auto racing

The End of An Era in NASCAR

By David G. Firestone

On November 15, 1992, the Sprint Cup changed forever. The event was the Hooters 500. Bill Elliott, Alan Kulwicki, Davey Allison, Kyle Petty, Harry Gant, and Mark Martin were all battling it out for the Championship in what has been called the greatest series finale in NASCAR history. Richard Petty, The King of NASCAR, the greatest driver in Sprint Cup history, the greatest athlete to use #43 ended his career with that race with a crash, fire and a 35th place finish. At the end of the race, Kulwicki became championship, Petty drove around the track one last time to honor the fans, and Elliott won the race.

Something that was overlooked in all of that would change the face of NASCAR forever. On that day, A fresh-faced 21 year old made his first start in the Sprint Cup. 23 years, 92 race wins, and 4 championships later, Jeff Gordon has established himself as a true legend in auto racing. His 2015 season will be his last full-time season in NASCAR. This announcement came this week. This is not an easy decision, Gordon loves what he does, but all careers must come to an end.

I had a feeling that he would run one last full season in 2015 for the sole reason that he wants the Iron Man award. That would put him in line with some hardcore guys. Richard Petty had 513 consecutive starts from 1971-1989. In 1996, Terry Labonte started his 514th race at North Wilksboro in a silver Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Chevy SS, a race which he won. Labonte would end up starting 656 consecutive races. In 2002, Ricky Rudd would start his 657th race, the 2002 Coca Cola 600. Though he only finished 4th, he would claim the title of Iron Man that night. If all goes well, Gordon will secure the Iron Man record at the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire, and finish his career with 796 consecutive starts. He wants that award.

I also am looking forward to the Quicken Loans Race For Heroes 500 at Phoenix, because that race will take place on November 15, 2015, exactly 23 years after his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Start. Then will come on November 23, 2015, the end of an era. It’s always sad when a legend retires. Basketball was never the same when Michael Jordan finally retired. Baseball wasn’t the same when Babe Ruth retired, and hockey wasn’t the same after Wayne Gretzky retired. NASCAR really wasn’t the same when Richard Petty retired, and won’t be the same when Jeff Gordon retires.

Jeff Gordon has referred to retirement as “the r-word” and refuses to use it to discuss his current situation. Certainly it seems that he will run in races in the future, just not full-time. It’s also more or less confirmed that he will become a TV analyst, as this was announced by FOX Sports for Xfinity Series broadcasts as part of a series or rotating analysts including Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick. Could this become a permanent role? It seems likely, Gordon is really good in front of the camera, and he would be a great choice, at least in my opinion.

Jeff Gordon has had a great career, and while I, as well as many fans will miss him behind the wheel. That #24 Chevy just won’t have the same allure, the same mystique with another driver behind the wheel. I wish Jeff the best of luck with his future endeavors.

Next week, I will be taking a vacation to Arizona, so I won’t update the tracker or issue paint scheme grades. I’ll have something ready to go on Friday, and I may do something on Monday, but I haven’t decided yet. I’ll return to normal once I get home.

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auto racing

Paint Scheme Tracker-January 28, 2015

By David G. Firestone

Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Marin Truex Jr. all have new paint schemes this week

2015 Toyota CamryThe first Gen 6 redesign comes to the Camry for 2015. The front is sleeker, with a more aggressive nose, and grill area, the tail has been redesigned as well.

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Beechcraft Chevy SSNo Change

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Chevy SSSame basic scheme, but with a new door design.

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford FusionSame basic design as 2014, but with no gold stripe, vintage Miller Crest, or hop designs on the side.

Brad Keselowski #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford FusionNew redesign, similar in design to Joey Logano’s Shell/Pennzoil Ford, black replaces yellow as the primary color.

Austin Dillon #3 Cheerios Chevy SSNo change

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SSNo change

Austin Dillon #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevy SSNo Change

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Chevy SSNo Change

Kevin Harvick #4 Budweiser Chevy SSNo change

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmie Johns Chevy SSNo change

Kevin Harvick #4 Outback SteakhouseNo Change

Kevin Harvick #4 Ditech Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, blue, and white is the primary color scheme

Kasey Kahne #5 Great Clips Chevy SSNo Change

Kasey Kahne #5 Time Warner Cable Chevy SSNo Change

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Insurance Chevy SSComplete redesign from last year, black, and dark blue replaces light blue and silver, and the design has been completely revamped.

