Sunday, March 25, 2007

First Car of Tommorrow Crash Test

It will be interesting to see if either Gilliland or Jarret will be able to get their cars legally fixed in about the same time as the old cars. I guess one good part about starting the COT at Bristol is that it will get beat up on a track where aerodynamics isn't as important as mechanical stability, so any problems that arise with the abuse to the body will have a chance to be addressed before it presents a major problem.

NASCAR Car of Tommorrow at Bristol

Well, here's the first look at a full field of NASCAR's Car of Tommorrow racing in the Nextel Cup Series at Bristol. It certainly reminds me of the trucks. On TV with the full paint schemes, they just look like boxier versions of the old car with a wing stuck on the back. Sans the wings, they look to the TV viewer like the box-cars from the early 90's. I'm somewhat sad there's no real noticable difference between car makes. We've now officially transitioned away from the cars bearing any resemblance to their namesakes beyond decals.

Reed Sorenson spun and didn't hit anything, but went to the garage. It looked like he might have clipped the apron with that new splitter. The radiator cracked. Is the COT with it's specially designed nose as delicate as an open wheel car? We'll see.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I'm Turning Off The Busch Race

The competition is pretty good in the Atlanta Busch race, but after witnessing the most retarded thing since some poor bastard wrecked out the pace car a few years back, I have to walk away. It's okay, 75% of the field today will be in tommorrow's race. Only chances are nobody will be crashing into each other on pace laps.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Victims of Vegas

It's become pretty evident that there was a pretty bad miscommunication between NASCAR, Goodyear, the drivers, and Las Vegas Motor speedway. I'm sure in a few years Vegas will be one of the most exciting tracks on the cup circuit, especially with the aero abilities that come with the Car of Tommorrow. Combine the characteristics of Atlanta with the new progressive banking style that brought new life to Homestead, and we'll no doubt be seeing spectacular competition. But a hard tire on a high banked smooth track means that it is slippery in the most dangerous of ways for now. I fear this will be the first installment of a series today I shall dub "Victims of Vegas."

Joe Nemecheck, Dave Blaney, David Ragan, Ward Burton, Casey Mears, and Robby Gordon have all been bitten today so far.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Final Thoughts From Mexico

An interesting thing happened during the NASCAR race Sunday at Mexico. Curious fans such as myself hopped back and forth between the English broadcast on ESPN2 and the Spanish Broadcast on ESPN. Why? Because almost every time the ESPN English broadcast was at commercial, the Spanish Broadcast was still chugging along with the race. I got to see the cautions come out while ESPN was on commercial. And the Spanish broadcast did something I haven't seen on a NASCAR premiere broadcast in years - stuck with the race during caution. They used cautions to actually catch people up on stories, rather than immediately jump to commercial every chance possible and during green too. Towards the end of the English broadcast, more than half the broadcast was commercials because of the cautions.

It was like going back in time as far as broadcasts go. Where now it is a 100% given that any caution means commercials, even when that means ridiculous amounts of time spent in commercial. Also, at the end of the race, we got to watch (on the Spanish channel) as Juan Montoya had to sit there for minutes doing nothing while the ESPN reporters told him to wait until the English channel got done showing us important things like Michael and Darrell Waltrip acting (poorly) in Aaron's commercials.

Watch out for Jaun Pablo Montoya on road courses:
NASCAR earned some new fans Sunday:

Brad Parrot is an emotional guy. He was literally crying in the post race interview:

Race winners have to sit tight while waiting for the commercials to get done.

Juan Montoya's wife is hot. Holy crap:

Juan Montoya Crashed Scott Pruett at Mexico

So here it is. I collected an extensive amount of screenshots on this accident, because I knew everyone would be talking about it. Juan Pablo Montoya got impatient and Scott Pruett tried to block. So Juan Montoya wound up spinning out his teammate Scott Pruett. He almost took himself out in the wreck too, but ducked onto the grass to avoid his spinning car.

I don't think it was wholly Juan's fault. I think both Ganassi drivers are equally at fault here. Obviously, this isn't a video, but the evidence is pretty straightforward.

It's part Juan's fault because he knew he had fresher tires, a faster car, and 8 laps left to make the move and he stuck his nose under Scott and didn't back off when he saw him coming down into the corner. He should have been more patient. He may be a rookie in NASCAR, but he's a veteran driver who should have had the patience to make the move cleanly, especially against a team mate, especially against a teammate he recently won the 24 hours of Daytona with, and especially with team orders explicitly instructing him to be carefuly about doing just what he wound up doing.

It's part Scott's fault because he did cut across the race track. He left the inside open, and Juan naturally took it. His spotter should have told him, or he should have had the common sense to know once you leave the inside open the faster car trying to pass you will be there to take it. He didn't need to cut across or cut off Juan, the next corner was a left-hander that would have had him on the inside regardless, so it was a stupid move. Likewise, he knew Juan had the better car all day and was on fresher tires. He tried to hold the lead when obviously outclassed and paid the price.

Like I said, they're both responsible. Here are the screenshots:

On board with Juan Montoya as he spins his teammate Scott Pruett:

An understandably angry Scott Pruett hits Juan Montoya after the race in Mexico.

Overlooked stories coming out of this incident:
Scott Pruett, with far fewer laps than Juan Montoya, recovered from the spin to finish fifth. That's damn impressive and Juan Pablo better be counting his lucky stars his teammate didn't have time to make it back up to him to repay the favor. Also, Denny Hamlin gave Juan Pablo Montoya an impressive run for his money at the end. Had they been on equal tires, we might be talking about Denny's second consecutive win at Mexico.

Juan Montoya Marches Forward in Mexico

Juan Pablo Montoya dominated the NASCAR Busch Series Race in Mexico. This is the first time we've seen him on a road course in NASCAR, and he really had a chance to show everyone why he was in Formula 1. Unfortunately, he also wound up showing everyone why he isn't still in Formula 1. But we'll get to that later.

Juan Montoya was the class of the field, quickly taking the lead. While a middle portion of the race had him back in the pack, that was more the result of differing pit strategies than anything else. However, on the final pit stop a piece of the catch can broke off, not allowing any more than 8 gallons of fuel to be put in his car. He had to come back down pit road, and while there were still about 20 some odd laps remaining, with the field strung out his day seemed over. A lucky caution let him fix the gas situation AND change tires, giving him an advantage of about 10 laps fresher tires to his competitors at the front. That's a big advantage, and Juan Montoya capitalized on it. Even with fresher tires, few drivers could do what he did. He breezed through the field as if it was nothing, not even slowing his progress as he reached the front of the field. NASCAR regulars and road course ringers alike fell to him in a matter of moments. He was only slowed by the constant stream of yellow flags at the end.

It was possibly one of the most impressive displays of driving skill in NASCAR Road Course Racing History. Too bad it had to end so poorly. Here are screenshots of his progress:

Mexico Busch Race Screenshots - 1

Above: A look at Adrian Fernandez in his Mexican flag themed number 5. He was not as much of a factor as anticipated on Saturday. He drove well, but couldn't get to the front.

Above: Onboard with Juan Montoya.

The Juicy Fruit car has a simple, but effective paint scheme. Possibly the first time a car has used yellow without it being that annoying neon color in quite awhile.

Juan Pablo Montoya's wife. Damn.