The time is finally here, my blog finally has a home of its own: troubleinturn2.mikemaruska.com. Stop by and tell me what you think.
A NASCAR blog based on stats and thoughtful opinion.
-A field of current Nextel Cup crew chiefs, plus Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds, will compete in a race prior to the All-Star Challenge. It would be even better if drivers would have to set up the cars for their crew chiefs. Imagine Tony Eury Jr screaming at Dale Earnhardt Jr about how tight his car is, or Jimmie Johnson getting banned from the race for an unapproved modification.What might be even more comical would be a 100m foot race among crew chiefs.
If you are a young hopeful Busch series driver, this is the weekend for you to make some noise. With the Nextel Cup series off, the Nashville race features only seven Cup regulars. Unlike last year, Carl Edwards is the only Buschwhacker with any kind of success at the Cup level. Edwards and Dave Blaney are the only two entrants with a Busch win in the last two years. Only 17 drivers on the entry list have 5 or more starts in 2007. Of the 60 top tens available so far, the Nashville entry list has scored only 16 top tens during the first six races and Edwards has six these. To put it another way, the drivers that have accounted for 73% of the top tens in 2007 are not driving this weekend.12 drivers are age 25 or younger. All of these numbers all say one thing: Opportunity. With all of the talk about how the Busch Series has problems, this weekend is a showcase for young talent.
Timothy Peters-3 Busch starts, 34 Truck starts. Peters gets his third start in the #21 car. It's the same car that won 9 races last year, including Nashville, and has been one of the top Busch programs for the last few years. Peters finished ninth last weekend in the Truck Series race at Martinsville. Peters will also race the ARCA companion race at Nashville.
Kraig Kinser-A regular in the truck series, Kinser gets his first Busch start with Ginn Racing. Kinser, the son of Outlaws legend Steve has one truck top ten in 22 career races. With Sterling Marlin and Mark Martin nearing retirement, Kinser and Regan Smith are the future of Ginn Racing.
Eric Almirola, Brad Coleman-The two young Gibbs development drivers make their 4th and 3rd 2007 Busch starts respectively. Almirola ran a full Truck Series schedule (3 top 10's) in addition to nine Busch races. Coleman is only 19 but has raced stock cars, open wheel cars, late models and sports cars. Both drivers are looking for their first Busch top tens.
Steve Wallace-Growing up as Rusty Wallace's son, Steve has been in the spotlight for several years. It is sometimes easy to forget that he is only 19 and already is running a full Busch season. He has won Late Model and ARCA races and won the pole for the Bristol race two weeks ago.
Scott Wimmer-He spent three seasons at the Cup level wth underfunded Bill Davis Racing and Morgan-McClure. Now he finds himself in a part time ride with Richard Childress. Part time is never as good as fulltime, but at least he is in a car that already has two Busch wins in 2007. Landing with a top Busch team is a great chance for Wimmer to rehabilitate his career and hopefully avoid the driver carousel involved among the underfunded teams.
Todd Kluever-A year ago Kluever was on the fast track to inheriting Mark Martin's #6 Nextel Cup ride. Then he struggled in his first Busch season with only 4 top tens and lots of DNF's (7). He was passed for the Cup ride and is only running a partial Busch schedule. In his second Busch season he is running more consistently with three top 15's in four races. Kluever won the pole at the second Nashville race in 2006, so he could do well this year. His NASCAR future may depend on it.
Danny O’Quinn-The 2006 Busch Rookie of the Year lost his ride with Roush Racing due to sponsorship challenges. O'Quinn is only 22 and deserves another shot in the Busch Series.
Sam hornish Jr-The reigning IRL champ and Indy 500 winner is preparing for a future jump to stock cars with as many Busch starts as he can cram in. His last Busch race at Atlanta saw him finish a respectable 15th. His move to stock cars is inevitable, especiallyif things keep progressing well.
Boris Said-When will an enterprising company or team owner get wise and hire Said for a full-time ride? He is best known for his road course skills, but he does have 93 starts among NASCAR's top three divisions. His best speedway finish last year was a 14th at Kentucky. Plus no one is a more entertaining interview.
Stephen Leicht-At one point in 2006 Leicht was close to landing one of Robert Yates' Cup rides. Luckily he wasn't thrown to the wolves and was able to learn at the Busch level. Leicht is only 19 years old and is still learning about stock car racing and Yates is still trying to rebuild both the Cup and Busch teams. He did win the ARCA race at Nashville last spring so he is talented.
While all of these drivers will have reasons to run well, the unquestioned favorite is Edwards. JJ Yeley is still looking for his first NASCAR win, but does not have as reliable car as several other drivers in the race. With so many young drivers and the lack of Cup drivers will make for an interesting race.
Labels: Busch Series
After a good race with an exciting finish and during a week with testing, who would have thought the biggest story would center on foam? Complaints about the handling of the CoT don’t matter as much when there are still serious safety concerns.
The foam manufacturer Dow says the burning foam is not toxic. Technically that could be true., but smoke still isn’t good for you. Aside from possibly a candle I can’t think of anything involving smoke, especially in a confined space, that is considered harmless. By the way, I would love to see an in-car camera showing Kevin Harvick with a lilac blossom candle with a Shell logo on it.
Elsewhere, Kenny Wallace had the fastest lap during
Sorry for the short post today. I have some other things to take care of, which I guess includes my paid job. I’ll be back tomorrow with a preview of this weekend’s Busch race at
-After spending two weeks cooped up in front of a TV, Mark Martin nearly explodes. In a Clark Kent-like move, he rips off his shirt to reveal his firesuit and immediately heads to the track. He will enter this weekend's Busch and ARCA races at Nashville, the F1 race in Malaysia, three local late model races and announce plans to run the full Cup schedule through 2010.
