Happy Hour: Engines, Power Rankings and RPM, and somehow, Justin Bieber

Throughout the week you can send us your best questions, jokes, rants and just plain miscellaneous thoughts to happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com or @NickBromberg.We'll post them here, have a good time and everyone's happy.

The Cup circuit heads to the place that currently has the biggest HD video board in the world. With the way the video board competition is going, there's no guarantee that Texas Motor Speedway will get to hold the title in 2015. But it holds the title now. I'm intrigued to see how it looks in person.

There's also going to be a Whataburger car in the Nationwide Series Friday night. I may try to eat David Starr's car. Just saying. On to the fun!

This week I heard the announcement that major changes are coming to NASCAR?  Is this NASCAR's 2014 April Fool's joke?  Knowing Brian France, I doubt it.  Seriously, haven't we already had enough changes to the cars and formats for a long, long time?  What is wrong with the engines?  They aren't broken, so what is NASCAR trying to fix this time? - John

Engine changes are coming. What are they going to be? Well, the popular theory is a reduction in horsepower, and on Tuesday, Toyota's David Wilson said that was in the consideration phase.

NASCAR thinks long and hard about engine tweaks; just look at the process to get electronic fuel injection implemented into the sport. And you can tell the sanctioning body is serious about this when they're meeting with all three manufacturers to come to some sort of a consensus.

If a horsepower reduction comes to fruition, it could certainly be a test of the theory that slower speeds would help the quality of racing. And given that NASCAR is considering a horsepower reduction, it tells you all you need to know about how valued speed records are anyway. Racing isn't always about pure speed.

But could it make the Cup Series like the Nationwide Series, in which some ovals can be driven almost flat-out? Depends on the reduction. I can't imagine NASCAR would want to make the series that similar to each other. Besides, the Cup cars will remain faster than the Nationwide and Trucks.

Also, if NASCAR goes with an engine change for next year or the year after, it'd mean the points system, car, engine and Chase format would all be changed within a span of five or six years. Formula 1 has overhauled itself recently too, but you can't think of an American sport in modern times that's changed as many integral facets of itself in such a short timeframe.


I loved the responses to your Power Rankings this week. My favorite was "Bromberg sounds like he is still writing in his underwear from his mommies's basement."
Hmmm. Sounds like a retort written by someone posting comments on the Internet while sitting in mommy's basement in his (or her) underwear! I picture "Comic Book Guy" from the Simpsons if he were a NASCAR fan.
Keep up the good work! Glad to see your acknowledgment of the RPM success last weekend. It's been nice to see 43 running near the front and in the top 15. It does my heart good. - Paul

Oh commenters, stay funny. (Side note, I own a house, so maybe joke about my own basement?)

Believe it or not, Aric Almirola was higher in the points standings at this point last year than he is now. That's what happens when you finish last in a race and garner a single point. He was on the periphery of Chase contention for the first 12 races of the year, but when he crashed at Daytona in July any hopes of making the Chase without a win were gone.

Marcos Ambrose is up five spots this year from where he was last year. This upcoming stretch of intermediate tracks will be important for RPM. The team has shown flashes of speed at 1.5 mile ovals but not the consistency needed for an entire race. If they can step up their intermediate track program, it'll be a good points year with or without a Chase berth.


Drag Racing is a sport done on tracks and at airports in a controlled environment with proper safety requirements. Driving in a similar fashion anywhere else is called "illegal street racing".  Actual drag racing has a very good safety record.  Mr. Bieber was NOT drag racing.  What he did was illegal, hence the police involvement.  Please keep the terms separate in your future articles or blogs. - Adam

Adam, I think you underestimate my familiarity with drag racing and the NHRA, but I apologize for the confusion and any misconceptions from using the phrase when referring to Bieber.

Any sort of racing on streets is dangerous and illegal, obviously. We all know that, right?

I appreciate your passion about the subject, and I'll make sure to make it clear which I am referring to, even though it should be pretty obvious that the Biebs was not racing Courtney Force in a Funny Car on a Miami Beach dragstrip.

Side note: does anyone else now want to hear John Force talk about Justin Bieber? I do.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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