Blogs > Nascar: Beyond the Track

Find out what's really going on in NASCAR. Look here to find out why your driver really lost his ride, or the real reason those two drivers can't stand each other. Learn about the hidden motives and reasons for the things that happen in NASCAR, from the drivers to the team owners.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cup, Nationwide and Truck series notes heading into this weekend's races at Atlanta

Sprint Cup notes
— With Paul Menard’s 10th-place finish last Saturday at Bristol, Richard Childress Racing reached 900 NSCS top 10s.
— Roush Fenway Racing is two top-five finishes away from reaching 600 series top fives.
— Denny Hamlin’s win at Bristol was No. 98 for Joe Gibbs Racing.
— Hamlin was the 11th consecutive different winner dating to June 10 at Pocono Raceway.
— Danica Patrick makes her first NSCS visit to Atlanta on Sunday. She joins Janet Guthrie and Shawna Robinson as the only females to start a race at Atlanta.

Nationwide series notes
— In the 20 NNS races at Atlanta, only four drivers have won from the pole, most recently 2007 series champion Carl Edwards last season.
— Idaho native Brian Scott will make his 100th career start in the NNS this weekend. Scott made his series debut at Nashville Superspeedway in April of 2009 and since then has earned five top fives, 18 top 10s and one pole. Scott currently sits ninth in the series championship point standings. NCWTS driver and Texas native James Buescher will attempt to make his 50th NNS start this weekend.
— The National Rifle Association will honor military heroes Jason Amerine and Greg Stube this weekend. Amerine is a lieutenant colonel from Honolulu, Hawaii. Stube, a retired member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, hails from Long Beach, Calif. …
— Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are participating in the NRA American Warrior 300 Nationwide race this weekend: Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Scott Riggs, Joe Nemechek, Reed Sorenson and Sam Hornish Jr.

Truck series notes
— Previous Atlanta winners in the field are Todd Bodine, Kyle Busch and 2011 winner Ron Hornaday Jr. The trio has been the series’ most dominant on intermediate tracks. Busch has won 14 times with Bodine and Hornaday counting 12 victories apiece.
— NASCAR Drive For Diversity driver Kyle Larson, who finished 10th in his NCWTS debut at Kentucky Speedway earlier this summer, returns at Atlanta in Turner Motorsports’ No. 4 Chevrolet.
— Ross Chastain’s third-place finish at Bristol was his best in his 18th career NCWTS start. The Alva, Fla., driver ranks third in Sunoco Rookie of the Year points behind Ty Dillon and Gale.
— Max Gresham, whose hometown of Griffin, Ga., is a stone’s throw from Atlanta Motor Speedway, will make his first of five starts Friday in Eddie Sharp Racing’s No. 8 Chevrolet. …
— Aric Almirola has been tapped to drive Richie Wauters’ No. 5 Ford this week.

Rumor of Carl Edwards to the 22 car takes the cake as most ridiculous thing I've heard all year

A Carl Edwards win at Atlanta would seriously shake things up in the Chase; boosting him above the other contenders with one win.
He said there is a sense of urgency on his part to win.
“There is a real sense of urgency and I’ll say this, one thing about last season and 2008 was a good example, and last season was a good example, as two different ways to approach a championship run. In 2008, I made some mistakes and our team didn’t perform as well as we should have in the Chase, and then last season when all the pressure was on and it felt like the weight of the world focused on us, and all this pressure, we performed nearly perfectly. We didn’t slip up. We took what was given to us. We didn’t lose our cool, and I think that was a good exercise to go through, so I have a lot of faith in myself and my team, and even Chad – as little as I know about him – he’s a calm guy and if we can do it, we’ll do it and that’s all you can do.”

He also addressed a strange rumor which really makes no sense -- that he would possibly drive the #22 car for Roger Penske next year. That’s crazy talk to me; why would that even be a desirable option, even if you forget that Carl just signed a brand new Roush deal. And do you think Jack would really let him leave after all that fighting to keep him last year?

Regardless of how crazy the rumor was, Edwards made sure everyone Wednesday that everyone knows that it was bunk.
“I want to say one other thing to clear the air. I guess no one has asked me specifically about it, but I guess there’s a lot of talk about me driving the 22 car next year,” he said. “I just want everybody on the call with the media to know that’s impossible. First of all, I haven’t ever discussed that with anyone at Penske, and, two, I’m contracted to drive the 99 car, which I’m very excited about, next season, so that’s what’s happening in case anyone wants to know. I wouldn’t mention it, except for it’s gotten bad enough that our sponsors and folks are asking me about it, so I’m trying to address that now and make sure you guys know I’ll be driving the 99 car next year for sure.”

Asked a related question about the rumor, Edwards reiterated: “I will be driving the 99 Fastenal Ford next year. I’m glad to be driving that car and I’ve never explored the option of driving the 22 car, so that’s why it took me so long to mention that to you guys because I thought it was so silly that I can’t believe it has traction, but I guess it has. Does that satisfy you guys? Is there any other part I haven’t addressed?”

Seriously, who was smoking something when they came up with that rumor? There's no logical way you could think it could happen.

Anyway, getting back to the wild card fight, Edwards said that despite not being locked in yet, he is happy with how he’s performed so far this year and has few regrets.

“I feel like I’ve done my best. I’ve made a couple mistakes that I try to look at every race when it’s over, whether I’ve won or lost, there have been races I’ve won that I really screwed some things up and I know I got away with it, and I always try to be honest with myself and say, ‘Hey, I messed up here. I did really well here.’ And there have been a few instances this year where I’ve made mistakes that I’d like to have back, but, overall, I feel like I’ve done the best job I could do and I think my crew and Bob and Chad and Jack and everyone feels like they’ve done the best they could do. Right now, I can look back over the season and I can look at 90 or 100 points that luck just took from us and that’s racing. If we were a little faster, we’d be in the Chase without needing that luck, but, as it stands right now, the way we are we needed things to go a different way to be in a better spot right now, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” Edwards said.

