Of course, with Dale Jr being NASCAR's most popular driver, the media has been abuzz with the repercussions and investigations into the number of drivers who may or may not have driven with a concussion. Jeff Gordon was interviewed by Dave Despain and admitted that he thought he had suffered a mild concussion after his wreck at Pocono in 2006.
Jump back to the present, and Denny Hamlin. Teams practiced at Kansas earlier in the week, and Denny Hamlin had a vicious crash at the track that virtually destroyed the car. Given the condition of the car, NASCAR asked Denny to return to the Infield Car Center a couple of times to be assessed. He was honest with the doctors and admitted to a little dizziness, so a re-evaluation was in order. He did receive a clean bill of health after the re-evaluation, and will race this weekend.
The question I have to ask?? Is Kansas safe? The track was reconfigured and repaved after April's race, which is why Dale Jr and other drivers were on the track testing at the end of August. That testing session had Jr stating he liked the reconfiguration, with 20 degree banking, up from 15 and gradual banking in the corners.
If you check out the Kansas Speedway Vanity pages, you can take a virtual lap (at a very slow speed) around the track and view the reconfiguration process.
Of course, the drivers are very supportive of the track, and complimentary of the changes. Of course.
But I ask again, is the track safe?
Hendrick Motor Sports is arguably the premiere engine builder in NASCAR, but with the recent engine failures, the company seems to be experiencing some glitches. Last week the engine let go in the 88 while Regan was up near the front. Granted, he admitted he might have over-revved on pit road. Ryan Newman had started the race at Charlotte with a replacement engine, after his failed in practice. Yesterday Tony Stewart lost an engine in practice. Should HMS be worried? Probably not, as August wasn't a great month for HMS engines, yet all 4 HMS drivers, plus Tony Stewart are in the Chase. It could be something to watch, however, as teams have no notes, other than the testing sessions, to set up their cars. Clint Bowyer, driving for Michael Waltrip Racing, has said that Kansas is more of a wild card for him than Talladega, simply because they have no notes for set up.
Eldora Speedway, which is owned by Tony Stewart, announced this week that their 2013 schedule will not include the Prelude to the Dream. The charity event, run since 2005, features stars from the premiere racing venues running in borrowed Late Model dirt race cars. The Dream, the venue from which the cars are borrowed, has been expanded for 2013 creating issues with the stars borrowing cars. The venue is expected to return in 2014, but Tony Stewart is also scheduled to speak to the media regarding the situation sometime today.
And finally, the recovering process continues for Dale Jr. who traveled to Pittsburgh earlier this week for sessions with Dr. Mick Collins, who works with both the NHL and the NFL in conducting concussion baseline tests for recovery. No firm date has been set, as of yet, for Jr's return to racing, but he is expecting to return next week at Martinsville. While there, Jr had lunch with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Lucky him.
The Nationwide cars also race at Kansas this weekend, and they are in the same shoes as their Sprint Cup counterparts. No notes mean the practice sessions for the N'wide drivers will be very important. Those drivers running both races will have an advantage.
I'm off to work and at this point have no clue who my choice for the win is going to be. What about you?