Uncle Max: Daytona Weekend Picks

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

Its a time of change in Nascar—changing networks (from Fox to NBC), going back to tracks for the first time all season, and probably about the 8th different guy to drive the 23 car this year.  Now WHY is that?  Who the heck starts a race team and figures, “hey, why don’t we put about a dozen different random guys in the car all year, THAT’LL make us successful!”
Speaking of which, I’ll be one of the many of my friends working the BBQ at my friend Jerry’s Fourth of July Cookout.  I don’t get a chance to bar-be-que as much as I’d like to (my apartment complex doesn’t allow them), but I’m more than willing to help out.  And here’s a word of advice—if someone buys beer-flavored brats and one of the guys at the party is allergic to beer, DON’T try to “burn off all the beer”—you’ll wind up with meat the consistency of Lincoln Logs.
Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Daytona (total wins in parenthesis):

Xfinity Series Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 (5 wins)—Justin Allgaier—at least any start-and-parkers can claim they thought it was a 15 lap race.

Cup Series Coke Zero 400:  FAVORITE (3 wins)—Martin Truex Jr.—the king of stages holds off any cinderellas of the restrictor plates.  NEXT FAVORITE (1 win)—Ryan Blaney—how cool would it be to see the 21 car back in Victory Lane in Daytona…well, with someone who actually has a future in racing this time.  DARK HORSE—Bubba Wallace—you just KNOW the 43 team is going to throw everything they have at this race.

Spade Racing Movie Previews: Summer Blockbuster Edition

The heat is on, you’ve got cabin fever, and there’s only one place to go—the movie theater.  That’s why Hollywood is pumping out its biggest movies of the year in the summertime.  Here’s a few coming out soon with a Nascar theme to them:

Baby Driver—William Byron comes to the Cup Series.

13 Minutes—Computer simulations show that, without restrictor plates, the average lap around Daytona or Talladega would be 13 minutes long—10 seconds to go around the track, followed by 12 minutes and 50 seconds of clean-up.

The Little Hours—Nascar’s devotion to airing on FS1 (instead of Fox Business Network) sees them run Truck Series races at 2am EST.

Spider-Man: Homecoming—Tony Stewart attempts to climb the catch fence again (five hours long).

A Ghost Story—The awkwardness of dealing with when Carl Edwards comes back to visit Joe Gibbs Racing.

Wish Upon—Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, and Michael Annett all allow themselves to believe they have a shot at the 88 car in 2018.

Fox Places Darrell Waltrip Back Into Cryogenic Storage

With another year of Nascar on Fox in the books for the Cup Series, Fox Sports executives were seen completing the arduous annual process of placing color commentator Darrell Waltrip intro cryogenic storage for the rest of the year.
“Yep, its become like clockwork—go to Sonoma, do the road course, then put Ol’ DW in the freezer box”, a Fox employee told an outside media member who inquired as to why liquid nitrogen was being sprayed onto the Nascar Hall of Famer.  “This is actually the easier part—the hard part is making sure you have the blocks of dry-ice in just right for when we seal up the container—get it wrong and you wind up spending all of January looking for replacement fingers.”
Despite the process having been repeated after Fox’s portion of the broadcast season every year since 2001, Fox still put out a press release to allay any fears that Waltrip might be frozen against his will.
“We appreciate Darrell Waltrip for his incisive commentary on our Nascar on Fox team, covering drivers from Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Danica Patrick, and we figure that with the use of cryonics, he can continue to be a part of our broadcast team for years to come”, the statement said.  “The process is foolproof, his family is more than cooperative, and besides, its not like he has anything else to do, anyways.”
For his part, Waltrip seemed to be preoccupied as his core body temperature was lowered, wondering if his brother Michael really did make a drunk driving joke during the pre-race grid walk.

Uncle Max: Sonoma (and Iowa) Weekend Picks

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

I’ve been learning more and more about Nascar since I started this picks column earlier this year, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why Nascar runs road courses.
I mean, I get it—they spice up the schedule and add some excitement in the middle of a long season, but what’s the rationale behind it?  It would be like if the NFL played by Canadian rules for week 9 of the regular season, or if the NBA played half court-style one week a year.  AND you can bring in road-course specialists if you want to?  That would be like bringing in a baseball player who excels in cold weather for the playoffs, or bringing in an efficiency specialist to your workplace who keeps trying to eliminate your position even though you’re the ONLY ONE who knows how to run the bailer without shorting out the circuits.
Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Michigan and Gateway (total wins in parenthesis):

Truck Series M&M’s 200 (3 wins)—Chase Briscoe—Chase bounces back to get his first Truck Series win.

