Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Indianapolis Once Again Highlights Boffo Racing Weekend




The 100th Indianapolis 500


The 100th Indianapolis 500 showcased what makes Indianapolis The Greatest Spectacle In Racing and was the highlight of another boffo Memorial Day weekend of racing.   The full joy of the racing weekend was well spread among varied venues.

Friday night short tracking kicked things off in many areas and for one of the nation's most famous bullrings Friday Night was a trio of eye-popping showdowns.   Stafford Motor Speedway in CT saw a three-wide photo finish in SK Lights - Joey Ferrigno appeared to have won but a lengthy review of the finish showed Daniel Wesson was the winner.   It's been a very long time any race saw a finish so reminiscent of Tim Richmond over Ricky Rudd and Geoff Bodine at Pocono in 1986.    The SK Mods were won by Woody Pitkat over Keith Rocco, then Pitkat stole the win in the Late Model race after Tom Fearn got sent to the rear after taking out leader Tom Butler.   Fearn still stormed to finish second.






The Hisense 300 on Saturday began as a good race, turned into a Kyle Larson-Joey Logano showdown, then exploded to the biggest upset of the weekend until the Indianapolis 500


The Hisense 300 almost topped the weekend as Denny Hamlin stole what looked like a certain Kyle Larson-Joey Logano showdown, and it also suggested another JGR runaway for the Charlotte weekend despite Penske Racing's 1-2 finish in the All-Star Race.


But it was Indianapolis that seized the headlines from the amazing Freedom 100 to Alexander Rossi's stunning upset on fumes, becoming the first Indy rookie since 2001 to win the 500 and the first true Indycar rookie to win the 500 in far longer than that.  The win gave Michael Andretti a car owner win he had to share with Curb Motorsports; it doesn't matter that Andretti and Curb share the win, because the win is what matters.

It was also a 1-2 finish for Michael's organization, and among the semi-surprises was the depth of Ed Carpenter's team,  as Josef Newgarden finished tbird and J.R. Hildebrand sixth.   Sam Schmidt's team had a boffo month of May even though James Hinchcliffe could only finish seventh.   

For Andretti, though, the big frustration came when his cars driven by Townsend Bell and Ryan Hunter-Reay, who may have been the strongest of all, crashed on pit road in a shunt past halfway with Helio Castroneves; this left them crowding the leaders trying to get back on the lead lap and may have helped Rossi put enough gap to withstand running out of gas.   It was also a fitting development for a mediocre May for Penske.

You think Penske at Indianapolis, you also think AJ Foyt and Takuma Sato's promising day ended whacking the wall off Four; teammates Alex Tagliani and Jack Hawksworth didn't wind up with finishes to write home about even though Tags led eleven laps.


*****


The Indianapolis 500 saw 54 lead changes among eleven drivers, and it once again presented a graphic contrast with NASCAR and the World 600.   NASCAR has made 2016 a virtual year-long referendum on low downforce aerodynamics and the contrast of the 600 with Indianapolis - low downforce, too much power, and a curiously unresponsive tire after encouraging races at Dover and in the All-Star Race vs. Indy's super downforce, ample tire, and relative underpower making the draft everything and passing almost unstoppable - made the referendum turn against NASCAR yet again.

Not that aero packages were relevant to anything at Charlotte this time - the way Martin Truex beat the field into submission it didn't matter what downforce anyone was generating.   It did come, though, after a set of tweaks to fans and chassis "skew" before the All-Star Race and postrace chatter suggested it hurt JGR more than anyone else.  

Truex's win was the most lopsided on a big track since Kyle Petty mopped the American 500 at Rockingham in 1992 leading 484 laps and easily crushed Jim Paschal's 600 record of 335 laps led in 1967, a race where Paschal's three-lap lead was killed by a crash yet he still won easily.   It was also the first win in the 600 for a one-car team since, irony of ironies, his team godfather Joe Gibbs Racing won the 600 with Bobby Labonte in 1995 - one of the most competitive 600s ever, another irony of ironies after the lead only changed nine times in this 2016 600. 

Now we see if Truex can turn this massacre into a sustained victory rampage as NASCAR hits Pocono, site of Truex's previous win.  

That fifteen cars finished on the lead lap is the one eye-popper of this race; the blunt reality is almost no one outside of Truex can feel good about this 600 because basically Truex was alone out there and everyone else was just a bystander.   There's been talk that the Roush guys are slowly getting better - they may be slowly getting better except everyone else is getting father away.   It was basically Penske and no one else for Ford.

It also wasn't much for Kyle Larson after superb efforts at Dover and in Charlotte preliminaries - his last-lap crash in the Hisense 300 got his 600 weekend off to what proved to be the worst possible start, as he never really got anything going for the 600.  

