2013 NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway: 10 Things That Spun Our Wheels

Kyle Busch Wins the 2013 NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway

With one of the speedier NASCAR races under our belt, Kyle Busch won the race over Martin Truex Jr., and both Toyota Camrys were incredibly fast.  Amazingly, Kyle Busch won both the Nationwide and the Sprint Cup series races at Texas Motor Speedway in the same weekend, and he has won back-to-back for the seventh time in his career.

Being one of the better races this season so far, these are 10 things that spun our wheels:

  • Pit problems are recurring ranging from crew members being hit to pit fires.  This season has not been one of the better for pit crews.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s karma stuck hard in this race.  Due to momentous pit problems three times, he could never recover enough to race in the lead lap.
  • Danica Patrick won this race in 28th position, only ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Normalcy is settling in NASCAR, and the media star has finally fallen.
  • Goodyear tires can’t tolerate the high speeds of these Gen 6 cars.  These tires are being shredded particularly during long green laps.  NASCAR will need to consider a harder composition for these tires next season.
  • Joey Logano made significant strides in this race as he begun in back of the pack due to failing inspection.  The back of his car — and Brad Keselowski‘s — could mean charges imposed by NASCAR for the Penske Racing Fords. Despite all this red-tape drama, he finished an impressive fifth in the NRA 500.
  • Battery problems are new in this race.  Joey Logano had it beforehand, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. had this issue during the race.
  • Roush Fenway Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Penske Racing are dominating the leaderboards. Despite the troubles that Dale Earnhardt Jr. had, he is ranked sixth in the overall standings to date.  Jimmie Johnson, his teammate, is hanging barely in the first position with Brad Keselowski nipping at his heels.
  • Jeff Gordon had a run of bad luck as he was taken out of the race due to chassis or tire problems with his car in the last laps of the race.
  • These Gen 6 cars — and some drivers like Danica Patrick — can’t handle these corners too well.  They are pushing the brakes a bit too hard around the corners, and it is damaging these cars at close to 200 mph.
  • The NRA sponsorship drama concerning this race was set aside.  It may be interesting how NASCAR as an organization responds to the politicians of Washington and some concerned citizens of Newtown.  I don’t believe the NRA will be pulled as a sponsor for this season or future seasons because it may pull the core of NASCAR viewers.  Besides, it does not have any direct impact on the NASCAR drivers, their cars or their pit crews.

Onto the next race at STP 400 at Kansas Speedway where again, there will be another fast race and perhaps faster tempers…

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2013 STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway: 10 Things That Spun Our Wheels

Jimmie Johnson Wins the 2013 STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway

With Jimmie Johnson’s stellar finish at the 2013 STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway, there was lots of trading paint with some suffering more than others.  Amazingly, it was a relatively tame race, all things considering.

But here are 10 things that spun our wheels at Philly Fantasy Sports:

  • Pit problems showed its ugly head once again in this race.  Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin suffering the worst of it. 
  • Brian Vickers had a rough race.  His Toyota was decimated in so many ways yet he found a way to pull through 11th place.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a rough day as nothing went well with his car in this race.
  • Danica Patrick pulled into 12th for a rookie, and this is her first time in Martinsville.  Impressive.
  • Right-front tire problems resurfaced in this race.  The Goodyear tires can’t tolerate these higher speeds without breaking down.
  • Chrevolets and Fords dominated the top spots once again.
  • Jimmie Johnson didn’t play nice with his teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr.  as Jimmie Johnson intentionally lapped him after Junior spun out.  Jimmie Johnson also dominated the race by leading 347 out of 500 laps.
  • Brad Keselowski had another impressive run as he placed sixth in this race at Martinsville Speedway and is currently second in points on the leaderboard.
  • Denny Hamlin was sidelined for this race due to injury. Mark Martin salvaged a 10th place win for him.
  • Joey Logano behaved himself in this race.  Although there was some trading paint during the race, nothing has been severe — as of yet.  I’m surprised Tony Stewart wasn’t gunning for him.

