Pre-season NASCAR already starting to heat up!

With the 50th running of the Daytona 500 fast approaching all eyes will no doubt be on the #88 and Hendrick Motorsport's newest family member Dale Jr. This past Saturday Dale Jr. showed the racing world his talent and will to return to victory lane as he won the Budweiser Shootout in dramatic fashion. With so much pressure on himself and a world of eyes looking upon him I was so happy to see him capture the checkered flag in his very first start at Hendrick Motorsports and despite it being a non points event this win was so significant and in a way a statement to the racing world.

Unlike other sports the Cup series starts its season with its largest event on its most historic track as the Daytona 500 is sometimes referred to as NASCAR's Super Bowl. This race has proven to be so elusive to so many great drivers over the years and perhaps no win in its history is more noteworthy than Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s when he finally won the  event in 1998.

In recognition of the 10th anniversary of this momentous event a special diecast has been created in Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s memory and this unique design will collaborate the paint scheme of his 1998 winning car along with the new design of the COT. Pre-orders are now being taken at racingusa.com. I wish I had room for another die cast!! Okay I need to make some room.

The Daytona 500 is also unique in the way that its qualifying is set up as only the front row are set to start there after initial qualifying while the rest of the field remains to be set with only the top 35 positions being guaranteed a spot in Sunday's event. On Thursday 2 Gatorade Duel events will be held which will then set up the inside and outside rows respectfully making the starting lineup final. Of course any type of major changes including engine, transmission, or the need for a back up car will result in those drivers going to the back of the field come race day but as history has proven, when it comes to restrictor plate races the necessity of a good starting spot isn't anywhere near as important as it would be on a short track, road course, or even an intermediate track where good track position is much more essential. The COTs appeared to perform exceptionally in the draft in Saturday's event and with Sunday's race being 500 miles I think we're in for a really great race!

When it comes to "practice", Allen Iverson's press conference makes me smile every time that I see it…. :P…sorry I really thought it was funny and I thought he was right too!….but NASCAR's "practice" involved some extra curricular activity "allegedly" in the NASCAR hauler (kind of like being called to the principals' office) which wasn't so funny as reports say that Tony Stewart "allegedly" punched Kurt Busch in the face. :O The season hasn't even begun and Tony Stewart has already hit someone…and not with his car. I'm sorry if I sound a bit jaded as Tony Stewart is one of the greatest drivers in the world no doubt but sometimes his emotions get the better of him at times. We're yet to hear of any fines or reprimands as NASCAR appears to be keeping the issue under wraps carefully…after all it was…"practice." I love when ESPN shows Allen Iverson talking about "practice" and they even made a humorous reference to it in a commercial of his awhile back with….I think it was Carmello Anthony. Hmmm…since I'm kind of talking about basketball right now I'd just like to say that I hope that Shaq performs well with the Phoenix Suns as I'm a fan of theirs! 🙂 Bill Walton really shouldn't have said those things about him and I think it was so unnecessary. 😦 Wait, not to forget about Kurt Busch the alleged recipient of Stewart's fist, he has been punched before by a very angry Jimmy Spencer after making some very controversial remarks on his in-car radio during a race event involving "pay back and the wall" and it was kind of eerie how Busch's car actually ran out of gas right in front of Mr. Spencer's trailer after the race. Can you imagine Jimmy's surprise in seeing Busch seemingly stop right in front of his "doorstep?" I'm not a Kurt Busch fan but I don't dislike him in any way but perhaps this history of being punched has more to do with him than the one throwing the fist… Jimmie Spencer was suspended for a race that year and some of the fans at Bristol Motor Speedway were holding up signs that read "Free Jimmy!" :O

I've seemed to have gotten off track here…no pun intended… :P…Jimmie Johnson the 2 time defending series champion and my second favorite driver (behind or maybe beside Jeff Gordon….let's call it a tie right now)…my tied for first favorite driver barely edged out Michael Waltrip for Sunday's pole position starting spot and it's really nice to see Michael Waltrip on the front row after last year's unfortunate event. I think he's a really nice person and while last year's violations really looked bad it's good to see him in a position to redeem himself to his fellow drivers and fans alike at this year's event. 🙂 Toyota struggled for the most of last season with their Camry making its debut into the series but this year looks to be much stronger for them as early testing and the Budweiser Shootout has evidenced. Any sport can further excel with increased diversity and Toyota brings just that and their timing seems to be just right for this series. It took awhile for Toyota to grow in the Craftsman Truck series but they've really persevered there and are now enjoying the benefits of their R&D and great dedication and likewise I think they will become a force to be reckoned with in NASCAR's top series now called the Sprint Cup. Most notably is Joe Gibbs Racing moving from Chevy to Toyota this season and with drivers such as Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, and J.J. Yeley their future looks really bright in this new manufacturing marriage.

So much to look forward to this season and the excitement that is NASCAR has already begun…

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About MorningBerryz

Lover and free spirit who's interests in Japanese culture and the like are insatiable. I am of pure Japanese/Okinawan descent, love my cats, sleep and am a bit naughty at times :).
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22 Responses to Pre-season NASCAR already starting to heat up!

