Friday, May 30, 2008

Best Buy 400 benefiting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks preview

Each week Ridebuyer delves deep into the misunderstood, oft terrifying, world of American saloon-car racing known as NASCAR.

This week: Best Buy 400 benefiting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks
TV: Fox 1:30pm EST (Sunday)
Location: Dover International Speedway (Dover, DE)
Distance: 400 miles/400 laps
2007 winners: M. Truex Jr. (spring race); C. Edwards (fall race)

*A note about East Coast racing*

It doesn't take a cartographer to see that NASCAR has some aversion to racing in the Northeast. Sure, the circuit ventures to New Hampshire, Pocono, and Watkins Glen, but that's about it (aside from Dover, that is). This is not some phenomenon that is exclusive to NASCAR. The calenders of other American racing series are noticeably void of events in the northeast part of the country. Why? Surely people enjoy racing in that part of the country. Has the entirety of the Northeast's population become so enthralled with the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, that there is simply no room for sporting entertainment outside of the stick-and-ball realm? Possibly, but not likely.

You see, motor racing events can only be held at proper motoring facilities and this is where the Northeast has stumbled. Outside of the tracks listed above, add Lime Rock Park in Connecticut, and the yet to be opened New Jersey Motorsports Park, and you have the entirety of world class tracks in the region.

Let us hypothesize for a moment. Imagine a wealthy industrious fellow wished to build a motoring circuit in the Northeast. His plan would involve the best of everything: paved paddock, heated and air conditioned garages, urinals that are not race track standard-issue piss troughs. A true world class facility located in the heart of the American northeast. The track could play host to NASCAR and/or IndyCar events. Everyone seems to be on board (including local politicos, town organizations, the general public...), and all signs indicate this project will be a booming success. Expect for one rather large issue. The damn thing will never get built.

Nothing gets built in the Northeast without the general labor coming from 100% pure blooded union workers. The Local 305, 283, 985, et al. would be licking their collective chops at the opportunity to "work" on a motor racing circuit. This would be guaranteed employment for the foreseeable future, with no onus on the "workers" to ever complete the job in either a timely or under budget manner. With the costs of construction elevating to stratospheric levels, our hypothetical wealthy industrious fellow will start to sour on the entire concept of a racing facility, and will be broken, bruised and otherwise raped by the whole idea. The project dies on the birthing table like a scene from The Cider House Rules. The only good to come the project is that hundreds of union men got to further hone their smoking and lingering about skills.

What about hiring non-union workers to complete the job? The wealthy industrious fellow would inquire about such the prospect. He reckons a team of well-organized Latino workers could complete the job for half as much money and in half the time. Ah, but alas, the union higher-ups catch wind of this plan and immediately organize their henchmen into action. Within hours a group of union members are protesting the unfinished track, preventing the Latinos from entering the site. Construction grinds to a halt yet again. Within the week, the wealthy industrious fellow is receiving threats on his children's lives, and is getting ominous phone calls in the middle of the night. His own life ends within the month, under, shall we say, questionable circumstances.

All in name of building a race track... Shit, no wonder folks in the Northeast are starved of motorsports. It just doesn't seem worth it.

*What to know:

Dover, DE is approximately halfway between Philadelphia and Washington, DC. The race is always well attended because the folks in both markets are clearly racing deprived. The track is known as the "Monster Mile" (see the statue below) and is a one-mile concrete oval. Expect the track to be green on Sunday because the rain from the weekend will have washed any rubber from the surface. Parity shines through at Dover this weekend (at least in qualifying) with a Ford, Chevy, Toyota and Dodge all starting in the top-four. That said, Ford has shown more speed than any other make, as Greg Biffle's pole time was nearly 1.5 mph than his nearest competition. Biffle's teammate Jamie McMurray will also start in the top-five.

Separated at birth?

*Who to watch:

Greg Biffle: The aforementioned Biffle was so much faster in qualifying than everyone else, he has to be made note of in "Who to watch." His speed was 155.219. Kurt Busch, who rolls off second, posted a speed of 153.971. Yes, Biffle is fast. He has one win and six top-10s in Dover. He is coming off of a second place finish at Charlotte. That is called momentum.

Jimmie Johnson: The season has not gone as planned for Johnson or his Hendrick team. Of course, "as planned" for Hendrick Motorsports means winning everything (including races, company softball outings, bocce ball tournaments, BINGO, etc). Johnson has won three times at Dover and has seven top-10s. He starts Sunday's race from the second row and is looking to add to his lone victory this season.

Kyle Busch: The current points leader will start alongside Johnson on the second row Sunday. Busch and the whole Joe Gibbs Racing team have been competitive at every track that NASCAR his visited this year. While the absolute class of the Toyota-pack has never won at Dover, he has finished runner-up twice and has four top-fives.

*Dark Horse:

Brian Vickers: For some god-unknown reason the Red Bull Toyota team has shown quite a bit of speed at Dover. (Both Vickers and teammate A.J. Allmendinger will start inside the top-10.) Vickers has one career top-10 finish at Dover (spring 2005), and ran in the top-20 during both of last year's races. He is coming off of a poor showing last weekend in Charlotte, but hey, he gets the horse regardless.

*For those heading to the track:

Your all-important tailgating information is here. One seat cushion is allowed per person, what a relief. You should probably bring a poncho as rain is expected. Sorry... If the deluge does come, check out the nearby Dover Downs Casino, its slightly more trashy than its Atlantic City counterparts, but less trashy than, say, Casino Windsor. It's a true can't miss. As a side note, Chicago is playing DDC on July 12th. Of course they are.

*Series points:


Next race: Pocono 500. The winner of this race gets their likeness inscribed onto a heart shaped jacuzzi in one of the many love-bungalows in the "honeymoon capital of the world"

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Better know a Dan Gurney

Let us face facts... Most of the stuff you read on these here "internets" is pretty much garbage. Whether the topic is motor racing, stick-and-ball sports, general news, etc., chances are, you just read something that sucked. Even this site is not excluded from the previous sentence (NASCAR previews? Come on).

With that in mind, Ridebuyer wants to roll back the clock and take you to a simpler time. A time when the world was a little less scary and the internet had yet to turn into a cesspool of gratuitous potshots and mean spirited abuse. The following is the latest installment in RB'ers "Shit Worth Reading" serial.

These entries are timely in the sense that their subject (Dan Gurney) was recently snubbed from ESPN's Top 25 Drivers of All Time list. (Other notable exclusions: Mark Donahue, Phil Hill, Graham Hill, Bobby Allison...)

While it's little consolation (like, none), we'd like to give the All American Racers-founder some love with two forgotten (old) articles that are worth the time to peruse. Here is a sample:

The Gurney method of staying a jump ahead has often been considered eccentric, and it has brought failure as well as success. But it has never been anything less than true to the man. In his 16 years at the wheel, he established himself as one of the greatest American drivers of all time, with victories in Grand Prix, sports car, endurance, stock car, Indy car, Can-Am and sedan racing. He was America's best road racer in the '60s, a horsepower-crazy era that is gone but not forgotten.

