Talladega action and uncertainties

Admittedly I am a short-track gal, but Talladega racing is too exciting not to love. However, the fantasy racing prospects? Well that’s a whole other matter. The best that you can hope to achieve is that enough of your drivers get bonus points for qualifying and laps led that even if it all goes south with the big one at least you can come away a respectful score.

Drafting will not be a major factor today since this Gen 6 car design mismatches the bumpers and fenders. Oh they’ll do it at the end especially and a miscalculation in uucoupling will cause a wreck, but it won’t make the difference between a win and a loss.

With a handful of laps into the race my prediction is that the winning cars will be racing all day, not hanging in the back. So who will win? Could be anybody, seriously! But I’m thinking it will be one of these scenarios: a dark horse like Aric Almirola or Davd Ragan, or Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, or Kevin Harvick.

Here’s how I crunched my stats for the race to get my final picks: NASCAR Fantasy Fusion

My team is: Brad Keselowki, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, and David Ragan.

Martinsville: Hot Dog!

I am a big lover of short track racing. The excitement and action are constant — never a dull moment. Just thinking about whipping around a track in 19.2 seconds is amazing.

Though not my home track (Dover) Martinsville is magical — a mere .526 miles, the shortest track on the Sprint Cup circuit. However, it is not short of drama, hot tempers, or mishaps.

Often dubbed “The paper clip” or “The bull ring” Martinsville is full of history. You can’t really talk Martinsville without talking about it famous, oddly pinkish hot dog. It’s kinda like Philly cheese steaks and soft pretzels.  Here’s a classic article with a good shot of the iconic dog. Click here 

With the race underway keep an eye on tire wear and the illusive second groove. My bet is the groove will remain illusive and that bottom line will be the one to ride. Good Year has brought a new tire here. The teams that manage their tires well and can keep most of their fenders and tempers intact will do well today. Hmm. I guess that eliminates anyway who gets close to Joey Logano. But I digress.

My prediction. when the checkered flag comes out at the end look for Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, and Kyle Busch. Enjoy the race. Woo hoo! Enjoy the race.

Denny Hamlin questions the wisdom of the almighty NASCAR!

The NASCAR machine is indeed far-reaching. But seriously, fining a driver for speaking his mind? For an organization that prides itself in being all about the fans and competition this blogger thinks fining Denny Hamlin is one big bone-headed response, not to mention a seriously bad public relations move.

The issue now is they can’t put the genie back in the bottle, and back down. With Denny Hamlin appealing the $25,000 fine this stalemate can’t end well for anyone. NASCAR clearly over-reacted, and if they aren’t careful they will tarnish their brand at a time when the economy is recovering and new fans are being attracted to the sport.

Click here to read more details.

Even NASCAR can’t mess with Mother Nature!

NASCAR changes rules all the time — ever tweaking for safety and fan engagement. However, even the all-powerful NASCAR can’t circumvent the laws of nature — human or physics. As my mind meanders back to the season’s debut weekend at Daytona that fact is what stands out.

The laws of physics tells us that cars traveling close to 200 mph with improved aerodynamics have a 100% chance of busting apart when they crash. Yet when they do indeed crash we act surprised, and of course, NASCAR goes into inspection and investigation mode. Raising catchfences and doing track safety improvements are crucial. Fan and driver safety is paramount. But even NASCAR can’t prevent the inevitable crashes. Thankfully no one died. Thoughts and prayers to those fans still in the hospital.

Click here for Video & Recap

In addition to lacking power over the laws of physics, likewise NASCAR is powerless over the actions of humans, specifically in the area of stupidity. It is important to note though NASCAR can yank a driver out of contention when their humanness bites them in the butt. Thus is the saga of Jeremy (wait for it …) Clements. Now you can say say “who?” Jeremy is a lesser known, well at least until his ignorance made news …  driver in the Nationwide Series who used a racial slur in earshot of a NASCAR PR staffer during an interview with an MTV blogger. Perhaps Jeremy will learn something during his specially-designed NASCAR program that he must complete before being permitted to return.

Here’s a story about driver reactions. Click here.

Well what NASCAR lacks in omniscience it makes up in responsible reactions. Hail, Hail, NASCAR!

Talladega or horror movie? Hmm.

Although I am a short-track kinda of gal, racing at Talladega is provocative. By the end of the race I’ll be watching like most people watch scary horror films — just peaking through my fingers.

Then there’s the sheer speed and danger that it creates as well as the impending “big one.” Oh yeah, and it is an impossible race for fantasy racing folks. There’s a million lead changes, so everybody gets extra points, so it comes down to who doesn’t crash out or make mistakes on pit road.

