Luckily, Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 went off without a hitch on the weather front, and there were some interesting tidbits that I took from the broadcast. First of all, I mentioned last week that I thought I had missed something, since I didn’t remember seeing or hearing a Digger cartoon during the pre-race show. Well, it wasn’t just me not paying attention. It appears that FOX has nixed the pre-race cartoon. Yes, some people might be a little bit disappointed to hear this… but it’s for the best. Race fans deserve a professional broadcast, and CGI gophers talking about random stuff that isn’t exactly related to anything going on in the series is not really professional. Earlier this season, I said that I believed that the gopher and the accompanying cartoons were hurting FOX’s, and, by extension, NASCAR’s credibility. As much as I’d like to claim at least partial credit for this action by FOX, I know that I’m not responsible. If I were alone in my outright criticism of FOX’s actions with Digger, then I might be willing to take more credit. As it stands, there was substantial public outcry online against FOX’s cartoons, and I’m not the only person that has written about Digger this season.
On Sunday, Hendrick Motorsports celebrated the 25th Anniversary of their first victory in the then-Winston Cup Series. Back then, the team, then known as All-Star Racing, fielded the winning No. 5 for Geoff Bodine. Today, Jimmie Johnson capped off the anniversary celebration in the best way possible for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson, who had early issues on pit road, charged up through the field, and then used his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet in the manner of a battering ram in order to move Denny Hamlin out of the way on lap 430. After winning the race off pit road under a late caution, Hamlin passed on Johnson on the restart.
The fastest half-mile in the world at Bristol battered many of Cup’s top contenders and spit them out. Bad luck struck more than one competitor, most notably Greg Biffle, causing mechanical problems which dropped him out of the top 15 in our Power Rankings. So, which one of the three men above continues to remain on top of our rankings: Busch, Gordon or Johnson? Read on to find out, and see if your driver rode the new high groove to move up in the standings – or spun out off someone’s back bumper to move down in this week’s Power Rankings post-Bristol.
Hello, race fans. After a week off, both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series were back in action this past weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee for both the Food City 500 and Scotts Turf Builder 300. In addition, a special “Saturday Night Special” charity event featuring legends of the past and celebrities in late model stock cars was held after the Nationwide race on Saturday. How did all these broadcasts stack up? Let’s find out.
Once again, the Busch family has staked their claim to victory lane, reducing the act of winning a Sprint Cup race to a simple activity where the brothers take turns, like the game of Memory. At Las Vegas, Kyle Busch claimed the victory. Two weeks ago at Atlanta, older brother Kurt Busch dominated on his way to victory. This week, it was Kyle’s turn again. Kyle Busch started 19th and immediately started coming up through the field. Busch first took the lead on lap 69 from Jimmie Johnson, and from that point on, Kyle was in near complete control.
Four weeks into the season, the top of the Sprint Cup standings are still a long way from getting sorted out. But after everyone got a chance to take a deep breath this past weekend, it’s easy to notice a few trends starting to take shape. Once again, the multi-car giants of Roush, Hendrick and Gibbs sit atop the standings, preparing to be the heavyweights ready to duel once more for the Sprint Cup title. But the drivers leading the charge from each organization aren’t necessarily the ones you would have expected a month ago. Jeff Gordon looks like the Wonderboy of old, Matt Kenseth has the magic of Blickensderfer, while Kyle Busch is getting a push… from his brother? Such has been the rather strange beginning to the 2009 Cup season. To see where your driver sits on the Power Rankings ladder, read on as our experts try and sort out the contenders from the pretenders.
Well, fans, it’s already St. Patrick’s Day. We’re four races into the Sprint Cup Series season, and we’ve had three races each in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series seasons. The American Le Mans Series starts up this weekend with the 12 Hours of Sebring, Formula 1’s Grand Prix of Australia is next weekend, and the Indy Racing League campaign starts the weekend after that with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Fla.). But as you know, that is not the only racing out there. The United States (and Canada, for that matter) is peppered with various short tracks, road courses and drag strips that host weekly races. There are 28 of them in the state of New York alone, 23 of them being dirt. With the world economy the way that it is, it may be a little difficult to attend major league racing events this year. However, there are local options that are available to most fans out there. If at all possible, race fans should check out a local place at least once this season if they don’t already.
Thinking about some great racing to come, I sent a quick email to Frontstretch staff last week, asking those who had both the time and inclination to name their five favorite tracks on the circuit. The idea was to use their responses as a straw poll of sorts, proof for a future article on what tracks to watch out for next. But what I didn’t expect was the response and genuine excitement I’d get from almost every writer on the site. And so rather than write what, if I’m honest, might well have been a vague, generic column on good tracks for racing, I’ve decided to write up the results of my impromptu survey instead – Frontstretch’s view of the best tracks out there on the Sprint Cup schedule today. Admittedly, this is an extremely unscientific approach, and I’m sure with a rigorous methodology attached and a couple dozen focus groups, the results might look a little different. But that’s the beauty of sport – it’s all about opinions, isn’t it?
Greetings, race fans, and welcome to this week’s TV critique. Unfortunately, all three of NASCAR’s major touring series took the week off last weekend. This leaves me to give my opinions on some of the magazine shows on television. However, the buildup to the NCAA Basketball tournaments (Men’s and Women’s) has gotten in the way of rendering any kind of opinion on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now. This is because the show did not air in its normal time slot all week due to preemptions for live games. As a result, the critique of NASCAR Now will have to be pushed back – possibly to Easter Weekend. With that said, I still have some things to say about some of the other NASCAR-themed shows that have cropped up this season on SPEED Channel.
The first thing I do on Friday afternoons is click on SPEED to check out either Cup Pole Qualifying or practice – whatever is actually on. This past Friday was like the start of any other NASCAR weekend; but the minute I turned on the television, I immediately saw a graphical error scrolling across the screen. Todd Bodine had entered this past weekend’s Kobalt Tools 500 with the No. 35, a R&D team for Germain Racing. Well, the on-screen scroll at the top of the screen showed Bodine’s name up there – but with the wrong number attached (Scott Speed’s No. 82). I’ve mentioned this type of an issue before occuring during Truck Series races, but I’ve never seen it transfer over to Cup. Of course, this mistake was confusing for fans, with the more casual ones having no clue what was right or wrong on TV.