HAPPY SUNDAY, HOWDY AND GOOD DAY!!!!! Welcome Gabbers and others to another of my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. It's now on to the 5th race of the season. Some teams flew out of the box and sped away. Others jumped out but didn't make too big of a run but they're making ground and others just need more time to work on the adjustments. And some never will get it just right. It's a new car to figure out and Denny Hamlin told us all that a couple weeks ago just before he got fined for doing so. Danica has slid back into the quiet of the lap down field. There's a new feud on the track. Apologies not accepted yet. Dale Jr is quietly finishing in the top 10's like last year before his concussion put an end to that dream. Looks like he be sneaking up on that trophy again? So we're off to another day at the races and lots of fast stuff to talk about.
STEWART'S FEET IN CONCRETE
We're back at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana , CA for race #5 and last years winner Tony Stewart was given a plaque by the VP of the track Dave Allen. Stewart then put his feet in the concrete and signed his name and number. Just one more name on the Walk of Fame at the track. This is Stewarts 2nd W here. Other notables with W's and sections on the Walk of Fame are Johnson with 5 W's here. Gordon has the very first win and a total of 3 W's. Kyle B, Kurt B, Biffle and Kahne each have one. So Stewart is in good company. Congratulations.
MARK MARTIN TO OVERSEE BUILDING OF NEW TRAINING FACILITY
Martin has been working to get the new Training facility green lighted for 10 months now. Working out is his 2nd passion. He works out 5 times a week, lifting weights for 1 hour.
The new facility will be at MWR head quarters and construction is to begin in the next week and could be done in 90 days. It will have a car silhouette so crew members can practice their agility training around the car. Of course all kinds of free weights, machines and cardio equipment will be included as well as locker rooms and offices.
Martin says that teams are investing in equipment for human performance now and he's excited to be a part of it.
BOWYER OPENS TOYOTA DEALERSHIP IN HOMETOWN
This week Clint Bowyer went home to Emporia, Kansas to open Clint Bowyer's Autoplex. He partnered with Davis-Moore Auto Group to by the Emporia Motors dealership. Bowyer once worked there as a paintless dent repair specialist and dealer. Davis-Moore Auto Group will take over the day to day operations while Bowyer goes about his job of racing the #15 Five Hour Energy Toyota for MWR.
ISC TO LOBBY FOR TAX BREAKS
The owner of Daytona International Speedway, International Speedway, Corp is lobbying for tax breaks that could save them $100 million in the next 30 years so they can do a huge renovation project on the Daytona race track. The tax breaks would help in moving forward with the renovation project.
Plans are to add escalators, concourses, and wider seats in the grandstands. A mixed use commercial development would be added across the street. All of this and the scale of it depends on how much if any tax breaks they get.
Sen Dorothy Hukill of Port Orange and Rep. David Santiago of Deltone are sponsoring this bill. So they'd be the ones (if you live in Florida and you're not happy about this) to contact.
I guess if Football and Baseball teams lobby for the tax breaks and get them than race tracks can too.
BRISTOL RECAP : HAMLIN VS LOGANO
Bristol and Martinsville seem to bring out the monster in drivers. No patience. Logano was fighting over the lead with Gordon minding his own business. He'd get up to Gordon's door and fall back. This went on for several laps till Hamlin in 3rd caught up and drove into Logano's bumper sending him spinning and a caution comes out. Logano goes to the pits for repairs and manages to not lose too much track position.
With 46 to go another caution gets him a starting position right behind Hamlin. Nothing happens but after the race Logano went to Hamlin's car to talk to him and a crew member shoved him away. A Twitter word battle started after the race.
On Friday Hamlin apologized for damaging Logamo's car. He only meant to give him a nudge to let him know he wasn't happy about Logano pinching him down on the race track. He also said it's not up to me to be judging someone's driving to be bad or good and he shouldn't have degraded him as a driver.
