February 25, 2007
I realize it's only two races into the--how many races do they run in a season now, 33? 36?--season, but I love the fact that veteran and perennial underdog Mark Martin is sitting on top of the points standings. That's semi-retired Mark Martin who's supposed to be running a shortened 22-race season. Even after his second place finish at Daytona they were talking about letting Martin run the entire season and trying for a championship. After Daytona owner Ginn Racing said Martin could run the full season if he wanted to, and after today's fifth place finish and sitting on top of the standings that temptation is going to be much greater.
It's fun to see a veteran having the time of his life and setting an amazing example of sportsmanship. When NASCAR neglected to throw the yellow at the end of the Daytona 500 and denied Martin his first Daytona victory, Martin simply said "Nobody wants to see a grown man cry. That's what it is, and I'm not going to cry about it."
February 20, 2007
Oh yeah, NASCAR started up again. We're kind of on again off again here, so deal with it.
As a lifetime Mark Martin fan it should come as no surprise that I was bummed about Sunday's finish. There was much screaming and yelling as the cars started spinning, passing and flipping, but what's done is done. A last lap wreck while Martin was leading, but NASCAR didn't throw the caution which would have given Martin his first ever Daytona 500 win, and Kevin Harvick comes out of nowhere to beat Martin to the line by a few feet.
October 1, 2006
If you follow Mark Martin at all and know his history with Talladega you've just gotta love this comment from the NASCAR recap of today's race:
Martin, a self-described pessimist who has come agonizingly close to winning championships in the past, said he fully expects to wreck at Talladega Superspeedway next weekend.
But if that doesn't happen, he says, who knows?
"So far, I haven't had a disaster -- so let's go see what happens," Martin said.
September 24, 2006
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.
September 10, 2006
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.
April 20, 2006
1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope was fined $50,000 and 25 points at Texas when NASCAR discovered an improper manifold. According to Cope it wasn't about tricking NASCAR and sneaking in a few more horsepower. It was about being cheap.
The team has only one motor and it has a short track manifold. Thanks to the fine, the team won't be running the next few races. Marty Smith suggests NASCAR should only fine points, since the cash fines don't hurt big teams like Roush or Hendrick, yet they cripple teams like Cope's.
Smith explores some interesting history, including the punishment Cope's lone motor has endured, while a Roush motor would have the valve springs replaced just in case. It's a difference of economy and scale, a difference of cash. Cope doesn't have any, as evidenced by the fact that a $50,000 fine seriously set them back.
With cash in that short of supply, I think Cope should explore blogging. Other racers have turned to eBay to sell sponsorship, I think it'd be interesting to develop a blog following for such a down on your luck, penny-pinching story. I'd follow it.
April 1, 2006
So all the drama after last week's race at Bristol and it just gets worse. Jeff Gordon wants to be a bad boy (Bobby Labonte suggests he grow his hair long). Dale Earnhardt, Jr., thinks NASCAR issuing fines for swearing on in-car radios that happen to be broadcast live on TV are stupid. And everyone is speculating whether or not Martin Truex, Jr., will get revenge on Jeff Gordon who will get revenge on Matt Kenseth who will get revenge on Dale Jarrett and Kurt Busch.
February 26, 2006
With two races down it's a good chance to take stock of this year's drivers and see who might be in contention for the 2006 championship. Is it way too early for this? Of course, but why not? What good is being a couch potato without wild speculation?
He went down multiple times at Daytona and rallied back and he did the same thing at California--until his engine gave out. He's running as good as he was last year and once again you can always expect that bright orange car to be good. What is interesting is how aggressive Stewart has been. There was all the action at Daytona with Jeff Gordon and especially Matt Kenseth and at California he had a close call with Greg Biffle. Every time he saved himself from big trouble and was able to battle back, but I wonder how often Stewart can get away with it.
A former champion with a new team and a lot to prove after last year's mess. He had a strong run at Daytona until late trouble and ran strong early at California. He's definitely in the mix, but I'm not so confident in Penske Racing.
Another former champion, Kenseth learned to battle back last year. He did the same at Daytona, salvaging a 15th place finish after a run-in with the wall. He ran strong and took the win at California and definitely has momentum. I'd keep an eye on Kenseth this year.
He started as strong as you can with the Daytona win, and while he wasn't running incredibly strong at California, he was there at the end for second place. That's typical Johnson. He always seems to be there and I can't imagine this year will be different. Yet he keeps coming up close but not enough at the end of the year. Will this be the year he overcomes the haters and is finally close enough?
Greg Biffle won the Busch race yesterday on pit strategy after a yellow flag came out with ten laps to go. During the Cup race today the announcers mentioned that the late race caution in the Busch race came out for debris--a driver's glove on the track. NASCAR thought it might have been a piece of metal and couldn't verify what it was, so they threw the caution. Turns out they weren't able to determine whose glove it was.
The announcers acted like that was a pretty minor deal and I haven't seen anyone else talk about it, but doesn't that sound loaded with conspiracy? How would a driver's glove end up on the track? Perhaps a driver who wanted a caution to shake up the ending? Hmmm.
Apparently I'm just reading into things.
November 18, 2005
Going into the final race at Homestead the question on everybody's mind is what will it take to beat Tony Stewart? Four drivers have a mathematical shot at the title, Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle. But for three of those guys it means counting on bad luck to befall Tony Stewart. And that doesn't seem to happen to Stewart this year.
A ninth place finish by Stewart will clinch the championship, tenth place if he leads a lap (and we can almost count on him doing that). That sounds like the competition has a shot, but then you remember an 11th place finish by Stewart means Johnson has to win the race. A Stewart finish of 22nd means Edwards can win with a win, and Stewart placing 27th means Biffle can win with a win. No pressure.
You can check out all the scenarios yourself, but it pretty much means Stewart has to mess up and one of the other guys has to win. Stewart's earned this and if you're going to take it away from him you're going to have pull something magic out of a helmet. Factor in that Stewart has the best average finish (8.3) and the most wins (2) of Chase drivers at Homestead, and it's going to be a long shot for anybody but Tony.
September 10, 2005
The ten drivers in the Chase to the NASCAR Nextel Cup were decided tonight. Here's the run down:
- Tony Stewart
- Greg Biffle
- Rusty Wallace
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kurt Busch
- Mark Martin
- Jeremy Mayfield
- Carl Edwards
- Matt Kenseth
- Ryan Newman