Juan Pablo Montoya received a two-lap penalty during the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire for rough driving after intentionally spinning Kyle Busch under caution. Montoya said it was because Busch ran into him several times before that incident. Was the penalty fair, or was Montoya in the right?
10. Two-lap penalty for “rough, but extremely funny and satisfying” driving.
This story is about NASCAR’s heart and soul. In a world where primadonna drivers and corporate sponsorships can sometimes reign surpreme, we often forget there’s still one thing, one group still responsible for the sport’s unprecedented growth. Behind the fences lie millions upon millions of fans with unsolicited, passionate love for racecars. No question, NASCAR fans endure a devotion that’s unwavering, through good times and bad — even in times when the direction of the sport is in question, it’s through their love, support, and storytelling of what they love so much which allows racing knowledge and passion to move ahead.
Bob “The Ford Guy” Whitehead was one of those special people, a well known fellow around the internet racing groups — and I am proud to say he was a friend of mine.
The most interesting part of Sunday’s activities at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, at least up until the final two caution flags of the race, may have not even been during the race itself. Early in the broadcast of NASCAR Race Day on the Speed Channel, the satellite feed for the show stopped working. Although the network was able to fill in the down time with a phone message from show host John Roberts and with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s “Back in the Day,” the very obvious technical failure during SPEED’s biggest show must have been an embarrassment to the network. But this is not the first big failure of this kind this year.
Tony Stewart had arguably the best car all day — leading a race high 132 laps — but fell to 13th place, while a number of hot streaks came to an end — including Carl Edwards’ string of seven consecutive races with a top-10 finish. But one streak that will continue on to Daytona this weekend is Jeff Burton’s impressive 17-race, top 15 performance. Burton is among those in this week’s “HOT” column; read below to see who else joins him in this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup after New Hampshire.
1. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? – Hendrick Motorsports made it official last Friday that Casey Mears — who joined HMS in 2007 to replace Brian Vickers — would be released from his No. 5 Chevy ride at season’s end. Said team owner Rick Hendrick at the time of Mears’s signing, “Casey is a talented driver and a high-character person who is going to be a great fit with our organization.” Hendrick went on to say, “He has the ability to win races and ultimately contend for championships, so we’re thrilled to welcome him to Hendrick Motorsports.” After just 52 points races… next!
The teams on the edges of the Top 35 — or simply forced to qualify on speed — ruled the roost in Friday’s qualifying session. After a rain delay cooled the track, bubble dwellers swept five of the top 10 spots, including rookie Patrick Carpentier taking the pole to become the first top qualifier not born in the U.S. since 1953. That led to heightened expectations for this crowd on the weekend; and with Mother Nature playing a major role, those lofty goals were granted by the end of the day. Read on in this week’s Bubble Breakdown of the LENOX Industrial Tools 301.
Up until 2003, before the sport’s “Drive for Diversity” began, NASCAR had been contributing to Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH coalition, supposedly to help increase the number of minorities in auto racing. So far, no one can cite any specific achievements of that partnership, which reportedly cost NASCAR $250,000. The late NFL star and minister Reggie White, someone who was not often accused of insensitivity to the plight of blacks in his life, said out loud that Jackson’s association with NASCAR was a fraud: “It’s really disappointing to me that Jesse and his organization would take a quarter of a million dollars from NASCAR and not do anything with it to try to get black drivers into the sport.”
Q: Matt, let me start this by saying I am like most NASCAR fans. I have a soft spot for Mark Martin, one of the old guard. But a jump to Hendrick? Wasn’t he hanging up his driving shoes in 2004? How much longer will the “Salute to You” last?
Take yesterday’s Top 10 list — Top 10 Reasons Sponsors and Drivers Are Leaving DEI. Now, as Top 10 lists go, I just threw this one together at the last minute just to meet — OK, almost meet — a deadline. I didn’t feel it was all that special — in my opinion, I have written much funnier stuff. I also didn’t think it was all that mean because, as my editors can attest, some of my lists have provoked many an editorial meeting before being published. No, yesterday’s list was just middle of the road… or so I thought. But judging from the number and tone of the comments that yesterday’s list provoked, it would appear that I pulled the equivalent of whacking a hornets’ nest with a stick whilst naked. In light of that, it is at this point that I would like to include my honest thoughts about DEI so some of their fans can see where I was coming from when I wrote the list.