Weddings And Crazy Stuff

Posted by imelda sovzky on Sunday, October 31, 2010

Last Saturday, I went to...get ready for it...a wedding.  It's for my older cousin.  So I got to dress up all nice and wear a blazer.  It's not bad cause I was a sharp dressed man.  I wish I had a tuxedo or a business suit though.  And I got to eat some stuff from a buffet and drink Coke out of those weird hose things they use at the bars...

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It's Halloween and I didn't do anything.  It's typical for my family.  I should've been a race car driver, that would be BAD.

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YES, THE SAINTS WON I KNEW IT, BACK TO #1 IN THE POWER RANKINGS AGAIN

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And get this.  I just heard about this after I took the time to stop playing RB3.  In Call of Duty: Black Ops, you can play Nazi Zombies right?  But guess who you get to play as...SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

...get ready for it...

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John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro.  Don't believe it?  Click on this:

http://kotaku.com/5677841/you-wont-believe-who-is-killing-zombies-in-call-of-duty-black-ops

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Spoilers over.

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And I actually did get some Rock Band 3 playing time in.  I actually did something really cool and ingenious to beat one of these so-called "challenges" in the game, but I'll tell you about it later.  It's a good story that you'll want to read because it reveals my intellect and creativity for all to see.  So adios, amigos.
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Bowyer wins at Talladega; Harvick tightens Chase race

Posted by imelda sovzky

Bowyer wins at Talladega; Harvick tightens Chase race


By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR  Service
(October 31, 2010)

TALLADEGA, Ala.—Just in case, Clint Bowyer started his celebratory burnout several minutes before NASCAR declared him the winner of Sunday’s Amp Energy Juice 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
A multicar crash behind the leaders at the start of the final lap had thrown the outcome in doubt, and it wasn’t until Bowyer drove a quarter-mile and stopped his No. 33 Chevrolet at the entrance to the garage that shouts and high-fives from the crew that surrounded the car let the crowd know Bowyer indeed had won his second race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
If the win was vindication for Bowyer, whose victory in the opening Chase race at New Hampshire was tainted by a 150-point penalty when his car failed inspection at NASCAR’s tech center by 60-thousandths of an inch, it was little more than a push for points leader Jimmie Johnson and second-place Denny Hamlin.
Johnson and Hamlin dodged trouble Sunday and finished seventh and ninth, respectively, allowing Johnson to expand his lead over Hamlin from six to 14 points. Kevin Harvick, Bowyer’s teammate at Richard Childress Racing, came home second despite sustaining damage in a multicar wreck on Lap 141 and cut his deficit to Johnson from 62 to 38 points.
Bowyer had nosed ahead of Harvick in Turn 1 on the 188th and final lap when a violent wreck behind them sent AJ Allmendinger upside down into the inside wall, causing the fifth caution of the race and freezing the field.
With a push from David Reutimann, Harvick had led at the start/finish line on Lap 187, but a shove from third-place finisher Juan Pablo Montoya sent Bowyer back in front by a nose as the cars rolled into Turn 1 and the caution lights came on.
“I thought we had it for sure,” Bowyer said. “When two cars hook up, they just drive off from them and they (Harvick and Reutimann) were coming on the outside and ran us down, and then I quit dragging my brakes and we kind of took off again.
“Door to door there and all of a sudden … (Spotter Mike) Dillon is yelling at me in my ear that the caution was coming out. I looked over to make sure I was ahead of him. I thought I was, but I didn’t know.”
The victory—Bowyer’s first at a restrictor-plate track—was his second of the Chase, his second this season and the fourth of his career.
Anxious moments for Hamlin began on Lap 77 when he was shuffled to the back of the field and lost the draft. Falling behind at a rate of almost four seconds per lap, Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota went a lap down when Harvick passed him through Turns 1 and 2 on Lap 105.
Hamlin didn’t recover the lost circuit until Lap 144, when he got a free pass back to the lead lap under caution for a seven-car wreck on the backstretch that damaged the front end of Harvick’s No. 29 and the rear of Johnson’s No. 48.
The damage, however, wasn’t sufficient to hurt either car significantly, and throughout the remainder of the race, all three drivers worked their way toward the front.
“About six inches, and we would have won every Speedway race there was this year,” said Harvick, who won at Talladega in April. “It’s just one of those deals where we’ve won a few by a few inches and we’ve lost a few. It’s hard to complain because you can wind up on the wrecker pretty easy.
“Happy we kept the trophy at RCR. If you’re going to lose to somebody, it’s good to lose to your teammates and keep the trophy and the money in the right house.”

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MONTOYA ON TALLADEGA POLE

Posted by imelda sovzky


By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR  Service

TALLADEGA, Ala.—Benefiting from an early qualifying draw, Juan Pablo Montoya sped around 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway in 51.863 seconds (184.640 mph) Saturday to win the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday’s Amp Energy Juice 500.
The pole was Montoya’s second at Talladega, his third of the season and the fifth of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career. Montoya was the sixth driver to make a qualifying attempt when track conditions were slightly cooler and before winds became more gusty.
Clint Bowyer (184.498 mph) qualified second for the seventh race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Kurt Busch (184.388 mph) will start third, followed by Joe Nemechek (184.253 mph) and Jeff Burton (184.161 mph).
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dave Blaney, Ryan Newman, Casey Mears and Sam Hornish Jr. will take the green flag from positions six through 10, respectively.
Chase leader Jimmie Johnson starts 19th, with second-place Denny Hamlin 17th and third-place Kevin Harvick 14th. Harvick won this season’s spring race at Talladega but hasn’t finished better than 20th in the previous three fall races“We always run really good here,” said Montoya, who has combined with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing teammate Jamie McMurray for seven poles this season. “We always have good racecars. Right now, get ourselves a good pit stall for the race and then see what happens.
“We'll be OK. Talladega is more about how the car is going to be in the draft and everything. We came with the same thing we had here in the spring, (when) we ran really well. Both cars ran really well.”
McMurray finished second to Harvick in April, and Montoya ran third.
Bowyer missed the top spot by .040 secon“Close, but no cigar,” Bowyer said. “But a good qualifying run helps with a lot of things—ego—just everything. The guys work hard to make sure they are fast on qualifying day and build the fastest thing possible. They came close to it.”
Talladega is the racetrack where starting position is perhaps least important, given that cars draft in large packs and race at speeds that exceed qualifying pace. That’s good news for the Ford contingent, whose top qualifier was Carl Edwards in 23rd.
Landon Cassill, Travis Kvapil and Johnny Sauter failed to qualify for the 43-car field.

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Montoya Edges Bowyer For AMP Energy Juice 500 Pole at Talladega

Posted by imelda sovzky on Saturday, October 30, 2010

Montoya Edges Bowyer For AMP Energy Juice 500 Pole at Talladega


TALLADEGA The sun was out in full force Saturday for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway. And lately whenever that happens, Juan Pablo Montoya shines as well.
Montoya captured the pole for Sunday’s running of the AMP Energy Juice 500 with a qualifying lap of 184.640 mph. Technically it was Montoya’s second consecutive pole-winning qualifying effort at Talladega, though the previous one took place in April 2009. The past two Sprint Cup Series qualifying sessions at Talladega have been cancelled.
“The team did an amazing job,” Montoya said. “We always have really good race cars here. Now we’ll get ourselves a good pit stall for the race and then see what happens.”
Montoya dedicated his qualifying effort to longtime NASCAR executive Jim Hunter, who passed away Friday at age 71. Montoya was one of several young drivers who received advice and counsel from Hunter over the years while making the transition into Sprint Cup racing.
“He was such a good person. Everybody is going to really miss him,” Montoya said. “It’s nice to be able to get the pole here in his memory.”
Montoya won the pole by the slimmest of margins, nipping Clint Bowyer by less than two-tenths of a second. Bowyer turned in a fast lap of 184.498 mph and was shaking his head in frustration moments after climbing from his car.
“I did everything I could do. I held it wide open and tried to hold it as straight as possible and be as smooth as possible,” Bowyer said. “There’s no question that our ECR horsepower is the reason we’re sitting on the front row.”
Kurt Busch qualified third with a run of 184.388 mph. It is the first time Busch has qualified in the top three for a restrictor-plate race at either Talladega Superspeedway or Daytona International Speedway.
“This is one of the biggest moments of my career at a restrictor-plate track. It’s just a whole different feeling,” Busch said. “It’s really exciting to see the crew guys slapping high fives and (crew chief) Steve Addington having that smug smile on his face, knowing that we achieved something special. This is new for my 10 years (in Cup racing), so I’m savoring the moment.”
Joe Nemechek, who has won four poles at Talladega in his Cup career, qualified fourth with a speed of 184.253. He will be followed in the starting lineup by Jeff Burton in fifth (184.161), Dale Earnhardt Jr. sixth (183.906), Dave Blaney seventh (183.885), Ryan Newman eighth (183.762), Casey Mears ninth (183.621) and Sam Hornish Jr. 10th (183.614).
Sprint Cup Series points leader Jimmie Johnson will start 19th, two spots behind Denny Hamlin, who trails Johnson in the standings by only six points. Kevin Harvick, who won the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway in April and who trails Johnson by 62 points, will start 14th.
Landon Cassill, Travis Kvapil and Johnny Sauter failed to qualify.
The AMP Energy Juice 500 is scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m. Sunday. Driver introductions are set to start at 11:30 a.m.
Tomorrow dreams will be made, and broken, at Talladega Superspeedway.
Jamie McMurray, a non-Chase driver, shocked the crowd by winning the 2009 AMP Energy Juice 500. Can another upset be in the making? Don’t miss the wild card in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. NASCAR action kicks off with the Mountain Dew 250 fueled by Fred’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Oct. 30 and continues with Race Number Seven in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the AMP Energy Juice 500, Oct. 31. To experience it all, call 1-877-Go2-DEGA or visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.



