The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Texas Fall Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday November 8, 2010

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

Matt McLaughlin · Monday November 8, 2010


The Key Moment – Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin squared off in a three-lap shootout at the end of the race that had the fans at home and in the stands on their feet.

In a Nutshell – The race took a long time to reach a simmer, but it boiled over nicely there at the end.

Matt Kenseth made a dramatic move to pass Denny Hamlin in the closing laps, but couldn’t make it stick. Hamlin took the win and the points lead as a result, pulling off a season sweep at a Texas track he hadn’t won at until this year.

Dramatic Moment – Watching Matt Kenseth sail it into the corner in a do-or-die move looking for the lead there after the final restart. The move worked too well, though, and Kenseth was forced to get out of the gas to make the corner, handing the win to Hamlin.

In the course of a single lap, Martin Truex collected the wall for the third time, and, while the field was under caution, Jeff Burton stuffed Jeff Gordon into the wall. That led to an airing of grievances on the track apron that drew the loudest cheers from the crowd all day.

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

Will the No. 24 pit crew replace the No. 48 team for the next two races? My guess is they will not. Rick Hendrick won’t allow it. That sort of move would tear apart the fabric of a team that has, in fact, won four straight titles.

While they were a bit busy pitting Clint Bowyer’s car, I’m guessing some members of Kevin Harvick’s former pit crew couldn’t help but grin when the driver of the No. 29 put himself into the wall and out of race contention. Maybe they were calling for Clint Bowyer to take over Harvick’s seat for the rest of the evening? To me, it’s simple: you win as a team and you lose as a team. You walk far enough across the pasture… and you’ll end up with crap on both boots.

I’ll go out on a limb and pick Denny Hamlin as this year’s champion. Of the three title contenders, he’s the only one that is still using the pit crew that got him into the Chase to start with.

What a contrast in styles between Hamlin and his teammate Kyle Busch (above). While one has discovered newfound maturity this season, using his head and not his heart to win a championship, the other is stuck in the same type of temper tantrum mood swings that some say have kept him from challenging each year he’s made the Chase.

My guess is if those officials hadn’t been so quick to jump between Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton, the ratings problem might have been solved. Whatever happened to “Boys, Have At It?”

I don’t get Kyle Busch being held two laps for a single finger salute to a NASCAR official. My guess is the penalty was given because the gesture was seen on TV. If a single finger salute automatically drew a two-lap penalty, I doubt Dale Earnhardt the Original would have won many races. But Busch’s “freedom of speech” argument was strictly grammar school stuff.

For the second straight weekend, ESPN blew their post-race coverage. Carl Edwards led the field to the green-white-checkered restart on Saturday. Second-place finisher Kyle Busch loudly and profanely insisted Edwards had jumped that restart. Of course, Busch wasn’t interviewed on TV after the race, no replay of the restart was shown, and no NASCAR officials interviewed to get their take. ESPN was too eager to get to coverage of horsies and ducks, I reckon. So why are ESPN’s ratings so bad? I dunno. Why is their coverage so bad?

Speaking of Busch, it was interesting to monitor Johnson’s radio after one of Sunday’s flubbed stops. What he told his pit crew was that he really needed them to rise to the occasion and do the job that he knew they were capable of doing. There was no harshness or bitterness to the comments to make them feel worse. How many times have we heard Busch in a similar situation cursing his team and sarcastically congratulating them for costing him another race win? Despite his boundless talent, it would seem that’s one area where young master Busch is going to have to show a little maturation before he wins a Cup title. You could hear the tension in his crew chief’s voice as Busch was told his single finger salute had cost the team a two-lap penalty and that they worked too hard to have their day ruined by that sort of crap. When Busch tried to protest, he was told if he felt like it, he could drive the car back to the truck and they’d just load up and go home. This week, everyone will be talking about the No. 48 team’s crew, but I’d love to have a seat at the Tuesday meeting with Joe Gibbs, Busch, and Dave Rogers.

Speaking of ESPN, how many dozen times during the race (when points weren’t awarded) did we see the graphic displaying the points differences between the three title contenders? But after the points were actually awarded, the network cut to Sportscenter before updating the standings.

