The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Texas Fall Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday November 9, 2009

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

Matt McLaughlin · Monday November 9, 2009


The Key Moment: Kyle Busch ran out of gas with two laps to go, handing the lead to his brother Kurt, who used extraordinary mileage to drive to his second win of the season.

In a Nutshell: Terrible television timing, Busch brothers battle, Jimmie Johnson in a jam, fans feel frustrated, NASCAR necessitates No-Doz. (Or, if you prefer: frustratingly unwieldy cars keep torpedoing historically interesting sport. Someone help! It‘s terrible.)

Dramatic Moment: I dunno. I guess watching race cars run out of gas just isn’t to my liking. With the Brothers Busch leading all but 13 laps, and the leader and second place drivers often separated by a straightaway, I was nearly lulled comatose Sunday. But, like they say, your mileage may vary.

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

Those of you who follow what I do for a living know I don’t take this sport or myself too seriously. After all, ultimately it’s just a pastime that provides us with a few thrills and chuckles. But one thing I do take seriously is the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform to protect the freedoms most of us take too much for granted. By coincidence, this week’s racing took place a couple hours down the pike from Fort Hood, where twelve soldiers and a civilian were killed with many others wounded in a barbaric attack earlier this week. Whether they died on foreign soil or here at home, though, these patriots died protecting our freedoms. They were killed not for anything they did, but simply because of the uniform they wore and the sacred tri-colored flag they wore on their shoulders.

At times like these, it’s easy to give in to anger. The deranged shooter in this instance was a Muslim of Palestinian background. But what fewer people consider is the amount of Muslim-Americans who have sacrificed their own lives in defense of our freedoms. Some folks born under the harsh rule of dictatorships in the Middle East appreciate the freedoms our heritage afford us more than most of us who’ve had it all our lives. So, don’t hate. Extend your love to the families of those who have died, and your prayers to those who paid the ultimate price this week.

It’s Chapter XXXIIIX in Tony Stewart’s stormy and sometimes contentious relationship with the media. (Though, to his credit, he hasn’t actually assaulted a reporter lately… Ritalin is a beautiful thing.) Sayeth Mr. Stewart, the racing is really exciting these days, and the fact fans think it’s boring is because that’s what the media is telling them. This whole “boring race” thing is just a myth. Without meaning to, I’m sure, once again a NASCAR driver is insulting the intelligence of the very fans that support him. He’s insinuating that fans are too dumb and ill-informed to form an opinion until they read what one of us demigods of the media write about the race. That’s odd. After Talladega, before I’d committed a single word to paper (or giga-whatever these computers use) my email box was flooded with notes from fans protesting what a boring race Talladega had been and urging me to let NASCAR have it with both barrels. Message boards where fans interact absent the media were also stuffed with less than kind critiques of the race. So if anything, the media might be guilty of taking cues from the fans. And wasn’t it the driver of the No. 14 car who said over the radio at Talladega the concession stands should be selling “No-Doz?” (Which I’m sure had to delight the race’s title sponsor, Amp Energy Drinks.) Tony Stewart is pretty good at this driving a race car deal, but he’s never really understood the fans or the media … and in this case, he’s badly myth-taken. The races are boring.

I can’t help but wonder about the safety of clipping the front half of the No. 48 front end together again mid-race. So, how come they can’t replace the engines anymore?

While the normally handy Jimmie Johnson, at least according to the commercials, sat in his car, it was all hands on deck to rebuild the No. 48. Chad Knaus, the Lowe’s crew, and members from other Hendrick teams rebuilt the damaged Chevy in a little over an hour’s time.

What are you doing out there, Jimmie? Wrecking, Chad, wrecking. By the way, there’s a problem for NASCAR with the technological glut fans have available to them these days on their computers and even their cell phones. It was readily apparent Johnson and the No. 48 car weren’t meeting minimum speed through such technology… but no black flag was thrown.

Honestly, was anyone surprised when Jeff Gordon was seconds from going a lap down and all of a sudden a debris caution flew at the halfway point? They’re so desperate to promote some sort of title fight, NASCAR doesn’t even try to hide their motives anymore. The WWE would have been blushing with shame.

