Racin' News at It's Most Real

By Liam O'Brian

NASCAR is an odessy stretching from the probition to today. There is thousands of records and information avalible, but many of them have been hidden, not mentioned at all. Some of the hidden ones are actually very interesting, so here are some ones I found by internet, ranging from slightly known around NASCAR, to ones only a select few know.










LEVEL 1 FACTS:

  • The National Association for stock car auto racing (NASCAR) ran it's first official race on June 19 1949 at Charlotte North Carolina fairgrounds. In front of a crowd of 23,000 fans. Jim Roper won the race and the $2,000 purse, driving a Lincoln Cosmopolitan.  The next 4 finishers were, Fonty Flock who took second,  Red Byron finished third, Sam Rice finished fourth, and Tim Flock finished fifth. Other well known drivers in the race including Lee Petty, Curtis Turner, and Buck Baker. 

  • In 1976 Janet Guthrie became the first woman to compete in a Winston Cup race.  She finished 15th in the wold 600 race.  She also qualified for the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500 in in the same year of 1977.

  • The King, Richard Petty, won 200 NASCAR races in his career.  He won 7 stock car championships, won Daytona 7 times and is still to this day known as the greatest driver in in the history of NASCAR.

  • Bill Elliott, or "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" as he's sometimes called, was the first NASCAR driver to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated when he won the first Winston Million in NASCAR history in 1985. Elliott was also the first driver to have their name on an officially licensed video game, "Bill Elliott's NASCAR challenge". 


LEVEL 2 FACTS:
  • Tony Stewart's father, Nelson, mortgaged their house so that Tony could race Go-Karts. At age eight, Tony won his first racing title racing Go-Karts. 

  • Everyone always wants to know how NASCAR drivers go to the bathroom. Several years ago, NASCAR crew chief Bootie Barker, had this to say in regard to the myth that the drivers never urinate in the car because they sweat so much. "I'll leave you with this thought: The next time you're watching a race and you see a driver get out of his car and pour a cool bottle of water on himself, it might not just be that he's trying to cool himself off.

  • The NASCAR headquarters are located in Daytona Beach, Florida.  NASCAR also has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Mexico City, and Toronto.

  • Coy Gibbs, the son of Joe Gibbs, played college football at Stanford University. He led the team in tackles.

  • A study in "anticipatory timing" found race car drivers to possess the same ability to anticipate what was going to happen as a hockey goalie or a quarterback.

LEVEL 3 FACTS:
  • Michael Waltrip holds the record for the most starts without a win. When he won the tragic 2001 Daytona 500, it was his first win and the 463 start of his NASCAR racing career.

  • A single NASCAR tire weighs in at 75 pounds

  • The first two Daytona 500 races were not 500 miles. The race didn't become 500 miles until 1961.

  • Lee Petty was the first driver to crash in a Winston cup race.  He crashed at lap 107 in that first race at Charlotte on June 19 1949.

  • In 1990, a few months after Richmond's death, Washington television station WJLA-TV and reporter Roberta Baskin reported that Dr. Forest Tennant, who was then the National Football League's drug adviser, "falsified drug tests" that ultimately helped shorten Richmond's NASCAR career. Baskin reported that sealed court documents and interviews showed Tennant and NASCAR used "allegedly false drug-test results in 1988 to bar Richmond from racing". Baskin also stated that NASCAR had targeted Richmond, requesting that Tennant establish a substance-abuse policy with Richmond in mind. A series of drug tests and falsely reported positive results shortly before the 1988 Daytona 500 kept Richmond from driving in what was to have been his last big race...", the report said. The New York Times published the findings.

  • in 1950 Nascar race drive Tim Flock was in first place with his pet monkey in the car during a race. Jocko Flocko (the monkey) got loose, opened a trap door in the car, was hit by a pebble and went berserk until the racer pitted and came in 3rd.

  • Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are the favorite drivers of the band "Three Doors Down." In the band's video for their single, "The Road I'm On", they are shown racing their custom Chevy Tahoes through the streets.

THE BIG FACTS:
  • Richard Petty's first NASCAR race was at the Canadian National Exposition Speedway in Toronto. On his 55th lap, he drifted in front of his father, the well-known Lee Petty. Lee had been well on his way to winning the race and decided to teach his son a lesson. Richard was pushed into a spin, driven into the fence, and out of the race by his own father, who took first place that day.

