Canada Kicks Ass
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - 2012


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martin14 @ Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:10 pm

MATT KENSETH WINS!!! FORD POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


damn, how long was the red flag ?

I went out, played hockey, came home, had a shower, turned on the TV,

8 laps to go 8O

nice finish.. if Biffle hadnt blocked, Junior would have had it.


Gunnair @ Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:50 pm

martin14 martin14:
MATT KENSETH WINS!!! FORD POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


damn, how long was the red flag ?

I went out, played hockey, came home, had a shower, turned on the TV,

8 laps to go 8O

nice finish.. if Biffle hadnt blocked, Junior would have had it.

A wild wacky race! Hope the rest of the season measures up.


Gunnair @ Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:44 pm

Sadler to drive 5 races for MWR: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Elliott Sadler will drive the team's #55 Toyota in five Sprint Cup races in 2012 beginning at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 18. Sadler will also drive the #55 in the August Bristol event, both Martinsville races and the July 15 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Waltrip explained how Sadler came to drive the No. 55. "Elliott has the experience and attitude we were looking for," said the two-time Daytona 500 champion. "We'll pair him with Crew Chief Rodney Childers who builds really fast cars. We believe Elliott will do a great job." Waltrip drove the #55 in the Budweiser Shootout and will run in four more races in 2012. Mark Martin will drive the #55 in 24 races plus the All Star Race in Charlotte. MWR will name a driver for two road course events at a later date.(MWR)3-3-2012)

Well, he caused a big one 2 laps into the Daytona 500, but he won today in Phoenix. Time will tell if this is a good call or not.


Gunnair @ Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:55 pm

What’s Next For Dodge?

In a surprising announcement yesterday, Penske Racing said it would switch manufacturers to Ford at the end of the season. The team left Ford in 2003 and in recent years became the premier organization for Dodge. Together the two had a reasonable amount of success racking up 23 wins (a little less impressive considering 8 of those came in the first season).

It sounds like the logistics of the switch are still being worked out, but this represents a real boon for Ford. Beginning in 2013, they’ll be the manufacturer for three of the sport’s most storied teams.

Dodge on the other hand is left in a pretty difficult position without a single top-flight organization representing them in the sport (sorry Robby Gordon fans). The teams that defected in recent years left because of, among other things, cost and performance issues and not all did so on good terms.

One of the fundamental problems facing Dodge now is that it’s going to have find an organization that can build it’s own engines, or Dodge is going to have to start supplying them. Whichever direction it decides to go, there is going to have to be a serious investment in infrastructure.

It seems unlikely any of the usual suspects would be inclined to leave their current manufacturer for Dodge, though I’ll never say never. Either way, this presents Dodge with a challenge in either lifting an existing organization like say Front Row or Turner, or offering a larger organization enough of a financial incentive that saying no would be very difficult.

This unexpected storyline will no doubt become one of the more intriguing ones to watch this season. Stay tuned.

Will they be able to woo Richard Petty back? That would be a coup that'll cost a lot of coin.


martin14 @ Sun Apr 01, 2012 1:49 pm

Pretty wild finish at Martinsville too.


Gunnair @ Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:06 pm

martin14 martin14:
Pretty wild finish at Martinsville too.

Yep. I really wanted Dinger to win.


