The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Martinsville-2 Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday October 25, 2010

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

Matt McLaughlin · Monday October 25, 2010


The Key Moment – After the two of them were running nose-to-tail, then side-by-side for a dozen laps, Denny Hamlin finally passed Kevin Harvick for the lead on lap 471.

Martinsville once again produced some of the best racing of the year…. and Junior Nation got to enjoy the sight of their guy leading, too.

In a Nutshell – There’s nothing so wrong with the new NASCAR an old racetrack can’t fix it.

Dramatic Moment – There were about 500 laps worth.

The crowd really seemed to eat it up when Dale Earnhardt took the lead on lap 285 and led the race for the next 90 circuits.

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

Some newer fans who read my columns note an occasional touch of negativity in them. More than once they (and you know who you are) have asked me, “What exactly is it you want out of a race?” Well, kiddies, review your tapes of Sunday’s 500-lapper. That there will do quite nicely, thanks.

You know the action is approaching the boiling point when even teammates in the Chase are threatening to park one another for the day. Did Kevin Harvick really expect Jeff Burton not to try to pass him because it “wasn’t good for RCR?” And a quick note to Kurt Busch: you didn’t “accidentally” get into Jeff Gordon. You stuffed him into the wall. Cowboy up and admit it.

You could tell the race was reaching the limits of its time slot on TV there at the end. Cars spewed oil and grease all over the racing groove, blew right fronts and all but came to a stop out on the track, yet no caution flags were thrown. Compare that to other races this season, when a hot dog wrapper blowing across the apron could draw a ten-lap long yellow flag on command.

For the record, I still think that grandfather clock Martinsville awards race winners is easily the coolest trophy in the sport. Fans who agree might want to drive by Jimmie Johnson or Denny Hamlin’s house next time they’re holding a garage sale to see if either driver is getting rid of one of their excess clocks.

No offense to Richard Childress, who used to win Cup titles pretty regularly with the No. 3 team, but on my scorecard I’ve officially eliminated Kevin Harvick as a title contender for 2010. Why? This week, it was announced there will be a pit crew swap between Harvick’s No. 29 team and Clint Bowyer’s No. 33. To me, that smacks of desperation. Yes, Harvick is constantly critical of his pit crew in all three series in which he drives. He berates them caustically for slow stops he feels cost him race wins, because the man is, after all, Kevin Harvick; he never makes an on-track mistake that costs him a spot. But the No. 29 pit crew is the one that brought this boy to the party, and they should be the ones who stay to the end. During the regular season, remember, this team scored more points than any other despite its “lousy” pit crew. Now those same guys are pitting Bowyer and likely still smarting from the reprimand, creating internal tension that didn’t need to be there. Meanwhile Bowyer’s crew, who has been staging a Quixotic battle with their boy all season for credibility with their underrated driver, particularly after the NHMS penalty and the drawn out appeals process that followed, is now paired with a former rival – one they know will tan their asses over the radio if they can’t perfect five-second, four-tire pit stops. They’re not used to that. According to several sources I have in the garage area, if you’re going to work on pit road Clint Bowyer is one of the top three drivers you want to work for. Harvick is at the bottom of the same list.

Richard Childress has been around long enough to know the risk of getting desperate this late in a playoff chase, with six of his own championship rings to prove he’s capable of getting the job done. So why is he making major changes to Kevin Harvick’s team with four races left to go?

I seem to recall back in 1990, heading into the season finale with a chance to beat Dale Earnhardt (the Jimmie Johnson of his day), Mark Martin and Jack Roush panicked. In testing leading up to the event, with Ford desperate to win the driver’s title, the No. 6 team tested their own cars as well as ones prepared by Bill Elliott’s team and Robert Yates Racing. Martin was slightly faster in the Elliott-prepared car, so that’s the Ford they entered in the race that Sunday. The car was bad fast, alright, but it didn’t drive the way Martin wanted it to and he hadn’t left the dance with the ones who brought him. The team had no idea how to adjust on the unfamiliar car, and Martin lost that title by 26 points to Earnhardt and RCR. You’d have thought Childress would have learned something that weekend… perhaps not? Here’s the skinny; if your team was good enough all season long, on and off pit road, to put you in position to win a title, you stick with them and either win as a team or lose as one.

