SHR and That Dang Ol’ Racing Show

I wasn’t sure if I was going to write about the new addition to Stewart Haas Racing.  I have read several articles about Kurt Busch coming to SHR as well as other media sites about the story.  I just don’t know if there is a need to write another story about it.  I have not been quiet about my dislike for Kurt Busch over the years.  He is a hot-headed and quite frankly he can be a complete a-hole.  He has tangled with Tony Stewart along with other drivers on his new team.  He is a polarizing figure in the sport.  Every time he is announced at driver introductions, he gets more boos than cheers. So why would you want someone like this on your racing team?

The man can drive a car and he knows how to win.  Why wouldn’t you want the man on your race team?  Was he the driver I would have loved to seen go to SHR?  One word-NO (and I believe Tony wasn’t on board right way).  Think about the make up of the 2014 Stewart Haas Racing Team (prior to the addition of Kurt)–Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, and Danica Patrick.  These drivers have been known to say what they think and make no apologies about it.  They can be a little hot-headed at times.  One just has to look at the last Saturday’s race at Bristol.  Kevin thought he was wronged by Denny Hamlin.  He went over to his car while on pit road to discuss the matter further with Denny.  Or who could forget last year at Bristol, Tony throwing his helmet at Matt Kenseth’s car.  If you need any further evidence, just check out You Tube.  Now throw in Kurt Busch…wow!  Some of the commenters out there believe Kurt Busch has anger management issues.  Who doesn’t on some kind of level?  Some are better than others at controlling their anger.  Tony is no stranger to anger management issues.  I think he has “mellowed” a little over the last several years.  I contribute this to getting older and being a team owner.  But don’t make this mistake in saying this mellowing means his passion for the sport has changed.  It hasn’t.  I think Kurt has proven he can still be upset about things, but he has done some mellowing himself this year.  Despite his past shenanigans, I still believe this is a good move for SHR.   With Kurt Busch you get a driver who has 24 wins, 95 top fives and 185 top 10s not to mention he won a championship in 2004.  He was the first driver to win a championship under the Chase format.  He is currently sitting 12th in the standings on the bubble of making the Chase this year with a one-car team.  And I have to admit I like that fact he isn’t afraid to race his brother, Kyle.  I mean look what happened in the 2007 All-Star race.  Of course I for one would take out my own grandmother for a million dollars.  I believe the brothers didn’t talk to one another until their grandmother stepped in.

I am ok with Kurt Busch becoming part of SHR.  With that being said, I am did not like how it all came about.  I know Gene Haas was the one who wanted Kurt in the SHR stable.  That’s fine and dandy.  NASCAR is a business and it is all about making the most of your investment.  Tony Stewart understands all of this.  Gene Haas is a co-owner of SHR along with Tony.  I get all that.  But in the end, Tony Stewart elevated his racing team.  He won a championship within 3 years of creating SHR.  It was just weeks ago, Ryan Newman was let go because there was not going to be enough for a fourth team.  You have to wonder if Mr. Haas wanted to keep Newman around on SHR.  During his time at SHR (this also includes his time this year through 24 races) Newman has 4 wins, 28 top 5s, 70 top 10s.  He has won 7 poles and qualified for the Chase only twice since joining SHR in 2009.  Compared to Kurt Busch over this time with Roush/Penske/Phoenix and Furniture Row, Kurt has 6 wins, 34 top 5s, 70 top 10s, 6 poles, and qualified 6 times for the Chase.  It can be compared they both look similar on paper.  But I guess Mr. Haas wanted Kurt Busch on the team.  I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Mr. Haas and Mr. Stewart discussed this matter.  I bet it was an interesting conversation and I am sure it didn’t sit well with Tony.  I just think the timing of it all is rather hinky.  Was there another team entertaining Kurt an offer besides Furniture Row and Mr. Haas wanted to pinned down Kurt while the iron was hot?  No matter what any of us think Kurt Busch is now a member of Stewart Haas Racing.

How happy will I be to watch all four members of SHR next year?  Happier than a camel on Wednesday!  (sorry, for the shameless use of a Geico commercial)

Some final thoughts…

If you missed last night’s That Dang Ol’ Racing show, you must have had something more important to do last night.  I was able to win free pizza from Domino’s by winning last week’s Dang Ol’ Racing Challenge.  Thanks to Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, and Jimmie Johnson for racking up some serious points for me.  Does this mean I have to share my pizza with them?  I hope not, because I am not good at sharing.  This week the boys are headed to Atlanta and I have chosen Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, and Matt Kenseth.  Let’s hope these boys get it done, so I can be a two-time winner!  As I mentioned in previous posts here in The Park, I was excited to hear about this new show.  For years now I have been posting about NASCAR and looking for those of you out there who are willing to banter with me about the sport.  I have those who tolerate this obsession of mine.  I have tried to explain things to hem and even invited them to watch a race or two with me, but to no avail.  Now I have a place I am able to share my thoughts on NASCAR.  For my friends and family, you should send on Mr. Ryan Hyatt a thank you.  I don’t have to bother you as much or subject you to this thing I love called NASCAR.   Well, if you want to catch That Dang Ol’ Racing Show, just tune into 98.5 Real Country every Tuesday from 6-7. You can also find the show on Facebook (That Dang Ol Racing Show,) or on Twitter (@dangolracing).  You can find that show blog on my blogroll, just go over to the right side under Infield and click and boom…there you are!  So join the show next week,  you can have a chance to win free pizza from Dominos and who doesn’t like free pizza!  Please note I am not a paid spokesperson or am I compensated in any way shape or form.  I just like the show and want others to join in on the fun!

Dover

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.

