Pocono 400 and Vegas too

race driven

Before I visit Vegas, let’s take a quick visit to Pocono…

I have posted about a wonderful contest sponsored by Walmart and Pocono Speedway the past several weeks.  Fans would be given the opportunity to name the Pocono 400 race on June 9, 2013.  Fans were able to submit their names for the name via walmarturl.com/FanDriven.  Three finalists have been chosen and now it is your turn to help these NASCAR fans. Before you head on over to vote, here are the three finalists.

  1. Race More. Live Better–submitted by Carrie Conway Wilson
  2. Pocono for the People–submitted by Diane Martin Carroll
  3. Party in the Poconos–submitted by Shawn McMillan

As I mentioned, you can vote via walmarturl.com/FanDrivenYou are able to vote once a day, every day until April 8!  So head on over and help choose the name of the Pocono 400.  By the way, I have already voted today!

If you are thinking about heading to Pocono, you can take advantage of great offer.  You can purchase tickets for the race on June 9 for ONLY $25!  That’s right!  ONLY $25!  You better hurry though, there will only be 16,000 of these specially priced tickets. These tickets can be purchased at Walmart.com/NASCAR or through Pocono Raceway at poconoraceway.com/

Now back to Vegas…

If looked at the odds (shameless use of Vegas cliché), Jimmie Johnson had the best chance to win on Sunday.  After all he has won 4 times at Vegas.  To be honest early on I thought Jimmie was going to run away with the race.  But as we all know, you can lead the most laps and have the fastest car of the day and not win.  Clearly Kasey Kahne had the car to beat most of the race.  He was up front and racing for the win.

Several drivers were complaining their car was loose including Tony Stewart.  If you know Tony Stewart, if he is complaining about a loose race car, things aren’t going to great.  And that is what happened.  It went south for the #14 team early on.  He stayed pretty much mired back in 23/24 place most of the day.  However, he was able to get the lucky dog after the caution flew for Bobby Labonte’s spin.  I don’t think at that point in the race he had the car to win the race.  I just wanted him to have a decent finish.  And he ended up finishing 11th.  I know it had to be frustrating for him.  He has the third highest driver rating over the previous 8 races at Vegas. He was also the defending race champion.  But as you know Vegas can be cruel to her visitors.

Congratulations to Matt Kenseth and the #20 team!  I like Matt Kenseth and I am thankful he ended up in a great organization.  The #20 still holds a special place in my heart.  It was the ride for Tony Stewart until he left JGR to form Stewart Haas Racing.  I was none too thrilled when Joey Lagano took over his #20.  But when it was announced last year that Matt Kenseth would take over the #20 I was pumped.  Matt Kenseth is a great driver.  I knew he would get that #20 back to Victory Lane!  This was Matt’s third race in the #20.  The sure joy in his voice when he got those checkers was great!  And of course, this was a great way to spend your birthday…in Victory Lane!  I don’t think this will be the last visit to Victory Lane for the #20 this year.

The talk was about how the Gen-6 car was going to perform on the first of the 1.5 mile tracks.  Several drivers complained of the car being loose.  Was it the car itself?  I know that many crew chiefs couldn’t have missed the mark.  Was it the track?  The drivers in pre-race interviews said they thought the track was going to be hot and slick and well fast.   It seemed track position was important in this race as well. Once a car got out in front, he was gone.  Many drivers received penalties for speeding and/or uncontrolled equipment.  Kyle Busch got tagged for speeding early on in the race.   He finished 4th.  I am not a huge fan of Mr. Busch, but that man can wheel a race car.

Few other tidbits…

  • Thank you NASCAR.  I, along with many other fans, have had issues with Raceview.  I sent an email last week to voice my concerns and politely asking for a refund.  This week, I received an email from NASCAR.com stating I had been refunded $9.95.  That is equivalent to a monthly charge for Raceview.  I know it may not seem like a lot, but it for me it went a long way.  And…I was able to log in to Raceview!  I did have some issues, but I don’t think it was on NASCAr.com’s end, but mine.  My internet access was sporadic during the day.
  • I so want to go to a race in Vegas!  My buddy over at http://www.badgroove.com/ makes an annual pilgrimage to Vegas every year.  Every time she goes, she has a blast along with her friend Misty.  One of these days, I will make the pilgrimage to Vegas!  I can’t wait to read her post about her Vegas vacation.
  • The “what the heck what were they thinking” moment of the race came when NASCAR threw a caution when Marcos Ambrose spun his car.  His car started spinning and Marcos was able to get it back going right and headed back onto the track.  No other cars in sight.  I don’t get it.  Of well…that is NASCAR.
  • Denny Hamlin was fined $25,000 by NASCAR this past week for his comments about the Gen-6 car after the Phoenix race. He is refusing to pay the fine. I read what he said on ESPN.com and to be honest I didn’t see anything disparaging about his comments. It wasn’t like he got out of his car and said the car sucked ala Kyle Busch.  But NASCAR has worked tirelessly on the Gen-6 car.  I can understand their point of view too.  Here is what I found on ESPN.com, you can judge for yourself.

