Tag Archives: Chase for the Sprint Cup

Race Recap: AAA Texas 500

5 Nov

What. A. Race.

The last 10 laps of yesterday’s AAA Texas 500 were, in my opinion, the most intense of the entire NASCAR season.  (If you have 10 minutes, check out the Race Rewind here).

Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski, numbers 1 and 2 in the Chase standings, respectively, zoomed around the track, banging and bumping until Johnson got his break and sneaked past “Bad Brad” for the victory at Texas.

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Jimmie Johnson celebrates in victory lane after winning the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

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As always, there was a bit of drama in this one, as Keselowski and Johnson were both accused of jumping a restart near the end of the race for an unfair advantage.  NASCAR has since dismissed the charges.

[There is a great explanation here of why a small lead at the line by the 2nd-place driver is acceptable on a restart.  Essentially: it’s impossible to tell whether the race leader slowed down on purpose to get the other driver penalized.]

There was also (maybe) some drama on Lap 320 when Kasey Kahne hit the wall to bring out a caution (see below).  A later restart allowed Johnson (on four fresh tires from his previous pit stop) to pass Keselowki, who had elected to go with only two fresh tires on his previous pit stop.

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Brad Keselowski talks to the media after his second-place finish in the AAA Texas 500.

Some comments on the race:

  • I was really impressed by Keselowski’s levelheadedness after losing 8 spots (and the lead) on pit road on Lap 275.  As he left pit road, he said on the radio: “Stay cool here guys.  Stay cool.”  That attitude brought him back to the lead a few laps later and almost produced a victory.
  • This Jimmie Johnson post-race interview on NASCAR.com is worth 3 minutes of your time.  He’s so dang nice; he’s like the quarterback of your HS football team that you’d love to hate (because he gets all the girls and everyone worships him), except that he reads to blind kids in his spare time.
  • Here’s a sample from Keselowski’s post-race interview, regarding the two-tire call:  “I stopped short of saying it was my call because we’re a team and we make decisions together […] and Paul and I made the decision together.”
  • Wowww.  Kyle Busch hates Bad Brad, huh?  From KyBusch’s post-race interview: “I guess there’s no restart rules.  I mean, I think Brad went early – I think – the last two times. […] From my experience with Brad, it doesn’t surprise me.”
  • If the two-tire change for Keselowski on Lap 312 had worked, he would have looked like an absolute genius.  It didn’t, but only because of some bad luck (read: multiple cautions) at the end.

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I picked up some new NASCAR knowledge this week, thanks to some awesome folks on Twitter.  Here’s a summary:

  • Per NASCAR regulations, all cars have the same size gas tank.  This leads to pretty equivalent gas mileage across the board, with some exceptions:
  • Team Hendrick are a bunch of cheaters!

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Tweet of the weekend:

(If you aren’t sure why this is funny, check out this article and associated pictures at “From The Marbles” blog on Yahoo! Sports).

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Only two weeks left before a 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion is crowned…  Next weekend, the Chase for the Sprint Cup moves to Phoenix International Raceway for the AdvoCare 500.

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Race Recap: TUMS Fast Relief 500

1 Nov

As much as I’d like to blame the Frankenstorm for making me miss last weekend’s TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville, I can’t.

I was out of town last weekend watching – in person – my favorite (black-and-yellow-colored) football team defeat the sorry football team from our nation’s capital.  (Was that too specific??)

Therefore, once again, I’ll analyze the race highlights courtesy of NASCAR.com’s superb video series known as the “Race Rewind.”

(Here is the NASCAR.com race recap, if blog-quality journalism isn’t your thing…).

P.S. – This is the blog post of awesome pictures. Prepare yourself…

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I told you there were awesome pictures in store for you.

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Some comments/questions on the race:

  • If my math is correct, this was only the second time this season that the race winner started from the pole, as Jimmie Johnson did on Sunday (the other time was at Pocono, where Joey Logano won on June 10th).  –Is this normal in NASCAR??
  • How quickly things change at the small tracks, eh?  Denny Hamlin went from 30th at Lap 48 to first at Lap 165.  –Wow.
  • Hamlin got two(!) speeding penalties???  –Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice…
  • No major wrecks in this race.  –Yawn…

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So the Top 5 Chase drivers remained the same after the race, but there was some shuffling at the top:

Jimmie Johnson moved past Brad Keselowski for first overall, and both Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne moved passed Hamlin after his struggles on Sunday.  Bowyer now stands in third, Kahne fourth, and Hamlin fifth overall in the Chase standings.

With three races left before a champion is crowned for this 2012 season, it’s looking now like a two-man race (no pun intended) between Jimmie and Brad.

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Definite “Tweet of the Week” winner:

Yep, that’s Jeff Gordon there on the left dressed as King Arthur?  One of the knights of the Round Table?  Who cares… it’s awesome!

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BONUS PICTURE:

If you thought the Jeff Gordon Halloween picture above was awesome, check out his 2005 Halloween costume (when he attended Heidi Klum‘s Halloween party in New York City with then-girlfriend Ingrid Vandebosch):

He is (they are?) dressed as a One Night Stand! Get it? Hahaha

Happy Belated Halloween!!

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Next Sunday, the Chase for the Sprint Cup moves to Fort Worth, Texas, for the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

I will be watching.

Hopefully.

