Friday, March 4, 2016

Overtime Finish - Where Things Haven't Changed

Last Saturday's finish was sickening to see with the leader coming to the white flag and then that results counter on the TV went from Running order to Unofficial Results. This has been an issue that NASCAR has been trying to fix for a few years now and in reality the new Overtime is just not up to par on what NASCAR fans want. NASCAR Fans want to see the race end under green no matter what. They want to see that last lap pass, that hard racing coming to the checker like we saw in the Daytona 500 and this ending the race early is
just not cutting it for the fans. Many fans are thinking that Jr. might have caught Johnson or Kyle Busch even but because of a wreck on the backstretch that didn't happen and we saw Jimmie Johnson cruise onto his 76th victory. Sitting at home watching that race last weekend made me think of how it could be done in the best interest of the fans with consideration of Driver Safety.
The ARCA Racing Series has a setup for these situations and their races will almost always finish the race under green. Why couldn't that system work in the Cup Series and the lower series. Below is an explanation on what the ARCA Racing Series does.

  • If the final scheduled lap of the race is under caution, when the green flag is waved for the restart attempt, there are two laps remaining in the race. If a caution comes out at any time during the first of the two laps, each subsequent restart will be a two-lap restart.
  • If the furled yellow flag with a downwards-pointed finger (one lap before restart in single file formation) is given with two laps remaining in the race, and the restart is on the final scheduled lap, the green and white flag will be waved together and the race will have only one lap remaining.
  • If a caution comes out during the final lap (after the white flag has been displayed), the race returns to yellow immediately. On the ensuing restart, a green and white flag are waved to signal one lap is remaining in the race. Should a yellow flag wave before the leader crosses the finish line, the race will continue under yellow until the restart, which again is one lap.
Such a format allows an unlimited number of attempts at a green flag finish. During the event at Gateway International Raceway on July 28, 2006, 22 laps (27.5 miles) were added to the 120-lap (150-mile) scheduled distance. I think this system would help end these races in all three series under green and give the fans more of what they want! I really hope more change comes because this Overtime thing is not cutting it. (Koelle,2016)

From The Grandstand - 12 Questions with Ryan Beckner

Q- Tell The NASCAR Fans About Yourself!
A- "My name is Ryan Beckner, I live in Floyd, Virginia where Nascar Hall of Famer Curtis Turner is from. I got into nascar back when I was 3 years old. I have ADHD and for whatever reason Nascar was the only thing that could keep my attention. My mom and dad loved that as you could imagine ha ha. They would record races on old VCR tapes and put them on just so they could clean the house and such."
Q- Favorite Driver and Why?
A- "Brad Keselowski! Back in 2008 and 2009 he was the only Nationwide regular winning races and out running all the cup guys. That caught my attention for sure."
Q- What Track Do You Consider Your Hometrack?
A- "Martinsville Speedway!"
Q- Favorite Track to Attend?
A- "Martinsville Speedway! It's 45 Minutes from my house! It's always reminds me of Friday Night home football games where you can do things there that you can't at other tracks simply because it's so close."
Q- When did you attend your first race? Who Won?
A- "1994 Hanes 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Nascar Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace won that race."
Q- Which one? Brickyard 400 or Daytona 500?
A- "Definitely Daytona 500, Brickyard gets strung out way too fast and gets boring quick."
Q- What do you think needs to be changed in our sport?
A- "The schedule needs changed, we need a variety of race tracks on the cup series. Brian France says nascar is the greatest Motorsports in the world. How can that be when 1.5 mile tracks dominate the schedule. We need Rockingham, North Wilkesboro, Iowa, Road America(or any other road course) a Dirt Track race, Milwaukee Mile. Need to lose a date at Phoenix, Michigan, Pocono, Texas, Kansas. I'd move the Westward swing to right after Daytona starting with Sonoma. The chase would be a variety of different sized tracks which would include Rockingham, Wilkesboro, and the road course."
Q- Souvenir Haulers or New Fanatics Tents?
A- "Definitely the Haulers, the fanatics tent is an complete joke. Can't get nowhere NEAR as much merchandise as before unless your a fan of Dale jr. I went to Atlanta and I could not believe they had no coozies of either team penske driver. T shirts are lackluster for all drivers. Only one Ryan Blaney shirt and it's for women only, no Chris 2016 Chris Buescher shirt or anything what so ever. I would love to have a Loves Travel Stops t shirt of his. The Fanatics tent was suppose to offer you more merchandise for all drivers as well as the option for other drivers like Front Row, BK Racing, Xfinity and Truck teams, yet they have barely any of that. Such a shame as I'd spend over 500 dollars or more in hauler merchandise. Now I'll be lucky to break 50. Prices are higher to for the merchandise as well."
Q- Greatest and Worst NASCAR Driver Ever?
A-  "Richard Petty as the greatest imo, worst boy there's been several over the years ha ha. John Wes Townley and Danica Patrick come to mind. JWT has a win and has made gains while Danica has all the money in the world and a free ride and still hasn't done anything with it."
Q- Race you haven't attended yet that you want to? (Races if more than one.)
A- "Darlington Raceway, Daytona 500, Watkins Glen, Iowa, Eldora, Rockingham and North Wilkesboro when nascar goes back to them."
Q- What are your thoughts on the new chase system?
A-  "I'm not a fan of the whole win and your in deal. Just because you won a race doesn't mean your a championship contender. The sport is about consistency, you can't win a championship in anything if you do bad several times. Simple as that, in racing terms if the season is 5 races long and you win 1 but wreck in 2 of the 5 your obviously not going to win the championship. The guy that had luck on his side and won 1 and finished top 5 in all of them will win it."

