Jimmie Johnson wins the Sprint All-Star race.....again
posted by Mike Neff
Sunday May 19, 2013
Five-time is now four-time when it comes to the Sprint All-Star race. Coming into Saturday night’s race, Johnson was tied with Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt for most wins in the annual event with three wins. Johnson bided his time, restarted the last segment in the second spot, dueled Kasey Kahne for two laps to secure the lead and pulled away to a convincing win. Joey Logano started the last segment in the seventh position, took advantage of a slip up by Kyle Busch on the start of the final segment, and ultimately came home in the runner-up spot. Kyle Busch rebounded from his slip up to muscle his way back to third. Kahne started the final segment on the pole but couldn’t hold off Johnson on the first few laps of the restart and ended up fourth. Kurt Busch won two segments, was the first on pit road for the money pit stop, but finished the event in fifth place.
Jimmie Johnson summed up his results in two words, “we’re lucky”. It was tongue in cheek but Johnson was poking fun at the people who continue to accuse the No. 48 of preferential treatment, fixed races, and a blind eye to cheating. Johnson has one of the highest winning percentages in NASCAR history and it comes from natural talent and chemistry with his crew. This race also now ties Johnson with Davey Allison as the only two drivers to win the race in back-to-back years.
Logano and Busch visited with the media after the race to speak about their runs. Logano was understandably upbeat about his second while Busch was quite dejected, having another All-Star race slip out of his grasp. Kahne spoke about the elephant in the room that is the length of the segments in the race during his post race availability on pit road. He noted that the inherent problem with the format is that the car is designed with downforce, on a track that is cool and has a bunch of grip. The only way to make the races exciting after the first couple of laps of racing would be to extend the segments to the
The first 20 lap segment was won by Kurt Busch. Segment two went to his brother Kyle. That segment win allowed Bruton Smith to breathe more easily since he put up a $1,000,000 bonus to anyone who won all four of the segments. Segment three also went to the younger Busch, while the fourth segment win was tallied in brother Kurt’ s account.
Kyle Busch wins the North Carolina Education Lottery 200
posted by Mike Neff
Friday May 17, 2013
‘Rowdy’ Busch was back in his familiar No. 51 truck at his favorite track on the Truck schedule. Busch led 80 laps and thought he should have led more but had a fuel issue on pit road that resulted in him having to battle back through the field. The race was slowed by eight cautions that helped him work his way back through the field. Busch beat Brendan Gaughan to the finish by .488 seconds, while Max Gresham chased them both to the line for his first top three finish of his Truck career. Matt Crafton came home in fourth place after having to battle through a couple of tire mishaps during the event. Ty Dillon rounded out the top 5 for his first finish that high this season.
Busch led the race three times for his 80 laps. Miguel Paludo was second on the laps led board with 33. Gaughan, Gresham and Dillon also scored bonus points for leading laps. There were two cautions in the first 72 laps of the race while 29 of the last 62 laps were completed under the yellow flag.
Jeb Burton started the race on the pole but did not lead a lap. He did however end the race as the Rookie of the Race for his 13th place finish. Matt Crafton leads Burton by 22 points in the season standings after five races this season.
Matt Kenseth Snatches Victory from the Jaws of Defeat at Darlington
posted by Mike Neff
Sunday May 12, 2013
Kyle Busch appeared to be headed for another weekend sweep after winning the Nationwide race at Darlington on Friday night. However, a funny thing happened as they were bringing out the dustpan. Matt Kenseth chased down the dominant car of the night, passed him with relative ease and then strolled away to a 3.165 second victory. Kenseth led the final 13 laps after Busch had held the point for 265 of the 354 laps leading up to Kenseth’s race winning pass. After Kenseth worked around Busch, the No. 18 slid rapidly backwards over the final eight laps to fall from second to sixth place.
Joe Gibbs Racing did manage a 1-2 finish after sweeping the podium in Friday night’s Nationwide tilt. Denny Hamlin, in his first full race back in the car since his vertebrae fracture at California, soldiered through the pain of his arms, neck and shoulders more than his recovered back to wrestle a second place finish away from the Lady in Black. Coming home in third was Jeff Gordon, who turned his 700th career start into a top 3 finish. Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 5 in the Bojangles Southern 500.
Kurt Busch started the race on the pole and led the first 51 laps before coming to the pits for a green flag stop. After the stops cycled through Busch was back at the point for 18 more laps before his brother began his domination. The race went green for the first 302 laps save a seven lap caution stint from lap 125 to lap 131. The final 65 laps saw four more cautions that flew for accidents involving Regan Smith, Brad Keselowski, Casey Mears, Kurt Busch, Josh Wise, David Reutimann and Kasey Kahne.
The race saw four leaders including Jeff Gordon in addition to the Busch brothers and Kenseth. The win is Kenseth’s 27th of his career and breaks a tie between himself and his teammate Kyle Busch. The win is Kenseth’s third this season which is the most among all of the competitors in the Cup series. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the Rookie of the Race. Jeff Gordon’s top 5 finish was his 300th of his career. He joins Richard Petty, David Pearson and Bobby Allison as the only four drivers in the history of the sport to accomplish such a feat.
Busch Dominates at Darlington as JGR Sets Nationwide Series Record
posted by Amy Henderson
Friday May 10, 2013
Kyle Busch dominated the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 on Friday night en route to his 56th career Nationwide Series victory and fifth series win of 2013. Joe Gibbs Racing in general was the class of the field all night at Darlington Raceway, claiming four of the top 5 finishing spots, with only fourth-place Joey Logano keeping them from sweeping the top four spots. It was a historic night for JGR, as no team has ever before placed four cars in the top 5. Elliott Sadler finished second to Busch and Brian Vickers third, with Logano and Matt Kenseth rounding out the top 5.
Busch led 107 of 147 laps on the way to the win. Sadler was the best among the Nationwide Regulars, finishing second despite an early spin in Turn 2, and gained points on leader Regan Smith, who finished seventh. Kyle Larson continued to impress at the Lady in Black, posting a sixth-place finish in his first Darlington start as he runs for rookie honors. Sam Hornish, Jr., who remained second in points, finished eighth while Kasey Kahne and Justin Allgaier filled the top 10.
