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Posts Tagged ‘Nationwide Series’

NASCAR watching Robby Gordon after wreck

Posted by Digory Kirke on August 10, 2009

Robby Gordon did his best to head NASCAR off at the pass. After dumping Joey Logano in the Nationwide Series race on Saturday at Watkins Glen International, Gordon met with NASCAR at the trailer prior to the drivers meeting on Sunday to explain his side of the story.

Gordon, who salvaged a 14th-place finish after the incident Saturday, said he hoped “in the future we will both race each other cleaner.” Gordon added that he didn’t expect any further repercussions from NASCAR. However, Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said that any final outcome would depend on Gordon’s behavior in Monday’s rain-delayed Cup race.

“This whole turn of events started with Joey running into the back of my (car) in Turn 10,” Gordon said in a press release. “He then knocked me sideways in Turn 11. To show him my displeasure, I ran him down towards the inside wall on the front straight. I tried to do a crossover move in Turn 1 to get back by him; however, I misjudged a little, resulting in both of us getting flat tires.”

Gordon said the pair “were racing for the lucky dog position” at the time of contact. Gordon said Logano “wrecked the No. 34 of Tony Raines … after the bus stop chicane” which allowed Gordon to clear the No. 20 in Turn 9.

“He saw that I was going to pass him for the Lucky Dog position, so he tried to block me,” Gordon said. “This maneuver resulted in his right rear tire connecting with my left front. From there, I felt he would be OK because he was in the section where the outer loop was. Rather than going down the inner loop, he decided to cut across the grass, hitting the tire barrier.”

Once Logano emerged from his flame engulfed car and was cleared at the infield care center, he was scored 33rd.

“We had a good car,” Logano said. “Probably not a winning car, but we could have continued our top-five streak. We just got wrecked. I don’t know what his problem was, but there is no room for that. The frustrating part is that I’m not going to be back in this car until Atlanta.

“You can’t fix stupid. It’s forever.” (Hey Joey I like you but can you come up with your own orginial line, instead of using another drivers sound bite from the first New Hampshire race this season?)

This is the second straight weekend Gordon has been involved in an on-track altercation. In last Monday’s rain-delayed Pennsylvania 500, the driver of the No. 7 was penalized five laps for aggressive driving after bumping into David Stremme during a caution period.


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Sprint Cup Drivers should NOT

Posted by Digory Kirke on July 30, 2009


Why do so many cup drivers’ race in Nationwide or Camping World Truck series or all three?

Yes, I know these guys love to race.
Yes, I definitely would love to be in a race car every chance I got.

But racing is a sport that is very physical, no matter what many people think out there, NASCAR is a SPORT. And most probably the best sport out there. Why exhaust yourself like that? I really don’t see how Kyle can hop, skid and jump out of a Truck and hop into a Nationwide car and race in Sprint Cup all in the same weekend. I guess it is because he is young, but still it’s bound to catch up to him right?!!

These racers who are in Sprint Cup full time should not be allowed to run the other two series if you ask me. They should let the up and coming new driver’s have a chance to win a championship and show there stuff out there on the track battling other rookies and non-sprint cup drivers.

Why let a full time Sprint Cup driver race in the two other series and possibly win the Nationwide or Truck Series Championship. If they can’t win it in Sprint Cup then why take that opportunity away for some guy who only runs the Nationwide or Truck Series race? These younger guys need exposure to get into Sprint Cup which is probably a big dream of majority of the racers. Let these guys race amongst themselves.

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If I were the Owner

Posted by Digory Kirke on July 13, 2009

86305420JH029_Southern_500Consequences have, and always will play a big part in our lives, and it’s our own actions that usually get us caught up in them. Because we already know that with every action, there will always be some kind reaction whether good or bad. So what happens when one of NASCAR’s most controversial drivers today decides that he wants to spout off to the media again? Is this really showing his fans that he respects the sport, or is this just plain old bad sportsmanship? Well whatever you want to call it, but what Kyle Busch did on Thursday during a media conference was absolutely uncalled for. But once again it was Kyle being Kyle. If I could be Joe Gibbs just for one day, this would probably be my speech to Kyle.

Joe Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing had a teleconference with some members of the media on Thursday night, to discuss the displeasure that he had in Kyle’s attitude after his press conference earlier in the day. Joe Gibbs started out the news conference by saying that, “We here at Joe Gibbs Racing run a very respectable, as well as a very tight knit operation. Not only do we expect our crews and employees to be on their best behavior at all times, but we expect it more from our drivers, since they are the ones who are in the spotlight more then anyone in the organization. I, as well as my son J.D. put a lot of time and effort into making sure that each team has the best equipment, as well as the full support from Toyota Racing Development who has given us the opportunity to race in this well managed, and highly competitive sport.”

