The “Big 10” Driver Rankings

A testament to how wide open it is at the top is evidenced by how difficult it is becoming to determine a true number one. Good arguments can be made for a number of drivers, depending on the criteria.

  1. Jamie McMurray- Jamie Mac is showing he’s not mailing it in down the stretch. You’ve got to love this guy’s attitude. This whole Chase could become a test session for McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya for 2011.
  2. Jeff Gordon- His performance wasn’t too bad at New Hampshire wasn’t bad considering what a struggle his day was. The top ten there breaks him out of a run of top fifteens. He still doesn’t look real good right, but he isn’t awful either. Could start a run, but needs to do it quickly.
  3. Ryan Newman- If you look at it, Newman’s been pretty decent over the last four race, with his 11th place run at Richmond his worst finish in that span. Like JPM, Beak and Jamie Mac, it’s let it rip time for the non-chasers with speed.
  4. Tony Stewart- That great big sucking sound you here is coming from Tony’s engine. Every race has a heartbreak kid, and here he is from New Hampshire. Like Jimmie Johnson, Stewart has less wiggle room to work with, putting higher stakes on Dover.
  5. Jimmie Johnson- Not as vulnerable as some would like to think, but not as invincible as others may suppose. A race like this often becomes motivational fuel for a win- something he’s done more than once at Dover.
  6. Carl Edwards- For Crazy Cousin Carl, finishing 11th at New Hampshire has to be considered a disappointment, though only a mild. He still managed to gain for spots in the points, and he’s got better tracks ahead. He could be a factor down the stretch, but really needs to notch it up, and quick.
  7. Kevin Harvick- Thanks to Bowyer’s penalty, here’s your new number two in the standings. Harvick is, so far, doing all the things you need to do to contend. Make it two weeks in a row of top tens, and the finish at New Hampshire came partly through attrition, and partly through sheer grit. There are about seven or eight legitimate contenders for this championship, and Harvick is right there at the head of the pack.
  8. Kyle Busch- If I were J.D. and Joe Gibbs, I’d consider sending crew chief Dave Rogers to a crash course in psychology. Kyle’s temperament will put his people skills to the test every week. Listening to those two is more entertaining than Juniors Dale and Tony squabble like a couple of old ladies. Psyche aside, Busch rallied for a top ten at New Hampshire, and looks every bit the part of a title threat if he keeps his head screwed on right. Good luck, Dave.
  9. Clint Bowyer- As I write this, I am learning of the whole big blowup over his penalty. I’ll reserve judgment until I hear more. Regardless, it doesn’t erase what Bowyer has accomplished of late. Bowyer Raced his butt off. If I were him, I’d continue that path and race for wins now.
  10. Denny Hamlin- By virtue of finishing first one week and second the next, Hamlin is displaying anew the raciness had had before his summer slump. Equally as impressive, he kept a calm demeanor while languishing through much of the early race, and then there was that deal with Carl Edwards. You can number me among those who believe Denny can win it all. What he has to do is keep replicating this with consistency. Doing that earns you a mulligan, as Jimmie Johnson can attest (see Texas 2009 for reference).

Read Also: The Case For Regan Smith As A Stewart Stand-In

FALLING OFF THE PACE

Juan Pablo Montoya bobbled just enough to give way to his teammate…Jeff Burton is a little more like City Dog Catcher than Mayor…Matt Kenseth sunk below 20th, further suggesting he’s not among the serious championship threats w88id.

DISTANT THUNDER

This will rile the haters up- Dale Earnhardt, Jr. looked like the Junebug of old Sunday. It’s good to see him smile again…Kurt Busch has to work that much harder as the lone Penske and lone Dodge man in the Chase…David Reutimann is getting his sponsors some decent camera time…props to Sam Hornish for his top ten, and to A.J. Allmendinger for coming close.

The Case For Regan Smith As A Stewart Stand-In

Truth is stranger than fiction. Think about it; there are many who believe it was an illegal maneuver by Tony Stewart that cost Regan Smith his first career win at Talladega in the Fall of 2008. Five short years later, the three time champion is parked by a broken leg, and the driver whose name keeps coming up as a possible fill in starting next week is none other than Regan Smith.