Smith now leads Nationwide Series points by 28 over Hornish. Sadler jumps two spots to third on his second-place run as Justin Allgaier fell one place to fourth. Vickers gained three sports and is now fifth, 49 behind Smith. Austin Dillon, Parker Kligerman, Brian Scott, Alex Bowman, and Kyle Larson round out the top 10.
Joe Gibbs Racing Penalties Reduced Following Appeal
posted by Summer Bedgood
Wednesday May 8, 2013
Joe Gibbs Racing had many of their penalties for the No. 20 team reduced during the appeal process on Wednesday.
Driver Matt Kenseth and owner Joe Gibbs had their points penalties reduced from 50 to 12 points.
Crew chief Jason Ratcliff’s suspension has also been dropped from seven races to one, though he will still be forced to pay the $200,000 fine.
Not all of the penalties were reduced, however. Toyota Racing’s manufacturer points penalty was increased from five points to seven.
All other penalties were dropped, including the suspension of Joe Gibbs’ owners license, the loss of bonus points for the Chase earned at Kansas Speedway, and the loss of eligibility into the Sprint Unlimited garnered from the pole at Kansas Speedway.
JGR has accepted the penalties and will not appeal further.
Following a dominant win at Kansas Speedway a few weeks ago, Kenseth’s car failed post-race inspection when it was found that a connecting rod was 2.7 grams below the minimum weight. Toyota Racing Development accepted the blame for the incident.
The reduction moves Kenseth up to fourth in points, 66 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.
JGR has not announced who will replace Ratcliff this weekend in Darlington.
The appeal was heard by Mark Arute, Dennis McGlynn, and Jack Housby.
NASCAR cannot appeal the revised penalties.
Penske Has Suspensions Reduced On Appeal
posted by Thomas Bowles
Wednesday May 8, 2013
Roger Penske’s team got some relief Tuesday from NASCAR’s Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook, as he chose to reduce penalties assessed to that organization at Texas Motor Speedway in early April. Middlebrook, after hearing the evidence from both sides Tuesday chose to reduce all suspensions in the case from six to two weeks, plus NASCAR’s All-Star Race on May 18th. That means the final consequences for both teams are the following:
No. 2 car
No. 22 car
Middlebrook’s official statement was short, simply stating, “After looking at all the facts, data, and interpretations from the rule book, I have decided to uphold the original fines and points penalties. However, I have decided to reduce the suspensions of the seven team members involved from six points races and the All-Star race to two points races and the All-Star Race.” However, it seemed both sides, after presenting their cases were far more pleased with how the case was handled during this portion of the appeal.
“We were able to talk about areas we worked in,” said Roger Penske, referring to the “gray area” of the NASCAR rulebook officials ultimately felt stepped over the line. “I’m very happy with the outcome. This sport has been built on innovation. All of us have tried to innovate in areas not defined in the rulebook. We were in that area.”
In conversations with the parties involved, it was clear the controversy surrounded parts designed to increase the rear-end angle at the back of both cars. In past years, with innovation limited through the Car of Tomorrow templates teams have played around with suspension systems designed to make the rear end of the car easier to “move.” The more the car skews in the corner, the easier it can be to handle and gain extra speed.
However, NASCAR had made rules designed to curb those types of innovations this year and made the determination Penske parts to build the rear suspension were unapproved. Why they had gone undetected in previous inspections was never addressed, along with claims someone else in the garage had alerted officials to possible inappropriate car construction. One thing Penske did admit, though is had this decision been issued by the initial appeals panel, he would not have pressed his luck with Middlebrook.
“All of us,” he said. “Have lost points for certain infractions over the years. The key thing is to have people back at the racetrack operating in full control.”
The end results leave Logano 18th in points, 146 behind championship leader Jimmie Johnson and 43 outside a Chase position. Keselowski is far more stable; fifth in points, he’s 69 behind and 45 ahead of 11th-place Matt Kenseth. Neither of the Penske cars have won a race this season.
“Moved on from last few weeks,” Keselowski tweeted Wednesday morning. “And ready to focus on @TooToughToTame (Darlington Raceway).”
The next round of NASCAR penalty appeals, focusing on Joe Gibbs Racing and Matt Kenseth will be heard on Wednesday morning.
Connect with Tom!
Penske Racing LOSES Penalty Case, Will Appeal To NSCRC John Middlebrook
posted by Thomas Bowles
Wednesday May 1, 2013
A three-member panel Wednesday unanimously upheld penalties assessed to Penske Racing after pre-race inspection at Texas Motor Speedway. Comprised of Pocono President Brandon Igdalsky, Bowman-Gray President Dale Pinilis and former NASCAR VP Paul Brooks, the trio determined the sanctioning body’s evidence was enough to “convict” Penske to the tune of points lost, suspensions given and $200,000 in fines.
Roger Penske, in response has pledged to send a final appeal to National Stock Car Racing Commissioner John Middlebrook. That hearing will occur Tuesday, May 7th at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center. Here’s a quick list of what penalties are pending (everything but the points deductions will be deferred, pending Middlebrook’s approval until after the final appeal):
No. 2 team
No. 22 team
NASCAR’s representation included Sprint Cup Director John Darby but not Vice President Robin Pemberton, who was whisked away to Florida on jury duty. Owner Roger Penske was in attendance to defend the allegations along with Team Manager Travis Geisler, Tim Cindric, Walt Czarnecki, Joey Logano’s crew chief Todd Gordon along with several other key principles.
UPDATE: The National Stock Car Racing Commission issued a brief statement, reviewing the penalties and then explaining the following.
“Upon hearing the testimony and carefully reviewing the facts, it was a unanimous decision by the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR.”
“The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the rule book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer.”
Connect with Tom!
Kyle Busch Wins Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown
posted by Thomas Bowles
Friday April 26, 2013
Who says Joe Gibbs Racing teammates don’t get along? Kyle Busch is certainly receiving gifts, from Denny Hamlin in the form of shiny trophies from winning the latter’s annual charity event. Rowdy was romping through the field again at Richmond Thursday night, taking control at the race’s midpoint and cruising during the latter stages to win the Showdown for the third time in the past six years. In a race that benefits the Denny Hamlin Foundation, created to help those with cystic fibrosis Busch had his late model hitting on all cyilnders down the stretch. Pulling away from fellow Cup driver David Ragan, in the final segment of the 75-lap race the outcome was simply never in doubt following a 5-minute break for pit stops prior to Lap 47. Ben Rhodes, Ronnie Bassett, Jr., and Garrett Campbell rounded out the top-5 finishers.
