Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What Now For Kurt Busch

With Kurt Busch's "mutual" ouster at Penske Racing, we are left to wonder who will get his old ride in the #22 Dodge? I believe the reason he had to leave the Penske #2 ride last year was because the new sponsor of the 22 demanded a "championship caliber" driver. That verbiage cuts Kurt's potential replacements down to Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte, Kimi Raikkonen, and not much else.

The other big question is where will Kurt wind up? It is difficult to imagine many sponsors willing to give his past bad behavior a flyer. And, the sponsors control every driver move made in nascar. The JGR, Home Depot, #20 is the only possibility.... and that is slight. Home Depot is fed up with getting their ass kicked weekly by Jimmie Johnson's Lowes Chevy. Home Depot also has experience in dealing with a "difficult" driver... hey, Smoke.

Fifteen years ago, talented Robby Gordon was a hot shot, open wheeled, prima donna with nascar team owners bidding for his talent. Seven years, and four teams later, the hot-headed Gordon was out of options, formed his own team, and is now a start-and-parker.

Busch now has burned bridges with two power teams in the Cup series. His next chance may be his last. Just ask Robby.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wreck-free Racing

I saw a story today at yahoo sports about an upcoming boxing match. The author, Kevin Iole, mentioned how boxing fans can be bloodthirsty and have a lust for violence. That in itself is debatable, but he went on to state that nascar fans have the same desire for carnage.

Iole claims that nascar fans stream into the tracks by the hundreds of thousands hoping to see fiery wrecks. According to Iole, if somehow all wrecks were magically eliminated, attendance would drop rapidly and long term TV contracts would also dry up.

Of course, wrecks in nascar will never stop; there are just too many variables. Mechanical failures are the biggest cause, mainly due to those Goodyears. Then they have wrecks caused by driver error, followed by debris, weather, and revenge (the Vickers Effect).

But, lets say that all wrecks did magically stop; with all yellows being discretionary cautions as nascar sees fit. Big stretch on that, I know. But, my question is, if there was never another wreck in nascar would you continue being a fan and viewing races?

The boxing story...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving with the Busch Brothers

"I'm thankful that f&%*!ng Addington won't be back next year. What the %@&* are you thankful for, Kyle?"

"I'm just thankful that Gibbs or M&Ms don't have the %@!!s to fire me."

"Mom, where the %*&# is that turkey? I've been waiting ten %#$ !*^$ minutes!"

"Where the $&*% is your new girlfriend, Kurt?"

"#@$*! She said I had %#$&!ng anger management problems! Can you believe that $!##!"

"You? What the %@#$ is she talking about?"

"Still no %&$#!@* turkey?! Couldn't you have pre-%&&#!@*-cooked it, Mom?!"


Happy Thanksgiving to all of us Busch fans!

Monday, November 21, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Stewart is the Man in Miami

That is how to win a title! We finally were treated to a down-to-the-wire championship battle in nascar's season finale. Tony Stewart imposed his will on his competition in route to winning the Ford 400 and the 2011 Sprint Cup championship.


Stewart overcame adversity during the first two thirds of the race before a late rain shower, coupled with his team's fuel strategy, suddenly left him leading on the last restart. You could tell that Smoke was not going to be headed off after that. Stewart drove harder and deeper into the turns all race long, and deserved the win and title more than anyone in recent memory.


Carl Edwards chose to try the "Mr Consistency" route to the points championship. It almost worked. He and Stewart actually had the same points totals, but Stewart won the tiebreaker based on total wins, five to Carl's one. Matt Kenseth was 4th in the race, and 4th in the points race. Kevin Harvick wound up 8th at Miami, and was 3rd in the title hunt.


I know fans pay for their tickets and have the right to boo the competitors. But, booing the first lady, Mrs Obama? All she's ever done is marry a politician, and she was there for the US military and veterans. The booing fans did nothing but advance her husband's us vs them campaign. She would have won some fans by giving a Rowdy bow to the booers.


Friday night, nascar waited all of seven minutes to call the truck series race an official finish when it rained with 17 laps left. Surely Austin Dillon leading the points race at that time had nothing to do with that hair trigger decision.


How in the hell can Stewart win five of the ten Chase races, and still only tie Edwards for the points lead? nascar was extremely lucky that Edwards didn't stroke his way to the championship with zero Chase wins. Wins and leading laps must pay more!

Monday, November 14, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Kahne Finally Wins

Recently repaved and reconfigured, Phoenix International Raceway was supposed to be a wild card in this year's Chase. Hosting the next to last race on an unknown entity was bound to create some havoc. While it was not the wreckfest that many predicted, there was plenty of drama in the desert.


Kasey Kahne scored his first victory in more than two years on Sunday. He has consistently been running in the top five for the last couple of months, and his perseverance paid off with the win just one race before he leaves Red Bull Racing for Hendrick.


Points leader Carl Edwards was second, and Tony Stewart, just three points back, led the most laps and came home in third place. Joining Kahne, other lame ducks with top runs included David Reutiman in 7th and Clint Bowyer in 10th.


Geoffrey Bodine caused at least three cautions, and didn't even complete half the scheduled laps. Some things never change.


A sixth title for Jimmie Johnson. It is weird not having JJ already coasting to another Cup by this point in the season. The Carl vs Smoke show is damn good, as both guys are trying to win every week.


Brian Vickers! While his teammate, Kahne, is collecting wins, top-5's, and top of the line job offers, Vickers is carrying out petty vendettas on championship contenders. After deliberately wrecking three drivers at Martinsville, he came to Phoenix gunning for mild mannered Matt Kenseth. Vickers did take Kenseth out, and it was intentional. That is, it was intentional to everyone except for the hack nascar officials.

*** Due to their handling of Kyle Busch's situation, and, now, Vickers' no-calls, I will refer to nascar in lower case form until they earn back the all caps.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cool Down Lap for Kyle Busch

I was shocked when nascar parked Kyle Busch for the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series races in Texas on Saturday and Sunday for his actions in the Truck series race. After having a couple of days to think about it, I see that nascar did what needed to be done. Busch wasn't parked for intentionally wrecking Ron Hornaday during a caution period, he was parked for his total body of work in nascar for several years now.

This is Busch's seventh full year in the Cup series, and every year he is surrounded by controversy at some point, most years it's more than once. He is dead serious behind the wheel and hates to lose, especially when it's someone else's fault. He's had run ins with nascar officials, the police, team owners and other drivers. He's been on probation, been fined, and served penalty minutes in the pits during races.

