2013 NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway: 10 Things That Spun Our Wheels

Kyle Busch Wins the 2013 NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway

With one of the speedier NASCAR races under our belt, Kyle Busch won the race over Martin Truex Jr., and both Toyota Camrys were incredibly fast.  Amazingly, Kyle Busch won both the Nationwide and the Sprint Cup series races at Texas Motor Speedway in the same weekend, and he has won back-to-back for the seventh time in his career.

Being one of the better races this season so far, these are 10 things that spun our wheels:

  • Pit problems are recurring ranging from crew members being hit to pit fires.  This season has not been one of the better for pit crews.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s karma stuck hard in this race.  Due to momentous pit problems three times, he could never recover enough to race in the lead lap.
  • Danica Patrick won this race in 28th position, only ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Normalcy is settling in NASCAR, and the media star has finally fallen.
  • Goodyear tires can’t tolerate the high speeds of these Gen 6 cars.  These tires are being shredded particularly during long green laps.  NASCAR will need to consider a harder composition for these tires next season.
  • Joey Logano made significant strides in this race as he begun in back of the pack due to failing inspection.  The back of his car — and Brad Keselowski‘s — could mean charges imposed by NASCAR for the Penske Racing Fords. Despite all this red-tape drama, he finished an impressive fifth in the NRA 500.
  • Battery problems are new in this race.  Joey Logano had it beforehand, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. had this issue during the race.
  • Roush Fenway Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Penske Racing are dominating the leaderboards. Despite the troubles that Dale Earnhardt Jr. had, he is ranked sixth in the overall standings to date.  Jimmie Johnson, his teammate, is hanging barely in the first position with Brad Keselowski nipping at his heels.
  • Jeff Gordon had a run of bad luck as he was taken out of the race due to chassis or tire problems with his car in the last laps of the race.
  • These Gen 6 cars — and some drivers like Danica Patrick — can’t handle these corners too well.  They are pushing the brakes a bit too hard around the corners, and it is damaging these cars at close to 200 mph.
  • The NRA sponsorship drama concerning this race was set aside.  It may be interesting how NASCAR as an organization responds to the politicians of Washington and some concerned citizens of Newtown.  I don’t believe the NRA will be pulled as a sponsor for this season or future seasons because it may pull the core of NASCAR viewers.  Besides, it does not have any direct impact on the NASCAR drivers, their cars or their pit crews.

Onto the next race at STP 400 at Kansas Speedway where again, there will be another fast race and perhaps faster tempers…

2013 STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway: 10 Things That Spun Our Wheels

Jimmie Johnson Wins the 2013 STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway

With Jimmie Johnson’s stellar finish at the 2013 STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway, there was lots of trading paint with some suffering more than others.  Amazingly, it was a relatively tame race, all things considering.

But here are 10 things that spun our wheels at Philly Fantasy Sports:

  • Pit problems showed its ugly head once again in this race.  Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin suffering the worst of it. 
  • Brian Vickers had a rough race.  His Toyota was decimated in so many ways yet he found a way to pull through 11th place.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a rough day as nothing went well with his car in this race.
  • Danica Patrick pulled into 12th for a rookie, and this is her first time in Martinsville.  Impressive.
  • Right-front tire problems resurfaced in this race.  The Goodyear tires can’t tolerate these higher speeds without breaking down.
  • Chrevolets and Fords dominated the top spots once again.
  • Jimmie Johnson didn’t play nice with his teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr.  as Jimmie Johnson intentionally lapped him after Junior spun out.  Jimmie Johnson also dominated the race by leading 347 out of 500 laps.
  • Brad Keselowski had another impressive run as he placed sixth in this race at Martinsville Speedway and is currently second in points on the leaderboard.
  • Denny Hamlin was sidelined for this race due to injury. Mark Martin salvaged a 10th place win for him.
  • Joey Logano behaved himself in this race.  Although there was some trading paint during the race, nothing has been severe — as of yet.  I’m surprised Tony Stewart wasn’t gunning for him.

With a relatively calm race at Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR fans will have to wait to see if sparks ignite at the NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway next week.  Perhaps Joey Logano will get his due…or Denny Hamlin’s replacement, the veteran Mark Martin, gets his.

Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Dennis Dixon: 2012 Year in Review and 2013 Fantasy Football Outlook

Former Oregon Ducks QB Dennis Dixon Joins the Philadelphia Eagles

With the former Oregon Ducks Quarterback Dennis Dixon joining the Philadelphia Eagles, it would seem that Michael Vick has some competition.  After being behind Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch and with Michael Vick’s lackluster performances during this past season, it is Dennis Dixon who might just take the job away from him — as Michael Vick took the job away from Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb.  But is everything as bright as it seems or is Dennis Dixon merely motivation or a stepping stone for a future franchise quarterback?  Time to check the numbers and see…

2012 Year in Review

With the Pittsburgh Steelers 2009 and 2010 season being the two applicable NFL bearings for Dennis Dixon, he has made a total of 34 of 58 attempts those past two seasons for an average of 58.6 percent and 399 passing yards.  He had an average quarterback rating of 70 which is mediocre.  On the bright side, he had 8 attempts rushing for 59 yards and an average of 7.4 yards per attempt.

