Category:Auto Racing
Posted on: May 4, 2008 2:10 pm
 

Michael Waltrip and Richmond

Ok, here is my rant on Richmond,  When they first penalized Michael for rough driving and parked him for the remainder of the night, I was as furious as one could be.  And even though my good friend Section was trying to interject some common sense into the incident I didn't want to hear it.  I also took out some of my frustration out on the Junior fans whose driver was involved in a racing incident at the end of the race.  I'll take care of those issues with a thread.  But after having a chance to sleep on it and also to calm down after I woke up here is what I have come to a conclusion on.

What Mikey did was totally uncalled for and he should have been punished, for 50 laps I'm still not sure but that was NASCAR's call and I'll live with it.  Another thing I tried to rationalize out of this, this stunt that Mikey pulled, if handled after the race may have resulted in a points reduction.  With that being said, I figured Mikey would probably have finished around the 20th position. Maybe as high as 18th with the late cautions.  So if a point reduction would have been taken after the race say 25 to 50 points then by NASCAR setting him down it actually cost him 51 points so I'd say he paid his dues and Nothing else should come of it.  Especially how NASCAR handled the Kurt Bush incident last year and Kurt put a crew member in danger and Mikey didn't really put anyone in danger.  It was uncalled for but nothing that should warrant anything more than what was done on the track.

Now I want to look at a couple of thing on the bright side of the race.  I appears that Mikey has subcombed to Bobby as his crew chief,  Mikey was telling him what was wrong with the car and not really making any suggestions as to what to fix.  he left that to Bobby,  Mikey was really starting to run well and it showed on the latter part of the race.  He stayed out on with 40 lap tires hoping to catch a quick caution and get back on the lead lap.  Well, that didn't work out but drivers with fresh tires that passed him early in that run, Mikey was catching back up to and passing just before he had to pit.  Mikeys lap times at the end of the run were just as good as the leaders. So maybe they are on the verge of getting things turned around.  

David had another strong run and moved ahead of Mikey in the owners points battle.  Now is the time for both the 44 and 00 to start going for the top 15 to top 10 runs.

Lets just hope that Darlington is the start of good things to come and seeing MWR starting to climb towards that top 20 in points.

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: MWR, NASCAR
 
Posted on: April 29, 2008 9:28 am
Edited on: April 29, 2008 1:36 pm
 

Where would NASCAR be today if Dale Earnhardt ...

Had lived.  Would there have been the go or go homers?  Would there have been a COT?  How about some of the other safety devices that are in use today?  These are questions that no one really knows for sure but we do know, according to NASCAR, the COT was developed for safety because of the wreck that Dale had.  Would the Hans device be mandatory today?  Again, it was being encourged at the time of Dales Death,  but would it be mandatory?  Would Richmond (meant Rockingham as my friend Section pointed out) have closed?  That is another question that can be brought up, would Dale have had some influence in keeping a race at the Rock. 

It is easy to ask what would of happened if..... Reality is we don't really know, what we do know his death lead to a lot of changes in NASCAR, some of them good some not so good but all done in the name of safety to keep someone else from coming to the same fate as Dale did.

Dale was an individual that you either liked or you didn't like.  There seemed to be no inbetween.  Personnelly, I was an Individual that didn't like Dale, Just when he did things that could allow you to tolerate him he would dump someone and piss you off once again.  But that was Dale,  It would have been interesting to see how he handled the likes of a Kyle Bush, Kury Bush, even his own son.  What would his thoughts of JJ have been?  Would Mikey still be at DEI and if not would he still be an owner of Toyotas.  What would Dale think of Toyota coming into NASCAR.  Personnelly, I think Dale would have welcomed Toyota, just one more whipping post. 

Again there are numerous what if"s that could be brought up.  But there is one What if that I don't think anyone can disagree with.  Whether you liked him or dispised him Dale Earnhardt was, is and always will be missed in NASCAR..  Happy Birthday Dale, and may you rest in peace.

