for your iPhone
for your iPad
NASCAR

NASCAR Links

Scanner Frequencies

Meet the Staff

2014 Schedule

Dover Postscript: It was all about the Goodyears

by Dave Grayson
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Advertisement

NASCAR Goodyear tire
During the NASCAR weekend at the Dover International Speedway, the final outcome of the Sprint Cup race was determined by the number of Goodyear tires the teams used during their final pit stops. The Nationwide Series event ended with a violent crash that made the speedway's official mascot, Miles The Monster, smile and the Camping World Truck Series race was about a familiar winner and his standard practice of generating new career numbers. With those thoughts in mind, let's begin with:

THUMBS-UP to driver Matt Kenseth, crew chief Jimmy Fennig and Roush Fenway Racing for winning last Sunday's Fed Ex 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks. The event marked the team's second win of the season, their second win in five races this year, their second win at Dover and Kenseth's 20th career win.

THUMBS-UP to Kenseth and Fennig for the last second tag team decision to only take two tires, during what turned out to be the final pit stop of the race, when the other race contenders opted to take four tires. The result was excellent track position for the restart that led to a 2.1 second margin of victory. It turned out that Goodyear Tires, and the number of them selected on pit road, would play a huge factor in the outcome of this race.

THUMBS-UP for Mark Martin and his crew chief Lance McGrew. Feeling like they had nothing to lose, they chose to gamble on zero Goodyears to put their car into the lead. with a little over 30 laps left in the race. The result was the second place finish this team badly needed.

The popular opinion, especially with the television broadcast analysts, was to take four Goodyears during this final stop. WHAT'S-UP with that option not working? This was especially true of Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson who were major players in this race. After leading 117 of 400 laps, Edwards had to settle for a seventh place finish. Johnson, who led 209 laps, wound up with a disappointing ninth place finish. The good news here is the fact that Edwards and Johnson were able to maintain their one-two status in the points standings.

WHAT'S-UP with Clint Bowyer and his crew chief, Shane Wilson, who felt the sting from both the two and four tire pit options? During a lap 40 competition yellow, Wilson called for a two tire stop which turned out to be a disaster. Bowyer nearly fell a lap down to leader Johnson in the aftermath of the move. However, adjustments by Wilson, during ensuing stops, allowed his driver to become a contender who led 29 laps late in the race. Not wanting to get stung by a two tire stop again, Wilson chose four tires on the final pit road appearance but the best Bowyer could make of it was a sixth place finish.

What was the major difference here? It appears that the rubber worn into Dover's concrete surface, by the late stages of the race, allowed the additional grip needed for Martin and Kenseth to get away with their zero and two Goodyear calls.

*************

WHAT'S-UP with Stewart-Haas Racing and their overall ineffectiveness during the Dover Cup race? Efforts to come up with the adjustments needed for Tony Stewart's Chevrolet were totally ineffective. Adding insult to injury was a pit stop where very little gas wound up inside of the car's tank. This miserable night ended with Stewart finishing 29th a whopping six laps down. The news wasn't much better for the Stewart-Haas Racing second team, driven by Ryan Newman, who finished 21st two laps down.

During the course of his long night in Dover, Stewart came over the radio and said "I've got no @#%&ing confidence in our team right now."

*************

THUMBS-UP to driver Brian Vickers, and his Red Bull Racing Toyota team, for their fifth place finish in Sunday's Cup race. This badly needed strong finish provided some strong emotions for Vickers. This time last year he was in a hospital, being treated for a very serious blood clot condition and subsequent heart surgery, that had him wondering if his racing career was over.

**************

THUMBS-UP to Carl Edwards for winning last Saturday's 5 Hour Energy 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series at Dover. The Roush Fenway Racing Ford driver led a dominant 87 of the 209 laps. The event marked Edwards' 32nd series win and moves him to fourth on the series' all time win list.

