Home / Cup Series / Thinkin’ Out Loud – Matt Kenseth Pushes All the Right Buttons to Sweep to Loudon Victory
(Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images)

Thinkin’ Out Loud – Matt Kenseth Pushes All the Right Buttons to Sweep to Loudon Victory

Who’s in the headline – The headlines are crowded after Loudon but Matt Kenseth gets the bold print. Kevin Harvick tried to stretch fuel but came up two laps short and Brad Keselowski was penalized for jumping a restart which took him out of contention for the win. Kenseth was the driver who conserved his equipment until it was go time, pushed Harvick hard enough for him to run out and ran away from the rest of the field for the win. The victory punches Kenseth’s ticket to round two of the Chase playoffs.

2015 Loudon II CUP Matt Kenseth wins CIA
Matt Kenseth earning the win at New Hampshire (Photo: CIA Stock Photo, Inc. ©2015)

What happenedCarl Edwards started on the pole but Harvick established very early that he was the car to beat. Harvick led from lap 20 through lap 193, except for five laps that were led by others under pit stops. The lead went through a few fingers from lap 193 until lap 252 when Harvick assumed the lead again after having pitted with 88 laps to go. Harvick attempted to save fuel but the Joe Gibbs Racing tandem of Denny Hamlin and Kenseth pressured him and eventually he ran out of gas with 2.5 laps to go. Kenseth swept by and cruised to the win.

Why you should care – As the first round of the Chase plays down to its final race, the script is basically set for the people who want to make the cut. Jeff Gordon is in tenth and is 10 points ahead of Jamie McMurray in 11th. Gordon is all but assured of making the next round barring a disaster. That means the final two spots in the next round are up for grabs among six people. Clint Bowyer has to win or he’s out. Harvick most likely has to win unless McMurray or Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a major problem at Dover and Kyle Busch and/or Paul Menard don’t finish ahead of him by enough to make it into the next round.

What your friends are talking about – Restarts have been the talk for at least a month. Kenseth jumped the restart at Richmond and was not called. Gordon jumped at Chicago and not penalized. On the final restart of the race, Brad Keselowski jumped the restart and was black flagged. Keselowski went before the leader, Greg Biffle, as the field came to the restart box. Biffle held onto the lead and Keselowski slotted in second, so he did not gain an advantage. NASCAR obviously wanted to send a message to the field so they threw the flag even though Keselowski didn’t gain an advantage.

Martin Truex, Jr. will be driving for Furniture Row Racing for at least another season, as the team has picked up their option on him for 2016. Next year Truex will be driving Toyotas, as FRR has announced a switch to Toyota and an alliance with JGR starting in 2016. The switch will make FRR the second organization in the series backed by Toyota. With the power that JGR has shown the second half of this season it should set FRR up for a strong run toward the title next year.

NBC Sports proved, once again, that it is all about the Chase and the rest of the teams don’t matter. Biffle finished in the top 5 for the first time in two months and the third time this season. He was also involved in the controversial restart that resulted in the black flag for Keselowski. Not only did NBCSN not interview Biffle during the broadcast after the race, they also didn’t speak with him during their post race show. The teams who aren’t in the Chase deserve to be treated with respect during the broadcast and a top 5 run by itself deserved to get Biffle an interview, forget about the restart issue.

The 2016 schedule announcement is on the horizon, although the date has yet to be set. We know that Daytona will open the season on February 21st. Atlanta will follow on the 28th . Las Vegas is supposed to run on March 6th with California on March 20th. The dates are based on press releases or web sites for the individual tracks. Richmond International Raceway has also announced that their spring race will take place on Sunday afternoon instead of Saturday night. Look for the announcement in the next couple of weeks.

Late Sunday, word came out that Tony Stewart is going to race one more season in the Cup series. A press conference is scheduled for Wednesday for the formal announcement. Stewart has struggled the last two seasons for several reasons and the rumor mill has been loaded with speculation that Bowyer would assume the wheel of the No. 14 in 2017. Stewart is the only driver with a Winston Cup, Nextel Cup and Sprint Cup. He currently has 48 career Cup wins. He has also claimed championships in the IRL, IROC and was the first driver to claim the USAC Triple Crown (Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown).

