The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series made its annual spring journey to the Lone Star State for the running of the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this past weekend. They tell me that everything is bigger in Texas; and apparently, this adage can be applied to the problems of some bubble teams. There’s bickering at Petty Enterprises, sponsor issues at Michael Waltrip Racing, and Chip Ganassi seems to be of the belief that there needs to be some personnel changes on his No. 40 team currently driven by former open wheeler Dario Franchitti. All of this only seven races into the year; who says Silly Season in NASCAR ever stops?
On several occasions during the Martinsville race this past Sunday, the announcers in the FOX booth analyzed “short term gain” vs. “long term loss.” The comparison was made whenever a driver skipped a pit or took two tires for track position, meaning that they may gain track position in the short run, but the older tires may mean a net loss in the long run. The short-term gain vs. long-term loss is a debate that could, and should, be taking place regarding Cup drivers in the Nationwide Series, and nowhere was this more evident than at Martinsville last Sunday.
Today’s Question: In the wake of the sponsorship announcement that General Mills is leaving the organization, it’s assumed Bobby Labonte will follow suit. Does Petty Enterprises need the 2000 Cup champ on its roster in order to remain a viable entity in Sprint Cup?
Q: I’m a lifer Ken Schrader fan, and I read today that BAM Racing will skip the Texas race. I’ve followed Schrader from his days in USAC, and I hate to see him and his team have to sit out and give up owner points. Why doesn’t BAM align itself with a big team like others do?
Over the years, the “Silly Season” has grown longer and longer and now — thanks mostly to greed and inept leadership at the highest level of NASCAR — it’s grown to 366 days long. (I know there are only 365 days in the year… but that’s my point! It never stops!) How has it gotten to be this way? The main factor, as I see it, is simple, unadulterated greed. The price to be even remotely associated with NASCAR has simply skyrocketed over the years.
After two weeks of short-track racing, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the wide open spaces of Texas Motor Speedway for this weekend’s Samsung 500. They say things are often bigger and better in Texas; but that does that equate for success for your fantasy team? Read what our fantasy experts have to say in this week’s edition of Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans.
10. Jeff Burton called Michael McDowell and invited him to dinner.
It has just been a year since I wrote the article “Robby Gordon: NASCAR’s Lone Wolf” in which I touched on some of the uniqueness that is Robby Gordon. I was somewhat surprised to learn after the Frontstretch article appeared that the California native has a considerably larger fanbase than I had estimated. Likewise, I was equally dumbfounded that those same fans didn’t latch on to my “Lone Wolf” moniker and begin using it routinely and endearingly when referring to their favorite driver. Apparently, the name wasn’t as clever as I had originally believed it to be.
Jack Roush announced he would not seek legal action against Michael Waltrip Racing after MWR admitted it was the team that had been in possession of a “proprietary part,” which happened to be a sway bar, belonging to Roush Fenway Racing. Was there ever merit to his claims, or was it just Roush taking another jab at his new nemesis, Toyota?
With back-to-back top-10 finishes, Hamlin claims a spot on this week’s HOT list alongside JGR teammate Tony Stewart; but who else is deserving of the recognition? On the flip side, Michael McDowell had an impressive first two-thirds of the race, but received some criticism after the event for racing the leaders too hard in the closing laps. Where does the rookie fall after his debut start? Was he wrong or right? Check out this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup to find out.