Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dan Shaughnessy Will Never Be Confused With Nostradamus

Dan Shaughnessy and Heidi Watney discussing the possible outcomes last night in the AL East. Looks like Dan's crystal ball is a little out of whack. Perhaps he should have studied in Divination class.

Final Night Of Red Sox Collapse Follows Hollywood Script

Could you have written a script like last night? Put yourself in the role of movie producer. Would you have believed it if you were handed a script like last night's epic melt down by the Boston Red Sox, one that coincided with the Tampa Bay Rays coming back from a seven run deficit? Against the Yankees, no less? You would have laughed and thrown it in the trash.

And yet, you could see it happening last night almost before it unfolded. You didn't need to be Nostradamus to tell it was happening. You had Tom Caron in the NESN studio updating Sox fans as the Rays started coming back. You could see it in his eyes. Jim Rice, a man who lived through the last epic collapse, in 1978, could just sit there and shake his head. They take the field for the ninth inning and BOOM, the bottom falls out. It happened so quickly, you were almost numb to it. It wasn't the slow painful 7 wins in 20 games that the month of September turned out to be. This was a quick slash that left fans going "what the hell happened?"

Now, before you call for Terry Francona's head, offer a solution. Who's the guy to replace him? Joe Torre? Think that is a long term solution? Tito didn't go out a sign bad contract after bad contract. Carl Crawford, John Lackey, Bobby Jenks, Edgar Renteria, and Julio Lugo are just the top of the list of bad signings, never mind the Erik Bedard experiment. Tell me you didn't miss Dice K this month. Who ever is the "baseball guy" in the organization that makes the free agents decisions is the one who should take the fall, not Francona. However, the GM doesn't go while the manager stays.

The real problem is the players. Crawford should have had a better season. He should have caught the ball and thrown out the base runner at the plate in the bottom of the ninth last night in Baltimore. Lackey should Lackey should have never come to Boston. He's horrific, and it's a bad albatross of a contract. That's going to leave a mark, but clearly, he's got to go. Crawford's not going anywhere, so Sox fans have to hope he rebounds. Lackey, that's another story all together.

Like we said a week or so ago: plenty of blame pie to be had by everyone.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kourtney's LA Adventure, Part I

Ok FVP readers, we've got a real treat for you. This is the first of what we hope will be many posts we have with our friend Kourtney Reppert. If you're just tuning in, Kourtney was our FVP All-Star just a week ago. Things are really blowing up for her. She's been named Philly's Hottest Blonde, she's been featured on the Flyers website as the Flyers Hottest fan, as well as being featured over at Yahoo on a two-parter about the up and coming star. Three months ago, Kourtney moved out to LA in the hopes of taking her career to the next level. She caught the editorial eyes of the FVP staff, and Kourtney was a good enough sport to allow us to tag along for the ride as she goes from Philly to LA to the Big Time. 

"Oh my God, it's been so hectic." Kourtney tells us. "I looked into a film, but that didn't work out. They wanted me to do some things that I wasn't comfortable with.  I have a core set of values, and I am going to be true to them. If you're not going to be professional, then I am not interested. That's not how I roll, I don't work that way." Staying true to herself still has opened some doors. "I found out I'll be in Hollywood Weekly Magazine. It's crazy!" Kourt takes time out of her busy schedule to tell us "I have been working out, double sessions, to prep for a very important photo shoot that really could change my career.  These people have really moved schedules around to get me in right off, in the hopes of finding the "next big blonde". So now I'm torturing myself over the next 48 hours to get ready. It's pretty nuts. This is a really big deal, it's a 5 hour shoot, and I have to be prepared. They'll have hair, makeup, you name it. The way I look at it, it's like a test at school. If I am prepared, I'll do well." 

Miss Reppert remains surprisingly grounded as she gets ready for her star to rise. She says  "It's taken so much hard work to get to where I am, and it was all worth it. Life is an adventure, and you can't be afraid to live it!  I wrote on my facebook page ' We all have that potential to hit the jackpot, but you need to go out there and make it happen' and I really believe that to be true."

What's really striking is how someone stays true to their belief system in the face of such opportunity. There are many people out there who would do just about anything to make it big in the entertainment industry. Kourtney refuses to be led astray, staying to her moral compass. Such commitment get rewarded, as far as FVP is concerned. Good karma begets good karma. As Kourtney takes a major step in her career,  we wish her well, and look forward to hearing about where life takes her from here.

To be continued.

Follow along with Kourtney on her facebook page. Be sure you tell her FVP sent you.

Wheldon To Drive For Sam Schmidt Racing In Preparation For $5m Bonus

Wheldon tests the very batmobile looking 2012 Dallara
Indycar at IMS
INDYCAR team owner Sam Schmidt, driver Alex Tagliani and sponsor Bowers & Wilkins have agreed to put two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon behind the wheel of the No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins at Magnolia Dallara/Honda/Firestone car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) in the Oct. 2 Kentucky Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

Wheldon gets into the car that Alex Tagliani has driven in 15 IZOD IndyCar Series races this season. It was announced on Sept. 13 that Wheldon would also drive in the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships on Oct. 16 in Las Vegas in a car jointly entered by SSM and Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA). Wheldon will now drive the No. 77 car for SSM at Kentucky in preparation for his attempt to win the $5 million Go Daddy INDYCAR Challenge.

"I can’t thank Alex enough for letting me drive his car in Kentucky and to work with the team in preparation for Las Vegas,” Wheldon said. “I know when I step into the No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins at Magnolia Honda, I’ll be stepping into a fast racecar that’s capable of winning. As a driver, that’s all you can ask for. I’m really excited about this opportunity and look forward to working with everyone at Sam’s team. They were a large part of our winning effort in May, and I’ll do my best to get back to victory lane."

“I’m obviously not happy about sitting out Kentucky, but this is a very exciting opportunity,” Tagliani said. “Dan and I are good friends, and I’m very jealous that he gets to run for the $5 million. But, I fully support what INDYCAR has done to generate fan interest and will do everything I can to help the SSM team run Dan in Kentucky and prepare for the Go Daddy Challenge. I’m out to win the Vegas race, as well, and won’t back off one bit, so Dan will be on his own when the green flag drops.”

