by Clance' McClannahan, Special To NASCAR commentary and driver pictures, 2012 NASCAR schedule, video, Bench Racing With Steve and CharlieFebruary 27, 2010 12:04 am UTC 1 Comment
How much does luck really have to play in NASCAR? Auto Club Speedway was a perfect example of both good luck, bad luck, skill and strategy.
Race Day at ACS started out cloudy, with the threat of rain looming overhead in in the future. Lovely Katharine McPhee, Season 5 American Idol runner-up, performed the National Anthem, after stating “I’ve never watched a NASCAR game before.” Personally, I am really glad she said that prior to the first inning, or it might have been embarrassing for her later.
Andy Garcia was able to give the command. “ Gentlemen, start your engines!” and still be politically correct.
Pole sitter Jamie Mac led the race for about 5 seconds, and then Juan Pablo Montoya politely said “Excuse me?”, and took the lead. If you would reach far back into your memory…(I mean, it’s a stretch for me), you will remember that JPM led 60 laps at ACS in October, and in one truly horrendous moment, lost that race. Juan Pablo Montoya meant serious business and opened up a lead of more than 3 seconds by Lap 12. By Lap 29, Jimmie Johnson’s good luck began to show, and the 42 car’s not so good 30th lap, gave him a brush with the wall. Soon after…it was Good vs. Bad for JPM, Kasey Kahne and a few others. Namely Dale (**NOTE to Jr. Nation: Dale doesn’t want to be called Jr. or June Bug, anymore).
In the meantime, a war was beginning to rage. Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson had begun the battle that would continue throughout the race, which culminated in one of the finest moments in NASCAR History.
Lap 97 began to get a little more interesting. Now we will get into the good luck, bad luck, strategy (?) syndrome that happenedthat day.
Martin Truex Jr. loses power. Later, Martin Truex Jr’s engine blows.
JPM begins to battle with Jeff Gordon for 5th position. Harvick and Johnson continue to dance the Flamenco (to impress Juan Pablo Montoya) for 1st and 2nd, not being able to decide who would lead and who would follow.
In one of the most endearing and heart breaking moments of the race, Kasey Kahne, being conscientious of the bleak economy, decided he would help out some poor souls, who needed to make some money to feed their kids, by making sure they had jobs replacing the sod he tore up.
Ryan Newman’s engine blew up. DNF. Again. JPM, looking very competitive, was out of contention once again, after a great 140 laps. It also, was due to another kaboom of a large quantity of moving parts, critical to the car continuing to run..
Kevin Harvick discovered that one of Jamie Mac’s pit crew has a part time job with Cirque du Soleil. Scary.
Then there was Dale Earnhardt Jr. It seems like the last few years, if it’s going to happen to someone it will be Dale Jr. Personally, I don’t think he has any better or worse luck than many driver’s. I think his worst luck is the scrutiny he is constantly under. Much more than other driver’s. Broken Axle. Axle Broken. Race over for the 88.
Jimmie Johnson seemed to be going backwards for a small moment in time. Then… From out of the blue…comes JJ again. Jamie Mac, startled, said “”How can he be leading? “He was on pit road, wasn’t he?!!”
Why yes, he was. Double J won. 48/48.
Luck? Strategy? All of the above?
Kevin Harvick , at the end of the race, summed it all up, in one sentence. Possibly one of the finest quotes in NASCAR History. I am honored to have been able to do small tribute to that little quip at The Church.
“They have a golden horseshoe stuck up their ass.”
…And that, Dear Fans, was the finest finish to a race I have seen since the Daytona 500.
*What wondrous events shall LVMS bring us this weekend? Aw…the suspense is killing me!
by Art Almond, Special To NASCAR commentary and driver pictures, 2012 NASCAR schedule, video, Bench Racing With Steve and Charlie
Awright y'all... I'm tha crazy dude that is known as... "Drawer-Dude" I draw funny pictures of this racin' cartoon character that I created... known as "PIT-ROAD-TOAD! You can see more Toad-Toons at my blog site... RACIN' RUCKUSFebruary 23, 2009 8:31 pm UTC 4 Comments
Hey y’all… we goin’ tahh VEGAS! Can Kenseth do ahh repeat? Can Jr. Keep in his pit box ‘n not blow ahh motor? Can Kyle leave um sittin’? Can Gordon finally prevail? Stay tuned …the saga continues!
The Las Vegas Speedway is known as the “Diamond in the Desert”… however, it has another less official moniker and that is… “House of Roush”! This came from the past success of Roush drivers… Matt Kenseth… Mark Martin…and Jeff Burton.
Some cool facts about this 1200 acre complex are that it has a drag strip known as simply “The Strip”. The Las Vegas Police Department uses the facility for their pursuit and driver training. It is owned by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. The very first Winston Cup victory at the track belongs to non other than Mr. Mark Martin. This accomplishment came in 1998!
