Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tomorrow is the Super Bowl of NASCAR Racing-The Daytona 500

The NASCAR boys are back at it.  Actually, they have been at it for a couple of weeks at Daytona.  Last Saturday night I watched the Bud Shootout, 24 cars and drivers going for broke.  During the last week, qualifying took place as well as the twin 125 mile races Thursday to set the starting grid for tomorrow's 500 mile race.  Last night the first Truck race of the season took place with Michael Waltrip, not a regular in the Truck series, taking the win.  Today, the first Nationwide series race was run, and won in very exciting fashion by Sprint Cup regular Tony Stewart.  Not a regular in the Nationwide series, Tony won this particular race for the 4th year in a row.  Amazing!

This year the Daytona races have been two-by-two affairs.  Seems for the cars to go fast, they need to pair up and push each other around the track.  In the past, the draft was always important but was characterized by one or two long lines of cars nose to tail.  This year pairs of cars run fastest together.  A bit tedious for the drivers, somewhat interesting for the fans since so far there have been lots of lead changes throughout the races, and still dangerous because it takes a lot of skill and patience to push another car or be pushed by another car at nearly 200 mph!  Should be an interesting race tomorrow.  

Am hoping for a Dale Earnhardt Jr. win tomorrow.  Would be memorable for all 10 years after his dad died at Daytona.  

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Elliott Sadler Lucky To Be Alive After Pocono Crash Sunday

Elliott Sadler crashed unbelievably hard into an inner retaining wall Sunday at Pocono.  He is lucky to be alive, or at least not to be severely injured.  There is no reason that retaining wall should be there the way it is.  Should be safer barriers all the way around the track, and they should rip up most of the grass on the back stretch and replace it with pavement, like they have at Talladega.  When race cars go into and through the grass at 190 mph, there is no stopping them. 

I was at Watkins Glen in 1991 when J.D. McDuffie died in a similar crash.  He was going down the back stretch, lost control, got into the grass, and ran head first into a tire and dirt retaining wall.  When I saw the Elliott Sadler crash Sunday, my thoughts went back to that sad day at Watkins Glen, when they brought J.D.'s car back to the pits on a hauler, all covered, signifying J.D. had died in the crash.  Geoff Bodine also had a hard crash at Watkins in the same spot J.D. hit, saying it was one of the hardest crashes he was ever in.

Thank God Elliott was able to crawl out of the car, and walk away from the accident.  It is a credit to the safety of the NASCAR cars.  Let's hope we don't have to watch another vicious accident like the one Sunday.  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

David Reutimann Wins @ Chicagoland

Nice win for David and Toyota @ Chicagoland last Saturday night!  Great for him, and great for Michael Waltrip Racing.  David is a good person, and a very good NASCAR driver.  Read that many drivers stopped by Victory Lane and in the garage to congratulate David.  Only watched a bit of the race but did see the pass of Jeff Gordon.  Sometimes those cookie-cutter ovals seem really boring but when you watch a driver struggle to make a pass, when both cars are so close in speed, is like watching ballet.  Both drivers, the one in front, and the one right beside, are on the verge of spinning out, and taking out the other driver/car.  It is a beautiful thing to watch, over 8-10 laps, to see the pursuit, chase, capture, and pass.  Very cool, and David did it perfectly Saturday night.  Once he got past Gordon, he drove away from him. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Denny Hamlin Owns Pocono--Harvick Should Not Have Hit Logano

Denny Hamlin wins at Pocono again and one can only assume he will win the July race as well.  He has won there four times, always seems to be in the front toward the end of a Pocono race.  Great job Denny.  And Kevin Harvick, there was no need to take Joey Logano out of the race.  You guys were all alone, you could have backed off, and if you had enough car to pass him, you could have done it after turn 3.  I've grown to respect you, Kevin, as a mature racer, but this event was too much. 

Pocono is never my favorite venue until the last 20 laps.  Then the fuel mileage, getting into turn 1 first, all those things come into play.  Races at Pocono are usually all about the end of the race.  Drivers need to survive to the end, then do the best they can.  

Friday, June 4, 2010

Geoff Bodine Qualifies for Pocono at Age 61

Geoff Bodine qualified for the Pocono 500 (or whatever it is called now) today at age 61.  Geoff was the first Rick Hendrick driver to win a Daytona 500 back in the mid-1980's.  He also introduced power steering to NASCAR racing.  And, I saw Geoff race his first race at Chemung Speedway, a track his dad owned, back around 1967 or so. 

I read last week Geoff was going to try to qualify at Pocono, I think for a team owned by Tommy Baldwin.  Looks like they knew there weren't going to be a ton of teams at Pocono--only two were sent home.  A few years ago, there would be 6-8 teams trying to qualify.  Today, with tough economic times, and at a track like Pocono--think long, unusual, unique to NASCAR--make it an interesting and opportunistic place for some one-off team to make a race.  So, Geoff goes out and qualifies.

He said last week that if they qualified they might not be able to afford to race because it would be so expensive to practice, qualify, test, etc.  Hopefully they will come up with enough money to start the race Sunday.  I for one will have the start of the race on DVR at least.  Geoff has always been my favorite racer, so cool to see him out there again.  

BTW, Olympic fans will know Geoff is a major supporter of the U.S Bobsled team.  He has given a lot of money, time, and design effort to bring the U.S. team back to world class standards. 

Go Geoff!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kurt Busch Wins All Star Race and Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte

What a show of strength by Kurt Busch and the Roger Penske organization at Charlotte over the last two weeks.  Kurt and his Miller Lite Dodge was the best of the best in both events!  Great car, great team, great driver.  Will be interesting to see how Kurt/Dodge/Penske does the rest of the season.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Classic Tallagega Win for Kevin Harvick Today

Now that is the way you are supposed to win at Talladega!  I watched/listened to the race while painting the kitchen.  Of course, as all NASCAR fans know, at Talladega and Daytona, everything up to the last 20 laps is survival and experimentation as drivers try to avoid "The Big One" and move back and forth from the back of the pack to the front with different drafting partners, all in preparation for the end of the race.  Today Kevin Harvick rode around in the back most of the day but there he was, near the front toward the end of the race.  After a couple attempts at a the fan-favorite Green-White-Checkers, Kevin was right behind Jamie McMurray, pushing him away from the pack, and then in the final turn, giving him a little bump, just to get him loose enough so Kevin could slip by at the finish line!  Classis Talladega, a beautiful thing. 

There were a few wrecks but nothing too terrible, no injuries, nothing for anyone to point their fingers at or raise fists about.

Congratulations Kevin, it has been a long time since you have been to Victory Lane.  Nice to put the Shell Pennzoil car on top this week when the Shell decided to move the sponsorship to Penske next year.