Saturday, October 31, 2009
Whether or not you agree with the decision to have Lance McGrew back with Dale Earnhardt Jr in 2010, one things for sure- you at least know what is happening.
The past few weeks, uncertainty hit the team, and it showed. Dale Junior made comments almost as if it were a cry for help. It all seemed to be improvement, but then it took a step back. Junior made it clear of all his frustration and even Rick said he was frustrated, but he kept hinting back to the fact that it as all bad luck.
Week after week, fans were waiting. Rumors kept circulating the team about possible crew chiefs, and the more the team waited, the more that it seemed to be Lance's opening. And it was.
Ever since taking over the job in May, they have gotten faster, but have been unable to close the deal. There have been new cars, new forms of communication, and it has all been paying off. They just have to get the last 100 miles together.
Now, they have all the rumors behind them. They know exactly who their "dictator" will be. They just have to tie it all together and focus on the future. And besides, this week is Talladega, and it would be a prefect spot to start the turn around.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
We all knew Kyle Busch has had a bad year--if you call winning four races bad. However, he did miss the chase, which was surprising compared to last year, where he was the top seed going in.
A few days ago, following the race at Martinsville, something happened that was really never thought of, or rumored: Kyle Busch would get a crew chief change, as Steve Addington would leave after the Talladega race, and Dave Rogers would take over, as the team hopes it will turn the performance around.
Dave Rogers is a great crew chief, we all should know that. If you pay attention to the Nationwide races, you'll know that he is the crew chief of the 20 car, a car that has beaten Kyle Busch on several occasions. However, Steve Addington is also a good crew chief. After all, they have won around ten races since Kyle went to JGR. It was quite a surprise to me, as well as others, when there was even such a rumor following the race on Sunday. But to even have it happen, told me something. That team has high, I mean really high expectations. We all know Kyle does, but I don't think much of it was his decision. Even running better than average, they still aren't satisfied.
I think it is great that they are wanting to win badly, but I don't think they are going about it right. Busch and Addington have done very well together, and have won many races, but I just don't see how dropping the performance that fast can even be blamed on one man.
They just had a bad year, and a team can't have that great of performance for too long(maybe if your Jimmie Johnson). That's the nature of this sport. The team hit the panic button when it wasn't needed. They just finished 5th at Martinsville! How is that bad? I just don't quite understand it.
I guess if they were going to make a change, now would be a good time to do it. They have nothing to lose this year, it's just that they will have a lot more to lose next year if they make the wrong decision. I may be wrong, and it won't be the first time, we just have to sit back and watch, as we always do.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Among the drivers looking for rides for 2010 are:
Bobby Labonte and Reed Sorenson will both seem to be losing their 2009 rides due to the Richard Petty Motorsports/Yates Racing merger. With the two organizations coming together to form one next season, they must scale back to a combined four cars. The newly formed team plans to hold on to existin RPM drivers Elliott Sadler, Kasey Kahne, and AJ Allmendinger -- leaving Sorenson withouth a ride for next year.
Sorenson does have a part-time Nationwide Series deal with Braun Racing for next season, but no word on a Sprint Cup opportunity for 2010.
Paul Menard, a current Yates driver, will also be part of the newly formed team. However, his teammate Labonte is the odd man out.
Jamie McMurray is forced to seek a seat elsewhere, as 2009 was the last season Roush Fenway Racing was given to field five cars before having to scale back to the four-car cap NASCAR implemented a few years ago.
David Stremme's current ride, the No. 12 car at Penske Racing isn't going away, but Stremme won't be in it next year. After one year back in the Sprint Cup Series after a one year stint back in the Nationwide Series, Stremme will lose is ride to Brad Keselowski in 2010.
Casey Mears hasn't lost his ride in the No. 07 at Richard Childress Racing as of now, but it is in jeapordy. Childress doesn't yet have a sponsor for the No. 07 for next season, and according to team owner Richard Childress, if one isn't found by the close of this season, he may have to go back to being a three-car operation for 2010.
