The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Ford 400 by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday November 17, 2008

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Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Ford 400

Matt McLaughlin · Monday November 17, 2008


The Key Moment: Carl Edwards ran out of gas as he coasted across the finish line to take his ninth Cup win of the season.

In a Nutshell: Carl Edwards did all he could do, but Jimmie Johnson did all he had to do; and thus, the 2008 Cup season went out with a whimper, not a bang.

Dramatic Moment: I’ve got six words here; B-O-R-I-N-G.

What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week

So, how many Cup team members will actually be given pink slips on Monday, and how many teams will show up to race at Daytona in February?

There’s a lot wrong with this sport today, but one thing you cannot fault either Carl Edwards or Jimmie Johnson for is showing class in defeat and victory.

Does anyone else wish that Cale Yarborough would have been there to congratulate Jimmie Johnson as he got out of his car after the race?

Wow, ABC even preempted America’s Funniest Home Videos in place of post-race coverage! Maybe they heard the message race fans were sending last week loud and clear?

Did someone at ESPN not get a memo that there would be more than two cars competing out there on Sunday?

I’m going to do a column Thursday on the recently announced testing ban for 2009 but the story is big enough, I want to make a few quick comments here as well. When you get down to the brass tacks, NASCAR did the only thing they could do in light of these perilous economic times, with so many teams struggling to remain viable. But my fear is that in this instance the rich (the big three Cup teams) will get richer as they find ways to circumvent the intent of the testing rules while the poor (the rest of the Cup field) will just fade away. The success of the program will depend on Jack Roush, Joe Gibbs, and Rick Hendrick deciding to act in the best longterm interests of the sport and not their own self-interest, which is a stretch. If any one of the three starts playing footloose and fancy free, the other two super teams are going to react in kind. Given the testing limitations in place when the Car of Horror was introduced, the Hendrick organization pushed the edges of the envelope and gained a decided advantage over the rest of the field as a result. When Jack Roush initially tried to follow the spirit of the rules, he ended up looking like a fool — and then threw a huge amount of money at getting his teams competitive again. This time, it behooves the Big Three car owners to realize that in the long term, there needs to more than twelve competitive teams out there on the race track each Sunday afternoon if fans are to remain interested in the sport. Even if they can gain a short term advantage circumventing the new testing rules, in the long run they are slitting their own throats.

How to sum up Johnson’s title … “No tears, no beers, no fears” … at least on camera. The man is a robot.

OK, NASCAR made one tough call deciding to ban testing — at least for the foreseeable future. Now, they need to cowboy up and make the next difficult call by announcing plans to trim ten races off the schedule. Truthfully, I think that’s the only way the sport can survive this economic downturn. Less races means less expenses for teams already struggling to get by. Just the elimination of the two road course dates would save the teams millions on developing cars that are only dusted off twice a year. Less races also means that more fans would attend those events that do remain. Right now, fans who attend Pocono and Michigan have their choice of two races that are only months apart. But given one race to attend, I think the grandstands would be packed. Here’s my call, in an attempt to enrage everyone equally: Watkins Glen, Chicago, and Sonoma are gone. Fontana, Michigan, Pocono, Atlanta, Phoenix, Texas, and New Hampshire are cut back to one race each. The season ends before Halloween, with more off weekends over the course of the year.

Isn’t it amazing that the U.S. Congress seems so hesitant to help out the Big Three automakers — which employ one in ten Americans — after offering a $700 billion dollar bailout to financial institutions that employ the top 10% of wealthiest wage-earners (and I use that term loosely)?

The final points are still being tallied, but as of right now NASCAR’s new 6-6-6-6 rule for next year’s Bud Shootout (the top six teams in points from each of the four manufacturers make the field) is looking incredibly stupid. Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart aren’t in the race. Robby Gordon is. For those with ADD, Newman won this year’s Daytona 500 and Stewart is a two-time Cup champ; but Robby Gordon is a blip so small on this year’s radar, even NORAD might have missed him. Yeah, this makes sense… if you’re an imbecile.

