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!

Rinse, Lather, Repeat

I felt like I was in the middle of some crazy nightmare yesterday.  Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson for coming in first yesterday.  I don’t know if we could call what happened yesterday racing.  Yes, there were 43 cars on the track trying to make their way to the front.  And I guess by definition that would be racing, but the type of racing I like to see between the drivers didn’t happen yesterday. 

In case you missed it, NASCAR basically dictated the pace of the race yesterday.  With all the problems the teams were having with tires, NASCAR chose in the name of safety to call competition yellows throughout the race in hopes the track would rubber up the longer drivers were on the track.  However this wasn’t the case and so the race was done in segments.  The drivers would get the green, but just when they would get to a decent pace (in my opinion) a competition yellow would be thrown so teams could come into the pits to change tires.  Clearly the track and the tire were not compatible.  It was clear the situation was not going to get better throughout the day.  I was resigned to the fact the race was going to be a series of several pit stops.

Even though these pit stops were dictated by NASCAR, it was interesting to see how the crews used tire strategy to get track position.  Both Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon began using changing four tires instead of just the two right sides like other teams were using.  When teams did change just the right side tires, they were able to get some decent track position.  But there was Jimmie and Jeff marching towards the front, so it was clear they had good running cars.  I really thought Carl was going to make it a race in the last segment, but kudos go to Jimmie’s pit crew for getting him out first after the last compeition yellow.  Talk about making the most of the money stop.

Who was to blame for this tire dibacle?  I am no position to pint the finger of blame to anyone organization.  I feel it was a combination of things that lead to this situation.  This was the first time the new car was running at Indy.  This car has a higher center of gravity thus it is difficult on the right side tires.  This coupled with the surface of Indy which is not primarily designed for stock cars lead to this situation yesterday. When Goodyear did a tire test in April at Indy, only three teams (Earnhardt, Kurt Busch, and Brian Vickers) participated in the test.  One would think they received enough data to bring in the right kind of tire, however this wasn’t the case either. 

NASCAR was in a difficult spot yesterday. The Brickyard is one of those races everyone looks forward to each year.  I for one do not miss it.  I usually schedule no activities for this day.  NASCAR did what they needed to do to put on an event for the fans sitting in the grandstands as well as those of us sitting at home.  This was also about the safety of the drivers as well.  It was obvious what would happen when  tire blew under high speeds.  One only has to look at what happeend to Montoya and Kenseth yesterday.  I would rather have had the segmented race than all those drivers blowing out tires and causing wrecks.  I do have to applaud Goodyear and NASCAR for giving teams an extra set of tries for the race as well an extra 1600 tires aka Pocono tires.  But luckily the Pocono tires never came into play yesterday. 

No matter the case, this is definitely one hard lesson for NASCAR and Goodyear to learn.  The only thing now is take what was learned from yesterday’s “race” and head back to the drawing board.

Despite the tire issue, there were some good runs.  Elliot Sadler finished 4th.  Jamie M. finished with a 6th place finish.  And how about A.J. Allmendinger, he finished in the 10th position.  Unfortunately, Tony who started 14th and looked like he was going to have a decent finish, finished 23rd.  Luckily he didn’t loose any positions in the standings.  He is currently 10th.  The points leader finished in 15th yesterday, but still maintains 253 point lead over Dale Earnhardt. But as well know all bets are off once The Chase begins. The real race is for me is going to be from about 10th-14th.    It will definitely be interesting to see how this all shakes out over the next few races.

Allstate 400 at The Brickyard

It was a little bit strange watching qualifying this early Saturday morning, but here are the Top 10.

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Mark Martin
  3. Ryan Newman
  4. Kasey Kahne
  5. Jeff Gordon
  6. Elliott Sadler
  7. Kurt Busch
  8. Jamie McMurray
  9. Carl Edwards
  10. Matt Kenseth

Other notables…Dale Jr (11th), Kyle Busch (19th), and Indy 500 winners Juan Pablo and Sam Hornish qualified 13th and 38th respectively.  Where did Tony qualify?  The #20 qualified 14th.  Is this a sign for Mr. Stewart?  It is strange he qualified in the 14th position after announcing yesterday he would be driving the #14 car beginning next year.  Tony aslo happens to be the highest qualified Toyota. 

I am hoping for that #20 to be in Victory Lane this weekend.  I would love to see this scence from last year’s race repeated….

This is the 15th race the NASCAR boys have raced at the famed Indianapolis Speedway.  Here are the previous winners.

  • 1994-Jeff Gordon
  • 1995-Dale Earnhardt
  • 1996-Dale Jarrett
  • 1997-Ricky Rudd
  • 1998-Jeff Gordon
  • 1999-Dale Jarrett
  • 2000-Bobby Labonte
  • 2001-Jeff Gordon
  • 2002-Bill Elliott
  • 2003-Kevin Harvick
  • 2004-Jeff Gordon
  • 2005-Tony Stewart
  • 2006-Jimmie Johnson
  • 2007-Tony Stewart

Of the winners, only two of them have not won a Cup Championship (Ricky Rudd and Kevin Harvick).  From 1998-2001 the winner who won at The Brickyward went on to win the championship in the same year.  Both Tony and Jimmie did the same thing in 2005 and 2006 respectively.  This year’s race will definitely be worth watching.

Even though I have been a restful vacation, I have been keeping up with all the news of NASCAR this past week.

  • Toyota horsepower–asked to reduce theirs that way they are on par with everyone else.  Aren’t the Toyotas using a new model of engine?  As I recall, when a “newer” version of something is put in place isn’t it usually better than the older models?  Oh well..we shall see how all of this will affect Toyota tonight in the Nationwide Series.
  • Newman vs Wallace–are you kidding me?  Why should Rusty Wallace care why the Ryan Newman has left Penske.  It just boggles my mind.  Who really cares why Ryan Newman left Penske?  I would think that would be between Roger Penske and Ryan Newman, not Rusty Wallace.  UGH!
  • Tony Stewart announces car number and sponsors.  This of course was already discussed in a previous post, but hey it was worth mentioning again.

And one final note…I wish this whole Brett Favre thing would just go away.  Reinstate him, sign him and/or trade him, do whatever you need to do to make all of this go away.  Here’s what I see…Brett still wants to play football and the Packers want to move towards the future.  And from this Cowboy fan, I don’t care where Brett ends up.