Thursday, December 20, 2007

The 2007 Robbie Awards

These awards are presented annually to various NASCAR drivers, crew chiefs, announcers, etc. for making my job easier or harder during the season.

Best Driver Award: Jimmie Johnson
The defending champion again showed why he is the best, with 10 wins and back to back titles. All I've got to say is: Jimmie, we got it. You're awesome.

Best Crew Chief: Steve Letarte
Although he's only been on Jeff Gordon's pit box for 2 years plus 10 races, he is quickly becoming one of the best in the business. If it hadn't been for an ill-handling racecar at Phoenix in the fall, he could be sitting at the head table in New York Friday night.

Best Car Owner: Rick Hendrick
Duh… 18 wins in 36 tries, plus the top 2 finishing positions in the points. Next year with the addition of Dale Earnhardt Jr., a 20-plus win total is not out of the question.

Most memorable moment: Final lap of the Daytona 500
With cars wrecking behind them, Kevin Harvick and Mark Martin battled to the line for the win in the Great American Race, with Harvick pulling out the victory for Richard Childress Racing, 6 years to the day of Dale Earnhardt's passing in the 500.

Most memorable lashing out: Kyle Busch
After crossing the finish line just ahead of Jeff Burton at Bristol in the first Car of Tomorrow race in the spring, the younger of the Busch brothers got out of his car and said on national television that the car, quote "sucked."

"That did not just happen" moment: Tony Stewart
It's no secret that ESPN and Smoke do not get along. After winning the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in August, Stewart handled himself fairly well through three questions for an ESPN reporter in victory lane before dropping a four letter word and sending the media into a frenzy.

Worst race broadcast: ESPN 2 Busch Race at Mexico City
I mean, I know we were in Mexico and everything, but Juan Montoya is from South America. Say it with me: SOUTH AMERICA NOT MEXICO! The broadcast almost made me throw up. It was Juan this and Juan that. From the moment from sign on to sign off, ESPN 2 wanted to make sure everyone knew who they wanted to win the race.

Worst race broadcaster: Rusty Wallace
Aero Push, Draft Tracker, hot rod, tell you what, my son Steven… If you've followed ESPN this year, these are all phrases that make you wake up at night in a cold sweat. At least we don't have to listen to him for three months. Please ESPN, replace him with Dale Jarrett!!!

Scandal of the Year: Michael Waltrip at Daytona
I felt sorry for Michael because I know he worked so hard and spent millions upon millions to get his three-car team up and running in 2007 only to have things blow up in his face. But then the illegal substance was found and he was in a hole before the season started, one he didn't pull himself out of this year and next year isn't looking anymore promising. He's a good ole boy and I hope things turn around for him.

Worst cheater of the year: Chad Knaus
This guy may have two championship rings, but he's also been at the center of controversy his entire career. He has been suspended three times in the last three seasons, and there could be several more violations that we don't know about. Hey NASCAR, how bout that three strikes and you're out rule?

Best one liner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"And now I'd like to introduce you to my new boss for 2008, Mr. Rick Hendrick." At the time, I wanted to die, now 6 months later, I'm happy because I know my favorite driver will win 8 races next season.

Most promising rookie not named Juan Pablo Montoya: David Ragan
Made his Nextel Cup debut at Martinsville last fall and hit everything including the pace car. Had a top 5 at the season opening Daytona 500 and has really improved over the last year. I think this kid might have some potential.

Most over-used story: Junior leaving DEI/Joining HMS/Free the 8/Sponsor, etc…
The first three months of the season, all ESPN could talk about was will Junior leave DEI? Then after he announced he was leaving, it was where was he going? Then what number would he take? Then what would the new sponsor be? One reason why the racing coverage was horrible during ESPN's portion of the season: because Junior announced all those things before the Chase for the Cup began. Then Junior missed the chase and ESPN was in real trouble. Point of the story: ESPN is just terrible.

That's all for this year, join us again next year for the 2008 edition of The Robbie Awards.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Top 5 of 2007 and 2008

In 5 years if you take a look back at the 2007 and 2008 NASCAR Racing seasons, you might find a strange similarity between the top 5 stories from both years. That’s because the stuff we’ve been talking about for the last 12 months will indeed be the same stuff we talk about this time next year.

My top 5 for 2007 and 2008 are as follows:

5) Mergers between teams and other investors.
It started in January with Jack Roush announcing he was taking on Boston Red Sox owner John Henry as a partner in his racing ventures. The birth of Roush-Fenway Racing was made just before the Daytona 500 and then the race was on to see who would partner up next. Roush would close the year announcing that Roush-Fenway and Yates Racing would partner up in the Ford Racing Development arena, essentially creating a 7 car team, as both individual stables will share the same equipment and some of the same personnel. In addition, Evernham Motorsports has taken on investors and Ginn Racing merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in August. I would look for even more mergers next year.

4) Toyota’s entrance into Cup Series racing.
Toyota came in slowly to the Craftsman Truck Series in 2004. By 2006, they had their first NASCAR championship. Also in 2006 the foreign brand announced they would make their debut in Cup and Busch in 2007. Things did not exactly go their way in the Cup series, especially when Michael Waltrip went under the gun at Daytona with the illegal substance found in the 55 car’s engine. No Toyota team won a race but they did get a pole at New Hampshire with Dave Blaney. Toyota may have upped their brand name into the upper echelon of NASCAR Racing by signing Joe Gibbs Racing to a long-term deal in August. That basically means you’ve got veteran and 2-time champion Tony Stewart, promising young gun Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch who some people think is the best driver out there. Toyota will definitely get their first Cup Series win next season, and maybe even contend for a Sprint Cup.

