Thursday, August 31, 2006

Here's Your Chance To Win Official Sirius Speedway Swag!

O, ye patient listeners, the time has finally come for you to cash in with official Sirius Speedway apparell! Each day, one listener will be chosen at random to receive an all-new, full-color Sirius Speedway T-shirt, compliments of your favorite motorsports radio program!

Simply e-mail your name, mailing address and daytime phone number to, and when the Sirius Speedway leprechauns dial your number, answer with the phrase that pays: "Sirius Speedway Rocks My World!"

One entry per listener, please, and you must answer your phone -- IN PERSON -- with the Phrase That Pays to win.

Champ Car Sues Promoter Legault Over 2005 Molson Indy Montreal

The Champ Car World Series filed suit in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana today, alleging breech of contract, and seeking $325,000 from two of Normand Legault's promotional companies for unpaid sanctioning fees associated with the 2005 Molson Indy Montreal.

According to the suit, Legault’s companies each agreed to pay Champ Car $1.5 million for the right to stage the 2005 and 2006 Champ Car races at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve; in twin installments of $750,000, due 45 and seven days before the race. In addition to staging the actual races, Champ Car was responsible for securing a minimum of $325,000 in sponsorship each year from series sponsors Ford and Bridgestone, with the money paid to Legault’s companies at least 30 days prior to the race. In the event that Champ Car failed to deliver that sponsorship, Legault's companies could deduct the unpaid amount from the sanctioning fee they paid to Champ Car, until the sponsorship was paid.

Champ Car contends that Ford was prepared to pay more than $325,000 in sponsorship to Legault's companies, more than 30 days before the 2005 race, but that Legault's companies failed to sign the necessary contracts or invoice Ford in a timely fashion. Thus, Champ Car says, the payment was not made within the 30-day pre-race timeframe, prompting the promoter to withhold $325,000 of its final $750,000 sanctioning fee payment to Champ Car.

While admitting that Ford's sponsorship money was not delivered within the 30-day period specified in the contract, Champ Car says it is still entitled to the additional $325,000. The suit requests a trial by jury.

Legault holds the exclusive promotional rights for two annual race weekends at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and plans to replace Champ Car with a NASCAR Busch Series race next season.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"Qualifying" Does Not Mean You're Qualified

The numbers don’t lie.

Listener Dave Fothergill of Burlington, Ontario, Canada has spent the last few days listening to us debate the plusses and minuses of NASCAR’s qualifying (I now call it “arranging”) system. He took that discussion to a ridiculous extreme this week; going back through the qualifying records for this season and applying a strict, “Fastest 43 Only” formula to see who would have made each race, and who wouldn't. He took out the Past Champions Provisional and the Top-35 guarantee, to deterrmine who would have been around on race day, if qualifying really required qualifying.

His numbers show that last season, the fastest 43 cars made the field in only nine races. That number does not count Daytona – which has its own qualifying system – the spring race at Dover, or Watkins Glen, where qualifying was rained out.

Among the drivers who would have failed to qualify for at least one race last season under the “Fastest 43 Only” system were Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Jeff Green, Kyle Petty, Mike Bliss, Carl Edwards, Mike Wallace, Ken Schrader, Sterling Marlin, Elliott Salder, Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, Casey Mears, Terry Labonte, Rusty Wallace, Scott Riggs, Kasey Kahne, Travis Kvapil and Denny Hamlin.

The lead offender last season was Mike Wallace, who used provisionals to make six different races, and actually knocked baby brother Kenny Wallace out of one of them, after Kenny qualified faster. If it was all abut speed, Carl Edwards would have missed two races, and most certainly the Chase For The Championship. Kevin Harvick would have missed three races, while Rusty Wallace and Jimmie Johnson would have failed to qualify for the Brickyard 400. Rusty would have missed the fall Talladega race (during the Chase); almost certainly dropping to ninth in the final standings ahead of only Kurt Busch, who failed to finish the season in the Roush Racing #97.

This year, the fastest 43 cars have filled the field only four times. Again, those numbers do not include Daytona, or the spring race at Bristol, where qualifying was rained out. Among the drivers who would have missed at least one race under the “Fastest 43 Only” system this season are Clint Bowyer, Dale Jr., Jeff Burton, Michael Waltrip, Greg Biffle, Sterling Marlin, Ryan Newman, Brian Vickers, Dale Jarrett, Robby Gordon, Reed Sorenson, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, Jeremy Mayfield, Dave Blaney, Joe Nemechek, Kyle Petty, Terry Labonte, and Tony Raines.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton each would have missed two races already, and Kevin Harvick would have missed the spring race at Talladega. Think for a moment about how the complexion of the Chase would have changed as a result.

Robby Gordon and Reed Sorenson would have missed three races apiece, while Jamie McMurray, Terry Labonte and Tony Raines would each have missed two. Is there any question that Hall of Fame Racing – with “Past Champion” Labonte setting the table for “Top 35” Raines – has gorged itself at NASCAR’s provisional trough this season?

Not in my mind.

Under the “Fastest 43 Only” formula, Chad Chaffin would have started four more races than he has under the current guidelines. Hermie Sadler and Stanton Barrett each would each have made two additional starts, and Max Papis would have made his Nextel Cup debut at Watkins Glen. Morgan Shepherd would have qualified for the spring race at Talladega, and most incredibly, Michael Waltrip would have qualified for The Brickyard 400, instead of going home.

Imagine that; a system designed to protect NASCAR’s “big names” from every possible twist of bad luck, actually sending one of them home before the race.

BREAKING NEWS: NHRA Announces New Championship Point System

The NHRA has announced a new multi-tiered “Countdown to the Championship” (sound familiar?) in all four professional categories of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. The new format will feature three distinct periods during the 23-race season when competitors will be eliminated from the championship hunt, in a playoff-style format.

NHRA President Tom Compton announced the change today, saying, “more competitors will have a chance to win an NHRA POWERade World Championship than ever before. This change will add more excitement and drama to the entire season, and magnify the spotlight during the season’s final six races.”

In the first 17 races – known as the “Countdown to Eight” – racers will compete to be part of the top eight in points. Those eight will then take part in a four-race playoff series, trimming the field to four drivers, who will race for NHRA POWERade World Championship.

