Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mike Ford Asks For Truth From NASCAR Media

Denny Hamlin's crew chief was on the Thursday edition of SPEED's Race Hub program. Mike Ford was being interviewed by reporter Danielle Trotta when she brought up a sore subject.

John Nevins is a NASCAR fan from Daytona Beach, FL. Under the name Captain Thunder, Nevins produces the website and several other NASCAR-related projects.

The Wednesday, April 27 headline at read "Hamlin and Logano to Swap Crew Chiefs."

Here is part of the story published on that topic:

Sources confirmed to Captain Thunder that a crew chief swap has been discussed and is imminent between the #11 and #20 teams. The swap would send Denny Hamlin's crew chief Mike Ford to the #20 garage, and Logano's crew chief Greg Zippadelli to the #11 garage.

Zippadelli, once the crew chief for two-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, will bring the championship experience to the #11 team that JGR feels Hamlin needs at this point in his career.

The very next day, a spokesman for Joe Gibbs Racing quickly denied that this story was true. The interesting part wasn't that he denied it. It was that the mainstream NASCAR media was using the Nevins story as the source for asking the question.

The response from Nevins was also swift. This on Friday, April 29:

We stand by our story - if both teams do not improve quickly, a change will be made. According to our sources, that decision has been made by Joe and J.D. Gibbs.

Ultimately, it was JD Gibbs who was sitting beside Kyle Busch in the Richmond Infield Media Ceter on the following Saturday night. Busch had won the race. Hamlin was second. Gibbs was once again asked about the Nevins story.

Yeah, you know, it was frustrating in a way. At times kind of comical. I think the website was Captain Thunder. I didn't know that website. C'mon, (if you) listen to that for your information, we're in trouble.

It was nice to put it to bed. Our guys did get a kick out of it. It's one of those things that when you're running not as well as you're used to, people are used to seeing you up front, they start asking questions, leap to crazy conclusions.

During the early part of this week, Gibbs also made the NASCAR TV rounds and used the interview opportunities to confirm that there had never been a discussion, even among JGR senior management, of swapping the Logano and Hamlin crew chiefs.

Thursday, it was Ford's turn to address the topic. His words bring-up a growing debate among hardcore fans. The question is, just who these days is a NASCAR media member?

"I feel like the (NASCAR) media has an obligation to report the truth," Ford told Trotta. "You get a guy who reports a non-truth. I think the media ought to bring him to the forefront so that others don't do that in the future."

Ford's words are interesting. On one hand, he sees a blog like as a member of the NASCAR media. On the other, he wants the "old guard" mainstream media to expose his verson of reality. That is that Nevins simply made the entire story up.

On the same Race Hub show as the Ford interview, Jeff Burton cooked burgers on the lawn of the SPEED studios, Jimmy Spencer delivered his weekly rant in a sombrero for Cinco de Mayo and Hermie Sadler said cooler temps at Darlington will make it more comfortable for fans in the stands. It's not rocket science.

What is upsetting to many is that Nevins seems to be using this type of innuendo as a promotional tool for his website. The parties mentioned by Nevins as the ones making the potential crew chief swap said it never happened. Meanwhile, Nevins continues to fish for new fans on his website, Facebook and Twitter pages by using the denials from JGR as his own red badge of courage.

Where do you draw the line? Should an amateur blogger's story using mystery sources and innuendo send the mainstream NASCAR media running to cover it like breaking news? Was the mainstream media used? In journalism terms, that is called the tail wagging the dog.

That expression is used when suddenly the parts of an equation thought to be the least important become the most important. Suddenly, veteran NASCAR reporters are asking questions based on a report from a website created by a fan. It kind of makes one wonder what this weekend holds in Captain Thunder land?

To add your opinion on this topic, just click the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.


TheBleacherCreature said...

