Post Race CommentZZZ

Tonight's race brought to you by...
Jeff Gordon: "Well, we had a tough night on pit road, but we came back to have…a pretty…solid…ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…AH!  Sorry, what were we talking bout about?"

Matt Kenseth: "It was tough trying to defend last year's win this time, but it just goes to show how much parity we…have…in…ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…zuh, wha happa?"

Ryan Newman: "It was a great run today by our Caterpillar Chevy.  We just re-upped them as our co-sponsor this week and we're glad we could…put…on…a…showZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…WHA?  Wait, I wasn't talking about Rusty again, was I?"

Kyle Busch: "We had a real shot to win today, but those Penske Fords were just a little better than us.  When I think about the race we had…tonight…ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…wait, what happened?"

Brad Keselowski: "It's great to bring the Miller Lite Ford into victory lane.  The battle with Joey Logano was great, and when I look back on how we were able…to…dominaaaaZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…Kurt stay away from my lunch!"

Kentucky "News" and Notes

--For the first time in a long time, there won't be a full field in Cup, with only 42 drivers entered for Saturday night's race.  I care about this, though I don't know why.
Don't ignore your roots, CAT!

--Danica Patrick picked up the Florida Lottery as a co-sponsor for the remaining two Florida races (Daytona & Homestead).  With that additional funding, maybe they won't have to start-and-park near the end of the season.

--In other sponsorship news, Caterpillar has re-upped with RCR and Ryan Newman beyond this season, carrying on a great tradition started by…David Green?  Yep, David Green.

--Kentucky Motor Speedway advertises itself as the roughest track on the circuit, which makes about as much sense as promoting Heinz Field as the worst surface in the NFL--yeah it's true, but who cares?

--The #77 team has announced it is going on what they've termed a "hiatus" due to poor performance.  "Ladies and Gentlemen: The Clown Show has been put on hiatus for retooling".

Is This The Most-Garish Paint Scheme of All-Time?

Maybe M&M's owns Fruit Stripe gum

I don't think Bill Elliott
would call THIS
Just by looking at that image, it's now permanently seared into your brain (and possibly your retinas).  However, despite the possible vision damage to fans everywhere, Interstate Batteries has determined that this look will run next week at Daytona.  But WHY?

--Sure, it'll gain some attention, some press, and probably a lame joke or two from the TNT crew (assuming their audio is working).  But I don't think this is a situation where "any publicity is good publicity".  I mean, I doubt that someone will be sitting around a few days later working on their car, going, "Hmmm, I need a new battery--better go to that place that had the god-awful looking car!"

--The look most-closely resembles Zubaz, a type of pajama-pant that was briefly in-style in the early-1990's.  Sure, they could be trying to bring it back, but Zubaz were most-popular amongst weight-lifters.  Kyle Busch looks like he'd pass out trying to pick-up the weight bar.

--The spotter will have no trouble seeing this car, especially under the bright lights of a night race.  However, it's a plate race.  The spotter is essentially going to be saying "outside, inside" all night long.
So be warned--this paint scheme is coming, coming soon, and might burn a hole in your TV.

Bloom is off the Rose

Carl Edwards, rumored to be the biggest free-agent in Nascar this offseason, drove to a win at Sonoma Raceway today.  But when he exited the car in Victory Lane, it wasn't a win that people wanted to talk about…

Spade Racing Pit Reporter: Carl, let me ask you now. It seems as though there is an opening, the American public is very curious. Are you willing to show future plans, admit that you are leaving Roush-Fenway or something to that effect?

Carl Edwards: Not at all, man. I'm not going to admit to something that isn't happening yet. I know you're getting tired of hearing me say that. But I appreciate the ovation. I appreciate the great job my team did. I'm just a small part of a big deal tonight.

Reporter: With the overwhelming evidence that you're leaving...
At least Carl can get into HIS Hall of Fame

Edwards: No. This is too much of a festive afternoon to worry about that because I don't know what evidence you're talking about. I mean, show it to me...

