Monday, January 26, 2015

Stop Changing the Rules, Guys

Rob Manfred, baseball's new commissioner, is ready to get going, and he's looking to fix some problems. In fact, there is one issue that he is already discussing, saying he's going to try to make a change. Is it the awkward Pete Rose situation? No. Is it the unfortunate occurrence of steroid era that is now keeping some of the game's greatest stars out of the Hall of Fame and alienating them from their former teams, even without proof of guilt? Nope.

Manfred is determined to eliminate defensive shifts.

Now, I don't really like defensive shifts, and I would never use them if I were a coach. I'll also say, though, that I'm obviously not a coach, nor have I carefully studied numbers and statistics based on shifts against certain players. So if/when my team happens to shift, I trust that there is statistical evidence supporting it. But ultimately, I'd rather not see it.

Still, just because I do not like it, that doesn't mean I want it banned. This is one of those very slippery slopes. Could you ban a 4-3 defense in football? Nickel or dime packages? What about a wildcat or option offense? When did the leagues start telling teams what kind of defensive alignment they were allowed to use?

Let's try some baseball comparisons. Can the third baseman or first baseman still play in closer during a bunt situation? Can a center fielder or middle infielder shade to one side or the other? These are technically "shifts" of some kind.

I don't like the shift, but it is within a coach's rights, just like batting the pitcher 8th or using the DH position to replace a fielder's bat instead of a pitcher's. (I actually argued for this during interleague play last year, when the Cubs would DH for Travis Wood while allowing Darwin Barney to waste another four at-bats. Wood finished 2014 with a .700 OPS, compared to Barney's .594 during his final Cubs season.)

Sometimes the manager needs to be able to do something quirky in order to give his team a better chance to win.

But the main argument I offer to the people who want to actually ban the act of shifting is to have players learn to hit against it! And maybe they never will, like a basketball player who just can't shoot free throws well. But we don't find ways to help them avoid shooting free throws, do we? Maybe Ryan Howard just needs to practice hitting the other way more.

It's never good when these commissioners start making drastic changes. Another example of this occurred in the NFL Pro Bowl last night, when the kickers faced longer extra points (35 yards) into goalposts that were only 14 feet wide instead of 18. Of course, Adam Vinatieri missed two extra points, something that should never happen to a Pro Bowl kicker. The extra point is fine how it is. Just leave it alone.

With all this talk about pitch clocks and now banning defensive shifts, I'm kind of starting to worry. I believe the big issues need to be addressed, while the game of baseball itself is fine as it is.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 Daytona 24 Hours - Quick Wrap Up

So, the 2015 Daytona 24 Hours is in the books, and we had a pretty solid event, from start to finish. While there were quite a few full course yellows, it sure seemed like there were less than last year, and there was even an organic reason for throwing one inside of 20 minutes to go (that'd be a car attempting to burn itself to the ground, versus last year's "car goes off track for 10 seconds, nicks a tire barrier, never comes to a stop and immediately drives away"). There was action throughout, whenever I was watching, anyway, and we had two leaders battling right down to the last lap in two of the four classes.

The #02 Ganassi "Star Car" Riley-Ford of Scott Dixon (who drove a fantastic stint to close out the race), Tony Kanaan, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson was able to close out the win just 1.333 seconds over the defending champion #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais. The #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP was in the conversation until a pit stop with 10 minutes to go, when they had to take Jordan Taylor out of the car or risk losing his championship points for the event for going over the "no more than four hours of driving in a six hour stretch" limit. Oops. The #10 still finished 3rd, fully six laps ahead of the #90 Corvette DP.

This class was looking like it'd go to the #54 CORE Autosport car, well, more or less from the green flag, but certainly from half distance. With less than 20 minutes to go, though, and while over a lap in the lead, an incident with another car broke the suspension, which then pitched the car into the wall coming out of the "Bus Stop" chicane, whereupon the car decided to find out what "en fuego" might mean in a racing setting. The #54 was done for (though it still finished 3rd in class on laps completed), and the win wound up going to #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car of Mike Guasch, Andrew Novich, Andrew Palmer and Tom Kimber-Smith. I gave this car 40 to 1 odds and put it in my "Long(er) Shots" category in my pre-race preview, so thankfully, nobody actually took me up on any bets.

Another class that came right down to the wire. The Corvettes looked to be in control for a good chunk of the race, yet some savvy strategy allowed the mostly slower #25 RLL BMW Z4 to finish a scant half second behind the winning #3 of Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Ryan Briscoe. Third place was the #4 Corvette, seven laps behind.

The late restart bunched the pack up, but that wasn't enough to allow the #22 Alex Job Racing Porsche to get close enough to take a shot at the #93 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper of Dominik Farnbacher, Ben Keating, Kuno Wittmer, Cameron Lawrence and Al Carter. The Vipers were fast all day (and all night, and in qualifying, and in practice), so this wasn't a complete surprise, but the #93 did also wind up in 13th overall, due to huge attrition in the top-3 classes.

That'll just about do it for the racing part of Blogathon. Thanks to Mike and Allen for everything they've done here (I'm basically just tagging along with my nerdy self) and thanks to everybody for coming by and checking us out. Blogathon 2016 can't come soon enough.

I'm Not a Race Car Team Owner...

So I can't really say I understand the financials between a season championship and a Daytons 24 Hour victory, but I have to imagine the perks of winning the season are so much greater that switching drivers to make sure they get championship points makes sense. Although it sounds like it may also have had something to do with Jordan creeping over his maximum allowed time, that makes much more sense, but you hope they were right on it.

The reality is Scott Dixon is awesome and he would have been hard for Jordan Taylor to pass but I think we all agree we would have liked to see an attempt. The race was still great with plenty action and many teams coming back from behind. Heck the Prototype Challenge lead changed hands with 10 minutes to go.

Tony Kanaan gets to join the club of guys who have won the Indy 500 and Daytons 24Hrs; but Jaime McMurray joins a more exclusive club of guys who have won both the Daytona 500 and Daytona 24Hrs. The only other two to have done it: A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti. That's some company to be in.

Congrats to all the drivers and congrats to all fans because its racing season again.

I'm gonna win! Go 02!

I'll go ahead and post and then step aside for the real racing talk. But this was a lot more fun having a car in contention throughout the 24 hours!

Look for lots of football talk this week. Happy Blogathon!


So, step away to pour a tasty Zombie Monkey porter, and everything goes crazy. The leading #54 CORE Autosport catches on fire, and the resulting yellow sees the #10 Wayne Taylor Corvette pit to switch drivers with 10 minutes to go. I don't think I have any words... At least the top-3 are still covered by less than 10 seconds, so this isn't over yet, even with just three or so laps to go...

Either way

I believe I will be going 1, 2, 3 and last for my ARFL season opener. Thanks a lot DeltaWing...

