Uncle Max: Martinsville Weekend Picks

Weekly picks from Spade Racing’s writer/webmaster/janitor Mike Mackler’s uncle.

Alriiiiight, my first Cup Series win is in the books, baby! Well, I guess I should say OUR first Cup Series win--lemme know how you're doing following my advice! That way I'll know how much to charge you! Haha, just kidding.
It's not just NASCAR that's doing well for me lately--my March Madness bracket is practically a lock to win! I was the only one at work smart enough to know to ride with Oregon AND UNC to the Final Four. Take THAT, Alice on morning shift who won last year by picking teams by their mascots!

Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Martinsville (total wins in parenthesis):

Truck Series Alpha Energy Solutions 250: Chase Elliott—these things happen when Kyle Busch sticks to Cup racing.

Cup Series STP 500:  FAVORITE (1 win)—Kyle Busch—do you really think that he’ll tolerate being the OTHER Kyle?  NEXT FAVORITE—Kevin Harvick—he’s due for a good run at a short track again.  DARK HORSE—Dale Earnhardt Jr.—it IS his favorite track, after all.

NascarMania: The Great GrandUncle of Them All

It's almost April, which means it's time for that annual rite of spring--annoying wrestling fans whining about WrestleMania. But why let them have all the "fun"?  Here's the full rundown of Nascar's showcase of the immortals:

Pre-Show (on The Nascar Network, the other OTHER TNN)
Ray Dunlap Memorial Battle Royal--the stars of the Truck Series scramble to win an over-the-top-rope battle royal, with the winner getting a featurette on the next FS1 pre-race show

Bubba Wallace vs. Ryan Reed--winner leaves Roush match (yeah, sorry if I've made the joke before)

Main Show
Austin Dillon vs. Coke Custer--cars-as-weapons allowed match 

ROTY Title Match: Daniel Suarez vs. Erik Jones vs. Ty Dillon triple threat

Canadian Title Match: DJ Kennington vs. Cameron Hayley (Canadian Rules--bring your Eh game)

Retirement Match: Carl Edwards vs. Tony Stewart--winner won't be asked about a comeback for a full year!

Tag Team Title Match: The Old Guard (Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth) vs. The New Blood (Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott)

Brad Keselowski vs. all comers in a Grudge Gauntlet Match

MAIN EVENT Nascar Championship Match: Kyle Busch vs. Joey Logano in a First Blood Match

Half of Auto Club 400 Crowd Partakes in “Empty Seat T-Shirt” Promotion

In a saturated sports market like greater Los Angeles, it takes a lot to get a sellout crowd to an event.  Well, Auto Club Speedway had one today for its Nascar Cup Series race, with at least half the crowd drawn in by the track’s Free Empty Seat T-Shirt Promotion.
“Around Los Angeles, people think that everyone wants to be seen”, said track promotions director Will Minton, “but some people really want to blend in to the background.  Well, what better way to do THAT than with a t-shirt that allows you to look like an empty seat?”
The promotion is one that appeared to help the track announce a sell-out, something difficult this day in age for all sports properties, even the NFL (well, in Los Angeles at least).
“We know how much fans watching from home care about how many people are in the stands, for, um, REASONS, so we did everything we could to make sure it was a packed-full grandstand for raceday”, Minton said.  “This Empty Seat T-Shirt event has already drawn interest from the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are considering handing them out to fans in the sixth and seventh innings of home games.”

When asked if the Empty Seat T-Shirt would be used next weekend at Martinsville, a representative for that track laughed and hung up.

Uncle Max: California Weekend Picks

Weekly picks from Spade Racing’s writer/webmaster/janitor Mike Mackler’s uncle.

