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Thanksgiving leftovers

by Dave Grayson
Wednesday, December 01, 2010

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Danica Patrick
During the gap between the conclusion of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season and the beginning of champion's week in Las Vegas we thought there might be a shortage of interesting story lines. Surely time off for Thanksgiving dinner with families would have curtailed any and all NASCAR activity. That didn't turn out to be the case.

Over the past several days we watched a king reclaim his kingdom. We welcomed a new member to the NASCAR nation from a racing team that seemed to have a lot of babies this year and we even got to see Danica Patrick fuel the fantasy of Homer Simpson. With those thoughts in mind let's begin with:

THUMBS-UP to King Richard Petty for pulling off a major coup that many of us thought was not possible. Petty, along with new partners Medallion Financial Corporation and DGB Investments, put up the funding to completely purchase the assets of Richard Petty Motorsports from former majority owner George Gillett. Under the troubled Gillett regime, Richard Petty Motorsports, (RPM), was named after the king of stock car racing primarily for marketing purposes. Petty was, in fact, a minority owner reported to have only four percent of the team. Under the new program he is now the Chairman of RPM and will oversee day to day operations.

Since Monday's announcement we are starting to learn more details. It seems that the new partnership has relieved RPM of an estimated $100 million in troublesome debt which completely clears the slate for the team to focus on the 2011 season. Considering the state of the overall national economy, it's also quite remarkable how fast Petty was able to put this investment team together.

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A THUMBS-UP and GOD BLESS goes to Christy and Jamie McMurray who welcomed the arrival of their first child on Thanksgiving day. Carter Scott McMurray became the newest member of the NASCAR nation weighing in at seven pounds, 12 ounces and measuring a full 20 inches. Mom and son are reported to be doing terrific.

As we all know McMurray is the driver of the #1 Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. The arrival of young Carter McMurray marks the eighth child that has blessed a member of this racing team in 2010. It suggests that it may be time for team owners Teresa Earnhardt and Chip Ganassi to check the water that's being distributed to their buildings.

Another THUMBS-UP and GOD BLESS goes to Regan Smith, the driver of the #78 Chevrolet fielded by Furniture Row Racing. Smith and his long time girl friend, Megan, officially announced their engagement last weekend and we wish them the very best.

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THUMBS-UP for a very animated Danica Patrick who made a guest appearance on the Fox Network's popular program "The Simpsons" last Sunday night. During the episode Homer Simpson wandered off to one of his frequent fantasies. That's when Danica Patrick appeared saying "I have a sponsor obligation to appear in men's fantasies whenever they tell me to." It was a very cute and funny moment.

However, WHAT'S-UP with Homer's wife, Marge Simpson, appearing in the middle of the scene and calling Danica Patrick "a garage bimbo?"

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From our 2011 forecast department, WHAT'S-UP with all of the speculation we've been seeing and hearing regarding Hendrick Motorsports' #48 team winning a sixth, consecutive, Sprint Cup championship in 2011? It's even been designated as "Jimmie Johnson's six pack."

It's way too early for that speculation. We should wait until he's officially presented with the fifth championship this Friday night before we starting engraving his name on next year's trophy. The only "six pack" we should be discussing at this point in time should be about beer.

As many fans are aware, NASCAR officials are considering making some adjustments to their Sprint Cup Chase For The Championship format. One of those changes could involve elevating the Chase line up from the top 12 drivers in the points standings to the top 15.

That leads to a WHAT'S-UP for some of the names the NASCAR bloggers have devised for this possible change. The seem to be calling it "the Dale Earnhardt Jr rule" and, in some cases "the Dale Earnhardt Jr pension plan." I must admit that second one is pretty funny.

THUMBS-UP for some pre 2011 season bravado, along with the power of positive thinking, displayed by driver Carl Edwards. When recently asked if he felt that Jimmie Johnson was en route to becoming the greatest driver in NASCAR, Edwards, without so much as a blink of the eye, quickly responded "no, I feel like I'm better than him. "

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THUMBS-UP to Tony Stewart for spending a portion of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend winning the first round of the Las Vegas Sprint Car Nationals. Already scheduled to be in town for the upcoming NASCAR champion's week, Stewart arrived early and climbed into one of his self owned sprint cars to sling some mud at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway's dirt track. The result was his first ever win in the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series.

It also confirms something that I've said for many years now. "Smoke" can drive, and win, in literally any form of racing he chooses to participate in.

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The final THUMBS-UPS of the week goes to some humorous NASCAR notable quotables observed on "Twitter". 

The first THUMBS-UP goes to Darrell Waltrip and his "Twitter" report on Thanksgiving dinner where he wrote "we've done it again, this time (it was) honey baked ham, carrot cake and more pumpkin pie. My stretch pants won't stretch anymore. I need a restrictor plate."

When it comes to creative "Twitter" messages, NASCAR wife and team owner Delana Harvick is really good at it. On Thanksgiving day she wrote "dog decided to eat every piece of s**t out of the litter box. Cat litter everywhere. My fun meter is pegged."

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