Kasey Kahne #5 Liftmaster Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, red and white redesign of the Time Warner scheme.

Kasey Kahne #5 Pepsi Chevy SSNo change

Trevor Bayne #6 Advocare Ford Fusion-New team, new sponsor, red, white and blue is the color scheme.

Sam Hornish Jr. #9 Twisted Tea Ford FusionNo Change

Danica Patrick #10 Aspen Dental Chevy SSSame basic design as last year, but the blue ovals on the white are more pronounced.

Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy Chevy SSNew redesign with more black and less orange.

Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy/TaxAct Chevy SS-New sponsor combo for the Sprint Unlimited, front of the car retains traditional GoDaddy design, whereas back quarter panel is TaxAct

Danica Patrick #10 TaxAct Chevy SS-One race sponsor, will run at Martinsville in March, red, white and black scheme, with diagonal design up the doors.

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota CamryNew redesign with a much simpler front and more design on the sides.

Denny Hamlin #11 SportClips Toyota CamryNew redesign with a new door design

Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy SSSame color scheme as last year, but with a new design on the side.

Tony Stewart #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevy SSSame color scheme as last year, but with a new design on the side.

Tony Stewart #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil1 Chevy SSNo Change

Clint Bowyer #15 5 Hour Energy Toyota CamryNo Change

Clint Bowyer #15 Peak Toyota CamryNo Change

Greg Biffle #16 Cheez Its Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, red with a cheese colored stripe and crackers on the side.

Greg Biffle #16 Clean Harbors Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, red white and black design

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Fire Ant Killer Ford FusionNo change

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Home Defense Ford Fusion-New sponsor, white design with a red and yellow stripe on the bottom, with a net design on the side.

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Bug-B-Gon Ford Fusion-New sponsor, new design, red, black, and white is the primary color scheme.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford Fusion-New primary sponsor, blue, and white is the color scheme.

Kyle Busch #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota CamryNo Change

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota CamryNo change

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota Camry-New design for 2015, with a green background and more emphasis on M&M’s Crispy, as well as a new hood logo.

Carl Edwards #19 Stanley Toyota Camry-New team and new sponsor, yellow, black, and white is the color scheme.

Carl Edwards #19 Aaris Toyota Camry-New team and new sponsor, reddish orange with the Aaris logo used as part of the side stripe.

Carl Edwards #19 SportClips Toyota Camry-New sponsor, same design as Denny Hamlin.

Carl Edwards #19 Subway Toyota CamryNew sponsor for Joe Gibbs, much simpler design.

Matt Kenseth #20 DeWalt Toyota Camry-New sponsor, black, green, yellow, and white is the color scheme.

Matt Kenseth #20 Dollar General Toyota CamryMuch simpler than the 2014 scheme, with fewer side designs.

Ryan Blaney #21 Motorcraft/Quicklane Ford FusionNo Change

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford FusionNo change

Joey Logano #22 AAA Ford FusionThe AAA logo has been straightened up in 2015.

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Platnum Ford FusionNo Change

Jeff Gordon #24 3M Chevy SS-New design for 2015, silver, with red accents and numbers, with a white hood design that extends over the roof and deck-lid.

Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta Chevy SSNo Change

Jeff Gordon #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy SSMuch simpler redesign, with new hood logo and same color scheme

Jeff Gordon #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevy SSNo Change

Paul Menard #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menard’s Chevy SSNo change

Ryan Newman #31 Cat Chevy SSSame color scheme, but the car as a whole has been redesigned

Ryan Newman #31 Quicken Loans Chevy SSNo change

Go FAS Racing #32 Keen Parts Ford FusionSimpler redesign and a much simpler color scheme.

Go FAS Racing #32 C&J Energy Services Ford FusionSame color scheme, but with a different and much more complex side design

Ty Dillon #33 Yuengling Brewery Chevy SS-New sponsor, red, white, and blue is the primary color scheme.

Ty Dillon #33 Cheerios Chevy SS-New sponsor for the Daytona 500, based on Austin Dillon’s Cheerios scheme, but with a Kroger’s logo on the hood.

Cole Whitt #35 Speed Stick Gear Ford FusionNo Change

David Gilliland #38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford FusionNo change

Kurt Busch #41Haas CNC Chevy SSSame color scheme, but the car has been completely redesigned.