My take on Kasey Kahne’s release from RPM this week? Well, Kahne ought to be glad this is the kinder, gentler era of stock car racing. If he’d been driving for Junior Johnson and had quit on the team last Saturday night because of an upset tummy he’d have left the team alright… spitting a mouthful of bloody Chiclets that used to be his front teeth out as he ran. In all honesty, there’s no room in this sport for a lame duck driver. If a team’s driver decides the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, they ought to be helped across that fence immediately with a good swift boot to the ass. Such combinations just don’t work.

Thankfully still sporting a pearly white set of choppers, my guess is Kahne probably feels like a fellow tossed off the side of a sinking ship. He got his final paycheck from an ex-employer and trust me, I know that can be a trial and sometimes never comes to pass. But if I were an employee of Red Bull Racing and knew Kahne was just phoning it in, waiting for a seat to open at Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, I doubt I’d be giving it my all next year, either. It’s sort of like someone asking you to the prom because your best friend turned her down; it’s hard to get excited when you know the whole plan is option B. Hopefully, the Red Bull team is professional enough to prepare cars up to Kahne’s lofty standards next year. To the best of my knowledge, he is about to become the first driver to wheel Chevys, Fords, Toyotas and Dodges in such a brief career (Robby Gordon has, too, but he’s also been driving nearly twice as long). Like Jerry Maguire might holler: “Show me the money!”

My take on the possible shutdown of Richard Petty Motorsports? Richard Petty has been a figurehead at the organization for years, not really running the show or even having much meaningful input into the team that bears his name. The championship-winning organization that started as Lee Petty Engineering is long since defunct, with absentee owner George Gillett the engineer in the cab of this train wreck. At this point, they might as well have gotten a cardboard cutout of the King to place in front of the shop with a hinged arm that waved in the breeze. Like Patti Loveless once sang, “And you don’t even know who I am, what do you care if I go?”

The heartwarming sight of Richard Petty and Kasey Kahne in Victory Lane is not only something we’ll never see again in our lifetimes, but the future of the King himself inside this sport remains in doubt heading to Talladega this week.

One final note on the whole Kahne/RPM debacle. Sayeth young master Kahne, (he of the intact smile) “I was sick to the stomach. It was time to call it a day.” As I recall it, Charlotte last week was a night race. But yeah, I’d guess he decided to throw in the towel during daylight hours.

For those of you who might not have heard, Daytona USA (I think they changed the name to the Daytona 500 Experience somewhere along the way) is being shut down. The once much-ballyhooed interactive stock car racing theme park that houses the winning car for a year after each Daytona 500 has apparently been operating at a loss for some time despite the exorbitant ticket prices those who did visit the attraction had to pay. Yet another canary in the coal mine warning for the powers that be… I wonder if Brian France will consider what’s gone wrong when he drives by the shuttered up attraction on the way to his office?

I’ll have to admit that in forty-some-odd plus years of following stock car racing, I’ve never heard of a team having an illegal “driveshaft cover” discovered in pre-race inspection, but I guess the No. 48 team has to live on pins and needles until Wednesday to find out if the R & D center imposes a penalty. But then again, this is the same network that said Jeff Gordon managed to switch to his “backup starter” last week at Charlotte. Knowing where a starter is located and how it’s mounted to a car, my guess is Gordon actually threw a switch to change over to his backup battery.

Still thinking team orders can’t affect the outcome of stock car races? Jeff Burton was clearly told to let Kevin Harvick pass him so he could lead a lap and gain five bonus points.

In the Battle of the Exes, Kasey Kahne prevailed with a fourteenth-place finish to Aric Almirola’s 21st-place result in the RPM No. 9 car.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

How’d you like to work in a Cup team’s fab shop and see the mess the Martinsville car was reduced to rolling out of the truck Monday morning? Then, next week the Cup guys race at Talladega… where doubtless more carnage will ensue.

