Posted on: October 5, 2008 12:47 pm
 

Curses! Cubs fail yet again

Even though their postseason history is, well, to put it mildly, atrocious, I really thought this was the year the Cubs at least made it to the World Series.

They seemed to have all the pieces in place, paced to the top record in the NL with strong pitching and timely hitting. I know that the playoffs are a whole different monster and I did have some worries, but deep down inside I felt the Cubs were the best team in the NL playoffs and would finally prove it.

I was actually  concerned about the Phillies the most. The Cubbies owned the Brewers during the regular season and while Los Angeles was much improved once they landed Manny Ramirez, it seemed to me they were mostly feasting on the dregs of the league.

Never did I imagine the collosal failure of Lou Pinella's club in the NLDS.

Name a facet of baseball (pitching, fielding, hitting) and the Cubs managed to screw it up. The power failure at the plate, however, was the most disheartening.

The series was basically one long, twisting knife motion in the gut. Out of 27 innings, Cubs fans had four innings of happiness, that being the 2-0 lead Mark DeRosa staked the Cubs to in Game 1 before James Loney's fifth-inning grand slam.

After that the remainder of the series was pure torture, with the Cubs never seeing a game lead again.

For the longest time I believed Steve Bartman was the root of all evil because, while Alex Gonzalez did contribute an error in that infamous eight-run eighth in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, it was the Bartman play that started the unfortunate series of events.

But it's time to face facts, even if Alou makes that catch, the Cubs still find a way to lose that game and the series. It's what they do best. Nobody can choke in the playoffs like the Cubs.

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: October 2, 2008 11:09 am
Edited on: October 2, 2008 11:10 am
 

Jeff Gordon's new primary paint scheme for 2009

For just the third time in his career, Jeff Gordon will be sporting a new primary paint scheme. He started his career with the "Rainbow Warrior" scheme before transitioning to the current "Fire and Flames" scheme.

The 2009 design has been dubbed "Firestorm". What do you think of the new design? I like his current scheme better. It seems every car is heavy on black in their scheme nowadays. Pretty soon there will be just a bunch of black cars running around out there.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the new car courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports. I also threw in a picture of his current scheme courtesy Getty Images for good measure.

Jeff Gordon's 2009 paint scheme (Hendrick Motorsports).

Jeff Gordon's 2008 paint scheme (Getty Images)

Jeff Gordon's 2009 paint scheme (Hendrick Motorsports)

Jeff Gordon's 2009 paint scheme (Hendrick Motorsports)

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: October 1, 2008 1:41 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2008 2:41 pm
 

Rusty Wallace considering a return with DEI?

Just when you'd thought the Silly Season rumor mill had pretty much dried up comes the nugget that Rusty Wallace is considering a return to the track with DEI.

The rumor seems to have merit as none other than Wallace's own brother Kenny is reporting the news.

According to the article on SPEEDtv.com, Kenny wrote, "... where there's smoke, there's fire. And he is definitely considering stepping back into a race car."

However, in a press release, Rusty stated: "I love Kenny to death; he's been trying to get me back in a car ever since I retired after 2005. While any rumors like this are certainly flattering, they're untrue. I have a long-term commitment to ABC and ESPN and I really love what I'm doing right now."

DEI could certainly use a shot in the arm as it's reportedly having trouble luring new sponsors. Martin Truex Jr. and Bass Pro Shops will be back in 2009, but the rest of the teams is a mess.

Paul Menard is leaving and taking his father's hardware chain sponsorship with him. Army appears to be on its way to Ryan Newman's new ride at Stewart Haas, leaving Aric Almirola in search of a new sponsor for 2009. And I don't believe advertisers are knocking down doors to adorn Regan Smith's car.

Certainly sponsors would be drawn to Wallace for his name and past success.

There are negatives, of course. Those being age (52) and lack of experience in the new car. It's a vastly different beast from the one Wallace last drove in 2005.

Although Rusty has now come out denying the rumor, I still think there may be something to it. Perhaps it's something Rusty just didn't want to get out yet.

I, for one, would love to see Wallace back on the track (and out of the TV booth, where, to be honest, he doesn't add a whole lot). He was still on top of his game when he stepped away. I don't see why he couldn't have success similar to what Mark Martin has experienced in the DEI equipment.

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: September 29, 2008 6:00 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2008 6:03 pm
 

Kansas musings

That was quite an interesting line Carl Edwards took over the final laps while trying to run down Jimmie Johnson.

I've seen drivers change their lines (low, middle, high, etc.) attempting to catch someone, but they'd still always stay within what one would describe as a natural running groove. Edwards went outside the norm and nearly stole the show.

