Monthly Archives: February 2011

I Relent, Trade Josh Smith

You want to know my take on the Hawks trade of Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans, Jordan Crawford and a first round draft pick for Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong? Cool. Me too. Because I just don’t know what it is yet.

I want to give this a few games before making any jump to conclusions about how I feel about the deal the Hawks just made. I also want to wait and see if any more moves are made, as rumor as it the Hawks kept Zaza Pachulia out of last night’s game as they are still seeking a veteran center.

Now there are a couple of points to be made about the quest for a center. One, we obviously need one. Al Horford is an all-star center, yes. At power forward, he quite possibly goes from very good player, to great player. He could dominate from the four position, offensively and defensively. If for no other reason than that, getting a center seems the right decision.

However, there’s another side to that coin. And that side is the enigma that is Josh Smith. What do you do with him? You absolutely cannot play him at small forward. Even while playing the four, Smith too often floats around the perimeter waiting for an open jump shot or three pointer. And the shot is always open for him. Of course, there’s a reason for that. Nobody in the league respects his outside game.

It’s not to say it’s absolutely useless, he’s improved his shooting. But that’s not his strength, not close. It’s not where he’s most valuable. Ultimately, Smith on the perimeter makes the Hawks worse.

Josh Smith is an amazing athlete, one of the best in the NBA, and he creates havoc offensively and defensively, in the paint. The problem is getting him to stay there. He can put the ball on the floor and attack the rim, or he can just use his athleticism around the rim. Shooting jumpers no longer takes advantage of his great advantage in superior athletic ability coupled with great size.

So we want to play him at a swing position? Yeah, that will not work.

And this is why I’m completely on board with a Josh Smith trade. If only there’s a taker.

I love watching Josh play, at times, most of the time. However, there are times, too many for a player as seasoned as he is, that he is maddening to watch. Too often he makes people ask, “just what the hell is he thinking?” All too often his effort is questioned, and people have valid reason to wonder if his head is even in the game. He should be past all of this by now.

Smith’s amazing athletic ability makes him an attractive trade piece, one would think. His ceiling is still ridiculously high. Perhaps he just needs a change of scenery. Or perhaps he just needs a coach who is willing, and respected enough, to ride him exceptionally hard, push him harder than he’s been pushed, and refuse to accept anything less than 100% mentally and physically.

Watching these Hawks play, it’s obvious they show up and play hard when they want to. The effort on defense and on the boards is extremely inconsistent. In other words, Larry Drew has minimal impact on the effort put forth on the floor.

So clearly, he’s not the guy who can reach Josh Smith. However, somewhere there’s a coach who can.

While I would absolutely hate to see Josh Smith finally “get it”, or “put it together” somewhere else and become the elite player we all know he can become, I’ve come to accept it simply will not happen in Atlanta.

And as long as we keep waiting on it to happen in Atlanta, we’re going to keep waiting on the Hawks to take the step from solid team to legit contender. As long as we’re waiting on that from Josh Smith, we’re going to see efforts like we saw in the first half against Phoenix last night, or against the Lakers, Bucks, Sixers and Hornets this year.

The Atlanta Hawks, as consistuted, aren’t going to take a step forward. In fact, they may be going from being blown out by a historical margin in round two, to not even getting out of round one, to perhaps not even winning a game in round one.

There are still plenty of nice pieces in Atlanta. Al Horford and Joe Johnson are a fine inside/out duo. Kirk Hinrich is a solid point guard, and Jamal Crawford is one of the best bench players, instant offense players in the league. Marvin Williams is a solid role player, albeit way too expensive to be a role player, and Damien Wilkins is a nice defensive player off the bench.

Josh Smith however is the one who can bring in the most complementing pieces to help this team, perhaps even bringing in a major piece that could totaly change the landscape of Hawks basketball.

We’ve all noticed over the last couple of seasons, it seems more and more the team goes as Josh Smith goes. When Josh Smith plays hard, plays with energy, and puts up his 20 and 10 type games, and is altering games on defense, the Hawks are usually winning, even against the NBA’s elite. When he’s not, we’re getting beat by 30 points.

Well, the saying still has some truth. As Josh Smith goes, so go the Hawks. And when Josh Smith goes, that’s when the Hawks will be able to go a little higher.


