Monday, April 30, 2012

FOX Let's The Debris Black Helicopters Continue To Circle

Last Saturday night's Richmond race was pretty interesting as fates of drivers changed hands quickly during the different late-race cautions.

But one in particular, was when Tony Stewart was trouncing the field in his clean air and looking like the race was his to lose.

That is, until the debris caution.

Now maybe I looked away and maybe they just didn't cover it, but I don't remember seeing on the TV coverage from Fox, the debris.  Tony Stewart's been quoted in grumbling about the debris being a plastic water bottle.  But he had additional issues when his pit crew flubbed it up a bit too.

But others saw a piece of sheet metal being picked up, so maybe Tony was focused on the wrong thing.

Regardless, Dave Moody said he saw the metallic debris getting picked up and that is wasn't a water bottle.  He added during his Sirius XM NASCAR broadcast that drivers constantly toss out water bottles after leaving pit road and the they usually drift down the embankment towards the inside wall.  And we don't see cautions for those.

So be it as it may, while fans are getting in a tizzy about the mystery caution, it seems the Fox dropped the ball again on covering the debris.


Because fans get suspicious when yellow flags come out at wonderfully opportune times to gather up the field and they need to be soothed.  At least the logical ones do.

In jest, some were suggesting that the track man who picks up the debris should hold it up and pose with it until the TV coverage catches it.  I say put a helmet cam on the man, or make him tweet a picture of what he picks up.

Either way would be good evidence that would circumvent telecast oversights.

Carl Edwards Restart Gate, The Newest Drama in NASCAR

During the Richmond race last Saturday night, those last 50 laps or so saw fortunes come and go, but none so much as the Carl Edwards snafu that took place when he took off too early on the green flag.

But did he goof or get overtly over aggressive?  Depending on who you read, different names/numbers were on the leader board in the infield.

It seems at one point, the infield leader board showed Carl Edwards as the leader, and when the race restarted on lap 319, Edwards took that to heart.

But then later Tony Stewart said that after the caution, they were the first to line up after the pit stops that were under caution and when he looked, saw that he was the leader on the board.

Oh, that pesky board.

Looking around the web (Twitter, Facebook and the myriad of hundreds of other social platforms), here's what bits I caught:

At one point, the leader board did seem to show Edwards leading.  A few folk relayed that message around to the team members.  (Yet I'm thinking, if you know you pulled out of the pits 2nd, why aren't you thinking this one through?)

But then what I heard was that while the cars were scuffing/warming up the tires under caution, Edwards car pulled a bit in front of Stewart's car and the leader board, being live apparently, registered this change, and some folks had bad timing when they looked up to see who was supposed to be where.

We've seen that a million times, the pair of lines of cars coming down the track, the cars swerving madly (so it looks) left and right to get the rubber schmootz off the tires, getting ready for the restart.  Right?

And when they do that, either line can incidentally scoot out in front of the other one for just a second or two.  No one is worried about places during this phase of the lap, because it's under caution.  The critical time of the race is when the flag flies.  Then you need to be in the right spot on the track.

So it was bad timing when then Edwards team members and Carl, looked up to see where they were at.


The other issue was that Carl "started" the race way too early, before the approved acceleration or start line zone on the track where the competitors in the front row can put the pedal to the metal.  Yea, he left a wee bit too early.

With that said, another mistake that could be a costly one, come this November, if Carl Edwards is contending once again.  This could be the one moment he looks back and kicks himself.  Or, like last season, pick one!  Any one moment last season, had he inched out one more position in any of the races last year would have captured him the championship.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bruton Is Scraping Down The Outside Line of Bristol

Today (4/25/12) Bruton Smith had announced what they're doing to Bristol's track surface.  The kludge being applied to the mini-superspeedway will be focused on the outside line in the corners.

-Bruton Smith, in a radio press conference noted that the cars coming off the outside line had an advantage in the last event held there and from what he described, he wants to remove that advantage.  To do that, he's going to take off some of the angle in the top groove of this progressive banked track in the corners so that the cars that end up there don't have more banking than the cars in the middle or lower grooves.

