With three races before the champion is crowned, there are five guys within 43 points of the leader. Watching the end of the Martinsville race, when Brad Keselowski got caught up in someone else’s mess and lost 10 spots, it’s easy to understand how quick your day can turn sour.
Like the kid or not, that had to be a tough pill to swallow. He ran clean all day and got run over less than a mile to the finish. Tell me, was NASCAR just sick of throwing the yellow? Sure it had come out 18 times up to that point, but why wasn’t the yellow thrown when the No. 2 was wrecking? Oh well, that’s for another day.
Carl Edwards, who is winless in the playoffs, has an eight point lead over Tony Stewart, who has now won three of the seven playoff races. A case maybe can be made about awarding more points for winning but Stewart’s other four finishes have been 25th, 15th, 8th and 7th, while Edwards has four top 5s and an 8th, 9th and 11th.
Kevin Harvick is 21 points back, Keselowski is 27 behind, while Matt Kenseth is 36 back and Jimmie Johnson is 43 points out of the lead. Mathematically, Kenseth and Johnson are both in the hunt but having four or five drivers ahead of them in points all having trouble is unlikely. But, then again, a lot of crashes knock out five or six cars at a time and these guys will be racing around each other in the last three races.
Thinking Out Loud and a Few Facts
Sirius Speedway’s Dave Moody is reporting David Reutimann will not be back in the No. 00 next season. Michael Waltrip Racing has a press conference scheduled for Nov. 4 (today) where they’ll announce Mark Martin will drive the car in most of the races next season. Rumors have Michael in the cars for the four plate races.
I have to ask, was Reutimann released for lack of on-track performance? If that’s the case, I’m guessing it’s a good thing for Waltrip that whoever made that decision didn’t work for the teams he drove for in his 762 starts. Take away his four restrictor plate wins and he’s 0 for 758.
• I laughed out loud last Sunday when Kyle Petty and a few others were talking about Talladega and after a bit he said, “What do you expect when you have this stupid racing?”
• The race at Martinsville didn’t start until almost 2 p.m. Were you aware that the garage opens at 7 a.m. and by 7:15 a.m. the place is jammed packed with crew members?
• I’m guessing Matt Kenseth didn’t sleep all that well last Sunday night. He went into the day second in points, behind Carl Edwards by only 14 points. Edwards had what could be labeled as a lousy day before getting lucky and finishing ninth.
Kenseth had a terrible day and finished 31st and dropped to fifth in points, 36 markers behind. Edwards simply had a bad race car while Kenseth appeared to make some bad decisions.
• Speaking of bad decisions, the race report listed Brian Vickers as being involved in five of the 18 cautions. Reports have him leaving the garage without comment. I’m guessing he’s not looking forward to walking into the garage area at Texas this weekend.
He’s really not chasing points. Wouldn’t you think at some point he’d just say, I’ve had enough, I’m loading this rig up and going home, I’m not doing anyone any good staying out here. Sure, no one wants to be a quitter, but sometimes a manager in baseball has to remove his pitcher because it’s not his day.
• If you have first pick in the pool, may I suggest you pick Jimmie Johnson this weekend? Not that I’m encouraging anyone to bet on racing. His finishes in the last three races run at Texas are 2nd, 9th and 8th. Denny Hamlin has much better numbers with two straight wins and a 15th but Hamlin’s team just doesn’t seem to be getting the job done this year. Oh, all right, if you have the second pick take Hamlin.
• The top five in points the last three finishes at Texas are:
Edwards 33rd, 19th and 3rd.
Tony Stewart 32nd, 11th and 12th.
Kevin Harvick 7th, 6th and 20th.
Brad Keselowski 14th, 33rd and 18th.
Matt Kenseth 20th, 2nd and 1st.
Can a Tour be Successful Without Counting Points?
Time changes everything. Years ago the old NASCAR North Tour had about 24 drivers who went to every event. You had a few guys who only showed up a couple times a year but, for the most part, the top 20 or so in points ran every race and were fighting for points.
Back in those days, as a fan, I can’t remember paying too much attention to the point standings. I went to the races to see who won that day and maybe late in the season I paid a little attention to the points, but I don’t remember it being a big deal to me.
A group of us were regulars at Oxford Plains (ME) Speedway for the Getty 100s which, I believe, was before 1979 and the NASCAR North Series being formed. These were 100-lappers which was a big deal, a 100 laps was a lot of laps considering a main event at most tracks were 30 or 35 laps. The first Oxford 250, held in 1974, was in fact only 200 laps.
