Spade Racing Picks: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Darlington

Hey, Uncle Max here.  Let’s take a break from the Throwback Week festivities to present my annual NFL season preview!

NFC Division Champs: Eagles, Bears, Falcons, Rams
NFC Wild Card Teams: 49ers, Panthers

AFC Division Champs: Patriots, Steelers, Titans, Chiefs
AFC Wild Card Teams: Chargers, Texans

Closest calls for the playoffs: Seahawks, Browns
Most improved teams: 49ers, Browns
Teams that will fall off a cliff: Cowboys, Bucs

AFC Championship Game: Patriots 31-Steelers 17
NFC Championship Game: Eagles 23-Rams 20 (OT)

Super Bowl: Eagles 35-Patriots 31

CUP SERIES Bojangles Southern 500: Mystery Picker (1 win) picks Ryan Newman.  Favorite (4 wins): Kyle Busch—someone check on Mystery Picker, he might be on something…and I don’t mean Oscar Mayer Weiners.  Next Favorite (3 wins): Kevin Harvick—1880’s car in effect.  Dark Horse: Alex Bowman—a little help in the sponsorship hunt?

XFINITY SERIES SportClips VFW 200 (6 wins): Chase Briscoe—takes a guy with a little experience to win here.

Opening Up 8 Packs of 2004 Press Pass Cards—Part 2 of 2

In honor of Throwback Week, and as a preview of an upcoming offseason project, I ordered a “blaster box” of 2004 Press Pass Nascar Trading Cards—8 packs in the box (yay!), 4 cards per pack (boo!).  What were cards—and the sport—like 15 years ago?  Let’s look!

IN FOCUS: Astrology—the obsession of the bored and easily fooled alike.  While its cool to wonder if Jeff named his son after his own astrological sign, it also makes me wonder if I should name any future kids of MINE “Scorpio”.

A CLOSER LOOK: Remember those endless “Sticks n Stuff” commercials Tina Gordon was in?  Too bad—you do now!

WHAT THE?: Despite having watched a total of about 15 minutes of soap operas in my lifetime, I somehow saw the clip of Casey Mears on “Days of Our Lives”.  But why the hell was he on Party of Five?  Was he capable of looking blandly attractive while never smiling on camera? “C’mon, gimme that pensive look!  Pensiver!!!”

Opening Up 8 Packs of 2004 Press Pass Cards—Part 1 of 2

In honor of Throwback Week, and as a preview of an upcoming offseason project, I ordered a “blaster box” of 2004 Press Pass Nascar Trading Cards—8 packs in the box (yay!), 4 cards per pack (boo!).  What were cards—and the sport—like 15 years ago?  Let’s look!

IN FOCUS: Its pretty depressing that they show Mark Martin visibly going AWAY from the Cup Championship exit—maybe Richard Childress gave him wrong directions.  Also, as a Delaware resident, I can tell you that Dover’s Victory Lane does NOT have his own dedicated exit off of the Route 1 bypass.

A CLOSER LOOK: Speaking of Delaware, we get a look back to when MBNA was a thing thanks to Bobby Labonte’s “Cool Persistence” card.  Unfortunately the 2004 season wouldn’t lead to another Cup championship for Bobby—instead it led to being teammates with Kyle Petty.

WHAT THE?: While its cool that a frighteningly young-looking Kurt Busch had a dog, who the hell names their dog “Jim”?  I mean, Jimmy, Jimbo, Jim-Bob—all of those I get.  But Jim?  What, did he have a cat named Fred?