While Dixon was an Oregon Duck in his 2007 season, he performed much better with a 161 quarterback rating with 2,129 passing yards, but then again, he was facing much lesser competition and age was still in his favor.

2013 Fantasy Football Outlook

This might be the season Dennis Dixon finally takes over the reigns as starting quarterback if he performs and exceeds Michael Vick in the training camp.  But this is a big might

It’s too early to tell, but given a chance, he should be capable of performing below Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and definitely below San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick.  If Dennis Dixon does start, he should place with a ceiling of QB2 at best and bench — and maybe waiver wire fodder — at worst.

2013 Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway: 10 Things That Spun Our Wheels

Kyle Busch Wins the 2013 Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway

With an exciting race unfolding at the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California, Kyle Busch stole the race as Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano continued their feud from the previous week on the racetrack during the last 15 laps of the race. However, as a result of the battle, Denny Hamlin is sidelined for the STP Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway next week at least.

Here’s the 10 things that spun Philly Fantasy Sports’ wheels in this race:

  • The last 15 laps of this race was great.  The aggression in the NASCAR races have returned to form on and off the track.  
  • Denny Hamlin got sidelined for the next race at Martinsville Speedway.
  • Kurt Busch still protects his brother, Kyle Busch, during the race.  He blocked Denny Hamlin momentarily after a couple of laps into a restart.
  • Don’t ever underestimate Kyle Busch in any race.  He’s an aggressive driver.
  • Chrevolets and Fords again top the leaderboards with the exception of Kyle Busch’s and Matt Kenseth’s Toyotas.  The Toyotas are making progress.
  • Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Not much has changed for these really.  They placed 2oth and 26th.  Enough with the media attention already.
  • Tony Stewart had some beef with Joey Logano too.  Joey Logano has not made much progress in the friends’ category in this race.
  • Joey Logano. Poor guy. He’s now made enemies with veterans Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin.  I think we should watch out for what happens in Martinsville.  It ain’t gonna be pretty.
  • Right-wheel problems have resurfaced.  These cars are going at these speeds aren’t saving these wheels.
  • Top line seems to be the best for these Gen-6 cars.  It has been proven over these last few races.   

Now onto the next race at Martinsville Speedway…if this race is a sign of things to come, be prepared for a whole lot of trading paint and a whole lot of NASCAR drama.

 

2013 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway: 10 Things That Spun Our Wheels

With Matt Kenseth’s win on his birthday at the 2013 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it was a cat-and-mouse game between Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne during the last few laps.

  • Wheel Issues for Gen-6 Cars.  Two-wheel pit stops have become the preferred tire change in the pits. 
  • Engine Issues for Gen-6 Cars. These cars aren’t meant to pushed for long races like even the previous model, the Car of Tomorrow (CoT) or Gen-5 car.
  • Speed. These cars are meant for speed. These cars handle straightaways like a dream but don’t handle corners too well.
  • Top Line. The top line favors these Gen-6 cars a LOT.
  • Danica Patrick & Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. TMZ Update. They are average NASCAR drivers at best.  Their rookie status means little.  Some have it.  Some don’t.  They don’t.  Just ask Juan Pablo Montoya. He’s flattened out at around 15th to 20th by the end of recent seasons.
  • Brad Keselowski.  He’s running well these past few races with him getting pole position on this track. On this track, he placed third, and he’s second in the overall standings to date. Impressive so far.
  • Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie Johnson has returned to form this Sprint Cup season. He’s number 1 on the leaderboard.
  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Junior is third on the Sprint Cup leaderboard so far, but it’s only the beginning of the 2013 season. Karma might catch up to him again like in previous seasons.
  • Chrevolet SS Gen-6 Cars. They top the results leaderboard again.
  • Toyota Camry Gen-6 Cars. These cars have not yet proven themselves on the tracks just yet. But Matt Kenseth’s Toyota proved these cars can win — and win honestly.

Next the Sprint Cup series goes to the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway

 

2013 Subway Fit Fresh 500 at Pheonix International Speedway: 10 Things that Spun Our Wheels

Carl Edwards Wins Subway Fit Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Speedway

With the 2013 Subway Fit Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Speedway, there are more problems with the Gen-6 cars for all the driving teams and all the manufacturers. Carl Edwards wins the Subway Fit Fresh 500 and breaks his winless streak of two seasons.