Roush notes
— Greg Biffle leads the Roush Fenway championship hunt by 11 points in the Sprint Cup standings. Matt Kenseth is fourth and Carl Edwards is 12th. Ricky Stenhouse is second in the NNS point standings trailing by 19 points.
— All but one of Roush Fenway’s Sprint Cup wins at AMS came in the fall, with Carl Edwards claiming the only spring win at Atlanta in 2005. Conversely, all but two of Roush Fenway’s six Nationwide wins came in the spring. NASCAR races only once in Atlanta this season.
— Roush Fenway competed in its first NASCAR event at AMS on March 20, 1988, finishing 31st after getting involved in an early crash. However just three years later the organization claimed its first win there in the fall of ‘91 with the No. 6 Ford. Roush Fenway won its first of six Nationwide wins at the track in the spring of ’97. Roush Fenway’s top outing at AMS came in the fall of 2005, when the organization placed four cars inside the top seven, with three cars finishing top five including race winner Carl Edwards. In fact in the two races at AMS in 2005, Roush Fenway posted six top-five finishes and two wins.
— Roush Fenway’s Carl Edwards is one of the most successful drivers in AMS history and the organization’s most successful driver there. He earned his first Cup win there in the spring of ’05, sweeping both the NNS and Cup races. He went on to sweep both the Cup events at AMS in ’05 and added another Cup win at the track in the fall of ’08 and a NNS win in 2011.

Toyota and Chevy notes and quotes heading into Sunday's Atlanta race

Toyota notes
TOYOTA SWEEP IN BRISTOL: Toyota drivers claimed a weekend sweep at Tennessee's Bristol Motor Speedway by recording wins in all three NASCAR races at the half-mile track. Camry driver Denny Hamlin captured the victory in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race and his Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Joey Logano was victorious in Friday evening's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) event -- his sixth NNS win of 2012. In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race on Wednesday night, Timothy Peters led every lap (204) to claim his second win of 2012 and extend his series points lead -- and he also led a Tundra trifecta to the finish, as Parker Kligerman took second-place and Ross Chastain finished third.

BUMP AND RUN: Toyota driver Hamlin claimed his third NSCS victory of the season in the 500-lap race at Bristol. The Virginia-native led five times for 70 laps on the half-mile track and used a late-race bump on leader Carl Edwards to make the pass for the lead. Hamlin led the final 38 circuits en route to the victory. In addition to Hamlin, three other Camry drivers led laps at Bristol -- Logano (139), Martin Truex Jr. (44) and Brian Vickers (one). In the 250-mile race, Vickers took fourth and Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer and Logano finished sixth through eighth, respectively.

HOME OF CAMRY HISTORY: Busch guided the Toyota Camry to its first points win in the NSCS race at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) in March 2008. Busch's Camry led a race-high 173 laps (of 325) at Atlanta , including the final 40 circuits. Busch went on to win eight NSCS races in 2008, his first season with JGR. Since capturing its first NSCS points win in 2008, the Camry has gone on to capture 45 victories in 204 NSCS starts.

PACING THE FIELD: In 12 NCWTS races at AMS, Tundra drivers have captured six pole positions, including Toyota's first-ever pole in the NCWTS in 2004. David Reutimann claimed the historic pole for Toyota at Atlanta in March and went on to finish third in the track's first NCWTS race. Mike Skinner claimed three pole positions (2005-2007) in a Tundra at Atlanta, and Busch (2009) and Todd Bodine (2006) have each claimed one pole.

TRIPLE HEADER: Toyota driver Busch will make his first NCWTS start of the 2012 season at AMS and will compete in all three NASCAR national touring series races at the track -- Busch's first triple header of his 2012 campaign. In seven NCWTS starts in Atlanta, Busch has four wins and six top-five finishes. The Las Vegas-native also has one NSCS win in Atlanta (2008) and four runner-up finishes in the NNS at AMS.

RACING FOR AWARENESS: Nine women affiliated with the Toyota Racing program are involved in 'Racing For Awareness', a friendly competition that includes driver wives, girlfriends, mothers and sisters creating a T-shirt design in support of breast cancer awareness. The winning design will be selected by fan votes and will be announced during the Charlotte race weekend in October, with the winning T-shirt made available for purchase. Proceeds from the contest will be given to Charlotte-based charity, Carolina Breast Friends, and fans can visit to see the designs, cast their vote and also enter to win weekly prizes through Oct. 4, 2012 at 12 PM (ET).

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): After 24 races, Martin Truex Jr. is sixth in the series point standings, trailing leader Greg Biffle by 52 points … Clint Bowyer (sixth) and Denny Hamlin (eighth) also rank in the top-10 … Busch sits second, while Joey Logano ranks sixth, among 'wild card' candidates for the Chase championship playoff … Two 'wild card' entries will make the Chase … Truex will make his 250th career NSCS start this weekend in Atlanta … … Camry driver Joey Logano also raced Legends cars at Atlanta when living in Alpharetta, Ga., during his formidable racing years … Logano still holds the record for the most-consecutive feature wins at AMS with 14.

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What's your outlook for the next two weeks and the Chase?
"It's tough to not always keep an eye on the competition, but as long as we focus on getting me the best cars possible we are going to be fine. You almost have to keep the blinders on once the Chase starts. You don't battle with yourself, but you know the racing is going to be different these next two weeks -- it's going to be about `winning for us. If we are going to try new setups, I' m all for it, because right now we need as many bonus points as possible. We see how tight this field is and I'm looking at the Chase field saying, 'Gosh, every single one of them can make a run and win this championship.' So, it's going to be about who manages the Chase the best and I think that we have a great shot at that."

TRAVIS PASTRANA, No. 99 Boost Mobile Toyota Camry, RAB Racing
What are you expectations for the Atlanta Nationwide race?
"I know Atlanta is a very fast race track and a big challenge to guys with years of experience. We have gotten better each time we have shown up to the race track and I am pretty confident we will show up strong this weekend. My goal is always to finish every lap and get the most out of every race. However, I feel that we can finish in the top-10 this weekend -- it's a challenging goal for me and my race team, but I think we are good enough to do it."

