Welcome to the latest Happy Hour mailbag! You know how these work: You write us with your best rant/ joke/one-liner at or on Twitter at @jaybusbee, we respond to your messages, everyone goes away with a smile on their face.

It's almost Olympic time, and like pretty much everyone else around these parts, I'll be doing a bit of Olympic coverage at Fourth Place Medal. Come hang. For those of you familiar with our race-day chats, I'll be live-chatting the Opening Ceremony on Friday night. And yes, I will give Junior updates.

Now, to your letters. A quiet week in the off-week; bring some heat for me!

We all know Danica Patrick gets a ton of coverage no matter how she runs. A lot of people believe this is because she is a woman breaking into the NASCAR field. However, there is another female racer who runs in the NNS and receives absolutely no coverage at all: Johanna Long. Johanna has run 12 races, sits 18th in the standings (21st overall), has an average finish of 21.5 and drives for a completely underfunded team. Danica has run all the races, sits 9th in points (12th overall), has an average finish of 19.6 and drives some of the best equipment in the series and access to a top-tier team. Why does NASCAR prop up Danica but not Johanna?

— Sean
San Diego

The Danica-vs.-Johanna question is starting to really gain some traction, and it's at least in part a response to the overwhelming hype that accompanies every move Danica Patrick makes. (And before you start lobbing "It's the media's fault!" bombs at me: you people stop clicking on Danica stories, we'll stop printing 'em.) But the fact of the matter is that Patrick hasn't had a particularly significant season. You've got to wonder, based on what we've seen so far, about the wisdom of rushing her into Cup next year. As for Long? She's got plenty of potential but, as yet, no marketing cachet. That's as much a part of NASCAR as tires and Southern accents, so don't go complaining about it. Still, enough reaction to Long and she might just end up vaulting into a better ride next year. I don't think anyone is deliberately trying to keep her down, but like everyone who's not blessed with a readymade sponsor, a marketing team or a fortuitous last name, she'll have to fight for all that she gets.

And hey, speakin' of lady racers, let's talk Amber and Angela Cope versus Kevin Harvick!


I guess the headlines could have read "Silly little girls! Don't mess with mean old Mister Harvick!" At a time when "Mister Entitlement" should have been the most magnanimous, and joyful about his new blessed baby, he decided to become a misogynistic dork. What is so "un-wrong" or even acceptable about his rant about Miss Cope? And using Danica in the argument was blatantly sexist. Would he ever refer to fellow gentleman drivers in this fashion? I doubt it. As a longtime female fan, his lack of respect for the women breaking into this sport concerns me. Harvick's behavior was wrong and I wish that NASCAR would have addressed this as they seem to so capriciously seem to do about anything else. Oh , and the media (all of you!) could have done a better job covering this story instead of worrying about Twitter feuds!!

Rant over. Thanks.

North Carolina

Um ... sorry? Anyway, I'm of two minds here. First, yeah, Harvick was a bit of a clown for acting that way and being deliberately sexist and condescending. Dude, if you don't like how the Nationwide drivers race, don't race Nationwide ... the whole point of the series is that it's not the skill level of you and your Sprint compatriots. On the other hand ... isn't having different standards for different genders sexist in itself? Pretty much everything is fair game once you strap in behind the wheel to run with the big dogs. Yeah, kind of a classless move on Harvick's part, but I'm glad NASCAR didn't step in. I like when drivers stake out personality turf. Distinguishes 'em from one another, you know?


Can you give a few pointers for etiquette at dirt tracks as it relates to NASCAR drivers in attendance? Had my first WoO experience at Williams Grove this weekend. Smoke, my favorite driver, was in attendance to drive and support his team. Prior to the race, I had an opportunity to get his autograph in the pit area however, I observed that every time someone walked up to him for a picture or signature, he had a sourpuss look on his face. I decided not to go after the autograph. Should I have sucked it up and went in for the kill anyway? Doesn't he expect to be hounded at these smaller venues when he shows up?


