TrackSchmak Extravoganza

This week, we had some of our favorite listeners join us in a epic episode of the schmak. Despite being an “off week” for racing, we found plenty to talk about, including:

The Race Team Alliance – how is NASCAR responding?
Tony Stewart wins first Sprint Car race.
Penske winning 5 races this year.
Is Jimmie still a good pick at Indy?
Chase Elliot winning at Chicago.
And drivers who don’t have a win – who will be likely to get a win before the chase?

Picks for this week:

Listener Analese: Tony Stewart
Bitter Bros Racing: Jeff Gordon
Listener Nick: Jimmie Johnson
Coach: Dale Jr.
Rob: Kyle Larson

My Ding-A-Ling

This week, we schmaked all that happened at Talladega (not much) and a bit about Bowyers new dingy, and all other sorts of things that may or may not happen at the Kansas mother’s day eve night race.

Picks for next week:
Coach: Matt Kenseth
Rob: Brad Keselowski

Sub picks (growler of beer wager):
Coach: Kasey Kahne
Rob: Joey Logano

Desert Rage

Lots of rage this week, and none of it is directly related to the race.

Topics include Mark Garrow’s new(ish?) podcast, qualifying format issues, NASCAR’s implicit support of Arizona’s proposed pro-discrimination law, and a whole host of other topics and rages.

Picks for next week:

Coach: Jimmie Johnson
Rob: Brad Keselowski

Crewman who threw a sledgehammer suspended

From yahoo sports:

After Harvick and Dillon crashed late in the race, Harvick — who currently drives for RCR in the Sprint Cup Series — stopped in Dillon’s pit box out of frustration. Dillon’s crew angrily confronted Harvick to get him out of the way and a sledgehammer came out of nowhere from the direction of the pit box.

Guess they figured out where “nowhere” was, and his name is Adam Brown.

Covering 101 Damnations at Talladega

This week we cover the news of the Air Titan’s palns for 2014, Todd Parrot’s parties of 2013, Elephant hunting parties of 2012 (and Go Daddy “commitments”), and a whole lot of stuff.

Also, the boring race with the bored announcers allowed us to produce one of the best ever episodes of the schmak.

Picks for Martinsville 2:

Coach: Jeff Gordon

Rob: Kyle Busch

Truex to the 78, officially

Long rumored, finally confirmed. Expect an actual announcement on Tuesday the 22nd. No word on NAPA at all.

Brain Vickers out for the rest of 2013 due to blood clots

Sad news from jayski:

Brian Vickers to miss the rest of the 2013 season: Michael Waltrip Racing learned today that Brian Vickers is not available to race for the remainder of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season due to health issues. Vickers said Dr. William Downey has placed him on blood thinning medication after a Monday morning examination on his right leg discovered a small blood clot in his calf region. The medications will keep Vickers out of the #55 Aaron’s Toyota the remainder of the season, effective immediately. Vickers said his physicians are confident he will be able to resume activity before the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season begins.

What was a bad year for MWR has just gotten even worse.

Domestic Abuse: Kvapil – Arrested, Released, Still Racing

We talked about this a little bit on our latest schmak, but didn’t know a lot about the situation. Now some alleged facts have emerged, and, if true, sounds worse:

According to court records reviewed by The Sporting News, Kvapil allegedly pulled his wife into a bedroom by her hair and struck her in the head. He is not permitted to return home and can only contact his wife by phone or email on matters concerning their children.

Pulled her hair and punched her in the head. What did he have to say for himself?

Kvapil, who will race Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, apologized to BK Racing, NASCAR, fans and “anyone else that was impacted by Tuesday night.”

His wife & children aren’t specifically named. Perhaps they’re part of the “anyone else”.

“Obviously, there was a domestic situation Tuesday night with my wife. Regret that that happened,” he said after qualifying 41st Thursday night.

“there was a domestic situation” – no, he pulled his wife by the hair and punched her. That’s assault. Jerk.

“Regret that that happened” – there’s no “I” in that statement. Taking no blame. No apologies.

“Because it is a family, personal matter, we ask for respect and privacy in this situation and we try to work it out together as a family. I’m obviously embarrassed about the situation. I don’t like the negative effects that it has brought on.”

