MPM2Nite

When Is A Monopoly Not A Monopoly?

48 years into a misspent life lived on the edge, I don't think I shock very easily anymore. A healthy dose of cynicism helps one get by in a quirky world that seems to have gone mad at times. But I have to admit, when I learned a judge in Kentucky dismissed the lawsuit the Kentucky Speedway had filed against the ISC and NASCAR on Monday, my jaw dropped into full "fly-catching mode."

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Winning Back Longtime NASCAR Fans: Part II

A lot of folks, myself included, thought or just hoped that things would improve when ESPN got back into NASCAR broadcasting. That didn't turn out to be the case. After a tough year, it would behoove ESPN management and "talent" to use the offseason to review tapes not of this year's broadcasts but tapes from the glory days of the mid-to-late 1980s. Those broadcasts were free of gimmicks and talking heads with little to say, long on information and actual coverage of the racing itself. Today's race broadcasts were exactly that, coming across too much like People magazine - a curse on this generation - and too little like ABC's old Wide World of Sports.

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Winning Back Longtime NASCAR Fans: Part I

Towards the end of last season, Brian France gave a press conference concerning the state of the sport of NASCAR. Not unexpectedly, given his position and lack of mental ability, for the most part Mssr. France assured everybody all was well despite the sagging TV ratings and blocks of unsold seats in the grandstands. But France did state that NASCAR was determined to keep and win back the longtime fans who have been the backbone of the sport all these decades, those who have been jumping ship in record numbers over the last few years.

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Ain’t That A Shame – But Who’s To Blame For Bristol?

It seems I am in the minority about the "new" BMS - I actually enjoyed Saturday night's Cup race, a drowning voice in the face of mounting criticism against the track. What I saw throughout was a lot of two and even three wide racing, along with passing throughout the pack. Yes, two cars - the No. 9 and the No. 99 - dominated the race, but keep in mind that Matt Kenseth led 415 laps en route to his win in the 2005 Bristol night race. So, such domination is not without precedent even at the old Bristol.

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Matt McLaughlin Thinks Out Loud: Is It The Rider Or His Horse?

In horse racing, they say it is the jockey that matters but even the best can't win on a pack mule. As it becomes more and more likely that the Joe Gibbs Racing teams will switch to Toyota Camrys next year, you have to wonder just how many millions of dollars are being thrown around behind the scenes for Gibbs even to consider such a radical move. Gibbs latest acquisition, Kyle Busch, has complained out loud that he is unpopular with many fans because they aren't giving him a fair break. (That's a valid argument to a point, but in fact, it is Busch's antics on and off the track that have caused many folks to write him off as a horse's ass.) My guess is driving a Toyota isn't going to endear him to even the most open minded fans. Of course, maybe Busch will be the first to win a race in a Camry and he'll say afterwards, "These cars still suck". I'd buy him a beer if he does.

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Remembering Davey Allison – Part II

Robert Yates Racing, and the team's talented young driver Davey Allison made their official debut at the 1989 Daytona 500. Things got off to an inauspicious start. Davey was running well when Geoff Bodine got into his rear bumper and sent the 28 car spinning. The car rolled but came down on all four wheels, and Allison limped off to the pits, where the crew was able to repair the car well enough to get him back out there for points. Allison finished 25th in that years 500. After the race Davey had some harsh words for Geoff and a short scuffle broke out. It was just the beginning of a lot of frustration for what amounted to a new team going through some teething pains. There were some bright spots, like a sixth at Rockingham and a 2nd at Darlington, but there were also an uncharacteristic amount of engine failures that season, as Yates tried to adjust to his dual role as team owner and engine man, both of which are full-time jobs.

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Remembering Davey Allison – Part I

If there was ever a child born to be a racecar driver, it was Davey Allison. If there was ever a racecar driver who never forgot his roots, and always had a few moments to sign an autograph, answer a question or smile for a photo with a fan, it was Davey Allison. And if there was ever a hero of the sport who left us too soon, it was Davey Allison.

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Racing At The Beach: Tragedy, Triumph, And New Faces, 2001-2006

The 2000 edition of the Great American Race wasn't very good, but come 2001 NASCAR thought they'd developed a solution to ensure good racing at Daytona. A small spoiler called the "taxicab strip" was added to the roof of the Cup cars; NASCAR officials hoped the cars would punch a bigger hole in the air with the strip, allowing for more passing despite the restrictor plates. Whether the strip actually made for better racing is highly debatable; what was of greater importance was how drivers quickly reported the strips made the closing rate on a car ahead frighteningly fast. That led to some dangerous and ultimately tragic racing that unforgettable February afternoon.

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Racing At The Beach: Curses Are Broken, 1994-2000

When the Winston Cup crews arrived at Daytona for the kick off event of the 1994 season, one of the track's favorite sons had been lost. Davey Allison, who had been part of those memorable finishes of 1988 and 1992, had lost his life in a helicopter accident the previous summer. Ernie Irvan had signed on to drive the Havoline Ford, Davey made famous, leaving the Morgan-McClure team that had helped him claim the 1991 Daytona 500.

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Racing At The Beach: Earnhardt Tries His Best… And Comes Up Short, 1990-93

Dale Earnhardt must have felt his blood pressure rise whenever he recalled the Daytona 500 of 1990, and who can blame him? For another driver, though, it was the high point of his career altogether. Ken Schrader won the pole position for the third straight year, continuing his streak of every event since the restrictor plate was reintroduced at Daytona. Schrader's luck turned bad in the first qualifier, however, as a last lap crash wiped out the car and forced Schrader to a backup.

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