Restrictor Plates Are Off: NASCAR Fines Steal The Show In Vegas

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Restrictor Plates Are Off: NASCAR Fines Steal The Show In Vegas

By: Jeff Southard

(Photo Credit: AP Photo)

There should have been a lot of story lines that came out of the Las Vegas race. Like the record number of passes, Matt Kenseth’s first win for Joe Gibbs, etc, etc. But thanks to NASCAR’s bone head move(more on it in a minute) to fine Denny Hamlin for expressing his thoughts on the Gen-6 race car all the above mentioned headlines took a back seat. But lets talk about it for a minute, congrats to Matt Kenseth and the #20 team for getting their first win of 2013. The last laps of the Las Vegas race were very exciting. The cars were loose and the drivers were up on the wheel. Kenseth stayed out on older tires for track position and it payed off big with a race win. It appears that the Gen-6 put just a little bit of control back in the drivers hands and it made for some great racing. I for once am actually excited about the next mile and a half race!

Bone Head Move Of The Week:

Maybe even bone head move of the century on the part of NASCAR! I know its been beaten into a pulp over the past week and a half so I won’t go into it very much but NASCAR’s move to penalize Denny Hamlin over comments he made about the Gen 6 race car are absurd! Had they not fined him the comments would have died down and went away. Now they have been played back thousands of times and will be over the remainder of they ear. At a time in our sport when the drivers are finally starting to have some character again NASCAR has castrated their voice. A driver would be insane to say how he feels now if its bad or negative. Heck what Hamlin said wasn’t even out of line! And it was the truth! But in the end NASCAR will always get their way, they always do, just ask Curtis Turner.

The Flat Tire Award

I’m giving this one to NASCAR too, for officially letting the air out of the Gen-6 race cars momentum!

The Hard Charger Award

Brad Keselowski, quietly off to about as good of start as you can get without winning a race. 3 races, 3 top fives, all with a new manufacture and a new race car. I guess its safe to say Bad Brad isn’t a flash in the pan after all!

Pick-A-Winner

Well at least my pick last week with Carl Edwards made me look I had some sort of a clue, his 5th place finish has improved my season average to 21.6. To see all my picks for the year thus far CLICK HERE.

This week I’m going some what on a limb but with someone I have a good feeling about, I’m picking Martin Truex Jr.. He along with all the MWR cars ran strong at Bristol last season, I think this might be his chance to break out and put the Napa Toyota in victory lane.

Yahoo Fantasy Sports Picks

This was a rebound week for me on Yahoo as well, with Carl finishing 5th, Jimmie 6th and Mark Martin and Austin Dillon 14th and 21st respectively I at least stopped the bleeding. I’m 8th out of 11 in one league and 16th out of 48 in my other league.

This week is a bit of a wild card, you just never know what is going to happen at Bristol, but I feel pretty confident in my picks!

A. Brad Keselowski- He’s been golden at Bristol and before him Kurt Busch and Rusty Wallace had no problems taking the #2 car to victory lane for Roger Penske. Brad has been strong thus far this season, I think he’s a no brainer to start on Sunday.

B. Martin Truex Jr.- I picked him to win earlier, so I gotta pick him hear. There aren’t a ton of tracks I plan on using him at this year so I have no problem getting a start out of the way.

B. Kyle Busch- I hate to give away two Kyle Busch starts this early in the season but he’s good at Bristol, he’s been on a roll this year, and with Toyota’s engine problems seemingly out of the way he should be a thread on Sunday.

C. David Reutimann- David has always ran decent at Bristol, including  a second place finish back in 2010. He finished 21st for Tommy Baldwin last year in the spring race. He’s also a strong qualifier with 4 top ten starts in his career at Bristol.