Zombie Monkey!

Well, Crud

Mike beat me. :(((((

24 Minutes to Go - Speedgeek Style

Basically, I'm just racing to post before Mike does, as we're both sitting in the same room trying to knock out a post at the 24-minute to go mark. We've got three cars on the lead lap still. This might get crazy!

24 Minutes of Daytona!

Now the real race begins! Go 02!

One Hour to Go and its STILL Neck and Neck

This race is not disappointing, its insane to think that after 23 hours 3 cars would still be on the lead lap and that 2 of them would be 100 feet from each other. And you couldn't ask for two better driver to fight it out for the last hour in Jordan Taylor and Scot Dixon.

One wears tiger onesie pajamas

While the other sneaks around to take naked pictures in public places with his wife

They also both happen to be badass drivers.

Keeping on Our Dog Theme for Root Beer

Dogs n Suds – Chicago, IL (4/5)

This is advertised as a “Drive-in style” root beer, and I think it hits that mark most perfectly. This root beer has a lot of fizz/carbonation to it when you open it and when it first hits your tongue. Like many root beers it doesn’t try any specific flavors to go up top like a licorice, wintergreen, spearmint, butterscotch, cinnamon etc. That’s not a bad thing because its an incredibly solid root beer, you could drink a 6 pack of this easy. I think this is mostly if anything a solid food-pairing root beer, meaning its good to be kicking back root beer but allows you to concentrate on the food, be it burgers, pizza whatever.

This is a root beer you use to introduce people to root beer, its solid, very tingly like a sharp soda, but not crazy heavy on anything. Of course I think that’s also what stops it from being a top performer; its safe and solid, you could drink this any time but I don’t know that I’d be making recommendations or seeking this one out. This is what you want accompanying your drive in food, but the food will be the star. The one thing that does stand out as top notch is the labeling/logo; its an absolute perfect perfect fit for this root beer, fun and inviting, not enough root beers spend enough time on their labeling/logo, this brings it from a solid 3 to a solid 4 for me.

Its made/bottled by “Clover Club Bottling” in Chicago who, much like Orca in Washinton, don’t appear to be the originators of the recipe/brand. Also interesting is that when you search for them comes up as the top result but the web site no longer exists. Hope they are still alive and kicking out root beer because the world needs more solid brews like this that don’t need you to convince people what makes a solid root beer.

Pizza is coming!

You're looking at blog central at the Speedgeek Palace. I just need that 02 car to jump in the lead.


Almost as soon as I hit "publish" on that last post, the #01 Ganassi Riley-Ford hits clutch issues, and has now dropped two laps down, though they're still in 4th. They're not exactly out of it, but it'll take problems for every one of the top-3 to come back from that deficit this late in the race. Not out of the question, but...I'd say Scott Pruett, Joey Hand, Charlie Kimball and Sage Karam will be going home without the expensive watches.

Daytona 2015 - 21 1/2 Hour Update

Just time for a quick update before Mike and his crew get to Speedgeek HQ and we get distracted by Detroit-style pizza and weird raspberry/pretzel/chocolate beer. We're closing in on the 2 1/2 hour to go mark, and we have the top-4 overall covered by under eight seconds. It's the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP, the #01 Ganassi Riley-Ford, the #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP and the #02 Ganassi "Star Car" Riley-Ford. No doubt, any of those four can pull this out, but it'll likely come down to the last pit rotation, and whether or not one car in particular is set up better than the others for the conditions of the last two hours. Too close to call at this point.

GTLM has the top-2 cars on the same lap, with the race bound to come down to the #3 Corvette and the #25 BMW Z4. The #4 Corvette is 3rd in class, but four laps behind the other two, so this is likely a two-horse race. In LMPC, the #54 CORE Autosport car has a one lap lead on the #16 and the #52, so that's tilting hard in the direction of the #54, but 2 1/2 hours is a long time for the LMPCs to keep running with no problems. And in GTD, the #93 Viper and the #22 Porsche are on the same lap, with the #63 Ferrari just one lap behind.

We've got a lot of racing to go, and a lot of things can still happen.

When it Comes to Root Beers, Maine Is On It

Sea Dog – Portland, Maine (5/5)

This is a snappy root beer to keep ye scallywags in tip top shape. Seriously though Maine is 2 for 2 in making great root beer to me (Maine Root the other). "Maine Owned and Maine brewed" Sea Dog give you a great wintergreen kick but then vanilla aftertaste as it goes down. This is truly an excellent root beer and I love that these guys aren't all secretive to hide behind “natural and artificial flavors” like many brewers do, they put their key ingredients right on there.

I think my favorite part of this root beer is that it somehow gets a sharp fizz, a perfect amount of carbonation in there for a kick along from the wintergreen and some kind of spices, yet as you go to swallow you taste the vanilla and it feels more heavy, its like its sharp and heavy throughout the process; a great root beer here, excellent and worth a 6 pack or more!

Seriously I could drink this all day, big props to Sea Dog Brewing Co. I also really really want to visit these guys as it looks like they have 4 restaurants, and Andy and Mike should check out their beers. If the root beer is any indication the beer should be amazing.

More commercial fun

So this Agassi/Sampras commercial was pretty awesome:

But just remember that things got a lot more awkward here (embedding disabled).

Heading to Speedgeek's soon

So I'll be offline for a bit as we drive over to Speedgeek's to finish out this Blogathon. I'll be back for the final couple of hours with all of the stupidity you would expect from someone who knows nothing about racing and is blogging on 90 minutes of sleep.


If I told you on the podcast that a possum would be a major storyline this weekend it would have just sounded like any other nonsense we say right...?


So I've been up for a little bit (just like Andy) trying to play catch up on this race... this is when I miss staying up for the full 24 hours, its so hard to put together exactly how cars gain back 5+ laps or other cars fall out of the race. Mike's posts help a bit.

Al I know is by this morning I may have gotten to my son because he's sitting next to me eating pancakes for breakfast just going "vroooooooom, vroooooooom"

I'll See That Goofy Commercial

And raise you one. As much as I love that Maddux/Glavine spot, this one is on the Mount Rushmore of goofy athlete spots:

A Word of Warning

When you guys come over later, Mike, you and me are definitely splitting this. Been waiting for right time/right place/right beer guy to bust it open. Today's the time.

Chicks Dig the Long Ball

Why don't we see baseball players goofing off together like this in commercials anymore? Or even like Jordan and Bird? Maybe they make so much money now that they don't need to act dumb on television for a few extra bucks. Either way, this one is classic, and people need to do stuff like this today.

All-Star Lineup

I'm heading into the final five hours with this crew. Not bad.

Good Morning Race Fans (and Everybody Else)!