By removing the "advantage" that, in Smith's eyes, will "mix it up."

This change is a result of a survey that Bruton Smith gave fans, and the fans said they wanted more bumper to bumper racing.  But their own survey indicated that around 40% of the survey takers wanted change, so change it is!  The minority has spoken.

But even so, Smith indicates that ticket sales have increased, (tripled) since they announced a change will be made to the track.  I wonder how large a number that is... is that the now sold 3 versus 1 ticket?  Snark!

His tackling the track surface like this is in response to what he (Smith) believes are that fans want more wrecks.  So he's catering to them.  I'm sure the hard core fan is aghast to that premise.  Hell, if he wants to give that demographic of fans more wrecks, why not install a figure-8 track in the middle of the place?  Everyone will have a great seat for that one!!!

But despite the long-term, hard-core fan not liking the idea of wrecks, other fans, the casual fans, light up and enjoy them.  I've been in sports bars and when NASCAR comes on one of the tubes and they show wrecks, the crowd gets animated.

And that kind of attention from the casual fan is hard to ignore because of the potential of numbers that the casual fan can represent.  At the end of the day, the dollar is the bottom line, no matte what hard-core, long-time fans may worry about.


So applying this kludge is going to eliminate the third, outside lane of racing, forcing racers to use the inside or middle lines.

We'll see how that goes.

This change will put you in one of two groups.  Those who like it and those who don't.  But once Smith jumped the shark with the 2007 change, the original track was lost forever, and so too, the spirit of the races at Bristol.  Bruton is NOT bringing back the old configuration.  He's adapting the newest or best approach he thinks will work.  Before we condemn him, remember, he does have a knack for finding what works and making it happen.

Well see how things pan out at the next event at the bullring.


I Can't Take D-Shaped Tracks or Daryl On TV Any More!

Well, after ten plus solid years of never missing and watching each televised NASCAR race in its entirety, Daryl Waltrip won and for the first time in eleven years, I did not watch the entire race, as televised, from Texas or Kansas.  And there were a few factors that contributed to this slip.

D-Shaped Tracks Can't Be Good for TV Ratings
Cookie cutter mile and a half (or mid to large sized D-shaped tracks) can be quite the challenge to the viewer as you watch the race start and then the teams stretch out around the circuit.  There's only so much you can do with a D-shaped track and when there are so many of them in the season, well, it gets old.  No matter how much they pitch that track surface characteristics are different.  (And it's true.  Track surfaces in different climes can become different beasts.  But to the TV viewer, that's just word-smithing that more than likely falls on deaf ears.)
And the most shocking thing I did was that during Texas, I tuned in, watched the start.  And then I rented a movie.  When the movie ended, I still had plenty of time and racing action to get my NASCAR fix.  Kansas is interesting but in the end, it too provides a D-shaped racing experience.  Though I have to admit, a few of those restarts definitely got me on the edge of my seat.
Sorry gang, but that's how it is.  I make points with my wife, don't get too bored with the racing show, and still can keep up with the sport.  If the races were shorter I'd have a better reason to stick around.  But even though this is a sport about endurance and skill, I get the length of each event.  But fans, I think, need more to have an anticipation for.
And Then There's Daryl Waltrip
Daryl Waltrip has won.  His presentation of what information he has is getting distracting at best for this viewer.
I think I started anti-focusing on Daryl back during the Daytona race this year.  I remember his statement about the fuel truck when it was on fire...  He more or less said that (while it was burning) someone should get in the truck and drive it off the track to prevent further damage from occurring to the track surface.  ...crickets.
Since then I've been a bit focused on what he says and I have to say, he seems to come up with some gems during each race.
I like to think I respect the experience of a driver whose behind the microphone, but I'm coming to realize that I'd rather appreciate the skills from a driver whose driven one of the cars from this era.  Right now, all Daryl has to offer is an opinion on a generic mindset of racers and some incredible historical perspectives.  Aside from that, I've seen more often than not his in-race predictions pander out a lot.  It's not his fault, but you'd think someone would direct him better.
Maybe it's just me, but he's become distracting
And as I look at that, I have to wonder who Fox is trying to appeal to with the cast of characters they've been presenting NASCAR with.  Sure, it's their roots, but isn't that demographic already sold on the sport?  And maybe that's working for Fox.  Who knows.