Once again, thank you to the SI Vault for being incredibly ball-kicking.

The '500' Under Attack (May 27, 1963)

Racing To A Midlife Crisis
(May 26,1980)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Six days until Mosley-orgy meeting

In what can only be described as our heroic attempt to keep the masses abreast of developments in Max Mosley's Nazi-orgy-gate, we find it necessary to remind folks that FIA-member clubs will decide Mosley's fate on June 3rd. The extraordinary (FIA's term, not RB'ers) meeting will either give Mosley a vote of "confidence", or "no confidence."

Who knows what that means, but regardless of the outcome the meeting will be classic. Picture hundreds of serious looking motoring officials having a polite discourse about the merits and potential pitfalls of Nazi-themed sex. Yes. God, yes.

Until then, enjoy the latest round of funny quotes on the subject.

"Poor old Max. I feel sorry for him. Everybody's wrong except him. Everybody was involved in the orgy except him. He is just lashing out at anything he can.

"If he wants me to be the enemy he should be very careful because if he makes me an enemy I could make sure he never whips anybody again. " - Bernie Ecclestone

"Max has proved he is an emperor without any clothes. " -Jackie Stewart

Of course, RB'ers coverage of the FIA orgy-meeting will be in-depth, with live first hand accounts of the absurdity. We will be working in shifts that night...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Around the Horn: Jay Mariotti knows not what he speaks

A large step in the process of a sport becoming relevant is media attention. When people care enough to write or otherwise report on an event, it means that someone, somewhere, gives a shit. These media-types are the people tasked with bringing the news of a sport to the masses, through their witty quips and insightful commentaries. All good, right?

The big news from this past weekend's Indy 500 was, of course, Danica Patrick's march down pitlane to confront Ryan Briscoe. The much ballyhooed event has brought the opinions of one commentator from the Chicago Sun-Times (and staple of various unwatchable ESPN- programs), Jay Mariotti. Here's a glimpse:

On an interstate highway, such a compilation of anger would be tantamount to road rage. What did Patrick say the other day about wanting to own a winery? Seems she's already mastered a fine whine. When she switched allegiances to the potent Andretti Green team, wasn't the idea to have a high-performance car every year at Indy? With a new pit boss in Kyle Moyer, wasn't she supposed to avoid strategic mixups and arguments? Apparently not.

One would suppose having such national-level blowhard's commenting on a sport is a positive thing (even if these "experts" have never been close to motor racing track). But, goddamn it, if Stephen A. Smith ever writes a motor racing article, killing yourself with a blunt object will be the only acceptable recourse.

Danica makes history: Goes Springer on rival

Weekend recap

What you missed while trying to simultaneously watch the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals.

-There was a motor racing event this weekend in Indianapolis, Indiana. 500-miles were contested and Scott Dixon was victorious. RB'ers summary is one post below. (How convenient.) A more "professional" race-recap is here (like with no spelling errors, or illusions to pubic hair).

-NASCAR had its biannual home-race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Cup event on Sunday evening was won by Kasey Kahne (he won the All-Star event last weekend, as well), after Tony Stewart blew a tire while leading with three-laps to go. Goddamn Goodyear.

Stewart's late slip hands Kahne Coca-Cola 600 win

-Kyle Busch won Saturday night's Nationwide event (that's his forth of the season). Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski got into it on the track, then their crew's had a donnybrook on pitlane. Sweet.

That kind of makes Patrick v. Briscoe look pretty tame.

Busch wins at Lowe's to snap Gibbs' victory streak

-Rookie Donny Lia won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race at Mansfield Motorsports Park. It was his first series win and the first for TRG Motorsports (TRG as in, The Racers Group. As in, the Porsche-guys. Good for them).

Lia wins first truck race in dramatic fashion at MMP

-Lewis Hamilton won the Monaco GP. We were busy sleeping one off and know nothing more. Let the Speedtv-guys explain the happenings.

F1: Hamilton Survives to Win Chaotic Monaco GP

-Banner Racing (Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins) won Monday's Grand-Am GT Classic at Lime Rock Park. That is the duo's third victory of the season. This was a GT only affair, so, nobody won DP!

Banner Scores a Third!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dixon wins, Patrick pissed

Here is all you need to know about today's Indy 500:

Scott Dixon wins, Marco Andretti pretty much wrecked Tony Kanaan (his teammate), Ryan Briscoe tangled with Danica Patrick on pit lane, Patrick wanted to fight Briscoe, Scheckter (as always) was damn impressive until he broke, Vitor Meira finished second and solidified his spot as one the best to ever turn a wheel at The Speedway in the last decade, Ed Carpenter finished fifth. Good for him. Oh, and Eddie Cheever is funny.


Here is the video of Patrick and her tiff with Briscoe. Let these foreigners paint the picture:

Indianapolis 500 Results

Dixon wins Indy 500

Friday, May 23, 2008

Coca-Cola 600 preview

Each week Ridebuyer delves deep into the misunderstood, oft terrifying, world of American saloon-car racing known as NASCAR.

This week:
The Coca-Cola 600
TV: Fox 5:00pm EST (Sunday)
Location: Lowe's Motor Speedway (Concord, NC)
Distance: 600 miles/400 laps
2007 winner: C. Mears (spring race); J. Gordon (fall race)

*A note about race length*

The biggest racing weekend of the year is upon us. NASCAR makes its contribution to holiday-motoring entertainment by providing fans with the longest stock car event of the season. 600 miles at the Lowe's Motor Speedway is what awaits contestants and fans on Sunday evening. This is the third event in a racing tri-fecta on Sunday (other events are Monaco GP and Indy 500) that will test the endurance and strength of everyone remotely involved in its execution. Sure, the drivers and crews will have have to push through the muck and struggle to finish, but their strain will be nothing compared to that of the hot dog, beer and television/radio-guys who will have to work though the day to make the race tolerable for you and I. Fox has earmarked five-hours for the broadcast of this event. Five-hours!? An average bloke could watch the entirety of the Godfather Saga in this amount of time. That same guy could drive across the state of Pennsylvania and bang his wife three times in the amount of time it takes to wage this motor race. By christ, who in name of Vince Young's chest would sit through this fucking thing? Well, if you happen to be visiting this site, chances are, you're considering it. You are contemplating posting-up in your living room, with a war-sized ration of chips and Coors (the Banquet Beer, not 'light'), and getting lost in the rhythm of the race and buzz of the booze. My god, you are truly a sick fuck.

Here is a last ditch effort to get you to forgo the race and find something better to do on your Sunday. Unlike the poor hot dog/beer/media-types who have to endure this pain, RB'er wants to remind you, the fan, that you have a choice. Here is a sampling of the best of Sunday's television:

Erin Brockovich-A&E 4pm-7pm

Deadliest Catch-Discovery (it's a marathon!)

