Posts Tagged ‘Talladega Superspeedway’

NASCAR Race Review: Aaron’s 499

May 7, 2012

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was in Alabama this weekend for the Aaron’s 499 race at the Talladega Superspeedway. Talladega Superspeedway is a massive 2.66 mile track that lends itself to high speeds with no letting off of the throttle. It also lends itself to multi-car pile-ups because they are going so fast, inches apart. NASCAR mandates a restrictor-plate on the cars to cut horsepower and therefore, speed. They race around in large packs three wide, many deep. Which lends itself to spectacular crashing. The drivers figured out that if you get a partner to push you around the track, you can outrun the pack. NASCAR race fans like their crashing, so NASCAR is doing what it can to bring back the pack racing and not have them racing two by two for very long by changing the opening in the grill so they will overheat sooner. (I have to wonder how they will be able to race in a pack if they will be overheating in the middle of the pack.)

Coors Light Pole Qualifying took place on Saturday and 24 Jeff Gordon tried a different line around the track and captured the Pole with a speed of 191.624 mph and 49.973 seconds around the track. 22 A. J. Allmendinger will start on the front row with him. J. J. Yeley was the lone driver that did not qualify for the Aaron’s 499 race. Every six years on May 6, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wins the race. This race is on May 6. Can he keep this record up? You don’t want to be leading on the last lap, as the driver pushing you will let go and beat you to the Line. There have been a lot  of first time winners at Talladega Superspeedway. Will another driver win for the first time? They are drying the track as the race is set to start. Comedian Ron White starts the engines.

So, here we go! 24 Jeff Gordon starts the race on the outside, 9 Marcos Ambrose with 39 Ryan Newman pushing gets by 24. 17 Matt Kenseth pushes 14 Tony Stewart to lead the first lap. 39 leads the outside lane. 29 Kevin Harvick is on the outside, moving forward.

The first caution comes out when 78 Regan Smith, running in a tight pack, has the engine let go. 17 and 14 come out of the pits first. 22 A. J. Allmendinger is too fast on pit road. 15 Clint Bowyer stalls the car and has to reset everything to get it going. 38 David Gilliland is caught speeding. 93 Travis Kvapil and 27 Paul Menard each led a lap before heading to pit road.

17 restarts on the outside with team mate 16 Greg Biffle right behind. They move down to lead the race. 9 pushes 14 and 14 drops behind leader 17. They are racing four wide in the pack! 48 Jimmie Johnson is leading the middle line. 9 gets stuck on top with no help. 11 Denny Hamlin pushes 55 Michael Waltrip into the lead. 11 gets out of line and finds himself in 14th place. 39 is overheating and heads for the pits. It is an oil pump, so he goes to the garage. 48 and 55 race for the lead with the two lines coming together. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. pushes 48 into the lead and they both move to the inside lane. 17 takes the lead, moves up to 24 and they both go down in front of 48. 11 makes a pit stop by himself. The stop is too slow and he goes a lap down.

Others pit together to start Green Flag Pitting. 31 Jeff Burton leads a lap before pitting. 48 leads after the pitting. 48 is blowing up with another oil pump problem and heads for the garage. 88 leads the way to the delight of the fans. 17 drives under 88 to take the lead. 24 is in the middle of the pack with the water gage flashing. (Looks like trying to get rid of the tandem racing is only causing problems in the pack.)

5 Kasey Kahne takes the lead and they are back to pack racing. 17 takes the lead. 5 takes the lead back. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya takes the lead. 2 Brad Keselowski and 22 pit together to start Green Flag Pitting again. 27 leads a lap before pitting. 29 is leading after the pitting. 16 takes the lead. 51 Kurt Busch in the Ricky Bobby paint scheme takes the lead. (The crew chief announces: new leader, Ricky Bobby.) 17 takes the lead. 16 gets by 51 for second. 51 retakes the lead and moves down. 17 and 16 get by 51 for the lead. 16 gets shuffled back. 29 is on top slowing down. 31 runs out of fuel. They start another round of Green Flag Pitting. 51 is on the apron, out of fuel.