Kevin Harvick to Run 1880’s Tribute Car at Darlington

Continuing on the success of his recent Millennial and Gen-X paint schemes, Kevin Harvick and Busch Beer have announced that they will be running a Gilded Age paint scheme for the upcoming Darlington Throwback weekend.
“We’ve had a lot of success lately paying tribute to the current and most-recent generations”, Harvick said while combing a newly-grown handlebar mustache.  “But at Darlington we’ll take a look back at the fourth- or fifth-greatest generation this nation has ever seen, the one that came of age when the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty were just new ideas.”
The spanking vintage scheme
Harvick made the announcement next to a version of his number 4 Busch Beer car, covered in 1880’s slang as the two previous “generational tribute” cars had done before.
“We hope to avoid getting ‘in the soup’ at Darlington—we’ll have to ‘scrooch’ the car through turn one, but this is a real ‘corker’ of a car we got here.”, Harvick said.  “I’m just glad its not an actual car from the 19th-century, as cranking the engine after every pit stop would get pretty tiring for our pit crew.”
Harvick refused to comment on the rumor that he agreed to the promotion because he thought that it would be a tribute to Garfield the Cat, not James A. Garfield, the president gunned down early into his first and only term in 1881.

“I’m just glad that we’re out there doing something other teams aren’t doing”, Harvick instead responded.  “It was either this or the same damn scheme we run here every year with a slight difference to it.”

Spade Racing’s 2019 Throwback Week (and pre-throwback weekend picks)

This year's throwback scheme (click to enlarge)
Welcome to yet another throwback week at Spade Racing!  This year we throw back to one of the most-iconic paint schemes in Nascar history…to be run by Lake Speed.  That’s right, the infamous SPAM car, most-famous for being the thing Michael Waltrip shoved his fist in after a race.  So get back into the throwback mood because we’ll be here all the way through Labor Day!


XFINITY SERIES CTECH 180 (6 wins): Austin Cindric—AC continues his

mastery of the road course.

TRUCK SERIES Chevy Silverado 250 (7 wins): Brett Moffitt—two straight for mustache man.

Opening a Sealed Box of 2019 Donruss Racing Cards PACK 18

Recently I got a sealed box of 2019 Donruss Racing Cards—24 packs, 8 cards per pack.  Join me as I go through the entire case, pack-by-pack, to see what awaited me. (Click any picture to enlarge)

PACK 18 OF 24: Bayne, Kahne, and Keeping Sane

OVERVIEW: Another pack with very little focus on the distant past also winds up being cluttered by such recently retired drivers as Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards (no offense), as well as the involuntarily retired Trevor Bayne.  Also, more Danica.

SPECIAL SPECIAL: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. again shows just how cool the vintage Donruss look goes with the OPTIC program, although its hurt a little by the scant information on the back.  They REALLY should’ve found something to put in that second white block.

IN FOCUS: OK, lets calm down here, Donruss copywriters: Alex Bowman’s a decent driver, but he’s not yet a “CONTENDER”.  He hasn’t posted a win yet and had a decent but far from spectacular year in 2018.  Don’t go crazy on us, here!

SPOTLIGHT: Funny thing is that minus the “TriStar Motorsports” logo on his firesuit, Corey’s picture here is still applicable in 2019 with his new team!

SCORE: 2 sponsor appearances out of 10

Silly Season Preview/Updates: Its Bristol Media Sessions Baby!

For some reason Bristol race weekend has turned into a makeshift launch for “Silly Season” when drivers and teams announce their plans (or lack thereof) for the following year.  Here’s what you might’ve missed if you haven’t realized that Jayski is back in effect:
Ross Chastain is rumored for the
2nd Kaulig Racing Xfinity Series
car next year, meaning another
season of endless Watermelon
jokes by Michael Waltrip

—Matt DiBenn…DeBena…DiBenod…Matty D has been told that he will NOT be returning to the 95 car next year, becoming some fans’ 6,945th reason why Nascar is dying.  The 95 car is almost certainly going to be driven next year by Xfinity Series wunderkind Christopher Bell, unless Bell gets Erik Jones’ car (in which case Jones would be “Atwooded” to the 95).

—David Ragan has announced that he will be stepping away from full-time racing next year.  Strange that he would announce that since he only really competes at Daytona and Talladega, but ok then.

