Vegas is a sentimental track for me- because it is the first track where I saw a NASCAR race in person. It scrolled through my history here on BadGroove and found the very first Racecation report I made- I had so much to say I had broken it up into three parts: My First NASCAR Race Part 1, Part 2: Qualifying Day, and Part 3: Race Day. I don’t believe I have missed a Vegas race since then. My first NASCAR race was not the beginning of my love of NASCAR; I had loved racing (NASCAR, IndyCar, and NHRA) since I was about six or seven. (more…)
It seems like yesterday that I was cruising through January impatiently counting down the days until Daytona and now we are already done with the second race of the season. The Folds of Honor 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway showcased good side-by-side racing and some pit strategy. This new “aero package” that they are using seems to keep the cars sporty around with each other. (more…)
The one thing missing from my December was going to the Champion’s Week festivities in Vegas in celebration of Joey Logano’s 2018 Monster Energy Series NASCAR Cup victory. Previous Champion’s weeks were always fun for me- you can see some of my previous posts about it: Champions Week 2017 and Champions Week 2016 and Champions Week 2015 (there are more- I had previously been to every Champions week since they started having them in Vegas). This year there weren’t enough fan events beyond watching the drivers walk into the awards banquet- and going to the fan viewing of the luncheon. It has been sad to watch Champions Week in Vegas decline as it as. They did move the burnouts to be the weekend of the fall race in Vegas- which I didn’t go to because I frankly had other obligations that weekend that I would instead do- or I would have been there. There was no After The Lap, which was always a favorite. It seems to me that they are likely getting ready to move the banquet over to the Hall of Fame in North Carolina. At least that is what I assume they are doing since the 2018 NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver (Chase Elliott) complained about having to go all the way to Vegas three times a year on the Vegas evening news (I might not have been there…but I know people). It doesn’t ingratiate one with the locals that is for certain. Sad because I have always enjoyed traveling to Vegas to see the different Champion’s Week Events AND I have met people at the various events who traveled way farther than me to get there.
One thing I am excited about for 2019 however, is to see some of the new driver/team combinations. Kurt Busch to Chip Ganassi (which he had stayed at SHR), Martin Truex Jr to Joe Gibbs Racing, and while not a driver/team pairing I am also interested to see how Jimmie Johnson will do with a new crew chief and how William Byron will do under Chad Knaus. It will be an exciting season for certain. What are you looking forward to this season??
I have seen two schools of thought regarding the actions on the last lap of the race on Sunday at Martinsville:
1. Joey Logano was racing for the win, for his chance at the championship.
2. Logano is a dirty driver and punted Martin for the win. (more…)
It seemed like forever since I have watched a race? Why? Because first we had the Easter break with no racing and then first race back from Easter was Bristol which was delayed until Monday. Well we are coming up on enrollment deadlines at work so it wasn’t possible for me to be able to sit in my office and pay attention to the race as it happened. I knew I would find out who won (Jimmie) and I heard that the racing was really good at Bristol- which made me jealous that I decided to forgo DVR’ing it. Why would I do that? Well there are a couple of reasons. I knew I would know who the winner was before I could get home and watch it (and indeed I did) so I would have already known the outcome. Plus- honestly I didn’t think I would feel like coming home and watching a race. Too bad because I heard from more than one source that the racing at the track was excellent.
There was so much terrible weather across the United States I was grateful that they were able to race on Sunday at Richmond. I was jonesing for some racing action and I honestly think I got it. When I am talking about racing action- I am talking about side-by-side racing for position. It seems to me that NASCAR was right after all with this segment racing and it really shines on the short tracks. It seems to put a sense of urgency in the racing that seems to make it so that the drivers are not just biding their time for the end of the race.
It seemed that a big complaint among the race fans I follow were the in-race penalties during the race at Richmond. There were several pit road speeding penalties, a couple of lose tire and equipment leaving the box penalties but no more than any other race I thought. So I am wondering if people weren’t talking about the commitment violations for pit road (I guess technically we can’t really call them commitment cone violations since they don’t use a cone at Richmond but instead use an orange square. Apparently it use to be okay if your right side tires hit the orange commitment square on the track but this race they changed the rule so that the tires had to be completely on the left side of the box for pit road and the right side of the box to remain on track. During the national broadcast they said that the change was communicated during the driver’s meeting and I don’t know if a few of the drivers just weren’t paying attention to the rule change or if they were unaware.
I think a lot of people are talking about the incident with Joey Logano ducking in quickly and blocking the view of the commitment box from Kyle Busch who then clearly ran over the box because it was blocked from his view by Logano. Some people think it was a dirty thing for Logano to do. Some people think Kyle Busch is being a whiner. I can honestly see both sides. As the race leader Joey Logano’s job is to protect that lead. Ducking into the pits at the last minute is nothing new- it’s probably one of the oldest “tricks” in the pit strategy sleeve. Nor do I think Kyle has reason to be called a whiner- he was upset- that penalty cost him a decent finish and possibly a win. It’s quite understandable to be upset with the call- especially when you yourself can’t see the box because the view is blocked by the car in front of you. Kyle doesn’t have the vantage point the people on TV have or even the people in the stands. I would call that a “racin’ deal” pure and simple.
