Hendrick Motorsports Celebrates Banner Day with Win; All Three Cars in Top-Ten

In what is considered the unofficial start to the “real” Nascar season, Jimmie Johnson was able to hold off a charging field to win the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 at Atlanta.  It was just one part of a huge day for car owner Rick Hendrick, who saw all three of his Cup cars finish in the top-10.
The Hendrick 2016 Team
“Man, we’re all just tickled to death to see Jimmie, Junior & Chase have a great run today”, said team owner Rick Hendrick, referring to his three drivers Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Chase Elliott.  “It just goes to show how much work the guys back at the shop are putting in to get all three cars up to speed on this new lower-downforce package.”
Johnson used crafty pit strategy to hold the lead through the extended finish, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., who edged out former Hendrick driver Kyle Busch for runner-up.  Rookie sensation Chase Elliott, meanwhile, came home eighth to round out the Hendrick contingent.
“This was a total team effort”, Jimmie Johnson said from victory lane.  “They told me that Junior and Chase had some good finishes too, that just goes to show you the depth this team has.”

Johnson went on to compliment his team for giving him a car capable of winning, saying, “This Hendrick team, they always give us what we need.  Going way back to when it was just me, Jeff Gordon and Brian Vickers, it’s a total team effort here at HMS.”

Atlanta “News” and Notes

The Braves' Turner Field during a recent
playoff game.
—Now that the extended qualifying and restricted-motor madness of Daytona is gone, it’s time to get back to REAL racing.
—Yeah, Atlanta has the post-Daytona, pre-West-Coast-Swing “weekend of death” that killed Rockingham, but its worth pointing out that the change in dates was approved by Bruton Smith.  Don’t try to understand Bruton Smith.
—Yes, Stewart-Haas Racing IS switching to Ford next year, but it remains unknown if any Ford teams will be “squeezed out” and migrate to Chevy or Toyota.  Jack Roush’s business dealings are so intertwined with Ford that he’s probably ruled out (as are the Wood Bros., due to history), so that leaves RPM or Front Row Motorsports.  Either would fit in at Chevy (possibly in an “equal-footing” alliance with RCR), or could move to Toyota, although RPM going to Toyota might result in record-low temperatures in Hell.
—Nascar knows how to court the youth demographic—Eddie Money at Kanasa!

—After missing last weekend, JJ Yeley is back in the Xfinity Series with Tri-Star Motorsports for yeah that sounds about right.

Stewart-Haas Announces Move to Fjord in 2017

In a move that has stunned the Nascar world, Stewart-Haas Racing has officially announced that they will become a Fjord team in 2017, leaving their long-term home of Kannapolis, North Carolina for an as-yet undetermined location on the coast of Norway.
“We weren’t looking to make a move, but we were really impressed by what Fjord was able to offer our company”, co-owner Gene Haas said in a press release.  “Nascar is competitive, and you look for any edge you can get.  We feel that we’ll have the best resources, fastest cars, and most competitive teams by moving to western Norway.  Well, three competitive teams.”
Fjords are long, narrow inlets on the coast, typically caused by glacial erosion.  While insiders were surprised to know that a body of water has a marketing budget, they were even more surprised by the move by SHR.
“Nobody saw this coming”, said a Nascar insider with knowledge of the situation.  “We figured you might see a team switch manufacturer, or maybe pick up a new sponsor or two, but NEVER did we think that we’d see a team relocate across the Atlantic Ocean.  Whatever that geographic formation is offering must be pretty sweet.”
The team said that they would complete the season at their current race shop, before switching over completely to Fjord before next year’s 2017 Daytona 500.

“Wait…what did Gene agree to?” team co-owner Tony Stewart was quoted as saying.

