Daytona Opens With The Unlimited

Taxslayer Nationwide #88

Taxslayer Nationwide #88

Having spent many years watching racing both in person and on television, my perception of unlimited converts to a “run whatcha brung,” race card. Of course, we know it’s Nascar so that does not compute in the minds of marketers in NYC or where ever the current gurus reside. I suspect many of the marketing types who craft the image of Nascar have never seen a short track asphalt late model race where the local boys’ sponsors spent outrageous dollars on cars that have more tricks than a Philadelphia street walker. That’s what unlimited means to me.

Knowing the name of the event is the Sprint Unlimited Shootout gives us a clue as to the nomenclature’s real purpose. I would wager the name ties to the marketing concept of unlimited data on Sprint’s mobile service. Up front I suggest that unlimited data services falls into the same arena as misconception that Nascar is a stock car racing series. Neither are based on fact. But, that’s for another time and discussion.

Lined up for the Shootout this year are past year’s pole winners. And, past Shootout winners get a get out jail card just in time to collect a nice check for being field fillers. We could rank the field which might be fun, but, we must first accept it’s Daytona. Being the high banked crap shoot that has become Daytona racing, it’s anyone’s “Cup” to hoist. Attach the fact that this race pays no points, (in my opinion real competition should have no points only money or a ribbon (medal) for being 1st 2nd or 3rd. Since this sport requires more investment than track and field or boxing, it makes sense to pay the top 20 or so enough money to cover the expense of showing up. Otherwise, it’s a just a suit up and cash in marketing scheme.

So, here’s the line up of last year’s pole winners.

Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, (Roush Fenway Racing)

Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, , Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing)

Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, , Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motor Sports)

And the rest– Mark Martin, Martin Truex Jr., Tony Stewart, AJ Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose,, Juan Pablo Montoya.

Past Champions

Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Bill Elliott, Ken Schrader, Terry Labonte

Okay, I’ll give you that both Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick have a chance. But, in last lap melee anyone of these guys could be first to the checkers. That’s what makes it interesting– “it is really racing to win.”

As of today Allmendinger, Scharder, and Bill Elliot are not running.

My pick to win can be construed by the picture attached.


Great Start Euro 2012


Great Football in Euro 2012

In case you have a passing interest in World Football, I suggest you set up the DVR for the two matches daily on ESPN. Italy v Spain, & Netherlands v Denmark would have been enough for me to fill an article on the start of the European championship, but, then along came Sweden v Ukraine (co-host nation). Wow, what a match.

In case you are not aware Ukraine has never qualified for the Euros. They made it in as a host nation. The focus of the world would have been on Ukraine for multiple reasons. The first probably because they are automatically included versus normal qualifying. Also, the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, along with the internal politics of the nation. The Ukraine could not have picked a better opponent to demonstrate they belonged in the tourney. Sweden fields a strong attack minded squad sprinkled with some international stars.

The 2-1 win by the Ukraine over Sweden was an international stunner as was the match. The continuous attacking soccer proved that soccer does not have to be boring nor predictable when played by nations which set out to win in style. (Note to US Soccer Federation- your guy Casey Keller kept saying, “it’s not about blazing speed.” If only you’d realize great soccer is about skill not sprinting.)

Today, tomorrow and Friday will tell us who will most likely be in the next round. England must win its next match as must Italy and the Netherlands. Three nations long believed to be tops in the world had varied results in their first round matches. While Holland may have lost to Denmark, they were not out played. Italy may have tied Spain, but the Azzurri may have deserved more than the 1-1 finish. England was tied by France, but, only by holding on, which has become their modus operandi.

I am looking beyond the big names to teams such as Russia, Ukraine, and Czech Republic to provide some interesting results in the last matches. This may be a tourney of the less famous squads. But, do not take my word for it, tune in to the action.