Late Sunday Afternoon Race Times Perfect for Race Fan on Alaskan Aleutian Island

Many Nascar fans—specifically those on the east coast—have complained this season about late start times to Sunday afternoon races, with some starting close to 3pm Eastern Time.  However, these later than prior race starts have found at least one enthusiastic fan in Ray Jonah, resident of the Aleutian island of Adak, Alaska.
Nascar hotbed!
“Man, these start times are perfect for my schedule!”, said Jonah when reached for comment.  “I usually wake up around 8am on Sundays, so that gives me plenty of time to make myself a coffee and have a snack for breakfast.  By 9am my time its usually time to go racing—well, unless it rains.”
Jonah is an avid follower of the sport, which had proven difficult at times while living in one of the most westernmost locations in the United States.
“Before they pushed the start times back, I had races starting as early as 6am my time”, Jonah said.  “But now, all us Adak race fans can catch the action live—me, that guy who works over in the environmental cleanup crew, and I think there’s a fisheries warden who’s a big Joey Logano fan.”
Jonah, an employee at the local airport, said he became a fan of the sport while serving in the Air Force.
“Yeah, went into the USAF right out of high school”, Jonah explained.  “We were stationed down in Andrews Air Force Base, and a few guys had a connection at Richmond (International Raceway).  I went to a few races and was hooked.”
Jonah said that while he was sympathetic to the complaints of east coast race fans dealing with finishes that conflict with Sunday evening plans and Monday morning planning, he feels that the later start times are too much of a boon to change back.
“You don’t know how irritating it is to leave a party at the old pilots’ club on Saturday night because you gotta set your alarm for the next day’s green flag start”, Jonah claimed.  “Besides, I’m the biggest race fan I know on Adak Island—and from what I hear, Nascar needs all the fans it can get right now.”

Uncle Max: Pocono/Iowa Weekend Picks

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

NOTE: Uncle Max is on vacation this week.  He made these picks before he left on Sunday morning.

Nascar, what is your OBSESSION with starting races late in the day?  I mean, here I am, wanting to watch your Cup race at Indy, and I can’t because I need to be on the road by 4pm this afternoon.  The NFL never does this—they have plenty of 1pm ET games for people to watch.
And the worst thing is, (last Sunday’s) a good example of what can go wrong—now they’re calling for rain this afternoon.  Hey Nascar—west coast fans don’t rule everything.  Heck, I have buddies who live in Nevada and they LOVE doing “football brunch” at their sports bar.  Oh well, at least I can count on (last Sunday’s) race being a dull affair without anyone winning for the first time in years, right?
Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Pocono and Iowa (total wins in parenthesis):

Truck Series Overton’s 150 (3 wins)—Kyle Busch—this should soothe his disappointment at not being able to run Xfinity this weekend.

Xfinity Series US Cellular 250 (6 wins)—Brandon Jones—one of the RCR young’uns makes a case for getting a Cup ride sooner rather than later.

Cup Series Overton’s 400:  FAVORITE (3 wins)—Martin Truex Jr.—if a JGR driver wins after I finally stop picking them, I’m gonna bash my head through a wall.  NEXT FAVORITE (1 win)—Ryan Blaney—win 100 for the Wood Bros, too.  DARK HORSE—Dale Earnhardt Jr.—throwing the Cha—er, Playoffs into further disarray.

Ten Things Nascar Can Do To Turn Itself Around—and the Likelihood of Them Actually Happening

Empty seats at Indy--a common sight
The Brickyard 400 used to be the unofficial peak of Nascar’s summer season—big crowds, big special paint schemes, and big announcements for the future.  Well, we got one of them this past weekend (Alex Bowman going to the 88 car, in case you missed NBC’s documentary on the subject during the rain delay).  Lately Indy weekend has become the time for the media to talk about how far Nascar has fallen, and which a massive venue 20% full at best, they sure have the right to do so.
But what CAN Nascar actually do to improve itself, both with fans and with its financial stakeholders (TV partners, sponsors, etc.)?  And more-importantly, what are the chances of these things actually coming to pass?
Well, that’s where I come in.  Here’s 10 things Nascar can do to turn itself around—and the likelihood of them actually happening.