The final race in the regular season will be the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Pennsylvania’s Maple Grove Raceway on August 16th through 19th. After that event, the Top Eight in each category will have their points adjusted; with the point leader beginning with 2,070 points; second place beginning with 2,060 points…down to eighth place with 2,000 points. The “Countdown to Four” begins at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend, and ends with the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park on October 5th through 7th.

Following that race, the “Countdown to One” begins, and the top four in each category will have their points adjusted yet again. First place will begin the final two races with 3,030 points; second place with 3,020 points; third place with 3,010 points and fourth place with 3,000 points. The final two races of the season will be the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, October 18th through 24th, followed by the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Nov. 1st through 4th, where the champions will be crowned.

“Traditionally, prior to the final six races of the season, only a few teams still have a shot at winning a POWERade World Championship,” said Compton. “Under this new program, eight teams in each professional category will have a legitimate chance to win.”

No team has ever come from outside the Top Eight with six races remaining to win the NHRA POWERade World Championship under the current point system.

Beginning next year, the NHRA POWERade World Champions in Top Fuel and Funny Car will receive a $100,000 Countdown Bonus; making the POWERade World Championship worth a total of $500,000 in each category. In Pro Stock, the Champion will receive a Countdown Bonus of $50,000, making the total payout $250,000. In Pro Stock Motorcycle, the Countdown Bonus will be $25,000, for a total payout of $75,000. NHRA will also increase the total year-end payouts for the Top Eight in each professional categories to more than $2 million.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself!

Hornish, Penske Planning Combination IRL/Busch/ARCA Bid

Whether or not he is able to overhaul teammate Helio Castroneves for the 2006 Indy Racing League championship, Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish, Jr.'s future may ultimately lie -- not in IndyCars -- but in NASCAR.

Team owner Roger Penske said Saturday that he is working on a plan to run Hornish in selected NASCAR Busch and ARCA ReMax Challenge Series races next season, in addition to the full IRL schedule. “Sam has talked about running some Busch or ARCA races, and we’re looking at a potential program," said Penske. "We haven’t put all the pieces together.”

Penske refused to speculate on whether the move might lead to a full-time NASCAR effort for Hornish in 2008. He would join Juan Pablo Montoya, Paul Tracy, Adrian Fernandez, Sarah Fisher and Max Papis on the list of Open Wheel drivers currently attempting to cultivate careers in NASCAR.

Martin To Split Time With Boris?

Mark Martin said this weekend that he cannot rule out the possibility of driving a Nextel Cup car for someone other than Jack Roush next year.

Martin said he expects to drive a Craftsman Truck for Roush, full-time in 2007, but could also drive a limited Nextel Cup schedule for a different team. Asked about that possibility, Martin said, “There are certain scenarios that might bring that around. I’m interested in a limited schedule, and I’d love to do it with Jack, but that would kind of mess up the #6 car. I wish they didn’t have a limitation on teams.”

Roush’s #6 Ford Fusion will be vacated by Martin at the end of this season, in favor of rookie Todd Kluever. Kluever has been underwhelming in both the Busch Series and two Nextel Cup starts this season, and while he is named in the team’s contract with sponsor AAA for next season, Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said a change in plans is possible.

"We're not satisfied with the performance level of that Busch team," Smith said. “That program is under intense scrutiny by Jack right now. And Todd, of course, feels that pressure. He is ready for (Nextel Cup), but it's up to Jack to decide if he is the best candidate at this time for that program. We have a lot of confidence in Todd over the long haul, but we also have to deliver over the short haul."

“We owe it to AAA to make a formal evaluation.”

No matter what happens with Kluever, Smith made it clear that Martin is not a full-time option, saying, “You won't see Mark Martin in a Roush Racing owned program. All our programs are sold-out with the drivers we currently have. We're expecting Mark to be the lead guy in the Truck Series. That sponsorship is in place. We've got a couple of details to work out with Ford Motor Company, but that's where we expect to be. If he does more than that, it'll be supplemental."

Roush, however, sent a decidedly different message, saying, "I have not been informed by Geoff that he's given up on Mark being in the #6 car next year. Certainly, I haven't given up on that. It's pretty ironic that I had a meeting with Geoff Saturday morning, when we rededicated ourselves to making sure we give Mark as many options as we could.”

Sources in the Nextel Cup garage tell Sirius Speedway that Martin has an offer on the table from Boris Said’s No Fear Racing Team to run a limited number of races next season. The No Fear Team – owned by Said, Frank Stoddard and partner Mark Simo – contracts with Roush Racing for parts, pieces and personnel, and would provide an indeal place for Martin to continue his Nextel Cup career, while not putting Roush over the unofficial, four-team limit imposed by NASCAR.

In other Roush news, the team is still waiting to hear whether the National Guard will return as primary sponsor of Greg Biffle’s No. 16 Ford next year. If not, their spot will likely be taken up by the #16 team’s other sponsors.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Notes From All Over

Congratulations Tom: Legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway Public Address announcer Tom Carnegie was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America last night in Detroit, along with Formula One and Indy Car greatNigel Mansell, NASCAR stars Curtis Turner and Hershel McGriff, sports car racer Elliott Forbes-Robinson, motorcycle racer Jeff Ward, and drag racer Chris “The Golden Greek” Karamesines.

The 86-year old Carnegie retired in May after calling his 61st Indianapolis 500, to go with 12 NASCAR Brickyard 400s and six U.S. Grand Prix. Known as "The Voice of God" at the Brickyard, Carnegie is already a member of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indiana Basketball Halls of Fame.

Mr. Carnegie will be our live guest today on Sirius Speedway.

Sadler For The Defense: Elliott Sadler commented on his new employer, Ray Evernham, today, alluding to comments made by former driver Jeremy Mayfield that accused Evernham of being an absentee owner, and hurting the performance of the #19 team.

Sadler said of Evernham, "I think he's focused as a car owner. He told me he's missed three Cup races since 1993 as a crewchief and an owner -- three. Go find somebody else in the garage who has only missed three races in that period of time. I haven't seen Joe Gibbs at the track lately. He's coaching the Washington Redskins. Does that mean he's not a good Nextel Cup owner? Of course not. He's got other things to do."

“Richard Childress loves to go hunting and fishing. Does that mean he doesn't want the #29 and #31 in the Chase? Of course not. He goes to bed every night with it on his mind.”

