Wednesday, May 31, 2006

NASCAR COT "Morphing"

NASCAR's Car Of Tomorrow continues to get positive publicity while producing negative results in preparation for its debut in 2007. With a test of the car scheduled for Charlotte following the World 600 weekend, a blow to that test - and potentially to the project - comes from Jack Roush, who claims the car has "morphed" and as a result his organization will not participate in the coming Charlotte test.

This is but the latest blow to a project that has gotten nothing but positive spin by the sanctioning body yet has never produced any kind of test result to warrant belief. An area of concern is the rear deck, with speculation that NASCAR may cut several inches off the rear deck to reduce rear downforce and thus balance out the car. It shouldn't take an aerodynamics expert to see that this may "balance" the car but it will do nothing to make it raceable.

Several tests and several wind tunnel runs have been made on the COT and not one of these tests has produced reason to feel confident in the success of the project. Roush may not be the only team skipping the Charlotte test.


FOLLOW-UP - The COT tested at Charlotte on Tuesday after the 600, and while NASCAR says it is pleased with how the car raced in the test, the car pushed in dirty air the same as always - said Ryan Newman, "The car definately gets tight. It gets tight through a run and with dirty air." - leaving little reason to think it will improve the racing as so long advertised.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Winning Still The Best Memorial

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and reflecting on the sacrifices of our servicemen is in order. But as we reflect on their sacrifices, we must also reflect on the result of those sacrifices - the result of victory.

The most galling aspect of the present-day "debate" about Iraq is that no one offers any kind of defense of actually winning in Iraq. With all the reckless comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam, it is worth noting how the debate then shied away from offering a defense of winning there. That was a huge error, because there was then and is now manifest reason to win.

It remains a tautological fallacy that the US could not win in Vietnam, and the Left is trying its best to make a tautology out of the idea that we can't win in Iraq. How they can think this way is puzzling, because in Vietnam the communist enemy, despite being allowed the strategic initiative, nonetheless at no point of direct US involvement held any kind of tactical upper hand. William Westmoreland's "war of the big battalions" approach was hardly the best use of resources and personnel, but despite its sloppiness it succeeded in bleeding the enemy, and the switch by Creighton Abrams to actually holding gained ground and then securing it and building the army of South Vietnam made the South secure enough that American troop reductions were steady and there was comparatively little fighting throughout 1971. This further pushed the Soviet-backed North Vietnamese to use their only remaining option - full-scale armored assault, which was stopped and their ability to sustain offensive action effectively wiped out.

It was here, though, that civilian-manifested defeatism pushed the US to throw away Indochinese gains, ultimately resulting in the conquest of the region by Hanoi. Thus did the US throw away success because it refused to consider winning as an option.

Ultimately this is why Vietnam remains such a bitter memory, a bitterness impossible to imagine had the US stayed through to even the admittedly limited triumph of a Korea-style division of the region - a result that nearly transpired, as shown by the writings of Sir Robert Thompson then and later. Korea likewise was a frustrating war but one in which the US managed to achieve an objective - stopping invasion of the South by the Communist North. The end result was certainly anything but ideal, but it was a real accomplishment nonetheless, and the result - a prosperous Korea as well as Japan and other regional nations - should speak for itself.

Antiwar types disingenuously talk about sympathising with the troops; the best sympathy one can have is the best memorial to their sacrifice - backing victory in their endeavor.

Winning is always the best memorial.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Bad Sports Model That Is The Boston Bruins

The news that the Boston Bruins' choice to be new GM has in effect quit the job (may need to register to see story) is the most graphic display yet of the disconnect that exists between the hockey world and the universally unpopular owner of the Boston Bruins, Jeremy Jacobs.

The search for a new GM began after the firing of Mike O'Connell following one of the worst seasons in Bruins history. The disaster that was the 2005-6 season was an embarassment for the team, and in a way that put the lie to the rhetoric of Jacobs and other Bruins brass once the NHL's disasterous 2004-5 lockout was finally resolved. Having fought for the economic model under which the NHL now operates, the Bruins should have been in the best position to win a championship out of the gates. Instead the team assembled by O'Connell faltered badly early in the season and finally collapsed after the Olympic break.

The suspicion is considerable that interim GM Jeff Gorton will wind up being the official GM, a scenario that would likely confirm the universal cynicism that exists about the Bruins, a cynicism that holds that owner Jeremy Jacobs and his brass, concerned only with raking in concession profits from their ownership of the Boston Garden (both the original and the rebuilt facility of today), consistently skimp on quality personnel on and off the ice and refuse to hire managers or coaches with fresh new approaches to the game and to management of the team - "All they want is 'yes' men," as WEEI sports personality Pete Shepperd angrilly puts it.