I've actually been up for a while, but am just now getting around to posting up a little something. When I went to bed last night, the #02 Ganassi Riley-Ford  had basically recovered from its early troubles, and the #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP had just lost three laps to a fuel pressure issue of some sort, and things didn't look great for them catching back up. Just before I closed the laptop, somebody had suggested that the Action Express guys had done a "control-alt-delete" to get the car running again, which I wasn't aware was a solution that worked on cars. You learn something every day, so rather than risk learning TWO things in the same day, I turned it in for the night.

Anyway, I woke up to the following:

1. The #5 Action Express Corvette has not only gotten all of its laps back, but is currently leading with 5 1/2 hours to go. WHA? SORCERY!

2. I switched on the TV just in time for F1- and sportscar-legend (and the Grand Marshall of this year's Daytona 24 Hours) Jochen Mass to launch into a great "old coot rant" about how Formula 1 and sportscar racing have gotten too complicated for fans to follow and that the cars are too technically advanced. I enjoy these sorts of rants, because it provides some solid insight into the ranter. Mentally, I always substitute out "the fans" and substitute in "I" or "me". So, what Jochen Mass means is: "F1 and sportscar racing have gotten too complicated for ME to follow". Thanks, bud. Duly noted.

OK, it's time for a little breakfast. Hope everybody had a great night, and thanks to Mike for holding it down here (and suffering through a horrible "football" movie) for all of us.

Murray 6, Dimitrov 5, Raquet 0

Murray began the 4th set up two sets to one. Dimitrov jumped out and won the first three games, before Murray finally got the set tied up at 5-5. As Murray won the next game to take a 6-5 lead, Dimitrov slammed his racquet to the ground, completely destroying it. That's what I like to see!

And now Murray bounces one right off of the net for match point. That was a great 4th set.

Six hours left!

If Barbosa keeps this lead at the 18-hour mark, I call shenanigans. He only got the lead due to the others pitting under caution, which is exactly how he made up like one or two full laps just an hour or so ago. You'll have to pit too, #5!

This is like when a team moves into first place during a bye week because all the other teams in the division lost. It's very shady.

And also, this dude Jordan Taylor looks like he'd rather be playing Minecraft right now.

We need better commercials... like John Madden and Miller Lite

So of course since I said Dimitrov looks tired, he has since made it interesting again. But my major complaint over the last couple of years is that the commercials are kind of lame. For a while, like on Speed network, we were getting some great cheesy commercials for a few years. We had the DVD kiosks, the military DVDs that made you feel like a bastard if you didn't buy them, etc.

I feel like we at least need to raise the level of the sports commercials during big weekends like this. We know next weekend will introduce great spots due to the Super Bowl. But really, I think they should focus on providing more sports-related material during all big events, like some of the ones we cover during Blogathon.

I miss commercials like this one, where John Madden got to show that he was an absolute lunatic.

I'll add some other classic sports commercials throughout the morning as well.

Murray takes the lead

Murray is up two sets to one, and Dimitrov seems tired. Meanwhile we're back to yellow in Daytona! Of course, I'm not the racing person around here, so unfortunately I have nothing to offer about this. But I do know that this is keeping other cars in the race, but it is also allowing the 02 to pit more often, which it seems to need right now for some reason.

Back at it

Fell asleep for an hour or so, but it looks like I'm still alone here. Woke up and had to restart my computer. Meanwhile, Fox Sports 1, which was supposed to be showing the race, was talking about last year's race. I was confused and almost just went back to sleep. But I guess that was just an introduction to the programming block, as the race is now on. And the 02 still leads!

At some point, someone should explain to me how this car took the lead back so quickly after being in the garage.

For now I'm going to the Murray-Dimitrov match, where I'm facing Speedgeek head-to-head. He doesn't need any more points!

Blogathon Berry Biscuits

I've never had Bojangles before. But apparently these are called Bo-berry Biscuits. That's Blogathon Bo-berry Biscuits for us. It's BO Time!

This sound mix on isn't the best, right?

My 02 car is still in the lead, but I do wish they'd level things a little better here on

Basically, this is how I'm hearing the normal broadcasters:

And THIS is what I hear when they throw it down to someone by the track:

Oh.. THIS is what I heard while watching Fumbleheads...

Blogathon 2015: Limerick #3

I know a man named John Pew.
He likes to cook pea and corn stew.
If he gives you a taste
And then you make a face,
Well, he'll take it and dump it on you.

We can't decide: yellow or green?

This race is nuts, and I'm guessing many of you are sleeping. 

When Fumbleheads ended, the race was yellow. Then when it turned green, Dixon jumped into first place over Taylor in the 10 car. (02, represent!) It was quickly yellow again, then right when it went back to green, the third place 60 car was suddenly stalled. It looks like we've avoided yellow though, and I guess Pew got the 60 to the pit. But now Taylor is getting touchy with Dixon.

So basically, my car is winning. And I need to write a limerick about John Pew. Obviously.

GBS at the Movies: The Fumbleheads (1997)

Plot from IMDB: "The city of Quimby Falls is already going downhill when the owner of the local professional football team, the Buzzards, decides to bail out and move the franchise elsewhere."


OK, so the Federal Football League has chosen San Antonio and Sioux City as its two cities for expansion. Quimby Falls residents are heartbroken. They're gonna trash this bar. Obviously.


If I'm understanding this right, these adults, some of whom are fairly old, have a marching band. Like, with instruments and all. Only, their city has no football team. So they just march around practicing, waiting for the day that a pro football team returns to town.

And now that the FFL has chosen not to send a football team to Quimby Falls, some of these marching band dudes are going to kidnap a team owner.

I think.


You guys are pretty lucky to have a friend like me. Someone to watch these movies so you don't have to. Cause this is really bad.


Hey look. It's a state line.


Try this. Think of the worst movie you've ever seen. Then imagine that there is a movie that is much worse than that. Then add a guy who is always playing the tuba. THIS is that movie.


Somehow the star tuba player managed to kidnap the star quarterback. And now... I swear this is real.. they are speaking "ebonics" to him.


I do have important information to share. This is the kind of knowledge you'll get from Grab Bag Sports...

This movie stars TWO actors who have played Santa Claus. First, as mentioned on our podcast, there is Ed Asner, who was Santa in Will Ferrell's Elf in 2003. The following year, Fumbleheads star Austin Pendleton appeared as Santa in Tim Allen's Christmas With the Kranks.

It's a Christmas miracle.


I guess I should also mention that the kidnapped quarterback is Mr. Cooper from Hangin' With Mr. Cooper. Amd he's awful.


PLOT TWIST. The team owner wants Mr. Cooper dead anyway. Ed Asner, the flute-playing Santa Claus, has a tough decision to make.


So this happened. And I'm not going to bother explaining it. Cause I can't. Do you have any idea how bad this film is?


Why is Netflix editing out curse words? Not that it makes one difference to me, but I've just never seen that before. Weird.


