Regan Smith needs a finish to match his starts

Posted by imelda sovzky on Saturday, April 30, 2011

Regan Smith needs a finish to match his starts

(April 30, 2011)

RICHMOND, Va.—How can the driver with the best qualifying average in the Sprint Cup Series be 30th in the standings?
Regan Smith, who sports a 7.1 average start and an average finish that’s more than 19 positions worse than that (26.5), would like to know the answer to that question. First, it might help to figure out why the No. 78 Furniture Row team has improved its efforts in time trials so dramatically.
Smith, who qualified second for Saturday night’s Crown Royal Presents 400 at Richmond International Raceway, had but three top-10 starts last year—in the final three races—and posted an average starting position of 24.6.
“Yeah, we’ve been qualifying really well this year, and I wish I knew why, because the last two or three years, I have not qualified well enough to save my life,” Smith said Friday after the Cup qualifying session at the three-quarter-mile track. “The guys have been building faster cars, and I think the key for us now is to be able to translate that to the race.
“We’ve had some good racecars this year and some bad luck, and we have had some weeks where we wish we had bad luck because we weren’t having the kind of week we wanted to—and it seems like we will be able to finish those ones. So we are right on the cusp of where we want to be, but we have to take that next step with the racing.”
Montoya: A win would be nice—on any oval track
Juan Pablo Montoya, pole winner for Saturday night’s race, has two NASCAR victories—both on road courses.
More than anything, Montoya wants to win on an oval track, because he believes his first victory will be one of many. Montoya doesn’t care if it comes on a short track, intermediate track or superspeedway.
“Whatever gives a nice trophy,” Montoya quipped. “I really don’t care—do you know what I mean? To be able to go for the championship—and that’s our goal to make the Chase and go for the championship—you’ve got to run well everywhere. So I think once we break that (victory drought on ovals), I think we can get it at quite a lot of them.”
Montoya entered Saturday’s race ninth in the Sprint Cup standings with a best finish this year of third at Las Vegas.
No royal wedding for Gordon’s daughter
Jeff Gordon watched highlights of the Royal Wedding on Friday morning, but he’s not about to use what he saw as a blueprint for his daughter’s marriage.
“I thought it was really cool,” Gordon said of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. “It’s something that you don’t get to see very often. I don’t really remember when Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married (in 1981), so this is definitely something that I’ll remember.
“Now to be able to see how their relationship grows, and hopefully one day to see Prince William as a king, that’s pretty cool.”
But Gordon’s daughter, Ella, who will turn 4 in June, shouldn’t expect the trappings that accompanied the nuptials of the royal couple—or a seven-figure price tag on the ceremony
“Oh, no, definitely not,” Gordon said. “No prince and princess wedding happening there. Why do you have to get me all stressed out about that now? I’m already worried about it.”
By Reid Spencer

Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

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How Would A New Daytona USA Fare? WTF?

Posted by imelda sovzky

This is Part 2.  Please read Part 1 first if you haven't alreadyThe second part appears before the first so you have to scroll around, I apologize.

Now, let's play pretend for a second.  Let's say that, in the near future, Sega announces a new "Daytona USA" game.  It'll have content from Daytona 1, Daytona 2, Scud Race, and Virtua Racing in it.  The game is released.  How will it do?

Part of the reason I say this is because games NEED to sell well to be worthwhile.  It's not just about good reviews from Gamespot, Giant Bomb, etc.  People need to like it.  Now I remember a while back how in that IGN Crazy Taxi review where he slammed the game because there exists the stark contrast between it and "ten years of real racing innovation."  I know this is IGN we're talking about, but still, I can tell that more people feel the same way about this game.  Also, look at OutRun 2.  Didn't sell well.  OOA is getting taken off XBL in 2012.  Sega Rally Revo is a bust.  Et. al...