Does it seem to anyone else like this whole merger of DEI and Chip Ganassi Racing was slapped together so quickly, it smacks of desperation more than a well thought out business decision? Come on; when they can’t even announce what make of car they’ll be running and neither GM or Chrysler has endorsed the deal, it just seems rushed. The bottom line seems to be that under stipulations of the Bass Pro Shops sponsorship — the only solid deal DEI had left — the team must field at least three full-time teams. Absent a merger with Ganassi, that just wasn’t going to happen, and that would have allowed Bass Pro Shops to shop their sponsorship dollars around in a buyers’ market. The merger seems to be a Hail Mary pass into the end zone with both organizations as the final seconds clicked off the clock, and my guess is that the ball is going to end up bouncing out of bounds rather than being caught.

Jimmie Johnson may have made the championship battle another snoozer; but just look at that beautiful sunset!

Give the Miami track this much… the area sure does offer up a spectacular sunset as a backdrop. But as far as these 4 PM ET race start times, I can live without ‘em.

Few people might have noticed it, but a big thumbs up to Greg Biffle for racing Jimmie Johnson cleanly back in the pack rather than helping his teammate by parking the guy.

With the end of the 2008 season, I realize many of my loyal readers will be packing it up for another year. Since we won’t be talking again until next February, let me wish all of you a Merry Christmas (or whatever Holiday you celebrate) and wish you the best in the coming New Year. Yes, things are pretty stressful right now, but tough times don’t last, tough people do — and I know that most NASCAR fans are the salt of the earth types. They’ll get by one way or another no matter what challenges are thrown in their path. Thanks for sticking with me and the sport through a less than compelling season that has caused most of us to wonder why we remain fans even as our numbers dwindle. Right now, my plan is to take several weeks down time to get back home, patch my bones, then get back truckin’ on. Yeah, what a long strange trip it’s been following this sport in 2008. And to borrow a phrase from Dennis Miller, “That’s the news and I’m outta here.”

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

Matt Kenseth ran out of gas leading the race and fell to 20th in the final rundown. That’s just how his season has gone.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had an above average run before a wheel bearing burnt up, leaving the rotor to wobble uncontrollably and the caliper to break. I can’t even remember the last time that set of circumstances took a driver out of contention. If nothing else, the No. 88 team has found every way possible to lose races this year.

Kurt Busch started the season with great hope after his dramatic finish at Daytona in February, but the year went bad from there. Two trips into the wall dropped Busch to 43rd in the final rundown.

The results seemed preordained, but it had to be tough for Carl Edwards to lose two titles in the same weekend while winning both races.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

One more lap, and Carl Edwards would have been sitting on the cooldown lane looking like a jackass.

How about Bill Elliott finishing 12th in the Wood Brothers car? Elliott and the Woods have earned their place in NASCAR’s history, and it’s sad that a driver on the verge of retirement and a team on the edge of extinction didn’t get a mention on TV for their achievements.

Tony Stewart led the race late and finished ninth to end his career at Joe Gibbs Racing on a positive note.

Casey Mears’ last ride with Hendrick Motorsports was also a good one; he finished eighth to solidify 20th spot in the point standings.

Jamie McMurray had a substandard season, but a third place finish at Homestead gives him some reason for optimism next year.

Johnny Benson might have been written off long ago as yesterday’s news; but he did, in fact, claim the final Craftsman Truck Series title in 2008.

Congratulations go out to Clint Bowyer as well for his Nationwide title scored on Saturday.

Worth Noting

  • Carl Edwards won his ninth race of the season, more than any other driver. Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch each scored eight Cup victories this season.
  • The Top 10 finishers at Homestead drove four Chevys, three Fords, two Dodges, and a Toyota.
  • Jimmie Johnson averaged a 5.7 place finish in the Cup standings to claim his third consecutive title.
  • Carl Edwards won three of the last five Cup races this season, and had Top 5 finishes in all five of those races.
  • Jamie McMurray finished third in the last three Cup races this season.
  • Jeff Gordon went winless for the first time in a Cup season since way back in 1993 — his freshman season on the circuit.
  • Travis Kvapil’s eighth place finish was his first Top 10 result since the Talladega event this Spring.
  • Tony Stewart averaged a 16th place finish in the ten Chase races. My guess is he was a little distracted by his plans for next year.
  • At press time, Sam Hornish, Jr. unofficially held a two point lead over Regan Smith for this year’s Rookie of the Year honors. Unfortunately, even if Smith squeaks out the award he’s still shopping for a ride for next year. As for the other rookies who didn’t survive the season (Dario Franchitti, Patrick Carpentier, Michael McDowell, Jacques Villeneuve), I guess we can conclude the open wheel invasion into Cup racing is now officially ended.

