I would love to have a financial stake in the first woman driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series that performs at the high level of skill that IRL driver Danica Patrick does. There is no secret that the nation’s top automobile racing series is sponsor driven, and a successful female driver would have a host of new companies, never before on the racing scene, clamoring for her endorsement of their products. I can see it now: multiple companies, all attempting to outbid one another to have their brand name adorning her firesuit and the hood of her car.
In honor of restrictor-plate racing — and the close quarters that go with it — this week’s Top 10 focuses on all the things we wish Sprint Cup vehicles would put on their rear bumper.
As much as ESPN’s NASCAR Now lacked in consistency and substance last year, it has been made up for — and then some — in 2008. Last year’s hosts of the show, with the exception of Ryan Burr, really struggled to even pretend to have a clue about anything in the sport; but things have changed over the course of the past few months. Nicole Manske, Allen Bestwick, and Burr have become the triumvirate of hosts that cycle at the helm of the broadcast, and the talent works to perfection in this case. Bestwick’s experience combined with Manske and Burr’s individual, natural comfort in front of the camera really helps fill the void that the script of the show sometimes lacks.
Talladega Superspeedway is one of the more intimidating tracks on the Sprint Cup schedule. It requires skill; it requires patience; and most often, it requires a certain amount of luck. For a few of the drivers, the 2.66-mile track is a welcomed site; but for most, Talladega is a dreaded wild card event where anything can and will happen. But despite the track’s unpredictable nature, some drivers have achieved consistent success down in Alabama. As the Who’s Hot/Who’s Not column returns from an off-week, we take a look at not only the hottest and coldest drivers in the series this year, but how the top 15 in driver points have fared at Talladega throughout their careers.
Congratulations to Danica Patrick for winning her first IRL race! After three years, 50 starts and three podium finishes prior to Saturday’s Twin Ring Motegi 300, her arrival in Victory Lane has long been awaited. Altogether now: three cheers for Danica! There. Are we done patting the little lady on the back?
Welcome one and all to this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown. With no Sprint Cup Series race last weekend to speak of, we’re going to take advantage of the break to look back at the first eight races of the season and analyze the biggest surprises and disappointments so far. So without further ado, here’s a recap of this year’s bubble drivers.
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’ home in Berlin, with Adolph Hitler in attendance as a guest of honor.
I’ve had the pleasure of running new colors and a new number for the past couple of weeks, but outside of those things, nothing else is different. We sure have been super busy trying to get the team headed in the right direction, keeping up with testing sessions and running in both series. Unfortunately, one of the other things we’ve been busy at was trying to stay in the Top 35 in owner points. Our team had asked NASCAR if we could swap the points of the No. 00 and the No. 44, but our request was denied. I didn’t think that was a fair decision, but that’s NASCAR’s ruling and you don’t have to agree with everything they say, you just have to abide by it.
Being the undeniable gentleman that he is, Mark Martin would probably take exception to my calling him the unluckiest driver in auto racing. He would counter that he has won 35 Cup races and 47 Busch races, driven for top-notch teams, and pulled down an amazing five IROC championships. And how many drivers have finished in the top five in the standings 12 times?
Q: NASCAR keeps saying that the CoT will get better as teams learn more about the car. Wouldn’t it make more sense, coming out with a new car with so many restrictions, to allow teams to do more testing to speed up the learning curve? Even opening a track up a day early, allowing the teams to run tests just before the races would seem relatively inexpensive (as opposed to having to schlep everyone back and forth midweek) and could actually make the racing more competitive. Oh right, that would make too much sense, wouldn’t it?