I created the cartoon in 1998 to commemorate the opening of the new facility.
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 @onpitrowMarch 3, 2008 1:10 pm UTC No Comments
Carl Edwards put a second straight whuppin’ on the Sprint Cup field in the UAW Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday. About now he should be preparing for the spanking that NASCAR is going to give him and the Roush Racing Office Depot Ford.
Edwards’ race car failed post-race inspection. The lid for the oil tank was missing. Several Nationwide Series teams were docked points, cash and had crew chiefs suspended for similar infractions last week. Scene Dailey has this quote from NASCAR.
NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said he wasn’t sure where the oil tank cover was found, only that it was off the tank. The victory still stands, he said.
“We’ll take the 99 back to the [Research and Development] Center [in Concord, N.C.], take a look at it there, and if there are any actions that will be taken, we’ll make that announcement as we normally do next week,” Poston said.
At his presser, Carl talked about overcoming adversity a couple times during the race. You can view Carl’s video here. With the way NASCAR has been coming down hard on most infractions - see Robby Gordon - Edwards should prepare for the worst and enjoy leading the Sprint Cup Series points. Its not looking like it’s going to last.
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 29, 2008 10:11 am UTC 1 Comment
The image that you may need to carry with you this week is the one of Carl Edwards #99 Roush-Fenway Ford Fusion relentlessly running down first Jeff Gordon and then race leader Jimmy Johnson for a convincing win at Auto Club Speedway of California. Or maybe that’s the vision that you want your competitors to lock on. It may convince them that Jimmy Johnson can be beat in Vegas.
The victory by Edwards convinced me that Jack Roush and his Ford Factory team has recovered from being snookered in 2007 , mostly by Hendrick Motorsports, in the testing and development of the, former, Car of Tomorrow. The new Fusion race car was dominant with Edwards at the wheel, but Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray all looked strong in California. The Fords are back, I’m convinced.
But I’m not convinced that it will make any difference at the next track where Jimmy Johnson has won the last three races and has a NASCAR Loop Data Driver Rating of 133.7. In fact of the sixteen categories that make up the pre-race Loop Box Score, Johnson has category best ratings in ten. Five of the six items that he doesn’t lead are Passing stats – things like Passes Under Green, Quality Passes, Pass Differential. The thing is, he trails in the passing stats because he spent 93.2 % of all of his Laps in the Top Fifteen and has led 24.5% of all laps over the last three years. He didn’t have very many cars to pass, did he?
Couple the #48’s past Las Vegas success with the fact that Jimmy led more laps than anyone at California (76) and finished a strong second place means picking anyone but Johnson this week is probably a mistake.
Making your pick from the best of the rest
By comparison, Carl Edwards has a Loop Driver Rating of 78.3 and leads only the Green Passes category with 220. The Vegas track has been good for other Roush Ford drivers and Carl is the highest rated driver at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the track most similar to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But if you pick Carl, you’re basing it on last Monday at Cali. That’s not much to go by.
Jeff Gordon has the second best Driver Rating at 114.1. Gordon led 68 laps and finished third at California. For much of the race it was a two car affair between the #24 and the #48. Gordon has won at Las Vegas, but only once and he’s never won at the similar Homestead. He could win this week because Jeff Gordon can win any week.
Hometown hot-shoe Kyle Busch has a DR of 108.7. He’s been as hot as you can be without winning a Cup race. He leads the Sprint Cup points – and Craftsman Truck Series points as well – and seems to be able to drive this new car anywhere he wants to on the track. Don’t look to Homestead for support though if you are leaning to the Shrub. His average finish down there is 33 rd.
Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle have DR’s of 104.5, 100.9 and 95.5 but only Kenseth has ever won at Vegas – at least on the track. Matt has two wins and has led a Loop second best 147 laps – 18.3% the last three races here. He finished a solid fifth at California after a strong run in the Daytona 500. Matt may be the better Ford choice than Carl Edwards for this week.
If I have to pick someone besides Jimmy Johnson to win this race, my choice would be between Jeff Burton and Mark Martin. Burton has been solid so far in 2008 sitting tenth in points. Jeff is another two time winner at Vegas and has a DR of 93.6. He has run 80.1 % of his laps in the top 15. Hanging around, giving himself a shot at the win in the end has worked well for Jeff in the Nationwide Series.
Martin is a past winner at Vegas. His Driver Rating is sixth best at 97.0. Nothing really jumps out and says,”pick me, I’m gonna win” but Martin has been very good at mile and a half tracks over the years.
When all is said and read though, how can you not take Jimmy Johnson this week? For a longshot pick any of these three Toyotas could be very good. Between Dave Blaney, Brian Vickers and David Reutimann, I like Blaney to finish this one in one piece and in the top ten.
Photo credit – Icon Sports Media, Inc.