Restrictor Plates Are Off: Phoenix Review

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Restrictor Plates Are Off: Phoenix Review

By: Jeff Southard

Edwards Back To His Winning Ways

carledwardsjeffwackerlin

(Photo Credit: Jeff Wackerlin)

Well it didn’t take Jimmy Fenning long to bring Carl Edwards back to victory lane. After a rough Daytona Fenning, Edwards, and crew had the #99 Ford Fusion set on kill on Sunday. A big turn around from last week when I gave him the “Flat Tire Award” and I have to admit, I was ready to write the #99 team off for the season. But as of now it looks like there is plenty of fight left in Edwards! But the question is can he keep up the momentum throughout 2013? My guess is yes, Fenning is a good crew chief, if they continue to mesh together look out for them to be a dangerous duo.

Bone Head Move Of The Week

I think the hands down winner this week has to be Jeremy Clements for his used of the “n-word” at Daytona. I mean, come one, really? I don’t care what kind of context he used it in, its still uncalled for. He is representing NASCAR at one of its top three levels, this wasn’t a Saturday night short track interview, he should know better.

jeremyclementsnascar

(Photo Credit: NASCAR.com)

The Flat Tire Award

I’m going to give this weeks shout out to Stewart Haas Racing. Last week both Danica and Ryan Newman were in the top ten, this week they both had DNF’s. Newman wrecked twice on Sunday before finally giving it up. Danica made it most of the race but was holding down a 30th place position for most of those laps. A big step backwards from the solid run she had going last fall at Phoenix.

The Hard Charger Award

This week’s hard charger shout out has to go to A.J. Allmendinger. He returned to the #51 Guy Roofing Chevrolet for James Finch’s Phoenix Racing and quietly brought the car home in a solid 11th place finish. Very strong run for the equipment especially considering A.J. hasn’t been in a cup car in four months or so and hasn’t been in one full time for almost nine months.

Pick-A-Winner

Well I’m 0-2 so far this year in picking a winner. In fact my driver’s have an average finish of 30th, not good. But I plan on turning that around this week! In an effort to seek a bit of redemption and eat a little crow for casting Carl Edwards‘ entire season under the bus after week one I’m picking him to go back to back and win at Las Vegas.

For my results by week, CLICK HERE

Yahoo Fantasy Sports Picks

As with my pick-a-winner, my fantasy sports picks suffered last week as well. Kurt and Kyle were both in the 20’s, Danica was 39th, and Harvick failed to get a top ten. I scored 175 points which was just bad enough to put me in 8th place in one league and 17th in the other. But its early, no need to panic, I have a strategy in place! I think…….

Here are my winning picks for Vegas!

A. Jimmy Johnson- Normally I save five-time for the chase but I need a little early season momentum so I’m going to use up a start here.

B. Carl Edwards and Mark Martin- Mark is mister consistency at Las Vegas and Edwards is my pick to win the race. I feel like both will earn me a top ten.

C. Austin Dillon- I really wanted to go with Stenhouse here, Vegas is a strong track for him. But there are so few C level drivers that actually have a chance at a good finish I felt like I needed to save Stenhouse and take advantage of Dillon when I could.

Restrictor Plates Are Off: The Single File 500 Still Excites, Danica Delivers, And The Fence-Of-Tomorrow

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Restrictor Plates Are Off:The Single File 500 Still Excites, Danica Delivers, Fence-Of-Tomorrow

By: Jeff Southard

The Single File 500 Still Excites

After watching the Sprint Unlimited I promised myself I would hold off judgement on the Gen-6 race car, the pack was two small, people were just getting a feel for the car, give it time. Well after 500 plus miles the Gen-6 still sucks on the plate track just as bad as I thought it did. Hopefully NASCAR will make a few changes before the next plate race. No one could pass anyone. I wasn’t a fan of the two car tandem but this isn’t the pack racing I wanted back either. Pack racing is two and three wide, this was a single car train. At least with the two car tandem there was passing. I’m not going to completely throw the car under the bus though, I know it will take time to perfect. The race was what it was, in the end of the day, it was still full of excitement and story lines. Even though the on track racing may not have been perfect it was still exciting and light years away from being boring!  With the huge crash taking out several contenders early, the trio of Toyota cars having mechanical troubles, and all the Danica-mania it was still an exciting 500 miles.

