NASCAR This Week [March 16 Edition]

Thunder in the Valley or Racing in the Bull Ring - Whatever your terminology, it's Bristol Baby!

3/17/12 in NASCAR   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

I have to be perfectly honest.  This has been a long week and as much as I am looking so forward to racing at Bristol, I still have one more very long day at work before I can enjoy a very short weekend.  So, tonight I sit, tuned to SPEED TV watching repeats of both Sprint Cup and Nationwide practices, and the crew chiefs on NASCAR Performance discussing the new EFI system on the cars.  

The main story this week has undoubtedly been the denial of the Hendrick appeal of the fines and penalties levied against the 48 car at Daytona.  Rick Hendrick himself immediately announced that they would take the final step in the appeal process and would have a further hearing with John Middlebrook making the final decision.  Much has been made by the media of the fact that the two gentlemen are long time friends, but if Mr. Middlebrook sides with HMS without a sound explanation of why he did so, the "black helicopter" drama will once again surface.  The final hearing will take place this coming Tuesday.

in the meantime, practice for both the Sprint Cup and the Nationwide races has completed for the day, and Dale Earnhardt Jr was fastest in the first Nationwide practice, with Ricky Stenhouse dominating in the second practice. In the Cup series, Greg Biffle has taken the pole position, just edging our AJ Allmendinger by .001 seconds.  By his own admission, the lap was one Biffle wouldn't want to repeat, as he "pushed the envelope as far as he could".  Still, Biffle, who has finished third in each of the three opening races, is thrilled to be on the pole and in prime position to take an early lead.  He is also, coincidentally, the early leader in the Sprint Cup standings, ahead of Kevin Harvick by an astounding 10 points.  

The new EFI or Electronic Fuel Injection system the teams are using this year has caused some problems in the early going.  Tony Stewart won last week at Vegas, but the week before, at Phoenix, he shut off the car to try to save fuel, something drivers have done for years without too many difficulties, and he car wouldn't start.  NASCAR wants to share all of the EFI information throughout all teams in the garage.  Dale Jr. is against that, and Carl Edwards agrees.  The EFI system is new and teams are still figuring it all out.  Is it fair for NASCAR to want to have any info collected with regard to the system available to all teams?  

No.

I've been on my soap box a lot lately, and more so in the past couple of years.  I am an opinionated racing fan and always have been.  I don't deny that.  So, I'll climb up on that soap box one more time.  NASCAR has done everything in their power to ensure a level playing field in racing.  I believe they have done more t
han 
necessary.  NASCAR racing has bordered on becoming entirely too much like IROC racing, where racers were given identically prepared cars and challenged to race them. Yes, the racing was put entirely into the hands of the drivers, and we often saw the same dominators that we saw in the racing series the driver excelled in.  Did that make sense?  Dale Earnhardt Sr. raced in the IROC series and go figure, he won almost as much in IROC and he did in the then Winston Cup series.   The teams need to have some kind of way to gain
 advantages over their competitors. Yes, there needs to be rules, but insisting on every team having every bit of information their competitors do is not feasible.  Time will tell if it will all play out the way drivers fear it will, and whether it will give underdog teams any kind of advantage against the big dogs.

Finally, IZOD IndyCar is gearing up for their opening weekend at St. Petersburg, FL next weekend.   Hearts will be heavy for many fans, team members and drivers as we lost Dan Wheldon in the final race of 2011.  However, IZOD IndyCar has made changes to the car for 2012, with all efforts focused on making the car safer for the drivers.  It's too late for Dan, but we, as racing fans, hope that their efforts are entirely successful and we will see safe racing and no injuries or deaths this year.  FanIQ's own gearhead has created a number of IndyCar polls for the coming week's race, so have some fun and give them a go.

The Bristol Nationwide race runs tomorrow while I'm at work, so enjoy that and I'll catch up when I get home.  The Sprint Cup race will air Sunday and we'll have our usual live thread up for that race.  In the meantime, give us your picks for the races.  Oh, and I'm taking Jr in the Cup race, with Trevor Bayne as my Nationwide driver, just because he had no sponsorship to get into the race and managed to find that sponsorship just in time.  WTG Trevor, we're cheering for you.
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3/18/12   |   Canadianhick   |   2149 respect

First time since 1995  that Nationwide regulars have won the first four races. Chad Little won the first two races, Kenny Wallace the third and Johnny Benson the fourth.

3/17/12   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

ARRRGGHHHHH Supposed to have the Nationwide race airing on TSN in a few minutes, but they are still showing Basketball and it is only the freaking second quarter. 

I hate basketball.  I don't really normally, but right now I hate it more than I hate most anything. angry

3/17/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

So here's what happened on the last lap in GT. A teammate of Beretta, who was over 100 laps down, hit Joey Hand. Hand almost spun but kept it together. Trying to avoid Hand, Beretta spun. Hand recovered to win, and Jan Magnussen tiptoed his way through it to take 2nd from Beretta. Nuts.

The other class winners:

P2: Stephane Sarrazin, Ryan Dalziel (last seen impressing in the 24 Hours of Daytona), and Vicente Potolicchio. These guys actually ended up on the podium in 3rd overall.

PC: EJ Viso (this scares me), Alex Popow, Burt Friselle

GT: Joey Hand, Jonathan Summerton (both guys IndyCar let get away at the height of the Split *sigh*), Dirk Mueller

GTC: Townsend Bell (good night for IndyCar guys making their ALMS debuts), Bill Sweedler, Dion von Moltke

3/17/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Meanwhile, your overall winners are Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen, and Rinaldo Capello! This is the fifth Sebring title for Capello and Kristensen (to go with his 8 wins at Le Mans), and the fourth for McNish.

3/17/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The ending of the GT class race at Sebring needed to be seen to be believed. No one is really sure what exactly happened, but it looks like Joey Hand won it after getting run off the road by Oliver Beretta on the last lap. However, Beretta ended up third in class 8 seconds back, so what happened? No one's really sure yet.

3/17/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Debi_L wrote:
Yeah, not getting that either.  So far, I have NCAA, some NCAA, a little NCAA and just a little bit more NCAA.

I'm not happy right now.

Be forewarned. EJ Viso is currently leading his class (PC class, below P1 and P2). I'm not gonna lie, that scares me a little.

3/17/12   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

Eric_ wrote:
Thanks for the IndyCar shout out!

I also want to point out that we have a little more than 2 hours left in the 12 Hours of Sebring, the biggest race in the American Le Mans series. It's streaming on ESPN3.

Yeah, not getting that either.  So far, I have NCAA, some NCAA, a little NCAA and just a little bit more NCAA.

I'm not happy right now.

3/17/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Thanks for the IndyCar shout out!

I also want to point out that we have a little more than 2 hours left in the 12 Hours of Sebring, the biggest race in the American Le Mans series. It's streaming on ESPN3.

3/17/12   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

Elliott Sadler wins his second race of the year in the Nationwide Series.The rest of the top ten are:  Kasey Kahne,  Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano,  Dale Earnhardt Jr, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Justin Allgaier, the guy who wasn't supposed to be here, Trevor Bayne, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Truex.  Kyle Busch finished in 17th a lap down, and Danica finished in 19th.

Other notables, Jeffrey Earnhardt (Kerry's son) 26th, Johanna Long 29th, and Blake Koch in 38th after an engine failure on lap 117.

3/17/12   |   irmacourt   |   2828 respect

NASCAR TIME IS HERE,
AND RACE DAY IS NEAR,
EVERY FAN TAKE YOUR SEAT,
NASCAR RACING CAN'T BE BEAT,
ROUND AND ROUND THEY GO,
RACING FROM THE POLE,
FANIQ FANS CHEERING FROM THE SOUL
ROOTING FOR THEIR CAR TO GO 
WANTING THEIR CAR TO WIN
RACING LIKE THE WIND,
TRYING TO BUMP N RUN,
AND HAVE THEIR FUN,
AND CAUTION TO CRASHES 
FENDERS N DOORS BASHES
RACING TO THE END
CHECKERED FLAG WINS
INTO THE WINNERS CIRCLE WE GO,
NASCAR IS THE BEST FASTEST SHOW 
SO FANIQ FANS CHEER 
BECAUSE NASCAR BABY IS HERE 
BY IRMA 

3/17/12   |   JenX63   |   32647 respect

I'm on the other side of the fence when it comes to Nascar powers and in my opinion, interference. Make the cars safer, hell yes, keep your nose out of everything else. I watched the practices and qualifying with a friend, who numerous times asked, "how can you tell the chevys from the toyotas?", yeah, I know, it's generic racing at its best. WTH, level field? Racing is about who can "race" to the front, stay out of trouble, make great pit stops, win the race! More and more "racing" is becoming " politically correct". It saddens me that it is moving farther away from its originality!