Monday, April 23, 2012

NASCAR on 'Top Gear'

Top Gear visited NASCAR recently and plans on airing the results from their visit on their episode that's airing on April 30th.

In the episode, Top Gear will touch on the history of the sport while also spending time chatting with Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya.

The show spent time at the recent event at Texas Motor Speedway.


Top Gear comes from the BBC and focuses on different, unique and entertaining aspects of motor vehicles.  In one episode, they alloted the hosts very little money to buy a junker, then drive it a specified distance.

But then on the other end of the spectrum, they get to also test out some of the snazzier sports cars out there.  It's pretty interesting with the cut and dry British humor you'll find laced throughout the show.

It could be very interesting to check out, that's for sure.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

'Samsung Mobile 500' NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule + A Short Stack of Stats

This weekend sees NASCAR landing at Texas Motor Speedway for the Samsung Mobile 500.

Everything is in tact and no race haulers are going to get sucked up in to Dorothy's twister, but then again, the Dallas/Fort Worth region is one of the most fickle weather regions I've ever been delayed in at the airport!

If you're looking for TV times for the Sprint Cup Series, here you go:

NASCAR TV Schedule (All times ET)

Thursday, 4-12:
The first practice takes place at 5:30 PM, but it is not televised.

Friday, 4-13:
2nd Practice 3 PM, on Speed
Qualifying at 6:30 PM, on Speed

Saturday, 4-14:
Samsung Mobile 500 at 7 PM on FOX.


Quickie Stats...

No one driver has dominated the win column at Texas, though in 2010 Denny Hamlin swept both races.  But other than than, the winners have been variable, at best:

11/6/2011                  Tony Stewart
4/9/2011                    Matt Kenseth
11/7/2010                  Denny Hamlin
4/19/2010                  Denny Hamlin
11/8/2009                  Kurt Busch
4/5/2009                    Jeff Gordon
11/2/2008                  Carl Edwards


Carl Edwards is a three-time winner at the track over a longer period of time.


Amongst the noted winners though, Matt Kenseth has the best... wait for it... "track record" (dOh!) with an average finish of 6th.  Denny Hamlin & Jimmie Johnson follows Matt with an average finishing spot of 10th.  Tony Stewart: 12th.  Mart Martin - 13th.

Of this group, Tony Stewart has led the most laps competed in, leading 15% of them, followed by Greg Biffle (14%), Matt Kenseth (13%) and so forth.  Maybe this year, Biffle closes the door brings it home!

(Above stats from Loop Data)


NASCAR-Bits-and-Pieces: on Twitter & Facebook .
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

David Ragan Fans Can Watch Him Race at Texas

If you're a David Ragan fan, you should be happy to know that David will be driving the #27 GC Motorsports International entry in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at the Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX on Friday night, April 13th, 2012.

GC Motorsports International is the new name of Go Canada Racing which was launched on April 19th, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  GCMI will be competing in the Nationwide Series in 2012 as car #27.

Heads up: Tony Stewart to Visit The White House

via press release:

Three-time and reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart will be honored by President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday, April 17 @ 4:20 p.m.  EDT. The event also will include NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and each member of the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field.

This event will be livestreamed at if you're interested in checking it out.


2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominees Announced

With the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominations announced, I see some obvious choices, in my mind, that are shoe-ins.  Whether they get in this year or subsequent years, well, that remains to be seen.  But I can't imagine anyone on the list below NOT getting in at some point in time.