NASCAR, the networks, and track management are apparently really concerned about the loss of one of their key demographics, males from the age of 18-34. I guess I feel a little offended by that being well on the north side of 34 and having been attending stock car races on my dime since the fellers that fall into that demographic were still crapping their diapers. Ever the promoter, Eddie Gossage, GM of TMS, came up with this weekend’s marketing campaign to engage those younger guys, No Limits, which seems based largely on those two standard fallbacks: booze and boobs. I’m a big fan of both, but I can’t help but wonder what happened to the days when NASCAR realized that nearly half their fan base was female. And aren’t those guys in the 18-to-21 year-old demographic officially too young to imbibe? Hey, Eddie, leave “No Limit” to Deana Carter and do something classy like open a Hooters at TMS.

With seven straight top-15 finishes, looks like Mark Martin is well on his way to reestablishing the consistency needed to be a 2011 title contender.

No limits might not have pressed everyone’s buttons, so the inestimable Mr. Gossage also held a press conference this weekend in the company of a simian … as in a monkey. Apparently SMI CEO Bruton Smith opined even a trained monkey could sell race programs, so Gossage had them doing just that. Is it just me, or does anyone else think pet primates and get shivers recalling that pet ape up in Connecticut eating a woman’s face off? Were the monkeys told there were “no limits?” In an exclusive interview with one of the program-selling monkeys who was smoking a cigarette and kicking back a Bud tall boy at the time, I learned monkeys by nature enjoy eating people’s faces, don’t enjoy selling programs, and think they could come up with a better points system than Brian France’s Chase if nepotism didn’t keep lower primates from holding his job.

For older fans, it’s been nice to see Mark Martin and the No. 5 team showing some signs of life the last couple of weeks. When it comes to performance, there actually are No Age Limits.

I like it when readers write me to ask my opinion on an issue or to comment on what I wrote on an issue. I read every note I get, though due to the volume of email I can no longer reply to each of them. But given my animosity towards Robby Gordon, I keep getting emails asking me why I failed to comment on the latest “news” coming from the camp of America’s (self-proclaimed) Dynamic Racer. First off, the guy is running like a three-legged beagle with its ass in the mouth of a rabid wolverine. Secondly, I’m not a tool or a stooge. Yeah, sure, Gordon got pulled over by the cops in one of his race vehicles on the road. At first it was one of his Cup cars, but by the time ESPN got the story the photo showed one of his off-road trucks. Then it is alleged his personal truck, one bearing the logos of the new sports energy drink he’s trying to promote, got towed out of the motor home lot of the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega. Now, a bicycle company is suing Gordon for impinging on their copywritten logo with the design of his race car and logos on that new energy drink’s cans. If this life-or-death battle is not resolved amicably, it could mean the end of the team! Yeah, all right. And good luck with the whole new energy drink scheme. It seems over the last few years, the coolers of convenience stores have exploded from Red Bull to a several dozen “energy in a can” products. Me, I’m sticking to red Coke as per my cardiologist.

Greg Biffle dominated Sunday’s race, leading 224 circuits until an untimely transmission problem led to problems in the pits and cost him the track position needed to challenge for the victory.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

Greg Biffle dominated the race, but lost first and second gear in his transmission late in the going. A restart with just three laps to go didn’t give Biffle enough time to reassert himself, and he wound up fourth.

Jeff Gordon fell victim to a rare unforced error by one of the cleanest drivers on the circuit. He was 37th and Burton 36th when all was said and done.

Martin Truex, Jr. had a horrendous day, hitting the wall hard enough to draw a yellow flag three times. The third one proved the knockout punch, leaving his smoking wreck of a race car sitting in the garage 38th.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

After all these years in NASCAR, Roger Penske finally got to celebrate a title in one of the sport’s top 3 touring series. Brad Keselowski is the 2010 Nationwide champion.

Matt Kenseth lost a lap early when he made an unscheduled stop, fearing an equalized tire. Well, he not only made up the lap, he damned near won the race.

When Kenseth bounced off the wall there at the end, Hamlin had to make a quick evasive move to avoid a wreck that likely would have decimated the field and ended his title hopes.

