Nascar Pick Challenge: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Darlington Throwback Weekend

The football fantasy draft is in the rear view mirror!  In case you’re still having yours (a good move since you never know who’s going to get injured in the last round of preseason games), here’s some draft hosting advice:

—Make sure there’s ample parking at your place—even if this means letting your neighbor into the league just so you can use his driveway (just kidding Chuck, we love ya!).

—Finger foods and snacks are always a good idea, but have plenty of candy and soda on hand if your draft goes long.  Never hurts to have an emergency supply of sugar handy.

—Have a fun “double-whammy” if someone selects a player who’s already been selected.  Suggestions include having them chug a beer, text an insult to their boss, or make the rest of their picks in a funny accent (for Nascar-flavor, have them do picks as Ward Burton!).

—Print up the player name cards large enough that everyone can see them.  Sorry, but not all of us have 20/20 vision.

—Above all else, have fun, good luck, and don’t take checks for payment (learned THAT one the hard way).

Xfinity Series Sport Clips VFW 200 (5 wins)—Denny Hamlin: spoiling the fun just like Mark Martin used to do back in the day.

Cup Series Bojangles Southern 500—MYSTERY PICKER (4 wins) PICKS Erik Jones.  Favorite (4 wins): Martin Truex—TruJu ruins the throwback fun.  Next Favorite (4 wins): Kevin Harvick—who knew that Busch had so many beer can designs in the 90’s.  Dark Horse: Jimmie Johnson—no better way to solidify the future (well, besides picking up steady sponsorship for 2019).

Unboxing and Unwrapping--Parts 3 & 4

3. Junior pontificates, Brad radiates, and where The King rates

OVERVIEW:  The best selection by pure-talent so far, with a nice mix of current stars with some legends thrown in for good measure.  Speaking of which, obviously Richard Petty is a legend—but he’s included in the same “legends” category in this set as Derrike freakin’ Cope.  I think you’ll find this example in the dictionary as an example for the phrase “watered-down”.

BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  Aric Almirola is still listed as driver of the 43 RPM car here, showing the issue with coming out with a card set in time for the 2018 season.  When you factor in design, marketing, and bonus insert selection on top of the already-lengthy production/printing process, its easy to see how these problems are difficult to avoid.  Maybe they could have included a small marker or pen to allow collectors to alter the cards as necessary?  “NOTE: Aric left RPM prior to the start of the 2018, making Petty fans everywhere suddenly hate him”.

PICK OF THE PACK:  You’d think it would be impossible for someone to look morose when wearing a brightly-colored M&M’s outfit, but here we are.  Nice touch by the photographer getting the start-finish line reflection in his shades—makes up for the use of the “printing error” letter style for his name.

FINAL RATING:  7 tire sets out of 10.

4. Spencer don’t care, DW’s hair, and sorry ‘bout the glare

OVERVIEW:  A pretty eclectic selection here with drivers from both the Cup & Xfinity Series, as well as a few legends thrown in.  Although, again, I don’t know how Kenny Wallace, a guy who never won a single Cup race, qualifies as a “legend”, unless you include his ability to kill time during a rain delay.  Oh, and you can tell I didn’t take photography in high school.

BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  Apparently Kyle Petty “could very well call himself the king of Rockingham”.  Wow, I sure some someone communicates this info to Kyle—it could very-well change his life!

PICK OF THE PACK:  Spencer Gallagher is the first “RATED ROOKIE” to appear in this set, and they strangely chose a shot of him looking as nonplussed as possible.  I’d like to think he’s thinking at that moment “I’ve survived dozens of Allegiant Air flights in my life, I can afford to party a bit”.
BONUS:  Darrell Waltrip with 1970’s news anchor hair!  Nice use of the card number “C4”, which could apply to the explosive nature of DW’s racing talent and brash personality, or the fact that listening to his broadcast these days makes fans want to blow themselves up.

FINAL RATING:  6 windshield tear-offs out of 10

Unboxing and Unwrapping--Parts 1 & 2

1. Outta the can with The Rocket Man and a Cubbie Fan

OVERVIEW:  Our first set is oddly situated on two different teams: Four of these drivers drove or drive for RCR (five if you count Bobby Labonte’s brief Xfinity stint for them) and three raced at one point for Roush-Fenway Racing.  In other words, this would have been an awesome pack to open in 2009.

BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  Note the use of not only major team logos on the cards, but in Austin Dillon’s case, also his “personal logo” (which I should probably hate for possibly stealing from my site, but that is neither here nor there).  Thankfully we don’t get Kurt Busch’s old “OUTLAW” logo, which was simultaneously hilarious and sad.

PICK OF THE PACK:  I swear on the ever-changing Nascar rulebook that these packs were chosen at random—and yet here we are with a Derrike Cope card in my first shot.  By the way, the card is numbered 110 out of 199, which is fitting since there’s a 110% chance that Derrike did NOT “…go out on his own terms”.

FINAL RATING:  4 lug nuts out of 10.

2. A swatch, a botch, and two guys like to watch

OVERVIEW:  TWO Cope cards in this pack (seriously, I had zero to do with this selection), but besides them and a Corey Lajoie card, seven other high-quality drivers.  With that being said, its slightly creepy how Alex & Denny appear to be intently watching Dale Jr., perhaps trying to figure out which track it is that he is the master of.  Oh, and Rookie of the Year is “ROTY”, not “ROY”, you dimwits.

BACK OF THE CARD BONUS:  BK Racing gets some love for giving Corey Lajoie “…his first opportunity to run a full-time schedule in…Cup.”  To be fair, its easy to give someone an opportunity when you’re not planning on paying them.

PICK OF THE PACK:  More Cope love from Donruss/Panini in this pack, getting a little backstory on Derrike’s pre-racing days as a baseball player.  Anybody else imagining him boring his pit crew with stories of the time he hit a five-run homer for the win?

BONUS:  It’s our first memorabilia piece!  Denny Hamlin’s firesuit gets the cut-up treatment here.  I wonder how they prepare these things for card-mounting—do they wash them first?  If not, ew.

FINAL RATING:  8 laps out of 10.

Unboxing and Unwrapping Preview (plus Uncle Max’s off-week picks)

Recently I bought a shrink-wrapped, unopened box of 2018 Donruss Panini trading cards (hobby packs).  24 packs, sealed and untouched, each containing 10 cards a piece.  That meant 240 chances to get some of Nascar’s best and brightest in cardboard form, not to mention shots at elusive “memorabilia pieces” containing swatches of fire suits and race-used tires.  Of course, that also meant the possibility of winding up with two-dozen Alex Bowman cards and five different variations on Daniel Suarez.  Join me now as I unbox the entire, um, box…and unwrap every single pack, card-by-card, in this ongoing series.
Look for the first installment this weekend, followed by regular entries (almost) every week for the rest of the season!

Xfinity Series Johnsonville 180 (4 wins)—Justin Algaier: Sneaky-good road course racer.

Truck Series Chevy Silverado 250k (3 wins)—Todd Gilliland: Arguably the hardest race of all to pick.

Kasey Kahne: Milking a Career for All Its Worth

Kasey Khane is the latest Nascar Cup driver to announce an imminent end to his full-time racing career.  By looking back at his highlights, its easy to see he’s a true legend, dairy say one of the all-time greats.

2003—Kasey Kahne defects from Ford to Dodge, joining Evernham Motorsports in the Cup Series.  Estimates of how much money Kasey had to pay Ford vary, with anywhere from 1-2% of his whole net worth going to the blue oval.
Never forget... (...that Kasey made millions
doing something he loves, and I'm some
schmuck from Delaware)

2005—After several close calls, Kahne finally squeezes out a win at Richmond.

2006—Kahne establishes himself as one of the breast drivers in Nascar with six Cup Series wins.

2008—Kasey picks up Budweiser as a sponsor.  This is as good a time as any to remind any pregnant or nursing mothers to stay away from alcoholic beverages.

2011—Kahne posts an udderly surprising win at Phoenix for the soon-to-close-down Red Bull Racing Team.

2012—After having moved to Hendrick Motorsports, Kahne posts his third win in the Mother of all races, nursing his car through 600 grueling miles.

2016—Kahne fails to lead a single lap, much less win a race, in a season he’d most-likely choose to skim over.

2017—Kasey scores a massive upset win at the Brickyard 400, something something winner of the 500 drinks milk something something.

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

Wow, I’ve been busy lately—and not just in the world of sports gambling!  Work’s been nuts ever since our location got a new district manager.  I’ve been working overtime (well, not actual overtime, just extra time since I’m an assistant manager) to get the store into perfect shape.  It doesn’t bother me too much since believe it or not, we’re about to transform the store for the holidays in a few weeks.  Better to get the work out of the way early, I say!  Beyond that I’m gearing up for a combination BBQ and fantasy football draft next week—combine those with work and its a busy time to be Uncle Max!

