Oops, Chad did it again.

The hammer came down yesterday for Chad Knaus.  Jimmie Johnson’s car failed opening-day inspection.  His car was found to have an illegal C-post.  A C-post is a body panel that runs from the rear of the roof to the deck lid.  any kind of modification can give the car an aerodynamic advantage.  NASCAR has suspended Chad Knaus for 6 races and docked $100,000.  Jimmie Johnson has been docked 25 driver points. Hendrick Motorsports is appealing the suspension.

This is not the first time Chad has been suspended by NASCAR, but it has been the first time since 2007 when he was suspended in 2007 for 6 weeks.  NASCAR has suspended Chad 4 times.  So this begs the question, is the punishment too harsh for Chad?

I have been on the fence about this question.  On one hand Jimmie’s car that had the illegal part had not even seen the track.  So technically, Jimmie didn’t get an unfair advantage.  But Chad is a repeat offender.  NASCAR I am sure has been scratching their head on this one.  One would think after his suspension in 2007, the message would have been received.  With repeat offenders, you have to continue to amp up the punishments to try to get the crew chiefs to understand you don’t mess with car.  If this had been a first time offense for Chad I would be all over this one saying it was way too harsh.  But I with his history of violations, I believe NASCAR had to issue the 6 race suspension.

There is great pressure on not only Chad, but other crew chiefs in the garage.  NASCAR is a sport of performance and if you aren’t performing you are out of a job and probably sponsorship.  After all NASCAR is a business.  The crew chief’s job is to set up the car each week to be better than everyone else on the track.  The pressure to win not only races, but championships at HMS is very high.  I can’t imagine what kind of pressure Chad is under every week.  Chad’s job is try to push the envelope to get everything out of Jimmie’s car.  All crew chief’s do this on a weekly basis.  The #48 team is probably scrutinized more than other teams I suspect.  I mean he is a 5-time champion and is a threat to win every week.  That is why I think Chad would be watchful of trying to modify the car that would call his actions into question.

Chad was not the only that received punishment.  Car chief Ron Malec has also been suspended for 6 races.  Car owner Jeff Gordon has been docked 25 owner points.  Jimmie Johnson has been docked 25 driver points.  With Johnson’s finish this past Monday night, he left Daytona with only 2 points.  Now with this penalty, he will be heading into Phoenix -23 points and 43rd in the standings. 

Jimmie shouldn’t worry about his standings at this point in the season.  This is only the 2nd week of the season and there is still a lot of racing left.  Remember, he is the only driver to make the Chase every year since it’s inception.  I don’t doubt Jimmie will be there challenging for the 2012 championship.

Daytona 500-The Final Report

This was the weirdest Daytona 500 I have ever seen.  It was filled with a lot of firsts in the 54 year history of the race.

First of all the race that was scheduled to start on Sunday at 12:00, was delayed by rain and postponed until Monday.  This would be the first time in the history of the 500 it would be postponed due to rain.  Monday brought even a further delay for the race.  Instead of starting it at the 12:00 (EST) as announced on Sunday, NASCAR moved the start time to 7:00 pm (EST).  I have to give some props to NASCAR for moving the race time to an evening start time.  This would give track officials to get the track ready and to keep fans from having to sit for hours in the stands waiting for the race to start.  This would mean the 500 would be run in prime time under  the lights–a first for the 500.

But the delay was just the beginning…lap 2…Elliott turns Jimmie Johnson and well, the melee ensued.  Lap 2 people…this is a 200 lap race.  This wreck dashed the hopes of Trevor Bayne to be a repeat winner.  There has been a repeat winner in 10 years.  This crash also ruined the debut of Danica Patrick.  She became the third women in NASCAR history to start the Daytona 500.  Janet Guthrie was the first when she started back in 1977 and then again in 1980.  Followed by Shawna Robinson in 2002.  Jimmie took quite a hit during this crash.  It was interesting to see how Jimmie prepared himself for impact.  I always assumed the drivers put themselves in crash position, but how they did it was a mysterious.  I am still on the fence about seeing what drivers go through during their crashes.