3) The Car of Tomorrow becomes the Car of Right Now.
We knew it was coming in 2007. We just didn’t know what it was going to do. The wing car made its debut at Bristol in March to mixed reviews. 16 races last year wasn’t really enough to tell us if the car will be successful long term. Of course in 2008, it will be the only car the Sprint Cup Series competes with. Maybe a full season of just dealing with this car will be the spark to allow drivers and teams to figure the car out and produce even better racing. That after all was one of NASCAR’s goals with the new car: better racing, safety improvements, and cutting costs. Safety, yeah. Better racing, not sure. Cutting costs, not according to Jack Roush. I think the new car is better than the old one and will produce better racing while lowering costs. Will it allow a team like BAM Racing to compete door-to-door with the Hendrick Motorsports of the world? Well, I don’t think anything will allow that.

And now for the top 2. These can be combined but they are better served as one and two.

2) The Dominance of Hendrick Motorsports.
18 of 36 is 50% no matter how you slice it. Add into that 3 cars in the chase with the champion and second place finishers being from your stable and you can call Hendrick Motorsports’ 2007 season complete and total domination. While Hendrick won 18 races, no other team won more than 7. Jimmie Johnson won 10 races, including 4 of the last 5. Jeff Gordon had one of his best years ever with 6 wins and 30 top-10 finishes, which is a new record. Kyle Busch is leaving but was strong for most of the year, and Casey Mears broke through with a very popular win in the Coca-Cola 600 in May, and rallied to finish 15th in the final standings. With Joe Gibbs Racing switching to Toyota next year, GM will give even more support to Hendrick. Honestly, 25 wins in 2008 is not out of the question, especially if you add in our number one story.

1) The Saga that is Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Voted as the most popular driver for the 5th consecutive season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. made headlines by leaving the team his father started, in which Junior has driven for his entire career, to move to Hendrick Motorsports. Many long-time Earnhardt fans said there was no way they would continue to support Junior if he was Jeff Gordon’s teammate. I was one of those until I decided I could deal with the issue at hand. Junior was the focus in what I would say over 50 % of all newspaper, internet, and television stories on the year, not to mention the fact that all ESPN could talk about from February to May was Junior. With better equipment, a renewed focus, and not having to deal with the “jerks” at DEI in 2008, this guy has his best chance ever to contend for a championship and live up to the legacy set forth by his father and grand-father. Why is this guy the sport’s most popular driver? Just look in the grandstands this year and notice how the sea of red has turned into a sea of green and blue. Then you’ll know.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Review of my Review...

Back in March I sat down and made a few observations about the first two weeks of the 2007 NASCAR season. Just to refresh your memory, here are my five bullet points:
1) Mark Martin needs to run the full season
2) Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not win a race in 2007
3) FOX needs to go
4) Richard Childress Racing is Back
5) The Car of Tomorrow is today

Now let's just see how I did.

1) Mark Martin in fact didn't run the full schedule, struggled towards the middle point of the year when Bobby Ginn ran out of money, and wasn't really a threat much of the year. Maybe he should have run the full schedule to gain some more consistency. Next year he'll run pretty much the same partial schedule, except with a different number and new co-driver.

2) I called it. I just didn't realize what would happen after I called it. Junior didn't win a race, didn't make the chase, didn't stay with DEI, and didn't keep the 8. Next year will however be a different story... hopefully.

3) It turns out that in the 7 years since ESPN last covered a NASCAR race that nobody from the company actually watched a race. ESPN's coverage was so bad it made TNT's six-race stretch in the summer seem good. Fox, please put in a bid to carry all 36 races.

4) RCR was in fact back. Sort of. All three cars made the chase. All three drivers won A race. But did you hear much else from them? Clint Bowyer tried to make a run for the title but fell short when Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon started their clinic at the end of the year entitled, "How to effectively stink up a perfectly good playoff system by finishing in the top 15 every week and not letting anybody else win for 6 straight weeks." Maybe next year they'll win 2 a piece.

5) The Car of Tomorrow is no more. It is now only the NASCAR racecar. In June, NASCAR officials announced that the new wing car would be run exclusively in 2008 and beyond. The twisted sister is gone. The wing is now. However, I hope NASCAR realizes that there are a few things that need to be tweaked to make this car awesome. The racing will be much improved if they do realize these needs.


Next February I'll make some more predictions and I'll check back in November to see how right or wrong I was. I'm thinking something along the lines of Hendrick Motorsports will win atleast 20 races next year.

boy am I stupid...

I may have just done one of the dumbest things I've ever done in my life. And I've done some pretty stupid things in my life.

After hosting a talk show for 2 hours I closed the show by calling myself the wrong name. I began thanking everyone who had called into the show, all the regular members in studio and our board engineer.

Then it happened.

"I am (wrong name) , good night everybody."

I could have gone on a tangent of obscenities that would have made a Carolina marching band member blush, but no. I said the wrong name.

I didn't immediately realize what I had done, but the other guy in studio with me and the tape of the show back it up. It should be noted that all recordings of the show have now been destroyed, despite requests from others.

I don't know why I did it. It should also be noted that I've been under a lot of stress the past few days and got only a third as much sleep during the Thanksgiving break as I wanted to.

I can only imagine what next week will be like. The first line of the show will be something to the extent of "he don't even know his own name," or something like that.

In 30 years if I'm still in the radio business, I know that nobody will think anything about it. But in 30 years, I'll remember this night.

If I was taking a test, I would have just lost 5 points for not putting my name on the paper.

Please, oh please let nobody have listened to this show tonight.

For everybody who called in, our regular panelists, and our board engineer, I'm Robbie Mays. Good night everybody.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

CHS Bulldog Football Update

On Friday night the Camden Bulldogs made the short drive to the capital city of South Carolina to take on the struggling Eau Claire Shamrocks at Bolden Stadium in Columbia.

