Fantasy Insight- Atlanta

Fantasy Insight- Atlanta

Handicapping a NASCAR race is very similar to handicapping a horse race. Some drivers are “Horses for Courses” performing better at certain lengths or styles of tracks. By incorporating three basic ingredients in a special formula based on statistical analysis of 15 years of racing data the Pro Power Ratings have been developed. Just like Beyers Figures in horse racing the best pick is not always the highest rated competitor but reaching threshold values narrows the competition down to the most likely picks to click on race day. Each week I will give you my picks for the top three positions shown in horse racing terms as Win, Place and Show along with a longshot and sleeper pick.

Atlanta Notes- This will be the first race with the new reduced power and down force on NASCAR Sprint Cup stock cars and it will be interesting to see which team gets it right faster. Also this will be the first time drivers can make adjustments to the track bar from the cockpit of their car. Will some drivers over adjust? Rain could also be a factor this weekend with cool and damn conditions expected.

Threshold Qualifiers- 23 drivers qualify for being a potential winner by meeting the 80 pt minimum with only nine reaching the speedway minimum of 85pts.

Top Tier 90 or More

  1. Kevin Harvick

  2. Denny Hamlin

Second Tier 85-89.99

  1. Jeff Gordon

  2. Matt Kenseth

  3. Jimmie Johnson

  4. Dale Earnhardt Jr

  5. Ryan Newman

  6. Jamie McMurray

  7. Joey Logano

Third Tier 80-84.99

  1. Martin Truex Jr

  2. Carl Edwards

  3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr

  4. Kyle Larson

  5. Tony Stewart

  6. AJ Allmendinger

  7. Austin Dillon

  8. Greg Biffle

  9. Aric Almirola

  10. Brad Keselowski

  11. Paul Menard

  12. Regan Smith

  13. Kasey Kahne

  14. Clint Bowyer

Win Pick- Kevin Harvick- Does well at Atlanta and should be up front all day. 6 to 1 Odds

Place Pick- Carl Edwards- Switch to better equipment overcomes the concern about being in the third tier on power ratings. 10 to 1 Odds

Show Pick- Denny Hamlin- Will JGR cars have an advantage with tapered spacers? 10 to 1 Odds

Longshot Special (20 to 1 Odds or Greater)

Jamie McMurray 35 to 1 Odds. Meets the 85pt minimum on Power Ratings and was very fast in practice on Thursday too.

Sleeper Pick (C Group in Yahoo Fantasy Racing)

Regan Smith 100 to 1 Odds. Use his starts up early and often in the “C” slot because nobody knows how long this car will keep racing this season or if Kurt Busch will be back soon.

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Making the Grade- Daytona 500

Making the Grade- Daytona 500

After each NASCAR Sprint Cup race weekend I hand out one grade for each letter grade and a review of the television broadcast and event too. Race fans seldom agree with my opinion but it is hard to get 10 race fans to agree on whether it is partly cloudy or mostly sunny most days. Let’s get the red marker out and grade the Daytona 500.

And now on with the show…

Race Grade: A-

This is about as good as we are going to get when it comes to restrictor plate racing at the Cup level. Drivers managed to race three-wide for over twenty laps without wrecking! NASCAR loses one half of a letter grade for throwing the caution flag instead of letting drivers race back to the line but that probably would not have changed the outcome for the win.

Television Broadcast: A-

Maybe I need to visit an ear doctor because despite so many complaints about the announcers I thoroughly enjoyed the Daytona 500 broadcast. I miss not having Ken Squier give the lineup before the race but that has been many years since that last happened. The addition of Andy Petree to give fans updates on why certain calls were made on pit road was fantastic.

F for Injury to Kyle Busch

Like him or hate him there is no doubt that a NASCAR race is more exciting with Kyle Busch in the race and it might be until February of next year until we get that thrill again. I have heard so much criticism aimed at NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway for not having SAFER barriers around the entire track. While I can understand the goal of having every inch of the track covered at $2 million per mile of barrier I can understand why tracks don’t cover the entire length of seldom hit walls.

D for Matt Kenseth’s Bad Luck

Matt Kenseth ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time and that cost him a chance to win the 2015 edition of the Great American Race. The 20 team had one of the stronger cars and tried to stay up front to stay out of trouble but despite a good strategy and a fast car bad luck bit him early.

