Monday, July 13, 2009

The difference a series can make

Around a year ago, Dario Franchitti was beat up and washed out of NASCAR. Cup owner Chip Ganassi brought the former Indy star over to stock cars in 2008 in an attempt to race the woebegone No. 40 car and boost exposure to his team. But that experiment failed - miserably - and the Scotsman literally limped back to Indy Cars after a tough crash at Talladega.

But now Franchitti is tearing up the IRL after winning his third race of the season Sunday at Toronto. Of course, it helps to have the backing of Ganassi, who is one of the most successful IndyCar owners in history. If anything, Franchitti's success is just another example of how the crossover from Indy to Cup is a foolish move. Just look at how Sam Hornish Jr. has fallen off the map since changing rides in 2008. If Roger Penske was smart (which he clearly is) then he would follow Ganassi's lead and transfer Hornish back to the open-wheel cars. Besides Juan Montoya, the Cup crossover just isn't working for the Indy crowd… Are you listening, Danica?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mark's the man

Who would've thought at the start of the season that Mark Martin would be the class of Hendrick Motorsports, let alone all of NASCAR? The old man has won four times this year, as he crushed the field and his three all-star teammates Saturday night at Chicagoland. The 50-year-old fought off Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne before taking the checkers late in the Illinois night

A betting man at the beginning of the year would NOT have put his money on Martin, who has to compete with Gordon, Johnson and everybody's homeboy, Dale Earnhardt Jr., for the best of Hendrick's equipment. But here comes Martin, who has to be a clear favorite for the championship going into the Chase. This guy deserves a championship more than anyone else, so cheers to you, Mark, and good luck as you march towards Homestead, Fla. Every NASCAR fan has to be cheering for you in the Chase. You definitely have a fan here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Motorsports Monday

Apparently there was another show in town besides the Penguins. Both local speedways were in action over the weekend, including Motordrome Speedway’s 100-lap feature race.

Motordrome Speedway
Smithton, Pa. – June 12

Super Late Models – 100-lap feature
1. Shawn Pilla
2. Will Thomas
3. Mark Cottone
4. Rick Miller
5. Gary Wiltrout

1. Tracy Keller
2. Matthew Gardner
3. Vic Keller
4. Kristen Etling
5. Steve Settle

Super Compacts
1. Matt Sever
2. Gene Zerfoss
3. Larry Dunmyer
4. Bill Schwartz
5. Troy Knight

Street Stocks
1. Dink Colarusso
2. Shawn Phillips
3. Mike Bakalon
4. Adam Kostelnik
5. Thomas Knight Sr.

Pennsylvania Motor Speedway
Imperial, Pa. – June 13

Super Late Models – 25-lap feature
1. Steve Baker
2. Jared Miley
3. Jim Stephans
4. Lynn Geisler
5. Ben Miley

Pro Late Models – 20-lap feature
1. Colton Flinner
2. Rocky Kugel
3. Beau Glemba
4. Josh Holtgraver
5. Jason Rider

Sportsman – 15-lap feature
1. Jake Simmons
2. Bill Robertson
3. Bob Schwartzmiller
4. Pat Weldon
5. Nick Kocuba

Modifieds – 12-lap feature
1. Kari Gasser
2. Chuck Kennedy
3. Daryl Charlier
4. J.J. Bametzrieder
5. J.E. Stalder

Stocks – 10-lap feature
1. Curt Bish
2. Brian Huchko
3. Robby Torrens
4. Gary Koteles
5. Garrett O'Patchen

Young Guns Sport Compacts – 8-lap feature
1. Ricky Steigerwald
2. Daniel White
3. Justin Pons
4. Nico Dabecco
5. Tyler Carson

Friday, June 12, 2009

The end is nigh

Where is the guy with the sandwich board predicting the end of days? Because, that time is near for NASCAR fans. General Motors announced today it is cutting back its Chevrolet factory support for several lower-level NASCAR teams, which could eventually trickle up to the Sprint Cup Series. The Nationwide teams owned by Kevin and DeLana Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. already got the boot, although Chevy has not announced any changes to Cup… yet. This is all part of GM’s bankruptcy reorganization plans, and I can’t fault the manufacturer for doing this. Tough decisions will have to be made, and unfortunately for NASCAR, it’s sitting directly in the bankruptcy bull’s eye.

My biggest question is which car manufacturer Earnhardt will choose for his Nationwide team? The man and his father have been associated with Chevy most of their careers. In fact, one of the reported reasons why Earnhardt went to Hendrick was because of the Chevy brand. He spurned Gibbs’ offer because that team planned to change over to Toyota. Now, this isn’t the most important development in the world, but NASCAR Nation might vomit in its mouth a little bit if an Earnhardt ever steps foot in a Toyota.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Motocross invades Greene County

By Joe Tuscano
Staff writer

For one glorious weekend, the sleepy little town of Mt. Morris will be engulfed in a solid wall of sound, cameras, microphones and finish line celebrations.

