Monday, February 28, 2011

Google's Adsense--It Works!

OK, so I'm not about to get rich and retire anytime soon.  Nor will this income (at this point) pay for more than an hour or two of labor on my race vehicle...

But I suppose every penny counts and I am actually shocked that I just got paid.

That's right...a little over a year since I first started this twisted little site I got paid $107.26 for the eyeballs and clicks my site has generated for the little advertisements on the page.  Shocking really when you think about it, that a bunch of companies that I know nothing about and have no connection to are paying Google to then pay me to allow them to put their little blurbs on my meaningless little site.

Oh, well.  If its there for the taking you might as well be part of the game right?  I think that $107.26 just paid for a single spring on my truck's front suspension...and when I look at it that way...that ain't half bad.

Infiniti Goes F1 Racing!

The fierce looking race car seen above is the RB7--the Red Bull chassis that will compete in F1 this year, whenever it starts (first race in Bahrain has been cancelled).

The major change in the above vehicle between now and then will the the removal of the Renault logo and name and in its place to be found the Infiniti logo and name.

Infiniti, with a large push from Nissan/Renault head Carlos Ghosn, has paid for all of Red Bull Racing's engines for 2011 and 2012 and will also provide other technical support to the team and will in turn see the Infiniti marquee splashed across the world via F1.  Nissan/Renault is attempting to break into the Mercedes, BMW, etc. dominated world of high end vehicles in Europe where Infiniti has virtually no presence and this will bring the brand to the hottest spotlight in world motorsports.

Given all the cross-brand development and engineering between Renault and Nissan/Infiniti and likelihood that some Renault and even Mercedes engines will find their way into Infiniti branded vehicles in Europe, I have no problem with this rebadging.  Anything that helps the Nissan/Infiniti brand--especially in motorsports is bound to have my support.

I could never really get into a Renault effort as they don't make anything sold here in the US and despite their partial ownership of Nissan, it just wasn't something I could get behind either at Red Bull or the Renault factory team.  But now??  I'll be watching Speed Channel and following along with the F1 season to see if Infiniti can get Red Bull Racing to the championship for the second consecutive year.

Red Bull Racing receives large infusion of cash, engine support from Nissan/Infiniti for F1 season...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

East Coast Snocross at Rockingham Park...

Took my five year old out to this race today.  He still has the attention span of a juvenile rodent...

Regardless, for the couple hours we were at Rockingham Park in Salem, NH, the racing was pretty darn good.

I am not a follower of this series so I didn't know the racers involved but there was a great variety of classes--from young kids in the 10 year old age range up to semi-pros driving near unrestricted snowmobiles.  I am always amazed at the air these vehicles get given their weight and minimal suspension travel.  When they hit the snow there is an audible "whump" as the snow seemingly takes up at least as much of the impact as the suspension does.

The event was REALLY well run with races being spaced, literally, only about 30 seconds between races as they were able to stage the following race at the same time the current race was finishing up.

The conditions were nearly perfect.  With six inches of fresh, powdery snow from the previous night and light flurries throughout the day, it had a perfect, mid-winter feel to the day, despite its late February date.  It just wouldn't have felt right if it was all mud and shining sun and 60 degrees out.

Rockingham Park was a great place for the event as well.  The fee for the event was only $15 for me and free for my son.  There was both indoor and outdoor viewing available given the horse racing design of the location and a fair amount of decent concessions.  I would definitely recommend attending an East Coast Snocross event if one comes near you in the future.

Lastly, the only negative about the entire event was the presence of a few Hells Angels bikers at the race.  I guess no New Hampshire event can be complete without a few bikers trying to move some meth.  Really, look at these clowns.  Its winter, its snowing, its 30 degrees out.  Yet here they are with their belly button length leather jackets and one has no hat, oh, and obviously no bikes.  Overhearing their conversation it was typical--"Ya, I used to get in all sorts of trouble here in Salem, blah, blah, blah..."  They had no interest in the event itself and were their typical waste of oxygen...

East Coast Snocross Series...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bypasses and the Dash is Fitted...

The dash is now welded into the body and the supports and cutouts for the GPS and the intercom are all in place.  Additionally, the 2.5 inch, three tube bypass, 16" travel Radflo shocks are in house and mocked into place.  the upper mounts are yet to be fabbed but the location is identified and will work very well.

This coming week should see a ton of progress as the design work is all out of the way and much of what remains is on the simpler side of fabrication and touchup work.