About this new Daytona game, there is VERY LITTLE CHANCE that Sega's going "all-in" and revamping the whole entire game (much less add new cars/tracks) so it's going to look outdated.  Sega just can't exert that much energy on anything nowadays (unless it's Sonic).  Look at all the Sega ports on XBL--bare-bones or rushed.  Consider that OutRun 2006 didn't have that much more content than the original arcade cabinet and Sega rode OR2 for such a long time (many re-releases).  Like here's what Daytona 2 really looks like under the hood:

Please bear in mind that this game is 13 years old.  This isn't like taking a NFS game from 2010 and rehashing it in 2011, this is old ass crap we're talking about.  Now Daytona 2 has managed to defy modern-day graphics for a long time because of its framerate and other slick, innovative designs (thanks to the Model3 board), but you're starting to notice the difference these days.  Like compare this 13 year old game to this 1 year old game (Forza 3):

Let's compare Daytona USA to the big boys now, shall we?  Here's the good:

* FORZA 4!!!  OH MY GOD, take a look at all 400,000 polygons in each car!!!  Such realistic driving physics!!!  You can now use the Kinect to drive the car (just like that piece of crap Kinect Joy Ride)!!!  OMG THIS IS THE FUTURE OF RACING PEOPLE!!!

* MOTORSTORM: APOCALYPSE!!!  8.5 REVIEW ON GAMESPOT!!!  So awesome to drive around an earthquake-ridden city--never mind the fact that people have died in real-life earthquakes like those in Japan, Chile, Haiti, and New Zealand!!!  Run over those foot soldiers!!!  Kill, crash, and scrape your way to the finish line!!!

* NEED FOR SPEED...MY GOODNESS, CRITERION AND ELECTRONIC ARTS ARE GODS!!!  Now they're coming out with another NFS game called "The Run(s)!"

No way, I've never played a game like this before!  You run from the cops and drive cross-country, just like in Cruis'n USA or, better yet, OutRun 2: SP!!  Story mode galore as you flip over on railroad tracks and try to avoid getting killed!!!  BRILLIANT!!!  Just like Ridge Racer: Unbounded where you get to crash into stuff in exotic sports cars too!!!

EDIT: * MARIO KART!!  It's Super Mario.  And It's Nintendo.  No debate there, folks.  Overpowered Bikes and Snaking?  No worries cause haters gonna hate.

* TRACKMANIA 2!!!  Uh, it's looks kind of cool, not gonna use my sarcasm on this one cause it reminds me of San Francisco Rush.

* SPLIT/SECOND!!!  BURNOUT!!!  FAST AND THE FURIOUS!!!  Oooooooohhh yyeeeaaahhh!!!!

And now for the bad:

* These niche racers that have come out that try to retain some sanity--oh man, these suck.  NASCAR 2011?  Crap.  F1 2010?  Crap.  Test Drive Unlimited?  Mega crap.  Days of Thunder?  No one cares.  Hey, blame it on gamer bias or the devs stinking it up, but that's just the way it is.

* DAYTONA the hell is this.  Now I remember playing this in the arcades once, but damn, what the hell's going on here.  Game is too bright and the cars slip and slide too much.  Why am I driving a stock car?  NASCAR sucks cause all you do is turn left!!  The graphics suck!!  This game is too hard and you can't even die in the game!!  Boooo!!!  Don't you people at Sega know that racing games have undergone great innovation in the last ten/fifteen years?  GET OUT OF HERE!!!  Now, where's my Mountain Dew...

So here's how Sega should improve Daytona USA:

* Tone down the color saturation a few notches.  Colorful games are BAD, remember?

* You do drifts to get NITROUS boosts, just like in Ridge Racer.

* Add cool hip-hop/punk music and funky announcers.

* Make it so you can total cars (yours and others) to the point they can't drive anymore.  When you blow up, you respawn back on road.

* Increase the car's skidpad ratings so you can take every turn at full speed--no skill required.  Hey, it defeats the purpose of drifting, but who carez?!?!?

* Get rid of the race timer!!  We want to drive forever and don't want to be held back because we were sucking so bad.

