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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NASCAR at Daytona Preview: By-the-Numbers

Daytona International Speedway. A track and area full of tradition and history. In the old days, cars raced on Daytona Beach; you can read the history in paving stones set into the walkway on the Daytona Beach Boardwalk near Main Street. First wins, historic sweeps, and ongoing feuds all come out at Daytona. Which drivers going into this 2010 summer Saturday night race have an edge?

Kurt Busch has the best overall finishing average of all active drivers since the beginning of the 2008 season with an average 8.80 place finish at Daytona. Last year at the Coke Zero 400 Kurt finished 5th. The 2009 Coke Zero 400 was the year of Tony Stewart, hands down. Tony led the most laps, and won the race from the pole.Can Tony do it again? Jimmie Johnson is another to watch this weekend. He had a 2nd place finish last year at the summer race at Daytona, but a 31st place finish in February 2009 and a 35th place finish in February 2010 after a penalty and a bad axle. Jimmie has an average finish at Daytona of 30th. JJ tends to be plagued with penalties, mechanical trouble, and being caught up in wrecks at Daytona.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had a 2nd place finish in February of this year at Daytona and wants to improve on that finish in order to get that 12th place spot in the points standings. Right now Junior is on the outside looking in; 13th place doesn't get a consolation prize, even if you are only  three points back. Kevin Harvick has an average finish of 12th place at Daytona since 2008, finished 7th at this year's Daytona 500 but 26th in the 2009 Coke Zero. Coming into this week with a solid 105 point lead over JJ in the Cup Series Points Standings, Kevin should be coming back to prove he can race at Daytona under the lights.

Speaking of the points standings, watch for Carl Edwards to fight to hold on to that 12th spot while Junior is trying to take it away. Carl has an average finish of 10.40, giving him the second place ranking among active drivers at Daytona He finished 9th at the Daytona 500 in February and 4th at last year's Coke Zero 400. Carl should be a player on Saturday night. Denny Hamlin is another driver with a cause to keep an eye on Saturday night. Denny is sitting in 4th place in the Series Points Standings, had a 17th place finish at the Daytona 500 and would like to duplicate, or better, his 2009 3rd place finish at the Coke Zero.

Mark Martin has more experience at this track than any other driver on the entry list for the 2010 Coke Zero 400. Mark goes into this weekend in 11th place in the points; he is looking to improve his standings and recover from the recent slide he has experienced. Mark finished 12th in February and 38th in last year's Coke Zero 400. He's got the experience at Daytona, I think he will find his way into the top ten by the end of the night. Rounding out my top ten are Joey Logano and Kyle Busch. Joey has fewer starts at Daytona than most but has proven he can figure a way to get to the top at most tracks. Joey finished 20th in the spring and 19th last July; he is a driver with something to prove to this track. Kyle Busch isn't one to be kept down for long. After a less-than-stellar finish last week 11th place finish last week, and 39th at Sonoma, Kyle is going to come out ready to go. He's 3rd in the Cup Series Points Standings, and finished 14th in last year's Coke Zero 400. Watch for Kyle to make his way into a top ten finish Saturday night.

By the numbers, the top ten that I am watching this weekend are Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Mark Martin, Joey Logano, and Kyle Busch. I'm looking for a top five to include Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Tune in Saturday night on TNT to watch the drama unfold over the 2.5 mile tri-oval that is Daytona International Speedway

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Job Search

I remember in the early to mid 1990s job searching involved walking into wherever it was I wanted to work, talking to the manager for a few minutes, and *poof* I had a job. Jobs were plentiful. Today is a different story. The job market is at a low, especially in non-metropolitan areas. I have an Associates of Arts in Business and am in my final year for a Bachelors in Organizational Security & Management and I'm working in a just-over-minimum wage job. Part-time. At a tobacco retailer. *sigh*

Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for the job I have. My part-time no-chance-for-advancement position within a family owned business (I am not part of the family, btw...) is more than many people have right now in my area, and in the United States. I am glad to have a paycheck. Unfortunately, my current paycheck isn't enough.

A year ago I was only applying for positions in my immediate area, i.e. within 10 miles. I went through a couple months where I was applying to any point south of Indiana...Missouri, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee. Then my 13 year old son made it absolutely clear that my life would be more of a living hell if I move him away from here right now than it would be if I stay through another winter. Major relocation? Out, for the time being *sigh*. At this point I am applying for anything that is a reasonable fit for my interests, experience, and education within an hour and a half drive.

So, today was a typical Monday. I got up, got online, and started at Two resumes sent to reasonably fitting positions within an hours drive from home. Next stop, Seven resumes sent....five of them were for positions I feel I am qualified for. Never hurts to stretch oneself, right? Final job hunting stop of the day was the nearest decent newspaper. I found three more ads to respond to there, two of which I am qualified for. 12 resumes sent, nine of which I believe are reasonably fitting. Not a bad Monday, I suppose.

