Monday, March 30, 2009

Harvick Wins Truck Race

Kevin Harvick got by the indomitable Kyle Busch for the lead with 10 laps to go Monday and held on to win the Kroger 250 Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.

Driving his own No. 2 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet, Harvick obtained his fourth career truck win in his 97th start in an event that had been postponed because of rain on Saturday.

"I was able to get to his bumper there and just kind of get him up about half a groove and got up under him." said Harvick, who ran the final 185 laps, including one extra lap because of a green-white-checkered-flag finish, on one tank of fuel.

Busch was subsequently penalized for a commitment line violation when he intentionally ran against the inside backstretch wall under caution in an attempt to straighten out a fender that was bashed in. Busch led a race-high 139 laps and finished 17th.

KHI's Ron Hornaday finished second, and Mike Skinner, Johnny Benson and polesitter Rick Crawford rounded out the top five.

The race had 13 cautions, the first on Lap 1.

After the fifth caution, Busch needed less than three laps to dispose of Jason White and take the lead on Lap 102. Busch held the spot until Harvick moved underneath him in the final laps.

Busch remained the series points leader over Todd Bodine, who finished 18th after being involved in two separate accidents, including one with two laps to go that forced the race to finish under caution.

Busch, who is running a partial schedule, won't compete in the series' next race, April 25 at Kansas Speedway.

Notes: Mike Bliss finished 15th in his 200th truck start. ... Ken Schrader finished 10th for his first top-10 since a fourth-place finish last year at Martinsville. ... James Buescher, who turned 19 last week, finished 11th, the highest finish among the six rookies in the race.

Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

Upcoming Nationwide Races

April 4 at Texas will kick off a string of six consecutive race weekends for the Nationwide series, this will be the longest running race string of the season thus far.
And all upcoming races will be on different types of tracks.

Following Texas, the last of three consecutive events, are races at the 1.33-mile concrete Nashville Superspeedway (April 11), the 1-mile Phoenix International Raceway (April 17), the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway (April 25), the .75-mile Richmond International Raceway (May 1) and the 1.366-mile Darlington Raceway (May 8).

The series' next break will come during the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race weekend.

Nice... NBaP likes the Natiowide events... it breaks up that long weekend wait until Cup Sunday (Or Saturday) and they're short and fun races!!

source: NASCAR

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Digger Cam - We Finally See It!

Ever since its inception, I've been wondering what the "Digger" cam looked like.

Check it out over at my new location, in the article titled This Is Fox's Digger Cam.

It's Clear and 70 AT Martinsville

It's time for some Cup Racing.
The trucks have been postponed until Monday.

To my newsletter readers...  oops.  You don't get my posts until the next day.
So my newsletter that came out Sunday morning said it was raining.

My bad.
It was an emotional post and I should have indicated it was Saturday, and it was the Trucks.

Hope I didn't throw anyone off.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's Raining At Martinsville

So much for DVD'ing the race to watch later!
It's pouring (or has) there on Saturday.
Does NBaP smell sick time coming up Monday?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Truck Series At Martinsville

Martinsville Speedway will host the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this weekend. After that, they take a break then head off to Kansas looking for Toto at the Kansas Speedway for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 on Saturday, April 25.

Defending race winner Ron Hornaday Jr. led 136 of 167 laps on his way to Victory Lane. He was also the first to win from the pole. NBaP kind of roots for Ron since we hail from the same region!

Fast Facts From Martinsville (Is there any such thing as a slow fact?)

The Race: Kroger 250
The Place: Martinsville Speedway
The Date: Sat., March 28, 2009
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
Race Distance: 250 laps / 131.5 miles
TV: FOX, 2:00 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM. Listen locally on WZBB-FM 99.9.
Track Layout: .526-mile oval
2008 Winner: Dennis Setzer
2008 Pole: Jack Sprague
Friday—Practice, 11-11:50 a.m.; 1:45 - 3:30 p.m.
Saturday—Qualifying, 9:10 a.m.

