Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Revisionist History economics of Barack Obama

Looking backward and drawing the wrong conclusions. That is the revisionist history approach of Barack Obama.

Michigan 400 Gets New Tire

Goodyear brings new tire to Michigan 400.

My Take: - Tires became an issue at the newly-repaved Michigan track with blistering issues for both Goodyear and also Hoosier on the ARCA side.

It brings to mind the August 1999 Yankee 400 at Michigan - Goodyear brought a tire based on a Fontana design for Winston West competition to battle Hoosier there. The tire Goodyear brought to Michigan that month proved racier than normal - if I remember correctly it had more stagger built in - and the Yankee 400 had a very spirited fight for the lead between Dale Earnhardt and Bobby Labonte late in the going.

If Goodyear can get a tire that the racers can lean on and race with, they'd go a long way toward improving the racing.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pocono 400 Winners And Losers

Pocono's first race of 2012 and its winners and losers -


JOEY LOGANO - winning the race in and of itself is a huge development for a driver who has run poorly throughout his Cup career.   The way he won, though, is also noteworthy, because he screwed up on the last restart where Mark Martin got the lead and appeared cemented to the win; Logano was able to run him down and take the lead late in the race.  

MARK MARTIN - Finishing second after contending for the win is nothing to be ashamed of.

TONY STEWART - A superb finish after a very spotty portion of the season.

PAUL MENARD - A driver who frankly doesn't belong gave a decent effort.

JAMIE MCMURRAY - Solid outing after a rough run the last year-plus.

POCONO RACEWAY'S PAVEMENT - there were concerns aplenty going in; the pavement proved not to be any kind of issue.   Though there were numerous yellows and several wrecks, the race if anything was noticeably less aggressive than some recent Pocono races (notably 2009 and 2010) had been.


There were plenty of losers to sort through in this race.


DALE EARNHARDT JR. - His efforts have gotten gushing coverage, and he is solid in the points race.   At Pocono he led, but as the race went on he seemed to get somewhat weaker.   Finishing eighth is a solid effort but also a letdown given how he ran to the front, and it raises anew the question of why he's never able to go for a win even with consistent finishes.

NASCAR's PREPOSTEROUS CONTROL OVER PIT ROAD - NASCAR's rule closing pit road when the yellow comes out has always been a problem since debuting in late March 1989; it led to numerous pit crashes and eventually to the present system of pit speed limits.   Those rules haven't prevented pit crashes since they debuted in 1991, and the epidemic of pit penalties in this race was worse than usual.   Why NASCAR won't consider dropping the pit closure rule et al - basically going back to pit rules pre-1989, an era when pit road was safer than it's been since March 1989 - remains baffling and indefensible.

GREG BIFFLE AND KYLE BUSCH - both had engine issues.

PETTY MOTORSPORTS - Marcus Ambrose ran respectably but got a mediocre finish out of it.   Aric Almirola clawed into top-ten contention, then seemed to throw it away on a restart where he fell out of the top-20, then crashed out.   Richard Petty deserves much better than this.

SHORTENED DISTANCES - Mark Martin likely wanted another 50 to 100 miles for the race distance so he could get back at Logano.   This first 400 miler for Pocono added nothing competitively to the racing, just as 400-mile distances have never added anything that 500 miles ostensibly do not have.   400 wasn't enough; 500 remains the better race.

So Pocono is a wrap and Michigan awaits.

Pocono Pavement Proves A Mixed Blessing

Pocono debuted its new pavement for Cup cars and it held up well. The Igdalskys never sweated over the repaved speedway and their faith was rewarded with a 400-mile race that produced a surprising winner and, despite the mini-epidemic of cautions that most tracks have not had in 2012, was fairly smooth.

If anything the action was noticeably less aggressive than one might have expected, especially after the opening lap melee and Dale Junior's risky three-wide pass on a mid-race restart. Pocono in 2009 and 2010 saw some of the most aggressive racing in NASCAR with numerous bouts of five-abreast racing up front (highlighted by a spirited Jeff Gordon-Juan Montoya-Denny Hamlin slugfest in 2010) and numerous wild crashes. That this Pocono 400 didn't quite reach that level of aggression was something of a letdown.

It helped illustrate that shorter races aren't better races. Pocono's 500s were among the sport's most competitive non-plate races; shortening the race didn't lead to harder racing; if anything one will find some views that an extra 50 to 100 miles would have made for a more exciting finish by alloweing Mark Martin (astonishingly winless at Pocono) some more opportunity to grab that win.

In all the new pavement was a success, and one hopes come August drivers start fighting harder up front.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Are Americans Too Dumb for Democracy?

The corrupted field of science is being used again to question the legitimacy of people.


Obama leaks classified information about efforts to deal with America's enemies.

Obama gets the private sector wrong - again

Obama claims "the private sector is doing fine." He's wrong - again.

Paul Krugman’s poor recollection of the Reagan Boom

Paul Krugman’s poor recollection of the Reagan Boom

Pocono 400 Preview

Mike Mulhern previews the Pocono 400 with new pavement.

My Take: - Hitting 215 MPH as the Cup cars are now doing on the straights is never a good idea for racing. Grip levels are by all accounts good, and the Goodyear tires appear to be holding up. The ARCA cars will race on Saturday and they run Hoosiers, which have reacted differently with Goodyear rubber now laid down. Some drivers like Dale Junior and Greg Biffle are predicting five-abreast passes given the need to basically dive-bomb other cars with passing almost impossible in the sport in general and with this new pavement in particular; given that the 1996 Pocono 500 saw a large number of laps where the lead changed up to three times in one lap, there's some hope for a repeat of such in this 400-miler.

It's also Pocono's first 400 mile race after forty years running 500 milers. 400 is not enough; 500 remains a better race, a better test of racecar and racer and allows more passing. We hope Pocono reverts to 500 milers soon.