Man, what a week.  Not only was I busy at work with the usual bull, but I made the mistake of setting up a midweek date.  Don’t get me wrong, the lady was quite nice, but still, it feels wrong to be going out to a bar & grill on a Thursday night.  As for the date itself, well, lets just say there were philosophical differences—she was philosophical, and I was different.
I mean, look—I understand that you can’t get off weekends because you work at the casino, but really, you expect me to not at least GLANCE UP at the tv screens?  Its the Sweet Sixteen—I have a reputation to uphold?  So yeah, I haven’t heard from her since, but at least I’m still in the lead for my March Madness pool!  Of course, the guy running it is the lovely lady’s cousin, so we’ll see if that grand prize actually comes in cash.
Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at California (total wins in parenthesis):

Xfinity Series Service King 300 (2 wins): Kyle Busch—the king of the minors is back, and I’m back to ride his coattails!

Cup Series Auto Club 400:  FAVORITE—Kyle Larson—the winner of the runner-up awards graduates to victory lane—and from my “dark horse” section.  NEXT FAVORITE—Joey Logano—seems like the kind of race Logano would somehow win on pit strategy.  DARK HORSE—Ricky Stenhouse Jr.—hey, it could happen!

Carl Edwards Chases Kids Out of Garden

Recently-retired NASCAR driver Carl Edwards has found that while retired life isn't nearly as chaotic as his time on the racing circuit, it does present stressors of its own--namely keeping neighborhood kids out of his prized flower garden. 
"I told you kids yesterday to stay out of my flowers!" Edwards was heard yelling at a small group of grade-school kids. "Do it again and I'll call your parents--I mean it this time!"
"Jeez, I mean, you work so hard on something, and then you have these kids riding their bikes across it!", an exasperated Edwards told reporters. "I mean, daffodils are so fragile, and it's not like there's any time to replant."
While the children in question weren't able to be reached for comment, it is believed that by cutting across said garden it decreases the trip home from school by up to 45 seconds. But Edwards was hearing none of it. 
"Maybe it's because they're not used to me being around this much, maybe it's because we gave out factory-second M&Ms last year for Halloween, but they're making this personal", Edwards said. "This is somehow even worse than that hawk that keeps eyeballing the bluebirds at my bird bath."

Edwards is reportedly considering investing in an upgraded privacy fence as a solution, or simply putting up old cardboard cutouts of him and Jared from Subway. 

Timmy Hill Pits Early to Apply New Sponsor’s Decals

Nascar fans caught an odd sight at Phoenix International Raceway, as driver Timmy Hill seemed to pit off-sequence early in the race despite a lack of mechanical or physical damage.  Fans were even MORE surprised when they saw his crew go to work affixing the decals of a new sponsor, one that had apparently been signed mere minutes prior.
“We’re always looking for new partners for our team, but this was a new one!”, Hill said after the race.  “I got a call a few laps after our scheduled pit stop that I needed to come in right away—I asked why, and my crew chief simply said, ‘Their check finally cleared!’”
Hill’s pit crew was seen quickly going to work placing vinyl graphics of new sponsor Avondale Cosmolition to the car, mindful of the new five minute “pit road clock” they had to beat to avoid being disqualified for the race.
“Our pit crew might not get the accolades, the fancy uniforms, or the steady paychecks of the big boy teams, but they can still bang out a job like nobody’s business”, Hill said.  “Whether its changing four tires in sub-20-seconds, fixing a broken splitter, or applying decals to a car without leaving a single air bubble, they’re really something else.”
Despite residing on the “other end of the garage”, Hill has shown expertise at signing a number of unorthodox sponsors over the years, from the large and well-known to the small and local, such as the one signed for this race.
“I’d just like to let everybody out there know that we still have spots available for your company, foundation, or classified ad”, Hill said, speaking directly to the camera.  “If you have something to say, don’t post it online—post it on a race car.”

Uncle Max: Phoenix Weekend Picks

Weekly picks from Spade Racing writer/webmaster/janitor Mike Mackler’s uncle.

