Denny Hamlin, Michael Jordan, Bubba Wallace, Shaquille O’Neal and Bobby Labonte All Rumored to Buy Into RPM

A wild week of rumors has circulated around the future of Bubba Wallace—and the team he currently drives for, Richard Petty Motorsports. With the team a hot property, luminaries such as Denny Hamlin, Michael Jordan, Cam Newton, and Kurt Busch have all been linked in one way or another to investing in RPM. 

A past crowd at Daytona, many of
whom may become investors
in RPM

“Right now we’re looking at every option for 2021–I have an offer on the table from Chip Ganassi, but I hope to stay here at RPM”, Wallace said earlier today. “Whether outside investment comes from Denny Hamlin, Michael Jordan, Nick Foles, or Michael Andretti, a new influx of cash would be just what we need to go from being three years away from contending to being two and a half years away from contending.”

“Michael is currently not engaged with any plans to invest in any Nascar team”, a spokesman for Michael Jordan said yesterday in a prepared statement. “Michael values his relationship with Denny Hamlin but is not involved in any motorsports ownership endeavors with any Jordan Brand athletes, from Mookie Betts to Neymar.”

Hamlin was much less definitive in his denial. 

“Am I working on my future? Yes. Could that future involve buying into a race team with someone like Aaron Judge, Dario Saric, or Fernando Alonso? Perhaps. The only thing for sure about Denny Hamlin is that nothing’s for sure.”

The mid-level RPM team has been rumored to switch to Toyota as a condition of new investment from Hamlin, Jordan, Matt Kenseth, or Jaromir Jagr. Such a change is just one in an already active “Silly Season”. 

“Who knows what the future holds for Nascar in 2021”, Wallace said in a follow up interview. “Does Erik Jones go to Hendrick Motorsports? Does Clint Bowyer move to the booth? Do I get Brandon Jones as a teammate with additional investment from Patrick Mahomes and Tony Pedregon? Nobody knows for sure.”

The RPM team is currently primarily owned by investor Andrew Murstein with minority stakes held by Richard Petty, Bubba Wallace, and possibly by Christian Fittipaldi, Cal Ripken Jr, or John Cena. 

Uncle Max vs. Last Year’s Winners: Daytona/Gateway

Its time once again for Uncle Max’s NFL Season Preview Spectacular.  Just as exciting as in the past with the depressing knowledge that the entire league could shut down at any time.  Here we go:

PLAYOFF TEAMS (*—best conference record)


East: Cowboys

North: Vikings, Packers

South: Saints

West: *49ers, Rams


East: Patriots, Bills

North: Ravens

South: Colts, Titans

West: *Chiefs

Most Improved Teams: Washington Football Team, Chargers

“Got Old in a Hurry”: Seahawks, Steelers

“9-7 will win the division”: AFC South

Barely Missing the Playoffs: Eagles, Chargers

Worst Teams: Lions, Browns

NFC Championship Game: Vikings over 49ers

AFC Championship Game: Chiefs over Ravens

Super Bowl: Chiefs 49-Vikings 35

Friday Night XFINITY SERIES Wawa 250 (4 wins) Noah Gragson—pushed to victory by teammate Justin Allgaier.

Saturday Night CUP SERIES Coke Zero 400.  LAST YEAR’S WINNER (6 wins) William Byron*  FAVORITE: (2 win) Denny Hamlin—closing out a dominant regular season in style.  NEXT FAVORITE: (2 wins) Kevin Harvick—see previous entry.  DARK HORSE: (0 wins) Bubba Wallace—might as well go for the big upset.

*—since last year’s winner (Justin Haley) isn’t entered in the race, this pick goes to last year’s runner up.

Sunday Afternoon TRUCK SERIES WWT 200 (3 wins) Sheldon Creed—the GMS train keeps on rollin’.

2020 Donruss Panini Nascar Cards Unboxing PACK 19

Continuing a tradition of limited esteem, Spade Racing bought, unboxed, and unpacked a sealed box of 2020 Donruss (Panini) Nascar trading cards.  Join us as we go through each eight-card pack to find the good, the bad, and the downright weird.

PACK 19—Many-a Young Gun Having Fun with Little Sun
Lots of youth in this pack, but also a reminder that I think gets ignored too often—just how, well, PALE most race car drivers are.  These guys (and gal) are pastier than I, which is pretty damn pasty.  Maybe developmental programs can institute a few hours at the beach every month.

FIRST THING’S FIRST: When you have your text box set up for about 15 letters, and a guy with three names shows up.

SECOND LOOK: This Chase Briscoe Optic card simultaneously shows off his lack of sponsorship while also obscuring the thing he got the flag for.