Trevor Bayne had a credible Cup debut in the lightly regarded (over the last decade) No. 21 car. Bayne finished seventeenth and on the lead lap. Let’s just hope nobody starts calling him “Sliced Bread.”

Hard contact into the wall could have ended Harvick’s race and season. But he survived with a sixth-place finish and lives to battle on to Phoenix.

Worth Noting

  • Hamlin’s win was his eighth of the season. Even if Johnson were to win the next two races he could only tie that mark, the first tiebreaker if the points tally is equal.
  • Matt Kenseth’s second-place finish matches his best result of the season. He also finished second at Atlanta this spring.
  • Mark Martin (third) now has top-5 finishes in two of the last three races.
  • Joey Logano (fourth) now has four consecutive top-10 Cup finishes. He might just earn himself a new nickname like “A Relatively Mold Free English Muffin.”
  • Kevin Harvick (sixth) has now earned six straight top-10 finishes. Under the old points system, he’d have clinched a championship today.
  • David Ragan’s eighth-place finish was his best since Talladega in the spring.
  • Jimmie Johnson’s ninth-place finish was his worst since Loudon. That marks the third straight race where Johnson has finished worse than the week before.
  • He just barely missed it, but Tony Stewart (eleventh) finished outside the top 10 for the fourth consecutive week.
  • Marcos Ambrose’s twelfth-place finish was his best since Richmond.
  • Jeff Gordon’s 37th-place finish was his worst of the season and his worst result since Watkins Glen last year.
  • Well, that’s sort of weird. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. made more money for finishing 25th at Texas than he did for finishing seventh at Martinsville. Looks like the “in-sher-enz” bill gets paid this month.
  • The top-10 finishers at Texas drove two Toyotas, four Fords, and four Chevys. Sam Hornish (eighteenth) was the best finish by a Dodge driver.

What’s the Points?

Hamlin takes over the top spot in the points. He now leads Johnson by 33 and Harvick by 59.

Carl Edwards moved up two positions to fourth in the standings. Matt Kenseth moved up three spots to fifth. I still don’t get that. Kenseth has only six top-5 finishes and no wins this year.

Jeff Gordon’s wreck cost him two spots. (He’s now sixth in the standings.) Kyle Busch’s finger cost him two spots. (He’s now seventh.)

Tony Stewart slid another spot to eighth.

Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer each advanced two notches to ninth and tenth, respectively.

Kurt Busch dropped another two positions to eleventh. Jeff Burton also dropped two spots and is twelfth in the standings.

Mark Martin took over the top “outside looking in” perch in thirteenth, displacing Jamie McMurray. (It’s kind of interesting that every driver from eleventh to fourteenth in the standings used to drive for Jack Roush.)

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 and a half cans of Lone Star. Greg Biffle dominated most of the race, but unexpectedly some unexpected things happened as well — including a pretty fair semblance of real racing there at the end.

Next Up – It’s off to Phoenix, the penultimate race of the season, for part two of the Mild, Mild, West show. The next interesting thing to happen in Arizona is going to be the Barrett-Jackson auction in January, not the upcoming race.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

Monday on the Frontstretch:
Fights? Friction? Failure? An ‘Eddie Gossage’ Dream Unfolds in Fort Worth
Fact Or Fiction: A ‘Cryle’-Baby? Hendrick Drama, And Icing Title V
Bubble Breakdown: Pole Position Turned Post-Race Disappointment For RPM
Running Their Mouth: AAA Texas 500
Tracking The Trucks: Winstar World Casino 350K

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Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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11/08/2010 02:03 AM

If Harvick doesn’t win the Championship this year, that’s it for me.

Enough real champions have lost real championships because NASCAR has to have their fake little chase every year that the whole thing has become a pathetic farce. They say the chase is needed because the final 10 races need “more excitement”, even though the fans aren’t tuning in anymore for their manufactured “excitement”.

All in all, I don’t think I’ll miss NASCAR too much at this point.

I wonder how much the fines and penalties will cost Burton and Gordon? Will Burton be fined and penalized heavier for “Actions Detrimental to Hendrick Motorsports”?

