Tag Archives: NASCAR

Why I Like NASCAR

NASCARI know there’s a lot of you out there that do not get NASCAR. At best you might think it a bit juvenile, at worst, stupid. Many of you buy into the stereotypical portrait of the  NASCAR fan.

Yes, I am from the south.

Yes, I eat fried chicken.

Yes, I spend Sundays watching races.

I gave up beer. It wasn’t agreeing with my waistline and pocketbook. (My lawyer seemed to think it would be a good idea too.)

I don’t smoke cigarettes and my cell phone carrier is not Sprint.

Perhaps in the early days of the sport it was primarily a southern affair with most of the races on tracks in the deep south. The drivers came from places like Hueytown, Alabama, and Level Cross,  North  Carolina – Timmonsville and Florence, South Carolina.

These days you’ll find more drivers from California than the Carolinas. (Driver Hometowns) More out west than down south. It’s no longer the domain of the southerner, it’s the sport of the masses. You’ll find race fans from coast to coast, border to border, and beyond. When I watch races on a pirated internet stream, I’m amazed at how many viewers are there from Europe and the far east.

The fact of the matter is there is no such thing as a typical NASCAR fan anymore. We are young and old, rich and poor, male and female; we come from all walks of life around the globe.

Yes, NASCAR is main stream and I like it. So back to what this blog is all about today – why I like it.

I like it for the cars, the drivers, the teams, the speed, the competition, the danger, the swagger, the sunglasses, the tee-shirts, the asphalt, the girls, the pit stops, the National Anthem before the race, (catching breath) the food, the statistics, Darrell Waltrip, the burn-outs on the victory lap, Daytona, Talladega, the fans, and a whole list of things stuck somewhere between my brain and the keyboard.

I love everything about it. I love writing about it and it’s not even about anybody reading it. That’s not the point.

Writing about something you love is good therapy. You oughta try it sometime. 🙂

 

 

Acceleration Weekend

[box type=”info”] Article first published as Acceleration Weekend on Technorati.[/box]

Acceleration weekendCHARLOTTE — NASCAR gathers at the Hall of Fame Friday evening to induct five men who helped shape the history of NASCAR – Richie Evans, Dale Inman, Darrell Waltrip, Glen Wood, and Cale Yarborough. From Daytona to Talladega, Watkins Glen to Riverside, in the pits and on the tracks the legacy of the sport comes to life at the Hall of Fame.

Saturday at the Hall of Fame kicks off with an early breakfast hosted by Hall of Famer Junior Johnson, followed by tours led by many legends of NASCAR. The afternoon includes a presentation by Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty as they recall November 15, 1992, and what many believe is the greatest race of all time. (I was there. It has my vote.) This was the last stop on the Richard Petty retirement tour and as a bonus the championship race was red hot. Davey Allison, Bill Elliott or Alan Kulwicki all had a shot at the trophy.

Elliott won the race but Kulwicki grabbed the title by the closest margin in Cup history. (That is until the tie of last season.)

NASCAR Hall of Fame caps the day as exhibits come to life through the stars that made them famous. Legends of the sport, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Ned Jarrett, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond, Junior Johnson, Tom Higgins, Dale Inman, Glen Wood, Leonard Wood and Bud Moore, all sign in for a intimate evening of storytelling, fan question and answer sessions with exclusive up close and personal insights into the legends behind the exhibits.

The inductees for the Class of 2012:

RICHIE EVANS – Driver (b. 7-23-41 – d. 10-24-85)
Hometown: Rome, N.Y.
Competed: 1973-85
Starts: 1,300 (estimated)
Wins: 475 (estimated)

The recognized “king” of Modified racing, Evans captured nine NASCAR Modified titles in a 13-year span, including eight in a row from 1978-85.

In the first year of the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour format in 1985, Evans won 12 races, including a sweep of all four events at Thompson, Conn.

Evans ranked No. 1 in the 2003 voting of the “NASCAR All-Time Modified Top 10 Drivers,” and he was named one of NASCAR’s “50 Greatest Drivers” in 1998.

 

DALE INMAN – Crew Chief (b. 7-19-1936)
Hometown: Level Cross, North Carolina
Competed: 1958-92
Wins: 193
Poles: 129

Behind every legendary driver, there is usually a legendary wrenchman.

That was Dale Inman, without whom Richard Petty might never have been The King.

Inman, Petty’s crew chief at Petty Enterprises for nearly three decades, set records for most wins (193) and championships (eight) by a crew chief.

