By David G. Firestone
Yesterday, I called out NASCAR, today, I’m calling out the NHRA. I’m demanding an explanation for what happened during the Carolina Nationals on Sunday! Here is how I watch racing, I’ll watch a live telecast whenever possible, but I’ll watch the NHRA whenever it’s on ESPN or ESPN2 since I don’t get ESPN3. So after watching NASCAR on Sunday, I sat down to watch the Carolina Nationals Final Eliminations. The first round of top fuel and funny car went well, at least from my perspective. Then, pro stock started their first round, and the Allen Johnson/V Gaines race started, and I’ll let the video speak for itself.
The 67 year old Vieri Gaines was unhurt, but what happened next stunned me. What followed was an hour of discussion between the crews and the NHRA officials concerning track conditions. The wreck itself did damage to the track, but there were problems leading up to that race. The track had been dealing with concrete issues on the racing surface. Allen Johnson was interviewed while the wreck was being cleaned up, and he slammed the NHRA for letting the cars race on the surface. John Force was very upset, and Tony Schumacher called the racing surface “un-race-able.” Obviously the NHRA officials were aware of the fears of the drivers and of the conditions of the track. There were attempts made to solve the issues, but rain and a bad surface caused the cancellation.
I want an explanation, from Z-Max Dragway, the NHRA or someone involved as to how a racing surface can get that bad. Obviously there was a failure somewhere, and something like that happened. How could the NHRA and Z-Max Dragway allow the competitors to race on a surface that was obviously not capable of holding races safely! I normally wait until Saturday to post new blogs, but this needs to be discussed right now!
I’m demanding an explanation, and the NHRA and Z-Max Dragway owe not just me, but all of their drivers, crew members, sponsors and fans an explanation. Many fans left disappointed, fans watching from home were too, and there was no reason for this. Why wasn’t the racing surface safe? Why was concrete lifting off the track? Why in the world was the track sub par? What makes it even worse is that someone high up on the NHRA chain of command made a decision to allow the race to go ahead despite an unsafe racing surface, and I want to know why they would risk driver safety in that respect!
Both groups have a duty to ensure the safety of the competitors and fans, both groups failed horribly in that respect. V Gaines got lucky, and wasn’t seriously hurt, but that could have been a lot different. How could something like this take place in this day in age? Tom Compton, Dallas Gardner, Bruton Smith, you owe everyone involved, drivers, crew members, sponsors and fans an explanation for yesterday’s debacle. What happened was unacceptable, and someone needs to stand up and explain what decisions were made prior to the event, what the officials knew, and why the decisions were made the way they were.
A collection of baseball, basketball, football, hockey, auto racing, and other autographed items.
By David G. Firestone
Well the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has begun. What that means for the 16 drivers in the Chase is special paint scheme rules. Specifically, all Chase drivers will have yellow numbers on the roof, a yellow windshield banner, a yellow front splitter, and special decals. I waited on discussing this issue because I wanted to see how the cars looked on track. While some cars looked good, with the yellow elements working well, other cars looked awful, with the yellow clashing with the current design scheme. No car suffered as much as Brad Keselowski and the Miller Lite Ford. I can live with the yellow roof numbers, it has been done before, the and I can live with the windshield banners and decals, I’ll comment on that later, the splitter design is pointless and it makes the car look ugly. Why in the world did NASCAR make the splitter yellow? It serves no purpose, and clashes with the rest of the paint scheme.
Now I wanted to comment on something I noticed that NASCAR is doing. I was worried about this and these fears are now coming true. When the windshield banner was introduced with the Gen 6 cars in 2013, I did not like it. I thought it was pointless, and it didn’t add to the car at all. What I was worried about, but I didn’t discuss it was what else NASCAR had planned for the banner. Well we found out this year. In addition to the plain black, there have been green designs for environmental awareness, patriotic designs for memorial day and the 4th of July, and of course the yellow Chase designs. NASCAR is using this as their vehicle for promoting causes. Like pink bats on Mother’s Day, or patriotic jerseys for Memorial Day in baseball. October is around the corner, and the Pink-washing will begin in earnest, and I’ll be shocked if there aren’t pink banners on the windshields.
