson family, of Sam Ard, of Joe Nemechek-- the man whose career will never die. As the real young gun Rob Moroso, upstairs tonight. From the Chuck Bowns, to the Johnny Bensons, to the...(grimaces in a thinly veiled look of disgust) Kyle Busches, I accept this Nationwide title. ... Wait a second. Of Brad Keselowski. Of the start and parker himself, Jeff Green. This is it tonight, guys. God, that's beautiful. And Carl Edwards, and they can all kiss my tail light decals! (throws down the Nationwide drivers' championship trophy) Because! I am not the man who accepts a torch to be handed down to me from an organization that died-- RIP-- seven years ago. I am the man who ignites the new flame of the sport of mid-level stock car racing!  Tonight, before about 500 fans as witness, I declare myself, as the new Nascar Xfinity Sries Champion of the world! We have set out to change the face of national support series. So tonight, let the new era begin: the era of the sport of racing on Fox Sports 1 & NBCSN, the era of the NXS."

Kyle Busch Gets Prime Exposure by Skipping Interviews

Joe Gibbs Racing has expressed pride in how driver Kyle Busch was able to gain positive exposure for his sponsors, his team, and his sport by stomping away from his car post-race without doing interviews.
I want YOU to leave me alone
"We really couldn't be happier with the way Kyle handled himself post-race" team manager J.D. Gibbs said.  "To see a multi-millionaire who didn't have things go his way sulk down pit road, refusing all requests to do interviews, it really shows what kind of a driver--and man--Kyle Busch is.
"We know that Kyle could've done what every other driver did and do respectful post-race interviews, but Kyle's obviously a very special guy", Gibbs continued.  "Seeing him walk down pit road head lowered in anger really gets maximum exposure for the big M&M's logo on the back of his firesuit.  And who doesn't love a rebel?  A whiny, ungrateful rebel?"
Busch previously gained positive exposure for his sponsors today by refusing to do interviews after his early-race wreck.
"We're really glad when our driver doesn't stay around us while the work on the car", an unidentified member of Busch's crew said.  "I mean, sure, some guys like a driver to stay there to give moral support, but it's so much better when the face of the team runs to the team hauler to throw a pointless temper tantrum."
Busch was one of two drivers who refused to do interviews, as Michael Waltrip immediately left the track via helicopter in order to dance on tv.

The Milkapolypse Is Upon Us

We're all a little
worried about Jay
by Jay Brent, special for Spade Racing

Many years ago, before the dawn of the modern age, it was written in stone of a great ending coming.  This cataclysmic event would mean the end of life as we know it, the end of normalcy, the end of…everything.
The stone--this…stone of truth--was destroyed by the unwise ones, thinking that by crushing the message, they had crushed their fate.  However, it did not alter anything, as man's destiny can never be changed.
And so the truth was passed down from generation to generation, those entrusted with it doomed to a life of knowing how the world would one day end, unable to share warning with the world, lest be seen as a fool.  Last night, upon arriving in Talladega, Alabama, I, Jay Brent, while under the influence of the magical night sky and King Cobra, was shared this truth by an infield shaman known only as Chief.  And now, I must share this truth with you.
It was foretold that, on October 18, 2014 AD, a great many trucks would descend upon this Native American burial ground.  However, one of them would be piloted by a Venezuelan, a woman with ample sponsorship and multiple college degrees.
This would would bring about chaos, disaster, and the end of organized racing as we know it.
This Saturday, the truth, the fate, the end is upon us.
This Saturday is The Milkapolypse.

Brad Keselowski: Image Enhancement Camp

I loves me some Blue Deuce brand beer!

With his cocksure attitude, willingness to ruffle the feathers of the sport's elite, and wild on-track racing style, Brad Keselowski has done a great job of winning--AND making enemies.  With Talladega, Nascar's most-dangerous track, next on the schedule, Brad needs help before the hatred reaches Robby Gordon-like proportions.  Here's some things Bad Brad can do to become much more likable (or, at least, avoid being flipped upside down at 200 mph on Sunday):

--Deflect blame by pointing out that he's following the grand tradition of the driver of the Penske #2 car being an insufferable jerk.