  • The late Davey Allison was one of the most superstitious drivers in NASCAR. After a win, he refused to shave until he didn't win, and if he won a race on Sunday after watching a movie on Friday night, he'd go to the same movie until he didn't win. Matt Crafton, driver of truck number 88, wears a Davy Allison t-shirt during every race.

  • The late Alan Kulwicki had glove boxes installed in his race cars, and he kept a comb in them. The 1992 Winston (now-Sprint) Cup champion wouldn’t get out of his car until after he combed his hair.

  • Elliott Sadler holds the record for eating the most bologna burgers at South Boston (Va.) Speedway

  • Harlequin publishes NASCAR-themed romance novels. They even bear the official NASCAR logo on the cover. 

  • Early in his career, Michael Waltrip lived with Richard Petty. He started out living with Kyle, but Michael moved out of Kyle’s house and into Richard’s when he and Kyle had an argument that ended with Kyle throwing Michael’s shoes into a lake.

  • David Stremme actually wrecked his mother to win a race once, early in his career while racing at the short tracks in Indiana. He also won his first race in his mother’s race car at the age of 15.

  • In 1983, an album called Stock Car Racing's Entertainers of the Year was released. Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett, Dale Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd, Rusty Wallace, were included in the 22 brave NASCAR drivers that sung in the album.

  • Chuck Norris' Son, Eric, bacame a professional stunt car driver and racer. He won the K&N Pro Series West Championship in 2002, too.

Why Hornaday Wasn't Suspended

On Sunday at Rockingham Speedway, Ron Hornaday and Darrell Wallace Jr were
racing hard on the track. There were 3 laps left, so it was a little more aggressive than usual. A few bumps were made, and down the backstretch, they had a drag race. It's usual racing down at the Rock. It's
a short track with a super-speedway personality. "Bubba," as they call him,
is a rookie. He just joined this season, and Hornaday is a veteran. He has been here for years, and he knows what to do, even if people don't like it. When Bubba slid up the track, he lost all of Hornaday's momentum, which can be very frustrating. Think of running a sprint, and having a stop sign halfway through. Hornaday decided to spin Wallace while Wallace tried to
catch up to the pacing line.
    In my eyes, it seemed Hornaday just wanted to show Darrell to the sport. In his eyes, most likely he thought Darrell had thrown a type of block, and like Tony Stewart at Auto Club, justice had to be done. Denny Hamlin said it best in 2008 after a fight with a young Brad Keselowski. He told ESPN, "If you throw a rock, I will throw a concrete block back at you." It was more of an eye for a broken toe situation. Very unfair, but hey, LIFE is Unfair.
    When the crashed happened, we all went back to 2011, where at Texas Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch went after Hornaday when both drivers were involved in a crash, in which both drivers smacked the wall hard. Both drivers could continue, but Kyle was not happy. He ran into the
back of Ron's 33 car, and Kyle had the car at full throttle. They continued to drive at 160 MPH into turn 3, then Hornaday's car hooked right. They both went into the turn 3 SAFER barrier at 160 MPH,
Hornaday getting the worst of the impact. After the impact, many actually thought Ron was dead. Kyle was suspended for the entire weekend a few hours after the race, and Ron's popularity went through the charts.
    Now, let's compare that to today's race. Even though Darrell was estimated to be going 90 MPH at the time, it wasn't a severe crash like the Texas crash. The impact wasn't flat on the side, potentially giving a concussion. It was not a frontal impact, with potentially a neck injury. It wasn't a flip, trapping the driver under a smoldering 3,500 pound truck. It was just a spin. He hit the outside wall a little, then the rear a little. Nothing more than the over-exaggerated
Bristol hit. It was a little shocking at the moment they showed Bubba's car, but except for that, it was just a little bump.
    This kind of stuff actually happens often, without suspensions, or even fines. Clint Bowyer, Dale Jr, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, and even Joey Logano have gotten into drivers during cautions, and sometimes ruining their days. Kyle Busch is the only one who pushed it too far, and even that crash wasn't as bad or harmful as a crash at Pocono, Talladega, or even Bristol. Ron's crash on Darrell was safely harmful, representing his point without doing anything wrong really. It illustrates how drivers think as a whole. A driver's brain is 50% Talent, 25% Strateegy, 10% Craziness, and 15% Payback.