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Gumby’s Gibberish: Daytona 500 Edition

  • First things first, what a race. If you didn’t like that kind of racing, which puts more control in the hands of drivers, driver skill, and strategy as opposed to just being in the right line at the right time, you should probably find another form of motorsports to watch.
  • The Trevor Bayne story is truly a remarkable one. I will write more about this later, but this type of story is what separates the Daytona 500 from other sporting events.
  • Not enough was said about the performance and finish of three of the sports veterans. Bobby Labonte, Bill Elliott, and Terry Labonte have combined for 4 championships, all former champs, and all came home in the top 15. Bobby Labonte led the charge with a 4th, even contending for the win, while Elliott and the elder Labonte stayed out of trouble and brought their cars home with outstanding finishes giving their teams a leg up on getting into the top 35 after race 5. This is huge.
  • Speaking of Bill Elliott, the Wood Brothers may owe him a thank you, as does Trevor Bayne. This team was at rock bottom a couple of years ago. They hired the experienced 44 race winner and former champion Elliott to come help get them off the ground floor. Elliott’s experience helped the team improve almost weekly it seemed, getting them to a position to field competitive racecars. It was proven with Elliott’s qualifying performance and run at the season finale at Homestead last year. Clearly it transfered over this year with Bayne. I hope this is not forgotten.
  • We need to give a call to Mark Martin. To come back from three laps down and be in position to win the race late, even if he fell back to 10th, one heck of a rally for the 5 team.
  • Also lost in all the surrounded the stunning upset by Bayne was the run by David Gilliland. That team has struggled since entering the Cup series, and to post a third place finish and to be sitting second in points is absolutely a feel good story. If not for Bayne, it would be one of the bigger stories of the weekend.
  • Regan Smith had an outstanding rally to come back and finish in the top ten. The 78 Furniture Row Chevy was fast all week, and Smith wheeled that car like a proven veteran who belonged.
  • Yes, David Ragan is to blame for making that mistake that ultimately cost him the Daytona 500, but so is his team. Bayne was committed to push Ragan, the race was his to lose, and he lost it. However, for Ragan, in that situation, the pressure, and stress, is enormous. He’s got enough to think about it, it is understandable that the technicality of a rule slips his mind. However, it is NOT understandable that nobody on the spotter’s stand, or in the pit box came on the radio to remind Ragan of the rules. His team let him down big time.
  • The new points system is going to be tested immediately. The new system makes recovering from a bad race very difficult. A lot of title contenders had a bad race, we will see how long it takes for them to recover. However, one thing to consider is that when you look at the top 15 in points right now, particularly the top ten, how many guys do you really expect to stay there?
  • Those guys in the ECR engine shop probably shouldn’t worry too much. Their powerplants were the best in the field this week, they just couldn’t last Sunday. But you won’t be seeing 9500 RPM being turned for 500 straight miles anywhere else this year, so they shouldn’t fret. They should be happy with how strong their cars were.
  • Is it me, or is Kyle Busch just constantly out of control? It makes him fun to watch, but constantly out of control.
  • We never found out of Junior’s tire was actually flat. I say this because drivers can get weird sensation in cars, they can run over things or pick up dirt and get a false sensation of a flat tire. Now, if I’m Junior’s team, whether it’s flat or not, I tell him that it was. Because if it wasn’t, and he cost himself a shot at the Daytona 500, and put himself back in the pack to be in position to get in that wreck for no reason, his already shoddy confidence will take another huge hit.
  • Ryan Newman, with his torn up racecar, was way too aggressive at the end, and that’s what caused the wreck eliminating Junior. Newman wasn’t going to get to the front with that car, he should have taken what he could get, not made some bonzai move and taken out other cars who were competitive and actually competing for a top ten or better finish. A very selfish, unwise move by Newman.
  • Tony Stewart is approaching Dale Earnhardt territory in terms of the Daytona 500. He’s tied for second in wins at Daytona, and has won everything during Speed Weeks, more than once, but not the Daytona 500. Stewart is the kind of personality that this sort of frustration will begin to really, really eat at him. He’s been in position so many times.
  • Speaking of being in position so many times, Kurt Busch has finished 2nd in the Daytona 500 three times, and was the favorite coming into this year’s event, and found himself in position to win late. However, he couldn’t get Montoya to stay on him enough to get the momentum needed to make a move.
  • Montoya wrecked, it seemed, about four times. To still come out of there with a top six finish was pretty impressive. Forutnately for him, he was one of the few ECR engines that did not have problems.
  • The story of the day was the underdogs and the underfunded single car teams. Consider that Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Regan Smith, Robby Gordon, Dave Blaney and Brad Kesolowski all led a lap. At one point during the race, Bobby Labonte, Blaney, Smith, and Gordon all seemed as if they might have something to say about the winner of the race. Unfortunately the late race carnage claimed a few of them, but many still managed top 20 finishes. Not to mention the 12th for Bill Elliott, 3rd for Gilliland, and an impressive 20th place finish for Steven Wallace. For a guy with a reputation of tearing up racecars, to get a top 20 and keep his nose clean, it was a huge success for the son of 1989 Winston Cup champion Rusty Wallace. Oh yeah, and that Bayne fella winning the thing.
  • All told, it was a great show, great drama, great storylines. NASCAR couldn’t have asked for anything more.

