The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Phoenix Spring Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday April 20, 2009

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Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Phoenix Spring Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin · Monday April 20, 2009


The Key Moment: Mark Martin was able to quickly dispatch Ryan Newman on the race’s final restart, and Tony Stewart never generated the steam to catch him.

In a Nutshell: Martin’s victory is a feel good story, but it doesn’t hide the fact Phoenix wasn’t much of a race.

Dramatic Moment: With passing so hard and track position so important, the first few laps after a restart are about all we have left in this sport that resembles real racing.

The pyrotechnics in the air weren’t the only fireworks after the race.

Truthfully, the only great racing I saw all night was off of pit road after the final caution. Martin barely beat Stewart (and a soon to be penalized Kyle Busch) to hold his track position.

What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week

Mark Martin might not be everyone’s favorite driver, but I’ve met few fans who don’t like him. If their guy can’t win, a Martin win makes most fans feel good anyway because of the class Martin has shown during his career and the grace with which he has faced the most crushing defeats. It was also nice to see Martin’s former team owner, Jack Roush, and former teammates Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth rushing to congratulate him. Sometimes, friendships do survive competitive rivalries and business divorces. In another show of class, Martin took a few moments during what was rightfully his own time in the spotlight to pay tribute to both Alan Kulwicki and Tim Richmond.

Runner-up Tony Stewart was one of the many drivers to visit Mark Martin in Victory Lane to offer their congratulations.

It was also sort of nice to see a driver not doing burnouts and doughnuts and in general carrying on like a lunatic hoodlum after winning a race. Martin acted like he wasn’t surprised he was going to Victory Lane — because he’d been there before. Hopefully, some other, younger drivers were taking notes. That might have been the classiest post-race celebration since Terry Labonte won the final Southern 500.

Give Ryan Newman some credit for class as well. He restarted the race in the lead with a handful of laps left to run. Even if he couldn’t have won the race, he surely could have messed with Mark Martin enough to allow his team owner, Tony Stewart, to take the victory. But when Newman saw he’d been bested, he allowed Martin to pass him cleanly.

Given the way the car in the lead with clean air on its nose is able to dominate (witness the previously hapless No. 88 car driving away from the field after the fifth caution and Kurt Busch’s dominant car dropping back during the same sequence) why can’t NASCAR admit the obvious – there’s an inherent problem with this new car? It’s killing the racing, and that’s killing our sport.

But on a brighter note, the tepid action and late start time probably combined to allow many race fans a great night’s sleep on the couch. I am not ready to say that Saturday night’s Phoenix race was the worst Cup race ever — not by a long shot — but it certainly featured the absolute worst TV race coverage I have ever endured. I am reasonably sure that when TV ratings are released later this week, they’ll reflect the huge number of fans who got disgusted and hit the “Off” button on their remotes. Based on the emails I received after the race, a lot of those fans aren’t ever coming back.

Racing is a fickle business. Matt Kenseth, a protégé of Martin’s, started out the season with two race wins but now is in danger of falling out of the top 12 in points. (Note to NASCAR: Award more points to race winners.) At the start of the season, it didn’t seem that Martin was even going to finish many races, but Saturday night, he won at Phoenix. As it stands written in the Book of Jerry: The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down, you can’t let go and you can’t hold on, you can’t go back and you can’t stand still, if the thunder don’t get you, then the lightning will.

OK, now NASCAR is in a pickle. After the race, a thoroughly frustrated Dale Earnhardt, Jr. exacted a little revenge from Casey Mears with his front bumper, sending Mears spinning. NASCAR has said repeatedly they don’t like those sort of antics. But we are, after all, talking Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — so sitting him out a race isn’t even on the radar. My guess is Earnhardt will be treated like any other driver; a hefty fine that’s not going to even ding his bank account and probation until the end of the season, with a dire warning that if he acts up again, they’ll extend the probation… but not much else. The problem is, NASCAR ought to fund Junior’s keg party this week instead. A rivalry between crown princes of two of America’s most successful racing families? That might add a bit of spice to the sport. Sadly, I’m relatively sure by next week Dale and Casey will be all but blubbering and hugging each other, saying how much they “hated” what happened and swearing there’s no hard feelings. It’s too bad, because the best thing that could happen to the sport right now is for Mears to let Earnhardt have one right in the kisser with the cameras rolling next week. The problem is, at Talladega a battalion of Marines couldn’t get Mears out of there alive if he did so.