Inman won seven of those championships with inaugural Hall Of Fame Inductee Petty (1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, and 1979), and another one in 1984 with Terry Labonte.

Credited with revolutionizing the crew chief position, Inman’s standout year was 1967. That season, Inman and Petty won a NASCAR-record 27 races – 10 of them consecutively. All 27 victories were in the same car they built a year earlier.

Inman retired from NASCAR in 1998, and in 2008, helped unveil the first artifact at the NASCAR Hall of Fame – the Plymouth Belvedere that Petty drove to 27 wins in 1967.

 

DARRELL WALTRIP – Driver (b. 2-5-47)
Hometown: Owensboro, Ky.
Competed: 1972-2000
Starts: 809
Wins: 84
Poles: 59

A three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion (1981-82, ’85), Waltrip won all three with legendary driver/owner Junior Johnson. Waltrip is tied with Bobby Allison for third all-time in series victories with 84. His 59 poles rank fifth all-time in NASCAR Sprint Cup history. He competed from 1972-2000, another highlight being his 1989 Daytona 500 victory in a Rick Hendrick-owned Chevrolet.

Waltrip’s first series title came in 1981, when he finished with 12 wins and 21 top fives in 31 races. He won the title by 53 points over Bobby Allison. In his second championship season, 1982, he finished with 12 wins and 20 top 10s in 30 races, sweeping both races at four tracks (Nashville, Bristol, Talladega and North Wilkesboro). In his third championship season, 1985, Waltrip finished with three wins and 21 top 10s in 28 races.

Waltrip and his wife, Stevie, reside in Franklin, Tenn. He was nicknamed “Jaws” during his career because of an outspoken demeanor. He currently is a commentator on FOX’s NASCAR broadcasts. He was named one of NASCAR’s “50 Greatest Drivers” in 1998.

 

GLEN WOOD – Driver/Owner (b. 7-18-25)
Hometown: Stuart, Va.
Competed: 1953-64
Starts: 62
Wins: 4
Poles: 14

Glen Wood laid the foundation for the famed Wood Brothers racing team as a driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Competing on a semi-regular basis, mostly at tracks close to his southern Virginia home, Wood won four times – all at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. His best season was 1960 during which Wood won three times and posted six top-five and seven top-10 finishes in just nine races. He also won 14 poles during a 62-race career.

Wood, of course, is best known for his collaboration with brothers Leonard and Delano in Wood Brothers Racing. The Stuart, Va.-based team, which dates to 1950 and remains active, has amassed 97 victories in 1,353 races. The team’s all-time roster of drivers is a virtual who’s who of NASCAR and includes David Pearson, Curtis Turner, Marvin Panch, Fireball Roberts, Dan Gurney, Tiny Lund, Parnelli Jones, Junior Johnson, Cale Yarborough, Fred Lorenzen and Bill Elliott.

The Wood Brothers have excelled outside the NASCAR world as well, winning the 1965 Indianapolis 500 with Jim Clark.

 

CALE YARBOROUGH – Driver (b. 3-27-39)
Hometown: Timmonsville, S.C.
Competed: 1957-88
Starts: 562
Wins: 83
Poles: 69

As competitive as the sport has always been, NASCAR has had very few dynasties. Cale Yarborough’s reign in the late 1970s, though, was one of them.

His string of three consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championships from 1976-78 was unprecedented – and unmatched until 2008, when Jimmie Johnson was crowned champion for the third straight year. Johnson won a fourth consecutive title in 2009.

During his three-year dominance, Yarborough won 28 races – nine in 1976, nine in ’77 and 10 in ’78. His final championship points margin in those three years was never fewer than 195 points and was as much as 474 in 1978.

Those three years made Yarborough’s career, but he enjoyed success before and after. The fiery competitor was the series championship runner-up in 1973 and ’74 and again in 1980.

Yarborough totaled 83 victories in his 31-year career, ranks sixth all-time. His 69 poles rank third all-time. And he won the Daytona 500 four times (1968, ’77, ’83-84), a mark that ranks second only to Richard Petty’s seven.

 

Source: NASCAR Hall of Fame

Sprint Cup Champion – Tony Stewart

Article first published as Sprint Cup Champion – Tony Stewart on Technorati.

MIAMI — There are race car drivers. And then there is Tony Stewart. Through the ten-race Sprint Cup Chase to the championship, Stewart carved in the exclamation point by seizing a hard fought win in South Florida. Despite an early mechanical issue that dropped Stewart to the rear of the field, driver and team rose to the occasion, cruised through the field and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Carl Edwards finished a disappointing second.

