Sunday, October 26, 2008

What a weekend from Taylor Swift at the World Series to the NASCAR Cup Series in Atlanta and all points in between.

In a simple word, column, this weekend I decided to write a simple column on this past weekend this time around, let me know what you think, I believe it really gives my readers a better look at everything though my eyes and that’s what writing is all about...Saying what a weekend seems to be an understand in this day in age depending upon who you are, it seems that on any given weekend you can do, see or watch just about anything and this weekend was not difference.

However before the weekend, what headline did I read on Wednesday afternoon from NASCAR PR but Vickers and the #83 Red Bull Team got caught shaving weight? Why doesn’t this surprise me, with the current Cup Series COT and no gray area to work with, NASCAR may be finding more and more teams trying to find that edge to make their cars just a little bit faster, even by a faction of a second, however isn’t there a safety issue with using downgraded sheet metal in the doors and fenders?

This is one area of NASCAR and building these cars that I am still trying to understand, but is it really worth a few faction of a second on the racetrack and at the same time worth risking getting penalized by NASCAR? Not in my opinion, I hate to say this, but I liked what Chad Knaus did at Sonoma last year, the bubble over both front tires like what you would find on a 1970 Plymouth Superbird, at least that creative, this sheet metal bit wasn’t.

So as a result, Brian Vickers and the #83 Red Bull racing team got hit with what now seems to the normal COT penalty of being docked 150 driver and 150 owner points, the crew chief was fined $100,000 and was indefinitely suspended after NASCAR officials determined during a random post-race inspection at Martinsville that the sheet metal did not meet the minimum thickness specifications. (Penalty details from NASCAR PR)

Anyway, starting on Friday for the Cup series at Atlanta, it was basically just what NASCAR fans have seen a total of 10 times this season, rain, rain, rain and no practice or qualifying for the Cup guys, which means once again fans are out of luck and so are go or go home drivers and for Joey Logano, that meant he wouldn’t get the chance to qualify yet again in the #02 Home Depot Toyota. Interesting note on him, according to J.D. Gibbs, the rumors on Logano not going full-time cup racing next season is false. I would be very surprised to see Logano not run full-time in the #20 Home Depot Toyota next season.

In watching the Atlanta action on television, it’s always interesting and yet sometimes you just want to click the mute button and it’s was no different during the Truck Series, Nationwide Series and Cup Series broadcasts, but would somebody please tell me why Memphis has a Nationwide Series event at Memphis or why NASCAR doesn’t create double header weekends at Memphis, Kentucky, Nashville, Gateway and The Milwaukee Mile for the Nationwide series and the Truck Series, this is ridicious for the fans.

Anyway, Memphis for the Nationwide Series was once again a nightmare and yet what gives with Bobby Hamilton Jr., does he get alone with any driver in NASCAR? Let’s just leave Saturday for the Nationwide Series at Memphis with Carl Edwards wins, Kenny Wallace gets a much needed 4rd place finish, good job Kenny and Bobby Hamilton Jr. can’t get along with any driver in NASCAR including Landon Castle period, oh yeah, is NASCAR going to fine him for his wife giving the bird to Castle on television, then again, don’t count on it, while Atlanta for the Truck Series was Ryan Newman wins as KHI gets a 1-2 finish, you see, that #2 KHI truck does run right, that’s all I am going to say about that.

The highlight on Saturday night was at the World Series, now let me just say that it takes something special for me to tune in to the World Series when the Boston Red Sox isn’t in it, however seeing the Rays vs. the Phillies works for me, plus it’s the World Series after all, enough said right, well game 3 had one huge draw for me as a country music fan and once the rains cleared, yeah Taylor Swift singing the National Anthem was perfect, I loved it, 2-3 minutes of heaven and now I am just waiting to buy her latest CD “Fearless” in a couple of weeks before the CMA’s in Nashville.

But you know, leave it to me to top an interesting weekend off with one of my passions in life, watching Motorsports on television, more so, NASCAR racing, last weekend it was racing at Martinsville, a tight half mile that produces good hard racing and yeah tires were an issue for some like Kyle Busch just to name one driver, while on the flip side, I was thrilled to see Dale Jr. back running up front finishing 2nd, but the man was Jimmie Johnson, who dominated and won that 500 lapper, so when it comes to this weekend’s 500 miles at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson would be the first one who comes to mind.

