Football…? Really! Just as the racing series close on the championships people leave Pit Row for the 50 yard line. It begs the question as to “WHY”? Of course, here at Missed Gear, we could give a white flag about football. However, we know enough to tell that the first few games of the season are merely there to begin to determine the win-loss ratio for the playoffs. Yes… auto racing is the same, to a degree. The early races go from green to checkered with a wide open points system that really only gets tight after the season puts some mileage on the tires.

But football…? Why does the Monday morning talk shift from “Did you see the race?” to “Did you watch the game?” Even the heads from the sports news are all crazy about the football season. They spend hours on player trades, camp reports, predictions and all types of pre-season blather. Women talk about shoes less than that.


While all this football talk is going on, what coverage does racing get? You might get the NASCAR race winner… Maybe Indy… Formula 1…? Not likely unless something spectacular happened. Grand-Am…? NHRA…? Nada. Zip.


But get 6 weeks away from the first pre-season NFL game and you can’t shut them up about football! What is it?


The short answer is probably “money”. Odds makers and wager takers love it as so much money is tossed over the line on football bets. That means that all these “fans” who wager on the games simply must know every minute detail about every team so they can place their bets. That keeps these talking heads yammering away while thousands are hanging on every word to get some line on a bet they will make in two months.


Yes. There is wagering on racing. The difference is there is one race on any given race day. There are 15 games on NFL Sundays. Betting on a football game essentially gives you two choices. Betting on a race could give you 40+ choices. Football variables are more predictable. Point spreads give the wager a cushion. Fifteen games gives the option to pick a few “sure bets” and go for the bomb on a possible payout.


The wagering offers a possible explaination on the popularity of football. However, not everyone gambles on the game. The majority do not. So… Why? Why abandon racing for football just when the points are tight and the championship is on the line?


NASCAR is racing at full spead with some points drama still left in the chase. There some Sunday night races so if you simply must watch the day games to maintain some kind of conversation on Monday, have at it.


Don’t get suckered in to College Football Saturdays, either! Flip channels until you find something fast and watch it! SCCA, F1, Motocross… We don’t care. As long as it is fast and the only balls involved are the ones it takes to make a 3-wide pass on the outside in lap traffic.


We believe you will enjoy the race much better. Wanna bet on it?

picture from ANAVRIN on Flickr

Well… They did it. After a long and unsteady courtship the two finally got married. It was widely speculated it would never happen. After all, both of them have very separate and distinct personalities. One is overbearing, controlling and has been known to be abusive. The other is narcissistic, headstrong and has been known to be uncultured and naive. There have been numerous accounts of infidelity on both sides and some of the confrontations have been legendary in the legal system.

Can a marriage such as this have any traction at all? Can Mr. Federal Government and Ms. American Auto Industry have any chance of a happy relationship? The prenup alone is nothing short of “War and Peace” with a “Gone With the Wind” forward.

Look at the wedding party! It is actually hard to tell who really has been married. The characters involved resemble a mass bigomist ceremony more than it does a union of two happy partners. Look at the Best Man, for example. The UAW has been the Fed’s best friend for many years while hopping in bed with the Auto Industry whenever there was a shiny trinket involved. He has played both sides to his advantage and Mr. and Mrs. Federal Auto seem oblivious to the pull-strings.

Bridesmaids… What a collection! Who would have thought there was that much chiffon in Detroit to cover the hides of these bloated cows? Bankers, accountants, managers… All of which have survived and grown fat on the spillings of the auto industry. They stood there bright and beaming as the favored few while many that were actually responsible for Auto’s successes were locked outside the church.

The wedding itself was even too bizarre for a “Saturday Night Live” sketch. After all, when the minister asks if there is anyone present who has a reason why these two should not be joined and everyone in attendance stands at once… shouldn’t there be at least some notice of the response? Aren’t the words supposed to be “I do” instead of “I’ll try” and “You better!” Is it strange to have the foreign gigolo and the groom sharing cake while the bride is kissing the Best Man?

However it went down on the wedding day it is now a vision for the future. But what future? Will it shape into a prosperous and fruitful relationship or be crushed by the weight of its own cost? The auto industry may have thought she would be getting a strong visionary partner able to look at the consumer and technological horizon and help her improve and grow as a viable business. What she got were more investment bankers.  Steven Rattner is the co-founder of private-equity firm Quadrangle Group LLC and is now chief adviser on auto-industry issues. Ron Bloom, a former vice president at investment bank Lazard Ltd., will advise Mr. Fed’s auto task force. How does that work? The auto industry has had their Big Day only to find out on the honeymoon the husband is impotent… and in debt… and probably always drives 5 below the speed limit.