Oh, the irony. Put this historical footnote aside, and it has the look Regan Smithof being a great opportunity for Smith, who has no fulltime Cup ride, and whose regular gig these days is driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Nationwide Series. For his part, Junior says he’d be cool with it.

Currently, the 29-year old is running second in the Nationwide standings with two wins, five top fives and 14 top tens. He’s run six Cup races this year, and his last regular gig in the NSCS was at Furniture Row in the ride now occupied by Kurt Busch.

Domino Online – It would be a move that makes sense. While the Cato, New York native’s career has been rather quiet- aside from a 2010 victory at Darlington- he’s just the kind of driver a team needs on an interim basis. Throughout his career Smith has had the reputation of being a driver who will get your car back to the garage in one piece. In other words, he will make you some money without costing a bunch of money in return.

While one wouldn’t necessarily fancy Regan Smith as a colorful character, he won’t embarrass your sponsors with boorish behavior either. Regardless of who is on the hood- be it Bass Pro Shops or Mobil One, Smith’s blue collar persona is a good fit.

Read Also: Strengthened By Faith, Trevor Bayne Presses On

For Smith, it’s a golden opportunity to showcase what he can do in some of the best equipment in the business. Certainly, he has acquitted himself well in Earnhardt’s ‘7’ ride, and that after a career in single car operations, and organizations that were perceived to be struggling or underfunded. If Smith has a good run in the ‘14,’ it makes the case someone should pick him up for a 2014 Cup ride.

Now you can make the argument that Kurt Busch’s present performance at Furniture Row in the same equipment that Smith used to run is evidence that he is no great shakes as a driver. Others would suggest that Busch’s superior numbers are indicative of two things that have nothing to do with Regan: First, that Busch is a cut above all but a handful of drivers (after all, Kurt is a former champion), and second, that FRR has made its own improvements, and perhaps those improvements would have resulted in Smith putting up the best numbers of his Sprint Cup career.

Whichever the case may be, the match of Regan Smith with Stewart- Haas looks like a good one. You get a good guy with a solid record for performance, eager to prove he can run with the big dogs – judi poker online.

Strengthened By Faith, Trevor Bayne Presses On

“I have been truly blessed in life and I look forward to what my future holds.”

The preceding sentence jumps out at this reader in the announcement that the 22-year old racer has MS. It’s not exactly the kind of thing you would expect to hear from a dynamic young man thrown a wicked curve ball by life.

Multiple sclerosis is a difficult disease to wrap one’s head around. Personally, this author has known all of two people afflicted with it, and is no wiser. That would be the part that would drive me crazy with it, the unknown. Nonetheless, Bayne places his complete trust in the God he serves “I will continue to trust God daily and know that His plan for me is what is best.” It’s a matter of not knowing the future, but knowing the one who holds it.

Such news could deliver a sucker punch to one’s faith. Few would look cross eyed at a man who might opine was one football player once did, and say, I trust you, I praise you, I put my faith in you, and this is what I get in return? Unfortunately, some place their faith in God, expecting a primrose path that is anything but. How many people offer as their rationale for skepticism “How can there be a God with so much suffering in the world?”

One the other hand, there are countless stories of those who endure adversity. Some lose it all, and yet remain unshakable in their faith. It doesn’t mean Trevor Bayne won’t have difficult days; in fact, the truth is MS leads many a person with it to take their lives. Bayne will need the comfort offered by the Bible he believes in that he has “a future and a hope.”

Agen Bola – As Bayne tweeted his thanks for all the prayers and well wishes coming his way, Bayne added a Bible reference, James 1:2-4. It reads: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the trying of your faith produces patience. But let your patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Read Also: The Glen, Austin, Vickers & Other Randomness

Who knows where the road may lead? For now, Bayne reports he’s feeling great and his plans to win races and championships remain in tact. His boss, Jack Roush also remains supportive “. “I have full confidence in Trevor and his partners have all expressed that same confidence and support. As with all of our drivers, we look forward to standing behind Trevor and providing him with all of the tools he needs as he continues to develop in his young career.”

