Posted in NASCAR 2013

Stewart Haas Racing and Michigan

I was going to write about Sunday’s race in the first part of the post, but with everything going on with SHR I thought I would lead with it this week.  On sunday night while pursuing Twitter looking for more information about the race, I saw it.  I saw there was a possibility that Kurt Busch might become a 4th team member of SHR.  Yesterday it was somewhat quite on Twitter and Facebook with this story.  All that I have seen is Kurt Busch has an offer on the table.  I am not sure how I feel about this possibility.  Kurt Bush has been having a good year running for Furniture Row Racing.  He had another good finish on Sunday with a 3rd place finish.  Kurt is currently sitting in 9th place in the standings.  There are only three races left until the Chase begins (Bristol, Atlanta, and Richmond).  I think he will make the Chase unless he completely implodes in the next three races.  Kurt only is on a one year contract with FRR and it will expire at the end of the 2013 season.  But Kurt Busch at SHR I just don’t know.  Can you imagine Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick AND Kurt Busch.  These four drivers are never at a loss for words when it comes to dealing with the media.  Kurt Busch, just like Danica, is polarizing.  Everything I have read, people really hate this move or really like this move, there is no middle ground.  I for one have never been a Kurt Busch fan.  Of course I am not a Ryan Newman fan either.  There have been those who wonder if you can find room, money, and sponsorship for Kurt Busch to be with SHR in 2014, why couldn’t you find the same for Ryan Newman?  I am by no means an expect on this matter.  I only see what is reported regarding this matter.  Maybe Tony wanted to go in a different direction with his team.  I mean he is investing his money into the team along with Gene Haas. To quote the Godfather, it’s not personal, it’s business.  There is more to Stewart Haas Racing than just the drivers, he has crew members and other staff members that depend on the success of SHR.  I am positive the decision to let Ryan go wasn’t easy, but in life you have to make tough decisions.  On paper, both Ryan and Kurt have roughly the same numbers.  They both started racing in Cup in 2000, with Kurt going full-time in 2001 and Newman full-time in 2002.  Kurt does have a championship under his belt back in 2004.  Note he was the first driver to win a championship under the Chase format.  Of course, there is more deciding which driver drives for which particular team every year.  Sometimes it is about what is best for the team, or what the driver whats, or lately, sponsorship.  I guess we will all have to wait to see how this all shakes down for SHR.

In other news coming out of SHR, it was announced yesterday that Tony Stewart will be out the rest of the season and Mark Martin will take over driving duties for the rest of the season.  Mark will begin his driving duties in the #14 starting with Bristol on Saturday night.  The only race that Mark will not race is Talladega where Austin Dillion will once again to the helm of the #14.  This gives Brian Vickers the opportunity to get into the #55 earlier than expected.  I think this is a good move for Tony.  The team will have consistency with one driver the rest of the season.  Even this late in Mark’s career he is competitive.  I think he would have won the race on Sunday if he hadn’t of run out of gas.  Both drivers have a deep respect for each other.  Several years ago Mark Martin said Tony Stewart was one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR.  I am happy with this choice.  Besides this will sort of force my hubby to cheer for the #14 each week.    I know Mark will give it his best when he gets behind the wheel of the #14.  I am thankful SHR is going with one driver (other than Talladega) for the rest of the season instead of the “insert driver here” every week.  If someone out there is questioning this decision all you have to see is what Tony Stewart said about mark Martin… “Mark is someone I’ve looked up to my entire career and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.”  That right there says it all for those naysayers out there.