* Add police cars/chases.  Add a monetary counter to display how much money's worth of damage you've dealt to yourself and your environment.  Add explosions.  Add oncoming traffic.

* Get rid of all stock cars--remember, NASCAR sucks and is redneck garbage.  Replace them with generic sports/luxury cars (not like Scud Race's ones, but over-the-top Burnout stuff).

* Add a story line.  You're a cool dude who's trying to avenge your father's death or win an underground race tournament to make some money and pick up chicks.  You must compete against snotty Europeans and witty Asian guys as they try to set up death traps to take you out.  Hire a bunch of Hollywood writers to churn out the next big Spike VGA's winner!!

* Trash the whole entire game together and just get EA/Criterion to make another Burnout.



Screw it.  I know that there's a sleeping giant out there who wants a good wholesome racer that has variety, intensity, and brings something new to the table.  Graphics be damned--look at this GameFAQs poll on 4/28/11 about graphics: 48% say story/gameplay is much more important; 38% it's somewhat important; and 14% say it makes or breaks the game.  So what is it?  You are stoked about highly-detailed environments and rich cutscenes, but when it comes to the gameplay, you can't help but grieve over every minute detail.

Hopefully, the success of Sega Rally Online Arcade will be just a start.  We can do it, guys.

Now, I said this on the OOA board, and I'll say it here.  We're getting a new Daytona USA game in 2014.  Why?  Cause it's the 20th anniversary of the original (1994).  And if Sonic can get a special release every anniversary, why not Daytona USA get at least one?  I'm going to prod Sega with a stick until they do.  The end.
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How Would A New Daytona USA Fare? Prelude

Posted by imelda sovzky

This topic ignited a few days back when I was making my usual Daytona 2 image/media rounds on Google, trying to find anything new.  Fortunately, since the Supermodel emulator popped up, we've been saturated with new game pics.  These are some of my pics.

But that's not the point because I found an interesting article back in 2007.  We're talking about Sega Rally Revo and how it was coming out.  Check out this long article on Neogaf.  Track deformation, tons of cars, good eye candy, etc.  You'd think ex-employees of Codemasters, Criterion, Rare and Rockstar North could bang out that dream Sega Rally game but it fizzled rather quickly, mostly because they screwed up the physics, etc.  Averaged about a 7/10 rating and you can find it on the super discount racks these days.

But in that article there's a little goodie dropped in there to please the fans.  Here's one line from this article:

Perhaps we’ll give some false hope to die-hard fans with our next comment, but what the hell: when asked by other members of the press whether or not the next project of this company will be Daytona USA, we were met with a “maybe”. Mark Fisher also replied with a “who knows!”, when asked if there’ll ever be an arcade version of this new SEGA Rally.

This quote became the subject of debate on this Team Xbox forum topic.  I'm fairly certain there are other threads out there like this one, but I can't find them all.  Use this as a microcosm of people's opinions.  Some people want just Daytona USA Xbox Live play, some want more than that (Scud Race, Daytona 2), but some don't want the game at all because Sega would screw it up.  It's worth mentioning that AM2's original staff probably doesn't work anymore (Nagoshi NEVER expresses any interest in Sega racers, Osaki is invisible, Suzuki is going around teasing that Shenmue sequel, etc.) so we don't know if Sega is competent even if they have the energy/motivation to work on it (that's where the Sega fanbase comes in to pick up the slack...hopefully).

There is one thing everyone was unanimous in saying--that Sega wouldn't make it.  We've heard the word "maybe" before.  We heard it from Toshihiro Nagoshi back in 2004.  We've also heard it from Yu Suzuki in 2011 about the new Shenmue.  And all these promises that the new Sonic games will be good.  I mean, really, does anyone take Sega seriously anymore?

EDIT: An aside here, folks.  Wait a second, another promise that comes to mind is all these new Dreamcast XBLA ports that were supposed to be released by Summer 2011.  See article from June 2010.

