The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Charlotte Fall Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday October 19, 2009

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Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Charlotte Fall Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin · Monday October 19, 2009


The Key Moment: Jimmie Johnson prevailed in a spirited side-by-side battle with teammate Jeff Gordon after the final restart.

In a Nutshell: This is getting rather formulaic. Three and a half hours of mind-numbing tedium with the driver up front running away with the race, a flurry of late cautions, and twenty minutes of excitement.

Dramatic Moment: That final battle between Johnson and Gordon was the sort of stuff that makes the highlight reels.

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

If the drivers are only going to race wide open for the final 25 laps, why not condense all the races to 25 lap shootouts?

Jimmie Johnson doesn’t have this title in the bag yet (Talladega might tell the tale) but it sure as Hell is his to lose. Meanwhile, Johnson might want to spend some of the big bucks he earned Saturday night to take his pit crew to dinner. Their lightning fast stop to get him off pit road ahead of Kasey Kahne by a few inches probably cemented the win.

Now that Lowe’s isn’t the title sponsor at Charlotte anymore, will they allow someone other than Johnson to win a race?

Want to help your first-grader learn to be a NASCAR writer down the road covering the Chase? Spend this week teaching them to spell “anticlimactic.” Then advise them to get a real job.

Denny Hamlin was the latest driver to give a less than glowing review of the Chase championship format. It seems only the drivers who are leading in the points seem to like it much. Go figure.

Was Chad Knaus really expressing frustration when the eighth caution flew while Jimmie Johnson was leading, or had he joined a majority of fans and fallen asleep watching the race?

Brian France, Richard Petty, Teresa Earnhardt, and Junior Johnson represented the first round of Hall of Famers Saturday night, giving the command to start engines.

Since so many folks commented on the crowd at Fontana last week, it’s only fair to take note of the huge swaths of empty seats at Charlotte, some of them hidden beneath advertising banners. Temperatures in the 40s and a threat of rain didn’t help out with the walk-up ticket sales, but when a track in the very heart of stock car country can’t sell a decent amount of tickets something is bad wrong with the sport.

The first NASCAR Hall of Fame class didn’t include David Pearson and Cale Yarborough, but did include two members of the France family that owns the joint, as announced by another member of the France family. If it’s any consolation, by the time Brian France is voted into the Hall it will be cockroaches casting the votes. As far as I’m concerned, the initial class destroys the legitimacy of the Hall as a legitimate Hall of Fame and leaves it, with all due apologies to Tom Robbins, Just Another Roadside Attraction. I’ve crossed it off my travel plans until they have Hooters girls washing Harleys in the parking lot free.

How to tell you’re an aging NASCAR fan – You hear Martin Truex is running the “DJ Hero” car at Charlotte and think it’s a tribute to former champion Dale Jarrett. (Apparently, it’s actually a video game – the less said about that, the better.)

This whole Transformers promotion is over now, right? Every time they mentioned that whole deal I felt a little barf trying to exit my nose. I guess this whole Optimus Prime thing appeals to folks who still express their occupation as somethingth grade.

I doubt it’s an honor he’ll covet, but apparently Casey Mears is going to be the first driver ever to be let go by Chip Ganassi, Rick Hendrick, and Richard Childress. Mears has driven for Target, Texaco, the National Guard, Carquest, Kellogg’s, and Jack Daniel’s.

There was some talk a few years back when NASCAR and the tracks couldn’t keep up with ticket demand or the TV ratings about splitting the Cup series into two divisions, one running on the Left Coast and the other on the Right Coast. How about this? We have one division for the Rick Hendrick-owned and affiliated teams, and another for everyone else. That ought to restore some drama to at least one series title fight annually.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

Juan Pablo Montoya had top 5 finishes in the first five Chase races. Saturday night, he certainly did not. (He, in fact, finished 34th, his worst result of the 2009 Cup season.) Montoya had a strong car that might have contended for the win and almost certainly would have had a top 5 result before he got caught up in a chain reaction crash with Mark Martin on a restart that shredded the right rear quarterpanel. And for future reference, his team might want to reconsider their strategy of affixing a replacement quarterpanel to the car with library paste (it later fell off, causing another caution and a second set of repairs). Thankfully, he was sponsored by Lysol because Montoya’s weekend at Charlotte stunk.

