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Good morrrrrrrrrrrrr-ning. Welcome Gabbers and others to my NASCAR update and other fast stuff. Twas a b-u-t-ful Saturday here in PA. Started out cloudy but the sun came out to finish out the day. Great birthday BBQ for my son and and a great day to enjoy the outside.†
So that means it's Sunday. Race day. We're at the Tricky Triangle this week. Pocono Raceway. A lap around here is 2.5 miles and in a triangle. Every corner is different so setting the car up is difficult. You have to pick the turn you want the best set up on and suffer through the others. So the drivers have a double whammy going on here. It was repaved in the fall of 2011 and they're driving the new Gen 6 car. Any notes you have on setups for 2012 are†junk. Qualifying was rained out this weekend so practice was limited. The cars will line up by owners points. Only 43 cars entered so all 43 are in. More about Pocono later. Lets get to the other fast stuff.
JEB BURTON WINS @ TEXAS
Jeb would be Ward Burton's son & Jeff Burton's nephew. He's got a ride in the NASCAR truck series and they were at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday. Congrats to Jeb. Nice job.
STEWART MAD†@ MEDIA
After Stewart won Dover last week he of course did his media center interview and took a few of the journalists to task for their spewing out untrue info without checking up on it just to get a story out there. In recent weeks rumors have been flying that Stewart was going to fire his crew chief Steve Addington because he's been in such a slump. Stewart was mad†about it and said he has a hard enough time being the owner of 3 teams and trying to keep them competitive every week without the media spreading rumors. Says Steve is staying and that his guys work hard and don't deserve the crap from the media.
AJ ALLMENDINGER UPDATE
AJ will be back in the Phoenix Racing #51 car at Pocono this weekend. Roger Penske has been letting AJ drive in some of the races for the Indy Car Series since his re-instatement from NASCAR. He says he's grateful for all that Roger has done for him and is grateful for a ride of any kind be it stock car or Indy Car.†
Besides his Indy Car races he'll be stepping into the #47 at Michigan next week which will displace Bobby Labonte. It would seem that the one car team of JTG Daugherty Racing needs a new perspective from a different driver to get a better handle on this new Gen 6 car. He will get 4 other races this year in the #47. If you have Bobby Labonte on your fantasy league you'll have to be on alert to when he's in or out of the #47. It is said he's not being permanently replaced.
BRAD KESELOWSKI FINED AGAIN
Last week Brad's car was too low after the race and didn't pass post race inspection. The crew says it was a failed part which I believe. The cars run their tolerances close and the cars bend and flex all race long handling high rates of speed and G forces. Sometimes the cars just for whatever reason don't spring back into inspection shape. At Texas Truex's†car didn't pass post race inspection because of a piece of debris stuck in the spring causing it to not be able to close back up properly.†
Penalties are----> Crew Chief Paul Wolfe gets a $25,000 fine and probation till Dec 31st.
†† † † † † † † † † † ----> Brad Keselowski loses 6 drivers points.
†† † † † † † † † † † ----> Roger Penske loses 6 owners points.
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My most handsome Knight of the Mobile 1 took the win. Can't believe it but he did. After his crappy struggles in mediocre land so far this year it was a pleasant surprise. There were †some engine failures and accidents. AND a controversy between 2 drivers. Mostly it was just funny to here Jimmie whine and Montoya just shrug his shoulders.†
So lets talk about how we got to that point in the race. First they dropped the green flag with Hamlin on the pole and he takes the lead. Gordon immediately starts his whinning about the car not having any grip.†
By lap 24 Kyle takes the lead. Jimmie is in 21st fighting loose and Danica has tagged somebody and needs to pit for tires and a fender check up. She's 3 laps down now.
After first set of green flag pit stops aroung lap 65 Kyle still leading. Stewart is 1 lap down and Jimmie is barely on the lead lap.
Caution on lap 79 for debris sees Stewart as the free pass recipient or Lucky Dog. A big break for those that need more adjustments.
Kyle is still leading, Gordon is still whining in 16th, Jimmie is up to 14th and Danica is like waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back there and 3 laps down.
Kenseth beats Kyle off pit road after caution #2 on lap 127. He keeps that lead till lap 158 when his motor goes pooooof. Kyle takes the lead back. Jimmie is creeping up.
Lap 207 Jimmie takes the lead. Truex, Kyle, Hamlin and Kahne are your top 5.
Lap 223 sees Casey Mears in 13th!!!!! What?Lap 279 Truex is smoking. Another Toyota motor goes poooof. Jimmie maintains the lead.
Lap 300 sees Newman lose his mind. He takes out David Gilliland and himself. I guess the fighting over track position got a bit fierce and Gilliland wasn't giving in. Funny thing. Since NASCAR laid down the law with the lower under funded Start & Park teams, they aren't laying down so easy any more. We're going to see way more of this. It has the potential to change championship dreams. Actually it is changing the championship landscape already.