The second caution is The Big One. 47 Bobby Labonte runs out of gas with 18 leading. Everyone bunches up. 43 Aric Almirola is on the bottom and moves up into 36 Dave Blaney and 42. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. gets caught in it and slides down into 24 who is low to avoid the mess. 20 Joey Logano, 32 Terry Labonte, 93, 83 Landon Cassill and 99 Carl Edwards are also caught up in it. 43 was out of fuel on the apron and tried to get back up onto the track. (Are you happy now, NASCAR race fans?) 27 comes off pit road as the caution comes out to lead. 17, 9 and 51 pit before pit road is open and will have to restart dead last.

They restart with 38 laps to go. 2 takes the lead. 11 takes the lead. 17 pushes 13 Casey Mears into the lead. 11 retakes the lead. 13 leads. 11 is back in the lead. 15 takes the lead. 11 takes the lead back. 2 pushes 17 into the lead. The third caution comes out when 13 has a tire going down and wobbles in front of 9, spins and comes down the track and clips 21 Trevor Bayne. 5 manages to get by. 29 Kevin Harvick gets his lap back. 31 stays on the lead lap.

They restart with nine laps to go and 17 leading. 29 pushes 14 on the outside. The fourth caution comes out when 51 gets bumped in the corner by 2. He slides down the infield and into the wall. The caution comes out while he is sliding. He drives down pit road, going the wrong way. The B-post holding the window net on 17 is cracked.

They restart the race with four laps to go and the fifth caution comes out on the restart. 17 is on the outside with 16 right behind. 11 moves to the middle and 22 tries to block, spinning 27. 29 gets into 1 Jamie McMurray. 55 gets into 20. 15 and 55 get together. 88 gets by. 5 once again gets by, his third miss. 2 is worried about fuel and drives on the apron. 11 car is falling apart from a tire rub. 17 has fender damage.

This will be the first attempt at a Green White Checker Finish with 17 leading on the outside. 16 pushes 17 and they both go to the bottom. 18 pushes 2 on the outside past 17 and 16 who get disconnected, so aren’t close enough to each other to try to fight for the lead.

The White Flag comes out with 2 leading. 18 figures he will win, as he is pushing the leader and can pull out at the last second to win. (Like Joey did to him on Saturday.) As they come around the fourth corner, 2 turns left to break the connection and takes off, leaving 18 too far away to challenge.

2 Brad Keselowski wins the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. No one remembers who finished second. Nineteen cars were taken out in this race. So, I guess it was a great show for the fans. There were sixteen different leaders, with 17 Kenseth leading the most. 194 laps had to be raced, making it the Aaron’s 516!

2 Keselowski was followed by 18 Kyle Busch, 17 Matt Kenseth, 5 Kasey Kahne, 16 Greg Biffle, 15 Clint Bowyer, 34 David Ragan, 21 Trevor Bayne, 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and 31 Jeff Burton for the top ten. In Championship points, Greg Biffle remains in first place, seven points ahead of Matt Kenseth who moved up two spots after leading the most laps and finishing third. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Denny Hamlin each fall a spot to third and fourth, while Kevin Harvick climbs two spots into fifth. Martin Truex, Jr. and Tony Stewart swap sixth and seventh places. Jimmie Johnson falls two spots into eighth. Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer each move up two spots into ninth and tenth. Carl Edwards falls two spots, out of the top ten, into eleventh and Brad Keselowski moves up one place into the top twelve.

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

Advertisements

NASCAR Race Review: Aaron’s 312

May 6, 2012

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR Nationwide Series raced the Aaron’s 312 race on Saturday at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. This massive 2.66 mile track is known for spectacular crashing while they race in packs three wide, many deep. Lately, the drivers figured out that if they double up, they can go much faster than the pack can. And that leads to less crashing. So NASCAR made changes to the grill so that the cars would heat up more quickly so that they would not be able to push another car for as long.

Qualifying for the Aaron’s 312 was canceled when rain came on Thursday, leaving more time on the track for practice. The lineup is owner points, putting Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. on the front row. There was a short rain before the race so that the start had to be delayed to dry the track. 117 laps around the 2.66 mile Talladega Superspeedway is 312 miles.

