Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 Daytona 500 Official Race Results and Notes


Daytona Beach, FL - February 23, 2014
2.5-Mile Oval; 200 Laps - 500 Miles Purse: $19,784,864


Race Comments: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the 56th running of the Daytona 500, his 20th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. Prior to the green flag to start the event, the following cars dropped to the rear of the field for the reason indicated: #10, 14, 52 (Unapproved Engine Change), #48, 78, 15, 1, 66, 34 (Back-Up Car).


Fans had to endure a long day of racing, both at the track and on the couch, but we endured.  Fans at the track had a more exciting time as they were asked to evacuate the stands as weather warnings were issued for the red flag.  I saw pics online where someone snapped a pic of a funnel a few miles beyond the far side of track.  One person tweeted that they were instructed to get in their cars and put their seat belts on.  Zoinks.

Beyond the storm, we had a different kind of development on the track.  Martin Truex in his first 2014 season points race on his new team went out early, then other name-drivers started getting caught up in situations.

When Danica went out, well, Richard was probably muttering something to himself about other drivers on the track.  Then Tony Stewart went out, and I was starting to worry about the other drivers.

We had a few "exciting" accidents there were replayed liberally by Fox, but in the end, Jr Nation was finally vindicated as Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his second Daytona 500.

You realize that he now stepped out from under his father's shadow by winning his second 500?

And those final laps were nerve racking.  Even though ever since the Gen-6 car came along and Cup plate races have had very little race-ending drama.  But this one, with that last lap restart, had more drama than the last few races.

That being said, conspiracy theorists be damned, check out some official stats and details from the 2014 Daytona 500:

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Pos Driver Laps Status Times Laps
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr 200 Running 6 54
2 Denny Hamlin 200 Running 3 16
3 Brad Keselowski 200 Running 4 13
4 Jeff Gordon 200 Running

5 Jimmie Johnson 200 Running 2 15
6 Matt Kenseth 200 Running

7 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 200 Running

8 Greg Biffle 200 Running 3 8
9 Austin Dillon # 200 Running 1 1
10 Casey Mears 200 Running

11 Joey Logano 200 Running 1 2
12 Landon Cassill 200 Running

13 Kevin Harvick 200 Running

14 Jamie McMurray 200 Running

15 Bobby Labonte 200 Running

16 Reed Sorenson 200 Running

17 Carl Edwards 200 Running 3 8
18 Marcos Ambrose 200 Running

19 Kyle Busch 200 Running 5 19
20 Terry Labonte 200 Running

21 Kurt Busch 199 Running 1 15
22 Ryan Newman 199 Running

23 Alex Bowman # 198 Running

24 Josh Wise 196 Running

25 Brian Scott 196 Running

26 AJ Allmendinger 194 Running 1 1
27 Justin Allgaier # 193 Accident 3 4
28 Cole Whitt # 193 Accident

29 Parker Kligerman # 193 Accident

30 Brian Vickers 192 Running

31 Kasey Kahne 192 Running 2 2
32 Paul Menard 184 Running 3 29
33 Trevor Bayne 183 Accident 1 2
34 David Ragan 176 Running

35 Tony Stewart 174 Running

36 David Gilliland 171 Running

37 Michael Annett # 161 Accident

38 Kyle Larson # 160 Accident

39 Aric Almirola 146 Accident 1 5
40 Danica Patrick 145 Accident 1 2
41 Michael Waltrip 144 Accident 2 4
42 Clint Bowyer 127 Engine

43 Martin Truex Jr 30 Engine

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Friday, February 21, 2014

The Twin Duels, The Annoying Website, And Failed Coverage

This year the duel qualifiers for the Daytona 500 were night races, aired on FoxSports 1, and were interesting in and of themselves.

We had a big wreck at the back end of the last duel, but that's what the network likes.  Something exciting to sell TV viewers.  I mean, Clint Bowyer did a barrel roll.  How cool, (without injury), is that?

But dang.

I used to be able to pull up a web interface and watch the Fox telecast online.  No longer.  I could not find it online.

I tried to sign up for the "free" RaceView, but it was broken.  Again.