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Montoya tops in qualifying at Talladega

Posted by imelda sovzky

Montoya tops in qualifying at Talladega


By Reid Spencer

Benefiting from an early qualifying draw, Juan Pablo Montoya sped around 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway in 51.863 seconds (184.640 mph) Saturday to win the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday’s Amp Energy Juice 500.
The pole was Montoya’s second at Talladega, his third of the season and the fifth of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career. Montoya was the sixth driver to make a qualifying attempt.
Clint Bowyer (184.498 mph) qualified second for the seventh race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Kurt Busch (184.388 mph) will start third, followed by Joe Nemechek (184.253 mph) and Jeff Burton (184.161 mph).
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dave Blaney, Ryan Newman, Casey Mears and Sam Hornish Jr. will take the green flag from positions six through 10, respectively.
Chase leader Jimmie Johnson starts 19th, with second-place Denny Hamlin 17th and third-place Kevin Harvick 14th. Harvick won this season’s spring race at Talladega but hasn’t finished better than 20th in the previous three fall races.
Landon Cassill, Travis Kvapil and Johnny Sauter failed to qualify for the 43-car field.

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LEGENDARY JIM HUNTER DEAD

Posted by imelda sovzky

Hunter Served Sport For More Than 40 Years As Journalist, Promoter And Executive


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 30, 2010) – NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter, whose career in motorsports spanned portions of six decades as both a journalist and public relations professional, died last night in Daytona Beach, Fla. following a 12-month battle with cancer. He was 71.

“Jim Hunter was one of NASCAR’s giants,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “For more than 40 years Jim was part of NASCAR and its history. He loved the sport, but loved the people even more. It seems as if everyone in the sport called him a friend. Jim will forever be missed by the NASCAR community. Our sympathies go out to his entire family.”

Added NASCAR President Mike Helton: “Jim was a uniquely talented man that cannot be replaced. He was a great friend and mentor to so many in the sport. His influence will remain with and be carried on by so many of the people he touched. This is a sad day for Jim’s family and his extended, NASCAR family.”

As a young man growing up in his native South Carolina, Hunter was a football and baseball player at the University of South Carolina. Those years preceded a future of being immersed in the sports world, primarily motorsports. Hunter learned motorsports from “both sides” by working as a newspaper reporter/editor and a public relations representative.

As a member of the media, Hunter was sports editor of the Columbia Record newspaper; he had an award-winning stint at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; he was a columnist for Stock Car Racing magazine; and he authored a number of books, including a widely-read biography on NASCAR great David Pearson, entitled “21 Forever”.

On the public relations side, Hunter broke into that business in the 1960s, with Dodge’s motorsports operation. He handled public relations for a number of top IndyCar drivers before going on to become the public relations director at his beloved Darlington Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway.

In 1983, Hunter was named to his first executive position in his first NASCAR stint, becoming NASCAR’s vice president of administration. In 1993 he was named president of Darlington Raceway and corporate vice president of the International Speedway Corporation. He remained at Darlington until 2001 when he accepted an offer from then-NASCAR Chairman and CEO Bill France Jr. to return to Daytona Beach to lead an expanded public relations effort aimed at responding to the needs of burgeoning media coverage.

Hunter won numerous awards during his career, including: the Hugh Deery Memorial Award in 1988; South Carolina Ambassador for Economic Development in 1994; South Carolina Tourism Ambassador of the Year in 1997; the National Motorsports Press Association’s Joe Littlejohn Award in 2005; and the Buddy Shuman Award in 2006.

Hunter is survived by his wife of 48 years, Ann Hunter; his children, Scott Hunter and Amy McKernan and his grandchildren Dakota Hunter, and Hunter and Luke McKernan.

In lieu of flowers the family asked that donations be made to The NASCAR Foundation or Hospice of Volusia/Flagler County. Funeral arrangements will be announced later.

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Legendary NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter Dies

Posted by imelda sovzky

Legendary NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter Dies


Hunter Served Sport For More Than 40 Years As Journalist, Promoter And Executive

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 30, 2010) – NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter, whose career in motorsports spanned portions of six decades as both a journalist and public relations professional, died last night in Daytona Beach, Fla. following a 12-month battle with cancer. He was 71.



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Daytona USA Miscellaneous Links

Posted by imelda sovzky on Friday, October 29, 2010

I held off from posting because I already posted a ton of messages already...but I've been hoarding some materials that I guess would come in handy now.

Flattering Daytona USA article - This is from some user BigMex on 1-Up.com.  This is a good read.  It talks about how impressive Daytona USA is.  It also includes a paragraph on Daytona 2.  Props.

I thought this was a very interesting observation:

However these things were done from a Japanese perspective. Japan had more experience with GT and even F-1 racing. Those were cars that were created with racing in mind, rather than regular cars turned into racers by mechanics. The Japanese interpretation of the stock car was, for lack of a better word, dubious. The stock car was a foreign breed, a big and brutish American racer. It was unrefined and garish, much too swollen for racing, brightly painted in contrasting colors, a rolling reflection of the loud gaijin and beer swilling rednecks that adored driving 500 miles in a circle.

That's what's easy to forget.  Daytona USA is first and foremost a Japanese game.  You can't make games like this in America--the most obvious facet being the infamous Takenobu Mitsuyoshi vocals.  But the gameplay is just unusual because these stock cars defy physics...drifting, high top speed, ability to withstand wrecks without exploding; it just shames all American racers IMHO.  Especially considering how stock cars get a bad rap by the populace.

Some guy's Top 100 Racing Games list - This is another user-contributed article.  Surprisingly Daytona USA 2 made the list, among Daytona 1 and OutRun.  It really doesn't make much since since 1 thru 50 is on Page 1...and on Page 2.  So there's two #1 games, #2 games, etc.?  Who cares.

A Hilarious GameFAQs Top 10 list - Let me say this first--THIS LIST WAS FEATURED ON THE FRONT PAGE OF GAMEFAQS.  Repeat, FEATURED ON THE FRONT PAGE OF GAMEFAQS.  This is old, but pretty sad.  Two Burnouts and four Mario Karts.  Why is that these racing games are "money," but when it comes to Daytona USA or even other stuff like Initial D and Ridge Racer it's just crap?  To be fair, he has some "okay" picks like Forza and Test Drive, though Excite Truck negates any shred of credibility there.  Even if the list made sense, the paragraphs are short and do not backup the games very well so screw it.

From Uncyclopedia - WARNING: Don't go lurking around Uncyclopedia since it's NSFW.  It's a site for crude humor and nothing else.  Oh, and here's something from Daytona USA on that site.  Chase OJ in the Bronco using your trusty Police Hornet!  I don't think there's any other Daytona stuff there so don't bother looking.


Top 10 Arcade Games video - If you feel like watching some guy's video on the Top 10 arcade games, go ahead and watch.  Daytona USA is on there, of course.  Not much else to say.

Phantasy Star reference in Daytona 2 - Apparently the phrase "Little Wing" was using in Phantasy Star somewhere.  I know jack about Phantasy Star so if someone wants to confirm this, it would be semi-interesting.

Also, speaking of references, I hear that the space station in the Advanced course in Daytona 2 is a reference to Space Harrier, especially with the alien spider.  I don't believe it...but could that be another reference?  Please confirm that for me too.

Daytona USA Dreamcast thing - Just some article from Saturn Magazine.  For some reason, they use a pic of the Daytona 2 cars when they're actually talking about the Daytona DC game, WTF?  You can see Page 2 of this article plus some stuff on Crazy Taxi and some Dead or Alive pinups here: http://www.outofprintarchive.com/articles/reviews/Dreamcast.html

Sega selling some games - They're doing well in terms of sales now.  This is good news, but mostly thanks to Vanquish, Bayonetta, and Yakuza.  Aside from Yakuza, I'm kind of pissed that everyone attributes Sega for this when all they did was publish it.  I actually talked about this previously here.

A Dead Arcade in Beijing - This is some old UK Resistance article.  It has an unplugged Daytona 2 setup as well as some cool Sonic pictures.  Not much else to say other than it's depressing as all hell.

Outrun, Daytona USA, and other posters - Some nice huge pictures of stuff, let me just post them here.  Use them as your desktop if you want, lol.  Click on the pics to enlarge.


Keiji Inafune leaves Capcom - Ok, I know Mr. Inafune has nothing to do with Sega, but I mentioned him a few times already so let's finish this saga.  He left Capcom after blasting the Japanese game industry and admitting that he hates his job.  He made Mega Man and Dead Rising.  Not much else to say--he may get a job with Platinum Games or something, suffer from a mental breakdown, or retire for good.  God Speed, buddy.  Whatever.

That's it, will be back for more action when I feel like it.
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Top 5 and 5 to watch: Talladega

Posted by imelda sovzky

Top 5 and 5 to watch: Talladega



By Bill Marx
Sporting News NASCAR Service


Here's a look at the top five drivers in the Sprint Cup Series standings and five drivers to watch in Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway. All statistical references are for Sprint Cup races at Talladega unless otherwise indicated. Driver rating is based on the past 11 races at the track.