C for Sam Hornish Jr

After he was named to take over for Marcos Ambrose we expected some strong efforts from Sam Hornish Jr but during his first stay at the Cup level while he was often fast he also crashed more often than expected. On Sunday Hornish played the draft expertly and while he was never a contender for the win he stayed out of trouble and had a solid 12th place finish.

B for Dale Earnhardt Jr

There is little doubt that the fastest car in the Daytona 500 and all during Speedweeks was the 88 Chevy SS of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Junior is also the best plate racer in today’s NASCAR and was the favorite to win on Sunday. Dale made one bad decision all day trying to move up the track to get his teammate behind him but instead got shuffled into the middle of the three-wide pack. Look for Junior to be strong at the rest of the plate races this season.

A for Joey Logano

Everyone knew those Penske Fords were quick but the better bet was Joey Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski. After Brad’s engine and the Ford engine of Ryan Blaney blew up it had to be a nerve wracking time for Logano in the closing laps. But in the end Sliced Bread was able to work the draft and get a few lucky breaks along the way to win his first Daytona 500.

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Fantasy Insight- Daytona 500

Fantasy Insight- Daytona 500

Handicapping a NASCAR race is very similar to handicapping a horse race. Some drivers are “Horses for Courses” performing better at certain lengths or styles of tracks. By incorporating three basic ingredients in a special formula based on statistical analysis of 15 years of racing data the Pro Power Ratings have been developed. Just like Beyers Figures in horse racing the best pick is not always the highest rated competitor but reaching threshold values narrows the competition down to the most likely picks to click on race day. Each week I will give you my picks for the top three positions shown in horse racing terms as Win, Place and Show along with a longshot and sleeper pick.

Daytona 500 Notes- Restrictor Plate racing is tougher to handicap than other NASCAR races. Most weeks a rating of 85 or better is needed to make a driver a logical pick to win but on a plate track that threshold value drops to just 80 points with 95% of past winners earning that minimum.

Threshold Qualifiers- 22 drivers qualify for being a potential winner by meeting the 80 pt minimum

Top Tier 90 or More

  1. Dale Earnhardt Jr

  2. Brad Keselowski

  3. Ryan Newman

Second Tier 85-89.99

  1. Denny Hamlin

  2. Jeff Gordon

  3. Joey Logano

  4. Clint Bowyer

  5. Matt Kenseth

  6. Jamie McMurray

  7. Kevin Harvick

    Third Tier 80-84.99

  1. Jimmie Johnson

  2. Austin Dillon

  3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr

  4. Greg Biffle

  5. Kurt Busch

  6. Tony Stewart

  7. Aric Almirola

  8. Kyle Larson

  9. Paul Menard

  10. Carl Edwards

  11. Kyle Busch

  12. AJ Allmendinger

Win Pick- Dale Earnhardt Jr- Still a chance to buy your Chicagoland Speedway tickets and get your money back when Junior wins the race. Odds in Vegas- 9 to 1

Place Pick- Jeff Gordon- Poll winner would be the proverbial Made for TV story winning in his final Daytona 500 start and the racing Gods seem to like those endings. Odds in Vegas- 12 to 1

Show Pick- Tony Stewart- Throw away last season for Smoke this man has a ton to prove and I would not be shocked to see him get that long awaited Daytona 500 win. Odds in Vegas- 15 to 1

Longshot Special (20 to 1 Odds or Greater)

Ryan Newman 35 to 1 Odds- Rocket Man is in the top tier based on Pro Power Ratings and is a past winner of the event.

Sleeper Pick (C Group in Yahoo Fantasy Racing)

Ryan Blaney 50 to 1 Odds- Team won the race in upset special style 4 years ago with a driver that is not as talented as Blaney.

Visit the RaceTalkRadio.com Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RaceTalkRadio?ref=hl to enter your pick to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup race every week in Whiteboard Fantasy Racing presented by Racing Radios. Our year long winner will win a brand new scanner and headset from Racing Radios and we have weekly prizes too.