Speaking as one who shares Bayne’s Christian faith, one never knows what assignment God will give you. As I pray for Bayne, I pray his attitude and desire to live his life to the fullest- even with this condition- will serve as an inspiration,; not only to others who have MS, but also those seeking for something they can hold on to.

I know this is a NASCAR blog, not a devotional. Please consider a heart felt reaction to the news that one of this fan’s favorite drivers has been given a tough break. Right now, Bayne’s reaction to this diagnosis reminds me of the bigger picture, and to meet any challenge head on, armed with the belief good can come from it, and that this life on Earth is incredibly temporary compared to eternity. Cosmo Poker

The Glen, Austin, Vickers & Other Randomness

You have to hand it to Kyle Busch. The man can flat wheel a car. His victory at Watkins Glen gives him three career NASCAR Sprint Cup victories on road courses. You know, it wouldn’t surprise me if someday he doesn’t surpass Jeff Gordon for all-time victories on the tracks of right and left turns. He’s just that good. He had a small army of challengers on his back, and he held him all off.

Kudos to Brad Keselowski for repressing the temptation to turn Busch. When Keselowski said he didn’t need any more drama, did anyone find Martin Truex’s reaction a bit interesting? I did. You get the feeling there’s still a few drivers who haven’t forgotten some of “Bad” Brad’s habits. If nothing else, it’s like the old days of Earnhardt chasing you down. It wasn’t that this kind of driver would always punt you to get ahead, it was the idea you knew he would do if the spirit moved him. That alone is enough to get some drivers off kilter.

So Austin Dillon get to pilot the ’14′ car this Sunday. Judging from the reactions around the World Wide Web, I had no idea Regan Smith had so many fans! I bet he didn’t either. Per my last post, Dillon wouldn’t have been my choice sbobet, but it’s a choice that’s not hard to understand. There’s the tie in with Bass Pro Shops from a sponsorship point of view, let’s face it, Dillon has demonstrated some promise in his limited NASCAR career. Let’s be honest, a lot of this resentment comes from Dillon being the grandson of Richard Childress. A lot of fans would rather see an underdog succeed than royalty. Convincing folks he’s advanced on his own merit will be one of Dillon’s chief challenges. Here’s one thing for sure: he’ll get his chance, and if he isn’t up to it, he won’t last long.

Word has it Michael Waltrip Racing is ready to announce that Brian Vickers will get a full time Cup ride come 2014. He’s earned it. Vickers has made the most of his limited chances, and it’s time for the “driver by committee” approach to cease in the ’55′ car. Is anybody else wondering if this really is the end for Mark Martin? Heck, he could enter his own ride now if he wants to keep going on a limited schedule. It’s not hard to imagine Michael Waltrip will still field his own entry for the restrictor plate tracks.

Back to Watkins Glen- others may still agree, but it’s time to at least put one more date for a road course on the schedule. It doesn’t matter whether or not they add a track like Road America, or maybe even add a second date for Watkins Glen, these days, some of the best racing is happening on road courses.

Agen Sbobet – I can understand Kasey Kahne’s anger at the Glen, but still I have to admit that if I’m Matt Kenseth, I’m not exactly quaking with fear…the race for the Chase plot thickens. I stand by my prediction that Brad Keselowski makes the Chase. I also wouldn’t be shocked if Jeff Gordon doesn’t. A wild card with four wins? That may just be the case for Kenseth as a scuffles a bit. You can’t count out Kurt Busch or Ryan Newman either….good to hear Smoke is home. Racing is not the same without Tony Stewart’s colorful presence. The whispers seem to be getting louder than Stewart may sit out the rest of the year. It’s hard to imagine.

The Nascar Blame Game

NASCAR (and let’s cut to the Chase, no, not that Chase, when I say NASCAR, I mean Brian France) has been looking for scapegoats to explain the nosedive the sport has been experiencing, both in attendance, and TV ratings wise. When he finally acknowledged that the sport had a problem, it was laid to the economy. Fair enough, no denying that it’s been a big factor, but it’s hard to reconcile this with the declining TV numbers, and the loss of the younger demographics that advertisers crave.

