Sunday, August 31, 2008

Jimmie Johnson Wins the Pepsi 500 - A terse Recap

It was Jimmie Johnson's race to lose. That's all there was to it. He had the pole, he owned the lead, and his team made all the right adjustments through all the changes of the race that turned from day to night.

Impressive or expected? Does it matter? Nope. He pulled it off.

Here's a quick recap of the race:

Jimmie Johnson led them to the green flag, but by the end of the lap, A.J. Almendinger had led himself a lap, but quickly lost it back to Johnson. The first few laps had the usual side-by-side rows of high octane burst of acceleration that slowly whittled down to a single file line of cars that was interrupted by a flat tire on lap 3 for Jamie McMurray.

Lap 8 Restart: 48, 84, 24, 9, 1, 18, 2, 19, 22 & 44 lead the pack across the line! Go 'Dinger!!

Lap 13 we see J Gordon's splitter smokin off the ground. ( We presume it's splitter smoke right now )

Lap 20 Caution for a BIG piece of debris - the caution light got blown off it's post by the wind of the cars flying by at 205+ mph at the end of the front stretch! McMurray gets the lucky dog and now all cars are on the lead lap.
-Lap 25 Restart: 48, 9, 84,83, 88, 16, 18, 44, 24 & 1

Lap 43 Caution for Kurt Busch losing a LR tire.
-Lap 47 Restart: 48, 16, 84, 83, 88, 9, 29, 11, 17 & 99

Lap 69 Caution: Nemechek hard in the wall out of turn 2. Knocked his drive shaft out of the car. He be done!
-lap 73 Restart: 48, 16, 11, 29, 17, 99, 44, 9, 84 & 88

Lap 100 48, 16, 11, 29, 83, 9, 44, 42, 17 & 07

Jimmie Johnson clinches a spot in the chase.

Lap 137: 48, 16, 83, 11, 29, 44, 9, 17, 99 & 42
21 cars on the lead lap

Caution for debris. Ryan Newman is the lucky dog, putting 19 cars on the lead lap.
-Restart with 98 laps to go: 48, 16, 11, 29, 83, 44, 99, 9, 17 & 20

Caution lap 160: Debris. Another piece of track light came down!! Wow!
The track is falling apart!
-Restart with 85 laps to go: 16, 99, 84, 83, 12, 48, 29, 11, 9 & 17
2 tire gambles on some of the cars.

A few laps later, the 48 car was hunting the 16 car down and with 82 to go, took the lead back.

70 Laps to go Robby Gordon Spins... one more caution!
The 48 team had an issue in the pits.
Restart with 65 laps to go: 44, 16, 99, 48, 11, 29, 12, 17, 9 & 18.
(uh ho, here comes the 18 car.)

Is this the final restart of then night?
Restart with 28 to go 16, 48, 11, 99, 29, 17, 18, 9, 07 &, 44
by the end of the lap, the 48 car was leading the way.

We're watching 3 and 4 wide in mid pack. It's pretty exciting.
There's a lot of dancing between the 83, 84, 12 and 88 for 11th spot.
With 20 to go, we have 48, 16, 11, 29 & 17 lead the pack.

15 to go: 48, 16, 11, 29, 17, 99 & 18 !!??!!

10 to go: 48, 16, 11, 29 & 17

The winner of the Pepsi 500 at CA is Jimmie Johnson!
He led oodles of laps and was followed across the line by
16, 11, 29, 17, 99, 18, 9, 44 & 07 cars.

Check out the details over at NASCAR:
Cup Series Results
Cup Series Standings

I'll break things down later!

But I'll tell you what, back in June I said David Ragan is my favorite dark horse driver in this whole bunch because he's quietly there, lurking just outside the top 12. Not screwing around too much. He doesn't have a top performing car, but the No. 6 team is quietly getting it together.

Next year, he is either going to be a contender or will fade to black.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

ESPN Disses The NASCAR Fan One More Time

Opinion by Bruce Simmons

Tick Tock, Tick Tock: (It's the 24 clock, but no Jack Bauer - sorry)
5:00 PM
According to my cable schedule, the Nationwide pre-race coverage on ESPN2 started at 6:45 pm Saturday night.

Tick Tock:
6:47 PM
I was running a few minutes late and scurried to get my race on the tube. Huh?

Turning on ESPN2 I discover that the score of a college football game is:
Miss St 14, LA Tech 19. 4th Quarter, with 8 minutes, 19 seconds left in the game.
So I turned on SPEED Channel and watched Tradin' Paint because at least there I am getting NASCAR news and opinion that covers for pre-race coverage to some degree while ESPN disses the NASCAR fan yet again, in favor of college football.

Tick Tock:
7:00 PM
There's 4 minutes and 22 seconds left in the game, but a player is on the ground.

Scrolling across the bottom of the screen it says: That Nationwide coverage is on ESPN classic and their espn360 website.

So now I'm scrambling to figure out if I even have ESPN Classic and what channel it might be on.

For a little bit I scuttle around my channel guide but initially I'm not finding it, so I head over the the ESPN360 website.

On ESPN360, it looks like I need to sign up to see this anything on this service site.

I fill out the on-line form. For my efforts, all I get is that ESPN will tell my cable provider that I have requested this. The little link button that says "NASCAR Nationwide at California Pt 1" still does nothing.

So ESPN just got my personal marketing information and I got nothing for it. Oh well, that's why I've got an email address specifically set up for all the junk / crap I sometimes find I have to sign up for. Thanks AOL. At least it's good for something.

Tick Tock:
7:08 PM
I finally find ESPN Classic, sitting way way up the channel listing up in a range of channels that I normally don't even look at. I came into the program just in time to

A: Hear Ron Perlman fill in the title of his new show for the announcer who draws a complete blank on possibly one of the biggest cool shows to come to the airwaves, Sons of Anarchy, then

B: Perlman calls out for gentlemen... start... your... engineeeeessssssss!

Tick Tock:
7:30 PM
I look away for a moment and suddenly I'm watching an older boxing match. What? Where'd this old show come from? Oh yea, ESPN Classic.

It's 17 laps into the race and the Nationwide race is now where it belongs. Where it's supposed to be, per my channel guide.

After this is all said and done:
I know it's not all about us, the NASCAR fan. But it is about something that continues to happen over and over again.

