Spade Racing’s 2015 Nascar Sprint Cup Series Preview: Searching Low and Haiku

As we approach a season full of promise (of Jeff Gordon retrospectives and series sponsor questions) it’s time to make predictions.  Pointless, uneducated predictions.  Here they are, haiku-style, from the bottom to the top of the points (full-time drivers/teams only)
*--number to be determined as of this writing

30 Ron Hornaday Jr. (TMG)—who cares?
Conseco returns!
Sing! “Horn-a-daaaaay!  Cel-e-braaaate!”
It’s start-and-park time!

83* JJ Yeley (BKR)Burger King, Dr. Pepper
BKR Roulette:
Who will get to race this week?
And who will get screwed?

35 Cole Whitt (FRM)—Speed Stick, blank hoods?
Cole finds sponsorship
Cole finds mid-level Cup rides
…but stability?

98 Josh Wise (PPR)—unknown
A meme has become
A legitimate sponsor
Much sponsorship.  Wow.

40 Landon Cassill (Circle Sport)—tba
Tries pit strategy
Goes for it at plate races
Brought ME Burger King

38 David Gilliland (FRM)—Love’s Travel Stops, Long John Silver’s
Wait—Gill-y’s still here?
When was his Busch Series win?
Two sponsors ago!

46 Michael Annett (HScott)—Pilot/Flying J, Cypress Assoc., Allstate-Peterbilt
Number TBD
A very-late decision
Does anyone care?

13 Casey Mears (Germain)—Geico, every damn oil change place for some reason
It’s not the driver
Or the owner or sponsor
Its Geico’s OWNER

78 Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row)—Furniture Row
Owner is sponsor
Poor results: Driver, or team?
That is the question

17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (RFR)—Fastenal, Zest, Cargill, Fifth Third Bank, NOS
So many sponsors
So much promise; expectations
Wins?  Um, not so much

9 Sam Hornish Jr. (RPM)—Twisted Tea, ???
Will there be sponsors?
Will they be competitive?
Will Hornish spin?  Yes.

55 Brian Vickers (MWR)—Aaron’s
Two subs, then Brian
Wins would be great for them, but
I just hope he’s healed

10 Danica Patrick (SHR)—GoDaddy, Aspen Dental, TaxACT
Its a contract year
Time to deliver or its
“Time for a family”

41 Kurt Busch (SHR)—Haas, State Water Heaters
Dover determines
if State: Water Heaters, or

51 Justin Allgaier (HScott)—Brandt, Auto-Owners Insurance
Harry’s on his own
Full speed ahead, but wait—is
James Finch coming back?

6 Trevor Bayne (RFR)—Advocare
A one-hit wonder?
He’s full-time now and sponsored
It’s showtime, Rockwell

34 David Ragan (FRM)—CSX, Farm Fresh, a bunch of restaurants
Long John Silver’s, Taco Bell
The Chase?  Railroaded

3 Austin Dillon (RCR)—Dow, Cheerios, Bass Pro Shops, American Ethanol
3 controversy
And most laps run—they’re the same
Now—nobody cares

1 Jamie McMurray (Ganassi)—McDonald’s, Cessna, Bass Pro Shops
Big-race McMurray
Winner in the 24
McGriddle-like start

27 Paul Menard (RCR)—Menards
Full-season sponsor?
Just like Jimmie Johnson, but…
He don’t really win

15 Clint Bowyer (MWR)—5-Hour Energy, Peak, AAA
Call up AAA
“I need some help with my car,
My arm’s too itchy!”

18 Kyle Busch (JGR)—M&M’s, Interstate Batteries
Here’s what I expect
“I’m here so I won’t get fined,
Go talk to my wife”

…the Chasers:

47 AJ Allmendinger (JTG-D)—Kingsford, Clorox, Bush’s Baked Beans, Scott Paper, Charter, Hungry Jack, House-Autry
So many sponsors
Its the little team that could
‘cept Brad’s not little

11 Denny Hamlin (JGR)—FedEx, Sport Clips
Don’t say, “Hey Denny,
You’ve got something in your eye!”
Or he’ll Freight your Ground

16 Greg Biffle (RFR)—Ortho, Cheez-It
The new Roush leader
But with last year’s performance?
Biff should’ve Cheez’d-It

43 Aric Almirola (RPM)—Smithfield, Fresh From Florida, Air Force, STP, Go Bowling
Finally a win!
Still no personality
Damn you Brian Scott!

4 Kevin Harvick (SHR)—Budweiser, Jimmy Johns, Outback, Ditech
Not just race wins now
2014’s Champion!
Too many nicknames

31 Ryan Newman (RCR)—Caterpillar, Quicken Loans, Kwikset, Wix, Grainger
Almost champion
Newman: one word comes to mind

5 Kasey Kahne (HMS)—Farmers, Great Clips, TW Cable, LiftMaster, Pepsi
Competing sponsors?
Farmers AND Nationwide too?
Whew—Jeff retired

42 Kyle Larson (Ganassi)—Target
Kyle’s breakout year?
How about the equipment?
Help us out, Felix

14 Tony Stewart (SHR)—Bass Pro Shops, Mobil 1, Rush Truck Centers, Code 3
It’s back to racing
Nobody is happier
For that then Tony

22 Joey Logano (Penske)—Shell/Pennzoil, AAA, Auto Trader
Sliced Bread is red hot
But he’s no longer Burnt Toast
This doesn’t make sense

24 Jeff Gordon (HMS)—DTEF, 3M, Axalta, Pepsi, Panasonic
Final full season
IndyCar—you had your chance
A NASCAR legend

88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (HMS)—Nationwide, Diet Dew, Kelley Blue Book
No more Guard for Dale
Nationwide is on his side
But is luck?  We’ll see…

2 Brad Keselowski (Penske)—Miller Lite, Alliance, Wurth, Detroit Genuine
Always in a fight
Always contending for wins
Always bending rules

48 Jimmie Johnson (HMS)—Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools
Sometimes we find that
Champions don’t win because
Fate doesn’t play by the rules

19 Carl Edwards (JGR)—Arris, Stanley, Subway, Sport Clips
Carl.  JGR.
Pretty weird to hear, ain’t it?
Well, it worked for Matt!