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Daytona 500 Sunday, Ain’t Nothin’ Like It

Daytona 500 Sunday is truely one of the most special, and unique days in all of sports. It is a day, event, and spectacle that can’t really be compared to any other day in sports.

Sure, days such as the final Sunday at Augusta, Major League Baseball’s opening day, the Indianapolis 500, and of course Super Bowl Sunday can compare to some extent, but even there, it’s closer to comparing apples to oranges.

Some may find it peculiar, or even backwards, that the NASCAR season opens with the sports biggest prize at stake and on the line. That only adds to the lore, the intrigue, and the magnitude of the event.

For NASCAR, when it’s biggest event takes place, everyone is still involved.

While the final Sunday at Augusta is a picturesque afternoon at one of the most beautiful places in the world, by the time you arrive to Sunday, only a select few of those who participated in the event still have any sort of remote possibility to win the event. The hope that springs eternal with a new beginning has already worn off for the majority of those involved.

Besides, by the time Augusta rolls around, the tour has already made stops at places such as Pebble Beach and Riviera, and been to Hawaii. Golf is no longer fresh and new, the season is well under way.

The Indianapolis 500, once the pre-eminent motorsports event in the world, no longer has the buzz that it once did, and in fact, is considered my many to be only the second most important race on the Sunday it’s run, having fallen behind NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600. While in terms of a pure spectacle the Indy 500 is a step above the Daytona 500, this is about sports, and competition. If we just wanted a spectacle, well, there are plenty of other avenues upon which we could quench that thirst.

Opening day for Major League Baseball is a big day, a special and unique day in it’s own right. For many reasons that Daytona is so special due to the starting of something new, baseballs opening day has a similar feel. However, winning or losing on opening day ultimately matters very little.

Do you remember if your team won on opening day in 2006? Even the most die-hard of baseball fans likely can’t answer that question. Even the most casual of NASCAR fans might be able to answer who won the Daytona 500 in 2006.

Seriously, who remembers what happened on opening day in 1979? Most NASCAR fans have a very good recollection, or newfound awareness, of exactly what took place in the 1979 Daytona 500.

The most common comparison of course is the Super Bowl, as the Daytona 500 itself is considered the Super Bowl of NASCAR.

But consider that when the Super Bowl is completed, so is football. Done. Finished. Over. The Daytona 500 gears you up for the NASCAR season, the Super Bowl simply reminds you that football is over.

Don’t get me wrong, I am as big a football fan as anyone, and will take the NFL season and NFL playoffs over NASCARs season and Chase any day of the week. But I won’t take it over Speed Weeks down at Daytona.

Additionally, when the Sprint Cup teams come south to Florida in February for a week and a half of racing at the famed 2.5 mile superspeedway, they all come with the promise that a new season begins. It’s not just the Daytona 500 they are coming to Florida for, it’s a new year, a new season, a new chance, a new life.

Take this year for instance. Jimmie Johnson comes down here with the promise of starting a new quest to further etch his name into history. Denny Hamlin can finally attempt to bury the memory of choking away the 2010 championship, and set out again to capture an elusive title. Jeff Gordon gets yet another shot to try and match protoge turned rival Jimmie Johnson in championships and remind the world he’s not going anywhere yet.

