The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Michigan Spring Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday June 15, 2009

Go to site navigation Go to article

The Key Moment: Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson ran out of gas on the final lap to hand a win to Mark Martin.

In a Nutshell: To paraphrase Leonard Ginth-Parnell of Saturday Night Live’s “Master Bad Theater” skits: “Putrid, simply, putrid. Ultimately without any socially redeeming moments. This is about as bad as it gets.”

Dramatic Moment: Waiting to see who would run out of gas on the final lap while trying to avoid drowning on a mouthful of one own’s spit after perhaps the most boring race in the history of mankind.

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

Some folks have compared winning a fuel mileage race to kissing their sister. Well, I’d compare Sunday’s racing to marrying your sister and raising a brood of six-fingered offspring who never learn to recite the alphabet… but can still suck down a 30-pack of Coors Light on a Sunday afternoon applauding the sort of abject stupidity NASCAR has been offering up the last couple of weeks.

Admit it. How many laps of this stupidity do you watch before drifting into a well-deserved Sunday afternoon nap?

I can only wish anyone surprised by the announcement that GM is radically cutting back their financial involvement in NASCAR racing the best of luck in their tryouts for a starring role in Disney’s remake of Pollyanna. The storm clouds have been gathering on the horizon so long that when the rain began falling this week, only those folks riding the short bus to school were surprised. The fact a Toyota took the pole for this week’s race staged in the heart of the American auto industry was just more salt rubbed in the wound for millions. Unfortunately, like it or not it’s clear NASCAR and its teams are going to have to adjust to dramatically less involvement by the Big Three over the coming seasons. But I don’t think this is the end of the world as we know it. Back in ’73, with the fuel crisis and draconian government regulation we all thought that the era of the muscle car was at its end. But in 1982, Ford reintroduced the Mustang GT and GM, caught with its pants down, waged war with its seriously underpowered Camaro/Firebird twins and the Corvette. This year, well-heeled muscle car buyers have a scintillating choice to be made between Shelby Mustangs, Hemi Challengers, and big cube Camaros just as we did in 1970 — the renaissance years of the old muscle car era. My guess is those cars are going away in a PC age where hybrids are the darlings of the media. But they’ll be back. America’s fascination with fast, loud cars is such an ingrained part of our culture that they’ll remain a niche market automakers ignore at their own peril. And in a couple decades, the best of this year’s muscle cars will be going for dozens of times their original cost at Barrett-Jackson.

NASCAR announced a new “green pilot program” this week wherein ten trees will be planted for each race run to offset the carbon footprint of that event. Those ten trees, over their lifetimes, will absorb the CO2 emissions generated by the race cars (but not fans attending the event). I’d suggest to NASCAR that they up the amount of trees planted to twenty in an attempt to prove that they are trying to be proactive, not reactive, to this whole carbon footprint hijinks. I just wish I’d been savvy enough to suggest just such an idea (and others) in a column published on this site August 7th, 2008. Oh, wait a second, I did. Oh, and for the record, I’ve planted ten sugar maple trees this spring to offset the carbon hoofprint of the Trans Am, Harley, Nova, and XR75 for the next five decades, so don’t harass me the next time I go to buy gas in the Pontiac.

Ryan Newman and others go green in a different way this week, kicking off NASCAR’s green pilot program designed to reduce carbon emissions into the environment.

I’ve been a huge fan of the 24 Hours of Le Mans since Ford and Carroll Shelby launched their quixotic and ultimately successful campaign to dethrone Ferrari with their Cobras and GT40s. I just never thought I’d live long enough to see a diesel-powered Peugeot defeat a diesel-powered Audi for the big prize. I guess those Audis didn’t have enough unintended acceleration… and as far as the stars and stripes, the Corvettes once again dominated in their class. Those Chevys were decidedly non-diesel powered…

SCORE stripped Robby Gordon of his Baja 500 win this week, citing speeding on public roads and pitting irregularities. However, there’s a YouTube video posted on Gordon’s website that seems to clearly indicate he was not speeding as accused during the road segment cited by race officials. Hopefully, cooler heads will straighten this whole mess out, because anytime race results are decided in a court of law and not on the race circuit itself fans tend to lose interest rapidly.