2009 Driver Standings Truck Series
Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 560
2 Todd Bodine 535
3 Mike Skinner 441
4 Ron Hornaday Jr. 436
5 Chad McCumbee 426
6 Matt Crafton 423
7 Terry Cook 413
8 TJ Bell 412
9 Timothy Peters 406
10 David Starr 384

Are There Any Takers At Martinsville?

Statistically, the Jimmie Johnson-Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports tandem is the clear favorite to outperform most others this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

But statistically, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin – are no slouches at the Virginia short track either.

Of the two, Earnhardt has scored top-10 finishes in three of the last four races there, and since the inception of Loop Data, ranks high in a number of key statistics.

Earnhardt has the 4th best Driver Rating of 102.4, and an Average Running Position of 10.4, which is also 4th on the list. But I'm not too worried about him this week. NBaP doesn't think he's got it together to conquer this track. At least not from the way things are looking lately.

Though Earnhardt has never won here, Martin has two Martinsville wins, but has finished out of the top 10 in his last three Martinsville races, with his last top five finish coming in the spring race of 2005.

Since 2005, he has a Driver Rating of 78.2, an Average Running Position of 17.0.

Stats say look out for Tony Stewart though.

Stewart has a Driver Rating of 113.7, and an Average Running Position of 7.4.

Stewart won in 2006, breaking up the win streek that Gordon and Johnson were buliding.

Actually, Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Rusty Wallace are the only other drivers to win since 2003.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bristol - Reflecting On Last Week

Bristol confuses me.

Before they repaved it into the banked mini-monster-superspeedway that it is today, it was relatively flat. Flat and harmful. It only had one groove and bumpers were the main course on this menu when looking to pass other drivers during the race.

By the end of the race, there was a lot of E-Bay sheet metal looking for buyers and nary a car came off the track not looking like... well, like it was at Bristol, or just came off a demolition derby.

But the reconfiguration has me stymied.

The first race I watched after the reconfiguration, I liked it.

Suddenly we had some racing where they could play with each other, side by side. Now the race finished in under 6 hours. That is awesome in and of itself. OK, NBaP is joking about the "under 6 hours" thing, but sometimes it felt like it.

I really don't mind not seeing a caution every 15 to 30 laps.

But the flare that WAS Bristol is gone.

No one came off the track pissed off. No one was called to the hauler. Most of the cars were only rumpled, and not crumpled.

WTH is that about?

It's still a cup race and all, but now, it looks like we only have Martinsville to give us the old style skill and bumper driving.

I wonder when they're going to bank the paperclip? I hope never.

Kyle Busch Still Has To Beat The Paperclip

Kyle Busch won last week at the mini-superspeedway called Bristol. He's now fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings. But Martinsville looms over him like Jason from Friday the 13th does over most of his victims.

Kyle Busch in the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota has had three top fives and four top 10s in eight Cup starts there.

NASCAR Loop Data statistics for Martinsville says Busch has an Average Running Position of 14.9, with his best finishes a pair of fourths in 2007.

He finished 38th there last spring and 29th last fall, both due to brake problems. They've done some testing over at Little Rock to "get our brakes squared away" and they believe they ahve fixed the problem.

THat's bad news for the rest of the field.

If he masters this place, and NBaP has no doubt he will, then we be headed for trouble.

Who Is Mr. Martinsville

So do you think is Mr Martinsville? Jimmy Johnson, the reigning three-time series champion or Jeff Gordon, the four-time series champion.

They both love the place and both have fond memories of the place.

NBaP thinks that they should have a 25 lap trophy dash with just those two on track. Hmm, maybe even mix in a little Kyle Busch and see who wrecks who!

But seriously, more than likely we'll see any of these three up front at Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500.

Gordon and Johnson have won the last 9 of 12 races here at Martinsville. I don't think we'll ever forget that finish in the spring of 2007. I mean how can we, we see it every week in ads.

They rank one-two in the NASCAR Loop Data category, Driver Ratings.
Johnson is ranked at 124.7.
Gordon is ranked at 124.0.

But Gordon leads all active drivers with seven wins and seven poles at Martinsville.