So I had to settle for the live leader boards, which for now, is better than nothing, until I was able to get to a TV.

But while I was tinkering around on the website, I have to say, those blasted drop down menus from every single banner link are *ing annoying.  Every time my mouse drifts over a link in that section, this huge drop down menu would get in my way.  And it usually isn't relevant to what I am trying to do.

I'm not that fond of the new website and the way it behaves, always willing to pump new content in my face if my mouse cursor goes a little errant, and has driven me to find other sources of news and info so I don't have to deal with that.

In fact, while looking at the home page, I flicked my mouse to the top of my browser, and somehow, my page is now filled with Fantasy league options.

NASCAR!  This has to be changed.  This is pretty annoying.

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The No. '3' Is Back On Track, And Hence, I Stopped Worrying About Car Numbers

Austin Dillon not only drove the stylized No. 3 back on to the track after a huge hiatus for the number, but he did it in style by nabbing the pole of the 2014 Daytona 500.  Which seems fitting for the boy who likes his Richard Petty look, with that big 'ol hat of his.

Some folks are upset seeing the '3' back on the racing surface while others seem more realistic about the number being back on the track on a Cup car.  Keep in mind, NASCAR has been pretty cool about not pushing RCR for the number.  It's not RCR's but NASCAR's to do with as they please.

As for me?

Yes, the '3' holds a certain spot in my memories, but after a while I realized that it was unrealistic to hope for anything more than a hiatus.  And for Richard Childress to use it on his grandson, well, is not surprising.

It's a great way to bring the media attention to Dillon, no matter what his talent level.  And he's good enough to not shame the famed number's return to the racing surface.

But I also learned a while back that buying merchandise for a driver that is strongly associated with a number can be a bad thing.

How many numbers has Ryan Newman driven?  How many sponsors?  (My website's logo is a good clue to that one.) If you love your driver and buy one of those expensive coats with his name, number and sponsor, how fast will it be out of season?  My Ryan Newman Ford Alltel coat is VERY out of season.

I used to focus on the car and the number, but as drivers hop around teams like fleas in a doggy daycare camp, I stopped buying so much stuff.

Sure, some of it is now like a historical reference, but some of my other things I need to convert to clothing I wear while doing the yard work or working on the car.  At least there, the shirt(s) will still be in their own element.

On the other hand, buying one diecast of each car # a driver is in, makes for a collection that says, this IS my driver, no matter where he goes.

So yes, the #3 is back on track.  And I think Dillon will probably do it justice.  At least it has a better chance with him and his hat, than it might have had sitting on a shelf.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Richard Petty Says What Many Think about Danica Patrick

Disclaimer: Do not misinterpret what I say here as my core opinion.  I would like nothing more than someone with as much attention as Danica Patrick to not only be in the limelight, but to do well too.  I was hoping.  But...

It looks like Richard Petty has said what many of us are thinking...  or suspecting or worried about, and that's the lack of performance out of Danica Patrick.

Last year she finished 27th in the points standings the Cup Series, with 1 good finish.  In 2012 she only had 10 starts, but no top-10s.

In 2012 in the Nationwide Series, where I would have expected her to dominate, like any other Cup driver usually does, she ran a full season, and finished 10th in points, with 4 top-10's.

You compare that to Jimmie Johnson having never even seen the outside of 10th in standings since his debut, and right there, alone, you see that there's a gap in talent.

And then you take the great Richard Petty, who apparently has now political worries at this stage of his life, and speaks his mind.

In this case, making note at a Canadian event that the only way Danica Patrick would win is if everyone else stayed home, and that all the attention on her is due to the fact she's a woman driver.

Not true!  She would probably beat her boyfriend on the track!  (Are they even still together?)

Though on the flip side of the "truth" coin from Petty, he also pointed out the obvious, that being that she's pulled in all kinds of publicity to the sport.

Richard Petty on Danica Patrick:

"If she'd have been a male, nobody would ever know if she'd showed up at a racetrack.  This is a female deal that's driving her. There's nothing wrong with that, because that's good PR for me. More fans come out, people are more interested in it. She has helped to draw attention to the sport, which helps everybody in the sport."


