Monday, January 18, 2010


For the benefit of those kind enough to ask, my The Race Reporters show will make its season debut Wednesday, January 27 on We'll still be live for one hour on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Newsmaker of the Week on the show will be Hurley Haywood. The endurance sports car legend says he'll retire after that weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. I dealt with Hurley when he competed in IROC and it will be great to speak with him just days before his retirement race. Just as we did with Gil de Ferran last year. Larry Edsall, editor of; and Jonathan Ingram, of, will join me for the journalists roundtable and to question Hurley. Then, editor Bobby Bennett will talk with me about the upcoming 50th Winternationals and the NHRA season.

There are some new things in the works and I'll share those with you soon.

Here's a link to my Arizona Republic story last Wednesday, breaking the news that the April 10 Sprint Cup race distance at Phoenix International Raceway will INCREASE:

I'm not a fan of longer races -- BUT -- let me comment that the negative reaction from a lot of journos to PIR adding laps proves yet again how little many of them understand about the Business of Racing. The job of a track promoter is to SELL TICKETS. If PIR has data to think adding laps, so the event continues to end at night, is the best way to do that -- well, I suspect they know more than most of those punching the computer keyboard.

Gordon Kirby is always a "must read" for me and his Monday blog is even better than usual: .

With a government "official" number of 10 percent national unemployment -- and the real-life number more like 20 percent -- it is quite stunning how certain people in motorsports -- including journalists -- don't get what is happening out there. I just read a story about a social event touting the "chocolate and special gifts" given to media and the catered meal, entertainment and even the ice cream. I guarantee you the readers, some unable to afford the price of an NHRA race ticket, don't give a damn and don't appreciate being told about the good times enjoyed by reporters.

The NBC TV network, not its comedy shows, has become a national joke. And a historic case-study in stunningly-bad management decisions. If I didn't know better, I'd think Tony George, Andrew Craig, Joe Heitzler and the rest of the deep-thinkers who drove American open-wheel racing into the ground were running NBC.

Let the Spin Begin: Nine of the 10 Chase races will be on ESPN instead of ABC.

Thanks to those who've noted my recent semi-regular appearances on Sirius XM's Tradin' Paint with Rick Benjamin and Danny (Chocolate) Myers.

Yes, I know the bar has been lowered. I know Car and Driver has steered mostly in reverse since the Brock Yates days. I know he's a columnist. But . . . John Phillips' attempt-at-humor col in the February mag can't be permitted to pass without comment.

Phillips offers "20 new rules to boost NASCAR's ratings." Fair enough. But . . . "Fans may throw anything on the track . . . ;" "One (celebrity driver) must be severely maimed or paralyzed in a crash so violent that it shuts down the track for 30 minutes . . . ;" "the spectator who starts the largest fire will be invited to participate in the victory celebration;" "drivers will demonstrate their helmet-throwing abilities. Any driver who inflicts a closed head injury will be crowned that day's 'Helmet-Hurling Hero';" and "One car per event must explode."

Well, that is just unacceptable.

Since when is it funny for someone to be maimed or paralyzed or for a person to suffer a closed head injury or to start a fire? Have journalistic standards really sunk this low? Do you mean to tell me an editor actually exists who let this into print?

An immediate apology should be distributed by the mag via every available outlet. And this is one where NASCAR actually SHOULD provide some push-back. In this case, it would be the right thing to do.

This, after in the January issue, C&D referred to Tony George as "president of the International Speedway Corporation, which controls the Indianapolis Motor Speedway" and that TG was fired "by his own mother . . . apparently for spending too much money upgrading the track."

I don't know what Eddie Alterman is doing, but apparently, he isn't actually editing his magazine. I bought my first C&D in 1963. I can't believe it's come to this.

The American Media, January 2010: Simon Cowell's announcement that he'll leave American Idol after this season is treated as a major mainstream news story.

Upcoming The Race Reporters guests:
(Show is Wednesdays at 7 p.m. ET, downloadable, and available on-demand at no cost. Click on TRR page logo in upper right-hand column.)

January 20 -- Best of: Robby Gordon. Panelists: Bill Fleischman, Jim Pedley.

January 27 (first original show of the year) -- Newsmaker: Hurley Haywood. Panelists: Larry Edsall, Jonathan Ingram. Plus, Bobby Bennett.

February 3 -- TBA.

February 10 -- Newsmaker: Jamie McMurray. Panelists: Lee Spencer, Reid Spencer. Plus, Phil Burgess.

[ more next week . . . ]