Joey Logano, NASCAR, Sports, Team Penske

Team Penske/Martinsville

There has been a lot of talk, a lot of talk this week about what happened last Fall between Joey and Matt at Martinsville.  I wrote about that when it happened and as far as I am concerned it’s now a non issue.  However, we do need to remember where the two Penske drivers were running when things went bad.

Neither Brad or Joey have ever won at Martinsville although both have a runner up finish at the clip.  Last Fall they were both running up front when things broke bad.  They had spent a lot of the afternoon working together on the restarts to make sure they continued to run in the top two.  Then Brad had a mechanical issue that took him and then later Joey, by way of the 20, out of the race.  That series of events changed the complexion of the race and the chase.

Here is something that is important to remember.  Joey and Brad both had great cars at Martinsville.  Here is something else to remember.  Team Penske will very badly want to win this weekend and with the extra week off they will have had that much more time to insure they have the best possible equipment when they pull into the infield.

Joey has, in my opinion, been treated unfairly by other drivers, fans, and to some extent the media.  He didn’t do anything wrong.  He races hard and isn’t that the whole point of racing?  This weekend he will stop apologizing, race hard with great equipment, and be up front.  Brad will race up front too but Joey represents the best chance for a Team Penske win.

So there you have it.  Hamlin, Johnson, and Logano represent, what I think, the drivers most likely to win Sunday at Martinsville.  Tomorrow I will make my prediction on which one will do it.  Let me know what you think.

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Hendrick Motorsports, Jimmie Johnson, Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR


Yesterday I wrote about which JGR driver had the best shot at winning this Sunday in Martinsville.  The clear choice was Denny Hamlin with his 5 wins to 0 by his other teammates.

At Hendrick Motorsports the choice is almost as clear, almost.  Kasey Kahne has either forgotten how to drive or has lost his drive.  He hasn’t just not won anywhere he hasn’t run well.  He won’t be a factor this weekend in Martinsville.

Chase Elliot will run well at the clip but not for the entire race.  The circuit’s shortest track is a Marathon day requiring horsepower, a great setup, and patience.  Chase will have the first two but not enough of the third.  He will run well but won’t have the experience to win.

Jr. will have a great car but his qualifying has been off this season.  I think another bad qualifying day at the clip will put him too far back in the pack and give him too poor a pit stall to win.

Jimmie Johnson has Matinsville figured out, as he does a lot of tracks.  He has won 8 Grandfather clocks.  Three more than Hamilin’s 5.  He has had speed, speed, and more speed this year.  Look for Jimmie to qualify well and get a good pit selection.  This is going to make him tough to beat.

This is a big year for HMS and the 48 team.  Things are changing.  Jeff is in the booth and perhaps a up and coming superstar has taken his seat.  Jimmie arrived and passed a huge milestone in his Hall of Fame career catching and passing Earnhardt.  Let’s be honest, Jimmie won’t be around for more than a few more years.  I think he wants, very badly to win two more championships.  That doesn’t bode well for the other drivers at any track, especially Martinsville.

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Martinsville Speedway, Uncategorized

Martinsville/Joe Gibbs Racing

So this week I am going to break down the top three teams, that have a chance of winning at Martinsville, and which driver from that team will be in victory lane.  Only three teams?  Only one driver from each team?  Yes, that’s right.  It doesn’t take much research to figure it out.

I am gong to include the 78 car from Furniture Row racing in the JGR team because they are getting so much help from them and from Toyota.  However, it doesn’t really matter because there is only really one driver in the JGR camp who has a shot at being in Victory Lane Sunday afternoon.

When I first started looking at the success of the current JGR drivers I was a little shocked.  Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, and Matt Kenseth have combined for a grand total of 0 wins.  That’s right three of the best drivers over the course of the last ten to 15 years have never won at the paper clip.