Gunnair @ Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:10 pm

Junior Nation's long nightmare is almost over

Junior's just torturing his fans now.
To be a citizen of Junior Nation these days is to live on the edge -- on the edge of ending that hideous streak that has reached 135 races and stretches all the way back to before the recession hit in 2008.
In fact, is it just a coincidence that the world's economy went into the toilet when Dale Earnhardt Jr. quit winning races?
But things are looking up all over. Companies are hiring; the unemployment rate is falling and Junior is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings.
Yes, that's right, second. As in only Greg Biffle has more points.
Junior's not accustomed to such lofty heights. The same time he was the points leader was after he won the October 2004 race at Talladega Superspeedway, just a week before his 30th birthday.
And even that was short-lived. A 25-point penalty after the race dropped him out of the lead before the next race.
That was Junior's best season by far. He won six races that year, including the Daytona 500. With Tony "Pops" Eury Sr. as his crew chief finished fifth in the standings but led the points for 10 weeks that year.
He has won just three races after that sterling season and it's been mostly downhill ever since.
Until last year when he made the Chase and he finally found the perfect crew chief for him -- Steve Letarte.
He has three top three finishes in the first six races and hasn't been lower than fifth in the standings all season.
But he still hasn't won yet. And no matter how well he does in the points, no matter if he makes the Chase again, he won't truly be back until he wins.
He should have won already. He might very well have won the Daytona 500 if Biffle had gone with Junior on the final lap instead of sticking with teammate Matt Kenseth.
He should have won at Las Vegas after leading 70 laps there. That was more laps than he led in all of 2011. But the team opted to take four tires on a late pit stop when everyone else took two and he never made it make to the front.
But he's already won one significant distinction. He has become -- at least for the moment -- the best driver at the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports team, where Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne are mired in horrible runs of bad luck and Jimmie Johnson is having mediocre -- by Johnson standards -- season marred by controversy.
Junior still hasn't acquired the ability to close out a strong performance with a trip to Victory Lane. But he's getting there.
If nothing else, the Law of Averages will kick in. By running up front every week eventually the breaks will fall his way and he'll win one.
When that happens it will be fitting if it also gives Rick Hendrick his 200th win as an owner. The team has been carrying hats commemorating the 200th win from track to track just in case they get to use them in Victory Lane.
Richmond is a good place for that elusive win to come. Junior has won there three times.
And an Earnhardt win at Richmond -- the week before Talladega -- would certainly be joyous news to the folks who run the superspeedway.
Talladega is the mother ship of Junior Nation. If Junior actually came to Dega with a chance to make it two in a row they'd have to uncover those grandstand sections that haven't been sold in a while.
Because the joint will be jumpin'.

This year.... I hope he breaks this winless streak this year.


martin14 @ Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:47 pm

looks like jimmie just went bye bye....


Gunnair @ Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:28 pm

martin14 martin14:
looks like jimmie just went bye bye....

Yep. Well done for BK and Gordon for the win!


Gunnair @ Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:54 pm



New images for the 2013 Miller Lite Ford Fusion. Sweet looking ride for this February.


Gunnair @ Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:57 pm

Driver Year in Review - Kurt Busch

2012 Rides: No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet (29 starts), No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet (six starts)
2012 Primary Sponsors: At Phoenix Racing: (two races), ME / Armed Forces Foundation (one race), Tag Heuer (Bud Shootout), Monster Energy (All-Star Race), Phoenix Construction and/or unsponsored in most others
At Furniture Row: Furniture Row Mattresses / Stores
2012 Owners: James Finch (Phoenix), Barney Visser (FRR)
2012 Crew Chiefs: Nick Harrison (Phoenix), Todd Berrier (FRR)

