Good thing Eddie Gossage plans are always as big as Texas, so the on-track fans had lots to keep them entertained all weekend. We at home?? Not so much.
The return to Rockingham, The Rock, by the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was, by all accounts, a huge success. Twitterfeed was alive with congratulations to Andy Hillenburg. The race itself was exciting, and not a snoozefest.
This week the cars are in Kansas, and with it being a more or less typical 1.5 mile oval with 15 degree banking in the turns, I'm not going to even try to predict what kind of race we will have. Roush is predicted to be dominant, and since I'm not really a Roush (or any Ford) fan, I don't have a lot to say about it.
Instead, how about we talk about the Nationwide Series, the Truck Series, and some of our up-and-comers and our left-out-in-the-colders?
Michael Waltrip Racing has just announced a partnership with RAB Racing in the Nationwide Series that will see the 09 car number changed to the 99. Kenny Wallace will be booted out on his ass and Travis Pastrana will slide in.
Okay, sure. Travis is one of those up-and-comers. Yes, I follow him on twitter. He's a personable sort and a good driver. Kenny Wallace is getting on in years, but it is Kenny who has put that car in the position it is in. He is the one who drove the car for weeks to get it a guaranteed starting spot for the races. In fact, Kenny had the car in 14th before he was booted last week to make way for Ryan Truex. Yes, I am a fan of Ryan's as well, but he finished the race last weekend five laps down, in 32nd. He brought his own sponsor to the car, so that's how he got the ride, but he didn't capitalize on the opportunity. I have no doubts that Kenny would have had a much better finish, had he been in the car. Unfortunately, this seems to be the trend. Grab a sponsor then hunt for a ride, rather than the other way around, which Kenny has been trying to do for weeks. I hate it for him.
Let's turn to the truck series for a moment. I've been following the career of Dakoda Armstrong for some time now. He and Brandon McReynolds are definitely two of my favorites. Dakoda has made all three starts in the Truck series this year, and right now he sits in 22nd, 52 points behind the leader, Timothy Peters. Without doubt, he will need to step it up just a little more and grab some top ten finishes, but he has only been in a grand total of 10 races in the truck series, and I predict he is one to watch. He finished in 14th at the Rock, and after getting crashed out at Daytona, and a 30th place finish in the Kroger 250, this has to feel pretty good.
Brandon McReynolds is the son of Larry McReynolds, former crew chief and TV Analyst. He is all of 20 years old and has been around the sport for a while. He has made attempts in the upper echelons of
As for Kansas, well, the teams are at the track. The trucks will race Saturday and the Sprint Cup cars on Sunday, while the Nationwide Series enjoys a week off. Who will win at Kansas in either series is anyone's guess, but Carl Edwards has said that a win here would mean more to him because it is his "home town track" or the next best thing. However, Greg Biffle has won here before, in 2007 and has momentum. He is the points leader and won last weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway, so look for him to be up front again. As for Jimmie Johnson, he has also won here before, but so far this year, he and his team do not seem to have that same cohesiveness we have seen in year's past. Although he may be up front, yet again, whether he can hang on long enough to win remains a mystery.
Of course we have to consider all the guys who are running really well this year, as well. Dale Earnhardt Jr. still hasn't found that elusive checkered flag, but he did finish second here last year, his best finish at Kansas. Tony Stewart has two wins already this season, and he won at Kansas in 2009, so he also needs to be a considered a favorite. What about Matt Kenseth? For years they called him the Robot because he was so quiet and just seemed to be a consistent factor in every race, even though he wasn't making enemies or causing wrecks. In six starts at Kansas he has 4 top ten finishes, and two top fives. Kevin Harvick also has 4 top tens, and his best finish is a 3rd. Any one of these drivers could definitely put a notch in the win column.
The 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chasers were honored at the White House a few days ago. Whether you are an Obama supporter or not, the honor is an incredible one. Not just anyone is asked to the White House to meet the president. To see Tony Stewart's Sprint Cup cars parked on the front lawn of the White House is kinda neat, don't you think?
In any case, there were smiles all around during the visit, and although President Obama got close to Tony Stewart's car, he did not get IN the car.
Practice gets underway shortly, so I'll have a better idea of who looks strong after that first practice. I'll reserve my picks until then. What about you?