Category Archives: NASCAR

Website Changes for January 2014

Main Website

Started getting my NASCAR page ready for the 2014 season. Added a link to an image of the 2014 Sprint Cup Schedule and took Mark Martin off since he’s retired from driving. :-( Thinking about getting rid of the NASCAR videos since I very rarely add any new ones it seems, or I could just start adding newer videos during the 2014 season. :) My Firefox Configuration page is always getting updated with the latest changes I’ve made to it. Finally, had to change my menu on the left to reflect GetGlue’s change to TvTag.

Blog

Well, I’ve updated my blog to WordPress v3.8.1. As with my previous update to v3.8, clicking the update button in the admin section was failing. The browser would just spin its wheels. This time I was determined to find out why and eventually I did. To make a long story short for the sake of this post, it turned out to be a setting on the network card of my webhost’s server that was causing file transfers to the server to be slower than normal (even when FTPing to it). This was causing the blog to timeout during the transfer of the update from WordPress.org. After Surpass made the adjustment to the server, the update worked fine. For those that want a more detailed account of what I was going through, you can read this Update to 3.8.1 could not establish a secure connection to WordPress.org thread I made on the WordPress forum.

The one thing that thread doesn’t go into is that since WordPress 3.7, they added an automatic update process. Since it now actually works, I’ve disabled it. I do not like automatic updates of anything except for virus definitions on my PC (I have Windows automatic updates disabled for instance). Anyway, to disable automatic updates, add the following to your /wp-config.php file:

# DISABLE WORDPRESS UPDATES
define( 'AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED', true );

Pelicar Forum

I’ve updated the Pelicar Forum to SMF v2.0.7. This update was much less eventful than my blog’s update. I just backed up the file structure and database like any other update and installed the update via the package manager. As always, I tested the update with the development/testing version that’s on my PC first.


Well, that’s all I can think of for now. If anything else comes to mind I’ll add to this or include it in a February 2014 list of changes. :)

Why I Think NASCAR Is Really Not a Team Sport

NASCAROkay, before everyone gets their undergarments in a wad, let me explain. First, a Team could be defined as a group of people working towards a common goal. In this respect, NASCAR would be considered a team effort. It takes everyone at the shop, on the pit-crew, on top of the pit-box, and the driver all working together for the team to be successful. The driver cannot win on his or her own. I think everyone agrees with this.

However, in the context of team sports, NASCAR is not “team” centric. In team sports, any one person can be side-lined due to injury or other reason; however, it is still possible for the team as a whole to earn wins, work towards the playoffs, and ultimately win the championship; although, it might be more difficult depending who is out, such as the starting quarterback on a NFL team. (Technically, the coach and every single player on a NFL team could be replaced mid-season and the team’s wins would still count.) With NASCAR, any one person can be side-lined and the team can still earn points and win the championship, unless that one person happens to be the driver. If the driver is out due to injury or other issue, such as Denny Hamlin earlier and now Tony Stewart, the team as a whole is pretty much screwed as far the championship goes, no matter how hard they work, especially if it’s for more than one race. With replacement drivers, no points or wins will count towards the team making the chase or winning the championship. Is this fair to all those guys busting their butts working on the cars and so on? This would be like the wins made by a replacement quarterback not counting during the NFL season.

The argument that the team can still get owner points is kind of moot. First, an owner may have up to four teams. So, the team really isn’t earning points strictly for themselves in this case, unless it’s a single car team where the owner and team are effectively the same entity. Besides, the sport isn’t centered around who’s winning the owner points. The media might mention it once during a race; however, they mostly go on about driver standings almost to the point of over doing it. Heck, sometimes, even I forget the owner a driver is driving for LOL. :)

The reason that replacement drivers don’ t count is because NASCAR doesn’t want teams using one driver for plate tracks, one for short tracks, one for road courses, and so on. They want the champion (driver) to be the one that, overall, performed the best at all styles of racing and I understand that. However, this puts tremendous pressure on that one driver. They’ll drive with injuries or not even report possible injuries for fear letting the team and sponsors down and ruining their and the team’s chances to get into the Chase or win the championship, no matter how good a replacement might be.  They may also get back into the car before their body (or mind) is really ready. This is the part I really don’t like about the current situation.