So it went.   The rest of the field need to put this to bed and hope Pocono can offer someone else the upset or quasi-upset surge the 600 provided for Truex.

Unsustainable Sustainability

The term "sustainability" is used to justify absurd environmental policies, and ignores that no one even knows what "sustainability" even looks like.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

2016 Freedom 100 Indianapolis





Indianapolis has hosted Indy Lights for several seasons now as the Friday preliminary to the 500, and in its short history the Freedom 100 has become a must-see race.   2016's running became another eye-popper of a race with the lead a heated fight all day and a photo finish.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bernie And The Rioters

Bernie's Bozos attack Trump rallies and illustrate that Bernie Sanders is about violence - and palming off the responsibility. It's what the Democratic Party is about.

Iran and The Rebirth Of The Taliban

A look at how Iran backs any terrorist group it can to ensure it wins - and how Obama lets them win.

Liberalism's Campus Rioting Against Truth

Colleges are not committed to exploring the truth or telling it.

Why Republicans Will Vote For Trump

Because for all his buffoonery and flip-flopping he is talking about real issues.

Katie Couric's Lie About Guns

Katie Couric has a new documentary on gun violence where she falsifies a conversation with gun rights activists.

Couric warrants being fired.

The lie gets worse as the story from the sham documentary's director indicates they broke the law in trying to falsely claim the law didn't exist.

Obama Pushed To Reality Still

Barack Obama continues to be pushed to reality in Afghanistan.

CEO Pay Mythology

Attacks on CEO pay require dishonest tabulation.

Overtime Rules Fail

The government's new overtime rules are resulting in a net loss of salary for employees - because forcing employers to spend more money never works.

Cheapening Rape

Bill and Hillary Clinton have led the cheapening of rape in society.

Leave Warfighting To The Pros

A court-martial of an Israeli medic has generated confusion about what a "war crime" actually is.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Promoting Mobility

What is needed to get Americans literally moving.

Bernie The Bozo Banks On Stupidity

Bernie Sanders goes after banks - and continues to prove he has no clue how real economics works.

Second Thoughts About Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson is the Libertarian candidate for President. Two different looks at the candidate raise questions. We also see that dilution of the Party isn't the answer as well.

More Economic Stupidity

The Labor Department doesn't get it - employers are not supposed to be made to spend more money. The fact remains it doesn't work.

More Gig Economy Stupidity

Liz Warren is a dope and her attack on the gig economy shows it - with more ignorance about Austin's mistreatment of ride sharing companies.

Why Is There a Gender Pay Gap?

Why Is There a Gender Pay Gap?


"But this calculation is not just simplistic and misleading in its approach: It also masks the real cause of the pay disparity.

Believers in the gender wage gap often voice the common argument that women are punished for giving birth and discriminated against in the workforce because of the belief they are more interested in the mommy track than the career track. But if we look closer at the numbers, it turns out that's just not true. The pay disparity is mostly about college major and career choice, not family size."

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Bad Of NASCAR Returns At Charlotte

After an eye-opening race at Dover NASCAR entered the All Star Race at Charlotte on an optimistic note, but when it was over the sport was left with confusion and head-shaking, for the All Star Race had some good moments but overall was confusing, poorly officiated, and ultimately less competitive than it needed to be.   And this constituted a return of the negativity that has plagued NASCAR for nearly two decades now, the sense it doesn't know what it is doing, with now direct driver input making it worse.

The All Star format was created by Brad Keselowski - two 50 lap segments and a thirteen-lap finish with mandatory stops under green.  It was ostensibly designed to stop sandbagging and also to prevent the field from spreading out, yet it left everyone confused - Tony Stewart was the most caustic critic after he crashed out, and it required a postrace presser from NASCAR's senior competition VP Scott Miller explaining, "We ran into an unexpected situation."

That NASCAR runs into unexpected situations has become something of a joke over the years and typifies the problem that this race in particular and the racing in general have basically been designed without any sensible goal.  Conspicuously missing as always is that no one seems to have put any thought into incentivizing going for the lead.   The early battle between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick was the best racing all night, yet it wasn't really sustained even with the most ragged restart NASCAR has seen in years for the final segment - it was really a typical All Star Race, an exercise less in fighting for $1 million than a glorified test session for the 600.





The Kyle Larson-Chase Elliott preliminary race finish pretty much topped the rest of the day for competitive racing.


It was also the first go for NASCAR changes to reduce downforce, notably attacking chassis skew.  Writer Kristen Schneider called it "an A+" because "it was difficult to pass, creating tension" and she enthused for the Kyle Larson-Joey Logano showdown at the end  Making it difficult to pass has never been a formula for good racing and there was never any of the sustained combat up front witnessed at Dover - Larson shot to a two-second lead thanks to the fiasco of a restart but Logano ran him down and the two began racing each other but then Larson whacked the wall, ending the race as the fight for the win just got started.