I was going to write about the race in another post, but with That Dang Ol’ Racing Show broadcast looming tonight, I wanted to get things posted before then.  This would be week two without Tony in the #14.  Austin Dillion was tagged to drive for the #14 team for the race.  He qualified 27th and finished 14th.  Thank you Mr. Dillion for your support.  See ya at Talladega.  Now on to the race.  Joey Lagano was on fire during the weekend.  He set a track record and grabbed the pole for the Pure Michigan 400.  I was watching practice (which I rarely do) and in an interview with Brad K. he thought his teammate was going to be the man to beat over the weekend.  I was wondering if the race was going to be a long race by the way it started out.  There were 3 quick cautions which started with Clint Bowyer’s spin on lap 1.  The next two, I was wondering if I jinxed.  Every time I would go into my kitchen, caution.  Let’s just say I was banned from the kitchen until commercial.  Despite the early cautions, the race started to settle down.  If you were watching the race, you know that Jimmie Johnson crashed in the last practice session and had to use a back up car that was slated to be used for Chicago (the first race in the Chase).  And as you know, since you were watching the race, ESPN was keeping track of Jimmie’s progress towards the front.  Yes, ESPN I got it.  Jimmie was starting in the back and he was going to make his way to the front.  But you don’t have to make it your goal to let us know every chance you got.  For those who don’t know, Jimmie made his way to the front in 45 laps and was able to lead a lap prior to the start of the first green flag pit stops.  Jimmie’s day however was short-lived.  He was out of the race around lap 58 with a blown engine.  For you Jimmie fans out there, this didn’t affect his Chase chances on any level since he is leading the points right now and has already punched his ticket for the Chase.

Turn 2 was not kind to several drivers throughout the day.  Several drivers ended up spinning out or hitting the wall.  Turn 2 got Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse, and the ever popular Kyle Busch.  Dale Earnhardt had a decent day, leading laps and looked like he was to give himself a chance to win the race.  Dale’s day went south around lap 135 when he hit the wall and sustained heavy damage.  This was the 2nd car from HMS that had a bad day.  Dale finished 36th and lost one spot in the standings.  He is now sitting in 7th spot.   So have  no fear Junior nation, your driver is still ok.  My husband was trying to convince me to pick the #88 for my race pick contest.  He seems to do pretty good at Michigan, but my gut said no.  He is just like picking Ohio State in the NCAA basketball tournament.  Looks good on paper, seems like a sure thing, but in the end all you get is heartache.  And Sunday was just an example of that.

Joey Lagano was the man of the weekend.  He was poised to take the win after Mark Martin ran out of gas with three laps to go.  Mark Martin had nothing to lose with his gamble.  He wasn’t fighting for a spot in the Chase or trying to keep his spot in the Chase.  So why not gamble on fuel mileage, unfortunately the gamble didn’t pay off for Mark.  Mark finished 27th.   When Mark ran out of gas, there was Joey passing him for the lead.  This would mark Joey’s first win since moving over to Penske this season.  This win snapped a 44 race winless streak for Joey.  More importantly for Joey, this put him back in the race for a wild card spot.  He moved up 3 spots to 13th in the standings just 7 points behind Martin Truex who has the last wild card spot.  This wild card race is getting pretty interesting especially now that Tony Stewart is out for the season.  Once again, I think this will all come down to Richmond to see who grabs the two wild card spots.  If Kasey stays out of the top 10, he will have a secure spot since he has two wins.  Of course this could all change, if one of those sitting around him in standings with one win gets a win in the next three races.  man I am going to love the next three weeks!

