And He Shall Be Known as Awesome Jones

On this week’s rant laden schmak, we talk about the awful pre-race farcical “human interest” stories, the smattering of news, our fantasy pick results (we did terribly), and picks for the Phoenix race.

Coach: Kevin Harvick

Rob: Carl Edwards

Danica Patrick – Sexism and Namecalling

UPDATE: Danica’s spotter tweeted back: “@robcooper22 @TrackSchmak that definitely did not happen. It wasn’t her fault AT ALL!! And I wouldn’t be saying that about her ever.”

I tweeted back: “Unfortunate 51’s spotter claimed it was “Danica’s spotter” who said it. Maybe someone else from the 10 team.”

“Or maybe the 51 spotter made it up so he could just call her names.”

His response:

“i am going to say he made it up. My team is smart enough not to open their mouths with comments like that.”

Interesting. I most definitely heard the “sometimes she’s just a dumb bitch” thing on AJ’s radio. Was that part of the “comedy” that I missed? Trying to be like the Onion (fake news reporting) of NASCAR?

When I listened in to Danica’s spotter on her channel, he was professional and supportive, which makes AJ’s spotter claim harder to believe.

FURTHER UPDATE:

Again from Danica’s spotter: “i just called the 51 spotter. He said that never came out of my mouth. It came out of his. Fix the lies now!!”

So the way I’m reading that, it means that the 51’s spotter admitted to saying what I have posted here, but that the 10 spotter was not involved in any way.

/UPDATE

As regular readers know, I was at New Hampshire this weekend for the Cup race. I posted my New Hampshire notes a few days ago (since deleted and moved here), but the Danica Patrick / 51 team spotter story deserves to be highlighted.

On lap 220 or so, after Danica and AJ Allmendinger wrecked, I switched over to AJ’s channel and this is what I heard:

51 team: “You wanna hear some comedy?”

AJ: “Sure”

51 team: “Danica’s spotter came over and apologized, said it was Danica’s fault, and that sometimes she’s just a dumb bitch.”

AJ: silence. “ok?”

51 team: “So anyway, that’s some mid race comedy for you.”

NOTE: the conversation listed above is approximate, as I only started notating it after it happened. The exact wording was most likely different, but the “comedy” and “sometimes a dumb bitch” bit were the parts that stuck in my mind.

AJ wasn’t laughing, no one else on the radio channel was laughing. Danica’s spotter denies saying anything of the sort to the 51 team, and I believe him. Sounds like the 51 crew was just being sexist douche bags.

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.

Half the Chase is now Dust in the Wind at Kansas

Last week we forgot about the repave, but this week we were all reminded as the race took some fun turns. This week, the trachschmak podcast (sponsored by Trach Schmak, no relation), takes a look at Aric Almirola (although not at how to say his name), Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson’s amazing recovery, Kyle Busch’s spin, Greg Biffle’s spin, Danica Patrick’s spin and retaliation, and all the other spins and incidences of the day.

Picks for Martinsville:

Coach: Jeff Gordon
Rob: Clint Bowyer

The Bristol Bash

What a race! What a summer of racing! Great racing means less to complain about, but still plenty to talk about in the schmak of the week.

Picks for next week:

Rob: Jeff Gordon

Coach: Kasey Kahne

Hittin’ the Road, part I – Sonoma

When news breaks, we are here to schmak it! This week, Kenseth looks to hit the road as he is given his walking papers, Danica gets knocked off the road by Jaques Villenueve (I don’t know and don’t really care to check that spelling), and Clint Bowyer comes from the flat back road to the conquer the twisty hills of Sonoma.

With either good or bad coverage by TNT (depending on your viewpoint), we can all agree that road courses deserve a place on the schedule and are important for overall driver skill. At least, that’s what the schmak crew thinks.

Also, something fishy happened with last week’s picks – listen to find out!

Picks for next week at Kentucky:

Coach: Jimmie Johnson
Rob: Matt “Looking for a ride” Kenseth.

Polka-dots at Dover

Jimmie Johnson wore the Afro-circus polka dotted wig and horrendous paint scheme this week, which proves the point that it doesn’t matter what you look like, it’s what’s under the hood that counts. Life lesson. Learned.

This week’s schmak takes a look at Kurt Busch’s suspension, his probably firing, and James Finch’s 180 degree turn in statements.

When he hired Kurt Busch, he said: “I told Kurt, ‘I won’t fire you, and you won’t quit. We’ll do whatever it takes — roll in the mud if we have to to win.’ ”

This week: “If he’s going to kill himself I’m not going to be in the airplane with him. If that’s what he’s planning on doing, I am going to get out.”

Also, Prelude to the Dream. Ray Evernham! Danica Patrick! Tony Stewart! Ryan Newman! Clint Bowyer! and others!

Picks for Pocono:

Rob: Jeff Gordon

Coach: Jimmie Johnson