I reject any comparison between the late and lamented Alan Kulwicki (or even Ricky Rudd) and Tony Stewart when it comes to wins by an owner-driver. Now, any NASCAR race win is a notable achievement, and I don’t mean to diminish one iota what Stewart accomplished at Pocono… but Alan and Rudd were true independents. In comparison, Stewart’s so called “independent” race teams are mere satellites of Rick Hendrick’s all-conquering organization. In saying that, I don’t mean to belittle the remarkable things Stewart and his employees have achieved this season; but rather, I want to remind everyone of what a miracle Alan pulled off in winning the 1992 Cup championship as a true independent. My guess is that feat will never be repeated in our lifetimes or even in the lifetimes of our children; but then again, I never thought a Peugeot was going to win at Le Mans, either.

The Jeremy Mayfield/NASCAR David versus Goliath saga hit an important milestone this week with the admission NASCAR is accusing Mayfield of using methamphetamine, known back during my misspent youth as “crank.” Now, I ran with a pretty uncouth bunch during my wild age, including several members of the Warlocks motorcycle club, and sat drinking beers with several bathroom chemists who cooked up batches of crank back in the days when east coast motorcycle clubs, not Mexican cartels, dominated the market for one of the most evil poisons ever to addict its users. I was fortunate enough never to have been blown to bits in one of those bathroom chemistry labs and never got addicted to the stuff despite smoking it out of light bulb rigs in cheap motels with the Warlocks, but on a first person basis I understand how vile meth is and how many lives it has destroyed. If NASCAR can convince me that Mayfield knowingly and willingly snorted, injected, or smoked crank I’d be the first person to support a lifetime suspension. But the key ingredients to make that crap were found in cold and allergy medicines available over the counter. And given the chemical makeup of crank, I’m going to need a lot of convincing that what the drug tests detected wasn’t just a double dose of Claritin D. As it is, I’ve watched people high on the stuff (including one guy who rode his motorcycle into a parked car, laid out, and snorted lines waiting for the rescue squad to arrive with his leg all but torn off below the knee) and I can’t understand how meth would give a driver any performance edge on the race track.

Yeah, I understand that the Michigan economy is in the outhouse, but the crowd in the stands at MIS this weekend was positively embarrassing.

It might seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating. When it comes to any challenge, like singing the National Anthem, things are better left to the U.S. military than rich folks, celebrities, or big breasted women (or rich, celebrity, women with large breasts.)

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

It’s been a terrible week for NASCAR’s version of Charlie Brown, Johnny Benson. First, the defending Truck Series champion was told that his Truck Series team was shutting down due to sponsorship issues. Then, on Saturday night Benson was seriously injured in a fiery wreck in a super-modified race at the Berlin Speedway in Michigan. Thoughts and prayers go out to Benson, one of the nicest guys in the sport, for a speedy recovery and a quick return to the majors somewhere in auto racing.

Jimmie Johnson dominated Sunday’s snoozer, only to come up a lap short on fuel. That calamity left him 22nd in the final rundown.

The folks at TNT must have been grabbing the ropes and preparing to go David Carradine after another terrible race they were forced to cover. Unless Holly Hunter finds a way to finally fall out of her bra soon during a commercial for Saving Grace, soon this whole NASCAR experiment might turn out to be a disastrous waste of money.

Kyle Busch finished second in this weekend’s truck and Nationwide series races, then lucky number 13th on Sunday. But at least he didn’t get a chance to smash any more trophies!

It was another tough weekend for Richard Childress, with only Clint Bowyer managing a top 10 finish. For a team that was once the GM/Goodwrench standard bearer, these have got to be troubling times.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

When Mark Martin finally retires a couple decades from now, he’ll lean against his walker and admit this one was handed to him.

You’d have to guess after his disaster at Dover and having to start at the rear of the field for the second time in three weeks, Jeff Gordon was pretty well pleased with a second place finish.

The way Denny Hamlin’s season has gone, a third place finish falling into his lap has to be considered a great result.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished 14th. The fact that can be seen as a hope for optimism is a clear sign of how badly his season has started.

Bill Elliott and the Wood Brothers had a strong qualifying effort and went on to a 16th place finish against the super-teams. All in all, that was a pretty fair day’s work.

Worth Noting

  • The last time Mark Martin won more than two races in a season was 1998. That year, he finished second to Jeff Gordon in the points.
  • Denny Hamlin (third) enjoyed his first top 10 finish since Phoenix.
  • Carl Edwards’ fourth place finish was his fourth straight top 10 result.
  • Greg Biffle (fifth) has strung together three straight top 10 finishes.
  • Juan Pablo Montoya’s sixth place finish was his third top 10 in the last four Cup points races.
  • Clint Bowyer’s tenth place finish was his first top 10 result since Martinsville.
  • The top 10 finishers at Michigan drove five Chevys, two Fords, two Toyotas, and a Dodge.
  • The best finish by a rookie was Joey Logano’s 25th place result.

