Posts Tagged ‘Carl Edwards’

Chase For The Sprint Cup Finale: Two Drivers, One Race

November 20, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the Chase for the Sprint Cup comes down to one final race, the Ford 400, at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. This will be a race between two drivers, three points apart. Let’s take a look at them.

Carl Edwards sits at the top of the points with his one win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the beginning of the year. That win gave him three points more than Tony Stewart heading into the Chase, as Tony had not won a race in the first 26 races of the regular season. Carl was Mr. Consistency all through the chase. Tony won four of the nine races in the chase so far. They both earned the same amount of points in the chase. The difference is the three points for winning in the regular season. Now it comes down to one race between these two drivers.

Tony has two championships, Carl has none as yet. Although Carl had the most wins in a year, Jimmie Johnson won the championship that year.

Tony won the 2002 Winston Cup championship, and at the time I felt he was undeserving of the Title, as there was much turmoil all year with him needing anger management a lot of the time. That was this fan’s opinion at the time. Nevertheless, he won the championship by being the best driver all year, collecting the most points. The chase started in 2004, with Kurt Busch winning the first Nextel Cup after starting the chase in seventh place. This fan had to wonder about the point of giving the championship to a seventh place team. The next year Tony won the Nextel Cup by being the best driver in the second half of the season. And this fan had to wonder if he was going to win them all just by being at his best in the last ten races. (I was proven wrong, as Jimmie won the next Nextel Cup and then the next four Sprint Cup championships. I was not proven wrong about the chase, as Jimmie managed this feat by being at his best in the chase.)

Now it comes down to one race and two drivers. (Although 41 other drivers will be racing in the Ford 400.) Carl has won the last two out of three races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. So he knows how to win here. He also sits on the Pole to start the race. Tony has won a championship in this format and he was the last champion to win whose name was not Johnson. He starts the race in fifteenth.

It should be a great race between these two drivers. However, I’m sure the fans of the other 41 drivers will be wanting to see how their driver is doing. Hopefully one or more of these other drivers will be leading the race so the fans will be able to see more of the race than just these two drivers.

This fan is not a fan of the chase. The system was not broken, so I fail to see the need to “fix” it. And many long time fans agree with me. For me, the champion should be the best all year (as Tony was in 2002), not the best in ten races (as Jimmie was). With the new points system of one point for each position, the points are close anyway. So, I don’t see the need for a “playoff” just for the sake of a “playoff”. I don’t see the need to give a 12th place team a better chance to win the Title. There are 36 races in the season and this fan does not like having the last ten races meaning more than the others. Each race is an individual race and they all should  be treated equally. Homestead hosts the final race, but this fan thinks it was more exciting watching the drivers race into and out of the top ten to get on stage at the banquet at years end in this race.

The Ford 400 starts Sunday afternoon and when the Checkered Flag falls, one of the two drivers will take home the Sprint Cup. (Although it is no longer a Cup, but Checkered Flags.) Here’s to an exciting finale to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.

 

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NASCAR Race Fan Commentary

August 9, 2011

Welcome NASCAR  race fans to my NASCAR blog. I read an article in my local newspaper today by Jenna Fryer about Joey Logano. Joe Gibbs Racing, who Joey drivers for, was courting Carl Edwards for Joey’s ride. Because Joey wasn’t living up to expectations. Carl re-signed with Roush-Fenway Racing and Joey is back in his own car again. Joey sat on the Pole at Pocono Raceway over the weekend and would have won another rain shortened race for his second career win had the rain not stopped. But it did and he had other problems and had a poor finish.

