Watching NASCAR: Off to Martinsville

The flags were flying at Kansas Speedway, but not the ones that drivers want to see. Cautions abounded at the race as it was slowed by multiple accidents, the second time this season that a new track surface has been a major factor in a race’s results.

The new fast surface was a problem for eventual winner Matt Kenseth, who smashed into a wall early in the race and then managed to avoid hitting anyone else as he managed to guide his car to the checkered flag in a race that featured 14 cautions.

The one thing you can say about the wrecks that caused the cautions, they came in every shape and form, with some cars simply losing control and spinning out by themselves, just ask Greg Biffle, who fell five places in the standings after the race due to issues with the surface that led to him hitting the wall, hard.
Dancia Patrick once again one of the cars that was wrecked, but apparently it was due to her intentionally wrecking Landon Cassill. I wonder if she gets a bonus each time she makes the highlights destroying her car? The top five was filled out by Martin Truex Jr in second followed by Paul Menard, Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart in fifth.

On a positive note it looks like Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be back behind the wheel at Martinsville this weekend. After suffering a second concussion in a few weeks at the huge crash three weeks ago in xxx he took two weeks off on doctor’s advice to recover from the accident. Considering the results from Kansas. I imagine he is glad that he missed two rather than one.

This Week: Tums Fast Relief 500
Fast turns around Martinsville Speedway’s half mile oval are in store for the drivers this weekend as the Chase heads into the final stretch.

Broadcast: Oct. 28 at 1 pm ET ESPN


Sprint Cup Standings
1) Brad Keselowski
2) Jimmie Johnson -7
3) Denny Hamlin -20
4) Clint Boyer -25
5) Kasey Kahne -30
6) Martin Truex Jr. -43
7) Tony Stewart -47
8 ) Jeff Gordon -51
9) Matt Kenseth -55
10) Kevin Harvick -59
11) Greg Biffle -62
12) Dale Earnhardt Jr. -122

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had an amazing day last week at Kansas Speedway where against all odds he came from way back in the pack, first to just get on the lead lap and then, when it mattered most, to be in the lead to win the day. The win basically halved Elliott Sadler’s lead over second place Stenhouse, the defending Nationwide champion.The top five featured Austin Dillon in second, then Joey Logano followed by Elliott Sadler and Cole Whitt.

There is no doubt that a bit of luck was involved but it takes a good deal more than that to win a race, but it does help. After coming back from two laps down Stenhouse got the bit of luck all drivers hope for when the race leader Kyle Busch ran out of gas with the finish line in sight. You really cannot ask for more than that, can you?

There is no Nationwide race this weekend and we will see them next at Texas Motor Speedway.

Nationwide Standings
1) Elliott Sadler
2) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -6
3) Austin Dillon -26
4) Sam Hornish Jr. -98
5) Michael Annett -150

NASCAR Running at Martinsville

The racing crowd, or at least portions of it, will be happy to see that we at MSR will be tracking the Sprint and Nationwide races a bit more each week starting with “Watching NASCAR this Week”, a title that is a poor imitation of our “Watching Golf this week” effort. The goal is to provide information on where the races are, when they are, and who is leading this week. The primary focus, at least initially, will be on the Sprint Series but we will add additional series as the season goes on.

Since much of the broadcast information is easily available from a local paper we also want to include on-line and mobile sources of information including some of the solid Twitter feeds that are out there so that if you cannot see this week’s races you can at least quickly and easily check to see who is leading and how your favorites are doing. Since this is very much a work in progress please feel free to drop us a line mentioning any Twitter feeds, bloggers or beat writers that you feel should be included in the roundup in the future.

This week the teams return to Martinsville, with an April Fool’s Day race for Sprint for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500. Last year’s winner Kevin Harvick will be back behind the wheel to see if he can replicate last year’s results and possibly move up in the points standings. However on a short course such as this cautions and accidents lead to plenty of lead changes and drivers being unable to finish the race so it would be foolish to make an early prediction. For those concerned about the weather the forecast is for sunny.

The Martinsville track was founded in 1947 and has been running races every year since the NASCAR Sprint Series was founded in 1949. At .526 miles in length it is the shortest track on the circuit and so one that has a somewhat unique shape, sort of an elongated oval. The facility holds 63,000 fans and hosts four major races a year including the TUMS Fast Relief 500 as well as a NASCAR Late Model Stock Car race.

The broadcast will be on Fox starting at 12:30 ET


Fox Sports NASCAR Page
Auto Racing Daily
NASCAR Home page

While I am not rooting for a flaming crash like the one that occurred at the Daytona 500 where these was a first ever in race Tweet by Brad Keselowski that soared in popularity it would be interesting to get a driver to send a tweet of a pit stop, or maybe someone from the pit (Probably lose their job, however).

@NASCAR-Official NASCAR feed
@NASCARONFOX-Fox Sports feed
@AllWaltrip-3 Time NASCAR Champ and Fox announcer

1) Greg Biffle 195 points

2) Kevin Harvick -7 behind

3) Dale Earnhardt Jr. -17 behind

4) Tony Stewart -18 behind

5) Martin Truex Jr. -20 behind

While initially the Nationwide races will not be a priority here, mainly due to time constraints, it is always well worth taking a look at the races and drivers. At the NASCAR.Com site this week there is a nice piece about how Elliott Stadler has been reborn as a driver in this series after more than a decade in the Cup Series.

1) Elliott Stadler 214

2) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -18 behind

3) Austin Dillon -27 behind

4) Trevor Bayne -34 behind

5) Sam Hornish Jr. -54 behind

There will be a one week hiatus-time to break out the Xbox!