Even NASCAR can’t mess with Mother Nature!

NASCAR changes rules all the time — ever tweaking for safety and fan engagement. However, even the all-powerful NASCAR can’t circumvent the laws of nature — human or physics. As my mind meanders back to the season’s debut weekend at Daytona that fact is what stands out.

The laws of physics tells us that cars traveling close to 200 mph with improved aerodynamics have a 100% chance of busting apart when they crash. Yet when they do indeed crash we act surprised, and of course, NASCAR goes into inspection and investigation mode. Raising catchfences and doing track safety improvements are crucial. Fan and driver safety is paramount. But even NASCAR can’t prevent the inevitable crashes. Thankfully no one died. Thoughts and prayers to those fans still in the hospital.

Click here for Video & Recap

In addition to lacking power over the laws of physics, likewise NASCAR is powerless over the actions of humans, specifically in the area of stupidity. It is important to note though NASCAR can yank a driver out of contention when their humanness bites them in the butt. Thus is the saga of Jeremy (wait for it …) Clements. Now you can say say “who?” Jeremy is a lesser known, well at least until his ignorance made news …  driver in the Nationwide Series who used a racial slur in earshot of a NASCAR PR staffer during an interview with an MTV blogger. Perhaps Jeremy will learn something during his specially-designed NASCAR program that he must complete before being permitted to return.

Here’s a story about driver reactions. Click here.

Well what NASCAR lacks in omniscience it makes up in responsible reactions. Hail, Hail, NASCAR!

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Late driver switch due to failed drug test: AJ Allmendinger out, Sam Hornish, Jr. in

OK so drama unfolded prior to dropping the green flag for the Coke Zero 400. With bearly two hours notice Sam Hornish, Jr. was flown from Charlotte to Daytona to race the No. 22 car after NASCAR announced that AJ Allmendinger failed his drug test in Kentucky.

Stay tuned for more news that will surely take some interesting twists and turns. Click here for the announcement.

Tighten your belts race fans. I think if last night’s Nationwide race is any indication, we are in for an exciting night. Enjoy the race!!

Rain at Daytona: Weather wreaking havoc on Fantasy NASCAR picks!

Not fair. After what seems more like months rather than 10 days of preliminary activities leading up to the pinnacle race, the Daytona 500, we begin this exciting day by not beginning. Yes, the dreaded rain delay. Arggh. Really?

Like the Daytona 500 isn’t hard enough for Fantasy NASCAR picks? Basically the dartboard and/or calling the Psychic Network could work equally well. The beauty and frustration of Daytona is that virtual unknowns can win this race. In the immortal words of TV character Adrian Monk “it’s a gift and a curse.”

That being said how did I pick? I tried to pick drivers I think will finish which is really important at Daytona since Turn 4 tends to gobble up cars as well as pack racing mishaps. Will any of my guys win? Maybe, but remember I go for top 10 results.

I picked Kevin Harvick over Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards. If I didn’t go with Harvick I would have gone with steady-as-you-go/even-tempered Matt Kenseth. My next decision was about restrictor plate racing notables. Yup, I went with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. He has a fast car this weekend and he is a restrictor racing great.

Then think Fords. Fords are running fast this weekend so I wanted to add a Ford that was starting up front, so Greg Biffle was my pick. I was very tempted by Marcos Ambrose and Clint Bowyer. I nixed Clint because the Toyotas aren’t pushing well and as much as I really love Marcos I thought he was too risky. I rounded out my team with Elliott Sadler who is experienced and could have won the 2009 Daytona 500 if not for a costly strategic mistake that earned Matt Kenseth the win. And, oh yeah, rain played a major factor that day too. Oh boy.

Hopefully we’ll great a full race in today. Whenever it starts — Enjoy!

Daytona 500: Cooler temps; hot tempers; and Turn 4 terrors?

Racing at Daytona has certainly been a dream for a select few and a nightmare for many so far this weekend. Friday’s Camping World Truck Race rookie winner John King can attest to that. There have been catchfence crashes (so glad Joey Coulter is okay) and amazing manuevers to avoid wrecks like James Buescher’s that took him to Victory Lane for the Nationwide Race.

Oh, did I mention many, many crashes/cautions 9 for the Truck Series and 8 for the Nationwide Race? So what’s going to be the headline for today’s Daytona 500? Good question. My take is that it will be less volatile, and hopefully weather will not be a factor.

Like the other races we’ve seen this weekend I think you will get a combination pack racing and the two car push and pull. Turn 4 will also play a role. It has been a nemesis particularly when drivers try to go three and four wide. Yikes! It will be frantic at the end and that’s when I expect to see the two-car drafting to be used the most.

My eyes are going to be on the first 15-18 drivers in the line-up particularly if rain becomes a factor. Geez, I think I need to look at my fantasy picks again …

Earnhardt not a fan of the 2-car tandem racing!

It is great to see Dale so passionate this season. It must be so frustrating to be great at some tracks and then suddenly all the rules of physics seem to change. I have to admit I started looking at relationships and trust factors instead of who’s got a great car this weekend and who runs well here. It’s like factoring in business success and good networking skills. Too weird to put that in terms of racing.

Here is an interesting Dale story on this topic.

Apparently Junior nation beat up on Chad and Jimmie pretty good on Twitter! Interesting.

Partner-picking Smoke or blocking-punisher?

With less than 3 hours to go for the Sprint Cup race in Daytona I’m wondering what Tony Stewart will surface? He seemed pretty steamed with Brian Vickers at Infineon last week. The picture of Tony’s car teetering on the tires still cracks me up.Check it out here if you missed it.

This week requires more collaboration so I’m not sure whether the bad-boy Tony would be a good strategy. He drafted really well with Danica Patrick yesterday at the Nationwide race. I’m thinking Smoke will need to put the whole blocking issue aside so he can focus on picking acceptable partners to pair up with. Here is an interesting article on possible matches for the race.  I have to admit I did consult it to start thinking about my fantasy picks. Kinda weird, huh?

EHarmony racing at Daytona!

Yikes! I just caught myself thinking “drivers couples” as I ponder my fantasy picks this week. Total weirdness. I’m not as freaked about this tandem racing like some fans are. What did freak me a bit was the lubricating of the bumpers happening in the pits, but I digress …

Drivers link with other drivers because they have fast cars, so we are still talking racing, so I’m not offended. However, it is odd to start thinking about who is experienced and edgy enough to make for a good companion. And let’s talk about the trust factor! That second car pushing can’t see a thing.

Tony Stewart seems like the serial companion. You know, let’s see who comes long first. He has about 6-8 driver radios tuned in, and isn’t afraid to use them all. I’m just wondering if there is a market here for EHarmony? Plug in a few desirable qualities, factor in some needed skills, and do a quick guided communication and bam you and your companion driver are running in the front!

I think I should stop thinking about this because it is starting to make sense …. scary!

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