I preface this by saying that the college football fan is happy to have had their show finish up and see the end of the game. It's a different demographic that probably doesn't care about NASCAR.

The classic boxing fan is probably not happy to see NASCAR in place of the show they were expecting to see. I understand that completely.

Another issue is what happens if cable subscribers don't get the right channel package and don't get the classic channel? It's probable, being how cable providers are these days, with all the special sets or tiers of programming they make available for a few $$ more for each one.

That is, for those who get or subscribe to cable, if they can. Otherwise, those folks are just plain S out of Luck.

Otherwise, I've just gone through another disregard for the NASCAR coverage, thus a disregard for the NASCAR fan. This is Disney / ABC / ESPN. This is what we have to deal with. Never expect to get timely coverage if Football or Tennis or Golf is still in progress.

Now if the College Cheerleader Competition runs over a little, I might not grumble too much. Would I?

Well, regardless - I have to get back to my Kyle Busch demonstration of how to do laps around the Fontana track.

Thanks for reading one of Bruce's Rants.

Update 9/3/08: There's a bit over on The Daly Planet that puts some links out there to other opinion articles on ESPN and a few great reader comments to boot. Go enjoy! (Thanks to Kenny for pointing me that way!)

Related Older Posts:
ESPN and Yellow Flag Restarts
Yellow Flag Restarts
ESPN Apologizes for The Lapse of Coverage
ESPN Race Coverage
ABC ESPN Coverage Nit Pick

Fontana Pepsi 500 Lineup

Sunday Nites Pepsi 500 at Fontana will be fun.

Here's the top 10 starting spots for the race:

Pos. Driver Make
1 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet
2 A.J. Allmendinger Toyota
3 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet
4 Kasey Kahne Dodge
5 Patrick Carpentier Dodge
6 Elliott Sadler Dodge
7 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet
8 Dave Blaney Toyota
9 Kurt Busch Dodge
10 Aric Almirola Chevrolet

rest of the line up is at NASCAR.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Jeff Burton Milestone

This is cool news for the safety advocate of NASCAR, Jeff Burton.

When he starts on Sunday, Jeff Burton will be making his 500th start after 16 years of competition.


Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch ARE NOT Tight In Turn Two!

Despite statements NASCAR made earlier this year to let the boys handle themselves and not get involved, NASCAR has indeed stepped in and gotten involved in a feud.

It announced probations on Wednesday for our new spatting frenemies, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. There's been no wrist slap, but they are being watched for the next six races by Big Brother - NASCAR, starting with the Fontana, CA race. It's been declared that they violated Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing; hitting another competitor's car after the race had concluded) of the 2008 NASCAR rule book.

As I see it, Carl did no wrong in my book and did what NASCAR competitors do best: Police themselves. Or at least they used to be able to do that.

Kyle got out of hand after the race with his tantrum and Carl punted him. Deed done. Of course Kyle (The Child) Busch has to whine about how the win was taken from him and vent his frustration "kicking the trash can". If he had the win in hand, why wasn't he pulling away? How'd Carl catch him? Gimme a break Busch. Accept your fate now that you are at the other end of your very own medicine. Now, you know how Johnny Benson felt in a previous truck event! Or better yet, do we remember when we pushed Dale Earnhardt Jr out of the way at Richmond? Or more precisely, put Jr right into the wall, yanking a win away from Jr..

With that said, I thought to myself, "Self? This sounds like the makings of a great question for that other guy I have to fly Tight in Turn 2 with, Charlie Turner of OnPitRow." With that in mind, I showed Charlie my premise, then tossed him this question to follow up on my Edwards vs. Busch tirade:

So Is This Probation on Busch and Edwards Warranted?

Bruce: Up until the announcement, I was in anticipation of the next few races and wondering what was going to happen between these two. With the probation now in place, this takes the wind out of my anticipatory sails. For just one moment, everyone was looking at the feud with a certain amount of anticipation. The kind of media attention that NASCAR needs. It keeps things interesting and on edge, and it certainly helps with ratings and media attention. But now, it's just become a one week spat. For that, thanks NASCAR.

BUT: I think that where NASCAR is coming from is concern for innocent victims in this fray, so they're pretty sure the probation is warranted. If anything, they probably think they are looking out to protect the other Chase contenders from getting caught up in the aftermath of what Kyle may be planning, or at the very least, has proven what he's capable of when he's in one of his snits. Oh wait, Kyle planning? Is that even part of his vocabulary?

Charlie: Warranted? If all NASCAR wants to do is castrate its competitors, then yeah, its warranted. I don't think it's smart. I don't think that the probation is in the best interest of interesting, compelling, ultra-competitive auto racing.

What happened the the early season commitment to letting these guys express themselves more honestly?

Just when you get a couple drivers talking honestly about what happened on the track and how they saw it- who were still fresh from the heat of the action and about as worked up as you can get, by the way - NASCAR wants to do something that will create more mealy mouthed apologists and corporate sock puppets. If Kyle and Carl had talked more like Jeff Gordon or Kasey Kahne, there would be no probation.

Related posts to Carl vs Kyle:
Ding Ding: Carl Edwards Vs. Kyle Busch


Of course with that said, Charlie fired back a question, per the norm, that he had in his mind:

Do I like the new format of the Budweiser Shootout?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

35th Spot, Owners Bubble - Going to Fontana

It's a snug affair going on around that 35th spot.
Can the 84 car make it in, or will the No. 77 car fall out and allow the No. 84 in?
I think Hornish is gonna let this one slip right out of his fingers.
What do you think?

29 -- #01 Teresa Earnhardt 1981 158
30 -- #41 Chip Ganassi 1904 81
31 -- #7 Robby Gordon 1868 45
32 1 #55 Michael Waltrip 1861 38
33 -1 #22 Bill Davis 1856 33
34 1 #66 Joe Custer 1843 20
35 -1 #77 Roger Penske 1823 0
36 -- #84 Dietrich Mateschitz 1809 -14
37 -- #00 Rob Kauffman 1798 -25
38 2 #96 Jeffrey Moorad 1582 -241
39 -1 #10 George Gillett, Jr 1570 -253
40 -1 #45 Kyle Petty 1563 -260

Roush Fenway Management Team Has New Player

As I am sure you all remember, back in Feb of 2007, Fenway Sports Group (FSG) bought into a 50% stake of Roush Racing, making it Roush-Fenway Racing.

