Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sprint Cup 2011: Race 24: Beatin' and Bangin' at Bristol!

A famous Charles Dickens line describes the fate of Stewart-Haas racing entering tonight’s 500 lap demolition derby at Bristol Motor Speedway. Ryan Newman sits on the poll while Tony Stewart, who blew his qualifying attempt and enters via owner’s points starts 42 down with the slugs and screwballs. With three races left to go, Newman looks close to certain to make “The Chase” in 7th place with one win. Tony Stewart is clinging to the top ten in 10th place just 14 points above Clint Bowyer. Newman is poised to run well tonight while Stewart will have to kiss lady luck and race with reckless abandon to improve his prospects. Drivers don’t generally win from deep, deep in the field when racing in Thunder Valley.

The competition for making “The Chase” has two separate paths. The first is which drivers who will remain winless will make the show. Currently, that would involve Dale Earnhardt Jr. (700 pts.) and his pal, Tony Stewart (694 pts.) in the top 10. With Clint Bowyer (670 pts.), Greg Biffle (636 pts.) or more remotely, A.J. Allmendinger (632 pts), all need strong results or a win to make the field. The second path is for the two Wild Card spots, Brad Keselowski who has suddenly become a serious mature driver not the pain-in-the-ass buck toothed kid is red hot and has two wins. He’s almost certainly in. Denny Hamlin would be the second driver to get in with one win in 14th place. He’s competing with Paul Menard, 18th and David Regan, 20th to make the field with one win. Hamlin (635 pts.) is frustrated and not racing well leads Menard (617 pts.) by only 18 points while David Regan (604 pts.) lurks another 13 points behind. Any of these three drivers could secure their fate by winning a second race.

Few tracks demonstrate better the need to eliminate the absurd start and park entries and reduce the field to a committed, competitive field. Three trash heaps did not make the field. They take their trash home without taking a green flag. Meanwhile, the following drivers conspire to destroy the legitimacy of their sport, showing up, running a few laps, getting in the way of competing drivers who start to lap the field very quickly on the fast high banked half mile short track. The potential trash heaps start with the most flagrant offender who will try to elicit sympathy and nice-guy the sports world to death for his situation, Joe Nemechek starts 28th.  Casey Mears starts 29th – will he or won’t he? His ride adds a new dimension to start and park foolishness since he has a highly recognized sponsor, GEICO, on his rear quarter panels. David Stremme (#30) occupies 31st while Michael McDowell the avatar for Phil Parson’s rip-off scheme starts the #66 car in 32nd.  The next trash heaps are entered in 36th and 37th, Scott Speed (#46) and David Starr (#95). The travesty continues with Robby Gordon (#7) who may or may not compete. Terry Labonte used the Past Champion’s provisional to make the field in car #32 in 41st. He’s engaged in defrauding his sport earlier this year. Will he pull off in this race? He should kiss his almost sure shot at entering the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a two time champion for disgracing the sport that so honored him. Meanwhile, the aged whiner, Mike Skinner (#60) starts in dead last.  All these drivers will take home a decent paycheck for doing absolutely NOTHING adding to the millions paid to non-competitors.  The game NASCAR and its media partners are playing, hoping no one will notice by keeping quiet is a disgusting joke. At a track with limited pit space especially, these teams are trashing up the field diluting true competition. That the sport condones this destroys the integrity of the sport. Such is life in NASCAR since the passing of Bill France Jr.

Here’s how the top of the field lines up:
1-      Ryan Newman, #39, Chevrolet
2-      Carl Edwards, #99, Ford
3-      Matt Kenseth, #17, Ford
4-      Jeff Gordon, #24, Chevrolet
5-      Mark Martin, #5, Chevrolet
6-      Jamie McMurray, #1, Chevrolet
7-      Paul Menard, #27, Chevrolet
8-      Brad Keselowski, #2, Dodge
9-      Joey Logano, #20, Toyota
10-  Kurt Busch, #22, Dodge
11-  Marcos Ambrose, #9, Ford
12-  Regan Smith, #12, Chevrolet
13-  Jimmie Johnson, #48, Chevrolet
14-  Greg Biffle, #16, Ford
15-  Kevin Harvick, #29, Chevrolet

Meanwhile, Kyle Busch who currently leads the points standings and has four victories heading for the top seed in the chase, winner of last night’s Nationwide race, starts 23rd. Oh by the way, for those who think he’s not been much of a factor so far this year, Jimmie Johnson is in 2nd place in points, but his Chase seeding would go behind the drivers who have two or more victories, Kevin Harvick with three wins and the following top ten drivers with two: Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon. Does anybody think Johnson might just sneak in a win to put himself higher up, possibly 3rd in the seedings?