You Like Crashes? Texas Motor Speedway Has Them.

Welcome to Texas Motor Speedway. Settled in Fort Worth, Texas, people flock for miles to come to this race not just for it's high speeds (Is pretty much a sister track to Atlanta), but for it's place on the schedule. Texas holds 2 races each year on the schedule, one at the beginning of the year, and one at the end. At the beginning race, it is usually one race after Martinsville, so it's REALLY smart marketing team can make signs and ads, pretty much giving you a guarentee that there will be a fight or confrontation, even though fighting usually never happens. The late race has more of an eye to what's on the track, not off it. The late race falls late in the season, and after the race, you have an idea of who will be battling for the championship in the final few races, and who will just be watching from their cockpits.

Texas usually has a slightly boring race in my eyes. The track is fast, but the action isn't as good. Cars can't go 4 wide without wrecking, and 3 wide is pushing it, too. The finishes are good (See: 2007 Samsung 500), but the middle of the race does not help. Single file racing is common, but not exposed. Texas marketers are the best, and they do very well at their job. In 2011, Texas advertised about the championship battle between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards. Signs were put up everywhere, and when Tony Stewart won, he was handed a leather jacket and boxing gloves, something very well advertized, hence the championship "fight".

Location always helps, and the country-western area of Texas is no exception. TMS has adopted the country landscape, by having western themed races, and even making a tradition of handing the race winner a cowboy hat and a pair of pistols. Of course, once the gun debate started, Texas has had a lot of bad press for a tradition they started years ago. It is kind of an unlucky mistake, as they were just doing their tradition, and BAM now the whole country thinks you dont care. It's sad, really.

Texas, as an average race track, has really had some bad wrecks. In the past 3 years, Texas has had 4 bad wrecks. One that involved 10 cars spinning down the trioval, one that involved Jeff Burton losing his mind and sending Jeff Gordon into the outside wall during caution, one that involved Martin Truex Jr (Fresh off going 150 MPH into a wall at Martinsville) getting hit in the side by Mark Martin, and one where Kyle Busch got mad and sent Ron Hornaday into the wall at 130 MPH, nearly killing Ron, putting Kyle on a suspension for a week, and ruining Ron's championship. The track has a history of wierd wrecks, even having Micheal McDowell flip eight times in 2008, and Micheal Waltrip going over in a Nationwide race in 2002. The track always has a boring mentality, but when someone makes something happen, it can happen bad. Quick.

Tony Stewart: One of the Greatest of All Time

Tony Stewart came from Columbus, Indiana, where he lived only 45 miles from the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His dad taught him his tricks when he was in elementary school, and before you knew it, he was winning races everywhere you looked. His greatest accomplishment is in 1995, when he did the unprecedented he raced 58 times in one year, across the country, in the USAC series, 3 different ones to be exact. He actually one not just one championship, but all 3. He was the first to win the "USAC Triple Crown" and only one of two (JJ Yeley won it in 2003). In 1996, he became the Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year, and one year later, he won the IRL Champion. By 1999, he was racing full time in the Winston Cup, and in 2002, he became a champion.