Rick Hendrick needs to be in the HoF... Rusty Wallace, Leonard Wood... Benny Parsons...  but to be honest, out of this group, it's going to be hard to weed out the five inductees to admit to the HoF.  (Which makes this process just as exciting for many years to come, if you think about it.)

via press release:

2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominees Announced

NASCAR Trailblazer Wendell Scott, NASCAR Matriarch France Among The 25 Eligible


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 11, 2012) – Determination and innovation, two qualities existing in abundance in the men and women who built NASCAR, characterize the 25 nominees for the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class.


NASCAR today announced those 25 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame's fourth induction class, and included among the diverse group are five newcomers who make this list arguably the most intriguing in the hall's history.


Of the 25 nominees, 20 return from last year's group. Five are first-timers, and all vary in expertise: NASCAR's first treasurer and secretary Anne Bledsoe France, engine builder and owner Ray Fox, trailblazing driver Wendell Scott, promoter and sponsor executive Ralph Seagraves and driver champion Rusty Wallace. Of those new five, two represent 'firsts' for the hall: Scott the first African-American nominee; France the first female nominee.


From that list, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.COM. Voting Day for the 2013 class will be May 23, and once again, fans can attend the announcement live at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.


This round of nominees was selected by a 21-person nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks. The committee's votes were tabulated by accounting firm Ernst & Young.


The NHOF's 2013 inductees will be determined by the Voting Panel, which includes the entire Nominating Committee, media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs) and recognized industry leaders. In addition, the fan vote will result in the Voting Panel's final ballot. Fan voting on NASCAR.COM opens today, April 11, and closes May 16 at midnight.


Following are the 25 nominees, listed alphabetically:


Buck Baker, first driver to win consecutive NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series titles (1956-57)

Red Byron, first NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion, in 1949

Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series

Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion

H. Clay Earles, founder of Martinsville Speedway

Tim Flock, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion

Ray Fox, legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others

Anne Bledsoe France, helped build the sport with husband Bill France Sr. Affectionately known as "Annie B.," she is the first woman to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Rick Hendrick, 13-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series

Jack Ingram, two-time NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) Series champion and three-time Late Model Sportsman champion

Bobby Isaac, 1970 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion

Fred Lorenzen, 26 wins and winner of the Daytona 500 and World 600

Cotton Owens, driver-owner, won 1966 owner championship with David Pearson

Raymond Parks, NASCAR's first champion car owner

Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion

Les Richter, former NASCAR executive; former president of Riverside International Raceway

Fireball Roberts, 33 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series wins, including the 1962 Daytona 500

T. Wayne Robertson, helped raise NASCAR popularity as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company senior VP

Wendell Scott, NASCAR trailblazer was the first African-American NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series race winner, and first to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Ralph Seagraves, formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Herb Thomas, first two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion, 1951, '53

Curtis Turner, early personality, called the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing"

Rusty Wallace, 1989 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion

Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion

Leonard Wood, part-owner and former crew chief for Wood Brothers, revolutionized pit stops

Detailed information about the 25 nominees is available at NASCAR.COM and, NASCAR's media-only website.

The 21-person Nominating Committee follows...



NASCAR Hall of Fame: Executive Director Winston Kelley; Historian Buz McKim.

NASCAR Officials: Chairman/CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Jim France; Senior Vice President Paul Brooks; President Mike Helton; Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton; Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell; Competition Administrator Jerry Cook; former Vice President Ken Clapp.

Track Owners/Operators: International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa Kennedy; Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell; Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage; Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark; former Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George; Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn; Pocono Raceway board of director member Looie McNally; Bowman Gray Stadium operator Dale Pinilis; Riverhead Raceway operators Jim and Barbara Cromarty (1 vote); former Toyota Speedway at Irwindale operator Jim Williams; Rockford Speedway owner Jody Deery.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

NASCAR'S Now Streaming, But Why Isn't It Part of The Free Preview?

One of the better developments these days is that all of NASCAR's content from SiriusXM, Channel 90, is streaming to your nearest PC and mobile devices.

That in itself is a great achievement now that NASCAR was free of whatever contractual restrictions kept it off the wire for so long.  Though with every rose, there is a thorn!

