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 @onpitrowDecember 21, 2009 8:25 am UTC 2 Comments
What are the perfect gifts for NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and, yes, Danica Patrick?
Watch the 2009 holiday edition of the Monday Morning Crew Chief with Mindy Monday and find out.
by Mindy Monday, Special To NASCAR commentary and driver pictures, 2012 NASCAR schedule, video, Bench Racing With Steve and CharlieJuly 9, 2009 9:50 pm UTC 1 Comment
Last week, Steve got the crow sandwich. This week, Charlie gets the rocking chair. Actually, Mindy Monday offers up Charlies chair to the shy (right) and retiring (true) Mikey Waltrip.
Mindy compares the Jeremy Mayfield saga to a Burt Levee novel and Phil Parson’s no. 66 ride to the previously mentioned rocker.
There’s more. There always is. Including Tony Stewart’s “ole’- el passo” of Kyle Busch. Watch the latest Monday Morning Crew Chief.
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.February 12, 2009 10:40 am UTC 9 Comments
Seventeen racers are vying for just four spots in The Great American Race.
The Daytona Seventeen are for the most part are all start up teams with limited or no outside sponsorships. The first Duel on Thursday will have seven drivers looking for the two openings available in the 500. Joe Nemechek, Scott Riggs and Brad Keselowski look to be the favorites to fight for the pair of move ups. Also in that first race are longer shots; Kirk Shelmerdine, Tony Raines, Mike Skinner and Carl Long. The three favorites all have the advantage of owners with some sort of success in that role.
Nemechek has fielded cars in the Cup series before, full time with himself behind the wheel in 1995 and 1996, but many times using ringers at Watkins Glen with sporadic success. Riggs is driving for Tommy Baldwin who has had success not only as a Cup crew chief but also as the founder of a Nationwide team in 2004 that he later sold to Ray Evernham that formed the foundation for Evernham Motorsports. Meanwhile Keseloski will be in the James Finch ride that has one hundred starts on the Cup circuit on a part time basis since Jeff Purvis first jumped into one of his cars in 1990.
The second Duel has ten cars looking to make the 43 car field for Sunday’s race. Again only two will move up. Half of those ten have to be consider as legitimate contenders to make the 500. Regan Smith, Boris Said, AJ Allmendinger, Jeremy Mayfield and Mike Wallace show the most promise. Smith is driving a part time schedule for Front Row Motorsports, an organization that has run through drivers at a prolific rate.
Said will be looking to make the race that seems to allude him. His No Fear Racing team has merged with Rick Clark Motorsports, a minority owner who to the best of recollections has never put a car on a NASCAR track. Said does have a way of being fast at Daytona however. His biggest nemesis over the years has been the weather. Allmendinger is running the fourth car for Richard Petty Racing and has been fast in cars from that stable since he got into them at the end of last year.
Jeremy Mayfield put together his race team in early January and plans on a full season with All Sport energy drink returning to big time auto racing as co-owner and sponsor. Mayfield seems to have gotten the fire back in his belly. Wallace will be in a TRG Chevy. TRG has been successful in sports cars and have been making appearances on the stock car circuits to gain some experience. Wallace is another driver who seems to find ways to make the field if given any kind of decent equipment.
Those with little chance of making the big jump into Sunday’s race are Mike Garvey, Derrike Cope, Kelly Bires, Geoff Bodine and Norm Benning. Bodine’s attempt is interesting because his car is owned by Phil Parsons, but probably lacks the resources to make the race.
photo credits: Icon Sports Media
by Chris Leone, Special To NASCAR commentary and driver pictures, 2012 NASCAR schedule, video, Bench Racing With Steve and Charlie
I do weekly Fantasy Pick'Em columns here at OPR, as well as the occasional opinion and analysis piece. I also provide the IZOD IndyCar Series coverage. For more on that, head to my site, OpenWheelAmerica.com. My Twitter handle is @christopherlion.January 30, 2009 5:36 pm UTC 13 Comments
With the formation of an as-yet-to-be-named team by Larry Gunselman, the car count at Daytona is going to be in the high 50s. It’s going to be higher than in 2007, when we had 49 fully-funded teams competing for st- I mean, 14 fully-funded teams attempting to steal points from 35 other fully-funded teams with guaranteed starting spots. (Cough.)
Either way, new teams involved in the sport is a good thing, right? They provide emplyoment to a lot of guys who have been/may be getting displaced, such as Dave Blaney, Todd Bodine, Geoff Bodine, Joe Nemechek, Jeremy Mayfield, Mike Skinner, Kirk Shelmerdine, Kelly Bires, and Derrike Cope. Don’t forget crew chiefs like Phillippe Lopez and Doug Richert, as well as (assumedly) a lot of those displaced in this offseason’s merger mania. That can only help the sport, right?
