NASCAR’s Man on the Grassy Knoll

September 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

Who’s behind this alleged conspiracy?

Who was behind the alleged manipulation of this weekend’s race Saturday night at Richmond International Speedway? The speculation has grown rampant online and on all social media platforms. Who was the the man on the grassy knoll who decided to pull the trigger and cause such mayhem to our sport?

Was this the brain child of Brian Pattie, the Crew Chief of Clint Bowyers #15 car? We know he was on the radio telling Clint to “itch” his arm. Were Clint Bowyer and Brian Pattie secretly laying in wait since Phoenix for their chance to finally retaliate against Jeff Gordon? I honestly do not believe they had this plan the whole time but it appears it may have been the icing on the cake all while helping a teammate make the Chase. What better reason to pit in the last three laps and fall back behind Joey Logano so he could take 10th place, removing Gordon, all while pushing teammate Martin Truex Jr. into the wild card spot.

How about Clint Bowyer, the fun and sarcastic friendly teammate of Truex Jr. and Brian Vickers? I doubt this was Clint’s plan but he was certainly played the biggest role. After being told to “itch” his arm, Bowyer’s car suddenly spins on track, and causes what may become one of the most unforgettable and penalty laced cautions in NASCAR history.

Maybe Ty Norris, the General Manager for Michael Waltrip Racing, was the alleged Mastermind behind this whole debacle? Jenna Fryer and the Associated Press reviewed radio communications between Norris and driver of the #55 car Brian Vickers, teammate of Marting Truex Jr. The AP reported the following was said; “We’re probably going to pit here on green,” Norris says. “Are you talking to me?” a surprised Vickers asks. Vickers continued to question the call, at one point asking, “I don’t understand, pit right now?” “You’ve got to pit this time. We need that 1 point,” Norris replies. “10-4. Do I got a tire going down?” Vickers asked. Obviously Norris knew something needed to be done to change to order of things. After the pit when Vickers questions if anything was wrong with his tire, Norris just tells him he owes him a kiss. Lucky Brian Vickers, the newest driver to the MWR team, is now undoubtedly wrapped up into this and is certainly a part of it, not that I think any of this was his idea.

Martin Truex Jr. seemed to have the most to gain from this whole situation. He earned a spot in the coveted Chase for the Spint Cup Championship, which means millions of dollars for his team and the potential to be the next Sprint Cup Champion. Truex was running his race hard and was almost there, but it seems a little push from his team is what inevitably got him there. Truex Jr. certainly did not do anything illegal during the race, but what consequences does he now face if his team helped him get there?

Or was it the man himself, was it the wizard, Michael Watrip? Could it be that that one of NASCAR’s most celebrated faces from a legendary NASCAR family could be behind all of this? What if Mikey was behind the whole thing, he was been unusually quiet since the end of the race, considering the pride he must feel being an owner with two of his cars in the Chase. It is an impressive feat for any organization, especially a newer younger group who has risen so quickly.

Well NASCAR has come to the conclusion of their investigation, and they certainly did things much faster than the Warren Commission, but will fans be satisfied they did things right? It seems GM Ty Norris is the Mastermind after all. He was even thrown under the bus by MWR team owner Michael Waltrip in a tweet, with Michael stating, “This wasn’t a master plan or about a spin. It’s about a split-second decision made by Ty to try to help a teammate. I stand by my people.”

Well okay, I guess that takes care of that and Michael is ready to forget this ordeal and let Norris hang out there with the most lengthy penalty, an indefinite suspension by NASCAR. NASCAR President Mike Helton spoke at length regarding the penalties facing MWR which included; a $300,000 fine to MWR, loss of 50 points each levied against Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, and Brian Vickers, and placing all three crew chiefs on probation until 12/31/2013.

Martin Truex Jr. seems to be the biggest loser though, with his 50 point penalty now bouncing him out of the Chase, and putting Ryan Newman in the Chase. Truex appeared to be the only person in this whole investigation who did not even do anything wrong, but he must pay the price for his team’s behavior according to NASCAR.

“Based upon our review of Saturday night’s race at Richmond, it is our determination that the MWR organization attempted to manipulate the outcome of the race. As the sport’s sanctioning body, it is our responsibility to ensure there is a fair and level playing field for all of our competitors and this action today reflects our commitment to that.” NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton.