Other drivers of note show Clint Bowyer (#33) starting 16th, Denny Hamlin (#11) starts 20th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (#88) starts 22nd.

While Hurricane Irene hammers folks to the east, the weather should be perfect for racing tonight, clear skies with temperatures in the low 60’s.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sprint Cup 2011: Race 23 -- Back to Motown

First, here’s to the “Thunder from Down Under,” Marcos Ambrose, who not only won his first Sprint Cup race last Sunday at Watkins Glen but he also nabbed a Nationwide Trophy for another road course victory at Montreal. Now, like Juan Pablo Montoya, when will he get his first oval win?

The victory is a much needed boost for the fortunes of Richard Petty Motorsports who’ve only seen victory lane with departed driver, Kasey Kahne.

NASCAR security should be checking to see if Boris Said is in the stands at Michigan today or if any of his Said-Heads are armed. The reason, Greg Biffle, the subject of Said’s fury after a run-in on the track last week, sits on the pole. Biffle is generally a strong chase contender in desperate need of some solid performances if he’s going to participate this year.

The top starters have a characteristic heavy Roush presence and other Michigan top performers atop today’s starting field. The one noteworthy exception is Carl Edwards starting in 22nd perhaps showing the wisdom of racing in both Nationwide and Sprint Cup when the races are at separate venues the same weekend is not a good idea.

Here are today’s top starters:

1-      Greg Biffle, #16, Ford
2-      Matt Kenseth, #17, Ford
3-      Ryan Newman, #39, Chevrolet
4-      Denny Hamlin, #11, Toyota
5-      Mark Martin, #5, Chevrolet
6-      Brad Keselowski, #2, Dodge
7-      David Ragan, #6, Ford
8-      Dale Earnhardt Jr., #88, Chevrolet
9-      Jeff Gordon, #24, Chevrolet
10-  Jamie McMurray, #1, Chevrolet
11-  Paul Menard, #27, Chevrolet
12-  David Reutiman, #00, Toyota
13-  Kurt Busch, #22, Dodge
14-  Kasey Kahne, #4, Toyota
15-  Martin Truex, #56, Toyota
16-  Marcos Ambrose, #9, Ford
17-  Kyle Busch, #18, Toyota
18-  Tony Stewart, #14, Chevrolet
19-  Jimmie Johnson, #48, Chevrolet
20-  Trevor Bayne, #21, Ford

The pressure is on Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart who are winless so far this season. They must maintain or improve their current position in the points standings at #9 and #10 or lose out for their seed in to fight for the championship. Clint Bowyer is in 11th, 28 points out but is likewise winless. Denny Hamlin, 12th in points with one win and Brad Keselowski who gained four positions last week and owns two wins would be the second wild card, 14th in the standings. Paul Menard is in 15th win one win. He probably needs another win to get in as a wild card with today’s race, Bristol, Atlanta, and Richmond remaining. Marcos Ambrose and David Ragan in 22nd and 23rd each have a win but must move up into the top 20 to be eligible. They have two hurdles to jump for their participation, another win and moving into the top 20 which the points differential should allow with good finishes. If Hamlin moves into the top 10 in points, he’ll open up another wild card spot. He’s 33 points out of the top ten. Keselowski is more likely to remain a wild card given he has more than a 50 point deficit to make up to enter the top 10.

The usual gang of slugs has shown up to accept their NASCAR welfare checks. Among those going home is Erik Darnell who possibly could have been a competitor, but is a marginal team at best. There are at least five sure bets to pull off the track including #60 Mike “the whiner” Skinner; #87 Joe “the wreck” Nemechek; and #66 Todd “the clod” Bodine. We report gladly, that Robby Gordon’s surrogate, Johnny Sauter did not make the field.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

The 2011 Orioles have all but assured the fans of Baltimore they will lose at lease 90 games but after tonight’s loss are now on pace to lose 100. If one were to lay odds on the outcome at the end of the season, the smart money would go on at least 100 losses.