Who is mad – Busch came into the Chase looking to finally put it all together and claim a title in the top series of NASCAR. Trying to play it conservative in 2014 cost him at Talladega. This year he was pushing hard to try and run up front and contend for the win. Unfortunately that resulted in a flat right front tire, contact with the wall, and over 30 laps spent in the garage. Busch returned to the track and, thanks to David Ragan and Danica Patrick dropping out of the race, picked up two spots which put him right at the cut line for the top 12.

Keselowski restarted on the inside row on the final restart of the race. As he came to the restart zone he started before the leader Biffle. Ultimately Biffle held onto the lead and Keselowski slotted in second but NASCAR chose to call a restart penalty on the 2012 champion and black flagged him. Everyone knew that someone was going to get called for a restart penalty in the final nine races and apparently NASCAR decided Loudon was the time to do it.

Harvick led 216 laps but his crew chief, Rodney Childers, missed a call to bring him to pit road with Kenseth, Hamlin and others. As a result Harvick ended up attempting to save fuel while leading the race. Harvick attempted to save the gas necessary to make it to the end but came up a couple laps short. Harvick is now in a position where he basically has to win to advance to the next round.

Who is happy – Biffle has been the lone bright spot for Roush Fenway Racing this season, and that spot has been dim at best. Sunday was different thanks to Biffle getting to the front of the pack on strategy late in the race. Biffle ran the final 94 laps on a single tank of gas, six laps further than Harvick was attempting to run, and came home with a top 5 finish for the third time this season. It is a shot in the arm for a team that has been struggling mightily all season.

Edwards started on the pole and was in the mix for the first 160 laps until he was penalized for dragging his gas can out of his pit box. Edwards managed to stay on the lead lap and pitted with his JGR teammates for the final time, coming home with a fifth place finish. Edwards sets himself up for a stress free day at Dover, 33 points ahead of 13th and just needing a solid day to join his teammates Hamlin and Kenseth in the second round of the Chase playoffs.

2015 Loudon II CUP Jeff Gordon car CIA
A seventh-place finish may be enough to get Jeff Gordon into the next round of the Chase (Photo: CIA Stock Photo, Inc. ©2015)

Gordon started the day telling his crew that his car was junk and that they were in serious trouble. He finished the day driving under the checkered flag in seventh place. Gordon is the last driver who can feel rather comfortable heading into Dover as he sits 12 points ahead of 13th. A top 15 finish will lock Gordon into the second round of the playoffs, which many people thought might not happen the way the No. 24 team limped into the playoffs.

When the checkered flag flew:

Matt Kenseth scored his 36th victory of his career in his 572nd start.

This is Kenseth’s second career triumph at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Kenseth’s win is his fifth of 2015.

Kenseth is 20th on the all-time win list, one behind Bobby Isaac.

Denny Hamlin finished in the top 2 for the third time this season and the second time in two weeks.

Hamlin has come home first or second six times in his career at Loudon.

Hamlin’s second place was his 19th of his career. That ties him for 41st on the all-time runner-up list with Tim Flock, Dick Hutcherson and Jack Smith.

Joey Logano came home in third for the eighth top 3 of his season.

This is Logano’s third top 3 at Loudon in his career.

Logano has finished on the podium 29 times in his career. That ties him with Clint Bowyer, Tim Richmond and Morgan Shepherd for 63rd on the all-time list.

Brett Moffitt finished 27th to claim Rookie of the Race honors.

Race one of the Chase is in the books and Denny Hamlin is locked into round two by virtue of his victory at Chicagoland. While Hamlin is locked into the next round he is not the point leader. The top 16 looks like this after the first race:

  1. Matt Kenseth
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Carl Edwards
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Jimmie Johnson
  6. Ryan Newman
  7. Kurt Busch
  8. Brad Keselowski
  9. Martin Truex Jr.
  10. Jeff Gordon
  11. Jamie McMurray
  12. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  13. Kyle Busch
  14. Paul Menard
  15. Kevin Harvick
  16. Clint Bowyer

Takin’ it to the Bank:

Cup winners this year have pocketed $9,421,878 in 28 races, while the last place finisher has taken home $2,230,738.