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Odds and Ends: Give Up Hating Bad Brad Edition

Give Up Hating Bad Brad for Lent

While I often give NASCAR the organization free advice here on RaceTalkRadio I seldom do the same for NASCAR drivers. But today in honor of Ash Wednesday I am going to give some free advice to NASCAR drivers. GIVE UP HATING ON BAD BRAD FOR LENT. After watching the interviews on Fox Sports’ coverage over the weekend I could not believe the stuff I was hearing coming from the mouths of NASCAR drivers. I thought for a minute I had entered a time tunnel and was transported back to high school! Are the drivers that jealous of Bad Brad or do they dislike the guy this much because he doesn’t tow the line when it comes to interviews with the press and on Twitter? I hope they sat down and watched their own comments during this segment and are embarrassed with how petty they sounded. Perhaps Brad Keselowski treats his fellow drivers just as bad. Maybe he hasn’t given them signed hats and shirts for their charity auctions. Or perhaps they are just upset that this young man seems to have fun annoying people on a regular basis while they loathe dealing with the media and fans. Mike Harper, Lori Munro and I discussed this and other topics on the fastest growing game show in NASCAR last night on the Thunder Crew. (Quick Change rocks!) You can listen to last night’s epic display of Foo Foo Free NASCAR radio at the link below. Hey NASCAR drivers…Bad Brad wears the black hat so you can wear the white hat! Why don’t you give up hating on Bad Brad for Lent?

https://soundcloud.com/racetalkradio/thunder-crew17feb15

Don’t miss the Thunder Crew for Foo Foo Free NASCAR talk every Tuesday night live at 8pmET.

Gordon’s Last Everything

Jeff Gordon might not be the greatest driver ever in NASCAR but he is certainly in the team photo and the stage for that team photo doesn’t need to fit more than 10 guys to make sure Wonderboy is in that photo! For millions of NASCAR fans this is the first driver they loved or the first driver they hated. Just as everything good that has happened over years at Richard Childress Racing would not have happened without the Intimidator the dominance of Hendrick Motorsports might not have happened without Jeff Gordon. Young drivers such as Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott that get gold plated rides at age 18 also owe a huge thank you to Jeff for opening that door too. Before Jeff Gordon there were other young phenoms but they most often made their debut with one of the smaller teams in the sport. Guys coming over from the open wheel ranks of sprint cars and midgets also owe a debt of gratitude to Jeff for paving the way for them too. Now we are getting treated to the last of everything for Jeff Gordon. He just wrapped up his final pole position for the Daytona 500. I am sure the press will give us detailed reports on the last of everything Jeff Gordon does including that memorable trip to the port-a-potty at Atlanta for the last time before his final race at that track. It won’t be long and every track will bring out the hokey prizes and rocking chairs made out of racing parts to present to Gordon before his final race at every track. Personally I look forward to the insincere smile and Made for TV comments from Jeff before every presentation as they celebrate his last of everything.

Better Idea for Qualifying at Daytona and Dega

Ratings for that debacle known as “Group Qualifying” for the Daytona 500 were up so much this year that I doubt the powers that be at NASCAR will make any significant changes before heading to Talladega later this year. Group Qualifying is a horrible idea at plate tracks and not for the reason you might think. It is not about being dangerous for drivers. It is not about being a lousy way to show which car is fastest because of the luck of the draft. The reason this is the dumbest idea to come out of NASCAR in many years is simply because it costs the smaller teams too much money. Nobody should worry about costing Hendrick Motorsports, Penske Racing or even Roush Fenway Racing money because they find more ways to waste money than you can count. They throw away more money just in left over food at their VIP events than some of the teams have to spend on their cars! Reed Sorrenson drove like an idiot on Sunday during his qualifying run and totaled his car and others. Michael Waltrip Racing could afford a new car to replace Clint Bowyer’s car but Sorrenson’s team took a huge hit to their budget. The so-called Little Guys in NASCAR need to be cashing a check every time their car is risked in competition. Unless NASCAR plans a huge budget increase to pay prize money for qualifying every week they need to think about ways to reduce the costs to every team in the garage area. That means single car qualifying runs for one lap with cars hitting the track every 30 seconds. It might not be a ratings winner on television or sell tons of tickets for pole day but it is the right thing to do for NASCAR’s smaller teams that need to save some money to make the show every week.

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Making the Grade- Sprint Unlimited and Qualifying

Today marks the triumphant return of “Making the Grade” after a one year absence from the Internet. Basically I got tired of people telling me how much they missed this NASCAR feature that has existed for well over 10 years and decided to bring it back by popular demand. For those new to “Making the Grade” here is how it works. After each NASCAR Sprint Cup race weekend I hand out one grade for each letter grade and a review of the television broadcast and event too. Race fans seldom agree with my opinion but it is hard to get 10 race fans to agree on whether it is partly cloudy or mostly sunny most days.

