Posts Tagged ‘Southern 500’

NASCAR Race Review: Darlington

May 9, 2010

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, SC. Darlington was the first Superspeedway in what is now called the Sprint Cup Series. It was built in 1950 and is egg-shaped so the owner could keep his minnow pond where it is. One end is long and sweeping. The other is shorter. Darlingtonwas the track too tough to tame, and it still is, despite repaving it a few years ago. The tires don’t fall off like they used to, but the track is just as tough. There is not enough room for passing. And most cars receive their Darlington Stripe at some point during the race.

1 Jamie McMurray starts from the pole with a speed of 180.37. 24 Jeff Gordon, starting second and 83 Brian Vickers starting third also broke the old qualifying record. 18 Kyle Busch is in a back up car and will start last after The Lady in Black grabbed her in practice.

So, here we go! 1 chooses the inside and he and 24 race side by side the whole first lap before 24 stays in the lead. 83 gets by 1 for second because he didn’t fall back in line. 1 and 00 David Reutimann battle for third, with 00 taking the spot. 9 Kasey Kahne gets by 5 Mark Martin for fifth.  6 David Ragan scrapes the wall and heads for the pits. 38 David Gilliland gets up against the wall. 32 Reed Sorenson gets into the wall hard and heads for the garage. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya and 47 Marcos Ambrose get together. 9 gets by 5, 1 and 00 for third.

48 Jimmie Johnson is up to twelfth after starting 22nd. 48 gets loose trying to get by 42,  the car snaps and he  gets into the wall. 99 Carl Edwards says he’s slow and gets lapped. 83 catches leader 24 and takes the lead.

The first caution comes out during the commercial. 99 Carl Edwards is the Lucky Dog and gets back on the lead lap. 48 makes repairs to his car. 1 comes out of the pits inches ahead of 24 with his first pit slot. 1 takes off at the restart. 11 Denny Hamlin, 39 Ryan Newman and 9 are three wide!

71 Bobaby Labonte hits the wall, the tire goes down and he spins. The second caution comes out for 20 Joey Logano spinning a lap later in the same spot. 20 was behind 71, got by, goes around and does the same thing. 82 Scott Speed gets the free pass onto the lead lap.

The third caution comes out when 43 A.J. Allmendinger and 78 Regan Smith get together and 14 Tony Stewart gets into 98 Paul Menard to send him spinning. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and 56 Martin Truex, Jr. get together while 43 goes low to get by them.

11 gets by 24 for second. 31 Jeff Burton gets by 83 for fourth. 9 slides ahead of 83. 2 Kurt Busch gets by 83. 42 gets by 39 and 14 gets by 16 Greg Biffle.

The fourth caution again comes out during the commercial. 16 gets loose in front of 56 and 48. 48 and 56 get together, 56 gets into the wall. 14 stays out and chooses the outside for the restart. 24 gets by 1 on the bottom for second. 11 gets by 1 for third. 24 takes the lead. 1 gets by 14. And 24 takes off, leading by three seconds. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. gets into the wall. Eleven cars have the “Darlington Stripe”. 33 Clint Bowyer is back out nineteen laps down after making repairs.

14 is pitting under the Green Flag before he runs out of fuel, and starts Green Flag Pitting. 24 tries to lap 16, but Greg isn’t giving up without a fight. 88, with new tires unlaps himself. 11 takes the lead and finally puts 16 a lap down. 29 Kevin Harvick leads when 11 pits. 82 leads when 29 pits. 71 knocks out the commitment cone trying to get to pit road and will have to come back in. After all the pitting, 11 is back in the lead.

The fifth caution comes out during the commercial. 77 is again into the wall. 11 got into 48 to put him a lap down. 48 gets his lap back. 48 makes repairs to his battered car. 1 comes out first again and chooses the inside. 18 Kyle Busch takes second from 24.

The sixth caution comes out when 33 gets back into the wall. 43 slides down the track, has no brakes, slides back up the track and smashes into 48, putting them both into the wall. 16 Greg Biffle gets his lap back. 1 chooses the inside, with 18 on top. 2 gets into 11 when 11 gets snappy loose. 56 and 42 get together. 42 falls back. 14 is off the pace after getting into the wall. 33, many laps down, zips past 14.