Reporter: Well, Jayski says...

Edwards: Well, why do we want to believe everything he says?

Reporter: Carl, those who will hear this today will say that Roush-Fenway is holding you back. How do you respond to that?

Edwards: In what way are you talking about?

Reporter: By not acknowledging what seems to be overwhelming evidence--*COUGH* Michigan *COUGH*.

Edwards: Yeah, I'm surprised you're bombarding me like this. I mean I'm doing an interview with you on a great day, a great occasion, a great ovation. Everybody seems to be in a good mood. And you're bringing up something that happened last week.

Reporter: I'm bringing it up because I think people would like to see ... Carl, we've got to go, we've got a press dinner to make.

Edwards: This is a prosecutor's brief, not an interview, and I'm very surprised at you. I am, really.

Reporter: Some would be surprised that we've made it this far into an interview on TNT without audio issues.

Sonoma "News" and Notes

--Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of the first Nascar "Strictly Stock" Series race (the forerunner of today's Sprint Cup Series), which means that TODAY is the 65th anniversary of the first person saying that Nascar isn't as good as it used to be!

--Just in case you're confused, Sonoma Raceway used to be known as Infineon Raceway, as well as Sears Point and That Place Where Ricky Rudd Got Hosed.

--The Carl Edwards-to-Gibbs rumors are heating up, with the latest having M&Ms move over to the new Edwards-driven team, while Monster would move up to sponsor Kyle Busch (along with Interstate Batteries).  Such a move might cripple Roush-Fenway, but if it helps decrease the chance of Rowdy running Nationwide races, make it so.

--In related news, some people are claiming that the Edwards-to-Gibbs/M&Ms deal could hit a snag, since Cousin Carl is well-known for his healthy ways.  Um, if all drivers have to partake in their sponsors' wares, wouldn't that require Dale Earnhardt Jr. to join the National Guard?

--There's only two true Road Course Ringers this week--Boris Said and Tomy Drissi.  Drissi expects to spend the weekend telling people, "No, it's supposed to be spelled with just one M".

--Meanwhile, the Nationwide Series--which is in Wisconsin this week--could be picking up a new series sponsor--Comcast's Xfinity service.  If so, expect next year's races to generally start between 2-6pm.

New Jersey Turnpike to Name New Rest Area After Martin Truex Jr.

The proposed site (currently listed
as one of the top-10 most-scenic
spots in New Jersey!

Continuing its tradition of honoring notable New Jerseyans with rest-area signage, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority has announced that it's newest rest area will be named in honor of Nascar driver Martin Truex Jr.
"We feel that Martin represents all that's good about New Jersey", said NJTA spokesman Steve Alvin, "from hard work and determination, to using those skills to move out of New Jersey, Martin has it all."
The new rest area, slated to be constructed on the northbound side of the Turnpike near exit 13A, will feature all the amenities travelers from New York City to Carneys Point have come to expect.
"Martin really matching up well with most of our retail partners", Alvin explained.  "Our travel stores get drivers in and out as fast as a Nascar pit stop.  We feature Sunoco gasoline--the same kind used by all of Nascar's drivers.  And eating at one of our Roy Rogers will have the food going through you faster than a car going through turn 1 at Michigan."
Truex joins such great New Jerseyans as Woodrow Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, and Vince Lombardi, all of whom have had their names immortalized on blue travel signs up and down the famed Turnpike.
"This is truly a great honor, and I'm humbled to be in the company of such great New Jerseyans as these", Truex said in a recent press release.  "Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend the groundbreaking, as I will be on vacation in Cancun.  Hopefully I can make it to the grand opening, as long as it doesn't conflict with my long-planned trip to Punta Cana."
In order to honor fellow New Jerseyan Jayski, Truex's name will be spelled wrong on half the signs.

