With NASCAR staying with their goofy playoff system for yet another year, the first 26 events simply transfer 12 drivers into the 10-race playoff. They take the top 10 drivers in points and two wild cards. The top 12 are reset to 2,000 points plus the top 10 guys in points receive three points per win from those first 26 races.
So if the playoffs started today, Brad Keselowski would be on top with 2,009 points. No one else has more than two wins.
The wild cards go to the two guys with the most wins 11th to 20th in points. The tie breaker is points.
I’m guessing there are six guys rooting for him to stay inside the top 10 so he does use one of the two wild cards. With nine races before the reset, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Joey Logano all have one win and are outside the top 10. While Carl Edwards and Paul Menard are 11th and 13th in points with no wins.
“Who’s leading the points right now doesn’t mean a thing,” said Keselowski. “The only thing that means anything is where you are going to restart when the Chase begins. That’s going to be based on who is in the Top 10 and who has the most wins. That’s all that matters.”
Cup Random Thoughts & Facts
Was I the only who didn’t know Morgan Shepherd was the listed owner of the No. 3 in the Nationwide Series? Austin Dillon won the race last weekend but failed tech. When the penalties were handed out early this week, the team lost both driver points and owner points. When I saw Shepherd’s name, my first thought was his car also had an infraction. But when I read it closer he’s listed as the owner of the 3 car. I’d have thought that car was owned by Dillon’s grandfather Richard Childress.
• Childress hinted after the win, Dillon may end up in the Cup Series driving a car numbered 3. It wouldn’t be with Dale Earnhardt’s iconic 3, the 3 will be a different shape.
• It’s time NASCAR looked at their championship provisional. Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte are both running this weekend and more than likely one of them will make the race because they won a championship either 16 or 24 years ago.
Shouldn’t there be a time limit on this free pass. For you older fans, you’ll remember when Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip abused this when neither were competitive but wouldn’t hang up their helmet.
Elliott’s only crown came back in 1988. He quit full-time after the 2003 season and has made only 96 starts in the past nine seasons. Labonte won the title twice, the last time in 1996. His last full-time season was 2004. The last time either of these guys won was in 2003.
It would be one thing if they were running full time but part-time champions shouldn’t get a free pass from 16 plus years ago.
Thunder Road’s Late Model Handicap
Last week I told you Thunder Road was changing how they lined up their main event. It was a three-race trial. After June 28 Nick Bigelow, ACT’s handicapper, tweaked it a little.
Tuesday (July 3) of this week they transferred the top three out of the three heats to the main event. They were lined up by handicap (last week’s winner can’t start better than 10th).
They then transferred the five highest +/– right to the main event. Those guys started 10th to 14th. The remaining drivers ran a consi lined up by their +/– and how they finished that race is how they lined up for the feature 15th to 23rd.
When Nick explained this format to me before the night started, I would not have guessed your main event winner would have transferred out of the consi. But winner Nick Sweet did come out of the consi and started 15th.
They were going to line them up the same way last night (July 5) and if all went well they’ll use this system for the rest of the season.
Short-track Random Thoughts & Facts
If you get an early pick in the Oxford 250 pool don’t overlook Travis Stearns in the 85ME car. Travis who? – some of you are saying. Travis, one of my favorites, is having a great year at Oxford and is leading the points by 39 over Shawn Martin 227-188. Jeff White is third with 187 and he’s followed by Tim Brackett 183 and Shawn Knight 173.
Stearns is the only repeat winner in the 40-lap Late Model features at Oxford. Last week he beat 29 other cars and they’re averaging nearly 30 cars every week.
• White Mountain Motorsports Park is hosting a 100-lapper July 7 with around $1,800 (maybe more) going to the winner. I’m hearing Randy Potter, Mark Lamberton and Brent Dragon will be joining the regulars. A few others are waiting to see how they faired last night and tonight.
• Do I have to remind you every week to check out the photos at http://caledonianrecord.com/main.asp?SectionID=182&SubSectionID=787. Why not just put the link in your favorites and go to it every week so I don’t have to tell you?