And now on with the show…

Race Grade: A-

Whether the Sprint Unlimited was entertaining because it was the first race of the year and I missed racing that bad or whether it was one of the better pre-season exhibition races of all time is not going to be debated here. Nor will I break down the statistics to show you why this event earned a high grade. All I know is that I am glad NASCAR racing is back on the television and this race entertained me from start to finish.

Television Broadcast: A-

Fox Sports got the season off to a great start. I might be one of only five people in the world that enjoy it but I even enjoyed Darrell Waltrip’s “Boogity, Boogity, Boogity” to start the race. The camera work was great and they even did a good job of limiting commercial breaks during the live racing when possible. Fox Sports got the season off to a very solid start.

F for Qualifying Format

Single car qualifying will never sell a single ticket. NASCAR is convinced that group qualifying can sell tickets. While all of the media partners have done a good job of attempting to convince us fans that the group qualifying thing is the best thing since sliced bread the reality is that the format isn’t any more exciting than single car runs. The only thing that group qualifying accomplishes at a super speedway it to destroy expensive equipment and it needs to change before Talladega.

D for Greg Biffle

The Biff has a tough job ahead of him this year as the only driver left at Roush Racing that has the talent to be a contender for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. But the season got off to a rough start for Biffle in the Sprint Unlimited. The good news is that the car appeared to be competitive and he was able to run up front. The bad news is that he started one wreck and then was collected in another as the racing Gods got even.

C for Danica Patrick

I would not be surprised if Danica Patrick wins a speedway race this year. Her skill set on speedways where drivers stay off the brakes and have to glide through the middle of the corner have been impressive. Likewise her skill level on tracks where drivers have to get on and off the brakes have not improved much at all. Saturday night she was competitive and even made a great move to avoid the Big One. Later in the race she got a bit conservative and followed her way to a decent finish.

B for Martin Truex Jr

Restrictor Plate racing is the great equalizer in NASCAR but it is not the random draw for success that to many consider it. This is a unique skill set and requires a driver who knows how to manage the draft but also minimize the amount of time they keep their car in dangerous situations. If this kind of racing was just racing’s answer to spinning a roulette wheel then Dale Earnhardt would never have been so dominant. Martin did a great job piloting the 78 car to a runner up finish.

A for Matt Kenseth

Was anyone else shocked that this was the first Sprint Unlimited win for Matt Kenseth? When it comes to restrictor plate racing Kenseth is one of the best. Over the last 10 plate races he is ranked sixth in points scored and has led more laps than anyone else. Three is his thirty one career victories have come on plate tracks including two Daytona 500 wins. Saturday night was a typical Kenseth race at Daytona. He hung out in the front of the pack most of the night and when he got a chance to lead he was tough to pass. It was a great start for Kenseth and the 20 team.

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thundercrewbanner2015

Odds and Ends: Will Electronical Referee Backfire and Welcome Back NASCAR

Will Electronical Referee Backfire

NASCAR has a real perception problem with their fans! When they announced their new “Eye in the Sky” electronical referee system I immediately saw some NASCAR fans ripping the new concept suggesting this was another way for NASCAR to manufacture the outcome they wanted. While NASCAR shouldn’t worry about what the “Tin Foil Crowd” feels about their sport the fact so many NASCAR fans have lost their collective minds should be a concern. These are the people that buy the tickets! When was the last time you heard NFL or MLB fans question their sport’s integrity? Just in case you have been in a NASCAR coma since the banquet let me explain how this new system works.

Ever since NASCAR stockcars had wooden wheels there have been NASCAR officials on pit road. The officials make the pit calls just like an umpire in baseball and that is what NASCAR has been concerned about. Some officials stop loose tires from getting away and others are not as diligent. Some make the tough call on pit crews coming over the wall early and others are more lenient. The NASCAR R&D Center hires engineers and scientists whose only job is to dream up cool stuff. The Air Titan has revolutionized track drying and just a few years ago was thought to be a gimmick. Similarly the guys wearing the pocket protectors have come up with an automated electronical referee system that will revolutionize the officiating of races. But will it work?

There is no doubt the new system will work. Expect a huge increase in penalties on pit road and expect some lively debates on how this will effect the outcome of races and therefore the outcome of the Chase for the Championship! We can also expect fans to be complaining that their driver got screwed by the new system. But neither of those are reasons not to adopt the system. This is progress and progress is usually a great thing. But as a media guy who has patrolled the pit area for over 15 seasons the officials in each pit will be greatly missed. They have done an awesome job of warning crew guys about cars coming at them on pit lane. They have also done a great job of informing Crew Chiefs why the team is getting penalized and given them someone to discuss infractions with too.