TNT Press Release--Sonoma Preview

For Immediate Release
We here at Turner Sports-s-s-s-s-s are revved up for the second-round of our TNT Summer round of our TNT Summer Series of our TNT Summer Series!  The Nascar Sprint Series tour will be rollllllllllllllllllinggggggggg into Sonoma Speedway this Sunday for the Toyota for the Toyota for the Toyota SaveMart 350, LIVE on TNT!
What a lead-in!
"Infineon's one of the most-exciting tracks on the circuit, and easily one of the two-best road courses on the schedule.                                                            Yeah, I think they can have a, uh, real good run out there." --Wally Dallenbach Jr.
"Sonoma's one of the real wild-cards in the Cup schedule--that's incredible!  Um, something mildly controversial, vague Danica-diss, etc." --Kyle Petty.
"Oh, Godzilla!  He is attacking the racetrack!  We must get to Daytona by JOO-lie!" --Larry McReynolds.
From the record-breaking length of our pre-race, to the excitement of hearing the grand marshall call to fire engines with "                !", TNT is your best-sou EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE verage!
"I make races, for those who love racing so much, they'll put up with audio issues!  For those who can't, I can not help you!" --TNT producer.
After the race, be sure to stay tuned for another preview of "The Last Ship", from acclaimed art-house director Michael Bay!  And previews of our upcoming trailers for That Show With The Guy From The Thing.
TNT.  Drama.  Audio goes BOOM.

Nascar Drivers: Where They Got Their Money To Go Race (Hint: Thank Their Dads!)

An old joke goes that an aspiring racer goes up to an owner.  The driver says, "How much money will it cost to race?"  The owner replies, "How fast do you want to go?"  Nascar, unlike most other sports, has a pretty high barrier to entry--money.  Young, hopeful drivers need thousands of dollars just to get their foot in the door at a local dirt-track, much less work their way up the sport's ladder.
So how did today's racers afford to get started in Nascar?
Well, there's a variety of ways.  From family wealth to a racing pedigree, from sponsorship connections to developmental deals, it took more than luck and talent to reach the top--it also took cash.  Here's where it came from:

Jamie McMurray--Jamie's father (Jim) was a Kart-racer and short-track racecar owner

Brad Keselowski--His father is Bob Keselowski, longtime ARCA and short-track racer, who later took his K-Automotive Racing team to the (then) Craftsman Truck Series

Austin Dillon--Son of Mike Dillon (former racer), grandson of team-owner Richard Childress

Kevin Harvick--Father Mike, whose full-time job was as a firefighter, was a longtime fixture of Bakersfield, California's local racing scene

Kasey Kahne--Father (Kelly) owned multiple sprint-cars

Michael Annett--The Annetts perviously served as team-owner and sponsor for sprint-car driver Sammy Swindell

Marcos Ambrose--Marcos's father Ross was a racer-turned-chassis-engineer

Danica Patrick--Both her parents (mother Bev and father Terry) have been involved in recreational racing for years, ranging from motocross to midgets to snowmobiling

Denny Hamlin--Denny's family owned a trailer-repair business, which helped finance his rise through the ranks of local Virginia racing

Casey Mears--Casey is a member of the famed "Mears Gang" of racers--he is the son of Roger (a longtime off-road racer) and nephew of IndyCar legend Rick

Tony Stewart--Nelson (Tony's father) worked as a high-school teacher, but spent most of his free-time (and money) supporting Tony's racing career

Clint Bowyer--Clint's family owned a tow-truck business in his native Emporia, Kansas

Greg Biffle--"The Biff" has a different story than most of today's Nascar drivers--he only became interested in racing at age 17, and after his father helped him get his start, he self-financed his racing ambitions through a fabrication company

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.--Ricky's dad was a sprint car racer and a local-team engine builder

Kurt & Kyle Busch--the Busch Brothers' father Tom was a local racer in the Las Vegas area

