Never in my years of being a follower of the sport have I witnessed the state of near-panic that NASCAR is in right now. They’re changing rules that had been in place for half a century, opening the press doors to people they once considered irrelevant, installing suggestion boxes for drivers and practically begging fans to tell them what they want. Never did I ever think I would see NASCAR, or any sport for that matter, dropping its tight-fisted, take-it-or-leave-it guard so quickly and obviously. It brings back memories of the 180 the town of Concord did when Bruton Smith threatened to move his speedway. But these efforts do little to address much of what ails NASCAR. Chicago was another nearly unwatchable race, and venues of its type are a good part of the reason why.Read More »
There has been discussion lately about rushing young drivers too quickly to the top in NASCAR, because at one time, in the not-too-distant past, it was considered out of the ordinary for drivers younger than their mid- to late-20s to join the elite class of race drivers that is now NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. It has become more and more common in recent years to see younger drivers reaching the top, along with many question as to whether it is detrimental to them or their careers. Certainly, one has to wonder if this is so. But there is another thing to consider as well. What about its effect on the sport?Read More »
With a much-needed off week prior to the 16th running of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis next Sunday, the Sprint Cup teams fighting for a spot in the Chase are gearing up for what will be a slugfest in the final seven races to determine who gets a shot at the championship following Richmond in September. With less than 200 points separating fifth from 13th in the standings, the margin for error for those competing for the title no longer exists. Each and every team has to be virtually flawless from here on out, executing excellence at each event to qualify for championship contention this Fall. Yet while that is all well and good, making for good story fodder down the stretch, their efforts will prove a moot point altogether... because the 2009 Sprint Cup champion will come out of the Hendrick Motorsports stable.Read More »
The twosome of NASCAR races at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend seemed to be shaping up in the same, slow way that we have come to grow used to at Joliet, Illinois' cookie-cutter track. On Friday, the Nationwide Series race was nothing more than a parade of small floats attempting to give chase to the behemoth balloon that is the Joe Gibbs Racing's Toyota-powered team. Saturday’s Cup race wasn't much better, as the nose of Mark Martin’s Kellogg’s Chevy inhaled clean air and simply dominated, surrendering the point only to Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson at times. Then, all of a sudden, came those last 50 laps…Read More »
"I've been watching [Ron] Hornaday, [Jr.]. I just knew this double-file restart was going to cost us. That was fun! That's what life's all about right there. These guys deserve to win. We could have parked the car yesterday with an hour left in practice. But you know, the best car doesn't usually win. The double file restarts are to mess the best car up so he doesn't win to make it good for the fans. And it did; but luckily, we pulled it off anyway." _Mark Martin_ "We had our struggles. It was an incredible call that [crew chief] Steve Letarte made, and the whole pit crew just did a fantastic job getting us off pit road. Got to thank the Patriot Academy and DuPont. It's a privilege having them on board. We could certainly use a night like this. We're really strong and showing them what we're made of on these [intermediate] tracks." _Jeff Gordon, finished 2nd_Read More »
2 Cars dropped to the rear of the field before the start of the LifeLock.com 400. (No. 34 John Andretti and No. 71 David Gilliland – both for Engine Changes) 2 hours, 59 minutes, 39 seconds Time it took to complete the LifeLock.com 400. 3 Drivers failed to qualify for …Read More »
After a series of frantic restarts, Mark Martin on worn tires was able to hold off Jeff Gordon on fresher tires to hand Rick Hendrick an early 60th birthday gift.Read More »
*ONE: Will Martin Truex Jr. make the Chase in his first year at MWR?* *_Fan Vote -- YES: 63%; NO: 38%_* It was a move Martin Truex, Jr. had to make. The No. 1 Earnhardt-Ganassi team has been in disarray all season long, and Truex has felt the effects with just three top 10s and a current 24th spot in the driver standings. A move to Michael Waltrip Racing may not be a jump to a perennial powerhouse, but it’s a move that could reap benefits as both David Reutimann and Marcos Ambrose have shown that the team does harness potential. The million dollar question is, though, will the partnership between Truex and Waltrip lead to a Chase berth in 2010?Read More »
Daytona Destruction Slices and Dices Chase Field – Who Will Be In and Who Will Be Out Come September?
Last Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona could very well prove to be lynch pin in the 2009 Sprint Cup season for several drivers. For all of the talk about how Bristol is a wildcard leading up to the Chase, or how Talladega is unpredictable and could single handedly determine …Read More »
Did You Notice? Truex Missed Teresa, Hall Of Fame Snubs, Fan Tragedy Averted, And Stewart’s Smelly Towel?
*Did You Notice?* … With the Hall of Fame’s official selection of its Top 25, debate’s now raging on which five will be picked to be part of the Hall’s inaugural class. When that happens, there will inevitably be drivers and teams that get snubbed … it’s just an unfortunate part of the process. But with the narrowing of the field to these select few, there’s already a handful of snubs that have already occurred. While the committee did a fantastic job, here’s three people I feel should have been given the honor of being part of that special “final” group...Read More »