Thursday, September 30, 2010

Best. Theory. Ever!

Put it in park, turn down the jams, and walk with me for a minute. Just ask yourself, 'Is any theory that far-fetched when NASCAR is involved?'

Let's say Clint Bowyer's car was illegal after the Richmond race. NASCAR didn't want to penalize the #33 by giving his Chase spot to Ryan Newman. Much the same as they won't take the win away from an illegal car. Not to mention, what if they did give the slot to Newman, then RCR appealed and NASCAR's ruling on Bowyer was overturned.... after the Chase had already started with Newman in it?

Then, let's say NASCAR told RCR they were fortunate, and not to bring the same set-up back to the track. So, (hypothetically, of course) what does the #33 do? He smokes the field the very next race. NASCAR was not amused. Then the very public payback to RCR began.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Right Sides Only

We made it through a whole two races before the Chase took a very familiar look, as four-time defending champion, Jimmie Johnson won last week at Dover. Denny Hamlin kept the points lead, while JJ moved up into second place. Tick, tock, Clarice.

Twelve Angry Men

RCR's appeal of the penalties against their #33 team and driver Clint Bowyer was denied on Wednesday. The three person appeals panel wasn't buying what Richard Childress was selling. RCR continues to claim that a wrecker push must have raised the #33 Chevy 1/16". NASCAR had video of the push, but the most telling evidence might have been the in-car, black box, telemetry from Bowyer's car itself. The data from the box showed just how hard, or light, the car was hit by the wrecker.

This should have closed the case, but Richard Childress promises to appeal the appeal. Let it go, Richard. You're not Jeremy Mayfield. NASCAR is not persecuting you, one of its most beloved figures.

Road to Perdition

Denny Hamlin made a public apology to Kevin Harvick and RCR earlier this week. Cool of Hamlin to apologize for Harvick running all over him in practice at Dover. No doubt his bosses at JGR told him to put Dover behind him and concentrate more on keeping his points lead.

Wizard of Odds

Kansas Speedway will have two Cup races next year. With the installation of permanent lights this offseason, one of the events could be a night race. The new 100,000 square foot Hollywood Casino will open overlooking turn two in 2012. Gambling while watching a race? Hmmm, not like all the on-track action is going to interfere with the off-track action.

Nationwide News

Nationwide Series hot shoe, Trevor Bayne has been let go by Diamond Waltrip Racing. Justin Algaier will be out of his Penske NW ride at season's end. Braun Racing has sold its four car NW team to Turner Motorsports. Turner immediately cut Brian Scott and placed their CWTS driver, James Buescher in that car.

Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk

Jeff Gordon has the best average finish at Kansas after scoring 7 top-10s in nine races.

Last year's race had the fewest cautions, and the most leaders. Green flag pit stops tend to do that.

Jimmie Johnson has three poles here.

Would you believe that Roush only has two wins here? Guess who.

Toyota has not won here, and Dodge has one win at Kansas. Who was it?

Monday, September 27, 2010

View From The Flagstand

In week two of the Chase most of the on-track fireworks were viewed during a practice session. Practice? Practice? We talking about practice? Yes, A.I., we are.


Did you miss him? Wishful thinking was not enough to keep Jimmie Johnson out of the winner's circle. JJ took the pole, led the most laps, and won going away on Sunday. The Champ is back! Damn!


AJ Allmendinger started second, led over 100 laps, then had tire troubles mid-race. He kept his composure in route to a 10th place finish. Joey Logano was 2nd on Saturday, 3rd on Sunday. Is Paul Menard the most improved driver this year? He was top-10 all day, and wound up 7th. Nice to see Bobby Labonte lead some laps before finishing 27th.


NASCAR threw a yellow for a loose caution light shroud at Dover. Loose. Not on the track. Just loose. You have two races a year, perhaps a check list would be useful? Make sure the pace car has gas, too.


Kevin Harvick, once again, has to use his 3,700 pound car to do his talking for him. He couldn't walk the ten feet over to Denny Hamlin in the garage, and let the Hampster know that he wasn't Happy about Denny's unforked tongue?

Does Harvick think that he intimidated Hamlin, even a little, by bumping the #11 as they went on the track to practice? Judging by where he finished (15), Harvick should have worried a little more about setting his car up.


Richard Childress, you've done so much for the sport, but keep the loose change in your pocket. If you've said sixty thousandths once, you've said it a hundred times. He keeps harping that the rear of the car was only 1/16" too high. Now, let's measure across the rear spoiler since its 1/16" higher ALL the way across.