A slow pit stop for Jeff Gordon left him mired in the pack of least common denominators though he’d run in the top 5 most of the afternoon. Perhaps Gordon was a bit irritated as a result, but an ill-considered lapse of manners running with Kurt Busch sent the No. 24 car hard into the inside wall.

Aric Almirola’s Cup debut didn’t go quite as well as anticipated, banging fenders with Paul Menard before an unscheduled stop in the No. 9 Ford left him 21st.

Still smarting from the post-NHMS penalty, this wasn’t a good week for Clint Bowyer. First he lost his pit crew, then Sunday he lost the rear gears in his differential, leaving him 38th.

You have to think the marketing managers at Bud are delighted with this week’s move to remove Kahne from the 9 car. Look at the roster of past drivers of the Bud machine: Darrell Waltrip, Neil Bonnett, Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Now, they have Aric Almirola, and the man they focused their marketing efforts on the past few seasons is now driving for an energy drink.

Hey, this isn’t racing-related and I’m not asking for sympathy, just a little understanding. I returned home this weekend to find out that somehow or another a rather largish John Deere green lawn tractor had taken up residence atop the roof of the turnout shed where it’s clearly visible from most of the property – if you know where to look and what to look for. Imagine looking out the office window to enjoy the autumn foliage and the first thing you see is a rusty old lawn tractor fifteen feet above the ground sucking out your will to live. I don’t know who put it there or how, but my guess is large amounts of suds and a purloined skid steer were involved. If you’re responsible for this miscreant action, please undo it shortly. Eyesore Acres looks hillbilly enough without lawn tractors on the roof.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

At the start of the race, pole-sitter Denny Hamlin valiantly fought his way back through the starting field courtesy of an oddly matched set of tires. But when the pay window started creaking open, he fought back and reasserted himself to the lead.

It looked like Mark Martin’s day was over when he went spinning off of A.J. Allmendinger’s front bumper and dropped two laps off the pace. But Martin frantically charged his way back onto the lead lap and all the way up to second in the end. Shine on brightly, you crazy old man.

At Martinsville, a poor qualifying effort and the resultant tricky pit stall for the race are usually the kiss of death for a driver’s chances. But Kevin Harvick defied the odds, qualifying 36th only to really up to third by the end of the day.

Jimmie Johnson must have felt the other drivers were using his rear bumper as a chew toy for much of the race, but he hung onto the car well enough to finish fifth.

You won’t see it in the highlight reels, but Robby Gordon’s 22nd-place finish (despite a flat tire) combined with a 35th-place finish by Travis Kvapil in the No. 38 car helps solidify the No. 7 team’s hold on a top-35 position in owner’s points and their possible future next season with a guaranteed spot for the first five races. Of course, I tend to dwell on the ironic, and Gordon driving the Extenze car is perfect. I’ve always considered him the biggest d… oh, never mind.

Worth Noting

  • Denny Hamlin’s win was his fifth top-10 result in the six Chase races run to date. The victory was also Hamlin’s third straight Martinsville triumph.
  • Mark Martin’s second-place finish was his best of the season and best overall Cup result since he won at Loudon last fall.
  • Kevin Harvick (third) now has strung together four straight top-10 finishes.
  • Jimmie Johnson’s fifth-place result was actually his worst in the last five races.
  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (seventh) led more laps Sunday than he combined for the 31 previous Cup races this year. And the crowd went wild…
  • Jeff Burton (ninth) led 140 laps at Martinsville this spring and 134 laps on Sunday. He’s led 527 laps all season.
  • Brad Keselowski’s tenth-place finish was his best of the season.
  • Ken Schrader’s eighteenth-place finish was his best since Kansas in 2006.
  • After starting the Chase with four straight top-10 finishes, Ryan Newman has finished 30th or worse in the last two events. And I think we all know how much he loves Talladega… $50,000 worth of love.
  • The top 10 finishers at Martinsville drove five Chevys, three Toyotas, a Dodge, and a Ford.

What’s the Points?