What’s the Points?

Tony Stewart remains atop the point standings, 47 ahead of Jeff Gordon and 142 in front of Jimmie Johnson in third. Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman swapped fourth and fifth spots in the standings, with Busch now having the advantage.

Mark Martin had the best points day, advancing five spots back into the top 12. He now sits eighth in the standings. Denny Hamlin also had a pretty good Sunday, advancing two positions to tenth. Matt Kenseth fell three spots to 11th, while Jeff Burton fell two to 12th in the standings — leaving him now just three points inside the Chase.

Behind them, David Reutimann is now just three points out of the top 12. The fact a MWR racing driver is poised to displace the only RCR driver currently qualified for the Chase speaks volumes about how hard and fast RCR has fallen.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finds himself 252 points out of the top 12 in 18th place. Face it, folks, he just ain’t going to make the cut; and as a result, the ratings for the final ten races are going to be a disaster.

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 give this one a single cup of warm mule-spit. Terrible, simply terrible.

Next Up: Any fans NASCAR has left will be forced to endure next weekend’s somnolent road course race at Sonoma.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

NASCAR NEWS, RIGHT TO YOUR INBOXAND IT’S FREE.
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…
FREE NEWSLETTER! CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

 

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

Kevin in SoCal
06/15/2009 03:18 AM
permalink

Matt said: “only to come up a half lap short on fuel.”

Your friendly neighborhood nit-picker here. Jimmie ran out of gas coming to the white flag lap, which means he was a full lap short of full, not a half a lap. Greg Biffle was a half lap short of fuel.

Also, Jeff Gordon started from the back of the field at Dover, two races ago. So that’s twice in three races, not twice in a row.

Jeff
06/15/2009 04:39 AM
permalink

No, the absolute most boring race was in either 1999 or 2000 when Dale Jarrett led probably 900 labs at Michigan, lapped the field a dozen times and there were no cautions. Best cure for a hangover that day, I slept most of the race.

janice
06/15/2009 06:49 AM
permalink

glad i missed most of the race. it was on, i was busy doing other things around the house. i did see the end when the field started to become litered with out of gas cars. kind of neat watching martin zip by the slowing cars. in post-race interviews biffle was kicking himself for racing johnson. if he had stuck with strategy he would have won by coasting home and have a few precious drops of fuel left.

i knew the track would have empty seats, as detroit has been hit hard by the economy, but it wasn’t a pretty scene. seems like empty sections of seats are the norm. guess there wasn’t enough advertising for the race that would have justified the banners to help hide the emptiness.

i was shocked when i read about johnny benson’s crash. you’re right he’s one of the good guys. i hope and pray he has a speedy recovery.

i don’t understand why the more people don’t realize that stewarthaas is a satelite team of hendrick. just as jr motorsports nationwide teams.

earlier sunday at church, we were talking about jr. what was the concensus, he started 30th, he only had to go back 13 positions to finish 43. glad to see he went the right direction, for once. i guess it’s a small victory for him and the team. guess daytona will be his “big hope” of a win in a few weeks.

the “shootout style” restarts help for a few laps, but it’s still a one car show most of the race. i wonder if sales of ambien have decreased?

think i’ll find something else to do next sunday. maybe clean gutters. and tune in for the end of the race. sad.

Vito Pugliese - FS Staff
06/15/2009 07:43 AM
permalink

Matt –

I wouldn’t say Martin was “handed” a win; he was conserving fuel against his will the lat 44 lap stint. He had plenty of car to go up there and lead – he was running at 2/3 throttle down the straights.

The only reason Johnson caught him and he did not pass Biffle before that,was because he wasn’t running flat out.

It is a shame though. The run before that, they all were pretty much equal – it would have been a pretty exiciting finsh – even though from my vantage point, and having access to driver and crew communication, it was. At least it wasn’t a long race…

Jeff –

That was 1999…I was there. Yes, it was pretty bad. The original, “Green/White/Checker” finish. It was the first race me and another buddy brought two of our non-race watching friends too. Needless to say, they were miserable.

Douglas
06/15/2009 07:51 AM
permalink

Hey, wait a durn minute! Lay off the road course bashing will you?

