The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Talladega Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday April 26, 2010

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

Matt McLaughlin · Monday April 26, 2010


The Key Moment: Kevin Harvick, running second, brushed leader Jamie McMurray’s rear bumper fifty yards from the checkers, getting the No. 1 car squirrelly and passing for the lead and the win.

In a Nutshell: Lots of passing, lots of lead changes, but still so contrived with the plates you hope none of the neighbors caught you watching the race.

Dramatic Moment: Three green-white-checkered restarts at the end of a Talladega race? The No. 42 car’s Tums sponsorship was perfect, because fans and crew chiefs had to be gobbling fistfuls of the tablets.

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

Kevin Harvick pulled his biggest burnout yet after breaking his 115-race Cup victory drought at Talladega. It’s the first win for the No. 29 team since the 2007 Daytona 500.

For fans watching Talladega races at home, there are two overwhelming questions: The Big One… when will it happen?, and the Pre-Race show… when will it be over?

The first plate race with the blade spoilers rather than the wings, and nobody gets turned over on their roofs or into the fence? I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Jeff Gordon does seem a bit annoyed with his protégé Jimmie Johnson right now, doesn’t he? Could things reach a boiling point at Richmond next week? If you see Gordon and Rusty Wallace consulting over a playbook this week, expect fireworks.

So Junior is a bit miffed Darrell Waltrip ran his mouth and spoiled the secret Earnhardt will be running the number 3 car with Wrangler sponsorship at an upcoming Nationwide race. That just means he’s joined the rest of us in disliking Waltrip for talking too much. Prior to the race, DW said to in-car reporter Jamie McMurray (alluding to his sponsor), “I hope you catch the big one!” What a thing to say to any driver at Talladega.

To coincide with our early spring here in the Northeast, this year seems to be featuring a premature silly season. Last week, we learned Kasey Kahne was leaving Ford and Richard Petty Motorsports for Rick Hendrick… in 2012. This week, it was announced that Kevin Harvick’s sponsor Shell/Pennzoil will bolt Richard Childress Racing to join Roger Penske’s organization as a long-term sponsor for Kurt Busch in the newly-renumbered No. 22 car. (No wonder they dumped Harvick from their TV ad campaign this season.) Brad Keselowski will acquire long-term sponsor Miller Lite beer, with his number switching from No. 12 to No. 2. That leaves Sam Hornish’s Penske team without a sponsor, because Shell and Mobil are bitter rivals, and it also seemingly leaves Kevin Harvick with a diminished bargaining hand in the last year of his contract with RCR. Many expected Harvick to bring the lucrative Shell sponsorship with him to Stewart-Haas Racing next year as part of a third team (or seventh Hendrick team, if you want to be cynical) but now it’s widely believed that Kahne will fill that third seat. Budweiser’s long-term sponsorship is apparently in play as well. As of now, Bud can’t follow Kahne to Hendrick because of Hendrick’s contract with Pepsi. But that doesn’t mean a team unofficially associated with Hendrick couldn’t snag Bud. Mark Martin starts his own team with Bud backing? That would be awkward, as Martin is an alcoholic. (Many, many, many years since sober.) So where does that leave us? Kahne could always drive a Junior Motorsports entry under the Hendrick umbrella, potentially reuniting Junior and his long-term sponsor while leaving a third seat at Stewart-Haas Racing open for Harvick. That would mean eight (or as many as 10) teams under Hendrick’s direct control, and you have to wonder if eventually NASCAR would have to stop being cynical and lay down the law.

I’m sure that some of you expect me to tee off on NASCAR for deciding to cancel Saturday’s activities at Talladega because of potential bad weather before the first bolt of lightning struck. Actually, I’ve pondered the situation and I feel bad for them. Talk about stuck between a rock and a hard place. Last year, I was among an army of folks who lit NASCAR up for saying they didn’t care about fan safety after Carl Edwards’ Ford almost went into the crowd. Well Saturday, they had some high-profile events with the TV ratings disaster that was Monday at Texas still fresh on their minds. What’s more, just canceling the races wasn’t going to ensure that fans were safe. They remained in local hotels and motels. Many were in either tents in the infield (they were advised to seek safer lodging) or motor homes, and tornadoes seem to have a twisted sense of humor when it comes to RV’s and trailer homes whether it’s a double-wide, a million dollar Prevost coach, or a Mini-Winni. In the end, erring on the side of caution was the only way to go, though it was a massive inconvenience for many and a financial disaster for others.

