Saturday , March 28 2015
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Did You Notice?

Did You Notice? … As The Turner Disintegrates, Pit Stall Shenanigans & NASCAR Nasty

Did You Notice? … As The Turner Disintegrates, Pit Stall Shenanigans & NASCAR Nasty

*Did You Notice?* … In the most competitive Chase in history, teams and drivers will do whatever it takes to get ahead. Stay out on fumes to lead a lap, take two tires with an ill-handling car for track position, “play nice” with start-and-parkers in front of them to help their pit selection… Huh? Yeah, that last one doesn’t seem to fit. But one has to wonder what was going on this weekend between the No. 14 of Tony Stewart and the No. 46 of Scott Speed. Read More »

Did You Notice?… Ratings Up, Johnson Down And Anything But Tandems

Did You Notice?… Ratings Up, Johnson Down And Anything But Tandems

*Did You Notice?...* That for all the talk of just how boring Sunday's race at Loudon was, lacking much if any side-by-side racing, NASCAR scored a major TV ratings coup. The numbers, released Tuesday show a 19% increase - yes, 19% in viewership over the Fall Loudon race of a season ago. And this was on an NFL Sunday, no less! Frankly, after hearing those numbers I'm shocked Brian France and Co. haven't put out a press release already, describing how fans have accepted the Chase and all its glory of the past seven years. And, love the Chase or hate it, love the racing or hate it, that kind of showing amongst TV viewers is a major plus for the sport. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Pressing The Panic Button, NASCAR “Independents” And Quick Hits

Did You Notice? … Pressing The Panic Button, NASCAR “Independents” And Quick Hits

*Did You Notice?* … The Chaser pressing the panic button this week should be *Jeff Gordon?* Sure, Denny Hamlin sits 41 points back but I don’t think anyone realistically expected that operation to be a contender. Heck, the Fed Ex team is already running 2012, TRD developmental engines knowing they come with a horsepower-or-hand grenade without warning warranty! That’s hardly playing it safe, the Chase mantra even with this new points system as the team realized making some gambles was the only way they’d realistically have a shot. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Potential Chase Spoilers And Quick Hits

*Did You Notice?* … NASCAR gets so focused on the postseason we often forget there’s 31 other cars on the grid each week? So, in honor of giving you a breather from the onslaught of Chase previews let’s look at a few “spoilers” set to win or wreak havoc during the season’s final ten weeks. *A.J. Allmendinger.* Quietly, Richard Petty Motorsports has put together a remarkable comeback season just months removed from near bankruptcy. Marcos Ambrose has already won, victorious at Watkins Glen but it’s been the ‘Dinger who’s emerged as more consistent. The best full-time Cup driver yet to win a race, he’s positioning himself to take that next step under the helm of new crew chief Greg Erwin. That change, made despite an already successful start under long-term head wrench Mike Shiplett has really stepped the performance up another level. In just the last five weeks alone, the Californian’s collected a 10.4 average finish while failing to dip lower than 12th in any race. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Sponsor Collectors, A Lucky Break & The Anti-Chase Climax

Did You Notice? … Sponsor Collectors, A Lucky Break & The Anti-Chase Climax

*Did You Notice?...* The circumstances behind Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon’s fantastic finish? If NASCAR needs a road map for its return to national prominence, have officials watch the last 10 laps at Atlanta, let their mouth drop and make that the standard for how any race ending should unfold. The sad part is the situation creating the drama is just as rare: neither Johnson nor Gordon had any “title concerns” to worry about. Both found themselves solidly inside the playoffs, clinching their spots one week earlier at Bristol and were simply focused on a three-point Chase bonus for the victory. If the No. 48 lost it on Turn 4, giving 110% that final lap? No big deal; Johnson’s DNF would affect nothing but the body shop, forced to rebuild a car that probably wouldn’t get back on-track the rest of the season anyways (NASCAR won’t visit Atlanta again until next Fall). Read More »

