Caution : Throwing the Win(d)

I recently read an article by Jenna Fryer, an AP Auto Racing Writer, via the Advertiser Tribune in Tiffin Ohio.  The article was entitled “NASCAR Call To Throw Caution Isn’t Even A Debate.” I would encourage you all to read her article before reading my thoughts and opinions on her article and the subject in general.

I have some serious disagreements with her article.  For starters “The gripe could not have been more off base,” is just plain bold to state. There are always two sides to anything, and for that caller to make the comment, is welcoming articles like Jenna’s to be written, and then commentaries like mine to be written. I’ll accept the heat taken for what I write.

An area of the article I don’t see how it relates in any form or fashion is “Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti was just released from a hospital last week…” and what does this have to do with NASCAR throwing a caution?! All motor sports are dangerous, and the drivers realize that. Ms. Fryer, if you are going to get on the soap box and make a point, stick to it. If you want to have a beef with NASCAR, have a beef, but don’t support it by lumping in all the drivers hurt, injured, or killed from all types of motor sports. Your point is safety, and more specifically, safety in NASCAR. Don’t get off point.

Ms. Fryer states that “In a season that will be remembered for a rash of driver injuries, not throwing a caution would have been negligent of NASCAR.” I would love to know how that is the case? Caution flags DO NOT prevent wrecks or injuries. A caution simply raises awareness that there is a hazard on the track.  Taken directly from  the NASCAR website, “Yellow flag: Signals a caution, which tells drivers to slow down to a predetermined speed. Debris on the track, typically following a wreck, is often the chief culprit for this flag.” No where does it state that a yellow flag predicts and prevents wrecks. Quite the contrary actually. So, in my opinion, I don’t understand how it would have been negligent to NOT throw a caution?

The next statement that had me stunned was, “That this is even being discussed and there are people complaining about NASCAR’S decision, is appalling.” Well, let me tell you Ms. Fryer, that if you had not written about the caller to SiriusXM NASCAR, the topic would not be subject to large scale discussion. But because YOU took the action you did, and just one of the many places it ended up getting printed was in a paper of a town of 20,000 people, well…you are just begging for the topic to be discussed. Well done. I am appreciating the chance to share my opinions on a large scale now as well.

In regard to the whole Darrell Wallace Jr. bit, it makes sense he is afraid. But fear cannot control or dictate how the sport gets called. These drivers, this is their profession. Any one of us humans have to realize that no matter where, or how fast we go, whenever we enter in a vehicle, there is a chance we might not come back.  It seems the deeper issue here is if we are comfortable as participants and spectators of continuing to put our mind, body, and soul into something. If we aren’t, then why are we existing?

The line stating, “It’s on NASCAR to back them down, and at Talladega, where the scramble to the finish line is always, chaotic, NASCAR did the absolute right thing on Sunday.” I don’t think so, and I am going to let the picture below, of the AP website, prove my point.

Read the two headline stories that are side by side. Ironic?
Read the two headline stories that are side by side. Ironic?

The next bit of the article, from “To some fans,” and ending with “had up his sleeve,” is just really…unsettling. The whole point of NASCAR trying to even out the field and provide racing like that of which was on Sunday is to watch the cars RACE to the finish line as fast as they can, doing what it takes to get there. If you don’t, what is the point?

One of the lines in the article I couldn’t help but laugh at was “This isn’t a blood sport, drivers aren’t Roman gladiators, and there comes a time when a race is simply over.” If that is the case, then I suggest you call up Bruton Smith and tell him that you don’t agree with way Bristol Motor Speedway is advertised, as proven in the video below.

Lastly in the article, all this information about Tony Stewart, it just goes back to the whole motorsports is dangerous overall. I fully understand and accept that Ms. Fryer. I am certain all the drivers do too. Again, I believe safety is the topic and issue you wanted to write about, you just used NASCAR as a way to bring it up. While I don’t quite agree with the way you brought this point up, I do agree that “Nobody wants any more driver deaths or injuries.” I do believe there is common ground to be found and that there can be races that are entertaining, fast, AND safe. Then everyone can enjoy that from all the many areas to which we participate in our love for motorsports.

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I Shed A Little “Light” On The Subject

An interesting story in the automotive news world recently has been the issue over headlights. While the story has currently been on many automotive sites, I first read about it on Yahoo, and in any case, many seemed to make this issue seem very recent. However, after looking into it, the issue was actually started much further back, as  you can read in an article here that was written in February 2013 about it.