“Teresa Earnhardt? I haven't seen her here in a long time, but she's a great part of our sport.”

“This is not a one-man sport. We have 330 employees at Evernham's. I think Ray is very focused. He's been at the shop every time I've been there. We go to lunch every day. His focus and drive have been amazing to me. If I can match it, we're going to have a good race team.”

Responding to Mayfield’s “absentee owner” comments, Sadler said, “Ray’s got a great group of guys under him to run this race team, and I don't think you can penalize a guy for that. I don't understand some of the stuff that's been (said). I think it's been very one sided. You have people under you that make decisions and run the team. That's why you appoint people under you to do things.”

Worst-Kept Secret In NASCAR Revealed: Bill Davis Racing confirmed today that Mayfield will drive the team’s new No. 36 Toyota Camry next season, with sponsorship from 360 OTC a brand of over-the-counter pain relief medicines. Dave Blaney will also remain in the No. 22 next season.

Team Owner Bill Davis announced the signings this morning, saying, “We're excited that Jeremy has decided to join our team. Both Dave and Jeremy are very talented and capable drivers, who are veterans of the sport and yet still hungry to win.”

Mayfield has made 402 career Nextel Cup starts, and was a participant in the Chase for the Championship in each of the last two seasons.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Another Listener Hot Rod!

Listener John Hummel -- aka "Johnny in NJ" -- sends along this picture of his "Grounds For Divorce" drag car. John has followed drag racing since the age of eight, and bought his first racer -- a 1974 Duster -- with the help of his father, right out of High School.

He has won more races and honors than we could possibly list here, and is ridiculously active in a number of charity efforts, as well. Attaboy John, and we'll wear the T-shirts proudly!

Har-dee-frickin' har. Way to kick a guy when he's down, people.

NASCAR Facing Racial Rap

More details have been released concerning the lawsuit filed by a former NASCAR motorcoach driver who was the victim of an alleged racial prank in 1999. David Scott, a former motorcoach driver for car owners Roger Penske and Michael Kranefuss, is suing NASCAR, claiming the sanctioning body failed to fulfill their promise of a job after the incident.

Scott, who is black, says he was subjected to racially motivated harassment during several run-ins with white motorcoach drivers during the 1999 season, culminating in an incident in July at New Hampshire International Speedway when two white motorcoach drivers -- Mike Culberson and Ray Labbe -- confronted Scott, one of them wearing a white pillowcase over his head in Ku Klux Klan fashion. Culberson and Labbe were quickly fired by their teams, and NASCAR revoked their competition licenses.

Scott is seeking back pay and compensatory damages from NASCAR, claiming that during an investigation into the incident, then-Vice President of Competition Mike Helton told him, “We'll just hire you so we won't have to worry about anyone bothering you.” Scott claims that NASCAR never followed through, despite repeated promises to do so.

When news of the incident became public a few weeks later at Watkins Glen, Scott says former NASCAR Vice President George Pyne flew him home to North Carolina on a NASCAR plane, saying NASCAR was concerned about his safety. Scott’s suit quotes Pyne as saying, “There are going to be reporters at the track. We want to control the situation. We don't want this to get out of hand. We're concerned about racing fans throwing objects. This is a move to protect you. People may view you as a trouble maker.”

Scott says he accepted a settlement from Penske and Kranefuss in early 2000, believing that he would be hired by NASCAR. Despite a series of communications with Helton and Pyne over the next several years, Scott says no job offer was ever made. He says Helton left him a phone message in February of this year saying, “There is nothing for you, NASCAR has done all that they can do.”

Scott told The Associated Press this week, "My impression was they wanted me to get a job at Bi-Lo grocery or UPS. That's not what I wanted to do, and that's not what we discussed. I needed them to help me find a job within the sport. I didn't need help finding work outside of the sport."

Scott’s attorney, Ricardo Aguirre, admitted that the seven years that elapsed between the incident and the lawsuit will seem curious to some. "The lay person is going to say `this guy is an idiot, he's just out to get some money,’" he said. "But up until February of this year, he…was in constant contact with Mike Helton. There was a dialogue."

NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the sanctioning body never promised Scott a job in the sport, but did try to help him find other jobs, all of which Scott turned down.

"We did everything we said we would do,” said Poston, adding that NASCAR takes allegations of racial harassment seriously. "Back in 1999, both NASCAR and the employers of those responsible for the deplorable prank took swift and severe action," he said. "There is no place in NASCAR for intolerance. NASCAR has not and will not stand for harassment of any kind."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Beckman For Bazemore? Could Be...

“Fast Jack” Beckman will test Whit Bazemore’s Matco Tools Dodge Charger Funny Car this week, giving new life to rumors that Bazemore may not be a part of the Don Shumacher Racing lineup in 2007.

Bazemore’s status with the team has been in doubt for some time, after performing considerably below the level set by his teammates, Gary Scelzi and Ron Capps. Scelzi won the Powerade World Championship a year ago, and Capps led the points for most of this season until being displaced by John Force last weekend in Memphis. Bazemore’s major 2006 headlines came not on the racetrack, but from a midseason confrontation with Capps that left him with a split lip and a relationship with his Schumacher teammate that is described – at best— as civil.

Late-season driver testing is not unprecedented in the Schumacher camp. Scelzi himself was invited to test Scotty Cannon’s DSR Funny Car at about this point a few years ago, and look how that worked out for Cannon.

For his part, Schumacher tap-danced magnificently when ESPN2’s Dave Reiff asked about Bazemore’s job security and contract status for 2007, saying only that,”Whit Bazemore will be a great character in this sport for a long time to come.” Bazemore, meanwhile, admitted on The Deuce that he has spoken to other teams about a job for next year.

Seems like we’ve been down this road before, and if it were me, I might not be stocking up on Whit Bazemore Matco Tools t-shirts in the next few weeks.

COT Tests, Toyota Debuts in Michigan

NASCAR’s Car Of Tomorrow hit the track again yesterday, with a test session at Michigan International Speedway. Monday's session focused on fine-tuning the car’s aerodynamics and handling components; with cars set-up first for maximum individual performance, then for group runs in the afternoon session.