We've heard all about the "new" Kyle, and his numerous "wake up calls", supposedly even a "come to Jesus" meeting with Joe Gibbs in the past couple of years. I hope this incident makes him realize that he has to work around lesser talents and you don't always get your own way. I also wish he would use this as an excuse to quit playing around in the lower tier series. He should focus on winning Cup races and titles, only.

Busch is a polarizing figure among fans. It's either love, or hate. There is no in between. The offensive comments from his haters on the internet this weekend are embarrassing. It is one thing to not like a driver for whatever reason, but the cursing, the wishing evil upon, the comparison to Mike Vick (by my own Aunt!) are ridiculous.

Speed TV and ESPN have over-saturated this story to death. I bet the Busch/Hornaday wreck has already been replayed on air more than any other piece of nascar footage. And, the dumbass polls by ESPN... Should Gibbs fire Kyle? Should M&Ms leave Kyle? More than half the fans responding say yes. What a shocker.... they would have said the same thing a week ago!

Monday, October 31, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Stewart's Third Chase Win

The 2011 NASCAR Chase was interrupted on Sunday as Martinsville Speedway put on an old fashioned short track race. There was actual racing, passing, slamming, ramming, and multiple paybacks at the venerable half mile track. The gloves were dropped along with the green flag, as a total lack of respect accounted for the majority of the 18 caution flags.


Tony Stewart has won three of the seven Chase races this year, and is still 8 points behind points leader, Carl Edwards. Smoke led early then pit strategy shuffled him back, and he was almost lapped at one point. Pit work put him back up front late in the going; he then caught leader Jimmie Johnson napping and jumped by him on the outside with two laps to go.


Just finishing at Martinsville was an accomplishment as most of the cars looked like leftovers from a Mad Max movie. Jeff Burton (6th) and Dale Earnhardt Jr (7th) both came back from numerous wrecks to have good finishes. Casey Mears kept his nose clean and impressed with his 12th place run.


Brian Vickers was involved in 5 of the 18 cautions. This from a driver trying to secure a job for next year. After intentionally wrecking Jamie McMurry and Matt Kenseth (not at the same time), Bri can discount RFR and EGR from his list of potential employers. It looks like the Sheriff's Cup career has about three races left.


All the hoopla about Stewart fighting leader Denny Hamlin so hard mid-race to stay on the lead lap. Smoke stayed in front of Hamlin long enough for a caution to appear. The announcers made this out as a great feat. The real story is if Stewart had went that lap down, he would have received the free pass, pitted, and restarted in the same position (last car on the lead lap) as he did by staying on the lead lap.


The seeming lack of civility on Sunday. There was no give and take, it was all take. Kurt Busch was treated like a pinata by several drivers as they drove way over their heads. Jeff Gordon said after the race that he had never seen anything like it. Some contributing factors to the wreckfest include, many drivers looking for rides and/or sponsors, and, with this being the last short track of 2011, several guys saw it as their best chance to extract revenge on someone for any slights received earlier this year.

Monday, October 24, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Bowyer Best at Talladega

After five fairly non-eventful races to begin this year's Chase, Sunday's Talladega tangle was easily the best 2011 Chase race to date. Each October 'Dega proves to be the wild card in NASCAR's playoff format. The huge superspeedway annually showcases big wrecks, multiple leaders, and lead changes.


RCR's lame duck driver, Clint Bowyer was fast all race long, then drag raced his teammate, Jeff Burton, down the front stretch, and nosed ahead at the line. It was easily one of the year's best finishes. Bowyer carries his winning ways to MWR next year, while winless Burton, and sponsor, stay put at RCR.


Dave Blaney was the surprise of the day with his third place run. Blaney was pushed to that spot by 4th place finisher, Brad Keselowski. Red Bull mates, Brian Vickers (5th) and Kasey Kahne (6th) were strong all day. MWR drivers, Mike Waltrip (9th) and Martin Truex Jr (10th) came out of nowhere on the final restart.


Every time a car hits a wall head-on most fans are quick to claim it was 'eerily' similar to Dale Earnhardt's fatal crash ten years ago. Most of them are not at all like Earnhardt's wreck. However, Sunday, Regan Smith had a head-on impact type crash that was almost the same. The black Chevys touched the apron at 190 mph+, then shot, grille first, up the high bank, into the outside wall. Thanks to the safety innovations over the last decade Smith walked away, uninjured.


Top tier teams coasting in the back of the pack all day. Hendricks' four car team used a ride-around-in-back strategy for most of the race. A long, late yellow trapped them too far back to get to the front in the remaining two green flag laps. Mark Martin (20th) was HMS's highest finisher. The other three HMS cars are/were in the Chase.


The whining over some drivers not helping other drivers via the draft.... I'm looking at you, Gordon fans. Every driver out there owes his loyalty to his own team, only! Like every other job, when the boss tells you to do something, you better do it!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Kenseth Rolls at Charlotte

The 2011 Chase is now at the halfway point, and we have a much clearer view of the big picture. Big picture racing is what championship contenders do. Those teams are always prepared and go after max points when the victory is out of reach.

The Roush Fords have been the class of the one point five mile tracks in this year's Cup series, and Matt Kenseth was the best in show Saturday night at CMS.


Kenseth was shuffled back due to pit strategy midway through the race, but eventually made his way back to second place with a couple dozen laps left. From there on it was just a matter of him filling up Kyle Busch's rear-view mirror, as he hounded Busch for several laps until pulling by, then, away from him.


Busch was second, for the second night in a row, and led the most laps. Kasey Kahne finished 4th, again. RPM drivers, Marcos Ambrose (5), and AJ Allmendinger (7), were the other non-Chasers in the top-10.


Coma-inducing would be an apt description of the first two thirds of the, mostly single file, race, as only three yellows flew... all for alleged 'debris' during the first 238 laps. Five legit cautions were displayed over the final 94 laps... all for actual, on-track, events.


One of those cautions was for, five-time defending champion, Jimmie Johnson's hard, head-on, crash. JJ is now 35 points behind the points' leader, Carl Edwards. And, after proclaiming him six-time champ just last week, I now declare him out of the Chase!