The only ride that looks to be up for grabs is the No. 1 car at Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing. Martin Truex Jr., the current driver of the No. 1 car, announced awhile back that he would be leaving the organization to pilot a car for Michaeal Waltrip racing, as team owner Michael Waltrip scales back to a part-time schedule.
There's no official word yet on which of these drivers, or another driver from perhaps the Nationwide Series, for that matter, will get the only ride that seems to be available, but rumors have McMurray as the leading candidate.
One coincidence of note -- three of the four drivers mentioned above who are looking for rides, or four of the five if you already count Mears as losing his ride, are former Ganassi Racing drivers. Of the drivers looking or possibly looking for teams for 2010, Labonte is the only one who hasn't driven a car for Chip Ganassi. The rest of them got their first Sprint Cup Series rides from Ganassi.
Whether it's McMurray or someone else, it looks as if someone will return to where it all started.
Monday, October 26, 2009
In the past few weeks, speculation has circulated around the number 88 team about who may be the crew chief for the 2010 season. From what almost seemed like a cry for help from Dale Earnhardt Jr, Tony Eury Sr seemed to be a candidate for the job. Of course, that was very unlikely, and Lance McGrew would have to leave from the position first, which almost seems will not happen anytime soon from Rick Hendrick's recent comments. However, we finally know one thing for sure. Tony Eury Sr talked about his plans for the 2010 season for JR Motorsports, a team co-owned by Dale Jr and Rick Hendrick.
Eury said that he is not exactly sure what the team has in store for next year, however the 88 Nationwide team will be running full time with Brad Keselowski's replacement, Kelly Bires. He said that he plans to return as the crew chief of that car, as is he with Keselowski. He said he is almost 100 percent sure, but things might change.
This is great for JR Motorsports, and all the Kelly Bires fans. However, it may not seem all that bright of news to people who were eager of the possibilities that Tony Eury Sr would return in the cup series helping Junior, even though it was very unlikely, even said by Junior himself.
So mark him off the list. The search however, continues. There have been other crazy ideas thrown out there lately of who would make a good fit. We will have to keep waiting, until Rick Hendrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr find that true "dictator."
Sunday, October 25, 2009
The question is was that uncalled for? Was that too dangerous? Should NASCAR have thrown the yellow sooner?
Well, in my opinion, there should have been a caution thrown a little bit earlier, but I have to give NASCAR credit for letting the teams race that extra bit. As I was watching the last lap, I did not see the cars slow down at all until the start finish line, regardless of the caution being out. Even so, the caution didn't wave until at least after the the leaders exited turn four. I think, that the caution should have been thrown as late as possible, but yet able to have enough time to slow down before the start finish line, around where the car was.
I see this as a more bigger problem than the race at New Hampshire, where I felt people complained about a dangerous situation that didn't really exist for no reason. This race was cutting it close, and I feel that the timing could have been a little bit better.
You also have to remember that NASCAR has to make a call in less than a slit second, and it can be hard to make the right one. I give NASCAR credit, however I feel like the time needs to be better when these scenarios occur. This way, safety is better and better in the final laps.
Trust me, I DO NOT want to be the negative guy who says the Chase is over before it actually is. And believe me, I usually do hate it when they say it is over. But come on people. It looks to be over. But wait! Don't stop reading now, there is still one thing that needs to be done before we can actually make these assumptions, and that is racing at Talladega.
Yep, you heard me, the scary word--Talladega. If Talladega can't make the Chase more exciting, no other track can. It's gonna take two things: bad luck for Jimmie Johnson, and good luck for the other competitors.
After Martinsville, the three time champ has now opened up a 118 point lead over second place, who just happens to be Jimmie's teammate, Mark Martin. Now, it is still mathematically possible, but not probable. In fact, it is the biggest Chase lead so far. Just two weeks ago, it was the closes, but give Jimmie time, and he will pull the lead more and more.
Now this is why I like Talladega. It is a great place in the Chase, at least in my opinion. It is only four races away from the final race of the season, which can either make for more excitement, or can help with the lack of excitement and provide hope for the fans.