PLEASE?

seriously, very nice writing today! And yes, the attendance at MIS was EMBARASSING!

I wrote a letter to Roger Curtis LAST YEAR (MIS GM) suggesting he hold a meeting with NA$CRAP to “politely discuss” why the fans are not showing up!

He, Roger Curtis, said why? The racing at MIS is EXCITING!

Can you beleive that?

When one sees about 50% of the stands at MIS EMPTY! Someone better take note & get excited!

And finally, do you know where I could find one of the following? Quote: “(or rich, celebrity, women with large breasts.)”

Might as well have something exciting to do on a Sunday afternoon!

James
06/15/2009 08:17 AM
permalink

What was the point of even calling this a race. Everyone knew if they did not conserve fuel they would run out- So the the last 40 laps were spent riding around waiting to see who was better at driving slow and saving gas. Probalby over a 1000 gals of gas was wasted in the previous 150 laps. If we want to see who has the best engine tuners- why don’t we just put the engines on a dyno and see who runs out first- probably just as exciting as this race.

GaryS
06/15/2009 08:21 AM
permalink

Boring?…That’s going to be resolved by adding Honda and Hyundai to the mix. God, I can hardly wait!

Ditto to the miracle Kulwicki feat. I still miss him.

FWIW, when I was kid working at a nursery, two of us planted more trees in a single day than NASCAR is going to plant in a year. Brian, I’m so impressed.

Carl D.
06/15/2009 08:33 AM
permalink

Jeff & Vito…

I remember that MIS race from 1999 as well. In my mind it has been one of the most boring races I ever watched. Even so, I remember a few MIS races that were pretty exiting. Up until recently, MIS has seemed to me to be a hit-or-miss track, with some good races and some stinkers. Now with the COT, it’s just miss-miss-miss.

Jim
06/15/2009 08:35 AM
permalink

Janice;

See, that’s the problem I have with my parish…our priest never has anything to say about Junior! (Kidding).

Matt, Can’t blame this one on the cars or Nascar, just a product of racing at MIS…they are either great or snoozers for most of the day. Those Jarret wins that Jeff referenced were prime exhibits.

And if you think the race attendance was not chiefly the fault of the Michigan economy, check out the Tigers situation.

Last year they were averaging 38,500 per game through mid-June. This year, it’s less than 28,500. And, they are in first place in the AL Central

Chuck
06/15/2009 08:45 AM
permalink

Boring? Not when Yankees-Mets, Spain-New Zealand Confederation Cup soccer, and UNC-Arizona State college world series are on at the same time.

nascrud1
06/15/2009 08:49 AM
permalink

It’s always better to be lucky than good…congrats to Mark. If someone is going to hand me a larger check just for being lucky, I’d take it…I’m sure you would too Matt. Sure the race sucked, but why are you so “CRANKY” Matt

Carl D.
06/15/2009 08:57 AM
permalink

Chuck…

Boring? The Yanks throttled the Mets 15-0. Spain beat NZ 5-0 and still played like they could care less. The Tarheels getting beat in the 10th by AS was the only nap killer of the day.

Ed
06/15/2009 09:06 AM
permalink

Finally, someone else has the bad luck and Mark Martin is sitting in the “driver’s seat.” I saw only the last 20 laps and the best thing I saw was the last lap when Johnson and Biffle ran out of gas. I did see enough to see the woefully empty stands. During these trying times, it looks as if NASCAR needs to return to its roots, reopen The Rock and N’wilksboro and forget Mich, Chicago, Fontanna, et.al. In other words go where the real fans are. :)

Managing Editor
06/15/2009 09:14 AM
permalink

Hey Kevin,

Thanks for pointing out those “tweaks.” They’ve been corrected … appreciate you being such a dedicated fan of the site as always!

-AIR-
06/15/2009 09:22 AM
permalink

thanks for bringing that whole owner/driver thing up. i literally want to reach through the tv and strangle these guys when they make that comparison to rudd and kulwicki. i agree stewart is doing well and is exceding expectations but what he is doing is in no way comparable to rudd or kulwicki. not only is he a hendrick satellite team but there was already a pretty substantial foudatin there at haas. granted they didn’t run well but it was still a decent team with a lot of resources from hendrick. it’s not like he has an upstart that he had to build from scratch.

i don’t want to diminish anything tony has done either but comparing him to those guys really diminishes what they were able to accomplish.

midasmicah
06/15/2009 09:43 AM
permalink

They don’t any more boring then this race. I watched other sporting events and merely switched ro check on nas$car every so often because you knew who would be in the lead and the only question was, “how many more cars had he lapped?’ This was bad!!!!!!!!!!!