The contact with Montoya didn’t do Mark Martin’s Chevy any favors, either. Martin’s outside pole-sitting competitive car had a hole punched into the grill area that had to be battle-field surgery repaired to a degree the barbarian bodymen at Earl Sheibs would have been embarrassed to sign off on.

A transmission failure ended a thoroughly frustrating night for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who must be considering running off to join a cloistered monastery after this season.

Denny Hamlin had a competitive car before the engine went south. Combined with last weekend’s wreck while leading, Hamlin’s title chances are now officially off life support. Hopefully, Hamlin’s Consolation Prize Chase check will arrive by Fed Ex so he can spend the offseason on his front porch, chasing away car thieves determined to abscond with his new Lexus.

You have to wonder if Carl Edwards clutched his engine just to blow up the No. 99 car, as hapless as his efforts were Saturday night. He ran better when he was on crutches.

Greg Biffle got caught up in a late-race wreck not of his own making for the second weekend in a row. With the amount of time the No. 16 car has spent in the grass lately, maybe Jack Roush ought to try to renew the John Deere sponsorship deal.

It must be a tough year to be a Blue Oval fan. It’s now been 29 Cup races since a Ford posted a victory. I think the last time that happened, they were still starting the race cars with hand cranks in the radiator.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

Jimmie Johnson won the pole, led both practices, led the most laps, won the race and obviously held onto the points lead. It’s hard to have a much better weekend than that without having Heather Locklear invite you to room with her for the Monterey Historics.

Kasey Kahne suffered an ignition failure exiting the pits, but had the presence of mind to switch to his backup ignition box instantly. He never even gave up the lead. Smooth. Last week, all four Richard Petty Motorsports cars were wiped out in a single wreck and failed to finish the race. This week, Kahne looked like he might win the race. That’s one nice thing about our sport: the elevator from the outhouse to the penthouse is express. Unfortunately, the ride back down can be just as quick.

Last week at Fontana, Kyle Busch had the flu. This weekend, he flew to a dominating win in Friday night’s Nationwide race. Some folks were worried that Busch had the swine flu. I figure that’s like a hen coming down with chicken pox. On Saturday, Busch spun his ill-handling car to bring out the fifth caution, but he rallied back to finish in eighth.

When Joey Logano overshot his pits, it looked like another long night for the sometimes hapless rookie. Somehow, he maintained his composure, missed all the wrecks, and went on to finish fifth.

With the kind of season RCR has been enduring, having two drivers in the top 10 (Bowyer in sixth and Mears in seventh) offered a rare glimpse of sunshine during a night race.

Worth Noting

  • The victory was Johnson’s third in just five Chase races and the sixth Charlotte Cup victory of his career. That ties him for most all-time wins at the track with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.
  • Matt Kenseth’s second place finish was his best since the first Fontana race, eons and eons ago.
  • Kasey Kahne’s third place finish was his best since he won at Atlanta.
  • Jeff Gordon (fourth) drove to his fourth consecutive top 10 finish. And he’s still watching Jimmie Johnson drive away from him in the points at ludicrous speed. Do you think Gordon, who recommended Johnson to Rick Hendrick, ever feels like Victor Frankenstein?
  • Joey Logano’s fifth place finish was his first top 5 result since he got away with Grand Theft Auto Race at New Hampshire in the rain.
  • Maybe Clint Bowyer (sixth) and his team are getting things back on track. They’ve managed top 10 results in four of the last six races. Gotta settle one old score, one small point of pride.
  • Casey Mears’ seventh place finish was his best since Michigan in August.
  • Kyle Busch hasn’t led a lap in a Chase race to date. And you know what? I love women, I’m a big fan of breasts, awareness is a key virtue and I hate cancer, but pink race cars just look ridiculous.
  • Martin Truex (ninth) posted his first top 10 result since Darlington. He still hasn’t managed a top 5 result this year.
  • Kurt Busch (tenth) hasn’t finished worse than 11th in the last six races. A lot of years, that would put a driver in title contention. This year, it earns Busch an autographed copy of Darrell Waltrip’s book, “Love Sonnets to Hendrick Drivers.”
  • Carl Edwards’ 39th place finish was his worst of the season and his second DNF of the year.
  • The top 10 finishers at Charlotte drove five Chevys, two Dodges, two Toyotas, and a Ford.
  • Joey Logano was the top finishing ROTY candidate at Charlotte.