  • Gen-6 Wheel Issues. The braking on these Gen-6 cars taxes the wheels tremendously.  Several cars went out from this problem. 
  • Gen-6 Four-Wheel vs. Two-Wheel Pit Stops. While the four-wheel changes usually provide a lot of grip, they don’t provide a lot of speed as before.  Perhaps it is best to do two-wheel pit stops going forward. 
  • Pole Position.  For these new cars, the driver at pole position maybe leads one or two laps — then they fall behind.  But that’s nothing new to NASCAR
  • Danica Patrick The drama continues.  Her driving skills has not.
  • Rick Stenhouse Jr. He has made an impressive jump in the standings as he is ninth on the leaderboard.
  • Hendrick Motorsports. Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. currently lead in points.  It’s only two races in, but it’s still impressive. 
  • Last Lap Racing. This seems to be the trend as this is when real racing in NASCAR begins and ends.  It’s nothing new to NASCAR, but it’s something new to these Gen-6 cars.
  • Clint Bowyer. Slow the heck down when in the pits, dude.  Less casualties involving your crew members that way — and more communication is always helpful.
  • Carl Edwards. Finally broke 70-race skid and the two-season drought…those Subway sandwiches finally do some good.
  • Side-Drafting. The Gen-6 cars work fairly decently as side-drafting goes, but they are still loose.  Trading paint isn’t intentional like before but accidental often than not.  The Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will put these cars to a real test of their mettle.

Now onto the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway…

2013 Daytona 500: 10 Things That Spun Our Wheels

After a race with constantly changing leaders and the media’s infatuation with Danica Patrick (even during the race), Jimmie Johnson and his number 48 car won the race.  Again, the superior driver Jimmie Johnson won and not Danica Patrick, the media darling, for this past Daytona 500 week.

Here’s are the top 10 things that spun Philly Fantasy Sports’ wheels about the 2013 Daytona 500:

  • Jimmie Johnson is the man.  He is the crowning achievement of Hendrick Motorsports as he has the patience and the skill to win races.  And this is his second Daytona 500 win. 
  • Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Sometimes being lucky is better than being good. 
  • Gen-6 Cars, Part I. They tend to overheat, as least the Toyota Camry’s.  Some of the drivers had substantial engine problems.
  • Gen-6 Cars, Part II. Bump-drafting doesn’t work well with these cars.   These Gen-6 cars tend to have a loose rear.  However, when paired up with patient (yet aggressive) drivers, their front aerodynamics are amazing as they can keep up to nearly 200 mph despite having damage, as Brad Keselowski’s number 2 Ford Fusion showed when paired up with Greg Biffle‘s number 16 Ford.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. He got second.  It’s a start…now we have to see if he can finish the Sprint Cup series as well as he started. Or not.
  • Car Manufacturers and Standings. Well, maybe it’s not a forecast of things to come or maybe it is…Ford Fusions and Chevrolet SS models dominated the top 10 in the Daytona 500.
  • Carl Edwards. Looks like the beginning of a LONG season…
  • Pre-Race Ceremony. The walkway was a bit over the top when introducing the drivers.  Then there’s 50 Cent and NASCAR…
  • Greg Biffle. Greg Biffle is so close yet so far yet again at Daytona International Speedway and more importantly, the Daytona 500.
  • Car of Tomorrow (CoT). One thing that you can say about the Car of Tomorrow is that is FAR more durable than Gen-6 cars, but that’s my first impression anyhow. The Gen-6 cars get chewed up in wrecks, even minor ones or when trading paint.

Now onto Pheonix International Speedway for the next race in the Sprint Cup series…

The New NASCAR (Again): Danicky, Dale Jr., Daytona and Dolla Bills

NASCAR Gen-6 Showroom Models

With the Daytona 500 coming this celebratory weekend, the new new NASCAR has once again risen.  Unfortunately, stock car racing of old, even a couple of decades ago, has long passed.  It is no longer a motor sport but more about the money — and some soap melodrama, kind of like the WWE but less wrestling — sometimes more.

Starting off this TMZ-sponsored episode is Danicky.  Danicka Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. are now an item, and everybody in the media are already enamored about what they are going to do on the racetrack.  If they are professionals, they would race.  But since this is a B-lister soap opera, despite their racing and their relationship, they will remain in the back of the pack.  Neither of them are excellent NASCAR drivers.  They are sufficiently adequate to get to 25th position at best but not sufficiently competitive to get ahead of the pack consistently.  Danica Patrick will have occasional bouts of brilliance this season with top 10s, but a few bright spots does not make a great NASCAR driver like Jimmie Johnson, for example.  Commendably, Danica made the pole position for the 2013 Daytona 500 and the first female driver to do so, but that does not make a superior driver make.