At various times the blame has fallen on the slender shoulders of it’s most popular driver. Of course I’m referring to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Brian has publicly laid the blame for the current decline, to his lack of on track success.

His latest foray into scapegoating has been to blame it on Jimmie Johnson.Damn, this guy and the rest of the “48” team have done nothing but gone out and win an unprecedented four consecutive (and counting) championships under the Chase format that Brian has thrust upon us. Granted, this domination has not been popular with a large segment of the fans that NASCAR has left, but he is your champion. To publicly diss him like this seems pretty low rent to me.

All this attempted blame shifting makes me wonder if he shaves with an electric razor? After all, you don’t have to look in the mirror, to use one of them.

Let’s take a look at Brian’s stewardship of NASCAR so far. One of the things that he’s credited with is negotiating the unified, by far, the highest dollar TV contract in the sport’s history. So far so good.The problem I have with this, is that I never really felt this was shared fairly with the owners. If you want a good illustration of this, just compare the payout between your average PGA event, and a Cup race.Then factor in the expenses involved for the competitors, Cup vs. the PGA.

Now with the declining TV numbers, all the TV partners are upside down in their contracts. The number of commercials in a typical broadcast, that fans are complaining about are the TV partners attempt to limit their losses. NASCAR gets to “double dip” in this

financial bonanza through ISC. The well known plumbing adage is not the only thing that runs downhill, and as fans, we seem to always be at the bottom of the hill.

NASCAR was founded in 1948 by Big Bill, otherwise known in the France family as the guy who planted the money tree. It’s 62 years are rich in history and tradition. None of this seems to mean much to Brian. The fledgling series got it’s first paved superspeedway ND first 500 mile race when Darlington held it’s first Southern 500 in 1950. This was NASCAR’s biggest, and most prestigious race, until Daytona opened in ‘59. Probably the reason that Daytona became bigger was that it was built and owned by Big Bill. I understand this, but the Southern 500 continued to be it’s longest running and second most prestigious race. That is before Brian tried to kill

the venerable old girl off in 2004, by taking its date, and race and moving it to California.

Darlington was given the Mothers Day date as a replacement. This, after Easter, was considered the least desirable date to have, and until then had always been an open date. The consensus thinking at the time was that date would fail, and allow them to close the place. Well we all know how that turned out. Darlington went from being the track too tough too tame, to the track too tough to kill.

No thanks to NASCAR, but thanks to the fans who rallied to save this historic old track. If I had to pick just one track to see a race,

I wouldn’t even have to think about it. Darlington would win hands down. It’s about as “anti-cookie cutter” as it gets.

His second swipe at tradition, and history, also in 2004, was the Chase. I’ve written enough about this that I really have nothing to add. Brian is stubbornly standing behind this idea, while the TV numbers continue to tank. Nero didn’t have anything on Brian.

One fact is unassailable, when Dale Earnhardt was killed at Daytona in 2001, NASCAR was changed forever. His death brought much needed, and long overdue safety improvements. Improvements that a rash of prior drivers deaths and serious, career-ending injuries had failed to bring. These safety improvements are the best changes that I’ve seen in the time I’ve been following this sport.

That having been said, I’ve hated to see Cup turned into a spec series. I think those making the decisions, and ultimately

that goes back to Brian, failed to appreciate the impact that the “one size fits all” COT would, and has had on the sport.

Both of these changes seem to demonstrate a total disconnect with the fans, due to all the afore mentioned reasons, owners in both of NASCAR’s top series are struggling financially. Race purses have been cut, and at least the Nationwide series, is in for another 20 percent cut for next year. Fair enough, race purses have always been pegged to gate receipts. As I said, I just don’t think the payouts were ever big enough in the first place.

One thing I’d have to give Brian an A+ for is sucking up every last dollar available. I found one list of “Official Products of NASCAR.”