Other Cup drivers, including defending race champion Tony Stewart were in the field but never a factor up front. Smoke, actually extending his slumping start to 2013 into this race got wrecked before the halfway point and wound up 28th. Matt Kenseth, still distraught after a midweek penalty virtually negated his win at Kansas was never truly competitive, either; he finished 22nd.
Also on Thursday night, African-American driver Ryan Gifford won the first K&N Pro Series East race of his young career. Surviving a five-lap shootout, following a red flag he cruised home over Brandon Gdovic.
Connect with Tom!
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Penalized As Engine Fails Kansas Post-Race Inspection
posted by Thomas Bowles
Wednesday April 24, 2013
Until the end of time, Matt Kenseth can say he crossed the finish line first at Kansas Sunday. NASCAR Record Books will say the same. But after a harsh series of penalties announced on Wednesday, should they stand that’s about the only thing Kenseth can hang his hat on after a successful weekend turned sour.
According to multiple reports, officials at the NASCAR R & D Center in North Carolina discovered a connecting rod on Kenseth’s engine, brought in for Kansas post-race inspection weighed three grams less than the minimum weight of 525g. The consequences, announced today are crippling for both driver and team. Kenseth, along with car owner Joe Gibbs have been docked 50 driver and owner points, actually reducing their overall totals heading into Kansas even though the No. 20 car won the race. That lost chunk of points drops Kenseth from eighth to 14th in the standings. More importantly, the win “won’t count” for either bonus points in the Chase or determine postseason eligibility; that means the driver, now in “Wild Card” position is considered to have one win so far this season instead of two.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg on these consequences. Crew chief Jason Radcliffe, fined $200,000 based on the infraction has also been suspended for the next six Sprint Cup points events, along with the All-Star Race. Toyota, whose TRD engine department ultimately supplies the JGR powerplants has had five points deducted from its total in the manufacturer’s championship. And finally, Joe Gibbs himself, already docked 50 owner points has had his license suspended by NASCAR, which means he’s ineligible to accrue owner points for the No. 20 until the next six Sprint Cup Series points races are completed.
Gibbs, NASCAR has clarified will still be able to travel to the racetrack despite a suspended license. In a tersely worded statement, the owner says he’ll appeal the ruling, which violated three parts of the series rulebook. The one most pertinent is Section 20-5.5.3(E) which states only magnetic steel connecting rods, with a minimum weight of 525.0 grams will be permitted. Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4J, which gives officials the right to penalize for parts they claim do not conform to NASCAR rules were also cited in the sport’s official release.
Toyota Racing Development’s Lee White, in a statement released early this afternoon took responsibility for the violation.
During NASCAR’s routine post-race tear down of Matt Kenseth’s race-winning car and engine from Kansas Speedway,” he stated, “One of our engine connecting rods weighed in approximately three grams under the legal minimum weight of 525 grams. None of the other seven connecting rods were found to be under the minimum weight. We take full responsibility for this issue with the engine used by the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) team this past Sunday in Kansas — JGR is not involved in the process of selecting parts or assembling the Cup Series engines. It was a simple oversight on TRD’s part and there was no intent to deceive, or to gain any type of competitive advantage. Toyota is a company that was built on integrity, and that remains one of the guiding principles of the company. The goal of TRD has always been — and will continue to be — to build high-performance engines that are reliable, durable and powerful, and within the guidelines established by NASCAR.”
Kenseth, who has led 482 laps this season, two higher than his total last year has been one of the strongest competitiors on the Sprint Cup track in 2013. His engines have also passed several previous inspections.
Johnny Sauter Penalized For Fuel Cell Infraction At Kansas
posted by Thomas Bowles
Wednesday April 24, 2013
Thorsport Racing, along with former Truck Series point leader Johnny Sauter are reeling this Wednesday after a major penalty involving their No. 98 Toyota. On Wednesday, NASCAR announced the team was fined $10,000, crew chief Joel Shear has been suspended for four races and 25 owner points were taken away as a result of a faulty fuel cell, confiscated during pre-race inspection at Kansas. Driver Sauter was also hit was a loss of 25 points, completely reshaping the championship Chase heading into the next race of the season at Charlotte May 17th.
According to NASCAR officials, the team violated multiple sections of the rulebook. The key ones involve Section 20B-16 and 20B-16.1B, regarding the proper size and functioning of fuel cells. “Once a fuel cell or fuel cell components have been certified,” the rules say, “Modifications of any kind will not be permitted.” The 16.1B portion refers to black safety foam, with a minimum height of eight inches that must be used as a safety mechanism when putting together the fuel cell itself. By violating that rule, NASCAR is insinuating the team modified or enhanced the cell in some way by cutting back / replacing that foam.
Section 12-1, actions detrimental to stock car racing was also listed as a rules violation along with 12-4K, which gives NASCAR Officials the leeway to penalize teams when they feel previously legal equipment was modified, in any manner after being initially inspected.
Thorsport, as of yet has not said whether they plan to appeal. The penalties mean Matt Crafton becomes the new Truck Series point leader, by 13 over Jeb Burton while Sauter gets pushed back into a tie for second place.
Find tons of cheap tickets to 2012 speedway races like Talladega NASCAR schedule, Brickyard 400 at Indy Motor Speedway, Coca Cola 600 Charlotte Motor Speedway tickets plus the full 2012 Monster Jam schedule
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
|Subscribe to The Frontstretch Newsletter|
One of the quickest ways to ensure a business disaster is to come up with a slipshod answer to a question nobody was asking, anyway. From such endeavors marketing disasters like the Edsel, Pontiac Aztek, New Coke, the Sony Betamax and the softer side of Sears were born. Eventually, we’ll be able to add NASCAR’s Chase point system, which has proved deadly effective in driving loyal customers from the fold to the list, but before you can start totaling up the casualties you have to wait for the train wreck to stop.
So unless you’re totally clueless, loathsome, and spent the offseason clubbing baby seals in Canada (and how are you, Randy G?) you’ve probably heard at least passing mention of the new points system NASCAR has adopted for all three top touring series this season. The winner gets 43 points, second place 42 points and so on down to one point for finishing 43rd. The winner gets a way too small three point bonus, anyone who leads a lap gets a one point bonus and the driver who leads the most laps also gets an additional one point bonus. And presumably, the winner of the most races gets an Edsel wagon equipped with a Betamax player and a cargo hold full of New Coke.