What’s the Points?

Let the record books show that Jimmie Johnson won the 2008 Cup title with a 69 point margin over runner up Carl Edwards. Third place Greg Biffle was 217 behind Johnson.

Teammates Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer moved up a spot in the standings to fourth and fifth, respectively, displacing their teammate Jeff Burton down two spots to sixth.

Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart each moved up two spots to finish ninth and tenth in the final standings. Denny Hamlin moved up a spot to eighth.

Matt Kenseth’s gas pains dropped him three spots to eleventh in the standings. Dale Earnhardt Jr. fell two spots to finish in the cellar of the Chase in twelfth; both will miss the banquet, as only the Top 10 finishers make the spotlight of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

David Ragan secured the “Best of the Rest” title with a 13th place finish, 226 points ahead of Kasey Kahne.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — We’ll give this one two cans of lukewarm generic stuff on our way to a long winter’s nap.

Next Up: Tha…tha…tha… that’s all folks. The 2008 Cup season has mercifully reached its overdue conclusion months too late for most of us. Racing resumes at Daytona in mid-February, same Matt-time, same Matt-channel for those of you who choose to ride this train wreck out. If you need me in the meantime, I’ll be in the garage in a pair of Carhartt overalls working on some old Chevys.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Swan Racing Announces Restructuring, No. 26 & No. 30 ‘Sold’ Off
Tech Talk with Tony Gibson: Taking Stock Of Danica Patrick In Year Two
Vexing Vito: Three Drivers In Need of a Role Reversal
Going By the Numbers: Top-10 NASCAR Variety Hard To Come By In…
Truckin’ Thursdays: Lessons Learned Just Two Races In
Fantasy Insider: Team Revelations For NASCAR’s Short Tracks



©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

11/17/2008 03:36 AM

The test ban brings up the question of tire tests . Is Goodyear going to field its own test team ? If not , the small handfull of drivers picked to do each test will have a huge advantage over the rest of the field .
I don’t know about the rest of you , but i found myself being embarrassed by that dopey Brian France in victory lane . What sport that wanted to be taken seriously would have a doofus like him as its leader .
It would be nice if the ESPN team would have checked to see what the former three time champions name was . Its not Carl you morons , its Cale .

11/17/2008 06:09 AM


11/17/2008 06:41 AM

Edwards:9 wins,19 top 5’s, 27 top 10’s, average finish 10, 1282 laps led, 10603 laps. Johnson:7 wins,15 tops 5’s,22 top 10’s, average finish 11,1959 laps led, 10643 laps. Consistency & Wins ???? I say cruising and playing safe or driving your ass off? Which would you rather watch?

Bill B
11/17/2008 07:09 AM

A little too late to chop ten races off, most tracks have already sold tickets. Plus, dream on Matt, those ten races still bring in massive amounts of revenue for the tracks and local economies and I don’t see them turning their backs on that money.

11/17/2008 07:59 AM

Well, lets see now, no testing for the Car of Sorrow! Really a neat idea for sure!

If they used the “classic” points system, the drivers with the most wins would be at the very top of the list! So much for the ‘chase”, how sick is that?

And tire testing next year? I think I know why GOODYEARS fail! Teams show up at a “tire test”, but are not allowed to make changes to the car “so only the tire gets tested”! BUT!! My friends, that also means the tires do not get tested on a set-up that is ACTUALLY used in a race!


Joe D'antoni
11/17/2008 08:49 AM

The test ban just screws the little teams, who don’t have access to seven post shakers, wind tunnels, and large Computational Fluid Dynamic simulator computer grids. Roush and Hendrick test just to confirm their data, where as the smaller teams have testing as their only avenue. NASCAR should at least open up Friday track time (at least 4 hours) for teams to use data loggers.

11/17/2008 08:55 AM

At least we had the Craftsman Truck Series to keep us excited this season—what a finish! Congrats to Bowyer and Benson for real championships under real point systems.

