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.

Alive and Kicking!

That is what is has been of late for me.  I really haven’t had any desire to write.  I don’t know what it is.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about, but I just haven’t felt the desire to do it.  There was at one time where I couldn’t wait to post something in The Park.  I would spend hours developing posts and thinking about how to entertain my readers.  Well, now, I just don’t know.

There’s been lots to talk about around NASCAR since I last posted something back in April (yes April…April 18th to be exact).  I believe that is the longest I have gone between posts. 

  • All Star Weekend–I am thrilled that NASCAR now has a Hall of Fame.  I still not had a chance to watch the induction ceremony (have it on DVR).  I have no disagreement with the first class of the Hall of Fame.  I think the 2nd class will be harder to pick.  There are so many drivers who deserve to be in the Hall.  I can’t wait to see who gets in.  The All-Star race was interesting.  I still don’t why Kyle as to be such a toot.  I couldn’t tell that Denny did anything wrong.  I think Kyle just drove his car into hard and well, there was Denny.  I know Kyle wants to win, but sometimes you just can’t win them all.  Patience is virtue and well, it may take a little longer for Kyle to get that word into his vocabulary.  Speaking of JGR cars, what was up with Joey?  His drive towards the front took out most of the field including Tony.  Once again patience is the theme of the night.  Of course, I wasn’t driving towards one million dollars.  As I told Postman, I would run him up into the wall for a cool million.  Next to the race, I love watching the Pit Crew Challenge.  This the time for guys over the wall to shine.  This is their night to shine.  Little Smoke loved watching it as well especially when Tony’s team was on display.  Congratulations to Denny Hamlin’s crew!
  • Lawsuits–Jeremy Mayfield’s case against NASCAR was dismissed as well as the Kentucky track’s lawsuit.
  • Can’t We All Just Get Along–Thank you Jeff Gordon.  I hate to say it, but I was rather excited that you were giving it to Jimmie.  You were racing him hard.  I don’t like Jimmie.  I never have.  I am not saying he can’t drive his race car.   He just isn’t the kind of racer that I like.  I think Jeff wants to win.  He has been right there in several races and it seems like he is just snakebit.  I still would choose Jeff over Jimmie though.  Of course Hendrick doesn’t want his two star drivers at each other, but I still think if it came down to a win for Jeff and the only car in his way was the #48…watch out!  As for the Denny and Kyle feud–I really don’t care.  Let them fight out on the track. 
  • Junior–I don’t know.  I have ideas about why he isn’t performing up to the expectations of his fan base.  There are times I wonder if he truly wants to be a racer.  I see interviews with him and to be honest, it’s depressing.  I have to say I saw him interviewed shortly after the induction ceremony and it was the first time he looked happy to be interviewed.  Other times it seems forced.  One of those things, “well, guess I have to do this interview because it’s part of my job” thing.  I truly thought once he left DEI and drove for HMS he would have more success than he has since coming to HMS.  He is getting the best equipment money can buy.  He has at his disposable the best technology and resources any driver dreams of having, but just because it looks good on paper doesn’t mean it is the best in implementation. 
  • Wing vs Spoiler–I haven’t noticed anything different.  I do know the racing has been better this year than last year.
  • Day ‘o Racing–that’s right folks…Sunday is the annual “Day o’ Racing”.  Indianapolis 500 in the morning/afternoon…Coke 600 in evening.  This equals 1100 hundred miles of some of the best racers going for all the marbles.  Even though I usually just spend the day sitting in front of my tv watching all the racing action, I am celebrating this “Day o’ Racing” with some of my friends this year.  Luckily, they understand when the only thing that will be shown on the television on Sunday is racing.  I have another television of course, but who wants to watch tv on 32 inch, non-HD tv in a cramped bedroom?

Finally, what I have been avoiding to discuss…the #14 team.  Wow what a difference a year makes.  This time last year, Tony was 2nd in the standings heading into Charlotte (Dover was after Charlotte last year) coming off a win at the All-Star race.  Now…he is sitting in 14th place, just two spots outside the Top 12.  There is still quite a bit of racing and we are entering the part of the year Tony traditional starts lighting it up, but if he has more bad luck, I don’t know…we will just have to watch and see what happens.   Happy belated birthday Mr. Stewart!