• When Nick Sweet won the Late Model main event July 3, he broke a streak of 19 different winners in 19 main events over three divisions at Thunder Road. So, in seven race meets, 20 different guys have carried the checkers in 21 features.
Because Nick won the last feature of the day on opening day, the streak is back to 18 different winners in the past 18 main events.
• On July 3rd both Sweet and Tiger Sportsman driver Jason Allen started 15th. Sweet took 43 laps (of 50) to take the lead while Allen took over the lead with two to go in their 35-lapper.
• Tyler Cahoon’s great start to the season at WMMP continued last Saturday night when he won the main event after starting 10th. They’ve run point-counting events there so far 2012 and because of a family illness he missed a week. His finishes have been 5th, 4th and this win. That’s an average finish of 3.33.
• Cahoon, Bernie Lantagne and Quinny Welch battled side-by-side, which was entertaining to watch. I realize people are busy but I don’t understand why more fans aren’t showing up at the short tracks.
• A shout out to Lisa Hodgdon who picked up her first WM career win in the Strictly Stock Minis, June 30. She did it the hard way – driving around the others and not under or through them.
Daytona 500 Winner Trevor Bayne Enters TD Bank Oxford 250
Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, will run this year’s 250 on July 22. He’s looking to join other Cup drivers who have won the event.
In 2008 Kevin Harvick won while in his third try. Kyle Busch won he race last year.
“I am excited to run the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway. It is one of those events that every short-track racer from around the country knows about and hopes to get a chance to run one day. The race is super competitive, but I feel like I have a good shot,” Bayne stated. “Kevin and Kyle have set a high standard the past few years and I will definitely check in with them to get some advice.”
I’m hearing he’s driving a Ford out of the shop of Mark Brackett and Ricky Rolfe. For tickets call 207-539-8865 or visit www.oxfordplains.com.
ACT Late Model Tour
A look back at race No. 5 at White Mountain, June 23. 32 cars showed up, add that to the 168 that showed up for the first four events, and you have a total of an even 200 cars or 40 cars per event.
• Four new guys made their first appearance of the season so we have now seen 85 different drivers.
• Eric Chase picked up his first top 5 of the season and in fact of his career. So for the season there have been 13 different drivers with a top 5.
• Wayne Helliwell Jr., Joey Polewarczyk Jr. and Austin Theriault each have four top 5s. Brian Hoar has three.
• Two guys, Chase and rookie Jimmy Hebert both scored their first top 10 of the year. That gives us 27 different drivers with a top 10 in 2012.
• Theriault is the only driver with all top 10s. His finishes have been 3, 9, 3, 5, and 4th. Helliwell Jr. and Polewarczyk Jr. are the only guys with four top 10s.
• 13 guys have started all five main events. Nick Sweet left his car back in the shop so he and his crew could give 100 percent to his teammate Chase. That seemed to pay off. Chase followed up his WM third with another third five nights later at Thunder Road in the 50-lap main event.
• Only Polewarczyk Jr. and Theriault have completed all laps (702) run this season.
• With Sweet not bringing his car, there have been 21 guys who have attempted every race.
• Bobby Therrien attempted his first-ever ACT Late Model Tour race. So in the 228 ACT Late Model Tour point counting races run to date (1992 to present), 646 different drivers have taken a green flag in a heat race.
ACT Late Model Tour had the weekend off.
June 28: Thunder Road – 1. Cris Michaud, 2. Cody Blake, 3. Eric Chase, 4. Scott Payea, 5. Dave Pembroke, 6. Phil Scott, 7. Trampas Demers, 8. Brooks Clark, 9. Nick Sweet, 10. Joey Becker, 11. Lance Allen, 12. John Donahue, 13. Dave Whitcomb, 14. Brett Wheeler, 15. Matt White, 16. Jamie Aube, 17. Jay Laquerre, 1. Jerry Lesage, 19. Jamie Fisher, 20. Mike Bailey, 21. Grant Folsom, 22. Ricky Roberts, 23. Jim Morris, 24. Chip Grenier.