1. Jimmie Johnson, 83.6 driver rating. We'll say this only once—so we can get it out of the way: Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick can ill-afford to get caught up in The Big One. Saying they must avoid The Big One is pointless. What driver goes out of his way to get involved in a massive, multicar pileup? All three are skilled drivers. And that often doesn't make a difference at Talladega or Daytona. Johnson has a win and seven top 10s, but he also has seven DNFs, four for crashes. including in April.
2. Denny Hamlin, 95.9. It seems Hamlin either gets a top five—he has three—or finishes 21st or worse (six times). He has two DNFs, including when his engine failed in this race last year. An interesting stat: Hamlin has led at least one lap in all nine of his starts. All three drivers will want the bonus points for leading a lap.
3. Kevin Harvick, 75.3. Harvick has an amazing stat: He has been running at the finish of all 19 of his starts. He has a win and eight top 10s. Harvick got the win in April, and his car is powered by an Earnhardt-Childress engine, the top power plant right now. Harvick has been eager to get to Talladega ; he sees it as a top opportunity to gain on Johnson.
4. Kyle Busch, 79.7. Although Busch has a win, he has but two top 10s in 11 starts (he finished ninth in April). He's competitive at Talladega ; he just doesn't get the finishes. He has led laps in the past six races. Busch's interesting stat: All four of his DNFs (three for crashes) came when he was driving for Hendrick Motorsports.
5. Jeff Gordon, 86.0. Gordon is the top restrictor-plate racer in NASCAR history and has led the most laps in the past 11 races at the track—320 (15.3 percent). But even the top guy isn't immune to misfortune at Talladega . He has eight DNFs—four for crashes—to go with his six wins.


Five to watch:


8. Jeff Burton, 87.1. Burton is the fastest driver in traffic this season in the Cup series, and he has an Earnhardt-Childress engine under the hood. He led a race-high 28 laps in April and still finished 32nd (caught up in one of the race's three Big Ones). If he has better luck, a third straight top five in this race is not out of the question.
9. Kurt Busch, 85.0. Busch is known as the best restrictor-plate driver without a win. He has 13 top 10s in 19 starts at Talladega , and 11 in 20 starts at Daytona. Fifteen of those 24 top 10s are top fives. No driver has scored more points in the past 11 Talladega races (1,466) than Busch, and his 12.2 average finish is tops, too. He is past due for a win at Talladega .
13. Jamie McMurray, 84.4. Half of McMurray's six career wins are on restrictor-plate tracks, including this race last year and the Daytona 500 in February. He finished second in April and will be a favorite Sunday. In addition to being adept at plate tracks, McMurray benefits from an Earnhardt-Childress engine.
17. Joey Logano, 85.3. Logano has the eighth-best driver rating. The final Big One in April swallowed up Logano and gave him his first DNF in three starts. His first two starts were a third and a ninth. He is driving very well right now with an 8.8 average finish in his past five starts. The kid can be a factor.
24. David Ragan, 92.5. Yes, David Ragan. It's not a mistake. He has the third-best driver rating, and he has shown a lot of life with new crew chief Drew Blickensderfer. Toss out his one DNF three years ago for a crash, and Ragan's worst finish in his other six starts is 17th (twice). He was sixth in April and fourth and third in 2008. If you're a fantasy player, Ragan and Logano are worth looks.










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Rock Band 3 Is Making Me Mad

Posted by imelda sovzky on Thursday, October 28, 2010

This post is hacky and stupid and I really didn't put a whole lot of thought into making this essay coherent, but here goes anyway...

Well, I took two days off from this blog mostly to get in some Rock Band 3 playing time.  I did not buy the keyboard attachment so I'm just going through on regular old Expert Guitar and now I've beaten the "career" mode.  I tried to make this brief, but that's nearly impossible.  Warning, if you haven't played Rock Band before, a lot of this is gonna be foreign to you so sorry about that.

Soundtrack - I already read the soundtrack list about a month ago and it really wasn't that surprising.  But when I actually got into the game, I thought it was good.  There was some stuff I was delighted to hear, particularly Werewolves of London, The Power of Love, Bohemian Rhapsody, Sister Christian, Fly Like an Eagle, Break On Through, Caught in a Mosh, Whip It, Radar Love, just a lot of "hell yeah" tracks.  This includes stuff I've heard of but didn't know the title/artist of such as The Look, Space Oddity, Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Need You Tonight, and Heart of Glass.  I was like "holy cow, they've got that too?"  Rip a page out of VH1's I Love the 80's I guess (EDIT: I know Space Oddity is from the 60's).

It also seems like someone at Harmonix wanted to get all the Guitar Hero songs because you have I Love Rock and Roll, I Wanna Be Sedated, Smoke on the Water, No One Knows, The Beast and the Harlot, Free Bird, Du Hast, Before I Forget, etc.  So I guess I like most of the tracks in the game.  Although that Marilyn Manson track is just a skidmark on what would be a satisfactory setlist.  Oh, and Imagine is an overrated, heathenous song--oh yeah, I went there.

Full Rock Band 3 Setlist

Keyboards - I'm gonna throw this in here a few days later.  There's two types of Keyboard charts--Normal and Pro.  Normal just plays five notes just like Guitar and Bass.  As a matter of fact, if you beat enough songs, you can gain the ability to play Keyboard charts with the Guitar controller and vice versa.  Unfortunately, the Normal Keyboard charts are absolutely pathetic--just piss easy and not that spectacular.  Chordfests more than anything.  Not to mention that only the RB3 songs and thereafter have keyboard charts.

But you will need the keyboard controller for Pro Keyboards.  This spans the two octaves of the controller and allows you to sink your teeth into some complicated beats...  However, a lot of people have said that this is VERY DIFFICULT to play.  Not because the gameplay sucks, but because it is legitimately hard.  Sounds cool, but I'm not in the mood for a masochistic challenge.

Some Keyboard Demonstration (With Pro Keyboards Too)

Oh yeah, speaking of going Pro, here's Free Bird on Expert Pro Guitar.  BTW, Pro Guitar requires you to use a guitar controller that functions just like a regular old guitar...good luck.

Rock Band 3 Free Bird Expert Pro Guitar

Career - The career's a lot simpler this time.  In the last one, there were a ton of setlists in various cities that you could do anytime you wanted to earn money which can be spent on clothes and instruments.  In this one, career mode is a matter of "going on tour" by doing a few setlists in a row.  For each setlist, you can pick from a few, such as a predefined one with songs from the game or some other random/custom setlist.  You also got kudos for doing certain things like getting streaks or activating overdrive.  Near the end, I started to cherry-pick the easy setlists so I could get the highest ranks.  If you pick a random setlist, you can see which tracks are in it ahead of time, so you can just refresh until you get some easy stuff.

But career mode's more than just beating some setlists.  There's a lot of goals that aren't particularly attached to any Xbox Achievements, such as "5-star all songs on Expert," or "Get a streak of 500 notes on the keyboard."  This of course leads to my next point..

Characters - I guess it's worth mentioning that the characters have more fluid animations and generally look better.  This is one of the most notable things off the bat.  I like making characters, it's more fun than just playing with the default dudes IMO.  But there's one glaring problem--only a max of 10 characters per profile.  What's up with that?  It was 24 back in RB2 which makes no sense why it would drop by less than half...I guess it has to do with the fact that you can now fine-tune a character's facial features instead of using these cookie-cutter choices.  But really man, it's the year 2010, we're not on PS2 anymore, what's wrong with MORE THAN TEN CHARACTERS???  But forget about that for now...

The thing I really don't like is that because you don't have money in the game, you can select any clothes you want...but a lot of it is locked from the beginning.  No problem right...I just beat the career mode and that's fixed, right?  Well, no, not even close.  You have to beat career challenges to unlock items.  First of all, there's some challenges like "5-star all songs on Pro Guitar or Keys" when I don't even have either peripheral, thereby making it impossible.  Second, some of them are ridiculous even if I could do them, like "Get a Double Awesome rating on all vocal harmonies."  This requires two LOCAL players doing 64 songs.  What do you get for completing this?  A horse mask.  That's right, all of that for a lousy horse mask.  The character creation was a lot more simpler in RB2, it just pisses me off that I can't even make 2/3rds of the characters that I wanted to in RB3.

Imports - At first, I was led to believe that all 84 songs from RB2 would import to RB3.  But no, it wasn't until we actually got the game that this wasn't true.  Five big songs didn't make it to RB3: Any Way You Want It, Spoonman, Battery, Give It Away, and Let There Be Rock.  Also, Dani California and Black Hole Sun from RB1 didn't make it to.  I'm not torn by this, but if they had given us a warning, then maybe it wouldn't have bothered me so much.

Overdrive - Overdrive is RB's version of "star power."  Unlike RB1 and 2, they did away with Band Unisons.  Before, if you're playing two or more players and you come to a bunch of OD segments that everyone has at the same time, if everyone nails it, you get double the OD as usual (half the bar).  If someone screws up, then anyone who hit the segment just gets the normal amount (1/4th the bar).  However, in RB3, you can get the double OD boost from these sections regardless of other players.  This means when playing alone, these sections still offer two times the OD as regular sections.  I thought this was kind of dumb since the only reason they did it was to tell players what their solo score would be in a multi-player game...

Online - In RB2 quickplay, this is how online worked.  Person picks a song, you play it, repeat.  When it comes to downloaded songs, you can only play them if EVERYONE in the room owned that song.  So basically, you can have three people that own all RB DLC, but one who has none and you can't play anything. Otherwise, when you go through the list to find a song, it's greyed out which means it can't be picked.  That wouldn't bother me so much but for this...

Now for someone like me who has over 600 DLC, it is a HUGE INCONVENIENCE to have to sift through a list of greyed-out songs just to find the 10 or so DLC songs that the other guy has.  I mean, WHY THE HELL ARE THE GREYED-OUT SONGS THERE?  WHAT POINT DOES IT SERVE OTHER THAN TO TELL ME THE SONG CAN'T BE PICKED???  GET RID OF THE GREYED OUT SONGS SO I CAN GET TO A SONG I WANT MORE QUICKLY!!!

All songs are greyed-out except for Headphones On...which is a free song BTW.

Oh and guess what.  In Rock Band 3, IT'S THE SAME THING.  SIFTING THROUGH A LIST OF GREYED-OUT SONGS, WASTING EVERYONE'S TIME.  At least it works somewhat differently this time--instead of one song at a time, everyone picks one song and makes a setlist which you play in one sitting which I guess isn't that bad but still doesn't really solve the problem.  EDIT: Although I just realized that anyone can start tacking on songs to the setlist and screw everything up.  Picking one song at a time seems like a nicer format now.  You need to play with people who have proper "etiquette" to get a seamless game going now.