11/08/2010 04:47 AM

My math may be a bit off, but with a
modified pre-chase points system where a win = 50 point bonus over 2nd (vs 15 today) the standings woud be thus:

1. Harvick 5064,
2. Hamlin 4887,
3. Johnson 4867,
4. Kyle Busch 4561,
5. Bowyer 4519*

BTW, even if wins counted 85 points more than a 2nd place finish, Hamlin would still trail Harvick by 2 points under the old system – I think the “wins should count more” crowd would still complain about that!

*giving Bowyer back his 150 points from NH

11/08/2010 06:20 AM


It can’t be terrible that Brad Keselowski is one of the drivers choking the life out of the Nationwide series, and awesome that Roger Penske won a championship due to Brad Keselowski helping to choke the life out of the Nationwide series. Please pick a side of the fence to stand on.

Once again, I didn’t watch the race. As long as there is a chase robbing champions of their trophies, I will have better things to do on a Saturday evening or Sunday night than watch brian france stroke his ego.

MJR in Springfield Va
11/08/2010 06:59 AM

I was just wondering… if the incident between Gordon and Burton had have been between Gordon and Mark Martin would Gordon have acted differently? I’m guessing his reaction would have been a lot different. And, if he would have approached Mark the same way he went at Burton, Mark most likely would have kicked his ass all the way to the Texas state line. He might be one of the “old timers” but I wouldn’t mess with those 150 pounds of blue twisted steel.

Bill B
11/08/2010 07:21 AM

Hmmm, maybe those monkeys could lessen some of the debris cautions. Train them to retrieve debris and they can run out on the track a get it so they don’t need to throw a caution. If one gets hit, well, it’s only a monkey.

11/08/2010 08:03 AM

I see Retarded Goldman/Nacho Boy (oh, damn, I just insulted every retarded person on the planet) is in a grumpy mood this morning.
Why Randy Nacho? Is it because after having your mommy read Matt’s column to you, that you realized you will have to wait 5 more years until you are old enough to join na$car’s 18-34 club?

By the way, it should be spelled s-e-n-t-e-n-c-e. Plus you should have put a period at the end of your “sentance,” it looks like this: “ . “, and is used for more than web addresses. Now why don’t you tell us again, all about your smartitudes, and your collegiate accomplishments!

Pathetic child!!!

11/08/2010 08:08 AM

or maybe those monkeys could write RG’s weekly dribble, one word for you spellcheck
Half palatable, is far from Awsome

11/08/2010 08:33 AM

If I was Rick Hendrick, I’d just keep the 24 team pitting the 48. After their public humiliation, no telling how many lugnuts the 48 guys are apt to leave off Jimmie’s car next week. We’ve got a saying here in Texas – you gotta dance with the one that brung ya. Well, Harvick traded in his dance partner (albeit during the week, not during the race) and now Knaus has stooped to that level. Just classless. Win together, lose together. Otherwise, stop calling yourselves a “team.”

Ghost of Curtis Turner
11/08/2010 08:36 AM

I am sure that Toyota is happy to finally get the Championship they have spent so much money buying……

Lets go back a few years to a Board Room in Toyota City Japan….

Most Honorable Chairman …. we could not buy a win in F1, they would not let us buy a win in Rally, the fighting with in CART and IRL has left us in the cold, and we don’t have a car for Daytona Prototype….. But I hear Most Honorable Chairman
that Brian France of NASCAR has contacted will only cost us a few million to NASCAR and few million in his private accounts and he will guarantee us a win..

This Monday Morning same Board Room
You see Most Honorable Chairman, most honorable Hamlin son will us the Winst…I mean Sprint Cup

Carl D.
11/08/2010 08:38 AM

Bill B… Great idea, but I’d prefer that the monkey run Nascar and Brian France be the one to retrieve the debris from the track during green flag racing.

It was nice to hear Jeff Burton man up and take the blame for the accident that sidelined Gordon. I understand Gordon’s anger as well. As for the fight itself, just a lot of pushing and flailing of arms.

I echo what one of the announcers said after the race…. Kyle Busch had a good car and would probably have gotten his lap back and possibly contended for the win if he hadn’t tried to show the official how high he can count. He owes his crew a huge apology for wasting their entire week with his childish behavior.