84 laps to go and Kahne goes around all by himself. There's a caution and Logano gets that free pass.†
24 to go Hamlin bounces off the wall when his right front tire goes down. Extended stay on pit road trying to get the fender bent out to put a tire on. And now we have our set up for the end. Montoya got out of the pits first with Jimmie second. It's restart time. Cars bunch up, they get to the restart area, Montoya doesn't take off but Jimmie does. He reaches the start finish line before Montoya and half a lap later he's black flagged.†
Rule states that all cars be in 2 lines and bunched up. The leader is to hit the line on the other side of the starting box first or the flag man starts the race at the start finish line with the wave of the green flag. Jimmies nose was clearly 6 to 8 inches ahead of Montoya. Jimmie says that Montoya hung back and never went. He also said he tried to give it back to Montoya but he wouldn't speed up. He says Montoya did what he would consider that flopping thing in the NBA and that as racers you have to exploit all angles and Montoya played it well. He plans on talking with NASCAR about this rule to make it clearer. Dover is a small track with a small restart area but a track like Indy has a much larger one and it's conceivable that he could trap†3 to 5 guys down by doing what Montoya did.
Montoya says that Jimmie hung back before they got to the restart area and mistimed his take off. He says Jimmie would've passed him any way but wanted to get a jump on me†so he wouldn't have to deal with me. He had the dominant car in the end but lost the race through mistiming. It's all good. It's racing.
I see where Jimmie is coming from but I see he's whining too. The rule is pretty cut and dry but as of lately there's been some gamesmanship at restarts. Will NASCAR step in? Don't know.
Top 15 finishers - Stewart - Montoya - Gordon - Keselowski - Bowyer - Logano - Harvick - Martin - Dale Jr - Burton - Kurt B - Stenhouse - Edwards - Biffle
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Rain has put a damper on things but we should be racing today. The rain out rules put Jimmie on the pole to start the race. This will be a long grueling race. It was shortened from 500 to 400 miles in 2012. Richard Petty won the first Cup race here in 1974. Again Mark Martin holds a lot of records here. He has 52 starts , 3 poles, 7 -†2nd place finishes, 20 top 5's and 34 top 10's. Gordon has 6 W's, 18 top 5's and 28 top 10's. Johnson has a 9.0 finishing average.†
The Tricky Triangle eats motors and transmissions. It's shape is a triangle so there's lots of shifting. Track position is key here. You have to get all you can when there's a restart because the cars spread out quickly.†
Last years top 10 finishers - Logano - Martin - Stewart - Johnson - Hamlin - Bowyer - Kenseth†- Dale Jr - Menard†- McMurray - Edwards - Newman - Ambrose - Harvick - Burton
Kyle B lost a motor, Kahne and Allmendinger had accidents and Biffle lost a cylinder but maintained the 24th†spot as the last car on the lead lap. Martin and Logano battled it out in the last laps with Logano doing a bump & run on Martin for the win.
So this year I'd say the Toyotas will be tuned down. There was a meeting with all the Toyota teams about the 6 motors that have gone poof. Two were last week. This race and Michigan the motors are to be tuned down to emphasize endurance and durability instead of speed.
So that being said,†I'm not sure where you'll see Kyle B this week. Wrecker or checker. That's a tough one.
Team mates Hamlin & Kenseth should be good but will they have the power on restarts? The MWR guys Bowyer, Truex & Martin will face that same issue. Will talent be enough for these 6 guys?
Johnson needs to stop making stupid mistakes. What is up with him these days? Should see a top 10. Actually a win.
Dale Jr will be Mr Steady Eddie coming into a quiet top 10.
McMurray has been knocking and little things keep him down. Last week it was a flat tire while he was in 9th with 72 to go.†
Montoya hasn't figured out this track yet.
Stewart and Newman could find their way up to the top 10. Are the handling issues figured out?
Logano won last year. But this is a new year and new car and new team. I'm thinking he'll over come all that. Team mate Keselowski should be up there too.
C listers to watch for. David Ragan #34, Travis Kvapil #93, Dave Blaney #7, David Gilliland #38 (if Newman doesn't take him out again) and Ricky Stenhouse #17. Apparently Bobby Labonte is a B lister this year because he did so well last year. I missed that. Mostly because I wasn't looking for him on my Yahoo picks till recently.†
I did change my ESPN picks. Now I'm not sure about my picks with the announcement Toyota made about tuning down the motors to save them. This has been a tough season to gage. But you know it's onward and upward we go. Another race. Another day.†
I hope you all have a great†weekend†with the celebration of graduations, anniversaries, new beginnings and just any excuse you can find for firing up that grill, popping the top on a favorite beverage, toasting good friends and family and or just enjoying the day. Cheers Gabbers and others and...
I'm outta here......