"Struggling" should have been used loosely.

I knew the Dogs where in trouble when Eau Claire's RB whose name escapes me on this Sunday morning made his first of two 61-yard runs in the first quarter. And after being down 21-7 at the end of the first twelve minutes, I knew it was going to be a long night. But somehow the Dogs managed to get things together and ended up 50-36 victors over the Shamrocks on Homecoming night at Bolden.

Camden faced their toughest opponent of the year a week ago with Blythewood coming to town and getting a 56-14 win. I'd like to point out though exactly how classy it was for the Bengals to keep their first string offense in well into the fourth quarter when they were already up by six touchdowns. Yeah, I'm glad we don't have to play that crowd EVER again.

Camden now stands at 3-4 on the year, with wins against North Central, Dreher and now Eau Claire. The four losses to West Florence, Hartsville, Fairfield-Central and Blythewood. The Dogs will host Chester at home on Friday night. Again, this is a game that Camden could win, but they will need to step up to do it. Chester will probably end up with the region championship this year with Blythewood out of contention due to poor decisions by their coaching staff earlier in the year.

After Chester, the Dogs will play AC Flora at Memorial Stadium in Columbia on Thursday the following week, with rival Lugoff-Elgin coming to Zemp Stadium on October 26th. That game could decide who hosts a first-round home game in the playoffs, (playoffs?) which both Camden and L-E have already clinched a berth in with atleast two region wins this year. Five teams from the region go to the post-season, and with Blythewood out, you have to win two to get there.

Up until this past Friday, the spread 0ffense for the Dogs had only managed just over 500 yards through the air. Senior quarterback Jarvin Robinson though threw for over 180 yards against Eau Claire and made me look stupid because in the pre-game show I said something to the effect of if we would win, it would be on the ground.

Three and four is disappointing at this point, but I think Camden could possibly win out, getting to 6 and 4 heading into November.

Stay tuned to KOOL 102.7 and Startime 1590 sports for continuing coverage of Camden and Lugoff-Elgin High School football.

Jarrett to announce partial retirement

DJ: Thanks for playing along
By Robbie Mays

Dale Jarrett is likely to announce this Thursday his plans for the 2008 season and beyond, and what he says is probably already figured out by most of the media and NASCAR fans themselves. The only question: exactly how much time will we see him behind the wheel of a stockcar in the coming years.

Jarrett will likely run a limited schedule next season for Michael Waltrip Racing. Look for him to run about six races (with the help of the past champion provisionals he is allotted every year) and look for those races to be at tracks where he has had success in the past.

If I were him, I would run the following races: the Daytona 500, both Talladega races, Darlington, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, the July 4th race at Daytona, and maybe even Indianapolis. The rest of the time, he should be in the ESPN broadcast booth for all the Busch races, and in the pre-race trailer for ESPN in the races he isn’t competing in, possibly even replacing Rusty Wallace in the booth of those Cup events.

It’s no secret that DJ has struggled this year. After using up all six of his past champion provisionals within the first nine weeks of the season, the UPS Toyota hasn’t had much success on qualifying day. Up to the fall Talladega race, Jarrett has made 20 of 30 races. When he has qualified, his best finish has been a disappointing 22nd in the season opening Daytona 500. Jarrett, the 1999 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion, was once feared by every driver on the track because of his ability to run in the top 5 each and every week. My how times have changed.

If you are unfamiliar with how DJ’s place in NASCAR was solidified, then look to when he won his first race at Michigan in 1991 in the Wood Brothers Ford, beating Davey Allison by just inches to the line. And if that solidification was in question, it was definitely in place when he went to victory lane in the 1993 Daytona 500 with Joe Gibbs Racing. He would move to Robert Yates Racing in late 1994.

Then in 1995, when Ernie Irvan returned to NASCAR racing after two years of recovery following a near fatal accident in 1994, Jarrett was almost out of a ride completely. That was until owner Robert Yates decided to start a second team in the Cup Series, and put Jarrett in it in 1996. The #88 Quality Care Ford became a powerhouse and stayed that way until 2003. Jarrett would become a favorite of my dad, and the rivalry that was the “Dale and Dale Show” was brought into my living room every Sunday.

Jarrett of course half of that, with my favorite Dale Earnhardt the other half. The two Dales would battle door to door for the next four years until the untimely death of Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500.

Now in the twilight of his career, I think DJ realizes that he isn’t as competitive as he once was. Even in his final few years at Yates, he only picked up a single win in the 2005 fall Talladega race, and that only coming after a late charge when the leaders got caught up in a multi-car accident, commonly known as “the big one.”

Jarrett’s surge in the late 90’s was one I’ll never forget. From the 1996 Daytona 500 win, to hitting the wall in the Southern 500 and losing a shot at winning the Winston Million that year, he was a spectacle on the track and one that you could always count on when making picks in the office race pool.

The son of legendary driver Ned Jarrett will be one to enjoy covering races for that four-letter network that has failed to live up to their coverage this year that once was. Dale Jarrett is one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers and will be one to look at when comparing future drivers in years to come.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

been awhile...

So, it's been a few weeks since I posted. First of all, Bristol was awesome! I think that the folks who watched on ESPN didn't get the full effect that the 160,000+ that were there did. Probably because of the hit and miss coverage ESPN has brought in their return year to the sport.

School started back and basically all my time has been devoted to it. I've been a little under the weather the last couple of days and have become very familiar with the daytime cable lineup because of being sick. Hopefully, I'll return to normal tomorrow.

