Saturday, August 26, 2006

Michigan COT Test A Failure

Stop me if you've read this before about the Car Of Tomorrow.

"The COT is a piece of crap," notes one unnamed team owner. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson both stated what has been obvious from the very beginning - the COT is junk in dirty air, and the rear wing has made the aeropush worse, not better - this on top of the gapped airdam that contributes to greater aeropush.

So the frustrating question remains - why is NASCAR so intent on pushing this project onto the sport? John Darby's words come across as the words of a sanctioning body in denial.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Miscellenia As Bristol's Demolition Derby Beckons

So now the sport approaches "the most popular ticket in racing," the Volunteer 500 at Bristol. Given the steady decline in TV ratings from last year, though, this "most popular ticket in racing" may not live up to the ratings hype. It certainly never lives up to its status as "the most popular ticket in racing."

Yes, it sells out, but why it sells out is something of a mystery, because of all the races in the sport Bristol may be the worst oval race. The half-mile concrete skating rink is famous for nonstop crashing, which draws attention away from the track's lack of passing. Of course quite a few people are wondering if Bristol will see a rematch between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards after Junior hammered Edwards into Robby Gordon and into a spin at Michigan's BGN Yankee 250. Edwards rammed Junior on the cool-down lap, which earned a fine and a lecture in NASCAR's trailer afterwards, and no doubt a lot of people, especially those inside Speedway Motorsports Inc., are hoping for a rematch.


The other big issue entering Bristol is the Car Of Tomorrow, slated to debut next April here. It has undergone another round of testing, this one at Michigan, and the usual comments about the car running well by itself are coming out with little in the way of indication that the COT can run well in dirty air. The angle on this test was the debut of Toyota's Winston Cup entry as Michael Waltrip hit the track and wailed to all within earshot about how roomy the inside of the car is.

Waltrip and the others involved with Toyota are about the only ones looking forward to Toyota's debut in Winston Cup, as the Trucks continue to show the monopoly Toyota is building in NASCAR competitive circles, a monopoly unaddressed by NASCAR.


The Lucky Dog rule has gotten some sharp observation lately, as Kyle Busch was allowed to make up five laps because of the Lucky Dog at Watkins Glen and Jimmie Johnson made up two laps at Michigan. The absurdity of the rule and the rule freezing the field becomes more and more apparant with each passing race, as we'd already seen several dramatic finishes aborted by freezing the field before the advent of the Green-White-Checker finish rule at the Winston Cup level, and even with GWC there have been finishes (notably Talladega in October 2005) where a race-deciding pass in the final half-mile was aborted because of a yellow.

NASCAR's well-known myopia on matters like this still needs to be broken, and the Race-Stream Media needs to snap out of their own doldrums and start taking NASCAR to task for rules like these that are fundamentally wrong.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

MSM's Great Liberal Iraq-Up Continues

The MSM is screaming about Iraq sliding into civil war, never mind that the MSM still doesn't know what a real civil war looks like - and Iraq isn't close to one. Of course that doesn't stop them, and the politicians of which they approve aren';t stopped either - that is, until the reality that the Left is incapable of fighting civilization's enemies sinks in.

A cherished conceit by the Left is that containment of Iraq somehow worked - except it didn't, and in the process of seeing that it didn't we get an insight into why Iraq "had no WMD's."

Now one should not be so smug as to assume anything here. We have made very steady progress in Iraq but Iraq isn't out of the danger zone yet.
Note: Michael Yon, linked in the above link, has an observation on some of the dangers potentially facing Iraq right now.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Post-Brickyard Blues

The Brickyard 400 came and went, and frankly it had less than usual to show for itself. The attendence was noticably down, with some stories circulating that scalpers were taking it harder than usual with inability to sell tickets. Granted, 225,000 people is a tremendous audience, but it nonetheless brings further confirmation that NASCAR Mania peaked a few years back and is on a downward drift.

Aggravating the drift is the anticlimatic nature of the race at the end. One thing those who follow the sport closely over many years can do is detect subtlties that can have a bearing on the outcome. One such telling subtlty lay in Jeff Burton's run. Despite leading half the race, at no point of the race did he ever look secure in the lead, as though he knew that once he lost the lead he was done. I got that sense when he lost the lead to Matt Kenseth after Lap 100 and tried to repass right away and couldn't, even with drafting help.

Once Jimmie Johnson had the lead, I wonder how many people left to their cars, as there was little credible prospect of him losing the race after he got the lead. Of course Bill Weber made it worse by committing the worst insult to viewers' intelligence in years when he brought up the Hendrick plane crash from 2004, as if it has any relevence to anything today and as if anyone really needs to know about it. Rick Hendrick loses his brother, son, and others in a plane crash, and that makes his race team worthy of nonstop adulation? As tragic as the plane crash was, it doesn't change the reality of the skeletons in Rick Hendrick's business closet, skeletons badged with Honda logos and dripping with the ink of bribery greenbacks paid to former American Honda honchos Jack Billmyer and Jim Cardiges; these skeletons also say a lot about how he's become the biggest Chevrolet team in NASCAR, a team that has consumed such a disproportionate percentage of GM racing efforts as to have greatly weakened Chevy's overall NASCAR program - the question needs to be asked about where Chevrolet was when Richard Childress was struggling with horsepower; also, where is Chevy with DEI struggling even more, and where was Chevy when Andy Petree's organization was in financial trouble, and where is Chevy with Morgan-McClure in comparative bankrupcy?


Of course it doesn't help matters when Dodge's program is underachieving as it is due to chronic mismanagement by Stuttgart aggravating organizational mistakes with Ray Evernham Motorsports, Petty Enterprises, Penske Racing, and Ganassi Racing - never mind the hopeless status of Tony Morgenthau's #49. Ray Evernham lost two cars while a third motor of his went up in Bobby Labonte's DNF, capping a dismal end to what had started as a promising day for Evernham and Petty. Now the musical drivers game has begun with Jeremy Mayfield's firing; Bill Elliott will drive the #19 at Watkins Glen, mostly because he has the past champion provisional to get into the field.

With former champions Elliott, Dale Jarrett, and Terry Labonte all but locked into a field, the absurdity of a starting field limited to just 43 starters becomes more and more obvious. NASCAR's mealy-mouthed response is they won't expand the starting field, but that may backfire on them as former champs get into races and new blood gets shut out. As it is, too many of their policies have backfired on them.

Expanding the starting field ultimately remains the only fair way to address the many issues involving qualifying and provisionals. Ultimately qualifying should determine where you start, not whether you start.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

This Flu Is For The Birds Continued

NOTE: The following is a repost from November 18, 2005 -

"Millions Of Chinese Infected With Deadly Bird Flu"

We'll bet you didn't know this, but it is true - millions of Chinese are infected with the "deadly bird flu" that has caused a lot of anguished media coverage the past couple of months. Here is the caveat of all this - millions of Chinese are infected, and there is no epidemic of deaths as a result. The death rate from this "deadly bird flu" is no higher than with "regular" flu.

There is more on this bird flu panic that is worth reading.

And speaking of phony epidemics, the AIDS "epidemic" in Africa isn't all it's cracked up to be.

FOLLOW-UP - Scientists have been trying to combine avian flu with human flu to see if avian flu can cause a worldwide pandemic. There is, though, a slight problem - they're failing to deliberately combine human flu and avian flu, a telling sign that the periodic panic about a bird flu epidemic is nothing but pseudo-scientific scaremongering.