  1. Mikey says:

    Should really exciting this year! Let's see if Jimmy can make it 4 consecutive wins in row at LV ! I was thinking that you should make a ranking poll like Hello!Blog has for the H!P girls!! "Just pick the cutest one" 😛

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  2. Saburo says:

    I read an interesting "NASCAR 101" primer on the upcoming season:
    http://east-coast-bias.blogspot.com/2008/02/five-steps-to-sounding-smart-about.html
    Will the new team at Hendrick Motorsports work out? I never thought it was even an issue.

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  3. Tiggerkun says:

    You never cease to amaze me. Just a well rounded person. That's interesting to hear that Toyota is now involved in NASCAR. I never imagined that a Camry would ever be competing against Fords and Chevys. I might take a peek just for that. I'm sure Toyota has a lot of catching up to do. But, we're talking about practice. Not the actual game. But, practice…sorry! I just had to throw that in there. tig

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  4. Mikey says:

    Did you hear about this?! :Engine
    problems
    at
    Hendrick!!Engine
    issues
    sideline
    Hendrick
    cars

    NASCAR

    Yahoo!
    Sportshttp://sports.yahoo.com/nascar/news?slug=txdaytona500hendrick&prov=st&type=lgns

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  5. snow-flower says:

    I just fed your fish. Lol

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  6. I was just watching the Nationwide series and Toyota really looks strong!! Jimmie Johnson has really made LVMS a second home of his. 🙂 Even after they repaved the track he's still so fast there! Lowe's Motor Speedway is his first home and it's interesting that it's his primary sponsor's track. That was scary but it looks like Hendrick's has solved their engine problems and just in time! A 3rd place finish for Dale Jr. was really great although I'm sure he would've liked to win 3 in a row. 9 am tomorrow!! The big race is on!

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  7. Mikey says:

    I must attend LV this year! Too bad I must miss tomorrow's race! 😦 Hopefully, I can follow it on the Internet… Thinking of getting a Tivo.I am reading Musashi. Awesome so far! 🙂 And I just posted on VOX about the best way to get upgraded from dialup. ;)Glad they solved the engine problems. What car do you drive? I have a Camry! 😛

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  8. Thank you for the link Saburo! Hmmm..are you watching the Daytona 500 tomorrow? I know it's not your thing but I'm just curious.

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  9. Saburo says:

    Nah, probably not. I just got the link from Deadspin and thought it was interesting for non-fans like myself. Gotta love the drama!

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  10. Hmm…I think that most people find it strange that the same person loves NASCAR & J-Pop at the same time! 😛 When Joe Gibbs racing announced last season that they would be changing to Toyota this season I was so shocked and i wondered how Tony Stewart would welcome the change since he's always been a Chevy driver. After watching just the first few pre-season events so far it's quite amazing how much Toyota has progressed just after one season in the Cup series!! They appear to be dominate right now at Daytona…so much horsepower!! :O Tony Stewart might win tomorrow's event but I'm still hoping that either Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, or Dale Jr. finds their way to victory lane instead. 🙂 Mmmm…."practice"….you just made me smile again! (^_^)

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  11. The engine issues were quite a scare!! I'm so relieved to hear that they have since worked through the problem…I really hope! as 500 miles puts so much strain on an engine over the course of an event like this where the rpm's remain high for such long periods of time. The nice thing about restrictor plate tracks is that even with an engine change which would send a driver to the back to start the race, you can really still find your way to the front quite quickly with the help of the draft. I can't wait for tomorrow!

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  12. Hello! I'm okay just a little sick lately. Wow you've been on holiday for a long time!! It sounds like you had a really great time too!! :O Happy new year to you too and best wishes for 2008! ^_^ That's a really cute Momusu valentines kuripura!!

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  13. Haha I was wondering if anyone sees them and they always seem to be hungry! 😛 I sometimes forget to feed them! Thank you! ^_^

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  14. I'm so happy to hear that you're enjoying Musashi!! It's quite a long novel but it has a way of capturing your imagination and thoughts so much and at times you may find it difficult to put down even when you must! :)Even with my slow connection every thing moves so much quicker…perhaps it's just due to me having such an old computer for so long that took forever to process anything! 😛 Hmm…it's just a little black Honda Civic..not very fast but with gas being so expensive right now and especially in Hawaii I'm happy to have it! 🙂

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  15. Zush says:

    I just realised that my sports premium channel is broadcasting NasCar races live. So this night I'm wathing this Daytona 500 race.

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  16. Mikey says:

    Watching Daytona 500 live on nascar.com RaceView! Very cool!! 3-D action and live audio…http://www.nascar.com/trackpass/

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  17. Mikey says:

    Ouch! How disappointing! 😦 At least I got to "see" the exciting finish. :)MB scurries away in her Ninja black Civic…

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  18. Wow that's so great that you get the race coverage there too!! ^_^ It was an amazingly clean race this year…well until the final 20 laps when the drivers weren't so nice to one another anymore! I'm happy that you watched too!

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  19. Ah it was quite disappointing but I like Ryan Newman…he's a really nice person and it was great for him to win such a historic race. Ah Gordon, Johnson, and Mears all had such bad luck but at least Dale Jr. finished in the top 10 which is still nice. ^_^

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  20. Hmm….I haven't seen her on the ESPN broadcast before…I must just be missing her I guess. This is probably an odd question but who is Erin Andrews? 😛 I'm assuming that she's another sports broadcast analyst.

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