Few thoughts…

  • I am beginning to find myself cheering for Clint Bowyer each week.  The more and more I watch him in interviews and watch on the race track, he is the type of driver I could get behind.  I would love to hang out with Clint maybe go fishing and have a few beers with.  And if you can hang with the Duck Dynasty crew and get what Duck Dynasty is all about, then you are good people in my book!
  • For those living under a rock, Speed TV is no longer on the air.  It is now Fox Sports 1.  I am going to give Fox Sports 1 a chance.  When ESPN started back in the day, I am sure they weren’t lighting it up on a daily basis.  They have had a few years to fine tune their programming.  Race Day has been pared down to one hour.  I may be in the minority on this, but I am glad it is now down to one hour.  In years past, Race Day would air right up until race broadcast time.  For example, if the race broadcast pre race show began at noon, Race Day would end at noon.  I would then switch over to the race and watch that pre-race show.  Sunday, Race Day ended an hour prior to ESPN’s pre-race show.   Some were upset by this change, but for me I just rolled with the flow.
  • Juan Pablo Montoya is out of the #42 at the end of the season.   Silly season is in full swing folks!  Let the rumors and half-truths begin!  Launch the black helicopters and drones!  Kyle Larson’s name has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Juan in the #42.  This would be a WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, move!!! Kyle is in his rookie season in the Nationwide Series.  Prior to this weekend’s race at Mid-Ohio, he has only 21 starts under his belt in Nationwide and was sitting in 8th spot.  He does have 2 starts in Trucks with one win and a 2nd place finish at Eldora.  I think Kyle needs to get more experience in NASCAR before being thrown into the shark tank.  AJ Allmendinger’s name has been kicked around for a possible replacement as well as Ryan Newman.  Either one would be a better choice than Kyle Larson into the seat.
  • Speaking of JPM, saw an interesting story on ESPN.com.  Michael Andretti would love for JPM to come race for his race team.  But as with NASCAR, it is all about sponsorship.  If Andretti can find sponsorship, could Juan be headed back to Indy Racing?  It would be interesting to see how that all shakes out.
  • Brad K. was going to gamble for the win on Sunday, but wasn’t going to be really close on fuel.  Points racing is not what drivers like to do, they want to race for the win, but sometimes IT IS about the big picture.  Brad and his team decided he needed to come down to get gas and finish the race without the win.  By the way, Brad finished 12th.  I am sure it wasn’t what he wanted, but it kept him in Chase contention.  If he would have run out of gas, he would have definitely finished further on back.
  • If you haven’t seen the show Duck Dynasty, what are you waiting for?  This is one of better shows on television at the present time.  Yes, it is a reality show, but not like all those other ones out there.  The Robertson family is funny!  Yes, they are rednecks and at times I wonder about Uncle Si, but in the end they are all about family and God.   They sit down to dinner with each other and you see them pray.  There’s nothing preachy about it at all.  It is one of the few shows I can watch with everyone in my family.  I don’t have to worry about language or other things my two children will pick up.  It’s tough finding shows that I can sit down and watch with my kids.  Gone are the days of Dukes of Hazzard, Full House, Little House on the Prairie.  Now we have shows like Dance Moms, Honey Boo-Boo, and the Real Housewives.  Don’t get me wrong, I know there are those of you out there who watch these shows, but there aren’t the kind of shows I can sit down and watch with my kids.   So if you haven’t watched Duck Dynasty, stop on over at A&E and watch!
  • Non-NASCAR related–my youngest son loves to watch the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the Disney Channel.  It is a pretty decent show for the younger crowd.  Kids can learn things from watching the show.   It’s not on the same level as Phineas and Ferb, but it is still a decent show for kiddos.  However, if I hear the phrase “oh tooldles” or see the “hot dog dance” one more time, I think you will have to lock myself up for the rest of the summer!  Of course both boys will start school come Monday, August 26.  My oldest will be in the 4th grade while my youngest will be starting Pre-K!  To all parents out there, not much longer…6 days!

Don’t forget about tonight’s broadcast of That Dang Ol’ Racing Show on Real Country 98.5 FM here in Lubbock, Texas from 6-7.  I was all prepared for last week’s show.  I had to make a run to Barnes and Noble with my other half so he could get his fantasy football magazines.  I had cell phone in hand and yes, that was me in B&N with ear buds on.  To be clear, it was just one ear bud and not both.  But due to technical difficulties and things beyond my control, the show was postponed to Wednesday.  Wednesday’s show was scratched as well.  And so here we are this week.  The delay for the 2nd broadcast  hasn’t deterred me in the least.  I will be tuning in tonight to listen to the discussion and maybe I might just call in!