Fourteen Nextel Cup drivers were on hand at MIS to test for their respective teams and manufacturers, in anticipation of the Car’s debut at Bristol Motor Speedway next spring. The test also marked the on-track debut of Toyota's Nextel Cup program, with Michael Waltrip Racing, Bill Davis Racing and the new Team Red Bull all taking part.

Reaction from the drivers was mostly positive. While still not thrilled with the new car’s aesthetics, former series champion Jeff Gordon said, “It doesn't drive bad. This is my first time with the car, and I think this is the first time it's been on a track this big, unrestricted. By itself, the car drives pretty good. My only concern is whether or not we can make passes; get up behind a guy and be able to turn and go, or get to the outside.

“What this car is really meant to be is a car that puts on a better race. That's what I want to see."

Kurt Busch said he sees potential in the new car, adding “It's fairly comparable to what we have now. It's not like a night-and-day difference. It's real close. It's just a matter of working with the front end to try to get that splitter real close to the ground."

Waltrip -- NASCAR’s tallest driver at 6’5” -- praised the car’s more-spacious driver’s compartment, saying, “I was driving down the back straightaway, saying 'Damn, look at all this room I got!' That's a wonderful feeling, knowing that you're not all crunched down in there.”

The two Toyota Camrys ran yesterday with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series engines under their hoods, since Toyota has yet to obtaiin NASCAR approval for its Nextel Cup engine package. Despite that, Team Red Bull General Manager Marty Gaunt was ecstatic with his team’s first outing. "I don't think you can put everything into words,” he said. “It's like having a baby and watching it grow. Everything is new; new team, new car. It's really big, and we're really enthused about it.”

Lee White, Vice President and General Manager of Toyota Racing Development, concurred, saying “It's exciting after three years of working with NASCAR to finally be out and be part of the big show - even if there's not a soul in the grandstands.”

Data from yesterday’s test will be used to determine the final nose designs for the Car of Tomorrow, which are due to be submitted to NASCAR next week.

In a related story, sources say the new, rear wing assemblies for the Car Of Tomorrow will be distributed by NASCAR next season, as part of its weekly inspection process. Teams will practice with their own wings, before being issued a standardized wing for qualifying and the race. The policy is similar to the one now utilized by NASCAR for restrictor plates.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The COT Shakes Down In Michigan

Michael Waltrip's new Toyota Camry "Car Of Tomorrow" at Michigan.

And an earlier version of the project.

Good God, Margaret, They're Booing Junior!

What’s next, Santa Claus getting busted for DUI?

Barbara Bush seen entering a Crack House?

Christina Aguilera quitting showbiz to join the Sisters of Holy Charity?

None of that would be nearly as shocking as hearing Dale Earnhardt, Jr. get booed – BOOED -- by fans at Michigan International Raceway Saturday, after punting Carl Edwards out of the lead within sight of the checkered flag in the NASCAR Busch Series CARFAX 200.

Earnhardt jacked-up the rear of Edwards’ Ford with a lap and a half remaining Saturday, sending Edwards spinning out of contention, and nearly taking third-place runner Robby Gordon with him. Earnhardt took the checkered and yellow flags together, but not until after Edwards had expressed his feelings by parking briefly in Earnhardt's pit stall, then returning to the track to rumple the side of Earnhardt's Chevrolet.

As Earnhardt wheeled his bright red Menards Chevy to Victory Lane, it became apparent that this was not going to be your average Dale Earnhardt, Jr., post-race celebration. Instead of the tidal wave of adoration that usually greets his every move, NASCAR’s favorite son stood in Victory Lane at MIS awash in catcalls, as fans expressed their unhappiness with his late-race tactics. Edwards showed up for a brief chat, as well, and while neither gent appeared inclined to fisticuffs, there was clearly no exchange of dinner invitations, either.

"I didn't mean to spin him out,” said Earnhardt, appearing puzzled by the tsunami of disapproval pouring from the grandstands. “I don't go around wrecking people. I wouldn't have waited two years to get back at him for wrecking me in Atlanta in 2004 pretty much the same way. We got a run off that corner, and Carl just got sideways and he wasn't in the gas. I guess he’s pretty mad at me, but there wasn't much I could do."

Edwards summarized the incident differently, saying simply, "He wrecked me off Turn Two. I just wanted to make sure he knew I was mad that he wrecked me. It's racing."

Of Edwards’ retaliatory sideswipe, Earnhardt said, "I had my hand out the window. He could have taken my hand off. But he didn't. That was just rude."

In the aftermath of Saturday’s race, some have suggested that a sea change may be underway in NASCAR’s “Most Popular Driver” Derby; with fans beginning to abandon Earnhardt in favor of Edwards’ strapping, square-jawed, six-pack abbed, back-flipping, All-American appeal.

Maybe. But I doubt it.

Remember, they booed Junior’s old man once, after he “rattled Terry Labonte’s cage” on the final lap at Bristol in August of 1999. And while they might have hated `Big E’ for a minute or two, by the time the next Sunday rolled around, he was back atop his perch as the greatest driver ever to strap on a stock car. It’ll be that way for Junior, too.

I must admit, though, that it was interesting to see NASCAR’s Court of Public Opinion hand down such an unexpected verdict, just once.

Kind of makes you wonder what might be next.

Friday, August 18, 2006

SIrius Speedway All-Stars Finish 15th

The "MRN Radio/Sirius Speedway All-Stars" finished a semi-respectible 15th (out of 28 teams) in last night's 400-lap Go-Kart Enduro at Michigan's Jackson Speedway. The team of Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody, MRN Radio Event Producer Ryan Horn, Nextel Vision's Eric Morse, and brothers Stephen and Greg Wallace overcame a pair of encounters with the wall by Morse and a high-speed offcourse excursion by Moody to finish 15th in the final rundown.

That finish was just five spots worse than the disappointing effort put forth by a team of ringers assembled by GFS Marketplace employee (and MRN turn announcer) Jeff Streigle. Streigle joined NASCAR Nextel Cup star Kyle Busch, Busch Series rookie (?) John Andretti and Craftsman Truck Series title contender Johnny Benson to record a comparitively lackluster 10th place showing that continued a string of underachieving performances by the GFS team.

"I think we held our own," said Moody Friday, while nursing a ribcage he described as "almost certainly detached from my spine.