In Honor of First Daytona 500, Nascar Withholds Results

In the first race ever held at the world’s first motorsports stadium (whatever THAT means), Nascar decided to echo its illustrious past at Daytona International Speedway by withholding today’s Daytona 500 results until a conclusive picture of the finish can be found.
The finish of the first Daytona 500, with
Lee Petty edging out Johnny Beauchamp;
the lapped car of Mark Martin also shown
“Much like my grandfather did in 1959, we have decided that today’s Daytona 500 finish was simply too-close-to-call”, said Nascar chairman Brian France.  “We are putting out requests for fans to send in any pictures they may have, and that means PICTURES, people, not comments about how much DW sucks.
“We were so proud that we were able to put on such a great race at the world’s first motorsports stadium today”, France continued.  “But we don’t want to just give the race to The Guy Who Had Knee Surgery—er, I mean, Denny Hamlin—without confirming it first.”
France later added that still-shots from the Fox broadcast were “inconclusive at best”.
“We value all of our broadcast partners, but we don’t really know if we can trust Fox’s information”, France explained.  “I mean, they showed Martin Truex as being married—what was THAT all about?”
Fans seemed to be angry that no winner was declared, particularly Hamlin sponsor Michael Jordan, who was said to have upwards of $10 million on the race.
“The thing we care about the most is our fans”, France said.  “From day one, this track has been about the money—er, I mean, fans—and that’s not going to change even with it becoming the world’s first motorsports stadium.”

France then left the track for his late-afternoon nap.  Reportedly pace car driver John Cena had a conclusive picture, but Brian France ignored him, being unable to see him.

Daytona “News” and Notes


—New for this year—click the “2016 Master Motorsports Schedule” tab to see a printable/bookmarkable graphic of every race in six major series (Cup, Xfinity, Trucks, ARCA, IndyCar, F1), as well as when and where they air on TV.
I really think this is Gary Bradberry's year

—Irony is defined as when announcers have to constantly talk about how Rico Abreu is a great Midget Racer, and it’s in no way offensive (unless you think Abreu is overrated in sprint cars somehow).

—I don’t know what’s odder—ARCA going seven weeks between its first and second races, or the Truck Series having two races back-to-back, then going on a four-week break.

—With the new Charter System in place in Cup, the Past Champion’s Provisional (aka The DW Memorial Starting Spot) has been abolished.  I guess they could’ve gotten rid of it in Xfinity too, but they didn’t want the guilt of knowingly putting Jeff Green out of a job/relevance.

—The Sprint Unlimited Demolition Derby had a pleasant surprise in Jeff Gordon’s broadcasting, which was witty and insightful and in no way overbearing.  Meanwhile, the best thing that could be said about Darrell Waltrip’s performance was that his hair looked like Ronald McDonald’s.


Nascar’s Charter System: Questions and Answers

Not pictured: the Anykey

The first installment in a new series here at Spade Racing, in which we answer some questions about the sport’s biggest changes by shamelessly ripping off The Onion.


What is a “Charter”?  A Charter allows a Nascar team owner who has competed on a regular basis over the past three years to have a locked-in starting position over the next nine years, provided that they continue to ignore that this is what caused IndyCar to go down the tubes in the 90’s.

How many Charters are there?  36—one for each relatively competitive team in Nascar (minus the Wood Brothers, and plus Premium Motorsports).

What is the significance of the new 40 car starting field?  Similar to how the 43 car field honored Richard Petty, the new 40 car field honors Robby Gordon and Greg Sacks.

What are non-Chartered teams going to be called?  Publicly, “Open teams”.  Privately, “Screwed”.

Did Rob Kaufmann found the Race Teams Alliance just so that he could get something out of his wasted investment in Michael Waltrip Racing, or just so that he could remain relevant while owning a small part of a mid-level Ganassi team?  Yes.

What is the punishment for mistakenly calling this a “Franchise” system?  25 owners points and $10,000 fine.

What’s to stop a Chartered team from starting-and-parking?  Mike Helton coming by and personally inspecting your car for that “vibration”.

So what will they do with those extra three pit stalls?  Future homes of “Braisin’ Brian France’s BBQ Restaurant and Make Your Own Sundae Bar”s.