“…don’t like the negative effects” – I’m sure his wife didn’t like the negative effects of a fist to the face either. Jerk.

“It’s been tough. I guess you really find out your true friends, your supporters,” Kvapil said.

So Kvapil is trying to be a victim here. Not a lot of people want to be associated with a wife-beater. Hopefully his “true friends” are the ones telling him how he screwed up and how to apologize and such. Anyone unquestioningly standing by him at this point is not a “true friend”.

“It’s been quite an eye-opening experience.

I bet it was for his wife, too. Especially after he punched her.

Been through some things I definitely don’t ever want to go through again.

He’s the one who put both of them through all these things. Again, trying be the victim. Jerk.

I should add that to be fair, the full facts of the situation haven’t been divulged, and might not ever be divulged. But no matter what the circumstances are leading up to the assault, this whole situation could have been avoided by simply not pulling his wife by the hair into another room and then striking her in the head.

And of course, the 83 and 93 BK racing teams were sporting the logos of Domestic Violence Awareness Month – starting this week. Still, he will be racing this weekend, despite his “I’m kind of a victim too” non-apology “apology”.

Kyle Petty gets it wrong again

With the changing landscape around the Stewart-Hass release of Ryan Newman and subsequent expansion to four cars with Kurt Busch, it’d be easy to assume that Tony Stewart simply lied to Ryan Newman about the 2014 plan of SHR.

If you’re Kyle Petty, that’s exactly what you did:

“I was pretty disappointed to hear Kyle Petty say that we basically lied to Ryan and deceived Ryan,” Stewart said. “Deceived was the word that he used actually. They said we deceived him … in doing this.”

Why would Kyle Petty say such things? It’s pretty obvious that Stewart had no idea that Gene Haas was going go all “lone cowboy” and buy a fourth team for the 2014 season.

If Kyle Petty had bothered to talk to people involved, or even read one of the Gene Haas press interviews (see our report), he wouldn’t make such ridiculous statements.

But then, he is Kyle Petty. Wrong about Danica Patrick, wrong about Denny Hamlin, wrong about Stewart-Hass. Which other of the 40-odd teams and drivers will he be wrong about next? My guess is all of them.

Montoya visits Furniture Row

Headline says it all, really. From jayski

#78-Front Row Racing general manager Joe Garone confirmed to FOX Sports that Juan Pablo Montoya visited the Denver-based shop on Tuesday and remains on the teams shortlist to replace Kurt Busch in 2014. Garone also told FOX Sports that there has not been discussion between Furniture Row Racing and Jeff Burton, who will part ways with Richard Childress Racing at the end of the year.

Notes from New Hampshire

The Modifieds

I saw about half of the Modified race on Saturday, and the half I saw was great. Pushing, bumping, trading the lead every 2 or 3 laps, good cars going to the front but not running away from the field – it was pretty much everything you want in a race. I only wish I knew the drivers better, so that each move would have had more significance in my mind. Anyway, they were awesome.

I actually caught this race by accident, as I was at the track to see if I could get Keselowski to sign my Track Schmak shirt (he was the only driver that I knew was signing autographs). Anyway, I forgot that you have to buy tickets to get stuff autographed, and you had to get them at 8 am or something stupid like that. So no schmak autograph. But still there was “Schmak at the Track!”

Photo

The Nationwide Race

Terrible. Horrible. Easily the worst race I’ve ever seen in person. Kyle Busch dominated, got sent back by pit strategy or a mistake or something, spent 50 laps coming back to the front. Brian Vickers held him off for a while, but as soon as Busch got past, it was over. The only redeeming thing about the race was the caution with 2 to go, which lead to 3 Green-White-Checker attempts. 2 out of the 3 restarts, Kyle Busch got away easily. The second restart, Vickers kept up until entering turn 1. Then it was over.

I’ll have some more thoughts on how to improve the Nationwide racing on this week’s schmak (due out on Thursday-ish), but for now, that series is just hurting. Very little racing anywhere in the pack.

The Cup Race

I thought it was a great race. Of course, it had to be the hottest day in Loudon so far that week, and I got roasted in the stands. Note – I need to bring a neck towel and ice next time. No sunburn, but just a nice good old fashioned 4 hour roast in an oven.