I can remember going to those races looking forward to the extra distance and who was going to show up for those 100-lappers. If I remember correctly, some years they ran seven of these events. And I’m guessing there was a point standings for those races but I don’t remember caring who the point leader was. Like I said, we went to see who would win that day. And we may have enjoyed a few cold beers during the outing.
Now-a-days very few teams chase points. The ACT Late Model Tour saw 150 different (sorry, a few weeks ago I told you that number was 149) drivers running at least one of the 12 point-counting races. Of those 12, two of them were fighting for Rookie of the Year (not that they weren’t chasing points too) and one of them went to every race so he had a shot at a provisional.
The Pro All Star Series Tour saw 87 drivers run at least one of their 14 point-counting events, yet only nine of them showed up for every race.
Twenty-eight ACT teams hauled all the way to New Smyrna, FL (in February, no less) knowing the winner of the event wouldn’t cover expenses. Some other non-point events in 2011 saw great car counts. The Oxford 250 saw 82 cars, NHMS saw 55 cars, while the Milk Bowl had 50 cars.
Dick Therrien ran a $5,000-to-win Late Model race at his Canaan, NH speedway in May and 37 drivers showed up. And some of the who’s who in short track showed up, including Brad Leighton, Eddie MacDonald, Wayne Helliwell Jr., Brian Hoar, Quinny Welch, Donald Theetge, Stacy Cahoon and Joey Polewarczyk Jr., among others.
Is it time to bag the points? I know talking with a team chasing points in the morning at a point-counting event is a whole lot different than talking to one of the teams there not chasing points. The difference is literally night and day.
I understand we have to have a year-end champion. How about saying the champ is the guy with the most top 5s at the Tour races, including those few non-point-counting races.
Now that I write that, I guess chasing top 5s wouldn’t be a whole lot different than chasing points. How about it fans, do you go to the races thinking points? I’m thinking if you have a favorite you do.
Tiger Sportsmen Champion Derrick O’Donnell
I hijacked the following piece from ACT’s Handicapper/Media Director Nick Bigelow (www.thunderroadspeedbowl.com).
Derrick earned his first career Tiger Sportsmen Championship at Thunder Road in just his fourth season in the division.
• He also earned the Bond/WIX Tiger Tour title this season.
• Derrick has won three feature events in each of the past two seasons.
• He is tied for 19th on the all-time Tigers win list with six.
• Derrick won three straight features when he won the final event of 2010 and then the first two races this season.
He capped off his championship season with his second straight win on Milk Bowl weekend.
• Following his win on opening day, Derrick held the lead in the Tiger standings for the entire 2011 season.
• He also held the lead the entire Tiger Tour season following his opening event win.
• Derrick became the sixth driver in 30 seasons of Tiger competition to claim three wins in his championship season. Others include Larry Caron (’84), Dan Beede (’87), Jimmy Young (’97), Shawn Fleury (’06) and Nick Sweet (’07).
Eric Williams (’94) earned seven wins, while Joey Laquerre (’82), Clem Despault (’83), Chuck Beede (’85), Joey Laquerre Jr. (’90) and John Donahue (’00) all won four in their title seasons.
• Derrick has finished in the top 10 in the Tiger standings in each of the last four seasons (1st – 2011, 4th – 2010, 6th – 2009, 9th – 2008).
ACT Late Model – Did You Know
Compiled by ACT’s Nick Bigelow. I believe the plan is to put a tid-bit on the ACT web (www.acttour.com) Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
This week he wrote …
1) The ACT Late Model Tour completed its 20th season (1992-2011), while the Series ACT Castrol completed its fifth season (2007-11) in 2011. It was the 26th American Canadian Tour season (1986-2011).
2) The Rent-A-Wreck Fall Foliage 200 season finale at Airborne Speedway, Oct. 8, was the 223rd ACT Late Model Tour point-counting event and the 52nd Série ACT Castrol point-counting event.
3) 150 different drivers competed on the ACT Late Model Tour and 105 different drivers competed on the Series ACT Castrol in 2011.
I Must be Having Fun
They say time flies when you’re having fun. Last night marked the 10th week since Thunder Road ended their Thursday night’s racing for 2011. Why do I mention that, you ask? Because they only ran 10 Thursday nights in 2011. I vote next season they run at least 14 Thursday nights and instead of 17 events a year (I’m not counting the enduro) I say let’s run 22 events a year there. If you ask me the Thunder Road season is simply to short.
Until Next Week
Find someone or something that makes you laugh everyday.