Brad Keselowski Brawls Post-Race with Plastic Bag

Denny Hamlin won a wreck-filled Sprint Unlimited tonight, but the fireworks weren’t constrained to the track.  After pulling into the garage, Brad Keselowski’s temper boiled-over into a fight with the plastic bag that had been bump-drafting him all night.
“Get off!  Get away!  Leave us alone!”, an irate Keselowski was heard screaming at the bag.  The bag fought back after being pummeled by attempting to affix itself to Keselowski’s mouth.
“Mmmmmph—I’LL MELT YOU ON MY EXHAUST!”, a furious Keselowski yelled once no longer suffocating.  The pair were then separated by Nascar officials.
“You know, whatever-your-name-is, I’m all for close action on the track, but what the bag did tonight was uncalled for”, Keselowski told a reporter after calming down.  “I don’t know WHAT the bag’s spotter was thinking, but you can NOT bump-draft like that.  It’s just unprofessional and unfortunate.”

The bag left before giving comment, but his teammate hot dog wrapper was overheard saying that payback would come at Martinsville.

Spade Racing’s 2016 Nascar Sprint Cup Series Preview: Push it To the Limerick

After last year’s preview full of haikus, let’s stay with the poetry theme with nothing but limericks for 2016!

Format: # Driver’s name (Major Primary Sponsors)…* means ROTY candidate

Missing The Chase (bottom to the top)
*32 Jeffrey Earnhardt/Bobby Labonte (Can-Am, C&J Energy)
Should Bobby Labonte have retired?
Not if he still can get hired
As for Jeffrey, don’t sob
Since he got a good job
Even though via how he was sired

95 Michael McDowell/Ty Dillon (Thrivent Financial, Cheerios)
Falk & Leavine made a barter
Reminiscent of Hass slash Bel Carter
They combined their teams
To achieve all their dreams
Of making a buck with a charter
Mike Tyson IS Tony Stewart IN "Smoke on the Dunes"

14 Tony Stewart/Brian Vickers/Ty Dillon (Mobil 1, Rush Truck Centers, Bass Pro Shops, Code 3)
It’s time to say goodbye to Smoke
With Clint Bowyer set to pick up the yoke
Fans must come to grips
That Mr. Three Championships
Has one last chance to go for broke

46 Michael Annett (Pilot/Flying J)
Mike’s in a bit of a pickle
His career’s been a bit like Rich Bickle
Now Bowyer’s here
A new shadow’s near
For the driver of the car of Cole Trickle

38 Landon Cassill (???, Snap Fitness)
The FRM folks who hold sway
Replaced Gilliland with this play:
Treat your cars like a lease
(Bring ‘em home in one piece)
And hire Landon Cassill today

*44 Brian Scott (Albertson’s/Acme, Shore Lodge, Twisted Tea)
This team was the RPM 9
Which was in my opinion doing fine
Till they changed up the crew chief
On Marcos with no relief
And couldn’t get DeWalt to re-sign
"It sounds so loud there, are you at a Nascar race?"

13 Casey Mears (Geico)
If Casey Mears is happy where he is
Then who am I to make fun of this?
A top-20, the goal?
Hey garage, take a poll:
Who has bigger career plans than his?

*34 Chris Buescher (Love’s Travel Stops, ???)
In the old days a move like Chris made
To a team with one win would throw shade
But you gotta say “Ouch”
When you look on at Roush
And just be glad he’s getting paid

17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr (Fastenal, Fifth Third Bank, Cargill)
With these poems I act like a joker
On the track Ricky acts like a choker
And his on-track strife
Is like my slow love life
In the end, we’re both quite mediocre
Most people's reaction having to deal with the boss's grandson

7 Regan Smith (Toy State/Nikko)
The Little Team That Could keeps on chugging
And their new driver Smith keeps on plugging
If they just keep on going
Results will be showing
And the Nascar establishment will be bugging

6 Trevor Bayne (AdvoCare)
Don’t get me wrong—Bayne’s a nice guy
And he really seems to give a good try
But with a diff’rent team
And his results as they seem
Wouldn’t his career’s end seem nigh?