Economy got you down? Would a few free drinks help you out? Find out where Brian France and ABC executives are taking David Reutimann and Sam Hornish for dinner this week. Brian ought to be buying rounds for the house after the lap three incident at Texas. Just make sure not to accept a ride home in his Lexus!

A note to NASCAR and track General Managers everywhere: in this day and age, it’s simply an embarrassment that there are any concrete walls left not protected by the SAFER barrier. Anytime you’re sure there’s no way an out of control car can hit a certain part of the wall, some driver will prove you wrong.

The ratings are in the toilet, fans are leaving the sport in droves, sponsors are leaving as well, and there are vast swathes of empty seats in the grandstands. The Chase has failed to grab the general public’s attention, and the COT may be the most loathed vehicle since Pontiac rolled out the Aztek. But hang in there everybody, everything is going to be all right! Danica’s coming, Danica’s coming! That’ll fix everything, even if Ms. Patrick intends to keep her day job in the IRL and just dangle her tootsies in stock car racing. Reportedly, Ms. Patrick will get paid 50 to 100 grand to compete in each stock car race she lends her good name and stellar image to. That’s a pretty nice payday, especially considering Kyle Busch won $68,270 bucks in purse money by winning Saturday’s NW race (and Texas is actually one of the better paying tracks on the circuit.) Yep, Danica’s coming. Maybe. Remember when everyone was all atwitter on their twitters that Ashley Judd was coming to the NASCAR garage area? Anyone seen Ashley lately? How about Dario? Jacques? By and large, with the notable exception of Juan Pablo Montoya and the certain exception of myth buster Tony Stewart, these open wheel sorts haven’t amounted to much in stock car racing lately. But at least Danica’s arrival will signal that the NASCAR driving ranks are open to women…

You have to give a pat on the back to ABC for their Wiley Coyote-like persistence in the face of repeated failure. These late afternoon start times have typically yielded horrid ratings, and my guess is they will do so again over the course of the next three weeks.

A Canadian gentleman by the name of Rob Brush claims he’s invented a better mousetrap, or in this instance a better track drying truck. Rather than blowing hot air on the track to dry it, Mr. Brush’s truck sucks up the water like a giant mobile shop-vac. He claims eight of his rigs could dry Daytona in under an hour. I have a few questions, though. How much water can the storage tanks contain? It would seem to me they’d need to be emptied near constantly after a heavy rain. And wouldn’t all that water sloshing around in the storage tank make such a truck prone to rollovers at a place like Daytona? Absent more information, I’m not buying the vacuum truck concept. We already have enough things in this sport that suck.

Wow. Brad Daugherty does a commercial for a grocery store during NASCAR Countdown. Nah, that couldn’t possibly be a sign that the networks have too little material to fill an hour long pre-race show.

Miller Lite being served in what looked like a Nestle Quik bottle in Victory Lane? I’m not buying it. Anybody else remember the joke about why Miller Lite is like making love in a canoe?

Did anyone else note that absent the decals and paint, the front end of the new cars (like the No. 48 Sunday) look more like a mid-‘80s BMW 7 series two door than anything the Big Three produce today?

Mike Skinner, who finished 43rd, was officially listed as 328 laps off the pace but finishing the race “in pit.” Damn, that is one long pit stop.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

Kyle Busch certainly seemed to have the race in hand prior to running out of fuel with two laps to go. Oddly, he left the race track without comment after the race and his flirtation with history, leaving his new crew chief to handle the post-race comments. Welcome to the Bigs, Mr. Rogers.

Three laps into the race, Jimmie Johnson tangled with David Reutimann and Sam Hornish. He almost caught the car but then nosed in hard to an unforgiving and unprotected section of the concrete wall, reducing the 48 car to scrap. Johnson has now gone from an insurmountable points lead to a probably not surmountable points lead, but ABC/ESPN is going to ride this nag for all its worth and claim we’re at the rodeo.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. cruised comfortably inside the top 5 most of the race, only to run out of fuel in the final laps of the race and have trouble re-firing the car. He finished all of thirteen positions ahead of Jimmie Johnson as a result, who spent over an hour in the garage area to wind up 38th.

Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team squandered a major opportunity to make up some serious ground on the No. 48 bunch Sunday. You have to kick ‘em while they’re down to beat the Big Boys… and while Gordon made up a few spots in the final laps as other drivers ahead of him ran out of gas, whatever was wrong with the No. 24 car, that dog just wouldn’t hunt. Hellfire, what did they do, give Gordon one of the No. 88 team’s cars?

Wow. Brian France admitted this week he couldn’t comment on the ABC booth crew’s less than stellar opinion of last week’s Talladega race because he didn’t watch the whole thing. If he can’t endure watching the tedium, why should the fans?

Marcos Ambrose was having a good day, mate, when he entered the pits third and left nineteenth. Right then. Can’t be helped.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

For Pat Tryson, who is leaving the No. 2 team, a victory borne atop the box had to be sweet.

How close was Kurt Busch on fuel? In the end, his team ended up pushing the winning car to Victory Lane.

Mark Martin and the No. 5 team used a strategy more conservative than Rush Limbaugh, but left Texas with a fourth place finish.

Despite being the primary cause of the lap 3 melee that ABC set a record for re-showing Sunday, David Reutimann drove on unscathed to a sixteenth place finish. Hopefully, he was also able to drive unscathed to the airport before Chad Knaus caught up with him, or the “The Franchise” might have ended up “The Fractured.”

Denny Hamlin’s Camry got out from underneath him and he slapped the wall hard. That forced him to run just slowly enough that he had enough gas to drive to a second place finish.

Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel and fell from second to fifth on the final lap, but the way his season is going, that was actually a finish for the highlight reels. I guess it beats having another car land on your hood…

A.J. Allmendinger finished tenth at the wheel of a car that bore some passing if casual resemblance to a Ford Fusion out of the RPM shops. I just couldn’t get my mind around the Ford logo in the center of the hood of what looked like one of the STP Dodges the King drove with such success in the early ’70s. Holy Juxtaposition, Batman!

Jeff Burton drove from a 42nd place starting position to a ninth place result.

Worth Noting

  • Kurt Busch won for the first time since Atlanta, the fourth race of the season.
  • Denny Hamlin finished second for the fourth time this season.
  • Over the course of the last seven races, Matt Kenseth (third) has finished second or third followed by two lousy finishes. On a brighter note, he only has two more races to finish lousy in this season.
  • Mark Martin’s fourth place finish marks the 33rd time this season he’s finished a race on his tires rather than on his roof.
  • Kevin Harvick’s fifth place finish was his best since Atlanta ten races ago. Is it time to rename RCRSOS Racing?”
  • Jeff Burton (ninth) has posted back-to-back top 10 finishes in points paying races for the first time this season. SOS, SOS.
  • A.J. Allmendinger’s tenth place finish was his first top 10 result since Dover. Have you driven a Ford lately?
  • Ryan Newman (12th) hasn’t enjoyed a top 5 finish since Charlotte in May, though doubtless he enjoyed finishing right side up at Texas.
  • Jimmie Johnson’s 38th place finish was his worst of the season.
  • Do you remember where you were August 22nd of this year? It sure was a long time ago, but gas receipts indicate I was in Carlisle on my Harley at 1:14 that afternoon. That evening, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. posted his last top 10 finish to date this season. All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray, I’ve been for a walk, on a winter’s day…
  • The top 10 finishers at Texas drove a Dodge, a Toyota, three Fords, and five Chevys.
  • Joey Logano, or Jo-Log as I like to call him to make myself sound like a hopelessly hip Hollywood gossip columnist, was the top finishing rookie at Texas. This year’s Rookie of the Year contest has been the closest battle since the U.S. military invaded Grenada…

What’s the Points?

You might find this hard to believe due to the amount of times ABC replayed Jimmie Johnson’s wreck, but he’s still leading the standings. His gap over second place Mark Martin is down to a still considerable 73 points, but if you’re willing to bet the farm against the No. 48 team — leave the keys in the combine.

