NASCAR Race Weekend Central

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2008 Corona Mexico 200 at Mexico City

1. Now We’re Talking… Real Fascists! – Formula 1 racing is embroiled in a nasty and controversial sex scandal and some within the organization are asking for the removal of its president, Max Mosley. Mosley has been accused (complete with video) of engaging in a kinky XXX Nazi-role playing session with five prostitutes. Mosley and the paid performers were play-acting, he as a Nazi soldier and the prostitutes as Jewish women in a Nazi concentration camp. The 68-year old Mosley’s father was a well-known political figure in pre-war Britain and was a leader of the British Union of Fascists. In fact, Mosley’s parents were married at Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels’s home in Berlin with Adolph Hitler in attendance as a guest of honor. During his University years attending Christ Church at Oxford University in the early ’60s, Mosley, a physics student, was Secretary of the Oxford Union and his campaign slogan, in support of his father who wished to speak at the Union was, “Free speech for fascists.”

Now really… is NASCAR head Brian France all that bad?

2. Champions Are Not Recession ProofFrank Kimmel, after finishing third at Iowa Speedway Saturday is surprising no one as he now sits second in the ARCA Re/Max Series points standings. But three races into the 2008 season, the 46-year old nine-time series champion does not have a primary sponsor and may be, if a sponsor is not signed soon, forced to run a limited schedule this season.

Shoot… maybe Jeff Gordon with his measly four championships might ought to start worrying.

3. Well… It’s Kind Of Democratic! – For the fifth year in a row fans will be allowed to vote a favorite into the Sprint All-Star Race to be held May 17th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The driver with the most votes that finishes on the lead lap of the Sprint Showdown will be allowed to compete in the All-Star event. Fans may vote as often as they like at participating Sprint Stores, trackside at the Sprint Experience tents or if having a Sprint phone, text “NASCAR” to 7777 and follow directions. As a bonus to Sprint customers, votes placed using their Sprint phones will be counted twice. The voting period began April 17th and ends the evening of May 17th.

Allowing some votes to count twice may seem wrong, unless you are a Democrat living in Michigan or Florida wanting to vote in the primaries… there, your vote doesn’t count at all!

4. Payolla – Last week’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix was a good example of how outdated and antiquated NASCAR’s system of distributing prize money to its competitors is. There are a number of contingency awards of relatively small amounts that may result in a team that finished below another in the final race results actually having a slightly larger payday, but the largest bonus payout by far is to the recipients of the Winner’s Circle Program that awards the 12 top winners from the previous season with significant amounts of extra cash simply for showing up at the event. For instance: Ryan Newman, who finished 43rd and last at the Subway Fresh Fit 500 received $110,718, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. was paid $99,125 for a solid top-10 finish (seventh place). The bonus plan was adopted in a by-gone era when drivers and teams did not necessarily feel compelled to enter events great distances from their shops or with smaller purses.

No disrespect to Newman intended… but in today’s NASCAR, would NASCAR be wiser to make sure that its biggest stars are being rewarded for showing up… if that is a concern?

5. Fancy… Smancy – Richard Childress, owner of three Sprint Cup teams; including the No. 31 Chevrolet team of Jeff Burton, who is presently topping the series’ driver points standings received kudos for his efforts far removed from his racing endeavors. The magazine Wine Enthusiast has rated his Childress Vineyards as one of their top-25 Tasting Rooms in the U.S. The 62-year old North Carolina native and former independent driver campaigned as an owner/driver in the Winston Cup Series and opened his vineyards only a little more than four years ago. Said the niche-publication of Childress Vineyards, “…go for the Signature Tasting to reveal winemaker Mark Friszolowski’s best work to date. The Reserve Syrah and the Signature Meritage are both sublime, as is the setting – a stone and stucco building, terra-cotta style roof and large tasting room, shop and The Bistro restaurant, all reminiscent of Tuscany.”

Hey! Isn’t it the open-wheel guys that are supposed to be the “Wine and Cheese” crowd?

6. Is There A Doctor In The House?David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford now has his blood type embroidered into his firesuits. And he is not the first to do so, although the practice is not common. The reasoning is that an injured driver’s blood type may be of importance to medical providers should they be involved in an accident and need a blood transfusion.

This probably isn’t necessary since NASCAR has their own emergency response personnel that already have critical medical information at the ready should the need arise. Oh wait… no they don’t.

7. Do You Have Proof? – NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Stanton Barrett brought two cars to Mexico City for the Corona Mexico 200, one for him and a second for his father Stan Barrett. However, the 64-year old elder-Barrett, who raced in 19 Cup races during the ‘80s, recorded track times during practice runs at the road course that were at the bottom of the speed charts. The Barrett’s, both active Hollywood stuntmen, mutually agreed to put Kenny Hendrick in Dad’s ride and Hendrick was able to put the No. 31 Chevy into the race field. Racing publications, when speaking of the possible father/son driving team boasted that Stan Barrett was the first man to exceed the speed of sound in a ground vehicle.

Though Barrett and his three-wheeled “Budweiser Rocket” team did claim to have broken through the sound barrier in 1979 at a speed of 739.666 mph, no official certification of the feat was ever given. Experts are dubious of the claim and cite highly questionable monitoring equipment as a principal reason for their disbelief.

8. Cultural Diversity – Drivers from six countries were entered for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Corona Mexico 200 at Mexico City, Mexico on Sunday. 38 from the United States, five from the host country to the south and one each from Australia, Canada, Venezuela and Italy, respectfully.

The Worldwide Series race would have been a more apt description of the event.

9. On Fire!Kyle Busch whipped-up on the Nationwide field at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez road course in Mexico City Sunday for his third win in a row in that series. Busch’s win was his first on a road course. The young man now leads the points standings in the Craftsman Truck Series after scoring two wins, is second in Sprint Cup points with one win, and third in the Nationwide Series (66 points behind leader Clint Bowyer) and three wins.

That’s six wins in eight weeks of racing. Apparently Kyle’s highly publicized dismissal from Hendrick Motorsports in favor of fan-favorite Earnhardt Jr. hasn’t shattered his self-confidence.

10. Get A Map – It is approximately a 2,123-mile, 33-hour transit to Mexico City from Charlotte, N.C.

It is approximately an 81-mile, 1 ½-hour transit to Rockingham, N.C. from Charlotte, N.C.

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