However the story line was tires today, so I really don’t know what to say about the COT, the tires for this track, nor the racing at Atlanta this year, but damn, I will say that while the racing was better than the Spring race, it WASN’T because of the tires, these drivers really know how to hang on to these cars turn after turn, lap after lap and all that made a driver like superman was 4 doctor feel goods – that’s Darrell Waltrip’s term (4 doctor feel goods are 4 free tires).

Tires, Tires, tires, damn enough with the tires already, whoever had 4 free tires was superman today at Atlanta, so leave it to Jimmie Johnson to make a show out of it after going a lap down early because of a pitroad speeding penalty under green when the crew chief Chad Knaus made a late race call to give 4 fresh tires to Jimmie Johnson, can you say superman, damn the closing laps were a good one to watch, Johnson was coming in a hurry, passing Gordon, Hamlin, Kenseth, Dale Jr. and more, but while Johnson couldn’t caught the race winner Carl Edwards in the end, hats off to Jimmie Johnson in what should have been a bad day, that #48 team turned it around and in my opinion, their second place finish was not only a victory in my eyes, but that’s what championship are made of with just 3 races to go.

By the way, great to see former WWE Champion John Cena recovering nicely as he was in attendence at the Cup Series race at Atlanta and in victory lane with Carl Edwards.

I will have more on the chase for the championships in all three series later this weekend, so until then, see yeah! (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports)

- Racedriven

What a weekend: IRL IndyCar Series racing down under for no points on the Streets of Surfers Paradise.

Yeah, you read it correct, the season is over, Scott Dixon and his #9 Ganassi Racing team has won the 2008 IRL IndyCar Series Championship and yet there is one more race to go. I was a little surprised with this one being added to the schedule like this and yet maybe not. I have never really been one who enjoys watching indycars race on the Streets of Surfers Paradise, however then again with so many teams and no points on the line, this could be a fun race, can you say no points racing, all out, new teammates, this could be go after all.

It’s always a good sign to see just how many teams would fly over 30 hours to Australia for a non-points event, but what a turn out, the entry list is a who’s who in indycar racing from Dan Wheldon back racing for Panther Racing, Dario Franchitti in Wheldon’s old ride at Ganassi racing, Buddy rice in at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and from the former Champ car World Series and CART, Bruno Junqueira and Alex Tagliani, however no Paul Tracy, that’s a sad, he won at surfers paradise back in 1995-1996, I was looking forward to watching Tracy race again this season, only two races all season long, first at the finale CCWS race at Long Beach and then again Rexall Edmonton Indy in Edmonton, hopefully he will have a full-time ride somewhere either in NASCAR or the IRL IndyCar Series next season (2009). Good start.

So the question now is, will the IRL IndyCar Series be returning to Surfers Paradise in 2009? The thing about temporary street course’s are, the racing is a fine art, hitting your marks within an inch or two of wall while trying to running all out lap after lap, at the same time defending your position and trying to overtake the car in the front of you. Normally these street courses don’t have such good racing, however every now and then they do, it’s all in what you consider good racing.

That means you have to have passing and for the race itself, while I only caught the second half of the race due to DVR problems, it wasn’t bad to watch on television.

Originally I was more concerned about the course itself, I mean it looks like they didn’t change the course from last year or the year before, however some of the corners were interesting at times along with the curbing, but who knows.

So will they, I’m sure the winner Ryan Briscoe would think so and maybe even second place Scott Dixon, however I would expect to see Australia back on the 2009 schedule, but after that, who knows with this economy, the travel costs alone have got to be huge for 20+ teams to go down there with all of their equipment, back cars and people, still it could work. Comments.

- Racedriven

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Carroll Shelby’s first racecar and three Boyd Coddington rides among the vehicles at Barrett-Jackson in Las Vegas.

It’s been months since I have watched a car auction on television and that would have been back in mid-January watching the Barrett-Jackson from Scottsdale. In watching that auction, I had always wondered why Barrett-Jackson would host there most promising auction in Scottsdale, when Las Vegas is only a little over 200 miles away and you can have most of it in doors in a casino.

With that said, my answer somewhat was answered this past weekend with the famous Barrett-Jackson car auction in the city that never sleeps, Las Vegas, what an interesting combination. I really didn’t know exactly what to expect for rides nor hammer prices.