When teams get to the Super Bowl, there is nothing to look forward to after that, particularly for the loser.

A “good showing” in the Super Bowl means absolutely nothing. A “good showing” down in Daytona can provide the momentum to propel a team towards a succsesful season.

Not only that, by the time Super Bowl Sunday rolls around, you’ve only got two teams left with anything to play for.

Today in Daytona, there will be 43. While there aren’t 43 legitimate threats to win today, and certainly not that many who are seriously vying for a championship, it’s a lot more than two. And even for those who aren’t ready to contend in prime time, they are here ready to improve, and gain momentum to top their previous season. For 30 of the 32 NFL teams, it’s already over. Super Bowl Sunday means nothing to them.

With one minute left in the Super Bowl, if we are lucky, we get two teams with a chance to win. With about one minute left this afternoon, there will still likely be about eight to ten people still with a chance to bring home the most coveted trophy in racing.

The Super Bowl has great moments, plenty of them, moreso probably than perhaps any other single sporting event in the world. But does it have the story lines and drama that a Daytona 500 does?

Do you have former World Series winners crossing over and suddenly coaching football teams in the Super Bowl, trying to obtain greatness in two sports, ala Joe Gibbs?

Are there second and third generations trying to follow in their fathers footsteps?

Are there second generation players forced to return to the site of their fathers tragic death every year to compete for the biggest prize in their sport, carrying what seems to be the weight of an entire sport on their shoulders?

You tell me what impact Bart Starr had on this years Super Bowl. Richard Petty, he of seven Daytona 500s, but none since 1981, and retired since 1992, is still coming to Daytona, still trying to win a Daytona 500, just as an owner.

The Sprint Cup season ended in the middle of November, and as soon as that season ended, the focus began on 2011. And while the focus was on 2011 as a whole, a lot of it was focused on winning one particular race in 2011, the first one.

Preparations for many teams for the Daytona 500 actually began before the 2010 season was even over. Every team spent all winner making sure their best engine was built to be put in their car for todays race. The fabrication guys spend more time massaging and perfecting the bodies of the Daytona car than they will any car they prepare all year.

Every egg is poured into this basket. Why? Because if you win Daytona, you’re done. No matter what you do or do not do ever again in your career, you win the Daytona 500, you’re somebody.

Ask Derrike Cope. There’s a reason he was still allowed to come out and run the Bud Shootout Saturday night and have some more fun in a racecar. It’s because he won the Daytona 500.

Ask Darrel Waltrip what it’s like to win the Daytona 500. Ask his brother Michael. If you ever have doubt as to what this race means, check out the end of the 1976 Daytona 500 where two of perhaps the five greatest wheelmen the sport has ever seen couldn’t figure out how to get off of turn four together without crashing due to their burning desire to win the 500.

No man better personified the importance of this race of course than the late Dale Earnhardt. His failures in the race were well documented. You thought Phil Mickelson had it bad with his failures in majors? Hah. And of course Mickelson got four chances a year. Alas, the Daytona 500 affords you one chance each year, and that’s it. Plus, the golf course never jumped up and altered the flight or path of a Mickelson golf shot as it neared the hole to clinch a tournament (see Earnhardt’s cut tire in 1990), robbing him of sure victory.

Earnhardt’s 1998 victory is perhaps best known for the receiving line down pit road where every man from every rival pit crew, and every official lined up to shake the hand of the man who finally won the Daytona 500.

Sure, NFL players congratulate one another for winning a Super Bowl, but there’s never been anything like what Earnhardt saw coming down pit road in 1998. There’s a reason for that.

The Daytona 500 brings out the best and worst in everyone on the track.

Dale Earnhardt, arguably the greatest driver the sport has seen, twice in six years was running second in the closing laps and wrecked. The number of mistakes made by the true legends of this sport in this race might seem alarming to an outsider, and appear to be an indictment on the sport and event, given that the great ones elevate their game in events such as the Super Bowl.

But you have to consider, when you, and 20 other great drivers are all attempting to elevate their game, there’s only so much room on that race track for everyone to do it.

Part of what makes the Daytona 500 so special is watching these great, magnificent drivers push everything to the limit, sometimes finding out the hard way just what that limit is. Points matter 35 races out of 36. They don’t matter today. Al Davis would love the approach to today’s race, just win baby!