"We refused to be intimidated by all the high-priced talent Jeff Streigle brought in, and at the end of the night, I think our heads were held a whole lot higher than theirs were. Apparently, there's more to a driver than a flashy helmet."

Steve Wallace, who will start on the outside pole in this afternooon's ARCA ReMax Challenge Series "Hantz Group 200" at Michigan International Speedway, called the experience, "a great tune-up for the ARCA race. My teammates raced their tails off, and I am proud to have been associated with such a finely tuned group of athletes."

Asked for his thoughts on the race, leadoff man Ryan Horn said, "Dude, my shoulder is killing me."

Ray vs. Jeremy: It's Getting Ugly

The barbs are flying between Ray Evernham and former driver Jeremy Mayfield, and while the two have severed their relationship – both professionally and personally -- and gone their separate ways, the fallout from a recent court hearing promises to keep the split in the headlines for some time to come.

The most controversial testimony to emerge from the hearing – which took place when Mayfield sought an injunction to bar his removal from Evernham’s UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge – came when Mayfield confirmed the long-rumored relationship between Evernham and developmental driver Erin Crocker; a relationship he says hindered the performance of his team.

“For significant periods of time, Evernham has been at best an absentee manager and owner, largely because, at some point in time, Ray Evernham had entered into a close personal relationship with a female driver he engages to drive on NASCAR’s ARCA, Truck and Busch Series,” said Mayfield. “That relationship became a subject of considerable discussion and distraction in the Nextel Cup garage area during the 2006 season.”

While steadfastly declining to comment on his personal life, Evernham said Mayfield had "disparaged the Evernham team and me personally," and accused his former driver of being difficult to work with. "Mayfield has not interacted well with other personnel at Evernham Motorsports, and has had five crewchiefs in five years because of his inability to get along with them,” he said. “We have fought communication and attitude issues all year. When rumors start to get out, and when barbs are being thrown back and forth in the media, that completely breaks down the communication of a team. There's got to be trust, honesty and respect on a race team. I believe a fresh attitude with perspective, a different view on things, can help.”

“I wasn't the one that initiated the decision for me to pursue other opportunities with another race team,” replied Mayfield, “I didn't give up on my race team. That was Ray's idea.”

Court documents revealed that Rick Russell, Chief Financial Officer for Evernham Motorsports, offered Mayfield two options. One was for Mayfield "to walk away and be paid for the month of August." The other involved immediate termination without any further compensation. That ultimatum, said Mayfield, left him with little choice but to go to court and make his case.

"They backed us up into a corner, knowing that there's no ride for me for the rest of the year," he said. "I have to make a living, too. They've tried to set it up to make it look like I was the bad guy. When Ray is done with you, he's done with you."

Evernham accused Mayfield of breaching their contract by "fail(ing) to use his best diligent efforts to compete professionally in the Nextel Cup Series." He pointed to an unexpected pit stop in the final laps at Pocono, where Mayfield complained of a deflating tire, only to discover that the tire was, in fact, holding air. Evernham questioned Mayfield brush of the wall at Indianapolis, saying "I watched Mayfield wreck his car early in the race. He slowed dramatically to let other cars past in Turn One, and then brushed the wall at two places. This was done in a manner to damage the #19 Dodge but not harm Mayfield. Based on my experience, I believed that Mayfield's conduct in wrecking the car was on purpose. Sam Johns, my Competition Director, agreed with my opinion."

Mayfield countered that no driver would intentionally crash a car on a high-speed track like Indy, and said problems with the #19 car goes back well before Pocono. "If I have been 'tanking' the performance of the car,” he said, “it must have started with the first race of the season, because performance has been equally terrible all year. The cars have not been good, and the engines, particularly recently, have been weak."

"If anyone is 'tanking' the No. 19 car, it is Evernham Motorsports. I had no reason to (tank). He and I had already agreed we were going to finish the year out, so I had no reason to do anything to the car. I wouldn't have had any problem if Ray told me, 'Elliott Sadler wants to get in the car, and we've worked that out, so what can we do to work that out with you?' That was all I was asking for, and I figured that he and I were good enough friends that it could have happened.”

Batten down the hatches, put on your flak jacket and hunker down in that foxhole, this one is going to stay nasty for awhile.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sadler To Drive #19 Dodge This Weekend

It's official.

Sirius Speedway confirmed this morning that Elliott Sadler will take over the No. 19 Dodge for Evernham Motorsports, beginning this weekend at Michigan. An anonymous source close to the situation told me today that Sadler received his official release from Robert Yates Racing at 9:00 last night, clearing the way for him to replace Jeremy Mayfield this weekend.

In fact, Sadler is testing an Evernham Dodge at Kentucky Speedway today.

Kasey Kahne inadvertantly let the cat out of the bag last night, telling a group of reporters, “The 19 hasn’t performed at all this year, and actually has been bad at most of the tracks. They’re out of the top-35 in points, so Ray is changing some things around there. I think Elliott Sadler is going to be in the car this weekend. It’s going to be good.”

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Knaus: I Have No Regrets

Chad Knaus says his Speedweek suspension from NASCAR was painful for both him and his team, but that he has no regrets. In a candid conversation with SPEED’s Wendy Venturini last weekend, Knaus talked openly about working in the gray area of the NASCAR rulebook, and his penchant for getting caught on the wrong side of the rules.

“Some people may agree and some people may disagree," said Knaus. "If it’s written in black and white, and you do something that’s not right, that is cheating. But if you go out there and find something that’s not in that rulebook -- and it doesn’t fall under direct or specific instructions in the rulebook -- I think that’s open area. It’s game on."

Knaus admitted that his Hendrick Motorsports team was aggressive in exploiting what they considered "gray areas" in the rules, but that their approach changed after he was sent home from Daytoona International Speedway in February.

"I’m not going to lie," said Knaus. "We’ve pulled back a little bit, to try to always conform to the spirit of the rule, not just the letter of the law. We’re always looking and trying to find an advantage, if it’s not in the rulebook.

"I think Daytona was pretty much the straw that broke the camel’s back. When we got caught at Daytona, (NASCAR) finally said, ‘look kid, you’re in trouble. We’re going to put you in the corner for awhile.’ I think it probably was deserved to a degree, and it’s probably helped me to a degree.”

Knaus said he has no regrets, even though he was not able to take part in Johnson’s Daytona 500 victory celebration.

