The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: 2010 Dover-2 Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday September 27, 2010

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Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: 2010 Dover-2 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin · Monday September 27, 2010


The Key Moment – On lap 338, Jimmie Johnson took the lead from Kyle Busch. Busch contested the issue, but only briefly.

In a Nutshell – So much for the Monster Mile at Dover. This one was a Monotonous Dozer.

Dramatic Moment – Apparently, the NFL games were replete with them.

It wasn’t racing per se, but a part of it – simply bizarre to see one Chase contender after another make unforced errors that cost them big time.

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

Well, OK, yeah, we’ve got some stuff to talk about this week. Some folks wondered why I was saying there was nothing to talk about in last Thursday’s column. Let me explain what a deadline is to a beat writer. I don’t get up at 4 AM Thursday morning (perish the thought) and begin banging out my MPM column. My late week column needs to be submitted by Wednesday at sundown. Typically, I start considering a concept for the column on Monday and bang out a rough draft. Tuesday, I finish the column and edit it. If at all possible, I submit it late Tuesday to give the editor types, who are as burnt out as I am this late in the season, a little help, especially since my columns take some work to make ready for primetime. They had to hire a special editor in charge of oversize obscure words just to work with me. By the time the Bowyer story broke Wednesday, I was somewhere west of Lancaster on a big two-wheeler, rolling away the miles before winter’s cruel darkness parks it for the season.

Jimmie Johnson soaked in some Dover champagne? Haven’t we seen this movie before? How about three times in the last four races at the Monster Mile … leaving fans bored and attendance sitting at maybe 60 percent capacity on Sunday.

OK, back to racing. It’s all right for NASCAR officials to decide a race-winning car is illegal. It’s happened numerous times, too many to count, and it’ll happen again. (Despite the fact NASCAR says that they never strip a winner of a victory after a fact, maybe they ought to ask Dale Jarrett who was stripped of a Busch Series win at Michigan. Or, if he’s still with us, Glenn Dunnaway, who won the very first race in what is now called Cup racing only be disqualified for illegal wedges driven into his rear left springs to stiffen them, an old bootleggers’ trick. Or Fireball Roberts, who was disqualified after winning the Daytona Beach Race in 1955. But I digress.) What’s not acceptable is to take three days to announce the race winner’s car was found illegal. If NASCAR had any credibility left, that would be incredibly damaging to it.

Oh, and for the record, race fans, never try to explain to a non-fan how a driver who won the race is found to be cheating and yet keeps the win. You can talk until your face is blue and they’ll never understand it. Explaining NASCAR corporate policy to a stick and ball fan is like trying to teach a pig to sing. It’s a waste of your time… and it annoys the pig.

I had an interesting discussion with a buddy after he told me about the RCR / Bowyer penalty. We both agreed that it seemed ludicrous that Bowyer lost 150 points and the team lost $150,000 for sixty thousandths of an inch, a height about the width of the comma that precedes this phrase. But Randy and I got to talking about it. If the height infraction was the height of two quarters, would the penalty have been OK? It didn’t seem so. So how about the height of a stack of three quarters? Four, five? We both agreed if the height discrepancy had been a full inch, the penalty would have been warranted. But where was the cut? My final opinion is that the penalty ought to reflect the intent and extent of the infraction. In Bowyer’s case, the penalty was excessive because the extent was so small, the performance advantage near nil, and the intent not clear. A more serious infraction, say hidden traction control, would warrant such a penalty. Such a device didn’t install itself, a driver would have to know it was there to utilize it to its full effect, and the performance advantage would be tremendous. It’s the same deal with nitrous… one of several other things I could mention that’s far more devious than this minor mistake. So I think what has everybody shaking their heads is the gargantuan amount of the penalty for such a Lilliputian infraction. If they’d hit the team with a 10-point, ten thousand dollar fine for the same issue, I wouldn’t be writing about this.

Some folks, Denny Hamlin in particular, are defending the big penalty claiming RCR (and other teams) have been warned for months that while their cars are legal, they are just barely legal, pushing the edge of the envelope to the ripping point. No kidding? When NASCAR writes the rules, it is the job of the crew chief and car builders to push them to that limit looking for a performance advantage. Every cubic inch in the engine, every millimeter of spoiler height, every cubic inch in the fuel cell gives that extra edge, however minute when racing competitors are also pushing the envelope. If the cubic inch displacement rule is 358, who is going to bring a 347 stroker just to be sure they’re legal? I guess that’s what bothers me about NASCAR’s Research and Development center taking three days to decide Bowyer’s Chevy was illegal by such a small degree. The guys who build the cars are supposed to be pushing the edges, coming up with new tricks which fall in the gray area that NASCAR hasn’t ruled are black or white yet. When NASCAR sees those tricks and decides retroactively to stamp them as illegal, they’re discouraging innovation in a sport where the cars are already too generic. I want to see races and championships decided in the team’s shops while they burn the midnight oil and on the track, not in the R & D center.

