The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Richmond-1 Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday April 30, 2012

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Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Richmond-1 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin · Monday April 30, 2012


The Key Moment – Tony Stewart’s crew botched the final stop and Kyle Busch emerged from the pits with the lead during the fifth caution. Nobody was able to mount a serious challenge on the No. 18 after that.

When the smoke cleared from a suspicious final caution for debris, it was Kyle Busch pulling a surprise upset after running in second for most of the race’s last 100 laps.

In a Nutshell – It wasn’t as bad as Texas, Fontana or Kansas but it surely was Richmond Lite… less action, more boring.

Dramatic Moment – Kyle Busch and Stewart waged a brief, side-by-side battle shortly after the midway point of the race. If you sneezed, you might have missed it. Other than that, the most exciting part was waiting to see if rain would move back in.

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

After a bruising few weeks in the court of public opinion, NASCAR officials doubtlessly were ready to give fans something to talk about other than how boring the races have become. They probably weren’t expecting we’d be spending the next week talking about how incompetent some of them are. Saturday night’s race wasn’t officiated; it was orchestrated by a bunch of boneheads.

I guess this one’s a matter of fans needing to be careful what they wish for… because they just might get it. You wanted a late-race caution to spice up the finish? You got it. It’s just hard to call a caution flag for a plastic water bottle outside the racing groove legitimate. (Especially since it had been laying there eight laps.) I don’t blame Stewart for being so peeved after the race. The only thing worse than a boring race, in my mind at least, is a race with an artificially manufactured outcome like we saw Saturday night. Oh, and for the record, I didn’t find the finish all that spicy anyway.

Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart, the top two lap leaders were two drivers who claimed to be victimized by questionable officiating during Saturday night’s race.

What in the blue blazes happened on that fourth restart? Tony Stewart and his team obviously thought they were leading the race. Carl Edwards and his team claim that they were told they were leading the race. (The caution late in a green flag pit cycle caused endless confusion, and was probably unnecessary; Jeff Burton, in the No. 31 was already driving to the pits after hitting the wall. But again, be careful what you wish for.) If Edwards thought he was leading the race, was he lined up in the disadvantageous outside line? As I saw it, he didn’t mash the gas until within the prescribed limits for a leader restarting, while Stewart buzzed his tires and made Edwards’ start look like a felony rather than a misdemeanor. (To be fair, Stewart had trouble on restarts all evening.) But what about the other four cars that passed Stewart coming to the green flag when he failed to get up to speed? Weren’t we told at Bristol that if the leader fails to restart at an adequate pace, the driver beside him has the “right of way to accelerate?” At the very least, given the confusion (both the scoring pylon and FOX’s ticker showed the No. 99 in the lead) why wasn’t that restart waved off, the two drivers involved informed of the real running order and the race restarted again? I think Carl Edwards was the victim of Grand Theft Auto Race, but I cast no stones at Tony Stewart for behaving as he did.

Editor’s Note: For its part, NASCAR claimed there was sheet metal on the backstretch that caused the final debris caution. Some, like Dave Moody of SIRIUS claim to have seen that piece of sheet metal, but it was never shown on the FOX television broadcast – along with the truck which supposedly came by to pick it up.

OK, so we’re up to five cautions at Richmond. One of them was a competition caution because of rain prior to the event. Two of them were for “debris.” Two of them were for harmless, single-car incidents that didn’t even require a wrecker to be dispatched with both drivers able to continue racing. I’m starting to make my summer plans now, and I don’t think I’ll be following racing that closely. To paraphrase Ms. Taylor Swift (who incidentally still hates me), “Sundays, I’ll be rolling on a big old Harley, cause all you’re ever going to be is green…”

I do this segment from time to time to dispute the official count of legitimate lead changes. Here’s what I have in my notes about legit lead changes at Richmond Saturday night. On lap 30, Edwards passed polesitter Mark Martin for the lead. On lap 201 (yes, that’s 171 laps later) Stewart passed Edwards to take over the top spot. Harvick inherited the lead on pit strategy, but on lap 220 he tangled with Dave Blaney (who was four laps down at the time) and Edwards reassumed the lead. (We’ll call that one quasi-legit). 31 laps later, Stewart passed Edwards. On lap 286, Kyle Busch took over the lead from Stewart. On lap 305, Stewart retook the lead from Busch. Then we had that whole mess with the fourth caution period. Busch then regained the lead in the pits while the potentially deadly water bottle was retrieved off the track. As I see it, there were six legitimate lead changes in Saturday’s race, lead changes where two cars running at competitive speed battled over the top spot and in many instances, that was because the leader simply pulled over and let his pursuer by. That’s totally unacceptable for a 400-lap race at Richmond, “The Action Track.”

