Monday, February 18, 2008

The Black Cale Yarborough

What's up class? We got something special for you today. My boy K-Dawg is going to school us on the ins and outs of NASCAR. K-Dawg is the only black person I know, in my age group, that likes motorsports. Let me rephrase that. He LOVES motorsports. I don't get it, but dude is passionate about it so I decided to let him clue us in.

A Black Race Fan? What???

Oh snap, dude just got blasted on the backstretch going into Turn 3 at 175 mph!!!! Accidents…… that is how I got into being a race fan when I was little. My love of cars got me into becoming a race fan….. then I saw an Indy 500 one year and witnessed an Indy Car flip over dozens of times going about 220 mph. It was the scariest thing I had witnessed. My heart was pounding nervously for the driver of that car. I couldn’t believe that I had seen such a thing. The commentators kept replaying the crash over and over explaining the dynamics of how, why, when, and where on the track it happened. Understanding all of those factors made me become a fan. Ever since that day, I have been a fan of NASCAR, Indy Car, Formula 1, Motocross, and Drag Racing. When Gangsta D asked me to do a blog on the 50th Anniversary of the Daytona 500 I was really taken back because this and the crew are the same Negroes that clowned me in school because on Sunday afternoons I was watching NASCAR versus going to the mall. However, Gangsta D is my Negro for life so I am honored to bring this to you today.

Some major players in the race have changed teams on the offseason. First and the biggest name in NASCAR is Dale Earnhardt Jr. He had a strained relationship with his former boss and mother –in-law Teresa Earnhardt at Dale Earnhardt Incorporated Racing (DEI). Ever since Dale Sr. died in 2001, their relationship continued to worsen because he felt he should be part owner of the company his father founded. She balked at the negotiations and that eventually led to Dale Jr. going to powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick Motorsports is the equivalent of the Yankees in the baseball. They are the team with the payroll, drivers, and technology to continually dominate the sport. Jeff Gordon (5 time NASCAR champ), Jimmy Johnson (2 time defending series champ), Casey Mears (nephew of Rick Mears - 4 times Indy 500 Champ) and now Dale Earnhardt Jr. makes up the “Dream Team” of NASCAR. In order for Dale Jr. to get to Hendrick Motorsport someone had the short end of the stick and Kyle Busch was that person. However, that lead to next big acquisition of the offseason Kyle Busch to Joe Gibbs Racing.

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR)???? Washington Redskins Head Coach Joe Gibbs?? YES! Joe Gibbs been in the race game for about 10 years now and has three series championship to boot. Tony Stewart has won two of those championships and along with talented youngsters Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch; this team should challenge the “Dream Team” this NASCAR season.

However, the biggest move of the offseason involved not people but manufacturers. JGR switched from Chevrolets to Toyota this season. Toyota is new to the game. They came last year with Michael Waltrip racing and Red Bull Racing teams and did not do very well. In fact, it was a pathetic effort. By acquiring JGR, it gave Toyota the marquee team it desperately needed to become a factor. JGR’s resources and equipment will definitely make Toyota a force this year. It has already been seen when the top 10 qualifiers for the Daytona 500 this year are either Chevy or Toyota. That is major considering Ford hasn’t stepped their game up yet.
The Ford teams are led by Rousch Racing. Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, and Greg Biffle make a strong and formidable team to go against the Chevy and Toyota teams. However, testing and the such suggest that they may have a difficult year.

Foreigners have invaded NASCAR changing the landscape of the “Good ole boy” series into an international flavor. Led by Juan Pablo Montoya and Dario Franchitti, the international flavor this year will present a different experience in NASCAR unlike ever before. Hot Dogs, Beer and beer bellies, are now supplanted with international media, Brazilian flags, gorgeous women, Ashley Judd (Dario’s wife and movie star), and most important color of skin. Unfortunately, there aren’t many blacks in NASCAR but this is a start. These guys don’t get tans from the sun and they like music other than country and bluegrass. I’ll take that for now until I get on the track!!!!! I’m bringing Jay Z and Chuck D to pit road dammit!!!!! I digress.
Now to the racing……….

This year’s Daytona 500 looks to be pretty exciting. I fact I predict that it will be the best race this year. Last year’s Daytona 500 was sick…… with the accident on the last lap coming off of turn 4 and the NASCAR officials allowing the race to continue to the flag with Kevin Harvick narrowly passing perennial favorite Mark Martin at the checkered flag. This year I think there are 5 major players that could win this year. I think that Dale Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmy Johnson, Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch will have a strong say in the outcome of the race. The favorite and my prediction is Jimmy Johnson. He is a very poised driver and always seems to be in the right place at the right time at the end of a race. Some darkhorses include Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. , Brian Vickers, Mark Martin and Ryan Newman. The big crash will happen but I think it will happen about 25 to 30 laps from the end of the race allowing the real drivers to leave it on the track against each other. The International racers will be mid to back of the pack for the most part of the race with Juan Pablo Montoya leading the way with about a 12th place finish. The Ford teams will finish in the top ten with Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle finishing about 7th to 10th place area.

I’ll return to the bat cave during the race and give you non-believers the recap once completed.
ed note: This was supposed to have run yesterday morning, but due to technical didn't. Sorry, it happens.


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