Since the news came there would be a local racing show, it has jump started me back into my blog.  It does help that I am a stay-at-home mom.  I can keep better track of things and maybe provide a little more in-depth analysis here in The Park.  I have been providing my take on NASCAR for several years now.  It has allowed me to meet fellow NASCAR fans across the US.  Even though I don’t know them on a personal level, I feel connected to them because we are part of the NASCAR Nation.  I have always maintained The Park as a place for discussion and debate.  I welcome it.  The words I type here are my opinions and my viewpoints.  They may not always agree with the majority of those of you out there, but that’s what makes things fun!  If we all agreed, it would be boring.  I know what I am talking about.  I research things using NASCAR.com, ESPN, Fox Sports and yes, Twitter and Facebook.  I even read other’s blogs who provide other insight.  I try to be entertaining for those who stop by to read my posts.  I am not too concerned whether or not my readers comment (even though secretly I wish someone would), I am just hoping I can get more readers and maybe, just maybe someone might notice my work.  For those who stop by thanks for your support and for those first timers, WELCOME!  Have a great day!

Posted in NASCAR 2011

Vegas and other things

Sorry for not posting after the Vegas race.  I had everything ready to go, but I have been dealing with quite a few health issues (some mine, some my son’s) so they have taken priority for me.  I made my first visit ever to a cardiologist.  It was a little scary especially since I am only 40.  I am now on medication and have to go back in two weeks for a stress test and other tests.  I am treading the treadmill thing.  Treadmills and I have this understanding, I don’t get on them.  That’s pretty much it.  One of my co-workers told me I should stop watching NASCAR with all the chest pains I have been experiencing.  He is always kidding me about NASCAR.  I told him watching NASCAR is good for my soul.  But enough about me, let’s get to talking about racing

Vegas was just disappointing for this Stewart fan.  Vegas is one of two tracks Tony does not have a victory.  Sunday looked promising until a late caution and pit road mistake pretty much cost him a victory.  I have to give credit to the #14 team for finishing 2nd, but for Tony this was one that is a bitter pill to swallow.  He clearly had the car to win the race.  But as we all know the best car doesn’t always win the race.  He was heartbreaking to watch his post race interview with Fox.  I wonder how they decided who was going to interview Tony.  I mean Tony has been known to speak his mind (both good and bad) when stepping out of the car.  But there was Matt Youcum right there asking Tony the tough question.  Clearly, you could see Tony was upset with the result.  I am glad it was a short interview and with someone who really understands Tony. 

Other tidbits from Vegas

  • Of there was some action off the track as well.  Apparently Robby Gordon and Kevin Conway had their own little meeting in the garage.  This resulted in Robby getting put on probation immediately.  I mean if you are going to get in a fight, Vegas is the place to be.  Did anyone notice if Don King was hanging out in the garage?  Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
  • Congratulations to Mark “The Kid” Martin for winning the Nationwide race.  So he got the win when Brad K. blew a tire.  But sometimes racing is about being in the right place at the right time.  Who hasn’t taken advantage of mistakes and bad breaks of other drivers to snag a victory?  Also this is the first win for Turner Motorsports.  It’s nice to see the smaller teams (well, compared to Hendrick/Roush) win. 
  • It was 50 years ago on March 4, 1961 that Wendell Scott became the first African-American to start a NASCAR race. 
  • Danica Patrick finished 4th in the Nationwide race.  This was highest finish by a woman in a NASCAR event.  She was also the first woman to lead  lap at Daytona.  I am still not sure where I stand on Danica’s presence in NASCAR.  From what I have seen she has improved from this year to last, well at least in the first couple of races.  Until she is able to commit to NASCAR full-time, I am holding my opinion.

There is no Cup race tomorrw.  The boys are off until next Sunday where they will head to Bristol for some short track racing.  However, you can catch some  Camping World Truck racing at Darlington today.  I love to watch the trucks.  Lots of racing action!

What will I do tomorrow?  I am not sure yet.  Right now I am watching “Cars” for the millionth time (well, at least it feels that way) with my little foster son.  He can sit at watch this movie and be entertained through the entire movie.  Not bad for a 2 year-old.  I still find this movie very funny.  They definitely nailed Daryl Waltrip’s personality!  Speaking of Waltrip (not Daryl, but Michael).  I am almost finished with Michael’s book, “In The Blink of An Eye: Dale, Daytona, and the Day that Changed Everything”.  I have enjoyed the book.  You know what is weird, while I am reading the book, all I can hear is Michael’s voice in my head.  It’s as if he is narrating the book for me.  I have found the book very intriguing and now understand a little bit more about that day back in 2001.

