Mike Joy Fitted with Shock Collar to Prevent Overuse of Bowyer vs. Gordon Fight

While the 2020 Nascar season has ended, work has already started on 2021 by teams, drivers, and media outlets.  To that end, Nascar on Fox broadcaster Mike Joy was recently fitted with a shock collar in order to avoid bringing up the Phoenix brawl between Jeff Gordon and new broadcast partner Clint Bowyer.

“Its never to early to start planning for the upcoming season”, Joy said while the electronic collar was being adjusted to fit snugly around his neck.  “Its far too easy to just bring up the…well, lets say ‘dramatic unpleasantness’ that happened that day at Phoenix.  So to prevent myself from overdoing it, this electronic collar should do the trick.”

Nascar on Fox producers, showing a remarkable amount of restraint, encouraged the fitting for Joy.

“Hammering home a single point over and over again every single week worked in the past, but we’re going in a different direction”, said Sidney Kingsale, a line producer for Fox’s Nascar Cup coverage.  “Speaking of hammers, we have an intern traveling with us who’ll smash Jeff (Gordon)’s hand if he goes on too much about the greatness of Hendrick Motorsports.”

Joy, a longtime broadcaster renowned for his expert delivery, seemed to be aware of recent criticism of Nascar broadcasts.

“Let’s be honest—not every race is going to be a barn-burner”, Joy said.  “But filling time with the same four storylines every week?  That’s TNT-level bad.  So there’ll be no need whatsoever to discuss the…incident in question that happened at…that track in the desert a few years back.”

Joy’s newest broadcast partner, Clint Bowyer, seemed pleased with the shock collar during a recent test run at Fox’s Charlotte-area studios.

“Hey, Mike, I gotta say, that thing looks pretty decent on you there”, Bowyer said.  “But what’s it for?”

“Oh, its so I don’t discuss that fight you and Jeff had at Pho—GAAAAA!” Joy said before falling to the ground, a loud buzzing sound heard in the studio as Bowyer laughed uproariously.

2020 Donruss Panini Nascar Cards Unboxing PACK 33 (2.9)

After unboxing and unwrapping a box of 2020 Donruss (Panini) Nascar trading cards, I decided to keep going.  Now we dive into two “Blaster Boxes”—small boxes of 7 packs each.  Join us as we go through each eight-card pack to find the good, the bad, and the downright weird.

PACK 29—A-Bow and JoLo’s Aero
Mostly modern drivers here, with all eight having had some Cup racing experience.  We also get both sides of the “unmoored young driver” coin here—Alex Bowman, who found his way to a top-level Cup ride, and Ryan Truex, who’s raced mostly in near-obscurity.

FIRST THING’S FIRST: Hey, remember when people were mad at Aric Almirola for “stealing” Smithfield from Richard Petty?  Yeah, that was a rough couple of weeks.

SECOND LOOK: The light-colored car on the black-and-neon background really showed off the sleekness of a modern Cup car.  This is also how most Penske cars looked on the front stretch before Nascar outlawed “crab-walking” set-ups.

TO THE BACK: A nice reminder that Matt Kenseth went out on top, winning his penultimate race with Joe Gibbs Racing.  Then he came back and ran mid-pack for Roush.

FINAL SCORE: 6 victory donuts out of 10

Spade Racing Movie Preview: Holiday Edition

Under normal circumstances the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas stretch features plenty of big-budget movies premiering across the country.  Unfortunately the pandemic has put a kink in those plans.  Thankfully there’s still a few movies coming out—here’s the ones with a Nascar flavor to them:

Last Call—in protest of Dover losing its spring date, a solitary fan cracks open a cold one in the stands on the old race day.  Then realizing how boring it is, they go into the casino to gamble.

All My Life—a “fan” who has spent the last fifty years whining about how terrible Nascar is receives a bombshell—they don’t actually have to watch it.

Dear Santa—in this touching documentary various drivers deliver Christmas gifts to needy race fans, from children to the employees of Rick Ware Racing.