It is time for the second most famous words in motorsports, ”NASCAR fans, start your whining!”

Welcome Back NASCAR

This has been a cold bleak Winter up north with a record amount of global warming falling on the good folks in the Northeast! But like the sparrows returning to Poughkeepsie or the swallows returning to Capistrano the return of NASCAR racing to our television sets lets us know Spring is right around the corner. This weekend’s race is even more important! Anyone under the age of 35 doesn’t realize that getting NASCAR racing on our television sets is a big deal. When I was a kid the only NASCAR we saw were in little snippets on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. But all that changed during a very cold and bleak February in 1979. CBS Sports thought it was a great idea to broadcast the Daytona 500 live from flag to flag for the first time ever. But since they were not sure whether all of their electronic gizmos would work they decided to have a dress rehearsal and came up with the concept of a pre-season race called the Busch Clash. What would happen if you took the pole winners from the previous season and let them battle for 20 laps on the high banks of the Daytona International Speedway? This was the greatest advertisement in the history of racing! Nobody cared which big star wasn’t going to make the show this was JUST for the pole winners and some extra cash. The format has changed over the years but the race now known as the Sprint Unlimited is still the best race to show first time fans to get them hooked on the sport. Welcome back NASCAR…the red red robin can’t be far behind of bobbin’ along!

FOO FOO FREE Zone

Are you tired of hearing the same 20 fans call in every day on that NASCAR network with the announcers bashing those same 20 people for having an opinion about their favorite sport? Tune into the THUNDER CREW every Tuesday night for a guarantee of no FOO FOO. We are not going to promise you radio gold every week although we are 100% FOO FOO FREE here on RaceTalkRadio.com. The Thunder Crew consists of Mike Harper from SpinOutZone.com, Lori Munro from War-Wagon.com and myself. You never know what we might say on any given show because we have no clue what we are going to say until it pops out of our mouths! From NASCAR to the grassroots all week long the only thing we guarantee on RTR is that we will be 100% FOO FOO FREE 100% of the time.

Check out the THUNDER CREW’s season debut at 8pm ET tonight with replays on demand all week on your schedule too.

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The Numbers Game- Full Time Driver Comparison

Over the weekend I cleaned up the files for NASCAR Fantasy Racing predictions for the 2015 season. Over the past 15 seasons the NASCAR Power Ratings have evolved but are still based on the same three factors as season one. Drivers are rated on Consistency, Track Type, and Track Ratings with the final Pro Power Rating based on a scientific rating scheme that weights the various factors. As I was researching the confirmed full time drivers for 2015 the number seemed absurdly low at just 30 drivers. This week we look at how that number compares to the number in the past at all three NASCAR National Touring levels.

The following chart looks at the number of drivers who raced the complete season in all three NASCAR National Touring levels by five year increments.

Series

2014

2009

2004

1999

1994

1989

1984

Cup

31

31

29

32

20

21

17

XFinity

17

12

15

8

12

10

3*

Trucks

13

15

21

18

10**

  • * Champion Sam Ard did not compete in all of the scheduled races

  • ** Trucks series data based on 1995 season since series not in operation in 1994

The 2015 season has 30 drivers projected to compete full time as of today according to an analysis of data provided by the JAYSKI Silly Season website. There are an additional five full time teams confirmed for the 2015 season but those teams have not made a full time commitment to the same driver including the #55 team whose regular driver Brian Vickers will not start the season due to health reasons. Additional teams and drivers are expected to start the season but their funding is uncertain at this time to confirm a full season effort by the team or the same driver.

The chart above shows that the number of drivers competing in every race at the Cup level has averaged 31 full time drivers over the past fifteen seasons. This includes drivers who due to injury or illness were unable to compete in the full season.

The past ten years in what will be called the Xfinity Series starting in 2015 have also been fairly consistent averaging 15 full time drivers.

The Truck Series peaked in the early 2000s with an average of 20 full time drivers but has since declined considerably with only 13 drivers competing full time last year.

What does this chart tell us?

The season opening Daytona 500 is just 48 days away and while having only 35 full time teams and 30 full time drivers confirmed for 2015 sounds bad you know full fields will show up to start the season opener. While those numbers sound ominous they are level with what the sport has seen over the last 15 years and higher than the “Good Old Days” everyone talks about. The cost of racing is sky high in NASCAR these days but so are the rewards at the Cup level.