-”Hi, Chip? It's Casey, I was wondering...is the 42 still avail...? It's not. Okay, well thanks anyway.”
-Due to a Rick Hendrick imposed golfing ban, Jimmie Johnson stays at home and plays FreeCell all week. What else is he going to do, wind his grandfather clock or figure out which track is his weakness?
-Bob Dillner reports that the reason Kevin Harvick's door caught fire was because of laser-cut holes in the exhaust. He also reports the reason why Toyotas are struggling so far is that they are slower than the other cars.
-Jeff Gordon will be doing anything but going to Wrigley Stadium.
-In response to the Gillette Young Guns, DEI drivers shoot a public service announcement for goatees.
Martin Truex Jr: "Your friends might think it's cool to play with razors."
-After seeing Matt Kenseth's success after Robby Reiser's suspension, Greg Biffle meets with crew chief Pat Tryson to invent a way for NASCAR to penalize the team. Obviously having a car that was too low didn't work, so that means working harder on the off-weeks to get caught.
-ISC begins throwing darts at a map of North America to find the next region to propose a failed track site. Living in the Northwest I would personally love a racetrack near Seattle or Portland. The problem is that ISC wants the public to help fund it, but not share in the profits. Yes some of the lawmakers in Washington didn't exactly have open minds about the proposal, but ISC also didn't seem very willing to compromise either. On a racing note, the plan called for a 1.3 mile track. Unless it was a replica of Darlington that would not have been a popular length (and some would probably not agree with having a Darlington clone instead of a second race at the real deal either). In a perfect world any new track at the Cup level would be no longer than a mile long.
-Sadly, Red Bull will spend it mourning the senseless loss of a team member.
Torqued Off Tuesday:
-Hendrick Hating. I am far from a fan of Hendrick's drivers. And there have been times when it seems like NASCAR lets the organization off the hook with minor penalties for larger infractions. That still shouldn't take away from how well they are performing right now. Many NASCAR fans are saying they are sick of Hendrick cars dominating or even implying that there is a fix with NASCAR. One, there is no way possible that NASCAR can be fixed. There are plenty of questionable practices in NASCAR, but fixing a race is simply not one of them. Two, Hendrick is dominating because they have great crews and engineers that spend all year working on building great cars. They have the past, present and future Cup Champions as their top three drivers. Roush Racing was similarly dominant in 2005. Things are cyclical in NASCAR and right now Hendrick cars are the class of the field. The 48 and 24 put on a pretty good finish at Martinsville. As a racing fan it was an exciting finish no matter what team the two drivers come from. Cheer hard for your team and driver, but also step back and marvel at what Hendrick has done.
-Billy Packer. Watching a the National Championship game, it's hard to tell if he enjoys college basketball. At times it seems like he relishes cutting down teams and players. He picks two or three key points in the first five minutes of the game and then hammers these points for the final 35 minutes. There were times when Jim Nantz tried to correct him or spin something positive and Packer would grumpily interrupt to disagree. I don't care if he has called every title game for 33 years, CBS needs to find someone (not Dick Vitale) who at least conveys passion and excitement while informing the audience. With Packer all we get is an attitude of someone who apparently has somewhere better to be.
-The corporate team line from Jeff Gordon wasn't very believable. He didn't win the race and he is initially upset
-Last fall David Ragan was everywhere at
-Ken Schrader qualified 4th and then dropped like a rock. It was never really explained why. He settled in and ran the rest of the day on the lead lap before finishing 19th. The finish also moves the #21 car within 11 points of 35th place.
-People make too big of a deal about Practice times. Martin Truex Jr. was great in all three practices, while Jimmie Johnson was last in one practice session. It gives some indicator of how good cars are, but a lot of the time it doesn't show the whole story. Truex struggled all day before suffering mechanical problems and Johnson won.
-Rain delays are usually a big drain of excitement
-Is anyone else bothered the Fox graphic that turns yellow when a pit reporter is talking? Most NASCAR fans can tell the difference between Dick Bergerren
-When Kevin Harvick's car door caught fire Darrell Waltrip immediately claimed NASCAR said it was impossible. He later revised his statement
Next race is at
Neither of these finishes could happen at most tracks. The speeds are too fast and it’s too hard to overcome three laps or major body damage. Some might complain that
-Fox is televising the Craftsman Truck Series event at
-The only Martin to win at
-Richard Petty has won the most grandfather clocks with 15. Darrell Waltrip has 11 wins. The only active driver with more than two is Jeff Gordon (7).
-Hendrick Motorsports has won six of the last eight races at
-This week is the CoT is again the focus. Expect the usual teams and drivers to be at the front: Tony Stewart
-My other predictions are
10. The Ladder of Tomorrow was an unapproved modification, so the 16 team lowered the car.
9. Mike Helton was promised a spot on
8. Nicole Lunders threatened Brian France with an Aquafina bottle unless he waved the penalty.
7. No jetfuel, no foul.
6. Mark Martin was a week early with an April Fools gag.
5. Biffle brought party Subs to the NASCAR hauler and also offered free tax service from Jackson Hewitt.
4. Jim Hunter didn’t think anyone in Nextel Cup would cheat on purpose.
3. Instead of a points or monetary penalty, Biffle will now have to drive the Car of Tomorrow at
2. Somehow it was Hendrick Motorsports’ fault.
1. The Fusion low-rider was Ford’s answer to the Chevy Impala commercials with Dale Jr and rapper T.I. Holla!