by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.September 28, 2009 5:40 pm UTC 1 Comment
Jimmie Johnson took his place at the front of the field at Dover International Raceway.
While Johnson made a mockery of the field at Dover, rookie Joey Logano was capturing the press. Sure Johnson’s victory closed him to within ten points of The Chase leader, Mark Martn, but it was the spectacular wreck that Logano was involved in , that left the crowd concerned.
Logano slowed for traffic in front of him, but Tony Stewart was unable to avoid the car he formerly drove and tagged the back of the #20 sending Logano into the outside retaining wall;followed by a spectacular seven revolution barrel roll down the front stretch at the Monster Mile. “Sliced Bread” left the batterd ride after it had stopped momentarily on it’s driver side door before ending on it’s wheels.
Logano emerged from the damaged car without serious injury and waved to the fans as he made his way to the ambulance for the precautionary ride to the infield care center. This new car once again proved how well it withstands damage and protects the driver.
It also shows that the cars still have a want to get upside down. Roof flaps solved that problem on the old car but the front splitter and rear wing combination have proven to be more of a challenge for the aerodynamicist. By definition the rear wing on the new car is designed to keep the rear of the car on the ground, but when it is turned up-side-down it does as any wing does and creates lift. Once the new car gets upset it doesn’t lend itself to minor mishaps.
NASCAR will figure this out and make the car perform better. It may come with some help from the Nationwide COT as it develops.
This week’s BUZZ ON PIT ROW is this:
Should NASCAR and its drivers be concerned with the airborne tendencies of this car?
Let us know what you think and we could use your answer on this weeks radio show. Tune in to ON PIT ROW every Tuesday from 5-7pm ET. You could win a Kevin Harvick bobblehead if you are the Shell-Fuel My Passion Call of the Day.
photo credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR
by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.June 16, 2009 5:34 am UTC 17 Comments
Brian France showed up at Michigan to let everyone know he is involved in fixing what ills NASCAR.
It has been a bit unusual for the Prince of NASCAR to show his face to the crowds at a race sanctioned by his family’s company. But Brian, Jim Hunter and Mike Helton were all at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. NASCAR’s version of the big three wanted to talk with drivers, owners and the media to assure them that racing will go on even if Detroit’s big three aren’t involved.
General Motors now joins Chrysler in scaling back their financial backing brought on since thy both declared bankruptcy. That is where France’s comments become interesting. He told those attending the driver/crew chief meeting that there were other foreign manufacturers interested in coming to NASCAR. While none were ready to make the jump immediately; he could foresee more participation from foreign based manufacturers as long as they had manufacturing facilities also in the United States.
Therein lies the impetus for this week’s BUZZ ON PIT ROW:
How will fans react if NASCAR allows other foreign makes into the Cup Series?
Let us know what you think and we could us your answer on this week’s ON PIT ROW radio show heard live from 5-7pm ET at www.onpitrow.com. You can also call the show at 800-645-2946 and possibly win a Kevin Harvick bobblehead if you are chosen “The Shell Nitrogeon Enriched Call of the Day”
photo credit: Icon Sports Media
by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.April 12, 2009 9:49 am UTC 6 Comments
Joey Logano did exactly what everyone has been expecting of him at Nashville; he won a race.
The Connecticut rookie that has been named “sliced bread” for his next best thing promise finally lived up to the hype in a NASCAR race. Because it was a Nationwide Series race and not on the Cup level he still has a way to go before the Joe Gibbs Racing driver lives up to his moniker.
Logano won in the ARCA series in 2008 on his way to NASCAR’s top series in 2009, but the road has been rocky at best throughout his rookie series. The season started with a crash out at Daytona and has never righted itself since.
Logano’s success at Nashville makes one wonder if he might have been better served to have spent an entire season in the Nationwide Series to get a feel for the tracks and environment of the NASCAR big leagues. The no testing policy that NASCAR implemented in the ’08/’09 off season had an impact on start up and rookie teams. The same reasons that allowed start ups the ability to enter the series were counter-productive to the rookie class.
In a normal year Logano and the #20 team would have spent much of the off season getting him comfortable in the new car. Not only was Logano expected to acclimate himself to the ex-Stewart car and team, he had to learn the nuances of the CoT–a car he had driven sparingly until the start of speed weeks at Daytona.
