I’ve been writing for a couple of years now on nascarlugnuts.com on fanvsfan, as well as on longislandjam.com most recently. Here are some of my favorite posts.
These next two I co-wrote with Danielle McCormack on longislandjam.com
So, it’s been quite a long time since my last blog post, but I figured (with some persuasion from my mother) that I should get started on another entry. This one isn’t going to be another race weekend recap though, as there have been almost ten races since my last entry. This one is about my love for NASCAR and heavy metal music. Besides family and friends, those two things have my unwavering love. They have for quite some time, and I forsee that remaining true for many more years.
NASCAR and heavy metal have quite a few things in common. Both things are insanely fast. 43 race cars going 200mph into turn one at Atlanta Motor Speedway is unfathomable to most people. Beating a double bass drum at almost 200 beats per minute is incredible as well. It almost sounds like a machine gun being shot somewhere. Listen to Joey Jordison of Slipknot or Mario Duplantier of Gojira and you will understand what I mean. And just as fast as the drums are the guitars. And just as fast as the guitars are the heads of the crazy fans standing on the guard rail headbanging to their favorite song at a concert. There is hair flying everywhere. If you are watching the crowd from a safe distance, your first thought is “How do they move their necks after doing this?” Your second thought is “Does their hair ever get tangled with someone else’s hair?” Another thing that metal and NASCAR have in common is the aggression from the participants. In metal the band is aggressive with their lyrics and their music, and the fans are just as aggressive with their moshing and headbanging. In racing the competitors fuel for victory makes them do crazy things. Drivers have to be aggressive to win. Drivers who aren’t won’t last in this sport. Dale Earnhardt senior, the most aggressive driver there has ever been. Loved by fans; hated by fans; feared by competitors. He is arguably the best driver there has ever been. His aggressiveness made him a star. The fans are also aggressive just as in metal. They just show it in a different way. You won’t see someone moshing to the roar of the engines, but you will see them decked out in the colors of their favorite driver’s car. Some people show their fandom with clothing apparel, others paint their street car to look just like their favorite driver’s race car. I’d recommend against that idea because your driver can always change sponsors. Buying new shirts is a lot cheaper than repainting your car. But the point remains the same, the fans show their love and support for their favorite drivers in very aggressive ways. Just as metal heads do. And one other thing that NASCAR and metal have in common is how after the event ends, you realize that you can’t hear anymore. It’s so loud that you lose your hearing. At least you will if you aren’t too smart (like myself).
My two favorite things to see in life are NASCAR races and metal shows. Whether you are an Earnhardt fan or a Gordon fan, you love being at a race. You love to hear the grand marshall for the race say “Gentleman, start your engines!” You love to see the pace car pull off the track and into pit road and hear 43, 900 horsepower V8 engines sing in unison and see those 43 cars dive off into turn one nose to tail. There is nothing better than that.
The same is true for metal. Whether you are a Metallica fan or a Megadeth fan, there is nothing better than hearing the intro to the first song of the day. You finally see the curtain open up and expose the members of the band, and you lose your mind. You get sucked into the music and when it’s over, you only want more. You never want to leave. You see people crowd surfing over people, and people banging bodies together in the mosh pits, and you think that no matter how much pain your body will be in the next day, it will all have been worth it.
When people think of a genre of music to associate with NASCAR, they mostly think of country. When I think of a music to associate with NASCAR, I think metal.
Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin both have 5 wins this season so far. Kevin Harvick has one. It seems that sometimes consistency is still the key to success.
The new Nationwide series car finally makes its long anticipated debut on Friday at Daytona. Finally we can see some manufacturer identity again in the cars, with Ford bringing in the Mustang, Dodge with the Challenger, and Chevy and Toyota remaining with the Impala and the Camry. These cars actually look the car you would find in a showroom. Just with a much bigger spoiler on the back.
So it’s been a while since the last time I’ve been on here. I’ve been busy. Let’s go with that. It’s been so long in fact that the Martinsville race and Phoenix races have both come and gone and now it’s time for Texas. Big, mean, fast Texas Motor Speedway. As we go along I’ll give a quick recap of the action three weeks ago in Martinsville, I’ll go over the events of last week in Phoenix, and discuss this weekend’s race in Phoenix.
The spoiler made its return to a Sprint Cup series car at Martinsville. It marked the first time the Sprint Cup series ran a race with a spoiler since Homestead in 2007. Since Martinsville is a tiny short-track, the changes due to the spoiler would not be seen. However, Martinsville was an excellent race, and definitely worth waiting the extra day in the rain to see. The finish saw Denny Hamiln pit while leading with eight laps to go and restart 6th. He gained a few spots quickly and caught another caution to help him out. Jeff Gordon restarted with the lead on the inside lane with Matt Kenseth right behind him. Dennny would restart fourth for the final two laps. Going into turn one on the restart Kenseth shot Gordon up the track opening the door for Hamlin who cut off his teammate Joey Logano to take advantage of the space provided for him. He would take the lead in turn three when Gordon returned the favor to Kenseth shooting him up to the wall in turn three. Gordon’s reasoning behind that move was “He hit me going into one so after that there was no way I was letting the 17 win the race.” Joe Gibbs racing got a 1-2 finish with Hamlin winning and Logano finishing second. I was an excellent finish, and made people anxious for more of the same. Unfortunately we all would have to wait two weeks to see some more because NASCAR had their second off-week of the year for Easter.
