If any sport needs a good gossip columnist, it's auto racing. Silly season—the time of year when drivers scramble to line up rides for the next season and when rumors circulate faster than Bill Elliott at Talladega without a restrictor plate—used to be confined to the period from November to February, downtime for Winston Cup racing. Now there's off-track buzz year-round. The negotiations that led to Awesome Bill from Dawsonville's move from Ford to Dodge for the 2001 season (this year's hottest story) took five months. The news would have been much tougher to follow without Jayski, a cryptic fellow who's equal parts gearhead and Walter Winchell and who runs the definitive clearinghouse for NASCAR rumors on his Web site, Jayski's Silly Season Qayski.com).
As for his identity, Jayski offers only tantalizing hints on the site. He served in the Air Force. He has a dog named Barnee who likes to drink from birdbaths. Jayski likes the occasional Jack Daniels and Coke, but he also enjoys a Zima now and again. Beyond that, the man is shrouded in mystery. We can't determine his real name, let alone if he's actually Polish. What is certain is that if you've got a question about NASCAR, his site has an answer. Probably even the right one.
Jayski culls information from a host of sources, including newspapers, other Web sites and his own men on the inside (writers, team members and owners, but no drivers), and dumps it onto a site that has more than 400 pages. You can find detailed race statistics (e.g., the last driver to win from the 43rd starting spot was Fonty Flock at Raleigh in 1953); information on every NASCAR team, including possible changes for the 2001 season and a relatively easy-to-decipher guide to how NASCAR awards its provisional starting spots—a system so arcane it makes the Bowl Championship Series selection process look like a game of rock-paper-scissors. Moreover, if you want to see the special Bass Pro Shops paint scheme on Dale Earnhardt's car at the 1998 Winston, there's a link to a picture of it.
For fans of open-wheel racing, seventhgear.com provides a similar service. Edited by Australia's Aaron Irvine, who moved from Warrnambool, Victoria, to Gold Coast, Queensland, in 1996 so he could live in a home overlooking a CART track, the site provides breaking news and gossip. Seventhgear classifies its rumors by degrees of b.s., ranging from "fact" to "pure speculation" to "won't happen." Meanwhile, Formula One dirt is dished at flrumors.net.
Neither site, however, is as comprehensive as Jayski's—and that's not just pure speculation.