Hey, howdy, good morning and good day. Welcome Gabbers and others to my latest NASCAR update and other fast stuff. I would love to drive this Bugatti, Veyron around Daytona. Problem is at full song I'd get 15 minutes on a tank of fuel. No economical savings as far as this baby goes. Could you imagine a 500 mile race with this car and just how many pit stops it would take to do it? Oh yuck. Math. Not going there. I'll leave the math to the engineers of NASCAR.
POSSIBLE PANTHERS PURCHASE
Bruton Smith, owner of several NASCAR tracks and a very wealthy business man was being interviewed and the subject of the Carolina Panthers came up. Bruton expressed interest in buying this team if the price is right AND he wouldn't ask the state or city tax payers to pitch in for the $300 million in repairs the Bank of America Stadium needs.
The interviewer asked him twice and he said yes, I'm interested and no I wouldn't ask for money. Now on the other hand current owner Jerry Richardson wants tax payer money to help with the improvement project. The city wants a commitment from the team that they'll stay at least 15 years before they'll put any money in the project.
Bruton said nobody has approached him yet but he is interested. Hhhhhmmmmm. Was that a hey Jerry call me maybe?
COOL CAMERA NEW ANGLES
ESPN has added 2 new camera angles to the mix. The Cat-cam which is on the front stretch at the Daytona Speedway suspended by multiple cables. It rides back and forth as well as swivels from side to side while it's gliding along. Kind of like the ones at NFL games.
The Gyro-cam is suspended from the inside roof of the car. It always stays horizontal and level. VERY VERY cool camera angle. They had one inside Dale Jrs car as he drove around Daytona during practice. The car was always leaning because the whole track is banked. Even the straight aways are banked some what. Not as hard as the corners though but what a perspective. I really want to see that angle during racing and in traffic.
NASCAR FANTASY LEAGUE INVITE
I went to ESPN.com and formed a fantasy league. You pick 5 drivers and try to stay within the salary cap. Of course the drivers salaries will go up during the season. I've never played this type before but I'm assuming you want to pick 5 drivers you want to stay with. The scoring is the same as the drivers get at each race. If your driver scores 48 points which is the most you can get in one race than you get those 48 points too. You can change your drivers every week or keep the ones you have. You have up to race time to make changes for that week.
I will try to help by giving a quick back ground for most of the drivers. It's not like in the hockey league where you'll lose a player like Karlsson to being slashed by a skate blade by Cooke supposedly by accident and then have to trade him like I did. Attrition is not a big deal in NASCAR. Allmendinger was a fluke last year. Most power house teams never have to deal with that.
Any way, You can go to ESPN.com, create your account & entry and then choose...join a group. Then you choose..."Checkered Past" with the password..."Gabbers". I don't even have to send you an invite. Unless you'd like one....
POWER HOUSE TEAMS
So here is your help in picking your guys if you choose to play. On the fantasy league page where you'll choose your drivers they're all listed by how they finished last year. Wins, top 5's top 10's etc are all there.There's only about 26 guys you really want to know about.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS (HMS)
#48 Jimmie Johnson - He's da man. He has 5 championships...IN A ROW. Last year he had 5 wins but 6 DNF's (Did not finish). That small thing ruined his chance for the trophy. Not to worry though because his evil genius crew chief Chad Knaus is still on the pit box. If any one can find that extra some thing nobody else can find it's him. He's a #1 must have in my book. Pick him with confidence.
#24 Jeff Gordon - Ever since Ray Evernham left his pit box Jeffy hasn't been the same. Last year was the worst year yet. He had 5 DNF's and many many issues with crew chief Alan Gustafson. Whether it was communication or flukie happenings on the track, Jeff just couldn't get on track. He only made it into the Chase at the last race of the season in Richmond because the rain delay and cautions fell just right for him and not for Kyle Busch. With crew chief/driver pairings being key to winning, this doesn't bode well for the 4 time champ. He's still a good pick but I have a wait & see on him. I want to see if he and Clint Bowyer are still going to have issues as well.
#88 Dale Earnhardt Jr - Dale has been a lost puppy since daddy passed away 11 years ago this year at the Daytona 500 on the last lap crash. He finally showed flashes of talent with 1 win last year. He's awesome at super speedway races. Dega and Daytona are his cup of tea. He may have found a match with Steve Latarte as his crew chief. With the concussion issues at the end of last season, I'd put a wait and see on him too. Albatross comes to mind when I think of Dale Jr.
#5 Kasey Kahne - A 4th place in the standings last year with 2 wins in his first season with HMS. He brought his crew chief Kenny Fransis with him and they do well together. They were at RedBull Racing the last year of that team and produced some good numbers in a lame duck situation. He's a #1 pick.
ROUSH FENWAY RACING (RFR)
#99 Carl Edwards - Didn't make the Chase last year and no wins. This coming from a 2nd place in the Chase the year before in his epic battle with Tony Stewart. Him and Bob Osborne were the duo of duo's but Bob stepped down part way through last season sighting health issues. I'm looking for Carl to be back in the mix this year. He got poll position for the Sprint Unlimited which I am not watching right now because I'm writing. Carl Is a #1 pick.
#16 Greg Biffle - Dude was on fire at the beginning last year. Held the #1 spot for the first third of the season. Him and Matt Pucia kick butt. He was 5th in the points and 2 wins. He's a #1 pick.
