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NASCAR Discussion
Harvick is with Stewart-Haas now. Think this is his 5th season with them. Was dominant in his first 2 years with them, won the Championship in 2014, probably should've won it in 2015 too.

And yup, Harvick was a little miffed about the penalty. They had a side skirt issue too, something about how the brace was made of steel instead of aluminum or something like that. Accepted that penalty, but the back window bracing that failed and allowed the window to move like it did, isn't even mandatory to have any bracing, so didn't understand that. That's what I got out of his comments anyways.
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Hendrick Motorsports announced the #48 car of Jimmie Johnson will have a new primary sponsor next year. Lowe's is leaving the team.

Pretty big blow to Hendrick. Only FedEx and Mars Inc. rival the sponsorship dollars Lowe's has committed for that period of time right now.

Johnson just signed an extension this winter too, under contract until 2020. Might be hard to attract sponsorship for a driver near the end of his career. Just look at what happened to Matt Kenseth.
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Last years champ Martin Truex Jr. won the race last week at Auto Club (Fontana), and was quickest in 1st practice today at Martinsville.

Martinsville is my favourite track, been there 4 times, fantastic racing.
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Clint Bowyer wins a snow delayed Martinsville race. Took the lead with 216 to go, and led all but 1 lap from then on. He's run well there for awhile but never brought it home. Breaks a 190 race winless streak as well. Very popular win in the garage area. His 9th career Cup win.

Kyle Busch finishes 2nd for the 43rd time in his career. He also has 43 Cup wins.

Ford has won 4 of 6 races so far this year. Seem to be showing power they haven't for 20 years.
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Kyle Busch won over a hard charging Harvick at the end, last weekend at Texas. Looked like another lap and Harvick would've been on his "bumper".

This weekend they are at Bristol. Sounds like they are going to add a substance to the track to add grip and try to create a 2nd groove.

Through 7 races these are the guys who would make the Chase currently

Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch
Martin Truex Jr.
Clint Bowyer
Austin Dillon
Joey Logano
Ryan Blaney
Brad Keselowski
Kurt Busch
Denny Hamlin
Kyle Larson
Erik Jones
Aric Almirola
Alex Bowman
Chase Elliott
Paul Menard

7 time series champ Jimmie Johnson is down in 21st right now. I don't think he's ever been outside the Top 20 this "late" in the season before. He's the defending race winner this weekend (was last weekend too, finished 35th after getting caught in a wreck just past the halfway point of the race) so he should be competitive this weekend.
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Kyle Busch wins his 2nd in a row, after the race was rained out after 204 laps on Sunday, they ran the remainder on Monday. Passed Kyle Larson with less than 30 to go I believe. Larson finished 2nd and led the most laps with 200.

Jimmie Johnson had his best run of the season, finishing 3rd, Alex Bowman(who replaced Dale Jr.) grabs his first career Top 5 with a 5th place finish.

Canadian D.J. Kennington, running a Humboldt Broncos logo on his hood, finished 27th after getting involved in a early wreck Sunday.

Ford has announced this week, they are switching body styles, and will run a Mustang body starting in 2019, from the Fusion they currently run. Chevrolet started running the Camaro this season.
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Saturday night racing at Richmond is awesome. Been there twice myself. Kyle Busch won last night for his 3rd straight win. Seems to be the year of the number 3. Of the winners in the 9 races so far, Harvick (who replaced Dale Sr.) and Busch both win 3 straight, Austin Dillon wins Daytona in the 3 car (first guy to run the 3 car in Cup since Sr. died), Truex Jr. wins (who drove for Sr.'s team DEI), and Bowyer wins (who drove for most of his career for the team Sr. drove for, RCR).

Busch's pit crew, and his restart ability won him the race. He wasn't higher than 4th-6th almost the entire race. Near the end, caution came out, he went from 3rd to 1st, and never gave the lead up. Logano actually won the first 2 stages, and Truex Jr. led the most laps. Kurt Busch, and Bowyer actually led more laps than Kyle did as well.