—Several drivers are up in the air as to their plans for 2020—Daniel Suarez will be entering an option year with SHR and must decide where to go to contend for wins while never actually winning.  Daniel Hemric could be replaced by Tyler Reddick in the RCR 8 car that constantly fails inspection.  And *Copy from last two years* *Paste* Kurt Busch has yet to decide where he’ll race in 2020, if at all.

—Meanwhile, drivers such as Ryan Preece and Aric Almirola have confirmed they’ll be staying with their current teams for 2020, thus making the first time in history that those drivers have been in the same sentence together, so there’s that.

Spade Racing Picks: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Bristol

My nephew requested this space to make a comment about this entry


Yeah, we’re all a little worried about him.

CUP SERIES Bass Pro Shops 500: Mystery Picker (1 win) picks Kyle Busch.  Favorite (4 wins): Martin Truex Jr.—nice try Mystery Pickers, but it’s too late to be a front runner.  Next Favorite (3 wins): Kurt Busch—1 car in first.  Dark Horse: Jimmie Johnson—can you believe that he’s a Dark Horse?

XFINITY SERIES Food City 300 (6 wins): Kyle Busch—natch.

TRUCK SERIES UNOH 200 (7 wins): Johnny Sauter—wins the first race of the Playoffs, whatever that means.

Nascar SummerSlam: The Biggest Party of the Summer (…Slam)

That’s right, WWE and Nascar are teaming up again for the biggest Sports Racing Entertainment Spectacular of the summer!  Here’s the action you can expect to see (Card Subject to Change)

NOTE—for the riveting best-of-seven series between Bubba Wallace and Kyle Busch, CLICK HERE.

Truck Series Battle Royale—each Truck Series driver competes to be the last man standing and win the most-coveted prize of the Series—an eight-race contract to drive the 8 car for JR Motorsports in Xfinity next year.

Xfinity Series Chevy Developmental Driver Scramble—John Hunter Nemechek, Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, Zane Smith, Sheldon Creed, Sam Mayer, and a masked mystery opponent known only as “El Dingero” compete for a chance to be Austin Dillon’s support driver.

Jeff “The Mayor” Burton vs. Steve “The Maine Man” LeTarte in a vocal contest to see whose voice can get higher (judged by Dale Jr.).

The Dynamic Dillons (Austin & Ty) vs. The RCR Rebels (Tyler Reddick & Daniel Hemric) for control of the RCR break room snack machine.  Guest referee Richard Childress, Guest timekeeper Chocolate Myers, Guest ring announcer Brad Childress.

Kyle “Rowdy” Busch vs. William “The Ax-alta of Truth” Byron (with manager Chad “Armadillo” Knaus), if Kyle loses he must spend five minutes as Bubba Wallace’s personal snare drum.

UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP—Kyle “The Credit Card Man” Larson vs. Clint “Itchy” Bowyer, winner no longer has to deal with being called a disappointment in 2019.

INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP—Ryan “The Buckeye Bullet” Blaney vs. Jimmie “Ol’ Seven Time” Johnson, in a carbon-fiber cage.

SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP—The Stewart-Hass Hellions (Kevin Harvick, Daniel Suarez, Aric Almirola) (with manager Tony “Slugger” Stewart) vs. The Chevy Chargers (Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott), winners also get inspection immunity next weekend.

TAG TEAM ELIMINATOR FOUR-WAY—The Roush Rockets (Ryan Newman & Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) vs. The JTG-Destroyers (Ryan Preece & Chris Buescher) vs. Coach’s Crew (Denny Hamlin & Erik Jones) vs. The Premium Jobbers (Reed Sorenson & Ross Chastain), winner becomes #1 contender to the Tag Team Championship belts held by The Penske File (Brad Keselowski & Joey Logano), loser has to employ Paul Menard next year.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP—Martin “The Pro” Truex Jr. vs. “Jumpin’” Joey Logano

Spade Racing Picks: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Michigan/Mid-Ohio

Well I hope you all enjoyed last week’s celebration of this website’s 1,000th article.  Thanks to my nephew for sending over a bottle of champagne—the headache lasted longer than the race at The Glen!
Now that pre-season football is heating up I’m getting my fantasy football league together for a milestone of our own—our tenth year!  Its been a tough go of it lately, what with two guys moving away and another swearing off any form of gambling, but I think we still have a pretty good crew to go at it.  Draft day is just a month away, and I’ll make sure we have the draft board, player decals, and—most importantly—the night off to run it!