In the Xfinity series it has been $1,936,803 for the winners and $356,344 for last place in 27 races.

After 17 Truck races the winner has $822,306 in his coffers and the last loser has banked $157,370.

What is in the cooler

Fuel strategy can make for an interesting race and that is what happened at Loudon on Sunday. Unfortunately for Harvick, the best car did not win the race. There were four on-track passes for the lead and some actual passing for position in the pack away from the insanity that is restarts. In the end it was a fun race to watch, although far from a barn burner. We’ll give this one three cold Farmhouse Reds from White Birch Brewing.

Where do you point your DVR for next week – Race three of the Chase takes place in the first state, as the traveling circus heads to Dover International Speedway to take the green flag at 2:30 PM Eastern on Sunday October 1st. The race can be seen on NBC Sports Network. The action can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate, SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90. It can also be streamed on NBC Sports Extra.

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About Mike Neff

Mike Neff
What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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41 comments

  1. Avatar

    Harvick could have easily relinquished the lead and finish 3rd or 4th conserving fuel to make it to the end, but it would have required him to take a little hit to his ego. Obviously instead of doing that and being much more comfortable heading into Dover points wise, he tried to push it for the win. What part of “you are 12 laps short” did he not understand from his crew chief. Last week he shouldn’t have stayed on track but the ego got in the way again. If Harvick gets eliminated at Dover, he has no one to blame but himself. It amazes me how these guys are supposed to be the best drivers in the world, yet most of them can’t manage tires or fuel when needed.

    So Gordon and Stewart leaving the sport in successive years. 2 pretty big fan bases gone from the sport and I highly doubt many of those fans will latch on to another driver. The beginning of the end of mainstream for Nascar? Viewing grandstand and ratings will be interesting the next few years.

  2. Avatar

    Anatomy of a modern NASCAR “race”. 1) Green flag, race into turn 1, single file by exit to turn 4. 2) bRide around single file until….3) Caution flag. Repeat, over and over and over……………

  3. Avatar

    The elephant in the room is what happens when Dale Jr. decides to hang it up. I can’t see him doing it for as long as his daddy. He didn’t have the lean years like Dale Sr. or any of his contemporaries (Rusty, Martin, Elliott, etc.) did in their early years. Using Gordon and Stewart as benchmarks, this could be in the next 5, maybe 7 years.
    The next TV negotiations ought to be interesting. I can’t see any networks being foolish enough or needing to fill air time for fledgling sports networks this time around.

  4. Avatar

    The commissioner of the NFL has been nothing short of an incompetent boob since he took over but it seems that as long as the owners are making money his job is safe. It appears NA$CAR’s stockholders feel the same way and Brian’s making enough money to keep them happy and he (and his “brilliant” decisions) won’t be gone anytime soon.

    NBC showed the PGA tournament on Sunday. A couple of weeks ago they showed Rallycross with Travis Pastrano and Scott Speed. Maybe it’s time to take their hint and watch what the major networks are showing. Football, baseball and golf and racing on a dirt/asphalt combination. Maybe it makes more sense to watch Jordan against Rory than Toyota against Chev. The LPGA is still going and women’s curling is coming up soon. The scenery is a lot easier to look at too with the players from Europe and Canada instead of Harvick and Johnson.

  5. Avatar

    Watch out. Once again the 48 has issues and finishes in the top 6. Johnson will be holding that big trophy once again unless Harvick fails to win at Dover. Then Johnson should maybe beware. Wonder if Harvick really has the gonads to take a teammate out ? Boss Hendrick won’t take kindly to that.

  6. Avatar

    It looks like Brian has put Johnson’s golden horse shoe back in the place it will do the most good. It was nice of Johnson to push his teammate Kurt back to the pits. After all Kurt drives for Hendrick-Stewart.

    All this restarting problem could be fixed by not letting the drivers go until the starter throws the green flag like at every other race except NA$CAR’s. At every track the starter is GOD and his decisions are final. Why would you let drivers control the start? And they say they have to be policed? Makes all the sense in the world to Brian.

