Thursday, September 30, 2010
Matt Kenseth discusses Hot Topics on Inside NASCAR about from crew chiefs, the chase and more and I’ll give you my take as well as the RCR-Bowyer appeal results.
Last night on Inside NASCAR on Showtime, the 2003 Cup Series Championship Matt Kenseth sat down with the hosts to answer a few Facebook questions in Hot Topics from crew chiefs, the chase and more. But once again thanks to the Inside NASCAR on Showtime PR, here is the clip. I thought that Kenseth did a good job answering the questions.
However, I too as a blogger and NASCAR fan have my take on not only the three hot topics discussed on Inside NASCAR, but also the breaking news on Clint Bowyer-RCR vs. NASCAR appeal results. So check out the clip and then check out my answers below to the same questions. But one thing, I left out the final two questions since it was on family, this is a Automobile, Motorsports and NASCAR blog, not a celebrity news site.
1. Did the “Have at it, Boy’s!” speech make you more aggressive?
While Kenseth said that it really didn’t make a difference for him and that he would deal with things the same way. I believe that the “Have at it, Boy’s!” speech did have an effect on several drivers starting with Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon (a little bit, but he’s always driven this way) and more just to name a few. I believe that the speech open the door for several drivers to drive there other competitors more aggressively and pushing the edge of dirty driving with no real penalty from NASCAR.
Like I said, Carl Edwards especially has taken NASCAR’s speech to heart as he has blatantly wrecked Brad Keselowski twice, once at Atlanta and the second one at Gateway during a Nationwide Series race. In both cases, Carl received a slap on the wrist for creating a dangerous situation. I believe that Carl thinks he is playing a video game when it does it.
But I believe Kenseth when he said it really didn’t make a difference considering he is racing the same now as he was years ago.
2. Will Robbie Reiser ever be your crew chief again?
I don’t even believe that Robbie Reiser will be Matt Kenseth’s crew chief again unless maybe Jack Roush says something. I believe that Reiser is doing what he wants to do inside the Roush-Fenway Racing organization. But even more, now Kenseth and RFR need to find a crew chief that the chemistry is there. It’s almost like creating the perfect storm or developing a relationship into a marriage, not every is going to work out.
3. What changes would you make to the chase if it was up to you?
I agree with him when he said put it back to the way it was. And I also agree with him when he said that since the chase was created, the best car has won every year. However as many readers here on RaceDriven.com know, I would also tighten up the points system including making 30th thru 43rd worth the same amount of points, more points for a top 5 finish and award points for qualifying up in the top 5.
Final lap: What happened with round 1 of the Bowyer-RCR vs. NASCAR appeal?
After everything was done, last night the NASCAR appeals board heard the case of Bowyer-RCR vs. NASCAR and upheld penalty. Of course RCR immediately filed the appeal for the chief, so now we wait for on that appeal which is his last option. Personally if this was 6-thousands of an inch off, I could have seen a particular reduction of penalty and part of me hoped anyway, but since the car was 60-thousands of an inch off and that the appeals board upheld NASCAR’s penalty, I really don’t see this appeal being successful for RCR.
Of course in my eyes, this is just another loss/loss situation for RCR and NASCAR, RCR losses appeal and NASCAR losses as fans get more frustrated with NASCAR and stop watching.
Say hello to the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible that will start at $30,000 – It’s about time Chevrolet.
As a car enthusiast, I’m not surprised that Chevrolet came out with the Camaro convertible, but rather that it took the automaker so long to do so considering consumers have been asking for the convertible version even before the new 21st Century Chevrolet Camaro make its presents know in showrooms when the coupe went on sale back in the Spring of the 2009.
The Camaro Convertible will make its way into showrooms in February 2011 with a starting price of $30,000. The Convertible will feature the same as the basic model Camaro coupe with a 312 horsepower Direct-Injection V6 engine. Even more, the SS model with the real muscle car power will have a 6.2 liter V8 engine with 426 horsepower on tap attached through either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic.
“The Convertible will make the all-new Camaro, already a smash-hit, even more desirable to a greater range of drivers,” says Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet Marketing.
Personally I’m looking forward to seeing this convertible model in showrooms early next year. If the model does everything including handle correctly, I have no doubt that consumers will embrace the convertible just like they have the couple version and it will fly off showroom floors. But I do have to wonder in this day and age what will the real price tag be in dealerships…
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Jimmie Johnson wins at Dover and Race 2 of the chase: The Top 6 NASCAR things learned from Dover and Las Vegas.
1. Last Wednesday, Clint Bowyer, the #33 team and RCR found themselves well beyond a simple warning from NASCAR as NASCAR dropped the hammer on them with a 150 point penalty and both the car chief and crew chief being suspended for 6 weeks. (Read more here)
I personally don’t think the penalty fit the crime, however with his new NASCAR COT, NASCAR has a complicated setup with a pass or fail system. Basically if your car fails inspection, you will get penalized and chances are it will be a 150 point penalty. Early on, NASCAR set a policy with the COT and they are sticking to it and this penalty is right in line with that mark. Good luck to NASCAR though.
As for Bowyer and RCR vs. NASCAR on Wednesday for the appeal, I will go on record to say that there is a slim chance the penalty will be reduced, but not overturned. So unless RCR can come up with some strong reasons why they don't deserve the penalty, and NASCAR doesn't have good evidence (which we know they do have), this wouldn't be overturned.