1.) Do Nothing—since Brian France took over, Nascar’s been like the weather—if you don’t like what its doing now, just wait a little while and things will be different.  Fans (especially hardcore old-school fans) have a major case of “change fatigue”, where one can’t get used to a new format, points system, or car-type without another change coming along to get used to again.  Even if you don’t like the way things are right now, you’d have to admit that barring a full-scale rollback of every single change (which is NOT going to happen), simply leaving things alone like the Cha—er, Playoffs, points system, stage setup, etc. would give the sport something it hasn’t had in a long time—stability.  But let’s be honest—is there ANYTHING in Nascar’s current leadership that gives you any confidence that they’d be able to sit on their hands for more than a few years?  CHANCES OF THIS HAPPENING—POSSIBLE, BUT NOT GOOD.

2.) Change of Leadership—much like Roger Goddell is the target of football fans’ ire and Gary Bettman is a wanted man amongst hockey fans, Brian France has come to represent all that is bad and evil about Nascar today.  To some fans, removing him from power (either voluntarily or otherwise) would fix everything that ails the sport.  Of course there’s two innate problems with this—Brian France owns Nascar, with an ownership structure that keeps him in power pretty much no matter what, and there’s the old problem of “the devil you know, and the devil you DON’T know”.  While we could argue all day about how there COULD be someone better than Brian France out there to run the sport, its meaningless, as he’s not going anywhere.  CHANCES OF THIS HAPPENING—NONEXISTENT.

3.) Shortening Races—its been said for years that Nascar races are too damn long.  One would have to think that while it wouldn’t solve everything, simply making “500”s “400”s and making “400”s “300”s would do a lot of good to improve things.  The problem here is the almighty tv dollar.  Fox and NBC aren’t buying rights to Nascar races because they like the sport personally—they do it for the advertising dollars it brings.  More racing means more commercial time, and more commercial time means more money.  While you could postulate that down the road they would work out a three-pronged agreement between car sponsors, tv partners, and the teams to share advertising revenue from showing the cars on-screen, thus lessening the need for commercial time, this is a long way off.  The TV tail is wagging the on-track dog, and its highly unlikely anything will change anytime soon.  CHANCES OF THIS HAPPENING—NOT GOOD UNDER THE CURRENT TV DEAL.

4.) Shortening the Season—its also been said for years that the Nascar season is too damn long.  36 points races and two non-points events make it the longest season in major professional sports.  Unfortunately, there’s even more issues with eliminating races than shortening them, since this would involve track owners as well.  Sure, Nascar (via ISC) controls a majority of the schedule, but could you ever see the head honchos in Daytona turning down money?  On the flip-side, moving a handful of races to the middle of the week, while exhausting for teams, could help to avoid the next problem on the list, although it would likely chase more fans away who would be unable to watch a Wednesday night race with work on Thursday morning.  CHANCES OF THIS HAPPENING—ALMOST CERTAINLY NOT IN THE WAY MOST FANS WOULD WANT IT.

5.) The Football Problem—football rules in the USA, and the NFL is the king.  IndyCar has done its best to get out of the way of the pro football behemoth, ending its season in early September.  As stated prior, shortening the season is unlikely (and impractical), so could Nascar ever truly compete with the NFL?  Well, not in its current state.  But 2016 was the first year in, well, years that the NFL showed a decline in ratings, and outside of the sport’s Midwest and Northeast strangleholds, attendance has gone from hard to soft sellouts.  The NFL’s freeze on the fall could be thawing, and IF (and its a big if) Nascar can get its house in order, it could be ready to pounce.  CHANCES OF THIS HAPPENING—DISTANT, BUT POSSIBLE.