24 Hours at Lowe’s

I was already to sit down and enjoy my Day O’ Racing on Sunday, but Mother Nature was not having any of that.   She decided to drop quite a bit of rain on Lowe’s on Sunday.  Of course I didn’t mind all that much the race was moved to Monday because I had the day off.  It always gets a little awkward when I have to make that “I’m sick and can’t come into work today” call.  So my Day O’ Racing turned into Days O’ Racing no big deal.  But once again Mother Nature intervened…ugh.  What was her deal this weekend?  

With all the delays and all the rain, the strategy for majority of the teams was pretty much otu the window.  How can you really get a good run going when you have windows of sun and some good racing and then have to stop and watch the rain fall.  The final stop of the day put several drivers up front by not going into pit.  At the time we had no idea if these calls would be gutsy or a mistake.  Many of the leaders chose to come into the pits while some chose to make that gamble.  But as with everything regarding this race it became a waiting game.

I always enjoy the broadcast coverage of rain delays.  It is sort of like a train wreck at times.  I mean they have to talk about something while waiting for the jet driers to dry the track.  Some of it can be quite boring and mundane at times, but others very funny.  I have to say when they showed Tony discussing with Reutiman about his racing I was kind of laughing at the whole incident.  I mean Tony went over to discuss something with Reutiman and it looked like they had everything settled when one of Reutiman’s crew came over to put his two cents in.  I chuckled when that crew member or “Billy Bad Butt” (as Tony put it) kneeled down and kissed the ground.  Very funny stuff.

I knew the last stop for rain was going to be the last one of the day.  The jet driers tried to get the track ready, but the rains kept coming and well no matter what NASCAR tried, Mother Nature was not going to cooperate.  So with that said, NASCAR called the race and declared David Reutiman the winner.  Some fans out there may think he stole a win, but isn’t part of racing putting yourself in position to win.  The leaders had the same opportunity to stay out especially knowing that more rain was probably going to come out.  Sometimes races are more about strategy and rolling the dice than racing.  You have to do what you need to do to win.  

I am not sad Reutiman won.  It was just a matter of time before he did win.  It’s good to see Michael Waltrip Racing come away with a win especially with how MWR started that first year.  He has come a long way from that weekend in Daytona.  It is difficult to begin a race team especially now with all the economic times and the super teams.  But MWR has slowly come into its own.  Congratulations to Ryan Newman for his 2nd place finish as well.  After the trouble on pit road with the lugnut issue it was good to see Newman in the Top 5.  Tony finished 19th. 

My pick for my fantasy league this race was Jimmie who finished 13th.  I am comfortable with that since I still have the lead, but I was hoping to extend the lead out instead I am holding on by 9 poitns I believe.  Dover is the last race of this segment of the my league.  I don’t have too many choices left, but I think I will pick Newman this week at Dover.  Newman has had 3 wins, 6 Top 5s, and 8 top 10s with an average race finish of 10.5.  I think it will be a safe pick.  All I need is a great finish and the person behind have a bad day.  But as with any race it all depends on a lot of factors.  I mean look at last year’s race at Dover.  Once mistake by the #19 and BAM…a lot of contenders gone.  I hope this does not happen this weekend. 

On a personal note, I will be heading out this weekend on a much needed vacation with Postman and Little Smoke.  We are taking a mini-tour of Texas via Waco and Wescalo and other parts unknown.  I will be away from my computer, but will have some access so I will be chekcing in from time to time.  But I won’t let my vacation keep me away from the racing, I mean come on now…priorities here.

Rocketman and other items

  • First Tony gets the first win for Stewart Haas Racing last week, now Ryan wins the pole for the Coke 600 on Sunday. Woo Hoo!  
  • Tony qualified 28th for Sunday’s race.  I am not too concerned about Tony’s qualifying spot.  It’s a long race and a lot can happen during that time.  I mean he didn’t exactly start up front at the All-Star race and we all know how that turned out.
  • I see Jeff Gordon received treatment for his chronic back trouble.  I can understand how he must feel.  I have chronic back pains and I know how painful they can be.  Of course, I am sure last week’s crash during the All-Star race didn’t help his back.  It would not surprise me if he continues to have trouble with his back that he retires earlier than he anticipated.  Oh by the way he is starting third.
  • I have to say I am a little tired of all the Jeremy Mayfield situation.  I can’t put my finger on it, but something just doesn’t seem right with this situation.  Could Claritin D been the culprit?  If so, is this the reason NASCAR hasn’t come out and said anything?  I mean after all Claritin D is a sponsor for a major Cup team.  It’s just a thought.  Either way this is going to be interesting to see how NASCAR’s drug testing policies and procedures stand up to scrutiny.
  • And what was up with Jimmie’s new hairstyle?  I do have to say it does distract me from his beard.  It’s not too bad.  In fact he now has the same hairstyle as Little Smoke.

I am so ready for this weekend to get under way.  I mean I will be heading out to the store to pick up supplies for Day ‘O Racing.  I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend.  As you are going throughout your weekend enjoying all that food, beverage, sun and of course racing remember what this weekend is truly about.  Stop and take a moment to say “Thank You” to a soldier or a veteran.  For it wasn’t for all the brave men and women in the military, we would be able to enjoy the freedoms we have to day.  Thank you to my dad (Air Force), my father-in-law (Army), my uncles Cecil, Junior, Chris, Bill (Air Force, Marines), my cousin, Joe  (Navy) as well as Mike (Air Force) and Jack (Marines).  You served our country with pride and honor and I thank you.

NASCAR

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Official, well sort of

I got a NASCAR alert via my email just a few minutes ago….Ryan Newman headed to Stewart- Haas Racing beginning with the 2009 season.

This is from NASCAR.com article, “Ryan Newman’s long-anticipated move to Tony Stewart’s new race team will become reality Friday in an announcement at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR.com has learned.”..driver on over

Wow…never saw that coming!