Joey Logano sprang from the most ragged restart in years to run down Kyle Larson for the All Star Win


The 600 will be a better test there, but right now I wouldn't call these changes an A+ or close to that -  the race wasn't bereft of passing but NASCAR needs far more combat up front for an A+.


******


The momentum for the 600 presently favors the Penske Fords, much to the surprise perhaps of the JGR Toyotas that have been THE force in the series the last two seasons.    Hendrick Motorsports had an okay night with another rough outing for Chase Elliott, but is clearly behind JGR and perhaps behind Penske right now.    The team that had the quietest good night was the long-struggling Roush bunch,  getting both Trevor Bayne and Greg Biffle into the top ten. 

An uninspired night belonged to Stewart-Haas Racing, with just one car in the top ten.   Kevin Harvick once again frontran and did nothing else after leading 21 of the first 25 laps and then getting in the mess on the frontstretch; Tony Stewart crashed again, and Danica Patrick was subpar in the preliminary race, got voted into the All Star Race anyway, and was junk there as she's been pretty much everywhere.

Of the participants in the preliminary the only noteworthy production outside of the three cars that transferred came from Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola, and AJ Allmendinger.   Austin Dillon in particular had an embarrassing finish after starting second. 


So wraps up the All Star Race, and now the real show - the 600 - beckons.






The Scam Of Scientism

Barack Obama likes to lecture about facts even though he never has any command of them. Instead he indulges in the fraud of scientism.

And the scam of scientism isn't going away.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Sykes-Picot Agreement

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement that drew modern Middle East borders. Robin Wright, a longtime Middle East writer with little credible insight on the region, has called it a curse. No, it isn't.

Iran Proves Again It Is The Enemy

Barack Obama lies to everyone - especially himself - about Iran.

The Bankrupcies Of Bernie And Jane Sanders

Bernie Sanders swiped campaign money for his wife Jane, and now Jane has presided over the bankruptcy of Burlington College.

The Pajama Boy White House

Barack Obama has presided over the destabilization of the world, and contribtors have been the class of lazy, entitled punks in charge of the White House.

Liveshot Gets Humiliated By Israel Again

Barack Obama and John Kerry got humiliated by Benjamin Netanyahu yet again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Charlotte Now Beckons

With the eye-popping Mason-Dixon 400 NASCAR now heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the annual All Star Race, while the race to actually anticipate also hits on Friday in the Charlotte Truck 200.   Dover gave the sport a needed competitive boost and one also remembers the epic sidedraft war between Kasey Kahne and Erik Jones in last season's Truck 200.   So one enters the All Star Race with some sense of optimism about the competition.

The Dover race has gotten a lot of analysis, yet curiously little examination of what was its key development - how raceable the tire was.   The tire used was not particularly different from the tire used at Dover in previous season, but the way it raced was different.   The Kenseth-Larson-Elliott battle showcased a tire that was forgiving and as such eminently raceable; it also showed no particular fall-off, and by doing so illustrated why the tire should not have fall-off - by being sustainable it helped Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott fight Kenseth for the lead, fall back, then catch back up and attack again.

In short it raced more like a bias-ply tire than like the traditional stock car radial, notorious for requiring the driver to catch the car more than race it.   Rare have been the races in the radial era where the tire was as forgiving as a bias-ply.




The 1995 World 600 was one of the most competitive in history, and was a race where the tire was forgiving


The Charlotte period also comes with a new change to the downforce of the cars, centered on trailing arms and also toe alignment to prevent chassis "skew." No doubt some are emboldened about low downforce with the competitiveness of the Dover race, which makes overlooking the forgiveness of the tire more unwise - especially with a change in the Charlotte tire for the Cup cars designed for more grip - and hopefully more forgiveness.

It also overlooks the competitiveness of the Truck Series, which has higher downforce and substantially less horsepower to go with a tire that has repeatedly been more raceable.


******


The rumor that won't go away is that Chevrolet is working to put Kevin Harvick in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevy after 2016 to keep him out of a Ford when Stewart-Haas Racing.   Harvick has addressed the rumor and insists he's staying with SHR, but the fact this rumor refuses to go away indicates something behind the scenes is happening.  

And it's been awhile since poaching of drivers was a NASCAR issue - the most famous examples remain the Jeff Gordon to Hendrick change (1992) and Ford's grab of Ernie Irvan during 1993 following Davey Allison's death.  


It nonetheless awaits the coming two weekends at Charlotte.

