Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Datsun 510 vs. Nissan Juke--In the Dirt Comparo

Now this is an awesome head to head matchup.

What "could" be a solid modern rally vehicle vs. an all time classic rally vehicle.  I have loved the Juke since covering its U.S. debut two springs ago in NYC and have always thought it would make a great rally vehicle given its looks, turbocharged engine and AWD.  Couldn't you just see a Nissan WRC team kitted out with red, white and blue Jukes??  Very similar to what Mini is doing right now with their Countryman.

The 510 is a classic and this one has a SE-R motor in it and should be a great piece of work.  The video shows how sketchy a RWD vehicle can be in the dirt, rarely pointing its nose down the middle of the road and the driver always sawing at the wheel.

The video here is also fantastic with some great scenery of the snow and cloud covered mountains in the background.  Heck, the Juke actually gets some pretty good air for stock suspension and tires and no roll cage or saftey equipment!

Enjoy folks...enjoy...

510 vs. Juke Comparison Article...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Here We Come 2012!!


So if you'll notice...the little "support" section over to your right now states "2012" vs. 2011.

This is because the first race for NISMO Stuff Racing is locked in for 2012. The first stage rally event for the team will be the Sandblast Rally located in Cheraw, SC.  Performing the team's usual scrounging for resources, NISMO Stuff Racing has again been fortunate to acquire the talents of a local racer for the co-driving seat.

This time it will be Mr. David Dennis of the (in?)famous Dennis family.  Though I will not be repainting the Frontier in purple, I did agree to run a few purple stickers on his behalf!

Due to this events distant location the team could not feel comfortable in driving the race vehicle to the event, running the event and hoping that it would be in one piece to drive home.  Though the 2011 events in New York were rough, they were close enough to home and family that recovery of the vehicle in short order shouldn't have been a problem.

With South Carolina a full day's drive away this just wouldn't have been wise.  So it is that Mr. Dennis has also offered the service of his tow vehicle and trailer as well.  Truly the event could not happen for the team without him.

In watching the videos of Sandblast 2011 the roads seem much more open and soft compared to the roads raced by the team in NY this year though look to present a different set of challenges in terms of loss of traction in the loose sand and high potential for getting the 2WD truck stuck should the driver take a wrong line.  Nonetheless the team hopes to continue its 100% finishing rate intact and get a good deal more experience under its belt.

Currently there are 32 entries and looks to be a really solid turnout that will include two other trucks (a Ranger and a Mighty Max) and at least one other Nissan (a 240SX).  Can't wait!

February 4th is the date.  Mark it down.

Nissan Juke NISMO

 Nissan has teased us over the last couple months with the Juke-R, the GT-R engine transplant.

Now Nissan brings us a slightly hop'd up version of the Juke that may just make it to the showroom floor.

The NISMO Juke carries with it all the usual factory doo-dads and nick-knacks that you would expect from a "factory" package including an aero package, redesigned interior and body graphics.  Truly functional additions include the 20 inch wheels and a boost (all puns intended given the turbocharged engine) in power.  This boost is not yet defined but should be shortly as the NISMO Juke will be at the Tokyo Auto Show in the immediate future.

It may not be a Juke-R but at least its something. Now if only there were a WRC package for the Juke...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Wish I Had Better News...

regarding the ratings from this past weekend's LOORRS race that was broadcast on CBS.

The LOORRS race that ran in this exact same timeslot one year ago saw a 1.2 rating and 1.53 million viewers for the broadcast.  It marked a high point for short course TV viewership in recent memory.  Dirt Sport magazine lauded the result in a following issue and many thought that people across the country had finally caught on.

Not so much.

Since that watershed rating the LOORRS broadcasts have garnered a 0.5, 0.6, 0.5, 0.4, 0.3, and 0.3 ratings all prior to this past semi-holiday weekend.

This weekend's LOORRS broadcast generated another 0.4 rating equating to 510,000 viewers of the program (you can see prior posts on this topic as to how I calculate this number).  Yes this is an uptick from the prior two broadcasts but I don't think anywhere near what was hoped for at the beginning of the year.  With the consistency that these numbers show I think its clear that last Thanksgiving's ratings were a fluke--either a mistake in the ratings calculation or a remarkable stroke of lighting on that day.



TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RAT.
"NFL on Fox": Packers-Lions
11/24
Fox
12:30-4:00pm
15.8
"The NFL Today"
11/24
CBS
3:30-4:00pm
5.6
"NFL on CBS": Dolphins-Cowboys
11/24
CBS
4:00-7:00pm
15.3
National Dog Show (taped)
11/24
NBC
12:00-2:00pm
4.8
NCAA Football: Iowa-Nebraska
11/25
ABC
12:00-3:30pm
2.2
NCAA Football: Boston College-Miami
11/25
ABC
3:30-7:00pm
1.5
"Best of College Football 2011"
11/25
CBS
1:30-2:30pm
1.3
NCAA Football: Arkansas-LSU
11/25
CBS
2:30-6:00pm
6.1
NHL: Red Wings-Bruins
11/25
NBC
1:00-4:00pm
1.0
NCAA Football: Ohio State-Michigan
11/26
ABC
12:00-3:30pm
5.3
NCAA Football: (regional)
11/26
ABC
3:30-7:00pm
3.2
NCAA Football: Notre Dame-Stanford
11/26
ABC
8:00-11:45pm
4.1
Lucas Oil Off Road Racing (taped)
11/26
CBS
1:30-2:30pm
0.4
"CBS College Football 2011"
11/26
CBS
2:30-3:00pm
0.5
"College Football Today"
11/26
CBS
3:00-3:30pm
0.8
NCAA Football: Alabama-Auburn
11/26
CBS
3:30-7:00pm
4.4
NCAA Football: Bayou Classic: Grambling State-Southern
11/26
NBC
2:30-6:00pm
0.6
"The NFL Today"
11/27
CBS
12:00-1:00pm
2.8
"NFL on CBS": (regional)
11/27
CBS
1:00-4:15pm
12.2
"NFL on CBS": Patriots-Eagles (72%)
11/27
CBS
4:15-7:30pm
15.6
"Fox NFL Sunday"
11/27
Fox
12:00-1:00pm
3.1
"NFL on Fox": (single)
11/27
Fox
1:00-4:05pm
11.7
Skiing: Aspen Winternational (taped)
11/27
NBC
1:00-2:00pm
0.6
Figure Skating: ISU Grand Prix (taped)
11/27
NBC
2:00-4:00pm
0.9
Figure Skating: Unforgettable Holiday Moments on Ice (taped)
11/27
NBC
4:00-6:00pm
1.1
"Football Night in America"
11/27
NBC
7:30-8:15pm
4.6
"Sunday Night Football": Steelers-Chiefs
11/27
NBC
8:30-11:30pm
12.5

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Book Review: The Long Season

While in his baseball career Jim Brosnan was a slightly above average major league pitcher, it is his literary career that is much more remembered.

Brosnan who pitched for the Cubs, Cardinals and Reds amongst others as both a starter and a reliever was contacted by Sports Illustrated to write an article about his experiences during the 1959 baseball season.

This article grew into what would become the 268 page The Long Season which is regarded as the first modern novel of major league sports from a first  hand perspective that doesn't gloss over the varying ugly events, personalities and foibles of the participants.  A fluff piece about how Ty Cobb mentored the poor and Babe Ruth was a great husband this is not.

Brosnan's work owes a great deal of itself to the decidedly non-sports writers of the time as I found myself often comparing much of his writing to that of the conversational tone of Kerouac.

Any modern baseball critic owes it to themselves to read this book as it shows that many of the same issues plaguing the sport today are old news.  Complaints of a contracting strike zone, umpires who hold grudges, small ballparks, racism, overly rabid fans, and more are all here.  What is relatively new here is the critique of fellow ballplayers and non-rose colored glasses look at the game.

Here players are carousing in San Fran, drinking everywhere, disdainful of management, and even more dismissive of ownership.  Some players are cheap, others can't play a lick.

Brosnan doesn't get into any truly salacious details regarding what players were cheating on their wives, what players showed up drunk to games or things of that nature but they're all part of the narrative.

The book is a good, quick read and worthy of anyone looking to view and critique major modern sports and their machinations.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Graphic Novel Review: The Vessel of Terror


With my recent interest in both comic books and H.P. Lovecraft, this book was a natural fit.

Written by a Norwegian and printed in the UK this is a decidedly "Lovecraft-ian" work.  Borrowing from well known horror/sci-fi works like Alien, The Thing and others, The Vessel of Terror still stands on its own as a worthy creation.

The art is excellent and realistic as it should be for a graphic novel like this.  The force of the ocean, grittiness of a seaport and dim light of a location nearing the Arctic Circle are all well felt.

The writing draws sufficiently upon familiar themes to give the novel a baseline on which to draw in a short piece like this without being a carbon copy.  The fact that some of what is contained herein is based in fact (Yes, there is such a think as a Magnapinna squid, they are very big, they do have 10 tentacles vs. the 8 arms and 2 tentacles that other squids have or 8 arms and no tentacles that octopus have, none have been captured alive or studied and really, no one is sure if they are really squid or should be classified elsewhere).  See video here of one taken at a deep ocean drilling site in the Gulf of Mexico.

And this is the best part of the novel and what is best about Lovecraft's best work.  It takes the unknown, known (that which we know exists but don't know anything about it) and extrapolates it all sorts of weird directions.  Sure its not probable (OK, likely not possible), but just the fact that we don't KNOW means there's some infinitesimal chance that it MIGHT be like this.  And the fact that there is an infinitesimal chance just can sit there in the back or your primate brain and haunt the bejezus out of you.

This book is under $20 and as its from a small publisher, writer, etc. and not a big publishing conglomerate that churns out the same drivel over and over, its well worth supporting.