    The interviews that I saw after the race were Kenseth (they had to-he won), Edwards (a surprise) and Hendrivk drivers Johnson and Gordon. I guess Harvick didn’t want to do his cry-baby act again.

    The lack of a caution at the end makes me wonder about Toyota and Brian. I’ll bet Hendrick is too.

  7. Avatar

    According to Jayski, this would be your standings without the Chase:

    [after New Hampshire, race 28 of 36]
    (using current points system, but not the Chase rules, unofficial)
    1) #22-Joey Logano(C4) 1028
    2) #4-Kevin Harvick(C15) 1006, 22
    3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(C12) 945, 83
    4) #2-Brad Keselowski(C8) 942, 86

    Harvick would be half a race behind Logano, with Junior and Keselowski two races behind.

    This is why the Chase exists, people.

    • Avatar

      Why does it exist Jim? So we can have manufactured drama vs. crowning a true champion? At least, in this scenario, Harvick would be rewarded with a shot at the championship based on being one of the two best drivers vs. having bad luck in one race.
      Kez would have an outside chance at the championship and a legitimate shot at a Top 3 vs. potentially being doomed to a 13-16 place finish thanks a horrible call when he was trying to win a race.
      Some pre-chase years were low on drama, as one driver clearly showed himself to be superior to the field. Some, like 1992, were magical without one ounce of piped in drama.

    • Avatar

      Logano would have moved into the point lead just after the Chicagoland race………………..hmmm, that was just a week ago………………….and now, this week, Harvick has another subpar finish while Logano finishes near the front. This is why the lead would be 22. And this is why people hate the chase.

      • Avatar

        and Harvick would have probably pitted for gas vs. run out. Except, he was in desperation mode. Hence, it would be a tight battle at the top.

        Also, notice how none of these comments are mentioning Matt Kenseth, you race winner. Why? Because the 12th points position is more important than the win, even though it locks him in to the next round. It’s not about who’s leading, it’s about who’s surviving.

    • Avatar

      It exists so that the legitimate champion might get screwed out of what they’ve earned throughout the season.

      Hey Jim, my first priority is that whatever system is in place is fair to the competitors and creates the most legitimate sport possible. Me being entertained by a close points battle or manufactured rules or calls to make it exciting is a very, very, distant 2nd.

      If you being entertained is the first priority then perhaps sports is not where you should be looking. There are plenty of reality television and fake sports for people who want to be entertained.

      • Avatar

        Bill, I must respectfully say that if you don’t think every single televised pro and college sport is all about entertainment (well, entertainment and Fantasy leagues and gambling), then you have not been paying attention.

        Televised sports exist in such proliferation because it’s the only way an advertiser can be sure that their commercials get watched. They aren’t going to collectively shell out billions to the NFL, NHL, NBA, etc for a product that is not entertaining. And the Chase, while it does have a level of contrivance (like all playoffs), gives multiple story lines to keep folks watching through Homestead.

        It’s the way of the world, man.

        • Avatar

          Remember this Jim…………racing is different than any stick and ball sport, especially when it comes to “playoffs”. In the stick and ball world, it’s one team against one team with the loser being eliminated. In racing, it’s one team against 42 other teams on the same “court” every week. A losing team may be eliminated from championship contention but the winning team still has to deal with them on the same “court” every week.

          And, it may provide storylines but then reality TV does too.

    • Avatar

      I agree with you Jim. This may be “artificial” but its just like every other sport when the playoffs start. Everything you did during the regular season is erased and you start over against the other teams that made the playoffs. I’m not a huge fan of the Chase, but I think this is better than watching 1 or 2 drivers run away with the points all season long every year, like still happens in XFINITY and Trucks.

      • Avatar

        I come down on Bill B’s side in this argument. I think the Chase is a bogus way to define a champion, especially in the latest format. I didn’t have any problem with 1 or 2 drivers running away with it. They earned the trophy with points over a full season, not over a shortened time frame and on tracks that are mostly 1.5 mile dull D’s

    • Avatar

      aren’t there still 8 races to go?

      i remember, centuries ago, when dale sr and jeff gordon were fighting for championship in 1995. i’d count up dale’s points at the end of every race. my logic, it wasn’t over til the last race.

      with 8 races remaining, under “old system” there’s still a minimum of 344 points left (8 races x 43 points), all these drivers listed under the “old” system still have a chance.

      i know kenseth winning championship years ago with several races remaining is what prompted this “chase” crap.

      next weekend it will be the cut off and post-race will be coverage for those advancing.

      hope it rains like crazy at dover.