I boldly predicted in February, on ON PIT ROW the radio show, Logano would not make it to Daytona in July as the driver of that car. There have been rumblings to that effect and a “vote of confidence” from team owner Joe Gibbs. Those VOC’s tend to be a bad omen. Gibbs and Home Depot may not have the ability to hang in with Logano throughout the season. Gibbs may have been better served to have used a seat holder for a year, while Logano perfected his craft in 2009.
He needs to move up the cup ladder quickly over the next five races to prove Gibbs confidence is warranted. Nashville may give Logano exactly what he needed–a win to get things moving in the right direction.
Photo credit: John Sommors II – Getty Images for NASCAR
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowFebruary 5, 2009 7:55 am UTC No Comments
NASCAR bloggers come in many flavors. They tend to come and go too. When I first started checking out the NASCAR blogosphere, one of the names that kept popping up in my searches was this Diecast Dude guy. So I sent him an email. Cold. I asked for some advice on blogging. He explained some things – told me about “link-love”. And gave us some. I’ve owed him ever since.
Jerry Wilson was a guest ON PIT ROW Tuesday. He knows his stuff when it comes to auto racing. You can listen to that interview here. But it’s a little different than what follows. Seven questions for Jerry Wilson – the Diecast Dude. Enjoy.
OPR – What came first for you – your passion for racing or writing?
Jerry Wilson – Writing. I’ve always loved racing, especially open wheel. My Dad was a huge car buff, and having grown up in Indianapolis the Indy 500 was as much a part of the sports world in my house as baseball or football. NASCAR I got into later in life, during the late ’80s. Writing I’ve always loved.
OPR – Ken Schrader was the first person on the scene after Dale senior’s fatal crash. What went through your mind, when you saw Schrader look inside that wrecked Goodwrench Chevy?
Jerry Wilson – Mostly disbelief when Schrader started frantically calling the trackside assistance crew to the car. How could anything be wrong? This was Dale Earnhardt. He’d walked away from wrecks far worse-looking than this one. Within the disbelief there was the sudden realization he must be hurt for Schrader to be acting this way. But mostly disbelief.
OPR – I know that you are a Jimmy Johnson fan. Why? And why does he not get the props that his success deserves?
Jerry Wilson - We California kids have to stick together. Seriously, aside from the immediate reason for liking him, namely his being a protege of my main man Jeff Gordon, I appreciate his calm relentlessness and total aversion to distraction. Johnson is pure focus and drive. We should all be so dedicated to our pursuits in life. As far as the lack of appreciation, the era of people either loving dynasties or loving to hate them has ended with the latter firmly in control. We live in an ADD society. We want someone new in the spotlight every fifteen minutes without fail. Johnson, by dint of being better than everyone else, isn’t allowing that to happen.
OPR – Describe your feelings about traditional NASCAR journalists. Terry Blount, for example.
Jerry Wilson – It’d be more interesting to hear what he thinks of me!
My feelings about the trad reporters covering NASCAR… it varies from reporter to reporter. I’ve long since abandoned the “you’re in MSM, therefore I as the big bad blogger am obligated to call you out and take you down whenever possible” mindset. It’s ludicrous to think that way. The reporters aren’t going anywhere and neither am I. As the years have rolled along and I’ve come to know some of the reporters — for example, Matt Crossman from the Sporting News and I are good friends — I’ve seen a shift in attitude by most members of both sides. For lack of a better term I’d call it a truce. The two sides still don’t see eye to eye, but there is at least acknowledgment of each others legitimacy.
Beat writing is a tough gig. It’s your job to report the news. That means gathering facts, verifying them, and putting them in print. This is always done under tremendous time pressure. The information beast wants everything five minutes ago. Blogging, whether it cares to admit it, is utterly reliant on the media for its source material to which it adds observation and comment. The other side is the media, whether it cares to admit it, envies the blogosphere for its ability to freewheel without concern for being shut out of news sources. Unless NASCAR Media decides to kick us all out. I don’t believe I’m off-base in stating the work I’ve done since 2003, along with other longtime bloggers such as Bram Hume at Backstretch Motorsports, went a very long way toward convincing NASCAR of our legitimacy. They admitted as such last year when they let us in. There is the thought that part of NASCAR’s motivation was hoping to keep us a bit more in check, but that’s nothing I can prove.