But even if an outsider, from the Ottawa Senators management staff or elsewhere, is brought in, the issue of GM autonomy will likely still exist. And it provides a graphic case study in what not to do in pro sports. The blunt truth of the matter is that the Boston Bruins are the case study of a fundamentally flawed sports model. It used to be the Los Angeles Clippers and the Cincinatti Bengals that were the case studies of fundamentally flawed sports models, but right now that can't be said about either team.

The upshot here is that the Bruins' AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins, are a consistent playoff team with the 1999 Calder Cup championship in their resume. Talk about little brother showing up big brother.

Dealing With The American Fifth Column

Various incidents such as shoddy audience treatment of John McCain and Condi Rice at various speeches bring to light the continuing irresponsibility of opponants of the war against Islamo-Arab imperialism - aka the war on terror. A thoughtful look at this phenomenon asks the pertinent question - can we fight against and defeat Islamo-Arab imperialism when one of the two largest political parties in the country, the bulk of its mainstream press, and a good portion of its cultural intelligensia are determined to undermine that effort irrespective of the help this gives to the Islamo-Arab enemy?

Of course saying "irrespective of the help this gives" would give a good portion of the "antiwar" crowd too much credit, as the fundamental disgrace of the antiwar side was displayed by the fraud that was the phony "Iraq War veteran" who made a video claiming to have massacred civilians under orders from superiors and witnessed more such civilian slaughters - a story debunked here. The disgrace of the antiwar side and the MSM further displays itself in the fawning coverage of The Dixie Chicks and their comeback album, the coverage noting their attack on the war against Islamo-Arab imperialism without ever questioning them on it.

The spirit of Winter Soldier - the bogus 1971 assertion by Liveshot Kerry's group Vietnam Veterans Against The War where 100 veterans discussed civilian massacres they had committed or witnessed; the charges were refuted by outside investigation that proved the accusers either never served in Vietnam or served in the regions they claimed to have witnessed these incidents - does indeed live on.

The question always worth asking is - where do these people come from? Why do so many people not want the US to win?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Another View Of The Real Iraq

Check out this take that helps further show the disconnect between the MSM's view of Iraq and the real Iraq.

Winners And Losers Of The Winston 2006

The Winston - aka The Nextel All-Star Challenge - has completed its 22nd running, and there were plenty of winners and losers -



HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS - Jimmie Johnson has now won two Winstons, the last three World 600s, and the last two National 500s. And this time he did it with a self-confessed junk racecar after prerace practice. It shows what the perfect combination of vast resources and workable organization that is Hendrick Motorsports can accomplish. Johnson, though, wasn't the only one smiling afterward, as Jeff Gordon got a strong finish, looking for his first win of the season.

While Johnson and Gordon were winners, the other two Hendrick cars continued their form chart - Brian Vickers was irrelevent again and Kyle Busch ran strong and then wrecked.

RCR ENTERPRISES - Though Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer didn't make the A-Main, RCR showed marked improvement in their intermediate superspeedway program with Kevin Harvick's wildcard victory bid. RCR looks to be repeating a formula they implemented with Dale Earnhardt in the 1980s - work on the short track program first, then improve on intermediates. Having mastered short ovals with two wins and leading the most laps at Richmond, RCR's schedule appears on.

PETTY ENTERPRISES - Kyle Petty didn't acquit himself in the Open, looking downright abysmal. He got voted into the A-Main by fans and once in he began to improve. It was vexing that he had to dodge all the wrecks to finish eighth instead of race his way there, but he showed improvement as the night wore on, particularly in the final segment.

Bobby Labonte shook off the stupor of three disappointing weeks, notably when he and almost all the other Dodges panicked at Darlington by not letting the track come to them, to post his best effort of the year so far; he started slow in the first segment, picked up in the second, and then looked very racy in the final segment, especially fighting with Gordon, Newman, and Carl Edwards three wide for third. Sixth doesn't quite do justice for how well Labonte ran.


With the winners went plenty of losers -


ROUSH RACING - Of five cars, only Carl Edwards finished, typifying the season. The organization best suited to matching Hendrick in both resources and organization, it is notable that Jamie McMurray started the spinning in this effort; McMurray has proven not to be that good a fit with the organization and increasingly looks like he's being left behind. Talk about contrasts - in 2005 the intermediates were a Roush feast, and now they're a famine.

