Posted in NASCAR 2014

2014 Season

I can believe the start of the 2014 season is upon us.  There are so many story lines that have come out of the off-season.  It has been one of the busiest off-seasons I have seen in a few years.   Here are some story lines coming into the 2014 season.

The Chase–new changes are here! 16 drivers, a win gets you in the Chase if you are in the top 30 in points, eliminator rounds in the last 10 races and a 4 car shoot out at Miami.  Not sure what to think about the changes, I will just have to wait and see

Qualifying–You will have three rounds at 1.25 miles or longer and 2 rounds at tracks less 1.25 miles.  Round 1 = 25 minutes to post qualifying time-after which the 24 registering the fastest will advance to 2nd round. Those not advancing to Round 2 will be sorted based on 1st round times in descending order. Round 2 = 10 minutes to qualify, 12 fastest in this round will move onto the final round, those not advancing will earn positions 13-24 based on time.  Final round = 5 minutes, fastest times from this session will determine 1-12 positions.  There will be a 5-minute break between each round where teams can make adjustments.  They will not be allowed to jack the vehicle or raise the hood and once the car enters the garage, it will no longer be permitted to return to the track for additional qualifying attempts. Of course is you are at tracks 1.25 or less, drivers will only have two rounds to get things done.  Did you get all that?

Jimmie Johnson–Will he or won’t he get to that magic mountain of 7 championships this season?  I haven’t heard much chatter about it, but it is still early in the season.  But I am sure somewhere down the line, it will be mentioned.

Stewart Haas Racing–I think this is the team that you need to watch our for in 2014 (of course I am a little biased).  SHR went from a three-car team to a four car team.  SHR added new drivers Kevin Harvick (who replaced the departing Ryan Newman who is now in over at Richard Childress Racing) and Kurt Busch driving the #41.  Danica Patrick will be starting her 2nd year in Cup.  But all eyes I think will be on Smoke, aka, Tony Stewart.  More about my thoughts on Tony later.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.:  I am interested to see how Dale Jr. will fare this year.  It was announced that his crew chief, Steve Letarte, will be leaving at the end of the season to join NBC when they take over the final part of the NASCAR season next year.  I am sure the good folks over at Hendrick Motor Sports have started looking at who will replace Letarte.  Letarte has done good things for Junior since becoming his crew chief.  I don’t cringe every time Dale is interviewed.  He looks more relaxed and upbeat.  Steve Letarte will be missed, but I am looking forward to him in the broadcast booth next year.

The #3–It is time.  It has been 13  years since the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr.  Richard Childress has been very respectful about bringing back this iconic and revered number iconic back to the Cup level.  Dale Sr.’s legacy to me is more than just the number.  That’s what I focus on when I look back at his career.  Is Richard Petty’s legacy diminished because someone else drives the #43?  I know there are some small faction who would like to not see the #3 back on the track and that is ok.  But I am excited to see it back on the track and I think Mr. Dillon will do the #3 proud.  Note to those crazy loons who wear the aluminum hats–there is no conspiracy with the #3.  Are you kidding me?  You know how many people you would have to involve to pull off that kind of thing?  You guys need to stop drinking that “special Kool-aid”.  If you really want to scream NASCAR is on the take and fixed, how come Junior hasn’t won a championship or for that matter multiple championships?  RCR has always had fast cars at the restrictor plate tracks.  So take your aluminum hats and black helicopters and go back to figuring out something more important, like why do hot dog packages come in packs of 10 and buns in packs of 8!

Sprint Unlimited–I liked the racing even after the 9 car crash that took out some of the major players in the race.  There was side by side racing.  Denny clearly had the car to beat it seemed.  He won all three segments and stood in victory lane for the first time in the Unlimited since he won the thing back in his rookie year.  Of course, the weirdest part of the night was when the pace car caught fire!  You heard me, the pace car caught fire!  I mean two years it was a jet dryer up in flames!  At one point, I was waiting for the mayhem guy from the All State commercials to pop out!

Thank goodness this race occurred AFTER Valentine’s Day.  It looked like Danica Patrick was going to make it thorough the big crash, but only to be hit by her boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  It never saw her.  I would have loved to been a fly on the wall in that trailer home to hear the conversation.

I’m telling ya, it had to be the full moon that was hovering over the race track.  That would explain so much!

