Start Your Engines - The week in review

4/11/13 in NASCAR   |   Scott   |   53885 respect

Welcome to this week's edition of Start Your Engines.  This week our panel of race fans, Eric, Debi, Jennifer and myself will discuss all the latest happenings from around the auto racing world.

Up first is Nascar, where the Sprint Cup Series is coming off a weekend at Martinsville that saw Jimmie Johnson drive away from the field and dominate the STP Gas Booster 500.  Johnson led 346 of the 500 laps and was never really seriously challenged on his way to his 2nd win of the year and 62nd of his career.  

Blog Photo - Start Your Engines - The week in review





What were your thoughts on the STP Gas Booster 500?

Jennifer - I thought it was a great race, no major accidents.  You still had the banging and beating and except for Kurt Busch's car catching on fire, not a bunch of excitement.  I am starting to think they could knock those short track races to 300 laps and it would still be a good race.  500 laps?  A bit too long.

DebiI thoroughly enjoyed the race.  The cars were able to pass each other and race hard.  The tires played a factor, again, meaning pit strategy had to come into play. The weather changed, meaning again pit strategy was important.  Thankfully, the only on-track incident of concern was Kurt Busch's fire, but he got it out with the on-board extinguisher, very smart of him, considering the entire car was on fire and he was trying to get out.  I was also impressed beyond words at his maturity in the after incident interview.  Although he said they are struggling to put things together, running around 20th, he also said they will keep working on things. 

Eric - Don't have any really.  Due to baseball and the IndyCar race, I watched very little of it

Scott - Although a bit long and at times, "boring", I enjoyed the race.  These short track races really have zero to do with the new car and are solely based on which drivers are good on short tracks.  The races themselves are exciting for me because I grew up on short track racing in this area.  With Denny Hamlin out due to injury, I think Jimmie Johnson was hands down the favorite to win this race so it really was no surprise that he was able to dominate and win.  I was impressed with Mark Martin's effort in Hamlin's seat given his displeasure for racing at Martinsville.  I was also impressed with Danica Patrick and her ability to give herself relatively clean and come home with a top 12 finish.  


One of the things I noticed in this past weekend's race was the announcers use of team racing, something we don't hear about a lot in Nascar outside of restrictor plate racing.  We saw a handful of drivers working together in helping one another stay on the bottom of the track but at the same time, there were a couple of "issues", Tony Stewart/Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr/Jimmie Johnson, where eyebrows were raised within the Fox announcers of team racing.

What are your thoughts on team racing?  At what point in a race should it be less about the team and more about the driver?

Jennifer - 
I understand the concept of it but in all honesty, rarely have I seen it used.  On the super speedways, very few times have teammates qualified close enough for it to be a factor.  You always hear about so and so looking for a "draft partner" or a "pit stop" partner.  The driver should always be going for the win, in my opinion.  It's like: if Jimmie wins the race do the other Hendrick guys get a share of the glory or money?  Nope... it's good for the owner and the driver (singular)

Debi
Team racing should only come into place when restrictor plate racing.  Everyone needs a buddy on the track then, and I think teammates should help each other out, if possible.  Other than that, they call it a race for a reason.  Checkers or wreckers.

Eric - I'm not sure what you're referring to in this context.  I know team orders is my least favorite part of F1 and anything of that sort anywhere else is just odious.

Scott - I must admit, I was surprised to see the FOX announcers make more of the incident with Junior and Jimmie Johnson then what it was.  Sure, Johnson could have waited for Junior to turn his car around so he wouldn't go a lap down but was it really that big of a deal?  For me, I don't mind team racing when it comes to helping one another out on and even off the track.  I do have a problem with the concept though when it comes to F1.  Never should a driver's only job be to help another driver on his team win a race.  Like Jenn said, the driver should always be going for the win.


As we get closer to the 1/4 point of the season, outside of the usual suspects, which drivers have you been impressed with the most so far in 2013?  Which drivers have you expected more from?