Kathy Griffin: Straight to Hell -Bravo 5pm-6pm

Super Troopers-Comedy Central 8pm-10pm

The alternatives are truly endless. Find a movie to watch. Save yourself the distress of listening to Mike Joy talk about fuel strategy 12-laps into a 600-mile race.

*What to know:

Last year's race became a fuel mileage affair with prolonged green flag runs culminating in Casey Mears' first victory. Obviously, predicting the chances of prolonged green flag runs in stock car racing is about as smart as trying to determine the exact number of hillbillies who will forget which Lowe's parking lot they parked their F-150 in. If the race plays out like it did one year ago, any one of about 30-cars could conceivably win. That said, should fuel not become a major factor (i.e. there are cautions) that list of possible winners get cut in half.

The race is one of those day-into-night affairs that will see the track conditions shift as the night drags on. Any team with a chance at victory will be able to adapt as the track changes.

This race is, aside from Daytona, the biggest in terms of importance for drivers and teams. Lowe's Motor Speedway is minutes away from downtown Charlotte, which is the home of the bulk of teams and sponsors. The race has added pressure for the folks who make a living down-North Carolina way.

*Who to watch:

Kyle Busch: The hottest driver on the circuit of late, Busch will start from the pole position on Sunday night. 13 times the pole driver has gone on to win the 600-mile event. Busch could give Toyota their maiden-Charlotte win. If you hate young-Busch... buy a shirt. No matter, he will still probably win.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Ok, here's the thing... Junior has made our "Who to watch" section for every race since February. Fans seem to like the guy and he is generally quick at most tracks. But, he doesn't win anymore. Ever. He rolls off from the sixth position and is sitting third in the points. He has never never won at Charlotte, but does have four top-fives. Will he win? No. But watch him anyway (he has a new bar in Charlotte, for god sakes).

Mark Martin: The old man will start from the seventh position and has amassed quite a career at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Two wins and 14 top-10 finishes, plus an average finish of 10.8 From 1996 through 2005 he never had a DNF at Lowe's. Can you say contender? Me too.

*Dark Horse:

David Ragan: Ragan happens to be driving the old Martin Martin Ford-mount, and has been on quite a tear of late. He has three top-10 finishes this season, and starts Sunday's event inside the top-five (OK, fifth). He has squeaked his way into the top-12 in points and has secured his spot on top of the "horse" this week. Enjoy David.

*For those heading to the track:

Here is your tailgating info. Notice your cooler restrictions... (14 inches on all sides, bastards!). As noted above, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a new bar in downtown Charlotte. Maybe you should check it out... We imagine it is like the place in Urban Cowboy.

*Series points:


Next race: Best Buy 400 Benefiting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks (Dover, DE). A new leader in our quest to find the most absurd sponsor-laden race name? Yes.

Robin Miller's hero was the balls

Let us face facts... Most of the stuff you read on these here "internets" is pretty much garbage. Whether the topic is motor racing, stick-and-ball sports, general news, etc., chances are, you just read something that sucked. Even this site is not excluded from the previous sentence (NASCAR previews? Come on).

With that in mind, Ridebuyer wants to roll back the clock and take you to a simpler time. A time when the world was a little less scary and the internet had yet to turn into a cesspool of gratuitous potshots and mean spirited abuse. The following is the latest installment in RB'ers "Shit Worth Reading" serial.

This entry comes from the incredible SI Vault and gives the story of Indy folk-hero Jim Hurtubise:

It had been several years since Hurtubise had entered the race with any kind of chance to win it, lead it or even qualify well for it. For most of that time he had been engaged in a quixotic attempt to qualify an improved version of the outmoded front-engine "roadster" that had dominated the Speedway until the rear-engine revolution of the mid-1960s. With time growing short, there was a fever of activity around Hurtubise's Miller High Life Special, as it slowly moved toward the head of the qualifying line. The crowd buzzed. Would the old Mallard, as Hurtubise called his car in tribute to its ducktail rear end, get a chance to make even a ceremonial tour of the Brickyard? No. Precisely at 6 p.m. the gun sounded, locking in the field for another year. At which time Hurtubise removed the cowling from his Mallard to reveal neither an Offenhauser nor a Ford, but rather five cases of his sponsor's product, already chilled and ready for folks to drink. Which is what most of the Speedway officials soon did.

Full text below:

The Ghost Of Indy's Past


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Indy 500 preview

TV: ABC 12:00pm EST-prerace; 1:00pm-race (Sunday)
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Indianapolis, IN)
Distance: 500 miles/200 laps
2007 winner: Dario Franchitti

*Notes about history, legacy and the downtrodden*

The Indianapolis 500 was once the premiere event in the motor racing world. Some might argue the event once rivaled the biggest events in the stick-and-ball world. In its heyday, comparisons to the Super Bowl and World Series would not seem as outlandish as they do today. Ron Burgundy would have called The 500 "a big deal." Once upon a time Indy was not something to be trifled with; an event that held the significance and poignancy of the wedding or funeral.

Heroes were born at Indianapolis. A.J. Foyt ran the The Greatest Spectacle In Racing® a record 35 times, winning four times and leading nearly 600 laps. To put this in perspective, A.J.'s first 500 was in 1958. His last was in 1992. If you took his qualifying speed for the 1992 race (222.790) and applied it to this year's event, Super Tex would roll off from the outside of row four. (This would be ahead of drivers like Graham Rahal and Buddy Rice and is a full three mph faster than his grandson was able to muster.)

Foyt is just one of a number of drivers who used The 500 to elevate their careers into the mid-stratosphere level. Rick Mears-like Foyt- found victory lane four times and nearly lead the same number of laps as his Texan-counterpart. If you were to add the total number of laps both men paced the field at Indy you would get 984 (Foyt's 555+Mears' 429). This is a distance roughly equal to that of Phoenix to New York City (or about 2,457 miles). Those two lead the Indy 500 for a longer distance than most people drive in three months.

While Foyt and Mears are two of the most recognizable names associated with The Speedway, many more men where drawn to its mystique with less than historic results. George Snider amassed 22 Indy-starts, beginning in 1965. He completed 1875 race-laps, yet could only manage to lead three laps throughout the entirety of his 500 career. This gives Snider the dubious honor of most 500-starts without a victory.

Of course, many drivers would be honored (and rightly so) to have a 500-career like that of Snider. For 17 months of May, Dick Simon went to the intersection of 16th and Georgetown as a racing driver. Of those starts he only managed to finish the race seven times, never placing higher than sixth. Between 1972-1980, Simon never posted a single finish.

These are just two drivers of countless numbers who continued seeking immortality in a race that by all accounts defeated them. This does not even account for those unlucky enough to have perished while seeking Indy fame.