On Monday, the 25th of August, FSG announced the appointment of the ex Managing Director of Corporate Marketing for NASCAR, Brian Corcoran. He will assume the position of Executive Vice President, Business Development & Motorsports.

Corcoran will be overseeing the operations for FSG's NASCAR division which includes Roush Fenway Racing and Yates Racing and will be identifying and developing new sponsor and revenue opportunities for both teams. (Heck, I even forgot they had a piece of Yates.)

It seems they're bringing in the big guns to start bringing more money into the Cup teams.

I call him a big gun because it's he's credited with bringing Nextel to Cup and Nationwide Insurance to, well, the Nationwide Series. The premiere part of NASCAR is called Cup. Can't we call the Nationwide the series Bowl, or Fork or something? Then we distinguish that league, regardless of who sponsors it.

Most fascinating, indeed.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bubble Spot Headed Into Fontana

And this is how things are shaping up for the Chase Bubble.

6th through 14th are all looking at each other through the glass maze walls, wondering who's gonna git to the spot first!!

1 -- Kyle Busch 3609 754
2 -- Carl Edwards 3397 542
3 1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3193 338
4 -1 Jimmie Johnson 3191 336
5 -- Jeff Burton 3117 262
6 -- Tony Stewart 3013 158
7 -- Greg Biffle 2984 129
8 -- Kevin Harvick 2972 117
9 -- Jeff Gordon 2951 96
10 -- Matt Kenseth 2921 66
11 1 Denny Hamlin 2900 45
12 1 Clint Bowyer 2855 0


13 1 David Ragan 2843 -12
14 -3 Kasey Kahne 2799 -56
15 2 Ryan Newman 2674 -181
16 -1 Brian Vickers 2672 -183
17 -1 Martin Truex Jr. 2592 -263
18 -- Jamie McMurray 2492 -363
19 -- Kurt Busch 2442 -413
20 -- Elliott Sadler 2364 -491

TV Times for Fontana

NASCAR Nationwide Series Fontana | 9:45 p.m. ET Sat. | ESPN2
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Fontana | 7 p.m. ET Sun. | ESPN

(Not sure why they're eliminating some of the fan base by shoveling NASCAR over to ESPN, but so be it I guess. That's ABC for ya.)

Keselowski Reported to Turn Down the No. 12 Ride

I've always said that the No. 12 team under the Penske roof is the tolerated bastard child of the Penkse Racing garage, with no one ever really ever doing as well as they could in that car, if indeed, they were capable.

Now, it seems that Brad Keselowski is reportedly turning down an offer to jump in the No. 12 Dodge seat for next year.

He does have planned the return to drive the No. 88 Nationwide ride, owned by Dale Jr and Hendrick.

At this point, does this mean that Keselowski has plans already in place for the Cup league, or is that No. 12 ride just not that compelling of an offer? There's two ways to look at it and I'm not sure which it is.

Drivers don't want to just take a ride when offered. They want to be competitive when they get in a car, or they run the risk of a getting a label that arises from not being able to just get the job done. I think Kenny Wallace is an example where I think if given the consistent, long term chance in a good car, he'd prove himself. And the list can go on.

On the other hand, the word on the front stretch is that Keselowski is lined up for a Hendrick ride once Mark Martin is done with the No. 5 Chevy and I am sure he would not want to have anything interfere with that opportunity if indeed, it is there.

Meanwhile, on the back burner, you have to wonder how David Stremme feels. It was thought that he was the front runner for the No. 12 seat, but now is he 2nd string pick? That should really set a wonderful mindset headed into the 2009 season if he does indeed get the green light for the No. 12 seat.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mayfield May Get A Ride with HOF

Despite my reservations that this is good for Jeremy Mayfield, ya gotta know that when you're in NEED of a job, a job is what you take.

With that said, Hall Of Fame racing is penning a deal that will get Mayfield in the No 96 car for three races this year. He will be amongst other drivers getting seat time in the Toyota.

Ken Schrader drove the car Saturday night's race at Bristol to a 21st place finish. other drivers slated for the seat are Joey Logano & Brad Coleman.

No disrespect to the others, but when Logano gets in the seat, we'll see just how good the equipment really is. Is it sub-par and everyone has suffered from it, or is it fine, and just needs a wheel man to make it work right? Logano will be in the car for an expected 5 races, starting at New Hampshire.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Ding Ding: Carl Edwards Vs. Kyle Busch

The Combatants:
-In this corner, we have smiley faced Carl Edwards.

Always the cheerful one, with a dark competitors side just underneath. The edge every athlete needs to get the job done. If you mess with the Edwards, be ready to get it back. Ask Matt Kenseth.

-In the other corner, is the ever dour, quick to snap Kyle (The Child) Busch! Sometimes referred to as "The Shrub".

Always willing to do what's necessary to get his win, never willing to tolerate his own behavior!! And give him room when he crashes out because he'll crash out the post-race interviews!


The Potential Situation
Finally, something fun to look for in the field of NASCAR racing once again. A rivalry of words and deeds. Confrontations just waiting to happen!


Whose Side Am I On?
I'm not the biggest fan of either one, but I will lean towards Carl Edwards. I do that to lean away from Kyle Busch's behavior.

Even though all athletes have a certain level of arrogance, Kyle doesn't hide it. In fact he flaunts it. He also has one heck of a short memory, but then again, don't most jocks?


The Reality of the Situation

It's Bristol. The land of bump passing. Even on this new surfaced / banked short track.

Even though Kyle Busch thought he had the best car out there, it must not have been if Carl Edwards could not only catch him, but move him, pass him, and not be caught again. So then who did have the best car at the end of the race?

My call: Edwards took his shears to the shrub and trimmed him down a branch or two!

The unique angle is that with Kyle getting moved over and passed, and then not being able to do anything about it must have really pis***, I mean ticked him off and made him forgetful.

At least he was bump / passed in such a way that did not wreck him. It was done well. Can Johnny Benson and a few others say the same of similar treatment off the front bumper of Kyle Busch in the Truck Series? I'm just saying.

So now he's whining that he'll race Edwards the same way in The Chase. Good. I want to see Kyle so revved up that he screws it up for himself. This will truly be his test because if he does anything truly stupid, we'll all see how NASCAR handles the new golden boy.