The seventh caution comes out for spinning 14. 77 is also spinning. The first nine cars stay out.  The other thirteen cars are on the lead lap pit. 1 lets 18 by to lead. 42 gets loose into 9. 5 gets by 17 Matt Kenseth for nineteenth. 56 and 00 battle. 31 drives by 11. 9 and 17 complain about their brakes. 18 scrapes the wall.

The eighth caution comes out for debris. 71 blew the left rear tire. 6 David Ragan is the Lucky Dog and gets back onto the lead lap. 00 comes out first to lead. 18 takes right side tires, comes out onto the track with the left rear tire flat. 56 doesn’t get going on the restart and stacks everyone up. They pass him on both sides.  The ninth caution comes out and 18 has damage. 31 chooses the inside for the restart. 11 gets by 29. 9 and 56 battle side by side. 88 lets 83 get by. 39 lets 29 get by. 31 lets 24 get by to take the lead.

9 kisses the wall. 82 makes a pit stop and hits the commitment cone. The tenth caution is for 38  and 71. 71 gets loose off the corner and gets into the wall in front of 38 who has nowhere to go. 5 gets by. 18 chooses the inside for the restart. 11 pushes 18 by 1 for the lead, and then takes the lead. 56 nudges 20 Joey Logano into the wall to be the first car a lap down. 6 gets by 20. 1 lets 31 and 24 get by.

42 gets into the wall. 12 Brad Keselowski gets by 5 for eleventh. 24 and 31, with four tires get by 18 who took only two tires. 11, leading, kisses the wall. 83 squeezes 37 Kevin Conway into the wall. 31 gets by 24 for second. 31 catches 11 and takes the lead. 11 takes the lead back. And 31 takes the lead back.

This part is weird. 24 decides to short pit, but 14 is already coming into the pits. 24 can’t make it into the pits with 14 there without hitting the commitment cone, so goes back out. The next time around he comes in as the eleventh caution comes out for 20, who had just pitted and looses it while trying to blend in. 5 is already in the pits getting serviced. 24 was on pit road and goes through the pit road, back onto the track. But he’s at the tail end of the lead lap because of missing the pits. 31 pits and takes two tires, then runs over his air hose. So he comes back in for two more. 99 gets back onto the lead lap.

11 comes out of the pits first with many cars in front of him, who got stuck a lap down after pitting before the Yellow came out. They all take the wave around with one lap to go. 1 gets by 18 for second. 2 and 42 get by 18. 18 and 29 battle, with 29 taking the spot. 24 and 39 battle for seventh. 19 Elliott Sadler gets into the wall and continues. 24 gets by 18 for sixth. 31 gets by 12. 24 gets by 29 for fifth. 24 gets by 42 for fourth.

11 Denny Hamlin wins the Showtime Southern 500 after winning the Royal Purple 200 NASCAR Nationwide race the night before. This is his third win this season, tying 48, and his eleventh career win. This was his first weekend sweep, even after having surgery on his knee only a few weeks ago. There were eleven different leaders.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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NASCAR: Darlington Raceway

May 7, 2010

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series are both at the Darlington Raceway in Darlington, SC. “The Lady in black” is up to her tricks again. Practice was today for both Series’. In Sprint Cup practice, seven drivers were in back up cars for the Coors Light qualifying! The track is fast after they repaved it a few years ago. But she still is the track too tough to tame.

In the Nationwide Series, 20 Denny Hamlin captured the pole, with team mate, 18 Kyle Busch beside him on the front row. 05 Willie Allen, 89 Morgan Shepherd and 96 Johnny Chapman did not qualify for the race. The race will be this evening.

On the Cup side Jamie McMurray in the 1 car captured the Coors Light Pole Award with a speed of 180.37 mph and 27.264 seconds. This is a new track record. Matt Kenseth set a new record in 2009. Jeff Gordon will start second. He also broke the old record. Kyle Busch slapped the wall in his first attempt at qualifying, and then smashed the wall on his second lap. He will start 39th. Reed Sorenson spun around on his second lap, but will be in the Southern 500 on Saturday evening. 46 is now J.J. Yeley. He did qualify. 64 Todd Bodine also made the race. Failing to make the race are 09 Mike Bliss, 36 Casey Mears and 87 Joe Nemechek. Joe will race in the Nationwide race.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

I’ll see you after the races.

Race Review: Southern 500

May 10, 2009

ms506DAR_4963+copyWelcome race fans to the eleventh race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. This week we go to Darlington Raceway for the Southern 500. Yes, the Southern 500 is back! Even if it isn’t on Labor Day weekend like it should be. Darlington lived up to her name as “The Track Too Tough To Tame”. And most everyone earned their “Darlington stripe”.

