Wow… Somewhat unexpected but not completely. Kevin Harvick won at Richmond.

Kyle Larson had the pole in the Federated Auto Parts 400 and finished 14th. Harvick started 13th and crossed the checkers with the win so it was almost a spot trade. It’s OK as Larson is still ranked a few spots above Harvick even though Larson has one win against Harvick’s two…

It is NASCAR points math… Just run with it and don’t be confused…

Ross Chastain was the stage 1 winner. Joey Logano took stage 2 and also led the race for the high count of 222 laps.

We also have to take a late season look at Harvick… There could be any combination of reasons that kept Harvick out of Victory Lane for so long. The “new” NextGen car, team and crew issues, experience tempered with age… What can’t be overlooked, however, is that Kevin is a Cup Champion that has a history in this sport that bridges the past and future. It was Harvick who drove the Earnhardt car with #29 in 2001…

However, one week before Richmond, Harvick broke a 65 race winless streak at Michigan. Now he has two wins back to back with the 60th Cup win just now at Richmond…

Has something clicked…? Has this new car come into the grips of Harvick just in time to make a real run in 2022…? Was 2021 on cruise control…? Did Stewart-Haas change the coffee in the shop…?

Harvick’s Crew Chief, Rodney Childers, believes the team and all involved have been steadily taking the new car forward for the past few months and it is coming together with results.

Whatever, the reason… Luck, skill or collaboration… The #4 team have two wins and, no matter who wins or loses before the playoff cutooff, that puts Harvick in the post-season Championship run.

NASCAR moves on to the two final races in the regular season. Watkins Glen and Daytona give the final chances to “win in” to the playoffs. Ryan Blaney is currently in the mix without a season win so far. If another driver wins that hasn’t already Blaney’s points move to the back burner.

Darlington is the first race in the playoffs. Martinsville is the last elimination before the “Championship 4” go for it at Phoenix.

Full PHOTO GALLERY – Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway

Kevin Harvick switched teams from a long run with Richard Childress Racing to a new seat at Stewart-Haas for 2014. He brought Budweiser with him to wrap the new #4 Chevrolet. At the season opening Daytona 500 he took the best finish of the rest of the Stewart-Haas group of drivers with 13th place, driving up from starting 38th.

The second race of the season offered the same result as Harvick again finished in front of his team mates but this time the finish was also the win. It’s race two of the season and, for points, the second race for Harvick in the #4.

…And he has already snagged a win.

Whatever time many may take to adapt to new surroundings Harvick seems to have skipped over. At Phoenix the #4 was fast enough through practice and qualifying to put it, and Harvick, on the board as the one to beat. He took it to the track and came off with the win of the Profit Of CNBC 500. (more…)

“Third time is a charm” or perhaps things sometimes happen in “threes” or maybe it’s just luck…

Tony Stewart is out of the #14, Mobil 1 – Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for Watkins Glen. That is certain. How many more races he could miss as the season runs closer to Richmond and “The Chase” is yet to be determined.

At Southern Iowa Speedway, Stewart was running quite well in his #14 sprint car when he slid into a slower car and went for an airborne tumble. The result was a smashed car and a broken leg. To be exact, he broke the bones in his lower right leg. (more…)

As far as we can tell, Tony Stewart is at his best when he has a bit of a temper behind him.

Not always. Stewart can be a pleasant fellow with a witty sense of humor. Observations, however, often reveal his “race face” is no-nonsense and when he is stewing over something he, as often, puts that same simmer into focus.

He just won at Dover which ended a fairly long winless streak. Yes, circumstances set in motion near the end of the race played into it as Jimmie Johnson was called to roll down pit road after a jumped restart. With that, Stewart and Juan Pablo Montoya were left to race it out.

Before the race, Stewart seemed short, almost dismissive, for pre-race discussion or interviews. Afterwards, following checkered flags, burnouts, and a side-by-side with the “Monster”, Stewart was even more “Stewartly” with the media. (more…)

Martinsville Speedway racked up yet another Virginia twist on finishes at the historic track on Sunday, April 1st for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500. As it happens, we’ve often noticed quite a few fans making an exit around lap 450 or so to get a jump on traffic. However, in an effort to save a few minutes they also miss out on some of the best racing of the day. Martinsville is hardly predictable and making an exit believing you know the end is like leaving a John Wayne film before the fight scene.

Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon seemed to have it in the bag. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was making a run as well. Hendrick teams had the top 3 well to the finish. Gordon alone had the lead for most of the race up to that point anyway. It seemed to be a given that Johnson or Gordon would take the checkers. Although, with Dale Jr. running that close, many stayed that might have made the early exit otherwise. Junior will keep folks in their seats if he is running near the front.

It all seemed like a dead on predictable finish. Johnson had the lead and Gordon was chasing with Dale Jr. in the 3rd slot. As it happens so often at Martinsville, there was a caution in the final laps. This one brought about when David Reutimann rolled out to a stop on the front stretch. Confusing as he had just passed the entrance to pit road  on the opposite side of the short track. Whatever the reason for the stop of the #10, the caution was out for yet another green-white-checkered restart at Martinsville. Most of the field hit the pits for a splash and at least two tires. Gordon and Johnson stayed out assured they had enough fuel to make it. Their tires, however, were no match for fresh rubber on the cars lined up behind them for the restart.

With no traction to hold, the cars behind bunched up with Clint Bowyer going for the inside dive. Ryan Newman, who had been down a lap earlier, was also right there as the #48 and #24 lost grip with Bowyer’s car on the inside of turn one running three wide. Johnson and Gordon slid up and into the wall. Caution and another restart. This time, Ryan Newman was there to take advantage and the win.

Newman, in the #39 Outback Steak House Chevy with Stewart-Haas Racing, started in the fifth slot, was down a lap and fought back to the win. An amazing finish as team mate and owner Tony Stewart won the Fall race at Martinsville. An amazing finish with better cars dominating most of the day. An amazing finish with no apologies on the events that put Gordon and Johnson in the wall.

A.J. Allmendinger was in the slot for second, Dale Jr. rolled over in third, Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex, Jr. rounded out the top five for the finish order

Once again, the race proves out to the last laps at Martinsville. Next time you go, enjoy your day of racing and trackside fun but stay to the end. Racing is always hot and close at Martinsville but those last 10 laps always prove to be something to see.

Saturday and the Kroger 250 Camping World Series Truck race was also a pleasant watch. Kevin Harvick may have used all of his mojo on Saturday as he finished Sunday at 19th. Saturday, however, it was something to see as he lead 248 of the 250 laps to take the win. There was just no other truck able to hold back Harvick and the #2 Tide/Kroger Chevy. Ty Dillon and the Bass Pro Shops Chevy gave it a run at the close but finished where he started in the second slot.

How often do you see the pole sitter and the next starter finish in the same 1-2 order?

Martinsville always serves up good racing. Just, as we said before, stay to the end!

Danica Patrick is running with Stewart-Haas racing to run selected Sprint Cup races for 2012. In an interview from Daytona this week, she said she was taking on the 2012 season like a “honey badger”.

“… the honey badger, he doesn’t give a crap, he takes what he wants. And that’s how I’m going to be this year, like a honey badger.”

She made reference to a video she had seen about the animal in which the narrative is quite funny and the honey badger goes about wreaking mayhem on other creatures in a quite bloody fashion. The animal is quite a beastie and has, apparently, an “I don’t give a crap” attitude. (more…)