Okay, they’re not the 1988 Orioles that lost 107 games and started the season with a 21 game losing streak. Statistically, it’s hard to imagine a season that bad would be repeated; however, expectations were very low for the team which was clearly in rebuild mode. 1Perhaps the most painful year was 1986. Earl Weaver had been coaxed out of retirement the previous season to attempt to put the fire back in a team that looked complacent. 1986 started off well enough, but with an aging nucleus and having players who clearly were as far from the Oriole Way (an obsolete concept on how players prepared for their game) most notably druggie 2nd baseman Alan Wiggins. August 6, 1986 will be an eternal dark date in Orioles history. A steamy humid night with thunderstorms in the air, the Orioles hit two grand slams but lost 13-11 against the Texas Rangers. They collapsed from 2nd place hot in contention to last place. Weaver had never known a losing career nor finishing in last place.

In hindsight, as horrible as those painful seasons in the 1980’s were, nobody had a clue just how bad, bad could be. Last year’s Orioles were dreadful, no question thing, heading toward perhaps a historically bad season playing .278 baseball, 15-39 upon the dismissal of hapless manager, Dave Trembley. In early August, Buck Showalter was hired as skipper. Suddenly, the young team with some firm leadership came together going 34-23 for the last two months, a .596 pct.

Following GM, Andy McPhail’s blue print, raise the pitching buy the bats, with what appeared to be a strong young rotation finding its pace, the team added Derrick Lee at 1B, J.J. Hardy at SS, Mark Reynolds at 3B, and Vladmir Guerrero at DH. None of these players were likely superstars but all were proven offense generators who’d upgrade the team. However, after winning five of their first six games, quickly the promise of a team that was looking like a sure bet to finally have a winning season, familiar frustration get in getting progressively more frustrating as the season progressed. Brian Matusz who showed so much promise was dispatch to the DL. Brian Roberts suffered a concussion against Boston from a head first slide on May 16th seeming to gut the team of its spark. All young starters spare Jake Arrieta spent substantial time in Norfolk or Bowie. Arrieta struggled more going deeper into the season heading to the DL for season ending elbow surgery. As June passed into July, it was looking clear, the Orioles were heading to their 14th losing season. Mark Reynolds lived up to his reputation, hitting lots of homeruns but also striking out frequently. J.J. Hardy has proven one of the season’s few bright spots hampered by some nagging injuries, but Derrick Lee was a total bust aside from showing the team how first base is fielded properly. He was traded to Pittsburgh. Vladmir Guerrero gets his hits but his power and RBI bat are gone!

A sickly revelation is setting in throughout Birdland. This is not an up and coming young team right on the verge of being a winner. It’s a team with huge gaps and many unanswered questions. This much is known, the Orioles could claim the following players as a strong nucleus: Shortstop, J.J. Hardy; Centerfielder, Adam Jones; Right fielder, Nick Markakis; and Catcher, Matt Wieters. With no return in sight spending most of the season on the disabled list for the second season in a row, Brian Roberts, once the team’s most solid and predictable player provides nothing certain any longer. Not a single young starter has proven himself as a sure major league pitcher, though Jake Arrieta looks the most promising. Enduring season ending elbow surgery quickly throws up the caution lights. Brian Matusz, Brad Bergessen, Zach Britton and Chris Tillman are much less certain prospects than they were in April. The bullpen has been a disaster through out the year. Left field looks like a position much in need of an upgrade, Luke Scott is out for the season, but is a serious liability in the field. While Felix Pie might be a five tool player – now more than ever, he shows he couldn’t tell a hammer from a screwdriver. Nolan Reimold is currently getting the chance to prove himself, but has hardly eliminated any doubts.

Given such a dreadful history and destroying the hopes raised last year, the situation looks as bad as it did when Andy McPhail arrived, but if good baseball men like McPhail and Buck Showalter can’t get the Baltimore Orioles in winning form, the grounds for optimism are arid. Should the team stick with McPhail and Showalter or have another management shakeup? Should the current team by blown up and built from scratch again? How much real talent is in the pipeline in the minor league system? If rebuilding is once again called for, what players could the team move who’d get value in return?

It’s another lost summer in Camden Yards, but can anyone see Orioles Magic poised for a comeback. Kids would have to be in college and have a good memory to recall when the Orioles last had a winning season. Baltimore was without football for a shorter period of time than the Orioles’ long run of futility. It’s to the point now where only magic appears as what’s needed to win.

Start brewing up the magic potions.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Union Terrorism

It is time for Americans to fight back against union tyranny and terrorism.