TO THE BACK: Its nice to see that William Byron and I have something in common (well, besides pastiness)—a fear of heights.  To be honest, when you have separation from land anxiety, getting a few feet up in the air really is “Action Packed”.

FINAL SCORE: 5 Nascar Next candidates out of 10

Nascar for Newbies Part 9--Frequently Asked Questions

Hello, and welcome to the wonderful world of Nascar!  If you’re a new fan of stock car racing, this is the place for you!  In this ten-part series we’ll take a look at what you should and could know about America’s #1 auto racing organization.  Let’s get started!

9. FAQ’s—Quirks and Questions

There’s plenty of questions you may have when watching a race.  Here’s some of the most-common ones

Are Nascar drivers athletes?  Its a subjective question, but the short answer is YES.  The long answer is that driving a race car requires split-second reflexes, perfect hand-eye coordination, and the ability to survive temperatures up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit HOTTER than outside the car.  While not all drivers look like the picture of physical fitness, there is a definite athletic aspect to racing in Nascar.  And hey—its a heck of a lot more taxing on the body than golf.

Why are the races so long?  When Nascar moved into the “modern era” in the 1970’s the races were all about showing the endurance of the cars and drivers.  Once the sport moved onto TV on a regular basis, networks saw 3-4 hour blocks of sports broadcasting that they could pack full of commercials.  So the less racing there is, the less commercials there are, and the less money Nascar gets from their TV deals.

What if a driver has to…go?  Ah, the age-old question.  Its excruciatingly hot in a race car—it can reach over 130 degrees Fahrenheit on a hot day.  This, combined with layers of fire-retardant safety gear, means that a driver can sweat out literally POUNDS of fluids.  So even if a driver is gulping down water, they’re likely to sweat it out.  But yes, if nature does call, they’ll likely, well, pee in their suits.  Thankfully its usually so hot in there that it evaporates in minutes.

Standard Nascar oval track

Why are most Nascar races on ovals?  American auto racing has its roots in the early-20th century, back when the biggest sport in the country was still horse racing.  Since most horse tracks were ovals—and had the largest grandstands for paying fans—auto racing developed on these same ovals as well.  When Nascar started, founder Bill France Sr. used Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a benchmark of success, at a time when Indy-style racing was done primarily on ovals.  Furthermore, ovals provide fans with the best view of most of the race track, while taking up the smallest amount of space as opposed to a winding road course.

Why don’t they turn right once in a while on ovals?  First, cars turn left on ovals for a pretty simple reason—because horses turn left on ovals in North America (the reasons for this are unclear).  Because race cars are more purpose-built than ever before, safety measures in the car are made to protect the driver assuming that they’re on the side of the car closer to the infield, as opposed to being closer to the outside wall.

What’s the “free pass”?  When the yellow caution flag comes out, the field is frozen in reference to position—so a car in, say, ninth place is automatically locked into ninth place as long as they can maintain pace car speed.  Previously, a caution flag wouldn’t come into effect until the leader crossed the start-finish line.  This would allow drivers laps down to possibly “unlap” themselves by passing the leader.  A number of dangerous situations where lapped cars nearly collided with crashed cars saw Nascar implement the current “frozen field” rule.  However, to allow cars to unlap themselves, the Free Pass Rule was put into effect—this states that the first car a lap down when a caution comes out is put back on the lead lap, as long as they themselves didn’t cause the caution.  This is sometimes called the “Lucky Dog” since when introduced, it was sponsored by Aaron’s, which had a mascot named “Lucky Dog”.

What’s the “Wave Around Rule”?  Say a caution flag comes out.  The lead lap cars all pit.  Any cars a lap down who don’t pit would file behind the pace car, followed by the lead lap cars once they leave pit road.  This led to these cars that hadn’t pit unlapping themselves, but being on the tail end of the lead lap.  To eliminate confusion, the Wave Around Rule was put into place, which sees any of these formerly lapped cars allowed to be “waved around” the pace car and join the lead lap in the back of the pack.

Why are most of the drivers white guys?  In the early days this was simple—it was because the sport was predominantly followed by white southerners at a time when women were discouraged from pursuing a career in motorsports—not to mention that race team owners weren’t the most “woke” people in the world.  As the world and sport have modernized the makeup of the driver roster has changed somewhat, but has remained mostly white and male.  This is mostly due to sponsorship—it costs lots of money for a driver to make their way from the local tracks to the Cup Series, and few companies are willing to take a risk on someone they could feel the race fans could reject.  To mitigate this, Nascar has instituted the Drive for Diversity program, a sort of racing scholarship program for women and minorities.