Xfinity Series American Ethanol e15 250 (5 wins)—Justin Allgaier—at least any start-and-parkers can claim they thought it was a 15 lap race.

Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350:  FAVORITE (2 wins)—Kevin Harvick—maybe Fox will let him put DW into cold storage.  NEXT FAVORITE (1 win)—Clint Bowyer—he’s shown he knows his way around a road course.  DARK HORSE—Jamie McMurray—out of nowhere!

“Welcome to Nascar Cup”—An Introductory Guide

They've come a long way from ripping off
RCR's number-style

...and The Wood Brothers' number-style
Rumors are spreading that GMS Racing, aka That Allegiant Team, could field a Cup team in 2018.  Thankfully Nascar corporate has produced an introductory guide to teams looking to enter the competitive highest level of Nascar racing, reproduced below:

Dear Future Team Owner

Hello, and welcome to the exciting world of Nascar Cup Racing (formerly Sprint Cup, Nextel Cup, Winston Cup, Grand National Cup, and Big Bill France’s Homestyle Potato Chips Cup).  Selection of such a method of fast-paced competition/tax dodge is one you will find competitive, challenging, but ultimately rewarding.  And by rewarding, we mean so in the evocative sense, as no profits are guaranteed by Nascar, ISC, or any of its partners.  With that out of the way, here’s some ways to determine if going Nascar Cup Racing is right for YOU:

—First off, are you John Cohen?  If so, please move on, as we have no desire to let you run another team with a bunch of X’s in the name into the ground.

—Next, are you prepared to make the necessary monetary investment into the sport needed to compete on a regular basis?  If not, are you prepared to make the necessary monetary investment to be a laughing stock on a regular basis?

—Its been said that the only way to make a small fortune in racing is to start with a large one.  With that being said, are you willing to keep up this facade while you use your race team to funnel money from other operations to friends and family members at lower tax rates?

—Nascar’s team charter system has revolutionized the way our teams do business.  If you are looking to acquire a charter, are you willing to have a conversation with man whose middle name is “St.”?

—Are you in this for the long-haul?  Your team manager’s kid isn’t going to wind up in a top-level ride on his own, you know.

—And finally, are you willing to pour seemingly endless money and resources into a sport controlled by a single man whose idea of improving fan engagement is by constantly introducing new ideas that fans almost universally hate?  (this is an important one)

We hope that this has helped you make up your mind.  If you’re willing to make the sacrifices and commitments to our sport, we’ll see you at Daytona.  And if not, we’ll leak information that you’ve reneged on entering the sport, allowing our fans to hate you for years and years.

(sign name here)
(print name here)

Me Watching 85% of Today’s Race

“Alright here we go…alright…allllllllllriiiiiight…zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…debris…zzzzzzzzzz…Larson and Truex…zzzzzzzz…too many Cars 3 references…zzzzzzzzzzz…Truex, king of stage wins…zzzzzzzzzz…so many manufacturers based nearby…zzzzzzzzzzzzz…bizarre Stephen Furst tribute…zzzzzzzzz…guys sliding through pit stalls…zzzzzzzzzzzz…kinda hot out…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…BK Racing screwed up again…zzzzzzzzz…more debris…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…Kyle and Kyle Show…zzzzzzzzzzz…fuel mileage race again…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…HUHWHAHUH…oh, Bowyer in the wall.

Uncle Max: Michigan (and Gateway) Weekend Picks

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

So close to a weekend sweep!  Too bad Denny Hamlin had to lay an egg in the Cup race—also too bad that I had to miss most of the Truck Series race, including the bizarre finish, thanks to a long day at work—and yes, it was the long day at work, NOT the half a six pack of Rolling Rocks I finished off when I got home.
So this weekend’s Cup race is sponsored by a casino?  That reminds me—with casinos all over the place now, its helpful to know how to pick a good one for your weekend gambling trips.  My advice is to look for who’s offering the best “new member” deals for signing up for their loyalty cards—slot dollars, not junk like a toaster that will break in two weeks.  Also remember that having a hotel on-site isn’t always a good thing—you don’t want to wind up captive after you’ve dropped $500 by 6pm.  And always remember that if you go during off-peak hours, you’re going to wind up with off-peak freshness from the buffet.
Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Michigan and Gateway (total wins in parenthesis):

Truck Series Drivin for Linemen 200 (3 wins)—Christopher Bell—Bell keeps their heads ringin’ with another close win.