Have a great and safe Memorial Weekend!  If you see a veteran or a soldier…tell them “THANK YOU”~

A Few Rants…

I was going to write about this past weekend, but I was disappointed that Jimmie won again that I just couldn’t put my heart into a post about Bristol.  Before I depart from Bristol, I will say Bristol racing hasn’t been Bristol racing (well in this race fan’s opinion) for a couple of years.  Every time the prerace shows talk about the beatin’ and bangin’ as well as the tempers flaring during and after Bristol, but it has been a little tame compared to previous races at Bristol.  Congrats to Jason Allgaier for his first win in the Nationwide Series.  I have to give props to his teammate Brad K. for not trying to dump him like some other driver (who shall remain nameless) did to another driver.  But on the flip side, would Brad K. been up on the bumper a little more if it had not been his teammate?

I have been watching NASCAR for a few years now.  I know it is probably not as long as some of you, but I feel I have invested quite a bit of time to the sport.  People still wonder why I follow this sport (and yes, IT IS A SPORT).  A sport that has 43 cars going round in circles at high speeds for hours.  It’s hard to describe sometimes to those stick and ball fans exactly my passion, but every once in awhile someone gets it.  I have been ridicule and poked fun at because of NASCAR, but it’s been mainly by my friends, family, and coworkers.  But as you know, it is all done in love and friendship so it doesn’t bother me.  What does bother me is when people who don’t take the time to understand me and the sport I love that gets me all riled up.  I have been “accused” by the misunderstood that the only reason I watch NASCAR is because I want to see the crashes.  That would be far from the truth.  I hate crashes.  Who really wants to see drivers crash into one another at high rates of speed just for entertainment value?  If you like cars crashing into one another, I would suggest you attend a demolition derby.   If that is the reason you come to NASCAR fine, but step back for a moment and give NASCAR a chance. 

Just got from reading one my other fellow NASCAR fans blog.  And the recent post (as written by a guess blogger) made some excellent points about competition and the sport of NASCAR.  It is a sport and a sport is competitive.  There are winners and losers.  We don’t always like who wins and we root for some to even lose.  We thrive on rooting for certain drivers to have a bad day.  Case in point–Jimmie Johnson.  I said I wasn’t going to mention anything, but the post I just read triggered all these lingering feelings about Jimmie Johnson.  I make no bones about the fact that I have never been a fan of Jimmie Johnson.  I do give him credit for the job he has done over the past four years.  He and Chad have this Zen lke thing going on that is scary, but I am tired of seeing the #48 in victory lane. 

 On Sunday, Kurt Busch said it best after finishing third…losing to the 48 sucks (or something to that affect).  It does suck.  The other drivers know what they need to do–driver faster and better than Jimmie.  But sometimes you have the better car and have good runs, but sometimes Jimmie still finds a way to win.  I have seen Jimmie come into a race with a piece of junk and finish first or in the top 5.  I have seen luck go his way and you wonder, WTF…and wonder if some other force is at work.  But bottom line is the #48 has found a way to win and dominate the series over the past four years.  I belive the other drivers are stepping up to try and challenge Jimmie, but the #48 team always seems to be one step ahead of the game.  It’s getting to the point where I find myself rooting for anyone else to win (and yes that would include Dale Jr.).  I know the boys are in Martinsville this weekend and well, we all know how the #48 loves Martinsville.  So I beg of you of  Mr. Stewart, Mr. Gordon, Mr. Busch, or any other driver out there–bring it…beat the #48.  If not, he will win.  He will leave Martinsville with 40 bonus points.  If Jimmie is leading in The Chase…well…you know the rest of the story.

The Brickyard

I can honestly say I was excited about yesterday’s race.  To me, Indy is the holy land for racing.  I was on pins and needles at the prospect of tony winning and putting that #14 back in victory lane, but we don’t alway get what we wish for.

