Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rambling Rants Of The Sports World

  • The NBA is back. Yawn. I'd be more excited if they had agreed to have contraction and improved the quality of the game.
  • Bobby Valentine is going to be the new Boston Red Sox manager. I still can't help but feel this is the the folks on Yawkey Way selling us a brand name. More pandering to the Pink Hats. I am sure there was someone out there who would run a more militant type of ship, who may have a longer shelf life, and wasn't going to be such a personality in the media. Having said that, I can't wait for the fireworks that will surely erupt between him and Larry Lucchino.
  • While on Lucchino: If he's going to be the man making the decisions for the Bosox, fine. The Boston Red Sox are a business, and they are free to run their business how they want. However, let's call him the President/GM, and have Ben Cherington be the Special Assistant to the President. Enough of the charade that Cherington actually has any say. Lucchino makes the calls, then he should stand up to the media, and more importantly, the fan base, and say "I am Al Haig, and I am in charge."
  • Back to Valentine. Sounds like he's going to be the anti-Tito, and not be covering for the players. That will be refreshing, when and if he rolls out a "X player has a hang nail." We could be in for some entertaining pressers that may harken back to the days of Bill Parcells reign over in Foxboro. Can't wait for the first time Papi interrupts a post game press conference with his whining about stats. (yeah, that's not gonna happen)
  • Weighing on the "Chicken and Beer-gate" down on Fenway: why all the consternation about it now? No one whined about the players doing shots back in '04. Oh yeah, they won in '04. Seems winning covers up a lot of ills. I'll let you in on a secret; the beer and wings didn't cause the collapse. Players not giving a shit did.
  • Jack Del Rio got canned down in Jacksonville. Psst: it's not his fault. He doesn't make plays, and he sure as hell doesn't play QB.
  • I'd like to know the story at SHR that caused Tony Stewart to part company with crew chief Darian Grubb in favor of Steve Addington. On the surface, it looks like Smoke is just comfortable with Addington. Grubb did get him to the Sprint Cup, however. There's gotta be more to the story.

Monday, November 28, 2011

View From The Sin Bin: Boston Bruins Still Playing Well After Streak

OK, OK, I know…the Bin goes to a Bruins game and they lose, ending their winning skein at 10. Oh, well. The Black-and-Gold outplayed the Red Wings but came up on the short end of the shootout on Friday by a 3-2 score. Jimmy Howard was the man for the Winged Wheels, making some Tim Thomas-like saves to keep the game close. Adam McQuaid and Patrice Bergeron scored for the B’s.

Although the outcome wasn’t what we were looking for, the game was pretty good. It was also the first NBC national game of the season. The Bruins wore the Men in Black uniforms for Black Friday, and The Black Dog gave out “Black Dog Friday” Bruins t-shirts to the first 5000 fans. The Bin scored one of those babies.

The Bruins went back to work on Saturday, taking it to the Winnipeg Jets at the Garden. The former Atlanta Thrashers returned with old friends Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler. The B’s fell behind 2-0 before rallying for four straight goals for the win. The Bruins were led by Chris Kelly with two goals. Kelly missed a hattie by about six inches as he had a chance to score an empty-netter at the end.

The Bruins are still playing well and their point streak is up to 12 games. Tuukka Rask took some heat for the Detroit loss, but frankly he was the one keeping the B’s in it. The defense fell apart and was allowing the Wings unfettered access to the slot. No one came in to clean house and help Tuukka out. Not surprised the Big Finn had two get past him. Claude Julien and the coaching staff must have seen that too, as the defensemen woke up against the Jets.

Imagine the Bin’s surprise upon hearing old Bruins and Whalers nemesis Dale Hunter was named coach of the Washington Capitals. The Bin’s first reaction was…shock. This can’t be the same Dale Hunter who polished penalty benches in record fashion for Quebec, Washington, and Colorado during the ‘80’s and ‘90’s. But it is. For younger readers, Hunter was a cheap shot artist in the finest Matt Cooke/Sean Avery tradition. Absolutely hated the man. He got under opponents’ skin to the point they spent the rest of the game trying to retaliate. Just an all-around pest…who could score a bit, with over 1000 career NHL points in 1407 games But apparently the hockey gods have smiled on Hunter, as he has coached London of the Ontario Hockey League to a .691 winning percentage in 11 seasons…the highest in OHL history. Hunter reached 300 and 400 career coaching wins faster than any other coach in OHL history. Impressive.

Paul Maurice is out as coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. Not a big surprise as the Canes have underachieved for a while. Maurice is the Billy Martin of the NHL as this was his second stint behind the Canes/Whalers bench.


FVP Monday Night All Star: Banyka

Tonight we have the amazing Banyka Deborah Dipell. Banyka tells us she grew up in a wealthy family, her mother is a famous model, fashion designer and dance teacher. Her father is the director of several banks, was also an actor and model. She's very hot, to say the least. She's got some hotter stuff on facebook, be sure to tell her you saw her on FVP!

Belichick The GM Makes Belichick The Coach Work Harder

FVP has been all to happy to blast the New England Patriots personnel decisions made down on Route 1. This year alone, the personnel department has made some very questionable moves, such as the releasing of two starting safeties without adequate replacements, the signing of Chad Johnson Ochoconco and Albert Haynesworth, and the continued neglect shown for pass rushing defensive players in the draft. Yet the Patriots somehow manage to take guys off the street and patch together wins. After yesterday's win at Philadelphia, one thing is very clear, Belichick the GM is making Belichick the coach work harder.

Granted, two of the Hoodie's defensive playmakers were unavailable yesterday. Both Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung were injured, forcing the Mad Scientist to roll out Phillip Adams and Antuan Molden in the secondary, facing the likes of Brent Celek and DeSean Jackson. The Hoodie managed to "coach 'em up", and the rag tag group held Philadelphia to 13 points.

The feeling here is that the personnel department is letting the coaching department down. The secondary's senior man, so to speak, is James Ihedigbo, with five years NFL experience. The Pats have continually drafted poorly (Whilhite, Wheatley) or had poor free agent signings (Shawn Springs, Fernando Bryant, Jason Webster) that causes the secondary to be a weakness in New England. Belichick and his staff must work harder to get more from less.

The release of Albert Haynesworth and Leigh Bodden show one thing: Belichick won't make the 2009 mistakes again. He'll only have guys that want to be here, that want to be coached up.

The question is, and remains, will the James Ihedigbos and the Philip Adams' can be coached up enough to win deep into January.

Photo Credit: Steve Pouliot Images for

Blickensderfer Named Crew Chief For No. 31 At RCR

Drew Blickensderfer has been named crew chief for the No. 31 Caterpillar/Wheaties car out of Richard Childress Racing, driven by Jeff Burton. Blickensderfer replaces interim chief Luke Lambert, who will assume a yet-to-be announced new position at RCR.