You remember the big “to do” last fall when Grand Am racer J.C. France (grandson of Bill France, cousin of Brian France) and his roommate got busted for street racing in a pair of ultra-expensive rides, then were found in possession of significant quantities of cocaine? Well, the good news (for J.C. and his buddy, at least) is that all charges have now been dropped. WTF? Somehow or another, it’s now stated that the Daytona Beach police improperly pulled over France (who was driving at a high rate of speed, intoxicated at the time… what could go wrong there?) as the infractions happened outside their jurisdiction in nearby Holly Hill. I don’t get it. A uniformed, on duty police officer makes a traffic stop, then finds the driver is intoxicated and in possession of a controlled substance … so what the Hell does it matter where they were racing? Florida law must be way different than that of the U.S. outside that banana republic, because around here if an officer pursues a driver into another jurisdiction, once he makes the stop he radios for an officer from the neighboring jurisdiction, and based on the first officer’s statement the second cop makes the arrest. It would be setting a dangerous precedent to tell intoxicated felons that if you can make it to the township line by not slowing down, you can’t be charged. Such high-speed pursuits routinely end tragically…

There are men and women in Florida doing lengthy prison terms for doing exactly what France did. But of course they weren’t rich, they didn’t have a famous last name, and they didn’t have a phalanx of high-priced lawyers at their beck and call. One of the cornerstones of American society is that we have one legal system that is supposed to apply fairly to both the wealthy and the poor, the famous and the anonymous, but given the cases of Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, O.J. Simpson (no wonder he fled to Florida) and now J.C. France, we see clear evidence there’s a two-tier justice system. Call it the “sh*t sandwich” version; the more bread you have, the less sh*t you have to eat. I attempted to contact the DBPD via email to have the officers involved email me their reactions to this abomination, but got no reply. Of course, those cops must have been rookies. The Daytona cops showed their unofficial policy back when Brian France drove drunkenly at high speeds home from a bar, hitting several objects along the way, but never got charged with a DUI because he made it to his condo before getting apprehended.

I’ve learned not to develop ulcers fretting over stuff I can’t control, but I invite you to join me in my own silent sort of futile protest. If any team, car maker or sponsor decides to back J.C. France going forward, not only will I not buy their products, if I already have some in my home, I’ll throw them out. I’m sure the folks at Porsche are shaking in their boots.

Hey, guess what. Despite their protestations last February the track didn’t need to be repaved (despite the two-hour delay for potholes), Frontstretch broke the story first that Daytona track officials now say they will repave (which was last done in 1978) in time for the 2011 Daytona 500, with work commencing immediately after this year’s Firecracker 400 in July. Why they had to make themselves look like idiots denying the work needed doing a few months before finally admitting to the obvious is beyond me.

