Back when SHR announced that they would be moving to Ford as their manufacturer there was a huge segment of the community that balked at the switch in manufacturer. I have long said that I could understand the reason- with FORD SHR had the opportunity to be the top team for their manufacturer. They would never get that support from Chevy- who puts all of their support over to Hendrick Motorsports. With Ford as their manufacturer, Stewart-Haas Racing has the change of becoming more of a rival to Hendrick Motor Sports. With Stewart-Haas Racing’s impressive performance all season, it has become clear to me that they are indeed working on becoming a real rival of HMS/Chevy. (more…)
Points: 2141 (14th in points)
For Talladega- the race on Sunday was fairly uneventful and that was a good thing. The big one never came- just a few medium to small sized incidents that did little damage- unlike the big melee during the truck race the day before with 34 laps to go.
Tony dropped to the back of the pack after the drop of the green flag and stayed there for the entire race. When – by chance of caution he was in packs of cars he again would drop back until he was in a smaller group of people whom he trusted. The plan was to move forward if they thought there would be a chance at gaining position with relatively little danger of being ensnared in “the big one” however even towards the very end of the race Tony radioed in and said that he felt there was something still brewing and he wasn’t going to push it to move forward. While a couple of smallish accidents happened towards the end of the race- Tony was never really able to climb forward because of the restarts and finished his day 32nd. It was a craps shoot to stay in the back just as much as it was a craps shoot to get up in the main fruckus and possibly get wiped out by someone else’s problem.
I have seen a lot of people online complaining that what the Gibbs cars (minus Denny who took his chances at the front of the pack) did and what Tony did wasn’t racing. But wasn’t it? It was a strategic move to keep themselves and their cars safe and it worked well for Gibbs. Why? Because half of the Round of 8 are the four Gibbs cars. So it didn’t work out too well for Tony- but at least he was running at the end of the race on the lead lap and wasn’t on his way home with nothing but a crumpled mess of car sitting in the Hauler waiting to go back to North Carolina. I have long been of the stance that racing at Talladega and Daytona is dangerous. I don’t know if it’s because of the speeds they run on the high banks, or if it’s due to the restrictor plates putting the cars so close together on the track- but one person messes up and you are in someone else’s mess. Because of the speeds at the superspeedways I am ALWAYS concerned about injury during accidents. Yes I know that those cars are safe- but after seeing two freak accidents injure Tony Stewart (none of which were in Sprint Cup Stock cars) how can I not worry that the intense speeds and “big one” type collisions during these super speedway races will cause a freak accident type injury that severely injures a driver. Besides- wasn’t it a wreck at Talladega that landed Ryan Newman on his lid on the backstretch several years ago- and he ended up with several cracked teeth because of it? Minor injury yes but still an injury. For the possible injury reason alone I can not blame a driver from shying away from running mid-pack when all they have is a mid-pack car. Then you have the cost of the wreck because a lot of times when you wreck at Talladega you wreck big. That’s money out of the owners pockets both in destroyed equipment in addition to any possible purse money depending on where the driver might have finished had the car just suffered a minor ding and gone to the garage to fix it. Therefore it does not surprise me nor do I think it’s cheating or not racing when a team wants to move all or some of it’s cars to be the back to be “safe” when they are in contention for a championship, during an elimination race. That is just strategy and it will work some times and bite you other times (just ask Tony). (more…)
Points: 57, 71 points from 30th (38th in the standings)
Quote of the race: “I don’t know how in the world I missed getting in that.” — Ty Dillon on the team radio after narrowly escaping a 21 car accident with 28 laps to go.
Racing at Talladega always makes me antsy. I am not a big fan of wrecks- especially the kind where cars can go flying every which way. I remember one Talladega…was it 2009? 2010? Some where around there were Ryan Newman ended up upside down in the grass. That was terrible. Knowing my driver is out there driving with a fairly significant back injury that is healing? That is crazy making for me. So when I read that the plan was to have Tony start the race and then get out during the first caution so that Ty Dillon could take over the reigns? That made me much happier and at ease with the idea of Tony being out there in that car at that track. A track infamous for the “big one.” (more…)
“It depends on the circumstances. You can’t see the air and you hit different pockets (of air). You hit a pocket where you get a really big tow, or you hit a pocket where it seems they’re getting a tow and pulling you back, and you just have to play the circumstances. You just try getting in different scenarios and try to learn if you get in the middle of the draft, what does it do? Will it give you a push? Will it not give you a push? If you get next to this car, does it suck you up or does it slow you down? It’s trial and error but, at the same time, it’s like pulling a pin on a grenade. You know through that process that if one guy makes a mistake, your car’s torn up. It’s just a delicate balance of how hard you go, how many things you try, and how much time you spend doing it.” – Tony Stewart, Talladega October 2015 Team Release
Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:
Read other Quotable Tony posts.