While this will soon wrap up the interior and rear of the vehicle for the near term, the front of the vehicle still has a long way to go...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Giant Dinosaur Fish Caught in Mississippi!!

I love stories like this.

It makes me feel like all is right with the world and that there are still deep and dark, unknown places left to be explored.

I truly get depressed when it appears that nearly every foot of land has been trod and every fathom plumbed.  I know there are huge issues yet to be resolved: reconciling quantum theory with general relativity, etc., but those are such advanced, esoteric items that it is something tangible like this that I truly get excited about.

A Mississippi man caught this record breaking, 327 pound, 8+ foot Alligator Gar in a lake this past week.  A relatively primitive fish, the Alligator Gar can survive outside water for a couple hours, has been known to attack man with its dual rows of sharp teeth and is the largest freshwater fish in North America.

Just don't put me in a pond with it!

Mississippi man catches record Alligator Gar...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pearl Jam Quote O' the Day...

"One man stands the edge of the ocean
A beacon on dry land
Eyes upon the horizon
In the dark before the dawn...

...Last I saw, he was out there waiting
A silhouette in the black light, full moon glow
In the sand there he stands upon the shore

From the 2009 Album Backspacer, and the song "Force of Nature"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

2011 Rally Perce-Neige

The first of 2011's CARS (Canadian Association of RallySport) events went off back on the first weekend of February up in Quebec.  Not unexpectedly the event was won by Antoine L'Estage and Natalie Ricard in their '09 Mitsu Evo X.  The margin of the win?  A decidedly untypical for Rally 6+ minutes over host of Subies that could not keep up.

There was one Nissan entrant for the weekend.  In this case it was the Sentra SE-R of Rodrigo Monte Rey.  One of only three Stateside competitors, Monte Rey came all the way from Virginia to make this event.  He finished 26th out of 42 entrants.

Perce-Neige Website and 2011 Results...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dash Coming Rounding Into Shape...

Yes, we are moving on to the interior of the vehicle.  The dash was a bit of a headache and in order to get inside the vehicle had to be cut in half and then TIG'd back together to get into place.  It is beautifully rounded and shaped into place however and will have its bottom edge rounded as well to prevent anyone from banging their legs into a sharp edge.  The gauges and GPS and such are next to go in with the replacement of the steering wheel to come at that time as well.

We were also measuring the rear of the vehicle for the new shocks for that section today and those will be ordered this weekend.

As an added bonus, I posted two pictures of the shop the truck is currently being built in.  If you can guess two of the other cars in the shop currently and in various states of their builds I will send the first correct answer a NISMO Stuff Racing Tshirt in their preferred size.  Guess away!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

STPR Wellsboro Winter Rally 2011

Not many entrants for this race held last weekend but at least there was a Nissan.  Well a Datsun at least.

The 280Z of Greg Healey, one of the most reliable entrants to show up at all sorts of events in the Northeast finished 4th out of seven entrants in this event with the Open class '00 Mitsu Evo taking the win.

Despite it being a very small event, you have to give the drivers/owners credit for taking their vehicles out and flogging them through what looks like some very tough conditions.

The other notable finish/entrant was Justin Carven and his biodiesel powered VW Rabbit TDI that finished just ahead of Greg Healey in 3rd.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Helmet, Leaf Springs, Shackles and Rear Window...

Really beginning to look like something, though it has far more to go.

Pyrotech helmet came in today, all pre-wired for the PCI Race Radio intercom system.  So the old melon should be well protected and be able to hear the co-driver and crew.

Deaver Springs race pack leafs and PRG shackles (not pictured) to improve the rear suspension and ditch the overload leafs.

And lastly the final result of the rear Lexan window.  Wow.  Wish I could say I can see the finish line at this point but honestly??  Nope...finish line is still WAAAY out there...

Remaining to be done you ask?  Rear shocks and upper and lower mounts, triangulate the rear down braces into the main cage, tire carrier mount on the rear part of the cage, engine cage, and entire front suspension, dash (and all that goes with it) and then anything I "forgot".  And this doesn't include all the things I'd like to have--skid plates, front bumper, rear bumper, auxiliary lighting...

Arcade Fire vs. Rush for Suburban Supremacy...

I have heard Arcade Fire on the radio numerous times but now may have to go out and buy some of their stuff.

Coming from the Great White North like another favorite band of mine (Rush), Arcade Fire recently won a Grammy (not that that is a sign of talent or good music) and is now having its lyrics compared to and analyzed side by side with the Rush song "Subdivisions".

