Monday, June 28, 2010

View From the Flagstand

Sunday's race in New England left us very unsurprised, at the results or the actual racing itself. If you like 280 laps with a handful of passes for the lead, and lots of green flag pit stops; then Loudon is your kind of race track.


Jimmie Johnson made it two wins in a row with the victory Sunday. He looks to be in dominator mode as he swashbuckles through the competition. He may have only led nine laps, but clearly had the fastest car at race's end. Kyle Busch made it look easy, winning the NNS race at NHMS on Saturday. Busch also became number one in laps led in the NNS during the race.


The top four finishers, Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, and Jeff Gordon have 11 Sprint Cup Championships among them! Don't be shocked if this year's champ comes from that fearless foursome. AJ Allmendinger somehow kept the fenders on his car and came home 10th after running in the top 8 for most of the day. Dale Earnhardt Jr raced as hard as he knows how, and ended up 8th.


Three drivers with sure top-10 (at least) cars didn't get those results due to gross incompetence. Jeff Burton wrecked himself and Kyle Busch with less than 10 laps left. Pole sitting, Juan Montoya was deliberately taken out by Reed Sorenson. Those three drivers led 171 of the 301 laps. Kasey Kahne led another 110 laps before his Roush test engine blew up.


Jeff Burton has been grinding my gears for years. He learned the fine art of whining and politicking from the best in the biz... Mark Martin and Jack Roush. Last month, after the race at Charlotte, Burton got in Kyle Busch's face because Busch had the ability to make it three wide on a late restart. Busch was in the middle, Burton came down from the outside and cut his own tire. Before looking at replays, Burton went off, and looked like a fool to those that had seen the incident from an outside view.

Sunday, Burton was leading with a handful of laps left. The yellow flew, everyone pitted for tires except J Burt. Of course he gets Linda Ronstadted on the restart. Then he drives too hard into a turn, on old tires, with Kyle Busch outside of him, slides up and ruins both of their days. So, just a month after screaming at Kyle to "think" and don't be wrecking him on a late restart.... JB does the exact thing he was so hot about. Burton, do us a favor and stick to something you are an expert on... points racing! Leave racing for the win to those that do it on a regular basis.


The talk of Loudon losing one, or both, race dates to another track. There are still four or five other tracks that are much more boring than Loudon. I'd rather watch 301 quick laps at NHMS than 400 miles at Indy, Michigan, Miami, or 500 at Pocono, Cali, and Texas. Why dump Loudon to add a race at Vegas. That track is no thrill show itself.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Right Sides Only

Will the hard feelings and high temperatures left over from NoCal subside before the gang gets to New England? Let's hope not. NASCAR said, "boys, have at it." Usually, a week is long enough for the wronged party to get over it, but after Jeff Gordon's one man wrecking crew in Sonoma, payback(s) may still be coming his way.

Hold on Loosely

Past Champion, Bobby Labonte quit the TRG team this week and will drive the #7 for RGM in Loudon Sunday. After a much needed 2nd place run last week, Robby Gordon will be in South America meeting with a potential sponsor. So Labonte is in for a one week deal while Robby wines and dines the Escobars.

Labonte has also signed to drive the two races immediately following Loudon with Phoenix Racing. Labonte has always been one of the truly good guys in NASCAR. So, why is he dragging out his farewell tour for about six years too long? There are actually fans today that are too young to remember when Bobby was a threat to win every week.

Smoking in the Boy's Room

Past NNS Champion, Randy LaJoie failed a NASCAR drug test and is now suspended indefinitely. LaJoie copped to the charge as soon as the suspension went public. He claims to have used marijuana one time, in May. He says he gave some fans a golf cart ride in a parking lot after the 600, and ended up hitting the hippie lettuce at a party they happened upon.

If NASCAR really was fan friendly they'd give the Champ a pass on this one. They should be glad that LaJoie is such a great ambassador for the sport. Who really got hurt in this instance? LaJoie was licensed to work on the #18 NNS crew. That's the first I've heard of it. Wonder what his job title was?

Big Boss Man

NASCAR's first multi car owner, Raymond Parks passed away last Sunday on Father's Day. Parks was a self-made millionaire from Atlanta, Georgia. Red Byron won the very first Cup championship, driving for Parks, in 1949.

Louden Low Down

There have been 30 Cup races in New Hampshire, all at NHMS.

2007 winner, Clint Bowyer will be sponsored by Zaxbys Chicken on Sunday.

'Slow Ride' at the superspeedway? Foghat does the US National Anthem. I guess the State Fair shows aren't booked for another month or so.

Last year, right here, Joe Logano became NASCAR's youngest Cup winner at a shade over 19.