JOE GIBBS RACING - Still winless after their 14th start in The Winston, JGR saw the downside of Tony Stewart's raciness as he ran all over Matt Kenseth in One. Kenseth usually doesn't convey emotion but his remark about Stewart "he's always mad at someone" contained noticably more bitterness than Kenseth usually lets on.

RAY EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS - Is this a full-fledged season collapse? Increasingly the Evernham Dodges are either snakebit or look lost, and The Winston left them with plenty of repair work to do. Scott Riggs won the Open, but the irrelevency there showed once the A-Main got going; one has to wonder why Riggs was allowed to keep racing even though he was a lap down most of the night.

Kasey Kahne had another frustrating finish while Jeremy Mayfield keeps walking a tightrope with this organization.

DALE EARNHARDT INC. - In 1972 Bobby Isaac famously growled, "I don't think we need to run two cars when we can't keep one together." Coming after the announcement that Paul Menard will drive a third DEI Chevy in 2007, DEI's lackluster run in The Winston brought Isaac's remark to mind. Certainly DEI is a better team now compared to 2005, but the consistent muscle of 2004 has still not been reached, and one has to wonder about the wisdom of bringing up Menard, who has not shown much muscle in BGN, this while Martin Truex continues the learning curve.

GANASSI/SABCO RACING - Few may have noticed that they were here, too, though Reed Sorenson showed some good driving moxie at points of The Open.

ROBERT YATES RACING - Dale Jarrett salvaged something with his finish, but the overall organization continued to show struggle after Elliott Sadler's struggles during the weekend.


But the biggest loser may have been the track itself. The new surface was certainly needed, but it didn't make the racing better. Excessive horsepower, lack of downforce, and insufficient tire remain the primary problems here and elsewhere, so blaming the track really isn't fair. One can, though, say that it remains as cantankerous as it's ever been, especially with cars skating through Four like an NHL/AHL playoff game.

Such has The Winston 2006 weekend wrapped up.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Cindy Sheehan, Total Fraud

The following is a repost from August 27, 2005:

Cindy Sheehan lost her son in Iraq. And what is her reaction? She blames it on President Bush instead of the Islamo-Arab imperialists trying to destroy democracy in Iraq and has thus camped out near Bush's Texas home hoping for a meeting to presumably tell him off about how he killed her son.

Trouble is it isn't even about her son. It is doubtful she disagrees with the letter one writer got in response to defending the US role in the war. Given that, and given that she's ALREADY met with President Bush (and stated she understands he is sincere about liberating Iraq for its people), it is inconceivable that it is about anything but exploiting her son, who obviously recognized her well-worn leftism as the fraud that it is by going to Iraq.

This is, in a real sense, child abuse. And this is before Sheehan's antisemitism and wholesale endorsement by neo-Nazi groups enters the picture. Then there is the little matter of a characteristic common to leftists - projection. What has emerged about Sheehan's relationship to her son is that he not only recognized her leftism as a fraud, his actions were his way of calling her out on it, for which she obviously can never forgive him.

Between her antisemitism and projection of hatred of her son onto President Bush, there is obviously a need to commit Cindy Sheehan to an asylum.

FOLLOW-UP: The mental illness of Cindy Sheehan is more crazy like a fox than a lot of us could imagine, as shown by her monetary exploitation of her son's death.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Petty To Toyota? Context, Context, Context

Rarely does the Mainstream Media provide much context to major news stories, hence the disconnect between MSM coverage of stories like Iraq and the actual events inside such places. The Race-Stream Media has also been guilty of not providing context.

Recently Kyle Petty was interviewed by Benny Parsons and was asked about Toyota and if the Petty Enterprises team would switch to Toyota. Kyle's answer has gotten considerable RSM buzz but its implication that PE will run Toyotas ignores the full context of Kyle's answer.

The Petty team has always been a team of Dodge/Plymouth lifers, and they and Dodge need each other, especially with the potential that other teams in the Dodge fold will go to Toyota once their Dodge contracts are up. Switching to Toyota is unlikely to be a good fit with the Petty team and may not be what they need to regain competitive power.

Petty Enterprises problems over the last number of years are not necessarily ones that a switch to Toyota would solve. Such problems stem from a comparative lack of budget plus repeated organizational miscues. They've sometimes been accused of not spending money, an unfair charge given that the team is the family's life above any outside business and given the huge resource disparity with teams like Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Racing.

