Posts Tagged ‘Darlington Raceway’

NASCAR Race Review: VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200

May 12, 2012

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR Nationwide Series raced their ninth race of the season, VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, SC. Friday night. Qualifying was earlier on Fast Friday, with Nationwide driver Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. on the Pole with a speed of 173.546 mph and 28.336 seconds around this 1.366 mile egg-shaped oval. Sprint Cup driver Denny Hamlin, in the Sport Clips car, starts next to him on the front row. The guys in the booth all pick their favorite Sprint Cup driver to win the race, even though this is a Nationwide race. There are many drivers here at Darlington Raceway for the first time at this track “too tough to tame”. 88 Cole Whitt and 99 Travis Pastrano crashed into the wall during qualifying and will start the race from the rear in backup cars.

6 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. starts the race on the inside and moves past 18 Denny Hamlin to lead from the Pole. On Lap 2 the first caution comes out. 36 Ryan Blaney gets going too fast and slides up into the wall, and sends 51 Jeremy Clements sideways. Others get together behind them.

6 again restarts on the inside and moves up in front of 18. 38 Kasey Kahne and 31 Justin Allgaier race side by side and 38 gets by. 33 Brendan Gaughan and 22 Brad Keselowski race side by side and 22 gets by. 11 Brian Scott drives under 31. 22 drives under 31. 2 Elliott Sadler gets by 3 Austin Dillon for fourth. 18 challenges for the lead and 6 lets him by. 20 Joey Logano drives under 2 for fourth.

The second caution comes out when 01 Mike Wallace blows a tire in front of 6 and heads for the wall with much sparks. 31 makes a pit stop with the hood up. 18 and 20 come out of the pits first and they race for the lead at the restart. 20 takes the lead. 18 drives under 20 to take the lead.

The third caution comes out when 50 T. J. Bell was trying to get between 39 Josh Richards and 31. 39 wouldn’t let him in and 50 hits the outside wall, down the track and into the inside wall. 99 Travis Pastrano gets back onto the lead lap.

At the restart, 18 and 20 race each other for the lead and 54 Kurt Busch drives under them to take the lead. After a few laps 18 takes the lead back. 6 gets by 20 for third. 12 Sam Hornish, Jr. lets team mate 22 by for sixth. 6 gets by 54 for second. 6 gets sideways into a lapped car and 54 gets by. 22 and 6 start Green Flag Pitting. 18 pits and 54 leads. 54 pits and 20 leads. 20 pits and 33 leads. 33 pits and 31 leads. 18 takes the lead driving between a lap car and 31. 22 gets by 3. 2 is overheating.

20 drives under 54 for second as 54 has a tire going down. 54 smacks into the wall, bringing out the fourth caution. 2 takes two tires to lead the race. 20 drives under 18 for second. 08 Matt Frahm is smoking and heads for the garage. 18 and 20 race for second and 18 gets by.

18 challenges 2 for the lead as the fifth caution comes out with ten laps to go when 33 gets into the wall. 41 Timmy Hill gets his lap back. 2 restarts on the inside again as they restart with five laps to go. The sixth caution comes out at the restart. 20 in third, instead of pushing 2 to lead, turns left sending 2 across 18 into the wall. (Once again the Sprint Cup drivers take out the Nationwide championship contenders trying to win a Nationwide race.)

18 was leading at the last loop and is declared the leader, even though 20 took the lead when he crashed 2 out. 99 Travis Pastrano is again the Lucky Dog. This will be a Green White Checker Finish. 22 pushes 20 into the lead and he holds off 18 for the win. 20 Joey Logano wins the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway, his second straight Nationwide victory. (Logano takes Elliot Sadler’s trophy. What a great Nationwide driver Joey is!)

So, Sprint Cup drivers finish the Nationwide race in the first three spots, with Logano winning, Hamlin second and Keselowski third. Sam Hornish, Jr. finished fourth, followed by Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Brian Scott, (Sprint Cup driver) Kurt Busch, James Buescher and Cole Whitt for the top ten.

Logano’s taking Elliott Sadler out puts him 23 points behind Championship points leader, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (Hopefully other Sprint Cup drivers will not take him out and he can make up points in races to come.) Austin Dillon remains in third, Sam Hornish, Jr. remains in fourth, Cole Whitt stays in fifth, Michael Annette stays in sixth and Justin Allgaier remains in seventh. Mike Bliss, Joe Nemechek and Danica Patrick each move up a spot for the top ten, as Tayler Malsam falls three spots into eleventh.