If you already pay your basic subscription rate, well, some thought that the streaming would come with it, but that's not the case.  As it's not the case for other popular venues on the satellite provider either.

Paying your base subscription rate does not allow you access to anything else, unless you pay extra for it.  Such is the way these days.

A Side Note

I remember when cable TV started breaking out the different channels into tiers.  Where I lived, they sent out a survey and a year later, the channels we all said we loved became extra-fee programming tiers.  Not sure how that helped them serve us better, but ever since, I've always been leery of surveys.  LOL.

But what sparked this small tirade is that SiriusXM is having a free month of streaming as a preview, until May 6th, of certain sports networks...   But I see no NASCAR content in that preview.  They have IZOD IndyCar Series.  They have NHL and NBA content.  PGA, MLB, Oprah and Public Radio... but no NASCAR.


I would think this would have been the perfect time to have NASCAR be a part of this or some other content special.  It just went public with live streaming and folks like this fan, are pondering the idea of picking up the streaming service...  even if it adds to my base rate.

We're just getting into the racing season...  we want to hear it, and getting teased now would be perfect for the rest of the season.  And I would think a late-season preview may not cut it, unless they're planning on something just before NASCAR Chase season-closing set of races.

But for now, I wonder where, oh where, is that free trial to tempt us to sign up so SiriusXM can sink their teeth just a tiny bit farther into my wallet.  I'm near willing and a free preview would have cinched it for me!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

NASCAR To Announce 25 Nominees For 2013 NASCAR Hall of Name Class

via press release

NASCAR will unveil the 25 nominees for the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class on Wednesday, April 11 at 6 p.m. during SPEED's hour-long Race Hub show. Follow NASCAR's official Twitter handle @NASCAR, as well as the handle for the NASCAR Hall of Fame (@NASCARHall), for more information.

Nominee bios, statistics and photos will be available on both NASCAR.COM and immediately following the announcement.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Can Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon Fans Blame Danica Patrick?

Here's an interesting take on the situation... last weekend the closing laps of the Martinsville race saw Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon putting on a good racing demonstration on the best venue there is for that, the short, tight corners of Martinsville.  And those closing laps would have been a joy to watch these two put on a driving demonstration.  But that was not to be.

Instead, a caution flag came out, everyone but our two contenders got tires and the green flag flew with nary a few laps to go.  But as the master of disaster (lady luck) would have it, that was not to be.  As we all saw, Jimmie and Jeff were caught up in a three wide battle going into turn one and the race for the checkered flag was over for the No. 24 and 48 cars.

The ensuing scramble saw
Ryan Newman take his first Martinsville win.

But did that need to happen?  Did Jimmie and Jeff have to get wrecked?  The caution that preceded the wreck came out because David Reutimann's car sputtered to a stop on the track, bringing out the yellow flag.  And the press corp went nuts questioning why in the world David Reutimann would stop on the racing surface instead of getting off the track when he had the chance.  Well, almost all the media.  Michael Waltrip, when asked, said he wasn't in the car and so could not surmise why this took place.  That was probably one of the smartest statements about this event.

After the race was over, we found out what happened to David's car and why he stayed out.  The first order of business was something was amiss with the car but, being the team player he is, and thinking about his part-time teammate,
Danica Patrick, he stayed out on the track to make as many Owners Points as he can.  But then the additional issue reared its head when his engine up and died.

It wasn't as if David stayed out there to just stay out there.  I've seen that enough times, when an engine blows on the track and rather than getting off the racing line, the smoking culprit limps around track in it...  No, David was trying to make points to keep Danica in the top-35 in Owners Points... and failed.

The No. 10 car is now one point outside of the top-35 and the next time Danica Patrick gets in the car, she might be needing to race into the field.  Her next Sprint Cup Series attempt will be on May 12th...  at Darlington!  So there's time for David to get the car back into the game.  Now, we see how that all pans out!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Standings After The 'Goody's Fast Relief 500' at Martinsville

After the figure-eight style finish of the Goody's Fast Relief 500, a few  spots changed hands in the driver points standings, as would be expected...