I will pick up Arcade Fire's "new" album The Suburbs and add an "album review" post on it to the site in the near future.

iO9 Compares Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" to Rush's "Subdivisions"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Frontier is 2nd Best Selling Small Pickup in America...

January 2011.

That's the month that Nissan lay claim to having the second best selling small pickup in the US.

For January 2011, Toyota sold 7,140 Tacomas while Nissan sold 2,944 Frontiers (inclusive of 148 Suzuki Equators) and Ford sold 2,848 Rangers (no, there were no Mazda B-Series sold in 1/11).  The Ranger total was also a 12 month low for sales of that model, meaning that finally, in its last year of production, buyers are realizing that there are actually other small truck models out there.

While I don't think that the Frontier will eclipse the Tacoma anytime soon, it does show that Nissan has a model here--especially with Ford exiting the market completely later this year and the Colorado/Canyon being overpriced and underdesigned.  If Nissan would throw some muscle behind the Frontier the number of conquest sales from those buyers in the market for a small pickup could be substantial.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Amores Perros: A Film Review...

This is the third film featuring Gael Garcia Bernal that I've enjoyed and would definately tab him as one of my favorite actors working today.

Much like in The Motorcycle Diaries or Y Tu Mama Tambien, Bernal dominates the scenes he appears in and is the obvious star to come out of this film.

While other films in recent years have borrowed heavily from the directing and scripting style found within Amores Perros (noteably the garbage that is Paul Haggis' Crash and the excellent Traffic) this film weaves its three plot lines together in the most effective fashion and is the best of director Alejandro González Iñárritu's best known films (Babel, 21 Grams and Amores Perros).

Though Bernal stands out, all the actors here put together strong performances conveying the appropriately raw emotions surrounding the issues of death, love, violence, and betrayal. The weakest of the three "stories" contained within the film (the middle of the three) deals with an upper class couple who end up losing a dog (dogs are central to all three segments) under the floorboards of their townhouse and I ended up wanting to scream at the characters to just rip up the friggin floor and get the dog out rather than listening the damn thing whine away day after day.

Outside of the lack of believability that anyone would live in a house while their dog lies trapped under their floorboards while they go about their life, the film is a solid work and adds to the quality films and talent to come out of Mexico in recent years with directors such as Iñárritu, Cuaron, and Guillermo Del Toro (dubbed the Three Amigos).

Most interesting to me within this film is the depiction of Mexican life from a Mexican eye. It is obvious there are two distinct worlds within Mexico and here, specifically within Mexico City. An early scene where one of the films central characters, living as a cart pushing street bum, shoots a banker through a pane of glass while the banker had been enjoying an expensive lunch/coffee with his back turned to the dirty homeless man, is aptly symbolic of the "walls" between the two worlds existing side by side but rarely paying attention to one another in modern Mexico. Be sure to enjoy this decidedly non-Hollywood film.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Windup Girl: A Book Review...

Paolo Bacigalupi's novel has been given numerous awards by both SciFi groups and the mainstream media (named as the ninth best work of fiction for 2009 by Time magazine) but in truth is a much more limited work than that.

Bacigalupi's use of language and ability to draw the reader within a fictional world is remarkable.  Reading The Windup Girl you do feel as if you are living within a future Bangkok and the detail within the book is some of the best I've read.  The dirt, heat, grime, humidity, and fear are all palpable on every page. 

Bacigalupi's characters are complete and multi-faceted.  His plot lines are interwoven and extremely (perhaps too much so) similar to those found in the works of William Gibson while the pacing begins appropriately slow as the setting is created yet never drags on its way to an ending with a staccato of action.

Truth be told, the book reads like one of the best novels I've come across.  The problem lies in the fact that the basic premise of the novel is so flawed that one cannot take all the other thoughts, projections, analysis and creations seriously.

Falling squarely into the "enviro-punk" genre of SciFi, Bacigalupi's world, some 200+ years from now (or thereabouts) is one in which the carbon fuel based world in which we currently reside (petrol cars, coal fired energy plants, and all forms of transportation/energy) has more or less collapsed.  Regardless of all the other things which Mr. Bacigalupi extrapolates upon from our current world (Genetically modified food companies dominating the world, continued rise of Muslim and Christian extremists, rising oceans, etc.) which may or may not be reasonable projections this singular assumption ruins the rest of the book.