Man, I am ROLLING in the Xfinity Series!  Two straight wins with Kyle Busch!  Sure, its not the Cup Series, but hey—I’ve won quite a few Fantasy Football championships this way.  Its like I always tell the young guys who join the leagues I’m in—even if you can’t get the lights-out running back in the draft, you can still make some gains with a solid tight-end and a deep, productive bench.  Then they usually ask why I’m telling them this, and that they only wanted to know if I could work for them on Saturday Night.
On the Cup side of things, wow, what a fight!  It was pretty cool to see Logano’s crew stand up for him—you don’t really see such camaraderie in sports anymore.  As for Busch?  Why the heck was his teammate Denny Hamlin just standing there?  What, was he afraid that if he joined in the Vice-Principal would see him and ban him from graduation ceremonies?  Because he’ll just pin it on him anyways even if he just stands there minding his own business!  Wait, what was I talking about again?
Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Phoenix (total wins in parenthesis):

Xfinity Series DC Solar 200 (2 wins): Erik Jones—looks like I can’t pick Kyle Busch again, so I’ll just pick Kyle Busch 2.0.

Cup Series Camping World 500(k):  FAVORITE—Kevin Harvick—the king of Phoenix rises again.  NEXT FAVORITE—Joey Logano—can he rise above drama?  DARK HORSE—Kyle Larson—he’ll pick the right line this time.

Joey Logano vs. Kyle Busch: Spade Racing’s Tale O’ The Tape

Nascar took the government’s advice and decided to Spring Forward—into DRAMA!  Last weekend’s crew-aided takedown is likely just the start of the latest rivalry between two guys you don’t particularly like that Nascar will cram down our throats—and here’s the breakdown!

Joey Logano: “Sliced Bread”, the kind of nickname bestowed upon an 18-year-old by the media
Kyle Busch: “Rowdy”, the kind of nickname bestowed upon an 18-year-old by himself
"Time to go do something exceedingly stupid!"

Joey Logano: Featherweight
Kyle Busch: Straw-weight

Joey Logano: His entire crew
Kyle Busch: Denny Hamlin standing off to the side

Is he Penske material?
Joey Logano: Yes
Kyle Busch: No

Is he a Cup Series champion?
Joey Logano: No
Kyle Busch: Sorta

Could he use his primary sponsor’s product as a weapon?
Joey Logano: Would make the fighting surface crazy-slick
Kyle Busch: Only on Ryan Reed

Joey Logano: His teammate could just talk them to death

Kyle Busch: His brother’s ex-girlfriend

Kyle Busch Fined $5,000 for Blading on Live TV

Nascar reacted swiftly to the controversy post-race today, fining Kyle Busch $5,000 for intentionally “blading” on live tv.
Cruise Control can’t save him now”, said Nascar President Mike “Jack Tunney” Helton.  “Kyle dove into the 22 crew then was clearly seen mashing his wrist into his forehead.  Its obvious that he was hiding an exacto blade there, and he drew blood on himself for effect.”
Fans have criticized Nascar for not allowing things such as blood, swearing, and nudity in the PG (Post-Gary Bradberry) Era, in which fines such as this one have become the norm.
“We’re all for the excitement of the track, the battles of the superstars, and more, but we draw the line at drawing the ‘crimson mask’”, Helton said.  “This isn’t the late-90’s anymore, and our drivers need to realize that.”

Fans seemed to enjoy the fracas (blood or not), feeling that it was high time that Joey Logano made a “face turn”.

Cruise Control Discussed as Solution for Pit Road Speeding Penalties

Just as successful, too!
In concert with their “Let’s change everything again” initiative for 2017, Nascar has announced that they will explore adding cruise control mechanisms to Cup Series cars later this year.
“We’ve seen and heard drivers, crew chiefs, and fans complaining about the number of pit road penalties so far this year for speeding, and we think we’ve found a solution”, said Nascar Chairman Brian France.  “I was driving to the store to get some more pens to throw at the ceiling yesterday and it hit me—why not just use cruise control?”
As proposed, the system will act much the same as cruise control does for a passenger car, with two separate buttons, one for activation, and one for setting the proper speed.
“We’re confident that our manufacturer partners will be able to transfer this simple technology from their street cars to what we run on the track”, France said.  “And you know there’ll be plenty of drama from drivers who forget to engage the system but try to set the speed—I do that a few times overtime I make my yearly drive to the track!”
Driver and crew chief opinion remains unknown as the change was announced during the Kobalt 400 Cup Series race.  However, Nascar on Fox broadcaster weighed-in with his opinion.