Ryan
06/15/2009 10:13 AM
permalink

Matt , the fact that you say you don’t want to diminish what Stewart has done , yet go ahead and diminish it anyway by dreaming up these HMS connections that are not as you try to make them bothers me . But heres a homework assignment for you , and for anyone else curious about Rudd and Kulwiki . Dig back into both of those teams and see if you notice some bold similarities to what Tony Stewart is doing . For example , did Kulwiki build his own cars from the ground up with his own designs ? Did he have his own exclusive engine building shop with parts unique to his engines ? Did he develop his team from scratch with all new employees who had no Nascar experience ? Did he rely on a long established Cup team or two for engineering help and advice ? I know the answers to those questions , look them up carefully and then maybe you can get over your dislike of the comparisons . And by the way , Dave Marcis was the last true independent that won a race .

MAX Fan
06/15/2009 10:13 AM
permalink

Hey Matt,

There’s a great article that discusses how drug tests can distinguish between “crank” and allergy meds.

http://www.stockcarscience.com/blog/

Seems pretty clear to me that NASCAR may just have a case against Mayfield. Besides, if it were so easy to get “false positives” all the time, there is no way any company, sport etc. could ever use drug testing for their employees, athletes or what have you. It just wouldn’t be done, period.

I’m not passing judgement on Mayfield, but it certainly doesn’t help that he keeps changing his story … fuses from Talladega???

So far I’m siding with NASCAR on this one.

Bill B
06/15/2009 10:24 AM
permalink

Michigan races are boring at least 50% of the time. Two more boring races than yesterday’s – last year’s Indianapolis and New Hampshire the year they ran restrictor plates (Burton lead every lap and there were no passes anywhere).

BTW, no one was complaining because the race was so boring but did we ever see the actual debris for either of those debris cautions yesterday?

I’d like to think we won’t see a fuel mileage race for a while but road course races are notorious for gas mileage. I don’t mind a FM race once in a while but three in three weeks may be enough to make me tune out.

Terrible about the attendance. I’ve heard they’ve tried everything except lowering the ticket price to get people to show up.

Michael
06/15/2009 10:52 AM
permalink

Can’t say i was surprised by the typical knee jerk reaction by NASCAR to the idea of imports . They said many times that they weren’t interested in letting more foreign manufacturers into the show . But now that the domestic car companies are tightening the purse strings suddenly Brian ( i’ll do or say anything for money )France can’t talk to enough foreign car makers . He really always wanted them to race in Cup wink , wink . Same goes for the idea of bringing Danica Patrick to NASCAR . Wasn’t interested until the money dried up , now can’t wait to get her into the sport .
Planting trees ? Are you kidding me , what a waste of time ! Oh , there is something called a green movement ? And we’ll look like we don’t care about it if we don’t do something ? Quick , plant some trees in a meaningless gesture , only don’t spend much time or money or thought on it . We just have to look like we really care .

Mike
06/15/2009 11:35 AM
permalink

My guess is that feat will never be repeated in our lifetimes or even in the lifetimes of our children; but then again, I never thought a Peugeot was going to win at Le Mans, either.

Peugeot won Le Mans in 1992 (ironically!) as well. Of course, it wasn’t diesel power; but, it was Peugeot none the less…

-AIR-
06/15/2009 11:35 AM
permalink

ryan,

by the tv guys comparing stewart’s situation to that of kulwicki, rudd or as you point marcis diminishes what they all accomplished. there is one major thing that is different with stewart from the rest. he basically bought a stake in a team that was already pretty well established. i know tony was instrumental in bringing in a few key players but just as tony declared last week a lot of the guys on the team have been with the haas team for a long time and thuse never been to victory lane so he was happy for them. Did AK or rudd build their own cars. probably not. Im sure they got them from ronny hopkins or a company like that but they were still upstarts. they didn’t just open up their checkbooks and buy into exisiting teams with substantial foundations and a partner with a huge checkbook himself. to answer your other questions i am sure they purchased engines which is similar to the stewart hass hendrick deal but that alliance was there before tony came on board. that is an alliance gene haas developed. did ak or rudd start teams without people with experience? of course not. but they didn’t inherit a couple of hundred employees either. on race day a few weeks ago when stewart was walking around the haas shop in his flip flops he admitted he still didn’t know everyone’s name. i can bet you AK and rudd knew everybody’s names because they hired em, expierenced or not.

i can’t believe how you don’t see the difference. do you think jeff gordon owning the 48 team is comparable to stewart haas, AK and his underbird, rudd or marcis?

