NASCAR Race Drivers – How They Get Started

by cproof

I got to wondering what is all involved to become a NASCAR Race Driver.  Some of the big names in racing today started as young as four years old!  A young child interested in becoming a NASCAR Race Driver may want to start young in the carting in your local area to get practice handling a vehicle, and get their name out there.  Some tracks that run open wheel Midgets and Sprints do allow drivers before they are of legal driving age on the tracks.  Some people suggest getting a “pit pass” to get in and talk to some officials and drivers. 

In reading up on this, I found out that someone’s physical condition can actually affect his or her ability to become a successful NASCAR Race Driver.  Physical health can affect their ability to tolerate the heat and intensity of the racing experience.  The weight of the driver can also be important, because every pound affects the car’s performance and speed.  A good education is a good thing to have to be a race driver because if someone would want to get a good sponsor, that sponsor needs to know they will be represented by a quality individual.  That means speaking well for the camera and also knowing more and more about the technology and new innovations with the race cars.

There are some other factors that I’ve never thought about drivers learning before becoming a NASCAR Race Driver.  For one, the development of hand-eye coordination is surely incredibly important.  I also found out that there are some driving courses and schools out there that prospective race drivers can attend to learn specific driving skills for this type of racing.  Learning about cars, everything about cars, is imperative to this arena.  The drivers must understand everything imaginable about a race car so that when it’s time to go, they can talk to their crew knowledgeably. 

It sounds like just about anyone could join the NASCAR race drivers if they have the drive (no pun intended), the dream, the determination, and the persistence.  Perhaps some natural talent for being behind the wheel is helpful too but, it can take years of training in other classes and a good stroke of luck to catch the eye of one of the big NASCAR teams. Even then, very few race drivers ever get the chance to hit it big in NASCAR.

Dave P Franklin is a regular contributor to the popular oval track racing blog, and other favorite NASCAR fan sites.

College Rankings – Make an Informed Decision

by t i g

It is everyone’s dream to study in the best college of his/her respective fields. An aspiring medical student wants to study in Johns Hopkins Medical College. Similarly, every management student aspires for a seat in Wharton or Kellogg’s Business School. However, as is the case with everything in this world, not everyone can get a seat in these colleges. Hence, it is all the more important to know about other good institutions where one can pursue his education. Also, many new educational areas have emerged recently, where information about the quality of institutions is limited. No doubt, there is a lot of information available on the internet, but it is very difficult to assimilate and truly understand a particular institution’s worth through its website.

To fulfill this gap, many publications come up with college rankings to help students form an informed choice. In arriving at these rankings, a list of important parameters is created (such as staff strength, their qualifications, placements and infrastructure). A statistical model is developed where scores are assigned to each parameter to come up with the final ratings. In some cases, certain clusters are created, by putting similar level institutions in one bracket. In addition to these parameters, many factors such as market perception etc are also included in the final score. Thus, these ratings give students an objective idea about the relative worth of a particular institution alongside plus and minus points.

However, one has seen a glut of such college ratings in the market with many lesser known agencies publishing these ratings. Also, there has been a constant allegation on institutions to falsify the information or paying rating agencies to get higher ratings. This leaves students even more confused.

While relying on a rating, one should always look at the methodology used. If a rating takes care of the view of various stakeholders such as current students, industry perception, alumni view, strength of the curriculum, it will be more robust. There are various sector specific publications which capture intricacies of an industry and the way a particular institute works. Their rankings should be more comprehensive than done by some third party agency.

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Autographed Baseball Cards

Some of the most valuable autographed baseball cards are those which are signed by those players who rarely give their signature away. But it’s not just baseball players whose autograph is coveted by collectors, as managers Terry Francona and Joe Torre are two mangers whose signature collectors often purchase or trade for.

As far as baseball cards go, the New York Yankees are often at the top of collector’s lists and historically, Yogi Berra autographed baseball cards have been a collector favorite like none other. Much of this is due to the fact that Yogi remains active today by appearing in commercials and has a minor league stadium named after him. Of course, his 3 MVP awards, 15 American League All-Star appearances and 10 World Series championships help to drive up the price of his autographed baseball cards.

Many of the most popular autographed baseball cards in the last few years have come from the Boston Red Sox. There’s nothing like a World Series or two to spark interest in player cards and signatures, and with the Red Sox having won twice during the first 6 years of the 21st century, collectors and fans alike have taken keen interest in previously unknown players such as Tim Wakefield, Mark Bellhorn and Orlando Cabrera. These players’ card values have skyrocketed in the last few years due to the fact that they only had a few autographs on the market once they started winning.

Perhaps more than any other retired baseball player, Yogi maintains frequent public appearances and makes an effort to sign as many autographs as possible. Normally a high amount of signatures on cards would drive down market prices, but Yogi’s great popularity amongst both collectors and the general public help to keep the cards in demand and the prices higher than most.

Signed baseball cards have continued to stand the test of time, and with his 19 All-Star appearances as a shortstop firmly in the record books, the popularity and prices of his cards are going nowhere but up. It helps to be regarded as one of the greatest shortstops ever to play the game, but it is Cal Ripken’s actual signature that makes his autographed baseball cards so enticing to collectors. Ripken’s penmanship on his cards and memorabilia has always been crisp and clean, and has stayed so throughout the years despite the numerous requests placed upon him. This clarity in penmanship has collectors and fans constantly looking for Ripken autographed items.

The value of any card with a signature on it will of course vary, but it comes down to mainly the player, team, design and scarcity. Most of the time, cards with multiple signatures will outweigh the value of any one signature on a card, but of course the players need to be desirable for this to hold true.

It is no longer a wonder why most baseball fans are keen on collecting Derek Jeter baseball cards as the value of these are attributed to one of the best players in the present major league baseball of America. True enough, Derek Jeter is one of the most popular baseball players in the green diamond and has been compared to other great baseball players of the past.

However, such immense popularity has also made it difficult in terms of obtaining Jeter baseball cards, most especially the earliest ones when he was still a rookie, or the ones which he have signed. Others bear the several hours waiting in the ballpark during batting practice just to have a card signed or know when Derek Jeter might hole a private autograph signing.

Obtaining Jeter baseball cards is a matter that one should also carefully think about since the price could come to be a bit pricey. Such cards are usually worth the player in display and also the age with which it has survived.

I am Mohan read mathematics at Stanford and remained there for his MS. From 1998-1999 on researched in Evolution and in Animal Behavior in  Camrbidge, UK. I was was then a professor in the departments of Anthropology and Biology, New Jersy College, USA. Now teaches at the department of Zoology. Carried out research in several areas of evolutionary biology, particularly in sexual selection and the comparative method.