Friday, May 26, 2017

Winning the 9/11 Wars

Defeating Islamo-Arab Imperialism requires commiting to do so

On April 30, 2012, Barack Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser made a bold prediction: It was possible to envision a world in which al Qaeda's central leadership would no longer [be] relevant to the United States and the organization itself would be eliminated. If the decade before 9/11 was the time of al Qaeda's rise, and the decade after 9/11 was the time of its decline, then I believe this decade will be the one that sees its demise, boasted John Brennan.

This wasn't an analytical assessment. It was a political claim, coming just six months before the 2012 election, at the beginning of the Obama administration's coordinated public relations campaign to portray al Qaeda as on the run. Like his boss, Brennan was reflexively dismissive of the jihadists' desire to capture territory and build a radical Islamic state. In a June 29, 2011, speech, Brennan had dismissed al Qaeda's grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate as absurd, a feckless delusion.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

When Personal Spite Drives Political Hatred

More and more it is becoming clear that personal hatred by the Mainstream Media and Democratic Party for being shown up is what drives hatred of Trump - and personal spite isn't limited to them. It is reminiscent of Watergate, which was never about any crime but was an excuse for personal hatred by the MSM and Democrats of Richard Nixon, whose real crime was showing them up.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The NASCAR Fall-Star Race And Continued Rules Struggle

The expectations for the first NASCAR All-Star Race under Monster Energy tutelage were high, especially given that it marked the 25th anniversary of the first All-Star Race run at night, a race whose brutal finish is naturally still celebrated.

The All-Star Race was perhaps the least competitive running since segmenting was changed after Davey Allison led wire to wire in 1991.   The All-Star Open wasn't much better until things got hairy at the finish.  Eric Jones' ill-advised attempt to blast into the lead by hammering the grass killed his night.

Post-race reaction among fans and media was negative - typified by Autoweek's piece advocating taking the race away from Charlotte and running it somewhere else, such as Bristol or Iowa or a road course.   Given the worthlessness of road racing, running an all-star race on one can never work, nor are short tracks anything resembling the answer.   

It reflects the continued universal frustration at the lack of passing on the bigger ovals - a plague that has nothing to do with the track layouts and everything to do with racecars with too much horsepower, too little grip, and no drafting effect being generated - and Goodyear's much-hyped options with soft or hard tires proved laughably irrelevant, perhaps the funniest example of how NASCAR and fans got hoist with their own petard after they believed their own propaganda about cutting downforce and thus improving passing.

A report on a proposed 2018 rule package suggests the Cup cars will run a conventional airdam instead of a splitter - Eric Jones' Charlotte crash that tore his splitter to bits would seem to add credence to this - would remove the sharkfin run for years now, increase the spoiler from 2.5 inches to four, and remove side skirts to lessen sideforce.   The hope is to reduce corner speeds, though given history I'm not holding breath that it will do that.   The spoiler-airdam proposal seems to make sense, though I'd prefer a substantially larger spoiler; the history of the larger spoiler has generally been positive for competitive racing, it's been spoiler reductions that have been a bollox.   I'm intrigued how removing the sideskirts affects things, for the sideforce issue has shown itself to be serious in the Truck Series.

The rule package that oddly has gone completely under the radar (outside of a reference on NASCAR's Sirius/XM radio morning drive show)  has been the Xfinity package to be run at the Brickyard in July. The use of drag ducts on the Xfinity cars attacks the issue of the weakness of the draft for the cars, and certainly the Cup cars need all the draft they can get pretty much regardless of track - it is thus baffling that Cup cars haven't tested drag ducts.   The issue of horsepower has also gone unaddressed; the reality is the Trucks are the only of the three major touring series that has gotten horsepower under control; the Xfinity series has been okay as far as controlling horsepower; Cup has completely ignored the fact horsepower needs to be controlled, and seriously so.  

As far as individual racer performances went, the lack of passing makes gauging the drivers trickier - Kyle Busch's win was a milestone for him given he's never won a race in a Cup car at Charlotte before.   Kyle Larson was probably the strongest car given he led the most laps, except he never led again after the third segment started.    The All-Star Open was more interesting given the hairiness of the finish, but among those who advanced from it only Chase Elliott was relevant to anything at the end of the main race; he struggled and fell to Daniel Suarez in the Open while Austin Dillon finished second, this as it appeared Elliott would just breeze into the lead and be done with it.    Also noteworthy was Regan Smith, who ran respectably in Richard Petty's #43 in his first race subbing for injured Aric Almirola, out for two months and maybe three.  

So Charlotte's 2017 NASCAR week gets off to a terrible start.   One hopes it can get better.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Study Shows Fact-Checkers Are Bad at Their Jobs

PolitiFact exposed again
What's interesting about media fact-checkers is that, while they often prove to be subjective in their findings, they do allow others to objectively evaluate them since they append value judgments such as true or false to statements. I've previously noted two university studies, one at the University of Minnesota and another at George Mason University, that simply quantified PolitiFact's results over a specified period and cross-referenced the results with partisanship,. The results were unsurprising to those who regularly marveled at PolitiFact's reasoning—the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact checker rates Republicans as telling falsehoods much more often than Democrats (rates of 3:1 and 2:1, respectively). There's really no other way to explain it other than the organization has, at a minimum, a serious selection bias problem.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Hidden Debt Hidden Deficits

A new study has been released showing how state and local governments are $1.91 to $3.4 trillion in debt due to unfunded pensions.

Additional information comes here.

See also the progressive bankruptcy of Connecticut and Illinois.

NASCAR's Back-Breaking Mid-Season

NASCAR's  2017 season is the debut season of Monster Energy Drink sponsorship and in its first eleven races the season has seen a plethora of surprises, not all of them positive.   The Kansas 400 Winston Cup race was the second win of the season for Martin Truex, but the story of the 400 was Aric Almirola, who suffered a compression fracture in his back in the most vicious crash seen in a long time.  

Almirola's injury puts a scary damper on what was developing into a promising season after a very frustrating 2016 season.   Fourth-places at the Daytona 500 and Winston 500 and a strong ninth at Richmond indicated the beginning of a turnaround; working with the Roush organization, Richard Petty's team has benefitted, and the Roush fleet's renaissance - following the promotion of younger, engineering-oriented personnel after years under former crew chief Robbie Reiser - has become one of the stories of the season.

Almirola's injury has brought out stories about how safety has improved in NASCAR the last sixteen seasons, and that's certainly true, as is that racecar safety has been excellent for decades - yet overlooked has been the close calls in that span.

Sterling Marlin's near-disastrous neck injury from - ironically - a crash at Kansas happened in 2002.