Chevy notes — Atlanta Motor Speedway
Chevrolet drivers have won 37 of 104 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Wins by active drivers are:
— Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, has five (5) victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway (’95, ’98, ’99, ’03 & ’11)
— Kurt Busch, No. 51 Chevrolet, has three (3) wins at AMS (’02, ‘09 & ’10)
— Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet, has three (3) trophies from Atlanta Motor Speedway (’04 & ’07 – TWICE)
— Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, has gone to victory lane three (3) times at Atlanta Motor Speedway
— Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet, has two (2) victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway (’06 &’09)
— Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, has one win at AMS (’04)
— Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet, has visited victory lane at AMS once (’01)

— A Chevrolet driver has won two (2) of the last five (5) races at Atlanta Motor Speedway
— A Chevrolet driver has sat on the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway 22 times
— Team Chevy drivers have scored 174 top-five and 344 top-10 finishes at AMS
— A Chevrolet has led 11,589 laps (35.0% of possible 33,079 laps) at Atlanta Motor Speedway

“It does. This car especially slides a lot so the tire and the surface with all the sliding it wears the tires out quickly. I typically do well on those types of tracks. It has taken us a little time to sort out the COT (Car of Tomorrow) there and I feel like I have been a lot more competitive over the last trip or two. I’m excited to go back I think we will have a good shot at winning. It’s a unique track that challenges you honestly every foot around the race track.”

“I really like racing at Atlanta. It’s a fun race track; it’s incredibly fast, and we’ve run well there. The track is wide so you can find a groove that works for you. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do down there.”

"Atlanta (Motor Speedway) has been a pretty good track for the Rheem team. We had a runner-up finish recently, where we dominated the race all day. It came down to a late-race restart and we lost it in the last five or six laps. We did a tire test at the track several years ago, found some things that worked from the driver side and it's been a good track for us ever since."


“Atlanta is my favorite track on the circuit. It’s wide and fast, so we can race a lot of different lines. We have a good history here, and I expect a good weekend with a Hendrick Motorsports car under me.”

"I expect the track to be a lot faster at night, but I think we will still be able to race high, low and everywhere in between. I think one of the reasons so many drivers and teams love this place is the track has a lot of grip, a lot of banking and it is a very fast race track - especially when looking at the qualifying speeds. It's very fast during the race but it has a lot of fall off, so tire wear is significant and the balance of the car changes throughout a run."

“Atlanta is fast, especially when the conditions are right. You have to hit your marks. It’s bumpy enough that those bumps can spit you right out. Getting into turn one and the middle of three and four, you’ve got catch everything just right. It’s kind of like surfing or wakeboarding – you’ve got to catch the wave’s right and, obviously, put the car in the right spot to do the right things with the gas and the steering wheel. I think it’s the combination of the tire grip we have, initially, and it’s a wide-open racetrack. There’s plenty of room to race there. It’s one of the best racetracks we go to for three- and four-wide racing in the corners. With Atlanta being a one-off race, it has a different feel to it now and a different feel to it than a lot of tracks we go to. But, in the end, we are there to do the same job, and that’s to win.”

“Atlanta (Motor Speedway) is one of my favorite tracks. It races really well and it’s a lot of fun, especially with it being a night race now. The race track itself with the old pavement that is hard on tires makes it a lot of fun. It’s kind of a throw-back track that we all enjoy going to.”

“I hope that we don’t have to dodge rain drops all weekend. It sounds like we may have some of the outskirts of Isaac while we are in Atlanta. First and foremost though, I just hope that all of the people in the storm’s path are safe. Atlanta is a really fast track and our guys have been working hard on our intermediate track program, so I hope that we can see some of the results of that effort this weekend. Atlanta is also a really busy weekend for me with several obligations with Coca-Cola, being based right there. We will get meet with a lot of their customers and executives over the weekend. One of the really cool things that I will get to do this weekend is on Friday with Chevrolet when we meet with several breast cancer survivors and give them the thrill of a ride-along around the track. I met a lot of these women last year for this event and they are so excited to be there and we really had a fun time together.”

"Atlanta Motor Speedway is so slick. It is the slickest race track in the world. It reminds me so much of the old Darlington Raceway. It's just so rough and slick, an unbelievably difficult track. You would think that on those kinds of conditions that the racing would get away, but it doesn't. There always seems to be good finishes there."

“Atlanta is a fun track. It’s one of the tracks I’d enjoy racing there twice a year like we did before. It’s a cool place that has no grip. It is probably the oldest asphalt we go to, or it feels like the oldest. To tell you the truth, it’s a fast track and a place you can run the high groove at. The Target team has had some pretty good results there so I’m looking forward to going back.”

"This will be the first 1.5-mile track with Todd Berrier as our crew chief. I've been upbeat about our potential and going to Atlanta hasn't changed my optimism. Our performance has picked up considerably and we would like to leave Atlanta with a top-10 or top-five finish. Tire management and tire strategy will be important in Atlanta since the track surface there is a little rougher. As I've been saying each week, if we can avoid accidents and mistakes, we should then be in good position at the checkered flag."

“I think one of the biggest things that can be tough at Atlanta is getting your car to handle in turns three and four. It’s very specific. You really need the car to hook at the bottom of three and four, particularly when you’re on fresh tires. If you have a car that can run the bottom close to wide open in three and four, then that’s when you can do to separate yourself to be a race-winning contender.”

“I’ve heard lots of great things about Atlanta. It’s good racing. The tires definitely go off with the surface, and the line moves around a lot. I’ve heard a lot of really good things about it. For me it’s going to be a big weekend not only from the standpoint that there’s Cup and Nationwide, but it’s a big Coca-Cola weekend so I’ll be really busy. I think nothing is better than going to a new track and having lots of track time.”

