Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards followed up a fast run in Friday afternoon’s Cup practice with a pole-winning lap for Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
One thing that really, really irks me – as well as many NASCAR fans – is the use of the term “Nextel Cup champion.” It is commonly said that Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt are each seven-time Nextel Cup champions. Jeff Gordon is also known to be a four-time Nextel Cup champion, singled out as the only man capable of tying, or possibly eclipsing, those two NASCAR icons. Well, such statements are simply not true.
Christmas shopping alert! Sam’s Club is selling a “Once-in-a-Lifetime Package NASCAR Insider’s Racing Experience,” which just went on sale Wednesday. Among the many features of this gift package are the opportunity to become an honorary crew member at the May 2008 Charlotte race, a hot lap around the track in the official pace car, and a spot in the Petty Enterprises suite from which to watch the race. Your cost? Just $24,800. I know for that price you’ll be tempted to stock up for all your gift giving needs! (Sadly, there is just one package available).
For an official explanation, though, I give you NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp: “A failure did occur in a piece of portable dispensing equipment that is sometimes used to supplement the permanent pumps on busy race days,” Tharp told reporters at Texas Motor Speedway this past weekend. “This failure allowed a small amount of water to be dispensed. Portable equipment has been used for many years without a problem and, in fact, this equipment functioned properly during the Craftsman Truck race at Atlanta, right before the Nextel Cup race.”
After waging a hard-fought battle with Jimmie Johnson over the final 10 laps, is Matt Kenseth being unfairly criticized for openly mentioning he’s going to settle for second on the radio?
10. Other drivers hire Tonya Harding to give both Jimmie and Jeffy a good “knee whacking.”
I’m not an advocate of another 1.5-mile speedway elbowing a date out of a unique 1-mile paperclip, but I know change is just part of growth… and growth can be good. Seriously, whoever thought New Hampshire was the optimal site for a keynote race that should be one of the biggies? The joint is flat, having not taken the much-needed step of installing variable banking; it’s got one, and only one, racing groove which makes it difficult (if not impossible) for the Car of Tomorrow to pass; it has yet to discover that lights, as any 3/8-mile short track in the rural parts of our country will tell you, are a good thing; and lastly, and with no offense to the fine residents of Loudon, N.H. – it’s in Loudon, N.H. That’s OK for race No. 17; not OK for race No. 26.
Friday’s announcement by O. Bruton Smith, Chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI) that he had purchased New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS) for $340 million should concern the fans of the New England area. Smith, who also revealed that as part of the change of ownership, the name of the racetrack will be changed to New Hampshire Motor Speedway, can be counted on to make drastic changes other than just the subtle name modification. The exact details of the future plans for NHMS are not completely clear, but all indications are that Smith’s interests do not necessarily align with the best interests of the outstandingly loyal fans of the extreme northeast region of this country.
They say everything is bigger and better in Texas, and that adage certainly proved true for Jimmie Johnson, as he continued his quest for back-to-back Nextel Cup championships. Once again, Johnson and the No. 48 team found themselves at the front of the field when it came down to money time, as he ran down Matt Kenseth in the closing laps to score his ninth win of the season and third in a row. Not even his teammate/co-owner/mentor Jeff Gordon can seem to tame the No. 48 juggernaut; with just two races remaining on the schedule, he’s fallen behind his streaky teammate.
0.944 – Jimmie Johnson’s margin of victory over Matt Kenseth in the Dickies 500 (in seconds).