This is a wedding in name only. In reality, it is an incestuous relationship involving the Federal Government, the UAW leadership and favored financial backers. The auto industry is being forced to wear the ring to make it all look legitimate. The “children” of this matrimonial nightmare will be the cars she is forced to produce. What these little bastards will be like is yet to be seen. The Fed is busy “genetically engineering” the design parameters to meet many arbitrary restrictions being demanded from the mistress that is politely referred to as the environmental lobby. In reality, this mistress is, at best, a manipulative child pouting every time it does not get its way. Disturbed that other people actually find joy in their automobiles, she has found a way to stop crying and start legislating through the manipulation of gullible politicians.

So how does a wedding such as this work? The bride is “kissless” on the honeymoon and has lost any sense of individuality. The groom entered the marriage with a mistress already pregnant. One married for money and the other for power. There is no money. Well, no money in the real sense of value. That leaves only power. And only one side has that card in their pocket.

Variety. The word describes the automotive fan as much as it does the cars they follow. NASCAR, Formula 1, Indy, Rally, Sports Cars, GT, Grand Prix…  and that is just a few of the racing series. That doesn’t begin to touch the thesaurus of general manufactured cars, modified or not, which draw people in. Lets not skip the customs and hot rods, the modified and the tame, which make people silly about the wheel. We’ve all been to a “car show” at some point. The problem with your typical car show is that it is crowded with cars. By that, I mean the cars are lined up side by side and some are surrounded by those rope things meant to keep you in line at the theatre. Yes – You see a lot of nice cars but they are static and surrounded. You can’t fully appreciate the cars because the many are all around distracting from the lines and curves of the the car in front of you. However, it is difficult to hold a “car show” where each vehicle has some space to be appreciated at its best… On the road, at speed, in a natural setting…

Mark Simpson in a '58 Scarab passing the Oak Tree turn at VIR
Mark Simpson in a '58 Scarab passing the Oak Tree turn at VIR

Unless you have access to a place like Virginia International Raceway.  June finds this paved jewel invaded by auto enthusiasts of all kinds bringing in some of the most beautiful car art ever built. The Heacock Classic Gold Cup features Morgans and MGs, Fort GTs and Ferraris, Porsches and Plymouths… and practically everything else! They are out in the open! They are on the track at speed! In other words – These cars appear in their natural habitat and definately NOT as a static display.

These are the cars you may only see on television or in a magazine. If you are like me (a working slob) then you don’t have the liquid cash to own one. However, on this weekend in June, you can come out to VIR when the people that do have the bank to own them bring them out for all of us to enjoy. Many of these cars represent the golden age of the car and motorsport. With graceful lines, powerful engines and exotic design, these cars turn the pavement of VIR into art in motion. It is something to see. Mark your calendar and don’t miss it again. It is an art gallery on wheels for any fan of motorsport. Check this gallery for a glimpse of the fun!

Rain changed the dynamics of two iconic races on the same day on Sunday, February 15th. The Daytona 500 was cut short in Florida while on the other coast, rain dampened the day for the international cyclists riding the Tour of California. Now, fast forward one week to Sunday, February 22nd. These same sports practically come face to face as the drivers and cyclists find themselves within 200 miles of each other.

autoclub500On the surface, 200 miles seems like a fair distance. However, when you consider the attention these two events are getting it is nothing but an inch on a Rand-McNally. The Auto Club 500 may be the largest attention grabber within our own borders of the U.S.A. but the international attention on the Tour is likely much greater. NASCAR is, after all, an American invention. Cycling in some countries is bigger than football. Our football, anyway. Their football is soccer and makes ours look like a little league outing.

However, think of the similarities between professional cycling and NASCAR. Sponsors, speed, drafting, teams, strategy, endurance and luck play heavy in both. Big name stars highlight both sports. Who doesn’t know that Jeff Gordon drives and Lance Armstrong rides? Crashes are common in both. Tempers come into play. At the end of the day there is a finish line and glory. Definatelycommon to both.

tourcabnnrThis Sunday, you can expand your horizons and check out both of these spectacles with TV coverage of both. From 2pm to 5pm, watch the final stage of the Tour of California on the VERSUS network. Look for the similarities. Be carefull, you might get hooked and by the time the Tour de France comes around you may find yourself cheering for two wheels. At 5pm, flip to FOX and see the entire Auto Club 500. Two races from two different disciplines on one day from practically the same place. How can you go wrong?