Kurt Busch
Stats: 35 races, 0 wins, 1 top 5, 5 top 10s, 6 DNFs, 0 poles, 25th in points.
Best Finish: Third – Sonoma.
Average Finish: 23.2.
Average Start: 22.2.
2012 Team Ranking: 1st of 1. Both outfits Busch drove for in 2012 were single-car teams.
High Point: The final six races with Furniture Row. Some might say Sonoma was the high point for this former Cup champion, perhaps the only race in 2012 he had a realistic chance to win driving the No. 51 Phoenix Chevy. But I look at it differently. Busch went to Phoenix to either create a championship team out of an underdog outfit, long-term or, in what was the more likely scenario use it as a stepping stone for career rebuilding. We see it all the time in sports; like the college coach who makes a major misstep (Bobby Petrino), gets fired and then jumps to a lower-end Division I school to earn his way back. But those stories don’t often have a happy ending. For Busch, especially after a one-race suspension for bad behavior following the Dover race in June whether or not he’d ever move back in the right direction was a question mark.
Enter Barney Visser and Furniture Row Racing, willing to take a risk on a driver who, with just two top-10 finishes in dated equipment hadn’t exactly re-proven himself. Busch reacted strongly, making the most of this new opportunity while forming instant chemistry with crew chief Todd Berrier. While most didn’t notice, they ended the year with three straight top-10 finishes, and in all honesty could have gotten to five (wrecks ruined things at Kansas and Martinsville, respectively). Busch took a team that had been moderately competitive, put it side-by-side with the multi-car operations and served notice he still has the talent to run well.
Low Point: Talladega – Fall. Busch’s last race with Phoenix Racing was the perfect microcosm of his season with the team. After leading six laps, around the halfway point and remaining at or near the front of the lead draft Busch looked to be a main contender at a track where Phoenix equipment was on par with the top cars in the field. But shortly thereafter, a mechanical problem — running out of gas — left Busch slowing out of Turn 2 in front of traffic. Slammed from behind by Jamie McMurray, the No. 51 took a wild ride down the backstretch and hit the inside wall hard.
That’s when the bizarre behavior, so often the hallmark of Busch’s tenure in the Cup Series broke out. With the car seemingly destroyed, safety workers descended upon the scene, put their bag on top of the roof of the car and prepared to extricate the driver. Instead, Busch found the engine would run, so he took off — leaving a startled worker at his driver’s side window and the bag of medical equipment scattered along the backstretch. When asked for an explanation, he said, “It’s kind of the way our year went. We had all the potential in the world — we could just never pull it together for 500 miles.”
But Kurt, what about your bizarre behavior? “That’s the competitor in me,” he said when pressed. “That’s what’s misconstrued.” It was an answer, for a strange situation that appeared to satisfy no one — but NASCAR chose not to penalize Busch with a suspension for the incident. Phoenix, though let their feelings be heard in a different way: they slapped a smiley face on the hood for their first race apart from the driver the following week.
Summary: After getting let go late in the 2011 offseason, from Penske Racing following a series of off-track incidents Busch’s options were few and far between. He wound up settling for a single-car effort at Phoenix Racing, a team with Hendrick connections but whose equipment, personnel, and funding were limited compared to the big dogs Busch had competed with for years. On the side, he chose to pair up with brother Kyle and run some races in the Nationwide Series, driving for his brother’s No. 54 operation. That venture proved somewhat successful, a Richmond win and several strong runs reminding everyone, throughout 2012 this former Cup Series champ could still be competitive.
For much of the year, it was hard to see that running the No. 51. With two wrecks in the first three races, along with totaling two additional cars in Daytona Phoenix Racing started the year working from behind. They never really caught up, creating a sense of friction between driver and crew as the equipment remaining was just never capable of running at speed most weeks. Forced to fight for a 25th-place finish, Busch countless times would drive the car past its limits, get overaggressive and wind up in the wall. The few times the team had it right, like on the plate tracks of Daytona and Talladega bad luck would bite them before they had a chance to build momentum.
The off-track problems didn’t stop, either. A postrace incident, this June in Dover where Busch reacted poorly to media member Bob Pockrass’ questioning led to a one-race suspension from NASCAR. That nearly caused a release from Phoenix, but owner James Finch, based on pleas from the team itself chose to give Busch a second chance. Briefly, they rallied, a third-place run at Sonoma in the summer followed by a respectable 19th at Kentucky. Daytona came around, that July and the team was hoping to put itself in position for success; instead, a wreck left them back at square one. Driver and team, during a summer of complaints and catastrophe slowly wore out their welcome for each other.
By Fall, it was clear Busch’s future would not be with Phoenix, and vice versa as a number of high-profile rides started opening up. However, as sponsors scoffed at Busch’s history of contentious behavior it looked for awhile that he might even start 2013 on the sidelines, or even on brother Kyle’s Nationwide team. That’s when Furniture Row came in, swooped up the driver and promised him better equipment, quality support from Richard Childress Racing and a hungry crew chief in Todd Berrier. The final six races left a squeaky clean impression: top-tier performances, no public incidents, everyone saying all the right things. Busch put out a documentary on SPEED, Outlaw: The Kurt Busch Story in which he tried to explain / rebuild his image problem. Only time will tell how much he’s succeeded there, but considering the tumultuous season in terrible equipment you’ve got to look at the final body of work, the new ride and consider 2012 a win for Busch.