After another early caution the drivers seemed to settle into the race.  Unlike the last couple of years, the drivers did not pair up in the two-car tango.  I wasn’t a big fan of the two-car tandem because it took away some of the fun that I enjoyed about the race.  I loved to see who was going to pair up with who during the race.  I liked the pack racing.  It made for some exciting racing.  It kept you on the edge of your set.  Pack racing does have a higher chance of big crashes, but I think it allows the drivers to be in control of their fate.  I think last night was a little bit of a hybrid–not quite two car tandem and full pack racing.  There were times when two drivers would hook up in the pack to make their way to the front.  Either way it was fun to watch.

Just when you thought this was going to be a normal race (well…after all the delays), you were wrong.  After coming back from commercial after David Stremme brought out the caution, I see a Juan Pablo’s wrecked car in the infield and Juan climbing out of his destroyed car.  Juan Pablo was coming around to catch up with the rest of the pack after his pitstop.  After something apparently broke on his car, he slammed into a safety truck.  Next thing you see is the huge fire back in turn 3.  The jet dryer on the back of the safety truck began to leak 200 gallons of jet/diesel fuel and caught fire.  Yes, I said fire!  It was one of the craziest sights I had seen during a NASCAR race.  Major props to the track and safety workers in battling the fire and getting the track ready for the final 40 laps of the race.  I had to giggle when I saw them bringing out several boxes of Tide detergent.  But that wasn’t the funniest sight to see during this delay.  It was the fact that Brad Keslowski was tweeting from his phone during the entire delay. Once again another first for NASCAR.  Both the driver of the safety truck and Juan Pablo walked away from the accident.  After an almost 2 hour delay, the boys and girl got back in their cars and started racing.

I have to admit the racing after this delay was anticlimactic.  I was hoping there would have been more door to door, edge of your seat racing, but from my recliner it didn’t happen.  It may have been the fact that I was tired, sick and wanted this race to end. I thought Biffle and Junior were going to make a run at Kenseth, but Matt had a fast car and I don’t think they were going to catch him.  Matt Kenseth took his 2nd Daytona 500 win in the last 3 years.  It was 11:55 pm (CST) on my clock when Matt took the checkered.  I, along with NASCAR Nation, were very grateful the “hostage crisis” known as the Daytona 500 was over.

Other tidbits from the race

  • Tony Stewart who won his dual race on Thursday, however this didn’t translate over to last night.  He finished 16th after a late race crash.  His 14th attempt to win the Daytona 500 wasn’t in the cards last night.  He has won everything at Daytona.  This is the one race that has eluded him.
  • Martin Truex won the midway bonus.  That is a cool $200,ooo for Mr. Truex
  • Danica finished 38th
  • Only one Hendrick car survived the race–Dale finished 2nd.  Jimmie crashed on lap 2, Jeff lost an engine, and Kasey got caught up in a late race crash.  Looks like Mr. Hendrick will be writing some checks for some sheet metal.
  • Possible penalties and fines ahead for Chad Knaus after Jimmie’s car failed inspection due to an illegal C-post on the #48?
  • Congratulations to Kevin and Delana Harvick on the announcement they are expecting a boy later this year.
  • Congratulations to Ryan and Krissie Newman and big sis Brooklyn on the announcment they are expecting a little girl.
  • Condolescences and prayers to the Chris Myers and his family as they deal with the loss of their son Christopher.

Well…this closes out 2012 Speedweeks.  The boys are headed to Phoenix this week and I for one can’t wait to see what will happen next.

Daytona

I will post my notes about the race later today once I have had tons of caffeine and some sleep.

In the meantime…congratulations to Matt Kenseth on his 2nd Daytona 500 win!

Daytona 500 Watch 2012

Dear Mother Nature,

Yesterday you seemed to be upset with all of us folks in NASCAR Nation.  I am not sure what we did to upset you, but with some sense of humiliaty, please accept our appologies and let the drivers race today.  The drivers have prepared for this race for quite some time.  The crew chiefs as well as all the boys in the garage have worked countless hours preparing these cars for the 500.  Some even had to work overtime preparing the backup car.  Fans have spent lots of money and have driven from miles around to see this wonderful race we call the Daytona 500.  So if you can find it in your heart today to forgive us for whatever we may have done, we would greatly appreciate it.  Please let us race today!

Thank you.

A NASCAR fan.

Daytona 500-Rain Delayed

Looks like Mother Nature won out today, the Daytona 500 has been postponed until tomorrow. NASCAR waited until the latest they could to get the race, but Mother Nature was not going to give up. Thanks Mother Nature..not! This is the first time the Daytona 500 has been postponed due to weather.

