Monday, December 30, 2013

Michael Schumacher in Coma, Andy Granatelli Dies

GRENOBLE, FRANCE - There is some sad news at the end of 2013 in the world of motorsports. Over the weekend, Formula 1 great Michael Schumacher was involved in a serious skiing accident in France and is in a coma following brain surgery. The doctors report that he is in critical condition. Let’s keep Michael and his family in our prayers. 

Also, legend Andy Granatelli died Sunday in Santa Barbara CA. Mr. Indy (Mr. STP, as I remember him) was best known for his involvement in the Indianapolis 500 running innovative cars like the Novi-turbine cars in the late 60’s. He was also a midget car promoter in the 40s and sponsored Richard Petty’s cars for many years. In fact, at the PRI show this year, Richard Petty recounted the story of how his NASCAR paint scheme came into being. They argued over the color of the car, with the compromise being half Petty blue, half STP red, and the sponsorship became the longest in NASCAR history.

Friday, November 15, 2013

NHRA Comp Eliminator Champions - Congratulations Alan Ellis and Jeff Lane!

POMONA, CA – Congratulations to Alan Ellis for clinching his first Lucas Oil Comp Eliminator Championship last weekend at the Pomona World Finals.  Ellis, who lives in Mapleton UT, runs a 23 roadster with motor built by the Professor, Warren Johnson.  After a steady set of wins in elimination, Ellis faced Donald Thomas in the final round.  Ellis clocked a respectable 6.887 sec at 160.90 mph run, but Thomas had some problems at the start and had to get out of the throttle.  This is Ellis’ 4th win this year.  Check out the Burns merge collectors with signature reverse cone megaphones!

We also want to congratulate Jeff Lane for winning the Division 6 Championship in Comp Eliminator.  Jeff, together with his partner Jerry Hancock, have won a combined 8 divisional championships in a racing career of over 30 years.  Jeff and Jerry built a new set of headers this year for their Comp Eliminator car utilizing Burns components and design.  It has apparently worked well for the duo!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Gordon Wins Martinsville - 3rd In Chase!

MARTINSVILLE, VA – Will we see another amazing comeback in 2013?  Team Oracle USA had a fairytale comeback story successfully defending the America’s Cup from Team Emirates New Zealand from a 0-6 deficit.  With his win at Martinsville Sunday, Jeff Gordon may very well be the next fairy tale in this NASCAR season.  Barely making the cut in the Chase in 13th place, Gordon, crew chief Alan Gustafson and his team, put their heads down and showed that they still have it.  Gordon now sits in 3rd place behind Matt Kenseth and teammate Jimmie Johnson.  "I'm just so proud of my team for never giving up. We've shown it all year long and we've been through a lot. But this is making it all worth it, to get this huge win at Martinsville," Gordon said in Victory Lane. "Man, what a great race car." 

Gordon led 78 laps, including the final 21 laps following a crucial pass in turn one clenching the lead from Kenseth.  Martinsville has proved to be a tough one for Kenseth, who has yet to win one here after 28 starts.  "Jeff's experience got me. I just don't have that much experience running up front here," Kenseth said. "I had something that was working, but I was hurting the rear tires and ended up hurting the front tires, too."  His tire issue was also evident at the end when he could barely hold off Clint Boyer for the 2nd spot.

The race proved to be a wild ride with some aggressive driving.   With a total of 17 caution periods and 111 laps run under yellow there were a few tempers flying.  The most notable of the race was a duel between Chase points leader Jimmie Johnson and Roush-Fenway’s Greg Biffle.  Biffle accused Johnson that he was driving way to aggressively and that he caused the Ford’s bumper to be almost ripped off requiring an extra pit stop to fix it.  Following the race, Biffle confronted Johnson (Video).  “We finally have a good car at Martinsville, and we worked our way all the way up to sixth or seventh -- and then we just got a rear bumper tore off. It takes a lot to get a rear bumper tore off,” Biffle said. “I've got to look back and see what happened. He claims he was inside of me; it sure felt like he hit me from behind and rubbed across [the back of the car].

