Sunday , April 19 2015
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Did You Notice?

Did You Notice? … DNFs Are A Good Thing, NASCAR Needs A Senior Tour, And Menard’s Mediocrity?

Did You Notice? … DNFs Are A Good Thing, NASCAR Needs A Senior Tour, And Menard’s Mediocrity?

*Did You Notice? …* Crew member Jimmy Watts’ penalty does not include a monetary fine … and I’m fine with that. A lot has been written about the pure idiocy of Watts running off pit road and onto the race track in order to catch a runaway tire that drifted out of Marcos Ambrose’s pit. But before you start screaming about how his bonehead move ruined your favorite driver’s shot at the win, let’s go ahead and put ourselves in his shoes for a minute. Or can we? No one can understand the sheer intensity of a green flag pit stop, a 15-second pressure-packed moment in which one mistake can ruin your team’s chance to visit Victory Lane. In the case of Ambrose, you had a team overachieving to the tune of three top 22 finishes to start their first full season on the Cup circuit. You had a driver running reasonably well, whose chances at a fourth solid finish suddenly got put in jeopardy the second that tire started rolling out of his pit box. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Gray-Haired Success Stories, Some Vigor In Vegas, And … Tony And Hendrick Snuggling Up?

Did You Notice? … Gray-Haired Success Stories, Some Vigor In Vegas, And … Tony And Hendrick Snuggling Up?

*Did You Notice? …* The old guard is fighting back three weeks into the NASCAR season? After years of being dominated by the era of younger, more marketable drivers, these senior citizens still remaining in the sport have put together some admirable performances under the radar these first three weeks (Mark Martin’s engine failures aside). Consider… * 66-year-old Morgan Shepherd has 19th and 13th place finishes these past two weeks, good enough to launch him into the top 20 in Nationwide Series points. Read More »

Did You Notice? … The Start And Park Scam, NASCAR Is A Team Sport, And RCR Comes Up Short

Did You Notice? … The Start And Park Scam, NASCAR Is A Team Sport, And RCR Comes Up Short

*Did You Notice?…* How much difference a pit crew makes to the success or failure of a race team? With Drew Blickensderfer taking the helm of the No. 17, the “Killer B’s” have been at the top of their game -- yet another reason why their talented crew chief is the hottest head wrench on the circuit. At California, the B’s produced a net gain of 10 spots for their driver on pit road, including putting him out front when it counted the most – following the race’s final caution on Lap 213. Now, compare that with Kenseth’s teammate, Greg Biffle, who had perhaps the fastest car but a crew that _lost_ him a total of 13 spots on pit road. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Waltrip Succeeds, Martin Fails, The Top 35 Self-Destructs, And … Johnson’s Beard?

Did You Notice? … Waltrip Succeeds, Martin Fails, The Top 35 Self-Destructs, And … Johnson’s Beard?

*Did You Notice? …* The firestorm surrounding cutting the Daytona 500 48 laps short? Personally, I think the anger should be focused on the _starting time_ of the race more than anything else. The 3:45 EST start makes it near impossible to avoid the type of weather issues that we experienced in Sunday’s event. If anything pops up, you don’t have the whole afternoon to kill drying the track and making sure the full distance gets in. Why are we starting the race so late? I can’t find an acceptable answer just yet. Personally, I think a 1:00 EST start time would be perfect … Read More »

Did You Notice? … Double Yellow Line Means Ridiculous, Stremme’s Sad Debut, And Said’s Big Chance

Did You Notice? … Double Yellow Line Means Ridiculous, Stremme’s Sad Debut, And Said’s Big Chance

*Did You Notice...* The giant black wrecking ball on the track Saturday night? NASCAR was looking for a new wrinkle to make the races more exciting, and... Hold on a second. That was David Stremme? Ohhhh ... _now_ it all makes sense. Seriously, it’s hard to think of a worse debut for a driver with a top-level team. I know the Shootout is an exhibition race, but Stremme was pulling an ugly exhibition of his own Saturday night, involved in multiple wrecks while destroying his Veriz ... er, Penske Championship Racing Dodge. He followed that up by falling flat in qualifying the next day, taking full advantage of his Top 35 exemption into the field after timing in a dismal 41st. Read More »