Martinsville is a unique track in the Cup series.  It takes a driver with incredible patience and particular skill to drive these high power machines on short tracks.  Denny Hamlin grew up driving a series of tracks that taught him how to do it.  South Boston, Southside, Old Dominion, were tracks where the young Hamlin honed his skills.  This has translated to tremendous success at Martinsville.

Since breaking into the Cup Series Denny has won the second most races at Martinsville, 5.  As the week goes on you will see that he and another current driver are far ahead of the field at Martinsville.

Denny has the speed and power of the Gibbs and Toyota cars.  He certainly hasn’t forgotten how to win at Martinsville.  He has distanced himself from his teammates at Martinsville and clearly represents JGRs best chance to win this Sunday.

Tomorrow we will take a look at Hendrick Motorsports.

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NASCAR, Sports

A Week Off/Martinsville

I am glad that is over.  I understand completely why NASCAR does not race on Easter weekend.  I also understand that the teams need a break to regroup after the West Coast swing.  I just missed racing this weekend.  I missed practice and qualifying on Friday and Saturday and a Xfinity or Truck Race on Saturday.  Of course I missed the Cup race yesterday.

The offseason is tough but you get used to it.  You know its going to be a while so that sense of anticipation isn’t there.  This season has been great, great racing and, at least for me, has left me eagerly waiting for the next race as soon as one has ended.

So now here we go getting ready for racing this coming weekend.  Even better we will be at, what in my opinion, the best track on the circuit.  The half mile paperclip that is Martinsville.  This is racing at its best.  Martinsville is a horsepower track where we will have to worry very little about the low down force package or tires.  Teams will be concerned about  a two pronged combination.  Who has the most speed with the best driver behind the wheel.

Drivers will be leaning on each other fighting for precious track position.  The best cars with the best drivers will move to the front.  Pit stops will be extremely critical.  Nothing will be more important than qualifying and getting the most coveted pit stall.

Basically it will be what NASCAR racing is all about.  All the greatest aspects of the sport rolled into one weekend.  It’s only Monday but I can’t wait.  As the week goes on I will let you know my opinion on the top drivers on each team that have a chance to win this weekend and why.  Please let me know your opinion of my predictions as the week continues.

Talk to you soon.


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Manufacturer Move

By now it has been well documented that Stewart Haas Racing will be moving from Chevrolet to Ford next season.  It was a big move for both SHR and Ford.  I’m not convinced that it will work out for either party.  Here is why.

Sure SHR will still have two Cup Champions on the team next season, Harvick and Kurt Bush.  Both are excellent drivers and big names in the Sport.  Want to know why they, especially Harvick, has had so much success since moving to SHR?  Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports.  Chevrolet is deeply invested in the sport, more accurately they are invested in Hendrick Motorsports supplying the lions share of their support to that team.  Hendrick in return has created an excellent support to the teams with which they have an alliance and clearly the team with the closest relationship has been SHR.

Ford really had no choice but to make a move.  Their teams that have historically had winning cars have slipped over the last few years.  RFR hasn’t won in forever and Petty is a middle of the pack team.  Only the newly acquired Team Penske has had success.  Chevrolet has won the last 13 Manufacturer titles and 9 of the last 11 driver’s titles.  Toyota is investing a lot of money and resources into Gibbs and now Furniture row.  Ford can’t let them overtake them in the sport and be seen as the third best manufacturer.

It won’t work out for either.  A change like this is huge and I don’t think SHR will be able to keep pace with building its own stuff at least for a few season.  I could be wrong but I doubt it.  I also think Hendrick will look to align with another Chevy team to help keep the Bowtie at the top of the sport.  Who I don’t know but it could be H Scott and JTG both of whom would obviously benefit from being aligned, or more closely aligned, with HMS.

Here’s my prediction.  Look for Chevy to win both the Driver’s championship and Manufacturer championship for the next several years.  Ford waited too long to make its move.