Fans at home had endured nearly two hours and ten minutes of monotonous racing when Tony Stewart began running down Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for what was going to be the first green flag pass for the lead in the entire race. And that’s when FOX chose to cutaway to commercial. I mean, come on, they had to see what was happening. Even the newest fans to the sport could see what was about to go down. Why go to commercial? Then, why add insult to injury by making fans sit through the Cheezy-It Minute before showing a replay of the pass?

Does it seem more and more tracks seeking to sell tickets via TV commercials are relying on classic race footage and drivers from decades past rather than more recent races and drivers? For a fan who was there back in the day, it’s a painful reminder of how good some races used to be. Of course, FOX isn’t using the same strategy to promote upcoming races — they’re still relying on wreck footage.

When Robby Gordon said he was “looking forward to a new driver in the No. 55 car next year,” was that wishful thinking or does he have some inside information? Given his own reputation, this might have been a classic case of a fire hydrant pissing on the dog.

As someone staring down the barrels of 50 years of age myself, Mark Martin’s win was pretty inspiring. Life doesn’t end at fifty. All I need to do is stop smoking, quit drinking beer, start exercising, improve my notoriously bad diet… and I’ll be in great shape, too. Nah. That don’t sound like much fun. But I might buy a No. 5 team ball cap.

My take on Jim France stepping down from his position as CEO of the International Speedway Corporation (deed holders to tracks like Daytona, Darlington, Talladega, et al) in deference to his niece Lesa? In the immortal words of Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend, “Meet the new Boss, the same as the old boss…” No, we won’t get fooled again.

Someone has to point it out. In the first eight Cup races of 2009, three of four Rick Hendrick-owned teams have won. One team, the No. 88, has not… and hasn’t even been particularly close to winning. By the way, is Hendrick’s health OK? It seems he’s skipping a lot of races lately.

What in blazes was wrong with Kevin Harvick’s car Saturday night? I mean, we’re talking about a driver who has won races in all three of NASCAR’s top divisions at Phoenix. Maybe it was a special promotion by the event’s sponsor, because Harvick really was out to lunch all night.

Some things just blend together naturally like peanut butter and jelly. Other things, like a Christmastime duet between Bing Crosby and David Bowie, seemed forced. The pairing of this year’s Darlington Cup race with seems even more bizarre to the point of being infuriating. Darlington is the circuit’s most historic and storied track, even if they are racing there on the eve of Mother’s Day. It’s located in the buckle of the Bible Belt. is advertising’s leading purveyor of softcore porn disguised as thirty second advertisements. The pairing just doesn’t seem natural, and hopefully it is short-lived and as successful as Danica Patrick has been in her attempts to win an IRL title.

Yes, I’m from the right coast. As it turns out, when you study the demographics of those who still watch Cup races, (a dwindling number this year) so are the majority of fans in the markets that reliably provide NASCAR their best numbers. Thus, it makes no sense to me that NASCAR and its network overlords would decide to start a race after 8:30 ET knowing it would be unlikely to wind up ending much before midnight. Late race starts like this weekend’s also leave the networks little wiggle room if a weather delay or even extended caution flags cause the race to run long. Even a brief rain shower could push the end of the race into the 2 AM to 3 AM time slot only populated by infomercials and Insomniac Theater. The late end to the race also pretty much guarantees that there will be little to no post-race coverage in the Sunday edition of East Coast newspapers, a rather risky strategy given the dwindling number of print organs that still devote any attention to stock car racing, anyway. It doesn’t matter that much to me personally; I’ve always been a night owl. But Phoenix needs to be a night race the way Britney Spears needs another 55-gallon drum of stupid juice.