Do you dare hit the betting window on this one?

Media Voting on Truck Series Champ and Rookie

We the media have voted in the first-ever poll to predict who they thought would be the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and Raybestos Rookie of the Year.

The results are in.

The media, including NBaP, are claiming that Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 VFW/Longhorn Chevrolet) will be the champion come Homestead. Hornaday edged Todd Bodine (No. 30 Germain Toyota) in the poll.

Johnny Benson (No. 1 Red Horse Racing Toyota) isn’t predicted to grab a historic back-to-back championship as they have him slated to finish third.

Mike Skinner (No. 5 Bad Boy Mowers Toyota), Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards Chevrolet), Kyle Busch (No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts/NOS Energy Drink Toyota), Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral/International Engine Ford), Colin Braun (No. 6 Con-Way Freight Ford), Terry Cook (No. 25 Harris Trucking Toyota), and Chad McCumbee (No. 07 SS Green Light Racing Chevrolet) rounded out the top 10.

In the rookie corner, the media claim Rick Carmichael (No. 4 Oakley/Moster Energy Drink Chevrolet) will be the series’ Raybestos Rookie of the Year.

So say we all!

Kroger 250 Truck Race Look At Martinsville

Next Race: Kroger 250
The Place: Martinsville Speedway
The Date: Sat., March 28, 2009
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
Race Distance: 250 laps / 131.5 miles
TV: FOX, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM. Listen locally on WZBB-FM 99.9.
Track Layout: .526-mile oval
2008 Winner: Dennis Setzer
2008 Polesitter: Jack Sprague
Schedule: Friday—Practice, 11-11:50 a.m.; 1:45 - 3:30 p.m. Saturday—Qualifying, 9:10 a.m.
Track Contact: Mike Smith, (276) 956-7232 or

2009 Driver Standings
Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 560
2 Todd Bodine 535
3 Mike Skinner 441
4 Ron Hornaday Jr. 436
5 Chad McCumbee 426
6 Matt Crafton 423
7 Terry Cook 413
8 TJ Bell 412
9 Timothy Peters 406
10 David Starr 384

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Johnny Benson On The Outside, Looking In

Johnny Benson, the defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, sits 29 points out of the top 10 – a position he and everyone else did not figure to be in at the close of 2008.

Now, after three races, his next race to regain standings prominence is Martinsville – and the last time the series visited the short track, Benson won.

So optimism is high. Benson has been solid at Martinsville since the inception of Loop Data in 2005. In his last eight races there, Benson has a Driver Rating of 90.5, an Average Running Position of 12.8, 59 Fastest Laps Run and a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 66.8%.

But there’s a snag. David Starr, who is 10th in points, ranks above Benson in almost every key statistical category. Starr, who won at this race in 2006, has a Martinsville Driver Rating of 92.6, an Average Running Position of 12.6, 60 Fastest Laps Run, a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 65.7% and has been passed only 74 times in the last eight races, the fewest of any driver during that span.

Starr struggled during the last Martinsville race, finishing 33rd, but has finished in the top 10 in four of the last six Martinsville races.

NBaP likes both drivers, but I think we have to pull for the classic fave of Johnny Benson!

Kerry and Jeffrey Earnhardt join Rick Ware Racing

NASCAR Bits and Pieces (NBaP) see's that Kerry and Jeffrey Earnhardt have joined Rick Ware Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Kerry will debut April 4th at Texas Motor Speedway in the No 31 Chevrolet. His son Jeffrey, 19, is scheduled to make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut May 30 at Dover International Speedway.

Kerry is the son of seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt. Kerry has 70 career starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, with three top fives and six top-10 finishes. He competed full time in 2002, finishing 22nd in points. He last raced in the series in 2008.

Jeffery has raced in the NASCAR Camping World Series East where he was fifth in the standings as a rookie in 2007 and finished 15th last year. NASCAR Bits and Pieces hopes that Jeffery has some of that fire that Dale Sr. has!