Audi has introduced “matrix LED” headlights to the world, which in short, is an advanced headlight with the ability to turn corners and automatically brighten or dim to properly illuminate the drivers view. The problem with this new system is that a United States law from 1968 says that there can only be two setting for headlights, high and low, thus, prohibiting the “matrix LED” from being on a vehicle sold in the US. Our friends in Europe will be able to enjoy Audi’s “bright” idea on their vehicles. I did do a little digging, and found what I believe is the law that states the high low beam issue. The more interesting thing to note is that before I found what I believe is the law, I am became much more aware of all the issues at hand.

One such issue is that due to the government and private sector being so distant from one another in advancement of technology, and the inability to communicate to one another about such technology; that in turn causes the government to cautiously proceed when they do not understand and cannot properly define or regulate certain technologies. That is one issue in this headlight ordeal.

Another is the overall American automotive headlight laws and regulations in general. Each state has their own laws and rules, which obviously must first adhere to the national laws. This is where I see a problem.

The problem is that not all headlights are created equal. We have all seen the cars equipped with the xenon headlights. Those emit a much different light that standard headlights. The sheer difference in light emitted by all sorts of headlights on cars on the road is really not a good case for the government to claim cars can only have two settings. Sure you can have a “high” and a “low” but the light emitted in those settings can vary from bulb to bulb and vehicle to vehicle. From what I understand, “matrix LED” equalizes what each car emits because it is senses the light surrounding your car. That would be much more beneficial to all drivers.

We have all come across a driver who has forgotten to turn off their brights. That can be unpleasant and sometimes it results in an accident. “Matrix LED” would eliminate that because it would dim for you. However, it is also fair to point out that, a system like this can be distracting and unpleasant as well. The ability for lights to change on their own in fractions of seconds could result in distracted driving in the same manner as our current method of headlight change, human error.

I can see the pros and cons of the issue. I understand both the government and the auto makers side of things. I also understand the consumer side. There are so many factors and opinions that can be weighed and expressed. Feel free to let me know what you think.

Tidbits for Today

Tidbits for today…

I read this article earlier in the week about the GT-R. He was making decent sense…until, “I want the GT-R to be more like an NSX…” …WHAT?! Um, the GT-R should NEVER be like the NSX. It was never supposed to be like the NSX, nor is it, nor shall it ever be. Then to say “Think 560-horsepower AWD FR-S and you’re most of the way there.”  In what world is the FR-S like the NSX?! You don’t even make sense in your trippy logic! To my fellow car blogger, you are a few cylinders short of a GT-R.

I read this article about Lincoln the other day and how this author feels the company just needs to be laid to rest. I do agree. I see the whole Ford Motor Company as Apple; in a league of their own, I will leave it at that (although I’m not a big fan of Apple, so you can assume my feelings about Ford). However, with that said, I would love to take a shot at marketing a revival for Lincoln. They need to associate themselves with comebacks. Comebacks that a younger and well established customer would recognize and think to themselves, I want to be a part of that. That is just the surface of ideas that I would use to market a comeback for Lincoln. I would go so far to say that they don’t even need to do any restyling, they just need much better marketing. Image consulting is more the concept.

I was very happy that Kyle Busch swept the weekend at Texas Motor Speedway! I am a huge Joe Gibbs Racing fan and Kyle Busch fan! Super excited for all parties!

In relation to the NASCAR, I did not see any problem with the NRA sponsoring the race. It makes complete sense to me from exactly what this article states, “Eddie Gossage, the president of the Texas Motor Speedway, told CBS Sports he actually hasn’t heard much in the way of controversy over the race. He said the NRA’s sponsorship is “not about politics. It’s about sports marketing.” ITS ABOUT SPORTS MARKETING. Perfect sense in my book.

There are certainly more tidbits I have spinning around in my head, and hopefully I will be able to get more out later this week. But these ones have been swirling for a few days now and I want to make sure I am staying current and relevant. It’s what you deserve. Feel free to tell me what you think in the comments below!

Hard to tell about the Chevelle

I have been reading a lot about this whole subject of Chevrolet working on trademarking the “Chevelle” name. There have been so many speculations, comments, critics, praises, hopes, dreams, spite, and just about any other feeling that can be evoked or thought that could be conceived about this subject; which is exactly why I want to weigh in.

