Okay- So our latest trip to Las Vegas Motor Speedway was jam packed and full of fun. And I just wanted to use this space to tie everything together between the different postings Misty and I wrote regarding the weekend. (more…)
Viewership may be down, attendance may be down, but does NASCAR really think changing the rules of the game AGAIN is going to magically cure that? Seems that NASCAR’s answer to all that ails it is to change, change and change things. Apparently they have never heard Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and expecting different results. Well, in this case doing the same thing is changing the sport AGAIN. Can we not just go from one season to another without wholesale changes like this?
Some may not think that the change that has been hinted at is that big of a deal, and may even see the potential change as easier to understand, but as a diehard NASCAR fan I don’t have any issue or problem understanding the current scoring method. Most of us can indeed count past 43. I view the changes as yet one more thing to figure out as the season starts. It distracts from the racing, it distracts from the good part of the sport and frustrates me to no end.
I am also not in favor of changing the Chase format. Why, you may ask? Because in my opinion the integrity of the record books has already been compromised by instituting the Chase in the first place. There is Pre-Chase Era drivers and Championships and Chase Era drivers and Championships, NASCAR doesn’t need a third era. You simply cannot compare Richard Petty’s seven Championships to Jeff Gordon’s four because had the Chase format not been instituted Gordon would have won two additional Championships (2004 and 2007). Carl Edwards would have taken the 2008 Championship, and Jimmie wouldn’t be Mr. Five Time. As it stands there needs to be an asterisk in the books, but the damage is done, let’s move on and leave it be.
If the Chase were eliminated now or God forbid, a whole other format instituted, we will never be able to compare Championship results or have a history of the sport that makes any kind of sense. And to answer those that say, “yeah but Johnson winning all the time is boring and he has this Chase thing figured out”, I say to you, yes indeed it is and he does, but guess what like him or hate him, he has been the best in this format for the last five seasons and it is the burden of the other drivers to rise to the standard set by Johnson the 48 Team. The other 11 teams need to bring it to the track week after week and get it done. If at the end of the season, Johnson is crowned Champion again, then we know the other drivers failed. Simply changing the sport in an attempt to handicap a winner or level a playing field is ridiculous. If the others aren’t up to the challenge then they don’t deserve to win. Hamlin and Harvick came close this year proving the Chase format is not broken.
Confusion is never a good marketing strategy and changing the rules constantly is not going to draw more fans in, but it could frustrate current fans and cause them to move on to a sport they don’t have to re-learn each season. NASCAR, please, leave the drama to the drivers on the track and let the rest ride!
If you have been reading here for any length of time, you know I like love to take pictures. I really do. I have even taken a couple of online photography classes trying to better my techniques. It was in one of my classes that I decided that I do not like taking pictures of people…especially when they are posed or posing. They usually end up with monkey grins or looking like they are wearing the world’s most uncomfortable underwear. Plus, when you take a picture of a car or a horse or something, they don’t tend to bitch about having to stand still while you take just one more shot. Portraiture is just not my bag I guess. I would much rather take pictures of flowers or animals or whatnot.
However when I was at the NASCAR Champions Week celebration and festivities in Las Vegas I got some of the BEST pictures of PEOPLE that I have ever taken. That is when it dawned on me- I can take good pictures of people as long as they don’t know I am taking their picture or at the very least aren’t posing for me. So my best three photos of Champions week are:
Now you might be wondering where on earth Clint Bowyer fits into all this, since clearly my “best” photos were NOT of Clint. Well as a result of After The Lap and The Stewies, I found out that Clint is a really funny guy. Honestly I have never really given Bowyer much thought before but he really is a funny guy and spent most of the time laughing and cutting up at both After the Lap and The Stewies. But damned if I can get a picture of the man where he doesn’t look grumpy. I present to you all my pictures of Clint Bowyer as evidence:
So that isn’t that bad BUT he looks kind of ticked off right? Well trust me…they only get worse. Check out this picture of Clint signing autographs on the red carpet at Fan Fest:
See? This is NOT Clint Bowyer’s personality- I would know since I was there- he is not the grumpy gus that my camera catches…it’s my apparent inability to catch him in a flattering way. I am sad to admit that have an even worse picture of Clint from the Stewies:
So why I can’t get a decent picture of Clint Bowyer I don’t know. It use to be that I could never get a decent picture of Tony Stewart because he would make me nervous and I would move the camera so all my pictures of the man would be blurry. But that has changed. With Bowyer it’s different…I can’t caught a flattering image of him for the life of me. I have no explanation for it really.
Also I just wanted to include a side note that while taking pictures to document NASCAR Champions Week 2010 I felt like a paparazzi, especially during the red carpet walk for Fan Fest and during the Stewies. It was kinda weird.
(or how on earth I didn’t pee my pants I am not sure).