I agree with Mike Helton on many points, especially when he said this is supposed to be fun, and we will move on. I know we will continue to debate if this was enough, or why Jeff Gordon was’t put back in the Chase, but at some point we do need to close this and move forward with the Chase. I do feel Michael Waltrip himself has walked out of this smelling like a rose for all that has happened, shocked he let Ty Norris take the fall for him and his organization, disappointed he did not take the reigns of a leader.

Article submitted by Mike Sanford – twitter: @msanford146

David Ragan Claims NASCAR Aaron’s 499 Victory

May 6, 2013 by  
Filed under News

Driving for Font Row Motorsports, David Ragan crossed the finish line in first place in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. Ragan was closely followed by teammate David Gilliland in what is widely being described as a “surprising” finish and a “David and Goliath” type battle and victory. Carl Edwards took third place followed by Michael Waltrip and Jimmy Johnson in fourth and fifth places.

Talladega has been the scene of a number of devastating crashes over the years, and Sunday’s race included two crashes which may have changed the outcome of the race, but thankfully didn’t cause any major injuries. The first crash took place 44 laps into the race and involved 16 cars. Kyle Busch’s car tapped the back of Kasey Kahne’s sending him into the wall and resulting in a chain reaction which Busch later accepted responsibility for triggering. The second crash came following a three-hour delay caused by heavy rain and a restart with only six laps to go, raising questions by some as to why NASCAR didn’t just call the race and avoid the last restart, with others supporting NASCAR’s decision. Danica Patrick, Terry Labonte, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and JJ Yeley were among the drivers involved in the second crash.

The latest NASCAR Sprint Cup standings has Jimmie Johnson (383 points) in the lead, followed by Carl Edwards (342 points), Dale Earnhardt Jr (324 points), Clint Bowyer (316 points), Brad Keselowski (314 points), Kasey Kahne (299 points), Aric Almirola (293 points), Paul Menard (290 points), Kyle Busch (285 points) and Greg Biffle (280 points).

Born on December 24, 1985, in Unadilla, Georgia, David Ragan started racing at the age of 12 in the Bandolero Series. He has been racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since 2007 when he replaced Mark Martin in the #6 for Roush Fenway Racing. His first career NASCAR Sprint Cup series victory came on July 2, 2011 in the Coke Zero 400 held at the Daytona International Speedway. Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 victory was his second NASCAR Sprint Cup win.

Michael Waltrip

February 9, 2009 by  
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Born on 30 April 1963, Michael Curtis Waltrip showed enthusiasm for racing from a young age. His older brother Darrel Waltrip became a three-time NASCAR champion and it didn’t take long for Michael to start following in his big brother’s footsteps. He got involved in kart racing in his teens and switched to stockcars by the time he was eighteen years of age. In 1981, he won a division of the track championship at the Kentucky Speedway. In 1983 he won the Goody’s Dash Series and he also took the prize for Goody’s most popular driver in 1983 and 1984. These early successes were certainly indicative of greater things to come.

In 1985 the Kentucky-born racer made his Cup debut at the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte. Though his success at the race was minimal, it was the just the start of his climb to cup success. In 1988, he won at Dover in his fourth start at the Busch Series. At the time he was racing for his brother’s team and his win made quite an impact. Unfortunately, it took quite some time before Waltrip actually enjoyed a Cup race victory. Eventually, at his 464th race he took the chequered flag at the 2001 Daytona 500. He also came in second at the Pepsi 400 that same season. He won the Daytona 500 again in 2003 and his last win was the EA Sports 500 in Talladega in 2003.

During the course of his career, Michael Waltrip has driven his #55 car with great skill. He is known, amongst other things, for his loyalty and skill in the driver’s seat. Today he spends much of his time with his family in North Caronlina where he is an ardent supporter of the Dallas Cowboys. He is still involved with a number of different aspects of racing and he also enjoys participating in numerous marathons. Both he and his brother are often called on to appear in advertisements and he currently serves on the SPEED Channel’s NASCAR Inside Nextel Cup panel of experts. Waltrip has enjoyed four wins, 122 top tens and three pole positions. He continues to be involved in racing and will likely continue to enjoy a long and successful racing-related career.