Ryan
06/15/2009 12:01 PM
permalink

My point is , Tony Stewart has built a winning team . Now whether he did that by starting with one car instead of three , or twenty employees instead of 100 , he still did it . And he did it the same way Kulwiki , Marcis , Rudd , Childress , and every other independent team owner ever did it . By hiring the best people he could get , by using the best equipment available to him , by making very good decisions , and by lots of hard work and talent . The similarities are striking . And of course big sponsor money was eventually available from Hooters and from the begining for Rudd from Tide . I happen to think that giving credit to HMS for the accomplishments of Stewart Haas is a slap in the face for that team . Because it looks to me like Tony is doing a better job with the HMS engines and chassis than HMS themselves . Even more reason for Tony and the teams to be proud of what they’ve accomplished . And again , those engines and chassis were available for several years , Haas didn’t seem to get much benefit from them . Nor do the other teams that have used HMS complete cars and engines over the years .
No , i’d say this is a team effort . Just the way it Kulwiki and Rudd can attribute their success to a complete team effort . And details aside , Tony Stewarts’ accomplishments are every bit as meaningfull as any team owners have ever been . Maybe even more so , because Kulwiki and Marcis , and Rudd , and Childress weren’t running a two car team . And didn’t have both in the top five in points .

Bill B
06/15/2009 12:08 PM
permalink

The only difference between HAAS last year and HAAS-Stewart this year is a bigger budget and two drivers that don’t suck.

Mr.ed
06/15/2009 12:38 PM
permalink

I give this race na$car owes the fans each 1 beer make that a 12pack

Ryan
06/15/2009 12:49 PM
permalink

AIR , no , i don’t see any similarities between Gordon adding his name to the 48 team to pretend to be a car owner , any more than Jack Roushs’ wife or Joe Hendrick listing themselves as car owners . The honest hard work of all of the true car owners in Nascar is a far different thing . You obviously know the difference .

-AIR-
06/15/2009 12:55 PM
permalink

my point is tony stewart helped build a winning a team. tony brought over a handful of key people such as himself, newman, grubb, gibson and hutchens. most everyone else were already there. now those are major aquisitions and i agree would never have joined haas without smoke’s credibilty. i also agree with you that there are definitely similarities but rudd and ak’s situation were very different than tony’s other than those few similarities. tony is a satellite team of hendrick’s. he is buying the best of the best, the cream of the crop, stuff that has been tested and stuff that has gm factory support. he isn’t going out and buying a run of the mill hopkins chassis or medicore engines like carl long was forced to. as far as calling tony a satellit team of hms and that being a slap in the face it is what it is. he is basically buying not only hendrick cars but the engineering that goes into those cars. it’s a whole nother argument as far as who is doing better with the equipment. smoke has been consistent and is leading the points but you could argue the 48 and the 5 have speed and are faster just about every week. again… a different argument. i don’t know what i else i could say though. if you can’t see the difference between buying a stake in a team that already exists with a substantial foundation and an upstart i guess there is nothing i can do to change your mind. by the way it must be nice to be able to just slap his partner, gene haas’s, stickers on that 39 car for weeks where they don’t have a primary for the car.

anyway…. you never answered my question. where does jeff gordon rank in your world as far as owner/drivers go?

Ryan
06/15/2009 01:31 PM
permalink

Actually i answered your question in my previous reponse . Jeff Gordon , Joe Hendrick , Roushs’ mother and his wife , are no more car owners than i am . And i’m not one . Gordon and the rest have their names on the entry blank for tax reasons , to bypass Nascar rules , for a variety of reasons .

So you’re saying that even though Kulwiki started with a couple of cars that he purchased from another team , along with engines he purchased , and pit equipment he purchased , and a hauler he purchased , that his start as a car owner was totally different from Tonys’, who purchased the very same things . Interesting logic . In truth , Rudd was the only one who started with no cars or equipment or employees at all . Going back to a former post , you would be far more correct by forgetting the Kulwiki and Rudd story . Because the only driver/car owner/race winner who truly built his team from scratch and accomplished what he did with virtually no money and no help was Dave Marcis .