Also, for some reason, when you play online, your note chart may be off to the side as opposed to centered in the middle.  If I'm playing online, I'd like to see my screen in the center like in RB2.  But here, I have to veer off to the side which just throws me off a little.

Five Players - How online works is that you can have a drummer, a singer, and TWO OF THE THREE--a guitarist, a bassist, and a keyboarder.  The keyboarder can play Guitar/Bass tracks but it still stinks that you can't have the "full band," that we were promised.  Or you can in All Instruments Mode (AIM)...but you have to play offline to do it.  And even then, I hear that the vocalists don't contribute points to the final score.  It feels a bit hacky and I'll probably never get into it for obvious reasons...

Other Stuff - I don't know if there's some sort of competitive modes.  I know that there's no Face Off, but I hear that there's some sort of "eight-player mode" where you can have two bands compete, but I have yet to figure that out.  EDIT: Actually, there is no such thing, I think.

Also, there are no local leaderboards in the game.  It's all online.  While I don't have a problem with that, if you live by online databases, you die by online databases.  Comparing your high scores is somewhat easier now, but still a tad aggravating.

Conclusion - There's some other stuff I have yet to mention, but it's really not worth it.  Overall, it's not bad, but for being the third game in the franchise, there's still some loose ends to fix that just frustrate me.  I'm starting to miss Rock Band 2.  Oh, it's not possible to go back to RB2 anymore since all DLC songs released from here on out is NOT compatible in RB1 or 2, just RB3.

This isn't a review, but I'll get back to you later when things cool off.
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Talladega a wild-card race, Harvick liking his odds

Posted by imelda sovzky

a wild-card race, Harvick liking his odds


By Jim Pedley
Special to Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

Some drivers refer to the autumn stop at Talladega Superspeedway as the X-factor Race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Or the Wild Card race.
Kevin Harvick is looking at the 2010 edition of the Amp Energy Juice 500 as the Opportunity Race because history seems to indicate that he could leave the high banks Sunday evening at or near the top of the Chase standings.Harvick, third in points and 62 behind leader Jimmie Johnson after finishing third last week at Martinsville , rubbed his hands together Dracula-style early this week as he pondered Halloween at Talladega .
"Everybody said it was going to be a two-horse race (at Martinsville ), and we were right there in the middle of it," Harvick said. "I had a lot of fun last week. Right now, we have four more races. I'm really looking forward to Talladega and just racing hard."
The numbers say Harvick races well at Talladega and at restrictor-plate tracks in general.
He won at NASCAR's biggest track in April, beating Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray by .011 seconds.
That was Harvick's only career victory at Talladega , but it was not an aberration when it comes to good finishes there. He's had four podiums and eight top-10s. His average finish is 15.5, which is better than both Johnson (17.8) and Hamlin (19.3), who is second in points and whom Harvick trails by 56 points.
But perhaps the most significant number Harvick has at Talladega is zero; as in zero DNFs. That definitely tops Johnson and Hamlin, who have seven and two, respectively.
No, Talladega does not scare Harvick the way it does many others.
"I'll take the odds," Harvick said if he felt less at risk of getting involved in a big wreck at Talladega than the folks he's chasing. "We've been really good on those (plate) racetracks this year. I feel like we've had good strategies, done the things that we have needed to do, and had fast cars. So, in the end, fast cars are what it takes to even have shot at winning a race. You have to have a car that is capable of doing that."
While fast cars are important at Talladega , there is something else that is equally important there—getting drafting help from a "dancing partner."
Often that partner can be a teammate, and therein lies a potential problem for Harvick this weekend. At Martinsville , Harvick mixed it up with Richard Childress Racing teammate Jeff Burton. Harvick, who felt he was "chopped" by his teammate, had some angry words for Burton .
Burton responded with: "If he thinks I did anything wrong, then we can't race, and there is nothing that I did that I regret and there is nothing I won't do next week."
Harvick seemed to shrug that off this week. He was more in a bring-it-on kind of mood.
"I think after you leave Talladega ," he said, "you'll kind of know where you stand as far as what you need to do over the last few weeks. I think the last few weeks are really good racetracks for us, and Talladega is a good racetrack for us, as well. They can all flip you upside down and turn things around and have things turn at any given week, but it seems that Talladega is definitely the biggest wild card as far as what's going to happen, and who is going to get caught in a wreck and who isn't. I think everybody has been waiting for this particular race to see where you stack up from here."
Harvick may just top the stack.



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Three-wide: What to look for in Sunday st Talladega

Posted by imelda sovzky

Three-wide: What to look for in Sunday's Amp Energy Juice 500


1. The Big One. You know it's going to happen—the inevitable multicar wreck that wipes out a significant portion of the field. In 2008, The Big One took out half the Chase drivers, but Jimmie Johnson dodged it and went on to win the title. Who gets gobbled up in the wreck and who misses it will go a long way toward determining this year's champion.
2. Harvick's big chance. After posting excellent finishes at two tracks where he had struggled recently— Charlotte and Martinsville —Kevin Harvick comes to Talladega as one of the favorites. To gain significant ground on Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin, he needs a win, and 'Dega gives him the best opportunity to get it.
3. Please remove the mask. It's Halloween, and we're likely to have a mystery winner at a track that's full of surprises. Regan Smith and Brad Keselowski are the two most recent drivers to notch their only Cup victories at the 2.66-mile behemoth. (OK, Smith won the race in our hearts, if not on the scoreboard). — Reid Spencer


"Fast cars are what it takes to even have shot at winning. You have to have a car that is capable of doing that."

The last time around: Last-lap move powers Harvick
April 25, 2010: In a race that set Sprint Cup Series records for the number of leaders (29) and lead changes (88), Kevin Harvick broke a 115-race winless streak in the Aaron's 499.
Less than a week after sponsor Shell/Pennzoil announced its departure from Harvick's No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet at the end of the season, Harvick won his first points race in the series since his first event in Shell colors—the 2007 Daytona 500.
In the third and final attempt at a green-white-checkered-flag finish, Harvick pushed 2010 Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray for all but the final quarter-mile of the final lap before surging past McMurray to the inside and beating the No. 1 Earnhardt-Ganassi Chevy to the line by .011 seconds.
"It really played out perfect for us today," said Harvick, who won for the first time at Talladega . "We had a plan to ride around in the back, wait 'til 50 laps to go and really push forward after that." — Reid Spencer







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RPM to field all four of its cars at Talladega

Posted by imelda sovzky

RPM to field all four of its cars at Talladega


Richard Petty Motorsports will field all four of its cars at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, a team spokesman confirmed Wednesday afternoon.
The team's presence at the Amp Energy Juice 500 this weekend was in question as employees were told last week that their jobs weren't guaranteed through the end of the year and that last week's race at Martinsville might be their last.
Team co-owner Richard Petty, whom the SportsBusiness Journal said owns just 4 percent of the team, is working to take over control of the organization from George Gillett, according to sources familiar with the situation. Gillett, who had taken a $90 million loan to purchase the team from Ray Evernham in 2007 and then merged the organization with Petty Enterprises and Yates Racing in the last two years, has a majority ownership in the organization. Ray Evernham and Boston Ventures also have a minority interest.
The team's financial problems reached a crisis point last week, a week after Gillett was forced to sell the Liverpool soccer team he co-owned with Tom Hicks. Gillett and Hicks objected to the sale, which did not cover their investment in the team.
For the last month, RPM has enlisted the help of consulting firms to try to find investors for the team, according to the SBJ. Earlier this year, Gillett had to restructure a $90 million loan he used to purchase the team.
Earlier this week, Gillett's Booth Creek Resort Properties sold its Northstar-At-Tahoe resort in California for $63 million. It is unclear if that sale, the talks of which were initiated prior to the Liverpool controversy, would have an impact on any of the race team finances.
Even if the race team stays solvent, layoffs are expected soon as RPM will cut from four cars to two teams for 2011.
Paul Menard, scheduled to go to Richard Childress Racing in 2011, is expected to finish out the season with RPM but his team won't be back next year. The No. 19 team, currently driven by Elliott Sadler, won't be back in 2011 as well.
That leaves the No. 43 team with driver AJ Allmendinger and the No. 9 car, which is being driven by Aric Almirola after the release of Kasey Kahne last week. The No. 9 is set to be driven by JTG Daugherty Racing driver Marcos Ambrose in 2011.
RPM has signed Stanley Tools and Valvoline to sponsorship deals for next year and Allmendinger sponsor Best Buy is considering remaining with the No. 43. Whether the sponsors remain obligated to stick with the organization if there is an ownership change remains to be seen.
One potential deal being discussed, according to sources, would involve the No. 43 team moving to Michael Waltrip Racing if RPM should shut down. Toyota , however, already supports MWR's two teams, Joe Gibbs Racing and Red Bull Racing and is not in a position to add more teams.