Both father and son will be paired with former NASCAR champion crew chief Paul Andrews until they do battle at Atlanta Motor Speedway this fall. At that juncture, Clyde McCloud will serve as crew chief for the younger Earnhardt.

Atlanta also will highlight three Earnhardts in series competition. Jeffrey's uncle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., a two-time series champion, also is slated to compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race there.

Jeffrey will race a progressive schedule this year, running seven events from a 1-mile track to a 2-mile oval as he prepares for the 2010 season and a Raybestos Rookie of the Year campaign.

The Earnhardts will be driving in events when Stanton Barrett will be competing in IRL races. The No. 31 will be the organization's primary car and the No. 41 Chevrolet will be the second car for races in which Barrett, Tim Andrews, Travis Kittleson, Tim Brown (seven-time NASCAR Whelen Modified track champion) or Jeffrey compete.

NBaP hopes that Kerry can do something this time around. We've liked Kerry and have pulled for Kerry but it just hasn't panned out. The last time we saw Kerry race was at Irwindale in the Allstar Race and we watched him get lapped, and lapped and well, it was a bummer.

Good luck to all the Earnhardt's and BRING IT JEFFREY!!!

Truck Series Rookies

Though none of the eight Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates are in the top 10, four are showing veteran like promise.

J.R. Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick is 25 points outside the top 10 in 11th.
He has a Driver Rating of 77.4, an Average Running Position of 16.6, eight Fastest Laps Run and has 17 Laps Led, which is tops among rookies. He is also the only rookie to score a top-five finish this year – he finished fourth at Daytona.

Tayler Malsam
Malsam is 13th in points.
He has a Driver Rating of 75.7, an Average Running Position of 15.7 and a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 52.1%.

Prepare to be confused:

Though he's 19th in points, James Buescher has been the top rookie. He has the 12th-best Driver Rating (78.1), the 13th-best Average Running Position (15.1) and an 11th-best Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 62.1%.

Then there's Ricky Carmichael, who is making the transition from motocross.

Carmichael, 8th in points, has a Driver Rating of 77.5, an Average Running Position of 13.7, five Fastest Laps Run and a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 65.5%.

Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year Standings after three races of the 2009 season:
1. J.R. Fitzpatrick 33
2. Ricky Carmichael 30
3. Tayler Malsam 28
4. James Buescher 27
5. Johnny Sauter 24
6. Chase Austin 16
7. Brent Raymer 6
8. Chris Jones 5

source: nascar press release

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kenny Wallace Eyeing Top 5 In NNS

It may be the same old thing for some of the top 10 drivers in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings like Carl Edwards (No. 60 Scott�s/Save-A-Lot Ford) leading for the second straight week and into the series' next race at Texas.

But there are some new top 10 drivers who haven't been there in awhile.

Kenny Wallace (No. 28 U.S. Border Patrol Chevrolet) hasn't been in the top 10 since 2006. Currently, he's ninth. It's also the first time Jay Robinson Racing has had a driver crack the top 10 in its 10-year history.

Go Kenny!!! NBaP is rooting for you!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Skinner In Good Position After Abrupt Start

Following a bumpy 2008 season, 2009 is quite different for Mike Skinner (No. 5 EXIDE Batteries Toyota). Up until late January, Skinner wasn’t even sure if he was going to have a ride this season. Now he finds himself sitting third in points with the support of his new Randy Moss Motorsports team.

Before the team could even start the season, a lot had to be done in a small period of time including a switch to Toyota.

“My team found out I was going to drive for them two-and-a-half weeks before the season started,” Skinner said. “They had to change manufacturers, get Daytona trucks ready and get California trucks ready in a short amount of time.”

“My team did a fantastic job of getting everything done and giving me a fast, competitive truck to drive in the first three races of this season. It says a lot about Eric (Phillips, crew chief), David (Dollar, co-owner), Randy (Moss, co-owner) and all of these guys. I couldn’t be more excited. You can get up in the morning and dread going to the race track or you can get up and be excited to go to the race track. I’m definitely excited to head to the race track each week"

That, is what makes a champion. That is perseverance. Dedication. Now, we see how they make it work and if lady luck will smile on them or not!

source: nascar media center.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Let The Juniors Joke

Guest Column By Cathy Elliott

Just five races into the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and we're already discussing the interpersonal skills of the two juniors, Dale Earnhardt and his crew chief, Tony Eury.

