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FB_IMG_1470299233531As a journalist, I don’t like making things about myself. By definition, we’re supposed to be in the background, simply monitoring and observing the things that we cover and report on. Some of that has changed in the modern 24 hour news cycle and social media era but I still want to abide by those long-standing principals.

Despite this, I’m making tonight about me just a little bit. I’ve got something to say.

In the aftermath of getting denied credentials for the Slinger Nationals last week, I had two colleagues suggest that I’m way too critical of something that I’m supposed to be ‘promoting’ by working within the industry.

I take umbrage with this on two fundamental levels. View full article »

1323810410dejj_img01_hiresNDIANAPOLIS — As if producing likable music, learning to market it to a mass audience, and then keeping the band together wasn’t difficult enough, choosing a great name is often the tallest task for any performing artist.

To borrow from a popular racing idiom, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. finally gave up the ghost on their name as the Detroit-based indy pop duo has decided to drop the famous NASCAR driver from its title, becoming simply “JR JR” moving forward.

The group, which consist of Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein, made the announcement on their website on Wednesday and made it clear that the name change has nothing to do with legal pressure from the driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet.

In fact, the group included a letter Earnhardt sent the band in 2011 where he offered both approval and support. The text of that letter, which was posted on their Facebook page, plus the rest of the post can be found after the jump. View full article »

20150623_184758CHICAGO — Last night was probably the coolest moment of my non-professional life.

Certainly, my job allows me to opportunities to go to a lot of places (and do a lot of things) that I have wanted to see since I was a kid racing karts and bandoleros throughout the Deep South. I’ve been to the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 and even covered the inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austin, Texas back in 2012.

But those who have known me the longest know that baseball, not motorsports, was my first true love.

I grew up in racing family.

My dad raced. My pawpaw raced. I raced.

So racing felt like something we simply did more than something that was a true passion. It wasn’t until I took some time away from racing in high school that I realized how much it meant to me and eventually found my way back as a journalist.

Anyways, when I was a kid, I was all about Chicago Cubs baseball. View full article »

On Dragon Ball, Digimon and Evangelion in 2015

dragon-ball-z-2015ATLANTA :: Were that many people clamoring for more Dragon Ball?

The answer is apparently a resounding yes as there is a new movie coming out called Dragon Ball Z: The Resurrection of F. For those unaware, the F represents the unavoidable return of Frieza — the most iconic villain in the history of the most popular anime franchise to ever hit the United States.

Despite the fanfare surrounding the return of Dragon Ball, I’m pretty skeptical about this movie. Since the announcement several days ago, I’ve had multiple friends ask me if I’m excited for more kamehameha waves and spirit bombs and the answer is an indifferent ‘meh.’

Like any twentysomething, I owe all of my otaku fandom to the likes of Pokemon, Digimon, Gundam, Outlaw Star and Dragonball — a well-rounded diet of action, comedy, drama and irreverence. As a result, Dragon Ball still has a special place in my heart.

My cat is named Gotenks after all. View full article »

Super Bowl XLIX Prediction

Boomer-20121104202656MOBILE, Ala. — I haven’t watched as much football as I would have liked to this season. My Saints were godawful and my weekends were kind of occupied with the “Fraternal Order of Go Fast.”

I have watched the NFL Playoffs this winter but take the following prediction with a grain of salt — because let’s face it — no one pays me for my football opinions, right?

For Super Bowl XLVIII, I picked the Broncos over the Seahawks, believing that the cagey veteran quarterback, Peyton Manning, would use every trick in the book to outsmart the youthful, energetic exuberance of Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and the “Legion of Boom.”

I was wrong. View full article »

I’ve Been Around the Block But Not Near Enough

MapMALCOLM, Ala. — I have been lucky enough to see a decent number of race tracks in my first 26 years of existence. Working in NASCAR, IndyCar and short track racing over the past few seasons has only increased that number. With that said, I still have so many bucket list venues to kick off my personal list and hopefully 2015 will allow me to do so.

You’ll notice that the vast majority of these tracks are pavement and road courses. I grew up in a Southern dirt track family and raced dirt myself before pursuing journalism. (My parents started taking me to the track to watch Dad race months following my birth.) I removed myself from dirt more and more as I got older. That changed a little bit last year as I started following the National Dirt Racing League, which folded as quickly as it started.

But the NDRL did start a flirtation with Dirt Late Models so maybe I could find myself at a Lucas Oil or World of Outlaws event next season.

Regardless, here is a list of every track I have ever attended from 1988-2014. View full article »

VPSATSUMA, Ala. — Most of you guys reading this know my backstory and how hard I’ve worked to make it in motorsports journalism. It’s not easy and has required much sacrifice.

One of those sacrifices has been my quickly eroding social life. Think about it: I worked 20 Sprint Cup weekends, 10 IndyCar weekends and countless short track events in 2014. Woe is me, right? (sarcasm) Trust me, I’m not asking for pity. I know that I have the coolest job in the world but there are certain things that I have given up in trying to make this work.

That’s what made last night so unique and special. View full article »

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes!

christmas_ferrari_10-10SATSUMA, Ala. — It has become customary to wish your social media friends and followers a Merry Christmas on this day each year. I feel like we’ve started to do it because that is what everyone else does and it starts to lose a little bit of meaning after a while.

That’s not to say I think we’re becoming insincere or anything like that. I just want to take this opportunity and go above and beyond the standard practice, if I may.

Because the truth is that, if you’re reading this right now, I think you and I have an invaluable relationship and I hope you truly have a marvelous Christmas!

I am so grateful for your friendship and support and I couldn’t do what I do without you! It’s because you follow me on Twitter, read my articles and share them to your friends that I’m able to be at a race track each and every weekend and write the stories that I put out.

By far the best aspect of this past season is that I was able to attend a lot more NASCAR events. In fact, I was able to work 20 Sprint Cup weekends, 9 IndyCar events and countless short track races over the past 12 months.

This is by far the coolest gig in the world and it’s allowed me to interact and meet many of you in person at Tweetups throughout the course of the year and that’s the best part of the job.

You guys are ‘my people’ and I think it’s so cool that we have a forum to talk about racing the way we do each and every weekend. So long story short, if I didn’t see you in person at least once this past season, I hope we are able to chat at some point in 2015.

I’m super grateful to know each of you in whatever capacity that I do and I wish you the merriest of Christmases and a Happy New Year.

Cheers,

Matt Weaver

Matt Reviews: Final Fantasy X HD Remaster

Tidus_and_Yuna_in_zanarkandSATSUMA, Ala. — When I was much younger, I vowed that I would never become a stubborn adult who was not open to change and the progressive evolution of his various interests.

Time has largely shown me to be a man of my word, especially with the mass of change that has come to NASCAR over the past decade with the Chase for the Championship, knockout qualifying and the overall evolution of Stock Car Racing.

I’m a proponent of change, believing that a product that doesn’t keep up with the times is at risk of getting lost to it. With that in mind, I’m saddened to admit that the state of Japanese Role Playing Video Games (JRPG) has passed me by, something I recently discovered by playing Final Fantasy XIII and the HD remaster of Final Fantasy X back-to-back over the past six months.

JRPGs were a major otaku passion of mine during my teenage years, a hobby that I’ve tried to maintain as an adult.

As a teenager, I took for granted the golden era of JRPGs, growing up with the releases of titles like Final Fantasy 7-10, Super Mario RPG, Legend of Dragoon, Chrono Cross and Xenosaga. What’s the common theme between each of these games?

If you’re still reading by this point of the blog post, you’re likely interested in the genre and know that the answer is a turn-based battle system, where you and your opponent take turns attacking, casting spells or healing your fellow party members. View full article »

Kyle Petty nWoCocoa Beach, Fla. — For better or worse, stock car racing and professional wrestling has always had a unique sort of synergy between each other. Both have a deep history and devoted following in the Southeastern United States and have often utilized that shared marketplace to grown and evolve over the past three decades.

The best example of that synergy can be found between NASCAR and the old World Championship Wrestling promotion who both owe a large amount of their respective growth to Ted Turner and his TBS cable empire as both were weekly stalwarts of the network in the 1980s and 90s. In fact, Turner owned WCW and had a passion for both “the business” and stock car racing.

There are countless examples of Turner leveraging two of his most valued properties together in building a unified following.

It is with that in mind, that I admit that I’ve been watching a lot of the WWE Network during this off-season. For those out of the loop, the WWE Network is a Netflix-style streaming product that allows me to enjoy events from days gone by, beneficial given the current boring and downtrodden state of the modern WWE television product. View full article »