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Race Recap: Hollywood Casino 400

23 Oct

Okay, full disclosure: I didn’t watch this past weekend’s race.  I rented “The Hunger Games” instead, and it was pretty awesome.  Best 74 cents I’ve ever spent (thank you, Redbox!!!).

I just got caught up on the race highlights, however, thanks to NASCAR‘s wonderfully produced “Race Rewind” (which as I’ve mentioned before, is a must-watch any time you miss a race).

Here’s the tweet that sent me to the Race Rewind for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas, by the way (so I knew right off the bat that Matt Kenseth won):

…and here is the NASCAR.com recap of the race.

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Matt Kenseth celebrates in Victory Lane after the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas.

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Some thoughts on the race (or more accurately, some thoughts on the Race Rewind for Kansas):

  • Did you hear the announcer say (Race Rewind, Lap 32) that they were expecting “maybe half a dozen” cautions? HA! (There were a track-record 14 on Sunday).
  • Everyone knows that Tony Stewart is a psycho, right?  RIGHT???  (See Race Rewind, Lap 74: “Feel free, at any point guys, to get your heads out of your @$$es.”)
  • Check out the Race Rewind at Lap 147 after Brad Keselowski almost hits the wall.  The dash cam has a perfectly placed Dodge logo that looks suspiciously computer-generated.  Here it is:

Check out that Dodge logo. Looks Photoshop’d.

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Here’s a question:

  • When Greg Biffle hits the wall and slides across the grass into Pit Lane (Lap 174), he was allowed to go straight to his pit box without entering Pit Lane at the beginning???

Greg Biffle takes a shortcut to his pit box on Lap 174.

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EarlyTweet of the Week” candidates:

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So, another week of the Chase down, and the Top 3 remain the same: (1) Brad Keselowski, (2) Jimmie Johnson, and (3) Denny Hamlin.

Everyone else better start making moves or one of these three will win the championship this season.

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Next Sunday, the Chase for the Sprint Cup moves to Ridgeway, Virginia, for the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway a.k.a. “The Paperclip.”

Now… we’ve already had a “Fast Relief” race name this season (The Goody’s Fast Relief 500, also at Martinsville), so couldn’t we have been a little more original, Tums??

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Race Recap: Bank of America 500

15 Oct

NASCAR racing under the lights.  There’s nothing like it, am I right?

Clint Bowyer celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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The big news around the NASCAR world heading into the weekend was that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. would be out two weeks due to his second concussion in six weeks.

The first was suffered during a crash while tire testing at Kansas on August 29th, and the second was suffered during the last-lap wreck at Talladega last weekend (after which he drove Jimmie Johnson back to the garage, oddly enough).

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (88) gives Jimmie Johnson (left) a lift back to the garage after the final lap wreck at Talladega.

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The two-week absence effectively eliminated Dale Jr. from Chase contention, as points in the standings are awarded to drivers, not their car or team owner.  It also marked the first time in 33 years(!) that a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was run without an Earnhardt in the field.

In the end, Clint Bowyer came away with the victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which marked the half-way point in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.  Thanks to his win, Bowyer moved up a spot to fourth in the Chase standings.

With five races left in the Chase, it’s looking more and more like this year’s Sprint Cup Series Champion will be Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, or Denny Hamlin.  Overall, the trio remained in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, respectively, after this weekend.

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Some thoughts on the race:

  • Great job by Matt Kenseth avoiding major damage when he spun out after the cut tire early in the race, no?
  • During that Kenseth spin-out, wasn’t it funny listening to Keselowski’s spotter?  “In the middle… on the bottom, on the bottom, on the bottom, on the bottom, on the bottom… caution’s out.”
  • Wasn’t it odd watching someone other than Dale Jr. in the 88?
  • Did the 24 car look awesome this weekend, or what?

Jeff Gordon’s #24 car advertises the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie during the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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Tweet of the Weekend:

-Mario Kart reference, ftw!

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Next Sunday, the Chase moves to Kansas City for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.  Don’t miss it!

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Race Recap: Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500

8 Oct

Heading into yesterday’s Sprint Cup Series race, all the media talk was about how the Chase standings could be turned upside down if several Chase drivers got involved in a big wreck at Talladega Superspeedway.

Matt Kenseth celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, AL.

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[At NASCAR‘s largest tracks (such as Talladega), where the long straightaways and gentle curves allow drivers to mash the gas all the way around, a big, violent wreck is never far away – or at least never feels far off].

As I watched yesterday’s race, I kept waiting, and waiting, for “The Big One” to occur.  In the end, it took a green-white-checkered finish in lap 189 (of a regularly-scheduled 188) for “The Big One” to occur, but it was well worth the wait.

Here’s a video of the final-lap crash that wiped out almost the entire field and turned the race results completely upside down:

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Of the 12 Chase drivers, the two biggest movers in the standings were Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.  Gordon gained four places in the standing by finishing 2nd in the race, and Dale Jr. dropped four places in the standings by finishing 20th in the race.

Brad Keselowski remained in the top spot, and Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin remained in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, in the overall Chase standings.

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As always, I picked up some new NASCAR knowledge this week.  Here’s a summary:

  • Restrictor plates are a necessity at larger tracks like Talladega Superspeedway.  Here’s how they work and why they’re important (briefly).
  • The Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 race name comes from the Good Sam Club, which is an international organization for recreational vehicle owners.

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Tweet of the weekend:

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Next weekend, the Chase for the Sprint Cup moves to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Bank of America 500.  This one will be under the lights on Saturday night.  Don’t miss it!

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