Let’s flashback to 1978, the last time Daytona was paved. Jimmy Carter was in the White House. Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors was the album of the year, and Hotel California by the Eagles was the song of the year. (It surely beat 1977’s Soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever by the BeeGees). Elvis Costello, Devo (don‘t ask), the Police, and the Cars debuted. Bruce Springsteen released Darkness on the Edge of Town, and started a massively popular tour to support the LP. (Some things never change, thank God, some things never change.) The rock community was still coming to terms with the tragic plane crash that decimated the Lynyrd Skynyrd band on October 20th, 1977. I’d still cry every time I heard Free Bird. The Catholic Church lost two popes in 35 days, and Pope John Paul II began his long reign as Pontiff. Annie Hall won honors as Movie of the Year despite strong competition from the Deer Hunter. All the girls I went to school with wanted to dress and look like Annie Hall. All the guys wanted them to look like Farrah or Stevie Nicks, and the best bad girls did. The first episodes of the Dukes of Hazzard were being taped for release in 1979. All in the Family, Happy Days, the Rockford Files, Colombo, and M.A.S.H. were top-rated TV shows. Unemployment was at 6.1 percent, and the price of a First Class stamp rose to fifteen cents. The average American household earned less than 17 grand a year. Sony introduced their first Walkman. (No, kids, no iPods… or laptops… or cell phones, much less an iPhone.) In fact, Wozniak and Jobs were still a pair of hippie businessmen trying to convince the world there was a need for a home PC. Ford was touting the King Cobra Mustang with a total of 139 horsepower and perhaps the most sinfully ugly stripe and decal package ever conceived by a stylist bombed on Peruvian marching powder. A fully-loaded King Cobra would have set you back $6,400. That year’s 220 horsepower Trans Am was top dog on the streets. Most of us wanted one in the black and gold “Smoky and the Bandit” paint scheme with T-tops. Nowadays, pony cars feature more than 400 horsepower, but they’ll cost a bit more than $6,400. The last VW Beetle was built in Germany and its replacement, the hugely popular Rabbits, were rusting away in the holds of cargo ships destined for America. Speaking of the U.S., the Chevy Chevette was purportedly the best-selling car in the country. Cale Yarborough was Cup champion, winning his third straight title for Junior Johnson. People wondered if one driver dominating was good for the sport, and Junior told them to hush up and hold their tongues. Richard Petty failed to win a race that season for the first time since 1959. Jimmie Johnson was three at the time, while Ryan Newman was enjoying his first birthday party. Dale Earnhardt the Original started just five races, with a best finish of fourth at Atlanta, but that was enough to land him a full-time ride for 1979. I was in my first year at Villanova and driving a Boss 302, a Cobra Jet Ranchero, a GS455 Stage One, a Pinto Cruising Wagon (don’t ask… I did intend to put a 289 in it), and a big old Kawasaki that attempted to kill me that December and damn near managed the feat. My first Harley was two years in the future. A good portion of you reading this column hadn’t even competed in the Fallopian Tube 500 to be conceived yet, including my boss and the owner of this site Tom. But then again, Tom will never likely have the thrill of running a Boss 302 wide open through the pine barrens, making the trees look like a picket fence with “Racing in the Streets” blasting from the eight track and a pretty little blonde girl by his side on the way to shore.

Call it a matter of semantics, but I don’t feel Jimmie Johnson was the “pole-winner”. He never turned a lap in anger to earn that spot. He was the “pole-sitter” based on points due to weather.

My take on the yellow line incident at the end of the race? It’s a non-issue. Harvick already had the lead, so he couldn’t advance his position. McMurray was crowding him down the track, which is what the second-place driver is supposed to do, but it’s a matter of “no harm, no foul.”

Call it a Sixth Sense moment. I see dead people… and they’re selling gardening tools during Nationwide series commercials.

Editor’s Note: If they want to continue running Billy Mays commercials, they may want to edit out the opening line where he says “I’m Billy Mays, and I’m back…”

Ryan Newman and Joey Logano made contact during the first green-white-checkered finish. The aftermath took out 10 cars, including Bobby Labonte (No. 71) in one of several major wrecks in the race’s final 50 miles.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

Nationwide officials, promoters, and sponsors have got to be despondent their third straight race in a row was rain-delayed.

For the second weekend in a row, Jeff Gordon had a potentially race-winning car wiped out in a late-race crash. He wound up 22nd.

What didn’t go wrong for Kasey Kahne Sunday? He had a spark plug issue, missed pit road, and finally wrecked his car not once but twice en route to 21st.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had a solid top 10 finish in hand until the final restart, where he faded to 13th.

Ryan Newman just can’t seem to finish one of these plate races, wrecking for the third straight time at Talladega.

Joey Logano led the race and seemed to have solid car until he ran into the back of Ryan Newman while Newman checked up for an incident ahead of him. The resulting incident wiped out both cars and left them 35th and 36th, respectively.

Greg Biffle never got up to speed on the penultimate restart, got hit by the No. 48 car, and wound up seventeenth despite being a top 10 car most of the day.

Johnny Sauter (41st) became the latest victim of Kyle Busch’s legendary status in his own mind.

Jimmie Johnson got overaggressive in traffic and wound up spinning himself into the wall en route to a 31st place finish. Among his fellow drivers not rushing over to offer consolation were Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, and Scott Speed.

Brad Keselowski got a little aggressive entering pit road and it cost him big time. Marcos Ambrose got into Keselowski’s car and ended his chances at a competitive run. He slumped to 34th.