With only three races left, the Championship is up in the air with Kenseth and Johnson tied in first place.  Jeff Gordon is in third place, 27 points behind the leader and Kevin Harvick only one point behind in fourth.  Looks like it will be an exciting end to 2013.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Matt Kenseth Holding On!

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS –Matt Kenseth’s slim, eight point lead in the Chase just got slimmer as he was only able to manage an 11th place finish in a race marred with trouble.  Most, if not all the drivers struggled this weekend with the race-spec Goodyears.  But nobody, just nobody struggled as much as Kyle Busch.  The man has never won a race at this track.  And when he crashed his No 18 M&M Toyota during Saturday morning practice, I am sure he got that feeling again.  He made a valiant effort starting from the back of the pack, but when he contacted Carl Edwards on lap 200, it was the end of his race.  "I have no idea what happened on the last one," Busch said. "All I know is we're in Kansas, right?"  And to add insult to injury, Busch wrecked Brad Keselowski in the Nationwide race.

At the top of the heap, lame duck driver Kevin Harvick won his third race this season from the pole moving him up into third place, 25 points out.  "To sit on the pole and win the race, obviously, is a great weekend," Harvick said. "Controlling our own destiny by doing that, putting ourselves closer to where we need to be with the championship race ... so we’ll just keep having fun and doing what we’re doing." 
Second place went to Kurt Busch and the ever consistent Jeff Gordon placed third, placing them 5th and 4th in the Chase respectively.

Lucky for Kenseth that second place Jimmie Johnson could do no better than 6th, leaving him in the lead for now by a mere 3 points.  "All in all, it was just a crazy day," said Johnson, "there were weird restarts, wacky restarts, a lot of chaos there. Then caution after caution for who knows what ...”

The problems with the Goodyear tires that many teams struggled with has been blamed on the newly resurfaced track.  Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon called the racing surfaces on newly paved tracks "too smooth.”  “We don't want bumps," Gordon said. "I'm not talking about bumps. I'm talking about the abrasiveness of the race track. It doesn't dissipate heat, doesn't wear the tires … all it does is cause friction and heat and failures and then Goodyear has to build a very hard, durable tire."  The Kansas surface was repaved last year, between the facility's two Cup dates.  Gordon said he "applauded" Goodyear's efforts, saying the supplier is "doing the best they can." 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Jimmie Johnson Bests Petty-Allison Record!

DOVER, DE – Well, he did it again. Jimmie Johnson won his record-setting eighth win at Dover International Speedway with a 0.5 sec margin over pole-sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr. This was also Johnson’s fifth win of the season and 65th Sprint Car career win. The record that Johnson broke was not low-lying fruit as the record for the most wins at the monster mile was held by NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Bobby Allison. "It's incredible," Johnson said. "To do anything Bobby or Richard has done is quite an accomplishment. We've had a few sneak away from us here, too, over the years. I'm just happy to get that done and be the sole leader of race wins here. It's a very special day."

Though Johnson led the most laps by far, 243 to Earnhardt’s 80, the win seemed dubious when Earnhardt’s crew chief, Steve Letarte, decided to put Dale Jr on four fresh tires versus Chad Knaus who went with only two for the final 25 lap stint. Money was that Earnhadt’s rubber would give hi the edge needed to catch and pass Johnson. But the strategy failed as Dale could manage only closing the gap to 0.5 sec. “I felt as we got through traffic, Jimmie was struggling the last couple of laps,” Earnhardt said. “My car got better and drove better the longer I ran. It did what I needed it to do in the corners and was starting to come around. The difference in the tires was about to show, but the race is 400 laps and that’s the way it is. If I could have gotten to him, I think I would be been able to get by him. If I had, we were going to have a helluva party.” 

Earnhardt has been winless for 48 straight races. Winning the pole at Dover has energized his fan base. Some might say too-little, too-late, but this may prove to be a turning point for the struggling team. Also, snafus like the one on lap 119 missing the pit entrance on the previous lap cost him the race lead, need to stop if Little E expects to be in the winner’s circle again.