“I think you’ll see drivers have an easier tiiiiime monitoring their speed by the time we get back to Daytona in JUU-ly”, McReynolds said.  “Of course, this could be easily solved by putting a speedometer in the car, but of course we cannot do that in these cars because REASONS.”

Uncle Max: Las Vegas Weekend Picks

For years I’ve been the only writer here at Spade Racing, but as of this year, that all changes.  They say that gambling is the national pastime, and that everybody’s uncle is a Nascar fan.  Well, we’re combining the two as my Uncle Max, gambling expert extraordinaire and longtime assistant manager at big box stores region-wide, will provide insight in analysis into the world of Nascar gambling for every Cup race this year.  And now, without further adieu, UNCLE MAX!!!

So I had to miss the Cup race this past Sunday—the big bosses were coming in from corporate this past week and I had to come in on Sunday afternoon to make the store look nice and pretty.  I caught a little bit of it on the radio during my break time but it sounds like I didn’t miss much.  Er, I mean, it sounds like I missed a really exciting race—boy, this Nascar thing sure is action packed!
I’m glad to say I was home on Saturday and got to see my first-ever correct pick—Kyle Busch in the Xfinity race!  And I’m sure I’d have gone 2 for 2 on the day if it wasn’t for him wrecking in the Truck race afterwards.  Oh well, you know what they say—you win some, you lose some, you die alone and they find your corpse a week later when the mailman says he smells something.
Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Las Vegas (wins in parenthesis):

Xfinity Series Boyd Gaming 300 (1 win): Kyle Busch—why argue with success?  By the way, that visit we had?  Let’s just say you’re looking at the newest recipient of a $5 gas gift card.

Cup Series Kobalt 400: OK, so here’s how I pick Cup races—I’ll give you a favorite (self-explanatory), a next-favorite (in case someone else in your pick ‘em pool has already picked the favorite), and a dark horse if you’re feeling adventurous.  FAVORITE—Jimmie Johson—its an in-house win for the company race.  NEXT FAVORITE—Kyle Busch—would he consider winning two races in a weekend a disappointment?  DARK HORSE—Ryan Blaney—all the blue oval boys rejoice in their cars with smelly heating systems.

Nationwide Insurance Announces Plan to Create Most Annoying Commercial of 2017 Racing Season

DISCLAIMER: I have nothing against Nationwide Insurance, their name could be replaced by almost any company that advertises regularly in Nascar

Taking over a mantle long-held by Sprint, Nationwide Insurance is taking a bold step into the 2017 NASCAR season, pledging to come up with the most-annoying commercial of the year. 
"We're proud to introduce our 2017 ad campaign for NASCAR: Loud, Proud, and Louder", proclaimed Nationwide Insurance spokesman Dale Earnhardt Jr. "From Speedweeks through the Homestead, there won't be a single race that you won't see our irritating, repetitive ad at least half-a-dozen times."
NASCAR has a long history of partnering with firms able to produce adverts that become tiresome by the fifth time you see them. From Sprint's bizarre "Unlimited Family" ads to Visa's constant yelling about "THE AWESOME SOUND SYSTEM", the series has been a market leader in making their fans beg for pay-per-view coverage. 
"Our ad's got it all--a bad classic rock song playing in the background, an embarrassing cameo by Darrell Waltrip--the works.", said Earnhardt Jr. while standing next to the commercial's other star, Screamy The Screaming Eagle. "But what really takes our campaign to the next level are the little details--a character actor who you can't quite figure out where he comes from, an odd pronunciation of a certain word, even me wearing something I wouldn't be caught dead in in any other situation. 

"By the time the season is over, you'll be hating me, my sponsor, and everyone involved in this campaign more than you hated those guys in the blimp for Budweiser."