As the reigning Indianapolis 500 winner, Wheldon is the only driver eligible to compete for the Go Daddy INDYCAR Challenge. If he wins the Las Vegas race after starting at the back of the field, he will win $2.5 million for himself and $2.5 million for a lucky fan.

Photo Credit: Jim Haines for

NASCAR Announces 2012 Schedule

NASCAR announced today the 2012 schedule for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, with a lineup featuring small adjustments from the 2011 schedule.

The most notable change is the moving of the fall Talladega race to Oct. 4, which falls into the fourth slot in The Chase. This will allow teams an opportunity to recover from a poor finish due to Talladega's status as a "wild card" race.

Talladega swaps its Chase date with Kansas Speedway (Oct. 21) to accommodate Kansas’ repave, scheduled for after the track’s spring event. As such, Kansas’ spring date has also been moved. Kansas now will be the eighth race of the season on April 22. Talladega’s spring event moves to May 6, and Dover International Speedway’s spring event returns to its traditional spot on June 3.

As previously announced, the season-opening Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway will start one week later with the running of the preseason “non-points” Shootout at Daytona on Feb. 18. The 54th annual Daytona 500 will run on Feb. 26. as a result, the dates for Phoenix International Raceway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway have been moved a week later, to March 4 and March 11.

2/18 Daytona International Speedway (Shootout) FOX
2/19 Daytona International Speedway (Daytona 500 Qualifying) FOX
2/23 Daytona International Speedway (Duel) SPEED
2/26 Daytona 500 FOX
3/4 Phoenix International Raceway FOX
3/11 Las Vegas Motor Speedway FOX
3/18 Bristol Motor Speedway FOX
3/25 Auto Club Speedway FOX
4/1 Martinsville Speedway FOX
4/14 Texas Motor Speedway FOX
4/22 Kansas Speedway FOX
4/28 Richmond International Raceway FOX
5/6 Talladega Superspeedway FOX
5/12 Darlington Raceway FOX
5/19 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (Charlotte Motor Speedway) SPEED
5/27 Charlotte Motor Speedway FOX
6/3 Dover International Speedway FOX
6/10 Pocono Raceway TNT
6/17 Michigan International Speedway TNT
6/24 Infineon Raceway TNT
6/30 Kentucky Speedway TNT
7/7 Daytona International Speedway TNT
7/15 New Hampshire Motor Speedway TNT
7/29 Indianapolis Motor Speedway ESPN
8/5 Pocono Raceway ESPN
8/12 Watkins Glen International ESPN
8/19 Michigan International Speedway ESPN
8/25 Bristol Motor Speedway ABC
9/2 Atlanta Motor Speedway ESPN
9/8 Richmond International Raceway ABC
9/16 Chicagoland Speedway ESPN
9/23 New Hampshire Motor Speedway ESPN
9/30 Dover International Speedway ESPN
10/7 Talladega Superspeedway ESPN
10/13 Charlotte Motor Speedway ABC
10/21 Kansas Speedway ESPN
10/28 Martinsville Speedway ESPN
11/4 Texas Motor Speedway ESPN
11/11 Phoenix International Raceway ESPN
11/18 Homestead-Miami Speedway ESPN

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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View from the Sin Bin: The Boston Bruins Long, Hot Summer is Coming to an End

The Long, Hot Summer is Coming to an End

Chins up, Boston fans…while the Red Sox endure an epic fail in September (just like when we were growing up, but back then it happened in June), the Patriots can’t hold a 21-0 lead against Buffalo (yes, that Buffalo!), and it appears there won’t even be a season for the Celtics, the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins start their Cup defense next week. Aaahhh.

The Black-and-Gold pretty much stood pat over the summer. They signed their first-round pick, D-man Dougie Hamilton, and made a few other moves. Hamilton is probably a year or two away from prime time, but he looks to be the heir-apparent to Zdeno Chara when Big Z decides to hang ‘em up. Does anyone miss Phil Kessel? Thanks, Toronto. Defenseman Joe Corvo came over from Carolina. Tomas Kaberle and Michael Ryder moved on, but not before the Stanley Cup received a new dent on Ryder’s watch.

The Hub of Hockey will miss Mark Recchi, who announced his retirement almost literally while holding the Cup over his head in Vancouver. His leadership and work with kids like Brad “Little Ball of Hate” Marchand and Tyler Seguin is one of those intangibles that will be difficult to replace. A class act and sure-fire Hall of Famer.

Things we need to see this season:

Tyler Seguin continues his development and chips in 30 goals. The kid showed flashes of brilliance all season. Time to string them together.

Brad Marchand continues to be a pest in the best Claude Lemieux mold. Still love that footage of Marchand with his glove grabbing one of the Sedin’s jersey and punching him repeatedly while holding onto the sweater. Reporter: “Brad…why’d you do that?” Marchand: “Because I can.” Classic.

Tuukka Rask bounces back from off-season knee surgery to take some of the load off Tim”Vezina, Again?” Thomas. Timmay is 37, after all.

Fix the power play…at least a little. Corvo seems to be finding the back of the next in the preseason, so maybe he’ll help.

Avoid the post-championship hangover. The team spent much of the summer celebrating, and deservedly so. But it’s time to go back to work.

Random thoughts…
Maybe Tim Thomas and Tim Wakefield can open a restaurant… “Timmy Times Two: Pucks and Knucks.”

The Bin will be at the Garden for home game #2…can’t wait to see another banner in the rafters.

View from the Sin Bin 2.1

Monday, September 26, 2011

FVP Monday Night All Star: Natasha

Tonight we have San Diego native and current Oklahoma Biker Babe Natasha. Natasha describes herself as a fun, positive person with a sarcastic streak. Natasha tells FVP she’s a San Diego Chargers fan, doesn’t watch NASCAR, and has a funny story to share with us that’s best told in her own words.

