Header image

It was the best of races, it was the worst of races.  Okay….for those not familiar, I am taking liberties with Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities. My problem is, never being a huge Dicken’s fan, that is about as far as I got in A Tale of Two Cities (scary considering my degree concentration is in literature).

Tony Stewart at Pocono (Photo Credit: Blatantly stolen from the Official Tony Stewart Facebook page, click the picture to be taken to the original).

The big bustle about Pocono last weekend was the record number of pit road speeding penalties. And when I say record number, I mean- as in EVER in any NASCAR SPRINT Cup Series race.  That is not a record to be proud of.  It seems that from everything I have read NASCAR added a timing segment to pit road increasing it from 9 to 10 segments or something like that.  NASCAR claim they released a new map of the timing lines, they even showed the new map on TV and said that they went up and down pit road distributing the map- of course after a majority of teams had been dinged with speeding on pit road. I mean they said on TV that the majority of the penalties were within the same timing segment.  Was this the “new” segment  at the end? Did it extend the overall length of what is considered “pit road?” That was my thought during the race on Sunday. It doesn’t seem really fair to ding the drivers if they extended the line and weren’t proactive about making sure the drivers/crew chiefs/spotters knew about this.

The speeding debacle made me this about last season when I mentioned that I thought it was dumb to actually post where the speed traps on pitroad actually are.  My thinking is this: the pit road speed limit came into being to protect the crew members.  Crew members are out there dodging around cars with helmets and carrying things like huge racing tires. They are thinking about one thing and one thing only. Getting their job done fast and correctly. They dont’ want to be worried about being hit by a competitor who decides to slide into his pit stall.  That was the reason a pit road speed limit was instituted. Good.  Okay then if that is the case what sense does it make to tell drivers that “Hey we are going to check your speed on pit road here, here, here and down there” which gives them the opportunity to speed inbetween the lines and thus defeats the whole purpose of the pit road speed limit.  My position has always been that NASCAR shouldn’t tell the drivers where they are checking the speed. They should pick 5 or 6 places to check speed and maybe even rotate the spots within the race. That way the drivers/teams are always guessing.  That way the drivers will be forced to maintain a consistent pit road speed. It seems to be the “fairest” way of doing the speeding thing. But that is just my personal two cents right there.

Tony Stewart at Pocono (Photo Credit: Blatantly stolen from the Official Tony Stewart Facebook page, click the picture to be taken to the original).

To me the new scoring system isn’t logical when Tony has a CRAPPY race in Dover, finishes 25th (69 laps down) and goes UP in the points standings and then has a pretty darn good finish in Pocono (3rd!!!) yet stays the same in the points. It frustrates me.  Tony is still 8th in the points and is currently 75 points out of the lead.

Next race? Michigan!

I don’t know why but I was kind of “eh” about The Prelude To The Dream this year. It doesn’t make ANY sense because I usually count down the days and blog about it incessantly in the preceding months weeks and days. I don’t think I even mentioned it except for putting the details under WE SUPPORT in the navigation bar over there on the left. I even (prepare yourself- this is shocking) almost considered not ordering/watching it.

Tony Stewart drives the #14 Chevrolet during the Feed the Children Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway on June 6, 2012 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America)


Miles the monster reached up and bit Tony Stewart square on the left front and left rear of his car.  Stewart was caught up in the “Monster” lap nine melee at Dover.  It isn’t a surprise really.  After all, he qualified his car 29th in the field of 43 cars. I so wasn’t thrilled when I saw the results of qualifying on my cell phone- that is back in the danger zone. The zone where if someone screws up you can be innocently caught up in their mistake because of Dover’s “self cleaning” feature. I made sure that I put on my checker flag socks this morning- just in case. I just had a feeling that starting that far back would not.

(I LOVE this picture because the perspective makes the cars look like toys- AMY). Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Chevrolet, and Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Chevrolet, practice for the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)


Can Motor Oil Really Make A Difference In NASCAR?- Jeff Gluck for SBNATION.com

Dick Berggren Says Farewell At Dover- Amanda Ebersole for SkirtsandScuffs.com

NASCAR At Dover 2012: Drivers Theorize on Lack Of Caution Flags- Jeff Gluck for SBNATION.com

Improve Racing? Harder Cars!- Terry Blount for ESPN.com

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dreads Upcoming Pocono Test- Jeff Gluck for SBNATION.com

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:

I don’t know who’s expression humors me more- Jr’s or Steve Addington’s. Anyone have a great caption?

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (R), driver of the #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, talks with Tony Stewart (C), driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, and Steve Addington (L), crew chief for the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, in the garage prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway. (Picture Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images North America)

(What? You were expecting a report on the Coca-Cola 600 today? I actually went out of town this long memorial day weekend (love that scheduled post feature of WordPress)  for some non-NASCAR related fun (yes, there is such a thing) and am driving back home today…I will get the Coca-Cola 600 post up as soon as I can this week. Oh and HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY everyone!)