Someone on the IMDB message board for this film actually posted that this "wasn't bad." But then (s)he said, "I was in the film as a reporter." Makes sense.


I don't even know.


Don't worry. Everything worked out in the end. They have no team, no money, and really didn't accomplish anything. But they're still a weird adult marching band.

And what's a Chicago ZEPHER? These filmmakers are totally incompetent.

Thanks to anyone who stuck this one out with me. Back to the race. 12 hours to go!

Fumbleheads coming now

We're starting the movie on Netflix at 1:00, and I will keep my comments about the film in one post.

I had a minute to update the final UFC scores for our picks and confirmed that I did in fact get two correct out of 12. I expect this movie is going to be about as bad as my UFC picks.

Here we go...

Mike's Blogathon Reviews


Judge Wapner Cola - 4/5 - Not at all grumpy or bitter like the master himself. Very sweet, actually.

Johnnie Ryan Root Beer (NY) - 5/5 - Consistently one of the best.

2nd Ave Rockin Root Beer (Rocket Fizz) - 5/5 - First time I've had this one, and it is definitely now in my Top 5. It's perfect in every way!

Spiffy Cola (Orca/WA) - 3/5 - This one is just average. The bottle and logo are cool, and it uses cane sugar instead of HFCS. But it still doesn't taste much better than an RC or Pepsi, unfortunately.

Americana Orange Cream Soda (Delicious Vintage) - 3/5 - Great orange cream flavor, but there is hardly any fizz. That's a deal-breaker for me. Can't recommend it, and it'd be closer to a 2 if it didn't taste so good.

Polar Root Beer (Polar Beverages/MA) - 2/5 - Not enough fizz or flavor. Not bad at all, but there are just so many better options.

Bedford's Root Beer (Orca/WA) - 1/5 - This one is just gross, and I'm kind of on a bad run now.


Abita Andygator - 5/5 - One of the best. After a trip to Louisiana last week, I have a few different Abitas for the weekend.

Abita Strawberry Harvest - 5/5 - Hall of Fame player. If I could go 6/5, I would. It's like drinking candy. Now in a can!

Getting ready for The Fumbleheads

Thanks to everyone who joined in for Mario Kart. I actually finished 2nd a few times!

I'll now be getting things set up for The Fumbleheads and will take a minute to catch up on the race, since I hear my 02 car is back and better than ever. I'll be starting the movie on Netflix right at 1:00 and will be blogging here as I watch.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

it's back to the future future year right?

It seems like everyone and their mom wants to point out that this October is the date Marty McFly went to in the future of said movie. Then they complain that we don't have hoverboards or flying cars and bla bla.

Well first of all there are multiple people who have demoed prototype hover boards or quantum lock devices that hover.

More importantly they don't focus on what they got right like video calls, arcade games being out dated, 3d video screens, and portable electronics. Just a few years ago fire the first blogathon this did not even seen possible but I'm blogging from a tablet. Some earlier posts are from my phone. It's definitely not perfect.I struggle with autocorrect like Rafael Nadal struggles with every single time he hits the ball. Seriously Nadal, there's got to be at least one shot that isn't hard on you right?

This is the first time since the first blogathon in 2009 that we aren't watching an Australian Open men's final and it's nice because with only a final you have to wait til early morning for tennis.instead I'm watching this all night.

Now if only I had a virtual reality helmet to watch this in. I'm sure Mike is really hoping they were right about predicting the Cubs to win the World Series this year.

Mario Kart update #2

Never mind. I'm much better on Mario Kart 8! Not like "I'm winning races" good. But I'm finishing Top 3 or Top 5 in most races. I'm ready for Wedge and Speedgeek to get WiiUs now!

Can we decide on a correct spelling for DeflateGate?

I know this doesn't have much to do with Blogathon, but it's still all over the sports media every time I look or listen. As a Saints fan, I'm trying not to get upset about the fact that New England will probably not be punished at all, and almost certainly will not receive any kind of consequence that is at all comparable to what New Orleans suffered following the bounty scandal.

My biggest problem with the whole thing, however, is that no one knows exactly how we should spell and punctuate DeflateGate! I've seen Deflate-gate, DeflateGate, Deflate gate, and Deflate Gate. We really need some guidance here. Maybe the league can chime in with something official. It's kind of killing me.


I finally got the second laptop up and going, so that I can dedicate one to the feed and the other to blogging and catching up on other sports and what not (while switching the TV around between tennis, NBA and whatever else is on), and was just enjoying the seamless High Def feed and excellent commentary from John Hindhaugh and crew. However, just now, the defending champion #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP stopped on track in the infield with no fuel pressure. It's been brought back into the paddock area on a flatbed, so it's already multiple laps down, with more laps down yet to come. That's one of the main contenders in trouble before Hour 10...

Mario Kart update

In case anyone was wondering, I'm just as bad at Mario Kart 8 as I was on Mario Kart 7. And it's weird, because I feel like I'm much better on the WiiU gamepad than I am on the Wii wheel. But I guess everyone else is better now too. I need to find my special car, I guess!

Blogathon 2015 Beer Selection

It occurred to me while I and the rest of the Speedgeek clan were out grabbing a bite of dinner that I hadn't yet gotten around to posting a picture of my Blogathon beer selection. Mind you, I'm not planning on drinking even half of what I've got here (and probably not even an eighth of it), but I've got a pretty solid pick here. It's come to my attention that I'm less of a "beer drinker" and more of a "beer hoarder". Anyway, here's a little look at what's in the fridge tonight:

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that I was enjoying a Flat 12 Hinchtown Hammerdown golden ale (named after IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe, who was also driving the #70 Mazda Prototype until it expired) as the race started. I've been hoarding that for just the right time since May of last year, but today was that time. Next up, I believe I'll be going after that Southern Tier Warlock Pumpkin Stout, since time's a-wasting and all when it comes to pumpkin beers (really, they've been out of season now for a full month). That stuff is delicious. Cheers, everybody.

Mario Kart now!

As the race television coverage ends for the night, we will once again be kicking off our annual Mario Kart online race. We'll be playing from 10:00 p.m. to about 12:30 a.m. You can find our network ID in the Blogathon 2015 schedule post.

After Mario Kart, we'll be live-blogging The Fumbleheads, which is available on Netflix. The movie starts at 1:00 a.m.

Something Very Weird Just Happened

I, for the first time in my life, switched away from a live motor race (though the same would be true for a recorded motor race, too) to watch a UFC fight. However, about 90 seconds into the fight, as Anthony Johnson (tells you where my head is at, when I automatically started typing "Davidson" after "Anthony") straddled Alexander Gustafsson, raining blows down on Gustafsson's head, I remembered, "Oh, yeah. I can't handle this at all. [CLICK]"


Best part of Blogathon so far?