Jeff Gordon remains third in the standings, but is doubtless polishing off any hope for a fifth title after the way he ran at Texas Sunday. Kurt Busch’s win propels him up two spots to fourth. Juan Pablo Montoya’s unforced error drops him two spots to sixth. Tony Stewart occupies the spot between them.

Further back, Greg Biffle sits seventh in the standings. Denny Hamlin rocketed up three spots to eighth, while Ryan Newman fell a spot to ninth. He is the last driver to have a mathematical shot at winning this year’s title. Of course, he’d have to win the next two races and lead the most laps in each, while Johnson would have to finish 43rd in both events. (Pssst… I don’t think that’s going to happen.)

Kasey Kahne fell a spot to tenth. Carl Edwards fell a spot to 11th, as last season’s most prolific winner still hasn’t won a Cup race yet this year.

Finally, like that unemployed uncle who wears a tin foil lined colander on his head to keep space aliens from reading his mind, Brian Vickers remains in the cellar of the Chase, emerging only occasionally in stained underwear and a threadbare robe to filch a six pack from the fridge.

13th place Kyle Busch is now 32 points ahead of 14th place Matt Kenseth. But they mean nothing to you, and I don’t know why…

Under the old points system, Johnson would now be 93 points behind Tony Stewart with two races left to go. That’s a bigger gap than we currently see in the Chase, but it would still feel more legitimate, and it would be the second time in two weeks the lead would have changed hands. Jeff Gordon would be a single point behind Johnson in third.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — About what I expected but I wasn’t expecting much. We’ll give it three cans because nobody ended up on their lid this week.

Next Up: It’s off to Phoenix for the penultimate race of an ultimately bad season. (Pssst… don’t tell Tony I told you you have to feel that way. Or that I think his comments this weekend indicate he‘s dumber than a sack of hammers.)

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Swan Racing Announces Restructuring, No. 26 & No. 30 ‘Sold’ Off
Tech Talk with Tony Gibson: Taking Stock Of Danica Patrick In Year Two
Vexing Vito: Three Drivers In Need of a Role Reversal
Going By the Numbers: Top-10 NASCAR Variety Hard To Come By In…
Truckin’ Thursdays: Lessons Learned Just Two Races In
Fantasy Insider: Team Revelations For NASCAR’s Short Tracks



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Kevin in SoCal
11/09/2009 01:43 AM

Because I have nothing else to do, and this is the last day of my vacation in Tucson, AZ, here again are the point standings if NASCAR changed the Chase to be five drivers over the last five races:

Martin: 5441
Johnson: 5434 (-7)
Gordon: 5407 (-34)
Stewart: 5391 (-50)
Kurt Busch: 5390 (-51)

After last week it seemed like there was not any point system in the world that would keep Johnson from winning, but as they say, anything can and does happen.

Sharon J
11/09/2009 04:21 AM

Honestly, was anyone surprised when Jeff Gordon was seconds from going a lap down and all of a sudden a debris caution flew at the halfway point?
Anyone who watches Nascar knew that was going to happen before it actually did happen. I would bet that a majority of fans predicted that before that yellow flew.

11/09/2009 06:21 AM

It’s f’ing close to water?

11/09/2009 06:29 AM

I was visiting with my in-laws and we sat down for dinner with 20 laps to go…and we ate late. I’m happy as hell that they at least fixed the start times problems for next year. I’m sick of having to go to bed almost right after the race is over.

When I saw Gordon about to go a lap down (and I’m a Gordon fan), I told my wife, “Here comes the debris caution.” About 20 seconds later, out came the yellow. No shame.

Kevin, with your system a DNF would be too costly. It already is. Only the 48 team can afford one at this point.

11/09/2009 06:44 AM

I’ve finally had enough . These tv broadcasts are beyond terrible . I tune in at lap 10 , only to find out that Johnson has crashed . I waited for a replay , an update on the repairs , an update on the points . Why didn’t ESPN give us any more info on the Johnson crash , or at least one replay of the wreck ? And why no points update durig the entire race ? Its no wonder the tv ratings are falling .

11/09/2009 06:55 AM

It appears that Tony Stewart must have hurt your feelings at some point Matt . He certainly has had problems with dopey writers asking idiotic questions . As for the fans , Stewart has far more fans than Johnson does , so he must be doing something right .

