Indianapolis Motor Speedway - NASCAR Style
It's the first time for the Nationwide drivers and although Elliott Sadler and Sam Hornish Jr are being mentioned as the early favorites, one has to remember that Danica Patrick has also raced here a number of times, although in a much different car. Add the Cup regulars to the mix and it is really anyone's race. As qualifying for the race completes, Kasey Kahne has the pole position, with Kyle Busch alongside.
That race will get underway later today.
The Cup race runs tomorrow, and as I type this the teams are getting ready to qualify. Carl Edwards has been strong so far, but I'm looking to Tony Stewart to win again at Indy. Who can forget his win here in 2005? It was a hugely emotional one, and Tony is hungry for another. He and Brad Keselowski are tied for wins, with three each, and Smoke would like nothing better than to get one more. Speaking of Kes, he hasn't run as many races here as his Cup compadres, but he does have one top ten. Can he win here?
By the way, NASCAR may be calling this race the Curtiss Shaver 400, but it will always be the Brickyard 400 to me. This is one of those race, just like the Daytona 500, that should never have a name change. It just isn't right. A few years ago we had a series of the "Allstate 400 at the Brickyard" and last year it was the "Brickyard 400 presented by BigMachineRecords.com" but really, it is the Brickyard 400. Stick with what works, quit trying to fix what ain't broken.
We all know by now that AJ Allmendinger has been suspended indefinitely by NASCAR. The "B" sample was tested and was also positive, ruling out contamination of some sort with the testing equipment or receptacles. Tara Ragan, AJ's publicity agent, has repeatedly stated that they have no idea what the substance is that could have triggered the positive result. AJ has hired an independent lab to analyze his home and motor coach to see if it can be determined what caused the positive result, as AJ continues to deny any drug use. However, his camp has acknowledged the use of over the counter drugs. AJ received his suspension letter from NASCAR outlining the steps he must follow in order to be recommended for reinstatement. The procedure is tailored to the driver, and no time limit is set. AJ immediately stated that he would follow the procedures to the letter and work to overcome this set back. Unlike Jeremy Mayfield, AJ seems to want to return to NASCAR and is anxious to do whatever it takes to clear things up.
The Chase is only a handful of races away, and Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle lead the way. The Chase was created after Matt won the Championship in 2003 with only one win. The newer system rewards wins, by giving ten extra points per win to the drivers in the Chase. Once again, Matt has one win, but Keselowski and Stewart with three could leapfrog right over those top three drivers once the Race to the Chase is complete. The system works, sort of. Although Kes and Smoke have three wins apiece, neither has had a consistent season otherwise, and Smoke sits in 7th, while Kes is in 10th. Should they drop out of the top ten, they will likely gain entry into the Chase by virtue of the two "Wild Cards" NASCAR implemented for this season, but in my mind, and yes, I know I hollered for wins to count more, the system is still flawed. I still believe the extra points should be awarded to the winner of the race at the time of the win, not as the Chase starts.
I know there are others who will disagree with me, so what's your take on this? Is the Chase format perfect now? Or does it still need some tweaking?
And finally this week, NASCAR and Chevrolet have announced that the Camaro is returning to NASCAR in the Nationwide series, replacing the Impala. Good move? I think so. NASCAR is racing. The top race cars of each manufacturer should be the cars in NASCAR, right? Again, give me your take on this and let's have a little debate.