At some point someone else will post in this thread lol. This race was one of the most exciting of the year IMO. At times the Top 4 were almost bumper to bumper. Almirola seemed to be really good at the end of long runs, was 2nd and 3rd at the end of the first 2 stages, but fell back to finish 17th. Track changes with the sun going down, and a bunch of cautions, didn't agree with his car. His racing with Logano, Kurt Busch, and Bowyer in the first half of the race was great though!
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Joey Logano wins at Talladega, his 1st win of the season. Logano led the most laps (70 out of 188) and led the final 42. 25 lead changes among 16 drivers. A couple wrecks, but not the typical Talladega race I would say. 26 out of 40 cars running at the finish, 22 on the lead lap.

Canadian D.J. Kennington finished 20th, which is a career best finish for him. He's on a severely underfunded team, that only runs select races, a Top 20 finish is big for them.

Logano's teammate Brad Keselowski won Stage 1, and Wood Brothers driver Paul Menard had his 1st stage win of his career in Stage 2.

Kurt Busch finished 2nd to Logano, and is now 0 for 35 at Talladega. David Ragan who runs the full schedule on an under funded team, finished 6th, which is his best finish in quite some time.
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Kevin Harvick wins at Dover, his 4th win of the season already. Led 201 of 400 laps. Race was red flagged for rain for about 40 minutes with 80 laps or so to go and Clint Bowyer in the lead, but his rain dance wasn't enough. Harvick won the first 2 stages as well.

For the first time since Atlanta in March 2017, a Toyota never led a lap the entire race. In fact Fords led almost every lap, with Alex Bowman and his 26 laps led in a Chevrolet while off pit sequence, as the only laps not led by a Ford yesterday.

Bowyer was 2nd, Daniel Suarez came in 3rd, which ties his best career finish. Martin Truex Jr. 4th, and Kurt Busch 5th, to mark the first time Stewart-Haas has ever had 3 cars finish in the Top 5 in the same race.

Brad Keselowski led 108 laps early on in the race, and came home 6th.

After 11 races here's the 16 drivers currently in a Chase position

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kyle Busch
3. Joey Logano
4. Clint Bowyer
5. Martin Truex Jr.
6. Austin Dillon
7. Brad Keselowski
8. Kurt Busch
9. Ryan Blaney
10.Denny Hamlin
11.Kyle Larson
12.Aric Almirola
13.Jimmie Johnson
14.Erik Jones
15.Alex Bowman
16.Chase Elliott

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Daniel Suarez, William Byron, Ryan Newman, and Paul Menard are all still so close, they could be in the Top 16 next week. If the same guys keep winning, a lot of Chase spots will be determined by points instead of wins. Something to watch moving forward the next 15 races before the cutoff.
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Forgot to add, former Cup champ and future HOF'er Matt Kenseth is making his return to NASCAR this coming weekend at Kansas, will run the #6 car for Roush Fenway Racing in place of Trevor Bayne.

Bayne and Kenseth will be splitting the remainder of the season from the sounds of it. Though who runs which races is still being worked out.

Kenseth reuniting with Roush is nice to see, the won a Championship together back in 2003. A lot of people actually "blame" Kenseth for the creation of the Chase playoff system. Kenseth won the Championship that season despite only winning 1 race. He actually was so far ahead in the standings, he'd already clinched the Championship going into the final race as well. He only had 5 finishes outside the Top 14 all season (36 races) that year, and his consistency paid off.

The anti-climatic finish to the season, combined with the lack of wins, had a lot of fans calling for a points system change at the time. They pointed to Ryan Newman who won 8 races that season, but finished 6th in the standings, and Kurt Busch who won 4 races (2nd most that year) but was 11th in points, as examples of drivers who should've been rewarded more for winning.
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Harvick wins again. 2nd in a row, and 5th on the season already, in only 12 races. Last time a driver won 5 of the first 12 races was Jeff Gordon in 1997.

Passed Martin Truex Jr. with 2 laps to go. They were on different strategies and Harvick had fresher tires at the end. Truex held him off longer than anybody thought he would and made the finish more exciting than I was expecting.

After being relatively caution free for the first 230 laps or so, the last 35 laps were full of cautions.