The real concern should be for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Just 13 drivers competed full time in 2014 and the numbers do not look much brighter for the upcoming season. Fields will be full for the start of the season because race teams always seem to get the funding together at the deadline but we will see a patchwork quilt of drivers and teams in a series that should be developing the next wave of future stars in NASCAR.

Don’t get too caught up in the numbers game because the future is bright for this sport!

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Odds and Ends- Death Penalty for Parking Violation and Lack of NASCAR Love

Each week I take a random tour of the world of NASCAR (Mostly) and give my take on the latest news. I hope you bring your funny bone to the party and take the good natured jabs in a responsible way. Some of what you see below is satire and if you are looking to be offended you are in the right place! You will also find my “Fantasy Insight” predictions for this week’s race complete with the best computer analysis available for NASCAR racing.

And now on with the show…

Death Penalty for Parking Violation

I feel sorry for NASCAR. They have an epic and crazy post race situation after the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and no matter how they handle the penalties the fans will be upset. Fine someone $50,000 and fans cry, “That’s like five bucks to you or me.” Suspend a driver for a race and people hate you for life and criticize you any time you fail to suspend the guy they don’t like. Fans bitch every week that these guys don’t show emotion and then have a meltdown when drivers do react with more than a sponsor plug. There is a sign I have seen at more than one short track across the country that says, “Fight in the pit area- $100 fine. Fight on the front stretch- $50 bonus.” No we don’t need to see guys flying off the top ropes WWE style after every race. But what in the heck is wrong with the emotion bubbling over once in a while to the point that drivers go nuts? Now NASCAR is in even more of a bind at Talladega Super Speedway. If Dale Earnhardt Jr wins NASCAR will hear people scream, “He got the magic restrictor plate for sure!” If he loses then Junior Nation will claim they will stop watching until Daytona in February. No other sport in the USA faces as much criticism as NASCAR. Their dilemma is that no matter what they do more people will be upset than pleased. Brad Keselowski deserved a fine and probation for his reckless drive through the garage area. A $50,000 fine seemed to fit the crime since I didn’t see parts flying around as Denny Hamlin claimed. Also Hamlin was not purely innocent in all of this either. I am sure glad NASCAR fans are not in charge for other things in life. They would support the death penalty for a parking violation.

Breaking NASCAR News…Lori Munro returned to the Thunder Crew for the award winning Quick Change segment! Listen to the Thunder Crew discuss the latest NASCAR news with an attitude at https://soundcloud.com/racetalkradio/thunder-crew-14oct14

Lack of NASCAR Love

Nobody expected ABC to leave a tied football game among ranked football teams to head to the NASCAR race but the lack of a backup plan by ABC Sports, ESPN and NASCAR was pathetic. These are the NASCAR playoffs yet ABC couldn’t get one of their ESPN channels to be free to cover the start of the race from Charlotte Motor Speedway. Even worse they sent NASCAR fans scurrying around like mice through the channel maze. The race will be shown on ESPN News. No wait, the race will be seen on ESPN3. ABC never had the nerve to let us know that non-ESPN events are NEVER shown on ESPN3.com! Every week ESPN tries to fit a 4 hour football game into a 3 hour window and then wonders why fans are upset. Other football fans are upset not just NASCAR fans that ESPN doesn’t care about after this season. Why didn’t NASCAR work with ABC and ESPN to have an online backup in place, such as their FansChoice.TV network? ABC didn’t even apologize for the delay that saw the first 39 laps of the race lost here in the Chicago market. (ABC said they switched 27 laps into the race but fans then saw several commercial breaks and show promotions and didn’t get racing until lap 39) ESPN built their network using NASCAR race fans as a way to cover live events added to their outstanding coverage of obscure sports 30 years ago. Now ABC and ESPN gave those same NASCAR fans the one finger salute! I am feeling a lack of love from ABC for us NASCAR fans.

 Fantasy Insight-Talladega 2

Every week I break down the statistics for the upcoming race with my exclusive Pro Power Ratings. Here is this week’s fearless forecast for Dega.