And now my commentary. This race only had 43 cars entered. Five of them were Sprint Cup drivers. They say NASCAR race fans only watch Nationwide races if Sprint Cup drivers are in the race. This NASCAR race fan says fans do not come to Nationwide races instead of Sprint Cup races to see the Sprint Cup drivers. The fans that are there for the Nationwide race are fans that are there for the weekend and get to see the Sprint Cup drivers the following day. The Nationwide race should be about Nationwide drivers going for their Championship. Not about which Sprint Cup driver will win the Nationwide race. Nor about which Sprint Cup driver will take out Nationwide drivers to win these Nationwide races. Granted, it would not have been a full race this time without them, but I fail to understand why they have to take out Nationwide Championship contenders to win Nationwide races. Perhaps the Sprint Cup drivers should start these Nationwide races from the rear of the field, instead of taking over the Nationwide races. Joey Logano took out Elliott Sadler to win the Nationwide race. Sadler was leading the race. Had he gone on to win, he would be leading the points. Instead, Logano wins the race and Sadler falls way behind. Perhaps Logano should drop down to Nationwide so he can win races and Championships. I suppose Sprint Cup drivers liven up the Minor League races, but they should not be allowed to take out drivers racing for Championship points to win Minor League races. Have them start from the rear so we can watch these Pros race their way to the front. It’s no fun watching Sprint Cup drivers start out front, lead most of the laps and win these Minor League races. Especially if they take out championship points contenders to do so. Let them take each other out in Sprint Cup, not in the Minor Leagues.This NASCAR race fan would much rather see Nationwide drivers in these races. Perhaps Nationwide owners should find Nationwide drivers to drive their Nationwide cars, not Sprint Cup drivers.

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

Fast Friday At Darlington Raceway

May 12, 2012

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. NASCAR is racing close to home this Mothers’ Day weekend at the Darlington Raceway in Darlington, NC. Darlington Raceway is the “track too tough to tame” and the “Lady in Black”, as this track is shaped like an egg and very narrow. Most drivers end up with a “Darlington stripe” by the end of the race because you have to drive so close to the wall that most drivers get into the wall and get their Darlington stripe. By the end of the race, the wall is all black. At Darlington Raceway, the drivers must race the track and not each other.

The first practice session for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Bojangles’ Southern 500 was held on Fast Friday. Kevin Harvick was the fastest in the first practice. He will be the last one out for Coors LightPole Qualifying later on Fast Friday. A. J. Allmendinger was fastest in final practice.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series also had practice for the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 race. Kurt Busch was fastest in the first practice and will go out last in qualifying. 43 cars are entered in this race, so no one will have to go home.Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. captured the Pole position with a speed of 173.546 mph and 28.336 seconds around this 1.366 mile track Denny Hamlin will start next to him on the front row for the race Friday night.

Coors Light Pole Qualifying also took place on this Fast Friday for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 Sprint Cup race. Danica Patrick, who was slowest in the first practice, came out first. Kevin Harvick came out last and had a bad run. Greg Biffle captured the Pole with a speed of 180.257 mph and 27.281 seconds. Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne timed in with the same speed and will start the race in second and third. Mike Bliss, Scott Riggs, Stephen Leicht and Michael McDowell failed to make the race.

The Nationwide race was also run on Fast Friday. I will give a review later. Cole Whitt and Travis Pastrano hit the wall while qualifying and will be starting the race from the rear in back-up cars.

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

NASCAR This Weekend

May 10, 2012

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. This weekend is Mothers’ Day and NASCAR will be racing close to home at the Darlington Raceway. This is a 1.366 mile egg-shaped oval track that is so hard to race, it has been given a couple of nicknames. “The Lady in black” is one of them. The track is so narrow, they drive close to the wall and Darlington Raceway seems to have a magnet to draw the cars to the wall. You aren’t racing if you don’t have your “Darlington stripe”. For most race tracks, you race 42 other drivers. At Darlington, you race the track. Darlington Raceway is also known as “the track too tough to tame”.

Back in “the day” there were two races at Darlington. One in the Spring and the Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend. The Southern 500 was one of the “Crown Jewels” of NASCAR. In it’s infinite wisdom, NASCAR decided to give that Labor Day weekend to California instead, as it was a better market in California. Supposedly NASCAR race fans would rather travel to California than stay close to the East coast. I guess to get more NASCAR race fans to the West coast. That didn’t work out. It turns out NASCAR race fans would rather go to Darlington Raceway, with it’s great racing and unique track.