11/17/2008 08:59 AM

marshall, i thought the same thing when i was brain fart in the champion’s celebration. what an idiot! and what a boring celebration. no emotion. too scripted.

i had the race on but the volume down to a whisper. i looked up at the tv at one point and saw where jr was 41st. just shook my head..typical. read earlier this weekend where jr said he needs to be better in the summer months. well jr, you need to focus and be better all season long. you did not live up to the hype that was generated for you. such a disappointment. towards the end of the season i’d watch race to see how long it would be before jr kissed the wall from running the high line or would be involved in a crash.

just think 2009 will probably be the same thing. possibly less teams in the field, but more than likely the same ones winning week in and week out.

have a good winter everyone!

11/17/2008 09:05 AM


With contracts in place and tickets sold, it would be pretty hard to cancel races at this point.

What could be done to help some of the teams is to allow a five race mulligan in the points standings and only count 21 of the 26 races heading into the chase. While it is by no means a perfect system, it would allow some teams to skip a long haul to California or wasted development time and $$$ on the road course races (or restrictor plate races for that matter)
Chances are, the road course races would still be filled by specialists and teams could look for sponsorship for 31 races instead of 36.
The other thing that could be done would be to revert to a part of the pre-modern era.
Instead of all races offering the same amount of points, weight the races where the road courses and the second race (or 1 of the races) at the two-race tracks receive only half the points.
Or go really outside the box and limit the cup teams to 20 entries in the first 26 races, dissolve the Busch series (yeah, I know it’s the NW) and let those teams field developmental drivers to fill out the fields.

None of these are perfect, but there are options.

11/17/2008 09:07 AM

Watkins Glen, Chicago, and Sonoma are gone.


Well, you got one right.

11/17/2008 09:22 AM

Isn’t it amazing that the U.S. Congress seems so hesitant to help out the Big Three automakers — which employ one in ten Americans — after offering a $700 billion dollar bailout to financial institutions that employ the top 10% of wealthiest wage-earners (and I use that term loosely)? Couldn’t be more true

Bill B
11/17/2008 10:10 AM

When a company gets one of these government bailouts it should come with an IRS accountant.

M.B. Voelker
11/17/2008 10:11 AM

No bailouts should ever have happened for any company. Insulating people from the consequences of their bad decisions is counterproductive because they then go on to make even worse decisions later.

In the case of the “Big 3”, its even more of a Throwing Good Money After Bad situation because there is NOTHING, other than bankruptcy and the subsequent re-organization, that has even a faint chance of preserving those companies over the long term.

Bailouts would only increase the pain of the eventual failure because there is no way that a company that is tied to union contracts to pay wages far higher than market value, to pay more in pensions to retirees than they pay to current, productive workers, and who are tied to inefficient plants in high-tax states can compete and make a profit.

The “Big 3” can’t make the same car in Detroit for the price that a “foreign” company can in Kentucky or Texas. You can’t get around that FACT.

Bailouts would only mean that the companies would lose money longer and get even deeper in debt — doing even more damage to the companies they owe those debts to when they eventually do go under.

The economic crisis has cost us 2/3 of our accustomed income — which was just enough to call ourselves comfortable. If the auto workers couldn’t save an emergency cushion to help them move to a place where jobs are available while living on union wages that amounted to at least 1/3 more than the best year we ever had and twice as much as our normal income I can’t have much sympathy for their lack of forethought.

As for the effect on Nascar, the people who run their teams well will survive. Those who don’t will not. New teams with new ideas will arise in their place.

And if the worst of the dire predictions manages to happen then at least the “old-school” purists will be happy because a small-time, regional series uncontaminated by the pressures of media and sponsor and filled with owner-drivers who sleep in their cars and live on white bread and bologna sandwiches is what they claim to want anyway.

11/17/2008 10:40 AM

I agree about the length of the season. The season needs to end when football starts.

(same thing with baseball, btw)

The Old Guy
11/17/2008 11:21 AM

Does anyone else wish that Cale Yarborough would have been there to congratulate Jimmie Johnson as he got out of his car after the race?