Chevrolet Racing joins breast cancer fight; will donate $200 per caution lap during AdvoCare 500; pink Camaro SS paces field

DETROIT – This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Chevrolet Racing will join the fight against breast cancer as Chevrolet gears up to support the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer initiative.

“For our 100th birthday in 2011, Chevrolet began its support of the American Cancer Society, and the generous response from our dealers, employees and customers told us we needed to help the Society fight for more birthdays,” said Don Johnson, vice president of Chevrolet Sales and Service. “At Chevy, we believe everyday heroes can accomplish extraordinary things, and it is in this spirit that we work to achieve a world without breast cancer.”

On Friday, 30 breast cancer survivors and their guests will spend the day at Atlanta Motor Speedway and participate in Chevrolet Camaro SS pace car rides around the historic track with Team Chevy NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray and four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion Ron Hornaday Jr. NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Danica Patrick also will visit with survivors for photos and autographs.

On Sunday, Chevy will donate $200 for every caution lap run during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500, paced by the pink Camaro SS featuring the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer logo. In 2011, 64 caution laps at Atlanta generated $12,800 for the American Cancer Society.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In September, Chevrolet will announce additional brand, dealer, employee and consumer activities in support of the American Cancer Society and Making Strikes Against Breast Cancer.

“Last year, contributions of more than $900,000 supported the American Cancer Society's mission to save lives by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures and by fighting back against this disease,” said Roshini George, national vice president of health promotions for the American Cancer Society. "As we approach National Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, we want thank the Chevrolet family for its support and remind everyone to take the steps that make a difference in our fight against breast cancer.”

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS: Tony Stewart drives a tank at Charlotte Motor Speedway

CHARLOTTE, N.C.: Tony Stewart rides in a World War II-era tank during the Choose Tony's Ride with Mobil 1 event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday, August 28, in Concord, North Carolina.
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images for Mobil 1)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Everything you need to know about Atlanta Motor Speedway heading into this weekend's Advocare 500

— Originally called Atlanta International Raceway, the track was then a 1.5-mile paved speedway.
— The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta was on July 31, 1960, won by Fireball Roberts from the pole.
— The track was re-measured to 1.522 miles in the spring of 1970.
— It was renamed Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1990.
— The track layout was reversed and the track was re-configured to 1.54 miles between the two races in 1997.

— There have been 104 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta Speedway, until 2010 there has been two races per year except 1961, which had three. This year marks the second season with only one event.
— Fireball Roberts won the pole and race for the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 1960.
— 45 drivers have won a pole, led by Buddy Baker and Ryan Newman, each with seven.
— Six of Newman’s seven poles came in consecutive races between March 2003 and October 2005.
— 42 drivers have won a race; 22 have won more than once.
— Dale Earnhardt scored nine victories, more than any other driver. Cale Yarborough is second, with seven.
— Bobby Labonte heads the list of active drivers with six victories. Labonte is tied with NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Richard Petty for third on the all-time win list at Atlanta.
— The Wood Brothers have 12 victories, more than any organization. They last won there in 1993, with Morgan Shepherd. Hendrick Motorsports has 11 wins at Atlanta and could tie the Wood Brothers this weekend.
— 14 races have been won from the pole. The last to do so was Kasey Kahne in 2006. The last two races have been won from the fifth position.
— 60 races at Atlanta have been won from the first five starting positions.
— Bobby Labonte won the 2001 fall race from the 39th starting position, the deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Atlanta.
— Two drivers have posted their first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Atlanta: Carl Edwards (3/20/2005) and Kevin Harvick (3/11/2001).
— Youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Atlanta Motor Speedway winner: Kyle Busch (03/09/2008 – 22 years, 10 months, 7 days).
— Oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Atlanta Motor Speedway winner: Morgan Shepherd (03/20/1993 – 51 years, 5 months, 8 days).

Atlanta Motor Speedway Data
Race #: 25 of 36 (09-02-12)
Track Size: 1.54-miles
Banking/Corners: 24 degrees
Banking/Straights: 5 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 2,332 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,800 feet
Race Length: 325 laps / 500.5 miles

Top 12 Driver Rating at Atlanta
Jimmie Johnson........................ 109.5
Jeff Gordon.............................. 104.1
Tony Stewart............................. 102.3
Carl Edwards............................ 101.8
Denny Hamlin............................. 96.2
Matt Kenseth.............................. 96.2
Kurt Busch.................................. 96.1
Dale Earnhardt Jr........................ 94.3
Greg Biffle.................................. 92.9
Kasey Kahne.............................. 91.0
Kyle Busch................................. 90.6
Martin Truex Jr............................ 88.9
Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2012 races (13 total) at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Qualifying/Race Data
2011 pole winner:
Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet (186.196 mph, 29.775 sec., 09-04-11)
2011 race winner:
Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet (124.623 mph, 4:00:58, 09-06-11)
Track qualifying record:
Geoffrey Bodine, Ford (197.478 mph, 28.074 sec., 11-15-97)
Track race record:
Bobby Labonte, Pontiac (159.904 mph, 3:07:48, 11/16/97)

NASCAR in Georgia
— 172 NASCAR national series drivers all-time have their home state recorded as Georgia.
— There have been 14 race winners from Georgia in NASCAR’s three national series:
Bill Elliott
Tim Flock
Jack Smith
Fonty Flock
Bob Flock
Frank Mundy
Gober Sosebee
Harold Kite
Sam McQuagg
David Ragan
Jody Ridley
Reed Sorenson
Buckshot Jones
Ronald Cooper

Driver-specific statistics

Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M/Manheim Auctions Ford)
— Three top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
— Average finish of 16.1
— Average Running Position of 13.3, ninth-best
— Driver Rating of 92.9, ninth-best
— 235 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
— 784 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
— Average Green Flag Speed of 171.409 mph, 10th-fastest
— 3,033 Laps in the Top 15 (71.4%), fifth-most
— 474 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), third-most

