The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Darlington by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday May 10, 2010

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Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Darlington

Matt McLaughlin · Monday May 10, 2010


The Key Moment: Denny Hamlin’s crew got him off pit road first while two of his chief competitors, Jeff Gordon (missed pit road trying to enter) and Jeff Burton (ran over an air line exiting his stall) basically took themselves out of contention on the last round of stops.

In a Nutshell: Buy her all the flowers, candies, and cards you want, but even on Mother’s Day weekend the Lady in Black is one mean mother.

Dramatic Moment: When Joey Logano spun exiting the pits early in the final set of pit stops, it triggered more chaos than a flash flood at the Alka-Seltzer factory.

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

OK, let’s get to it. When is “a” Southern 500 not “The” Southern 500? As I see it, “The” Southern 500 is run on Labor Day weekend, not Mother’s Day Eve. It’s like moving Christmas to June 25th and still trying to call it the same holiday. “The” Southern 500 is also run in the heat of the afternoon, not after dark. The sweltering South Carolina heat is one of the three challenges a Southern 500 winner must face, in addition to the notoriously tricky track and 42 other drivers. Oh, I understand the night races are a little more comfortable for the fans, especially on a sweltering hot weekend like this one. I’m all about them having the best time going to or watching races; but, I’ve sat through some hot Southern 500s in the grandstands, and it was part of the fun (liquid air conditioning was available in 12-ounce cans, if I recall.) Finally, if they want to go back to the original Southern 500, somebody needs to buy a compass. Somewhere along the way, they got the front straight and back straight mixed up, putting the start/finish line on the wrong one and getting everything all catawampus. Don’t get me wrong, though; they’re racing 500 miles at Darlington, and for that I give thanks despite the awkward date. So Saturday’s race might have been “A” Southern 500, but it’s not “The” Southern 500.

In spite of multiple reviews of the taped replay, it’s still hard to believe Jeff Gordon did not lose a lap in his late-race miss of pit road.

Yes, I have reviewed the videotape several times, and Jeff Gordon on pit road beat then-race leader Denny Hamlin back to the start/finish line as the caution waved to stay on the lead lap. But I still don’t see how that’s possible. The No. 24 car slowed down to pit road speed while behind the leader, who was still running 170 plus miles per hour. Gordon then slowed a second time to enter the pits while Hamlin was still running WFO. The caution flew, but Gordon was still obligated to slow to pit road speed since he hadn’t been forced onto pit road to avoid an incident. How did that work? I’d love to see the timing and scoring loops of Gordon’s speed on pit road during the pass-thru before he was waved around the pace car to remain on the lead lap. There seems to be some rift in the time-space continuum.

Related to the above, maybe Gordon has forgotten how to even win at Darlington, a track he once dominated? Fans doubtless got bored watching him lead a ton of laps, seemingly pulling away at will, but at the end of each long green-flag run other drivers who hadn’t been working their equipment so hard reeled Gordon back in and passed him. As our old friend Buddy Baker used to say, “I believe that boy done gone and licked all the red off his candy.”

Wow, rumors persist that workers are scrambling to get a lot of the interactive attractions up and running in time for this week’s opening of the NASCAR Haul of Cash… er, Hall of Fame. One report claims 70% of such attractions aren’t working properly as of last Friday. The story in the Charlotte Observer also says that the Hall hasn’t sold as many corporate sponsorships to companies or commemorative bricks to fans as projected. Dang, I thought those bricks were sold out; they never charged my credit card for the two I ordered. One of them was to read, “Bill France screwed over Tim Richmond.” The other? “Blood on Their Hands – February 18th, 2001,” the date of my personal Fort Sumter with NASCAR management.