The last Sunday of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season started out like almost any other with a couple of exceptions. Every eye was focused on Edwards and challenger Stewart, just three points behind in the Chase. And there is no next week. It all came down to this.

Carl Edwards was fast in practice and fastest in qualifying. The race started with Edwards on the pole driving with the confidence of the next champion. Stewart started from the 15th spot.

Edwards wasted no time making a statement and led the first few laps until an early caution for rain came out on lap 13. Stewart by then had moved his way up to 9th.

On lap 18 Stewart brought the Office Depot Chevy to the pit with damage to the front air intake. Crew members worked diligently for a couple of laps bringing their driver in and out of the pit to maintain his position on the lead lap. After repairs Stewart was almost dead-last on the field in the 40th position.

Over the next several laps, as front-runner Carl Edwards continued his domination, Tony Stewart continued to claw his way back toward the front.

On lap 110 a hard rain moved across the speedway bringing out a red flag. The race cars pulled into the pits and drivers exited their race cars to wait out the rain. Stewart had worked his way back to 5th.

A little more than an hour later, with nightfall imminent and track lighting ignited, NASCAR lifted the red flag and sent the competitors back onto the raceway. They ran seven laps under yellow before taking the green on lap 110.

Tony Stewart took the lead on lap 123 and stayed there until a caution for a Trevor Bayne brush with the wall. A slight bobble on Stewart’s pit stop relegated the Office Depot Chevy back to 8th. Carl Edwards restarted in 3rd.

It only took Stewart a half dozen laps to come back and retake the lead but the driver continued to have problems on pit road. On a lap 153 caution for a backstretch altercation between Landon Cassill, Cole Whitt, and Trevor Bayne, Stewart again lost several positions for a mechanical problem in his pit. On the lap 161 restart it was Carl Edwards in 4th and Tony Stewart in 10th.

On lap 201 with Stewart and Edwards running nose-to-tail, Edwards pitted and Stewart stayed out. It was a major gamble for the Office Depot driver as his crew chief, Darrian Grubb, rolled the dice on a fuel mileage strategy, hoping to stretch the fuel to a point where they could finish the race with no more pit stops.

On fumes Stewart took to the pits on lap 212. Just a lap later NASCAR waved the caution flag for rain on the track. This allowed the leaders, including Carl Edwards to come in to pit. With each yellow flag lap the fuels savings were multiplying for both Edwards and Stewart.

At the restart on lap 231 (of 267) Stewart was in 3rd and Edwards in 6th. With the fresher tires, Stewart quickly got around leader Kyle Busch and 2nd place Brad Keselowski.

On lap 236 Edwards charged past the 2nd and 3rd places cars to take second behind leader Tony Stewart.

It’s fitting that the last laps came down to a head-to-head of the race between the two championship contenders. Tony Stewart did exactly what he had to do. He had to win to win. At the end of the race the competitors were tied in points. The tie-breaker went to Stewart on the number of victories over the season.

Martin Truex Jr. followed Edwards to take 3rd, Matt Kenseth 4th, and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top 5. Clint Bowyer took 6th, Kasey Kahne 7th, followed by Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Jeff Burton.

For winning the 2011 Sprint Cup Championship, Tony Stewart took home a check from the series sponsor for over $5.6 million dollars. Stewart also becomes the first driver-owner to win the championship since 1992 when Alan Kulwicki brought home the title. Through the course of Sunday night’s race, Tony Stewart passed 118 cars. It is the first time since 1975 that a driver has come from behind in points to win the championship by winning the final race of the season. NASCAR implemented the points system in 1975.

The NASCAR season is done. Racing returns in February for the Shootout in Daytona on February 18, 2012.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ME_hWTYwHk]

Clint Bowyer Wins ‘Dega

Article first published as Clint Bowyer Wins ‘Dega on Technorati.


In a day that saw championship hopes crumple faster than a fender in the turn three wall, Clint Bowyer and teammate Jeff Burton ran up front all day long. In sight of the checkered flag, Bowyer put the old shake-n-bake slingshot move around Burton and they drag raced through the tri-oval. Bowyer edged Burton at the line. With four more races left with Richard Childress Racing, Clint Bowyer isn’t burning any bridges. He’s polishing that sucker on the way out.