Kurt Busch #41 Slate Water Heaters Chevy SSNo change

Aric Almoriola #43 Eckrich Ford FusionSame basic design, but with a Nathans logo on the rear.

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford FusionNo change

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SSNew design, bears a resemblance to the old Kobalt tools scheme from 2009.

Jimmie Johnson #48 Kobalt Chevy SSNew design, redesigned version of the current Lowe’s scheme.

Brian Vickers #55 Aaron’s Toyota CamrySame basic design as last year, the nose has been changed, the main blue is slightly darker, and the gold has been replaced with light blue

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy SSNo Change

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Chevy SSNo Change

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy SSNo major changes,except a Nationwide logo replaces the National Guard logo.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Kelly Blue Book Chevy SSSame basic design but blue has replaced white as the primary color.

Michael McDowell #95 Thrivent Financial Ford FusionRedesign of last year’s scheme, another example of logo as a stripe pattern.

auto racing

My Thoughts On The Rolex 24, The Pro Bowl, and The NHL All-Star Game

By David G. Firestone

So after watching all 24 hours of The Rolex 24 at Daytona, first off, I’m exhausted, second off, it was a great event! The “Star Car” of Chip Ganassi, a Ford EcoBoost powered Daytona prototype with Scott Dixon, Tony Kannan, Jamie McMurray, and Kyle Larson won the overall event, as well as as the Prototype class. The GT Le Mans class was won by Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussenm, Antonio García, and Ryan Briscoe who finished 5th overall. Prototype Challenge was won by PR1/Mathiesen Motorsports with Mike Gausch, Andrew Novichm Andrew Palmer, and Tom Kimber-Smith in an Oreca FLM09 with a Chevy engine. GT Daytona was won by Riley Motorsports in a Dodge Viper with Ben Keating, Dominik Farnbacher,Kuno Wittmer, Cameron Lawrence, and Al Carter at the helm.

I don’t watch the Tudor United SportsCar Championship or Endurance racing that often, I watch Sebring and Le Mans and Daytona, but normally and I watch NASCAR IndyCar, and NHRA so it’s a really odd transition. It gets kind of confusing with 4 classes running on the track at the same time. Also, the pit stops are slow compared to NASCAR or IndyCar, but that is understandable as the race is 24 hours long. But when you haven’t had a sport to follow for 2 1/2 months, it’s a small price to pay.

A couple of design things struck my eye. Since half this race is run at night, spotters need to be able to see their cars at any given moment. As such, many cars are outfitted with custom light designs on the roof. Many teams opt for lighted car numbers as well. What I also noticed, and I don’t know why I didn’t notice this before, the cars have number setups to tell indicate where they are position wise, based on class. Cars that feature all professional drivers have red numbers, cars with professional and amateur drivers have blue lights. This is represented in the car numbers. Red boxes around the numbers are professional, blue boxes are professional and amateur drivers.

One thing I didn’t know about prior to this race was the existence of The Delta Wing. This is a car designed to have lighter size and engine power, but with much less drag than traditional race cars. It looks like something out of a Batman comic. Sadly, transmission problems kept us from seeing how well it could really do.

There have been a lot of odd incidents in racing in the last few years, and this race was no exception. At 5 AM, Andy Lally, while driving the #44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 hit a possum with his car it went through the radiator, and wound up in the front trunk of the car. Porsche 911 is a rear engine car. It wound up knocking Lally, a dedicated vegan, out of the race.

After a brief nap and some dinner, I tuned into the Pro Bowl, or as I like to call it, the Who Gives a Damn bowl. The NFL has done so much to get fans to watch, and they just don’t care at all. This week, the NFL announced that the goal posts would be narrower, and the point after touchdown lines would be moved back. This led to a challenge for kickers, and a number of missed PAT’s. Rarely if ever do you see that, so it did make for an exciting game. the uniforms were awful, but that is the norm now.

That got me to thinking…was this a testing ground for future goal post changes? The fact that the NFL would use such rules might indicate that. Sports thrive on change, and the goal posts haven’t had major changes for a long time. I think that the NFL might be thinking about changes to the goalposts in the future. This might be the first in a series of experiments in that line.

