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Nascar's OTHER Theme Park

In a surprise announcement, Jimmie Johnson and Rick Hendrick have announced that they've teamed up to create Nascar's next great theme park. The complex, expected to be completed by 2008, will let its patrons see what its like to run Nascar's second-most successful team. The name?
The Jimmie-Hendrick's Experience
What will you be able to do at The Jimmie-Hendrick's Experience? Lets take a look:

Purple Haze: Can YOU pass Jamie McMurray without getting distracted by his hideous car?

Hey Joe: Run out of testing dates before the chase? Don't worry--just ask one of your "satellite teams" for support. Mr. Nemechek's on speed dial.

Fire: A four-hour long science film on how DuPont is working to eliminate the dangers of fire in racing through bio-polymers...

Are You Experienced: Then you MIGHT be getting a ride for the Hendrick Busch Series team!

EXP: Think Jeff Gordon's the greatest racer out there? Lets see how he does in a butt-ugly Ford.

One Rainy Wish: You get the chance to play tape-ball during a simulated rain delay with the crew of the DuPont Chevy!

Crosstown Traffic: Try to drive 10 feet outside a track 2 hours before race time.

Voodoo Chile: Dye your beard black, play air-guitar on your championship belt, and become more hated the older you get. Its the opposite of Darrell Waltrip!*

Long Hot Summer Night: Just TRY to stay awake through the entire Coca-Cola 600 after working a 10-hour shift--WE DARE YOU!

* If you get this joke, you watched WAY too much WCW in the 90's


Out of the public eye--FINALLY!

The Outside Groove will longer be appearing as a guest column on Catch Fence, a decision made by the website's management. Finally, I can say whatever I want, no matter HOW CRAZY, and NO ONE can hassle me!

--Bobby Hamilton Jr. is really really SHORT!

--Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a GOATEE!

--Kevin Harick SMILES A LOT!

--Jimmy Spencer is really BIG!

--Ward Burton talks FUNNY!

Whew, great to finally get that off my chest.


Penske Switches Back to AMC Matador

After a one-race switch back to the Dodge Intrepid failed to produce results, Roger Penske has announced that his teams will be switching back to another prior model--the AMC Matador.
"We feel that the Matador gives us our best chance to win", explained Penske. "Besides, once you take a look at it, you'll see that its one sharp-looking car."
Penske has been disappointed with the results of the Dodge Charger, DaimlerChrysler's official Nascar entry for the 2005 and 2006 seasons. However, a grandfather clause in the rules allows cars previously run in Nascar to remain approved. This explains the Wood Brothers recent attempt at Daytona with a '59 Merc.
"That car looks just plain ugly", opined Penske driver Kurt Busch. "But if it will get us to victory lane, I'll drive it. Heck, I drove a purple car last year, I can put up with this."
Fellow Penske driver Ryan Newman was much less optimistic.
"That thing looks like a Pinto on steriods. I've seen better aerodynamics on a Grand Prix. Besides, I wouldn't be surprised if Jimmie Johnson's car failed inspection."
Penske Racing has already begun preparing Matadors for Busch and Newman for the next Cup race in Las Vegas. This could drive up sales at AMC dealerships across the country, which currently total one.


The Outside Groove's Raison d'Etre

You may be asking yourself, why does this man write semi-humorous articles on the sport of Nascar? Why does he spend is nominally valuable time making fun of drivers? Why doesn't he have a girlfriend? Well, sometimes I ask those questions of myself. However, I have found the answer to the existence, goals, and everything about The Outside Groove (no, its not 42). Take a look at this:

Now look at the answer to the question: One word description of yourself. THAT is why The Outside Groove exists.

Oh, and the fact that I was looking at Robby Gordon's website might also explain why I don't have a girlfriend.

California "News" and Notes

--Breaking News: Shane Hmiel, after failing a third drug test, has been banned for life from Nascar. And so continues the Curse of NBS 24/7. Watch out Joel. Watch out.