  8. Avatar

    Kentucky Xfinity race was pretty good. Maybe watched 5 minutes of the Cup race…too busy watching NFL. Chase format = garbage.

    • Avatar

      Isn’t it amazing how the Xfinity and truck series both have close and intriguing championship battles without the “chase”? The secret, I believe, is actually having less parity throughout the field. Fewer competitive teams mean that the teams who are competing for the title tend to finish close to one another, and therefore the points battle stays pretty tight.

      • Avatar

        Kevin, so two drivers racing for the championship with the rest of the field practically eliminated is more intriguing to you? Well, I disagree. I don’t hate the Chase, but I think its better than watching 1 or 2 guys run away with it all season.

        • Avatar

          Oops, I meant I dont “love” the Chase

        • Avatar

          Fair championships may not always be exciting, but at least they are fair and crown legitimate champions. And there are other things that can be done, like changing the point structure or even awarding double points later in the season like IndyCar did this year, that would still keep things relatively fair but might also make it more exciting.

          What good is “excitement” if it renders the championship essentially meaningless?

          • Avatar

            Kevins, both the Truck and Xfinifarce series have even less legitimate championship formats then the ridiculous Chase. In both lower series the eventual Champion is the highest finishing fool behind the half dozen or so Cupholes that WIN every event.

  9. Avatar

    let’s see…..what i watched…..opening, girl that sang the national anthem did a great job! saw first few laps……came back about 2 hrs later and it kind of looked the same, about 30 min later, noticed harvick leading……….flipped back on about 5 pm and saw harvick leading and kenseth sniffing at his lead, then heard someone say “will he have enough fuel”. flipped back at 5:30ish and saw kenseth doing burn outs.

    now i did catch princess sparkle pony blaming ryan newman for the wreck between herself and the 55. saw the red flag.

    it was a rainy dreary day in georgia, and yet my interest in the race was not there. kept hearing too much about the chasers. are there other guys racing??

    harvick is an intense competitor, but sometimes you have to play it safe and settle for top 5 or 10. just give one of the gibbs teams the trophy (i guess not ky bush now).

    • Avatar

      Janice, I went back and forth between the football games and when 4 p.m. came alone, I watched the Pope do the Mass in Philly. Far more interesting than watching NASCAR these days.

      Yeah, Danica’s spotter was blaming Gordon for the wreck. Well he was under the 31, that’s for sure but whether he bumped Newman into the princess or not, it was hard to tell from the replays. If he hit Newman, it was pretty minor looking. Of course if you are on the outside 3 wide at a narrow track like NH, then stuff may happen for sure. Makes me wonder what HER spotter was doing. It’s pretty bad when I’m watching NASCAR races via replay only.

      I was happy that Gordon’s team managed a 7th place finish considering he was unhappy with the car – yes I have the scanner on and that’s another way I follow the race since pretty much my only interest is how did Gordon do at any track.

      The chase and the focus on it by the TV people, who should be covering the RACE instead, makes me bilious and uninterested in actually watching the race. People might actually watch if they were covering everyone in the race but no. When BSPN had it, I remember Allen Bestwick responding to a tweet of mine asking why they didn’t interview a racer who finished in the top 5 but skipped right down to a “chaser” who finished 13th and his response was “because he doesn’t matter now”. Maybe not to the networks, but to the fans of that driver, it would have been nice to see the interview – just as it would have been good to have seen Biffle interviewed.

      Plus now NASCAR is finally going to step in and police the restarts? After ignoring it all season long, now, in the chase, they are going to start cracking down? Honestly what a joke that is. Just let the flagman restart the race. The flag waves, everybody starts. Simple, then no one needs to be involved.