Bernie And The Left's Love Of Violence

Bernie Sanders has implicitly endorsed violence by his supporters- the universal tactic of leftism from the start of the 20th century onward.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Bill Clinton's PLO State

Bill Clinton has been harassed by Bernie Sanders antisemites about not giving "a Palestinian state."  The reason is Islamo-Arab savages never wanted one - they want mass-murder, especially of Israel.

Also worth examining is the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement and criticism of it.

Stockcar!






The rare documentary feature on the NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National series as of the 1976 season, the season whose stunning competition ignited national interest in the Grand National series.

Hillary Opposition to Iraq Surge Was Political

Former Defense Secretary Gates was "startled" that Hillary Milhous Clinton's opposition to the successful Iraq Surge was political.

"Senators have the luxury of taking positions because they have no responsibility," he noted.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Kenseth's Monster Win




When was the last time a driver won a Cup race on sheer guts?  Perhaps Ricky Rudd at the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville in 1998, when he won despite losing power steering and being physically so worn out he could not even stand up in victory lane. 

Matt Kenseth's Mason-Dixon 400 win didn't have the physical pain of that 1998 race but it's been a very long time since a driver had to fight that hard to win a Dover race.    The final 20 laps became a stunning showdown as Kyle Larson, winless as a still-young gun, challenged Kenseth, in a clearly weaker car than Larson or that of Chase Elliott, this despite officially leading the final 47 laps.   Several times Larson stormed nose to nose with Kenseth but the low groove became like what Bristol showcased with little grip.  





In 2006 Matt Kenseth squared off in the final eighteen laps in a stunning side-by-side fight with Jeff Burton


This was the first time outside of Talladega that a Cup race saw a battle for the lead that lived up to Cup Racing's competitive legacy, and it was the most exciting Dover showdown since Jeff Burton waged an epic side-by-side fight with - irony of ironies today - Matt Kenseth.

Kyle Larson's runner-up finish is a needed boost for a team that has struggled to post strong finishes or even lead laps - this was only the second race all year Larson led.   Larson has been on the "next first winner" list long enough to be gathering some cobwebs; now he has to build on this.

------


The eye-popping quality of the fight for the lead illustrates the highs and lows of Dover history, especially as a concrete track.   From its 1969 debut Dover Downs - built for auto racing and horse racing - has always been about endurance, and in the mid-1970s became known for comeback wins - in the 1975 Delaware 500 Richard Petty broke a tie rod with 150 laps to go but erased a six-lap deficit for the win; the next year Cale Yarborough overcame a lost lap on a pit penalty, made that up, then lost two laps with a loose coil wire; he erased that gap under green to overpower the Delaware 500; the ensuing May almost the same thing happened, as Cale was blackflagged for a loose bumper, then suffered another electrical problem, and from four laps down he stormed to the lead, slugged it out side by side with David Pearson for some ten straight laps, and won going away.

Spirited racing for first was no unknown at The Monster Mile, coming in Petty's 1979 Delaware 500 win over Donnie Allison and Cale, in Bobby Allison's Mason-Dixon 500 win over Darrell Waltrip in 1983, and Rusty Wallace over Ernie Irvan in the 1994 Mason-Dixon 500.







Dover in 1996 and 1999 saw spirited battles for the lead

Dover converted to concrete in 1995 after years of struggle with asphalt.   The competitiveness of the racing became more uneven with concrete but some spirited battles continued, notably in the 1996 Delaware 500 that was highlighted by numerous wrecks and numerous driver/crew chief brawls.    The 1999 Delaware race was only 400 miles, the races shortened in 1997, and it came during a run late that season where Goodyear's tire was changed and became strikingly more raceable.

Such quality of competition has been difficult to come by in general and for Dover to see a spirited battle for the lead again is encouraging overall.

------


The reason for the switch to 400 miles was because 500 milers were lasting over four fours.   So much for time saved as this 2016 Mason-Dixon 400 lasted some four hours.    The big melee when Jimmie Johnson's transmission gacked on everyone ruined the day for the expected plethora of contenders and pretenders.   It also added more irony to Kenseth's win, as JGR teammates Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards were nowhere close to the win due to separate crashes.   It was also another lousy day for Dale Earnhardt Jr.  even as Hendrick teammates Elliott and Kasey Kahne posted superb finishes. 

Kevin Harvick won the pole by default and once again lived up to his reputation for frontrunning without sealing the deal, leading 117 laps and getting into the late melee and having fifteenth to show for it. 

For some guys it doesn't pay to get out of bed - Aric Almirola made up two laps and had nothing but another wrecked racecar (his second in three races and his third DNF in the last seven) and a broken finger for his day - and the broken finger is a fitting symbol of what looks to be a lost year for him.    Martin Truex had it better with a top-ten and two straight races going for the lead, so it would seem a corner has been turned with the #78.   Trevor Bayne finished in the top-ten as well and it was his third in the last five races.  