The day started out with Mark Martin and Juan Pablo Montoya on the front row.    What a way to start a race!  Mark Martin, who I think has stole the show this year in NASCAR (excluding Tony) and Juan Pablo who would have a chance to win both a 500 and a 400.  It looked like most of the day this would be the case for JPM.  He had a 5 second lead on Mark at one point and it looked like no other driver was going to touch him.  Until JPM hit pit road late in the race and got nabbed for speeding not in one zone, but two zones.  JPM was angry and he even said so over his radio.  I can understand his frustration, but you made a mistake.  He finished 11th.  Not the finish I am sure JPM wanted, but still keeps him in the Top 12.  It’s hard to keep your eye on the big picture sometimes, but I think now that he has had some distance away from the race he can reflect on his effort. 

This whole speeding on pit road issue was the topic of conversation on Sirius this morning.  All those conspiracy theorists were calling in talking about how NASCAR rigs the races, etc.  There are times I wonder because things after in the strangest ways, but come on now.  Drivers are even given 5 miles over the posted pit road speed limit.  JPM was nabbed not in one spot, but two.  I could also understand if more than one driver was nabbed for speeding.  It wasn’t like that truck race a few months ago where it seemed everyone was getting nabbed.  NASCAR doesn’t have some state trooper down with his trusty radar gun hiding behind some tree.  No it’s done electronically.  Besides, I believe it was Junior in a post race intereview commenting on the fact that he was hoping NASCAR would have thrown a few more cautions.  Now that statement boggled my  mind more than the whole speeding incident. 

Speaking of Junior, it doesn’t look like he will end up in the Chase this year.  He finished 36th after starting 4th.  He currently sits in 21st spot in the standings, 367 points back of 12th place, Matt Kenseth.  There are only 6 races left until the Chase begins. If he is going to have a shot at even getting to #12, he is going to have to light it up in the next 6 races as well as have those ahead of him have bad races.  To be honest I don’t see that happening…he would have to jump over Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, David Reutiman, Clint Bowyer, Brian Vickers, Jeff Burton, Marcus Ambrose, Jamie McMuray, Joey Lagano.  I am sorry, but yesterday pretty much put the nail in the coffin.

Congratulations to Jimmie on winning his second Brickyard in a row.  I have never been a big Jimmie fan and I have stated that here in The Park, but Jimmie and Chad always find a way to get themselves in position to win a race.  It’s not just here and there…it’s every week the #48 team is a threat.  I guess that’s why he has won the Championship three times in a row and is making waves for that 4th one.  Of course, this doesn’t mean I am going to run out and stock up on Jimmie stuff.  I am just saying as a NASCAR fan I have to respect the talent and tenacity of a team to come with both barrels loaded every week. 

I have to say that was a nice piece ESPN did with Tony and AJ Foyt.  How many of us get to meet our idol and let alone become friends with that idol.   Thank you ESPN.  On that note, you can always tell when ESPN takes over coverage of a sporting event.  With the littlest stories, there is this dramatic buildup, the story and the dramatic ending.  Some times their stories even make you cry.   It does make you wonder sometimes if there are trying to see how many people they can fit in a broadcast booth.  Remember the first year…OMG!  That was too much for me to take in before, during , and after.  I still think some of it could be scaled down, but one thing I am glad they did…keep Rusty out of the broadcast booth.  I don’t mind the pre race stuff, race break commentary, or even the post race stuff, but calling the race not his forte.  I do like Ray Evernham.  He has the unique insight that keeps me engaged. 

It’s going to be an interesting over the next few races to see who gets in…who doesn’t. Either way…I am looking forward to the racing.


On vacation still…this is coming from my new Dell laptop (Woo Hoo!!!). It’s red just like Tony’s car and I even have a red cordless mouse to go along with it.  I sent the Macbook to my mom’s house so she could have a computer.   Went to the zoo today with my mom, Postman and Little Smoke.  It was a blast.  It’s amazing to see a zoo through the eyes of a five year old.  The only bad part about the trip…THE FREAKIN’ HUMIDITY!  For the love of Pete, I took a shower this morning and yet it was like I had another one by the time we were through with the zoo. 