With a relatively calm race at Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR fans will have to wait to see if sparks ignite at the NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway next week.  Perhaps Joey Logano will get his due…or Denny Hamlin’s replacement, the veteran Mark Martin, gets his.

2013 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway: 10 Things That Spun Our Wheels

With Matt Kenseth’s win on his birthday at the 2013 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it was a cat-and-mouse game between Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne during the last few laps.

  • Wheel Issues for Gen-6 Cars.  Two-wheel pit stops have become the preferred tire change in the pits. 
  • Engine Issues for Gen-6 Cars. These cars aren’t meant to pushed for long races like even the previous model, the Car of Tomorrow (CoT) or Gen-5 car.
  • Speed. These cars are meant for speed. These cars handle straightaways like a dream but don’t handle corners too well.
  • Top Line. The top line favors these Gen-6 cars a LOT.
  • Danica Patrick & Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. TMZ Update. They are average NASCAR drivers at best.  Their rookie status means little.  Some have it.  Some don’t.  They don’t.  Just ask Juan Pablo Montoya. He’s flattened out at around 15th to 20th by the end of recent seasons.
  • Brad Keselowski.  He’s running well these past few races with him getting pole position on this track. On this track, he placed third, and he’s second in the overall standings to date. Impressive so far.
  • Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie Johnson has returned to form this Sprint Cup season. He’s number 1 on the leaderboard.
  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Junior is third on the Sprint Cup leaderboard so far, but it’s only the beginning of the 2013 season. Karma might catch up to him again like in previous seasons.
  • Chrevolet SS Gen-6 Cars. They top the results leaderboard again.
  • Toyota Camry Gen-6 Cars. These cars have not yet proven themselves on the tracks just yet. But Matt Kenseth’s Toyota proved these cars can win — and win honestly.

Next the Sprint Cup series goes to the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway

 

2013 Subway Fit Fresh 500 at Pheonix International Speedway: 10 Things that Spun Our Wheels

Carl Edwards Wins Subway Fit Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Speedway

With the 2013 Subway Fit Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Speedway, there are more problems with the Gen-6 cars for all the driving teams and all the manufacturers. Carl Edwards wins the Subway Fit Fresh 500 and breaks his winless streak of two seasons.

  • Gen-6 Wheel Issues. The braking on these Gen-6 cars taxes the wheels tremendously.  Several cars went out from this problem. 
  • Gen-6 Four-Wheel vs. Two-Wheel Pit Stops. While the four-wheel changes usually provide a lot of grip, they don’t provide a lot of speed as before.  Perhaps it is best to do two-wheel pit stops going forward. 
  • Pole Position.  For these new cars, the driver at pole position maybe leads one or two laps — then they fall behind.  But that’s nothing new to NASCAR
  • Danica Patrick The drama continues.  Her driving skills has not.
  • Rick Stenhouse Jr. He has made an impressive jump in the standings as he is ninth on the leaderboard.
  • Hendrick Motorsports. Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. currently lead in points.  It’s only two races in, but it’s still impressive. 
  • Last Lap Racing. This seems to be the trend as this is when real racing in NASCAR begins and ends.  It’s nothing new to NASCAR, but it’s something new to these Gen-6 cars.
  • Clint Bowyer. Slow the heck down when in the pits, dude.  Less casualties involving your crew members that way — and more communication is always helpful.
  • Carl Edwards. Finally broke 70-race skid and the two-season drought…those Subway sandwiches finally do some good.
  • Side-Drafting. The Gen-6 cars work fairly decently as side-drafting goes, but they are still loose.  Trading paint isn’t intentional like before but accidental often than not.  The Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will put these cars to a real test of their mettle.

Now onto the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway…

2013 Daytona 500: 10 Things That Spun Our Wheels

After a race with constantly changing leaders and the media’s infatuation with Danica Patrick (even during the race), Jimmie Johnson and his number 48 car won the race.  Again, the superior driver Jimmie Johnson won and not Danica Patrick, the media darling, for this past Daytona 500 week.