--When Lee Iacoca said "If you can find a better car, buy a better car", I don't think he meant for Dodge's top team to run two-year-old models to gain a competitive advantage.

--Kyle Busch has been featured on a box of Frosted Flakes, his sponsor through Kellogg's. And if he's real good, they'll let him drink CHOCOLATE milk at snack time!

--Darrell Waltrip has been signed to a long-term extension with Fox Sports. Then again, it doesn't matter what they sign him to, since he won't be able to read the contract anyway.

--Kevin Harvick runs his annual Ice Breakers car this week. Finally, we've found a way to connect Kevin Harvick, Haylie Duff, Keith Jackson, and Joey Lawrence.

1:2 The phrase "(driver's name) is California dreamin'" will be used a dozen times during the pre-race.
10:1 Ted Musgrave will get over talking about his "Dodge" during the Truck race pre-race.
50:1 Arnold Schwarzenegger will skip the race to spend a nice quiet afternoon out of the public eye.


Thomas, Knicks, Ink Kirk Shelmerdine to Long-Term Deal

Just days after trading for Steve Francis, the New York Knicks made another major move, signing Nascar driver Kirk Shelmerdine to a 4-year, $40 million contract.
"Kirk has proven to us that he's a winner, and that's what this team needs right now", explained Knicks GM Isiah Thomas. "Lord knows, we need a winner--well, besides me. I won two championships in Detroit! Remember that, Vecsey?"
Thomas, best remembered for being universaly hated during his NBA playing days, has signed a slew of high-profile players to big-money contracts since becoming general manager of the Knicks last year.
"Kirk fits in well with our team plan--he came in 20th at Daytona, and 20th place is our goal for this year", said Thomas, seated behind a bucket of popcorn. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go yell--I mean, motivate--some employees."
Shelmerdine's signing flies in the face of Thomas' previous acquisitions of 45 high-priced point guards with questionable work ethics. Furthermore, Shelmerdine should now have no problem paying his tire bills for the rest of the season.
When asked about the signing, Knicks coach Larry Brown (formerly of the Pistons, Sixers, Pacers, Spurs, Clippers, Jayhawks, Nets, Bruins, Nuggets, and Cougars) mumbled something about Doug Moe, then headed towards a nearby ledge.


Get To Know Paul Tracy

This year, the Busch Series gets an exciting new rookie--no, not John Andretti. Paul Tracy enters Nascar racing after years in open-wheel. But who is this kooky Canunk? Lets take a look:

--Paul was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. For the record, he got tired of people asking him "are YOU going to Scarborough fair" in 1988.

--His first major ride was for Roger Penske in 1992. As soon as he started driving his open-wheel car, Rusty Wallace began complaining that he wasn't doing enough as a teammate to help him out.

--No, your eyes AREN'T playing tricks on you--he does look A LOT like Todd Bodine.

--For a time, Paul raced for Team KOOL Green. See, kids? Paul says smoking IS KOOL after all!

--Apparently Paul raced in an open-wheel series of some sort called "Cart"--no information exists on this series' continued existence.

--Al Unser Jr.? Pinko commie.

--Paul was briefly sponsored by Player's, a Canadian cigarette company. As such, Paul was invited to their annual Christmas charity benefit dance, the Player's Ball.

--Paul can't get over how much fun it is to say "Cicci".


Another "Weird Mike" Mackler Song Presentation

To the Tune of "New York State of Mind", by Billy "Driving like Todd Bodine" Joel

Some folks like watch a race
In a different place, like Daytona
Or a road course in the Golden State
Or Talladega
But I'm taking the shortcut
‘Cross the Mason-Dixon line
I'm in a Dover state of mind

I’ve watched races on TV
In air conditioning on the big wide-screen
Listened to MRN when work needed me
But I got this good feeling
And I’m ready to wait in line
I'm in a Dover state of mind