Camden is 1 and 2. After starting the season off with a 48-14 victory over North Central, the Dogs have dropped two in a row to West Florence (14-7) and Hartsville (42-0.) Let me say that we did everything we should have done to beat Hartsville, but we didn't score a point and got 42 put on us.

The Dogs will look to rebound on Friday night, hosting Dreher for the opening game of Region III-AAA for 2007. I think we've got a good shot at it, and it will be awesome to be in the safe confines of Zemp Stadium for the game. You can of course hear live coverage beginning at 7:00 on Friday on Startime 1590, or online at kool1027.com.

Oh, did I mention I'm doing play-by-play for the Fairfield-Central game in two weeks... Yeah, thought I should mention that.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Greetings from Bristol...

Well, we made it to Bristol after a short, un-intended visit to Virginia. Tomorrow night marks two firsts for myself. It's of course my first race at the Bristol Motor Speedway, a track I've wanted to come to all my life. And the next is the first time since 2002 that I've missed a Camden football game.

I send out my best wishes to Coach Neal and company, and look forward to picking things back up at West Florence next Thursday.

Now, on to Bristol.

I heard a good analogy today. Bristol is like the coliseum in Rome. It's the biggest, the loudest, and the most intimidating race track out there for fans and drivers alike. Saturday night, 160,000 people will cram into a little half-mile bullring in the hills of east Tennessee to watch the greatest drivers in the world, with the possible exception of Juan Montoya of course, battle it out. This is gonna be fun.

It may be 90 degrees at the time of the green flag this weekend, but hey... it's been over 100 in South Carolina for three weeks. It may be crammed, but most of the time I figure we'll be standing up so what does that matter. It's gonna be loud, but I like it like that. And most of all, there will be some great racing Friday and Saturday.

The powers that be at BMS decided to re-do the racing surface following the spring's Food City 500. In the past few years, the quality of racing at Bristol was diminished, so they decided to replace the concrete surface, lengthen the transitions off the corners, and take away some banking. If Wednesday night's Craftsman Truck Series race was any indication, then yeah, this weekend is going to be fun.

I'll try to post more tomorrow night or Saturday morning. For now, I'm going to watch a football game with no sound. Thanks local FOX affiliate. Thanks a lot.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bragging Rights: The Untold Story

I don't want to brag, but at the helm of 1 and a half practice games this pre-season, I think I've earned it. I am amazed that I was able to actually sound like I knew what I was talking about doing play-by-play for the Camden Shrine Club Jamboree a week ago and the James Ervin Automotive Group Kickoff Classic this past Friday night. I don't want to brag but when it comes down to it, I was good. OK... maybe not that good, but it didn't totally suck. It'll do for now.

**************
This Friday marks the start of the 2007 regular season, but I won't be apart of it. For the first time since the end of the 2002 season, I will miss a Camden football game. I feel terrible about that, I really do. I know that Joe expects alot out of me during a broadcast, not to mention the fact that I know how to set up the equipment and pack it back up. And we're playing an in-county school, one of the few times a year when we actually report on North Central sports, so I hate I'm gonna miss it.

Where will I be you ask? I've been to a Daytona 500. I've been to 7 Southern 500's. I've been to Atlanta and Charlotte. I've even been to a Busch race at Myrtle Beach Speedway. But I've never been to the Bristol Motor Speedway and that's where I'll be this weekend. I think that's a good enough excuse. The Food City 250 is Friday night and the Sharpie 500 will take the green flag on Saturday night (you can hear that race on Startime 1590 AM.)

Well, school starts Thursday, I leave for Bristol Thursday night, and the regular season starts Friday. The next 10 weeks are going to fly by, and hopefully I'll remember to keep you the readers up to date.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Call it a gain of 4...

(This is another in the series of Camden High School Football broadcasts for WPUB and WCAM Radio.)

The word "call" is something that I've used throughout my life without even thinking about it. I need to call someone on the phone, or make a call on what to do with the guys on Friday night. But when I made my debut at play-by-play during the 32nd Camden Shrine Club Jamboree last week, I used the word call after every play. I didn't realize it at the time, but I need to delete that word from my vocabulary.

After a play, I would say something to the effect of "Call it a gain of 4, 2nd down and 6."
And then the next play, "call it a gain of 3, 3rd down and 3 to go." On and on I went. I figured this out listening to the tape around 12:30 Friday night. That word needs to go.

I thought for my first time out at football play-by-play that I did a good job. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad. Could I do it for an entire game at this point? No. A few more practice games, then maybe. I could do a full game in a pinch if needed.

Overall, I was happy with my performance, and I'll get another crack at it this Friday night in the James Ervin Automotive Group Kickoff Classic at Lugoff-Elgin (airtime 6:30 on KOOL 102.7 and kool1027.com) so we'll see how it goes. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

5th year of Camden High Football Preview

(The following blog is the first of a series I'm planning for the fall of 2007, chronicling my 5th year of broadcasting Camden High School Football for WPUB and WCAM radio. Check back for my thoughts during the entire Bulldog campaign.)

The long wait for the 2007 season is nearly over, as tomorrow night marks the 32nd (not 31th as the posters say) Shrine Club Jamboree at Zemp Stadium in Camden. In the first of three mini-games, North Central will take on Buford, Lugoff-Elgin will hook up with Crestwood in the middle game, and then the Bulldogs will take on Andrew Jackson in the nightcap. First, let me say I'm so excited for football to start back up. I love NASCAR, and I get excited in January and February as the start of the season nears. But for some reason I get much more excited come the first of August for some reason. Maybe because NASCAR only has a 3 month off-season, whereas high school football ended early last November. That might be the reason.

Tomorrow night will mark my debut at play-by-play for football, as I'll be on the call for the North Central-Buford contest. Joining me on the call as color commentator will be the magnificent one himself, Joe Cashion.