Note to self: You don’t want to hire Helio Castroneves’ accountant, but if you’re ever audited, you really need to hire his legal team. Somewhere in a Nevada jail cell, O.J. is smirking.

I’ve never heard a Cup race pole winner claim idiocy was the cause of his achievement until Mark Martin did so after taking the top starting spot on Friday at Phoenix.

Eight races into the season, and these Digger segments are already in re-runs? It’s not like these worthless little skits aren’t annoying enough the first time. And while I hate to pile on FOX, the conflict between church and state (the alleged separation of the bean counters wishing to thank those who pay the bills and the actual broadcast team) was severely challenged by the amount of coverage Carl Edwards, driving the low cal hoagie car of the race’s title sponsor, got based on his actual relevance to the race; it was all out of skew. That was just another example of race fans getting a five dollar footlong right up the wazoo. Five bucks? Even the hookers in Philly get more than that for allowing such an act.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. led a bunch of laps, but his efforts were hampered by a slow pit stop and a car that got adjusted into left field. Who’d have thunk? (Yeah, OK, we’ve seen this loony tune before.) Casey Mears finally finished off Junior’s bad evening by buying him a one way ticket into the concrete. To top it all off, Junior done went and got hisself into all sorts of trouble by wrecking Mears after the race.

Jeff Gordon’s original Rainbow Warriors were the pit crew all modern teams patterned themselves after. But a dropped lugnut on pit road dropped Gordon out of contention despite a racy mount. Let’s see, 47 races from now is…

Kyle Busch thought he was in the lead after the final pit stop, but was penalized by NASCAR officials for speeding on pit road. (Though he seemed to be fender-to-fender with Stewart the entire way. Obviously, a Mark Martin win was going to be a lot more popular than another win by Kyle Busch; conspiracy theorists, start your engines!) Oddly, FOX didn’t do a post-race interview with Busch. If you want to listen to that sort of foul-mouthed tirade, you’ll have to tune into Rescue Me on FX this week…

Ryan Newman barely made the start of the race when the starter froze up on the No. 39 car when the command was given to fire the engines. He then had to endure radio problems all evening. Does the team even do a pre-race inspection of their cars? I guess it’s obvious which side of the shop all the remaining members of last year’s Gene Haas organization wound up on.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

Jimmie Johnson had to overcome a rare pit road foul-up by the No. 48 team en route to a fourth place finish. That pit road fire (yet another dramatic moment FOX only had on replay and after the conclusion of the race, at that) could also have seriously hampered Johnson’s efforts.

David Reutimann posted another solid top 10 finish and ran better than that most of the night. He surely had a better Saturday evening than his boss.

Kurt Busch had a strong car early in the race, but it was never the same after he tagged the wall trying to pass John Andretti, a death-defying feat the leaders had to perform several times all night. Is Andretti heading to Indy next month? Busch fought back to a third place finish.

Denny Hamlin’s evening could easily have ended when he got into the No. 24 car and Jeff Gordon decided a little post-incident payback was in order. Let’s put it this way: it wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever seen Gordon do in a race car. (And I’m sorry, while I support the fight against Breast Cancer as much as anyone… the color pink just doesn’t belong on race cars.)

With a third, fourth, and second place finish in the last three races, Tony Stewart is ever so close to grabbing the brass ring as the circuit heads to Talladega — one of his best tracks.