Yeah, you should've sucked it up. Look, here's the deal: these guys know that wherever they go, they're going to get people nagging them for autographs. As long as it's not the bathroom, a wedding or a funeral, most are pretty cool about signing something. It's best to be polite and prepared — have a pen and one item ready — and don't spend fifteen minutes telling them about the time you saw them back in 2005 in Martinsville, remember, Tony? I was in the red t-shirt and yelling "Go Smoke!" up in Turn 3? You don't remember? Huh. Anyway, look at it this way: you either get the autograph (score) or you get a good story about Tony Stewart biting your head off (double score).

Also, if you spot me at a NASCAR track, I'll sign anything. Shoot, I might even come crash at your place if I don't have anywhere to stay. Lucky you.


I happen to like the debris cautions. It is terrible when races go caution-free and there are thirteen cars on the lead lap, with the second-place driver six seconds back. But perhaps many are correct that NASCAR should do away with this. Perhaps NASCAR should institute the "random" caution. Twice during the race a "random caution" flag is thrown. Caution flags are a necessary evil.

Thomas Halecky

Yeah, I'm with you. Sometimes a little ol' field-bunching is necessary. NASCAR ought to take a page from soccer, which has this extra bonus time at the end of the match to account for all the time wasted while some European dude was flopping like he'd been shot by a sniper after some other dude came within three feet of him. Thing is, you never know how long this extra time is; it could be one minute or five. NASCAR needs to have a designated set of laps right in the pit window for these "random" cautions. You never know when it'll be thrown and you'll be in the pits! Drama! (Of course, TNT would be on a commercial break when it happened. Mashed potatoes and gravy!)

And on that note, we're out. Thanks to all our writers this week. You want in? Fire up the computer and hit us with whatever's on your mind, NASCAR-wise, at . You can find Yahoo! Sports' NASCAR coverage on Facebook right here, and you can follow me on Twitter at @jaybusbee and on Facebook here. Make sure to tell us where you're from. We'll make you famous!

Tags: Danica, , , Happy, Johanna Long, kevin harvick, , , rant,
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AJ Allmendinger's business manager said Wednesday that the driver tested positive for amphetamines, however, they were unsure of what the amphetamine exactly was.

From the Associated Press:

Allmendinger's business manager, Tara Ragan, confirmed multiple media reports Wednesday that an amphetamine triggered the positive test. Ragan said Allmendinger was waiting for additional data from the laboratory that might help identify the source of the amphetamine.

''What is it, exactly? That, we still don't know,'' Ragan said.

NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said on SPEED's Race Hub Wednesday night that it was protocol to inform Allmendinger of the specific substance. Allmendinger was suspended indefinitely from NASCAR Tuesday after his 'B' sample corroborated with the positive drug test of his 'A' sample after the Kentucky race on June 30.

"Actually, specific substance, not stimulant, that is something that they said. We don't reveal the actual substance," Higdon said. "But it's part of the protocol that's outlined in our rulebook, the medical review officer does in fact inform the competitor of the exact substance that he or she has tested positive for. That information is also conveyed to NASCAR."

Well then, that's interesting, isn't it? Penske Racing President Tim Cindric said that the team hasn't been notified of the specifics, saying that all the team knows is what's been released by Allmendinger's camp publicly.

Earlier Wednesday, Ragan confirmed that Allmendinger would be entering NASCAR's Road to Recovery Program immediately in an attempt to return to the track as fast as possible. Given the likely timeline of the program — generally five months or so — it's doubtful that Allmendinger will be eligible to compete before the end of the season. Sam Hornish is scheduled to be in the car on Sunday at Indianapolis and the following weekend at Pocono.

Tags: amphetamine, , , , protocol,
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Danica Patrick says chances of running 2013 Indianapolis 500 are ’50-50′

25 Jul

Could Danica Patrick attempt the Indianapolis 500-Coca-Cola 600 double?

In a Q&A with the Indianapolis Star's Curt Cavin, Patrick placed even odds on her participation in next year's Indianapolis 500. "Fair chance. I'll say 50-50. We're working on it," Patrick said.