In his early career, Tony was a hothead, wanting to race, and not be a corporate sellout. He got into multiple altercations against different drivers, including Robby Gordon, Jeff Gordon, and Kenny Irwin, a driver he actually raced in USAC against. The forefront of his arguments were when in 2001, when he raced in the Pepsi 400. NASCAR mandated that all drivers are not allowed to pass below the yellow line, something done relatively often. With only a few laps left, Johnny Benson checked up in front of Tony, and he had a decision to make, either crash the field, or risk only himself. He dove to the yellow line, choosing the later option, and got black flagged by NASCAR. He would finish 6th, but since he did out come down pit lane, he was scored 30th. Angrily Tony got out of his car and walked towards his hauler. Just at the right time, reporters swarmed him, and he got angry. He took one of the reporter's recorders and threw it to the ground, stomped on it, and kicked it under another team's haulers. The reporters disbanded immediately, and Tony was able to be alone and focus on his one true love, RACING. After fines and fines and fines, he still kept winning. He runs the bottom grove like he wants to hug it, and the top line like he is trying to see how close he can get to the wall. When he is around cars, he is bold, yet finesse, and he knows how to make a slingshot for the win. If he disagrees with your move, you may be heading into he wall. At road courses, he weaves through turns like an Olympic downhill skier, and his car wraps around the preferred line like it's his best friend. In 2005, he won his second championship over a host of favorites, including young guns like Jimmie Johnson (Joined in 2002), Carl Edwards (Ran part-time in 2004), and Greg Biffle (Won first race in 2003). He won by a slim margin, even as Greg Biffle won the Ford 400 by 0.017 seconds over Mark Martin. I must admit, Tony had a few down years after 2005, even missing the chase in 2006, along with Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle, who were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the 2005 Nextel Cup Point standings. Tony went from 2006 to 2008 without making a sound, quietly winning (Even hitting an all-time lows in wins in 2008), and doing nice in the chase. He had stayed with Joe Gibbs Racing since 1999, but in 2008, he left JGR to form his own team, called Stewart Haas Racing.
Stewart Haas Racing came out of the failing team of HAAS Racing. Their first driver for the new team was Ryan Newman. Ryan is another Indiana native, from South Bend. His career and Stewart's are nearly identical, with both going through the ranks of dirt tracks to stock cars, except Stewart took a detour and went to the IRL for a time. Ryan and Tony raced their entire careers with one team until 2008, Tony with Gibbs, and Newman with Penske. Ryan had troubles with crashing, with flips at Daytona, Talladega, and one at Watkins Glen. He still got the job done, posting wins at multiple tracks, and 6 wins in 2003 alone. You can't forget poles, either. Ryan has posted 49 poles as of April 10th, 2013 and you could blame his engineering degree at Purdue for that.
As Ryan joined Tony at Stewart Haas Racing, The team started winning. The team's first win was at the 2009 All-Star race, followed closely by their first points win at Pocono later. Both Ryan and Smoke would make the chase. After another decent year in 2010, 2011 turned out to be a dream season.
In 2011, the season started bad, and got worse. Tony didn't win in the first 26 races, and Newman didn't have any real stats to show around either. Then the Chase came. Even though Ryan Newman did not make the chase, Tony Stewart won the first two races of the chase, then capped that with a few nice races. After a few races, Stewart would win at Martinsville and Texas. It was now evident that a battle would be staged between Tony and Carl Edwards for the championship. In Phoenix, Stewart and Edwards ran 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Entering the final race of the season, only 3 places on the track seperated the points between Stewart and Carl.
The race at Homestead started with both drivers starting on one end of the spectrum. Carl Edwards took the lead early and looked poised to have a dominating car. Tony had a slighty worse day, getting a puncture in his grille early in the race. As the race proggressed, Carl led and Tony defeated any setbacks that were used against him. After a late restart, there was nothing stopping Tony. He went 4 and 3 wide multiple times, and he made daring rooms that only the best of the best could do. Suddenly, like the climax of a story, it became evident that a battle was to be staged. Carl was far ahead, but Tony in second place knew that he could close the gap. By the time the firld entered 5 to go, Tony was on the back bumper of Carl Edward's Ford. Before you knew it, Tony had passed the Aflac Ford by the time there was 4 to go. Carl tried everything possible, but he had no match for Tony Stewart, who won his 3rd and most recent championship in 2011. Tony is a great driver, and even if the haters hate (Which they do), he is one of the greatest. ESPN even had him as Number eleven all-time in 2006.

