Roush Fenway Racing Pledges to Maintain Level of Excellence for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Matt Kenseth

After the shocking announcement that champion driver Matt Kenseth would be returning on a part-time basis to Roush Fenway Racing, questions emerged as to if RFR would be showing favoritism to their new addition to the 6 car.  However, team officials have pledged that they will continue to supply the same level of excellence to both their drivers—Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stenhouse discussing the future with
co-owner Jack Roush
“Just because we have a former champion coming back into the fold, that doesn’t mean that we won’t be giving it our all when he’s not around”, said RFR spokeswoman Maura Alvin.  “We’re a two car team, and we’re going to try to win every chance we get with BOTH our drivers—Matt Kenseth AND Ricky Stenhouse Jr.”
While showing speed at restrictor plate and short tracks, RFR has encountered a slump in the past few years, something many in the sport have attributed to a lack in driver skill.  Alvin, however, shot down those accusations.
“Look, we have a former champion in Matt (Kenseth) coming back to the team, so of course we’re excited about that.  But let’s not lose sight of the driver he’s joining here—Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is a winning driver with sponsor appeal.  He’s still going to be a big part of our future while we work in the present towards getting him into the Playoffs.”
Stenhouse, for his part, seemed to take the announcement in stride.
“I’m surprised you’re asking me about this”, Stenhouse said when reached for comment.  “I really see things as being business as usual for us at RFR.  Just because we’re being joined by Matt (Kenseth) again doesn’t mean things will be any different for us.  Besides, I’m confident that with two Cup Series wins under my belt, the team knows I’m not a one-win wonder—if that was the case, I’d be lucky to even have a job.”

Nascar Pick Challenge: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Talladega

Not to make excuses, but I’ve had a bit of a tough run of it lately.  I mean, I’ve been busy with work dealing with a new store manager, my car is still giving me problems, and the new company that’s managing my townhouse is trying to nickel-dime me on utilities (who the heck makes a renter pay for water?!?).  Again, no excuses—its been a rough start to the year.  With that being said, its time to start a turnaround here for ol’ Uncle Max.  And there’s no better place to do it at than at Nascar’s most-random track, Talladega, right?  RIGHT?!?

Xfinity Series Sparks Energy 300 (1 win)—Ryan Reed: The plate track “master” continues his “mastery”.

Cup Series Geico 500—MYSTERY PICKER (3 wins) PICKS Aric Almirola.  Favorite (1 win): Ricky Stenhouse Jr.—bit of a Danica connection in the top picks this weekend, but I make the right one.  Next Favorite: Jimmie Johnson—he has to get back in the groove eventually, right?  Dark Horse: Jamie McMurray—controversy equals success?

Trophy Room

Plenty of Nascar tracks offer iconic trophies, such as Daytona’s Harley J. Earl “Firebird I”, Dover’s Miles the Monster, and New Hampshire’s gigantic lobster.  Here’s a look at some other noteworthy trophies from around the Nascar circuit:

Pocono: Bronze statue of Shecky Fineman, #1 Catskills Comedian of 1965
Best way to scare the hell
out of kids?

California: Life-sized replica of an Auto Club Speedway grandstand seat…and just like in real life, its empty

Las Vegas: Coupon for $1.99 breakfast buffet at the Sands (valid Monday-Thursday 6-9am)

Sonoma: 1’x1’ patch of brown, lifeless grass from the premises

Chicagoland: Option to purchase intellectual property of Chicago Motor Speedway from Chip Ganassi

Atlanta: Golden-plated Chase Elliott Napa hat

Talladega: Diorama of drunk idiots throwing beer cans at Jeff Gordon’s car

Phoenix: Platinum dogleg

Kansas: Apology from ISC for building such a boring track

“Buy My Book!  Buy My Book!  Buy My Book!”
Did you know that I have a book out?
And that its for sale in both paperback and Kindle formats?
And that its very reasonably priced?
And that its available on Amazon via
Well, now you do—buy one today!!!