Patrick, who made the move full-time to NASCAR from the Izod IndyCar Series before the 2012 season, is slated to run a full Sprint Cup Series schedule in 2013 for Stewart-Haas Racing. The Cup Series' Coca-Cola 600 starts a few hours after the Indianapolis 500 typically ends.

In 2003, Robby Gordon was the last driver to run both races. Her car owner, Tony Stewart, is the only driver to have completed all 1,100 miles of the double, but he last tried the feat in 2001. Needless to say, Patrick has a pretty good confidant if she has any questions about how to make the double work.

Patrick hasn't ever ruled out a return to open-wheel racing and Indianapolis, and she'll be in the midst of her first full season in the Sprint Cup Series. Logistics are in Patrick's favor -- she could make running both races work. However, given her lack of Cup experience, is attempting the double in 2013 ideal?

Qualifying for the 500 next year is slated to be the same weekend as the Sprint Cup Series All-Star race and Patrick will likely be in the qualifying race to get into the All-Star race that Saturday night. And there's also a chance that she could win the fan vote to get into the All-Star race, especially now that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a guaranteed All-Star starting spot. Indy 500 qualifying is during the day on Saturday and Sunday, so a back-and-forth weekend is doable. However, practice time would likely need to be sacrificed somewhere.

And that track time in the Cup Series cars is what Patrick needs most. She and Stewart have stressed the need for that over and over when discussing her 10-race 2012 schedule. Earlier in the year at Charlotte she finished 30th, five laps down. On the surface, that's hardly an indicator that practice time can afford to be missed.

Related NASCAR video from Yahoo! Sports:

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AJ Allmendinger makes first public statement since test failure, on Twitter

25 Jul

Just hours after the revelation that his B sample tested positive for a still-unrevealed stimulant, AJ Allmendinger took to Twitter at about 2 a.m. Eastern to make his first public statement on the matter. All words sic'd:

"I just want to say thank you first and foremost for all if u sticking by me. Please dont think me being means i havent been reading all ur / Support. And man, it means more than u eill ever know. Im sorry we even have to have this going on. But i promise ..i will do whatever it / Takes to get to the bottom of this and get back our there no matter what. Thanks guys."

But this being the Internet, which is stuffed chock full of opportunistic, hide-behind-a-screen vermin, Allmendinger's statement immediately came under attack for its, shall we say, less than term-paper quality written English. An hour later, Allmendinger offered up this addendum:

"Hey..sorry to u guys jumping on my spelling..it wasnt a "pr" statement..it was me typing from my heart...sorry it wasnt perfect"

Perhaps we're reading too much into this, but you'll note that Allmendinger never says he's "innocent" or denies taking whatever substance exceeded test levels. If that's the case, he may be considering a fight based not on the pass-fail of the test but on the substance triggering the failure.

So it sounds like Allmendinger will continue to fight to get back behind the wheel. How he plays the next few weeks and months will determine his future in the sport.

Tags: , eill, havent, , , public statement, , , test failure, wasnt
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AJ Allmendinger indefinitely suspended by NASCAR after B sample test

24 Jul

AJ Allmendinger has been indefinitely suspended by NASCAR after his "B" sample confirmed his positive test for a stimulant.

On June 30, Allmendinger was temporarily suspended by NASCAR after his "A" sample tested positive for an unapproved drug, which his representative characterized as a stimulant. Neither NASCAR nor Allmendinger's camp have revealed the specific reason for the positive test.

"On July 24, Allmendinger was found to have violated Sections 12-1  [actions detrimental to stock car racing] and 19 [NASCAR's substance abuse policy] of the 2012 NASCAR rule book," NASCAR said in the release.

"As outlined in the rule book, NASCAR next will provide Allmendinger a letter outlining a process for reinstatement. By agreeing to the letter, he will be allowed to participate in the Road to Recovery Program."

Sam Hornish, who has driven the Penske No. 22 the past two races in Allmendinger's absence, will continue to fill in Sunday at Indianapolis and the following week at Pocono, according to Penske Racing.

"Penske Racing was notified today of AJ Allmendinger's positive B sample test. We respect NASCAR's policy and the process they have taken with this matter," the team said in a statement.