Can, or should, anything be done? I don’t know. About all that really could be done is each team having a designated backup driver who could only step in due to doctors not clearing the primary driver as fit to race due to an injury or something and that the points and wins would count towards the primary driver’s standings.  But, as long as the Chase and Championship is effectively driver and not “team” centric, they won’t do this. NASCAR is really just a single person sport that requires a support group (team) of others to really get the job done. It’s not the 88 team/car that’s 6th in points right now, it’s Dale Jr. It’s kind of like the lone marathon runner or cyclist that requires a great support group to be successful and if they get injured and fall out of the race, well, that’s that.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. :)

2013 Sprint Cup Driver Standings Added to NASCAR Page

NASCARAs my previous posts mention, NASCAR changed their website which broke my ability to get both RSS News feeds and driver standings from their site. The NASCAR.COM Driver Standings page is now generated locally by JavaScript within the browser, breaking my ability to parse the page using PHP. I have now added the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver Standings back to my NASCAR page using the information found at the Yahoo! Sports NASCAR Standings page. It’s a good enough source for now and the site is done much better than NASCAR’s. In fact, I changed my driver links to point to Yahoo!’s driver pages as well.

If I tweak anything else on my NASCAR page, I’ll update this post. :)

Oh, as a side note, I unsubscribed from NASCAR’s RaceView product before the season started so I can’t use or test it now. All I really used it for was scanner audio and most of the time I used the RaceBuddy in-car camera/audio when it was available. During the Phoenix race yesterday, can’t say I really missed having scanner audio available, so no plans on re-subscribing at this time.

Blog Updated to WordPress v3.5.1 and Other Website Changes

Blog Update

Just completed upgrading my blog to WordPress 3.5.1 which corrected some bugs and addressed some security issues. All I did for this update was backup my database and files and then clicked the automatic update button. No problems. Well, if this post works, then no problems. LOL :)

Other Website Updates

January 26, 2013: Forgot to mention something rather obvious on the front page of my main website. Like my blog’s sidebar, I added the latest song I played in Winamp. Late last night (early this morning) I also modified my NASCAR page to show ESPN’s NASCAR News Feed for now as NASCAR removed their feeds from their site. Ehh, NASCAR’s loss I guess.

XMPlay LogoOther than the changes to my NASCAR page the previous post mentions, I worked on my MOD Page to have the same color and background as everything else. It made more sense back in the day when each page was stand-alone with no side menu. I also added links and information (Windows 7 users with UAC will want to read) to a new MOD player I’ve been trying called XMPlay. It plays MOD files very well. I’ve tried a few of the skins out and added the LAME Encoder so I can create MP3 files from the MOD files. I will probably install the latest version from the LAME Project and experiment with the best command line parameters.

I updated my Entertainment/Now Playing page to correct an issue I was having with the GetGlue Sticker widget. I kept getting web service errors with it (from GetGlue). I went on GetGlue’s Widget page for my account and looked at the source code they had on their page for my widgets there and added this bit of code prior to the script code line they tell you to add which seems to have done the trick:

<script type="text/javascript">
   var getglue = getglue || {};
   getglue.config = getglue.config || {};
   getglue.config.host = 'widgets.o.getglue.com';
   getglue.config.webhost = 'o.getglue.com';
</script>

To see/get these widgets, you have to be logged into their “old” or original website which, IMHO, is much better.

Those are the only updates really worth mentioning at this time. :)

Changes Made to NASCAR’s Website and My NASCAR Page

NASCARAt the beginning of this month, NASCAR changed their website design which necessitated making some changes on my own NASCAR page. First, it seems that NASCAR has removed their RSS News feeds from the site as those are no longer working. As such, I’ve had to remove the NASCAR News headlines and excerpts from my page for now. There might be some way to get the main stories by parsing the website itself or I may have to use another online source that has an RSS feed that I can parse without much code modification.

I have also corrected the links that referenced Dale Jr, Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, and Danica Patrick’s pages on the NASCAR website. The ones in the Drivers Standings list are still pointing to the old pages, which do get re-directed; however, I am not going to correct those as I suspect I’ll have to completely change how I’m getting the standings once the 2013 season starts. In fact my links to the Drivers Standings now go to 404 error pages. The only reason I’m able to get the 2012 standings is that I was getting them based off the server’s IP address which looks to still be active and has the old website content. The current NASCAR Standings page’s content is now completely generated via JavaScript in the browser which means my current method of getting the standings will not work at all. :(

Given the above, my overall opinion about the changes to the NASCAR website is not going to be very objective right now. It seems to me the overall design is putting emphasis on it being viewed with a smartphone or tablet with a small screen and not necessarily on a PC with a large viewing area. Everything is huge and there so much wasted space. The front page is consumed by a 1280×530 image at the top and if I enable ads on the page the only thing I see on the front page is a banner ad and that large rotating image banner. OK, I do see the navigation menus at the top, but I have to hit Page Down twelve times to see all the content. Granted, it’s ten Page Downs on my blog but I’m showing complete article content.

Anyway, I’ll have to wait and see what happens on the site during and after the Daytona 500 races to really give my final thoughts on the changes and work on getting the 2013 Driver Standings. :-?