June 29: Devil’s Bowl – 1. Craig Bushey, 2. Matt White, 3. Bryan Town, 4. Scott Carpenter, 5. Robert Bryant, Jr., 6. Kevin Elliott, 7. Hunter Bates, 8. Dan Petronis II, 9. Joey M. Laquerre, 10. Clem Despault.
June 30: Pro All Star Series – 1. Cassius Clark, 2. Ben Rowe, 3. Travis Benjamin, 4. Lonnie Sommerville, 5. Gary Smith 6. Derek Ramstrom, 7. Joey Polewarczyk Jr., 8. John Donahue, 9. Johnny Clark, 10. Joey Doiron, 11. Donnie Whitten, 12. Dustin Hubbard, 13. Walt Hammond, 14. Matt Frahm, 15. Matt Matheson, 16. Matt Harris, 17. DJ Shaw, 18. Donnie Lashua, 19. Ricky Bly, 20. Kyle DeSouza, 21. JT Thurlow.
Oxford Plains – 1. Travis Stearns, 2. Glen Luce, 3. Tim Brackett, 4. Shawn Knight, 5. Shawn Martin, 6. Jeff White, 7. Rowland Robinson, Jr., 8. Gary Chiasson, 9. Shane Clark, 10. Al Hammond, 11. Doug Coombs, 12. Shane Green, 13. Joe Turner, 14. Billy Childs, Jr., 15. Bryan Mason, 16. Brandon Lambert, 17. Corey Morgan, 18. Matt Sanborn, 19. Chris Coolidge, 20. Adam Polvinen, 21. Vanna Brackett, 22. Richard Jordan, 23. Dave Farrington, Jr., 24. Thom Bell, 25. Tommy Ricker, 26. Austin Theriault, 27. T.J. Brackett, 28. Don Wentworth, 29. Guy Caron, 30. Travis Dunbar.
White Mountain – 1. Tyler Cahoon, 2. Bernie Lantagne, 3. Quinten Welch, 4. Brett Gervais, 5. Oren Remick, 6. Michael Jurkowski, 7. Stacy Cahoon, 8. Brockton Davis, 9. David LaBrecque, 10. Russell Clark, 11. Joseph Amour, 12. Travis Fadden, 13. Dan Curren, 14. William Avery, 15. Jeremy Harclerode. DNS Jeremy Welch.
Bear Ridge – Sportsman Modifieds 1. Chris Donnelly, 2. Adam Pierson, 3. Gary Siemons, 4. Kevin Chaffee, 5. Bryan King, 6. Dan Eastman, 7. Jason Gray, 8. Robert Tucker, 9. Evan Kingsbury, 10. Josh Sunn, 11. Richie Simmons, 12. Billy Lussier, 13. Eddie Patterson, 14. Jack Cook, 15. Derek Graham, 16. Troy Comeau, 17. Josh Currier, 18. Justin Comes, 19. Mike Dunn, 20. Jeff Elliott, 21. Bob Shepard.
Riverside Speedway – 1. Randy Potter, 2. Jeff Marshall, 3. Luke Shannon, 4. Matt Carbone, 5. Dean Weber, 6. Steve Patnaude, 7. Thomas Estes, 8. Brian Greer.
Thunder Road – 1. Nick Sweet, 2. Dave Pembroke, 3. Scott Payea, 4. Chip Grenier, 5. Trampas Demers, 6. Phil Scott, 7. Brett Wheeler, 8. Cody Blake, 9. Jamie Fisher, 10. Brent Dragon, 11. Cris Michaud, 12. John Donahue, 13. Lance Allen, 14. Jim Morris, 15. Brooks Clark, 16. Jerry Lesage, 17. Mike Bailey, 18. Jay Laquerre, 19. Jamie Aube, 20. Dave Whitcomb, 21. Joey Becker, 22. Eric Chase, 23. Ricky Roberts.
Until Next Week
How about this weekend you do something you want to do and don’t worry about anyone else. Call that old buddy you used to travel to the races with and get to a short track. Join me, but remember: “If you’re not having fun stay home and don’t bother those of us who are.”