Tag Archives: Charlotte Motor Speedway

Gentlemen Have At It

The Elimination component of the new NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup has been let loose. Three Chase contending teams were put into a very tough spot at Kansas Speedway leading to more drama than we have seen in a long time at Charlotte Motor Speedway this past week. Tensions are high and tempers are flaring, so what can we expect this week at Talladega Superspeedway.

All in all the racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway was pretty much like it has been there and many other 1.5 mile speedways. Nothing really spectacular except after the checkered flag was waved the drama started. Since almost all of the drama revolved around Brad Keselowski we will circle around and try to make some sense of it.

Denny Hamlin:

On the final restart of the race Denny Hamlin was in front of Keselowski and Keselowski ran into the back of him. This caused Hamlin to lose six spots while trying to recover. Hamlin finished ninth.

On the cool down lap Hamlin admitted he brake checked Keselowski then Keselowski tried and failed to spin Hamlin out. All of this happened on the track.

After the race when they were out of the car Hamlin tried to fight? or confront Keselowski over the incident.

Matt Kenseth:

On the second to last restart Brad Keselowski was leading the race and Matt Kenseth got to his rear bumper. Kenseth swung out to pass on the outside and Keselowski moved up to block catching the left front corner of Kenseth’s car in the process. He blocked Kenseth all the way up the track to the wall. Kenseth hit the wall pretty much ending his chances for a good finish. He finished the race 19th the last car on the lead lap.

On the next restart Kenseth got his lap back and on his wave around swung wide and hit Keselowski’s car damaging the left front. This hurt the car and Keselowski’s day. He finished 16th and did not make up any ground in the points to remain in the Chase.

Brad Keselowski showed his displeasure with Kenseth by hitting him in the driver’s side door at the entrance to pit road after Kenseth had already removed his HANS and seat belts. In the process of all this Keselowski ran into the back of Tony Stewart.

After the cars were parked Matt Kenseth jumped Keselowski between the haulers and a fight ensued.

Tony Stewart:

Tony Stewart after getting hit by Keselowski on pit road, stopped, put his car in reverse and rammed him. Since Keselowski didn’t really have a beef with Stewart it ended there.

Fines:

NASCAR fined Brad Keselowski $50,000.00 and Tony Stewart $25,000.00 for actions detrimental to stock car racing and a behavioral penalty for being involved in post-race incidents. They are also on probation for the next four events.

NASCAR was in a tough spot. They created the new Chase Format to create drama and they got exactly what they wanted.

NASCAR got the fines and penalties right!. Everything that happened on the track was simply “Boys have at it”. Wrecking cars or driving recklessly at the entrance to and on pit road or the garage area is not acceptable. There simply is too many people who are not protected that are being put into danger.

This week at Talladega don’t expect any payback from the events of last week but will we see some more aggressive driving from Brad Keselowski? Will be see some blocking which almost always leads to the “Big One” that wrecks the field? Will some of the other driver be more aggressive? This is exactly why NASCAR changed the Chase for the Sprint Cup. It is a must watch event.

If you cannot get to Talladega Superspeedway for the GEICO 500 it will be broadcast live on ESPN on Sunday, October 19th. 2014 starting at 1 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.

Feature Photo Credit: 291439 NASCAR via Getty Images

I Don’t Think I Like the New Chase For the Sprint Cup Anymore?

The first race of the second elimination round of the new NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup is over. Three of the drivers who have won races and been on the top of the standings the whole season had issues at Kansas Speedway and are now at the bottom of the standings. They are in serious trouble of being out of contention and eliminated during this, The Contender Round, of the Chase.

This has many fans upset, especially fans of Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson. How can this be? How can drivers who have won races including Keselowski who won a Chase race be on the outside hoping to get back in? It is upsetting.

It is not a foregone conclusion that these three drivers will not make it to the next round but another unfortunate circumstance or bad race and they will not. Any one of them could win this week at Charlotte Motor Speedway or next week at Talladega Superspeedway and they would move forward. They could also have good runs and some of the other drivers suffer a similar fate as they did at Kansas.

Does this mean the new Chase format is bad. No! It means the new Chase format is doing exactly what it was supposed to.