So it goes with the All-Star Race and yet another format change set to hit on Saturday - perhaps it can defy expectations the way Dover did.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Austin's Dishonesty Against Uber

Austin, TX voted not to allow the ride-sharing company Uber to operate there. The reasons Austin cites (as shown in San Antonio, New York City, and elsewhere) are dishonest - the real reason is Austin wants to protect its uncompetitive taxi cartels.

UPDATE, May 31: So Austin tries to suppress the market - the market fights back via the black market, and actually forces Austin's idiot leaders to realize deregulation is right.

Iran Myths Get Punctured Still

The myths that drove appeasing Iran keep collapsing.

Germany, Syria, And Islamic Imperialism

Germany needs to start holding its Muslim immigrants accountable for Syrian antisemitism.

2016 Toyota Truck 250




Kansas Speedway from 2013 onward has seen some of the most viciously spirited Truck Series races ever seen, and 2016's Toyota Truck 250 at Kansas had perhaps the wildest finish of the season as Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch Truck teams squared off against veteran Johnny Sauter.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Single Sex Education Works

Mixed-sex education doesn't work as well.

The New Dark Age Of Populism

Populism has a bad history of failure around the world, yet it keeps popping up with colleges the worst infestation.

Yes To The Atomic Bombings

Barack Obama will go to Hiroshima and we think will apologize to Japan for it. He needs to get real about American victory for a change.

What Rhodes Revealed

What Rhodes Revealed

What Obama's petulant foreign policy advisor revealed is Obama and he have no clue how anything works and blame it all on "the establishment" rather than on themselves - made worse by bureaucratic stupidity and refusal to see reality about Iran's cheating on the nuclear deal.

Clinton Dumbfounded by Rising Cost of Obamacare

Hillary Milhous Clinton shows how stupid social engineers are.

No To Trans Phonies

The war against North Carolina's sensible bathroom law - a part of the Left's war against human decency - stems from a perv named G.G. who is a woman yet pretends to be a man. A federal appellate court foolishly sided with this perv and now we have a ridiculous societal controversy on our hands because pervs are demanding entitlement for being pervs. It has produced pseudo-legal stupidity shown in Obama's attempt to enforce a fabricated "law" and it all defies decency. but then it originated in phony theorizing in the 1970s, and is an offshoot of the "Equal" Rights Amendment.

See also this video clip illustrating the stupidity of transgenderism.

"....the advocates of transgender access to bathrooms and showers....are in fact seeking to discriminate on the basis of - in favor of - gender identity."  


The fundamental phoniness of transgender "rights" gets exposed by Harvard Law School's Jeanne Suk in The New Yorker

Monday, May 09, 2016

Obama's Gift To Trump

Barack Obama whines against Donald Trump - and never refutes him. Obama's legacy is lying, amateurism, and petulance. Trump at least has some understanding of economics, though how much credible understanding is to be debated. Trump's biggest contribution to political discourse is not being sensitive to others, instead being bluntly honest and disparaging to those who objectively deserve such treatment.

Obama shows this ironically by his lawsuit against North Carolina for the temerity of actually holding people accountable for the privacy of bathrooms. North Carolina is now defending the Constitution against a lawless Obama regime.

More Minimum Wage Follies

The follies of minimum wage are shown again in overvaluing of some employees at the expense of better ones.

The Need For Army Reform

The Army has long needed reform, and it is shown here.

Hillary Milhous Patton

This piece showcases Hillary Milhous Clinton's strange "enthusiasm" for military action and it warrants a few nitpicks.

The piece notes Clinton being told by General Buster Hagenback that attacking Iraq would be like "kicking over a bee's nest."   The problem is this reflects the institutional myopia of the Army, best shown by the resistance provided by the Army against Defense Department pushback of its garrison force mentality - once it was finally dragged kicking and screaming out of its basecamps and into actual aggressive action in Iraq, the bees' next was defeated.

Overall, though, Hillary has proven a clumsy excuse of a leader. This clumsiness and foolishness shows in her passivity and Libya shows how she suborns "interventionism" toward someone else's whim, not to US interests.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Obama Lies About The Iran Deal

And it's his foreign policy advisor Ben Rhodes - who apparently loves himself and hates anyone who actually knows anything - saying that. Rhodes has thus become the face of Obama's international dishonesty. And the consequences have been emboldening the savages in Iran with nuclear weapons.

Hamas Tunnels To The Bottom

Hamas is a terrorist entity - you dig?

California Fails At Climate Change

California passed AB-32, a law designed to reverse climate change. It has been a failure.