So, here we go! 2 Elliott Sadler and 6 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. race for the lead and 2 leads the first lap with 18 Joey Logano pushing. When they make the switch, 33 Kevin Harvick takes the lead with help from 38 Brad Sweet. 54 Kyle Busch pushes 30 James Buescher into the lead. 87 Joe Nemechek pushes 3 Austin Dillon into the lead. 5 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. pushes 30 into the lead. 01 Mike Wallace pushes brother 99 Kenny Wallace. 1 Kurt Busch pushes brother 54.99 pushes 01 into the lead.

70 Johanna Long overheats and heads for the pits, bringing out the first caution a few laps later to check the track for fluids. 6 stays out to lead. (Allen Bestwick says this is “the first and only caution so far”!) In the pits 1 takes off with the gas can still attached and has to start in the rear. 6 makes his pit stop after leading a lap and comes out of the pits above the yellow line instead of bellow it.

87  pushes 5 into the lead. 2 pushes 18 between other cars and into the lead. The second caution comes out when 1 turns 11 Brian Scott to spin him and collect 39 Josh Richards, 89 Morgan Shepherd and 81 Jason Bowles. 3 gets stuck in his pit and has to back up to exit. He came in to fix the nose damage. A few drivers come in to top off the fuel.

5 leads with 7 Danica Patrick right behind. 31 Justin Allgaier is the odd man out in the middle and falling back. 2 pushes 18 into the lead while the camera is on 1 coming up through the pack. The top ten are all single file. Team mates 12 Sam Hornish, Jr. and 22 Brad Keselowski are hanging out in the back, to avoid possible crashing. 2 hooks 18 sideways and he makes a great save as no one was there to crash into. 99 pushes 01 into the lead. When they separate, 5 takes the lead.

31 pits as the third caution comes out. 38 spins himself out with 01 behind him, collecting 14 Eric McClure and 24 John Wes Townley. 3 and 88 Cole Whitt are on the front row. 39 Josh Richards gets back onto the lead lap. 31 was caught speeding. 5 pushes 88 into the lead. 99 with 01 takes the lea. 2 takes the lead. 6 pushes 7 into the lead. 87 pushes 5 into the lead. 1 is in the pits with the hood up after overheating to add more water. 54 pushes 33 into the lead.

The fourth caution comes out when 39 blows a tire and spins. 12 stays out to lead a lap. 51 Jeremy Clements takes the wave around. 7 pushes 33 into the lead. 2 pushes 18 into the lead. 99 pushes 54 into the lead. 2 is overheating from pushing. 12 takes the lead with help from 22. When they separate 54 takes the lead by going between them with 5 right behind.

The fifth caution comes out when 2 is pushing 44 Mike Bliss. Damage on the 2 bumper snags 44 and he spins. 2 comes in for repairs. 31, in 16th comes to the pits while the top fifteen stay out. They restart with four laps to go. The sixth caution comes out when 15 Jeffrey Earnhardt gets loose and 4 Danny Efland and 01 spin behind him. 2 manages to maneuver around them. 1 Kurt Busch gets back onto the lead lap. (And they are all talking about how he can now win the race.)

The restart is the first Green, White, Checker attempt. 54 is on the top and 87 on the bottom. Before they get to the White Flag there is a seventh caution. 18 is pushing 54, leading. They block 43 Michael Annett, who turns 33 and collects 23 Robert Richardson, 19 Tayler Malsam and 7. 14 hits hard into the inside wall and has to be extracted from the car and air lifted to the Hospital, after barrel rolling 6 1/2 times and landing on his side. (Is this the kind of excitement the NASCAR race fans long to see?) There is a Red Flag to get Eric out of the car. 18 ran 43 out of  room to start the excitement.

This restart is the second attempt at a Green White Checker Finish. (There can be up to three.) 54 and 87 are leading. 12 runs 7 into the wall. 18 pushes 54 ahead. 12, 87 and 3 get together. 18 gets next to 54 at the tri-oval, 54 goes below the yellow line to try to beat 18 to the Finish Line.

18 Joey Logano wins the Aaron’s 312 by inches over 54 Kyle Busch. 6 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. comes in third, followed by 88 Cole Whitt, 5 Dale Earnhardt, Jr., 1 Kurt Busch, 30 James Buescher, 31 Justin Allgaier, 99 Kenny Wallace and 2 Elliott Sadler for the top ten. In Championship points, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. takes over the lead by 5 points over Elliott Sadler. Austin Dillon and Sam Hornish, Jr. stay in third and fourth. Cole Whitt and Michael Annett trade fifth and sixth. Justin Allgaier and Tayler Malsam stay in seventh and eighth while Mike Bliss and Joe Nemechek trade ninth and tenth.

The NASCAR race fans wanted pack racing and all the spectacular crashing and NASCAR did what they had to, to give it to them. But, as you see, the drivers still raced two by two. The spectacular crashing still took place in the pack. But all the lead changes were two by two racing. So, this NASCAR race fan has to ask. Was it a great race with all the crashing, or a boring race with all the lead changes and only seven cautions?

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

 

 

Fast Friday At Talladega

May 5, 2012

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. NASCAR comes to the fastest track on the circuit, Talladega Superspeedway. This is a 2.66 mile track and is so fast NASCAR had to put restrictor plates on the cars to curb the horsepower! This is to keep the speeds below 200 mph. At this track, they race in packs, three wide and ten deep. Truly a sight to behold. The NASCAR drivers, however, figured out that if they double up, with one car pushing another, they can go faster around the track and maneuver better in traffic than they could in a big pack. The fans that NASCAR listened to don’t like “tandem racing” and now NASCAR made it so they couldn’t double up for long periods of time without causing engine trouble. For some reason, crashing is more exciting than RACING.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practiced for the Aaron’s 499 Sunday race on Fast Friday. The NASCAR Nationwide Series was also on hand on Fast Friday for their practice for the Aaron’s 312 race on Saturday. Rain came on Thursday, washing out those practice sessions. As a result qualifying for the Nationwide race was canceled. They will line up according to owner points for the race on Saturday, with Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. starting on the front row.

To this NASCAR race fan’s delight the ARCA race was shown on television. There were many cautions with multiple cars crashing for those NASCAR race fans who think racing is boring unless there are a number of multi-car crashes. There was even a Red Flag for cleanup. And some spectacular crashing. But the finish was great. Matt Lofton and Chad Hackenbracht led most of the laps. At the end Lofton was leading with Brandon McReynalds and Hackenbracht right behind. In the final turn Hackenbracht pushed McReynalds to the lead to win. Hackenbracht was not able to get past Lofton and had to settle for third, where he was anyway. But this NASCAR race fan found the finish quite exciting.

Saturday will see Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup race with Aric Almirola rolling out last. He was fastest in both practice sessions on Fast Friday. Saturday afternoon will be the Aaron’s 312 Nationwide race.

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

 

NASCAR Race Fan Commentary: Talladega

October 27, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series raced at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday and there was much controversy about the racing there. I’d like to make a few comments about that.

When I picture NASCAR racing, I picture Talladega. I once gave up sightseeing in Houston because the race in Talladega was on! I love the three wide, ten deep racing. It keeps you on the edge of your seat all through the race. Now there is a two car tandem going on for the restrictor-plate races. I don’t think NASCAR decided to start this way of racing. I believe the drivers thought of it. A couple of years ago, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was pushing Ryan Newman and they pulled ahead of the pack by doing so. Brad Keselowski started pushing Carl Edwards from way back and the two of them raced past the pack and even passed the leaders! Brad won that race.

Since then, the drivers figured out they could go much faster two by two than they could in a big pack. In a big pack, they may be racing nose to tail, but there is no room to gain any positions. These tracks lend themselves to needing a friend to go with you and push you to the front. That always has been the case. If you pull out and no one follows you, you end up way back in the field. In the middle of these races, they follow the leader single file. You just can’t be RACING that hard for the whole 500 miles.

In that race way back when that I had to watch, the winner, Dale Jarrett (my favorite until he retired) spent most of the race behind the pack so as not to get caught up in “the Big One” crashes that this track is so famous for. He managed to get up front when it counted and won the race. Much to my delight.

It was pointed out that Carl Edwards, with team mate, Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson, with team mate Dale Jr. spent most of the race driving behind instead of racing. And that if they had been racing all day long, they might have won the race. That may be true, but two by two or in a pack, sometimes the winner has been driving back there to avoid the crashing.