“I was on this photoshoot at my friend’s house and his pit bull would grab his toy and get in the way of the picture. “Natasha shares. She tells us she’s afraid of dogs a bit before she adds “You could only imagine what I looked like when this dog was trying to play with me, growling whenever I was trying to model. But the photos turned out amazing so it ended up being successful ;)”

Check out Natasha over at She's also got her facebook page here as well. Head over to her facebook and tell her Congrats on being an FVP All Star.

Smoke Serves Notice At Loudon, Now The Hard Part Begins

Stewart makes it two in a row at NHMS
Yesterday, Tony Stewart notched his second win of the season, grabbing the lead from Clint Bowyer as the checkered flag was (almost) in sight. Smoke's back to back wins at Chicago and Loudon have moved him to the lead in the Sprint Cup Championship battle. Now the difficult part: keeping it going through the final eight weeks.

"When you talk about momentum, that racecar doesn't know anything about momentum." Stewart said post race yesterday. "It knows what you put in it, it knows how we drive it. It doesn't know stats, it doesn't know anything other than just what's put in it."

The two time champion continued "Momentum deals with people. It's not just these first two races of the Chase, it was the two weeks leading before it, too. We haven't finished outside the top seven now in the last four weeks. That's huge for us. It's huge for our guys. We've had one of those seasons up to the Chase where we couldn't do anything right. I mean, we couldn't get it clicking. We couldn't get through all the bad luck. It seems like every week something would happen and we'd have to try to dig ourselves out of a hole the rest of the day. I'm hoping and praying that we're through that bad luck string now and things are hopefully going to click the next eight weeks."

The next track on the schedule is Dover. Stewart has had some success as the Monster Mile, with a pair of wins, 10 top fives and 15 top tens. However, it has been ten years since Smoke tamed the Monster, sweeping both races back on 2000.

"The thing about this sport is things change week-to-week." Stewart said at Loudon. "The one thing I think our organization is really good at is taking what we're doing day-to-day. I mean, we don't lose sight of where we're at today worrying about two weeks down the road. We focus one day at a time. Obviously, stuff like the chassis that we're going to run through the end of the year, Darian has those planned out, but we really just focus on the day that we're on, what we can do to make the most of that day."

Stewart has to hope his team is focused on the day to day, and not looking back. Smoke has led just six laps since 2004 at Dover.

"The celebrating isn't going to last long. We got a lot of work to do. I'm proud of our group. I'm confident that we've got a group of guys that are very, very focused right now. Like we said, the cars don't know anything about momentum, but the people do. This is the perfect scenario to go into these last eight weeks, for sure." Stewart said.

photo credit: Steve Pouliot Images for

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Practice/Qualifying Notes From NHMS

Ryan Newman captured the pole for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Loudon with a time of 28.213. Newman also qualified first at the July race at NHMS. This is the third time Newman has started on the point in 2011. It is also his series leading sixth career pole at Loudon. Rounding out the top five are Red Bull team mates Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers, Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch.

Jimmie Johnson was fastest in second practice, posting a lap time of 29.254. He was followed on the leader board by Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon.

In final practice, David Stremme put the Inception Motorsports Checy atop the leader board with a time of 29.154. He was followed by Jeff Gordon, team mate Jimie Johnson, Jeff Burton and Truck Series winner Kyle Busch.

Kyle Busch Dominates Truck Race at Loudon

Rowdy dominates at Loudon for his sixth NCWTS win
After qualifying on the pole for Saturday's Truck Series race, Kyle Busch was dominant, leading 165 of 175 laps en route to his sixth win in 14 starts this season. Busch led from the green flag until lap 131, when he surrendered the lead to pit for fuel and tires. By the time the pits stops had concluded, Busch had opened up a six second lead on eventual runner up Austin Dillion.

We unloaded a little bit off, but we tweaked on it, worked on it a little bit, didn't have to make too many changes, just had to get the feel to wear I liked it. Once we got it the there, it seemed like the lap times kind of followed our adjustments, and got better the more the truck got better." Busch said post race.
Busch also led every lap at Phoenix earlier this year in the Nationwide Series. Busch's dominance cannot bode well for the field in Sunday's Sprint Cup race. Busch qualified 8th for Sunday's event, lapping the Magic Mile in 28.393 seconds.

Photo Credit: Steve Pouliot Images for

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ryan Newman Optimistic On Return To NHMS

Ryan Newman turns into Victory Lane at NHMS
After earning the pole position in the July race, Ryan Newman went wire to wire, driving from the point to victory lane, earning his 15th Sprint Cup win, his third at New Hampshire and his first in 2011. Now as the circuit returns to Loudon for the second Chase race, Newman looks to make a return to victory lane.

New Hampshire has always been a good place for me." Newman said recently. "I’m not 100-percent sure why. It’s the place of my first win, when I hadn’t won in a long while, 70 some races. I won again there. This past July, we were able to qualify and finish 1-2 at Stewart-Haas. So, I really look forward to it, obviously. For whatever reason, and I still don’t know the answer as to why, I enjoy Loudon. Don’t get me wrong, but I have no idea why we have been as good as we are there. I will say that the track – you have to be – it’s a real finesse racetrack. And that’s why I don’t get it. I mean, I love slamming a car into the racetrack, 24 degrees of banking, being able to bottom out and being able to drive it in harder because the racetrack will allow you to do that. At Loudon, you cannot do that. I think, at the same time, though, if you look at myself and (Tony) Stewart and (Jeff) Gordon, you’ve got to know that limit of when the car is right on the edge. I think dirt-track racing has a little bit to do with it. Not to say that other guys haven’t been good there, I just think my background and what I’ve raced in the past has really helped me to have that mixture of patience and aggressiveness and finesse and knowing when to push buttons, which I think you need to have at New Hampshire."