However, is it possible for the 48 team to have bad luck? They just never seem to. If you have ever heard the expression, "Better to be lucky than good," then you know it pretty much describes Jimmie Johnson. The thing is, he is both lucky and good. And for the most part, you need luck to win at Talladega, and you need to know what the heck your doing first of all, but we all know the 48 team does.
So, what if Johnson "escapes" from bad luck? Then, it's over. And you know it. The 48 team has been very successful in the final tracks of the chase, it's obvious because of the past three championships. So, if your anti-Jimmie Johnson, you just have to cross your fingers, because it will be tough for anyone to beat him.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
RCR’s Nationwide Series program isn’t experiencing the level of success this year that it has in recent years, but the organization has scaled back in that series, usually only running one car (as opposed to two in previous years) and having no full-time Nationwide Series drivers in its stable. Even so, RCR does have two Nationwide wins so far this season.
On the other hand, RCR has four full-time teams in Sprint Cup competition after adding the No. 33 car for the 2009 campaign. So far, the team seems to have faltered, either because of despite the addition of a fourth team.
Not only does Richard Childress Racing have no representation whatsoever in the Chase for the first time since the Chase’s inception, but none of the four teams have been able to manage a win through 31 races in 2009.
All four teams combined only have nine top-five finishes -- four from Clint Bowyer, three from Kevin Harvick, two from Jeff Burton, and none from Casey Mears.
In the final races leading up to the Chase cutoff, Bowyer looked to be RCR’s only hope of getting a car into the Chase. He fell short, though, and now sits 15th in the points standings, highest of any RCR driver.
Mears and Burton are barely in the top-20 right now, with Mears in 18th and Burton in 19th. Harvick isn’t even in the top-20, as he currently holds down the 21st position.
Harvick’s frustration with the team’s performance this season has been so intense that the rumor mill not so long ago had Harvick trying to get out of his contract (that runs through the 2010 season) a year early to search for greener pastures. Whether he was unable to get out of his contract, he had a change of heart, the rumors were blown out of proportion, or a little of each, Harvick is now saying that he’s committed to driving for RCR next season. But at the same time, he often doesn’t seem to be excited about it.
As team owner Richard Childress has done several times in the past, he’s shaking up his personnel, hoping to find some combination, or at least one combination that clicks. He’s not waiting until the end of the season to do it either.
I said previously that RCR would continue to adjust our team lineups in order to have the right personnel in place and this is the next step in that process,” Childress said.
After Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway, Todd Berrier will take over as crew chief on Burton’s No. 31 team. Doug Randolph will then take over for Berrier as crew chief of the No. 07 driven by Mears. Randolph makes the move from the organization’s No. 29 Nationwide Series car driven by Burton, Bowyer, and Stephen Leicht. Dan Deeringhoff will assume crew chiefing duties for that car.Scott Miller, who has been the crew chief of Burton’s No. 31 since 2005, will become the full-time director of competition for RCR. He was named to that position in September, but has only been in that capacity part-time, while also continuing his crew chief duties.
“Todd, Doug, and Dan are all proven winners, so the goal of these moves is to put them in the best situations to continue that success,” Childress said.
There will also be minimal changes changes made within the crews of the No. 07 and No. 31 teams.So many changes made all at once may set the RCR teams back just a little before they can move forward, as the new driver-crew chief pairings get used to each other, but at this point, the 2009 season is already in the toilet, and RCR may as well go ahead and get started on preparations for 2010.
“I’m confident that making these changes now will be a benefit to the teams for the rest of this season as well as in preparing for 2010,” Childress said.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Going into the 5th race of the 2009 Chase, things were looking good. Meaning that Jimmie Johnson will not win another championship, and if he did, it would be close. It seemed to be looking like a good race to the championship unlike years in the past. However, that little fantasy ended right after it started.
Let's fast foward through the Lowe's Motor Speedway race. Now Jimmie Johnson is 90 points ahead of second place Mark Martin, and it is beginning to look like it is not going to close up by much.
Could the Chase be over? It looked like it would be close, but if you look at the past, Jimmie Johnson never makes any bad mistakes. In fact, he just keeps winning, and winning, and winning. Now, it looks like he will get four in a row.