--Do what all millionaires do when they want to improve their images:  Go pink and talk about awareness (whatever THAT means).

--Get me a date with Miss Coors Light.  Sure, this won't really help matters--but it won't hurt, either.

--Let Brian Keselowski out of the basement.

--Appeal to old-school fans by moving to old-school methods of social media, like MySpace and Friendster.

--Point out that, no matter what he does on the track, he's not NEARLY as creepy as his teammate.

Brad Keselowski vs. Matt Kenseth: Tale O' The Tape

Tonight's race started with some fireworks (which hung heavy over the track) and ended with some metaphorical fireworks (which metaphorically hung heavy over the track).  The shocking battle between Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski has us wondering--who would REALLY win in this fight?  Here's the Spade Racing Tale O' The Tape:

Fighting Out Of:
Matt Kenseth--Wisconsin, the thinking man's Vermont
Brad Keselowski--Michigan, the poor man's Indiana

Fighting Style:
Matt Kenseth--Once every 10 years or so
Brad Keselowski--Walk away from everyone between the haulers

Sense of Humor:
Matt Kenseth--Confirmed by media, still unseen
Brad Keselowski--Rumored by Twitter fans, still dense

Help of Teammates in Fight:
Matt Kenseth--Had Denny Hamlin ready to throw down
Brad Keselowski--Had Joey Logano avoiding argument with Danica

Tonight's Sponsor
Matt Kenseth--Dollar General
Brad Keselowski--Detroit Specific

Wrestler He Most Resembles
Matt Kenseth--Ken Shamrock
Brad Keselowski--Spike Dudley

Connection to Carl Edwards
Matt Kenseth--Hates Him
Brad Keselowski--Hates Him

Charlotte "News" and Notes

--Remember that this weekend's race is a Saturday Night race (meaning lots of shots of the moon, with a few lame jokes by AB tossed in) airing on ABC.  In fact, it is the LAST race scheduled to air on ABC for the foreseeable future, so take a minute to remember the great legacy of tuning in and wondering, "Where's Ned Jarrett?".

--Hey, Jeremy Mayfield--if you're trying to clear your name, you should probably avoid racing in a series with "Outlaws" in its name.

--Trevor Bayne will attempt to run his first race in the #6 AdvoCare Roush-Fenway Ford this weekend.  Now, in theory he could've just run the Wood Bros. car with AdvoCare sponsorship and Roush personnel, thus giving him a better chance of making the race (especially if qualifying was to be rained out), but I guess that just made too much sense.

--Speaking of Ford's 2015 plans, Sam Hornish Jr. was officially introduced as the driver of RPM's #9 (or so they say) car for next season.  Here's hoping their sponsorship plans involve more than "Hey, let's really get Medallion Financial's name out there!".

--The Nascar Xfinity Series logo has officially been released.  The oval-shape evokes a standard stock car track, the current logos of Nascar's other touring series, and the running-around-in-circles people feel they're doing while on the phone with Comcast customer support.

Hornish to RPM: A Preview Review

At approximately 11am EST Wednesday, Richard Petty Motorsports will announce that Sam Hornish Jr. is the official replacement for Marcos Ambrose in the #9 car for 2015.  Since it's on at a time when most Nascar fans are at work, here's what you'll be missing:

--Plenty of awkward camera-shaking waiting for the thing to begin, with just one person sitting on the dais (my money's on Sammy Johns).

--Aric Almirola, looking like he'd rather be anywhere but there, forcing a smile.

--Sam Hornish Jr. being introduced, then smiling his genuine smile--which, oddly enough, only LOOKS forced.

--A phalanx of RPM executives in the background, all silently praying that Richard Petty doesn't say something offensive.

--Plenty of talk about "a number of potential sponsors", "some exciting announcements about some new corporate partners in the coming weeks", and "We really want to announce who's going to be on the car next year, but we can't just yet".

--Pretending that Twisted Tea is going to sponsor about half the races.

--People online complaining that Richard Petty has an alcohol sponsor.