There were five cars going across the auction block on Saturday night that really got my attention, first up was the 2006 Ford Mustang Custom “FunkMasterFlex”, it was being auctioned off by Ford with the check being written to charity. I’ve always had a place in my heart for Ford Mustangs, it’s a car that gets my attention just about every time I see one from a 1965 Ford Mustang that would caught my eye even a block away, a 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback GT that appeared in the movie Bullett, what a great movie and that car chase, Bullett going after a black 1969 Dodge Charger, away to a 2008 Ford Mustang right off the showroom floor, especially in a black Roush edition (must be black, it’s the only way to go) or even better a Shelby GT500 KR, nice car…fast.

The Mustang going across the auction block hammered for $300,000, nice touch was little girl on stage.

However the next three vehicle were build by the late, great hotrod builder Boyd Coddington, I remember the day earlier this February when I was surfing Autoblog.com and in the breaking news column read Boyd Coddington dies at age 63, I was completely shocked, two of my favorite cars he built was a 1936 Delahaye Street Rod named “Whatthehaye” that sold at Barrett-Jackson years ago as well as a 1957 Chevy 2 door hardtop named “Chezoom” that sold too at Barrett-Jackson for a tick over $300,000, so when these next three cars came across the block, I was very interested in seeing just what the Las Vegas crowd would pay for one these Boyd Coddington creations.

First up was a black 1932 Highboy Roadster that sold for $120,000, second car was a 1957 Pink Cadillac Series 62 Custom, I remember all three was his American Hotrod television show, this pink caddy was not what I expected, however it was for Reese’s to promote a new candy bar that Elvis liked, the hammer price…$105,000.

Finally the third hotrod if you will, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Custom, I remember the grill along was not your normal 57 chevy grill, just a little bit different that made the car standout, the car itself was built for O’Reilly Autoparts, the red was just right, however the however price was only $127,000, Boyd Coddington thought outside the box, building some nice hotrods including what I mentioned above and a nice guy, wish I could have meet him.

But you know, one name in racing and performance comes to mind next, Carroll Shelby, what a treat, his first racecar, a 1949 MG TC Roadster Racecar that he won in, that was the first car like it I had seen and what a sight, dark green of all colors, cool look, it’s always cool to see what racers drove years ago and this one was one for the ages, it hammered down for $285,000, now keep in mind, not too many people at the Barrett-Jackson are going to buy this car, the Cobra is something you can drive on the street, you can’t with this, but what a sight.

I wonder if Barrett-Jackson would ever consider moving the Scottsdale auction to Las Vegas? Might just be a good fit…

- Racedriven

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Scott Speed vs. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - Justin Allgaier wins the Toledo 200 and the 2008 ARCA Series Championship.

Last Sunday’s Toledo 200, the finale for the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series seemed to have left many racing fans scratching their heads and saying what happened and it is no different for this racing fan, even a week later, I am still trying to figure this one out.

This race was all about the four drivers going for the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship, first the former F1 driver turned stock car racer and Dover winner in the Truck Series earlier this season and the points leader Scott Speed, followed closely by #99 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the 9-time ARCA Series champion Frank Kimmel who has been the only champion in this decade, he won the championship in 1998 and then won the in 2000 through 2007 championships and Justin Allgaier who was 110 points put of the leader.

Shocked during the early laps is an understatement, what were Scott Speed and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. thinking??? First Stenhouse Jr., in the early laps, I’m sitting their watch this race unfold on television and from the drop of the green flag, I was wondering if this race was going to be as wild and unpredictable as last year’s fall race here with Michael McDowell winning, however in watching Scott Speed in third that was closely stocked by Stenhouse Jr. in four, I noted that Stenhouse Jr. was inpatient, yes he was faster than Speed, but even at Toledo where passing is at a premium, you can still make a pass without beating the back bumper off the car in front of you, but even that was too good for Stenhouse Jr.

He tried several laps of just about turning Speed sideways before he just clearly ran over him, wrecking Speed into the turn 3-4 outside wall, what a joke and ARCA was no better, they just warned him. So I’m thinking, I can’t believe this driver is going to win the championship and that same thing was going though Scott Speed’s mind, but instead I trying to fix the car, he went back out, waited for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and turned the tables on him, wrecking Stenhouse Jr., and costing Stenhouse Jr. and himself (Speed) any shot at the championship, there both not ready for racing outside of ARCA.

