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Mark Martin at NHMS

Mark Martin, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, looks on from the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at NHMS on September 20, 2013 in Loudon, New Hampshire.(Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America)

There are only eight more races of the 2013 NASCAR season now- eight. Usually at this point in the season I am starting to dread the end of the season- but I find myself looking ahead to 2014 so much that I don’t have that usual foreboding dread about the season ending.  The reasoning behind this is two fold I am certain. The big fold being I want to see (a healed, healthy, raring to go) Tony Stewart back at the helm of the #14 Chevy SS and leading the way for the new Stewart-Haas stable.  I excited about the team dynamic for Stewart-Haas Racing next season- I have made no secret of that.  Tony Stewart, Kevin Havick and Kurt Busch…I think that has potential to be HUGE because while I am a Tony Stewart fan- I see nothing but talent in both Kevin and Kurt and think that having them work together has AWESOME written all over it (and yes I know that I am in the minority here but I do think Kurt Busch has HUGE amounts of talent).

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It’s been a heckuva week for this Jeff Gordon girl. I have been semi mum (for me anyway) on the subject because frankly the emotions were too high. Aside from a handful of angry tweets and some pointed re-tweets, I have been mum…but now that it is all said and done ,and I can contemplate the events of the last week without fire steaming from my nostrils, let me tell you what it was like for me and I am sure most of the 24 fans.

Saturday’s race at Richmond, in itself, was a roller coaster ride of emotions. Jeff needed to race his way into the Top Ten in points to make the Chase. Starting from the pole was a good way to get there. So was leading the first 50 or so laps, but then he began to fade, having used up his tires in that first run, the handling of the car went away and he didn’t seem to have a car capable of winning the race. However, all was not lost as Logano – the person he needed to unseat from 10th in points was having a FAR worse night- having fallen two laps down early on and remained stuck there. (more…)

I really do NOT want to continue to beat a dead horse by going into the Richmond stuff again- but I feel that I have to respond to the penalties that followed the NASCAR race at Richmond especially after I posted my opinions on what happened during the race and what I thought NASCAR should do and what I thought they would do (which as I mentioned were two separate things). I posted an initial reaction to the penalties on my Facebook page, and retweeted several tweets if you follow me there- but I really feel the need to expound on what I said in both places.

Well, I think the first thing is all of us to remind ourselves, it’s a sport.  It has a tremendous amount of fun to it.  Occasionally, and particularly our role, is to regulate the sport and police it and officiate it so that everybody has got a reasonable playing field to participate in.  So we have days like today that we run across and have challenges that our role is to react to, and this is one of those days.-- Mike Helton, NASCAR President (source: 9-9-13 press conference transcript)

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2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Field

The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase field as it stands from Saturday night after the race at Richmond International Raceway- but should two of the drivers in the field really be there? (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Richmond, a d-shaped 3/4 mile track in Virgina, is one of NASCAR’s crown jewel short tracks and the stage for the last regular season race of the Sprint Cup season or as NASCAR fans know it “The race for the Chase.” The chase- by design is a 10 race shootout of tracks for the championship where the points are basically zeroed out- with a seeding by number of wins for the top ten drivers with the including of two non-seeded, wild card drivers. Only the top 12 drivers in the regular season have a chance at the championship as the Chase currently stands- making these last ten “chase” races the play-offs of NASCAR.  One of the interesting effects since NASCAR went to a “play-offs” type championship seasons is that just making the CHASE becomes the main goal for teams. Also, as a result of this system- there is the “bubble” who is in and who is out.

