Recent Posts

Ten Points To Ponder After … Phoenix

*War Buddies* - Curiously, the Hornaday team received much needed assistance in repairing their KHI Chevrolet Silverado from a contingent of Roush Fenway crewmen. Of course, head honcho at Roush Fenway Racing and a Ford Motor Company front man declared war on Toyota following their entry into the Sprint Cup Series last year. Team owner Bill Davis observed after the race that, “I didn’t see anyone helping us,” referring to driver Johnny Benson’s behind the wall repairs to his Toyota. However, Jack Roush explained his decision to help the KHI organization. “... he [Hornaday] definitely was the lesser of the evils that I was confronted with," Roush said. "You need to pick your friends as carefully as you need to pick your enemies, and I had a chance to define some space there. I think I made the right call.” Perhaps President-elect Obama ought to consider Jack Roush for Secretary of State or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should he ever decide to declare war against Japan.

Read More »

Bubble Breakdown : Heavy-Duty Wreck Leaves High Drama For Top 35 Heading To Homestead

Sunday's race at Phoenix could very well have been the day all teams in the Top 35 officially clinched their spots for 2009. But instead of the bubble teams following the lead of Jimmie Johnson and all but wrapping up their case, one big wreck turned the tables and made the battle to "lock in" a spot in next year's first five races a real barnburner heading to Homestead. Instead, it comes down to seven teams fighting for the final five spots with just 400 miles to decide it all. Needless to say, the battles at the back of the pack on Sunday may be more exciting to watch than the front of the field. Which teams are in and which are out of this whole fracas? Find out in the penultimate edition of this year's Bubble Breakdown.

Read More »

Sprint Cup Rookie Report : Ambrose Angling For Solid Finish To 2008

*Rocky Rookie Performance: Scott Speed.* Sure, Sam Hornish, Jr. took out Elliott Sadler and spun out during the “Big One” on Lap 274. But Scott Speed’s run on Sunday was both uglier and more disappointing than Hornish’s latest struggles. Speed, who took over the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota late this season -- which, with A.J. Allmendinger behind the wheel, was among NASCAR’s most improved teams -- was slow for the entirety of the race, nearly four laps off the pace when disaster struck. Speed, whose Toyota was engulfed in smoke from cars wrecking in front of him, plowed into the back of David Gilliland’s Ford so hard that he ended up with Gilliland’s car parked on top of his. The devastating wreck left Speed with a 40th place finish and continued his struggles at the Cup level. In four career starts, Speed has yet to crack even the Top 25, while Allmendinger, the man he replaced, has become the "A" performer in the GEM camp. For a driver with the dedicated backing of a billion dollar sponsor, top equipment, and an ego too big for the humble ranks of ARCA, Sunday was just another example of Speed failing to live up to his -- and his own -- hype.

Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Hefty Odor Block 200

*In a Nutshell:* Carl Edwards talked all week about how his No. 60 team had to be perfect the next two weekends if they had any shot of scoring a second consecutive Nationwide title. And while there were minor hiccups, the No. 60 group did everything they could, leading the most laps and dominating the second half of Saturday’s event to score Edwards his sixth win of the season. The defending champ was facing heavy competition early on from Kevin Harvick and from the No. 18 of JGR, this week driven by Denny Hamlin. Hamlin, who got within a car length of Edwards on the final lap, won the pole and led 62 laps, but never could recover from a botched pit stop that saw his crew mix sticker and scuffed tires during a tire change. Kyle Busch also faded late, suffering from brake troubles for the second portion of the race.

Read More »

Tracking the Trucks : Lucas Oil 150

*In a Nutshell:* Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag 0.940 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch to win the Lucas Oil 150 Friday night at Phoenix International Raceway. Harvick led the field to the green flag with eight laps remaining, and despite the hard charge Kyle Busch made, the driver and owner of the No. 2 Chevrolet went on to win his first Truck Series race of 2008. Todd Bodine, Brian Scott, and Mike Skinner rounded out the Top 5 finishers. *Who Should Have Won: Kyle Busch.* Busch started on the outside pole and led the first lap after Ron Hornaday, Jr. wrecked. Even after being challenged for the lead after just 50 laps, Busch fought hard on the outside and refused to give up quickly; he went on to lead 90 laps on the way to his fourth runner-up finish of the season.

Read More »

Johnson wins again at Phoenix to put himself in position to win title at Homestead

By Phil Allaway Sunday’s Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500k Presented by Pennzoil represented Crunch Time for the championship contenders, not unlike the later stages of an NBA Playoffs game, or the last event before the Eliminator on American Gladiators (Original run, Seasons 4-7, often referred to as “Crunch Time”). This …

Read More »

Numbers Game : Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

Numbers Game : Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 by Kim DeHaven 0.295 Jimmie Johnson’s margin of victory over Kurt Busch Sunday in the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. 1 Driver failed to qualify for the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. (No. 78 – Joe Nemechek) 1 Car moved to the …

Read More »

Big Six: Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

*Who…gets my shoutout of the race?* He made a last turn, last ditch effort for the win, getting his car sideways in Turn 4, but in the end, *Kurt Busch* couldn’t quite grab a win at Phoenix. Still, Busch had a great run in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. …

Read More »

Amen, Junior: Why NASCAR Needs to Trim the Fat

Last week, when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. commented that the length of the season is too great, the first thought that entered my mind, was “Shut up and drive.” But then, I really thought about it. The more I thought, the more I realized…maybe Junior was right. The argument you usually hear about the 38-week season (including two exhibition races) is that it’s hard on race teams, keeping drivers and crew members away from their families for too much of the year. There is really no time off at all for most teams, as the month and a half after the season ends is spent getting ready for Daytona testing in mid-January, and after that, Speedweeks is just around the corner, and it’s crunch time.

Read More »

More Excitement? The Chase Hasn’t Even Done That

The Chase for the Sprint Cup has been called “controversial” and “unpopular with some fans”, which are PC phrases for “a lot of people hate it”. In its fifth year, with ratings declining yet again as we close in on another likely lackluster finish to the season, we have reached the point where the Chase isn’t even succeeding where it was intended to succeed. Granted, as I discussed a couple of columns ago, Jimmie Johnson's domination doesn’t make for high ratings for this sport. That isn’t a knock on Johnson and his gang at all…it is to the 48 team’s enormous credit that they have, for the most part, stunk up the show in an era where NASCAR is attempting everything possible to turn the series into IROC. (Columnist’s caveat: the IROC series is now defunct.)

Read More »