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: April 29, 2008 9:11 am
 

Michael looked good at 'Dega

Man it was a disappointing race at Taladega this week,  My man Mikey had the car to win but blew up coming to the white flag.  Mikey moved to the lead with the a great push from JJ.  Right after they got in the lead a yellow came out and Kyle Bush had Mikey in his sites and with a push from JPM they were able to pass Mikey.  Mikey fell back to around 10th and was looking for help when he saw JJ and Jeff moving up on the outside.  Mikey pulled in front of those two and JJ and Mikey were starting to pull away from everyone else and moving fast to the front when boom Mikey''s engine quit.  Well so much for the win but thank goodness Dale Junior decided to slam into the 26 and cause the really big one about the same time and Mikey was able to limp back to the start finish line and end up in 27th instead of 30th, that is 9 more points. 

MWR as a whole did ok,  Mike McDonald did very well on the plate track and was on his way for a top 20 finish when he got squeezed and spun out and David was caught up in the white flag melee.  But David finished 20th and McDonald finished 26th. 

With the 96 and the 22 missing this race this really gave David some breathing room away from the go or go homers.  It was brought up on a thread is it now time for MWR to do something.  All I can say is I hope their luck has changed.  David has been running in the top 20 for most of the year but something seems to happen that drops him back into the pack before the race is over and he gets a poor finish.  Mikey hasn't been running real well but he is doing better with Bobby Kennedy as the crew chief.  At least Bobby isn't afraid to tell Mikey No during the race when Mikey decides he needs or wants something done to the car. Bobby isn't intimidated by Mikey and he's not afraid to lose his job. 

I am predicting that Mikey and MWR will start to move up in the standing starting this week at Richmond, Look for Mikey to finish in the top 15 this week and David a solid top 20.  The 44 will be in the top 25 as Mike showed he can handle the short tracks when he was at Martinsville. 

Until next week.

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: MWR, NASCAR
 
Posted on: April 21, 2008 8:03 pm
 

MWR Back in the Top 35, a look ahead to Taladega

Well, I've been gone a week and my good friend Frady posted a thread letting everyone know that MWR had all 3 cars in the top 35.  This was great news as now they can all concentrate on the first impound race of the season.  Although 'Dega doesn't warrant a lot of set up changes it is important to be able to work on your car knowing it is right for the race. If we take a look back at qualifying at Daytona and Last year at 'Dega it appears that Mikey and David should have good starting spots.  With that it also means a good pit selection. 

Everyone knows that I am picking Mikey for the win at 'Dega but I am for a reason,  One, Toyota has proven they have a strong plate program this year. With the help of Joe Gibbs Racing their plate program has come up to where it is as good as anyones.  Also, Mikey is good on the plate tracks.  The last couple of plate races, we saw Mikey lead a little then fall back and try to wait for the big one to take out the field before the final thrust to the front.  Well it bit him both times.  So I look for Mikey to stay in the top 10 most of the race and when it comes to the last part I see him in front and blocking his way to his first win as an owner.

Lets hope for a great race and a safe race for all drivers and may your favorite driver finish 3rd behind Mikey and David.

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: MWR, NASCAR
 
Posted on: April 10, 2008 6:55 am
 

If it weren't for bad luck............

David Reutimann would have no luck at all.  David as everyone probably knows started the season in the 00 and after DJ retired he went into the 44.  Well, he was able to get the 00 into the top 30 in points prior to the switch and when MWR went to NASCAR to allow him to keep the points he earned with the car switch NASCAR denied him.  Although I totally disagree with NASCAR's decision I understood it.  It all starts with Penske, Petty and Rousch Racing.  Both had threatened to swap drivers with Past Champions in thier stable so they could guarantee their car and sponsors in the race.  So NASCAR took the position that no driver could swap points to prevent this from happening, although I don't know what they would have done with the past champions provisional.