Can you pass a car under caution?  Not really.  If a car stays on the track during the caution period—and doesn’t fall below pace car speed—it cannot gain or lose position.  However, this car can gain or lose positions if pit stops are involved.  If a car stays on the track, any cars ahead of it on the same lap who pit will fall behind it.  If a car pits, the opposite is true—any cars on the same lap that stay out will be ahead of it.  If multiple cars pit on the same caution lap, positions can be gained or lost with a fast or slow pit stop, putting a quality pit crew at a premium.

What’s the difference between the different kinds of pit stops?  The most-common by far is a four-tire pit stop—all four tires are changed, the car is fueled, and, if necessary, adjustments are made.  A two-tire stop sees only the right-side tires changed—these are the “outside” tires which take the brunt of the car’s weight in the turns, so they wear out faster.  The car is still fueled on a two-tire stop, although there is less time to get it full (and, by extension, make any adjustments).  On a fuel-only pit stop (also known as a “Splash and Go”), no tires are changed—the car only pits for the amount of time necessary to add the fuel needed to get to the finish.  The only other kind of pit stop seen is the unscheduled variety, when a car pits in order to have damaged parts and pieces repaired.

What’s with the trophies?  Older trophies were typically designed by the tracks themselves and tend to resemble, well, trophies.  Newer trophies are usually designed in tandem with the track’s sponsors and can be less of a metal bowl and more like a miniature sculpture.  One notable exception to both these rules is Martinsville Speedway, which instead gives out a grandfather clock to race winners.

What can drivers be penalized for during a race?  The most-common in-race penalty is for speeding on pit road, or crew members violating rules during a pit stop (coming “over the wall” too early, letting a tire get away, etc.).  The standard penalty for these is a “pass through” penalty—driving down pit road during a green flag.  Other penalties are made in-race for jumping the restart (hitting the gas too soon on a green flag start), intentionally causing a caution, or intentional rough driving.

Why can’t they race in the rain?  Unlike other racing series, Nascar does not race in the rain (except on very rare occasions on road courses).  This is because banked tracks require maximum grip to keep the car steady, which in turn necessitates a treadless “slick” tire.  Running on a wet surface in a car with no tread would cause the cars to hydroplane.

What does it mean when they say a car is “loose” or “tight”?  Loose means the car’s back end wants to fishtail out.  Tight means the car’s front end doesn’t want to turn.  If you hear people joking about this, its because once Nascar got a national TV deal, the announcers seemed to explain this every single race.

What’s the difference between “sticker” or “scuff” tires?  Brand-new tires are said to be “sticker” tires, since they still have their labels stuck on them.  Occasionally, teams will run a few laps during practice then immediately take the tires off.  This not only rubs off the smoothness of the tires (hence the term “scuff”) but also, once the tires cool down, the rubber becomes much harder.  This results in a tire that is much less grippy, but much more durable.

What’s the deal with the two non-points races?  The season-opening Busch Clash is a short exhibition race consisting mostly of Busch Pole Award winners from the previous season.  The All-Star Race is an exhibition race typically held the weekend before Memorial Day Weekend, consisting primarily of race winners from the previous and current season in a shorter-than-usual race.

How are car numbers assigned?  If a new team starts, it can request a number from Nascar.  If that number is available, Nascar will usually assign it without question.  However, if the desired number is NOT available, Nascar reserves the right to assign another number (typically the lowest number available).  Once a team has a car number they have the rights to that number in perpetuity, as long as they continue to run their team at least on a part-time basis.  If a team stops running, that number becomes available except in rare situations (most-famously when Nascar chose to keep car number 3 out of circulation after the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr.).  All single digit (0-9) and double-digit (10-99 and 00-09) numbers are eligible, although triple-digit numbers were used in the past.

Wait—if every number is available, then come come nobody uses number 69?  Two reasons—one, most sponsors don’t want to be associated with such an innuendo-laden number.  Also, pornographic sponsors have historically been banned from Nascar.  Besides, Nascar would be likely to refuse to assign it in the first place.

What types of tracks are there?  There’s four categories of tracks in Nascar Cup:

—Short Tracks: Tracks less than a mile long (Martinsville, Bristol, Richmond)

—Super Speedways: Tracks so long and fast that they require measures to keep speeds down (Daytona, Talladega)—these are also called “Restrictor Plate Tracks” for the restrictor plates used in the past to keep speeds down.

—Road Courses: Non-oval tracks that involve both left and right turns (Watkins Glen, Sonoma, Charlotte’s “Roval” layout)

—Intermediates—Tracks longer than .99 miles and less than 2.5 miles (everything else).