I don't have my handy-dandy NASCAR template set close by, so I'll guess the rear spoiler may be 80" wide. 80" x 1/16" = FIVE square inches of extra downforce. How many quarters is that, Richard?

Little help, Tez? I don't have a calculator, either. LOL

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Right Sides Only

After the thriller in Loudon last week all the teams can head "down the shore" to Dover with their heads held high. Well, all but one, that is. Clint Bowyer's bunch falls from second to twelfth in points after being found illegal following the big win at NHMS last week. Life in the fast lane edition......

Take it to the Limit

Has NASCAR finally learned how to make the Chase exciting? Not only was the competition riveting during the first Chase race last Sunday, but they dropped a bombshell Wednesday regarding the winning car.

Upon taking the RCR #33 from the winner's circle in NHMS back to their facilities in NC, NASCAR found three direct violations of the rules. This after the #33 team was warned the prior week at RIR about pushing the boundaries. So, the #33 operation keeps the win, loses 150 points, and its crew chief and car chief are banned for six weeks.

RCR is blustering about appealing the sanctions, telling the public that it's all about the car only being 1/16" too high after the race. Believe this, it's about much more than that. Three different sections of the rules were cited as being compromised by the #33, not just one. NASCAR gave them every opportunity to pass inspections, and NASCAR would never come down this hard on a winning car unless it was deliberately illegal.

Witchy Woman

Danicamania is back! Did you miss it? She doubles down at Dover, as she's entered in the Friday NASCAR's K&N Pro Series East support race as well as the Nationwide race for JR Motorsports on Saturday. Yawn. Danica just picked up a top-5 finish in her Indy racer in Japan last week.

Best of my Love

While the teams are in nearby Dover, several drivers along with NASCAR president, Mike Helton, make the annual visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center today (Thursday) to see the troops. Among those going will be, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, and Greg Biffle. Several show cars will also be on display at the hospital.

All Night Long

Bruton Smith one-ups Jerry Jones. Charlotte Motor Speedway will have a high def video board constructed in time for their May, 2011 events. The gigantic TV will be the world's largest at 200 feet long and 80 feet tall. The screen will be viewable for the fans sitting along the frontstretch from turn four to turn one. I'll bring my universal remote just in case the race gets boring.

Dover Drift

Sam Hornish Jr makes his 100th Cup start here on Sunday. Will he be around for 200?

Jeff Gordon will be in the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial #24. Check it out

Jimmie Johnson swept both races here last year.

Kyle Busch won the last race here, in May.

Martin Truex Jr got his first win here at Dover.

Monday, September 20, 2010

View From The Flagstand

What a View we had this week. The first race of the Chase had it all. Mostly it had great racing. And, surprisingly, not just among the twelve Chasers. Five of the top-10 finishers were non Chase participants.


Clint Bowyer was the last driver to clinch his spot in the Chase. He had zero wins in the 26 race regular season. Sunday, he had the car to beat, and dominated the kickoff Chase race in Loudon.


Jamie McMurray (3), Dale Earnhardt Jr (4), and Sam Hornish Jr (10) all had nice finishes at NHMS. Denny Hamlin kept the points lead with a hard earned second place run after being spun earlier in the race by Carl Edwards.


With less than 100 laps to go, there were several instances of the Chase drivers spinning, and spinning each other. These are the twelve best drivers in the world, yet they were mixing it up like it was the last lap with 85 to go. It was very unexpected, yet highly entertaining.


My blustering about the Chase being anti-climatic. I expected the Loudon race to be follow-the-leader boring, with most of the top-10 finishers being Chase drivers. I couldn't have been more wrong. The race was exciting, with the outcome in doubt right down to the last lap. Here's hoping that the next nine races are this good.


The Black Flag stays sheathed this week. WTH? I'm sure I could go off on ESPN again, but aren't we all tired of that?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Right Sides Only

The Chase is finally here, along with all its inherent excitement. Alleged excitement, that is. Twelve drivers, ten races. Two and a half months that will seem like six, at least. Why don't the NFL playoffs seem like they go on forever? Instead, they leave you wishing the games were still being played. Yeah, we want some of that, NASCAR.


Have you all been following the adventures of Kyle Busch this week on ESPN 2? Except for being pre-empted for tennis on Monday, 'Riding Shotgun: Kyle Busch' has been following Busch each day during his week of appearances before the Chase begins.

