always remember that racecar spelled backwards is still racecar

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What's a Jalopnik?

It might be a funny word, but if you're a 'car guy' this is the ultimate site for any and everything cars or related cool stuff that goes fast. Check it out - often. I couldn't get the hyperlink info, so you'll have to type it in yourself.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Are all Racing Directors Idiots?

If last week's decision by Nascar to penalize Carl Edwards 60 driver points and $25,000 for good 'ol rubbin is racin' activity on the track wasn't enough (even though Nascar has gotten a lot of mileage out of their "Have at it Boys' false campaign) this week's Indy car race at Edmonton and the late race decision by Brian Barnhart takes the top spot for stupid race decisions. Helio Castroneves was certainly on his game on Sunday leading the race and with only two laps to go could taste victory. Everything seemed to be working for Castroneves to take home another win for Team Penske when just after the final re-start he recieved a black flag and was informed by USAC that he was blocking the second place car and would have to leave the track to serve a 'drive through penalty'. Helio did not serve that penalty, stayed on the track, and crossed the finish line first. USAC literally gave the win to Scott Dixon and dropped Castroneves to 10th. Brian Barnhart, you are an idiot. How dare you blame Helio's post-race actions on his passion and nothing more. His actions were a reaction to the fact that you must be sharing a brain with your dog. In auto racing history, this will undoubtedly go down as the absolute worst decision ever!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ship High In Transit

When people ask what you learned today ...

In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship and it was also before commercial fertilizer's invention, so large shipments of manure were common.

It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, it not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by product is methane gas. As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen.

Methane began to build up below decks and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined just what was happening

After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the term ' Ship High
In Transit ' on them, which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.

Thus evolved the term 'S.H.I.T' (Ship High In Transit) which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day.

You probably did not know the true history of this word.

Neither did I.

I thought it was a golf term.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Like moving furniture with the wife - Make Up Your Mind! (Nascar)

I'm sure by now we've all seen the commercial that has some of the biggest names in nascar saying how things are going back to the way they used to be. More trading paint, more beatin' and bangin' and "letting the drivers' personalities come out". The fans of nascar have been asking for this exact formula to come back to racing and it would have appeared that nascar finally listened to the very people who keep them in business (of course nascar's falling TV ratings probably had something to do with this).

Yes it seemed that the 2010 Sprint Cup season would be like no other and Brian France & company were going to change history or at least repeat it. That is until today - until the 'old school' style of racing reared it's apparent ugly head and nascar reacted the same way they always do. By setting the offending driver down for the rest of the race and after further review, imposing possible additional penalties. What was all that hype about racing they way they used to? Simply an ill-conceived plan to help shore up a tired and too familiar nascar? In any case the fans can't help but feel robbed - a victim of the old bait and switch.

I'm sure we'll hear the spin-doctors doing damage control this week about the safety issues involved and how Carl Edwards took it too far. I'm sure these same paid shills will not dare breath a word of how a certain black #3 used to get away with much worse because that driver was, dare I say, bigger than nascar itself. I can't ever remember the Intimidator being parked for rough driving. That would have started a riot.

Since my soap-box is already out, let's discuss a few other things nascar can't seem to get right. No one, regardless of their position in the point standings, should ever be 'locked in' to a race. The Sprint Cup series is supposed to be world class competition. No one just walks in to this sport unless their experience demonstrates that they deserve to race on this level. Yet, a few races into the season the top 35 drivers in the point standings are guaranteed a starting spot every week. So with 43 starting spots for each of the 36 races, the only suspense during qualifying is watching the underfunded 10 or 12 teams slug it out for the remaining 8 positions. Not too exciting.

And while we're talking about qualifying, why should the fastest qualifier start at the front? I've been involved in and a fan of all types of racing for a number of years and what most people call real racing starts the fastest cars at the back of the grid and the slower cars up front. If a team can out qualify the rest of the pack, make them show how good they are by working their way through the pack during the race. This way the winner will have truly demonstrated his superior skill behind the wheel.

You'd think that as long as nascar has been around, they would have perfected the sport of stock car racing. But when you look at 'the Chase' and the Lucky Dog rule you can see they have a lot more work to do.

Monday, March 1, 2010

These guys isn't easy being green

As Kermit sang in the late 70's, "It isn't easy being green". Kermit stood out among his fabric friends as the only green one in the group. He understood that being green made him different and he was OK with that. I think he secretly enjoyed standing out and bucking the trend as to what was considered normal.

He was a lot like John 'Plasma Boy' Wayland and his 1972 electric Datsun. It was at one time the fastest accelerating street legal electric car, period (and it may still be). This little 'forgotten economy car of the 70's' as John puts it will run 11.50s at 110 mph at the local drag strip all day long without burning one ounce of fossil fuel. Talk about bucking the trend! I think John secretly enjoys standing out from what is considered normal. After all, it worked for Kermit.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

No one forgets their

Truer words were never spoken. People, especially guys, treat their first cars a lot like their first love interest. They want their buddies to know which one 'belongs' to them, they talk about them all the time, and they believe the relationship will last forever. I certainly fell into this life category with my first (well, close to the first) freedom machine. As the old saying goes, 'If I only knew then what I know now'.

I absolutely loved this car. It was a 1971 Datsun 1200 (or B110 for you Datsun heads). It started out with the stock 1200cc engine until an opportunity presented itself to drop in a mildly pumped-up 1300cc power-plant which had only seen one season of racing in my Datsun 1200 mini-stock race car. This racing was done on a 3/8 mile dirt oval in Fremont, California circa 1980 to 1985. Everything about my street car was as straight as was humanly possible (thanks Dad). Even with the hotter motor and lightened fly wheel this thing never got less than 40 MPG. Of course the monetary savings at the pump were offset by my frequent attendance of traffic ticket classes.

The more I think about it, the more I can appreciate the similarities between first loves and first cars. They constantly compete for your attention while appearing to be doing nothing at all, they have a scent that you can't forget, you're constantly changing your plans to be with them and they always leave you broke. As embedded in my memory as all of those things are, they pale in comparison to the biggest and most exciting experience I ever had in my chariot. Going all the 100 mph.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

All things old are new again

I know it's cliche, but it's true. While some things disappear from the landscape, some things never seem to leave. Don't misunderstand, some things need to fade into history. Like hand crank cars, new cars without seat belts, bumper jacks, 6-volt electrical systems, and the ever popular toilet paper oil filter replacement cars. I was lucky enough to own a vehicle that fell into that last category and I always wondered what Mr. Whipple must have thought.

At least for me there is a certain make of cars that will never lose their charm (nor should they) and that's the Datsuns of the 1960's and 1970's. I love them all - from the Lil Hustler pick-up trucks, the Z-cars, the 510's and even the 1200 (the forerunner to the B-210). These vehicles were cheap to own and maintain and when I was growing up, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting at least half a dozen!

This past weekend in Sacramento, California there was a gathering of Datsun-heads keeping the faith alive. This event was thinly disguised as a car show, swap meet, and yak-fest for all things Datsun, but really it was more. It was yet another example of how this specific group of small, pre-smog, pre-unleaded gasoline powered vehicles continue to claim more followers.

One of those new followers is my son (don't tell his V8 only friends). While I could not be with him to share in his journey to Mecca, he called and sent me these pictures and I felt as if we did share the experience. It really took me back in time as I heard him describe all the 'cool' cars and the crazy mods. I know they say you can't go home again - I'd say the jury's still out on that one.

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