Watching NASCAR: Bruised Teams Head to Charlotte

If the old saw “Misery loves company” is true, it sure had a lot last weekend at Talladega where the track took its toll among the leaders in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, and like a living entity it waited until almost the end to extract as much drama as possible.

Tony Stewart was defending his lead on the last lap when he moved over to block some fast moving traffic. In hindsight I am sure that he did not want to end the evening sailing through the air as part of the 25 car pileup that he created, one of the most spectacular crashed this year. He had just zoomed to the lead at the start of a two lap sprint to the checkered flag and moved to block Michael Waltrip’s car and clipped the car, starting the mayhem

The move did not just hurt his finish at the race but featured 10 of the 12 drivers competing for the Cup as, not surprising; they were all competing for a top finish at the restrictor-plate track. The ultimate beneficiary of the accident was Matt Kenseth, who won under a caution flag. The rest of the field included Jeff Gordon at second followed by Kyle Busch, David Ragan and Regan Smith.

The toll of the crash will be felt for some time now. Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered a concussion in the crash, and following an unreported one that he suffered in an August race that was just too much for him and he is shutting down for at least the next two races, killing his hopes for winning the Sprint Cup Championship for this year. He was currently 11th in the standings.

This Week: Bank of America 500

This week everybody heads to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500. Hopefully everybody’s bruises from last week have had time to heal before they tackle Charlotte’s 1.5 mile quad oval under the lights.

Broadcast: Oct 13 at 7 pm ET ABC


Sprint Cup Standings
1) Brad Keselowski
2) Jimmie Johnson -14
3) Denny Hamlin -23
4) Kasey Kahne -36
5) Clint Boyer -40
6) Jeff Gordon -42
7) Tony Stewart -46
8 ) Martin Truex Jr. -48
9) Greg Biffle -49
10) Kevin Harvick -49
11) Dale Earnhardt Jr. -51
12) Matt Kenseth -62

Nationwide Series

I am pretty sure that there was a collective sigh from the Nationwide drivers when they saw the last lap at Talladega last week, glad that they did not find themselves in that mess. With no race last week they could prepare for this week’s race without the problem of possibly needing a new car.

This Week: Dollar General 300
I somehow though this race was last week- sorry about that.

Broadcast: Oct. 12 7 pm ET ESPN

Nationwide Standings
1) Elliott Sadler
2) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -9
3) Austin Dillon -25
4) Sam Hornish Jr. -60
5) Justin Allgaier -128

Watching NASCAR: Talladega Looms This Weekend

The art of conserving fuel in NASCAR races is often more of a gamble as drivers toss the dice and often come up short of the checkered flag, but last week in Dover Brad Keselowski gave a clinic on how to very accurately gauge how far the last drops will take him, and it took him to a first place finish.

The win resulted in him taking over the points leadership from Jimmie Johnson, who fell to second in the race. Johnson was one of the drivers that were forced to slow late to conserve fuel, a move that Keselowski avoided. The finish was a fight between him and Jeff Gordon who finished second. Mark Martin was behind Gordon with Johnson fourth and Carl Edwards fifth.

This Week: Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500
The crews are all prepped for the Talladega Superspeedway’s 2.66 mile tri-oval in the fourth race of the ten race Chase. If the drivers feel that more is riding on the races each week, a Las Vegas casino agrees. The South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa has launched Virtual Racing NASCAR. It has all of the slots players in the casino choosing a driver and rooting for them, with the possibility of winning cash prizes. Eight drivers are included in the event: Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, or Martin Truex Jr.

Broadcast: Oct. 7 at 1 pm ET ESPN


Sprint Cup Standings
1) Brad Keselowski
2) Jimmie Johnson -5
3) Denny Hamlin -16
4) Clint Boyer -25
5) Tony Syewart -32
6) Kasey Kahne –32
7) Dale Earnhardt Jr. -39
8 ) Martin Truex Jr. -42
9) Kevin Harvick -46
10) Jeff Gordon -48
11) Greg Biffle -51
12) Matt Kenseth -72

Nationwide Series

Joey Logano must like the cooking in Dover. He swept the season series there by winning last weekend, and did so in commanding style, leading 184 of the 200 laps. One wonders what he was doing for the other 16? The other drivers that looked at the back of his car for the race included Paul Menard in second followed by Michael Annett, Elliott Sadler and Kyle Busch.