There’s just one problem with the brandy-spanking new points system: it shares the same three fatal flaws of last year’s relic. A driver who finishes third but leads the most laps earns more points than the fellow who finished second but didn’t lead a lap. A driver gets a point for leading a lap even if the race is under caution. And a driver who gets wrecked out early at Daytona (a not uncommon circumstance) but wins the next three races (think Bill Elliott circa 1992) can earn less points than a guy who cruises to four top-10 finishes in the season’s first four races. That’s not just counterintuitive, it’s plain old stupid.
It’s simpler to understand, Brian France pointed out proudly. Yeah, well a Model T is simpler than a new Mercedes Gullwing, but which would you rather drive from Daytona to L.A.? (Calm down, I love T’s too.) I never had that big of a problem understanding the old Latford points system. I tape a copy of the points awarded per position on the top of my computer and place another on the inside cover of my notebooks every season. And if NASCAR is adopting simplicity, how come the qualifying system for the upcoming Daytona 500 is so bizarre and Byzantine it reads like something Rube Goldberg would have devised while partying with Timothy Leary?
The message I keep hearing from fans and former fans here in this tiny outpost of the People’s Army of the Citizens’ Journalist Corps branch location (stuck right in the frozen tundra of Guthriesville) is that the fans think the racing would be better if winning paid a large points bonus. If you’ve read my ramblings for over six months you know I’m a staunch proponent of a points system that pays 500 points to the winner, 250 points to the second-place finisher, 125 to third, 75 to fourth and so on down to around twentieth place, which would be worth five points. Finish below twentieth, and we have some lovely parting gifts for you, thanks for playing but no soup (er, I mean points) for you. Realizing just about every driver and team is going to have a few DNFs at the end of the season, whenever points are tallied to decide a title a driver’s worst three finishes would be thrown out.
France went on to note another change to the Chase, wherein 11th and 12th spots will go to the drivers in the top 20 in points (after Richmond in Setpember) who won the most races, but missed a top 10 points position (Think Jamie McMurray last year as an example). I’m not a complete contrarian: I actually applaud the thought behind this move. But once again, NASCAR is failing to heed the message fans and ex-fans are sending. The fans who write me here at Eyesore Acres don’t want to see the Chase tweaked. They want to see the stupid thing eliminated, as in go Billy Jo McCallister on the thing and toss it off the Tallahatchie Bridge. No single move would better convince fans that NASCAR does care than scrapping the Chase. After all, last year the Chase accidentally produced a decent finale after all these seasons and the polls I read afterwards still said four out of five fans don’t like the system. I mean, if I’m running a business and four out of five customers dislike a change I’ve made, I’m changing back. Call it the “Ruthanne White-Sharon Malasics” factor.
In the same press conference, our dear friend and illustrious leader Brian (who ought to be bought a one-way ticket to Chocktaw Ridge for a tour of the Bridges of Tippah County) announced major changes to the qualifying system. In the event qualifying is rained out, the field will now be set by final practice speeds. Hooray! I wish I’d proposed the same thing over the last dozen years… oh, right, I did. But here’s the kicker. If qualifying is held (and if qualifying is held and nobody watches, is it qualifying all you fallen trees in the forest fans?) the slowest cars in practice will go out first and so on up to the fastest driver in practice, with the exception of the drivers who must run their way into the field who still go out last. (Again, simple, right? Sort of like Chinese calculus.)
Here’s the message NASCAR missed. The fans who write me hate the top 35 rule that ensures any driver for a team in the top 35 in owner points makes the race. But rather than admit a mistake and scrap the system, NASCAR once again decided to tweak it rather than eliminate it. You can add all the salt and pepper you want to a bullsh*t sandwich, but it still isn’t going to taste good. At this point, the Top 35 rule has made qualifying such a non-event (what hangs in the balance is pit selection) that it has turned grandstands into ghost towns most Fridays. Some tracks, including Pocono have decided to throw in the towel, cancel qualifying on Friday and run it on Saturday as a companion event to the ARCA or Truck races. Now I’m old, but I’m not ancient. I recall an era when on a nice Friday summer afternoon on Pocono race weekend it could take up to an hour to exit the parking lot so many fans attended qualifying. The proper answer, at least for me would have been to just scrap the top 35 rule and let the 43 (and speaking of simple, why 43-car fields?) fastest cars qualify.
Now hold on there a second, Bubba-Louie, some fans proudly polishing their “Fan for almost three years” medallions are hollering. If I’m laying out my hard-earned bucks for a race ticket, I want assurance Jimmie Johnson is going to race that weekend even if he blows an engine in qualifying. Yeah, OK, and if I book a hotel room in Indy next February I want an assurance that the Phil-a-dulph-ya Iggles are going to be in the Super Bowl. It just doesn’t work that way in sports. Not in legitimate sports, anyway, where “legitimate” in this instance means “not run by the France family.”
The key to problem solving is first to correctly identify the problem. Then, you come up with a solution that doesn’t mitigate the problem but eliminates it. The 2011 Cup Series season hasn’t even started yet and I’m already throwing my hands in the air in frustration. Keep your hands in the car, kiddies. This is going to be another dark ride.
NEW YEAR? NEW NEWSLETTER. LOOKING FOR THE INFO YOU NEED ABOUT NASCAR IN 2013 – SENT RIGHT TO YOUR EMAIL INBOX?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. The Frontstretch Newsletter gives you more of the daily news, commentary, and racing features from your favorite writers you know and love. Don’t waste another minute – click here to sign up and get all the information you need. We’re here to make sure you stay informed … so make sure you jump on for the ride!
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Well said, Matt. I agree with almost every word that you said. I wouldn’t advocate for allowing a team’s three worst performances to be dis-allowed, but otherwise you are on target.
As a side note, Randy “need one more?”, “NASCAR Tuna”, “DansMom”, “VolcanoNacho” Goldman has decided to add “Jacob” to his many screen names. So, while I am sure I won’t agree with every word that you write, you will be able to differentiate me from the “other” Jacob, because one of us will sound informed and intelligent, while the other sounds like Randy.
So you came back for another year of torture Matt, glad you are back (misery loves company).
The only way I am for the fastest 43 qualify with no provisionals is if there were two rounds of qualifying and teams were allowed to do whatever was in their power to make their car the fastest it can be for qualifying (including swapping out engines).