PRESS RELEASE: Timmy Hill Signs Exclusive Deal with Zagreb Ebnom, Crazy Vaclav’s

(For Immediate Release) DOVER, DELAWARE: Nascar driver Timmy Hill is pleased to announce that he’s reached an agreement to become the exclusive Nascar outlet for the famous Zagreb Ebnom automobile, in a deal negotiated with longtime dealer Crazy Vaclav’s Place of Automobiles.

Image courtesy Frinkiac/20th C. Fox

“With everything going on the world today, we were pleasantly surprised to ink such a strong sponsorship and supply partnership agreement here in 2020”, Hill said from the Dover International Speedway Media Center.  “But I’m proud to say today that ‘Zagreb Ebnom Zlotdik Diev’ is now more than just a slogan—its a way of life.”

The car—renowned for its impressive fuel mileage of 300 hectares on a single tank of kerosine—is reportedly being retrofitted for possible entry into Nascar competition in 2022.  This would require sourcing an American engine block, adding a roll cage, removing the signature “housefly hood ornament” and adding a fourth wheel, but optimism reigns.

“We hope to have a Zagreb Ebnom/Crazy Vaclav’s paint scheme on the track next week (at Daytona)”, Hill said.  “And we’re also hoping that we can have this resilient car, having survived being designed in a country that no longer exists, on the track soon.  I’m brushing up on my Cyrillic alphabet as we speak!”


Timmy Hill: “I’m really impressed with the amount of support the Zagreb Ebnom already has.  Why, half of the people in my hometown of Port Tobacco, Maryland have already called me about it—and that’s six people!”

Steve Phelps, Nascar President: “We’re always happy to see new sponsors come into the sport.  We’re also happy to see a new manufacturer show interest, if only to irritate people who keep bugging us to bring Dodge back into the fold.”

Crazy Vaclav, car dealer: “Put it in H!”

Uncle Max vs. Last Year’s Winners: Dover

I’m back!

A week of wilderness seclusion really helped my mental state AND refreshed me for the pre-holiday push at work.  Some words of advice for any other outdoorsy novices like me:

—Bring bug spray.  Lots of it.  A good gauge is that however many cans you think is too much, bring about five more.

—Canned food is a must.  A can opener is a must.  Something to cook the food is also a must.  But cutlery is a must too—unless you want to be shotgunning ravioli.

—Take some time to blow off some steam, either by hiking, chopping wood, or screaming the name of your store manager into the mountains every morning.

—Fishing is a lot like riding a bicycle, in that if you were terrible at it as a kid, you’re probably terrible at it now.

—Remember to have fun.  And if you can figure out how to have fun with zero cell reception you’re a better outdoorsman than I.

Friday Afternoon TRUCK SERIES Race (3 wins) KDI Office 200 Brett Moffitt—back on track after last weekend’s near-miss.

Sunday Early Afternoon XFINITY SERIES Drydene 200 (4 wins) Austin Cindric—pretty hard to pick against him in Penske power ANYWHERE this summer.

Saturday Late Afternoon CUP SERIES Drydene 311.  LAST YEAR’S WINNER (6 wins) Martin Truex Jr.  FAVORITE: (2 win) Kevin Harvick—another dull pick of Happy, but I need to get back to winning and FAST.  NEXT FAVORITE: (2 wins) Chase Elliott—ring the sy-REENE.  DARK HORSE: (0 wins) Jimmie Johnson—depressing that any Jimmie win at Dover could be considered an upset, but here we are.

Sunday Early Afternoon XFINITY SERIES Drydene 200 (4 wins) Chase Briscoe—if I flip Cindric and Briscoe’s race wins I’m gonna be furious.

Sunday Late Afternoon CUP SERIES Go Bowling 235.  LAST YEAR’S WINNER (6 wins) Martin Truex Jr.*.  FAVORITE: (2 win) Denny Hamlin—FedEx DID used to sponsor races at Dover…sorta.  NEXT FAVORITE: (2 wins) Joey Logano—rebounding on concrete.  DARK HORSE: (0 wins) Erik Jones—staking his claim for the 48 ride in 2021.

*—last year’s winner was Kyle Larson, so the pick moves to last year’s runner-up, Martin Truex Jr.

2020 Donruss Panini Nascar Cards Unboxing PACK 18

Continuing a tradition of limited esteem, Spade Racing bought, unboxed, and unpacked a sealed box of 2020 Donruss (Panini) Nascar trading cards.  Join us as we go through each eight-card pack to find the good, the bad, and the downright weird.

