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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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Nick Bromberg · Tuesday October 19, 2010
Is it me, or did Brian France and Mike Helton slip in the proposed elimination format for the 2011 Chase this year? Or is it already 2011 and Jimmie Johnson is going for his sixth straight Sprint Cup title?
Yes, the Chase for the Cup was the closest it has ever been after the third race of the Chase at Kansas, and yes, I’m partially to blame for hyping up how close said Chase was at that point in time. Johnson took the lead from Denny Hamlin, but Hamlin was only eight points back. Tony Stewart was 127 points behind in 10th place, and Matt Kenseth was 149 points back in 11th. And not to beat a dead horse, but…Clint Bowyer was 252 points out, yet would have only trailed Johnson by 102 if the penalty hadn’t happened.
Now, Johnson leads Hamlin by 41 points and Kenseth is still in 11th, a whopping 256 back after Johnson’s third-place finishes at both California and Charlotte. How many other Chasers are keeping Johnson in sight?
— Kevin Harvick lost 24 points at California and 23 at Charlotte
— Jeff Gordon lost 27 at California and 71 at Charlotte thanks to that speeding penalty. (And to be fair, a speeding penalty at California was the reason that he lost points there, too)
— Kyle Busch lost 107 at California because of his blown engine, but gained back 10 at Charlotte. Probably too little too late.
— Tony Stewart gained 20 by winning at Auto Club, but lost 70 by struggling at Charlotte. What a tease.
— Carl Edwards lost 109 points at California because of his engine problem and 38 more at Charlotte
You get the point. No one can afford a bad race when Johnson is running as well as he is. Of course, that’s stating the obvious, but it’s worth pointing out at times just how quickly a poor finish can doom someone.
Realistically, this year’s Chase is a three-man show. Gordon is in fourth, but he’s 156 points behind. He can’t be counted out completely because that’s a margin that could be realistically made up in five races, but with the way that his season has gone, is anyone expecting Gordon to make it to Victory Lane, let alone close that deficit against Jimmie Johnson?
Stewart and Busch are tied for fifth — Busch has the tiebreaker thanks to more victories — but they’re 177 points out. If anyone in the field could make that up, it would be Busch, but he said Thursday that the only person who could realistically go out and win the last six races was Johnson and company. If Busch doesn’t believe he can do it, then it’s not going to happen.
It is possible that the field could do the opposite of what’s happened over the past two races and tighten back up, but come on; it’s probably more likely that NASCAR will decide to give Clint Bowyer his 150 points back.
NASCAR’s gotten a lot of grief from many about the Chase because a lot of purists feel that it’s contrived and manufactures drama. Whether you believe that or not, imagine the cries if the sport was to put that proposed elimination format in place for 2011? And at this point, why should they? Sprint Cup teams are showing NASCAR that they’re perfectly capable of eliminating themselves from contention.
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If this was the NNS, then Busch could make up 177 points over 5 races, but he hasn’t showed that consistency in Cup, and certainly not during the chase.
Now, I hate to have to do this, but Randy is right in this instance. Whether na$car uses the old points format, the current points format, or a new points format driver’s always elminate themselves from contention along the way.
Rewriting the rules so that a particular points position is automatically eliminated regardless of their mathematical chances won’t add to the chase’s credibility, but it certainly won’t detract from it either.
There is no credibility to begin with, and this would just add another layer of superficiality, forcing drama where none exists.
It would be good for the media and bloggers though. It would give you another topic to discuss along the way.
I’m convinced NASCAR is more concerned with turning the Chase into a show than finding the fairest, best way to crown a champion. ISC needs to sell tickets at Homestead, and they need a viable championship battle. The elimination chase is out there to guarantee the title is decided at Homestead. If you think the regular season champ gets the shaft now, enter the proposed elimination chase. Some one could theoretically lead the points all the way to Homestead, have a problem no fault of their own and lose the title. Yeah, it would be an exciting show, but so is a demolition derby. While far from perfect at least the current Chase works the same as the old system with a point reset.
Craig, consistency has always been the key. I would just like to see them drop the chase altogether.
Homestead can go F___ itself, as far as I’m concerned. If na$car wants people to buy tickets to the track, how about altering the track to provide great action whether or not a championship battle occurs there?
I do agree with what you say about na$car looking for a show rather than a fair way to crown a champ.
Jacob, I agree with you about Homestead. It’s amazing how we get the Chase not long after Homestead becomes the last race of the season. It seems like this track is dependent on late season drama to sell tickets. If a track can’t support a Cup race on the strength of the race alone, it shouldn’t hold the finale. Bruton Smith was 100% right about Homestead, he just didn’t say it in a nice PR way. Under the proposed elimination chase as I read it, Homestead would become a winner take all battle between 2 or 3 drivers. THAT IS NOT NASCAR OR HOW A CHAMPION SHOULD BE CROWNED.
In the past people accepted the distinction between what it took to win races and a title. Individual races seemed to matter more pre-Chase, especially with the Winston Million/No-Bull rewards. It’s amazing that Indy Car and Formula-1 can get good close championship battles without some playoff format. I believe the problem before the Chase and now is with the way driver points are rewarded. Too little incentive to win races, and too little punishment for a bad run. Start and parks have made this even worse (look at Texas last year).
Jacob, is it really necessary to bold certain words for emphasis? It’s annoying and self-indulgent. The first couple of times it was fine, but now you’re bolding words for no reason at all. Your remarks are written well but the bolding is the equivalent of yelling by typing in caps.
How about the years without the chase?….
You mean when race wins actually meant something and the championship was secondary to a fan?
When ratings were climbing and sponsors names were on race cars?
When drivers were heroes and not corporate spokesmen or pretty boy self anointed rock stars?
When 500 miles were a grueling challenge and not a product?
I didn’t think so.
Those trees make a forest you know…
Sad, but true. This long time nas$car fan has lost interest in my once beloved sport. I cannot believe I’m saying this. But nas$car under Brain Fart’s leadership (sic) is headed into the proverbial toilet. I didn’t know who wo n last week-ends race till the next day.
Oh, Randy, I am certainly not a fan. But on the rare occasion that you make a solid point, I will acknowledge it.
AnnieMack, thank you for saying that I write well. However, the entire purpose of the ability to use bold print is for placing emphasis on the words that you choose. If there are complaints over that, they should probably be directed to the webmaster. Why is the ability there, if people aren’t supposed to use them?
Craig, I agree with you. And babydufus, as well. all the signs are there, na$car refuses to listen, see, or be distracted by such petty trivialities.
Personally, I don’t care whether there’s a close points race or not. I believe in rewarding the guy who has performed the best over the entire season. I prefer legitimacy and integrity to contrivance. The ratings over the past few seasons seem to indicate that a lot of other fans share this view.
By the way, prior to the chase being implemented, there was still good racing at the season-ending races at Atlanta even when the championship had already been decided prior to the race.
The only “elimination” that Nascar needs to implement is the complete elimination of the chase.
Jacob eats puppies
Its not my fault… the webmaster lets me enter random statements and then bold them whenever I like. Take it up with him.