2. On Friday and Saturday at Dover, sparks flew as Clint Bowyer and Richard Childress spoke about the penalty saying we didn’t cheat. Of course Denny Hamlin called out Clint Bowyer and said otherwise. Hamlin’s remakes touched off a media windstorm and Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin getting into it during Saturday practice.
Personally Denny Hamlin said what he thought, should he have said it, no. Hamlin in the eyes of one NASCAR fan has a chip on his shoulder. In looking at it, I would say that that fan is right, Hamlin needs to relax, otherwise his comments, attitude along with his feud with RCR might cost him a shot at the Cup Series championship this year and yes he is a favorite to beat Johnson.
3. What’s new, Kyle Busch wins Nationwide Dover race...But... Let’s be honest here, who cares, while I picked him on my fantasy picks for WindTunnel, I could care less and I didn’t watch the race, it’s boring watching all of these Cup Series drivers race and win regularly in the series. It’s like half of these drivers can’t make it in the Cup Series, so they need to prove themselves in the Nationwide Series.
And if NASCAR doesn’t do something soon about the Nationwide Series and the Truck Series, neither series will survivor or have may have drivers competing in either series. Personally I believe that NASCAR should ditch the Cup Series drivers from both series with the exception of 5 races per year and merge the two series into one. You would have better racing, more sponsors and more teams.
4. A 1957 Chevrolet 150 NASCAR “Black Widow” tribute car sold for $58k at the 2010 Barrett-Jackson in Las Vegas.
5. Jimmie Johnson begins his quest for his fifth straight championship by winning the Dover Cup Series race and Race 2 of the chase. By winning at Dover, Johnson is now only -35 points behind the points leader Denny Hamlin. Will be interested in seeing what happens from here on out starting this coming weekend at Kansas.
6. Congrats to Austin Dillon for picking up his second career Truck Series victory in Las Vegas. Dillion had the truck to beat basically all race long, but really had to outrun the field especially James Buescher for the victory.
Now I wonder what will happen next week in Kansas, of course may be next weekend NASCAR will explain why Kansas deserves two Cup Series races in 2011, because in my opinion, they don’t. NASCAR should have given a Cup date to either another road course or Iowa.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Hot Topics: The Waltrip Brothers square off on Inside NASCAR about from Dale Jr., Jimmie Johnson and the chase and I’ll give you my take as well including the Clint Bowyer penalty.
Last night on Inside NASCAR on Showtime, Michael Waltrip and Darrell Waltrip squared off on Hot Topics discussing a number of different subjects from Dale Jr. and Jimmie Johnson to the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. I thought that both of them had some good points.
However, I too as a blogger and NASCAR fan have my take on not only the three hot topics discussed on Inside NASCAR, but also the breaking news on Clint Bowyer with his chase hopes. So check out the clip and then check out my answers below to the same questions.
1. Will Dale Earnhardt Jr. finish his career at Hendrick Motorsports?
I would say yes as well, however my advice for Dale Jr. would be the opposite, I would actually say he would be better off to leave Hendrick Motorsports in a sense and go to his own race team JR Motorsports in the future with complete Hendrick support from chassis’s to engines. The reason is, is that Dale Jr. just doesn’t seem to be clicking in that big organization namely Hendrick Motorsports.
I believe that Dale Jr. is a lot like Jamie McMurray. McMurray who use to drive for Roush-Fenway Racing just wasn’t getting the job done. However when he went to the smaller organization of Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing with Felix, he found success and in a big way including winning the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400.
One thing that Jamie gets at EGR is the support of people behind him starting with Chip Ganassi himself. That doesn’t mean that RFR isn’t good, but it’s that Jamie just needed a different environment. Jamie said it himself that he had only talked to Jack Roush a few times when he was there. But he talks to Chip every week. It’s the personal touch that seems to make the difference, namely chemistry.
That same type of environment might be just what Dale Jr. needs and that includes working for himself, having family and support around him like Tony Eury Sr. and Jr. and Hendrick equipment. Another explain would be look at Tony Stewart. Stewart is successful at his race team Stewart-Haas Racing.
2. Does Jimmie Johnson’s reign as the champion end this year?
For some reason or another, a lot of people hope so and Michael Waltrip thinks so. However I don’t. In looking at the chase after New Hampshire and the Bowyer penalty (which I will address in a moment), I see four contenders from Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. Plus I will even through in Kyle Busch as a wild card.
However out of all of those four-five, Jimmie Johnson is the favorite and the front runner. Sure his team is not showing signs like they did in previous years, but I haven’t seen anything that says that Johnson is out of the chase or not going to win the championship.
Sure Harvick is strong, top 5 finishes are good especially after a bad day and Denny Hamlin is on a row as well. But Hamlin still has performance issues that need to be solved first. Stewart is down in points, but not out. And of course Kyle Busch, he is a wild card at this point, but can he overcome issues with his car as well. In all four cases, none of them are as strong as Johnson. And consider this, Johnson had a wheel issue, not a major problem and is only -92 points back from Hamlin with 9 to go. He can make that up.
3. Does the chase need changing?
One word YES, let me say that again, YES. I believe that the chase is broke and needs to be fixed. The hype, headlines and talk needs to be more on the races itself, not this manufactured chase. Each race needs to mean almost the same thing, of course you can still have a playoff and promote the top 10 drivers, but those drivers can change after every race as the top 10 in points changes. No more gifts.