I suppose the most recent springboard for this topic came at Atlanta, when Junior commented to Eury on the radio that if his wheel came off as the result of a mistake earlier in the race, he was going to take a hammer to the head of every member of his pit crew. It was one of those funny comments, like "Point that finger at me one more time and I'll bite it off," that in some societies are known as ... jokes.

This in turn set off the inevitable flurry of remarks from the millions of armchair and barstool NASCAR experts out there, who really want to believe that all that's holding Junior back from regular visits to Victory Lane is the seemingly contentious relationship between the driver and his crew chief. If Eury doesn't have the ability to settle his driver down during a race, they ask, how can he possibly guide Junior to a win?

This seems ridiculous to me. I'm far from a mechanical expert -- I just learned how to spell carburetor last year -- but if memory serves, Junior made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2008 and won one race more than four-time champion Jeff Gordon did. Are we really so ready to throw in the towel because his season has gotten off to somewhat of a bumpy beginning? Is finger-pointing ever the answer to anything?

And perhaps most importantly, when did we lose our collective sense of humor?

In the excellent but mostly depressing movie "Gran Torino," there's a memorable scene where Clint Eastwood's character, along with a friend from the neighborhood barbershop, attempts to teach a young boy "how men talk to each other."

I can't go into too much detail, because the movie is rated R and this column is not. But when I tell you the scene included a few hand gestures that could be described as "suggestive" and more than a few words that could be described as "profane," you probably get the picture. And the soundtrack.

In essence, this scene was a more adult version of the name-calling contests most of us engaged in with our siblings as kids. Strangely, verbal missiles like "scab eater" and "cheese breath," which merited a good stern talking-to from Mom back in the 1970s, don't seem to pack the same punch they had back then.

But no matter. The point is that we interact differently with our friends and family members than we do with casual acquaintances or strangers. Little girls might hug one another on the playground, while their male counterparts are more likely to playfully shove one another around. This isn't intended as a gender-biased observation. It's just that in my own personal experience, these are often the patterns we follow when we communicate.

So if I told my brother I was going to whack him upside the head with a hammer, it would be an expression of affection. But if I said the same thing to the guy who owns the insurance agency around the corner, it would constitute a threat, and likely would involve the cops. It's all about the context.

When you think about it, NASCAR gives fans a wonderful and largely unprecedented gift by allowing us the ability to monitor our drivers' radio frequencies during races. Do we really want our teams to resort to communicating by way of some type of encrypted signals that we are unable to access?

All that would accomplish is to turn NASCAR crew chiefs into some version of football coaches, hiding their faces behind those silly clipboards. That's a bleak prospect, indeed.

Perhaps instead of using what we hear as the basis for trying to get guys fired based on our opinions of their communication skills, we should adopt a policy of keeping our own mouths shut about what comes out of theirs. Sanctioned eavesdropping isn't all that common, you know. One man's belligerence may well be another man's banter. "Sweetheart" and "scab eater" could be interchangeable, according to the speaker and the circumstances.

We need to take off the headsets if we can't take a joke.

source: nascar press

Shell Gasoline Ad with Kevin Harvick

My Tight in Turn Two buddy, Charlie Turner got his hands on the new shell ad with Kevin Harvick!

Go on over and say hi to Charlie for me! Bump Linkin with Kevin Harvick.

While you're at it, check out my new site at NASCAR Bits and

Thursday, March 19, 2009

NASCAR, Our Country And Our Flag

Today, I thought I'd share an [edited] email I received from a reader who made an observation about a specific part of the pre-race ceremonies that we watch on television:

Hi Bruce

I just want to say something that should be evident to all that love our Country and Flag.