Kevin in SoCal
06/15/2009 01:32 PM
permalink

Why is watching a road course race at LeMans a good thing, but watching a road course race at Sonoma or Watkins Glen a bad thing?

don mei
06/15/2009 01:43 PM
permalink

I read the Times during the race then fell asleep for an hour or so..it was raining all afternoon. With about 40 laps to go I switched over to Speed and watched a REALLY exciting AMA flattrack event on a mile dirt track. THAT will keep you awake!!! Missed the “excitement” of the last few laps. Oh well, I’ll live.

-AIR-
06/15/2009 03:28 PM
permalink

ryan, yes i am not saying the situations are totally different. yes, there are some similarities but i am going to leave at this…
smoke purchased interest in a team. there was a building, employees, cars, an owner, haulers, pit boxes, computers, pens and pencils.

AK and ricky rudd started with none of that stuff. they built their teams from scratch. yeah they purchased cars and engines but the teams themselves were built from scratch. tony bought into an existing and established team.

so the main difference is tony stewart helped turn a mediocre team into a weekly contender by buying shares in it. rudd and AK started with nothing. the teams did not exist. they started them. if tony had to start his own team fromt he ground up like they did it is very unlikely he would be this successful right out of the gate.

Ryan
06/15/2009 07:41 PM
permalink

I think we’re nitpicking here . Who had how many pieces when . As far as Tony being able to build his team from an empty building , he already did with his USAC and WOO teams so i wouldn’t bet against him putting together a winning Cup team . But of course we’ll never know .
Now as far as the time line is concerned , Tony is leading in points , has a second car in the top five and has won two races since Daytona . Thats another difference between what Tony has done versus Rudd and Kulwiki . I happen to have been a big fan of both of them , but Tony has done something here that no other driver in the history of Nascar has accomplished as far as i know .

dawg
06/15/2009 07:44 PM
permalink

Here’s my dream. Jeremy stands his ground, (he really has no other choice.) He prevails over NA$CAR’s half- assed drug policy. In lieu of a monetary settlement, (Brian gets to keep his $$, & we all know how he loves his $$.) Jeremy is awarded NA$CAR, turns it back into NASCAR. More interested in running good races, than vacuuming up every last penny. The sport again flourishes. Enough real racers come back, that the S & P teams go away. Will this happen? Hell, I said it was my dream, not my vision. You get BIG points from me on two points. #1 You have a clear picture of the differences between what Alan accomplished, & what Tony may accomplish. #2 You haven’t yet, (unless I missed it) become a PR shill for Danica. Trying to pump up her price, by writing about her coming to NA$CAR. WTG.

melanndun
06/15/2009 10:02 PM
permalink

AIR – I have a hard time buying into your argument when you are so wrong on one of your basic facts.

Tony Stewart did not buy into anything…he was given 1/2 of the operation.

Gene Haas has said that they were ready to “turn the place into a truck stop”.

So basically Tony was given 1/2 of a race team that probably wouldn’t even be in existence if not for the fact that it was given to him.

And he’s turned it around within a span of 6 months or so into an operation that could very well contend for the championship. Their other team is not doing too shabby either sitting 5th in points. This coming from an organization with 1 car barely in the top 35 and the other so far outside they needed binoculars to see 35th place.

This was with the same Hendrick equipment that they are now using. Funny, I don’t recall anyone referring to Haas-CNC has a Hendrick satellite team before. I guess it didn’t count as long as they were running in the back every week.

I say Tony has done something quite remarkable and he deserves all the credit that is being given to him.

You can say it’s not the same as what Kulwicki or Rudd did, but how could it be anyway. It takes so much more money now and the competition is better and more equal.

You might has well be comparing apples to oranges. The circumstances are just not the same.

Kevin in NY
06/15/2009 10:33 PM
permalink

“I guess those Audis didn’t have enough unintended acceleration…”

Good memory, although inaccurate. That was twenty years ago, and not even true…

-AIR-
06/16/2009 07:21 AM
permalink

melanndun.

i think we actually agree. i said i didn’t want to diminish what stewart has done and i think he has completely turned that team around but comparing him to AK and ricky rudd doesn’t make sense. as you said… apples to oranges.

mkrcr
06/16/2009 07:59 PM
permalink

Considering the fact that they blew Bristol all to Hell, Sonoma and Watkins Glen are the only races I look forward to.