Not a bad race, though. I actually avoided nodding off during the telecast, which is rare these days. The setting sun made adjustments to the car later in the race ncessary, which added to the intrigue.

11/08/2010 09:06 AM

Now that was more like it. It seems the SMI 1.5 tracks are the only ones that can produce any drama. Watching the 24 and 48 switch crews was surreal. I’d like to be at that meeting at Hendrick today. An amazing finish, I’m happy that this could be the end of Johnson’s run thanks to Hamlin. He’s shown no fear of the 48. I’m slowly becoming a Hamlin fan.

My thought on the Gordon-Burton fight went like this. First, after the wreck I thought “well this is what it must have been like to watch the end of Petty’s career”. Then, shocked to see that fire out of Gordon. He should have kicked Burton out of the back of that ambulance. Burton is one of the most overrated drivers on circuit, he’s only keeping that seat warm for Austin Dillon. In a few years he’ll end up like his brother driving start and parks. I don’t buy his B.S. story that it was an accident.

11/08/2010 09:15 AM

I love how NASCAR and ESPN are wetting their pants over how close the championship race is. Hey, why not reset the points with 5 races to go then? Wait, they’re going to do that next year, aren’t they?

I wonder how many Harvick fans feel the same way as ElectricPeterTork. I haven’t spent a dime on anything NASCAR-related since Gordon got robbed in ’07.

Jeff was being pretty magnaminous giving the 48 team his crew. What’s the 48 team done to help the 24 win lately?

11/08/2010 10:40 AM

i for one will not be surprised to see that the tv ratings have bled yet another another million or so viewers. I’m sorry, the end of that race did NOT make up for the 30 minutes of my life that it took to make it through the race with the dvr set to the “ignore riding until the end of the race” setting.

11/08/2010 11:49 AM

NASCAR penalizes two laps for displaying the bird. Pretty funny stuff considering that half the field flipped someone off during that race. Even JeffieG showed some spirited pushing. Would he have displayed that same ferociousness had it been Stewart? Jeff Gordon – all American badass.
Have to agree with ElectricPeterTork and Gordon82Wins. Have not been happy with the Chase since it’s inception and this year seals the deal. Just ridiculous………….

11/08/2010 12:14 PM

Woohoo! We have a new grammar-policeman! I was wondering who was going to fill the void. Good thing we have Jacob. What would we do without him? Be italicized-deprived?

Also, if RandyG is 13, like Jacob suggests… wouldnt that be a good thing. Aren’t all of you “old-school” fans bit*hing about how nascar isnt attacting new viewers? Sounds to me like RandyG watches a heck of a lot more Nascar than the rest of you.

11/08/2010 12:57 PM

I know it’s going to sound crazy, but if Harvick can’t pull off the so-called championship, I want to see Jimmie Johnson win #5.


I want to see the maximum number of people outraged because Johnson won another championship he didn’t deserve. I want to see people so disgusted they stop watching, and NASCAR ratings fall even further, and NASCAR either has to fix things or die.

So, if the real champion can’t win it, Go Johnson. If nothing else, it’ll make the few left with doubts realize that current NASCAR isn’t worth the money or time.

11/08/2010 01:48 PM

OK. We all agree the ‘Chase’ sucks. We all agree, I hope, that this year’s championship rightfully belongs to Harvick.

But those boys went out there and RACED yesterday. The spirits of Yarborough, Petty and Earnhardt seemed to have shown up in Texas.

Burton didn’t ‘man up’ though. If he had, he’d have said “Yeah, I got tired of his **** so I put his *** in the wall.”

As for KyBu, he’s a spoiled little punk and I can’t stand him because of the way he whines when things don’t go his way. But he got fingered yesterday. Officials, in any sport, need to have thick skin.

If you’re complaining about this race – well, maybe it’s not France’s fault – maybe you’re all a bunch of baby KyBus too. You whine about “the same guys always win” but then whine about how “anyone can win at Talladega.” You whine about “vanilla drivers with no spirit (like Johnson)” and then you’re going to whine when a whole trackful go out and show spirit and emotion and seem to actually care about racing?

