Monday, November 30, 2009

I Was W...W...W...Wrong...

I am not one who is unable to admit when I am wrong...and I was wrong here. I thought that the LOORRS broadcast this past weekend would draw a larger audience than the prior TORC shows had on ABC. Incorrect.

On a holiday weekend with no NASCAR and on a network that has historically done well with short-course off-road racing, I anticipated an increase in ratings over this year's TORC results. What did the first network LOORRS broadcast generate?

A 0.5 which is EXACTLY the same as the last TORC broadcast a few weeks back. While the 0.5 is better than the September TORC show it is not as high as the 0.7 for the TORC broadcast earlier in the year. Again, as with the 0.5 for TORC, the LOORRS broadcast had an estimated 575,000 households tuning in with an estimated 633,000 viewers. knockout blow here. If LOORRS had been able to knock one out of the park with this broadcast by generating a 1.0 or higher it would have put them in a VERY strong position with NBC and advertisers coming in to '10. So what's the reason for the lack of improving ratings? By all accounts the LOORRS broadcast was better looking, better announced and better edited than the TORC programs and it wan't facing significantly different viewing competition (the NFL was on opposing channels for both the last TORC broadcast and this LOORRS show).

That leaves me with marketing...In both cases ABC and NBC failed to run a single promo (that I saw) for either broadcast. Now this is pretty standard with NBC's compilation shows (Jeep World of Adventure Sports, etc.) but if short course is ever going to grow beyond just filler for a network to throw in on a given weekend the network will have to take an active roll in promoting the sport. Its a chicken and egg thing I'm afraid and without an overwhelming reason, the networks are just not going to invest the money necessary to build an audience.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Those Damn Racist.......Swiss?!?!?!?

Man, I tell ya...this is likely to get the Swiss kicked out of the official Obama, far-left, socialist fan club...

Today the Swiss voters handily dealt at least a symbolic blow to the growth and acceptance of Islam in European society. By a margin of approx 57% to 43% the Swiss voted to ban the construction of mosque minarets in Switzerland feeling that they are just as much a symbol of Islamic intention as is the burqa, female genital mutilation and terrorism. Now, I can't as much say that I agree on that point, nor would I want this law passed in the U.S. but if thats what the Swiss want, then so be it. The voting was done in sufficient numbers and by a margin large enough to actually put the ban into the Swiss constitution, so this law isn't likley going anywhere anytime soon.

Evidently the Swiss population is now 6% Muslim and growing due to the influx (as seen throughout Western Europe) of refugees from the disintigration of various countries in Eastern Europe and war torn Africa/Mid-East and the Swiss are none too pleased. Long a haven of independant thought (and banking) I imagine the Swiss don't like the idea of their country turning into an African, socialist ghetto as much of urban France and England have become.

Did you know that the most common birth name in Western Europe is now "Mohammed"?


Well done by the Swiss...any stick in the eye of Muslim extremism is a good stick in the eye...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Beltran?? A Green Hardbody/Frontier Racing South of the Border...

OK. Thanks to my buddy Martin Islas down in a land much warmer that New Hampshire it looks like I have a new Nissan to follow. Not sure exactly who this is or exactly what the truck is—Is it a Hardbody with a Frontier grill? Is it really a linked racing Nissan? But I will endeavor to find out. I would imagine the way it looks that the rear end has a TON more travel than the front right now. Additionally I believe the red Nissan is actually the same truck as the green one, just with a different painted/swapped body. The driver's last name appears to be Beltran and appears to run in CODE races in Baja so I'll start looking there...

Only a Few Left...

The More Things Change...

One year ago this month I sat in a large auditorium with my fellow Citizens Bank employees and listened to our esteemed leader Ellen Allemany tell us how she was a integral cog in the banking/political machine that saved the Western world from falling into chaos during the banking crisis in the fall of '08. She went on to tell us all that "we" as in Citizens Bank and RBS were above the types of banks that had put us in this predicament. In fact she stated, RBS and Citizens would be the ones out there buying up banks and assets in the near future...