But, something has changed since the heyday of The 500. This is seen in fan attendance, media coverage, entries, sponsors, almost every facet of the event his felt a change. Certainly, the much debated "split" in open-wheel racing led to much confusion and tarnished the goings-on, but it's not fair to place the blame squarely on this schism. The passion had left before the 1995 revolution.

I'm sure a track historian could provide more insight on the cresting wave phenomenon that hit Indy, but the point is, something palpable has shifted, leaving the event a shell of what was once a crown jewel of Americana. Maybe it's because football is so fucking popular and people are researching their fantasy teams. Maybe its because baseball is in a renaissance or that television is better now than in the past making people harder to entertain. Maybe people can't wrap their heads around watching cars circulate for an afternoon during a long weekend. Maybe it's all of the above.

Sure, The 500 is likely to see a bit of a rebound. This season's storylines seem more interesting than in the recent past (the proliferation of young American driver's like, Rahal, Andretti and Patrick. Castroneves infiltrating the pop-world by winning that ABC program about dancing). Perhaps this could led to a bump of sorts in terms of relevance, but the event will remain second-tier for the foreseeable future. That is a fuckin' shame, because Indy used to be something special.

View Larger Map

*What to know:

Anyone who has never been to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would be shocked by two things. The first is its size. The place is bloody enormous. A somewhat recent count (yes, some poor-soul counted) of the permanent seats totaled 257,325. Check out this nifty illustration that shows what other big shit could fit into the track's infield. The other thing that would shock non-Indy regulars is the speed and noise generated by a pack of 33 angry racing cars humming at full song. It is a loud, crude and ruthless noise that will appall anyone not previously indoctrinated.

In the infield, one will find some epic parties (though not executed with the fervor or spirit as in the past), but the feeling at Indy is quite different than that of other sporting orgies like that at Churchill Downs or even other motor races. You see, people flood events like the Kentucky Derby for beer and tits, yet never see a horse or even seem to know a race is taking place. This is impossible at The 500. Within seconds of hearing the engines fire, any booze-buzz or boob-viewing induced high will be immediately rescinded. It's like sleeping with most beautiful woman in existence, then having her sprout a dick and punch you in the larynx. Total buzz kill. The noise and smell will sober the drunkest of drunks, and that fellow has no choice but to pay attention to the race that follows and become enthralled by the death defying racing men. Enjoy, pal. You are seeing something special.

Who to watch:

Most of the popular racing pundits (yes, there is such a thing) will tell you The 500 can only be logically won by about four drivers. This would include the two Team Penske drivers (#3 Helio Castroneves, #6 Ryan Briscoe ) and their two counterparts at Target Chip Ganassi Racing (#9 Scott Dixon, #10 Dan Wheldon ). Both sets of drivers are starting at or near the front of the field, are parts of the most successful teams in the series and have the most well-developed equipment (insert I'll add a fifth contender in Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan.(He has the experience and good equipment needed to get the illusive Indy-win. Expect him to get off-sequence in pit stops, particularly if rain is possible.) Don't look for other teams/drivers to make a big Indy-splash this year. Sorry Danica and young-Rahal, but you'll have your chance soon enough.


Ed Carpenter : The stepson of Indy-Czar Tony George has shown speed this season unlike any in the past. His team (Vision Racing) is on the upswing, despite the firing of team manager Larry Curry (now with Roth Racing). Carpenter has three top-10 finishes this season and will start Sunday's 500 from inside row four. He knows his way around The Speedway and if he can stay on the lead lap should be in-line for a good result.

Misc. race notes:

92nd Indianapolis 500 Starting Line-up

2008 Indianapolis 500 TV/Radio Schedule

Indianapolis 500 FAQ

Tailgating Info

Enjoy the race. Even if you don't give a shit about motor racing, its a sporting classic.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Da Matta vomits on crotch

Everyone is excited that Cristiano da Matta is back in a racing car. By all accounts his 2006 deer-striking accident at Road America should have ending his career if not his life. After much therapy and the like, da Matta made his return to the cockpit this past weekend at Laguna Seca. Thanks to Bob Stallings – owner of the GAINSCO/Stallings Pontiac Riley- da Matta teamed with buddy Jimmy Vasser in a second DP-entry for the Dallas-based squad.

All was going well for da Matta on track (he even had the lead for a spell) until he stomach started playing tricks on him.'s David Phillips explains:

Perhaps as the result of eating too much too close to the start of the race (the previous day I’d been amused to see da Matta down a lunch of fried chicken and mashed potatoes that would have made A.J. Foyt envious); perhaps as the result of an overactive cool suit, da Matta began suffering stomach cramps and finally deposited most of his lunch in his helmet and the cockpit.

Thankfully, da Matta says this was just the case of an upset stomach and not any lingering impact from his past head injuries. Welcome back, Cristiano. And get that fire suit washed, it stinks.

Races that don't count

What took place this past weekend in Charlotte was confusing and pointless. For the lucky folks who chose to avoid the recent happenings at the Southern capital of the racing world, Saturday's "All-Star" event can be described thusly:

Boring- Part of the allure of a race that does not count towards year-end points is the promise of exciting racing. In fact, this is the only allure such a race has. If the race is not visually stimulating (and Saturday's race was certainly not. It had the visual appeal of Stacy Keach in a muscle shirt) and no points are paid, what the hell is the point? The only mildly interesting part of the event came when A.J. Allmendinger and Sam Hornish Jr. raced their respective selves into the final segment. The final segment itself had no drama. None. I had even "tapped the Rockies" four or five times by the final segment, and was still decidedly not-enthralled There was no three-wideness, no Ricky Bobby-esque "checkers or wreckers," Christ, there was no passing in general. The event had the feeling of NBA playoff game (fireworks, hiphop music, other absurd and prolonged pomp, followed by a substandard product. The only difference being NBA playoff games count towards something).

Overly-complex- Your average NASCAR fan is not a member of MENSA. If NASCAR thinks as such, they have a serious problem inside their fortified compound on Daytona Beach. To fully understand the convoluted process of advancing through the "All-Star" event, one would have to devote the better part of a weekend to sift through the rules and regulations. Here is a taste of the published rules:

Between segments 1 and 2, there will be a yellow flag during which teams may elect to pit for fuel, tires and normal chassis adjustments. Teams pitting will not retain their position on the race track and will restart at the rear of the field in the order they leave pit road.

Between segments 2 and 3, there will be a 10-minute break during which teams will pit and may elect to change tires, add fuel and make normal chassis adjustments. Changing of springs, shock absorbers or rear-ends will not be permitted. Teams will restart segment 3 in the same position they finished segment 2.

My eyes glazed over after reading the first sentence. Why in the name of Tim McCarver would anyone take something as simple as a motor race and attempt to foul its forthrightness with overly incoherent terms?