I noticed something else when it comes to banners. There are two decals that cars carry, one is the Sprint Cup Series decal, and above that is a NASCAR Race Car decal. When the windshield banner is a special design, the NASCAR decal is a matching design. Let’s look at that Brad Keselowski Memorial Day scheme again. Notice the decal just above the Sprint Cup Series decal? It is a star with NASCAR written on it. Now let’s look at Brad’s car from the Brickyard 400. The NASCAR decal is a simpler, more plain design. This is Kevin Harvick’s car with the green banner. Notice the NASCAR decal…it matches the banner. Why is this important for the Chase schemes? Well because whoever came up with this idea felt the need to give the Chase drivers special NASCAR decals. 16 drivers get yellow decals, the rest get silver. I’m reminded of the Star-bellied Sneetches in this situation…the second time that reference has been made in regard to sports uniforms this year.
I’m really wondering how much more NASCAR can over-complicate this, I really am. Why not add yellow wheels and yellow spoilers? I’m amazed that NASCAR could mess this up they way they did. Get rid of the yellow spoilers and NASCAR decals, and I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but too much salt spoils the soup…every time.
I’ve been getting off track(pun intended) lately, and I’m gonna get back to basics. I’ve been wanting to do an article on a set like this for a while. I bought a set of items used by one driver at the same time, namely a driver suit, driving gloves, shoes, goggles, and arm restraints worn at the same time by a driver by the name of Jim Jones, an SCCA racer in the late 1970’s through the late 1980s. He was a weekend warrior who raced for the love of racing. In the late 1980’s he raced a Pontiac Trans Am and was sponsored by Boston-based Nimrod Press.
The first and most prominent item is this driver suit. It was worn by Jones in the 1980’s, and is black with red safety stripes and a quilt pattern. The suit shows a nice amount of wear. There are a number of small sponsor patches on the chest and it has a blood type indication sewn into the suit under the number. This is so that in the event of a very severe accident, the hospital can know quickly what blood type Jones is and get him a transfusion. You also often see this on motorcycle helmets. The shoulders have safety straps, the sleeves have safety stripes in red, and the old school SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS patch on the sleeve. The belt, legs, and back have no decoration to speak of. There is a small tear just above the belt.The second item is a pair of Worth racing gloves. The gloves show a large amount of wear, with the Worth racing logo damaged on both gloves, and the padding on the gloves is highly soiled.
The third and fourth items are pairs of goggles. The first is a French pair of Bolle goggles, which show a decent amount of wear. The second pair is an Italian pair of Carerra goggles, which also show a large amount of wear. These were from a time when drivers wore helmets that mandated goggles. Even full-faced helmets needed goggles.
The last item is a pair of arm restraints. Many racing series mandate these to prevent arm injuries that occur from crashes when the drivers are in restricted driver cockpit. This particular pair of restraints were made by Auto Pro, and show a decent amount of use.
Now we move on to…
This week, I’m gonna share my recipe for Dave’s Nitro Burning Ribs. These ribs are easy to prepare and have a unique sauce. I like to use a Siracha Stout barbeque sauce for my ribs. So, without further ado, the rib recipe!
For the ribs:
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
3 racks baby back ribs, about 5 pounds
For the barbecue sauce:
2 tbs olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 1/3 cup ketchup
4 tbs worcestershire sauce
3 tsp sriracha
4 tsp smoked paprika
2 cup Stout
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp onion powder
1. Mix together the cumin, garlic, granulated onion, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, white pepper, salt, and black pepper. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of the ribs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Unwrap the ribs and place them on a baking sheet. Cover completely with foil. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove the foil and let the ribs cool. Refrigerate them, wrapped in plastic, until you are ready to pack, up to 24 hours.