So the LSU overtime win was great, and some of the UFC stuff has been fun. We're gearing up for Mario Kart and The Fumbleheads, but I put the race back on for a little while and caught the best interview.

So I don't know the details, and hopefully someone can comment here, but owner Kevin Buckler is obviously upset that someone wrecked into his car. When they put a mic in his face, he said (something like):

"I don't know who that guy is. I think he's Italian."

He was French, Kevin. If that helps?

Blogathon 2015: Limerick #2 (Ode to a Boring UFC Fight)

When Davis was fighting with Bader,
They were slow, like a stuck elevator.
I went to the store,
Did my taxes and chores!
They were still hugging three hours later.

You Think We Should Help?

So the #7 car spun out like 10 minutes ago on the track, still on the track, just sitting there disabled and officials refused to throw a yellow for what felt like a half hour to tow the car back. Some kind of beef with Scott Mayer surely as he's one of the drivers...

LSU-Vanderbilt Thoughts

This has been such a great game. It’s clear LSU isn’t ready to be a top team just yet, but they are definitely exciting and have a really bright future. Here are a few thoughts I had during the game.

- LSU has great freshmen and sophomores. But they let Vandy’s Damian Jones get out of Baton Rouge, and he’s awesome.

- Bruce Hornsby’s son Keith is a great spark off the Tiger bench. And of course, when he hits a big shot, you have to sing “That’s Just the Way It Is” at the other team.

- LSU doesn’t have enough shooters to win enough in the postseason, but they’re athletic enough to cause a lot of trouble for other teams.

- And now LSU has pulled out an overtime win. That was huge, considering Vandy played better for the first 30 minutes. This is an exciting Tigers team.

Eight-second Win Equivalent?

As LSU is struggling to keep up with Vanderbilt early in the second half, we're trying to keep an eye on the UFC stuff and just saw a guy (Amirkhani) win in eight seconds. I mean, I know people get into this stuff, but that guy just flew across the world to fight for eight seconds! An opening kick, a couple of punches, head back home.

So imagine if other sports could be won so quickly. Here are some of my suggestions for possible automatic wins in other sports.

Baseball: Lead-off home run. 1-0 win. Game over.

Basketball: Win the tip, immediately throw up a halfcourt shot. If it goes in, you win.

Football: Run back the opening kick for a touchdown. Good night.

Any other sports?

4 minutes of fighting

In the last 3 UFC matches combined there have barely been 4 minutes of clock time. The 2nd fight of them lasted all of 8 seconds including a double flying knee straight out of a Bruce Lee movie by Makwan "Mr. Finland" Amirkhani.

Is that worth a blogathon post... maybe, but if you google Mr. Finaland/Amirkhani on the internet, this is what you find as a photo of him...

so yeah... that dude seems to be living a good life...

Hippo Size root beer… the bar is set

Hippo Size – Mukilteo, WA (5/5)

The thing with Judge Wapner, Cubby Bear, Red Arrow, and now Hippo Size root beer is that you are drinking the original recipe, but sadly the original brewery is long since gone. I’m not actually sure where Hippo Size originated as there’s not much info on the interwebs. I talks about being a big Texas size drink, so maybe Texas, and that wouldn't surprise me as there’s many Texas beverages (Triple XXX root beer etc.) that have gone under but continue being brewed by newer people in new locations.

Hippo is now being made by Orca Beverages in Washington who also keeps Red Arrow and many others alive, and thank goodness for them because Hippo Size has a motto “Small Bottle, BIG Taste” and they back up their trash talk.

This is bar none the best root beer I’ve had this blogathon… this week, this month, this year… It’s an awesome heavy, smooth root beer with a strong wintergreen taste that tingles on top of your tongue. I’m really sad more than anything that I only have 1 bottle of this because it was pretty much awesome. It went down like a smooth beverage but if you savored it in your mouth it had a great kick of the mint to it.

I've never seen a hippo in person, but based on this beverage they must be the size of a house because the taste on this root beer was massive! 5 out of 5, Orca should pat themselves on the back for this one.

Pizza Success!!!

Can't go wrong with homemade with fresh ingredients. Easily the classiest meal in the history of blogathon, paired with a wonderful root beer (more on that in a minute):

And we're storming the court at Texas Tech.

A January win on your home court against the team (Iowa State) currently ranked #9? Don't storm the court, you guys. A March win against #2? OK. But this is pushing it.

Either way, Wedge and I get wins here. I'm storming the metaphorical court after beating SpeedGeek in this one.

I'll twirl when I win the Blogathon Pick 'Em Challenge

So, I'm just finding out about this Australian Open Twirlgate. (Yes, I've learned that in sports we add -gate behind anything that is even remotely controversial.) If you missed it this week, like I did, definitely check it out.

Blogathon Cook Along?

My how far blogathon has come. I think through the years its been Bagel Bites, chicken nuggets, McDonalds, but this year the Wedge household is stepping it up a notch with homemade pizza, literally from scratch, dough and all.

Will report back in once its out of the over to see how this turns out.

Daytona 24 Hours - 3 1/2 Hour Check-In

Just a quick check in here, as we hit the 3 1/2 hour mark of the 24 Hours of Daytona. So far, it's seemed like a semi-chaotic race, with several cars hitting trouble. Six of the 16 Protorypes have had issues of one sort or another, and the #0 DeltaWing and the #2 ESM Patron HPD are both officially out of the race (sorry to Mike, who has both of them in our Blogathon Pick-'em Challenge). With that said, at the moment, the top-5 are the two Ganassi cars, the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP, the #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP and the #90 Corvette DP (none really a surprise, since I picked them as five of the top-7 cars in class). The #54 CORE Autosport Oreca leads LMPC, the #911 Porsche leads the GTLM class and the #63 AF Corse Ferrari leads GTD.

We're just getting going, though. 20+ hours left to go...

Blogathon 2015: Limerick #1

There once was a man named Chris Beal.
He told us he was the “Real Deal.”
But when he fought Seery,
He got beat, and clearly,
His injuries may never heal.

I'm already watching online

Thanks to Comcast xfinity and its lack of Fox Sports 2, I am already having to stream the race via imsa. I have pretty good internet and a Macbook Pro, but the video is still pausing once every few seconds. The audio stays smooth, but it's not quite as fun as it was on TV.

Sentenced to Drink Root Beer! - Judge Wapner root beer

Judge Wapner - Gardena, CA  (4/5)

Wapner is yelling at you on the front of the bottle, and I guess he is since he’s sentencing me to drink his root beer.

But that's as rough as it gets... nice low and smooth brew. That’s what I thought after the first sip. The picture on the bottle is genius as that’s how we all remember him on People’s Court. The root beer has a nice caramel-ish flavor, a hint of vanilla. What I particularly like is that it’s a very heavy/smooth root beer with not sharp kick at all. You could drink this one all night while watching defendants make their case.