I hope all of you were able to catch Friday night’s Nationwide race, because it settled a debate that’s been raging the last few weeks. Some folks have been complaining about the lack of cautions and action on the track, saying the last few races were boring and stock car racing in general isn’t what it used to be. Others have been saying that folks who feel like that are just ghouls who want to see a bunch of big wrecks. Well, the finish to Friday’s race was what I want to see return to the big leagues. Two drivers were battling side by side, fenders banging, tires smoking, out of turn four to the checkers with Denny Hamlin getting his car sideways in one last attempt to pass Kurt Busch for the victory. There was no wreck, nobody got hurt. It was just an intense race between two drivers who weren’t concerned with points or stirring up controversy. (Yes, OK, Busch and Hamlin aren’t gunning for this year’s Nationwide driver’s title and yes, I’d rather have seen two NW series regulars fighting for the win.) Let’s make this one clear: I don’t want to see wrecks. I just want to see some intense, side-by-side battling for a win, clouding the air after the race with a lingering odor of tire smoke while a few Goodyear doughnut marks land on the side of the top-finishing cars.

Mark Martin, still going strong in the Cup Series at 53… and a reminder to many of their own age these days.

I’ve written frequently that I feel the structure of the Chase points system is a key reason the racing is less intense and exciting. As I see it, the current points structure penalizes failure far more than it rewards excellence. So where’s my proof? Read this quote from the winning No. 18 team’s crew chief, Dave Rogers after the race. “It’s early in the season; we’re just trying to get lined up for the second half. We’ve been criticized for starting the season so strong and yet finishing the season so weak. So we’re doing development early in the season, and hopefully we can end strong.” At least he’s being honest about it.

In what had to be the Freudian slip of the season, an MRN broadcaster who shall remain nameless inadvertently referred to the driver of the No. 18 car as “Kyle Bitch.”

When it comes to off the wall ideas about stock car racing, I think I hold a few patents. So after Friday’s night race, here’s my latest idea for how to decide a Cup champion. The driver who wins the most races is champion. Second place on down through fiftieth or whatever are determined by full season points, not just points in the last ten races. In academic circles, the motto amongst college professors is “publish or perish.” (Ask my buddy and fellow FS writer, Dr. Mark Howell.) In racing, the motto ought to be “win or push it back on the trailer and go home.”

I’m not sure what to make of Bruton Smith’s announcement concerning the Bristol track configuration on Wednesday. As it turns out, they are changing the “new” Bristol but not back to the “old” Bristol. So I guess this means we’ve got a “new, new” Bristol. I sure hope the fans react better to the “new, new” Bristol than they did the old “new” Bristol.

Boy-howdy here we go again. The front nose pieces of all three RCR Nationwide cars and the three cars of Turner Motorsports in the same series (coincidentally, perhaps, all Chevys) were confiscated Thursday by NASCAR officials before practice. The nose pieces, which are supposed to be supplied as a standard piece by the car manufacturers, were all found to be out of compliance and even visual evidence makes it clear there was something funny going on (let’s just say those noses had been reworked more than Michael Jackson’s snoz.) Are penalties forthcoming? Rumor has it Childress has put in an emergency call to have John Middlebrook put on standby for the appeals panel.

Denny Hamlin’s charity Late Model race on Thursday was a whole lot of fun to watch. After a few sedate Cup races it was good to see some real racing again. The downside of Thursday’s event? I’m told that a competitive Late Model car now costs north of $60,000. No wonder grassroots stock car racing is dying on the vine.

So what was “the Tooth Fairy” doing at Richmond? She was there to echo Brian France’s statements that all is well with NASCAR racing.

How is it prior to a big time Saturday night stock car race nobody thinks to throw the switch and ensure all the track lights come on? Is it that difficult? The same thing happened at Texas a couple weeks ago. Or is leaving the lights off until needed part of NASCAR’s “green initiative?”

