Posts Tagged ‘Darlington’

NASCAR Race Review: Ford 400 Season Finale

December 1, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series comes to an end with the Season Finale Ford 400 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Coming into the race, two drivers can win the Sprint Cup Championship. Carl Edwards is three points ahead of Tony Stewart. Tony has already won four of the final ten races. Carl has not finished worse than eleventh in the nine races in the chase for the Sprint Cup. Carl is leading Tony by the three points given to him for winning in Las Vegas earlier in the season. Who ever wins this race will be crowned champion.

99 Carl Edwards holds the advantage by qualifying on the Pole with a speed of 175.467 mph and 30.775 seconds around this 1.5 mile track. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. starts next to him on the front row. Scott Speed, Reed Sorenson, Mike Skinner, Scott Riggs and Grant Enfinger failed to make the race. (J. J. Yeley reports he is stuck in traffic on the way to the track and hopes he will make it to the driver’s meeting.)

This was quite a year for NASCAR racing. There were eighteen different winners, five of which were first time winners. Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500, Regan Smith won at Darlington Speedway, Paul Menard won the Brickyard 400, David Ragan won the 400 race at Daytona and Marcos Ambrose won at Watkins Glen International. They will all get to race in the Sprint All Star race next year. No Owner/driver has won a Championship since Alan Kulwicki did it in 1992. Tony can do this by winning in his Stewart/ Haas #14 car.

So, here we go! 14, starting fifteenth, makes it three wide for position. 99 leads the first lap from the pole with 56 right behind. 22 Kurt Busch is smoking and slow on the track with transmission issues on Lap 3. He heads for the garage. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr., racing on the high line, gets by 48 Jimmie Johnson. 2 Brad Keselowski and 24 Jeff Gordon get around 17 Matt Kenseth. 88 gets around 17 for fifth.

The first caution comes out on lap 14 for rain. Some part from 22 hit Stewart’s front end and he has to make repairs to the grill. He restarts in fortieth place. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya is caught speeding. The rain is only a few sprinkles and they restart on lap 22. 88 and 56 race for second. 56 is on top where 88 likes to be and can’t get by. 39 Ryan Newman and 48 race for fourth with 24. 24 gets by 48. It’s hard to pass on the bottom of the track, but 24 tries again and gets by 39.

The second caution comes out during the commercial for spinning 35 Dave Blaney. 99 tire changer slips, giving him a long pit stop. 14 makes more repairs to the grill after making his way into the top fifteen.  42 stays out to lead. 2 takes the lead, with 29 Kevin Harvick in second as 42 falls back. 29 and 99 race for second. 21 Trevor Bayne slips in front of 14. 48 and 83 Brian Vickers race for position. 14 drives under 31 Jeff Burton. 99 gets by 29 for second. 29 bumps 99.

2 and 99 race for the lead and 99 takes the lead. 14 gets by 18 Kyle Busch for fourteenth. (The drivers are moving over when Tony gets to them.) 9 Marcos Ambrose is on seven cylinders. 29 and 48 race for eighth. Green Flag Pitting begins on lap 76. 24, 17 and 48 lead before pitting.

The third caution comes out after Green Flag Pitting is complete when 6 David Ragan blows up. 9 also heads for the garage. 13 Casey Mears gets back onto the lead lap. 4 Kasey Kahne makes lengthly adjustments. They restart on lap 88 with 99 and 24 up front. 88 and 17 race for position with 39 right behind. 17 gets by 88, 39 drives under 88. 48 drives under 88. 17 gets by 2. 14 drives under 88 as 88 gets loose. 14 drives under 39 for seventh. 48 makes a pit stop from fifth and the hood goes up.

The fourth caution comes out on lap 108, again for rain. (There is a rainbow across the track.) The blow driers come out, but there is too much rain and the Red Flag comes out. 14 is up to fifth. When the Yellow Flag comes back out, they can continue working on 48. The jet driers dry off pit road so they can get underway. 48 is back on the track after fixing the carburetor. 16 Greg Biffle stays out to lead, then pits. 47 Bobby Labonte was teh Lucky Dog recipient. 29 takes two tires to lead and restarts on the inside. 14 dives under 99 and 24 into second. 29, 56 and 99 are three wide. 42 scrapes the wall. 24 and 14 race for the lead and 24 lets 14 by to take the lead. 88 and 18 race for seventh. 14 is flying! 99 drives under 24 for second. 21 gets into the wall, bringing out the fifth caution.