The 48 team is amazing. They have the "magic" that nobody else has. They don't make any mistakes, and they just keep performing. But the thing is, they don't have any bad luck. They have amazing luck. Everything seems to fall the way Chad Knaus wants it to.
So, will anyone catch him? The answer: no. No way. Maybe next year, but I just don't see it happening. You can't finish in the top 5 every week and win the championship. You have to win. And when I say win, I mean win more than Jimmie Johnson. That is tough to do.
The thing is, I think this is good for our sport. Over the years, teams have seemed to have lost their winning desire. If Jimmie Johnson continues to dominate, it will force others to step up their game, work harder, and make the sport more exciting. In a few years, there will be more exciting finishes for the championship more often.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Less than 20 laps to go!! The drivers are anticipating the checkered flag in just several minutes. They try to get what they can, every spot they can catch, and they begin to realize that there is not much more they can do, time is running out. Some are happy with what will most likely be their finishing position, some are not. NASCAR begins to worry, there isn't going to be a good finish, Oh No! We have to do something! Quick, put the yellow out! That's what happened Sunday at Auto Club Speedway--well, at least according to Kasey Kahne.
"It's disappointing that we had a bad race because of a caution to put a show on for the fans. That's a good part of the sport - we have to keep the fans excited - but sometimes it ruins people's days," said Kahne.
Kahne however, was not the only one. There was at least another driver, that made it very clear on the radio. Around one lap before the "mystery" caution, Dale Earnhardt Jr came on his radio and told his team something very interesting. He told his team that they better figure out a plan, because there will be a caution soon to bunch things up. And about 25 seconds later, "caution's out." Junior also showed his displeasure after the caution, but I'm not going to repeat anything he said. One reason is I don't remember it all, the other....let's keep this a family friendly website.
So, are they right? Well, maybe, maybe not. There was debris, but was it a harm to the fans or the competitors? I guess we'll save that for another rainy day, but what if? Yes, let's play the famous "what-if?' game.
What if NASCAR did throw the caution and it was unnecessary? I'm not saying there wasn't debris, I'm just saying if it was thrown unnecessarily, that it was not a problem. Is it good for our sport? Would it really make things more exciting? I guess I can't answer that for you, but if you like wrecks, maybe that was a good choice in your opinion. But, shouldn't NASCAR be more careful with debris cautions? After all, they can't keep the track completely clean. I'm my opinion, if the sport is struggling so much that they have to have cautions at the end where they may not be needed, then it's not good. If this is all true, NASCAR should find another way to make it exciting, not by just "rigging" it. Everyone knows drivers have been suggesting ways for a long time to make it exciting, even the fans have. It cost a lot of drivers a good race, and spread the Chase points out even more.
Who knows, maybe it didn't even happen that way at all. The only people that know, are NASCAR, and they have already voiced their explanation, it's just up to if you believe it or not.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
It has been a disappointing season for Dale Earnhardt Jr, NASCAR's most popular driver, and it continues to be that way. It should however, be just a little bit different than it actually is.
It just seems as if it is all just bad luck. If you take a look at the whole season in general, especially after the crew chief change, there aren't a lot of things that Dale Jr himself has caused. He just has bad luck, end of story. For some reason, he just can't catch a break.
It is not Junior nor is it his crew chief. The team has been running so good lately, with the good car at Loudon ending in a wreck(not his fault), and a good run at Kansas leading with a pit road penalty and a blown motor(again, not his fault), and the recent race at Fontana(having a good car and being wrecked, not his fault).
On paper, they're terrible. However, if you take a look at the running positions that the 88 team has been in lately, you'll notice that they aren't that bad. For some reason they just can't get things to work their way. With cautions, motors, bad pit stops, it just doesn't all come together.
They better shake all this bad luck off soon because the season is ending, and the 2010 season will soon begin. And everyone will have the attention on the 88 team yet again.
In the past years, the Auto Club Speedway has been very disappointing in the number of fans seated in the grandstands. So much so that NASCAR switched the dates with Atlanta, moving the Labor Day Fontana race into the Chase, moving the Atlanta race out. It was a successful move for Atlanta, which consisted of a very promising crowd, other than what had been seen before.