Joey Logano came to NASCAR with others calling him “sliced bread”, as in the next best thing since. He was winning in the feader Series’ all the time. And when he turned 18 and could race in NASCAR, he won in the Nationwide Series in his third race. In the Nationwide Series he was able to beat team mate at JGR, Kyle Busch a Sprint Cup driver, many times. But Tony Stewart left the organization at the end of the 2008 season. Instead of having Joey stay in Nationwide and win races and championships and then move up to Sprint Cup, JGR put him into the 20 Home Depot car. And instead of having him race for the Nationwide championship in 2009 as a Rookie, they chose to let Kyle Busch run for the Nationwide championship. (Kyle had 8 Cup wins in 2008 but failed to win the Cup championship. However, he sure could beat those Nationwide drivers and won the Nationwide championship in 2009.) Not being able to test was sighted as a reason for Joey not doing as well in Cup. But JGR could have had him racing in all the Nationwide races for seat time.

Let’s look at Kyle Busch. The best driver ever because he has 100 wins in the top NASCAR Series’? Sorry, this NASCAR fan is not buying that. He has more Camping World Truck victories than he has Cup wins. That’s because he is beating Truck drivers who never did anything in the top Series. Mike Skinner has many trophies in the Truck Series, but when he moved to Cup, he was there several years and never won a single race against the best race car drivers. He went back to the Truck Series where he could win again. Travis Kvapil won a championship in the Truck Series but never did anything in Cup and came back to the Trucks. Johnny Benson finally won a Cup race and went down to Trucks where he won many races and even a Championship.

Greg Biffle won the Truck Championship, moved to Busch/Nationwide and won the championship there before moving to Cup. In my opinion, that is the way to do it. Start in the Minor Leagues, win races and championships and move up the ladder. Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch both started in Trucks and went on to win in Cup. But for the most part, these Truck drivers are exactly that: Truck drivers. Big deal that a Cup driver can beat them in short races. Perhaps if Joey started out in the Minor Leagues and won a championship, he might be a better Cup driver.

When Kyle turned 18 Hendrick took him straight into Cup. And in three years with the organization, with the best equipment, he managed to win four races. Mostly, though, he spent his time smashing up that great equipment. Kyle was replaced by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 2008 and went to JGR where he won eight times. Does that make Kyle suddenly a great driver? It would if he could keep up that pace. But he didn’t. He was able to win a Nationwide championship while racing in Cup. Again, big deal. With that in mind, Frank Kimmel has nine ARCA championships! Is he better than Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty because he has nine championships and they only have seven? Of course not. So I fail to see why Kyle is touted to be the best driver, just because he wins shorter races against little competition.

Now let’s look at Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Kyle fans will compare him to Kyle and decide he never had it and why are his fans still his fans? But let’s look at that. Jr. started out in the Busch Series and won many races and consecutive championships before moving up to Cup. With all those wins and two championships, he had many fans. In Cup he raced his Father and beat him. Jr. had more wins in three years than Kyle did in the same first three years. He hasn’t won in awhile, but you can’t say he has no talent and never did. His fans remain loyal as true NASCAR race fans do. Do we choose a driver because he is winning and then move on to the next driver who is winning? No, we choose a driver that we can go for every week, and every year. And stick with him even when he isn’t doing so well. Because we are fans. We are committed. Do football fans move on to better teams when their team isn’t doing so well? I added more drivers to my list of favorites, but my first favorite will always be my favorite. In my case, even after he has retired.

I guess I’m rambling and do appologize. I’ve been a NASCAR race fan since 1996 and I’m not crazy about where the media is leading us. Is their job to report and imform the fans, or to shove their opinions down our throats? For me, Cup racing was great when Winston was the Sponsor and it was all about racing instead of about chasing. When the champion was the best driver all year and collected the most points of anyone. Instead of being the best driver in the last ten races. While I love watching Jimmie Johnson race, he would not have five consecutive championships if there was no chase. We race fans always thought we had a better Sport than football. We didn’t like football and didn’t want to be like them. Now we fans have to put up with a playoff that crowns a champion based on ten races and a tenth place team has a chance to win it all. I fail to see what is so exciting about a tenth place team winning it all because he put together ten good races. Of course, that’s just my opinion, and I’m just a die hard fan.