Phone lines cut in Pennsylvania, an open shop contractor in Toledo, Ohio suffered a gunshot wound after suffering from vandalism and intimidation, tires slash, windows broken, workers stalked by union goons – all this is in the name of union activity. That a private contractor, John King, would have been attacked at him home shot in his left arm, fortunately just a single shot, under these terms paints a much bigger picture. The Union Movement, in these cases electronic workers, take the left-wing notion of the ends justify the means, and quite simply are guilty of DOMESTIC TERRORISM.

Cutting phone lines not only disrupts service but in so doing prevents live saving communication including 911 calls to go through as well as necessary communication in the name of public safety. Trespassing and destroying private property and engaging in physical violence is NEVER justified, but going as far as attempted murder at a private residence takes the matter to a higher level.

We’ve seen how the mob rules technique, in essence rioting in Wisconsin, through its state capital into a complete shutdown for weeks as the Republican legislature attempted to wrestle with serious state budget issues requiring some rollbacks on union benefits.

These extreme examples show that breaking the law is no big deal to union goons who have a long history of violence against those who get in their way. It also highlights what is at the core of union activity; the ends always justify the means. When it comes to breaking the law, just don’t get caught. If caught, point the finger outside the movement.

After years in decline significantly hastened by the Air Traffic Controllers’ illegal strike resulting in President Ronald Reagan firing those who refused a back to work order, the unions put tremendous effort into supporting pro-labor candidates in the 2008 election. With the public frustration with the economy blaming the outgoing Bush administration as the scapegoat, the Democratic Party was poised for huge gains. The unions put their money where their subversive mouth was giving huge sums of money to their candidates particularly Barack Obama, a once in a century left-wing activist with a pure socialist view toward public policy.

Never before has the Union movement had a more sympathetic and unrestrained supporter than the Obama administration who openly support even some of the most extreme union demands. The “Card Check” proposal that would ban secret ballots in union certification votes is one such item. Employees deserve the right to be able to vote privately whether they support union representation. Under “Card Check” union loyalists would circulate the place of employment soliciting votes in person potentially subjecting them to intimidation from mild to severe to support the union position.

Showing unprecedented support for Labor, the Obama packed, National Labor Relations Board is attempting to forbid Boeing from opening a new factory in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, instead of expanding its manufacturing presence in Washington, a pro-union state attempting to punish a major United States corporation for seeking greener pastures. The long term result, why should American companies build product in the United States when they can do so overseas without such costly restrictions.

Is it any wonder that union goons would feel emboldened to commit acts of treachery when they feel so much support at the highest level in the Federal Government? The Obama Administration’s stance of unions is one of the most compelling reasons why Americans who believe in personal freedom, free enterprise, and the rule of law must defeat his administration and his supporters on Capitol Hill in the next election. The need to take on unions is even more crucial on the state level where union contracts have crippled and bankrupted many states’ ability to function financially.

It’s hard to judge which label is more onerous, “Made in China” or the Union label. Pick your poison. Neither are doing the American economy any good.


The American Flag and the Rules: Fox News Distortion

What’s so terrible about flying the American flag? Nothing, unless someone displays a flag on property where he or she signed an agreement that prohibited doing so.  The story is told again and again. It appears every time there is an instant where a private citizen is facing consequences for flying an American Flag, the Fox News network will sniff out the story and attempt to gin up a sense of outrage that private citizens are being prohibited their right to express their patriotism as if the First Amendment to the Constitution itself is under attack. They’ll trot out distinguish awarded World War Two veterans, purple heart recipients, and other sympathetic characters all of whom have a common refrain that they have sacrificed for their country, and they should be allowed to honor the country for whom they’ve sacrificed.

Hold back on the sympathy and outrage.  In every case, the person protesting flag flying restrictions had either signed a lease or a neighborhood association agreement which indicated what they were doing was restricted. As such, the true outrage is not the outrage for not being allowed to fly the flag but instead anger at getting caught.

When properly displayed, the American flag is source of pride and inspiration to those who appreciate the gifts of American citizenship; however, location is everything. Some cases have involved the display of ghastly large flags as if the bigger the flag is, the more patriotic the intent of the person who displayed it. Some are so large to be tacky and disrespectful.

While there are plenty instances of citizens being unfairly prohibited from flying the American Flag or expressing their religion in public, where people have signed contracts where they have agreed to certain restrictions, ignorance of the agreement is no excuse for non-compliance. There is no ground for real sympathy. Their only course of action is to petition to have the regulations changed.