Chase contenders Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick took their lumps earlier in the race. On lap 104,  A.J. Almendinger spun in the middle of the pack causing a big wreck and brought out the fourth caution. With nowhere to go, Harvick took a big hit to his race-car and championship hopes at the same time. He finished in 32nd, 13 laps down.

On lap 174 Kurt Busch played the “wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time” game and collided into the back of Bobbie Labonte’s racecar as it was spinning on the backstretch. The damage relegated the Pennzoil team to the garage and ended their day nine laps down to finish 36th.

A late race caution came out when Mark Martin got loose and sent Regan Smith hard into the outside wall. The stage was set for a showdown between the front runners. On the restart with three laps left, it was Jeff Burton in the lead followed closely by Clint Bowyer and a host of win-hungry drivers looking to get past the Childress cars. But it wasn’t to be.

Burton and Bowyer pulled away on the white flag lap and never looked back. At the finish line it was Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Dave Blaney taking 3rd for his career best finish. Brad Keselowski 4th, and Brian Vickers rounding out the top five. Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Michael Waltrip, and Martin Truex Jr. make up the balance of the top ten.

Points leader Carl Edwards played a safe strategy in Sunday’s race and drove near the rear of the pack until late race when he made a charge with teammate Greg Biffle pushing him towards the front. Edwards finished 11th.

In the post-race press conference, Richard Childress, the winningest owner at Talladega, took a bit of a verbal jab at Edwards when he said, “We don’t get paid to ride in the back.”

Sprint Cup Standings 

The show moves to the southern hills of Virginia to the little track at Martinsville for next weeks running of the TUMS Fast Relief 500.

Racing from Martinsville begins Sunday the 30th at 2:00 pm EST on ESPN.

Chase Spots Shuffle as Kenseth Takes Charlotte

Article first published as Chase Spots Shuffle as Kenseth Takes Charlotte on Technorati.

Matt Kenseth flexed his muscles at Charlotte Motor Speedway to drive around leader Kyle Busch at lap 310 and put the Crown Royal car in victory lane.

Kenseth was slowly pulling away from Busch until lap 315 when Jimmie Johnson lost control of the Lowe's Chevrolet and slammed into the turn two wall, destroying the front end and bringing his night to an early end. The mishap relegated Johnson to a 34th spot finish and dropped him five positions in the standings, the biggest fall of all Chasers

Kenseth lead the field to the green flag restart on lap 323 and never looked back. It was his third win of the season and moved him up two notches to third in the Chase.

At the finish line it was Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch in second, Carl Edwards third, Kasey Kahne fourth, and the Australian, Marcos Ambrose, a solid fifth. Kevin Harvick, A.J. Allmendinger, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman round out the top ten.

Johnson's 34th was the worst finish of all Chase contenders. Jeff Gordon finished 21st, Dale Jr. 19th, Brad Keselowski 16th, and Kurt Busch 13th. 

Sprint Cup Standings

 

Good Sam ClubNASCAR moves the show to the high banks of Talladega for the Good Sam Club 500 next Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm EST on ESPN.

NASCAR Math: 8 Drivers, 20 Points, 1 Trophy = High Drama

Article first published as NASCAR Math: 8 Drivers, 20 Points, 1 Trophy = High Drama on Technorati.

I hate math. These days you almost need a degree in quantum physics to calculate probabilites, statistics, point differentials and scenarios inNASCAR. For instance do you remember ratios? To compare this season, using a brand new points system to seasons past, you have to look at rations.

The top-eight drivers are separated by only 20 points. With NASCAR’s simpler point-per-position format, what does that mean, exactly? Here’s one way look at it: What used to be a 25 point penalty is now six tiny little points.

So, put on your algebra hat and work the ratio:
If 6 is to 25, then 20 (points from first to eighth ) is to X?
I think you will find that X = 83.3.

That little calculation told us that this years 20 point separation from first to eighth would be 83 points in years past. Looking back, the fewest points separating first and eighth after the first four Chase races was 116 points in 2005. That makes this race season the tightest ever this deep into the season.

The drivers involved in this high octane affair and all the dynamics of competition makes this seasons chase one of the most drama filled title fights in NASCAR history. In one corner you’ve got Jimmie Johnson running for his sixth straight Sprint Cup. At Kansas Speedway last week, Johnson won his 20th career Chase race. He is the only driver to have won at least one race in all eight editions of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Don’t count on him slowing down. After a runner-up finish at Dover two weeks ago and the win at Kansas, a similar outcome seems likely at Charlotte on Saturday night. Johnson boasts six wins there which ties him for most all-time with NASCAR Hall of FamerBobby Allison and Hall of Fame inducteeDarrell Waltrip.