There was some actual racing going on almost every lap, although track position was still king. Tony Stewart did not look like he had a top-5 capable car until he ended up in front. Likewise, Dale Jr. looked strong until bad pit strategy got him mired back.

Vickers – I was trying to follow him early, and he didn’t look that great. But once he got into 3rd position, his car started looking strong. From my vantage point, he was driving into the corner a little higher than Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart, and was driving with more intensity than either of them. Once he settled in a little and stopped over-driving the corner, his car started looking like a winning car.

The crowd also seemed to be rooting for him – when he passed Stewart, a cheer erupted. When he passed Busch for the lead, an even bigger cheer erupted. Leaving the track, I talked with some fans who said they felt good about Vickers winning, since he was an underdog and was back on a positive career path.

So it was a popular win.

Newman

In case you haven’t heard it, here is a link to Kyle Busch calling Newman a big ogre.

Ryan Newman had a so so day going, until about a lap before he was wrecked. He had stayed out to gain track position, and was on older tires on an already mediocre car, so he was kind of a road block. Kyle Busch kind of roughed him up when passing, so the next corner, Newman drove in deep trying to get back to Kyle Busch. Keselowski then took advantage and slid a little high off the corner while Newman chopped down. There was more contact, and Newman gave Keselowski a shot on the exit of the corner, causing Keselowski to almost spin. Then, 1 lap later, Kurt Busch just plain over drove the corner. I know the TV replay shows Kenseth hitting him or nearly hitting him, but from my angle, Kurt was already drifting up the track into Newman by the time Kenseth had anything to do with it.

You can read the whole war of words between Newman and Kyle Busch here.

Newman kind of proved Kyle Busch’s point, saying:

I’m sure if I rearrange his face I might fix it

and ended his statement with:

It seems like after his comment about me not having a ride it seems like he has way more to lose than I do.

Threats and retribution. Sounds like a frustrated ogre.

Overall Race Rating

This was one of the better Cup races I’ve seen in person. Good on ya’ NASCAR.

Danica Patrick

After our last Schmak in which we took Kyle Petty to task for saying that Danica is not a racer, I felt I had to follow her race a little more closely than normal. Most of the TV coverage provides superficial analysis (at best) of her racing, and while I’m glad it’s not the Danica-cam all-the-time style coverage that happened when she first entered the series, the current reporting doesn’t provide any depth at all.

By my observation, she is definitely racing. She passed two cars on the outside on the restart, and raced with the 7 car, 93 car, 83 car, and made passes. In particular, she raced the 83 of David Reutimann for 30 laps straight. She would get a run off of 2, run side by side down the backstretch, have to back off the entry of 3 in order to run side by side, and couldn’t get back to the gas quick enough to pass David. So she’d have to fall in line, stalk, diamond the corner to get a run off, run side by side, and then keep the car low while David chopped her on the exit.

She was frustrated on the radio, mildly cussing at Reutimann a few times when he diamonded the corner on the exit, but she never overdrove the car, never touched Reutimann (as far as I could see). She acknowledged that she needed to get better at keeping speed while trying to pass, but she was definitely trying, and definitely racing. Kyle Petty is dead wrong about her not being a racer.

Could have used a different picture

So Jeb Burton got his first truck win. But they could have picked a picture that didn’t highlight the empty stands.

Burton win empty stands

All-Star Schmak Showdown Schmegegge

We schmak the showdown, the All-star race, and posit some opinions about how to improve this next year (hint – it’s not switching venues to Las Vegas).

Picks for the 600:

Coach: Kasey Kahne (again)

Rob: Jimmie Johnson

Wrong way joystick cranking at Darlington

Join us for our 82nd(!) episode of the schmak.

Lots of awesome schmak silliness, including the gyro cam sham, Darlington’s boring opening laps, the racing that broke out near the end, and a fantastic preview of the All-Star race next week. Do you have a question about the All-Star format? Eligibility for the race? It’s all here in the latest schmak.

Picks for the Sprint Open race:

Coach: Jamie McMurray
Rob: Martin Truex Jr.

Picks for the All-Star race:

Coach: Kasey Kahne
Rob: Clint Bowyer

Weird Stuff in Richmond

This week, we schmak all things Richmond.

Penalties, tires, sprinkler malfunctions, it’s all here in the weekly Schmak of record.

