2012 Hall of Fame nominees, J.J.'s 'Breaking In', more NASCAR news
Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles, driver Bobby Isaac, NASCAR executive Les Richter, driver/owner Cotton Owens and crew chief/co-owner Leonard Wood were announced as the five new members of the 25-person pool to be considered for induction into the 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class.
Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Bud Moore, David Pearson and Lee Petty will be enshrined this spring.
The 2012 class will be voted upon by a 54-member panel on June 14, and obvious choices remain in the third installment. Cale Yarborough, the first to win three straight titles and a stunning omission from the 2011 class, and three-time champion Darrell Waltrip would figure to be locks. After that, it's a bedeviling mix of legends -- Red Byron, Fireball Roberts, Joe Weatherly, among other -- and uber successful people still involved in the sport, like team owner Rick Hendrick.
Bad news: 'Breaking In' is not an outstanding television show.
Good news: It was a wise vehicle -- get it? -- for Jimmie Johnson's foray into acting, because even with minimal screen time, he was one of the more entertaining aspects of the 30-minute Fox comedy on Wednesday night.
Johnson played himself in the episode, enlisting the help of a security firm -- whose characters are too reminiscent but less well-developed as those of 'Leverage' -- to crack the caper of the mystery music which has invaded his radio frequency with crew chief Chad Knaus during a recent race. The apparent sabotage had caused Johnson to finish second, and as Christian Slater's character Oz put it, "For Jimmie, there is no second."
The caper, a backdrop to a labored romantic plotline, was finally resolved in an awkward last few minutes of the show as interference from a boom box was found to be the culprit.
Johnson who seemed at ease, and quite his normal self in his few on screen moments, likely didn't seal an Emmy, but neither did any of the full-time actors around him, and none of them have won five consecutive Sprint Cup titles. His best exchange was a follows:
Soon to be unemployed character: "Mr. Johnson, I will get'er done."
Johnson: "(Pause) No one says that."
And .... scene!
Johnson called filming the show a "very cool experience."
Slater came out looking like father of the year.
"Jimmie was just as smooth on the set as he is on the track," Slater said. "Everyone was excited to have him be part of the episode. It was even more special for me as he made my son's birthday by autographing a pair of racing shoes."
Richard Childress Racing Truck series driver Austin Dillon will make his first start in the Kevin Harvick Inc. No. 33 Chevrolet Nationwide Series car this weekend at Nashville.
Dillon has made just seven Nationwide starts, none at Nashville, but finished second there last season in Trucks. Harvick won at Nashville in the No. 33 last season.
"It's going to be a learning experience for sure," Dillon said.
Randy Moss Motorsports, formerly known as Dollar Motorsports before the NFL All-Pro wide receiver bought the team in 2008, this weekend at Nashville will become just the fourth NASCAR Truck Series team to field at least one truck in 300 consecutive races.
The team has competed in all but one of the series' 16 race this season.
"I can sleep every night knowing David (Dollar) really cares about the sport, making it better and educating me; that has made the transition a lot smoother," said Randy Moss.
The current entry streak began March 20, 1999 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a 26th-place finish by Rob Morgan. Dennis Setzer won the team's first race on June 23, 2001 at Memphis Motorsports Park. He leads the organization with 11 wins and finished second in driver points in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Drivers such as Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Scott Speed and Tony Stewart have contributed to the team's 70 top-5s and 164 top-10 finishes.
Michael Waltrip and Sprint Cup team co-owner Robert Kauffmann will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race June 11-12 with Rui Aguas, prompting the two-time Daytona 500 to make a trip to France this week for some testing. The trio will drive a Ferrari for the Italian team AF Corse.
In an analysis sure to rankle sports car enthusiasts, Waltrip described Circuit des 24 Heures thusly: "Le Mans is a circle with a whole bunch of quirky turns stuck in the middle of it like a chicane and then two lefts and a right. That means one thing, there is going to be a whole lot of speed. Every time you get to a corner you're going to be hauling ass. The challenge for me is learning the circuit. There are a lot of turns, there's very few places where there is just one turn. It's like you get there and there are three or four turns right when you get there and then you fly down another mile or so to hit another set of turns."