17 Matt Kenseth starts from the pole with a speed of 179.514. A new track record. 24 Jeff Gordon starts second. 78 Regan Smith has qualified for every race he has entered. 71 David Gilliland was fast enough to get in, as was 87 Joe Nemechek. 25 is Brad Keselowski  from the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He won at Talladega a couple of weeks ago in the 09 car of James Finch.  09 this week is veteran driver Sterling Marlin. 34 is Tony Raines this week. Regular driver, John Andretti, is in Indianapolis trying to make the Indy 500. Jeremy Mayfield in the 41 and rookie Scott Speed in the 82 failed to qualify. However, Nemecheck and Toyota made a deal so that Speed would drive the 87 car from the rear. 48 Jimmy Johnson crashed into the wall while qualifying and will be in a back-up car starting 42nd, with no practice in the car. 43 Reed Sorenson changed the engine and will start from the rear. Twenty-five cars hit the wall before the race starts!

17 Kenseth leads from the pole and pulls away. 20 rookie Joey Logano gets loose and 39 Ryan Newman gets by. The first caution comes out on lap 4. 87 Speed gets into 13  Max Papis and they spin. 48 Johnson, in his back-up car, makes a pit stop. The Green Flag comes out on lap 8. 7 Robby Gordon gets into the wall. 2 Kurt Busch gets by 31 Jeff Burton for sixth. 18 Kyle Busch gets by 31. 9 Kasey Kahne  and 16 Greg Biffle get by 31. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. and 39 battle for third. 24 takes the lead.

The second caution comes out during the commercial. 55 Michael Waltrip hits the wall and spins. 48 stays out to lead, since he pitted in the first caution. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had to back up in his pit stall before they could service the car. 39, with two fresh tires takes the lead. 47 rookie Marcos Ambrose gets into the wall but has a nice save. Brothers 2 and 18 battle. 18 takes the spot. 9 and 48 battle for third.

The third caution comes out when 07 Casey Mears and 83 Brian Vickers get together and into the wall. 31 gets by, but 11 Denny Hamlin gets collected. 2 and 11 pit. 55 Michael Waltrip gets the free pass and is back on the lead lap. 24 gets by 17 for fifth. 24 gets by 16. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. and 17 battle with 1 finally getting by. 9 and 48 battle for second. 9 gets by. 1 gets by 24. 83 is off the pace. 16 and 24 battle. 77 is tight and falls back. 9 and 39 battle for the lead. 9 takes the lead. 5 Mark Martin and 48 get by 16. 48 has to make a pit stop.

The fourth caution comes out when 55 explodes into flames! 98 Paul Menard is the Lucky Dog and gets his lap back. 11 pits before pit road is open. Since 48 pitted just before the caution, he is ahead of the leader, 9 on the tail end of the lead lap. 83 is also ahead of the leader. 25 gets by 99 Carl Edwards for eighteenth. 9 laps 48. 1 is catching leader 9. 26 Jamie McMurray and 39 battle for sixth. 26 gets by. 5 gets by 39. 18 gets into the wall. 24 thinks he has a vibration and pits. 99 drives by 2. 1 catches 9 again in traffic. 1 and 9 battle for the lead. 1 takes the lead.

The fifth caution comes out for spinning 77. 83 stayed ahead of the leader and gets one lap back. 48 Jimmy Johnson is the Lucky Dog. 96 Bobby Labonte stays out to lead a lap, then pits. 16 comes out of the pits first to lead. 00 David Reutimann, 39 and 17 battle for position. 18 makes it three wide with 17 and 00. 88 and 99 battle for fourteenth. 16 has a 5.6 second lead! 17 says he’s plowing. 9 gets by 14 Tony Stewart for second. 00 drives by 5.

The sixth caution comes out during the commercial. 6 David Ragan spins 11. Earlier, 11 got into 6. 5 had a lug nut issue in the pits. 19 Elliott Sadler is the Lucky Dog. They restart on lap 166. 98 Paul Menard saves it. 39 gets by 26. 29 Kevin Harvick and 20 battle for tenth. 9 gets by 14 for second.

