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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…)

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America)

Qualified:20th

Finished: 15th

Race Winner: Matt Kenseth

Points After Darlington: 21st, 170 points behind current series leader Jimmie Johnson. 62 points behind 10th in the standings – still outside of the top 20 and not eligible for a wild card birth.

My Mood After Darlington: Cautiously optimist (more…)

I am sure it doesn’t surprise any of you that I am bound for Vegas for the Kobalt Tools 400 and to hang out with Misty!  I have some posts scheduled to post while I am gone- but figure posting will be light especially Friday- Monday.

Be sure to follow myself (@badgroove) and Misty (@fyrstorm24) on Twitter to hear all about our adventures on and off the track!

Here are a couple things you should consider doing while we are gone:

Enter Here for a chance to have your mortgage paid for a month by Quicken Loans Racing. Ryan Newman does have to  #BringItHome in the top 10 but don’t take the chance and not enter- you can’t win if you don’t and who couldn’t use a month break from your mortgage?

Enter here for a chance to win the all new 2014 Chevy Silverado LTZ truck, A NASCAR race weekend for two at Texas Motor Speedway AND a meeting and greet with Tony Stewart!

And here is Tony’s Bass Pro Shops Commercial…just because I think it’s funny:

Until then- see you all on the flip side :-) (aka next week).

It’s always hard for me to watch races at Phoenix on the TV because I LOVE that track- it is one of my favorites that I have been to in person.  It makes it all the harder that the first Phoenix race is so early in the schedule because I haven’t been to a race track since last November (which coincidentally was Phoenix) and I miss just being at a track. I miss the smells and the noise and the colors and the hustle and bustle of the tracks so watching the first Phoenix race of the season is akin to torture for me.

Why, if I love Phoenix so much, did I not go to the race?  Well regular readers might have heard this before- but it has to do with it being back-to-back with the Vegas race (which I absolutely will not miss if for no other reason than that was my VERY FIRST NASCAR RACE) and also being so close to the Auto Club date as well.  Plus Misty and I both have real 8-5 Monday-Friday kind of jobs (and we work in way different fields in different states) so that going to 3 races in one month is impractical if not impossible.  So Phoenix gets put off until the fall race. I am SO GLAD it has a fall race because otherwise it would be hard to have to narrow which track to miss.

My caption for this picture: Is that a rather large spoiler on your rear deck lid or are you just happy to see me? – Amy.  [Tony Stewart on track at Phoenix Raceway (Photo Credit: Andrew Coppley/CIA Stock Photography, Inc.) Photo borrowed from the Tony Stewart Facebook page- click picture to be taken to original.]

Anyway- the Subway Fit Fresh 500k (312 laps/miles) was not so good for the Stewart-Haas drivers! Yikes!  First poor Ryan Newman couldn’t catch a break! First he suffers not only one but two blown tires- the last one putting a premature end to his race. Then Danica also suffers a blown tire and ends up not only hitting a wall but then getting hit by another car and ending her day.

Thankfully, Tony Stewart didn’t seem to have any tire issues- but don’t think I wasn’t worried that he would…especially as the runs got longer.  Tony started the race in sixth place and it seemed like where he was in the field depended on how many tires he took. For a long time after his four tire stops he would end up mired back in traffic in 18th, 20th position somewhere.  I know he was frustrated too because I heard him say on his radio that he didn’t understand how the were slower when they were on 4 tires than with 2.  He would eventually start working his way up towards the front towards the end of the runs though or so it seemed to me.  Luckily he ended up in or near the top 10 before the last top which ended up being two tires.  Tony ended up finished 8th and moving up to 23rd in the points standings.

Notes About Phoenix:

1. I don’t know if you noticed but when Ryan blew a tire and wrecked the second time- he decided to walk to the infield care center instead of ride in the safety vehicle. Tony must have seen him at some point walking on the track because he asked on his radio “Is he mad or is he just getting out of the way?” I thought it was funny. I think he was frustrated- but not at someone else like Tony may have thought.

2. I don’t have NASCAR.COM’s RaceView to watch the races with. I was actually considering getting it since DirecTV ditched their Hot Pass stations (Boo directv boo!) but I have heard from a couple people that they have been having major issues with it. Is anyone else having trouble? Because I don’t know if I want it if it’s going to be more of a frustration than anything else. (For those wondering- I have Sprint and use the NASCAR13 Sprint mobile ap for the scanner).

3. Am I the only one who can’t find the simple things on the new NASCAR.COM- like race lineups, qualifying orders and the like?  I have been trying to keep an open mind about their new layout (I tend to be one of those anti-change people) but when I can’t find the information I am looking for easily- I get frustrated on give up.

I am going to leave you with this picture from Phoenix Raceway because it seems to me that every time I see Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon together- Jeff is usually CRACKING up big time and that makes ME crack up:

Tony Stewart (right) and Jeff Gordon (left) share a laugh in the garage area at Phoenix International Raceway.

Next race; VEGAS BABY!