3. While the ribs are cooking, it’s time to make the sauce. In a pot over medium heat, add the oil and allow to get hot but not smoking. Add the garlic and stir until you can smell it, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Allow to cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Store in an air tight container in the fridge. Until you are ready to leave.
4. Just before leaving, Place the racks in a large, seal-able plastic container. Add 1 cup of the barbecue sauce and stir so all the ribs are coated.
5. At the track, Prepare the coals. When the coals are hot, grill the ribs for 10 minutes, until they are lightly charred and heated through, turning them several times and applying several more coatings of sauce.
Serve the ribs hot, accompanied by more sauce.
A collection of NASCAR, and NHRA Starting Lineup figures from the late 1990’s.
Recently, I came across a design quirk I had never seen on a car before. Take a look at these two cars above. These two design schemes were used by Rodney Combs in 1994. He raced in the Busch Grand National Series. He had 3 top 10’s, and led 11 laps. Now while these two paint schemes look completely different, they are a lot more connected than you might think… Yes this was an actual paint scheme used on a real race car. I had never seen a design scheme like this before or since. It is one of the oddest paint schemes I have ever seen. Normally if two different companies sponsor a car, one runs their scheme for a number of races, and the other runs their scheme for a number of races. The driver suit is no less unusual. But I bought this for another reason besides just the paint scheme. This is an example of a NASCAR bank. These were marketed for a number of years to kids as collectibles. They were marketed to kids in the late 1980’s through the mid 1990’s. They are 1:24 scale, and are the same design as their die-cast toy counterparts. They faded out after a while. After trying to use one, I now understand why they faded from use. Let’s look at the bottom.
The bank opens with a key and the door that the coins are supposed to come out of is much too small for a standard American coin to fall out of. I tried to remove some coins and it took me 45 minutes to remove all of them. While they were a good idea on paper, their practicalities made them next to useless and needlessly annoying.
We move from the old to the new, with this Carl Edwards design from 2013. This is my first die-cast scheme of the Gen 6 car, and I have to say, I’m amazed at the detail. Check it out.Carl ran the UPS scheme for one race in 2013, at the Quaker State 400, where he started 2nd, led 35 laps, but finished 21st. This is an autographed version, of which only 900 were sold by Lionel. Unlike the bank, this is a very accurate design. It’s made of a more lightweight metal, the window net is cloth,the grill is accurate,so are the door decals.The hood opens,
the details are really accurate, and the paint scheme is amazingly accurate.It has all the details of it’s on track counterparts at a 1:24 scale, with a nice Carl Edwards signature on the windshield. My biggest complaint is that the hood is difficult to open, and does not open very far. It takes away from the appearance. Now we move on to the real thing with…
PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS!
Michael Annett #7 Pilot /Allstate Peterbuilt/St Jude’s Chevy SS Great color scheme, great simple design, A+
Clint Bowyer #15 Speed Digital Toyota Camry Clint keeps up a streak of bad schemes with his RK Motors scheme but with a different logo. D-
Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Fire Ant Killer Ford Fusion Great color scheme, good design, I give it an A-, the number still looks horrible.
Ty Dillion #33 Rheem Comfort Products Chevy SS From this moment onward, anytime I see camo on the side of a race car it will be an automatic 1 letter grade deduction. In this case it takes a great scheme, and ruins it. It would have been an A scheme, but with the contrasting designs, it earns a C-
Landon Cassill #40 CRC 1 Tank Renew Chevy SS Decent color scheme, but the design is a bit overdone. If it didn’t have the yellow stripes on the back I would like it more, but this is a decent scheme, worth a B-
Justin Allgaier #51 Auto Owners Insurance Chevy SS Can’t say anything bad about this scheme, A+
Michael McDowell #95 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ford Fusion Let me get this straight, The Turtles are in a Michael Bay directed movie that to date has made over $242 million and this scheme seems to go out of its way not to use the movie? I’m trying to make sense of that…OK, now the color scheme is good, but the back of the car is very cluttered. Even still it’s a B+ scheme.
A collection of NASCAR,IndyCar and NHRA mini helmets from across the years