Posts Tagged ‘the Chase for the Sprint Cup’

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.

Chase For The Sprint Cup Finale: Two Drivers, One Race

November 20, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the Chase for the Sprint Cup comes down to one final race, the Ford 400, at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. This will be a race between two drivers, three points apart. Let’s take a look at them.

Carl Edwards sits at the top of the points with his one win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the beginning of the year. That win gave him three points more than Tony Stewart heading into the Chase, as Tony had not won a race in the first 26 races of the regular season. Carl was Mr. Consistency all through the chase. Tony won four of the nine races in the chase so far. They both earned the same amount of points in the chase. The difference is the three points for winning in the regular season. Now it comes down to one race between these two drivers.

Tony has two championships, Carl has none as yet. Although Carl had the most wins in a year, Jimmie Johnson won the championship that year.

Tony won the 2002 Winston Cup championship, and at the time I felt he was undeserving of the Title, as there was much turmoil all year with him needing anger management a lot of the time. That was this fan’s opinion at the time. Nevertheless, he won the championship by being the best driver all year, collecting the most points. The chase started in 2004, with Kurt Busch winning the first Nextel Cup after starting the chase in seventh place. This fan had to wonder about the point of giving the championship to a seventh place team. The next year Tony won the Nextel Cup by being the best driver in the second half of the season. And this fan had to wonder if he was going to win them all just by being at his best in the last ten races. (I was proven wrong, as Jimmie won the next Nextel Cup and then the next four Sprint Cup championships. I was not proven wrong about the chase, as Jimmie managed this feat by being at his best in the chase.)

Now it comes down to one race and two drivers. (Although 41 other drivers will be racing in the Ford 400.) Carl has won the last two out of three races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. So he knows how to win here. He also sits on the Pole to start the race. Tony has won a championship in this format and he was the last champion to win whose name was not Johnson. He starts the race in fifteenth.

It should be a great race between these two drivers. However, I’m sure the fans of the other 41 drivers will be wanting to see how their driver is doing. Hopefully one or more of these other drivers will be leading the race so the fans will be able to see more of the race than just these two drivers.

This fan is not a fan of the chase. The system was not broken, so I fail to see the need to “fix” it. And many long time fans agree with me. For me, the champion should be the best all year (as Tony was in 2002), not the best in ten races (as Jimmie was). With the new points system of one point for each position, the points are close anyway. So, I don’t see the need for a “playoff” just for the sake of a “playoff”. I don’t see the need to give a 12th place team a better chance to win the Title. There are 36 races in the season and this fan does not like having the last ten races meaning more than the others. Each race is an individual race and they all should¬† be treated equally. Homestead hosts the final race, but this fan thinks it was more exciting watching the drivers race into and out of the top ten to get on stage at the banquet at years end in this race.

The Ford 400 starts Sunday afternoon and when the Checkered Flag falls, one of the two drivers will take home the Sprint Cup. (Although it is no longer a Cup, but Checkered Flags.) Here’s to an exciting finale to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season.

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

 

Homestead-Miami: Championship Weekend

November 17, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR season is coming to an end with the final races in all three top NASCAR Series’ at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. In all three Series’, no driver has clinched the title yet. The season will come down to crowning a Champion based on the final race. Let’s take a look at the track. This is a 1.5 mile track with progressive banking. This means they can turn easier in the corners. The track has two long, equal straightaways.