Captain Thunder Dot Com is a racing wanna be bottom feeder site that for years NASCAR had not allowed to be recognized media. This is why.
It's our sport to be proud of and it was not built on lies and liars.
I hope the DC Comics folks notice him and sue him for using their character's name. The real Captian Thunder has been around since he debuted in the comics in 1939.
This website and it's owner are not even a funny book and won't be around for 7 more days much less 70 Years like the real Captain. Ironically Captain Marvel is the alter ego of Billy Batson, a youth who works as a radio news reporter.
Have fun on the bottom fella's Shazam
Over and Out!

The Mad Man said...

Unfortunately for Mike Ford, he's asking an extension of NASCAR's PR arm, the NASCAR controlled Kool Aid drinking media, to report something they themselves have a hard time reporting. The truth.

There's a lot of stuff that goes on in the garage that we never hear about. Incidents like the secret fines of Twittergate show us that there are things going on that NASCAR doesn't want exposed. When was the last time one of the members of the 4th Estate sat through a teardown at the R&D Center and reported what they saw and what the results were? When was the last time the media actually kept NASCAR honest?

While Nevins may have been wrong about this deal with JGR, there must've been a kernel of truth somewhere to get it started.I'm not defending the guy but these things do get started based off of information they're told. Like with Bob Dilner and the RCR laser-cut rims. It took a year after both RCR's and NASCAR's denials to find out that Dilner had in fact reported the truth. And it was another media person who proved Dilner was right.

The best things to do is see what happens later on down the road. If Nevins is right, then he's right. If he's wrong, then his credibility is somewhat tranished.

bobbydjr said...

I made the HUGE mistake of joining Nevin's blog. He started sending me emails every week promoting his website. I quickly realized how bad he was and did everything I could to get off his stupid email list. Nothing has worked. Not clicking the link to remove my name. Not sending emails to remove my name. Not telling my filters to add him to my spam list. Nothing. He's like a roach that won't go away.

How anyone could take Captain Thunder serious is beyond me. Just the name is comical in itself.

Anonymous said...

Diller was incorrect and bought into bad info. If he had dug deeper, he would have learned that RCR made the wheel change to a different manufact. due to increasing numbers of bent wheels, not because they were laser cut and got caught, as Bob reported. The new owner? KHI, who bought them at a bargin price, and used them in trucks and nationwide.

Anonymous said...

I must admit I have never been on the Captain Thunder blog.

However, I think this is typical of the problem of Nascar today, in the modern age. Given their way, the officials and teams would only have stories about rainbows and bunny rabbits. How everybodies having fun and all join together in singing "Kumbaya".

Who got hurt here? Nobody I dont think, JGR got a little free publicity. Move along folks, theres nothing to see here.

E-Ticket said...

There used to be another site years ago that used to report things all the time about sponsors, drivers, teams and such. The drivers and NASCAR would always deny the stories and say they don't know how it got out there. You know how it got out there? The teams or folks involved released it through a third party to that site. More often than not he was pretty close the the truth if not dead on. So you never know how things like this get started.

The name of that site I am talking about?? Jayski..

You have to start somewhere, teams in all sports use the media to shape their stories and distract people away from what they are really wanting to do all the time. NASCAR uses these shows on TV like that all the time. Everyone is a pawn in the Media chess game..

Anonymous said...

The Mad Man: "If they don't report what I want to hear, then it isn't the truth."

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of him until a month or so back when he had Jeremy on & now he's everywhere.

Palmetto said...

The real test will be if Jayski continues to quote him.

Anonymous said...

I love it when NASCAR and the mainstream media attempt to discredit anything outside of their own fantasy world.

I visit on a daily basis and have done so for many years. I read the "News and Rumors" and visit the "Articles" link. That's how I found "The Daly Planet" a few years ago.

I'm familiar with Captain Thunder and his website. I haven't read anything from John Nevins that I'd consider an intentional fabrication of the truth. Captain Thunder has gotten the jump on plenty of the so-called "paid" professionals. NASCAR and the mainstream media hate it when they can't control their own versions of the truth.

Mike Ford denied a rumor? So what. If you want to talk about honesty and integrity, look at the sorry example NASCAR sets.