This is the 2nd year for Toyota’s Sponsafy program.  You can pick a driver, decorate your car and win a cool prize.  If you have seen the site, or been over there check it out.  I have one already out there entitled “Pink Bubblegum”. I know it isn’t too spectacular, but it is what I wanted to design. I am in the middle of working on a second one with a Texas theme. So in the mean time, if you want to stop and look, vote for me. You can also vote for others too! Vote early and vote often as they say.

Have a great day!

Well, I hope everyone has

Posted in NASCAR 2010

NASCAR 2010

It has been awhile since I have posted anything of substance here in The Park.  This has been in part to my little affection for Facebook, but I found I really do miss The Park.  I didn’t think I would because it was becoming something I felt I had to do.  But then I realized it was a place I could escape and talk NASCAR.  I don’t have many people around who have the same passion I have about NASCAR.  In fact many don’t even understand and when I try to explain, well, it’s like trying to explain quantum physics to a 6 year old. 

By the end of the 2009 season I was drained.  I hate to say it, but I grew tired and even at times complacent with NASCAR.  I guess after the Chase began and it was inevitable Jimmie was going to win his 4th championship I found other things to bide my time on Sunday afternoons like football.  I don’t think I really watched a whole Chase race in 2009.   But the off season has allowed me to get rejuvenated for NASCAR.  I have my new 2010 Tony Stewart calendar up in my office.  I have perusing the bookstores and the local Walmarts looking for my preseason magazines in order to prepare for the 2010 season.  I have already warned my family and friends that NASCAR season is just around the corner. 

I have high hopes for the 2010 season.  I am interested to see how the new rear spoiler will perform versus the previous wing on the car.  I wasn’t aware that Tony was in my home state of Texas doing a tire test at TMS with the new wing on the car.  It doesn’t look too bad.  I hope it does what the drivers and NASCAR hope it does.  I hope it brings some more exciting racing.  Racing was exciting last year, but I am always looking for more. 

I think this 2010 season will be one to watch.  I am looking to see if Jimmie can be dethroned as NASCAR champion.  I am not diminishing his run as champion and what he has accomplished the last four years, but I would like to see the #14 standing atop at the end of the season as NASCAR season.  The only other driver that I would be ok with is Mark Martin.  He had an amazing 2009 season.  I think it surprised a lot of NASCAR fans.  It was as if he had been rejuvenuted and he was a 50 year old man driving aorund, but a 24 year old.  He definitely raised the stakes for everyone last year and he has set the bar high for the 2010 season.

There has been much discussion over the offseason about Danica Patrick’s foray into NASCAR.  At this point I am not swayed either way.  I think she has the skill set to race in NASCAR , but how she will fair is another story.  I am looking forward to seeing her out there racing against the boys.  Part of me wants to see her and Kyle Busch tangle and watch it all unfold.  She isn’t afraid to go over and tell a driver how it is and neither is he.

I love the double file restarts in Cup and Nationwide.  It definitely made the restarts fun to watch.  Now you the Truck series will have double file restarts.  Truck racing is crazy as it is and now you have double file restarts….wow…let the racing begin!

And finally….Dale Jr.  If you have been to The Park you know I am NOT a Dale Jr. fan.  He will be heading into his thrid year wtih HMS and he hasn’t performed up the expectations as everyone wanted.  There were times Dale Jr. was racing his heart out and having great days only to end up in the crapper.  I think removing Tony Jr. was a move that needed to be made.   Perhaps now that he will have a full year with Lance McGrew will help him get back to where his fans, owner, and Junior himself want him to be.  I have to say there were times during interviews he sounded like he didn’t want to be at the track or even racaing.  But we all get like that at our jobs.  We begin to question why we chose the career we did and if we should continue.  Perhaps this off season he has had a chance to step back and see where he wants to go and he will get back on track (no pun intended). 