PACK 18—Two Kings, Shiny Things, and Waiting in the Wings
Some solid talent in this set, with five cards featuring four different Cup champions.  We also get shots of Jeremy Clements and Corey Lajoie where they look damn near identical.
FIRST THING’S FIRST: And there it is!  The return of Richard Petty’s “Dr. Evil” firesuit that always seems to show up in these sets.

SECOND LOOK: Donruss/Panini—why in God’s name would you choose this photo of Brad Keselowski for a card?  He looks like someone just told him there’s no cheeseburgers left on the grill.

TO THE BACK: Some nice info on Corey Lajoie’s lighter side, which helps people to forget that he openly campaigned for an open ride in 2021 despite currently racing for someone else.  Oh well—maybe he can say it was Jeremy Clements that did it.

FINAL SCORE: 7 side skirts out of 10

Spade Racing: THE ROOKIES—Mid-August Rakings

New for 2020, Spade Racing will take a monthly look at the heralded Cup Series rookie class to determine who’s hot and who’s not.  The PRETTY grade: Performance Relative to Equating Team’s Typical Year (its pretty much how well each driver is doing considering their equipment).  Here’s how things look going into today’s Daytona Road Course race:

1. Cole Custer (Stewart Haas Racing). Best race finish: 1st (Kentucky).  PRETTY grade: A.  Cole’s Kentucky win looks less and less like a fluke, being followed up by a pair of top-tens.  He gets slightly downgraded (from an A+ due to a terrible Michigan doubleheader weekend, not due to sky-high expectations (aka The Kasey Kahne Rule).

2. Tyler Reddick (Richard Childress Racing).  Best race finish: 2nd (Texas).  PRETTY grade: A.  Reddick continues to outperform his equipment, adding a runner-up finish at Texas to an impressive rookie resume.  While a win would be nice, a win based on something other than pit strategy would be even nicer.

3. Christopher Bell (Leavine Family Racing).  Best race finish: 4th (Pocono).  PRETTY grade: C+.  C.Bell’s disappointing rookie season continues—since a seventh-place finish at Kentucky he has had a five race stretch without a top-ten.  On the plus-side he’s been confirmed for the 20 JGR car in 2021—yeah, we’re ALREADY into the 2021 Silly Season.

4. John Hunter Nemechek (Front Row Motorsports).  Best race finish: 8th (Talladega).  PRETTY grade: C+.  It continues to be a mildly impressive up-and-down rookie season for Nemechek, although lately there’s been far more downs than ups.  With no top-tens since Talladega, it remains to be seen if he can be a threat anywhere other than plate-tracks.  OK, fine—anywhere other than tapered-spacer tracks.

5. Brennan Poole (Premium Motorsports).  Best race finish: 16th (Daytona).  PRETTY grade: C.  Premium Motorsports is far from, well, premium.  So for “The Bull” (yeah, that’s his nickname) simply finishing is probably the best he can hope for.  That and getting a better nickname than “The Bull”.

6. Quin Houff (StarCom Racing).  Best race finish: 23rd (Indianapolis).  PRETTY grade: D.  As bad as the StarCom cars typically are, its NEVER a good thing when your driving is used as an argument for a relegation system.

Uncle Max vs. Last Year’s Winners: Daytona Road Course

Editor’s Note—Uncle Max is away at his cousin’s remote cabin for a well-earned vacation.  He texted me these picks from a nearby Wi-Fi hotspot while complaining about bug bites:

Saturday Afternoon XFINITY SERIES UNOH 188 (3 wins) Austin Cindric—pretty hard to pick against him in Penske power on a road course…again.

Sunday Early Afternoon TRUCK SERIES Sunoco 159 (3 wins) Austin Hill—two Austins win this weekend but not 3 (sorry Austin Dillon).

Sunday Late Afternoon CUP SERIES Go Bowling 235.  LAST YEAR’S WINNER* (5 wins) Chase Elliott.  FAVORITE: (2 win) Kevin Harvick—a dull pick, but a sound one.  NEXT FAVORITE: (2 wins) Kyle Busch—getting back into the groove on a brand new layout.  DARK HORSE: (0 wins) Matt DiBenedetto—reminding people that he just might be available for 2021.

*—last year’s winner from Watkins Glen, the race/track this race replaced.

2020 Donruss Panini Nascar Cards Unboxing PACK 17

Continuing a tradition of limited esteem, Spade Racing bought, unboxed, and unpacked a sealed box of 2020 Donruss (Panini) Nascar trading cards.  Join us as we go through each eight-card pack to find the good, the bad, and the downright weird.

PACK 17—Truex, No One on Decks, and a Weird Flex
No future stars here—all legends and veterans (yes, we’ve reached the point where Chase Elliott can be considered a “Veteran”).  Nice used of black-and-white on the Bobby Allison card, by the way.