Top Tier 92+

No Drivers

————————————————————

Second Tier 90-91.99

Driver Car # Last 5 Course Type PRO

Ky Busch 18 93.4 89.6 84.8 90.54

————————————————————

Third Tier 85-89.99

Driver Car # Last 5 Course Type PRO

K Harvick 4 93.2 83 87 88.9

J Logano 22 97.2 73.6 79.2 86.52

K Larson 42 96.2 74.2 78 85.96

J Gordon 24 91 80.8 80.2 85.78

M Truex 78 89.8 83.8 78.4 85.72

R Newman 31 89.2 80.8 83.4 85.52

B Keselowski 2 88.8 83.6 79.8 85.44

M Kenseth 20 86.4 87.6 78.8 85.24

J Johnson 48 86.6 82.4 85.6 85.14

Win- Matt Kenseth- Led 190 more laps in last 5 Dega races (12 to 1 Odds)

Place- Kyle Busch- Top rated driver this week (20 to 1 Odds)

Show- Dale Earnhardt Jr- Needs the magic restrictor plate (10 to 1 Odds)

Longshot- (20 to 1 or More) David Ragan- Best track rating last 5 races (50 to 1 Odds)

Don’t forget to send in YOUR pick to win this week’s NASCAR race via email at dennis@racetalkradio.com or on the RaceTalkRadio Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RaceTalkRadio

From NASCAR to the dirt tracks or road courses, RaceTalkRadio covers it all! Join us every evening or on demand on your schedule any time.

Sunday- Speed Freaks with Kenny Sargent and Crash Gladys-10pm ET

Monday- Doin’ Donuts with Lori and Dennis- 8pm ET

Tuesday- Thunder Crew with Mike Harper- 8pm ET

Wednesday- At the Apex covers road course racing- On Demand

Wednesday- Inside PASS is the official radio show of the Pro All Star Series- On Demand

Thursday- Track Source Radio covers the business of racing- On Demand

Thursday- Outlaws Weekly covers the World of Outlaws- On Demand

Friday- Flashback Friday brings the best of RTR- On Demand

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Lori Munro Returns to the Thunder Crew

(For Immediate Release)

Chicago, IL (October 14, 2014) – The swallows returning to Capistrano, General MacArthur returning to the Philippines and Lebron returning to the Cavaliers were all great returns but they pale in comparison to our news. Tonight marks a huge milestone in radio history as Lori Munro makes her triumphant return to the “Thunder Crew” on RaceTalkRadio.com.

“I said yes to this,” asked Lori Munro. “I suppose I haven’t been tortured enough.”

Rumors have swirled that NASCAR fans petitioned the United Nations for this return and host Mike Harper is giving the fans just what they wanted. The “Quick Change” segment featuring Lori Munro will return this week to the Thunder Crew.

About Lori Munro

Inspired by the color of speed fans have loved Lori’s War-Wagon.com website for years featuring hand drawn cartoons about NASCAR. Lori brings that same witty approach to her radio appearances on RaceTalkRadio every week. She is also the creative genius behind everything you see on RTR.

About Thunder Crew- 8pm ET Tuesday Night

Mike Harper hosts the show every week with the same unique approach that his SpinOutZone website brought to the world of NASCAR reporting. Lori Munro and Dennis Michelsen round out the Crew every week and take you inside the world of NASCAR like no other radio show in the world every Tuesday night at 8pm ET.

About RaceTalkRadio.com

RaceTalkRadio.com ownership combines NASCAR writers Dennis Michelsen and Mike Harper with the creative talents of digital media artist Lori Munro. This unique blend has produced some of the most cutting edge programming in the racing industry and is the online home for Kenny Sargent and the Speed Freaks.

PR Contact

Dennis Michelsen

E-mail: dennis@racetalkradio.com

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Odds and Ends- Stewart Mania and Battle of Richmond Edition

Each week I take a random tour of the world of NASCAR (Mostly) and give my take on the latest news. I hope you bring your funny bone to the party and take the good natured jabs in a responsible way. Some of what you see below is satire and if you are looking to be offended you are in the right place! You will also find my “Fantasy Insight” predictions for this week’s race complete with the best computer analysis available for NASCAR racing.

