NASCAR Picks: Texas

Pick-A-Winner

Okay so my sure fire bet of Mark Martin last week started to blow up on my early in practice and continued through qualifying. While I was tempted to pull him from my Yahoo list of starters I held the course since I had picked him to win the race.  He ended up giving me a 10th place finish, moving my season average to 14.8, hey at least its going in the right direction!

To see all my picks for the year, CLICK HERE

This week I’m going to go back to the driver that started me off in this whole at Daytona, I’m going to pick Matt Kenseth to win at Texas. He won here before in 2011 and the Gibbs cars have always been pretty strong at Texas. Matt’s still been running up front and I think its his week to shake the demons and get back into victory lane again.

Yahoo Fantasy Sports Picks

I had a solid week at Martinsville, Gordon got me a 3rd place finish, Martin got me a 10th place. I was let down by Dale Jr who ended up 24th as well as Ricky Stenhouse Jr who finished 25th. Guess I should have started Danica!

But this is another week and another shot at redemption.

A driver- Matt Kenseth, see above for reasons

B drivers- Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards- both have ran good here, the Roush cars have always ran strong here, its a good place to use a start for both of them.

C driver-  Ricky Stenhouse Jr.- I know he’s gonna have a good car, I think he has a solid shot at a top 15 here.

On the bench- A, Jimmie Johnson; B, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch; C, Danica Patrick

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

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(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.

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(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

NASCAR Sprint Cup 2013 Season Preview

Daytona is so close now you can taste it! Here are my thought’s on the upcoming 2013 season, who will make the Chase, who won’t, and who will win it all!

Who’s In? Who’s Out? Here’s My Top 10

Every year the chase get’s harder and harder to make, that trend will defiantly continue this year. None of the 12 Chase drivers from 2012 are looking to give up their spot in 2013 but several drivers are locked and loaded to put themselves in the Chase this year. Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch lead the charge of the top drivers looking for a spot in that elite 12.  Here is my Chase picks for 2013.

Daytona 500 - Practice

(Photo Credit Nascar.com)

Jeff Gordon: Despite a world of controversy surrounding him Jeff Gordon finished off the 2012 season on a high note with a win at Homestead. I look for Gordon to continue his late season momentum over in to 2013. With the Gen 6 race car’s driving style comparing itself more to the “twisted sister” over the C.O.T. I look for that to give Gordon a little bit of an advantage as well.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Awards - Portraits(Photo Credit Nascar.com)

Brad Keselowski: I look for Bad Brad to continue in his dominate ways in 2013. With the new car I don’t look for the switch to Ford to slow him down taht much.

Tums Fast Relief 500 - Practice

Kasey Kahne: Even though Kahne got off to a really bad start in 2012 he came back to finish 4th overall in the standings. Look for him to be a serious force to be dealt with in 2012.

Ford EcoBoost 400 - Qualifying

(Photo Credit: Nascar.com)

Clint Bowyer: Bowyer had is best points finish of 2nd in 2012 and arguably his best year all together. It was also his first year in his new ride with Micheal Waltrip Racing. I look for 2013 to be a big year for Bowyer. MWR should be able to build on their 2012 success and provide some fast race cars for Bowyer and team. Clint’s confidence level should be at an all time high as well, look for him to be a serious Championship contender in 2013.

Ford EcoBoost 400 - Practice

(Photo Credit: Nascar.com)

Dale Earnhardt Jr: The buzz of the 2012 off season was Dale Jr.’s comments about how he felt really comfortable in the new Gen 6 race car. That it reminded him of the “twisted sister” race car where he had most all of his success in.  Only time will tell if Junior can turn that comfort into a Championship but what it will give him is confidence going into the season. Junior was strong in 2012 and all the cards are in the deck for him to repeat that performance in 2013.

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(Photo Credit: ESPN.com)

Jimmy Johnson: Is it even possible for “five-time” to miss the Chase?

AAA Texas 500 - Practice

(Photo Credit: Nascar.com)

Tony Stewart: Like Johnson, its hard to imagine a Chase without Tony Stewart in it. Stewart is always a threat to win it all, even when you don’t expect it, as he proved in 2011.