Rick Hendrick’s four-car team has been the focus of many near-misses in the NASCAR inspection line the last few years. On Friday, they finally bit the bullet when Mark Martin failed due to overpressurized shocks, forcing him to start Sunday’s race at Dover from the rear of the field.

Clint Bowyer probably sent Mark Martin dinner after Martin’s car was disqualified after qualifying for Dover. At least it deflected some negative attention away from the RCR team. Martin’s car was found to have rear shocks with illegally high internal pressures. So, what’s going on? Apparently, the trick to making the car of sorrow handle better is to get the back of the car up further in the air so the rear spoiler is in clean air. To do this during the race some teams, most notably the Hendrick cars that have been dominant over the last few years, are using trick rear shocks. When cold, as in pre-race inspections, the car sits at a legal height. As the shocks heat up during an event the gas within them expands, raising the rear ride height. The car might not pass the height stick test immediately after the race, but given a half-hour to cool off at rest the gas contracts and the car returns to legal height. Apparently, some other teams figured out what HMS was doing and have tried to mimic it. Now, some are getting caught. It’s the same deal as back in the ’90s when first Harry Gant, then Bill Elliott’s Junior Johnson-equipped team figured out the advantage of camber on the rear wheels. Once the secret was out, NASCAR banned it.

Denny Hamlin had some less than kind comments discussing the Bowyer penalty, saying directly RCR was making ludicrous excuses and were clearly cheating – adding everybody knew they’d been doing it all year. Kevin Harvick, Bowyer’s teammate, took that issue up with Hamlin on track in the first practice session, repeatedly ramming Hamlin’s car in the rear bumper to the point both drivers were forced to the garage area to repair their cars. NASCAR garage booths are awarded based on owner points, so Harvick and Hamlin’s cars were parked side to side, and the “discussion” continued with both men getting in each other’s faces – though there appeared to be no physical pushing or shoving. (Wimps.) Maybe Harvick was just trying to hit the back of the No. 11 car just enough to raise the height of the rear spoiler so it would be just as far outside of ride height requirements as Bowyer’s “illegal” car? Hamlin did some trash talking, Harvick used his front bumper to respond in kind, while Bowyer was on the other side of the track offering himself some “plausible deniability” in the payback. Could this actually get interesting?

Matt’s message to NASCAR inspectors is simple: If you can’t find a problem at the racetrack, then three days in the R & D Center is way too long to come up with one – especially if you’re not investigating the other 11 Chase-contending cars.

What bothers me the most about Clint Bowyer’s penalty, besides the severity, is his car was the only one checked out at the R & D center. If all twelve Chase-contending cars had been taken to the same R & D center and put under the microscope, what other infractions might have been found? What sort of points penalties might have been leveled against the drivers competing with Bowyer for the title? At the end of the day, might we have learned all twelve cars were cheated up and that’s why those twelve teams made the Chase? In my opinion, if one Chase car is taken to the R & D center, all twelve should be. If one Chaser’s engine is put on the dyno after the race, all twelve contending car’s engines should be checked.

I’ll nominate this one for line of the year. Richard Childress was asked about the verbal battle between Denny Hamlin, his teams and team members maintaining their innocence: “You can’t win a pissing match with a skunk.”

How long is it going to be before some of these field-fillers in the Nationwide Series figure out you can’t advance your position racing to the yellow flag? Yeah, it’s tough to see beyond the high-banked corners at Dover, but what about those bright yellow blinking lights (including the one on the dash) and the spotter screaming over the radio? The accident involving Elliott Sadler on Saturday was both frightening and unnecessary. Ironically, the driver who hit Sadler’s stricken car, Drew Herring, was sponsored by some outfit named “Get Loaded.” Maybe that explains things.

A number of you are telling me that you no longer watch races live, preferring to watch them on your DV-R when it’s convenient to you. So to aid a quick and orderly review of Dover, the two legitimate lead changes occurred on laps 14 and 338. The other fourteen “lead changes” NASCAR cites were as a result of leaders dropping into the pits during green flag sequences or a driver taking the lead while in the pits under the yellow.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

It’s hard to decide which category to lump A.J. Allmendinger under this week. He thoroughly dominated the first half of the race, leading 143 laps with seeming ease. But an equalized tire caused by a two cent lock washer sent the No. 43 car to the pits and cost Allmendinger two laps. While he recovered well enough to finish on the lead lap in tenth place, he’s got to be left wondering, “What if?”