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Jeff Burton will have a new crew chief for his #31 Caterpillar car
"I'm excited about the move to RCR and the opportunity to help lead Jeff Burton and the Cat/Wheaties Racing team back into Chase contention," said Blickensderfer. "I was around Jeff briefly at RFR and always admired and liked him. He's a very talented driver and I look forward to working him and the rest of the No. 31 team in 2012."

Blickensderfer comes to RCR after serving as crew chief for the #6, driven by David Ragan.

Drew is a strong leader and will be a great complement to the Caterpillar/Wheaties Racing team," said team owner Richard Childress. "He's won some big races, including the 2009 Daytona 500, his first race as a Sprint Cup Series crew chief. There's every reason to believe the combination of Jeff and Drew will be a successful one."

It was announced previously that crew chief Shane Wilson will move from the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper/BB&T team to the same position with the No. 29 Budweiser/Rheem/Jimmy John's team and driver Kevin Harvick. Gil Martin, the No. 29 team crew chief since May 2009 and a crew chief at RCR since August 2000, has been named director of team operations.

Photo Credit: Steve Pouliot Images for

Addington Reunited With Stewart

Steve Addington has been named to replace Darian Grubb as crew chief of the #14 Office Depot Chevy, driven by 2011 Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart.

2011 NASCAR Champion
Tony Stewart
“I know Steve well and I know how he goes about setting up a racecar,” said Stewart, who worked with Addington from 2005 through 2008 during his time at Joe Gibbs Racing. “My comfort level with him is already strong. He balances the technical part of our sport with the real-world experiences we get at the track, and that will allow for a smooth transition as we prepare to defend our title in 2012.”

Addington comes to SHR after serving the same post for the Yellow Double Deuce driven by Kurt Busch. Prior to that, Addington served as the crew chief for the #18 at Joe Gibbs Racing, where he notched 12 wins with Rowdy before moving on to Penske and the elder Busch.

“Tony and I are a lot alike and we’re able to push each other,” Addington said. “I saw how he worked when we were at Gibbs together and I’m not surprised at all at the success he’s created at Stewart-Haas Racing. He expects a lot and he knows a lot. His talent behind the wheel is obvious, but his ability to motivate and get everyone to believe that whatever goal they set is attainable is something every crew chief wants, and I plan to make the most of it.”

The move comes only one week after Stewart won his third championship at NASCAR's highest level. Addington replaces Darian Grubb, who served as Stewart’s crew chief since the inception of SHR in 2009.

“Darian was a very important part of the success we’ve had at Stewart-Haas Racing,” Stewart said. “I’m very proud of everything he helped accomplish, especially this year when we all rallied to win the championship. He’s a great person and I know he’ll continue to be successful in this sport.”

Rumors on the interwebs have it that Darian Grubb will be promoted to the position of Director of Competition. It was widely talked about that Stewart Haas hoped to lure Greg Zipadelli from his position at JGR with that position. Unknown as to what would have happened to Grubb at that point. At the time of this posting, it's a moot point, as Zipadelli is not being released from his contract with JGR.

Photo Credit: Steve Pouliot Images for

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Childress Racing Announces Crew Chief Changes

from RCR press release:

Richard Childress Racing has made organizational changes to its competition department in preparation for the 2012 NASCAR season.

Long-time RCR crew chiefs Shane Wilson and Gil Martin have taken new assignments with the 14-time championship-winning organization.

Wilson has been named the crew chief of the No. 29 Budweiser/Rheem/Jimmy John's team with driver Kevin Harvick after three seasons in the same position with RCR's No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper team. Martin, the No. 29 team crew chief since May 2009 and a crew chief at RCR since August 2000, has been named director of team operations, reporting to director of competition Kent Day.

"Kevin (Harvick) came to me after the Phoenix race a couple weeks ago and asked for a change in the leadership of his team for the 2012 season," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "The expectations at RCR are to win championships so the decision was made to move Shane Wilson to the No. 29 Budweiser/Rheem/Jimmy Johns program. Shane did a great job for RCR in the Nationwide Series when he first got here, and built on that success the past three seasons with our No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper team, so we feel he will continue do a great job with the No. 29 team."

This is not the first time Wilson and Harvick have worked together. They joined forces in 2006 to earn 10 wins, 24 top-five and 31 top-10 finishes on the way to that season's NASCAR Nationwide Series championship. The team's 824-point margin of victory is a series record.

"Shane is a good friend of mine and we had a lot of success together in the NASCAR Nationwide Series," said Harvick. "He has a lot of experience now in the Sprint Cup Series and I look forward to working with him again."

Further personnel changes within RCR's competition department will be announced in the coming weeks.

Monday, November 21, 2011

View From The Sin Bin: Bruins Run Streak To 9

 This is the Team We Thought We’d See

The Boston Bruins continue on their recent tear, with the B’s win streak now up to 9 games. Scoring has improved all around, including the power play. The Black-and-Gold’s historic inability to score in front of Tuukka Rask is a thing of the past.

The Bin was on-hand at the Garden on Thursday, November 18, for a squeaker of a win against Columbus. As predicted here, the B’s came out flat against the worst team in the league. They hung on, though, and won it in a shootout. David Krejci with the game winner. The only thing that kept the Bruins in the game was Tuukka Rask. Tuukka stood on his head at times, keeping the Blue Jackets from scoring more than once in regulation. On the other side of the red line, Columbus goalie Curtis Sanford did his best imitation of a Vezina winner, limiting the swarming Bruins to one regulation goal... by Adam McQuaid.  The game should not have been as close as it was.

The Bin was nowhere near the bin this time, with a seat in Section 313, row 12. Had to don an oxygen mask as the Sherpas were getting nervous. Frankly, there are no bad seats in the Garden; no obstructed views like the old barn. The fans in the area were primarily season ticket holders and knew their stuff. Headed down again on Friday against Detroit. Same seats.

Read a thought-provoking article in Sports Illustrated this week. The point of the article was the death of the slapshot. It said the slapper has taken a back seat to snappers and wrist shots for a few reasons, primarily that players don’t have the time and space for the big windup.  Also, composite sticks make a good wrister behave a lot like a slapper. The Bin’s take: reports of the death of the slapshot are greatly exaggerated. Apparently the author has not seen a 105-mph blast from Big Z or a Johnny Rocket. The Bin thinks what may be mistaken for a reluctance to take a slapshot is more about the tendency for players (particularly defensemen) to throw a wrister in the direction of the net, looking for a deflection or a rebound. It’s not a scoring attempt as such, just a way to get the puck toward the slot for another play to pick up the trash. Not dead by a long shot.


FVP Monday Night All Star: Jessica

Tonight we've got Steelers fan Jessica. The 28 year old, 5’8 & 120 lbs blonde hails from Ohio, where she's been modeling since she was 10 years old. She tells FVP that she was a competitive cheerleader for 9 years, a competitive dancer and gymnast, and also coached cheer and gymnastics. Jessica has done pageants, calendars, been on the covers of magazines nationally and internationally, been featured all over the place and been on the runway. She’s been in commercials, on TV, worked for FHM, Maxim, Spike TV, Stare, and many, many others. She was even in American Cheerleader magazine in high school as a featured cheerleader. As if all that is not enough to keep her busy, Jessica is a nursing major in school, close to completing her RN and then going on to be a nurse practitioner. She tells FVP "The hardest job is being a Mommy to a 3 year old daughter." Follow Jessica on facebook! Tell her FVP sent you.