That being said it doesn't do anything to come over to the top level, nothing fancy but I think that’s what I like, the caramel topping is the strongest part its not overpowering. It’s a very well executed brew, maybe somewhat safe but so what, its executed top notch, not tasting any big ingredients in the mix over the others.

Coming from a group called “Real Sodas in Real Bottles” I expect nothing less; a solid root beer worth a 6 pack for sure, and worth trying out some of the other Wapner brews like the cream soda.

This is a solid 4/5 root beer my friends, order up!

Blogathon Basketball

If you listened to the podcast, you know that I am most excited about the basketball this weekend. In fact, I may even play some basketball myself.

Kart Life!

In response to Wedge's post about the new television show Kart Life, my answer is YES. I will watch it. But ONLY if...

1. Each contestant watches Kart Racer and writes a critical analysis piece comparing it to Rocky, Field of Dreams, or another classic sports film.

2. And the theme song is a direct cover/parody of Blur's wonderful "Parklife." (By the way, I am available to arrange and record this if the show's producers should stumble upon this post!)

Crazy Racing Parents Represent!

Not to be outdone by Toddlers and Tiaras, Dance Moms, Master Chef Junior,  and Friday Night Tikes; TruTV has been advertising their new show Kart Life where we will now be able to watch obsessive parents try to make their kid the next big driver for NASCAR/IndyCar/Formula 1, through youth go-karting leagues.

The commercials are already full of showing the positive aspects of these kids and their "hobby" with their parents, you know... the crashes, and yelling and carnage… yet somehow maybe still not as much as Dance Moms. I don’t know how these shows make it this long and how it’s a growing market but I suppose if we’re going to film the Hindenburg going down in flames, people are going to watch it right?

Will you watch, what do you think? How long before we see the first kid cry... hell how long before we see the first parent cry, which comes first? How long before someone loses their shit over bad officiating? And of course... chances any kid on this show makes it to the pro level, 1 in 10,000, 1 in 1,000,000?

Iron Horse root beer

Iron Horse root beer – Edina, MN  (2/5)

So as I kick off doing these reviews, I hold the right to change my mind later after more samplings. This is very much needed to be stated for Iron Horse, my first root beer I've had from the state of Minnesota. As stated in an earlier post, my 54 root beers from the root beer store were delivered when it was sub-freezing outside and 3 bottles exploded. Iron Horse had the unfortunate distinction of being next to the 3 that went kaboom. I can’t tell if it leaked a little or if it was just covered in sticky root beer from the others. The bottle was nearly impossible to open because the cap was stuck to it.

That being said, all the explosions in the world didn't cause Iron Horse to glue their labels on crooked and for one of the labels to have a huge chunk missing. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, I've had a root beer that was sloppy about its presentation; but it could have been a fluke, if I order 99 more, is this the only one with  bad label?

But lets move on to the root beer. It’s more of a sharper root beer, somewhat likely due to the fake sugar (HFCS), but its not the sharpest I've had. It’s a decent flavor, definitely nothing heavy like molasses in it, and nothing out of the ordinary like cinnamon or butterscotch or anything. I can definitely taste some of the flavors in it, however things end up so much sharper/bitter with HFCS and I'm getting a strong yeast flavor. It doesn't have a taste that lasts in your mouth like a heavy wintergreen or licorice. What lasts is a little bit of bitterness I think caused by the yeast maybe, but again… I think that comes back to the problem with my first Minnesota root beer.

Nothing memorable except the terrible labeling and being just a little off with the flavors. Its not terrible, but just not god, a solid 2/5 and nothing higher to me, better than bad but I can’t say it will stick out in my mind.

More Blogathon Root Beer

While Wedge relied on the Root Beer Store online for that huge haul he posted about, here in Nashville we're lucky to have Rocket Fizz right downtown. So the kids and I headed there this morning to get some supplies. You might have seen Rocket Fizz featured on Undercover Boss last night. It's a great store.

Here are some highlights of our Blogathon snacks. We're ready for the 24 hours! Look for some beer, root beer, and cola reviews/updates throughout the weekend.

Green Flag!

Enjoy the race, everybody!

Prepared for a Blogathon!

As TV coverage for the 24 Hours of Daytona kicks off, every year we tend to post pictures of our snacks and supplies that will keep us alive awake and alert... and fattened during the 24 hour sports marathon. This year is no different, but I wanted to preview some upcoming reviews of sorts.

This year as we're snowed/freezing rained in here in D.C. I needed to make sure I was stocked full of the appropriate supplies, namely root beer... and plenty of it:

52 different rot beers to be exact, from all around the world... not an exaggeration, while 99% of root beer is an American thing, I found a root beer from Australia so this is now global, and throughout Blogathon this year I will be doing reviews of many of these amazing bottles of bliss.

I was able to amass this awesome collection via the amazing Root Beer Store of Seattle, who does online ordering and shipping. Sadly though, we lost 3 of the bottles in transit because it was 12 degrees outside when they arrived and 3 of them froze and burst...

Let us please pause and have a moment of silence...

Ernie Banks

As we rapidly approach Blogathon, I wanted to take five minutes to honor Ernie Banks. As a lifelong Cubs fan, this one hit me hard last night. Perhaps at some other point before the season starts, I can post a better kind of tribute, but for now I’ll say a couple of things.

First of all, when I was young, like 10 years old, I used to listen to a New Orleans radio talk show with my grandmother. The show ran all night long, and I’d stay up as late as I could when I slept by her house. Topics discussed were different each night, and regular callers were all given nicknames. I’d call in from time to time and would always want to talk about baseball. So when it was time to get my nickname, since the Cubs were my favorite team, I was named Mr. Cub. It was such an honor for me, as a kid, to share Ernie’s nickname, even on such a small scale.

The other immediate thought I have is that I will never forget walking into my dorm room one day in 1998. My roommate (Wedge’s brother) told me Harry Caray had died. The Cubs were coming off of a 1997 season where they finished with 68 wins and looked absolutely terrible. Still, I just sat down and said, “Well, we have to make the playoffs this year.” Of course, the 1998 season was magical (although somewhat steroid-inspired, I guess), and Harry was consistently honored throughout the season and beyond. I am looking forward to 2015 even more now, hoping my kids will get to watch some great baseball and also learn about one of my heroes.

More baseball soon… For now, Happy Blogathon!

2015 Daytona 24 Hours - Prototype Preview

Well, we've made it through the week and all of the previews of the other three classes in the Tudor United Sports Car Series, so that means that it's time to tackle the big dogs: the Prototype class. The car count is down two, from 18 last year to 16 this year, but the overall quality of the field is just as strong, and maybe even stronger. While we had specifications changes galore coming into Daytona last year due to the merger of GrandAm and the American Le Mans Series (the GrandAm DPs gained some power and downforce, the ALMS LMP2s lost a little downforce and had to run the harder GrandAm-spec Continental tires), there have been no major tweaks for this year's race in Prototype, apart from a couple minor car weight adjustments. With that being the case, let's get into who's who in the Prototypes this year.