"Penske Racing is very disappointed with the result of the B sample test and will evaluate its course of action as it pertains to AJ over the coming week."

According to a statement by Allmendinger representative Tara Ragan, the test was "within nanograms of accepted standards."

"This was not the news we wanted to hear and we will work to get to the source of what may have caused this," the statement from Ragan said. "To that end, we have secured the services of an independent lab to conduct thorough testing on every product within AJ's home and motor coach to find what might collaborate with his test, which created results that were within nanograms of accepted standards. We are working closely with NASCAR and Penske Racing to identify the next action steps in this process. ... We expect to have further updates in the upcoming days."

According to USA Today, "stimulants are defined as including amphetamine, methamphetamine, Ecstasy (MDMA), Eve (MDEA), MDA, PMA, Phentermine and other amphetamine derivatives and related compounds" in the NASCAR rule book. (Many ingredients that fit into the above categories are legal. Allmendinger has an endorsement deal with the energy supplement "Fuel in a Bottle," but there is no indication that product had anything to do with the test results.)

Allmendinger signed a one-year contract with Penske to replace Kurt Busch after the 2011 season and had one top 5 and three top 10s through the first 17 races of the season. Allmendinger got his start in the Sprint Cup Series with the now defunct Red Bull Racing team and then moved to Richard Petty Motorsports before arriving at Penske. Allmendinger came to NASCAR from the also now defunct Champ Car World Series, where he won five races in 2006 and finished third in the points standings to current IndyCar drivers Sebastian Bourdais and Justin Wilson.

2012 had been viewed as a "prove-it" year of sorts for the driver, predicted by many to grab the first Sprint Cup Series win of his career and as a potential Chase dark horse. But now we've gone from wondering if and when Allmendinger will be in victory lane to if and when we will ever see him back in the Sprint Cup Series.

The last Sprint Cup Series driver to test positive under NASCAR's current drug testing policy was Jeremy Mayfield, who said that his positive test for methamphetamines was due to a combination of Adderall and Claritin-D. Mayfield has never been reinstated by NASCAR and was arrested in November for possession of meth and stolen property.

There is no timetable for Allmendinger's possible return if he elects to enroll in NASCAR's Road to Recovery program. And if he does elect to pursue legal action, there's also no telling when a resolution would be found. (Mayfield's legal battle with NASCAR stemming from his positive test ended after he declined to file a final appeal this spring.) No matter what his course of action, even if Allmendinger reveals the specific reason for the test and enters NASCAR's treatment program, the events of the last week won't be forgotten, but they'll be much easier to be forgiven.

Even upon possible reinstatement, there's no guarantee that a ride will be available for Allmendinger. Penske admitted that there were already inquiries about the availability of the No. 22, and without a win to his credit, there may not be any suitors for Allmendinger.

Tags: , , , Penske, Penske Racing, sample test
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Join us for the latest Yahoo! Sports NASCAR chat, Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. ET

24 Jul

Time again for another Yahoo! Sports NASCAR chat! Off week? Forget that! We're back at it, talking Indy this weekend and other matters of interest. Join us at 1:30 ET (a half-hour later than usual) on Tuesday and we'll roll it!

Tags: half-hour, , , the latest Yahoo! Sports NASCAR, , , weekend, Yahoo! Sports NASCAR, Yahoo! Sports NASCAR live chat
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Paul Pittman flips his car in first NHRA Pro Stock start

23 Jul

Paul Pittman's first NHRA start also became his first NHRA flip.

In the first round of Sunday's Pro Stock division at the Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Colorado, Pittman's car — one he built himself -- started to drift towards the center line as he headed towards the finish line against top seed Allen Johnson.

As he moved to correct, the car turned sideways as it crossed the finish line and flipped over. Thankfully, it landed on its wheels after just one rotation, but then Pittman slammed into the wall twice after grazing it and catching on fire after the final impact. Pittman was unhurt, and thanked the NHRA's rules for being able to climb out of the car unscathed.