FIRST THING’S FIRST: Here we see Martin Truex Jr. with the rarely seen “I think that guy in the stands owes me twenty bucks” pose.

SECOND LOOK: No, its not blurriness—its the fact that no camera can handle the awesome yellowness of Michael McDowell’s firesuit.

TO THE BACK: Why the heck are you damning with faint praise, Panini?  Maybe pose it more as “Justin Allgaier posted numerous top-fives in 2019”, instead of “He’s not the best, but he’s the best of the rest”.

FINAL SCORE: 4 press releases out of 10

Nascar for Newbies Part 8--Picking a Favorite Driver

Hello, and welcome to the wonderful world of Nascar!  If you’re a new fan of stock car racing, this is the place for you!  In this ten-part series we’ll take a look at what you should and could know about America’s #1 auto racing organization.  Let’s get started!

8. PICKING A DRIVER—Who to Root For

While its possible to just enjoy a race for itself, things are much more fun when you have a driver to root for.  Here’s the best way to pick a favorite:

2019 Nascar Playoff lineup--courtesy US News

First time’s the charm.  Whoever wins the first race you see.  This is pretty much how I picked MY first favorite driver.  Just turn on a race or go to the track and whoever wins your first time, that’ll be your driver for the rest of their career.

What do you drive?  If you have a Ford, Chevy, or Toyota, you could pick one of their drivers for the “home car advantage”.

Lucky numbers.  If your lucky number lines up with a successful driver, pick that driver.  After all, the number is lucky for a reason.

Sponsoriffic.  Sponsorships are such a big part of the sport, they’re a good way to pick a favorite driver, too.  Maybe you love M&M’s.  Maybe you work for Dow Chemical.  Heck—maybe your name is Ally.

All in the family.  Its easy to pick the favorite driver of an older relative.  But you can keep the chain going too.  Maybe your uncle was a Bill Elliott fan, and you can be a fan of Chase.  Or perhaps your grandpa was a huge Richard Petty guy—you can be an Erik Jones backer.

Location, location, location.  More than ever drivers are from all over the country.  Check and see if any drivers are from where you are from.  Maybe you can make a hometown connection.

Prospecting.  Don’t want to jump on a bandwagon?  Pick a race and see who’s the best-finishing rookie.  Boom—you now have a new driver you can follow throughout their (hopefully lengthy) career.  Or if you like to play the long game, pick someone in the developmental series and follow them to Cup.

Social networking.  Virtually every driver today uses Twitter as a way to communicate with fans, with others also using Instagram and/or Facebook.  Follow some drivers you think you might like, and you’ll get a pretty good idea which ones’ attitudes and interests line up best with yours.

Give till it helps.  Most drivers are involved in various charities.  Find one that donates money (or time) to one that you believe in.

He’s got the look.  If you’re into guys, heck—just pick the best-looking driver you can find.

New Netflix Series “The Crew” to Dramatize Tony Raines’ 2003 Season

This weekend will see Spire Motorsports’ usual 77 car temporarily change to number 74.  It is all part of the team’s participation in the filming of “The Crew”, an upcoming Netflix retelling of retired driver Tony Raines’ 2003 Cup Series season. 

Image courtesy Jayski/Spire/Netflix

“When we looked at partnering with Nascar, we didn’t want to have another ‘The Kelleys’ on our hands”, said Netflix executive Alice Sweet.  “So we decided to base everything we did in reality, and our research led us to one conclusion—Tony Raines’ first full season in Cup needed to be dramatized on screen.”

The 74 car will partially replicate the BACE Motorsports Chevy Raines ran in 2003—the fictitious “Fake Steak” logo on the hood was used as actual sponsor Staff America refused to return the producers’ calls.  Furthermore, all information originally released about the show has been revealed to be a ruse.

“Yeah, there’s all that stuff out there about how the show’s going to be about a team owner turning operations over to his daughter who changes everything up”, Sweet said, “but lets be honest—that concept’s been done to death.  What people really want to see is how a former Busch Series powerhouse team upgraded to the premiere series, only to struggle to stay alive both on the track and in their bank accounts.  And Tony Raines means boffo box office, baby.”

Image courtesy
The first episode is expected to open with Raines working as a spotter for Kurt Busch in more recent times, only to drift off into an extended flashback to his pivotal 2003 season, focusing on his 33rd-place finish at that year’s Daytona 500.  Later episodes will deal with team owner Bill Baumgardner struggling to attract sponsorship, the explosive team meeting after failing to qualify for the Firecracker 400, and the bittersweet reaction to finishing sixth in a late-season race long after Raines had lost out of the Rookie of the Year award.