After the race, Kyle went after Edwards and slapped fenders. Carl returned the favor and turned him around. The crowd went crazy and Carl Edwards stock just sky rocketed.

I remember when Jimmy Spencer popped Kurt through the window a few years back. I supported the action whole heartedly and bought a few diecasts of Spencers'! Huh, is there a Busch pattern going on here?

NASCAR got on the radio and put the dog back in the doghouse. Did you see the look on JD Gibbs face when he confronted Busch as he pulled into the pits? Nice.

I think the best part of it: Edwards called it as he saw it and DID NOT apologize for his method of passing, or the after race incident. He did show regret for the damage to the car from the cool down lap, but that's acceptable.

As Edwards put it after the race in an interview: (It's a paraphrase of a quote)

"A smart racer once explained it to me after he wrecked me by saying 'I just had to look at your rear bumper and decided, would you do this to me? And you had before, so it was a real simple decision.

I'm not apologizing for it," citing past indiscretions where Busch took him out of races to gain positions. "We're even. "They keep talking about rivalries,'' Edwards added. "We might have one now.''

Crap... I may have to buy another diecast this year.

This was Bristol, as it used to be... just with 11 less spats than usual when it was a single groove track.

Kyle complaining about Edwards at Bristol is akin to whining about there being water at the beach. Get over it kid.

Besides, after the week that Joe Gibbs Racing has had in the Nationwide Series, I think they better put a cap on the kid, for now. In the meantime, this could be fun to watch to see how it pans out.

Related Posts
Gibbs Reputation
Gibbs Nationwide Penalties
Boston Herald Trashes Gibbs
Shims and Gas Pedals


Reutimann and Aaron's Together for 2009

In one of the longest running associations between a driver/owner and sponsor in NASCAR racing, it was announced on August 22 that Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership will be the 2009 sponsor of the No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine for 18 races. The No. 00 is driven by David Reutimann.

Aaron's will also be sponsoring the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine in the Nationwide series for 10 races. The No. 99 will have it's driving duties split between Reutimann and Michael Waltrip.

2009 season will be the 10th year that Michael Waltrip represents Aaron's.


: The nation’s leader in the rental, sales and lease ownership, and specialty retailing of residential and office furniture, consumer electronics and home appliances and accessories.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

RCR Names it's 2009 Driver Lineup

Richard Childress Racing announced their driver lineup for the 2009 season on August 23rd.

The No. 07
Jack Daniels car will be driven by Casey Mears.
The No. 33
Cheerios / Hamburger Helper car (A new car for the team) will be driven by Clint Bowyer.

I'm glad for Casey Mears after being dumped by Hendricks Motorsports, getting into a decent team but I'm miffed at Jack Daniels demanding the younger driver.

Oh well, what are ya gonna do in these times?



Sharpie 500 at Bristol - Carl Edwards Wins and Spins

Carl Edwards and David Reutimann leads the field to the green. Carl got a great start, and Jeff Gordon got in under Reutimann and Reutimann was isntantly relegated to third. So much for the bonus points for the No 44 Toyota. Earnhardt Jr. seemed a bit loosey goosey at the start.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was black flagged for passing before the start/finish line. Wow, devastating start to the race. He was caught on a scenario that is legal on restarts, but not the initial start of any race.

Lap 25 see's Jimmie Johnson into the wall after tangling with Sterling Marlin. He pits to fix the damage under green.

Kyle Busch took the lead on lap 54.

Lap 97: No. 1 car looses a tire and takes the No 84 car with him into the wall.

Lap 195: The No. 77 comes up across the nose of the 09. The 09 slows in front of the 20 car. The 20 car spins the 09 car and the 09 collected the 31 car. Hmm, one of my new rules says that the car number mentioned the most, is the cause of the incident. That would be the No 09 car of Sterling Marlin.

Lap 206 restart sees Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman lead the pack to the green.

Lap 216: Big wreck> 07, 7, 77, 5, 9, 21, 41, 44 cars pile up into or scraped up a bit into a wrecking yard.

The No 9 Budweiser car looks like toast, who was 12th in points.
The No 07, 13th in points, just got rubbed up a bit while the other cars in the pile ended up reshaping their cars on a serious note.

It looks like the No. 5 car comes up into the LF corner of the No. 55, getting spun into the wall, and the 5 car collected the rest of the victims. Mears said his spotter called "clear, clear, clear" and his spotter was mistaken.

In the replay from Clint Bowyer, the car radio of Clint says "Michael Waltrip is the worse driver in NASCAR. I can't believe NAPA signed back up with him." LOL.

Everyone involved is OK.

Lap 221: Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards leads the pack to the restart.
18, 99, 24, 11, 20, 12, 29, 16, 44 & 15 are the top 10.

Lap 281: The No 22 car slaps the inside wall.

Lap 293 restart: Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards leads the pack to the green. ... Didn't I already say this?

Lap 320: Kyle Busch leads the pack still. The man is unstoppable! 18, 99, 24, 11, 29, 12, 20, 07, 8 & 26

Lap 344 debris caution for parts coming off the No. 44 car. The back bumper / TV panel came off all by itself after being abused throughout the race.

Lap 349 restart sees the 18 and 99 lead the pack to the green.

Lap 350 front 10 of the blender called the Sharpie 500:
18, 99, 24, 11, 29, 12, 07, 20, 8, 6

lap 355 Edwards starts looking under Kyle for the lead, but Kyle holds him off.

Lap 357 Edwards looks outside to pass him. No go.

Despite being caught up in a few incidents, and the front end toe-in being more or less toe-out,ed, the 07 car of Bowyer is in 7th.

Dale Jarrett said that in some race in his past, he had gotten in wreck and his front end was toed out and it handled pretty good the rest of the day.

Lap 365 Caution

Lap 370: Oh for cyin' out loud, you'll never guess what 2 guys led the pack to the green! But now, Jr. is the first car a lap down and if circumstances are right, he can get his lap back at the next yellow.

Lap 400 top 10: 18, 99, 24, 11, 29, 12, 8, 20, 07 and 6

lap 451 caution.

Restart with 41 laps to go: 18, 99, 11, 24, 29, 12, 07, 20, 17 and 6.

A few laps later, another debris caution for a piece off of the No 2 car of Kurt Busch.

With 30 to go, Edwards takes the lead. First time since lap 55 someone other than Kyle leads, and he drops to 3rd as Hamlin passes him too.