It’s not so easy driving on Sunday
There’s traffic like I never have seen
But now I need a little road to take
The 1 bypass…down to Route 13

Head down to the capital
And they got it all in the casino
Get out of the heat and lose all of your dough
One mile of concrete
Can’t keep the Monster in line
I'm in a Dover state of mind

It’s not so easy driving on Sunday
There’s traffic like I never have seen
But now I need a little road to take
The 1 bypass…down to Route 13

Head down to the capital
And they got it all in the casino
Get out of the heat and lose all of your dough
One mile of concrete
I tell ya it looks fine?
I'm in a Dover state of mind

You can keep Bawlmer and Philly—I’ll do just fine
I'm in a Dover state of mind


Why I Love Nascar

Typical Middle-Aged Baseball Fan:
"The game is nowhere near as good as it was when I was a boy. These days you have all these guys making millions of dollars--back then they played for the LOVE of the game. Now its just a business--players change teams all the time, its like they really don't care for the fans at all. Then again, what do you expect from the people who went on strike in 1994? I mean, they cancelled the World Series--that's about as un-American as you can get. I haven't been to a game since, unless you count when our company gets comped tickets. The players never sign my ball, and always act like arrogant jerks. Probably because they're on steroids and drugs..."
(continues until no one remains in room)

Typical Middle-Aged Nascar Fan:
"What? Really? You need money for tires? Sure, I'll help ya out."


Tony Stewart--"I'm gonna get someone killed out there"

Just days after his terse comments about the dangers of racing at Daytona, Tony Stewart had another stern warning to Nascar--control Tony Stewart or else.
"I saw me racing out there, and it was damn frightening", explained Stewart. "If Nascar doesn't start cracking down on drivers like me, we'll be having another 5-year anniversary for someone getting killed out here, most likely because of me."
Stewart was involved in numerous altercations during today's Daytona 500, tangling with Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, and Kyle Busch. Stewart was penalized with a pass-through penalty, but he doesn't think that's enough to deter drivers like him from retaliating at next week's race at California.
"Next week we take off the restrictor plates, and then the real danger begins", continued Stewart. "I mean, what's to stop me from being wrecked by me? I worry every time I drive on that track, that Tony Stewart is out there looking to take me out."
Stewart has not yet said if there will be any reprecussions next week, but did wink at a pit reporter while saying, "...if I was me, and I am, I'd be looking over my shoulder for Tony Stewart." He then attempted to do so, falling over in the process.

In a related story, Nascar officials are still trying to find Jimmie Johnson's car.


Daytona "News" and Notes

Jeff Burton won the pole for tomorrow's race, with Jeff Gordon starting second. The next 30 spots were set by the Gatorade Duels, with the remaining spots being filled...alright, I admit it. I don't understand the qualifying process! Is that so wrong?

Robert Yates has suggested that, if Chad Knaus deliberately broke the rules earlier this week, he should be banned for life. Assuming that he was referring to Major League Baseball's definition of a lifetime ban, Knaus would be returning sometime in July (Source: Steve Howe).

Miller Lite has challenged Budweiser to a unique bet--the team that finished highest in the points gets their paint scheme on the lower-finishing team's car for one race. This is believed to be the first time in history that DEI has turned down the opportunity to run a special paint scheme.

In a related story, BOTH Miller Lite and Budweiser have promised to pay Coors Light $10,000,000 each if David Stremme can make it through the first five races of the year without a DNF.

Carl Edwards is appearing on the cover of ESPN The Magazine this week. If you've seen the picture, then you know why he always says he has problems getting through airport security. Seems they won't let him through...WITH THESE GUNS!!!

Scott Riggs is off to a particularly rough start to the year, after missing the Daytona 500. This was the result of a quirk in Nascar's owner's points rules, which bestowed Riggs' spot in the race to his former soul patch, the listed owner.