Joe went on to say that, “No how, no way will any more attitudes be tolerated within this organization. We already had a team discussion about this before the season started, once Tony Stewart had finally left the team. One of the biggest things that were discussed was, the consequences if any member of this team got out of hand, and made the team look unprofessional. Because after all, we are all professionals, and that is why I hand picked all of the employees that make up the three teams. I told each member that we will uphold the highest of standards, even if it meant having to replace someone if they didn’t feel that they could control themselves, which included team members, and the drivers themselves. The last thing that I want to encounter is another situation like we had when Tony was around during his first few years with the team. It’s not fair to the younger members to have to put up with such behavior, because I feel all its doing is throwing our chemistry off.”

Team chemistry is what can make and break a team these days, especially when you look at the level that the top 3 or 4 teams are playing at. Now we already know that Joe Gibbs is a very strong, as well as a forgiving man. But just like anything else, there comes a time when even they hit that breaking point, and they sit back and say enough is enough. Maybe Joe is already at that point because in all reality, he is no longer the spring chicken that he was back in 1999 when Tony was just a rookie, and he also has two other drivers that are just as important to the team. “ Its not fair to Joey or Denny, that we have to almost bring our season to a halt, in order to deal with a driver who feels that he can do things his own way. We are a team, and we all need to act like a team if we expect to win championships. Look around at the teams that have multiple championships. They were able to dominate because they worked as team, and not as individuals.”

So how will, or should I say does Joe Gibbs handle a situation like this? “I as the team owner will not put up with it. There will be no second chances like I have given in the past. I can’t see allowing one driver to destroy what I have spent countless hours, and a lot of money trying to build. I want all my drivers to have some kind of integrity when they get behind the wheel of my race cars, and especially when they are in front of the media. That’s what this organization was built on, and it will continue to run in that same manor. If Kyle can’t control his anger, and learn to deal with his inner self on his own, then maybe he needs to seek some help. I have always been fair, and have treated all my drivers equally. But I also won’t allow anyone who works for me, the chance to bring any of these teams down because we are a professional organization, and I expect everyone involved to act in the same way, which includes Kyle.”

Joe also added, “The behavior that was displayed on Thursday was way below par, and is not what I expect out of any of my drivers. I understand that he was still upset about the racing incident that happened on Saturday night, but he is still out there representing Joe Gibbs Racing, and his first commitment is with this organization. Kyle needs to sit back and reevaluate what he has done, but most importantly he needs to ask himself if he can handle these types, especially with the level of competition that is out there? I have never once told any of my drivers what they can, and what they cannot do, and I have never told them what to say to the media. But instead I have stood behind all of them in anything that they have ever asked of me, but maybe now its time that I step in as an owner, and protect my investment which is running the Nationwide as well as the Sprint cup teams.”

Those would be some very powerful words, coming from a very influential team owner. When you sit back and put yourselves in Joe’s shoes, can you really blame him for wanting what’s best for his franchise driver? Then when you begin to look around the whole organization, Joey does need someone to look up to, as well as someone that might be able to give him advice when he needs it, and Kyle is not that much older then him. But looking at the flip side, how can Joey trust anything that Kyle might tell him, especially when at times he acts younger then him. JGR is still going through their growing pains, especially now that the one driver who had the experience is no longer with them. Its time that Kyle along with Denny step it up, and help their young teammate along because after all, they were young once too. Kyle may be able to win 8, 9, or maybe even 10 races this season. But without the teamwork from everyone involved, he could very well fall short again, and how many more seasons will he be able to take knowing that if he had just put his temper under control, the championships may not have slipped through his fingertips so easy.

One final thought or my plea:

Mr. Gibbs, many people not only respect you but admire you as well. I am one of those people. I would hope that you would get rid of Kyle Busch very soon before your reputation gets tarnished anymore than it already is and or has been. Not only does he reflect poorly on you sir, but on your other drivers and racing organization as well.

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Keselowski’s future remains undecided

Posted by Digory Kirke on July 13, 2009

brad-keselowskiBrad Keselowski’s racing team for 2010 is still uncertain.

The 25-year-old Keselowski hoped a recent meeting with team owner Rick Hendrick would answer some questions about where he’d be racing next season. Keselowski wants a full-time ride next year, and he’s optimistic he can stay affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports. He discussed several possibilities with Hendrick, though no final decision was reached.

“I have some preferences, but I haven’t gotten very far with them,” Keselowski said. “I’m not really close on anything.”

Keselowski made only his seventh Cup start of the season Saturday night at Chicagoland Speedway. He qualified 29th in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 25 Chevrolet, and had Tony Eury Jr. as his crew chief. Eury was calling the shots for the first time since he was ousted as Dale Earnhardt Jr‘s crew chief in late May.

Eury’s father is Keselowski’s crew chief at JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series. Keselowski drives the No. 88 in the second-tier series for Earnhardt, who could move the team up to NASCAR’s premier series and open up a spot for him.

