Fed Ex 400 – Monster Mile day of pit stall showdowns & fast racing

Dover International Speedway is my favorite NASCAR track, and not just because it is my home track. It is a premier short-track with all the fixins’: banked corners; high speeds; and a challenging pit road, as well as great family activities all weekend long. If you haven’t been here you need to put it on your punch list. To learn more here is a link to Dover’s Monster Mile crash course. 

So what’s in store for fans at today’s Sprint Cup race? Well at a minimum a day of fast, fast racing and more than a bit of serious finesse from the drivers. Here is my track overview and predictions on race standouts for today. Click here.

I watched qualifying at the track yesterday and Jimmie Johnson’s car was not only fast, but looked the smoothest. The car looked vacuumed to the track. Mark Martin was, of course, the fastest, but I’m not sure if Jimmie Johnson’s crew may put him over the top. But it sure will be interesting.

Enjoy and the race and let me know what you think about the racing at Dover.


Slippery, bumpy and pit road mistakes: Racing at Las Vegas

As the green flag is about to drop I wonder what factor we do in the most drivers this week. The track is hot and slippery. But it seems like the bumps in the track really threw a few drivers in practice. Hmm. Maybe it will come down to pit row mistakes.

Track position isn’t crucial here so drivers can come from the back and contend for the win. I’m holding my breath here. I’m not sure that we can draw any conclusions from past races or even the Nationwide race, but I’m hoping. Yup. I picked my fantasy drivers based on past performance and what I’ve seen in practice.

So I’m going with Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Bobby Labonte. I’m kinda wishing I took a chance on Kasey Kahne, but he tends to blow an engine or crash more times than not when I pick him. I was really tempted to go with Greg Biffle and I’d really like to see him do well today, but he doesn’t seem to be able to close and win and he was complaining about his engine at the end of the last practice.

Having a bit of fantasy picking remorse here, but we’ll just have to wait to see what happens.

Enjoy the race!

Rain, rain, go away .. from Dover at least!!

Yesterday looked iffy for the Nationwide race, but the rain stayed away and I just had to contend with the chill in the air. Guess I picked the right day to spend at the track. Hopefully we will get the Sprint race in today. It should be a good one! Yesterday was a race filled with long runs and dominated by Carl Edwards, but I was hoping that Clint Bowyer would catch up or at least pull off second. If you didn’t see the race yesterday, click here for a quick rundown.

I don’t think we are going to get long runs today, there’s just too much at stake for so many drivers and I’m thinking that patience will not be in abundance. Today will be about keeping up with track changes, not making mistakes in the pits and staying out of trouble. Good luck with that!

My picks are: Jimmie Johnson; Mark Martin; Martin Truex and Paul Menard. Hold on, its going to get crazy at the Monster Mile. Enjoy!

Sights, sounds & smells at IMS

Racing is one of those sports (yes, Philly folks, it’s a sport!!) that involves all the senses. If watching the actual race isn’t enough for you, then the fans and all the pre-race events can surely give you an eyeful. IMS is one of those tracks that simply bombards the senses. The first time I came here about four years ago, the year of the Good Year tires fiasco, I couldn’t comprehend the awesome size of the track. I remember driving into the infield, getting out of the car and as I moved my body in a 360 all I could see was track. It’s monstrously huge. The roar of the engines, the smell of the fuel and those beautifully fast cars were just amazing.

I’m back again this weekend and I’m staying so close to both the Lucas Oil Speedway and IMS that I can drink my coffee in the morning and hear the cars taking their practice laps. Very cool.

Right now I’m pondering my fantasy picks and I’m torn between Juan Pablo and Marco Ambrose. I’m tempted to add Mark Martin to my roster, but he has been so inconsistent. Not sure. But I am sure that it’s going to be a great race. I can’t wait.

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.

Season’s 1st segment is diverse; Now it’s Tony Stewart time!

This first segment of the season has been exciting — 10 different winners and only one from Five Time. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. hasn’t won a race yet this season, but he has had some respectable runs. I don’t know if it is the difference in the points system, but something’s brewing. More so than ever when you sit down to watch a race you’re truly aren’t sure what’s going to transpire. No predictability. I love that! I hate boredom and I love good racing!!

Matt Kenseth is looking great and so are drivers like Bobby Labonte and Clint Bowyer. Mark Martin can stand to punch it up a bit though. I’d like to see consistency from him this year. So I guess the big question is will Tony Stewart take off now that we are going into the summer where slick tracks are a given?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see if Smoke brings it on in the next segment.

Coca Cola 600 underway!

Gee I hope my picks are better than my ability to start the hibachi … there’s always tomorrow.

Anyway, my fantasy picks are: Carl Edwards; David Reuitmann; Kasey Kahne and Bobby Labonte. I was torn between Mark Martin and Kasey, but in the end Kasey hasn’t had any DNFs in past 600s. I was going to go with David Ragan instead of Bobby, but Bobby has good stats in this race and much, more experience. It’s going to be a good one.

Enjoy the race!

Coca Cola 600: Marathon race for the fit & nimble

It is almost time for the really, really long race, not for the faint of heart. The All-Star Race & related events gave us some glimpses into strong teams for this race, not to mention some pretty funny moments — like the pathetic attempt at a burn out for Kurt Busch (pretty embarrassing!) and Carl Edwards wrecking his car during his victory burn out. Check this out if you haven’t seen it. Click here.  But I digress …

This race is so hard to predict as ability to endure is just as important as sheer talent. The drivers who have dedicated fitness routines like Carl Edwards and Mark Martin can last to the end of the race, but their engines and teams will also have to perform flawlessly. It is difficult to simply look at stats and pick from there. This race is a great examples of how much of a team sport this really is. Keeping up with the track will be important so solid crew chiefs with good fuel calculations are a must.

So as I get down to my final picks I’m looking at past performance, practice speeds, strong crew chief leadership and lack of DNFs. Lots to consider here. I’ll be back to you with my final picks shortly. I need to rest up a little so I can make it to the end of the race!

Lady in Black takes no prisoners

Darlington Raceway is often referred to as NASCAR’s original super speedway. Racing there is punishing. Not only do you have to keep up with the track, but also keep your car in one piece although most will be sporting at least one Darlington stripe by the race’s end. Oh, did I mention it is basically a four-hour race?!  Strong engine shops with patient drivers have a better chance of doing well here although it is basically anything goes. You can do everything right and just get caught up in a wreck and your night is over.

Who knows what will happen between Montoya and Newman tonight. Should be fast and interesting whatever happens. Picking a fantasy team is just a nightmare for this race so I look for drivers who can persevere that have hardy engines. I check over past DNFs on the track and just hope for the best.

So I’m thinking: Denny Hamlin; Ryan Newman; Mark Martin; and David Ragan.

Enjoy the race!

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!

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