Spade Racing Shopping Network--Rick Ware Racing Ride

An offseason journey through the best buys, premiere products, and special specials for Nascar fans.

Have you always wanted to sit behind the wheel of a Nascar race car?  Ever fantasize about wheeling a Ford, Chevy, or Toyota around the high banks of a race track?  Well, some places might offer you ten or twenty laps by yourself, but not at Rick Ware Racing!

That’s right—for a small upfront payment, YOU can reserve your spot in the 53 Cup car for 2020!  Fulfill your dreams!  Impress your friends!  Get interviewed by weird independent podcasts!  And that’s not all!

Bring sponsorship and we’ll let YOU ruin a contender’s race!  Get in their way!  Get pilloried on social media!  Claim that Ryan Newman does it all the time!  Its all yours for the taking!

Please note that all purchasers must have a valid Nascar license, proper racing equipment, and a cashier’s check.  Team reserves the right to remove you from the car if JGR needs “seat time” for Brandon Jones next year.

Fulfill your dreams in the least-impactful way possible—become a backmarker for RWR today!!!

NEXT TIME ON SRSN: A Kyle Petty race-used hair scrunchy

Spade Racing’s 2019-20 Offseason Preview

Another season is in the books—races were run, championships were won, and in a year Jimmie Johnson’s career will be done.  But just because there’s no on-track action doesn’t mean that things stop around here at Spade Racing!

I’m looking to have two pieces a week on the site, starting next week.  One will be an entry from the “Spade Racing Shopping Network” while the other will be from an original research project I’m currently working through.

So stay tuned all the way through to Daytona!

And a reminder that my book is available for purchase right here!

Jimmie Johnson’s Replacement: Who Will It Be?

The Nascar world was rocked today by the news that Tyler Reddick considered naming his unborn child “Ryker” before settling on “Beau”.  Sliding under the radar was the news that Jimmie Johnson would retire from full-time driving after the 2020 season.  While Hendrick Motorsports has seen better days, a fully-funded car for a major team is quite the plum ride (and I’m not just talking about Ally’s paint scheme).  So who will get the nod to drive the 48 in 2021?  Here’s the top candidates:

Kyle Larson
WHY HE MAKES SENSE: He’s shown he can compete even while driving for a “good but not great” team like Ganassi.  He’s tangentially connected to HMS through Ganssi’s use of Chevy’s and HMS engines.  And he seems to be a free-agent after the 2020 season, although Nascar contracts seem to be barely worth the paper they’re printed on (especially if they use something with a really fancy watermark).
WHY HE DOESN’T: He’s repeatedly said he’s faithful to Chip Ganassi for signing him without any funding attached.  Moving from Ganassi to HMS might not be enough of a step-up to convince him to move.  And if he leaves the 42 car, he’ll have no more chances to run Kyle Petty throwback schemes at Darlington!

Noah Gragson
WHY HE MAKES SENSE: He’s already in the HMS system via JR Motorsports, and seems to come with sponsorship as well through Switch.  He’ll have two years of Xfinity experience under his belt by 2021.  And it doesn’t hurt that “Noah Gragson” lends itself to some pretty cool nicknames (The Gragster?  Agro-Grag?  No-ahhhhhyeeeeeah?)
WHY HE DOESN’T: He hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in Xfinity this year.  He’s super-young and might not react well to the pressure of replacing Jimmie Johnson.  And he’s from Las Vegas, and the last time we had a Vegas driver in a Hendrick Chevy, we had Kyle Busch’s soul-patch.

Ross Chastain
WHY HE MAKES SENSE: He’s already in the Chevy system as a driver for Kaulig Racing.  He’s shown that when given decent equipment, he can win races.  And just think how many wins he’ll have under his belt after 2020…under his belt so that Nascar doesn’t take them away again for failing inspection.
WHY HE DOESN’T: He came up the same way as Alex Bowman, who hasn’t exactly dominated in Cup so far.  He supposedly has a developmental deal with Ganassi.  And do you really want even MORE stories about how he’s just a simple watermelon farmer blah blah BLAH…
SPADE RACING ODDS: 10:1, goes to 5:1 if Larson re-ups with Ganassi.