A great racing talent was lost Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when two time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon died from injuries suffered in a multi-car pileup in the Indy Izod series race. Wheldon was a great driver, and a great guy. Sad regrets to his wife and two little boys.

Monday, October 10, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Johnson Wins Kansas

Jimmie Johnson had the dominant car, and team, Sunday at Kansas Speedway. His Lowes Chevy was out front on 197 of the 272 laps that were completed in the Hollywood Casino 400. JJ now sits just four points out of first place in his march towards his sixth straight title.


Johnson stunk it up at the 1.5 mile, cookie cutter, Kansas track, as he led most of the green flag laps. Two tires, or four, it mattered not to the #48, no one could head him off.


Brad Keselowski was 3rd after winning the first race here earlier this year. RFR drivers, Matt Kenseth (4), Carl Edwards (5), and, pole winner, Greg Biffle (8) had solid finishes. RCR pilots, Kevin Harvick (6), and Clint Bowyer (7) likewise had good runs.


This race was one of the most boring of the year, and so far the four races in the Chase have not been too competitive. One reason is that we are not seeing enough caution flags to reset the field once it gets strung out around the track. One popular theory is that the Goodyear tires are so well made now that we don't see as many blowouts and the accompanying cautions.

I would expound on that theory and add a related factor. The idiotic "wave around" rule allows a lot of cars to not punish their tires while trying to stay on the lead lap. The slower drivers know that between the "lucky dog" and the "wave around" they can lose three or four laps during a race, never pass the leader, and, viola, cruise to a top-15, lead lap, finish.

Don't worry, he'll get a few wave arounds


NASCAR told one RCR driver, Austin Dillon, to stop pushing another RCR driver, Kevin Harvick, during a late race caution. Harvick had his engine shut off, trying to save gas, while Dillon was pushing him. NASCAR's rules supposedly state that you can't push/assist another car on the last lap only. Apparently, NASCAR changed rules during the race... again.


Jeff Gordon, thanks for playing The NASCAR Chase 2011! You didn't win immunity and have been voted off the island. Kyle Busch, please report to the council next week, and don't forget your luggage.

Monday, October 3, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Kurtster Beats Monster

Kurt Busch jumped out front on a late restart and was never challenged as he motored to the win on Dover's Monster Mile. The third race of the 2011 Chase continued the proof that last year's exciting Chase races were a fluke wrapped in an anomaly, as, even without it being a fuel mileage snoozer, there was no sense of urgency among the Chasers.


How sweet it is! Busch had to enjoy beating his chief rival, Jimmie Johnson. Especially after hole shotting JJ on that last restart. Busch qualified second and the Penske Dodges have found some extra speed over the last couple of months.


Johnson led the most laps and went from 10th to 5th in the point standing on Sunday afternoon. Carl Edwards was third and is now tied for the points lead with Kevin Harvick. RPM drivers, AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose both had top-10 finishes.


Why did the track, and, or ESPN drag out the pre-race festivities when the sky was black with rain approaching? Are they now trying to time the green flag starts with the NFL halftimes?


Dale Earnhardt Jr (-34 points out of 1st) Ryan Newman (-41) and Denny Hamlin (-68). Thanks for playing The NASCAR Chase 2011! Among your parting gifts are our home version of The NASCAR Chase! and a year's supply (two cans) of Turtle Wax.


Will someone please tell ESPN that the Lucky Dog is virtually meaningless now. They talked about it, and Tony Stewart and Dale Jr's chances of getting it, for hours on Sunday. With the "wave around rule", the Lucky Dog position is not that crucial.

Monday, September 26, 2011

View From The Flagstand: New Hampshire Smoke Storm

Two races into the Chase and Tony Stewart has won both on strategy. Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire was the second snorer in a row. No wrecks, few cautions, no passing, and fuel mileage racing add up to sleepy time.


Stewart leads the points with eight races left in the season after his second win of the year. And, those wins couldn't have come at a better time than at the start of the Chase. Smoke did his Kevin Harvick imitation, as he led only the last two laps at NHMS.


Brad Keselowski is up to third in the point standings after his second place run. RFR had all four of their entrants finish in the top-8. Brian Vickers (5th) and Regan Smith (10th) had much needed good finishes.


NASCAR officials put Kurt Busch's Penske Dodge in a long time out after it didn't quite pass pre-race inspection. As the other 42 cars sat on the grid, the double deuce was held in the garage area to send a message to the Pennzoil team that their offset rear end won't be welcome at the remaining races on the schedule.


Denny Hamlin falls to 12th in the Chase, and is 66 points behind the leader. Stick. Fork. Here. It's time for the JGR #11 boys to begin testing for next year. Maybe use the next eight races to straighten out their engine program?


Trouble in paradise? Chad and Jimmie on the rocks? Jimmie Johnson seems to be feeling the heat, and is 10th in points now. That is the lowest he has ever been ranked in the Chase. Uh oh. Now, watch JJ roar at Dover this week.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Harvick Rolls at Richmond

The Sprint Cup regular season closed Saturday night on Richmond's three-quarter mile oval. The beating, banging, and paybacks would have made the old half-mile, Fairgrounds Raceway proud of the newer version now used in the Commonwealth's capital city.


Kevin Harvick has been struggling for months. Saturday night he served notice that he will be a player in the Chase again this year as he led over half of the 400 laps. His ride was fast, and hard to pass.


David Ragan needed to win to get in the Chase. He came up short, but his 4th place finish made him the only non-Chaser among the top nine places. Mark Martin in 10th, and AJ Allmendinger in 11th were the other two highest finishing non-Chase participants.


Richmond International Raceway tied their record for most cautions with 15. About half of those could have been avoided with a little give and take, or even common courtesy, among the drivers. There were plenty of paybacks, dive bombs, and bump and runs. However, the hard nosed racing made this race one of the best this season. Almost comparable to a road course, eh Dwindy?


Prior to Friday's Nationwide race on their network, ESPN talking heads, Brad Daughtery, Dale Jarrett, and Marty Reid slandered driver Justin Algaier. They accused him of rough driving, and wrecking his teammate, Reed Sorenson, the week before. WTF? These same guys develop lockjaw every week as (ESPN co-worker) Rusty Wallace's son, Steven, commits one egregious act after the other!


Harvick was a hero on Saturday, but definitely a zero on Friday. He intentionally wrecked at least two Nationwide series' regulars, and was team blocking for Elliott Sadler, his full time NW driver. The blocking to assist Sadler in points is sorry enough, but did he also wreck some of Sadler's competition for the points?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Freedom of Choice?

