Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 13 SafeAuto Truck showed his short track roots once again at Martinsville Speedway Saturday afternoon. Sauter, who started the race in 4th position after wet weather cut practice times in half, led 36 laps and dominated the top five most of the day at the famed "paperclip." His eventual fourth place finish at the checkered flag after typical short track "beatin' and bangin," as the driver likes to say, tied him for third place in the championship points race towards Homestead. He is a mere four points out of second position and just fifteen back from the lead spot.
Early race tire strategy by crew chief Joe Shear, Jr proved nerve-racking but successful for the driver - knowing that at Martinsville, it's a place to trust track position and the ones who have the eyes to make the calls. "Ultimately, it all worked out," SafeAuto Driver Sauter said after the race. "We found our way to the front. This was fun racing and anytime we see Martinsville on the schedule, I'm a happy guy. While I wanted to be a little closer to the front here, it worked out and we're already working forward to Texas."
Sauter, as well as the top five race leaders, narrowly missed several skirmishes on track as caution flags flew left and right during the short 200 lap race. After staying out when most leaders pit in the initial race caution, Sauter continued to post scalding hot lap times. He was involved in two separate freight-trained pileups with minor damage to the nose/hood and left rear quarter panel, neither of which affected late-race performance.
Sauter, while keeping the championship attitude, wishes he had a repeat visit to Victory Lane at Martinsville; but knows that the top five bodes well going into Texas next week. "I think we can go there and win the race, for sure," he said. "We ran second there in both races last year, plus led something like 56 laps back in the Spring there but got the penalty. It's a strong track for us historically and I'm looking forward to keeping up this momentum. To win this championship, we're going to have to prove the underdog and race really, really hard. It's going to be a battle to the end."
Date: October 29, 2011
Track: Martinsville Speedway
Race: 23 of 25
Championship Point Standings: Tied for 3rd (-15)
Up Next on the Truck Series Schedule: Date: November 4, 2011
Track: Texas Motor Speedway
Event Name: WinStar World Casino 350
Broadcast: SPEED at 7pmCST
Tags: nascar, nascar camping world truck series, safeauto, safe auto, johnny sauter
When the first alternative energy vehicles were introduced many years ago, they were little more than an eccentric motor and engine crammed inside a utilitarian body sitting atop four wheels. In other words, they were more of a novelty item than a solid method of transportation for consumers.
But auto designers have made countless improvements to those early models. Today's alternative energy vehicles are not only more powerful and fuel-efficient, but they also get high marks for style, aesthetics, versatility, and reasonable auto insurance rates.
In fact, the alternative vehicle industry has grown from a tiny niche market into a viable automotive class deserving of its own public platform. That's why last month's 2011 Alternative Energy & Transportation Expo in Santa Monica, California attracted numerous people who wanted to check out what's new in 2012 among hybrids, plug-ins, and other non-gasoline powered vehicles.
In all, almost three dozen retailers had vehicles on display. In addition, there were booths featuring charging stations and test drive opportunities for some of the cars. Here are some of the vehicles that were on display.
Ford Escape Hybrid
Arguably the most sought-after alternative energy sport utility vehicle. The gas/electric hybrid system provides acceleration that is similar to a standard V6 engine.
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
The American luxury automaker is entering the alternative energy market in style. After all, it's hard to find a car that has an electric motor and heated/cooled leather seats.
The maiden effort of the Fisker car company is designed to appeal to the sports car lover who is also eco-friendly. But this long-range plug-in electric vehicle is costly, with a starting price of $95,900.
Honda Civic GX NGV
Feast your eyes on the only natural gas-powered passenger vehicle in the U.S. With a fuel economy rating of 31 mpg and a sticker price starting at $26,155, the GX NGV might just appeal to the average car buyer.
Honda FCX Clarity Hydrogen-Powered Car
The FCX Clarity uses hydrogen to produce the electricity which powers this zero-emissions vehicle. Plus, the 2012 FCX is more powerful and offers more space than its predecessors.
Volkswagen Golf TDI
Volkswagen is taking a more traditional tack on alternative energy with its clean diesel-powered Golf. The TDI combines seating for five with a 2-liter, 140 horsepower engine.
Toyota Prius V Hybrid Crossover
Don't call it a station wagon. The Prius V (for "versatility") has a convenient, roomy hatchback and still gets 44 mpg in the city.
Tags: hybrid, auto insurance, cheap insurance, safeauto, safe auto
Yeah, that in of itself should tell you everything you need to know.
Deer collisions are, while not a leading cause of accidents, still a major problem. The average deer weighs 200 pounds, and if you run into a 200 pound animal when you're not expecting it, the damage can be...well...see for yourself:
Don't worry, we've avoided the gory pictures, but you get the idea: it causes a lot of damage, and may even be potentially fatal depending on how the deer hits and what damage it does. But say you get out of it just shaken and not injured. Is your insurance going to cover your hit, and are your premiums going to go up?
First of all, you'll only be covered by deer hits if you have comprehensive insurance. Collision insurance is not going to cover coming up on a deer in the middle of the woods. Not everybody gets comprehensive, of course, but it's worth looking into if you've got an area heavily populated by deer or other large animals, like moose. Even a used junker might be worth getting the insurance: depending on the value of your car, it might be worth it if it means your car will be totaled otherwise.
Secondly, whether or not your premiums go up really depend on your insurer and how much the repairs cost. Although deer collisions are decreasing, the cost of repairing the damage they cause are going up rapidly, to over $3000 per collision on average. It's also going to depend on whether or not you took steps to prevent the collision, and whether or not it's likely to happen again. If you live in the middle of the woods, it's going to be a much different consideration than if you were lost and were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Odds are good you'll see a modest rise in premiums.
But it's better to avoid hitting deer altogether, probably for you and definitely for the deer. So, keep the following tips in mind:
- First and foremost, avoid driving through the woods as much as possible. Stay away from the deer and they'll stay away from you, after all.
- Deer move in herds: if you see one, there's probably a few more.
- Deer are most active at dawn and at dusk, so keep away from the woods then if possible.
- When driving through the woods, keep the speed lower than you normally would, especially during hunting and mating season. A good rule of thumb is to keep five to ten miles below the posted speed limit.
- Don't waste your time honking your horn or turning off your lights: the deer will freeze in the middle of the road, paralyzed because it doesn't know what to do. Hit the brakes as soon as you see the deer.
- If you do hit a deer, stay in your car. The deer may be confused and try to charge or otherwise attack you.
- Don't bother with devices that are supposed to drive deer away, like deer whistles: they haven't been tested and definitively shown to work.
In this particular case, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Keep a sharp eye out, and you and the deer will both be a lot happier.
Tags: deer season, deer driving, safeauto, safe auto, insurance, cheap insuranc
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