That Fox News continues to make these episodes hard news sympathetic to those attempting to fly American flags contrary to regulations is hardly fair and balanced reporting. It is advocacy journalism reported on the basis of a false premise. Such reportage doesn’t to anybody any good. It only stirs up emotions on nebulous grounds. If that’s a ploy to hype up ratings shame on them.

Here's an article from Fox News' website that makes our point:


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Patriotic Millionaire Nonsense

If some millionaires believe those having their level of wealth should be compelled to pay more taxes is absolute nonsense!  The implication is that millionaires and billionaires who do not want to fork over more of their money to the government thus are less that patriotic. That’s bullshit!

The bottom line in our society, money belongs to individual citizens who’ve earned it through wages, investments, and other legitimate pursuits. It’s not money that the elites of society have been empowered to decide how to allocate where they feel it is best put to use.

The dump on the rich, class warfare game that the Democratic Party is playing is a crass political ploy to develop resentment between an impressionable block of voters and those who are the real movers of our economy. The public is dumb enough to buy it.

The logic of the rich should support measures to pay more taxes is patriotic simply is not logical.  Where is their duty to speak up and demand the state seize more of their assets?

Being rich and patriotic can come in many forms.  For some, it’s contributing generously to agencies and causes in their community.  Go to many hospitals and see how many have suites or other parts of the facility are named for some wealthy benefactor who contributed significantly to upgrade the hospital.

For others, it’s supporting such institutions as art museums, parks, symphony orchestras and other gathering places which add to the quality of life in their locale.

There are numerous other causes, institutions, and people oriented programs that benefit tremendously from the VOLUNTARY contributions from those society considers wealthy.

Yet, do those with a lot of money have to do any of the above to be patriotic? Of course not. Their involvement in the economy creates and sustains jobs. Even the pursuit of luxuries many middle class people can’t afford such as lavish country clubs or corporate jets benefit the entire community. Country Clubs employ grounds men, custodians, waiters, bartenders, locker room attendants, golf professionals, caddies, and an administrative staff – all of whom earn a living from the recreation of the rich. Corporate jets provide jobs too. First, lots of jobs are involved in the manufacturing process and this industry still resides many in America. The planes need to be maintained and kept at an airport. Almost all have hired pilots. Jobs, jobs, jobs.

If folks resent the rich, it’s more a case they are passive aggressively admitting they’re losers. There is no class system with hard ceilings in the United States. A person who is willing to obtain an education (sometimes working to pay for that education and not depending on government loans or maybe even obtaining a scholarship financed by a wealthy person), show tremendous self-discipline and work like hell, can become very wealthy. Many of them find their road to riches starting small businesses. It doesn’t take much in expenses to make $250,000 a very humble family income if a good part of that income is dedicated to running a small business.

There is nothing to prevent Warren Buffett from donating huge chunks of his billions to the government. All he needs to do is determine how much and write a check. In the meantime, Buffett and his accountants work hard to make sure he receives every cent the law entitles him to keep within current tax laws. Even among the wealthiest of the wealthy, Warren Buffett is a very wealthy guy.

Our society will be the healthiest and ultimately the tax collections will receive the most money if the private sector economy is thriving. Confiscating wealth from those who best know how to generate it helps no one.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sprint Cup 2011: Race 22 -- Road Wars at the Glen

The Sprint Cup tour lands in upstate New York for their second road race of the year at Watkins Glen. Between the Brickyard and Richmond, this is one of the events during the real final drive for inclusion in The Chase which can really shake up the standings. Some drivers skillful at road racing will attempt to capitalize on the chance. Others will try to hold their own and not do any damage. Some significant rides also often have a damaging afternoon. Looking at the top starters, one can immediately see how road racing highlights the skill sets of some particular drivers, some of whom really need a break to have something to hang on as a legitimate accomplishment for the 2011 season. Here are the top starters:

1- Kyle Busch, #18, Toyota
2- A.J. Allmendinger, #43, Ford
3- Marcos Ambrose, #9, Ford
4- Jimmie Johnson, #48, Chevrolet
5- Juan Montoya, #42, Chevrolet
6- Ryan Newman, #39, Chevrolet
7- Tony Stewart, #14, Chevrolet
8- Carl Edwards, #99, Ford
9- Martin Truex Jr., #56, Toyota
10- Regan Smith, #78, Chevrolet
11- Bobby Labonte, #47, Toyota
12- Brad Keselowski, #2, Dodge
13- Joey Logano, #20, Toyota
14- Jamie McMurray, #1, Chevrolet
15- Boris Said, #9,

Chevrolet No doubt Richard Petty’s drivers starting 2nd and 3rd will want to hustle for being in position to win. Marcose Ambrose will never live down his error that robbed him of a win at Infineon unless he does win a road course win. The drivers starting sixth and seventh particularly seventh need a good showing to help nail down their chase possibilities. 2011 has been a dreadful season for Tony Stewart who could miss the chase without some substantial improvement. Surely, as long as he can stay in the top 20, Brad Keselowski has one of the wild card spots nailed. The drivers at the bottom of the top ten without a win are very vulnerable. Stewart’s teammate Ryan Newman has a win to enhance his prospects.