Clint Bowyer
WHY HE MAKES SENSE: His deals with Stewart-Haas Racing have been pretty short, likely leaving him free to leave in 2021.  He’s arguably the top driver in Nascar with a lack of sponsorship.  And it doesn’t hurt that he’s friendly with just about everyone in the sport…well, except for Jerry Stazowski, Nascar official—and HE KNOWS WHAT HE DID.
WHY HE DOESN’T: He’ll be 41 years old next year.  His performance seems to have, at the very least, leveled-off.  And he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy Ally would align with (“I’m Clint Bowyer, and after a hard night of racin’ and partyin’, I like to wake up and check on my money market accounts online!”)

Bubba Wallace
WHY HE MAKES SENSE: Should be virtually unattached to any team or manufacturer after the 2020 season.  Has shown he CAN compete when he has good equipment.  And he has the rarely thing of all in 21st-century Nascar—a personality.
WHY HE DOESN’T: “Awkward” is the best way to describe his relationship with Alex Bowman.  He has a tendency to tear up equipment.  And the last time a former Petty driver wound up at Hendrick Motorsports, it was Wally Dallenbach Jr.

Chase Elliott Clone
WHY HE MAKES SENSE: Would come with familiarity with the HMS system.  Has tons of sponsorship appeal.  And could split Nascar’s biggest driver fanbase without destroying it.
WHY HE DOESN’T: Cloning doesn’t exist yet.  Side-effects remain unknown.  And if both Chases fight each other it could cause the entire time-space continuum to implode.

Mystery Picker FINALLY Revealed

Behold: Mystery Picker!!!

That’s right—two years ago I came up with the idea of rolling a 60-sided die and using the system listed below to pick race winners.  The number would correspond to the season long points at that, uh, point.  Did ok for me last year but did terrible this year.

Goodbye Mystery Picker, you had a mediocre run.

Spot in points--number of "sides" on the die (number on die)
01—5 (01,26,47,57,60)
02—4 (02,27,48,58)
03—4 (03,28,49,59)
04—3 (04,29,50,)
05—3 (05,30,51)
06—3 (06,31,52)
07—3 (07,32,53)
08—3 (08,33,54)
09—3 (09,34,55)
10—3 (10,35,56)
11—2 (11,36)
12—2 (12,37)
13—2 (13,38)
14—2 (14,39)
15—2 (15,40)
16—2 (16,41)
17—2 (17,42)
18—2 (18,43)
19—2 (19,44)
20—2 (20,45)
21—1 (21)
22—1 (22)
23—1 (23)
24—1 (24)
25+—2 (25,46)

Kyle Busch is Your Two-Time Nascar Cup Champion!

David Ragan vs. Paul Menard: Spade Racing’s Tale O’ The Tape

Two of Nascar’s…um…competitors are retiring from full-time competition today—David Ragan and Paul Menard.  Here’s a look at their careers, both of which show that you can definitely say that they were drivers for a number of years.

David Ragan: 470 (as of Homestead)
Paul Menard: 469 (as of Homestead)
Winner: Ragan—seriously, who knew they’d been around the same amount of time?

David Ragan: 2 (plate racing)
Paul Menard: 1 (fuel mileage)
Winner: Ragan—although Menard’s skills would likely come in handy more in real-life

David Ragan: Regan Smith
Paul Menard: nobody
Winner: Menard—Menardburns stand out in a crowd

David Ragan: Ken Ragan, former Nascar driver
Paul Menard: John Menard, current billionaire
Winner: Menard—save big money by having big money at Menards

David Ragan: having Shriners sponsorship
Paul Menard: keeping the Wood Brothers pinned at 99 Cup wins
Winner: Ragan—although we all would’ve preferred if he showed up in a tiny car wearing a fez

David Ragan: TBA
Paul Menard: Matt DiBennedetto
Winner: Menard—although after a dozen or races we’ll likely be sick of him (as was done before, so shall be done)

David Ragan: Yes
Paul Menard: Yes
Winner: Tie—hard to begrudge two guys who got paid to do what we’d all do for free

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

Mystery Picker, I gotta hand it to ya.  You took advantage of MY pick, Chase Elliott, wrecking and nearly pulled off a major upset at Phoenix.  Unfortunately for you, your pick of Kyle Busch came home second, handing ME my second straight picking championship over you.
Now we have the little matter of the Championship Weekend, to be followed by the big reveal—we’ll finally all know who Mystery Picker is!!!