Well, I guess most of NASCAR Nation will be keeping one eye on our work and one eye on the race. Thank goodness there are ways to be a multitasker tomorrow while on the job. I hope my coworkers understand things tomorrow. I wonder what tomorrow’s race will bring. I am hoping Tony gets his first Daytona 500, but if Friday and Saturday is any indication, tomorrow’s race is going to keep us all on the edge of our seats.

Have a great evening everyone!

In the mean time check out my yougest son Chase watching his favorite driver being interviewed on Fox earlier today. I wonder where he gets it???

Hello NASCAR!!!

For those of you who know me on a personal level, you know 2011 was a very tough year for me.  I lost my father in April 2011 and then I lost my mother to leukemia on Christmas Eve 2011.  She was diagnosed on December 19 and by Christmas Eve she had lost her battle with to this vicious monster.  She fought this monster with everything she had, but in the it just wouldn’t let go.  I miss both my parents every day.  I love you guys!  This was the one reason I lost sight of myself and The Park.  But I am back with some renewed sense of purpose and maybe, just maybe, getting back into The Park will help me with my healing.

Welcome back all you NASCAR fans!  The off-season is over and it is time to get to business. In case you missed it, we have two races down and one more to go.  I didn’t catch much of last night’s truck race, but I did get home in time to see the finish!  And man, let me tell you, business definitely picked up for the sheet metal fabricators.  It took three green-white-checkers to get our winner.  There was total truck carnage and our winner was John King.  Who?  I repeat John King.  It was his first start and win!  That’s right Mr. John King is a rookie.  That was some crazy stuff!

The Nationwide was sort of a repeat of last nights truck race.  I have to congratulate Danica Patrick on winning the pole for today’s race.  I know there are those out there who think Danica shouldn’t be in NASCAR for whatever reason.  That is their opinion and I respect that.  But for me, I am excited about watching her run with the boys.  I think those out there who do not think she belongs, give her a chance.  She is now in NASCAR full-time.  She will go through growing pains.  But I think she has the support and guidance needed to succeed in NASCAR.  I mean after all who wouldn’t want a 3-time champion mentoring you.

With that being, said, I once again missed most of the race.  I was spending time with my two fellas.  Sometimes my life as a mother takes over my life as a NASCAR fan.  Tony was going to try to win 5 Nationwide races in a row today.  He is that good.  I just wish that success on Saturday would play over into Sunday.  I know there is another Tony fan who shares my sentiment.  But just like the truck race, sheet metal didn’t stand a chance.  It was a crazy finish.  And another first time winner received the checkered flag.  Fellow Texas, James Buescher, who was sitting 11th before all the carnage, came across the start/finish line as the winner.

I am pumped about tomorrow.  This will be the 14th attempt the #14 will try to win the Daytona 500.  I told my co-workers yesterday that if Tony won the Daytona 500 I would probably have some kind of coronary.    He has looked during Speedweeks (both on and off the track).  I listened to the race on Thursday and his post race interviews.  He has that championship feel about him just like he did in the last ten races of 2011.  With that being said, Tony is going to have to fend off quite a field of competitors.  If Tony can’t win, I would love to see someone who hasn’t won this race.  I think we need to watch out for Kasey Kahne and most definitely Carl Edwards. Carl came thisclose to winning it all last year.  He wants that championship and believe you me it is one to watch.   But as we all know the Daytona 500 is unpredictable.  Just look back at last year’s race…who had Trevor Bayne in their Daytona 500 pool?  Certainly not me.

As I close out Saturday and look forward to tomorrow….I am leave you with my annual NASCAR disclaimer.

Attention to all of my family, friends, co-workers and complete strangers, NASCAR season is upon us.  I will NOT be available for family functions, outings, or get-togethers on Sundays.  If there is an event on said Sunday, you will have to understand they must be held prior to the start of the race or after the race.  If you must schedule things during the raced be aware I may not attend your function or request that I have access to a television set.  This also applies to races that are held occasionally on Saturday nights.  If you wish to spend time with me, you must understand the topic of conversation will be predominately about the upcoming race, the previous Sunday’s race, Tony Stewart, or anything in general about NASCAR.  This is the time of the year all projects are put aside unless they involve a NASCAR related event.  Please don’t be offended if I ignore you on Sunday or the occasional Saturday…it’s nothing personal…IT’S NASCAR!