If Jimmie had one three legitimate titles in a row, I’m sure Cale would have felt a little better about this. I don’t blame him one bit for not being there. His record is still intact.

Jack Roush has suggested that all testing be banned. I’m sure that he, as a result of having been snookered before, know better than anyone that HMS will find a away around the testing ban. If all testing is banned, it levels the playing field.

If nothing else, the No. 88 team has found every way possible to lose races this year.

Now, there’s an understatement if I ever saw one. Wonder what the excuse will be next year?


Carl D.
11/17/2008 11:23 AM

Man, there sure are a lot of ideas and opinions expressed here on Matt’s final regular season column. My turn…

The Schedule: There’s abolutely zero chance that any races on the 2009 schedule will be cut. It just ain’t gonna happen.

Bill Elliott: What a great driver and former champ! He got no press yesterday in his last (?) run, and I agree that’s a damned shame.

Big 3 Bailout: Man, I love those old Mustangs and Torinos, and Chevelles and Camaros, and Chargers and Challengers. I also love those old drivers like Pearson and Yarborough and Allison and Isaac. Nothing lasts forever. NO bailouts.. automakers or otherwise.

Testing: Roush has already said he’d play by the rules if the other guys do. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I look forward to Matt’s column Thursday on the whole subject.

2008 Season: Thank God it’s over. Hope next year is better, but I ain’t holding out much hope.

11/17/2008 12:15 PM

As NA$CAR continues to flop and I think eventually fail all together, it will be interesting when Brian France stands up and says he did all he could to save it. He will hide his greatest failure under the rug of this countries’ greatest failures. And he’ll get away with it…

11/17/2008 12:29 PM

Well , the one bright light in all of this is that Voelker isn’t in any postion of authority or decision making for the U.S. . How can someone live in America and know so little about how the country operates ?

I’m sure the merger between Ganassi and DEI is for their mutual survival . And thats fine with me . Doing whatever it takes to keep the doors open in this economic mess means the sport of stock car racing gains something .

If any track should really be awarded a second race , Homestead just might be the one . The racing and passing were really much better than we’ve seen at most other tracks this season .

Kevin in SoCal
11/17/2008 12:33 PM

The Old Guy said: If Jimmie had one three legitimate titles in a row, I’m sure Cale would have felt a little better about this. I don’t blame him one bit for not being there. His record is still intact.

That’s won, not one.
Cale raced against only 11 full time Cup drivers. Jimmie had to race against at least 35 full time drivers, and then against 12 drivers in the Chase. How is that less of an accomplishment than what Cale did? I dont see it as being any different. Do you also rate Richard Petty’s seven titles differently because of the different points system he won them under?

M.B. Voelker
11/17/2008 12:37 PM


Not only is socialism and state control of business not how the USA has historically run but such policies have failed dramatically every time they’ve been tried.

The way to get more of something is to reward it while penalizing its opposite.

Taxing success in order to reward failure is not the road to prosperity. Not in Nascar and not anywhere else either.

11/17/2008 01:05 PM

M.B. Voelker: Sure let’s not help the Big 3 and then we can help pay the unemployment benefits for the millions of people that will lose their jobs, homes and when that is done we can start taking care of the all the retirees that will fall into the Medicare category. You ready for that? Our country hasn’t found a way to resolve the Insurance problems yet but your ready dump more into the system. Go ahead. The Big 3 and the support companies that are linked to them will cause a major blow to our economy if they fail. As far as the Foreign Plant in Ky. how many do they actually assemble in our country and how many do they import? What % of employees are full time and what % are temp.? Your not giving full details here, just slamming an American Company without laying every thing out. If they are importing more and have 50% temp. employees of course their cost per vehicle will be cheaper. They also have a huge cushion to fall on because employees in their home country do not accept overtime pay. You forgot to post that. I will stop now. Sorry for that rant.

Carl D.
11/17/2008 01:24 PM

And if the worst of the dire predictions manages to happen then at least the “old-school” purists will be happy because a small-time, regional series uncontaminated by the pressures of media and sponsor and filled with owner-drivers who sleep in their cars and live on white bread and bologna sandwiches is what they claim to want anyway.

