New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady talks with reporters on Media Day during Super Bowl week on January 31, 2012 in Indianapolis. The Patriots will face the New York Giants on February 5 in Super Bowl XLVI. UPI/Brian Kersey
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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (18) makes a call to his teammates while playing against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter of NFL football action in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania November 7, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks on from the sidelines in the second half of their NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Foxborough, Massachusetts December 4, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (R) greets New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning on the field following their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, December 4, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Tony Stewart celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Ford 400, and with that the 2011 Sprint Cup Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida on November 20, 2011. UPI/Christina Mendenhall
Tony Stewart emerged in the last race of the season to beat the NASCAR betting odds and steal the Sprint Cup from Carl Edwards by a razor thin margin in one of the most dramatic and electrifying finishes ever in the sport. With the Chase section of the NASCAR schedule now a permanent tradition, it is important to consider the changing dynamics of the sport and how it now operates.
Those who have played the NASCAR betting odds for a long time recall that there used to be just one season as the points chase simply went from the Daytona 500 to the final race of the year. Now, in its attempt to go “mainstream” NASCAR has a regular season that lasts from the Daytona 500 through August and then begins the playoff part of the schedule which is known as “The Chase” starting in September. This is a strange system in that teams that cannot win the Sprint Cup or make “The Chase” still race anyway, making for interesting situations and possibilities. A great example is with teammates running in The Chase. One teammate may be in The Chase and another totally out of the race and yet the non-contending team car can be used to block or cause trouble for the teammate that is still in The Chase.
It is also interesting to note that Edwards won just a single race all season despite ending up in a virtual tie with Stewart at the end. Stewart ended up with 5 wins and 19 top ten finishes while Edwards had 26 top ten finishes which is what put him into contention.
NASCAR has continued to cheapen the value of winning the race which would have brought fisticuffs from such legends as Junior Johnson, whose sole purpose of racing was to win the damn race, not be cautious and hope to hang around the top ten.
This year saw the emergence of lesser known drivers such as Brad Keselowski and AJ Allmendinger emerge as serious contenders. Kevin Harvick also proved to be a wily veteran as he finished third in The Chase with four wins and a solid degree of professionalism.
Matt Kenseth continues to also demonstrate cool professionalism and consistency as he finished 4th in The Chase and scored a remarkable 20 top ten finishes to rank as one of the most reliable drivers on the circuit.
Is the economy actually improving. Here’s a news flash – new car sales are growing!
The news is particularly good from the Big Three as they reported excellent sales figures for November. They are partly helped by the fact that problems in Japan and Thailand have hurt the Japanese automakers.
But the more important factor is that the economy in the US is improving and that’s having an impact on car sales. It’s also important to note that the tighter supply of used cars in this country and other countries as well. That said, car sales are not doing well in the UK or Europe. They’re having their own problems.
But here in the US, car sales plunged for several years. With fewer new cars purchased in beginning in the fall of 2008, through 2009 and into 2010, that affects the number of used cars available now. The result is a somewhat altered car market as used cars are going for higher prices. But that also makes it easier to trade in your used car, and that then accelerates new car purchases.
But the key regardless of where you are is to do some research before visiting car dealers. The more you know about the market and the prices for comparable cars, the better you will do with your negotiations. This applies to new and used cars. Even details like whether a car needs to tires can be important. Now if you’re set on buying something like a used Seat Leon car, or maybe a 70s Corvette, then of course your negotiation posture will be different. Remember, flexibility gives you power when negotiating price.