by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.February 24, 2011 8:18 am UTC 1 Comment
As a fan of NASCAR racing the first driver I ever rooted for was LeeRoy Yarbrough in the late 60′s and early 70′s. Through most of the 70′s after LeeRoy dropped out of the NASCAR world with mysterious ailments; I didn’t have an allegiance to any one driver until Bill Elliott came on the scene toward the end of that decade.
Elliott captured my attention because of his family run team out of Georgia when most NASCAR teams had already migrated to the area around Charlotte. At the time there weren’t a lot of teams running Fords and I have always held an affinity for the brand. So Bill, Dan and Ernie were MY guys.
I have remained an Elliott fan throughout his career even when he closed his team and went to drive for Ray Evernham and the resurrected Dodge factory effort.
When it was announce that Bill would drive for the Wood Brothers in a part time effort I believed in my heart, if not totally in my mind, that the combination could bring back the glory of a time gone by when David Pearson took the part time program and won races. Pearson won races; he wasn’t interested in winning championships. Championships were for guys like Richard Petty.
My hope for catching lightening in a bottle with the Wood Brothers-Bill Elliott combination kept lessening with every missed opportunity. The Woods would enter Elliott in places that he had run well in the past; places like Atlanta. The combination never seemed to work. Maybe the team wasn’t ready to win yet.
I was still surprised when the Woods elected to take Bill out of the car in late 2010 to give the displaced Bayne a one-off. Bayne had been released earlier by Michael Walltrip Racing from his Nationwide Series ride. Needless to say he ran well enough at Texas, finishing a respectable seventeenth, to make the Woods have to make a decision for 2011.
The decision to part ways with Elliott and give Bayne the ride for 2011 obviously was a winner for both Bayne and the race team that hasn’t seen a win at Daytona since 1976. One win does not a career make; but to take the iconic #21 to victory lane in only his second Sprint Cup race and just a day after his twenteth birthday could make the Wood Brothers seem like geniuses.
It may be way too early to proclaim a changing of the guard, but for this NASCAR fan it’s time to move on to a new phase in the sport we love.
Photo credit: BethAnne Heisler/ON PIT ROW
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowAugust 16, 2010 4:19 pm UTC No Comments
Photos of the ARCA Garden State 150 Sunday at New Jersey Motorsports Park
Congratulations to Casey Roderick, first time ARCA Racing Series winner at Thunderbolt Raceway. The 18 year old driving a Bill Elliott Developement Dodge edged Joey Coulter and Chris Buescher. We have photos but read about the race here.
Photo credit goes to Glenn and Jessica Bure – OnPitRow.com
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowJuly 11, 2010 10:04 pm UTC No Comments
Exclusive Photos of NASCAR drivers from the LifeLock.com 400
Pre-race candid shots of Kyle and Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr and even Bill Elliott on his Blackberry.
Photo credit: BethAnne Heisler – OnPitRow.com
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowJune 15, 2010 10:33 am UTC No Comments
More pictures of NASCAR action including close up photos of pit stops at Sunday’s Michigan Speedway race, all taken by OnPitRow’s BethAnne Heisler.
Photo credit: BethAnne Heisler – OnPitRow.com
If you need NASCAR pictures for your blog or fan page, go to our archive of racing photos and use the stuff you like. Just please give credit to the photographer and OnpitRow.com.
by Chris Leone, Special To NASCAR commentary and driver pictures, 2012 NASCAR schedule, video, Bench Racing With Steve and Charlie
I do weekly Fantasy Pick'Em columns here at OPR, as well as the occasional opinion and analysis piece. I also provide the IZOD IndyCar Series coverage. For more on that, head to my site, OpenWheelAmerica.com. My Twitter handle is @christopherlion.June 10, 2010 12:55 pm UTC No Comments
For the third weekend in a row, the Cup cars face a grueling endurance event. First came the Coca-Cola 600, the longest event of the year. Last week gave us 500 long miles at Pocono. Now, drivers head to one of the fastest tracks on the circuit, where pole speeds frequently flirt with 190 miles per hour.
So who looks good for this weekend’s tilt?