I had the race on once we got home from the zoo, but I was trying to transfer all my files from the old computer to the new one.  So it took some time to get things transferrred, but I have for the most part got everything transferred.  But I did watch the battle between Smoke and Jimmie.  I have to say that was some fun racing.  Now that’s the kind of racing I would love to see every week.  Of course Jimmie did just get passed Tony for the race win, but Tony leaves Dover with the points lead.  I am very proud of Tony at this point of the season.  He has in this race fan’s opinion brought Stewart Haas Racing to a whole never level.  I had to chuckle when Fox presented him with the trophy because he was the leader for their part of the season.  And what did Tony do with it…put his Coke bottle in it.  Classic Tony!  Tony was the only driver for Stewart Haas ending up in the top 10 this week.  Newman finished 8th and leaves Dover  5th in the standings and 173 points behind his boss. 

Dale Jr. finished 12th today.  Not bad for his first race without Tony Eury.  I don’t know if Mr. Hendrick had a come to Jesus talk with the whole #88 team, but if he did I think the #88 team is headed in the right dircetion.  I am not a fan of Dale Jr., but I hate to see any team struggle as he has struggled lately.  Only time will tell to see if the changes Mr. Hendrick has made will be effective.  Dale just needs to let the crew chief do his job while he does his.

Speaking of the points lead I am hoping I am still ahead in my fantasy league “One and Done”.  I had a points lead of 9 points (I believe if my Math was correct) and I picked Ryan Newman.  Ryan gave me a great finish today, but I won’t know things until later this week as to whether or not Ryan keep me atop the standings.

Bad Medicine

I was so busy this weekend between T-ball, T-Rexs, Tourney brackets and Tony Stewart, I am exhausted. 

Let’s talk about Martinsville.  I think I like Martinsville a little bit better than Bristol.  Denny had his #11 Fed Ex car in the zone yesterday.  He lead 296 laps of the 500 lap race yesterday.  He just had the car dialed in all day.  But as we all know the best car or the one who leads the most laps doesn’t always win the race.  Plus he had history working against him yesterday.  I mean it was the 25th anniversary of the first win by Hendrick in the Cup series.   But it did look like Denny was going to spoil the whole Hendrick party.  But Jimmie Johnson loves this track.  Up until yesterday he had won 4 of the last five races.  With yesterday’s win it is now up to 5 of the last 6.  We used to say Lowe’s was Jimmie’s house, I am beginning to think Martinsville is Jimmie’s house.  No matter what happeend yesterday it seemed to be in the cards for a Hendrick driver to win yesterday.  All four teams finished in Top Ten.   I do have to say Johnson made a bold move on Denny in the waning laps of the race to take the lead from Denny.  It was the kind of racing I like.  Two drivers fighting for the lead and respecting each other and not taking one out.  Would I have jumped up and down if Jimmie had made the move on Denny and they both went spinning?  Hell yes I would have because who was in that third place spot????  Tony Stewart!  But unfortunately the two drivers did what they do best race cleanly.  Denny showed some class in his post race interview.  Kudos Denny.  And what was the deal with Robby Gordon?  Every time I looked up (well, it seemed that way) he was cuasing a yellow flag to flown.  Hey Robbie…green is our friend, yellow bad.  Two thumbs up for Stewart Haas Racing–both Ryan and Tony finished in the Top Ten.   I know this really didn’t have to do with the race, but did anyone see Ingrid’s new do?  OMG—she cut off quite a bit of hair!

The rest of my weekend was quite busy.  First up for me was to see if I could gain some ground on Postman in our NCAA Bracket Challange.  I certainly didn’t want to wear the University of Texas shirt to his birthday party.  Please note I am an alum of Texas Tech Unversity and well, we don’t like UT.  I was only 2 points behind him and I would have been able to make up some ground only if Michigan State and Connecticut lost as well as Pitt winning it all.  But if you followed the tourney, you will find that Michigan State and Connecticut and Michigan State are in the Final Four and well…Pittsburgh’s fate.  Same fate as me…dead in the water.  That’s right folks I cannot overtake my Postman in the bracket challenge.  Only 1 of my 4 picks for the final four made.  Go North Carolina!  So this is what I will be wearing (or something similar) to Postman’s party.  Sorry folks, I must go through this “humilation” by myself.  No sympathy shirt wearing to make me feel better.  I made the bet and lost. 