VIDEO: Stewart Passes Four Wide At Homestead

One of the amazing moves by the 2011 NASCAR Champion Tony Stewart at the season finale at Homestead.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tony Stewart Takes His Place Among NASCAR Greats At Homestead

Stewart celebrates Cup #3
Sunday at Homestead Speedway, Tony Stewart took his place among the NASCAR greats with an unbelievable battle against a nearly perfect Carl Edwards (who led the most laps) to win not only the Ford 400 but the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

The race featured just about every thing that makes NASCAR great. The race had a chess match in the pits, great restarts, fuel mileage, weather delays and "up on the wheel" racing that will make the 2011 possibly the best race race in the history of NASCAR.

Stewart fought back from an early problem as a result of  a chunk of debris slightly damaging the front of his # 14 Office Depot Chevy. The resultant repair dropped Smoke down to 40th position, but was lucky enough to have the repair come under caution for rain.

Stewart and his crew maintained their composure and picked off the positions patiently under green early on, working their way back to the top ten. By the time the caution flew at lap 110 for rain, Stewart was solidly back in contention in fifth.

The race resumed after a 1:14 rain delay, with teams pitting at lap 114. Edwards and Stewart came out together,  with Smoke getting the advantage on the restart at lap 117. Stewart was able to grab his first lead of the day at lap 123, slipping past Jeff Gordon in turn three, with Edwards following along in third, finally getting by Gordon at lap 130.

Caution flew at lap 135, with Stewart leading. Teams pitted, but the #14 was shuffled back to ninth with a right front tire change problem. Stewart was unable to improve his position in a short green flag run, brought out by a spin by Jimmie Johnson.

Smoke was able to pick up positions on the next restart, going three wide into turn one. At lap 148, Stewart made a classic move, going four wide at the start finish line to get by Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Edwards. He picked up another position coming off turn two by getting by Matt Kenseth. It was a bold move move that moved him from ninth to third in two laps, in the spirit of Earnhardt, Foyt, and other great racing champions.

Stewart pitted in the lead under caution at lap 156. The team had a problem on the right rear, dropping back to ninth again on a two tire stop. Stewart maintained his composure, telling his team "deep breath guys". Stewart once again showed his mettle, going to the high side in turn one, four wide, to take positions from Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Busch. He then grabbed two more positions coming off turn two, take spots from Jeff Gordon and team mate Ryan Newman. The second amazing restart in as many cautions left commentator Dale Jarrett momentarily speechless. Jarret could only muster a "Wow!" as Smoke moved to the front again. Stewart tapped the bumper of Edwards slightly as he finished the pass on Newman and Gordon, as if to say "I'm still here, man."

Stewart moved to the lead with 66 laps to go, as leader Carl Edwards pitted for four tires and gas. Stewart immediately went into fuel conservation mode, clutching the car and staying off the throttle well before the normal entry into the corner. The #14 gave up speed to Edwards, who had pitted earlier. The strategy worked, as caution for rain came out almost immediately after Stewart's pitting. Stewart would have been down over 23 seconds. Instead, Carl Edwards pitted under caution to top off and take two tires. Stewart and Grubb's gamble was huge, along the lines of the onside kick called by Sean Payton and the Saints in the Super Bowl vs. the Colts.

On the restart with 38 to go, Stewart found himself inside row two, behind Busch and Keselowski, one spot ahead of Edwards. He went three wide for the lead, with pressure from Edwards, finally nipping the Blue Deuce with 37 to go in turn three. Edwards got by Keselowski with 33 to go, leaving the two championship contenders to battle it out for the final laps.

Stewart and Edwards wer both nearly perfect, easily the fastest on the track over the final 33 laps. Both drivers could be seen sawing on the wheel as they circled Homestead, battling mano a mano for the final sequence. Edwards was unable to reel in Stewart, who clearly owned the day. Stewart notched his fifth win of the season, his 44th career victory, and by virtue of NASCAR's tie breaker for wins, his third Sprint Cup Championship. The 2011 season finale will go down as an instant classic.

"When I said at Chicago that we didn't belong in this Chase and taking a space that somebody else that was doing a better job could have done, there were two things that could have happened with our group of guys. They could have hung our head and said, our guy doesn't believe in us or they do have done, which is exactly what they did, and that's never give up, and they dug their heels in. They fought like the Bad News Bears. We were the team that nobody really thought had a shot at the beginning, and you know, the longer this went, we battled adversity at Dover and Texas and we just kept fighting, this whole group up here. I mean, Darian has done an unbelievable job in this Chase. Just to go and be in the situations we've been in, and tonight, for example, to, a, go in and have to fix a damaged race car twice, go to the back and come back to the front, and then to make the call that he made at the end there, my -- I need to take a nap right now." Stewart said post race Sunday.

"Whether we won tonight or we lost, I mean, tomorrow is the start of the next season. I was prepared before this race began to do exactly what I'm going to go do and that's to be even better next year and to apply what I've learned here." Edwards said. "We knew we could come into this thing and we knew that of all of the circumstances that could happen, this one was the least probable. I mean, for us to finish like that, tied, fighting for the win. That is the least probable outcome. And so I was prepared for anything. I knew that this was a possibility, though, and I was prepared for this. And I told myself, I told my family that the one thing I'm going to do is I'm going to walk back to that most home, win, lose or draw and I'm going to be a good example for my kids and work hard and go be better next season. Because, you know, we talked about it before the race, even if we won this thing, you go halfway through next season you and struggle, that's quickly forgotten. As painful as this is right now, I know that we have -- we are fortunate to have the opportunity to go to Daytona and just start all over again and go race."

More coming later...