3 Austin Dillon (Dow, Cheerios, American Ethanol, Bass Pro Shops)
A controversy from well before
Was to bring back the number 3’s lore
Old fans, they hate ‘er
But Austin’s like the Intimidator
That is, when he ran for Bud Moore

10 Danica Patrick (Nature’s Bakery, Aspen Dental, TaxACT)
Another crew chief for talent maxing
But Billy Scott has to be asking
In the back she’ll be mired
But HE will be fired
Is it just the co-sponsor that’s taxing?
One of these drivers has a temporary ride that could win.
The other is Brian Vickers.

15 Clint Bowyer (5-Hour Energy, Peak, Visine)
In just one year I will suppose
We’ll see what Clint already knows
You can get caught cheatin
And always get beaten
And STILL come out smelling like a rose

47 AJ Allmendinger (Kroger, Kingsford/Clorox, Scott, Bush’s)
It’s nice that The Dinger has found out
That in life, what it’s really all about
Is just good, clean fun
Which he found can be done
In a small team with sponsors from a cookout

16 Greg Biffle (???, Cheez-It, KFC)
With Ortho gone, Biff must be worried
That the Roush-Fenway team will be buried
His retirement’s coming soon
But if the Sawx change their tune 
His departure from Cup will be hurried

27 Paul Menard (Menards)
Like a storm that you feel in your joints
Ironically, this is the Wood Bros. cable provider
You just know that John Menard soon anoints
A sponsorship teams sought
With a small little caveat:
The driver’s sideburns will have points

*21 Ryan Blaney (Motorcraft, ???)
With the 21 no longer part-time
The Woods have re-entered their prime
But if Penske decide
To restart his third ride
Then their comeback will stop on a dime

*24 Chase Elliott (Napa, 3M, Kelley Blue Book, Mtn Dew)
With Jeff Gordon out of the fold
It’s time for the facts, hard & cold:
Bill Elliott’s son
Winds up being the one
Who at Daytona makes me feel OLD

Round of 16 (Ted Musgrave Family Channel/Primestar Round)
5 Kasey Kahne (Farmers, Great Clips, LiftMaster, Quicken Loans, Panasonic)
People ask how does Kahne keep his ride
When he’s rarely on Hendrick’s winning side
Well the history shows
Its where weakest links goes
Going back to when Rudd ran for Tide
Your #1 Source for Let's Make a Deal Reruns (in 1994)

1 Jamie McMurray (McDonalds, Cessna)
Jamie McMurray ain’t winning
Like he did practically from beginning
But he still has a ride
So his time he will bide
Until owner Rob Kauffman stops grinning

43 Aric Almirola (Smithfield, Air Force, STP)
Aric had a “meh” kind of year
In a number that makes most fans cheer
But the second half of the season
Is when his sponsor gives reason
For NBC to treat him most-dear

11 Denny Hamlin (FedEx, Sport Clips)
Denny’s been around for a while
And as for wins he’s got a pile
But to take home a Cup
He still has to step up
And stay injury-free with a smile

Round of 12 (Derrike Cope Mane n'Tail/Straight Arrow Round)
By combing his mane, he got some tail
31 Ryan Newman (Caterpillar, Wix Filters, Grainger)
As a winner, Ryan Newman’s no faker
Even though he’s a championship forsaker
He’s a lot like his mentor
That he had those years before
A tribute to the late Buddy Baker

42 Kyle Larson (Target)
Kyle’s really got to deliver
Or his career will be sent up the river
I know he runs steady
But c’mon: Kyle Petty
Has more wins in the 42? *SHIVER*

78 Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row, Bass Pro Shops)
It took Martin going afar
To reclaim his spot as a star
And it must be quite easy
That with no sponsor for pleasing
He’s driving the company car

88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Nationwide, Axalta, Mtn Dew)
Dale Jr’s winning again
And his fiancee’s clearly a 10
Seems his life is so swell
But it soon will be hell:
“The Revenge of the Cueball Head Men!”