Keselowski was introduced at Friday night’s Nationwide race as “Junior’s best buddy.”

Keselowski, who had a surprise Cup victory in April at Talladega, could also run next season as a third entry at the Hendrick- supported Stewart-Haas Racing.

NASCAR’s four-car limit means Hendrick doesn’t have an open seat for 2010.

No matter where he ends up, Keselowski felt he would have a full-time ride next season.

“I feel pretty confident that’s the way it’s heading,” he said. “It would have to be a big problem to come up for that not to happen.”

He recorded his lone Cup win for owner James Finch and runs a part-time schedule this season for Finch and Hendrick. Keselowski said he wasn’t feeling impatient and was just thrilled there was interest in him, especially in this economy. But he found enough common ground over future goals with Hendrick that Keselowski expected to remain in the fold.

“I think he appreciates the fact that I can be blunt sometimes,” Keselowski said. “We’ve made progress because of that. I don’t hide how I feel about things. I think there’s a home for me over here.”

Double-file restarts confuse some

Race director David Hoots issued a warning at the drivers meeting that rules’ flexibility with the double-file restarts is over.

“You’re the best in the world and you shouldn’t have any problems doing this,” Hoots said.

Hoots said NASCAR officials had been “lenient” as drivers became accustomed to the revamped restarts. But Saturday night’s race at Chicagoland Speedway marked the sixth one with the new format and it was time to get tough.

One example: Hoots said the lower-place driver should no longer expect to get away with beating the higher one to the line, then give the spot back.

“It’s not going to happen,” Hoots said.

Crew chief Chad Knaus and drivers Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin were among the attendee’s who still had questions about the policy.


Hey Hendrick, why don’t you go a set of balls and pull the trigger on that piece of shit driver named Dale Jr. Brad already has more cups this year than your current driver for the 88 car.

Brad would be a much better driver, investment, and would help with the rest of the entire Hendrick Team rather than bring them down and cause all the drama. Get rid of that jerk off Junior already.

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Daytona crash has Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle concerned about safety

Posted by Digory Kirke on July 11, 2009

biffleDespite NASCAR’s efforts to promote safety on the track, Sprint Cup driver Greg Biffle worries that a driver could still be seriously injured if his car is hit multiple times in a crash.

Last weekend at Daytona, Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Toyota hit the wall and was struck by several cars on the final lap before coming to rest at the finish line.

Busch walked away uninjured, but Biffle fears that not every driver might be so lucky in the future. Concerns about safety are always heightened at Daytona and Talladega – NASCAR’s two restrictor-plate tracks – because of the high speeds and close-quarters racing that can breed major accidents.

There’s also the issue of blocking, which happened last week when Busch moved up the track in an attempt to keep Tony Stewart from passing and was turned head-on into the wall.

“I can tell you one thing: You can get hurt in these cars,” Biffle said at Chicagoland Speedway, site of Saturday’s 400. “It hurts when you crash at 175 miles an hour. I think there are some guys pushing that envelope thinking that somebody is going to give. They’re playing chicken. When one guy is moving over to block, you’ve got three choices: One, let up on the gas. Two, move over and let him run you up the race track, or, three, spin him out. Guys are testing that to see what the guy is going to do.

“When you can see the checkered flag from here to there, it’s tough to just roll over and play dead, but at the same time, you don’t want to get turned around on the frontstretch in front of the whole field. But you can get hurt in these cars, and it does hurt when you crash in these things.”

The last NASCAR Cup driver to be fatally injured in a crash was Dale Earnhardt, who died from injuries suffered on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Three other NASCAR drivers – Kenny Irwin (Cup), Adam Petty (what is now the Nationwide Series) and Tony Roper (Truck) died in crashes in 2000.

But since Earnhardt’s death, NASCAR has put considerable emphasis on driver safety. The most notable measures have been the addition of a HANS (Head-and-Neck Support) device that drivers are required to wear, SAFER barriers at individual tracks and NASCAR’s bulkier new model Cup car, which is widely considered safer than its predecessor.

But even with those improvements, Biffle believes drivers could still get hurt – especially in accident such as Busch’s at Daytona.

“The thing that concerns me is just the safety aspect of the cars getting slowed down enough after there’s a crash like that,” Biffle said. “He got hit multiple times. Some thought of mine was, ‘Are people slowing down or are they trying to still race to the line to get their finishing position?’ I’ve got a concern with that because he got hit by the 9 [car of Kasey Kahne] and then got hit by other cars. He got hit by a car that was behind me on the race track pretty hard, which tells me that maybe that guy wasn’t slowing down as quick as he could have been. So that’s one concern.”

Biffle says that drivers can do a better job of slowing down when they see a wreck ahead – even if it’s the last lap. This is another area where NASCAR changed its rules a few years ago to promote safety, mandating that drivers can no longer race back to the line when the caution flag waves. Of course, when it’s the last lap, drivers still might not be prone to slow down fast enough.