Road Races often see the contemptuous slugs attempting to complete much of the race. At this point in the season where they’ve have trashed their reputations and interfered with legitimate competition hardly makes it matter what they do, but the longer they are on the track the more likely they might be involved in an incident no mater how much they pussy foot their way around the track. That Joe Nemechek the most persistent freeloader starts 21st puts more than half the field behind him with the 87 car serving as a needless obstruction. These bumbling boobs are ripping off millions in purse money for not competing – certainly one of the most puzzling and disturbing curiosities in contemporary sports today. NASCAR must address the situation. Fans will not care if the starting field is significantly reduced and having entries all committed to competition could markedly improve the sport.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Sprint Cup 2011: Race 21: A Historically Awful Afternoon at Pocono

A bad track, bad weather, little real racing, and an unprecedented number of drivers pulling out of the race refusing to compete made today’s race in Long Pond, PA the lowest point of the 2011 Sprint Cup season which NASCAR could well be oblivious to seeing the obvious black eye such a fiasco has given this tedious event.

Sprint Cup racing at Pocono is a frustrating affair. Let’s be honest, although the track provides its own challenges and cannot be branded another cookie cutter 1 ½ or 2 mile track, its differences neither make for better racing or a better experience for the fans. At 500 miles twice a year with only a few weeks between races in June and early August, the races are too long. 350 miles might be more satisfactory, but it’s a horrible venue to begin with. Being close to Philadelphia and New York with range of other population centers, the Pocono location could be a good one, but from the horrible access to enter the track’s campus to the dreadful sight lines and configuration, Pocono Raceway is a dreadful fan experience. The only access to the track which isn’t pure torture is from the North off of Interstate 80, but even that’s not as logistically sound as entry into most tracks. Once at the track, there is only grandstand seating along the front straightaway which is just that – straight giving fans very little to see in front of them since the walls and seating configuration blocks out much of the track. Once cars go into turn one they virtually disappear until they round turn two but are so far away with some stretches obstructed, that viewing is not good either. Cars go into turn three in the strange triangle configuration and then follow the straightaway where fans can turn to their left and see the transition but once they are on the straightaway, there’s not much to be seen. If there’s a track on the circuit that should be replaced or have its events moved, Pocono is the worst track on the circuit but since it’s one of the only tracks not owned by the France Family’s group or Bruton Smith – that’s not going to happen any time soon. A two hour rain delay today only added to the frustration.

Brad Keselowski, driving with a strained back and broken ankle fought courageously to bring home the victory, but there is so little quality racing, it’s more a matter of when does a car have the chance to opportunistically take the lead and who’s lucky enough to get some distance at the end wins. There is seldom side-by-side true contention or much mixing up in the field. IT’/S NOT GOOD RACING!!!!

For the record, the top finishers are:
1. Brad Keselowski, #2, Dodge
2. Kyle Busch, #18, Toyota
3. Kurt Busch, #22, Dodge
4. Jimmie Johnson, #48, Chevrolet
5. Ryan Newman, #39, Chevrolet
6. Jeff Gordon, #24, Chevrolet
7. Carl Edwards, #99, Ford
8. Greg Biffle, #16, Ford
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr., #88, Chevrolet
10. Paul Menard, #27, Chevrolet

Movement in the point standings among top contenders shows Keselowski the big winner for picking up three positions putting him in the top 20 and with two wins holding one of the two wild card positions for “The Chase.” Kyle Busch gained one position moving to 3rd while his brother picked up two spots to secure 4th. Making room for them was Kevin Harvick who dropped two positions to 5th while Matt Kenseth dropped from 5th to 6th. Outside the top ten, the other big mover is Mark Martin who moved up three spots to 15th keeping his faint “Chase” hopes alive. David Ragan lost three positions dropping to 19th and his wild card spot being behind Keselowski with two wins and Paul Menard who is in 12th with one win. This all but voids his shot at the Chase barring a 2nd win or Menard completely collapsing.