Directly after the Victory Lap and Burnouts on Thursday was the After The Lap Q&A at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Which meant Misty and I had to jam! We left our prized burnout spot for the car before the smoke from Jeff Burton’s car had dissipated and started towards the Hard Rock. We had about half an hour and while we weren’t THAT far from the Hard Rock, traffic was backed up from the closing of Las Vegas Blvd for the Victory Lap and the lights at Las Vegas intersections? Are the longest lights I have ever experienced in my entire 30-something years of living. We get to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and basically RUN to into the Joint and grab two seats in the back near where the drivers would be entering. This event was FREE but space was limited and on a first come/first serve. So Las Vegas native Jamie Little was doing the emceeing/hosting of the event and the Chase drivers are announced- walk into the Joint from the back towards a little catwalk then onto the stage. I would have gotten some great pictures of them entering except someone was a little fogger happy at the Joint so all I got were shadowy people in a fog. I will spare you.
The drivers sat on directors chairs on-stage and were asked questions that were submitted on facebook, twitter, on video from the tracks, and even a couple from the audience. Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon were seated next to each other much like at Family Feud the day before and they talked back and forth even when it wasn’t their turn to talk- it was funny. I would love to know what they were saying. Anyway, if you follow me on twitter you might have caught my tweet from the event: I am laughing my ass off at the after the lap q&a. These guys are funny as hell!! And I truly was…laughing my butt off. Best line of the night though? Came from Tony Stewart. Let me set it up:
Someone (Clint Bowyer I think?) brought up that the drivers were all changing from their suits into their firesuits in the same room from the Luncheon early in the day to the Victory Lap in the early afternoon. Apparently Kyle Busch was wearing bright green boxers. The other drivers found that to be uproariously funny and mentioned it several times throughout the evening. Anyway- after much talk of Kyle’s green boxers, Tony gets a hold of one of the microphones and states: I don’t know what you guys over there were doing (motioning towards the drivers on the other side of the stage from him) but you were spending WAY too much time looking at each other’s junk. I nearly fell out of my chair (and I hadn’t had anything to drink so don’t think I was drunk).
In between answering the questions we learned that Jeff Gordon is afraid of needles and doesn’t have any tattoos. And Clint Bowyer? The man is hilarious! Who knew? Not me but indeed Clint Bowyer is HILARIOUS! And we all know that Tony is a great storyteller and he had a couple to tell….needless to say that watching these guys interact with each other outside of the track was great!!
Now we wanted to go to the Stewies but we weren’t sure where they were. Originally we had heard they would be at The Hard Rock as well…but then someone else in the Q&A had mentioned they were going to be at the Rio. There was no way would have time to get all the way to the RIO Q&A and happen onto the Stewies being set up right there outside in the Joint Lobby. We take a prime spot for the taping. Last year by the time we got to the Stewies it was so full of people that we were stuck way up in the balcony and could barely see. We didn’t have that problem this time. And let me just say…poor Kyle Busch’s green underwear were brought up AGAIN on the radio. Here is Misty’s awesome video of the Jeff Gordon section of the Stewies:
(Video credit: Misty Bethany)
I also got some great shots during the Stewies:
(All photos credited to ME).
You can see who won in each Stewie catagory at the Stewies Site on Sirius XM’s website as well as listen / watch snippets of video from the event as well…
While I was pretty much on the go all day both Misty and I laughed our butts off at After The Lap and The Stewies. It was a great day!
The Thursday of NASCAR Champions Week in Vegas was a crazy, chaotic day that had us running all over town…literally. There was the luncheon at the Bellagio (which is a beautiful hotel by the way)…where Dale Earnhardt Jr won his umpteenth favorite driver award…and more importantly- Tony Stewart won the 2010 Home Depot Humanitarian of the Year award (and yes I nearly squealed like a school girl when I found out).
Then it was the Victory Lap and Burnouts down the Las Vegas Strip. Having attended this last year- Misty and I had the perfect spot for viewing (and pictures and video) the burnouts. Also? This year rocked because all top 12 drivers did burn outs- last year just Jimmie burned out- the rest just squirreled around the turn! Anyway, we staked out our spot early. Ok, really early, because we didn’t want to worry about it getting usurped. The weather this year was warmer than last year which was great because by the time they burned out last year I was frozen solid into a Popsicle. We were so cold that by the end of it last year we were both shaking uncontrollably. This year we were prepared with layers but didn’t need to worry. So without further ado…some pictures:
(All photos of the burnouts are credited to ME!)
And Misty with her arms of steel took this great video of the awesome burnouts:
(Video credit: Misty Bethany who is now the chief videographer for badgroove.com)
This post compliments the post written by Misty about Fan Fest.
NASCAR’s Champion’s Week festivities in Las Vegas started off on Wednesday with the Chasers for Charity Fan Fest at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Fans mingled around some of the cars (the 24, the 17, the 16, the 99 and the 48 were all present), sampled some tasty bundt cake (from Nothing Bundt Cakes- whom I have had the pleasure of having before as Misty’s birthday cake in July), mingled and waited for the drivers to arrive. This year’s fan fest was different than last year. Last year there was a roast- where fairly pricey tickets were sold to the Roast which was held in the Media Center or fans could sit in the neon garage and listen for free. This year the chase drivers were divided into two teams to play NASCAR Family Fued on the stage in the NEON garage. Anyone could watch. It was much much more fun for the fans who got to interact with the drivers by yelling out answers to help them. It was far more interactive for fans- who enjoyed the game show. Drivers walked together down the red carpet and up to the stage for family feud so of course I snapped some pictures:
Take note of Clint Bowyer in this picture. I will be mentioning him in a different post later…but you need to hold this image of Clint in your head for my story later.