John Hunter Nemechek Clears Sunday Schedule “Just In Case”

Xfinity Series driver and Ganassi Racing developmental driver John Hunter Nemechek has just cleared his schedule for this upcoming Sunday “…just in case”
"I bet a yellow "M" would look great on this firesuit"
“Well, as a driver, I need to be ready at any time”, Nemechek said.  “That’s why at around 9:30pm (ET) tonight, I made sure I didn’t have anything going on this Sunday.  I mean, you never know when you’re going to have to run a race, and that’s job #1 for me.”
Nemechek said that, if something were to happen that would cause him to race on Sunday in the upcoming Cup race, he would be sure to be an asset to the Ganassi Racing team.
“I’m all about learning, but more so, I’m here to help”, Nemechek said after booking a flight from the Charlotte area to central Alabama.  “I mean, when I’m out there, its all about helping my teammate.  I’m never going to argue with anyone on my team—and I’m certainly never going to confuse them with another driver, like, oh, I dunno, Kurt Busch for instance.”
Nemechek refused to say what the cause was for the recent change of plans, but seemed to intimate that he was ready if his team should need him.
“I’m ready, willing, and able, if the need should arise”, Nemechek said.  “You know what Douglass Adams said: ‘Don’t Panic’.  And he also pointed out what the answer to life, the universe, and everything is too, y’know.”

Nascar Pick Challenge: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Richmond

A win!  Finally, a win in the Cup Series!  My luck is finally turning around!  I mean, you’ve seen how bizarre its been to start the year for me, right?  And if it wasn’t for Mystery Picker’s obsession with Kevin Harvick, I’d be leading this little competition.  But the comeback started Monday, and it will continue Saturday evening.  Because Uncle Max is back, baby!

Xfinity Series ToyotaCare 250 (1 win)—Austin Cindric—an exciting race with no Cup guys to ruin it.

Cup Series Toyota Drivers 400—MYSTERY PICKER (2 wins) PICKS Kyle Busch.  Favorite (1 win): Joey Logano—nice to see the Mystery Picker ripping ME off for a change.  Next Favorite: Kyle Larson—Chevy gets back on track at a non-aero track (for real this time).  Dark Horse: Chase Elliott—Hendrick FINALLY gets it turned around (for real this time).

Local Tire Distributor Makes Bid for Nascar Contract

After a start to the 2018 season that has seen numerous issues related to tires—which are exclusively provided by Goodyear—a new competitor has offered to take over the contract—Clay Stevens Tire Warehouse. 
“We’ve been providing excellent service at discount prices to residents of the tri-County area since my father founded this company in 1947”, said Clay Stevens Tire Warehouse co-owner Al Stevens. “We’ve been looking to expand beyond our home base of six locations, and we feel that Nascar would make a perfect method to do that.”
Stevens said that his chain, famous for its “Buy 11 tires and the 12th’s 50% off!” loyalty program, has the personal touch and flexibility to serve the world’s biggest stock car racing series. 
“I always tell my managers that if there’s a problem they can’t solve to call me ASAP”, Stevens said. “It’s not how many customers we serve, it’s how well we serve our customers.
“Besides, with Goodyear, all they offer is the Goodyear Eagle. Now, that is a fine tire, but we can offer a wide variety of tire options from various brands that will handle best on any type of road or racetrack.”
Stevens said that he has had experience dealing with spikes in business (specifically the “pothole madness of 2013”) and would be able to handle the nearly 5,000% increase in business that would come his way if such a contract were to be approved by Nascar.
“We treat everybody fairly, so teams can be assured that while we might not have as many sets of tires available at Goodyear, we’ll have the right tire at the right price. Besides, it’s not like Goodyear’s been at that great at keeping up inventory lately, am I right?”