This scene is weekly and does not specifically point to any one person. But to illustrate my example, the other week at Atlanta, Jeff Gordon was standing next to a two star General while the Star Spangled Banner and the Flag was being honored . The General was saluting and Jeff was in a complete DAZE , looking disgusted and with his hands to his side. I am a retired disabled Veteran and I find this scene to be so disgusting I can hardly hold my composure. I would consider Jeff Gordon a nincompoop or a disrespectful idiot to not Honor our Flag or anyone else in NASCAR for that matter, standing around ignoring the most respectable symbol we have in our Country.

Enough said. I hope you can let someone in NASCAR know exactly how I and many, many more feel about this unsightly scene.

Thank you
Louis A. S., Tsgt USAF Retired

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and observations on this issue Louis. 

I've seen what you say quite a few times with different drivers and I think they've gotten too comfortable with the process at the beginning of an event.  Yet I don't care how many times they have to do this, this is where they set an example for others, or set their own image as they show their respect for our nations flag.

Get on the ball guys, we and all of America are watching.  Set an example.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The 3's of Nationwide - Can We Make it Four?

So we all know I've been a respectful fan of the No. 3. It's a number set for eternity in many a fans mind, no matter what anyone else does with it. But here's a twist of the No. 3 from the Nationwide Series:

After three races, there have been three different winners:
  1. Tony Stewart at Daytona;
  2. Kyle Busch at Auto Club Speedway;
  3. Greg Biffle at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

We've had three different pole winners:
  1. Kevin Harvick at Daytona;
  2. Carl Edwards at ACS and;
  3. Scott Speed at Las Vegas.

We've had three different point leaders in the series:
  1. Stewart after Daytona,
  2. Busch after California and currently
  3. Edwards after Las Vegas.
It's the first time Edwards has led the standings since his 2007 title.

Finally, there have been three different owner standings leaders:
  1. The No. 80 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet after Daytona;
  2. the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet following ACS and the current leader
  3. the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.

I hope their next race doesn't make this all 4's. I ain't got nothin' for ya if that happens.

- Bruce

source: NASCAR press release

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Doing Good Does No Good

Let's just start out from where I'm coming from:

Jimmy Watts, the crew member for the No. 47 team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series who went tire chasing across the infield last Sunday, has been suspended from the next four Cup races, or until April 22.  (Which ever comes first!  I really hope you know that's a joke.)

Obviously it's for rule violations during last Sunday's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway as he violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing*) and 9-15-U (crew members must not go on the race track for any reason while the cars are racing or while the cars are running under the yellow flag or the red flag, unless otherwise directed to do so by a NASCAR official). Watts has also been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
*It only would have been detrimental to Jimmy if he got hit!

Here's the sucker punch:  His crew chief, Frank Kerr, has been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31 for violating Sections 12-1 and 9-4-A (crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of the team).


So I get (I'm presuming here) where Jimmy was coming from.  He was truly worried about the tire causing issues.  Maybe he was having flashbacks to many many years ago when a flying tire killed someone at Indianapolis Speedway.  There have been more instances than I care to ponder, from flying tires.

1987:  A loose wheel was hit and flew into the stands of the Indianapolis Speedway, killing Lyle G. Kurtenbach, who was sitting in the top row of grandstand K.  I remember that one... and it was not pretty because the tire continued it's flight behind the stands.
1998:  3 dead at the U.S. 500
1999:  3 dead at the Visionaire 500

So in retrospect, maybe Watts should have been given a warning instead.  More than likely, nothing would have happened, and then again, maybe he was thinking if he went and got the tire, no penalty would be brought forth because of it.  Hard to say, but ouch.

No good deed goes unpunished people.

Next time, yell out a heads up, and duck Jimmy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kurt, Not Kyle Busch Has A Perfect Day

With Kurt Busch's dominance in the KOBALT Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, his performance scored him a perfect Driver Rating of 150.0 for the day.

This is Busch's fourth perfect Driver Rating since Loop Data statistics started to be collected in 2005. He's also the only driver to have more than one "perfect" day.