Jimmie Johnson retains his points lead but is now just six markers ahead of Denny Hamlin. Kevin Harvick remains third, 62 outside the top spot. Next week’s race at Talladega will truly tell the tale, as it’s the one track where through no fault of his own a driver can find himself climbing bruised and battered out of a race car so thoroughly trashed, all the King’s horses and all the King’s men can’t patch the SOB together again.

Keep in mind, in the highly unlikely (as in it has never happened) event Hamlin and Johnson were to finish tied in the spot, the driver of the No. 11 car would have the advantage. The first tiebreaker is number of wins this season, and Hamlin now has seven victories to Johnson’s six.

Kyle Busch takes over fourth in the standings from Jeff Gordon but is a formidable 172 points out of the lead. Barring a first lap incident that takes out Johnson, Hamlin, and Harvick at Talladega next week, Gordon, Busch and those trailing them in the points have been effectively eliminated.

In that “best of the rest” race, Gordon holds fifth while Carl Edwards wrested the sixth points position from Tony Stewart. Jeff Burton had the best points day advancing two spots to eighth in the standings. Greg Biffle had the worst points day falling three spots to eleventh, while Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth sit right in the middle at ninth and tenth.

Much will be made this week of the Chase having come down to two drivers within six points of each other battling for the big prize. “Big prize” in French is “Grand Prix.” (Say what you want about the French, they make a damn good salad dressing.) In the Grand Prix series, where the points system rewards excellence, not consistency, the points race between five potential champions is even tighter heading into the last two races of the season.

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 five well-iced bottles of Corona served up by a fetching lass of questionable moral character who is off shift in a half-hour. A few less cautions at the midpoint of the race for the backmarkers doing stupid things would have earned this race a six.

Next Up – Talladega on Halloween? It’s likely the race will become a real life horror show. Keep your hands inside the car; this is a dark ride.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

Monday on the Frontstretch:
Every Man for Himself the Rule of the Day at Martinsville
Bubble Breakdown: Mr. Schrader’s Phenomenal Day While The Robby Strikes Back
Fact or Fiction: How Martinsville Tempers Connect To That Talladega Wild Card
Running Their Mouth: TUMS Fast Relief 500
Nationwide Series Breakdown: 5-Hour Energy 250
Tracking The Trucks: Kroger 200

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Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


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Bill B
10/25/2010 07:27 AM

I love Martinsville and the race lived up to expectations. I do think that the double file restarts are a bit unfair at a one groove track like this. Something is wrong when you are better off being 11th or 13th than 6th. It’s not a big deal at the start of the race because you have 500 laps ahead of you, but as it gets later in the race being on the outside is a real disadvantage. Still, Martinsville is definitely a good race for spectators to watch.

Randy, only you could find something to complain about with that race. You obviously don’t understand what people mean when they use the term “cookie cutter”. It means there are tracks similar to it ON THE 36 WEEK NASCAR SPINR CUP SCHEDULE. The fact that there are lots of half mile tracks sprinkled across the country is immaterial. I just wanted to make sure you understood that concept.

10/25/2010 07:55 AM

Sometimes I get into arguments with people and then feel bad when I learn that they have mental problems. So I’m not responding to Randy today.

Damn straight Matt, that was a great race. Martinsville always is. I’ll take one Martinsville event over ten Chicago or Kansas races anyday.

10/25/2010 08:13 AM

It was a great race that happened to be run at Martinsville.

Any track is capable of producing a great race…but it’s up to the drivers to put on a good show, with assistance from the crews and crew chief and the people back at the shop.

Saying that only old tracks can put on great races is like saying there can’t be a great ball game unless it’s at Wrigley, or Fenway, or Lambeau Field.

Carl D.
10/25/2010 08:25 AM

Easily one of the best races of the season. I was a little surprised that the last few laps were caution free, because during the race when there was still plenty of time to make adjustments, drivers were unforgiving to each other and to their cars. I figured the last 20 laps or so would be pure carnage.

I just can’t imagine being a crew member for Kasey Kahne’s Red Bull team next year. I’m sure they will do their job professionally, but it’s got to be difficult to dedicate yourself to a driver who is just counting the days until he’s someplace else.