Denny Hamlin could have been airborne or worse after this spin into the Talladega grass. But not only did the car stay on the ground, the veteran kept his head on straight and drove to a fourth-place finish – ailing knee and all.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

Kevin Harvick won for the first time in 115 Cup points races. (His last such victory was the 2007 Daytona 500.) I’m not sure how much gas the No. 29 car had left in the tank in Victory Lane, but on a dollar bet I’d drink it. Then again, I’d never heard a driver say “The best thing is, our sponsor is leaving.” I might have choked on that gas.

Kurt Busch’s car was damaged in the second incident of the day and later got nailed for speeding on pit road. He just missed the spinning No. 48 car late in the race, but he soldiered on to a top 10 finish anyway (8th).

Denny Hamlin drove to an incident-free fourth place finish despite an early spin and without getting caught in a wreck that could have further damaged his knee.

For the third straight race, Mark Martin emerged out of nowhere to score a great finish (in this case, fifth).

Worth Noting

  • Denny Hamlin (fourth) has top-5 finishes in three of the last four races.
  • Jimmie Johnson finished outside the top 12 for the first time since Daytona and outside the top 10 for only the third time this year.
  • Jamie McMurray (second) enjoyed his first top-10 finish since Daytona. He’s now finished first or second in the last three plate races.

*Juan Pablo (is the Pablo optional now?) Montoya’s third-place finish matches his best result of the 2010 Cup season.

  • David Ragan’s sixth-place finish was his best of the 2010 Cup season.
  • Clint Bowyer (eighth) has top-10 finishes in three of the last four Cup races.
  • Mike Bliss (tenth) scored his first top-10 Cup result since Bristol in August of 2005. Anyone want to buy a race team? I mean, anyone with friends that own a Native-American casino…
  • Tony Stewart (17th) hasn’t had a top-15 finish in the last four Cup races.
  • Greg Biffle (18th) missed the top 10 for just the second time this season.
  • Jeff Gordon (22nd) has just three top-10 finishes this season.
  • The top-10 finishers at Talladega drove six Chevys, two Toyotas, a Ford, and a Dodge.
  • Kevin Conway (30th) was the top finishing rookie at Talladega. Of course, he was also the only rookie driver to race Talladega. If you like the racing at Fontana, you’re going to LOVE the drama of this season’s Rookie of the Year chase.

What’s the Points?

Jimmie Johnson maintains his points lead, but is now just 26 points ahead of Kevin Harvick, who advanced two spots to second. Greg Biffle remains third in the standings, a further 60 points behind Harvick. Matt Kenseth fell two spots to fourth, with Kyle Busch rounding out the top 5.

Mark Martin had the best points day, advancing four spots to sixth in the standings. Kurt Busch jumped up two spots to seventh, while Junior drops a spot to eighth. Denny Hamlin is now ninth, while Jeff Gordon plummeted from fifth to tenth (and I’m sensing a Three Mile Island temper meltdown in his future.)

Clint Bowyer jumped up three spots to 11th in the standings, while teammate Jeff Burton is now clinging to a top-12 position, dropping down to twelfth. Former Chase bubble man Joey Logano’s wreck cost him badly in the points standings. He fell four spots out of the top 12 and down to sixteenth.

Carl Edwards lurks just outside the top 12, just fifteen points behind Burton. Tony Stewart is six points behind Edwards in fourteenth.

Eight of the drivers in the top 12 in points haven’t won a race yet this year.

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 four cans of Colorado Kool-Aid. At least it ran on a Sunday, not Monday.

Next Up: The circuit heads off to Richmond, arguably the best track left on the circuit, for a little Saturday night short track racing.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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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…


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04/26/2010 01:02 AM

Yeah, what was up with Harvick’s comments about the sponsor in victory lane? Was that a knock on Shell or Childress?

04/26/2010 06:17 AM

Geez, Matt, you coulda mentioned Jeff Burton in your Hindenburg section.

Plate races always suck, and the idiotic multiple green white checkered rule turns them into last man standing demolition derbys. That was the worst race I’ve seen since Indy ’08.

Ryan Fox
04/26/2010 07:18 AM

We get it. You hate restrictor plates. Guess what? Lots of people don’t and listening to you bitch about it in the first paragraph just made me skip down here and then skip to another website. Nascar isn’t changing the plate races for any reason I can think of. They’re the closest finishes and most dramatic races they have. Get over it.

04/26/2010 07:25 AM

Mark Martin didn’t come out of nowhere. He played his own race, & he was there at the end.

