Friday , February 12 2016
Home / Bowles-Eye View (page 10)

Bowles-Eye View

200 Wins, A King And A Corporation: NASCAR Then And Now

Saturday night at Darlington was defined by history, a milestone 200th victory for NASCAR’s most successful modern-era car owner, Rick Hendrick. It was a long time coming, a sixteen-race drought in contrast with the New York Yankees-like efficiency of the organization: five straight championships, from 2006-10 and employer of the sport’s two winningest active drivers. But as the lights dimmed, The Lady In Black fading into the night last Saturday, “the chase” over for a business pursuing a historic number one couldn’t help but remember the date that truly defined it: 27 years, ten months, and eight days since 200 was actually made to mean something within the walls of NASCAR competition. Read More »

Three Years, One NASCAR Superstar: A Winning Formula?

Three years. For most people, that seems like nothing – just ask couples in long-term, successful marriages - but in NASCAR terms, history has shown us it’s all you need to prove yourself. Three years into his Cup Series career, Jeff Gordon captured his first title. Dale Earnhardt? Three years was too much: he won one in his _second_ full-time season. They head a list of top-level nominees that include Jeff Burton, Ernie Irvan and Bobby Labonte, drivers who could point to that timespan as when their careers started skyrocketing from zero to hero. Will Brad Keselowski be next on that list? Read More »

Three Strikes And You Light A Busch On Fire

Four Spring races at Richmond, four straight Kyle Busch victories. To have that type of record on your resume, Lady Luck needs to be hired as at least a part-time consultant. Or how about full-time employee? We saw her working overtime Saturday night, taking control for Busch at a Richmond racetrack that had another weird ending added to its resume. Remember last Fall, when Paul Menard’s late-race spin set up a suspicious finish where teammate Kevin Harvick blew by Jeff Gordon? Or how about the Spring of 2008, when Denny Hamlin led a record-setting 381 laps only to blow a tire, setting up the infamous Kyle Busch spin of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. which opened the door for Clint Bowyer to triumph? Read More »

NASCAR Role Reversal: Pocono’s Promise Versus Bristol’s… What, Exactly?

_"Compromise is but the sacrifice of one right or good in the hope of retaining another – too often ending in the loss of both."_ - Tryon Edwards Through his years of involvement in motorsports, the decisions of O. Bruton Smith can often be described in one word: “brash.” After all, billionaires don’t make their fortunes by sitting still and playing tiddlywinks while the rest of the world passes them by. Bold moves can often create unprecedented cash flow, aggression with a purpose resulting in the type of Racetrack Empire that’s allowed this Southerner to control a third of the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule each year. To get what he wants, this man has stood up to an entire city (Charlotte), shut down a legendary short track (North Wilkesboro) and even had the guts to go toe-to-toe with NASCAR royalty: the Frances. Read More »

Losing At Kansas Still a Small Win for Truex, MWR

You can’t win ‘em all, but that doesn’t make a tough loss any easier. Martin Truex Jr. dominated yesterday’s race at Kansas Speedway, leading 173 of the 267 laps, only to have a bad set of tires cost him the race. It wasn’t for a lack of effort, however. Truex did everything he could in the closing laps to catch and pass Hamlin, almost wrecking himself in the process. It wasn’t to be, and Truex exited the car exhausted and clearly frustrated while Hamlin headed to Victory Lane. While the disappointment was understandable in terms of the domination, the race was more of a win for Truex and team Michael Waltrip Racing than a loss. For Truex alone, it’s an improvement over last year. After eight races in 2011, Truex had only one top 10 and was sitting 19th in points. Now through eight races this season, Truex has 6 top 10s, three of which were top 5s, and the near win at Kansas Speedway put him up to second in points, just 15 markers out of the top spot. Read More »

NASCAR’s “Alternative” Reality: Giving The Point Leader His Due

When it comes to the A-list of NASCAR superstars, Greg Biffle is the sport’s forgotten man. Third on Roush Fenway’s totem pole, he sits behind handpicked royalty Carl Edwards and best friend Matt Kenseth, the only active Ford Sprint Cup champion. Missing the Chase last season, he went winless and quietly slugged his way to 16th in points, not exactly the numeric irony the driver of the No. 16 car was looking for after signing a long-term deal. Biffle’s resume is also devoid of double-dipping: his last Nationwide start came in 2010, and the last time he ran in the Truck Series Joey Logano was busy attending bar mitzvahs, not major NASCAR events. Read More »

Don’t Lynch David For Goliath: What Martinsville’s NASCAR Finish Taught Us

As the sun rises over NASCAR’s first “off week,” David Reutimann remains shrouded in darkness after Martinsville. The Tommy Baldwin Racing driver, whose broken steering linkage caused a caution with less than three laps to go, committed the “cardinal sin” of any backmarker: changed the course of a race’s outcome. By stopping on the track, after several attempts to continue racing with a clearly crippled Chevrolet, the insistence to “keep going,” trying to limp to the finish caused major consequences. The yellow flag that followed set up a wild restart which robbed the day’s two dominant cars, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, of the victory while turning the green-white-checkered finish into a short track Demolition Derby. Read More »

Two NASCAR Champions, But Only One Great Escape

If there’s anyone in NASCAR with a bigger smile than Sprint Cup winner Tony Stewart after Fontana, it’s a certain five-time champ who drives the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet. For hometown hero Jimmie Johnson, the past ten days may have been more meaningful than any trip he’ll ever take to Victory Lane this season. Meanwhile, across the way his Hendrick teammate and “car owner” Jeff Gordon was perhaps the only one leaving with a frown after this race was mercifully stopped 71 laps short of its scheduled distance. It’s two drivers, two different doses of Lady Luck and the type of ending that’s defined the changing of the guard within Hendrick Motorsports. Read More »

The Power Of NASCAR Expectations: When A Race Track Isn’t Allowed To Change

Sequels to great movies often leave us with a sour taste. But have you ever watched one before seeing the original? More often than not, you’ll leave the theater with a far better feeling than those who saw both. That’s because expectations are different; your imagination hasn’t run wild. The storyline of what’s supposed to happen with the characters, a plotline climaxing in an A+, “can’t fail” performance hasn’t been set in your head. For once trained, the mind is a difficult thing to change; the success of the original also comes with a curse. How could anything else compare? Your subconscious has already assured it can’t. I know what you’re thinking; you came here to read a NASCAR article. But more than ever, that type of comparison feels appropriate considering the great repaving Bristol “mistake.” Once the hardest ticket to get in all of sports, there were more empty seats at “Thunder Valley” than people actually in attendance on Sunday. Sure, the “official box score” said 102,000 but a venue that, at capacity could hold 160K looked lucky to have 70,000 butts in the stands. Even if you believe NASCAR’s estimate, that’s still a 36.2 percent decline in just the last three years for a place that’s earned a label as the mecca of national short track racing. Read More »

The Dangerous Popularity Of Earnhardt Expectations

For those who are casual fans of the sport, when pressed there’s probably about five things people remember so far about the 2012 season. They are (in no particular order): 1) Jet Dryer Fire (and a whole lot of Tide to clean it up) 2) Danica. NASCAR. NASDanica. Danicar. Dani… 3) Matt Kenseth won the Daytona 500 and did a bangup job on Jay Leno afterwards 4) Did Jimmie Johnson really cheat? NASCAR seems to think so. 5) Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is threatening to win a race. Read More »