A more accurate charge is that they haven't spent money properly nor been organized properly, a charge Kyle Petty repeatedly acknowledges. Part of that has in the recent past stemmed from a set mindset on running a race team that hasn't been flexible enough to adapt. Part of it also has been the overtaxing of Kyle as team owner and driver; nowhere was the combination of overtaxed leadership and an organization not on the same page more graphically shown than in the disasterous 2001 season.

Another part of it is lack of access to outside revenue streams, a situation the Pettys may have had in mind when they invested in the now-defunct National Sprintcar League with Tony Stewart. Given the heavy involvement the Pettys have always had in commercial endorsements, one can feel that they will try and find such outside revenue streams; cetainly there is a need for them to do so.

The hiring of Robbie Loomis, Todd Parrott, Bobby Labonte, and others recently shows a willingness to adapt, and one should note that adapting is something they haven't totally resisted in the recent past. The wholesale reorganization of the entire team undertaken by Larry Rathjeb in the early 1990s got the team turned in the direction where they finally returned to victory in the second half of that decade.

Between their commitment to Dodge and the work toward getting the organization on the right page, the Pettys have reason to feel confident of race wins in 2006.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Iraqization Continues

Check out this examination of the budding Iraqi Army as it continues taking up a greater role in fighting the Isalmo-Arab enemy.

Post-Darlington Pre-Winston & COT Miscellenia

Darlington is now in the record books and for Greg Biffle it's off the recent skids. This was the kind of win Biffle usually gets - he gets out front and that's it. That he hadn't won this season before now is a surprise, especially after he dominated Fontana.

Darlington continued the theme of the last few years - Hendrick versus Roush. Expect that theme to continue in The Winston - i.e. the Nextel All-Star Race - as it enters its 22nd running. With Roush basically the only Ford team, it's a little superfluous to talk about other Fords with any serious shot at the win, especially with Robert Yates Racing suddenly in need of at least one new driver for 2007.

Dale Jarrett's defection to Toyota may wind up being reflected in harsher fan reaction during prerace intros. One can confidently say there is no serious fan sympathy for Toyota, and given Toyota's reputation for helping bankrupt racing series it competes in, there is legitimate reason for concern.

NASCAR has a reputation for tightness of rules to keep a manufacturer from dominating. Toyota, though, is a different animal, as the Truck Series is seeing with the only serious opposition to Toyota coming from Mark Martin's Truckwhacking efforts this season; Chevrolet shows no particular life and Dodge, down to one organization in Hamilton Racing, isn't showing anything either.

NASCAR needs to redouble keeping the playing field level when it comes to Toyota.


NASCAR's pet project, the Car Of Tomorrow, was tested in the wind tunnel recently. The tests have been called inconclusive. Translated from the spin that permeates so much of the sport, the COT still is not proving to be as raceable as advertised - the most pertinent revelation from wind tunnel testing was that the gapped airdam sported by the COT exacerbates the aeropush; the wing NASCAR has suddenly fallen in love with likewise does nothing to make the car raceable in dirty air. Given the less than encouraging results the concept has suffered in previous testing - who can honestly be surprised that the wind tunnel showed the gapped airdam sported by the COT exacerbates aeropush? - one shouldn't be surprised. To paraphrase one NASCAR writer, NASCAR has staged half a dozen tests and none has been successful.


The All-Star race will be the first test of Charlotte Motor Speedway's new surface, the first test of harder tires brought in to handle the new surface, and the first non-restrictor plate test of small fuel cells brought in to require pitstops before tires wear out, this following tire trouble in earlier testing on the new surface.

What to expect with these new cells remains a question, though for the Winston one will almost certainly see at least one team gamble by skipping one or two tire changes and going with gas only. Given the event's format, though, this may not be that good a test of this new combination, though if the tires are as hard as advertised we'll likely see cars that skip tire changes having the best chance to win.

Thus does the sport enter its All Star weekend.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Pre-Darlington Miscellenia

Darlington Raceway beckoned for Mother's Day weekend with Denny Hamlin opening things up with a win in the BGN 200 and Kasey Kahne winning the Southern 500 pole, and thus leading off pit selections. Fan interest has surged the last few years and it is an interesting comment on NASCAR miscalculation about its markets. The now-famous meeting on New York Speedway went so poorly that it hurt the track's already-tenuous chances, and combined with the apparant quiet tabling of the proposed Seattle-area speedway, NASCAR faces something it may not have counted on - actual opposition to continued expansion and schedule realignment.