Before I begin, I want to state that Barrett-Jackson is currently on while I am typing this and I just watched an original 1970 Challenger Hemi cross the block. One of the commentators mentioned how he prefers the Challenger over the Cuda. That thought provoked me even further to share my thoughts on this whole “Chevelle” topic.

Having stated that, back in 1970, there was so much sibling rivalry and same model competition in the automotive world that they probably had no idea how much that would influence the car world today when it comes to rarity and events like Barrett-Jackson. If you look at 1970 General Motors, you had the Chevelle, the GTO, the 442, and the GSX. Talk about sibling competition?! Not to mention all the options and trims for each model in their own right, there was seriously a plethora of choices for consumers.

In the present day competition is bleak and options are very limited compared to years past. Case in point, where is a CTS Coupe Convertible? Every vehicle I mentioned earlier from 1970 had a convertible option. I do realize much of that has to do with the ending and consolidation of many car brands. But in today’s age, I find the issue of sibling competition a sad excuse to not produce, or limit any other aspect of the vehicle. GM has already governed the power of the Camaro in order not to stifle with the pedigree of the Corvette. But why does it really matter? Even amongst their own models do the cars get limited! For example the Corvette Z06 and the Corvette ZR1; the Z06 is kept restrained below the ZR1 just for nostalgia sake. That is ridiculous in my opinion and that is part of what makes this “Chevelle” issue so difficult.

Autoblog has an article that states two speculations. The first is that the new “Chevelle” could become the Code 130R Concept and fill a slot in the stable below the Camaro. I think there might be something to that happening simply because there is another rumor swirling that there soon could be a baby Corvette the “Corvette Coupe” coming. I would think it will be like a Saturn Sky Redline (which pretty much was a baby Corvette) before it chopped.  It would make sense for GM to start making smaller models of their bigger siblings. I am all about more options and more models. The second speculation is that the recently introduced Chevrolet SS could become the Chevelle and go the way Dodge did with the Charger by making it a four door. I am not quite sure why Chevrolet made the SS, but I think it is meant to be used as a practical, in use concept. From there, I don’t really know. I do not agree with the speculation that the SS will become the Chevelle.

In my opinion Chevrolet currently has everything they need for a Chevelle. To put it simply, CTS Coupe = Chevelle. I apologize for taking so long to get to such a simple point. Do a little retro-mod designing, give it all the motor options the Camaro has, and you have a Chevelle. That would hold more true to what many people already know that a Chevelle is, and instill that image in a newer generation who has yet to know it.

I wrote a blog in 2009 about an issue very similar to this regarding the Pontiac G8, Chevrolet Caprice, and Monte Carlo.

So, I think GM should bring back the Chevelle in a retro-mod style on a CTS Coupe chassis with all the Camaro motor options. That would be a worthy Chevelle, and if I had any money, I’d buy it. From there, Chevrolet could possibly resurrect the Monte Carlo name plate and place it on the SS. Bring back some friendly competition between the siblings of the brands and their own models. Give the buyers options and pride in owning something. It is evident that the wide variety brings longevity to the car hobby, because as I write this last sentence, a 1970 Buick GSX goes across the block on Barrett-Jackson.

A Patriotic Purge

So there are a few things on my mind today.

I read an article talking about how a guy is selling off his entire project car collection. I have been thinking that people like that should really get into finding the right home for those vehicles. Someone out there would absolutely appreciate the project car you have. In all reality I think the problem is timing and communication. When people want a car, they are going to find someone who has it. The problem is that many of the people who have the cars are not communicating that they have them. Its a sad day when amazing vehicles get hauled off the the junk yard because the owner thinks no one wants it.

I also read about how rally racing is probably the most expensive and hardest forms of racing. I have never been to an actual rally but I can imagine that it is more fun for the participants than the spectators. That is probably a factor into why it costs so much. Then again, there can be watered down versions of rallies that one can do with friends on public roads. The kicker there is just gas prices.