6.) Lack of Rivalries—Petty vs. Pearson.  Waltrip vs. Allison.  Earnhardt vs. Wallace.  All big rivalries which helped energize the fanbase and leave the hardcore followers thirsty for more.  These days there really aren’t any rivalries of note—Kyle Busch vs. (INSERT DRIVER HERE) hasn’t materialized the way Nascar has wanted it to, and Jimmie Johnson, while the most-dominant driver of his generation, hasn’t really had anyone come along and REALLY challenge him off the track.  The funny thing is, the opportunity is there.  Drivers have become social media savvy almost by requirement, and there’s no place better for a beef to simmer than online.  Sponsors might not like it at first, but if something is allowed to build organically (fans will spot a fake rivalry a mile away), we could be in store for some “clean, old-fashioned hate”.  CHANCES OF THIS HAPPENING—MORE LIKELY THAN YOU MIGHT THINK.

7.) Manufacturer Intrigue—speaking of rivalries, it could be argued that the biggest rivalry in the sport itself has always been between Ford and Chevy, with Dodge occasionally jumping into the fray.  Its hard to argue that fans’ loyalty to a certain manufacturer hasn’t helped the sport over the years, but for better or (more likely) for worse, such a rivalry is almost impossible today.  The days of a manufacturer, or even a team, getting a hefty advantage over their rivals is pretty much gone, as the fabled “gray-area” in the Nascar rulebook has gone from a wide berth to a narrow crevice.  Not to mention the fact that the minute a driver or team starts performing better than before, cries of “cheater!” come out from the fans.  While its good to know the days of drivers lapping the field thanks to a better engine are over with, with it has gone true mechanical innovation, and with it manufacturer intrigue.  CHANCES OF THIS HAPPENING—NONE.

8.) Earlier Start Times—most fans on the east coast have been complaining in the past few years about the late start times for Eastern Time Zone races.  Once it was a standard for races to start shortly after lunch/church (remember 1pm, 3pm, 7pm?) but now dropping the green flag has crept closer than ever towards 3pm.  As this weekend has shown, this is not just irritating for those of us (myself included) who start work early on Monday, but it get obliterated when there’s a rain delay, which is a fact of life of racing in the summer.  While the later starts have been done in the name of “west coast viewers”, one would have to think that even the hardest-core Brian France sycophant would see the corollary between later start times and lower ratings.  So while Nascar isn’t one to admit they’re wrong, one has to be optimistic.  CHANCES OF THIS HAPPENING—POSSIBLE.

9.) More Exciting Racing—this is the most-nuanced, most-fragile, and most-difficult one to solve—and its also the most-important.  Things like cookie-cutter race tracks, lack of passing, and the dreaded “aero-push” have made more and more races a follow-the-leader affair.  Unfortunately, Nascar’s in the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario with this one—it seems like when they fix one thing, they screw something else up.  Obviously there’s a few things they can’t change from a practical standpoint (those tracks aren’t going to magically shrink from 1.5’s to short-tracks).  Of course, even if they DID manage to find the “magic formula” to make racing more-exciting, some fans would simply claim that it was fixed—and not in a good way.  CHANCES OF THIS HAPPENING—DISTANTLY POSSIBLE, BUT A LOT NEEDS TO GO RIGHT.

10.) Happier Fan Base—after the lack of excitement on-track, arguably the next-biggest barrier to gaining new fans into Nascar are, oddly enough, the old fans.  When Nascar went from regional sport to national superpower it left a lot of its core fanbase mad.  And now that the casual fans have moved on to something else, all that’s left is a bitter, aging core group of angry fans.  Its very similar to what goes on in IndyCar (if you want to learn about the sport, be prepared to be screamed at about a split that happened 20 years ago) and acts as a barrier to those who honestly want to know more about Nascar—why would someone want to join a fanbase that’s always angry.  Of course blaming fans is a fool’s errand, and to use a personal phrase I’ve coined, “I wouldn’t be so pissed off if you would stop pissing me off so much”.  CHANCES OF THIS HAPPENING—NOT TOO GOOD.