Then around the other corners you have title contender Carl Edwards, who nabbed the points lead with an unlikely fifth-place finish at Kansas. He now holds a slim one-point lead over Kevin Harvick who is looking for the Charlotte sweep. Harvick won the Coca-Cola 600 in May.

There are also three past champions within striking distance. Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth have all hoisted the Sprint Cup.

You can’t count out Chase rookie Brad Keselowski in the fourth spot trailing Edwards by only 11 points. And then there’s Kyle Busch, a threat to win anytime he rolls out on a speedway. You can bet with six Chase races remaining, Kyle Busch, sitting in the eight spot, is not going to just lie down. He’s going to cinch up the gloves and get at it.

This is like a David and Goliath whodunit where all the players are the big guy.

Jimmie Johnson Gets it Done at Kansas

Article first published as Jimmie Johnson Gets it done at Kansas on Technorati.


Jimmie Johnson continues to elevate his by winning Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. It was a dominating performance as Johnson led for 197 of the 272 laps.

Teammate Jeff Gordon struggled in the late stages of the race and was responsible for a caution with three laps remaining to bring out the last caution of the day and setting up a Green-White-Checkered finish.

Red Bull driver, Kasey Kahne, not in the Chase and getting ready to be Jimmie Johnson’s teammate next season was closing in on Johnson when the caution came out.

On the restart, Kahne spun his tires giving Johnson an advantage at the line. Kahne never seriously challenged the #48 car for the lead. Kahne took 2nd place behind winner Jimmie Johnson.

Brad Keselowski brought it home third, Matt Kenseth in fourth and Championship contender Carl Edwards cracks the top five. Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Marcos Ambrose and Mark Martin round out the top ten.

Championship Standings after Kansas

Chase Standings

Bank of America 500NASCAR takes the show back to Charlotte next week for the running of the Bank of America 500 and the 5th stop on the road to the Championship.

Race is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. on ABC. (October 15)

Kurt K.O.’s the Monster Mile

Article first published as Kurt K.O.’s the Monster Mile on Technorati.

Kurt Busch Wins Dover

The Monster Mile at Dover can be a mean mistreater. It can chew up a race car, driver and all, and spew out parts for the clean up crew.

Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway was a typical day on one of NASCAR’s few concrete tracks. Fast cars, crumpled fenders, temper’s flaring and a come-back win.

Kurt Busch gave a nod of appreciation to Jimmie Johnson for a late race pit stop mistake that handed the lead to Busch who took it and stayed there for the last 42 laps.

“It was just perfect execution today, with pit stops and with making the car better during the race,” Busch said. “I couldn’t be happier right now. To win a Sprint Cup race in the Chase, this is what it’s all about. This is the playoffs.

“We had everything go wrong for us last week. We had everything go right for us this week. We just need nice smooth races from here.”

After a disappointing 22nd place finish last week at Loudon, this win could swing Chase momentum his way.

And while KB was fist-pounding and high-fiving in Victory Lane, 2nd and 3rd place finishers, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards  were bemoaning their mistakes and wondering what could have been.

“I did a really good job, up until those last two [restarts],” Johnson said. “I have to say, when you’re the leader, you have a small advantage, because you go when you want. I blew it by spinning the tires. Kurt got a good launch, and we were door to door going into [Turn] 1, and he was able to get by on the outside.

“And then the next one, I was going to try to do that same thing back to him, and I was just trying to time it when he was going to accelerate. And I didn’t time it right. And I had too big of a gap, and fell in behind him going into Turn 1. I put it on me, because the starts I had earlier in the day, regardless of the lane, leading or not — I cleared them typically going into 1 so, it’s on me.”

Carl Edwards speeding penalty on pit road was a serious source of frustration for the Aflac team.

“It was a great day, other than that feeling I had when I ruined it there on pit road,” Edwards said. “That’s about as small as you can feel in a race car. We talked about it before the race. We looked at the pit-road speeding lines and that last line. Bob and I actually discussed the last section. It’s 25 feet, 8 inches long, and we talked about that run and how I was not going to speed through it, and I just blasted right through it.”

Kasey Kahne had a good day coming in 4th followed by Matt Kenseth in Fifth. Kyle BuschA.J. AllmendingerClint BowyerMarcos Ambrose, and Kevin Harvick round out the top ten.

