Posts Tagged ‘Hendrick Motor Sports’

NASCAR Racing: Texas

April 19, 2010

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. This week NASCAR heads to Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, TX. This is a 1.5 mile high banked track. Past winners are: Carl Edwards (3), Jeff Burton (2), who won the first race at TMS, his first win, Jimmy Johnson, Matt Kenseth,Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt. Jr. (who won his first race here), Mark Martin, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon (who finally won after 17 tries and is the defending champion of this race) and Kasey Kahne (who is the only driver to win from the pole). NASCAR Nationwide Series races Saturday with Joey Logano on the pole. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on Sunday.

Tony Stewart grabbed the Coors Light Pole award on Friday with a speed of 191.327, his first Pole in five years. The track record for qualifying is 196.255, set by Brian Vickers in Nov. 2006. Sam Hornish, Jr. starts second. They were the only ones with a speed of 191. 09 is now Mike Bliss, who was released from the 36 car, replaced by Johnny Sauter. The 36 failed to qualify. Also failing to qualify were, 26 David Stremme and 46 Terry Cook.

In other news, it was announced from Texas that Kasey Kahne, whose contract with Richard Petty Motorsports ends at the end of 2010, was signed by  Hendrick Motor Sports. He will be in the #5 car, currently occupied by Mark Martin. Martin’s contract is until the end of 2011. It is unclear where Kasey will be in 2011. But Mr. Hendrick will make sure Kasey has a ride. Mark Martin says he does not want to retire at the end of his contract. (If you’ll recall, Mark announced his retirement in 2005 with a “Salute to You”, the fans. He then ran another year with Jack Roush, before putting in two years with Ginn/DEI on a part time schedule. Hendrick hired him full time in 2009 until 2011.)

Friday the ARCA Series raced at Texas Motor Speedway. 55 Steve Arpin, driving for Billy Venturini Motorsports, was the winner. 81 Craig Goess finished second for the second time in as many races. In ARCA, the race must end in Green. They can have as many Green, White, Checkers as it takes to finish under Green. In NASCAR Sprint Cup, they will get three tries with Green, White, Checker before the race ends, either under Yellow or Green. If a caution comes out before the leader takes the White Flag, they repeat Green, White, Checker.

So, there you have it. You are now up to date with NASCAR news. See you after the races.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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NASCAR’s 2009 Top 12

December 21, 2009

And the winner is….Jimmy Johnson! Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog and the 2009 NASCAR Top 12. Finishing first in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, is Jimmy Johnson. This is his fourth Championship in a row! Something that has never been done before. Last year, he tied Cale Yarborough with three Championships in a row. This year he makes history.

Jimmy has won eight races during the Chase, including four straight in 2007.  The man simply knows how to race in the Chase. Jimmy and crew chief, Chad Knous know how to get it done in those last ten races. And Jimmy is considered the favorite going into the Chase. He has 43 career wins before the chase, six chase appearances, and finished first 2006-2008.

Johnson’s worse track is Talladega, finishing there 30th or worse five times. This year he drove near the rear of the field through most of the race and avoided trouble. In the end, he stayed out of trouble and managed an eighth place finish. Not really racing, you say? Maybe not, but the strategy worked.

Johnson had three wins in the regular season, seeding him in third in the Chase. He won for the second time this year at Dover International Speedway. This year Jimmy won four times in the chase, at Dover, Auto Club Speedway in California (his home track), Lowe’s Motor Speedway (his sponsor), and Phoenix International Raceway. One must win races in the Chase to win the Championship, and Jimmy sure did that.

In Texas, however, Johnson crashed out on lap three. Sam Hornish, Jr. spun him around and he hit the outside wall and the inside wall. The car was mangled. But Johnson never gave up. He stayed in the car while all of Hendrick Motor Sports rallied to fix his car enough to get back on the track. Having the crash so soon in the race, should have left him finishing in 43rd, but Johnson managed a 38th place finish. That kept him in the lead in the points.

After that miserable race in Texas, Johnson rallied to win in Phoenix. Going into the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Mark Martin was his only challenger for the Sprint Cup Title. Johnson needed to finish 26th or better. After what happened in Texas, he couldn’t just drive around. Johnson has never won at Homestead-Miami. Maybe because he has never had to!

Let’s look at Johnson’s numbers in the Chase. He had nine top tens, seven top fives and four wins. Ten races, and he only got into trouble once! They say you need more than just good driving skills to win a Championship, you also need luck. And Johnson certainly had luck on his side this year and the previous three years. If anyone wants to knock him out of another Title, they will have to out-perform him. Something that is not easily done.

I’m going out on a limb here and giving my opinion. If the points system that is in place now continues, with the same ten races on the same ten tracks  determining the Title, Jimmy Johnson will win his seven Championships (like Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt) all in a row.

This leaves me to wonder if the Chase is the best way to determine the Championship. If the points system had not changed in 2004, Jimmy would not have four Championships, let alone four in a row. The Chase came into play when Matt Kenseth won the Championship in 2003 having only one win. NASCAR wanted a play-off system instead of accumulated points through 36 races. But in doing so, Kurt Busch won the first Chase, after starting it in ninth place. Tony Stewart proved he was good at the last ten tracks, and won in 2005. And then along came Jimmy!

In my opinion, the points should go back to the way it was. The Chase was supposed to create excitement in the last ten races. But I have to say, I liked it better when drivers were racing to get in and stay in the top ten in points. With the Chase, only 12 drivers are even mentioned. Is this good for the fans? Many fans will not watch if their driver will not be mentioned. And Sponsors are reluctant to sponsor cars not in the top 12. If there was no Chase, ALL the fans would be watching, instead of just the fans of the top 12. And ALL sponsors would be mentioned, not just the chosen 12. Maybe a better way would be to give more points (say 25) for a win, instead of 10 points in the Chase.

Just my opinion, and probably another NASCAR blog topic. I like Jimmy Johnson. I think he is a great driver who knows how to race. But do we really have to crown him Champion every year?  I think not. But, hey, I’m just a NASCAR fan.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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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.