The Frontstretch: Five Points to Ponder: Chase Race #7 Edition by Mike Lovecchio -- Monday November 2, 2009

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Five Points to Ponder: Chase Race #7 Edition

Mike Lovecchio · Monday November 2, 2009

 

Each week, the Frontstretch hosts a live blog during the Sprint Cup race. It’s a great way for readers to interact alongside their favorite Frontstretch writers with videos, live commentary and live polls. Four of this week’s “Five Points” were polls taken during the Talladega live blog.

Five Points to Ponder:

ONE: What grade would you give today’s race?
Fan Vote – A: 0%; B: 7%; C: 21%; D: 36%; F: 36%

Has there ever been a race so exciting and so boring at the same time? Sunday’s race at Talladega had all of the close quarters racing we’ve become accustomed to seeing at the superspeedway, but with NASCAR policing a stricter bump drafting rule, fans were often scratching their heads at some surprisingly poor racing. Racing at Talladega has often been called a “parade” by fans who don’t like restrictor plates, but this week actually looked like a parade. Combine that with the recurring problem of cars getting airborne and Jimmie Johnson crossing the stripe unscathed, and fans don’t have much to walk away from Talladega with except for another reason to be critical of NASCAR.

TWO: Does today’s finish ensure Jimmie Johnson the championship?
Fan Vote – YES: 100%; NO: 0%

By virtue of flawless strategy once again, Jimmie Johnson laid back for 95 percent of the race, came in to top off on fuel and then avoided the Big One he had been fearing to finish in the top 10 and better than his closest Chase competitors. With a now 184 point lead, it’s time to start etching Johnson’s name on the Sprint Cup for the fourth consecutive season. Unless the No. 48 team has an epic meltdown in two of the next three weeks the deficit is just too large for either Mark Martin or Jeff Gordon to make a comeback. Time to start talking five-peat. Unbelievable.

THREE: Should NASCAR police bump drafting?
Fan Vote – YES: 6%; NO: 94%

It was the main topic coming into the start of this week’s race at Talladega so viewers of the Frontstretch blog were polled on whether NASCAR should police bump drafting or not. In an overwhelming response, 94 percent of viewers believed drivers should be able to police themselves at restrictor plate tracks. Listen, there is no doubt that bump drafting and the subsequent two-car lock we’ve seen at Talladega were problems, but we already have a yellow line rule – if you police every single aspect of restrictor plate racing then it’s not even a race, it’s a parade. Why not outlaw blocking while we’re at it and whichever driver just so happens to be leading the quicker line when the checkered flag flies wins the race?

FOUR: Have NASCAR’s rules at Talladega negatively affected the racing?
Fan Vote – YES: 93%: NO: 7%

Dale Earnhardt Jr. looks as convinced as our fans about the chances of Lance McGrew being the solution to the No. 88’s problems.

Like I said it in the point earlier NASCAR, in my opinion, has crossed the line when it comes to having their fingers on the pulse of every single aspect of restrictor plate racing. I’ll admit I’m a fan of the drama that can unfold at restrictor plate tracks, but it seems like nowadays NASCAR promotes the danger that can occur at these ovals. Denny Hamlin warned before the race that banning bump drafting in the corners would cause more problems on the straightaways and what do you know, we had two cars get airborne due to excessive bump drafting on the straights. I understand that restrictor plates are needed, but when you try and control how drivers race there’s a major problem. Remember, the yellow line rule was supposed to make racing safer too, but we’ve seen just as many scary crashes since the rule as before the rule – just let the guys race!

FIVE: Is Lance McGrew the answer to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s problems?
Fan Vote – YES: 0%; NO: 100%

It was announced this week that interim crew chief Lance McGrew would take over as full-time crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Since McGrew took over, Junior has had better runs, but has still suffered from the bad luck bug. The fact that every viewer in the blog who voted said McGrew was not the answer is not disrespecting McGrew or Earnhardt. There’s much more going on with the No. 88 team than just the driver or crew chief, although communication between the two is an integral part of their success. I expect Junior to rebound next season, but it may be a stretch to say he’ll make the Chase.

Notes to Ponder:

Another town hall NASCAR had another town hall meeting this week and announced they will make changes to the car in 2011 – at least they’re starting to listen.

Safety: Cars may be getting airborne way too much, but the more head room in the CoT helped Newman in yesterday’s crash.

McMurray’s audition? – Part II:.For the second consecutive week, McMurray was the highest running Roush car with his win this weekend.

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The Turnip!
11/02/2009 09:05 AM
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Quote: “Another town hall NASCAR had another town hall meeting this week and announced they will make changes to the car in 2011 – at least they’re starting to listen.”