For North Central, they'll be looking to replace two-year starting quarterback Taghi Williams with probably Jesus Martinez. Ron Blackmon seems optimistic about the upcoming year. Their biggest problem tomorrow night will be the heat, as they have many players that play both offense and defense. If they can stay healthy, I look for them to get the win in this contest. I don't know much about Buford, but they struggled a season ago. They run the "Wing-T" offense... and let me say I have first hand experience about how that philosophy will work out.

In the middle game, it's the Lugoff-Elgin Demons against Crestwood. I know nothing about Crestwood, other than the fact that they defeated Camden in 1997 for the first ever win in school history. For the Demons, they are pretty much the only team in the county that has most things figured out pre-season. Their biggest problem to this point is the fact that the injury bug has bitten them early. I think they'll be strong throughout the regular season.

And then the Bulldogs will take to the field in the 3rd and final game. I call a total domination by Camden in this one. The Bulldogs are much improved over last year's 4-6 team. We're going back to the spread, we have a guy who can throw and guy(s) that can catch. The o-line is blocking, we've got an amazing freshman that's gonna run a lot, and the defense is incredibly fast. This team has confidence and 7 state championships later, we know what a confident Camden team can do.

So, whether you're at the game or at home, tune in to KOOL 102.7 FM at 6:30 tomorrow night for the start of another year of exciting Kershaw County High School football!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Summer School and Smoke

(Summer School is definitely something that everyone should try at least once during their collegiate careers, but be prepared to spend all your time involved with it. That's where I've been for the last month and hence the reason why this is my first post since June 15th.)


Ah, Tony, Tony Tony. You've done it my friend. You've gone and ticked off pretty much everybody else in the world of NASCAR and done it in typical fashion.

The two-time champion started the season out slowly, coming in at the runner-up position so many times he could write a book about it. But then, just as he did during his last championship run in 2005, he comes on during the summer months and makes everybody else pay for getting in his way for the remainder of the year.

Yeah Jeff Gordon is consistent, but Tony is on a roll. Nobody is better than when Tony gets hot. Why? Because he get's there and he stays there. He's in the zone, and I honestly think he could win every race the rest of the season. Of course he literally won't win every one of the remaining 16 races in 2007, but he's got a shot.

ESPN does suck. Tony agrees. But they've been kind of useful the last few weeks. I think the jury is still out on the network that I grew up watching everyweek and whether they can get back to the level they were at when they were outed from the sport back in 2000. I just wish they would cover the race. I don't need a human interest story about how someone's jackman proposed to his girlfriend at the 7-11 in Kannapolis the night after his team scored a sub 12-second pitstop but lost the race because of bad fuel mileage.

Also, both Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch said they would drink a beer after qualifying on Friday at Poconap, so they could lay off Tony for saying he was gonna drink a case of Schlitz after he won at Chicago three weeks ago.

Hey ESPN, I'm gonna go to Columbia in a few weeks and find my way to the bottom of a case of Bud Light. Whatcha gonna do about that?

Over the last month, I've learned about mitosis and meiosis, the difference between transcription and translation, and the fact that protein synthesis occurs in the rough ER. I've also learned that I'm gonna have a serious problem next year when it comes down to Tony and Junior for the win in the Daytona 500. Tony is so much like Dale Sr. it's not even funny, and Junior is going to drive for the devil.

I'm glad football season is almost here. My allegiance in high school, college, and the NFL are set in place and won't ever change. Probably because they can't go drive for Rick Hendrick.

Friday, June 15, 2007

My how things can change so quickly...

I said to our board engineer Dalton Galloway on Sunday after the Pocono 500 was officially called because of darkness how much I couldn't stand to watch Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports be happy and win races. Gordon's 79th and latest win came in much the same fashion that happened in the late 90's when he and the 24 team went to victory lane a total of 33 times between 1996 and 1998.

I went to bed Sunday night with the same feeling and how much I was gonna rail NASCAR on the Locker Room on Monday night for even attempting to start the race at 5:00 est when I knew it would take 4 hours to run the full event. The sun officially set at 8:33 in Pocono on Sunday night--- you do the math.

Monday night on the show I said those exact things. I also said that I hadn't heard any news about where Dale Earnhardt Jr. would drive next season and beyond, other than the fact that any possible negotiations were put on hold this past week due to the passing of Bill France Jr.

I went to Columbia on Tuesday to see my girlfriend and some college buddies for a few days thinking that Junior would announce sometime around Daytona in July, or maybe Indianapolis later in the summer. And then I heard it...

"Dale Earnhardt Jr. will hold a press conference at 11 am tomorrow to announce that he is going to drive for Hendrick Motorsports next season."

I nearly wrecked my Monte Carlo. After lunch, I spent the afternoon on various websites trying to confirm the news. I knew that apparently there was "no room at the inn" for Junior just three weeks ago, and now he was going to drive for Hendrick?

After several hours I finally discovered that Kyle Busch would be leaving and Junior would take over in what is the current 5 car next year. Busch was reported to be talking to several other teams when he and Hendrick couldn't work out a deal. Come to find out on Thursday that Busch knew nothing about him not driving the 5 next season until Monday afternoon, which I find to be a complete and total lie just to make him look better and Hendrick look bad. (But my real opinion of both Busch brothers can't be said in mixed company.)

At first I couldn't believe Junior would race for the enemy. I've spent the last 13 years hating Jeff Gordon and everything Hendrick stands for. I said I was done. I wouldn't follow him over there and I would find another driver to pull for on Sunday's.