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Danica Patrick, NASCAR, prediction, Sports, Uncategorized

Danica to Hendrick

No race this weekend.   It is Thursday and normally we would be discussing the upcoming race weekend but without that I decided to do some “research” and give you my opinion on some things I see coming down the line in Sprint Cup.

I read that F1’s Kimi Raikonen is considering, again, a move to NASCAR Sprint Cup for the 2017 season.  Looks like he may be losing his seat with the F1 Ferrari team.  If you remember he raced a Truck and an Xfinity car back in 2011.  Rumor has it that should Kimi come to NASCAR the most likely landing place for him would be with Stewart Haas Racing.  This is interesting because next year Clint Bowyer will be taking over the 14 car from Tony Stewart.  All four cars would be spoken for leaving no room at the inn for Kimi.

But wait, just wait, I have a theory of what is going to happen.  You may be thinking that Kevin Harvick will leave.  After all he is already rumored to be making a jump due to the SHR move from Chevy to Ford next year.  That won’t happen.  Harvick is in the best equipment he has ever raced at SHR and even with a manufacturer change away from the brand he has raced his entire Cup career he won’t leave.  So who would go to make room for Kimi.  Danica Patrick!  That’s right and guess where she is going?  Hendrick Motorsports.  Even better she will be taking over the 5 car from the underperforming Kasey  Kahne, the same driver who hook her right rear fender and put her in the outside wall this past weekend at Fontana.

Those of you who are well informed will probably be saying something like, no way.  Both Patrick and Kahne are signed with their current teams through 2018!  So what?  Are you unfamiliar with Rick Hendrick?

Danica Patrick is a good race car driver, a very good race car driver.  She is also a marketing machine.  She has had a connection to HMS since coming to NASCAR.  Mr. Hendrick will make it work, he won’t let her get away.  Kasey isn’t getting it done behind the wheel and he doesn’t have the power to make money while he doesn’t win, it will soon be time for him to go.

Danica will be behind the wheel of the 5 in 2017.  She will also be in victory lane.



I wondered during the offseason why Kyle Busch, 2015 Sprint Cup Series Champion, wasn’t getting the attention that usually comes with being a champion in NASCAR.  Sure, his season was well documented.  Coming back from the severe injury in an Xfinity race at Daytona to win four races and finish in the top 30 and earn a chase spot.  It was a great story.

Still, almost as soon as the celebration was over in Homestead’s Victory Lane  it seemed like Kyle vanished from the many NASCAR stories that filled the off season.  This past weekend at Fontana reminded me why.  Kyle Busch is not Champion material.  Don’t get me wrong he has more than enough talent, obviously, and is in good enough equipment to win the championship, again obviously, but he is not a Champion.

Kyle likes to race in the Xfnity series.  I am assuming his sponsors like to see him race there too.  Unlike some, I don’t have a problem with that.  I know how money works and as such realize why Kyle is often in the car and why he often wins.  This past weekend he didn’t win.  He blew a tire on the last lap, no caution came out and he lost his chance to win his fourth consecutive Xfinity series race.  Kyle was upset, which is understandable.  However, what is not understandable was him saying, over his in car radio, that NASCAR fixed the race so that he couldn’t win.  Even worse he completely blew off his mandatory, as a top three finisher, obligation to the media after the race.

This is not how a champion acts, not even close.  This is how a child acts.  “I’m mad, I’m going to say something mean about you and then I’m going to storm off.”  No, not champion stuff at all.

I remember hearing a story about Willie Stargell, the late great Pittsburgh Pirate.  After a particularly tough World Series loss Willie was in the club house.  His kids were climbing all over him and he was laughing with them.  A reporter asked him how he could be doing that after the loss.  Willie told the reporter “You gotta be a man about it”.   Now that is champion stuff.

Kyle Busch is one of the most fortunate people on the face of the earth.  He gets paid a lot to do something he loves, something he does very well.  He is on the short list of people to win a championship.  He has reached the top of his profession.  He should learn to act like he belongs there.  I doubt he will but he should.


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Talk to you soon