“I think it’s gotten me to where I’m at today,” he said. “I’m not saying it wasn’t painful. There have been a lot of trying times, there’s no doubt about it. But I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done. Would I have done some things a little different? Maybe. But there’s nothing I would take back. Everything I have done has changed me and made me a better person, and a better leader. It’s also given me more respect in the garage, being able to bounce back from stuff like that.”

Knaus and driver Jimmie Johnson continue to lead the NASCAR Nextel Cup championship chase, 124 points ahead of Matt Kenseth following a 17th place finish at Watkins Glen.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

UPDATED INFORMATION: Though Painful, Evernham Made The Right Call

As traumatic as it may be in the short term, Ray Evernham’s decision to replace Jeremy Mayfield with Bill Elliott this weekend at Watkins Glen may be the best decision for everyone involved.

It’s no secret that Mayfield has become severely disillusioned with the Evernham team this season.

It’s also no wonder.

After winning races and qualifying for NASCAR’s Chase For The Championship in each of the last two seasons, Mayfield had his team yanked out from under him during the offseason, and transferred to the other side of the race shop. Almost instantly, Mayfield went from title contender to 36th in owner’s points, while teammate Kasey Kahne began winning races and contending for the championship.
Coincidence? I think not.

As his 2006 season went further and further in the tank, Mayfield began to speak out more frequently, questioning Evernham’s decision to forego the Nextel Cup garage in favor of protégé Erin Crocker’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races. Evernham’s “I’m a busy man” explanation fell largely on deaf ears, as Mayfield’s name surfaced in one Silly Season rumor after another. After struggling to a 15th place qualifying effort last weekend in Indianapolis, Mayfield climbed from his Dodge and admitted what everyone already knew, that he will probably not return to the Evernham camp next season.

With that said, what reason could there possibly be for Ray Evernham to keep Mayfield in his cars for the reminder of the 2006 season? Veteran Bill Elliott is available to drive all but three of the remaining Nextel Cup races, and his “Past Champion’s Provisional” ensures that the #19 Dodge will take the green flag every week, despite it’s 36th-place standing in Nextel Cup owner’s points.

With Mayfield gone, Evernham is free to begin working toward 2007, either by doing some valuable R&D work with Elliott at the wheel, or swinging a deal with Robert Yates Racing to get Elliott Sadler in harness a couple of months early. Either way, it’s a major step-up from slogging along with an unhappy, lame-duck driver.

Mayfield is well respected in the Nextel Cup garage, and he’ll have his pick of seats next season. Michael Waltrip and Bill Davis are already arm-wrestling for his services -- each offering a shiny new Toyota Camry for him to drive – and there may be other suitors, as well. Both Waltrip and Davis are capable of fielding cars for Mayfield this season, if he can obtain his release from Evernham. He may not be able to drive a full-blown Toyota right now, but he will be able to establish a relationship with many of the crewmen he’ll be working with in 2007.

The longer it takes to make these changes, the further everyone will be behind the eight-ball, making me think that Evernham’s decision to cut the cord and send Mayfield packing wasn’t such a bad idea, after all.

UPDATE: Jeremy Mayfield filed a request for an injunction in North Carolina Superior Court in Iredell County Monday, seeking to prevent his removal from the UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge. A hearing was held Friday in North Carolina, with Mayfield and Evernham agreeing in principle to settle the issue without further ovolvement by the courts. A statement released Saturday morning said, "Jeremy Mayfield, Mayfield Motorsports, Inc., and Evernham Motorsports LLC have agreed to end their relationship, effective immediately. The parties agree that it is in their mutual best interests to go in different directions and wish each other success in the future."

Elliott Sadler said this weekend that he may be able to assume the driving duties in the #19 car soon, pending a release from Rober Yates Racing. Our sources here at Watkins Glen say the details of that release could be worked out in time for Sadler to steer the #19 next weekend in Michigan.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Racing's Top Female Drivers? Not Quite.

The headline was trumpeted from coast to coast.

“Racing's Top Female Drivers Meet at Kentucky: Patrick, Fisher to discuss race weekend on IRL teleconference.”

The Indy Racing League Indy Car Series lined up Rahal Letterman Racing’s Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher – who will drive for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in a one-off effort this weekend at Kentucky Speedway -- to address the media in advance of the event. There is no doubt that the Patrick/Fisher tandem will be of great interest to the nation’s media. The last time two women took the green flag in a major Open Wheel race was… well… never, and a lot of people will rightly be interested in what Patrick and Fisher have to say on that topic.

I have no problem with any of that. On the contrary, I think it’s great that two women will be in the field at Kentucky. Further, I look forward to the day in the not-too-distant future when every national event will feature at least a half-dozen female drivers. I do, however, take issue with the IRL’s characterization of Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher as “Racing's Top Female Drivers.”

Patrick, last season’s Bombardier Rookie of the Year, is currently tenth in IndyCar points, with two top-five finishes and six top-10s. Fisher has not run a major-league race in nearly three years. Together, they have combined for a grand total of no wins in the upper levels of the sport.

Even semi-regular listeners to Sirius Speedway know that I have spoken at great length in defense of both Patrick and Fisher over the years. I have pleaded with the racing public to give them the time it takes to adapt to their chosen forms of racing, without the pressure of being expected to win instantly. Both drivers have achievements to brag about. Both have won IRL poles – and at Kentucky, no less; Danica in 2005 and Fisher in `03 – and both have contested for wins, even if they haven’t grabbed the brass ring yet.

I have preached the sermon of patience long and loud, and I will continue to do so. But let’s be realistic about exactly what Patrick and Fisher have accomplished, shall we?

They have yet to win a race; something that Shirley Muldowney, Angelle Sampey, Karen Stoffer and Melanie Troxell have all achieved – numerous times -- at the highest levels of drag racing. They have yet to win a championship; something that Muldowney and Sampey have also achieved, multiple times. With that said, it is ludicrous to paint Fisher and Patrick as “Racing's Top Female Drivers,” or anything like it.

At present, they are tied with Erin Crocker, Katherine Legge, Allison Duncan, Deborah Renshaw, Kelly Sutton, Ashley Force and Erica Enders (to name just a few); all of whom have climbed to the top levels of the motorsports ladder, but have not yet proven that they truly belong.