Is it really 31 years ago Mark Martin started his Cup career at Richmond? No wonder he looks so old. No wonder we all do.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

Stewart’s slow final pit stop cost him the race. The fact the caution that led to that pit stop was so bogus has got to make things that much more frustrating.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. worked his way up to second but was never able to mount a serious challenge on Kyle Busch after his brake pedal went to the floor in the final ten laps.

Jimmie Johnson’s attempt to claim Hendrick Motorsports’ 200th win went awry when an uncontrolled tire during a pit stop forced him to restart the race at the tail end of the field. Johnson would bull his way back to a sixth-place finish but had to be left wondering about what could have been.

Not a great day for HMS, with Jeff Gordon’s cutting down a tire early in the race after tangling with Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch. An unplanned pit stop dropped Gordon two laps off the pace and he was never able to get up to speed again, leaving him 23rd.

Greg Biffle’s season had been off to a fantastic start but Richmond was a bit of a reality check for the driver of the No. 16, who has struggled at short tracks throughout his Cup career. Whether it was that incident with Gordon or just an ill-handling car, Biffle struggled home to an 18th-place finish which badly eroded his former points lead.

What’s worse than a slow pit stop like the ones Kevin Harvick had to endure? Slow pit stops where the teams make adjustments that render a formerly front-running car non-competitive. After having been a frontrunner early, Harvick struggled home 19th. If I was a member of the Nos. 29, 48 or 14 pit crews this week I’d be spending a lot of time on

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

Kyle Busch’s chances at a win were severely hampered by the awkward angle he had to enter the pits after the caution his brother’s spin brought out. But all in all, it was a pretty fair weekend for the Brothers Busch. Kurt claimed the win in Friday night’s Nationwide race aboard a car Kyle owned while Kyle, his nasty old self, won the big iron on Saturday night.

Virginia native Denny Hamlin started the race strong but soon found himself tumbling back through the field at the midpoint of the race. Fortunately for him, they don’t award points at halfway and Hamlin was able to reassert himself back to fourth once the pay window opened.

That late caution enabled Edwards to get back on the lead lap and finish tenth after what looked like a potentially disastrous points night when he was black-flagged. Maybe NASCAR threw that caution as an apology to Edwards?

Worth Noting

  • Kyle Busch’s victory snapped a 21-race drought that dated back to Michigan last August. The win was his fourth Cup victory at Richmond, all of them scored consecutively in the Cup Series’ last four visits to Henrico County in the spring.
  • For those keeping count, Stewart-Haas Racing has three victories, two with Stewart and one with Ryan Newman. Joe Gibbs Racing now has three victories, two with Denny Hamlin and one with Kyle Busch. Roush Fenway Racing has two wins, one with Matt Kenseth and one with Biffle. Penske Racing has one win with Brad Keselowski. That’s your totals, overall in just nine events. Richard Childress Racing and Hendrick Motorsports are still posting goose eggs in the win column in 2012.
  • Kyle Busch’s win Saturday was the 24th Cup victory of his career, moving him into a tie with brother Kurt in that category.
  • The top-10 finishers at Richmond piloted four Chevys, four Toyotas, a Ford and a Dodge.
  • Earnhardt and Johnson now lead all drivers with seven top-10 finishes in this season’s nine races. Kenseth and Biffle lead the pack with five top-5 results in those nine events.
  • Earnhardt’s fourth top-5 finish of the season matches his total number of top 5s scored in all of 2011. The last time he managed more such results in a year was in 2008.
  • Stewart led a lap (118 of them, actually) for the first time since Fontana.
  • Kasey Kahne’s fifth-place finish was his best of the season.
  • Edwards now has five consecutive finishes of 11th or better.
  • Juan Pablo Montoya finished 12th for the second straight week. In both instances, his team used a carefully orchestrated strategy of not having JPM run into a jet dryer.
  • Biffle’s 18th-place result was his worst of the season.
  • Harvick’s 19th-place run matches his worst of the season. He also finished 19th at Martinsville.
  • Clint Bowyer’s seventh-place finish was his best since Bristol.

What’s the Points?

Despite a substandard showing Saturday, Biffle maintains his points lead. Earnhardt’s runner-up result moves him back up two spots to second in the standings, just five points behind. Denny Hamlin moves up two spots to third, one point ahead of Kenseth, who fell a spot to fourth. Martin Truex, Jr. tumbled three spots to fifth.