I say get rid of the chase and change the points system. The point system is really broken and I’m talking about changing the points not for the entire season, but in every NASCAR series. A tighter, fairer points system will make for a better and simpler points battle all year long. Of course you can’t manufacturer something, it has to play out and happen naturally even if it’s a run away. That new points system could include giving the same amount of points from 30th to 43rd and bonus points for starting in the top 5 and finishing in the top 5. More later.
Clint Bowyer penalized:
Clint Bowyer went from winning and kissing the granite strip on Sunday at New Hampshire to getting penalized on Wednesday and the loss of most of his chase hopes.
Earlier this week, NASCAR said that Clint Bowyer’s Richmond car nearly failed post-race inspection. NASCAR meet with RCR to discuss being so close to tolerances. I believe that NASCAR should just hand each team a sheet with that car’s tolerances on it if the car nearly fails and leave it at that. It’s the job of each team to push the limits to win and that includes each tolerance. With NASCAR, it’s a pass or fail deal, so why talk about close.
However on Wednesday, NASCAR announced that crew chief Shane Wilson has been fined $150,000, suspended from the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup events, suspended from NASCAR until Nov. 3 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Car chief Chad Haney has also been suspended from the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup events, suspended from NASCAR until Nov. 3 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Driver Clint Bowyer and owner Richard Childress have been penalized with the loss of 150 championship driver and owner points, respectively.
What this means is that NASCAR found that the body was mounted on the chassis outside of the tolerances and penalized them 150 driver and owner points. This penalty is nothing new especially a team and driver being docked 150 points and a normal penalty. However the penalty drops Clint Bowyer from -35 points behind the leader to -185 points behind the leader and in 12th spot. That is well over one race to make up on Hamlin (the current leader). I understand what NASCAR did here, they have a pass or fail deal for each car with tolerances, and the #33 RCR Chevy failed in post-race inspection back at the R&D Center. I’m not surprised with the penalty at all and NASCAR stayed consistent here. Done deal.
And Clint Bowyer’s championship hopes took a major hit and I don’t think he can make it up period.
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.
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.
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, Sébastien 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.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
During the normal press conferences at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Sylvania 300 and race 1 of the chase for the Sprint Cup, Tony Stewart touched on the on-going search.
IN YOUR SEARCH FOR SPONSORSHIP, HAVE YOU BEEN FORCED TO TRY NEW APPROACHES OR APPROACH DIFFERENT KINDS OF COMPANIES THAT YOU DIDN'T NECESSARILY THINK YOU WOULD TRY TO REACH OUT TO? "I think you always have to be that way. I think you always have to think outside the box. When you're selling something, and you go in there with the same approach that everybody else has, what makes your organization stand out from theirs? I think that's kind of the way we thought about it from day one because we were a new company anyway, so it was easy to start with new ideas and a new approach."
EVEN WITH THE ECONOMY IN A SLUMP, IS IT SURPRISING THAT GUYS LIKE YOU AND JEFF GORDON, STARS OF THE SPORT, ARE LOOKING FOR SPONSORS AT THIS POINT IN THE SEASON? "Not necessarily. We all understand the situation. We all understand why corporate America has had to pull the reigns back a little bit. So is it a surprise and a shock? No, not necessarily. If you look in this garage area, it's still a thriving sport and it's still represented by a lot of Fortune 500 companies. I wouldn’t stand here and say that we're all in bad shape, because the sport is very healthy right now. All you've got to do is walk through the garage area and see that." (Source: Team Chevy Transcript)
I have heard and read several things (rumors and speculations) over the past few weeks that a few sponsorships including Mobil 1 might end up on Tony Stewarts car. It had been announced that Mobil 1 wouldn’t be returning to Penske Racing and of course Penske Racing has signed a huge deal with Shell-Pennzoil for the next season to be on the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Penske Racing Dodge while Brad Keselowski will now drive the famous #2 Miller Lite Penske Dodge. (Read more on Shell-Pennzoil deal)
And keep in mind that Tony Stewart is also looking for part-time sponsorship for Ryan Newman next year as well.
During the normal press conferences at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Sylvania 300 and race 1 of the chase for the Sprint Cup, Jeff Gordon briefly touched on the on-going search.
HAS THE SPONSORSHIP THING BEEN DISCOURAGING FOR YOU WITH NOT HAVING DUPONT THE WHOLE SEASON AND THE WALMART THING, ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT A DRIVER OF YOUR CALIBER IS EVEN IN THIS POSITION? “I’ll be honest, as a driver, it’s not something that I put a lot of thought into. I mean, I certainly would like to see us with a sponsor that could be really good for our organization. Good for the sport and good marketing and wants to be a part of our program and get behind it. Right now, my focus is on driving and trying to go out there and be as good as we can be in the Chase. That is pretty much the message that has been sent to me through Rick (Hendrick) is don’t worry about it. We have got a lot of people working hard on it and it’ll come together. The Walmart thing was a little disappointing because I feel like everybody was wanting to see that company in this sport for a long time and we would have loved to have represented them. But, I’m so excited to be involved with DuPont and Pepsi and sponsors that we have had for a number of years. I think we still have some things that are going to come together.” (Source: Team Chevy Transcript)
Jeff Gordon’s hunt for sponsorship is actually due to his current sponsorship DuPont is scaling back their sponsorship to part of the season, which leaves the other part of the season open. At this point, I really haven’t heard or read of any company looking to step up and take over the rest of the schedule that DuPont isn’t sponsoring.