Last question is from Jake DeWitt on our last From The Grandstand Series and he asks...

Q-"Do you feel that nascar riggs finishes sometimes for the benefit of the "story" or sport?"

A- You know, it's hard to say yes and no to that question. The rigging part to me comes from the "Mystery Debris" cautions. These happen more often then it should unfortunately.  Maybe 3 out of 10 we get to see what the debris is. Also, it doesn't help the case of the "not rigging" brigade when a water bottle or a bag is on the apron and off the racing surface yet, they still throw a caution.

Now ask a question for the Next Fan!
Q- "What schedule changes would you make to the current Cup Series Schedule?"

Now answer that question for yourself!
A- " My chase would be Rockingham, New Hampshire, Road America, Dover, North Wilkesboro, talladega, Charlotte, Martinsville, Texas, Homestead."

Meet And Greet with Drivers - Las Vegas Edition

Friday, March 4

2 p.m. — Ryan Blaney and Brian Scott, Neon Garage stage

2:15 p.m. — Blake Koch, Chevy stage, LVMS Fan Engagement Area

2:45 p.m. — Kurt Busch, Neon Garage stage

2:45 p.m. — Kevin Harvick, wall mural unveiling, underneath grandstands by section 2S

4-6 p.m. — Miss Sprint Cup with the Sprint Cup Series trophy, 105.1 KQRT-FM, 1040 E Flamingo Rd C-D, Las Vegas, NV 89119

6:30 p.m. — Jeff Gordon, Kobalt Kampout, Neon Garage stage (*Open to RV guests only.)

6:45 p.m. — Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, Kobalt Kampout, Neon Garage stage (*Open to RV guests only.)

Saturday, March 5

9 a.m. — Brandon Jones, Chevy stage, LVMS Fan Engagement Area

9:20 a.m. — Spencer Gallagher, Chevy stage, LVMS Fan Engagement Area

10 a.m. — 2016 Daytona 500 Champion Denny Hamlin, Neon Garage stage

10:30 a.m. — Danica Patrick, Nature's Bakery display, LVMS Fan Engagement Area

11:30 a.m. — Hermie and Elliott Sadler, Neon Garage stage

11:45 a.m. — Ray Black Jr., Chevy stage, LVMS Fan Engagement Area

Sunday, March 6

9 a.m. — Matt Kenseth, Toyota PitPass, LVMS Fan Engagement Area

9 a.m. — Michael McDowell, Chevy stage, LVMS Fan Engagement Area

9:20 a.m. — Austin Dillon, Chevy stage, LVMS Fan Engagement Area

9:30 a.m. — Tony Stewart, Cooper Tires stage, LVMS Fan Engagement Area

10:20 a.m. — Richard Petty and Leonard Wood, Cooper Tires stage, LVMS Fan Engagement Area

10:30 a.m. — All Sprint Cup Series drivers, Kobalt 400 driver's meeting, Neon Garage

Are You Feeling Lucky? - Fantasy Picks for Las Vegas

For the first time in 2016 we will give our four picks for this weekend's race and who you should go for on your fantasy team. Las Vegas is a rather weird track that has changed over time and also changed when it comes to winners. It has gone from a Ford Dominated track to a Ford maybe wins every other year. In 2 races Dale Earnhardt Jr. has the best average at the 1.5-mile Speedway in Las Vegas despite not winning either. Is he who we have well find out below! I will name my one Xfinity Series Regular who I think could win in Vegas!