An unprecedented NINE cars engaged in “start and park.” Their presence at the race track is not welcome as they are an embarrassment to competitive sports while NASCAR looks the other way. Making matters worse, such insanity now moves up to the 35th position. Given that three cars that would not compete did not qualify, that’s twelve cars entered in the Pocono race that showed up with no intention to race.

Here’s today’s freeloading slugs. They should be suspended for the rest of the season. Enough is enough.

35. Robby Gordon #7
36. Casey Mears, #13
37. Todd Bodine, #66
38. David Stremme, #30
39. Brian Vickers, #83
40. Scott Speed, #37
41. Joe Nemechek, #87
42. Erik Darnell #46
43. J.J. Yeley, #55

The amount of purse money wasted on these shameful do-nothings will be posted tomorrow. NASCAR and its media outlets are succeeding in keeping attention minimal where only fans who look at the race results and stats notice. Nice work, NASCAR!!!


Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Deficit and Credit Ratings: Truth Will Set Us Free

Here comes the blame game. Factions in the Liberal mainstream media and the Democratic Party are going full speed ahead to obscure the real culprits and causes while resorting to all out demagoguery to corrupt public opinion and obliterate the truth.

That Standard and Poor’s reduced the credit worthiness of United States’ bonds should surprise no one. If the reckless deficit spending is not enough, that so little was accomplished coming to grips with the problem and that politicians were acting like self-serving hacks far more dedicated to destroying their opponents than making any real progress further establishes the government of the United States is not exercising sound fiscal judgment. When a government has no financial self-discipline and no guiding principles guiding its fiduciary responsibilities, how can they be worthy of the highest AAA rating indicating the lowest level of risk?

While the Tea Party faction certainly showed a lack of political sophistication through out the crisis resolution process, give them credit for being the one political entity that recognized runaway deficit spending must stop and Federal spending must be scaled back. That is the same message the credit rating entities have established too. So how is it then that the Tea Party sympathizers are terrorists or held the American system hostage?

They’re being set up for the fall, to be the ones on whom the credit ratings reduction should be blamed when if the unthinkable had happened, and the Democratic led Senate and incompetent Obama White House had supported their position, the problem would have been avoided. That the Tea Party refused to give in to traditional Washington politics and compromise made them the easy target.

How hilarious it is in hindsight that the doomsayers were screaming credit reduction and a stock market crash would result if a deal weren’t struck by August 2nd the date on which America would have technically gone into default. Well, the market crashed anyway and the bond ratings were reduced in part because the deal struck did not go far enough.

The blame clearly belongs to Barack Obama and his agents in the Senate, most notably Majority Leader, Harry Reid, who used Senate rules and parliamentary shenanigans to keep house measures from a fair debate and vote in the upper chamber. While the Democrats screamed and hollered all the Republicans sought to do was block action, the House submitted a budget and two proposals or resoling the debt. Where were the Senate proposals until the 11th hour? The original position was to have a “clean” vote to simply raise the deficit limit. That’s all.

With only control of the House, the Republicans could only do so much. Had they not compromised, the political damage would have been severe. Americans prefer wishy-washy meaningless settlements in the name of compromise (as if that’s a virtue when one side is right and the other wrong). The Republicans knew this and submitted but there wasn’t much they could do.

Right now, it’s time to go on an all out public relations blitz to get the truth out and to refuse to let the Tea Party become scapegoats for what is truly Barack Obama’s fault. Obama is the ONLY president ever to have allowed the trust in American credit worthiness be called into question but with huge government spending programs added on top of an already weak financial situation, with the so-called stimulus, Obama-care, and many sellouts to organized labor including the GM/Chrysler efforts, also is responsible for pushing lending into unthinkable territory.

The private sector needs to be energized. There can be no threat of higher taxes. Taxes which inhibit investment must be eliminated. Dreadful over-regulation must be nullified including onerous laws like Frank-Dodd on banking and Sarbanes-Oxley which strangles business in red tape.