Do you remember that first Daytona 500 she was in, and she left the race early?  Do you remember that insanely crazy media crowd, that from a helicopter view, looked like a mound of ants on a sugar cube?

Well, that doesn't happen any more, but that's a great example of her draw to the sport.

And being that this is King Richard, who, earlier last year, his son, Kyle Petty, pretty much said something similar.  His line was,

"That's where I have a problem - where fans have bought into the hype of the marketing, to think she's a race car driver.  She can go fast, and I've seen her go fast. She drives the wheels off it when she goes fast. She's not a race car driver. There's a difference. The King (Richard Petty) always had that stupid saying, but it's true, 'Lots of drivers can drive fast, but very few drivers can race.' Danica has been the perfect example of somebody who can qualify better than what she runs."

I'm guessing the Petty household is not on Patrick's Christmas card list.

And let's keep it all in perspective... they're both talking about an individual, not the gender.

And yes, Danica won the Indy Car race in Japan back in 2008, and she did it on fuel strategy, becoming the first woman to win in IndyCar history.

But that's been her only win in her 7 years of racing in the series, and had 7 podiums in that career.

In the ARCA series, she finished 6th in a JR Motorsports car.  6th in a K&N Pro Series East race.

If there were hope for a stellar performance model, would we not have seen it already?  Well, here's hoping that 2014 treats her better and we see something more than 26th out of her.

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NASCAR's New Championship System Is Disappointing

NASCAR's new method for crowning a champion in 2014 is a daring and bold departure from the tried and true method of using points to determine a Sprint Cup Champion.

Sure, the new system rewards risk takers, focusing on wins.  And ONLY wins.  But it also sharpens the focus on luck, both good and bad, more than any other process they've ever come up with.

Bad luck could possibly stop a driver's season in a single race.  While good luck for a 25th-place team could have them holding a trophy over their head.

Does that sound right to you?

In a 2010 survey that NASCAR held, it said that fans wanted elimination rounds and one-race playoffs.  But who chimed in on that survey?  Survey hounds?  The doomsayers who always speak up on the web? Or the masses that make up the core of TV fans of NASCAR?

One of Brian France's statements was that the majority of fans don't like points racing.  Are these the same fans that TV networks cater to, with replayed race wrecks?  Those aren't fans. Those are lookey loos.  I've seen it in sports bars.  The only time the crowd looks at the NASCAR TV is during the wreck footage networks continually pitch out there to viewers to sell the sport.



NASCAR's new rules for winning the championship turns a blind eye towards the establishment of using points to win a contest. It turns a blind eye towards consistent participation and performance results.  They've just made this the new reality TV of an all-or-nothing sport.

We saw the new qualifying process which was a great change, making qualifying a bit more susceptible to on-track situations and maybe a more fun to experience.  Not to mention making for a shorter qualifying process that can take less time on TV.


The changes we're seeing for the Chase is that now there will be 16 cars in the field of the Chase, up from 12.

To qualify, anyone with a win from the regular season gets in the Chase field.  Fifteen contenders will get in on wins, the 16th will be by points.  If they don't have 15 winners after the first 26 races, then, and only then, will points be used to fill out the field.

(Looking back in past seasons, they'll have plenty of takers, so I don't think they'll be using points to fill in the field.)


Once in the chase, cars will be eliminated every 3 races (a round) until we're down to the final 4 competitors at Homestead.

In each round, if someone wins a race, they move on.  If not, accrued points will decide who moves on.

Though if the best driver gets a flat tire in this process of elimination rounds and doesn't recover, there goes his chances of struggling back into the top spots.

And how will Homestead be the deciding factor for champion?  It's a winner take all mentality, as who ever of the four cars beats out the other three to the checkered flag will be crowned the NASCAR champion.  Whether they win or come in 38th, as long as they beat out the other three.


When NASCAR invented "The Chase," it used to be 10 drivers angling for that trophy or 23% of the field.

Now, they have 16 cars, or 37% of the field contending for the trophy.  If we leave well enough alone, sooner or later, they'll have the entire field back in it!  It's that full-circle thing.