The Big Lebowski

Front Row Motorsports has filed suit against their former driver, Kevin Conway, and his sponsor, Extenze. Extenze was to pay FRM $108,000, weekly, for 50 weeks. Out of that total of 5.4 million, FRM would pay Conway's base salary of $540,000 and performance bonuses. In June Extenze began paying only half of their weekly payment. This led to Conway taking Extenze and heading out to RGM.

After subtracting Conway's salary, FRM was looking to stack almost five million?! Plus 85% of race purse winnings (Conway got 15%). For a glorified start and park operation? Now they are trying to collect all kinds of easy money from Extenze. What, only one Extenze joke in these two paragraphs?

Five Easy Pieces

Five drivers who made the Chase last year did not make it this year. Car number 5, Mark Martin is one of those five. Five drivers in the Chase this year have not won a race this year. Chase contenders, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, are gunning for title number five.

Loudon Lowdown

Jimmie Johnson is driving the same car which won when last at Loudon.

Jeff Burton leads all drivers with four wins here. Anyone have him on their fantasy team?

Burton led all 300 laps to win here in 2000. He won the year before while leading only two laps.

Loudon's new start/finish line is a 6" thick, 2' wide, 65' long slab of granite. Will we now see the kissing of the granite by the winning team at New Hampshire?

The Patriot

This Dodge Viper is the Tea Party Pace Car......

Monday, September 13, 2010

View From The Flagstand

Another short track, another Joe Gibbs Racing win. With JGR's Denny Hamlin winning, Kyle Busch placing second, and Joey Logano finishing fourth, this was a statement as to that team's short track program. Too bad there is only one real short track in the Chase, as JGR drivers have won the last six shorties in a row.


Hometown hero, Hamlin won for the fourth time in his last six short track starts. When his car is set-up right, as on Saturday night, he looks unbeatable. This win also gives him six total for the season, and top seeding in the Chase with an extra 60 bonus points.


JGR, with the aforementioned three drivers all with top four finishes. Is Richmond similar to a road course now? This group may think so, Marcos Ambrose (5), Juan Montoya (7), AJ Allmendinger (8), Mattias Ekstrom (31) made his oval track debut, and completed all but four laps. Clint Bowyer raced hard to protect his place in the Chase, winding up sixth.


Bobby and Terry Labonte both melted down tires and had some fireworks going off under their cars. Bobby actually took the last starting position from Terry with his past champion's provisional, leaving Terry's sponsor to buy him a way in by taking over a start and parker's rig. The Labonte's were always two, of the few, classy guys in NASCAR. I hope the reason they're still out there is their love of racing is so strong.


The season. Right now. If NASCAR intends to stick with this Chase business, they need to award a regular season champ. A big, ol' trophy, and a couple million bucks sounds about right. Warning: this could lead to Jimmie Johnson winning the regular season AND the Chase every year.


The Chase! Did you see that parade of drivers locked in the Chase on Saturday night. Much was made, pre-race, about them having nothing to lose, and how they could race hard for the win, and get that whopping, ten bonus points for the Chase. B.S.

Get ready for more of the same over the next ten races. After the second Chase race, three, four at most, drivers will emerge as title contenders. The rest are just happy their sponsors are in the Chase. Hell, five of the 12 drivers did not win a race this season! Don't expect them to start winning in the Chase.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Right Sides Only

With the Chase field all but finalized, the Cupsters parade into Richmond, Virginia this weekend and put the regular season out of its misery. Saturday night, under the lights, short trackin', without having to worry about points could get interesting. Then again, those late season NFL games, when the playoff spots have already been clinched, aren't exactly edge-of-your-seat material either.

This week also will be the next to last night race of the year, as Charlotte has the lone night race in the Chase. It will be interesting to see the ratings for NASCAR's finale from Homestead when it goes up against a full slate of football games on a Sunday afternoon. Of course, Jimmie Johnson not having locked up the title by then will be the biggest ratings boost they could hope for.

Paint Your Wagon

Should one of NASCAR's biggest stars, and a four time champ, have this much trouble finding a new sponsor? HMS and Jeff Gordon have been rocking the Dupont colors since 1992. Now, with Wal-Mart saying no thanks, Hendrick and Gordon have resorted to begging Dupont to come on back for another year, or two. Maybe this 'Summer of Recovery' hoax just needs a little more time to catch on?