Race winner Ryan Newman (Congrats Ryan!) moved up two spots into 8th

A.J. Allmendinger (2nd place) jumped 6 spots into 20th.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now 6 points out of 1st, sitting in 2nd.

4th spot finisher Matt Kenseth moved up 2 spots, into 4th.

Martin Truex Jr. (5th) dropped down a spot, into 6th in the driver standings.

Denny Hamlin managed a 6th place finish and that helped him hold onto 7th in the points.

7th place finisher Tony Stewart moved up one spot, into 3rd.

Aric Almirola finished 8th, putting him into 19th in the driver standings.

Brad Keselowski (9th) moved up 4 spots, taking 12th.

Despite efforts, Clint Bowyer managed 10th and he dropped down into 9th in the standings.

Jimmie Johnson dropped a spot down to 10th and Jeff Gordon's finish propelled him 4 spots into 21st.

- -

Hendrick Power Wins Martinsville 'Goody's Fast Relief 500', But Not Like You Think!

This weekend at Martinsville Speedway saw a few fascinating events take place, where Kevin Harvick destroyed the competition in the truck series and the two guys fully expected to win the Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, did not!

First up, the Camping World Series Kroger 250 race had Kevin Harvick lead all but 2 of the 250 laps, setting a track record.  And he did it in the No. 2 Richard Childress entry.  That is a pretty impressive stat!

At one point in the race, he had such a strong entry that Kevin relayed a message back to Ty Dillon to not burn up his equipment since he was running at 80% of his own truck's capacity.  Dang.


Speaking of Kevin Harvick, he made his 400th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start on Sunday in the Goody's Fast Relief 500.

Congrats to Kevin on that one.

But on a more excited note, I spent the entire race watching the Goody's Fast Relief 500, KNOWING that the two cars that were up front most of the race will be winning.  It was either going to be Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon.  These two worked their up through the field and dominated.  It was their race to lose!  And it would have been the magic 200th victory for Hendrick Motorsports... which would have been something special, at Martinsville!


Near the end of the race, Johnson had taken the lead with Gordon on his tail.  At times one might have thought that Johnson was spent yet when Gordon made some form of a move, Johnson would goose it and retain his front runner's position.  So it was looking like Johnson would get the win.

But alas, wondering if Johnson was going to beat Gordon became moot, because, yes, Johnson finished the race in front of Gordon...  and crossed the finish line before Gordon did.  But not in the fashion anyone was expecting.


The Goody's Fast Relief 500 had seven cautions for the day... and it was the last two that impacted NASCAR history that 'was' in the making.

Early on a part broke in Kyle Busch's car, then Dave Blaney at about the midway point had an issue.  Other cautions included Juan Montoya (spin), Kasey Kahne (engine) and Travis Kvapil having issues with physics in the the turns.

But we have two more cautions to account for... the two most important it turns out.

Through the latter half of the day, we had Hendrick Motorsports running up in the top-five spots with Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr..

At one point, those three were the lead three cars, and if I were a betting man, I'm guessing that at one point "Jr. Nation" was politely desiring something to go afoul with the No. 48 and 24 cars so Dale Earnhardt Jr. could could scoot past and take the win.

But there were several factors going against the entire group up there.

David Ruetimann was limping the No. 10 Chevy home trying to get points for his car's standings in the owner points because this is the car that Danica Patrick will drive when she returns to Cup series racing.  The team is desperately trying to keep the car in the top-35 in points.  But while limping around his engine then up and died on him.

This brought out a caution on lap 496 and it was going to be a very fateful caution.

Johnson and Gordon stayed out while the rest of the world pitted.  On the restart, Ryan Newman got a slight run from the inside third row spot and Clint Bowyer dove down to block him and goose it into the corner, getting in under Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.

This might have been the classic fresh vs. old tires battle.

Bowyer had the spot but had to back off because he entered the corner kind of hot, thumped the inside curb and slid out a bit and Jeff Gordon got out of shape dealing with Bowyer on the inside, and he spun, taking Jimmie Johnson with him.  Then Bowyer got spun out himself.  Through it all, Ryan Newman and A.J. Allmendinger ducked low below the track  self-cleaning accident.

youtube vid link

On the green/white/checkered restart, Ryan took the race lead and won handily... his first win at this track.