Darlington Raceway used to be hard on the tires because the track was paved with seashells in it. It has since been repaved so that the tires last longer. Last year Regan Smith won the race by staying out on the track after the last caution and holding off Carl Edwards on old tires. That was Smith’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory.

This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will race the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on Saturday night so the drivers can be with their wives and Mothers on Sunday. NASCAR Nationwide Series will be racing the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 on Saturday night. Somehow, for this NASCAR race fan, it just isn’t the same as it was on Labor Day weekend. Vivid Seats has NASCAR tickets and tickets for most Sporting Events.

I came across a site that reviews Sports Stadiums. Thought my readers might be interested.

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

NASCAR Race Review: Southern 500

May 8, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to me NASCAR blog. This week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race review is the Showtime Southern 500 held at the Darlington Raceway, the tenth race of the season. Darlington is the Lady In Black because everyone gets into her walls and leaves black stripes on her. And is the Track Too Tough To Tame. The drivers must race the track, not each other to win here. This track needs brain power and concentration to win. Five hundred miles and 367 laps is a very long time.

4 Kasey Kahne capture the Coors Light Pole Award on Friday with a speed of181.254 mph and 27.131 seconds. 39 Ryan Newman starts second. Both drivers broke the track record. 81 Scott Riggs, 71 Andy Lally and 92 Brian Keselowski failed to make the race. Darlington is the oldest paved super speedway 1.366 miles around located in the Sand Hills of South Carolina. This egg-shaped oval is a tough track to race on. The Southern 500 is the day before Mothers’ Day and the drivers’ Mothers gave the command to start the engines.

So, here we go! 4 Kahne chooses the outside line and leads from the pole with 39 right behind. 39 challenges for the lead but 4 holds him off. The first caution comes out on lap 2 for spinning 60 Mike Skinner. He had help from 66 Michael McDowell. 11 Denny Hamlin scraped the wall. 24 Jeff Gordon catches the leaders, 4 and 39. 16 Greg Biffle gets loose in front of 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 18 Kyle Busch gets by 99 Carl Edwards. 14 Tony Stewart drives under 83 Brian Vickers.  29 Kevin Harvick drives under 9 Marcos Ambrose for ninth. 48 Jimmie Johnson gets by 9 for tenth. 18 gets by 83 for fifth. 14 gets by 24 for third.

The second caution comes out when 46 J. J. Yeley goes up in smoke. 7 Robby Gordon gets back onto the lead lap. This is the competition caution NASCAR was going to throw to check tires because of the rain on Friday. The drivers will be able to take fuel. 32 Ken Schrader stayed out a lap to lead, then pits. 4 chooses the outside and drives around 18 to continue leading. 17 Matt Kenseth slides into 9, the tire goes down and he has to pit but the car won’t steer and he goes under the cone to get to the pits and has to come back in for a penalty. 83 and 39 race for eighth and 83 finally gets by.

The third caution comes out for 34 David Gilliland getting into the wall. He would have gotten his lap back but he was the caution. 1 Jamie McMurray takes two tires to lead. 14 has a long pit stop. 4 dives under 18 for second. 24 gets loose and 48 gets by. The fourth caution comes out on lap 83. 48 gets by 42 Juan Pablo Montoya, 42 crosses over and spins 48. Most of the lead lap stays out. 48 makes a pit stop because he flat spotted the tires after spinning.

4 takes the lead. 18 gets by 1 for second. 42 puts 83 into the wall to get by. 4 scrapes the wall (he lost focus for a second). 99 drives under 4 to take the lead. 18 gets by 4 for second. The fifth caution comes out during the commercial for debris. On pit road, 2 Brad Keselowski spins 27 Paul Menard sideways into his pit stall. He will have to back up to get out. 18 comes out of the pits first to lead. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. gets by 24 and then goes under 00 David Reutimann. 5 Mark Martin drives under 2. 17 gets another flat tire and starts Green Flag Pitting. 56 spins trying to get to pit road after taking the lead and looses a lap. 47 Bobby Labonte leads a lap before pitting. After it all 18 is back in the lead. 18 pits with a loose wheel and 99 takes the lead.

The sixth caution comes out on lap 222. 48 gets sideways and slides down the track but doesn’t hit anything, (Now that’s car control.) 22 Kurt Busch slides into the wall and pits. No caution. The seventh caution comes out when 6 David Ragan and 83 get together trying to be the first car a lap sown. 6 takes out the whole driver’s side panel exposing the foam underneath. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. gets back onto the lead lap.