So, it helped Atlanta. But many people wondered if it would pay off for Auto Club speedway.
On Saturday, for the Nationwide race, it was a very sparse crowd. What made it more upsetting was that it was a fantastic race, one of the best races of the year. Not to mention it tightened the points battle into an almost realistic race.
Sunday however, was different. As I was watching the first few laps on TV, I happened to glance over to the grandstands, and what I found was quite impressive. It was actually almost full. From what it seemed to look like, it was packed from the exit of turn four until the three quarters mark of the straightaway, when you could begin to see seats again, instead of fans.
Not the best, but compared to recent races that have been seen at Auto Club Speedway, it certainly is a good place to start. The good action for both ends of the races will hopefully gather more people to that track.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Why are NASCAR's ratings compared to the NFL's? They are two completely different sports. How can they be compared if they are not at all alike?
For many years now we have been always been trying to beat the NFL in ratings. It is almost like we are trying to make the NFL vanish completely. In fact, there is no reason for a competition because they are two totally different sports. It's like comparing apples to oranges. It just doesn't work.
Especially during the Chase season, when both sports are running, there are comparisons made everywhere, at anytime. The thing is, fans like both sports, and it is almost like we want all the NFL fans to come over to NASCAR. It is possible to like two or more sports.
Maybe the key to being successful is to stop trying to worry about what other sports are doing, stop comparing, and just be our own sport. Because that is the only thing that we can do. If we compare NASCAR to IRL or the Rolex Series that's one thing because they are both motorsports, but comparing NASCAR to the NFL, should not be taken serious.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
In the process, the brand also becomes the first vodka to sponsor a car since NASCAR lifted its ban on spirits sponsors beginning with the 2005 season.
Mr. Jeremiah Weed, legendary patron father of Jeremiah Weed Bourbon Liqueur, first made this announcement from his home in Weed, Kentucky, and declared that it was now, more than ever, the right time to rally behind America’s fastest sport and all of its avid fans.
“Jeremiah Weed was born in the south and to thank some of the brand’s favorite people for embracing the product, we thought Charlotte would be the perfect place to make our NASCAR debut,” said Weed. “We look forward to providing fans a reason to celebrate responsibly all weekend, and will do everything we can to ensure that we are toasting Jamie when hopefully he puts the No. 26 car in Victory Lane .”
Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea first introduced itself to the sport earlier this year when it offered to become the official sponsor of air in the stock car tires. To guarantee fans enjoy the race in true Southern style, Jeremiah Weed will announce additional details regarding the sponsorship of the No. 26 Ford leading up to the race weekend.
Additional updates can be found on the Jeremiah Weed website.
"To win the Manufacturers' title for Chevy by winning this race is awesome," Stewart said after his win on Sunday. "This is a proud moment. Chevrolet has been a big part of my career, and General Motors in general has. To be the team that wins the race today and locks down the championship for them, is a huge sense of pride for us and something that we hope they're as proud of us helping and doing our part in that as we are."
The championship was the third for Chevrolet, the most for any manufacturer that has ever fielded entries in NASCAR. It was also the seventh-consecutive for Chevy.
"This award is exceptionally gratifying for everyone at Chevrolet and GM, especially in this challenging economic environment," Chevrolet Global Vice President Brent Deward said. "We salute our Chevy teams, owners, and drivers for all their hard work and dedication in achieving this exceptional recognition".
The manufacturer arrived at the early clinch with a total of 15 wins scored by five different drivers of the Chevrolet Impala SS. Drivers who have contributed to the total with wins include Mark Martin with five, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart each with four, and Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski with one apiece.
Also, finishes by drivers such has Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. contributed points to the Chevy cause.
The Manufacturers' Cup, which debuted in 1950, is awarded to the manufacturer that accumulates the most points during a given season. Points are accumulated based on top-four finishes -- nine points for wins, six points for second-place finishes, four points for third, and three points for fourth.
"Congratulations to all of our Team Chevy organizations, drivers, crews, GM Racing and to everyone at General Motors who contributed to this championship effort for this much deserved accomplishment," GM Racing Manager Mark Kent said.