Logano says they haven't talked about it. So I'm guessing it's not over. Hamlin made all this fuss last week about the respect of his peers and of NASCAR. Then he pulls this stunt. Seems to me he needs to apologize to Logano in person and not through the media.
So I called Kasey Kahne a squirrel last week. His performance is manic. It goes from awesome to wrecking. At Bristol it was awesome. He won and led 109 laps. Not the most but he was in the top 5 ALL day. Hamlin led the most laps with 117. Kyle led 56 and Keselowski led 62.
On lap 9 Stewart cut down a tire and spun out. His brakes were broken so back behind the wall he went for about 15 laps. That's one fast brake job. Give those crew guys a cookie.
Kyle got caught in 3 sections of pit road for speeding. He went to the back on the restart and within 84 laps he was in 2nd.
Gordon was leading and running away when the bead in his tire melted, his tire popped and he went up the race track and took Kenseth out with him. He only took 2 tires on the stop just 29 laps before to get that lead. Was it worth it?
Johnson had a tire go down due to the bead melting. Finished 2 laps down in 22nd.
Top 10 finishers.....Kahne - Kyle B - Keselowski - Kurt B - Bowyer - Dale Jr - Newman - Martin - Menard - McMurray
AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY - FONTANA, CA
So that leads us to this week. Rain shortened last year and our winner was Stewart. Stewart loves this track and is happy to be here. He has 2 wins. Hope his bad luck in the last 2 races is just a blur from now on.
Johnson has 5 wins and a 4.8 average finish here. A threat as always.
Keselowski finished 18th and 1 lap down last year. He didn't do so hot in Saturdays Nationwide race. He starts in the rear due to an engine change. Hope he has some good notes. He's still a threat. He and his CC Paul have a connection.
Gordon has 3 wins here but his season is starting to look like last season. De Ja VooDoo with a HooDoo. Last year he dragged the gas man out of his pit stall. A stop & go penalty put him a lap down in 24th at the end. Really need a good luck charm or a Wanga Doll. Wonder if they make racing ones. Skip him.
Kahne is starting 16th today. He finished 15th last year. Don't know if he has another good run in him so soon but he does have a hot hand.
Kyle won the Nationwide race this week....AND LAST WEEK. He's hot. Came in 2nd last week at Bristol and starts 4th today. Looking good.
Dale Jr came in 3rd last year at this race. He's quietly making his case to be on your fantasy roster.
Hamlin won the pole. He came in 11th last year. He's mad and thinks he's entitled. If he and Logano don't tangle on track he's a good bet.
Harvick came in 4th last year. He's a good bet.
Biffle starts 2nd and last year came in 6th. He's 5th in the points right now so he's a possible.
Truex, Bowyer and Martin are MWR's finest. Any of those are pickable.
Newman came in 7th last year. He's a fighter and pickable.
Dark horse picks...Logano. He's been showing some life in his new ride in the #22 with Penske Racing.
McMurray seems to be coming to life also. EGR turned to Hendrick for their motors this year. I'll be watching him.
Kurt B could post another top 10 here in his Furniture Row Racing #78.
C list options for those of you who pick a top tier driver, 2 B's and a C.
Casey Mears, David Reutimann or AJ Allmendinger. Allmendinger is in the #51 this week. He's part of that revolving list along with Austin Dillon, Regan Smith, Ryan Truex and who knows who else. Ricky Stenhouse Jr is certainly an option too but I don't know his record on this track and with Cup drivers. He's a total unknown. Those 2 Nationwide Championships don't equate to Cup success. But he is in Kenseth's old ride. Good equipment is a bonus.
Last years top 10 finishers...Stewart - Kyle - Dale Jr - Harvick - Edwards - Biffle - Newman - Truex - Kurt B - Johnson
So there you have it folks. Hope it helps those in the fantasy leagues. Sounds like there's a lot of happy campers enjoying the March Madness Brackets as well as the games. So this being Sunday, I wish you all the most fun there is doing what you love with whom you love. I'm off to breakfast as usual and....
I'm outta here.......