I don't disagree with Mr. Bacigalupi that the very basic carbon based fuel world is doomed and already in decline.  Nor do I disagree with him on the fact that this change will result in a massive reshaping of the political and socioeconomic world.  My problem lies in the fact that in Bacigalupi's world, some 200 years from now, NOTHING has come to replace carbon fueled energy sources.  Not wind, not nuclear, not hydrogen, not wave, not geothermal, not something yet heard of.

Given the pace of change in the world, the already near term existence of not only pure electric transportation but hydrogen based fuel sources and the current state of countries that ALREADY power their societies via nuclear and other sources, does it seem likely that we will be returning to dirigibles, sailboats, sewage/garbage based methane for lights and bicycle driven computers?  No.  On its very face the proposition is laughable.

While I don't suspect that we'll be whizzing around in flying hydrogen cars tomorrow, Bacigalupi's Earth-First enviro-holocaust doom world is so far out of left (and I do mean left) field that the book borders on the farcical.  He has let his Sierra Club membership take over his writing abilities and the novel suffers greatly for it.  While some in the media have and will continue to claim that this book is revolutionary and part of some "new wave" of environmental issue based SciFi genre it is more likely to age poorly and be relegated to the dustbin containing talented writers who failed to put a believable idea down on paper.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nissan Motorsports 2011--Fantastic!

Wow.  Now that caught me by surprise...

I had my suspicisions that Nissan Motorsports in the US might be ramping up again as every time I got emails from them the list of Nissan Motorsports employees that were CC'd on the message kept growing and I had heard that they moved into a new building.

But coming back to short course racing?  Continuing to support Brass Monkey racing in the World Challenge series after a disasterous 2010?  Supporting a LeMans series effort?  Signing on to be an engine supplier for multiple LeMans series teams?  And this doesn't include the three car 370Z effort out of AM Performance or any of their more grassroots support or the other series efforts mentioned in the press release below that may see significant support.

Well done Nissan, well done.  I can't wait for a busy 2011!!

02.09.2011 , NASHVILLE, Tenn.


Nissan Motorsports has announced it will be expanding its motorsports involvement in 2011 by supporting teams in several professional racing series and enhancing their contingency program for grassroots racing teams.

The racing series are diverse and include World Challenge with the Nissan GT-R, TORC off-road racing with the Nissan Titan and numerous grassroots series throughout the country.

“Nissan has always believed in creating a partnership between the company and the dedicated teams who compete in our vehicles” said Ron Stukenberg, Senior Manager, Nissan Motorsports. “We will be expanding our support with several professional teams as well as increasing our contingency program for grassroots teams.”

Here are some of the series Nissan will support this season:
  • TRAXAS TORC Series (The Off-Road Championship)
    - PRO 2WD Truck Class – Driver/Owner Chad Hord will pilot the Boss Snowplow/AMSOIL Nissan Titan after placing 4th in points last year.
    - PRO LIGHT 2WD Truck Class – Driver/Owner Casey Currie will defend his 2010 PRO LIGHT 2WD Championship in the Monster Energy Nissan Frontier.
  • World Challenge
    - GT Class – Brass Monkey Racing will return with a 2-car Nissan GT-R team. Tony Rivera and Steve Ott will be driving these iconic race cars in the emerging World Challenge Championship Series.
  • American Le Mans Series
    - LMP2 Class – Signature Racing (based in France) intends to campaign a Nissan powered LMP2 entry in the ILMC (International Le Mans Championship) and the Le Mans 24 Hour race. The ILMC includes 2 races in the U.S. – The 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
  • Grassroots Amateur Racing
    - Nissan is in the process of finalizing and expanding its support of grassroots racing including: SCCA Club Racing, NASA, Formula Drift, Grand-Am Continental Tire Series and the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series.
“We look forward to competitive success in all Motorsports venues where Nissan products are involved.” said Stukenberg. “From the Trans Am 510s in the 1970s to the fire-breathing IMSA GTP and GTS cars in the 1980’s and 90s and off-road racing trucks 2000s, Nissan has a long history of winning professional championships in the U.S. In grassroots racing Nissan has a record total of 89 SCCA Runoffs National Championships, well ahead of every other manufacturer, and we’re looking to add more championships all the time.”

In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. More information about Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at

Smuggle Truck Teaser...

I don't have an iPad, but if I did...this would be a game I'd laugh at but not buy.

Let me point out that I don't think the death of illegal immigrants is "funny".  I don't approve of their method of trying to enter the US but that doesn't mean I wish them dead.

I find this funny in the same way I find videos poking fun at rednecks and inbreeding in West Virginia funny.  I am a equal opportunity offender.

