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 @onpitrowFebruary 28, 2012 11:48 am UTC No Comments
I don’t write race recaps. I don’t enjoy doing them and there are really good, professional journalists who do that better than I ever could anyway. So go read Bob Pockrass or Dustin Long or Ryan McGee’s stories this week if you want to know what happened in the Daytona 500 and why it did.
Congrats to Matt Kenseth on winning the race and to Jack Roush for owning the front row of the grid in addition to the car that won the race. Nice start for the Roushies in 2012.
Dale Earnhardt Jr finished second, and looked to have a shot at the win late in the race. But it was not to be.
The Pack is Back. Pack racing at restrictor plate tracks is once again the rule. The proof came when, with a couple laps left, and Kenseth all alone out front with no one to draft with, the combo of Junior and Greg Biffle couldn’t catch him.
In the days of tandem plate racing, Matt would have been as toasted as Reilly Mansfield at a Saturday night gig. But he held on.
The pack racing led to some crazy wrecks. And Juan Pablo Montoya’s, yellow flag spin into a jet dryer was just bizarre . So was 15 hours, spread over two days, of pre-race fill by DW, MW and MJ.
I hope to hell there’s no weather in the forecast for Phoenix.
Photo credit: Round girl Cindi by 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 @onpitrowFebruary 26, 2012 9:28 am UTC No Comments
Tony told us that he thought he’d heard of some interest, but didn’t know – or didn’t divulge – who had the dough.
Turns out Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s campaign is going to sponsor the #26 Ford Fusion in the Great American Race.
Makes sense. NASCAR fan demographics shade well to the right politically. George DubbYa knew that. So did Ronald Reagan. Remember Reagan in the booth when King Richard Petty won his last 500? NASCAR Dads?
Front Row and Raines are underdogs today in the 500. But so was Santorum 6 weeks ago and now he’s at the top of the polls. Karma is on the side of the #26 today.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt
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 @onpitrowFebruary 25, 2012 11:24 pm UTC No Comments
Could the Family France have found harmony between 2011′s, new age, tandem – or pairs – plate racing and the old school, flash mob, chaos of recent seasons?
It sure looked that way in the Nationwide Series, Drive for COPD 300. Congrats to James Buescher, on surviving the wreck fest and winning the race.
Rookie driver John King pulled a similar rabbit out of the wrecks in Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NextEra Energy Resources 250, but that isn’t the point I want to make.
For maybe 90 percent of the NNWS race, pack racing was the story. Caused a bunch of semi-BIG ONES and wrecked a bunch of contenders. Fun stuff.
Then, for about the last 25 restarts (I know, it was about 4 really) the whole tandem-racing thing came back. Which I kind of – in the minority I think – like.
They still wrecked like they all owned body shops, but it was tandem wrecking, not pack wrecking.
I think I liked it. Cannot wait for Sunday.
Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR
by Charlie Turner
Race one was won by defending Sprint Cup champ Tony Stewart. Matt Kenseth was the winner of the second Duel race.
Which race did you like better? The character of the two races was as different as, I don’t know… the music of AC/DC and James Taylor.
We expected pack racing after NASCAR’s efforts to end the Pairs Plate Racing of 2011. Saturday’s Bud Shootout seemed to validate those thoughts.
Duel number one fit the expectation today. It was a sixty lap, three-wide nail-biter with a couple big wrecks (welcome to NASCAR, Danica Patrick) and a shuffle filled, final few laps.
But race two was different. Mostly it looked like a parade, with pole starter Greg Biffle playing Grand Marshall. Looked a bit like Talladega, 2010, I thought.
Until the last two and a half laps, anyway.
Those laps were as exciting as any I’ve watched since…oh… Saturday, I guess. But Kyle Busch didn’t win this one.
Matt Kenseth did.
The fact that I thought Elliott Sadler was driving the Best Buy Ford Fusion just confirms that it’s early in NASCAR 2012. Those new paint schemes always take me awhile.
Early looks pretty good though.
Photo credit: HEATHER WILLIAMS | Eyewitness Sports
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.July 1, 2011 8:57 pm UTC No Comments
Let me put it this way: there is nothing that I can do to help you this weekend.
Chances are, if I make three picks like I usually do, two will be good cars. One, if not both, of them will get caught up in an accident late in the race, possibly running in one of a likely three green-white-checkered finishes. The third will be slow as hell but wind up 20th due to the accidents, and you’ll come out of the weekend wishing you’d have listened to this advice instead of listening to any particular driver that I picked.
That’s precisely the reason why I delayed this column to the day before the race. Sure, you can look at the speed charts in the one practice session from yesterday, or who’s starting where in the field, but it may not do you much help. Mark Martin‘s on the pole, with the aforementioned Trevor Bayne starting alongside him, if that helps any.
But let’s be honest. If the stars align, anyway, and a bunch of bad things don’t happen, there’s only one guy in the field that can win this race anyway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., of course.
Think about it. The No. 88 team has been so close these past couple of months. There was the disappointment in the Coca-Cola 600 of running out of fuel on the very last lap when they absolutely could have won that race. There have been plenty of strong runs all season. They’re gelling as a team since Steve Letarte and the crew were shifted away from Jeff Gordon in the offseason, and now that they get to work with the dynamic duo (Jimmie Johnson/Chad Knaus) in the Hendrick shops.
Add that to Earnhardt Jr.’s history at Daytona, which need not be explained once again, and you can only come up with a two word statement: It’s time.
It’s time for Junior Nation to get excited. It’s time for them to celebrate a driver who is undergoing a career renaissance with one of the sport’s biggest teams. But most of all, it’s time for them to help their driver celebrate his first win in over three years on Saturday night.
Junior for the win. Calling it right now.
by Matt Mercer, Special To NASCAR commentary and driver pictures, 2012 NASCAR schedule, video, Bench Racing With Steve and Charlie
I'm the former blogger of The Catfish Show NASCAR Blog and a contributor to On Pit Row. Follow me on Twitter: @mattmercerFebruary 17, 2011 10:29 am UTC 1 Comment
Formerly (and maybe should still be, but that’s another blog) the Twin 125s, the unique way in which the field is set for the Daytona 500 will be run today at 2 PM on SPEED. Since the Daytona 500′s inception the qualifying races have been part of the Daytona experience. Not only do you get a preview of what Sunday will be like, but you get so many great stories to last until Sunday. The transfer spot, the underdogs, the surprises. Dale Earnhardt had the incredible streak of 10 consecutive wins in the Twin 125s from 1990 through 1999.
For racing junkies its a bonus to see cars on the track with something on the line. These races whet the appetite for Sunday’s big race. I can’t wait until they drop the green flag today.
Photo credit: Icon Sports Media