Here’s are the top 10 things that spun Philly Fantasy Sports’ wheels about the 2013 Daytona 500:

  • Jimmie Johnson is the man.  He is the crowning achievement of Hendrick Motorsports as he has the patience and the skill to win races.  And this is his second Daytona 500 win. 
  • Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Sometimes being lucky is better than being good. 
  • Gen-6 Cars, Part I. They tend to overheat, as least the Toyota Camry’s.  Some of the drivers had substantial engine problems.
  • Gen-6 Cars, Part II. Bump-drafting doesn’t work well with these cars.   These Gen-6 cars tend to have a loose rear.  However, when paired up with patient (yet aggressive) drivers, their front aerodynamics are amazing as they can keep up to nearly 200 mph despite having damage, as Brad Keselowski’s number 2 Ford Fusion showed when paired up with Greg Biffle‘s number 16 Ford.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. He got second.  It’s a start…now we have to see if he can finish the Sprint Cup series as well as he started. Or not.
  • Car Manufacturers and Standings. Well, maybe it’s not a forecast of things to come or maybe it is…Ford Fusions and Chevrolet SS models dominated the top 10 in the Daytona 500.
  • Carl Edwards. Looks like the beginning of a LONG season…
  • Pre-Race Ceremony. The walkway was a bit over the top when introducing the drivers.  Then there’s 50 Cent and NASCAR…
  • Greg Biffle. Greg Biffle is so close yet so far yet again at Daytona International Speedway and more importantly, the Daytona 500.
  • Car of Tomorrow (CoT). One thing that you can say about the Car of Tomorrow is that is FAR more durable than Gen-6 cars, but that’s my first impression anyhow. The Gen-6 cars get chewed up in wrecks, even minor ones or when trading paint.

Now onto Pheonix International Speedway for the next race in the Sprint Cup series…

The New NASCAR (Again): Danicky, Dale Jr., Daytona and Dolla Bills

NASCAR Gen-6 Showroom Models

With the Daytona 500 coming this celebratory weekend, the new new NASCAR has once again risen.  Unfortunately, stock car racing of old, even a couple of decades ago, has long passed.  It is no longer a motor sport but more about the money — and some soap melodrama, kind of like the WWE but less wrestling — sometimes more.

Starting off this TMZ-sponsored episode is Danicky.  Danicka Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. are now an item, and everybody in the media are already enamored about what they are going to do on the racetrack.  If they are professionals, they would race.  But since this is a B-lister soap opera, despite their racing and their relationship, they will remain in the back of the pack.  Neither of them are excellent NASCAR drivers.  They are sufficiently adequate to get to 25th position at best but not sufficiently competitive to get ahead of the pack consistently.  Danica Patrick will have occasional bouts of brilliance this season with top 10s, but a few bright spots does not make a great NASCAR driver like Jimmie Johnson, for example.  Commendably, Danica made the pole position for the 2013 Daytona 500 and the first female driver to do so, but that does not make a superior driver make.

The Daytona 500 is the start of NASCAR and the official test of the Gen 6 car. The Gen 6 car will supposedly bring stock back to stock car racing instead of relying on the spoiler-heavy Car of Tomorrow (CoT). It seems promising.  No more absurd rules on bump-drafting (hopefully) with the initiation of the Gen 6 car.  The Gen 6 car certainly has a lot more space for advertisements as even NASCAR.com commented.  Well, at least that lends to more sponsors at least for this season certainly. The huge grill is prominent on the Gen 6 cars no matter which is the manufacturer.  Let’s hope that improves engine performance rather than hinders it — particularly in cramped race tracks like Dover International Speedway or slower paced races like Bristol Motor Speedway.

Lastly, the topic of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the most popular NASCAR driver, still to this day.  He almost accomplished winning the Sprint Cup Series in the latter part of last season, but then karma again hit him later in the season as he fell down the rankings.  Perhaps the new Gen 6 car will bring him the Cup finally if he decides to push toward the end of the season rather than letting the other drivers run all over him.