Could Budweiser really be leaving the Cup series after over three decades of being a primary sponsor for such notable drivers as Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.? The mega-deal Bud’s new owners made with the NFL might indicate plans to cut back on racing sponsorship. I’ve always felt beer company sponsorship was perfect for NASCAR racing (most fans I know drink a fair amount of it) but there is a downside. In this fickle consumer age, I think the three things the people remain loyal to are their brands of pickup trucks, smokes, and beer. Coors’ association with Bill Elliott got me to try the stuff back when it was hard to find in the Northeast, but when Elliott went to Bud I didn’t switch brands. Of course, I still drink Folgers coffee because of their association with Tim Richmond and because those plastic, re-sealable containers are about the handiest thing in the world for storing parts and hardware in the garage.

How sayeth you, KevinFromSoCal? There were bunches of empty seats on the back straight, but it looked like Darlington drew a pretty healthy crowd for a race held on the eve of Mother’s Day. (And a real nice crowd Friday night, as well.) Fontana track GM Gillian Zucker would probably Jell-O wrestle a leper to sell that many tickets.

There was some talk this week about “A New” Kyle Busch, a more mature driver. Well, anybody listening to Busch’s radio transmissions during Friday night’s Nationwide race heard the same old boy-bitch instead. He was furious at the start of the race, furious at the end of it, and an ugly combination of nasty/sarcastic every lap in between. His crew chief called him in under a late caution, but Kyle decided to stay out. Then, he complained not pitting had cost him the race. How does that work? Busch also whined that teammate Denny Hamlin had “freaked him out” by staying on track under that caution. Is there a rule in NASCAR’s ghostly rulebook that freaking Kyle Busch out is conduct unbecoming to the sport? It’s too bad, in a way. Joe Gibbs has invested a lot of time and money with this brat, and I truly think Busch is one of the greatest talents in the sport’s history; but then again, NASCAR’s rich narrative is fraught with cautionary tales of talented drivers who never reached their potential. It’s too bad Junior Johnson will never be Busch’s crew chief, because he’d end the whining right quick. “Boy, shut the Hell up. I don’t need any of your lip. You ain’t laying down on me out there, are you?” As for Busch’s contention passing is impossible at Darlington, was he at home drinking 20/20, watching Judge Judy in yellowed BVDs the Monday his brother and Ricky Craven battled to the line for the win? It can be done, Kyle; you just have to want it badly enough.

After just one top-5 finish this season, the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – Lance McGrew partnership may finally be on thin ice over at Hendrick Motorsports.

Is it just me, or did the volume of cheering when Jimmie Johnson’s mangled Chevy was towed away (fortunately, after Johnson was able to safely walk away following a savage hit) approach that of the ABG folks circa 1998-2003 when Gordon used to suffer bad luck in the No. 24 car?

While he doesn’t seem ready to throw him under the bus quite yet, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s comments about his crew chief Lance McGrew prior to the race seemed like a hard shove in that direction. You know Rick Hendrick isn’t going to fire the driver of the No. 88 car… so could the Hendrick organization consider a crew chief swap between the 88 and 14 teams?

Silly Season continues to evolve early this year with word that Old Spice deodorant, co-primary sponsor of Stewart-Haas’s No. 14 car, won’t be back next year. That’s going to make any efforts to expand SHR to three cars (possibly to accommodate Kasey Kahne) that much more difficult. Is it time for another of Burger King’s occasional forays into primary sponsorship again?

OK, I’m not a Rhodes scholar but Darrell Waltrip’s post-race comment still has me scratching my head. Sayeth the inestimable DW (between plugs for his brother’s teams, sponsors, and drivers) “The hardest wins to take are the ones when you beat yourself.” Yeah, I’d say so. That’s right out of the Twilight Zone.

During a press interview Friday, Jimmie Johnson noted that all the team members are trying to improve their performance by “massaging their packages.” Well, OK, if it makes you go faster and feel good, go on ahead; but do you want to discuss it in public?