I also caught the late telecast of the NHL All-Star Game, and I hated the uniforms. I also hate this new system of selecting teams. This also applies to the NFL. I like the idea of conference vs conference. I like the idea of AFC vs. NFC in the NFL and Eastern vs. Western in the NHL. But while I can defend having the captains pick the teams in the NHL, the Pro Bowl draft is unacceptable. If it were up to me, I would redo it so that one of the player captains picks the teams. I have nothing against Michael Irvin and Cris Carter, but why not have Team Luck vs. Team Sanford? That would, in my mind, be a better system. But I’m just me, what can I say?

I’m gonna be going on Vacation on Friday, I’ll run the tracker and paint scheme grades as normal, but I may or may not do a My Thoughts On article next Monday, I haven’t decided yet.

auto racing

Paint Scheme Grades-January 24, 2015

By David G. Firestone

While we watch the 24 Hours of Daytona, here are the grades for this week.

Kyle Busch #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same F- grade.

Jeff Gordon #24 3M Chevy SS-I was wondering what 3M would do with Gordon’s Chevy, as all of their schemes last year were horrible. I was pleasantly surprised with the simple design. The silver and red reminds me of the Silver-wrench scheme from 1995, and the design works very well, earning a A+

Jeff Gordon #24 Pepsi Chevy SS-Same scheme as last year, same A+ grade

Jeff Gordon #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy SS-Stupid hood logo-gone! Stupid side design-gone! Much better design-here! A+ grade-here!

Go FAS Racing #32 C&J Energy Services Ford Fusion-The same basic color scheme, but with a horrific design that is F grade worthy! The color scheme is good, but the design is just horrible.

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy SS-Same scheme as last year, same A+ grade.

auto racing

The Return of the Racing Season-The Rolex 24 At Daytona is Tomorrow!

By David G. Firestone

Winter sucks. It’s cold, there’s snow on the ground, and the worst part is that there isn’t auto racing…until 2 pm tomorrow! Yes! It’s the Rolex 24 at Daytona. This year’s field will feature 53 teams from around the world. I’m not a fan of Sports Car racing but I’m looking forward to this. Using the road course configuration, 53 different cars, with 3-4 drivers will race over the course of 24 hours. The goal is to run the farthest in the 24 hour time. In the event of a red flag, the time count will not stop, but the race will.

The history of the event dates back to 1959, when a 1000 km, or 621.371 race was held. In 1962-1963, it was changed to a 3 hour long format, and then to a 2000 km or 1242.742 mile race from 1964-1965. In 1966, the race became a 24 hour long race, which it was until 1971. In 1972 the race was shortened to 6 hours, then returned to 24 hours from 1973 on wards.

If racing has a true “all star race” this is it. Mario Andretti, AJ Foyt, Bobby Rahal, Al Unser, Al Unser Jr., John Andretti, Scott Prutt, Arie Luyendyk, Max Papis, Christian Fittipaldi, Scott Dixon, Casey Mears, Dan Wheldon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Sharp,Graham Rahal, Sébastien Bourdais, Justin Wilson, and Charlie Kimball have all won, and the roster of drivers who have raced in the series is legendary. From NASCAR, Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Kyle Petty, AJ Allmendinger, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Brian Vickers, Marcos Ambrose, Clint Bowyer, Michael Waltrip, Robby Gordon, Nelson Piquet Jr.,Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Sr. have raced. From IndyCar, Buddy Rice, Hélio Castroneves, Sam Hornish, Jr., Dario Franchitti, Paul Tracy, Michael Andretti, Marco Andretti, Danica Patrick, Jimmy Vasser, and James Hinchcliffe. Celebrites who love to race show up, including Tim Allen, Frank Beard, Robert Carradine, Patrick Dempsey, James Garner, Gene Hackman, Bruce Jenner, Perry King, Lorenzo Lamas, Phil Mahre, Craig T. Nelson, Paul Newman, Dan Pastorini, Brian Johnson, and Jason Priestly.

This year’s race looks to be a good one, and I’m tingling with excitement. It starts at 2:10 ET on Fox, moves to Fox Sports 2 from 4pm-8pm, then to Fox Sports 1 from 8pm to 10 pm, moves to IMSA.com from 10pm to 7am, and from 7 am to 2:30 will be back on Fox Sports 1. I’m looking forward to it, and I’ll see you there!

auto racing

Paint Scheme Tracker 1-21-2015

By David G. Firestone

Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Cole Witt, and David Gilliland have had new releases this week, some I covered in Saturday’s grades but some are new.