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'Drive to End Hunger' is Gordon's new majority sponsor

Posted by imelda sovzky on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

'Drive to End Hunger' is Gordon's new majority sponsor


By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
(October 27, 2010)

In a deal Jeff Gordon described as "a completely new, cause-driven approach to sponsorship," Hendrick Motorsports has partnered with the AARP Foundation in a three-year deal that will place the Drive to End Hunger as primary sponsor on Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet for 22 races each year.
The sponsorship is a perfect fit for Gordon, whose widespread philanthropic interests include his own Jeff Gordon Foundation—with focus on children's causes—and an invitation-only membership in the Clinton Global Initiative, founded by former President Bill Clinton.
Gordon will serve as spokesperson for the Drive to End Hunger (www.DrivetoEndHunger.org) whose mission is to focus attention on the growing problem of hunger among older Americans. The AARP has approximately 38 million members, and the AARP Foundation is its affiliated charity.
Though the design of the car hasn't been finalized yet, Gordon will drive the Drive to End Hunger car in next year's season-opening Daytona 500.
"When I look at our world of NASCAR and racing around in circles every weekend—we have such a giving community already, but to have a sponsor like this that's going to get out there for 22 races and really be able to make a difference in every community we go into, as well as just raise awareness on a national and maybe even global level, I think this is really big," Gordon said.
"This is not something that should be happening to Americans—it shouldn't be happening to anyone, but it shouldn't be happening to millions of Americans."
Team owner Rick Hendrick said that, pending subsequent sponsor announcements, Gordon's car will be fully subscribed. Long-time sponsor DuPont will remain on the car on a more limited basis as a primary sponsor.
Gordon quietly accepted membership in the Clinton Global Initiative and already is involved in a major project in Africa .
"We do several meetings throughout the year," Gordon said of his involvement in CGI. "I had dinner with President Clinton a few months ago, after we had our first meeting. I've been able to sit and talk to people on a global level of all kinds of different causes and issues that are going on around the world.
"We actually just launched a refugee camp that we're supporting. I'm in (what's called) the 'CGI Lead Group' which is sort of the young, new up-and-comers in the philanthropy world. But it is a worldwide thing, and our first mission with that group is a refugee camp in Congo , one of the toughest places in the world to go into, but it's something I'm really excited about and honored to be a part of."







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THE CHASE : TALLADEGA

Posted by imelda sovzky

The most competitive Chase yet is coming to NASCAR’s most competitive track.

Since the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format was introduced in 2004, we have the closest margin ever between first and second place with four races remaining in the season; only six points separate Jimmie Johnson from Denny Hamlin. And … third place Kevin Harvick is only 62 back of Johnson.
Talladega Superspeedway, site of Sunday’s AMP Energy Juice 500, is a perfect match for such a situation.
The unpredictable 2.66-mile tri-oval had the most competitive race in NASCAR history this past April, with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series records established for lead changes (88) and leaders (29).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series also races at ‘Dega this weekend, with Saturday’s Mountain Dew 250. The NASCAR Nationwide Series has its final open week of the year.
The GRAND-AM Road Racing season, meanwhile, is complete, with the Rolex Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge looking to the 2011 season-opening races at Daytona International Speedway Jan. 28-30.


NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES


Harvick Returning RCR To Restrictor-Plate Dominance
Coming off of his first top-five finish at Martinsville and closing to within 62 points of the Chase lead, Kevin Harvick attempts to win his third consecutive restrictor-plate race this week.
At Talladega in April, he completed a slingshot pass on Jamie McMurray to win by .011 seconds, the eighth-closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup history. Harvick went on to win a second-straight plate race at Daytona in July.
Harvick’s April win provided car owner Richard Childress with his first Talladega triumph since 2000. Harvick is going for the first Talladega season sweep in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since Jeff Gordon in 2007.


Chase Spoiler Could Be McMurray – Again
Jamie McMurray will attempt to play Chase spoiler for the second time in this Chase, in the process trying to repeat as Amp Energy Juice 500 race winner.
It could happen. McMurray has come up big in his three previous 2010 wins – capturing the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 and the Bank of America 500(at Charlotte).


Is Dale Jr. Back?
After leading 90 laps at Martinsville – the most he’s led in a race since Richmond in September of 2008 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. returns to Talladega with a chance to tie Gordon for second on the NASCAR Sprint Cup win list at the track with six, behind his father’s record 10 victories.
Despite his obvious struggles this season, Dale Jr. has looked just fine in this year’s three previous restrictor-plate events, with finishing second and fourth, respectively, at Daytona and 13th at Talladega).


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Sporting News Power Poll after Martinsville

Posted by imelda sovzky on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sporting News Power Poll after Martinsville
 By the Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
 (October 26, 2010)
 
Denny Hamlin replaced Jimmie Johnson atop this week’s Sporting News Power Poll after his victory in Sunday’s race at Martinsville. Johnson, who finished fifth, dropped to second. Kevin Harvick is third after posting his first top-five finish in 19 starts at Martinsville. The weekly poll is a collaboration of Sporting News and Rowdy.com.
 1. Denny Hamlin (last week: 2nd) Three in a row at Martinsville. Too bad the final four races aren’t at that track, too. Would be fun.
 2. Jimmie Johnson (1st) How tight is this Chase? Johnson posted his fifth straight top five and loses 35 points off his lead.
 3. Kevin Harvick (3rd) Career-best finish at one of his worst tracks. Harvick has to feel confident heading into Talladega, where he won in the spring.
 4. Kyle Busch (4th) Apparently David Reutimann isn’t the only one who drives Kyle like an %^&*#@. Now Johnson is on the list, too.
 5. Carl Edwards (6th) A solid eighth-place finish gives Edwards his fourth top 10 in the past sixth races at Martinsville—his only top 10s there in 13 starts.
 6. Jeff Burton (16th) Burton’s ninth-place run snapped a streak of three straight finishes of 18th or worse and was only his third top 10 in the past two months.
 7. Jamie McMurray (5th) Looks like a lock for 13th in the standings.
 8. Mark Martin (13th) Oh, so that’s what it feels like to have a fast car at Martinsville. Another 15 laps, and Martin would have won that race in his beat-up 5 car.
 9. Jeff Gordon (9th) It wasn’t fourth-and-long, but Gordon got punted.
 10. Joey Logano (12th) Logano’s average finish over the past five races is 8.8. A lot of Chase drivers would kill for that.
 11. Tony Stewart (10th) A pit-road speeding penalty had him smokin’.
 12. Matt Kenseth (8th) How the mighty have fallen: Kenseth finished 15th for his 22nd top-15 finish in 2010. He had 21 last year. If we’re counting top 15s …
 13. Kurt Busch (18th) No, Kurt, you don’t get to count injustices rendered upon Rusty Wallace as justification for your punting Gordon.
 14. AJ Allmendinger (19th) Finished on the lead lap at Martinsville for the second time in his career.
 15. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (24th) Led a season-high 90 laps, after excellent strategy got him to the front. Where has that been all year?
 16. Greg Biffle (7th) Fast in practice, the Biff failed to survive Martinsville, finishing 33rd.
 17. Ryan Newman (15th) For the first time since 2003, Newman finished Martinsville in the 30s.
 18. Juan Pablo Montoya (17th) His dearth of Chase top 10s continues while his teammate has a Chase average finish of 9.3.
 19. Paul Menard (23rd) Menard’s 13th-place finish is his third-best finish in the past 10 races.
 20. Clint Bowyer (11th) Well, 12th place in the Chase still pays better than 13th.
 21. Brad Keselowski (NR) Keselowski ran 10th at Martinsville, his first top 10 of the Cup season. He has a series-high 26 in the Nationwide Series.
 22. David Reutimann (14th) Reutimann seemed poised for an uncharacteristic Martinsville top five until Keselowski reminded him where he was.
 23. Kasey Kahne (25th) Ended up 14th in his first Red Bull start. In the spring Martinsville race he finished three positions worse while running for Richard Petty Motorsports.
 24. David Ragan (20th) Another solid if not spectacular weekend for Ragan—he managed a 17th at Martinsville—and that’s just what this team needs.
 25. Martin Truex Jr. (21st) A forgettable day at Martinsville (29th). Just another downer in a forgettable end to Year 1 at Michael Waltrip Racing.
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McMurray says he’s close to new contract

Posted by imelda sovzky

McMurray says he’s close to new contract


Jamie McMurray, winner of this year’s Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400, is close to announcing a contract extension with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, McMurray told Sporting News on Tuesday.
“We’re getting really close,” said McMurray, who signed a one-year contract when he came to EGR this season to drive the No. 1 Chevrolet. “Hopefully, within the next week or so, we will be able to announce everything that’s going on.”
As of his most recent victory on Oct. 16 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, McMurray has three NASCAR Sprint Cup victories, doubling his career total since joining Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to start the season. McMurray also has won four of his seven career poles this year.
McMurray said he has tried to ignore recent reports that EGR was considering a manufacturer switch to Ford next season. EGR began discussions with Ford in late July, but given the success the organization has had with Chevrolet and the power of Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies engines, a change would seem unlikely.
“I’ll tell you what I have learned—that I have to stick to driving racecars and leave all of the other decisions that are made with the race team to the people that understand what’s going on,” McMurray said.
By Reid Spencer

Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service




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The Cool Down Lap: What the Chase needs is a man for all seasons