Ryan Blaney won Stage 1 (edging Harvick in a close finish), Kyle Larson won Stage 2 (and led the most laps), then they got into each other racing with about 20 to go to bring out the caution and wreck both of there chances at winning. Larson somehow recovered to finish 4th still, with the damage he had, and even after having to make an extra pit stop when they didn't get the lugnuts tight on one wheel. Blaney went straight to the garage.

For the 2nd race in a row, Toyota's were not up front much. Until Truex Jr. took the lead with 15 to go, a Toyota had not led a lap again.

Matt Kenseth ended up 36th in his return to NASCAR. Ended up in one of the late wrecks. Wasn't running well anyways, was 2-3 laps down in about 25th before the wreck happened. William Byron took a hard hit in that wreck, hardest of his career he said, but appeared to be ok.
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Just bumping, because I do read all your posts in here...just have nothing really to add, because I haven't watched anything since the first race.

you keep me up to date Silly

hell of a season Harvick is having though. Been sort of pulling for him, ever since he took over Dale Sr's ride.
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(2018-05-14, 03:04 PM)Chris D Wrote: bump.

Just bumping, because I do read all your posts in here...just have nothing really to add, because I haven't watched anything since the first race.  

you keep me up to date Silly  

hell of a season Harvick is having though.  Been sort of pulling for him, ever since he took over Dale Sr's ride.

Thanks! I do see the views going up a bit, so I know somebody reads it lol.
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Kevin Harvick won the All-Star race last night, his 2nd career All-Star win (also won in 2007). He won the first stage and led the most laps. Dominated early and then after a bad pit stop ran around 5th for most of the night until taking the lead late on the final lap of Stage 3 (there were 4 stages unlike most races). Kyle Busch won stage 2. Daniel Suarez was impressive after racing his way into the race, and starting 19th out of the 21 drivers, he ended up finishing 2nd to Harvick.

Matt Kenseth won the pole for the All-Star race in the unique qualifying format they have, where you run a lap, pit, and then run a lap. Involves the entire team that way. Was actually an all Roush front row with Stenhouse Jr. 2nd. Both were a non factor in the race though.

They had the Open before the All-Star race which gave 3 drivers an opportunity to race there way into the All-Star race. Win a stage and you're in. Alex Bowman won stage 1, Daniel Suarez Stage 2, and A.J. Allmendinger won the final stage. Then they give a final spot to the fan vote winner, which for the 3rd year in a row was Chase Elliott. It was actually better racing than the All-Star race IMO. Allmendinger made a great pass on the final lap for the win, going 3 wide.

Next up is the Coke 600 next Sunday night, which Austin Dillon won last year on a fuel mileage gamble.
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NASCAR announced there HOF Class for 2019 this evening.

Jeff Gordon
Jack Roush
Roger Penske
Davey Allison
Alan Kulwicki

All deserving inductees, had 3 of the 5 in my fan ballot, had Penske and Allison waiting another year. Put Bobby Labonte and Red Farmer on my ballot.

The next 3 in voting that just missed out were Buddy Baker, Hershel McGriff, and Waddell Wilson
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I wouldn't have put Allison in the Hall...nor Alan Kulwicki

perhaps if Allison hadn't died, he was on his way to a HoF career. Kulwicki was not.
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(2018-05-24, 04:37 AM)Chris D Wrote: I wouldn't have put Allison in the Hall...nor Alan Kulwicki

perhaps if Allison hadn't died, he was on his way to a HoF career.  Kulwicki was not.

Kulwicki was the last owner/driver to win the championship until Tony Stewart did in 2011, though Stewart is only part owner, and teamed up with an already established owner. Kulwicki didn't have near the money the teams he was beating did. He actually turned down several offers from bigger teams to drive for them, he was very sought after on the drivers market but wanted to do his own thing. He helped revolutionize NASCAR with his mechanical engineering degree, that he used to build his own cars. Someone with that degree was never heard of in NASCAR at that time, now every team basically has at least one, if not multiple. 