With the tweaked cars most of the two-car tandems have gone away for the full race, however it will be used a lot at the end of the race and periodically throughout the race to gain strategic track position. As the great equalizer, drafting also makes it possible for a non-Chaser or dark horse to take the victory, which I also find compelling.

So my “pick and pray” fantasy picks this week are: Kyle Busch’ Dale Earnhardt., Jr., Kasey Kahne; and Michael Waltrip (I know, I just couldn’t resist!)

Enjoy the rest of the race!

Monster Mile-ing the Chase: Round 3

Dover International Speedway is my home track and an awesome place to see a race. It is a high-banked, concrete short-track that gobbles up drivers who aren’t wearing their “big boy pants,” as Jimmie Johnson would say.

This race is all about the whole package — the driver, the car and the entire crew. Drivers who are okay about slipping around do well here. A tricky pit road entrance can mess up a driver’s good run though. The crews who can keep up with the track changes and not make mistakes may ultimately make the difference.

So what’s my prediction? Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and a dark horse — perhaps Martin Truex, Jr. are going to factor greatly. So you may have noticed that I have not mentioned Jimmie Johnson yet. Well that’s a no-brainer. Dover and 5-Time go together.

My fantasy picks were: Jimmie Johnson; Martin Truex, Jr.; Joey Logano; and Sam Hornish, Jr.

Enjoy the race!!

Will Smoke rise to the top at The Magic Mile?

As Chase Race #2 begins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, I’m thinking about Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin. Tony could give everyone a run for their money (not to mention the 22 pound lobster that’s up for grabs for the race winner!). For the past three years the winner of this race has gone on to win the  championship.

Hmm. Denny’s car isn’t quite where he’d like it to be so the crew has some work to do. Keep in mind this is a short race where track position is crucial. Jeff Gordon is going to need to be aggressive and consistent if he wants to produce big today and get back some points he lost last week when his throttle stuck and he went into the wall.

So I’m thinking it will be Tony or a Chase spoiler like Kyle Busch. In either case this will be an awesome race.

My picks: Tony Stewart; Martin Truex, Jr.; Ryan Newman; and Brian Vickers. Enjoy the race!

Desperado time for Ryan Newman and the wildcard guys

The old Eagles song keeps playing in my head as I ponder my final picks for today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Check out my pre-qualifying fantasy pondering here.

The Magic Mile will be either majestic or disastrous for drivers digging for their first win. Considering the fact that this is a short race on a flat track that runs like a short track (weird, I know!) this is sure to be one crazy race.

Look for Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, and Jeff Gordon to make some chancy moves. It is go-time for these drivers if they expect to make the Chase.

Hold on tight and enjoy the race!

And now for something completely different? Or is it more of the same? A continuation of the Kurt Busch saga …

When we met last Kurt Busch was relegated to the NASCAR version of time-out — booted out of the car for being completely rude with a media rep and an extension of his probation. Now it appears as though his bad behavior may get him a sponsor. Yup, that’s right –  rewarded for being bad. Any two year old knows something is weird when that happens.

Anyway so who is the potential sponsor — the Jerry Springer Show. Hmm. Somehow this makes sense all of a sudden. Check out the story here and stay tuned!

Anger Management – NASCAR style: The Kurt Busch Danica Patrick/Sam Hornish Saga

Hmm. Like we needed more drama when we get to Dover International Speedway! Seriously?! I think the Monster Mile creates its own unique set of interesting twists and turns, quite literally, not sure if we need anymore. But alas Kurt Busch hasn’t reached his epiphany yet in knowing how to control his behavior and Danica Patrick has continued an interesting rivalry with Sam Hornish.

The two plot lines played out last Saturday at NASCAR’s Nationwide Race. Kurt got rightfully punished by an extended NASCAR probation until December 31. Bad news for Kurt Busch who doesn’t have a written contract, but good news for David Reutimann who will be driving the No. 51 car at Pocono Raceway this weekend. Here’s a story on Kurt’s probation. Click here. Stay tuned for more Kurt news after his “come to Jesus” meeting with Phoenix Racing owner James Finch.

The Danica/Sam story dates way back to go-kart days when Sam was 16 and Danica was 13. Danica dive-bombed Sam to try to take the lead and they wrecked during the championship race. Imagine that. Here is a story on the origination of this unfolding saga. Click here. We’ll just have to wait to se how that one goes. Here’s some video on the Danica/Sam tango at Dover.

Geez. and my family still thinks that racing is boring because they think the cars just go around and around. Racing is an amazing sport plus there are all these fascinating sagas that unfold almost every day!

Enjoy the next segment to the 2012 racing season, and of course, the next episode to the many story lines that are yet to come!

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