The only solution is that the Senate must change hands and a strong Republican President must be elected. The Tea Party will play a key roll in helping this come true if they are not marginalized and demonized which is exactly what’s playing out in the news right now.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sprint Cup 2011: Race 21 -- Pocono's 2nd Try

The starting lineup of tomorrow’s 500 mile Sprint Cup race at Pocono shows some teams getting some much needed redemption and a possible break to help find fortune in rather lackluster seasons. At the end of last year, it looked as if Joey Logano had arrived. He’d be competing among the best in 2011; however, the 2011 season has been a bust with the young driver looking overmatched. Catching the poll on a track that’s one of the most unique configurations in the whole sport speaks well for him if he can accomplish a clean race and gain a top five finish. Kasey Kahne has not accomplished what’s been expected of him in recent years during his year in a holding pattern with Red Bull waiting to move on to the #5 car with Hendrick next year. He’s start from the outside poll. Martin Truex Jr. who has been almost the invisible man this year starts third. Carl Edwards starts fourth as the first of the true chase contenders to earn a spot.

Here are the top entries:
1. Joey Logano #20, Toyota
2. Kasey Kahne, #4, Toyota
3. Martin Truex Jr. #45, Toyota
4. Carl Edwards #99, Ford
5. Kurt Busch #22, Dodge
6. Denny Hamlin #11, Toyota
7. Paul Menard #27, Chevrolet
8. Jeff Burton #31, Chevrolet
9. Greg Biffle #16, Ford
10. Kevin Harvick #29, Chevrolet
11. Kyle Busch #18, Toyota
12. Ryan Newman #39, Chevrolet
13. Brad Keselowski, #2, Dodge
14. Clint Bowyer #33, Chevrolet
15. David Ragan #6, Ford

The starting line up with four out of six Toyota’s representing their three top teams looks good for the “rice burners.” Conspicuously absent from the top of the line up are any of the four Hendrick rides. They don’t show up until Jimmie Johnson #48 in 18th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 in 19th. Jeff Gordon, winner of the June race at the Long Pond track, starts a miserable 31st.

The Sprint Cup slugs showed up in abundance this weekend, but three were eliminated in qualifying with no sponsored ride intending to compete being shut out by the shameless free loaders. Geoff Bodine #35, T.J. Bell #40, and Mike Skinner #60 go home. Meanwhile several likely quitters did make the field including Todd Bodine, racing for Phil Parson’s rip off operation in 30th. It’s likely at least six entries will pull off and park robbing from the purse of more qualified and deserving teams. Having watched some coverage of an ARCA race with only 35 entries, the field looked no less full with fewer cars. NASCAR MUST REDUCE THE STARTING FIELD if it can’t be assured all entries will at least strive to finish the race and give a good fight to finish on the lead lap.

Reducing the number of starting entries on the top level and Nationwide would only serve to make ALL series more competitive as it would require higher levels of achievement to compete that the top and make teams fight harder for what berths remain. The notion of a professional sport serving as a quasi-welfare operation for unsatisfactory teams is simply a sad spectacle that cheapens the whole sport and the integrity of NASCAR as a sanctioning body. If NASCAR is too cowardly or complacent to address the issue before the end of the 2011 season, it must be addressed with new procedures in place for 2012.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sprint Cup 2011: Race 20: Quick Brickyard Wrap-Up

The big story coming out of the Brickyard 400 much be as much one of fortune than marking any trend, but four of the series biggest races featured first time winners starting with Trevor Bayne winning the Daytona 500 in February. Regan Smith won the Southern 500 in Darlington. David Ragan won the second Daytona race, the Coke Zero 400, and now Paul Menard, a young man with lots of Indianapolis in his family background, won the Brickyard.

The race turned out to hinge on fuel mileage as veteran drivers like Tony Stewart were unable to stretch it to the end. It also shows Paul Menard’s ascent as a driver who has at times looked well on his way to good things since his switch to Richard Childress racing this year.

We also can’t help but notice the shameful number of teams that showed up just to show up and not race. If teams cannot take an event like the Brickyard 400 and hold it with reverence, the sport is in big trouble. To see a veteran and all but retired driver, Terry Labonte, use his past champion’s provisional to make the field just to drive 15 laps and bolt shows how sick the so called start and park fraud has become. The field is too large for the level of competition. That they are racing at Indy where the IRL starts with substantially fewer cars drives the point home. NASCAR fans shouldn’t be paying welfare for Joe Nemechek, Phil Parsons and his gang, and the others who aren’t prepared to compete on the highest level. That there are various levels of racing from regionals to Sprint Cup provide opportunities for teams to race up to their capabilities. It’s simply reached a new extreme of absurdity in 2011 since now it appears to have become an entrenched part of the Sprint Cup scene. Keeping it hush-hush makes it no less absurd.