Islamic Imperialism Is A Cultural Problem As Well

France, despite the attack on Paris in 2015, is kidding itself about Islamo-Arab imperialism as a cultural threat. And London has become an Islamic slave city. Meanwhile the Belgium attack "was a reminder. What is yet to come will be more devastating and bitter."

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Student Debt Mythology

Advocates of free college claim that student debt is crippling the economy. This, though, isn't true.

Iran Keeps Cheating The Nuclear Deal

Iran's goal to build eight reactors indicates it is not about civilian use - it's cheating its nuclear deal.

How To Stand Up To Islamic Imperialism

By growing up and forgetting about nation-breaking.

Obamacare's Destruction of Healthcare Supply

Obamacare has resulted in a pending shortage of doctors and other such personnel.

How To Fix Iraq And Syria?

A look at possibility toward fixing Iraq and Syria.

Political "Corruption" And Citizens United

Liberals who oppose Citizens United have no clue what political corruption actually looks like.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Democrats Fail At Foreign Policy Yet Again

Joe Biden proves anew how he and Obama can't do anything in foreign policy right.

The JOBS Act Of 2012

In 2012 Congress passed the JOBS Act, a law that implements deregulation in the financial sector. The act needs more work but has shown that deregulation is the real answer to financial issues.

Politicians Think They Can Regulate Savings?

Democrats got the US into its $19 trillion debt - and politicians think they can encourage savings?

More Dubious Dodd-Frank Regulation

The Dodd-Frank law has been a failure because it is more government regulation and has ruined any recovery from 2009 - and it wants to stifle what is paid in incentives - this amid signs it is hurting the oil market.

The Dodd-Frank law's premise stems from a false narrative and presented here are three recommended fixes.


UPDATE, JUNE 29: A reform effort for Dodd-Frank is now circulating and of course being attacked by "progressives."

Monday, May 02, 2016

Why Should NASCAR Have A Yellow Line Rule?

NASCAR's yellow line rule for Daytona and Talladega - where passing below the line is ruled illegal - has been in place since the Winston 500 of 2001, when NASCAR implemented it following the Busch Series 300 and a loud protest by Jimmy Spencer.

At least that's the "official" version; the more underground explanation is it was a bone tossed to drivers amid a rumored mass park-out in the 500 to protest NASCAR's roof blade aero package; said parkout never happened.

But the question remains - is it really wise to have a yellow-line rule?





Tony Stewart passes several cars below the yellow line at the start of the final lap





After getting drafted back to about 13th in the 1996 Daytona 500 we see Dale Earnhardt passing in what would be today declared below the yellow line





When Earnhardt and Ernie Irvan battle side by side for the lead Terry Labonte blows past them both by diving below what today is the yellow line





The wild finish to the 1999 Daytona 500 saw plenty of passing below what is today the yellow line




Then there is the most famous example - Junior passing on the apron of Turn Three in 2003


As seen in these examples and also by such dubious yellow-line penalties as Tony Stewart in 2001 (Firecracker 400) and Regan Smith in the 2008 Diehard 500, one has to dispute the sagacity of having a yellow line rule - one is hard pressed to see where it serves any purpose.

Talladega Criticism Remains Wrongheaded



Matt Kenseth's melee has helped set off more criticism of Talladega racing



By now we've all seen them.





Chris Buescher gets tumbled





Kevin Harvick's day ended on his side as Brad Keselowski seized his fourth win in the last sixteen Talladega races


The criticism of Talladega racing has renewed with these three melees, yet the criticism remains wrongheaded. We've seen pieces from Tom Jensen of FOX Sports and an especially moralistic phillipic from Dustin Long at the NBC Sports NASCAR page. "The clock is ticking on the human toll," Long sanctimoniously writes. "When is enough enough with this type of racing?"

Never, Dustin Long.

For one, Landon Cassill put Kevin Harvick in his place responding to Harvick blaming Cassill for the last-lap melee. "His reputation is pretty thin-skinned," Cassill said. And he's not only right, he's right about a lot of other "star" drivers.   The level of sanctimony and thin-skinned cowardice masquerading as attitude has long been an underreported problem with drivers like Harvick, the Busch brothers, Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, etc.

The criticism of Talladega and restrictor plate/pack racing has lasted a long time and has always been grossly flawed because its premise is wrong.   Daytona and Talladega are NOT the tracks to be scared of -  it's the OTHER tracks that are ostensibly "less" dangerous but which have been the ones with the worst wrecks.   People like to cite Dale Earnhardt's death as spurring a safety revolution - ignoring that Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin, Tony Roper, and Blaise Alexander were also killed in that ugly 2000-2001 period and were killed on NON-pack race tracks.