Jennifer - Impressed with Kasey Kahne.  Of course Tony Stewart is at the top of my list for drivers I expected more from.  I am thinking it is time for him to decide if he wants to be a Nascar driver.  He is spread all over the place and needs to reign in some of his activities outside of Nascar.  I understand that he loves to race but with the new car and his so far awful season, it's time to get to business.  Kevin Harvick, probably just because he is a favorite but I really thought he was going to do something this year.  I know there is a lot of racing left but my gut says the window is closing.  Austin Dillon, honestly thought he would be higher up the ladder by know.

Debi
I'm honestly not surprised at anyone other than the Stewart Haas group, and impressed?  Well, Matt Kenseth, for sure.  Move to a new team is what he needed to rejuvenate himself.  He's doing great, and I'm glad to see it.

Eric - If Michael Waltrip Racing now counts as a top tier team, then the highest placed driver in the points that's not part of a top team is Jamie McMurray at 13th.  On the same vein, what is happening to Juan Pablo Montoya this year?  It's been a disaster this far and I don't know why.  As a whole, Montoya doesn't have to prove anything in regards to his talent and his accomplishments, but those that only care about Nascar are to going to say he sucks, which is wrong.  However, I don't know if he is doing something wrong, if the team is doing something wrong or if they have just been unlucky.  Also, I've noticed that Childress isn't doing well so far this year, save Paul Menard of all people, and obviously it has been a tough year for Stewart-Haas so far.  Six races is still a relatively small sample size obviously but the threat of a lost year is growing.

Scott - Definitely been impressed with Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Brad Keselowski.  I know Keselowski is the defending series champion but I still wasn't completely sold on him.  He's made the successful switch to Ford and has actually gotten better IMO.  I think this Jimmie Johnson/Brad Keselowski showdown could go on for many more years.  When it comes to the drivers I expected more from, Tony Stewart is the first name that pops in my head.  He seems distracted and has obviously been extremely frustrated so far with what has gone on this season.  Martin Truex Jr is another name we've heard very little from so far this year.  Like Eric said, 6 races is a small sample size but last year's entry in the Chase has to seem like an eternity ago.  

2013 has brought us some new on and off again feuds.  Give me your top 3 all time stock car feuds?

Jennifer -1) Cale Yarborough - Donnie & Bobbie Allison "79 Daytona 500"  2) Bill Elliott - Dale Earnhardt Sr "the pass in the grass"  3) Kevin Harvick - Greg Biffle

Debi
Meh.  The "feuds" are the media's way to try to get viewers.  When you have two relatively immature people like Logano and Hamlin, that's not a feud, it's a school yard disagreement.  Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon was rather entertaining, but the "feuds" are Dale Sr and just about anyone else he ever pissed off.  He was friends off-track with most everyone he ever had a "feud" with.  He understood, on track, it was checkers or wreckers (I know, twice I've used that) and did what he felt he needed to do, but he separated the on-track from the off-track.  

Eric - me vs. the sanctioning body

Scott - Rusty Wallace/Darrell Waltrip (1989 All-Star Race)
             Kurt Busch/Tony Stewart (2007)
             Kyle Busch/Kevin Harvick (2011)

This weekend, the Nascar Sprint Cup Series heads to Texas and given the sponsor (NRA), there could be a bit more controversy coming Nascar's way.  

We've already heard that our own Eric will be boycotting the race, do you expect any other problems or off the track issues or will this be just another primetime race?

Jennifer - Honestly, only if the media makes it a big deal.  When it was announced the NRA was sponsoring the race there was a little scuttlebutt, but not as much as I personally thought there would be considering Newtown was still fresh in people's minds.  This is Texas and if there is one thing I have learned living here the past few years, they really are a state unto themselves.

Debi
I rarely pay attention to the sponsor of a race anyway, so makes no difference to me.  I have, in the past, owned my own rifle and hunted for food.  I don't know what the rules/laws/regulations are in the US pertaining to gun ownership, and don't care.  i just want to watch racing at Texas.

