February 28, 2012

The Big Bang Theory

While workers were busy cleaning up the mess,
Brad Keselowski got busy tweeting. (Getty)
Before I start drawing comparisons to explosions or igniting anything, let's take a minute to appreciate that everyone is safe.  Dan Wheldon's death last October was a tough reminder of just how dangerous the sport of auto racing can be.

Sure, we can look back now and make jokes about the odds of Juan Pablo Montoya having his car fail in the exact spot necessary to spin into a jet dryer.  "It takes just Juan driver to take out a jet dryer," or "the probability of that was Juan in a million."  Yep, the jokes are making their rounds today.

But, we're lucky to be able to joke about that and fortunate that everyone was ok.  The mass of the explosion and the speed with which the flames spread in Turn 3 was very dangerous.  I'm thankful that everyone was unharmed.

It's only because of the immediate response of Daytona's track services and plain, old, good fortune that we can all make light of this, and I can make inferences to the accident as I discuss Brad Keselowski's Twitter account.

February 22, 2012

FANTASY: Great American Tradition

Daytona 500 Fantasy Preview

The pack is back, ya' heard!? (Getty)
There's nothing quite like the Daytona 500.  It's unique in that it's the season's first race, while also being the season's highest profile race.  That's not to suggest that the quality of the race falls off or that the stakes will be lower by the time NHMS gets a few pieces of the pie in the summer.  It's just unusual for the "Super Bowl" of the sport to be the first event of the season.

This is the "Great American Race" and it takes on a unique life of its own.  For starters, it kicks off the race season.  With the opening of a new year, there's always an eternal optimism that springs from fans with the notion that their favorite driver (or team, in the case of other sports) has a shot at a championship.

Then, there's the prestige of the race.  While every other race has sold its name to one sponsor or another, the Daytona 500 remains a unique breed.  It's like the Rose Bowl in college football; you can tack all the presenting sponsors you want on to the end, but no sponsor is going to take precedence over the historic name.

February 21, 2012

2012 Green Flag Preview

It's time to wave the flag on 2012! (Getty)
It's time to get ready for the 2012 NASCAR season, so let's open up the closet and dust off the flags, as we get ready to wave them.

Who can we expect to have a big season and who might look like they're racing under yellow?  Here's a preview of some of the names to keep track of as the pack races to start/finish to open up the season.

Checkered Flag Drivers
Drivers that should lead the pack this season.

Jimmie Johnson - For the first time in half a decade, Johnson is no longer the reigning champion.  However, that didn't stop NASCAR Media from voting him as the top favorite to claim the Cup this season.  He's always a contender and should bounce back into form this year.

February 17, 2012

Gettin' Goosebumps for 2012

She has yet to race in the Sprint Cup Series,
but Danica-mania is in full effect. (Getty)
There's nothing better than the start of the season!  Everyone's in first-place, every fan base is full of optimism and the year is a blank canvas just waiting to have paint thrown on it.

As someone that grew up on "stick and ball" sports, I've always loved that time.  Whether it was the freshly-mowed green grass of MLB's Opening Day, the cool autumn breeze for the kickoff of the NFL or the crispness of the rink air for the NHL's first puck drop, the start of the season is always fun.

But, nothing quite compares to the roar of the engines in NASCAR.

While the other sports raise excitement, NASCAR raises hairs.  On the commute to work this morning, I listened to Dick Berggren talking on Rock 101.1 about some of the 2012 storylines.  I started to envision the famous command to fire engines, the field roaring out of turn 4 and the green flag waving at Daytona International Speedway.  As I did, I started to get a tingling and I could feel the goosebumps that certainly weren't being caused by excessively mild weather.

It's racing season, NASCAR fans!

February 2, 2012

What's Your NASCAR Fantasy?

Danica Patrick is ready for the Sprint
Cup Series. Are you? (Getty Images)
In 2011, we launched The Granite Stripe blog.  While fellow blogger Travis Barrett focused on regional racing, I spent my time mainly discussing the Sprint Cup Series, since that's what I knew best in the motorsports world.  Each week throughout the season, I'd provide a comprehensive look at my Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing team for the week in hopes that I could introduce the game to NHMS and its fans.

It's 2012 now and it's a big time for me as we have officially launched a Fans of NHMS group on Yahoo.  In today's world of social media, fans have a closer interaction with NASCAR and, in our case, a speedway than ever before.  By creating this league, we've bridged what little gap there is left between fans and track.  NHMS Exec. VP/GM Jerry Gappens will have his own team, along with other track employees, like myself (*GraniteStripe.com), and fans will have the chance to prove their knowledge against those of us in the industry.