As much as Brian France would like to fuggiddaboutit, it is well known throughout the racing world that NASCAR is now facing a huge, multimillion dollar lawsuit claiming, among other things, sexual harassment and racial discrimination. The suit is being brought on by one Mauricia Grant, or “Mo” as she is more commonly called. “Mo” was a NASCAR Official in the now Nationwide Series for about two-and-a-half years — from 2005 until her termination in 2007 — and “Mo” is a 32-year-old Afro-American female. Those are all facts.
Twists and turns, ups and downs, fuel mileage and wine — all will come into play this weekend at Infineon Raceway for the Cup Series. But this weekend’s race filled with left and right turns can really play havoc on fantasy teams where owners are limited to only live drivers and no bench. Road courses can really tax a team who has been running well, but has one or two drivers who are not successful at them. To get the best choices for drivers who will be the prime vintage this weekend, read on to see who the experts chose this week in Picks ‘N’ Pans.
Q: Matt, can you or someone tell the true story of what happened to Joey Clanton and Jack Roush in the Truck Series? If I remember correctly, Joey was a co-driver for some team in 2007. Joey came from Georgia, as well as his sponsor Zaxby’s Chicken. He and Zaxby’s teamed with Roush for 2008… but after the Daytona race, Joey left, and the official statement was he had family interests to pursue. Joey was a good up and coming driver, having won an ASA title a few years ago. It appears Roush used him to get the Zaxby’s sponsor and then booted Joey for someone else. Maybe Joey can make a comeback next year?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. snapped a 76-race losing streak at Michigan on Sunday with a fuel mileage win; but should NASCAR have allowed Junior, who passed the pace car on more than one occasion in an effort to conserve fuel, to retain the top spot?
10. Make sure that NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver wins, so the maximum number of people are happy.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s first win in over two years could not have come at a better time for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. The sanctioning body desperately needed something positive to transpire for the sport after a week in which it found itself in the forefront of the national news — and not for anything race related on the track. Instead, they were being sued by a former employee, Mauricia Grant, a NASCAR Busch [Nationwide] Series official who alleges that she had been subjected to racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination.
The long-awaited first Hendrick-Earnhardt victory finally came this week at Michigan, but it didn’t come without controversy. Winning on fuel mileage, the No. 88 team worked some pit strategy to make it to Victory Lane; however, Matt Kenseth and Brian Vickers have criticized Dale Earnhardt Jr. and NASCAR for allowing the eventual winner to pass the pace car under caution. And Earnhardt wasn’t the only one who enjoyed success at the 2-mile oval; the Red Bull and Roush Fenway teams also had strong runs. Will this hot topic land all three teams on the HOT list this week? Check out this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup for the answer.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a lot of reasons to win Sunday’s Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, not the least of which was the strong reader response to my being critical of Junior for lethargic television interviews in last week’s column. The results were varied, but most sided with Junior, saying that he does enough media appearances to suffice the wants and demands of the networks and that he deserves some lenience about his interviews, considering he does them after racing in extreme heat for several hours. I’m sure Junior read the column for inspiration, and that led him to Victory Lane on Sunday – I’m positive.
2. Would You Like Fries With That? – Joe Gibbs Racing driver phenom Joey Logano, continuing to live up to high expectations set by the sports media and NASCAR insiders — such as respected veteran Mark Martin — set a new mark for the youngest driver, at 18 years and 21 days, to ever to win a Nationwide Series race. Logano, piloting the JGR No. 20 Toyota, crossed the finish line more than two seconds ahead of runner-up Scott Wimmer in the Meijer 300 at Kentucky. “Three starts, two poles, one win. He’s OK,” said a very pleased Dave Rogers, Logano’s crew chief. What were you doing at 18?
Rain on Friday afternoon washed out NASCAR qualifying at Michigan International Raceway, meaning the starting grid was set by owner points — leaving the No. 70 Haas Automation Chevrolet and the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Chevy as the odd teams out. But while the teams on the bubble breathed a sigh of relief, their calm was short-lived, as they now had to deal with starting the race in the back of the field in a car that has been highly criticized for not running well in traffic. So, which teams towards the back of the field were able to navigate their way to the front? See for yourself as we break down the hunt for the Top 35 in this week’s Bubble Breakdown for the Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Raceway.