• UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

BACK TO THE GARAGE AREA (and GIBBS TAKES TOP SPOT ON THIS WEEK's 'MOST INFLUENTIAL' LIST)

At least in theory, this is the most exciting time of the racing year.

The Chase for the (last) NASCAR Sprint Cup championship begins Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway. NHRA's version for all four of its Mello Yello pro classes, the Countdown, goes green Sunday at zMax Dragway, across the road from Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Verizon IndyCar Series takes its season checkered flag with a double-points (I don't like that gimmick) finale at Sonoma Raceway -- not much excitement there as Simon Pagenaud should add to his and team owner Roger Penske's trophy cases. IMSA has just Circuit of the Americas and Road Atlanta events left. Mercedes' boys Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have the most work to do, seven more Grands Prix to determine the world champion. Difficult to see Donny Schatz not collecting another World of Outlaws' crown.

So, it's the time to be enthusiastically engaged in the action, not heading back to the garage area with the hood up. But that's what I have to do.

Circumstances are again directing me down one of life's roads that I didn't plan on traveling. So this will be the last blog for awhile as higher priorities demand my time and energy. Those who should know tell me 6-8 weeks from when some fixes get done later this month.

What I hope to do is Tweet a shortened version of "Power Players" @SpinDoctor500 . 

However it all works out, I'll take this chance to say thanks to those who use a little of your valuable time to visit here each week. If nothing else, I plan to post my traditional end-of-year thoughts come December. 

Thank you and enjoy the championship runs.   

POWER PLAYERS for the week of September 11:This week's 10 most influential
people in the Business and Politics of Motorsports, as selected by long-time journalist/publicist and industry insider Michael Knight. 

  1. Joe Gibbs -- His Toyotas are the hot ticket in both Sprint Cup and the Xfinity Series. Could all four of his Cup drivers -- Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards -- qualify for the Cup finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway?

  2. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick -- Let's call them the Sprint Cup championship co-favorites as the Chase takes the green flag in Chicagoland.

  4. Antron Brown and Ron Capps -- The top seeds in Top Fuel and Funny Car, respectively, as NHRA's six-race Countdown begins at zMax Dragway.

  6Simon Pagenaud -- All-but-disaster at Sonoma should clinch his first IndyCar championship in the season finale.

  7. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg -- Hamilton needs victory under the lights in Singapore to re-open points gap over his Mercedes-Benz teammate. 

  9. Cole Custer  -- After controversial second-place finish to John Hunter Nemechek in last race, needs to win Chicagoland to clinch spot in Camping World Truck Series' first Chase.

 10. Rico Abreu -- World of Outlaws' win at California's Silver Dollar Speedway another notch for this rising star.


  

Monday, September 05, 2016

JUNIOR KO BLOW TO NASCAR INDUSTRY; MAKES HIM NO. 1 ON THIS WEEK's 'MOST INFLUENTIAL' LIST

POWER PLAYERS for the week of September 5:This week's 10 most influential
people in the Business and Politics of Motorsports, as selected by long-time journalist/publicist and industry insider Michael Knight. 

  1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- Concussion KOs him for the rest of the season, and while Junior says he plans to return in 2017, the NASCAR industry and Hendrick Motorsports are forced to ponder what to do if their most popular driver can't make a comeback.

  2. Tony and Don Schumacher -- NHRA Top Fuel's winningest driver wins his record 10th U.S. Nationals while father and team owner doubles at Indy with Matt Hagen taking the Funny Car
class victory.

  4. Greg Zipadelli -- Stewart-Haas Racing's competition VP must fix the Kevin Harvick pit crew problem -- slow stops likely cost Harvick the Southern 500 win -- before the Chase begins.

  5. John Hunter Nemechek and Mike Helton -- The driver set a dangerous new precedent by pinning Cole Custer against a wall to win the Truck series race in Canada. Upon review at NASCAR's weekly competition meeting, will the sanction's vice chairman let this stand?

   7. Will Power -- After observation for concussion-like symptoms after Watkins Glen, will the only driver left who can beat Simon Pagenaud for the IndyCar championshp be able to participate in Thursday's test session at Sonoma, site of the season's final race?

  8. Nico Rosberg -- Italian Grand Prix victory pulls him closer to Mercedes' teammate Lewis Hamilton in world title standings.

  9. David Gravel  -- Sweeps the World of Outlaws' doubleheader at Skagit Speedway.

 10. Chris Windom -- Daring outside-line line pass of Jeff Swindell with three laps to go earns him first career USAC Silver Crown dirt win in Ted Horn 100 at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.

more next week . . . ]