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.


  1. Dale Jarrett, Talladega, Fall 2005 (he narrowly beat Tony Stewart)

  2. Gene, I bet Mr. Hendrick is counting the days until Kasey Kahne steps into the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet. I like Mark Martin, but I think his time has come and gone. His last competitive season was his first with Hendrick, in 2009, when he came within an eyelash of winning the title. It wouldn't surprise me to see Martin released from the #5 and Kahne being put in the car if neither driver makes the Chase.

  3. This has been as bad a stretch by Mark Martin as we've seen, maybe in his career. Good thing that team gets a complete overhaul at the end of the year. It needs it.

  4. Speedy... Yes, one of the first races in which they did not race back to the finish line for the win when the caution came out.

    Jon... Good point. Kasey has been running good, just doesn't have the finishes to show for it.

  5. JM.... After running over David Gilliland in the Coke 600, and causing the big one, MM stood beside Gilly on TV and laid all the blame on the kid. The week before, MM ran over JJ in the All-Star race. A few races later, he ran over Junior. Then trying to make it 4 wide, on the apron, at Daytona. I can think of a few other drivers who would be crucified for these stunts.

  6. Hey Gene!

    I've heard it a couple of times concerning Daytona and Talladega. They expect the tracks to eventually get their bumps back over the years and it will put an end to this "lovebug" racing. So probably just about the time these guys all figure out how to drive blind while serving as the pusher that role will go away...

    Did you see where Dale Jr. has added to his list of races that he now hates? On top of the road course races he's now come out against the superspeedway tandem drafting races... What's next? (I do have to say that this drafting partner racing doesn't sit well with me either, with it's inherent lack of individuality, but it sure makes for some interesting outcomes!)

    I think Chad Knaus' call to bring in the 48 on that late caution without letting the 88 team know what he was doing is at least a red flag. By pulling that stunt it put both drivers in a bad situation on the track. I haven't heard if JJ had a cut tire or anything like that. Both the 88 and 48 had enough fuel. The move doesn't make any sense but it sure screwed up what could have been another one-two finish...

    Thanks Gene!

  7. Dwindy... I'm divided over the tandem drafting. It may just take some getting used to. Both Daytona races had surprise winners, while Talladega had one of the closest finishes ever. So, it's not all bad.

    I'm sure all the drivers that were involved in the late race wrecks are upset like Junior is. I think that Chad didn't tell the 88 about him pitting JJ because he didn't think the 88 would want to pit with the 48, and go further back in the pack so close to the end of the race.

    Lots of partners were separated during the last few laps of that race. Jr knows that's just how racing goes at a plate track. His Nation is upset because they think JJ 'owes' him one after Talladega. A lot of partnerships get broken at plate tracks due to circumstances out of the driver's control.

    JJ and J Gordon both were in the back on the first G,W,C and were going to work together. Instead, they were separated and Jeff ended up pushing Kyle to a 5th place finish. I haven't heard any JJ fans whining about Jeff leaving him at the end.

    Maybe Kristen can suggest some meds for the overly-sensitive members of the Nation? LOL

  8. Good calls Gene.Definitely on the old guy (M.M.)

  9. Photogr... thanks for checking it out. Nice to see that you have restored Google to the internet. ;)

  10. Okay I can finally comment after watching the SPEED replay last night.

    Meds for Junyer Nation? Sorry I've got nothing to counteract the koolaid...but if I find something I'll give it to the Apple fanatics too.

    Junyer was pissed about the style of racing not Chad's decision to pit JJ. Junyer can always find a partner - which is why I dont understand why he chooses JJ...? Shop politics?

    Kurt and Reagan were looking good for awhile there - clear why Kurt doesnt want to draft with BK...

    Ragan earned that win - no fluke there he was up front all night. Kenseth was super cool on the radio to him before the restart - thats why I like Matty...

  11. KLV... That was the story all last week, JJ told Jr that he would push him to the win as payback for Talladega. That was like a solemn oath to the Nationeers. Amazing that they are so deluded to 'know' that Jr would have won at Daytona if not for JJ, and, or Chad backstabbing him.

    I'm not a fan of any driver saying over the radio that he will push another to the win. Even if they intend to do that, they can at least act like they would like to win also. Settling for second with multiple laps to go does not seem very NASCAR-like to me.

    Whatever happened to the rule about not pushing/assisting the leader's car on the last lap?