Eric - I doubt there will be much controversy because frankly, it wasn't a surprise when it was announced.  All I'll say is anyone claiming there is no politics involved is being disingenous, as this is a political organization.  They have a right to pay for the sponsorship, and Nascar and Texas Motor Speedway have the right to accept.  However, I have the right to not watch, and I am exercising that right.

Scott - I really don't expect much off the track stuff.  The announcement coming around the time the Newtown massacre was what originally drove people to complain in the first place.  I agree with Jennifer, as long as the media doesn't make a big issue of it, I doubt most Nascar fans will even really care who is sponsoring this weekend's race.





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4/14/13   |   JenX63   |   32805 respect

Debi_L wrote:
Reports are filtering thru that Ron Hornaday can expect penalties................

He should of been parked and got a DNF.....to little to late in my opinion......his radio transmissions are probably what Nascar heard and based their original go to the back penalty.....WTG Nascar (dripping sarcasm)

4/14/13   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

Reports are filtering thru that Ron Hornaday can expect penalties................

4/14/13   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

I'm stoked for Kyle, winning that race.  He had the machine to beat all day long and it would have been a hearbreaker for Logano to win it.  And yes, shame on Ron Hornaday.  Why was he not parked?  He did the same thing Kyle Busch did.  Another example of NASCAR favoritism.

Just read, BTW, that the 2 and 22 cars infractions weren't anything specific, rather the reason given was "not in the spirit of the rules".  I didn't see the race.  I missed most of the pre-race everything.  I'm sure Penske will be fined for the car infractions.  I'm equally sure BK will be fined for his comments.  I'm also sure NASCAR is losing more and more fans every week.  New car be damned.  They need to change their attitude.  NASCAR, the France family and all the executives are not gods.  They need to stop acting like it.

4/14/13   |   JenX63   |   32805 respect

Joey gave it a good shot but came up short. Congrats to Kyle Larson!
Shame on you Ron Hornaday....tsk tsk

4/14/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

orangemen90 wrote:
after watching what went on in the garage this week and listening to BK it does seem that Nascar is tilting the results of each race and for individual drivers...Last week they helped the 10 car immensely and this week is was the 18...

The ownership of Nascar is following in the failed steps of F1...These tracks like Texas just will not produce a good car race...Its all about the parade each week.. Nascar as an organization has to keep individual sponsors happy and they will do anything to accomplish that end...

Nascar has already lost a valuable fan base and appears to be ready to lose the current fan base...
(Edited by Eric_)

"Failed steps of F1." What?  Judging F1 (still the most popular form of racing in the world) by NASCAR standards of racing is...well, not a good idea. They are two very very different beasts.

4/14/13   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

I'm hearing crickets on the Q today.....

Watching the Truck race.  I am SO impressed with Kyle Larson.  The kid qualified third and here he is, leading the race.  What talent!!

4/14/13   |   JenX63   |   32805 respect

orangemen90 wrote:
after watching what went on in the garage this week and listening to BK it does seem that Nascar is tilting the results of each race and for individual drivers...Last week they helped the 10 car immensely and this week is was the 18...

The ownership of Nascar is following in the failed steps of F1...These tracks like Texas just will not produce a good car race...Its all about the parade each week.. Nascar as an organization has to keep individual sponsors happy and they will do anything to accomplish that end...

Nascar has already lost a valuable fan base and appears to be ready to lose the current fan base...

Exactly what I have been talking about for the past couple of years. Nascar (the sactioning body) seems ready to make the sport extinct. It is very disheartneing.

4/14/13   |   Canadianhick   |   2149 respect

Brad's comments for anybody who might care.

“I don’t have a lot of good things to say right now. I take that back. I have one good thing to say and that was my team and the effort they put in today in fighting back with the absolute bull (expletive) that’s been the last seven days in this garage area. The things that I’ve seen over the last seven days have me questioning everything I believe in and I’m not happy about it. I don’t have anything positive to say.”

