Bud Shootout

Congratulations to Kurt Busch for winning the 2011 Bud Shootout. 

This was definitely an exciting, well as exciting as it can be with that few cars on the track.   I wasn’t sure what kind of factor the new racing surface would on the racing tonight.  All I can say that was definitely some fast racing out there on the track.  The average race speed from the first 25 laps was 196.857 mph.   Throughout all the interviews and coverage this week, the surface of the track was all the talk.  Many of drivers as well as commentators were saying it was going to be more like Talladega.  Drivers are just not going to be able to go as wide as they can at Talladega.  All I know, if the racing is this exciting with just 24 cars on the track, what is it going to be like with 43 cars?  I for one can’t wait until next Sunday.

As with restrictor plate racing there were a few incidents on the track.  The biggest one occurred early in the 50 lap segment.  Regan Smith got into Carl Edwards who then turned into Dale Jr.  This incident took out several cars for the evening.  Another crash with Kyle and Mark Martin pretty much ended Kyle’s night.  From what I could tell of the incident, neither one really did anything wrong.  Neither one seemed very upset about the crash.  Mark, as I knew he probably would, apologized for the incident.  He wasn’t sure what happened, but he was having a good time out on the track.  A similar incident occurred between Michael Waltrip and Tony Stewart.  It wasn’t anything, in my opinion, either one did, it was just a racing incident.

The last laps of any race at Daytona gets dicey.  The four cars on the lead pack (Newman, Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and McMurray) were all waiting for the last minute to make their moves for the lead.  It came down to Newman/Hamlin pairing and the Busch/McMurray pairing.  I was holding out hope that Newman would hold his line, but it wasn’t the case.  Out pulled Denny as the four pack headed toward the final turn.  Unfortunately, Denny went below the double yellow line as the checkers began flying.  This is a big no-no at Daytona.  This violation resulted in Kurt being named the winner of the Bud Shootout and Denny finishing 12th.  After the race was over, Denny said he had a choice to make either to crash into Newman or not.  He chose to not hit Newman. I sort of like his explanation since it was just the Bud Shootout.  I guess sometimes you have to make a decision and live with it.  He wasn’t too upset about it.  I mean it was just the Bud Shootout in his opinion.  I wonder if he would feel the same way next week?

I really don’t know what happened to Tony tonight.  He was racing up front during the first part of the race, but during the second segment not as competitive.  I wonder if he received some damage in the dust-up with he and Waltrip.  Either way, he never really got back up front to make a challenge for the win.  Tony paired up with Denny several times during the night, but Denny didn’t seem to be able to keep up with Tony.  That’s alright for Tony.  His teammate, Ryan Newman, finished 3rd tonight.  I for one am happy for Stewart Haas Racing.

Tomorrow is qualifying for the front row for the Daytona 500.  I would love to see a SHR front row with Tony in the P1 spot.  But who knows what kind of qualifying it will be tomorrow.  The rest of the field will be set on Thursday with the Gatorade Duels.  I won’t be able to be home to watch the races, but you can bet I will be listening to the race on NASCAR.com.

The Bud Shootout is just enough of a racing fix to get me through until Friday night when the trucks take the track for the start of the 2011 NASCAR season!

Day O’ Racing

Happy Day O’ Racing!  It is one half over.  Congratulations to Dario Franchitti on his 2nd Indy 500 win.  That win makes Chip Ganassi the first car owner to win both the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 in the same year.  Is this a sign for tonight’s Coke 600?  It would be kind of cool, but sorry Chip, I’m pulling for the #14.   I am looking forward to watching the race.  Yes, I am allowing someone outside the immediate family to be part of my Day O’ Racing, but sometimes it’s all about the sacrifices we make in life.  Speaking of sacrifices, mine pales in comparision to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  I want to say “THANK YOU” to those men and women who made that sacrifice so I could enjoy today.  I also want to say “THANK YOU” to the men and women whether you have already served or currently serving. 

Stay tuned for the second part of Day O’ Racing….

Congratulations to Kurt Busch!  This the second week in a row the #2 team has seen Victory Lane.  I was hoping Jamie would get the win for Ganassi, but that darned yellow came again.  I have to say I didn’t watch much of the Coke 600.  We had some friends over for a cookout.  We rocked it out on some Rock Band, watched a little Star Wars, and had some cake and ice cream sundaes.  Some times you just have to stop and enjoy those types of moments.  Oh no…you spin me round and round…loving that tune there Jimmie?  I love the fact that Jeff Burton got in Kyle’s face and put him in his place.  You know you have done something wrong when Jeff Burton is in your face.  Maybe some of the other veteran’s need to get in his face.  Was it a racing deal?  More than likely, but Kyle pushes the issue too much sometimes and well, there you go.  Jeff was respectful when being interviewed. He doesn’t mind Kyle being aggressive, but when it affects him,  he isn’t going to stand for it. 