04/26/2010 07:28 AM

Isn’t it funny that the only driver to try and block a 2 car freight-train was the 48? And imagine that, the leader of the 2 car train was the 24! Jeff has a reason to be miffed. He may want to remind that driver of the 48 who is part owner. It’s all about respect, and Jimmie doesn’t respect anybody.

04/26/2010 07:45 AM

i was a ‘dega. they made announcement about repaving daytona, i think they’re trying to sell seats to the july race. said something about being able to get piece of the asphalt they tear up.

race was ok…a few single file trains around the track for a while. was surprised mystery debris didn’t fly. jr is still the track favorite. lots if 88 gear in the stands and their sourviner riggs were 10 deep 7 wide most of the morning.

with 17 hrs of tornado warnings friday/saturday, they had to pull plug on saturday. i know living an hour east of the track we had some dicey weather in georgia. nothing, of course, like in mississippi.

what surprised me the most was the attendance. turn 1, front stretch, turn 4 looked like it had a decent crowd. i know where i sat we were shoulder to shoulder and knees jammed into seatbacks (rough for me as i’m 5’2”. i pity the people taller than myself) crammed into seats. so much for ‘dega’s grandstand renovations.

see where heat got to miss america. i guess that’s who was airlifted during the race. was wondering as i thought medivac had to be there when activity was on

no pre-race dribble when live at track. listened to mrn on scanner….interesting listening to the guys when they weren’t “live on the air”. they had some interesting comments about johnson and gordon way before the wreck happened. richmond should be interesting.

time to roll over and sleep. yeah, confederate memorial day holiday.

Carl D.
04/26/2010 07:48 AM

I’m actually starting to like Jeff Gordon. He could even make me full-fledged Gordon fan at Richmond. Nah…

Bill B
04/26/2010 07:50 AM

Thanks for echoing my view on restrictor plates Matt. While they produce close and dramatic finishes all it proves is that if you tether the cars together they will stay close. So bitch away!

04/26/2010 08:05 AM

@ J-Dub: Why shouldn’t Jimmie try to block? NASCAR refuses to outlaw the block. It is the way they encourage drivers to race. The incident happened at the end of the race when letting cars by, means that you may not get the positions back. Sure the race ended up going another 18 laps after that, but that couldn’t have been predicted at the time.

What annoys me, is that for some reason, it is now expected that every driver should drive like Mark Martin. I’m not knocking Mark, but it shouldn’t be mandatory to pull over and let people pass. Who cares if Jeff is a partial owner? Jimmie needs to protect his position as best he can.

Remember in Oct. 1994, a hot-shot young Jeff Gordon gave Ricky Rudd a little disrespect? What did Ricky do? Ricky tucked up under Jeff’s spoiler and his rear wheels didn’t even touch the ground through the quad-oval. The result was one of the top 5 hardest hits Jeff has ever had into the wall. And it was a long time before Jeff disrespected another driver. Maybe Jeff, as the elder statesman, should go out and teach Jimmie some manners if he feels disrespected. But it is LONG since time drivers quit whining because someone didn’t let them have an easy drive-by!

Kevin S
04/26/2010 08:27 AM

Wonder what new rule changes there will be when J.C. France takes over for Brian in a few years?

04/26/2010 09:05 AM

I had to re-read this column several times for it to actually sink in . We owe Matt a huge thank you for breaking the news that rich , famous people don’t get the same treatment from the Police that the rest of us do . Now that he’s broken that bombshell story maybe he can do some investgative work into whether or not pro wrestling is real .

Ryan ( or Rine in McReynolds speak ) has done a bit better at plate racing than you give him credit for .

Thankfully we won’t ever have to find out what J C France would do as head of NASCAR . The most he can ever hope for is to be head of Grand Am , replacing his father Jim France .

04/26/2010 09:30 AM

Kevin, it will be cocaine for all!!!

04/26/2010 09:44 AM

I’m wondering now if Jeremy Mayfield will end up in the Grand Am series where you can street race, drink and drive, and posses cocaine but only get a 4 race suspension.

04/26/2010 11:19 AM

Restrictor plate racing is also the most insanely dangerous form of stock car racing ever. Setzer riding the fence in the Nationwide race was one of the more crazy things I have witnessed recently. It is appropriate that Talladega has a fence to fix after a weekend of insane racing.

All the crashes are really silly and over the top. Millions of dollars always down the drain at these events. That whole chain of events at the end of the Cup race might not have happened that way if the caution wouldn’t have fallen for Labonte who was clearly off the track and was able to keep going.

I just wish NASCAR would come out and embrace the insanity of plate racing at Talladega and say yes we know that drivers can be killed or maimed or get in the fence but folks that’s just part of it. Ryan Newman’s comments where spot on about the ‘racing’.

I really don’t see why they have to go top speed of 190-200 mph. Why can’t they go around 160? Maybe they could avoid the crashes.

Brian France Sucks
04/26/2010 11:35 AM

JC France would be rotting in Raiford if his last name was Smith.

04/26/2010 11:45 AM

Yea, Jeff Burton should have been mentioned in the plain unlucky column. After leading or running in the top ten all day, he got caught up in an accideny that, upon further review, was set i n motion by Johnson. Just ask Gordon. After Burton’s crash I just plain lost interest. His crime was, once again, pitting at the wrong time. It put him in the middle of the big one waiting to happen. In conclusion, Harvick wouldn’t even be the cup series if it wasn’t for Childress. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. As a driver AND a team owner his self-entitlement and arrogence know no bounds. I used to really like the guy, but now I can’t stand him.

04/26/2010 11:45 AM

“That whole chain of events at the end of the Cup race might not have happened that way if the caution wouldn’t have fallen for Labonte who was clearly off the track and was able to keep going.”

Thank you. That is my opinion but haven’t seen anyone else mention it. That had the same effect as a debris caution. I don’t think there would have been any crashing at all without that questionable caution for the Labonte spin; there was enough separation in the pack to prevent that, and it should have been decided to the seven-car breakaway. They’d already broken the number of lead changes by then, so I don’t see how that caution adds “excitement”.

No way this was the worst race since the 2008 Brickyard. Although plate races generally suck this race was as good as plate racing gets until the caution for Labonte’s spin. Had they not thrown a caution for that and just let the cars in the Burton/McMurray/Montoya/Junior/Biffle breakaway decide it among themselves, I’d call it a classic race. As it is, I just end up disgusted again with the carnage at the end. But the Regan Smith screwing and the Brad Keselowski win were much more grotesque races here…

Michael in SoCal
04/26/2010 11:48 AM

How’s this for timing – I read your ‘Devo (don’t ask)’ comment as ‘Turn Around’ by none other than Devo – without the (don’t ask) – is playing on my itunes.

04/26/2010 11:49 AM

nice article again Matt.Was really glad to see Harvick win

04/26/2010 11:52 AM

Any race where both 24 and 48 crash is a good one.

04/26/2010 12:14 PM

Matt I think the word you may have been looking for in regard to NASCAR and the Hendrick racing teams is oblivious not cynical. Cynical would probably best describe you. Not that that is a bad thing in moderation.

I am starting to agree with you on the plate races. Ryan Newman had it right with his comment, “It’s Talledega, I’m not going to call it racing.“It is just a little too contrived. What is the point of all those passes when they really don’t mean a thing. Just tune in for the last 20 laps, or I guess now the last 35 laps with this whole G-W-C’s mess.

Michael in SoCal
04/26/2010 12:14 PM

Chris – regarding Setzer going up into the fence in the NW race – it isn’t any different than when Keselowski ended up in flames up on top of the Safer barrier at Fontana a couple years ago. No restrictor plate there (although it might make Fontana a much more exciting race – I’m sure we’ll read about that in October when we Nascar rolls around to SoCal again). Plate racing is just a different beast, a beast all the drivers are aware of when they choose to their profession – a profession many many of us would love to be part of.

04/26/2010 12:21 PM

wow, i’ll admit that i’d said i wouldn’t watch any more races live but it was a soggy day in my part of the northeast so i broke down and watched, commercials and all. i must say that the commercials were exactly what i expected but i thoroughly enjoyed watching the field actually RACE for 500 miles (unlike say what happens at the cookie cutter snoozefests.) I found it very entertaining and that’s what this sport is all about now right, entertainment? Of wings and below the yellow line rules… who needs ‘em?
@ kevin S lol!

04/26/2010 12:25 PM

Another negative and depressing article. Thanks Matt. Back to it is… or maybe At least they can entertain.