Danica Delivers

Its hard not to be impressed with the job Danica Patrick did. She ran top ten pretty much all day long and was around at the end. There wasn’t much passing to be done and even less with the lack of help Danica was getting. But hopefully the more experience she gets the more the other drivers will stop treating her like a female and start treating her like another driver. Her performance today was smooth and error free. It reminds me a lot of her Indy 500 runs. Danica runs her own race and doesn’t let whats going on around her effect her. If she can get faster at the tracks she isn’t as good at she could prove to be a very consistent Cup racer.

Fence-Of-Tomorrow

I’m not going to go a lot into reviewing the crash in the Nationwide race on Saturday. I posted a few pictures that can be saw by CLICKING HERE. What I do want to talk about is the cry for change. Now don’t get me wrong, it was a horrible accident and my thoughts and prayers go out to those effected. We are very lucky it wasn’t worse. I’ve heard people suggest via twitter,  radio and various other sources over the past 48 hours everything from bullet proof glass walls to tearing down grand stands and moving them backwards and building them up higher. I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and calm down before they start changing things. The catch fence for the most part did its job 100%. It caught the engine and half the suspension. It kept the car on the track. It was just a fluke deal that one piece of the suspension flew into the stands. That is part of racing, no one ever claimed that sitting in the stands was 100% safe. I’ve dodged my fair share of hoods and body parts at drag racing events over the years. I almost had a street stock fly into my lap several years ago at a 1/4 mile dirt track. Its is just the chance you take. I bring up the street stock to disprove those who say we need to slow the cars down. Freak accidents can happen at any speed.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we sit by the way side and hope it doesn’t happen again. But I don’t think immediate change is needed either. If someone can come up with a safer idea for a catch fence that doesn’t obstruct the view of the fans then I’m all for it. But until then what we have works pretty well. Hopefully until then the “perfect storm” that we saw on Saturday won’t happen again!

Bone Head Move Of The Week

Rapper 50-cent made Erin Andrews Daytona 500 experience super awkward, just watch.

http://sports.yahoo.com/video/awkward-scene-rapper-231211816.html

Not to mention his odd tweet “Damn, I don’t see no black people lol”

Debuting this week to go along with our Bone Head award the “Flat Tire” award and the “Hard Charger” award. The flat tire will be given to the driver with the worst performance of the weekend. The hard charger will be given to the best performance of the weekend, not necessarily the race winner, just an inspiring performance.

The Flat Tire Award

Carl Edwards: I lost count at four or five torn up race cars this weekend. But even when he wasn’t wrecking he wasn’t doing much. He was running in the back of the Sprint Unlimited and the back of the Daytona 500 when he got into trouble. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of how Edwards plans to turn his season around from his 2012 woes or its going to be a long year for the #99 fans.

The Hard Charger Award

Micheal McDowell and J.J. Yeley: Both drivers started at the back of the field, 38 and 41st. Both drivers are driving for underfunded teams. But most importantly both drivers brought it home in the top ten and netted huge pay days to help them race another day!

Pick-A-Winner

For the biggest part of the day I thought sure my pick Matt Kenseth was going to pull it out for me but that all went up in smoke 3/4’s of the way through.

For Phoenix this weekend I’m going with Kyle Busch. He ran strong there in the fall and will no doubt be up on the wheel after blowing a motor in Daytona.

Yahoo Fantasy Sports Picks

Even with Matt Kenseth blowing up in Daytona I still managed to tie for 1st on one of my leagues and finish 2nd in the other. My picks off Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle, and Danica Patrick scored me 292 points.

Here are my picks for Phoenix this week!

A. Kevin Harvick

B. Kurt Busch & Kyle Busch

C. Danica Patrick

Restrictor Plates Are Off: Danica-Mania, Gen-6 Mania, and Commercial-Mania Take Center Stage At Daytona

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Restrictor Plates Are Off: Danica-Mania, Gen-6 Mania, and Commercial-Mania Take Center Stage At Daytona

By: Jeff Southard

Welcome to the first regular season edition of Restrictor Plates Are Off for 2013!