3:1 The Big One will involve Ryan Newman or Elliott Sadler.
9:2 Someone you thought had retired years ago will be in the top 10 near the end of the race.
50:1 Tony Stewart will do a Rasheed Wallace in the post-race interviews "Good race, Home Depot team worked hard. Good race, Home Depot team worked hard. Good..."


While I Was Out

Here's what I missed while I was recovering from Wally's gunshots:

--Chad Knaus was thrown off the track for trying to illegally raise the back of Jimmie Johnson's car. Then, rumors began to swirl that Knaus might have been trying to get himself fired. Don't be surprised if you see Body Suit Man streaking across the frontstretch on Sunday.

--Kirk Shelmerdine made the Daytona 500, apparently saving his team from bankruptcy in the process. Expect to see Kirk standing in front of his car this afternoon, telling a group of repo men that his team is "...NOT for sale."

--Subway has increased its sponsorship of Greg Biffle for 2006. As a result, Greg's car will now be filled with 200 pounds shredded lettuce and three slices of ham.

--Its come out that John Andretti is running for the Busch Series' Rookie of the Year award. This is really more sad than it is annoying--do we really want to see young guys like Burney Lamar and Mark Macfarland hanging out, chatting it up, then have John walk over and awkwardly try to fit in? I'll let you picture that one for yourself.

--David Green has clarified his future plans, stating that he is not necessarily retiring after 2007. This surprised most of the media, as they thought that he'd retired in 1997.


Wally's World...of Terror!

Taped at Daytona International Speedway Earlier Today:

Bill Weber: "For this year's inaugural edition of 'Wally's World', Wally got a special guest to ride along at the World Center of Racing--the 2004 Winner of the Most School Spirit Award for University of Maryland Resident Assistants, South Campus."

Uncredited Singers: "Nascar...Excellent...Wally's World...Wally's World...Wally's World"

Wally Dallenbach (on track): "Today we have a very SPECIAL guest in the passenger seat: A man who's been making fun of me for years now, Mike Mackler. Mike, how are ya?

Me (duct-taped to the seat): "Mmmm! MMMPH! MMM!"

Wally: "Looks like Mike's a little 'tied up' at the moment--hey, lets take this car to the outside wall, shall we?"


Wally (waving gun): "Hey, what was that you said about me? I'm a poor man's Scott Pruett? Or was it Nascar's very own Tom Tolbert? Huh? Which one was it?!?"


Wally: "Not so tough when you're out from behind you're computer screen, are ya? Let's pull this car into the pits, which is currently swarming with Federal Agents. Well, better 'dispose' of the evidence."

Me: "What? OH GOD NO--"


Bill Weber: "Mike Mackler was shot at 10:30am eastern standard time. And you don't have to look it up, because we just did. Coming up next, Benny takes a look at the lighter side of crew chiefs."

No, I'm not actually dead. But I am taking a few days off this week. I'll be back no later than Friday with the late-breaking news you need to know--like who IS Brent Sherman's sponsor?


Budweiser Shootout "News" and Notes

The race has gone through numerous name changes over the years, from the "Busch Clash" to the "Bud Shootout" to its current name. Experts predict that by next year, it will officially be known as "Glorified Test Session".

Kasey Kahne is running a Ragu paint scheme. Insert Eddie Mekka joke here.

Terry Labonte and Rusty Wallace are skipping this year's race, while Bill Elliott DOES run in the part-time 36 team. Boy, when you get into the salted cured meat business, a race at Daytona is like a walk in the park.

Kyle Busch was at the center of a small controversy when he was invited to the Shootout, despite being under the legal drinking age of 21. Thankfully, Jimmie Johnson was able to sneak him in a fake sponsorship decal, and all Kyle needs to give him is gas money and a deal on a new fuel pump.

Petty Enterprises' teams have long been barred from the Shootout for their refusal to run beer sopnsorship of any kind on their cars. Well, that, and being terrible at qualifying.

3:2 Benny Parsons will comment that "this race isn't for points--they're ALL goin' for the win tonight."

10:1 Geoff Bodine will be thrown off the track for trying to enter the race in a bobsled.