CUP SERIES Ford EcoBoost 400: Mystery Picker (2 wins) picks Paul Menard.  Favorite (4 wins): Denny Hamlin—maybe Mystery Picker really WAS Paul Menard (or Ryan Blaney) all along.  Next Favorite (3 wins): Martin Truex Jr.—two championships in three years?  Impressive.  Dark Horse: Aric Almirola—quasi-hometown win.

XFINITY SERIES Ford EcoBoost 300 (8 wins): Christopher Bell—a fitting way to end his (full-time) Xfinity run.

TRUCK SERIES Ford EcoBoost 200 (8 wins): Ross Chastain—championship despite missing the first few races?  How Rowdy of him.

BEER: Bottle or Can? Nascar Edition

Last night was the official premiere of Beer Can: A Love Story, a short film about the never-ending debate about beer being served in bottles or cans.  I had a small role in the movie (I hope to show you my clip as it gets wider release), but it got me to thinking—how do Nascar Cup’s stars enjoy THEIR beer?  Well, here’s my best guesses:

Kurt Busch—bottles
That time Brad Keselowski became the first
person to ever get drunk off of Miller Lite

Brad Keselowski—cans

Austin Dillon—bottles on weeknights, cans on weekends

Kevin Harvick—cans

Ryan Newman—(blocked me from getting an answer)

Daniel Hemric—shotguns cans

Chase Elliott—cans in private, bottles in public

Aric Alimorla—bottles although he prefers draft

Denny Hamlin—bottles

Ryan Blaney—cans although he prefers draft

Ty Dillon—tall boy cans

Clint Bowyer—keg-stands and makes sure everyone’s watching

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.—bottles which he breaks immediately after finishing

Kyle Busch—bottles; peels labels off as he drinks

Erik Jones—cans

Paul Menard—bottles

Joey Logano—bottles

William Byron—bottles, light beer only

Corey Lajoie—home-brews

Chris Buescher—pony-bottles

Michael McDowell—cans; one a night so he can serve as designated driver

Matt Tifft—cans (get well soon!)

David Ragan—cans BUT gave up beer for 2020 (except on special occasions)
"I don't have to actually DRINK it, right?"

Daniel Suarez—cans; gets irritated when people call it “cerveza” in the US

Kyle Larson—bottles of hard cider

Bubba Wallace—party ball

Ryan Preece—cider in bottles (pronounces it “ci-DAH”)

Jimmie Johnson—bottles of ultra-light beer, half of which he pours over his head

Alex Bowman—bottles, but hates it when they spray in his face

Matt DiBennedetto—cans, makes a big deal about it too

Landon Cassill—microbrews only

Spade Racing Picks: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—ISM (Phoenix)

Well played Mystery—well played.
I come home from vacation and see that you had the right pick for Texas.  And so you stave off elimination for another week.  Am I mad?  No way—because I *LOVE* competition.
Whether its competing with other assistant managers to get my area ready for the holidays, a spirited battle for the top seed in fantasy football, or racing someone on the highway (even if they don’t know I’m racing them), I live for competition.  So give it your best shot, Mystery!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: In the event of a win by Mystery Picker, a tiebreaker will be on standby for Homestead)

CUP SERIES Bluegreen Vacations 500: Mystery Picker (2 wins) picks Kyle Busch.  Favorite (4 wins): Chase Elliott—with Mystery Picker going safe, its time to be a little bit daring.  Next Favorite (3 wins): Joey Logano—something something OVERCOMING DRAMA.  Dark Horse: Alex Bowman—a home track win will be like a splash in the face.

XFINITY SERIES Diamond Desert 200 (8 wins): Christopher Bell—C.Bell keeps the train rolling into Homestead.

