Sunday, September 19, 2010

Clint Bowyer holds off Hamlin to win Race 1 of the chase: The Top 6 NASCAR things learned from New Hampshire.

(Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the first edition of Top 6 NASCAR things learned chase edition as NASCAR is back up here in New England for the first chase race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Now right off the bat, I should mention that is great to have NASCAR in my neck of the woods, however due to having no extra money, I was unable to attend the racing this weekend.

But that has never stopped me covering NASCAR. At the same time, our top 12 drivers had a pretty activate week with NASCAR drivers making their normal stop before the chase in New York City and giving them something to talk about.

But for me, it’s more about the racing than anything else, so let’s get right to it.

1. New Hampshire continues to prove they deserve chase race after Clint Bowyer held off a hard charging Denny Hamlin to win Sylvania 300. What a race, nobody should be calling that race boring at all, that is exactly what short-track racing on a 1 mile oval is all about. But what a mixed day for the chase drivers, half of them end up, up front, while the other half have a lot of work to do in the final 9 races.

Chase drivers: Winner had to be Denny Hamlin who finished 2nd, Clint Bowyer who won, while losers had to be Tony Stewart who ran out of fuel and finished 24th and Jimmie Johnson who finished 25th.

Non-Chase (or second-class citizens) drivers: Tip of the hat to Dale Earnhardt Jr. who finished 4th and Jamie McMurray who finished 3rd, that’s what you have to do to make an impact and shine during these final 10 race chase.

(Credit: New Hampshire Motor Speedway/NHMS.com

2. New Hampshire Motor Speedway unveils the “Granite Strip”. While I know that this is mostly publicity, I do have to say that since New Hampshire is known as the granite state, I do like the strip, it’s actually a cleaver idea and it represents the state well. But NHMS already has the Lobster, so why bother.

3. Ryan Newman wins Modified race and pulls off the Triple Crown winning at NHMS in June, Bristol in August and this past weekend’s Modified race back at NHMS. I was surprised that while the first half of the race showed action, the second half of the 100 lapper was a walk away victory for Ryan Newman. Of course Newman did have to fend off a few regulars after two restarts inside 5 laps to go. But even with that, what a good race, and I wish I was there, but again no extra money.

One question for SPEED, I like the fact that SPEED broadcasted the Modified race, but why was the Modified race 15-minute delay from the real track action? Was it because SPEED wanted to talk more about the Cup Series final practice and the first chase race or did SPEED just want to just from the Modified race to the Truck Series Setup?

4. Kyle Busch out duels Kevin Harvick and a hard charging James Buescher in the last 10 laps and wins the Truck Series race at New Hampshire. In watching the Truck Series race on Saturday, it was interesting and at times boring watching Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick swap the lead over several times while at the same time pull away from the rest of the field. However during the race, I found it interesting that the #71 was running a spec engine. Hopefully all Truck Series teams in the future will all have to run spec engines.

But anyway, hats off to James Buescher for leading the race in the last 10 laps and finishing 2nd after Kyle Busch put him and himself into the outside wall in the final laps.

5. NASCAR driver Carl Edwards and 11-time X-Games Gold Medalist Travis Pastrana will represent the U.S. in the Race of Champions. Last week this one was announced and I have mixed thoughts about this announcement, I mean was all of the top NASCAR drivers busy in November that they couldn’t represent the U.S. against drivers like Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost, S├ębastien Loeb, Sebastian Vettel, Tom Kristensen, Andy Priaulx and more. But all is not lost, I do like the fact that Travis Pastrana will represent well considering he is one of the best rally drivers in the U.S. (Source: AutoBlog.com)

6. Advice for NASCAR fans who are frustrated with all of the hype and over analyzing of the races and chase. This year especially, I as a NASCAR fan have been becoming very frustrated with the NASCAR coverage at times including all of the hype and over analyzing the races and the chase. At one point, I ended up taking my advice that I gave to another NASCAR fan, to stop watching all of the NASCAR coverage including the pre-race show, the daily NASCAR shows like NASCAR Now and NASCAR RaceHub and only watch the actual race itself and if you want the practice.

I believe that advice has helped me relax, ease frustrations and since I’m really only watching the races and some practice, it has also actually helped me write better as well. I also believe that NASCAR is overexposed and it’s hurting the sport.

I will touch on this more in the near future including why NASCAR fans are turning NASCAR off. With that said, it’s off to Race 2 in the chase for the championship at Dover where the Nationwide Series and the Cup Series will be in action.

And Danica Patrick will be doing double duty at Dover, driving in Friday’s NASCAR K&N East Series race and Saturday’s Nationwide Series race.