Well…that’s about it for now.  I am so pumped for the season to begin.  How ’bout you?

Posted in NASCAR 2009, Tony Stewart

Sqare peg…round hole

That’s what it feels like it times.  I am the square peg trying to get through that round hole.  Not matter how much I try it doesn’t seem to fit.  It was a rough day at work.  No matter what I did today someone somewhere was mad, angry, and not taking responsibility for their choices.  I am trying to teach Little Smoke about taking responsibility for his bad choices.  This is a difficult thing to teach a 6 year old, but I am doing my best.  In my line of work I see those who blame others for their bad decisions instead of taking responsibility.  It’s just very frustrating, but I carry on as I do…after all tomorrow is another day. 

I am very excited about tomorrow.  I get to see Jeff Dunham in concert tomorrow.  If you don’t know who Jeff Dunham is, you need to travel on over to You Tube and type in “Jeff Dunham”.  I guarantee you will laugh until it hurts.  Maybe that’s what I need to get over today’s hellish day of work.  It’s going to be a great concert!

I missed the Cup boys this past weekend, but I did catch the Nationwide race up in Montreal.  I felt so bad for Marcus.  On the last turn of the last lap…it just sucks.  But I have to applaud him for his professionalism as ESPN interviewed him after the race.  Yes, it was brief, but very professional.  I wonder how Kyle would have reacted if he was the one in Marcus’s situation.  I think we can all guess what would have happened.  Labor Day weekend is upon us my friends and that means racing under the lights on Sunday at Atlanta.  This is going to be interesting.   There is only Atlanta and Richmond until the final 12 are set for the last 10 races.  I really want to see Mark Martin in the Chase.  It would just suck if he wasn’t there.  I am pretty ambivalent about Kyle. 

Congrats to Brad K. for signing with Penske and the #12 team.  I think he will have success over there with the #12 team.  He has proven he can drive with the big boys.  I am sure Mr. Hendrick will still be keeping his eyes on the young man.  It wouldn’t surprise me if in a few years that Brad returns to drive for HMS.

Don’t forget all you Tony Stewart fans, the Prelude to the Dream is scheduled to run next Wednesday, September 9.  It was originally scheduled for June, but due to Mother Nature it was postponed until next Wednesday.  So head on over to your pay per view channels and order your Prelude.

Posted in NASCAR 2009, Tony Stewart

Just stuff

It’s that time of the year…NASCAR and Football!!

I have been watching quite a bit of NASCAR lately trying to get pumped up for The Chase here in a few weeks.  Congrats to Tony for his win at Watkins Glen.  That makes three wins this year and 30 bonus points and he is securely in The Chase.  I was a little upset that Mark’s crew chief tried to play the gas mileage game last week at Michigan.  Mark was not in a position to go for the win last week unlike Jimmie Johnson.  It was not worth the gamble and well..Mark is now 12th in the standings.  Congrats to Brian Vickers last week for his first win in the #83 and his Red Bull team.  Plus his stock went up with me because frankly, Kyle needs his ass kicked.  He is a good driver don’t get me wrong, but enough already.  I agree with Brian Vickers…I didn’t get the memo stating either that it was the Kyle Busch show.  It’s called racing Kyle did you get THAT memo?  It’s great Kyle is passionate about his racing, but you aren’t going to win every single race.  Sometimes the mark of a good racer is the way you behave when you lose. 

I have my fantasy football set for this year.  This will be first time I have ever attempted fantasy football.  I didn’t go to the draft part because I was dealing with a cranky infant.  However I sent Postman with my game plan and budget and to be honest he did pretty good.  I really, really wanted Peyton Manning as my other quarterback, but he just went for too much money and to be honest that was not where I needed to put my money.  Besides I do have his brother Eli as my main QB so I am pretty OK with the team.  I would rather have a team with several good players than a team with one star and crappy players.  We shall see how things go for me—stay tuned.