During Sunday's Atlanta race, Busch had
  • Laps Led (234),
  • Average Running Position (1.5) and
  • Fastest Laps Run (81).
Busch's other perfect Driver Ratings were in his Pocono Raceway wins in 2005 and 2007 and at Phoenix International Raceway in 2005.

The other "perfect" ratings in the Cup Series since 2005 were
  • Tony Stewart 8/14/05 Watkins Glen
  • Kevin Harvick 11/12/06 Phoenix
  • Clint Bowyer 9/16/07 New Hampshire
  • Jimmie Johnson 8/31/08 Auto Club
So in your eyes, though Kurt Busch put in quite the performance, do you agree that he had a perfect day? That is, aside from his painting the wall a few times with Miller blue?

Dale Jr's Ex On TV?

This is a snapshot of Dale Earnhardt's ex-girlfriend, Kortnie Coles, who is now in a reality show and at her first opportunity had to share her "experience" with the audience of being his ex.

If you want to read more about her latest endeavor, check out my entertainment blog, Cinema Static.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Atlanta Motor Speedway Truck Series Bits

The Race: American Commercial Lines 200
The Place: Atlanta Motor Speedway
The Date: Sat., March 7, 2009
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
Race Distance: 200.2 miles / 130 laps
TV: SPEED, 1:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM. Listen locally on WEKS-FM 92.5
Track Layout: 1.54-Mile oval
2008 Winner: Kyle Busch
2008 Pole: Ron Hornaday, Jr.
Friday: Practice 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.; 1:30 - 2:50 p.m.;
Saturday: Qualifying, 9:35 a.m.

source: nascar press release

The Truck Series at Atlanta

Did you know that Billy Ballew, the owner of the No. 15 and No. 51 Toyota trucks, has a condominium at Atlanta Motor Speedway? He's had it since 1994 and it has been the party house after his victories over the last two years with driver Kyle Busch.

That would be a blast to own a condo at a track! Few neighbors, great views and a few times a year, your condo association treats you to NASCAR races as part of the association dues! Can you imagine pulling your chair up to your window and watching it all, while you have the TV or the radio on in the background? Too cool.


Did you know that Rick Crawford will be making his 300th career start in the Truck Series on Saturday night. This will make him the series' start leader.

Crawford has also spent all of his 13 seasons with Mitchell and Circle Bar Racing. Now that's like a flashback to the days before musical chairs with the contracts kicked in! Crawford has five wins, 72 top fives, 150 top 10s, and five poles.

“As I look back, I think I’m proudest of the fact that I’ve reached 300 with one owner and one manufacturer,” Crawford said. “Mr. Mitchell and I have one of the longest driver-owner relationships in the sport. He’s much more than an owner to me, he’s made me part of his family and I could not be here without him.”


Todd Bodine (No. 30 Germain Toyota) and Kyle Busch are off to identical starts compared to last year. They're one-two in point standings, respectively.

Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards Chevrolet) is third while Timothy Peters (No. 17 Toyota) makes his debut in the top 10 in the standings. Peters and his Premier Racing team have collected top-10 finishes in the season’s first two races.

Also new to the top 10 are T.J. Bell (No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota) and rookie-of-the-year contender J.R. Fitzpatrick (No. 7 Mammoet Chevrolet). After an 11th-place finish at Daytona and a fifth at Auto Club Speedway, Bell sits sixth in the standings.


This is Matt Crafton's favorite track because of the ability to run 2 and three wide. He realizes handling is pretty important here because the tires wear out quickly.. so keep your eyes on Matt and see if he takes advantage of this unique comfort zone of enjoying the venue he's racing on!


Wonding how the rookies are doing? Check out the NASCAR Raybestos Rookie Contender standings after two races of the 2009 season:

1. J.R. Fitzpatrick 26
2. Ricky Carmichael 22
3. Tayler Malsam 17
4. James Buescher 17
5. Chase Austin 16
6. Johnny Sauter 15


Kyle Busch at Atlanta in the Truck Series:
In the last four races, Kyle Busch owns series-high statistics in
Driver Rating (131.2),
Average Running Position (3.4) and
Laps in the Top 15 percentage (97.9%).