Danica Patrick Sits On The Daytona 500 Pole

Danica Patrick became the first woman to sit on the pole of the Daytona 500 Sunday. She backed up her fast practice times with a blistering qualifying lap and locked herself into the Daytona 500 no matter what happens in the qualifying races on Thursday. This is great for the sport and great for Danica. Hopefully this will take some of the spotlight off her relationship with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and focus more on the actual race.

(Photo Credit: Getty)

The Gen-6 Race Car Makes Its On Track Debut:

Saturday night was the much anticipated debut of the Gen-6 race car. While it wasn’t the most exciting race I’ve ever watched I think its unfair to jump to any conclusions just yet. The lack of the a big pack really put a hold on much passing  but hopefully that will change when forty three cars take to the track next Sunday. One thing is for sure the big pack racing is back, no more two car tandem. The chess match we have came to know at Daytona and Talladega will defiantly resume!

Commercial-Mania:

There were a nice array of manufactures commercials featuring the new Gen-6 race car and the NASCAR drivers Saturday night. Everyone is doing a great job really promoting this car and getting the news out to those who may have not heard the news of the new car.

Speaking of commercials, Fox sure did show plenty of them Saturday night. Two commercials in the final segment? Really? One more reason to long for that mid-season break when we get some real TV coverage!

Bone-Head Move Of The Week:

For our inaugural “Bone-Head Move Of The Week” Award we have a three way tie for the top honor!

1. Drew Charlson runs a black #3 at Daytona: That’s right, I said Drew Charlson, Charlson, not Earnhardt or Dillon, Charlson. Drew Charlson ran a black #3 Chevrolet Monte-Carlo in the ARCA race at Daytona on Saturday.  A car purchased from Richard Childress Racing, apparently they ran the number #23 last year but sold that number. So rather than have new numbers made, they ran the #2 on one car and the #3 on another. Not only did they run the #3 but a black one and at Daytona. Personally I think this may be bone-head move of the year. Number one, how hard is it to get new numbers made? Lets assume they couldn’t afford new numbers, at least paint the car a different color. I understand its just a number and I have no problem with Austin or Ty Dillon or an Earnhardt running the number but for some random upstart ARCA driver to think he should be the one to run the #3 at the very track that Dale Sr. died at is a disgrace and a dishonor to the tradition that is the #3. Drew Charlson and car owner Wayne Hixson should be ashamed.

(Photo Credit:  The Pit Lane)

2. NASCAR Media VS Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse JR.: They are dating, big deal, its their own personal life, leave them alone! There are much bigger and more important things to cover at Daytona than Ricky and Danica. This subject has separated the media members that care about NASCAR and those who care about website hits.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

3. Jimmy Johnson says Brad Keselowski needs to “grow up”: Jimmy Johnson had the following to say about about NASCAR Champion Brad Keselowski at media day last week.

“Watching him on Sports Center following the race trying to drink a beer, I was not sure it was the best thing for our sport,” he said. “As mature as he wants to portray himself, Brad has some growing to do.”

Really? Just because everyone isn’t as big of a stiff as five-time doesn’t mean that Brad did anything wrong. Has Jimmy ever looked at a NASCAR crowd? There is plenty of beer being drank there! Brad did nothing wrong by giving his sponsor some awesome TV time and enjoying a few beers after he won the sports biggest prize.

Pick-A-Winner:

Each week I will pick a winner of next weeks race. For the Daytona 500 I’m picking Matt Kenseth. He was strong in the Sprint Unlimited with almost no drafting help, throw Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin into the mix and I think Matt has a very good chance of going back to back for two different teams and two different manufactures.

Yahoo Fantasy Sports Picks:

I will also be sharing my Yahoo Fantasy NASCAR picks each week! Here is who I have starting on my team this week!

A: Matt Kenseth

B: Greg Biffle & Dale Earnhardt Jr.

