User-agent: * Allow: / CH on Track: November 2013


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Loyalty to Stewart-Haas Racing - done!

I know my opinion doesn't matter to anyone but me, but for what it is worth, I just "unliked" Stewart-Haas Racing on Facebook.

I "liked" RCR Racing, Ryan Newman's new 2014 home in the #31 car.

My support for Newman is well-documented here. This symbolic gesture merely represents my dissatisfaction with Stewart-Haas Racing for letting Ryan Newman go and for putting him through hell this season. Thankfully all that drama is now behind him and the rest of us who watched with interest.

The potential for drama next year at SHR is high for several reasons. 

It will certainly be interesting to watch the Kevin Harvick/Kurt Busch/Tony Stewart relationships, since all of these excellent race car drivers are very competitive, as well as a little belligerent, sometimes reckless, and always impetuous.

There is also that relationship between owners, Gene Haas and Tony Stewart that will be worth watching. I can't imagine Stewart was thrilled with how Haas sprung the hiring of Kurt Busch just days after Stewart told Newman there wouldn't be a third car team. I suspect Newman will be relieved to keep his distance from whatever brouhaha comes to play, if it does.

And then there is poor Tony, who has no idea how his leg is going to react to long hours behind the wheel. This whole incident with his broken leg had to have really thrown him.

It has been reported that Stewart will get a new crew chief this year. Chad Johnston, formerly of Michael Waltrip Racing will replace Steve Addington. Johnston was Martin Truex, Jr.'s crew chief.

We finally know what will come of Matt Borland in 2014

Stewart-Haas has announced that Borland will stay with SHR, but as vice president of engineering. He will also act as mentor to Daniel Knost, building on a continuing a relationship that had already been built upon. Knost will be the crew chief for the #41 car driven by Kurt Busch.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Conflicted about NASCAR season drawing to a close

Watching NASCAR
My essential tools for watching NASCAR
As I look around the room, I notice my laptop still sitting on the coffee table. The AC cord is wrapped up and secured with a Velcro strap. My wireless mouse sits on top, its switch in the off position to conserve its batteries. I usually put my laptop in a roll-top desk in the living room. But this week I left it right where it was.

The only time I even use my laptop these days is on NASCAR Race Day. It is an essential tool for watching a race.

Shortly before the green flag waves, I have to get it ready to go, so I always start early. I want to get all the pesky updates--Windows, virus protection, and any necessary software--out of the way before the opening pace laps. I want no interruptions once the race begins.

Once the computer is ready to go, I sign onto The first thing I look for is the Live Leaderboard. Lap times and of course track position are necessary information for enjoying a race.

Ryan Newmans #12 after finishing 2008s Daytona...
I would love to see a repeat of this!Ryan Newmans #12 after finishing 2008s
Daytona 500 at the first position.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Because the only driver I pay attention to is Ryan Newman, I use the information to focus on his stats. I watch his speed and distance from the driver in front of  him. When he closes that gap I know he is about to pass. That coincides with what is probably the most essential part of my race experience--NASCAR's Race View Scanner. Listening to Newman's radio communication with spotter and crew chief, coincides with what I see on the leaderboard.

I usually tune into Race Buddy as well, although Newman is rarely featured there. When he is, it is a thrill, like being a passenger in his race car. I love watching him drive, seeing him pass other cars in real time. When Newman isn't features on Race Buddy, which is most of the time, I look for a driver that is featured that is near him on the field. That way I can watch him drive in traffic. When he talks about a loose race car, I can see it.

I usually keep up with Twitter as well. If I have a question about what is happening on the track, it is generally cleared up by tweets from Krissie Newman or Stewart-Haas Racing.

To me, these tools make for a satisfactory race experience. It is the next best thing to being there. Without them, I don't know how I would follow Newman's race. Unless Newman is leading the race or running in the top two or three spots, commentators rarely talk about him. Cameras seldom follow him on the track. During most races, I barely get a glimpse of his car, until perhaps the second half of the race. By that time the crew has gotten the car's handling more to Newman's liking which usually results in a late race charge toward the front.

It makes me laugh sometimes when I think about how I used to watch racing. I usually had a sewing project or was crocheting something at the same time. No more! I'm much too busy for that these days. My mouse rarely leaves my hand. I have the television remote in the other hand so I can mute it during the plethora of commercials. I would much rather hear Ryan's spotter tell him about the cars around him than hear one more commercial.

I think the fact that I didn't put away my laptop is probably symbolic. While I have been trying to tell myself I'll be glad when this season is over, the truth is that I look forward to each and every race. I'm going to miss my Sunday afternoon or Saturday night races.

This year has been pretty rough for Ryan Newman fans. We felt the uncertainty. We felt the sting of rejection. But we also feel the hope for a new beginning.

So despite the small hiatus, I'm really looking forward to the 2014 season when Ryan Newman drives the #31 car for Richard Childress Racing. And let's face it, it is pretty exciting that we are only 108 days away from the Daytona 500.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

When I think red, I think Ryan Newman and Quicken Loans!

I have wanted to change the color scheme of CHonTrack ever since the U.S. Army left sponsorship for the #39 car. I just hadn't done it yet.

I think it only fair though, since Quicken Loans has proven to be such a good sponsor for the #39 and soon-to-be the #31 car, that it is only fitting that I change my color scheme as well.

Here's to Ryan Newman, his colors, and lots of luck in the final races of the 2013 season.

And most notably, here's to 2014.
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Monday, November 4, 2013

NASCAR; For the time being, I'm still watching

Samsung/RadioShack 500 on Sunday, April 9, 200...
Texas Motor Speedway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I unabashedly admit that I am Ryan Newman fan. I am confident in his ability, which he proves every single time he climbs into his race car.

If it wasn't for my devotion to Newman, as a driver and the person I believe him to be off the track as well, I doubt very much that I would continue to watch NASCAR. I have been devoted for the past eight years, never missing a race. But lately, there are more things about NASCAR that I dislike than otherwise. I've never been shy to point them out in posts on CHonTrack nor will I be in the future.

Just a few of the things that drive me crazy and may drive me away from NASCAR are:
  • Too many commercials on television--which is ridiculous because everything about NASCAR is a commercial, from the drivers' fire suits, decals on the cars, banners and billboards along the track, to commentator's coffee cups and shirt logos
  • We know the gas is from Sunoco; we see the signs throughout the track, must we mention "drivers are filling up with Sunoco gas"?
  • Must we hear "drivers are pitting to get their Goodyears"? 
  • Too many and too inconsistent seat-of-the-pants rules
  • Driver favoritism, especially by commentators 
  • NASCAR's obvious political affiliation and non-secular activity--is a public invocation really necessary?
  • Driver fines and suspensions imposed inconsistently
  • Timing of rain delays, qualifying set based on top drivers first, competition cautions, timed debris cautions, emphasis on points versus winning
  • Drivers' free speech curtailed by NASCAR brass
I'm sure there are more things. The bottom line is NASCAR is now totally "managed" resulting in predictability and political correctness.

I don't think I'm alone either. I couldn't help but notice the empty seats in the grandstands at Texas Motor Speedway. It didn't used to be that way. If there is a place where NASCAR should be a staple of southern living, it is in Texas. But Texas is not alone. Not only are there less fans filling the seats, but there is more of a buzz than ever about NASCAR potentially dying on the vine. Just one Google search will show how much negative buzz there has been about what ten years ago was considered the most watched sport.

Related articles

NASCAR's Greed and Sagging Attendance
NASCAR has a Republican kind of problem
Is NASCAR on the decline?
The Earnhardt Conspiracy
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