Nomadland—Daniel Suarez is portrayed in this “have helmet, will travel” neo-western.

Assassins—in this remake of “Black Sunday” a terrorist commandeers a blimp and crashes it into Daytona International Speedway.  Unfortunately for him, his GPS sends him directly into Lake Lloyd.

The Stand-In—ever wonder who that model is who poses for all the pictures of drivers with their helmets on?  Spoiler alert—its David Stremme!

The Comeback Trail—a feel-good movie about Richard Petty Motorsports’ attempt to revamp its operation.  Takes place over 15 years.

News of the World—international race fans unite to shut up East Coast fans who constantly complain about “late” race starts.

Spade Racing Public Relations? In MY Motorsports? Its More Likely Than You Think

I’m proud to announce that starting next month, I’ll be entering the exciting non-fulfilling world of motorsports public relations!  A brand-new Nascar team has agreed to hire me to do at least one press release a week for them starting in December.  More details to come soon but every single of these pressers will be posted here for your reading enjoyment!

2020 Donruss Panini Nascar Cards Unboxing PACK 32 (2.8)

After unboxing and unwrapping a box of 2020 Donruss (Panini) Nascar trading cards, I decided to keep going.  Now we dive into two “Blaster Boxes”—small boxes of 7 packs each.  Join us as we go through each eight-card pack to find the good, the bad, and the downright weird.

PACK 32—King in the Middle, a Minor Quibble, and Jesse Little
Past, present, and future are all here in this pack, with Richard Petty’s Optic card front and center.  We also get two cards of Chase Elliott, each of them looking in a different direction for some reason, and Rusty Wallace looking like a girl just offered him her motel room keys.

FIRST THING’S FIRST: We get a razzle-dazzle Austin Dillon card here, which raises the question—why’d they design it in such a way that the Bass Pro Shops associate sponsor logo is the only one that really pops?
SECOND LOOK: I often wonder if the voluminous amount of associate sponsor patches on Menards-sponsored drivers’ firesuits are in any way uncomfortable.

TO THE BACK: While its nice for Jesse Little to honor his father and grandfather, the “This is something I really, really enjoy” is kind of implied.

FINAL SCORE: 7 caution laps out of 10

Spade Racing: THE ROOKIES—Final Rankings

New for 2020, Spade Racing took 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 at the end of the season:

1. Cole Custer (Stewart Haas Racing). Best race finish: 1st (Kentucky).  PRETTY grade: B+.  Cole was the unquestioned leader of the 2021 rookie class, courtesy of his race win.  But his PRETTY grade was a bit tougher to nail down.  Considering that SHR seems like Kevin Harvick and The Other Guys, Cole did the best of the others, so he gets a slight boost into “my grades in college besides math and science” territory.

2. Tyler Reddick (Richard Childress Racing).  Best race finish: 2nd (Texas).  PRETTY grade: B.  It was a real bounce back year for RCR, and Tyler Reddick’s contributions can’t be overlooked.  Mostly because its HIS sponsors that tend to adorn the car.

3. Christopher Bell (Leavine Family Racing).  Best race finish: 3rd (Texas).  PRETTY grade: B-.  C.Bell’s 2020 was an odd one.  He showed he could compete for top-fives on occasion despite running for a satellite team planning to shut down, but had a number of stretches of poor finishes.  Oh well—at least he’s not going to RPM next year.

4. John Hunter Nemechek (Front Row Motorsports).  Best race finish: 8th (Talladega twice).  PRETTY grade: C+.  Nemechek will enter 2021 in a unique situation.  The coming next-gen car in 2022 could lead to a free-for-all next year for lower-level teams like Front Row, throwing caution to the wind and taking plenty of risks.  Orrrr he could just post two more eighth-place finishes at Talladega again and call it a year.