Worth Noting

  • Martin’s win was his first Cup victory since Kansas in 2005, unless you want to count the Daytona 500 of 2007 when I still maintain that Martin was clearly ahead of Harvick when the caution should have been thrown on the last lap (and perhaps even still ahead when the yellow hanky made its long overdue appearance). Yeah, when it comes to beating dead horses, I’m Kentucky Derby material.
  • Tony Stewart is averaging a third place finish in the last three Cup races.
  • Kurt Busch (third) is averaging a tenth place finish in the first eight Cup races of 2009. Last year, he posted an average 22nd place finish for the season.
  • Jimmie Johnson (fourth) has managed a top 10 finish in six of the last seven races.
  • Greg Biffle (fifth) has posted top 10 finishes in half of this season’s Cup races.
  • Denny Hamlin (sixth) has finished twelfth or better in the last four Cup races.
  • Martin Truex’s seventh place finish was his best of 2009.
  • David Reutimann’s eighth place finish was his best since Las Vegas.
  • Sam Hornish (ninth) managed his first top 10 finish in 44 career Cup starts.
  • Reed Sorenson’s twelfth place finish was his best since the Daytona 500.
  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s averaging a twentieth place finish this season and is still looking for his first top 5 result. Any more questions as to why he used Mears’ rear bumper as a chew toy after the race?
  • Joey Logano’s 21st place finish was the best by a Rookie of the Year contender. It was the first time Logano had finished better than thirtieth in five races.
  • The top 10 finishers at Phoenix drove four Chevys, two Dodges, two Fords, and two Toyotas. We’re not going to have to start calling the Dodges “Fiats” anytime soon, right? (In a recent argument in a buddies’ garage, two friends told me Chrysler is going under and they deserve to because they can’t even give away cars right now. I’d be more than happy to prove them wrong if Chrysler wants to try to give me a Challenger SRT.)

What’s the Points?

Jeff Gordon continues to lead the points, but his gap over second place Jimmie Johnson eroded to just 85. Kurt Busch remained third in the standings, 13 points behind Johnson. Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin advanced a spot each to fourth and fifth, close enough to Gordon to take the point lead if all hell breaks loose at Talladega.

A curiously off-song evening by Clint Bowyer dropped him two spots to sixth in the standings. Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards held serve at seventh and eighth, while David Reutimann advanced two spots to ninth in the points.

Despite winning the first two races of the season, Matt Kenseth’s slump has dropped him all the way to 12th in the standings, down another three spots this week. On the flip side, Mark Martin’s win vaulted him five spots in the standings up to 13th, just nine points out of the top 12. Greg Biffle is three points behind Martin, while Juan Pablo Montoya is 20 points behind Biffle in fifteenth. The rest of the pack is losing the scent of the Chase…

Further back, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. dropped three spots to 19th in the standings, a sobering 399 points off the pace. And Robby Gordon dropped to 35th in owner points, leaving him in danger of having to qualify into races soon.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — We’ll grind our teeth and give this one three cans of well-aged Schlitz. Two cans are for a popular race winner, and one can is awarded for three hours of monotony posing as a race stretching way too far into Saturday night.

Next Up: Cup racing takes a week off, as NASCAR stages its own convoluted game of Roller Blade with the Cup cars at Talladega. In the immortal words of the late Dale Earnhardt, “I don’t care what they say. That ain’t real racing. Mr. Bill France would be turning over in his grave if he seen this mess.” Of course, Dale won’t be out there next week. Plate racing killed the man.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


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04/20/2009 06:39 AM

It wasn’t plate racing that killed Earnhardt. It was a boneheaded blocking move trying to insure that one his two cars won the race.

04/20/2009 07:03 AM

If I were an IndyCar fan (which luckily I’m not), I’d be ashamed of Danica Patrick being their biggest star. She is the Casey Mears of that series talent wise.

Bill B
04/20/2009 07:25 AM

Yawn. What a snoozer.

It was worth seeing Mark Martin win one though.

04/20/2009 07:54 AM

I was glad to see Martin win, given that Jerk Roush could never give him the Championship winning equipment he has always deserved! I hope that when Jerk Roush went to congratulate Mark, that Mark told him to get lost and spit in his worthless face! Also, I’m glad to see that Kenseth is going to be out of the top-12! Given too that Ragan will most likely be out of the top-35 after Talladega, a race that Junior should surely win, guarantee that Ragan won’t make the field at Richmond! Now, get rid of Edwards out of the top-12, and with no Jerk Roush drivers in the Chase, this wil be the perfect year! Gordon, Martin, Johnson, and Junior fighting it out for the Championship, with Gordon finally getting his fifth!