Off-Track News: Busch and new girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll remained active in raising funds for the Armed Forces Foundation. The organization, designed to provide comfort and support to military personnel and their families partnered with Busch as he visited wounded servicemen, veterans in need and appeared publicly in support of their cause. The AFF even sponsored the driver for a race at one point, buoyed by the partnership of such a well-known athlete.
2013 Outlook: Strong. Busch and Berrier showed they were a strong driver / crew chief pairing at the end of 2012. Richard Childress equipment, plus engine support will only buoy this program further in 2013, giving them several opportunities to contend for victories. Kevin Harvick’s pending exit from the No. 29 Chevy at RCR also opens up a 2014 opportunity for Busch. Childress, who is fond of the driver will be watching from the sidelines, looking to see if Busch can improve on and off-track performance enough to be given one final shot at a top-tier ride. The motivation is there — the bigger question for Busch will be if the maturity, to keep himself out of potential damaging situations will come along with it.
2011 Grade: C.
2012 Grade: C+.


Gunnair @ Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:00 pm

Driver Year in Review - Kyle Busch

2012 Ride: No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
2012 Primary Sponsors: M&M Mars (27 races), Interstate Batteries (six races), Wrigley’s (3 races)
2012 Owner: Joe Gibbs
2012 Crew Chief: Dave Rogers

Kyle Busch
Stats: 36 races, 1 win, 13 top 5s, 20 top 10s, 4 DNFs, 2 poles, 13th in points.
Best Finish: First – Richmond (Spring).
Average Finish: 13.3.
Average Start: 10.2.
2012 Team Ranking: 2nd of 3. While Busch won just once, ultimately failing to make the Chase teammate Denny Hamlin went to Victory Lane five times. While the No. 11 team appeared invigorated with new head wrench Darian Grubb too often in 2012, Busch fell flat by comparison. He still easily ran circles around younger, inconsistent teammate Joey Logano though.
High Point: Richmond – April. Busch, who had won the last three Spring races out in central Virginia spent most of this Saturday night thinking the streak would come to an end. While running inside the top 5, flashing speed he always seemed a step behind Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart, both of whom combined to lead 324 of 400 laps. But when Edwards was penalized for jumping the restart, following a late caution flag the door opened for Busch and the No. 18 Toyota to move up. Another yellow, this one for debris with 12 laps left agitated Stewart and put Busch in position to make a move on the final restart. Charging into turn 1, the driver used pinpoint acceleration to take control of the race. Aero did the rest, as Busch eased through the final 13 laps to take the win — setting a record with four straight Springtime victories at the three-quarter mile oval.
Low Point: Richmond – Fall. Despite a series of mechanical failures that hamstrung Busch, keeping him outside the top 10 in points he entered one of his best tracks in control of his own Chase destiny. All Busch had to do, in all likelihood was finish ahead of Jeff Gordon on-track and he’d be punching a ticket right into the postseason. The only other way he could have been beaten is if one of the “wild cards,” in 11th through 20th captured a second victory, like teammate Joey Logano. But none of them, other than Gordon had outstanding track records at Richmond and those bids were a longshot at best.
So how in the world could Busch screw this one up? After all, he had a reasonable cushion on Gordon in the standings (12 points) and hadn’t finished lower than sixth at Richmond in four years. But a wacky race led to some poor strategy calls by crew chief Dave Rogers. Ahead of Gordon, by far for over two-thirds of the race, the team was basically stroking it en route to the checkered flag. But that final rain delay caused Busch to stay out, not pitting assuming the race would be called early. It didn’t. In the meantime, Gordon pitted just before the yellow, thrusting him up front with fresh tires while Busch and others were eventually forced to give up track position.
Busch, showcasing maturity for most of the season in tough circumstances let the pressure get to him here; he lost it on the radio and lost composure. Falling back towards a 16th-place finish, Gordon’s newfound momentum left him charging to second and easily earned him a Chase bid over Busch. A track that had given Busch so much success, through the year became an Achilles’ Heel at the worst possible time.
Summary: Following a rough end to 2011, including a one-race suspension for bad behavior the 2012 version of Kyle Busch was, for the most part well-behaved. Instead, most of the blame for last season’s slump should be placed not on the driver, who led 1,436 laps but the car. In position for victory, time and again a series of breakdowns left Busch not only hitting the garage early but well outside the top 10 in points.