With the closure of the Rockingham track after February 2004, area fans finally came to grips with the reality that NASCAR was hell-bent on abandoning the Southland, and when Darlington was cut back to one date with some cynical railbirds suspecting NASCAR wanted fans to take the hint and not show up, something that took some by surprise happened - the fans not only have renewed their passion for Darlington, they have done so to a level that returning two dates to the track suddenly isn't farfetched anymore.


As for favorites in the revamped Southern 500, the three drivers holding down competitive control of the season right now are the obvious favorites. Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, and Kevin Harvick have won a combined six races entering this Darlington race, and for Harvick it's a huge change from some previous seasons. Even when he won twice in his breakout 2001 season he never showed quite the level of consistent strength to be considered a week-after-week favorite; now, though, he can be called that.

Their varied teammates presetly are bringing up the rear, though Jeff Gordon is also considered a good bet based on five Southern 500 wins and the '96 Rebel 400 for good measure. Kyle Busch's frustrating season may not get a turnaround at the notoriously fickle Darlington track, but the Hendrick teammate in the hottest water may be Brian Vickers, not only still winless in his third season in Hendrick's #25 but trapped in a cycle of not getting better. He can run well but not only doesn't finish well with any consistency, he has shown an annoying propensity for failing to finish.

For Tony Stewart, two rookie temamates offer a contrast. Denny Hamlin shook off some recent bad luck by posting a strong second at Richmond. In contrast, J.J. Yeley continues to get lost in the comparative shuffle as he goes through what used to be considered typical rookie growing pains.

Then there are the RCR teammates of Harvick. Clint Bowyer hasn't been spectacular, but he's been steady; it is though premature to expect a win here. It is Jeff Burton, a two-time Darlington winner, who may be able to break through at The Lady In Black.


There is of course the matter of the race winner. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has three Richmond wins, and with the improvement his program has shown this year he has begun creeping back into contention as far as the points lead goes. Darlington, though, will be a test because the DEI program has improved but it hasn't quite shown enough improvement to yet be considered a week-to-week favorite.


Dodge's program continues to struggle with a decidedly bad night at Richmond, low-lighted by Bobby Labonte's dismal finish after a spectacular charge into the top five, a finish brought about by the most inexplicable mistake in years - the tire carrier on a late pitstop got rear tires mixed up, to where the wrong tires got put on the car. The conversation between Todd Parrott and his tire carrier must have been animated afterward. Kyle Petty meanwhile didn't acquit himself that well, limping home 26th after starting in the top-15.

The other Dodges had a more mixed time of it. Ray Evernham's fleet had a disasterous night while Penske Racing showed some short track muscle. Kahne's pole is a good shot in the arm for the Evernham effort, looking for its first Darlington win.

Ford likewise didn't have a whole lot to cheer about. Greg Biffle's top five finish was like a win for him, and that it was considered such says a lot about how much struggle Roush Racing is going through even though they are still among the very strongest cars in the garage.


Of course the rumor mill continues operating at full speed, and increasingly this has taken more attention than the actual racing. It may get even dicier as the season goes on, but certainly no dicier than trying to manhandle the slippery tire-eating surface of The Lady In Black.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

He Was Right About The Insurgency's Death Throes After All

First of all, this repost is in order from July 2005:

Remember Dick Cheney's statement some months back about the invading insurgency in Iraq being on its death throes? Liberals wanted to ridicule this notion when Donald Rumsfeld testified that it would take perhaps a dozen years to finish off the enemy in Iraq. Well guess what? The enemy has indeed lost the war; it is the mopping up of what's left of the enemy that will take many years. The question to ask is not "How can America possibly win the war?" It's "Do we have the will to finish the job?

To further prove this point, we have the unreported bullishness on Iraq by its business leaders. Notes Abdul Hafiz Al-Atti, director of the Basra Business Council and a member of Basra's Board of Trade (chances are you wouldn't even know such entities even existed from MSM coverage; check The American Enterprise's July/August issue for some more detail), "We have everything here - oil, date groves, a port, the Shatt-Al-Arab waterway." What is needed is for US and British companies as well as others around the world to invest in Basra. "In ten years we can be like (Dubai). Why not?"

Why not, indeed.

FOLLOW UP: Nearly a year later we have basically the same thing being said about the steady defeat of the enemy from Barry McCaffrey after his recent trip to Iraq.

