Race Weekend Central

Potts’s Shots: Home Tracks, B-Mains, & Fuel Mileage Still a Hot Issue

Ralph Teagardin of Tucson, Ariz. writes, “Several months ago, it was announced that Kurt Busch and his wife were pursuing a divorce. Lately he has been accompanied by a ‘Blonde, young lady,’ and last week when he was in winner’s circle, he asked for us to respect his privacy. But when he is in public, celebrity deletes that privacy. What is up?”

To tell you the truth, Ralph, I don’t know and I don’t care. If that keeps you from reading my stuff, I’m sorry. I try not to pay too much attention to the foibles of celebrities. I have opinions, of course, but I let other folks comment on the stuff I don’t know anything about personally.

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Sharon J. comments, apparently quoting this statement from a news article. “Carl Edwards, fresh off a third-place performance at Dover that left him tied for the points lead is expected to meet with the media. Edwards, in the best position to challenge for the championship since 2008, is returning to his hometown track, Kansas, this weekend, where he finished fifth in the spring.”

She asks, “When did Kansas become Edwards’s home track when Edwards came from Missouri? I always thought it was Clint Bowyer’s home track since he was from Emporia, Kan.”

See also
The Yellow Stripe: Is Ebullient Carl Edwards the Natural Heir to Jimmie Johnson's Throne?

Interesting slant on that, Sharon. I don’t know that any single track has to be any single driver’s “home” track, though. Emporia is about 110 miles from Kansas City and Columbia, Mo. is about 120 miles. I suppose they could both claim to be the closest track the Cup Series runs to their hometowns. With Jeff Gordon’s hometown listed as Pittsboro, Ind., I suppose Indianapolis could be his home track as well as that of Tony Stewart.

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I don’t recall anything bringing out as many emails as our comments on fuel mileage. We’ll start with one from Sevengelion, who also mentions the Junior question.

”Hi, Here are my two cents. (1) [Dale Earnhardt] Jr. does not have to fire any crew members because the (No.) 88 and the (No.) 48 share three full teams for two cars. (2) The best way to get better NASCAR fuel mileage is to get their corn (ethanol) out of their gas. A gallon of ethanol gets 60% of the mileage of a gallon of gasoline. A 90/10 blend at the local store will cost you 6% if you have a Vespa or a F-250. If that wasn’t bad enough, wait until your fuel pump dies. OK, so I have a third one. (3) Denny Hamlin could be third or so in points if he had real gas for the first two races in the playoffs. Who knew?”

Nice note, Sevengelion, but number two is another one of those things we can expect not to happen as long as NASCAR is making money from the ethanol people.

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Dave says, “Fuel mileage is an easy fix. Go back to the old, bigger fuel cells. A few seasons back NASCAR reduced the size of the fuel cell, apparently to ‘increase competition’ or to reduce pit road time by not having to put as much fuel in. So go back to the bigger fuel cells. Easy. That said, maybe the NASCAR fan just needs to be willing to use their brain a little more to enjoy a race.

Watch any other form of professional racing and fuel and pit strategy is a huge part of winning the race. NASCAR has been dumbed down for decades, we simply expect every car to get four tires and a full load of gas during every (all too frequent) caution, and have no fuel or pit strategy at all. Wake up fans! Use your brains! There is more than one legitimate way to win a race!”

Well stated, but NASCAR said at the time that they wanted to “break up” the big packs at Daytona and Talladega when the downsized fuel cells came to pass. I also wondered how they thought that was going to work when everybody still had the same size fuel cell. And your comment on “more than one legitimate way” was my point when I said you had to have the whole package.

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Randall says, “I think it would be great if at least a few races had a different format. Wouldn’t you love to see an event run like a Saturday night show. Four or five heat races, a Last Chance ‘B’ Main and then a 100-lap feature? Golf has the occasional tournament using an alternate method of play (match play, Stableford, skins game) Why not NASCAR? Also, just a question about the three 100-lap races. Did anyone ever win the event without winning one of the legs?”

Randall, I think that would be great. Another of those things I don’t think we’ll ever see happen, though. A neat idea would be another one of the late Milt Hartlauf’s promotions – the old Midwest 300 at Salem.

Sort of a Daytona format. Odd number qualifiers in the first 100, evens in the second 100 and the top finishers in the third 100. Odds on the inside, evens outside, or flip a coin to see which gets the inside. Maybe make the finale a 200. We started 24, the top 12 in each one, but it could just as easily be the top 20 or so.

And, in regard to your question about the Bluegrass 300 at Louisville, the answer is yes, it happened three times. Leonard Blanchard won it in 1968 by finishing third twice and second in the last one. Dave Kulmer had three third-place finishes in 1970 to take it and Mike Eddy finished sixth, fifth and second in 1974 to be first overall.

For the record, Jesse Baird’s clean sweep came in 1971 and John Anderson’s in 1979. We owe Frank Scott of Louisville our appreciation for hanging on to all these records since the Fairgrounds Motor Speedway closed after the 1980 season.

Keep those questions coming, folks.

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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