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!


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!

Let’s go Chasin’: Round 1 Chicagoland

Wow! This has been quite a season of weirdness and unexpected finishes. Who would have thought after last year’s stellar season Kyle Busch would be on the outside looking in? And how about last year’s “almost guy” Carl Edwards also not making the Chase? Totally weird, yet wonderful.

We may just be on the verge of the era of either The Dark Horse or one of the usual suspects announcing “I bet you didn’t see me coming!” Either way it is going to be a Chase for the records. (Oh, did I mention that Dale Earnhardt, Jr., has been awesome this year?! But I digress …)

Strap yourself in. It should be an interesting ride. Oh, by the way, my fantasy picks for Chicagoland are: Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kayne and  Aric Almirola.

Enjoy the race!

New season anticipation: Will the bad boys mellow or will it be “boys have at it”?

Whew! I’ve nearly made it through the off season without getting too goofy. Well there was that one time when I saw the Utz Potato Chip truck with a Christmas wreath on the grill and worried that he would overheat and cause a caution, but aside from that ….

At this time last year we never imagined that from the drop of the green flag at Daytona to the end of the race in Homestead we would have the most unpredictable, exciting NASCAR season filled with incredible highs and lows.

Do you think during the off season the Busch brothers got a volume discount on anger management therapy? Hmm. During Daytona testing I saw a great photo of Kurt actually working under his car and he looked pretty mellow. I’m not so worried about Kyle. I think he can pull it together, but we’ll just have to wait to see. I’m rooting for them both. They are excellent drivers and I think they get it now.

But there’s always yoga. Click here for this cool story on two pit crews who practice yoga as part of their training. Can you say Namaste?!   

From Kentucky traffic jams to New Hampshire’s flat track

Wow. Looked like Kentucky Speedway’s Sprint Cup debut was a bust for many fans stuck in traffic. That’s 10,000 to 20,000 fans! Bummer. What a nightmare. The track is offering a ticket exchange. I wonder who is paying for that? Check it out here. And NASCAR is promising to fix it. Here’s Mike Helton’s take on it.  For those of us watching on TV it was cool to see a first time event and even cooler for the race winner Kyle Busch.

So what’s New Hampshire got in store today? If practice and qualifying are any indication it looks like track speeds will be record-breaking. The Nationwide race shows up a bit about what impatience will do at a fast, flat short track. With pressure on for those win less drivers and many big names starting toward the back this race could be particularly crazy and eventful.

As I ponder my fantasy picks (thinking track position and those drivers good at Richmond and Phoenix) I would be remiss in not acknowledging Kyle Busch for his 100 combined win on Saturday tying him with my favorite driver Mark Martin. Here’s the story.

Saturday night short tracking racing

I’ve never been to a race under the lights, but I bet it just adds to the excitement. Richmond International Speedway is in denial. Although it is a short track (.75 miles) it is a super speedway wannabe with its long frontstretch and 14 degrees of banking at the turns. And I love  short track racing. The energy never allows you to catch your breath. You can get decent side by side racing and more than a little action as you get into turn one. Should be a great race.

At this track qualifying matters so that you can pick a good pit stall. But I wouldn’t count out Kyle Busch even though he is starting 20th. I’d really like to see Dale run well again this week. He is having such a great year and even seems like he is having a good time again. I’m loving how well Bobby Labonte is racing this year. The new ride with JTG Daugherty Racing team is really working out.

So my picks: Kyle Busch; Clint Bowyer; Ryan Newman and Booby Labonte.

Enjoy the race!

Joey Logano pushes Kyle Busch for Nationwide win

Wow! Another crazy finish at Talladega — surely a prelude to tomorrow’s Sprint Cup race. By the time the race was completed half the field was in the garage and the remaining cars weren’t very pretty. Logano said it seemed more like Martinsville than Talladega. Yikes.

For a moment there it looked like Joe Nemechek was going to get the win. How cool would that be?! He was so happy just to be running upfront. Classy old school driver. What a wild ride Mike Wallace took – he was actually airborne in that last crash that brought out the caution. Check out the YourTube video. Great that the cars are safe enough for him to walk away.

Hope Joey Logano does well tomorrow too. He always seems to be the bridesmaid!

Harvick makes it two in a row!

I didn’t see that one coming! What an exciting race — another one right down to the last lap. In the end Kevin Harvick pulled it out. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had an impressive run. I really thought he was going to win. Juan Pablo was in the hunt there at the end, too. Very cool race.

I know it’s chick thing, but I thought it was classy for Junior to go up to Kyle as soon as he got out of his car. To Kyle’s credit he took it well and congratulated Junior as well even though he must have been tremendously disappointed. Both Dale and Kyle could have tried to spin each other out, but they didn’t. Lots of maturity there.

The crash with Truex and Kayne was pretty scary. With a stuck throttle Truex couldn’t do anything to avoid the crash. Thankfully neither driver was hurt. Another act of class when Truex ran over to Kane’s car to make sure he was okay. Click here for more on the fiery crash.

On to Texas next week for a Saturday race under the lights.

Harvick pulls off last lap win!

Wow. Now that was a race to the finish. Kevin Harvick let Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson battle it out and seemed to come out of nowhere. All of a sudden he was on Jimmie Johnson’s back bumper. Totally cool.

It is great to see Brian Vickers, Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. running with so much consistency. And how about Paul Menard now sitting pretty in 5th place in the standings?! This has been an awesome start to the 2011 season with a different winner for each of the five races.

Now onto one of my favorite tracks – Martinsville Speedway. We can easily predict more than a few cautions and some testy tempers there. Gotta love it.


Yup, the driver who many love to hate — Kyle Busch — swept the Bristol races again! Pretty amazing. There weren’t as many crash calamities, but it was a really exciting race, but probably not from Carl Edwards’ perspective, who came in 2nd — once again to Kyle. Jimmie Johnson came in third.

Although the Sunday race was the big story , there were two other solid stories out of Bristol both from women drivers on the Nationwide circuit. Jennifer Jo Cobb said no way about her former boss’ drive and park strategy — she actually gave up her ride and stood up for her sponsor and the fans. Way to go Jennifer Jo. Click here for the full story. Jennifer Jo will drive for Rick Ware Racing at Fontana this weekend.

The other story was about Danica Patrick who pulled a Juan Pablo and got out of her car after being wrecked by Ryan Truex (he apologized!) Funny how when women do this everyone says she’s acting like a baby and when the boys do it it’s just racing. Hmm. Anyway check out that story here.

So on to Fontana this weekend.

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