One thing that the drivers will not have to worry about as the Nationwide season gets close to wrapping up for the year is seeing Bard Keselowski in their rear view mirror, or worse, being in Keselowski’s mirror. He has decided to forego most of the last races in order to focus on the Chase. I am sure that has led to a few sighs of relief around the track.

This Week: Dollar General 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Broadcast: Oct. 12 at 7 pm ET ESPN

Nationwide Series Standings
1) Elliott Sadler
2) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -9
3) Austin Dillon -25
4) Sam Hornish Jr. -60
5) Justin Allgaier -128

NASCAR Returns to Talladega This Weekend

Nothing like a little controversy to spice up a race, and Kyle Busch’s fourth consecutive victory at Richmond had its share. The one that stands out to me is how the race ended. A caution came out for a hazard on the track with 13 laps remaining- the hazard apparently being a water bottle.

At the time Tony Stewart was leading and he lead down pit road, but Busch beat him back on the track and hung on for the last laps for the victory. Dale Earnhardt Jr. also passed Stewart, this time on the track, to finish second and pushing Stewart to third. The other top placers were Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne,

The other issue from the race revolved around Carl Edwards, and his spotter. Apparently on the restart after a caution that occurred when Jeff Burton hit a wall with 81 laps remaining, Edwards lined up next to Stewart and was told by his spotter that he was the leader. The flag dropped and off he went, and down came a black flag. At first told that he had jumped the start and passing the leader it was later ruled that it he left too early as he was not the leader. He managed to finish 10th.

It should be mentioned that the victory snapped a 22 race losing streak for Busch. In other news the top of the leader board is getting pretty snug with the gap between the leader and others closing, as well as some shuffling among the top 5.

Sprint Cup Standings
1) Greg Biffle
2) Dale Earnhardt Jr. -5
3) Denny Hamlin -9
4) Matt Kenseth -10
5) Martin Truex Jr. -22

This Weekend
The Talladega Superspeedway will be the home for his weekend’s Aaron’s 499. The track is a 2.66 mile tri-oval with turns banked anywhere from 16.5 degrees to 33 degrees. It should be a very exciting race as last year the track witnessed 88 lead changes.


May 6, 12 pm ET on Fox

Twitter Feeds
@TalladegaSuperS- Track’s Official Feed
@NASCAR-Official NASCAR feed
@NationwideNNS-Nationwide Official Twitter
@NASCAR_NNS-NASCAR Nationwide feed
@NASCARONFOX-Fox Sports feed
@AllWaltrip-3 Time NASCAR Champ and Fox announcer
@PRNLive-Performance Racing Network
@EdHintonESPN-ESPN Columnist Ed Hinton

The Nationwide Series

Last weekend’s Nationwide race did not have as much controversy, but there was always the spectacle of heavily talked about rookie Travis Pastrana. The race winner, starting off a great weekend for the Busch clan, was Kurt Busch.

Busch won with a great finish as the last laps were contested by Denny Hamlin with a great deal of side by side racing that witnessed Busch winning by a nose. The fact that Hamlin was in a position to challenge was a tribute to his driving as he missed his spot on pit road and had to drive around.

Kevin Harvick looked like a winner for much of the race, leading 158 laps, but fell back late and finished third while Rickey Stenhouse Jr. and Sam Horish Jr. filling out the top five. Morgan Shepherd led 4 laps, which at 70 years of age is quite an accomplishment.

Two heavily watched drivers, Travis Pastrana and Danica Patrick finished mid-pack. Patrick started 16th but ended in 21st while Pastrana started 25th and managed to pull up to 22nd and might have done better but he was hit with a pass through penalty.

Nationwide Standings
1) Elliott Sadler
2) Rickey Stenhouse Jr. -2
3) Austin Dillon -23
4) Sam Hornish Jr. -53
5)Michael Annett -65

The cancellation of two practice sessions yesterday due to rain and changes to today’s practices at the track has lead to an already set lineup for tomorrows Aaron 312 race. In order the top 5 are Sadler, Stenhouse Jr., Harvick, Joey Logano and Dillon.

3 pm ET on ABC