The next season Jerry Nadeau was gravely injured in a crash at Richmond, a crash some data indicated was one of the hardest hits ever recorded - greater than on superspeeedays.  

In 2013 Michael Annett suffered a serious sternum injury after blasting the SAFER barrier in Daytona's Busch Series 300 - in a twin irony, he was driving a Richard Petty car and Aric Almirola subbed for him at Phoenix.  

The crash believed to have given Dale Earnhardt Jr. the concussion that ended his 2016 season - and whose lingering effects will see his retirement after 2017 - happened in the 2016 Michigan 400. 

Eric McClure suffered serious injury in 2012 at Talladega, blasting through the track's enormous paved runoff area and hammering the SAFER barrier. 

Denny Hamlin suffered a compression fracture in this vicious 2013 melee at Fontana.

Almirola's Kansas injury came in a race that saw an eye-popping fifteen yellows, most of them for crashes that involved some eighteen cars - and writer Mike Mulhern rightly asks about why brake rotors are exploding as happened to Logano that triggered the wreck.   Related to this is the trap speeds in the Almirola wreck measured some 215 MPH.   Why racing ostensibly needs speeds that high is puzzling, especially when speeds below 200 should suffice, especially for a track like Kansas.

Kansas was also a bitter pill for Ryan Blaney, who led 83 laps in the Wood Brothers #21 yet could not hold off Truex in the race's late showdowns.   He has led 233 laps so far, by far the most by the Woods' #21 in decades, and it's a sign winning is in the #21's future.

With so many yellows, restarts made for some good racing, highlighted by Brad Keselowski's nifty three-wide pass on the outside of the trioval on the final lap.   Keselowski's runner-up finish, Kevin Harvick's third, and Blaney's fourth further the progress of a season where Ford's competitive depth has exponentially grown with wins by Stewart-Haas, Penske, and Roush - it adds further bitterness to Aric Almirola's injury with a return to victory by Petty's team a real prospect.  

The win by Truex was his second of the season with a whopping 536 laps led to date; he was one of just three Toyotas in the top ten, and his Toyota benefactor Joe Gibbs Racing remains winless.   It raises anew concern that Toyota has not invested sufficiently in competitive depth.

Competitive depth has been a problem for Chevrolet since the halcyon days of Hendrick vs. the RAD Alliance of RCR, DEI, and Andy Petree Racing, yet so far in eleven races Chevy has won with Hendrick, RCR, and Ganassi Racing, a greater depth by the Bowtiers than seen in several years.

The big picture takeaway going forward is 2017 is not your typical recent Winston Cup season - there is clearly new energy and new competitive depth (nine different winners among eight different teams in eleven races so far) and the meat of the season for the first time in a long time holds actual promise of something special for racing.    Getting Almirola back will help.

Monday, May 08, 2017

The Dangers of the FDA's Regulatory Hegemony

Courts rule against it yet the FDA fights for bureacratic meddling anyway

In March, Arizona became the first state to pass a bill allowing the free flow of medical information between drug companies and physicians. The Free Speech in Medicine Act, which was passed unanimously in both state houses, may seem curiously innocuous: It simply permits pharmaceutical companies to share information with licensed health-care professionals, provided the information is not misleading, not contrary to fact, and consistent with generally accepted scientific principles. So far, so good—one might rightly assume that relaying information would be permissible with or without legislation.

However, FDA regulations largely prohibit pharmaceutical companies from discussing safe and effective uses for FDA-approved drugs, unless those uses have been specifically sanctioned by the agency. For example, if the FDA approved a certain drug as a headache treatment, drug company representatives could not recommend that drug as a treatment for muscle pain, even if substantive data showed that it treats muscle pain effectively. Instead, the company would need to apply and pay for a separate FDA trial to approve that use. In practice, this means that information on effective treatments is often deliberately concealed from doctors, despite the fact that they are free to prescribe FDA-approved medicines for virtually any purpose they see fit.

Fake Law

Something ugly is happening to the First Amendment. It is being contorted to enable judges to protest Donald Trump's presidency.

The perennial impulse of judges to manipulate the law to achieve morally and politically desirable ends has only been exacerbated by the felt necessity to resist Trump. The result: Legal tests concerning the freedoms of speech and religion that in some cases were already highly dubious are being further deformed and twisted.

Welcome to the rise of fake law. Just as fake news spreads ideologically motivated misinformation with a newsy veneer, fake law brings us judicial posturing, virtue signaling, and opinionating masquerading as jurisprudence. And just as fake news augurs the end of authoritative reporting, fake law portends the diminution of law's legitimacy and the warping of judges' self-understanding of their constitutional role.

Those who try to police the relentlessly transformational projects of constitutional progressives had much to dread from the Obama administration, an inveterate ally of the legal left that did what it could to graft the aspirations of progressives onto the Constitution. But Trump's presidency may be even worse, because too many judges now feel called to resist Trump and all his works—no matter the cost to the law's authority.

NASCAR And The Drivers Who Weren't There

The word that Dale Earnhardt Junior will retire after 2017 and the disappointing crowd at Richmond has renewed concern in racing about its loss of popularity. An angle unexplored is the angle of the drivers who weren't there - promising drivers who died early or who did not achieve success - and the question - what if those drivers had lived and succeeded?


Rob Moroso won the Busch title in 1989 but failed in Winston Cup and was killed in a drunk driving accident near the end of his one season in Cup.   

Tim Richmond, Davey Allison, and Alan Kulwicki all achieved success - but did not live to see more

John Andretti's illness has brought back memory of a talented racer who won twice - and leaves one wondering if he had won more races; that ability was there.

Bobby Hamilton won in the Busch Series, Winston Cup, and the Trucks - and was competitive enough to win more.

No driver caused more controversy and achieved dramatic success the way Ernie Irvan did.   Crashes and victories defined Irvan's career, a career nearly ended with a nearly fatal crash at Michigan in 1994; in 1999 at that same track another bad wreck finally did end his career.   It seems certain had the 1994 crash not happened Irvan would have won a lot more races and likely still be racing in 2004 and perhaps later.

Kenny Irwin replaced Irvan with Robert Yates' team - his career at the Cup level never went anywhere and his death in 2000 left the sport once again wondering "what if".   1997's Truck 250 at Homestead showed real potential was there for success at the Cup level

Tim Steele exploded in the 1992-2001 period in the ARCA series, winning 41 races and showing a daring in traffic not many drivers can show, as seen here in 1996's ARCA 500k at Talladega.   His attempts at NASCAR never panned out.

Steele showed what could have been in NASCAR at Vegas in 1997.