CUP SERIES Consumers Energy 400: Mystery Picker (1 win) picks Kyle Busch.  Favorite (4 wins): Joey Logano—I’m gonna knock Mystery Picker out of the running like Bubba Wallace  Next Favorite (2 wins): Kevin Harvick—something something Ford’s backyard.  Dark Horse: William Byron—but will Chad tell him to “wreck the car” after he wins?

XFINITY SERIES B&L Transport 170 (6 wins): AJ Allmendinger—better yet, he gets to keep his finish this time.

TRUCK SERIES Corrigan Oil 200 (7 wins): Matt Crafton—wins in the last race of the regular season (whatever that means).

Bubba vs. Rowdy: Spade Racing’s Tale O’ The Tape

Sunday saw a tense battle between Darrell Wallace Jr. and Kyle Busch at Watkins Glen, boiling over into retaliation on Bubba’s part, essentially ending Rowdy’s shot at a win.  With further retaliation no doubt on the way (as well as incessant clips on commercials), here’s a comparison of the two of them in a best-of-seven series:

Bubba Wallace: Bubba (…of course)
Kyle Busch: Rowdy, The Closer, Wild Thing, The Candyman
Winner: Kyle, even though Bubba’s nickname has morphed into his first name

Cup Series Accolades
Bubba Wallace: Runner-up finish in the Daytona 500
Kyle Busch: Series championship
Winner: Kyle—not only did he win a championship, but he didn’t even need to run the first few races!
Over/Under on the number of times we
see this this weekend is infinite

Bubba Wallace: WorldWide Technology, (this space for rent)
Kyle Busch: M&M’s, Interstate Batteries
Winner: Kyle—even though WWT is donating space to Victory Junction, you can’t eat data insights

(uh-oh, Rowdy’s out to a 3-0 lead, can Bubba recover?)

Bubba Wallace: Plays drums
Kyle Busch: Smashes hand-painted guitars in front of the guy who designed it
Winner: Bubba—he never made Sam Bass run away

Team Owner
Bubba Wallace: Richard Petty, seven-time champ
Kyle Busch: Joe Gibbs, seven-time champ (four times in Cup, three times in the Super Bowl)
Winner: Bubba—nearly a tie, but The King never brought Joe Theismann to the public sphere

Fan Reaction
Bubba Wallace: Mostly cheers, except for a few racists
Winner: Bubba (“They weren’t booing you, they were saying “BOOOO-usch!”)

(its a 3-3 tie—who wins in the end?)

Who’d Win in a Real Fight
Bubba Wallace: Obviously
Kyle Busch: Assuming he doesn’t have battery acid to throw, no chance

Winner: Bubba, 4-3 overall

Spade Racing’s 1,000th Article: Max Asks Questions (MAQs)

(Editor’s Note: My sincere thanks and gratitude to everyone who has supported me from the beginning here at Spade Racing, going way back to The Outside Groove days.  The first 1,000 articles have been a blast—let’s see if we can do 2,000!)

Hi all—its me, Uncle Max!  As the resident picker here (along with the mysterious Mystery Picker), I’ve learned a lot about Nascar in the past few years.  I also know a lot about my nephew, going way back to when he was just an irritating little kid (sorry Mike, but it was true).  But there’s plenty about this site that I don’t know about, or thought you the readers would like to know.  So here it is: Mike answers my questions, which hopefully were some of yours, too.

OK, lets start with some personal stuff:
Just who the heck are you?  Well, I’m Mike Mackler.  I’m 37, single, and I live in Northern Delaware.  I’m a sales rep by day and a neurotic Nascar fan by night.