In a great show of appreciation, Lenox Tools gave the entire town of Lenox, Mass free tickets to Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 race at Louden.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

View From the Flagstand

Last week I opined that the road courses were today's throwbacks to the old short track days. I mentioned a little rubbing, a little racing, a few tire marks on your door. No big deal. Then Jeff Gordon set me, and about eight drivers, straight when he put everyone on blast.... times ten! I've witnessed entire seasons without as many intentional take outs as I saw Gordon perform on Sunday. I'll ask the readers, exciting, or waaayy over the line? How about if it had been Kyle Busch or Brad Keselowski doing the rough stuff?


The champ earned his first ever road course win in dominating style at Sonoma. Jimmie Johnson led over half the laps, and finished three seconds ahead of runner-up Robby Gordon.


Everyone's favorite Aussie, Marcos Ambrose coulda, shoulda, woulda! What a heartbreaking way to lose a race. Ambrose fell from first to eighth on one steep incline when he stalled his car under caution. He recovered slightly to finish 6th. Bori Said bounced his way to 8th. Instead of watching the World Cup, Jan Magnussen rode out a 12th place finish in the #09 Chevy.


Joe Gibbs Racing had a long trip back to North Carolina as Joe Logano (33), Denny Hanlin (34), and Kyle Busch (39) had woeful performances this week. All three were actually taken out in someone else's hot mess. On the other hand, all three were not running anywhere near the front when they were scooped up. Hamlin and Busch were both passed by Johnson in the points race.


The intentional wrecking of another driver just because you can! I truly hope that Truex shows J Gordon this week that there are consequences to his actions. Gordon didn't sound too contrite after he wrecked at least six drivers (that we know of). He wrecked Truex because if he didn't, he said, Montoya would have passed him. As Truex replied, "So, let him pass you!" There was still over half the race to go.

I can't believe the free pass Gordon is getting from the fans. "He's showing that he still has the fire." I can only think of one other driver (Mark Martin) that wouldn't be catching holy hell if he put on that debacle of dirty driving that Gordon did on Sunday.


The talk of adding a road course to the ten race Chase. We already have one lottery race (Talladega) in the playoffs. After what we saw on Sunday, why have another Chase race in which you stand a good chance of being taken out by someone else's stupidity?


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Right Sides Only

Are you ready for some slam bang racing this week? It may be a road course instead of a short track. It may be in wine country instead of 'shine country. Hell, it is North California instead of North Carolina, but the road circuits tend to bring out the old school, paint swappin', fender rubbin', donut leaving, hard charging in all the drivers.

Musical Chairs

After Stewart Haas Racing said it's now too late to form a third team for Kasey Kahne to drive for next year, Phoenix Racing has come forward to offer their services. Phoenix hopes to get one of those sweetheart deals (top driver, sponsor, and HMS support) by becoming an HMS satellite team, if only for one year. They would, in effect, be Hendrick's seventh team... but who's counting.

Toro Rojo

Casey Mears was bounced from his (evidently, very) temporary Red Bull ride last week after an on-track team driver meeting with Scott Speed at 170 mph. Mears is headed back to the start-and-park effort at TBR with all the other underachievers. Reed Sorenson parlays some solid NNS runs this year into the Red Bull seat that Mears barely kept warm for Brian Vickers. Langley Speedway legend, Elton Sawyer also lost his management position at RBR last week.

It's No Secret

After dominating last week at MIS, Denny Hamlin said what everyone already knows. Hamlin stated that all the drivers know to expect the 'debris' caution near the end of every race. He also shrugged and deadpanned, "We know it's show business."

Some are predicting that Hamlin will be penalized by NASCAR, because other sports do not tolerate competitors trashing the officiating. It's bad enough that NASCAR defends the indefensible, but publicly going after Hamlin would send a sour message to the fans. As in, "We don't mind you guys purposely wrecking each other at 190 now, but no truth telling!"

Infineon and Beyond!

It's been a long time since a part-time, road race ringer won a Cup road race. So, why do owners keep bringing them in every year?

Boris Said returns, this time in the #26. Among the other one and dones are PJ Jones, Brian Simo, and Jan Magnussen.

Jimmie Johnson is 0 for 16 on the two road courses now on the Cup schedule.

Dale Earnhardt Jr's best finish here is 11th, and his average finish is 21.4.

Kasey Kahne's average is even worse. Even after winning last year, he averages a 26.7 finish here.

The last ringer to win on a twisty? Mark Donohue at Riverside in 1973, driving an AMC Matador for Roger Penske.

Monday, June 14, 2010

View From The Flagstand

Well Michigan International Speedway certainly lived up to its reputation on Sunday. What a thrilling day of close competition we enjoyed! Hah, just kidding. The 103 degrees worth of Southern swelter must be getting to me. It wasn't the worst race of the year (Hello, Fontana), but it was far from the best, also. A very wise person once said, "The best thing about Michigan is that Sonama is the next week." Truer words...