People also forget serious injuries to Sterling Marlin, who suffered a very serious neck injury at Kansas in 2002, or Jerry Nadeau, badly injured in 2003 at Richmond.   The incidence of bad wrecks on non-plate tracks more than makes nonsense of the criticism of Daytona/Talladega racing and other pack/superdraft racing such as in Indycars.

When people cite that 33 to 35 cars in the 40-car field at Talladega were involved in crashes, they ignore that 21 of them not only finished on the lead lap but were in shooting distance of the win.   Indeed the funniest image of the weekend is the banged-up Austin Dillon Chevy that finished third all taped up, which begs the question of why spend so much money on aero when the draft is the ultimate equalizer.


Not that there shouldn't be changes - NASCAR needs to change these Generation Six racecars so the "beachball" aero impediment effect noted by Jamie McMurray and others during the weekend is eliminated and the drivers can push-draft more effectively and more often - perhaps with a larger spoiler; it also needs to take away the no-push-drafting rule in the Xfinity and Truck Series (and so does ARCA); the Aric Almirola-Brendan Gaughn penalty Saturday showed anew the futility of NASCAR's animus against push-drafting; NASCAR's yellow-line out-of-bounds rule has served no purpose and needs to change - being able to pass below the yellow line can only make it safer as opposed to sardine-canning the field with artificial limits on room to race; NASCAR also needs to start talking to drivers about holding their line better.




The ARCA drivers at Talladega put on a terrific battle for the lead and showed noticeably more lane discipline than the NASCAR guys


The image that stands out from the weekend is the twin image of the ARCA General Tire 200 and also Joey Logano swerving Elliott Sadler and thus getting blasted on the final half-mile of the Sparks 300.  Blocking has become more of an issue in recent years with passing so much harder now than several years ago.   That the ARCA drivers showed more discipline than the NASCAR guys should say something.





NASCAR achieved a strikingly perfect balance of tandem-drafting and conventional pack-racing in 2012's Daytona Shootout and it showed how sidedrafting became really effective again.  It was the kind of balance that makes great racing



NASCAR and drivers also need to address a completely overlooked angle - the fact they're breaking 200 MPH in these races again.  People wonder why the roof flaps didn't work in this Talladega race - that they're at or over 200 when 194 was long ago established as the cut-off point for the roof flaps to work - and perhaps 191 is the more true cut-off point there.   Stock cars simply don't need 200 MPH speeds and we're seeing that again the last couple of seasons.


With Kansas coming up, the hypocrisy of the Talladega criticism warrants one more look.   If Kansas sees racing akin to what happened at Talladega - and in the Truck races in 2013 and 2014 the racing was such that Dave Moody compared it to Talladega racing - I suspect a lot of people would be awed by it - as they should be if the racing does increase in competitiveness to Talladega level.

And remember when Bristol was a demolition derby, and now people criticize it because now there's actual room to race?


Talladega is racing at its most competitive - period.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

A Reminder About Ramzi Yousef




A reminder is posted here about terrorist Ramzi Yousef, who was involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing who used an Iraqi passport that was no ordinary passport - and who went to a lot of trouble to hide his real identity with help from the Saddam-era Iraq Intelligence Service.  

See also here on how little the US knows about Al Qaida.

2016 ARCA General Tire 200 Talladega




Talladega kicked off its 2016 season with perhaps the race of the weekend.

Talladega Postscript



Matt Kenseth's melee was just one of three melees in a very frustrating Talladega race.

The Geico 500 has left a few people happy and seemingly everyone else anything but.   Talladega being what it is one expects the competition level to be a lot higher than other tracks and one also has seen, not just this weekend but in the past, how much circumstances natural and otherwise plague racers.

It was the most competitive Talladega Cup race since 2014, the overall racing was at times very good, and yet it left a lot to be desired, with Jamie McMurray for one noting it's even harder to pass now with this Generation Six car - anything but a good thing for the sport - and further noting the "beach ball" effect (Dale Junior's description) it generates that is hurting passing.

Some postrace observations -


* This looks more and more like a lost year for Matt Kenseth - Yes, we still have six and a half months of racing to go but by now one would think some momentum would go Kenseth's way.   Leading 347 laps so far this year one would think would be a sign of changing momentum - and all Kenseth has to show for it is two seventh-place finishes.  


* The Fords storm back against the Toyotas - Brad Keselowski pretty much had the lead to himself when it counted and both Penske cars, which had been somewhat quiet in recent races, asserting themselves.   The wildcard, though, was Trevor Bayne, making his first bid for a victory in a long time and the first bid for a Roush car since Carl Edwards left.    It was doubly amazing given Trevor didn't get any drafting help from the other Roush cars who wound up crunched up again at the end.    Bayne also all but doubled his career total for Cup laps led in this one race.


