Hey, howdy and Happy Sunday. Welcomer Gabbers and others to my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. It's race day. Lots of catching up to do with the he said, he points a finger, he denies, he plays defense and he rolls his eyes. All in another episode of How The Track Turns. Of course there's other fast stuff to go with too.
10TH ANNUL NASCAR DAY IS MAY 17TH
This is a day when NASCAR, the fans, the sponsors and teams all get together to celebrate NASCAR charities. This year Camping World Super Centers will be sponsoring this event.
It will also be the first year for The 10 Days of Giving Tour that NASCAR is rolling out. The tour starts in Atlanta, GA on May 8th and ends in Charlotte, NC on May 17th. With random acts of giving. Not sure what that means but festivities are planned. A limited addition pin designed by artist Sam Bass can be bought for $10. You can get your pin at Camping World Super Centers, at a race track or by going online to NASCAR.com/foundation.
They'll be going to Atlanta, GA...Brooklyn, Mich...Darlington, SC...Kansas City, KA...New York, NY...and...Daytona Beach, FLA
I know that Victory Junction Camp started by the Petty's is one of those NASCAR charities. A very nice hospital disguised as a kids camp for very ill children so they can experience camping and have their on going medical treatments too.
ALAN KULWICKI POSSIBLE HALL OF FAMER
On April 1st it was the 20th anniversary of Kulwicki's death in a plane crash. He is so important in the NASCAR history books. The first northerner to win a championship. The first college graduate to not only drive but win a championship. Graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in mechanical engineering. The last owner driver till Tony Stewart came along to win a championship.
He drove the #7 Hooters Ford Thunderbird. Won his first race in 1988 at Phoenix International Speedway. His celebration was what he referred to as The Polish Victory Lap. He drove around the track in the opposite direction.
In 1992 on the last race of the season Kulwicki won the championship over Bill Elliot by 10 points. The closest championship to date. It was also Richard Petty's last Cup race and Jeff Gordon's first Cup race. History in the making all the way around.
On April 1, 1993 on the way back to the Bristol track after a Hooters appearance the small Hooters Corporate plane went down due to ice. All 4 on board were lost. On Saturday Kulwicki's car hauler made it's way slowly around the track in the rain before leaving.
That same year at the season ending race the race winner Rusty Wallace and the 1993 champion Dale Earnhardt Sr placed flags on their cars honoring Alan Kulwicki and Davey Allison ( who died while trying to land his helicopter at Talladega on 7-13-93) as they drove a Polish Victory Lap.
He's not in the HoF yet but he should be in my opinion. He was very important in the NASCAR history books. Even though teams wanted to hire him he insisted on having his own team and driving. It's about time he gets in.
FONTANA RACE RUCKUS UPDATE
So when I gave my dark horse pick as Logano I didn't foresee this coming although a 3rd place is good. Hamlin still says Logano wrecked him on purpose. Logano says if he was trying to do that he would've hit him in the rear quarter panel instead of the door. Hamlin also says Logano better change his driving style because he gets into issues with other drivers a lot. Logano says he's not going to take it from anyone any more.
Stewart defended his anger toward Logano and his blocking. Sighting the blocking he did at Dega and Daytona as different racing due to the package NASCAR gives them to race in. Blocking is a must if you want to jump into a different lane because you can't really get away from the other guys.
So he's right. They drive around doing crazy moves at 200 plus mph trying not to screw up or to get caught up in other drivers screw ups so they can bring it home in one piece and a top 10 finish.
Stewart said they didn't used to block till about 10 years ago. He's not happy with it. He's also right about that too. But I think it's a product of the cars that NASCAR has given them. The drivers can't get away and there are few adjustments to set the cars apart from each other so now they block. So driving styles are changing yet again.
My C listers I chose did way better than they were supposed to. Well 3 did. Mears 15th, Stenhouse Jr 20th, Allmendinger 16th and Reutimann 33rd & minus 8 laps. C listers generally have non power house team equipment to work with so you need to temper you expectations. But on the same token 3 of these guys got 15th thru 20th. Outstanding. The usual is in the 20's or worse.
Everyone else did good except the MWR guys. Martin broke a track bar with 25 to go and Bowyer was in 10th place with 16 to go when his motor went poofffffffffff. Truex got 18th.
Top 12 finishers - Kyle B - Dale Jr - Logano - Edwards - Kurt B - Biffle - Kenseth - Menard - Kahne - Newman - Gordon - Johnson
So it's another short track. You know who's good here? Gordon. You know who still has the whammie on him? Gordon. He's led 1309 laps in 12 races at Martinsville. That includes the 328 he led last year at this race. He was dominant for sure BUT with 4 laps to go there's a caution and a decision. Do we pit or not? Gordon and Johnson opt to not pit. Everyone else does. On the restart it's Gordon and Johnson on the front row on old tires verses the fresh ones behind them. Guess who wins.
It's go time. Newman runs into Bowyer shoving him up beside Gordon. Now they're 3 wide. Doesn't work at Martinsville. Bowyer can't hold the bottom. He's up into Gordon who is up into Johnson. Newman shoots through the spinning cars and goes on to win. Bowyer recovers for a 10th place. Johnson gets 12th and Gordon mmmmmm 14th and minus a lap. So this is where the feud started and Gordon decided that Bowyer was responsible for his bad season. Totally misguided but it's the mind of a racer. What are you going to do?
Top 12 finishers - Newman - Allmendinger - Dale Jr - Kenseth - Truex - Hamlin - Stewart - Almirola - Keselowski - Bowyer - Edwards - Johnson
So now it's time for my picks. Hamlin is good at this track but due to the back issue it's not happening.
Newman is a good pick. He's aggressive and short tracks are his thing.
Dale Jr is stringing together some good consistent runs. A 2nd, 5th, 7th, 6th, and 2nd are some good numbers to have. I say top 5.
Kenseth is a strong pick here. Qualified 8th. Good starting spot.
Johnson has the pole. Always a threat.
Logano is not making friends right now. I'd like to say top 10 but I fear an accident is coming his way. During Saturdays last practice he got into it with Johnson. Logano got rear damage. I'd steer clear of him this week even though he qualified 4th.
Kahne's engine went here last year but he qualified 5th. He's great when he's on but wrecking when he's not. Pick him with caution.
Kurt and Kyle are excellent at Bristol so that short track translates to this one. Choose one or both.
Keselowski was on a top 5 streak till last week ended with a 23rd but not to worry. He's a threat.
Menard is a quiet top 10. I name thee Dark Horse.
Regan Smith is in the #51 this week. Mark Martin in the #11 for the ailing Hamlin and Brian Vickers in the #55 for Martin who was supposed to be on vacation from racing. Vickers is a good bet at this track. I'd pick him. Martin does well here too but qualified bad. Like 35th. Not good at a short track but he is a veteran. Regan qualified 18th. Not bad.
My C listers....Bobby Labonte, Casey Mears, David Ragan, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Labonte, Mears and Ragan would be your best of the 4. Stenhouse is still an unknown in the Cup circuit yet. He did post a 16th at Bristol though.
And Danica? She's starting in the back due to an engine change. TOAST. Extra crispy.
So there's my update. I'm going for breakfast. Wish the temps would bump up just a tad. Have a happy Sunday watching your favorite sports or whatever makes your day. Grab a loved one and give them a hug. Don't forget to check out the sun and....
I'm outta here.......