Photo Credit: By Chris Trotman, Getty Images for NASCAR

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Smoke Talks Smack To Carl Edwards

Say what you will about Tony Stewart. One of the things he's very good at, aside from driving a race car, is yapping. Today he let rip some classic smack to Carl Edwards as the two get ready to settle the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

The best exchange came when the two drivers were asked if they would be so willing to trade paint as easy as they trade barbs.
 TONY STEWART: I'd wreck my mom to win a championship. I'll wreck your mom to win a championship (smiling). I respect him as a driver, but this isn't about friendships this weekend. This is a war. This is a battle. This is for a national championship. It's no holds barred this weekend. I didn't come this far to be one step away from it and let it slip away, so we're going to go for it.
 CARL EDWARDS: Did you say something (smiling)?
 TONY STEWART: Yeah, you can come visit my trophy in the room at Vegas when you come out there (smiling).
 CARL EDWARDS: He's got the talking part figured out. Problem is, you haven't led the points yet this year, have you?
 TONY STEWART: They say there's talkers and doers. I've done this twice.
 CARL EDWARDS: That's the funny thing. I've listened to you talk a lot today. You've talked a lot about your past successes. That is very respectable. And truly, all joking aside, that will make it more fun if we're able to beat you. It will make me more proud. But this is going to be a good competition, you guys. Don't think for a second that either one of us are going to let anything slide. We're going to go out here, we're going to race hard, and we're going for this championship. I don't think you could find two harder racers than us up here and we both know that about each other.
While it played as comical, the two are very serious about beating the other. For Edwards, it would be his first championship. For Stewart, it would be his third championship at NASCAR's top level. The third Cup would put him in an historic position. "It's definitely an awesome opportunity for us." Stewart noted today. "Still very appreciative that Gene Haas for even giving us this opportunity to not only drive for him but be a co-owner with him. At the same time it's a pretty cool opportunity this weekend to be the other side of the bookend of Jimmie's dynasty, to be the only guy that could win a NEXTEL Cup championship, a Sprint Cup championship, and a Winston Cup championship, being the first time since Allen Kulwicki as an owner/driver. That would be probably be the best part of it."

Smoke some additional smack, invoking Kid Rock while referring to two of racing's great talkers, AJ Foyt and Darrell Waltrip. "Foyt has how many championships and wins? How many has Waltrip got? I think they work." Stewart said. N"o, I've not talked to Foyt. He'll call me after we win on Sunday. We did speak to Darrell earlier. We both had a pretty good interview with him. It was fun. It's like Carl says, it's like Kid Rock said: It's not cocky if you back it up. I think we've been backing it up the last three weeks. It's what our intention is."

What's very clear is that the two adversaries have a high level of respect for each other. "I don't think the Chase has changed my level of respect for him." Tony said. "I've always respected him as a driver and a person. So the fact that you're racing around him doesn't change that because that's what you do every week. I don't know that we've really learned anything about each other than the fact that we both know we have to be on our game. We've forced each other to take what would be a good day and you have to make it great to succeed. We had Texas where we ran 1-2, the last week where we ran second and third. We're keeping each other honest, in my opinion. It's fun to have a championship race like that. You're not worried about saying, Well, is this guy going to be able to recover? We're forcing each other to both have good days. "I can echo that." Edwards said as well. "It's pretty neat to go out there and push each other to raise our level of performance. It's been pretty interesting how it's worked out. We've both been very fast the last couple of races, being able to race one another, race for the wins. That's as good as it gets. I think Tony said it best after Texas. He said, This is what it's about. It feels like a battle at your Saturday night dirt track. These are the kind of points battles that I grew up watching. It's kind of neat to be a part of it."

Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images for NASCAR

Monday, November 14, 2011

View From The Sin Bin: Bruins Are Back

Boston Bruins….They’re Baaaccckkk!

a bin's eye view!
The Boston Bruins have emerged from their early-season coma with a vengeance. The B’s have won five in a row to climb over .500 and out of the cellar in the Eastern Conference. Wow…what a difference the month of November makes.

Tyler Seguin has hit the ice running. He’s tied for the third in the league in scoring and has been named the NHL’s First Star of the Week. Even the (dare I say it) power play is looking sharp. Brad Marchand has also found the net recently.

It seems the Black-and-Gold’s resurrection this season has corresponded with Nathan Horton’s recovery from the concussion suffered during that nasty hit from Aaron Rome in the Stanley Cup finals. Horty seems a bit sluggish and rusty early on, but has come on strong this month.

We learned today that Milan Lucic will not face supplemental discipline from the NHL’s Dean of Discipline, Brendan Shanahan.  Number 17 poked the puck free in the neutral zone against Buffalo Saturday and went in on a breakaway. Sabre’s stopper Ryan Miller came out to the top of circle to swat the puck away from Lucic…and the 6’4”- 220 Lucic crashed into Miller, sending his goalie helmet flying. Miller finished out the period, but later left with a concussion. Looch was given 2:00 for charging. The Bin’s take: good call. While the NHL rulebook says a goalie is not fair game outside the crease and/or trapezoid, a wandering netminder has to expect to be hit at some point. I certainly understand a goaltender does not have the mobility of  a forward or defenseman, but there has to be a line there somewhere. I have no problem protecting the goalie to a point, but what’s next, Miller stickhandles from his crease all the way up the ice and scores because no one can touch him? Not the intent of the rule.

The Bin’s vote for most underrated Bruin so far…Chris Kelly. Good decision-making, strong with the puck. 4-5-9, +8, 11 PIM. Thoughts?

Edwards vs. Stewart: Statistical Analysis At Homestead

Edwards and Stewart will go head to head one more time
Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart are separated by three points as they head to the final week of the season at Homestead. The three point differential equates to a 13 point spread on the old system, so this would be the third closest battle heading into the final race of the season. FVP takes a look at the statistical breakdown of the two drivers that will battle for the 2011 Sprint Cup.

Carl Edwards:
2011 Rundown
· One win, 18 top fives, 25 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 9.5
· Led 24 races for 784 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· Two wins, four top fives, six top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 5.7 in seven races
· Series-best Average Running Position of 7.7
· Series-best Driver Rating of 117.5
· Series-high 173 Fastest Laps Run
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 162.956 mph
· Series-high 1,379 Laps in the Top 15 (86.0%)
· 236 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), seventh-most

Tony Stewart:
2011 Rundown
· Four wins, eight top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 12.3
· Led 20 races for 848 laps
Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· Two wins, three top fives, six top 10s
· Average finish of 12.4 in 12 races
· Average Running Position of 14.6, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 87.6, 11th-best
· 60 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· 415 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 162.140 mph, 10th-fastest
· 1,037 Laps in the Top 15 (64.7%), seventh-most
· 235 Quality Passes, eighth-most

Edwards has been very consistent at Homestead, while Smoke has been merely mortal. Stewart will need to equal to Edwards' every move. Each driver has driven the other to quality finishes. "It's the best points battle I've been a part of at this level, so it's fun for me. I still don't understand why we're both running so good. It's pretty neat. Seems like subconsciously we're both able to dig down and our teams are able to give us what we need and everybody has been performing at a high level. It's been neat that this battle has brought out the best in us." Carl Edwards said Sunday.

Smoke echoed Edwards' comments "It is kind of fun to be in this scenario where you got guys that are three points apart. Last week we were running first and second in the race. Today we ran first and second. It does make it fun. We're both having to earn what we get. No matter how it ends up next weekend, it's not going to have been given to you. We're going to have to definitely earn it and fight for it, for sure.: Stewart said.

The 2011 Sprint Cup championship will likely come down to the final lap, just as NASCAR would have hoped.

Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw Getty Images for NASCAR

FVP Monday Night All Star: Harmony

Tonight's All Star is former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader Harmony Joy. Among Harmony's accomplishments, she's been on VH1, she's been in the Hooters Swimsuit Calendar, American Cheerleader Magazine, and University of Louisville Cheerleading Calendar. Follower her on twitter, and on facebook.