Newman also spoke of what the keys are to running well at Loudon. "Our short-track program at Stewart-Haas Racing has been our strength – it has been our bread and butter. If you look at the 39 team’s stats, we are really good on the short tracks. To have that finish in July – to finish 1-2 – and just our consistency in general, recently, makes it a place we really look forward to going back to this weekend. Loudon is a track where, if you have the car good on Friday, then more than likely it’s going to stay right for Sunday. More than likely, you can transfer your qualifying effort into a solid run on Sunday. You can’t overdrive the car there very much because it’s so flat. I’ve always said it’s the birthplace of track position. It’s a relatively short race. Basically, you only need to stop for fuel two, maybe three times, depending on cautions. You don’t get a whole lot of opportunities to work on your racecar. You start up front (and) you have a good chance of staying up front. Back in July, Gibson made a lot of great strategy calls that put us in position to stay out front and eventually win. He made gutsy calls on two tires to give us track position and save fuel. And in the end, we had just enough of everything to get that first win for the season. It was a huge momentum- and confidence-builder for our team. It was a very pivotal win for us, and if we could come close to duplicating that in the second race of the Chase, it’s something we would all be very proud of." Newmman said.

Photo Credit: Steve Pouliot Images for

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pink Hat Nation Could Care Less About Red Sox Slide

In the middle of an epic... no make that EPIC Boston Red Sox collapse here in late September, the Pink Hat Nation has taken over Fenway Park. The Sox continue to cough up leads late, and the fan base holds hands and sings Kumbaya by the campfire. Ridiculous.

The Boston Red Sox dropped three out of four to the hapless Baltimore Orioles at home in front of Pink Hat Nation. Neil Diamond still sings, fans still shout "So Good!" while the Baltimore Orioles are disemboweling the Bosox playoff hopes. "Touching Me, Touching You." Nero fiddles while Rome burns.

Tonight was the final home game of the Red Sox season. This was an opportunity for Red Sox Nation to let the players, managers, and front office know how they feel. Shower them with a little boos as they drop another. Baltimore is a team playing .419 baseball for cryin' out loud. The Red Sox? 88 wins from a team that many fans felt 100 wins was in the bag. "Hands, touching hands, reaching out..."

Plenty of blame pie to be had on the historic collapse of the Red Sox. Lackey, Crawford, Theo, and Tito all share a piece of pie. The front office can be solely blamed on the Pink Hat invasion. Cost of tickets has made a trip to Fenway a luxury for folks. They are going, come hell or high water, and they are going to have a good time while they are there. The game is secondary. Its the event of being there that matters.  "Where it began, I can't begin to know it."

This is how it must be in San Diego, in LA, and Anaheim. Fans show up late and leave early, the game is just part of a night out. The Red Sox have made that transition. The game is The Event. We are all just happy to be here. Woooooo!!

Good times never seem so good.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Keselowski on Loudon: A lot of beating and banging

Keselowski ran into trouble at Loudon in July, finishing 35th
After a fifth place finish at Chicago, Chase wild card driver Brad Keselowski sits sixth in points, tied with Ryan Newman, only 14 markers out of the lead. This week, Keselowski and the Penske Racing team bring a new chassis, #PRS-761 to the Magic Mile in Loudon in hopes of keeping the momentum going.

"It’s always a lot of fun when we go up to Loudon to race." the driver of the Blue Deuce said recently. "The fans really love what we do and they show it by filling the stands. It’s one of those tracks we can go to and almost guarantee that it will be sold out. The racing that we put on at New Hampshire sometimes gets a bad rap, but I think it has produced some of the most-exciting finishes over the last few years. It’s a one mile track, but it races like a short track. There is a lot of beating and banging and bumping and running – all of the things that the fans love."

Keselowski notched his first career pole at this race last September. Crew Chief Paul Wolfe spent time in both the K&N Series and the Nationwide Series, making 12 total starts as a driver. Wolfe knows a thing or two about getting around at Loudon, and he shared some of his thoughts recently. "Loudon is a unique racetrack. It has aspects of both Richmond and Phoenix all rolled into one. We work really hard to get the car to turn the center (of the corners) and maintain forward drive for late into a run. It’s a very flat layout, which presents a lot of different challenges. With no banking to catch the car, it can be very hard on brakes because the straightaways are long and you can build up a lot of speed before you get to the corner. It is so hard to pass, you really need the complete package to win there – good brakes, handling and pit stops."

Keselowski and the boys look to improve on a poor finish in July at NHMS. The difference this time is the fact that the Blue Deuce has been running up front since then. "Now we go to a portion in the schedule where I think we can really do some damage, starting this weekend in Loudon" Keselowski said.

Photo Credit: Steve Pouliot Images for

Monday, September 19, 2011

Smoke Captures First Chase Race At Chicago

In 2010, Tony Stewart gambled on fuel mileage in the first Chase Race sat Loudon, running out of gas at the Magic Mile, and dealing his championship hopes a blow. Today, Stewart saved enough fuel to bring home the Office Depot #14 .941 seconds ahead of second place and points leader Kevin Harvick. The win moves Smoke to second place in points as NASCAR heads to Loudon this week for the second race of the Chase.

Smoke leads late at Chicago
"You couldn't pick a better weekend to get that first win of the year than here at Chicago, obviously." a chatty Stewart said post race. "We felt like there were three or four opportunities earlier in the year that we let some get away from us. But we have struggled. We've had a miserable year. But the last three weeks have really started coming into it. We had a really good run in Atlanta. Good solid run last week at Richmond and then to come out this weekend, I didn't honestly know going into the race, I don't think Darian either one of us thought that we had as good a car as we thought we needed to win today. But it didn't take long in the race to figure out that we were pretty solid."

Smoke continued "It was just getting the track position. I mean, it was really hard at the beginning of the race to make up any ground. And then we had one restart there where we just, we caught a bunch of guys messing around with each other and we were able to just pick them off two at a time. Couple times we were three wide and through the middle and in positions that we didn't want to be in and that we typically wouldn't put ourselves in. But the way guys were racing today, you had to take chances. You had to put yourself in bad spots."

"Everybody was putting each other in bad spots during the day. And you just had to -- some guys in particular you just had to get through and get away from them. And it seemed like once we got through that batch of cars, we were able to keep going forward. And I think we went from 18th to 7th or 6th or something in two stints there. So once we got up toward the front we had a car that was good enough at that point to pick off a couple more cars on the restarts and once we got in the top four there, I think it was, once we got to that point it was -- as long as we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot, we were in position to at least have a nice, solid top 5 finish. We knew we had speed."