Points leader Tony Stewart struggled on the Dover concrete and went down two laps to finish 25th. Dale Earnhardt Jr. also had a rough outing just ahead of Stewart’s 14 car, also finishing two laps down.

Sprint Cup Chase Standings

Hollywood Casino 400Kansas Speedway is the next stop on the Chase for the Hollywood Casino 400 next Sunday on ESPN. (2:00 pm Eastern)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utZXvCW2GE4&w=560&h=315]

Gordon Spoils Million Dollar Day

Article first published as Gordon Spoils Million Dollar Day on Technorati.


HAMPTON, GA – On a rare Tuesday NASCAR race, Jeff Gordon took home the 85th victory of his Sprint Cup career moving him out of a tie with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip to third all time behind Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105).

Gordon’s win stole the thunder from one of four lucky NASCAR fans sitting on the sidelines with a chance at a Million Dollar payday. With a throwback to the old  “Winston Million” days, the series sponsor Sprint put their money where their cell phone is. Four drivers were qualified (Kyle Busch, Marcos Ambrose, Paul Menard and Brad Keselowski), four fans were selected, each  a shot at a million dollar check from Sprint if their driver won today.

Jeff Gordon was not one of the four and as the winner was accepting his trophy in victory lane an armored car was seen leaving the raceway turning the money bags to the vault.

Jeff Gordon celebrates victory with a finish line burnout.

In a tough day at a slick Atlanta Motor Speedway that saw race cars sliding sideways through the turns, Gordon started the day strong and after a mid-race red flag for rain, came back strong. In the final laps Jimmie Johnson tried every wrench in his drivers toolbox to get past the #24 Chevrolet, but with little to no grip remaining on his Goodyear race tires, the five-time champion had to settle for second.

Tony Stewart passed several cars on the last lap to bring home third, Kurt Busch took 4th and championship contender Carl Edwards rounded out the top five.

The hottest  driver over the last four races, Brad Keselowski, came in sixth, followed by Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and A.J. Allmendinger slipped in with a tenth place finish.

With one race left to lock in a position for the ten race Chase, driver’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart, sitting in ninth and tenth, could potentially be bumped out of the Chase with a bad performance next week at Richmond.

To qualify for one of the two wild card spots drivers must be between positions 11 and 20 with one or more victories. Keselowski is assured at least one of the wild-cards sitting in 11th with three victories. Mathematically, Earnhardt and Stewart only need to finish 20th and 18th respectively to secure their spot in the Chase.

So the season comes down to the little track in Richmond. Clint Bowyer and David Ragan fall into the “Must Win” category to even have a shot. It’s a common mindset among other drivers. Paul Menard, Marcos Ambrose and Denny Hamlin could slip into the Chase with a Richmond victor, bringing their season victories to two.

 

September 10 @ 7:30 pm EST

TV:  ABC

Richmond International
Raceway

Keselowski Beats Bristol

Article first published as Keselowski Beats Bristol on Technorati.


Brad Keselowski may very well be the hottest driver in NASCAR right now. Just four races ago the young driver had only managed to average a 23rd place finish through 20 races and at 21st in points not on anyone’s radar.

And then he broke his ankle in a practice crash at Road Atlanta. Since then Keselowski has finished first at Pocono, second at Watkins Glen, third at Michigan and then the big win last night at Bristol.

Now he sits in the 11th position a serious threat for the Championship. His three victories all but ensures him a spot in the Chase, but with two races remaining and the mother of all hot streaks going, Keselowski is positioned to knock someone out of a guaranteed top ten spot. Without a win Tony Stewart or Dale Earnhardt Jr. would not be qualifed for one of the wild-card spots.

With 80 laps remaining in last night’s Irwin Tools 500, Keselowski took the lead and never looked back. “Wow — the night race at Bristol!” Keselowski gushed in the victory lane interview. “I used to watch Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt win this race. This is a race of champions. I can’t believe it. There’s races that pay more. There’s races that might have a little more prestige, but this is the coolest damn one of them all.”

Martin Truex Jr. ran second, followed by Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray. Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, pole-sitter Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose filled out the top 10.

Kyle Busch hit the wall on the wall on lap 418 and fell out of contention for his Bristol sweep. Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 16th but holds on to his 9th spot in the standings.

Compared to many of Bristol’s past crash fests this race went fast with only six cautions for 42 laps. The average speed was 96.753 mph and it took two hours-45 minutes to run the race.

For a full rundown of the point standings go to NASCAR Standings.

NASCAR heads to Atlanta for next week’s AdvoCare 500.