10/25/2010 09:01 AM

Matt, Almirola’s finish in the Petty ride shows just how little effort RPM was putting into his car. Every new part left on the truck was bolted onto the 9 car this week. How bad would it have looked if there was another brake failure?
I think Kasey could have handled it better, but I don’t blame him for dumping that team. $1.5 million in arrears on his salary, and providing cars that could potentially KILL him or somebody else; I’ll consider that enough to pack your bags and leave.
And, yes, if this was the old NASCAR instead of the new na$car, ol’ Junior might have punched him in the mouth. But an old school driver, say Richard Petty, or Lee Petty might have shown his displeasure at being provided with faulty brakes by parking the car on top of whomever owned the car.
Say what you want about the “Figurehead” status of Richard Petty, but the re-fitting of used parts on his cars and cutting corners at EVERY opportunity have been the hallmarks of his operation since the late 80s. So however defunct Petty Enterprises might be, it would appear that “The King” sold his business plan in addition to his name. Hows that working out for the team?

As for your Harvick/Burton and Harvick’s crew/Burton’s crew comments, I agree. While Kevin is going to focus on fighting his teammates, he will be unavailable to contend for the championship. Usually I say this regarding Kyle Busch, but no pit crew will give 110% to a driver that constantly berates them, Kevin Harvick is just as immature as Kyle Busch, but he can’t even blame it on being young and needing time to mature.

Finally, Matt, I am offended that you compared Dale Earnhadt to Jimmie Johnson. Dale Earnhardt was a MAN, an aggressive racer that took every position like he was a soldier going ashore in Normandy. He was NOT a corporate shill too afraid of hurting sales to speak his mind. Jimmie Johnson isn’t fit to walk Dale Earnhardt’s dog.

@ Bill B: Randy understands the concept just fine. He is an asshole simply for the sake of being one. He comes here to spout his venom because whenever he drags his fat ass outside, the girls in his neighborhood beat him senseless and make him walk home in his tightie whiteys. Only the internet allows him the anonymity to say anything he wants without being sent home nearly naked with tears running down his face.

10/25/2010 09:43 AM

That race is why I love short track racing. If NASCAR ever takes a race from Martinsville and doesn’t replace it with another short track, that will be the last straw for me. I just hope Hamlin survives next week because I think he can win it. On a personal note, I don’t think I’ll be drinking any Miller products. Kurt better watch out at Texas and Phoenix. I also hope a tire changer gets canned on the 24. Wow my thoughts involve racing this morning, not NASCAR politics thank you Martinsville.

10/25/2010 10:02 AM

Everyone feeling sorry for the old 29 pit crew is sad. This is a business not a charity. Harvick has had the season he has had in spite of his pit crew not because of them. Anyone who thinks otherwise obviously hasn’t been following the season long issues on pit road. It’s not like they had one bad stop and the rest of the race they were good. Consistent 15-16 seconds stops isn’t going to get it done for a championship caliber team. The surprising part is it took RC so long to fix it. Harvick lost about 45 positions on pit road the first 5 Chase races. With a 60 point deficit you don’t think some of those points would be valuable?

10/25/2010 11:06 AM

Gordon82Wins – You just made me laugh out loud! Thank you for making my day.

10/25/2010 11:11 AM

It is obvious that Randy wasn’t alive in 1985, 1988 or 1992 to see a legitimate points race.

10/25/2010 11:50 AM

NA$CAR outgrew the Short Tracks, in the 80’s, & 90’s. Now it seems they’re growing back into them. If the powers that be, pulled their heads out of wherever they have them, & actually watched any of this race. Then they ought to have a clue what it will take to get the sport moving in the right direction again.
Robby did run a very good race, sorry you had to qualify your comment.

10/25/2010 12:08 PM

Thanks for the recap Matt. Glad with Denny Whiner winning, I did not watch one complete lap of the race. TGFF. Thank God For Football!!

I too used to schedule my weekend around NASCAR. Qualifying, truck, Busch, Happy Hour, Cup Race. Now spend 2 minutes, and read Matt’s columns.