11/09/2009 07:14 AM

Geeeeezzz Michael…you must have only waited for the replay of JJ’s wreck for only 60 seconds..they actually replayed and updated and hashed over and rehashed over and checked on the wreck and the ensuing repairs NO LESS THEN 16 times!!! Even though JJ wasn’t a factor in the race after lap 3…with the coverage the wreck over and over and over and the rebuilding in the garage over and over and over and the “the 48 is back on the track round and round and round (maintaining minimum speed” which I question) one would have thought JJ was challenging for the win!!!!

Michael T.
11/09/2009 07:23 AM

Hey lydia, I think he was being facetious. I found it quite humorous.

11/09/2009 07:41 AM

That’s funny Tony has soooo gotten under your skin! I have listened to alot of the interviews .. and I have to stand up with Tony. ALOT of the questions asked of the drivers are so dumb I wonder does the person asking the question even watch racing? As far as what Tony has said about the racing being exciting..I would think he is giving his view from inside the car..and it would seem exciting to a driver..heck I would have a heart attack! Sorry Matt..but Tony has consistently been one of the more “truthful” drivers when it comes to his answers. When he gives his “no nonsense” answers you don’t like him..when he gives his “stepford wives” answers you don’t like him…so the bottom line is…maybe you just don’t care for him? And that’s fine. It’s really pretty funny!

11/09/2009 07:47 AM

Michael T..maybe it was supposed to be humorous unlike the coverage yesterday… Between the replays of the replays and updates on the updates and watching JJ going round and round the track with the patched up car..and the commercials..I had alot of time to leave the tv and do “real” stuff that was more interesting then the race. (I am including making dinner, laundry, cleaning and just standing outside looking at the sky.)

Mr Bill
11/09/2009 07:50 AM

A friend of ours has just had a baby. The baby at present is very ugly, so everyone is just saying “oh you have a baby”, as not to hurt her feelings. After Sunday’s NASCAR race I think, “oh NASCAR has a race”. The race was a whole lot to do about nothing. Boring, and the season is over already.

Carl D.
11/09/2009 08:01 AM

I was glad Kyle Busch didn’t win the race. I was so sick of hearing about how he was going to “make history” if he won all three races this weekend. To me, that would have been about as historical as A-Rod hitting a home run in Major League, Minor League, and Little League in the same weekend. Unimpressive.

11/09/2009 08:06 AM

I like the subliminal message in the 2nd half of your “In a nutshell”

11/09/2009 08:07 AM

I lost interest early on. Was sick of hearing about Johnson’s points loss and the repairs going on. Did they interview Kyle Busch after the race? Media made so much of hype about a weekend sweep. Saw everyone running out of gas. Sorry Jr, 6 laps short, I wouldn’t gamble. You could have finished higher if you had come in, but again, we didn’t have the standard wreck with 5 laps to go, so I guess that’s what they were all waiting for. Guess na$car couldn’t help someone else, so a mystery debris caution wasn’t thrown with 5 laps to go.

You know, I think Penske should approach Maytag or Whirlpool about sponsorship of the 77 car. Seems like every weekend he’s going for a spin cycle.

They’re already hyping spring race at AMS here in Atlanta. Saw 3 commericals for it and tickets start at $39. Wow….

11/09/2009 08:41 AM

Do you think that it is fair that Team members of the 88 and the 24 where able to help the 48 team fix there repairs? I believe that is an unfair advantage compared to the single teams and smaller organizations. Nascar wants to do things to help lower costs but if I was a smaller team trying to survive and lost positions because the 48 came out and hour earlier I would be pissed. I would have lost money!

Ed - Georgia
11/09/2009 08:41 AM

Did anyone notice the cheering crowd when Johnson wrecked? Unfortunately, if they had been forced to watch it what seemed like hundreds of times, they wouldn’t have been so happy. I tuned away for the football game, was going to check back, and forgot. I am a 46 year NASCAR fan who would never have committed such heresy only a few years ago. No more.

