The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Darlington Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday May 11, 2009

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Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Darlington Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin · Monday May 11, 2009


The Key Moment: Mark Martin was able to gap Jimmie Johnson on the final restart with an old school approach of braking early and accelerating hard out of the corners… a lesson I’d guess Johnson isn’t going to forget anytime soon.

In a Nutshell: New car, new tires, new track surface… same old Darlington.

Dramatic Moment: This is Darlington. The dramatic moments start in the first corner of the first lap and keep piling up throughout the race.

The final restart offered up some great racing until Jimmie Johnson basically hollered over the radio “No Mas” and threw the fight. Not a big surprise, however, as the No. 48 team is too concerned with making the Chase and not concerned enough about winning races these days. What are you doing down there, Jimmie? Points racing, guys… points racing.

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

Mark Martin is turning NASCAR into a sequel of Ron Howard’s film Cocoon. Cocoon meets American Graffiti, anyone? Call my people, we’ll do lunch.

How could NASCAR justify not throwing the caution flag when Sam Hornish, Jr. spun out the length of a straightaway in heavy traffic? For that matter, why did Carl Edwards’ trip into the wall draw a caution flag when a very similar incident involving Kyle Busch a few laps before didn’t earn a yellow? My guess is NASCAR officials were panicking the race was running long for TV and being overly judicious in calling for a caution as a result.

I don’t know if the Roush drivers have to attend the Monday meetings to break down the race weekend; but if they do, I’d suggest that Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards be kept on opposite sides of the table.

When it comes to the All-Star race next weekend or whatever in blazes they’re calling it this year (I still consider it The Winston), dozens of rule packages, formats, and eligibility requirements have been experimented with over the years — each one lamer than the one that preceded it. This year, things have been changed yet again… but they are changes no one needs. I’m old school when it comes to this thing, and I’d like to see them go back to the original format. Take the drivers who won a race the previous season, line them up, and let them race for 70 laps. I can live without field inversions, giant pachinko machines, made for TV timeouts, and drum corps.

It didn’t look like Darlington sold out Saturday night, but given the awkward race date and the economy in the Carolinas, track management seemed to have done a good job selling tickets. Next to aged Labrador Retrievers, you won’t find any loyalty that runs deeper than stock car racing fans in the Southeast.

It might not have been a sellout, but there were plenty of fans on their feet at Darlington to see the flag to flag action Saturday night.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that add up. The retro red and white paint scheme on Darlington’s walls not only looked cool… it heightened the sensation of speed for fans watching the race from the grandstands or even at home on TV.

Are you waiting for FOX to get the message from the fans and make some changes? Don’t bank on it. Told some fans really dislike this whole Digger business, FOX Sports head honcho David Hill replied, “Tough.” In brighter news, FOX has only two more race broadcasts to hawk T-Shirts left in 2009.

It’s common knowledge that corporations that buy commercial minutes during the race broadcasts get their cars featured more often during the race itself. But it’s more than a little over the top when FOX returns from commercial and shows the UPS crew repairing the No. 6 car in the garage while there was green flag racing going on.

It’s been a tough week for the family, friends, and fans of Kevin Grubb, a once promising rookie in the Busch Series who died by his own hand earlier this week. Grubb had been suspended by NASCAR for violations of the drug policy even back when NASCAR barely had a defined drug policy. Now, I write about stock car racing… I don’t preach. I had my own misspent youth, losing friends to substance abuse while watching others destroy their lives. But there is a lesson here. The same week Kevin Grubb died far too young, Mark Martin on the far side of 50 won a 500-mile race on a brutally hot night thanks in large part to the tremendous physical condition he keeps himself in. As a young man, Martin battled and eventually conquered alcoholism; if he didn’t, maybe he’d have wound up dead in a hotel room as well. So if you’re battling demons… don’t give up hope. The fight can be won.

On Mother’s Day, a big thank you to Mother Nature for no rain delays during Saturday night’s race. These races ending at midnight are too tough to take these days — even at the Track Too Tough to Tame.

