Posts Tagged ‘Daytona’

NASCAR Racing At Las Vegas

March 10, 2012

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. This week NASCAR is at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the first 1.5 mile track on the circuit. Daytona, with it’s restrictor plate racing, and Phoenix, a one mile flat track, are done. Now comes the meat of NASCAR racing. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series are at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend.

Racing began with Nationwide practice on Friday. 2 Elliott Sadler was fastest in the first practice session. 43 cars are entered in the Sam’s Town 300 race and all 43 will race on Saturday. In the practice session, 88 Cole Whitt smacked the wall. Three ladies are entered in this race.  Danica Patrick, Johanna Long and Jennifer Jo Cobb.

On the NASCAR Sprint Cup side, 45 cars are entered in the Kobalt Tools 400 race on Sunday. Two will have to go home. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya smacked into the wall before he even completed a single lap, with debris hitting 31 Jeff Burton and 18 Kyle Busch. 48 Jimmie Johnson was fastest in the first practice session and will be out last for qualifying.

Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Kobalt Tools 400 race took place on Friday. 7 Robby Gordon and 23 Scott Riggs were slowest in practice and came out first. They failed to make the race. 47 Bobby Labonte, 31 Jeff Burton and 24 Jeff Gordon each held the pole position until 18 Kyle Busch claimed it, coming out 26th. However, 5 Kasey Kahne came out 38th and set a new track record of 190.456 mph and 28.353 seconds around the 1.5 mile track. The fastest cars in practice could not beat him. The front row will be Kahne and Busch. Both beat the previous track record, as did several others.

29 Kevin Harvick will start third, followed by 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr., 15 Clint Bowyer, 48 Jimmie Johnson, 14 Tony Stewart, 20 Joey Logano, 16 Greg Biffle and 56 Martin Truex, Jr. for the top ten starters. They will race the Kobalt Tools 400 on Sunday.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series will qualify and race on Saturday. As usual, Vivid Seats has NASCAR tickets available.

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

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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.

NASCAR Racing: Talladega

April 23, 2010

Welcome, NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, AL. This is the longest and fastest track. Talladega Superspeedway is a 2.66 mile tri-oval and is so fast that NASCAR mandates restrictor plates on the carburetor. Bill Elliott holds the qualifying record at 212.809 set 4/30/87. The plates restrict horse power, so they don’t get going too fast. Daytona is the other track that has mandatory plates. Mark Martin holds the race record with an average speed of 188.354 set 5/10/97.

This is my favorite track to watch NASCAR racing. They race three wide, nose to tail, ten deep. It’s so exciting to watch. Unfortunately, Talladega Superspeedway is the home of the “Big One”, where many cars are collected in a spectacular crash. Some fans come to see the crashes. I watch to see the wonderful racing. And hope no one makes mistakes and takes out half the field. With them racing so close together, there is no margin for error.

Past winners are Brad Keselowski, who won his first Sprint Cup win last year here, Jamie McMurray, who is going for three restrictor plate races in a row, Brian Vickers, who won his first career win here, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Bobby Labonte. Jeff Gordon has the most wins, with six. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has five wins and Mark Martin has two wins.

OTHER NEWS

Shell /Penzoil announced they will no longer be sponsoring the Richard Childress car of Kevin Harvick in 2011. They will go to Penske Racing. Kurt Busch who is currently in the #2 Miller Lite car, will be in the #22 Shell/Penzoil car. Brad Keselowski, in the #12 has sponsor money from Verizon, but cannot put the logo on the car because the Series sponsor is Sprint. Brad will move to the blue deuce next year. And previously announced, Kasey Kahne will leave Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the year and move to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. It is still uncertain where he will be in 2011.

NASCAR Nationwide Series qualified on Friday and will race on Saturday. Kevin Harvick, in his own #33 car is on the pole with a speed of 187.375. Carl Edwards will start second. Both are Sprint Cup drivers. Steve Arpin, who is racing in ARCA, makes his Nationwide debut in the JR Motorsports #7 car. The Cup drivers knocked him off the pole. ARCA will race later on Friday. Jeremy Clements, Willie Allen, Josh Wise, Derrike Cope and Kevin Lepage failed to make the race. Along with Arpin, Parker Kligerman, Patrick Sheltra, Bobby Gerhart and Chrissy Wallace also made the race.

The new Ford FR9 engine makes it’s debut in this race. Carl Edwards is already complaining of engine trouble in Sprint Cup practice. 37 Robert Richardson will attempt to make the race. 38 Kevin Conway was not eligible to race at Daytona, but will try to qualify here.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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See ya after the races.

NASCAR 2010 Season Begins

February 11, 2010

The first race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2010 season is on Sunday, Valentine’s Day. The Daytona 500. The Super Bowl of NASCAR. And there have been a lot of changes since the season ended in November 2009. New drivers in new cars with new sponsorship. New rules changes. So, NASCAR race fans, let’s get started!

The first event in Daytona is the non-points race, the Budweiser Shootout. Positions are set by having the eligible drivers pick a bottle of Budweiser that has a position inside. Drivers eligible this year are different this year. Last year they had the top 6 cars of each of the different Manufacturers. This year they used Daytona and the Shootout as qualifications. Any driver who has ever won the Shootout is in if they can find a ride. Ken Schrader and Derrike Cope found rides. The top 12 of 2009 are in. And anyone who has won at Daytona, either the Daytona 500 or the Pepsi 400, are eligible. And any past Champions. I like the eligibility rules. This is Daytona, after all!

99 Carl Edwards picked the pole position and 29 Kevin Harvick is in the front row. There were five cautions, the last one, ended the race under caution, even though the White Flag hadn’t been thrown. Edwards led the most laps. The other leaders were 14 Tony Stewart, 16 Greg Biffle and 1 Jamie McMurray (in a new car with a new team).