Kurt Busch (No. 51 Chevrolet)
— Three wins, four top fives, nine top 10s
— Average finish of 17.4
— Average Running Position of 14.3, 10th-best
— Driver Rating of 96.1, seventh-best
— 244 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
— 785 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
— Average Green Flag Speed of 171.472 mph, ninth-fastest
— 442 Quality Passes, seventh-most

Kyle Busch (No. 18 Wrigley Toyota)
— One win, three top fives, three top 10s
— Average finish of 17.7
— Average Running Position of 14.7, 12th-best
— Driver Rating of 90.6, 11th-best
— 197 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
— 851 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet)
— One win, eight top fives, 10 top 10s; two poles
— Average finish of 12.8
— Average Running Position of 12.8, sixth-best
— Driver Rating of 94.3, eighth-best
— 223 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
— 856 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
— Average Green Flag Speed of 171.574 mph, sixth-fastest
— 2,820 Laps in the Top 15 (66.4%), eighth-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Subway Ford)
— Three wins, eight top fives, 10 top 10s
— Average finish of 13.6
— Average Running Position of 12.8, seventh-best
— Driver Rating of 101.8, fourth-best
— Series-high 339 Fastest Laps Run
— Average Green Flag Speed of 171.891 mph, second-fastest
— 3,265 Laps in the Top 15 (76.8%), third-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet)
— Five wins, 15 top fives, 24 top 10s; two poles
— Average finish of 12.2
— Average Running Position of 10.2, second-best
— Driver Rating of 104.1, second-best
— 219 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
— 3,439 Laps in the Top 15 (80.9%), second-most
— Series-high 501 Quality Passes

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota)
— One top five, four top 10s; one pole
— Average finish of 17.5
— Average Running Position of 11.8, fourth-best
— Driver Rating of 96.2, fifth-best
— 168 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
— Average Green Flag Speed of 171.713 mph, third-fastest
— 2,649 Laps in the Top 15 (67.5%), ninth-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet)
— Three wins, 11 top fives, 13 top 10s
— Average finish of 10.0
— Series-best Average Running Position of 7.7
— Series-best Driver Rating of 109.5
— 261 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
— Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 171.979 mph
— Series-high 3,775 Laps in the Top 15 (88.8%)
— 497 Quality Passes, second-most

Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet)
— Two wins, six top fives, eight top 10s; two poles
— Average finish of 18.3
— Driver Rating of 91.0, 10th-best
— 230 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
— Average Green Flag Speed of 171.337 mph, 12th-fastest
— 2,593 Laps in the Top 15 (61.0%), 11th-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Roush Fenway 25 Winning Years Ford)
— Eight top fives, 13 top 10s
— Average finish of 12.9
— Average Running Position of 12.8, eighth-best
— Driver Rating of 96.2, sixth-best
— 161 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most
— 852 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
— Average Green Flag Speed of 171.569 mph, seventh-fastest
— 2,942 Laps in the Top 15 (69.2%), sixth-most
— 449 Quality Passes, sixth-most

Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Target Chevrolet)
— Three top fives, four top 10s
— Average finish of 16.9
— Driver Rating of 87.4, 13th-best
— Average Green Flag Speed of 171.292 mph, 13th-fastest
— 406 Quality Passes, ninth-most

Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet)
— Three wins, 10 top fives, 15 top 10s
— Average finish of 11.2
— Average Running Position of 10.8, third-best
— Driver Rating of 102.3, third-best
— 230 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
— 732 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
— Average Green Flag Speed of 171.668 mph, fourth-fastest
— 3,181 Laps in the Top 15 (74.8%), fourth-most
— 474 Quality Passes, third-most

Martin Truex Jr. (No. 56 NAPA Shocks and Struts Toyota)
— Two top 10s; one pole
— Average finish of 22.8
— Average Running Position of 12.3, fifth-best
— Driver Rating of 88.9, 12th-best
— 111 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-most
— Average Green Flag Speed of 171.577 mph, fifth-fastest
— 2,922 Laps in the Top 15 (74.4%), seventh-most
— 470 Quality Passes, fifth-most

Monday, August 27, 2012

War of words between Brad Keselowski, Hendrick Motorsports could lead to some great on-track battles; Danica Patrick has decent weekend at Bristol

You know how it’s strange and sometimes uncomfortable to watch someone talking about someone else in a seemingly negative way when that other person is in the same room and is right next to them?
That’s the scene that I witnessed a week and a half ago at MIS, when this whole mess of Brad Keselowski vs. Hendrick Motorsports began.

For those of you who missed this whole bit, let me recap it for you. Brad Keselowski (former Hendrick driver) and Kasey Kahne (current Hendrick driver) were sitting in the MIS media room after the race ended when Brad said the following quotes:
“There are big discrepancies in the cars. There are certain parts and pieces on cars that are making them quite a bit different to where we're seeing different paces throughout the field. There are probably half-a-dozen to a dozen cars drastically faster than the rest. That's disrupted the parity and created a lot of side by side action. That's maybe good or maybe bad, depending on who you are.
“There are parts and pieces that move after inspection, [making] them more competitive. Some guys have them, some don't. There's a question to the interpretation of the rule. We err on the safe side because we don't want the big penalty. Obviously, there's a question to the interpretation that [certain rear-ends] are legal right now. As a group, we haven't felt comfortable enough to risk our name and reputation over those parts and pieces. Others have, which is their prerogative. I'm not going to slam them for it.
“But it's a gray area and Roger Penske doesn't do that. There's certainly some performance we've lost. I shouldn't say lost…we haven't gained because we choose not to go [into the gray areas]. That's something we have to evaluate every week. We have to make a reevaluation to decide if that's the right way to go. Certainly, that's part of the speed discrepancy. Some teams haven't figured out how to make it work and some don't feel comfortable risking the piggybank.”

The whole time, Kasey Kahne just kid of sat there staring in the other direction, and was no doubt not too happy to hear the guy next to him insinuating his team might be bending the rules.