100:1 The results of the race will have ANY impact on the rest of the season.


Why Did Bill Davis Lose the Lawsuit?

Today, word got out that Bill Davis had lost his counterclaim against DaimlerChrysler in their breach of contract lawsuit. Why did this happen?

--This is the guy who let Jeff Gordon get away. Then he let Bobby Labonte get away. What makes you think he knows how to win a lawsuit?

--Dodge put all their resources into winning this case, instead of into making cars that don't suck.

--The judge invoked an obscure legal motion that causes any litigants who look like a high school physics teacher to automatically lose.

--Bill's star witness? Michael Waltrip. And it's probably not good when your witness begins every answer by thanking Domino's.

--His insistence on showing sponsor solidarity resulted in him being two hours late for opening statements--turns out a bulldozer tops out at 20 mph.

--Davis's constant insistance on calling the plaintiffs "krauts" didn't endear him any to the jury.

--Toyota was unable to provide any legal support, as they were too busy planning out how to destroy the world...I mean, doing wind tunnel tests...on how to destroy the world.


Mike Smith Cartoon Sparks Riots in Japan

A recent "Stockcartoon" by Las Vegas Sun political cartoonist Mike Smith has sparked outrage, anger, and resentment in Japan. Today, the rancor escalated with hundreds of Japanese attacking the US Embassy in Tokyo.
"They were throwing malatov cocktails and rocks at us", explained US Special Envoy Sara Wilson. "They were chanting anti-Las Vegas slogans, like 'What happens in Vegas hurts us all' and 'Down with James Caan'."
The cartoon (shown here) is highly critical of Toyota's planned entry into Nextel Cup racing next year. It is considered blasphemous in Japanese culture to depict mega-corporations such as Honda and Nissan in a negative light, explaining why no one bothered to make fun of the Pulsar.
Smith, better known for his political work, has been given extra security at his Las Vegas-area studio. However, it is believed that he will remain unharmed, as he can blend in with the 500,000 other Mike Smiths in the US.


Jeff and the Holograms

Jeff Gordon recently announced that he'll be using holograms to authenticate all of his autographed merchandise. Gordon's business manager, John "no, for the last time, my name's not made up" Bickford, said that this was to prevent forgery and theft. Yeah, right. Here's the REAL reasons why:

--Part of a nefarious scheme to track all Jeff Gordon fans the world over. I don't have all the details yet, but I wouldn't be caught with a 1/24 Hot Hues car past 2008.

--The holographic image is of Jeff shaking Mike Bliss' hand. Then, it switches to Jeff slapping Mike upside the head! Oh, SNAP!

--As a Delaware resident, my job regularly take me past DuPont's infamous "Experimental Station". Word is they've been working on super-strong humaniods to work in the pits. Could these holograms be wireless transmitters to keep these beings in line? Only time will tell.

--Jeff invested heavily in the holographic arts in the late-90's, and this was the only way to recoup his savings.

--I can't quite connect them, but whenever For Race Fans Only is on QVC, I angrily throw my remote at my TV.

--Something involving lots of salad dressing, Jeff's racing suit, and Terry Labonte's mustache. WAKE UP PEOPLE! THIS IS WHAT THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW!!! THE END IS NIGH!!!


Harvick to Run "Madea's Family Reunion" car at Shootout

Following in the footsteps of "Madagascar" and "Small Soldiers", the Tyler Perry film "Madea's Family Reunion" will be using an upcoming Nascar race for promotion.
"We couldn't be happier to be associated with this urban-centric film", explained team owner and wine enthusiast Richard Childress. "Mr. Perry came to us to promote his latest film on family relations in the black community, and quite simply, we couldn't say no."
"Reunion" is a sequel to last year's runaway hit "Diary of a Mad Black Woman", not to be confused with the life story of Leann Tweeden, "Diary of a Mad Stacked Woman"*. Perry originally approached FitzBradshaw to run the paint scheme, but dismissed the team as "way, WAY too needy."
"Mr. Childress has played an integral part in our marketing plan", explained Perry. "He has seen what a film starring a young man as an old woman can do. I mean, Ernie Irvan's 'Mrs. Doubtfire' car sold in the tens of thousands, and Richard Petty's 'Tootsie' car was the first special paint scheme released by the Franklin Mint."
Harvick was unavailable for comment, as he was in Hershey, Pennsylvania undergoing a procedure to become 40% more Hershey Kissable.

*--I'm definately going to Hell for that joke.


Tonight's Special Guest Villan--Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson will be making a guest appearence on the NBC drama "Las Vegas" on Monday night. Here's a preview of what you'll see:

--Jimmie appears playing himself, which in most states is a $500 fine and 40 hours community service. Believe me, I know.

--"Las Vegas" stars James Caan in the lead role, meaning that this great actor has gone from "The Godfather" to appearing in a tv show with Jimmie freakin' Johnson. Then again, its still better than "Eraser".

--Much like the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, co-star Nikki Cox has had several expensive improvements made to the surface to increase fan enjoyment.

--Jimmie's reason for being in Las Vegas is to act as the celebrity at a car show. Obviously the producers didn't go for accuracy, because everyone knows that before you get a Nascar driver, you must first book Tom Wopat, a Klingon impersonator, and KITT from Nightrider.

--Molly Sims? Pinko Commie.

--Yes, this is the show Jean-Claude Van-Damme was on for an episode. Yes, I recently wasted 2 hours of my life watching "Sudden Death". Yes, that's why Pittsburgh should never have a hockey team again.


Joe Bessey Did NOTHING For Them

As the US Bobsled team wrapped up their final preparations for the upcoming games in Torino, the team captain could be heard giving his teammates these final encouraging words:

"We're gonna do it for Geoff...or Geoffery...or whatever the hell he's calling himself now. And we're gonna do it for Todd--even though he was too busy racing Japanese trucks to visit us. But most of all, we're gonna do it for Brett, who's out there finding ways to save millionaires money! Lets bring back the gold for them!"


Good Old Fashioned Racing

Last year many people (ok, just Tony Stewart) complained about the Brickyard 400 losing its distinctive name to a corporate sponsor. Not too long ago, almost every race had a simple geographic name to describe it (The Mason-Dixon 500 at Dover, The Southern 500 at Darlington, etc.) Should Nascar bring these old-fashioned names back? Probably not, since the Rebel 400 wouldn't go over too well on the coasts. Here's some more approriate, non-corporate names:

Daytona: Daytona 500 (stays the same, because "Prelude to Bike Week" just doesn't sound right)

Fontana: The $8 Latte 500

Vegas: Mike Smith 400

Atlanta: The Black Crackers Memorial 500

Bristol: $500 Scalped Ticket 500

Martinsville: Western Virginia--No, Not West Virginia--500

Fort Worth: Hot, Spicy, Tejas-style 500

Phoenix: It only rains twice a year, but one of them will be this weekend, 400

Talladega: Elliott Sadler Flight School 500

Richmond: Gateway to Charlottesville 400

Darlington: We can't stop complaining 400

Charlotte: Damnit, Mackler, you'd better call it Lowes! 500

Dover: We're delaying the race, since you're all stuck on route 13, 400

Chicago: Cetera Ruined the Band 400

New Hampshire: Chowdah 300

Pocono: Sleeeeeeep, SLEEEEEEEEP! 500

Indy: Brett Bodine Finished 2nd Here 400 (no, really, he did)

Watkins Glen: go back to the old name of "Bud at the Glen"--I always thought it sounded like a place to have a fight--"Yeah, we'll duke it out. But not here. Meet me tomrorow, at the Bud...AT THE GLEN."

Michigan: 400 at the D

Kansas City: No, not that Kansas City, 400

Homestead: If the championship is already determined, we're screwed, 400