For me, here's where the concern sets in...

I'm trying to appreciate the change incorporated by NASCAR to make the sport more exciting, but all it has done is violate the tradition of a points-based system and performing consistently.

I wonder if it was NASCAR that truly made this change?  I've seen hints from various sources that the real money folks, those paying huge television rights monies to NASCAR, have a pretty solid say in some aspects of the sport.  But I digress...

With this elimination round scenario, I presume, is an attempt to make the sport more exciting or appealing.  But appealing to the new fan, not the established fan.

In my eyes, this has the word disappointment written all over it.

NASCAR said they're looking to put the emphasis back on winning which has me wondering why they could not just buffer a win with more points instead of this elimination process?

Looking back over past seasons, had this new "scoring elimination" process been used, the fields for the Chase would have looked different as some drivers would have dropped out while others would have slid in with wins, even if they were 26th in points in the field.

In 2012, the 17th and 18th finishing drivers would have qualified.  In 2011, the 13th, 14th, 17th, 19th, 23rd and 26th place teams would have qualified to contend for the Chase.


Other aspects of this new system seem to make it possible to amplify actions from "boys have at it."

It impacts or brings to light, more concerns about "team orders," to help those who might need a win.

It amplifies bad LUCK, and will punish risk takers that lose.  Talladega is in the Chase.  That's the crap-shoot race that can take out 10, 15 or 20 cars in a single wreck.  Thus, Talladega could decide someone's fate for the entire season.  This and other restrictor plate tracks where anyone, even Danica Patrick, could end up winning.


Monday, February 10, 2014

NASCAR Is Back On TV! (Sort Of)

With the Daytona 500 coming up on February 23, 2014, things are starting to pick up with the anticipation of the new season that won't need points to settle the score!  (Yes, I'm still on the bubble about how the new rules structure is using the points)

But be it as it may, that means that we'll start seeing more televised NASCAR events on TV.  Sort of.

Now unlike previous years, where you could turn on SPEED TV and watch for NASCAR updates all day long, our venue for watching NASCAR updates has been funnelled down to certain days and times now.  And it's on FOX Sports 1.

Here's the FS1 TV schedule for all things Daytona (If you're a cable subscriber who gets the channel):

Monday, February 10

4:00 p.m. ET - NASCAR Race Hub


Tuesday, February 11

4:00 p.m. ET - NASCAR Race Hub


Wednesday, February 12

4:00 p.m. ET - NASCAR Race Hub


Thursday, February 13

10:00 a.m. ET - Daytona 500 Media Day
4:00 p.m. ET - NASCAR Race Hub


Friday, February 14

4:00 p.m. ET - NASCAR Live
5:00 p.m ET - Sprint Cup Practice
6:00 p.m. ET - NASCAR Live
6:30 p.m. ET - Sprint Cup Final Practice
7:30 p.m. ET - FOX Sports 1 on 1: Jimmie Johnson
8:00 p.m. ET - The Day: Daytona Primetime
9:00 p.m. ET - Return of the 3
10:00 p.m. ET - The Day: Remembering Dale Earnhardt


Saturday, February 15

10:30 a.m. ET - Sprint Cup Practice
12:30 p.m. ET - NASCAR Live
1:30 p.m. ET - Sprint Cup Practice
3:30 p.m. ET - NASCAR Live
4:15 p.m. ET - ARCA Race
6:30 p.m. ET - NASCAR RaceDay
8:00 p.m. ET - Sprint Unlimited


Sunday, February 16

12:00 p.m. ET - NASCAR Live
9:00 p.m. ET - Daytona 500 Pole Day

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

2014 Canadian Tire Series Schedule Announced

VIA PRESS RELEASE, for those interested in the Canadian NASCAR series!

The words “NATIONAL CHAMPION” are stamped in big, bold words across the base of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series championship trophy.

And the 2014 schedule will feature Canada’s best stock car drivers banging fenders at 10 venues in five provinces, from Nova Scotia to Alberta. The 11-race slate will start on Victoria Day weekend as part of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park’s popular Speedfest weekend and culminate at its traditional Kawartha Speedway date in September.

