Admittedly it is about all asphalt racing, but there is more on NASCAR than even the craziest numbers person can absorb. What can you learn? Jeff Gordon has won 12% of the 742 NASCAR Sprint Cup races he has entered, while Carl Edwards has won only 6.5% of the 354 NASCAR Sprint Cup races he has entered. Or, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has earned $5,753,380 in his last 10 races at Daytona. Or that Tony Stewart has five wins and ten Top 10 finishes in 14 starts at Watkins Glen. Yes, I could go on and on and on. There is information on owners, tracks, and series, as well as active drivers and if you are like me it is fun to make 1 +1 add up to something other than 2.
You could also learn that Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Kasey Kahne have never won at Daytona International Speedway. I am thinking I could type that same sentence in my post-race blog on Sunday. My guess would be a Hendrick Motorsports driver other than Kahne will take the Coke Zero 400 checkered flags late Saturday night. However, if Brad Keselowski wins, will he stay away from the champagne? Or at least the champagne bottles?
While Daytona International Speedway has spent $400,000,000 on grandstand renovation, it has now spent an additional $1,200,000 on 2,400’ of Safer Barrier from the entrance of Turn 3 to the exit of Turn 2. Most of the outside wall around the track now has the Steel And Foam Energy Reduction barrier, but not all of the inside retaining walls do. While $500 a foot for this safety innovation may seem expensive, there is no doubt that the barriers have prevented serious injury or worse in crashes around the NASCAR circuit. It is time all tracks finished the job and put the barrier over every foot of concrete walls.
When I think of the SAFER barrier, I can’t help but wonder where the sport might be if this safety feature had been in place when Dale Earnhardt Sr. crashed at Daytona. There is no question in my mind NASCAR would be more exciting if he was. Would Adam Petty be a NASCAR superstar today if the SAFER barrier had been in place years ago at New Hampshire Speedway? Perhaps he would have rivaled his grandfather Richard some day. Would Neil Bonnett be a color commentator for TNT instead of Wally Dallenbach and Kyle Petty, if the safer barrier had been around in 1994?
From SMW-Sports Media Watch: The NASCAR Sprint Cup ratings for the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway were down 12% from last year’s race, and the number of viewers was down 10%. The ratings were the lowest since the race started in 2011. Of the 15 NASCAR races that can be compared to last year, 14 show a ratings drop and 12 a number of viewers drop.
Yes, this is more from “a frustrated fan.” Give us racing and we’ll watch.
Restrictor plate racing inevitably involves what has become known as “the big one,” a multi-car pile up. The strategy of some teams is to fall clear to the back of the field, well behind the pack to avoid such a wreck. Others hope to go to the front of the field, with the idea that the “big one” won’t happen to cars in the lead. Both have worked, and both have failed to work. Add in the fact that the difference between the car finishing first and the car finishing 20th might be as little as a second, and just getting a good finish is tough.
My head says one of the Hendrick big three-Johnson, Gordon, or Earnhardt Jr. will add another win to their 2014 total, but I would like to see Tony Stewart in Victory Lane. He had a good performance in Kentucky, and he has won the 400 mile Daytona event four times. With a first place finish Stewart would certainly be able to claim he is all the way back from his season ending 2013 leg injury.
Kevin Harvick is a winner of this race, but his pit crew seems unable to go an entire race without one bad pit stop, and though Daytona is a place where a driver can overcome a bad stop, it is also a place where a bad stop puts a driver into a place on the track he does not want to be. I don’t see the 4 car finishing first.
While Keselowski and Logano dominated Kentucky, as I mentioned above, neither has a win at Daytona. And, Penske Racing does not have a win in the 400 miler at the Florida track. I don’t see them in Victory Lane. Joe Gibbs Racing seems to be coming on strong, and both Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth know their way around the 2 ½ mile tri-oval. It would not be a surprise if a JGR driver celebrated a win on Saturday.
It would be a huge surprise if a Roush Fenway driver was interviewed as Saturday’s winner. Edwards, Biffle, and Stenhouse have been fast at times, but have far more mediocre finishes than good finishes. Richard Childress Racing? Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, and Ryan Newman-no, no, and probably not. Michael Waltrip Racing? Brian Vickers-can’t see it. Clint Bowyer-well, as Drunken Brian France on Twitter would say, Sunday will be the 631st day since Bowyer last won a race. No win for the Kansan on Saturday night.
Having said all of this, my endorsements or lack thereof seem to ensure totally opposite results. Maybe it will be Ricky Stenhouse Jr. cutting his hand on a champagne bottle this weekend.
One more thing-with the new knock out qualifying format, qualifying for the race might be more fun to watch than the race itself. Qualifying begins at 5:10 p.m. Eastern, 4:10 p.m. Central Time on Friday.
Thanks for stopping by.