04/20/2009 08:16 AM


AND! If I was a NA$CRAP fan, I would be ashamed that JR. is their biggest star!


And yes sports fans, “plate racing” did kill Senior!

The biggest problem with that is it led to the introduction of the very sick CoT!

So not only did “plate racing” kill a driver, it also killed the sport!

04/20/2009 08:25 AM

I tuned in occasionally during the long evening to see what progress Martin was making in the bore-fest, but for the first time in a while I was on the edge of my seat for the last 20 laps or so. With Martin’s luck, not Jack Roush’s good equipment, Mike, he could have easily lost. I remember him starting to victory lane before he finished the last lap of the race under caution once. Kudos to Martin on the classy winner celebration without the silly, childish burnout. Danica finished fourth yesterday, by the way, in front of a lot of good drivers on a tough track.

04/20/2009 08:55 AM

Hey, who p—sed in Mike’s corn flakes this am. Guess he’s not on ‘Jack in the Hat’s’ Christmas card list.

Now for the quote of the week – Matt on Robbie & Mikey…“Given his own reputation, this might have been a classic case of a fire hydrant pissing on the dog.” Excellent!

Joe W.
04/20/2009 08:57 AM

Mike, I do not know what Jack Roush did to you but you are clearly delusional when it comes to Nascar. Roush has run one of the best teams for a number of years and Mark Martin would have won a championship without Nascar’s inconsistant and unfair penalties. So I am SICK of your garbage rants against Roush. SHUT UP!!

04/20/2009 09:22 AM

wow…i missed a lot by falling asleep on the couch. i was beginning to think it was me, noting that only lead changes are coming in the pits. missed the end of the race, missed jr spinning out mears. so jr did that maneuver correctly, so i guess he hasn’t forgotten what little he knows, this year, about racing. i hope jr enjoys being the joke of the hendrick organization. that’s about the only thing he can boast about. of course heading to ‘dega this weekend it will be the jr love-fest. i wonder how many email offers i’ll receive from talladega this week, trying to convince me to attend the race. i keep telling them a free ticket, in a good seat and helicopter transport to and from the track from my house in west ga would seal the deal.

04/20/2009 09:29 AM

Go figure… I enjoyed the race!

But, I’m a happy person that looks for the good things in life.

I have a simple question… while I watch the race, I have the scoring link open and the fastest car on each lap is highlighted in blue. Often, maybe 2/3rds of the laps (and especially when Kurt Busch was leading and Mark Martin was chasing him), I saw a car, not the leader, post the fastest lap.
How can that be if clean air favors only the leader?

Congratulations to Mark Martin and his entire Hendrick team. For everytime a mechanical gremlin struck them down this season, they’ve come back strongly and stayed in the hunt.

It must be one of the happiest days ever at Rick Hendrick’s famous shops.

04/20/2009 09:36 AM

It is just a true delight to see a person 50+ competing…and winning! What a class act honoring Kwiki and Tim Richmond. Humility is a rare virtue found in anyone today let alone an athlete.

04/20/2009 09:46 AM


Optimists like you have no business reading this column…It is the owned and operated by folks who never go to a race (local or Cup)watch every lap on free TV, and then complain about the coverage.

Take a couple of depressants before writing next time, would ya?

04/20/2009 10:13 AM

“Given the way the car in the lead with clean air on its nose is able to dominate (witness the previously hapless No. 88 car driving away from the field after the fifth caution and Kurt Busch’s dominant car dropping back during the same sequence) why can’t NASCAR admit the obvious – there’s an inherent problem with this new car? It’s killing the racing, and that’s killing our sport. “

Oh really? the Nationwide race seemed to exhibit similar behavior, except more pronounced. But, I am sure that is also the fault of the new car in Cup.