Now it was talked about that Wal-Mart could fill that role, but those talks have gone away. As of now, I have no idea who will sponsor Jeff Gordon next season with DuPont…I would say Pepsi or National Guard, but they both are sponsoring Dale Jr. too and that’s a lot of money like maybe 20 million dollars per year.
But I will say that if Sprint wasn’t in the sport as they are now and didn’t have exclusivity in the Cup Series, Verizon and AT&T would make great sponsorships for any team. I know that Verizon wants in to the Cup Series, it’s not possible with Sprint in the picture and that sucks. But I do wonder where UPS, Mobil 1 and a few other sponsors will land next year, it might be September, but I expect some sponsorship news within the next month or two.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Kyle Busch makes statement driving pink Sponsafier car, and other things learned from Richmond including the Air Guard 400.
With that said, I hope that everybody enjoyed the Holiday (Labor Day Weekend) last weekend, I know I did and watched the Cup Series at Atlanta with Tony Stewart picking up his first win of 2010. But were back to busy as usual as we had a double-header weekend at Richmond with the Nationwide Series on Friday night and the Cup Series on Saturday night.
Now getting back to busy, we had an interesting week, so what did we learn from the last week and of course racing in Richmond?
1. Denny Hamlin makes statement after dominating and winning the Air Guard 400 at Richmond. On Saturday night, Denny Hamlin came out and did what he had to do to not only rebound from a 43rd place finish at Atlanta, but put himself in a better position going into the chase. In winning the race, Hamlin now had 6 wins and that got him +10 points over Jimmie Johnson heading into New Hampshire this weekend for the first chase race.
2. Jimmie Johnson keeps momentum going with another top 5 finish in Richmond heading into the chase. You see even though Jimmie Johnson hasn’t had the best season so far including several bad finishes which some was due to someone else’s mistake, this is the part of the season that Johnson really begins to shine. And with the way the championship is setup, Johnson is peaking once again at just the right time and if he keeps up the top 5 finishes, he will be contending for the championship this year once again. Plus don’t forget, Johnson already has 5 wins this season and is only 10 points out of first.
3. Where is the rest of Hendrick Motorsports with the exception of Jimmie Johnson? While I was watching last Saturday night’s Richmond race, I couldn’t help but notice the poor performances of Jeff Gordon (until he finished 12th), Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr., what is going on with these three?
4. Another good performance for NASCAR’s Nationwide COT. Last Friday night at Richmond, the Nationwide COT made its first short track appearance and its third race of the season and I noticed that this car is very different from the previous car including safety. Of course ESPN even pointed out that most car’s brake rotors where not glowing red. Normally those things are bright red and you can see them clear as day. But all in all, the racing was good and so were the final laps between Brad K. and Kevin Harvick.
Now that was real clean racing, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards should have been taking notes. But congrats to Kevin Harvick on holding off a hard charging Brad K. to win the race.
5. Toyota’s Sponsafier finally pays off and gives fans what they really wanted, Kyle Busch in a pink car and firesuit. So for all of the NASCAR fans who wanted it including me, here is Kyle Busch in his pink car and firesuit.
Credit: Harrelson Photography / Richmond International Raceway.
See you after New Hampshire for my next weekly column.
I've been a country music fan for several years now, it all started with listing to Carrie Underwood's first album "Some Hearts" when it came out back in November 2005 and Taylor Swift's self titled first album a year later and now I'm also listening to Gloriana, Lady Antebellum, Julianne Hough, a little bit of Trace Adkins and Bomshel just to name a few. However I'm always interested in listening to new artists music when it comes out especially if I like the music video including Mallary Hope, Katie Armiger and more.
But up until I saw the music video above (Jennette McMurdy's "Not That Far Away"), I had never heard of Jennette, one reason could be that I'm 31 years old and don't watch Disney Channel. Anyway the reason I'm sharing this video with my readers is that I love this song, its so true. It is truly country, it tells a good story. Everybody is looking to follow there dreams and I'm no exception. I wish Jennette McCurdy the best on embarking on her new country music career and if this song is a sample of things to come, then she will do well in country music.
What do you think, do you share the same passion in liking this song as I do?
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Ladies and gentlemen, last night at the famous ¾ mile short track, Richmond International Raceway played host to the final race to the chase race where NASCAR fans saw Denny Hamlin for the second year in a row dominate and win at his home racetrack and at the same time saw Clint Bowyer “race” his way into the chase while Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray and Mark Martin will sit this chase out.
But last night I couldn’t help but notice that Clint Bowyer was really making a statement throughout the race by going up and grabbing the lead several times during the race as well as the chase favorite Jimmie Johnson being up front most of the night. But chase contenders Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch didn’t find success.
Even more, there was really no drama in who was in and who was out of the chase unlike last years dramatic finish between Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch. However that of course didn’t stop ESPN (ABC) from talking about where each driver is seeded, who will be in the chase and of course who will be out. But I will say one thing, ESPN needs to stick to covering the race itself, that’s where the drama should be. If the race can’t produce the drama and hype, then what’s the point of racing at that speedway in the first place, the race is the show, not the chase.
Well ladies and gentlemen, here we go, 12 drivers, 10 races, 1 champion, so who is in and where?