Did You Notice… Gaughan’s No Rookie, Daytona Can Be Bought, And We All Needed A Vacation

*Did You Notice…* How this year’s offseason went extensive periods without any sort of NASCAR in the news? Yeah, it was merger central all the time with Richard Petty, Chip Ganassi, George Gillett, and Teresa Earnhardt … but beyond that, there really wasn’t all that much to write about. And you know what – that was great. Because for the first time in years, people were actually given a chance to _miss_ stock cars going round in circles. We didn’t have to hear about the big test at Daytona just one month after the overhyped banquet tried to plaster its way over every television screen in America. We didn’t have to hear about all these one-off tests in which drivers were preparing for a new season within two weeks after the old one ended. It allowed fans a chance to breathe; and while yes, there’s still plenty of cynical doubters still out there, even the ones who have railed against NASCAR for years have uttered phrases like “I miss racing” heading into this year’s Speedweeks. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Layoffs Still Looming, Testing Hope, And Changes At Yates

*Did You Notice?* … Yates Racing is cutting down to just two cars for next season? I’ve heard that talk for awhile now, and the move would put the beleaguered David Gilliland on the chopping block. If it’s a battle between Gilliland or Kvapil for that spot, however, it’s a no brainer that Kvapil gets the nod. Not only has the No. 28 car run better than the No. 38 for most of the season, but Gilliland endured a flurry of late season crashes and mechanical failures in between intentionally wrecking Juan Pablo Montoya at Texas. Failing to finish eight times this season, Gilliland has yet to develop into the type of star power driver some expected after a surprising Nationwide (then Busch) Series win at Kentucky back in 2006. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Hendrick Layoffs, Ratings Reality, And Gordon’s Age?

Did You Notice? … Hendrick Layoffs, Ratings Reality, And Gordon’s Age?

*Did You Notice?* … Jeff Gordon in the pre-race show on Sunday? When ESPN was interviewing him, I’ve never seen the guy look so old. Heck, he was talking about having breathing problems in his car! It’s hard to believe as a guy who was just a wide-eyed kid when a 21-year-old Gordon took the wheel the day of Richard Petty’s last race. But at 37, Gordon’s not such a young pup anymore when it comes to the new NASCAR. Of the Top 25 in the current point standings, only Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, and Tony Stewart are older – and in Stewart’s case, it’s only by a matter of a couple of months. Someone asked me recently why Hendrick has kept the slow-to-develop Landon Cassill lying around. My answer? With Gordon, I’m sure he understands that you get to the point where you never know what the future might bring. 2009 will mark Gordon’s 17th full season on the Cup tour… and sometimes, you’ve got to wonder if he’s willing to go past 20. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Who’s Making Fans Turn Away, Why Martinsville’s Lost, And Marc Davis Debuts

Did You Notice? … Who’s Making Fans Turn Away, Why Martinsville’s Lost, And Marc Davis Debuts

*Did You Notice?* … NASCAR’s TV ratings at Martinsville were down significantly this weekend, an overnight 2.9 as compared to a 3.3 in 2007? That low rating isn’t going to do the Virginia track any favors when it comes to whether it keeps a second date beyond the 2009 Cup season. Personally, it’s one of my favorite tracks on the circuit, a short track bullring that epitomizes racing the way it ought to be. But just like with other tracks that have lost dates through the years, NASCAR fans need to start putting their money where their mouth is – or in this case, their remote – before it’s too late. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Sorenson Could Be Casey Atwood, Part II … And Two Teams Better Than One For Big Four

Did You Notice? … Sorenson Could Be Casey Atwood, Part II … And Two Teams Better Than One For Big Four

*Did You Notice?* … The sneaking suspicion that Reed Sorenson’s move to Gillett Evernham Motorsports equals the second coming of Casey Atwood? In light of the official announcement Sorenson’s headed to GEM, I can’t stop thinking about the comparison between the two. For new fans, some background: both were rookies in the Cup Series at 20 years old, driving for what equated to be middle-of-the-pack teams. At the time of Atwood’s rise into the Cup Series, Evernham Motorsports was in their first year of competition, spearheading Dodge’s return to the series after more than 20 years on the sidelines. But Atwood’s maturity level just wasn’t there at the Cup level. Read More »