Jeff Purvis, Buckshot Jones, and Joe Nemechek raced to the win at Talladega in 2000.   Jones was the most controversial due to an ugly feud initiated by Randy LaJoie.   Purvis sparkled in ARCA and the Busch Series on the superspeedways.   Nemechek won the Busch title in 1993 and won four Winston Cup races, and the likeable native of Florida always added charm to the garage area.

Purvis' career ended in this 2002 melee at Nazareth

Racing and sports in general are to a great extent driven by the ultimate unanswerable question - What if?   One can't of course be governed by such a question yet at times it is worth asking - and one certainly can think NASCAR's present struggle with popularity would have been at least somewhat mitigated had success followed the drivers who in the end weren't there.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Talladega Legacy And Future

The 2017 Winston 500 weekend at Talladega opened with a surprising burden of legacy and ended with the arrival of an aspect of the future - a confluence that made for an interesting weekend.

The Busch/Xfinity Series opened things up with an exciting shootout in the Sparks 300 and Aric Almirola matched his Firecracker 250 win from last July by bagging this one.  

The burden of legacy for Talladega was two-fold  - Part I was this marked the 30th anniversary of the 1987 Winston 500 and the breakthrough victory of Davey Allison and the Ranier Racing team.   The second-generation Allison began one of the sport's most celebrated careers with that breakthrough victory as a rookie, ultimately winning nineteen races -  but the championship he wanted escaped him in the famous crash with Ernie Irvan during the 1992 Dixie 500, and a frustrating 1993 season ended in tragedy in the helicopter crash in Talladega's infield. 

The second part of Talladega's burden of legacy was unexpected - the retirement after 2017 of Dale Earnhardt Jr., a six-time Talladega winner and the Most Popular Driver for some sixteen years running.   There was a great deal of expectation when Dale Junior timed onto the front row for the Winston 500 - but it would be the pole-sitter who stole all the thunder.

Ricky Stenhouse won two Xfinity Series titles in Roush Fords, posting eight wins and thirty-two other top-fives in that process, but that left no one impressed as Stenhouse blundered his way through the Winston Cup wars from his rookie season in 2013 with just twenty-two top-10s in 158 starts to date - more damning is Stenhouse has led a paltry 58 laps for his Cup career to date.    Making him seem even more of a joke is his well-known romance with Danica Patrick.

Yet Stenhouse wound up serving up the future in the 2017 Winston 500, and like Davey Allison, Phil Parsons, and Brad Keselowski  made this race the breakthrough for his Cup career.   It marked the first Roush victory at the Winston Cup level in 101 starts and it also marks the seventh-straight plate race won by a brand other than Chevrolet, which so dominated restrictor plate racing from 1990-2015 it wasn't funny - adding insult to injury Chevrolet led a whopping eleven laps in this 500 and Dale Junior finished an inglorious 22nd.   Jamie McMurray salvaged some pride for Chevy by finishing second and Kasey Kahne showed up the rest of Hendrick Motorsports by finishing fifth.  

It also marks the third Ford team to win in the 2017 Cup season, an important breakthrough for the competitive depth of the renewed Ford effort that began with the acquisition of Stewart-Haas Racing from Chevrolet; SHR, Penske, and now Roush have won, with Richard Petty's team and Wood Brothers Racing no longer just also-rans but legitimate contenders for a win or two.  

The other striking aspect from the manufacturer standpoint is Toyotas led 95 laps and had just one top-ten finisher to show for it, furthering the concern about Toyota's true strength as 2017 proceeds.   It also raises the issue of whether Toyota's approach where it is basically just one organization - Joe Gibbs Racing, with Barney Visser's two-car outfit (both crunched in the backstretch mess) just an extension of JGR - is sufficient; clearly there seems need for Toyota to add two more organizations to its Winston Cup fleet - especially as the Honda and Dodge rumor for NASCAR still exists, albeit has stayed underground.

People gripe about the crashes at Talladega - well there were plenty of them yet again.

The racing was good, though it seemed passing the leader in the 500 was too much of a chore compared to Daytona, which struck me as surprising, especially with the bonus points awarded for segment finishes which have created more incentive to lead and sparked manifestly greater intensity for Speedweeks.  

In all it shook out as a memorable Talladega weekend with the promise of October to come as well and with the rest of the NASCAR season beckoning.  

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Coal Outpowers Solar - Again

New data proves an old fact - solar produces piddling power compared to more conventional sources, notably coal.

The Pension Crisis

First published on November 22, 1016:

The state pension crisis has saddled the next generation with a multi-trillion-dollar debt crisis - this piece looks at Florida's while this one looks at California's.

UPDATE, May 4, 2017: An additional study showcases public employee greed.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sucking Up To Chelsea

Democrats famously sucked up to Bill Clinton when he wasn't demanding they suck him. Now they suck up to his daughter despite - or because of - her sense of complete entitlement and utter brainlessness (not to mention thievery of charity donations to pay for her wedding to crooked hedge funder Marc Mezvinsky.

Hillary Milhous Clinton Postmortems

The book Shattered tries to make sense of Hillary Clinton's election defeat - but of course it can't because it asks the wrong questions.

Syrian Chemical Weapons And Obama Dishonesty

A new State Department report on Syria's chemical weapons shows anew Obama lied in 2016 to cover up for the enemy.

Female Genital Abuse On Trial In US

It's a form of abuse of women that hasn't gotten much publicity - the slicing of female genitals to kill sexual pleasure in girls, and also to punish them for being girls. It's a staple of Islamic brutality and surprisingly isn't illegal in half the US - yet a Detroit trial is exposing what it is. Also worth reading is the preposterous efforts to be "culturally sensitive."

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Israel Took Out Syrian Nuclear Base Circa 2007

Believe It or Not, Syria Could Be In Even Worse Shape

Syria is a bloody mess. Its cities lie in ruins. Its antiquities have been destroyed. And the Syrian leader continues to kill his own people. The death toll may be as high as a half million people. Some 10 million Syrians have been displaced. Reporters working there have described it as hell on earth and the images they've provided support their portrayal.

It's hard to imagine how things could be ghastlier. And yet, if not for a stealth nighttime attack a decade ago, the situation today would almost certainly have been worse. Syria might well have been a young nuclear power.

On Sept. 6, 2007, Israeli fighter jets screamed through the skies of western Syria to drop their payloads on the al-Kibar nuclear facility and end, at least temporarily, the secret nuclear program of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. The buildings that housed Syria's budding nuclear efforts, unknown to the world, had been the focus of a mad, behind-the-scenes diplomatic scramble for several months, as the Israelis tried to enlist U.S. support for the pre-emptive strike.


