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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Roush reliability issues ruin any realistic shot at Chase title

There's a couple reasons everybody usually looks to Hendrick Motorsports when picking championship favorites.

First, they (especially Jimmie Johnson) tend not to screw up in the Chase.

And second, the other teams do tend to screw up in the Chase.

This week, it was the Roush Fenway team's turn to self-destruct. Things were looking good early, with Matt Kenseth running up front and leading, but then all hell broke loose.

First Greg Biffle blew up, ending any realistic shot at the title for him. Then Carl Edwards had mechanical issues, putting him far enough back that he's probably a longshot.

At the end of the race, even Kenseth, who had run up front all day, was spitting out smoke and finished 30th.

On top of all that, non-Chase driver David Ragan drove straight into a wrecking Kurt Busch and crumpled up his car. In short, everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the Roush team.

It's all about reliability, and that's not something the Roush team can claim its had this year. They started poorly, picked things up in mid-season, but have never been truly consistent other than one recent string of good runs by Carl Edwards.
That's just not going to be enough to win a title.

When you look at what happened Sunday, and you'll see why Roush Racing hasn't won a title since Kurt Busch won the inaugural Chase (and that one came in miraculous fashion, with Kurt losing a tire at the perfect time ... right in front of pit road, to save his day.

Here's a quick game for you: Think back to the last time Hendrick Motorsports had several of its cars' engines fail in one race.

Still thinking?

I'm sure it has happened, and I vaguely remember it a time or two, but it's so rare that I can't even remember when it happened.

Reliability in the Chase is the key to having any shot at a title. It's clear there is not enough reliability at Roush Fenway, and with Kyle Busch's woes the Joe Gibbs team has some issues too.

And as the others fall off, a couple of four-time champs at Hendrick Motorsports will continue to have reliable cars and battle each other for the title.

Stewart staying alive
After a rough start to the Chase, highlighted by his running out gas at New Hampshire and tumbling in the points, Tony Stewart is alive again.

After beating Jimmie Johnson to take the checkered flag in a place where the #48 has basically owned Victory Lane in the recent past, Stewart is in 5th place and still withing striking distance of the points lead ... he just can't screw up anymore. All his opportunity for error is gone.

Stewart is the only driver to win a title both in the Chase era and before the Chase era, and that's due to his standing as one of the most talented drivers in the field. If he gets on a roll, the competition better watch out.

Finally, a great Fontana race
After so many stinkers in the past, the race Sunday at Fontana was a great one, featuring 4-wide Daytona style action and some great door-to-door racing, even between teammates. Kevin Harvick at one point got annoyed with his Jeff Burton, and Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon had some pretty intense battles.

It's too bad there weren't more races like this in the past, or the track might have kept its second date. The drop from 500 to 400 miles should have happened a long time ago.

An animated take on NASCAR
Comedy Central's "South Park" took a shot at NASCAR this week with its "Poor and Stupid" episode, and while it wasn't the funniest episode of the show that I've seen, it had some good moments. There was Cartman calling Jimmie Johnson "dumber than spit", cartoon Danica getting run over, a car sponsored by feminine hygiene products and other hijinks. Check it out if you get a chance, but be aware it isn't exactly a family show.

For another take on the episode, and the reaction from drivers to it, check out

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a reason for Hendrick winning!
Nascars brand of choice Chevy!!!!!

Think when was the last time another brand of car won the manufacterers title other than Chevy& Still Thinking???

Lets see in the late ninties after total domination of point titles by Earhart Sr, and Jeff Gordon, what does Nascar go, give them a new SB2 engine!

Then in the 2000s after total domination again, wining apox 90% of Talledaga races, 70% of Daytona 500s and point titles Nascar gives Chevy a new RO7 engine! Ford was running a design based back in 1991!

Also its not just Hendrick its the brand of car, look a Gannisis, then it goes to Childress etc all have Nascars brand of choice Chevy!

Just let any other brand Dodge Ford or Toyota start dominating and you will see fast rule changes!

You are only allowed to dominate in Nascar with a bowtie on the hood!

A lot of fans have better things to do than watch a 3 hour Chevy commerical every sunday!!!!

October 11, 2010 at 2:01 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's simply the teams that have and represent that brand. If Hendrick Motorsports was racing another brand then that brand would be winning all the races and championships. Maybe NASCAR should consider TARP relief for the other teams to improve their performance if they continue to show they are unable to keep up. The cream always rises to the top as old DW used to say.

October 12, 2010 at 2:48 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2

I dont drink the Koolaide that if Hendrick would dominate if they switch brands of cars!

If its not Hendrick, it RCR, or Earnhart, look at how Gannis has improved since switching to Chevy!

I would dearly love to see Chad and Jimmy switch brands of cars and lets see how great they were!
Ray Evernham found out, so will Joe Gibbs!

Also Nascar appoints a 40 GM exe John Middlebrook to rule on penaties, that dont even pass the smell test!

The reason Bill Elliot didnt win more champships an races was because of Nascar consistly changing rules!
Car fans even Chevy fans are leaving Nascar because its so onesided!

October 12, 2010 at 12:20 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to have to say you don't have a clue. Ray Evernham bought a vacant lot and had to build an entire new team from the ground up as well as help develop a brand new competition engine for Dodge and it was not long after that two of his cars qualified on the front row at the CocaCola 600 and his third car won the race. Soon afterwards he was distracted my a mistress and with his following divorce and court ordered sale of half of his team he allowed the team to spiral downward. Had he kept his personal life in order he very well could have been a power house team owner today. Coulda, woulda shoulda As they say, the rest is history. You need to study these things a little more so you will be in a better position to reply without so many errors. Have a nice day!

October 14, 2010 at 7:07 AM 

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