Where Service is State-of-the-Art (wait, no it wasn't)
Round of 8 (Hut Stricklin Circuit City Round)
20 Matt Kenseth (Dollar General, DeWalt)
Kenseth fans, they sure are loyal
To their driver from their Wisconsin soil
So even when he’s crazy
Morality’s hazy
When if Joey did it their blood would boil

2 Brad Keselowski (Miller Lite, Alliance, Wurth)
The Captain stands by Keselowski
Even though Brad courts controversy
So yeah he’s a pain
—who can find vict’ry lane
After all, champions don’t act mousy

19 Carl Edwards (Arris, Stanley, Subway, Sport Clips, Comcast)
For Carl, the gospel is holy:
For a Cup, its like a hot hockey goalie
A late-season streak
Means the right time to peak
And at Homestead, yell “Holy Guacamole!”

22 Joey Logano (Shell/Pennzoil, AAA, AutoTrader)
Joey was championship-bound
But a wreck caused by Matt’s what he found
When you anger the best
And try and stick out your chest
Fight back or you’re stomped on the ground
Must've used 110 film by mistake

Round of 4 (Mike Skinner Kodak Round)
18 Kyle Busch (M&M’s, Interstate)
Looks, they’re not all that deceiving
When for class and for politeness you’re grieving
If THIS champ reps the sport
Then I’m quite of the sort
Who can see why Sprint’s finally leaving

41 Kurt Busch (Monster, Haas)
It’s been quite a strange Cup career
For Kurt it’s been highs, lows, and fear
The bad that there’s been
Offset since he can win
Guess he’s worth being a pain in the rear

4 Kevin Harvick (Busch, Jimmy Johns, Outback, diTech)
Happy will sure beat the tar
Out of anyone who bumps in his car
But even when he gets mad
He says, “Not so bad,
At least I don’t have to run RCR”
Only 1 Number One

And your 2016 Champion is... (Rick Mast Skoal Round)
48 Jimmie Johnson (Lowe’s)
His on-track skills leave him so feared
But I still kinda find it quite weird
That with Jeff Gordon gone
The biggest star going on
Is a guy with a neatly-trimmed beard

Spade Racing’s 2016 Xfinity Series Preview: Replacing Chase with The Chase

After years of hearing fan complaints that too many Cup drivers run Xfinity races, Nascar finally did something about it—by adding the Chase “playoff” system to the Xfinity Series for 2016.  Yeah.  Typical Nascar thinking is sure to lead to a typical reaction: if ratings are down 0.1 of a point, people will clamor online that this is proof that the Chase doesn’t work, and proof that nobody is watching anymore (even though they themselves will have watched every race so far).  And if ratings are up 0.1 of a point, Nascar will herald it as proof that the Chase works, and that Brian France has the superior mental acumen necessary to lead the sport into the next decade.
So with THAT out of the way, there’s the usual mishmash of full-time teams, part-time drivers, and Cup guys inflating their egos this year.  Who’s doing what?  That’s where I come in:

#—name (Sponsors)

20—Erik Jones (GameStop, Reser’s, HiSense, Interstate Batteries): Last year’s Truck sensation enters as the odds-on favorite for Rookie of the Year (if he’s eligible, that is).  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Contends for the championship with a few wins AND a few meltdowns.

3—Ty Dillon (Rheem, usual associates): Younger Dillon returns as a heavy favorite to win the 2016 Xfinity title.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Leads the points most of the season before getting wiped-out in a Chase race by one of his dozens of enemies.

19—Daniel Suarez (Arris): A number change and a new crew-chief for one of the most-intriguing talents out there.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: A bunch of top-fives, a spot in the Chase, and constant talk about how intriguing his talent is.