The Searchers

Meanwhile, two-time champion , Tony Stewart appears to have snagged Mobile 1 as the replacement for his Old Spice sponsorship, beginning next year. Pennzoil leaves RCR for Penske, which means that Mobile 1 has to leave Penske for somewhere. Quaker State stays with HMS, and Valvoline remains at RPM. It's oil settled then? Good.


Camping World Truck Series driver, Jack Smith has been suspended indefinitely by NASCAR. Smith allegedly tried to obtain controlled substances by fraudulent means three times in July of 2010. He was arrested on July 22, 2010 in Missouri, and NASCAR was informed of the arrest on July 23, 2010. NASCAR knew of the three felony counts against Smith, but waited six weeks or so to suspend him?

Richmond Rap

Dale Earnhardt Jr joins three others to lead active drivers with three wins at RIR. Woot!

Night Ranger throws down a pre-race concert on the fronstretch. Night Ranger? Really? Was Golden Earring booked?

RIR is Gibbs country! Kyle Busch averages a finish of 5.5 here, and Denny Hamlin's is 8.8. The only two current drivers with a top-10 finishing average at Richmond.

Jeff Gordon will be in the Oxymoronmobile as his Chevy is being touted as the National Guard Military Intelligence Special. Salute!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

View From The Flagstand

What a Smoke filled View we had this week on the flagstand. With Tony Stewart's win at Atlanta Sunday night, he continued his streak of at least one win in each year he has competed in the Cup series. He also has scored more driver points than anyone over the last three months.


Of course Stewart gets this one with little competition. Different cars seemed strong at different times, but Stewart's was fast all race long.


Jeff Burton gears up for the Chase with a strong late run to finish 4th. Both Busch brothers overcame adversity to pocket top finishes. Kyle was 5th, Kurt was 6th. Funny talkers, Juan Montoya (9) and Marcos Ambrose (10) had nice results. Reed Sorenson (14), Regan Smith (17), and Bill Elliott (23) all had lead lap finishes.


Kevin Harvick suffered from driver error while Denny Hamlin had an engine malfunction after leading large chunks of the race. With just one race left before the Chase, now is not the time for these gremlins to affect these stout competitors.


This business where a driver gets loose, then because that slowed him down, he gets hit unintentionally from behind. Twice recently the driver getting loose has come back and wrongly taken revenge on the innocent driver who hit him. Kyle Busch did it to Brad Keselowski in a NNS race at Bristol two weeks ago, now Kasey Kahne costs Ryan Newman several positions with his wrongly blamed payback.


Everyone not named Jarrett, Petree, or Bestwick on ESPN's broadcasts. Seriously, Marty Reid is pathetic. Does he even watch the racing, or is another genius telling him what to say via earpiece? It's almost enough to make me miss Bill Weber. Almost.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Right Sides Only

Let's get it started, Labor Day in the Dirty South. College football kicks off this weekend, baseball races are tightening up, and the Chase starts in two weeks. The smell of Fall is in the air... well, maybe not yet, but it's rounding turn four.

National Lampoon's Vacation

The rumors of Wal-Mart coming to NASCAR as a primary sponsor on Jeff Gordon's HMS Chevy just will not go away. Wally World even went so far as to issue a press release last week stating that they were not coming to NASCAR. Of course that did nothing to dispel the rumors.

Used Cars

Fan favorite, Elliott Sadler says that he is close to announcing where and what he'll be driving next year. Apparently he won't be at RPM, and may not even be in a Cup car. Sources have him driving a Camping World Series truck for Kevin... er, Delana Harvick full time next year.

Back to the Future

Some long-time race fans remember back when the second Atlanta race of the year was also the season finale. Labor Day meant the Southern 500 in the stifling heat of Darlington. Both races were a milestone, something to be conquered. Now they have been moved around on some network's dartboard, and are both run at night. Change isn't always a good thing.

Atlanta Assumptions

Dale Earnhardt Jr won the pole at AMS back in March. That is all.

Bobby Labonte's six wins here are the most among active drivers. Define active?

Rusty Wallace and Jeff Gordon made their first career starts at Atlanta, while Richard Petty and Harry Gant, among others, made their final starts here.

At least eight different bands are performing at AMS over Labor Day weekend. Foreigner and Drivin' and Cryin' are among them, but do yourself a favor and check out Colt Ford, what a show!