2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Martinsville

(Photo Credit: Nascar.com)

Greg Biffle: The biff flew under the radar last year but for the first half of the season he was pretty dang consistent.  Now in 2013 with Kenseth gone from Roush-Fenway Racing and Carl Edwards on a rebound season the spot for top driver is open. I believe Biffle is up to the challenge of filling that spot.

AdvoCare 500 - Qualifying

(Photo Credit: Nascar.com)

Matt Kenseth: If Matt can pilot a lame duck #17 into the Chase there is no reason why he won’t put his new Joe Gibbs Toyota deep into the Chase.

AdvoCare 500(Photo Credit: Nascar.com)

Kevin Harvick: Even though Harvick is in a lame duck situation in 2013 don’t look for that to slow him down. Harvick and Childress are both too proud to write this season off. Look for multiple wins and an easy chase spot out of the #29 gang.

On The Outside Looking In

Before I go into my two wild card driver’s I want to talk about who I don’t think will make the Chase. Some of these are a surprise, some not so much.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin was oh, so close to winning a race last year. Although the second’s were nice, I think not being able to tie up a W has hurt his confidence going into 2013.  I expect him to be a player going into Richmond for 10 place in points, but a non-factor in the wild card due to his proven inability to put up wins.

Carl Edwards: I don’t think Carl did enough toward the end of 2012 to prove that anything will be different in 2013. I think he will find his way back to victory lane but will still be on the outside of the Chase looking in when all is said and done.

Denny Hamlin: Denny has been up and down over the past few years. With the added pressure of Matt Kenseth driving for Joe Gibbs I think Hamlin will be the odd man out in 2013.

Other notable names not making the Chase: Jamie McMurray, Marcos Ambrose, Danica Patrick, Paul Menard, Jeff Burton, Ryan Newman, Juan Paublo Montoya, Kurt Busch.

Wild Card Baby

You’ve probably done the math by now. But here are my two wild card drivers.

AdvoCare 500

(Photo Credit: Nascar.com)

Kyle Busch: Rowdy had the strongest car at several of the final races in 2012, he just couldn’t finish. But look for him to have it together in 2013. I still don’t think he will be consistent enough to make the Chase on points but I could see him easily winning three or four races in 2013.

Sylvania 300 - Qualifying (Photo Credit: Nascar.com)

Joey Logano: Joey was on a verge of having a break out season in 2012. He won a ton of races in Nationwide proving once again he knows how to get it done. Now that he is a strong number 2 driver with Penske instead of a distant 3rd driver at Gibbs I look for Lagano to finally live up to expectations. I think first year jitters with the team will keep him out of the Chase on points but look for him to win at least twice in 2013 if not more.

Victory Lane Here We Come

While its obvious that any of the above mentioned drivers have a illegitimate shot and going to victory lane in 2013 I wanted to mention a few not so obvious drivers who I think will make their way to victory lane in 2013.

Danica Patrick: While I don’t look for her to make the chase, or possible even the top 20 in points, it would not surprise me if she went to victory lane this year. She will be a strong contender at Daytona and Talladega. If she can stay around until the end you know the boss will be close by and I’m sure there is nothing more Tony would like to do that push Danica to her first Cup win in his car. She could also be a surprise dark horse at Sonoma or Watkins Glen.

Kurt Busch: He almost got the job done last year at Sonoma for James Finch. Look for him to finish the deal with a little better ride this year. The #78 has also proven strong before at Daytona and Talladega so look for him to have a solid shot there as well.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: The back to back Nationwide champion may be the replacement in the #6 that Jack Roush has been searching for ever since Mark Martin left. I expect at least one mile and a half victory to come his way. Possibly as soon as Las Vegas.

The Final Five

So I picked my Chase drivers earlier. Now its time for me to pick who I think will bring home the Sprint Cup in 2013. I’m not going to rank the top ten or twelve, but I will pick my top five finished.