Denny Hamlin toyed with the other 42 racers, in route to his fifth win of the year. His crew is on top of their game right now, and even a road course next week shouldn't slow their momentum. Of course, all this regular season stuff doesn't mean a hell of a lot. Ten bonus points per win going into the Chase is not enough for actually trying to win during the regular season, and can disappear in the first Chase race. Don't use up all your mojo too soon, Hamster.


Kurt Busch won the pole and came home third. Second place finisher, Kasey Kahne had a strong outing, and should win one of these very soon. A rare visitor to my green flags section, or to the top-10, was... gee, I hope I spell this right... Dale Earnhardt Jr, in 7th. The entire top-10 looked like a preview of the Chase contenders.


Points leader Kevin Harvick (19th) picked a bad week to come back down to earth, as red hot Hamlin made up a lot of ground. Kyle Busch (20th) looked even worse than Harvick while trying to hold onto his second place spot in the points race. Matt Kenseth, struggled to a 14th place finish, and dropped a spot in points.


Please stop allowing morons to give the 'Start your Engines' command. So-called movie stars, Adam Sandler and Kevin James totally wrecked the command. Would it be so bad to have a professional announcer to give this proclamation at every event? For about 30 years, when you heard Michael Buffer "get ready to ruuuuummmble" you knew you were going to see some professional action.


The phantom debris cautions. Yes, we know the race is boring, and NASCAR wants to tighten it up. What about those teams that had their entire game plan based on a fuel mileage strategy? Should there be a new rule that we can not have two green flag pit cycles in a row? Or, that a 'competition' caution will fly EVERY race with 25 laps to go?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Right Sides Only

It is so kind of the schedule makers to have Pocono and Michigan run their events back to back. Now we can really get a handle on just which is the most boring race track east of the Mississippi. MIS will have to go way above and beyond their normal zonker to overcome the 30 minutes of racing we witnessed last week in Pocono.

Crips vs Bloods

First it was Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer. Then, Jeff Burton getting all up in Kyle Busch's grill. Now, Lil' Joey Logano bows up on Kevin Harvick, as the JGR gang continues to throw down with their sworn enemies, the RCR crew, in NASCAR's version of a turf (asphalt?) war.

Harvick caught Logano with a veteran move, leading to Logano spinning himself out of a top-5 at Pocono. Afterwards we had it all, crew members pushing, Harvick laughing, a Little League dad acting like a jackass, and DeLana Harvick's fashion sense being impugned. If only Logano had made that whip cracking sound effect as he questioned the Harvicks' lifestyle.

Bloods vs Bloods

The latest team-on-team violence occurred on the last lap at Pocono when AJ Allmendinger foolishly tried to block teammate, Kasey Kahne. I would love to hear the spotter replay from the Dingerling's radio during that last lap. Let's add these RPM drivers to our growing list of feuding teammates this year. Montoya/McMurray, Gordon/Johnson, Hamlin/Busch, and believe it or not Bowyer and Burton don't speak to Harvick too often.

But Which One is The Evil Empire?

Wal-Mart is close to signing on with Hendrick Motorsports in a huge marketing deal. This will include all, or partial, sponsorship of Jeff Gordon's #24. Current sponsor, Dupont, may stay on in a limited role as primary sponsor in some races next year. HMS and Wally World, a perfect fit. Don't believe me? Check out all the Dale Jr fans on this site...

Michigan Mutterings

Brian Vickers won the last race here back in August. Would some network wise up and let Vickers be their lead race analyst while he's out on medical leave?

Mark Martin led ONE lap in this race last June. The money lap as he won a fuel mileage snoozer.

JMayer thinks we should do a shot every time we hear "manufacturer's backyard" on the telly this weekend.

There have been THREE races at MIS without a caution.

Honorary starters are Adam Sandler and Kevin James. So, expect about TEN commercials from their new movie, which looks dreadful by the way. When was the last time Sandler had a funny, or even watchable, movie out?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bring Your Wife to Work Day

The one thing that apparently is a major point of contention after the Harvick/Logano dustup is Joey Logano's comment about DeLana Harvick wearing a firesuit at the track. After he felt he was wronged by Kevin Harvick, Logano brought Mrs. Harvick's race attire into the fray with a single, unforgettable zinger concerning the pecking order in the Harvick household.

I have long thought it was silly of DeLana to wear a firesuit at the track. She is not a competitor. She may be doing some 'busy' work on top of the pit box, but she is not on the team. It's almost as cute as a high school cheerleader's mother wearing a cheerleading outfit to the games to support her daughter. Nothing more than an embarrassing distraction yelling, "Look at me!"