“There’s so much ‘meat on the bone’ here”, Sweet excitedly explained.  “We can have a ‘floating timeline’ and jump between, say, Raines’ season-closing streak of four-straight top-twenties and his mid-season streak of three-straight finishes outside the top-forty.  Or who’s to say that we don’t introduce a special guest appearance by someone as The Ghost of ASA to remind Tony where he came from—the possibilities are endless.”

When asked for comment about a single season of his journeyman career being turned into a Netflix series, Raines replied “wait—I’m being played by Kevin James?  Have I really put on that much weight?”

Uncle Max vs. Last Year’s Winners: Michigan/Road America

Uncle Max is out for the week!

Don’t worry, I’m not sick (yet), and I haven’t been fired by my nephew (yet)—I’m FINALLY getting that week of vacation that’s been delayed due to so many of our employees, well, quitting.  So by the time you read this I’ll be doing something I haven’t done in over a decade—camping in the woods!  Thankfully I have my friend’s uncle’s cabin to set up shop at, far away from any distractions and irritating customers.  How will I spend my time?  Lets just say that my 2020 fantasy football team will be insanely well-researched.

Friday Evening TRUCK SERIES Gander 200 (3 wins) Brett Moffitt—The ‘stache avoids a crash.

Saturday Early Afternoon XFINITY SERIES Henry 180 (2 wins) Austin Cindric—pretty hard to pick against him in Penske power on a road course.

Saturday Late Afternoon CUP SERIES Firekeepers Casino 400.  LAST YEAR’S WINNER (4 wins) Joey Logano.  FAVORITE: (2 win) Brad Keselowski—back-to-back, this week at a legit home track (Martin Truex Jr. I’m looking in your direction).  NEXT FAVORITE: (1 win) Kevin Harvick—the typically best Ford returns quickly to victory lane.  DARK HORSE: (0 wins) Jimmie Johnson—a feel-good rebound.

Sunday Afternoon CUP SERIES Consumers Energy 400.  LAST YEAR’S WINNER (4 wins) Kevin Harvick.  FAVORITE: (2 win) Denny Hamlin—staying strong—could easily have picked him yesterday.  NEXT FAVORITE: (1 win) Joey Logano—about time for a return to form.  DARK HORSE: (0 wins) Erik Jones—another home town win?

Nascar for Newbies Part 7--Going to a Race

Hello, and welcome to the wonderful world of Nascar!  If you’re a new fan of stock car racing, this is the place for you!  In this ten-part series we’ll take a look at what you should and could know about America’s #1 auto racing organization.  Let’s get started!

7. WATCHING A RACE IN PERSON—Do’s and Don’ts of Experiencing The Nascar Experience 

Going to a race at the track.  Its been said that once you go to a race, you either decide you don’t like it, or fall completely in love with it.  Its an assault on the senses, from the loud engines to the colorful paint schemes to the smell of burning rubber.  To best enjoy yourself, here’s some Do’s and Don’ts to follow.

DO: Plan ahead.  Unlike, say, a baseball game, its tough to spontaneously decide to go to a race.  Tracks have two weekends of racing tops, so a little planning ahead will go a long way to making sure you don’t get left out.

DON’T: Overspend.  With the exception of the Daytona 500 demand for tickets has gone WAY down since the Nascar boom of a decade or two ago.  If you care where you want to sit, buy ahead of time, but if you don’t, feel free to try and get a deal at the track from, um, let’s just say people walking around with extra tickets.

DO: Wear sunscreen.  Tracks offer little protection from the sun, and even races that are advertised as “night races” typically begin in the late afternoon.  Cover yourself up with sun block to avoid going back to work on Monday looking like a lobster.

DON’T: Sit up close.  Unlike virtually every other sport, in Nascar you want to sit as high up in the stands as you can.  Tracks are banked in the turns, so the lower you sit, the less of the overall track you can see.  Try to sit in “the nosebleeds”.  And if you DO sit in the first few rows, wear sunglasses to stop smoke and tire rubber dust from getting in your eyes.

DO: Wear ear protection.  Nascar is loud.  VERY loud.  If you go without any sort of ear protection you could suffer hearing damage.  The simplest solution is to just wear ear plugs.  If you feel like investing a few dollars, you can buy radio headphones (the kind people use on lawnmowers) and tune into the radio broadcast of the race.  For the deluxe experience, you can rent a scanner and headphones at the track—this will allow you to listen in on communications between drivers, crew chiefs, and spotters.

DON’T: Expect to have conversations.  Its REALLY loud.  You’ll be lucky if you can hear the person next to you.  Also, cell phone service tends to be at a premium, so if you think you’ll be communicating with someone nearby, bring a pen and paper.