What’s the Points?

Pretty obviously, Johnson is still leading the points. He’s now gapped second place Mark Martin by 90 markers.

Jeff Gordon advanced two spots to third, but is now 135 points behind Johnson. Tony Stewart holds serve in fourth. Of note, perhaps, is the fact that currently the top four teams in points are all either owned by Rick Hendrick or affiliated with his organization. And these are the last four drivers with any legitimate title aspirations this year.

Kurt Busch moved up a position in the points to fifth.

Juan Pablo Montoya took the biggest hit at Charlotte, tumbling three spots to sixth in the standings. Greg Biffle stays seventh, while Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne each advanced two spots to eighth and ninth, respectively. Conversely, Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin each fell two spots to find themselves tenth and 11th in the standings, with Brian Vickers bringing up the proverbial Chase rear in 12th.

Matt Kenseth once again wrested away “Best of the Rest” honors from Kyle Busch and is now 13th in the standings.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — This one gets a single can for the majority of the evening, and three hastily guzzled Coronas at Closing Time. Closing time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

Next Up: NASCAR’s near future includes a blast from the past, the tiny Martinsville Speedway, short on asphalt but long on history. A valid argument could be made that Martinsville is the last real stock car race of the season.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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Today on the Frontstretch:
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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Bad Wolf
10/19/2009 01:24 AM

Matt, There has not been a Chevy, Ford, Dodge or Toyota to win a race in the Cup series since the inception of the COT. Please stop the lie that the Nascar spec car has anything to do with the manufacturers, other than a set of decals and an engine built by the manufacturer to a set of Nascar specs.

Paul F.
10/19/2009 04:24 AM

I had a buddy here at college catch the end of the race with me and luckily for him it was the part where…ya know, there was racing. Anyway, he commented on the Fords “…not really being Ford Fusions…” and laughed at the idea that the Chevys were “…actually Impalas…” and scoffed at the idea of “…a Dodge Charger is actually racing?…”. I explained to him how they used to actually race stock cars and he, having never seen a stock car race, said, “Now THAT would be sweet to watch.” Anyway, thanks again for the commentary and wit Matt.

Bill B
10/19/2009 07:18 AM

Boy this Chase format really makes for a close championship race. The way I see it, we’d be in about the same position now as we would have been without resetting the chase. Although I am sure Tony Stewart would disagree.
Everyone keeps harping about Talladega. Anyone want to bet that the 48 spends the first 100 laps riding around at the back staying out of trouble.

The Turnip!
10/19/2009 07:46 AM

your “ it’s only fair to take note of the huge swaths of empty seats at Charlotte,”, I was actually thinking maybe the printer of the tickets made a mistake and printed Sunday’s date on them!

IF I WAS NA$CRAP I WOULD BE EMBARRASED! (darn, guess we have been down that silly road before), you have to have pride in the first place to ever be embarrased! Sorry!

Ahh yes, what can one say about “The Chase”?

After all the hullabaloo about “re-setting” the points, and after only five (5) chumpionship races, there are only two (2) cars still in the hunt!