Otherwise there will be teams that set their cars up for qualifying just to get in the race and then they would suck once the race started. That wouldn’t be good for the sport.
I don’t think “4 out of 5 readers dislike the relentless birage of negative media that “journalists” throw at NASCAR on a daily basis”, I think 4 out of 5 fans applaud the media because they are they only ones that say what we are thinking.
I think the problem is that you still haven’t realized that you’re the 1 out of 5 fans. That’s why you need those other screen names when you post; to make it look like there are others that think like you. How about that, you are your own crowd. LOL.
Of course there is no doubt as to which posts are mine. Mine read as though they are written by an intelligent person, while your’s read like a retarded child has been throwing a tantrum. By the way, it is spelled B-A-R-R-A-G-E, just for the record.
As for your ridiculous and useless comment, by your own ‘Philadelphia Eagles should only be “locked in” while playing at Philadelphia’ argument, that means that Jimmie Johnson should only be “locked in” at Auto Club Speedway, as he claims El Cajon California as his “hometown”.
Bill B is right, you are too stupid to realize that you are in the minority, and use your multiple names, in order to make yourself feel like you aren’t alone. “Jacob” is your newest addition and I suppose it should make me feel good, after all, as the saying goes: IMITATION IS THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY.
The most humorous part of all, is that you aren’t even bright enough to realize that your own words are the BEST ammunition against the very principles that you argue for.
Well I wondered if Matt would be back – and yes, here he is! Welcome back! I really didn’t know if you would return.
The drivers were point racing before BF’s new point system and they will still be point racing. Nothing like motivating a driver by giving them +1 points if they try and succeed but -15 points if they try and fail.
Think about it: If you boss promised you a $1 bonus if you took on extra work and did well but you would be fired if you did a back job – I think 99% of the people would probably say thanks but no thanks and stay with the status quo. Same thing with the drivers: I can either drive the crap out of my car and gain a few spots but then risk losing spots if I wreck or wear my tires out – OR I can be happy staying where I am and forfeit my extra +1 point.
The top 35 rule is terrible but everyone seems to forget about the old provisional system was even worse. I remember one year Elliott Sadler couldn’t make the field 8 times. But he got in because in the old system you always received a provisional if you stayed in the top 25.
There has to be a better system. I bet if you got 5 real fans together for an afternoon they could probably create something that would work (no top 35 rule but all full time drivers get 3 mulligans each year?). But of course it won’t be BF’s idea so why even bother coming up with something.
This will be a very interesting year. NFL just set record TV ratings. If the Daytona 500 ratings are flat or down, then it really is NASCAR. Of course BF will create some excuse and will make some change in the middle of the year that will result in nothing but will allow NASCAR to claim that they “have heard the fans”.
Final note: I don’t think even 4.99 of 5 fans hates the non-official media. NASCAR has went so far out of its way to bend the truth that the independent non-offical NASCAR sites are the only places that actually deliver real news and opinion. If by “journalist” you mean NASCAR.com and the other inside media – then yes I agree. NASCAR.com has been unreadable since about 2003.
Welcome back Matt. Glad you decided to stick around another year.
As ususal, your ideas are almost spot on. This new points system is even more regressive than the old Lattiford system. At least then there was a points advantage to fininshing in the top five or ten. There was a five point difference between the first six positions, a four point difference between the next five positions, and a three point difference between the rest. There was some (but not enough) reward for fishing higher. Now there is noting but the bonus points.
As far as throwing out the bottom three finishes, your suggested points system would effectively do just that. Every finish below 20th would be discarded by awarding zero points. Same thing would apply to everyone, so it would be fair.
I think the top-35 rule needs to be scrapped. Go back to two qualifying runs and take the fastest. If you screw up twice, you get to go home. Given two chances, if you cant get into the top 43 cars you don’t deserve to be in the race. Make the rule consistent that you have to start the race on the same setup you qualified with too.
Brain Fart needs to think about it for a second and realize that nobody is gunning for wins during the first 26 races. All focus is on staying in the top-12 even if it means cruising to a decent place finish. Better to finish tenth than to take a risk, wreck, and finish 40th. Racers still want to win, but they are discouraged from pushing their cars to the limits because the punishment of failure is much greater than the reward of success. The excitement is gone.
The racing has to come first. If it isn’t entertaining, nobody is going to watch no matter how the champion is decided.
Each race must stand on it’s own. The method of selecting the champion needs to be based on the best combination of individual finishes and should affect race strategy as little as possible. No solution will be perfect, but damn near anything would be better than it is now.
Randy, think of it this way. If you buy a ticket to a Yankees game expecting A-Rod to play, and he’s not in the lineup, do you just turn around and go home? There’s still going to be a game, just like there’s still a race even if Mark Martin isn’t in it.
Same for any other sport. Sometimes the stars aren’t in the game. Maybe they’re injured, maybe they just got the night off.
I suppose SOME would leave, if they ONLY went to see their favorite player, but they aren’t die-hard sports fans, and you aren’t gonna get a refund anyway.
The T35 isn’t about drivers. It’s about protecting sponsors, but it has horribly backfired, preventing new sponsors from getting into the sport with new teams, instead banking solely on established teams to guarantee exposure. In the NW and Truck series it’s even worse, with Start-and-Park teams who can’t even maintain minimum speed for one qualifying lap getting guaranteed spots over start-up teams trying to break into the sport.
Is it just me or is there a lot of negativity and personal bashing going on here on this forum? I thought the point of all of this was to talk about nascar and share some valid insights. While I haven’t been reading long enough to know RandyGoldman that well, I feel like all the other Jacob is doing is personally attacking him. Sounds like someone has some personal issues they have to deal with.
That being said, I am completely for the new points system. The old system was arbitrary and pulled out of nowhere, why is this one any different. At least in this one the numbers assigned make sense.
I’ll play the optimist. I think the Chase’s days are numbered. It only survived because it’s tied to ESPN TV deal. I look for it to go after the 2014 season, and hopefully take Sprint with it as title sponsor. Jeff Burton and Bruton Smith hinted at this during the media tour. I agree the change in the points system really doesn’t do anything. It does give a bonus to the winner, but not enough. I’ll give it a chance though and see if it makes a difference. I agree top-35 is obsolete now with so many underfunded teams. No way if you go back to the old provisional system there would be a big risk of a star on a top team missing a race.
1. I would observe that an Edsel Wagon is worth playing for. Were that the case I might care about the points.
2. “Chocktaw” is an incorrect spelling. The correct spelling is “Choctaw”. I know because I grew up on the shore of Choctawhatchee Bay and the local High School shared the name— but I’ll forgive you that because maybe you spell it differently where you are, but it is still wrong.
3. “Now I’m old, but I’m not ancient.” You are correct I’m Ancient and it is copyrighted.
4. Everything else you said I agree with, and for the first time in 2011 I herewith dust off my Chase mantra and place it before you: It cannot be mended. It must be ended.
Misery likes company so welcome back for another year of the NA$CAR “Glutton for Punishment Tour” Matt.
As to Mr. 3 Faces of Eve, seek some professional help. It’ll do wonders for you.
Get rid of the Top 35. The top 20 positions from the previous race are guaranteed a spot for the next race (Daytona 500 included). Everyone else qualify on time. Daytona can still use the crazy qualifying plus Duels to make up their 43 car field.
I’d like to amend my comment above – for the Daytona 500, (or a different race if Daytona is the first race of the year), no guaranteed starting spots. No one cares about last years’ finishes, so let’s start fresh.
I don’t like the new points system and would have favored one similar to Matt’s suggestions.
BUT. I’m tired of changes every year. The stick & ball sports wouldn’t survive either if the commissioner toyed with the rules this often.
So keep the Chase and the points system for another five years and let’s just accept what we have.
By that time maybe IndyCar will have recovered and I can watch them instead. If not, I want to the head of NASCAR (BZF is unlikely to last this long) to dump the Chase, go to stock bodied cars (not the Nationwide Funny Cars), and set up a points system that includes only the top twenty finishing positions where 1st place gets a minimum of 33% more points than second. No bonus points for nuthin’.
The bottom line is that diehard fans, which I include myself, have given up on what was a once great sport…One thing that was constant during the growth period of the sport was continuity…Every race was viewed as a Super Bowl, winning a race during a season may make a driver and/or team’s season and the driver who was the most consistent throughout the course of the year was the Point Champion…Did people think any less of Bill Elliott’s 11 win season because he didn’t win the points…He was the Driver of the Year, on the cover of Sports Illustrated, an instant legend but did all that go away because of a late season string of bad luck…No it didn’t…Stock Car racing to the diehard fans was(is) full of nuances and details that not everyone can see during an event, but only those with a trained eye…I really believe that as great of a driver a Rusty Wallace was, he has no idea how to watch, much less call a race…These days the events seemed contrived with all of the cautions and the season ends in the ultimate contrived situation…The points should be like a good old race…many long runs where the leaders tug and pull at each other for the full distance in what will eventually wash out and crown a winner or in the case of the full season, a Points Champion…Those who think it was boring will never get it, ever, and anyone who thinks every week a green/white/checker finish is needed to make a race exciting don’t get it…For me, I am done with it Period…
“Stick and ball” sports do change their rules every year. Sports, like everything else, evolve. In all honestly, I think Nascar is one of the most antiquated sports out there. I mean come on, we still use 5 lug nuts. No other racing sport out there uses that many. Nascar could very easily change to a single nut. Why dont they do it? For the fans and for the nostalgia of using “stock” cars.
“The bottom line is that diehard fans, which I include myself, have given up on what was a once great sport…”
A) Then why are you here?!
B) I consider myself a “diehard fan” and I still very much enjoy watching the races. Very seldom does a week go by where i dont watch or at least listen to the race on the radio. Therefore, your statement is false.
Welcome back, Matt. An opinion on the points system: I haven’t followed Formula 1 or any other series for quite some time, so I don’t know how their points are done. But I do recall how it was done way back in my college days: Winner gets 9; second gets 6; next finishers get 4, 3, 2, 1 respectively. Now, in NA$CAR, with 43 entries, this wouldnt be enough. However, I seem to recall another racing series (was it SCCA? Trans-Am? Can-Am? Formula 5000? I can’t remember) that awarded them as follows: First got 20; second got 15; third got 12; fourth got 10; fifth got 8; and then it was 6-5-4-3-2-1 or something like that. This would make MUCH more sense – note how the difference between the winner and 2nd place is 5 points; between 2nd and 3rd is 3 points; between third and fourth is two points, etc. This would still give points to all finishers in the top ten (or so), but gives enough extra points for incentive to finish higher, rather than “settling for” a top ten. Of course, to keep sponsors happy for some 43 teams, this could esily be adjusted to include, say, the top 20 cars or so. Why can’t they do something like that? Oh, wait – maybe it makes too much sense. Yeah, that’s probably it.
Re “Someone show me a legit survey that says that over 50% of NASCAR FANS hate NASCAR”.
You kind of made it an all or nothing proposition there, didn’t you?. I would agree with you that most NASCAR fans would not make the unqualified statement that “They hate NASCAR”, but many, many fans would say “They hate the chase”, or “They hate the COT”, or “They hate the top 35”, or “They hate what Brian France has done to NASCAR“etc..
Americans are taught that if they don’t like something then they should make an effort to change it by legal avenues and most importantly through free speech. Many fans have been involved with NASCAR longer than Brian France has so it’s only natural that, while vocally complaining, they are hoping to outlast or oust BF.
You are using the old argument that was so popular among conservatives during the 60’s and 70’s (Vietnam War)… “America, love it or leave it”. Well, very few left. Most stuck around and tried to change it and, to varying degrees, arguably they did.
Just because the establishments makes a decision or policy, doesn’t mean you should get in line and pretend to support it. That why we have sheep.
Geez, why don’t we just say whoever wins the most races is the champion (providing they attempt to qualify for all 36 races). It wouldn’t be my first choice but it would shut everyone up who doesn’t think there is enough emphasis on winning. Then we wouldn’t need a points system at all.
Oh yeah, and here is a coming attraction…Now that each manufacturer has a unique nose,,, How long before the first articles appear where someone accuses one manufacturer of having an advantage?
Trust me, it’s coming.
If everything in NASCAR is so great, we wouldn’t have so many people complaining and offering their ideas, right?
Welcome back Matt
To bad there are so many ying yangs posting here,that just don’t get it. I guess you need to have been exposed to REAL racing to see how it differs from the “Entertainment” that is being purveyed as racing by ol Brain Fart and his cohorts.
I don’t think people hate na$car they hate what the leadership(and I use that term loosely) have done to the sport. Why is that so hard for newbies to understand??
People will never tire of the truth,and when they see na$car constantly lying they stop going to and watching races,exactly as we have been seeing the past couple of years.
And RG the only badge you should get is one proclaiming “World’s Biggest Dumb A$$” Wear it proudly!!
YAY…. welcome back Matt!
I can’t seem to leave either no matter how many times I say, “That’s it, this is so effing ludicrous I can’t take it anymore” I just can’t walk away. No doubt that NASCAR is broken and needs to be fixed in order to more become attractive to the die hards as well as future fans. No doubt some of our “heroes” are better suited to be media spokespersons or actors in commercials than racecar drivers. No doubt the sport is over exposed and there is WAY too much money involved in it. No doubt that most races are too long for the amount of entertainment that they offer. But DAMN a good competitive race gets my blood going.
As a CUP after thought, I abhor the top 35 and I hate the chase, but if we must have the chase, I would modify it in the following manner: Anyone who wins a race is in. Yes, even road courses, rain shortened, a Caution or fuel mileage win gets you in… you just won a race at the top level of stockcar racing, and that’s saying something. Winning a races should be everything in this sport. Didn’t win a race? Sorry, you are not championship material. Points? 2nd place is the first looser… who want’s to be that? Flaws in this… sure… but is it better than what we’ve got… you betcha.
Oh yeah, fastest 40 qualify, 3 “promoter’s options.”
Now how much simpler can that be?
i should amend my system with points are only awarded in the chase.
EZ, just for my own clarification, what is a “newbie” defined as?
I think that Sprint or the networks are the ones that want to keep this Chase garbage. I know France doesn’t appear to be the brightest bulb, but you can’t convince me that this is all Brian’s work. Someone is demanding this. Is France a sellout to these people? Absolutely. But I don’t think he is keeping this Chase afloat by sheer stubborness.
For qualifying, if I went to a race and my driver didn’t qualify, I would be bummed but I would still watch the race. If he wasn’t fast enough to qualify, chances are he would have a lousy day anyway, so this justifies to me the fastest 43 should start the race. My only adjustment would be having 2 rounds of quals in case someone hits the wall or has problems on the first run.
First, welcome back, Matt. I enjoy your columns and agree very much that NASCAR totally missed the “point” here with the new-simplified points system. Not what I was looking for after last season. Other than Randy, most of us seem to be in agreement that we don’t like the chase points system but Brainless France isn’t even aware that any of the fans don’t like it.
I don’t mind getting rid of the top 35 but I think a champion’s provisional is still a good option to have.
I don’t remember a time when I was less interested in the racing getting started.
Somewhat arbitrary but I’ll take a shot….
newbie = someone who has been involved in the sport for less than 5 years.
dumba$$ newbie = someone who has been involved in the sport for less than 5 years and think they know more and what best for the sport than those that have been around for more than 10 years,
Woohoo! I made the “old school fan” team. I do believe the first race I saw in person was a Martinsville race in 2003. I probably watched Nascar since around 2001.
Do I get an old fart medal like the rest of you guys?!
First, let me apologize for the re-print..I’m extremely busy work wise and wading through so much of the verbal bilge here does get tedious. So here goes again..“I am tired of trying to convince you people that winning is what matters and that a point system that pays 90% of the winners points to the guy who finishes fifth is idiotic. That system, combined with the ridiculous chase means we can count on 26 races of most competitors cruising around and trying to stay out of trouble. Why bust your butt or blow up the equipment for another 2%? One of these days youll figure it out. All I know is once its warm enough here to get out on a bike or an old car, I’m gone. Ill catch the results at night on speed or check online, maybe.” TTFN!!!!
Welcome back Matt! I have always enjoyed your tell it like it is style.
As usual, NASCAR got it wrong. Again. The Chase is not exciting or fun. Whichever points system is used, WINNING as many races as possible should be the goal. If everyone was running to win all year long, then no chase would be necessary for excitement.
I’m going to watch, using my DVR to skip the repetitive commercials and pre-race ya-ya. Sometimes I just listen to the radio broadcast instead because they have better coverage of all drivers, not just the chosen few.
Oh, yeah…I forgot to mention that I was highly insulted by Brian France’s assertion that a simpler system was necessary because we fans are too stupid to understand the old points system. I’ve been a fan since the 1970’s. I learned basic math in elementary school and I can use a calculator.
Glad to see you back matt.But i see your little piss ant has found his way also.
I am glad you are back Matt, I will continue to read your columns every week.
Looks like King Brian fixed something else that wasn’t broken. I personally have NEVER heard anyone complain about not understanding the point system. It was what it was. My list remains the same, dump the chase, dump the top 35, dump the IROC format, the Bud Shootout is for pole winners form previous year, NASCAR should return to being a body that stages a RACE not a marketing arm that puts on a staged performance. They have openly said they are trying to appeal to an 18 to 35 demographic, which explains why they have lost so many longtime fans. As for that Randy Goof, me thinks he should find King Brian and give him a Big wet kiss, that is if he can find him.
Not that it matters, but NA$CAR hasn’t done themselves any favors. Just like any “welfare” system, everything NA$CAR does brings the top teams down closer to the level of the worst and take away all incentive to be creative and win.
The “Lucky Dog” was instituted for safety to stop the race back to the yellow – it has turned into a way for NA$CAR to artificially inflate lead lap car counts and to get cars that didn’t do their homework and missed their setup back in contention. I can agree to the “Lucky Dog” only if the first car a lap down is actually running within, say, 5 positions of the leader on the track – which is where you would have needed to be to pass the leader coming back to the yellow in the old system.
Though not a big F1 fan, one thing they have right is points. They have a way bigger emphasis on winning, followed by running near the front. And a 1st and a 3rd still make more points (40) than 2 – 2nd place finishes (36). They also stop counting points after 10th place – so less than half the field get points. With the bigger fields in NA$CAR, you could expand on the concept and award points to the top 20. I mean…really… if a car finishes 21st or 43rd, they still had a BAD day. Propose points to be 40-34-30-27-24-21-18-15-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. No bonus points for leading laps – it’s a race, someone has to lead it on every lap, so those points are meaningless.
