The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Pocono 500 Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday June 8, 2009

Go to site navigation Go to article

Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Pocono 500 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin · Monday June 8, 2009


The Key Moment: Tony Stewart’s guys got him out on the track first after the last caution flag pit stop on Lap 159. Stewart then nursed an incredible 41 laps out of a tank of fuel to hold on to the victory.

In a Nutshell: I guess it’s a matter of semantics. An “exciting” finish is two drivers battling door-to-door for the win off of turn 4. A tense finish is waiting to see who runs out of gas on the last lap.

Dramatic Moment: Over those last final laps, it appeared that most of the lead lap cars would run out of gas… but few did.

It was early in the race but Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, and Greg Biffle waged a hell of a battle up front there for awhile.

But the kicker was waiting to see if Jeff Gordon was going to get his fool head taken off by the rear-view mirror of that Ford truck passing behind him in his post-race TV interview. You’d think a race car driver would have a bit better situational awareness…

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

It’s important to give credit where credit is due. I’ve always said a writer is like a battery; he or she has to have positive and negative posts to be worth a damn. Well, I am impressed that NASCAR saw the positive reaction most fans had to the double-file restarts in the All Star race and quickly implemented the policy for points paying Cup races starting at Pocono. As with any sudden rules change, there’s going to be wrinkles that need to be ironed out, but I think it will make for better racing. And they haven’t even announced how they’re going to let Dale Earnhardt Jr. restart up front if (when) he goes a lap down yet! In all seriousness, it seems the sanctioning body is finally at the very least paying lip service to fan’s concerns — and that’s a very positive thing. We’ll see how it plays out down the road.

In even more positive news, NASCAR officials are apparently strongly considering some near-term changes to the Car of Sorrow in another attempt to improve the quality of racing. To me, this is like a man standing beside a pond with his crotch ablaze considering a near-term leap into the water. Denny Hamlin (who correctly predicted that double-file restarts would be implemented soon after the town hall meetings) says there’s a movement underway to reduce horsepower in the Cup cars. Well, that’s going to take some prudent and well-reasoned rules changes to happen correctly. Given the engineering brilliance of the Cup engine builders to produce horsepower, it’s going to take some similar brilliant thinking to reduce horsepower. I’ve always been of the opinion that given a month, some of these team engine builders could have my Yamaha QT50 moped outrunning a top fuel dragster. (Yeah, I own a moped. What can I say, gas over four bucks at the time, it cost me twenty bucks and I was drunk.)

OK, this ends this week’s positive comments on recent NASCAR initiatives. We now return you to the usual tidal wave of negativity, cynicism, tortured analogies, character assassination, and reminders of how much better things were in the good old days… meanwhile, Hamlin might want to start being a little more reserved in his comments about what went on at that town hall meeting before he becomes the next driver to fail a pee test or be found with an oversize engine.

Denny Hamlin dropped plenty of hints about what was discussed in the NASCAR town hall meetings. Will the rumored change to the CoT be next?

Jeremy Mayfield’s Magical Mystery Tour hit high gear this week. First, NASCAR managed to move the court proceedings from North Carolina state courts to federal court. Then, NASCAR countersued Mayfield, claiming he was stealing prize money by running full races knowing he was in violation of NASCAR’s drug policy. They went on to note Mayfield wrecked in three of the five races he was running “under the influence” with the clear implication he was too intoxicated to drive safely. They also added a note that Mayfield was diagnosed with a third substance in his bloodstream in addition to the Claritin and prescribed medication Mayfield has admitted to in his own court filings. The name of that substance was redacted when the court documents were published due to the gag order the judge imposed, it is said. (My guess is purple Pop Rock candy mixed with a cola; but then again, it could have been meth.) This is going to get ugly. Meanwhile Mayfield’s team is said to be for sale.

It’s funny that Brian France is so up in arms over a driver wrecking while supposedly under the influence. If you remember, he had his own run in with a palm tree in Daytona Beach after a panicked woman called the police to say she was witnessing a driver, later identified as France, driving erratically at a high rate of speed and almost triggering several accidents. But the cops never tested Mr. France. Hell, I wish somebody had done a post-wreck teardown on his Lexus to see if the engine was oversized… or, the purchase price of the car was undersized as a beneficial gift from Brian’s buddies at Lexus’ parent company Toyota as they prepared to enter Cup racing.