The new Chase Format was supposed to create drama and excitement for the fans. It is certainly doing that. In the Chicago area rarely do I hear people talking about NASCAR. Just the other day I overheard two people talking about these same drivers possibly missing the Chase. If this shows up in the TV ratings as this progresses then the new format will have done it’s job.

In years past many fans lamented that the Championship was settled long before the last race of the season. This year it is not and cannot be settled until the last race at Homestead Miami Speedway.

I don’t wish any ill will on Keselowski, Earnhardt Jr. or Johnson but the next two races will be events to watch to see if they can win and get to the next round. It will also be exciting to see if other drivers can win or have issues to drop out. This is far from over, We will start the drama and excitement again with an even smaller set of drivers when the Elimination Round begins.

If you cannot get to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank Of America 500 it will be broadcast live on ABC, Saturday, October 11th 2014 at 7 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 302109 Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

 

Kasey Kahne has the Formula for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

Kasey Kahne was on track fighting for the million dollars in the NASCAR All-Star race only to see it slip away on some speedy dry. This week NASCAR and Kasey Kahne get back to business at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of the faster of the 1.5 mile speedways. The speed comes from the 24 degrees of banking in the corners. This race is one of the most prestigious of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule. It is also the longest race of the season at 600 miles or 400 laps. If the length of the race isn’t enough the race also is a test of crew chief because it starts during the day and finishes at night. The driver and team who can keep up with the changes in the track while still staying at the front will win this race.

The driver ratings for this track shouldn’t be a surprise to any NASCAR fan. Jimmie Johnson has a commanding rating of 111.1 and has won six times. This of course used to be the house of Johnson but he hasn’t won here since 2009 and his record streak ended in 2005.

Kyle Busch is next in the driver ratings at 107.5. Great stats but Busch hasn’t been able to make those stats work for him for a whole race and win at Charlotte.

The next driver by driver ratings is Kasey Kahne at 102.6. His rating, though not as high as Johnson’s, are still pretty good. He has four wins, the most recent coming in this race in 2012.

Kasey Kahne and his crew chief Kenny Francis have not been getting it done this season. This hasn’t been lost on them. They have been working diligently at fixing it. They think they figured out something during the Kansas race.

Well we had to really sit down and talk about things together and get back on the same page.  There were a lot of things we were thinking differently on the first six to seven weeks of the year.” Kahne added, “We have spent a lot more time the last month and a half together and figuring this out than what we had early in the year when we were maybe thinking different directions and things with the car, adjustments and set-up’s for each track.  I feel like our relationship is still really good and because we have that we have been able to figure it out and do enough testing and things to get back on track.

It is apparent that something is working. A third place finish at Kansas plus wining two of the four segments in the All-Star race they have definitely improved. They are going to need better communication for this race more than any other.

Kahne said, “Patience. I think you have to have patience. Last year, I enjoyed leading when it was sunny out and leading at night so just being able to find that balance, work with it, work with your car, communicate well and work with the team throughout the whole race is key. And then you need the team to step up, too.  We need to have great pit stops, and we need a great car when we start the race. If we have all that, we’ll have a shot to win our fourth 600.

Here are some other stories in the race to watch. Kurt Busch will be running in the Indianapolis 500 before the Coca-Cola 600. He is the first driver to race in all 1100 miles of racing, the double as it’s called since John Andretti in 2007.

Look for special car paint schemes in honor of our veterans for Memorial Day.

Kasey Kahne is currently 16th in points but just out of the Chase. He wants to become the 10th new winner and race his way into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He is off to a great start by qualifying for the third spot.

If you cannot get to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 it will be broadcast live on FOX on Sunday May 25th starting at 5:30 PM.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit HHP/Alan Marler for Chevrolet

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Charlotte
Jimmie Johnson                                111.1
Kyle Busch                          107.5
Kasey Kahne                      102.6
Matt Kenseth                    96.0
Denny Hamlin                    93.4
Greg Biffle                          91.4
Carl Edwards                      89.8
Jeff Gordon                        88.8
Joey Logano                       87.3
Kurt Busch                          84.7
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Which NASCAR All-Star Has That “Win at All Cost” Attitude?