WOW! What an idea, lets re-set the points after 26 races to make things “tighter”!

Yeh! Right!

And your comment: “by the time Brian France is voted into the Hall it will be cockroaches casting the votes.”

MMMMM, can one vote for himself?

10/19/2009 08:06 AM

The endless stupid argument I always hear in defense of the Chase is that “it’s boring when someone gets a big lead!” Well, it looks like we need to add a second Chase with five races to go now, because it’s boring when someone gets a big lead. And if that doesn’t work, add another points reset with two to go.

10/19/2009 08:15 AM

guess i’m an old fan…i was trying to figure out why truex was having dj on his car. took me a bit to figure out it was some game.

so by turning off tv at 10:30 i missed the only “race” of the race. but alas, it was between two hendrick cars.

i would have been a walk up attendee. i was going to head to charlotte saturday am, but georgia was cold enough, and showers were forecasted. i’ve spent too many cold rainy days/nights at tracks over the past 30 years. glad i didn’t go. of course discovering who was on pole was major factor i didn’t go. sure wished i could pick the winning mega million lottery numbers like i can winners of these races.

do you seriously think jr knows what a cloistered monastery is?! so what else is new, he has no confidence in his team. wonder what the team says about him behind his back. at least they don’t air their laundry on national tv and print.

nice to see the widow earnhardt make her annual visit to a track. i’m sure she left by time the first caution came out. sorry, i feel they elected dale to the hof to sell tickets and have folks spend their hard earned coin on that place. even in death dale has influence over na$car, and the money hungry france family knows that.

Ed - Georgia
10/19/2009 08:20 AM

Well, for two weeks in a row LARGE numbers of people forgot there was a race. I was surprised when I tuned in for a short while and saw that the Charlotte grandstands, like Fontana, were virtually empty. NASCAR is in a downward spiral from which it may never recover. Someone go ahead and shoot it.

10/19/2009 08:21 AM

Spec. racing killed ASA,spec. racing killed IROC, spec. racing is and will kill nascrap!! Enough said!!

10/19/2009 09:28 AM

Another boring race won by the same boring, cardboard driver, driving for a convicted felon. All of this prefaced with the France family crowing themselves with being kings of the sports entertainment industry with two of their family members in their hall of fame. I can’t wait for next year when J.C. France (recently arrested for drug charges) beats out Cale Yarborough and David Pearson. It will further legitimize the family business. As for the race, I guess I can consider myself lucky as I was driving home and could not pick it up on the radio until the last seventy laps or so. On the bright side, we are only a few races away from when super bone-head himself, Michael Waltrip, finally gets out of the car. Do you think he will ever realize he was only in cup racing because of his brother? Also, are we getting closer to clearing out some other drivers who should not be in cup cars? McMurry, Mears, Stremme, and Sorenson all appear to be on the way out. Elliot Sadler can’t be far behind. I guess he would of already been given the boot if he did not have a good lawyer in dealing with Gillette before the start of the season. Sorry to be so euphoric and positive but we have so much to look forward to the rest of the season.

10/19/2009 09:42 AM

Let’s see… sum it all up….I bet..there are 42 teams out there who can’t wait for the season to end so they can contact NASCAR and see if there’s a chance they might lift the 4 car they can ALL race for Hendrick! There is one team who can’t want to see the season end (before NASCAR finds another over the top tolerance and ACTS on it this time)! There are at least 8 start and park teams who hate to see the season end (thus an end to their cash cow). There are scads of reporters and media types who can’t wait to end this..coming up day after day trying to get us all to “go ahead..drink the kool aide” and running out of ANYTHING interesting to say. There are track owners who want this infernal season over..the loss of income has to be killing them..they can make more by opening up their track for weekend flea markets. AND how about the television coverage..I know ESPN and ABC must be thinking..“and we bypassed football for this??!!”. And FOX must be thinking..hmmm how do we get out of next season’s coverage?? There are people who didn’t lose their jobs this year who are thinking..“geez this isn’t looking good for next year..maybe I should plan ahead and get that GED or college degree or job at the A&P or the Quickie Lube so I will have a job next year”. AND then there are us fans..the ones who watch each week..the prerace coverage..the race..and the postrace coverage..and when it’s over..and on to the next race..we wonder…“geez..I’ll never get that wasted time back”! The sad thing in this all is I really enjoy the races..well I did..and now I find myself flicking channels back and forth during a race..and I know I am not alone. question to all my “summing up” the season is to NASCAR…“How’s this working for you?”….for me..and lots of fans…not so good…