Earlier today at E3, we asked Sega West president Mike Hayes how many Dreamcast titles he expected to have on the service by this time next year.  His reply will warm the heart of Dreamcast lovers everywhere.  "We hope to have somewhere between 18 to 24. Around that."

And it's May 2011 and all we got were four DC games from the Sega Classics Collection (five if you count Soul Calibur, but that's Namco's game).  EDIT: Forgot a few more like Ikaruga and Rez, thanks Alex.  I know he said "hope" but still, "hope" ain't good enough.  In retrospect, what a BIG letdown.  Promise at minimum 18 games but only deliver FOUR....err,eight I guess??  Wow, don't set such high benchmarks if you have no chance of meeting them.  Even if we do extend this deadline by a couple of years, I don't see Sega spitting out fourteen more ports at this rate.  But I'm just going to go with the assumption that Mike Hayes was grabbin his stupid peelz and thus fired off a random integer from the hip not knowing if Sega could reach the mark.

But that it's 2011, I think everyone's hopes of that new Daytona are practically dead.  From 2011 then on, it's been a big tease.  Hey, we already talked about assorted messages from fans back in the 00's.  Sega Racing Classic was supposedly a grand return to Daytona's roots, but it was just a remake.

As for today, we are getting something new--Sega Rally Online Arcade!  Only has five tracks, thirteen cars, and is a small project at best.  Basically a reworked version of Revo.  Yes, it will be fun, but if you think this game will be "loaded," I doubt it.  This site is saying May 18 but I'm not 100% sure it's true.

Since this is a complicated topic, I'm going to start another post in order to get my thoughts straight.

Click here for Part 2.
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Hamlin is Two-For-Two at RIchmond

Posted by imelda sovzky on Friday, April 29, 2011

On what would’ve been Dale Earnhardt’s 60th birthday, Denny Hamlin won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race, The Bubba Burger 250, at Richmond. This was his second NNS win at Richmond, and his 11th overall in 125 starts.

Although the race lineup included cup regulars such as Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski; and Paul Menard, the most notable absences were that of Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. With Busch out of the race, race fans were in for a possible upset by a Nationwide regular. In the end, that wasn’t the case…

Denny Hamlin, fresh off the win from his own late model charity race from the night before, started the race in the 11th position. And as we’ve all learned, the starting positions for cup guys don’t matter—Hamlin was in the top-three by lap 31.

By lap 44, Hamlin took over the lead from the pole sitter, Carl Edwards, and Hamlin essentially never looked back. There was plenty of three-wide racing throughout the field, and the Nationwide boys showed their skills by going 123 laps without a caution—the longest green flag stretch to start a race at Richmond since lap/caution data became available in 1997.

Kelly Bires spun out and hit the wall and brought out the first caution. When the race restarted on lap 132, Aric Almirola passed Hamlin but was quickly overtaken by the eventual race winner.

The second and last caution didn’t come out until lap 244 when points leader. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., ran out of gas. This caution, followed by a wreck on the last lap had no effect on Hamlin’s win.

However, those two incidences played a huge part in the race’s biggest surprise story: Kenny Wallace. “The Hermanator” started 7th and was up front for most of the race. With a race-high of second, he spent much of the race battling three-wide in the top five and, at times, it appeared as if he could win the race; but it wasn’t meant to be at Richmond. Wallace, in his RAB Toyota, finished one lap down in 13th but jumped to ninth in points, just 59 points behind the leader.

After the last lap wreck, Denny Hamlin took the simultaneous yellow and checkered flags. Overall, Hamlin led three times for 199 out of 250 laps.