I don’t know Carl Long. I’ve never talked to the man, even by email. But, Boy-howdy! this guy has apparently pissed daily in some NASCAR official’s bowl of Wheaties. Long is one of those owner-driver types that help fill the field in the current economy, but with one key difference: he’s been involved in NASCAR racing for a long time. In fourteen starts since 2000, Long’s best finish was a 29th place finish at Charlotte in 2001; but ever the gamer, he kept chasing the dream. That is, until post-race inspection at Charlotte leading up to the All-Star race revealed that an engine Long had purchased from Ganassi Racing built by Ernie Elliott (Bill’s brother) was oversized. How badly oversized was this engine, you ask? It was just .17 cubic inches over the legal limit of 358 cubic inches. How big is .17 cubic inches? It’s so small, it’s equivalent to a sugar cube in half. Well, that infraction earned Long’s crew chief a $200,000 fine and Long a twelve-week suspension. Can we talk common sense here? Yes, I am a hot rodder and am aware of the old adage that there’s no replacement for displacement when it comes to building power. But let’s do the math. If a current 358-cubic inch engine set to stun makes 800 horsepower, the engine being oversized offered Long about a .4 horsepower advantage. To be found .17 cubic inches oversized, an eight cylinder engine would be .02125 inches too large in each cylinder, easily within the tolerances of an engine that had been overheated to the point of blowing up. When you look at it that way, the fine amounts to a charge of $340,000 dollars per cubic inch. But let’s take this a step further. Given the commonly accepted cubic inch displacement of 410 cubic inches found after that infamous Petty cheating scandal at Charlotte in the ’70s, Petty’s fine would have been $17,680,000 under this system. Given the ratio between Long and Petty’s oversize engines, Petty would have also been suspended for the next 3,670 races or about 100 years. Yet Petty kept his win that day and raced on for decades.

The three cardinal sins in the Cup garage have been oversized engines, doctored tires and altered fuel. Yet when Michael Waltrip’s team was caught with that jet fuel in the car in their debut with Toyota, Waltrip professed ignorance (an art he has down a science) and didn’t sit out a single race. So, NASCAR better be careful. With all the start and parkers they are suspending and fining lately, they’re going to have a hard time filling fields soon.

Speaking of which, only 33 trucks started the Texas race, and nine of them basically threw up the white flag and headed for the pits with “vibration,” “overheating,” “handling,” and even “too slow” issues. This whole start and park issue is out of control.

Congratulations to Robby Gordon for his Baja 500 win. Yeah, I’m being serious. That’s a pretty impressive feat.

Ratings of FOX’s portion of the Cup season, which included the Daytona 500, wound up down around 11 percent for the year. Given the argument that NASCAR fans can’t afford to buy tickets to attend races live in this economy, it seems counterintuitive that TV ratings were down if there was a stable and not diminishing fan base. What that tells me is that some fans are voting with their remotes that they don’t care for FOX’s coverage. To sum up, it would seem that one in ten race fans decided not to watch FOX rather than enduring the farcical fare FOX tried to force feed fans. My final grade: F. We need that gopher to go-pher ever.

With that in mind, t’ll be interesting to see how TV ratings fare for the rest of the season. ESPN/ABC and TNT can’t be happy about the weak lead-in FOX left them to face. I’m particularly concerned about this next stretch of races, as suburban fans might be surprised to learn not everyone gets TNT — a cable channel. I live in East Bumblefug. Out here, a lot of folks still aren’t ready for the digital TV switch (the Amish apparently never got the memo) and even some friends with basic cable plans don’t get TNT. To get TNT, I had to agree to a larcenous agreement with my cable provider (who I won’t name because it would piss Comcast off) that costs me a fortune but gives me like 800 channels, 750 of which are playing syndicated Seinfeld episodes at any given time. I even seem to recall stumbling across the French Language Aboriginal Cooking channel, though I must add I strongly oppose cooking Aborigines. I’ll withhold my comments on TNT’s coverage until they get a second race under their belts, other to say for the most part I was impressed by Sunday’s coverage.