The White House is honoring Jimmie Johnson's 2010 championship next Wednesday. The other eleven 2010 Chase entrants are also invited. Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart declined the invitation, citing prior commitments. Don't be surprised if some sponsors convince their drivers to show up after all.

Liberal elitists are howling about how disrespectful these five drivers are. They believe that since they would drop everything to answer a White House invite, that everyone else should, too. Never mind that these drivers may have prior scheduled appearances with fans. Fans that have waited months to meet their heroes for an autograph or a picture. Fans who are suffering the most from the current administration's policies.

I would go to the White House, if invited, no matter who was President. However, every American is free (for now) to choose to accept invitations or not.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Keselowski Best at Bristol

Remember when Bristol had 20 (legit) cautions per race, and no green flag pit stops? Well, since the track's reconfiguration in 2007, that has all gone the way of the COT's rear wing. The half mile track used to be a one groove joint with 35 degree banked turns. Now, with the progressive banking, the track claims that the turns are banked between 24 and 30 degrees. Independent parties have gauged it at 20 degrees.


The Blue Deuce is on the loose! Brad Keselowski is having a month of racing that legends are made of. Four races, two wins, a second, and a third all in August. And, all on the fractured ankle. Drivers, teams, and fans are wondering if this guy will be a factor in the Chase. I have to say yes because he seems so underwhelmed by his success. I'll throw it out there, in, and out of the car, he reminds me of Davey Allison.


Martin Truex Jr held off Jeff Gordon for second place. Jamie McMurray stayed close and brought it home in fifth position. Marcos Ambrose earned his eighth top-10 this year with his 10th place run.


There was a time when they didn't have to throw "mystery debris" yellow flags at Bristol to tighten up the racing. Fifteen to twenty actual cautions were the norm just a few years ago. The graduated banking has opened up a second, and third, groove on the track, so the bump, pass, and run is not needed now. Add in the hands-off, points racing, approach with the Chase just two races away, and the, one-time, season's most anticipated race has become just another yawner.


While a handful of drivers appear to be making an effort to go into the Chase at full speed, others are lagging badly. This week Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, and Dale Earnhardt Jr looked like anything but championship contenders. Better step yo game up, boys.


Thanks, Irene! ABC broadcast this race nationwide. But, millions of homes along the eastern seaboard saw nothing but idiotic, local ABC reporters standing in the rain trying to panic the public with non-stop Hurricane Irene reports. Other local markets, such as Nashville, were treated to preseason NFL games on their ABC affiliates instead of racing from Bristol.

Monday, August 22, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Kyle Busch Muscles Michigan

Kyle Busch finished strong on Sunday, and won at Michigan for his first time ever. In route to taking over the points lead, Busch seems to have discovered the key to winning a championship is to go with the flow. He took what was offered and showed a new found patience while working traffic. Of course, that could change as soon as next week at Bristol.


Busch now leads all Cup drivers with four wins this season. He also leads the points standings with just three races left before the Chase begins. Busch heads to BMS, where he has won four of the last five, extremely confident.


Brad Keselowski finished third to go along with a first and second in the three races since suffering serious injuries in a testing accident. Mark Martin (4), Ryan Newman (5), Kasey Kahne (7), and Clint Bowyer (8) all had well deserved top finishes.


Chase contenders, Kurt Busch (34), Denny Hamlin (35), and Carl Edwards (36) all had bad days. Better now than later this year.


Two races a year at Michigan. Even at 400 miles, they are unwatchable. How about two, 100 lappers, on the same day? Double points day.


I did not want to mention Steven Wallace again this year, but after that display of talent in Montreal on Saturday, I had to include this....

Tweet of the Year by, @SBPopOffValve

That deaf, dumb, and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball.

Follow @SBPopOffValve for great Indy car and NASCAR tweets.

Monday, August 15, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Ambrose Ambushes the Glen

Rain on Sunday meant racing on Monday at Watkins Glen. Australian, Marcos Ambrose became the fifth first-time winner this year when he bolted to the front on the green-white-checkered finish. Ambrose also became the fourth foreign born driver to win a NASCAR Cup race. Anyone know the other three?


Ambrose has shown himself to be the man to beat on NASCAR's road course races. Even more impressive when you consider he's only been in lower echelon equipment during his NASCAR career. It has been a wild season with the five first-timers, and fifteen different winners in all. None of those, however, may have seemed as overdue, yet as welcome as Ambrose's.


Brad Keselowski backed up last week's win with a strong second place run. We are witnessing the next NASCAR superstar blooming right before our eyes, folks. The speed that Keselowski gets out of his Penske Dodge, his skills, and determination may just cause a stir in the Chase.


Not so fast on counting Dale Earnhardt Jr out of the Chase. Three weeks ago, he was nine points from becoming a bystander when the Chase started. Since then, some decent, not great, finishes, along with stumbles by others, have all but assured Junior a Chase place.


Last week everyone was complaining about the lack of impact absorbing crash barriers at Road Atlanta after Keselowski's wreck during testing there. Now, can we expect the same outrage for the deplorable crash barriers at Watkins Glen? NASCAR owns this track, so there should be no excuse for this 1960's throwback not to be modernized with the latest SAFER barriers.


Boris Said! How come these so-called road race ringers never finish in the top five? How come they are racing, and wrecking, inexperienced regular drivers for 23rd position? How come nothing is ever their fault?

Said deliberately caused the most horrific looking crash of the year on Moday at the Glen when he hooked David Ragan on the last lap. David Reutimann was caught up in the carnage. Two totally destroyed cars, and some collateral damage later, and Said "earns" a grand 22nd place finish.

Monday, August 8, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Keselowski Pounds Pocono

After a head-on wreck, at over 100 mph, while testing on Wednesday, Brad Keselowski could have been excused for sitting out Sunday's Cup race at Pocono. After all, the driver of Penske Dodge #2 suffered a fractured ankle and other injuries when his brakes failed at Road Atlanta. Instead, he turned it on at the end, and won his second race of the year.


Keselowski is all but locked into the Chase now with that second win. He earned this win, driving through the pain, and racing hard on the last restart. His Penske Racing teammate, Kurt Busch, was also strong and finished third.