It listed 84 products. Some of these are relatively obscure, but some are companies that used to be primary and secondary car sponsors. With teams continuing to fold, and being replaced with the blood sucking start and park teams, this aggressive scrambling for every last dollar seems short-sighted, and counter-productive.

I’m not even sure that all these products get their money’s worth.

For example, one of these official products is New Pig Wipes.

These are super absorbent shop wipes (and yes, I had to look it up). I’ll bet you didn’t know about their shelling out to NASCAR until now, right? Come on Pig guys, pick a car, and get on it! You’re sure to be mentioned on TV. Look what it’s done for Boudreaux’s Butt Paste and the Tire Monkey.

Another thing on his resume, is opening NASCAR offices in New York and L.A. Big whup, we’ve seen what both of these markets think of NASCAR. Cheer up, Brian. California didn’t think much of the Clampetts either. In fact, I expect they class NASCAR, and its fans about the same.

NASCAR reminds me of the geek in high school. Can’t get the girls he wants, and don’t want the ones he can get.

I know they say you can’t go home again, but it looks like some of the places you outgrew are becoming a better fit again. I expect that the TV cameras could show the grandstands at The Rock, without embarrassment. Of course, I’m just pipe dreaming, for NASCAR to return to The Rock, would require eating a heaping helping of crow, a meal NASCAR hasn’t developed a taste for.

Another line item on Mr. France’s resume is the NASCAR Diversity program. As a fan, what exactly does this mean to me? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for diversity, but I believe in the most qualified person having the position, be it a high profile driver, any other position on race teams, or NASCAR itself, for that matter, Wendell Scott managed to make his mark on the sport without any help from Big Bill. In fact, if reports are to be believed, he faced and overcame obstacles from NASCAR itself, as well as promoters and other competitors.

Big kudus to Ned Jarrett for his help of Wendell. My impression of Ned is of a gentleman, both on, and off the track, and this fits right in. When the Mauricia Grant debacle first surfaced, NASCAR’s response was to circle the wagons agen sbobet. This showed just how much work NASCAR has to do in house.

A buzz word in the ’80’s used to be “corporate culture.” The recent flap over recent “secret” driver fines shows me what the corporate culture of NASCAR is from day one, owners were deemed to be “Independent Contractors”. The muzzling of owners and drivers seems to belie that. All criticism could be construed as “constructive”…. if it’s true. Expecting something like this to stay “secret” shows a childlike naivety.

The sight of eager fans lining up to spend their money at the teams merchandise trailers must have been more than NASCAR could take. Remember, they already made revenue from these sales through licensing the NASCAR logo, as well as space rental at ISC tracks. That wasn’t enough. So together with Bruton Smith, they formed Motorsports Authentics, which they promptly managed into bankruptcy, costing ISC, SMI, and the teams many millions.

No one single reason for this, but management, or the lack of

it has to be high on anyone’s list. Just plain greed has to be another big reason. The fans aren’t as stupid as some people seem to think. $100-dollar plus die casts, with a one-off paint job seemingly every third race or so. $250 leather jackets, $35 hats. All this stuff, with no secondary market. We just got tired of being ripped off, and quit buying.

I could go on, but what’s the point? The last group to get the finger pointed at them was the media (this was from Tony Stewart, but I wonder if someone pointed him?) I don’t consider myself as media, but as I’m lucky enough to be able to climb on the soapbox

from time to time, let me address this. I want to write “puppy dog and roses pieces,” but first, I’ve got to smell the roses, and see the puppy dogs. However, roses have thorns, and puppy dogs spot the carpet.

My advice to NASCAR, is to quit playing the blame game, and look a little closer to home. Most company’s troubles can be traced to poor management decisions. To fix a problem, first you have to recognize what the problems, and the causes are. As a fan, I’m behind you all the way. I want to see the ship righted as much

as anyone. I’m just having trouble working up to much optimism that current management will ever get it right.

If NASCAR really expects to get back on the right side of this, it’s time to man up.