The Turnip!
10/19/2009 09:46 AM

Quote from “Janice: “nice to see the widow earnhardt make her annual visit to a track. i’m sure she left by time the first caution came out. sorry, i feel they elected dale to the hof to sell tickets and have folks spend their hard earned coin on that place. even in death dale has influence over na$car, and the money hungry”!

MMMM, was that a slap at theresa? have you seen what her “ex-driver” has accomplished this year? You know, the very same driver that dissed DEI because they (APPARENTLY) could not supply said driver with decent equipment?

You know the one I’m talking about, the guy in what 21st/22nd place in points? The NON-PERFORMER! The one that said he was being held back by DEI?

And you still rag on Theresa?

How sick!

And are you saying the Sr. does not deserve to be in the HOF? (such as it is anyway)

10/19/2009 10:05 AM

Hey Turnip, you have to admit Ms Teresa has not gotten the 42 car into the chase, I believe it is HER co-owners that now put out the cars in THEIR buildings not hers. She is now the sole proud owner of the DEI museum, hadn’t you heard?

The Turnip
10/19/2009 10:18 AM

Hey Marilyn, the 42 car is still a DEI car. So in my estimation She, Theresa, did what it took to make things better at DEI! After all, the 42 car is in the chase! A DEI car.

Come to think about it, so are teamates of the under-achiever called Jr. those cars are the 24, the 5, the 48, ALL identical to what the playboy drives!

But then again, all Jr. wants to do is complain, rather than drive the silly race car!

Jr. HAS the VERY BEST in equipment, has had for a few years now! He just can’t drive em’!

Carl D.
10/19/2009 10:28 AM

I decided to watch the Alabama/South Carolina Football game Saturday night. It was actually a pretty good game. I switched over to the race during the halftime, and guess what? Jimmie Johnson was leading. So I went and made myself a plate of nachos to enjoy with the second half of the football game. I heard Jimmie Johnson won the race. What a surprise.

10/19/2009 11:07 AM

my comment about the widow earnhardt is the only time we see her is when she’s hawking something. before hof was the movie “DALE”. she comes out to sell more stuff . she owns the licensing to dale’s image and whatnot. i knew dale would make it into hof, but i honestly thought older racers, guys from 50’s & 60’s like pearson, fireball or flock bros, even ned jarrett, would had made it into hof before dale. i just see that first class as a $$$.

dei and ganassi merged, you see chip and felix at track, but never the other owner. she showes up when she needs something or na$car needs something. by the way, just where is the “precious 8 team?” without sponsorship. apparently the “earnhardt” name couldn’t pull sponsorship. (apparently jr has hit the same roadblock when it comes to his nationwide team, 88 team has had several primary sponsors this year). Truex is going to MWR next year, so where are the “dei” drivers in the ganassi equation?

i don’t give a flip about jr. he’s dug his own hole. jr’s head isn’t in the sport, he’s got too many diversions. just as the widow earnhardt said, can’t race and be a popular “superstar”. i agree with her on that part. and until hendrick forces jr to do that, he ain’t going anywhere. jr’s problem is himself and his ego. i’ll spare you my thought about the jr/hendrick relationship…

i just get tired of na$car playing the emotion card when it comes to Dale (not jr).

sorry that’s how i see the hof fame announcement. na$car wants to guarantee a good first year attendance rate. they did the same thing with Daytona USA.

let’s see if she shows up at the banquet as an owner for a chase team (42). you know ganassi and felix will be in vegas.