Pointless- Kasey Kahne made $1,012,975 for winning the final segment on Saturday night. The overall purse for the event was a staggering $3,308,251, meaning the contention by many that this race is a winner-take-all deal is pretty erroneous. Sure, Kahne took a lion's share of the cash, but big money went to the other participants (examples, Biffle took $455,950, Kenseth got $132,975, Kyle Busch blew an engine and still netted $199,601) as well. The other schlock portion of this race is its "exhibition" status, meaning no points are distributed. Honestly, this system seems fair enough, and could possibly be conducive to creating excitement, but somehow it failed miserably this year. Here are two quick fixes: 1) $1 million to win, no other positions paid. 2) 100 points paid to the winner.

A few tweaks in the format could make things more tolerable. Aside from the payment and points scheme above, make the feature race 100-laps with a transfer race of 50-laps run right before. Pit stops should be open. Finally, for the love of Christ, no burnout competition and make the whole package under 3-hours. Period. The end.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Weekend recap

What you missed while you were considering doing a grease conversion on your daily driver to avoid buying gas. How much is a gallon of Crisco anyway?

- The rain held off in Indy just long enough to secure a 33-car field for this weekend's 500. The last half-hour of Bump Day was damn interesting with six cars vying for the final show-spot. Of those cars, Buddy Lazier, A.J. Foyt IV and Marty Roth all made the field, with Roger Yasukawa, Mario Dominguez and Max Papis left sans spot. Dominguez looked like he had the pace to bump Roth when he made the final attempt of the day, but just as the final gun fired, Mario spun and hit the wall, a fitting conclusion to the day's events.

INDY 500: Lazier Heroics Lead Bump Day

-The Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway was Saturday night, and RB'er feels bad for anyone who watched. The incredibly complex system by which drivers advance to the "A-Main" yielded little drama, much confusion and lackluster racing. The "fan vote" went to Kasey Kahne (who won the whole deal), and open wheel refuges Sam Hornish Jr. and A.J. Allmendinger both raced their way into the show. Since we don't understand how this "race" works, what with the transfers and no points and what-have-you, that is all we can say.

Kahne goes from All-Star voted-in to Victory Lane

- Matt Crafton won his first career Truck Series race at Charlotte. This race was roughly 37-times more entertaining than the "All-Star" event and yielded the quote of the weekend. It comes from Ron Hornaday, speaking after being wrecked by Todd Bodine: "He just flat tried to kill me. You don't spin somebody out on the straightaway. Life is too short to have an idiot like that." Cheers to Thorsports (Crafton's team), they're from Ohio, you know?

Late-race mayhem helps Crafton to first career win

- Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard took overall victory in the awesomely-named Larry H. Miller Utah Grand Prix presented by the Grand and Little America Hotels. Penske went 1-2 overall, with the newly christened de Ferran Motorsports Acura taking third. The winner in P1 (Luhr/Werner Audi) finished a staggering seventh-overall. Cheers to Intersport Racing for finishing second in P1, they're from Ohio, you know?

ALMS: Bernhard Wins as Penske Goes 1-2 In Utah

-Ryan Dalziel and Henri Zogaib grabbed DP honors at Laguna Seca driving their SAMAX BMW Riley. GT went to Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards in Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R. The race had a NASCAR wreckers or checkers feel to it.... Let Bob Varsha tell you about it.

Dalziel Earns Redemption at Laguna Seca

-Continuing the trend of ladies winning things, Melanie Troxel won in her Funny Car at Bristol. Other pro winners included Tony Schumacher and Dave Conley.

Troxel gets first career Funny Car win; Shoe, Connolly also outlast Bristol rain

Friday, May 16, 2008

Brock Yates and a lurid tale about death

Let us face facts... Most of the stuff you read on these here "internets" is pretty much garbage. Whether the topic is motor racing, stick-and-ball sports, general news, etc., chances are, you just read something that sucked. Even this site is not excluded from the previous sentence (NASCAR previews? Come on).

With that in mind, Ridebuyer wants to roll back the clock and take you to a simpler time. A time when the world was a little less scary, a rerun of Welcome Back, Kotter was all it took to restore faith in the social hierarchy of High School, and the internet had yet to turn into a cesspool of gratuitous potshots and mean spirited abuse. The following is the first in (what we hope will be) a long line of yesteryear motoring articles that are actually worth reading.

The first installment of our "Shit Worth Reading" serial comes from...

Brock Yates

The overriding question was why would Ken Miles, successful race driver, end up in the backwaters of Wisconsin, even if he'd managed to survive the terrible crash at Riverside? "He claimed to have been given a couple of million dollars by Ford to disappear..."

Full text below:

Ken Miles Alive and Well in Wisconsin? - Column


Thursday, May 15, 2008

How many "90210"-stars does it take to make the 500?

If you happen to be part of Rubicon Racing, the answer is three. As Max Papis prepares to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 this weekend, he has an ace up his sleeve. By 'ace' we mean three former Beverly Hills, 90210 stars, of course.

Yes, Rubicon's "Advisory Board" (whatever the hell that is) consists of Tiffani Thiessen (more famous for playing
Kelly Kapowski on Saved by the Bell, yet 90210-alum nonetheless), Ian Ziering (aka Steve Sanders), and of course team principle Jason Priestley (aka Brandon Walsh).

Other notables on Rubicon's "Advisory Board" are NFL'ers Dallas Clark and Jason Baker, and actors Max Martini, David Cubitt and Bradley Cooper.

With this level of star-power it is impossible to even contemplate Rubicon not making the field. Should a race win befall the Rubicon-entry, it is rumored that instead of the traditional victory lane sip of milk, Papis will indulge on booze and sleeping pills, then have sex with the pool boy. Jack Arute will be shocked.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Buy a piece of U.S. Bankruptcy Court (case #08-02172-AJM-11) history!

By court order, the remaining assets of the Champ Car World Series will go up on the blocks June 3rd. This is your chance to purchase any number of items from the defunct series including such "must haves" as a 1987 Chrysler LeBaron, a 1988 Buick Reatta, and the crown jewel... A Karcher pressure washer (model # HD51055).

Seriously, there is some cool shit to be auctioned. A complete list of items is here. And, yes, you can bid online.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Windy Dave's salty tirade

A big 'thank you' to the Youtuber who provided the world with the following clip of Dave Despain swearing... We don't know the backstory to this- feel free to enlighten us if you do- so just enjoy the rant.

Fuckin' NASCAR fans.

Weekend recap

What you missed while waiting for the check to arrive in the mail.

-Pole day at Indy yielded few surprises, with Ganassi and Penske splitting the top-four positions. Positions five through seven belong to Andretti Green, with Panther, Luczo Dragon and Vision all earning spots in the top-11. Rain foiled any hope of setting positions 12-22 on Sunday, meaning all remaining positions (12-33) will be set this Saturday, with Sunday being the day of the bump. Should it rain anytime this weekend, well, the schedule is fucked and chaos will ensue.

- Other Indy notes: Jay Howard is out at Roth Racing for the duration of the month, replaced by John Andretti. Sarah Fisher is in a financial pickle do to her "sponsors" not "sponsoring" her. No Champ Car ex-pats were able to crack the top-11.

