Monday , April 27 2015
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Five Points To Ponder

Five Points to Ponder: Dollars, Cents And The Lack Thereof

Five Points to Ponder: Dollars, Cents And The Lack Thereof

*ONE: Pit Call of the Day to Johnston, Truex?* When all was said and done on Monday, there wasn't much to celebrate statistically for the No. 56 team, coming home a mediocre 18th despite leading 14 laps (more than he's led the previous nine races combined). And those laps came late in the going, with Martin Truex Jr. going full bore as leaders Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and others were stroking the throttle, trying to conserve fuel to the finish. Truex and the No. 56 team knew full well they weren't making it to the checkers without stopping; they had played an earlier strategy card, banking on a caution to come with 20-30 to go that would force the hands of the pack to come in for tires if not gas. Read More »

5 Points To Ponder: Cookie Cutter Chase, Headgames and a Happier Harvick?

5 Points To Ponder: Cookie Cutter Chase, Headgames and a Happier Harvick?

With ten races to go, and the championship field officially whittled down from 43 to 12, the first round of the Chase makes its first trip to Chicagoland. Now that Richmond and all of its drama and action--Chase and non-Chase related--in the history books, we have time for this week's “Five Points To Ponder”. *ONE: The Chase Now Starts At Chicagoland* Ever since the inception of the Chase format, the playoffs have perennially started each and every year at New Hampshire. Not this year, as now Chicagoland gets their race date shuffled to the first race during the Chase. While New Hampshire is considered a “short track” by many, the series now opens its Chase at--surprise, surprise--yet another “cookie-cutter” track. Read More »

5 Pts To Ponder: Atlanta Loses To… Kansas?, Even Champs Get Shaky & “Chase Time”

5 Pts To Ponder: Atlanta Loses To… Kansas?, Even Champs Get Shaky & “Chase Time”

Well, we got there in the end after, perhaps, one of the longest rain delays in the sport’s illustrious history; and it was more than worth the wait with an absolute belter of a 500-mile race at one of the best tracks on the schedule. Watching two of the sports great drivers duel it out in a fight to the finish was an absolute pleasure, especially after a ridiculously long day at work – thank the good Lord above for DVRs. Now just one race remains before the Chase field is set (more later) but before we delve into the delights that are in store – short track style – under the lights this Saturday, I want to start with the venerable old Atlanta Motor Speedway. *ONE: One Race at Atlanta, Two at Kansas – A Sad Sign of the Times* Since the debut of Atlanta Motor Speedway on the Sprint Cup schedule some 51 years ago in July 1960 there have been a grand total of 104 total Sprint Cup races run at the mile-and-a-half track. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: J.J. vs J.G., Plus The More Laps You Lead, The More You… Fail?

Five Points to Ponder: J.J. vs J.G., Plus The More Laps You Lead, The More You… Fail?

And then, there were two. Just a pair of races, or 725 laps, if you prefer, separate us from the setting of the final Chase field of twelve, the start of the stretch run of ten races that will decide this year's Sprint Cup championship. Both remaining events will be run under the lights - Atlanta this Sunday, Richmond the following Saturday - ensuring the final spots for the postseason, along with Sprint's inaugural $3 million Showdown will have their final chapters unfold in primetime. Each race will also be run at tracks that history suggests promote good racing, mostly every time even with this behemoth of a car. That may very well be a pleasant change, following Saturday night’s not-so-very thrilling race at Bristol that left a sour taste in our mouths (more on that later). But what last Saturday night did do, however, was congest the already confused Chase picture even further. It’s not a stretch to say we might see more swings and shifts of fate these next two weeks then we’ll see in the final ten races, especially if a certain someone decides to step things up in his habitual Chase fashion - which is where we’ll start this week’s edition of Five Points to Ponder. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: When Drivers Attack!… With Awful Results, Engine Boost For… Busch? And Long Live The Rock

Five Points to Ponder: When Drivers Attack!… With Awful Results, Engine Boost For… Busch? And Long Live The Rock

*ONE: Attacking Drivers in Their Cars Has to Stop* I didn't start following this sport until 2003, but even in my first season of racing I saw my first major instance of a driver, angry at another driver, not even waiting until their opponent got out of the race car before going after them. It's hard to forget the whole episode of Jimmy Spencer reportedly wailing on Kurt Busch at Michigan, Busch still in his driver's seat. Then there was Tony Stewart going after Brian Vickers at the summer race in Daytona in 2004, Kyle Busch egging Steve Wallace on in a Nationwide race at Richmond to a point that Wallace grabbed his facemask, and now this weekend fans in Montreal saw the same Wallace have his hair pulled by Pastrana-Waltrip Racing crew chief post-race in the pits. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: A “Twistie” Edition

Five Points to Ponder: A “Twistie” Edition

When the weather relented enough for us to actually get a race in on Monday morning the end product was a typically dramatic and tumultuous, crash-induced festival of road course racing. Mercifully, everyone emerged unscathed and it really is a testament to just how safe these cars are especially when you consider the ferocity of the wrecks for Denny Hamlin and also the Davids (Reutimann and Ragan.) Tempers, as is often the case with the twisties, were at a premium after the race with Boris Said and Greg Biffle getting involved in a little contretemps. It’s hard to defend Said too much; after all he’s raced just 43 Cup races in the past 13 years, plus he triggered the brutal wreck between the double zero and the number six cars... but it sure did make good television. The whole “someone text me his address” and “he’ll show up at a race with a black eye somewhere” were among many quotes that registered as instant classics; too bad Said won't be entered in the race at Michigan this weekend to keep this going. Aside from the post-race shenanigans, though there was plenty of on-track action worthy of discussion and we’ll start this week with Cup's Watkins Glen winner: Marcos Ambrose. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Road Racing, Ruffling Feathers And Fond Farewells

Five Points to Ponder: Road Racing, Ruffling Feathers And Fond Farewells

Despite the inclement weather this past weekend, we got there in the end with a truly packed day at picturesque Pocono Raceway on Sunday. Not only did we finish the truck race in the morning, we also squeezed in the ARCA event following the rain delayed five hundred mile Cup race: not to mention, the repairs to the flag stand the previous day after it was knocked down by a Truck Series hauler on the way into the infield. You can’t make this stuff up, as the old cliché goes. So, with just five races remaining – three of them at night – before the Chase field is set, the pressure is cranking up and the tension is simmering to the surface which is where we’ll start this week’s edition of Five Points to Ponder: Triangle Style. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Sponsor Handshakes, The Ford vs Edwards Battle And A Fond Farewell

Five Points to Ponder: Sponsor Handshakes, The Ford vs Edwards Battle And A Fond Farewell

*ONE: Notice the NASCAR Presence in Victory Lane After Menard Won?* Paul Menard winning at Indianapolis was both fitting and a big deal. After scoring his first career Nationwide Series victory in Menard territory at the Milwaukee Mile back in 2006, the Wisconsin native upstaged that home state triumph in a big way, taking the checkered flag on the world's most famous racing oval. There's no downplaying the significance of the event... Read More »

5 Points to Ponder: An Idiot Pastor, A Stuntman and The Fans Who Won’t Be There

5 Points to Ponder: An Idiot Pastor, A Stuntman and The Fans Who Won’t Be There

*ONE: Talladega Nights Storms Nashville...* In the form of an invocation that was missing nothing more than references to KFC and race sponsor Federated Auto Parts. There's no getting around it; "a pastor's attempt at humor":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6EgY0W6Er8 didn't do NASCAR any favors, even with 18,000 fans seemingly screaming their approval from the grandstands in Music City on Saturday night. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: 100 Wins, The One-Two Punch and An Empty Brickyard

Five Points to Ponder: 100 Wins, The One-Two Punch and An Empty Brickyard

When we next return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in late September it will be for the second race of the 2011 Chase. And if you thought tempers were frayed and fenders busted and bruised this past weekend, just wait until the next time the Sprint Cup drivers take to the one mile flat track in the Granite State when the stakes will be even higher: especially those with a shot at dethroning the five-time champion, Double J. Speaking of the No. 48 team, Johnson certainly had another one of those golden horseshoe type weekends – seemingly out to lunch for much of the race before finally finishing fifth. Which just served as another warning, if any were needed, that he remains the man to beat – no question. One driver that just might unseat juggernaut Jimmie is the marginally less irascible Kyle Busch, which is where we’ll start this week’s edition of Five Points to Ponder… Read More »