He's also posted 84 Fastest Laps Run.

Busch’s prime competition this weekend is expected to be Todd Bodine and Ron Hornaday Jr. – both past winners at Atlanta.


A Quick Question About the Vegas Race

Food for thought:

I'm on the bubble about this one though I'm leaning towards the drivers being responsible since they are the consummate professionals, but who's to blame for all the speeding penalties at Vegas last week?

  1. NASCAR for limiting track practice, aside from the race weekend?
  2. Vegas for moving that cursed limit line?
  3. Or the drivers? Shouldn't they have made the appropriate mental adjustments and played it according the the changing playing field? IE: moving line?
There were an awful lot of foul ups last weekend and I sure was surprised, with Jeff Gordon paying a pretty hefty price for his snafu.

As far as track practice goes, wow, I think it's affecting Jr., but then again, it could be something else.

Any thoughts on any of these issues? Anyone? Someone?

Notable Driver Stats at the Kobalt 500

Career milestones this week at Atlanta include:

  • Bobby Labonte will be making his 550th start in the Cup Series.
  • Jeff Gordon is looking to add to his 20,006 career laps led total — currently seventh on the all-time list.
  • Clint Bowyer has the active "running at the finish record" (76) — second on the all-time list. His last DNF was at Phoenix in November, 2006.

News and Notes for the Upcoming Atlanta Race

Let's take a look at a few things that might be eye catchers at the track!

Georgia natives at the track this weekend: David Ragan (Unadilla) – No. 6 driver
Reed Sorenson (Peachtree City) – No. 43 driver
Brian Taylor (Cuthbert) – No. 14 mechanic
Shannon Keys (Byron) – No. 8 front tire carrier
Adam North (Sonoraville) – No. 31 jack man
Dion Williams (Atlanta) – No. 5 rear tire carrier
Dwayne Moore (Griffin) – No. 55 rear tire carrier
Jason Jones (Rhine) – No. 5 pit support
Matt Skeen (Stone Mountain) – No. 88 pit support

Atlanta Motor Speedway is in its 50th season of hosting NASCAR events and Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 will be the 100th race in the series.

Michael Waltrip Racing Is In Our Face!
The biggest surprise of the season, though it's only been a couple of races, is that both Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota teams are in the top 12.

David Reutimann comes to Atlanta 5th in the standings while Michael Waltrip is 12th.

Michael has also made a promise to all of us out here in the land of fans: He said that if his results do not improve this year, he would retire at season's end!

Do You Think You'd Ever See the No 20 Toyota 32nd in Points?
There are only two races to go before the weekly 35 guaranteed starting spots will be based on this season's car owner points and for some, there are a few surprises sitting out there.

The No. 20 Toyota driven by Joey Logano is 32nd.
The No. 39 Chevrolet driven by Ryan Newman is 33rd.
The No. 5 Chevrolet driven by Mark Martin is 34th.

I'm not sure which one I'm surprised more by! Probably the Mark Martin bit.

Source: NASCAR Media,
(Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images)

Fast Facts For Atlanta, NASCAR Cup Series

The Race: KOBALT Tools 500
The Date: Sunday, March 8
The Place: Atlanta Motor Speedway; 1.54-mile tri-oval
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
The Distance: 325 laps/500.5 miles
TV: FOX , 1:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN and Sirius Satellite; (Local PRN affiliate WEKS-FM 92.5)
2008 Polesitter: Jeff Gordon
2008 Winner: Kyle Busch
Schedule: (All times local ET)
Friday—Practice, 3-4:30 p.m.;
Qualifying, 6:45 p.m.
Saturday—Practice, 11-11:45 a.m.;
Final Practice, 12:20-1:20 p.m.


Imagine Kyle Busch As Your Best Man?

For some, Kyle Busch is 'Da Man of today. For others, he's 'Da best man for the day!

Check out fans Damon and Heather Landry getting married at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with Kyle Busch looking on as the Best Man... now would that not be cool? Not to mention that awesome wedding picture backdrop!

Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)