As long as I'm in this deep, I might as well ask, "Why are wives, girlfriends, and family members even allowed to come to work with the drivers?" Are there any other jobs where you can bring a one-night-stand to work with you the next day? Who was the first driver to bring his wife into the pits during a race?

Please don't take this as chauvinistic, I would feel the same way if Danica Patrick's husband wore a firesuit around the pits. Or, if Joey Logano's father, Tom, (remember Al Bundy's favorite TV show, 'Psycho Dad'?) wore a team uni while stalking the pits.


Monday, June 7, 2010

View From The Flagstand

What a far flung weekend of racing we witnessed, all from the air conditioned comfort of our sofas, and, or barstools. The Sprint Cup and ARCA teams were in Pocono, Trucks and Indy cars were deep in the heat of Texas, the Nationwide guys were in Magic City, Nashville, and there was a great Grand Am race in Watkins Glen. Not so proud to say that I saw parts of all those races on the telly, and did see the finish of each one. Dedicated, or just pathetic?


Denny Hamlin led the most laps and dominated the second half of the race in route to his fourth victory of the season. His JGR team was stout throughout, and his teammates should have both had top-5 finishes.


JGR's Kyle Busch won the pole and finished second. Tony Stewart may have begun his annual summer storm, as he was a strong third. Kurt Busch (6) and Juan Montoya (8) both overcame problems for solid finishes.


Joey Logano was on his way to a top-5 when he messed with the bull(y) and got the horn. Kevin Harvick held his line (forever) when Logano came down to enter the turn, and wrecked himself with a handful of laps left. Logano has been a virtual punching bag for a variety of drivers, including Harvick earlier this year in a NNS race at Bristol.

After Sunday's race Logano parked at Harvick's car to discuss the incident. A Home Depot crew member tried to hold Logano back, but Logano's father pulled the crew man away and told Joey to go get in Harvick's face. Logano had his say, and probably gained a little respect in the garage.


With radar and meteorologists saying that a heavy weather cell was almost on top of the track, NASCAR elected to let TNT proceed with their hour and a half pre-race show instead of trying to start the race a little earlier,and perhaps get some laps in. It started to rain as soon as the engines were fired up, and, after a few parade laps, the cars were parked for a couple of hours.

Once the track was dry, a hole was discovered at the exit of pit road. The track has been sitting for ten months since their last event, and now when we're ready to race.... oopsie! We have a hole. No worries, we'll grout over it while millions wait. And, as further proof of our professionalism, we'll place four orange cones around the repair.... and leave them there, on the racing surface, for the duration! Look out NFL, we're gunning for you!


A.J. Allmendinger! On the last lap, down the backstretch, Dinger decides to block his teammate, Kasey Kahne, all the way down into the grass. Instead of hitting AJ in the ass, as was warranted, Kahne lost it, and caused a huge accident. This killed a lot of good finishes and hard work. Allmendinger blissfully went on to a 10th place finish.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Right Sides Only

Thirteen down, and thirteen to go. We are now halfway to NASCAR's contrived version of a playoff... The Chase. The extended triangle that is Pocono Raceway gets us going into the second half of the regular season this Sunday.

Mute Button no Longer Needed

Buh-Bye, Fox. Don't let the door hit ya. TNT takes over race broadcast duties for the next couple of months as DW, Hammond, Meyers, and the rest of the Foxcasters get their annual early summer vacation. You know how you don't really miss something until it's gone? Well, don't expect that to happen in this instance.

200 At 25

Sunday, when he starts the ProGlide 500 at Pocono, Kyle Busch will become the youngest driver to make 200 Cup starts. He'll break Brian Vickers' (hurry back, B Vick) mark by a few months. Gee, it already seems like he's been around forever.

Turn Off Your Blinker, Gramps

61 year old Geoff Bodine is supposed to attempt to qualify at Pocono for this week's Cup race. Despite not having started a Cup event since 2004, Bodine stated that he has a shot a becoming NASCAR's oldest winner. He's driving a start and park entry. If he has a shot, I have a shot with Salma Hayek.

Pocono Patter

Mega sponsor, UPS reaffirmed their intentions to fulfill their contract next year at Roush Fenway Racing. This assures David Ragan of remaining at RFR for at least one more year anyway.

Denny Hamlin and Bobby Allison have each won three straight races at Pocono in the past.

Tony Stewart has nine top-10s in his last 10 Pocono starts.

Jeff Gordon has 8 top-10s on his last 10 races here,

At Pocono, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin both have an average finish in the top-10.

Gillette razor shill, and WWE Champion, John Cena is one of the Grand Marshalls this weekend.