TRUCK SERIES Lucas Oil 150 (8 wins): Ross Chastain—a watermelon grows in Avondale.

ELIMINATORS—Spade Racing’s Elimination Race Breakdown

After a late race at Texas, we get a late race at Phoenix.  And that’s where the similarities end—Texas is a freaking disaster most of the time, while Phoenix has the good kinds of disasters, like mayhem and side-by-side racing.  Here’s how the remaining eight Playoff drivers look as they head to Arizona:

Gimme all your stage points, don't give up
until we're good...
CLINCHED: Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick.  Two of the safest bets this year are locked into the Homestead finale.  With virtually no chance for Truex-like ADVERSITY or Harvick-like DRAMA, Rick Allen will have to dig deep for something to ram into the ground.


GOOD BARRING A BAD DAY OR A “WIN AND YOU’RE IN”: Kyle Busch and Joey Logano.  Rowdy (22 points to the good) and JoLo (20 to the good) need to have decent runs and hope that none of the other four drivers post a win.  If one of the other drivers DOES win, however, these two will have to fight each other for the final spot—and if Denny Hamlin knocks out Joey Logano via a win, lord help us.



NEEDS HELP: Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Kyle Larson.  Hamlin (-20), Blaney (-23) and Larson (-23) will likely be in “win now” mode at Phoenix, but could sneak their way in if Busch or Logano DNF.  Luckily we should know the answer to the final four by Sunday evening—unless someone fails inspection (please, don’t ANYONE in the Playoffs fail inspection).

NEEDS A WIN: Chase Elliott.  78 points in the hole means that Chase Elliott needs to win his way in or go home after Phoenix.  Well, he was probably planning on going home anyways—its a figure of speech, people.

Joey Logano vs. Denny Hamlin: Spade Racing’s Tale O’ The Tape

Last weekend saw Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin get into post-race pit road scrap, thus giving people something to talk about all week.  But what if these two actually went at it mano a mano?  Well, here’s the Spade Racing Tale O’ The Tape!

Denny Hamlin: Middle of nowhere Virginia
Joey Logano: Middle of Middletown Connecticut
Advantage: Hamlin—hard to be intimidated by someone from “The Nutmeg State”

Denny Hamlin: Fabrication, metal works, trailer design
Joey Logano: “Waste management”
Advantage: Logano—he might not be strong, but he knows a guy who knows a guy

Denny Hamlin: Chronic back issues, also lingering shoulder problems
Joey Logano: Eminently punchable face
Advantage: Hamlin—I don’t even MIND Joey and I want to smack him sometimes

Denny Hamlin: Fight for everything never giving up an inch (exception: Tony Stewart)
Joey Logano: Push someone in the shoulder and run away
Advantage: Logano—speaking from experience, this works

Denny Hamlin: Michael Jordan
Joey Logano: Brad Keselowski
Advantage: Hamlin—nobody wants to fight a man with Charles Oakley a few calls away

Denny Hamlin: Two scrawny guys and a dude from Jersey
Joey Logano: Son of a racer, son of a racer, and a son of a billionaire
Advantage: Logano—everyone wants to punch Brad’s teeth in until you realize you have to sacrifice your fist

Denny Hamlin: Maybe you could mail someone a knockout?
Joey Logano: Coat the floor with oil
Advantage: Logano—slip sliding away

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

EDITOR’S NOTE: Uncle Max texted me his picks earlier today from his vacation.  Its also worth noting that unless Mystery Picker wins this weekend, Uncle Max will clinch the season championship and force Mystery Picker to reveal themselves at the end of the year.

CUP SERIES AAA Texas 500: Mystery Picker (1 win) picks Kevin Harvick.  Favorite (4 wins): Martin Truex Jr.—if Truex has an off weekend and Rowdy wins….  Next Favorite (3 wins): Denny Hamlin—will we get another post-race Logano impression?  Dark Horse: Brad Keselowski—yeah yeah, well he’s out of the Playoffs so he’s a Dark Horse.

XFINITY SERIES O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 (7 wins): Christopher Bell—C.Bell gets back on track.