Racing to me is exciting. And I don’t mind if you don’t watch because you don’t think racing is exciting. What I do mind is NASCAR manufacturing excitement to get the football fans to watch. Watching Matt Kenseth win the 2003 championship with only one win was very exciting. He was there every week. Not to say he wasn’t trying to win them all, he was. But he was willing to settle for third if he had a third place car. It was exciting watching him race and be up front week after week. It was exciting last year when Kevin Harvick kept the points lead for most of the year until the chase. And quite a let down when he finished the season with the most points but didn’t win the championship.

Well, NASCAR race fans, thank you for listening.

Sheila Hawley

I love NASCAR racing.

NASCAR’s 2009 Top 12

December 15, 2009

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. I have already covered ending spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup points 12-8. Today is finishing in seventh place, #16 Greg Biffle.

Greg is another Roush Fenway driver that had no wins going into the Chase. I have to wonder why Matt Kenseth, with his two opening season wins didn’t make the Chase, while Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle, with no wins got in. Somehow this looks wrong to me. Race winners should be included in the chase, not just those who were consistent. But that’s just my opinion. In other play-offs, the winners went on to the play-offs.

Anyway, Greg started the chase in twelfth place, having no wins, and everyone else ahead of him in points after 26 races.  He normally does well on the Chase tracks, winning the first two races at New Hampshire and Dover last year. But this year he is ranked as a sleeper to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

Sadly, this year, he just didn’t do it. Starting out ninth at New Hampshire and thirteenth at Dover, where he won last year, Greg did manage to come n third at Kansas. His best finish after that was only a fourth at Talladega. He only recorded four top 10’s in the chase, two of them top fives.

Greg didn’t do any worse than 25th at Martinsville, but he didn’t do any better than third. He has three wins at the season finale in Homestead-Miami, but this year he could only muster up a 14th place finish.

Greg Biffle started his NASCAR career with Jack Roush, racing in the Craftsman Truck Series. When he was crowned Champion, he moved on to the Busch Series, where he was Rookie of the year. In two years he won the Busch Series Title and moved on to Cup racing. There he was also Rookie of the year. Greg has 14 wins and has made the Chase three times, finishing second and third, and this year in seventh. Hopefully, Roush-Fenway will figure something out in the off-season so his drivers will, once again, be contenders for the championship.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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NASCAR’s 2009 Top 12

December 13, 2009

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my review of the finishers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. As you’ll recall, #83 Brian Vickers finished 12th, #99 Carl Edwards finished 11th and #9 Kasey Kahne finished 10th. Finishing in 9th, is #39 Ryan Newman.

At the end of 2008, Ryan left his Penske Dodge team to join Tony Stewart in Tony’s new Stewart-Haas team. Ryan didn’t make the Chase in 2008, but he did this year with his new team. However, he did not have a win this year, and started the Chase for the Sprint Cup in tenth, behind Carl Edwards, who was higher in points after 26 races.

The first two races at New Hampshire and Dover went well, both with top 10 finishes, moving him up to seventh in points. His 22nd place finish in Kansas brought him back down to tenth. A fifteenth place finish at Auto Club Speedway in California and eleventh at Lowes were followed by a top ten finish of seventh at Martinsville.

Then came Talladega, where he ended the race with a spectacular crash, having Ryan flying through the air and landing with the hood of his car on the hood of the #29 car of Kevin Harvick before finally landing on the roof. That caused a Red Flag for clean-up and to turn the car right side up so Ryan could get out of the car. The caution happened with five laps to go. Ironically, it was team mate and owner #14 Tony Stewart that got him airborne. Ryan finished 36th and dropped a spot to eighth.

In Texas, he finished 12th, but fell another spot when #11 Denny Hamlin finished second. Phoenix has never been good to Ryan, but he did manage to finish 20th, keeping his ninth place in the points.