The top 10 is rounded out by Johnson (+1), Harvick (-1), Stewart, Edwards and Newman. All drivers from ninth place Edwards on down are already more than a full race’s worth of points out of the lead.

Further back, a victory pushed Kyle Busch forward three spots to eleventh in the standings. Brad Keselowski holds the other “wild card,” sitting 13th with a win in hand.

Mark Martin, who has sat out two races, is up five spots to nineteenth in the standings, one spot ahead of Jeff Burton (-3) who has shown up at all nine races. Tellingly, Martin is just three points behind Jeff Gordon. Time to hit the panic button for the Nos. 31 and 24? Not yet, but I’d check to see it was well lubed, all the connections are tight and it’s in plain sight.

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 two cans. What I was expecting was a classic but what we got was a ball of confusion, a bunch of ticked-off drivers who were mad at NASCAR, not each other, and a sedate finish.

Next Up – The circuit heads off to Talladega. Certainly, those fans who long for big wrecks won’t be disappointed, though those of us who thought Daytona was a wreckfest are a bit concerned no changes have been announced after the 500 despite the wholesale carnage. I just hope no driver’s mother is left to bury her son in the days leading up to Mother’s Day.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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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
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04/30/2012 01:17 AM

Not what I was expecting at Richmond although Stewart is my driver so I was excited towards the end until NA$CAR then his pit crew took the race away. Next week is Talladega, I hear Micheal Waltrip is driving so I wont have to fast forward any of the race thank God! Hopefully, he does the same ridiculous manuver he did at Daytona this week and crashes into the wall head on.

04/30/2012 02:09 AM

15 drivers take wave around on one caution and 19 on another. And nascar wonders why fans are leaving the sport.

Why shound the leader bust his A$$ all day putting these guys a lap down and then have nascar but them back on leap lap.

While the old way was not perfect. racing to caution and lapped cars in front of leader on restart was much better then lucky dog and wave around.

Brian France Sucks
04/30/2012 03:52 AM

Is there no end to the idiocy that runs rampant through NA$CAR’s management and officiating? The Chase is junk, 90% of the venues are junk, and the morons constantly feel the need to manipulate the races to ensure “excitement.” To spice it up this week, we get the plain stupid call on the fourth restart. Pemberton’s subsequent explanation sounded like it was typed out by a loaded Brian France. Stewart got jobbed on the “debris” caution, which was probably a make-up to appease Edwards after going a lap down. To top it all, Bruton Smith decided to ruin the new and improved Bristol to appease the hordes who like their races with 100 laps of caution.

Bill B
04/30/2012 08:26 AM

Et tu Richmond?

04/30/2012 08:28 AM

I’d like to see Taylor Swift write a column half this good.

Well, I’d like to see Taylor Swift try to write a column half this good.

Well, I’d line to see … oh, nev-er-mind :)

04/30/2012 08:32 AM

a poll of 10 race fans who watched the race sunday am at church, all 10 of us were dozing and woke up at various intervals during the race. we were all awake for the final 30 laps.

ok so no rule changes on plate tracks. can’t remember, do they still need a “dancing partner” to pass? daytona seems like it was a lifetime ago.

and also…..why should johnson be the one to get slick rick his 200th win. the world would be arighted on it’s axis if jr wins this coming weekend and we can shut up the 200th win talk as well.

off to the store to get stomach calmer for this coming weekend.

04/30/2012 08:55 AM

What do true NASCAR fans want to see when they go to a race or watch it on TV? See the last few laps of the Nationwide race Friday night and that’s your answer right there. Well said Matt.

04/30/2012 09:06 AM

“Kyle Bitch” – That is the hardest I’ve laughed at anything NASCAR-related in a long time!

04/30/2012 09:17 AM

Regarding Richmond. The nas$car circus came to town complete with clowns and bad actors running the show Or ruining it, depending on your point of view. I lost interest after the Edwards fiasco. O gave this race one 24 ounce can of old english only because that’s what you needed to drink to watch the race.

04/30/2012 09:28 AM

One last item to comment on. Why the hell does Fox keep shoving more Michael Waltrip down our throats. I can’t stand this idiot.

Don Mei
04/30/2012 09:31 AM

Good column, however I disagree with you about making just wins count. There are other ways to accomplish the same objective…points only to the top ten and first place gets double the points awarded for second place which, as Vince Lombardi said is “first loser”. (might be wrong on that attribution, but you get the idea.) As to the rest of the event, hard to believe its the big time. The officiating at a local go-cart track is of a higher order. I’m no Edwards fan but he got screwed.