VIDEO: Lucic's Hit On Miller, From Opposing Point Of View

Here's the hit Milan Lucic delivered to Ryan Miller, from opposing points of view. Pretty amusing.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Edwards and Stewart Joke About Settling NASCAR Sprint Cup Battle On Dirt Tracks

Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart head to the final race of the season separated by three points. Three positions on the track. The two met the media after the race in Phoenix Sunday to discuss the upcoming season finale at Homestead.

One of the more amusing exchanges between the two combatants occurred when Edwards was asked if, given his success at Homestead, if there was anyplace else he would rather race.

CARL EDWARDS: There's some dirt tracks I grew up on that would be fine with me.
TONY STEWART: I think we should do it then. I'm all for changing.
CARL EDWARDS: If we tie, we should go to the dirt tracks in Florida.
TONY STEWART: I have one in Ohio we can use.
CARL EDWARDS: I'm not doing that.
TONY STEWART: Just saying. I got one in Kentucky and Illinois we can use. But that's all I got.
CARL EDWARDS: That's why you got a busy week this week.

More later on...

NASCAR Clinch Scenario For Carl Edwards

Only one finish guarantees Carl Edwards his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship – a victory in Sunday’s season-finale Ford 400.

Just three points separate points leader Carl Edwards and second-place Tony Stewart, a margin so tight, no other finish would clinch the title for Edwards regardless of where Stewart finishes.

Stewart owns the tie-breaker (best finishes), and therefore could tie and win his third series championship.

All other drivers are officially eliminated from championship contention.

Edwards’ three-point lead roughly translates to 13 points under the previous points system. That makes it the closest margin between first and second going into the final race in Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ history, and third-closest since the inception of the position-based points structure in 1975.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

View From The Sin Bin: Hot Stove Season

And now for something completely different…

Word today from Red Sox Nation is that closer Jonathan Papelbon has signed with the Phillies for 4 years/ $50M. The Bin’s first reaction on hearing the news was that it was a mistake for the Sox to let him go. Here’s a top-level closer who has gotten it done for years in the Boston media spotlight. A bit of an odd duck, but most closers are. Cough up the money and get a deal done. Avoid letting him walk and avoid adding to the long line of solid (and star) players who came to Boston and had an epic fail. Cater…Slocumb…Renteria…Lugo…Drew…Gagne…Lackey (although he gets a temporary pass with the Tommy John surgery)…the list goes on.


Later in the day we learn the Sox never made an offer to Papelbon. This tells us something… Although Pap was never implicated publicly in the clubhouse shenanigans during the September Swoon, is it possible he was a problem behind the scenes/in the room, and management figured it was time for a housecleaning? Does GM Ben Cherington have a Heath Bell or a Ryan Madson up his sleeve? Is there a physical issue that will come to light when the Phillies send Papelbon for his physical?


Since Paps had a front-row seat at the September collapse…is it possible he saw that the Sox wouldn’t field a competitive team for a few years and decided to place his bet somewhere else? And still no manager in Red Sox Land.

Makes for a good hot stove season.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Report: Papelbon to Phillies

98.5 The Sports Hub is reporting that closer Jonathan Papelbon has agreed to a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. The deal, stated to be four years and approaching $50 million mark, pending a physical.

This is bad news for the Boston Red Sox. This was one of the more enjoyable players to root for in a Red Sox uniform. He was colorful, and did his job well. Papelbon had 31 saves in 2011, with a WHIP of .933, and an ERA of 2.94. It was arguably Pap's best season since 2007.

Red Sox Nation should be prepared for the negative press that will undoubtedly come from Yawkey Way. We'll now hear what a bad teammate Pap was, or how he's hurt, or some other BS that the front office will spew for the Pink Hats to lap up.

VIDEO: Kyle Busch Apologizes

Kyle Busch will be driving the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry from Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend at Phoenix. (FVP had it wrong.) Here's some of his statements, along with statements from Joe Gibbs.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kyle Busch Parked For Remainder Of 2011

Kyle Busch
NASCAR's public enemy #1, Kyle Busch, will not be behind the wheel of the #18 Toyota Camry out of the Joe Gibbs Racing garage for the remaining two Sprint Cup races this season. Primary sponsor Mars Incorporated made the decision as a result of the incident during last Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

The car will not run with an M&M’S® paint scheme until 2012, at which time Kyle Busch will be the driver, with the expectation that no future incident takes place.

“We strongly support Mars’ decision,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “This gives us all time to work together to foster a positive change where Kyle can continue racing in a way we can all be proud of.”

Interstate Batteries, a partner of Joe Gibbs Racing since the team’s inception 20 years ago, will be featured on the No. 18 Toyota Camry driven by Busch for the final two races of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

“As a proud member of the racing community, Mars and the M&M’S® brand strongly support the partnership we have with Joe Gibbs Racing and are committed to NASCAR. Yet, Kyle’s recent actions are unacceptable and do not reflect the values of Mars,” said Debra A. Sandler, Chief Consumer Officer, Mars Chocolate North America. “While we do not condone Kyle’s recent actions, we do believe that he has shown remorse and has expressed a desire to change. We believe our decision will have a positive impact on Kyle and will help him return next season ready to win.”

EDIT 11/11/11: Internet reports, including, have it that Busch will indeed be running the #18, witht the colors of Interstate Batteries on the JGR Camry. Yesterday's press release from Joe Gibbs Racing and True Speed Communications clearly state:
Mars, Incorporated announced today that they will be removing Kyle Busch from driving the M&M’S® car for the remaining two races of the 2011 NASCAR season as a result of the incident during last Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway
It does not say they will not be sponsoring the #18, but removing Busch from driving. Look for clarification today when Gibbs and Busch meet the press at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday at 9:30 a.m. MST.

Photo Credit: Steve Pouliot Images for

Penn State Story Reads Like A Horrific Hollywood Script

A writer pens a movie script, one of complete fiction:

The governing body of college football penalizes program after program for violations for the rules. One sells memorabilia, another has too many text messages to recruits. A third allows possible recruits to attend frat parties, where underage drinking takes place. Two more violate rules as pro agents pay players in exchange for promises that the players will sign with said agent upon graduation. Corruption runs rampant throughout the nation's top level of college football. One program stands above the fray...we'll call it State College. State College's football program is run by a man of high moral character who is highly respected. In short, he's an icon.

...but behind the closed doors, all is not as it seems. Rumors surround a highly thought of defensive coach at State College. The coach is always accompanied by young boys, who are given access to State College through a charity of the coach's creation. The boys sleep over the coach's house, who showers them with schwag from the school. Sniggers and murmurs about the coach ensue. Jokes are made about the coach and the program, comparing the two to the Catholic Church. But nothing is done...

A graduate student strolls through the men's locker room. He hears the rhythmic sound of flesh slapping, coming from the shower. Expecting to find a pair of college aged lovers, the young man heads to the showers, looking to bust up the session with some good natured ribbing. Instead, he finds the defensive coach with a young boy. Instead of stopping the incident, the G.A. is frozen, horrified. Instead of a hot young couple, he finds an animal, preying on an innocent. The G.A. runs.