Work has been somewhat interesting and stressful of late.  But hopefully things have turned the corner…as they say hope springs eternal

I am excited about how the Texas Rangers are challenging for the playoffs this year.  I have actually enjoyed watching them.  And now that Pudge is back it’s going to be interesting to watch that Wild Card race with Boston and Tampa Bay.  Go Rangers!  Hopefully the Cowboys are somewhat better than last year.  I think with TO leaving and Romo able to get focused on things on the field instead of what’s going on in the tabloids etc.  It’s going to be interesting as well for my Red Raiders.   I am excited though.  I don’t know if it will be as thrilling as last year, but I am sure the Red Raiders will have some surprises this year.

Little Smoke starts first grade on Monday!  Woo Hoo! We still have some issues we all have to work through, but he is improving and I think things will settle down once he gets into his school routine.  He is playing flag football this year and Postman will be his coach.   Postman may have to ban me from his games because I can get a little passionate about football and no I am NOT one of those moms either.  I respect what the coaches do and let them do their job.

Posted in NASCAR 2009, Tony Stewart

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.

Posted in NASCAR 2009, Tony Stewart

Back and sort of better than a few weeks ago

Sorry for not posting in a long time, but I was having internet issues.  My only access somewhat has been at work before I get going or during the lunch hour.  I did get some things done during this down time, but the laundry still is fighting the good fight. 

You would think the off week would one for all of us to recover and get ready for the push towards the Chase and the Chase itself.  But alas, the whole did he or didn’t he thing took center stage again.  Yes…the whole Jeremy Mayfield is still around.  I know this story has more sides to it than a Rubik’s cube, but I am so tired of it all.   There are more interesting stories to talk about this year.  Take for instance…Mark Martin.  He now has 4 wins this season.  Who would have thought he would have more wins than his teammates, Jimmie (2), Jeff(1)  and Junior (0), combined.  He has a renewed motivation that he didn’t have towards the end of his tenure with Roush.  He clearly is having a blast!

What about Juan Pablo?  He is having a good year.  He is 9th in points even though he has no wins, he has 9 top tens.  Not bad for a driver on a team that really hasn’t been going anywhere this year.  At first I didn’t like JPM, but I think he has realized that in order to have a good season you have to finish races.  You can’t always go out and race balls to wall all the time.  You need to be there at the end.

Silly season is among us now.  Kevin Harvick may want out of his contract at the end of the 2009 season, but still has one year left on his contract with RCR.  His sponsor, Shell’s contract ends this year.  Richard Childress states Kevin will not be let out of his contract.  Gee…isn’t that what owners usually say?  As I recall Tony was supposed to be finishing out his contract with Gibbs this year and we all know how that ended up don’t we?  Do I think Kevin Harvick will end up at Stewart Haas Racing?  I don’t see why SHR could run a third car and perhaps Kevin needs a new team.  I mean he has been running the #29 since 2001 when Dale Sr. died.  Plus Tony has driven for Kevin in the Nationwide for Kevin Harvick Incorporated and they are great friends.  But as I can attest working for and with your good friends don’t always work out.  But if the success they have had in Nationwide can be translated to a team for SHR watch out. 

Of all the race weekends I am looking forward to the most this year is coming up on Sunday.  Tony comes into the Brickyard in the points lead.  He is driving the #14 which just happens to be his idol’s, AJ Foyt’s number, and he is part owner of the team he is driving for.  How wonderful if Tony could get this victory at The Brickyard this weekend?  It might be a little sweeter than his first victory back in 2005.  Watch out everyone!  I hope the tires will last longer than they did in last year’s race.  From what I can tell, this tire Goodyear is bringing this year has been thoroughly tested and should be ready to go for the race on Sunday.  Here’s hoping.

One more thing…love the double file restarts!

Some non-NASCAR items…I have made the leap into fantasy football.  I have joined the same league as Postman.  My goal for the season try to outdo Postman and if a kick a little tail on the other teams icing on the cake.  My QB is Eli Manning.  I would rather have Peyton, but I can’t go wrong with Eli.  Wish me luck!