Little Smoke and his team the Diamondbacks had their first t-ball game on Saturday.  We won 28-4.  I know that is a high score for t-ballers, but we dominated the other team…well as much as a t-ball team can dominate.  We are only allowed to score 7 runs/inning.  The other team never got us out in the traditional sense.  Little Smoke went 3 for 3 with 1 RBI.  A ball was hit to him in the outfield, but he didn’t let it get by him and in t-ball that is everything.  Still needs a littel work on the baserunning and throwing, but all in all not bad for his first game.  Wish us luck tonight…we play the Yankess.  And as I recall, the D-Backs beat the Yankees in the 2001 World Series.  Sign of good things to come?

If you need to make a dinosaur I am your gal.  Little Smoke needed a dinosaur model for school this week.  Of course as we all know this project becomes bigger than it really is and it can take on a life of it’s own.  And naturally, Little Smoke wanted his model to be a T-Rex.  In case you are not up on all the dinosaurs, he is like the Michael Jordan of dinosaurs.  So I spent most of yesterday while he was at two birthday partys constructing the model, he helped paint the thing though.  Bascially Little Smoke and Postman were the designers and well, I was the free labor.  But I think it turned out pretty good.  Take a gander and tell me what you think.



6056748_7_1I can’t believe tomorrow will be the last time Tony will get behind the wheel of the #20 Home Depot car. All of us Stewart fans knew this was coming at the end of the season and I think we are pretty much prepared, but it is still going to be hard. It’s going to be somewhat strange to see another driver in the #20. For ten years we have watched Tony mature into one of the top drivers in NASCAR. He has 33 wins, 129 Top 5, 206 Top 10 with an average finish of 12.7 and an average points position of 4.88. And we mustn’t forget those two championships in 2002 and 2005. Tomorrow will also end the longest driver/crew chief duo as Tony and Zippy say goodbye to one another. It will be an emotional day for the whole #20 team as well as Joe Gibbs racing.

I am looking forward to the 2009 season and Tony’s next chapter in NASCAR.  It’s going to be nice to see Tony back in a Chevy and racing under his own terms.  It’s going to be interesting to see how Darian and Tony will interact. Ah…to be on the team channel next year.  I may have to get Direct TV after all just so that I can listen to the driver to crew chief chatter.  I have always said Tony could driver just anything he gets behind the wheel of…so next year will be the most exciting in a long time for us Smoke fans.  I am going out on limb and say Tony will make the Chase next year.  This change will, in my opinion, put fire in his belly and we will see Tony standing in victory lane more often than we did this year.

I will be watching tomorrow to see Jimmie can make NASCAR history and win his 3rd championship in a row joining the only other driver Carl Yarborough to accomplish this feat.  I don’t believe Carl will overcome his deficit to win the championship.  Things have to play into Carl’s hands in order for him to win the championship.  It’s going to be fun to watch tomorrow.

I am not sure about the ban on testing for the 2009 season.  I haven’t had a chance to read the articles about it.  I have been trying to get through all this adoption stuff the last couple of days.   I am still thinking about it all.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am in the middle of working on the 2008 Trixies.  I try to post them during Championship or shortly thereafter.  It all depends on what is going on in The Park.  But don’t worry I will get them posted.

For those friends and family I have neglected and/or ignored the past 9 months, you now have my undivided attention.  The NASCAR season will be officially over tomorrow evening.  I now have some time in my schedule, well until February.  Usually it was until January, but with this ban on testing, January has now opened up for functions and parties.  I know for some us we mark off our calendars until the Daytona 500 and we try to find that replacement for our NASCAR until the season begins.  I can focus on football until the green flag flies for the 2009 Daytona 500.