"Just depended on what line you ended up restarting on, whether it was inside or outside. Seemed like we were better on the outside row. But at the end you hate to have to play the fuel mileage game. But that's just the way the caution came out. And we came in and got fuel and Darian told me we had to save a lap's worth of fuel. So we had a whole run to do it. But we kept a lot of pressure on Matt and finally got by him and once we got out to a second half, two-second lead we could start backing off to their pace and start saving fuel."

"I felt like I'd saved enough to get us to the end. But we came off of turn 2 after we got the checkered and the fuel pressure was down to two pounds, and it stayed there until just shortly after we picked up the checkered flag at the flag stand and we didn't do any wild burnout or anything like that and ran out before we ever got on pit road. So we were closer than I wanted to be. But we didn't have anything to lose. Where we're at in The Chase right now, we had to press. And I was glad I saved as much as I did. But I had a good enough car to get us there and Darian and his calls and the car that they gave us the opportunity to get to the lead to where we were able to do that."

Third place went to Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was also in fuel conservation mode. His car was running out of gas at the checkers. Said Earnhardt "Obviously we gained a lot of spots there at the end with guys that were short of fuel. But we were running really well at the end. The car struggled off and on throughout the day. And we didn't have great track position either. But at the end the car was really good. And I think we were up in the top ten there. So real happy with being able to adjust the car, improve it. That's all you can ask for as a driver, that the car gets better all day long. We also had been struggling on pit road all year. And we worked really hard. The guys worked really hard to improve and they had an excellent day on pit road."

Junior added "The car drove -- like I said, off and on it was pretty decent all weekend. We tried to be really smart and utilize every minute in practice and try to really focus in practice and get everything we could out of it. And tried to just be really smart about our adjustments and what we were trying to learn from the car throughout the weekend so we could put a good car out on the starting grid today, and I think we did a good job of that. I hated how we struggled in the middle part of the race but it was a really competitive field. And it was important to try to restart on the inside at least for most guys. Couple times we had to start on the outside and we'd lose a few spots there and they're so hard to get back. But real happy how it turned out. We were never worried about our fuel mileage. Steve said we're about three tenths of a lap short before we ever took the green flag for that last run. We were going a little faster. We were worrying maybe this was probably the worst fuel mileage we was going to have all day long. So we started backing off and saving gas with about 20 to go. And so it's just enough. It started running out at four but ran to the finish line but it wouldn't have made it another lap."

Carl Edwards came home fourth, Brad Keselowski fifth. Kurt Busch lead the most laps, leading 64 circuits, finishing sixth.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

FVP Monday Night All Star: Kourtney

For many FVP readers, this is the first time you guys have met Kourtney Reppert. FVP is willing to wager this won't be the last. Kourtney grew up in Leesport Pa, with three older sisters, all of whom were heavily involved in sports.

Kourtney tells FVP that she attended Kutztown University, but soon left to pursue her modeling career. She added "it took hard work and dedication" to find her place. Soon, her hard work started paying off and she landed her first break in a commercial for Constellation Energy. Following that she was offered stand in/extra work on the set of National Treasure 2.

Since then, she's been featured on the Phillies opening poster, the Flyer’s website for Flyers Hottest fan, and she was named “Philly’s Hottest Blonde” from the Preston and Steve Morning show on WMMR.

A very big break came from Yahoo writer Sean O'brien, who did a two part series on her, entitled "A Model's Life". Kourtney has since moved to LA in hopes of taking her career to the next level. FVP is only to happy to help.

So, FVP All Star fans, remember this: Kourtney Reppert is going to be a star.

7/10/12 EDIT: See more from Kourt in our interview with her here, as well as more pics of her here. Her anti-bullying efforts with Chelsea Cooley are here.
Available here as an 18x24 poster. Tell Kourtney FVP sent you!

Vince Wilfork's Interception Vs. San Diego

For those of you, like me, who can't get enough of the big man's interception, here you go. We'll have it until the NFL makes you tube take it down.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Handicapping The Top 12 In The Chase

Tonight, FVP takes a look at the 12 drivers in NASCAR's Chase For The Sprint Cup. We'll attempt to rank, rate, handicap, or whatever other term you want to put in it. In short, here's what we think:

Kyle Busch: Rowdy continues to dominate in the lower tiers of NASCAR, and this may be his year to finally break through at the highest level. Busch has four wins this year: Bristol, Richmond, Kentucky and Michigan. At Chase tracks, he's won at Chicago, Loudon, Dover, Talladega, and Phoenix. So often in the past, it was checkers or wreckers for Busch. If he can take what the track gives him on the races where the set up is off, and bring the car home in one piece instead of on the hauler, it could be Busch's year. If he gets frustrated, like he did at Loudon this July, then he could drop in the standings quickly.

Kevin Harvick: Happy also has four wins this season, California, Martinsville, Charlotte and Richmond. He proved last year that he had been to the Jimmie Johnson school of patience and taking what the track gives instead of over driving the car. He also has wins over his career at Chicago, Loudon, Talladega, and Phoenix. He's lost a little momentum late this summer, before getting back to victory lane at Richmond last weekend. He should be considered one of the major contenders to finally end Johnson's run.

Jeff Gordon: Gordon has had a return to his high level of performance, with three wins this season. Of the Chase tracks, Gordon has won at every track except Homestead. In 260 starts at the Chase tracks since 2005, Gordon has 31 wins. He has the equipment, talent, and drive to go out and make the Chase his own road to the Sprint Cup. Johnson will not back down, but if anyone falters, Gordon will add a fifth Cup to his trophy case.

Matt Kenseth: Matt has also had a return to more competitive racing in 2011. He's made two trips to victory lane this season, at Dover and Texas. He has seven career wins at Chase tracks since '05. If he gets off to a great start, he could hang on down the stretch. His average finish at Chase tracks since '05 is a middle of the pack 15.1 place. The question is whether or not he can be dominant enough in the next 10 weeks to win the Sprint Cup.

