The Byron Bet

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I wish I had gone to a university that sponsored a NASCAR team.

After Jeff Gordon departed from NASCAR, the number 24 car was left open in the Rick Hendrick stable. While Chase Elliott was chosen to fill that seat immediately, everyone knew Chase would go on to pilot the 9, like his dad, so everyone wondered who would eventually take the wheel of the 24. When the dust settled and the ink dried, William Byron, at the age of 20, was going to be driving the iconic number 24 Chevrolet Camaro.

Now, after 2 years, he has no wins, only 22 top 10 finishes, and 5 poles. Sadly, he has not been all that successful even though he has Chad Knaus as his crew chief. Chad helped another driver at Hendrick, Jimmie Johnson, win seven championships. William has the best racing equipment money can buy with one of the best crew chiefs and yet he can’t seem to put it all together to get the car to victory lane.

William reminds me of the third Cars movie. He is very good at virtual racing and training on simulators. We saw during the hiatus that he is clearly good at iRacing. He won twice during the break for the pandemic. But, he isn’t quite like the Cars movie in regard to the digital talent translating to the real-life track. Maybe he should simply stick to virtual racing? NASCAR might be branching off in that direction someday sooner rather than later, and he could be a star that transitions from real life to virtual.

I don’t want to speak ill of him though. He might simply be in a situation like Joey Lagano was. Even though Joey had top tier equipment at JGR in his first few years, he certainly wasn’t showing the results of having it. Once he moved to Penske, he has won numerous times and even has a championship to his name. Could Byron still be getting his legs in the sport, and need to move to a different team to experience success? Only time will tell with that. but I do think that this might be the case. I think he still needs time and potentially a new team or manufacturer in order to start experiencing success. That is what I am betting on. The real question will be if he will ever leave Hendrick?

Lastly, but more of a side note. Byron attends Liberty University, that also sponsors him. I wonder if he pays tuition? I am also somewhat jealous because I went to Regent University, a rival to Liberty. Regent is not anywhere near Liberty in regard to campus size, student population, sports, or anything else, except maybe the televangelists that founded each of them, and they are both in Virginia. I would have loved to have gone to a school that sponsored a NASCAR team, even if it was a non-winning driver.

Did Kyle Really Wreck Chase?

Last Wednesday we saw towards the end of the race at Darlington, Kyle Busch slide up and bump the left rear of Chase Elliott causing him to slide into the inside wall and take him out of the race. That has since exploded into the headlines and has caused quite a stir among fans and non fans alike.

It is understandable that Chase was not a happy camper. Kyle claimed it was a mistake on his end. Even though he owned up to it, it didn’t make Chase or his crew chief feel much better. Many people believe Kyle intentionally wrecked Chase. While I am a fan of Kyle, and I’m not going to defend him exactly, I want to look at the situation and point out a few things

First, no matter how professional someone is, they are human and can still and do make mistakes.

Second, it has been a while since they have been in the cars. They have been doing iRacing, which is vastly different than real life.

Thirdly, the spotters are not in their normal positions. If you’ve ever stood in the top row at one of the tracks, it’s very hard to see the front stretch when the cars are up against the wall. Considering that is where the incident occurred, it makes sense the spotters might not have been much help there.

Fourth and lastly, really look and watch the footage. If you watch, when Chase and Denny pass Kyle who goes to the inside in/off turn four, they are bumper to bumper and cruising. Since Chase was so close to Denny coming off turn four, then as they went down the front stretch, Chase does not seem to stay connected to Denny. He slows down and begins to put a full car length gap in between them. At that point I think Kyle is mirror driving to make sure Kevin Harvick is not coming up too fast to prevent him from going up and getting in line. The problem really is that it seems that the entire top line slows down at the same pace. Kyle continues the pace he was holding and simply moved up into a gap he thought was there. You might see it differently, but I have simply shared my view and opinion of the situation.

Look closely at the shadow gap between Denny and Chase. It gets much larger as it goes down the front stretch.

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I find it interesting that probably the most controversial drivers, Kyle Busch, has created a huge ripple with the sports most popular driver, Chase Elliott. It makes for great entertainment and a YouTuber that I follow, David Land, sums it up well in his video. I’m so glad NASCAR is back and this situation, regardless of which side you are on, has elevated the sport into everyday conversation. That type of marketing is priceless.

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You can’t quite see Chase’s left headlight.
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Now you can see the left headlight. Kyle is now moving up.
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Look at the gap! That is a whole car length behind Denny.

Let me know below what you think.

Automotive Literature

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It was during a study hall my junior year of high school that a huge aspect of my automotive passion grew into something far larger than just being a kid who liked cars. I wanted to do something with that passion. The pivotal moment was seeing the January 2007 Automobile magazine with the Nissan GT-R concept on the cover. After picking it up and soaking in every bit of information about that car, along with all of Ezra Dyer and Jean Jennings article, I made up my mind. I wanted to be an automotive journalist.