      • Avatar

        gina – i also watched the mass ta 4 pm. this non-catholic watched all the televised coverage of the pope’s visit. such a humble man.

        you know with stewart’s pending retirement announcement, that will be another huge block of fans that disappear.

        • Avatar

          Janice, it was an amazing thing to see and I agree with you, his kind manner & humbleness is a big part of why people like him – Catholic or not. I was so glad that his US trip went well.

          yes, it will be interesting to see how the fan base goes with Stewart retiring, too. I don’t see any driver on the horizon who can pull the number of fans in especially not in view of the fact that there are a lot of fans (even though NASCAR/BZF will not admit it) who really DON’T like the chase.

  10. Avatar

    If you are to have an elimination style “playoff” style format then do it. Including everyone else, than in essence ignoring them, defeats the purpose. Either have a playoff or don’t.
    I know that everybody wants the sponsors money, or to see your hero driver, but this is just a joke.

  11. Avatar

    I missed the post-race due to dinner plans so forgive me if I missed something relevent, but based on what I saw the penalty given to Keselowski was unjustified. I understand that the leader controls the restart, but if he spins his tires or otherwise doesn’t go, the other driver on the front row shouldn’t be penalized for that, especially if he falls in line in second position. Should Brad make it to the next round, points will be reset and the only lasting damage will be to Nascar’s credibility, but that’s merely tarnish on a turd.

    On the other hand, watching Harvick run out of gas and suffer another bad chase finish was quite satisfying.

    I have mixed feelings about Stewart leaving the series after next season. He has suffered an undeserved bad rap for the whole Kevin Ward tragedy, and I feel for him in that regard. I understand he’s a charitable man and has quietly done a lot for those less fortunate. I think he’s probably a good man, but on the track he’s a hypocrite, blaming everyone for actions and mistakes that he’s made plenty of times himself. He’s a sore loser, but maybe that’s the just the mentality it takes to be a three-time champ.

    Off topic, but I thought the Xfinity race at Kentucky on Saturday night was one of the best races of the season. Proof that you don’t need cup drivers to put on a good show.

    • Avatar

      Yes Carl. I would say I watched more laps of that Xfinity race Sat night than any other Xfinity race this year. It’s nice when you aren’t watching a bunch of Cup guys dominate over the regulars.

  12. Avatar

    Why do drivers/teams feel they have to swing for the fences in the first round? Top tens are all you need. Last week Harvick could have pitted with the tire issue and still gotten a top 15 (maybe better given that Hamlin and Edwards came back from a lap down to finish 1st and 2nd thanks to NASCAR’s entitlement program). This week he tries to stretch gas in the name of winning instead of giving up the lead to pit and probably finishing in the top 10. Now he has no choice but to swing for the fences. Above all, this just makes me hate the chase even more. Even though I can’t stand Harvick, it just isn’t right that the guy who led the points/standings all year has a bad race and it wipes out all those good finishes.

    I’ll say the same thing about Keselowski’s restart that I said about Gordon’s last week…
    As for whether (insert driver’s name here) jumped the restart, NASCAR could have easily decided that he did so. I thought it wasn’t very smart at this stage of the chase and that point of the race. He basically put himself in a position where he was at NASCAR’s mercy to decide whether he’d be black flagged.
    It was clear that NASCAR was eventually going to have to ding someone for jumping the restart. It was equally clear that whomever that driver was would feel like they were made an example of unfairly. Once again, if they’d get rid of the contrived double file restarts and put the lapped cars back on the inside lane, this whole restart issue would be moot.

    I think he will rebound next week and make the cut, but once again Kyle Busch chokes in the chase.

    One final note since I am always the first to bitch about it…. Congratulations to NASCAR for not throwing one blatantly fake caution (that I can remember, at least). I’m sure it must have been killing them as much as the race started to take the form of a parade on those long green flag runs, but they resisted the temptation and still ended up with a dramatic ending thanks to fuel issues.

    Man am I looking forward to not giving a shit about NASCAR or the chase next year. It’s such a load of crap that it just isn’t worth getting all worked up over. And now Tony is retiring…. that’s two huge fan contingencies in two years. NASCAR better hope Earnhardt isn’t next or their numbers will be sinking lower.