1. Matt Kenseth

2. Clint Bowyer

3. Kasey Kahne

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

5. Jeff Gordon

I had a scenario written in which I had each of these five driver’s winning the title. But I finally decided on this one. But officially I’m “picking” all five of them! Here are my reason’s why I think each one has a legitimate shot at winning the title.

Matt Kenseth

With the Gen6 race car coming in this year I think it all but eliminates the transition period for Matt between the Jack Roush Ford’s and the Joe Gibbs Toyota’s. The Gibbs cars are strong, probably stronger last year than the Roush cars, Matt Kenseth has something that neither Hamlin or Busch have, a Championship and the mental sharpness to win one.

Clint Bowyer

I was worried about the move from RCR to MWR in 2012 for Clint. I mean lets face it, on paper it looked like a step down. But with the improvements of MWR last year it quickly proved to be a smart move for Clint Bowyer. Clint shocked most with a second place finish last season. Bowyer now has the confidence he needs with the Micheal Waltrip Toyota’s to run strong from the start. He also has just small taste of that number one spot, the two could make him dangerous this year.

Kasey Kahne 

As bad as Kahne started off in 2012 its a miracle he even made the chase, let alone finish Top 5. With the season one jitters out of the way its time for Kahne to shine in that 5 car. With my prediction of teammate Jimmy Johnson not being a major player for the title going down the stretch it makes room for Kahne to shine even brighter.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Junior was good all last year, he was up front and consistent for most of the regular season. But he slipped in the Chase and was finished off by an injury which resulted in him missing two races.  Junior said he really likes the new car and it feels more like the “Twisted Sister” in which he had most of his Sprint Cup Series success. That could be the on track and mental boost he needs.

Jeff Gordon

Like his teammate Dale Jr., Gordon could also benefit from the new car. He finished last year strong and baring the broken part early in the chase and the Clint Bowyer saga and he would have been a contender for the title. The time is now for Jeff Gordon.

Restrictor Plates Are Off: NASCAR International Part Three “NASCAR World Cup”

(This is part three or a three part series)

In part one we took a look at the history of NASCAR and international racing. In part two we took a look at where NASCAR is today with its international programs. Now in the third and final part of this series we will look into the future. Now keep in mind this is some what a fantasy and a “what if” article. Chances of it happening? It would take a lot of stars to align to ever pull it off. But hey, its the off season, what else is there to sit and think about?

NASCAR World Cup

If NASCAR wants to continue to expand its international reach the only way to really maximize that is with a world wide touring series. Because lets face it, at MOST the Sprint Cup Series would only get one international date, probably in Canada or Mexico and there are only so many international trips a Nationwide or Truck team can afford to take. This series would have to be billed as an equal to Nationwide and Trucks, but a step below the Sprint Cup Series. Below I have laid out a race schedule that I think would give an awesome blend of traditional NASCAR along with more international friendly racing. The result would be a greatly diverse series that would sure be a blast to watch. I’ve laid this schedule out based on a 2013 Cup, Truck, and Nationwide schedule to try and make it travel friendly enough so that current stars in the three major divisions could run some of the races as well.

Race 1:

1-28: Autodromo Miguel E. Abed- Puebla, Mexico

1.25 mi oval 400 Mile Race

race1 race1layout

The first race in the series would take place in Mexico and a familiar NASCAR style track. A 1.25 mile oval. Scheduled during the NASCAR off season in hope to draw some NASCAR stars who want to take a shot at winning the inaugural World Cup race. This race is 400 miles in length, a little longer than the normal races, but while we have the world watching we might as well give them a show.

Race 2:

3-2: Phoenix International Raceway

1 mi Oval 175 Mile Race

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pheonix2

This would be the first companion weekend along side the Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series. The race itself would be held as a double header after the Nationwide race and under the lights. Again a great chance for Sprint Cup and Nationwide drivers to run the race and a great time for the United States market to view the race and hopefully get informed and hooked on the series.