Well it is that time again, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. This is NASCAR’s version of the All-Star Break. This year like every year some things remain the same but most everything gets changed. In fact the only thing that has remained the same is that the race is at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The format for the race has changed. It will no longer be voted by the fans. The format is as follows:

Segments 1, 2 and 3/20 laps each:  All laps will be counted. … Optional pit stop during break, teams that pit will not retain their position on track.

Segment 4/20 laps: All laps will be counted. … Running order at the completion of the fourth segment be repositioned based on the average finish of the first four segments. … Running order ties will be broken by the finish of the fourth segment. … Pit road will be open for a mandatory four-tire pit stop. … Order of cars returning to the track will determine starting order of the fifth and final segment.

Segment 5/10 laps:  Only green flag laps will be counted.

Each and every week we look at the driver ratings to see who is good in the race in order to dial into a driver who we expect to win. This week, like every week, the statistics are telling.  Looking at the ratings Kyle Busch has this locked up but the funny thing is in spite of eight appearances in this race, including three starts from the pole, he has never won; and then there is this guy called Six- Time.

Jimmie Johnson’s driver rating for the All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway isn’t quite as good as it is during points races there. In fact if there is a race he might be vulnerable in, it just might be this one. Mr. Six Time is only Mr. Four Time when it comes to the All-Star Race but he did win the last two. He has won more All-Star races than any other driver.

All sarcasm aside, it is tough not to pick Jimmie Johnson to win a record three All-Star races in a row but the way Johnson and the whole No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet team has been running lately he just might not be the favorite. Ok so I didn’t put the sarcasm aside because a not so good Johnson is still a pretty formidable NASCAR team.

Look out for Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano. The new Chase for the Sprint Cup format has favored a go for the win attitude. These drivers and their teams have picked up on that and lead the standings with two wins each. They just might be able to keep it up to win an event that is strictly just that. They might keep Jimmie Johnson from setting the record and wining the million dollars.

If you cannot get to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race it will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 starting at 7 PM ET. See below for the entry list and past winners.

Feature Photo Credit: 286143 Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Top 10 All-Star Driver Ratings
Kyle Busch…………………………. 110.3
Jimmie Johnson…………………… 106.3
Matt Kenseth………………………… 88.3
Joey Logano………………………… 87.3
Kurt Busch……………………………. 86.4
Carl Edwards………………………… 82.8
Joe Nemechek………………………. 82.4
Jeff Gordon………………………….. 81.6
Kasey Kahne………………………… 79.7
Brian Vickers………………………… 79.6
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 NASCAR Sprint All-Star races (nine total).

NASCAR Sprint All-Star Wins List
Year    Driver                      Year        Driver
1985    Darrell Waltrip       2000        Dale Earnhardt Jr.
1986    Bill Elliott                2001        Jeff Gordon
1987    Dale Earnhardt      2002        Ryan Newman
1988    Terry Labonte        2003        Jimmie Johnson
1989    Rusty Wallace        2004        Matt Kenseth
1990    Dale Earnhardt      2005        Mark Martin
1991    Davey Allison        2006        Jimmie Johnson
1992    Davey Allison        2007        Kevin Harvick
1993    Dale Earnhardt      2008        Kasey Kahne
1994    Geoff Bodine         2009        Tony Stewart
1995    Jeff Gordon           2010        Kurt Busch
1996    Michael Waltrip     2011        Carl Edwards
1997    Jeff Gordon           2012        Jimmie Johnson
1998    Mark Martin            2013        Jimmie Johnson
1999    Terry Labonte

2014 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Entry List
Greg Biffle
Kurt Busch
Kyle Busch
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Carl Edwards
Jeff Gordon
Denny Hamlin
Kevin Harvick
Jimmie Johnson
Kasey Kahne
Matt Kenseth
Brad Keselowski
Joey Logano
Jamie McMurray
Ryan Newman
David Ragan
Tony Stewart
Martin Truex Jr.
Brian Vickers
Fan Vote Winner
Winner Sprint Showdown
Second Place Sprint Showdown