Home / Holding A Pretty Wheel (page 20)

Holding A Pretty Wheel

Is NASCAR Ready to Dethrone the King?

There has been considerable debate lately about wins: which ones should count toward the record books and which should not. At the center of it all is Kyle Busch, who scored his 91st NASCAR touring victory at Fontana and who has made it a personal goal to try to equal Richard Petty’s storied mark of 200. That pursuit ignites a certain controversy, especially as this march nears the halfway point of his stated goal at just 25 years old - making that pursuit more realistic than it ever has been. But should all touring series wins be counted when looking at a driver’s career total?

Read More »

Big Six: Kroger 250

*Who…gets my shoutout of the race?* From the Where Did He Come From Department, *Brendan Gaughan* climbed into the top 10 after a totally inauspicious start to the day. Gaughan qualified 31st out of 35 trucks and was in danger of losing a lap very early on, but the cautions …

Read More »

Hollywood and Mayberry: Auto Club Speedway and Martinsville a Microcosm of All NASCAR

It’s a little like looking at Fenway Park and the now (thankfully) defunct Astrodome side by side on a calendar of ballparks. One wonders how the same game can be played at two places with so little in common they might as well be on different planets. Sure, they both have a diamond in there somewhere, but that’s where the similarity ends. One represented the game they way the nostalgic want to remember it; the other represented progress and expansion to new frontiers. Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

Read More »

Cali-bore-ya or Sunshine Superspeedway? Some (Sort Of) Good Things About SoCal’s Racing

The NASCAR circuit swings westward this week to Fontana, California and the Auto Club Speedway, the much-maligned 2-mile oval that replaced the road course at Riverside as NASCAR’s southern California staple. The track has a reputation for acting as a narcotic, producing more snores than racing. In fact, this was the subject of our featured newsletter commentary on Thursday. And the fan responses poured in to defend the speedway. Okay, that’s kind of an exaggeration. A fan response poured in to defend the speedway. Kevin in SoCal is a longtime and valued Frontstretch reader as well as frequent commentator on the site, and is a staunch supporter of ACS. His email takes exception to the poor treatment the track receives from the media. “California (Auto Club Speedway) does not deserve the bashing it gets from you, or anyone else for that matter,” Kevin writes. “The track was built by Roger Penske as a dual-use track for his Indy Cars and NASCAR, and he cloned Michigan because the races there were usually pretty good...

Read More »

The Greed That Brought The Nationwide Series to Its Knees

It all comes down to money. Racing costs a lot of it. Teams need someone to spend it. And sponsors are the ones to do it-in return for TV time. It’s been that way in racing for years. In the beginning, teams raced with small, local sponsors, because the audience was decidedly…well, local. Races weren’t shown on TV except for the odd clip on Wide World of Sports, right between the bowling clip and some guy wiping out on skis. So local businesses advertised on racecars to draw the local audience to their doors. When the modern era brought more coverage, national sponsors became the norm. Racing got them something valuable: TV time. Overall, it came at a cheaper rate than actually buying commercial airtime, and the added bonus is that they got more time than the 30-second commercial slot.

Read More »

For NASCAR, A Continued Upswing Is Dependent on Venue Changes

As the 2011 season has turned three weeks old, feel-good stories have abounded: 20-year-old Trevor Bayne winning the Daytona 500 in just his second start, and for the storied Wood Brothers at that; Jeff Gordon breaking a 66-race winless streak in dramatic fashion after a side-by-side duel with Kyle Busch; the resurgence of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Daytona provided an exciting race marked by everything that makes a restrictor plate race, including a multi-car crash that took out, among others, the series champion; close racing; the draft (though in a slightly different form); and an unexpected winner. Phoenix provided action typical of a 1-mile flat track, with hard-fought battles throughout the field. Ratings are up, optimism is creeping in around the edges.

Read More »

One Decal at a Time: Remembering NASCAR’s Legends Is Just the Right Thing To Do

He wasn’t the winningest driver of his era, nor the most popular. He wasn’t a champion, nor did he make millions upon millions driving a racecar. But sometimes making history comes quietly, and what Wendell Scott did for NASCAR is irreplaceable. Scott, the first African-American driver to race and win on NASCAR’s top circuit, desegregated the sport before we desegregated America. Breaking into the NASCAR ranks in 1961, Scott first raced in the Grand National (now Sprint Cup Series) in 1963, in a car he bought from Ned Jarrett. He didn’t win, but finished 15th in points-not bad for a rookie. And when the 1964 season got underway that December, Scott broke through with a win-still the only win for an African-American in the series.

Read More »

Daytona Is Over. So Now What?

“Did that really just happen?” Those were my words (though I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on that) after Sunday’s Daytona 500 which, after a weekend rife with reminders of the past, showed a hint of the future. Trevor Bayne’s win was a feel-good story for a sport that desperately needed one; the rookie besting the title favorite to start the season. It was an exciting race with a storybook ending, at a time the sport badly needed to turn over a new leaf. But has it? Well, not so fast. The Daytona 500 is over. There are 35 races to go this year. So now what?

Read More »

Gone In an Instant: Earnhardt’s Death Still Reverberates in NASCAR

It’s hard to believe that ten years - an entire decade - has come and gone since the day the NASCAR world stood still. That day is etched in the minds of many race fans like it was yesterday: the blue car flashing across the line as the black one spun across the track in turn 4 and came to rest in the infield. It didn’t look that bad, really; certainly not any worse than the wrecks we saw all the time. Definitely not worse than the wild airborne ride that Tony Stewart had taken earlier that day. But it was worse.

Read More »

Why Jimmie Johnson Will Win it All (Again) in 2011 – And Why He Won’t

Will it ever end? Following a 2010 season in which the seemingly impossible happened, as Jimmie Johnson won his fifth Cup title in a row, coming to rest dangerously close to the sport’s all-time greats, we’re all left to ask one question: Can he possibly do it again? A lot of fans are probably hoping to see Johnson’s streak come to an abrupt end this year, and some even go so far as to argue his titles are “bad for NASCAR.” (A ridiculous argument, by the way. NASCAR survived Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt relatively unscathed and it will survive Johnson, too.) But whether Johnson can continue his remarkable streak is up for debate. There is plenty of reason to think that 2011 will be same old, same old. But there is also plenty to think that this time, he won’t. As the new season looms, the title question is already at the forefront. Here are six reasons why Johnson will - and won’t - hoist his sixth straight Cup this year.

Read More »