For the record, Stenhouse Jr. said he had brake problems, no way, I don’t buy that for a second, he wrecked Speed and got exactly what he deserved right back, to get wrecked and not win the championship. As for Speed, I understand what he was thinking, but he cost himself the championship too, what about just letting Stenhouse Jr. pass him in the earlier laps and catching him later in the race??? That would have been a good option, I guess that comes with experience…

I guess this was the opening that Frank Kimmel and Justin Allgaier needed to possibly win the championship, rookie against veteran, cool and that’s what it was… Allgaier was 110 points out of first going in and after starting in ninth spot, he made a late race pass with 12 laps to go to win the Toledo 200 and the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship, Allgaier became the first driver to win the championship in this decade other than Frank Kimmel.

Seeing what happened on the racetrack at Toledo makes me wonder about Scott Speed racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series not only the rest of the 2008 season, but full-time in the 2009 Cup Series season, what is he going to do when he gets around Cup Series champions, let along chase contenders and the rest of the field for that matter? I guess Martinsville and the rest of the 2008 season will be interesting to watch when it comes to Speed, how he handles himself, the Cup Series drivers are going to eat him alive.

However even after everything, I got to congratulate Justin Allgaier on winning the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series national championship, to win against Frank Kimmel is huge in itself, he did a great job, now he is signed with Penske Racing and is running at least one more race in the Nationwide series this season and part-time next season, he will be one to watch for sure.

- Racedriven

Sunday, October 12, 2008

5 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series chase races down, 5 chase races to go.

I’ve been pretty shocked by the turn of events in the first five chase races, not with Carl Edwards vs. Jimmie Johnson, I mean Edwards has been running good all season long and Johnson normally seems to come on, making statement after statement at this time of the year, he’s a lot like his teammate and owner Jeff Gordon, when the money is on the line, he steps up and goes for it, no, I have been surprised with Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch.

When I created my list of what the top 12 might look like in my eyes after Homestead, I choose to put Kyle Busch in the third spot in the chase and Greg Biffle in the 11th, so imagine my surprise when I see Greg Biffle win the first two chase races, finished in the top 5 at Kansas and etc., while Kyle Busch is holding down at the bottom of the list, it’s a complete opposite from what I predicted, 3rd, 11th and yet, a welcome treat to watch.

When I look back at the first two chase races in New Hampshire and Dover, those two races not only added some much needed excitement, but where two of the best races all season long.

Starting in New Hampshire with the first chase race is a good for NASCAR, New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a technical racetrack, it’s not a place that just any driver can go out and run flat out fast laps, it’s a one mile flat track with real passing, so it shouldn’t have been a giant surprise to see the racing that we did after the late June race, but surprise, surprise, the key to only getting to victory lane, but just finishing in the top 5 or even top 10 was survival. There were a couple of those standout drivers that just caught my eye, from Kyle Busch’s troubles with a broken sway bar (I believe) that had him finishing 34th, to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton racing hard with each other for a top 5 position.

However as much as that was surprising, nothing compared to seeing Biffle passing Jimmie Johnson for the lead in the final laps to win. Greg Biffle wins the New Hampshire 300. (Read full New Hampshire article here…)

Next up was Dover, yet another chase that surprised this NASCAR fan, the phase “heaven and a nightmare all in one lap”, considering I am a Dale Jr. fan, you can figure out just what lap I meant by that, however even with that going on, it was great to see that the battle for the victory would come right down to the final 40 laps of this one and all between three to five drivers that at one point, you could put under a blanket, what a battle and the top 3 cars were all Roush-Fenway Racing with Carl Edwards on two tires, that was a gamble that didn’t pay off, but it’s those calls that might just win you races as well, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle coming on strong.

The battle of Greg Biffle first going around Edwards was cool, even Mark Martin the #8 DEI Chevy got in the mix and the points leader Jimmie Johnson, but this race belonged to Greg Biffle once again as he doubled up on victories while Kyle Busch would double down with yet another bad finish, engine issues. (Read full Dover article here…)

So from there it was on to Kansas and Talladega, yeah, two races that are completely different, one being a 1.5 miler and the other is a high speed, flat out restrictor plate racetrack that is heart-stopping, yet hard to watch at times races. For Kansas, it wasn’t the exactly what I expected to see, but interesting none the less, it was a race of mistakes by the drivers and teams, not NASCAR, but nothing would have prepared me for the finish of the race on the last lap.

It takes something special to impress me, that’s why I am not only a Motorsports and Car enthusiant, but a huge NASCAR fan and that finish at Kansas was putting it all on the line for a victory. You had the leader Jimmie Johnson closing in on his first chase race victory, while second place Carl Edwards closing fast on Johnson, white flag one to go, and into turn 3, Edwards makes a video game move and throws his #99 Ford into turn 3 under the leader Johnson and goes straight up in front of the leader, hits the wall and tries to keep as much speed as possible, but just doesn’t have it, Jimmie Johnson dodges Edwards and comes down to win at Kansas, but like I said in my Kansas article, I have to give it to Edwards for making that move, he wanted that victory and was willing to race hard for it and not points race it.

However with every good race must come a race that makes you say, what was that and unlike the spring Talladega Cup Series race that I called a good race and enjoyed, this one on the other hand was a complete nightmare, can you say “The Big One”, ok, can you say at least two Big One’s and it wasn’t even over there, here comes the end of the race and guess what, the yellow-line rule would pick the winner, Regan Smith crosses the finish line first after being forced below the yellow-line by Stewart and had to race for the lead down below the yellow line and no victory, Tony Stewart wins his first race of 2008 or did he? Most media said NASCAR made the correct call, while others including fans said wrong call, personally, right call and then wrong call, what bothered me was the fact that NASCAR put him in 18th place on the final standings, that’s where they went wrong. (Read full Talladega article here…)

With Talladega Superspeedway in the rear view mirror, drivers set their sights on Lowe’s Motor Speedway, in a race that could be described as Kansas earlier this year without the dive move finish, a race that took its toll on several championship contenders including Carl Edwards having ignition troubles that put him 16 laps down, Dale Earnhardt Jr. blowing a right front tire in the middle of turn 2 just one lap before pitting, Matt Kenseth crashing hard on the front straightway, Jeff Gordon slapping the wall twice and Tony Stewart’s late race pit penalty, a championship contender dark horse emerged after a late race call for fuel only that kept him out front, Jeff Burton takes the checkered flag to win the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and second in points, only 69 back from leader Jimmie Johnson.

It’s still too earlier to pick one clear favorite right now, because all it takes is one bad race and your back to square one in the points, for Johnson, this is his championship, however don’t count out Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and the dark horse Jeff Burton to be contenders in the final five chase races, Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix and the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the finale.

- Racedriven

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How we got rid of our junk car.

This subject seems to have a new meaning to me, earlier this year, we had to make a tough decision of what to do with our 1995 Nissan Altima after a few estimates came in on how much it would cost to fix the car, with over 130,000 miles on it, some interesting rust underneath, sitting for a while in the driveway, a repair bill that just started at $1500-$2000, not covering damage to the undercarrage with rust and a lack of use, we made the decision to junk the car and save for another used car that has less miles and works.

So if you find yourself in this position, you have several options available to you, however there are really only two that we had to look at, first donate the car to charity, this option carries a small tax deduction and free pickup or second, take the car to a junk car for recycling, meaning getting little cash for the vehicle, but that is big with the every rising cost of gasoline, fuel and all of those bills.

So we decided to go with the junkyard option, that’s finding a junkyard to either drive the car too or pickup and get cash for the car. Believe it or not, this is where calling around to several local junkyards for pricing using commercials on television, the phone book and some research on the internet will come in handy and it did.

Without saying any junkyards by name, we started out by calling one that advertised on television regularly with a commercial. In calling around, that first junkyard offered $100, they didn’t want the make or model, just drive it in and that’s it. If you live in Central Massachusetts, you know exactly what commercial I am talking about and the commercial is really terrible, but caught our eye nonetheless.

With one offer in, here’s where taking five minutes paid off, second one, now we were up to $200, that works, just different location, third, fourth call, now we are up to $220, now don’t expect this to happen all of the time, it all depends upon the year, make, model and miles, however after a couple of calls, I thought of a place nearby and checked it out online, bingo, called, $250 offer, if we drive the car to the junkyard with all of the paperwork or have it privately towed, $200 if they have to pick it up.

Remember at this point, distance is also a factor because you not only have to drive or privately tow the vehicle, but have another car follow you to bring you back, that’s double the gas, sure we could have gotten $300 or maybe more at a further out location that was up to a hour out, but it might have cost us a half of tank of gas to get up and back total for both vehicles, so that’s what we did, $250 check in hand.

Believe it or not, as they are taking the plates off and filling out the paperwork, I was talking to a guy in the yard that was buying bumpers, frontends and even more parts, he asks me about the vehicle and how much I was getting for the vehicle, then he shocked me by saying “bring the car down the street and I will give you $350”, damn, two minutes too late and that was it, oh well, my thoughts after that was maybe putting it up on craigslist or something if I get in this position again, however time is money too.

Basically, to a consumer, donating the unwanted or junk car to charity would be a good option and that does take a little research online and/or using the phonebook, find a REAL charity and have them pick it up, however if you are junking a car by a junkyard like we did, call around, would you rather have $100 for your car or $250 dollars and all it took was five minutes of work and four or five local calls, what a lesson there. Personally, I can’t get over it, $150 more somewhere else, just for five minutes of work and just think, others have taken their car there and sold it for only a $100, damn that must have hurt.

- Racedriven

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Did NASCAR get the call at the end of the Talladega Cup Series race right?

There are 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races a year not counting the Budweiser Shootout and the Sprint Showdown, each with its own twist from the short-tracks of Martinsville and Bristol, to the intermediate tracks of Charlotte and Atlanta, however four times a year, NASCAR visits two racetracks that are complete wild cards and while Daytona has some control, at Talladega Superspeedway, it’s a complete wild card that is so unpredictable, yet so heart-stopping for everyone and yet at the same time, I don’t like, however even more when you facter in the chase, it becomes an all out, get what you can get race that sometimes equals a wreckfest.

And at this past Sunday’s Amp Energy 500, guess what, the race ended in controversy, well, that’s NASCAR, so now the question that everyone will be asking even though this weekend’s Charlotte 500 miler, Did NASCAR get the call at the end of the race right?

I’ve read several articles written by both the media and fans and the reaction seems to be mixed, most fans and even sometimes the media wants to see the underdog win even if the other driver is the outspoken Tony Stewart which was trying the break a long winless streak, nonetheless, interesting comments, I found that David Poole and Jimmy Spencer, said NASCAR got it correct, while other fans and media members (mainly fans) said NASCAR got it wrong including a poll on ESPN.com.

So, in my opinion, Did NASCAR made the right call? One thing to remember is that there are two calls here, not just one, the first is who won the race and second, where do you place Regan Smith if he didn’t win…

Here’s the way I saw it: White flag is out, one lap to go at Talladega Superspeedway, fans have seen a wreckfest of race today that included at least two “Big Ones” that have taken out half the field including championship contenders Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon and NASCARs Most Popular driver and my favorite driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., the race had been a reminder that restrictor plate racing is heart-stopping and yet too hard to watch at times.

The leaders are coming out of turn 4 on to the tri-oval, this is where one-two-three drivers are going to make their move for the victory, a driver doesn’t have to completely pass the leader, but only has to have a nose out front in at the start/finish line in order to win the race, the leader Tony Stewart is coming though the tri-oval with second place Regan Smith and third place Paul Menard right behind him. Experience is everything in this position to winning at Talladega and nether second or third place DEI drivers have any.

Smith makes a move to outside, Stewart blocks, Smith comedown, I believe Smith got a nose to the inside and when Stewart moved down, Smith had two options, one, what Jeff Gordon said on WindTunnel, just stand your ground and if he comes across your nose, then he comes across and most likely he would spin or second, do what he did and go below the yellow-line to miss him and race him, there was no room to move back up before the finish line.

Coming down through the tri-oval, Smith below the yellow line, Stewart above, at the line, it’s Regan Smith, wait, call in the tower, Tony Stewart is your winner today, you can’t go below the yellow to advance your position. Smith needed to come back up above the yellow line before the start finish line and then try and make the pass on Tony Stewart for the victory and didn’t do it.