Martin Truex, Jr. had a strong run going, leading the race at one point, but a wheel left loose on a lugnut and a broken axle exiting the pit box after repairs were made ended his day.

Clint Bowyer’s championship hopes left Dover destroyed after a 25th-place finish combined with New Hampshire’s penalty left him 235 points out of the lead.

Matt Kenseth, who has had problems more than once entering the pits at Dover, misjudged his pit entry once again, locked up the front tires, missed the pits anyway, and had that flat-spotted left front tire blow up and remove most of his left front fender. D’Oh!

As if he needed more problems after last week, Clint Bowyer got nailed speeding on pit road and never really recovered from the penalty. But hey, they say consistency wins championships. Bowyer has been twelfth in the points forever now.

Last week, Tony Stewart and team gambled on fuel mileage and lost. This week, they gambled on two tires and lost a ton of track position. A subsequent speeding violation on pit road was just the icing on the cake en route to a 21st-place finish, two laps off the pace.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

Kurt Busch got nailed for speeding on pit road and launched into the Mother of All Hissy Fits, declaring his day was done. But once he calmed down, Busch drove back to a fourth-place finish.

Kyle Busch overdrove his car and put it into the wall, yet another unforced error by a Chaser. Though the steering was clearly tweaked and he never competed for the top spot again, Busch drove to a respectable sixth-place finish.

Jimmie Johnson had to overcome some uncommonly slow work in his pits to win the race.

Mark Martin started out back because of that shock infraction and at one point was listed as two laps down. Yet he drove back to a twelfth-place finish without the help of a Lucky Dog free pass.

Worth Noting

  • Johnson’s sixth win this season ties him with Denny Hamlin for the most Cup victories this season. Johnson has now scored twelve wins since Jeff Gordon’s last Cup victory.
  • Jeff Burton finished second in both this year’s Dover Cup races. Those are his best two results of the year.
  • Joey Logano’s third-place finish was his best since Martinsville early this spring.
  • Kurt Busch (fourth) managed his first top-5 finish since Watkins Glen.
  • Carl Edwards (fifth) hasn’t finished worse than twelfth in the last eleven races.
  • Kyle Busch (sixth) has scored five straight top-10 finishes in the Cup Series.
  • Paul Menard’s seventh-place finish was his best since Atlanta in March.
  • Ryan Newman finished eighth for the third time in the last four Cup races.
  • A.J. Allmendinger is averaging a tenth-place finish in the last three races, considerably better than his average eighteenth-place result for the season.
  • Jeff Gordon (eleventh) hasn’t had a top-5 finish in nine races now.
  • Mark Martin’s twelfth-place finish was his best since Pocono.
  • The top 10 finishers at Dover drove three Fords, three Chevys, three Toyotas, and a Dodge.

What’s the Points?

Denny Hamlin hangs onto the points lead, but is now just 35 points ahead of Johnson. Johnson advanced four spots in the standings to take over second place. The brothers Busch (Kyle, then Kurt) are third and fourth, while Kevin Harvick fell three spots to fifth in the standings.

Carl Edwards moves up to sixth, while Jeff Burton climbs up two rungs to seventh. Jeff Gordon is eighth, 83 markers behind and with a healthy 57-point advantage of his own over ninth-place Greg Biffle. Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, and Clint Bowyer round out the top 12.

Under the Classic (read: legitimate) points system, Harvick would be leading by 208 points ahead of Kyle Busch and 218 points ahead of Gordon.

Again, this is all subject to change, pending the RCR appeal on Wednesday and any infractions discovered after the race, in the middle of next week… or possibly sometime in the days before Christmas.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — Another two can race. Maybe next year my columns will be sponsored by Fruit Loops, because the Cup series has become Two-can racing. Yes, I’m leaving that one hanging over the plate. Have at it.

Next Up – Going to Kansas City, Kansas City here we come. Ain’t never seen no Keebler elves in Kansas City, so where’d this giant cookie-cutter come from?

Monday on the Frontstretch:
The Cool-Down Lap: ‘Dinger Does Dover – What His Good Run Means
Fact Or Fiction: Chase Down To Two? Hendrick Hiring Help? And Bye, Bye McGrew?
Bubble Breakdown: Sadler Smooth While Smith Struggles At The Monster Mile
Running Their Mouth: AAA 400
Tracking The Trucks: Smith’s Food & Drug Stores 350

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Did You Notice? … Breaking Down A Sprint Cup Season Eight Races In
Beyond the Cockpit: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. on Growing Up Racing and Owner Loyalties
The Frontstretch Five: Flaws Exposed In the New Chase So Far
NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Darlington
NASCAR Mailbox: Past Winners Aren’t Winning …. Yet
Open Wheel Wednesday: How Can IndyCar Stand Out?