MR.ED 43
10/25/2010 12:15 PM

I do not care what the boys at PETTY drive just as long as my hero wants to there I hope hope he can be.Been a fan Petty fan for over 35yrs Long live the the king and his Queen ms linda

10/25/2010 12:26 PM

So wait… we are decided that Randy is 17? Does that mean the naked pictures Jacob has of him are illegal?

Carl D.
10/25/2010 01:13 PM


You forgot to say “Nana-Nana Boo-Boo, stick your head in Doo-Doo.”

Kevin in SoCal
10/25/2010 01:24 PM

Matt said: “To the best of my knowledge he is about to become the first driver to wheel Chevys, Fords, Toyotas and Dodges in such a brief career. Like Jerry Maguire might holler, “Show me the money!””

Robby Gordon drove for 4 different manufacturers in 4 straight years in 2006 (Chevy), 2007 (Ford), 2008(Dodge), and 2009(Toyota). And it wasnt Jerry Maguire who said “Show me the money!” but the character played by Cuba Gooding Jr.

Paul said: “It is obvious that Randy wasn’t alive in 1985, 1988 or 1992 to see a legitimate points race.”

Wow, three times in the last 30 years has there been a close points battle in the Cup series. Since the Chase era in 2004, we’ve had 2004, 2005, and so far 2010 being a close points battle. Thats 3 times in 7 years.

10/25/2010 02:18 PM

Jacob, I’ve been waiting for you to come back around. I keep asking for that list of drivers seriously injured/killed in one of Petty’s ‘Death Traps’, but you haven’t provided one yet. ?

10/25/2010 02:27 PM

At least the close points races in ’85 ’88 and ’92 were real, and not pasteurized, made-for-TV shams like we have with The Chase format.

10/25/2010 02:53 PM

That is the first race I’ve watched in it’s entirety in quite a while. Thank you Martinsville!!!! What a refreshing afternoon for a change. Get rid of the Chase and I think they’re on to something……..

10/25/2010 03:25 PM

I don’t think Daytona USA is closing, just the IMAX theater inside of it is closing.

Kevin in SoCal
10/25/2010 03:48 PM

Secesh, does the name Adam Petty mean anything to you?

Kevin in SoCal
10/25/2010 03:50 PM

Jed, so a 500 point slaughter over 36 races is more exciting to you than 6 points with 4 races to go? I guess we’re watching different sports then.

Carl D.
10/25/2010 04:47 PM


You’ve been a fan long enough to know that what killed Adam Petty was a stuck throttle, the same thing that killed Kenny Irwin. It wasn’t a Petty Motorsports issue, it was a stock car racing issue that ultimately led Nascar to mandate kill switches inside the cockpit. To imply that Adam Petty was killed due to Petty’s car being substandard is irresponsible.

10/25/2010 04:48 PM

“I guess we’re watching different sports then.”
Yes, I believe we are.

You want to watch a points race.

I’d rather watch a stock car race.

10/25/2010 04:48 PM

The NASCAR championship should not be about manufactured excitement, it should be about making sure the best team each year is rewarded with a Championship. I’m happy the points race is close, but I’m happier the three best teams all year are the three left in the mix. If anyone other than the 11, 29, 48 won this title it would be wrong. All three have showed both consistency and an ability to win. If the 24, 99, 31, 33, 16 had won this year, I would have a problem with that. Those teams either didn’t show the ability to win or the consistency to be Champion.

I have no problem with a driver blowing out the points race. If they have won the most races and have the consistency then so be it. Brad K. deserves to win the Nationwide by the margin he has. The only problem with the old system was that it didn’t award winners enough. So, no a 500 point slaughter isn’t exciting, but if a team has the wins and consistency to build up that type of lead they deserve the title. Not to have it stripped away so NASCAR can have a show at the end of the year to sell to suburbanites who would rather be watching football anyway.

10/25/2010 05:09 PM

That’s nice Kevin, but Adam’s truck wasn’t built by PE. He was driving for another team.

10/25/2010 05:32 PM

Matt, I was at the race at Martinsville and it is always one of my favorites.

Thank you very much for saying what I was thinking about KuBu wrecking Gordon. Yes, Jeff bumped him first, but oh yeah, Busch wrecked him deliberately, then wasn’t man enough to stand up and just say so. Ooooh, I didn’t mean to get into him that hard — really, from my seat it looked intentional.