"Well, just pretty bad about the car, that's what I feel bad about. My wife was pretty excited… but I tried not to hit the cones," Pittman said after his crash. "I felt it get a little fishy on me and I just started towards the cones and I tried to go correct it so I wouldn't hit a cone and next thing I know (the car) started washing back and forth and then the next thing she went upside down and then I saw that wall coming and I said 'Man, this is going to be a big hit' because we were going at a big clip anyways, I don't know."

"And I hit the wall, after I hit the wall then I said "Oh, well, got by that' and then it slid over and it went to the other wall and I said 'well, hold on for that one.' Because it doesn't look good either. The second impact wasn't as strong as the first. "

"But all the safety equipment, all of NHRA's rules that everybody complains and bitch about is the reason I'm standing here right now."

Tags: , , Mile High Nationals, , , NHRA, Paul Pittman, Pittman, , ,
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Michael Andretti calls move to Cup in 2013 ‘highly unlikely’

21 Jul

Rumors have been swirling about Andretti Autosport's potential move to NASCAR and the Sprint Cup Series, but according to Michael Andretti, the chances of the team fielding a Sprint Cup car in 2013 are dwindling.

Andretti told the Indianapolis Star that the move wasn't dead, but it wasn't looking good either. ""We've got a couple of (sponsorship) deals working, but it's getting late," Andretti said on Friday. "It's not dead yet, but it's highly unlikely."

Andretti Autosport currently fields teams for Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay in the Izod IndyCar Series. Hunter-Reay has won the last three races of the season to take over the points lead with five races to go.

Any move to the Cup Series for Andretti Autosport has been strongly linked to Dodge, which currently does not have a flagship team for the 2013 season after Penske's move to Ford for next year. The team currently fields Chevys in the IndyCar Series, but any manufacturer conflicts likely wouldn't be an issue with a Sprint Cup move. Penske runs Chevys in the IndyCar Series and Chip Ganassi is affiliated with Chevy in NASCAR and Honda in IndyCar.

Tags: Andretti Autosport, , IndyCar, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, Michael Andretti, , Reay, sponsorship, Sprint Cup Series,
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Video: Is the Chase field already set?

19 Jul

It's an off weekend for NASCAR, but that won't stop us from prattling on about something or other. In this case, it's the Chase. Join us as we talk about whether the field for the top 10 is already set, and which two drivers have the best chance for a wild-card berth. Enjoy!

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• Rick Ankiel gets cut by Nationals on his birthday
• Jim Delany wants the right to fire coaches whose actions embarrass the Big Ten
• Amendment to ban military sponsorship of sports fails in U.S. House
• Shine: Are banana's the new energy drink?

Tags: berth, Birthday, Enjoy, Jim Delany, , , rick ankiel, the Chase field,
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Amendment to ban military sports sponsorship doesn’t pass U.S. House

18 Jul

The amendment to the 2013 defense spending bill that would have prohibited military branches from sports sponsorship didn't pass in the House of Representatives Wednesday night.

The amendment, which was sponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum (D, MN) and Rep. Jack Kingston (R, GA), fell 216-202. It would have cut more than $72 million from the proposed $608 billion bill. Supporters of the amendment argued that the return on the investment from sponsorships like on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car doesn't match the investment.

Racing would have been the sport most heavily affected by the cuts. Earnhardt and IndyCar Series driver JR Hildebrand are sponsored by the National Guard and NHRA driver Tony Schumacher is sponsored by the US Army. Ryan Newman is currently sponsored by the Army in the Cup Series, but the Army previously announced that it wouldn't be returning in 2013. The vote does not affect the Army's decision to leave the Sprint Cup Series, and it also said that it would be staying in the NHRA.

It was the third time that an amendment to ban sports sponsorships has been presented and defeated. However, the vote has gotten closer the last two times, so there's a fair chance that we'll see similar arguments in the near future, perhaps even on the next defense spending bill. Want to see how your representative voted? The House posts all vote results here.

Tags: , bill, , , Jack Kingston, military branches, , NHRA, , sponsorship, sports sponsorship, the House of Representatives Wednesday night,
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