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

Bad Wolf
09/27/2010 01:13 AM

Thanks for the detailed recap Matt. Once again I did not watch the race, and after seeing that JJ won I’m glad I missed it.

Keeping it REAL
09/27/2010 01:45 AM

Matt – your analysis of the illegal measurement to the fine for it is insane. By your method, which is penalty proportional to infraction magnitude, it would become a free-for-all contest of who can afford to cheat how much. Sure you’re going to say it is that way already, but wow would it ever encourage EVERY car to violate the dimensions, break the rules, etc. This sport has always teetered on the brink of losing all integrity (every generation has had routine cheaters and pretty well every team has been caught cheating at some point, some at many points), but by your method there would not be a legal car in the field since the smart guys would figure out ways of picking up 20 points to lose 10 IF, and only IF, they got caught. The rule has to be the line in the sand. You cross it, you get stung and stung hard. This is from a lifelong RCR fan. I hope RCR has some evidence that can liberate them, but if not, then they (like Hendrick, Waltrip, etc.) deserve to be fined consistently. My only bitch is that they don’t use this very magnitude of penalty more often and are not consistent. But loosening is NOT the answer. Being CONSISTENT is the answer. Sorry, but dude you blew it on that one.

09/27/2010 01:51 AM

Kansas is next week?

This stretch of races is making that NFL Redzone subscription look like a better investment all the time.

As for the “Race”? Meh. NASCAR will penalize whoever they need to so the driver of their choice wins the “championship”, so who really cares who wins the races?

09/27/2010 02:22 AM

You didn’t even mention the half-empty grandstands. Hell, there was an entire section in turn 3 completely empty. Turns 1 and 2 looked half full at best in the lower and middle sections. Upper sections were a ghost town. How many tickets did they actually sell? Honestly, looked like about 60% capacity. The other 40% that didn’t show, didn’t miss anything.

09/27/2010 05:46 AM

Official attendance figures were listed at 88,000, probably optomistic, down from 120,000 last year at a track that seats about 145,000

09/27/2010 06:39 AM

that “race” isn’t going to do anything for future TV numbers…

The F1 race was more exciting. What’s up with that?
I want my nascar back!!!

09/27/2010 07:28 AM

Matt, I am going to have to correct you on something. Clint Bowyer Has not been in 12th place forever. He was in second place last Tuesday when the points become official, and fell back to 12th on Wednesday when he was penalized!!! *That kind of in-consistency can cost a man a championship.

Otherwise, one of your less curmudging editorials, and at the same time thought provoking. But, overall, I have to agree with Keeping it REAL, staggered penalties based on the amount of infraction would be a nightmare.

Ghost of Curtis Turner
09/27/2010 07:51 AM

Tuned in only once, and low and behold there was a caution for debris….turned it off and went back to the NFL….
Jimmy Won? hmmm no suprise there, after all King Brian already decided that RCR will not win the chase no matter what NA$CRAP has to do to “fix” the out come.

09/27/2010 07:55 AM

Denny Waaamlin has a lot of nerve saying RCR cheats. Magnets anybody?

09/27/2010 08:00 AM

Randy: What drugs do you take, and how can I get my hands on some of them?

NA$CAR is the #1 rated racing series in the world?!? Seriously??? By what standard? Global viewers that tune in? That would be F1! Prestige of the Championship? Again, F1 trumps NA$CAR. Is it the technical aspect of building and racing the cars? Once again, F1 wins on both counts? Cost? F1! Politics? F1! An IDIOTIC billionaire running the series, too STUPID to realize that he is the worst part of the spectacle?!? NA$CAR actually is in a dead heat with F1 here!!!

Is it because Brian France told you so? ding, ding, ding, ding We have a winner!!!

The Chase, Danica, the COT, and debris cautions define exactly why NA$CAR is America’s #1 fastest DECLINING sport!

Even you, yourself, over this past season have written about how much more difficult IndyCars are to drive. You have made the claim that Danica is just going to run rough-shod all over the NA$CAR boys. (she can’t even do that in IndyCar) And a MILLION other idiotic statements.

When it comes to NA$CAR being around for a long time, you and the other 20 fans left kissing Brian’s ass had better be prepared to pay $250,000.00 per ticket, and follow the train wreck from city to city like it’s the Grateful Dead tour, if you want to keep it financially viable much longer.

No, I am not a Randy Goldman hater. I just have zero patience for stupid children, that have no understanding of what they are witnessing, all the while expounding on the subject as if they are the FOREMOST experts on the planet concerning the subject. Wait just a minute…No sentence has been written to better define Randy Goldman.

Seriously, if you are on drugs, you should find the nearest rehab facility. If you are this way, stone cold sober, you should probably start getting high. Something is seriously wrong in your head.