Some might say that his late model win from the night before was exactly what was needed to jump-start Hamlin’s year; some may say that Hamlin was able to capitalize because Kyle Busch wasn’t there. Whatever you choose to believe, one thing is for certain: Denny Hamlin is two-for-two in Richmond this April, and he may be looking to borrow Busch’s broom to sweep Richmond. Only time will tell as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series boys get their turn tomorrow…

Unofficial results courtesy of

1 Denny Hamlin
2 Paul Menard
3 Justin Allgaier
4 Elliott Sadler
5 Brad Keselowski
6 Josh Wise
7 Sam Hornish Jr.
8 Ryan Truex
9 David Stremme
10 Jason Leffler
11 Steve Wallace
12 Reed Sorenson
13 Kenny Wallace
14 Aric Almirola
15 Brian Scott
16 Michael Annett
17 Chris Buescher
18 Mike Bliss
19 Joe Nemechek
20 Robert Richardson Jr.
21 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
22 James Buescher
23 Jeremy Clements
24 Scott Wimmer
25 Carl Edwards
26 Timmy Hill
27 Blake Koch
28 Morgan Shepherd
29 Derrike Cope
30 Kelly Bires
31 Charles Lewandoski
32 Eric McClure
33 Mike Wallace
34 Kevin Lepage
35 Carl Long
36 Tim Andrews
37 Mike Harmon
38 Dennis Setzer
39 Johnny Chapman
40 Jeff Green
41 Matthew Carter
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Montoya Capture's Pole For Saturday Night Race At Richmond

Posted by imelda sovzky

Montoya, Montoya, Montoya…. Someone who has been looking fora win at oval for a very long time. Could this be the weekend? Well JuanMontoya took the pole for the race tomorrow night. The only racer to get a subtwenty second timing on the board. Everyone else was in the twenty one secondrange. So lets take a look at the top five qualifiers.

Juan Montoya has three top ten’s here. And he only has oneDNF. But the last two races here he has finished sixth and seventh. Does thatmean something? I picked him in my fantasy game and I hope he can come through.He has completed 94.4% of the laps at Richmond.

Regan Smith who has made almost every one of our qualifyingarticles this year took the other spot in row 2. His qualifying time was almostclose to the twenty second timing but landed short when he got a 21.031. He hashad a rough time here at Richmond but knowing him here if he survives the race Ithink he will get a top 15. He doesn’t have any top five’s nor does he have anytop ten’s. He has one DNF and completed 88.5% of the total laps here.

Clint Bowyer who has some pretty good luck here hascompleted 100% of the laps and has one win here. He has one top five and fivetop ten’s. He has an average finish of 9.8 and he has took the third startingspot for Saturday night’s race.

Kasey Kahne will start in the fourth position for tomorrownight’s race. Kahne also has one win here like Clint Bowyer but he has two topfive’s and five top ten’s. His average finish was 19.0 and has completed 98.2%of the laps. He hasn’t had luck here the past two years but that might changethis weekend.

And last but not least Mark “The Kid” Martin took the fifth positionfor the race tomorrow. Mark has one win here but that came back in 1990, youcan’t guarantee a win tomorrow but I bet you can guarantee a top ten finish. Hehas twenty seven of them and seventeen top five’s. He has three DNF’s but thosewere a long time ago. His average finish is 12.2.

Juan Montoya
Regan Smith
Clint Bowyer
Kasey Kahne
Mark Martin
Jeff Gordon
Brad Keselowski
Carl Edwards
Joey Logano
Paul Menard
Denny Hamlin
Kevin Harvick
Ryan Newman
Bobby Labonte
Casey Mears
David Stremme
Jamie McMurray
A.J. Allmendinger
David Reutimann
Kyle Busch
Martin Truex Jr.
Michael McDowell
Greg Biffle
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Jeff Burton
Joe Nemechek
David Ragan
Travis Kvapil
Dave Blaney
Jimmie Johnson
Tony Stewart
Mike Skinner
Matt Kenseth
Landon Cassill
Marcos Ambrose
Kurt Busch
Brian Vickers
Ken Schrader
David Gilliland
J.J. Yeley
Andy Lally*
Robby Gordon+
Tony Raines


Brian Keselowski*
+ Set by Owner Points 
* Denotes Rookie

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