Not really but with Dale Earnhardt Jr announcing his retirement at the end of the year it is going to seem like it to his fans, It does not surprise me as I don’t think he ever fully recovered from his concussion, sure he passed all the tests but a sliver of a second on the track cannot be tested for. I am not saying he lost his ability to drive a NASCAR just slipped a bit and that sliver of a second is what separated him from the rest. I think he will start his own cup team and drop his JR motorsports. he may receive some broadcast offers but I see him staying close to his roots and being active in the sport.
I think Jimmy Johnson is not far behind on the retirement trail depends on how bad he wants # 8 title. He is still in contention at every race and a lot of this is due to Chad Knaus and the rest of his team.
We will, probably see a few other drivers contemplate giving up there helmet as the older drivers can hear hoof beats of the younger drivers
For some time now I have been saying one of these young guns is going to win a race. Kyle Larson won at Michigan today and right behind him was Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney was third, loved to watch his dad David race the AMOCO outlaw car. I don’t think this will be the last win for a rookie this year as Chase Elliott, love that name, was second and except for a bad restart would have won, his second missed win this year. Austin Dillon finished 16 even with grandpa’s help I doubt if he will pull off a win this year.
I don’t see how Tony Stewart and Gene Hass can renew Danica’s contract. I don’t know how many races she has brought home a wrecked race car but it seems like about every other race she hits something or someone. With GoDaddy pulling there sponsor money it is going to be tough for SHR to afford to keep her on, unless she finds some sponsor money and that is going to be difficult as she is staying on as the face of GoDaddy. Time will tell but it is getting close to that time of year when deals are struck so that promo material can be manufactured.
I still think Jimmy and his buddy Chad are cheating, they have had problems going through prerace inspection the last 2 races and have been penalized for it. I think there is something NASCAR is missing these are a couple smart cookies and have tried to pull a fast one in the past. Remember the if you win wreck the rear spoiler.
The racing so far this year has been OK but NASCAR needs to do something about the ” if you have clean air and a descent car you are almost impossible to pass. Would like to see some of the underfunded or a rookie win a race or 2 . Kyle Larson is due and I think he might before the year is out. Haven’t heard to much about the Dillon boys they are not making the showing that Grandpa Childress was hoping for, and that I thought they would, but they are having problems with speed and lacking experience but time will tell if they have the edge or not.
Business before friendship or Hass has the money and Smoke does away with an old friend, Ryan Newman. Bring in Kevin Harvick or Budweiser’s sponsorship money and so the silly season of switching drivers begins. Many are waiting to see who lands where, Kurt Busch, is one on the bubble, his past may hurt him, I think him or Ryan will end up at RCR, depending on what Richard decides about his Grandson, and the other at Furniture Row. Tony Stewart and Gene Hass will have 3 of the most sought after sponsors in the garage area with Mobil1, Bud and Go-Daddy. Of course RCR is OK with Menards and Cat who may be leaving. With Richard Childress grandsons coming up he would be smart to keep an old dog like Jeff Burton around in some capacity and as of now he is a member along with Paul Menard and . Driving the #3 it should not be hard to find sponsors for Austin to make him the # 3 driver. Which comes first the money or the driver, Teams have to have the money to field a car before making a commitment that is why when a driver brings a sponsor along it is much easier to put a deal together. They have to have the money to field a team before making an offer and once the top drivers start to go it does not take long for others to fall in line, and there are not that ,many top drivers looking. I do think Kevin Harvick is making the right move; it seems to give their career new life when they make a team change. As we all tend to get in a rut so do drivers. One driver I think is a sleeper in all of this is AJ Allmendinger he did well at the Indy 500 and may go to open wheel if the situation arises.
I knew that NASCAR was not going to put up with a lot of bending the rules and were waiting to hand out some harsh punishments. They went overboard with Matt Kenseth and his crew chief and owner. The connecting rod in question was 3 grams under weight or 1/10 of an ounce, and to make it worse the engine was manufactured by TRD not the team. They had no control over the parts, they received the engine assembled. I see no way this penalty can be upheld but then this is NASCAR and stranger things have happened. Kenseth was penalized 50 championship points. In addition, his pole award from the Kansas race will not be counted as eligible for next season’s Sprint Unlimited and his bonus points for the win will not count if he makes the Chase for the Sprint Cup when the field is reseeded. In addition, his win will not count toward earning the wild-card spot for the race. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff has been fined $200,000 and suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six Sprint Cup points races, a period that also covers the non-points Sprint All-Star Race. He has also been placed on probation until the end of the year. Team owner Joe Gibbs has also lost 50 owners points and has had the owner’s license for the No. 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car suspended until the completion of the next six points events and the team is therefore being ineligible to receive championship
So Stewart Hass Racing bought Danica Patrick’s way into the Daytona 500 by aligning itself with Tommy Baldwin Racing and scooping up Dave Blaneys points. Blaney is the only hope TBR had last year and did several start and parks to stay in the game financially. In comes SHR and Go Daddy’s money and buys Danicas way into the 500. The powers to be at NASCAR are of course loving the hype she is bringing and according to NASCAR it is all within the rules. Blaney did an excellent job keeping TBR in the hunt with limited equipment. Between Danica and David Reutimann will drive the 26 races Danica will not run and try to keep her in the top 35 so she will never have to qualify. Daytona is the World Series and Super Bowl tied into one for NASCAR why cheapen it with such antics.; Shame on you Tony Stewart I know money is hard to come by but at what cost. Who is running the show the teams or the sponsors? Danica also gave the Indy 500 the cold shoulder and is running in the Coke 600. This race was on her Bucket List she did give some mention to running both races in the future but I doubt Tony will let her as he knows how tough it is to do a double. Patrick is a huge draw and nice to look at but at what cost to the sport of racing. Is it racing or business I am afraid it is becoming a business due to the high cost of fielding a competitive team. Patrick will appear in Go Daddy commercials during the Super Bowl along with several Go Daddy girls with only paint on she will have clothes on but sex sells and it looks as if the Driver/sex symbol is making the most of it.
Many times the announcers talk about tightening the belts. Tony Stewart in the #14 was standing on the hood when he won at Homestead. I have never seen driving like that, even Dale Earnhardt in his many comebacks from behind I don’t think ever passed 118 cars in one race. At the start Carl Edwards had the better car but as the race progressed Tonys car came around, he could drive anywhere on the track and did. Those moves to the inside on the restarts were spectacular. Pit strategy along with timely cautions, which always help pit strategy, also played a huge part of the win. Bottom line he wanted it more than Edwards and is definitely a better driver. I am sure that Bill France and Mike Helton will take credit for the way the Chase turned out but it was Stewart and his will to win that made it work. Loved the way Tony made Mike Helton wait with the trophy. On live TV made it better. I am sure there are going to be a lot of shuffling this winter and will try to keep up. Just shy of 3 months till Daytona, moved to Feb18 next year.