20 to go, Kyle gets past Hamlin.
10 to go: 99, 18, 11, 29, 24
5 to go: 99, 18

The order of the top 10 cars across the finish line!
99 - 18 - 11 - 29 - 24 - 12 - 07 - 20 - 17 - 6

Remember when Carl Edwards passed Busch?

Edwards gave Busch a budge to get by him, a typical Bristol pass. Busch nudged him right back immediately afterward, but it did not move Edwards and Edwards went on to win.

After passing the start finish line, Kyle (The Child) Busch rammed the side of the No 99 car. Edwards then turned the 18 car around on the front stretch, to the immense pleasure of the cheering crowd.

Ahh, Bristol. Gotta love it.

Afterward, Edwards DID NOT apologize for it. He said Kyle's always raced him like that before, and decided to move him. You go Carl!!

Thanks to NASCAR for auto stock image snip.

NASCAR Cares - And Gives

There are many ways for NASCAR to give back to the world we live in and the success their fans have made possible for them.

Many drivers have contributed to the Pettys Victory Junction Camp, a special camp for special kids with health care needs.

Richard Childress, the owner of Richard Childress Racing, has just committed On July 30 $5 million to start what they plan to be the nation's most comprehensive institute for pediatric trauma in association with Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

As if that's not enough, there's an additional $20 million ready to be applied when it's needed to see it through.

It came to the Childress' attention that there was no centralized pediatric trauma focus in the medical world and they were rather surprised that this hadn't happened before now, in these days.

Rather than complain, they did something about it.

I guess they subscribe to the premise of being either part of the problem, or part of the solution. They created a solution. Kudos to the Childress'.

For more details you can check out the article at

Friday, August 22, 2008

Chevron Says 'Later! to NASCAR

After 20 years of being in NASCAR, Ganassi has ticked off Chevron and away they go!

OK, that might be a bad joke, but this can be chalked up to more signs of the times. One more, thought to be mainstay sponsor of NASCAR is taking it's leave or changing how it's spending it advertising dollars, to be more exact after the close of their 2008 contract.

Chevron said it would pursue new marketing strategies for its Texaco and Havoline brands, with a focus on local and regional marketing programs.

Ouch, and here I thought national exposure would be the kicker. Actually, from what I've learned of recent months is that some oil companies actually have regionally demographic named products that don't even seem related, but they are.

For instance one company has Chevron, Texaco and Caltex.
Then there's Exxon, Mobil and Esso.

These are the mainstream names... a few months back I came across an article, and I can't for the life of me remember the company, but they market under a couple of different names per region in one state, so I guess we gotta accept the deal and hope everyone makes out OK in the long run.

I guess that means that the most dedicated sponsor supporting fan base gets to take their business to Sunoco or Shell... then we'll see where Chevron stands after this decision. My guess, they'll be back in late '09 or 2010.


A Knight Rider Sponsored Ford at Bristol

Saturday Nights Bristol race is going to have a Ford sponsored by the new NBC show, Knight Rider. The No 28 of Travis Kvapil will be touting the banner. We all know how Bristol can be, so hopefully he keeps his fenders and sheet metal on the car to keep the sponsor in plain view!!

If you'd like to see an interesting write up I did on the other side of my life, check out Screen Rant for a longer snippet on NASCAR, Studios and Sponsor opportunities.

Screen Rant is a site where we talk about movies and television and what the haps are in the industry.

Drivers and Owners Points Going INTO Bristol

I've been remiss in posting Driver Standings and Owners Points this week... It's been a distractingly busy week!

Just for consistency sake, I'm puttin' them out here for you to look over and I'll be back on schedule next week:

6 1 Tony Stewart 2871 -558 136
7 3 Greg Biffle 2854 -575 119
8 3 Kevin Harvick 2812 -617 77
9 -3 Jeff Gordon 2791 -638 56
10 2 Matt Kenseth 2783 -646 48
11 -3 Kasey Kahne 2756 -673 21
12 -3 Denny Hamlin 2735 -694 0


13 -- Clint Bowyer 2709 -720 -26
14 -- David Ragan 2709 -720 -26
15 2 Brian Vickers 2569 -860 -166
16 -- Martin Truex Jr. 2534 -895 -201
17 -2 Ryan Newman 2524 -905 -211


Car No Car Owner Points Around 35th
29 1 #01 Teresa Earnhardt 1860 99
30 -1 #41 Chip Ganassi 1849 88
31 -- #7 Robby Gordon 1822 61
32 -- #22 Bill Davis 1807 46
33 -- #55 Michael Waltrip 1788 27
34 -- #77 Roger Penske 1771 10
35 2 #66 Joe Custer 1761 0
36 -1 #84 Dietrich Mateschitz 1748 -13
37 -1 #00 Rob Kauffman 1719 -42
38 -- #10 George Gillett, Jr 1542 -219
39 1 #45 Kyle Petty 1493 -268
40 -1 #96 Jeffrey Moorad 1482 -279

Is Gibbs Reputation Getting Tight in Turn Two?

After a few months of being Loose in Turn 3, we've had a bit of an adjustment and now Turn 3 isn't the issue any more. The moderation has now become a 2-man debate process between Charlie Turner from On Pit Road and myself and now we're finding ourselves getting Tight in Turn Two! Man, when are the adjustments going to kick in?


This week, I wasn't sure what to say or think about the shimmy shim shim scenario that was going on in the Nationwide Series, but I thought I toss this out at Charlie with one perspective I have:

With Gibbs accepting every bit of the responsibility for the shims on the gas pedal deal, I find it refreshing. Yet who is going to believe him?

With outsiders looking in, NASCAR gets called America's Most Crooked Sport and it's gloriously colorful past gets pulled back into the present.

Circumstantially speaking, putting the shims on the car when you know the dyno testing rig is on-site sure does say something, but who ever did it, made a bone head move and didn't trust the processes already in place. IE: Toyota power plants having been dialed back a bit. (15 HP?)

Obviously several staff on the Gibbs Nationwide team felt it necessary to try this stunt. Or as DW calls it, Reverse Cheating, seeing as how the cars had to run with less power available to them through the entire race.

How does this make people feel about Joe Gibbs Racing, or the sport in general?