Upon going into my senior year, I took all the journalism classes in high school I could. I was late to the party on most, being that many were designed to be taken as a freshman so you could write for the school paper by your senior year. So, I didn’t get to do that. But every class assignment I wrote was car related some how.

I wasn’t keen on going to college but my parents wanted me to, so I went. I was accepted into Regent University, the first and only college I applied for. They didn’t have a journalism program for undergrad when I arrived, but by my sophomore year a bachelors journalism program was created and I immediately declared that my major. All throughout college I wrote about cars for every assignment that was students choice to write about. The school had no newspaper, and was pioneering the digital media segment. I wasn’t on any of those teams or classes, so there was not a lot of potential from my school to really get a solid foundation towards a career in journalism.

Even though the internet was becoming a large source for up to date automotive content, automotive magazines were some of my favorite things to get information from. It was also a lot of fun to get things in the mail. Plus they could be had for so cheap, that even as a college kid, I could afford them. Automobile, Road & Track, Car and Driver, Motor Trend, and Hot Rod, showed up on my doorstep faithfully every month. Flipping through the pages, seeing the wonderful images of cars in hand, smelling the paper that was freshly printed, it was wonderful.

Sadly, I never took the necessary steps to get into the automotive community. My passion was still primarily a dream. I didn’t own a cool car, I never applied for internships (the economy was really sucky from 07-11 while I was in college), and sadly, I didn’t utilize the internet to my advantage. I blame myself for a lot of missed opportunities and not working hard enough to become an automotive journalist. I never really believed in myself to achieve my dream.

Regardless of what happened in the past, automotive literature has kept my spark alive. I was able to write for Barn Finds for a while, which was an awesome opportunity. Now, I am taking my automotive passion and actually applying myself. These blogs will hopefully keep coming. I appreciate all of you who read them.

Kyle Larson-NASCAR-and BAD words

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Breaking over the weekend is the news that Kyle Larson, driver of the number 42 Chevrolet Camaro for Chip Ganassi Racing, has recently been suspended indefinitely, without pay, for using a racial slur in an iRacing event on Sunday evening.

I do not support cursing, vulgar, or derogatory language. That is uncalled for and shouldn’t be used in any circumstances. While I don’t support that or do that, I know that race car drivers, under pressure tend to spout things off. Radioactive clips have lots of bleeps. If you go to a race, you can hear many things live on scanners between drivers and crew. While, they might use specific words that Kyle used, they still use foul language. When is NASCAR going to start holding the drivers accountable for what is said on their radios during a race? Clearly it matters to them when words are said outside of their jurisdiction. Maybe they should work on cleaning up their own mess? Again, I do not support what Kyle said. I am just trying to state that the issue at hand is in NASCAR already, it just has been emphasized by this circumstance.

NASCAR has their driver for diversity program and it doesn’t look good for them and their image when the two most current drivers in the news are ones that NASCAR is trying to increase the amount of and appeal to fan based wise. Then there is the whole is this a video game or not debate. Maybe we just need to get back to real racing as soon as possible because it seems like iRacing is hurting NASCAR more than helping. We won’t have a whole lot of drivers or sponsors left, regardless of the worldwide pandemic issues that are already making things difficult.

The small, sad ending to all of this is that, it is said that Kyle didn’t even know he was invited to the race on Sunday and he wasn’t quite sure if he was going to even attend the race. He said he was most likely going to be spending time with family. At this point, I am pretty sure he wishes he had just stuck to family instead of getting on to go race.

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!

Road Racing

I am watching the replay of Sunday’s NASCAR road race at Sonoma. I am quite impressed by the strategy and driving of Kurt Busch and his team. This season has been one of the best seasons of NASCAR to date, at least I think. Not one particular team is really dominant which provides everyone the ability to get to victory lane. There are sometimes I wonder if certain things don’t happen because they are planned, but if that were the case, it would be getting so obvious that people would catch on. If that was the case in years past, it is getting harder to recognize.

I really do think that NASCAR should really do more road races. Maybe take one of the Indy circuits and give that a try. Particularly in Baltimore. I have also been thinking that it would be fun to do a double header on the same day or at least within 24 hours. Say NASCAR goes to a mile or so track with lights. They run in the morning a full race, for lack of better words, pause and rest until the evening, and then do it all over again, starting back where they ended up from the first race and the winner of the second race is the official winner. It would provide some flare and endurance to the sport and make the whole event more like the Rolex series and such. Because the drivers are already doing so many other racing series, it would be good practice endurance wise for them, and also provide a chance for those who have never done it, to get that experience of racing for 2 races straight. All of this is completely feasible. Its a matter of actually convincing the people in charge to do it. Hopefully someone is listening! 😀