Instead of going to the authorities, the G.A. goes to his father. Together, their mind whirls. If the G.A. goes to the authorities, the scandal will surely ruin State College. If the G.A. goes to the authorities, his big time college football career is over before it begins. The G.A. and his father weigh the options, and come up with a solution: go to the head coach. The coach, the Icon, is a man of impeccable standards, they decide, and he'll know what to do.

The G.A. goes to the Icon and tells the story. He holds back nothing. He's in tears, knowing he should have done something to help the boy. Now, by telling the Icon, the G.A. relives himself of any responsibility. His conscious is clear. He leaves the Icon's office, a weight lifted off his shoulders. The Icon, however, takes a deep breath, and shuts the door as the G.A. leaves. The Icon knows what this will do to the college. He knows what this will do to his friend the defensive coach. He knows what this will do to him. He waits, and ponders. Finally, after a week, he calls the A.D. and tells him a cleaned up version of what happened.

The A.D. calls the authorities. A sting ensues. The defensive coach monster comes to the home of the boy, where he's confronted by the mother. The police are in the other room, listening. The mother presses the monster for answers. Emotions are raw. The monster admits something, yet nothing. He leaves in tears. The D.A. takes the case on. Then, after some investigation he stops, and drops the case. Time goes by, and the D.A. disappears. Nothing but an abandoned car and a ruined lap top are found.

State College Football goes on, the Icon goes on, even though it's clear he's a shell of the man he once was. He's a doddering old man now, a figurehead, the father of State College. After the Icon gets his record win, the truth comes out. The monster has many victims, and they begin to come forward. State College is ruined. Students riot, and the Icon stands on his front lawn like an elderly grandfather, telling students to study. The monster is lead off in cuffs, the Icon fired, college authorities step down. The institution is in shambles. The victims have their day in court...

No studio touches the script. Its unbelievable, it could never happen.

In all seriousness now, the focus needs to be back on Sandusky. He is the real monster. Whether or not he was enabled by Paterno or others at Penn State will come out in court. The victims will have their justice. Paterno is out at Penn State, let's not lose focus on the monster: Sandusky. If other people have failed legally in their responsibility, that will come out. There will be no stopping the facts from coming out now.

NASCAR Drivers Take On Reconfigured Phoenix

 NASCAR makes it's first stop at the newly reconfigured Phoenix International Raceway as the series heads into the final two weeks of the 2011 season. Drivers have commented on the new layout, which features, among other changes, a new dogleg on the back stretch. (pictured)

Carl Edwards: "It’s hard to say. I would say this first trip to Phoenix it will be more of a crew chief/engineer race. You’re gonna have to really pay attention to tire wear. The setup is going to be hugely important. The track is very smooth, very easy to drive. I don’t know that you’ll be able to go there and manhandle the car and hustle it around there like you could the old Phoenix – not this first time."

Denny Hamlin: "I think it will be a fun race track. Driving it was like wow, this is a lot different than any other course we’ve ever kind of been on before with the elevation changes and things like that."

Kevin Harvick: "I think there are a lot of unknowns with the repave and the things that have the potential to happen. I look at Phoenix a lot like Martinsville. The Roush cars didn’t run very well there and we have to run well there. So we’re looking forward to it.

"It’s definitely unique. (Turns) three and four is definitely not like it was but it is similar to what it was with the new asphalt as far as the radius of the corner. The exit of turn two is a lot different and the back straightaway is definitely different. They did a good job by designing the track so the fans can see the cars

Jeff Gordon: "The way I look at it is three and four really did not change a whole lot, other than the surface and the tires. It is going to be tricky conditions. Turns one and two has changed quite a bit, as you exit turn two. The back straightaway is completely different, there is definitely no comparison to what goes on back there to any other track. It is going to be challenging, there is no doubt about it."

Jeff Burton: "The backstretch has so much banking and there's a dogleg back there. You leave turn two and you start down the dogleg. I say you start down it because you are literally going down the banking on the backstretch. It's not really like an elevation change it's just a lot of change because of all the banking there. It's very unique. I've never seen anything like it. It's going to be very interesting."

Clint Bowyer: "The dogleg on the backstretch I think is a little sharper now. I think it will actually create more racing. It kind of goes down and then comes back up. With adding banking to the dogleg the bottom of the corner is actually higher than the top of the corner. It's going to be interesting to see how that's going to play out as far as the racing goes there."

Brad Keselowski: "You have to applaud Phoenix for having the forethought to re-surface the track before it became a problem. No one can deny that the surface was aging, but it did produce some great racing. I have seen the new track and I truly believe that once it gets some age on it, it will be a fantastic place to race. Racing two-wide down the backstretch will be exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. However, it may take a couple of years for it to get to where we can do all of those cool things. I know they are taking great measures to make sure we can put on the best show possible this weekend. I’m just excited to get the Miller Lite Dodge out there and see what it’s all about."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Penn State Story Beyond Ugly...

...and has the potential for getting a lot worse.

FVP really wants to know what happened to the original D.A., Ray Gricar. There are Internet reports (like this one) that questions what Gricar knew, when he knew it, and why he never went to prosecute Jerry Sandusky. The particular link above states:
While still early in the Sandusky trial, and a leap to assume that the two incidents are connected, Gricar’s reasoning not to prosecute Sandusky will never be known.
It is irresponsible to think the two are connected. It's also not difficult to imagine a Hollywood script as salacious as this. One can only hope that Gricar turns up, unlike Colonel Markinson in "A Few Good Men", and sets the record straight. (Capt. Ross: You know what Markinson did for the first 17 of his 26 years in the Corps? Counter intelligence. Markinson's gone, there is no Markinson.) That, however, is pie in the sky, raised-on-Hollywood-movies-optimism, and it also won't happen.

But this sure has the potential for getting Hollywood Ugly.

If you haven't read the 23 page indictment, it's here. A word to the wise: it's graphic, in a decidedly NSFW manner. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Report: Patriots Release Albert Haynesworth

98.5 The Sports Hub out of Boston is reporting that the New England Patriots have cut Albert Haynesworth. This comes two days after Haynesworth got into it on the sidelines with D-Line coach Pepper Johnson during Sunday's loss vs. the Giants.

This is zero loss. This was a low risk high reward signing that didn't work out. Next. Haynesworth represented the Patriots philosophy of "value" first. Same type of BS that the team spews when they trade down in the draft, leaving stud corners and pass-rushing OLB's on the board to collect more smurf type DB's. 

Having said that, this move also represents Bill Belichick keeping control of the locker room. Hoodie releases a big time "me first" and maintains control.

Monday, November 7, 2011

FVP Monday Night All Star: LFL

Tonight FVP rolls with something new: The Lingerie Football League is our All-Star. Due to fan demand, MTV2 will be broadcasting the Philadelphia Passion at Cleveland Crush game this Friday, November 11th, 10pmEST. Los Angeles vs. Las Vegas will seen the following week. Be sure to tune in and see our friend Kate Osman!