Carl D.
09/27/2010 08:11 AM

Thnaks for another great recap Matt. I missed the race due to a family reunion. Another reason to be thankful for family.

Carl D.
09/27/2010 08:31 AM

Thank goodness we have Denny Hamlin to tell us what’s really going on the garage. Without the inside scoop from this wise old veteran, we’d all be clueless about the dirty little secrets crew chiefs don’t want us to know.

Note to Denny… keep your trap shut and focus on the task at hand before you blow another chase opportunity.

09/27/2010 08:46 AM

seriously randy,
i’m waiting for something better to come around on sundays…

Ken H
09/27/2010 08:59 AM

I go to the races once per year at Dover. This was one of the most boring races I have ever seen…like many others this year. The only positives I can think of are that at least it wasn’t a 500 mile race and maybe Johnson will be found illegal on Wednesday. Oh and 88,000 attendance…no way…wake up NASCAR and give the fans something to watch worth $95 per ticket…not another DoZer 400

09/27/2010 09:00 AM

So a Hendrick car got caught cheating again. Who’s surprised?

So a Hendrick car won the “race.” Who’s surprised?

That must have been a doozy conversation last Monday morning when Mister Rick called Emperor Brian to tell him what’s what. Back to normal again.

Isn’t it amazing which Hendrick car gets penalized and which one doesn’t.

And now for something that really matters…

09/27/2010 09:12 AM

As The Official Commenter of NASCAR I hereby declare the term “cookie-cutter” outlaw. From this point forward, until I decide differently, the term used shall be “McTracks”.

Kevin from PA
09/27/2010 09:19 AM

Point #1: I worked in Manufacturing. If a customer spec says a dimension must be within .002” – then that dimension better be within that range. If we can’t hold that tolerance, then we have to inform the customer. If not, we can expect the parts to come back if we go over.

Same with NASCAR. Apparently NASCAR does not allow a tolerance to their dimensions. So to sit here and debate what the fines should have been if team X went .002” or 2.2” over is meaningless. Per NASCAR: You are legal or you are not. Sorry -end of story.

(Are the rules fair or are they applied fairly? That is another debate.)

Point #2: I am ones of those who think the NASCAR season is too long, even for die hard fans. I always let it go because NASCAR was way too greedy to shorten the season and every track wanted 2 dates. Funny thing about supply and demand is that no one – not even King Brian – can beat it.

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see that in 5 – 10 years, NASCAR might have such low appeal that the tracks actually give up their dates. I do not see any new tracks being built in the future – even if the economy were to come back. So with no additions but a lot of subtractions, the NASCAR season might actually shrink down to a 25 week season.

A shorter season is better for the ADD crowd that NASCAR was chasing. The irony of course is that this crowd will have long moved past NASCAR.

09/27/2010 09:33 AM

I’m usually on the side of NASCAR in most of these weekly debates. I don’t think that France is an evil nitwit, I don’t believe that HMS and the Daytona office have a hotline in order to fix races, and don’t see a conspiracy behind every debris caution.

But, I must say that two of the past three races have really been boring and the attendance at the race was shocking…I don’t know how they made the purse.

Don’t know if it’s the economy or the inevibility of the #48 winning another title, but something has to give. Might be time to think about contraction,as the prior post states…get down to 32 or so races. Either that, or start taking out seats from place like Dover…that was embarrassing.

09/27/2010 09:51 AM

I live in Delaware, had won tickets, but decided not to go. Glad I didn’t. I tuned in at 1pm and there was still 20 minutes of bulls#*t left before they took to the track. On the other hand, the football game started on time. Okay, I’ll switch between them. Everytime the football game was in commercial, so was Nascar. From what I read, I didn’t miss a thing. If Nascar says a race starts at 1pm, they should be on the track at 1pm. They’ll lose to football every week because of that error.

09/27/2010 09:55 AM

Maybe the NASCAR will find a problem with the 48 in tear down. This guy is killing the Cup Series. He doesn’t appeal to traditional fans, and he’s duller than Jeff Gordon ever was. Maybe if he wins another Cup, NASCAR will finally ditch the Chase. He would only have 2 championships if there was no Chase.

Sharon J
09/27/2010 09:58 AM

Hello Matt – I am curious. Why do people read your column if their only purpose is to be obnoxious to other readers or yourself? Maybe if they are so wise, they should get a job writing their own opinions. You are entitled to yours.

09/27/2010 10:16 AM

You’re lucky you even had a choice of watching NASCAR or not. Here, in Canada, on satellite, the races are carried by TSN. Well! Sometimes! The last two weeks TSN has shown the qualifying on Friday but not the race on Sunday. Go figure! What do they show? Just about anything else. A Tiddly Winks contest is reason enough. So I have not seen either of the last two races, but maybe I didn’t miss anything, especially with Jimmy winning again.