The eighth caution comes out when 20 Joey Logano and 9 get together and 20 gets into the inside wall. 29 takes the lead and scoots away. 24 gets by 4 for second. 5 gets into the wall and the ninth caution comes out for his debris. 48 Jimmie Johnson gets back onto the lead lap. At the restart 4 and 29 battle for the lead and 4 is back in the lead. 99 gets by 29 for second. 24 gets into the wall, getting his “Darlington stripe”.

Green Flag Pitting starts again. 88 hits the cone coming in and will have to come in again. 14 leads. 38 Travis Kvapil gets into the wall. 14 pits and 4 is back in the lead. 4 and 99 battle for the lead and 99 takes the lead. 31 Jeff Burton goes up in smoke, bringing out the tenth caution with ten laps to go. 14, 78 Regan Smith and 2 stay out while the top five pit. They go Green with five laps to go.

The eleventh caution comes out when 18 tries to make it three wide and spins 29 and 33 Clint Bowyer. There is a Green White Checker Finish and 78 Regan Smith wins his first career race at a Crown Jewel Event with Carl Edwards right behind. There is a pit road confrontation between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick after the race.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR.

NASCAR Fan Rant

May 7, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. While the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is at the Darlington Raceway in SC. for the Showtime Southern 500 night race, there is nothing going on during the day on Saturday. So I thought I’d post a rant. To make things perfectly clear, I fell in love with NASCAR after seeing my first race in 1996. I loved watching all those beautiful cars going so fast around the track so close to each other. And the best races were those that had few cautions. See, I like RACING. Not crashing.

Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt both have seven championships. They both beat the competition seven times and had the most points over the whole year. Richard Petty won 200 races in what is now Sprint Cup. Since then the Busch Series was born to get new faces into NASCAR. Some moved up to Cup. Others weren’t good enough and stayed to compete with each other in the “Minor Leagues”. The Series is now the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The Craftsman Truck Series was later born and these drivers tried Cup racing but never won at the higher level. The Series is now the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and is a starting point for drivers to get National recognition.

Cup drivers would occasionally race in the minor league races, mostly to get fans to watch these races. But they didn’t enter enough races to take away too many wins from the regular drivers. Until lately. Kevin Harvick started the trend in 2006 and went for the Busch championship and won it. Followed by Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski. Martin Truex, Jr. was the last Busch driver to win a championship. He, like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won two of them in a row before moving on to Cup. Brad couldn’t win the championship while in the Series, as the Cup drivers were busy winning it. He moved up to Cup and raced in all the Nationwide races to win the Nationwide Title.

This year NASCAR declared all drivers had to decide on which championship they would race for. Thus not letting a Cup driver win the championship in the Minor Leagues. However, the Cup drivers are still allowed to race in all the races and win all the races. The media ask each other before each race if a Nationwide driver can win the race. And the answer is always no, “these Cup guys will be hard to beat.” It looks like the Nationwide champion will win without a single trophy!

The media loves Kyle Busch because he can beat the little guys. He goes to Nationwide and breaks all the Busch/Nationwide records. And they lump all his Minor League Victories in with his Cup victories to show how great a driver he is! Richard Petty has 200 wins. Kyle is racing in the Minor Leagues and looking to get more than 200 in all three Series. And the Media thinks this is just grand! Frank Kimmel has nine championships in ARCA. Does that make him better than Petty or Earnhardt? Kyle has one Nationwide championship. And only twenty-some wins in Cup. But he sure can beat the little guys and a handful of Cup drivers! He’s good at short races with little competition. Does this make him the best driver ever? Hardly. This NASCAR race fan is getting tired of the media shoving him down our throats in the minor leagues.

I love the Truck Series and the Truck drivers. I love the Nationwide Series and the Nationwide drivers. I have my favorites in both Series. I have my favorites in K&N Pro East and West Series’. And I love watching ARCA and those drivers. I do not watch these races to see which Cup driver will win the race. I want my favorite to win. I almost don’t want to watch the Minor League races any more. Who wants to see Cup drivers take away all the wins from the regulars? Not this fan. It’s like watching Tiger Woods playing against the amateurs and LPGA. Sure, he can beat them, but who wants to watch that? Kyle can beat the little guys, but who wants to watch that? I guess Kyle fans do. And the media.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. Thank you for listening. I love NASCAR.