Gunselman put it best when he told NASCAR.com, “Right now we’re looking at running for purse money while we try to come up with sponsorship dollars. The more sponsor dollars you get, the harder you can run. I tell people all the time, if you don’t have money, you’ve got to race smart, and you can race hard if you do have money.”
These guys – most likely every single one of them – will be utilizing Gunselman’s strategy. (Sorry, Phil Parsons, I don’t believe you for one second when you say that No. 66 is going to run legitimately at Daytona.) They’re field fillers, and they make their living by showing up, qualifying, and running twenty laps before parking the car and lying to NASCAR officials about why the car “broke.”
Not only are they playing a game to try and pocket purse money, they’re potential safety hazards on the track. Remember the 2004 Darlington race where Jeff Gordon and Andy Hillenburg wrecked pretty early on? There were eight field-fillers in the race that day. It’s a wonder that cars citing brake issues at Darlington didn’t cause more problems.
I’ve heard theories that NASCAR promises the TV networks 43-car fields every race. If that’s true, why? What makes 43 cars so special? Champ Car had some awesome races with between 15 and 20. It’s not necessary to set car counts so high that field fillers are required to fulfill the television contract. Someone needs to go in and rewrite those contracts if that’s the case. Quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality.
Of course, I do have sympathy for these guys. Todd Bodine was a Truck Series champion in 2006. Mayfield made two consecutive Chases in 2004 and 2005 before his team was pulled out from under him. Nemechek and Skinner still have plenty left in the tank, and Bires is an up-and-coming talent. All of them are certainly deserving of rides in some series. It’s a messy situation, especially for those teams whose employees have no other sources of income to fall back on. (Parsons? Eeeeigh. No sympathy, especially when you deny having any part in the team.)
So here’s the best solution I can come up with: Any car that exits the race for good within the first 25% of the scheduled distance has a NASCAR official in their pit stall/garage to verify that the reason for pulling the car from the race is legitimate. The teams that are running legitimately will just regard it as standard protocol, and have no problems. Those who are “racing smart” (cough) lose all accumulated points and get their walking papers from the next race, entry blank filled in or not.
As in, don’t even bother showing up. We’re not going to let you in.
Starting and parking for 36 races may be attractive to some guys. But starting and parking for 18 or less? This doesn’t cater to those “smart” owners at all. They’re not going to run the car beyond its means on one set of tires, as that risks totaling it and coming out with a loss.
I’d say the teams have to forfeit the prize money as well, but those crew members – as many or as few of them the team employs – need to make a living too, like I said.
There’s no perfect solution to the field-filler problem. There likely never will be. But at least by severely limiting the amount of races a field filler can enter, it discourages those owners from trying to form that sort of operation, and only running the races (if any) they can afford to run properly.
It’s a start.
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 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.July 23, 2008 9:24 am UTC No Comments
Phil Parsons, Patrick Donahue, Shawn Umphries, Mike Strevel from Berlin Raceway and Brian Scott headline INSIDE ARCA
Last night’s INSIDE ARCA Radio show was another quality show. That may sound a little self-serving. I suppose it is, but when we started talking with the powers that be at ARCA last fall, one of the premises that we came up with was to introduce ARCA racing fans to some of the personalities that make up the ARCA Re/Max Series.
Being able to talk with our ARCA Insider Phil Parsons on a weekly basis has given us a strong base to work from, week in and week out. While Charlie and I are at the non-televised races to broadcast them on ARCANation.com; we rely on Phil for his on scene observations from the races that he and Rick Allen do for Speed TV.
Patrick Donahue, crew chief for Scott Speed in the #2 Red Bull Toyota out of the Eddie Sharp Racing stable, gives us his inside look at the technical side of ARCA. Last night was no different as Patrick was with us via the phone while we had Shawn Umphries from Mr. Gasket in house to talk about the Mallory ignition system that ARCA mandates to all its race teams. Talking about ignition systems on the surface doesn’t sound very riveting, but it was amazingly interesting.
The July 8th show saw ARCA “Rules Enforcer” Bobby Tomsen join us live at Toledo Speedway to talk about his role at an ARCA event. Bobby had a lot to say about rules and the ARCA Series. We had to keep Bobby around for a second segment.
Check out the broadcast of INSIDE ARCA presented by Team GLOCK Racing. You can download the show as a podcast or listen anytime at arcaracing.com. In the Toledo, Ohio area you can hear a replay of the show at midnight Wednesday night/Thursday morning at WCWA-1230AM.
We are very proud of the progress of INSIDE ARCA. It is a work in progress, but interviews with drivers like Brian Scott - who sat on the pole at Kentucky Speedway and turned the fast lap at the Nashville Super Speedway test on Tuesday - helps bring the ARCA Re/Max Series to the fans.
Photo Credit: BethAnne Heisler/Bench Racing Productions for ON PIT ROW