“There’s so much stuff going on, you guys have no idea — you have no (expletive) idea what’s going on. I can tell you there is no team in this garage with the integrity of the 2 team. The way we’ve been treated over the last seven days is absolute shameful. I feel like we’ve been targeted over the last seven days more than I’ve ever seen a team targeted in my life. My guys keep their heads on straight and they showcased why they’re a winning team and a championship team. We’re not going to take it, we’re not going to be treated this way.”
 

“I’m very worried about losing my crew chief Paul Wolfe,” but I can tell you what, I’ve got one of the best car owners in the garage. I’m going to be the first one at his desk to tell him if anything happens like that, we’ll both be in a meeting with everybody and anybody that will listen.”
 

Then Truex tweeted this gem after the race last night:

Debris huh????

 


 


 

 

4/14/13   |   orangemen90   |   5785 respect

after watching what went on in the garage this week and listening to BK it does seem that Nascar is tilting the results of each race and for individual drivers...Last week they helped the 10 car immensely and this week is was the 18...

The ownership of Nascar is following in the failed steps of F1...These tracks like Texas just will not produce a good car race...Its all about the parade each week.. Nascar as an organization has to keep individual sponsors happy and they will do anything to accomplish that end...

Nascar has already lost a valuable fan base and appears to be ready to lose the current fan base...

4/13/13   |   Scott   |   53885 respect

That 2nd to last caution flag really saved the race for guys like Logano, Biffle and Edwards.  However, it killed my fantasy team for Johnson, Kahne and Bowyer

4/13/13   |   JenX63   |   32805 respect

Congrats to Kyle......

4/13/13   |   orangemen90   |   5785 respect

Kyle takes Texas.... best commercial goes to NAPA know how!!

4/13/13   |   JenX63   |   32805 respect

Will Kyle sweep Texas?

4/12/13   |   JenX63   |   32805 respect

Kyle Busch wins the pole for the Sprint Cup race, with his brother Kurt right beside him. Kyle set a qualifying record lap of 196.299......

4/12/13   |   JenX63   |   32805 respect

Alex Bowman wins the pole for the Nationwide race.

4/12/13   |   JenX63   |   32805 respect

Nationwide qualifying underway

4/12/13   |   JenX63   |   32805 respect

Harvick getting a new engine before qualifying.....Kurt Busch is the fastest so far

4/12/13   |   JenX63   |   32805 respect

I have to say as happy as I am that Dale Jarrett made it to this round of voting I am a little surprised. Of course I am voting for him (numerous times), there are so many deserving candidates. I don't like that non drivers are put on the ballot, my opinion only, but drivers, owners I vote for. Needless to say, anyone with France in their name won't get a vote from me. I am conflicted on track owners, maybe a special category just for them.

4/12/13   |   JenX63   |   32805 respect

Debi_L wrote:
At least he didn't run into a jet dryer......

snort....

4/11/13   |   Scott   |   53885 respect

I forgot to put in the piece how glad I am to finally see Bruton Smith among the nominees for the Nascar Hall of Fame.  His auto racing resume and all he has done for the sport speaks for itself.  The other new nominees are Nascar champion Dale Jarrett, five time Nascar weekly series national champion Larry Phillips and 1960 Nascar champion Rex White.  They join 20 other nominees that carry over from last year.

4/11/13   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

JenX63 wrote:
To answer Eric's question about JPM :
fuel tank problems at Bristol
gear problems at California
cut tire at Martinsville
finished 12th at Phoenix
wrecked at Daytona

it seems some bad luck is following one of your favorite drivers.

At least he didn't run into a jet dryer......

4/11/13   |   JenX63   |   32805 respect

To answer Eric's question about JPM :
fuel tank problems at Bristol

gear problems at California
cut tire at Martinsville
finished 12th at Phoenix
wrecked at Daytona

it seems some bad luck is following one of your favorite drivers.