Months of work are over, the culmination of hard work in the shops in North Carolina over the winter hits the track in just a few short hours. A week and a half of prelimenary races, and practicing, and dramatic moments leading up to the race are now a thing of the past. It’s go time.

Let’s go racing boy!

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Paul Hewitt Cannot Return

I had a really nice, long, well thought out piece planned on the absolutely atrocious ineptitude of Paul Hewitt, but all that did was annoy me, so I decided to make it shorter, and hopefully sweeter.

In short, Paul Hewitt can return to Georgia Tech for a 12th season. He just can’t. Not if we are to believe Georgia Tech athletics actually care about winning something besides football.

Sure, Paul Hewitt coached this team to a national final, a chance at a national championship. But in reality, we all know the truth, Jarrett Jack and Will Bynum took that team to the final. Looking back on that team, they should have been better than they were. There were a lot of games lost during the regular season during their two year run that better coached teams don’t lose.

The year following the magical run to San Antonio, remember, Tech started the year ranked third in the nation, then went on to finish just .500 in ACC play and lose in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Yes, a team that just a year ago was playing for a national championship, and returning most of it’s key contributors, and was arguably MORE talented found a way to lose MORE games.

Of course it should be noted, the Final Four team managed to barely finish above .500 themselves in league play, at a pedestrian 9-7.

Take for a minute, will you, and examine the number of regular season wins in ACC play for Paul Hewitt’s Yellow Jackets during his tenure, leading up to this, his 11th season. Beginning with the 2000-2001 season, Tech’s ACC win total reads as follows: 8, 7, 7, 9, 8, 4, 8, 7, 2 and 7. Ten years, only once did Hewitt finish above .500.

Perhaps Hewitt should ask Chan Gailey what a bunch of .500 ACC seasons did him. Ask Mark Richt what one or two .500 or worse conference play years did for his place in the eyes of Georgia faithful.

Think about that again, TEN years, one time above .500, and even then, it was simply 9-7. And yet this man is still employed? Tech’s listless performance in Blacksburg gave this year’s squad their seventh ACC loss, ensuring their 10th year in 11 where they will fail to win more than they lose in ACC play.

And again, this man is employed? 67-93. Just let that soak in, 67-93. That’s a winning percentage of .419. Who in the world of sports today keeps a job with a winning percentage of .400? Who keeps a job anywhere with a track record like this? We aren’t talking about a blip of two bad years where the winning percentage drops. This is over ten years.

Even prayer hasn't allowed Paul Hewitt to avoid losing 60% of his ACC games

In ten years he’s had six full recruiting classes come and go. And he’s got a .419 winning percentage. We aren’t looking at a small sample size here. Paul Hewitt is actually one of the longer tenured coaches in the nation outside of the holy trinity of coaches of guys like Calhoun, Boheim, Izzo, and Krzyzewski.

And it’s not been for a lack of talent, either. Chris Bosh? You heard of him? He played for Georgia Tech. Didn’t even play in an NCAA tournament game.

Jarrett Jack and Will Bynum have both gone on to play in the NBA, and Anthony Morrow has become one of the NBA’s best three point shooters, yet together they couldn’t win more than eight ACC games in 2005.

Point guard Javaris Crittenton and forward Thaddeus Young were both selected in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft. NCAA tournament wins? Zero.

Derrick Favors just went third in the NBA draft, fellow forward Gani Lawal was also drafted. Yet, despite being teamed with guys like Brian Oliver, Glen Rice Jr, and Iman Shumpert, they couldn’t finish above .500 in the ACC.

Shumpert will surely be drafted, as he’s quite possibly one of the most underrated players in college basketball. Unfortunately he’s trapped in the obscurity of playing for Georgia Tech, and he’s even worse, hampered by the inability of Paul Hewitt to create any type of offense that is able to work consistently.

But Paul Hewitt is still employed. He loses 60% of his games, and now the school wants to make $45 million renovations to the arena in which he does his wretched work? How do you sell that to a fan base and alumni? I know we really stink, and I know we are keeping the man responsible for our futility, but we need $30 million dollars so we can give him a better place in which to work. Yeah, sounds like an excellent plan.

