September 24, 2006Speculating)
So Tony Stewart had a rare wreck today and took out Chase contender Kasey Kahne. Normally this might be justice since Kahne raced his way past Stewart into the Chase, but since the two are buds it's just a tragedy. And to hear Stewart's bellyaching it's a tragedy that NASCAR must remedy.
"This Chase thing needs a lot of work, and it's not a matter of how many cars make the Chase,'' Stewart said. "It goes a lot deeper than that.
"The guys that have an opportunity to win the Chase are guys that just don't have bad luck. That's all there is to it. It's not about anything else. Kasey can go out and win the rest of the races and not win the championship still.''
Sorry, Stewart, but it's not just about avoiding bad luck. It's about being consistently good. Having bad luck and screwing up is not being good and that's not good enough for a championship. Finish 38th a few times in a year and you're just not going to have much of a shot at a championship. It was true before the Chase and it's true now. Why should we handicap it to help out those who have bad luck? Racing is racing. Kahne's 16th place finish last week certainly didn't help him. You have to be consistently good to win, and Kahne--like Stewart--just doesn't have it this year.
Frankly, Kahne made it into the Chase and that should be reason enough to celebrate.Race Recap)
So Jeff Burton wins. Wow. It's been a while. As much as I like Matt Kenseth, I couldn't help but root for Burton.
And interesting shuffle in the championship standings. Not a good day for a lot of people. Except maybe the Jeffs. Jeff Burton is leading the championship standings for the first time since 1999 and Jeff Gordon is sitting in second.
September 17, 2006Race Recap)
Kevin Harvick wins the first of the 10-race Chase and takes the points lead for the first time in his Nextel Cup career. He dominated the race, too, leading almost two-thirds of the laps. Last week I said he was on fire, and he is.
Last week I also said you can never count out Jimmie Johnson, but with his 39th place finish maybe you can count him out. Kyle Busch also had a bad day and could be on the outs. Denny Hamlin and Jeff Gordon, however, had great days, finishing 4th and 3rd respectively, and moving up to 2nd and 4th in the standings. Jeff Burton came home with 7th, but more importantly managed to get a decent finish--not in the top five like he ran much of the day, but at least a top 10. Kenseth, Martin, Earnhardt and Kahne (10th, 11th, 13th and 16th), however, need to have stronger finishes.
11th is OK, but it may not be enough. But you have to give Mark Martin props for the move he made on Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman towards the end of the race, going three wide to pass both of them. Stealing two positions like that in the closing laps of a race is what you have to do. 11th may not be enough, but it's certainly better than 13th.
September 10, 2006Speculating)
So where are all the NASCAR blogs? I speculated a while ago that it'd be cool to see a blog from a shoestring team like Derrick Cope's. Or what about Morgan Shepherd's Racing with Jesus team? They seem eager just to get publicity and they're not exactly getting any TV coverage.
It doesn't have to be the driver blogging. How about a crew member? How about a truck driver? How about an insider somewhere? There has to be an enterprising person out there who realizes the attention a blog could draw. It seems like a no-brainer, especially for the teams at the bottom, those struggling to get attention and languishing outside the top 35.
Getting attention seems to be the only way some of these teams are still out there. Like Kyle Petty. It's not like he's going to win a race. But he still manages to get the sponsors and keep on doing what he's doing. It's not because he's successful on the track. It's because he can get the sponsors the attention they pay for. I think a blog could deliver the same thing.
Don't give me a journalist blogging. Don't give me another fan blogging (like myself). Give me a voice in the garage. Someone biased. Someone with something on the line. Someone who know's what's going on under the hood. Someone the networks will likely never cover. That's a blog I'd read.Race Recap)
It's been a while since I've done some NASCAR blogging. Having a kid can do that to you. But last night I taped the final race to the chase and watched it this afternoon (amazing how much faster a race can go when you fastforward the commercials).
Wow. With a scenario where one guys is out and eight guys are in I had no idea that of all the guys Tony Stewart would be out. I was thinking maybe Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton--but not Stewart. I have to say with a bit of biased glee that I'm pleased. I'm hardly a Tony Stewart fan. Stewart is amazing, but I'm fine with not having him in the mix for the championship.
The end of tonight's race was amazing with all of the guys who I thought might be in danger running well, and all the guys I thought would be safe were having problems. Stewart was back in the pack, Denny Hamlin had engine problems, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. had brake problems. Any one of them could have been out.