Q: You may have taken up for little Shrub last week, Matt, but the take a bow routine with the entire pit crew that Busch put on before the All-Star race was an in-your-face shot at the crowd. What a mockery! Yes, he has talent, but no class. It will catch up to him.
The Sprint Cup Series went from the gritty Darlington Raceway to the glitzy All-Star Race in the last two weeks; but now, it’s time to get down to business in the longest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600. Sunday’s event will be a test of endurance for the drivers and crews, as they fight the change from racing in the daylight to finishing under the lights. But how will your fantasy team hold up during the year’s longest marathon? More than any other race, you need to build around not drivers who that not only finish first, but specialize in being around at the finish: consistency and durability in your lineup are the keys to coming out on top. So, which drivers will help you go the distance and have your team outlasting the competition, and which ones will fizzle out before the end? Read this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans to find out.
The Sprint All-Star Race lacked the excitement of previous years. Why was that, and what can be done to revitalize the race in the future?
10. It takes 575 gallons of yellow paint to paint the walls of Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
You would think that after 23 previous All-Star Races under NASCAR’s belt they would pretty much have a formula in place that guaranteed an exciting and fun evening of racing entertainment. But last Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Challenge demonstrated just how little it is possible to learn in almost a quarter century. The truth is, with the exception of the Kasey Kahne storyline of winning after being voted into the event by fans… the race has left little in the way of NASCAR journalists to expound on.
With $1 million on the line Saturday night, drivers and fans got a glimpse of what just may happen when points are up for grabs at the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend. While the annual Sprint All-Star event, traditionally run on the weekend prior to Memorial Day, may be an altogether different animal – it’s a 100-lap sprint compared to the longest race on the NASCAR schedule – many teams still view the event as an extended test session. Because of that, don’t be surprised if some of the stronger cars last week will be up front once again, putting what they learned to good use late Sunday night.
It’s not often that we see them on camera; like a rare bird, they dash out of shot, intent on accomplishing the task at hand. But that doesn’t stop our curiosity; instead, we sit at home and wonder why they’re there. What do they do? Is it really important? The fact is, our heroes, the drivers of NASCAR, wouldn’t be able to go anywhere without them. These people are the teams, crews, and support staff for the Sprint Cup circuit.
1. No Problem, Ron – Sprint Cup Series point leader Kyle Busch ended his six weekend streak of winning a race – somewhere and in some type of car or truck. The Las Vegas native won the pole positions at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for both the Craftsman Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 and the Sprint Cup All-Star Race, but did not visit Victory Lane in either contest. In the All-Star Race, Busch appeared to be the driver to beat as he dominated the early going, but encountered engine problems before the end of segment two, relegating him to the 24th and final position in the running order. Busch also dominated the CTS event, leading 86 of the first 105 laps on the night; however, with just 29 laps remaining in the contest, reigning series champ Ron Hornaday and Busch made contact, requiring NASCAR’s hottest driver to pit twice for repairs and dash his hopes for a victory. Said Hornaday, a three-time CTS champion; “I got loose and got into him. He got the short end of the stick.”
Dear Dale Earnhardt Jr. I’m writing to congratulate you on your terrific season so far. Smile, dude… Jeff Gordon would love to be in your position right now. Still, I’m sure you grow weary of the press harping on that zero in the win column. Just this week alone, Pete Pistone of Racing One wrote a piece entitled “Still in Search of Victory Lane.” Buddy Shacklette’s column “Jr. Nation Appears Alive And Well” mentions the streak is now 72 races. Even our own Tom Bowles pointed out the Richmond incident that’s kept you winless in 2008. If you listen to much of the racing press, your season so far has been a failure.
It was a tough day this past week during the Nationwide [Series] testing at Charlotte. We tore up a really good racecar, which is unfortunate. I am OK, but I feel bad for the guys back at the shop. The good thing though is that is really the only negative thing that has happened to us recently, as our season is really shaping up the way we knew it would.