Did You Notice? … Earnhardt’s Strategy, Martin’s Last Stand And Quick Hits

*Did You Notice?* … Steve Letarte’s in a tricky situation when it comes to Dale Earnhardt, Jr.? For most of the year, the crew chief’s done a fantastic job in boosting the sport’s Most Popular Driver after two straight ugly seasons. But as we enter the homestretch, just three races until the Chase cutoff Junior is trying every which way to erase all the momentum he’s gained. Make no mistake; since a solid sixth at Pocono in June, the No. 88 team has spent their summer learning every which way to skydive off a cliff. They have just one top-10 finish the last nine races, two runs of 30th or worse and have led just eight laps over that stretch. In fact, for the season Junior’s on track to lead less than 100 laps, by far his lowest total since a five-race Sprint Cup debut in 1999. Along the way, we’ve seen Earnhardt’s confidence take a hit, at one point blaming the tire compound at Loudon for struggles that weren’t there with those Goodyears come April, May, or June. Read More »

Did You Notice? … A Tilt Towards Strategy, Not Speed, And Four Rookies That Could Have Been

Did You Notice? … A Tilt Towards Strategy, Not Speed, And Four Rookies That Could Have Been

*Did You Notice?* … Why so many races have switched towards a fuel mileage strategy? In the last few months, it’s the number one question/concern/complaint I get from fans, eager to know why the multitude of this year’s races have been won via a calculator, feathering the throttle and shutting off the engine – seemingly the opposite of a sport built on speed. For answers, it's pretty simple. Let's go to the quotes of the drivers themselves. Read More »

Did You Notice? … NASCAR’s Real Silly Season Story: Not Carl, Contraction

*Did You Notice?*… The reason the Carl Edwards saga won’t go away? Sure, the sport’s most popular free agent has been begging for privacy, impossible to receive in this age of public transparency where every celebrity’s move is documented in full. Too many drivers, team members, and heck, even sponsors are affected by this decision for them to sit in silence, working off Carl’s schedule as the clock slowly ticks towards Homestead. But the sad part about this whole scenario is these people are on edge because, just like the current economy, NASCAR is very much an _employer’s_ market. Drivers like Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Trevor Bayne, even Brian Vickers know their _only_ opportunities could come if Edwards opens the door – and a ride – at Roush Fenway Racing. That’s it; there’s no plan B, temp agency or million-dollar reality game show ready to save them. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Stability In The Driver’s Seat; But Which Crew Chief Leaves Next?

*Did You Notice?* … That despite the Sprint Cup crew chief carousel as of late, not a single driver replacement this season has happened within the fully-funded, full-time operations? The closest we’ve seen to a switch has happened at the No. 09/51 team, where Phoenix Racing dumped former Cup champ Bill Elliott early in the year for Landon Cassill. Front Row Motorsports has also subbed out for Travis Kvapil, but considering the driver had another ride – running full-time in the Truck Series for Randy Moss Motorsports – it’s not like they were kicking him to the curb. And FAS Lane, for what little money they have doesn’t count; a driver merry-go-round depends as much on specific sponsor funding as it does performance. Read More »

Did You Notice? … A Secret Million-Dollar Bonus, The Power Of Adrenaline And Quick Hits

Did You Notice? … A Secret Million-Dollar Bonus, The Power Of Adrenaline And Quick Hits

*Did You Notice?* … The wonderful decision by Sprint to bring back some type of million-dollar bonus competition for winning? The $3 million Sprint Summer Showdown, announced Sunday at Loudon is a great way to keep the excitement high throughout all of NASCAR’s 30 or so teams capable of competing for victories. Long story short, the winners of the next five events – Indy, Pocono, Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol will have a chance to earn $1 million if they win again at Atlanta Motor Speedway Labor Day Weekend. $1 million will also go to a lucky fan paired with the driver, along with an additional million to that driver’s charity of choice. Read More »