Is Talledega Safe? -- by Sandy Christiansen 
Tuesday, April 28, 2009, 10:37 PM
Posted by Administrator
What was it about this 2.66 mile racetrack that resulted in a near catastrophe this past Sunday? SAFER barriers, roof flaps and restrictor plates were supposed to eliminate the bedlam of years past but Talladega still remains one step away from disaster in the minds of many. Will the answer lie in what’s done after someone gets killed or is there another way to avoid the inevitable before it’s too late?

In 1987, Bobby Allison earned a few frequent flyer miles when he went airborne and slammed into the fence not far from where Edwards did, which led to restrictor plates being mandated for Talladega and Daytona that same year. It brought the speeds down but in recent years the cars have been inching up toward 200 mph and beyond once again. In 1994, roof flaps came into reality to prevent further excursions into the upper atmosphere and in 2002, Talladega went through an extreme makeover when SAFER barriers were added to decrease the effects of wall impacts. That sounds great but there’s one wild card left in the deck and that’s the drivers themselves.

Like all living things on this planet, race drivers find a way around obstacles that are put in their way and the ones at NASCAR are more adept than most. We’re not talking about breaking the rules here; we’re talking about maximizing what you already have at your disposal. It became apparent in restrictor plate races that your ability to move toward the front of the parade required a “buddy” and a whole lot of bump drafting. Find one and you are good for an additional 5-7 mph. This tactic works fine as long as nobody makes a mistake. Get out of shape and you’ll send a sizeable number of your peers to the garage for the remainder of the day.

Cutting too fine of a line, late in the race can make you either a hero or the master of disaster and NASCAR had left it up to the drivers to establish an unwritten rule as to what was acceptable when one chose to engage in the art of bump drafting. It seems at this point that over-aggressiveness and risk-taking tends to override reason to the extent that the intervention of a higher power is needed to avert something no one would ever want to see.
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Bridging the Generation Gap -- by J. R. Andres 
Monday, April 20, 2009, 05:52 PM
Posted by Administrator
It seemed unlikely that Mark Martin would ever stand a real chance of winning. After all, he’s 50 years old. Sure he has had a noteworthy past, sure he knows how to negotiate his way around the high banked turns of Talladega and Charlotte, sure he has the desire and sure he has some Hendrick prepared equipment to work with now but was all that really going to be enough to pave his way to victory lane, even once? The testosterone level alone that’s omnipresent in the NASCAR garage on any given day would seem sufficient to move those of his ilk to the back of the bus and keep them there with the rest of the field fillers like Cope, Marlin and Andretti.

Money can buy a lot of things and in the case of NASCAR; the coin of the realm is speed. After leaving Roush, Martin retired and then returned on more than one occasion to race with equipment that was marginal in preparation and short on funding. For a lot of fans it really didn’t matter, though. It was just good to see him back once again mixing it up with the kids. Little did they know that there was still a tiger lingering in the tank, waiting for a chance to reassert himself once the planets were in alignment and the moon was full and bright.
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Make Mine Chocolate -- by J. R. Andres 
Tuesday, April 14, 2009, 03:13 PM
Posted by Administrator
. . . Danny “Chocolate” Myers that is. I don’t always agree with the things I hear on Sirius NASCAR Radio but today “Chocolate” had some comments worth repeating from this afternoon’s call-in radio show. Once again, there was a controversy during this weekend’s Nationwide race in Nashville and it was no surprise that Kyle Busch was at the center of it. Keep in mind that Busch’s 19 year old teammate, Joey Logano, came in first and Busch, a dismal second or that’s the way it seemed during the post race interview, when Busch the Younger demonstrated his complete lack of charm, sportsmanship and social appropriateness. It was glaringly apparent that the driver of the #18 car was majorly “ticked” about coming in second and he made it abundantly clear that Logano didn’t deserve the win as much as he did.

Many of the callers today felt that Busch was out of line as well and “Chocolate” took up their cause, saying that if he (Busch) is going to accept the millions he’s paid and if he’s going to live in the house by the lake, then he owes it to the fans to live with the ups and the downs the wheel of fortune bestows upon him. Sure Busch has a right to his opinion and sure he has to live with the results of his behavior but if you can’t, won’t or don’t have anything to say that’s going to further your own career, zip it, and don’t do your best to minimize your own teammate’s accomplishments. Accept the fact that the kid flat out drove you and leave it at that.

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Petty on Fox -- by Sandy Christiansen 
Thursday, April 9, 2009, 03:26 PM
Posted by Administrator
Richard Petty had a few words to say on Fox’s “Sean Hannity’s America” program last evening when he appeared as a member on the show’s Great American Panel segment. When asked about this country’s desire to become independent from its ties to foreign oil, he stated, “It’s not that we don’t already have enough oil here to be self sufficient ... if they’d (the government) just turn us loose, we’ll do it” ... “It’s hard to change what we’re doing now because we’ve got used to doing it that way”. In regard to the deep bow Obama made (which the White House denies) when meeting King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at the G20 conference in London, Petty added, “it took a lot to get us where we’re at, and the U.S. got to be where it is by not bowing down to anyone ... we’re not going to give that up just to be friendly”.

Petty presented Sean Hannity with one of his signature cowboy hats at the conclusion of the program at which time the host said he was going to use it as a fundraiser for his favorite charity, Freedom Alliance, which benefits children who have lost family members through the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was a welcome change to hear from an individual who views the world in terms of simple logic and common sense. The “experts” might learn a thing or two if they were willing to adopt this approach the next time they gather to address the issues this world faces.
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The Checkered Flag of Texas -- by Ira Ostenheimer 
Monday, April 6, 2009, 12:53 PM
Posted by Administrator
It was a long time coming, 47 races in fact, since Jeff Gordon was last able to drive into Victory Lane. Never before was there such a lull in his career; never before did he have to listen to waves of criticism about him losing his focus and his commitment; never before did the champagne taste so good.

His victory today at Texas has quieted those who were forecasting that his shooting star was slowly being consumed in the atmosphere on its way back down to earth. One victory doesn’t make a season but it was clear that 2009 is going to be very kind to the kid from Vallejo California. The skill, mastery and preparation that has always been the hallmark of Hendricks Motorsports came together once again through the restructuring efforts of Steve Letarte who made sure, during the off-season, that this year wasn’t going to be a repeat of 2008. The star that was once threatened with extinction has assumed a new orbit, one leading it even closer to the place of prominence it once occupied.
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