1. 11-Denny Hamlin – 5060 (6 wins)
2. 48-Jimmie Johnson – 5050 (5 wins)
3. 29-Kevin Harvick – 5030 (3 wins)
4. 18-Kyle Busch – 5030 (3 wins)
5. 2-Kurt Busch – 5020 (2 wins)
6. 14-Tony Stewart – 5010 (1 win)
7. 16-Greg Biffle – 5010 (1 win)
8. Jeff Gordon – 5000 (no wins)
9. 99-Carl Edwards – 5000 (no wins)
10. 31-Jeff Burton – 5000 (no wins)
11. 17-Matt Kenseth – 5000 (no wins)
12. 33-Clint Bowyer – 5000 (no wins)
Predictions, normally at this time or after the first chase race namely New Hampshire, I would make bold predictions including what the final finishing order will be including who is going to win the championship. And yet year is no different.
The way I see it right now heading into the first chase race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (which sadly I will not be attending due to no money) is, I really only see 6 drivers as real championship contenders right now. I mean come on, some drivers just struggled to get into the top 12, while others.
So with that said I believe that Jimmie Johnson is the favorite going in and my pick to win his fifth straight Sprint Cup Championship (which would be great for the sport), along with Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin as the wild card.
Now I see Kevin Harvick as a strong contender for the title as well as Kyle Busch, each driver has run well all season long. But at the same time I have a question mark on Denny Hamlin, his consistency is questionable especially with JGR engines.
As for the rest, namely Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton, they all don’t show the consistency or speed to be a real championship contender for the entire 10-race chase.
I realize that that is very bold to say, but look at the stats, Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer got in by the skin of their teeth and I really don’t think too much of 11th and 12th coming into the chase anyway. Its like rewarding drivers for medocre performances.
As for Jeff Gordon, half of the time can’t get his car to handle and run fast, but for some reason seems to squeak out a decent finish, but decent doesn’t win championships. Jeff Burton is there, but isn’t and I really haven’t seen Matt Kenseth all season long, he just seems to appear at just the right moment for a decent finish.
Bottom line, we have a six-driver chase for the Sprint Cup and it should be interesting to watch especially Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin (if Hamlin can get running right) with 3 races to go in the chase.
And congrats to Richard Childress Racing for getting all three cars into the chase, that’s huge in itself. RCR has turned the entire operation, no let’s see if Kevin Harvick, RCR’s best chance get win the championship for RCR, I wouldn’t beat against him.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
According to WECT-TV via MyFoxBoston.com, the owner of the Olde Salty Restaurant in North Carolina, Brenda Armes has had enough with screaming children bothering her other dining customers, so she has posted a sign saying “screaming children will not be tolerated.” If children are screaming, an employee will ask the parents to take them outside, but not asked to leave the restaurant.But is it right for a restaurant to have a no screaming children policy?
She told WECT-TV in Wilmington that the signs have worked by attracting more customers than they turn away. One customer said that he agreed, saying he likes the signs because a meal isn't enjoyable when kids are screaming. But another customer, a mother with two children said parents can't help it if their children scream.
When I first heard this on the 6 o’clock evening news, I said wow that’s taking a different, but not new approach, but I wonder if that will scare away customers.
But after thinking about it, I have to say that when I’m eating in a restaurant or evening shopping at Target, Walmart or department store for that matter, its hard to do something especially eat with screaming children near you.
Now despite the fact that the sign maybe a little bit harsh and can be quested, I do support the sign, parents need to be able to keep the children under control. I realize that that’s not allows possible, but it is one part of being a parent.
Now I should mention that I don’t have children, but in all fairness I also do remember being a child, screaming in a restaurant or department store at one point and nobody including my parents where happy with me at all, just like people aren’t happy seeing kids doing the same now. But the children are the parents responsibly.
The bottom line is, this is her restaurant, her business, the sign isn’t discriminating and if you don’t like it, go find another restaurant to eat at. And no, staying home all the time when you have little children isn’t the answer neither. However I will be interested in seeing in the long run not only if other restaurants do this post this sign as well, but how that sign fairs with her other customers.
What do you think?
Speedlinking: Stewart wins in Atlanta, Expanding Chase is a bad move, Bodine vs. Kyle Busch, ESPN and the U.S. Nationals.
1. Atlanta race makes Stewart look good, NASCAR look dumb by Jeff Schultz.
As a Tony Stewart fan, his win on Sunday night at Atlanta was huge all the way around especially considering the chase is on the horizon in New Hampshire and ever win gets you closurer to the front of the lineup. But not everything is great in Atlanta, it was announced that NASCAR would only go to Atlanta Motor Speedway once next year and not twice as in years past.
Now while several people and fans are not happy with this call including Jeff Schultz who write the article above, I personally believe that the move was a good one, as a matter of fact, I believe that more tracks would be better with just one Cup Series date, because right now its all about attendence and selling tickets. But I should mention on thing, if your’re mad, don’t look just at NASCAR, but rather Brutt Smith and SMI, they made the descion to move one Cup date from Atlanta to Kentucky as part of NASCAR reorganization/realignment policy.
Now Atlanta will have to show that the track deserves two Cup dates again and promote their races in the future. But one tip, the spring race date needed to be moved, but the Labor day date is a good one.
2. Bodine, Brad K have harsh words for Kyle by Nascar: Beyond the Track
One question, is Kyle Busch a very aggressive driver as he stated last weekend at Atlanta or is he a dirty driver?
3. NASCAR banks on ESPN By Dustin Long
At first when I heard the news that ESPN was only going to have one chase race on ABC and move the rest to ESPN, I said this isn’t a step forward, but a step back. However after hearing that some ABC affiliates aren’t pre-empting the NASCAR races, I said maybe ESPN might not be a bad choice after all. I mean can you imagine being a NASCAR fan and you’re sitting down on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon to watch the big race on television and you find out that race has been pre-empted and no show for you. Damn I would be pissed off, but NASCAR wouldn’t have that issue if the races are on ESPN instead. So the move should be better for most NASCAR fans. But I you don’t have ESPN, then it’s not.