My personal pick is going to be Jeff Gordon. Last week I took Denny Hamlin as my lead driver, and he rewarded me with a victory, so I’m looking for Gordon to continue my streak. He has two wins and 22 top-10s in 34 career Michigan starts, and is one of only two active drivers with an average Michigan start in the single digits. Last year he finished second in both Michigan races.
My dark horse for the weekend will be Bill Elliott. The Wood Brothers only run a limited schedule nowadays with factory Ford backing, but you can bet that they’ll be looking to impress at the home track of the American manufacturers. Elliott’s Michigan record isn’t too shabby, either – seven wins and 29 top-10s in 59 starts. Both are tops among active drivers.
Who else looks good at Michigan?
I hesitate offering up a Carl Edwards pick, because he’s burned me every time I’ve suggested him all year. He’s done very little to suggest that he’s still the same driver who won nine races in 2008. But Edwards has two wins and 10 top-10s in only 11 Michigan starts. His 6.1 average finish at the track is by far the best of any active driver, nearly four spots better than second-best Matt Kenseth.
Of course, this also makes Kenseth a viable Michigan pick, his last win coming at the track in 2006. Michigan is owner Jack Roush’s home track, and he always does his best to take a win at the track each year. Last year was the first since 2001 in which a Roush car didn’t take the checkers in a Michigan Cup event, and you can bet that the Cat in the Hat will do everything he can to change that.
Finally, it’s time for Junior Nation to get on its feet, because Dale Jr. is my final pick of the weekend. Sure, his one win at the track (and only win in the No. 88) came on fuel mileage, but he has led at least one lap in eight of the last nine Michigan events. In that span, he has all four of his career top fives at the track, and has completed 1734 of a possible 1735 laps. Clearly he can take a car to the front and keep it in the hunt.
by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.July 11, 2009 11:27 am UTC 1 Comment
Silly Season has started in earnest. Fox Sports’ Lee Spencer is reporting that Robert Yates Racing may be looking to blow up their lineup in 2010 because of lack of performance from Bobby Labonte and cash cow Paul Menard.
Roger Penske may be looking to shop the seat in the #12 for the second year. David Stremme has not taken to the new car as quickly as hoped after sitting out the 2008 Cup season. The hottest property in the 2010 free agent market is Brad Keselowski and he is being looked at to fill that seat.
The Kez has been included in talk of pretty much every open seat for next year; the anticipated fourth cars at Joe Gibbs Racing or third at Stewart-Haas, a move to cup by Junior Motorsports or Keven Harvick, Inc or even replacing Junior at Hendrick.
While no one knows for sure where he will end up yet, I may as well throw my personal hope into the mix. After years of struggling to make assorted drivers work on a limited budget with 1970′s thought processes one team has taken a step back to try and re-capture it’s former glory days. While some teams have resorted to start and park strategies to get their teams trough these tough times, The Wood Brothers took to a limited schedule to try and make things work.
Bill Elliott has held down the seat on again and off again until the right deal can happen. 2010 is the year that the once proud team that saw David Pearson, Cale Yarborough and others win races in droves, needs to grab the next hot, can’t miss driver since Sliced Bread. Keselowski is young, hungry and has proven himself a winner. Eddie Wood has made hard decisions over the past year. Adding Keselowski for the entire season could be the piece to the puzzle that brings the Wood Brothers back to the front.
Sponsorship is the key; getting it and getting enough of it to be competitive. The other hard decision to be made may not be so easy and that would be to give up the teams autonomy. An alliance with Roush-Fenway/Yates as a satellite team could help solve technical and financial challenges.
One car from Roush-Fenway will be spun off to Yates because of NASCAR’s four team rule. Common speculation has had either Jamie McMurrey or David Ragan moving to Yates as a third team. But, instead of sending a lower performing team, send Greg Biffle to become the cornerstone of that operation. Proven winner Travis Kvapil is available to take over the #96 ride if Ask.com can be convinced to stay on board or other sponsorship can be found.
The Wood Brothers with help from R-F/Y and Keselowski at the wheel could be a combination that returns the once proud team back to respectability and beyond.
photo credit: BethAnne Heisler/ON PIT ROW