Stage Trophy Presentation More Pathetic Than You Could Ever Imagine

Atlanta Motor Speedway decided to present the winners of the first two stages with trophies, a presentation that was, somehow, even more pathetic than you could ever imagine.
“Wow, I didn’t know we’d be getting these—you really shouldn’t have”, Stage 1 winning crew chief Rodney Childers said upon being presented with the small chevron-styled award.  “Um, don’t take this the wrong way, but we’re pretty busy here, so can you just take the picture you need to take then let us do the rest?”
Childers awkwardly posed with the trophy for a few seconds before then explaining, in painfully-obvious annoyance, to driver Kevin Harvick why they hadn’t been able to discuss strategy for their upcoming pit stops due to the laughably lame “ceremony”.
“Yeah, I guess this is gonna be a thing now—we’ll have to deal with this all the time”, Childers said, his voice dripping with barely-concealed disdain.  “I can’t go into detail because we don’t have time, and besides the track’s PR guys are still hanging around me.”
Childers later gave the trophy to a low-ranking member on the team’s support staff, who put it in their hauler in a shelf usually reserved for extra spark plugs.
“We are so glad to be able to participate in a little bit of history—the first-ever stage win trophy presentation”, said a spokesman for the Atlanta Motor Speedway, unaware that he was doing something that would take away a piece of his very dignity.  “We’re all about doing things different here at Atlanta, like an Xfinity-Trucks doubleheader, and giving away trophies for what fans really care about—stage wins.”

Childers was later seen in deep conversation with a crew member shortly after winning the second stage, in theory to avoid having to cheapen himself further by accepting a second trophy.  He was heard telling the crew member that “…we already have enough doorstops already.”

Uncle Max: Atlanta Weekend Picks

For years I’ve been the only writer here at Spade Racing, but as of today, that all changes.  They say that gambling is the national pastime, and that everybody’s uncle is a Nascar fan.  Well, we’re combining the two as my Uncle Max, gambling expert extraordinaire and longtime assistant manager at big box stores region-wide, will provide insight in analysis into the world of Nascar gambling for every Cup race this year.  And now, without further adieu, UNCLE MAX!!!

Well, my first weekend of picks wasn’t so great.  So sue me—my ex-wife has!  Haha, but I kid…about suing me, please don’t do that, my ex-wife really did sue me a few years back.
Anyways, I got to watch most of the Xfinity and Cup Series races over the weekend (I work almost every Friday Night), and I gotta say, it wasn’t nearly as dull as all those hipsters online made it out to be.  Lord knows its better than the last 90 seconds of any pro-basketball game.  What I don’t get is, what’s the deal with the Waltrip Brothers?  Why are they there?  I know that Darrell—he’s the older one, right?—won a bunch of championships, but what is he, like ninety years old?  And why does everyone call Michael Waltrip “Mikey”?  I don’t get it.
To be honest, I didn’t have any money on the race—I don’t have a bookie for racing, and I don’t trust any of those “online gaming” sites.  Heck, I knew a guy who thought he’d make bank doing that “one day fantasy” thing and he wound up losing his shirt.  That’s why I only do MY gambling with those I trust—specifically, the cousin of a guy I used to work with a few years back.
Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Atlanta:

Xfinity Series Rinnai 250: Kyle Busch—my nephew Mike told me that if I pick this guy it’s good, but people will be pissed off if he wins.
Truck Series Acrive Pest Control 200: Kyle Busch—see above.

Cup Series Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500: OK, so here’s how I pick Cup races—I’ll give you a favorite (self-explanatory), a next-favorite (in case someone else in your pick ‘em pool has already picked the favorite), and a dark horse if you’re feeling adventurous.  FAVORITE—Matt Kenseth—it takes a teammate to stop a Rowdy sweep.  NEXT FAVORITE—Jimmie Johnson—the wait for eight begins a week late.  DARK HORSE—Chase Elliott—would be a great story, a great win, and would be accused of it being rigged!