29 and 39 are first out of the pits. 14 had lug nut trouble. 14 makes it four wide! 39 and 56 race side by side for second and 56 drives under 39 to get by.14 drives around 24. The sixth caution comes out for spinning 48. He had taken the wave around, but now has four flat tires. 34 David Gilliland gets into 48 as he starts to spin. They restart on lap 147 and are three wide for the lead. 56 takes the lead. 14 makes it four wide to get by three others. 14 drives under 56 to take the lead.

The seventh caution comes out when 51 Landon Cassill tries to get around 1 Jamie McMurray but doesn’t clear and goes off spinning. 21 blows a tire and spins. 84 Cole Whitt has nowhere to go and gets caught up in the accident. Pit road is closed until they can clean up the track so the drivers don’t get debris on their new tires when they get back onto the track. 14 had trouble with a lug nut getting stuck in the socket and changed only two tires. 31 and 88 stay out to lead. They quickly lose the lead. 14 drives under 88 for fifth. 14 drives under 31 for fourth. 99 and 56 race for second. 99 drives under 56 into second. 17 and 99 race for the lead and 99 takes the lead.

14 gets by 56 into third. 31 and 4 race for fifth. 14 drives under 17 for second. 99 almost gets into the wall. 33 Clint Bowyer and 43 A. J. Allmendinger nearly collide. 31 pits. 16 is down a cylinder and heads for the garage. (The third Ford with engine trouble.) Green Flag Pitting starts.

4 gets by 56 into fourth. 99 pits and 14 takes the lead. 99 gets by 14 to unlap himself. 14 stretches his fuel so he will only have to make one more stop. Those with fresh tires get by to get back onto the lead lap. 14 finally pits and 5 Mark Martin takes the lead. 99 takes the lead.

The eighth caution comes out for rain. The leaders pit but 18, 2, 43 and 1 stay out but will not have enough fuel to make it to the end. The jet driers blow dry the track while the cars are on the track. 43 pits. 00 David Reutimann gets back onto the lead lap.

They restart with 37 laps to go. 14, 18 and 2 race for the lead. 14 takes the lead. 2 and 99 race for second and 99 clears. 2 makes a pit stop. 14, leading and 99 in second come on lap traffic. They both get by. The Flag man waves for lap traffic to let the leaders by. 14 is about a second ahead of 99 and not about to be caught.

14 Tony Stewart wins the Ford 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship in the most exciting race this race fan has ever seen! This was his fifth win in the last ten races of the year. He now becomes one of very few drivers with three or more championships. And he is the only driver to have a Winston Cup, a Nextel Cup and a Sprint Cup! Carl Edwards did what he had to do by leading the most laps. Tony’s winning the race gave both drivers the same amount of points, 2403, but as with any tie, the win goes to the driver with the most wins. Tony Stewart won all five in the last ten races! What a wonderful, exciting race for the grand finale. Tony passed 55 cars to win the race! Tony becomes the first owner/driver to win the Championship since Alan Kulwicki in 1992! And his team is only three years old. Truly remarkable. He now has bookends to Jimmie Johnson’s five in a row, as he was the last driver to win the Championship whose name is not Jimmie Johnson. A tie! How about that? That has never happened before. It was a race between the two contenders and they finished first and second. It starts to rain in Victory Lane!

Truex finished third with Kenseth, Gordon, Bowyer, Kahne, Harvick, Hamlin and Burton finishing in the top ten. There were twelve different leaders. Stewart and Edwards finished the points in a tie with 2403 points each. Harvick ended up in third place, like he did last year. Kenseth moved up two spots into fourth. Keselowski fell a spot into fifth. Johnson lost a spot to sixth, his worst finishing position since he began racing in Cup. Earnhardt, Jr. remained in seventh. Gordon moved up three spots into eighth, while Hamlin moved up into ninth. Newman fell a spot, but still finishes in the top ten to get on the stage for the banquet. Kurt Busch fell three spots and joins his brother Kyle as the final ones of the chase who will not be on stage in Las Vegas.

I will be back to recap the NASCAR season. This race was the best of all Grand Finale’s.

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

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In My Opinion

May 11, 2009

Welcome race fans to my opinion. I would like to comment on Kyle Busch. He has announced he’d like to go for Richard Petty’s record number of wins. That being 200. Richard Petty collected all these wins in the top NASCAR Series. Today that Series is called NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Now granted, back then there were more races in a season. And no one will ever break that record.

But Kyle wants to have all his wins in the three major Series count towards his total. Kyle is a veteran, even though still young, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The minor leagues are NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. They are minor leagues for up-and-coming racers and those veterans who could never quite make it in the top series. So he is racing against beginners and lesser drivers who can win in their own Series, but not in the top Series.