Paul Johnson's masterpiece of the underappreciated angle of history - the self-appointed "experts" who worm their way into setting the debate - always with disastrous results.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Syria And Iraq's Chemical Weapons

The "Bush Lied" talking point was never credible, and now it appears some of the N-B-C weaponry Iraq built and then shipped out to avoid discovery is now being used by Syria.

The State Department Knew a Year Ago That Syria Likely Still Had Chemical Weapons

Obama just keeps getting exposed as worse and worse

Despite repeated public pronouncements from President Obama, Susan Rice, and others in the Obama administration that a 2013 deal with Russia and Syria had eliminated Syria's declared chemical weapons program, the evidence from continued attacks increasingly and overwhelmingly contradicts this assertion. As recently as Jan. 16, former national security advisor Susan Rice told NPR in an interview, We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile.

Rice's statement is being roundly mocked in light of last week's chemical attack in Idlib province. But a year-old report released by the Obama administration's own State Department, which received little attention at the time, also undermines the claims regarding the success of the 2013 deal. The April 2016 report, titled Compliance With the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction Condition 10(C) Report, was not limited to Syria, but also covered Iran, Iraq, and Russia, which may explain why it was underreported. The report's section on Syria specifically, however, is fairly devastating to the Obama administration's case.

Related to all this is this look by Victor Hanson at the bizarre qualities involved in Syria.

Monday, April 03, 2017

The PLO's Balfour Fraud

The Palestinian Authority pushes a myth about the Balfour Declaration to justify continuing hatred of Israel. The record as usual proves the Arabs are the enemy here.

EPA's Unreliable Self-Analysis

Ten problems are shown when the EPA is asked to justify its Clean Power Plan. We also get a look at the flawed models used to justify the myth of global warming.

Debunking The Fascism As Right Wing Myth

Attacks on Donald Trump as another Adolf Hitler show stupidity and laziness, and also trivialize Naziism; also worth attacking is the myth that Naziism/Fascism was in some way a "right wing" ideology - in sober reality fascism was a left-wing belief system, an advocate of state intervention in the economy and the kind of social welfare that in the West is personified by the multi-trillion dollar bankrupcies of public pensions and the overall entitlement state. Shari Berman, in trying to portray fascism as a right-wing ideology, inadvertently shows it was the opposite.

Finding Victims for Trump Budget Cuts

The Mainstream Media goes looking for "victims" of Donald Trump budget cuts

Equal Payday And Ignoring The Market

Equal Pay Day is celebrated as a way to push the myth that women are shafted out of salary earnings. Market reality as usual proves the opposite.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Obama Investigated Trump

Democrats are in denial of this, shown in their parsing during the Comey hearing.

"Could it be the Democrats were "stricken.....because they found out President Trump did wiretap Trump for political purposes?"

It gets worse, as investigations expose Obama and company as the real criminals.

The Stupidity Of Politics

Victor Hanson showcases how people are pummeled by the stupidity of leftism.

Are Restrictor Plates Returning To NASCAR Tracks?

According to NBC Sports NASCAR will run restrictor plates on the Xfinity cars at Indianapolis, this following an encouraging test session at the Brickyard in 2016. The report became fact as NASCAR made the announcement on March 23. Drivers Ryan Reed and Blake Koch expand on the package here. The most intriguing angle is the use of drag ducts, where air blasts into the nose and out the front wheelwells; the IMS test indicated they work.

As one who has studied the history of racing may expect the restrictor plate controversy has raged from 1988 onward with drivers predictably speaking against the restrictor plate, yet in the nearly thirty years since the restrictor plate was re-introduced to NASCAR the case against it has been thoroughly discredited by three decades of actual racing. And alternatives are always presented - Dale Jarrett claiming "open the aerodynamics some....let them have the horsepower trying to do it."

Yet in the history of racing those is search of examples where having more horsepower or adding horsepower opened up passing will fail to find any.

MRN call of the 1971 Yankee 400, a restrictor plate race.

NASCAR first mandated restrictor plates in August 1970 until late-September 1971 when it went to carburetor sleeves - in July 1973 NASCAR returned to running restrictor plates and in March 1974 the Southeastern 500 at Bristol was the last race to run them until 1988.   Michigan in 1971 saw two competitive races with the plate, such as the Yankee 400.   NASCAR nearly mandated the plate for 1979 when several tracks were repaved and speeds shot up markedly as a result - analyst Greg Maness adds that the Chevrolet Laguna S-3 was hit with the plate for 1978 and this is part of why that successful marque was dropped after 1977.

"Some people were saying they would not be able to pass...."  So noted Ned Jarrett two laps into the 1988 Daytona 500, the first to run restrictor plates since 1974.  

While not as competitive as the Daytona 500, that year's Firecracker 400 and Diehard 500 saw eye-popping finishes.

Ned Jarrett repeatedly mocked the opinion that the restrictor plate impeded ability to pass in his racecasts at Daytona and Talladega - because the racing itself disproved the view against it. 

People who cite the 2000 New Hampshire 300 as a case against restrictor plates ignore how in the radial tire era stock cars have long struggled to pass there and everywhere - when the Modifieds race at New Hampshire they have run restrictor plates since the track opened - with no impediment to passing at all.  

It also ignores how the longer the drivers ran with this plate package the more used to it they became and the more aggressive they started to get in the racing.   Restrictor plate usage far beyond just this one race would certainly have seen drivers figure out passing in such a horsepower box.

The notion - advanced by many, not just Dale Jarrett - that adding horsepower will increase passing not only is not supported by any realworld evidence, it is further discredited by Indycar's absurd push-to-pass button, which adds short bursts of extra horsepower akin to nitrous oxide usage - it has been in Indycars for several years with zero discernable increase in incidence of passing.  It was bulkier racecar bodies, air-displacement wings - and the combination present in the modern-day Wheldon-12 racecar - with no particular increase in horsepower that opened up passing (the use of air-displacement by Indycars  also brings to mind NASCAR's successful roof blade package, curiously never used in race conditions on smaller tracks despite several test sessions with this package at Charlotte).

The blunt reality is Dale Jarrett is wrong.   NASCAR has needed to expand restrictor plate usage for two decades.   The New Hampshire experiment should not have ended in that one race and the pending use of restrictor plates at Indianapolis should not be limited to that one race - or that one weekend - either.   The fact is NASCAR has too much horsepower by over 250 and has had such for one and a half generations.  

The Camping World Trucks have run small engine spacers - which serve the same effect as the restrictor plate - for a number of years and they have seen excellent racing.

Balancing the horsepower, tire, downforce, and drafting effect is how Indycar has exploded the last quarter-century in competitive racing and how NASCAR can reach that same end.   Restrictor plates have worked - period - so NASCAR should mandate them not just for Indianapolis, but beyond.

NASCAR is shooting for racing like this (from Indy Lights in 2016 and 2013) for the Brickyard and elsewhere - with racecars that are underpowered.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Empathy's Failure As Policy

Empathy's Unintended Consequences

When you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, then-senator Barack Obama told a standing-room-only crowd in 2006 at Xavier University's commencement, whether they are close friends or distant strangers—it becomes harder not to act, harder not to help. Empathy has become, in many precincts of 21st-century America, both the preferred tool for moral reasoning and a paramount value in its own right. But in this well-reasoned tract, Paul Bloom punctures empathy's seeming invulnerability by outlining its serious flaws, arguing instead for the use of compassionate but rational judgment in reaching ethical decisions.

Bloom, a professor of psychology at Yale, begins by defining empathy, with most contemporary psychologists and philosophers, as the act of feeling what you believe other people feel—experiencing what they experience. He also explores the nature of empathy, including its roots in the human brain—specifically, the cingulate cortex and anterior insula. Because empathic reactions to the experiences of others trigger the same gray matter as if you yourself underwent that experience, claiming  'I feel your pain' isn't just a gooey metaphor: it can be made neurologically literal.

Senate Democrats' Incoherence on Gorsuch and Executive Power

The Democratic Party continues to prove itself utterly irrelevant to anything as they go after Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination by attacking him in a way where they want it both ways

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It's Not 'Losing' Coverage if You Choose Not to Have It

The central myth pushed by HillaryCare and Obamacare is that "40 million didn't have health insurance." The fact is they CHOSE not to get it - because they didn't need it.

Study: Obama-Era Guidance Undermined Its Own Aims

"An Obama administration guidance, sidestepping law to serve an albeit well-meaning social agenda, may have deepened the very injustice it was meant to correct. Haven't I heard this before?"

The False Claim About 24 Million 'Losing' Insurance

The Democrats as usual use a fraudulent and dishonest argument

In the hour it was reported with smothering ubiquity that the GOP's Obamacare replacement would cause 24 million individuals to lose insurance, the debate about government health care policy was given a bucket of buffalo wings, a wet nap, and a day off. It was about to get sloppy and awfully lazy.
24 million people losing insurance is roughly equivalent to the population of 15 particular states, Rachel Maddow tweeted, not one of them with more than five electoral votes, but, when listed vertically, appeared ominous. Almost 50,000 users have hit the retweet button.

That's 50,000 users who have participated in the week's biggest question-begging exercise. Nowhere in the Congressional Budget Office's projections about the American Health Care Act did the agency say the bill would cause 24 million to lose coverage—cancel it or take it from them. The report, rather, estimated that the total number of individuals insured under the Republican plan would eventually be 24 million fewer than the total insured under Obamacare. Why is that?

Enough With Phony Islamophobia

"Americans are constantly warned by mainstream media that our prejudices and intolerance 'radicalize' Muslims.

It's the phony recruitment argument Barack Obama used to oppose US victory in Iraq and "Islamophobia" continues to impress reality by its nonexistence - especially as Muslims themselves fabricate stories of Islamophobic violence.
"Hate crime hoaxes empower Islamic extremists."

Thursday, March 09, 2017

The CBO And Obamacare

A lot of people don't trust the CBO - and it's because it is so often wrong. Some examples are presented where it gets it wrong.

Of course being flawed doesn't mean its data isn't worthwhile - as its recent estimate on Republicans' repeal effort shows it will among other things repeal penalties on employers as well as on individuals.

Also worth reading is this optimistic epistle on Obamacare's repeal.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

The Hypocrisy And Thoughtlessness In Racing Analysis

The word that New Hampshire International Speedway has been sacrificed for a second Las Vegas Motor Speedway Winston Cup date and that Charlotte will run the road course for its National 500 in 2018 has brought out not just foolish media analysis but worse, it has exposed the hypocrisy involved in the whole issue of what kind of speedways ought to have Winston Cup dates.

Twenty years ago New Hampshire debuted its second Winston Cup date with some spirited racing

The first issue to dispel - New Hampshire is a far better racing and sports market than Las Vegas - and worth adding in is Kentucky Speedway, also a superior sports market than Vegas, is itself being jerked around with the seizing of its stand-alone Xfinity Series race for Vegas.   The claim made is they can get more money at Vegas than at New Hampshire (or Kentucky) but that's never been true, and the same issue shows itself with Los Angeles, like Vegas a transient market with no substantive support for sports.    There simply is nothing in Las Vegas that warrants getting a second Winston Cup date and nothing has happened at New Hampshire that justifies taking away a date.

Quite a few fans hooted that New Hampshire deserved to lose one of its dates because "it's the most boring track." Certainly competitively it hasn't lived up to the bigger ovals, but the criticism draws out the fraudulence involved in the issue of racetracks and who "deserves" a date.

One of the subliterate mantras from fans is "we need more short tracks."   New Hampshire is a short track - but bigger and wider.   To this some counter with the foolish claim "no, New Hampshire is an intermediate track," except by no stretch can that claim hold water.    The Loudon track has the qualities of a short track but is much wider and is bigger, with substantially more room to race than most short tracks.   A fan criticism that Loudon "stole" its second date from North Wilkesboro ignores that Wilkesboro was woefully weaker a track than the Loudon oval - the reality is while the specifics of getting the date should have played out better, North Wilkesboro could not compete with New Hampshire.

The hypocrisy of course long predated the condemnation of New Hampshire.   When Bristol's corners were altered to open up a raceable high groove, the result was a striking improvement in passing and a noticeable reduction in cautions.

Bristol got back the competitive moxie it had had in the 1989-91 period - and yet a lot of fans criticized Bristol because now it was about passing and actual racing instead of constant crashing.   "There's no beating and banging at Bristol" became the new mantra, and it is silly.   By any sober measure Bristol became a better racetrack than it had been.

The hypocrisy then extends to advocacy for more road courses.   Fans say they want better racing, but the reality is they're advocating for facilities that are not better racing.   By now it is well know road courses are the least competitive venues in racing.  The claim having eight to ten corners as a typical road course has opens more opportunities for passing is laughable because the opposite is the truth - the extra corners and switchbacks do nothing but stifle passing.

Road courses don't offer anything safer than superspeedways, either.

So fans say "we need more short tracks" and "we need more road courses" ostensibly for better racing - except one of the tracks they condemn (New Hampshire) is itself a short track type, and it isn't better racing on either venue.   Short tracks certainly are excellent for local racing and smaller touring series but it's the superspeedways - of which the "cookie cutters" are part - that are the most competitive venues in motorsports.