My Four Picks for Las Vegas (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series)

Brad Keselowski

At a track Brad has won at over the past I think you would be insane not to have Brad on your list of possible winners for this weekend's race. The Blanco Deuce hasn't done very well since the Sprint Unlimited but this is prime Penske season for both Brad and Joey. This was the track began his #GoingFor2 campaign in the entertaining 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season. Brad won his first race of 2014 here after Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran out of fuel in the Mountain Dew Kickstart Chevrolet SS. I think Brad could punch his ticket Sunday for the Chase!

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Speaking of Dale Earnhardt Jr. I think he's another prospect at winning Sunday in Vegas. Jr. Nation might want to put some money on their favorite driver to punch his ticket to the chase on Sunday. After a Forgettable Daytona 500 and a 2nd place finish at Atlanta I could see Jr Nation and Peace on Earth Come Sunday Evening when Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes his #88 Chevrolet SS to Victory Lane in Vegas!

Ryan Newman

Newman has the 3rd best average finish at Las Vegas in the last 2 races and I could see the 3rd race being the Charm for the Cat Driver. Ryan has been making strides as of late and making 2 chases in a row is wonderful but there is one column that is still empty for Newman at RCR and that's the Win Column. I could see a victory in the future for RCR rather it be Ryan Newman, Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, or even newly allianced driver Michael McDowell. Ryan could come to Vegas and begin the RCR Jackpot and Domino effect it. We will just have to wait and see!

Ryan Blaney

Testing, Testing 1,2. Oh wrong testing. Blaney did very well in yesterday's test and I could see that roll over into Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Blaney has been one of the Fastest Fords as of late and I don't see that stopping anytime soon. Blaney could return Vegas glory to the Wood Brothers and it would certainly be a Jackpot for both the Woods and the Fans if Blaney could make a W in Vegas and move onto the Chase without a Charter. That would blow some writers in NASCAR's minds and I think it would be one storyline to buckle up and ride.

My Picks for The Win in Saturday's Xfinity Race!

I sat long and hard and I got it down to either of these two drivers. Darrell Wallace Jr. who has the best average finish in one race of the Xfinity Regulars or Brendan Gaughan who has been very good the last 2 years. I think a victory is coming for these two very soon and I could see Vegas being the sight of one of these Awesome wins! Both of these drivers will be locked into the Chase by Chicagoland if not at Chicago! Look for These Regulars to rise soon!

WRL Contractors Team Return to Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing This Weekend at Las Vegas 

After a challenging race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend, the Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing team is looking forward to the upcoming West Coast Swing with Driver Michael McDowell. The first stop for the CSLFR Team will be the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, another 1.5-mile speedway where the team will have additional time to dial-in their intermediate track competition program.
Returning this weekend to the #95 Chevrolet SS is a familiar sponsor. WRL General Contractors returns to the #95. WRL General Contractors is equipped with decades of experience in commercial, faith-based, industrial, and educational construction. Backed by our team of highly skilled subcontractors, we'll do the heavy lifting for you and oversee a project from beginning to end to ensure quality completion. With the seamless success of our projects, we’ve built trust and confidence with folks throughout East Texas. The president of WRL General Contractors, Bob Leavine, is a great friend of mine and half owner of the Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing. WRL has been sponsoring McDowell off and on since he first joined the team in 2014.
Today two tests were held at the 1.5-mile speedway to see how the new rule package would take to the track.
“The Vegas test day is very important to us because we haven’t had the opportunity to work on our mile and half package,” said McDowell. “Atlanta was a struggle and we have to have time to work on those things. So, this test day in Vegas will be important for our team.”

McDowell, a Glendale, Ariz. native, has six NSCS starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with his best finish (30th) coming last year. He notes that LVMS has uniqueness to it that stands out among the other 1.5-mile speedways on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit.

“Vegas is different than the other mile and a half race tracks,” said McDowell. “It’s a fast race track and grip is decent. The weather can be tricky there and wind usually plays a big factor. It’s certainly a different type of track than the other mile and halfs like Charlotte and Atlanta. But if you get your car working well on the mile and half tracks, you’ll be good everywhere.”(Koelle,2016)