Matt Kenseth--Matt's father (Roy) and uncles were all racers on local Wisconsin short-tracks

Trevor Bayne--Bayne's father Rocky owned Trevor's early late-model teams

Joey Logano--Joey's father Tom owned a trucking company, which he sold to help finance his son's racing ambitions (and his daughter's ice skating career)

Alex Bowman--Father Sean Bowman is a Tuscon-area car dealership owner

Jeff Gordon--Jeff's step-father, John Bickford, helped Jeff make the necessary business and sponsorship connections to move up through the sprint-car ranks (John himself worked at a medical supply company with Jeff's mother)

Cole Whitt--Cole's father and grandfather both raced on local short-tracks

Paul Menard--Paul's father is John Menard, founder of the Menards home improvement store chain

Ryan Newman--Newman's father Greg ran an auto-repair business while Ryan was growing up

David Ragan--Ken Ragan, David's father, was a part-time Cup racer in the 1980's

Reed Sorenson--Reed's father Brad was a local racer in Georgia

David Gilliland--David's father Butch was a longtime competitor in the Nascar Winston West regional series

Landon Cassill--Landon's father Roger owns a car dealership in Iowa

Kyle Larson--Kyle's father was an electrical worker, while his mother was a government employee.  Most of his funding was obtained through sponsorship and driver development deals

Aric Almirola--Aric's father Ralph was a Tampa firefighter and crew-chief ed for Aric's grandfather, Sam Rodiguez, a local bodyshop owner

JJ Yeley--Midget racing legend "Cactus" Jack Yeley is JJ's father

AJ Allmendinger--AJ's father Greg, a part-time local racer, worked as a carpet-layer to support his son's career

Jimmie Johnson--Jimmie's father Gary worked as a truck driver, while his mother Cathy was a school-bus driver

Justin Allgaier--Mike Allgaier (Justin's father) worked for Hoosier tires

Brian Vickers--Brian's parents started a race car parts company, specializing in titanium valves

Martin Truex Jr. & Ryan Truex--Martin Jr. & Ryan's father is Martin Truex Sr., a clammer and occasional competitor in the old Busch North Series

Joe Nemechek--Joe Nemechek III (his actual name) is the son of Joe Nemechek Jr., a machine tool business owner

Dale Earnhardt Jr.--Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the son of seven-time Nascar champion Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Carl Edwards--Carl's father (Carl Edwards Sr.) was a local track racer

Does This Track Have Lights?

Richmond Under the Lights
It's a familiar question you've heard from other fans (or possibly from your own mouth) during a Nascar race: "Does this track have lights?"  Sometimes (like during a, um, night race) it's pretty easy to tell.  But when it's late-afternoon after an hour-long rain delay, it could be pretty hard to tell.  So here's a list!

Atlanta Motor Speedway--YES
Bristol Under the Lights

Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, California)--YES

Bristol Motor Speedway--YES

Canadian Tire/MoSport Park--NO

Charlotte Motor Speedway--YES

Chicagoland Speedway--YES

Darlington Raceway--YES

Daytona International Speedway--YES

Dover International Speedway--NO

Eldora Speedway--YES

Gateway Motorsports Park--YES

Homestead-Miami Speedway--YES

Indianapolis Motor Speedway--NO

Iowa Speedway--YES

Kansas Speedway--YES

Kentucky Speedway--YES

New Hampshire has tried to add
lights for night races, but objections
from locals have stymied the plan
Las Vegas Motor Speedway--YES

Martinsville Speedway--YES*

Michigan International Speedway--NO

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course--NO

New Hampshire Motor Speedway--NO

Phoenix International Raceway--YES

Pocono Raceway--NO

Road America--NO

Richmond International Raceway--YES

Sonoma Raceway--NO

Talladega Superspeedway--NO

Texas Motor Speedway--YES

Watkins Glen International--NO

*--Martinsville's lights were installed in 2017 to allow races to end after dark if necessary.  In the past, Martinsville held races at night under temporary lights.