Xfinity Series Michigan 250 (5 wins)—Kyle Busch—nice to see that he races they way he deals with the media—he blocks them out.

Cup Series Firekeepers Casino 400:  FAVORITE (2 wins)—Kyle Larson—Bullseye reminds people who the original break out star of 2017 was.  NEXT FAVORITE (1 win)—Brad Keselowski—technically it would mean two straight weekends in Cup Series victory lane.  DARK HORSE—Dale Earnhardt Jr.—it IS one of his best tracks, after all.

Check out the revamped and updated Race Shop Reviews, my OTHER website!

Did you know that, with the exception of Furniture Row Racing, every Nascar Cup team (and most Xfinity and Truck teams) are based in the Charlotte/Mooresville North Carolina area?
And did you know that most of these shops are available to fans like you to tour—at no cost at all?

If you’re planning a trip to the heart of Nascar country, be sure to check out my OTHER website, Race Shop Reviews.  Its just been updated with new pictures, refreshed graphics, and updated information for 2017.

Danica Patrick: Her Side of the Story on her Outburst on the Fans

Recently video surfaced online of Danica Patrick berating fans who boo’d her for not signing autographs.  In an exclusive first-person piece, Danica gives HER side of the story on what really happened—and what you didn’t see on-camera.

“Thank you for giving me this opportunity to set the record straight.  First off, I want to apologize to anyone who was offended by my language that I used to ‘tell-off’ the main perpetrator in this incident, but I think you’ll appreciate why I used such choice words once you hear the full story.
Purported photo of the autograph seeker
The truth is that I’ve dealt with this particular autograph seeker on numerous occasions.  Every time its the same thing over and over again—asking for multiple autographs on multiple pieces, and always complaining the moment I walk away.  Well, earlier that day I’d signed a whole tote-bag worth of stuff for him—diecast cars, hero cards, even some old IndyCar merch—but it wasn’t enough.
Now I’ll admit that it wasn’t a good look to walk past a whole group of fans—I shouldn’t let this one guy ruin it for the whole bunch.  And yes, I shouldn’t have lashed out.  But what you DIDN’T see in that footage was when I finally snapped and asked this fan—this, autograph hound—why he kept asking for MY autograph—when would it be enough?  HOW MANY AUTOGRAPHS DID HE NEED.
And his response?  ‘I-I need about tree fiddy’.  Did you hear that?  TREE.  FIDDY.
It was as this point that I realized that this wasn’t an average autograph seeker, but rather a giant prehistoric crustacean from the Paleozoic era!  I told him ‘Dangit, I ain’t givin you no tree fiddy autographs, you da Loch Ness Monstah!’  But of course the media didn’t report on that.

Thank you for your time, and now I need to go and find out how I’m supposed to support a fig bar company that refused to pay me for months.”

Uncle Max: Pocono (and Texas) Weekend Picks

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

Ah yes, its great to have that winning feeling back again for my Cup Series pick!  I told you Jimmie Johnson was a sure thing at Dover!  And even when he started from the back because of adjustments, I knew he’d slice his way through the field!
The thing is, I just wish more people would listen to me when I speak on that which I’m an expert on—like sports gambling or sentence structure.  Just the other day at work I was talking to one of the new stock boys about the Stanley Cup Finals, and how there’s a foolproof way to pick the middle games of the series.  I mean, all you need to DO is look at the data and then correlate it to the teams’ performance!  And its not like I go around telling everybody about this—I was telling him because he reminded me of a young me!  But do I get any appreciation?  No, of course not.  All I got was ignored as he walked away.  ‘Course it could have been the earbuds he was wearing, but I think its more likely that he’s intentionally trying to freeze me out.
Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Pocono and Texas (total wins in parenthesis):

Truck Series Winstar Online Gaming 400k (2 wins)—Christopher Bell—more interested is that there’s only (as of this writing) 26 trucked entered for this race.

Xfinity Series Pocono Green 250 (4 wins)—Brad Keselowski—strange to see that he’s not involved in the “driver broadcast”.

Cup Series Pocono 400:  FAVORITE (2 wins)—Denny Hamlin—the JGR drought ends NOW.  NEXT FAVORITE (1 win)—Joey Logano—Joey and Denny—a match made in drama heaven.  DARK HORSE—Chase Elliott—the time is right for a first-time winner.