Kyle Busch Wins Race Moved Up To 1am Start Time

Kyle Busch continued his mastery of Bristol Motor Speedway, winning today’s Food City 500 from the pole in a race which started shortly after 1am ET due to threats of rain in the area.
“It’s great get back to victory lane here at Bristol”, a noticeably drowsy Busch said after the win.  “This really goes out to all the guys on my crew who were able to get us some decent cups of coffee today.  Or is it this morning.  Or tonight?  I don’t know—all that matters is that we won, and I can go back to bed by sun-up.”
The race’s start time had originally been scheduled for approximately 2:15pm ET today.  However, threats of rain in the area saw the start time originally pushed back about an hour to around 1pm ET.  Upon further consultation with area meteorologists, however, the start time was progressively moved further and further back throughout the day on Saturday, with track officials eventually settling on a 1am ET start time to avoid any and all weather issues.
“Everything we do, its all for the fans”, track owner Bruton Smith said in the official statement before the start-time was cemented at 1am ET.  “And we know that fans will come out at any time with any notice to see one thing—me…wait, I mean, racing.”
The race was aired live on Fox, bumping originally scheduled programming of skin cream infomercials and “Living Single” reruns.  Local officials around the track were said to be OK with the start time change, as it was discovered that nobody lives within five miles of the track.
“We were OK with Bristol moving their start time to the overnight hours, after consulting with our media partners.”, Nascar Chairman Brian France said from his Daytona Beach offices.  “In fact, we hope that this expands our market reach into the coveted ‘Haven’t Slept for Five Days due to Fear of a Heart Attack’ Market.”
The race itself, meanwhile, featured 28 different leaders, three fist-fights following wrecks, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. running as a relief driver.

Nascar Pick Challenge: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Bristol

Well, last week was rough.  And I’m not just saying that because my Cup pick finished dead last.  Remember the car trouble I was telling you about?  Well, just my luck that i finally got the money together, got everything taken care of—and I get a flat tire.  So there I was, on my way home from work, stranded on the side of the road.  Thankfully I had roadside assistance, but there’s nothing quite like trying to make awkward conversation with a guy you just met at 11:30pm.  Besides that there’s a big shakeup happening with management at work, so I’ve been working plenty late to try and impress the visitors from regional headquarters.  Here’s hoping I have better news for you with next week’s picks—and some more wins to my name!

Xfinity Series Fitzgerald 300 (1 win)—Brandon Jones—JGR sweeps the top three spots with no help from the Cup brigade.

Cup Series Food City 500—MYSTERY PICKER (2 wins) PICKS Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Favorite: Kyle Busch—oh, so the Mystery Picker’s getting a little cocky, eh?  Next Favorite: Kyle Larson—Chevy gets back on track at a non-aero track.  Dark Horse: William Byron—upset of the season (so far).

Spade Racing Movie Previews: Spring Preview

Its that weird time of the year when it could be 80 degrees and sunny one day and 40 degrees and rainy the next, with wind and snow in the forecast.  There’s no better way to avoid Mother Nature’s mood swings than in a climate-controlled movie theater.  Here’s a look at some upcoming movies with a Nascar theme.

20 Weeks—new fans react to being over four months into the season and realizing they’re only at the halfway point.

Overboard—Fox producers work their hardest to create rivalries—Harvick vs. Larson, Hamlin vs. Wallace Jr., Waltrips vs. Senility.

The Rider—an animated movie about a bug that latches on to a car during an Xfinity Series race.  Since the car belongs to RSS Racing and is driven by Jeff Green, this will be a short film.

Rampage—Jimmy Spencer returns to Nascar to explain what’s wrong with kids today.  Tagline: Still at large.  Very, very large.

Armed—a bored Carl Edwards decides to enter the non-lucrative world of competitive arm wrestling.

I Feel Pretty—Darrell Waltrip deals with the world seeing his hair without a dye-job (documentary).