Why ARCA Racing is Having a BIG Problem

ARCA racing is really only attracting a national and worldwide audience
because of the crashes. In ARCA, bets are placed on when the 2nd
caution will be. Some fans dont even care who is in which car, and
ARCA racing promos are usually 95% crashing. ARCA, though, really does
need to fix their series. NASCAR is not ALL about crashing, and it
really sickens me when all the fans cheer for is not when there is a
great battle or exciting pass, but they cheer for when someone goes up
and over, on fire, or when they see one of ARCA's everlasting bonehead moves, forever keeping that driver from upgrading to a new team. In 2001, a fan video captured a video of a horrifing ARCA crash, one person going up and over and on fire, one person spinning towards a pit stall, and one person getting clobbered so hard on the wall, that the car was not recognized. The latter was not moving, and the ambulance, fire department, and nearly every safety vehicle was moved to the scene. Still, the crowd did not care, and they screamed and shouted and had a good old time for minutes after the crash. Turned out that the driver, Blaise Alexander, had died on impact in the crash. ARCA deaths may be non-common (latest death was in 2002), but it can happen easily. In the series, injuries are common, and drivers go so close to death, only a few inches seperate walking, and deceased. Even in 2012, Nelson Canache got loose and triied to save it. He then was clipped by another driver and spun down to the infeild banking, where he met Larry Bradford at a ratio of 0 MPH to 150 MPH. He hit the Canache car hard at the back. Only a few inches and it would have been the driver side door. More cars started scattering, and only God knows how no other cars got involved. Thankfully, Canache and Bradford weren't hurt. Canache could have been killed on that summer afternoon, but somehow he was alive. The only thing you need to be safe in ARCA is a prayer, it seems.

New Season. New Racing. We Get It.

This Season is as talked about so much, it is even boring.

"New Cars"

"New Stuff"

Actually, I am slightly sickened by it. It's true, this is a changing year with the Generation Six, but still, haven't we seen this before?

Lets flashback 6 years to 2007. The year of the "Gen 5". A brand new car based on safety. People buzzed about it. It was called the 'Next Big Thing". Mark Martin liked it. Everything was going up for NASCAR. Truthfully I sort of liked it. The media said it was awesome, and I was slightly brainwashed to fall in love with the new car.

Lucky for us racing fans, we had to deal with 2007-2009, which was a bunch of years with really no great races (except for the 2009 All-Star Race) and no great racing storylines, with Jimmie Johnson winning all 3 titles within these years. For a time, NASCAR was actually boring, which is something I never want to say. Hendrick was winning over half the races and there was only 7 new race winners within this span (2008 didn't have a single first time winner). Races started getting more and more "boring", and fans left the stands with small help from the recession. Still, the media said everything was fine, and we were all okay. Fans knew that wasn't true. They were out of this brainwash, and one look at the NASCAR Illustrated Feedback list could tell everything. The cars even got complaints, as fans realized they looked nothing like real cars. Obviously, the real Dodge Avenger has no "braces" in real life. By 2012, NASCAR had done everything right, getting rid of the braces, destroying the Wing, etc. Still, NASCAR fans did not want the car, so NASCAR needed a change, and they got the Generation 6.

Why does this have to do with the Generation 6, you might ask. How in the world does the Gen 5 and Gen 6 relate? It is because, well, this could be the fate of the Generation 6. The Generation 6 isn't bad, I must say. I could look at the Fords all day, in fact. I am just saying, the cars may be different, but are they TOO different?

I think you saw the shootout last Saturday. It was just 73 laps of 18 cars going single file. Yes, the drivers are still getting used to the cars. It's true, but the second someone tried to do any 3 wide racing, the crash is here. The thing is, plate racing is changed forever. If Fords and Chevys cannot draft with each other without a huge crash, we may have a problem. I can guarentee you we wont see 3 rows of one manufacture each this year, either. All the new car makes at Daytona and Talladega is more crashes and more careful races (At least during this year). Once someone like Carl Edwards bump drafts Tony Stewart, all heck will break loose. Early this season, I see something like the 2009 Talladega Fall race, which featured a whole race of single file drafting, and cars flying in the air. This isn't something racing fans want, of couse.

Again, you have the why. The all important question of HOW things will work and HOW it results. The why is that truthfully, the bumpers of these cars are complete crap. The Ford and Chevys are so different, they are nearly forbiddened to race hard with each other. Also, it comes with more problems money wise.

During Daytona 500 pole day, the average finish was 14 by Chevys, 16 by Toyota, and 22 by Fords. Using that data, would you form a team using all Fords? No, I would be a Chevy guy. Teams want all the advantage they can get, and if it means switching to a manufacture you dont like personally, so be it. A win is a win and that is what every team wants. Eventually, we might not see Fords on the NASCAR circuit anymore, loosing millions of dollars.

Well, there you have it. I know that this may be controversial, but this is the freaking truth. Still, good luck with speedweks, and lets hope for better racing!