Guys like Captain Thunder and Mad Mikie ( are a breath of fresh air. Especially after reading generic articles written by NASCAR's so-called experts.

Don't worry Mike Ford, the mainstream media only reports NASCAR's version of the truth, with prior approval of course.

Shayne Flaherty

West Coast Diane said...

Kept hearing his name but didn't check it out. I stick with those who have a track record. If a new source pops up with info I wait until they establish some credibility before clicking on their site or links to them.

Did this with Jayski. However, if at some point Jayski was inconsistently putting oout bad info, I would drop following him.

In the past I use to read lots of different articles through Jayski. Now I only read articles from a handful of "trusted" folks. Most articles just regurgitate others info or repeat press conference quotes with no context.

Hopefully we the fans weed out those to make stuff up to promote themselves.

Dave said...

Captain Thunder??


speaking of the "Old Guard"...

I really miss David Poole.

Palmetto said...

Dave, maybe those covering the sport today need some of those 'WWPW' wristbands:

What Would Poole Write?

Anonymous said...

Back in the day Mike McCarthy had, and he would bash The Sport & The Networks...then miraculously we was hired at NASCAR and the site was shut down. Sounds like a pretty good plan JD.

sbaker17 said...

more like Captain BLUNDER

danny said...

Mad Mikie is the source you can trust. He tells it like it is and is not afraid of nascar. All you have to do is look at his archived articles and you will see that time has proved him correct, even when what he writes is not what you want to believe. I have yet to see any other nascar related blogger or journalist that shows the links to the info used in their articles like Mikie does. I have gotten a response from EVERY e-mail to Mikie and a thank you as well. All you have to do is pay attention to history to determine if someone is telling the truth - the track record of the person will always show you if you can believe them or not as well as respect them or not. Mikie has a link to The Daly Planet on his site, and based on his history, I use that link to get here (TDP)because I believe and respect Mikie. Nascar has a track record of not telling the truth and fabricating stories. Asking for the truth from nascar is like asking darrell not to talk about either of his cars that are in the race or worse (for him) not to talk, or even worse - to say something positive about Robby Gordon.

Matt M said...

I've been playing this game for going on fourteen years now though admittedly I never heard of Captain Thunder or his website until the link at Jayski's. I have no idea who he is.

I made a comment in my column the previous week that maybe it was time for the JGR teams to switch drivers based on the level of dissatisfaction that both drivers had expressed with thier crews the previous couple weeks. When I did so I wasn't thinking JD Gibbs was waiting on my advice, it was simply a sarcastic reference to last years Chase when a couple teams did exactly that which galled me. You dance with the ones who bought you to the party. I wrote "why wait. Beat the rush!".

Oddly enough I remember back in the days of yore Jayski himself ran an item that Richard Childress and Dale Earnhardt Himself were so unhappy with the way the 3 team was running Larry Mac was getting ready to be transferred to the 31 team with Mike Skinner. Oh, the RCR folks were unhappy. They demanded Jay take the blurb down. They said there was no truths to the rumor at all, it was a bunch of internet garbage. Larry Mac wept and moaned about how he'd wasted a full day of work denying the rumor rather than doing his job. RCR employees were told if they got caught emailing Jay they'd be fired. There were threats of lawsuits.

And you know what? Two weeks later Larry Mac was crewing for the 31 team. The internet BS had been true after all. I'm not saying that's the case this time but if it happens no one need rush over to Stately Matt Manor with smelling salts.

Matt M

Dot said...

Here's my take on the 11 & 20 CC swap. I think there was talk about changing the Crew Chiefs. Once word got out, JGR decided to make Captain Thunder (and others) look bad by saying it wasn't true. Now they can't change CC's or they'll be wearing egg on their faces.

I don't get what the big deal is. Switch CC's, it happens all the time. I bet Zippy sighed with relief that he didn't get saddled with Diva (Denny).

Anonymous said...

I love it when people drink the exact same kool-aid they claim others drink.