NASCAR

I haven’t been doing such a good blogger of late.  I have been stuck in the back of the pack, on pit road or in the garage.  But to be honest I have been trying to get some things in my life back on track and get some focus into my life.  I have come to the conclusion I need to get back to what I love to do here in The Park…talk about NASCAR.

I have to say I was somewhat excited about Jeff Gordon finally breaking his winless streak, the longest of his career at what I consider my home track Texas Motor Speedway.  TMS was one of two tracks Jeff had not conquered, the other being Homestead, but after last Sunday, Homestead is the last track standing.  I think his fellow teammate, Jimmie Johnson, had other ideas.  I think if the race had lasted a few more laps, Jimmie would have caught his teammate. 

I have been researching some things and I really want to post something about Dale Jr, but I want to wait a few more weeks before making this post.  I will say up front that I am not a fan of Dale Jr, but I was a little saddened by the apparent demise of the #8 team he made famous.  It is going to be strange not to see the #8 racing on Sundays.  The team was suspended indefinitely due to lack of sponsorship.  The economic times have been tough for all teams in NASCAR.  Many have had to tighten their belts and make decisions they  might not have made if it wasn’t for the economy.  I am sure there are those in Earnhardt Nation who are just sitting back and saying “We told you so.”  Do I think DEI, or EGR as it is now known, will slowly fall to the wayside?  I am not sure.  EGR isn’t the only team who has had to park a team due to lack of sponsorship.

I am a fan of Kyle Busch.  I wasn’t when he first came into NASCAR.  I thought he was punk and needed to be taken back behind the woodshed, but he has earned my respect and has won me over.  I believe Kyle Busch is exactly what NASCAR has needed.  He is a breath of fresh air.  He does have smart ass mouth on him and he isn’t afraid to speak his plus he is a damn good driver.  I have read he is being compared to a Dale Earnhardt Sr. when he first came into NASCAR.  I know that seems like blasphemy in NASCAR, but why can’t we compare him to Dale Sr.?  Aren’t other sport superstars compared to each other in the other major sports?  Will Kyle accomplish the things Dale Sr. did during his tenure in NASCAR?  I don’t know.  Dale Sr. raced during a different time in NASCAR.  But from this NASCAR fan’s point of view, it’s going to be a blast to see him try.

It looks like Stewart Haas Racing is headed in the right direction.  Tony has started out with several great runs.  He has 2 Top 5s and 5 Top 10s and is sitting 5th in the points.  He doesn’t have a win as of yet, but it is only a matter of time.  Ryan got off to a slow start (and I am sure he was thrilled to just get of Daytona), but they have slowly found something and are headed in the right direction.  He’s only 92 points behind 12th place Jeff Burton in the standings.  He moved up one spot last week to 17th.  I figure with a few more good runs, Newman can get into the Top 12.  And isn’t that where you want to be after Richmond?

I am hoping to make a more concerted effort to post more NASCAR stuff with a little of my messy and confusing life mixed in.

The Glen

On the road…can’t wait to get on the road again…

The Cup boys are at The Glen this weekend for the final road race of the season.  I am not a big fan of the road courses, but they are fun to watch at times.  This also signals that time in the season where The Chase is growing bigger and bigger in some drivers’ windows and for some they may find themselves on the outside looking in.

If you look at the points standings as they now sit, I would say the first 4 spots, maybe even the top 5 spots are in the Chase.  However from 6 to about 14 are pretty much a toss up.  There is only 166 points separateing 6th place and 12th place.  One bad race and you may be out of it.  As of right now Matt Kenseth is sitting in 13th spot, however he is only 11 points out of the #12 spot which is currently held by Clint Bowyer.  You can’t count out David Ragan either for making the Chase.  He is 46 points back of Clint.  Ryan Newman is sitting in the 15th position 173 points back of 12th place, but I don’t know if Newman will be able to make that push towards over the remaining races.  At one time I really thought Brian Vickers was going to have a decent shot at making the Chase, but he is now 203 points out of 12th.  But as we have seen anything can happen over the next weeks.  I mean remember Jeremy Mayfield went into Richmond in 2004 out of the Chase.  He had to win the race and lead the most laps…and he did just that. 