Tony Stewart–It has been a long off-season for us Tony fans.  I mean, we haven’t seen our driver in a car since August.  I for one am pumped to see Tony back in his #14!  He seems very upbeat about getting the 2014 season underway.  That was clearly evident on Saturday night.  He looked great out there.  It was if he had never been gone.  But my excitement was short-lived thanks to that 9-car pile up courtesy of Matt Kenseth. Saw this quote on Twitter from Tony, “I’ve waited for 7 months to race, I damn sure wasn’t going to sit there and ride around.”.  Now that’s the Tony I love!  I am hoping 2014 is the year of #14.  I want to see him win the Daytona 500 this year.  Of course if he does all those crazy conspiracy loons will come out of the lead line caves screaming CONSPIRACY!  But you know what, let them cry all they want.  Just like Dale Sr., he has won everything he can at Daytona.  He knows how to get around the place.  But that just goes to show you how tough winning the Daytona 500 can be.  Some of NASCAR’s best drivers, have never one a the 500.

Hope that has caught you up to speed for Daytona.  Now here are a few house keeping things I need to take care of.  If you are in Raiderland or listening outside the boundaries of Raiderland, check at That Dang Ol’ Show.  You can listen to the show on Monday nights from 6:00-8:00 pm on The Red Dirt Rebel (105.3).  If the wind is blowing just right and the sun is setting in the west, you might just hear me call in and talk a little racing.  Plus, you might learn a thing or two in the process.

And finally….since there are only 5 days until Daytona (February 23, 2014)…I need to put the disclaimer out there for everyone.

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!

SMOKE YUMMO.CHARLOTTE COKE 600.2010

Posted in NASCAR 2013

Party in the Poconos 400

I was already to go for the race last Sunday.  For the first I was pumped up for a Pocono race.  Of course, it helped that my driver won the week before race.  I just had this feeling about Tony that he would have a good weekend.  Thanks to Mother Nature, qualifying for the race was rained and the field set according to points standing.  This meant Tony would be starting mid-pack.  I wasn’t worried though.  Tony has a history of not lighting up qualifying.  It doesn’t matter where you start, it is where you end up that counts!

Of course, with qualifying being rained out this meant Jimmie Johnson, aka 5-time, wasNASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09 starting on the pole.  This doesn’t always bode well with the other 42 competitors.  When Jimmie gets out in front and takes control of a race, well, it makes for a long day for the those who aren’t Jimmie fans.  I think Jimmie wanted to win this race and in a dominate way.  He felt cheated after last week’s race at Dover.  When Jimmie has a chip on his shoulder watch out!  And that was the case on Sunday.  I started watching the race and Jimmie took command of the race.  Then for some reason, my body chose to take a nap.  I woke up with right before the 2nd caution of the race.  I guess I didn’t miss much in between because one there had only been one caution, and two, Jimmie was still in the lead.  And that is pretty much how it ended.  Congratulations to Jimmie for his third win of the season.  He is now tied with Matt Kenseth for the most wins so far this season.  He still has the points lead folks.  But does it matter that he has the points lead now?  Nope.  Everything resets for the final 10 races.  There is still quite a bit of racing until Richmond!

NASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

This was the third week in a row, Tony finished inside the top 10 with a 4th place finish.  I am telling you guys do not mess with the mojo I have going on with the #14 team.  Once again, I didn’t watch the entire race AND I posted a picture of Tony with his championship trophy from 2011.  I am so proud of the #14 team.  They have jumped up 7 spots in the last three weeks from 20th to 13th!  If they continue the move up the points standings, Tony will be in the top 10 before you know it.  I still think he needs at least one more win to secure himself in The Chase.  Tony seems to be on the upswing compared to the first part of the season.  So without further ado and to keep the mojo going…

2011 championship

Some thoughts from the weekend…

  • First race of the TNT race schedule.  I am not a fan of the TNT coverage.  I just have to remember they have only 6 races.  One down, five to go.  It’s going to be tough, but I think I can make it.
  • Enough with the restart controversy.  Move on, let it go.  Jimmie Johnson got punked at Dover.  He tried to outsmart Juan, and well, Juan outsmarted him.
  • In the waning moments of the race on Sunday, I found myself rooting for Dale Jr to pass Jimmie.  This for me was like choosing between cheering for Michigan to beat the University of Texas in a football game.  I DO NOT LIKE either team (I am a big Ohio State fan and Texas Tech alum).  But I like one just a little bit more than the other.
  • Here are some pics from the race weekend I thought you guys might enjoyNASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

NASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

NASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

NASCAR 2013:   Sprint Cup Series PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400 JUN 09

Posted in NASCAR 2013

Fan Driven 400

I have had an interesting last several days.  First and foremost, I am glad to have some decent internet connection back.  All I have had since the last post was my iPhone.  But I am back on so here goes…

race driven

Just a reminder…TODAY IS THE LAST DAY to pick the name for the Pocono 400 race at Pocono Raceway on June 9, 2013.  I wanted to get a jump on things with the reminder, but as I mentioned above, internet has been crap (guess that’s what I get for living out in the sticks).  So zoom on over to walmarturl.com/FanDriven and cast your vote. Reminder, you can vote once a day, every day until April 8. In case you forgot, here are the top three finalists!

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

Looks Party in the Poconos has taken the commanding lead, but there is still time for you fans of Carrie and Diane so get online at vote!  TODAY IS THE LAST DAY!!

Got plans for the summer?  If not, you might want to head to the Poconos for the Fan Driven 400 (name to be determined by the fans) at Pocono Raceway on June 9, 2013.  Most tracks have 4 turns, but not the track at Pocono.  There are only 3 turns.  Yep, 3 turns people!   Thanks to the folks at Walmart, you can get $25 tickets for this race!  That’s what I just said $25 DOLLARS!  But you’ve got to get your rear in gear and get tickets.  There are only a limited amount at this price!  Tickets can be purchased online at Walmart or at Pocono Raceway!

Can’t make it to Pocono?  You can take advantage of the Walmart Family Track Pack!  You can get a 4 tickets, 4 Cokes, and 4 hot dogs for ONLY $99!.  That’s quite a deal people!  This means I could take my family of four to select races throughout the year!  One of the races is the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in Charlotte on May 18!  So how do you take advantage of this special deal?  Head on over to walmart.com/NASCAR to purchase your Family Track Pack!

NASCAR hits Texas Motor Speedway this weekend!  I wish I could make the trip since I live only about 6 hours away and I have buddies in the DFW who would probably let me crash on their floor for the weekend.  I have been to TMS and there is ALWAYS something I forget to take with me.  Luckily there is a Walmart on the way to the track!  They have a great array of items for your tailgating needs.  To those newbies out there who are attending your first race this weekend and you want to blend in with all of us other veterans, you can pick up some NASCAR gear at Walmart at too.  I found some Tony Stewart at one of my local Walmarts. These are the items I purchased.  My youngest son, who loves Tony, loved the giant magnet.  It is now prominently displayed on our refrigerator with all the other Tony magnets we have on the fridge.  The other two items are mine…a new sticker for my car and a cup for the beverage of my choice.  Of course if you aren’t a Tony fan, you can pick up your driver’s stuff too.  I found some Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and yes, even some Dale Earnhardt Jr. items.  As we all know his stuff is soooo hard to find (wink, wink).  tony stewart stuff

Some final thoughts…

  • Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson on his win at Martinsville yesterday.  I wasn’t surprised by his win.  Yesterday marked his 8th victory at the track.  Man, that’s a lot of grandfather clocks around his house.  I wonder if he has them set to where they go off at different times of the day.  That would be too funny if he did.
  • I wish Denny Hamlin a speedy recovery.  It had to be one of the most difficult things to sit atop the pit box and watch someone else drive your car.  Granted, Mark Martin is no slouch when it comes to driving a car, but still, it had to eat at him.  Brian Vickers will take over duties in the #11 this week at Texas
  • Danica had a good run at Martinsville.  She finished 12th.  Not bad for her first time at The Paperclip and having to start in the back due to an engine change.
  • I like watching races on Fox.  It’s been a challenge this year since our local Fox affiliate is in dispute with Dish, but we got it go on however.  Towards the end of the race, it sounded like there was some exciting racing, but I wouldn’t know because they kept showing Jimmie Johnson’s car.  I know Clint was trying to catch, but you and I know he wasn’t going to.  We all knew Jimmie was going to win, so why not show the close racing?  Oh well…
  • I am a mom of two boys, very messy boys, but I love them.  I spent most of yesterday cleaning their rooms.  This is the sole reason I missed majority of the race.  If you are raising and/or raised boys, you know my pain.  And don’t even get me started on cleaning their bathroom.  I love men and everything about them, but boys and men are just SMELLY!
  • I hope everyone had a good Easter weekend. Mine was spent with watching “The Ten Commandments”. It is an Easter tradition in my house started with my mom when I was probably my oldest son’s age (he’s nine). Every year we would watch this classic movie. I lost my mom in December 2011 to leukemia so this was the second Easter without her. But…this year was different. My oldest watched with me. At first, I wasn’t sure he would like it. I mean this movie is from 1956. It isn’t on the cutting edge of special effects and sometimes I think the acting is overdone, but I still watch. I was pleasantly surprised, he loved it! And he asked lots of questions about the movie! And one more thing, he watched all of it despite the fact it was way past his bedtime. Thanks mom!