IN SUMMARY—As you can see there’s multiple barriers to Nascar getting to the point that so many of its fans would love to see.  In a way its like this—imagine you go to a steak restaurant once a week.  Lately you hate the cut of steak they’ve been using.  The restaurant is locked-in to buying and using this cut of steak every time for years on end.  So they serve it differently, use different sauces, change up the sides—everything they can do to distract you from the crummy cut of steak.  Eventually, no matter how much you like the restaurant, you’re going to stop going there unless they finally change the cut of steak.  But they can’t.

Joe Gibbs Recovering After Being Run Over by Kyle Busch’s Bus

Members of the Joe Gibbs Racing team were competing today under added pressure, as team owner and founder Joe Gibbs was still recovering in a nearby hospital after being run over by Kyle Busch’s bus.  The incident was being investigated as an assault, as several witnesses saw Busch throwing Gibbs under the bus seconds before the incident.
“Coach Gibbs is in stable condition and recovering just fine”, a team spokesman said.  “He has noticeable tire-tracks across his back, which removed 8 of the 12 logos embroidered on his polo shirt.  Other than that, his injuries are mostly what you would see in a stock car crash—not nearly as bad as what you’d see in, oh, let’s say an IndyCar wreck.”
The incident happened shortly after Busch was heard telling the media that “a boss” of his has prevented his attempt to run the Indy 500-Coke 600 Double this year.  Media members were stunned—not so much by the comments themselves, but by the simple that that Busch was even talking to them voluntarily.
Busch has been accused of such actions in the past, having been seen throwing numerous drivers, equipment manufacturers, and the executives of Nascar itself under his bus on various occasions.  Busch has never been convicted or even charged in any of the incidents, mostly due to the intervention of, ironically, team owner Joe Gibbs.

“Everything is great—I just want to go race as much as possible to reach my internally set goals for my career”, Busch said hours after the incident.  “I hope that Coach Gibbs has a full and healthy recovery, and he realizes that an injury can occur anywhere, anytime—not just in an open-wheel race car.”

Uncle Max: Indianapolis Weekend Picks

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

Boy, last week was a tough one.  I go and pick Joey Logano and look what happens—something goes wrong with his car and he nearly finishes in last place!  This would be a good time to remind all my faithful readers that all my picks are for entertainment purposes and I bear no responsibility for any monetary losses.
I’ll be missing this weekend’s races as I was able to convince my manager (one of the ones who’s still talking to me) to give me a four-day weekend.  Thankfully things are a little slow before we get into the full swing of back-to-school, so I can take in my own little summer tradition—going to my college buddy’s shore house!  He’s one of the few people I keep in touch with from then—hey, we ALL lose touch after a while, don’t we?—but he always has the open invitation for me to swing by and catch up on old times.  Thankfully I can finally take advantage of it this year (he has a rental, and he’s only there a few weeks due to HIS job not giving him much time off).  At least I can be sure that the beer will the cold, the BBQ will be hot, and the good times will roll!
Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Indy—remember that my Eldora pick was already made last time (total wins in parenthesis):

Xfinity Series Lilly Diabetes 250 (6 wins)—Kyle Busch—Rowdy’s march towards retirement continues.

Cup Series Big Machine Records 400:  FAVORITE (3 wins)—Kyle Busch—the win drought FINALLY ends in Cup for Rowdy, followed by a cloying kissing of the bricks.  NEXT FAVORITE (1 win)—Joey Logano—Joey rebounds from last weekend’s disaster and manages to “burn down” the car on the victory lap.  DARK HORSE—Austin Dillon—this space might need to start sponsoring an RCR car.

Alex Bowman Hired to Drive 88 Car; Corey Lajoie Prepared to Drive 5 Car

One of Nascar’s most-anticipated moves finally happened today, as Hendrick Motorsports announced that Alex Bowman, who first ran in the Nascar Cup Series with BK Racing, would be taking over the #88 car currently driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2018.  Current BK Racing driver Corey Lajoie, meanwhile, has begun preparations to drive the HMS #5 car in 2019.
"All my years of waiting finally pays off"
“First off, congratulations to Alex—he’s a heck of a guy and a darn good driver”, Lajoie said in a hastily-organized press conference outside his house.  “Its great to see that Nascar teams such as Hendrick Motorsports are recognizing smaller teams like BK Racing as ‘launching pads’ for young Cup Series talent.  With that being said, I am fully anticipating getting The Call to drive the 5 car in 2019.”
The #5 Hendrick car has been the subject of much speculation, fueled by a lack of performance by current driver Kasey Kahne and an unsteady sponsorship situation for 2018.  This has caused many to wonder if Kahne would be replaced at the end of his current contract (at the conclusion of the 2018 season), if not sooner.  Lajoie has said that he will gladly take over the ride when asked to.
“They say that luck is when anticipation meets preparation—well, I’m anticipating, and I’m prepared”, Lajoie said.  “Wether its tomorrow, later this year, sometime in 2018, or at 2019 Speedweeks, I’m ready, willing, and able to step into the driver’s seat at HMS.  I know I have some pretty big shoes to fill, but I’m ready to deal with the pressure that comes with driving the former car of Casey Mears.”
Lajoie has had a journeyman’s career so far, bouncing between the major touring series in mostly underfunded rides.  However, he seemed to believe that such experience has prepared him for one of the most-coveted spots in the Cup Series garage.
“Nobody knows more than I do the difficulties of racing in the Cup Series”, said Lajoie.  “I think I can help provide a unique perspective to the HMS crew, like how you can save money by getting your crew’s sandwich bread at the outlet store.  And I won’t have to be issued a team smartphone—I’m not allowed to have mobile internet access since ‘The Incident’”.

Lajoie then ended the press conference by walking back into his house, sitting by his phone, and staring.

The Mystery of The Magic Mile

One of the great things about living in the internet age is that you can find out virtually anything with a few clicks or keystrokes.  With that being said, there’s still a few mysteries out there in the Nascar realm, one of the biggest of which being Why is New Hampshire Motor Speedway Called “The Magic Mile”?  The “Mile” part is pretty self-explanatory (even if it IS slightly over a mile long), but what about the “Magic” part?  I mean, Dover’s mile is monstrous due to its strain on drivers, Indianapolis used to be a yard of bricks, so where does NHIS get off with calling itself magic?  Well, to get the answers, I went straight to the source.  Here now is my exclusive interview with New Hampshire Motor Speedway:

“Thanks Mike.  I don’t get many chances to speak my mind, mostly because I’m a non-sentient racing complex, but I wanted to answer your question.  You see, when I was a young, impressionable race track, I was pretty nice to everyone, and I got rewarded with a Cup Series race date.  But that’s all I got, and I wanted more.  I knew that to get the folks in Daytona to pay attention to me, I’d have to pull off a stunt so grandiose, so awe-inspiring, that it would be MAGICAL.  So I studied, learning up on the black (asphalt) arts, until I was ready.  That’s when I performed my most-amazing trick ever, by making North Wilkesboro Speedway’s racing dates DISAPPEAR.  Sure I needed a little help from my buddy Texas Motor Speedway (I’ve since married into his family, oddly enough), but I made my point.”

Thanks, NHIS.  Next time, part two of our interview, in which we find out NHIS’s plans for Bruton Smith after taking away their 2nd race weekend in 2018--wait, no, that hole in the track pretty much explained that.

“Track Holes” Considered for 2018 Nascar Cup Series Races

Today’s action at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was halted for a time due to the emergence of a hole in the racing surface.  Shortly after examining the issue, however, a Nascar executive was heard considering adding such so-called “Track Holes” on a permanent basis next season in order to change up the racing experience.
“Imagine it—the 30-some-odd greatest drivers in the world, not just racing each other, but also racing around randomly-placed cracks and crevices in the track—how exciting would THAT be?”, a high-level Nascar executive was heard saying upon surveying the damage to the track.  “You’d have door-to-door action as drivers try to avoid the holes—it’d be perfect for on-track contact!”
The executive (unaware that he was being listened to) went on to explain other ideas apparently in the works to improve the on-track product for tv and at-the-track audiences.
“First it was stages, now we can do track holes”, the executive said whilst tenting his fingers Mr. Burns-style.  “Then after that, we can finally put in a figure-eight track at Kansas!  And a jump-ramp at Pocono!  It’s perfect!”