04/20/2009 10:38 AM

Jim: Will do… couple of strong pills to make me “a NASCAR fan” and I’ll keep the straight razor at the wrist if things in case “my driver” is having another bad day.
But, despite living 45 minutes away from ‘Dega for the past 19 years, I won’t tune in the race (not a fan of plate racing, ya know)… I’ll just check the points Monday morning to see who got screwed, and who got lucky enough to miss the big one(s).

Chris: Good point. I’ve been watching to see how the Cup and Nationwide races compare and it’s amazing how similar the events are.

Going thru the data of races before and after the COT era, there’s an amazing trend… the leader is at the front; go figure!
Like I said, I keep the scoring loop open and see fastest laps by someone other than the leader frequently.

04/20/2009 10:56 AM

Matt, your columns are always right on. This is one long time NASCAR fan who has stopped tuning in to most races. When my 16 year old daughter notices that I have stopped watching (Sunday morning she asked me who won on Saturday night and I couldn’t tell her) it has become pretty evident that the product NASCAR is delivering to the fan is quite poor. I’ll stick to the local dirt tracks on Saturday night!

Carl D.
04/20/2009 11:02 AM


Would you please re-run your column about your annual trips to the Pocono races? Jim would like to read it.

04/20/2009 12:02 PM

FWIW: I turned it off with 70 to go.

04/20/2009 12:02 PM

Mike, if Mark Martin ever did talk to Mr. Roush that way, and I don’t think he would, I’d pack up all 217 of my Mark Martin diecasts (7 of which are pre-Roush and 2 are post-Roush) and sell them for a dollar each on E-Bay! Give me a break! I can’t stand Hendrick, but I was so glad Mark won and not any of Hendrick’s other hacks! And if it comes down to the final race for the title, and Mark is in the hunt, if the Champion can’t be Kenseth, Edwards, or Biffle, I sincerly hope Mark does win it. It’s just too bad he drives for that Felon!

04/20/2009 12:13 PM

Mike – David Ragan is closer to passing Jr. in the points than he is to falling out of the top 35. And what non-championship equipment were Kenseth and Kurt Busch driving when they won their championships? Or Biffle and Edwards when they tied for 2nd just barely missing in 2005? Or Edwards winning the most races and finishing 2nd in 2008? Please. I’m happy for Martin getting the win. I wish his class and maturity would rub off on his teammate, who probably would take your advice and spit in his former owner’s face if she came by to congratulate him on a win. That is exactly why I am not a fan of his.

04/20/2009 12:25 PM

Speaking of promos for other races , if i were the owner of Phoenix Raceway , FOX would never be allowed back on the property . All weekend long , the announcers ( pit and booth ) openly promoted the upcoming All Star race . Especially during live interviews with the drivers . Thats just the thing you want to hear , another track being promoted from your track . But then what can you expect , its FOX .
I too was puzzled by the gaff of FOX missing the Johnson pit fire . They rarely have the cameras pointed anywhere BESIDES the Hendrick teams .

Paul L
04/20/2009 03:16 PM

Maybe I just dreamt it but I remember seeing the pit road fire during the race. They even mentioned it as DW called it a small fire and McReynolds told him it was only small because he was way up there in the booth. They didn’t have any footage of the fire starting. What they showed was the end as the team was putting it out. Anybody else remember this as well?

04/20/2009 03:24 PM

Fox did briefly show the fire as it was just about extinguished. Larry commented that a hot lug nut dropping into spilled fuel could ignite it. But to see just how big a fire there actually was (it was roughly the length of the pit stall) you had to be watching as they showed highlights while rolling the credits at the end of the race.

Bill Smith
04/20/2009 03:37 PM

I have been a NASCAR fan for 42 years. It gave me some pleasure to see you say Earnhardt was killed by plate racing. I was at the race when he said plate racing is not racing. I also think plate racing cut Earnhardt’s life short and has taken away the very purpose of racing. I was at Daytona when the tire war lead to the death of Neil Bonnett. I heard Neil once say the purpose of a race car is to make it go as face a possible. Plate racing is luck racing with hard work playing a very small part in the results.