Here is the unofficial results:

1 - Ryan Newman 
2 - AJ Allmendinger 
3 - Dale Earnhardt Jr. 
4 - Matt Kenseth 
5 - Martin Truex Jr. 
6 - Denny Hamlin 
7 - Tony Stewart 
8 - Aric Almirola 
9 - Brad Keselowski 
10 - Clint Bowyer 
11 - Carl Edwards 
12 - Jimmie Johnson 
13 - Greg Biffle 
14 - Jeff Gordon 
15 - Marcos Ambrose 
16 - Regan Smith 
17 - Bobby Labonte 
18 - Brian Vickers 
19 - Kevin Harvick 
20 - Jamie McMurray 
21 - Juan Montoya 
22 - Jeff Burton 
23 - Joey Logano 
24 - David Ragan 
25 - Casey Mears 
26 - Paul Menard 
27 - Travis Kvapil 
28 - David Gilliland 
29 - Landon Cassill 
30 - David Stremme 
31 - Hermie Sadler 
32 - Ken Schrader 
33 - Kurt Busch 
34 - Dave Blaney 
35 - David Reutimann 
36 - Kyle Busch 
37 - J.J. Yeley 
38 - Kasey Kahne 
39 - Joe Nemechek 
40 - Michael McDowell 
41 - Josh Wise * 
42 - Scott Riggs 
43 - Reed Sorenson 


Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Automatic Car News was A Prank, But Self-Driving Cars Are Out There!

NASCAR & Google Confirmed Their April Fools’ Joke BUT before you write off the joke about driverless cars on the track, there have been self-driving cars out there for sometime now!


I guess there was some confusion as to the idea of a self guided car taking to the tracks of NASCAR... or was there?

Yes, it is April 1st, and yes, NASCAR and Google working together to bring self-driving cars to the race circuit was a bit of a joke.  Please tell me you weren't fooled, right?


But... before you get disappointed about the premise of self driving cars, you might want to take a peek around the web.

Google has been testing computer driven cars for quite some time.  In fact by 2010, they had logged 140,000 miles with them in California.

And something I've been following for quite some time is what's called the DARPA Grand Challenge.  It was a huge test/contest for computer driven, or robot driven cars.  Cars that drive themselves...

The below vid is from the 2007 year...  and once they ID'd good performers, we stopped hearing about the challenge!!!  Hmm....

Check out the first few minutes of this 6-minute video

youtube video source link


NASCAR Press Release

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 1, 2012) – NASCAR and Google today confirmed what many expected throughout the morning – the two companies working together to bring autonomous vehicle technology to NASCAR race cars was Google’s very popular, annual April Fools’ Day joke.

The collaboration highlights an evolving relationship between the two organizations that currently has them exploring possible business and technology opportunities in the future. One prime example of that collaboration lies in the recently created and launched NASCAR YouTube Channel.

“We have the best drivers in the world and would never consider replacing them despite any technological advancement,” said Brian France, chairman and CEO of NASCAR. “With that being said, technology is one of the most important sectors for the future of our sport, and we’re excited about our conversations with Google as we continuously explore ways to improve the fan experience and expose NASCAR racing to new audiences.”

NASCAR’s official channel on YouTube,, launched earlier this year in an effort to reach new fans via the largest online video destination in the world. The content on the NASCAR YouTube channel consists of highlights, both current and historical, as well as select NASCAR.COM video franchises including The Weekly Preview Show and Fantasy Showdown.

“We were really happy to work with NASCAR on this April Fools’ Day joke,” said Sergey Brin, Google co-founder, in a post on the company’s blog. “The technological advancements this sport has made in the last decade are impressive and while we won’t be providing self-driving cars to compete in the races, we look forward to working together with NASCAR in the future on projects like their YouTube channel.”


[ Google Cars ]