If you didn’t like yesterday’s race, then you’re not really interested in watching RACING at all.

11/08/2010 02:35 PM

Sorry, Razz, I respectfully don’t agree either.

Harvick knew the Chase rules going in, as did all of the other teams.

Using your logic, the Patriots are the NFL champs from a couple of years ago because they were undefeated during the regular season and the first rounds of the playoffs. The fact that the Giants beat them in the Super Bowl should have no bearing, right?

I think the Chase is fine. If you think the ratings are bad now, who would be watching if Harvick had just about clinched by now? Are YOU going to watch anymore Nationwide races, now that BK has won everything?

11/08/2010 03:24 PM

Why is everyone saying that this race was so great? Biffle checked out on everyone the whole day and the only racing excitement was the last 10 laps due to a debris caution (wonder how long that debris was there).

I guess if you consider the “fight” drama and Jimmie’s crew issue exciting racing then I guess it was “awesome”.

I thought the racing was boring till the end and the constant focus every 5 laps on Jimmie Johnson and crew was pretty sickening. According to an article that keeps track, Jimmie had 189 mentions. In 4 hours, that’s almost a mention per minute. Not surprising for ESPN though.

11/08/2010 03:45 PM

No race on a 1.5 mile track is going to be filled with side by side battles for the lead for the whole 500 miles. This race had story lines, and a real battle for the win. Considering what we have seen most of the year on cookie-cutters, we should be thankful we got a race like yesterday.

Carl D.
11/08/2010 03:47 PM


Yeah, the racing at the front was less than stellar for a large part of the race, but there was a good deal of racing just behind the top three all day long. Even at the front, Reutimman and Logano kept the pressure on Biffle. I’m not saying the race was a classic, but four and a half cans of Lonestar sounds about right.

And don’t confuse the broadcast with the actual race. All of the focus on the chase and the chase contenders may be a legitimate complaint about the broadcast, but not the action on the track.

11/08/2010 05:02 PM

“If you’re complaining about this race – well, maybe it’s not France’s fault – maybe you’re all a bunch of baby KyBus too. You whine about “the same guys always win” but then whine about how “anyone can win at Talladega.” You whine about “vanilla drivers with no spirit (like Johnson)” and then you’re going to whine when a whole trackful go out and show spirit and emotion and seem to actually care about racing?”

That part I totally agree with Razz. Couldnt have put it better myself.

Jacob… did you see my nice use of bold. Did ya? Huh? Huh? Huh? Arent you impressed with my skills? I think I spelled most of this wright as well. Oh damn! Nevermind, almost had it though.

11/08/2010 05:02 PM

Wow… a lot of people liked the race Sunday… OOPPPS!!?!?!? I should have said “I have a lot of aliases today”

hahahaha, Jacob

11/08/2010 05:05 PM

I doubt that Chad bothered to ask anyone’s permission – certainly not Gordon’s – to borrow the 24’s pit crew. I just saw an announcement that the 24 pit crew will be working for the 48 for the last 2 races — ugh!

Let’s face it, the race (at least as broadcast by ESPN) wasn’t all that good until the very end. All the other stuff with KyBu and the 2 Jeff’s was all just extraneous – although as a long time Gordon fan, I was happy as heck to see him fight back. Lately, he’s been way too “it’s all my fault”. I’d really rather he embraced his inner bad ass.

Brian France Sucks
11/08/2010 05:10 PM

Ever notice how Jeffie always has his slappy-pushy episodes with the nice guys. I remember him doing the same crap to Kenseth a few years back. If he would’ve pulled that crap with Dale Jarrett or Tony Stewart he’d be getting some shiny new dentures. What a p*ssy. I also remember Jarrett telling him as much after Jeffie spun him as Jeffie was hiding behind his Rainbow crew.

11/08/2010 06:47 PM

During the first practice Jr. ran quite well. After qualifying Friday Jr. was quoted as saying that, “We were pretty good in practice earlier with our qualifying stuff, but I was too loose to go any faster right there. We made some adjustments before qualifying that we probably regret making now. Last time we raced here was when practice was rained out and we did not run a lap of race trim at all last time we raced here. That’s been the best we ran at a mile-and-a-half all year. I hope we can take that setup and it works decent tomorrow and we can improve on it.” People have been saying in jest that his car comes off the truck all right, but then the cc steadily adjusts them out during practices and then during pit stops in the race. I figured then that the race was going to go exactly as it did.

