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This is the archive for January 2007

Montoya already producing wins

Chip Ganassi is already congratulating himself, surely, for hiring Juan Pablo Montoya as Montoya, along with Scott Pruett and Salvador Duran finished first in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona endurance race this past weekend. Montoya was a huge part of that win, he pulled the Chip Ganassi Racing's Lexus Riley Daytona Prototype into the lead for the first time during the first three hours of the race and again with under three hours to go.

The team completed 668 laps and 2,378 miles on the road course around Daytona. Just to give you an idea of how far that is, I live in Colorado and Ron lives in Kentucky. In order to go 2,378 miles, I'd have to drive from my Colorado to Kentucky and back again, and there'd still be 48 more miles to drive after that.

With this win Montoya joins the great Mario Andretti as the only drivers who have won the endurance race at Daytona, the Indianapolis 500, an American open-wheel championship, a Formula One race. Montoya hopes to add to this with a win at the Daytona 500, something Andretti accomplished in 1967.

While no one expects Montoya to win that race this year, it marks hopefully a strong start to his latest addition to his racing career as a stock car driver in the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit. And I'm sure Montoya will be glad to be driving a vehicle where you can actually see the flames when the car catches on fire, and hopefully he'll find it more fulfilling than his last few years on the Formula One circuit.

For the record, Jeff Gordon's team finished third after suffering a prolonged pit stop during the final half-hour of the race, due to brake problems that caused an off-road excursion.

Martin Truex, Jr. couldn't hold it...

It seems that some NASCAR guys haven't learned from Jimmie Johnson's accident at all. In fact, most people know that drunken antics get you arrested or hurt. Too bad for Martin Truex, Jr., he was too drunk to care. After an officer caught him pissing, dick in hand, he was arrested. Of course, the officer had to wait until he was done, and he had to very carefully arrest him. Hey, he was drunk and couldn't wash his hands...

(Edit from Ron: Dontrelle Willis, anyone?)

As the story from the Daytona Beach News-Journal stated, the officer went up and asked whether the piss was worth the 100 dollar fine. Of course, you don't ask a drunk that. A clue, officer. If you're that fucked, it probably is worth it.

Of course, the cop made the observation that Truex was bombed. So after having to watch his hands while arresting him, Truex was in cuffs and off to jail for charges of disorderly intoxication. To Martin I say, hey, at least you didn't fall out of a golf cart...

Officially Chasing

NASCAR officially announced today the changes made to the 2007 version of the chase.

• 400-point cutoff eliminated
• Top-12 drivers qualify
• Point totals adjusted to 5,000
• Drivers "seeded" by wins
• 10-point bonus for each win

This means that drivers can now earn a maximum of 195 points per race; in 2006 the maximum earned was 190 points per race. So, what exactly do these changes mean for the Chase? The best way to really examine that is to see how it affected past history.

If these rules had been in place before, Jeff Gordon would have already won 5 championships. Jimmy Johnson would have been celebrating his second championship in three years in 2006, instead of his first. And in 2006, Tony Stewart would have finished second in the standings instead of 11th. Additionally, in this past year, Kasey Kahne would have began the race for the chase ranked first in the standings, instead of 10th.

So, these new rules will definitely affect the future -- is that for the best or the worst? Only time will tell. But most seem to like the idea of drivers being rewarded more for wins than they were in the past. The only part of the changes that appears to have fans divided for and against is the idea of expanding the field to 12. Fans against this idea argue that 12 will make it less elite, less competitive, and not as exciting. While fans on the other side of the coin say that 12 is just right, and drivers often ranked 11th and 12th do deserve to be in the Chase because of wins.

Personally, I think the changes are great. I especially love the change about seeding the drivers into the chase by number of wins and I think that the changes will make the 2007 season either incredibly dull or incredibly exciting to see who will win the championship.

Thunder at Daytona -- Take two

Jaime Sue is back with another NASCAR update for you, as round two of the Cup Testing ends. It's going to be an interesting season for NASCAR, but before I force y'all to sit through a bunch of little updates about the Nextel Cup series, the SB crew has decided to try their hands at fantasy racing this season. So, if you're interested in joining us at Yahoo for this session of fantasy racing, drop your email in the comments and we'll get an invite sent your way.

- After testing, drivers have decided that "the car of tomorrow" really won't be that bad after all. Kurt Busch became the first driver to get the car of tomorrow to top 190 miles per hour during the third day of testing.