Truck Series UNOH 200 (3 wins)—Stewart Friesen: He finally breaks through with his Eh game

Xfinity Series Food City 300 (4 wins)—Christopher Bell: Continuing to stake his claim for a Cup ride in 2019

Cup Series Bass Pro Shops 500—MYSTERY PICKER (4 wins) PICKS Kyle Larson.  Favorite (4 wins): Kyle Busch—just too hard to pick against him at Bristol.  Next Favorite (4 wins): Martin Truex Jr.—retribution.  Dark Horse: Erik Jones—spinning out HERE can be a good thing.


Click to enlarge

That’s right—the 1996-1997 Kyle Petty Nascar Busch Series nWo car!  Hogan.  Nash.  Hall.  Petty.  (still made more sense than Brutus Beefcake).

Nascar SummerSlam: The Big Three’s Triple Threat

2018 in Nascar has been all about The Big Three—Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr.  With SummerSlam just around the corner there’ll be a triple-threat match for the Nascar Championship—here’s how they stack up:

Kevin Harvick: 1
Kyle Busch: 1 (well, sorta)
Martin Truex Jr.: 1 “…with so much adversity”
Expect a run-in from the authority
figure--well, a drive through a wall...

Kevin Harvick: Happy, The Closer, Bakersfield Basher, Power Plugs
Kyle Busch: Rowdy, Wild Thing, Shrub, Candyman, Win or Whine
Martin Truex Jr.: King of the Cookie Cutters, Bass Gas or Grass, CLAMMMMMM

Kevin Harvick: Bakersfield California
Kyle Busch: Las Vegas
Martin Truex Jr.: Dover, Pocono, Watkins Glen, New Hampshire, etc. etc. etc.

Kevin Harvick: The Smoke Show (“when you run with us, it HAAS to be a win”)
Kyle Busch: The Hogs 2.0 (“we’re not big, we’re not intimidating, we’re not likable”)
Martin Truex Jr.: The Lone Wolf (“there used to be two of us”)

Kevin Harvick: Buschhhhhh Push (shove into the back with theatrics)
Kyle Busch: Battery-ing Ram (bloody headbutt)
Martin Truex Jr.: Energy Shortage (sleeper hold)

Kevin Harvick: Aric Almirola (he has to do SOMETHING this year)
Kyle Busch: Red M&M
Martin Truex Jr: some guy from Point Pleasant (no, not DDP)

Nascar Pick Challenge: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Michigan/Mid-Ohio

I have myself a new lease for my townhouse!  That’s right, no moving for me—I’m re-upped for another twelve months.  The negotiations went surprisingly smooth—not that there weren’t a few tense moments, though.  The leasing agent was pretty tough, but I got a few concessions that I needed.  Sure, my rent’s going up a bit, but whose isn’t in this economy?  And when you factor in the costs of moving, change of address hassles, and more fuel I’d be wasting by driving further to work, it just makes more sense to spend a little more to stay where I’m at.  Now back to the REAL tough stuff—Fantasy Football Draft is on the horizon!!!

Truck Series Corrigan Oil 200 (3 wins)—Matt Crafton: Too hard NOT to pick him with no Cup guys running

Xfinity Series Rock n Roll Tequila 170 (3 wins)—Justin Allgaier: No more gambling after last week’s Xfinity debacle

Cup Series Consumers Energy 400—MYSTERY PICKER (4 wins) PICKS Denny Hamlin.  Favorite (4 wins): Kyle Busch—unlike Mystery, I have the RIGHT member of JGR.  Next Favorite (3 wins): Kevin Harvick—Happy wins in a fuel mileage thriller.  Dark Horse: William Byron—back-to-back first-time winners.