Track executives at Dover and Martinsville were said to be arguing with NHIS owner Bruton Smith over who would be allowed to take credit for creating the concept of “track holes”.

Uncle Max: New Hampshire Weekend (and bonus Eldora) Picks

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

Well, it finally happened.  They’d been dropping hints for weeks, but I guess I just ignored them.  But as of yesterday, its official—I am being ostracized at work.
Oh, sure, they’ll TELL YOU everything’s fine, but I can tell.  They’re turning their backs to me in the morning meetup.  They’re not inviting me out for drinks at McDougal's when I work Friday afternoons anymore.  And worst of all, the final nail in the coffin, they refused to participate in my third-annual MLB All-Star Game prop bet pool.
Well, there’s nothing left for me to do but move on.  No, I’m not looking for another job (actively, that is), but I’ll still show up every day, looking for a NEW group to fit in with.  Although there’s really not many more left—the overnight guys and I almost never see each other, and there’s a few guys who hang out on Sundays but I’m usually booked solid with Nascar and football.  Speaking of which, I can’t wait till they come CRAWLING BACK in late-August, because I’m STILL the fantasy football commissioner will all the passwords!  They’ll have to start a new league without me—bye-bye keepers!!!
Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at New Hampshire, plus the mid-week race next week at Eldora (total wins in parenthesis):

Xfinity Series Overton’s 200 (5 wins)—Kyle Busch—no idea what Overton’s sells, but in this case it’s CHALK.

Cup Series Overton’s 301:  FAVORITE (3 wins)—Joey Logano—Papa-to-be Joey JoJo gets himself unencumbered.  NEXT FAVORITE (1 win)—Matt Kenseth—winning your first race of the year after finding out you don’t have a ride in 2018 would be a very Matt Kenseth thing to do (even if Joe Nemechek did it first).  DARK HORSE—Ryan Newman—and NOT by fuel mileage this time (although if it is, I’ll still count it as a win).

BONUS Truck Series Aspen Dental 150 (3 wins)—Bobby Pierce—to get your first win, and the first win for MB Motorsports, you gotta get a little bit dirty.

Nascar to Institute Competition Caution at Lap 285 at New Hampshire Race

In what is claimed to not be a response to the lack of mid-to-late-race action at Kentucky Speedway’s Cup Series race on Saturday, Nascar has announced that at this Sunday’s race at New Hampshire International Speedway, there will be a competition caution at lap 290 to allow teams to check tire wear and adjust accordingly.
“There are very few things Nascar and Speedway Motorsports Inc. (owner of NHIS) agree on, but we whole-heartedly agree on this”, said Nascar chairman Brian France in a joint press conference with SMI chairman Bruton Smith, “and that is that teams need to have the opportunity to pit and examine their tire situations roughly 16 laps from the finish.”
France said that the decision to institute the late-race competition caution had nothing to do with the “follow the leader” racing that played out throughout most of the race, only to be halted by a late-race caution that bunched up the leaders just short of the finish.
“Wait now, there’s no way we’d allow anything like that to happen”, Smith said, cutting France’s remarks off.  “I invented this whole stage racing deal, and look at how much people love it.  I think people are going to love the strategy of teams figuring out late-race tire wear and rubber degradation just as much as they love the strategy of teams figuring out mid-race fuel strategy.”
That the mandated late caution will bunch up the field for a guaranteed late-race shootout is “…a happy coincidence”, France said, claiming that he believes that fans not only want an exciting, action-packed finish, but a day of constant discussion of pit strategy and tire monitoring.