2015 Toyota CamryThe first Gen 6 redesign comes to the Camry for 2015. The front is sleeker, with a more aggressive nose, and grill area, the tail has been redesigned as well.

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Beechcraft Chevy SSNo Change

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Chevy SSSame basic scheme, but with a new door design.

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford FusionSame basic design as 2014, but with no gold stripe, vintage Miller Crest, or hop designs on the side.

Austin Dillon #3 Cheerios Chevy SSNo change

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SSNo change

Austin Dillon #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevy SSNo Change

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Chevy SSNo Change

Kevin Harvick #4 Budweiser Chevy SSNo change

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmie Johns Chevy SSNo change

Kevin Harvick #4 Outback SteakhouseNo Change

Kevin Harvick #4 Ditech Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, blue, and white is the primary color scheme

Kasey Kahne #5 Great Clips Chevy SSNo Change

Kasey Kahne #5 Time Warner Cable Chevy SSNo Change

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Insurance Chevy SSComplete redesign from last year, black, and dark blue replaces light blue and silver, and the design has been completely revamped.

Kasey Kahne #5 Liftmaster Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, red and white redesign of the Time Warner scheme.

Kasey Kahne #5 Pepsi Chevy SSNo change

Trevor Bayne #6 Advocare Ford Fusion-New team, new sponsor, red, white and blue is the color scheme.

Sam Hornish Jr. #9 Twisted Tea Ford FusionNo Change

Danica Patrick #10 Aspen Dental Chevy SSSame basic design as last year, but the blue ovals on the white are more pronounced.

Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy Chevy SSNew redesign with more black and less orange.

Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy/TaxAct Chevy SS-New sponsor combo for the Sprint Unlimited, front of the car retains traditional GoDaddy design, whereas back quarter panel is TaxAct

Danica Patrick #10 TaxAct Chevy SS-One race sponsor, will run at Martinsville in March, red, white and black scheme, with diagonal design up the doors.

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota CamryNew redesign with a much simpler front and more design on the sides.

Denny Hamlin #11 SportClips Toyota CamryNew redesign with a new door design

Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy SSSame color scheme as last year, but with a new design on the side.

Tony Stewart #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevy SSSame color scheme as last year, but with a new design on the side.

Tony Stewart #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil1 Chevy SSNo Change

Clint Bowyer #15 5 Hour Energy Toyota CamryNo Change

Greg Biffle #16 Cheez Its Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, red with a cheese colored stripe and crackers on the side.

Greg Biffle #16 Clean Harbors Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, red white and black design

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Fire Ant Killer Ford FusionNo change

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Home Defense Ford Fusion-New sponsor, white design with a red and yellow stripe on the bottom, with a net design on the side.

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Bug-B-Gon Ford Fusion-New sponsor, new design, red, black, and white is the primary color scheme.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford Fusion-New primary sponsor, blue, and white is the color scheme.

Kyle Busch #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota CamryNo Change

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota CamryNo change

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota Camry-New design for 2015, with a green background and more emphasis on M&M’s Crispy, as well as a new hood logo.

Carl Edwards #19 Stanley Toyota Camry-New team and new sponsor, yellow, black, and white is the color scheme.

Carl Edwards #19 Aaris Toyota Camry-New team and new sponsor, reddish orange with the Aaris logo used as part of the side stripe.

Carl Edwards #19 SportClips Toyota Camry-New sponsor, same design as Denny Hamlin.

Carl Edwards #19 Subway Toyota CamryNew sponsor for Joe Gibbs, much simpler design.

Matt Kenseth #20 DeWalt Toyota Camry-New sponsor, black, green, yellow, and white is the color scheme.

Matt Kenseth #20 Dollar General Toyota CamryMuch simpler than the 2014 scheme, with fewer side designs.

Ryan Blaney #21 Motorcraft/Quicklane Ford FusionNo Change

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford FusionNo change

Joey Logano #22 AAA Ford FusionThe AAA logo has been straightened up in 2015.

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Platnum Ford FusionNo Change.

Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta Chevy SSNo Change

Jeff Gordon #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy SSMuch simpler redesign, with new hood logo and same color scheme

Jeff Gordon #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevy SSNo Change

Paul Menard #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menard’s Chevy SSNo change

Ryan Newman #31 Cat Chevy SSSame color scheme, but the car as a whole has been redesigned

Ryan Newman #31 Quicken Loans Chevy SSNo change

Go FAS Racing #32 Keen Parts Ford FusionSimpler redesign and a much simpler color scheme.

Ty Dillon #33 Yuengling Brewery Chevy SS-New sponsor, red, white, and blue is the primary color scheme.

Ty Dillon #33 Cheerios Chevy SS-New sponsor for the Daytona 500, based on Austin Dillon’s Cheerios scheme, but with a Kroger’s logo on the hood.

Cole Whitt #35 Speed Stick Gear Ford FusionNo Change

David Gilliland #38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford FusionNo change

Kurt Busch #41Haas CNC Chevy SSSame color scheme, but the car has been completely redesigned.

Kurt Busch #41 Slate Water Heaters Chevy SSNo change

Aric Almoriola #43 Eckrich Ford FusionSame basic design, but with a Nathans logo on the rear.

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford FusionNo change

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SSNew design, bears a resemblance to the old Kobalt tools scheme from 2009.

Jimmie Johnson #48 Kobalt Chevy SSNew design, redesigned version of the current Lowe’s scheme.

Brian Vickers #55 Aaron’s Toyota CamrySame basic design as last year, the nose has been changed, the main blue is slightly darker, and the gold has been replaced with light blue

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Chevy SSNo Change

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy SSNo major changes,except a Nationwide logo replaces the National Guard logo.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Kelly Blue Book Chevy SSSame basic design but blue has replaced white as the primary color.

Michael McDowell #95 Thrivent Financial Ford FusionRedesign of last year’s scheme, another example of logo as a stripe pattern.

auto racing

My Thoughts on the Penn State Revilation

By David G. Firestone

I normally don’t swear in these articles, I try to keep it family friendly, but since I have to discuss this, I’m gonna drop a few, so be forewarned. I can’t believe that this actually happened, and I need to state my feelings on the subject.

On Friday, the NCAA announced that, in response to a lawsuit from Penn State, all 112 wins forfeited by Penn State due to the Jerry Sandusky fiasco would be reinstated. Furthermore, the $60 million fine levied against Penn State would be spent in Pennsylvania to be used to help sexually abused children. This follows a decision last year to reinstate scholarships and bowl games for Penn State. So instead of the original penalties which are

  • Five years probation.
  • A four-year postseason ban.
  • Vacating of all wins from 1998 to 2011–112 wins in all. This had the effect of stripping the Nittany Lions of their shared Big Ten titles in 2005 and 2008. It also removed 111 wins from Paterno’s record, dropping him from first to 12th on the NCAA’s all-time wins list.
  • A $60 million fine, the proceeds of which were to go toward an endowment for preventing child abuse. According to the NCAA, this was the equivalent of a typical year’s gross revenue from the football program.
  • Loss of a total of 40 initial scholarships from 2013 to 2017. During the same period, Penn State is limited to 65 total scholarships—only two more than a Division I FCS (formerly I-AA) school is allowed.
  • Penn State was required to adopt all recommendations for reform delineated in the Freeh report.
  • Penn State must enter into an “athletics integrity agreement” with the NCAA and Big Ten, appoint a university-wide athletic compliance officer and compliance council, and accept an NCAA-appointed athletic integrity monitor for the duration of its probation.

now all the school is out is $73 million, which the school has the finances to weather.

I’d love to know what fucking reality the NCAA is living in where they can come out with a penalty for a Division 1, Big 10 football program that fits the crime perfectly, and would send a clear message to the rest of the NCAA as a whole that crimes like this wouldn’t be tolerated, and then in less than two years all but dismantle that penalty, and let the school get away with simply cutting a check. The NCAA has let down the victims, the fans, the schools, and itself. By reducing all of the football sanctions levied against Penn State, the NCAA has made it clear that if enough people get upset with a penalty, it will eventually be reversed or reduced. If I were in charge of the NCAA, I would be afraid to show my face in public for a few weeks.