04/26/2010 12:59 PM

I started watching with 35 [sic] laps to go. Thoroughly enjoyed it – and the extra sleep I got prior.

Bill B
04/26/2010 02:34 PM

I can’t understand your comment “thoroughly enjoyed watching the field actually RACE for 500”
Gordon, Martin, Harvick, Stewart, Newman, and Bowyer spent a good part of the first half of the race riding at the back to avoid the big one. The guys that ran up front basically played musical chairs as they traded the lead arbitrarily. How is that racing? It sounds like you just want NASCAR to contrive a system (like restrictor plates) at all the tracks so that no one can every get away from the other guys. In other words every one is forced to be equal and no one can better themselves. Sounds like you just want a crapshoot where luck and circumstances determine the winner.

Richard in N.C.
04/26/2010 02:49 PM

Have you heard of Michael Nifong? Have any idea where the Duke lacross team members would be if they had not been able to hire good attorneys?

M.B. Voelker
04/26/2010 06:30 PM

Let me get this straight, …

You, and other Nascar writers, are actually criticizing DW for committing an act of journalism by scooping other media and revealing the contents of a pending announcement before it was made?

Jealous of how an ex-driver, TV guy got ahead of you on the story?

04/26/2010 11:31 PM

I thought, for once, NA$CAR made the right call on Saturday. Considering the deaths that occurred to the west, it was absolutely the right call. That storm was a bastard. I’m sure the “massive inconvenience for many and a financial disaster for others” doesn’t compare to those is Mississippi.
I just kept thinking that if those two car dancin’ partners would have had a third, the whole thing would have looked just like the Train Races at the local short track.
I also kept thinking I was going to have to figure out how to wipe the inside of my screen if DW kept gushing over MW. Thank God he crashed out and ended the dilemma.
At least plate racing gives DW an excuse for being wrong 5 times calling the final lap. Still thought I was going to have to clean my screen after Harvick pulled the move and DW nearly exploded.
JJ proved once again that he’s the Michael Schumacher of NA$CAR. No pressure, no problem. But race him hard and get in his head, whole different story. Keep cookin’ him Jeff.

04/26/2010 11:48 PM

Who is dw

04/27/2010 10:29 AM

Must be nice to enjoy the two tier justice system in this country – how ironic that the judge is named Kennedy… Grand Am officials said he was cooperative, and he did complete a rehab program administered by Dr. David Black – so that must mean he’s truly better. How does that make you feel, Jeremy Mayfield? All you gotta do is cooperate with NASCAR and Dr. Black… Should we also assume that Shane Hmiel and Jamie Skinner should have just followed this path back to their driving careers as well? Personally, I find this to be patently offensive…

04/27/2010 12:40 PM

@ bill and whom ever else cares, My point was more about nascar turning into a venue that provides entertainment over racing and a slam on tracks like Kansas, Vegas, California. bla bla bla…. But since you called me out, here goes… The restrictor plate is a fact of life like the top 35 it ain’t going away soon. Unfortunately, neither are the cookie cutter tracks. Regardless I do not wish or want to defend it. Personally, I enjoyed seeing many of the drivers test the draft and each other for passing, test the recovery from getting shuffled and what moves would allow them to pass or get passed. I was happy to see it “could” be done without a big one. (calamity carl should take note here.) As one who has successfully wheeled dirt cars, in my world good racing has many components; one’s skill in controlling the car, one’s set-up knowledge, the ability to adjust for changing conditions, and the thing that gets people (me anyway) standing up is the drivers ability (not the crew chief’s although that is part of it) to figure out how to outsmart another driver on the track. That’s what I saw last Sunday. Plate aside, If it’s sad to say that i’d rather watch that than 480 miles of cars that can only occasionally get close enough to pass each other until there is a late race caution (contrived or not) that causes a “crap shoot finish,” so be it.

04/27/2010 01:59 PM

Well if Dr. Black said that he is better, than he must be right? I forgot…who is Dr. Black paid by? What a joke!!

Tool 65
04/27/2010 03:02 PM

50 yards??? Matt I’ve always thought you were and idiot…now I know. Have you ever been to ‘dega. From the center of the tri-oval (where the 29 “brushed” the 1) is well over 50 yards.

Don Mei
04/28/2010 04:51 PM

DW and journalism in the same sentence? Surely you jest!!! He’s a shill for gods sake.