The Frontstretch: NASCAR Mailbox: Payback, Milestones, And Crying Over Spilled Milk by Summer Bedgood -- Thursday November 7, 2013

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NASCAR Mailbox: Payback, Milestones, And Crying Over Spilled Milk

Summer Bedgood · Thursday November 7, 2013


Time sure does fly when you’re having fun, so for NASCAR drivers it must feel like the speed of light. For Jeff Burton, time must be going by really fast because this weekend he is going to reach a milestone in his career.

When Burton takes the green flag in the Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix on Sunday, it will be Burton’s 1,000th NASCAR national series start, a feat that only five other drivers have accomplished: Richard Petty, Mark Martin, Joe Nemechek, Michael Waltrip, and Terry Labonte. For Burton, it will be his 690th Sprint Cup Series start where he has amassed a total of 21 wins. His 306 starts in the Nationwide Series start brought him to Victory Lane 27 times. The other four starts are in the Camping World Truck Series.

Burton might not be the most accomplished driver in the sport, and the sands of time might forget the success he has had in this sport. He might never be a truly Hall of Fame driver and his name won’t be equivalent to that of Petty or Martin. But his authoritative demeanor and spokesman qualities have earned him the nickname “The Mayor” and he has earned the respect of those around him.

Burton likely won’t win the race on Sunday and he probably won’t ever win a championship. But those around him will tell you he deserves all the respect he gets in this series.

“*Whenever I leave the track, I always noticed the crews who come in and clean the track, like the infield grass and stuff. Who does that and how long does it take?”* Melissa

Melissa, I contacted a few different tracks about this and, honestly, got a few different answers. All the tracks work with different companies, and I believe it was Michigan that said that the Boy Scouts actually do their cleanup in the grandstands.

As you can imagine, the amount of time it takes to clean and prepare the track depends on the actual track. For instance, a track like Bristol doesn’t have to worry about repairing the infield grass after the Nationwide Series so that it’s ready for the Sprint Cup Series race the next day. Obviously, their main concerns would be the walls.

However, the general answer ranged within the 2-3 hour range, again depending upon the amount of work and amount of trash the fans leave in the stands. Additionally, once the races are over, there are some things that get pushed to the Monday or the week after.

As you can see, it’s a little bit of a difficult question to give a solid answer to just because it is dependent upon so many factors. Weather, time of day, amount of work that needs to be don …. it really depends on what the circumstances are.

I think it’s great that you even recognized them. I get the impression that fans are so busy trying to get out of the traffic or watching the haulers leave the track, they don’t notice the people who really help make the show what it is. I’m sure they appreciate that!

“So what are the chances that Clint Bowyer finally pays Jeff Gordon back this weekend for last year?” Kevin

Well, admittedly, Bowyer has talked a little trash leading up to this week that payback might be coming for Gordon, but I honestly don’t believe him. Bowyer might still be upset about what happened and feel it was unwarranted, but that doesn’t mean he’s dumb enough to pull the same stunt. Let’s not forget that both drivers sustained heavy damage in the exact same incident and both were so sick of talking about it by the time the next race rolled around, both of them probably wished they could rewind the whole thing and just forget it.

I’m sure Gordon and Bowyer will find each other on the track at some point in Phoenix, and I’m sure everyone will lean forward in their seats expecting something to happen. I’m not going to be bold enough to sit here and say that any of Bowyer’s threats are completely empty, but I believe that when the opportunity presents itself, he will see that maybe this isn’t such a good idea. After all, you can’t fight fire with fire and expect not to get burned.

Then again, Bowyer could use the exercise.

“If Keselowski is such a crappy contender, Mr. Knaus, then how come he beat your ass last year???” Steven

Hey, now, Steven, see it from Chad’s perspective! He only believes that the 48 lost that championship last year because of a flat right front. And, honestly, you can make a little bit of an argument on that one since he had a seven point lead over Keselowski after Texas last year.

Finally, some engine trouble at Homestead might have also been the only thing that kept him from overcoming the tire. I know many of you hate the “point as they run” updates, but I distinctly remember that as the points flicked across the top of the screen, that Johnson was ahead of Keselowski on several occasions. I firmly believe he would have been the champion, too, but they wound up finishing the race in the garage instead.

In other words, they lost the championship because of things that were largely outside of their control. That’s not to say that Keselowski didn’t earn that championship. Part of being a champion is creating your own luck, and the 48 team knows that. But I think Knaus’s beef is that they feel like they never even had a chance to be a real contender in those last two races.

Oh, and Kenseth will be much harder to beat. He did mean that part.

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11/07/2013 08:47 AM

I would love to see Bowyer catch Gordon before Gordon makes it back to his wagon this time.

But I doubt anything will happen.

Carl D.
11/07/2013 11:11 AM

As if I didn’t have enough of a reason to detest Chad Knause. The #48 didn’t lose the championship last year solely because of Homestead and Phoenix. Jimmie finished 17th at Talladega, while Brad’s worst finish in the chase was 11th (twice). Still, if Chad wants to make excuses, that’s what he’ll do.

11/07/2013 12:24 PM

What’s going to REALLY suck is that we will most likely have to see Chad as a regular on TV once he leaves the 48/Hendrick team.

That may indeed be the last straw for me personally as I can’t stand the thought of that happening.

11/07/2013 12:25 PM

I think any sympathy factor for Bowyer getting Gordon this week went out the window at Richmond. I don’t think Bowyer or MWR want to be at the center of another controversy.

11/07/2013 02:16 PM

Do I really care about a cat fight between two millionaire racing car drivers? Do I really care who wins this silly Chase championship nonsense? Nope. Hopefully the weather will hold a bit longer here in New England and I can get some riding in on Sundays. THATS important.

11/07/2013 03:56 PM

Upstate24fan! Yes.

Plus if Bowyer hadn’t run Gordon into the wall at Phoenix last year, the “wrecking” that Gordon dished out wouldn’t have happened.

I have to say that I agree with Don, too. I really don’t care about these last 2 races. Weather here is supposed to be cool but clear – I think I’ll do yard work.

11/07/2013 04:07 PM

You can “but” it all you want Chad and Chad supports, you lost thats it, no excuses. Gosh he can’t even lose gracefully. What a jerk. And the apologists still see nothing wrong with Jeffery interfering, black flagged in a Chase race. LOL. I wish Bowyer would do something, but he won’t. A dish best served cold.

Fed Up
11/07/2013 04:36 PM

Chad is covering the bases in case he gets his butt kicked again this year.

11/07/2013 04:53 PM

It was a rear end problem at Homestead for the 48 not an engine issue. Please use facts to have the appearance of knowledge.

11/08/2013 09:51 AM

For the sheer fact that Bowyer probably doesn’t want to deal with all the questions and attention (especially after what happened at Richmond) I highly doubt there will be any payback on the horizon.

If Bowyer wanted payback, it would have been done by now. Jeffy is pretty much out of it now so wrecking him won’t accomplish much except draw more attention to himself. I don’t see it happening.