NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Fanning the Flames: An Act of Charity, A Chase Take & A Crazy Rumor

Good questions this week and I’m feeling a bit long winded, so let’s get to it.

Q: Hey Matt! For the Texas race results, I noticed that Joey Logano was not awarded points. Instead, in that column it reads “PE” even though he finished 40th. What the heck does that mean? – Confused in Iowa

A: Funny, I know another “Confused in Iowa” – Frontstretch’s own Jeff Meyer! (Sorry bud, couldn’t resist.) Anyway, PE stands for Post Entry. Each team must submit an entry blank the week prior to a race. If a team hands its entry form in past NASCAR’s deadline, that team is not awarded driver or owner points in the event. They can still come and play, but no goodies for you! Except for the check, of course – they still get that.

In Logano’s case, it’s no big deal because, obviously, his No. 02 team is not running for a championship of any kind in the Cup Series. Believe me, you won’t see a full-time operation make that mistake.

Q: I don’t like Kyle Busch. Don’t like his attitude, aggression, immaturity. I don’t even like his driver suit! But what he did for Sam Ard after the Texas win was one of the coolest things I’ve seen in NASCAR in a long time.

Class act coming from a most unlikely source. Good job, Kyle! Maybe I’ll rethink my stance on you. – Linda B.

A: See what happens when you show ‘em your soft side, Kyle? Yes, Busch’s donating $100,000 in victory lane after his win in the Nationwide Series’ O’Reilly Challenge was nothing short of saintly. Again, 100 grand. I don’t care how much money these boys are pulling down, that’s a chunk of change. And one that will make a huge difference.

When I read Ard’s wife, Jo, describe how she planned to use a portion of it to make their bathroom handicap accessible, I realized just how good I have it. I also realized how much I take for granted and how charity – in any form – can make a world of difference.

KEITH: NATIONWIDE SERIES BREAKDOWN AFTER TEXAS

On Monday, my buddy Matt McLaughlin posted an address in his column where donations of any size can be sent to the Sam Ard Care Fund. I think it bears posting again:

Sam Ard Care Fund
Account # 68212-03
Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 780004
Myrtle Beach, SC 29578

Q: Hello Matt. I’ve read everyone else’s take on how the Chase should be structured since we are in the midst of a runaway (yes, Jimmie Johnson is still gong to win it. Sorry Carl fans). I say chuck the thing and go back to how it was, when season-long excellence determined a champion. Not a 10-race wild-card stretch. But since you are the answer guy, you tell me. How would you do it? – Bette Widnor

A: Actually, I kind of prefer your method, Bette. But, if we must have a Chase – and oh yes, we must! – here’s my take:

The top-10 drivers in points at the end of Race No. 31 (yes, 31 – I’ll get to that in a minute) get at-large bids into the playoffs. Beyond that any full-time driver (road ringers need not apply) that scores a win receives an automatic bid. Therefore, we could see years where only 10 are in or we could see up to 15 or 16. That gives us a unique setting each season.

Next, I’ll shorten the Chase to five events. Hey, if we’re going to have a playoff format, why not make it so it’s not only must see TV, but that no one gets a second chance. No mulligan. One & done, baby. In typical NASCAR fashion, the sanctioning body has gone into overkill mode to the point that a large part of the viewing public loses its interest four weeks in because, let’s be honest, who has 10 weeks to devote to this? That, and you can miss two weeks, watch the next pre-race show and be caught up in no time.

NASCAR wants drama? You got it. NASCAR wants an attentive and captivated audience? Got that, too. And if it wants competition, it takes the Final Five to Richmond, Darlington, Bristol, Talladega and Lowe’s. Yeah, I know there’s no roadie in there, but the only way I justify having a road course in the Chase is if one were added; otherwise, I don’t see two road courses making up a large enough portion of the schedule to give one an all-important Chase date.

So, there’s my two cents on the Chase format. Most likely unrealistic and lawsuit-laden, but it’s mine.

Q: Matt, I read NASCAR told George Gillett that he could not switch from Dodge to Toyota. How can they do that to an independent team owner? Is this a crazy rumor or is there truth to it? Thanks. – Billy Potts

A: There seems to be some truth to the fact that Gillett is looking at all options, one of which could see a switch for GEM from Dodge to Toyota sheetmetal. However, NASCAR can’t tell a team owner what make to run. Crazy rumor, Bill.

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