Anyway getting back to David, the 44 car was 34th in points when he got into the car at Martinsville,  He was running well and bingo he was out of the race and dropped out of the top 35.  Now he had to qualify his way into Texas.  David Qualifies 6th and is running strong.  A call under yellow had David with the front runners and wouldn't you know it, he picks up some trash, overheats the engine and once again he ends up out of the race and falls further from that coveted 35th position. 

David is a good qualifier and is probably the best driver right now at MWR.  But bad breaks keeps him just outside the top 35.  I'm worried about David this weekend.  Last year there was only one race in which MWR did not have a car in the field and that was the race last fall at, you guessed it, Phoenix.  After the California race a lot of the teams tested at Phoenix and MWR was towards the bottom of the speed charts in all the practice sessions.  David does get a break though as there are only 45 cars on the entry list and hopefully, he will be able to out qualify at least 2 drivers, not including Elliott who is in the race with a PCP, and once in the race you'd hope his luck cannot remain this bad three weeks in a row.

Here's to David and may he have a strong top 20 run along with his owner who resides in 33rd and needs a good run to remove himself from slipping back into the go or go homers.

 

I probably won't submit a blog next week as I will be in Arkansas with limited computer access.  Take care and remember if MWR doesn't have all 3 cars in the race it should be considered a crime.

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: MWR, NASCAR
 
Posted on: April 2, 2008 1:45 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2008 6:55 am
 

Rough Week at Martinsville.

We opened last week with a He said/ He said type of volley on the Sway Bar.  Jack Roush said MWR stole the bar, Mikey said it was picked up by accident and when they realized they had it they gave it back.  Since this happened in January it was considered over and then Jack brings it up 3 months later after he is accused of cheating and knowing of the cheating by Toyota.  Personnely, I blew it off as Jack being Jack and crying about anything to take the heat off of himself.  I have followed this sport for a while and this is typical Jack Roush,  If NASCAR comes down on him for anything he will cry and accuse someone else to take the heat off of him.  It happened, I believe in 1991, when Mark Martin was penalzed 25 points by NASCAR and ended up losing the championship by around 12 points. 

Now lets look forward to Texas.  The 00 is in the race and Mike McDowell had a surprising run at Martinsville, a late flat took a top 15 finish away from him but he showed, at least on short tracks, he can drive.  Does he need to learn a few things, Yes, he needs to learn to get out of the leaders way in the closing laps and that may have lead to his flat but all in all I give him good marks.

The 55 had a great car, Mikey just was a little impatient on a restart and messed up the front end and fell out of the lead lap,  But listening to his radio he was working well with Bobby Kennedy and they had the car is real good condition.  I look for good things from the 55 this weekend.  Maybe a run at a top 10 finish.

The 00 had some bad breaks and fell out of the top 35, but David is a good qualifier and should be ok for Texas since there are only 46 cars trying to get in.  The 08 shouldn't be a problem as they have not showed they are that strong so far this year.  I would also say the 45 and the 34 should be slow this week.  Also, Toytoa and MWR has been strong in qualifying.  It would be nice for them to get back into the top 35 and MWR to have few strong runs and let other teams worry about the go or go home spots in qualifying.

One last thing:  This is something I'm sure MWR was not expecting and can hurt this young team.  UPS has stated it is looking elsewhere for sponsorship.  Leaving MWR would really hurt this upstart team.  Some may disagree with me on this but NASCAR needs MWR in it.  Not because of Michael but because if upstart teams like this fold then NASCAR will be on the verge of having a chevy team, a Ford team, A Dodge Team and a Toyota team.  It will become a manufacture ownership not an individual ownership.  And believe me If chevy offers enough money to RCR and DEI to sell to HMS they will or they will have a minor ownership into the team.  To me it would be great if MWR signed the rumored driver, Carl Edwards, to MWR, put him in the UPS car, Move David back to the 00 and find sponsorship for a 4th car for McDowell or put McDowell in a Nationwide car next season.  That would help solidify MWR and it would also piss off Jack Roush.

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: MWR, NASCAR
 
Posted on: March 27, 2008 8:32 am
 

I get to have a relaxing race for this weekend.