Fast forward a single month to mid/late December of '08 and...shocker, come to find out, Citizens had taken some big losses and RBS?? Wow, they were in serious trouble and would eventually need to be bought out by the nice citizens of Britain who currently own like 98% of the failed institution which went from the largest banking organization in the world to a shell of a joke of a sham all in the space of six months. We're talking hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands upon thousands of jobs here.

Jobs? Oh, yeah, jobs...I was dumped from mine at Citizens in January of '09 as Citizens was forced to shed expenses and departments to cut costs and raise capital for its more distressed English parent. Fortunately ten months later I've landed on my feet in a better job for more pay and better benefits. The ironic thing is that between the severance package I got and unemployment and such, I got to spend ten straight months with my son and actually ended up in a better job and am better off financially than I ever would have been at this point with Citizens...

Which brings us back to our title...

If you have been paying attention to the financial world in the past week you will likely have heard about the problems that Dubai is having in paying its debt. The investment arm of the government of Dubai is defaulting on a $60 billion required payment and asking for an additional six months to come up with the coin. And guess who is the largest owner of Dubai debt?? That's right...RBS. Those lucky British taxpayers are getting it in the rear end again. After bailing out the bank earlier this year, firing Sir Fred Goodwin and trying to shore up the long running institution they will now be required to pony up again as RBS continues its downward spiral with the default of one its largest payees.

So, Citizen Bank employees and thought your job and all those fees sucked big time already?? Well, wait till RBS gets through with the upcoming round of cost cutting and fee raising to pay for this little mistake...

Of course, Ellen, Fred and Stephen Hester (current CEO of RBS who, interestingly, has sold hundreds and hundreds of thousands of RBS shares in the last year while not buying a SINGLE one...) could actually be honest with their employees and customers and tell them that they are undercapitalized, in bad shape and likely to fail without a further massive infusion of capital from either the British citizens or an incoming buyer...

But then...that would be the right thing to do...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dakar Returning to Africa?

Sure sounds like it could happen. The head of the Dakar is now talking about discussions his organization has been having with countries in the East and South of Africa. Sad that given the continued instability and lawlessness of areas in West Africa the ASO is considering countries like Egypt and South Africa, a country where terrorist attacks on tourists are quite common (in one case) and another that leads the world in instances of rape (in the other).

If you are talking about getting the Dakar back to where it rightly belongs, anything short of starting the even in Western Europe and ending it in DAKAR is a cop out. And if you are not going to return it to its traditional route I say keep it in the lands of parties that last for months and beaches inhabited by the best looking women this side of a Victoria's Secret catalog...

Angelina Jolie—I Might Have to Start Renting More Often... Angelina can't stand Obama.

Now I've never been a big Angelina fan. She's never really done that much for me. Just something about her always felt odd. Like all her parts individually looked good but not as a whole...Regardess, I may have to rethink things. Turns out she really can't stand our current president which is kinda surprising given she's with Brad Pitt who is a HUGE Obama supporter and she hates her dad (John Voight) who is a HUGE Republican. Would have pegged her for a typical Hollywood Obama rumpswab...I was wrong...

“She hates him,” a source close to Jolie tells Us Weekly.
”She’s into education and rehabilitation and thinks Obama is all about welfare and handouts. She thinks Obama is really a socialist in disguise,” adds the source.
But don’t expect to see her rally against Democrats on Fox News like her staunch Republican father, Jon Voight.
“Angie isn’t Republican, but she thinks Obama is all smoke and mirrors,” the source says.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pat Tillman High School Highlight Reel...

I'm currently reading the book "Where Men Win Glory" by Jon Krakauer and when finished I will do a brief review of it. For now though I'll simply say that I have known about Pat Tillman for some time and always admired him. This book only makes that admiration grow. The more you know of the man, the more impressed one becomes. He will likely go down in the history books as a singularly memorable figure, long remembered after other current day, frivolous luminaries are forgotten.


Almost Done With the Old School...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Putting in the Good Dino Juice...

1600 miles and it's time for an oil change!!!!

OK, I likely didn't NEED to do an oil change this early but at 1600 miles the engine is well on its way to being broken in (if it isn't already) and I wanted to get the good stuff and filter on there as its one more thing to check off my never ending list of things to do...