All of them may make it. Some of them will probably not. But either way, they will do so without the half-baked pronouncements of some PR hack, desperately trying to make a series sound bigger and better than it really is.

Monday, August 07, 2006

UPDATE: Purvis Home After Highway Crash

Former NASCAR driver Jeff Purvis broke his neck and back in a crash on I-65 in Tennessee Saturday, after his racecar transporter blew a tire, crossed the median, struck an oncoming car and burst into flames.

Purvis and his crew were en route to a Dirt Late Model race at Alabama's Talladega Short Track when the crash occurred. He was airlifted from Cullman Regional Medical Center to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, reportedly with fractures in his neck and back, broken ribs, and cuts and bruises. Seven people, including Purvis' wife and 15-year-old son, were injured in the crash, three of them seriously. A State Police spokesman said none of the injuries were thought to be life-threatening.

Purvis was seriously injured in a 2002 crash at Nazareth Speedway, sustaining severe head injuries that kept him out of racing for two years, and effectively ended his NASCAR career. Bryan Baggett, Vice President of Purvis' sponsor,, said of Purvis, "Based on his injuries years ago, he probably shouldn't be doing this anymore. But he's not your average guy. He's a little tougher than your average guy."

UPDATE: Purvis is now at home in Clarksville, TN, beginning his recovery from serious injuries suffered in a Saturday highway accident near Cullman, AL. Purvis has fractures of his C1 and C5 vertebrae in his neck, compression fractures of the T2 and T6 vertebrae in his back, a separated sternum, and a gash in his head that took 24 staples to close. He has seen pictures of the aftermath of the accident and says he is very thankful that no one lost their life. Purvis’ transporter blew a left-front tire while traveling southbound on I-65 near Cullman, AL at 3:15 p.m., swerved across the median into the northbound lane, struck another car, and then hit the guardrail before overturning in a ditch. The six occupants of the transporter vacated the vehicle just seconds before it caught fire, and became engulfed in flames. The transporter then burned to the ground, destroying everything inside, including the race car, and all of the parts and equipment.

Stewart-Edwards-Bowyer Feud Won't Blow Over

Despite a lengthy simmer-down lecture in the NASCAR hauler last weekend in Indianapolis, it appears the animosity is still alive and well between Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer.

It all started a couple of weeks ago at Pocono, when Stewart responded to being crowded by Bowyer with an abrupt left turn into the side of Bowyer's Richard Childress Racing/Jack Daniels Chevrolet. The impact sent Bowyer careening into innocent bystander Edwards, whose Office Depot Ford suffered sufficient damage to render it non-competitive for the remainder of the afternoon.

Stewart was promptly (and correctly) docked a lap by NASCAR for rough driving; a sanction that probably should have put an end to the incident, once and for all. Unfortunately, it didn't. When Edwards pulled alongside Stewart's Home Depot Chevrolet to express his displeasure under an ensuing caution period, the defending Nextel Cup champion responded in vintage Stewart fashion, whipping Edwards the old "You're Number One" salute.

Ordinarily the calm, serene type, Edwards reacted the way most people would after being:

A) caught up in an intentional wreck that had nothing to do with him, and...

B) told via sign language to attempt self-impregnation.

He snapped.

Edwards punted Stewart as they headed for pit road, drawing his own rough-riding sanction from NASCAR, and triggering a session of back-and-forth accusations and name-calling that shows no signs of dying down, more than a week after the fact.

Stewart claimed that the issue had been put to rest last week, saying that all parties had spoken and agreed to make peace. Edwards begged to differ, saying the only words he wanted to hear from Stewart were, "I'm sorry." In response, the Nextel Cup champion popped off again this weekend, calling Edwards "the Eddie Haskell of NASCAR. None of us are perfect," said Stewart. "Carl isn't perfect, and I'm not perfect. Clint is the only one who didn't do anything too terribly wrong."

Edwards returned fire, saying, "Tony's just a moron. He still will not admit he did anything wrong. Name-calling and all that? He's a great driver, but he's got a lot to learn."

For the record, that was Carl Edwards criticizing Tony Stewart's penchant for name-calling... by calling Stewart a name. It doesn't get any better than this, campers.

On the final lap yesterday at the Brickyard, Bowyer and Stewart nearly wadded `em up again, with Kasey Kahne riding out a scary, high-speed shunt into the SAFER barrier. After the checkered flag, Bowyer opened up with both barrels again, calling the crash, "another close call with Tony. I guess he ain't learned nothing," added Bowyer. "NASCAR told us to stay away from each other and give each other respect. He put me three-wide and knocked me into Vickers or whoever it was. He still ain't learned."

Kahne gave a slightly tamer version of the crash, saying, "I got loose trying to pass Stewart. I just tried staying off Tony, and I guess I ran into the wall.”

No matter whose version is correct, the end result is the same.

NASCAR has enjoyed some great feuds over the years. Richard Petty and Bobby Allison wrecked quite a few cars evening their own personal scorecards in the 1960s, and young Darrell Waltrip's verbal battles with Old Lion Cale Yarborough made the `70s worth paying attention to. Yarborough and the Allison Brothers had a little dustup at Daytona one year that you might have heard of, too.

Now, we've got Stewart versus Edwards, with a side order of Bowyer for dessert. And as NASCAR gets set for its third playoff season, the scenario could not be more appetizing.

Let's eat.

Two New Listener Hot Rods!

Listener Dan Babcock sent along a photo of the Street Stock he races at Upstate New York's Fulton, Five Mile Point and Penn Can Speedways. He says a new job and "as much racing as possible" have prevented him from listening as much this summer as he would like; the ONLY excuse we are willing to accept!

Longtime listener Dave in Indiana writes, "After an eight year lay off, I returned to the track this week with my new car. I will be racing at Brownstown and Lincoln Park, both in Indiana. We run what is known as Indiana Super stocks, which sometimes in the past were known as Limited Late Models. I run a pretty common combination of 406 chevy on alcohol."