- R.I.P Benny Parsons

- 72-year-old James Hylton is attempting to qualify for the Daytona 500, his first attempt since 1983. He hopes to be the oldest man to qualify for a NASCAR race. The current record holders are Jim Fitzgerald (Riverside, 1987) and Hershel McGriff (Sonoma, 1993), who were both 65 at the time.

- All four truck series manufacturers have changed the style of their trucks to debut with the start of the season in February.

And that's it for this NASCAR update, but I'm sure there will be more to come as the season nudges closer to a start.

Benny Parsons 1941 - 2007

Benny Parsons 1941 - 2007
Benny Parsons
12 July 1941 – 16 January 2007
Benny Parsons, former NASCAR Champion, passed away today at the age of sixty-five. He died of complications due to lung cancer, a disease he'd been fighting since the summer of 2006.

Some of the older readers might remember Parsons as the 1973 Winston (now Nextel) Cup Champion. Parsons amassed 21 wins, 283 top ten finishes and twenty poles over his Cup career that stretched from 1964 - 1988.

But even more of us remember Benny Parsons for his announcing career for NASCAR. He called the races from the booth for both TNT and NBC, a voice that fans started to miss in the summer of 2006, when Benny announced that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. During his announcing career he won both an ESPY and a Cable ACE award. He also hosted his own radio show, and as the times changed, even began hosting his own weekly podcast.

Radio Host, Announcer, Champion... and above all these things Benny Parsons was a great man and he will be sorely missed by the NASCAR community. Rest in peace, Benny.

39 Days and Counting

The NASCAR preseason officially began with the start of the preseason thunder at Daytona on Monday, and Jaime Sue is here to fill you in on a few of the stories going on within NASCAR and help rev your engines and build your excitement for the upcoming Daytona 500. I'm personally already excited and cannot wait for Daytona.

Jimmie Johnson's hurt wrist - As many of you know, Jimmie hurt his wrist while goofing off at a golf tournament. He fell off the top of a golf cart. But worry not, for Jimmie as he showed up to test at Daytona on Monday and has provided several of the top test speeds so far this week. While he is wearing a splint on his wrist to be cautious, expect it to be gone within a week.

Where will Dale Jr. go in 2008? - Personally, I hate Jr. and could care less where the little tart ends up, but I won't let my hate prevent me from bringing you the scoop. Currently Junior's contract is set to run out at the end of 2007, and while he is in talks with DEI Racing to renew his contract, there are still rumors swirling that his frosty, at best, relationship with step-mommy dearest might lead Junior to take himself to a different race team. There is also talk that Junior is making some demands, such as a ownership stake in DEI, before he'll agree to a new contract.

Changes to the Chase are looming - Changes to the Chase format are expected to be officially announced during the Charlotte media tour. But a few of those changes are expected to be expanding the Chase field from 10 to 12, getting rid of the "within 400 points of the leader" clause, and finally rewarding drivers more for winning a race by giving them a ten-point bonus.

Ricky Rudd to race full time - Yes Rudd fans, and I know you're there, Ricky Rudd has joined Robert Yates Racing and is committed to racing a full-time schedule in 2007. His retirement lasted all of one season; welcome back Ricky.

Car of Tomorrow to Debut in March - NASCAR's "Car of Tomorrow" is set to debut at Bristol in March. Dodge and Chevy have already announced their intentions to use different cars for the new chassis. Chevrolet will be going from the Monte Carlo to the Impala and Dodge will be going from the Charger to the Avenger.

Busch Series no more - No, they're not getting rid of this division, but Anheuser-Busch has officially announced that they will no longer sponsor the series after the end of the 2007 season. Who do you think should step-up to the plate to sponsor the series?

Well, that's it for this catch-up on NASCAR news. But I promise to bring you more as the Preseason Thunder continues on. 39 days is too far away.

Bobby Hamilton 1957 - 2007

Bobby Hamilton 1957-2007
Bobby Hamilton 1957 - 2007

Cancer claimed another life today as Bobby Hamilton passed away after losing his 11-month battle with neck cancer.

Hamilton's NASCAR career spanned three decades and in these three decades he amassed four wins, sixty-seven top ten finishes and five poles. His last win came in 2001 at Talladega, the first restrictor plate race after Dale Earnhardt's death. The entire 500-mile race ran completely caution free, and when Hamilton emerged from his car after winning the race, he had to be given oxygen. Additionally, he was also the 2004 Craftsman Truck Series Champion.

Bobby Hamilton is survived by his wife, granddaughter, and son, Bobby Hamilton Jr., who is assumed to take over the reigns of Bobby Hamilton Racing (BHR). Hamilton Jr. also took over driving for his father in the truck series after Hamilton was diagnosed with neck cancer.