* Even with that the JGR Toyotas remain atop the Hendrick Chevrolets - Dale Junior's season took a decided turn for the worse with a mediocre run at Talladega - his best track - and a crash. After five top-eight finishes in a seven-race span Junior has struggled the last two weeks - and still has not led a lap since Phoenix - and he wasn't alone as Chase Elliott ran good but his teammates weren't around to see it.  

Not that JGR had much of a better day - Kenseth, Edwards, and Hamlin weren't around either, yet the JGR organization looks stronger still compared to the Hendrick fleet.



Stewart-Haas grabs a good day - Ty Dillon brought Tony Stewart's #14 home in the top ten to go with Kurt Busch's wildcard win bid.   It salved some of the damage of Harvick's near-tumble and yet another Danica melee.


* Some good paydays for smaller teams - Brad Daugherty, Bob Jenkins, Barney Vissar, and Jay Robinson all had solid finishes for their cars while HScott Motorsports entered the race amid mild controversy over harsh radio charter from Clint Bowyer about their cars in this, an interregnum season before he takes over Tony Stewart's car; the weekend ended with a solid finish for Bowyer.


* RCR Enterprises has a back-to-the-future moment - Austin Dillon has frankly been uninspiring so far in his Cup career; in Talladega he raced to finish third, while Paul Menard actually challenged for a win.  


* Maybe people need to start questioning Chris Buescher - Buescher tumbled down the backstretch, what became the first of three off-the-ground wrecks, and looking back over the last few seasons, wrecking looks like a pattern with him.


* When it's not your day.... - Aric Almirola looked like an unsung hero as he rallied from a spin, from dodging the Turn One melee, and drafting into the top-ten - then the hole slammed shut in the Kenseth melee.  


* ....it's not your day - Matt DiBenedetto didn't have much to write home about with engine failure.


With Talladega idle until October, the Cup guys head to Kansas City for a Mother's Day eve spectatcular.  

At Talladega And Elsewhere When Will NASCAR Figure It Out?





NASCAR declared Elliott Sadler the winner - even though objectively he isn't





And therein lay one of the fundamental problems NASCAR has that it seems incapable of addressing.   In the Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Elliott Sadler was declared winner because the yellow flew for Joey Logano's wreck and NASCAR determined through scoring loops that somehow he was the leader.   Why the yellow even flew at that circumstance is a question without much of an answer - saying it was for safety ignores that the leaders crashed anyway.

Moreover, has NASCAR ever given a credible reason for freezing the field when the caution comes out?  They implemented that rule because two or three cars at New Hampshire in 2003 sped up to put someone a lap down with Dale Jarrett crashed down the frontstretch - rather than hold those specific drivers accountable for a questionable decision, NASCAR decided to change the rule.  

The issue of letting cars race to the line has been a longstanding one where NASCAR has demonstrated the safety rationale for freezing the field is a fraud in such finishes as the 2004 Daytona 250 and the 2007 500.   The entire concept has done nothing for safety; it's put the wrong winner into victory lane on several occasions. 

Even when the right winner was seen, such as in the ARCA General Tire 200 the day before, there was no safety reason for not racing to the line.  

The rule needs to go, period.   Mike Joy in 1990 in Stock Car Racing Magazine proffered a sensible alternative - a red light rule when track conditions make racing to the line dubious - basically throw the red and yellow flags and lights on to make the cars slow down without racing in such a circumstance and revert to the last completed lap for the running order.  

It created needless controversy over what had been a competitive 300-miler for the Xfinity cars at Talladega.   NASCAR's absurd no-superdrafting rule bit Aric Almirola and Brendan Gaughn early on with a pass-through penalty and also once again needlessly stifled passing - best illustrated by the futile sidedraft battle by Joey Logano, Ryan Reid, et al that never got above fourth in tahe race'smiddle stages before Reid's crash set up the frantic final 25 or so laps.   The entire fiasco also ruined a superb effort by Brennan Poole, who took the flag first despite hitting the wall at the stripe with another car.  

It of course started with Logano and swerving with Sadler that sent him into the wall and a vicious semi-T-bone hit, and if you remember such controversies as Irwindale in 2009 that have followed Logano through his career one can feel a bit of poetic justice at work.  

The controversy also puts a damper on Sadler, the official winner for the first time in some two years.   Always a classy type, Sadler shouldn't have to defend himself for winning at Talladega; he wasn't the issue here, NASCAR's judgement is the issue.  


*****


A delicious subplot to this Winston 500 weekend developed with Robbie Allison.   The son of Davey Allison and grandson of Bobby, Robbie won at Anderson Speedway, his first race win.   It's too premature for him to hit the superovals, but that career path looks certain down the road.