11/09/2009 08:53 AM

Much of whats wrong with the press coverage of NASCAR Cup might be illustrated by an article Ed Hinton wrote for ESPN .
In it , Hinton mentions that in the entire 1 hour eight minutes that the 48 was in the garage , he only saw the crew members tripping over each other once during repairs .
Why would a writer , supposedly an un-biased one , spend 1 hour 8 minutes watching only one team ? What about the race ? What about the other 42 cars . Why didn’t Montoyas’ crew get Hintons’ attention while repairing their car ?
It may be that Hendrick pays these “ reporters “ to cover only his teams . Because it sure has nothing to do with professional journalism .
Any time we read anything by Hinton , it might be a good idea to stop and consider whether its fact , or just his biased opinion .

11/09/2009 09:14 AM

FYI, that muslim was in contact with al-qaeda. It WAS a terrorist act. Don’t give me this PC crap.

Sooner or later, the people will get tired of this and take matters into their own hands. If our government won’t take care of it WE will.

11/09/2009 09:35 AM

i am so mad! i have been watching nascar since the 50’s and i am done! this was my last race! i am a huge jimmie johnson fan but after na$crap screwed him yesterday i am finished with a sport i have loved for 50 years! brian fran$e and his henchmen purposely had jimmie wrecked yesterday just to spice up the cha$e. the race was so boring too. doesn’t chairman fran$e know that when jimmie isn’t out front leading laps people don’t want to watch. if it wasn’t for the almighty cha$e jimmie would be celebrating his world record setting 4th title this $unday. $orry for venting.

11/09/2009 09:57 AM

I didn’t watch the race yesterday, yet the sun still came up this morning. I didn’t even know who won until I pulled up this column a few minutes ago. Without anything race-related to contribute to this discussion, let’s turn our attention to a more serious matter. Miller Lite is f-ing close to water? This coming from someone who drinks the alcoholic tap water from silver cans?

11/09/2009 10:02 AM

That was a pretty long green flag run at the end there wasnt it?
I thought NASCAR always throws a caution to bunch up the field towards the end of the race
Just wondering
It was a good race
Quit crying all the time

11/09/2009 10:04 AM

It isn’t really the fault of the announcers , well… except for Punch who has no business being on tv . Its all about the producers and directors of these shows . The director tells Punch to keep slobbering over Johnson and the other Hendrick teams . The producers tell the announcers which stories to concentrate on during their Thursday afternoon pre-race meeting . The pit reporters go only where the directors tell them to go , and the inane questions and observations they make are scripted in advance .
Believe me , Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree are rolling their eyes and biting the lips at the stupid shows they are forced to endure .
Thats why your your, my my , our our , NASCAR is unwatchable on tv .

11/09/2009 10:12 AM

I tuned away for the football game, was going to check back, and forgot.

So, Ed, which game did you see? I alternated between the Giants self-destructing for the fourth consecutive week, and the Saints managing to pull out a strong finish against a surprisingly good looking Panthers. I did manage to catch the last 10 laps of the race – and that was still enough time to get up to speed on what happened to the 48 about 325 laps earlier.

Carl D.
11/09/2009 10:18 AM

I swore I wasn’t gonna turn my television on yesterday… now I wish I had. The Panthers looked “surprisingly good”? I missed it… Damn!

11/09/2009 10:29 AM

oh yeah…i forgot…..


she’s just being used for $$$$ to fill the coffers.

11/09/2009 11:12 AM

Did anyone notice that the race yesterday was actually worse than Talledega? There was way more lead changes at Talledega than Texas. And, How is it that Kyle Busch beats everyone out on pit stops and gains several seconds each time? Even the annoucers mentioned it. Reckon he was speeding on pit road but NASCASH was letting him go so he could make history? I can understand how you can be fast out of the pits but Kyle was gaining several seconds so something had to be going on. I know his pit crew wasn’t several seconds faster than anyone else yesterday but he sure was gaining time in the pits. Again, this race was more boring than Talledega yet there doesn’t seem to be anyone much complaining about it. Why?

11/09/2009 11:30 AM

I’ve met Tony a few times and trust me he understands his fans. What he said at Indy a few years ago after he won proved that.