11/08/2010 08:00 PM

Jim, when I watch, I watch a RACE. The championship nonsense is just a side issue.

Unfortunately, because of the ‘chase’, it ruins most of the RACING for most of the season.

Right now, with only 3 guys having to worry about points, the other 40 are out there RACING, so we get to see real races.

As for Nationwide, I simply don’t watch it, period, because of the Buschwhackers. I watch the REAL minor league – ARCA (which is usually better than NASCAR these days), but that season is over.

11/08/2010 09:14 PM

Razz—Point taken. You focus more on the individual races while I get more of a charge out of the marathon that is a 36-race season…I don’t think that makes either of us wrong.

I don’t say the Chase can’t be tweaked some…I like the idea of a 25 point bonus during the season for winning, or something like that. Certainly that would help put an end to riding around, but every sport has a playoff to keep it things interesting.

For every time there was a great season-ending finish like Kulwicki’s, there have been too many seasons like Terry Labonte’s or Kenssth’s championships that were snoozers from August thru November. The Chase keeps me watching.

BTW, I wish ARCA had a presence in New England…I’d love to see them race in person.

11/08/2010 09:34 PM

You know, if the Chase had been in effect in 1992, the greatest title race ever would never have happened, and Kyle Petty would have won the cup by 79 points.

That chase… so much “excitement” it would have provided in the past.

11/08/2010 09:53 PM

“Jeff Gordon fell victim to a rare unforced error by one of the cleanest drivers on the circuit.”
They don’t call Burton the Mayor for nothing. He’s as smooth as any crooked politician in his statements. He took Gordon out. Nuff said.

11/08/2010 10:35 PM

HMS missed a golden opportunity to put Jeff Gordon in the #88 and possibly get a top ten finish that the #88 crew and crew chief deserve. Instead all they got was yet again, another embarrassing 20th someplace finish by their under-performing driver, riding around collecting a sponsor check. Putting Gordon in the #88 to finish the race would have proved to people like Marybeth, that Na$crap’s most Popular Loser, Dale Jr. is the problem with the #88 team, not the crew or crewchief. The #88 crew and crew chief would jump ship in a minute to be on a winning team like #48 team.

Margarita Chicken
11/08/2010 10:55 PM

Wow, alot of people have their panties in a bunch. . . Should of ordered a Miller Light. If Jimmie does win, does Gordon get the assist? or half of the trophy? Maybe Dale Jr should go back to ARCA to re-learn a few things. Hey Jacob i can put stuff in bold as well. Is my spelling correct. . . being i am a teacher.

11/08/2010 11:17 PM

I hope Jimmy Johnson wins the Championship this year, and next year,and the next,and the next,etc…just to show NASCAR how stupid their CHASE is!!!!!

11/08/2010 11:33 PM

I wonder which pit crews will get to be on stage at the awards banquet if #29 or 48 wins?

11/09/2010 10:04 AM

Doug, thats a good point. Which pit crew will it be? I hope Hamlin doesn’t win! Go Harvick or Johnson.

Kevin in SoCal
11/09/2010 12:43 PM

ElectricPeterTork said: “You know, if the Chase had been in effect in 1992, the greatest title race ever would never have happened, and Kyle Petty would have won the cup by 79 points.”

Assuming everyone would have raced EXACTLY the same without the Chase as they do with the Chase. And that’s assuming a lot. As I’ve said before, drivers and crews approach a 300 mile race different than they do a 500 mile race. So it follows that the same approach applies to Chase points vs old style points.
For a perfect example, do you really think Tony Stewart would have won 3 races on fuel mileage during 2006 if he made the Chase that year?

11/09/2010 11:02 PM

Matt, I’m surprised you used a Connecticut woman to bring up face-eating simians. I thought you might know that there was a similar case with a NASCAR link. St. James Davis, a longtime Winston West driver from CA, suffered the same fate…and worse.