5. Brennan Poole (Premium Motorsports).  Best race finish: 9th (Talladega).  PRETTY grade: D+.  Impressive that Brennan Poole raced all but one race in the same car for the same team with pretty much the same sponsor for most races.  Will this lead to a better 2021?  Well, probably not.

6. Quin Houff (StarCom Racing).  Best race finish: 13th (Talladega).  PRETTY grade: D-.  2020 was…not good for Quin.  He had the lowest points total of any driver to compete in every race—and finished behind five drivers who missed races.  He failed to post a single top-ten race finish, and prompted discussion about drivers being demoted or relegated to lower series from Cup.  On the bright side…well, there really is no bright side.  But at least the car usually looked bright!

Spade Racing Offseason Preview and Uncle Max Review

Yet another season is in the rearview—a season (and year) unlike any other.  But the pain and suffering of 2020 isn’t over yet—Spade Racing continues with content!

The Final Rookie Ratings will be out this weekend.  Then, there’ll be a “Lap Zero”-style piece coming out next weekend, followed by a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT the following week about a new side-project I’ve been asked to work on.  Beyond that there’ll still be cards articles every Tuesday going straight into Speedweek(s), so keep it here for great Nascar content, even when there’s nothing going on!






FAVORITE: 2 wins



2020 Donruss Panini Nascar Cards Unboxing PACK 31 (2.7)

After unboxing and unwrapping a box of 2020 Donruss (Panini) Nascar trading cards, I decided to keep going.  Now we dive into two “Blaster Boxes”—small boxes of 7 packs each.  Join us as we go through each eight-card pack to find the good, the bad, and the downright weird.

PACK 31—Drivers We Know, White Guy ‘Fro, and a Blurry Show
No nobodies here—even the car in the Aero Package card is well-known.  I feel like one unknown (or little-known) driver per pack is as many as you can get away with before people start wondering why they’re jamming Jesse Little down our throats.

FIRST THING’S FIRST: Now THAT is an impressive White Guy ‘Fro.  Bill Elliott in his Melling/Coors days was money, and thankfully so was his hair.

SECOND LOOK: My apologies for all the headaches this picture causes.  For what its worth, it DOES show how the 3 car looks when its being blown by on a restart.

TO THE BACK: Nice comment on Kyle Larson’s success at Sonoma, but why don’t they mention that he’s from the area?

FINAL SCORE: 7 roof flaps out of 10

Spade Racing’s 2020 Championship Race Preview

Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano.  Four drivers.  Three manufacturers.  Two teammates.  One championship.  Zero room for error.  Let’s take a look at seven key categories and see which of the four contenders had the edge in each of them:

YEARLONG PERFORMANCE: The Penske pair had a great start to the year, but after the return from the COVID-19 hiatus, there was one driver who shone over all others  KEVIN HARVICK

PHOENIX EXPERIENCE: There’s really not much of a competition here, with one rising above the others at the desert track  KEVIN HARVICK

TEAM FOCUS: Penske’s resources will be split two ways.  Denny Hamlin has the distraction of the Erik Jones investigation.  Hendrick might be more focused on Jimmie Johnson’s final race.  Gotta give it to  KEVIN HARVICK

CHAMPIONSHIP EXPERIENCE: Chase Elliott’s making his first “Final Round Appearance”.  Denny Hamlin’s been close but no cigar so many times, he’s going through nicotine withdrawal.  And while Brad and Joey have both won championships, last offseason’s crew chief swap put some unfamiliar faces in new places.  Once again, the choice is clear  KEVIN HARVICK

WHO DOES NASCAR WANT TO WIN: You might think this would go to Chase Elliott, but the money comes from the championship chase (no pun intended), not by winning it right away.  With the other three having smaller fan bases, one would have to give the edge to the one driver with a “Premier Partnership” sponsor  KEVIN HARVICK

SOMETHING TO PROVE: Both Penske drivers are sitting pretty and—though they’d never admit it—are likely just happy to have salvaged what was a very inconsistent season.  Denny Hamlin certainly wants to finally get over the championship hump, and Chase Elliott wants to meet—or exceed—his father’s success.  But lets be honest here—only one driver wants to erase last weekend’s disaster  KEVIN HARVICK

MOMENTUM: Well, Chase Elliott won last weekend.  So I guess you gotta give it to  CHASE ELLIOTT

2020 Championship Pick: CHASE ELLIOTT

Uncle Max vs. Last Year’s Winners: Phoenix Finale

Well, here we are, near the end of a season like no other.  And its time for my last round of picks.  I’ve included my championship picks as well, because hey—might as well.