04/30/2012 09:40 AM

I agree: the champion should be the one who wins the most races.

What a concept.

Hello? Calling Nascar….

It’s SO obvious that the chase and top 35 are KILLING this sport.

Sue Raick
04/30/2012 10:06 AM

I caught the end of the NW race before heading off to Brussels and agree that’s the kind of ‘beating and banging’ some of us have been talking about.

On occasion I used to holler at people to pick up that metal scrap at th other end of the shop only to find out it was a smashed soda bottle (still shouldn’t have been there). From a distance the reflection of clear plastic can look like metal…. That’s about as good an excuse I can think of for the bottle cautions.

04/30/2012 10:24 AM

Carl Edwards got screwed?? Only if he screwed himself. He knew he came out of the pits behind Stewart so why would he just be put into the lead? Richmond’s scoreboard is part of the electronic scoring there and Edwards, while in the two by two formation hit the line first and the scoreboard put his number as leader. He should have known he was not the leader regardless. Then, he clearly jumped the start by starting before the restart box. No matter how you look at it, he started before the restart box. He deserved the penalty. I’ve seen it one other time and the was several years ago at Martinsville or Bristol to Rusty Wallace. He had dominated the day but took off before he got to the line on the wall and they penalized him then.

04/30/2012 10:25 AM

I would agree totally with Tim if he had said “It’s SO obvious that the chase and top 35 HAVE KILLED this sport.

04/30/2012 10:32 AM

I have been reading the last couple of weeks about some drivers and former crew chiefs calling themselves “purist” of the sport. Is their opinion any better than ours? Finding whatever is a purist in nASCAR is like finding Saints sitting in the church. By the way, my tv is off on race day so I won’t have to listen to the Tripup Bros. preach.

04/30/2012 10:37 AM

oh yeah…..i forgot….

got to love na$car…they run american ethanol in the cars and the pace car at richmond was a plug-in focus. wonder if they had to plug in during the race?

Old farmer
04/30/2012 10:54 AM

If you want Taylor Swift to write a column, Matt M should have to sing on stage in front of a crowd. TS is no dummy, so I would bet on her.

just talking
04/30/2012 11:16 AM

I was really looking forward to this race – that will teach me. Still better than Texas and Kansas. Is it just Darlington and Martinsville left?

Glad I happened to see Nationwide. Good hard racing – what a concept! Also with all the Pastrana and Danica hype, nice to see Blaney kid do well.

Edwards did not get screwed at all – wasn’t in the lead and ought to know that – clearly jumped line – media darling is all.

Nascar tried to make up for it with the Edwards caution. The only person screwed here was Stewart.

Nascar should not try to manufacture finish – never know what can happen the last few laps anyway – although with this kind of racing maybe we do know what will happen – nothing – just count them points – ugh.

Agree – give points only for tope ten (or fifteen), get rid of 35 rule – add points for winning – we have to get rid of points racing.

Greg Maness
04/30/2012 11:23 AM

Back in 2008, I kept a personal Points Standings with the idea of the driver winning the most races would be champion … I awarded 7500 for 1st, then 200 for 2nd and a weighted differential all the way to last. With 200 for 2nd, a driver who finished 2nd in EVERY race would accumulate 7200 points … and a driver who won just one race would still beat the driver who finished second every race (i.e. all winners would place ahead of all non-winners). 7201 for 1st would have proven the same, but 7500 just “looked better!” The downside would be a driver who competed in just one race … but WON that lone start … would still beat the driver who finished 2nd 36 times … … but, no other way to guarantee the driver with the most wins would be champion. Carl Edwards “won” my championship over Kyle Busch, then Jimmie Johnson!

Kevin in SoCal
04/30/2012 11:36 AM

I was at a friend’s house Saturday night so I watched the race live for the first time in a long time. Now I know what you all are complaining about with boring racing, too many commercials, and too much booth talking. Holy crap that was terrible. Certainly not what we have expected from Richmond.
If Tony Stewart would have won, would we be complaining about how dominant SHR is and how they’re stinking up the show?

04/30/2012 11:36 AM

If you want Taylor Swift to write a column, Matt M should have to sing on stage in front of a crowd. TS is no dummy, so I would bet on her.