Race 3:

3-30: Circuit Paul Armagnac- Nogaro, France

2.26 mi Road Course 113 Mile Race

Circuit_Paul_Armagnac

Race three takes the serious on its first trip across the Atlantic to Nogaro, France. This is also the first road course of the season. This is a companion event with the Euro Racecar NASCAR touring series. This is also an off weekend for Cups, Trucks, and Nationwide which would allow anyone running for the title(more on that later) to continue racing.

Race 4

4-6:  Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez- Mexico City, Mexico

2.77 mi Road Course 125 Mile Race

250px-Autódromo_Hermanos_Rodríguez.svg

Race four takes us to another road course and to the heart of Mexico to Mexico City. This is a companion event with the NASCAR Toyota Series. It is also the day before the Martinsville Cup race which would possibly allow Cup regulars to run the event. Also if NASCAR were to put the Mexico race back on the Nationwide series it would be this weekend. But otherwise its an off weekend for Nationwide.

Race 5

4-10:  Autodromo Potosino- San Louis Potosi, Mexico

1/2 mi Oval 225 Lap Race

250px-Autódromo_Potosino.svg

Race five gives us the first true taste of good old fashion NASCAR racing, a short track. But this isn’t Bristol or Martinsville, this is Mexico. This 1/2 mile bull ring plays host to what is sure to be a thriller. This is the series’ first stand alone event and its on a Wednesday night, prime time. Its the same weekend that Cup and Nationwide are in Texas so it will be just a short flight down to participate.

Race 6

5-19: Canadian Tire Motorsports Park-  Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada

2.459 Mile Road Course

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Race 6 is our first trip into Canada. This is a companion event along with the Canadian Tire Series and is a Sunday afternoon race on the Sprint All-Star Weekend which should give Cup drivers plenty of time to make the trip north.

Race 7

7. 6-14: Delaware Speedway- Komoko, Ontario, Canada

1/2 mi Oval 200 Lap Race

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(Photo Credit: Delaware Speedway Facebook Page)

Canada’s Finest Short Track plays host to race seven.  A Friday night race on a weekend in which Cup and Nationwide are across the border in Michigan. This is the second night race and second short track race on the schedule.

Race 8

7-4: Daytona International Speedway- Daytona Beach, Florida, USA

3.56 mi Road Course 2 1/2 hour endurance race

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220px-Daytona_International_Speedway_-_Road_Course.svg

While I really wanted to throw these guys right into the bump draft I didn’t figure that was very realistic since most of these guys have zero experience on a big oval. So why not dust off the old road course. The July sports car race has went away so what better event to have on Thursday afternoon at Daytona? But wait, there is more! This is a little different that what you have saw thus far, this is an endurance race! 2 and 1/2 hours around the Daytona Road Course will decide the winner of this one!

Race 9

Calder Park Raceway(full circuit)- Victoria, Australia

2.620 mi Road Course/Oval Track 262 Miles

Race 10

7-21: Thunderdome @ Calder Park Raceway- Victoria, Australia

1.119 mi Oval 300 miles

200px-Calder_Park_(Australia)_track_map--Combined_road_and_Thunderdome_(oval)_course.svg

This is a big double header weekend. Its an off weekend for Cup & Trucks although there is a Nationwide race. The first event is a full road course race. The second is a 300 mile ride around the Tunderdome oval which played host to the first international NASCAR race.

Race 11

 7-26: Indianapolis Motor Speedway- Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

2.534 mi Road Course 2 hour endurance race

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Good old Indy. This is the weekend of the Cup race so everyone will be in town. Only this race will have left and right turns in it. Should be a good one and a great chance for those who long to add their name to the Indy winners list.

Race 12

8-14: Canadian Tire Motorsports Park Oval-  Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada

1/2 mi Oval 200 Lap Race

220px-Mosport-Logo

Trip number two to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. Only this time the series will run on the 1/2 mile oval. This is the a Wednesday night stand alone race. The same weekend that Cup is in Michigan.

