Saturday , October 25 2014
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Amy Henderson

Observations From the Pits

It’s a chilly fall here in North Carolina, and I’m here at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the season wrapup-so I thought I’d share a few thoughts and observations from the garage over the last couple of days. If anyone doesn’t think top drivers don’t have a sense of humor, consider this: Juan Pablo Montoya, who is well in the hunt for his first Sprint Cup championship, took part in the Jail & Bail fundraiser on Wednesday night along with several ... Read More »

The Closest Thing to Earnhardt…Is Named Montoya?

The Closest Thing to Earnhardt…Is Named Montoya?

NASCAR misses Dale Earnhardt. It’s been true since Earnhardt’s death in 2001, but Earnhardt’s posthumous election to the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame is a deep reminder of that loss. Its repercussions in NASCAR are deep-deep enough to have likely changed the face of NASCAR, and devastating for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., once a promising and elite race team, now reduced to a merger with another mediocre team just to survive. But the loss is most keenly felt on the racetrack, where, many fans are quick to lament, a bunch of boring, vanilla-flavored robots drive too carefully, too nicely-and if they don’t, well, then NASCAR reminds them of their place posthaste. NASCAR needs a driver like Earnhardt. NASCAR sorely needs an aggressor who openly admits he is the aggressor. We need someone who isn’t afraid to go WFO all the time, on the track and on camera, with no apologies, no thoughts of political correctness, no fear. In short racing needs a bad boy. But, if you really look… NASCAR has a driver a lot like Earnhardt. Read More »

Johnson Captures LMS Pole

Jimmie Johnson captured the pole at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a blistering lap of 28.079 seconds (192.376 miles per hour) on a cold and damp Thursday night, setting the fastest time ever for the new car at LMS, and the third fastest pole speed ever at the track. Johnson bested the spring pole speed by a fraction under four miles per hour. It is Johnson’s third pole of the year and the 22nd of his career. “The old track really ... Read More »

Big Six: Pepsi 500

*Who…gets my shoutout of the race?* Most of the top finishers this week were predictable, to say the least. But there was one unexpected name in the top ten-*David Ragan*, who tied his season-best finish of sixth and grabbed his first top ten since the Daytona 500. Ragan has had a miserable year, and his finish this week has to be a bright spot on a season marred with disappointments. *What…was THAT?* The top 35 rule is silly on a ... Read More »

These Are the Moments

These Are the Moments

I wrote last week that one thing that makes NASCAR worth watching is the moments. Those brief seconds when time seems to stop will never let you quit watching, just in case you miss one. And there have been a lot of them over the years-moments that take your breath away. Sometimes with simple beauty, sometimes with mind-numbing tragedy, but for whatever reason, there’s something defining about each one. Some moments stand out in the mind of every fan-everyone you ask can remember where they were when it happened. Others are personal, forgotten by all but the fans to whom they meant something more. It would take volumes to list all of the moments that fill our racing lives, so I’ll stick to this decade. But here are a few of my racing moments-the images that I’ll always remember. Read More »

Big Six: Price Chopper 400 Presented By Kraft Foods

*Who…gets my shoutout of the race?* Nine of the top ten finishers at Kansas were chase drivers-and then there was *David Reutimann*. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver showed that he can hang with the big boys, finishing eighth. Reutimann is fifteenth in points and racing only for wins for the last ten races. He wasn’t good enough to win this week, but he was good enough to break up the Chase party in the top ten. *What…was THAT?* This week’s ... Read More »

Why I Still Watch

Why I Still Watch

The Chase is terrible, the races are boring, and NASCAR doesn’t care about the fans. While all of these may be true to a degree (ok, so maybe the Chase sucks a LOT), the complaints do make something for the media (I think that’s me) to talk about. But the race fan in me, the part that made me pursue a somewhat thankless career to begin with, wonders why the people complaining still watch. Seriously. Wait. A lot of the time, I’m one of the people complaining. So, why _do_ I watch, then? Why does anyone? What’s left after the complaining is done? I can only speak for myself, but there are still enough reasons left to make me stay. Like… Read More »

Big Six: AAA 400

*Who…gets my shoutout of the race?* Only two non-Chase Drivers finished in the top ten at Dover. You expect Matt Kenseth to be on that list, but not so much *A.J. Allmendinger*, whose seventh-place run was his best finish since Sonoma and his fourth top ten of the year. Not a bad run bad for a guy who had no full time ride when the year began. He’s eleven points positions higher than the man who replaced him at Team ... Read More »

It’s All Fun and Games — But In NASCAR, Someone Is Bleeding to Death

It’s All Fun and Games — But In NASCAR, Someone Is Bleeding to Death

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Remember hearing that phrase as a kid? It was usually connected to doing something like running with scissors or sword fighting with your brother with the kitchen knives. Or at least when the “fun” was getting out of hand and becoming potentially dangerous. Hence, the lecture. Things are getting out of hand. Read More »

Vickers On the Brink Of the Ride Of His Life

Vickers On the Brink Of the Ride Of His Life

In retrospect, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. The signs were there well over a year ago-it was just a matter of time, a matter of a little more experience, a matter of a little luck. And when it mattered the most, the young driver from North Carolina (a dying breed now) found that little bit extra, that little bit _more._ And some race fans were taken by surprise when all was said and done. It certainly wasn’t easy, and at times it wasn’t pretty, either. It all came down to one race and finally, one lap. And Brian Vickers made that lap count-made it count for all the naysayers who called him crazy for leaving the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports. Read More »