The Ford 400 race caps off the chase for the Sprint Cup. Ten of the twelve drivers in the chase have been eliminated from winning the championship. While this race still has all 43 drivers participating, only Carl Edwards or Tony Stewart can win the championship. Any of the 43 drivers can win the race. Carl Edwards won this race last year, but of course, that doesn’t mean he will win again this year. Matt Kenseth holds the race record at 131.888 mph set 11/18/07. Jamie McMurray holds the qualifying record at 181.111 set in 2003. The two championship contenders are only three points apart. Either of them can win this race, and be crowned champion.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series is racing the Ford 300 on Saturday. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. is leading the points, but if he gets caught up in something and Elliott Sadler wins the race, Elliott could be the champion. The other Nationwide drivers are too far away in points to win the championship. Last year Cup drive, Kyle Busch, won this Nationwide race. He also holds the race record of 181.111 mph set 11/21/09. (He’s the best Cup driver to ever race in Busch/Nationwide.) Greg Biffle holds the qualifying record of 177.416 mph, set in 2003.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be racing the Ford 200 race on Friday that will determine their champion. This is a tight battle between Austin Dillon, James Buescher and Johnny Sauter. Ron Hornaday, Jr. was coming on strong in the last few races to be in contention until Kyle Busch (yes, Cup driver) decided he didn’t like the way these Truck drivers raced him and deliberately took Ron out of the race and out of contention. (I personally hope Kyle won’t be in this race.) Johnny Benson holds the race record of 177.416 mph, set 11/16/07. Kyle Busch won the race last year.Vivid Seats has tickets to all of the Major sporting events. Get yours.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing, and hate to see the season end.

 

 

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NASCAR Race Review: Kobalt Tools 500K

November 14, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series held their Kobalt Tools 500K race at the Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. This race was touted as the wild card in the chase for the Sprint Cup. Phoenix International Raceway, in Avondale Arizona, has a new look to this one mile track. So none of the teams had any notes as to how they would proceed with adjustments. However, the penultimate race in the chase was new to one and all.

There was lots of racing on this new track on Saturday. And the track owner used former drivers and machines to put rubber on the track prior to practices. But Mother Nature had other plans for the Sprint Cup race. Rain washed away all their efforts on Sunday morning. NASCAR will throw a competition caution around lap 40 so they can check the tire wear. Should there be a caution before lap 40, the teams can pit, but will not be able to take fuel.

Bad boy Kyle Busch, in his #18 car with Interstate Batteries on board, had to change the engine just into the first practice. He qualified 34th and will start the race from the rear. In the driver meeting before the race, they were asked not to use the apron in the dogleg to gain position, as it was not very helpful for the drivers in the previous races on Saturday. This race is 312 laps (and miles) for 500 kilometers. Scott Riggs, David Stremme and Andy Lally failed to make the race.

17 Matt Kenseth starts the race from the pole with a speed of 137.101 mph and 26.258 seconds around the mile track. This was his third Pole this year. Speed TV had a poll of who will win the Sprint Cup: Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart or other. Overwhelming response was for Tony Stewart. Carl has been consistent, but Tony has four Chase wins. Looks like we fans prefer winning to consistency.

So, here we go! 17 Kenseth leads from the Pole. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. drives under 43 A. J. Allmendinger into second. 6 David Ragan and 78 Regan Smith get together and spin out, bringing out the first caution. They restart on lap 6. 17 and 56 race for the lead and 17 stays in the lead. On lap seven 36 Todd Bodine looses it on top and spins out, bringing out the second caution. He doesn’t hit anything and no one hits him. 6 David Ragan gets his lap back.

17 again leads the way at the restart. 22 Kurt Busch and 27 Paul Menard get together while racing. 22 got loose. They both go on. (On the top of the screen, they show the points as they run for the two points leaders!) 14 Tony Stewart drives under 56 for second. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya gets sideways and 1 Jamie McMurray gets by. 43 drives under 9 Marcos Ambrose. 17 and 14 split lap car 36 to race for the lead and 14 takes the lead.

The third caution, the competition caution, comes out on lap 42. Thirty-three cars are on the lead lap. 17 comes out of the pits first with his first pit stall. The Green Flag comes back out on lap 46. 14 takes the lead, sliding off the corner. 99 Carl Edwards is up to third. 17 and 99 race side by side for second and 99 gets the spot. 17 has a vibration and is falling back. 31 Jeff Burton gets by 22 as 36 gets in the way. 29 Kevin Harvick drives under 5 Mark Martin. 43 gets by 99 for second.