“I don’t want to be the pessimist, but it did not race as good as our Gen-5 cars,” Hamlin told reporters after the race won by Carl Edwards. “This is more like what the Generation 5 was at the beginning. The teams hadn’t figured out how to get the aero balance right.  “Right now, you just run single-file and you cannot get around the guy in front of you. You would have placed me in 20th place with 30 [laps] to go, I would have stayed there — I wouldn’t have moved up. It’s just one of those things where track position is everything.”

  • My youngest is still continuing to amaze me with his continuing fascination with NASCAR.  I was listening to Tony on the scanner on Sunday.  With his PBJ sandwich in hand, he climbed up on my lap and put in the earplug and started listening.  Check him out…chase with pbj

This week the boys are headed out to Bristol for some short track racing!  Once again a new test for the Gen-6 car.  Have a great week everyone!

Sprint Unlimited

Finally, the NASCAR season has begun.  Cars are out on the track and not just testing or practicing, they are racing!  The Sprint Unlimited began back in 1979 as the Busch Clash and then to the Bud Shootout in 1998.  No matter what it is called it is the start of the NASCAR season for us in NASCAR nation.  This was the first race in which we would see how the Generation 6 car would respond to race conditions.  In order to be eligible for the race, drivers had to have won a pole in 2012.  Unfortunately this left out the NASCAR champion, Brad Keselowski and runner-up Clint Bowyer.  If you didn’t win a pole last year, you had to been a past winner of the race as well to be eligible.  This left the field with only 19 drivers for the race even though 22 drivers were eligible.  Three drivers who did not race was AJ Allmendinger, Bill Elliot, and Ken Schrader.  This race was also fan driven (no pun intended).  Fans got to decided the length of each race segment (we chose 30/25/20), the number of tires to used during the pit stop after the first segment (we chose 4 tires) and if any drivers would be eliminated after the second segment (we chose none).  And finally those fans who were attending the race we able to set the starting lineup by choosing from 3 choices and we chose the number of poles each driver won from 2012.  With all that being said, the Sprint Unlimited started out with a bang and then a whimper.

I was anticipating a good race even with just 19 drivers in the mix.  The Gen 6 car was untested in race conditions.  Everything was looking good for segment one Tony was moving through the field and heading to the front.  Matt Kenseth was in the lead.  Tony saw a chance to move down the track through a window of an opening and boom.  Tony didn’t quite clear Marcos Ambrose and this set off a 7 car crash which pretty much took out most of the field. Tony was able to save his car, but took out most of the competition the rest of the night.  I guess that’s one way to win the race.  All kidding aside Tony was able to win the first segment.  I thought this was a good sign.  After coming down for the mandatory pit stop after the first segment, Tony, I believe, came out of the pits third with future teammate Kevin Harvick coming out first.  Segment two wasn’t much to talk about.  There was a dicey moment when Joey Lagano’s car got loose and bumped Tony who in turned got into Dale Jr.  But other than that, it was pretty much dominated by Kevin Harvick.  As we headed towards the end of the last segment, I thought the drivers would turn things up.  I mean this was Daytona and this was a non-points paying event and well, as I mentioned this was racing at Daytona.  Tony tried to make a move on Kevin with a few laps left, but Kevin came down in front of Tony.  I thought those two were going to the front.  Greg Biffle then started to make his move and Kevin moved back up the track to get in front of him.  This caused Tony to lose the momentum he had gained.  Then it was over with Kevin Harvick as the winner.

I have to say I thought the race was anticlimactic.  I had planned all week for this race.  I carved out my time for Saturday.  I had my little media area prepped for the race.  I was even going to send the kiddos away for about 4 hours so I could enjoy the race.  But just like racing, a yellow flag was thrown because of debris.  We got a last-minute birthday party invite that would run close to the start of the race.  I got home but missed all the pre-race stuff and the first laps.  Just as I hunkered down for the race, it was over.  Well, at least for me it was when half the field was taken out.  Tony was very aggressive early, perhaps too aggressive.  It is what I like about Tony, but dang it Mr. Stewart…ugh!  He didn’t mean to come down and take out half the field.  It was just a racing deal.  Tony did take responsibility for the crash.

Sunday is qualifying for the Daytona 500 where the first two positions will be determined.  On the one hand Tony heads out first for qualifying, but on the other it might not bode well for him on winning the pole.  Of course if he isn’t on the front row I am ok with that.  He will still have a chance to get on row two come Thursday with the Budweiser Duels (formerly the Gatorade Duels).  For where you start isn’t as important where you end up.  This is Daytona…anything can happen.

If you haven’t noticed NASCAR.com has redesigned their site.  I have to say I am not all that thrilled about the change.  For one it seems to take a long time to load up, of course this could be caused by my internet provider.  It has been somewhat daunting to navigate around the site.  For example, I wanted to find out the results of last night’s race and well frankly I couldn’t find them.  I didn’t spend all that much time trying to find them, but it should be that difficult.  I am also a Raceview subscriber.  The site was having difficulty with the Raceview last night.  I didn’t use my Raceview last night because of the message I saw on Twitter.  NASCAR.com did offer a way for you to view it last night while they were working on fixing things.  I am sure it will be fixed come Sunday if not before.