Well, my guess is that’s that. Owner/driver Jeremy Mayfield was suspended this week for failing a drug test. Mayfield claims that he failed because of a combination of a prescribed medication and over the counter drugs (some allergy medications can indeed trigger a false positive test, and this is a record year for pollen in many parts of the country.) Having watched NASCAR lynch Tim Richmond, though, I am viewing this entire situation with some skepticism. It’s also worth noting that while NASCAR’s Jim Hunter would not identify the substance Mayfield is said to have abused, he did note it was not an alcohol-related issue. Mayfield is one of the last truly blue collar drivers left on the circuit, and it might just be that his beer consumption celebrating an occasional good run by his fledgling team made some of the straight-laced superteam owner BAC (Born Again Christian, not Blood Alcohol Content) types like Joe Gibbs and Rick Hendrick uncomfortable.

Did anyone else realize that the song that plays in the background of the “NASCAR Day/Victory Junction Camp ad about old cars in the backyard” was written and performed by former Hollywood star Kevin Costner? While I doubt he has as many old cars in his backyard as I do (and all of mine run, at least for a fashion), if it came down to starting a singing career or making a sequel to Waterworld Costner made the right call.

Anyone else remember when Pole Day at Indy would have been THE top sports story of the day? To be frank, I’d completely forgotten it was this weekend. Sunday morning, I went to and found two racing-related stories on the front page. One noted that Jeremy Mayfield had been suspended for a failed drug test, while the other said a contractor had been killed by an out of control race car in Seattle. Otherwise, there was no mention of Martin’s win or Helio Castroneves’ pole at Indianapolis. And this is from a news site related to the network that broadcast the awkwardly titled Southern 500! It seems that the separation of church and state works a lot better between FOX’s news and sports outfits than it does between the sports and advertising entities during race broadcasts.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

Into every life a little rain must fall, even into the most charmed of lives. Kyle Busch has been on a roll this season; but Friday night, he dominated in the Nationwide Series race until a flat tire in the final couple of laps cost him a win. Then, in the Cup race Busch just never found enough speed, eventually hitting the wall hard enough that he was forced to retire. The ever effervescent and philosophical Busch was notably short on comments afterwards — though the crowd at Darlington did seem to take a certain perverse pleasure at his twin misfortunes.

Clint Bowyer’s impressive streak of avoiding DNFs over the last three seasons (83 races) came to a hard end at Darlington. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men apparently weren’t able to piece the thoroughly trashed 33 car back together again after contact with A.J. Allmendinger on the backstretch.

Michael Waltrip Racing suffered through a tough evening, with all three drivers winding up wrecked and Waltrip himself hopping out of a thoroughly flambéed car after a catastrophic engine failure.

Jamie McMurray and the No. 26 team just can’t seem to buy a break. After another strong run, a wreck not of his own making left McMurray with a 22nd place finish and a torn up car.

Greg Biffle seemed to have the strongest car for much of the race, but questionable pit strategy left him mired in the pack. Biffle’s charge to the front cost his teammate Carl Edwards a decent finish and ultimately finished off Biffle’s chances at winning as well. The fabricators at Roush Fenway Racing have a lot on their plate in the upcoming week.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. suffered through another rough race both on track and in the pits. Given the domination of the Hendrick outfit at Darlington, that’s just more salt being rubbed into the wound.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

It might be easier to recount who didn’t hit the wall at Darlington than who did after Saturday night’s race. One of those who didn’t was Mark Martin, whose No. 5 car was notably lacking the standard issue right side damage after the race. Remember that old line about old age and experience beating youth and enthusiasm every time? Rock on, you crazy old man.

It was a great night for Hendrick Motorsports, with four of their drivers claiming top 5 finishing positions and two of their satellite teams also claiming top 7 finishing spots.

Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team suffered through some problems this weekend. To start with, Johnson wrecked in qualifying, giving him a starting spot in the back of the field with a poor pit selection. Perhaps as a result of that bad pit stall, Johnson wound up getting spun out on pit road during the race. A gamble on pit strategy also left Johnson a lap down to the leaders at one point — and the hits just kept on coming with a car that struggled to get a grip on the track at times. Ultimately, a second place finish has to be considered a miracle with everything that went on. It’s the way this team takes chickensh*t and turns it into chicken salad when they struggle that has helped them win three consecutive titles.