The first four races set the stage, just one top-10 finish before a second at Fontana seemed to get Busch on track. But that was followed by a disappointing 36th at Martinsville, part of the rollercoaster that defined Busch’s early 2012. The best stretch was in late April and early May, a series of top-4 finishes (which included a Richmond win) getting him back in the race for the Chase.
But then came back-to-back engine failures, at Dover and Pocono in June that stunted Busch’s chances for the postseason. Stumbling through the summer, without back-to-back top-10 results until Bristol and Atlanta in August it was clear internally the unreliability of Busch’s Toyota was taking its toll. And while the laps led total was high, roughly half of that didn’t happen until Busch accomplished the season low of missing the Chase. Behind the eight ball, potential crew jobs on the line that’s when head wrench Dave Rogers rebounded and boosted the morale of the organization. A Dover domination, 302 laps led fell just short of victory due to fuel — Busch wound up criticizing Toyota Racing Development and their engine package after the race — but that was a catalyst. Ending the season with four straight top-5 results, this team was running up front and flashing the speed it should have shown for all 36 events down the stretch.
Off-Track News: Almost none. But that’s what Busch wanted, in the face of a one-race suspension for his infamous punt of Ron Hornaday during the Texas race in November, 2011. His Nationwide and Truck teams continued to make news, though with the No. 18 Truck especially struggling without Busch in the seat. Driver Jason Leffler was released midseason, resulting in a merry-go-round of replacements before Joey Coulter was hired this winter to man the truck in 2013.
The Nationwide program, in its first season also struggled to gain consistency. Overall, Busch ended the year with just one win across Cup, Nationwide, and Trucks, his lowest total since working his way up to the Cup Series full-time in 2005.
2013 Outlook: Looking good. Busch’s strong Chase, even though he didn’t make the postseason bodes well for the start of 2013. You’d have to think the bad luck that struck Busch and Rogers, too many times throughout the course of 2012 won’t happen again — at least to that degree. Most importantly, Busch is in a contract year and looking to prove himself to Gibbs and other potential car owners he’s championship caliber. Anything less than a Chase berth, followed by a strong bid for the title would be a huge disappointment for everyone in the No. 18 camp.
2011 Grade: B-.
2012 Grade: C+.


martin14 @ Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:20 pm

Gunnair Gunnair:

Wonder how many times the announcers are going to mess up and call it

'the Miller Lite DODGE' :lol:

Miller Lite Fusion just doesnt sound right.


Gunnair @ Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:20 am

Yep. Betcha the execs at Dodge were having one of those "Oops we shit the bed" moments after pulling out after winning the Cup. :P

Was looking forward to seeing that 2013 Charger...


Gunnair @ Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:30 am


Year in review - Jeff Burton

2012 Ride: No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
2012 Main Primary Sponsors: Caterpillar, Wheaties,
Smaller 2012 Primary Deals: BB&T, Odyssey Batteries, Armed Forces Foundation, Rain-X
2012 Car Owner: Richard Childress
2012 Crew Chiefs: Drew Blicksensderfer (Feb. – Oct.), Shane Wilson (Oct. – Nov.)
2012 Stats: 36 races, 0 wins, 2 top 5s, 6 top 10s, 2 DNFs, 19th in Points.
Best Finish: 2nd – Daytona, July.
Average Finish: 19.6.
Average Start: 23.1.

