Thursday, January 22, 2009

Good vibrations and more from the tour stops

Just a few observations about the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Lowe's Motor Speedway:

I don't know that we'll go anywhere this week where the vibe will be better than it was at Wednesday's stop at Stewart-Haas Racing.

Optimism abounds on the media tour, even during these troubled economic times. Everybody expects to have a great season and that's how it should be. What made Stewart-Haas Racing different was that it seems everybody there figures they've wound up in a situation that's much better than they otherwise might have.

Stewart and teammate Ryan Newman both expect to be competitive this year. Whether or not that's what happens is one of this season's great questions.

But there's no doubt that Stewart, Newman and their teammates are embracing the challenge that's before them. Someone there told me a cool story. The new signs for the outside of the shop just went up the other day, and as he was leaving there after dark one day this week somebody saw Stewart pull over, get out of his car and go over and just look at the illuminated sign.

* * *

It just seems so impossible for anybody to come into NASCAR as a new team owner these days and compete with the sport's multicar super teams, but you have to remember that when they started, Jack Roush, Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress and Joe Gibbs all started with single teams.

Gibbs has won championships with Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart and still has two drivers in Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin who have to be considered likely candidates to make this year's Chase.

"I think it can be done," Gibbs said when asked if he thinks a new owner could make it today. "But it is different.

"You have people who come to you saying they’d like to be in the business and the difference is when we started we had 17 people, total. Today it would be 50 or 60 anyway. The size of everything makes it tough. You need a partner when you start. But the more healthy teams and the more sponsors it is for the sport."

* * *

I do not know why Mark Dyer left his job as president of Motorsports Authentics abruptly on Wednesday, but I do know it would be a very bad thing for NASCAR if he doesn't find some place else to go in the industry.

Dyer is one of those guys race fans don't know a whole lot about but who does a lot of good things for the sport. Dyer was one of those who helped devise the Chase for the Sprint Cup format and he also helped pushed the idea of having an official NASCAR Hall of Fame. He played a big role in picking Charlotte as the place where that museum is being built.

* * *

Hendrick Motorsports team owner Rick Hendrick got a special gift from his employees at a gathering this week where the team prepared for its 25th anniversary season. The very first chassis built by the team was located and brought back to the shop in Harrisburg, where team members restored it without Hendrick knowing about it.

They painted the body all silver in honor of the silver anniversary season and presented it to their boss.


Anonymous said...

Tony looked at his sign.
Guess Poole is going to split this season pumping up Stewart and HMS.
My Bad...he doe's that every season.

Stewart got out of his car and looked at the illuminated sign.

What epic writing.I'm invisioning it now and am almost in tears.

He looked at his sign.

Anonymous said...

I'm a NASCAR fan and so glad to read "Good vibrations.." Having been a fan for decades, the NASCAR folks are like part of my extended family.

Thanks for telling us about Tony and his looking at his new place. It sure shows me that he is greatful for what he has and appreciates it. Look at the long list of drivers like say Mayfield, who dissed the ride they had and now have nothing. Now he says he'll drive ANTHING.

Tony is probably pinching himself, and so is Haas. The new team has twice as much funding as it did last year, it has 2 world class drivers--not just in ability but in citizenship and how welll they represent NASCAR. Tony did not go in a fire everybody. 80% of the previous crew is still there and they have hired more folks.

As the founders of NASCAR fade into retirement, the sport is in good stead when there are driver/owners like Tony.

Anonymous said...

Why shouldn't Tony stop and ponder on his new empire? I bet he feels like he is the luckiest man in NASCAR!!

With a multitude of drivers like Jeremy Mayfield, Dave Blany, Jeff Green, Mike McDonald, Joe Nemechek, Kyle Petty, Tony Raines, Ken Schrader, JJ Yeley, David Gilliland, etc, looking for a ride, any ride, why wouldn't Tony feel thriled.

Just the power of him name gave him 1/2 ownership in Hass. Then Burger King offered him some rides and a hugh contrat at Eldora where they will be the official quick service restaurant.

Then he gets a personal services contract with Burger King. (I think he'll be better with BK than with Subs.)

Then Rick Hendrick has his garage custom build Tony a car so he can drive for him in Nationwide Daytona race.

Tony lives a charmed life!!

Anonymous said...

You know David you sure write a nice story. You also put your name to it as well not hiding behind the name anonymous. Anyway What the Hendrick guys did for the boss is touching.

Anonymous said...

I'm crying crocodile tears after reading this touching story.I'm so glad for folks like you and the others here on this site.I'm so glad you didn't mention how GM is squandering our tax money away on trivial race teams when families are going hungry.I wonder how many kids that sign could feed.Now thats something to ponder about!

Anonymous said...

Yea,what they did for Hendrick is touching.It would be even more touching if he was in prison.opps,did I say Hendrick and prison.PARDON me.

Anonymous said...


Sorry, no one is America is going hungry. More than 65% and up of kids are OBESE. If you are poor, you get free food stamps, free breakfast, free lunch, free medical care, free bus rides, free college tuition, free WIC, etc.

Oops! I forgot. None of that is free. It's my tax dollars!!

Anonymous said...

There would not be much of a NASCAR if al the outlaws had gone to jail. Junior Johnson was also pardoned. Others just did not get caught.

Anonymous said...

1-30-08 posted. So many fat poor people, LA feels like they need to pass a law! No one is starving.

"The city of Los Angeles yesterday approved its third landmark public-health rule in one week, adding a ban on new fast-food restaurants in poor neighbourhoods...
Nearly one-third of residents in the city's south are obese, ...'