The Lady in Black is notoriously cruel to rookie drivers, but Joey Logano led some laps and eventually matched his best Cup career finish to date with a ninth place run.

Jeff Gordon lost a lap after a green flag pit stop caused by loose lugnuts, but he somehow rallied back to finish fifth — allowing him to retain the points lead.

As hard as Denny Hamlin wrecked early in the race, it seemed unlikely he’d even finish. Given that, a 13th place recovery was a pretty fair result for him.

Worth Noting

  • Mark Martin has multiple Cup wins for the first time in his career since 1999.
  • Tony Stewart (third) has top 10 finishes in five of the last six Cup races.
  • Ryan Newman (fourth) now has three consecutive top 5 finishes after a tumultuous start to his season.
  • Discounting the plate tracks, Jeff Gordon (fifth) has just one finish outside the top 10 in this season’s other nine races.
  • Martin Truex’s sixth place finish was his best Cup result of 2009.
  • Joey Logano (ninth) led more than ten laps in a Cup race for the first time in his career.
  • Greg Biffle (11th) led more laps than he has in any single Cup event since Dover last spring.
  • Carl Edwards (32nd) has finished outside the top 20 in the last three Cup races.
  • Kyle Busch (34th) has finished outside the top 10 in five of the six last Cup races. The sole exception was his win in Richmond last week.
  • The top 7 finishers at Darlington all drove Chevys. If the old saying “Win on Sunday, (or in this case, Saturday night) sell on Monday” still applied, GM would be lending the U.S. government money this week.
  • It was a pretty good weekend for the rookies, with Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano posting top 10 finishes.

What’s the Points?

Jeff Gordon retains his points lead, which is now 29 over a fast closing Tony Stewart, who moves up a spot to second. After a midrace spin, Kurt Busch fell a spot to third in the standings, 55 behind.

It may be worth noting that three drivers who have combined to win seven of this season’s eleven Cup races (Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, and Mark Martin) are all outside the top 5 in points. Busch (three wins), Kenseth (two wins), and Martin (two wins) are now seventh, tenth, and eleventh in the standings, respectively. His Darlington win did move Martin up four spots into the top 12 for the first time this year, though.

Four drivers escaped the carnage at the Lady In Black to move up two spots in the standings: Johnson, Newman, Biffle, and Kenseth. Those four drivers are now fourth, eighth, ninth, and tenth in points.

On the flip side, Kyle Busch fell two spots to seventh in the standings while Carl Edwards fell three positions, tumbling down from ninth to 12th. Clint Bowyer actually had the worst night in the points, falling five spots and out of the top 12 to 13th — just seven points behind Edwards.

Among other notables with a big hole to dig themselves out of moving forward, we find Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 18th in the standings and Kevin Harvick 21st. For comparison’s sake, Juan Pablo Montoya is currently 14th in points despite hitting everything but the Powerball lottery this season.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — I’ll give this one five well dented cans of icy Coors Light. I’m no fan of wrecks, and seventeen cautions broke up the momentum of the race, but it’s cool to see cars with the decals wiped off the right side finishing in the top 10. If this sort of racing keeps up, NASCAR might just have to move the Darlington date to Labor Day weekend the way God and Cale Yarborough intended it to be.

Next Up: It’s off to Charlotte for the all singing, all dancing, all too hyped up All-Star race.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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Beyond the Cockpit: Alexis DeJoria On The 300 mph Women of the NHRA
A Swan’s Broken Wings Equal NASCAR’s Next Concern?
Thinkin’ Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Pace Laps: Swan Racing’s Future, Fast Females and Dropping Out
Sprint Cup Series Facilities Can Build Upon Fan Experience by Looking to Their Roots


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05/11/2009 12:22 AM

Matt, your love for Darlington is well documented and it very well be heresy for me to say this but, last night’s race didn’t look much different to me than the usual follow the leader, can’t pass the leader snooze-fests that the cookie cutters give us. I don’t really blame the track, more a fault of the COT in my opinion. They’ve managed to make the racing suck at Darlington, too. Sad… (Just my opinion, your mileage may vary.)