Bruce: I'm fine with it... as long as it doesn't become a habit. Things happen, people screw up and I doubt anyone is going to be trying such blatantly stupid stunts in the future. NASCAR is about innovation and looking for the gray areas and it's part of the process. So things similar to this will continue to happen. Not like this stunt, but similar. NASCAR insiders know this and then some accept it while other rail against it. It is what it is.

As far as the outsider goes, who doesn't know anything at all about the sport, but calls it names looking in from the outside, this stunt isn't going to help the image of NASCAR for a little while. As long as these larger things don't keep happening, the sport will be fine. But a few more incidents to add to Edwards CA deal and now this, could go a long way towards hampering the potential fan from checking out NASCAR.

Charlie (From On Pit Road ): I couldn't disagree with you more on the outsider thing.

Casual observers who are popping out of there racing "gopher hole" to comment on this infraction will duck their clueless heads right back down the chute as soon as the the send button is hit on their keyboards. NASCAR - and auto racing is all about getting away with whatever you can get away with. Call it innovation if you want. If the innovation isn't in the rules, the rule-makers might just call it cheating. And will happen again, just as soon as somebody thinks the risk of getting caught is worth the potential penalty.

Should JGR care about outsider opinion? As a NASCAR blogger, do you think that baseball is a bad sport when a pitcher gets caught doctoring a ball? When a football player argues with a referee about a penalty that the player clearly committed, do you say that the game of football is a joke? If you do, I call you a fool. It's all part of the game. And cheating makes it more interesting.


Charlie over On Pit Road asked the question:
Who do we think the Fords will be filling their seats with next year?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

TV Times for Bristol

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bristol | 7 p.m. ET Sat. | ESPN
NASCAR Nationwide Series Bristol | 7:30 p.m. ET Fri. | ESPN

(Sorry this is late... I delivered it 2 days ago but something did not connect. A few posts never made it for some reason. Something to look into later.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gibbs Penalties Dished Out

NASCAR has made their statement for the magnetic shims found on the Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide cars gas pedals:

Tony Stewart:  Docked 150 points
Joey Logano:  Docked 150 points

Stewarts and Logano's crew chiefs:  Suspended indefinitely.  Fined $50k, each.

Five other crew members:  Suspended indefinitely.


Rumors: Stremme to the No. 12

David Stremme, may be in line to replace Ryan Newman in the ill-fated No. 12 Dodge at Penske racing next season.  Being that he's the test driver for the organization at the moment, he does have the inside track to the No. 12 seat!

While refusing to acknowledge that a decision has been made, all signs from within the organization point to an announcement within a matter of days, as soon as the details on sponsorship for the team have been finalized. Current primary sponsor Alltel, which merged with Verizon this spring, has been forced to leave at the conclusion of 2008.

So we'll see who jumps on board the hood of Stremme's ride, if indeed, he is in.

I think that would be great for Stremme to get into a car that's a bit above the norm, but still, with the No 12 program being the bastard step child to the No 2 car, it's never gotten any star treatment.  Or at least through the years, that's what it's appeared like to me.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kenny Schrader Fans Get To Watch Him at Bristol!

Ken Schrader will drive the No. 96 Toyota Camry for Hall of Fame Racing in this weekend's Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

It will be nice to see him on track again.  I hope he can do something with the HOF equipment, but I'm not holding my breath with that.

New Crew Chief for the No 77

Penske Racing announced that Travis Geisler will immediately replace Chris Carrier as the crew chief of the No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge, driven by Sam Hornish Jr.

A mechanical engineering graduate from Vanderbilt, Geisler, 27, had been the race engineer for the No. 12 Dodge, and was an integral part of that team's historic 2008 Daytona 500 victory.  A restrictor plate race.  Sometimes it's all about timing at the end in a restrictor plate race.

Now let's see if Hornish can pull it out.

Boston Herald Trashes Gibbs and NASCAR as a Whole

I came across a post today written by By David Whitley / The Orlando Sentinel that's posted under a Boston Herald web page that's titled:

If even Joe Gibbs' team is cheating, NASCAR is America's most crooked sport.

Nice.  It starts out:  John Edwards always wanted to be president. Well, I have the perfect job for him.  President of NASCAR.

So I'm thinking, cool, an opinion piece.  Maybe it will give me something new to think about!

I touches on the Joe Gibbs gas pedal shim issue though he fails to point out which series it occurred in.  He follows it up with the statement: "I won't bore you with the technical ramifications, mainly because I don't understand them. But what it comes down to is Gibbs, the most respected, honest, God-fearing figure in NASCAR, looks like Edwards did when he was cornered by the National Enquirer after visiting his ex-mistress."  Dude, how hard is to explain a stop shim?

Hmm, I didn't quite get the vibe, did you?  The National Enquirer tends to make things up, NASCAR inspectors just find things.

He then goes on to say:  "If Gibbs' team can't tell right from wrong, there is no hope for the rest of NASCAR.  And there's even less reason for non-racing fans to think NASCAR isn't just a bunch of latter-day moonshiners.."

This is about where I started feeling like somewhere in this piece, someone just grabbed a headline, pulled on some legend, and slapped together a piece to start generating traffic.  Or at least, that's how I'm feeling about now because if this is opinion, it's not from someone who knows NASCAR and with millions of sponsor dollars at stake, need to keep competitive and find the gray areas of the rule book to do so.

He does make a pretty fair argument that when someone is busted, the results stand and uses the analogy that if someone is caught cheating in the Olympics, they get the medal pulled.  OK, that's fair and I've always pondered why NASCAR doesn't pull results.  That would say more and have more impact than anything else they do these days.

He says that Gibbs has a spotless rep and would have hoped that his attitude would have rubbed off on his underlings.  He finishes is post by saying:

"It seems there really are two Americas.  One where people don't cheat because it's shameful.  And one where the only shame is getting caught."

I liked one of the comments that said:  "Whats this, NASCAR Bashing? Football has the most cheating going on, it's part of it's rich history. When there's that much money at stake don't kid yourself."  I didn't leave a comment because it requires registration, and registration is required to [help us improve the quality of our comments by keeping them on subject and in accordance with their policies.]  Whatever.

I'm on the fence.  Am I upset.  Not really, though the realm of NASCAR with it's storied legends that color a lot of people's perspectives doesn't need to be propagated.  That's a long gone legend of tales while the sport and the teams involved continually try to move forward with their industry.  This is no longer the era where a racer can pull his street car up onto the track and go for it.  The man has made some interesting points while obviously coloring his writing with some emotional flare.  I thought I'd put this out there for you to decide.



