There was tension at Richmond leading into racing. The pre-race was fine and the drivers were fine with the usual chatter and smiles before the engines started but the tension was there. Ten drivers were still playing the field and the math to be on the CHASE stage following the Federated Auto Parts 400.

One of them was starting on the pole. Jeff Gordon needed a good run to pop the bubble.

Racing at Richmond generally has some bobbles. Touches and spins which usually puts some kinks on the sheet metal is normal. This race wasn’t so normal. It was almost more of a dance than a race. Light on cautions and a bit heavy on leads…

Until the last 10 laps. Questions are all over the board focusing on the exit of turn 4 onto the front stretch. Clint Bowyer, running a wheel on the outside of Dale, Jr., seemed to just lose it and went sideways sliding down onto the apron. The #88 made it by but left its driver a little confused.

“It was the craziest thing I ever saw.  He just spun right out.” said Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Ryan Newman was leading and was just a few laps away from potential victory and a CHASE spot when Bowyer’s #15 went for a slide. Pit road change ups rattled the lineup leaving Newman back slightly with not enough race to make it back. (more…)

The NASCAR season is into the late half and so far, by design or luck, it is shaping up for big races. The “Chase” is winding with a few aces being held to the chest. The ingredients have been mixed and all that is left is to toss it in the oven and watch it rise.

There has been drama and controversy to keep the fans talking. Kurt Busch, for example, with media trouble and a race suspension from NASCAR trying to break him back inside the corral.  A.J. Allmendinger is another with a mark on substance abuse, suspension and a sanctioned rehab program. The continuing saga of Matt Kenseth making a jump for 2013 keeps some speculation in the conversation. (more…)

NASCAR fans should have had plenty to be excited about at the road course for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 as there were spins, passes and plenty of challenges. For the end of the day at Sonoma Clint Bowyer managed his first win of the season and a first in 2012 for Michael Waltrip Racing.

However, the race also brings forth a few issues to toss around.

First and foremost is the idea of NASCAR on a road course in the first place. Many fans don’t seem to like it. We don’t understand that. This type of course offers a variety of terrain and therefore a variety of challenges to racing. It would certainly follow that those challenges would make for a more exciting race. Granted, the big oval speeds are not there but if all you want is speed then flip on NHRA for a few seconds and you’ll see 300+ mph.

As for the diehard traditionalists that want to insist stock cars turn left and anything else is blasphemous we would say to get over it. This is the same bunch that cried when Toyota entered NASCAR. This is the same bunch that chided the “Car of Tomorrow”. They still boo Jeff Gordon because of some perception that goes back to the #3 and Dale Earnhardt. (more…)

One MWR engine remained to run in front for most of the STP 400 in Kansas only to have the power of sunlight pull the rug. Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin both started in the top 10 off the grid. Both suffered engine trouble leaving Martin Truex, Jr. to battle for the MWR banner.

The #56 NAPA Toyota ran well, hugging the wall for fast laps. That was until the sun came out from the clouds and track conditions changed just enough to loosen the Truex car and allow a hard charging Denny Hamlin to get the lead with 30 to go. Truex gave it a couple of dives on the inside of Hamlin in the last few but could not hold the line and get by. (more…)