Michael T.
05/11/2009 03:20 AM

Come on, Matt. Where’s the consistency. Can’t take off the Darlington rose-colored glasses for one race? How many green flag on-track passes for the lead? One? Where’s the, “My stomach was in knots waiting for a driver or fan to be killed in one of those crashes?” Where’s the, “The monotonus single file line of cars was enough to lull everybody into a nice early evening slumber?” I know I fell asleep during the race. Where’s the, “How many millions of dollars of equipment were destroyed during this crash-fest?”

Matt, you lose a lot of credibility when you condemn some tracks for these storylines and then praise Darlington for the same thing. How about being a little objective from time to time. I understand this is your article and I don’t have to read it, but if you keep up this gushing for one track, only Chris Browning will want to read it.

Also, why is Mayfield automatically innocent just because it reminds you of Tim Richmond? Did you give any of the other drivers and crew members the same benefit of the doubt?

05/11/2009 07:15 AM

If the drug tests were administered by a reputable entity , they would have have far more validity than the farce that Nascar represents . We’ve seen how Nascar manipulates the facts to discredit drivers .
Speaking of discredited sources , the fact that David Hill is head of sports for FOX tells you all you need to know about his lack of credentials .
Nascar throws cautions whenever it benefits them . If a certain driver is about to be lapped , if a certain team needs to get back on the lead lap , if the racing is getting too strung out , or if the broadcast lenghth is making the network nervous .

Bill B
05/11/2009 07:26 AM

A few less cautions would have been nice but I thought the race was very good.

I didn’t like the fact that tires didn’t make much difference though. That’s one of the things I always liked about Darlington – the fact that tire management was part of the equation. It was baffling to see cars stay out on old tires and not pay the price within five laps.

Michael T.
I thought I remember several green flag passes for the lead during this race. Maybe I had one too many Michelobs.

05/11/2009 07:32 AM

Matt, if this race had been west of the Mississippi you would be ripping it apart.

05/11/2009 07:40 AM

This would be an excellent time for tv producers , directors , and camera men to apply for work at Fox , because a lot of people are gonna be fired this week . Saturday nights’ disaster will not go unpunished . Rogue camermen showing crew chiefs on their boxes that none of us recognized ( They have never been shown on Fox before ) , cars back in the pack that haven’t been on screen so far this season , and actually catching some of the race action .
Now its true that they still managed to slobber all over certain drivers and teams , but they failed to spend the required 80 percent of the broadcast concentrating on the three or four teams that they are instructed to follow .
Only a couple of more weeks of this , and then another network takes over . No more pompous Mike Joy , or Larry “ injun “ Mac , or Jerry “ one note “ Punch . And best of all , no more Chris Meyers and Jeff Hammond . I wish someone could tell me what function the last two serve , cause i don’t see it .

05/11/2009 07:49 AM

Hum, guess I had a different version of the Darlington race broadcasted here in Atlanta…I fell asleep. I did wake up in time for final 35 laps. Seems to be catch first 50 and then find something else to do and catch back up for final 50 laps and you’ve got most of the race covered. With broadcast, you don’t miss that much as they have to have a purpose for Meyers, so they rehash the race in the Hollywood hotel. I was on phone with a friend who lives in Maine and she even said something about the follow-the-leader race. Maybe just selective markets had good race broadcasted. I saw Jr overshoot his pit stall (again), and knew it was going to be a long night. Rumor has it that Hendrick has changes coming. Wonder if it will be at the expense of the 5 team. Have to see about that.

Was it me or did DW scale back his mancrush on Kyle Busch. Maybe I missed it cause I fell asleep on couch.

Pollen counts are always astronically high here in Georgia. So high that we have accumulations of “green snow” on the sides of the roadways and on cars. When it was in full bloom here, I’d be driving down the road and it would come at your car like a light rain or light snow. If Mayfield did take an otc allergy med knowing that NA$CAR tests, I would have just called doc and had him write script to make sure I was legal if I came up dirty in a random test. Basically if you take presc meds for anything, warning lables on otc medications speak about drug interactions. Not worth the chance. I know cause where I work they do random testing, and I wouldn’t want to loose my job cause of one too many sneezes. Be interesting to see how this plays out with NA$CAR. Wonder if Jeremy has enrolled in NA$CAR’s prescripted program to regain his ability to race in the series. According to the rules of the testing, that is only way driver can resume their career.