And then I got to thinking... Why? Just because Junior drives for Hendrick doesn't mean I have to go out and buy a Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson hat. That doesn't mean I have to be happy when Gordon or Johnson win. I'm an Earnhardt fan. I realized that I can pull for Junior even if he drives for Hendrick.

After seeing how big the smile was on Junior's face during the press conference on Wednesday, I know how happy he is to be where he is. I predict next season that he will run competitively every week in superior equipment than what he's had his entire Nextel Cup career and do so without having to worry about what his evil step-mother will say about it.

So Junior, I will follow you to your new team. Atleast, I'm pretty sure I will. I still have until February to decide.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Guess What... DEI is still here.

Martin Truex Jr. went to victory lane on Monday in the rain delayed Autism Speaks 400 at Dover, his first career Nextel Cup Series victory, and first win for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in over a year.

This victory, although shadowed by the death of former NASCAR President Bill France Jr., might be the most important win for DEI as a company.

That’s saying a lot because you have to remember that DEI has won 3 Daytona 500’s. When Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced last month he was leaving the company that his father started, people immediately began the talk that it would be the demise of a race team that was once considered a giant in the sport.

Truex said he was staying at DEI. I think several things have happened since Earnhardt Jr. said was leaving.

First, Truex is getting the best equipment. Obviously on Monday, Truex was dominant. The car that he was driving is different from the car he drove last year at Dover, because this was a Car of Tomorrow race. DEI has been behind the 8-ball (no pun intended) with the COT this year; everybody has. But the 1 car was better than the 8 car. I think in the coming months as Truex makes his run towards earning a berth in the Chase for the Cup (NASCAR’s playoff system) that he will not only out-perform Dale Earnhardt Jr., but he will do so at a startling pace.

Second, Truex has officially come out of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s shadow. A lot of people became Truex fans because they were Earnhardt fans. I’ll admit I was one of them. Truex blasted his way to 2 Busch Series championships in 2004 and 2005, and in doing so made a lot of fans because of who he was driving for. When he made his way into the Nextel Cup Series last season, he didn’t perform well. Now he has a win, is higher up in the points than Earnhardt Jr. is, and he’s going to make the Chase for the Cup. Dale Jr. will not.

Finally, and I’ll go back to my bold statement at the beginning of this rant, this is the most important win in the history of Dale Earnhardt Inc. Forget 4 Busch Series titles. Forget 3 wins in the Great American Race. Forget everything else that has happened. Truex has proven the critics wrong. I predict he will stay at DEI for a long time. I think he will have great success there. And I think no matter who replaces Dale Jr. next year, that Truex will be the face of the company. Many people think Greg Biffle will move to DEI next season. I don’t think Biffle can take over for Earnhardt Jr., so you have to go back to who was there already: Truex.

Guess what America: Dale Earnhardt Inc. can survive without Dale Earnhardt Jr. Surprise.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Why I love the Mountain West

The following is a thing I wrote about 2 years ago while watching Thursday Night College Football on ESPN, and was inspired by a fraternity brother who originally gave me the idea. It is meant entirely as a joke, and I think it's good for a chuckle every once and a while.


Mountain West for BCS Champions
1st Draft- September 22, 2005
By Robbie Mays

The Mountain West is the best football conference in Division 1 Collegiate football. There are many reasons as to why this is, and many more reasons why I think the BCS champions should come from this division every year.

First of all, let me say I love how the Mountain West will play whenever ESPN will offer to put them on television. I believe the MW would play a game at 7:45 a.m. EST on Sunday mornings. Not only is the Mountain West so starved for attention, they want everyone in the country to know they are the best conference out there.

Next, most importantly, they never fail to not sell out the entire stadium. If you catch any MW game on a Thursday night, you will notice that there is plenty of room in the stadium for the crowd to spread out, and be able to sleep off that hangover they got from starting to drink at noon. I think all schools should stop selling tickets when they reach about 10,000 less than capacity.

Have you ever noticed how lopsided a Mountain West game can be? I just love watching one team run up 47 points in the first half. I think they should show every moment of the game because of this, and should never under any circumstances switch to Sportscenter to show clips of New Orleans Saints’ coaches complain about having to play a ‘home’ game at Giant Stadium in New York.

Finally, the Mountain West has superior athletes compared to the rest of the country. I mean, who wouldn’t want to play in a makeshift football stadium that doubles for a soccer stadium during the week. The painted over soccer lines are great on television, as it adds to d├ęcor of the half-empty stadium.

Oh yes, the Mountain West is the best conference in the land. From the great players and exciting last minute touchdown drives that allows the team to beat the 49 point spread, it’s an excellent division to show every week on Thursday night football.
Isn’t there a Seinfeld re-run on somewhere?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Duh...

Yeah, they said it would happen if Jeff won and he did, so it did. Idiots threw debris on the racetrack after Jeff Gordon went to victory lane for the 77th time in his career, surpassing the 76 wins of the late 7-time champion Dale Earnhardt on what would have been Dale's 56th birthday at the track that is the center of Earnhardt Nation in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega on Sunday.

NASCAR, Talladega, and Law Enforcement officials declared leading up to Sunday's race that anyone caught throwing debris from the grandstands onto the racetrack would be arrested. 14 people were caught in the act, and were arrested and have been banned from buying tickets from Talladega Superspeedway to future events. Can they get someone else to buy the tickets for them? Sure.

People are made aware of others throwing debris on the track because the media says it's happening. If they don't want it to happen again, I have a simple solution:

STOP SHOWING THE BEER CANS BEING THROWN ONTO THE RACETRACK!!!

If you don't show it happening, people won't think they can get 15 minutes of fame from doing it and the problem will correct itself. Simple. Easy. Let's move on.