How to Start Racing Your Car

Different people have different hobbies. While some people may love gambling at online betting platforms, such as 12bet, some people love speed. The faster you can go, the more interesting things can be. People like these usually put their nerve on becoming the world’s faster person. However, before you can reach that title, you need to learn how to race first.

Learn How to Race

There are some important things you need to prepare before you can actually race. Preparation, as suggested by 12bet, is always important.

Find a racetrack

Racing on public roads is illegal. If you want to race your car, you need a safe place dedicated for racing: race tracks.

Learn to race

Racing is not driving. If you want to be a true racer, you need to learn how the pros get the things done. You need their skills just like gamblers need their skill before they can play at 12bet. Join in a Driver’s Education event and learn as much as you can. Once you have become a certified driver, everything will be easier to deal with.

Check your safety

In racing, you are dealing with high speed. As you may know, higher speed leads to significantly higher risks. You should recognize these risks and learn how to deal with all of them, including oil, tire pressure, steering fluid, tire tread, brakes, and brake fluid. You should learn how to use all these risks and turn them into your own benefits. After all, risk is the one that makes amazing game, just like 12bet.

Track to curb

When you first hit the road to learn how racing is, it’s better to follow an experience driver first. Learn how he/she make the racing, including every turn, exit, angle, apexes, and many more. It’s just like gambling at 12bet, the more you can learn, the better you can become a pro racer.

How to be passed

If you are racing under “No Pass” rules, it means you can still pass under specific condition. Make sure about this first. If this is your first time doing it, you better not doing too much passing. When you se another driver approaching you, it is very important to give the signal for both of your safety.

Learn the flags

Racetrack operator uses flags to give signal of various conditions. Here are some of the most common flags used in race:

  • Solid green

Warm up lap has ended. You may commence passing.

  • Blue flag with a distinct diagonal yellow stripe

You should allow another driver’s car to pass you.

  • Stationary yellow

There is a danger ahead. Race with caution

  • Waving yellow

There is a disabled car ahead. Carefully reduce your speed and drive to avoid the car.

  • Red vertical stripes and alternating yellow

There is debris ahead. Race your car carefully.

  • Black flag

There is a problem with your car.

  • Red flag

Stop your car immediately.

  • Black flag with yellow meatball

Run group is going to end. Go through the checkered flag.

Jimmie Johnson

Enough! If I hear one more person blame Jimmie Johnson for the decline in NASCAR’s popularity, I think I am going to scream! Whether or not having one driver dominate for a period of time is good or bad for a sport is debatable, and besides, NASCAR has other issues greater than a driver winning six championships over an eight year span.

Personally, I am glad the man hasn’t changed his persona just to suit the masses. Being a fake is worse than being bland (he really isn’t anyway). Besides, if you want to fix the blame on any perceived problems NASCAR has, you need to look at many factors.

First and foremost, the sport’s standing has, in this opinion, undergone a course correction. For a time, the expansion of NASCAR into new markets picked up curious onlookers. The death of Dale Earnhardt, and NASCAR nation’s reaction to it drew another group of curious onlookers. A fair number of these fans have come and gone. More have remained than you might think.

Automotive technology and America’s fascination with the automobile has changed. The race car is nowhere near stock (and never completely was). A 500 mile race isn’t quite the stress test it once was. Younger generations just look at automobiles differently. Getting your license is still a rite of passage, but more and more, you find people getting their licenses later, more and more Americans in urban markets are encouraged to use public transportation, and there’s a greater inclination towards environmentalism, and seeing the car as a utility tool, rather than a status symbol.

Some people will just never understand the notion of racing on an oval track, or some variation of it. To that end, off road racing, Grand Prix, and Formula One scratch that itch. The drifting phenomenon is also fascinating. Frankly, I find it small wonder my favorite tracks are the short tracks and road courses.

A big part of the issue is old fans dying off, and fewer younger fans are replacing them. It’s not just NASCAR, look at the fading away of some fraternal and service organizations. Simply put, times change.

There will always be racing. This observer believes NASCAR will never go away, though NASCAR as we know may undergo several permutations before we all fade from the scene.