Bill Davis Racing

February 9, 2009 by  
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This team stopped racing at the conclusion of the 2008 season.

Bill Davis Racing (BDR) fields the number 22 Caterpillar Inc. Toyota Camry for driver Dave Blaney, the number 5 Toyota Tundra for Mike Skinner, the #36 Toyota Camry for Jeremy Mayfield, the #22 Toyota for Bill Lester and last of all the #23 Toyota for Johnny Benson. The Bill Davis team is a NASCAR team that is based currently in High Point, North Carolina.

Truck rental owner Bill Davis, a former motorcross racer, founded the Bill Davis Racing team. When the team was moved to Carolina, the Ford Motor Company asked Davis to hire the up-and-coming Jeff Gordon from the Midwest. Gordon took the NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year in 1991 as well as having won 11 pole positions a year later. Another team took Gordon but this did not deter Davis from moving to the Cup series in 1993 full time.

At first Davis took on rookie and Busch Series driver Randy LaJoie to drive their car. LaJoie did not last long and was soon fired halfway through the year. He had to be replaced by a series of rotating drivers to keep the car and the team in the game. Later, Ward Burton was hired to finish the rest of the season, impressing the Bill Davis Racing team when he won at Rockingham Motor Speedway.

The next win only took place again in 2000 when Burton won the spring Darlington race as well as the 2002 Daytona 500. Burton moved to Haas CNC Racing in 2003 after a disappointing season, leaving Davis to use his Busch driver Scott Wimmer. In Wimmer’s first race, during his rookie season, he finished third and continued to race full-time. A year later it was announced that Wimmer would be released from the Bill Davis Team and Dave Blaney would take his place for the following season. Previously Blaney had driven for BDR in #93, this time he would drive #22 at the start of the 2006 season.

Blaney left the BDR team later on when Amoco decided not to renew the team’s contract and instead joined the Jasper Motorsports. The team then hired Hut Stricklin when Hills Brothers took on sponsorship. But Stricklin showed no real potential and was fired in the final quarter of the season. In 2005 Michael Waltrip and his sponsors NAPA took the car over for the 2006 season, going under Michael Waltrip’s own team name to ensure it qualified. Jeremy Mayfield drove the car full-time in 2007.

Best Western Woodstock Hosts No. 99 NASCAR Busch Series Show Car

May 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Auto racing enthusiasts are in for a treat at the major event that Best Western Woodstock will be hosting at its 123 Gallop Court grounds, off the Trans-Canada Exit 185 on Sunday 8 June from 11 am through to 4 pm. This tribute to the popular race circuit will feature a special appearance by the Best Western No. 99 NASCAR Busch Series Show Car, an appearance made possible through the sponsorship of Best Western and NAPA Auto Parts.

The No. 99 NASCAR Busch Series Show Car promises to be the highlight of the car show which will form part a major part of the day’s festivities. In the spirit of celebrating the sport of auto racing, fans from the region are being encouraged to participate by bringing their antique, classic, new, or replica vehicles to this special event.

NASCAR fans will have the opportunity of having an up-close view of a replica of the NASCAR Busch Series Show Car, which is to be driven by Michael Waltrip Racing’s newcomer, David Reutimann, at the Phoenix International Raceway during the upcoming season.

In addition to the car show and having the opportunity of having a photo taken with the NASCAR Busch Series Show Car, visitors can enjoy a day of fun and games, with plenty of prizes to be won. Food vendors will offer the crowd an opt and a charity BBQ will donate their proceeds for the day to the local food bank. Kids will be entertained by a face painter and balloon artist. The popular movie “Cars” will be shown at the hotel for the enjoyment of the youngsters, and young at heart.

At the event visitors can sign up for Speed Rewards – Best Western’s frequent guest program which has been designed specifically for racing fans. Speed Rewards points, which are earned by staying at Best Western Hotels, can be exchanged for free room nights at world-wide Best Western hotels, NASCAR-licensed merchandise, airline miles, shopping and dining vouchers, plus much more.

Auto racing enthusiasts would not want to miss this exciting event, so make sure to mark 8 June 2008 in your diary as a date with the Best Western No. 99 NASCAR Busch Series Show Car at Best Western Woodstock.