Sorry for the lack of race coverage for the last couple of posts, it has just been one of those things where life takes over and you have to do what you got to do.  I am however, back in the swing of things.  Hope everyone has a great and wonderful week!  And to all of NASCAR Nation…WELCOME TO TEXAS YA’LL!

Posted in NASCAR 2013

Saturday Night Racing

The time has come for some NASCAR racing!  I cannot wait.  It seems like forever since the checkered flag flew at Homestead to close out the 2012 season.  I love this time of year.  Everywhere I turn there is something about NASCAR on television.  That was no different yesterday.  I was channel surfing yesterday morning and came across the 1998 Daytona 500 on ESPN Classic.  Because I needed NASCAR racing fix, I stopped and watched.  I do not normally stop and watch previously run races, but how can a NASCAR fan not stop and watch this Daytona 500.  For those who may not know, this was the one and only Daytona 500 that Dale Earnhardt Sr. ever won.  Who knew in just three short years we would no longer see The Intimidator running his black #3 on the track?  I still get chills when I see him take the checkered flag that day.  He had won everything there was to win at Daytona, but the Daytona 500 was the one race that eluded him. But on that on that day back on February 15, he was not going to be denied.  The only thing more special that day than Dale winning, was the admiration of the all guys on other teams.  As Dale drove his car down pit road, everyone came out to congratulate him on his victory.  It was something that has never been seen and probably won’t again.  Respect…that’s what it was all about.  Dale may have been labeled the Intimidator but he was one of the best around.

The Sprint Unlimited will be held tonight down in Daytona.  I am pumped for this race to get started.  I think it is going to be interesting to see how the race will turn out.  The race is going to be very fan oriented.  As mentioned before the fans have been able to choose the format of the race.  The fans also get to choose what the teams must do on the mandatory pit stop after the first segment.  Plus, the fans get to determine how many drivers, if any, will be eliminated at the end of segment two.  Of course I think the interesting part is the fans who are attending the race will get to determine the starting grid for tonight’s race.  They have three options (1)most career wins (2)2012 points and (3)poles won.  I am hoping the racing will be fantastic and this fan driven race doesn’t turn out to be a bust.  I think that is what I like about NASCAR.  NASCAR as a whole understands they cannot have a sport without its fans.  Yes, NASCAR does have high paid athletes and its share of problems, but all in all NASCAR likes to have their fans involved.  NASCAR has the most loyal fan base around.  Just ask anyone.

So…now back to the race.  This will be the first drivers will have the chance to put the cars in race conditions. I am interested to see if the cars will be able to create that racing action we all love to see at Daytona.  Will the drivers be able to bump draft?  Will the cars respond better in pack driving or single file or heaven all help us two by two?  I am just hoping for some great racing (and for that #14 to cross the finish line first).  Of course we all know the drivers will probably take things easy throughout segments one and two.  It is the third segment of 20 laps I would watch out for.  Even though this isn’t a points race, drivers are competitors and well, frankly winning is everything.  I want to see some last lap passes and a race to the finish.  And did I mention it, I want that #14 to be the first one crossing the finish line at the checkers.

Coolest thing I saw yesterday during practice…there is a camera mounted inside the car on the passenger side.  From the view of the camera, you can see what it is like when the car heads off into the 31 degree banking at Daytona.  The camera stays put as the car heads off into these turns.  It was wicked cool and to be frank made me a little queasy.  I was also in awe of how much technology can take us into the whole experience of NASCAR.  Granted I wasn’t pulling the amount of Gs the driver does when he or she enters the banking, but oh my–coolest thing ever!

