Times they are a'changing

It's time to talk Nascar. The Bud shootout rolls off the starting line three days from now, and it's no longer the "Pole" race, limited to those drivers with engines and cojones big enough to win a pole position in '08. Now, it's a manufacturers' race. Sigh. Where's the history in that? I'll be glad to see something race other than the nitwits on Pinks (and no, I won't watch that show), so I suppose I should be happy Daytona is coming our way again.

W, as a society, need a lift. The truck series looks as if it's barely going to field enough trucks to make the racing interesting, and the Nationwide field doesn't look a whole heck of a lot better. Mike Wallace is still hustling for a ride in Nationwide, and how fair is that? He lost his personal sponsor, Geico, because Nationwide didn't want a competitor on a car in a series bearing its name. Think that'll endear Nationwide to the fans? Yeah, right.

Too many teams are winging it on prayers and promises from sponsors who have yet to sign on the dotted line. Fifteen new teams are registered for the 500, but how many of them will make the long haul to California the next week? The famed Wood Brothers will race only the 1.5 milers, and Yates will lose its iconic 38 if it doesn't line up sponsorship AND make the first five races, because they yanked its points and gave them to Menard, who has family money running his car. Again, how fair is that? (from now on, I'll have to shorten my sarcasm to HFIT.)

We'll see after California how things start to shake out. I'll personally miss seeing the #22 with Dave Blaney behind the wheel, and it looks as if the #4, given Larry McClure's conviction for income tax evasion, won't rise from the ashes anytime soon. I'll have to find another team to root for, but it won't be one of the biggies. Earnhardt, Gordon, Edwards, they all have enough voices shouting their names. I need an underdog who pulls out in front of the pack with flashes of brilliance. A David Reutimann, for example. Hmmm, I may have found my guy.

Today is a sad one because The Daly Planet is no longer an active blog site. Its owner and mentor, John Daly, is closing it down because he feels as it's more important to focus on helping Nascar survive than in dissecting television coverage of its events. Instead of complaining about Dr. Punch's boring race delivery on TDP's message boards, I'll have to do my grumping here, I suppose. And you all thought I was all sweetness and light, right?

It's a good writing week, with dreams about the characters following a day's worth of work, 12 pages or more. Can't ask for better. Racing is getting started again, and the book is flowing. Life is looking up.