In a break from typical competition caution protocol, teams will be allowed to fuel their cars prior to the competition caution.

“Hey, Let’s Race Two”—A Driver Between Same-Day Xfinity and Cup Races

This is the second straight week where weather has forced the Xfinity and Cup Series to run on the same day.  This makes things difficult for track staff, broadcast partners, race officials, but most importantly* drivers running both races.  Here’s a look what an average driver goes through between the checkered flag of the Xfinity race and the green flag of the Cup race on the same day.
(*—important as deemed by Nascar’s media partners)

—Pull Xfinity car up to the hauler.  Give interviews to PR flaks about how a race that’s half as long, pays half as much money, and has half the attendance and tv ratings is incredibly important to sponsors who pay half as much.

—Change out of firesuit.  Make sure there’s no cameras in the bathroom “just in case someone steals something”.

—Report to team conference room of hauler to debrief with crew chief and car chief over the race.  Make sure not to bring up bad adjustment call that cost you the race, since your Xfinity crew chief today could wind up your Cup chief tomorrow or, worse, a motor-mouthed broadcaster.

—Go to the infield care center for intravenous fluid transfer.  Deal with smart-aleck nurse asking if you want regular or premium.

—Check out Twitter account while getting fluids replenished.  See how people who take time out of their day to follow you hate you for ruining the Xfinity Series.

—Filled up with plenty of expensive fluids and feeling refreshed, check on your pit crew and THEIR replenishment efforts—remember to give them each a dollar to hit up the candy machine.

—Make the all-important change that lets the world know you’re not an Xfinity Series driver anymore, you’re a Cup Series driver for the rest of your night—change polo shirts.

—Check in for the pre-race tv show.  Get NBC and Fox confused.

—Change into Cup firesuit and debrief with team owner, checking to make sure he’s not under any sort of investigation.

—Report to drivers’ meeting.  Try hard to avoid sitting next to Brad Keselowski, not wanting to talk about the reality of consciousness again.

—Leave drivers’ meeting and check-in again on Twitter.  See how people who claim to only care about racing and nothing else are wondering if you’re gay.

—Report to drivers’ intros.  Try hard to avoid standing next to Brad Keselowski, not wanting to talk about the myth of self-determination again.

—Walk to car, meeting with sponsors on pit road.  Try to find polite way to tell millionaire who controls your career to stop leaning on your car.

—Stand for anthem.  Wonder why camera men keep shooting you when you’re just standing there.

—Get into car, waiting for call to fire engines.  Wonder why they call it that when a fire is the last thing you want in a race car.

—Start engine and do pace laps.  Try to understand what the hell Jeff Burton is asking you.

—Green flag!  Time to go racing in the most important race of the night……….until the competition caution.

Uncle Max: Kentucky Weekend Picks

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

Yeesh—what the heck happened at Daytona in the Cup race?  No, seriously—I got called in to work Saturday night because the other assistant manager quit for 24 hours so I had to miss the race.  I zonked out as soon as I got home but I caught the results the next day—dang near everyone wrecked!  Apparently this is because of “restrictor plates”, things they put in the engines to keep them from going too fast.
Now, I guess I can see why they don’t want cars going so fast that they fly into the stands.  But why not use them in other sports?  Think about it—something that stops a running back from running better than a 4.5 40-yard dash.  Something to limit a pitcher’s fastball to 95mph.  Something that stops your idiot so-called “friends” from signing up for your street-hockey team, then having them back out at the last minute to get high with your ex-girlfriend.  What?  It was 12 years ago—I’m not bitter.
Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Kentucky (total wins in parenthesis):

Truck Series Buckle In Your Truck 225 (3 wins)—Kyle Busch—come on, he’s gonna dominate this (no jinx!)

Xfinity Series Alsco 300 (5 wins)—Joey Logano—someday someone can explain to me why its a big deal when Penske hasn’t won an Xfinity race at whatever random track.

