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

rpao

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: The Single File 500 Still Excites, Danica Delivers, And The Fence-Of-Tomorrow

rpao

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

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