The fact is, a large segment of Nascar’s fan base has become unhappy with the bland, corporate nature of a sport that no longer has any connection with it’s roots. Also, more often than not, the product on the track is just plain boring. That said, even if the big three are allowed to fail, stock car racing will survive in some form. If that means white bread and balonga sandwiches, pass the mustard and mayo.

Bill B
11/17/2008 02:45 PM

I’m not saying the auto industry shouldn’t be bailed out but where does it end? Should we bail out small businesses? Homeowners? People who ran up their credit card balances?
All MB Voelker is saying is that at some point it’s the business’ or individual’s responsibility to make wise decisions along the way so they never need a bailout. If they don’t then they should reap the consequences as a result. We have to get back to reality, propping up industries or individuals only delays the reality and gives everyone an artificial sense that everything is OK when it isn’t. Part of me says let’s let everything rotten die and rebuild from a strong foundation no matter how much it hurts.

11/17/2008 03:09 PM

Well lets see now, quote from M.B. Voelker: “Isn’t it amazing that the U.S. Congress seems so hesitant to help out the Big Three automakers — which employ one in ten Americans”, well my friend, there is more to the story than just “help” the auto industry. And please note I live in Michigan, and have been connected to the “big three” for 70+ years So, with that in mind!

WHY help the big three? For poor management? Me thinks not! For the spoiled UAW workers? me thinks not! I personally know skilled trades people in the big three taking home over $200,000/year! And due to UAW rules, they cannot even clean up after themselves when the job is done, because the UAW says “thats someone elses job”! Heaven forbid if your an electrician, and you need a water line turned off! “Thats not my job, find someone else to do that”!

And if the big three are indeed “bailed out”, why would they spend millions on NA$CAR WITH MY TAX DOLLARS? (My letters to Senator Carl Levin are on the way)!

And have you ever walked an assembly line at a big three plant? Look at all the boxes of parts that come from Thailand, China, Mexico, and so forth! Don’t you think your glorious tax dollars will be spent buying more of these foreign made parts, and in essence sending the bailout money to China and such! (which strangely enough is where we borrowed a good portion of the $700 billion to begin with)

And where is GM’s largest manufacturing facility? Certainly not in this country! Wonder how many of our bailout $$ will go to help that mfg. plant?

Lots would be my guess!

And how did Chrysler intend to survive when they have as a CEO a guy that sold 2“x4”‘s before joining Chrysler as the CEO? He may not know a Caravan from Pacifica, but he sure knows a ten penny nail from carpet tack!

And, isn’t it wonderful that Jr. is not even invited to the banquet in New York? Wonder what rules changes Brian will make to see that doesn’t happen again?

Ain’t this fun?

(oh, and I am against bailouts period, as now you are beginning to realize how that money is being spent, and the chairman of the bailout cash is now backtracking on where and how the $700 billion is to be spent)!

11/17/2008 04:03 PM

I would have thought the logic for helping the car companies was obvious .
Not only can the U S NOT afford to pay the bills for the 3 million workers who would be out of work if GM fails , we also couldn’t afford to help the truckers who make their living hauling things for GM and its suppliers , the thousands of parts manufacturers and suppliers whose employees earn their pay check from supplying GM , the stores that rely on GM workers , not to mention that GM is a global company and closing would throw people from all over the world out of work . And GM owns many companies that have nothing to do with cars . GMAC for instance , a major lender in the home markets . If GM is allowed to go under , these companies and their employees go under as well .
And bailouts have certainly worked in the past . Many times . But the simple answer is , GM is far too large and affects far too many lives to allow it to fail .
Now what to do after a bail out of GM was addressed very well by Tom Friedman in the New York Times . I recomend finding that article and reading it . He lays out a plan of firing all GM management and restructuring the company . Very interesting reading .
By the way , this all applys to Ford , Chrysler , and all other very large companies .

Kevin in SoCal
11/17/2008 05:44 PM

And, isn’t it wonderful that Jr. is not even invited to the banquet in New York? Wonder what rules changes Brian will make to see that doesn’t happen again?

Damn, you beat me to it Douglas. I forgot to mention that in my earlier post. You heard it here first folks. Look for Brian France to include all 12 drivers at the banquet next year or the year after, because Prince Jr. didnt make it into the top 10. Just like he expanded the 10 Chase drivers into 12.