10/19/2009 11:38 AM

Three years ago I gave up my Lowes’ tickets. Two years ago I tossed in the Brickyard tickets and this year will be my final trip to Pocono. To paraphrase the immortal Jimmy Buffett, “If the seat ain’t filled, its ME!

10/19/2009 11:47 AM

Janice , my god where do you find all that hatred for a woman you’ve never even met ? As far as i can see , the only thing Teresa ever did was marry Dale Earnhardt . Then her husband was killed and she carried on the family business , without much help from her step-children . And since Dale was the first to admit that Teresa was the brains behind every business deal he ever made , why would it be so surprising that she still keeps a close eye on the people who want to use her husbands name . By the way , Chip isn’t at the track as much as you might think , at least not the NASCAR track . He prefers to go to the IRL races , and is often at the Grand American races as well . Felix ?.. who cares ?

10/19/2009 11:56 AM

Hey Matt-
As to a two-division league check it out!

Bill B
10/19/2009 12:13 PM

Good luck selling tickets to 52 races instead of 26. Also, watch the tv viewership plunge even further as the talent gets waterd down and people cherry-pick the races with their driver in it. Sorry, there are too many other things in life besides NASCAR. I don’t mind carving out 4-5 hours to watch a race each weekend. No way I can double that to watch two races each week. Also it’s ridiculous to contemplate that scenario as longs as 4-5 start and park teams are showing up each week with things the way they are.

Michael in SoCal
10/19/2009 12:41 PM

Did anyone notice that Target / Energizer had banners between each pit box on Saturday night? Funny thing was the the banner next to the 5 pit box had a big red X through it. Maybe Mark Martin saw a big red X on the back of Montoya’s Chevy on that restart when he rammed into him. I’m joking about that – MM hit the 42 because a couple cars in front spun the tires and those behind got stacked up. Still thought it was funny to see Montoya’s sponsor crossed out next to the 5 pit stall. Just a little gamesmanship by someone on Mark’s pit crew.

Also, I swear I saw Logano run over the rear tire changer’s air hose as he backed into his pit stall after missing it. Shouldn’t that have been a penalty? Anyone else see that?

The Turnip
10/19/2009 01:06 PM

Hey Janice, your “i knew dale would make it into hof, but i honestly thought older racers, guys from 50’s & 60’s like pearson, fireball or flock bros, even ned jarrett, would had made it into hof before dale. i just see that first class as a $$$.”

MOST of as agree 110% of course. And frankly, who cares which owner shows up and which not? I certainly don’t! I have been in big business, and when I hired someone to do a job for me, does CREW CHIEF come to mind, then tha ball is in their court to run the event! At times, the owners only get in the way! So, once again, who care whether Theresa show at the track!

And I don’t think her “appearance” the other night had anything to do with anything except honor Sr.!

And going a step further, how can you support NA$CRAP when IT’S owner NEVER goes to the races?


And I like your comments about Jr.!

10/19/2009 01:16 PM

More whiners about “boring” racing… Matt that line is getting old. There was passing throughout, cars worked their way front to back and vice-versa. I guess you have to be a racing fan and not a journalist looking for a sensational story. It is amazing that people complain and then long for the “good ole days”. Yeah when the winner would win by laps instead of inches and there would be only 3 or 4 competitive cars. I was there fro the 70s and 80s, the racing now is much better, it is just popular to be a complainer right now.

10/19/2009 01:16 PM

Great article, Matt. I didn’t spend time flipping channels. I simply didn’t watch the race. David Pearson and Cale Yarborough nat making the Hall of Fame. The Francy pants members did. Makes me want to barf. nas$car as we know it is done. R.I.P.