Looking good, guys! Send a shot of your personal racer to, and we'll post it for the Road Dogs to enjoy!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Notes From All Over

New Team Announced (Sort Of): Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports announced plans to compete in the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series next season, with two teams team competing in as many as five Nextel Cup "Car of Tomorrow" events. Based out of Mooresville, North Carolina. Co-founder, co-owner and general manager Eddie D'Hondt made the announcement, saying, “We're ideally going to start off in 2007with three teams -- two Busch Series and one part-time Nextel Cup team. We don't know to what extent each of these teams will participate in the 2007 season. As sponsorship unfolds, we will revise our schedules. RDM's goal is to become a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series powerhouse within five years, with up to four teams in contention for the Nextel Cup championship." Joining D'Hondt is Bill Riley of Riley Technologies, who builds winning Daytona Prototype entries on the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. Riley will move his entire operation from Speedway, Indiana, to Mooresville.

Changing Jobs: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has announced that former Director of Dodge Motorsports John Fernandez has accepted a position as Managing Director of Ganassi's racing operation. Chip Ganassi announcd the move, saying, "John has been involved in racing for a long time as an engineer with Dodge and as head of its racing programs. I am very excited to add someone to the team that has so much experience in a number of different areas." Fernandez will manage all aspects of the organization's racing operation in North Carolina -- including overseeing all four teams -- after a 35year long career with the DaimlerChrysler.

Clearly, Ganassi has made a decision to do whatever his necessary to push his Nextel Cup operation to the front of the pack. Juan Pablo Montoya wll come aboard as driver of the #42 Havoline Dodge next season, and the addition of Fernandez to the equation can only help.

Gilliland On Hold: Despite postponing today’s planned press conference to introduce David Gilliland as the 2007 driver of its #38 Ford, Doug Yates said today that nothing has changed at Robert Yates Racing. "We're just trying to get all of our 'i's' dotted and 't's' crossed before we announce our new driver," he said. "I think everybody knows who it is. We just want to make sure everything's right. We're trying to do a lot of things really fast, and sometimes when you do that, you just have to take your time and make sure you get it right. There's no change in direction for us, the timing just didn't work out for today."

Yates will confirm Gilliland's hiring later this summer, most likely at Bristol.

Tagliani Eyes NASCAR, Villeneuve Not: Reports in at least one Montreal newspaper today claimed that Jacques Villeneuve has signed a contract to race in NASCAR next season, However, Villeneuve’s Director of Public Relations quickly refuted that claim, saying the Canadian driver simply asked his representatives to research options that could be available in the future. Formula One and the BMW team are obviously his first option (if they'll have him), with NASCAR falling somewhere further down the list. The spokesman said there is no agreement as reported in the Montreal press.

Meanwhile, fellow Canadian Alex Tagliani confirmed yesterday that he has offers on the table to run at least two NASCAR Busch Series races this year, and will likely do so as "an experiment." Obviously, similar moves by Open Wheel stars Adrian Fernandez, Paul Tracy and Montoya have made it acceptable for drivers like Villeneuve and Tagliani to openly discuss as career in NASCAR "taxicabs," something that was all-but unthinkable just a few years ago.

Unhappy Harvick: Kevin Harvick is not taking the denial of his appeal against NASCAR lying down.

He blasted NASCAR and its appeal process after his Busch Series team lost an appeal of penalties assessed after the June 30th race at Daytona International Speedway. As part of its ruling, the commission stated that "a base plate in the shock absorber is specifically prohibited by the rules in the NASCAR Busch Series." Harvick was critical of that statement, saying, "It's not a plate, it's a valve. They went way out of their way in their statement to refer to a base plate, and they went way out their way to say that there's nothing that matters when an appeal is heard. But it does matter if you're on suspension. It just sounds like a lot of excuses and a pretty shaky process to me."

He added, “It's hard when you have three series, and two of them are the same, and one of them has different rules. Mistakes happen, and we made a mistake. I don't know that they know their own rules enough to understand what their own shock rules are." KHI was docked 50 owner points, Burney Lamar was docked 50 driver points, and crewchief Gene Nead was fined $15,000 and suspended six races.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tracy and Tagliani Throw Down While NBC Cowers

Paul Tracy’s crash with Alex Tagliani in the San Jose Grand Prix was the first of two confrontations between the two Sunday. After emerging from his wrecked racecar, Tagliani marched down pit road and confronted Tracy, shoving him in the chest and peppering him with expletives. Tracy walked away, only to have Tagliani pursue him and grab his firesuit. Tracy reacted with a looping left jab, and the Canadian drivers scuffled for more than a minute before track and team officials were able to pull them apart.

Tracy used poor judgment on two different occasions Sunday. First, he elected to steer directly onto the racing surface after "blowing" a corner on lap 53; directly into the path of Tagliani. And second, he elected to throw a punch at Tagliani's fully-helmeted noggin. Apparently, Tags is a graduate of the Jeff Gordon Martial Arts Academy, and his decision to trigger a melee in full protective gear left Tracy with both a cut face and a badly swollen hand.

You can't fault Tagliani for being upset. After all, he and teammate Will Power have scrapped five racecars in the last three races, and the inventory of replacement parts is getting pretty low. You also can't blame P.T. for giving Tagliani the old stiff-arm, after Tags jumped up in his face for the third or fourth time.

What you can criticize is NBC's inexplicable decision not to cover the fight. Their cameras followed Tagliani from his wrecked racecar all the way to pit road, a walk that took more than a minute to complete. But the minute the punches began to fly, the boys in the truck cut away to an all-important yellow-flag pitstop by Sebastien Bourdais.


The Tagliani/Tracy dustup would have been captivating TV, had the nationwide audience been allowed to see it. Instead, the Peacock Network decided to play it politically correct and cut-away from the fight, sparing us the yet another up-close-and-personal look at man's inhumanity to man.

Not everyone was so timid. ESPN -- which wouldn't know a Champ Car race from a load of laundry most weeks -- played footage of the fight at the start of Sunday night's SportsCenter broadcast. Dave Despain's Wind Tunnel gave it full play Sunday evening, as did SPEED News and virtually every other national, regional and local sports anchor.

And yet, inexplicably, NBC chose to censor its footage of the fight, pretending that all was well in the Champ Car garage, while fans in attendance hooted and cheered replays of the incident on the track's Jumbotron screens.

And we wonder why Champ Car's TV ratings hover slightly south of "Bowling For Dollars?"

Question answered.

For those with no other options than NBC, you can view complete footage of the crash and fight here. You can also see NBC's sanitized version here.