I don’t know what it looked like on TV, I hate ESPN’s coverage style – being there is always the best.

10/25/2010 05:34 PM

Secesh: I never said anybody was killed in a Petty car.
What I said, is that there are a lot of drivers lucky to have not been killed in those cars.
I can think of several crashes for Ward Burton, Bobby Hamilton, and John Andretti that absolutely took my breath away when they happened.
Now in my statement i ALSO said that Adam Petty’s tragic death was not the Petty’s fault.

Finally, I have to wonder when you asked me to clarify my comments. I usually re-read the comments section a second (or more) time per day and I try to be diligent about answering any questions asked of me.

VolcanoNacho: It would be less transparently obvious that you are just Randy hiding behind another layer of fear, if you didn’t just show up to defend him. Although, if you start to show up more often now, the people that matter will still know it’s Randy hiding behind your screen name.

10/25/2010 05:58 PM

That clarifies things. Although I still don’t believe his cars are any more dangerous than others. Sadler walked away, Earnhardt didn’t. Different builders but one was lucky, the other not. It goes with the sport, and it sucks.

10/25/2010 06:02 PM

The people that matter?

10/25/2010 06:08 PM

adam and kenny irwin died from hung throttles, so did tony roper. sr died from seat belt installation/seat installation issues as well as the fact that na$car did nothing when we had already lost 3 racers to death due to basial skull fractures. they finally had to do something, head and neck restraints after a 5th driver was killed that october in charlotte, blaise alexander before they mandated that the drivers were a head and neck restraint system.

thankfully since then the drivers have survived hits. most recently elliott sadler at pocono. if he had no head or neck restraint on when he wrecked, we would have lost another.

darn shame it took earnhardt sr being killed and one other before na$car pulled their heads out from their backsides. and na$car only investigated dale’s crash as they did because of liability issues. they had a public relations nightmare on their hands and wanted to distance themselves as far away as possible from any reasonable doubt that they could have mandated something. that’s why na$car made bill simpson the sacrificial lamb over that death.

be real interesting to see how shame hmiel’s accident changes things with the construction of the usac cars.

10/25/2010 06:10 PM

Actually, Matt, Harvick led a lap on pitroad under caution as the 29 was pitted further down pit road than the 31 and they told him this on the radio so team orders to let the 29 lead a lap is kind of silly

10/25/2010 06:33 PM

…as I was saying, Jr. has not lost the will or ability to drive. Today he finally got a decent car, for once. I hope Jr. is driving for an owner next year who wants him up front and winning every week, instead of once every 3 years when Jr. nation puts pressure on. :)

10/26/2010 12:59 AM

Actually, I believe Mark Martin and Jack Roush chose the Robert Yates car, not one of Bill’s. And wasn’t that also the year that NASCAR gave Martin that 50 point penalty for an illegal carb spacer that was legal the week before, but not legal after NASCAR handed out a TSB during the race weekend in which the part was confiscated and penalty handed down?

Since 1983, 28% of all NASCAR races have been won by four men: Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson. All driving Chevys. Tell me they were “just that good” and I’ll call you a liar :-)

danny tall
10/26/2010 01:18 AM

Matt, does na$car mandate that any positive comment or mention of Robby Gordon must be immediately followed by someting, oh ,similar to what you did, or is it that you just can’t help yourself? I mean it’s not like he is hard to pick on. In this particular case – I think you showed just who the big D… is.

10/26/2010 10:06 AM

Buzz – I’m pretty sure that the carb spacer was legal. The infraction was that it was too tall to be bolted on to the manifold. If they had welded it, it would have been fine.

He went on to miss the championship that year by 26 points.

10/26/2010 08:37 PM

Mark Martin’s 46 point carb spacer penalty in 1990 was because it was 2-1/2 inches tall when the rules specified 2 inches. The controversy was because they could have welded the intake manifold so it was 1/2” taller (same diff.) and it would’ve been legal.
Australian V8 Supercars beat NASCAR any day.