Carl Edwards: Edwards also has a pair of wins this season, Las Vegas and Charlotte, if you choose to count the All-Star race. Like his team mate Kenseth, he has seven wins at the Chase tracks. He has a slightly better finish position, 14.1. Edwards has good numbers when it comes to being fast early in a run and late in a run. He's solid enough, but will need multiple wins during the Chase to grab his first Cup.
Jimmie Johnson: To be the man, you've got to beat the man. No one has proven they can beat Johnson in the Chase for five years. He and crew chief Chad Knauss are unbelievably focused on the final ten races. It will take someone getting out of the gate fast and then running consistently to beat Johnson. With only the lone win at Talladega in '11, Johnson looks beatable this season. Driver's like Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have been the stories this season, but if they or Gordon falter, Johnson will have his sixth Cup this December.

Kurt Busch: Busch makes the Chase based on his seventh place points finish on the strength of one win at Infineon and seven top fives. He has eight wins at Chase tracks since '05, but the feeling here is he hasn't had enough top fives this season to really make a run at a second Sprint Cup. He's strong at Kansas, but hasn't led a lap since Pocono. He'll need the driver's already mentioned to have problems in order to have the Yellow Double Deuce be the Sprint Cup Champion.

Ryan Newman: Newman has the same type of stats as Kurt Busch: one win at Loudon, eight top fives, 13 top tens. Newman's strength this year has been his reliability: no DNF's. The same logic applies to Newman as Busch: he'll need help. The odds of him going out and being dominant on the final 10 races are slim. Last season, he had no wins during the Chase, and only led 32 laps at Martinsville. He's a long shot.

Tony Stewart: Smoke has what it takes, but hasn't had things go his way in 2011. He looked like the man to beat after Las Vegas in March, but has cooled since then. Normally strong in late summer, Smoke hasn't led a lap since Indy. With no poles and no wins in '11 thus far, logic says he really has no shot. However, he has the third highest driver rating at the Chase tracks, behind Johnson and Gordon. He can win any given week, and could string together some good finishes.  He could surprise some folks and flip the switch, or he could sink in the standings. Look for the Dover race to be key for Stewart's Chase chances.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior looked like The Man following the Talledega race, pushing Jimmie Johnson to victory lane when he had a car good enough to win. He had three races in the spring and early summer where he finished no worse than seventh, Charlotte, Kansas and Pocono. Since then, he's been a mid-teens guy, save for a ninth at the second Pocono race. If he could find the form he had in the spring...who knows. Odds are he'll continue to be a mid teens guys and slowly lose ground on the leaders.

Brad KeselowskiLoudon. Keselowski's going to mature a lot this fall, but it's probably not his time...yet. He is going to finish higher than some of the more established stars this season. Has a ton of momentum.Very dark horse.

Denny Hamlin: Hamlin holds the final wild card. He has one win, at Michigan, but Hamlin really struggled after that. 37th at Infineon, 27th at Indy, 36th at Watkins Glen, and 35th the second time around at Michigan made Hamlin's lone win his ticket to The Chase. With that said, Hamlin has pedigree and great equipment at JGR. He has the fourth highest driver rating among Chase drivers at Chase tracks. He's either going to capitalize on being in the Chase and run up front, or he's going to be a footnote on the '11 season.

Eric Grant Band Live At Meadowbrook

Here's my friends EGB performing at the Meadowbrook Us Cellular Pavillion, in support for Lady Antebellum. Watch it to the end to see the banjo player Billy Hayes deliver a rippin' the guitar solo.

Belichick F-Bombs Mason from "A Football Life"

For those who missed "A Football Life" on NFL Network, here's one of the funnier clips.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Sun Rises And Sets On Tom Brady

Last night, Tom Brady threw for 517 yards and four touchdowns as the New England Patriots beat the Miami Dolphins in the Monday Night opener by a score of 38-24. Defensively, the 24 points allowed is a cause for concern, but the real story was Brady and his record setting night.

Brady's 517 yards represent career, franchise and Monday Night Football records. He was an assassin, directing players pre-snap before delivering strikes mid-stride to receivers deep down field. (Hello, Matthew Slater) Other than a tipped ball turned interception, Brady was near perfect. His line for the night was 34 for 48 with 517 yards, four TD's and the one pick. He ended the night with a 121.6 rating. It was a career night for a player with many career nights.

Here at FVP, we've made no bones about being a fan of TB12. He's the best QB in the game today. He's in the discussion as the best of his generation and perhaps greatest all-time. He has the division titles, conference titles, Super Bowl Rings, MVP awards, records and statistics that make him a sure bet to be the last Patriot QB to wear #12 and a lock as a first ballot Hall Of Famer. Just think for a moment of just how much the sun rises and sets on this guy.

Tom Brady lit up the Dolphins
Here's a man goes from Hollywood starlet to world renowned super model without batting an eye. His haircut is news. TV stations break-in with news of an auto accident involving Brady. Videos show up on YouTube of him dancing at Carnival. He gets ridiculed for signing a deal with UGG Boots. The ad shows up on MNF and, admit it, you said "those don't look so bad". The guy drinks a mystery concoction out of a bottle with no label on the sidelines during his record setting night, and the thought process is "what's he drinking?" That must be the secret! Magic Tom Brady Potion! Takes slow, skinny, part time starters out of college and makes them into NFL Gods! Polyjuice Potion exists, and the Patriots personnel have a patent on it. Imagine if The Hoodie had developed a magic juice. Videogate?? pfft. Potion-gate.

Polyjuice or Vertas Serum not withstanding, the man has It. He's at the top of his game, and it's amazing to watch. He can do no wrong, on or off the field. Man Crush? Hardly. Want to BE Tom Brady?  The line starts here.

Still want to talk defense? The Disciples of The Hoodie held Miami to a 14% conversion rate on third down, as Miami went 2-14 on opening night. We'll take that as a marked improvement.