I doubt I’ll watch the allstar race. I’m sick of the shameless self promotion SPEED has done for the past month.

I did learn, when I opened the newspaper here in Atlanta on Sunday am that Helio won the pole. I was shocked as most of the motorsports writers here no longer have their jobs with the local newspaper.

05/11/2009 07:57 AM

Good Darlington race. The first complete race I have watched in a while. It takes a combination of skill, conditioning, patience and experience to win at that track. I even put up with the FOX monkeys for a change. It was great to see Mark Martin win again. I won’t be surprised to see him win a few more.

05/11/2009 08:03 AM

Not a bad race except for the seemingly non-stop cautions . I’m not sure you can make a case for NASCAR being at the top of the auto racing ladder when the drivers can’t seem to avoid running into walls and each other every few laps .
I know one thing for sure , rolling out the Southern 500 name for this race was a joke . This was a race at Darlington , it was not the Southern 500 . Calling it the Southern 500 don’t make it the Southern 500 . And if the winner wants to announce that he won the Southern 500 , fine , but it wasn’t .

05/11/2009 08:22 AM

I emailed a question to last week for David Hill’s on-line chat. Asking about the possibility next year of a new PRE-pre-race show, hosted by Darrell Waltrip, called “PIMP MY GOPHER”.

05/11/2009 08:27 AM

Nothing great about this race…Biffle had an eight second lead at the crossed flags…had that occurred at Fontana or Loudon, Matt would be calling for the bulldozers, or moving the race to North Wilkesboro.

Also, if fans around Darlington are so loyal, how is that they can’t sell out the smallest capacity track on the circuit? The Mother’s Day weekend excuse just doesn’t fly…Moms don’t go to races? You can’t call your Mom on Sunday because you went to a race on Saturday night?

05/11/2009 08:36 AM

As usual, Darlington manages to make an epic race out of even the crappiest cars in the most dismal race season. There was drama from lap 1 onward. Felt like I was watching a race from the 90s. GO MARK.

05/11/2009 08:44 AM

I dunno what race you guys were watching… Yes Biffle and Truex pulled away to big leads… But cautions brought them back. And there was tons of side by side racing, it just wasn’t for 1st. It was for 2nd and every other position throughout the Top 10 though. Plenty of exclamations of “three wide!” and “Side by side!” all night… Heck, remember Gordon and Truex having fun in particular?

Who would’ve thought that Darlington would produce more side-by-side racing than any of the Mile-and-a-half Crapovals this season?

05/11/2009 08:56 AM

Went to the race, had an amazing seat(Person Tower E-35) right across from Jr’s pit) loved the race, but I will watch it from home next year. Had to walk way too far because Handicapped parking was filled(walked past it and it was not) and had to walk up way too many steps to get to my seat( first time I have not visited a rest room in 6 hrs in years because I could not face all those steps again) and had to come home and face my hubby who flat refused to go this year and agree with him: great seat, great race, but another damned fan-unfriendly facility. Went to Richmond last week and must commend them on the most fan-friendly facility I have visited Thank god for escalators, trams and lots of handicapped parking. So glad we bought season tickets for Richmond.And I live 45 minutes from Darlington. When are these tired old tracks going to realize that“new” fans expect to go to a track where there is decent parking and enough of it, trams to get from the parking to the track and elevators and escalators to get close to your seats? If you don’t have these, don’t expect “new” fans to come to tracks when they can watch from the comfort of their couch. We were surrounded by “new “ fans Sat and there was a lot of compaining about too many steps.

05/11/2009 09:06 AM

Please tell me what’s so impressive about running, & or limping around to take the checkered flag with a patched up race car? To be running competitively at the finish for 83 races. Now that would be something. As it is it’s just another meaningless stat for the talking heads, to talk about, & the ink stained, or should I say, the carpal tunnel, wretches to write about.