Photo Credit: LFL facebook page

View From The Sin Bin: Bruins Fog Has Lifted

The Fog Has Lifted

It appears the Boston Bruins post-Stanley Cup hangover has finally worn off. The Black-and-Gold have looked much like their old selves with wins against the Senators and Maple Leafs. Tyler Seguin achieved cult-hero status with his first career hat trick against Toronto. The Kid is starting to put together consistent exhibitions of the talent that get him here. Meanwhile, old friend (?) ---and league leading scorer-- Phil Kessel is absolutely snakebit against his former team…and that’s OK with us.

As the Bin writes this, the B’s lead the Islanders. Hopefully one of the players has stepped forward in the clubhouse in the best Mark Recchi mold and shook the team out of its funk. With some good bounces, the B’s can be back at .500 by the end of the week.

The Bin has tickets to the Columbus Blue Jackets game on 11/17…looking forward to that, although the Jackets don’t seem to have a lot to see.

On another topic…interesting to see former Red Sox GM Dan Duquette signing on with the Orioles. Duke had his issues, but the Bin has always felt he didn’t get enough credit for setting the foundation of the Sox’ 2004 and 2007 Series wins. Don’t expect it’ll be long before Duquette and Buck Showalter butt heads.

View from the Sin Bin 2.4
111107 tjz

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Patriots Loss A Sign Of Things To Come

The New England Patriots dropped a close one in Foxboro today, the first home loss for the Flying Elvii since the invention of the internal combustion engine. The Patriots gave up 80 yards in 1:21 on the final drive by the NY Giants, the final go ahead score coming with :15 seconds left. The game showcased some decent defense by the Pats, but it also exposed their weakness: If Tom Brady is not super human, the defense is simply too soft against the pass for the Patriots to be considered a threat for the division.

Bill Belichick has his work cut out
The problem now becomes the schedule. The Pats play two prime time games in the next two weeks, At New York Jets, and home vs. Chiefs. The Jets pose a serious problem, as the Patriots offense appears to have stalled. The Chiefs look beatable, but the Kansas City coaching staff will certainly have something for Brady, and Cassell will likely have this game circled on his calender long ago. The following week, the Disciples of The Hoodie travel to Philly to take on Miachel Vick and the dream team Eagles. Vick will no doubt feast on the weak secondary with Jeremy Maclin and Desean Jackson. Jackson's vertical game poses a big challenge for the Patriots (lack of) defense.

The main challenge for Bill Belichick this week will be keeping the locker room from fracturing. This is not the Super Bowl Patriots. If Belichick loses the locker room this week, the whole thing could come off the rails here in November. If his is the only voice heard, then this team has a chance. If the locker room ends up like the team in '09, with a lack of leadership and contrarian voices, they could head into the Indianapolis game with a record of 5-6.

There's a lot riding on this week in Foxboro.

Photo credit: Steve Pouliot Images for

Mike Helton Transcript Regarding Kyle Busch Suspension

Kyle Busch
MIKE HELTON: During the truck race last night, we had an incident between the 18 and the 33 trucks that resulted in NASCAR parking the 18 truck for the balance of the event.

That's done under Section 9-12 of the Rule Book. That gives NASCAR the authority to react during a race weekend. Following the event and after a good deal of conversation and discussion, NASCAR has decided to maintain that parked position on the driver of the 18 truck for the balance of the weekend.

So basically what that means is Kyle Busch will not be participating today or tomorrow in the NASCAR event here in Texas.

THE MODERATOR: We have time for just a few questions.
Q. Mike, can you tell me what time the meeting was held this morning, where it was held, who attended it?
MIKE HELTON: The meeting was held at our hauler 15 minutes ago, 20 minutes ago. J.D., Coach Gibbs, and Kyle Busch were in attendance along with several NASCAR officials.
Q. In the year of 'boys have at it,' what were the specific reasons behind your decision to park Kyle as opposed to just letting 'boys have at it'?

MIKE HELTON: The responsibility over the past two or three seasons we've given back to the drivers came I think with a very clear understanding that there could be a line that got crossed.

As annoying as the comments that I've made personally in the past about 'we'll know it when we see it' might have been, we saw it last night. Obviously after the event, a lot of folks put their heads together to decide what, if anything, we would do. Then what I'm telling you today is our reaction.
Q. Mike, you guys in the past have let things that happen in one series stay in that series. It didn't cross over. Not to say you haven't ever done it. What was the reasoning behind doing what you did this weekend, letting it affect Nationwide or Cup?

MIKE HELTON: I think we've had occurrences - rare like you said - in the past where an incident would carry over for the balance of the event. Kevin Harvick in Martinsville from a truck race that involved the Cup race. Robby Gordon in a Montréal Nationwide race that involved a Pocono Cup race. Although be it very rare, we have had incidents that have carried over for the balance of the weekend like this one has. But they're rare.

Q. How, in your mind, serious is this situation for NASCAR to take this move? What kind of conversations did you have with Kyle, with Joe Gibbs Racing, their sponsor implications? How grave is this, in your mind, that you've gone to this level?

MIKE HELTON: Well, I think the volume of occurrences or reactions like I'm talking about this morning, the rarity of those times that we'd make a step like this speak to the uniqueness and the severity of the topic.

We understand the ramifications or the ripple effect of us making this type of a move. But we also take our responsibility very serious as to maintaining control of the event in all the garages. So it's a balance there that we ultimately have to make a decision.

At the end of the day, we're the ones that have to make that decision and go on.

Q. Will there be any other possible penalties to Kyle, say monetary, probation, anything else besides what's going on for this weekend?

MIKE HELTON: Under 9-12 it's just an event reaction. We'll have to wait and see what Monday morning brings. But right now this deals with the balance of this weekend.

Q. Do you feel like this will send a message on the whole 'have at it' situation, that there is a point where we're going to take severe action and maybe this will calm things down a little bit?

MIKE HELTON: I don't know. I think the garage areas, the drivers, the team owners, the crew members understand the difference between being responsible and crossing the line. I honestly believe that they understand the difference.

But we'll have to wait and see how the opinions react to this.

Q. Mike, I saw Richard Childress in the hauler this morning, as well. Did the Childress-Harvick camp also get admonished not to escalate this feud? Secondly, did the fact that what Kyle did last night have an effect on the championship, did that influence the decision today as well?

MIKE HELTON: To the first part, our reaction was specifically around the driver of the 18 truck, and that was the extent of it. Obviously, when an occurrence occurs at a racetrack, the NASCAR official community in general works to minimize the ripple effect of what actually might have happened, what might could happen afterwards during the event last night or any one going forward, for that matter.

The implication of the 33 truck being in the points battle in the Camping World Truck Series probably had a small impact on the reaction. But I think the bulk of the action in its entirety, all the circumstances attached to it just accumulated to lead us to the decision we made.