Isn’t it odd that Jimmie Johnson, who often referred to Tony Stewart as his Rick Hendrick teammate, is now suddenly backpedaling and saying he thought Stewart was crazy to try to start “his own” team? Having all those Hendrick and erstwhile Hendrick-backed cars make the Chase is going to make things difficult if NASCAR decides to go ahead and make Jack Roush lose his fifth team after this season.

I’ve gotten some questions from readers about my take on NASCAR’s latest decision to offer select Internet journalists and bloggers press credentials. I’m saving that topic for Tuesday’s column while I gather up some information and talk to folks. But I will say this, the whole title, “NASCAR Citizen Journalists Media Corps” sounds so Orwellian that I’ve taken to sleeping with the lights on and hollow point loaded heat under my pillow.

Supposedly there was a tribute to Tim Richmond, whose birthday would have been this past week, at Pocono this weekend. I never heard anything about it, but all day I was thinking about Tim’s Hollywood win here in ’87 when he returned to the series after sitting out the first half of the season due to his illness. For other Tim Richmond fans, for fans of Dale Earnhardt Sr. and for fans of old time racing I present this YouTube nugget Godspeed, Tim. One thing is for sure — there was never a boring Cup race when Tim was running near the front.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

It’s hard to win a 500-mile race when your car won’t even run all the way to the first turn. But that’s what happened to Denny Hamlin, who won two races at Pocono as a rookie.

Anyone who was hoping for a quick fix of Dale Junior’s problems with the crew chief swap (and there’s a few million of you) had to be disappointed. To quote our old friend Bones to Captain Kirk, “Damn it, Jim, I’m a crew chief, not a magician.”

Kurt Busch ran up front for most of the day before a water pump seized on the No. 2 car. To be honest, I can’t even remember the last time that happened.

Despite his Nashville Nationwide win, it was a pretty tough weekend for Kyle Busch. He couldn’t break a guitar in Victory Lane Saturday night and he couldn’t break into the top 20 at Pocono. It’s only my personal opinion, but once again I think Busch acted like a jerk on Saturday night. A Gibson Les Paul is a sweetheart of a musical instrument and Sam Bass spent countless hours personalizing one of the coolest trophies in NASCAR racing. Busch says he’s going to cut the thing up so all his team members can have a piece. Hey, if you didn’t want it, why not have a charity auction and give your team members the sense of satisfaction of helping the less fortunate? Kyle, trust me, you’re no Pete Townshend. I’m all for the next NASCAR race winner trying to smash the Gibson — just so long as they are beating Kyle Busch over the head with it next time.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

Tony Stewart had to start at the rear of the field after wrecking in Saturday’s practice, but still won the race after nursing 102.5 miles out of a tank of gas.

I don’t know whether to lump Jimmie Johnson under fortune foul or fair (while crickets and cicadas sing…) after Sunday’s race. He did run out of gas on the last lap and surrendered a handful of positions. On the other hand, he had to restart the race out back after entering the pits just after a caution flag flew closing pit road. (And he’s right, they did need more visible markers to indicate pit road is closed. Whatever happened to that spaceship looking thing they once had at Pocono?) Once back in the pack, Johnson barely avoided David Stremme’s stricken car after Dale Earnhardt, Jr. knocked the fire out of the No. 12 car.

Carl Edwards’ chances of winning the race seemed over when a pit road Snafu left him with a half tank of gas. But a timely caution just after Edwards pitted left him not only on the lead lap but back in the lead. It’s hard to step in manure and walk away smelling like roses.

Here’s one for Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Ryan Newman’s car began slowing rapidly on the race track. The 39 car pitted six times under caution as the cap, rotor, and wires were changed; then, the team finally diagnosed a failed spark plug then changed it. Newman left Pocono with a fifth place finish. Believe it or don’t!

