This Week(end) in NASCAR - Extra Edition

Keselowski wins, Stewart-Haas falters and Matt Kenseth to "the Dark Side"?

7/1/12 in NASCAR   |   Debi_L   |   11875 respect

Blog Photo - This Week(end) in NASCAR - Extra EditionIt has been one of those weeks when there is so much happening, I just can't keep quiet.  Last night Brad Keselowski won the Sprint Cup race at Kentucky, virtually securing himself a spot in the Chase.  It was Bad Brad's 3rd win of the season and although he has not been near the front of the points standings, those wins should guarantee him a spot, as long as he finishes above 20th in the standings when the next ten races are complete. 

This last rush for the Chase, these last ten races will fly by, much as Summer seems to deteriorate into Fall in the blink of an eye.  We wait anxiously for the warm days to arrive, then it seems they don't hang around long enough for us to enjoy them.  And so, it seems, NASCAR's last ten race run for the playoffs is exactly the same.

I predicted that Stewart-Haas Racing would have a strong night.  well, unfortunately, their season seems to almost be unraveling before our very eyes.  Yes, they have strong cars and reliable engines.  After all, they get them from Hendrick Motorsports.  But what is going on between that factory and the SHR garages?  Last night Tony has ignition problems and although he was able to get back on track, ended up 32nd in the final standings.  He dropped from 5th to 9th in the points.  Teammate, Ryan Newman, had his engine blow and spun into his own oil, hitting the wall and taking out Regan Smith in the melee.  Newman finished 34th, allowing Kasey Kahne to get past him in the standings.  Newman has that all important win to give him a better chance at a spot in the Chase, but needs to put together some strong finishes.
Blog Photo - This Week(end) in NASCAR - Extra Edition
After last night's race, Matt Kenseth has remained in the top spot, with Dale Jr only 11 points back.  Jr finished in fourth with Kenseth grabbing the seventh place spot.  Kenseth has shown this week what a class act he really is.  The announcement that he was leaving Roush Fenway Racing was done in a fashion that allowed Jack Roush a way to "release" the driver of the 17 in a respectful way.  He was able to announce, first, that Kenseth was leaving and Ricky Stenhouse Jr would be filling his shoes in 2013.  Kenseth knows where he is going, but has said repeatedly that he is not at liberty to say where at this time.  

Now comes the not-so-classy part of Jack Roush.  Yes, Jack told reporters this weekend that he was shocked and surprised at Matt's decision to leave.  He has said their "friendship" will endure, and I am sure it will, but Jack announced that their professional relationship may not fare as well.  He has said that he will not be cheering Matt on to victory in the coming years, because Matt is defecting to "the Dark Side".  

Roush has been famous for his grousing of the non-American presence of Toyota in NASCAR's premiere series, and his comments certainly seem to indicate that speculation that Matt is moving to Joe Gibbs Racing is correct.  However, that announcement was Matt's (or his team owner's) to give, not Jack Roush's.  I find the man to be arrogant, and I have said this before.  It's not secret what I think, so any of you reading this and wondering at my opinion, don't be surprised.  When Mark Martin left RFR, Jack said that "their friendship would survive".  I have no doubt that the two have remained friends, mostly due the very classy and mature way that Mark Martin conducts himself.  I am reasonably certain that any phone calls between the two are initiated by Mark Martin.  I do believe that he was one of the first to contact Jack after Carl Edwards' disappointing second place finish in the 2011 Sprint Cup Championship.  I do know I saw him speaking to Carl Edwards after the race at Homestead.
Blog Photo - This Week(end) in NASCAR - Extra Edition
Matt reminds me of Mark in some ways.  He is quiet and polite, but has a sense of humor and will show it if given the opportunity.  He is a strong family man.  He is determined and focused when it comes to the race car. Any team that does hire him, be it Joe Gibbs, or even Michael Waltrip Racing (after all, they are in Toyotas as well, and could classify as the Dark Side) would be getting a helluva driver.  

And given that he is in the points lead, would a defending Champion be even better?
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7/2/12   |   Debi_L   |   11875 respect

AlwaysSunshine wrote:
A lot of my NASCAR friends believe Kenseth will end up in the #20 car.  I am more of a casual fan and don't really keep up with the ins and outs of NASCAR.  I do know that Kenseth handles himself with a quiet grace, which is why I am a fan of his.  I LOVE his demeanor both on and off the track.

NASCAR. com posted a story on Saturday, stating that re-signing Joey was Gibb's top priority.  Although the story could be a plant to counter act Roush's loose lips, I tend to believe that is true.  So,if those negotiations fall through, he could end up in the 20.  If not, it could mean a fourth team will be created.  If that is the case, I suspect the delay in announcing is due to Gibbs wanting to announce the crew chief at the same time, and that deal not being finalized yet. 

7/1/12   |   AlwaysSunshine   |   7458 respect

A lot of my NASCAR friends believe Kenseth will end up in the #20 car.  I am more of a casual fan and don't really keep up with the ins and outs of NASCAR.  I do know that Kenseth handles himself with a quiet grace, which is why I am a fan of his.  I LOVE his demeanor both on and off the track.

7/1/12   |   ironhead_mike   |   9776 respect

oh... and as for the race last night.... 

7/1/12   |   ironhead_mike   |   9776 respect

A lot of speculation has him going to Gibbs... but, I think there's something else in the works. I would not be surprised if it is with a Dodge team. Imagine what a driver of his stature would help them accomplish. Petty will not have Fords next year... I cannot see Ford allowing them to have a special Dodge Challenger in production for the public to buy that is endorsed by Petty. Matt may not be with Petty next year... but it I think it's a Dodge team even a new team altogether not racing this year.

7/1/12   |   JenX63   |   33289 respect

Debi_L wrote:
Matt has always been one of my favorite drivers, and always will be, no matter where he ends up.  Seeing the way he has conducted himself, and the way Jack Roush has conducted himself has only reinforced the Love/Hate for the two.  I always thought Matt was too good for Roush, who I believe took him for granted.  

Wherever he goes, I think it will be a positive move, and one that is best for HIM.  That's what is most important to me.

Yep, I agree.

7/1/12   |   Debi_L   |   11875 respect

JenX63 wrote:
Amen Debi. I watched the pre race show when Matt was being interviewed. It was interesting to see a confident relaxed Matt.  Questions were asked of course, but Matt stated firmly he wasn't at liberty to say any more. He talked about doing well for Roush in his last season in the 17.  If he did win the Championship, it would be a "heads-up", that Roush should of tried harder to keep him...I agree he is a great guy, quiet, laid back and he drives a great race. I am so excited for him and can't wait to hear where he is going. 

Matt has always been one of my favorite drivers, and always will be, no matter where he ends up.  Seeing the way he has conducted himself, and the way Jack Roush has conducted himself has only reinforced the Love/Hate for the two.  I always thought Matt was too good for Roush, who I believe took him for granted.  

Wherever he goes, I think it will be a positive move, and one that is best for HIM.  That's what is most important to me.

7/1/12   |   JenX63   |   33289 respect

Amen Debi. I watched the pre race show when Matt was being interviewed. It was interesting to see a confident relaxed Matt.  Questions were asked of course, but Matt stated firmly he wasn't at liberty to say any more. He talked about doing well for Roush in his last season in the 17.  If he did win the Championship, it would be a "heads-up", that Roush should of tried harder to keep him...I agree he is a great guy, quiet, laid back and he drives a great race. I am so excited for him and can't wait to hear where he is going.