Picks for next week at Talladega:

Coach: Dale Jr.

Rob: Cousin Carl Edwards

Penalties Schmenalties

On Wednesday (delayed from their normal Tuesday announcement due to Keselowski’s White House appearance), NASCAR announced penalties for team Penske involving 25 points, $100,000, and 6 week suspensions for crew and car chiefs for both the #2 and #22 Penske Fords.

That’s a pretty harsh penalty any way you look at it, made even harsher because NASCAR has not yet actually stated that anything that they confiscated was “illegal”.

Just that certain parts “weren’t in the spirit of the rules”.

Heck of a penalty for not having NASCAR spirit.

Rookie of the year points standings

I was curious about the rookie of the year (ROTY) standings so far this year, and didn’t see anything that had them listed, so I went and calculated them out.

The basic premise is this – it doesn’t really matter where they finish in the race, but where they finish relative to the other ROTY candidates.

Highest finishing rookie gets 10 points, second gets 9, third gets 8, etc…

Or in this case, no “etc…” because there are only three declared ROTY candidates.

So here are the standings as of Fontana:

Rookie Standings, 2013

 

Danica Patrick

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

Timmy Hill

Race Finish Rookie Points Finish Rookie Points Finish Rookie Points
Daytona 500 8th 10 12th 9 N/A 0
Phoenix 1 39th 9 16th 10 N/A 0
Las Vegas 33rd 9 18th 10 N/A 0
Bristol 28th 9 16th 10 N/A 0
Fontana 26th 9 20th 10 39th 8
Martinsville 12th 10 25th 9 N/A 0
———— Standings ————
  Rank Points Rank Points Rank Points
Totals 2nd 56 1st 58 3rd 8

At the end of the year, only the 10 best rookie points finishes will be counted, so Danica could catch up to Stenhouse if he has a bunch of bad days/blown engines/wrecks.

But probably not.

Timmy Hill could also conceivably be more competitive since he is scheduled for more than 10 races this season.

But the bottom line is – does anyone else care?

Danica’s old ride

For the first four races of 2013, Danica Patrick has raced in 3 new and 1 almost new car.

But for Martinsville, she’s getting a four year old car, while teammate/boss Tony Stewart is getting a car built last year and other teammate Ryan Newman is getting a brand new car.

In fact, the car that Danica is driving on Sunday was last on the track in November 2010, more than 2 years ago.

Methinks someone at Stewart Haas has low expectations for Danica at Martinsville.

Full chassis rundown from Jayski.com:

Chassis No. 10-535: This car (formally No. 14-535) debuted in April 2009 with Tony Stewart at the wheel at Phoenix International Raceway, where Stewart used it to qualify sixth and lead once for 19 laps before finishing second. The last outing for Chassis No. 10-535 was in November 2010, when Stewart started 20th and finished 17th at Phoenix. The car was on standby for the No. 14 team throughout many race weekends in 2011 and 2012 but was never pressed into service. Since the end of the 2012 season, it was updated to the sixth-generation (Gen-6) Chevrolet SS configuration and transferred to the No. 10 GoDaddy.com team of Danica Patrick and crew chief Tony Gibson.

Hamlin vs. Logano

On the Dan Patrick show, Hamlin had this to say about the last lap wreck with Joey Logano at Fontana:

“If it wasn’t intentional, it’s the worst case of car control I’ve ever seen as a driver.”

In a separate ESPN interview, Logano had a different story:

“My number one goal is to go win a race,” Logano told ESPN’s Marty Smith. “So did I intentionally wreck him? No, I did not intentionally do that. If I was going to do that I would have hit him in the left-rear tire. I hit him in the door. It’s hard racing at that point.”

I tend to believe Logano has problems controlling his car. I think Ryan Newman agrees.

Mark Martin to the 11 – screw you MWR?

Mark Martin will be subbing for Denny Hamlin in the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

He was not scheduled to be in the MWR #55 car at Martinsville, but he was supposed to be in the #55 in the following three events at Texas, Kansas, and Richmond.

Does this mean more seat time for Brian Vickers? More for Michael Waltrip? It’s like a semi-silly season already.

UPDATE: This probably explains it a bit better:

MWR, according to sources, would like to keep Vickers in the 55 for as much as possible because he is the likely replacement for Martin next season.