Furthermore, these people should not under any circumstance whatsoever declare themselves to be NASCAR fans. Anybody who insists on talking about this who has been an occasional NASCAR watcher for about 2 seconds need not talk about this. You sound like an idiot. Let's talk about David Reutimann's great run cut short by an engine problem. Let's talk about Michael Waltrip being fast enough to make the show but was sent home because of the top 35 rule. Let's talk about the great points battle that's shaping up. Let's talk about Matt Kenseth's 6th straight top 15 at Talladega. Let's talk about the fact that Mark Martin is still in striking distance of making the chase even though he has missed 3 races. Let's talk about racing, and not idiots.

And now, that is ALL I have to say about that.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Statboy's Rant for April 26th

I think NASCAR fans are mad at Jeff Gordon. I think the fans are mad because he won the race Saturday night at Phoenix. I think they are mad because he is now tied for 5th on the all-time wins list with Dale Earnhardt at 76 career victories. They are mad at Jeff for waving the 3 flag. I think NASCAR fans are mad at Tony Stewart. I think they are mad at him for not staying for the post-race interview on Saturday. I think they are mad at him for going on his own radio show on Tuesday night and blasting NASCAR for over-controlling the sport and throwing cautions for debris, half the time which we cannot even see. Get over it. People are going to be mad when what they want to have happen doesn’t happen.

We all knew that Jeff was eventually going to tie and break Earnhardt’s win mark. I thought it would happen sooner than it did. The man won 33 races in a 3 year period between 1996 and 1998. Surprised he didn’t do this 3 years ago. Jeff will go on and break other records. Darrell Waltrip’s 84 win record is in jeopardy within in the next couple of years. Gordon’s dominance has dropped off over the last 5 years. But I definitely think Jeff will surpass Waltrip. He might get up to 90 or 95 wins in his career. Will he pass David Pearson’s 105 wins? I don’t think so.

As far as Tony goes, well people are gonna be mad he didn’t talk. Nothing says Tony has to give an interview for finishing 2nd. If I was running 2nd in a Nextel Cup race with 12 laps to go, and I had made the winning pass and was leading, then yeah, I’d be mad I didn’t win too. Earnhardt would have done the same thing. That’s the deal. Tony is now what Dale Earnhardt was. Whether fans choose to accept that or not. He is today’s equivalency of Earnhardt. That is all.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The State of Michael Waltrip Racing

After five races, Michael Waltrip Racing is in trouble. Combined, the team has only a total of 9 starts (5 for Dale Jarrett, 3 for David Reutimann, and 1 for Michael Waltrip himself.) The team has struggled at qualifying, and when they actually do make a race, they haven't performed well.

David Reutimann, who was my early pick for Rookie of the Year honors, has two wrecks and one sub-par finish to date. He was wrecked hard at California by Greg Biffle, and caused a 4-car pileup at Atlanta. I think that maybe a full season in the Busch Series would have done some good for this young talent, and overall I think the jury is still out on whether or not he will have success at NASCAR's highest level.

Dale Jarrett has made all the races in 2007, but only once by getting in on speed. He is allotted 6 past champion provisionals to use this year, and he's already used up 4. He finished 42nd at Bristol, moving him down to 39th in owner points, which NASCAR uses to determine who gets a guaranteed spot in the race based on the top-35 rule. He has 2 champion provisionals left. He needs to qualify on speed at Martinsville this weekend, and at a place like Martinsville, a short flat track that requires alot of driving ability to master, this is a good shot to get his season back on track. He needs to save his provisionals for a place like Talladega coming up at the end of April. Why? Because that car was way off on speed at Daytona. I think you will see Dale Jarrett miss a race this year, and I hate to say that, but unless something drastic happens at MWR and I mean soon, he will miss a, or several races this year once the champions provisionals are used up.

And as for Michael Waltrip, I don't even know what to say. He went from a good-quality ride in the #15 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet a few years ago to being at the bottom of the new Toyota contingent. He has only made 1 race in 2007, and I don't see him making very many more. I predict NAPA, his long-time primary sponsor, will decide to leave that team this year, or next year, and then Waltrip will be in real trouble. I hate it for him because he is a veteran, and I would say a current, or maybe former, fan favorite. I think that overall he lacks the ability to manage a full-time Nextel Cup effort, to say nothing about managing three. With the loss of his crew chief after the disaster at Daytona with the cheating scandal has left the 55 Toyota in a hole that he will not be able to climb out of this year. Looking at the situation, I think Waltrip will make maybe 10 races this year. Toyota definetly needs to step in and give more factory support to get this team to be even close on qualifying day. Waltrip currently sits 54th in driver points, still at -27, and 50th in owner points, 307 behind 35th and a guaranteed starting spot.

Again, without some drastic actions, Michael Waltrip Racing will never become a top-tiered Nextel Cup Series team. Honestly, I wouldn't even count them as a mid-range Busch Series team.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Thoughts after Two Weeks...

The Nextel Cup Series takes its first off week of the season this weekend (the reasons as which I’m not really sure seeing as how they have a 16-week stretch of racing later in the season), and here are some thoughts after the first two races.
1) Mark Martin needs to run the full season.
After two races, he is leading the point standings. Mark will be the first to tell you that he is not a very good restrictor plate driver, but after losing the Daytona 500 by .02 seconds to Kevin Harvick, that trend might be changing. Ginn Racing has obviously stepped its program up this year, and he has competitive equipment. I think that he needs to stay in that car as long as he can, which should be all 36 races. If he has a good run at Las Vegas next week, he will decide to run the full schedule. For Mark’s sake, I hope he does decide that he has a shot at a championship, which has eluded him his entire career and will go for it all.

2) Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not win a race in 2007
In 2005, the 8 car struggled. But they got their act together in 2006 and ran in the top 5 in points for most of the year and has looked strong. But that team is back to its old ways from 2005 and is not looking very good at this point. It wasn’t his fault that he got wrecked in the Daytona 500, but it was the teams fault for not working on the new unleaded fuel package starting at California, and he will not run well at Vegas. I predict no wins for this team this season. If they do win, I’ll be surprised. If they make the chase, I’ll quit trying to fool people into thinking that I know what I’m talking about.

3) FOX needs to go
I’ve noticed that the FOX television coverage has gone downhill this year. If you need proof, think back to the California race when they were showing what everybody was eating for lunch that day. It’s true that the race was pretty boring at that point, but they could have gone and interviewed a crew chief or one of the drivers that were out of the race at that point. I hope that ESPN’s return will show FOX that you can just show the race and not all the flare that goes with it that NASCAR now thinks that we need.

4) Richard Childress Racing is Back
If last year’s results weren’t obvious, then I’ll tell you that Richard Childress Racing has returned to being a dominant team that has a chance to win every week. Kevin Harvick swept Daytona, and probably would have won at California if it weren’t for a flat tire late in the going. The 29 will make the chase, the 31 (with driver Jeff Burton) will make the chase, and the 07 (Clint Bowyer) has a good shot at making the chase. I think that anything less than a championship for RCR this year at the Nextel Cup level will deem 2007 as a disappointment.

5) The Car of Tomorrow is Today
Testing took place at the Bristol Motor Speedway this week for the debut of the Car of Tomorrow at the Food City 500 next month. I’ve been looking at this car for almost two years, and I gotta say that I am genuinely excited about its debut next month. I think that the racing will improve greatly with the addition of the new car. I think that the costs will go down, no matter what Jack Roush says. And I think that it will even the playing field between multi-car teams and single car teams in the long run. I think it’s a good looking racecar, and the product on the track will show it. Look for NASCAR to announce before the end of the summer that the COT will be run exclusively beginning in 2008.

Monday, February 26, 2007

That's What it Was

It was what it was. It was a boring race. I am of course referring to yesterday's Auto Club 500 at the California Speedway.

There was some good racing going on though. And it was out of the parking lot after Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished blowing up his motor on lap 121. The 8 car was obviously the reason why there were around 10,000 empty seats in Fontana yesterday, and not the fact that the track has never in its 10-year history produced an epic race that people talk about for the next 3 months. The Daytona 500 was epic, it was dramatic, and people will be talking about it for years to come.

I am, and I'll admit this to anyone who asks this, a traditionalist. I think that NASCAR's roots are in the southeast and we should honor those who made the sport what it is today by racing in this area of the country. Let's take a look at the last race at the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, where NASCAR should have been racing yesterday.

Again, it was Matt Kenseth who went to victory lane in that race, after he battled it out with Kasey Kahne down to the line for the win. There was no single file racing for 300 miles. There was no random debris cautions that NASCAR made up so the field could get bunched up and the margin of victory wouldn't be two days. It was good racing. Have you ever seen a side-by-side run to the checkers at California? If you have, please remind me because I fail to recall once when that has happened.

I like Texas. I like Chicago. I'll even go as far as to say that I'll like the newly redesigned Las Vegas Motor Speedway when the Nextel Cup Series visits there in two weeks. But for the tracks that NASCAR has introduced since 1997, California is my least favorite. Maybe Cali should take a page from Las Vegas and do something to the track to improve the racing. Add banking, narrow the track up, or buldoze the entire thing and build a short track.

But for someone to say that race was exciting yesterday... well, you obviously missed the point.

I hope Brian France got to sleep in yesterday morning. I slept during the race.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Auto Club 500 Recap

It wasn’t as exciting at Daytona, but in the end it was a final 4-lap shootout that set up the end of the Auto Club 500 at the California Speedway, with Matt Kenseth going to victory lane, and in the process sweeping the Busch and Cup races at the 2-mile track.

As is the norm at a place like California, engine trouble was an issue on Sunday. Martin Truex Jr. lost an engine on lap 18, and teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. blew what was left of a troubled motor on lap 121, chalking up a DNF for the second consecutive race. Kasey Kahne and Dave Blaney also suffered engine problems.

After a late caution and ensuing red flag when David Reutimann got punted by Greg Biffle and destroyed his Dominos Pizza Toyota, a shootout was set up just like a week ago.
Kenseth took off from the field and put up a huge advantage after Jeff Burton spun his tires on the final restart. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson tried to catch Kenseth, but the 17 car was too much.

Your top 10 on Sunday was Kenseth, Gordon 2nd, Johnson 3rd, Burton 4th, and Mark Martin 5th. Clint Bowyer 6th, Kurt Busch 7th, Tony Stewart 8th, Kyle Busch 9th, and Brian Vickers in a Toyota was 10th.

Mark Martin will take a 5-point lead over Jeff Burton into the off weekend next week. The Series picks back up at Las Vegas in 2 weeks.

Is that really necessary?

I remember just a few years ago when you could turn on the television to watch a race, and the main story was the race. I wasn't sure where the Tribute part of the Tribute to America during last Sunday's pre-race show before the Daytona 500 was, and I definetly am not sure the purpose of this cat singing before today's Auto Club 500 at California. It wasn't even good, and I have no idea what this guy's name was.

But anyway, I remember when races used to start before I could even get home from church. Maybe we should get back to being able to turn on FOX or ESPN or TNT and the race will start within 5 minutes. That would be amazing.

It would also be amazing if they were racing in Rockingham, North Carolina today.

Welcome...

Welcome to my new blog. I'll post updates and my thoughts on what is going on in the world of racing as often as I can. Check back soon for more!