So NASCAR got the first call correct, Tony Stewart is the winner of the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega,, congrats to Tony Stewart, I know he wanted that one bad, he had been on the other side of those calls and this time he was on the opposite side, great job smoke.

However in the same call, NASCAR penalized Regan Smith to 18th spot, that’s where NASCAR got the call wrong. Regan Smith did get pushed down below the yellow line, he made the right move here and had to go with it, but two things, first Smith had to get back above the yellow line before the start/finish line and then make the pass, second, Smith didn’t get the chance to give the position back to Stewart, there was no time, the finish line was right there, so Smith should have been scored second period, not 18th and that’s it.

Following that, NASCAR issued a rule clarification regarding passing at Daytona and Talladega (Read more at NASCAR.com)

And on that, the chase points standings has a bigger picture, however with six races to go including is weekend’s at Charlotte, it’s still at least a five driver race for the 2008 Sprint Cup Series Championship that currently reads:
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Carl Edwards -72
3. Greg Biffle -77
4. Jeff Burton -99

And now it's time to move on…to Charlotte for the 500.

- Racedriven

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and NASCAR make headlines at Kansas Speedway.

Heading into Kansas Speedway, the track had already made noise by announcing that they are going to ask for a second cup date after they just got approved for a hotel and casino, would they get it?

Looking at the race itself, a race that was once a boring thing to watch, not any more, in NASCAR, it is said that with all new tracks or new surfaces, it will get better with age, Richmond did, Bristol shore did and guess what, Kansas did as well, interesting third chase race, it was better than Texas earlier this year, however that’s not saying much, but amazingly enough, there was two, three-groves including running up to wall to work with which does make the race better for passing, passing the key to good race at any racetrack, if drivers can’t pass a car, you have a parade, or Formula 1 for the most part.

However nothing would have prepared me for the final 5 laps of this one, a race that shaped up to have a classic duel between Carl Edwards and the leader Jimmie Johnson, I watched this one with a lot of interest, as the laps kept clicking down, you could tell Carl was closing fast, however he needed another couple of laps to make that clear, or did he…

What a move by Carl Edwards on the final lap, going into turn 3, if anyone was thinking that these drivers where holding back, that proves they weren’t, I could hear my father routing on Johnson in this one, and then Edwards just through his car into the corner, like in a racing game, but he just couldn’t hold it and straight up into the wall, I heard Edwards after the race saying that he was trying a move that was in a video game, he knew it would hit the wall, but just not that hard and lost so much speed, what a move, I will not forget that one, Johnson sees him and misses him, goes low and my father is saying go Jimmie go, come Johnson you got him, Edwards even after that move still had momentum that might have won the race, but good job by Jimmie Johnson, what a close victory and his crew chief was shocked too.

I have to hand it to Carl though, what move, he wanted that victory period, but he didn’t want to take out Johnson to get it, Carl should have nothing to feel bad, that move is what racing is all about, going for the victory plain and simple, that’s what it is all about, worth every bit and you knew neither one is holding back, you can’t to win a championship now a days.

Something of interest, AJ Allmendinger, a good driver, groomed by Red Bull racing was told last week that his services will no longer will be needed next season, interesting to note just what he said after the Kansas race, finishing 9th, don’t run your mouth. It’s not good move for Red Bull to groom a driver that is the best driver in your stable, yes better than Brian Vickers, that’s not saying much neither, however AJ Allmendinger would have been better to keep and sure enough, yeaterday, it was announced that AJ Allmendinger is out effective immediately, replaced by Mike Skinner at Talladega and Charlotte, followed by Scott Speed at the remaining races on the schedule straight into Homestead.

Good move, bad move? It’s a bad move for Red Bull, but it is what it is, is Scott Speed ready for cup, who knows.

So will Kansas Speedway get their second date? I really have no problem with it, however where is the date going to come from, first there is no more open weekends, second they really can’t take it from SMI tracks, so that leaves just leaves ISC tracks, one track comes to mind, California Speedway (or Auto Club Speedway of California), that is the only track I can think of, we need two road courses, so Watkins Glen is out and no way to taking a date from Martinsville, so that seems to be the only logical choose. I will say that NASCAR will award them a second date.

One word that every NASCAR fan will now think of, Talladega, next week, need I say more?


(Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images via NASCAR PR)

- Racedriven