Old Farmer, you wouldn’t get very good odds on that bet. I’m sure TS could write a servicable race column if she put her mind to it, while I’d be terrified to hum a song in front of 10 strangers. What I admire about TS is she writes most of her own songs as opposed to “American Idols” most of whom can’t even play an instrument. “Mean” might just to be the most powerful country music song ever written. Beleive it or not it’s actually gotten me to tone down some of the comments in these columns. I don’t want to be a liar…or pathetic…or alone in life..or mean.

04/30/2012 12:34 PM

I wrote it before and I will write it again. If nine drivers win four races each who is the champion? Only wins count!

The Nationwide race finish wasn’t as good as Elliott and Kulwicki but it helps to have a semi-race car to drive. The Nationwide races are consistently better than the Cup races with better announcers.

Maybe NASCAR should pay the whole power bill so all the lights will work. Maybe that cuts into Brian’s booze money.

And Stewart deserved the last caution. Even if he had come out first he would have done the same thing to Busch.

04/30/2012 12:35 PM

Up until about lap 315, I was ready to rate this race six full bottles of ice-cold Rickard’s Red. After that, it wasn’t worthy of a half-can of room temperature flat Miller Lite! Talk about the officiating hitting rock bottom! I don’t care what the Edwards haters say, NASCAR should have thrown the yellow back out and got everyone in their proper place, instead of black flagging Edwards as they did. Bet if that had of been Junior, Jimmie, or Jeffy, that’s what they would have done! Plus, I’m willing to bet that, had Menard’s crew member hadn’t pointed out Team Sleeze’s (the #48) little “error”, the official would have ignored it completely.

But, I was surprised that there wasn’t a caution thrown two laps from the end to give NASCAR’s most over rated and over exposed driver the win, and thus giving that Felon his 200th win! But NASCAR let it play out to give D.W.‘s illegitimate love-child his first win of the year. What a horrible race!

As far as I’m concerned, Helton, Pemberton, and Darby should be hung by their ankles and have a vasectomy performed on them with an oxy-acetylene cutting torch! And every NASCAR official should be fired, especially if RCR and Turner get penalized for their nose covers being out of kilter, and Mr. Middlebrook overturns it when they appeal!

Don Mei
04/30/2012 01:08 PM

Yes Spot, he got screwed. Nascar was complicit in adding to the confusion when the official informed his spotter they were leading and showed his number on the board. Edwards crew AND Nascar messed up; common sense tells me a warning was the appropriate penalty for that, but then again, there isnt much common sense in Nascar these day.

04/30/2012 01:35 PM

Good column, Matt. Like you, I’m making plans for summer and it doesn’t include sitting around watching this poor excuse for racing on TV. TNT actually does the best job, even though they only have 6 races and at boring tracks to boot.

What do DW and JJ think they are doing with their tweets besides biting the hand of the fans? I stopped watching the pre-race shows BECAUSE I was tired of hearing anyone named Waltrip or Wallace say over and over that the “fans don’t understand”. Yeah, actually I DO understand. I understand that I want to see racing, not wrecks and that if you want me to sit inside and tune in for the race, someone better show me something besides the drivel that has been going on for the past several years.

I used to watch every minute – now I tune in at the green flag and do chores while the race is on – because I have to use my computer and the radio to get a decent idea of what is going on during the race – I’m not seeing it and that’s why I have TV.

I don’t follow either one of them, but I’m considering doing it just so I can answer back.

The poor excuse for officiating that goes on at races doesn’t help either.

04/30/2012 02:24 PM

Don, Maybe the one official did screw up in saying the 99 was the leader when everyone should have known the leader was the 14. That’s one problem they may have to fix with their electronic scoring. Even if Edwards was the leader, he still jumped the start by going before the restart box. There also is a line painted on the wall that tells the leader when to go. He clearly started before that line. Like I stated earlier, Rusty Wallace had a race taken away from him for a similar infraction, does that mean NASCAR screwed him then, as well? It is a rule. Edwards stepped over it there and got slapped like he should have. And you are right, NASCAR only added to it, but Edwards still jumped the start.