First An All-Driver Broadcast, Then What?

This Saturday Fox will experiment with an all-driver on-air broadcast crew at Pocono for the Xfinity Series race.  Not only is this an ingenious way to get around having to broadcast races in Texas and Pennsylvania in a 24-hour period, but it also could breathe some much-needed variety into what can turn into a pretty stale broadcast of a relatively ho-hum race.  So what else could Fox or NBC be working on for future broadcasts?  Here’s some rumored broadcast variations in the works:

Mikey-cam—the entire race is shot from the point of view of Michael Waltrip’s “grid-walk cam”, giving fans an eagle-eyed view of 1/3 of his hat brim and close-ups of Nascar’s finest’s hairlines.

Marty-Cast—complete coverage from Marty Burns, Marty Snider and Marty Smith, broadcast with a state-of-the-art MARTI antenna.

Sponsor-Friendly Commentary—the Interstate Batteries car won’t have any electrical issues!  The Stanley tools car will get fixed without any issues!  And “tradin’ paint” will never scrape anything off the Axalta machine!

Bitter Old Fan Guestcasters—listen to a bunch of late-middle-aged white guys talk about how much they hate Nascar and haven’t seen a race in years—all while giving detailed descriptions of what’s happened at recent races.

Paul Menard’s Left Sideburn Out 4 Weeks with Injury

The post-race festivities at Dover International Speedway were tempered a bit today after word was received of a major injury to Paul Menard’s left sideburn.  The follicular arrangement is expected to be out for up to a month for recovery.
The left sideburn in happier days
“I’m so proud of my grandson Ty (Dillon), but all our thoughts are with Paul’s left sideburn”, team owner Richard Childress said, his own grandchild’s top-five finish clouded by the serious hair-related injury.  “You really hate to see anything like this happen, but when its your own team, it just hits so close to home.  We’re staying in contact with the sideburn and hope it’ll be able to make a full, speedy recovery.”
The left sideburn was injured during a mid-race wreck in which Chris Buescher ran Menard’s car into the outside wall exiting turn 2.  On-site emergency workers believe it was the following hit, in which Menard’s car hit the inside wall, that caused the injury.
“Paul Menard’s left sideburn was transported to the Greater Dover Beard and Facial Hair Emergency Center in Smyrna and is in serious but stable condition”, an RCR spokesman said.  “While the injury was serious, we think we’re out of the woods, and the patch of hair should be able to recover fully and completely within the month.”
The spokesman said that, as the situation is still unfolding, they have yet to consider who would step in for the left sideburn in the forthcoming races, although Regan Smith’s neck-hair is reportedly expected to be contacted in the near future.

Driver Paul Menard was unable to be reached for comment, as he has not spoken in five years.

Uncle Max: Dover Weekend Picks

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

OK, so I’m still pretty new to this Nascar thing, so maybe I’m missing out on something, but…what the HELL is wrong with Kyle Busch?
I mean really—the guy’s a champion, he’s a winning driver, he’s already come back ONCE from major injury, he’s got a knockout wife, a healthy kid, millions of dollars, and HE of all people is MISERABLE?  Look, not everybody likes to deal with the media, but even in this day in age that’s the number one window athletes have to their fans.  If you treat the reporters like jerks, you will come off like one.  And again—why?  I mean its not like he worked his way up to a senior staff assistant manager position at a grocery store chain by age 25, only to get passed over for the open manager position just because the GM’s nephew just got out of community college after three years and he then had to go home and tell his wife who held it against him for over a decade that he couldn’t make the big bucks eventually leading to an acrimonious divorce.
Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Dover (total wins in parenthesis):

Truck Series Bar Harbor 200 (2 wins)—Matt Crafton—an under-the-radar winner for a race most people can’t see—thanks Dover for never putting in lights!

Xfinity Series Delaware 200 (4 wins)—Elliott Sadler—well, it would at least be a local win for his sponsor.

Cup Series AAA Drive for Autism 400:  FAVORITE (1 win)—Jimmie Johnson—about the closest you can get to a sure thing…so watch him blow an engine on lap 29.  NEXT FAVORITE (1 win)—Kyle Larson—a quick rebound after a disappointing 600 weekend.  DARK HORSE—Dale Earnhardt Jr.—it IS the site of a memorable win for him, the first race after 9/11.