Nascar Spokesperson Keeps Changing Subject to Chase Elliott’s Win

The Nascar world has been rocked by last night’s arrest of chairman Brian France for DUI and possession—however, in a press conference earlier today, Nascar spokesperson Katie Kelley tried to steer the conversation back to Chase Elliott’s first-ever Cup Series win on Sunday at Watkins Glen.
“Now I know why you’re all here—to talk about Chase Elliott’s first win”, Kelley told the assembled media, drawing chuckles.  “But seriously, we need to discuss an even bigger issue than a second-generation driver’s first-ever win—the fact that his father, Bill Elliott, will be returning to national series competition in a few short weeks!”
Media members repeatedly asked Kelley for information on France’s current legal situation, only for her to constantly shift the tone back to Elliott’s admittedly popular win on Sunday.
“Yes, so you want to know how this affects the sport?”, Kelley replied to a reporter asking if France’s arrest would lead to sweeping changes in the sport’s leadership.  “Well, all I can say is that when someone like Chase Elliott wins, its going to really electrify the fanbase.  We all heard the cheers on Sunday after the checkered flag fell—we think the sport will be more popular than it has been in years.”
Another reporter asked about the hypocrisy of France’s hard-line stance against Jeremy Mayfield for refusing to participate in the “Road to Recovery” program, leading to this response:
“Yes, Jeremy Mayfield, who used to race as a teammate to Bill Elliott.  Remember when Bill came back to sub in for Jeremy at Watkins Glen?  The very place where his son went to victory lane on Sunday?  Crazy, isn’t it?”
The dodging of the issue continued throughout the press conference, eliciting audibly frustrated sighs from the assembled media members.  Kelley then decided to wrap up the session far ahead of usual schedule.

“Look, I know we all want more information on Chase Elliott, but its time to finish up.  You can get far more information on, which is filled with stories on the biggest headline in recent memory—Chase wins at The Glen!”

BREAKING NEWS: Bubba Wallace Announces He's Pregnant

Nascar driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. was involved in a frightening crash last weekend at Pocono Raceway, one that he survived with nary a broken bone.  Afterwards he quipped that an ultrasound determined that he “wasn’t pregnant with twins”—an announcement that he confirmed, today, was a bit premature.
“Well, this is a tough thing to announce to the world, but last week when I said I wasn’t pregnant?  Well, I spoke too soon”, Wallace told the assembled media in the Watkins Glen media center.  “Further tests confirmed that I am, in fact, pregnant for the first time.”
Wallace, flanked by both his girlfriend and his team owner Richard Petty, appeared emotional throughout the press conference, but was practical when discussing the breakdown in communication that led to last week’s original denial.
"If I paint the baby's room green, then
I'll be ok if its a boy or a girl..."
“When they did the ultrasound, they told me I wasn’t pregnant with twins”, Wallace said.  “Well, technically they were correct—I wasn’t pregnant with twins, just with one child.  With that being said, finding out you’re about to have another human being growing inside of you is NOT the best time to be told a joke.”
The forthcoming bundle of joy may cause a change of plans for the RPM race team near the end of the season, although Bubba’s due date is deep into the off-season.
“Listen—this pregnancy deal, its nothing we haven’t dealt with before”, team owner Richard Petty said.  “If Bubba’s gotta take time off, we’ll look at that substitute driver deal then.  Besides, we might be able to pick up some sponsorship from a diaper company.”
Wallace said he has already begun eating better, researching parenting techniques, and shopping for paternity clothes.
“This is going to be a big change in lifestyle for my girlfriend and I, but we’re ready for it”, Wallace said.  “There is only 1 driver pregnant with child at the top level of our sport..I am the 1.  You’re not gonna stop hearing about ‘the pregnant driver’ for years.  Embrace it, accept it, and enjoy the journey..”

When reached for comment, Aric Almirola said he couldn’t believe that RPM would let a pregnant driver race.

Nascar Pick Challenge: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Watkins Glen

Well, I don’t have any new info on my search for the identity of “Mystery Picker”, although it was nice to beat him good this past weekend—just goes to show you that sometimes crazy strategy (like picking Alex freaking Bowman) doesn’t work.
Speaking of which, I’m going with some crazy strategy of my own next week—its renegotiation time for my rental townhouse.  Rent’s been pretty reasonable here since I moved in, but that was mostly because I had a good relationship with my old landlord.  Now with a new company in charge, their offer is about 30% higher than what I pay now—insane!  But I have a little insane of my own—time to tell them I’m looking to BUY a house, and would only re-sign with them if the rent stayed the same.  Wish me luck!

Xfinity Series Zippo 200 (3 wins)—Austin Cindric: Gutsy strategy pays off

Cup Series Go Bowling at The Glen—MYSTERY PICKER (4 wins) PICKS Ryan Blaney.  Favorite (4 wins): Kyle Busch—I’ll just keep riding this train, thank you very much!  Next Favorite (3 wins): Martin Truex Jr.—a win at one of his many many home tracks.  Dark Horse: Daniel Suarez: about that time for a flukey breakthrough.