Brad, later on, clarified that he never meant to say anyone was cheating, and was just pointing out that different teams took different approaches. He did not like the way some media spun it into accusing him of saying that the Hendrick team was cheating. True, he didn’t specifically say this, but the implication was there that this kind of equipment was on the borderline of cheating, so I won’t blame the media too much on this.

In the week after these comments were made, those parts that he was referring to were determined to be legal by NASCAR, so I’d bet Penske will jump on board with Hendrick and others and use them if it helps get some speed at certain tracks.

But in the meantime, there was offense taken by Hendrick to Brad’s comments.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who basically discovered Brad and gave him a ride that propelled him to stardom, was not too happy with his former Nationwide Series driver and protege.
Jr. had this snippy comment to say at Bristol about Brad’s speech the week prior.
“I do know Brad pretty well. Brad is a really good guy. He has a pretty good heart. He is a really great race car driver and I wish he would concentrate on that. I think he likes to talk a lot, but I think his true skills shine on the race track not really behind the microphone.”
Basically, shut up and drive. (Note: Anytime someone starts by saying “I really like so-and-so,” you know an insult is coming next).

Jeff Gordon was a little nicer about it, but equally defensive of Hendrick’s team.
“I’ve said this all year long. Our guys work hard; and they’re smart. And our cars have been through NASCAR tech more than anybody’s this year. And each time we come out of there without an issue. So I say, one. You need to ride behind your own car before you talk about other people’s cars because his car looks his car looks just like every other car, in my opinion. The other one is just go to work, you know? Our guys are working hard. That’s why we’re where we’re at and we’ve got some good stuff happening.”

My take on all this: I like seeing this kind of intensity between the drivers. Whether he said they were cheating or not, the Hendrick guys aren’t happy with the way Brad was talking, and will no doubt have that much more of a desire to finish ahead of him.
And on Brad’s end, he is doing a stellar job at a Penske team that nobody expected to compete for a title when he went there, and the fact that he can run toe-to-toe with guys like Jimmie Johnson is a great accomplishment, and has to be very personally satisfying to Brad considering that Jr. Motorsports and later Hendrick Motorsports were his first big stepping stones in the sport.

It all adds up to more drama, and drama is what this sport needs. The fact that these wars of words continue to happen is a great predecessor for some possibly very cool endings to the year in the Chase.

Imagine it now: Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson battling side-by-side down to the last lap at Homestead; whoever finishes in front of the other gets the title.
With talk like this between the teams already, that battle, should it happen, would be even more interesting to watch for many reasons.

So keep on talking Brad, and keep on talking Hendrick drivers. The fans enjoy it, and I hope it translates into some great battles on the track, too.

Danica has decent weekend at Bristol
When Tony Stewart decided to bring Danica Patrick to Bristol this past weekend, many folks thought she wouldn’t do so hot. At first, they looked to be right, as her practice and qualifying were terrible. But she ended up soldiering on to a solid 9th place run in Nationwide, and then she was on the lead lap in the Cup race after more than 400 laps of the race had been run, an amazing feat considering
In line with her recent run of luck, she later got spun by Regan Smith and finished poorly, but I must recognize you have to have a pretty good bit of talent to be running on the lead lap at that point of Bristol race; It’s a short track and even the best get lapped sometimes.
So the grade for Danica’s Bristol weekend is pretty high. She did a lot better than and most others thought she would do. She’s got a long string of Cup races coming up now; so we’ll see if her positive momentum from Bristol can carry forward.

She said she did take some mental notes about how certain people raced her Saturday at Bristol.
“It was just a bummer because I really felt like the GoDaddy car was going to get a solid, maybe a top 20 finish and on the lead lap. And that wouldn’t have been something that I thought would happen tonight. The team did a great job and everything was running really smoothly. So it’s a shame that we lost that. But you know, Bristol is a place where you find out who’s playing fair and who’s not.”

Become a fan of the Facebook page NASCARBeyond

Follow Matt Myftiu on Twitter @MattMyftiu

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Old Bristol is back, and so is old Tony Stewart

Bristol calmed down for a few races, but now it’s back.

And Tony Stewart’s been relatively calm lately too, but not Saturday night after he felt Matt Kenseth took him out of the race.

In the future, Stewart said he won’t be so kind.

“We weren’t that great of a race car. But we were definitely faster than that after that restart. I checked-up twice to not run over him (Kenseth) and I learned my lesson there; I’m going to run over him every him every chance I’ve got from now ‘til the end of the year, every chance I’ve got.”

For good measure, Stewart got in a two-handed toss of his helmet at Kenseth’s car – nothing new for Bristol of course, it’s a place where tempers always flare. I highly doubt Stewart will run Kenseth over every week, but it will be fun to watch them race, especially with the Chase coming Up

Kenseth said he was confused by Tony’s anger, and had his own version of who was at fault.

“I’m a little confused. I was running the top leading and he got a run and he went into turn one like I wasn’t there and just went straight to the fence. If I wouldn’t have lifted, like he chose not to do the next corner, we would have wrecked, so I let him have it and I got a run back, drove all the way alongside of him and we just kept going,” Kenseth said. “I mean, I lifted down there or else we would have wrecked and he chose not to lift and wrecked us both, so I don’t know. He’s already had two in this series he’s pretty much taken us out of and I told him after Indy I was gonna race him the way he raced me and I did the exact same thing down there that he did down there – the exact same thing, except he didn’t give it to me. I guess he just wanted to do all the taking, so that’s where we ended up.”

Regarding Tony’s threat, Kenseth said:
“Yeah, that’s fine. Look, Tony is probably the greatest race car driver in the garage. I don’t really have anything bad to say about Tony. On the race track for years and years and years we’ve had tons of respect for each other and, for whatever reason this year, he ran me off the track at Sears Point and said he was sorry. It cost me seven spots in the finishing order and at Indy he was mad because he said I blocked him and I asked for five minutes of his time to clear the air and he wouldn’t give it to me and pretty much just got cussed out and knocked my whole side off and put us in position to get wrecked, so I just said, ‘OK, that’s fine. I’m just gonna race you the same way you race me,’ and he showed me how he was gonna race me down there, so I just did the same thing on the other end. So I don’t know. If you look at it we did the exact same thing, it’s just that he didn’t lift so I don’t really see where that’s 100 percent my fault or problem.”