Speaking with the guys at Jim Wolf Technology I was told that they use Mobil 1 0W-40 in most of their performance engines and it has performed very well for them. Given they are one of the most knowledgable outfits in the nation in regards to Nissan engines I figured I'd take their advice.

My how I love working on a clean, new vehicle. No dirt, no rust...just beautiful. As was the layout of the oil pan and filter. No contortions needed to get to either and just nicely set up. Couldn't have been simpler. 14MM wrench and oil filter pliers is all it took.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Redline Rally On Board!!!

Yup!! Time to announce another important partner who has chosen to join the Nismo Stuff Racing program.

This time it is Redline Rally.

Redline Rally is a longtime, locally owned operation focusing on custom vinyl applications for vehicles and more. When I met with Jeremy the other night to discuss the project he was actually on his way to a seperate business call where he was installing a new vinyl wrap for a jewelry store's roadside sign—obviously vehicles are not the only place for his skills!

Jeremy and Redline Rally will work with YOU to get you the look or logo you want for your vehicle or business. Additionally, Redline Rally will come to YOU for the application. No more having to drop your car/truck off somewhere for a week to get your work done!

Follow along as Redline Rally and Jeremy's steady hands transform the Nismo Stuff Racing Frontier from its plain Jane, all white, boredom mobile, into a modern day interpretation of the famous Red, White and Blue factory Nissan racers of the late 80's.

If you have any questions or inquiries, please feel free to drop Redline Rally a line.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Now THIS is a Mustang!!

Following up on the other day's theme...

You don't get much better than this. An old school Mustang, all tricked out to handle the wild and wooly (literally) Rally roads of East Africa. Driven by Ian Duncan, who is taking time away from his Nissan Patrol, this looks like a blast and extremely unique. Well done. More info here: Mustang to entern African Rally Race...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Now THIS is a Subaru!!

Looks like there is a Subaru coming to the '10 Dakar. Now I don't know if this if a factory effort or what it is. The video contains only Spanish wording on the signs and flags so I have a feeling it may be a privateer South African effort but I am not sure at the moment. I do know that Ken Block and Travis Pastrana were ribbing each other over TP heading to Dakar when I talked to them at this summer's New England Forest Rally so who knows??


Another Option for Light Racks, etc.

Especially if you are one of our Spanish speaking Nissan fans. And even more so if you live in Mexico. Came into contact with the owner of this business (Baja-Fab) a few weeks ago and he is sending some more pics of his products to me in the next few days. His english is a bit limited but he has some decent looking products. If you're south of the border or fluent in espanol give him a ring and see what you can work out!

More Old School...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Carlos Ghosn Says—Titan Lives On!!

Yup...Put it in the books. The Nissan Titan will live to see a 2nd Generation. Full size Nissan branded trucks are here to stay despite the setback suffered when Chrysler pulled out of their agreement to co-develop the next series of Titan/Ram vehicles.

You could ask for no higher authority than the reigning CEO-President of Nissan/Renault who was quoted today by the Detroit Free Press as saying the following "We're not about to retreat, Titan will have a replacement."

No further details were given but if Carlos says it will be done then you can pretty much call it a mortal lock. Perhaps no CEO in the automotive industry wields as much clout and influence over his company than Ghosn.

So be it. The Titan will live on and see a second generation. Let the speculation on what it will consist of and what options it will offer...

TORC Ratings for 11/08/09...

Better...but not by much...

That's how I'd describe last weekends ratings. It took me a while to get them this time for a variety of reasons but here they are.

The taped broadcast of the final TORC race of 2009 that ran from 1:30-2:30 PM Eastern on 11/08/09 and was the lead-in broadcast for that weekends NASCAR race (which earned a 3.7 rating and 4.25 million households) rated a 0.5. The 0.5 rating equates to approximately 575,000 households tuning in to the race. Conservatively estimating each household at say 1.1 viewers per household, it should mean that around 633,000 people viewed the race on ABC.