Posted by imelda sovzky on Monday, October 25, 2010

The Cool Down Lap: What the Chase needs is a man for all seasons


Conventional wisdom says Kevin Harvick will make up ground on Jimmie Johnson next Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway—and Harvick certainly believes that.
Harvick, who’s third in the standings and 62 points behind Johnson, won the most recent race at the 2.66-mile track in April, and the Earnhardt-Childress engines that power his No. 29 Chevrolets are without peer on restrictor-plate speedways.
Conventional wisdom says Denny Hamlin will run well at Talladega, too, perhaps well enough to wrest the points lead from the four-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion—and Hamlin certainly believes that.
“I know we’ve been extremely strong at Talladega for the last two to three years,” said Hamlin, brimming with confidence after winning Sunday’s Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway and trimming Johnson’s lead in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to six points.
Conventional wisdom aside, past performance suggests it’s Johnson, not his closest pursuers, who will leave Talladega with a bigger lead than he has after Martinsville, even though the Amp Energy Juice 500 is a race Johnson approaches with considerable trepidation.
Johnson said before the Chase started that he would gladly take a 10th- to 15th-place finish at Talladega and watch the race from his couch. If he did that, he’d be selling himself short.
When Johnson needs strong finishes at Talladega—in the Chase—he generally gets them. In the past three seasons—the three fall Talladega races that have featured NASCAR’s new racecar—Johnson has finished second, ninth and sixth in the Chase races there.
The performances of Hamlin and Harvick, however, seem to fall off about the same time the leaves do. True, Hamlin finished fourth in the first new-car race at Talladega, but in the two fall races since, he has run 39th and 38th, thanks to a crash and an engine failure.
Harvick’s has been consistent in the past three Chase races at Talladega, but his results are mediocre—20th, 20th and 21st.
Accordingly, both Hamlin and Harvick will have to reverse the trend if they hope to gain ground on Johnson.
“Honestly, it’s the only Chase race that we have that you can’t necessarily control your destiny,” Hamlin said. “You see a lot of the same guys running up front. … (But it’s) hard to know what is the right place to put yourself in. Anybody can lead that race at any time they want to—it’s just who decides to put themselves in positions that don’t always work out.
“For me, being in this position now that I am (six points behind), I’m somewhat feeling the same way (as Johnson), because you never know. We could come out of there with a 50-, 60-point lead or be that far behind. You just don’t know. All we can do is run that race the way we always do.
“We always run up front at that racetrack. We’ve really figured out a good setup for that place, and I feel like I’ve gotten better at superspeedway racing. I think the chances are good of that first part of that equation (the 50- or 60-point lead) working out.”
To accomplish that, Hamlin will have to change his luck with the change of seasons. Same goes for Harvick.
The next Cup champion can’t afford to fall back in the fall. It will take a man for all seasons to dethrone Johnson this year.
By Reid Spencer

Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
October 25, 2010)




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Richard Petty Motorsports aggressively seeking funding

Posted by imelda sovzky

Richard Petty Motorsports aggressively seeking funding



By Tripp Mickle
Special to the Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
(October 25, 2010)

George Gillett’s financial difficulty following the sale of Liverpool FC has thrown the future of Richard Petty Motorsports into doubt and left the NASCAR team’s owners and lenders searching for investors to keep the team afloat.
The Gilletts and Pettys, which are two of the NASCAR team’s principal owners, began an aggressive search for investors this month. RPM has hired the Gordian Group, a New York-based investment bank, to assist them in their search, while the syndicate of banks that lent Gillett more than $90 million to buy the team have been working with FTI Consulting, a global consultancy specializing in corporate finance, to find investors, sources said.
A spokeswoman for RPM declined to comment.
The search for funding for RPM follows a challenging financial year for Gillett. The team reportedly defaulted on its roughly $90 million loan last February, and Gillett, who owns as much as 70 percent of the team, has been unable to restructure it.
Gillett was counting on the sale of his stake in Liverpool FC to assist him in funding the NASCAR team. But Liverpool sold two weeks ago for $475 million, a sum far less than Gillett and co-owner Tom Hicks expected and one that has put a heavy strain on Gillett’s liquidity.
Bankers met with Gillett last week regarding RPM. Wachovia and CIT, which lead a syndicate of about a dozen financial institutions that issued the loan, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The banks reportedly offered Gillett a chance to buy out the loan for $35 million last summer, but he declined to do so, according to sources. It is unclear what the banks would accept from a buyer or investor interested in RPM.
In addition to owing the banks money, Gillett also owes Ray Evernham at least $20 million and Roush Fenway Racing several million dollars, sources said. Evernham founded the team in 2000 and sold it to Gillett in 2007 for more than $100 million. He retained as much as a 16 percent ownership stake in the organization.
The team was renamed Richard Petty Motorsports in 2009 after Gillett formed a partnership with Petty that gave the NASCAR great a roughly 4 percent stake in the team. The partnership followed the closure of Petty Enterprises.
Roush Fenway Racing began building engines for RPM after RPM merged with Yates Racing last year and switched from Dodge to Ford cars this season. Without RPM, Roush Fenway would lose one of the buyers and testers of its engines, and Ford would drop from representing two Sprint Cup teams—Roush Fenway and RPM—to one.
Evernham didn’t return calls seeking comment. Roush Fenway Racing representatives referred inquiries to RPM.
RPM, which employs approximately 240 people, down from about 300 when Gillett bought the team, was current as of last week on all of its obligations to its drivers and employees. The team has managed to stay current despite losing the support of Chrysler, which was one of the team’s major underwriters when it ran Dodge cars.
No drivers for RPM made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this year, and its premier driver, Kasey Kahne, left the team last week with five races left in the season. His No. 9 car is sponsored by Budweiser, which is leaving RPM for Richard Childress Racing next year.
RPM plans to run two cars next season after running four this year.
Only one of the 2011 cars, the No. 9 Stanley Tools Ford to be driven by Marcos Ambrose, is sponsored. The team remains in negotiations with Best Buy about extending its sponsorship of the No. 43 car driven by AJ Allmendinger.
Best Buy’s previous sponsorship was worth approximately $6 million a year, which is well below the $15 million to $25 million top teams command for primary car sponsorships, sources said.
RPM is the last sports property Gillett owns. He sold his 80 percent stake in the Montreal Canadiens in the summer of 2009 for a reported $550 million and sold Liverpool FC for $475 million earlier this month.
Gillett’s financial struggles coincide with the recession and the credit crunch that followed. He bought both RPM and Liverpool at the height of the market in 2007 and financed the acquisitions with debt.
As banks became less willing to extend or restructure loans in late 2008, his ownership of the teams was tested. Gillett and Hicks eventually were forced to sell Liverpool FC by the primary lender, Royal Bank of Scotland, and the sale added to the pressure Gillett faced at RPM.


Tripp Mickle is a reporter with SportsBusiness Journal.
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Finally—a race Mark Martin can enjoy

Posted by imelda sovzky

Finally—a race Mark Martin can enjoy

MARTINSVILLE, Va.—Halfway through Sunday’s Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, you couldn’t blame Mark Martin for thinking, “Here we go again.”
On Lap 226 of 500, Martin smacked the frontstretch wall after a tap from AJ Allmendinger and lost a lap for repairs.
Then his fortunes turned. Martin finally regained the lost lap on the next caution as the first car one lap down on Lap 393. In the final 98 laps, he drove from 18th to second in a No. 5 Chevrolet that was the fastest car on the track during the closing green-flag run.
It has been a frustrating year for Martin, who missed the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this season after finishing second to Jimmie Johnson last year.
“Lap 30, I started overheating my brakes, started having to baby them,” Martin said. “I thought there was no possible way we were going to run 500 laps. At Lap 150, 175, I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, it’s going to be a long, long day.’
“Then we had all the stuff tear up (in the Lap 226 wreck). I never really have much enjoyed this place, to be real honest with you. But that last hundred laps was fun. I’ve had guys pass me (in previous races), and I wondered how in the world they did that. Now I see how. What an incredible racecar that (crew chief) Alan Gustafson and everyone gave me.
“I feel darn lucky to have been in that seat today. … I ain’t mad we didn’t win. I’m glad we ran second, to be honest with you.”
For Earnhardt, still room to improve
Based on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s performance Sunday, one might think the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet would be elated.
After all, Earnhardt led 90 laps, 19 more than he had led combined in his 31 previous races this year. As he passed teammate Jeff Gordon for the lead on Lap 285, there was more than just a glimmer of hope that Earnhardt would break an 88-race victory drought.
Ultimately, Earnhardt’s car tightened up, and NASCAR’s perennial most popular driver finished seventh—just another decent performance at Martinsville, as far as Earnhardt was concerned.
“Well, this isn’t quite good enough,” Earnhardt said. “We have to run way better than this. … I can come here and get a top 10 unless we have a major, major issue in the setup. I feel confident. That’s how I feel—I’m not saying that’s reality.
“We got toward the front on some pit strategy that worked out real good, and then we had a good enough car at the time to pass the guys that were around us. They had a little less tire than we had. A lot of things worked in our favor to get us the lead.”
Earnhardt shouldn’t be too hard on himself. Aside from three laps at Fontana two weeks ago, he hadn’t led a lap since the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in May.
Kurt Busch, Gordon feud simmers
Gordon admitted he was late with a move that allowed him to pass Kurt Busch’s No. 2 Dodge.
Busch responded by knocking Gordon into the wall on Lap 385—all but ending Gordon’s chances for a fifth championship. The way Busch sees it, however, they’re still not even.
“I didn’t mean to get into him that hard, but over the years with Gordon here, back in the 97 car (which Busch drove for Roush Racing), wrecking the 2 car—whether you’re a Kurt fan or an ex-Rusty (Wallace) fan—he’s wrecked the 2 car a lot here.”
Given the history, Gordon knew payback was coming.
“I said it here, more than once, that I probably made the move a little late. I was going to get into him. It wasn’t much. But I gave him enough of a reason that, whatever things he has from past history or whatever thoughts he has in there, it sparked it, you know?                                                             
“At that point, he was determined to wreck us.”                    
By Reid Spencer

Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service                                         


                                                                                                                          
                                                                                             
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Hamlin narrows Johnson’s Chase lead with win at Martinsville