Photo Credit: Steve Pouliot Images for

Monday, September 12, 2011

FVP Monday Night All Star: Brooklyn

Tonight's All Star is born and raised in sunny Southern California. Say Hello to Brooklyn. Brooklyn tells FVP "I am the youngest of two. I started acting at the age of 7 and landed my first TV role on "MadTv" soon after." She adds "While I am still an aspiring actress, I found a new love of lingerie/glamour modeling. When I'm not modeling or acting I am a spokes model for companies such as Monster Energy and Kumho Tires. I love all the traveling my job entails and not to mention all the awesome people I meet along the way."

You can follow along with Brooklyn's tweets here. She's an active facebooker , and she has her website here. She also tells us she the Playboy's Intimates Model of the Month for August.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Areas Of Concern For New England Patriots For 2011

Here's a quick look at what FVP is marking as "areas of concern" for the Patriots in the 2011 season.

Linebacker Depth: After All-World Jerod Mayo, who else is there inside? Gary Guyton is serviceable, but Tracy White, Jeff Tarpinian (out vs. Miami) and AJ Edds are big question marks. Brandon Spikes is coming off suspension, and questions remain on his foot speed. Jermaine Cunningham (out vs. Miami) needs to step up his pass rush on the outside. Rob Nickovitch has been a surprise, but would he play on another team if depth wasn't an issue? Second year man Dane Fletcher was signed out of college as a free agent. Fletcher was a captain at Montana State, and was one of those "leader types" that Hoodie invites to camp. He remains undrafted and untested.
Chad Ochocinco, one of the question marks
for New England

Safety: After Patrick Chung, the talent drops off dramatically. Sergio Brown, James Ihedigbo and Josh Barrett all look to make a name for themselves in Foxboro.

Pass Rush: Will the addition of Albert Haynesworth, Shawn Ellis and Andre Carter add any pass rush to the league's worst defense in third down efficiency in 2010? Will Cunningham see more opportunities, now that the three veterans have been added to the roster?

Offensive Line: Sebastian Vollmer starts the season on the sidelines with a back injury, meaning 2011 first round pick Nate Solder makes his NFL debut tomorrow at right tackle. Matt Light comes off surgery, and the PUP list, to protect Tom Brady's blind side. See any other tackles on the roster? Me neither. Does Vollmer being forced into a starting role mean the Gronk brothers spend more time helping out on Vollmer's side and less time catching passes?

Wide Reciever: Wes Welker is amazing, and Deion Branch has great rapport with TB12. Julian Edelman played sparingly this pre-season, and looked to be on the bubble, but made the team instead of Brandon Tate. He needs to be more of a factor than he was in 2010. We hear all this noise that Ochocinco hasn't grasped the offense. Pssshhh. Expect a Moss-like coming out in Miami Monday.

photo credit: Steve Pouliot Images for

Dale Earnhardt Jr: "I wasn't worried at all"

Earnhardt Jr.'s abused #88 last night at Richmond
Dale Earnhardt Jr. grabbed the final "guaranteed" spot in The Chase last night, not before giving Junior Nation a little heartburn. Earnhardt Jr was involved in two incidents, and he took advantage of three "lucky dogs" to bring home his #88 a surprising 16th. His comment: "I wasn't worried at all"

He added "I had seen race cars run good at short tracks before and I figured we had all night to fix it. I felt like if we were a good enough team, we'd get the job done. Brad had to run his ass off to win the race, to run in the top 5 to make it tough on us. He almost did that, but I felt good. I knew my team could fix the car good enough, and if everything felt the right way for us as far as them cautions and getting them lucky dogs, getting an opportunity to work on the car, we'd be fine."

Earnhardt talked about how big it is to be back in The Chase. "I feel like I'm a good enough driver to be in the Chase, my team is good enough to be there." Junior said. "As a group I think we're good enough to be in the top 10, and I can look back over the season and just easily think of several instances where we cost ourselves 10 or 15 points and made this situation difficult this weekend. Had we been more conscious and smarter at certain times we wouldn't have had to even worry about it this weekend. But we're a good team, and I'm proud to carry my sponsors and HMS in the Chase and represent them in the Chase, and hopefully we're going to work real hard, hopefully we do a good job."

Heading into Chicago, Junior has had a reasonable level of success. In 10 races, Earnhardt Jr. has one win, 2 top 5's and three top 10's. At Loudon, he hasn't been nearly as good, with six top 5's and ten top 10's in 24 races at the Magic Mile. Junior talked about the need to be a bit more aggressive yesterday after the race in Richmond. "We've got to run a different setup than what we ran tonight in the last six weeks frankly." Jr. said. "But we had a pretty good run at it going the first 15 races, and for whatever reason we sort of fell off and forgot some things or over-engineered something. But we need to look hard at what we're doing, what we've been doing, sort of a pattern, find something within what we're trying to maybe harness or hampering our ability to drive the cars as well as I want to drive them."

"But Steve(Letarte) has told me he's been kind of conservative, but we've been conservative on the motor and a couple other things the last several weeks to make sure we don't have any problems like engine failure, and there's some other things on the engineer's side. We'll just see. I don't think that any of that stuff is really going to make us faster, but we'll go in there with a good attitude."

NASCAR's Race For The Chase Field Set

Following last night's race at Richmond, the field is set for NASCAR's Race For The Chase. The top 10 driver's in points, as well as two wild card driver's make up the 12 driver field.

1. Kyle Busch
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Carl Edwards
6. Jimmie Johnson
7. Kurt Busch
8. Ryan Newman
9. Tony Stewart
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
11. Brad Keselowski
12. Denny Hamlin

The 10-race Chase begins Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Updated Sprint Cup Clinch Scenarios For Richmond

Denny Hamlin currently sits 12th in points and has one win.
He is in the driver's seat for the final Chase spot
Nine drivers have clinched a spot in the 12 driver Chase for the Sprint Cup as NASCAR's top series heads to the final "regular season" race of the year at Richmond. Eight drivers have clinched a top ten spot: Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman. Brad Keselowski, with three victories, has clinched at least a Wild Card berth. He is eligible to earn a top-10 spot.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is currently 25 points ahead of 11th place. Regardless of any other driver’s finish, Earnhardt will clinch if he finishes:

·20th or better
·21st or better and leads at least one lap
·22nd or better and leads the most laps

Tony Stewart is currently 23 points ahead of 11th place. Regardless of any other driver’s finish, Stewart will clinch if he finishes:

·18th or better
·19th or better and leads at least one lap
·20th or better and leads the most laps

-With a victory, Denny Hamlin will earn at least a Wild Card spot.
-With a victory, Paul Menard will earn a Wild Card spot.
-With a victory AND entry into the top 20, Marcos Ambrose or David Ragan will earn a Wild Card spot. Both drivers are currently outside the top 20. Ambrose is seven points outside the top 20; Ragan is 20 points outside the top 20.

Tie breaker for the wild card spot is points position. That means if all these guys mentioned with one win don't win, the driver with the highest point total gets in.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Who's Going To Play Safety For New England?

With The New England Patriots' release of Brandon Meriweather, there's seems to be a hole in the secondary down in Foxboro now. The question is, who will play safety now that Meriweather has departed via waivers for the Chicago Bears?

Belichick must find a more solid
starter at safety than Meriweather
Pats head coach Bill Belichick addressed Meriweather's stay in New England today, stating "I think each year is a new year and I just don't think you can pick teams, or pick your players based on what's happened in the past. You have to pick them based on what you think is going to happen this year, and that's relative to the competition, to the make of your team, and player's performance. All of those are obviously a part of it. Brandon played a lot of good football for us. We kept the players this year that we felt would be the best make up for the 2011 team. It's not the 2009 team; it's the 2011 team, so those are the players that we've selected. "

The safeties currently on the roster for the New England Patriots are: Josh Barrett, a 4year player out of Arizona State; Sergio Brown, in his second year out of Notre Dame; Patrick Chung, 3rd year out of Oregon; and James Ihedigbo, 5th year out of UMass. So, in theory, all these guys are better than Meriweather. Maybe. Meriweather's resume would beg to differ. There are those, like Peter King, that accurately say Meriweather's resume is bogus. King wrote today in his MMQB column:

Meriweather twice back-doored the phony-baloney Pro Bowl by making it as an alternate. Emboldened by thinking he'd arrived, he never worked like he should have to be a great player. The difference between Rodney Harrison and Meriweather? Harrison worked every day like he was trying to be great; Meriweather thought he was great before he really was.
Merriweather's departure sets the stage for Chung to assume a leadership role on defense. The unofficial depth chart lists Chung and Brown as starters. It will be interesting to watch and see if Ihedigbo or Barrett can step ahead of Brown, or if there's someone on the street that can help out.

Meriweather's departure also shows the absolute disaster the 2007 draft was for The Flying Elvii. None of the players from that draft class are on the New England squad. Aside from Meriweather, only 6th round pick Corey Hilliard is still in the league. The Pats have cut lose another first round pick and received nothing in return.

In Bill We Trust.

photo credit: Steve Pouliot Images for

FVP Monday Night All Star: MisNatalie Ann

Here's tonight's submission for FVP All Star: MisNatalie Ann. Nat tells FVP "I grew up on a farm so I'm kinda country at heart- I know how to work hard for what I want and take direction very well. Even though I'm a farm girl I most definitely have a barbie doll side! I love shopping, the beach, tanning, working out, dancing, drinks with friends, modeling of course, football (GO PACK GO!) and riding horses :D"

Among her credits: 2011 Bandini Pinup Girl #183, Playboy Miss Social Semi-Finalist x2, Playboy Miss Social Finalist July 2011, and StrawberryHunnie 2011(not yet posted!).

You can find her here:!/misnatalieann

Natalie adds "THIS will be the link you need to click to build up votes or vote for me! Every time you click it and let the page load it gives me 25 votes... :)" Good luck Nat!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Someone Needs To Stop George Lucas

You know, enough is enough. I know FVP has turned into JAFSB (Just another f'n sports blog), but it's time to weigh in on George Lucas' continued meddling with the Star Wars Trilogy. I am not talking about the most recent ones, Episodes I-III, but the original masterpieces that he continually feels the need to alter and mess with. Why?

Stop, George, before you actually hurt yourself.

I hang onto the old, dusty VHS copies I have of the originals, for the only reason that they are in the original theatrical form. Hell, it's probably the only reason I still own a VHS player. (yes I know, burn them to DVD, later, later). Lucas seems bound and determined to screw with the franchise by re-issuing updated versions, which are further diminished every time he goes into the studio.

Last time, we had the pussification of Han Solo, as he shot in self defense when Greedo shoots first. Please. Han Solo was much more dangerous, a much bigger bad ass, when he was drilling bounty hunters without having to be politically correct and shoot second. Then there was the added dialogue between him and Jabba the Hutt. Jabba's scene was fine in the "deleted scenes" on the DVD, but unwanted and not needed in the subsequent releases.  Remember, Jabba was built up as a serious bad guy over the first two films (EP IV and V to everyone under 20) before he showed his slimy piece of worm ridden self in ROTJ. It was much more dramatic to have the build up than to have him sliding around going "Han, mabooki..." in the first film.

The fiasco this time is the added dialogue he's given Darth Vader, having him utter a guttural "Nooooo!" before he hurls Emperor Palpatine to his death. His silence was much more dramatic than the BluRay version. He's journey back to "the good side" was completed as Luke removed his mask, letting Vader/Anakin look upon his son with his own eyes for the very first time. The additional "Nooooo!" does nothing other than to diminish the character's toughness further. Vader was the personification of evil in the first two films, only to be upstaged, rightfully, by Palpatine in ROTJ. His emotional "Noooo!" is too big a leap for a guy who's been a merciless killer for some 20 odd years. The killing of Palpatine without emotion and remorse made a clean closure to Vader's days as a Sith. The "Noooo!" is not in keeping with Vader's character development.

So, I say to you, Mr. Lucas: Leave it alone.

Oh yeah, He does fix one thing. He adds the traditional looking Yoda to Episode I, doing away with Middle-Aged-Yoda we saw in theaters. That is a welcome change that was drastically needed. Now if he could do something about that damned Jar-Jar Binks.

Geek rant ends now. We now return you to your favorite sports blog.