The schedule announcement is highlighted by the return of the late summer companion date with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at CTMP, as well as the additions of a pair of short tracks. The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series has added an early June trip to Quebec to take on the quarter-mile track at Autodrome ChaudiĆ©re and a mid-July visit to another short track at Alberta’s Edmonton International Raceway.

“The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series’ blend of exciting ovals and top-shelf road courses from Alberta to Nova Scotia with several stops in between continues to provide race fans across the country a high level of competition,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president, regional and touring series. “The two new additions to the calendar along with the extremely successful second date at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park set up another thrilling championship battle.”

TSN, Canada’s sport leader, again will be the television home of the Canadian Tire Series as it has since the series’ inaugural season in 2007. RDS, the French-language sister station to TSN, also will continue to provide coverage through its primary channel along with its secondary outlet at RDS2. Complete programming details will be announced at a later date.

The 2014 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series schedule rundown:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Penalty And Appeal Processes Announced By NASCAR

NASCAR is seriously embracing change for the 2014 season.  Usually they have a few new modifications for processes in place, but if I didn't know any better, I'd think they went to an outside source who is trying to make the sport look more and more like other sports.

First, they change up the qualifying structure. {I don't know about you, but a few seasons back, I actually enjoyed when they had the fastest practice timed cars go last!}  Then they announce a new Chase Format structure that makes me question my loyalty to the sport.  Or at least my sanity, because with the new Chase Format, well, points don't truly matter any more.

And now, NASCAR has announced that they're making enhancements to their penalty and appeals structure or processes.

They've laid out exactly how the penalty process, or as they now refer to it as, the Deterrence System, will work and what appeals process changes have taken place.

For the deterrence system, here is what the press release points out:

NASCAR’s Deterrence System

NASCAR’s Deterrence System is easily understood and specifically lays out exactly what disciplinary action will be taken depending on the type of technical infraction listed from warnings to six penalty levels in ascending order. Some of the Deterrence System elements include:

§  The system starts with warnings (W) issued for very minor infractions, then are grouped into six levels – P1 (least significant) to P6 (most significant).

§  Lower P levels list penalty options from which NASCAR may select (fines or points) while higher P levels are an all-inclusive combination of multiple penalty elements (points and fine and suspension, etc.).

§  At the highest three levels of the system, if a rules infraction is discovered in post-race inspection, the one or more additional penalty elements are added on top of the standard prescribed penalty.

§  Repeat offenses by the same car are addressed via a “recurrence multiplier,” i.e. if a P4 penalty was received and a second P4 or higher infraction occurs in the same season, the subsequent penalty increases 50% above the normal standard.

§  Suspensions are explained in greater detail.

§  Behavioral infractions are still handled on case-by-case basis and are not built into the W, P1-P6 structure.

The 2014 Rule Book will explain how and why NASCAR issues penalties as well as the factors considered when determining a penalty. The Rule Book also will detail the types of infractions that fall within each level by citing examples that are included but not limited to:

·         Warnings are issued instead of penalties for certain types of minor, first-time infractions.

·         P1 penalties may result from multiple warnings to the same team.

·         P2 penalties may include but are not limited to violations such as hollow components, expiration of certain safety certification or improper installation of a safety feature, or minor bracket and fasteners violations.

·         P3 penalty options may include but are not limited to violations such as unauthorized parts, measurement failures, parts that fail their intended use, or coil spring violation.

·         P4 level infractions may include but are not limited to violations such as devices that circumvent NASCAR templates and measuring equipment, or unapproved added weight .

·         P5 level may include but are not limited to violations such as combustion-enhancing additives in the oil, oil filter, air filter element or devices, systems, omissions, etc., that affect the normal airflow over the body.

·         P6 level may include but are not limited to violations such as affecting the internal workings and performance of the engine, modifying the pre-certified chassis, traction control or affecting EFI or the ECU.

I know it's a tricky proposition to enforce rules and apply deterrent outlines, so with a grain of salt, I'm suggesting that NASCAR had their lawyers draft that outline!  Dang!

Again... it's a tricky proposition.

As far as the appeals process goes, their press release had this to say: