Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nostradomus we're not

Back in February - not long after we dropped the green flag on this blog - Banktruck and I went on record with our predictions for the 2009 season. The sport was just awakening to the aftermath to an off-season bloodletting. Teams had shut down; wedding bells rang from marriages of convenience (e.g. Petty/Gillett, Earnhardt/Ganassi); crewmen were laid off; sponsorships were reduced, new teams were being formed - though we were to later learn most of them earned a paycheck by simply turning a lap or two; and questions loomed re: Dale Jr., Stewart-Haas Racing, and the remote possibility of a Jimmie Johnson 4-peat; etc.

Like it or not, here is the good, bad, and ugly realities of our pre-season predictions:

TMC's Tea Leaves

Daytona 500 winner - Kyle Busch - FAIL
Rookie of the year - Scott Speed - FAIL
- disclaimer: note I picked SS merely as a protest against the JoLo buzz.
Cup Champ - Jimmie Johnson - Ding, Ding, Ding - EPIC WIN
Underachiever - Casey Mears - WIN
Overachiever - Aric Almriola - FAIL
First driver to be fired - David Stremme - WIN - (Almirola was let go when the #8 team shut down. I don't view that the same as being fired.)
Will any manufacturer announce pull out? Yes - PUSH - Chrysler didn't announce pull out officially, but everyone left them but Penske. All that is missing is the press release.

Final 12 Chasers:
  • 99 - Cuzzin - WIN
  • 48 - JJ - WIN
  • 24 - Jeffy - WIN
  • 16 - Possum - WIN
  • 18 - Shrub - FAIL
  • 11 - Opie - WIN
  • 5 - Brett Favre - WIN
  • 29 - Happy - FAIL
  • 31 - Burton - FAIL
  • 33 - Bowyer - FAIL
  • 9 - Krispy Kreme - WIN
  • 42 - Montoya - WIN
75% hit rate - pretty good, huh? Tell me YOU didn't have RCR cars in your pre-season picks for the Chase.

Did I think the following would win a race in 2009?
  • 00 - Reutimann...No - FAIL. Sure, it was a fuel mileage win when the rains fell, but the official records for the 2009 World 600 will show Reutty got the hardware.
  • 07 - Casey Mears...Nope - WIN
  • 1 -T-Rex...Yes - FAIL - Two teams merged to form one yet operated as two. The Ganassi side made the Chase. The DEI side couldn't get out of its own way. Good luck at MWR T-Rex.
  • 2 - Kurt Busch...No - Ouch, FAIL. That's definitely a shot I'd like to have back. The deuce won twice.
  • 6 - David Gipper...Yes - FAIL - A microcosm of the rest of the underachieving Roush contingent.
  • 20 - Sliced Bread...No - FAIL - Like Reutty, JoLo stroked out a fuel mileage win. But he got a win nonetheless. Now if only Home Depot could tape a new commercial...please.
  • 29 - Happy Harvick...Yes - FAIL - This one seemed like an uncontested lay-up at the time, but who would have guessed an 0'fer year for all of RCR.
  • 33 - Hamburger Helper Bowyer...Yes - FAIL - Ditto
  • 42 - Juan Montoya...Yes - FAIL - He did everything but win. He led several races, was competitive, made the Chase, wrecked, scrapped with Smoke, etc. But he couldn't punch the rock into the end zone when it mattered.
  • 43 - Reed Coldsorespot...No - WIN
  • 82 - Scott Speed...No - WIN
  • 83 - Kris Kringle...Yes - WIN
  • 96 - Bobby Labonte...No - WIN
Banktruck's Bold, Ballsy Bluster

Daytona 500 winner - Jeff Gordon - FAIL
- both of our picks taken out by foolishness of Dale Jr. turning Brian Vickers into traffic
Rookie of the year - Joey Logano - WIN
Cup Champ - Carl Edwards - FAIL
Underachiever - Casey Mears - WIN
Overachiever - Tony Stewart - WIN
First driver to be fired - Aric Almirola - FAIL - As noted above, a team shut down is not the same as being fired.
Will any manufacturer announce pull out? Yes: PUSH - Chrysler didn't announce pull out, but everyone left them but Penske.

BT's final 12 Chasers:
  • Carl Edwards - WIN
  • Jeff Gordon - WIN
  • Mark Martin - WIN
  • Denny Hamlin - WIN
  • Jimmie Johnson - WIN
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr - EPIC FAILURE
  • Kyle Busch - FAIL
  • Jeff Burton - FAIL
  • Kevin Harvick - FAIL
  • Matt Kenseth - FAIL
  • Tony Stewart - WIN
  • Martin Truex Jr - FAIL
Only 50% hit rate - TMC wins!

BT's race winner predictions:
  • A.J. Almondjoy...nope - WIN - A win? Heck, A.J. didn't even lead a lap, yet arguably he did more with less in 2009 than anyone else in the series.
  • Sam Sideburns Hornish...nope - WIN - Wow, way to go out on a limb with that one BT.
  • Kasey Kahne't...yep - WIN. Kahne't? Yes he can - twice as a matter of fact.
  • Brad Keselowski...nope - FAIL - Smart pick but FAIL nonetheless. NO ONE could have foreseen the 09 team with BK at the wheel winning a race - not even at the unpredictable Dega.
  • Bobby Labonte...nope - WIN
  • Sliced Bread Logano...nope - FAIL
  • Mark Martin...yep - WIN - Hard to believe in retrospect this was even a point of debate. The old man made believers out of a lot of us.
  • Casey Mears...nope - WIN - A one and done year with RCR. This guy has blown through more jobs than George Castanza.
  • Paul Menard...nope - WIN - Careful, hope you didn't hurt yourself with that prediction.
  • JPM...nope - WIN
  • Flyin Ryan...yep - Oh so close but FAIL
  • Gipper 6...nope - WIN
  • Ewwiot Sadwer...nope - WIN
  • Gipper 78...nope - WIN
  • Reed Sorespot...nope - WIN
  • Scott NoSpeed...nope - WIN
  • Martin T-Rex...yep - FAIL
  • Brian FullofBull Vickers...nope - FAIL - The primary Red Bull car was surprisingly competitive much of the year. Vickers put the car on the pole a few times, won a race, and even made the Chase. Of course, he then disappeared like a fart in the breeze when the final 10 money races were run. Yet, 2009 has to be considered a step in the right direction for that team.
  • Mikey Waltrip...nope - WIN
Taken as a whole, I'd grade us collectively as a "B" for banking, beer, and B.S.

We tried our best to make some legit predictions. Some 2009 events; however, blindsided us like an aging quarterback drilled by a raging defensive end. Such as:
  • Jeremy Mayfield
  • Petty Motorsports' proposed acquisition of Yates Racing
  • Tony Stewart turning HaasCNC Racing into a contender with two cars.
  • Mark Martin having a legitimate shot at the championship with 10 races to go in the season.
  • The futility of Childress, Roush, Dale Jr. (well, maybe not so much on that last one...)
  • Marcos Ambrose, and
  • Reed Sorenson driving the #43 without a salary.
We'll try once again after the first of the year to see how 2010 might look.


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