The fourth caution comes out during the commercial. 4 Kasey Kahne spins the slow moving 36 and gets him out of the way. 35 Dave Blaney gets back onto the lead lap. 17 and 14 are on the front row for the restart. 14 takes the lead. 39 Ryan Newman dives onto the apron for position. 48 Jimmie Johnson gets loose and 4 gets by. 42, 22 and 83 Brian Vickers race three wide and 42 gives way. 18 dives onto the apron under 48 to get by. 22 and 00 David Reutimann race side by side and nearly get together. 29 drives around 42. 29 gets a vibration and makes a pit stop. Others follow to start Green Flag Pitting. 14 and 17 race for the lead. 17 drives under 14 to take the lead.

The fifth caution comes out when 36 blows a tire and heads for the garage. (Perhaps he should have pitted sooner and not been in the way.) 00 drops a lug nut. 17 and 2 Brad Keselowski are out first. Those who pitted under Green take the wave around to stay on the lead lap. 99 and 17 race for the lead. 17 gets loose and 99 takes the lead. 17 falls back.

The sixth caution comes out when 84 Cole Whitt spins with help from 56. Those who took the wave around may now make a pit stop. 24 Jeff Gordon pits with damage to his splitter. 48 Jimmie Johnson gets back onto the lead lap. 99 and 14 race for the lead and 99 takes the lead. They are four wide with two on the apron! 00 drives under 17. 17 is on top and losing ground.

The seventh caution comes out when 83 pushes 17 into the wall. (Perhaps Vickers should have been parked.) 48 comes in for adjustments. 99 chooses the inside. 14 takes the lead. 22 and 18 (brothers) race for third. 18 is blowing up and heads for the garage. 43 drives under 22. 24 has brake issues. The eighth caution comes out during side by side commercials. 7 Robby Gordon lost his brakes and got into the wall. 24 comes in to check the brakes. 33 Clint Bowyer gets back onto the lead lap.

22 and 27 restart up front and 22 takes off. 14 and 4 race for third. 4 drives under 14 to take third. 43 is sliding back. 22 is out of fuel, makes a pit stop and can’t get the car started. Green Flag Pitting starts again for more fuel. 4 pits from second. 2 gets by leader 99 to get his lap back. 99 pits and 14 leads. 14 pits for fuel only and 2 leads, then pits. 4 is now leading after the pitting and is running away with the lead. 99 can’t catch leader 4. 14 gets by 31 for third.

4 Kasey Kahne wins the Kobalt Tools 500K race at Phoenix International Raceway, his first win in eighty-one starts. There were seven different leaders, with Tony Stewart leading the most laps. Carl Edwards finishes second, followed by Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton, Ryan Newman, A. J. Allmendinger, David Reutimann, Marcos Ambrose, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer for the top ten.

Carl Edwards remains in the lead in points by three points over Tony Stewart. They will battle it out next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the grand finale race in the chase. Kevin Harvick remains third in points. Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson move up a spot into fourth and fifth, while Matt Kenseth falls two spots into sixth. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. remains in seventh. Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman move up a spot into eighth and ninth. Denny Hamlin remains in tenth. Jeff Gordon falls three spots into eleventh. Kyle Busch falls a spot to twelfth.

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

NASCAR Racing At Texas

November 3, 2011

Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season is all too quickly coming to an end for this race fan. Only two more races left after this weekend’s racing at the Texas Motor Speedway. All three top NASCAR Series’ will be racing this weekend at this 1.5 mile track in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas. Last year Denny Hamlin swept the two races here. Matt Kenseth won the race here earlier this year. If he can win this one, he will be back in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The AAA Texas 500 will be raced on Sunday.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series will be racing the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday. The Series only has one more race to go after this race. Danica Patrick will be in the #7 car this race before she runs full time next year in the Series. Sprint Cup drivers entered in the race are 18 Kyle Busch, 33 Clint Bowyer, 20 Joey Logano, 32 Brian Vickers and 60 Carl Edwards.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be racing the WinStar Casino 350K race here at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday. They will have one remaining race after this one. Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch will be driving their own Trucks (2 and 18) in this race. One of the two of them generally win these Truck races. This NASCAR race fan is looking for a great race by the Truck drivers. Vivid Seats has NASCAR tickets, as well as tickets to most Sporting events.

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