Well, it has definitely been a fun Day O’ Racing.  I hope everyone else had a great day as well.  On a personal note, I have to say it always brings tears to my eyes when the fallen are honored…the 21-gun salute and then Taps.  I may not have had a family member die in the service for his country, but I awe of those who make the ultimate sacrifice.  I try to live my life the best I can so their sacrifice is not in vain.

Post #492

I just couldn’t think of anything to call this particular post so I just went with some generic title.

I will however start on a good note for all us Stewart fans out.  Tony won another race for the Nationwide Series #20.  This is the 8th win for this car which has had 4 different drivers behind the wheel this season including Joey Lagano who got his first win this year.  It was wonderful to see Tony back in Victory Lane albeit in a Nationwide Race.  His victory came on an audible by his crew chief Dave Rogers who decided to take only two tires.   Unfortunately the great pit strategy on Saturday wouldn’t translate over to the Cup race on Sunday.

I really thought Tony would carry his momentum from Saturday over to Sunday.  But once again another heartbreak for Tony.  Tony started back in the pack in 28th position.  I don’t usually take stock in where Tony qualifies because one way or another he finds his way to the front and yesterday was no exception.  Tony took the lead for the first time after a caution on lap 138.  He came out of the pits in the lead just inches ahead of Casey Mears. 

And then Lap 271…

As Earnhardt is slowing down to come down pitroad, Jamie rear ends Junior as well as collecting teammate David Ragan.  This brings out the 6th caution of the day.  We knew there were going to be drivers short on fuel.  There was also the approaching thunderstorm.  This was probably going to be the “money stop” for teams.  Several drivers including Kurt Busch stayed out.  Stewart headed down pit road.  He was the first driver of the bunch to take 2 tires.  This put him back in 14th spot.  The final caution came out as Hornish and Bowyer have a meet and greet.  This was lap 280.  NASCAR brings out the red flag four laps later due to the rain and decides to call the race done and declares Kurt Busch the winner.  Tony finishes 13th after leading 132 laps.  Tony became only the 13th driver to lead 10,000 plus laps.  Right before they called the race TNT intereviewed Tony, you could see the disappointment in his eyes as well as disappointment in his voice.  Upside of this is Tony did move up to 9th in the overall standings.  Sometimes it just isn’t your day.

Here is the Top 10 from yesterday

  1. Kurt Busch
  2. Michael Waltrip
  3. J.J. Yeley
  4. Martin Truex
  5. Elliott Sadler
  6. Reed Sorenson
  7. Casey Mears
  8. Denny Hamlin
  9. Jimmie Johnson
  10. Bobby Labonte

Yep…that’s quite a top 10 there folks.  I am not saying they didn’t deserve to be there, because there are times when you have to roll the dice, but there are only two drivers in that whole top 10 who are even in the top 12 in standings.  Like Michel Waltrip said in a post race interview…”he is going to take his 170 points and call it a day.”

Couple of notes…

  • Ron Hornaday wins the truck race on Saturday night.
  • Congratulations to Patrick Carpentier for snagging his first pole.  He finished 31st.  Even though he finished pretty far in the back of the pack it is still a positive step forward. 
  • Tight race for that elusive 12th spot in the standings.  Matt is out of the Top 12 and Kevin Harvick is in, but Matt is only 15 points behind Kevin for that spot with Martin Truex and Ryan Newman biting at the heels.
  • Kyle again tangles with another driver on the track.  I am sure there was some beatin’ and bangin’ going on between the two.  Juan did intentionally spin Busch out and made no bones about it, but Kyle stood his ground.  I believe Juan was penalized two spots in the race finish for his spin (if not please let me know).
  • Casey Mears out of the #5 over at HMS.  While watching the race yesterday all I could think of was..Mears-Penske..Mears-Penske.  Sound familiar folks? 

One final note…I don’t usually make too many predictions/projections because I am usually wrote 99.9% of the time, but I am going to make one here.  I believe Tony has made up his mind about his future.  And I belive we will all know before the end of July.