Kyle Busch looked to have the fastest car at times, before settling for second place. Dale Earnhardt Jr's 9th place run helped solidify his grasp on a Chase spot. In fact, all four HMS Chevys were in the top 13 at the end. Paul Menard backed up last week's Indy win with a nice 10th place finish.


Jimmie Johnson appears to have displeased both Busch brothers with his late race driving tactics. With the Chase looming, I don't look for this to go any further.


It just would not be Pocono without a long rain delay, or three. The deluge came with about 65, of the scheduled 200, laps to go. Pole winner, Joey Logano was leading, and had been stout, at that time. The track crew worked hard to dry the triangle shaped surface, leaving Logano to finish 26th.


The lack of short tracks on the Cup schedule while dinosaurs such as Pocono have two races each year. The Nationwide Series has produced exciting events the past two weeks on just such short tracks, before huge crowds, that the Cup Series continues to ignore.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Menard Burns Brickyard

Paul Menard earned his first NASCAR Cup win Sunday at Indianapolis in the Brickyard 400. So far in 2011, four first time winners have graced victory lane at racing's most storied tracks. Menard at Indy, Trevor Bayne in the Daytona 500, Reagan Smith in the Southern 500 at Darlington, and David Ragan earlier this month in the 400 miler at Daytona.


Paul Menard has been banging around in NASCAR for eight years, and had two top-five finishes prior to moving to RCR this season. Menard now has four top-fives this year, and could make the Chase. His team played a fuel mileage strategy at the end, made one less green flag pit stop, and beat veteran Jeff Gordon to the finish line.


Reagan Smith had a much needed third place run. Likewise, Jamie McMurray in 4th. Landon Cassill came back from a spin to get a 20th place finish. Top rookie, Andy Lally was 26th on the lead lap at the finish.


I can't recall the last time there was so much contact on pit road. Or, maybe ESPN was just playing it up because there was little to no contact on the track.


Something needs to be done about the stock car racing at Indy. The track is not designed for stock cars to race on. The only solution I see would be to use the road course that weaves through the infield and onto sections of the track.


Steven Wallace! I can't believe that the other drivers, owners, and officials aren't demanding that Rusty take him out of the car. He has ZERO wins in 178 NW starts. He has FIVE top-5's in 178 NW starts. He has ONLY finished on the lead lap 78 times in 178 NW starts.

In Saturday's NW race at the Indy half-mile track Steven hit a parked car. At near full speed. On a straightaway. Several seconds after the caution came out. He is a menace to anything on asphalt. Rusty has spent millions of dollars over the last five or six years to fund this experiment in mediocrity. Try this Rusty; step one, fire Steven. Step two, wait for another owner to hire him.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Newman Takes New Hampshire

On Sunday, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Ryan Newman became this season's thirteenth different winner. Newman stretched his fuel mileage just enough to take his U.S. Army Chevy to the winner's circle.


Newman started from the pole, led the most laps, and earned max points in NHMS's first of two races this year. He moved to eighth in the season points race with this win. With passing on the track difficult, Newman's crew had their driver up front when it mattered most.


Newman's boss/teammate, Tony Stewart started, and finished, second. Denny Hamlin (3rd) and Joey Logano (4th) gave JGR top efforts at NHMS. Seventh place finisher Bobby Labonte had his best run since the season opening Daytona 500.


The fuel mileage races. Really... every week? A couple of times a year is okay, but this is getting out of hand.


Is Jimmie Johnson showing signs of stress? He seemed to be driving on the edge, and using up other cars on Sunday. He hit plenty of cars, then, after he spun out, he put Juan Montoya on blast. His crew cost him plenty of spots during the last pit stop. He threw them under the bus, too, even though he cut through the field to finish fifth.


At the end of Saturday's Nationwide race at NHMS, Kevin Harvick claimed that NASCAR told him if he so much as touched Kyle Busch's car he would be "parked". This may have meant more if Harvick could have even came close enough to him to wreck Busch.

Is Harvick admitting that he isn't driver enough to beat Busch fair and square? Sure sounded like it. If NASCAR did tell Harvick not to touch Busch's car wouldn't that be exactly what Richard Childress "communicated" to Busch regarding Harvick's car?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Kyle Busch Tops Kentucky

Kentucky Speedway held its first Sprint Cup race Saturday night. One more mile and a half race track on the circuit means one more boring race. Kyle Busch led almost half the total laps, as he proved that "clean air", out front, makes anyone look like Superman.


Kyle Busch dominated Kentucky Speedway, winning the Cup and Truck Series races, while finishing third in the Nationwide Series event. He made it look easy on Saturday night pulling away to ten second leads over second place at various times during the 400 mile race. It was Busch's third win this year, and he took over the points lead with the win.


David Reutimann nipped Jimmie Johnson for second place at the finish line for a much welcomed strong result. Brad Keselowski (7) and Kurt Busch (9) led the second and third most laps with their Penske Dodges. RFR's Carl Edwards (5), Matt Kenseth (6), and David Ragan (8) repped Ford well.


There were six caution flags. Including a premeditated competition (or lack thereof) yellow early in the going, and three flags for "debris" on the track. It's hard to believe that, on this bumpy asphalt, there was only one wreck. That would be Clint Bowyer during a late race restart.


Dale Earnhardt Jr was never a factor, again, and a late race flat tire pushed him even farther down the scoring pylon. His 30th place run dropped him to 8th in the points, just 9 ahead of 11th place Tony Stewart. There are only eight races until the Chase, and that stretch does not include a lot of Jr friendly tracks. Not that there are a lot of those to begin with.


Kentucky Speedway became the biggest joke in NASCAR after over 20,000 fans never made it inside the track due to lack of traffic flow planning and lack of parking for those that actually made it to the track. Five and six hour waits in gridlock were the norm, with thousands giving up still miles from the track. Maybe Bruton and his minions should check out the Derby over in Louisville next May and see firsthand how to move three times as much traffic as his speedway will ever see.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

View From The Flagstand: David Ragan Delivers at Daytona

David Ragan drove to his first Cup win Saturday night in Daytona. With the season not yet at the halfway point, he becomes 2011's third first time winner. Ragan joins Trevor Bayne and Reagan Smith as this year's first timers.


Ragan stayed close to the front in the closing stages of the race, and got some drafting help from fellow RFR racer, Matt Kenseth on his way to the checkers. This popular victory may quell some of the rumors of UPS, and, or, Ragan leaving RFR at year's end. Quiz: When did UPS get their last win (before Ragan's), where, and who was driving? There was also a comical off-track remark that lives in infamy.


Matt Kenseth knows how to take care of a car, as his 2nd place run shows. Joey Logano has turned his season around after winning the pole last week, winning the NW race here on Friday, and finishing 3rd on Saturday. Kasey Kahne (4th) finally got a decent finish. Kyle Busch was in 29th place before the first, of two, Green, White, Checkered restarts. He bansheed up to a 5th place.


It's kind of strange that a few championship winning drivers have not been able to grasp the "lovebug" drafting techniques. I'm looking at you, Greg Biffle, Juan Montoya, and Brad Keselowski. Even stranger when you consider that other less experienced guys like David Gilliland and Reagan Smith are sought out as partners by the likes of Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch.


Danicamania. Between the ESPN Nationwide announcers and internet marks, I fully expect that the NASCAR Hall of Fame is drawing up plans for a new wing. I will give her credit for holding the gas pedal to the floor, and steering a car around in circles at high speed. Anyone remember the Wrangler car that Jr drove at Daytona last year? The one that ran faster by itself than others could in a draft? Yeah, that one. That's what Danica was driving this year. Now, if only she could hold her line, in NASCAR or Indy Car.


What exactly is Mark Martin's deal? He is getting old. They were in Florida. Was his turn signal on for 150 laps Saturday night? Going back to the All-Star race in May, he has drove all over cars like they were not even there. Then, afterwards, the Alzheimer's kicks in, and he can't remember that the carnage was all his fault.

Monday, June 27, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Kurt Busch Best in Show

NASCAR made its annual trip to Northern California, as Kurt Busch won the Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in dominating fashion. Usually when the winner leads close to seventy percent of a race, it can seem very boring. That was not the case Sunday, as this was an event that most fans, and drivers, will remember for some time.


Kurt Busch led 76 of the 110 laps. The few times that he was not on point were due to cautions, or pit strategy. The Penske Dodges have been extremely fast over the last six weeks, and at the same time, have been getting the best fuel mileage in the series. Busch has climbed to 4th in points, just one point behind third place.


Three drivers, who all earned top-ten spots, stand out because they are not thought of as 'road racers'. Clint Bowyer looked very racy and wound up 4th. Joey Logano won the pole and came home 6th. Hardluck Martin Truex battled all day to his 8th place run. Spinout shoutout to David Gilliland (12) and Regan Smith (16) both guys led some laps and may become future forces on road courses.


Earlier, during race week, Tony Stewart spoke of a lack of respect among drivers at the road courses. He was proven correct... several times on Sunday. It seems that a few drivers who consider themselves 'road race aces' would rather go through the competition, rather than around it. Juan Montoya, Robby Gordon, and Michael McDowell all deliberately wrecked cars that were in front, and, or, beside them. I have to believe that these drivers think, that on a road course, they won't have to see the car they just dumped for the remainder of the race.


Are raised due to Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr's mechanical issues at Sonoma. With ten races until the Chase, Hamlin fell out of the top-10 in points, but he is 11th, with a win.. so he would make the Chase. Dale Jr slid back to 7th in points, without a win. His Chase chances may hang in the balance this week at Daytona. Stewart dropped out of the points' top-10, and he also has no wins this year.


According to, shoot first/ask questions later, Robby Gordon, Goodyear is/was playing favorites with their tires on Sunday. Gordon claims that Goodyear brought two different "runs" of the same tire compound, and that the best matched sets of tires were only made available to the top teams. I have not heard of this happening in past events, but it would not surprise me if it's true. In fact, it would surprise me even more if it were not true.

Monday, June 20, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Hamlin Hammers Michigan

Denny Hamlin finally earned his first win of 2011 Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. Why did no one see this coming? He won here a year ago, and was second on his last visit to MIS. It was a team effort, as his Fed Ex crew had him up front after everyone pitted late in the going. Track position has proven to be everything for the last month in the Sprint Cup series. He who is out front, in 'clean' air, is hard to pass.


Hamlin's victory was reminiscent of Kevin Harvick's recent wins, as Hamlin came out of nowhere and only led eight laps. Hamlin now has a win and moved up to 9th in the point standings.


RFR was again strong on the intermediate tracks as Matt Kenseth was 2nd, Carl Edwards was 5th, and Greg Biffle led the most laps before a late-race green flag pit stop regulated him to 15th. Kyle Busch was 3rd. Paul Menard finished 4th, and Brian Vickers rebounded with his 10th place spot.


Juan Montoya ran out of gas, and tried to cut down from the high groove to pit road. Only one problem, JPM, Andy Lally was passing you on the inside. Montoya sliced the front clip off Lally's car, knocking the rookie from the race. Nice work by Montoya and his spotter! If the roles were reversed between Montoya and Lally, JPM would have thrown a Danica class tantrum.


The three JGR cars showed up with new oil pans that had not been approved by NASCAR. The pans were confiscated at the track, and the #11, #18, and #20 used the same pans they had used all year. The new oil pans were obviously heavier to compete with the new Ford engines which have a lower center of gravity. By not getting them approved, JGR has lost any competitive advantage they may have gained, as now Ford will also use a heavier pan and retain that lower center of gravity.


A lot of talk about how bad TNT's race coverage is. While admitting that lead announcer, Adam Alexander, is a local track reject, I prefer TNT's color analysts much more than those on Fox. Wally Dallenbach doesn't say much, which is much better than the goofs at Fox. And, unlike DW, Kyle Petty has great input on what is actually happening on the track.

As Kurt Busch was making sport of those who complain about his actions on the radio, Petty explained it perfectly. Petty related that while most thought that Kurt was being a 'horse's rear end', the fact is that "Kurt just wants to win so badly". I would rather hear the truth from Petty than DW's weekly talking points.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Jeff Gordon Wins Pocono

Another rainy Pocono race has come and gone. Don't worry if you missed it, there's another one scheduled in just six weeks. Somehow, during three days of rain, the tri-cornered track managed to get in an ARCA race and the Cup race and qualifying.


Jeff Gordon is back! With his second win this year, Gordon looks to be making a run towards a possible fifth title. He appears to be a threat at any stop on the schedule now that he and new crew chief Alan Gustafson are gelling.