One more thing, one guy dominating the sport really isn’t a bad thing maxbet. The Celtics dominated the 60s, the Steelers did much of the 70s, and the Yankees never seem to go away for very long. A sport needs its legends. Jimmie Johnson is becoming a legend- a legend in the same vein as Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.

The Bump Drafts Big 10 Driver Rankings

Like a Lazy Susan, the leader carousel spins r’round and ‘round in our standings. While the cream has a way of rising to the top, the top of the top has a way of changing from week to week.

I don’t think we’ve seen the last of it yet either. For this perspective, Jimmie Johnson’s win at Dover was not unexpected, but there will be plenty of competition to keep him honest, and maybe even overtake him this year togel online.

THE BIG TEN

  • Tony Stewart – (Sliding from 7th to 10th)- After his Atlanta win, Stewart has finished 16th, 24th and 21st. It’s not an exactly inspiring run. With two career wins there, Kansas comes at a great time.
  • Jeff Gordon – (Holding serve at 9th)- You can’t help but wonder if he spent all his shells too early in the season. After having a race after race stretch where he came so close, Gordon hasn’t had a really great run since. The good news for guys like Gordon and Stewart is they can win darn near anywhere. For teh Rainbow Warrior, he needs to light ‘em up pretty quick to get back in the championship discussion.
  • Clint Bowyer – (Plunges from 2nd to 8th)- From diamonds to dust, it was a rough week for the 33 team. Now, he can focus on winning, as he heads to his home track. Nothing like winning as a deodorant.
  • Kurt Busch – (RE-ENTRY)- With all the stuff he has to overcome, its seems like Busch has to pass twice the number of drivers to get to the same place. His determination serves him well on days like Sunday.
  • Jeff Burton – (RE-ENTRY)- I’ll say this about J.B., he rarely excites, but he rarely disappoints. That second place finish at Dover was a nice bounce back effort. With Texas and Charlotte on the horizon, there are tracks coming where he’ll be strong.
  • Kevin Harvick – (Down a spot from 4th to 5th)- The “regular season” points leader is keeping up a pretty consistent pace. There problems from this point of view: 1. He looks good, but never quite good enough to take the checkered flag, and 2. Most of the tracks coming up aren’t ones where Harvick is particularly strong.
  • Carl Edwards (Up a tick from 5th to 4th)- As more intermediates come up on the schedule, the more confident I become that Edwards could be the dark horse threat of the field. It seems like he could use a LITTLE more speed. Otherwise, all the ingredients to compete are there.
  • Denny Hamlin – (Down from 1st to 3rd)- It’s not that Denny had a bad week, a top ten at one of your worst track is a good thing. The thing is, Johnson and Busch were better at Dover. If he can be a little more selective about the battles he chooses to fight, Hamlin will be just fine. Personally, I really like the hunger I see in Hamlin. He looks like a man possessed (of course, some of you really think he IS possessed).
  • Kyle Busch – (Up from 3rd to 2nd)- Shrub is off to a much better start in this Chase than he was in 2008. He says he learned a lot about how to compete for a championship from his run last year in the Nationwide Series. To key for Busch: 1. Keep your cool, even when things are bad, and 2. Having equipment that holds up. If I’m a Kyle fan, I am slightly concerned at the mechanical issues that dog JGR from time to time.
  • Jimmie Johnson – (Rising like the Phoenix from 6th to 1st)- History repeats itself. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Jimmie has a bad week. Jimmie bounces back by winning. We’ve seen this movie before. That could be an ominous sign. Kansas is key.

Sam Hornish, Indycar Is Calling

NASCAR’s top three tours head to Indy this weekend. The Cup circuit is on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400. Indiana is ready to eagerly welcome the racing teams and fans. I am eager for Indycars to welcome back Sam Hornish, Jr.

This comes not from rumors or inside information. It doesn’t come from disliking Hornish. On the contrary, it comes from liking him and being a fan. And watching Hornish rise, become a champion, and display his talent where it truly belongs. In Indycars.