After several minor scrapes left the No. 48 car a shadow of its former self, A.J. Allmendinger’s No. 43 slammed into Jimmie Johnson midway through the race at Darlington and finally put the car out of its misery.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

To put it politely, Jimmie Johnson had an eventful evening. At one point, even Chad Knaus told him if he was going to keep wrecking, to do it right next time so they could all go home. His night could have easily ended when he tangled with Martin Truex, Jr. trying to avoid Greg Biffle’s spin, but the Coup De Grace came when A.J. Allmendinger lost his brakes trying to slow for a caution flag. The No. 43 car flew down onto the apron, then backed up the track straight into the side of the No. 48. It was Johnson’s third DNF of the season (36th) which now offsets his three victories.

Kyle Busch fought his way up from last to first, putting himself in contention to win the race. But the final adjustments to the No. 18 car were not to his liking, and Busch faded to seventh after starting second on the final restart. Naturally, Busch had already told his crew chief he was to blame for costing them the race win.

Tony Stewart (23rd) just can’t seem to get out of his own way lately.

There’s going to be a whole lot of body and fab guys at the race teams’ shops missing dinner, their son’s Little League games, and the David Letterman show patching back together the right sides of cars that practiced, qualified, or raced at Darlington this weekend. Expect long lines at the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shops in the wee hours of the morning over the next few weeks.

Jeff Gordon leads the most laps. Jeff Gordon loses the race. Haven’t we seen this Looney Tune a few times before this season?

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

Denny Hamlin had a pretty fair weekend, winning both the Nationwide and Cup races for his first ever such sweep. He’s now won three of the last six Cup races, even while preparing for and recovering from knee surgery. (In a statistical oddity, two of those wins were scored on Mondays, one on a Saturday, and none on a Sunday.) As I prepare for my own knee surgery this week, I’ll just remember to buy my lottery tickets on Monday and Saturday.

Juan Pablo Montoya finished fifth despite numerous trips into the wall at full speed. How he kept going, I don’t know; the right side of the No. 42 car must have been built out of Kryptonite. Maybe our Colombian friend likes Darlington a little bit more now?

Jamie McMurray’s decision to start on the inside lane on restarts seemed odd at a track where the preferred groove is up high, but time after time he managed to muscle his way into the lead by the first turn. For a driver who late last season was considered a leading candidate for any number of start-and-park teams before Chip Ganassi took him back into the fold, a Daytona 500 win and two second-place finishes make for a pretty good start to the year.

Worth Noting

  • While it’s a notable achievement, Denny Hamlin isn’t the first driver to sweep both the Nationwide/Busch race and the Cup race on the same weekend. Dale Earnhardt did it back in 1987, and Mark Martin accomplished the feat in 1993. Still, for Hamlin that’s a pretty impressive and compact club to join given Darlington’s storied six-decade history.
  • The top-10 finishers at Darlington drove six Chevys, three Toyotas, and a Dodge. Matt Kenseth in thirteenth was the top finishing Ford. Can Mike Rowe or Denis Leary drive a stock car? They seem to be having better luck selling Fords than the Roush boys have racing them.
  • Jamie McMurray (second) led more laps at Darlington (71) than he had in the season’s previous ten races combined (39). I guess those classes Mac took at the Ron Hornaday School of Restarts are paying off.
  • Kurt Busch (third) has top-10 finishes in three of the last four races. He also has ugly yellow wheels on his race car. One thing is better than the other.
  • Jeff Gordon (fourth) has top-5 finishes in four of the last six Cup races.
  • Juan Pablo Montoya (fifth) now has scored three consecutive top-10 finishes.
  • Kevin Harvick’s average finish in the last four races is 4.25. That’ll get the job done.
  • Kyle Busch (seventh) hasn’t missed the top 10 in a Cup race the last five times out.
  • Jeff Burton (eighth) has earned consecutive top-10 finishes for the first time this season.
  • Ryan Newman (ninth) has finished in the top 10 in five of his last six Darlington Cup outings.
  • David Reutimann’s eleventh-place finish was his best since Daytona.
  • Brad Keselowski’s twelfth-place finish matches his best Cup result of the season. He also finished twelfth at Martinsville.
  • After starting the season with five consecutive top-10 finishes, Matt Kenseth (thirteenth) hasn’t managed a top-10 result since Phoenix.
  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is still looking for his second top-5 result of 2010 (he was second at Daytona). His three official teammates have combined to put fourteen such finishes up there on the board.