I am pretty impressed at the number of first time winners there have been in NASCAR this year. David Ragan is a wonderful driver and deserved to win last weekend in Daytona. Congrats to David Ragan. This upcoming Kentucky race should be pretty thrilling. These powerhouse teams really have not shown bright this year. Then again, was it really the teams or more so the individuals? If anything, this year has shown it is all about the individuals. Just take a look at the top 12 drivers. Then again, the teams have become tighter simply because of the tension on the track between individuals and the ability for more than one individual on one team to consistently do well. This chase will not be over till its over and I am completely ecstatic to watch it unfold!

I spent a little time with my friend today looking up Hot Wheels on Ebay. Pricing out cars we already have and looking up the cars we don’t. I love Hot Wheels but its hard sometimes to justify buying them when I could save the money to buy a real car. I guess being a passionate automotive enthusiast, I consider such things.

I was also thinking today about how the new styling of the Chrysler 300 would make a perfect coupe. Since the newer styled 300’s came out,  they have always had that watered down Bentley / Rolls Royce look. They have a chance now to take an “Imported from Detroit” vehicle and give it some flair, similar to a two door Audi/Bentley, since that’s what I think it would most collectively look like if it were a coupe. Not to mention that Cadillac has made a gorgeous coupe out of its well loved CTS. Then they hopped it up on some supercharging steroids to make it a CTS-V. Such an epic vehicle. I am a huge fan of GM and particularly Cadillac. However, I will support any American made company, such as Chrysler if they built a world class coupe. After the fourth of July, I have been all but thrilled to be as patriotic as possible. Hopefully the American automotive industry will do the same! 😀 God bless the USA!

Tow Trucks: Tough as Nails

This blog is full automotiveness. And honestly, if there are hero’s of the automotive world, its tow trucks, semis, and any other heavy duty vehicle and especially those who operate them.

 

Tow trucks fascinate me. There is just something about them that makes me want to cry out “That thing is so BA!” The sheer size and ability of them, especially the rotators, is like a Clydesdale that can perform dental surgery.

 

I’ve always had a fascination with them. It probably came from my dads side of the family. My great grandpa, who I never knew, used to drive trucks from the 30’s through the 60’s and around the 40’s purchased a junk yard and drove a tow trucks. My grandpa, he drove ¼ and ½ ton trucks in the military. I am so thankful I caught that bug…eh trait from them. One of my favorite books as a child was “How Many Tow Trucks Can A Tow Truck Tow?” J I want to get my CDL someday, hopefully sooner rather than later.

 

Knowing those roots, the flame only got bigger when SPEED channel debuted “Wrecked” in 2008. Those guys from O’Hare Towing in Chicago and their pristine white and green towing machines, I was absolutely glued to the screen. Up-righting an overturned semi, moving a bridge, towing one of the largest mobile cranes in Chicago, it was all in a days work for those guys.

 

Because of that show I have set a goal to own a rotator. I have searched Ebay Motors high and low, wishing one of them would get in my price range.

 

Today I was watching SPEED, and their new series “American Trucker” came on. The episode featured Diamond Heavy Haul Inc. A huge heavy haul company based in Ohio (yay Ohio! I’m originally from there!) that specializes in moving the heaviest of the heavy. More like gargantuan things. Those trucks, and the people who drive them…absolutely tough as nails in my mind, and freaking brilliant. The sheer logistics that go into one of those hauls; just blows my mind. Absolutely addicting!

 

Tow trucks, heavy hauls, and brilliant people. That sounds like a recipe for success to me! Hopefully someday I’ll get to that point!

 

A Proportionate Problem

Something I have always struggled with as far as automotive design goes is the use of un-proportionate parts/designs etc. It drives me nuts. Whether it be to big a spoiler, not big enough spoiler, side grilles with no purpose and horrible lines, headlights that are just ugly looking because they are too big or small, the list could go on and on.

Today I saw a picture of a Ram that made me really think. The truck is MASSIVE, and its ride height is incredibly high, yet with such a beastly truck, there was one thing that looked incredibly out of place, incredibly un-proportionate. The tires. Why does such an aggressive vehicle deserve such lil un-proportionate tires? I understand that there has to be fender clearance if it is loaded down, however, the ride height is so great, it really makes me wonder, even with a weighted back end, how low is that thing going to go? If it were to clear all that space, that would raise two problems, one, that’s probably WAY too much weight, and two, that would cause the nose to be so dang high, you wouldn’t have any real good maneuverability or sight line. So, this insignificant problem, my observance being annoying, thinks that they should increase the tire size of vehicles like this. It would make it look much more proportional.