Stewart-Haas had a pretty good day overall. All four cars finished in the top 20 with one top five (Harvick), one top ten (Busch), One top 15 (Bowyer) and one top 20 (Patrick).
Drivers that impressed me: Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Daniel Suarez
Drivers that disappointed me: Dale Jr, Clint Bowyer,
Last week the lugnuts were early, and this week they are late. See what has been pinging around my brain like lugnuts in a pit box during a green flag pit stop:
1. I think most Tony Stewart fans were excited to hear that he can start his rehabilitation after his appointment on Wednesday. I know it won’t be a pleasant experience but he is tenacious and is under excellent care we can be sure. We can’t wait to see you on track when you are ready Smoke!
2. A member of Kevin Harvick’s crew was in a snow mobile accident while the team was staying out west in Utah and enjoying some of the snow. Shock specialist Michael McCarville broke 7 ribs (OW) and a collapsed lung. Yikes! Sounds like he was having a great time before he hurt himself too. Speedy recovery wishes to Michael!
3. #WholeySmoke have you seen the new Tony Stewart Foundation website? It looks awesome. Check out all the ways you can help children, animals and drivers, and find out more about ALL sides of our favorite driver Tony Stewart at this new website. Of course I might be a little bias because some of our content is featured on the site! Gotta love that. Seriously check out the new webpage and while you are there drop a small (or large) donation to the foundation to show that #WholeySmoke, you support Tony Stewart!
4. Remember the story I mentioned last season in a Loose Lugnuts (see number two) about the Jeff Gordon fan who’s prized Jeff Gordon Edition Monte Carlo ended up destroyed in a car fire. Then Jeff Gordon and his father John Bickford heard the story and they gave her Jeff’s personal 24 edition Monte Carlo? I have been fortunate enough to become friendly with that fan- her name is Loraine Treadwell and she is hoping to show that Monte Carlo at different events. The first of which will be Sunday March 20th at the Mariner’s Discovery Church Spring Festival. The car will be on display at the festival from 11:00-3:00pm at Excelsior Middle School (14301 Byron Highway) in Byron, CA outside the old gym. Be sure to check it out and hear the story for yourself. Tell her you heard about it from us if you go. I am hoping to catch up with Loraine myself at one of these events. There will be more and I will be posting them as they come available.
5. Someone on Facebook pointed out that in many of the pictures I took during Tony Stewart’s presser last week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series logo on the backdrop behind him just happens to be positioned over Tony’s head so it looks like a halo. Of course I didn’t do this on purpose and actually I didn’t even notice it until the person on Facebook pointed it out, but now it’s all I can see and it seriously cracks me up: (more…)
1a. So Matt Kenseth was suspended for two races and put on probation for 6 months (a decision that was upheld by the appeals board I might add but the final appeal is still underway). As I mentioned I really think that Matt deserved no more than a slap on the wrist because Joey had it coming to him. But suspending Matt for what I can only assume is actions detrimental to stock car racing- is just NASCAR showing how inconsistent they are with their “penalties.” What am I talking about? Well Danica Patrick and David Gilliland have been taking turns turning each other all season (actually according to this article their issues have been going on since 2013) and Danica is docked points and fined (nothing for Gilliland). Why was she not suspended? Oh because Gilliland wasn’t in the running for a championship? And what about the whole Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski deal from several years ago (2009/2010 here is a video I found on youtube of some of the instances I am thinking about). NASCAR did nothing in these instances. NASCAR and certain media members make it seem like retaliation never happens ever in this sport. I call foul on their “this is unprecedented” mindset. So what Matt was laps down when he made contact- I really don’t see why that matters? I still ascertain that Joey Logano KNEW Matt Kenseth wasn’t the happiest of campers with him after Kansas. Matt chose not to retaliate at Dega which was actually a smart move- that I might have had issues with because that would have been dangerous on so many levels. I still say that this is a veteran driver standing up for himself- saying look you aren’t going to push me around on the track. It’s very much you get raced how you race others. That’s how it’s always been.
1b. Part of the issue though is this “Chase Elimination format” (which for my regular readers you all know I am already not a fan of). Ricky Craven- whom I almost never agree with- has some interesting things to say about this in regards to this format breeding this mind set (somewhat). I could argue that Joey Logano purposely performed a pit maneuver on Matt Kenseth. Joey was already locked in- Matt Kenseth was fighting for the championship at that moment. Why was Joey not suspended? The penalties do not fit the “crime.” (more…)
Tony Qualified: 13th, but started 43rd
Tony Finished: 10th
Points: 661 (26th in the points standings)
Wow what a great race for Tony Stewart. I will gladly take that 10th place finish especially after having started in the back. Tony Stewart qualified 13th at Martinsville but crashed during practice on Saturday and had to go to a backup car which is never a good thing. What made me sightly disheartened is when I heard that the team had built that car specifically for Martinsvile and that they didn’t think that the backup car would be as good. After hearing that my mind was pretty much relegated to the fact that likely it would be another race where Tony struggled in the mid-rear of the field and would end up a lap down early on. It’s so easy to get a lap down on the short tracks like Martinsville and Bristol. That is what I expected anyway. Thankfully it was NOT what happened. (more…)