Caution…climbing up on the soap box.  An article coming from the Sporting News has riled me up just a little.  Jimmie Johnson or 5-timer feels our newest champion Brad Keselowski needs to mature a little.  Apparently Jimmie didn’t like how he handled himself after winning the championship.  He took issue with the way Brad behaved on Sportscenter after the race.  Blah, blah, blah.  Here is my take on all of this (and remember this is my opinion and I am not a big fan of Jimmie).  I like a driver who has a personality and isn’t afraid to show it to the fans.  He does speak his mind and is a little brash at times, but hey why not?  I am tired of these drivers who toe the line and say all the right things.  Vanilla frankly is booorrriiinngg!  Brad brings a young perspective to the sport.  Isn’t that what it is all about these days?  How are you going to grow your sport if you can’t bring in new fans, younger fans?  Brad is fun!  Yes, the champion does represent the sport and should act accordingly, but come on Jimmie, he just won his first NASCAR championship!  Can’t the man have a little fun?  And as I recall Jimmie, wasn’t there something about you and a golf cart a few years back?

One more little note…thanks to my hubby I will be able to watch tonight’s race after all.  There was this little issue about DISH and the owner of our local Fox affiliate and well, FOX was blocked.   This meant no racing for me.  I could listen to it on Sirius NASCAR radio, but it just isn’t the same.  My hubby purchased an antennae and tada…FOX television!  That’s right kiddos, momma is VERY, VERY, HAPPY!!!!

Posted in NASCAR 2012, Tony Stewart

It Never Rains in Southern California…well, except for Sunday

As the song says…”it never rains in Southern California”…but on Sunday it wasn’t the case.  The clouds opened up and down came the rain.  For Tony Stewart, along with Jimmie Johnson, they were both doing the rain dance for Mother Nature as for anyone else, I am sure they wished the rain would have stopped.  For this race fan I have to admit, I didn’t see much of the race.  I have been very busy the last several weekends and I haven’t gotten a chance to watch much racing.  But maybe I should continue down this path.  Every time I do not watch, Tony has a great race this would include Vegas and California.  In both of those races he has finished first.  I know this isn’t the reason he won those races, but hey whatever works go with it.  The last time I did something similar to this routine, it was back in 2005 and we all know what happened that year.  Anyway, I am stoked Tony has two wins already in this young season.

Last week “The Morning Drive” had as one of their Fired Up Friday topics…who is your biggest surprise this season…Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, or Jeff Gordon?  Up until this past weekend, I would have said probably Carl Edwards.  I mean after he his run last season, I would have thought he would have taken the momentum and continued through this season.  But he hasn’t been lighting it up. Kasey does have high expectations because he is now in the Hendrick stable.  But as with any new job location, you have to get used to your co-workers, environment, etc.  And some of Kasey’s issues haven’t been of his own making.  So, it make take a few races or so for Kasey to catch his breath.  I will keep watching  So that leaves Jeff Gordon.  This past weekend everything that could go wrong did.  Here is how Jeff has finished in the races so far this season

  1. Daytona–40th
  2. Phoenix–8th
  3. Las Vegas–12th
  4. Bristol–35th
  5. California–26th

He is currently sitting 25th in points…151 points from 10th place.  This doesn’t mean he won’t be challenging for a Chase position, but if he wants to be there he is going to have get back to the Jeff Gordon that finished 8th in the final standings in the 2011 season.

Ok people…enough with the Jimmie Johnson/Chad Knaus drama.  The decision was made whether we all disagree with or not, build the bridge and let’s all move on.  That’s about all I have to say on the matter.

Bristol…see above about my feelings.  We have had another race since the Bristol race.  Elliott Sadler made a good point about Bristol today on Sirius Speedway.  Even if Bristol is changed, it won’t be the Bristol we all want back.  There are probably lots of factors that go into the why people were not at the race at Bristol.  But just the same…let’s move on people and talk about the upcoming race at Martinsville.  We can talk about Bristol when we go back to Bristol in August.

I listen to Sirius NASCAR radio most of the day.  People call in and talk about anything and everything.  Most of the time the people who call in stay on topic, make good points and our fun to listen to.  But dang it…I wish those select few (and we all know who you are) would think about things before calling in to voice your opinion. Here are some helpful hints for those callers.

  • Don’t tell us how many years you have been a NASCAR fan.   It doesn’t make you a better fan than me.  It just means you have been following the sport longer than I have.
  • Don’t try to be funny just to be funny.  You are not Jeff Foxworthy!
  • When the radio personality says your name and where you are calling from, that is your cue to speak.  It is not your cue to say, “Hello, am I on the air?”  If the announcer is speaking to you and not the call screener, you are on the air!
  • Stay on freakin’ topic!  If the show is about the upcoming race, don’t call and start discussing the race from two weekends ago.
  • Don’t call in and trash other shows, people, drivers, etc.  The radio personalities work in NASCAR.  They personally know many of the NASCAR drivers, spouses, etc.  You don’t and even if you do, don’t brag about it.
  • Get to the point of your call!  Don’t start with some long drawn out story that takes forever to get to the point you are trying to make.  Make your point and move along down the road.
  • And one last thing…turn down your radio!  It’s kind of exciting to get through to these shows to speak your mind.  Trust me I have been there.  But when you have the radio up so you can hear yourself, it echoes and well, it makes for a horrible listening experience for everyone.

I will get off my soap box about people who call into NASCAR radio!  I would like to thank all the personalities on the radio, you all make me laugh on a daily basis while keeping me informed about all that is NASCAR!  You guys and gals rock!

Posted in NASCAR 2012

By The Time I Get To Phoenix…

Before I get to my post about this weekend, I want to wish all my fellow Texans “Happy Texas Independence Day!”

Now on to Phoenix.  I like watching all the activities of Speedweeks when it rolls around every year.  It means that the NASCAR season is upon us.  Preparing for the Daytona 500 is a different element.  Qualifying has two parts.  You have qualifying day where the front is determined.  the other drivers that day are then sorted out into two dual races which sets the field for the 500.  The 500 is the only race on the circuit that has this type of qualifying.  Teams can’t judge where their season will end up after the 500.  I mean look where Jimmie Johnson is now sitting.  You can’t tell me he won’t be challenging for the championship come fall. 

This week begins the real start of the season.  This is wear teams begin their normal routines fo race week.  The boys are in Phoenix this weekend.  This will be the 2nd race on the new configuration. Phoenix has over the last couple been a place where drivers who have had a long winless streak have won.  Last year it was Kasey Kahne in the fall race and Jeff Gordon in spring race.  Will Phoenix have the same result this year?  Will a driver who has not seen victory lane in a while win?  Or will it be a driver from Hendrick Motorsports?  From what I can tell HMS drivers have a pretty good record at PIR. Here is what I found regarding HMS current paddock of drivers.  Jimmie has 4 wins at PIR.  Jeff and Dale have 2 wins.  While Kasey has one.  From these numbers HMS is a strong team going into PIR. 

But I wouldn’t count out the Roush drivers either.  Ford has shown how strong they are already in the season.  Matt Kenseth not only won his dual race, but the Dayton 500.  Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle qualified for the front row last week.  Greg finished 2nd and Carl finished 8th. 

As we know, I will be strongly cheering for my driver Tony Stewart.  He has not won at PIR since 1999.  He has 8 Top 5s and 11 top 10s.  I am hoping he has a good showing at PIR this week.  I was unhappy with his finish at Daytona 500 after winning his dual race and starting the 500 3rd. 

But what we know about NASCAR, each race is different and sometimes it can be a crap shoot on who is going to win.

One more thing from Daytona and this will be it.  I was planning on writing a post about the influence of social media on the sport.  The impact of social media came to the forefront on Monday night.  After Juan Pablo’s car crashed into the jet dryer Brad Keselowski  from his car snapped a picture with his phone and sent it out via Twitter.  Now this was the first time something like this occurred. During the fire delay we saw Brad tweeting from his phone while other drivers gathered around him.  During this time, the number of followers for Brad increased dramatically.  I wasn’t one of the people who joined up on Monday, I had already been following him.  But I found myself following all the action during this delay via Twitter.  Normally during a delay I have been known to flip back and forth between the delay and another program.  But Monday night I found myself glued to the television.  I also found myself becoming part of the conversation.  Some people think Brad should not have been doing this.  I didn’t have a problem with it.  He wasn’t driving his car AND tweeting.  It was only after his car was stopped that he took to his phone.  NASCAR even issued publicly Brad had not committed a violation with his tweeting on Monday.  I loved it.  Brad let us view NASCAR from an insider’s view.  A view many of us never get to experience.  Thank you Brad!  I will hold off my post on social media until next week.

Happy Race Weekend everyone!  Go Tony–bring home that win!

Posted in NASCAR 2012

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.