6—Darrell Wallace, Jr. (Ford EcoBoost, ???): RoushFenway continues its Xfinity success in 2016—I wonder if it will ever translate to success in Cup?  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: A win somewhere down the line, a strong run in the Chase, hopefully the obvious sponsorship from Bubba Burgers.

1—Elliott Sadler (OneMain Financial): The Xfinity stalwart moves to his latest team.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Making the Chase despite not contending for wins, and frequent pre-race interviews about being a veteran of the series (read: Cup reject).

16—Ryan Reed (Drive to Stop Diabetes/Lilly): Only a crew-chief change for the sweetest ride out there (sorry).  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: An upset win, a slot in the Chase, and record-setting sales of the Reed Thneed.

7—Jushin “Thunder” Allgaier (Brandt, TaxSlayer, Hellman’s): Kicked out of HScott in favor of a year of Clint Bowyer, Allgaier moves into Regan Smith’s old ride.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: A win in a standalone race coupled with everybody wondering if he’ll move back to Cup in 2017 (hint: he won’t).

33—Brandon Jones (Menards, Nexteer): The Boss (of Rheem)’s Son goes—where else?—to RCR.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: A sneaky-consistent year sees him slide into the Chase.

62—Brendan Gaughan (South Point, Wix Filters): He’s back…mostly because he has nothing else to do.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Perhaps a win (or a near-miss), and making the Chase, but he’ll miss those five laps of experience in a Cup car each week.

39—Ryan Sieg (???): The Official Underdog of Nascar looks ready to return to Xfinity racing in 2016.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Average finish of 15th, average mention rate by announcers of 0.8/race.

07—Ray Black Jr. (ScubaLife): SS GreenLight Racing moves up to Xfinity in the oddly-numbered 07 car.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Contending for a few top-10s while getting at least one “wacky” pre-race segment on Fox

4—Ross Chastain (???): The watermelon man holds his spot with JDM.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Top-20s all year long and a bunch of lame jokes from the announcers.

11—Blake Koch (LeafFilter): Koch moves to a new RCR-backed team owned by his sponsor.    REALISTIC EXPECTATION: A top-10 or two in Jasper Motorsports: The Next Generation.

44—David Starr (Zachry): While you weren’t paying attention, the longtime Truck Series driver became a longtime Xfinity Series driver.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: A few top-tens before missing the Chase.

28—Dakoda Armstrong (Winfield): D.A. escapes RPM for JGL.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Plenty of top-20s and not much else.

51—Jeremy Clements (Repairable Vehicles, ???): Someone should tell Jeremy that when you race for a team named for you and owned by your dad, you don’t really need to make an annoucement.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: A top-10 on a plate track.

01—Ryan Preece (???, G&K Services): He’s a former Modified champion, joining the likes of such national series luminaries as Jimmy Spencer and Jeff Fuller.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: A top-10 or two.

52—Joey Gase (Racing 2 Cure, Donate for Life): The only driver where you can call him a “Charity Case” and it isn’t an insult.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Top 20’s half the time for this tiny but resilient team.

97—Harrison Rhodes (???): Just your average pairing of a Nigerian businessman with an American college student in Nascar.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Top-20 in points.

70—Derrike Cope (Ice-Aid, E-hydrate, MMIA): Another small team returns with little more than a man and a dream…oh, and a car, too.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: A few top-20s and at least one “Where Are They Now?” article.

15—??? (???): Rick Ware Racing returns for it’s 25th anniversary season like most men arrive for anniversaries—with no idea what they’re going to do.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: A handful of top-20s.

24—??? (???): JGL Racing returns, possibly.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Contending in plate races with a driver nobody’s ever heard of (or JJ Yeley).

25—??? (???): The “2nd” Rick Ware Racing team changes numbers from 17 to 25.  And if you already knew that, your life is just as pathetic as mine.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Avoiding being a start-and-park.