The No-Hopers

#50 Fifty Plus Racing Endures for a Cure Inc./Highway to Help Race Team Riley DP-BMW - I think we're probably three years and running now that I've mentioned this team first in the "no-hopers" section, and their chances to win in 2015 are no better than in any of the prior years they've taken part. That's OK, though. Their main reasons for being here are raising money for charity and competing for the sake of competing. Good on these guys. I hope this group of over-50 drivers keeps coming back for many years to come. Odds - 1,000 to 1.

#66 RG Racing Riley DP-BMW - Shane Lewis is a pretty good driver. Outside of him, I basically don't know anything about the rest of the drivers or the team itself. A top-15 overall would probably be considered a win for them. Odds - 500 to 1.

#70 Speedsource Mazda LMP2 - It's not for lack of great drivers (Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nunez, Sylvain Tremblay and IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe are all as good as it gets) or technical innovation (Mazda is the only engine manufacturer using diesel at Daytona), but the car is just not yet developed to the point where it's going to challenge for wins, or even top-5s. It's made a quantum leap since last year (now qualifying 20th and 34th instead of dead last and deader last), but there needs to be another quantum leap before it'll be a contender. Odds - 500 to 1.

#07 Speedsource Mazda LMP2 - See above for #70, substitute in drivers Joel Miller, Tom Long, Ben Devlin and Sylvain Tremblay. Odds - 500 to 1.

The Little Chancers

#1 Tequila Patron ESM Honda HPD ARX - The team is certainly up to the task. And so are the drivers (Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and David Heinemeier-Hansson). But the car is BRAND new. Teething troubles relegated this car to 52nd in qualifying. "Never raced before" does not usually equal "winner of a 24 hour race in its debut". Odds - 100 to 1.

#2 Tequila Patron ESM Honda HPD ARX - See above for #1, substitute in drivers Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek and Jon Fogarty. Odds - 100 to 1.

#31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP - While this is a Corvette Daytona Prototype entered by the defending champion Action Express Racing, you shouldn't confuse this car for the #5 sister car. While Eric Curran, Dane Cameron, Max Papis and Phil Keen are plenty capable, I don't see this car having the firepower to take down the big dogs unless everybody else hits trouble. I'm thinking they'd be thrilled with a top-5. Odds - 50 to 1.

The "Rear of the Front" Pack

#57 Krohn Racing Ligier JS PS2-Judd - The drivers (team owner Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson, Alex Brundle and the lightning fast Olivier Pla) are definitely on the pace of the front running guys, but the Ligier is a new-ish car and the Judd engine is probably not up to the top-line engines. This team can win, but only if a few things break their way and they hit no trouble. Odds - 40 to 1.

#0 Claro/TracFone DeltaWing Racing Delta Wing DWC13 - It's been a rocket in a straight line, and it's qualified 5th, but I just can't really imagine everything (including their new gearbox) holding on for 24 hours. Odds - 40 to 1.

The "Middle of the Front" Pack

#90 Racing Corvette DP - At this point, we're really starting to get serious. Richard Westbrook, Michael Valiente and Mike Rockenfeller are all proven winners (and Rocky's won the 24 before) and the Corvette is still clearly one of the three fastest cars in the race (along with the Riley DP and the Ligier). It's not hard to see a few things breaking the way of the #90 and them winding up on top. With some of the horrible luck they had last year, they're pretty much due for a break or five. Odds - 10 to 1.

#7 Starworks Motorsport Riley DP-BMW - All of the drivers in this car (Porsche factory LMP1 driver Brendon Hartley, ex-Formula 1 driver Ruben Barrichello, defending Indy 500 champion and 2013 IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and longtime sportscar stalwart Tor Graves) minus one (Scott Mayer) are freaking jet pilots. The're likely to limit Mayer to about two total hours in the car and have the other four guys split up the other 22 hours. The Riley-BMW is a proven, reliable combination and Starworks is a proven winning team. They might be just a tick off the front running pace (qualified 8th, about a second off of the pole speed), but 24 hours is a long time for things to unfold. Can't be counted out. Odds - 10 to 1.

#60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ligier JS PS2-Honda HPD - Even though this car has dominated practice and is on pole after a fantastic lap by Oswaldo Negri, the Michael Shank squad is brand new to running an LMP2-style car. The drivers (Negri, John Pew, NASCAR driver A.J. Allmendinger and Matt McMurry) are all capable of front-running speed, but will some unknown issue reach up and smack down the lightning fast Ligier? Odds - 10 to 1.

The "Front of the Front" Pack

#10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP - One of the longest car names belongs to the defending 2nd place squad. One more break going their way last year would have them as the defending champions, so it's pretty easy to picture them in Victory Lane tomorrow afternoon. The goofy Taylor brothers (Jordan and Ricky) are joined yet again by longtime team driver Max Angelelli, so the team has plenty of speed. It's basically just a matter of if they get enough breaks to win. Oh, and if Jordan's cutting of his mullet really hasn't sapped all the teams' mojo. Odds - 5 to 1.

#02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Riley DP-Ford EcoBoost - The usually dominant Ganassi cars suffered from a slight case of "new car blues" at Daytona last year, with issues with their brand new Riley-Ford EcoBoost twin turbos relegating them to 15th and 43rd in the standings. They promptly went and won the next race at Sebring, and a full season of development has seen them jump right back up to the top of the time charts (the #02 is qualified 2nd, just 0.108 seconds off the pole winning pace). The #02 "Star Car" driven by IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan and NASCAR drivers Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray should have no problem keeping pace. If the car holds together for all 24 hours, they're basically guaranteed to be in the top-3. Odds - 5 to 1.

#01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Riley DP-Ford EcoBoost - See above for #02, but substitute in drivers Scott Pruett ("Hi to Scott's family at home!"), Joey Hand, IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball and hopeful IndyCar driver Sage Karam. Odds - 5 to 1.

#5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP - They're the defending race and series champions. And they basically haven't changed a thing since last year except for the paint job. All three drivers (Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and IndyCar driver Sebastien Bourdais) return, as does the crew that executed last year's race perfectly. If no screwy misfortune befalls them, they'll be in the lead group in the scramble for the checkers. Odds - 5 to 1.

Once again, I more or less copped out and couldn't pick a favorite. I truly think it'll be a battle between the top two Corvette DPs and the two Ganassi cars all the way through the race, with the Shank #60 and a couple others periodically mingling with them. Gun to my head, I'll go with the Taylors to break through and take the win, but it's seriously too close to call.