2009 Schedule for NASCAR Announced

NASCAR released it's 2009 schedules, which feature some changed up dates for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck series slates.

It's a magic shell game!!

Sprint Cup Series

The Cup Series has itself date swaps amongst three tracks:  Atlanta Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway (formerly California Speedway) and Talladega Superspeedway.

OK, here we go:

Atlanta's second race will be held on Sunday, September 6, taking the Labor Day weekend slot currently held by Auto Club Speedway.
California's second race will be Sunday, October 11 - the fourth week of the Sprint Cup's "Chase for the Championship," a slot formerly held by Talladega.
Talladega's second event will move to Sunday, November 1, making it the seventh Chase event - the weekend formerly held by Atlanta.

There's an additional off-week for the Cup series in 2009, prior to the Labor Day weekend event.  This will give them 4 off weeks in a season now.


The Nationwide Series has a 35-race 2009 schedule. There will be a new event at Iowa Speedway on August 1, replacing Mexico City. 
The Atlanta date will be moved from March to September.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve event in Montreal to Sunday, August 30.

Side Note:  Iowa Speedway:  It's a 7/8 mile long paved oval and it's design was influenced by Rusty Wallace and patterned after Richmond!  The track is located in Newton, Iowa.

Truck Series

The Truck Series will have 25 races, one date change.
The series' late-season race at Atlanta will be replaced by a night event at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, August 28.
On a bright note, at least they've drafted a schedule as opposed to the rumor mill that says they're having a hard time finding a series sponsor.

Question:  Why is it that I have to get this from Yahoo News first and not the NASCAR site?  Has anyone noticed the NASCAR site is not the fastest nut on the track?  Heck, I posted up my Ryan Newman, No 39 article a few hours ago, and they just got to it... Come on people.  Either catch up or hire me to get you caught up!!!  Really.


Ryan Newman: New Team and Already 2nd New Number

Over on NASCAR Sirius Satellite Radio, Ch 128 last night Tony Stewart made an interesting announcement that rather than have Ryan Newman driving the No 4 Chevy, Stewart is changing his number to the No 39 car.

For the Ryan Newman fan, the No. 39 was the car number of Newman's first USAC win.

So everyone under Stewart-Haas Racing is now driving a car with numbers that mean something to them.

On an emotional level, that's pretty cool.  I hope the mental state translates to results state!

Boyer to 4th Team, Mears to No 07 Chevy

With Clint Bowyer going to the 4th RCR car that will be sponsored by General Mills, that meant that the No 07 Chevy drivers seat was getting cold.

Lee Spencer from Fox Sports is reporting that Casey Mears will be warming up that seat next year for RCR Jack Daniels sponsored car, and that's awesome news for Casey fans.

source: Fox Sports

Monday, August 18, 2008

Shifting Gears, for the NASCAR / Jr Fan

Hammerhead Entertainment and Team Marketing have partnered to bring Dale Jr. -- Shifting Gears, the five-episode ESPN sports documentary featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his move to Hendrick Motorsports, to DVD this fall.

I've watched a few episodes (Sorry, not all of them) and the presentation gives you a pretty good feel that you're seeing the real side of Dale Earnhardt Jr.. He may not interview all that well at the track, but he comes across pretty relaxed in the episodes I saw.

Pre-sale orders are being taken now at NASCAR.COM.  (PS:  Hammerhead Entertainment is one of Jr's companies.)

Logano To Drive the 20 Car

Joe Gibbs Racing will hold a news conference Monday, Aug. 25, at the organization's headquarters in Mooresville, N.C., to make it official that Logano will drive the No. 20 Toyota full-time in the Sprint Cup Series beginning next season.

With that said, they're probably going to need a lot more shims under that boys gas pedal than just one!!!!

To be honest, is this any surprise?  The Home Depot wanted youth and potential.  JGR needed someone in the seat with the same potential as Stewart.  He might have more than Stewart had when he started, but that does remain to be seen, and see we will!!


The JGR Gas Pedal Magnet Craziness Continues

After getting caught with magnets / shims under the gas pedals of the No. 18 and 20 cars in the Nationwide series, Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) made the announcements that they will accept full responsibility and any sanctions levied towards them and will handle this situation internally, regardless of the other sanctions.

There's a lot of strong language coming out of the other shops to boot, and who can blame them?

The shims kept the gas pedals from being fully depressed.  One of the affects of that would be setting off false readings at the engine dyno tests that NASCAR conducts.

On SIRIUS Satellite show, The Front Stretch, some of the conjectures that I last heard while listening to the show was:
  • Teams know when the random dyno testing will occur because they can see the truck arrive at the track.
  • That the shims had to be added before the race because the cars are so closely watched after the race. 
  • There is no rhyme or reason that Logano or Stewart would have had anything to do with this.

More to come as it comes out.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway

Lapp 19:  Marcos Ambros was the first casualty as he blew up.

Lap 42:  While being out front, Dale Jr reports his water temp at 260.  Junk on his grill.  Temps down to 240 by lap 50 as Vickers passed him for the lead and he got up under his bumper to get the junk off the grill.

Lap 62:  The first green flag pit stops started with Ryan Newman taking the first sip of gas...  hmm.  He ain't gonna win the fuel mileage gambit today.  The No 22 and 41 cars make contact in the pits.

Lap 85:  Menard gets into Newman and Newman hits and spins Dave Blaney hard into the wall as he starts to float on two wheels.

Lap 90:  On lap 88, Smoke comes down on the 48 car, forcing him into the 24 car.  Tire smoke results from the contact on the 48 car, Johnson has to slow and pit.

Lap 92 sees the 24 losing a tire and into the wall.  More than likely the results of the contact with the 48 car.  Smoke takes out 2 of the Hendricks cars in one fell swoop.

Lap 135:  The No 9 car to the garage.

Lap 181:  Jr slides up into the wall after a restart.  Tore up his right side.

Lap 195:  Denny Hamlin smokes his car out and brings out a caution.

Nine different leaders, 19 lead changes, Seven cautions later and only 17 cars on the lead lap it was Carl Edwards capping off the weekend with his 2nd MI win for the weekend. 
He was followed across the line by Kyle Busch, David Ragan, Gerg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin.