14—??? (???): TriStar says they’ll run this team full-time.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Jeff Green continues to Start & Park.

18—Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, ??? (???, HiSense): The old 54 team continues for no real reason other than it keeps Kyle out of trouble on Saturdays.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Buncha wins.

22—Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, ??? (Discount Tire, Hertz): No word on who will run the stand-alone races, but I like to imagine Ryan’s dad constantly hanging around the garage, popping up every time someone says “Iowa”.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Buncha wins.

88—Alex Bowman, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott (TaxSlayer, Hunt Bros. Pizza, Hellman’s/BestFoods, Bad Boy Buggies): So many drivers, so many sponsors, so little Regan Smith.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: A few wins.

2—Paul Menard, Austin Dillon (Menards, Rheem): Nardburns and StupidHat return to Brian Scott’s old ride.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Better than last year, with a win apiece for each driver.

0—Eric McClure, ??? (???, Reynolds/Hefty): Yeah.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: A fluke top-10.

13—Derek White, Mark Thompson (Braille Battery, Grafoid): At least they’ve run through all their Dodges.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Barely making it through the season.

5—Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott (Hellman’s, TaxSlayer): The JRM auxiliary ride is only certain for two races.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: About a dozen races, contending but not winning.

12—??? (???): Penske’s “other” team usually runs a handful of races for when Brad K & Joey want to race each other for smaller stakes.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: A win or two.

25—John Wes Townley (Zaxby’s): John Wrecks Weekly returns, but only for the plate races.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Two wrecks, one top-10.

46—Anthony Kumpen, Brandon Gdovic (???, LeasePlan): This team could be a fever-dream of Jayski for all I know.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Running a few early races, then disappearing.

84—Chad Boat (Corvette Parts): Will BBM return with their usual part-time schedule?  Will anybody care?  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: A few top-20s in a part-time schedule, and nobody cares.

85—Bobby Gerhart (Lucas Oil): The Pride of Lebanon is likely to run his usual three plate races in Xfinity.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: At least one “Bobby Gerhart, he always seems to find his way to the front, doesn’t he?” comment and at least one top-10.

89—Morgan Shepherd (Courtney Construction): The ageless one returns.  REALISTIC EXPECTATION: Finishing races instead of Start & Parking.

Spade Racing’s 2016 Master Motorsports Schedule

When I was a boy, USA Today used to put out a “master schedule” of all the major motorsports series every February.  Since I was unable to find one, I made up one of my own—feel free to share, print, and use!

Spade Racing’s 2016 Camping World Truck Series Preview: We have everything you’ll ever need at Camping World…and The Chase, for some reason.

The Truck Series motors into its 22nd season with the usual mix of seasoned veterans, young prospects, and Jennifer Jo Cobb.  Here’s a look at where you can expect these drivers to finish in 2016, along with some suggested nicknames to help them get more publicity:

Format: #—Driver (Primary Sponsor); Only full-time drivers/teams listed, * means status unconfirmed

17—Timothy Peters (???): They usually run this car with Red Horse’s logo on the hood, making it look like a 1/64th diecast for a tobacco/beer-sponsored car in the 90’s.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: PetersBuilt

88—Matt Crafton (Menards): The perennial favorite for the championship returns with pretty much the exact same team as in 2015.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: Old Reliable

00—Cole Custer (Haas Automation): Having built-in sponsorship and the mite of JRM helps, but it can’t be easy following in the 00 footsteps of Jason White and Buckshot Jones.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: Cole Cracker

29—Tyler Reddick (Cooper Standard): Reddick gets a full-season with BKR, but will he make the most of it?  (Answer: Probably).  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: TR

*11—Ben Kennedy (Local Motors): Things aren’t confirmed, but I’m guessing Red Horse finds a steady ride for Ben, lest they want the mother of all inspections at Daytona.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: The Company Man

4—William Byron (???): This ride could be flip-flopped with the 51 of Christopher Bell, but either way you gotta figure its about three DNF’s until Kyle Busch decided to run some Truck races to “see where the team can improve”.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: Lord Byron

19—Daniel Hemric (California Clean Power, Cequent): Good on BKR for signing a relatively young driver who did well in subpar equipment.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: A Relatively Young Driver Who Did Well in Subpar Equipment

05—John Wes Townley (Zaxby’s): One win doesn’t erase a half-decade of wrecks, but it sure helps!  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: One Tough Chicken

8—John Hunter Nemechek (SWM, ???): If John Hunter leaves to advance his career, here’s hoping that means “running a few Xfinity standalone races for a top-level team” instead of “running full-time in Cup with Randy Humphrey”.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: Chek Mate

21—Johnny Sauter (???): Leaving a powerhouse like ThorSport for a mid-level team with unknown sponsorship?  Johnny must REALLY hate Menard’s.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: The Boy Scauter

98—Rico Abreu (???, Curb Records): Talk about an anomaly—a guy gets a top-level ride without family money OR sponsorship!  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: The Say Hey Kid

*13—Cameron Hayley (Cabinets by Hayley, Carolina Nut Co.): Canada’s great white hope better bring his Eh game this year.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: Hayley’s Comet

23—Spencer Gallagher (Allegiant): The family team’s family driver gets a teammate in Johnny Sauter, and a LOT more pressure to perform.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: The Flyboy

33—Grant Enfinger (???): The third Gallagher-affiliated team picks up the ARCA star.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: GE (We bring good trucks to life)

51—Christopher Bell (JBL, ???): The dirt star returns to KBM with sponsorship, experience, and preparation to say “No, I’m not related to TJ Bell” about a hundred times.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: JBelL (or, if he moves to the 4 car, CB4)

41—Ben Rhodes (Alpha Energy): Essentially a new team for ThorSport, Ben has what it takes to get a full-time ride—namely, family-backed sponsorship.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: Rhodes Scholar

08—Korbin Forrister (???): When you’re a low-level driver barely scraping by and you “donate” space on your hood to support a multi-millionaire’s run for political office, you are officially a chump.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: Dr. F

...and the rest:

02—Tyler Young (Randco, Young’s Building Systems, etc.): They’re delightfully irrelevant.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: Young Buck

*5—Dalton Sergeant (Galt): Galt is actually a brokerage firm for recycled asphalt materials.  The fact that I actually know that is depressing.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: The Ass(phalt) Man

6—Norm Benning (Red Paint International): When your claim to fame is giving the finger, you might want to consider a late-in-life career change (exception: Stone Cold Steve Austin).  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: Number One

10—Jennifer Jo Cobb (Driven2Honor, ???): Nascar’s little team that couldn’t continues to fill out the back of the pack.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: Jenny Jo Jo Junior…Cobbadoo?

22—Austin Wayne Self (???): A family owned-team tries to take on the big boys, and before you declare it futile, remember that in THIS series, the “big boys” include guys from Sandusky, Ohio.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: Me MySelf & I.

44—Tommy Joe Martins (???, Diamond Gusset Jeans): Pretty cool to have four different three-named drivers in the Truck Series.  Wait, no it’s not.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: Tommy “Lee” Joe’s

58—Kyle Weatherman (LifeXist, Jersey Mike’s, etc.): Well, we have a new winner of the Fakest Sounding Name award.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: Storm

59—David Levine (Furman, Momo): Other than looking like a guy I went to high school with, I know nothing about him.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: The Machine Levine

66—Jordan Anderson (Columbia SC): No, that’s not just his hometown—that’s his sponsor.  SUGGESTED NICKNAME: Deep-Double-Six

2016 Preview Preview

Back to the present day at Spade Racing!  We* have a new logo, a (slightly) new layout, and—of course—new content.  Next week there’ll be previews of all three national touring series, followed by getting ready for the 2016 season with the Bud Clash Shootout.

*—yeah, it’s still just me.