The seventh caution comes out for spinning 6. 6 bumped 48 and 42 Juan Pablo Montoya got into 6. 83 Brian Vickers is the Lucky Dog. 6 and 42  stay on the lead lap. 20 and 24 get by 5. The eighth caution comes out when 6 hits the wall. 12 David Stremme is the Lucky Dog, but he pitted and got too close to track workers and went too fast, so they take it back. 47 goes to the garage. 9 gets into the slower car 12, and saves it, then has to pit for a flat tire. 33 Clint Bowyer gets by 25 for eighth.

The ninth caution comes out during the commercial. 2 gets into the wall and spins. 24 Jeff Gordon gets his lost lap back. 1 takes two tires to come out of the pits first. 29 gets into 48 in the pits and 48 can’t get into his stall. 17 makes two pit stops. 33 gets into the wall. The tenth caution comes out when 33 cuts a tire after hitting the wall, and gets into 44 AJ Allmendinger, turning him sideways. 44 gets back into 33 and 33 spins and crashes. A tire from 88 got away. He is penalized. At the restart 00 causes a bottleneck. 83 lets 16 by. 99 gets by 48. 24 and 48 battle for thirteenth. 24 gets by. 31 had an extended pit stop for a broken shock and lost a lap.

The eleventh caution is for debris. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. is the Lucky Dog. 16 is back in the lead. 18 and 1 battle for seventh. 18 gets by. 18 gets into the wall. 00 is very slow on top. He finally makes it to the pits and there is no caution. 17 gets by 5 for fourth. 00 gets back out, but cannot get up to speed. 1 gets by 18 for 8th. 18 gets into the wall after cutting a tire. There is no caution and he heads for the garage, much to the delight of the crowd.

The twelfth caution comes out with 92 to go when 16 blows a tire. The caution is for debris. 20 takes two tires to come out of the pits in the lead. 26 was too fast and goes to the rear. No rookie has ever won at Darlington. 31 gets loose. 99 gets into the wall.

The thirteenth caution comes out because 99 can’t get to the pits after contact with 16 and the wall. He turns right instead of left onto pit road. NASCAR holds him for that. 31 gets by 96 to be the first driver a lap down. 77 goes for a wild spin, but there is no caution. The caution comes out for 16 spinning off turn 4, with 72 to go. 31 Jeff Burton is the Lucky Dog. 44 pits sideways in his stall. 1 and 17 stay on the track. A modified 6 is back on the track. They go Green with 67 to go. 14 drives by 17 for second. 6 heads back to the garage. 20 gets by 5 for sixth. 83 and 48 battle for eighth. 20 and 29 battle for fifth. 5 gets by 29. 77 gets loose and into the wall.

The fifteenth caution is for debris from 77. 96 Bobby Labonte is the Lucky Dog. 5, 48, 38, 25, 11, 19 and 88 stay out. 14 is first out of the pits. The Green Flag flies with 42 to go. 39 and 48 battle for second. The leader, 5 takes off. 88 gets into the wall. 48 catches 5 for the lead in a back-up car with no practice. 83 gets into the wall.

The sixteenth (new record) caution comes out when 83 and 26 get into each other and the wall. 44 AJ Allmendinger is the Lucky Dog. 99 returns to the race. 77 and 18 are back out. They restart with 29 to go. The seventeenth caution comes out with 25 to go. 88 gets into 43 and spins. 9 Kasey Kahne is the Lucky Dog. They restart with 21 to go. 48 and 5 battle for the lead. 5 is on top and 48 can’t get by on the bottom. 16 gets by 20 for eighth. 88 with a tire rub is smoking. 12 also has a tire rub with smoke. 12 pits.

And 5 Mark Martin wins the first Southern 500 since the date went to California after the 2004 season. Darlington is again “The Lady In Black”, with black marks all around her. This moves Mark into eleventh place in the points. 18 Kyle Busch falls two spots and 99 Carl Edwards falls three spots. They are first and second in points in the Nationwide Series. Hmm…

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

NASCAR Race Tracks: Darlington Raceway

May 8, 2009

vn508DAR_darlington_418This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Darlington Raceway in Darlington County, SC. NASCAR racing began here at Darlington in 1950. It’s one of the oldest and most historic tracks in the Series.

The track is 1.366 miles around, and is unique in it’s shape. It’s not just an oval, it’s an “egg-shaped” oval. When they were building the track, the owner, Mr. Ramsey, said they could build on the land as long as they didn’t bother the pond on the land. The result was what looked like an egg. Wider on the bottom to accommodate the pond.

