Loud Music is a $40 Fine

Just my personal blog.

March 2, 2007

NASCAR’s Sliding Scale of Justice

DOUBLE SECRET SUSPENSION: They tested the new Car of Tomorrow at Bristol this week. Two “suspended” crew chiefs were actually allowed at the NASCAR sanctioned test.

The two suspended Michael Waltrip Racing crew members weren’t allowed at the test.

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February 24, 2007

NASCAR: A Solution to the Buschwacker Problem

The problem with Nextel Cup drivers taking up too many slots in the NASCAR Busch Series was highlighted last year when a full-time Nextel Cup driver actually won the Busch Series championship. In Happy Hour practice for this week’s Busch race at California Speedway, and in qualifying, nine of the top ten drivers are full-time Nextel Cup drivers. In fact, fully half of the 41-car field is comprised of full-time Cup drivers.

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February 18, 2007

NASCAR Daytona 500 Thoughts

ROUSH REFUGEE ALMOST GETS WIN: NASCAR snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory from Mark Martin in the Daytona 500. After making a BIG deal about how teams are not supposed to race back to the start finish line anymore, and implementing rules and technology to determine running/finish orders when the caution comes out, they ignore their own rules and let the race finish under green after a big wreck on the last lap.
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February 16, 2007

NASCAR: Mishmash of events this week

NASCAR DOT WHAT?: I guess I’m getting stupid in my old age. Yesterday I went to NASCAR.com to see how the Truck Series qualifying went, and today I went to see how Busch qualifying went. Neither time was I able to actually find what I was looking for. NASCAR’s yearly web redesign this year is a major step backwards. What happened to the good old days when you could actually get real information from NASCAR.com?

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February 9, 2007

NASCAR 2007: Almost Here

Just had a few random thoughts about things I figured I’d put down here in the blog.

RETIREMENT FUND: Over the last week, there’s been a big deal made out about the fact that NASCAR drivers don’t have some sort of pension or retirement fund. Maybe it’s me, but I think that’s the drivers’ responsibility, not NASCAR. The drivers don’t even work for NASCAR; they’re contract employees for team owners. If the driver wants a pension, then they either need to see a financial planner or put it in their contract. It’s hard to feel for Tony Stewart when he says NASCAR should “take care of us after we race, or take care of the ones that came up before.” Tony, you’ve made more money in one race (even after the owner’s cut) than some of those drivers made in their entire career. You could easily put away part of your money for your own retirement and donate to an “old drivers’ retirement fund” if you wanted. Sports Illustrated writes about NASCAR maybe twice a year; this just sounds like something they’ve dredged up to sell magazines.

A FOREIGN MANUFACTURE IN NASCAR? Everyone’s making a big deal out of the fact that Toyota is going to be fielding cars this year in the Busch and Cup Series (they’ve had teams in the Truck Series for a couple of years now). Purists say NASCAR should only have American made cars and American manufacturers. But the purists haven’t been paying attention. Back when NASCAR ran the Dash Series, they allowed Toyotas to run. And is there really an American car nowadays? Wouldn’t you want to include Nissan, who makes cars just down the interstate in Smyrna, or Honda who also makes cars in the US? What about Dodge? They’re no longer an American company, but everyone was elated when the Pettys could run Dodge’s again.

Perhaps the real point here is that the purists are slowly fading away. As NASCAR continues to get new fans at the expense of the old fans, this manufacturer debate will also slowly fade away.

BROADCAST TEAMS: I still haven’t figured out ESPN’s rationale behind who they’re going to have in the booth. Rusty Wallace is moving over from the IRL booth (except for the Indy 500), which makes some sense. Wallace will have the driver’s perspective, while Andy Petree will give a crew chief’s perspective, with Jerry Punch calling the race. For some reason, Brent Musburger has been named as “host”.

I don’t really need an ex-crew chief’s perspective. If there absolutely has to be three people in the booth, I’d rather have two drivers, like TNN had with Buddy Baker and Neil Bonnett. Speaking of Baker, why hasn’t someone grabbed him for TV? He always had great insight and was funny to boot.

NOT SO LITTLE E: Dale Junior wants a piece of his Daddy’s business. Who’d didn’t see that coming from a mile away? From the reports I’ve seen, it looks like he wants that as compensation for being their driver, which doesn’t make sense. If he wants to own the team, why doesn’t he offer Teresa Earnhardt a truck load of money to buy her (at least partially) out? Maybe if his dad wanted him to have the company, he’d have inherited it instead of Teresa. I think I’m going to go out on a sturdy limb here and predict that he’ll be driving for another team next year.

SHOOTOUT: So the Bud Shootout is Saturday night. I’ve got it set to record on my DVR so I don’t have to watch all the commercials or all the between segment filler. I wonder how many other fans do that now? I honestly couldn’t imagine watching a race nowadays without being able to fast forward through the ads. That’s probably not what NASCAR and the networks want to hear, but that’s the way it is. It’s not like I’m not exposed to a ton of sponsors, so they’re still getting exposures. I just don’t need to see 40 Levetra commercials during a race.

January 28, 2007

Hitting the Jackpot at the Hillbilly Casino

I’ve lived in Nashville since 1982. For the first time ever, we went to the Opryland Hotel complex to see a band play in one of the clubs. So, what group motivated us to go mingle with the tourists? Hillbilly Casino.

If you like rockabilly, you’ll love these guys. They’re fronted by a fellow named Nic Roulette. We first saw him a few years ago when he opened up for Webb Wilder at the Radio Cafe in Nashville. We were absolutely blown away. I’ve been doing the occasional internet search on his name since then to find where he was playing, but we were never able to make it to any of his gigs. Last night we finally go to see him with his new (to us, at least) band.

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January 22, 2007

NASCAR’s New Points System, Explained

NASCAR today unveiled some changes to the points system for this coming year’s Nextel Cup Series. The changes are meant to put more emphasis on winning, and make sure that NASCAR favorites like Jeff Gordan and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., consistently make the Chase for the Championship.

As a public service, I’ve decided to publish this guide to the new system.

  • Anyone winning a race throughout the year is automatically eligible for the Chase (unless you’re in one of those underfunded single-car teams).
  • They’ve done away with the 400 points from the leader after 26 races rule. Instead, the top 12 drivers (if those drivers have led a lap) are eligible for the Chase.
  • During the regular season, the winner of a race gets 185 points. Losers get the distinction of having won some money.
  • If a driver wins a race, and there’s a full moon, then that driver gets to pick another car from the field and that car’s driver loses all of his points.
  • For the first time ever “non-points” races will pay out points. The winners of the Gatorade 150 will each receive a lifetime supply of Gatorade and 25 points. The winner of the All Star race will receive the 25 points plus have everyone in the stands added to his family call list on his Nextel phone.
  • If a race winner happens to be a woman, she’ll get 1000 extra points, just because it’s harder for women to drive and put makeup on.

NASCAR is contemplating changes to the points system in the Busch series as well. The most significant of those is that if the winner of a Busch Series race isn’t a full-time Nextel Cup driver, he automatically wins the championship and the rest of the season is cancelled.

I hope this summary of the new points systems has been helpful.

January 16, 2007

Benny Parsons, RIP

Wow. Another NASCAR death from cancer. NASCAR Champion and broadcaster Benny Parsons died today in North Carolina.

Although I worked as a reporter for Racing Information Systems and attended about a dozen Winston Cup races, I never got to talk to him in person. I did see him from time to time, and he always had a smile on his face.

NASCAR and the world is a little dimmer now.

Rest in peace, Benny.

January 16, 2007

A Vonage Adage, Part III

Well, I got the (finally) free phone adapter today. I plugged it into my router, then plugged the fax machine into the adapter. When I tried to send a fax, I could hear a voice telling me I was using a phone port that wasn’t active. So I guess I’ll have to call Vonage again. I’ll do that tomorrow after I get home from work. Hopefully I’ll get someone who speaks English.

January 12, 2007

A Vonage Adage, Part II

The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and all is right with the world.

In my previous post, I’d concluded that I was just going to out and out cancel Vonage. But I decided to give them one more shot. If they didn’t agree to sending me the free phone adapter, then I was going to cancel.

I made sure to call their number before 9 pm Eastern so I could get through to the people who could deal with it. After navigating their menu structure, and choosing the “cancel my service” option, a fellow named Adam came on the line. This guy had a  slight New Jersey accent, and was friendly from the word go.

I explained the situation, and he took a look at the account. Then he summarized it by saying “you thought you were getting five things but only got three”. Yes! That’s it. So, he put me on hold for a couple of minutes to see what he could do.

Uh oh. This is gonna be the part where he comes back and tells me there’s nothing he can do. Wrong. He offered to send me the adapter in question and set up the fax line when I get it. I didn’t even have to ask. He’s even going to call me back on Monday when he sets up the fax line.

I’m getting ready to hook the phone back up and start using it. Vonage has customer service reps that can actually give great customer service; they’re just hard to get hold of apparently.

So, I’m a happy camper right now. Vonage offers a product that fits my needs, and it was really going to be a hassle to try to find something equivalent. I’m glad they did the right thing. Hopefully they’ll change the verbage on their web site to prevent this type of thing in the future.