    • Avatar

      Bill B, yeah I was waiting for the caution to come out when it got to 10 to go because I just figured NASCAR wouldn’t be able to resist “fixing” the outcome of the race.

      I agree with your other comments as well, especially about next year and not having to give a rat’s patoot about NASCAR or the chase.

      It will be interesting to see how it affects NASCAR’s #’s, won’t it, now that Tony is going to announce his retirement, too and follow Gordon out of the sport.

      • Avatar

        “Even though I can’t stand Harvick, it just isn’t right that the guy who led the points/standings all year has a bad race and it wipes out all those good finishes. ”

        So you thought the same about Kyle Busch in 2008, right?

        • Avatar

          I feel that way about any driver it happened to. Look what happened to Gordon in 2007.

        • Avatar

          Yes Kevin,
          Regardless of who gets screwed or who benefits my goal is always to award both the individual race wins and the championship to the most deserving driver. Granted, there will always be luck and misfortune involved but the rules should do everything possible to mitigate those factors. As I said above, me being entertained is secondary to the integrity of having the most deserving drivers win.

    • Avatar

      I’m embarrassed to say I’m watching the chase races. I think it’s the train wreck thing. There’s a learning curve going on regarding how to best meet the latest definition of a champion. Rodney Childers just got a crash course. Same type thing happened with Knaus a few years back when he was late to get on the you don’t have to put on 4 tires every time. Childers still consistently puts the fastest car on the track so you can’t count him out, just has to roll a seven.
      Following F1 qualifies me to say that the caution for a spring rubber laying somewhere on the track should not have warranted a caution flag and was blatant abuse. One other thing to consider is the tire failures every 50 laps giving them an easy out. Some of these cautions for blown tires are BS too.
      Bill if you retire as well as Gordon and Stewart the sport will take a hit. You should consider lurking around in the cheap seats like Matt McLaughlin.

      • Avatar

        J.Smith, thanks for the laugh regarding the sport taking a hit if I “retire”. That’s too funny.

        I would love to be able to totally wash my hands of NASCAR but old habits die hard. I probably won’t be turning my back on NASCAR, I just want to get to the point where I don’t care that much. Although, it is really hard to justify watching something for 3+ hours that ends up coming down to a crapshoot in the last 20 minutes. It happens way too often now thanks to fake cautions late in the race, wave arounds and double file restarts.

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    I have always said since this stupid “Chase” came into play the non “Chasers” were ignored and how unfair for their efforts and the sponsors. I was told for years I was imagining the slights and that did not happen. I then started for form a unkind thought that many who follow NASCAR were just flucking stupid. It has been years in the making and plain on the nose of anyone’s face that if you are not in “The Chase” the network ignores you. It doesn’t take a genius IQ to see that. I still think the unhealthy state of “sponsors” can be a direct result of the TV media telling Brian (who was born lucky and seems to hate the hand that feeds him) what is best for his sport and ignorantly/lazily agrees with the people he signed contracts with. He does not care, imo.

    Seeing what we learned last year with this format (smart people figured it out as soon as they saw it in writing) it is getting worse and more desperate. Can Brian be anymore CAPTAIN OBVIOUS. Shameful. I so love the sport itself in it’s purity.

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      kb, I happen to agree with you and I’m very happy that I’m about to be a former fan so that I won’t have to embody the definition of insanity anymore by following the idiocy that the chase/playoffs/whatever tv/media want to call it.

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    The problem this fan has with NASCAR (and I know others) is the inconsistency of which these “punishments” are doled out. With this moronic “playoff system” their calls MUST be consistent and beyond question, as millions of dollars are at stake as well as jobs. From inspection process, to the calls made on the track NASCAR owes that to the teams and sponsors that really put up with more than they should from this greedy and idiotic sanctioning body. I would love a full on boycott. IMO of course.

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      I’ve been thinking that it would be great if all the drivers would leave NASCAR and start their own series with just pure racing. Now I realize that’s probably way too complex to actually happen in reality…but I sure wish it could! What NASCAR has become is shameful. Drivers spend years of their life and who knows how much money to make it to the top level in stock car racing…just to be pawns in an entertainment spectacle? It’s not right.