This particular Richmond race- there were 11 drivers vying for the 6 remaining “non-clinched” spots in the chase (including the two wild card positions).  As the race was run- those drivers that were in and those that were out changed with each lap it seemed.  Ryan Newman was vying for one of those cherished wild card spots- most of the time against Martin Truex Jr.  Ryan pretty much had to win the race, or Martin Truex Jr had to have a tragedy because if they tied for the wild card the only way Ryan would win the wild card spot would be with another win for the tie breaker. Conversely, driver Jeff Gordon could not hope for a wild card spot- if he was to make the chase Jeff Gordon absolutely had to finish with in the top 10 in the points standings since he has no wins yet this season. (more…)

The only picture I have that I personally have taken that is Tony and Kurt together that I could find from the 2011 Champions Week celebration (photo credit: Amy K. Marbach)

I have already given my thoughts on the Kurt Busch to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 news but I wanted to make some further ruminations about it BEFORE Tony Stewart has his press conference on Tuesday (it’s scheduled for 2:00 pm eastern time- that’s 11:00am for us west coasties- don’t think I am not already trying to finagle a way into taking my lunch early so I can watch). I suppose these are mostly for MY benefit- ways for me to make sense of it as I know and understand it-  but I thought I would share them since there has been a lot of information circulating that didn’t get my consideration in my initial knee jerk post and I overlooked some things completely (kind of on purpose). (more…)

Tony Stewart drives the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samuel Deeds 400 At The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America)

Qualified: 5th!

Finished: 4th!

Race Winner: Ryan Newman!

Points After Indianapolis: 11th- one point out of tenth, and 182 points out of first! We are still currently in wild card position and knocking on the door of the top ten again when it comes to the Championship Chase standings!

My Mood After Indianapolis: Pleased it was a good points day for Tony! Pleased that it was a good day for Stewart-Haas Racing because Ryan Newman won! I think you could just say pleased all around!

This is apparently the post of the exclamation points so you will have to excuse me for that.

Apparently I inadvertently gave Ryan Newman good luck last night by posting about him the fact that he not only was on the pole for his home track race but that he did it with a new track record. I also happened to mention his partnership with Oral B Built In The USA  and Oral B’s pledge of $100,000 to Hope For The Warriors. So of course the only reason Ryan won was because I happened to post about him on the night before he had raced his obviously already screaming hot Chevy. Hey don’t burst my bubble! (more…)

Why is it that Indianapolis Motor Speedway tends to be called Indy when the IRL cars are racing it but The Brickyard when NASCAR are on it? I know it is just semantecs and really has nothing to do with anything but I was just wondering if there was a real reason for this or not?

Not that it matters- what matters is that RYAN NEWMAN got the pole!  It shouldn’t really surprise me- Ryan is pretty darn good when it comes to qualifying- but all three SHR teams have been lacking lately (although I am still hoping that is on the upswing – fingers crossed) so it was a pleasant surprise to find out that not only was RYAN NEWMAN on the pole at IMS but with a NEW TRACK RECORD!!!! YEY!  It doesn’t hurt matters to find out that the bossman Tony Stewart qualified 5th! I would LOVE for Tony to rip off a third Brickyard.  He needs the win for the championship points and well any Tony Stewart fan knows that this track means the world to him. (more…)

The four wide salute during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series inaugural CarCash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 24, 2013 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo by Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)

I was so excited to come home and settle in to watch the Truck series on dirt tonight- and wouldn’t you know it that there was an accident on my commute home and it took me 40 minutes to get home instead of 20.  I was looking forward to the MudSummer Classic and have been since they announced it.  Why? I like racing.  I don’t follow the truck series that closely. I don’t follow dirt racing that closely.  But combine them and I am excited beyond belief.  Why? Part of it is the novelty of NASCAR on dirt. Or at least it’s a novelty to me as NASCAR hasn’t been on dirt in my entire lifespan (I think they said the last dirt race in the major series was 1970 right?).  Part of it is most definitely the fact that Eldora is Tony Stewart’s baby track- and I can only imagine the excitement and the nervousness he had going into this event (not to mention the crazy preparation for the whole Eldora staff- which apparently is 7 full time people). And of course part of it is the excitement that maybe,  just maybe, NASCAR will consider bring the cup cars onto dirt. I am not even asking for a dirt points race (but that would be AWESOME). They could just make it the All-Star Race ( I mentioned in my All-Star post- see item three). Just the thought of cup cars on dirt makes me absolutely giddy. (more…)