So. Do you think Dodge is regretting now its decision to pull out of NASCAR next season? Hell of a way to go out. Congrats to young Brad on his first championship, and don't miss the pic of him celebrating in the pits with Ralph Giles below the jump, via Dodge Motorsports' Facebook page.More »
There's this mythology of invulnerability in stock car racing right now, which contends that due to advancements in safety technology, it's virtually impossible for drivers to get hurt or killed anymore while racing. Of course that would be fantastic if it were true, but as anyone who's witnessed anything close to the cataclysmic melee we saw at Talladega on Sunday, it patently is not. There's simply no way to ensure safety of the fragile human organism when 850-hp race cars go from nearly 200 mph to 0 in a matter of seconds, or to account for the forces exerted upon drivers' bodies in the course of a completely unpredictable series of impacts, rolls, and richochets. Junior drove himself (and Jimmie!) to the pit lane and was basically coherent following Sunday's massive and violent wreck, but as pit reporters noted at the time, he just wasn't entirely himself. He decided to go get checked by the doc, was diagnosed with a concussion (which most likely originated with a wreck during testing at Kansas August 29), and has agreed to sit out the next two races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. It's a decision that'll take him out of contention for the championship, following a really strong season of great finishes and even breaking his 143-race winless spell at Michigan in June. With so much at stake, it was obviously a gut-wrenching decision for Junior, but it was the only right thing to do. Here's to a speedy recovery and a triumphant return to continue his comeback streak in 2013. Check out ESPN's take on the story, and see Dr. Jerry Punch's interesting discussion of cumulative head trauma in racing here.
Israel has finally had the first legal drag racing event! This great news was brought to me by my friend in Israel, "Zaki Zak" of Club242 on the day of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year). This is a big step in the progress of motorsports globally, as in many countries all forms of motorsports aren't technically legal. They mostly fall into a grey area due to liability and the dangers typically associated with the sports of drag racing, drifting, rallycross, and more. Taking the lead and boldly adventuring into boosted territory, Israel is going for the checkered flag! Congratulations to all of our friends in Israel, this is a really big accomplishment! As they say in Hebrew, !שנה טובה ומתוקהMore »
In a move that should come as a surprise to exactly no one, the Army will end its high-profile sponsorship of Stewart-Hass Racing at the conclusion of the 2012 season, signaling a more general withdrawal of its presence from NASCAR. While there's already been a lot of predictable political finger-pointing about it, the fact of the matter is that these are lean times for big sponsorships, and all branches of the military have been scaling back their motorsports involvement for years. When you think about the dollars-and-cents end of things, it's a no-brainer: sponsoring a top Sprint Cup race team is a massive expenditure, and military recruitment opportunities at NASCAR events have likely become less rewarding as fewer and fewer young poor people with bleak career prospects can even afford to go to the races anymore. Accordingly, the Army is taking its marketing dollars to greener (and less offensive) pastures. While the prevailing political climate has played a small role, most notably in the form of a bi-partisan duo of congress members who unfairly singled out NASCAR as a wasteful military expenditure (as if the Army doesn't have plenty of those), the Army's pullout is certainly not something that can be blamed on the current president, who is actually quite friendly toward the sport. (And no, this does not mean there will be no more fly-overs). Read more at NASCAR.com.
Chevy has been in a bit of a tizzy over what to run as its next Sprint Cup car, with Ford and Dodge both switching to complellingly sexed-up versions of their production offerings. GM has already ruled out the Camaro, even for the ponycar-riddled Nationwide Series, over some snobbery about compromising the Camaro's "classic lines." And as for the sedan-like offerings you usually see in stock-car racing, Chevy is out of options: its long-in-the-tooth Impala is the only car they've run since 2007, and the production version is FWD and frankly boring (well, so is the Camry, though that hasn't stopped Toyota from running it in NASCAR. Though that's another story...)
Enter the RWD, V8-powered Holden Commodore, Australian equivalent of the now-defunct Pontiac G8. The G8's return as a Chevy-badged item has been in the works for some time now, and showed up most recently on US soil as the non-civilian Caprice PPV cop car. Now, Chevy has promised a civilian "SS Performance Sedan" based on the Commodore/G8 (owner forum already up and running here), and is expected to announce today that a version of this car will run in NASCAR's top series. Stay tuned for updates. Via NASCAR Examiner.
Watch Sean Kennedy hit 257.7 miler per hour after the jump! Awesome!More »
Watch Russian rally driver Evgeny Novikov roll his car shortly after driving through a fence, which ripped off his roof vent. As the car fills with clouds of dust, the diver has trouble seeing and wrecks massively. Luckily no one was hurt, dispite the fact that the navigator put his hands up over his head while they rolled. These new rally cars are tough! Video after the jump! Via BangshiftMore »
On the heels of sexy new NASCAR reveals by Ford and Dodge, the spotlight is on Chevy to come up with the next mind-blowing Sprint Cup car design for the 2013 season. But what will it be? GM has confirmed they're retiring the venerable and consecutive-championship-winning Impala from Sprint Cup competition, and say they're going to be running "a new nameplate" in NASCAR's top series going forward. But do they mean an entirely-new Chevy altogether, or just one that's new to NASCAR? Jalopnik speculates it'll be the excuse Chevy's been looking for to bring back the Caprice. Even more incredibly, NASCAR analyst Bob Pockrass figures it could be the Holden Commodore, which GM is rumored to be making available to US markets as early as 2014. I'm guessing Chevy's new Sprint Cup car will either be one of their best-sellers like the Malibu or the Cruze, following the mid-size lead set by Ford with its Fusion or Toyota with the Camry. Alternately, we could luck out and get the Camaro. GM has always been glitchy about the possibility of a Camaro in NASCAR, and seriously missed the boat on fielding a NASCAR Camaro in the Nationwide Series when all the other manufacturers were rolling out their most badass ponycars. The last time I bugged the GM brass about the possibility of a NASCAR Camaro was at the LA Auto Show in November, and they would neither confirm nor deny. Will the Camaro finally get its chance to run in Sprint Cup, or will Chevy be running something else in 2013?
Following the precedent set by Ford with its hot new NASCAR Fusion, Dodge unveiled a muscular Charger that'll be running Sprint Cup during the 2013 season. Dodge enjoys the distinction of being the only Cup car that's based on an actual RWD V8 civilian version, but the reveal also comes at a problematic time for the manufacturer: with Penske Racing having just announced that it'll be leaving Dodge for Ford, the only Charger in the field is run by independent Robby Gordon. SRT Motorsports chief Ralph Giles says all options are on the table, including pulling Dodge from the series altogether. What do you think, does Dodge have a future in NASCAR? After seeing this new Charger, I kind of hope so. More info at NASCAR.com, pics via Autoblog.More »
Motorsport is an expensive passion. It takes a great deal of time and money just to get to the starting line. It takes a great deal more to cross the finish line first. However, there is one clear path for club racers to climb their way into a professional race series with only modest expense: the Mazda Motorsports ladder.
I've decided to throw my hat in the ring and give it a shot this year. My objective: to win a national championship and get invited to the Mazda Shootout. The winner of the Shootout gets a full factory sponsored ride in the MX-5 Cup for the following season. Getting to the shootout will be a feat in itself so I'm going to keep my sights on that goal and then I can figure out what to do once I get there. This blog will chronical my progress through the racing season.More »