Jeff Burton
2012 Team Ranking: 3rd of 3. It’s hard to believe this one-time title contender has fallen behind Paul Menard — yes, that Paul Menard — in any type of ranking system. But Burton, whose inconsistency dogged much of his 2012 campaign never came close to putting up a fight for the Chase. In fact, he didn’t put up a fight in most races altogether, while teammate Menard at least had enough top 15s to remain continually on the edges of the conversation. And Kevin Harvick? He was racing in a whole other time zone by comparison.
High Point: This year’s Daytona 500. Leave it to the most bizarre race of 2012 as the one where Burton actually showed flashes of brilliance. Leading 24 laps, he ran inside the top 10 for virtually the entire race, putting himself in position to win down the stretch. In the end, the Matt Kenseth / Dale Earnhardt, Jr. battle left the No. 31 Chevy eating dust, but fifth was nothing to sneeze at in a race that could have set this team up for a solid season. Add in a second at Daytona this July, and Burton’s average finish at the track was a spectacular 3.5 — over sixteen positions above his average.
Low Point: Where to begin? The 36-race schedule was a semester-long lesson on how not to run a top-tier Cup program. But perhaps the momentum-bursting moment, as early as it was came in the second race of the season at Phoenix. Long one of Burton’s best tracks, the No. 31 Chevy was in position for a second straight top-10 finish to begin the year. Running a comfortable eighth in the closing laps, all was well until the engine expired on the Caterpillar Chevy, blowing up with less than 30 laps to go. With Burton heading to the garage a disappointing 33rd, one of two mechanical DNFs the team would have on the year sucked the life out of a promising start. In hindsight, neither driver nor the team ever recovered.

Summary: For Jeff Burton, after a momentum-building finish to 2011 his team went through a questionable personnel switch. Head wrench Luke Lambert, who led the team to four top-10 finishes in the final five races was replaced, moved into the Nationwide Series while veteran Cup crew chief Drew Blickensderfer took the reins. With an engineering background, built through a career with Ford and Roush Fenway Racing the powers that be at RCR thought a resume filled with his knowledge base — along with a Daytona 500 victory — was enough to hit the reset button at the No. 31.
Sure, the team reset alright; it stayed stuck at square one. Burton handled the situation with class, but the chemistry between driver and crew chief was never there from the start in perhaps Sprint Cup’s most disastrous 2012 pairing. Never higher than 12th in points after the season’s second race, this duo put a capital “s” in the word struggle outside of the restrictor plate ovals, where they were four-for-four on top-10 finishes. For Burton, everywhere else simply staying on the lead lap was an accomplishment in itself, finishing no better than 12th at any of the sport’s cookie-cutter intermediates and falling victim to mechanical problems several times. The pit crew often churned out slow stops; ECR engines, once a hallmark for this organization lost their edge as the year wore on. Leading a total of seven laps over the season’s final 34 events, Burton at age 45 looked about ten times more washed up than Mark Martin at age 53. At times, his future employment with RCR was in question before a multi-year extension with sponsor Caterpillar eased those fears. Blick was the one shown the door instead, in late October with a return of Lambert clearly the gamble RCR is looking for to bring back the consistency that was once the hallmark of its veteran leader. Burton, after this type of year called 2013 “make or break…” but after two straight seasons of mediocre results, it’s more like “reconstruct or else.” This driver’s confidence, along with the car’s internal chassis and setups are in some serious need of rebuilding.
2013 Outlook: Life should be good with Luke Lambert, right? After all, the duo came together like wildfire towards the tail end of the 2011 season. Regarded as one of the great, up-and-coming head wrenches on the circuit, his willingness to gamble for track position, as well as Burton’s willingness to listen should bode well. Stability should also be a key asset; Harvick’s impending departure from RCR means that Burton, no matter the results should be safe at least through 2014. Could he emerge as a surprise Chase contender? Or will this team stay stuck in the 20s? I wouldn’t be surprised either way.
2011 Grade: C.
2012 Grade: C-.
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Contact Tom Bowles

Jeff, you continue to spiral into irrelevance. Hopefully you pull it out of the crapper this year lest you be...done.



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