10/19/2009 01:27 PM

bill france jr use to be at races. now you do see pres. mike helton there and john darby. brain fart is there occassionally. since the reign of brain fart the racing has become hohum and i haven’t been to many races. been 3 years since i stepped foot in any race track, and i use to go to 5-6 races a year. i can watch at home in comfort, not pay inflated prices for food, and no line in bathroom. i miss the track, but it’s not the same. and if brain fart is at track, he knows not to show his mug to the fans in the stands. someone might roll him up and shove him into one of those tubes that are on the back of the mini coopers painted with red bull logo that launch t-shirts into the stands.

watch out nationwide will be the same once they switch to cot next year.

10/19/2009 02:54 PM

There is a real race on espn classic for the next hour 1990 Rockingham

10/19/2009 02:58 PM

C’mon Matt you have been around long enough to know you Can’t compare Charlotte with California or Kansas. Charlotte has 156,000 seats to fill and even with the empty seats it still had twice as many people as California did the week before.

10/19/2009 04:14 PM

“A valid argument could be made that Martinsville is the last real stock car race of the season.”

Season? How about one of the last REAL racing tracks nascar runs on? It’s blasphemy to even THINK about taking a date away from this track. Yet people are doing just that.

For what? Another cookie-cutter track?

Michael in SoCal
10/19/2009 05:24 PM

Nascar – don’t take one of Martinsville’s races away for Kansas, Kentucky, Nashville or even Iowa. If it comes time for one of those tracks to get a Cup race (or a second date for Kansas) Iowa would be the best track to get a race. And California, Michigan and Pocono all have 2nd dates that wouldn’t be missed too terribly. Some of the mile-and-a-half tracks with two dates could do with one date as well.

10/19/2009 05:32 PM

Key moment? There none………….as usual.

alley oop
10/19/2009 07:48 PM

All races have their wrecks for whatever reason but why the hell can’t someone wreck in front of Jimmy Johnson or J Gordon? I don’t mean a fender bender but take them OUT early in the race. Looks like JJ will win 4 in a row. Variety is the spice of life and new champ every year would be better for the sport.

No one mentioned watching the Tony Stewart dirt track race alternatly while the JJ show was on. I was hoping Mark Martin would win the championship. He deserves it. I won’t bet on it but “It ain’t over untill the fat lady sings”. It might just be whoever Rick Hendrick wants to win.

10/19/2009 10:43 PM

I remember I used to watch every lap of the race. Now I just watch the start(till JJ gets a 6 second lead) and I turn over to the NFL and I turn back for the end. I think the COT is mostly to blame because it’s the most boring “race car” Ive ever seen in my years of watching racing.

Brian France Sucks
10/19/2009 10:44 PM

Hey Turnip its obvious you drink the Earnhardt Kool-Aid. Fact of the matter is that Theresa ruined DEI, and its now pretty much Chip Ganassi w/ an Earnhardt logo. Think of all the money Theresa could have from merchandise sales. Why do you think Hendrick hired Junior? It definitely wasn’t for his driving talent. Who do you think paid for the new chassis and shaker rigs? Jr’s T-shirts worn by shmucks like you. I’m willing to bet you have an Earnhardt room in your trailer.

Kevin in SoCal
10/21/2009 02:50 AM

Keith said: “even with the empty seats it still had twice as many people as California did the week before.”

You better go back to grade school there, as 105,000 at Charlotte is NOT twice as many as 70,000 at Fontana. As Matt said, if the home of NASCAR cant even fill up the race track, then NASCAR better wake up and smell the roses, if its not already too late.

10/21/2009 01:47 PM

You’re right about one thing Kid Lightning, if David Pearson ain’t in the initial hall class, the whole thing is a big joke. I live in NC and I won’t be going either.

10/21/2009 07:07 PM

Matt calling Kyle Busch a pig is something like Minnie calling Mickey a rodent. Takes one to know one.