05/11/2009 09:50 AM

The highlight of the weekend was David Pearson on the one of the pre race shows announcing that he thought ALL of the latest rules on the cars and the racing were silly . Now when someone of Pearsons’ stature in the sport makes a statement like that , maybe its time for Nascar to take a fresh look at the whole picture .

05/11/2009 10:24 AM

As anyone who actually goes to race knows they never show as well on TV…We were in Colvin where we have sat for almost all of the last 25 years and it was a great race…loads of side by side racing, plenty of cross over moves, drivers dirt tracking it thru the turns as to not hit the wall…yes Biffle pulled into a big lead as did Treux but the Lady in Black showed them who was boss. And that is what makes Darlington great….it has many twist and turns that almost never leave you disappointed. As soon as the surface wears out a little more we will get to see it starting chewing up tires again and that will be the icing on the cake!

Carl D.
05/11/2009 10:26 AM

Ryan… I watched that pre-race show with Pearson too. Did you notice he was wearing a tee-shirt with Fred Sanford’s face on it and the caption “You Big Dummy!”. I wonder if that clever dig was directed at Brian France or DW.

05/11/2009 10:39 AM

Is it true that NA$CRAP is going to expand the CHASE to the Top 25 in “HOPES” that JR. “might” make it?

05/11/2009 10:40 AM

Somebody needs to start a new business selling “Gopher Road Kill” shirts and stuffed animals. Bet you could make a fortune at the track. Maybe I’ll have a “Gopher” BBQ at MIS in June.

Talk about a loss of credibility. I bet the NFL would never have such a ridiculous mascot.(Detroit Lions don’t count)

Kevin in SoCal
05/11/2009 12:44 PM

Richie said: “usual follow the leader, can’t pass the leader snooze-fests that the cookie cutters give us.”

Why is it that every race I can remember for the last 5 years (even before the new car) has drivers complaining about how hard it is to pass, and track position is SOOOOOO important. They say this at every race. And yet, you always have good drivers who qualify in the back and at the end of the race they’re in the top ten.

Ryan said: “No more pompous Mike Joy , or Larry “ injun “ Mac , or Jerry “ one note “ Punch .”

Guess again Ryan. Jerry Punch is doing the Nationwide broadcasts all year, and will do the Cup broadcasts too starting at Indy in July.

60,000 fans at a track that holds 66,000. Even Fontana sells that many and you all complain about it not selling out. And dont give me any “bad economy in SC” excuses. CA’s unemployment rate is over 10%, worse than all except Michigan.

Carl D.
05/11/2009 12:50 PM

If the stands in Fontana were packed the gills with race fans and there was one blind old lady in the stands at Darlington, that blind old lady would see a better race than everyone in Fontana would.

05/11/2009 01:58 PM

The state with the second-highest rate was South Carolina, where the jobless rate jumped 1.6 percentage points to 10.4%. South Carolina tied with North Carolina and Oregon for the largest month-over-month rate increase. (california is 4th)

South Carolina also tied with North Carolina for the largest jobless rate increases from the previous year, at 4.7 percentage points.
cnn link

edited by Ren to clean up link

First, fontana is 1 hour from one city of a couple of million people. If you combined all the people in all the cities within a hour from Darlington you wouldn’t come close to that number (probably less than half of that)Second, california ranks in the top 10% of the nation for annual income, South Carloina in the bottom 10%. When you buy a ticket to Fontana you also get a ticket to another pro sports event, a free tram ticket, a free pit pass, a free program and hat. My 70.00 got me into the Darlington backstretch and that was it. Fontana is the France family’s pet project and they will do whatever it takes to try to make it work.
One last thing, Fontana hasn’t sold 66,000 seats in years…the only way they get that many to attend is that grocery stores and radio stations within 100 miles give away thousands of tickets.