No lock-ins for qualifying – if you miss – tough luck. But if a points system like the above was used, missing a race would be no worse than finishing 21st – so not as big of a hit in the standings. Emphasis would be put back on qualifying – Award 2 bonus points for the pole. And get rid of “impound” races. We fans want to see the fastest possible laps with loose qualifying setups and ass-ends hanging out near the wall, not the fastest it can be in stable race-trim.
Just my 2 cents…
I personally have no issue with the bonus points for leading a lap. It adds an extra wrinkle into the race (i.e. people staying out to lead a lap).
Side note: I also do-do da cha-cha.
Welcome back Matt! Was wondering if you would return. Other than “Octo-Alias” most on here enjoy your take on races, your ramblings on music, muscle-cars and other gasoline powered entertainment….Me included! I am the same age as you …on paper :^) and still have many (way over my marital limit) cars I play with….And I also nearly killed myself 100 times on sleds and 3 and 4 wheelers! Keep up the good work and the good fight!!!
Glad you’re back Matt. Why was second round qualifying done away with years ago? Have second round qualifying with no provisionals.
Us “old farts” who have been around this racing thing for about 35 or 40 years or so realize that there is a difference between “stock-car racing” and NASCAR. I LOVE stock-car racing. I HATE how NASCAR has used it to line there pockets for the last 15 or so years at the expense of the legacy of the pioneers of it. They change the way a champion is determined, someone figures out how to play the system, then a driver who couldn’t consistently do well in the GN Series, reels off five in a row?
In 1992, four drivers had a legitimate shot at the championship going into the last race. It came down to leading one lap more than the other guy, to get the five bonus points. That was under the point system recently abandoned. You can’t force competition. If you try you create a system that does, someone else can use it to their advantage.
Glad you’re back, Matt. Looking forward to your thoughts on the up-coming season.
Welcome Back Matt
Once again You are spot on, and only the uninformed and newer fans who have not followed You or the sport continue to bash you and your Fans.
While You are not always right you do have a true love of the sport and want to see it return to its glory days, with packed stands excitied fans talking about last weeks race until after the next race. I remember those days, I also dream of their return.
I like Tim’s idea about F-1 points and want to say I would like for a win and a couple 8-10th place finishes to earn more points then 3 3rd-5th place finishes.
Silver State cars at Wilkesboro. 1700 lbs. 700hp no restrictor no chase and DAMN FAST. Who needs NASCAR
Sorry, I confused myself, USAC Silver Crown cars will be at Wilksboro. Musta been thinking of Nevada.
I still don’t understand why everyone who hates Matt so much continues to read, comment about it, and complain. And why bash those of us who actually enjoy the articles put out by Matt? WE’RE the stupid ones for following something we LIKE instead of something we HATE? riiiiigghttt….
Matt, nice to see the down time of the off season has brought you back to us. We all were afraid that we had lost one of the only writers left to call it as THEY see it. Will always enjoy the fact that you will write it as you see it and let the chips fall where they may.
I to have become dissatisfied with this “SHOW” that is now NASCAR. Brief history as for where I speak from, I been a fan from the first bakers dozen (13) Talladega 500 races, that’s when the races were ran there in August and you had to drive the car. I have attended races each year through out my life. So unlike some of those writing on this blog, that haven’t been to a total of 13 races, it gives me a perspective to which I can make a comment. This “SHOW” is not and will never be our daddy’s “SHOW”. However that being said the “SHOW” should improve with age, not regress.
Glad to see your back this year. I excitedly read your article and practically fell out of my chair with your RG comment. Spot on. What an a$$.
Matt – Welcome back. Like some others have mentioned, I wasn’t sure you’d come back. Glad you did.
The new points system will ‘tighten up’ the Chase – simply because there isn’t any significant spread at the top finishing positions. The Latford system utilizes a declining difference as you move down the finishing order (5 points, 4, 3, etc.) so the top finishers start to get a little breathing room as the season wears on. Removing this will artificially reduce the points between drivers in the standings.
As far as JJ blowing a motor in qualifying, in the old days he’d go out in second round on Saturday AM. If he can’t get it done in 2 sessions, then I guess he’d have to go home. The NHRA has made this type of qualifying work fairly well over the years (granted its 4 rounds, typically). If your driver isn’t prone to making the show, you better go watch him race in qualifying…
I’ve always hated the Top 35 rule because it has the unintended side effect where it stifles teams that aren’t in the ‘club’. New sponsors that lower placed teams are trying to court will simply see that they have a shot at eight spots versus 43. Can’t blame them for thinking the deck is stacked against them before they write that check.
Welcome back Matt, its good to know 1 of the few people who still write from the heart about nascar is back for another year, keep sharing your opinions, for the real fans that read you, we consider your columns must read every week, for little randi he gets to win an argument against himself every week.
Knew you couldn’t stay away! Looking forward to another year of wit & wisdom, prose & pot-stirring…doesn’t matter if it’s cheers or jeers as long as we’re paying attention, right? Thanks for not leaving us Matt-less on Mondays & Thursdays!
Welcome back for the 2011 season, Matt. I was pretty sure you’d be here; but I didn’t expect you to be happy about the state of things. I guess we can all watch Brian France dig a deeper hole for another year. I’m just glad they finally disguised that fishing dock on the lower nose of the Cup cars and made them look more like a racecar again.
Welcome back Matt. I’m glad to see that you and Jacob are now dating. I’m also guessing that your column is going to be yet another year of you bi-ching about the state of NASCAR. NASCAR mades changes during the off season. It’s SAD to see that YOU didn’t.
Why did people think you were leaving? ‘Tis odd. You know why, too. Eagles said it, You can check out any time you want…
and then there is the nuclear option: Everytime I Think I’m Out They Pull Me Back In
You, Matt, as I, am doomed. And you’re younger than me so you are doomed longer…
@ Ancient: This bit from T.O.L. Homestead Recap 11-22-10 is why we thought Matt may not be back this year.
Many of you have written to me asking if I’ll be back next year. Straight answer, I don’t know. Retirement sounds good right now, but then it always sounds good by this point of the season so I give myself the luxury of a couple months’ off to decide what I want to do. But like Diehard movie sequels, I have that annoying tendency to keep coming back. I outlasted my old buddies over at the SpeedFX site (that domain name is now up for sale if you’re looking for an amusing stocking stuffer) and I’d like to think I can outlast Brian France as well before pursuing my next career goal of perpetual saddle tramp on the Harley.