Personally I can live with it considering I have ESPN, but can everybody else???
4. ESPN Failed to Broadcast US Nationals Live by Thatsthepits.com
During the U.S. nationals, my father was on Twitter and he asked me if the Ashley Force Hood finals race came up next, I said no, I’m not even sure the semis have been aired yet, why…Just asking, I said let me guess considering you read it on Twitter and you only follow Ford racing that means she won the U.S. nationals. Great, that means this is 1 hour plus behind, great, the biggest race of the year and ESPN can’t televise it live, what will they do next…that’s terrible, ESPN should know better.
5. Expanding the Chase field could do more harm than good for NASCAR by Cory McCartney.
I believe that expanding the field to 12 was a mistake let along to now 15. I’m sick of giving driver with poor performances gifts, give me a break. NASCAR stick it back 10 drivers in the chase and leave it along. And no eliminations neither, that would wreck the sport for sure.
You see NASCAR is a performance driven business and if you don’t have the results, you don’t win, so why should drivers with no real results be rewarded with a trip to the chase… Right now going into the 2010 chase, there is really only 8 drivers at best that have a real chance of being contenders for the title and that will drop quickly to 5 at best by 5 to go. And yes Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch will be among the 5 going for the championship at the end.
This Saturday night at Richmond for the Cup Series should be very entertaining, no not for who locks into the chase because everybody that will be contenders for the title are already in, but for a good old’ fashion Saturday night race under the lights on a short track. I believe that Denny Hamlin will be strong, but it will come down to a classic duel between Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart for the victory and its anybody’s guess as to who will win this one.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Top 6 NASCAR things learned from Kentucky and Atlanta – Tony Stewart wins the Labor Day Weekend Classic at Atlanta that ended at 11:45pm EST on Sunday night.
Now getting back to busy, we had an interesting week, so what did we learn from the last week and of course the Labor Day Weekend racing in Kentucky and Atlanta?
1. Should there be a Montreal or Canada 500? Yes racing in Canada is a good idea, they have earned a Cup Series race, but while the Nationwide Series did put on a good show last weekend with Boris Said picking up the victory by a nose over Max Papis, a Cup date in Montreal most likely wouldn’t happen in the next few years at least. The reason is because ISC and SMI control 95% of Cup Series dates and they wouldn’t move a date anywhere that isn’t there racetrack period, so unless Pocono, Indianapolis or Dover losses a date, Iowa, Montreal or even Laguna Sega isn’t an option and that’s sad.
And that’s also the same reason why the 2011 Cup Series schedule is the most bold moves (if you can call it that) NASCAR fans will see for at least the next few years as well. Well at least the racing in the Cup Series is better in 2010, than in recent years.
2. Todd Bodine spins and wins on fuel mileage…then in victory lane calls Kyle Busch a dirty driver. All I have to say is, I was even surprised not only that Bodine won the race on fuel mileage, but called out Kyle Busch in victory lane. I wrote all about it last Sunday night in an article called “NASCAR: Todd Bodine tells it like it is about Kyle Busch in victory lane at Kentucky after winning Truck race.” Trust me, it’s worth reading.
3. Jamie McMurray denies Kyle Busch victory and wins one for JR Motorsports and Tony Eury Sr. Hats off to Jamie McMurray, he won the Nationwide Series race last Saturday night in what was going to be a Kevin Harvick or Kyle Busch victory. But I will say that I really didn’t watch the entire race, I was too busy watching the IRL IndyCar Series race from Kentucky and the IRL race was a better race and I don’t even like the cookie cutter tracks especially for the IRL, it’s like watching a Talladega race…
4. Is January testing at Daytona back? Well while NASCAR hasn’t made it official, according to SceneDaily via Jayski.com, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams have been told that the tentative dates for a test on the new Daytona International Speedway pavement will be Jan. 17-19. I have to imagine that this testing is returning due to the new asphalt (repaving) that is currently being laid at Daytona International Speedway and NASCAR wants to give teams a chance to test on it. Is it a good move, I don’t know. I mean NASCAR already has several days of practice at Daytona during Speedweeks, but it could be good especially to get fans fired up for the 2011 Cup Series season.
I think NASCAR either needs to bring back Preseason testing, have a preseason race in January out west or have the first Cup Series race in January to start out the next season to get the fans fired up for the new season.
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Lance McGrew will stay together… for now. From a Team Chevy Press Conference Transcript, Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports:
Q) A FEW YEARS AGO WHEN JEFF GORDON DIDN'T MAKE THE CHASE, YOU MADE A CREW CHIEF CHANGE AT THE START OF THE CHASE. LOOKS LIKE DALE EARNHARDT JR IS NOT GOING TO MAKE THE CHASE. WHAT OPTION IS THAT FOR A POSSIBLE CREW CHIEF CHANGE THERE?