Whose Wrapper Was It Anyway?

Mild controversy erupted/bubbled at Pocono today as an errant hot dog wrapper flew onto the grill of leader Brad Keselowski's car, forcing him to slow down, which allowed Dale Earnhardt Jr. to easily go by for the lead and the win.
But whose hot dog wrapper WAS IT?!?
A preliminary investigation revealed the following suspects:
An early suspect, eliminated as he
has been dead for over a decade

--A Dale Jr. fan (ok, admittedly this doesn't narrow it down much)

--A drunk idiot from Central PA (ok, admittedly this doesn't narrow it down much)

--Joey Chestnut, there to celebrate Aric Almirola's sponsor, Nathan's Hot Dogs, the frankfurter with the bold flavor and old-fashioned satisfaction

--Sales rep from Redd's Apple Ale, to keep the tradition of bad luck going

--Danica Patrick, automatically added to keep blaming her for everything

--Someone on the TNT crew, on the TNT crew, on the TNT crew

--Chemtrails left by black UN helicopters under the supervision of the illuminati reverse-vampires

--Brad Keselowski, in order to provide motivation to win next week

We'll pour over the evidence tonight, as well as the two-dozen suspects Jeff Gordon named who apparently ruined HIS day as well.

Pocono "News" and Notes

--It's time for the annual switch-over from Fox to TNT--Turner Sports executives were seen removing Wally Dallenbach's personality on Wednesday night.

--With Joe Nemechek running the Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway Friday night, Timmy Hill will pilot the #66 Cup car at Pocono.  I think that the old "TBA" listing for a driver entry stands for "Timmy Be Available".

--Last Sunday, Dover's racing surface came apart in turn 2.  Then just two days later, a bridge on I-495 in Wilmington Delaware was shut down due to structural issues.  Coincidence?  Well, yeah, probably.

--Speaking of track surfaces, the change from Dover to Pocono might just be the biggest swing on the schedule.  Dover is a high-banked concrete one-mile track, while Pocono is a low-banked, triangular 2.5-mile track…where deer, chickens, and drunks occasionally run around during races.

--Nascar's hot new rumor has Carl Edwards leaving Roush-Fenway, but for a third Team Penske car.  If Cousin Carl and Bad Brad wind up on the same team together, Joey Logano will earn a new nickname: The Mediator.

Chad Knaus Hits The John, Jimmie Hits The Win

Many of you probably saw Jimmie Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, sprinting to a Port-a-Potty during the second-to-last caution of the race.  Thanks to my connections in Delaware's portable-toilet industry, I was able to find out what he was doing in there:  Lots and lots of screaming.  Here's what our hidden microphones picked-up:

Many of you probably saw Jimmie Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, sprinting to a Port-a-Potty during the second-to-last caution of the race.  Thanks to my connections in Delaware's portable-toilet industry, I was able to find out what he was doing in there:  Lots and lots of screaming.  Here's what our hidden microphones picked-up:
"Chad, PLEASE tell me that's

(Locks door) "Why the (heck) did they THROW THAT CAUTION?!?  DEBRIS?  DEBRIS ON THE BACKSTRETCH?  The (flipping) track was FALLING APART BEFORE!  There's debris all over the track--the track is DEBRIS for crying out loud!  Nascar wonders why they're losing fans?  It's because of manufactured drama like THIS!  We could've run away with this thing, now we have to deal with another RESTART?  Here?  At (flipping) DOVER?!?  Is David Hoots trying to send me to an EARLY GRAVE?!?  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH--(primal scream continued for approximately 40 seconds)--HHHHH!  OK, I feel better now, better go back and check on the pit crew."

(Walks out, seeing Mike Helton waiting at the head of a long line): "Chad, after having to hold it that long listening to you, we are FAR from done with cautions today."