Race 13

10-13: Circuit Le Mans Bugatti- Le Mans, France

2.655 mi Road Course 140 Lap Race

Bugatti-Circuit-Le-Mans-Fra

(Photo Credit: MotorcycleUSA.com)

We’ve been to Daytona, we’ve been to Indy, now we go to Le Mans. No other series in the history of the world gives you a chance to win on the three most famous race tracks in the world all in the same year and same car. This is a combination event with the Euro Racecar NASCAR series. Its the Sunday after the Saturday night Cup race at Charlotte.  While it would be a stretch it is a realistic flight from Charlotte to France in time for the race.  This race uses the shorter Bugatti circuit and is 140 laps.

World Championship Weekend

Race 14:

11-22: Twin Ring Motegi(dirt track)- Motegi, Japan

1/4 mi Dirt Oval 100 Lap Race(25 lap heat races will set a 20 car field for the feature)

Race 15:

11-23 Twin Ring Motegi(Road Course)- Motegi, Japan

2.983 mi Road Course 3 hour Endurance Race

Race 16:

11-24: Twin Ring Motegi(oval)- Motegi, Japan

1.549 mi Oval 300 mile event

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 The world championship weekend. This will be the weekend after Ford Championship Weekend in Homestead so every driver in the world should be free to attend.  Not only will it crown the first ever NASCAR World Cup winner it will test the drivers skill to the limit.  Not only will it be the series first and only stop on the dirt, it will be a tough race to run on the 1/4 mile dirt track at the Twin Ring Motegi.  It will feature two heat races(three if necessary) to set the 20 car field for the feature. The field is limited to 20 cars because anything else on a 1/4 mile is just too much. The second race of the weekend will be a three hour endurance race on Motegi’s tough road course. Followed by a good old, traditional, NASCAR mile and a half race on the oval track.  The hope would be that once this series gains momentum a short exhibition NASCAR Sprint Cup race could be added along with maybe the finale to the Rolex Sports Car Series which is also owned by NASCAR.

Lets look at it one more time, here is the complete 16 race schedule.

1. 1-28: Autodromo Miguel E. Abed- Puebla, Mexico

1.25 mi Oval 400 Mile Race

2. 3-2: Phoenix International Raceway- Phoenix, Arizona, USA

1 mi Oval 175 Mile Race

3. 3-30: Circuit Paul Armagnac- Nogaro, France

2.26 mi Road Course 113 Mile Race

4. 4-6:  Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez- Mexico City, Mexico

2.77 mi Road Course 125 Mile Race

5. 4-10:  Autodromo Potosino- San Louis Potosi, Mexico

1/2 mi Oval 225 Lap Race

6. 5-19: Canadian Tire Motorsports Park-  Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada

2.459 Mile Road Course

7. 6-14: Delaware Speedway- Komoko, Ontario, Canada

1/2 mi Oval 200 Lap Race

8. 7-4: Daytona International Speedway- Daytona Beach, Florida, USA

3.56 mi Road Course 2 1/2 hour endurance race

9. 7-20: Calder Park Raceway(full circuit)- Victoria, Australia

2.620 mi Road Course/Oval Track 262 Miles

10. 7-21: Thunderdome @ Calder Park Raceway- Victoria, Australia

1.119 mi Oval 300 miles

11. 7-26: Indianapolis Motor Speedway- Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

2.534 mi Road Course 2 hour endurance race

12. 8-14: Canadian Tire Motorsports Park Oval-  Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada

1/2 mi Oval 200 Lap Race

13. 10-13: Circuit Le Mans Bugatti- Le Mans, France

2.655 mi Road Course 140 Lap Race

14. 11-22: Twin Ring Motegi(dirt track)- Motegi, Japan

1/4 mi Dirt Oval 100 Lap Race

15. 11-23: Twin Ring Motegi(Road Course)- Motegi, Japan

2.983 mi Road Course 3 hour Endurance Race

16. 11-24: Twin Ring Motegi(oval)- Motegi, Japan

1.549 mi Oval 300 mile event

 

Thoughts Behind Schedule

Now before you go bashing me and leaving a million comments on how unreal this is number one, this is a work of fiction and I understand many things would have to be done and many stars would have to line up to make the above happen. But anyway my thoughts were to try and keep costs down as much as possible when shipping cars and crews around the country. Thus the reasoning for the Australian double header and the triple header in Japan. I didn’t worry too much about the trips to Canada or Mexico. The only trip I thought might have been out of reason was the trip to Le Mans but when I saw the chance to add it to the schedule with another companion event especially on a date that was half-way reasonable for a Cup driver to be there I had to go for it.