Racer and the Jailbird—(insert Gene Haas and/or Rick Hendrick joke here)

NascarMania: Showcase of the Mortals

Tonight is the night—NascarMania, the grandest stage race of them all!  Here’s a look at the scheduled bouts (Card Subject to Change)

PreShow presented by

Jimmy Spencer The Giant Battle Royal—30 drivers compete to win a golden hairpiece

Truck Series Tag Team Challenge—The Stalwarts (Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter) vs. KBM: The Next Generation (Todd Gilliland and Harrison Burton) vs. The International Experience (Stewart Friesen and Brett Moffitt, ‘fighting under the flag of Japan’)

Main Show “Curtain Jerker” Bouts

Matt “Second to None” Tifft vs. Daniel Hemric “Flair”—winner gets to replace Ryan Newman in 2019

Austin “AC” Cindric vs. Chase “CB” Briscoe vs. Ty “No Initials Needed” Majeski—winner will be Austin Cindric, even if he loses

Preliminary Bouts
First Win Six-Pack Scramble—Erik “Jonestown” Jones, Alex “Zona Zoomer” Bowman, William “The Lord” Byron, Chase “Naughton Jr.” Elliott, Daniel “Hey Nineteen” Suarez, and Ty “Big Face” Dillon compete to become the next first-time winner in Cup

Denny “Special Delivery” Hamlin vs. Bubba “I Already Have a Nickname” Wallace Jr.—loser must leave the rec basketball league

Lumberjack Match—Kyle “The Golden Elk” Larson vs. Kevin “Too Many Nicknames” Harvick—the ring will be surrounded by media members trying to incite a fight between the two

Championship Bouts

Tag Team Championship--The Welcome-ing Committee (Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon) vs. The Jack Pack (Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne)

Intercontinental Championship--“Steely” Daniel Suarez vs. DJ “Tanner” Kennington

Six-Man Tag Team Championship--The Penske Posse (Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney) vs. Smoke’s Speedsters (Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, and Aric Almirola)

World Nascar Championship--Kyle “Man of 1,000 Nicknames” Busch vs. Martin “The Turnpike Terror” Truex Jr.

Nascar Pick Challenge: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Texas

First off, congrats to my nephew Mike on his first-ever book, available now on Amazon via!  I’ve thought about doing some writing of my own, but I’m guessing there isn’t much of a market for strategies on how to win your office Stanley Cup Playoffs pool.  Which, I might add, I have done for four years in a row.  Sure, only one other guy does it, but why let a lack of enthusiasm get in the way of success.
Let’s get to the picks quickly—I’ve been busy all week dealing with car trouble.  Nothing like having a transmission slowly going south right around the time you’re overdue for an oil change and a tire rotation.

Xfinity Series My Bariatric Solutions 300—Ryan Blaney—could this be a prelude to his first Cup win of the year?

Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500—MYSTERY PICKER (2 wins) PICKS Kevin Harvick.  Favorite: Martin Truex Jr.—what’s Mystery Picker’s obsession with Happy?  Next Favorite: Ryan Blaney—right about that time.  Dark Horse: Erik Jones—EJ gets his first Cup Series win.

The First-Ever Book From Mike Mackler of Spade Racing—NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!!!

Yes, for the first-time ever, a book from Spade Racing’s webmaster/head-writer/janitor—“100 Stock Car Racing ‘What Ifs’ Unauthorized”.  BUY IT NOW ON PAPERBACK OR KINDLE.  From the back cover:

Nascar has a long and storied history, but it also has a past littered with “What If?” questions.  Join author Mike Mackler as he takes a look back at stock car racing’s 100 most-intriguing hypotheticals:
—What if Jeff Gordon had gotten a ride in IndyCar?
—What if Curtis Turner was never banned by Nascar?
—What if restrictor plates were never implemented?
and 97 other varieties of the most-interesteing question of them all: “What If?”

This book has taken me months to read, and it would satisfy me immensely if you, the loyal reader of Spade Racing (yes, you!) would buy a copy, either on paperback or on Kindle.  And don’t worry—things are staying the same here at Spade Racing with plenty of fun and frivolity throughout the 2018 season.

Also available via