For the first time in over a year Michael Waltrip doesn't have to worry if he is going to be in the race or not.  Michael is currently sitting in 30th position and locked into the race at Martinsville.  In fact the whole MWR team can be assured of racing at Martinsville, as the 44 and 00 are also in the top 35.  Not bad for a team that last year struggled each week to get at least one car in a race.  None of the teams can really relax as they are all not very far ahead of the 36th position but at least for this weekend they can concentrate on race setup during practice and get ready for Sunday instead of worrying about qualifying then having just a few minutes on Saturday trying to get a good race setup under the car.

There was a change in the off week at MWR,  Bobby Kennedy and Paul Andrews swapped positions within the organization and Bobby will be Michael's crew chief.  This could be a very good move for Mikey.  Bobby has worked with Mikey for a long time in the Bush series. They have run well and won races so Bobby has a good idea how Mikey likes the car set up and he also knows how to handle Mikey during the race.  As much as I am a fan, Mikey can piss you off during a race when you listen to him on the radio.  He asks for changes and tells the crew chief what changes to make then when they don't work he gripes at the crew chief and gets all upset and then he really starts to lose positions.  Well, Bobby doesn't have a problem telling Mikey to shut up and tell him what the car is doing where and he will decide what adjustments the car needs.  This is just what Mikey needs in a crew chief.  Someone who isn't afraid to tell the boss to quit bitching and drive.

Outlook for this weekend:  Mikey and David need to get solid top 20's at Martinsville.  For Mikey a top 20 could solidify his top 35 status for the remainder of the season.  While David needs this type of finish to move up from 34th.  As for Mike McDowell he needs a solid run and to stay out of trouble.  If he can land a top 30 in his first race he will be doing well and should be safe in the top 35 for at least a couple more weeks. 

Now is the time for some really good finishes.  As those in the "Go or Go Home status" fight for a starting position you know that some of the drivers in positions 36 through 40 are going to start missing races.  When this happens those in the top 30 can put some breathing room between them and the "go or go homers".  Right now the focus has to be on all the cars with a lot more care given to the 44 as he sits in the 34th position.  If David gets caught up in someone elses wreck early in the race then he could very well be in the sitituation he was in all last year fighting to make races. 

Heres to a solid weekend for MWR.  I'm not asking for wins just solid top 20 runs.

Posted on: March 16, 2008 10:03 pm
 

What a difference a year makes.

This time last season MWR had no cars in the top 35.   In fact their only hope of having a car in the top 35 was DJ and he was wrecked early in the Bristol race by Matt Kenseth.  But look at where they are today.  After the Bristol MWR has all 3 cars in the top 35.  I won't say comfortably but they are in.  The 00/44 of David Reutimann is in 26th, the 55 of Michale Waltrip is in 30th and the 44/00 of Mike McDowell is in 34th.  This team worked hard and without a doubt has benefitted from Joe Gibbs Racing coming to Toyota. 

But I also would like to say that it took more than Joe Gibbs racing to put these cars in the top 35.  It took a lot of hard offseason work, It took the beliefs of the Drivers, the sponsors, the people in the shop and yes a little luck with qualifying being rained out  twice.  But most of all it took Michael to give it his all.

This team may have cost Michael his marraige, I hope not but indications are him and Buffy may be splitting.  But Michael has overcome a lot of adversity since he took on the quest to have his own team.  He had the Daytona Fisco last year, the rumors that NAPA and UPS were going to drop thier sponsorship.  Finding an individual to help fund the team and overall poor performances last season. 

Although I do not expect MWR to become a force with HMS, JGR, RR and RCR within the next couple of years I do believe that Michael can build his team to be a contender and be a force in NASCAR within a few years.  All new teams started out with some rough spots, but no team has started out with a new manufacture to the sport and had to deal with a qualifying rule that sets 35 of 43 positions before the race starts that MWR has had to deal with.  Let's hope this is the beginning of a long run in the top 35 and that MWR can continue to make strides this season to a top 20 position.

 
 
 
 
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