Back to the original question. There are good reporters and bad reporters. In my opinion Blount is a bad reporter. Too much opinion in what should be straightforward news stories, too much presentation of speculation and/or rumor as fact, and I believe he’s a plagiarist.
OPR – You can change one thing – and only one – in NASCAR. What will you change?
Jerry Wilson – Allow crew chiefs far more freedom to massage the new car and hopefully make it something not so prone to running loose all the time.
OPR - You recently left a great blogging gig – RestrictorPlateThis.com, for a big traffic sports site – to return to being TheDiecastDude. How tough was that?
Jerry Wilson – Brutal in the extreme. When I left, SportsBlogs Network which owns RPT had just finished putting together a team of investors including some heavy hitters in sports and sports media. SBN has the best of the best sports bloggers on its roster. It is going to be a major player in online sports blogging, reporting and analysis. The people running SBN are like the bloggers there — the best of the best. You don’t walk away from that without a lot of thought and in my case prayer.
There were several factors going into my decision to leave SBN, but the primary one was the ever-increasing pull on my heart to get back to being, again for lack of a better term, Diecast Dude. There were and certainly are now far more popular NASCAR bloggers than I in terms of readership. However, what I brought to the table was the ability to mix what I had to say about NASCAR, my goals in this being to present entertainment and opinion about the sport, with going off on tangents about different topics. These usually reflected my faith. I couldn’t do that on SBN. Not because I was told not to; no one there ever censored or disapproved of a word I wrote. Rather, it was because it would have been inappropriate of me to use SBN as a platform for such things. That’s not what they’re there for and that’s not what they asked me on board for. To follow what I had been called to do required me to leave SBN.
OPR – You are not just a digital author. You’re published as well, with the book, Restrictor Plate This and another, upcoming release. Tell me about the difference between writing a book and blogging.
Jerry Wilson – Blogging is far easier. Pick a topic, hit it, done. Writing a book requires far more planning and the ability to simultaneously monitor the here and now — the words you’re writing at any given point in the manuscript — and maintain full view of the overall picture you’re trying to create. A blog says “look at that flower” and then immediately moves on. A book doesn’t so much stop to smell the roses as it does plant the seed, cultivate the bush, and when the flower finally blooms make sure you’ve described it along with every step along the way in loving, full detail so the person who knows the rose solely from your words knows its fragrance as well as the person who actually gets a chance to take a whiff.
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowJanuary 29, 2009 6:02 pm UTC No Comments
In the latest – and apologetically late - Monday Morning Crew Chief, Mindy tips her hat to several, brand new one car operators. She also disses Brian France. But what else is new?
Watch Mindy’s latest right here. Sorry we’re late.
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowNovember 24, 2008 11:58 pm UTC 2 Comments
I kind of like it when millionaires bitch about their circumstances. Unlike some politicians, I don’t care if we raise their taxes, but I don’t mind seeing them squirm. According to ON PIT ROW’S crack research staff, their aren’t many destitute Sprint Cup drivers. And the new car seemed to get many off their game this past season. Good.
I just found the quote that explains what I like about the car the most. It’s from 2008 Sprint Cup runner-up Carl Edwards and I found it in FoxSports’ Lee Spencer’s article…
“It does make it hard to pass at some of the tracks because so many guys are the same speed. But man, it’s sure cool to know that you’ve got a really good chance; you’re not going to get beat by some guy’s magical fender or something.”
The essence of the new car is that the days of the magic fender may be gone. The age of the great driver may be here. In the long run, the rules stability that makes for this situation may lead to money being saved too. Particularly if the number of cars needed by each team to compete effectively, is cut. But I don’t care that much about saving money really. It isn’t mine, you know?
Edwards seems to revel in the challenge of the CoT. Kyle Busch is a critic. Jimmie Johnson seemingly won’t say anything bad about anything. He doesn’t love the current car. He just deals with it. All three of these guys made it work to the tune of two thirds of all of the wins in this years’ Cup run.
I like it this way. I want the magic to be about the magician, not the props.
Photo credit: Icon Sports Media, Inc.