Bill B
09/27/2010 11:01 AM

Randy Goldman…
Just a reminder, “I wrote my own column and it was quite a bit better than Matt’s.”, that is your opinion, not a FACT.

Carl D.
09/27/2010 11:04 AM

Sharon… Don’t be fooled. The only people that said Randy’s column was better than Matt’s was Randy and his other frontstretch screen names. He’s a legend in his own mind, that’s it.

09/27/2010 11:35 AM

I heard NASCAR is thinking about penalizing Goodyear for selling Danica a bum tire. Any truth to this?

09/27/2010 11:37 AM

“I mean really read his first paragraph under the “water cooler” section. SERIOUSLY!?!?!? Why do they publish this crap?”

So guys like you read them. Now, take your pills and we’ll see you next Monday.

Thanks Matt.

09/27/2010 11:38 AM

NASCAR’S chickens have come home to roost. They spent the last 15 years alienating traditional fans that when they need them the most to watch on TV or buy tickets they aren’t. JJ is just the human embodiment of all this. And oh boy, the next two races are at Kansas and Fontana, zzz. Dover looked like a Nationwide race where they didn’t even sell some grandstands. Sad

09/27/2010 11:49 AM

I watched the NASCAR race on my DVR in between the commercials of the Falcons game. Between the Car of Tomorrow & the commercials on the football game and race, I never fell more than 30 minutes behind the race. That just shows ya how many darn commercials a live TV viewer has to live through. I watch very little live TV these days.

09/27/2010 12:11 PM

@Randy – please resume your medications. Then the delusional behavior will subside. How old are you?? Where’s your self respect?
I have read Matt’s column a long time. His disillusionment mirrors that of many longtime fans. The COT cars, the CHASE, the inconsistent penalties, the debris cautions, race manipulation, canned storylines throughout the race broadcast, blah, blah, blah. I don’t always agree with Matt but I enjoy reading a genuine point of view. So sick of the corporate slick and vanilla marketing approach to most of the articles written these days. I still look towards the Monday morning recap. Thanks Matt!!!!

09/27/2010 12:59 PM

If Martin’s car was illegal, it kinda makes you wonder if JJ’s was illegal as well. Well that can’t be in Nascar’s little world. The chosen ones cars are never illegal.

And Matt, why are you not bashing Dover for boring racing like you were going on and on last week about Loudon. Funny I found more fans and better racing at Loudon than I did this week.

09/27/2010 01:24 PM

Isn’t it logical to think that the shocks on Mark’s car are on Johnson’s? I guess we’ll never know for sure. I guess they’ll let Johnson’s car settle before they measure it.

09/27/2010 01:32 PM

Surfin Bird , you should consider the source before you get excited because we all know they don’t ever get anything right .
Matt , as you well know , NASCAR announced many years ago that they would impose ever escalating fines to try and stop cheating . The Bowyer fine was just another step . The fine was leveled because it was determined that the car was purposely built to cause the measurement to be off by 1/16 . And if a measurement is given in the rulebook , then anything above that would be illegal .
The F1 race on Sunday , and for that matter the F1 season so far has been far better than anything the NASCAR Cup series has come up with . When the broadcast team devotes a major chunk of air time , and untold hundreds of replays from several thousand camera angles to analyzing why JJ slowed down too much on entering the pits , they obviously didn’t have very much important to comment on .

09/27/2010 01:42 PM

If the NFL starts at 1 wouldn’t it be a good idea to start the race at 12:30? The West Coast doesn’t care because they’re missing church for the NFL anyway.

Kevin in SoCal
09/27/2010 01:48 PM

I thought Hendrick’s teams were warned a few years ago not to bring these trick rear shocks to the track. Remember when Johnson and Kyle Busch’s car had them at Dover and they were 1-2 in the race? So how come Mark Martin’s car had trick shocks on it again? And why hasnt NASCAR banned these shocks yet? Conspiracy!!!

09/27/2010 01:53 PM

cons5 – Huh? Every race has been shown on TSN this year including every Nationwide race as well. Sometimes they are on TSN2 which is available by Sat as well. Are you on Bell?

09/27/2010 02:07 PM

That line by Richard Childress is absolutely priceless.

Good recap, Matt. I was at Dover and attendance is definitely down for last year. It was not an exciting race but at least at the track, I can watch all the action and not have to listen to the babble from the booth and the lousy camera work interspersed with commercials.

Wow, kansas next week – be still my heart. Supposed to be a pretty weekend — I’m planning on enjoying it, not watching this nonsense that NASCAR calls racing.