He compared it to a move made one would make in a video game. Gotta say, I've been there, done that. In fact, that's about the only way I drive those video games. Pedal to the metal with the walls serving as my brakes. (I never said I was good at the games).

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

In my Power Rankings today, I led with Joe Gibbs Racing's Chase struggles. The story, however, doesn't end with Stewart, Hamlin and Busch.

Joey Logano, who will replace Stewart next season, isn't having much luck either. In his two events he has finished 32nd and 39th.

Sure he's racing in Hall of Fame Racing equipment, but I think there were some out there thinking "Sliced Bread" could step right in and instantly make that HOF car a top 20 contender. This Cup gig isn't that easy and I think even when he makes the move to the 20 car he's going to struggle more than most people think.

Posted on: September 11, 2008 3:30 pm
Edited on: September 11, 2008 3:35 pm
 

Top 12 Perks of Being a NASCAR Driver

Meant to get this posted yesterday, but in case you missed it, here is the David Letterman Top 10 (12 in this case) list in all it's Youtube glory:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNWc5K5hC8U

And if you don't feel like watching you can read the list below:

No. 12 -- Matt Kenseth: "Crazy gas prices? I don't care; I'm not payin'."

No. 11 -- Kevin Harvick: "Bring your helmet to Taco Bell and they'll fill it up with guacamole, free."

No. 10 -- Jeff Gordon: "Don't have to shave your body like Olympic swimmers … although, why not?"

No. 9 -- Greg Biffle: "Hasselhoff promised me one of those talking cars."

No. 8 -- Tony Stewart: "I use old checkered flags to make fabulous throw pillows."

No. 7 -- Jeff Burton: "There's nothing like going through a car wash at 190 miles per hour."

No. 6 -- Denny Hamlin: "GPS underpants."

No. 5 -- Clint Bowyer: "Sorry, I forgot my joke -- I was thinking about Jessica Alba -- man, she's hot."

No. 4 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr.: "Run out of olive oil? A little Quaker State will spruce up any salad."

No. 3 -- Jimmie Johnson: "Traveling to exotic locations like Martinsville, Virginia, and Dover, Delaware."

No. 2 -- Carl Edwards: "At high school reunions, it's fun to ask, 'So what do you do for a living?' "

And the No. 1 perk of being a NASCAR driver -- Kyle Busch: "After a race, your ass vibrates for days."

 

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: September 4, 2008 4:03 pm
Edited on: September 4, 2008 4:04 pm
 

Joey Logano video

Joey Logano fans and diecast collectors might find this video interesting ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btMhWVkvb3Q

 

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: September 3, 2008 11:21 am
 

Update: Wheldon moving over to Panther Racing

Just a little update on my blog from yesterday speculating on whether Dan Wheldon, who had mentioned the possibility of running stock-cars as recent as last season, might be working on a jump to NASCAR.

It's not happening.

Instead he's moving to Panther Racing, the team with which he started his IRL career.

I think it's a win-win for all parties involved.

Dario Franchitti wins because he gets back into the series he should have never left and with a championship caliber team in Ganassi Racing. 

Ganassi Racing wins because it replaces a championship driver with another championship driver.

Panther Racing wins because in inherits a championship driver in Wheldon.

Dan Wheldon wins because, well I'm not quite sure how he wins quite yet, but as long as he's happy he's a winner in my book.

And finally, NASCAR wins because the last thing it needed was another open-wheeler struggling to make it in stock-cars.

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: Dan Wheldon
 
Posted on: September 2, 2008 3:36 pm
 

Franchitti back to the IRL, replacing Wheldon

Interesting news out of Chip Ganassi Racing today.

Dario Franchitti is returning to the IRL to race for Ganassi, replacing Dan Wheldon who's leaving for a "very exciting opportunity for 2009."  Coud it be a NASCAR gig? He's mentioned the possibility in the past, but I can't imagine he'd make the jump with Penske, which is basically the best available seat left in the Cup Series for 2009.

Chip Ganassi:

“Dan Wheldon has done everything this organization has asked of him.  He was competitive from the moment that he stepped into the car for us back in 2006 and has provided Target Chip Ganassi Racing many highlights over his three years with the team.  Dan is a class act both on and off the track and we wish him nothing but the best.”

Dan Wheldon:

"I have enjoyed these last three seasons with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, but will be moving on to pursue a very exciting opportunity for 2009.

"I want to personally thank Target and the whole Chip Ganassi Racing organization for the success and enjoyment we shared together. With that said, I will certainly miss my working relationship with Scott Dixon and wish him and the team all the best for this weekend at Chicagoland.

"I will be announcing my plans for next season in the near future. In the meantime I want to focus my efforts on winning the last race of the season. I wish the team well for 2009 and beyond."

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com