More Fragging Of Rumsfeld

The fragging of Donald Rumsefeld continued with Ray McGovern's misfiring heckle attack on Rumsfeld, an attack that gets dissected here. The silliness of the whole attack on Rumsfeld and the defeating of the Iraq thugs in general is tiring, and the lack of credibility of the criticisms shows again when one sees that guerrilla attacks have been declining since January 2005.

It has been pointed out numerous times by many that the Administration's refusal to defend itself from leftist attack has been a mistake. At least Rumsfeld told off Ray McGovern; the Administration needs to get even more aggressive in defending itself.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Rumsfeld Gets Fragged By Political Generals

In my Dateline NBC piece below I note the lack of credibility of the MSM, noting their attempted sting at the Virginia 500 at Martinsville. That lack of credibility continues with MSM's coverage of some ex-generals who've fragged Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld over the Iraq War.

The MSM, of course, has handled these generals with comparative kid gloves. They haven't noticed, for one, the astonishing lack of coherence to their criticisms and also that these generals are ignorant of their own history.

Of course the giveaway comes when some of them recite in rote fashion all the discredited talking points made against the Iraq War, and when one notes that some of these generals were Clinton-era appointees one soon recognizes the truth in a Fritz Weaver line from Fail-Safe - "They're not soldiers anymore, they're politicians!"

Of course the MSM won't do its homework here or anywhere else, so we thus continue to get fed disinformation that hides the fact that the US is winning in Iraq, grinding down the enemy and building a viable national army that is steadily taking over combat areas from American forces, all while a new government struggles to get going and so far hasn't faltered in doing so.

In the wake of the Martinsville sting some racefans want NBC removed from covering the second half of the 2006 NASCAR season. Taking it out on NBC Sports is stupidity - albiet in keeping with many fans' pointless hatred of non-ESPN racecasting. Instead of attacking NBC Sports, attack NBC News, and all the other MSM outlets.


UPDATES - Worth noting about these political generals fragging Donald Rumsfeld, and the hypocrisy involved, is that these so-called "officers" are fronting for a national think-tank specializing in anti-American disinformation. Meanwhile the obsolete, CYA-driven thinking behind generals' opposition to Bush/Rumsfeld's new approaches and also a look at the US doctrine on counterinsurgency should be in order as the balance sheet on the war is ultimately positive for the US.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Dr. Bud E. Bryan's Disconnect

The Autoextremist site is at it again with its vitriolic NASCAR-bashing, this time it its Road Kill section with authorship by Dr. Bud E. Bryan. Bryan takes umbrage at hostile reaction to Peter DeLorenzo following the site's story that one of the three participating manufacturers may quit NASCAR. Bryan's umbrage displays the mindset of those who hate NASCAR.

Bryan screams that NASCAR is a spec car series. But is this the exception to the rule nowadays? Racing in general has evolved closer to spec-car specifications than anyone could have ever imagined. It is hard now to think of a racing series that isn't fairly close to spec car status.

And the question is begged - if spec car is bad, what is NASCAR supposed to do? Bryan never bothers to make some recommendations, instead he blathers on about NASCAR being a spec car series, homogenized, driven by marketing, etc. It isn't a free lunch here - given the reality of costs and absurd performance levels, what is so bad about a spec car mentality anyway? NASCAR as it was in the 1950s died out in the 1960s because the reality of racecar performance, costs, and so forth changed the sport to where it could never be a pure stock car series anymore.

"Anyone who can say with a straight face that restrictor plate racing makes any sense...." I can say it with a straight face, and 56 lead changes among 22 drivers at Talladega say it with a defeaning crescendo, Dr. Bryan. Where has a non-spec car series ever had racing close to that competitive?

They may be right on NASCAR's often embarassing marketing overkill and some other areas, but the Autoextremist site suffers from the very disconnect to attacks in NASCAR - the disconnect from the realities of modern racing. This, rather than NASCAR, is the fraud of modern racing.

Defining Success Down

In NASCAR nowadays we may be seeing a trend of defining success downward. This shows in Robert Barker's comment that finishing in the top 20 at Talladega was a good day.

Defining success down isn't a trend to be pleased with. "Top 20 is the new Top 10" isn't the way to approach racing, because it amounts to conceding defeat. No team worth its salt would be pleased to have finished in the top twenty, because it means they didn't do well enough. And it is recognizing that you didn't do well enough that motivates teams to do better and try harder.

Defining success down will not bring success upward for anyone.