…and the 2015 champion:

20 Matt Kenseth (JGR)—Dollar General, DeWalt
What do you prefer
To hear butchered on tv:
“Kenseths” or “Kenzett”?

Nascar Fans Prepare for Onslaught of Jeff Gordon Retirement Coverage

"This is the greatest day of my life", a quote we'll probably hear hundreds of times in 2015
After digesting the somewhat surprising news that Jeff Gordon will be retiring from full-time Cup competition after the 2015 season, Nascar fans have turned their attention towards preparing for the coming deluge of Jeff Gordon coverage.
Everyone associated with
Jeff will be interviewed...
except her
“I’m sure we’ll hear it shoehorned into 24 Hours of Daytona coverage”, said local fan Scott Wilson.  “And before the Daytona 500, someone will try and track down Nelly and find out why he name-checked Jeff in his song.  I’m sure everyone will be seeing rainbows and flames in their sleep by the time the Chase rolls around.”
“I remember Richard Petty’s Fan Appreciation Tour, but that was well before internet puff-pieces, Twitter comments from people who haven’t seen Jeff in decades, and multiple cable channels to do multiple stories on the original Rainbow Warriors”, said longtime fan Steve Gallagher.  “Oh, and just wait till NBC takes over coverage this year—how many times do you think they’ll ask Jeff Burton about that stupid fight they had a few years ago?”
Gordon, the most-influential (and arguably most-successful) driver in his prime, has remained competitive in his later years, meaning that every time he even sniffs the lead, announcers will be gushing about trying to win “just one more race.”
“I’ve been a big Jeff Gordon fan for years, but I’m already getting myself ready for when Mike Joy asks DW & Larry Mac ‘…what this win would mean for Jeff’ 20 laps into a race”, said Gordon supporter Meg Smith.  “I’ve already cleared space in my den for all 38 diets cars that are sure to come out, and I’m prepared to get a dozen emails a day about getting limited-edition hats.”
Gordon, for his part, has given no hint what his plans are post-retirement.
“I plan to spend more time with my family, that’s a given”, Gordon said at his retirement press conference, “but I plan to stay involved with racing as well.  Specifically, I know I’ll have to block-off time every week to do interviews for retrospectives put out by Nascar Films, and deal with the daily questions of if I’m going to run the Indy 500 now.

“By the way, no I’m not.”

Cheating: A Nascar Retrospective

In yesterday’s AFC Championship game, the New England Patriots’ decisive win over the Indianapolis Colts was tarnished by accusations of cheating—namely that the Pats were intentionally deflating their allotment of footballs to increase catchability.  With all the allegations of cheating around the NFL (well, mostly just around the Pats, Cowboys and Saints) people may have forgotten Nascar’s occasional (well, constant) issues with cheating.  Here’s a look back at some of the more-memorable scandals that have been forgotten.

1938-1948—a group of moonshiners are caught, arrested, and serve their sentence, eventually enlisting in the military and returning to civilian life in blue-collar jobs.  The crew is roundly criticized for ruining Nascar’s narrative.

1964—Richard Petty makes a tactical error by lapping the field, bringing attention to his 853 cu. in. engine.

1972—Winston manages to promote its product through Nascar, despite it causing cancer, emphysema, and birth defects.

1981—Bobby Allison goes an entire day without cursing out anybody, resulting in a 50-point penalty (Conduct Detrimental to a Curmudgeon).

1984—Air Force One is forced to start from the back of the pack after arriving for the Firecracker 400 nearly an hour late.

1990—A not-quite-legal engine manifold causes Rick Wilson’s engine to explode in the latter stages of the Daytona 500, thus giving Derrick Cope a career.

1994—Geoff(rey) Bodine has his entire season stricken from the record books due to using Hoosier Tires on a number of race tracks located outside of Indiana.

2001—Casey Atwood is allowed to have a Cup career.

2012—Jimmie Johnson, a master of preparation and mental focus, whose professional life revolves around racing, claims to know nothing about what his crew chief is doing.

Spade Racing Movie Previews: Winter Dumping Zone Edition

January is when Hollywood takes all its relatively crummy movies and dumps them into theaters, hoping that people will see them in a cabin-fever-induced frenzy.  Here’s a few new movies with a Nascar-bent.

Blackhat—A wealthy Dale Earnhardt fan tries to track down a rare, unworn “Top Gun” cap.

Paddington—A look inside how Fox and NBC will fill time during rain delays without Kenny Wallace.

The Wedding Ringer—A group of Nascar fans look at the photos from driver weddings, asking themselves, “why do I care about this?”

Spare Parts—Jack Roush seeks to rebuild his team the only way he knows how—by accusing Toyota teams of stealing his equipment.

Little Accidents—A review of John Wes Townley’s Nascar career (presented by Zaxby’s)

The Boy Next Door—The touching, charming, and ultimately sickeningly-sweet story of Danica & that other guy’s relationship.

Strange Magic—A nostalgic look back at Derrick Cope’s Daytona 500 win.