Since the shootout ended under caution without getting to the White Flag, everyone made noise about it. NASCAR listened and made a new rule. They will make every attempt to have the race end under Green. If the caution comes out before the White Flag, they will get three tries to finish under Green. So, if they don’t get to the White Flag and a caution comes out, they will restart with another Green, White, Checker. But if the caution comes out again before the White Flag on the third attempt, it will end in caution.

Danika Patrick came to NASCAR this year. She made her debut in the ARCA race at Daytona and finished sixth. She will be racing in 13 NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2010, starting with the Nationwide race in Daytona. The rest of the year she will be racing in the Cart Series, where she has one win.

In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, 25 trucks are locked into the races. (It was 30 last year.) And they are letting more team members go over the wall so that they can take fuel and change tires on the same stop. They came up with a new self-venting gas can (optional) so there is no need for a catch can.

Qualifying was on Saturday after the Bud Shootout. 5 Mark Martin is on the pole with a speed of 191.188 and 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. starts second. They are the only drivers locked into the Daytona 500. The rest of the field will be set by racing in the Gatorade Duels, being held today (Thursday). The drivers qualifying in odd positions will line up behind Martin. The drivers qualifying in even positions will line up behind Junior.

21 Bill Elliott, 82 Scott Speed and 87 Joe Nemechek are locked in on speed from qualifying. 71 Bobby Labonte is locked in as the latest Champion not already locked in. The top 35 in owner points from 2009 are locked in.

I’m excited about this year. With double-file restarts, the racing is more exciting. And now they will make 3 attempts to end each race under Green. NASCAR is encouraging bumping and banging. And they will be allowed to bump-draft in the restrictor-plate races (Daytona and Talladega). Less rules and more hard racing. I just hope this doesn’t lead to too many cautions. And I also hope that the driver causing the Caution also gets taken out. I see no reason to turn racing into a demolition derby. That’s just my personal opinion.

There is also sad news, at least in my opinion. NASCAR Scene Magazine has shut down. I won’t be getting a weekly review of the race and news. At least not in print. And my favorite Publication, NASCAR Official Preview and Press Guide is no longer being published. (That was my Bible!) I liked having stats on hand and easy to look up. Now I have to do it all by myself!

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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The Chase For The Sprint Cup: Good Or Bad For The Sport?

October 20, 2009

Brian France and the media think the Chase for the Sprint Cup (NASCAR’s play-off system) is the best thing that’s happened to the Sport in a long time. It gives the media something to talk about almost from the first time the drivers get on the track in Daytona in February. Who will be the chosen 12? How will they do each week? Who will fall out? Who will have the most wins and thus be seeded first when the chase starts. And on and on.

The fans have mixed feelings about the chase. Some like it because no one can run away with the lead. At least not in the first 26 races. Matt Kenseth prompted the chase by winning the Winston Cup Championship in 2003 by being Mr. Consistent the whole year, and winning only one race the whole year. He had enough top fives and top tens to run away with the title. Some of us fans thought that was quite an accomplishment. To be there at the front through the whole year. But others felt no one should be able to run away with the title without winning many times. In my opinion, the system wasn’t broken. Why bother to try to fix it?

Bill France, Sr. started the sport. He made racing a sport and took it to the masses. He made rules and found tracks on which to compete. Bill Jr. took over and made racing what it is today. Brought NASCAR all over the country. He and RJ Reynold’s Winston brand took NASCAR to a whole new level. Then along came Brian France and Nextel/Sprint. Now NASCAR racing has become, not so much a sport, as more a form of entertainment. And I’m not sure this whole thing is really good for the sport. Do we want to be a sport like football and baseball? Or do we want to be entertainment, like WWE?

To me, NASCAR is racing. And racing is beautiful. I’m a die hard NASCAR fan, from the first time I saw a race on television. And in my humble opinion, there was no need to have a play off system to make racing more exciting. To me, racing, just by definition, is exciting. Play offs are for sports that have divisions. And the winners of the divisions play each other to see who is best in the sport. NASCAR doesn’t need a play off system. Mainly because there are no divisions. And mostly because in this system, there are still 43 cars out there every week. The “Super Bowl” of NASCAR is the first race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

Is the chase for the Sprint Cup good for the sport? I think not. Many fans are no longer watching because Jimmy Johnson is winning them all. Jimmy has figured out how to do well in the last ten races. So, the chase has become the Jimmy Johnson show. Is that good for NASCAR? It may be for Jimmy Johnson fans. But most fans are not JJ fans and would like to see others do good.

My solution? Put NASCAR back to what it was when Bill, Sr. and Jr. were running the show. When the fans were coming out to watch. When there was no Chase for the Sprint Cup. Give 25 extra points for winning a race. Fans want racing for the win, instead of consistency. That would give it to them. And the driver with the most wins should also be the driver with the most points and win the Championship.

Brian France wanted to take NASCAR a bit further and make it competitive with football. The theory being that fans watch BECAUSE they have a play off. And that making it possible for the wild card to win it all is exciting. I have to disagree. At least with NASCAR, having a twelfth place car win it all is not exciting. And having JJ win all the championships isn’t very exciting, either.

So, let’s put it back to racing for 36 races a year. Give more points to the winner of each race. And maybe the fans will come back to watch. As it is, ratings are way down. Gimmicks aren’t working. The chase isn’t working. And the fans want more than just consistent starting times. In my opinion, it wasn’t broken. Stop trying to fix it. Put it back and leave it alone. Listen to the fans, Brian. The Chase for the Sprint Cup isn’t working. At least not for the fans.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley