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CALINOFF: I’m Not Abandoning NASCAR

I know the title doesn’t match the photo. That was actually by design – but stick around and you’ll see where it comes into play.

One of my favorite idioms is “Letting the Tail Wag the Dog.” (There’s the connection to the picture — that’s Leo)

To paraphrase, it means allowing something small to have a significant influence on something much bigger. I’ve been guilty of it for most of my business career. I take a little idea, and I let it consume me until I can gain control and put it back into the correct perspective. That’s when I do the wagging.

If you know me, you’ve figured out that I’m rarely at a loss for things to do. I’m never bored – always on the move. I keep the plates spinning and the balls in the air. Spare me the balls in the air jokes. I wrote most of them anyway.

When we started PopularSpeed.com three years ago, it was quite an undertaking – finding the right name was a project in itself. Then we had to figure out who we wanted to be and what we would stand for. And then there was the design and finding writers and getting photographers. (We have Nigel Kinrade and his group – it doesn’t get better than that. No charge for the plug, Nigel.) And then we had to make sure we deliver engaging content and maintain our momentum.

The wind-up? It’s become bigger and better than I had ever imagined. We didn’t get to this point by accident. We’re here because of the people. Everyone who has his or her fingerprints on this site makes a difference. And I’m grateful to have each and every one of them.

After I launched the site, I made a promise to myself – and everyone around me – that this will be the extent of my website business. I’ll just stick with this.

I lied. It was totally unintentional.

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A few months ago I was looking for information about Formula One. I don’t even remember why. But, aside from what you can get from the series page, there weren’t any independent sites, and nothing much to speak of for IndyCar either.

When I say “independent” I mean sites dedicated to those premier worldwide disciplines of motorsports. There are plenty of, what I call, “tab sites” which are all things to all people. Nothing wrong with that – but I’m not inclined to sift through NASCAR  INDYCAR  F1  NHRA  SCCA  RALLY  SPORTS CAR  MOTOGP  POGO STICK and UNICYCLE tabs to find the information I’m looking for.

So today, I’m pleased to introduce PopularOpenWheel.com.

We’re only covering IndyCar and Formula One – as well as their support series, IndyLights and GP2, respectively. There’s also something called “The Road to Indy” which serves as a feeder system. I know, I’m a little confused myself.

Aside from the lack of information, I figured two things:

  1. a) IndyCar has made some changes in the off-season to management and the rules package. The racing is supposedly going to be as good as it used to be. I know this because someone told me. I’m confident there will be a heightened interest. So, that was appealing.
  1. b) Gene Haas is fielding a U.S.-owned Formula One team for the first time. I figured that not only will there be more interest by Americans, but from NASCAR fans as well. Stewart-Haas has four marquee drivers with lots of fans, and you know how that goes — we all support each other. So I thought that was attractive. Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong – but I love risks. I love starting new things. It motivates me to have a kick-ass day. I do it for sport.

Many of you may ask, “Calinoff, what do you know about IndyCar or Formula One?” It’s a valid question. I know nothing about this stuff. That’s the truth. But I know Roger Penske. And Chip Ganassi. And Dario Franchitti. And Nelson Piquet, Jr. – and those people know people who also know people.

But really, I found the magic bullet.

Lewis Franck, who has covered motorsports for over 30 years, including 22 years at Reuters news service, is the guy. I don’t need to know anybody – just Lewis. Because he, too, knows Roger Penske. And Chip Ganassi. And Mario Andretti. And everyone else in that world. I know nothing. Lewis knows everything. So, he’s the Executive Editor and will be hands-on. He has assembled a great staff of editors and writers.

Lewis is funny. (Actually, he’s quite comical) But funny, because he calls and sends me emails about all these things he’s doing and relationships he’s leveraging. To that, I respond, “Great job, Lewis,” and “That awesome, Lewis” and “How did you possibly pull that off, Lewis?”

I have absolutely no clue what he’s talking about. But it must be really good because he’s excited. And that makes me excited.

That brings us to the title of this story.

NASCAR is my first love. It always will be. It’s given me a career and a level of success far beyond my wildest dreams. My life is great as a result of NASCAR. I have been blessed with the opportunities that have come my way over the years. And while I’m not spotting regularly, much of my business is in the NASCAR arena. I’m not going anywhere.

That’s the deal. I invite you to check it out. If you like what you see, tell someone. If you don’t like what you see, tell everyone – because people are curious by nature. If you tell them not to do something, they tend to want to know why. Tell a kid not to touch a hot stove or wet paint.

So, this is it. I’m done with the website business. I have one that’s great and another that’s destined to be great. I’m officially satisfied.

Wait. I’m lying again.

I have another site launching on May 26th. There’s nothing like it. Not even on tabs. Get excited. I mean, really excited.

Do you want a hint? Too bad.

The plates are spinning, and the balls are in the air.

I gotta go. I have things to do. Hold my calls.

 

Email Mike at mike@mikecalinoff.com

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By Mike Calinoff

Over the past twenty-three years, Mike has become a notable figure in the NASCAR community.

As a Spotter, he spent a total of 14 seasons with Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the Monster Energy Cup and XFINITY Series.

All told, at Roush Fenway Racing, he garnered over 40 wins including three Championships and two Daytona 500’s.

At the end of 2013, Mike left Roush Fenway to focus on his companies and stays active in the NASCAR community at many levels.

Mike was a regular guest on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, featured "act" Speed TV's Trackside Live and makes on occasional cameo on soap operas. (Really?)

He has an affinity for starting new things, such as Popular Speed and 140 BUZZ – a PR, Marketing and Social Media company.

Many 140 BUZZ clients are NASCAR teams, drivers and sponsors and represent many of the most visible brands in NASCAR and other business categories.

Mike is also a Driver Development consultant, where he works with families and drivers around the country to set a career path.

As a stand-up comic Mike is, without a doubt, the funniest guy he knows.

Calinoff lives in Lake Norman, NC