Randy G – sorry man, but I’ve read the stuff you post here when I’m going tthrough the comments — I prefer Matt’s writing.

09/27/2010 02:20 PM

Maybe I am a petty (lower case) person, but if I was Boyer.

I’d slam the 48 and NA$CAR’s pathetic little dreams into the wall at the first opportunity.

I am sick of this “new” racing. I want a fight every week.

I want men racing for a win, all of them. Not these geldings circling the track in their billboards bowing to each other.

I can’t wait to see what comes next after NA$CAR goes bankrupt.

Larry D.
09/27/2010 02:57 PM

The main problems with NASCAR right now is the Chase, and the COT. The COT has lead to boring racing on almost every track now. Once someone takes the lead…they check out and get leads of 5 – 7 seconds and the race becomes BORING!!! Even short tracks have become boring…and lets not talk about the mile and a half tracks!!! Unless someone runs out of gas on the last lap…the races are beyond boring. The COT has taken innovation out of NASCAR. All the cars look the same….you can’t tell a Ford from a Chevy or a Dodge or a Toyota….they all look the same. At least in the Nationwide Series the Ford Mustang resembles a Mustang. Even in the late 1990’s…you could tell Mark Martin was driving a Ford Taurus…Jeff Gordon was driving a Monte Carlo…etc. Now….they might as well just go to the old TransAms the IROC races used and be done with it. The cars are boring…don’t have any adjustability…and it’s destroying the sport.

With the Chase….almost all the last ten races are won by Chase Drivers…because all the other drivers outside the Chase are afraid to wreck a Chase driver and be blamed for messing up their chance to win the cup!!! If Dale Sr. was still around…and outside the Chase…you know he would be giving everything he had to win a race….including doing the old bump and run he was famous for.

This is why I set my DVR to record the race…I can skip all the way to the last 10 laps…and see who wins. It’s becoming like watching an NBA Game…record it and skip to the last 2 minutes of the game…that’s when all the action happens. That’s not NASCAR as I love it…that’s for sure!!!

Bad Wolf
09/27/2010 03:02 PM

“If the NFL starts at 1 wouldn’t it be a good idea to start the race at 12:30? The West Coast doesn’t care because they’re missing church for the NFL anyway.”

Back in the ’80s and ’90s the races started anywhere from 11:00am to 1:00pm cst, with most starting at noon cst. Ned and Benny would do a 5 minute piece while standing on top of the press box, then it was the National Anthem and “Gentlemen Start Your Engines”. They would be racing within 15 minutes of the stated broadcast time.

Those were the days.

Kevin in SoCal
09/27/2010 03:40 PM

And here we go with the complaints again. Last year when NASCAR annouced the “uniform start times” most everyone thought it was a great idea. Now this year we’re complaining that they dont start the race right at the advertised time. I cant wait to see the complaints next year when NASCAR goes to fuel injection and ditches those lousy, antique carburetors.
I’d rather be bored watching a NASCAR race than bored at church, anyway.

Carl D.
09/27/2010 04:10 PM

Folks who want to watch football will watch football. Folks who want to watch racing will watch racing. I don’t buy the whole idea that most people will watch what comes on first. It may have some impact, but not much.

09/27/2010 05:27 PM

After thrashing Loudon for having a few thousand empty seats it’s no surprise to me that Matt conveniently ignored the tens of thousands of empty seats at his beloved Dover. had to be at least 40,000-50,000 empty if the place seats 130,000, which I have been told.

09/27/2010 07:51 PM

Someone said last week, “No sane person ever believes any Hendrick car is legal.” To which I replied, “Junior’s is. :)” @Doninajax, That probably explains why JJ’s car was so bad in practice & then suddenly flew to the top of the chart in qualifying.

09/27/2010 08:30 PM

Anything more than 1 can is a joke. I would have rated it 0 cans except for two green flag passes for the lead, not counting non-racing passes during green flag pit cycles. I was sitting at the exit of turn four and the most exciting part of the day was watching cars entering pit road during green flag pit stops. They were sliding left and right and smoking tires. Until NASCAR engineers the inequality of clean air vs in traffic handling out of these cars this is the kind of racing we’ll see. In over 25 years of dutifully watching Cup racing this is the 2nd worst race I have seen, the worst being the 2000 New Hampshire restrictor plate race. That race had no passes for the lead, green flag or otherwise. To NASCAR, if these are the best drivers in the world, then it must be the car.

09/27/2010 09:14 PM

The editors hate evenings like this. It’s too wet for me to go riding and too damp to even work in the garage. So I get to come here and have some fun with ya’ll.

