Race Weekend Central

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2008 Bristol Night Race

1. A Little Communication – New team owner for 2009 Tony Stewart has had a change of heart on acquiring the No. 4 for next year’s teammate Ryan Newman; instead, Stewart’s fellow Indiana driver will race the No. 39. Though NASCAR agreed to transfer the number, used by Morgan-McClure Motorsports for 25 years, the sanctioning body’s decision was met with disappointment and dismay from co-owners at MMM, Tim Morgan and Larry McClure, who have hopes of reestablishing the No. 4 in the Sprint Cup Series.

“We’ve been told that [McClure] is going to run some races next year and to us, especially me as a car owner, we know how much car numbers mean to teams and organizations,” Stewart said, explaining his change in plans. “Even though NASCAR has given us that number for next year, if Mr. McClure is going to run a car we’re excited to have him back in the series… so we wanted him to have his number. As a fellow car owner, I know how important that would be to me so we wanted to make sure that he’s got his number back for next year with the word that he’s going to be running some races next year.”

Wouldn’t a simple phone call to MMM by NASCAR before any decision was made have been the smart thing to do?

2. What Would Bob Hope Say? – The Texaco Star is about to disappear from the hood of a NASCAR Sprint Cup car for the first time in about 20 years with the announcement that the Chevron Corporation and owner of the Texaco Havoline brand would end its NASCAR involvement at season’s end. Chevron, a major integrated oil company, bought Texaco in 2001 and has been systematically eliminating the Texaco brand ever since.

Guess things must be tough for oil companies. NOT!

3. Not That Tough – Bristol Motor Speedway boasted of having sold out their scheduled Sprint Cup races for the 53rd consecutive time with the running of the Sharpie 500 Saturday night. The half-mile Tennessee track, an engineering and architectural marvel, also claims to be the hardest ticket to come by on the NASCAR circuit.

Points to Ponder knows of at least 10 tickets that could not be used due to their owners’ recent financial difficulties and were unable to be sold even at bargain basement prices. what gives?

4. Cats Land On Their Feet… TooCasey Mears, with just one win to his credit during stints with Chip Ganassi Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, has been selected as the newest driver to the Richard Childress Racing stable of drivers that already includes Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick.

See also
Bowles-Eye View: Casey Mears Almost Had It All... But Almost Doesn't Cut It

How many lives does a driver have?

5. Cheerio – As part of the big announcement that Casey Mears would in fact join RCR, it was also confirmed by owner Richard Childress that Mears will move into the No. 07 Jack Daniel’s ride presently driven by Bowyer and that Bowyer would pilot RCR’s new team for 2009 to carry the No. 33 and sponsorship by Cheerios and Hamburger Helper. It was widely reported that Cheerios and Hamburger Helper’s parent company General Mills wasn’t comfortable with Mears, presently driving the Kellogg’s No. 5 for HMS, representing their product after having represented a rival company.

Apparently hitching their wagon to a whiskey representative for next season is more appealing.

6. It Could Be Worse – An upshot of the switch-a-roo in teams between the new RCR No. 33 and the No. 07 is that Bowyer, who finished seventh at Bristol on Saturday and is in Chase contention may lose his Top-35 protection in ‘09. Barring a number purchase or some such nonsense by RCR, Bowyer will be required to qualify on speed for at least the first five races or more until he is able to crack the Top 35 for the No. 33 in owner points.

However, Bowyer seems upbeat and accepting of the situation, saying that it is like he told owner Richard Childress, “Beats beatin’ dents in the body shop,” a humorous reference to Bowyer’s early racing days when he funded his budding racing career by working in a body shop before becoming a full-time NASCAR driver.

Clint Bowyer obviously knows that it’s important to remember where you came from. Good for him!

7. Physics? – The top-10 finishing positions in Saturday night’s Sharpie 500: 1) Carl Edwards, 2) Kyle Busch, 3) Denny Hamlin, 4) Harvick, 5) Jeff Gordon, 6) Newman, 7) Bowyer, 8) Tony Stewart, 9) Matt Kenseth, 10) David Ragan. With the exception of Newman, the other nine drivers are in contention for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Notice how the cream always rises to the top?

8. Knowing Your Competition – Edwards used his No. 99 Roush Fenway Ford front bumper to execute a bump-and-run pass on Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on lap 470 of the 500 lap Sharpie 500, a maneuver that proved to be the winning move of the race. “It’s one of those deals where I couldn’t get by him, I couldn’t get by him, and I just had to ask myself, ‘Would he do that to me?’ And he has before, so that’s the way it goes.” Busch, before hearing Edwards’s explanation of the aggressive driving, predicted that Edwards would say, “He didn’t mean to do it and is sorry.”

Apparently Carl felt no need to be apologetic… Kyle.

9. All a Matter of Style – Edwards second win in a row and sixth of the season at BMS Saturday has him only two wins behind Busch for the year in the Sprint Cup Series.

But have you noticed how Edwards’s multiple wins and backflips never seem to elicit the negative reaction from race fans at the track that Busch’s numerous victories and bow do?

10. Get It On – On the obvious bad feelings that Edwards’s late-race pass on Busch, a race that Busch was dominating, has stirred, “They [fans and media] keep talking about rivalries… we might have one now.”

Ohhhh yeahhhhh! Bring it on guys!

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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