The heart of the issue is fans are being disingenuous through and through.   The real reason for advocacy of more short tracks and more road courses is a fundamentally negative and self-defeating one - fans are beyond frustrated at the lack of passing on the bigger ovals.   If fans would be more honest and acknowledge this frustration then the substantive discussion can begin.   People have been hypocrites for attacking "cookie cutter" tracks and demanding more short tracks and road courses even though the "cookie cutters" by any measure are superior racing venues with higher incidence of passing than short tracks and especially road courses.   This is why the racetrack boom of 1997-2001 so emphasized intermediate ovals instead of short tracks or road courses.

So what fans should do is ask the real question - why is it so damned hard to get more passing on the bigger ovals?   Having more short tracks is not the answer and having more road courses is not the answer - addressing the balance of downforce, tire, horsepower, and drafting strength of the racecars - something the Trucks finally have gotten a handle on the last six-plus years on the bigger ovals, as Indycars finally found in the latter 1990s to where they've had a striking number of excellent battles on intermediates as well as the bigger ovals from 1998 onward - ultimately that is the answer.   Addressing the related issue of incentive to go for the lead has been done with NASCAR's new "segment" bonus points structure.

Sports analysis - heck, analysis of any major issue - always is in need of substance.   For racing it is doubly needed to truly solve the problems the sport faces.

The Infrastructure Myth

Contrary to widespread political myth, US infrastructure is in very good shape and not in need of significant repair or "investment."

NASCAR's Ministry Of Silly Ideas

In its history NASCAR has never lacked silly ideas and in a 2017 season where it is trying to rebuild eroded popularity - and got off to a good start at such with a boffo Daytona Speedweeks - silly ideas are coming again to NASCAR's fore.

The first is word that Speedway Motorsports Inc. will transfer one of its races - widely reported to be the New Hampshire 300 in Loudon, NH - to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a "Chase" period race.   The notion that NASCAR cannot add a 37th race to its Cup schedule if of course always trotted out even though it's not plausible, and the notion that any of SMI's dates is somehow worth switching to Vegas is more preposterous, considering that New Hampshire is a proven racing market and Vegas has yet to prove itself even a worthwhile sports market.   

The shame of it is Vegas is a good speedway and racetracks are supposed to be working together - speedway fratricide has never solved anything.  

The next silly idea is that Charlotte will run its October National 500 in 2018 on the track's infield road course.   I hear over and over "90 percent of fans want another road course in NASCAR," yet nowhere does anyone try to explain why.   The reason is fans are so frustrated over lack of passing on ovals that they think they're getting back at NASCAR by lobbying for road courses.   It's not a constructive reason, it's a self-defeating one.

The blunt reality is road racing is the least competitive form of racing in all of motorsports.   NASCAR has a long history of road races with the Winston Cup Grand National series competing at Riverside, CA, Watkins Glen, NY, and Sears Point, CA.    In 48 career races at Riverside NASCAR's Grand National cars averaged a paltry ten to eleven lead changes a race (506 total) - only five times in Riverside's history did it exceed fifteen lead changes in a race.   In 34 career Watkins Glen races entering 2017 the track has averaged only nine lead changes a race (312 total), while Sears Point in 28 races entering 2017 has averaged a paltry eight lead changes per race (240 total).  

Road races in NASCAR - and other classes - have produced some of racing's most vicious crashes, perhaps the highest violence of crashes with the lowest incidence of passing in motorsports. 

The other argument I hear is "NASCAR needs more diversity in racetracks."  No, it doesn't - it needs more lead changes.   Road courses are incapable of producing competitive racing by their very nature - short to medium straights (Watkins Glen's lengthy straights make it something of an outlier), constant switchbacks and tight corners, general narrowness, lack of room to generate any consistent momentum to pass.    Driving a racecar is not racing a racecar let alone racing other racecars.  

Defenders of road courses will cite exciting finishes at some events, except they are so rare that when they do occur they become more memorable than they really warrant.   Not that the 2011-12 Watkins Glen victories by Marcus Ambrose weren't dramatic, but they were both set up by a mistake by Kyle Busch......

.....the second time a backmarker's blown engine and subsequent a cheapshot by Brad Keselowski set off that finish; it was far less any intrinsic competitive value in road racing and certainly nothing unusual for most ovals.  

The blunt truth is there is no valid competitive reason to add another road race to NASCAR, and fans and media really should analyze the sport a lot better than just repeating some subliterate mantra because they're frustrated over lack of passing on ovals.

NASCAR should tell Charlotte to say no to the road race, be it 2018 or whenever.  

Monday, March 06, 2017

Liberal Evil At Middlebury

At Middlebury College Leftists tried to shut off Charles Murray for the crime of showing up liberalism to be a fraud. It is of course how leftism works - it can't win the debate on facts so it resorts to violence.

A follow-up is presented here while the larger scandal of mob censorship on campus is examined here.

Trump Derangement Syndrome Gets Hacked

The Mainstream Media didn't notice, but the myth that Soviet hacking cost the Democrats the 2016 election has just been forever disproven.

Yale And Title IX

A lawsuit against Yale showcases the college sanctioning abuse of power in the name of the phony law called Title IX.

The Atlanta Falcons 500

NASCAR's annual foray to Atlanta wound up resembling the Atlanta Falcons' 2016 playoff run - Kevin Harvick monopolized the first two rounds and monopolized the championship round before the entire enterprise disintegrated.   And when the final few laps arrived it was Brad Keselowski grabbing the win and Harvick left to stew with only a ninth place finish after leading a whopping 292 laps.    The race left some tidbits to munch on heading to Vegas -

Repave Atlanta - Before the weekend Marcus Smith of SMI said the track will be repaved for 2018, but drivers said and wrote on social media insisting the track should stay as it is because drivers like the feel of the track and like tire falloff.    This 2017 running by any sober reading ended any justification for putting off repaving any longer.   Tire wear was more of an issue than usual with several failures due to excessive wear, and passing was more limited than usual - almost a rumor, due not just to the unraceability of the asphalt but also to NASCAR's latest downforce reduction.  

In its history as a quad-oval Atlanta's most competitive races - such as the two on display above - came when the asphalt was still fresh and teams didn't have to use ten sets of tires to run 500 miles.    

The Aaron Rodgers Mister Irrelevant Award -  Kevin Harvick has made something of a habit in recent seasons of leading a lot and not cashing in the win.   In his last 110 starts spanning 2014 onward he has led the most laps a stunning twenty times without a win to show for it.    So far in 2017 he's reached one such Mister Irrelevant race to go with 342 total laps led.     "I didn't follow what I preach," he said afterward about botching his last stop.