STEVE- Did you manage to read beyond the title? Look at the second second section “Monotonous Dozer’ Look up “monotonous” in your dictionary or your theasarus…no it’s not a prehistoric means “boring”

RandyG et al- Sometimes I take pleasure in the fact I am enough reason for you and your various alter-egoes (did you know we have IP tracking here at FS?) to gnaw through the leather straps and type your hate mail? Let’s set the record straight. Your attempt at a column was pure drivel and missed most of the key points of the race. Oh, and it was racist to boot. (Forgot to key back to the other personality for that one.) If your plan is to make a living as a writer or any other occupation that requires room tempature intelligence I’d count on a lot of Thanksgivings dumpster diving behind Burger King for dinner. The one basic flaw to your weekly premise, is you keep telling me, if I don’t like NASCAR racing as presented the previous day stop watching it. But you continually say how much you hate what you do, and keep reading it. Yes, you’ll be around a lot longer than I will…by all indications you are about 14.(Oh and for the record, Jacob is right. World wide F1 TV ratings dwarf NASCAR ratings.)

Electric Peter Tork, yeah, I’m afraid next week is Kansas and after that the Chase moves on to Fontana. Well if there’s any interest left in the Chase those two events ought to take it behind the barn and place one right between its eyes. The Chase…it starts out slowly but then peters (no offense) out all together.

Keeping it REAL (and others involved in the debate) let’s look at driving over the speed limit as often cited. You get fined X amount of dollars for running 10 MPH over the limit and a lot more for 40 over the limit. This notion that teams that could afford to would pay x amount of dollars to run illegal cars to win is silly to me. Sure monetary fines mean nothing to Hendrick or Roush, but the points penalties and public humiliation to your sponsors as you are labeled “cheaters” week after week doesn’t wash.

So NASCAR has “black-white” rules, huh? Speeding on pit road earns a drive through penalty. So some drivers and teams with a car that needed crash damage fixed decided since they’d restart the race on the tail end of the lead lap anyway, why not have the driver come screaming down pit road at over 100 MPH. Whoops. NASCAR didn’t like that so you get held a lap. Where’s the break point between “Speeding on pit road” and “excessive speed”? Can’t tell you. It’s not in NASCAR’s rule book. There’s no black and white line. So apparently intent and extent do matter.

AncientRacer- I’m good with McTracks…let it be.

Sechesh- Danica who?

To all with kind words: TThanks as always. I appreiate my supporters mmore than words can tell, especially those of you have tagged with me from site to site. You’re the best and you’re the reason I do my best.

To my detractors: Pucker uup and kiss my jeans where it says “Wrangler.”

Bill B
09/27/2010 09:28 PM

Thanks for confirming what many have suspected, Randy and all his “supporters” are the same person. Busted. And I thought NASCAR had no credibility left.

don mei
09/27/2010 10:33 PM

Wandy, I mean Randy, you are WAY too insignificant to hate. I mean I dont hate mosquitos, I just find them annoying.

09/27/2010 11:16 PM

Okay, so the first four weeks of the chase, which are races going up against the beginning of the football season, are New Hampshire, Dover, Kansas, and California?

To keep the football theme going, that’s like making Browns vs. Jaguars the opening game of the season, and continuing to follow up with only Browns and Jaguars games on Sunday and Monday nights for four weeks straight.

NASCAR has to know they’re having problems with the ratings and attendance, yet the big, trumped up, overhyped “playoffs” are led off with three traditionally boring tracks, and a bad performance at Dover.

I want some of what they’re drinking in Daytona that makes this schedule sound like a good idea.

Keeping it REAL
09/28/2010 12:23 AM

Matt – Right, so the pure shame of cheating will be a detractor? Seems Lowes keeps renewing, and smiling all the while. When they are ALL doing it, which is exactly what happens under your nitwit plan, then there becomes no shame. There is barely any shame today. Your plan would open the floodgates. It would be a microcosm of the US population which largely has no shame today.

09/28/2010 03:21 PM

wingcars6970 Yes We’re on Bell. I checked TSN 2 as well. We had the nationwide race last week but not this week and no Sprint race on either week.

09/28/2010 04:10 PM

New Hampshire is better

09/28/2010 09:45 PM

another good article matt i have really enjoyed reading your columns for the last ten years

09/29/2010 02:10 PM

Great recap. Really was just a dreadful race. Watched the race with the sound turned downe. Nice not to have to listen to the ESPN version of the ‘Three Stooges’ talk (still not missing Fox and their Five Stooges, though).

The race was totally devoid of drama (as is the chase). One of the funny things about the chase is that there would have been at least 2-3 different champions since it was implemented but now Johnson is on his way to eventually winning 10 straight chases! Talk about good for the sport!

Well we’ll eventually get to the deathtrap known as Talladega and that will surely spice things up for one weekend.