Well we are what 12-13 weeks into the race season and already there is silly season rumors floating around rampantly.  You know- the who is going where next season with what team/sponsor thing that usually starts towards mid-late season as contract negotiations are winding down for those drivers who suddenly find themselves in “free agency.” Everyone likes to play the were will they end up game.

So far this season I have heard rumors (and that is just what they are of course rumors) of Kurt Busch going over to Joe Gibbs Racing to join brother Kyle. The rumor does not specify (as most rumors don’t) whether this ride for Kurt is in a fourth car for the team or in Joey Logano’s 20 car. It’s been rumored for a couple seasons now that Joey Logano may be ride-less at the end of this season.

The other rumor is that Home Depot (current primary c- sponsor of the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driven by Joey Logano) may be interesting in sponsoring Ryan Newman.  I took that to mean that JGR is wooing Ryan Newman who is in the last year of his contract with Stewart-Haas Racing.  However after batting it back and forth with Misty,  it could also mean that Home Depot is looking to go with Stewart-Haas Racing. They did, as Misty kindly pointed out, win the 2011 Sprint Cup Championship after all (and in an impressive fashion I might add). Not to mention the fact that Tony recently said (forgive me for not having a link) that he was really hoping to retain Ryan as a driver.

And then there is the story of Danica- will she be going cup as soon as next season? And will it be with Stewart-Haas?  And just how do I feel about that? (Mixed feelings would be the answer).

Of course, representatives for Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Home Depot, Joe Gibbs Racing and other entities involved in these rumors would deny them if asked. It would only be prudent as negotiations are no doubt still taking place. After all when rumors that Tony Stewart was thinking of leaving Joe Gibbs to start his own race team started rearing their head in summer of 2008- I, along with most, chalked it up to ridiculous silly season rumors. Especially since at the time, Joe Gibbs vehemently denied it.  Of course, we all know what happened there.

So tell me do you have any thoughts on silly season? I usually don’t put too much into the rumors just due to the fact that they are rumors. My interest is always piqued when it has to do with Stewart-Haas Racing though.  So have you heard any good silly season rumors? Do you even pay attention to them?

I have no idea why- but I am compelled to share this picture from Stewart-Haas Racing that they tweeted complete with their caption from last weekend’s All-Star Race.  It humors the heck out of me and I just thought you all should see it:

@StewartHaasRcng posted this picture before the All-Star Race with the caption: This bird is on the right side of #TonyStewart's car. It's scared cuz it got so close to the wall!

So let’s talk about the Sprint All-Star Race. What did you all think of the new 5 segment format (20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps, 10 laps with the winners of segments 1-4 coming in P1-4 during the last mandatory pit stop before segment 5)?  I didn’t like it one bit. I felt it was about 2 segments too long and the winners of segments 1-3 sandbagging to stay out of harms way was ridiculous.  I do not think that should have been allowed- however this format encourages that.  My thought on the matter is that there should be 3 segments and 3 segments only: 20 lap, 30 laps, 50 laps with one mandatory pit stop between segments 2 and 3 that require a 4 tire change from everyone.  There would be no reason to sandbag during this race.  Now you can argue with me that what Jimmie and the other guys were doing was strategy- but I still say they weren’t racing…and that really isn’t fair.

Tony’s All-Star race was anything but stellar (get it?). The car had handling issues and then the nose was damaged during segment 3 (I think it was maybe it was four?) and the race just seemed to get worse.  Tony started the race 9th and finished 17th.  Since it’s a non-points race there was no change in points.  The race winner was Jimmie Johnson.

Notes on the All-Star Race:

  1. Speaking of race winner Jimmie Johnson- how CRAZY was it for him to take Rick Hendrick out for a ride on the track after winning? That was crazy. And poor Rick Hendrick looked uncomfortable.
  2. Dustin Long wrote about a GREAT idea he had for the All-Star Race! In a nutshell he proposes that the winner of the race be given the option of the $1 million dollars or an automatic spot in the chase.  I LOVE IT.
  3. Speaking of LOVING things…I also really liked the fan videos introducing the All-Star drivers…maybe next year they can have fans do it in person.

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, walks during pre-race for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America).

I don’t know what it is- but the Pit Crew Challenge on Thursday this year did nothing for me.  It’s something I usually LOVE to watch but I just couldn’t get into it this year. I think it’s because it doesn’t move fast enough between rounds for me and really what these guys are doing is not a real pit stop. I want it to be a REAL pit stop.  Speaking of REAL pit stops have you seen this from Quicken Loans Racing (Ryan Newman’s Primary co-sponsor?)? It is a really visual of what a pit stop looks like through the eyes of the different crew members: Pit Crew Experience. I love this and highly suggest you check it out!

I also want to share a gratuitous Tony Stewart picture from the event:

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot-Mobile 1 Chevrolet jokes with a crew member during the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

And this humorous picture from the winner’s (the 48 crew) celebration:

Crew chief Chad Knaus celebrates with a member of the No. 48 My Lowe's Chevrolet after winning the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)