Jeff Gordon’s car seemed off for much of the race. His team gambled on rain ending the race early, but the showers stopped. He was forced to pit late; and yet, that late stop helped him earn a fourth place finish.

Marcos Ambrose, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Sam Hornish all left Pocono with surprise top 10 finishes thanks to fuel strategies.

Worth Noting

  • The top 10 finishers at Pocono drove six Chevys, two Toyotas, a Ford, and a Dodge.
  • While the win was his first this season, Tony Stewart now has top 5 finishes in seven of the last nine Cup points races, with three second place finishes in that stretch.
  • Carl Edwards’ second place finish was his best of the ’09 Cup season. It was just his third top 5 result in this year’s fourteen Cup races.
  • Jeff Gordon posted a third place finish after two results outside the top 10.
  • Ryan Newman (fifth) managed his sixth straight top 10 finish.
  • Marcos Ambrose’s sixth place finish was his second best of the ’09 season.
  • Juan Pablo Montoya has finished eighth in two of the last three Cup races.
  • Jeff Burton (ninth) returns to the top 10 after an absence of three races.
  • Michael Waltrip’s 17th place finish was his best Cup result since Martinsville.
  • Joey Logano in 23rd was the top finishing rookie of the race.

What’s the Points?

Naturally, Tony Stewart is still leading the points. He’s now 71 markers ahead of Jeff Gordon in second and 103 ahead of Jimmie Johnson, who remains third in the standings. Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch swapped the fourth and fifth place spot in the standings with Newman now having the advantage.

Carl Edwards had a great points day, moving up five spots to sixth. Hamlin had a terrible points day, dropping five spots to 12th. He’s now just one point above the cutoff point for the Chase.

Greg Biffle and David Reutimann both advanced two spots in the standings, rising to seventh and 11th, respectively. Mark Martin fell one spot out of the top 12 to 13th, but as noted above, he is just one point away from making the Chase at this juncture.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. fell two more spots to 20th in the standings. Time to fire his crew chief again?

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — Pocono was like that little girl who had a curl. When it was good it was very, very good; and when it was bad, it was awful. We’ll give this one three pony bottles of Genesee Cream Ale.

Next Up: It’s off to Michigan where fans will have not only a view of the race but of the collapse of GM and Chrysler and its effect on the local economy. Troubled times have come, to that hometown… see ya down South, Kate.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

The Frontstretch Newsletter, back in 2014 gives you more of the daily news, commentary, and racing features from your favorite writers you know and love. Don’t waste another minute – click here to sign up now. We’re here to make sure you stay informed … so make sure you jump on for the ride!

Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

06/08/2009 07:25 AM

I’m with Tony on this one. “I hate this kind of racing”.

MJR in Springfield VA
06/08/2009 07:37 AM

Matt, I don’t care how drunk you were…it’s a moped man……

06/08/2009 08:00 AM

I seem to have the perfect timing! Your “Anyone who was hoping for a quick fix of Dale Junior’s problems with the crew chief swap (and there’s a few million of you) had to be disappointed. To quote our old friend Bones to Captain Kirk, “Damn it, Jim, I’m a crew chief not a magician.”

I came in from outside for some lunch, turned on the TV (remember the days we used to call it “the tube”?), watched the F-1 circus a bit, switched to the sunday afternoon drive from Pocono, Jr. was just entering his pit box, or trying to anyway, sideways, against the wall, and it was priceless when the front right tire changer got done and simply glared at Jr. thru the windshield as if to say “are you that much of an idiot”?


Wonder if Hendrick has the cajoney’s to fire Jr.?

Nah, money rules, competition and desire does not!

Jr. the bonehead!

06/08/2009 08:29 AM

Didn’t Brian France say not very long ago that the sport had had all the change it could handle for a while?

Let’s see…new drug-testing policy, new engine size regulation for one manufacturer, new restart rules, and the consideration of changes to the car.

I knew he didn’t mean it. The man cannot resist tinkering.

06/08/2009 09:25 AM

You know the old saying about mopeds… they are like fat girls, fun to ride but you wouldn’t want your friends to see you on one.