Posted by imelda sovzky

Hamlin narrows Johnson’s Chase lead with win at Martinsville


By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

MARTINSVILLE, Va.—Dead heat.
Well, almost.
Denny Hamlin won Sunday’s Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville and trimmed fifth-place finisher Jimmie Johnson’s lead in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to six points with four races left in the season.
The closest Chase ever through six races is on a collision course toward next Sunday’s AMP Energy Juice 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, the most dangerous and unpredictable race in the Chase.
“We’re back, baby,” Hamlin exulted in the radio as he approached the finish line. “Awesome job.”
Hamlin showed his appreciation where it was well-deserved. Crew chief Mike Ford and his over-the-wall crew gained three spots for their driver during their final pit stop, before a restart on Lap 394. Hamlin was third off pit road and fourth overvall (because Ken Schrader stayed out) when he took the green flag.
“I love you, Mike. Great job of adjusting the car,” Hamlin radioed when the race was over. “Best it’s been all day. Awesome job. Pit crew, you did it right there. You got me out. Thank you, guys.”
Kevin Harvick, third in the standings, stayed within striking distance with a third-place run at the .526-mile short track, as the top three drivers continued to separate themselves from the rest of the Chase field. Harvick gained 15 points on Johnson and is 62 behind the four-time defending champion.
Hamlin could have a yard sale on grandfather clocks, after winning the distinctive Martinsville trophy for the fourth time and third in a row. The victory was Hamlin’s series-best seventh of the season and the 15th of his career.
“Who said it was over?” Hamlin said of the Chase. “I told you it wasn’t over.”
Mark Martin rallied from a lap down to finish second, followed by Harvick, Kyle Busch and Johnson. Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton and Brad Keselowski completed the top 10.
Harvick, who has had issues on pit road during the Chase, swapped pit crews with teammate Clint Bowyer earlier this week. Bowyer’s crew performed flawlessly, and after the race, Harvick offered to kiss his teammate as an expression of gratitude.
“Coming into this race, no one gave us a chance to even run anywhere towards the front,” said Harvick, who posted his first top-five finish in 19 starts at Martinsville. “So it’s nice to come here, get the finishes we feel like we deserve. We’ve run well over the last few years—just hadn’t got the finishes to show for it.
“Great day for us. Everybody did a great job on pit road and in the pits, doing everything they had to do to keep the car up front.”
Earnhardt briefly gave Junior Nation something to cheer about. Before Earnhardt restarted third on Lap 247, crew chief Chad Knaus radioed to Johnson, “If you hear a great scream and roar (inside) the car, you’ll know that Dale took the lead in the race.”
Knaus didn’t have to be a prophet to predict that. When Earnhardt passed Jeff Gordon for the top spot on Lap 285, the crowd stood en masse and cheered lustily. Earnhardt held the lead for 90 laps, 19 more than he had led previously this year, but his handling tightened up in the late going, dropping him to seventh at the finish.
During prerace inspection, NASCAR required Johnson’s crew to replace the drive shaft cover on the No. 48 Chevrolet, a minor issue in the sanctioning body’s view, though the specific reason for the change wasn’t stated. If there is a penalty forthcoming, it will be announced during the coming week.
Johnson was unaware of the change.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about—no clue,” he said after the race. “Not my job, man.”



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Hamlin Wins TUMS Fast Relief 500 At Martinsville, Cuts Into Points Lead

Posted by imelda sovzky on Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hamlin Wins TUMS Fast Relief 500 At Martinsville, Cuts Into Points Lead


MARTINSVILLE, Va. (October 24, 2010) – Denny Hamlin knew he had to have a perfect weekend in the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway to take a big bite out of Jimmie Johnson’s lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
And Hamlin was pretty near perfect Sunday afternoon winning the TUMS Fast Relief 500 and closing within six points of Johnson with four races left in the season. It is the closest Chase ever through six races.
Kevin Harvick remained within striking distance in third after a third-place run Sunday. Harvick gained 15 points on Johnson and is 62 behind the four-time defending champion.
Mark Martin overcame an awful start Sunday, battling back from two laps down to finish second.
It certainly wasn’t a surprise win for Hamlin. He has dominated the .526-mile oval the past couple of years. Sunday’s win was his third in a row on the historic track and fourth overall. It was also Hamlin’s series-leading seventh win of the year.
“Who said it was over?” Hamlin said of the Chase as he entered the media center after the race. “I told you it wasn’t over.”
Kyle Busch engaged in a hard battle with Harvick down the stretch and finished fourth, followed by Johnson. Rounding out the top 10 were Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton and Brad Keselowski.



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Hamlin narrows Johnson's lead with win at Martinsville

Posted by imelda sovzky

Hamlin narrows Johnson's lead with win at Martinsville


Dead heat.
Well, almost.
Denny Hamlin won Sunday’s Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville and trimmed fifth-place finisher Jimmie Johnson’s lead in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to six points with four races left in the season.
Kevin Harvick, third in the standings, stayed within striking distance—62 points back—with a third-place run at the .526-mile short track, as the top three drivers continued to separate themselves from the rest of the Chase field.
The victory was Hamlin’s third straight at Martinsville—fourth overall—his series-best seventh of the season and the 15th of his career.
Mark Martin rallied from a lap down to finish second, followed by Harvick, Kyle Busch and Johnson. Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton and Brad Keselowski completed the top 10.
Earnhardt briefly gave Junior Nation something to cheer about. Before Earnhardt restarted third on Lap 247, crew chief Chad Knaus radioed to Johnson, “If you hear a great scream and roar (inside) the car, you’ll know that Dale took the lead in the race.”
Knaus didn’t have to be a prophet to predict that. When Earnhardt passed Jeff Gordon for the top spot on Lap 285, the crowd stood en masse and cheered lustily. Earnhardt held the lead for 90 laps, 19 more than he had led previously this year, but his handling tightened up in the late going, dropping him to seventh at the finish.
During prerace inspection, NASCAR required Johnson’s crew to replace the drive shaft cover on the No. 48 Chevrolet, a minor issue in the sanctioning body’s view, though the specific reason for the change wasn’t stated. If there is a penalty forthcoming, it will be announced during the coming week.

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DENNY HAMLIN WINS MARTINSVILLE

Posted by imelda sovzky


Martinsville Speedway


TUMS Fast Relief 500 (62nd Running)
Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Sun, October 24, 2010 @ 05:04 PM Eastern


Race Winner: Denny Hamlin
Age: 29
Team : No. 11 - FedEx Express Toyota
Owner: J.D. Gibbs
Crew Chief: Mike Ford
Denny Hamlin won the TUMS Fast Relief 500 (62nd Running), his 15th victory in 183 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
This is his series-high seventh victory and 16th top-10 finish in 2010.
This is his fourth victory and 10th top-10 finish in 11 races at Martinsville Speedway. It is also his third consecutive win at Martinsville.


Mark Martin (second) posted his 24th top-10 finish in 46 races at Martinsville Speedway. It is his ninth top-10 finish in 2010.
Kevin Harvick (third) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 19 races at Martinsville Speedway.
Jimmie Johnson leads the point standings by 6 points over Denny Hamlin.
This is the closest points margin between first and second with four races to go in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup era (2004-Present).






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No Title For You

Posted by imelda sovzky

I know the Saints are losing bad which makes no damn sense whatsoever considering the Bucs beatdown given last week, but I'm not going to get all bent out of shape over it.  About the MLB, I like this Rangers vs. Giants World Series matchup cause both teams haven't been there in a long time...  I know, somewhere, Chris Russo is weeping.  Easy to follow the MLB when you don't have a home team.  Also I guess I should watch NASCAR too cause that's cool.

There's more important things than sports anyway.

Oh, and about Rock Band 3 coming out the 26th.  I could buy the game and keyboard ($130), but that's a lot of money and I should be saving for other stuff.  So probably no keyboard for me, I may get it later.  Sad...

Today is such a mediocre day cause I just got back from some "Halloween" party yesterday (by one of my professors from college who is real nice) which was a real bummer...don't even want to explain why.  Last year's party was much better.  Now that's why I'm so silent.
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Lol BlizzCon, Plus WoW Rant

Posted by imelda sovzky on Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hmm, let's see, first you take this, which is a damn fine start I might add...:


Then throw in Tenacious D in concert...


Then add this "comedian" Jay Mohr who reads jokes off a freakin sheet of paper and there you go.  Blizzcon, the most annoying place in the world to be.  Stay cool, dudes.

------------

EDIT: Now, let me just throw this in here too about World of Warcraft.  Let me make this brief cause it needs to be said eventually.  Now I don't like it.  It's not a "bad" game per se, but there's something about it that really stinks.  I've come to the conclusion that there's two reasons why people play it:

1. As a means to socialize with friends and strangers with your own little avatar and interactive environments.

2. Because you have nothing better to do.

I'm serious about 2.  I know a couple of people who really have nothing going for them at the moment so they give the game a shot.  Some of them become addicts while to others, it just rubs off.  The concept of leveling up and becoming stronger just makes me feel like a hamster running on the wheel.  And no, I've never, ever played the game before, not even for a minute.

My brother played WoW in the past and I've asked "What makes this game particularly exciting?"  He talked about these big raids and clicking on stuff and how there's all this strategy involved.  I guess it works like Pokemon in that you need to use the right moves at the right time, but it still doesn't sound like my cup of tea.  I'd rather play games that take "active" skill to play, like FPS, racing--the kind of stuff that commandeers your attention and makes you lock on and actively work to improve at.  Seriously, criticize Microsoft Achievement Points all you want, but at least those require you to play vastly different games to get, plus they're not mandatory unlike the leveling up in WoW.

And another thing, whatever happened to Warcraft III?  Did people forget that ever existed?  At least that game requires strategy and dexterity, but in WoW, you're just clicking on little animals ad nauseum to reach that next level or obtain that next stupid thing.  You'd think the game was a more elaborate version of Farmville...

I'll tell you that I know plenty of people here at college who play it and I'll be frank--I don't know any normal people who play this game.  Well, maybe one or two, but the ones who are "normal" probably went cold turkey from the game a long time ago--I'm not actively following them.

And what's sad is that I had a friend in high school who I was cool with.  We played computer games, Advance Wars on the DS, just hung out with someone who didn't seem deterred by my presence.  Then we went to college and became roommates (in private bedrooms, not shared).  Needless to say, he started to get into WoW, smelled weird, I didn't know what the hell happened.  Eventually he just dropped out of college and I never saw him again.  And then you've got my brother and his friends, some who are already long gone (one friend went from brimming with enthusiasm to emo depressed in a matter of years) while my brother went cold turkey and now he's working out, playing some Halo, having fun.

So really, I don't know what the hell's up with WoW and I know some people reading this may like the game.  But come on people, step back and re-evaluate your lives if you're in dire straits...