Tony Qualified: 6th
Tony Finished: 19th
Points: 174 points, 30th in the championship standings
Quote Of The Race: “I really don’t know why no one would try to go with us there at the end. It baffled me. Our Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevy was really good and I think we could’ve made it interesting if we got back to the front, but there’s only so much you can do by yourself at these races.” Tony Stewart, post-race team release. (more…)
I am not a fan of racing at super speedways- much the way some people aren’t fans of road courses. There usually isn’t a lot of mixing it up on super speedways- because it’s just too dangerous to press your luck. I like my races to have at least a little more balance between skill and luck (honstly I like my races to be heavier in the skill than the luck and not vice versa). Races at Talladega are much more luck than skill in my opinion- luck in that IF you can stay out of someone else’s mess then you might have a chance succeed. (more…)
Talladega. It ALWAYS makes me nervous. The pre-race show did NOTHING to quell my nerves about Dega either. There is always talk about “The Big One” looming- and endless (or so it seems) loops of stock cars flying at unnatural angles into fences (Carl Edwards) and upside down (Ryan Newman). So the fact that there is always the chance that there is going to be a big, NASTY wreck at some point looming in the back of my mind. As a matter of fact- I had been watching parts of Race Day on Speed before the race (when I say this I mean it was on in one room as I went about my morning chores so I caught snippets here and there) and I just happen to catch Tony Stewart talking to Rutledge Wood. He (Tony not Rutledge) said something that I wanted to talk about here- because I disagreed with it, but I can’t find the interview online and because of the end of race carnage my thought about Tony’s Rutledge interview flew out of my head because the only thing I could think of is “I don’t like seeing the undercarriage of a stock car…anyone’s race car really- but especially not my driver’s undercarriage” and pretty much that is all I can really bring from the race now. Well that and I don’t care who’s fault Tony says it is- I watched it several times and I still blame Michael Waltrip/Casey Mears.
Not A Pleasant Sight:
In my opinion the race was typical restictor plate racing: boring except for the last 10 laps or so and then you worry about all hell breaking loose, which it obviously did. After all the last lap melee that took out several cars, NASCAR determined that Tony finished 22nd. Which dropped him down to 7th in the points. Technically we aren’t OUT of the Championship fight…but it’s not looking promising.
NOTES ABOUT DEGA:
- Jamie McMurray led the most laps. What surprised me was that he didn’t cause the big one. He seemed like a moving chicane out there going from groove to groove and then back again. I believe it was Jeff Gordon who called him a moving Chicane out there.
- I don’t know what was going on with DirecTV yesterday. None of my hotpass channels worked AT ALL- they said searching for signal (771). Then in the middle of the race it lost ESPN all together and put up a message about it being an issue with the sun. I would have been more incline to believe the Sun nonsense if other channels had been affected but other channels seem to be fine (well except for the hot pass channels). Maybe the Sun just doesn’t like my NASCAR.
What went down between Trevor Bayne and Jeff Gordon at Talladega left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Even if Trevor was “ordered” to do it by team or manufacturer orders and just left to be the patsy, I still don’t like it. Either way it makes the driver look bad and it’s going back on one’s word. I don’t like that. Not to mention the fact that it pretty much wrecked any chance at all that Jeff might have had to win the championship. Sure it may have been a long shot but he still had a chance and now he pretty much doesn’t. All because Trevor said he would work with him and then pulled away when the green flag dropped on that last run. That is nothing to be proud of, nothing at all. I liken it to those television shows, usually targeted at tweens and geeks, where the not-so-popular girl gets asked to the prom by the school’s star jock as some sort of sad joke…she dresses up as pretty as can be and ends up left at home while he is really dancing with cheerleader at the prom. (more…)