Billy Bopp
06/08/2009 09:44 AM

Kyle Busch is just an idiot! He apparently strives to be politically incorrect and is very good at it. All I can say is Kyle had better be careful which medications he takes. The best thing about Sunday was that he had problems all day and wasn’t a contender. Go Tony!

06/08/2009 09:50 AM

Sundays TNT race broadcast wasn’t the best i’ve seen for sure , but even at 85% it was still far better than anything FOX has ever done . Boy it was great to not have to mute the tv for a change .
I wonder if Nascar is aware of the giant backlash from fans that they are about to see . Think the stands are empty now ? Think the tv ratings are down now ? Wait until they drag Mayfield into court . Wait until they manage to drive Carl Long out of racing . Then you’ll really see the fans fight back . IRL , F-1 , ARCA , NHRA , you’re about to have a windfall of new fans .

don mei
06/08/2009 10:12 AM

I agree with Ryan about the TNT broadcast; it was a great improvement over Fox. I didnt use my mute button at all except during the commercials.

As to the Carl Long fiasco, I really think its time to take some action against Nascar. I would suggest a boycott of one selected event..stay away from the track and turn off the TV. If the rating goes into the toilet for an event as a result of a boycott, you watch Nascar jump! Sure dont want to make the sponsors angry!

Bill B
06/08/2009 10:19 AM

Agree that TNT did an excellent job but maybe that’s because the bar was set so low by Fox. I usually dread Pocono but somehow TNT made it interesting. I don’t consider myself anti-DW but he can get carried away with the cheerleading and buffoonery. Sorry to say, I had enough of him during the first 13 races to carry me through for the rest of this year.

I skipped the pre-race show. Sorry, two hours is too much.

Not sure about the double file restarts. Probably good for fans watching on tv, not sure how fair it is to the driver leading the race. Also, Pocono, being a very unique track, is not really the best place to give the new policy a fair appraisal.

06/08/2009 10:22 AM

I couldn’t help but laugh over the hand wringing by the drivers over the new re-start proceedure . Geez , how hard is it ? In fact , its the only re-start proceedure that actually makes sense . Cars on the tail end of the lead lap ? Tell me how that makes any real sense .
There has been a steady stream of racers and fans calling for double file re-starts on a Florida web site . I wonder if the NASCAR people were reading the posts and finally got the message .
I wonder how a double file re-start would work if it wasn’t a “ Shoot Out Style “ re-start . Who knew there was more than one .

06/08/2009 11:04 AM

Kyle is a first class a-hole.

As to TNT, what a great broadcast. No DW. No Hammond. No frigging digger. No FOX crap.

Brian France and FOX make it very difficult to get into NA$CAR.

06/08/2009 11:14 AM

The guitar stunt was awful. The JGR PR rep who got to Busch and told him to save face by splitting the trophy amongst his crew needs to be fired. As for the race, well, shockingly I fell asleep. Again this car is nothing more than a polished turd. There were some good moments, but the announcers were overselling it. Too much driving away from the 2nd place car, too many 6 second intervals. As for the NASCAR countersuit stating that Mayfield drove under the influence, blah blah blah, maybe I am reading too much into things but are the NASCAR drug tests that good that they can tell when you partook in an illegal substance? Hell pregnancy tests administered by a doctor gives you a rough estimate of when conception occurred and it is most often a deduction from the woman’s last cycle. TMI, right? From the language, doesn’t it sound like NASCARKNEW” Mayfield was hopped up but let him drive anyway with 42 other contestants and countless fans in the park? They let him practice after he took the test and failed allegedly at one race, correct? Point is NASCAR painted itself in a corner here and one has to wonder if Brer Rabbit (Mayfield) didn’t just get thrown in the briar patch. As for Carl Long, the punishment far exceeds the crime. Also, Petty’s cheater engine at Charlotte took place in 82 or 83 if memory serves. It was the year before he drove for Mike Curb. Either way, good for Long in blasting NASCAR out the door. He may leave poor an dback to running his pizza joint, but he leaves with his pride intact. Too bad Mark Martin isn’t around to help him out like he did when Long’s car was destroyed at the Rock a few years back.