#17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr - New to RFR this year. He's the Nationwide champion 2 years running moving up to Cup for his rookie season. I picked him in both my fantasy leagues. He's cheap and I expect him to get it done. Besides that he's Danica's boyfriend. Should be interesting.
RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING
#29 Kevin Harvick - This would be considered a lame duck season because it's already announced he's leaving for Stewart Haas Racing next year. Richard ain't happy. Things could go 2 ways. RCR gives him the best as a parting gift or he becomes the guinea pig for testing. He's a talented driver and he was in the Chase last year. Worth a consideration but not my #1 choice.
#27 Paul Menard - Paul's daddy bought him this ride. Daddies name is on the hood. He's made some great strides in becoming a better race car driver. Since he comes complete with a sponsor RCR will keep him and he'll get good equipment. He's good at some tracks more than others. I'll give my assessments each week on that.
#31 Jeff Burton - Jeff is getting old by NASCAR standards but he's still younger than Mark Martin. Last year was not a good year for Jeff. He's still at RCR and he still has talent but things aren't what they once were. He's also a track to track assessment.
#78 Kurt Busch - Yes. he's technically driving for Furniture Row Racing but he's considered a 4th team for RCR racing. They will share set up notes & meetings, tech support will be offered and Kurt will be driving with RCR motors under the hood even though they're based out west. Kurt is a HUGE talent but he has emotional issues. Anger management is not his strong suit. He tries to get way too much from a car that can't give it to him. FRR has not been a power house team in the past but showed great promise when Regan Smith drove it. Kurt is a wait and see.
STEWART HAAS RACING
#14 Tony Stewart - My most handsome Knight of the Mobile 1. He's the boss & owner. He's got 3 championships and he's extremely talented in throwing helmets and driving on dirt or asphalt or concrete in multiple types of race cars. He's a #1 pick. Nuff said.
#39 Ryan Newman - Aggressive. Aggressive. Aggressive. Pisses people off. Had one win last year at Martinsville and missed the Chase. Not a great pick but he is good for some races.
#10 Danica Patrick - This ones a wait and see. I'm not seeing any or too many top 10's out of this girl. Not expecting a heck of a lot from her. Sorry.
*SHR is a satellite team of HMS. They get their engines, chassis and tech support (as well as attend meetings) from HMS. Translation? Good equipment.
JOE GIBBS RACING (JGR)
#20 Matt Kenseth - He's left RFR driving the #17 to the #20. Matt is the stealth bomber. He has a habit of quietly hanging out and being there at the end to vie for the win. Not sure how things are going to be in his move here but I'm expecting results. He's a #1 pick.
#18 Kyle Busch - Last year he was having the same "WTF HAPPENED NOW" year Gordon was having. Flukie engine issues and parts breaking. Can't win races or a championship that way. If JGR got their reliability issues fixed and I'm sure they did then Kyle's a #1 pick.
#11 Denny Hamlin - Having 5 wins didn't get him that championship last year. Reliability issues gave him 4 DNF's. Can't do that and get the trophy. He's still a #1 pick though.
MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING (MWR)
#56 Martin Truex Jr - Look for him to be in the top 10 most every race like last year. Great pick. Not #1 but he's solid.
#15 Clint Bowyer - Despite the issues with Gordon last year I expect more of the same top performances from Clint as last year. He had 3 W's and lots of top 5's & 10's. I don't believe he'll suffer the 2nd place curse like Carl Edwards did. He's a #1 pick.
#55 Mark Martin - He's a part timer this year again. Just 24 races. He's still got it though. Brian Vickers will get some of the races Mark doesn't drive. This is something to think about before you choose either of these guys. You'll have to see the schedule.
#2 Brad Keselowski - Our Sprint Cup champ from last year will be driving a Ford instead of a Dodge this year. Not sure how the transition will work out. Paul Wolfe is a good crew chief and they are a great combo. I have a wait and see on him but he is a worth while pick.
#22 Joey Logano - Left JGR last year to jump in the Pennzoil Shell car Allmendinger screwed himself out of. Not expecting a whole lot out of Joey. He shows flashes of talent but not at all tracks.
RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS (RPM)
#9 Marcos Ambrose - He's an Aussie. Came to the USA from Super 8 cars. It's the Australian version of NASCAR. He's showed some great talent. The road course win in his epic battle with Keselowski will be on high light reels for years to come. Wish he had a better ride. He's better than what RPM can give him.
#43 Aric Almirola - Also better than the equipment RPM can give. He's good for select races.
Earnhardt Gnassi Racing
#1 Jamie McMurray - #42 Juan Pablo Montoya - Both these guys were pretty much MIA last year. Except for JPM taking out the jet dryer at the Daytona 500, they were non factors. This year promises to be different. They'll be running HMS motors under the hood. Wait and see on both of these guys.
So there you have it. If you decide to get in the fantasy league, you can pick with confidence or frustration with that salary cap. As the season goes on I'll give my top picks and other fast stuff every week. Mean while the cold has moved back into my neighborhood. I'm still going to breakfast any how. I'm celebrating Buy Up All The Leftover Marked Down Valentine's Candy Day. Got my eye on some chocolate. You all have a great Sunday doing whatever it is you love and....
I'm outta here..........