He went from a driver with promise to a race winner. He went from a race winner to crown holder. He won three titles in six years. And he snagged the memorable 2006 Indianapolis 500 with a pass of Marco Andretti in the race’s final feet. He has driven for top flight Indycar teams Panther Racing and Penske.

For the past two-and-a-half years Hornish has steered a NASCAR Cup ride for Penske. He currently sits 29th in points and can count Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski as teammates.

When the open wheel star migrated within the Penske camp to the fendered racers, a reported motivating force was money. Rookies and back-of-the-pack Cup drivers had larger paychecks than Hornish had with all of his Indycar trophies. So over to stockcars he came.

His 2010 race winnings alone top $1.9 million so far with no top ten finishes, no top fives, and no wins. That is a pretty healthy paycheck for barely being ranked inside the top thirty.

I consistently have conversations with friends who have been around racing for over thirty years. The topic eventually leans towards the attitudes of people involved in today’s racing, where money is more important than actual racing results.

I am all for making as much money as I can. But when money leads my decision making process well beyond any other factor, then it often becomes the wrong choice. If my driving career had moved upward years ago and the money was real good for quite a while, the competitive instinct that got me to the top must kick in sometime.

Sam Hornish, Indycar Is Calling

Racing for wins is, or at least should, be much more important than at what motorsports level my ego is stroked.

Sam Hornish is a struggling stock car driver. He left a championship winning Indycar platform for a better payday in NASCAR. As a fan of good racing and good racers I selfishly hope he has made enough money to satisfy himself. It would be wonderful if the Brickyard folks had their welcome arms back open for Hornish. In May.

Indycar is going through a period of reinvention and resurgence. The group still has a long way to go to catch a glimpse of NASCAR’s national popularity, yet it could use a driver like Hornish. The sport needs marketable American drivers to bolster its strength. The established champion from Defiance, Ohio fits the bill.

Watching races for most of my life, it is much more enjoyable to see a good driver race up front than languish in the back because he is making more money and on a bigger stage.

I love to see a championship racecar driver display his talent. It is even better when he has a realistic shot at that championship. Sam Hornish holding a trophy over his head once again would be a welcome sight.

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Humpy Wheeler

Who put him up to it? Who has Humpy Wheeler been talking to? I can’t answer the first question, it is unclear what prompted the legendary promoter and former Lowe’s Motor Speedway President to post an 18 minute manifesto on YouTube Sunday. As to the second question, it would certainly appear NASCAR Nation has poured out their hearts to a man who has forgotten more about stock car auto racing than many of us will ever know, and he has delivered the message to whomever will watch or listen.

If you click here, it will take you to Jayski’s “Cup News” page, and you will find a link that takes you to the video. If you’re like me, you will find that what Wheeler has to say makes a lot of sense.

He hit the nail on the head, because at the heart of all the changes that have disaffected fans, it comes down to this: a whole bunch of marketing and various corporate types tried to make NASCAR something it wasn’t. Now what you have is a largely unhappy fan base, and the fans the suits tried to reach still perceived “stock car auto racing” to be something that just didn’t interest them. Put another way, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

Wheeler addresses everything from the absence of a charismatic “everyman” to rally behind to devising a point system that compels drivers to compete harder for passing and wins. We won’t go through it all, because basically, you’ve said it, I’ve said and it just makes too much sense.

Humpy Wheeler Says What Fans Are Thinking

Yes, things have to change with the times on some level. Even the cars you and I drive are a far cry from the production models of the 50s and 60s. With that said, if you take a look around the dirt tracks of America, it is still possible for NASCAR to appeal to a new generation of fans. Will it ever top the NFL? I don’t think so. The reality may be that motorsports will be among the leaders in the “niche sports” category- like it once was.

The question NASCAR has to ask itself is one of whether or not they want to keep pursuing a fan they can’t win, or if they want to plead a mea culpa and admit an extreme makeover is overdue and it needs to happen sooner, rather than later.

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How will NASCAR react? Will Humpy Wheeler be dismissed as some crazy old man, or will they realize a well known and influential figure has made his observations, and after much thoughtful consideration, has brought that message forward.

OK, Daytona, do we have your attention now?