In a nutshell, kudos for Smoke in winning, but I don’t think he has all of the headaches that Rudd, Waltrip, and Elliott did when they went owner driver. If anything, he’s the de facto owner. I don’t think he’s signing the payroll checks with his own coin, maybe some of that Tide fresh scent money Gene Haas has stashed around… either way what Stewart and Newman are doing is nothing short of amazing in modern day NASCAR, but it seems like they are forgetting about RCR.

ALSO, would like to have seen a mention of Roger Penske purchasing Saturn. 130,000 people are keeping food on the table because of him and over 400 dealerships are staying afloat. We always talk Buy America here, let’s applaud Penske for doing what he did.

06/08/2009 11:48 AM

TNT made this so enjoyable compared to how FOX ruins races for me. TNT really did an excellent job updating most drivers in the race, something that I believe is a lot harder than it appears. Maybe not the most exciting race but thanks to TNT is was VERY ENJOYABLE.I hope FOX takes note, DW and FOX’s WWE/ Beverly Hillbillies approach to broadcasting races has LONG since worn out its welcome. Replace DW with Craven for starters, use Larry like TNT does, Meyers and Hammond should go. I really do mute DW, MW, Meyers, and Hammond and often shut the TV off. I am very serious about this, hopefully FOX will take it serious.

06/08/2009 12:00 PM

“But the kicker was waiting to see if Jeff Gordon was going to get his fool head taken off by the rear-view mirror of that Ford truck passing behind him in his post-race TV interview. You’d think a race car driver would have a bit better situational awareness…” Uh — if you’ve been to a race, you may notice its NOISY on pit road and he was talking to the reporter — maybe the guy in the Ford truck should have had more “situational awareness” and not been driving that close. It’s a pet peeve of mine when the fans are trying to walk out of the track, that there are the morons in golf carts, utilitiy vehicles AND cars and trucks, all trying to use the same space.

Plus, it was a daggone boring race, but what else is new? It’s Pocono. I agree with Tony, I hate this kind of racing AND you are correct, it was a tense finish, not exciting.

06/08/2009 01:03 PM

Michael – you’re right that the double-file is the only way that makes sense. They should’ve made it this way immediately when they implemented the “Lucky Dog” rule as that change made the lap cars starting up front utterly pointless.

Kevin in SoCal
06/08/2009 01:05 PM

I was going to ask if it was really the FOX coverage or the “boring” racing, “boring” cars, and “boring” rules that are causing fans to tune out, but then I read the other comments from fans here and realized you have a point.

Bad Wolf
06/08/2009 01:08 PM

I actually sat down in front of the “Tube” to watch the race from start to finish for the first time this year since DW and Fox are gone, but after the caution for Jr. at lap 104 I turned the channel and did not come back till 7 laps to go. I was watching the intervals between Jr. and the leaders, and I knew a “Debris” caution would soon materialize to save Jr. from losing a lap with no chance to regain it with the new restarts. No mention at the time as to what the caution was for, but we were shown a safety truck stopped on the track with 2 workers safely staying in the cab. A few minutes later Kyle must have gotten a memo from B.Z. France to let it be know that the caution was far “Debris” in turn 3. That was it, I was gone.

TNT was much better than Fox, but the cheerleading from the booth about how great the new restart rule was a little much, and they were trying too hard to sell it. Just shut up and let the fans see it in action, instead of acting like ShamWow pitchmen. I also noticed way too much roof cam from Carl Edwards that was actually an AFLAC ad in disguise. I also think they can get rid of their extended “Through the Field” segments. They come back from break, show a “Through the Field” segment then go back to break and actually show no racing for a whole segment of the race.

I did like the wide shots of the action where we could see the whole pack of cars, instead of the close ups that Fox loves, and other than the cheerleading for the new rules and constantly telling us how great the racing will now be I did enjoy the booth crew, but anything beats D.W. and Hammond.

