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NASCAR Texas Postscript

by Dave Grayson
Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Late last Sunday morning, while I was settling in on the couch to watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Texas, I found myself wondering if NASCAR officials had already engraved Jimmie Johnson's name on the cup and had it loaded into a special trailer so it would be available for presentation after the Phoenix race. By Sunday afternoon I came to the conclusion that they probably need to wait until the Homestead Miami race.

While it's still apparent that the championship is still Johnson's to take home or give away, the Texas race did present some rather interesting Chase implications. With that thought in mind let's go to this week's Texas sized HOORAHS and WAZZUPS:

Edwards won his 2nd in row Sunday
HOORAH for Carl Edwards and Roush Fenway Racing for that stellar performance during the Dickies 500 which led to the team's eighth win of the season. Edward's ability to conserve fuel, while driving at super slow speeds as low as 162 MPH, paid off with huge dividends in both the race and the Chase.

Double HOORAH for Bob Osbourne, crew chief for Edward's #99 Ford, for making the call to stay out and gamble on the fuel mileage issue. It was a very gutsy, hero or zero, call and one more reason why Osbourne is on the fast track towards joining that elite group of NASCAR super star crew chiefs.

Also HOORAH to team co owner Jack Roush for having the wisdom to calling in his lead engineer to double check Edward's fuel consumption figures. That was the move that led to the gutsy race winning decision not to come into the pits.

WAZZUP with Jimmie Johnson's ill handling race car and the Lowe's #48 failure to fix the problem with their usual efficiency? The would be three time champion went a lap down early in the race due to a car that had the handling characteristics of an Army tank and any effort to rectify the situation simply didn't work. In all fairness part of the problem was the extraordinary long green flag runs in this race that denied the team yellow flag pit stops to get to the bottom of the situation and, at the same time, improve their driver's track position so he could collect the lucky dog pass to get back on the lead lap and get himself back into the race. The end result was a 15th place finish and a loss of 77 points from his pre race points lead.

WAZZUP with Dale Earnhardt Jr's fuel mileage? Once again Earnhardt spent the majority of the race as a solid contender only to helplessly realize that, once again, he was not going to be able to close the deal. His lack of fuel moved him from second, and a possible win, to 20th late in the race. By late Sunday afternoon fans from the Junior Nation were dialing up the NASCAR themed radio talk shows to voice the same opinion that we seem to be hearing every week: isn't it time for car owner Rick Hendrick to remove Tony Eury Jr as the crew chief for the #88 team?

WAZZUP with driver David Gilliland and that display or road rage during the Texas race? Gilliland felt that driver Juan Pablo Montoya was pinging on his bumper a little too hard and retaliated one lap later. Unfortunately the result was a major crash, in the middle of high speed race traffic, that seriously damaged two race cars. Gilliland later said that it was not an intentional act but NASCAR, after looking at the video, decided otherwise and ordered him to park his car for the remainder of the race. Also WAZZUP with Gilliland for pulling that stunt at a time when his team, Yates Racing, is desperately seeking sponsors to put his car on the track next year?

So HOORAH for NASCAR for making that very good call. Also WAZZUP with NASCAR for later announcing that no further action would be taken? There was a time when that old chestnut from the NASCAR rulebook that read "actions detrimental to the sport of stock car racing" took care of moments like this. Within the last month we've seen Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick get into a shoving match in the garage area, we witnessed Bobby Hamilton Jr deliver a left hook to Landon Cassill on pit road following a Nationwide Series event and now we have Gilliland shoving a driver into the wall during the middle of a race. No further action was taken following any of these incidents. Yet during that same time period Red Bull Racing got caught shaving one sixteenth of an inch off of the fenders of a Car Of Tomorrow and they received a six figure fine, loss of driver and owner points plus the indefinite suspensions of the crew and car chiefs. WAZZUP with that?

HOORAH to Nationwide Series driver Bobby Hamilton Jr for putting up $400,000 of his own money to keep his team operational for the remainder of the season while trying to land a new sponsor for next year. Rensi Motorsports recently announced that unless they found a new sponsor by the November 1st Nationwide Series race at Memphis then they would be shutting down the team forever. Hopefully Hamilton's eleventh hour act of generosity will land that badly needed sponsorship.

HOORAH for Kyle Busch for donating $100,000 to help out NASCAR pioneer Sam Ard. When Busch won the Nationwide Series race in Texas he tied Ard's longtime series record of ten wins in a single season. Ard, a two time series champion, is sadly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and is reported to be in dire financial straits. Busch dedicated his Texas win to Ard and, commenting on his generous donation, said "Ard is one of the pioneers of this sport and that means a lot to me."

In one of the most bizarre moments from the Texas Motor Speedway weekend, WAZZUP with that poor lady who got shot at the track? According to reports the 62 year old woman, whose name was not released, was sitting inside of her motorhome in the speedway infield when a bullet came through the roof and struck her. She was transported to a nearby hospital where she was reported to be in stable condition. Local authorities said they believed that the round was fired from a rifle from a long distance.

Finally this week there were reports from the U.S. Geological Survey regarding two minor earthquakes, measuring 2.5 and 3.0 on the Richter scale, that were centered in the Dallas Fort Worth area. WAZZUP with unconfirmed reports that claimed the shake rattle and roll felt at the speedway was not due to earthquakes and was, in fact, caused by the reverberation from Kyle Busch's latest temper tantrum?

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