In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami, he only finished 23rd, leaving Ryan in ninth place for the year. Not a stellar season for Ryan, but by no means terrible in his first year with Stewart-Haas Racing. (The #12 car that he left, finished 32nd in points with David Stremme behind the wheel.)

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In My Opinion: Phoenix

April 17, 2009

Welcome race fans! It’s time for My Opinion. This week NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series comes to Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona. I, of course watch everything that is televised over the weekend involving racing. That is, I watch all the practices, but may not watch Trackside or all the Speed Reports. Mostly because I don’t care for the commentary of those. Just my opinion.

But I do watch all the practices and qualifying. PIR is one of the shortest races in the Series. The race is the Subway Fresh Fit 500, but that is 500K, not 500 miles. It’s only 312 laps/miles, instead of the 500 laps at Martinsville and Bristol. In my opinion, it’s just a Nationwide race. But that’s another story.

The Nationwide drivers took to the track at 8:00 AM today. My time, Eastern, it was a reasonable 11:00 AM. #32 Burney Lamar was on the track and #60 Carl Edwards (a Cup regular) got into him, damaging both cars. Carl, of course, blamed Burney. Burney claimed he didn’t see Carl coming and went down in front of Carl. Now, Carl is a Cup veteran, driving in the Nationwide series. In my opinion, Carl should have been better than to run into Burney.

The Nationwide Series should be for up-and-coming drivers. And if drivers like Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch want to race with these guys, they should expect racing incidents like this one. David Ragan, also a Cup driver, had to get into the wall to avoid another Nationwide driver. And many times Kyle Busch gets mad and storms off when he doesn’t win all the races in Nationwide. Or if a Nationwide driver won’t let him by.

It’s my opinion that this series is for drivers who are still learning. And they will make mistakes. That’s why they aren’t in the Sprint Cup Series. The Cup drivers are veterans. And if they want to go and drive in the minor leagues, they should expect situations like that to happen. After all, they are playing with Nationwide toys and shouldn’t just expect the drivers to pull over and let them by. It’s their Series and they want to win. Every bit as much as Carl and Kyle do.

Yes, Kyle and Carl are better drivers. They will do better than the regular Nationwide drivers. They are Cup regulars, after all. And as such, they should be able to avoid such incidents. I actually like a Nationwide race where Kyle and/or Carl do lousy. And hate it when those two beat up on the Nationwide drivers to get a spot. They shouldn’t be taking out drivers in their own series. They should be better than that.

And now, in my opinion, I suggest that NASCAR take a good  look at the Nationwide Series. There are many drivers who depend on this series for their bread and butter. And deserve recognition. When Cup drivers run all the races in Nationwide, they will, by definition, do better than the series drivers. Carl and Kyle are first and second in points.  And in my opinion, that should not be allowed.

And the media should spend more time talking about the regulars, instead of the Cup drivers. They can talk about Cup drivers in the race the following day. I want to know about how the Nationwide regulars are doing. I have my favorites and want to know how they are doing. I don’t care how the Cup drivers are doing, even if they are faster. They SHOULD be faster.

They limit the number of races a Nationwide driver can race in Cup and still be a rookie contender. Can’t they limit the number of Nationwide races a Cup driver races in, and still qualify for the Chase? It’s been the “thing to do” the last few years. Cup drivers going for the Nationwide Championship. But is it the right thing to do? Not in my opinion. Pick a Series. And go for the Championship. Although, Kevin Harvick has two Busch Championships, but no Sprint Cup Championships. Carl Edwards has his Busch series Championship, and no Cup Championship. And Clint Bowyer has his Nationwide Championship, but no Cup Title.

Hmm! It doesn’t look like anyone will win both in the same year! But I sure hate hearing how well Cup drivers are doing in the Nationwide race. In my opinion, it’s like Tiger Woods playing against the amateurs just to prove he’s better than them. Duh! But that’s just my opinion.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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