WHAT'S-UP with that horrific accident that followed the green-white-checker restart in this race? Heading towards the checkers, Joey Logano's Toyota tagged the front stretch wall and slid into Clint Bowyer who was driving a Kevin Harvick owned Chevrolet. Bowyer's car went into the air, landed on its side and then slammed hard into the inside wall. Fortunately, the mandated safety equipment did its job and Bowyer was uninjured.

The same could not be said for Glen Wheeler, a Kevin Harvick Inc mechanic. WHAT'S-UP with this crew member being stuck by a flying coil spring from the impact of the Bowyer's wreck? Wheeler sustained severe swelling in his left leg from the hit and had to be taken to a local hospital. The next morning he was released and allowed to fly home to North Carolina where he will continue medical evaluation.

THUMBS-UP to race winner Edwards for declining to perform his traditional post race back flip because he thought he may made some form of contact with Logano to cause this terrible wreck.

THUMBS-UP to the ESPN camera man who caught all of the action and clearly proved that Edwards did not touch Logano's car and was, in no way, not responsible for this wreck.

THUMBS-UP to the ESPN camera, mounted on top of the Bowyer car, that survived the majority of this wreck so we could all see this action from a breathtaking view.

************

WHAT'S-UP with the amazing circumstances of a lap 87 wreck, in the Nationwide Series event, that ruined the racing audition of Roush Fenway Racing's Kevin Swindell? Alex Kennedy lost control of his car and crashed into the inside back stretch wall. Kennedy wanted to get his car back to pit road as quickly as possible for possible repairs. During that effort he pulled an ill advised and timed U turn and drove directly into the path of the Swindell car who was unfortunately slammed hard into the wall.

Swindell was subbing for Roush Fenway driver Trevor Bayne who has been out of action due to illness. It was a golden opportunity for the young driver to shine before team owner Jack Roush in hopes of advancing his career as a NASCAR development driver. Instead he was sidelined in an incident that was widely regarded as senseless. NASCAR agreed and summoned both Kennedy and his spotter to their official trailer for an official conversation.

************

THUMBS-UP to Kyle Busch for winning the Lucas Oil 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Dover Friday night. The event marked Busch's 27th series win, his third win of the season and his second truck win at Dover.

Busch's stats in all three of NASCAR's national touring series are simply amazing. He has 96 wins in all three series including ten wins this year: five in the Nationwide Series, three in the Camping World Truck Series and two in the Sprint Cup Series.

*************

In our final comments this week THUMBS-UP to Ricky Stenhouse Jr, driver of the #16 Ford, for Roush Fenway Racing, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Stenhouse donated his share of the team's prize money, during Friday's Nationwide race, to the Mississippi Flood Relief.

************

Another THUMBS-UP goes to Carl Edwards and his fellow Roush Fenway Racing employees for coming to the aid of one of their own. Back on April 8th, Edwards won the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at the Nashville Super Speedway. With that came the traditional speedway trophy: a Gibson electric guitar custom painted by famed NASCAR artists Sam Bass.

In the days that followed that win Roush Fenway Racing was shocked to learn of the death of one of their own, Jonathan Bunting, who tragically died in an auto accident leaving behind his wife and two children. Edwards wanted to help the family and set up a special online auction with the Nashville guitar as the grand prize. The bidding concluded a month later and the guitar, along with a special one of a kind sketch donated by Sam Bass, raised $20,400. The worthy cause was helped by an additional $30,000 plus from donations from RFR employees, drivers and their sponsors.

*************

The final WHAT'S-UP of the week goes to NASCAR Nationwide Series development driver Ryan Truex for making the monumental mistake of admitting one of his special fears on live television. During an interview on the SPEED Channel, Truex admitted that he was seriously afraid of spiders. I hope he's ready for what's coming down the line. You know it's going to be a short amount of time before some merry garage prankster plants a rubber spider inside of his racing helmet. Don't be too surprised if Dale Earnhardt Jr is the first to make this move because this type of fun is right up his alley.

Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article