And now on with the show…

Stewart Mania

It was great to see Tony Stewart back in a race car at Atlanta last weekend because the man is a racer and racers are supposed to race. Some men look great wearing an expensive suit. Tony Stewart always looks best wearing a race car. Sadly NASCAR blew it by giving him an exemption to qualify for the Chase if he happens to win a race before the Chase. Why? Because this put Stewart in a more intense spotlight if he would have won at Atlanta or this week at Richmond. I understand that NASCAR fans who love Tony Stewart were excited to have their guy back but by hash tagging away you were also bringing more attention to your favorite driver than was needed. ESPN dedicated a camera crew to follow Tony Stewart anywhere he went hoping I guess to see some sort of reaction they could play over and over. (Thank you ESPN for turning off the camera when your guys tried to follow Smoke into the Port-a-Potty) A writer at Sports Illustrated asked whether 3 weeks was long enough after killing someone before a driver returns to NASCAR racing. Yes this sort of story brings out the idiots of the world looking to use a tragedy to make themselves famous and that just turns my stomach. The whole Stewart Mania hoopla made me uncomfortable last week even though I was happy to see Stewart return to racing.

Battle of Richmond

Fourteen Nations have punched their ticket to the Chase. Their armies are adding the latest cannons and mortars to their arsenal and their foot soldiers are being trained for the big showdown. (Will they give Albania an exemption?) OK, my sarcasm shows you just what I feel about the NASCAR commercial hyping the Chase. Does any other NASCAR fan base call their group a “Nation” other than “Junior Nation?” But this week we will see the biggest Battle of Richmond since General US Grant captured the city in April of 1865. (Hopefully without the fires, which were set by Confederate troops unlike when Sherman marched on Atlanta) Thirteen drivers enter this race with a chance to punch their ticket for the Chase by winning this race. This should lead to late race fireworks IF the right guys are in position to win. Fourteen drivers locked into the Chase have nothing to lose and will want those bonus points heading into the start of the Chase next week at Chicagoland Speedway. NASCAR wanted more “Game Seven” moments in the sport and they get one this week. The Field Generals have their battle plans. The foot soldiers are ready to give it all they have so their Nation can advance. Now it is time for another Battle of Richmond.

Fantasy Insight-Richmond 2

Every week I break down the statistics for the upcoming race with my exclusive Pro Power Ratings. Here is this week’s fearless forecast for Richmond.

Top Tier 92+

No Drivers

————————————————–

Second Tier 90-91.99

Driver               Last 5   CourseType    PRO

K Harvick        91.8     89.6     90.0     90.78- Unhappy with crew happy with car

Earnhardt Jr      88.4     90.8     95.2     90.48- Having best season ever

—————————————————

Third Tier 85-89.99

Driver               Last 5   CourseType    PRO

J Logano          94.6     84.0     86.2     89.74- Best thing since sliced muffins

M Kenseth       85.2     93.2     93.8     89.32- Mister Consistency looking for 1st win

C Edwards       86.2     91.4     88.8     88.28- Best driver not in a Chevy or Toyota

J Gordon          86.0     90.8     89.6     88.16- Dipped in the fountain of youth

R Newman       86.2     90.2     90.0     88.16- Bubble Boy has been very consistent

G Biffle91.4     83.2     86.0     87.86- Bubble Boy has been somewhat consistent

J McMurray     89.0     84.2     83.0     86.36- Win or go home time for Big Mac

K Kahne          86.2     86.8     82.4     85.62- Chase eligible but can he pick up pace?

Win- Dale Earnhardt Jr- His kind of track (12 to 1 Odds)

Place- Kyle Larson- Treating race like B-Main at Chili Bowl (20 to 1 Odds)

Show- Kevin Harvick- Asking Santa for new pit guns (6 to 1 Odds)

Longshot- (20 to 1 or More) Jamie McMurray (60 to 1 Odds) Needs win to advance

Don’t forget to send in YOUR pick to win this week’s NASCAR race via email at dennis@racetalkradio.com or on the RaceTalkRadio Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RaceTalkRadio

From NASCAR to the dirt tracks or road courses, RaceTalkRadio covers it all! Join us every evening or on demand on your schedule any time.

Sunday- Speed Freaks with Kenny Sargent and Crash Gladys-10pm ET

Monday- Doin’ Donuts with Lori and Dennis- 8pm ET

Tuesday- Thunder Crew with Mike Harper- 8pm ET

Wednesday- At the Apex covers road course racing- On Demand

Wednesday-InsidePASS is the official radio show of the Pro All Star Series- On Demand

Thursday- Track Source Radio covers the business of racing- On Demand

Thursday- Slinging Mud covers dirt racing- On Demand 

Friday- Put It on Target with Dan Meadows- On Demand

Friday- Racers Edge Report covers Continental Tire Series- On Demand

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