We made it! The race kicks off in just a few hours, and it looks like it's shaping up to be a classic. Enjoy, and we'll be giving you lots of great Blogathon goodness all day (and all night, and all day) long. See you in a couple hours!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

2015 Daytona 24 Hours - GTLM Preview

We've already handled the slower of the Prototype and GT classes, so now it's time to get busy with the premier GT and Prototype classes. As per normal, I'll be saving the Prototypes for last, as they're the ones running for the overall win and they're the ones who spend the most time on all of our TV (and computer, for those of us who'll be following on and elsewhere) screens. So, today's class is the GTLM class. Minus for the GTLMs this year: car count is down one from last year, having added the Falken Porsche (they skipped Daytona in 2014, as they'd just received their new car) and having lost the factory Dodge/SRT Vipers, while the Krohn Ferrari has been swapped out for the AF Corse Ferrari (Krohn having stepped up to Prototypes). Plus for the GTLMs: every other car returns, and they're all very close in speed. Let's get to it.

The Contenders

#912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR - Jorg Bergmeister, Earl Bamber and Frederic Mackowiecki. All Porsche factory drivers. All fast. And Porsches usually run well at Daytona (the sister car #911 was GTLM class winner last year). Hard to bet against. Odds - 9 to 1.

#911 - Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR - Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Marc Lieb. All Porsche factory drivers (an FIA World Endurance Championship P1 driver, in the case of Lieb). All fast. I feel like I've heard this one before. Odds - 9 to 1.

#24 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE - John Edwards, Lucas Luhr, Jens Klingmann and IndyCar driver Graham Rahal. All fast. And while the Z4s weren't the quickest cars in class last year, a relatively trouble-free run for the #55 car brought it home second in class. The Bimmers can't be counted out. Odds - 9 to 1.

#25 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE - Bill Auberlen, Dirk Werner, Augusto Farfus and BMW DTM driver Bruno Spengler. All fast. This car is the defending second place car in class. See above. Odds - 9 to 1.

#17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR - Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers and Porsche factory driver Patrick Long. All fast. And the Falkens have been magic in the rain (not that there's any rain in the forecast past about noon on Saturday, but still). Could be the magic combination come Sunday morning. Odds - 9 to 1.

#98 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 - Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana, Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke and Mathias Lauda (son of Niki). All fast (Dalla Lana being the slowest by default, as he's the only one who's not really a factory driver, but still plenty fast). And the Aston has been fast in practice and qualifying (third in class in qualifying, to be exact). Could definitely pull off a win. Odds - 9 to 1.

#62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia - Pierre Kaffer, Davide Rigon, Giancarlo Fisichella and Olivier Beretta (the latter two being ex-Formula 1 drivers). All fast. And right on the pace in practice and qualifying (only 0.156 seconds behind second in class in qualifying, though that leaves them sixth out of ten cars in class). It's not a stretch to picture them in Victory Lane on Sunday afternoon. Odds - 9 to 1.

#51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia - Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard, Gianmaria Bruni and Tomi Vilander. All fast. And qualified second in class. Has to be in the frame, right? Odds - 9 to 1.

#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R - Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and (ex- and maybe future-IndyCar driver) Ryan Briscoe. All fast. And the 'Vette looks like a rocket this year (as it did last year, to be fair). One of the favorites? Odds - 9 to 1.

#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R - Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud. All fast. And the car is on the class pole. Enough said. Odds - 9 to 1.

You'll all probably notice that I totally copped out and gave everybody the same odds. I absolutely just can't pick an odds-on favorite out of the GTLM field this year, and I could totally see any of these cars winning. Or breaking in the middle of the night. It's a wide open class, and the fact that if you throw out the draft-assisted pole lap by the #4 Corvette (nearly 0.45 seconds ahead of second in class), the rest of the field is covered by less than a second (second through ninth covered by just 0.635 seconds, in fact). That's basically a dead heat. If I had to, I'd say that one of the Corvettes wins, but putting any of the teams more than a nose ahead of any of the others is completely impossible. All bets are off in GTLM.

Three down, and one to go. Tune in tomorrow for the Prototype class preview!

Blogathon 2015 Preview Podcast

This year's Rolex 24 at Daytona is this weekend, and we will be here for our annual Blogathon. Here is our preview podcast where we discuss some of the weekend's events and make all of our predictions for our Pick 'Em Challenge, which Wedge won last year.

Find a complete schedule of events here, including race coverage, Mario Kart online, and a screening of The Fumbleheads (1997). Also, be sure to check out Speedgeek's previews here and here.

Blogathon 2015: Pick 'Em Challenge

On our 2015 Blogathon preview podcast, the three of us each predicted winners for many of the events taking place this weekend (January 24-25). Feel free to join in and see how your picks match up against ours!

Final scores:

Speedgeek - 60
Mike - 57
Wedge - 48

24 Hours of Daytona
(6, 4, 2)
01, 60, 1, 70, 66

10, 5, 90, 54, 31
02, 0, 2, 7, 45
6-hour mark

- 4
12-hour mark

6 4
18-hour mark

10 2
24-hour mark
(double points)

12 12
time when Pruett says "hi to family at home" (5, 3, 1)
3:00:00 (5)
0:24:00 (1)
1:45:00 (3)

(29) (25)
NFL Pro Bowl: Irvin/Carter (5)
Touchdowns (5 minus # incorrect) (8)
11 (+2)
13 (+0)
7 (+4)

Australian Open 
3rd and 4th Rounds
(1 point per win)
Djokovic (2)
Nishikori (2)
Ferrer (1)
Nadal (2)
Berdych (2)
Dimitrov (1)
F. Lopez (1)
Wawrinka (2)
Murray (2)
Tomic (1)
S. Johnson

(6) (5)
UFC (1)


(7) (2)
Basketball (1)

Kansas at Texas
North Carolina at Florida State
Missouri at Arkansas
TCU at West Virginia
Northeastern at William and Mary
Georgetown at Marquette
Michigan St. at Nebraska
Miami at Syracuse
UCLA at Oregon
Iowa State at Texas Tech
Oklahoma at Baylor
LSU at Vanderbilt
Ole Miss at Florida
Michigan at Wisconsin
Memphis at Tulane
Alabama at Auburn
San Diego State vs. Colorado State
Arizona State at Stanford
Indiana at Ohio State
Duke at St. John's
New York at Charlotte
Detroit at Milwaukee
Philadelphia at Memphis
Brooklyn at Utah
Washington at Portland
Miami at Chicago

Futbol/Soccer (1)

Liverpool vs. Bolton Wanderers
Southampton vs. Crystal Palace
Internazionale vs. Torino
Pachuca vs. Queretaro
Guimaraes vs. Gil Vicente
Zulte-Waragem vs. KVC Westerlo
Plymouth Argyle vs. Morecambe
UNAM vs. Toluca
Aston Villa vs. AFC Bournemouth
Galatasaray vs. Caykur Rizespor