It’s not like the Sandusky case was a misunderstanding. These cases date back to 1994. The investigation that took place revealed that there were 20 different incidents that took place. A number of incidents took place on Penn State campus, and there is conclusive evidence, both from the grand jury, and independent investigator Louis Freeh that Graham Spanier at that time University President, and athletic director Tim Curley were aware of what was going on, and not only did not report what was going on, but went out of their way to protect Sandusky, as he was critical to the football program. Mike McQueary walked in on Sandusky with a child in 2002, and reported it to the University. A meeting was held where Paterno, in his own notes commented that this might not be the only incident. though the meeting was held, nothing was done, and nothing was reported. Thus it’s clear that McQueary, Paterno, Spanier, and Curley, in addition to vice president Gary Schultz were aware of what was going on, but did not report it to authorities.

What makes this even worse is that while this was going on, Sandusky was allowed to use university facilities for his charity football program. It’s clear that Sandusky was clearly using the charity to attract children which he later abused as victims. This is all in the Freeh report. The Freeh report states that the reasons that these incidents were not reported was, in addition to a lack of knowledge about child abuse laws, which is no excuse, was that those involved were worried about bad publicity, in addition to protecting Sandusky. The university got him an office. They kept him on to keep this all quiet. They didn’t protect future victims from abuse, and yet somehow, the university was wronged by these sanctions?

How can you be a decent human being with morals, who knows right from wrong and not be repulsed by this? How can you defend a program which went out of its way to protect a pedophile, while helping victims get abused? How the fuck can anyone defend Penn State in this situation? Why the fuck would anyone defend Penn State in this situation? Anyone who wants to defend Penn State in this case in terms of harming the football program needs to realize that since 2002 Penn State officials knew he was doing this, and protected him to protect the football program.

What makes it even worse is that Penn State can’t even accept responsibility for what happened. Even Southern Methodist University accepted total acceptance of the death penalty, they knew what they had done was wrong. The difference is that SMU was doing things that many other universities were doing, namely paying football players to play football. Penn State allowed a pedophile to operate on campus, and protected him from legal prosecution in order to save the program. The bottom line here is that I agree with Keith Olbermann that Sandusky is Penn State Football, and Joe Paterno’s legacy. Not wins, or National Championships, or tradition, it’s Jerry Sandusky. Penn State football, Penn State students, and Penn State fans need to realize that.

These deals to “undo the damage of the sanctions” for lack of a better term haven’t done anyone any good. The NCAA caved in all ways to the demands of those who had the most to gain from the revocation of these sanctions. Penn State made it clear that they aren’t able to accept responsibility for what happened, and won’t accept it. College football loses because the NCAA has made it clear it will cave if the pressure to change sanctions is enough. If there is no reason to behave or follow the rules or laws because no penalties will be handed out, why would you? The NCAA took a big step backwards, and I really hope that they learn from this and make changes, but I don’t think this will ever happen. I am disgusted at the whole thing, and I will NEVER have respect for Penn State again for the rest of my life!

auto racing

Paint Scheme Grades, January 17, 2015

By David G. Firestone

A lot of schemes released this week, so let’s get started.

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonalds Chevy SS-A new scheme for 2015, this one has a little more side design than last year’s design. I think that it is a decent look, but not as smooth as last year’s design, so I’ll give it a B+

Kasey Kahne #5 Pepsi Chevy SS-I like the blue scheme, the current shade of blue Pepsi is using works very well, and the cutting edge design is good. I’ll give it a B+

Danica Patrick #10 TaxACT Chevy SS-Red, green, white and black is not the best scheme, and the side design is overdone. I’ll give it a C-

Denny Hamlin #11 SportClips Toyota Camry-Denny’s cars are sporting new designs, but this one, like its predicessor is overdone. Good color scheme, so I’ll give it a C-

Carl Edwards #19 SportClips Toyota Camry-See Above. C-

Carl Edwards #19 Subway Toyota Camry-I was wondering if Subway would follow Carl Edwards to Joe Gibbs, and they did. The scheme works well, it’s smooth, and has a great color scheme. An A+ scheme for sure.

Cole Whitt #35 Speed Stick Gear Ford Fusion-Same scheme as last year, same A grade!

David Gilliland Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion-scheme as last year, same A grade!

