Monday, April 28, 2014

Just good ol’ boys, Never meaning no harm...

RICHMOND, VA – Saturday night at Richmond reminds me of that Waylon Jenning’s song “Just good ol’ boys, Never meaning no harm, Beats all you ever saw, Been in trouble with the law, sInce the day they were born.”  Short track racing certainly can bring out the tempers, and last Saturday night was no exception with Brad Keselowski waving his finger at Matt Kenseth and Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears throwing punches in the garage.  “Those 43 NASCAR drivers gave us some aggressive driving” commented Darrell Waltrip, “there is an old saying ‘kick the tires and light the fires.’ Well, they didn’t even need to kick them for the fires to happen!”

Joey Logano seemed to be able to stay out of trouble the best and was awarded a hard fought win with Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch taking 2nd and 3rd.  Following a late caution period for JJ Yeley’s engine failure, the restart with only seven laps to go resulted in a four way fight between Kenseth, Keselowski, Gordon, and Logano.  Kenseth was on top at the restart with Keselowski hard on his tail.  Keselowski was running fast at the top of the track, but Kenseth was no way going to let him by, putting some blocking moves on the Ford.  Keselowski didn’t appreciate Matt’s move and gave him a hard check to let him know.  During the melee, Logano was in the opportune spot able to pass the duo with four laps to go.  Gordon and Busch came up strong also getting around Kenseth and Keselowski.  Kenseth ended up fifth behind Keselowski.

But it didn’t end there.  Keselowski still upset that he was not able to win the race, slammed on his brakes in front of Kenseth causing contact with Gordon and Earnhardt.  “The extracurriculars,” Kenseth said, “pushed the confrontation over the line.“  Of course Kenseth and Keselowski weren’t the only hot tempers at the track.  Mears was upset following a move the Aussie made during the race when he dove down under Mears going three wide in a corner.  Mears felt that was an unwise move, and when they saw each other in the garage, they became heated with Ambrose throwing a punch resulting in a black eye for Mears.  The two have talked it out since, and NASCAR is reviewing the incident.

Tires were the other big topic for the weekend with several tire failures that ended in fires.  Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse, Cole Whitt, and Reed Sorenson all had their tires go up in smoke.  Goodyear brought out a new multi-zone tire combination.  The tire had a 10” section of a known compound, with a 2” inner section of a new, high temperature compound.  It appears that the tires were coming apart, and as the treads came entangled in the wheel and suspension, caught fire from the heat of the brakes.  Kyle Busch commented “(It’s) really tough for all of us to, for one, keep the tires under our cars, and for putting a harder compound on the outside edge (and) having it cord and come apart, and actually it's supposed to be more durable, I think was just not the right way to go obviously for Goodyear.”  Goodyear commented that the well balanced cars did not have issues.  I am sure this won’t be the last we hear of this.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Another 1-2 Sweep For Mercedes

SHANGHAI, CHINA - That Mercedes is setting the pace for the 2014 Formula One season was confirmed by Lewis Hamilton’s brilliant run in Shanghai.  Hamilton, who has moved one ahead of Jim Clark with most poles by a British driver, finished a full 18 seconds ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg.  This is the third race this season that the German marque finished 1-2.  “This is a team on a roll, that’s for sure,” Hamilton said. “I’m going to be working hard, we’re going to keep working hard because obviously the others are pushing hard to catch us.”  Rosberg worked hard for his second place finish starting 4th on the grid then dropping to seventh after a poor start.

It was a better weekend for Ferrari achieving its first podium finish in 2014 with Fernando Alonso finishing 3rd.  Ferrari appeared to make some good improvements in the car after Bahrain.  “It was a good weekend,” said Alonso. “We did improve the car a little bit compared to the first three races, so we felt more competitive and now in the race being here on the podium is some kind of surprise for us, a nice surprise finally. . 

Teammate Kimi Raikkonen could manage no better than eight place, 50 seconds behind Alonso. Rumors that the Swede is losing focus and determination were strongly rejected by Raikkonen, though he does admit that his driving is struggling. "In the race I was just too slow, but there is not one big problem that we have found,” he said.

Four time World Champion Sebastien Vettel, who last year appeared to be super-human, has struggled with the newly designed v-6 turbo cars. For the second race this year, Vettel has been asked to pull-over for his quicker teammate, Daniel Ricciardo. When first asked by team principal Christian Horner to allow Ricciardo to pass, Vettel was surprised, but after a few laps he understood that he was behind the pace. "I'm not yet where I want to be with the car, but it's an ongoing process,” said the champion.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Duck Commander 500 Won by Joey Logano

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – The Duck Commander 500 was run at…. What, Duck Commander?  What the heck is that?  Yep, The Duck Dynasty clan is now the official sponsor of a NASCAR race.  Can’t get more redneck than that!  I Digress…. Texas Motor Speedway.   It was a nice run for Joey Logano and the Team Penske who won the race following a strategic pit stop during the final caution period of the race.  "We've been in contention every race this year to win, and I'm proud to be a part of that," said Logano, who extended a streak that has produced seven different winners in as many Sprint Cup races. "I felt very confident about this race. For some reason, I told Todd, I said, 'We're going to win this week,' and I was mad when we didn't get the pole. But I felt like we had a car that could win today."

Logano and teammate Keselowski were running 1-2 when Kurt Busch played chicken with the wall in turn 2.  During the caution, the Penske cars chose to change 4 tires while Hendrick driver Jeff Gordon switched only their outside tires.  With a green, white checker restart, the quicker pits top got Gordon out in front, from sixth place, but the fresh rubber allowed Logano to run quicker and passing Gordon after two turns.  "I got a pretty good restart, so I was happy about that. Got through (Turns) 1 and 2. I was shocked I was leading off of 2, to be honest. I wish I would have run a little bit higher down (Turns) 3 and 4. I'm sure Joey was going to go wherever I didn't. Probably would have been a little bit better off on the top. He crossed over and got into the back of me pretty good. At that point I was just thinking, 'I want to finish.' Looked out my mirror, those guys were racing hard behind me. A great second-place finish for me."

Keselowski denied Penske a 1-2 finish earning a penalty for speeding in pit lane dropping him to 15th.  "That last caution was a shame," said Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford. "I was just trying to get a little too much on pit road and wanted to get us out front to be able to win the race and tried a little too hard. We're in it for wins. We're not in it for finishing second."

With Dale Jr. crashing on lap 12 dropping him to 43rd, Gordon has climbed to first place in points.  

Redneck or not, the grid girls are nice!