Hendrick: "Actually, I'm pretty happy with the chemistry there now. Maybe some of you guys don't agree but I'm around them and I'm in the shop during the week and the Tuesday meetings and I talk to Dale and I talk to Lance (McGrew) and I talk to them both after they've been testing. And we had some good momentum going and then we kind of fumbled the ball a little bit here right before the Chace. If you can't pinpoint where your problem is, then the whole organization needs to be better. We're working hard but we're not as sharp as we want to be with all four cars. But the guys are working hard and working together. If you miss the Chase and you just decide that you're going to change something to be changing it, I think that's a mistake. I've never tried to do that. I keep my options open, but at the same time if the driver and the crew chief are getting along and they're working together and they're trying, that's all I can ask for. It's pretty darn competitive here in the garage. Guys get on a streak and then guys fall back a little bit. We're not happy with where we are as an organization, but we're working on it. And nobody is blaming anybody and nobody is giving up. So we're getting ready for the Chase. We're trying a lot of stuff and we're all over the map here this weekend, but we're trying some things. We know we've got to get better. And I'm really happy with my whole group and the way they work together and of course we'd like to win more races and you like to dominate, but it's hard in this sport. You look at the guys up there now and they get a streak and then they cool off. That's probably a 10-minute answer to a short question."
Q) SO IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU PLAN TO KEEP LANCE MCGREW AND DALE EARNHARDT JR. TOGETHER THROUGH THE CHASE AND GOING INTO NEXT YEAR. YOU ARE NOT PLANNING ON A CHANGE AT THIS POINT?
Hendrick: "That's correct. We make decisions as things develop during the season. And right now we've got a game plan and we're sticking to it. Next week and going into the Chase and during the Chase, our plans are for those two guys to be together."(From Team Chevy via Jayski.com)
I think at least for right now, this combo is still working, Hendrick Motorsports as a whole is off right now, Jimmie Johnson is having some bad luck, but finished 4th at Atlanta, Jeff Gordon is having issues, Mark Martin most likely won’t make the chase, so you can’t just blame it on Dale Jr. and his crew chief.
But I do believe that it’s time for Dale Jr. to leave Hendrick Motorsports and drive for himself at JR Motorsports with Tony Eury Jr. or Sr. on top of the pit box with Hendrick support like Stewart-Haas Racing has. I believe that having his sister Kelly, Tony Jr. and Sr. and guys he knows in his corner will help. I know it’s in the distance, but you know I’m right. And look at Jamie McMurray, Roush Racing wasn’t the right combo, but EGR is.
6. As Tony Stewart (first win of 2010 and much needed) wins the Labor Day Classic at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which drivers are locked into the chase for the Sprint Cup? In and among a better than expected Atlanta race and in front of a decent crowd, the discussion was mostly about which drivers would be locked into the chase and more so, who would have to wait until next week at Richmond, the last chance qualifier to get into the chase.
As the race ended just before 11:45PM EST, despite some bad finishes including Denny Hamlin with a blown engine, Kevin Harvick with a blown left front tire, the top 10 are now locked into the chase for the sprint cup. That would be the points leader Kevin Harvick, followed by Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Denny Hamlin.
So now only Greg Biffle in 11th (accident) and Clint Bowyer in 12th who finished in 7th will have to wait until next week at Richmond to be locked in to the chase. But let’s be honest, Greg Biffle really just has to start next week and Clint Bowyer finished 7th and is +117 over 13th place Ryan Newman just has to stay out of trouble and get a decent finish to lock into the chase. So unless Bowyer is out early, Richmond will see no real chase drama and ESPN can focus mainly on the race itself and that works great for me, I love it that way. And yes, I hate having the coverage talk all about who is going to lock in by finishing where.
But before I wrap this one up, I should mention that Mobil 1 could be at Stewart-Haas racing (Hendrick did say despite Quaker State re-signing with Hendrick, that doesn’t affect any leased engine programs, Stewart-Haas Racing can run anything they want. And no news on UPS, but I can’t imagine they are happy with the #6 David Ragen, but I don’t know when that contract ends neither.
Happy Labor Day.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
NASCAR: Todd Bodine tells it like it is about Kyle Busch in victory lane at Kentucky after winning Truck race.
But I have to say that the best sound bit that I have heard so far in the 2010 season was from Todd Bodine in victory lane last Friday night. You see, last Friday night at Kentucky Motor Speedway in the Truck Series race, on lap 96 of 150, Bodine was racing Kyle Busch for the lead and Bodine was underneath coming off turn 4, racing tight and Bodine lost his truck and spun into the grass on the front straightaway. Now I really didn’t see anything wrong there, but I will mention that I did the previous week at Chicagoland.
But that spin would put Todd Bodine on a different fuel strategy and enabled him to strength his fuel and win the race. So in victory lane, Todd Bodine told SPEED "The first person I've got to thank is Kyle Busch for driving dirty and sucking me down and getting me spun out and giving us the gas"
Of course following that interview, Kyle Busch heard that comment and came running into victory lane to confront Bodine. The conversation got heated for a moment and then Kyle Busch left victory lane.
But wait there’s more, after Kyle Busch left victory lane, a SPEED reporter followed up with Todd Bodine where he said "He wasn't happy that I called him out on TV", "It's a shame that -- he's such a good kid and when you get him away from this racing atmosphere and he's off just being Kyle, he's a good kid. He's a lot of fun, I've been there with him. But you put him behind the wheel and he thinks he owns the racetrack. And he doesn't cut anybody a break and if this was an isolated incident, I'd let it slide, I wouldn't worry about it. But he drives that way in every division, every week, and he didn't like it." (Quotes from From the Marbles – Yahoo Sports!)