I think the schedule gives a really nice mix of tracks. Obviously an international circuit is going to have more road course than anything else simply due to the fact that there are very few ovals to choose from outside of the United States. The schedule has 8 road courses, 4 speedway races, and 4 short tracks, one of which is on dirt.

The Car

Every knows a key to any good racing series is the car. The car for our series will be based on the Nationwide Series car. Its safe, has great looks, and suits our needs just fine. For cost and development purposes the engine will be the same 5.8 push rod V8 the Nationwide series runs with between 650-700 horse power.  However these cars will share the same fuel injection as the Sprint Cup cars. The series needs to have a feeling of technology too it, no Formula One cars, but they still need to be high tech. The on board live telemetry that NASCAR uses during Sprint Cup testing will also be available full time during the race. The idea behind this number one to give the car a more technology based feel again like a Formula One car and two to give teams a good reason to run a couple of R&D cars in the series. The cars will also go away from the traditional four speed transmission and go to a five speed similar to the transmissions used in the Rolex Sports Car series.

Rules

I won’t got into a lot of rules because lets face it, there really isn’t any point since its all made up anyway but there are a few rules I want to put in place to help shape your view of the series.

Two Car Limit: No four car teams here, two cars are the limit, not that anyone would start a four car team anyway, but I just like the feel of the two car limit, again a nod to Formula One.

Series Limit Exept: The World Cup will no effect eligibility for drivers wanting to also run for a Truck, Nationwide, or Cup series title. This rule will expire after five years.

Mulligan: Each team will receive one “mulligan” per year. The mulligan will take away a driver’s worst finish. So in theory if Driver A runs a full season,but Cup Driver B misses on race due to scheduling conflict, they will still be able to contend for a title.

Rain Tires: Rain tires will be used on all road courses as well as short tracks. They will not be used on the speedways for safety reasons.

Tire Choices: Goodyear will be the tire supplier for the series. Two additional choices besides the rain tires, a “hard” and a “soft” tire will be available  during the race.

All other NASCAR rules will apply.

Potential Drivers?

Okay, you’ve got a feel for the tracks, the cars, and the rules. How about the drivers and teams? Here is a basic list of 20 drivers along with their teams I could potentially see driving in the series. Again this is just random brain storming.

 

Germain Racing

#13- Mike Skinner

#60- Max Papis

Robby Gordon Motorsports

#7- Robby Gordon

#77- David Gilliland

Roush Racing

#99- Carl Edwards

#6- Colin Braun

Chip Ganassi Racing

#42- Juan Pablo Montoya 

#41- Scott Pruett

Richard Childress Racing

#31- Kurt Busch

#41- Ron Fellows

Stewart-Haas Racing

#14- Tony Stewart

#10-  Kenny Wallace

GC Motorsports International

#27- Andrew Ranger

#26- Martin Roy

Rusty Wallace Inc.

#66- Steven Wallace

#56- Jorge Goeters 

Turner Motorsports

#30- Migeul Paludo 

#32- Nelson Piquet Jr. 

Again this is just a little brain storming of drivers but you get the point. The series should attract a nice mix of veteran drivers, current Cup drivers, up and coming stars, and some international drivers as well.  It should also serve as a little better training ground for those drivers who are looking to make the jump from open wheel. Giving them time to learn the heavier car and still have a chance to perform well and win races with all the road courses on the schedule.

Now I realize this will probably never happen, but I just thought it was a pretty cool idea and a great way to finish off the three part series on NASCAR and its international ties. I guess only time will tell as to how far out NASCAR does or doesn’t expand their boundaries! Thanks for taking the time to read the column!

“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