Quaker State 400:  FAVORITE (3 wins)—Kyle Busch—and watch them make a big deal about him “bouncing back” from not winning the day before.  NEXT FAVORITE (1 win)—Brad Keselowski—you can see this as a fuel mileage race, can’t you?  DARK HORSE—Daniel Suarez—and the Ch—er, Playoffs goes haywire!

Next time on “Nascar America”

Anchor: “Now, we saw a LOT of wrecks at Daytona, but at any track its the spotter’s job to keep the driver out of harm’s way.  Let’s go to our driver experts in Burton’s Garage—just how important is it to have those ‘eyes in the skies’”
To be fair, his mansion contains
the recipe for the 11 herbs & spices

Kyle Petty: “Well, first of all, I don’t know if I qualify as an ‘expert’ anymore, but seriously, without a spotter, its like racing with a blindfold on.”

Greg Biffle: “Yeah, I mean, you have to have a spotter to see what’s going on at all times.  Lord knows that you can’t watch everything all at once, especially when you’re a driver, earning all the money in the household, working long hours to bring in sponsors, putting your body on the line for the sake of finishing 19th instead of 20th.  And so of course you’re going to want to watch everything in your own domain to make sure nobody is taking anything from you—I mean, you own it, that’s YOUR SPACE.  You have every right to have your property being watched 24/7 by your own people for your own security—its just your right as a law-abiding citizen, and it is law-abiding, no matter what your ex-wife says, and I should know, I have a fleet of lawyers on my side.  And besides, we all know this is really all about that time your mother-in-law took those towels from the bathroom closet for that trip to the beach, even though I specifically told her that we had beach towels IN THE CAR.  So, yeah, the spotter is pretty important, I guess.”

Kyle Petty: “Wow.  That’s incredible.”

Anchor: “Um, yeah.  Anyways, we’ll be right back with a closer look at loopholes in retired drivers’ contracts allowing them to be let go without pay for minor contract violations.”

Bruton Smith Introduces Bum Fight Series for Kentucky Race Weekend

Hot off the success of International Speedway Corporation (ISC) including mixed martial arts fights during Friday Night’s rain delay of the Daytona Xfinity Series race, Speedway Motorsports Incorporated (SMI) chairman Bruton Smith has announced the premiere of a brand-new Bum Fights Series this upcoming weekend at Kentucky Speedway.
"Fifty years from now you'll
remember where you were when
the one guy beat up that other guy
during the rain delay"
“I invented fighting in stock car racing”, Smith said from his Concord, North Carolina offices this morning.  “Hell—when that fight happened in the 1979 Daytona 500, I was the one who told the Allison Brothers to do it—drew plenty more fans to my tracks that year!  But the time has come to bring a new style of fighting to racing fans—bum fights.”
So-called “Bum Fights” feature homeless and/or transient men fighting for small sums of money.  The controversial series enjoyed brief popularity in the early-00’s before lying mostly-dormant until the recent surge in interest in fight-based sports.
Smith went on to explain that, “Ultimate Fighting Championship has the Octagon.  That organization Nascar had at Daytona had the Decagon.  That’s why Bum Fight Series will have the Dodecagon—12 sides of hard-hitting, barely-legal action in a cage.  And it won’t just be any cage, but Bruton’s Original Mecha-Cage—metal soaked in ZMax and lit on fire!”
Next weekend’s fights, expected to take place during the pre-race when Michael Waltrip would usually desperately search out people to talk to him on-air, are still being signed up, although Smith stated that they were close to agreeing to terms with both “The Hitman Hobo” and “Big JoJo Bindles”.
“SMI continues to be the leader in stock car racing promotion”, Smith said, “from introducing spectacular pre-race shows to introducing the idea of in-race breaks.  Although to be fair, I wouldn’t have called them ‘stages’, I’d have called them ‘Bruton Bonus Breaks’”.

Smaller race track owner Pocono Raceway is said to be scurrying to introduce its own combat-sports style pre-race festivities, while Dover International Raceway is working to co-promote a local CZW “Barbed-Wire Florescent Tube Delaware Death Match” for its fall race.