The drivers must race the track, not each other. Driver and car must be hooked up  well to race this track. Darlington is known by a couple of names. She is “The Lady In Black”. That is, most drivers end up scraping the wall and leaving a black mark on the wall. At Darlington, the drivers earn their “Darlington stripe”. She is also “The Track Too Tough To Tame”. I don’t know if there was ever a winner who had not gotten into the wall at some point during the race.

Darlington is located in the sand hills. And no matter how hard track officials try to blow away the sand, it still comes back to the top of the track. And if the driver gets a little too close to the wall, the sand makes them slide right into the wall.

Darlington Raceway was repaved last year. That made it smoother and faster. In fact, last year 41 out of the 43 cars that qualified for the race beat the old track record. Turns one and two are much wider than turns three and four. And they’re going so fast and using all the track that it is no wonder that they get into the wall.

In 1950 they started the Southern 500. And it was one of the most prestigious races on the curcuit. The race was run on Labor Day weekend. In 1957 NASCAR started racing at Darlington in the Spring also. Over the years they changed the length of the race from 300 miles to 400 miles, to 500 miles, back to 400 miles and now is back to 500 miles.

2004 was the last time the Southern 500 was run. NASCAR gave the Labor Day weekend date to California (now Auto Club Speedway). Something about California being a better market! And now they race at Darlington on Saturday before Mothers Day. That didn’t go over well with fans. The Southern 500 was too great a race to just leave it behind. So this year NASCAR brought back the Southern 500 to Darlington Raceway.

I look forward to races at Darlington.  And wish there were two races at this track. But I guess I’ll have to take what I can get. In the first practice 12 drivers got into the wall. And two, 82 rookie Scott Speed and 00 David Reutimann will have to get into their back-up cars for the second practice session.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. Talk to you after the race.

In My Opinion: NASCAR Fans

February 22, 2008

    So, NASCAR is finally deciding that the drop in ratings wasn’t NBC’s fault after all. And maybe instead of trying to grab the football fans, who will watch when a football game isn’t on, they should look at the fans who are watching. I fell in love with NASCAR the first time I saw a race. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen! And it wasn’t the Daytona 500 that I was watching. It was beautiful watching them go so fast so close to each other lap after lap. Rockingham was a wonderful little track. The Southern 500, the Brickyard 400, the Daytona 500 and the Coca Cola 600 were all very special. It isn’t even the Brickyard any more. It’s the All State 400 at the Brickyard. How sad.
Rockingham was a special track, but year after year, it was run at a time when it was raining in the Carolina’s. So, instead of putting it somewhere else, NASCAR just got rid of it. The Southern 500 at the track “too tough to tame” was a special race. Now we go to California because it is a bigger market. Not a better track, not better racing, but a bigger market. Who wants to watch follow the leader? We want to see racing.
So now NASCAR wants the core fan back. And is marketing to get us back. Marketing won’t do it. Put it back. NASCAR was great before the Chase and Nextel (now Sprint). It used to be thirty-six weeks of racing, instead of twenty-six. And the driver with the most points at the end wins! What’s so great about a tenth place team winning the Championship? Matt Kenseth was the last true Champion. In my opinion.
I hope NASCAR listens to the fans. But it’s too late for this year. Too many races are already starting later. So the drivers can’t see where they are going? Takes the specialness from the Coke 600. The theme song is better. All that screaming just turned me off. You’re starting the Chase at the Daytona 500! And with the past Owner points in place, new Teams don’t stand a chance. Even the famous Wood Brothers #21 can’t get into a race! Everyone should have to try equally as hard to get into a race. Those in the top 35 shouldn’t get to qualify in race trim and go slow just because they are guaranteed a spot, while the tenth fastest car has to go home. If Tony Stewart can’t get in on speed, too bad. He should have qualified faster. And if Kyle Petty can’t get in on speed, maybe he should retire. Sorry. That’s my opinion as a core NASCAR fan.
Personally, I will watch everything that is televised. And when I go to a track, I get there on Wednesday night so I can see everything that is going on on the track. Have the commercials during the caution, not when something is about to happen. If you want to be as popular as the NFL, don’t give us a playoff, have the commercials when nothing is going on, instead of during a play. I will continue to watch NASCAR, but Brian is ruining my beloved NASCAR. It wasn’t broken. Why did he feel he had to fix it?  Not only did he not get the football fans, but he chased away the NASCAR fans. Of course that’s just my opinion.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley, a core NASCAR Fan

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