What’s the Points?

Kevin Harvick retains the points lead with his sixth-place finish and Jimmie Johnson’s misfortunes. Johnson remains second in the standings, but is now 110 points out of the lead. Kyle Busch remains third in points, just three behind the four-time champ. Hopefully, his close proximity to Johnson in the standings isn’t freaking Kyle out.

Jeff Gordon moved up two spots to fourth in the standings, but is just about a full race point-shift out of the lead. Kenseth dropped a spot to fifth, while Denny Hamlin’s third win of the season moved him up a spot in the standings to sixth.

Greg Biffle dropped two spots to seventh, with Kurt Busch, Jeff Burton, and Mark Martin rounding out the top 10. Carl Edwards sits eleventh, and then … release the bluebirds and cue up the Carpenters. All is sweetness and light at NASCAR headquarters, as chronic underachiever Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rebounds a spot to twelfth and back into Chase contention. Why do birds, suddenly appear, every time, you come near…

For one driver to enter the top 12, one must yield position. Clint Bowyer fell three spots to fifteenth. Ahead of him, Martin Truex, Jr. now stands poised to enter the top 12, thirteenth in the standings and 16 points back from the Promised Land. Ryan Newman in fourteenth and Bowyer are actually tied as far as points earned, but Newman gets the nod for fourteenth based on his race win.

Tony Stewart fell another three positions to eighteenth in the standings. He was fifth in points just six races ago.

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 icy cold Colorado Kool-Aid. Even as driver after driver tried to run away with the race, the Lady in Black reasserted she was in charge.

Next Up: It’s off to the White Cliffs of Dover for another white-knuckle battle with the Monster Mile.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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Did You Notice? … A Return To Richmond, Post-Spingate And Quick Hits
NASCAR Mailbox: A ‘Normal’ Saturday And A Valuable Lesson
Beyond the Cockpit: Tony ‘The Sarge’ Schumacher
Open Wheel Wednesday: Controversial Moves, Long Beach Crowds, and Being a Fuddy Duddy
The Frontstretch Five: Pleasant Surprises of 2014 So Far
IndyCar Driver Profile: Takuma Sato
Beyond the Cockpit: Tommy Baldwin on Owning His Team, Hall of Fame and the Number Seven


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05/10/2010 12:59 AM

Since when does Darlington repaint the walls during the weekend? Is this something to do with the Showtime sponsorship, or did they do this before?

05/10/2010 04:24 AM

When are you going to stop whining about the Labor Day race? Get over it already.


Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is still looking for his first top-5 result of 2010. His three official teammates have combined to put fourteen such finishes up there on the board.

So that second place finish in the Daytona 500 wasn’t in the Top 5?

Carl D.
05/10/2010 08:17 AM


You say you’ve “sat through some hot Southern 500’s in the grandstands, and it was part of the fun.” I’ve survived 51 summers here in South Carolina. I’m now convinced you are a masochist.

Jamie McMurray has been a pleasant surprise so far this season. He’s a genuinely likeable guy, and it’s nice seeing him have some GOOD luck for a change.

As for the Nascar Hall of Fame, I’ll go when Jocko Flocko makes it in.

05/10/2010 08:19 AM

i thought jr finished 2nd at the daytona 500? does that race not count as part of the season?? i could be wrong.

who was complaining about how jamie mc was restarting the races? can’t remember, but someone was whining that he was jumping the restarts.

abg….come on matt….what about abe….that started the ab acronym.

jr throwing crew chief under bus…….i will say it again, HE needs to get his life back in control. his body language when they interviewed him druing pre-race show says it all to me. lackluster. seems like jr has the communication issues. seems to me that he can’t communicate with anyone. what’s the one common thread with his team? him! won’t swapping his crew chief for grubb just be more proof that the shr is hendrick?! i’m sure jack roush is not happy about the hendrick team ownership loophole.