04/20/2009 04:11 PM

Is there any way to block people under the age of 40 from posting to this forum?

Every thing else aside, Martin won a race and for the 1st time in several years, I find myself tempted to watch a race on TV again.

I doubt anyone in NASCAR understands how many former fans would tune-in again just to see an old favorite beat the much lauded “young guns”.

Most of the current crop of “talent” wouldn’t bother to persevere through challenges Martin has had to endure in his career, let alone have the physical abililty or guts to do so even if they did have the humility and patience.

04/20/2009 04:19 PM

Sorry Matt, I voted 6 beers for the race—just cuz our man Mark is back on top! :D

Jeff G
04/20/2009 06:16 PM

I wonder why Douglas comes here and post. If he is not a fan what’s the point?

He could spend quality time somewhere he is happy.

I have always thought he must be such an unhappy person.
He sounds so viscous. I’m not a Jr. fan, but I never attack people I don’t even know.

Maybe Douglas will share with us the IndyCar site he post to.

I would love to see something postive out of him..

Sorry Douglas, but “cool your jets”..

I really hate it that you hate NASCAR so much.

04/20/2009 06:44 PM

way to go matt. you blame robby’s reputation because dw’s brother spins him out ? i guess mikey didn’t realize they were under green – unlike at n hampshire where mikey spun robby under yellow.

04/20/2009 06:49 PM

Well, I thought the race was good. And I sure wish there were more Saturday night racing.

So… Will Jr. even MAKE the chase? LOL.

Anybody else notice that Fox went to commercial every 13 laps?

04/20/2009 08:07 PM


I noticed a long time ago that from the time the cars cross the line at the start of the race, it is six minutes to the first commercial, three minutes of commercials, six minutes of “racing coverage” and then three minutes of commercials. If there is a caution flag early, it is up to three minutes of coverage and the three minutes of commercials. It works out to two minutes of coverage for each minute of commercials.

And it is worse with a lot of cautions. It seems NA$CAR wants thirty second laps except at Martinsville(twenty second laps) and big tracks (almost sixty second laps).

Depressing, isn’t it.

Kevin in SoCal
04/20/2009 09:34 PM

Ed, half the writers of this website are under age 40, including the owner Tom Bowles!

Master Braytak
04/20/2009 10:34 PM

Ratings were off 18% compared to last years race.

Pretty telling when the economy is in the crapper and people can’t afford to go out as much, but they are not tuning in while sitting at home. Tells me the percieved value of the race product is pretty low since it is on free over the air TV.

The worm has turned for Nascar on Fox and the old fans have finally tired of waiting for the return of Stock Car Racing as it once was. Of this I am certain.

One more thing, I have earned the right to not watch the new and improved Nascar racing and then read Matt’s column and comment on it here. There was a 20 year stretch that I did not miss a single race on TV and attended about 20 Nascar races in person. This comitment to Nascar more than gives me the right to comment on what I see as a wrong direction by Brian Z. and the brain trust in Daytona. If this bothers some I suggest you pull on your Nascar approved Pom Poms and hang out somewhere else.

04/21/2009 09:10 AM

“Given the way the car in the lead with clean air on its nose is able to dominate (witness the previously hapless No. 88 car driving away from the field after the fifth caution and Kurt Busch’s dominant car dropping back during the same sequence) why can’t NASCAR admit the obvious – there’s an inherent problem with this new car? It’s killing the racing, and that’s killing our sport. ““Oh really? the Nationwide race seemed to exhibit similar behavior, except more pronounced. But, I am sure that is also the fault of the new car in Cup.”

Maybe its because the Nationwide cars are running restrictor plates every week. Oops I meant “tapered spacers”

04/21/2009 11:25 AM

I remember seeing the fire during the race because there was a NA$CAR official warming his hands with it. I think he was trying to be a smartass towards the crew, but I thought it was in bad taste.

04/21/2009 06:41 PM

I actually heard some people say they didn’t watch the race because they figured Jimmie would win and “that’s boring”. LOL.