That second comment was the best hands down and Bodine is right, I’m sure Busch is a nice guy off the track, I know fans say that especially on WindTunnel, but on-track he just doesn’t get it and I tip my hat to Bodine, Bodine said what many haven’t this year and good for him. And Bodine had every right to call out Busch because this isn’t an isolated incident. Bodine had problems with Busch last week a Chicagoland in the Truck race as well when Busch pinched Bodine to the outside wall, forcing Bodine to lift or they would have collided.
If you have watched Kyle Busch drive in all three of NASCAR’s national series especially in the Nationwide Series, Busch does drive like he owns the place. Bristol is another example; Busch came off turn 4 late in the race while racing for the lead and pinched Brad Keselowski, but Brad didn’t lift and Busch ended up driving down into turn 2 and wrecking him. That was purely payback. And I could go on and on with examples…
In all of this, now I just have to wonder, since talking to Kyle Busch doesn’t work, will any driver risk getting retaliation from Kyle Busch and wreck him. Now I want to go on record and say “that I don’t believe in retaliation or payback in the form of wrecking another driver. However if talking to them and trying to run clean with them doesn’t work, then payback is the only option in racing.” Its happen for decades now, just ask Richard Petty, David Pearson, Junior Johnson, Darrell Waltrip just to name a few, they have done it and gotten it right back and so have the late, great Dale Earnhardt.
But don’t expect Todd Bodine or Brad Keselowski to retaliate. Last week on WindTunnel, Bodine said that he wouldn’t wreck Busch back, what would that do to his points if Busch came back and wrecked him and I will add, not to mention his truck. Germain Racing doesn’t have that many Trucks in the stable that could be very costly especially with them running somewhat out of their own pockets. And Brad Keselowski is past that, plus same thing goes for him, he is running for the championship and he wants to win too.
So who might, I’m thinking you will have to wait for Homestead-Miami once championships are wrapped up or Juan Montoya, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano just to name a few. Any which way, don’t expect anything, but what a good sound bit.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Well even though CBS doesn’t allow the fans to vote or be a member of the Big Brother jury, I thought that I would run down the final four and give my take on who I think should win. Now the way I look at Big Brother is the same way I look at Survivor, a houseguest or player has to outwit, outlast and outplay all of the other competitors in order to be a true player and be crowned the winner of Big Brother.
So from who I want to win the most right down to least, here we go.
1. Britney. In being the only female in the house that really hasn’t stopped Britney from being the most competitive person in the house at this point in the game. She has outplayed the other final three HG’s by winning one HOH and I believe 3 POV’s so far. She has put herself in position in the house especially with aligning herself with Lane, despite the fact the brigade still holds three strong. Britney has proven throughout the game that she will do what it takes to win and that includes winning challenges.
At this point, I would really like to see Britney win BB12, she has earned it. But for that to happen, she would have to win the final POV to stay in the game or convince the sole person who casts the only vote this week not to evict her. But her chances are slim unless its Lane and then she has a chance.
2. Hayden. If Britney doesn’t win, Hayden would be the next logical choice and the one that I believe will win just by looking at the numbers and who he is aligned with, plus how many votes he might get in the jury house. Hayden has outplayed the other HG’s by winning two HOH’s so far. Hayden was the first HOH and was the HOH on double-eviction week.
But I have to be honest in saying his strongest move has been aligning himself with Matt and his two other Brigade members (Lane and Enzo). He only plays when he has too and throws challenges the rest of the time. Let’s be honest, out of the remaining Brigade members, he has the most blood on his hands or has had a hand in getting out some of the jury members. But again he most likely will win BB12. And I would congratulate him if he did.
3 and 4 are Lane and Enzo. Up till two weeks ago, I really didn’t even notice that either one was even in the house sort of speck especially when it comes to game play. And of course neither one of them have really done any game play besides attach themselves to Hayden and especially Matt that did all of the work.
Now I will give Lane some credit, he won 1 HOH only after another Brigade member lost. And he saved Britney from possible eviction last week which was a good move especially for Britney. But really he has floated.
However nobody has floated through BB12 better than Enzo. Enzo has won 1 POV in a smashing way to make sure Ragen went home. His biggest move has been also attaching himself to Matt and Hayden along with Lane and doing nothing.
I have to say that in watching this secret Brigade walk their way through this game was interesting, but now that three are in the final four, it’s kind of sad that we have two people that have floated to the end, but it’s not the first time neither…hint hint June. But I wonder what the jury will think of either one or both if in the final two?
I do believe that Matt and Brenden will have something interesting to say of course that they really didn’t play the game and who knows what Rachael will say.
However especially for Lane to win big Brother, they should take Britney to the final two considering Britney has no friends in the jury house. And taking Hayden most likely will guarantee them $50,000 and a runner up finish. But keep in mind, I do think that it might not matter for Enzo as he might just steal this one considering he has no blood on his hands and is friends with just about everyone in the jury house.
At this point Big Brother has done all they can do, now it’s time for the game play to begin, a person needs to win POV to be save this week and cast the sole eviction vote. Then win the final three-part HOH in order to go to the final two.
But I will say that in watching the entire season of Big brother 12 and being a huge BB fan, I will say that this season has the one of the best in Big Brother history hands down and yes that includes Rachael, of course now I know why the house relaxed a little bit after she was evicted, damn she created some of the drama in how she treated the other Houseguests.
So now its all up to the Houseguests, who wants it the most and who will win the final POV and go on to win the final three-part HOH, see you Wednesday for a special eviction episode.
What are your thoughts on BB12 so far, is it the best season in Big Brother history? Who do you think will win?