Upshots come in stages - Yet for Harvick leading all these laps is doing him a world of good - his average finish is 15th compared to 4th for Kurt Busch - yet Harvick leads the points race thanks to winning NASCAR's new stages, with the bonus points awarded therein.    This validates the basic premise of the stages - incentivizing going for the lead.   

The only nit to pick there is NASCAR no longer awards bonus points for leading or most laps led - keeping that would further incentivize going for the lead.

It's a Stewart-Haas Racing World -  And right now we in NASCAR are just dwelling in it.   Harvick and Busch are 1-2 in points and SHR is easily the deepest team in the garage area - to where even the inept Danica Patrick hasn't been the total embarrassment she's been in the past.   No one else can come close despite Penske Racing's Atlanta win by Brad Keselowski to go with his third in points and Joey Logano's fifth, and respectable depth being shown by Ganassi's team, now building its own chassis and showing noticeably more muscle.  

The harder they fall - Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing so far look like walking wounded - Chase Elliott is fourth in points and Kasey Kahne is eighth, while Hendrick's Name drivers Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are 32nd and 33rd in points with the Daytona crash so far serving as the nadir; Atlanta didn't exactly spark any kind of rally.   JGR isn't in any better shape as Kyle Busch's Daytona stage win and Matt Kenseth's surprising third at Atlanta have highlighted an otherwise terrible start to the season; and so far the less said about Daniel Suarez's efforts the better. 

Is this the beginning of a Roush Renaissance?  -   At Atlanta the Roush-Fenway Fords were not the minor embarrassment they've been for the last four seasons as Ricky Stenhouse actually showed some respectable form while Trevor Bayne finished tenth.   Sustaining competitive form has been a problem with this gang the last four seasons, so promise still needs to be replicated before we can see the Roush guys as a legitimate force again.  

If it looked too good to be true...... - .....then it must be RCR.   A promising Speedweeks and a promising Atlanta Sunday netted very little, and I was surprised by some of the vehemence against Austin Dillon on some forums following this Atlanta 500.   Even with that Dillon's career has been nothing to feel encouraged about and there hasn't been reason to believe there's any potential there.   Ryan Newman likewise provided a big tease in the Atlanta 500 but in the end posted another mediocre result.  As for Paul Menard, he is what he is - lower-level talent.  

So it goes, with Vegas now on the docket; it should be a better test of NASCAR's new segments format et al as the wildcard of having to change tires every 40 laps shouldn't play out.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The Myth Of Dodd-Frank Defended

Democratic demagogues like Liz Warren want to defend the Dodd-Frank law that meddles in banking and has caused small banks to disappear, and recent testimony from Fed Chairman Janet Yellen tries to strengthen their case - a case based on inaccuracies.

EPA Driven By Bad Science - Again

The EPA often makes policy based on "sue and settle" harassment of companies by non-governmental organizations, and such NGOs (not to mention the EPA itself) go on inaccurate science, such as with EPA restrictions on pesticides.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Spendaholic States Now Out Of Money

It's the same pattern for states that insist on spending - they run out of money and then whine for more taxes. And it never works.

Fake News, Exposed

The sham resignation of two Obama rumpswabs shows anew the dishonesty of Mainstream Media

In an article on the Atlantic website, a former Obama White House staffer explains why she resigned from the Trump White House after only eight days. Rumana Ahmed thought she should try to stay on the NSC staff during the Trump Administration she writes, in order to give the new president and his aides a more nuanced view of Islam, and of America's Muslim citizens.

But then the executive order suspending visa issuance for Syrian refugees and suspending it temporarily for nationals of seven Muslim majority countries forced her hand. She quit. She had to leave because it was an insult walking into this country's most historic building every day under an administration that is working against and vilifying everything I stand for as an American and as a Muslim.

The basic premise of the story doesn't pass the smell test.

Or to put it another way, the Atlantic piece is disinformation by Bed Rhodes, with whom Rumana Ahmed worked.

See also this look at three Islamic brothers whose email hacking exposes possible Democratic collusion with Islamic terrorism.

Manufacturing Optimism

Can factory jobs be made in America again?

Gastonia, N.C.
For nearly 20 years, Michael Philbeck drove forklifts and fixed machines at a factory here that makes materials for car tires. Over the years, as dozens of other plants west of Charlotte closed, his hung on.
A few years ago, though, Philbeck started looking for ways to boost his pay. With a wife and five kids, the $20 an hour from the Firestone Fibers & Textiles plant wasn't going far.

The Army veteran returned to school, to the local community college. But he didn't train for a career in technology or health care or some other flashy field that receives a lot of positive press. Instead, he started studying something called mechatronics—a blend of mechanical engineering, electronics, and computers.

His new job? It's back at the Firestone plant, where he will make $5 an hour more when he finishes his degree at Gaston College. That works out to a raise of roughly $10,000 a year. Philbeck, 41, says he feels good about staying with the company in a new role, and he's optimistic he can establish himself with skills that are in demand. He doubled down on manufacturing.

Labor Share Drop Overstated

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has overstated the decline of US labor share.

How To Attack Affordable Housing

A look at affordable housing and the absurdity of government intervention.

Dial Back The Administrative State

Reducing government bureaucracies always is beneficial.

Iran Confirms Obama Paid Ransom

Iran has now confirmed it received over $1 billion in ransom from Barack Obama.   So Obama is now officially a traitor.

Daytona Postscript - Should NASCAR Ask For A New Tire Supplier?

There are more takeaways to draw from Speedweeks 2017

Kyle Busch's criticism of Goodyear makes for an interesting subplot for Goodyear's NASCAR contract expires after 2017 and after years  - decades really - of periodic tire issues and "aggressive setups" buck-passing by Goodyear (Update March 20 - numerous tire failures at Phoenix and to a lesser extent Atlanta and Vegas add to the issue), the question should be - should NASCAR have a different tire supplier after 2017?

I say emphatically Yes.

The blunt reality is Goodyear has had its run but has never been able to hang with competition - when it had to race Firestone in Indycars it was Firestone that won out in the end, and the only reason Goodyear won its two tire competitions with Hoosier despite having more incidence of tire failure than Hoosier was simple numbers, money (being a much bigger company) and attrition.   A lot of NASCAR people are leery of the tire war periods of 1988-89 and 1994, but compared to the Goodyear monopoly period one struggles to make the case that the tire war periods were truly worse.