The win also moves Johnson into second place in the Chase and only 8 points behind points leader Matt Kenseth who only managed a 7th place finish at Dover. Earnhardt moved up 1 place to 10th. The biggest move in the standings was made by Jeff Gordon, who’s 4th place Dover finish moved him up 3 places, tied with Kevin Harvick in 4th.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"..the most exciting day of all of our lives..."

SAN FRANCISCO, CA  - Sorry for another sail boat story, but the America’s Cup races in San Francisco have made history with the regatta going longer than any Cup race ever.  It looked dim for the American Team Oracle when after being penalized 2 points for a cheating incident in the AC World Series and being spanked by Team Emirates New Zealand in the first few races.  When Team Oracle found themselves losing 8-1, they had to make some major changes.  First was replacing tactician John Kostecki, one of the most successful and experienced tacticians in the world with Sir Ben Ainsley, a 4-time Olympic Gold medalist helmsman.  Then the engineering design team made some impressive adjustments to the boat and essentially found a way to “supercharge” the boat.

Now the boats being essentially even the races have come down to sailsmanship with Jimmy Spitell, the Team Oracle skipper making some brilliant starts getting the jump and staying ahead of New Zealand in several races.  Also, team New Zealand found some bad luck having two races in which they had a dominant lead postponed due to weather conditions, and one due to the race taking more than the allotted 40 minutes.

Race 18 looked like it would finally break for the Kiwis with Dean Baker making an aggressive move at the star and in the lead rounding the first mark.  But Team Oracle now appeared to have twin-turbochargers blazing past the Kiwis on the upwind leg and decisively winning the race with a 54 second margin.  After yesterday’s two wins for Team Oracle, the score is tied up 8-8, with the Cup going to the winner of this one race.  In Oracle’s Jimmy Spitell’s words, “this will be the most exciting day of all of our lives, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!”  Stay tuned and go USA!  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

So Hoist Up The John B's Sail

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -   Recalling the old Beach Boy's tune, I felt like taking a bit of a break from motorsports this week.  With the craziness of NASCAR surrounding Michael Waltrip and gang, and with the near flawless performance of S. Vettel and the Red Bull crew in F1, I thought a peaceful review of the serenity of yacht sailing would be in order.  Serenity!  If you have not had a chance to watch some of the America’s Cup Finals sailing races in San Francisco Bay, do yourself a favor and either catch it on TV or watch 1 or 2 races online at .

For a motorsports fan, sailing may seem to be a dull sport recalling images of oxford shirts and top siders sipping a cocktail while sailing at 15 or 20 mph in an “ultra-light.”  Well, get ready for seeing an amazing event.  Today’s America’s Cup boats are like nothing you have ever seen.  From the glistening carbon-fiber hulls, to 13-story carbon-fiber wing sails and hydraulically powered foils that lift these 72 foot catamarans several feet out of the water, to the 11 athlete sailors shod in the latest dry-suit technology, these America’s Cup regattas are a site for even a hardened gear-head.

Since 1851, when the schooner named America claimed the coveted 100 Pound Cup from England’s Royal Cup Squadron and successfully defended it for over 100 years, the renamed America’s Cup has become the oldest trophy in sporting history and “a perpetual challenge cup for friendly competition between nations.”.  The America’s Cup is the most difficult trophy in sport and has only been held by four countries in its history.  America lost the Cup in 1983 when the Australians used a secret, innovatively designed winged-keel, beat the New York Yacht club entry skippered by Dennis Conner.

The rules of the race have changed over the years and have ranged from wooden schooners, to 12-meter sloops and multihull boats like this year’s AC72-class boats.  When Dennis Conner challenged the Cup in 1987, he won the Cup back in a small, multi-hulled, wing-sailed catamaran.  Legal battles ensued as to whether or not the American boat met the rules of competition, but the victory stood the battle in court as well.

Since 1987, various boat designs have been run, and after numerous legal battles, the multi-hulled concept of Dennis Conner has prevailed.  This year, the multi-hulled concept has been taken to a new level with the use of “foils which lift these mammoth boats out of the water giving them speeds in excess of 55 mph.  The boats travel so fast, that the course referees follow the boats in a twin-engined, off-shore speedboat making over 1200 hp.   The 72’ foot, twin-hulled boats have a maximum beam of almost 45 feet and though built of carbon-fiber, weigh over 12,000 pounds.  The “main-sail” is actually two fixed profile wings that can be positioned to provide varying amounts of “lift” to propel the boats.  The wings are as long as that of a 737! 

The boats are crewed by 11 men, each with specific jobs on the boats including a helmsman and a tactician who call the maneuvers during the race.  The boats are also equipped with two retractable foils which in the case of the American, Team ORACLE boat, are controlled by hydraulics, with pressure provided by the human “grinders.”  The boats are designed to literally fly over the water on the tips of retractable foils, a fixed rudder and a winged shaped section connecting the hulls. 

 The race format for this year is a best of 13 races.  Prior to the race, the American Team ORACLE was penalized for infractions in the Americas Cup World Series, resulting in a two win deficit and the suspension of one of their key sailors.  To win, the American’s must win 11 races to Challenger New Zealand’s 9 wins.  After the first 4 races last weekend, Team ORACLE only managed to win 1 race out of 4.  The American team was simply out sailed in almost every race.  On Tuesday, the American team experienced a humiliating defeat in race 5 forcing them to take a one-time postponement of race 6.  Before Thursday’s race, Team ORACLE announced a new crew with the hopes of changing their luck.

We hope that the American team can make a good show in the remaining races.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Kyle Busch Takes a Clean Win At The Glen

Watkins Glen, NY – Kyle Busch was on top of the heap after the finish of the Watkins Glen road race. The end was nearly a repeat of last year’s race when Keselowski and Busch fought to the bitter end. Busch was the loser last year when Keselowski allegedly knocked Busch out of contention giving Marcos Ambrose the win. This year, Busch managed to keep it clean, beating Keselowski to the checkered flag by less than half a second. “It was just run as hard as you can, drive your car, try not to worry about what’s behind you, whatever happens, happens and we’ll deal with it,” said Busch, adding, “You know, I commend Brad for doing a better job this year at bringing home a cleaner race.”

Sounds like Keselowski had to fight temptation. "I could have dumped Kyle and won the race," said the defending Cup champion, who climbed to eighth in the series standings on the strength of the runner-up finish. "That stuff goes back and forth, and I’m sure someone in the tabloid side of the media will make a big deal about that, but it won’t be me, because I know I did the right thing …”

Martin Truex finished third followed by Carl Edwards with Juan Pablo Montoya rounding off the top-5.

The spoiler this year was a wreck by the 2-time winner of the race, Marcos Ambrose on lap 85. Ambrose led 51 of the first 61 laps. A caution on lap 64, resulted in a pit-stop shuffle placing him 12th. On lap 85, Ambrose was spun by Max Papis, knocking him out of the race.

Other disappointed drivers included Jeff Gordon who crashed early on lap 14. Going wide on turn 3 behind Denny Hamlin, glanced off the rails and hit the inside wall hard. “I’m going to have to have a wrecker guys,” was all the dejected Gordon could say over the radio. Other Hendrick Motorsports drivers also had some poor luck with Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr coming together after Kahne was bumped by Kenseth in the esses. As Kenseth slid, Dale Earnhardt Jr had now where to go but broadside into Kahne.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Kahne Bests Gordon At The End

POCONO, PENNSYLVANIA – It was a spirited ending to the Pocono 400 with Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon swapping leads in the final laps. On the estart on lap 153, Gordon, who clawed his way up from a 22nd place start, got the jump on Kahne and managed to put some air between him and Kasey. It looked like Jeff was going to successfully hold onto the lead, but then Matt Kenseth spun, bringing out the 9th yellow flag of the race. It was going to be a two lap drag race. Kasey Kahne who definitely had the faster car wasn’t going to let Gordon pull one over him again, so on the restart, Kahne made an aggressive pass on the outside of turn one, easily powering past Gordon putting 1.392 seconds between the two when he took the checkered flag.

“Kasey was superfast all day,” said Gordon. “I thought I had him [on the previous restart]. When you're leading and you've taken the lead from Kasey the way I did, you're disappointed when you don't win. Gordon continued, “Those guys deserved and earned the win. He got a killer run on the last restart and blasted by on the outside. I'll be honest, he caught me by surprise. I'm frustrated because we had a shot and we know how important wins are, but second is a great points day. I feel fortunate.”

“We had the best car all day and we gained on the leaders all day,” Kahne boasted “I need to win this one bad and the team needed to win one, too. We've run pretty good this summer without much to show for it. Today, we put it all together.” Kurt Busch managed the final podium position, while Ryan Newman and Dale Jr. rounding off the top five.

The strangest story of the day was Jimmie Johnson, who has had his share of strange stories lately. Starting from the pole, Jimmie looked strong leading 43 of the first 75 laps. Then, on lap 78, a blown right front tire caused him to lose control and strike the turn two wall with some gusto. Johnson’s crew rose to the occasion and after some creative body work and many “adjustments” along the way, Johnson was able to finish a respectable 13th, increasing his championship point lead to 77 points. “I felt we had a shot to win, but we blew a tire and that ended our hopes right there,” Johnson said after another unusual day during a season that has had many. “With all the trouble we had, I don't know how I salvaged 13th. But that stuff happens. It's racing.”

Monday, July 29, 2013


INDIANAPOLIS, IN – It was an upset, and a much needed win for Ryan Newman at the Brickyard on Sunday.  As usual, Jimmie Johnson had the car to beat, but a late pit stop gave pole-sitter Ryan Newman the edge he needed to pull off an upset.  The Indiana native has not won here before so it was definitely a treat for Newman.   "Starting on the pole and winning the race -- just an awesome day for us," Newman said after climbing out of his car. "This is a dream come true for me. I can't wait to push my lips on those bricks. 

After qualifying on the pole, Newman commented “I'll admit I was emotional. For me it special because it is the Brickyard, and I hadn't won a pole her before even though I have won so many poles.  It's been so long since I won a pole, people ask me if I ran out of fuel for the rockets. That type of thing. So this is special to me for a lot of reasons; being home here in Indiana; being at the Brickyard; being so long since I won a pole.  Hopefully we can turn it into a good day tomorrow."   As we know, he did fine on Sunday.

The win has even some additional sweetness since Ryan recently learned that he will not have a ride at Stewart-Haas next year.  Stewart announced in New Hampshire that Kevin Harvick will be taking the wheel of #4 Chevrolet.  "Obviously, it [the win] helps," Newman said. "The emotions have been an absolute roller coaster -- no doubt. I got fired a couple of weeks ago and come back here and win the pole and win the race, and it's all because of hard effort. These guys (his team) are behind me, and I'm behind them." 

A slow pit on lap 33 did Johnson in.  The team took on 4 tires and the sub-par 17 sec stop allowed Newman, who took only 2 tires, to a 7-sec lead.  Johnson ran hard and was gaining on Newman, but there just weren’t enough laps left. "There's definitely disappointment there," said Johnson, whohas squandered winning opportunities on late-race restarts this year, notablyat Dover and Kentucky. "But that's racing. It happens. I've given away afew out there this year, too.” 

Following Johnson was Kasey Kahne then Ryan’s boss Tony Stewart.  Allegedly, still friends, Stewart had some nice words for Ryan, "I can't wait to give him a hug and congratulate him," Stewart said after the race. "He did a great job all weekend. It was between him and the 48. That was clear to see. I didn't know what strategy was going to be at the end. I just kept watching the Jumbotrons coming off (Turn) 4 to see where he was at." 

Danica raced better than she qualified moving from starting position 33 to finishing 30th.

A seventh place finish for Jeff Gordon moves the 4-time Sprint Car Champ into 10th place and a good shot at The Chase.  Jimmie Johnson widened his margin over Clint Boyer to 75 points.  Brad Keselowski dropped from 9th to 13th