11/09/2009 11:32 AM

Got an idea for brainless Brian. Since you refuse to fix the the lousy COT or the cookie cutters, fix the race format. With 25 laps to go bring the cars in for a 10 minutes, gas, tires and anything the crew wants to do. Garage all the lapped cars and wrecked cars. Run the last 25, yellows don’t count. The last 25 laps are for the money and points. This way I can set my DVR and fastforward to end of the race.

Lunar Tunes
11/09/2009 11:34 AM

What does a nascar race and a bowel movement in the stool have in common?

You know you shouldn’t watch cuz they are just gonna go round and round, but you do anyway! or..

The difference between a bm and a nascar race?

They are essentially the sam, but you feel better after a bm.

Bill B
11/09/2009 12:03 PM

So Tony defends the boring races and Jeff Gordon also defended the racing in a pre-race interview. Sounds to me like NASCAR got to these guys. Or they are all deaf, dumb and blind.

Yeah Johnson wrecked. Now he’s only got 70+ point lead. All it means is he can’t have another catastrophe or there might be a close finish at Homestead.

The Turnip!
11/09/2009 12:12 PM

quote: “(Or, if you prefer: frustratingly unwieldy cars keep torpedoing historically interesting sport. Someone help! It‘s terrible.)”!

Well, I know first hand how the POS handles. I just drove my wife’s PRIUS from Michigan to Florida, some 1400+ miles. (now first, the car is nice, obviously because of the fuel mileage, 45MPH+) but with that said, I relate it to the way the POS drives cause it simply FLATFOOTED on the highway. Not much suspension at all, and wanders unexpectedly side to side down the highway on it’s own wim.

And I do mean FLATFOOTED! WHEW! I made it!

And one (1) more, your “Three laps into the race, Jimmie Johnson tangled with David Reutimann and Sam Hornish.”

The FALLACY of having a “playoff” for twelve (12) drivers, BUT INCLUDING ANOTHER 31 CARS IN THE PLAYOFFS!

As stated so many time! How can the “playoff’s” also include everyone who has been eliminated?

Is there ANYTHING in NA$CRAP that makes sense?

Me thinks not!

(and by the way, thanks for your little statements about Muslim’s, we, american’s, white americans at that, always seem to want to categorize a single incident into a much larger non-sensical argument that says all on one ethnic group is bad. We kinda forget about all the previous mass murders who are of the white persuasion. Unfortunately, it is humanity in general, not one lone specific ethnic group. hope I said that right)

Michael in SoCal
11/09/2009 12:25 PM

“frustratingly unwieldy cars keep torpedoing historically interesting sport” – hahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa…

11/09/2009 12:54 PM

“The COT may be the most loathed vehicle since Pontiac rolled out the Aztek.”

Great analogy Matt. Although now every time I see a race I going to think of the Aztek. Maybe it was Pontiac’s former employee’s who helped design the COT?

David in Texas
11/09/2009 01:12 PM

I got busy working outside and completely forgot about the race until it was over. Sounds like I made the right call.

This from a guy that had four season tickets to TMS once upon a time…

11/09/2009 01:50 PM


Kyle’s team had a string of sub-13 pit stops. He usually pitted before his brother, and since the tires would fall off about a second and a half over the course of a fuel run, he’d gain three seconds by pitting two laps before Kurt even with the same pit time. Of course, Kurt should then have slowly eaten away at Kyle’s lead with two- or three-lap fresher tires, which was exactly what happened.

Damien in So Cal too
11/09/2009 01:58 PM

by far, the funniest line in here, which made me laugh out loud at work

“What are you doing out there, Jimmie? Wrecking, Chad, wrecking.”

Classic, can’t wait for the season to be over. I used to hate this time of year, now, eh, it is what it is. And, yes, I too had the expectation of the caution coming out when Gordon was about to go a lap down…

11/09/2009 02:13 PM

Jeff, how can it be that your teammate can come to the track with a front running car every week and your crew chief can take a pole winning car and turn it into junk every race. Did it ever occur to you that maybe steve letart doesn’t have a clue?