Q. Mike, I know you say 'when you see it, you'll know it.' Can you give a better clarification? Some fans will look back at the Carl Edwards-Keselowski thing and say there wasn't anything there done. What more did you see in this case with this situation? What was so different? And the accumulation of things that Kyle had been involved with this season, did that play a factor to park him?

MIKE HELTON: Yeah, I would answer that two ways.

It's natural in our industry and our sport, for NASCAR's regulatory responsibilities, to watch the evolution of a policy or procedure and learn from it and possibly react differently. Although I would remind you in the incident with Carl Edwards and Keselowski in Atlanta, there was a reaction for us. There was points and money involved in that reaction, so there was some sort of reaction.

There's been a lot of other occurrences that we felt like were more in opportunity to responsibility given to drivers along the way, but there are lines that have been crossed. The 18 and 29 in Darlington got a reaction from us. Today is the most severe reaction under these circumstances. But we felt like all the circumstances came together to warrant the reaction that we're talking about this morning.

The question about the accumulation of incidents around the driver leading to this decision-making process. I won't sit here and tell you that it's not an influence, but it's not an overriding influence. The reaction we're talking about today came more specifically from the set of circumstances that unfolded last night in the single event.

Q. Most of the time I assume you refrain from suspending people because you know the fans come to watch drivers, Kyle Busch being a very popular driver to some fans. How much did you weigh that in your consideration and what did you feel is the overriding factor in suspending him?

MIKE HELTON: Yeah, I would sit here and tell you that any violation that we have to react to, we consider the ripple effect of our reaction. Every incident that we have to react to, whether it's in an inspection, something that's happened on the racetrack or what have you, that's not our mission. But it is our responsibility as a regulatory group that manages the sport. We certainly take that very serious.

So the circumstances that we saw last night on the racetrack, we didn't take lightly what we saw, we didn't take lightly the necessity or the responsibility for us to react to it. We take those responsibilities very serious.

But more often than not, our responsibility is to officiate the sport, inspect the hardware that's involved in the sport in a manner that everybody feels like they're on an equal and level playing field. That's the sport's regulatory responsibility.

On occasion you have an incident to take the responsibility, to take the additional step like we're talking about this morning, and it's not an easy step to take. It's not something we enjoy doing. It's not an action that we would want to do. But we do take our responsibility to maintain control of the garage areas and the unfolding of the events very seriously which led us to this action.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Kyle Busch Ends Ron Hornaday's Hopes For A NCWTS Championship

Kyle Busch, part time NCWTS racer and full time pain in the backside took out Ron Hornaday tonight under caution after the two were involved in an incident early in tonight's Truck Series race at Texas Motorspeedway.

The two drivers got together got together as they tried to pass the slower #07 truck of Johnny Chapman. Busch was on the outside of Hornaday, and they touched as they went by the #07. Hornaday and Busch both scuffed the SAFER barrier, but were able to continue on.

Busch then ran Hornaday over under caution in turn 4, wrecking both trucks. Hornaday said on the SPEED broadcast "Under green, Kyle new there was a lapper there too. I moved up on the straightaway, he stayed on the quarter panel, and, uh, I don't know, we just touched." Hornaday continued "He knows I am going for a points deal, I don't know why he did it. Anybody got a Cup car? He'll never win a championship again. This is just stupid."

NASCAR responded by parking the volatile Rowdy Busch. Both the crew chief and the driver of the #18 have been called the NASCAR trailer at the end of the of the race.

Rowdy was his usual unapologetic self. "Well, if you consider that Ron was in the championship, maybe Ron could have played it a little bit smarter on lap 15 and checked up a little bit and given room to everybody around. You know, obviously if you make it a three wide situation, I can't go up in the dirt. I'm already on the outside lane, there's not three lanes out here yet, it's a truck race. it's the first race of the night, here this weekend. If I just lay over and give up everything for Ron Hornaday, that's not Kyle Busch's fashion. I am out here to win a race just as much as anybody else is. When he races up on my inside and gets loose and takes me up to the fence, I ended up losing my cool. I have been wrecked four weeks in a row and finally I have had enough of it. I am sorry it was Ron Hornaday, he's going after a championship. But the fact of the matter is you can't place all the blame on one person. There was two people that got into it to begin with and there was two people that ended it."

FVP has been a big proponent of Rowdy and his villainous ways. This was way over the line. It's a series that he is not running for a championship in, and yet he pulls a stunt like this. It's a low class move.

In a sport where drivers far too often hold their tongue in fear of retribution from NASCAR or sponsor, the Sprint Cup Series needs a villain. Rowdy has been the perfect foil for fans and competitors alike. Tonight, Rowdy was way out of control. He needs to find the line between a driver who is "intimidating" and one who is a loose cannon. He needs to find the line quickly, before someone gets hurt or worse.

Photo Credit: Steve Pouliot Images for

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tony Stewart On The Final Three Weeks Of The Season: We're hungry for this

Stewart has earned all three of his 2011 wins
during The Chase
After the second Richmond race, not many people gave Tony Stewart a snowball's chance in hell of winning the Winston Sprint Cup this season. Then Smoke grabbed wins in Chicago and Loudon, serving notice that he may have something for The Chasers. Last weekend, Stewart won at Martinsville, putting him only 8 points behind leader Carl Edwards. Tony seems to have a a ton of momentum heading into the final month of the 2011 season.

Smoke was asked about possibly bookending Jimmie Johnson's championships. "Come check with me in three weeks." Stewart said. "We're closer than we were at Loudon. But it's awesome we have that opportunity, to get three races in the Chase like this. It's an awesome feeling sitting here tonight. We got three tracks that we feel are really good to us coming up."

"I'm excited about it. It's a great feeling obviously. To be honest, it's really not the fact of beating Jimmie as much as it's just hard to win in this series to begin with. You cherish the opportunities. You make sure that when you have the opportunity, you make the most of it. This is a tough series. It's been a tough Chase. There's the best Chase field that we've ever had. The cool part will be, the stuff I pay attention to, to have three of those trophies that are different in two different formats, three different sponsors, that would be a cool deal."

Stewart also addressed his post race comments regarding Carl Edwards. He didn't back off  his comments, stating "My adrenaline has worn off and he better not sleep too long the next three weeks. It's no disrespect to him. He's a great competitor, he's a great guy, he's with a great organization that deserves their shot at that championship, too. We've had one of those up-and-down years and we're having a run in this Chase now where we're hungry. We're hungry for this. I feel like our mindset into these next three weeks, we've been nice all year to a lot of guys, given guys a lot of breaks. We're cashing tickets in these next three weeks."

Stewart has been very consistent at Texas, averaging a series best 8.994th place in the last 6 years. Of Course, Edwards is no slouch at Texas either, with an average finish of 11.944. It's going to be a fun final three races to watch these two battle it out.

Photo Credit: Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

Eric Grant Band: As Country As It Gets

Here's a live video of EGB, recorded at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar And Grille.