Good Vibes Towards Japan for Jules Bianchi

I'm not a huge F1 fan, but I do follow it when I can.  And when ANY racer is seriously injured, the whole racing community stands united.
On that note, let's send some positive thoughts towards Jules Bianchi, the F1 MaRussia driver who was critically injured when his car skidded off the track at Suzuka, Japan, colliding with a safety crane.  While the initial head surgery was reported as successful, there's been no other update yet as to his condition (as of this typing).

"Start and Wreck" Milka Duno: Trendsetter

by Jay Brent, special for Spade Racing

Jay Brent, off his
anti-psychotic meds
After failing to qualify for her previous Nationwide Series races, Milka Duno made history today, making the field for the Kansas Lottery 300.  Despite racing for a mid-level Nationwide team, Milka refused to "Start-and-Park" for the race, instead deciding to break new ground by doing the sport's first-ever "Start and Wreck".
"We didn't really have the resources to run a full race", Duno said to me in a fever dream, "so we decided to go out with a 'bang'.  So I hope nobody thinks that I wrecked by accident--it was all part of the larger plan to bring exposure to my sponsor, Green Bizarre Logo".
Green Bizarre Logo's paint scheme
Duno has an extensive racing background, having tested the "Start and Wreck" several times before in IndyCar and ARCA.  However, in a post-wreck interview that may-or-may-not have actually happened, she showed dismay that it was immediately being adapted by other drivers.
"Hey, John Wes Townley stole my idea!", Duno 'said' to me.  "And he doesn't have any money problems--his dad's richer than Clyde Torkel!"
Duno will continue her Nationwide Series attempts next week at Charlotte, paving the way for two weeks from now, when the Milkapolypse will be upon us.

Kansas "News" and Notes

--True story--there was an issue with one of the blowers (not the Air Titan) during Friday practice, the first session of which was delayed by rain.  So they're using a blower to blow off the speedy-dry put down to soak up the fluid left by the blower that was there to blow off the rain.  We're approaching infinite regression here!

--The BK Racing exodus continues, with Mike Ford leaving to crew chief John Wes Townley in the Nationwide Series.  Going from BK Racing to Athenian Motorsports is like going from an internet startup to McDonalds--yeah, it sucks, but you know you're actually going to get paid this time.

--Milka Duno continues her quixotic attempt to qualify for a Nationwide Series race, after having been the slowest car (by far) in her first two attempts.  Oh well--if she can't cut it, at least she can fall back on that Maritime Business degree.

--Meanwhile, Regan Smith is coming back to JR Motorsports in 2015, sticking to running full-time in the Nationwide Series.  This pretty much makes him the Mike McLaughlin of our time (Elliott Sadler is the Tracy Leslie).

--My fan free-agency continues as I search for a new favorite driver for 2015.  I've heard back from a few teams, but I'm still waiting to find out why I should root for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (besides wanting to feel 5/3rds Zestfully Clean).

Spade Racing Motion Picture Previews

Ah, fall--when allergens finally die, cider donuts are plentiful, and Hollywood releases its movies that are better than the January dumping ground, but not good enough for summer blockbuster season.  Here's some movies coming out with a Nascar bent:

The Judge:  Jeff Gordon completes the final step into middle-age--buying an old muscle car and pouring money into it until your kids make you sell it.

Addicted:  An intervention is held by RPM staff to deal with Aric Almirola's crippling addiction--hating Brian Scott.

Kill the Messenger:  Nascar Nation turns on the one person willing to tell the truth--that the new Chase format isn't all that bad.
Alternate Title: "Life Isn't Fair"

One Chance:  The true story of Jimmy Means' one race in a fully-funded, top-flight car.  I won't tell you how it ends, but here's a hint--it made Dale Jr. CRY.

Fury:  Today's hottest stage-actors re-enact Kurt Busch's radio outbursts through interpretive dance (rated NC-17).

Watchers of the Sky:  Kevin Harvick discusses how he's developed a fear of falling objects after that idiot parachuted into his car. 

The Best of Me:  A compendium of my very-best writing.  It's a short film.  A very, very, VERY short film.