Just like with anything in sports, it can sometimes be about momentum and who gets hot and goes cold and I think that is what it is going to take for a couple of the drivers to get themselves in position to make the Chase.  I think Matt Kenseth will be there after Richmond.  If anyone can make that push it is Matt.  He has earned 751 points over the last 6 races which is 7th best and he even finished 38th at Indy.  Even though Matt has an average finish at The Glen of 16.8 and only 3 top tens, I think he will have a decent points day on Sunday.  Keeping it under the radar is Matt Kenseth’s mode of operation.  David Ragan may be only 46 points from 12th, this will only be his second visit to the Glen with his Cup car. He finished last year in 32nd.  He too will need to keep his focus on the big picture.  He will need to drive his race and remember sometimes it isn’t all about winning.

As a Tony Stewart fan, I am hoping he walks away with the trophy this weekend.  I really hope that I haven’t dwelled on his lack of victories since last year.  I didn’t want to overload the circuits here in The Park.  It’s barely running on electricity as it is.  Tony is returning to the track where he last saw victory lane in the #20 Home Depot car.  Tony has four wins at The Glen, 5 Top 5s and 7 Top 10s with an average finish of 6.  Tony will be one of the favorites to cross the finish line in first and for this Tony fan I would love to see him come away with a victory for JGR.  Tony isn’t the only driver this year who has yet to see victory lane.  I as mentioned earlier in the week, if you had told me Jeff Gordon wouldn’t have a win by now I would think you had been inhaling too many gas fumes.  But folks, he has seen victory lane either.  It’s not as if Tony and Jeff haven’t been contending for the wins it’s just one of those things where the little things become big things and well there you go.  Like Tony, Jeff has been very successful at The Glen.  He too has 4 wins.  He also has had 6 Top 5s and 8 Top 10s.  He has an average finish of 12.4.  He finished 9th in last year’s race.  So he will definitely be there challenging for the win this weekend.

Like with any road race, we will see our fair share of road race specialists.  I am still on the fence about teams bringing in the specialists for these racers.  I understand the whole top 35th thing etc, however how can those who are less experienced at road racing learn to road race?  I guess it is just one of those things.

And finally…in case you have been living in a cave with no electricity, no television, no radio, no internet, Brett Favre is no longer a Green Bay Packer.  He is now a New York Jet.  But the drama surrounding the Favre situation is over, but I hope (fingers crossed) the media will back off a little.

As The Wheel Turns…the saga continues

When we last left our gentlemen, they were racing at Bristol and enjoying a week away from the track.  Now let’s join our boys at Martinsville…

A Roush Fenway Racing proprietary part, more specifically a anti-roll swaybar, ended up with an “evil” Toyota team at last year’s fall Dover race.  The part has, however been returned to it’s rightful owner. 

I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs of how things work in the garage.  I have been in the garage area at Texas Motor Speedway and I can tell you the teams are in close proximity to one another.  But if someone did take a part from Roush, wouldn’t someone have noticed?  I know this may seem a little naive on my part, but wouldn’t somebody, somewhere noticed another team’s crew member in another crew member’s garage area?

Is it me or does this sound like another school yard tactic? 

Roush hasn’t held back about his opinion with regards to Toyota.  He isn’t alone either.  I lurk around various NASCAR blogs and message boards to see what “the people” are saying.  I have found the pro-Toyota and anti-Toyota camps to be as equally vocal in their opinions.  For me, I am just a fan, plain and simple.

Congratulations to Jeff Gordon for winning the pole for Sunday’s race.

Stayed for the next episode of “As The Wheel Turns”…