A driver who quietly had an outstanding weekend, Casey Mears had a strong finish at a difficult track. After hovering near the top 10 on the speed charts since Friday, Mears brought it home in ninth, the highest finishing position in the Richard Childress Racing stable. Though a mid-pack driver most of this season, Mears has had his strongest runs at two of the series’ most demanding tracks, Richmond and now Dover. A lot of teams would have been happy with the run Mears had this week.
The trouble with great expectations is that when you fall even just a little short, the disappointment is exponentially greater. In the case of Richard Childress Racing, falling short is very much the story of its season so far. And nowhere was that more evident than at Lowe’s Motor Speedway this past weekend where the …
NASCAR’s longest and most grueling race, the Coca-Cola 600, represents a significant milestone in the 2009 season. It’s not quite the halfway point to the Chase (that comes the following week after Dover), but once the checkers fly late Sunday evening, we’re exactly one-third of the way through the 36-race schedule. With that in mind, it’s a good time to take a step back and look at how the Sprint Cup contenders (and pretenders) have performed thus far.
Q: Seven different winners in the first 10 races is pretty good, even if Kyle Busch has three of them. The playing field among the top teams seems pretty good. So, my question is what is the Modern Era record for the most different winners in a season?
Kyle Busch scored his 50th win NASCAR Cup, Nationwide and Truck competition with last weekend’s two victories at Richmond. Busch says he wants to get to 200 to “beat” Richard Petty’s mark. Can he get there?
Q: Why did NASCAR penalize Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Casey Mears for their actions at Phoenix? I thought NASCAR wanted emotion… isn’t that what Brian said last year? I could maybe understand a penalty if Junior spun Mears during green and caused a big wreck, but on the cool-down lap?
After a thoroughly disappointing start to 2009 for the No. 07 and No. 29 teams, two operations that secured Chase berths in 2008, news broke today that owner Richard Childress has swapped the crew chiefs and crews of both teams in an effort to improve chemistry and performance on the racetrack.
Did You Notice? Just probation for Casey Mears and Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Did you really expect the sanctioning body to do anything more after their little post-race altercation at Phoenix? We already have the U.S. Army spread out in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere across the globe… there’s no need to dispatch an additional battalion to protect Brian France and Co. should they have made the bold, unprecedented move of suspending Earnhardt for aggressive driving – or taking away points that could possibly keep him from Chase-ing with the season he’s had.
Mark Martin was able to quickly dispatch Ryan Newman on the race’s final restart, and Tony Stewart never generated the steam to catch him. Martin’s victory is a feel good story, but it doesn’t hide the fact Phoenix wasn’t much of a race.
For all the talk of anti-climactic races this season, NASCAR was fortunate to have an exciting finish this weekend. Sure, there were long green-flag runs throughout the race, and clean air provided such an advantage that Dale Earnhardt Jr. couldn’t compete without it – but there were several moments that made this finish interesting.