Wayne T Morgan
04/30/2012 02:44 PM

“Kyle Bitch” Best thing I’ve heard lately. Why oh why can’t NA$CAR do like everybody else when someone jumps the start, throw caution and line up again and then go, that way if someone jumps again then send to the back.Simple huh? NA$CAR is going to throw a late caution no matter what and they slipped up the last few weeks. We have to live with it. Change the points to anything other than now, anything.

04/30/2012 03:06 PM

Somebody made and interesting point last week about the lack of a late race debris caution not being thrown. In both instances races were run in record time, yet in both cases the race broadcast went over the scheduled time slot. Maybe FOX is telling NASCAR they need to get off the air so don’t throw a late caution?

04/30/2012 03:14 PM

wcfan, the reason so many drivers took the wave around that first time you mentioned had to do with the timing of that caution, which left only three drivers on the lead lap, because only a couple of drivers had not pitted. In those circumstances, I really have no major problem with the wave around.

However, I agree that no wave arounds should be given as late in the race as it was the second time it occurred, though since the caution did not wave again, it really didn’t have a major impact on the race, either.

04/30/2012 04:18 PM

Congratulations NASCAR, you somehow succeeded in making a race at Richmond boring.

Let’s recap:

1. 100 lap late K&N Pro Series race on Thursday night features a 4-wide battle for the lead, beating and banging, top spot changing hands a dozen times, cars sideways, non-stop excitement.

2. 250 lap Nationwide race on Sunday night features decent battles throughout the field, everyone giving it their all, and ends with an awesome door-to-door fender banging sideways finish for the win (albeit with Cup drivers as usual.)

3. 450 lap Sprint Cup race puts me to sleep.


04/30/2012 04:22 PM

oh, yeah, and I had forgotten the charity race before the Pro Series race too… Another short late model race, which had all sorts of great racing. So out of four races on the weekend, three were awesome like races at Richmond usually are, and the Cup race was boring crap. So again, WHY?

Carl D.
04/30/2012 04:23 PM


I am outraged at your “room temperature flat Miller Lite” backhanded slam against Brad Keselowski. Unless you were referring to previous drivers Rusty Wallace or Kurt Busch, in which case… never mind.

All kidding aside, the Warden was on prescribed meds this weekend and so she slept through the entire race. I had no such excuse, so I blame my snoozing on the boring broadcast. I did manage to keep one eye open during the last 50 or so laps, and I can tell you Edwards blew that restart, but I can’t for the life of me understand why Nascar didn’t just line the drivers back up and restart the restart. They’ve done that before, though that may have been during a non-points race; I don’t remember. I’m way to old to keep up with Nascar’s rules du jour.

04/30/2012 05:35 PM

NASCAR needs to sit down and regroup. It is quite obvious that they are in a state of confusion as to how to run this sport. That is why they feel the need to manipulate the races to make up for the way the CHASE, the new point system, qualifying and COT, lucky dog,etc are ruining the sport.

04/30/2012 05:48 PM

I also feel that if the leader can’t get off to a good start, the rule that says you cannot pass the leader is null and void.

old gal from socal
04/30/2012 08:00 PM

WTH! How can so many smart, well paid people screw up the best track on the Cup schedule? Never in my life did I think a Richmond race would bore me. We have reached critical mass…whether it’s the tire, the car, the chase, or whatever… all those smart, well paid people need to get it figured out pronto. Is the K&N Pro series always televised? After 36 years I’m changing my loyalties…

04/30/2012 08:34 PM

Spot, when both parties contribute to the error, allowing one of the parties who screwed up, NASCAR, to make a decision that penalizes the other party flies in the face of both logic and good business management.

04/30/2012 09:19 PM

K&N race was great charity race was pretty good from there it was down hill for the rest of the weekend.

04/30/2012 10:27 PM

I understand the wavearound and how it works, I just do not like it. It takes tire stradegy out picture.

Maybe nascar touring series should go back to bias ply tires. this would add excitment, along with grip and tire wear.

The snap
04/30/2012 11:32 PM

Hell with nascar and the waltrips on fox. Stewart and company should just start there own series that features dirt and short tracks across the country with 100 lap features.

05/01/2012 06:32 AM

Video shown ad nauseum clearly shows Edwards jumped the restart. Regardless of which position he started from, or thought he started from, he jumped the restart. Case closed.

05/01/2012 07:36 PM

I, like everyone else, was looking forward to an exciting race but Grand-Am turned out to be a rain shortened monsoon. It still had more competition than the overhyped Cup race.