Heck when Ryan Newman entered NASCAR, 10 years after Kulwicki passed away, it was still a big deal to have that education, especially when he was teamed up with Matt Borland as crew chief who had the same education. When Newman won 8 races the one year, and was a fixture in the championship hunt every year near the start of his career, winning several races on fuel mileage, lots of people were convinced those two had teamed up to devise a way to get extra fuel in the car, they were going so much further than anyone else on fuel loads. Whether it was hidden fuel lines, an extra compartment, something ingenious anyways, that's how much they respected what those 2 could do to a race car, and they followed the same path Kulwicki did. I'm too young to remember any particulars about what Kulwicki was doing, but I imagine similar things were thought of about him at the time as well.

Kulwicki was also the only driver not named Dale Earnhardt to win the championship in a 5 year stretch from 90-94 as well. That sticks out.
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Kyle Busch dominated the Coca-Cola 600, leading 377 of the 400 laps and winning every stage. A lot of people playing the what if game as Kevin Harvick blew a tire and crashed out on Lap 83, and was hard charging towards the front after starting 39th.

Martin Truex Jr. finished 2nd, was the only other car in the same zip code as Kyle Busch. At times was faster than Kyle but Truex had to overcome 2 penalties on pit road and never got closer than about 3.5 seconds to Kyle. Denny Hamlin finished 3rd and was 10 seconds behind Truex lol. Keselowski edged Johnson at the line for 4th to round out the Top 5. Jamie McMurray finished 6th and was a rocket at times in the high line up against the wall. Raced his way up to 2nd at one point, was nice to see him up front after a disappointing start to his season.

Kyle Busch was so much better than the field, only 9 cars ended up on the lead lap, and he was closing in on 9th place Alex Bowman near the end too.

Ryan Blaney continues his hard luck run this season. Qualified 8th, finished 2nd in stage 1, then halfway through Stage 2, motor dropped a cylinder. He ran around trying to get as many laps in after that, before it finally blew up after 278 laps. Was quite the fire show when it happened too.

Kyle Busch winning at Charlotte last night, became the first driver to ever win a points paying race at every race track he's competed at, at the Cup level. Though that could be short lived, as they will race at the Charlotte "Roval" this fall for the first time.

Jeff Gordon came close in his career, Kentucky is the only track he didn't win on, and Gordon actually has wins at more tracks than Kyle, as Gordon won at Rockingham and North Wilkesboro, which Kyle never competed at.
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Martin Truex Jr. won Pocono today for his 17th career win. 2nd career win at Pocono. I missed the race (had to work) but it sounds like the cars of Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Truex were pretty much the show today. Harvick led over half the race (89 of 160 laps) and won Stage 2, Truex Jr. won Stage 1, and Kyle had the lead when a late caution came out with 20 laps to go and pitted for tires while most of the leaders stayed out, and it backfired on him.

Kyle Larson finished 2nd, and admitted post-race he probably only had a 6th or 7th place car, but had a great final restart with 7 laps to go. Busch was 3rd, Harvick 4th (did not have a good final restart), and Brad Keselowski rounded out the Top 5. Pole sitter Ryan Blaney finished 6th, and Jimmie Johnson led his first laps of the season today, leading 2 laps during green flag pit stops. Johnson ended up finishing 8th.

Chase Standings after 14 races (12 races until the cutoff)

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kyle Busch
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Joey Logano
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Austin Dillon
7. Brad Keselowski
8. Kurt Busch
9. Denny Hamlin
10.Kyle Larson
11.Ryan Blaney
12.Aric Almirola
13.Jimmie Johnson
14.Chase Elliott
15.Erik Jones
16.Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Alex Bowman and Paul Menard are the first 2 out and well within striking distance.
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Michigan this weekend. Fastest track in NASCAR right now. Kurt Busch won his 24th career pole yesterday with an average lap speed of 203.361mph.

18 drivers exceeded a 200mph lap average during qualifying, and I think the top speed hit by anyone was Busch at 217 going into a corner.

As Jeff Burton famously said back in 2012 after the track repave, after being asked what the pole winning speed would be. "It's going to be 2-0-fast!".

Jeff Gordon has the track record at 206.558 back in 2014. They were very nearly up to the speeds Bill Elliott was reaching at Daytona and Talladega (larger tracks) in the mid to late 80's before they brought restrictor plates in.

Green flag is roughly scheduled for 2:16pm tomorrow afternoon. The Xfinity race is currently underway after a rain delay this afternoon.
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