The most raceable tires Goodyear has fielded in NASCAR the last twenty-five years were the leftover tire-war tire used in 1995-96 and the latter-1999 tire designed to battle Hoosier in Winston West that was used starting in the August Yankee 400 and for several races the rest of that year.   Outside of that, the tire Goodyear has fielded for Cup and also the Busch/Xfinity Series has not been that good, forgiving, or raceable.  And through this period the raceability of the tire has almost always not been adequately addressed - fan Mike Babine notes Goodyear admitted in 2008-09 it didn't design the tire for the present-generation Winston Cup cars - and at this point NASCAR is in need of some new ideas that actually address raceability.   People forget it was Hoosier Race Tire that brought to NASCAR some innovative ideas - races where Hoosier-shod cars ran 500 miles using fewer tires than Goodyear guys for one.

I do not have confidence Goodyear can handle it since they have such a poor record at it - only when it was challenged by Hoosier or it flat stumbled onto something did Goodyear improve raceability.  In that 1995-96 period racing greats Chris Economaki and Dick Berggren noted the tires raced more like bias-plies.

The one caveat to put in is the Truck Series the last five seasons has seen a remarkable increase in passing and side-by-side racing and it seems clear the tire there is more forgiving and raceable.  


There was also the unusual Brian France comment at the prerace drivers meeting addressing the growing problem of blocking during Speedweeks.   That France actually addressed it was surprising enough; that he in essence said was NASCAR is not going to listen if drivers complain about blocking seems a change of pace for NASCAR - NASCAR basically saying the drivers have the onus of accountability here.    That blocking is now a legitimate issue should not be denied; that adding yet more rules when NASCAR needs to start taking away some rules - regarding blocking, letting the cars push-draft more and letting them pass below the yellow line would certainly cut down on blocking - is foolish. 


Atlanta now beckons and it will be NASCAR's 2,500th Winston Cup Grand National race.   The track will finally be repaved after this race, something that should have happened many years ago.     So it goes as NASCAR's inaugural Monster Energy season gets going.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Busch And Blaney Bag Bizarre Daytona 500

The 2017 Daytona 500 will go down as the most competitive running since 2014 - 37 official lead changes seems low given how sustained the nose-to-nose battles for the lead were - and one of the more bizarre runnings and one that decidedly didn't go according to anyone's plan.   It was also a humorously fitting debut for Monster Energy Drink's sponsorship of the Winston Cup Grand National series, not only for the intensity of the racing but also for the imaginative nature of some of the promotion - in a clever crossover of sports Patriots tight end/controlled party star Rob Gronkowski was part of the prerace show (adding to the irony the prerace show proceeded amid the Boston Bruins' 6-3 whipping of the Dallas Stars, a nice synergy of racing, football, and hockey) - was won by a car whose primary sponsor is also the series sponsor - a scenario the sport has seen play out from such races as the 1975 Purolator 500 (won by the Purolator Mercury) to the 1981 Mountain Dew 500 (won by the Mountain Dew Buick) and so on.   There is plenty to break down in this one -

The curious case of Joe Gibbs Racing -  NASCAR's new segment format saw the first case of raceteams trying to beat the format with strategy, and the result was farce.   Joe Gibbs Racing put themselves behind the eight ball by short-pitting fifteen laps in, and cost themselves a lap doing it again later.   Stewart-Haas Racing short-pitted and caught a lucky caution courtesy of rookie Corey LaJoie, who committed the dumbest rookie mistake we've seen in a while.    Kevin Harvick cycled into the lead, but it seemed he would have done so without short-pitting - the whole strategy of working pitstop sequencing backwards as if a superspeedway were a road course did nothing but put the teams who kept short-pitting behind the eight ball.   

Kyle Busch wound up winning the first segment and the bonus points resulting, this after some of the best Daytona Cup racing in many years, and after two days of terrific racing from the Truck and Busch/Xfinity Series.  

But Kyle Busch's day ended past halfway after JGR yet again short-pitted and were barely on the lead lap during a lengthy green flag run - and a tire went down (the resulting melee also saw the third red flag in two days of racing).    Kyle Busch's criticism of Goodyear was refreshing given Goodyear's seeming sense of entitlement for being an exclusive tire supplier and also its inconsistent and generally mediocre record with raceable tires - and in an odd coincidence 2017 marks the last year of Goodyear's present contract.

The net result was a confusing series of pit strategies, the likes of which Daytona hasn't really seen since the ill-fated 1991 500 when NASCAR banned tire changes under yellow and teams insisted on strategizing to avoid green flag stops.  

Chase Elliott channeling Ernie Irvan - Chase Elliott won the pole and won his qualifying race, and he showed true aggression fighting to get to the front.   The problem was Elliott at times looked less like his dad and closer to Ernie Irvan, looking out of control at times - before the race NASCAR gave a mild warning about "the consequences" of blocking, which had become more pronounced for the Cup side not just this Speedweeks but last season as well.   Elliott got damage in one of the crashes, but the theme all week was cars getting damaged and roaring back to the lead anyway - "these cars look like they've been running Martinsville" was a phrase Darrell Waltrip first used at Talladega in 1996.

Five years ago this July Kurt Busch was in what amounted to NASCAR exile from his firing from Penske Racing thanks to chronic psychopathic behavior on the track and in his treatment of people around him - he exploded to one of the signature races of the decade in winning the 2012 Firecracker 250.

Five years later Busch's Ford was crunched up and he clawed to steal the win from Kyle Larson.    It is his fifth win for Stewart-Haas Racing and first in a Ford since the Summer 500 at Pocono in 2005 driving for Roush Racing.  

Pearson/Petty reborn plus a whale of a day for darkhorses - Not that Richard Petty qualifies as a darkhorse in the traditional sense, but the struggle for success for Petty's raceteam the last thirty-plus years doesn't require elaboration, and seeing Aric Almirola claw to finish fourth was something to behold.   Even more magical was that Petty's #43 and the Wood Brothers #21 were in the lead draft at the end - though Ryan Blaney raced closer to Tim Richmond than David Pearson en route to a spectacular second and an eye-opening Speedweeks.  

And muscling into the fray was AJ Allmendinger, driving Brad Daugherty's #47 and finishing a solid third.    And the way the finish shook out it was a big payday for team owners Jay Robinson, Archie St. Hilaire, and Mark Beard, whose cars all finished in the top-eleven.

How much more incentive is there to go for the lead?   This much..... -  Kevin Harvick finished 22nd and outpointed all but four other cars - Joey Logano finished sixth and outpointed all but two other cars.   In the Truck race Johnny Sauter finished 15th and is second in Truck points - all because the new bonus points structure rewards going to the front sooner rather than later.    Incentivizing going for the lead - it may be just one race weekend but it's clear there is more incentive to go for the front now - and that is only a good thing for racing.

In all, it was by far the best Speedweeks in years, and a great start for Monster Energy in NASCAR.    It can become even more competitive down the road - and this start gives reason that it will.