the news is a little outdated already, in fact i am a couple of weeks late here, but boy oh boy, that lightning stroke: matt kenseth made his return to the cup series as a replacement driver for kyle larson at CGR for the remainder of the 2020 season. that! is!! awesome!!!
i never really mentioned matt’s farewell from the series at the end of the 2018 season here. i didn’t even watch most of his races in the #6 car. the man still is such a hero to me, i couldn’t stand seeing him in a car that just wasn’t capable of winning.
with his return my interest, my excitement and all enthusiasm immediately skyrocketed back up to 100, just like all fell to almost zero in late 2018. it’s a funny thing to look at myself from back then. i was like “i don’t think i’ll ever be interested in the sport again. good times, over now!”. well, no. hehe… fourth wave?
right now, i definitely think NASCAR got me back. i am seriously looking forward to feeling a ton of excitement as long as matt is behind his wheel. and even after that, let’s see who’s gonna replace him as my favourite driver. the most promising candidate for now certainly is william byron. let’s wait how things will turn out… but for now:
as a follow-up of last year’s post, i’ll quickly check what happened in 2017 in my cute motorsport universe:
the 2017 NASCAR season was nothing too special, i’d say. the newly invented stage racing format killed a good part of the “endurance” factor but my personal nightmare was something else: somewhere in the midst of the season rumors emerged saying 2017 could mark matt kenseth’s final season. time creeped by until matt himself announced the fact that he indeed didn’t have a seat for the upcoming cup series. erik jones will take over the #20 and all the other available seats were given to wtf names. even though hope is known for dying last, it eventually did and therefore i quit my subscription of raceview. unlike in the early 2000s when rusty wallace waved goodbye to the cup, there is no successor this time, no too interesting young gun. well, erik jones maybe, ok… or william byron? we’ll see.
the WRC season was a complete success. the new cars are fantastic, gone was vw dominance, warmly welcomed were different manufacturers and driver’s names on the podiums – and the thrill! hell yeah! it was a purely exciting season, the first one in more than a decade. in the end the champion was the same though, but winning the whole thing in a ford gained ogier a ton of respect. thumbs up, WRC!
world rallycross championship lost almost all of its fascination and attractivity again in the blink of an eye. everything started good and interesting but soon turned into a hyperboring vw dominance show. not only that lydden hill was permanently kicked off the schedule, they also will skip hockenheim for the 2018. thumbs down! it all will depend on the first few races whether or not RX will go across the styx soon.
highlights 2017: the NASCAR whelen euroseries made its first stop in hockenheim which was a very cool thing to attend (still lots of potential for growth and optimization though). the outstanding highlight clearly was the 24 hours of le mans live at porsche museum in zuffenhausen. the 919 hybrid took the heavily celebrated win in porsche’s last LMP 1 season.
in 2018 i hopefully will finally manage to go to le mans… in any case i’m gonna focus on the endurance series and finally turn myself towards my longer lasting but always shy love for LMP3 cars…
it’s clearly a one of a kind experience to be able to follow your favourite driver as a realtime 3d-model from a variety of angles throughout an entire race, listening to in-car audio and having all kinds of live stats available all the time – nerd’s paradise! it makes you feel more connected, especially to your driver of course, but also to the entire race in general since the whole thing runs interruption-free, a big bonus primarily in NASCAR, where the live broadcast is paused every 5 minutes for commercial reasons.
despite all that, it all makes sense only as long as there is somebody out on the race track that you call your favourite driver. my favourite driver since the retirement of rusty wallace is matt kenseth who most probably won’t run (fulltime) in the upcoming season. so far there is no successor in sight and that’s why i just stopped my subscription to RaceView after three seasons.
big thanks & shouts to NASCAR, all thumbs up for this thing! i’ll get back as soon as there is another star in my personal cup driver firmament…
(screenshot from the final race of the 2017 cup series season)
the timeframe between end of november and mid january (rallye monte carlo) or mid february respectively (daytona 500), motorsport nerds traditionally are busy with speculating on rumors, contingencies and expectations concerning driver seat swaps, rule changes and stuff. 2016 edition: “what might the launch season of the NASCAR monster energy cup be like?”, “can’t wait to see the power-enhanced cars and especially the all new toyota yaris WRC performing!”, “will dodge really announce the comeback to the NASCAR cup series?”, “what might happen to the drivers of the former volkswagen motorsports WRC team?” and so on and so on. it’s also the time to recall the past season, watch the missed races, take a look to other motorsport series – or even explore new things like “australian v8 ute racing series”. it’s also the time to download and install the new mods and updates for the big three.
my personal retrospection on the 2016 motorsport year brings out first and foremost the live discovery of the world rallycross championship with the attendance at our lovely hockenheimring earlier this year. even though i knew this genre before (more from the global rallycross championship) i was charmed, fascinated and taken away by the live action and tension right away. it certainly outshines the pop duo in some way – but NASCAR as well as WRC had solid seasons too.