Stay tuned to Atlanta and beyond on this one (though, like most NASCAR feuds, it might disappear overnight; time will tell)

Become a fan of the Facebook page NASCARBeyond

Follow Matt Myftiu on Twitter @MattMyftiu

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Carl Edwards; decision not to pit proves costly to Chase hopes; Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. make peace

With not many laps to go, Carl Edwards was in great shape at Bristol -- leading with the potential to win if he got enough caution laps and saved some fuel.

But the race stayed green, then he got passed by Denny Hamlin and a whole lot of other people. Then he had to pit for gas with 5 laps to go, and finished 22nd.

Still, he said he had to try to gamble that staying out would lead him to a win that he desperately needs to make the Chase.

“It’s all you can do is gamble like that. If we would have pitted when we should have pitted we were gonna run 10th or 15th anyway. We were just gonna get fuel and the tires were done at the end and that’s all we had. I made the decision to stay out, which in hindsight that was the wrong decision because we probably would have finished better than we are right now, but I wanted a chance to win the race. If we would have had one more caution or a couple cautions and short runs, we were up there in a position to win this thing. You don’t get those opportunities very often, so I had to take it.”

Rough day for Ford brigade
The only strong Ford finisher at Bristol at all was Marcos Ambrose, who came home 5th. The rest of the Blue Ovals were 19th or worse.

Jeff Burton puts his bad luck in perspective

Jeff Burton is having a pretty bad year; whatever can go wrong, will go wrong – even on weeks where he has a fast car, like this weekend. But he’s not letting the bad luck get him down.

‘I saw Ryan (Newman) got in trouble and he started spinning. He looked like he was going to stay against the wall, and so I committed to the bottom and then he started in and I couldn’t get turned back to the right. It was pretty disappointing. We had a really fast car tonight. The CAT Chevrolet was really good and we needed a good run and needed something good to happen. We had a good enough car tonight to have that happen. It’s just been one of those years. I guess the saying that if he wouldn’t put it on you if you couldn’t take it, so I guess I must be pretty tough.”

Logano conquers Bristol

Logano has 2 Cup wins in his entire Cup career; but he was 6 wins in Nationwide this year alone. The latest came Friday at Bristol, a track where he had previously had some great races but never won.

"I think we've led the most laps in this race several times. I always fell a little short or something went wrong and it's cool to finally be in victory lane here. This is one of the coolest race tracks to win at -- I think there's three or four that are extra special to win at and this is one of them.

Dale and Jeff are friends again

It was a big story last week when Jeff Gordon went off on teammate Dale Jr. on the radio during the MIS race. But Jeff says they’re all good now, and he won’t refrain from expressing his views about anyone – even a teammate.

“Why can I not say anything to him but I can say that to somebody else and it’s not a big deal? To me, at that moment I’m not thinking about that’s my teammate. I’m thinking I had to check-up to keep from wrecking us and it just cost me like five more spots, so I was mad,” Gordon said. “I sent him a text immediately when that race was over. I didn’t feel like I had to do it; I just wanted to make sure that he understood what I said and, and that we could move (past it). Listen, when we had the incident here, he called me. That stuff happens. I think people don’t understand what teammates are or something in this sport. Teammates are you share information and you get along but you’re still competitors out there and some days you don’t get along. There are moments like that that can maybe be even tougher because you’re teammates. You’ve got to work together and you’re going to see one another at the meeting coming up on Tuesday, so you’ve got to work out your differences pretty quickly.”

Engineer Newman offers suggestion for MIS pit road

Asked about Mark Martin’s scary pit road wreck last week at MIS, former engineering student Ryan Newman offered his views on how to improved safety on pit road at MIS.

“I have thought about that a little bit. The only thing that comes to mind off the top of my head is where Mark hit, that was the area they call the pit in, and he hit where Kasey Kahne’s pit was and I don’t know whose pit was behind it. But you could have a flare there so there is still a vertical wall and if Mark was to come through there the way he did, it would ramp him back out to the other wall instead of continuing in to that wall. So you would just put a cheese wedge of a wall there so that when someone is coming in there at that speed, it shoves them out. It’s the only thing I can think of. You don’t want to have….you could put sand barrels there but you are just going to blow sand into everyone’s pit box. Yeah, it helps but to me a flared-out wall would help. And when you see that a little bit like at Darlington where we have the tunnel flares and things like that, but it’s something we have dealt with and had no issues with it, but from a safety standpoint I would say flared walls in position like that, the back edge would put a quick fix in that in my mind.”

Reversal of positions at Roush
A year ago, Carl Edwards was on fire and gunning for a title, and literally lost it on a tiebreaker. This year, Greg Biffle is leading the Roush brigade. He is up top of the standings, in the Chase already, and Edwards is desperately battling just to make the Chase.

Biffle commented on this change of fortune among the Roush teammates.

“Last year it was worse than ever for me because Matt was winning races and Carl was winning races and competing and we just couldn’t quite get there. I’m convinced a lot of it is the chemistry within the team and just attention to detail. A lot of it has to ride on the crew chief’s shoulders too, making sure he’s staying up with the small items that change throughout. Like last week at Michigan, I’ll be perfectly honest with you. On Friday, I was wanting to get my backup car out. I’m asking him, ‘What is the second car we have in the truck because I can’t drive this thing.’ They went back and looked at the notebook and the springs and we looked at what Matt was doing because Matt was pretty good and we came back and said, ‘Yeah, we don’t think this is what we need.’ We went back to the direction of what we raced in the last race and on Saturday it was perfect. So I would have run 25th last week, but, instead, we got it right overnight. It’s not that much between being competitive and just being off a tiny, tiny bit. This sport is so competitive. The amount is almost immeasurable between being able to win and running 12th.

