Bristol, Chad, Sirius, Peyton and Payton

There has been quite some debate on whether the racing has change since the reconfiguration of Bristol Motor Speedway.  I have to say it, I really like the old way of racing at Bristol.  I am not a fan of crashing out another driver.  I do like the beatin’ and bangin’, door to door kind of racing.  I like the bump and run unless bumper takes out the bumpee.  I don’t mind the bumper moving the driver up the track to get around him.  But I don’t want to see the other driver put into the wall.  I like the drama the old racing at Bristol brought.   I guess that is what I liked about the old style racing.  Bristol was always high on my bucket list of tracks I want to see a NASCAR race.  It was probably at number three behind Daytona and Talladega.  But for the last couple of years, Bristol has moved down on the list.  The drama that we know as Bristol is not as dramatic as in previous. I don’t know if it is a combination of the new configuration and the new car design.  Who knows, but I do not look forward to Bristol as I used to.

The type of racing at Bristol wasn’t the only topic coming out of Bristol.  If you saw the race on Sunday, you noticed there were several empty seats.  I remember when Bristol was the hottest ticket around.  You couldn’t just walk up to the ticket office the day of the race and purchase tickets for the Cup race.  They had sell outs and if there were empty seats you couldn’t tell.  But on Sunday you could tell there fewer butts in the seats.  Part of that may be due to the type of racing.  I am sure the economy has something to do with as well.  Not matter what the case it was strange to see that many empty seats at Bristol.  This fact did not go unnoticed by Bruton Smith.  He is going to look into putting Bristol back the way it was before they change things back in 2007.  According to article on ESPN.com, Bruton did not give permission for the progressive banking that is currently at Bristol.  Apparently the engineer gave the go ahead for the progressive banking without mentioning it to Bruton.  however all this took place, I want the old style of racing back.

The penalties handed down by NASCAR was overturned by the chief appellate officer John Middlebrook on Tuesday.  The only remnants of the punishment was the fine that was levied against Chad Knaus.  No suspensions and not points were lost.  Since the 25 points were given back to Jimmie he has moved up to 11th in points.   Should the penalties be upheld?  I don’t know any more. Mr. Hendrick must have felt his appeal would be heard and the penalties would be overturned.  I am sure Mr. Middlebrook listened to all the evidence presented at the hearing on Tuesday.  I am also sure Mr. Middlebrook did not come to his decision lightly.  However, I just wonder what he saw differently than the three panel committee that upheld NASCAR penalties?  I can’t even begin to stand in the shoes of Mr. Middlebrook.  I do not think I would want to be in his position either.  Whatever he saw on Tuesday to overturn things (with the exception of the fine), there are those of us in NASCAR Nation that find this all suspect.  Perhaps NASCAR may look at how the appeals process is designed.  Who knows?  All we can do is accept how things have been handed down and move on.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you for streaming Sirius NASCAR radio!!!  I hated the fact that I could not listen to my NASCAR radio while at work.  I do have a radio where I could take my unit from my car and put in the radio at work.  But due to the fact you must have your receiver pointed a certain direction, there was no way to list at work.  So I was thrilled beyond belief when it was announced yesterday that NASCAR radio would be streaming online beginning today!

Non-NASCAR news…In case you have been living under a rock, Manning Watch 2012 is over.  Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos this week for a cool $96 million over 5 years.  I am sad that Indianapolis could not find a way to keep Peyton.  But I am absolutely thrilled in is playing for a team I have been a fan of for a while.  So long Tebow….welcome to New York.  Since Peyton is now in Denver, Tebow was traded to the Jets.  Not a fan of Tebow.  He seems like a man with a good head on his shoulders, but as an NFL Quarterback, not so much.

From one Peyton to another…Sean Payton was suspended for a year without pay for the whole Bounty Gate brouhaha down in New Orleans.  NFL laid the hammer down this week.  Yes, other teams probably had some kind of bounty system.  But unfortunately you got your hand caught in the cookie jar after being told by the NFL to stop doing it and then lying about it.  When you get caught doing something wrong after being told not to do it and then lie about, don’t get whiney about things when you get the hammer thrown at you.  Case in point…SMU.  You broke the rules, you get punished, you continue to break the rules while on probation, and when you get the death penalty you shouldn’t be surprised.  It’s what I always stress to my children, if you get caught doing something wrong, TELL THE TRUTH!  Do not try to lie about things.  Yes, you may get punished, but the punishment may be more severe if you lie about it all.  There will be more fallout from all of this.  If Commissioner Goodell was trying to send a message to the teams, I hope they got the message.

Well…the boys are headed to California this weekend.  I am not excited about this weekend’s race.  It is not one of my favorite tracks, but that isn’t going to keep me from watching.  Go Tony!

Tony, Toys, and Tattoos

I have been trying to decide what to write about today.  I didn’t get a chance to write about the Phoenix race.  It was crazy busy last week at work and at home.  Monday after the Phoenix race I couldn’t move the left shoulder and my neck.  It hurt to even type things.  By the time things settled down, it was Thursday.  I would like to congratulate Denny Hamlin on his win at Phoenix.

Now on to Vegas.  I didn’t watch the watch.  I was out taking care of some things on a personal level and to be frank when your husband offers to hang out with the kids to let me have some “me” time, I jump at the chance.  I did follow things on Twitter.  By the time I got home from my “me” time, the race was at halfway.  At more importantly, I got to see the #14 cross the finish line and take the checkered flag.  I was wondering if it was going to happen with all the late cautions.  I know Amy over at Bad Groove was on edge.  But Tony held off long enough to get the victory.  This is the first win for Tony at Vegas.  He now only needs wins at Kentucky and Darlington to have at least one win at all the Cup tracks on the circuit.  This was also the first win for Tony’s new crew chief Steve Addington.

I was hope they would get their win before Hamlin and Grubb, but it wasn’t the case.  Some still think Tony made a mistake in firing Grubb.  I know the last thing we remember about last season was Tony’s incredible run in the Chase, so I can understand people’s viewpoints on this.  But you have to remember Tony struggled throughout the summer and was thisclose to being out of the Chase.  All I have to say to those who are skeptical about Tony’s decision…how do you like him now????

Other news

  • The 6 race suspension for Chad Knaus and Ron Malec was upheld today by the National Stock Car Appeals Panel.  Mr. Hendrick did not agree with the decision from today.  He is going to make one last appeal to John Middlebrook who is the chief appellate officer of the National Stock Car Appeals Panel.  Until he is able to hear arguments, Chad will be at Bristol this weekend.
  • My indoctrination of my sons into NASCAR.  I have been trying to get both my sons to sit and watch racing with me.  Both my sons like Tony Stewart…because, well, their mamma’s favorite driver is Tony.  I bought my youngest his first Tony Stewart car last weekend.  He hasn’t stopped playing with it since.  I also bought him an old #22 Kurt Busch hauler too.  He loves putting Tony’s car in the #22 hauler.  Hey…I will do what it takes to get them into NASCAR.  I even told them they could choose their favorite driver.  They seem to like the M&M car for the obvious reasons, but this momma is working hard to keep them cheering for Tony.

  • I got a new tattoo today. This isn’t my first tattoo.  I got one back in 2000 in honor of my 30th birthday.  I was planning to get one in honor of turning 40, but didn’t get around to things until today. I debated back and forth on what to get…I mean after all this thing was going to be a permanent part of me.  I was going to get a checkered flag with just my nickname “Trixie”, but I decided on the following.

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.