Kyle has 15 wins in Cup. He had two wins in his first full year and one in the following two years. For him it was Checkers or wreckers. That is, he wrecked more than he won. When his contract was up with Hendrick Motor Sports, Rick Hendrick decided to replace him with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Joe  Gibbs Racing hired him for the 2008 season. And that year he collected eight wins.

The Media went wild about what a great driver he was. He entered races in both the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series. And the Media added these wins to his Cup wins. So he has fifteen wins in Cup, but overall has 51 wins. And that’s where I have a problem. In my opinion, I don’t think the stats should be revised to include all the Series. I say pick a Series and stick with it. You can’t win them all.

But Kyle is arrogant enough to think he can. The Media loves him and is willing to rewrite the stats to show he is. All the other drivers stuck to Cup racing for their wins. They didn’t enter every race in all three Series to count all their wins. It just wasn’t done. Once they got to the top level, they raced there. With selected races in the Minor Leagues. There is nothing to compare Kyle’s stats to, as no one was ever arrogant enough to collect wins in different Series just for the sake of collecting wins.

In my opinion, he shouldn’t be allowed to compete in every race in the Minor Leagues and go for a Minor League Title. He is a Cup Title contender, after all. Of course he will win in the Minor Leagues. But is that a true reflection on his ability? The Media thinks it is. The fans certainly don’t.

One last thing. He doesn’t handle not winning very well. The Media says this is because no one wants to win more than Kyle. I beg to differ. He is not the only one who wants to win. They are all out there to win. And don’t like not winning. Kyle just acts like a baby when he doesn’t win. That doesn’t make him a better driver, just a poor looser.

This past weekend the races were in Darlington, SC. In the Nationwide race, Kyle got a flat tire with the Green, White Checkers coming up and had to pit. The crowd went wild cheering. In the Sprint Cup race, he hit the wall hard and had to go to the garage. No caution was thrown because he made it to the pits without involving anyone else. Again the crowd went wild cheering for his disappointment. In my opinion, it was the best part of both races in Darlington. And he shouldn’t be allowed to prove in three Series that he’s as good as the King was in one Series. Media, take note. NASCAR, please give the Nationwide drivers a chance to win races and Titles in their own Series by limiting the number of races any Cup driver in the top 35 can enter in a given year. Don’t let Kyle Busch take over.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. If you like what I said, please leave a comment. Thank you.