BTW carl D….I laughed out loud at your post

05/11/2009 02:48 PM

I personally thought the Darlington Race was one of the best so far this season! I mean, look at the top 7 finishers: 6 cars with Hendrich connections and 4 of them directly from Hendrick! You couldn’t ask for a better race result, except for having Junior be up there with his teammates! Only down side was two Roush junkheaps in the top-10! Best of all, Keselowski once again proved he has far more talent than that Lame Duck driver in the #99! Heck, maybe NASCAR will finally catch Idiot Carl and his Steroids and ban the clown for good! Would sure look good on The Jerk In The Hat!

Bill B
05/11/2009 03:25 PM

I understand where you are coming from but in order to compare how each track did with respect to attendance you need to use percentages. I am too lazy to go find the numbers from Fontana vs Darlington but the true measure is X% of the seats were sold at Fontana vs Y% of seats at Darlington.

Kevin in SoCal
05/11/2009 04:04 PM

Carl, I’m not comparing the quality of the racing, we all know Darlington puts on a better race. I’m simply comparing the number of people in the stands.
LaidBackRacing, you provide specific details on the unemployment figures but then you make up your own statistic to say Fontana hasnt sold 60,000 tickets. The average attendance over the last 5 years proves you wrong.
Bill, sure, skew the statistics to make your arguement look better. At the same time people are complaining that Fontana doesnt sell out, it has more people in the stands than Darlington does. And that’s why the race was moved. Although I keep hearing the announcers mention that Phoenix got Darlington’s fall date, I cant see where they come up with that.

I’d move Darlington back to Labor Day, put Atlanta second, put Fontana on Mother’s Day Saturday night, and put Kentucky in fourth.

Bill B
05/11/2009 06:51 PM

I’m not sure how figuring out the relative percentages is “skewing” the numbers. It’s pretty straightforward figuring out percentages, you just need the number of tickets sold vs. the number of tickets available for each track. Who knows, Fontana may have sold a greater percentage.

05/11/2009 08:28 PM


How does ANYONE know how many tickets they “actually” sell?

You look on the TV at ALL the empty seats, maybe 60% empty, but their published figures say they sold enough tickets to fill 75% of the seats!


Who ya’ goin’ to believe?

But my eyes can see the truth!


05/12/2009 08:22 AM

Average attendance does NOT equal ticket sales when thousands of tickets are given away

Kevin in SoCal
05/12/2009 12:49 PM

Bill: 60,000 out of 66,000 is a higher percentage than 70,000 out of 92,000. We all know that.

Laidbackracing: And you know how many tickets are given away for free? I only know of the country music station near the track giving away tickets but I doubt they have thousands. Stater Bros supermarkets will give you two Nationwide tickets to the Feb race if you buy $75 in groceries from them, but not Cup tickets. What other free tickets am I missing out on? I’d love to know so I can get them for the October race.

Douglas: Atlanta showed far more empty seats this year than Fontana did. I guess that means we’ll dump Atlanta next, for Kentucky?

Kevin in SoCal
05/12/2009 12:58 PM

Los Angeles may have more than 2 million people, but they’re 90% hispanic and black. They’re more interested in the Raiders and the Lakers. Every place has the same problem with getting fans of other sports interested in NASCAR, too, not just here.
Why are the ratings for the TV broadcast so far off this year? Are the longtime fans tired of the changes, or is it the fairweather fans tuning out?

05/13/2009 03:03 AM

I love how every other week Kevin starts an argument about the California track.

And I agree with LaidBack, Carl D’s comment was hilarious.

05/13/2009 09:23 AM

KevininSoCal: I own a website and receive emails from fans from all over and have had fans from CA email me to tell me about the free ticket giveaways…and when I went to CA for the race a few years ago I got a free pole day ticket when I bought one and 2 free pit passes….And by the way I noticed you wanted to point out I had stats to back up some of my info but not other parts…I wanted to point out that you did not have accurate stats on your post and that is why I took the time to find the correct info. (I noticed how you skipped that you were incorrect) Every week it is the same from you….so i will tell you what i tell people I see no point in keeping a conversation going….

Kevin in SoCal
05/13/2009 01:27 PM

I dont start arguements, I just defend my home from the dog poop that gets flung into the yard.

LBR, yes you corrected my mis-info on NC and SC having higher unemployment than CA. Thank you for the correction. Is that want you wanted me to say?