Recent Posts

Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Home Sweet Homestead

I've been in Florida all week doing some interesting things. Tuesday we kicked it off with the Ford Ride n'Drive where we give rides around Homestead Miami Speedway in the Ford Cup two-seaters to over 30 South Florida Ford dealers. One of the sales managers got in the car with me and wanted to video tape the deal with a handheld video camera. He caught me laughing in my helmet when he started up the video camera and I just kept laughing and by the time we got to the end of pit road the video camera was in his lap so that didn't work out too good. It was funny. I guess he thought he'd have home video so he could show it at Christmas time or something but it didn't work out. Maybe he got he sound on the inside of the car anyway.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps: 2007 Ford 400 at Homestead

*Jimmie Johnson* - Johnson has Top 10 finishes in four of his six starts at Homestead, including a second place result scored here in 2004. For those looking for a little drama, Johnson did crash out here in 2005 en route to 40th place. *Jeff Gordon* - Gordon has Top 10 finishes in six of eight Cup races at Homestead, producing an average finishing position of eleventh. His best run here was third in 2004. *Clint Bowyer* - Bowyer finished tenth here last year in his only Homestead Cup start. He started the Chase with a victory; can he end it with one as well?

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NASCAR Stuff We Can’t Make Up – November 15, 2007

- Before last week's race in Phoenix, I got an email from NASCAR.com entitled, "The Chase continues at Phoenix International Speedway." It was an opt-in email that included information about the schedule for TrackPass, items for sale in the NASCAR.com Superstore, and so forth. But I think there's a reason that the folks who built the Phoenix track named it "Phoenix International Raceway" and not "Phoenix International Speedway" - as it's called in this email. PIR is an acceptable acronym; the alternative, uh, not so much...

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Fanning the Flames: Go For The Jugular, Or Play It Safe?

*Q: Will Gene Haas' sentencing have any effect at all on his (Haas CNC Racing) team?* _— Allen McCarty_ *A:* Apparently not, Allen. The team has been operating with the knowledge that Haas could face serious slammer time since he pled guilty to tax fraud in August. Race team general manager Joe Custer will continue the day-to-day oversight of the race team while Hass is gone. Seems to me the bigger problem the company has is that it employed two new drivers in Jeremy Mayfield and Scott Riggs while losing two sponsors in Best Buy and Yellow Transportation. At least they are in the Top 35 in owner points, which will guarantee their participation in the first five races of 2008. So they have that going for them ... which is nice.

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Brian France: Is He Stupid or Does He Not Understand The Word Contract?

con•tract - kuh n-trakt - _verb_ to become drawn together or reduced in compass; become smaller; shrink In February, NASCAR CEO Brian France, on the subject of lower television ratings, said: "My view on television ratings, I mean, we look at them a little bit longer cycle or window than maybe you would think we would. TV ratings, depending on storylines, other competing things that are going around, are going to go down and up a little bit. We don't get too hung up on it. We went down a little bit. My expectation is we'll be up in TV ratings in '07 for the all the reasons I mentioned in my opening remarks, all the momentum we have that we didn't have last year." OK, Brian; let's see how your expectations panned out compared to 2006. (And remember, 2006 ratings were down overall from 2005.) Percentages were provided if available...

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Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: 2007 Ford 400 at Homestead Edition

The fat lady is warming up, the sun is beginning to set, and the curtain is about to close on the 2007 Nextel Cup season. After 35 races, it all comes down to two drivers - Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon - who'll battle for the rights to the title. The rest of the field is racing for pride, 13th place in the standings, or to secure a starting spot in 2008 by finishing in the Top 35 in owner points. With the clock ticking and the end close at hand, expect the action to be wide open everywhere on the track. Many drivers will be going all out; some will be in their last ride for their organization, while others will be auditioning for new jobs. Of course, if you're reading this now, your team is likely among the Johnsons and Gordons of the world, racing into the weekend with a chance at championship glory. This is your last opportunity to put your best foot forward; are you ready to take home the league trophy? You will be - after reading the expert advice contained in this week's edition of Picks 'N' Pans.

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Mirror Driving: Jeff Gordon No Longer Number One? Is Parity In NASCAR Done? And Truck Series Fun…

*Jimmie Johnson's remarkable achievement of four wins in a row gave him double-digit victories for the first time since 1998, when teammate Jeff Gordon dominated the sport. Should Johnson continue on and win his second straight title, is it fair to say the No. 1 driver in the Hendrick stable is now him - not Gordon?* Mike: No. Gordon has done it for years, and has earned that distinction. When Johnson gets to 80 wins, if Gordon is still around, then you can have that debate. Amy: Jeff will be number one as long as he wants to be. That said, I think that of all the organizations, HMS operates the least around that theory, anyway. Tony: I think it's just like Mark Martin with Roush; he was always their number one driver, even when he wasn't bringing in the most wins. The same can be said for Gordon.

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Hendrick Motorsports: A Decade of Dominance…And Then Some

This weekend in Homestead, one thing is for certain: Hendrick Motorsports will be the team that captures the 2007 Nextel Cup. It will be the organization's sixth championship, tying the Charlotte car dealer with Junior Johnson and Richard Childress for second all-time on the NASCAR owner's title list. Who the driver is that actually _wins_ the title remains to be seen; but in the case of Hendrick, does it really make a difference? No matter which driver comes out ahead, he'll still remain the owner clearly positioned at or near the top of the stock car racing world. It's hard to believe that Hendrick Motorsports has reached the pinnacle of motorsports in North America after coming from such humble beginnings in the early 1980's. Back then, All-Star Racing was a fledgling yet burgeoning race team, coming of age right about the same time that NASCAR began to emerge from the Southeast and gain national exposure. Chemung, New York native Geoff Bodine was the team's first driver, and he wasted no time in getting the team some much wanted attention. In fact, he helped All-Star racing win in only its eighth start in 1984; it was a harbinger of things to come, as the groundwork was being laid for the largest and most successful racing operation in the modern era - and potentially the history of - the sport.

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Johnny Benson Didn’t Get The Memo

I learned something about Johnny Benson this week. It seems the guy is quickly becoming a dinosaur, obsolete within a sport that is evolving in a direction he is neither able or willing to keep up with. Thank goodness he's still here. Apparently, the veteran Truck Series driver is not up to speed with what can only be titled the "new" NASCAR. That is, a NASCAR that endorses "team racing" as a legitimate and increasingly integral part of its sanctioned racing events. This became evident last Friday night during the running of the Craftsman Truck Series Casino Arizona 150 at Phoenix International Raceway, when Benson passed his Bill Davis Racing teammate Mike Skinner to better his finishing position. The supposed problem with that? Skinner is a championship contender, running neck-and-neck with Ron Hornaday, Jr. for a title in which every point will make a difference. That Benson would have the audacity to pass a competitor in such a race stirred astonishment within the SPEED TV broadcasting booth, as well as obvious displeasure from his teammate. And that, in turn, stirred displeasure from me.

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Top Ten NASCAR Headlines You Won’t Be Seeing Anytime Soon

10. *Jeff Gordon Rethinking Hiring Practices* _Wait - on second thought, that one isn't so farfetched ..._ 9. *Kenseth, Edwards To Open Boxing School* 8. *Dale Junior On 2008: Just Because There Won't Be Bud ON The Car, Doesn't Mean There Won't Be Bud IN The Car!* 7. *Johnson to Sit Out Homestead: Says After All Jeff Has Done For Him, He Deserves It More* 6. *Brian France Leaves NASCAR To Open Driving School*

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