Yeh right!

Hey, look at that, a flying elephant just went by!

Yes, I can see the “new changes” to the POS now!

“Rule # xxxxxxx, ALL SPLITTERS WILL BE PAINTED ORANGE”!

Wanna bet?

Joe
11/02/2009 12:28 PM
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Funny how nascar is starting to slowly undo the changes they’ve made over the last several years.

I guess that’s one positive thing about this terrible economy.

Now if we can just get some more short tracks!

JJ the S.T.D.
11/02/2009 05:54 PM
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Chad will win it next year and the next and the next……….Predictable and boring. The same bad re-run every year has people tuning out in droves. I thought the ¢hase was supposed to make the championship battle more competitive and exciting. What a mess. Maybe they should have tested it in one of their lesser series for a few years before messing up their premier series. Seriously, who is making these decisions? Brainle$$ Fran¢e or a circus monkey? Really I can’t tell. (Especially when you look at the “classic” points tally, much more competitive). Dump the ¢hase you idiots, before it’s too late (maybe it is already). The numbers DO NOT LIE. Attendance and ratings are terrible, and will get worse, proving the ¢hase is a complete and utter failure. Nobody can possibly argue in favor of it. You just have to look at the overhead shots of the grandstands for all the proof you need

Marybeth
11/02/2009 06:06 PM
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Steve Addington suddenly became available this past week. I am sure that Jr. brings enough money into HMS to pay Addington what he should have…? …or maybe they could team up at Gibbs. There is obviously NO ‘chemistry’ for Jr. at HMS. When Tony Jr. moved to HMS he brought along the DEI specs from 2007 to make the cars for Jr., and he did not change. After Lance became CC he started making cars on the updated HMS chassis. There are now 2, 1 1/2 mile track cars and last week they added one short track car. The car Jr. was given to drive in Charlotte was one of the T Jr. cars. RH knew what was going on, he is not a stupid man.
…& Junior’s “bad luck bug” is driving the R&D car, which the 25/88 is, think of Brian Vickers and Casey Mears. If Jr.‘s performance is not on par with his teammates then Hendrick needs to show his honor, integrity, gentleman sportsmanship & ‘good faith’; for the sake of competition and the good of the sport which is in a dive in ratings and attendance; & let Jr. go, and JR Motorsports, also. Right now RH has Jr. hamstrung in a 5 year contract and half or more of JR Motorsports, Jr.s company which Jr. can not take to cup as long as RH owns half of it, not even to drive for himself, & RH is making a lot of money off of him, & using it to get JJ another championship. Marybeth

Marybeth
11/02/2009 06:13 PM
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Steve Addington suddenly became available this past week. I am sure that Jr. brings enough money into HMS to pay Addington what he should have…? …or maybe they could team up at Gibbs. There is obviously NO ‘chemistry’ for Jr. at HMS. When Tony Jr. moved to HMS he brought along the DEI specs from 2007 to make the cars for Jr., and he did not change. After Lance became CC he started making cars on the updated HMS chassis. There are now 2, 1 1/2 mile track cars and last week they added one short track car. The car Jr. was given to drive in Charlotte was one of the T Jr. cars. RH knew what was going on, he is not a stupid man.
…& Junior’s “bad luck bug” is driving the R&D car, which the 25/88 is, think of Brian Vickers and Casey Mears. If Jr.‘s performance is not on par with his teammates then Hendrick needs to show his honor, integrity, gentleman sportsmanship & ‘good faith’; for the sake of competition and the good of the sport which is in a dive in ratings and attendance; & let Jr. go, and JR Motorsports, also. Right now RH has Jr. hamstrung in a 5 year contract and half or more of JR Motorsports, Jr.s company which Jr. can not take to cup as long as RH owns half of it, not even to drive for himself, & RH is making a lot of money off of him, & using it to get JJ another championship. Jr. was ‘conned’ by a convicted felon by believing his promises. Marybeth

Sal
11/02/2009 08:02 PM
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Isn’t it ironic that Nascar tries to ban bump drafting in the corners (so far) when they built this COT so the front and back bumpers would line up? If they didn’t want drivers to use the bumpers, why didn’t they leave them alone? at least then, it took real skill to bump draft without picking up the rear wheels of the car in front. Mike up your mind, Nascar!

Overra88ted
11/02/2009 09:24 PM
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Never ending excuses made for JR. This was Rick’s way of telling JR. he’s has the best of everything, use your God given AVERAGE AT BEST? talent, and shut up and drive!

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