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.

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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!

Late driver switch due to failed drug test: AJ Allmendinger out, Sam Hornish, Jr. in

OK so drama unfolded prior to dropping the green flag for the Coke Zero 400. With bearly two hours notice Sam Hornish, Jr. was flown from Charlotte to Daytona to race the No. 22 car after NASCAR announced that AJ Allmendinger failed his drug test in Kentucky.

Stay tuned for more news that will surely take some interesting twists and turns. Click here for the announcement.

Tighten your belts race fans. I think if last night’s Nationwide race is any indication, we are in for an exciting night. 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!

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.

Hoping for a safe, full race at Talladega!

Although I am definitely a short-track racing fan, there’s something about Talladega Superspeedway. It is  my favorite “pick and pray” track. I pick my drivers and pray that they don’t get caught up in the big one, and it all comes down to the final laps. Qualifying and practice doesn’t matter at all.

Yesterday at the Nationwide Series race we saw clearly how horrific the big one can be as Eric McClure wrecked hard and was airlifted to the hospital. Thankfully he is okay. Kudos to the track emergency personnel who practice weekly for just this type of incident for their quick response and for the safety crew who got the track buttoned up and ready to go green in just under 20 minutes.

In the end Joey Logano pulled off an exciting win splits seconds in front of Kyle Busch. If you missed the race, check out these links:

Eric McClure’s hard lick. Click here and for video here.

Joey Logano’s win. Click here.

Yesterday’s race also demonstrated the morphed style of racing — pack-tandem! Scary. So far today’s race has been a bit tempered. Hopefully the weather is done with. I think we’ll have enough issues with keeping the engines cooled and dealing with typical Dega racing. Good luck to all the drivers and the fans who will be peeking through their fingers at the end of today’s race.

Enjoy!

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!

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