HMS seems to be returning to the top of the food chain as they had three cars in the top-7 for
the second race in a row. Juan Montoya led 38 laps on the way to a 7th place finish. Matt Kenseth (8) had the lone Ford of the top 16 cars. Kurt and Kyle Busch finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Kurt also won his second consecutive pole.


There were only four cautions, all for debris, during the 200 lap event. With rain looming late in the race, there were a couple of interesting strategies, though. Montoya's crew went with just two tires on his last two pit stops in order to stay up front.... in case the rains came. Landon Cassill stayed out and led four laps late, as he prayed for rain.


NASCAR made a slight change to the allowable rear gear ratios which led to the return of actual gear shifting during the race. Unfortunately, this also led to some engine and transmission failures. Tony Stewart lost third gear, and 'thanked' NASCAR for making him shift "600 times".


What is Kevin Harvick thinking? At the drop of the green he was on a mission to try and annoy Kyle Busch. Does Harvick really think that NASCAR won't notice any future rough driving on his part, probation or not? Busch is too focused on each race to fall for Harvick's self perceived 'mind tricks'. Champions focus on winning races, not pay backs. Dale Earnhardt or Darrell Waltrip never worried about "paying someone back" in a future race. They either did it then, or let it go. Prediction: Harvick will never win a championship as long as he has Busch living in his head, rent free.

Monday, June 6, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Keselowski Flattens Kansas

We should have known better. Last year's Chase race at Kansas was actually watchable, so hopes were up for this season's first trip to the track. The action wasn't horrible, but wasn't memorable, either.

So, for the second Cup race in a row, we determined the winner by who was the best environmentalist. And, for the second Cup race in a row, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a chance to win it at the end by conserving gasoline. It may be the Ethanol, Jr. That 15% of the fuel mix gets worse gas mileage.


Brad Keselowski coasted to the finish line first. Fox TV showed us some great shots of BK engaging the clutch and coasting through the turns to save gas. He had a big enough lead to do that, as most of the other contenders had to make late stops for fuel.


Dale Jr finished second, and moved to third in the points. Never mind that he has led 42 laps, total, in 13 races; he is a contender for now. Denny Hamlin edged closer to the points cut off with his third place run. Keselowski's teammate, Kurt Busch, won the pole and led 152 laps before settling for ninth. RFR had three cars in the top-10, and the other one, David Ragan, was 13th. HMS had three cars in the top-7.


Once again, early in a race, NASCAR threw caution flags for debris at the drop of a hat... well, not really, but they probably would have for anything but an Amp hat. Then, late in the race, they could not find a single water bottle anywhere worthy of a yellow.


Fox Sports takes a long awaited break, and TNT starts their two month run. Was it just me, or was the race presentation by Fox at Kansas perhaps their best since Daytona?


Richard Childress gets a black flag for a premeditated attack on a driver. Then NASCAR responds with their toothless "probation". Would Mark Cuban be allowed by the NBA to sit courtside the next game, or two, if he attacked an opposing player off the court?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lose, Lose for Kyle

Couple of quick hits after seeing the tsunami of support for Richard Childress.

First, I'd like to see the right side of Coulter's truck, because if Busch even touched him, it wasn't hard enough to leave a mark.

Second, Childress knew that Busch is on probation, and would get suspended for fighting.

Third, What could Busch have gained by this? Definitely a lose-lose for him. Hit and old man AND get suspended?

Lastly, would everyone, that are cheering Childress now, feel so good about it if he had been hurt? Another lose-lose for Busch, he's hated even more if he knocks Childress out. Imagine some 26 year old punk knocking out grandpa in the mall parking lot over a fender bender. Not quite as funny then, huh?

Monday, May 30, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Dale Jr's Coke 600 Fizzles

It was a global game of oneupmanship Sunday as we witnessed three spectacular finishes that won't soon be forgotten. The day began with a Grand Slam breakfast at the Monaco Grand Prix as we saw Sebastian Vettel hold on to win after a late race red flag allowed him to get new tires. The hundredth anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 was the lunchtime BBQ with Dan Wheldon winning in the last few hundred yards.

Finally, the shadows lengthened and the temperature dropped into the low 90s, and it was time for the 600 mile, 6 course dinner. The Coca Cola 600 found Kevin Harvick celebrating his win after passing, an out of fuel, Dale Earnhardt Jr a few hundred yards from the checkered flag.


Harvick gets yet another win after coming from out of nowhere. Happy now has three wins this season, and has led less than a dozen laps in those three races. The Closer is living proof that the only lap that matters is the last one.


Dale Jr only led two laps Sunday night, but he was in position to win on the final restart. It was heartbreaking for his fans as he ran out of gas going into turn three on the last lap. He wound up in 7th place as Harvick led a parade by him coming off turn four. Gas strategy also payed off for David Ragan (2nd), Joey Logano (3rd), and Reagan Smith (8th). Ricky Stenhouse Jr finished 11th in his first Cup start.


Or, lack of. Three debris cautions were thrown during the 402 laps, including at least one for a "beverage" can on the track apron. Yet, on the green, white, checkered attempt, a 3,500 pound stock car on the apron does not warrant a yellow? I'm sure the fact that Dale Jr was out front and low on gas had nothing to do with that decision.


Super teams, HMS and JGR had their share of ills at Charlotte. For the second race in a row, Earnhardt was HMS's highest finisher. No, that's not a good thing for them. Mark Martin triggered a wreck, Jeff Gordon was a lap down, and Jimmie Johnson's blown engine (causing the G,W,C finish) may have cost Jr a win. JGR's best finisher was Logano, also not a good thing. Kyle Busch spun out twice, and Denny Hamlin's car had a carburetor transplant, mid-race.


The red flags here at VFF usually fly for things that need to be stopped, but, for the first time ever, I saw nothing Sunday that disappointed me. Those three races, at least the endings, will always be remembered as perhaps the greatest day of racing I've ever seen.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Carl Edwards Wins All-Star Race

As usual, NASCAR's All-Star race was held at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The festivities included pre, and post, race concerts, a last chance qualifying race, and not one, but two Guinness world records being set on Saturday.


Carl Edwards was the man to beat, and no one could. In fact the four RFR Fords all finished in the top-8, with David Ragan also winning the All-Star transfer race.


Kyle Busch started first, and about 5 hours later (it was a long night), finished 2nd. David Reutimann was 3rd, while Tony Stewart wound up 4th.