C: Danica Patrick

“Restrictor Plates Are Off” is simply a weekly opinion column shared each week with the viewers of JDSMotorsports.com, a word press blog. We are not a professional media outlet nor do we pretend to be one. Just a NASCAR fan who enjoys sharing opinions with our readers. This article is written by Jeff Southard. For questions or comments pleas either respond through the website or email jeff@jdsmotorsports.com

The 6th Annual Stewie Awards: My Votes

The 6th Annual Stewie Awards are coming up on November 29th at the Cabo Wabo Cantina at the Miracle Mile Shops on the Las Vegas Strip. Hosted by three-time Nascar Champion Tony Stewart and co-host Matt Yocum.

To vote on the awards yourself go to http://www.siriusxm.com/stewieawards

Below are each award category and my pick for the winner.

Best Original Drama For the years most dramatic moment or sequence

My Choice:

“A win at the Quicken Loans 400 helped Dale Earnhardt Jr. make the Chase, but after an accident at Talladega concussions sideline him for two races and ended his shot at a title.”

I really didn’t have a clear winner on this one. The AJ Allmendinger story was big, but he’s has did his time so I didn’t feel like he should be brought back into the spotlight or given an award for drug use. The others were big but I still couldn’t name a clear cut winner in them. So I went with the one involving Nascar’s most popular driver. What bigger drama could there be than the driver that thousands of people are coming to the track to see not being able to race due to an injury?

Bonehead Move Of The Year ‘Nuff Said

My Choice:

“During the Hollywood Casino 400 Danica Patrick, in an attempt to spin Landon Cassill as payback for what she felt was overly aggressive driving, ends up putting herself into the wall.”

How could you not pick this one? Danica, in her best attempt at “Boys Have At It” made a fool of herself by spinning out herself and Landon Cassil out and ending both their days. I mean, I’ve never saw someone get so bent out of shape of 35th place before!

“Feels Like The First Time” Award For the most notable “First” of the Nascar season

My Choice:

“In only his third career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start, 18-year old Ryan Blaney becomes the youngest winner in Truck Series history with a win in the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa.”

Blaney, a name known around the country in racing circles, especially on dirt. In my opinion Ryan Blaney may be the driver that solidifies that name’s spot in asphalt circles. Winning in only his third race he put himself on the map.

Best Vocal Performance (Sound clips can be heard at the link at the top of the page)

My Choice:

Brad Keselowski’s profanity laced rant after the Phoenix race. Fire, passion, non-politically correct, all things that make Brad, Brad. And all things that make him being the champion great for the sport!

Best Driver To Crew Chatter (Sound clips can be heard at the link at the top of the page)

My Choice:

“Brad Keselowski pleads with his team to relay a message to Tony Stewart during the Coca-Cola 600 in hopes of avoiding retaliation by Smoke.”

What? Tony Stewart wreck someone? Surely not!

“Best Original Comedy” For the years most entertaining “incident”

My Choice:

“During the IRWIN Tools Night Race Tony Stewart wrecks after making contact with Matt Kenseth. Before heading to the infield, Smoke gives Kenseth a parting gift, firing his helmet at Kenseth’s hood.”

Tony Stewart’s best effort to be Jimmy Spencer 2.0. How can you not vote for it? And it put Bristol back on the map and back into the hearts of fan’s!

Hal Needham Award (Best Stunt Sequence) For The Year’s Most Remarkable Crash

My Choice:

“On the final lap of the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500, Tony Stewart and Michael Waltrip bump, sparking a massive crash that involved 25 cars and 10 of the 12 Chase drivers.”

I almost voted for Juan Pablo’s Jet Dryer Explosion but I changed my mind at the last minute. Not only did Tony Stewart’s bone head block wreck half the field, it also crushed a great would be cinderalla story because I’m 95% sure Micheal Waltrip would have won that race.

Boy’s Have At It Award

This award has been given to Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer and I can’t blame them! Good choice!

“The Social Stewie” For The Year’s Best Tweet

My Choice:

“@MattKenseth: “Talked to #DaleJr yesterday, told him I was glad he was coming back…being the most popular driver was really hard work. #imkidding” (10/23)”

Gotta love Matt’s sense of humor. If you think Matt is boring, just follow him on twitter!

All right that is it for my choices! Be sure and click the link below and vote yourself!

http://www.siriusxm.com/stewieawards