11/09/2009 02:23 PM

Matt- Thank you. Yours is the first column I read today that mentions the lack of SAFER barrier where Jimmie hit the inside wall. If you look at the track as he was heading towards the wall, there were a lot of skid marks. He obviously wasn’t the first driver to make that trip this weekend. At that point it’s not that the drivers are going to wreck where you don’t think that they will, but they ARE wrecking there. Get it fixed!

As for Daugherty’s piece, I thought it was neat to see that there was a grocery store on site. I forgive ABC for that since most probably had no clue that it was there and it might be a feature that would draw fans to Texas. What I had a problem with was that it was a commercial for Bush’s Baked Beans, who just happen to sponsor the JTG-Dugherty car. Are they paying ESPN for the air time?

Trent – Smaller teams wouldn’t have been able to repair the car at all. They wouldn’t have had the money to replace everything but the engine.

Bad Wolf
11/09/2009 02:33 PM

Recorded the race and watched the last few laps later, only to see it was a fuel milage race. Caught the highlights and watched Wind Tunnel with Despain. Thats all I needed to see.

Turnip, I was getting 40mpg back in the early ’80s in my Chevette. Yes, it was a POS and sounded like it was going to blow parts out of the engine over 70mph, but I could put 10 gallons in the tank and go 400 miles on the highway.

11/09/2009 04:37 PM

One of “Francy Pants” achievements was reducing the fuel tank capacity from 22 to 17 gallons. And we wonder why there are so many “fuel” races. Another one of the France Family blunders that have made the sport unwatchable. I missed Johnson’s wreck cause I was watching football once again and switching over to check on cash$car once in a while. Yea Brian, you’re a real “fart smeller”.

11/09/2009 05:45 PM

Just call me when Danica goes all the way with a full spread in Playboy. (after she gets the boob job with all the money she’s rippin’ Jr./Hendrick for)

Maybe even with the GoDaddy girls. Got to get the sponsors in there, you know.

Kool Aid
11/09/2009 05:54 PM


isn’t every race a fuel mileage race?

11/09/2009 06:20 PM

Scott Speed finished one position higher than Logano this week for RotR… thought I’d mention it

Managing Editor
11/09/2009 06:42 PM

Hey guys,

Just a quick note to say “enough” on the Brian France impersonations. It doesn’t matter if it’s Tony Stewart, Matt McLaughlin, or France, you just can’t come on here and sign your name impersonating someone you’re not.

I was hoping the joke would go away on its own, but we have to draw the line moving forward. The last post signed by “Brian France” was moderated, and that’s how it’ll be moving forward … thanks!

11/09/2009 07:12 PM

With six laps left in the 334-lap event, McGrew called Earnhardt down pit road for a quick splash of fuel. Unfortunately, as Earnhardt was making his way down pit road, he radioed to his team that he had run out of fuel. He managed to pull the No. 88 Chevy into his pit stall, but struggled to refire the engine after the fuel stop. Earnhardt finally rejoined the field and was scored 25th.”

…with all the money Jr. is bringing into HMS they can hire a top tier crew chief for him, like Addington, and pay him what he deserves…
I find it odd that the whole way through the race, Jr. was one of the first called into the pits for green pit stops. On this last stop Mark and then Jeff were both called in before him. Finally Jr. was called in, very late. It almost seems that it was deliberate to run him out of gas…? He ran in the top ten and top five all day and would have finished there. Mark finished 5th. I sure hope and pray that Jr. can get out that rat’s nest and the sooner the better. Last spring Nascar Now started reporting that Tony Jr. was still making Jr.‘s cars by DEI specs from 2007 when he left DEI. They have finally given him a car with speed and now he is running out of gas…? Marybeth

11/09/2009 09:46 PM

If nobody else is going to say it, I will…I LOVE REUTIMANN! I LOVE RUETIMANN! I LOVE RUETIMANN! And I’d like to see NA$CAR take Knaus’s car to tech this time and announce the results. 38th or not, they’ve busted cars in postrace tech with a lot less damage than that. No way that car was close to legal and should have been parked, minimum speed or not. Hope they didn’t bust any tech seals on that engine in the swap. Just a little harder the next time David.