There was not a 'big one' in the main event, a few minor scrapes, but nothing major. The most damage to a car was to the winner's when Edwards tore his ride up with a celebratory slide through a low spot in the infield.


This was the worst coverage of a race that I have ever seen, and I have seen some bad ones. Did we really need McReynolds, Hammond, and Voda in that little playhouse they were using as a studio? Three blabberers fighting for mic time in a 6'x3' space. What could be worse than one Waltrip in the broadcast booth? I'm just glad they aren't triplets. DW finally sunk to the bottom on Saturday night, and he dragged Mikey right along with him. Actual tape of their riveting analysis; DW: "Five-time", MW: "Five-time", DW: "Five-time". Arrggghhh! That 'nickname' was played out about five minutes after JJ accepted his last championship trophy.


Speed TV's race coverage began at 6pm et. It was still going strong at 11:30 et, as the race was mercy killed with a checkered flag. There was way too much hype, and way too little payoff. If there had been as many cautions as in past events, they would have been playing follow the leader long past midnight. Clean it up, Bruton. More is not always better.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kyle Petty Charity Ride

The 17th annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride stopped in Charleston, SC on May 12, and pulled out on Friday the 13th. This was the 6th, and final, stop of this year's ride as they ended the tour later that day at Amelia Island, FL.

Petty's rides have collected over 14 million for charity, chiefly for his Victory Junction Camp in NC. After meeting Kyle, and watching him interact with fans, I can say he his by far the most respectful, polite, and engaging 'celebrity' I have ever met. He makes people feel better after meeting him. I'd like to apologize to Kyle for all the jabs I've taken at him back when he was competing.

NFL Great, Hershel Walker,
rode this year.

One of the "Pace Cars"

Coca Cola has been with Kyle for
almost 20 years

There had to be 150 bikes on the ride.
They stopped for breakfast at
Low Country Harley Davidson.

You are a good man, Kyle Petty

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Split Screen Racing

Foxsports TV tried something new (to them) during the last commercial during the Fed Ex 400 on Sunday. They aired three commercials on a split screen while the race played simultaneously. I missed it, as I usually find something to do during the commercials. But, it is the discussion of the week according to the racing interwebs.

The split screen is nothing new, ABC was using it at least five years ago on their IRL race broadcasts. ABC/ESPN plans on using it on all ten of the Chase races later this year. Which brings the question, did Fox jump shoot ABC by airing one split screen commercial, 100 days before ABC pulled the trigger?

I believe that the advertisers relented and agreed to the split screen for one reason... TIVO. No more speeding through the ads, leadfoot. Now you will watch every lame Napa, Aaron's, and Gillette commercial, whether you like it, or not. Nonetheless, it seems like a win for us race fans.

Monday, May 16, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Kenseth Wins 2nd of the Year

The weather in Dover was dreadful, and the racing at the Monster Mile was not much better. Rain delays, heavy on track rubber build up, and our old friend, aero push led to not a very thrilling Fed Ex 400 on Sunday.


Matt Kenseth earned his second trophy of the year, joining Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch as virtual locks to make the Chase as long as they stay in the top-20 in points. Kenseth led the last 31 laps and parlayed a two tire pit stop in the closing laps to the win.


Marcos Ambrose seemed to be in the top three all day, and he ended up third in a strong outing. Mark Martin is just outside the points top-10 after his 2nd place run. Busch came from his 43rd starting spot to a 4th place finish. Brian Vickers was 5th. Martin Truex Jr was stout and wound up 8th.


A scary wreck coming to the white flag in Saturday's NW race deserves some review by track owners and NASCAR. Dover may have the narrowest straightaways on the circuit. It is hard to have a one car crash there. Saturday there was a big one featuring an airborne Clint Bowyer drilling the inside wall between the frontstretch and pit road. Shrapnel sheared from his car and flew into his own pit area. One of his crew men spent the night in a hospital as a result of a spring hitting his leg. Is there a need for a catch fence along that retaining wall?


Tony Stewart is known as a slow starter with the vast majority of his wins coming later in the year. We are almost halfway through the regular season and he has one top-5 in 11 starts. He now sits 10th in points, just four ahead of 11th place Martin. He blew up on his team via radio Sunday, and was six laps down at the finish. Maybe he needs to get married, ala Kyle?


After building up, and beating to death, the Harvick v Busch "feud", Fox TV miraculously showed restraint during the telecast Sunday. I expected a camera dedicated to each of them all race long, especially since Busch started dead last. But, no, they actually didn't go off the deep end... for once.

Friday, May 13, 2011

More Darlington Pics 5-6-11

Drivers and cars in the garage area at Darlington prior to Southern 500 qualifying.


Jeff Gordon took time for the fans


The closest I came to Lil E. He's over
there on the left.

It was Derby Day, but that's
Mark Martin, not a jockey


How come the one driver that should wear
a hat never does?

Tweaking 39 for re-inspection

Truex and Reutimann pleased
their fan

Profiling! Officials searching the
Columbian's trunk.

No road rage, yet

Kyle refused to sign the blank piece of
paper for that guy in the blue shirt.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Darlington Digital Diorama Deux

The Darlington weekend kicked off with the Royal Purple 200. I didn't know what it was either. Sports drink? Engine cleaner? Prince's new CD? Turns out it is a synthetic oil for gasoline engines. Anyway we got there just after noon and drove through the tunnel and into the infield. Our tix from Nationwide Insurance included 'infield suite passes'. At Darlington? I was imagining a tent. I was surprised by the actual suite, pictured down near the end of the post.

All of these pics are from Friday afternoon. After a three hour "scattered" shower, we had a couple hours to kill in the garages before the NW race.

Practice?! We talkin' 'bout practice?!

Rolling into pre-qualifying tech inspection.

The Black Mamba doesn't play well
with others.

The cars have to arrive and leave the track
with the grooved tires on. Keeps Jack
Rousch from duplicating all the
different compounds.
I'm guessing?

WTH is this JGR crewman doing?
Scanning tire inventory?

Yes, he is. Who knew the 'sticker'
had a bar code?

Nationwide's Suite included two magical words,
Free Beer!

The view from inside the suite wasn't bad
TVs inside helped keep up, too

Front lawn of the suite. That chain link fence
was only about 25' from the racing surface!

Another day in paradise!