Carl D.
06/08/2009 01:17 PM

Kyle Busch should leave the rock theatrics to the professionals. And while I’m at it, I like Buckcherry, but their version of “Highway Star” doesn’t hold a candle to the Deep Purple original.

Glad to know I’m not the only one who thought Jeff Gordon was going to be run over by a Ford driver.

For the record, I’d rather hear Kyle Petty provide commentary on an episode of the Smurfs than hear Darrell Waltrip make one more love-struck comment about Kyle Busch.

The new Dodge engine seems to have RPM kicking up a little dust. On the other end of the spectrum, I wonder how long it will be before Doug Yates (and HoF) throws in the towel? Talk about a race team that just plain sucks….

06/08/2009 01:35 PM

Thank you to NASCAR for only letting FOX do half of the races . I agree that the “ thru the field run down “ should maybe be placed at some time other than right back after a commercial when we want up dating on the action we missed . Though it wouldn’t be a problem if NASCAR/tv networks adopted the side by side commercials that the IRL have . I’m not sure i’ve ever seen a lot of the cars that were on camera at Pocono . With the FOX coverage , i always assumed NASCAR was lying about 43 cars being in the race , i never saw more than 10 or 12 on the screen .
Congrats to Tony Stewart and his team , from 43 to the lead with a backup car , and i driver who raced the night before in Ohio .

06/08/2009 02:03 PM

If illegal engines are such a career killing, mega deal. Is it too late to look into the King’s 200th, & last, win?

Casey B
06/08/2009 03:35 PM

What a breath of fresh air breathed into NASCAR on TV. I agree with most comments that it wasn’t the best broadcast ever, but boy would I rather watch TNT commentate pretty much anything rather than watch FOX murder a race. Well done TNT and keep it up.

Drunk France
06/08/2009 05:54 PM

These double file restarts are just another poor attempt to make the racing appear more exciting. After just one or two laps every car was single file again anyway. All it’s going to do is create more chances for wrecks. I don’t want to see wrecks, I want to see racing. No matter what NA$CRAP does to “fix” the racing, it won’t work. The actual product sucks. The Chase diminishes the importance of each race, and the COT p.o.s. is just a useless “race car”. Start over at the end of 2003. NO Chase, NO COT, NO Brainle$$ France = problems solved. Please Drug test Brian France. FREE MAYFIELD, FREE CARL LONG. Kryle Boosh sucks (can’t handle a flat track)

06/08/2009 07:07 PM

Oh everybody’s panties in a wad over Kyle? GOOD!

Yeah, Kyle’s an ass and I LOVE it. Otherwise this sport, and it’s fanbase, is more boring than Kieth on MSNBC.

06/08/2009 08:26 PM

Loved the guitar smashing! Just loved it!

The guitar was GIVEN to Kyle, so it was his do with as he pleased!

And he was pleased as punch to smash it!

Fitting end for that guitar! Now his crew has bits and pieces to hang on their own walls!

Share & share alike!

06/08/2009 11:42 PM

Dear Matt,

I’m giving your column a 6 pack of Dr Pepper. I don’t drink beer.

I have nothing to add. You said it all. Thank you.

06/09/2009 12:14 AM

I’m having a good year, not only did I predict Reutimann would get a win this year, but I had Stewart winning, too (figured it might be at one of the short tracks though)…Stewart really is comfortable in a Chevy.

Hmmm…mark it down, Vickers or Martin wins at Michigan (outside pick: Newman or GASP! Earnhardt)…

You read it here first.

06/09/2009 10:47 AM

Sorry Matt, I know you were really mad that the truck did not hurt Jeff. Sorry you are so unhappy it missed him. I know you were hoping it hit him and and were cheering it on. I bet a trillion bucks if anything ever happens to Jeff (God forbid) you will thru a party and be thrilled to do so. I just don’t understand how anyone could hate another person as much as you hate Jeff. Please explain that type of hatred to me. What horrible crimes did he commit that gets you to hate him so much? I just don’t get it. Tell me please.
Oh and don’t lie and say you don’t hate him. You do. You have proved that fact over and over again in your articles. So just tell me the truth please. Why do you hate him so much? Thanks