The partners of Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton raced up front all race long. The two of them were faster than the rest of the field. In the end, they pulled so far ahead of the pack that they were able to settle the win between themselves. They separated at the Finish Line and the pusher, Clint, won the race. That was exciting for me, as they had been racing up front all race. Those driving around in the back, did not make up that much ground.

I have to ask race fans why they go to Talladega. To see pack racing and spectacular crashing? Either way, there will be someone to make a mistake and cause a crash. Someone in the pack will go somewhere that there is no room and take out half the field because they are so close together. In two by two racing, someone will not be pushing properly and they will get into each other. Is pack racing with the spectacular crashes the better way to race? Or is going faster with a partner and maneuvering between two other couples while the pusher can’t see anything better? I don’t know. But I do believe the drivers will still do whatever it takes to go fast and win.

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

NASCAR Fan Commentary

October 26, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. Racing this weekend is at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. They go from the biggest track to the smallest. In the wake of biggest track and the tandem racing that was there, I’d like to take time out for a fan comment.

I love watching racing. Let me make that clear. I love watching them go fast around the track and race side by side for laps before one of them gets by. You see some great racing in some of the feeder series. These guys are learning how to race and don’t spend a whole lot of time trying to bump another car out of the way to get by. They just race each other to get by. That is what I call racing.

That’s what I loved about the Sport right from the beginning. The racing. Lately, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is not racing, but instead, chasing. The only way to get into the top ten in points, is to be there by the race in Richmond that sets the chase with ten races to go. I have a problem with that. It used to be that the driver who wins the Championship had to be the best driver all year with the most top fives and top tens. Winning races has always provided more points to the drivers, but being the most consistent driver all season got you more points than driving like an idiot and taking yourself out.

Matt Kenseth won the 2003 Championship by being the most consistent driver all year. Despite the fact that he only had one win all year. But he was right there every single race. Brian France decided more effort should be forced on the drivers to win races, instead of just collecting points. But instead of giving more points to the winners, he decided on the chase. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t these drivers racing to win every race anyway? Ask any of them and they’ll tell you that they try for the best finish they can get. The points will take care of themselves.

Somehow, the chase is supposed to make the last ten races more exciting. The chase is NASCAR’s version of a playoff. Everyone watches Football because there is a playoff at the end of the year, right? Wrong. There is a playoff at the end of the year because, like all stick and ball Sports, there are divisions and Leagues. The playoffs determine the best team in each League and they play each other to determine the one best team. In NASCAR there are no divisions or leagues. There are 43 drivers out there every week racing for the win. And there are still 43 drivers out there the last ten races, going for the win. Only with the chase, only one of twelve drivers will be allowed to win the championship. Now, isn’t that how it always was? The chase gives the tenth place driver a better chance to win the title. But why should the  tenth place team be getting a better chance to win the title? Shouldn’t the best driver all year be the champion? Instead of the driver who had a great ten races in the end? This fan thinks so.

This year NASCAR changed the points system. If you finish last, you get one point. You get one point for leading a lap and one more point for leading the most laps. And three points for winning. The change is supposed to be great for the fans because they can see who is getting more points by where they are on the track. As a fan, I don’t care what the points look like during the race. It always bugs me when the announcers say “if the race were to end now” and show what the points look like. Who cares what the points are as they race? Certainly not the fans. It doesn’t matter until the race is over. It doesn’t make the race more exciting, knowing your favorite driver is leading the points in the middle of the race. NASCAR is racing and anything can happen.

My wish is that NASCAR listens to the long time fans and give us back racing, instead of chasing. Kurt Busch was the first chase champion. He didn’t have the most wins all year. He was just a tenth place driver who missed getting into the top ten the year before in the last race. Great for all those Kurt fans, but not great for the points leader all year. With that win, fans stopped watching the last ten races. Well, I can’t say stopped. I still watch. But a lot of long time fans sure did. The last ten races may be exciting races, but who wants to watch just twelve drivers in those ten races? Not the fans of those thirty other drivers. At least without the chase, you got to watch the points leader defend his points. And you got to watch drivers race into or out of the top ten.

Tomorrow I will give you my take on Talladega Superspeedway and the racing going on there lately.

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