-NASCAR (Cup and Nationwide) was in Darlington. Tony Stewart won the undercard. This continues the Nationwide-dominance of Joe Gibbs Racing (they have won six races in a row). As for the Cup event, which you read about on Ridebuyer's Deadspin link, Kyle Busch won, for his third Cup win of the season. Everyone still hates him.

-F1 was in Turkey. Felipe Massa won. Feel free to read about the goings on in Constantinople.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Indy over-simplified generalizations

Sorry Scott Dixon, but your accomplishment this weekend is nothing to write home about. Sure, the pole for the Indianapolis 500 is kind of novel, but according to the IndyStar's Bob Kravitz, no one really cares.

Well, we thought it was cool, Scott. Here are the top-11 positions as set yesterday:

Indianapolis 500 Pole Day qualifiers:
1) Scott Dixon, Target Ganassi, 226.366
2) Dan Wheldon, Target Ganassi, 226.110
3) Ryan Briscoe, Penske, 226.080
4) Helio Castroneves, Penske, 225.733
5) Danica Patrick, Andretti Green, 225.197
6) Tony Kanaan, Andretti Green, 224.799
7) Marco Andretti, Andretti Green, 224.417
8) Vitor Meira, Panther, 224.346
9) Hideki Mutoh, Andretti Green, 223.887
10) Ed Carpenter, Vision, 223.835
11) Tomas Scheckter, Luczo Dragon, 223.496

The damn rain has returned to the greater-Indianapolis area, scrubbing day two of quals. This means there will be no on-track activities until Wednesday (practice), starting positions 12 through 33 will be set Saturday, with final bumping on Sunday.

Among those teams attempting to make the 500 field next weekend is Rubicon Racing and driver Max Papis. RB'ers favorite actor-racer-team owner Jason Priestley is attached to the squad, and made a triumphant return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend. Anyone who wonders if this guy is still famous from that TV show he did in the early 90's.... Well, the answer is clearly 'yes' (if you're unattractive and in your mid-twenties, that is).

How great is it that this "90210 reunion' happened at a Boston Market?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Wet, hot, American wrecking

The week that was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be summed-up quickly. Really quickly. Only two words are needed: rain and wrecks.

The wet stuff killed two days of practice this week. Yes, complete washouts they were.

The break in the weather came Friday afternoon, and lasted long enough for two nasty accidents (then the rain returned). Alex Lloyd hit the wall a ton and Danica Patrick ran over a Coyne crew member on pit lane. The Patrick accident could have been much uglier. Also in the Patrick clip, note Mario Andretti in the foreground, not looking concerned. Oh, Mario.

-Danica Patrick's car hits crew member

Dodge Challenger 500 preview

Each week Ridebuyer delves deep into the misunderstood, oft terrifying, world of American saloon-car racing known as NASCAR.

This week: Darlington Raceway.
TV: Fox 7:00pm EST (Saturday)
Location:Darlington Raceway (Darlington, SC)
Distance: 500 miles/367 laps
2007 winner: J. Gordon (spring race/only race).

Darlington has two nicknames that are common in the average NASCAR fan's vernacular. The first is "The Track Too Tough to Tame," which adorns the signage and logos for the venue. The second is the "Lady in Black," which seems more morbid and points to an underlying danger. The danger in reference could be the obvious possibility of death and dismemberment associated with racing cars, or a more cerebral feeling of insecurity and anxiety associated with being in South Carolina. We accept the latter as truth. South Carolina is a place where people from Ohio go for a spring holiday. The concept that people actually reside (permanently) in South Carolina is as mind boggling as it is foreign to the rest of the nation. It had to have been a South Carolinian who invented the seaside tee-shirt shop, and decided that a Corona beer label should be affixed to every trinket therein. The Mecca of the trash tee-shirt purchasing, dirty beach sitting, boardwalk wondering, canned-beer in warm weather imbibing world (aside from Atlantic City, of course) is Myrtle Beach. This is just a quick jaunt to the coast from Darlington, and the track should see its fair share of boardwalk shills over the duration of the weekend. * For any shills reading, here are detailed directions. Load up your travel trailers and head west, you bloody gypsies.

View Larger Map

So, in other words, there will plenty of opportunities to purchase knockoff shirts at the track this weekend. Also be aware that the chances of encountering a roofied Orange Julius or rancid funnel cake are astronomically high at Darlington.

*What to know:

Darlington is a fickle beast of a track. Most drivers run an incredibly high line through the corners. By the end of the race the right side of most cars will be beaten, streaked and otherwise folded-in on the right front tire. (This phenomenon is know as the "Darlington Stripe," and will be referenced often during the course of Saturday's Foxcast.

Darlington is rather notorious for being hard on tires. The track surface is quite abrasive (though not nearly as rough as in the past) so one would expect four-tire pit stops whenever possible. This track was the host to the first 500-mile race in the history of NASCAR (held in 1950) and is also one of the oldest tracks visited on the circuit. This place has seen its fair share of wrecks, for sure. However, if Friday's Nationwide event can be used as a barometer (and it will be), don't expect too many yellows early in the goings Saturday. Aside from these notes, the only other thing to keep in mind while preparing to destroy a perfectly good Saturday evening watching a sport for hillbillies, is that the race is 500 miles. 500. On a track that is less than a mile and a half. Regardless of the caution flag situation, the race is going to take a fucking long time. Like, longer than Richie Sexson's strike zone. Long.

*Who to watch:

Jeff Gordon: Guy won this race last year. That gave Mr. Gordon a total of seven Cup victories at Darlington (that is most wins by an active driver in the SC). The DuPont Chevy rolls off eighth and will contend. Oh, and since 2005, his worst victory at Darlington... Second.

Tony Stewart: Smoke (as the ladies like to call him) will start from the four hole Saturday night. Darlington is one track that Stewart has never won at in a Cup car. (Other tracks are California, Las Vegas and Talladega). If Stewart wins he will profess him undying thirst for Schlitz in the post race press conference. Again. He also won the Nationwide race on Friday.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Ok, here's the thing... Junior has made our "Who to watch" section for every race since February. Fans seem to like the guy and he is generally quick at most tracks. But, he doesn't win anymore. Ever. Last week looked like a sure victory, then he got wrecked. He is slowly becoming the Chicago Cubs of NASCAR, but with less homosexual fans. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Anyway, watch him. He might win. Or not. Who cares?

*Dark Horse:

Dave Blaney: The pride of Hartford, Ohio sits 35th in points and has only one top-five finish at Darlington in his career (third in 2003). Not exactly stellar figures for the ex-sprint car stud. But, Blaney qualified 13th and has shown speed with his Caterpillar Toyota the entire weekend. Alright, we just wanted to say "Caterpillar Toyota," you caught us. Saddle up, Dave. Enjoy the horse.

*For those heading to the track:

For the bold folks venturing to the the Palmetto State for some racin' here is your much needed tailgating info. Be sure to note the acceptable dimensions for your coolers (6x6x12 inches), as this catches many a folk out. Also note that parking is free. Sweet. The Ridebuyer official drink for race is the Hurricane, enjoy responsibly. Again, if you do get bored during the weekend Myrtle Beach is only an hour away!.. Gross.

*Series points:



Next race (two weeks): The Coca-Cola 600. Sure, there is a race next weekend... But, no points are awarded. So, is it really a race? We think not. Profound shit.

Rahal's think "Speed Racer" sucked

Inclement weather in Indy leads to an empty racetrack. An empty racetrack makes writing a story about daily track goings-on difficult. This can be a plus, as it gives us a glimpse into what teams and drivers do/think/watch outside of the world racing. For example, if it had not rained in Indy the world would likely not know the Rahal's thought "Speed Racer" was awful. This is truly priceless information. Clearly, Bobby just has a natual aversion to John Goodman.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rain day recourse

Work is a terrible thing, especially if your job is not interesting and pays poorly. Finding an alternative to actually working while at work is what keeps more people from walking into their respective offices and shooting anything above three feet in height.

Sports can be the alternative that saves lives.

Spring is a great time for work avoidance. Days are wrought with activities that can be followed while hunched in the seclusion of a cubicle. Baseball day games are the most convenient and popular of these activities for the general sporting fan. A hidden radio or online stream can make the most asinine of work days seem tolerable. Hours melt away; emails go unreturned, phone calls are not made, your bosses loss money because of you, things are great. Sadly, racing people are generally out of luck when it comes to work-dodging weekday events (excluding Friday NASCAR practice, which is horrendous to watch, let alone listen to whist dodging your boss).

May is the exception. May is our time. Each day, IndyCar practice can be enjoyed from the Speedway, sometimes for upwards of six-hours a session. God bless you, streaming audio and video. (Found at This is the perfect outlet for slacking, unless it rains. Which it did today. Fuck.

God forbid it rains in Indy (ever again). But, as the Boy Scouts teaches the youth of the nation, "be prepared." Here is a list of activities-aside from working, of course-that will get you through the day when rain strikes the Midwest. *Note, these have all been tested in actual work scenarios*

-Take a two-hour shit. Be sure to bring adequate reading material (last time this technique was employed an entire SI was front-to-backed).

- Search MySpace and Facebook for your work's clients. This can be modified depending on the industry which you work. For example, if you work in insurance, get the names of the newest clients and search away. You'll be amazed how creepy the general public is. By the way, if you are over the age of 24, you have no business being on any "social networking" website.

- Look for a new job. I recommend craigslist or monster. Think about how much less you'd work, if you made more money.

-Leave for lunch and never come back.

- Watch full episodes of "Cops" on youtube. Yes, your job is gay, but at least your not getting billy-clubbed.

- Check out the racecar auctions on ebay. This will kill two-hours easily.

-If it has been more than an hour since your last two-hour shit, take another one. Again, reading material is vital.

Hope this helps. And Christ, rain sucks.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Wait, really? Huh.

Sometimes (okay, often) something happens in the world of motorsports that completely sails past our collective heads. 747- flyby would be an accurate description. You can call it an "ah ha" moment or a "no-shit" moment. This is something that most people know (we think), but really caught us off guard.

Thanks to Jayski for tipping us off to fact that Cal Wells is Michael Waltrip Racing's Vice President. Apparently he has been there since the teams' inception (when they bought up many assets of his old PPI outfit). Well, no shit.

Wow, two-years ago called, they wanted their news back.

Check out the above Wikipedia-link to PPI. It's pretty interesting. Off-road racing with Ivan Stewart, CART with Robby Gordon, Cristiano da Matta, et al. Atlantic's with Dan Wheldon. Interesting indeed.

Nazi sexpert

Being a Nazi-orgy expert could be the coolest job ever.

The FIA has decided the best way to handle Max Mosley's sex practices is to appoint "an independent expert to investigate allegations that the sex scandal... included Nazi role playing."

The following questions come to mind:

-Who could possibly be an expert in determining the Nazi-ness of an orgy?

-Is there a union for such experts?

-What qualifications are needed to obtain such positions?

One could only hope the answers to the above are, 'most people,' 'yes,' and 'not much'.

Regardless of the sexpert's findings, June 3rd is still the day of reckoning for everyone's favorite sicko.

-F1 governing body asks expert to probe Nazi link

Monday, May 5, 2008

First Speedway SNAFU

The dubious honor of being the first to make contact with the SAFER-barriers during the month of May goes to.... Drum roll please... Jaime Camara. He had posted a best lap of 218.264 this afternoon, before making contact with the turn-one wall. The track was red-flagged for SAFER-barriers repairs. Camara is being transported to Methodist Hospital complaining of back pain. He exited his car under his own power.

Certainly an inauspicious start to the month for Camara, who took the reins of the Conquest Racing mount from Franck Perera starting in Kansas.


According to the IndyStar, Camara's X-rays were negative. He will be evaluated tomorrow morning to determine if he will be cleared to drive.

Weekend recap

What you missed while watching the NBA and NHL playoffs, the Kentucky Derby, MLB, and a Cops mini-marathon on G4 (yes, that is a real channel).

-In Richmond, Kyle Busch wrecked everybody. Yes, everybody. In both Nationwide and Cup. Well done, sir. Clint Bowyer won the Cup race. Denny Hamlin took Friday's Nationwide event.

-The NHRA was in St. Louis. Read about the action here. Pro-winners are as follows:

Top Fuel:
(W) Rod Fuller (Caterpillar Dragster) 0.071 4.525; 328.70
(L) Tony Schumacher (U.S. Army Dragster) 0.061 4.583; 325.45

Funny Car:
(W) Tim Wilkerson (Levi, Ray & Shoup Impala) 0.074 4.874; 317.27
(L) Mike Neff (Old Spice Mustang) 0.079 4.886; 321.58

Pro Stock:
(W) Kurt Johnson (AC Delco Cobalt) 0.051 6.631; 209.30
(L) Dave Connolly (Charter Communications Cobal 0.144 6.651; 208.78

Pro Stock Bike:
(W) Andrew Hines (Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines 0.084 6.882; 194.13
(L) Matt Smith (NitroFish/Torco Buell) 0.085 8.098; 114.02

-The Speedway has opened. ROP kicked things-off. Nobody wadded anything up and most everybody completed the four-phases of orientation. Let Robin Miller expand.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Busch v. Earnhardt

Kyle Busch has a predisposition for wrecking folks and few could escape his wrath at Richmond. Friday night was a confrontation with Steve Wallace (complete with name calling). Saturday, Busch played wreck-um with Dale Earnhardt Jr., costing either a shot at victory. Busch was later hunted down and stoned in a back alley outside of the track by members of the Junior Nation. As for the wreck, judge for yourself.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Busch v. Wallace

Steve Wallace finished behind Kyle Busch in last night's Nationwide race at Richmond. A war of words and indecipherable insults (on Wallace's part. Seriously, what the hell is this guy saying?) were tossed back and forth between the two, coming to a head when Wallace approached Busch's Toyota after the race, grabbed his helmet and shook. If the story ended there, it would be pretty funny. But, post-race interviews lead to Busch making fun of Wallace and his father Rusty. Wallace (Steve, that is) later responded by calling Busch "a big tall big-ear loser..."

Enjoy the final laps of the race, plus the ensuing insults.

-Wallace, Busch trade barbs following Richmond Nationwide race

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400 preview

Each week Ridebuyer delves deep into the misunderstood, oft terrifying, world of American saloon-car racing known as NASCAR.

This week: Richmond. RB'er has a new lead candidate in our quest for NASCAR's most ridiculous sponsor-laden race name. The Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400 now has the point, followed closely by the Goody's Cool Orange 500. As a reminder, the race with the most absurd name will win a season ending, profanity-laced, Buzz Bissinger-infuriating, assault-post that may or may not feature moderate to hard core pornography. You've been warned.

TV: Fox 7:00pm EST (Saturday)
Location: Richmond International Raceway (Richmond, VA)
Distance: 300 miles/400 laps
2007 winners: J. Johnson (spring race); J. Johnson (fall race).
*A note about whisky sponsorship*

This marks the second season where the spring race at Richmond features the name of some random-dude in its proper title. Last year the honor went to a Jim Stewart from Houma, LA who penned a heartwarming tale about past experiences involving Crown Royal. This year's honor goes to Dan Lowry, who, like Stewart before him, was able to articulate his (responsible) love of whisky in a manner worthy of race-title inclusion. This contest is not a joke. Whisky enthusiasts actually wrote stories about significant moments in their lives where 'Crown played a prevalent role. The best entry gets the author's name in the race title.

That got us thinking about next year, and the inevitable entry that will come from our camp. Hum... Whisky, you say?
The night was cold but the smooth whiskey warmed my shirtless body. The shirt was torn and tattered, resting on the floor next to her lifeless body. Hookers who steal crank deserve to be beaten. Had I gone too far? Her rate was excessive and she was a thief, but the coffee pot I used to bludgeon her provided neither a quick nor clean death. No matter, what's done is done, disposal is now the priority. Another Crown Royal highball goes down. The full, robust and perfectly balanced flavor dulls my senses and minimizes the severity of what just transpired. While taking my last pull from the snifter-glass, a solution to my problems become clear. 40% alcohol by volume equates to 80-proof. 80-proof will light-up flesh like the 4th of July.
Two hours and three handles of 'Crown later the problem was solved. My living room smelled like shit, but my wife would be none the wiser.

Thank you, Crown Royal-

We will keep you abreast of our entry's status. Come 2009, be ready for the Crown Royal Presents The Ridebuyer 400. It has a special ring to it.

*What to know:
Richmond was one of the many tracks dominated by Hendrick Motorsports last season. Jimmie Johnson swept both races, capturing the pole for the fall event (Jeff Gordon started from the pole in the last spring race). Hendrick-teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. returns to Richmond and the place of his last Cup victory (two years ago). It the risk of sounding ignorant, one would assume a Hendrick car (even Casey Mears has been on a tear of late) would be a clear favorite this weekend.
Hendrick-guys were the clear favorite to win last weekend. In fact, we were so confidant that a Hendrick car would win at Talladega absurd statements were made concerning wild lions and boxing. Win, they did not. No such claim shall be made this weekend. Hendrick, like a woefully nonathletic child, has been a disappointment. The bandwagon has been dismounted.

View Larger Map

Richmond International Raceway is 3/4 mile, 14 degree- short track that is a throwback to NASCAR's roots. The first Cup race was held at the Virgina track in 1953 (Lee Petty won), since RIR has solidified itself as one of the primer night-racing venues in the country. (Every spectator event at RIR is "under the lights" including Cup, Nationwide, USAC and IndyCar events.) The track has a bullring-feel about it, as fans nearly sit on top of the action. 5,000 additional seats were recently added, ballooning capacity to 112,029.

Look for a decent number of laps to run under caution, (the record for yellow-flags is 15, set in 2003) and as Darrel Waltrip says, cautions breed cautions. This will likely led to a race void of long green flag runs, thus the possibilities of a fuel mileage race are small. Throw all this out the window if the first 100 laps are caution-free. If that happens, we look silly for two-weeks in a row.

*Who to watch:

Denny Hamlin: Never, under any circumstance, underestimate the power of a home field advantage. Hamlin is from Chesterfield, Virgina and has run like a possessed bat at RIR. In four career RIR starts, he has an average finish of 6.5. He has never won the race, but has second and third place RIR finishes padding his resume. He has six top-10 this year and sits forth in the points.
Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has never finished in the top-5 at RIR. He only has two top-10 finishes. That's not much to write home about. But alas, Bowyer has an average finish 0f 10.8 in the Virgina capital during four career starts. Humm. Consistency, impressive. He ranks seventh in the points and Richard Childress Racing has been on the ball this season with Bowyer's teammate Jeff Burton leading the points. Childress' team will likely be the most competitive Chevy's in the field. Bowyer also has top-10 runs at the previous two short track races this season (Bristol and Martinsville).
Jimmy Johnson: Despite being off of the Hendrick-bandwagon, and ready to proclaim the team's total scrubness at the drop of a hat, you should watch Johnson Saturday night. His record speaks for itself at RIR. No really, it's that good. Just look at his stats. He was a monster on short tracks (ok, all tracks) last year and is currently fifth in the points. Telling people to watch for him is like saying the Patriots are a threat to win the AFC. Digression. Um... Johnson could win.
*Dark Horse:
Kasey Kahne: Kahne has quietly fallen in the points this season to 13th. He started the year with three consecutive top-10 runs, but has tailed off as of late. However, He has good equipment and has shown speed at RIR in the past. (2005 spring race-pole and win). He ran seventh at Bristol this year, which means he must run well at RIR. Right? There are both short tracks, you know.

*For those heading to the track:

Honestly, we know very little about the city Richmond or the racetrack located therein. Here is the Wikipedia page for the town. Read it, maybe you can learn something. The extent of the firsthand knowledge we have of Richmond (the city, that is) is from a buddy who once went for a work-related training session. He said it was pretty shitty, and kind of ghetto. He made the point of mentioning that Richmond strip clubs require dancers to wear those odd disks over their nipples. So, if you are looking for someplace to go after the race Saturday night, you might be disappointed with a strip club. Tailgating information can be found here. The most important item: fannypacks are allowed.
*Series points:


Next weekend: Darlington Raceway. NASCAR takes South Carolina by storm! Man, I hope Myrtle Beach get destroyed. That place is gross.