11/17/2008 06:28 PM

while looking for the test tracks of the auto makers I found this:

Fri Oct 12, 2007 2:03am EDT

General Motors Corp said on Friday it will build a comprehensive vehicle proving ground in China as the Detroit automaker seeks to speed up research and development in the world’s second-largest car market.

Shanghai General Motors, GM’s venture with Shanghai Automotive Co Ltd (will spend 1.6 billion yuan ($213 million) on a 5.6 square kilometer (2.16 sq mile) (app 1400 acres) testing ground, China’s biggest, in the eastern province of Anhui
So GM is moving their testing and probably their manufacturing facilities to china in the hunt for big profits and cheap labor force and the US taxpayers should pay for this – why??? The big three keep taking our money here and spend it all over the world. If restrictions were put into place to insure jobs will stay here and increase in number I would almost be for it, to pay for the pensions of high executive and leave the 1 in 10 out as the company moves out of the US, nah not me

11/17/2008 07:33 PM

For tnose of you discussing the bailout of the Big Three, pro and con, here’s some interesting reading….this is not an unprecedented move. Again, I’m not claiming to have the right answer to a big mess decades in the making but I found this interesting.

11/17/2008 09:25 PM

Good point Graceann. I recently read that for every person that loses their job, five more people are affected. Lets not let this economy slump get too far out of hand before we act! Great article Matt, as usual!!!

11/17/2008 09:58 PM

Yeah, Right.

Let’s junk the road courses. Two of the remaining races that actually have a little character. Hell, let’s just run them all on the cookie cutters. That would serve two purposes. #1 the teams could just run the same set ups at all tracks. Thus being able to fire a bunch more people.

#2 This would save the remaining fans lots of time. They could just catch one race during the season. After all if you’ve seen one boring race on one of these tracks. You’ve seen them all. Who needs short tracks, the roots of the sport, or road courses. That have been part of the sport since the 50’s. Better yet let’s just run them all at Charlotte. Think how much money that will save.

11/17/2008 11:22 PM

Boy, this season sure sucked, and it doesn’t look like it is going to be any better next year. As long as Brian runs things, they will steadily get worse. You sure you want to run your own team in this environment, Tony?

If it wasn’t for the cookie-cutter 1½-milers, Jimmie wouldn’t be hoisting that championship trophy even once, let alone 3 times! He is certainly no Cale Yarborough.

We need to keep the road courses. Heck, run the 2nd Daytona race on the road course. This separates the true talents (Stewart, Gordon, Busch) from the pretenders (Edwards, Johnson, Kenseth).

The testing ban will backfire, putting even more wins in the hands of Gibbs/Hendrick/Roush, just watch. DEI and Ganassi will be gone before the end of next year, sadly.

Don’t even THINK of moving a race from any of the short tracks. If Kansas wants another date, move it from California.

Anyone care to guess how far the ratings for the 2009 so-called Shootout will fall from last years?

Does anyone really think a bailout will do nothing more than put off the inevitable at Ford, GM, or Chrysler. They dug their own hole, let them dig out (and this is coming from someone who owns a pair of GM products!)

11/17/2008 11:52 PM

Thanks Tom, I remember the Chrysler loan and that they actually paid it back early. The fact they are in trouble again might have to do with the change of hands in ownership as well as the Free Trade Agreement not being very level towards the U.S. it is a fact that they import 5 times more vehicles than we export. That might be a very good reason why GM is looking to take their business overseas FOR SURVIVAL. If we are not willing to help them and don’t wish to keep our Citizens employed or try to stabilize our economy then our Auto Industry just might do what the rest of our manufacturing, back office “telemarketing payroll accounting”, engineering, technology have done and leave so they can hire cheaper labor “sweatshop workers”, receive the tax breaks by importing and then sell us back the same stuff they made when it was manufactured here but this time their making a huge profit.

11/20/2008 10:11 AM

Douglas –

Well lets see now, quote from M.B. Voelker: “Isn’t it amazing that the U.S. Congress seems so hesitant to help out the Big Three automakers — which employ one in ten Americans”

Actually, that was Jack quoting Matt’s article.

You and MBV are in agreement, I would think, about bailing out the auto industry.