The Daytona 500 is the start of NASCAR and the official test of the Gen 6 car. The Gen 6 car will supposedly bring stock back to stock car racing instead of relying on the spoiler-heavy Car of Tomorrow (CoT). It seems promising.  No more absurd rules on bump-drafting (hopefully) with the initiation of the Gen 6 car.  The Gen 6 car certainly has a lot more space for advertisements as even NASCAR.com commented.  Well, at least that lends to more sponsors at least for this season certainly. The huge grill is prominent on the Gen 6 cars no matter which is the manufacturer.  Let’s hope that improves engine performance rather than hinders it — particularly in cramped race tracks like Dover International Speedway or slower paced races like Bristol Motor Speedway.

Lastly, the topic of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the most popular NASCAR driver, still to this day.  He almost accomplished winning the Sprint Cup Series in the latter part of last season, but then karma again hit him later in the season as he fell down the rankings.  Perhaps the new Gen 6 car will bring him the Cup finally if he decides to push toward the end of the season rather than letting the other drivers run all over him.

 

Philly Fantasy Sports Top 10 Super Bowl XLVII Commercials

After the phenomenal Super Bowl XLVII with the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, John Harbaugh and his quarterback Joe Flacco overcame the surge — and the 34-minute blackout at the Superdome — to win the game 34-31.  With the San Francisco 49ers mismanaging the clock and Colin Kaepernick‘s inability to run a two-minute drill effectively, the Ravens scraped one out in the final minutes of the game.  After all that commotion, the commercials were much the same.  Close to the second half, the real commercials decided to show up, and with that, these are Philly Fantasy Sports Top 10 selections for best Super Bowl XLVII commercials:

Oreo “Whisper Fight”

I enjoyed this one. Subtly funny.

M & M “Love Ballad”

What are friends for when you have friends like Ms. Chocolate

Taco Bell “Viva Young”

Not funny in a funny kind of way but charming in a Taco Bell kinda way.

Toyota RAV 4 “Wish Granted”

The Rock Milk “Morning Run”

Volkwagen “Get In. Get Happy.”

Minnesota people. Represent.  Not just about Harley Davidson motorcycles and bratwursts.

Bud Light “Journey”

I liked this one. Perhaps the voodoo dolls caused the power outage. Or not.

Deion Sanders NFL “Leon Sandcastle” 

Funny. Very funny. Kind of a jilt on Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and others.

Kia Motors “Hot Bots”

Kia Motors got double honors this Super Bowl.  I think the advertising people left Volkswagen and came here.

Kia Motors “Space Babies”

This one had lots of charm to it — and the babies faces were priceless as they rocketed to Earth.

This is Philly Fantasy Sports Top 10 commercials for Super Bowl XLVII.  What do you think?  Do you agree?

 

2013-14 Philadelphia Eagles: Rebuilding for a Better Tomorrow

With the off-season already in tow and Chip Kelly as now the Philadelphia Eagles head coach, here’s my blueprint for the Philadelphia Eagles:

  • Quarterback Michael Vick. With San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick and Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson rising, it would seem that Michael Vick would be a logical choice to remain a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.  But Vick is actually quite outdated compared to either of those. Vick is comparable to a old-school Corvette versus a modern Saleen S7 in Kaepernick and Wilson. As sleek as Vick may be, his engine would burn out long before he reached the finish line. Vick is outmatched and outdated in this new era of quarterbacks.
  • Quarterback Nick Foles. Nick Foles is no Jeff Garcia nor will he ever be.  Nick Foles has slight potential, but he lacks an upside. Foles is far too predictable.  I would gladly barter both Michael Vick and Nick Foles for San Francisco 49ers Alex Smith, even as a backup.  Smith is an intellectual quarterback, but he lacks mobility.  Still though, he would be a good option for the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Return to 4-3 and Contain Defenses. The Eagles used to be the best at containing the quarterbacks under Jim Johnson, and the Eagles should return to the 4-3.  What the Eagles had in talent in 2012-13 they lacked in mentality and preparation. With Robert Griffin III and his Washington Redskins in their division, the Eagles defense must adjust properly.
  • Running Back LeSean McCoy. He’s one the few bright spots of the Eagles organization.  Talent and skill-wise, he’s been better than Brian Westbrook.  He should be kept.
  • Tight End Brent Celek. He’s another of the few bright spots of the Eagles organization.  He should be kept.
  • Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson. His free lunch with Andy Reid is officially over — and should have been over a while back.  If Coach Kelly wants him to play as kick returner, he plays kick returner.  If he wants him to play cornerback or safety, he plays cornerback or safety.  Otherwise, he gets traded and exchanged for someone more than willing to play, like soon-to-be free agent Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings.
  • CEO Jeff Lurie. Well, he should keep his reins on Chip Kelly.  At least for now.
  • Head Coach Chip Kelly. Chip Kelly must instill discipline of the Eagles team from the start.  However, he seems like a pushover which does not seem to bode well.  Kelly could play favorites like Reid did, and the house of cards will again crumble.