ARCA Racing under way February 7 before NASCAR Bud Shootout
ARCA Racing under way February 7 before NASCAR Bud Shootout

Speed Week begins today. The NASCAR Budweiser Shootout is tonight. Will you watch? How about the “Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200” ARCA Series race that runs earlier in the afternoon? Maybe – Maybe not…? Yes, but only because it is on and part of the day of racing tied to the Shootout…? No…? 

Here’s the thing and I think it is important right now. It is no longer OK to just be a NASCAR fan or an INDY fan or a Grand-Am fan. It is time to embrace auto racing as a “whole package”. That means tuning into a race you might have skipped over in the past. That means packing up the car and heading out to some of those Saturday night races at the local oval. It also means showing support for these small teams and drivers that work the 40 during the week so they can run 100 laps on the weekend. It is time to become a RACING fan. Why…..?

Well, look around and get an eyeful of what is going on around you. Those folks in Washington, DC are about to sign off on what they are calling a “stimulus” package. Jimmy Dean has sold less pork in 40 years than the Democrats have packed in this thing in just two weeks. It is not just the bloated cost of wasteful Government expansion that we, as motor-sports fans, should be concerned with. There is a lot of pay-off money going to the so-called “green initiative” special interests for backing these nutjobs that have the nerve to call themselves “concerned” as leaders of our Country. Billions of dollars are going to “climate change” (formerly known as “global warming”) researchers and you can wager your Pit Pass that the “researchers” getting the cash are more concerned with agenda than fact. There are billions going to “renewable” energy research and development meaning bio-fuels and electrics. On the surface, that is a fine goal. However, look behind the curtain and you see the cost to convert crops to fuel is hardly easy or cost-effective and is not likely to be without huge subsidies. Not to mention the inflation of other by-products as more growers turn to selling for fuel rather than food. Hybrids and electrics are being developed and being forced onto the marketplace by growing Government mandates on MPG minimums. On the surface, again, a fine idea. However, nobody is talking about what to do with discarded batteries at the end of their run or the environmental impact of creating batteries in the first place. Billions of dollars of “stimulus” are going to wind and solar research. Fine. Billions are going into initiatives to force companies to go “green” or be “green friendly”. OK…  But here is THE question. If the goal is to get us away from dependence on foreign oil, why is there no real investment in this “stimulus” on finding, drilling and developing our own oil? Oil that we know exists. Oil that we can get to. Oil that is available to fuel our economy while also funding much of this “research” they are forcing our deficit dollars to pay for. Where is it in this bill, Mr. President? The answer is that it is not there because it upsets the very people they are paying off with our money.

But what does it mean to us as “racing” fans? It means that billions of our tax dollars are being spent, and given to, people that hate and loath the sport of motor racing. They look at it as a big waste of fuel and a stain on the “environment”. They see all of us as un-educated rednecks with bellies full of beer and trailers surrounded by junkers on blocks. They do not see the innovation from the sport that has made every modern car on the road safer and more efficient. They do not see the college degrees, the engineers, the artists and talented from all ways of life in the garage or the stands. All they see is cars going in circles spewing filth in the air.

That is why it is time to support your sport. Go to the local track. Watch a race series you might otherwise skip over. Grow the numbers, grow the support, grow the sport. They will come after the sport of motor racing. It is only a matter of time.  They will legislate it out of existence by making it harder and harder to operate. They have a mission to force everyone to live within the parameters they set. And don’t be fooled into thinking it is “for our own good”. It is for their consolidation of power.

intersect1 Uncertainty… That’s what best describes the upcoming auto racing season. The Detroit auto makers are scrambling and in doing so they are also examining, while the bureaucracy of Washington looks on, their spending and investments. How much goes to support of the racing teams? How much goes to support the infrastructure that maintains the facilities, the shows and the fan support? What is the sideshow of the “carnival midway” next to the track on race day without the Chevrolet display or any other auto show display? Nevermind that this money is some of the best they ever spend in respect to return on investment. What else will they do with it…? Give it to some Union retiree who hasn’t lifted a finger to build a car in 20 years? …read more… (more…)