There can be an argument made that Paul Hewitt is the worst division one college basketball coach in the nation, and very little argument can be made that’s he’s not at least in the bottom 30. Besides, anyone who is deemed a bigger failure than Hewitt surely has not been employed for over a decade.

And it’s not as if there’s any reason to believe things are going to get better. As of today, over the last three plus years, Tech is an atrocious 16-42 in ACC play. Yes, you read that correctly.

Remember that winning percentage of .419 I was talking about for his career? Well, that’s a shining mark considering what he’s been in the last third of his tenure. The number has dropped to .276, and with the way this current team has been playing, it’s going to continue to drop.

I wonder how long Paul Johnson would have his job if over four years Johnson went 8-24 in ACC play, which would be a similar mark to what Hewitt has compiled. My guess is, not very long. In fact, my guess is that Johnson wouldn’t be around long enough to compile such futility.

It’s also probably worth noting, Bobby Cremins, now at College of Charleston, is 63-27 in conference play since taking over in 2006-2007, with only one fewer NCAA tournament victory than Paul Hewitt in that span.

If Georgia Tech cares anything about basketball, and anything about not asking for money to support a program they clearly don’t support themselves, Paul Hewitt needs to go, the day after his team makes a quick exit from the ACC tournament.

Wow, it appears my Hewitt rant went as long as his career has gone.

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NASCAR Screws It Up Again

Nobody really wants to see a driver wreck a competitor on the final lap coming to the finish line to win a race, and nobody really wants to see cars flying up into grandstands from said last lap accidents. Well, apparently nobody but NASCAR.

At least that is the message conveyed with their incredulous ruling Saturday night at the Budweiser Shootout.

Denny Hamlin made a late, daring, and pretty doggone good move heading to the tri-oval to take the checkered flag Saturday night. Unfortunately, it was too good of a move. Not only did he manage to get underneath race leader Ryan Newman, he managed to do so without turning Newman sideways. If you recall, Brad Keselowski was not able to execute a similar pass at Talladega a couple of years ago.


You tell me where there is room underneath Ryan Newman (39) without being underneath the yellow line.

The only reason Hamlin did not turn Newman sideways is because Ryan Newman crowded Hamlin, moving down the race track, eventually eliminating all the “in bounds” asphalt from Hamlin’s disposal. Newman’s actions forced Hamlin to drop beneath the yellow line in the tri-oval as he pulled ahead of and up in front of Newman while barely beating Kurt Busch to the finish line.

Or, well, I guess “forced” isn’t the proper word here. At least that’s apparently how NASCAR unbelievably saw it. I suppose Hamlin could have held his line, kept his car “in bounds”, and when Newman made his move to crowd Hamlin down the track, simply let Ryan Newman wreck himself, and likely several other cars.

So, Newman gave Hamlin two choices. Wreck Newman, or go below the yellow line, avoid an accident, and ultimately see a victory turn into a 12th place finish thanks to the forthcoming penalty from NASCAR.

That there can be such a choice is appalling.

Supposedly, as a part of the yellow line rule, there is also a rule stipulating that while you are not allowed to go below the yellow line and advance your position, you are also not to force someone else down there.

Well, I don’t know about you, but when one car is beside another, as Hamlin was with Newman, and when said car got underneath the driver in bounds at the outset, to then see Newman’s left side tires hugging the yellow line, all the way on the bottom of the track, it seems pretty cut and dry what took place. Where was Hamlin supposed to go at this point? He physically could NOT move up the track back in bounds, Ryan Newman occupied the very bottom line, despite the fact that Hamlin had the right to that part of the racetrack thanks to his move off turn four to get under Newman.

Now, this is not to bash Ryan Newman, or call him a dirty driver, or anything of the sort. However, it is to say that if a rule was broken here, it was by Newman.

Then again, I guess this comes back to “forced” not being the appropriate term. I suppose it’s the loophole NASCAR has in the rule to where they never actually have to penalize a driver for “forcing” someone below the yellow line, as they can always say, “well, he could have simply held his ground”. Technically, yes, Hamlin could have held his ground.

And we’d have wrecked racecars. I guess that’s what NASCAR wants.

I for one find the yellow line rule pointless and silly. However, I also understand why it’s in place. The problem is the enforcement of it is absolutely pathetic. In the very least, if it’s the white lap, I think the rule should be done away with entirely.