Now I wait...and hope that someone is suitably impressed enough by my attributes, education, experience, and writing ability to call me in for an interview. There was a position for Internet Marketing at a Motorcycle retailer that I think I would love. A mix of business, sales, marketing, and management; the position would also allow me to expand the organization's advertising and marketing endeavors to include social media, an outlet that I think many organizations overlook. Considering I have my Mx endorsement, did a partial rebuild on a 1982 Kawi, have a retail background, management experience, college level training in marketing and business, and have proven success as a salesperson I am sure I am qualified and I think the organization would be lucky to have me.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

NASCAR in New Hampshire

In NASCAR Cup Series racing at New Hampshire, the fastest qualifying time is held by Juan Pablo Montoya with a speed of 133.431. The race speed record is held by Jeff Burton at 117.134. Out of 20 different winners since 1993, 14 are listed on the entry list for this week's race. Ryan Newman has won the pole the most, while Jeff Burton has the most wins, each with four. Jeff Burton also is noted as having started the farthest back in the field and coming out with a win; he started from the 38th position in 1999. Jeff Gordon has the most top five finishes with 12.

Kyle Busch won the race in 2005 when he was 21 years old, making Kyle the youngest driver to win until Joey Logano showed up to get his first Cup Series win and to set a new record of 19 years and 35 days. Kyle Busch won the NNS race last year, and won the Cup race in 2006. Other drivers on this year's entry list who have wins in both the Cup and NNS races at New Hampshire are Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart. Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, and Marint Truex, Jr. have won NNS races at New Hampshire but not the Cup race.

So, who has the edge for this week? Denny Hamlin has been hot everywhere he goes lately, Jimmie Johnson is probably still riding the high from his first road course win last week at Sonoma, and with a solid showing from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. last week he could become a threat as well. Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, and Clint Bowyer are the only four drivers to have won from the pole...could one of them be the first to do it twice? There are plenty of drivers still seeking their first win at New any of them have the drive to make it happen on Sunday?  

From the stats I think we can expect Jeff Gordon to have a solid showing and see the top ten, if not add to his number of top five finishes at New Hampshire. Jimmie Johnson will most likely have a top ten finish as well. Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton have all proven that they know how to get around the 1.058 mile speedway in a hurry and should see top tens this week barring getting caught up in one of the wrecks that will occur throughout the afternoon. I think Dale, Jr. will try like hell to get in the top ten and make his way into the top 12 in points standings, but it's going to depend on his car and if the crew can get him zeroed in where he wants to be. Denny Hamlin will probably be solidly within the top ten, as will Juan Pablo Montoya. Carl Edwards is my pick for underdog of the week. He had a 17th place finish last year at New Hampshire and is coming off a 29th place finish last week at Sonoma. He's got to be looking for a big finish this week to improve his current 12th place standing in the points.

With the number of drivers in the entry list and the number of those drivers who have had recent disagreements, this week's New Hampshire race it should be a fun one to watch.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Who Am I?

For those of you who have just traipsed upon me and need an intro to who I am, here ya go. I'm a single mom living in Southern Indiana. I consider myself a bit of a weather geek, love NASCAR & IRL, have a big interest in any type of auto racing, love NFL and MLB, I read a lot, I love hot weather and hate cold weather, and I secretly aspire to be a storm chaser for a season....okay, maybe not so secretly.

I have a 13 y/o son who live, sleeps, and breathes golf. He spends around 14 hours a day at the golf course over summer break...he probably golfs about half of that time. The rest of the time he is being used and taken advantage of by the guys who actually work there. It's okay, though, he can't be a paid employee until he's 16, but for helping out - cleaning golf carts, retrieving range balls, & generally causing trouble with the guys who work there... - he gets free food, drinks, and gets to drive golf carts. For a 13 y/o, that's all you need.

I'm in college...for the third time. The first time I didn't know what I wanted to do and enjoyed partying more than going to school. The second time I was being put through college by work, but then they ended the program I was in. This time I finally decided I was going to do this and I now have a year left of classes. I received my Associates of Arts in Business in 2009, and will receive my Bachelors of Science in Organizational Security & Management in 2011. A BS in OSM is basically a business management and administration with a specialization in security and safety, protecting assets and employees, and handling disaster recovery. This program also has sections on Homeland Security, Physical Protection, Marketing, and other business topics. Ultimately, it is a well-rounded degree for a leadership position in a business, retail, security, or hospitality setting.

I currently work for a local tobacco retailer in a dead end job. It's family owned and operated and I am not part of the family, lol. I live in an economically dying area and would like nothing more than to sell my house and get the hell out of Dodge. If I did so, I would relocate my happy ass to any point south that has less winter weather, more summer weather, a good job, good affordable housing, and where my son can have access to a nice golf course or two. Ideal job would be to get into Social Media Marketing. In reality, I have extensive experience in retail sales and management, as well as a few years of hotel/hospitality experience. If I could choose between the two I would go back to hospitality management. Bring on the job leads! :)

I enter contests. I sometimes win cool things. I sometimes win things I have no use for at all, lol. There will probably be a future blog entry on contests, what I've won and how you can win so I won't go into all that right now. Also expect blogs regarding NASCAR analysis and opinions, weather happenings, weather analysis, my son's golf career, stupid customer stories, and other random rantings.

Welcome, and thanks for reading!