Any cool hobbies outside of writing?  Well I’ve done some amateur acting—I’ve done a short film and I’m in a documentary on beer (naturally) that’s being released locally this fall.  I love modern art and good standup comedy.  And I’m always down for a journey down a Wikipedia wormhole.

How’d you get into Nascar?  My dad became a fan after he started setting up his concession trailer at a few races.  He later opened up a permanent Nascar store (since closed) that I worked at.  That’s also how I wound up getting pit passes a few times back in my college days.

Who’s your favorite driver?  Of all time its Kyle Petty, who won the first race I ever went to (Spring Dover 1995), and promptly never won again.  I was also a big Adam Petty fan before he passed away.  Since then I’ve followed three drivers particularly closely: Ryan Newman (stopped when he left Penske), Marcos Ambrose, and Bubba Wallace.

What’s your all-time favorite race?  Fall Dover 2001, the first race after 9/11.  I was lucky enough to have pit passes and got to experience it up-close and personal.

OK, enough about you, now onto the site: 
Please explain this to me—WHAT’S WITH ALL THE DERRIKE COPE JOKES?!?  Years ago my dad was watching a race with a friend of his.  When Derrike Cope appeared on the telecast, my dad’s friend said “Derrike Cope’s so good-looking, he gets ALL the ladies!”.  For some reason that always stuck with me and he’s become a cult hero of mine.

So Derrike Cope’s just a joke to you?  Oh heavens no.  I’ve met him a few times and he’s been a great, friendly guy, and I have a ton of respect for his helping to start a race team from the ground up.  Plus, I sponsored his Xfinity team a few years back!
A special pre-race post-race due to the late start at The Glen

Why do you always complain about late race starts?  Two reasons—I live on the East Coast and work has me getting up crazy-early (4am!).  So a race that ends around 7pm is NOT very convenient for me.

Why don’t you do as many traditional “race recaps” immediately after the race anymore?  Refer back to the previous question.

What’s with all the wrestling references?  Like most guys I went through a pro-wrestling fandom phase in the late-90’s.  I’m still a casual fan (although I love podcasts and YouTube series that focus on wrestling’s past) and try to work in wrestling references whenever I can.

How much money do you make off this site?  Not much.  I get a very small amount from people who click on the ads on here, but otherwise I don’t get much of anything (the money I made from my book went right back into promotion.  And I don’t want to brag, but that number was in the mid-two-figures).

Why do you do it?  Because I honestly love Nascar, and I’ve always loved comedy, and writing is my favorite hobby.  Its a great way to combine the three, and if I can make someone’s day a little better by making them laugh or informing them of some new facts, all the better.

OK, now some rapid-fires:
What race tracks have you been to?  Dover (many many MANY times), Richmond, Bristol, and Charlotte (oval and Roval).  I’ve also been to Daytona for a track tour.

What track would you most like to go to?  Watkins Glen, Martinsville, or Indianapolis.

Toyota, Ford, or Chevy?  Toyota (since its what I drive).

Favorite food?  Broiled crab cake at Jimmy’s Famous Seafood or a really good pastrami sandwich.

Least favorite food?  Mushrooms.

Boxers or briefs?  Boxers.

Beatles or Rolling Stones?  Pink Floyd, but Beatles if I have to make a choice.

Beer or wine?  Beer.


Why'd you run through the screen door at my townhouse last Fourth of July?  I *told* you, I was drunk.

The mountains or the beach?  The beach.

Favorite teams outside of Nascar?  University of Maryland football and basketball (I’m an alum), New York Giants, Baltimore Orioles (in roughly that order).

Favorite TV shows?  Pardon the Interruption, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Alright, let’s wrap this up:
What’s your current goal with the website?  To keep it (and my other site, Race Shop Reviews) going into the near future and to keep improving as a writer.  Getting paid to do it would simply be a bonus.

Any big plans coming up?  Yep—I’ll be returning to the pits at Dover for the fall Xfinity race!