DO: Bring food and drink.  Unlike most other sports, Nascar allows fans to bring their own food and drink (alcoholic or non) into the stands.  Check beforehand to make sure your cooler conforms to the track’s regulations.

DON’T: Overdo it.  Plenty of people see races (and pre-race tailgates in particular) as an excuse to get wasted.  Don’t be “that guy”.  And for the love of all that is holy, if you do drink, have someone in your crew who can be the designated driver.

DO: Explore pre-race add-ons.  Most tracks offer lots of “spiffs” for addition fees in order to entice fans to arrive early.  These include everything from a pre-race track tour to being in front of the stage for pre-race introductions.  If you don’t mind spending a little extra money, you can get up close and personal.

DON’T: Overpay for package deals.  Tracks will often offer an “upgrade” that includes food and drink.  Obviously the drinks are non-alcoholic, and the food often leaves much to be desired.  Best to explore your options first, then possibly do the package deal on your next trip if it makes sense.

DO: Be smart about saving money.  There’s plenty of ways to enjoy a race on a budget.  Bringing your own food and drink obviously saves plenty over the at-track concessions.  If you do pre-race tours, visit the midway, or especially if you are lucky enough to get pit or garage passes, teams will have “hero cards”—oversized post cards with driver info that are a great free souvenir.  And if you want some merchandise, feel free to wander off the track grounds for independent retailers that sell apparel and souvenirs at a deeper discount.  However…

DON’T: Be fooled by bootleg merchandise.  Once you’re off the track its “buyer beware”.  Without getting into a discussion over intellectual property, keep in mind that if a t-shirt is only $10, that shirt will be lucky to survive more than one wash.

DO: Make a vacation out of visiting a distant track.  We don’t all get to live near a racetrack.  If you decide to travel to one, you can save money on a hotel by picking one near a major city—these hotels will be less likely to be affected by a surge in prices.  If you DO go to a track in the middle of nowhere, like Bristol or Martinsville, explore other, cheaper options like camping nearby.

DON’T: Wait in line at the “midway”.  Most tracks will have a section of the grounds set up like a carnival midway.  The “exhibits” are typically mobile displays and demonstrations by sponsors.  There’s almost never a situation where they’re worth the wait, so if more than a few people are waiting in line, just skip it.

DO: Know how to follow things.  All tracks have a scoring pylon (a tall tower in the middle of the infield that shows the running order) and most have portable scoreboards within eyeshot.  Races may SEEM hard to follow, but let yourself soak it in and just follow your favorite driver and the leaders (or, if you’re lucky, they’re the same!).

DON’T: Forget to have fun.  Its a race!  Its a traveling circus.  Its a chance to see one of America’s wildest sports up close and personal.  Enjoy yourself!

Brad Daugherty, Brad Daugherty’s Giant Novelty Fork Join NBC Sports

Nascar team owner and former basketball star Brad Daugherty has been hired by NBC Sports as an analyst for its remaining 2020 coverage.  Brad Daugherty’s Giant Novelty Fork has also been hired by NBC Sports to complement its 2020 coverage, particularly through the upcoming Nascar Playoffs.

Image courtesy ESPN

“Its a real thrill to join NBC and NBCSN for its top-notch coverage”, Daugherty said.  “I have more than a little experience going back to my days at ‘The Worldwide Leader’ (ESPN) and I’m looking forward to sharing my knowledge as a team owner, a longtime athletic competitor, and a lifelong fan.”

“It’ll be great to come back to the sport I love”, Brad Daugherty’s Giant Novelty Fork said in a statement issued to its legions of fans.  “I’ve been ‘on the shelf’ as it were since ESPN lost its Nascar coverage, but I’ll be polishing up in preparation for some intense Nascar action!”

Daugherty made his mark by providing the unique point-of-view of a Nascar team owner during his tenure at ESPN.  Brad Daugherty’s Giant Novelty Fork made its mark by being used by Daugherty to emphasize his point that certain drivers were “done” as far as advancing in the Playoffs was concerned (as in “Stick a fork in him, he’s done”).

“There’s plenty of preparation involved”, said Daugherty, “getting to know my new co-workers, brushing up on what’s going on in the Xfinity Series, and making sure people don’t list me as ‘Brad Daughtry’ on my on-screen graphic.  But I’ll be ready to go by next weekend.”

“There’s plenty of preparation involved”, said Brad Daugherty’s Giant Novelty Fork, “getting to know my new co-workers, brushing up on what’s going on in the Xfinity Series, and making sure Kyle Petty doesn’t try to beat me to death with his guitar.  But I’ll be ready to go by next weekend.”