How many Daytona 500 wins would Jeff Gordon have with such a rule? Gordon’s daring 1999 three wide move on Rusty Wallace and Mike Skinner couldn’t happen under these rules, and that’s a shame too. It’s regarded as one of the finest Daytona 500s of all-time, and Gordon’s daring pass is considered one of the greatest moves the sport has ever seen.

Donnie and Cale in 1979? Couldn’t have happened, because they wouldn’t have ever gotten close to the grass.

This exciting race for the lead in the 1999 Daytona 500 would never have happened with todays rules.

Come next Sunday in the Daytona 500, what’s a driver going to do off of turn four? Are they going to be willing to risk being run down below the yellow line, and thus potentially losing 20 positions and all the points that go with it thanks to a penalty? Or will they just wreck whichever driver it is trying to crowd them out of room? Or will they just sit in line and take their 2nd place finish?

That one has to even question this is inexcusable, and falls completely at the all too often inept feet of NASCAR.

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Gumby’s Gibberish, Random Thoughts

So I’ve thought about doing something along the lines of a weekly, or twice weekly, random thoughts type post. There are so many things I often want to touch on without being able to put forth something long enough or in depth enough to be full blog worthy, but worth touching on, maybe to be touched on in more detail later. I’m still working on a name for it, but this is how it starts, any ideas would be appreciated.


  • I was going to pull for Jeff Gordon this year, mainly because I want him to get to five titles and match Jimmie Johnson. Then I watched the 1997 Daytona 500 again, yeah, no go on that one. It reminded me why I didn’t like him in the first place.
  • Speaking of Jeff Gordon, if you want to know why he’s not been winning as many races lately, and hasn’t won a title in 10 years, look no further than hard hits at places like Pocono, Charlotte, and Las Vegas in recent years. It’s happened to many of the greats, they’ve had that hard lick that makes them reconsider the once daring, death defying maneuvers that helped separate them from the pack. Those moves Gordon made to win at Daytona in ’97 and ’99, do you think he’d make them today? Nah, too many hard hits, and children, make you reconsider.
  • Wow, Jerry Sloan out as coach of the Utah Jazz and Jeff Fisher out as coach of the Tennessee Titans in the past week is a little bit crazy. They were the two longest tenured coaches in each of their respective leagues. Sloan I expect to retire, but Fisher, he’ll coach somewhere, and soon.
  • Yes, I pulled for Green Bay. It took the game’s first touchdown for me to decide, but when they scored, I cheered, and that was enough to know I ultimately wanted them to win. Truly, I just wanted a great game, and was scared we were going to get a doozy. I’m glad Pittsburgh came back, but man if they weren’t their own worst enemy.
  • I don’t like Duke. I will never like Duke, at all. But Nolan Smith is a helluva basketball player. But could you imagine this team with Kyrie Irving?
  • Seriously, seriously Michigan State? Did you see the drubbing put on them by Wisconsin? I’ve never seen a Tom Izzo team look this bad. It’s almost like the team has just unraveled after some disciplinary action taken by the coach on Korie Lucious.
  • The Atlanta Hawks are still a pretender. They probably always will be. This core is not going to win anything. Good teams rarely get down by 30 points, at all. The Hawks have done so more than a few times this year. Good teams NEVER do it at home, the Hawks have been plastered THREE times at home this year, and by the Bucks, Hornets and Sixers no less. There’s something wrong with that picture.
  • The ten year anniversary, if you want to use that word, of Dale Earnhardt’s death is coming up. Expect a lot to be said about that, including by me.
  • One, the owners, the billionaire owners, want the millionaire (some of them anyway) players to take a significant pay cut while also upping the number of games they are going to play? Right, get paid less, but work more. That makes sense. Give me a break.
  • I don’t care whose side you are on, but don’t be so short sighted to say things like, “I don’t care about a bunch of greedy millionaires, if they don’t play, so be it”. Well, care about the thousands of people who depend on the NFL for jobs. You know, the television and radio guys, the concession people, parking people, police, vendors, etc….It’s a rough enough economy, let’s not make these people jobless too.
  • I’m a lot more excited about the three point contest than I am the dunk contest, that’s for sure.
  • Oh yeah, cars go in circles Saturday night at Daytona. I CANNOT wait.

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