Hamlin delivers 200th win for No. 11 car

When the 11 car pulled into Victory Lane Saturday night at Bristol, it was a familiar site.

That’s because Denny Hamlin’s win was the 200th for the car number,

Hamlin said he’s glad he was finally able to deliver that landmark win for the car.

"You know, we have been thinking about it for a long time. It's big because it's my 20th, 200th for the car, and you look at the names, Ned Jarrett and those guys that have driven number 11 -- I'm just a spec on that stat sheet of wins for this number. But you know, hopefully by the time I'm done years down the road, whoever takes the 11 after that will try to live up to what we accomplished. Who knows where it ends, but this is a number that it's been big in NASCAR history. It's been connected to a lot of championships. It's big for me. It was my number when I grew up. When I grew up, my very first race car when I was 16 years old was a purple and white number 11, so I'm driving it today."

Become a fan of the Facebook page NASCARBeyond

Follow Matt Myftiu on Twitter @MattMyftiu

Friday, August 24, 2012

Boo! NASCAR fans in Detroit with satellite TV won't get to watch Bristol race due to preseason Detroit Lions game

As usual, NASCAR fans are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to request for their sport's broadcast -- specifically those who have satellite TV.

With NFL preseason games on in several networks, the Bristol night race scheduled for Saturday night at 7:30 p.m on ABC is being pre-empted for the Lions' preseason football game. I get that football is king, and an not going to argue NASCAR should be on based on popularity, but all I ask is that NASCAR gets put on a different channel for everyone. And most cities are doing this. Even in Detroit, most cable networks are accommodating the NASCAR fans.

Satellite is a different sorry. I called DIRECTV (which I have at my home) and they said there is no alternate plan. The plan is that at 10 p.m. they will cut back to NASCAR. But as any football fan knows, the game will likely run until 10:30 p.m. or later, so if NASCAR fans are lucky, they might get to see the last 50 laps of the Bristol race if they have DIRECTV. Or maybe nothing at all if it's a fast race. That's weak.

In some other markets (Buffalo, Tusla, Quincy IL, and Weslaco, TX), the race moves to ESPN instaead of ABC on satellite (DTV 201, DISH 145). But in Detroit, we get the short straw, as the alternate channel is WXYZ's Digital tier 2 (D2) channel, which doesn't get carried by DIRECTV. DISH Network people are in the same boat. They are not going to see the race at all, or at best the last half hour.

This kind of thing is just silly to me, considering the amount of nonsense on television and the endless number of channels available where it can be moved by the satellite networks.

I hope there's a remedy before Saturday night. Otherwise, DIRECTV and DISH Network are going to have a lot of angry NASCAR fans flooding their phone lines at race time. If you're in the Detroit area, let these satellite networks know how you feel today. Maybe then they'll get the picture and let everyone watch the race.

Here is some info on the alternate WXYZ Digital Tier 2 channels offered by other non-satellite television providers for those interested in watching the full race Saturday in the Detroit area.

Over the air: Channel 7.2
Charter: Channel 437
Comcast: Channel 297
Bright House: Channel 127
ACR Cable Beacon Hill: Channel 8
Lamont Digital Systems: Channel 144
Wide Open West (WOW): Channel 101
Wyandotte Cable TV: 141

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Penalties for Kyle Busch, Paul Menard teams show crew chiefs are getting desperate as they try to make the Chase

It’s all about making the Chase, so teams are getting so antsy, and they’re starting to act stupid.

First, NASCAR on Tuesday handed down penalties to the No. 18 team for a rules violation at Michigan International Speedway. A weight was improperly attached on Kyle Busch's No. 18 Toyota during Saturday's practice session. Crew chief Dave Rogers received a $25,000 fine and was placed on probation until Oct. 3. Car chief Wesley Sherrill received probation for the same amount of time. Busch did not lose any points in the standings, so his Chase hopes are still alive, but he needs to pick up his game these next three weeks to make it.

Then, the biggie came. The No. 27 car of Paul Menard, who hasn’t finished in the top-5 since winning the Brickyard last year, was busted in post-race inspection at MIS.
The No. 27 team was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4K (race equipment that has been previously certified or previously approved by NASCAR for use in an event, pursuant to sub-section 8-12, has been altered, modified, repaired or changed in any manner. Intentionally modifying frame rails for the purpose of deceiving NASCAR’s inspection gauges) of the 2012 NASCAR Rule Book.

The reaction was pretty harsh: Crew chief Slugger Labbe has been fined $100,000, suspended from NASCAR until Oct. 3 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Car chief Craig Smokstad has been suspended from NASCAR until Oct. 3 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, while crew member Grant Hutchens has also been suspended from NASCAR until Oct. 3 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Driver Paul Menard and owner Richard Childress have been penalized with the loss of 25 championship driver and owner points.

What does this all mean? Well, as I read it, teams are taking risks to boost their chance of winning and making the Chase, even though the consequences often take the teams in the opposite direction. If you get busted, you’re going to have an adverse effect on your team, without a doubt.

The 18 car infraction might have been accident, though with the Gibbs teams’ past history of cheating I wouldn’t be surprised if it was intentional. And while I know Slugger Labbe is just trying to help Menard return to Victory Lane, he just screwed himself and the team up with this little move. I wouldn’t be surprised if they get rid of him altogether after something like this. It's not like his driver's lighting up the track, so he may have been on thin ice already.

Just goes to show, when the heat is on and everyone is battling for Chase berths, stupid ideas pop into people’s heads, and sometimes they act on them.

And with this Chase so close and so many guys battling for those two transfer spots and just three races to go, I wouldn't be surprised if more teams get busted for pushing the gray areas (or even the clearly black areas) too far on their cars.

Become a fan of the Facebook page NASCARBeyond

Follow Matt Myftiu on Twitter @MattMyftiu