Compared to other events on the weekend the TORC broadcast was behind Figure Skating (0.7 rating), Bull Riding (0.8 rating), and the Fedor-Brett Rodgers fight (2.5 rating). The TORC broadcast did finish ahead of NBC's World of Adventure Sports broadcast (0.3 rating).

The previous TORC race on ABC back in early September grabbed a 0.4 rating, meaning this represented a 25% increase in viewership, though was still down 29% from the initial 0.7 rating from June's broadcast of the first TORC event.

For the year the TORC broadcasts averaged a 0.53 rating and 609,000 households (roughly 670,000 viewers per show). Not too bad but still less than 1/2 what the CORR broadcasts were grabbing on NBC a year earlier.

Just as an aside and just in my own opinion, it may be that these ratings are the reason that Rally Racing will remain within the X-Games in 2010 instead of being replaced by short-course style events. ABC and ESPN know that their stadium version of Rally Racing has always made for good TV and solid interest and it has not been shown as of yet that short-course garners the same interest right now.

You can attribute the lack of stellar ratings for TORC in '10 for whatever reason you like (poor promotion by ABC/ESPN, taped vs. live, early scheduling putting the broadcast on in the mid morning for the West Coast, etc.) but it will be interesting to see what ABC/ESPN2 do with the shows in '10.

I do need to thank Paulsen at Sports Media Watch for helping me get these figures. Thanks!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nissan On Board...

Partnered with my first corporate entity today in looking to build my race truck/team. I am now officially under the Nissan Motorsports banner. I hope this will not keep me from critiquing their decided lack of general support for motorsports efforts in the U.S. but I do need to acknowledge and thank them for their support of grassroots efforts such as mine in assisting with the purchase of Nissan parts at a dealership rate and with direct access to these parts. I will attempt to remain objective in terms of my viewpoint of Nissan and its efforts but I also want to be clear of my relationship with them. I receive no money from Nissan and am partnered with them in terms of receiving discounted parts.

Thank you Nissan, NISMO, Scott Vazin, Diana Davis, Paul St. Clair and Ron Stukenberg. May this be a long and successful relationship!

And More...

Gigawave Nissan GT-R NOT Coming to Daytona...

Despite hopes to the contrary here in the U.S. it appears as if there will be no Nissan GT-R entry in the 2010 24-Hours of Daytona. In speaking with some members of the Great Britain based Gigawave MotorSports team it is clear that while they would love to come over and run in the Daytona, Florida event (trading wet, cold England for warm sunny Florida seems like a good start to me!!) their focus is on the 2010 FIA GT1 series and also express regret that cars constructed for FIA's GT1 class would not be admitted. This is highly regretable as it appears that Gigawave MotorSport has some solid backing from NISMO Europe at the very least and I would imagine that the GT-R market is larger here stateside than it is in Europe...

Regardless, it does seem as if the team will make an attempt to make it easy for GT-R fans to follow their '10 season via the internet and what follows is the team's statement on my inquiry into a possible Daytona entry.

It's great to see interest in Gigawave's FIA GT1 World Championship 2010 campaign has reached US shores!

We are very excited about the GT-R's potential. The Nissan GT-R in its 2010 FIA GT1 homologation specification truly is worthy of carrying the torch of its predecessors.

Having been Nismo's official development partner for the GT-R during 2009, we've gained a huge amount of insight into the car both in test and in non-championship entries into the 2009 FIA GT1 season, including a podium at Spa 24H. Under Team Principal Nigel Stepney the team is looking for a very aggressive showing in the debut world title year.

Daytona 24Hr: we'd love to go to Daytona - endurance is what we are all about at Gigawave MotorSport...but it will have to be at some time in the future when the GT1 class is admitted; right now, our focus is absolutely on the FIA GT1. We're determined to make the championship in its first world title year a real thriller.

I am following up your enquiries with some of our colleagues at Nissan & Nismo, and will come back very soon with more from ourselves, especially with more on how our growing fan base can keep up with our news and get exclusives. And needless to say, any of your readers who get to the planned rounds in your hemisphere are going to be hugely appreciated by the team.—Rikki Nath

Car and Team Info: Gigawave MotorSports