This game just happens to be getting all the publicity recently because illegal immigrants are a protected class of people according to many on the left who use all sorts of silly language (migrant workers, undocumented worker, etc.) to get around stating what these individuals truly are.

Regardless...On with the video!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

HANS Device, Cage Painted, Radflos and More...

So its been a bit since I've updated the blog with what is occuring with the NISMO Stuff truck.

Never fear, things are progressing.  The cage is now fully painted and will not need to be attended to after every race to prevent rust.  It looks beautiful and Dube's Customs has done a fantastic job once again.

Next we have the acquisitin of the HANS device.  Required safety equipment here.  Purchased from HMS Motorsports as I could go there, try it, and make sure I got the correct size.  It's not the cheapest of the head and neck systems but it is one of, if not the, simplest to use and least involved in getting on and off.

Then we have the quick release fire extinguisher brackets and extinguishers themselves.  The brackets are from RPS (Race Prep Services) and available at Kartek.  One will go in the cab in reach of the co-driver and driver and the other will go on the bed cage.  The two extinguishers are, together, large enough to meet the RA/NASA rules for the amount required.

Roll cage padding is required in all series to cover the cage in any area where a driver/co-driver's head may impact the metal bars.  The padding must be SFI 45.1 rated.  I picked up eight, three foot sections from Safe Drives and will cut it to the needed lengths.

And lastly we have the 2.5 inch Radflo coilovers and King springs that will make up the damping part of the new front suspension setup that is coming together currently out in California...Oh...yeah...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

ORECA Takes the 03 Design Testing...

Truly a world class operation ORECA motorsports has previously won the LeMans and is a massive, multi-million dollar company operating in a number of series.

Thus it is fantastic that they are building their new ORECA 03 chassis with Nissan V8 power.  They will perform the testing and engineering necessary to run at the front of the LeMans series.

Proving this was a recent 1000 km test run at the next door Paul Ricard circuit in Marseilles, France.  Reportedly the Nissan engine ran well and they will be doing more testing in February.  Further great news is that ORECA is selling these chassis' and Nissan engines to other teams that want to run high end endurance events throughout Europe and the US.  Nissan motorsports is on the rise again...

ORECA Home Page...
ORECA takes new chassis testing...

Nissan/Mercedes Relationship to Bear Fruit...

The first vehicle incorporating a merge of the two company's technologies will be unveiled this March in Geneva at the auto show there...

Housed within the design of the smallest Infiniti yet will be a 1.8L turbo engine sourced from Mercedes-Benz.  With a reported 202hp on tap the small displacement turbo should be perfect for an entry level luxury coupe from Infiniti, further expanding its lineup.  We'll have to see exactly what this vehicle ends up representing and being priced at but I don't think Infiniti wants to go downmarket too much as they have just introduced the G25 that is already down in the high $20M price point.

While Lexus continues to age and put forth uninteresting products, Infiniti is positioning itself as the interesting, sporty, Japanese luxury alternative.

MotorTrend article on upcoming Mercedes powered Infiniti model....

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Local Motors: Racing the Rally Fighter this Weekend...

The ground breaking, crowd sourced, startup American car company known as Local Motors will be racing the Rally Fighter at this weekend's Best in the Desert Parker 425.

Not a Stage Rally race but a full on, off-road desert race.  While I know Local Motors has done some testing in the dunes and sand of the Southwest, I'm not sure they've seen the likes of what they are about to contest this weekend.  That being said, the team on board to race the vehicle is an experienced one in Wildcard Racing and it sounds like they have been doing a fair amount of prep work on it.

To get the Rally Fighter compliant for desert racing a number of changes had to be made including the substitution of a fuel cell for the standard gas tank and additional bracing for the cage of the vehicle.  The vehicle will run in the Sportsman class as it certainly doesn't fit in any other standard class, though evidently, if there is enough interest, Casey Folks (head of BITD racing) may look to create one in the future.  With five Rally Fighters reportedly built to date, I'm not sure if Local Motors' original intention was to create a new class in desert racing but it appears they are getting the use/abuse that they so richly deserve.

At around 3,800 pounds and carrying an engine capable of over 400 hp, my hope for the vehicle will be for it to be able to skip across the rougher sections and not meet up with any Trophy Trucks or Class 1s as the Rally Fighter still looks a bit fragile to me.  You can follow the race on Saturday if you wish via satellite tracking and see how it performs.

Changes to the Rally Fighter for desert racing...
RDC thread on the Rally Fighter racing this weekend...
Best in the Desert racing series...
IRC tracking for the event...