so, what to expect from 2017 finally? besides all usual stuff i’ll try to follow the “veranstaltergemeinschaft langstreckenpokal nürburgring” endurance series as close as possible (maybe even with a live attendance?) as well as the german national rallye championship. world RX makes its stop again in hockenheim in early may and the NASCAR whelen euro series in july. see you there!
the question was whether to choose post #17 or #20 for my little matt kenseth tribute. as you can see i went with the #17. matt kenseth in his #17 ford totally represents my second NASCAR wave.
first wave started around late 80s / early 90s i guess. for a very long while i didn’t see any race, i only knew the cars and the fact that they were racing on oval tracks. NASCAR became part of my personal US myth (alongside drag racing, burgers and monster trucks) – and was per se awesome. later on, german sportkanal and eurosport started to broadcast short summaries after the race weekends. i got in touch with driver names and race tracks. my first wave hero was rusty wallace in his miller #2 car (pontiac / ford / dodge).
second wave started early 2000s and was pushed mainly by the availability of internet. when i watched the first full length cup race i was deeply impressed how long they are in fact. i only knew f1 and dtm so far. it soon turned out that this was no comparison at all (not only in terms of race length actually). i still cheered for rusty wallace but soon there was this young roush driver in his #17 dewalt ford coming up, who fascinated me more and more. matt kenseth became the symbol of this new era with full length race enjoyment and american commentators. down to the present day i never watched a race with german live commentary. boogity, boogity, boogity! kenseth won the cup title in 2003 and was my ultimate hero. a couple of years later i lost interest though. the fancyness of the ‘new’ vanished.
third wave started early 2010s when my son developed a shy interest in racing video games. since he struggled a little with the controls (small hands, big controller) and the track layouts of laguna seca, bathurst, spa and so on (what is a turn and why do i have to break?) i remembered these rather beginner friendly fenced ovals, where walls and safer barriers keep staggering race cars on track if necessary. matt kenseth was still driving the #17 car as i found out with immediately emerging excitement. third wave still persists and my NASCAR cheering reached its next higher level: sim racing, live races with raceview usage and cute contact to NASCAR dudes from all over the planet. for the 2013 season matt kenseth left roush racing and moved on to joe gibbs racing – currently driving the #20 dollar general toyota camry. he is still competitive, sovereign, consistent and awesome. but despite everything he’ll always be associated with his #17 car i guess. thats why i picked this blog post.
(picture taken from: http://www.modelroundup.com/)
as soon as another supposedly groundbreaking topic dominates the news, western world is caught in gasping and widespread expert’s escape from their holes for publicly masturbating on eachother’s opinion-faces, it’s time to take a book or a movie – or play some video games.
most of my games are more or less old, i got only a few younger ones and those are kept retro (broforce and stuff). if i started today playing through all of my games, it would keep me busy for the rest of my life probably. it’s the same with reading all my books. my video game library is distinguishable into two different categories: car racing games (75%) and others (25%). platforms: pc, ps1, ps2. the hype left me around 10 years ago obviously.
i think i jumped off that train early enough. there hasn’t happened too much in simracing meanwhile, except graphical improvements of course. but a racing game with sufficient realism regarding physics and graphics is perfectly suitable for me. the big three on pc are:
- richard burns rally (2004)
- rfactor (2005)
- NASCAR racing 2003 season (2003)
what still excites me a lot is mods for racing games (gaming for me is spiced up massively when this kind of adventure and experimentalism is part of the party). what excites me even more: there are even 2016 mods for all of these games mentioned above. long live the retro vibe! (i’m 35 now and therefore allowed to say that!)
oval racing in general and NASCAR in particular aren’t too popular in germany. everybody can race in circles, they say. it’s american and probably as fake as wrestling, they say. it’s boring, they say and with a self-congratulatory grin they point at the formula 1 cars in tv. that’s the thing for germans. no doubt about that.
as a school kid i asked my dad about those mysterious race cars that were shown in short summary broadcasts in german television. i immediately liked them because they looked like cars i knew from the streets. ok, very fast versions of them with huge numbers on roof and side doors. they soon became part of my america glorification, alongside the ultimate warrior and grave digger.
when i visited the united states years later, i went to daytona beach of course (where it all began); i even stood on the banking of the speedway with my head full of imagination. problem: no race. at least nothing worth watching. it’s still on my list to go there on raceday, or better: to bristol, dover or martinsville.
what i loved is the fact that (at least down south) there are oval shaped race tracks in every second village. and so my host father and me went to watch his son racing in some wild looking kind of gokart (a so called “midget” as i know now). we even watched a late model shootout, which established my immortal love for these rockets.
back to NASCAR: my first favourite driver was rusty wallace and since the days when i saw the first full length race (thanks internet!) it’s matt kenseth. i’m still watching NASCAR at sunday night (german time). it became some sort of tradition over the years. “and now, for the most famous words in motorsports…”; yeah, i’m still receptive for this kind of pathos. ungerman and proud, hehe.