Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR and all of our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members and car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
It’s clear that 18 months after repaving, this isn’t the same old Bristol. That’s led to some mixed reviews from fans – but is the new Bristol a classic or a total flop?
Many drivers seemed to downplay the current engine dilemma. Kyle Busch said that “Mark Cronquist does such a good job at Joe Gibbs Racing that I don’t believe we’ll have engine failures – that’s never in the back of your mind.” Ryan Newman attributed the current upswing in failures to simply being “just the way things cycle.” Where concern is shifting to yet again in Atlanta is to the tires that will be run this weekend. Expectations were high after Greg Biffle and Juan Pablo Montoya both provided rave reviews of Goodyear’s newest Eagle following a preseason tire test, but so far they do not seem to be living up to the hype.
NASCAR has kept two races on the schedule at Auto Club Speedway despite faltering attendance and fan complaints about the quality of racing, claiming that it needs to have these dates in the California market. But is it really better for the sport to have a presence in certain cities than it is to provide a better product to the larger number of fans who tune in on television each week?
NASCAR’s top series headed out west to start a two-race stint on the left coast beginning with the first stop of the year at the Auto Club Speedway in California. With this just the second race of the season, the race to get into the Top 35 is a complete mess, with teams jumping way up and falling way down in the standings on a week-to-week basis. And while Matt Kenseth has opened the year with two victories, a pair of teams with guaranteed starting spots has opened up with two finishes outside the Top 35. Read on to see which teams rebounded and which team dug a deeper hole heading to Las Vegas.
So NA$CAR won’t let Alltel or Verizon sponsor a car, thus providing money to a race team, but they’ll gladly accept the money to sponsor an in-car camera feature. Greed will be the downfall of the sport I once loved so much.
Did You Notice? The big announcement on Thursday concerning Boris Said? It’s at 10:00 a.m. at the Media Center, and while I’m not yet at liberty to divulge details, rest assured this thing is big. I mean, big with a capital B. For Said, the most important thing is it’s going to give him an opportunity to finally compete a full-season schedule (by 2010) and see how he stacks up against the big boys. For years, he’s wanted a chance to see if his road-racing expertise could translate onto the oval tracks, but no owner or sponsor was willing to take a chance on him for more than a few races a year.
1. Talking About Times Getting Hard! – Johnny Benson took command of the Craftsman Truck Series championship points battle, at least temporarily, by winning the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Saturday afternoon. Benson, driver of the Bill Davis Racing No. 23 Toyota Tundra, left the track with a 65-point lead in the CTS drivers’ championship. He leapfrogged Ron Hornaday Jr., who finished 29th after running out of gas with three laps to go. For the first time this season, the series points leader had no primary sponsorship on his race truck. Geez… you would think that the series points lead and five wins on the season would get you some darn good sponsorship, wouldn’t you?
Joey Logano made a strong bid early, but Kyle Busch again dominated the Nationwide Series field, leading 137 laps to score a relatively easy win in Friday’s Dollar General 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Busch was briefly challenged in the race’s final laps by Jeff Burton, who, unlike the other leaders, opted for four tires on his final pit stop. Burton, however, was unable to make up enough ground on the high side to clear Busch’s No. 18.
The Nationwide Series took to a short track for the second time in three weeks and, also for the second time in three weeks, Clint Bowyer dominated the race. And nonetheless, for the second time in three weeks, Bowyer failed to score the win. Despite leading 195 of the 250 laps run, Bowyer’s car went to the loose side late in the running, allowing fellow title contender Carl Edwards to sneak by late and score his fourth Nationwide victory of the season. Bowyer finished third, after he was passed by Scott Wimmer with less than 15 laps to go.