Oh, and if any smart aleck says "Well I don't know any normal people who play Daytona USA," then let me direct you to the OutRun Online Arcade board where there are many normal people who play these games so kiss my ass.
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Loomis says RPM intends to move forward

Posted by imelda sovzky

Notebook: Loomis says RPM intends to move forward


MARTINSVILLE, Va.—Those who were looking for reassurance about the future of Richard Petty Motorsports found little to assuage their concerns Saturday morning at Martinsville Speedway.
RPM, which has been silent on a succession of troubling issues over the past several days, finally spoke through director of competition Robbie Loomis, who stood behind the No. 43 hauler of AJ Allmendinger and insisted the team intended to move forward in the aftermath of driver Kasey Kahne’s departure and reports of financial crises that have followed majority owner George Gillett from one side of the Atlantic to the other.
If RPM’s silence had been deafening, so was the roar of Sprint Cup engines that all but drowned out Loomis’ words. Loud and clear, however, was the realization that RPM faces a difficult future—even with the best of intentions.
Loomis, a Cup champion crew chief with Jeff Gordon in 2001, rode to the track Saturday with Dale Inman, an eight-time champion crew chief, seven with Petty Enterprises.
“I was thinking, riding up the road this morning with Dale, and I said, ‘You can’t look too far out in the future, because today is all that we really have,’ and many of you know that from being around this sport,” Loomis said.
In an era where long-term strategic planning is the norm, those words weren’t particularly reassuring.
Kahne and RPM agreed to part ways on Monday, after Kahne refused get back in a car that had been wrecked and repaired last Saturday night at Charlotte. Kahne was a lame duck in any event, having announced he would leave the team at year’s end to drive for Red Bull Racing in 2011 before moving to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.
RPM, which purchases its Ford engines and chassis from Roush Fenway Racing, had fallen behind in its payments. Accordingly, Roush Fenway briefly confiscated RPM cars intended for use Oct. 31 at Talladega.
Owner Jack Roush told Speed.com Friday that he had worked out a payment schedule with RPM. The Talladega chassis were returned to RPM Thursday morning. Roush said his organization would continue to supply RPM as long as the payment schedule is met.
The relationship between Roush and RPM is much more complicated than that of merely a vendor and customer. The two organizations share technical data and sit in weekly competition meetings together.
Roush’s partner, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry, recently effected a forced buyout of the English Premier League’s Liverpool soccer team--from Gillett and his partner, Tom Hicks, a former owner of the Texas Rangers.
Along with Richard Petty, who owns a minority interest in RPM, Roush, Henry and Gillett face the challenge of charting a viable future for RPM. Allmendinger, who re-signed with the team, and Marcos Ambrose, who will leave JTG/Daugherty racing at the end of the year to join RPM, are two Cup drivers waiting to see what that future might hold.
“I think it’s our full intention to go forward,” Loomis said. “Like I said, most of the things we’ve been working on throughout the week is, ‘What do we look like in 2011? What’s our driver lineup look like the rest of the year since we lost Kasey?’
“I told the guys yesterday—I sat back at lunch and said, ‘Look, this is no different than running a race when you’re a crew chief. I’ve been right here at Martinsville leading a race and all of a sudden hit a pothole, and you’ve got to figure out what to do and how to react to it and move forward.’ ”
Nice to be wanted
Roush Fenway driver David Ragan has stepped up his performance since Drew Blickensderfer replaced Donnie Wingo as his crew chief in September. Last weekend at Charlotte, he finished 10th, his first top 10 since running sixth at Talladega in April.
“I feel like our cars are better as a whole, and certainly the new Ford engine has been a help, but Drew and I have seemed to click very well,” Ragan said. “The crew and our engineers have kind of rallied around us, and we’ve made some good decisions. We’ve had some fast cars the last three or four weeks.”
Problem is, Blickensderfer came to Ragan’s Cup team from Carl Edwards’ Nationwide car, and Edwards wants him back. Not so fast, Ragan says.
“Ultimately, I’ve always been told that possession is like 75 or 80 percent of the game, and he’s on our side right now,” Ragan said. “We’ll get together—me, Carl, Jack, Drew and everyone—and talk about it in the offseason.
“We need to do what’s best for the company as a whole. As of right now, hopefully things keep going, and we can have some good runs to end the season, and then it’ll be a little tougher (for Carl) to get him back.”
Edwards says Blickensderfer will make the call.
“They’ve really stepped it up,” Edwards said. “That’s great for David Ragan, but we’re going to have to sit down at the end of the year and decide where Drew is going to go. It’s really up to Drew, but I would take him in a heartbeat. … If it’s best for Drew to stay there, then I guess he’ll stay there.
“But, yeah, I was a little nervous when we moved Drew that I wouldn’t get him back, and I guess if I don’t, that’s a sign that the best case is happening.”
Truex gives props to Johnson
Martin Truex Jr. sometimes finds the success of fellow Cup driver Jimmie Johnson hard to believe, but he’s not about to attribute Johnson’s four straight championships to good fortune.
“It takes a million things to go right and only one to go wrong,” Truex said Wednesday during an appearance at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “That’s why I can’t believe what the 48 team has been able to do. It’s crazy how everything can go that right that many times.
“He spun out here (Oct. 16) and didn’t hit anything. Honestly, it’s pretty amazing, but they do it every week, so you can’t call it luck. It’s just impressive what they’ve been able to do—it’s unbelievable, to be honest, when you know what goes into it and how hard it is and how many things can go wrong and do go wrong. It’s crazy.”
By Reid Spencer

Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service





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Notebook: Kahne says split from RPM good for both parties

Posted by imelda sovzky

Notebook: Kahne says split from RPM good for both parties

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service


MARTINSVILLE, Va.—Putting a happy face on his early departure from Richard Petty Motorsports, Kasey Kahne said the split was good for both parties.
Kahne termed the parting a “mutual release” that grew from conversations between the driver and Richard Petty Motorsports principals on Monday. Kahne will finish the NASCAR Sprint Cup season in the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota. Aric Almirola is taking Kahne’s place in the No. 9 RPM Ford at Martinsville.
“It was a mutual release, and for me, I think it was a good thing for both sides,” Kahne said Friday at Martinsville Speedway. “They’re happy about it, and we’re happy about it. It made sense for RPM to start working on their things for next year and for myself to get with the Red Bull guys at this point.”
Kahne will drive for Red Bull next season as a stop-gap measure before taking the wheel of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in 2012. Mark Martin will complete his tenure in the No. 5 Chevy next year, with Kahne as his heir apparent.
Kahne’s refusal to return to the No. 9 Ford after it had been wrecked and repaired Saturday night at Charlotte hastened his departure. Kahne defended his decision to abandon the car, in which relief driver J.J. Yeley completed the race.
“Anyone that questions my commitment doesn’t know me very well and doesn’t know how much I love this sport and how much I put into racing,” Kahne said. “I don’t think there’s anybody out there that puts as much in it as I do throughout the week. Some guys may; some guys may not.
“I feel like I do everything I do to make myself the best I can be, and we kept having problems. And I was sick to my stomach. It was time for me to just call it a day, and that’s what I did. I’m happy I did it and ready to go on to this weekend.”
Odds are Greg Biffle would have made a different choice. Asked whether the old-school days when drivers would drive until they dropped were a thing of the past, Biffle said, “I’m going to have to be physically restrained not to get back in that car. I will have tears in my eyes if I can’t drive it. That’s all there is to it.
“That’s what they pay me to do. I take pride in that, to do my best, whatever it is. … I wasn’t in Kasey’s shoes, so I can’t criticize whether he was physically able to get back in or not. That’s Kasey’s call, but I would be there, too. I would be scratching and clawing.”
Odd men out?
Red Bull Racing has a numbers problem. The organization doesn’t plan to field more than two Cup cars next year, but there are three drivers under contract to the team.
It’s the same story for the crew chiefs.
One thing is certain. Kahne will drive one of the Red Bull cars next year, and crew chief Kenny Francis, who will remain at RPM until season’s end, will join him for 2011.
Still uncertain is the status of Brian Vickers, who is undergoing treatment for blood clots in his legs and lungs, and that of Scott Speed, who drives the No. 82 Red Bull Toyota. Vickers is confident he will return to the No. 83 car next year. If that happens, Speed is out of a ride.
Speed insists he’s under contract for next year, but Red Bull general manager Jay Frye said there are performances clauses in Speed’s contract. Frye declined to specify the performance standards.
“Our plan right now it to have two cars,” Frye said. “We’re monitoring Brian’s health, and it appears to be on course and doing great. We’re also monitoring Scott and his performance, where he’s at and what’s going to happen next.
“We’re going to end up having, at this point, two cars and possibly three drivers. At that point, decisions will have to be made. It’s not necessarily the case that decisions have been made yet.”
Similarly, with Francis on Kahne’s pit box, there won’t be room in a crew chief job for either Ryan Pemberton or Jimmy Elledge, who currently fill that role on the No. 82 and No. 83, respectively.“Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to evaluate where we’re at with people,” Frye said. “There’s nothing imminent on anything right now. We’re excited that Jimmy is working with Kasey this weekend. … We’ve got some really, really good people, and it’s our job to find places and roles for them within the organization.”
As seen in the garage
There were plenty of double-takes when Kahne strode down pit road before Friday’s practice—in a Red Bull uniform. His past collided with his future when a fan handed Kahne a die-cast replica of the No. 9 RPM Ford to sign.
Kahne smiled and obliged.
Harvick has a plan
Asked whether he needed to hit a home run—in the sense of winning a race—to get back into championship contention, Kevin Harvick came up with a better plan to erase his 77-point deficit to Chase leader Jimmie Johnson.
“Or just hit him!” Harvick suggested. “No, I’m just kidding—kind of.”






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