After the break the Sprint Cup series made the trek to Phoenix for a lengthened 600 kilometer race rather than the usual 500 kilometers that had been the norm in Phoenix for such a long time. The race started at 7:45 eastern time and ended around 11:30. It was a very long race by NASCAR standards and may have actually hurt ratings, as discussed here:http://sports.yahoo.com/nascar/news;_ylt=AoEsoUW6nzockR5SrXYb_Nzov7YF?slug=ap-nascar-inthepits. Phoenix saw Jimmie Johnson dominate throughout most of the event, with Kyle Busch taking control near the end. With about eight laps to go a caution came out and the whole field decided to pit. The whole field consisted of twenty-six lead lap cars on pit road. Dave Rogers, K.B’s crew chief decided to take four tires, along side of Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson. They both restarted deep in the field. Gordon and Newman would restart on the front row with Newman winning, and Kyle Busch finishing eighth. A very poor move on the 18 teams part.
A Quick Tidbit: In case anyone has failed to notice, Jimmie Johnson has three wins and is already back atop the points standings. We are only 7 weeks in and he is already back on top. It looks like the Drive for Five in a row is already off to a great start.
Texas Preview: Look for the Busch brothers to be strong this weekend, as well as Johnson. Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth should be able to keep their good fortunes going, and Kevin Harvick needs to rebound back from his last three finishes. After starting off the year with four top-10 finishes, Harvick has finished 11th, 35th and 13th in the last three races respectively. This is the first true test for the new spoiler and its effects to the racing in big packs at high speeds still remains to be seen. Whatever does happen will all unfold at a special start time of 2:45 eastern time on Sunday afternoon.
Notes: Kasey Kahne has signed on to drive the number 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports in the 2012 season, replacing Mark Martin. Where he will be driving next year still remains to be seen, but the rumor mill has him in a third Stewart-Haas car next year, meaning that Kevin Harvick, who has been heavily rumored to be the third driver at SWR next year, would be stuck at Richard Childress racing.
JR Motorports has released Kelly Bires as driver of the number 88 Nationwide Series car and has replaced him with this years Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray. JR Motorsports has stated that things weren’t going well internally with Bires and a change was needed.
So Bristol has come and gone. We entered the weekend with the possibility of multiple rivalries, and left with the usual story of Jimmie Johnson winning. The excitement of a Carl Edwards-Brad Keselowski rivalry, and the trash talking between Edwards and Kevin Harvick was quickly subdued and overshadowed by Johnson winning for the third time in five races. This weekend also featured a rarely seen win by a regular on the Nationwide Series, with Justin Allgaier getting his first career victory. Oh and let’s not forget about Harvick spinning Joey Logano intentionally for fifth place coming out of turn four on Saturday as well.
Justin Allgaier proved he can race with the big boys on Saturday by winning at one of the most challenging trcks on the circuit. This is something that the 23 year old should be incredibly proud of.
Kevin Harvick invoked a bit of controversy in the week leading up to Bristol by calling Carl Edwards a “fake”, leading into a war of words with Edwards striking back by calling him “A bad person.” Harvick ran well on Saturday, finishing fifth, but didn’t avoid ruffling a few feathers along the way. Harvick spun out Joey Logano coming out of turn 4 on the last lap, something that I knew would happen. When ESPN2 showed Harvick still battling Logano with 5 laps to go, I said to myself “If he isn’t around Joey by the last lap, that 20 car is gonna be in the wall.” And sure enough that is exactly what happened, leaving my girlfriend quite upset and honestly, leaving myself quite ammused.
But Sunday’s Sprint Cup race seemed like it ould have a different ending compared to the first four races. Kurt Busch dominated throughout most of the race, but had Jimmie Johnson right on his heels the whole way. With 12 laps to go the leaders pit under caution and both Johnson and Busch took 4 tires while others took only 2. Johnson was lucky enough to end up on the outside on the restart, and ended up leaving many a race fan with a very sour taste in their mouth. The once again took the checkered flag in first place. Something that we have now seen happen 50 times.
Many people have said that Jimmie Johnson’s dominance is bad for the sport. I don’t believe that is the case. I believe that the other competitor’s inability to beat the 48 is bad for the sport. Many have come close these last four years, but the 48 team always seems to prevail.
But his dominance has taken a couple fans to take drastic measures in assuring Johnson loses. One caller on SiriusXM Radio’s Sirius Speedway said that he went out and bought a Johnson jacket, shirt and hat on Monday because “he has the worst luck out of anyone in the world.” So now everyone can rest easy. Johnson’s reign of dominance is now over. My question is why hadn’t this man tried out this plan earlier? Say after the 2nd straight championship in 2007? That’s what I would have done.
But what’s done is done. Or as I like to say: It is what it is. Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and the rest of the 48 team are brilliant. There is no avoiding that. But hopefully, there is a stopping that somewhere in the near future. Unfortunately for all, the Sprint Cup Series’ next stop is Martinsville; arguably Johnson’s best track.
Quick Notes: The spoiler was tested at Charlotte Motor Speedway today and recieved good marks by almost all teams, but almost everybody involved has said that the true test of the spoiler will be at Texas in a couple weeks under race conditions. Something that a test session can in no way duplicate.
Jimmie Johnson has an average finish of 5.1 at Martinsville and has won 5 of the last 7 races held there. Should be fun for everyone else.
This is my first blog post. Please comment. All comments welcome.