Some final thoughts…

  • I love social media.  Yeppers…I love Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  It’s fun and entertaining. If you aren’t on Twitter get on it…open an account…follow people.  If you love NASCAR, I highly recommend The Orange Cone.  Yes, it is an inanimate object, but some of the funniest stuff comes from his feed.  If you are on Twitter, check him out @TheOrangeCone.
  • NASCAR Commercials are funny.  There are three commercials that sort of introduces the new car.  You see the cars sitting in regular car showrooms.  My favorite is the Clint Bowyer one.  AT the end when the salesman says I will get the keys, Clint utters… “She don’t take keys”.  Brad K. is using his phone to take pictures of him in front of the Ford and Jimmie utters “I love new car smell” in his commercial.  NASCAR commercials just make you giggle at times.
  • Tony had an awesome car last night.  He posted some of the best speeds yesterday in the last practice.  This bodes well for today, the duels and next weekend.  I want Tony to win the Daytona 500.  But the Daytona 500 is tough to win.  It took Dale Sr. 20 tries and some drivers have tried, but never won.  Hoping this is Tony’s year!
  • I was able to help out a fellow Tony fan.  I managed to find a copy of NASCAR Illustrated with Tony Stewart on the front.  I mentioned this to her and well, she was a little sad because as a NASCAR Illustrated subscriber she got the one with Denny Hamlin on the front.  This is where I was determined to get her a copy of one with Tony on it.  I accomplished this feat and she is now the proud owner of a NASCAR Illustrated with Tony on the cover.  That’s what it is all about my friends.  NASCAR Nation is not just a bunch of people who love NASCAR, it is a family.

NASCAR 2013

It has been awhile since I have posted.  It’s been crazy the last several months, but I am hoping things have settled down enough for me to get back in the groove of my blog.

I am excited about the 2013 season.  We are still about 24 days away from the start of the Daytona 500, but there has been quite a bit of goings on during the off-season.  I think the biggest is the new Generation 6 car.  Teams tested these cars early in January.  I was able to catch a couple of hours of the testing sessions and I have to say I really like the look of the cars.  They are better looking than the COT.  But the big question remains, how will the new car affect the racing?  Will we see more exciting racing than we have had over the last couple of years.  Don’t get me wrong, there has been some exciting racing, but at times, I have been able to get a decent afternoon nap during some of the races.  But until there is a few races under the drivers’ belts, we cannot judge whether the racing is better or worse.  That will be the big topic for the rest of the season I believe.

I am interested to see how Danica Patrick will do this season.  She will be entering her first full season in the Cup series.  There will be a learning curve that is for sure.  She was part-time in the Cup series last year.  She struggled during the races she participated, but I think she learned quite a bit during those races.  I am sure there isn’t a driver out there on the circuit that didn’t have a learning curve.  This season however will be tough.  She will have to race in all 36 races.  I am curious to know how she will do.  And that note, she is dating Ricky Stenhouse her rival for Rookie of the Year honors.  I really don’t care who is dating who.  People date other people in the workplace, what makes this any different?  I just hope the media doesn’t make a bigger deal out of this than it should be.

Predictions?  I really don’t have any.  As from years past, one cannot predicate who will win the championship.  It’s all about getting into the Chase and making the most of the opportunity–just ask the last two champions, Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart.  Will Clint Bowyer suffer the “2nd Place” Jinx?  In 2010, Denny Hamlin finished 2nd to Jimmie Johnson.  The following year there were high hopes for Denny Hamlin to take the championship, but he struggled during the year and finished 9th in points.  Carl Edwards finished in 2nd to Tony Stewart in 2011.  He ended in a tie with Tony and due to tie-breaking rules, he lost the championship.  Carl struggled in 2012 and finished 15th and out of the Chase.  Will Clint Bowyer suffer the same fate after finishing 2nd to Brad K. in 2012?

I am pumped about the trucks coming to Eldora in July.  I love to watch dirt track racing.  If you have followed this site regularly you know my father took me to watch the races at the local dirt track in Amarillo.  It is was here I developed my love of racing.  This is going to be such an exciting race.  I have always stated the Truck series is some of the most exciting racing on the circuit.  I think it is because the races aren’t as long as the Nationwide and Cup series races.  So basically the drivers have to be up on the wheel when the green flag drops.  So who knows what kind of racing we will get on dirt…either way it will be exciting!

As I do every year I post my NASCAR warning.  This was originally a post I did some several years to warn others around me about how I will be the next 9 months (February-November).  It has somewhat become a ritual for me.  When I worked I would have the sign hanging in my office as a warning to my co-workers.  So here it is…if you are a NASCAR junkie like me, feel free to share it with others.  This way they will know what the next 9 months will be like.

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 race 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 Sundays or the occasional Saturday…it’s nothing personal…IT’S NASCAR!!!