 

auto racing

Some Car Number Research

By David Firestone

I might have saved this for a My Thoughts On article, but these subjects are just too good. Motor Racing Network recently ran an article discussing how Jeff Gordon picked 24 as his car number. It’s an interesting article, because it shows how attached fans get to car numbers. Because of Cole Trickle in Days Of Thunder drove car #46, Paramount held the licensing contract to that car number. Since this wouldn’t be good for Jeff Gordon, Gordon went with 24. Interestingly, some research on the two numbers comes up with some interesting facts.

Car 24 had never had a win in the Sprint Cup Series prior to Jeff Gordon, and now car number 24 has 92 wins. Of the top car numbers, 24 is the only car where one driver had all the wins for that car number. The iconic number 43 has 199 wins, Richard Petty has 200 wins, 192 of them came in 43, 2 came in car 42, and 6 came in 41. The other drivers to have won in 43 are Lee Petty, Jim Pascal, Bobby Hamilton, John Andretti, and Aric Almirola. Car #46 has 11 wins, the last one coming in 1962 at Concord. The 11 wins are split between Speedy Thompson, Bob Welborn, and Jack Smith.

Let’s play what if for a second. Let’s say hypothetically that Jeff Gordon has always run #46 and not 24, and has had the same exact career. #46 would have 103 wins, which would put #46 third all time on the car number win list. He would also be the best athlete to wear #46. In researching this, I consulted my copy of Best By Numbers. It’s a really interesting and really well researched book. Now when it comes to #24, the king is Willie Mays. There is also Ricky Henderson, Rick Barry, Ken Griffey Jr., Whitey Herzog, Tony Perez, Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, and Charles Woodson. If Jeff Gordon had used #46 on the other hand, he would be the undisputed king of 46. The book, published in 2006, cites Jimmie Johnson as the king of 48 and Richard Petty as the king of 43.

Some other NASCAR news and notes I wanted to cover this week,

Kenneth Lane Wilkes, a 65 year old former employee of Richard Childress Racing was arrested this week, and accused of stealing three crew suits and a driver suit and selling them on eBay.  He is being held on a $10,000 bond, and is scheduled to appear in court in February.

Press Pass, who makes and markets the trading cards for NASCAR has ceased operations.  This came in the form of an announcement on Facebook, as well as on their website.

I also came across an article on Bleacher Report concerning NASCAR sales at Barrett Jackson. These are the top 10 highest selling NASCAR cars at Barrett Jackson. It is definitely worth a read. Both articles make me miss the boxy Chevy Lumina. I also miss the covered headlights with no outline. That was a really good look. I love that look, and I think it should make a comeback!

One last article, again from Bleacher Report concerns brands in NASCAR. Branding and NASCAR go hand in hand. These are the top 10 Most Popular Brands in NASCAR History. I agree with all of them, though I disagree with the placement of some over others.

That’s all for this week, but stay tuned as I have something fun planned for next Friday!

auto racing

John Force Racing Announces a New Deal!

By David G. Firestone

I’ve just got a quick one based on some news that broke on Thursday. I’d been wondering what John Force Racing would be running this year. Ford left John Force Racing and the NHRA at the end of the season. There was some debate on who John Force would sign with, and that answer came late last week, with the announcement that John Force Racing would be running Chevy Camaros in 2015. I thought that it was going to be Chevy, and I was right

What I found interesting was that the NBC article I read stated “With no other Chevrolet-branded Nitro Funny Cars in the sport, John Force Racing will essentially have the Chevy brand exclusively all to itself.” Really? What about Bob Tasca’s team? What about Tim Wilkerson? I don’t think that Chevy is going to commit itself to this kind of racing program without multiple full time teams. I think that Wilkerson is going to join Chevy, but as for Tasca, I just don’t know. Bob Tasca Sr. was a long time Ford dealer, and Bob has run Ford his entire career, as well as having Motorcraft as a sponsor.

What has kind of amazed me is that Chevy took as long as they did to come back to the NHRA. Chevy’s return to IndyCar was a smashing success, and I thought they had something in the pipeline for the NHRA. I guess they couldn’t get a full time team at that point, so they had to wait. I’m looking forward to seeing how the team does this year.

The car looks pretty good, and the new Peak scheme looks really good on the car as well. The Peak scheme works much better on the funny car than it does on Clint Bowyer’s car. Peak has a very good shade of blue, and it works well on the car. I’ll be interested to see how Courtney Force’s and Robert Hight’s cars will look, and if there will be any changes to the paint scheme.