Race Review

May 12, 2008

Dodge Challenger 500

Darlington, SC

Welcome race fans to the eleventh race of the season. This track is the oldest one NASCAR goes to. They call Darlington “The Lady in Black” and “The Track too tough to Tame”. Darlington Raceway is a 1.366 mile egg-shaped oval and tough on drivers and cars. Most everyone in the race tonight, 05/10/08 will acquire a “Darlington stripe”. In fact, the 48 of Jimmy Johnson hit the wall so hard, he had to go to a back-up car. And got another stripe before qualifying. And he’s the reigning Champion! This week, only forty-five cars are entered, so only two will not make the race. Those two are Johnny Sauter in the #70, and Jeff Green in the #34. Bill Elliott in the 21 didn’t have to use his Champion provisional, as he got in on speed. Tonight the 40 is Sterling Marlin filling in for injured Dario Francitti, in his own former car. 7 Robby Gordon and 9 Kasey Kahne both had an engine change and will start from the rear.
So, here we go. 16 Greg Biffle is on the pole with a time of 179.442. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. starts second. Forty-two drivers broke the track record! That’s how much faster they will be going tonight. 16 and 88 pull away from everyone else. 16 leads the first lap. 88 takes the lead on the second lap. The first caution comes out on lap two. 19 Elliott Sadler and 20 Tony Stewart get into each other and the wall. 19 goes to the garage. 20 goes on. 2 Kurt Busch and 18 Kyle Busch go by 48. 44 David Reutimann gets a Darlington stripe. 6 David Ragan gets his own Stripe. 45 Kyle Petty gets hard into the wall and goes into the pits. 18 gets by 2. The second caution comes out when 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. gets into the wall.
They restart on lap sixteen. 18 takes the lead. 16 and 2 get by 88. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya gets into the wall. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. gets by 22 Dave Blaney. 42 won’t let 18 leading put him a lap down. 18 gets his Darlington stripe. 16 takes the lead. 48 gets by 88. 16 drives by 42 putting him a lap down. But 18 still can’t get by 42. Green Flag Pitting starts with 31 Jeff Burton and 01 Regan Smith on lap 59. 2 leads when 16 pits. 28 Travis Kvapil leads when 2 pits. 17 Matt Kenseth leads when 28 pits. 9 leads when 17 pits. 96 J.J. Yeley leads when 9 pits. 10 Patrick Carpentier leads when 96 pits. 12 Ryan Newman has a tire violation, then missed the entrance on the drive-through. He goes two laps down. 38 David Gilliland leads when 10 pits. 41 Reed Sorenson leads when 38 pits. After all the pitting, 18 is back in the lead.
55 Michael Waltrip won’t let the leader 18 put him a lap down. 66 Scott Riggs and 5 Casey Mears battle for thirteenth. 16 takes the lead when 40 wouldn’t let 18 by. 1 gets by 24 Jeff Gordon. 7 is having trouble and pits. Green Flag Pitting begins once again with 55 and 83 Brian Vickers. 24 leads when 16 pits. 11 Denny Hamlin leads when 24 pits. 10 leads when 11 pits. 20 misses the pit entrance. 18 gets into 16 to take the lead. 16 makes a great save to keep going. 18 is complaining about his brakes. 18 can’t get by 9.
The third caution is for debris. 9 stays on the lead lap. 07 Clint Bowyer is the Lucky Dog, and gets his lap back. There were one hundred and twenty-six laps of Green Flag racing! 88 takes two tires and gets out of the pits first. It’s 88, 16, 18, 24 and 1 as the top five. 18 had a loose lug nut and must pit to get it tightened. 66 and 40 are caught speeding and will serve a drive-through  penalty. 29 Kevin Harvick gets hard into the wall and limps to the pits. They finally have to throw a caution for his debris. 12  is in front of the leader and gets one of his two laps back. 15 Paul Menard is the Lucky dog. 16 takes the lead from 88. 1 gets by 88. 48 is having alternator problems. 88 gets his Darlington stripe, and 24 gets by. There are now twenty cars with a Darlington stripe. 16 has a bad vibration. 16 puts 9 a lap down. 16 thinks he broke a gear and pits. 1 takes the lead. 28 gets into the wall. 1 tries to lap 9 who got his lap back when 16 pitted.
Green flag Pitting begins again with leader 1. 88 takes the lead. 6 leads when 88 pits, then misses the commitment cone and has to go back around. 10 gets a tire penalty. 26 Jamie McMurray takes the lead. 77 gets into the wall again. 16 leads when 26 pits. 18 gets into the wall. 17 is falling back. 15 goes to the garage. Greg Biffle in the 16 tells his crew “we’re never going to make it”, with 145 to go. 31 goes a lap down. The fifth caution comes out during the commercial. It’s for debris from the 16. 43 Bobby Labonte is the Lucky Dog. 16 goes to the garage. The top ten are: 11, 1, 24, 88, 2, 48, 17, 22, 99, 6. 12 and 83 collide entering pit road. The Green Flag comes out with 127 to go. The sixth caution comes out when 83 gets into the wall with 118 to go. 24, 88, 48, 22 , 18, 99 Carl Edwards and 28 stay out. 2 gets fuel only.
The Green Flag comes back out with 115 to go. 18 takes second from 88. 38 gets a Darlington stripe. Thirty-four cars now have a Darlington stripe. 99 feels like he has a loose tire. 18 takes the lead during the commercial. 5 gets into the wall when his right front tire went down and he couldn’t turn. No caution. 22 is up to fourth. 6 goes by 48. The seventh caution comes out for debris from 84 A. J. Allmendinger who got into the wall. Nineteen cars are on the lead lap. 9 Kasey Kahne is the Lucky Dog. The top ten are 24, 18, 88, 99, 22, 11, 07, 1 and 48. 20 pulls out in front of the leader to get back on the lead lap. 24 falls back to fourth. 18 takes the lead. 6 bounces off the wall. 18 gets into the wall. And again.
The eighth caution comes out with sixty-six to go. 1 runs over 11, spinning 11. 9 stays on the lead lap. 38 David Gilliland is the Lucky dog. 20 stayed ahead of the leader to stay on the lead lap. The top ten are 18, 99, 24, 6, 88, 22, 43, 1, 48 and 17. The green Flag comes out with sixty to go. 6 has a vibration. 22 gets by 6. 1 and 48 battle for seventh. 9 looses it, then saves it. 10 goes out with engine failure. 16 is out with mechanical problems. 07 gets into the wall. 11 gets by 48 for eighth. 1 gets into the wall. 26 and 38 get by 1. 00 Michael McDowell brushes the wall. 26 gets by 48 for tenth. And Kyle Busch in the #18 wins the race. He also led the most laps.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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