in the prerace stuff i saw, they asked jr about his car…he said weather had changed. sure it was hot on friday and saturday daytime, but here in ga we had winds coming in and knew it would be cooler on saturday night. i thought that was why adjustability was put into the cars, especially at night races.

sure hope what you said you wanted put on your hof bricks is true…that would be the reason that they never charged your card. you’re not pc! those two bricks should have been put at the front door the the hall.

i wonder how much illegal labor was used to get that building done for this opening date. i think most long-time fans could care less about hof. years ago bill elliott opened up a racing museum in dawsonville. it has since gone out of business.

05/10/2010 08:49 AM

You should make an honest attempt to sober up before writing these columns Matt . Please explain how Hendrick is going to swap a crew chief that doesn’t work for him . And before you go to the well again for your tired old “ SHR is really owned by Hendrick “ routine , instead try a little reality and a lot of common sense , cause it just ain’t so . But it makes good gossip .

05/10/2010 09:27 AM

One thing DW said awhile back I agree with – Junior needs to learn what it takes to win again.

He needs to drop down and race the trucks – it might do a world of good for his psyche.

Maybe it is time to let Pops Eury have a shot at getting Junior straighened out.

The most success Junior ever had was when Pops was calling the shots; perhaps that is what the doctor ordered in this case.

Would you not love to be a fly on the wall if you could listen to Junior talk to a shrink.

It might be scary to learn what makes Junior tick….

05/10/2010 09:38 AM

Why would Grubb want to leave SHR and why would Tony want Lance? Tony and Grubb get along great and have a great relationship. You don’t split that up just because Jr is having issues with another crew chief. And no offense to Jr but why would Grubb want to crew chief for a guy who is going to argue with him? He has it pretty easy with Tony.

05/10/2010 09:49 AM

@ Mark: You need to sober up Stewart-Hendrick uses Hendrick engines, Hendrick chassis, and are pitted by (former) Hendrick employees. It is clearly a violation of the spirit of the 4 teams per owner rule. GET OVER IT, GO BACK TO BED AND SLEEP OFF YOUR HANGOVER!

Matt, take anything Darrell Waltrip says with a grain of salt. Remember, he raced his entire career breathing carbon monoxide and “gettin’ his bell rung purty durn hard!” Always remember another Junior Johnson-ism: That there boy just ain’t right.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Dale Jr. needs a crew chief to quit babying him. I was and still am a HUGE Dale Earnhardt fan, but does anybody think his father was a cuddly teddy bear worried about Jr.‘s emotional integrity? NO, NO, and F NO!!! During Jr.‘s rookie season it was his father that told him if he wanted to get drunk all night before a race partying with his friends, he could find a different team to drive for. His father was the one (also during his rookie season) at Martinsville when Jr. hit everything including a tow truck that radioed the team to park the car. If Dale was alive today, and Jr. was running like this, he would stick his foot so far up Jr.‘s backside that he would taste the rubber sole. That is what Jr. needs in the worst possible way. It is the only nurturing love he knew growing up.

As for Jeff Gordon, I don’t know if you have watched the last decade but he has long since forgotten how to win in any consistent fashion.

05/10/2010 09:50 AM

“i’m sure jack roush is not happy about the hendrick team ownership loophole.”

That would be hypocritical because he has more or less been using Yates the same way in past seasons.

SHR is really owned by Hendrick routine”

If Tony Stewart really owned the team all by himself, he wouldn’t have had Hendrick personnel like Darian Grubb end up there, he wouldn’t have Jimmie Johnson calling him a teammate, and he wouldn’t be competitive for race victories. If even ROUSH is struggling to be competitive, how would Stewart be successful as an owner-driver without being a Hendrick franchisee? (Yeah, I know Childress and Gibbs are back, but they’ve yet to be successful with satellite operations.)

05/10/2010 09:56 AM

max….i think jr needs to go to a sports psychologist. once when it was suggested jr took his “i don’t need that crap” attitude.

i don’t think pops eury would go back to cup. besides, jr is 35 and has to realize that there are other people who know what they’re talking about, and he has to take their constructive criticism without putting up his wall. personally i think todd parrett would have been best crew chief for jr. todd wouldn’t take crap from him. jr is cash cow (even without winning) and that is why he can do what he does. until sponsors make more noise than they’re already making (and nat guard is), jr will be jr and it will continue to be everyone else but him.

05/10/2010 10:07 AM

sean – the roush/yates think isn’t hyped as much as being “one group” as the hendrick/shr is. the hendrick/shr connection is so close as the mothership/satellite that it’s ridiculous. besdies if they’re not related how come the media says kahne will go to a shr team, that isn’t even in existance. maybe that will change with the 14 needing primary sponorship and even newman’s team doesn’t have full time primary sponsorship. just like jr’s 88 and 7 nationwide teams. it’s just a way of diversifying things at hendrick.

05/10/2010 10:14 AM

Hey Mark. It’s not Stewart-Haas. It’s Hendricks-Stewart Racing. It’s how they get around the four team limit. So yes, they would be making an in house change.

Managing Editor
05/10/2010 10:17 AM

Just wanted to clear up that the Earnhardt stat has been fixed. Daytona was so long ago, it’s easy to forget isn’t it…

05/10/2010 11:06 AM

I’d say they had a good crowd on Friday for the Nationwide race and they did not expect it because they did not have enough of the gates open and enough staff working. I had to walk from my camping spot across from turn 3 to the ticket booth at the start finish line to get tickets through 2 long lines waiting to enter the speedway that must have took a half hour to stand in. Since the Tyler tower lines were so long we decided to sit in the Pearson tower and had to walk back to farthest entrance away in the middle of turns 3 and 4 stand in line for 10 minutes to get in and walk all they way back to the start of the front straight away to get to our seats I must have passed 5 closed entrance gates having to do this.

05/10/2010 11:26 AM

Seems to me that you’re all clueless idiots…especially the moron noel!!! What asinine, clueless comments she makes!!! Normal for a Jr. fan though!

05/10/2010 11:45 AM

Keith, agree with you about the NW race. Darlingon management screwed up there. I stood in line for at least 15 minutes with a couple of older gents using canes who weren’t real happy.

Kevin in SoCal
05/10/2010 12:47 PM

Wow, thank you for the mention. I feel honored.

But 60,000 fans at a track that holds 66,000 looks a lot better on TV than 60,000 fans at a track that holds 90,000. That’s easy to understand. However, its terrible for a track as awesome and historical as Darlington to not be able to sell out all 66,000 seats. Its even worse when its noticable on TV. We can understand Bristol not selling out 160,000 seats, but 66,000? At Darlington?? Something is seriously wrong, and we all know it.

05/10/2010 12:55 PM

You could have left the Daytona stat as it was. Restrictor plate races don’t mean squat.

05/10/2010 01:24 PM

Maybe Jr fans need to notice what everyone else has. It doesn’t matter who the crew chief is, he just isn’t that good of a driver.

He doesn’t know how to make his car better as the race goes along and expects the crew chief to figure it out. If the CC doesn’t, he complains about it. Along with his lack of passion to win races, why would anyone want to be this guys crew chief?

mike h
05/10/2010 03:04 PM

why was there never much mention about the MWR violations & fines? the fact that only “affiliated” teams lost points for the same violation? now another “affilated” team has a rear end taken by nascar? they are all in the same bldg!! we know why faux won’t mention it, why cant you??

05/10/2010 03:39 PM

I had to give it 6 beers! With Denny (my driver) winning and Jamie (the wife’s driver) finishing 2nd and then our most hated driver (JJ) crashing, I’d have to say, to us, this would be a 30 pack race!!!

05/10/2010 03:45 PM

The “ Matt “ version of reality seems to be contagious for at least a couple of people .
The SHR team is owned by Gene Haas and Tony Stewart . Period . If anyone has any documents to the contrary , i know we would all love to see them . Now as to where the engines and chassis come from , i don’t think it’s any secret that other teams purchase or rent from Hendrick , and Roush , and Yates , and Gannasi Earnhardt .
But i’m really intrigued by Seans’s notion that Hendrick employees are only allowed to work at Hendrick . Ever ! You mean they can’t go to work for any other team unless Hendrick owns it too ? Hundreds of crew men from virtually every team in Charlotte applied for positions at SHR .
And lastly , Tony couldn’t be successfull unless Hendrick was involved ? You haven’t bothered to look at the success of virtually every team Tony has ever driven for or owned .

05/10/2010 06:32 PM

Jr. had Grubb on his pit box with Tony Jr. when he first started at HMS and ran quite well. When Grubb left, things went down hill.

05/10/2010 07:48 PM

Where were all you guys when SHR was Haas CNC before Tony came along? The relationship between the two organizations has not changed. Just the quality of drivers and because of those quality of drivers they were able to gain people who were able to undersatnd what HMS was giving them in regards to the set ups and such.

05/10/2010 10:13 PM

Get used to the parade. Not the racing, the big corporate sponsors leaving.
I actually got to watch this race in HD. It was cool. Especially that great shot of JJ getting slammed. If I knew that would keep happening, HD might be worth the expense in these tough times.

Richard in N.C.
05/10/2010 11:28 PM

If you paid more attention to the facts than bashing NASCAR you might write something almost accurate about the Hall of Fame. Anything’s possible, maybe.

05/11/2010 02:00 AM

If it’s ok to make a mistake because it happened at Daytona, it’s not ok to make a mistake when the race happened two days ago. Hamlin was not leading when Gordon was coming down pitroad, Burton was. I think its funny as hell for Matt to bash everyone from DW to NASCAR to readers that don’t agree with him. But week after week he makes mistakes in his “reporting” of the race.

Bill B
05/11/2010 12:30 PM

Mark and Melissa,
I understand where you are coming from… TECHNICALLY you are right but I wonder how things would go if all HMS support was withdrawn. I actually like HMS since I am a 24 fan but even I can see what a farce this 4 team limit has become.
BTW Mark, one other thing has changed since Tony took over the team -the budget. I am sure that the Tony and Ryan attract way more sponsorship dollars than Riggs and whomever else they had driving their cars. And with that money you can bet they have bought more HMS support. So don’t make it sound like it’s just how great of a driver Tony is. His is a great driver but without HMS support he’d be out to lunch.

05/11/2010 10:20 PM

I attended the “Southern 500” and there’s no way that it earned 4 beers. Very little passing (either for the lead or in the back of the back)
Face it, the cars are going too fast around the track and without the traditional tire-eating surface, there’s more follow-the-leader than racing.

Also, the COToday doesn’t lose speed after hitting the wall. Although the cars resembled a demolition derby field at the finish, their overall lap times were unaffected.

2 beers for this one (although the track, the fans, and the setting deserve more)

05/12/2010 02:13 AM

Hendrick was in victory lane before/with smoke the first? time Stewart won.Felon Rick sure seemed to consider it a hendrick win.
Hope your surgery/recovery goes well!

05/12/2010 03:08 AM

It’s funny ya’ll don’t hold Nascar to the same standards as you do Matt…

05/13/2010 10:19 AM

I was out of town at the beginning of the week so I didnt get to put in my typical two cents on Matt’s “article” (please note the quotes).

I completely agree with budsudz, this weeks race was a snore-fest. I think two beers is pushing it. Of course Matt, and his completely backwards perspective on NASCAR, thought it was great.

05/17/2010 12:07 AM

For the record, Doug Yates built his own cars. Yes, Ford Motor Company combined all their engine eggs into a basket carried by both Jack Roush and Doug Yates. But that’s where the similarity ended. Far different from Stewart-Haas-Hendrick Racing.