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Five Points To Ponder

Five Points to Ponder: Looking for Some Excitement in 2012

Five Points to Ponder: Looking for Some Excitement in 2012

*ONE: 2012: A Snoozer of a Year* Let’s be fair, now. The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been kinda dull so far – with the operative word there being “kinda.” Totally, completely or utterly work well as replacements, too. When the biggest storyline after seven races is an exploding jet dryer hit by the hapless Juan Pablo Montoya (under caution, no less) it’s a sad indictment as to the general lack of on-track action. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Odds-On for Hendrick and Mayfield’s Improbable Return

Five Points to Ponder: Odds-On for Hendrick and Mayfield’s Improbable Return

*ONE: Expect Hendrick Motorsports’ Best Shot on Saturday Night* The parade of hype surround Hendrick Motorsports’ inevitable 200th win got stalled for two more weeks last Sunday courtesy of another crazy Martinsville finish. But delaying the inevitable is one thing, having that accomplishment literally snatched away in a wreck that crashed two team cars in one corner is something else. That being said, it's hard to imagine that any race team not under the Hendrick banner is going to walk away with Saturday night’s upcoming 500-miler. Read More »

5 Points to Ponder: Junior Hendrick’s Head Honcho? SHR Showing Up The Boss And A.J.’s NASCAR Recovery

5 Points to Ponder: Junior Hendrick’s Head Honcho? SHR Showing Up The Boss And A.J.’s NASCAR Recovery

After six straight weeks of racing to open the 2012 season, the Sprint Cup circus takes a brief pause this weekend in observance of Easter before embarking on a stretch of races that includes trips to Richmond, Darlington, Talladega, Charlotte and Texas. For me, it might just be the best couple of months of racing on the entire ten-month slate. But before that excitement begins, it’s time for another edition of Five Points to Ponder from picturesque Martinsville. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Green Flags, Hungry Drivers and an Exciting Race

Five Points to Ponder: Green Flags, Hungry Drivers and an Exciting Race

*ONE: Green Flags Are Good* The Nationwide Series race featured long green flag runs all afternoon. The Cup race was run caution-free until it ultimately ended for rain. And the Auto Club Speedway got a distinction it perhaps never has held…hosting two races worth watching in the same weekend. Sure, abrasive asphalt and tires that actually wore out were largely responsible for producing a compelling on-track product. But more than that, long green flag runs allowed for drivers to explore lines on the track and to wheel cars that came and went throughout the event. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: NASCAR’s Short-Track Silence and Stubbornness

Five Points to Ponder: NASCAR’s Short-Track Silence and Stubbornness

*ONE: NASCAR’s Silence On Restarts Troubling* In one of those rare instances at Bristol where the FOX crew seemed fully on top of the race, instead of their on-air personalities or a select handful of drivers, a well-presented set of replays demonstrated that Matt Kenseth in fact beat leader Brad Keselowski to the restart line on at least one occasion while coming close to doing the same on another. The video made it crystal clear. Yet there was no penalty that ever came down from NASCAR, although it never affected the end result (Keselowski held off Kenseth and won the race). Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Hamlin On-Track, Sadler Off-Track? and a Big Homecoming for Kurt Busch

Five Points to Ponder: Hamlin On-Track, Sadler Off-Track? and a Big Homecoming for Kurt Busch

*ONE: Sunday’s Win a Big Step for Hamlin, No. 11 Team* Two races into the season is hardly enough time to make a lasting prediction for the remainder of a long regular season that will stretch till September. But no matter how early in the season, Sunday was a very big day for the No. 11 team and driver Denny Hamlin. Two races in, Hamlin sits atop the point standings; in six previous full-time seasons, he’s averaged 20th in points by now. It was a second straight convincing showing that had the No. 11 among the class of the field, demonstrating that the learning curve between driver and new crew chief Darian Grubb may well be a short one. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Schedule Woes And A Winning Robot

Five Points to Ponder: Schedule Woes And A Winning Robot

*ONE: Daytona 500 Weekend Needs to Be Pushed Back* Look, NASCAR is not at fault for what Mother Nature turned into a debacle of a race weekend, one that went into Tuesday. But just as having the Super Bowl of stock car racing delayed for weather was a radical departure from the norm, so was the Monday after the 500 not being the President’s Day holiday. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Good Racing, Bad TV, and Some Mighty Fine Officiating

Five Points to Ponder: Good Racing, Bad TV, and Some Mighty Fine Officiating

*ONE: Thank You Thank You Thank You for this New Plate Package* A two car tandem still ended up deciding this Shootout, and along with the return of pack drafting came the return of the “big one.” But if the first 180-some miles of the season were any indication, NASCAR actually managed to find a technical fix to the problem (and yes, it was a problem) that turned last year’s Daytona races into a four-hour dance marathon with stock cars. The pack racing seen Saturday had all the inherent problems that the pack racing of the past has, but the amount of control the drivers’ had over their own destinies was exponentially greater. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Shortcomings, Hangovers, Schedules And A Look Ahead

Five Points to Ponder: Shortcomings, Hangovers, Schedules And A Look Ahead

*ONE: Why Winning Needs to Mean More* Both Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart entered Sunday's 400-miler knowing how strong each other were; Roush Fenway Racing has long made the intermediate ovals their dominion, while Tony Stewart was the hottest driver in all of stock car racing. Regardless of what the math said, both drivers came into the race knowing full well it was going to take a win to take the Cup. And lo and behold, two of Sprint Cup's heavyweights put on one of the best shows NASCAR racing has seen in recent memory. The last 40 laps of green flag racing were as intense as they come. Read More »