This Week in NASCAR [Las Vegas Spring 2014 Edition]

Dale Earnhardt Jr and Kevin Harvick lead the way to Vegas

3/8/14 in NASCAR   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

Blog Photo - This Week in NASCAR [Las Vegas Spring 2014 Edition]With two races under our belt, we see Dale Earnhardt Jr leading the points.   Kevin Harvick, who had a disasterous finish at Daytona, won last week in Phoenix, and has to be a heavy favorite heading into Las Vegas.  He sits fourth in points, but the news headlines are all about a Jr./Harvick showdown in Vegas.  Undoubtedly, this makes Brad Keselowski, currently second in points, feel a little more comfortable.  After all, if they aren't talking about him, he can go about his business quietly (HA!) and just get ready for the race.

So now it is about 9 hours later than it was when I started the article, and Joey Logano and Brad have grabbed front tow honors.  And what of Harvick and Dale Jr?  Well, Jr. qualified 14th with Harvick right behind him in 16th.  

In fact, the qualifying positions are all over the map, proving....well nothing at all.  As we have seen for years, qualifying is a beast.  Drivers race around the track for a handful of laps, and the fastest driver takes the pole.  Although the qualifying procedure has changed, is there really any difference?  I got the opportunty to watch some of qualifying tonight, and there are multiple cars on the track, but they are hardly racing each other.  They are trying to run their fastest lap.  Sometimes another car can be a benefit, and sometimes it can hinder.  In any case,the situration for qualifying is very different than the actual race conditions.  Is it really more exciting for the fans? More entertaining?
Blog Photo - This Week in NASCAR [Las Vegas Spring 2014 Edition]
A number of drivers made moves in the off season.  One of those is, of course, Kevin Harvick, winner of last week's race.  But what of Ryan Newman?  Ryan raced the 39 for Stewart Haas Racing in years past, while Kevin raced the 29 of Richard Childress Racing.  Kevin moved to SHR and drives the number 4, which Ryan moved to RCR and drives the 31 once piloted by Jeff Burton. Jeff retired early to give Ryan the ride, and Ryan has certainly filled the seat well, so far this year.  At Daytona, Ryan struggled and finished a lap down in 22nd.  A week later in Phoenix, he didn't fare much better, finishing in 17th.  However, he is starting 10th on Sunday.  Not too shabby, Newman!

Weather in Las Vegas is expected to be in the mid 70's and sunny.  The track could be greasy from the sun. If it clouds over, track conditions can change instantly.  The key to the win will, once again, being able to set the car up to run the very best it can on the track.

And finally today, Kurt Busch confirmed he will run both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca Cola 600.  No one has done this since Robby Gordon in 2004.  However, Tony Stewart, Busch's boss, ran the double in 2001, and successfully completed all 1,100 miles.  He finished 6th in the Indianapolis 500, then helicoptered to the nearest airport, flew to Charlotte and landed in the infield right at the start/finish line.  He was forced to start  Blog Photo - This Week in NASCAR [Las Vegas Spring 2014 Edition]from the back as he missed the drivers' introductions, but that didn't stop Smoke.  Thirteen and a half hours after he had suited up to start the Indy 500, Stewart finished third at the Coca Cola 600.  Now Kurt Busch has decided to try to meet or beat Smoke's milestone.  Good luck Kurt, you're going to need it.

One last thing before I send this to you wolves for your destruction, Happy 76th Birthday, Janet Guthrie.  You were the original female pioneer, and still a hero to me.  No one will ever fill your shoes.  Thank you.
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3/9/14   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

Live Race Thread HERE!! 

3/9/14   |   Canadianhick   |   2149 respect

Chase Elliott car too low in the left front post-race inspection, NASCAR also took the right rear shock from Keselowski's car.

Who do you pick to win today's race? Brain Wilson (Race Engineer on the #2) said he thinks the #48 is the best car.  Also said the #4, #27, #42, and #88 looked strong. 

 

3/8/14   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

Kes scores the win in the Nationwide race, even with a bum electrical system.  

3/8/14   |   Scott   |   53537 respect

Debi_L wrote:
Are you sure about that?  Both of them are mid pack in this practice.  Of course, it is only practice, and who knows what we will see tomorrow.

It's Vegas. You have to roll the dice and gamble to hit the jackpot ;-)

3/8/14   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

Scott wrote:
Even though Vegas his the home track for Kyle Busch, he hasn't exactly been bringing home top finishes in recent years.  This year will be different and Busch is going to get rowdy in Sin City and beat his teammate Matt Kenseth across the line

Are you sure about that?  Both of them are mid pack in this practice.  Of course, it is only practice, and who knows what we will see tomorrow.

3/8/14   |   Scott   |   53537 respect

Even though Vegas his the home track for Kyle Busch, he hasn't exactly been bringing home top finishes in recent years.  This year will be different and Busch is going to get rowdy in Sin City and beat his teammate Matt Kenseth across the line

3/8/14   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

Watching practice and the sun is playing a factor right now.  Martin Truex Jr. is not having the kind of opening to his season he had hoped for in the 78.  This week it was an oil line.  He's on track for practice today and running 11th, but his team is going to have to do better in the mechanical department to give him any kind of a chance to show the kind of driver we know he is.

3/8/14   |   Canadianhick   |   2149 respect

Interesting thing Stenhouse said the other day and its worth watching with two of the Roush drivers starting inside the top twelve, Roush is good in qualifying trim but still lacking speed in race trim, even after Thursday's test. Meanwhile Team Penske looks like they are in a league of their own so far. 

This new qualifying should have something done before it results in a wreck, as its damn idiotic that you have guys running cooling laps at 50mph and others running qualifying laps at 190mph on the track at the same time. Yesterday we some close calls with some guys and guys like Bowyer and Vickers said its dangerous. 

Or, as Newman put it the racetrack is meant to be raced on, not to go out and cool your race car off and get in somebody else's way. And than you have Logano who said Team Penske suggested using a modification to the cool boxes that would allow teams to plug in without lifting the hood, as NASCAR doesn't allow you to open the hood on pit road during qualifying. Next week at Bristol could be interesting because you just never know tempers could flare in qualifying. 

3/8/14   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

JenX63 wrote:
Looking forward to this race. I think I chose Jimmie for the win, not sure how that happened. Would love to see Happy win again.

I would love to see Kevin or Jr. win again, but I think the Penske boys (specifically Bad Brad) will show their stuff this weekend. I just can't bring myself to cheer for or pick Logano for anything.  His actions against Denny (even though I don't care for him either) really rubbed me the wrong way.  When any driver uses his car to express his frustrations or anger, I tend to have a "Jimmy Spener Never Forgets" mentality.  

3/8/14   |   JenX63   |   32738 respect

Looking forward to this race. I think I chose Jimmie for the win, not sure how that happened. Would love to see Happy win again.