With NASCAR taking a break this weekend, it’s time to look at some of the racing buzz we have seen throughout the past month.
The Chase scene will not change
After the race at New Hampshire, we can start to see just how the Chase will turn out this season.
Kasey Kahne was able to pick up his second win and was also able to move up in points. While Kyle Busch ended up going down one spot, he still holds onto the second wild card position and will more than likely keep it.
There are other drivers who are still so close to that wild card spot but, at the same time, so far away. Carl Edwards is one.
Edwards sits in a weird spot. Winless and in 11th place, he might manage to break the top 10, but with the roll that Brad Keselowski has been on lately, he might be too much for Edwards to knock out of 10th. With Kahne also slowly moving up the ranks, Edwards might end up getting bumped back down.
Ryan Newman and Joey Logano still have a shot at the wild card if they can manage to win another race. I would pick Busch over those two to win at least one more race as we move closer to the Chase. Busch put on a dominant performance at New Hampshire, and if it wasn’t for trouble in the pits and a pit road penalty he would have easily placed higher.
Kahne, on the other hand, has two wins and has only improved as the season has progressed. He is a solid driver and will more than likely maintain his wild card spot.
There could be slight changes among the top 10 drivers, with some swapping places, but as we look at the standings now, expect them to reflect how the Chase will look once it starts.
Don’t blame lack of cautions for a boring race
In April, by the time NASCAR was heading into Richmond, cautions were down by more than a third from the previous year.
Since then, the trend of fewer cautions during a race has continued.
Going without cautions is fine, but having to watch a race where one driver is dominant is not.
NASCAR needs to find a way to make is so that the cars are on more of an even playing ground. Clean air plays a huge role in how fast a car can go, and that always seems to be the case whenever someone gets out in front and we go without cautions.
Maybe making adjustments to the cars and even the points system would also encourage drivers to try and charge to the front for the entire race, not just hanging out in the back until the majority of the race is over.
Kurt Busch needs to grow up
Kurt Busch is a fantastic driver.
He has one huge problem, though: He can’t seem to grow up.
Last season, while he may have had a mutual split from Penske, his actions at the end of the season didn’t help in giving
Penske any reason to keep Busch.
Maybe we could have forgiven Busch after he seemed to struggle to find a ride during the offseason.
We could have assumed Busch had grown up, until the May 12 race at Darlington.
Busch would get into an incident with Ryan Newman’s pit crew that would put Busch on probation and see him fined $50,000.
Sadly, Busch only added to his trouble when he threatened Speed reporter Bob Packrass. NASCAR ended up suspending Busch for the Pocono race.
Team owner James Finch wasn’t sure if Busch would be back after the Pocono race and planned to talk to the driver.
Being on a racing team that is desperate for sponsors and then acting the way Busch did is NASCAR suicide.
While Kurt did win a Nationwide race recently, he needs to show how good he is by driving, not by running his mouth.
The Dinger is done
A.J. Allmendinger is done as a NASCAR Sprint Cup series driver.
After testing positive June 29 for a stimulant, he is serving out an indefinite suspension.
While the Dinger is bringing in his own experts for the “B” test, it won’t matter.
The Dinger is done even if the “B” test turns out to be false.
His reputation will be ruined. He clearly took something that was enough to turn up on a drug test as a stimulant.
Why would Penske racing — or for that matter, any other team— want to take a risk on Allmendinger now? He has yet to even win a race in the Sprint Cup series, and with this new suspension trouble, the Dinger doesn’t seem worth it.
Where will Kenseth go?
By now, it’s no secret that Matt Kenseth is leaving Roush-Fenway at the end of the season.
Kenseth has been in the No. 17 car for all but one of his 452-race career racing for Roush-Fenway, including his biggest moment, winning the 2003 championship.
Kenseth is the Sprint Cup series points leader. He could always win Roush-Fenway one last championship before he leaves.
Kenseth, though, still hasn’t announced who he will be racing for in 2013.
At first, it might have seemed like Kenseth would end up on JGR, taking Joey Logano’s spot. However, now that seems highly unlikely as JGR has made it clear that it would like to re-sign Logano at the end of the season.
He still could end up at JGR, that is, if it turns out to be true that JGR is adding a fourth car.
There are still questions with that, though. Who will sponsor the fourth car? Would a driver like Kenseth, who has driven Ford cars for 14 years, want to switch over to Toyota?
JGR seems like the most popular choice of where Kenseth will end up. There are still several other teams that we should consider though.
Penske, for example, will be switching to Ford next season. If they were to add a third car to the team, Kenseth would be the perfect fit.
He could also end up racing for Stewart-Haas. With Ryan Newman’s contract ending next year and the No. 39 team losing one of their biggest sponsors in the Army, if Stewart-Haas was looking for a way to keep sponsors on the 39, putting Kenseth in the car just might do it.