Tag Archives: GEICO 500

Shame on the NASCAR Teams for Gaming Qualifying

Qualifying for the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway was always going to be different. NASCAR announced well over a month ago that during the first round of qualifying the cars would be split into two separate groups with 12 cars moving on from each to the second round. Some teams overthought their strategy such that two higher level full time teams did not qualify and will therefore miss the race.

In the first group of the first round of qualifying, the drivers waited most of the round to go out and make their laps. The thought was that the first cars out did not have a chance of posting a fast lap as the cars behind would get the benefit of the draft and post a much faster time. As they say, it looks good on paper.

Denny Hamlin didn’t buy into it and went out by himself. He posted a slow lap but eventually got some benefit of the draft in order to improve but still paid the price for going it alone and was the slowest of that group.

In the second group of the first round of qualifying, Tony Stewart and Reed Sorensen did exactly what Denny Hamlin did in the first group. They went out alone and also paid the price by posting the slowest laps of the cars that were up to speed. The rest of the drivers did exactly the same as the first group, except they waited too long. Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Larson, Justin Allgaier and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. did not make it to the line in time to take the flag on their up to speed lap. The official time for those drivers was that taken during a warm up lap.

So what exactly happened? There are six spots in the field reserved for those cars highest in owners points that have not qualified for the race on their speed (time). The 43rd and final spot is reserved for the most current champion that has not qualified for the race on their speed (time).  With so many great cars not posting a competitive time and so many cars that needed to make the race actually posting a time there was in a sense “No room at the Inn”. Justin Allgaier, 29th in points; and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 27th in points, were out.

Jeff Gordon will start last as he was the slowest of the drivers who are in the race by owner points. Although it would look like he used his past champion provisional, he did not need it since it was his spot if he didn’t use it.

In the end Reed Sorenson was the last to make it into the field on time since Joe Nemecheck was disqualified due to unapproved openings around the oil tank. Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick—the drivers who were the slowest of those who actually took full speed laps—took the first three provisionals. Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, and Jeff Gordon took the last four provisionals.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Justin Allgaier, and Joe Nemecheck will miss the race.

Shame on these teams “gaming” the system in order to get an edge in qualifying. We as fans wanted to see cars running around the track nose to tail trying to get a fast speed to make the race. Instead we saw cars sitting on pit road waiting for the last two minutes then going on the track. It was stupid and looked even more so.

The silly part is if it takes about two minutes to get up to speed and make a fast lap why wait for the last two minutes? If all the drivers had gone right at the beginning and run nose to tail only the truly slow cars would have gone home.

Oh and by the way, Brian Vickers won the Coors Light Pole Award—not that qualifying at a superspeedway is important; unless of course you don’t.

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.

Feature Photo Credit: 302428 Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images

Pos Car Driver Team Speed
1 55 Brian Vickers Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota 196.129
2 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s Chevrolet 195.732
3 47 AJ Allmendinger Scott Products Chevrolet 195.496
4 12 Ryan Blaney(i) SKF Ford 194.015
5 2 Brad Keselowski Redd’s Wicked Apple Ale Ford 194.007
6 95 Michael McDowell Jordan Truck Sales Ford 193.693
7 33 Travis Kvapil Little Joe’s Autos Chevrolet 193.603
8 5 Kasey Kahne Farmer’s Insurance Chevrolet 193.498
9 32 Terry Labonte C&J Energy Services Ford 193.431
10 7 Michael Annett # Golden Corral Chevrolet 193.162
11 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 191.302
12 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Chevrolet 190.981
13 20 Matt Kenseth Home Depot Toyota 193.415
14 23 Alex Bowman # Dustless Blasting Toyota 193.376
15 99 Carl Edwards Subway Ford 193.291
16 21 Trevor Bayne(i) Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 192.401
17 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 192.278
18 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation Chevrolet 192.096
19 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 191.908
20 27 Paul Menard Moen/Menards Chevrolet 191.773
21 38 David Gilliland Long John Silver’s Ford 190.985
22 26 Cole Whitt # Bad Boy Mowers Toyota 190.97
23 49 Mike Wallace(i) Royal Teak Collection Toyota 184.729
24 16 Greg Biffle 3M Ford 191.577
25 34 David Ragan Dockside Logistics Ford 191.42
26 9 Marcos Ambrose Black & Decker Ford 191.214
27 10 Danica Patrick GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness Chevrolet 191.149
28 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet 191.134
29 40 Landon Cassill(i) Carsforsale.com Chevrolet 191.13
30 3 Austin Dillon # Dow Chevrolet 191.027
31 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna Chevrolet 190.818
32 83 JJ Yeley(i) Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota 190.689
33 15 Clint Bowyer PinkLemonade5HrEnergybnftLBBC Toyota 190.681
34 66 Michael Waltrip MyAFibStory.com Toyota 190.586
35 98 Josh Wise Dogecoin/Reddit.com Ford 190.507
36 36 Reed Sorenson Zing Zang Chevrolet 189.305
37 14 Tony Stewart Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
38 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx One Rate/Deliverminator Toyota
39 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
40 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford
41 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s Halloween Toyota
42 42 Kyle Larson # Energizer Chevrolet
43 24 Jeff Gordon Axalta Chevrolet
DNQ 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
DNQ 51 Justin Allgaier #
DNQ 29 Joe Nemechek(i).

 

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