Its been a rough year—not just for society overall, but for my picks.  Last Year’s Winner has really whupped up on me, and the only solace is knowing that if it comes back next year, it’ll be damn near impossible to figure out who won what race this year with all the cancellations and postponements.

Oh, by the way—I *will* be back next year.  As long as I don’t get trampled on Black Friday.  Again.

Friday Night TRUCK SERIES Lucas Oil 150 (4 wins) Zane Smith—capping off a sneaky-good season.

Saturday Afternoon XFINITY SERIES Desert Diamond 200 (4 wins) Chase Briscoe—going out a champion.

Sunday Late Afternoon CUP SERIES BlueGreen Vacations 500.  LAST YEAR’S WINNER (8 wins) Denny Hamlin  FAVORITE: (2 wins) Kevin Harvick—just to screw with everyone.  NEXT FAVORITE: (2 wins) Brad Keselowski—And yes, he IS my championship pick.  DARK HORSE: (1 wins) Kyle Busch—closing out a disappointing 2020 with two wins in three races.

2020 Donruss Panini Nascar Cards Unboxing PACK 30 (2.6)

After unboxing and unwrapping a box of 2020 Donruss (Panini) Nascar trading cards, I decided to keep going.  Now we dive into two “Blaster Boxes”—small boxes of 7 packs each.  Join us as we go through each eight-card pack to find the good, the bad, and the downright weird.

PACK 30—Young Bobby, Good Job-y, and Ray’s Hobby
Another wide selection of drivers in this pack, ranging in both success and era.  Only in a pack of trading cards can you get Richard Petty, Ty Dillon, and Ray Black Jr. together—other than in a lame joke I would come up with on a bet.
FIRST THING’S FIRST: Whoever designed C.Bell’s firesuit deserves a raise.  Not only do his arms have the same logo on his chest (where he crosses his arms), but its perfectly designed to show it off, too.  My hats off to you, designer!

SECOND LOOK: A very young (and not as blurry as this card suggests) Bobby Labonte here.  Too bad the orange border and the green car clash—the only place orange and green go together are on a Nickelodeon show with slime.

TO THE BACK: I’m starting to worry about Ray Black Jr.—literally ALL that’s ever written about him is that he’s a SCUBA diver.

FINAL SCORE: 7 pistons out of 10

HMS Announces Chevy Bads as Sponsor for Kyle Larson

Shortly after being announced as the new driver of the renumbered #5 car for 2021, Hendrick Motorsports announced Chevy Bads as its first sponsor for Kyle Larson. 

“We’re proud to continue our relationship with GM and Chevrolet”, team owner Rick Hendrick said at today’s press conference. “Our Chevy Goods schemes have looked great on the 88 car this year, and the Chevy Bads colors will look great on the 5 car at the 2021 Daytona 500.”

“The products and services offered by Chevy Bads are really something”, Larson said. “From Gotdamn Polishes to GTFO to Truck Villain, they really have it all for today’s masochist motorist.”

Similar to the Chevy Goods agreement for this year, the sponsorship is expected to be in the form of a “licensing agreement” that will allow flexibility to add for partners. 

“From Valvoline to Lllllumar, we have some great partners for Chevy Bads to join next year”, said Hendrick. “We know it’s a bit of a leap of faith, but once Kyle’s won three of the first five races, don’t come whining to me.”

Larson is expected to prepare for the 2021 Daytona 500 by running in the far more important Chili Bowl.