Oh, and expectations are that an intimate gathering of about 20,000 will show up to drink in the atmosphere, along with a few cold ones when the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship circuit arrives at High Point Raceway this weekend.

This tournament is the first in the sport's Triple Crown. The other two will be held at Buchanan, Mich., July 4 and Mechanicsville, Md., Aug. 22.

Motocross has penciled in an event at the Mt. Morris raceway for decades, but this event will be special because it will mark the first live broadcast by a national television station, in this case NBC.

"This is the first time it's ever happened and we are excited about it," said Brandon Short, media manager of the event. "We've had NBC here before but it's always been on a tape-delayed basis. We expect the event to be viewed by 400,000 world-wide."

NBC begins its coverage at 4:30 p.m., Saturday but some of the smaller events begin today.

The network will air three races and three others are scheduled for the Speed network. For those who follow motocross, plenty of storylines punctuate this event.

Click here to continue...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

America's meth addiction

For a while now, I’ve reserved judgment on this Jeremy Mayfield controversy because NASCAR refused to release many details about his positive drug test. But the recent revelation that Mayfield allegedly took meth is an undisputed game-changer. Methamphetamine is a dangerous and highly addictive drug, as I learned in my police reporting days at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail. The drug has spread across the country and usually settles in rural areas, so it shouldn’t be surprising it eventually snagged a NASCAR driver.

It is considered the poor man’s cocaine because most addicts able cook meth inside their homes using household cleaners and chemicals to alter over-the-counter drugs, sometimes with their children nearby. The effects on a person's face and physique are unmistakable, so others should have been able to see some signs of Mayfield's alleged use.

This will be a long fight for Mayfield because these allegations are a helluva lot different than a bad cocktail of prescription and over-the-counter drugs he claims caused the positive tests. It will be interesting to see how NASCAR handles the ensuing courtroom battle as it tries to bar it’s biggest violator from every stepping into a race car again.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

UFo and other results

John Flinner took the checkered flag in Saturday night’s United Force series race at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway. Flinner, of Zelienople, Pa., won the Penn National 33 race – the second UFo event of the season – by beating a field of 17 other cars. PPMS and Motordrome Speedway also held their normally scheduled races over the weekend. Motordrome Speedway will hold a 100-lap event for its super late model cars this Friday night.

Pennsylvania Motor Speedway
Imperial, Pa. – June 6

UFO Super Late Models – 33-lap feature
1. John Flinner
2. Alex Ferree
3. Al Atallah
4. Brandon Burgoon
5. John Mollick

Sprints – 20-lap feature
1. Kevin Schaeffer
2. Rod George
3. Jack Sodeman Jr.
4. Danny Holtgraver
5. Andy McKisson

Pro Late Models – 20-lap feature
1. Mark Moats Jr.
2. Rocky Kugel
3. Michael Reft
4. Justin Lamb
5. Josh Holtgraver

Sportsman – 15-lap feature
1. Chris Schneider
2. Jake Simmons
3. Pat Weldon
4. Bob Schwartzmiller
5. Craig Koteles

Modifieds – 12-lap feature
1. Daryl Charlier
2. Chuck Kennedy
3. J E Stalder,
4. Tom Martineck
5. Kari Gasser

Stocks – 12-lap feature
1. Rich Mason
2. Brian Huchko
3.Gary Koteles
4. Curt Bish
5. Garrett O'Patchen

Young Guns Sport Compacts – 8-lap feature
1. Justin Pons
2. Daniel White
3. Tyler Carson
4. Alec Broniszewski
5. Ricky Steigerwald,

Motordrome Speedway
Smithton, Pa. – June 5

Late Models – 50-lap feature
1. Neil Brown
2. Mark Poole
3. Bobby Henry
4. Mark Cottone
5. Gary Wiltrout

Modifieds – 30-lap feature
1. Bobby Shipp
2. Adam Kostelnik
3. Bryan Shipp
4. Lonnie Hoffman
5. George Nicola

Street Stocks – 25-lap feature
1. Mike Bakalon
2. Shawn Phillips
3. Johnathan Hileman
4. Dink Colarusso
5. Andrew Kostelnik

Chargers – 15-lap feature
1. Zane Ferrell
2. Tracy Keller
3. Matthew Garedner
4. Ed McConnell
5. Ed Neidhardt

Super Compacts – 15-lap feature
1. Larry Dunmyer
2. Gene Zerfoss
3. Matt Sever
4. Ed Dineen
5. Troy Knight