“When we have these wrecks at the end of the race, how quickly does the caution come out and are we racing back the line?” Biffle said. “Mark Martin and Kevin Harvick raced all the way back [to the line at Daytona in 2007] when the third-and fourth-place cars wrecked. …

“So that’s probably my biggest concern is safety – a guy getting hit two or three or four or five times. And, of course, staying out of the fence was the key this time.”

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Cup stars in the Nationwide Series leave young drivers on the sidelines

Posted by Digory Kirke on July 11, 2009

Nascar NationwideWhy are Sprint Cup drivers allowed to compete in the second-tier Nationwide Series?

At the time, I was new to the sport, but I figured following it for a while would cure me of such ignorance.

Years later, I still have no idea.

It has never made sense to me. Alex Rodriguez doesn’t go play AAA baseball in the minor leagues on his days off from the New York Yankees. Tiger Woods has no interest in leaving the PGA Tour to dabble in a Nationwide Tour event.

But until recently, the big-leaguers-playing-in-the-minors situation has been almost bizarrely funny to me. It certainly wasn’t worth getting upset over. Now however it is, and yes I am upset.

Now, things have changed. One of the sport’s most marketable young drivers, Michael McDowell, will start tonight’s Nationwide Series race in the backmarker No. 81 car after sponsorship for his primary ride, the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing entry, dried up last week.

It seems almost criminal. McDowell is 11th in the series standings but is left to find a ride on a week-to-week basis, if he can find one at all.

But given that he has made all 17 starts in the series this year, he’s actually one of the lucky ones.

In his place at JTG Daugherty tonight will be Kelly Bires, a talented young driver who deserves a chance but has driven in just seven races this season after running the full schedule last year.

And those are seven more races than the combined total of reigning Rookie of the Year Landon Cassill and runner-up Bryan Clauson, who have driven a combined ZERO Nationwide events this season.

Brad Coleman, another young driver with seemingly a world of potential, has two starts. Former Truck series driver Erik Darnell (six starts) should be full-time in Nationwide, too.

How about Stephen Leicht (four starts)? Chase Austin (one)? Marc Davis (four)? Cale Gale (one)? Josh Wise (zero)?

All of these drivers should have Nationwide rides, yet none do.

Silly me. Here I thought the Nationwide Series was supposed to be a proving ground for young drivers like these to race against one another to see who was worthy of making it to the next level. you know, the Sprint Cup!

Clearly, that’s not happening now. It’s easy to blame the economy, since sponsorship has dried up everywhere and made it difficult to find funding.

And the sponsors who do participate in the series would rather promote a Cup driver than a no-name youngster.

But that’s precisely the problem. By allowing Cup drivers to run in the Nationwide Series, NASCAR has stunted its No. 2 series’ growth, losing a chance to bring along new and exciting stars, create new rivalries and run a secondary circuit that truly has its own identity.

Cassill, Clauson and Co. can’t find sponsors to fund their rides because they aren’t household names. Yet if there were no Cup drivers in Nationwide, all these young drivers would have a chance to win races and become more familiar to race fans.

Sadly, given the current state of the economy, it’s too late now. NASCAR missed the boat a couple years ago, when the departure of longtime sponsor Busch provided an opportunity to institute real change.

Series officials could have worked with Nationwide to create a series without Cup drivers at all. Maybe Nationwide and TV partner ESPN balked at the idea – if it was ever presented – but NASCAR has always been strong enough to make decisions on its own.

But whoever gets assigned the blame, everyone loses. Because as a truly unique series with unique drivers, the Nationwide Series could have been must-see television for race fans every week.

Currently, it’s not.

Nationwide is and has been Cup Lite, which fails to excite as many people as it should.

There has been talk lately of perhaps not allowing Cup drivers to run for the Nationwide title, which makes a mockery of the series. And former champion Carl Edwards suggested that Cup drivers be forced to start in the back of every race.

Why not go a step further and tell Edwards and Kyle Busch that they can’t race Nationwide cars at all? Get rid of situations like the one at JR Motorsports, where it seems like half the Cup garage is taking a turn in the No. 5 car this season while Cassill sits on the sidelines, twiddling his thumbs.

There are 12 Cup regulars on the entry list for tonight’s race. Couldn’t those 12 spots have been filled by drivers who need and deserve an opportunity to prove themselves, rather than Cup guys just showing up to earn an extra few bucks and a possible trophy?

It’s frankly embarrassing for the sport to have young and talented drivers unable to find rides in the series that should be meant for them.

Considerable time has now passed since I first wondered how Cup drivers can be allowed to race in the lower levels, I still haven’t been able to figure it out.

But someone at NASCAR or Nationwide should!

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