You may have read in Misty’s post about the Family Feud…that Tony Stewart said something that tickled Jeff Gordon so much he was laughing hysterically (and this wouldn’t be the last time Tony cracked Jeff up over the week but more on that later). This actually happened several times during family feud and I would have LOVED to know what the heck was so damn funny Tony:
Not the best picture…the lighting was crappy by this point in the afternoon- but you get the picture. The best part of the Family Feud game was watching the drivers interact with each other off track. Family indeed!
Ok- so I slacked slightly in posting the points after the Phoenix race (as in I didn’t post em at all) and now poof the season is over.
So first I am going to give you my analysis of the three different points systems then I will give you the numbers if you are interested (after the jump).
I kept track of the NASCAR traditional points system, a Hybrid system that was basically the same NASCAR points structure with NO SEEDING (all 12 chase drivers start at 0), and what I call the BadGroove Cup- a completely stand alone system that had the drivers starting at 0 and had a completely separate points structure.
In all three systems, Jimmie Johnson is your winner. So that didn’t really make a difference- I guess if you are good you are good. The Hybrid system made a difference in the top three in that Harvick would have overtook Hamlin for second. Last place in all three systems was Jeff Burton- so again no difference was made. Really the only difference was in the in-between drivers that were not in the top three but not last. For instance in the end Stewart finishes as high as 7th in the standings and as low as 11th (Hybrid-no seeding). Greg Biffle finished as high as 5th (BadGroove cup) and as low as 7th (Hybrid-no seeding). Jeff Gordon finished as high as 8th (Hybrid-no seeding) and as low as 10th (BadGroove Cup). So the big winner would have remained Jimmie Johnson on all three systems and the big loser would have remained Jeff Burton in all three systems. Overall the Hybrid system and the BadGroove Cup system rewarded overall consistency in the last 10 races.
I now present to you the results for the last two races (Phoenix and Homestead) in just the raw numbers: (more…)
Well that was all she wrote…our beloved NASCAR season is over and we now have a Champion – Mr. Five-Time Jimmie Johnson. And I really don’t understand people who say the chase system doesn’t make for an exciting finish- because that was a nail biter. I am going to be completely honest…I was so wrapped up in the chase that I don’t honestly have much to say about Tony’s run at Homestead except for this: You can’t keep a good man driver down (a lap). Tony somehow ended up a lap down not once, but TWICE through out the race and each time he was able to get that lap back. That last time he was a lap down (I think it had to do with the caution coming out after he and several others went through a round of pit stops- but I am not 100% sure about that) and it could have been bad since it was at the end of the race- but no Tony was about to pull off an eighth place finish (after being a lap down…TWICE) and moved up two positions in the points standings finishing the year in 7th place. Race winner was Carl Edwards!
So who were you rooting for of the three contenders at Homestead? Were you rooting for Denny? Kevin? Jimmie? I will tell you who I was rooting for if you tell me who you were rooting for!
Notes about Homestead:
- I hate to say this…but that incident between Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle on lap 24- the one that caused Denny to spin – and some damage to the car? That really looked like Denny drifted up into Greg to me anyway.
- And what about Kyle Busch? That was a fiery crash! I was all STOP THAT SUCKER AND JUMP OUT KYLE!!! Of course I don’t want to see Kyle burn! I actually enjoy him as a driver (not as much as Tony of course).
- I always feel bad when the championship is clinched by a driver who is NOT the winner in the race. It made me feel that Carl Edward’s celebration was truncated. He did win the race. I was a little worried for his safety when he got out of his car to do his trademark backflip and Jimmie had started burning out right next to him. Yikes!
- Jimmie’s in-car reaction to having won the championship though? He was so excited! I have to say that Chad Knaus’s Post-It note (Our TEAM won!) to the camera- was appropriate. I liked how he emphasized TEAM especially since the pit crew swap. (Consequently enough I noticed that nearly right away – with in the week of the swap- the Lowes racing website listed the “new” crew- while the Jeff Gordon website also listed his original crew. Interesting.) Ha! Take that Mike Ford!
- Speaking of the pit crew swap- I had to say I was concerned that since the swap the wrong crew would get credited with the Tissot Fastest Pit Crew – but luckily they explained that on the national broadcast….that while Jeff Gordon’s crew won the award- it was the original crew….the one that ultimate went to help Jimmie after Texas.
- Apparently we missed some sort of on track altercation between Logano and Montoya after the wreck? They mentioned it on the national broadcast quite briefly but inquiring minds want to know! What happened?
Next Race: Daytona 2011.
Seriously though- like last year, I am planning on attending Champion’s week celebrations after Thanksgiving so posting might be light that week. I will tweet and facebook so follow me or friend me or whatever…but of course I will post afterwards!
(SMOKE fans…be sure to check back here Wednesday…Just saying).