Carl Edwards, who held off Busch on a restart with two laps remaining in the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway to claim his fifth Cup victory of the season and the 12th of his career. Having won the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, Edwards completed the weekend sweep and added 10 bonus points to his total for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

See the rest of the NASCAR write up at

Results | Points |

Magnets On The Pedals At JGR

My Question:
There's ingenuity, there's pushing the gray areas then there's trying to directly circumvent the tests conducted by NASCAR officials. So which one do you think is the stupidest option?

This week, it's the latter!

The Snag!
During Dyno tests conducted by NASCAR inspection teams, magnets were discovered on the gas pedals of the No 18 and 20 Toyotas from the Nationwide series. The magnets were placed in such a spot as to keep the gas pedal from being fully depressed, thus limiting the full output of the dyno tests that these little magnetic buggers were probably set up to fool.

The chassis dynamometer test measures rear-wheel horsepower and it's been administered several times this season.

Can ya guess what the outcome is of this discovery?

Well, being that these 2 cars have captured 13 wins in the last 25 Nationwide races, I'm thinking this wrist slap is going to hurt more than most, and rightly so.

As Jim Hunter of NASCAR put it:

"This was an attempt to interfere with NASCAR's post-race inspection process, and we are taking it very seriously"

My Disappointment with JGR
For me, this just takes me by surprise. I didn't think they needed to resort to this kind of deed.

I'm thinking they better double check Kyle's No 18 Cup ride while they're at it.

As it stands, penalties will be announced later next week.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Pushing Through Turn Three With No Drafting Partners

So what's up?

Now that Ryan Newman is officially going to Stewart-Haas Racing, will he team back up with Borland or get a new crew chief?  What sponsors does Tony have lined up for Newman?  It sounds like there will be multiple sponsors for the year, but that's starting to become a standard in the business.

So now, I have all the No 12 diecasts, from Ford to Dodge.  Now I'll be adding No 4 Chevy diecasts to my Ryan Newman collection.

Go Ryan, go!

Lineup for 3M Performance 400 presented by Bondo

Wow, who'd a thunk? Vickers might have! Brian Vickers has himself a pole for Sunday's race at Michigan.

1 83 Brian Vickers
2 48 Jimmie Johnson
3 19 Elliott Sadler
4 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5 24 Jeff Gordon
6 10 Patrick Carpentier*
7 44 David Reutimann
8 1 Regan Smith*
9 16 Greg Biffle

These are your top 10.
See the rest of the lineup at

Kansas: Give Me Gambling, Give Me A 2nd Cup Date

The president of International Speedway Corp., Lesa France Kennedy has said that she will ask NASCAR for a 2nd Sprint Cup date for Kansas Speedway if approval is granted to build a hotel and casino at the facility.

At the earliest, a second date would not happen until 2010, ebing that the 2009 schedule is near completion.

The Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board has been given the plans to consider and will be looking at them in late September. If they approve the opportunity, Kennedy will ask NASCAR for that second Cup date.

On the short end of the stick, Kennedy indicated that a 2nd race at Kansas would not add a race to the already insanely busy 36-race Cup schedule, but they will hose another community by taking a race from another ISC facility.  ISC has 12 other speedways that they can disappoint thousands of fans at when they do this.

I think if this happens, you'll see some interesting lawsuits from a municipality that loses one of the races.  If a race at Kansas means a $243 million impact on a community, that's a lot of community that is going to suffer when one of their races gets pulled.

The other tracks that ISC owns are

Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA:  A 2 mile track that seats 92,000
Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL: A 1.5 mile track that seats 75,000
Darlington Raceway in Darlington, SC: A 1.366 mile track that seats 63,000
Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL:  A 2.5 mile track that seats 168,000
Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, FL:  A 1.5 mile track that seats 65,000
Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, KS:  A 1.5 mile track that seats 81,687
Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA:  A .526 mile track that seats 65,000
Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI:  A 2 mile track that seats 137,243
Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, AZ:  A 1 mile track that seats 76,812
Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, VA:  A .75 mile track that seats 107,097
Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, AL:  A 2.66 mile track that seats 143,231
Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, NY:  A 2.45 mile track that seats 41,000


Brooklyn MI Weather for the Weekend

Saturday Sunday Monday
Partly Cloudy
81° F | 56° F
Chance of a Thunderstorm
85° F | 58° F

Partly Cloudy
83° F | 61° F
Partly Cloudy Chance of T-storms
20% chance of precipitation
Partly Cloudy

Drivers Standings -Cup Bubble Going Into Michigan

Have you noticed that isn't putting the 'Out of Contention' line in their standings anymore? Must have been too negative on the outsiders looking in.

Here's my table of what's up with the bubble to get into the Chase for the Cup contention.

Watkins Glen had it's affect on folks.

Tony is pulling away from the bubble spot, while Biffle and Kahne are creeping towards it. The big "race" to watch, Kenseth and Bowyer: 22 points apart, with Kenseth 'in' the chase and Bowyer snapping at his heels like an angry, hungry dog... Nah, Bowyer doesn't give me that feel... He's patiently trying to perform consistently to overtake Kenseth. OK, that's better.

Check out Hamlin and Biffle, all tied up.

Without any more banter, here's the numbers, as they look today:

1 -- Kyle Busch 3254 Leader 626
2 1 Carl Edwards 3012 -242 384
3 1 Jimmie Johnson 3010 -244 382
4 -2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2985 -269 357
5 -- Jeff Burton 2945 -309 317
6 -- Jeff Gordon 2754 -500 126
7 2 Tony Stewart 2744 -510 116
8 -1 Kasey Kahne 2713 -541 85
9 1 Denny Hamlin 2689 -565 61
10 -2 Greg Biffle 2689 -565 61
11 -- Kevin Harvick 2670 -584 42
12 1 Matt Kenseth 2628 -626 0
13 -1 Clint Bowyer 2606 -648 -22
14 -- David Ragan 2539 -715 -89
15 -- Ryan Newman 2424 -830 -204
16 1 Martin Truex Jr. 2419 -835 -209
17 -1 Brian Vickers 2418 -836 -210
18 -- Kurt Busch 2269 -985 -359
19 -- Jamie McMurray 2231 -1023 -397
20 1 Elliott Sadler 2159 -1095 -469
21 -1 Bobby Labonte 2121 -1133 -507