Sunday, May 16, 2010

JJ vs. Kyle

It looks like maybe I'm finally going to get to see my Jimmie vs. Kyle match-up here pretty soon. I was kind of bummed because I thought it was finally going to come today, but even though watching them go back and forth for the lead was fun, I wanted to see them race for the WIN, dang it!

I'll just hold my pants on, though, because it looks like they're finally turning on the heat at the same time. In past years, it seems like if one is doing well, the other isn't. Kyle's been Mr. February-to-May for the past couple of years, and Jimmie, of course, always gets 'er wound up during the Chase. This year, though, Kyle seems like now he's just getting good and warmed up, and Jimmie's been strong at the beginning of the year, too, except for the last few races, so I hope they're finally going to get to go toe-to-toe and race up front against each other for a while. It'll also be interesting to see the two crew chiefs try to out-think each've got Mr. 4-Time versus the Upstart Smarty-Pants from Nationwide, so here's hoping Dave Rogers is up to the challenge (because I KNOW Chad is ready!).

Anyway, I hope both of them can stay hot and get a bit of a rivalry going because that was fun today! ...Until Jimmie blew it, anyway. But that's the great thing about NASCAR - there's always next week! I can't wait for's been a while since we've seen a good Coke 600, after last year's race got rained out and all. Bring it on!

JJ Can't Drive 55

Well, THAT was frustrating. I flip over to NBC to see how the Sharks and Blackhawks are coming along, relatively confident that when I flip back to Fox, Jimmie will still be leading the race as he had been for the last I don't know how many laps. Surprise! I come back to Jimbo punching it out of his pit stall to beat Kyle to the line and taking a speeding penalty that ends up costing him the race. Maybe it's my fault for changing the channel. In that case, I apologize profusely.

On the other hand, the 48 car staged a major comeback today, and Jimmie said after the race that what works at Dover usually works at Charlotte (per, so things are looking good for next week's race. I'll be expecting the usual domination at Charlotte, and I know the 48 team will come out stronger than ever after today's race because, well, that's how they roll. I hate that saying, but it's kind of literal in this case. Uh-oh, maybe I should take out that part about the "usual domination"...I don't want to jinx them! Okay, the 48 team is going to completely suck next weekend, and they're going to come in last. There, now I've jinxed them so they'll do the opposite. God, I was never this superstitious before I started watching hockey...

Well, the school year is winding down (holy crap, I can't believe it's May, but thank God it is!), so I'll have more time to work on the backlog of Chad pics from previous races. Help. My Flickr idea didn't pan out because you can't save pics from there unless it's a premium account, so maybe I'll put them into Photobucket instead. I don't know if I'll make it all the way back to the beginning of the year, but at least I can start with this weekend's photos.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Contract Extension Is a Go

I'm so late to the party here, so as you probably already know, Chad just signed a contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports, and will be there through 2015.

Here's what he had to say about his future after that date:
"Five years from now, a lot of things can change in that time frame, you just don't know what's going to happen. … Crew chief years are like dog years, so I'm thinking I'm about 97 years old, so I don't think I can go much more after that." (Scene Daily)
 Well, that's kind of a bummer, but logical...the mental stress has got to be agonizing.  I mean, I freak out at my TV just watching the races, and I don't have to figure out whether to take take 2 or 4 tires, or what to do if the setup isn't right, or how to fix the dang thing if somebody mangles it up.  Hmm, I wonder if I could make it to Homestead in 2015?  It'd be great to be there and do something to show our appreciation for everything he's done.  Uh, but let's not talk about that right now; it's too much of a bummer...ask me again in 2015.

Luck and Preparation

Not that Chad will ever see this, but just in case, I'd like to say, duuuude, you are so right!  You know how he's always saying you make your own luck?  I just had that illustrated to me in blindingly bright colors over the last three Red Wings games.  Yes, I'm talking about hockey again.  Sorry, it's taken over my brain.  So they're playing a best-of-seven game series against the San Jose Sharks, and there has been some epically bad officiating, and some epically bad luck for the Wings (Lidstrom's stick breaks, which leads to a Sharks breakaway, which leads to the game-winning goal for them...that kind of stuff).  They've lost all 3 games they've played so far.  Now, this hasn't been their best year ever, but I KNOW they can play better than they have been.  I do blame the reffing in part, but ya know what?  They needed to be prepared for that kind of stuff.  They needed to give themselves enough insurance so if they got a lame ref, or if their goalie had a bad night, or if Eaves got hurt and they had to put that #$% Williams in, it wouldn't cause them to fall to pieces.

THAT is why Jimmie and Chad are the masters of the universe.  Things go to hell in a handbasket at Texas?  No problem.  They've already won 3 Chase races and finished in the top 5 or 10 (probably the top 5...too lazy to look up the stats) in the others.  That allows them to concentrate on getting the car back out their as quickly and efficiently as possible and logging as many laps as possible, and then they can go on to the next race and kick some butt.  Which, of course, they did.

And I'm not trying to get down on the Red Wings here because I know playing to the level where you can have a little padding and leeway for errors is easier said than done.  For instance, you think you're doing pretty good going into the 3rd period with a 3-1 lead, and then all of a sudden the other team is tied up and you blow it in overtime.  You're never that far from trouble, whether it's an odd-man rush in hockey or The Big One at Talladega, and that just goes to show you just how very special the 48 team is.  They are prepared for everything, and when disaster strikes, they are composed enough to be able to take it in stride and go on to the next race knowing that everything is in place and ready for success.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is why the 48 team is lucky: because they put themselves in a position to be so.  And that is a really rare thing that I don't think enough race fans appreciate (including myself sometimes), even though Chad says it over and over.