Jeff Gordon: Formula One’s Loss, NASCAR’s Gain

Jeff Gordon at speed in Juan Pablo Montoya’s Williams Formula One car.

Perhaps this is a bold statement: Jeff Gordon is the only NASCAR driver of the modern era who could have made it to Formula One and had the potential to be a multiple World Champion.

Unfortunately, he suffered the same slings and arrows of abandonment by the open wheel world that many have. No one gave him a chance. IndyCar and Formula One’s loss, NASCAR’s gain.

Gordon’s win at Martinsville and his elevation in the Chase standings prove that the will to win, to never quit and to dig deep in the face of such steep competition are but a few of the attributes he possesses that would have propelled him to the top on the Global stage.

The villagers with pitchforks and torches aside, Gordon had/has exactly what it takes to perform at this level. The remaining Sprint Cup NASCAR drivers in the field today do not.

Many fans dont realize that Earnhardt, Sr and Gordon were friends. It was Earnhardt who gave Gordon the nickname “Wonderboy”.

When the name Jeff Gordon comes up in conversation with fans it evokes one of two reactions: They love him or ‘think’ they hate him. The flaw in these polarizing reactions is simple: They don’t know him.

That’s somewhat understandable considering the level of fame he’s achieved; it’s hard to get to know him. However, that’s for those who haven’t met him and looked beyond the defense mechanisms that celebrities have to use, which is hard to do, unless you’ve grown up around many, many celebrities. You learn how to look over the fence.

My family has been in the racing business since 1952 and I’ve met some of the world’s greatest and most unusual drivers, so I don’t have the typical reaction of most. Celebrity is a man made environment that just doesn’t matter to me. I’m more interested in the person.

I’ve met Jeff Gordon twice. Both times in settings that were not charged with the adrenaline rush of fuel and throngs of fans vying for his attention.

The first time was the year he came to NASCAR. I was staying with a friend in Lake Norman who had sold him the condo right next door to hers. Ray Evernham lived across the walk.

When she introduced us I hadn’t really heard much about him other than he was an up and coming talent. It was all there, the reticence on his part to be too open. The exuberance of being in an such an enviable position in his career. The trust of having met someone new through a friend.

A much younger Jeff Gordon learning the ropes.

My senses picked up all of these emotions, body language and speech. What he lacked was an ’enfant terrible’ attitude or sense of entitlement. That was different than what I expected.

I didn’t think much of it at the time. As anyone who knows me can attest, Formula One is my octane of choice. It never occurred to me that he had delivered on the potential in his early years that the Europeans rave about these days.

I walked away from that casual meeting impressed most of all with his politeness. That’s a learned skill, not something you’re born with, at least that’s what I have observed over the decades.

The second meeting was about 7 years ago at one of his pre-Daytona 500 parties; it was for Georgia Pacific, I believe.

My friend, who knew him, and I were early and Jeff was sitting by himself and his step-father, John Bickford was sitting at the bar in heavy discussion about hunting and Salmon fishing in Alaska. This was a subject near and dear to my heart as these were my ‘gourmet cooking’ days.

John Bickford, Jeff Gordon’s Step-Father.

After about 20 minutes of engaging John on the merits of cooking wild game, in the wild, Jeff walked up. Obviously he had overheard the conversation and said to me “Be careful, he may invite you on one of his adventures”.

I knew if that came to fruition I would be held to an impossible standard as John’s hunting/fishing crew always invited an exceptional chef or cook for just that purpose.

I decided to extricate myself from John and my friend in order to talk with Jeff. I found him interesting. He didn’t remember our meeting at Lake Norman, nor do I expect he’ll remember our second meeting.

Most stars do not approach someone else, they wait for someone to approach them. In that scenario the celebrity can mentally size up who has invaded their space. They can control the situation.

With Jeff, I must have not given off those stalker vibes. Although, probably a few women in my past would challenge me on that statement.

He was very cautious at first.  Many celebrities want to immediately dominate the conversation in order to take control. Not Jeff.

Gordon and his wife, Ingrid Vandebosch in Martinsville winners circle.

This driver was different. He actually began asking about me.  Why? Because I wasn’t asking him for anything, no need to screen me through his PR or marketing machine. Fans underestimate the pressure these drivers are under. Let’s face it, everybody wants something from them. To me he was simply an interesting person.

As the conversation rolled on I managed to hear about how he attained his position in racing, from quarter midgets on up. What struck me then and still does, is that he had every attribute that is required to be a Formula One star.

Not that being a NASCAR star is bad, quite the contrary, it’s just that the Europeans aren’t the nicest lot to us Americans when it comes to racing. Michael Andretti is a perfect example.

This is when the subject of his F1 swap with Montoya came up.

His eyes glazed over recounting the experience as he mentally took me around the Grand Prix track at Indianapolis where the swap with Montoya took place. Every corner, the traction control, the braking, the grip and the startling technology.

I knew that he enjoyed it, but I couldn’t yet ascertain whether or not he could have pulled off going to Europe and enduring the full contact fighting that takes place in the lower formula’s leading up to a prized spot on the Grand Prix grid.

When Jeff Gordon retires from NASCAR, let’s hope he keeps racing. The LeMans prototypes would be suitable.

The conversation didn’t last long as more and more people filed into the room demanding his attention, but the information that had been passed to me coupled with his obvious intelligence had piqued my interest. I set out on a mission to learn more about the path he had taken.

From the very early years until the move to Indianapolis, I was intrigued.

Why would I say that Gordon is the only driver in NASCAR’s modern era who could have been America’s GP star? You have to look at the dedication, the mannerisms, the passion and many more attributes that aren’t verbally communicated. Jeff Gordon is a sponge. He soaks up everything, if he finds it interesting.

Stewart is a great driver, but he lacks the total and unflappable dedication to such a foreign discipline.

Jimmie Johnson didn’t have John Bickford calling the early shots. Yes he’s incredible at what he does, but how many families would buy a quarter midget to drive in front of their talented son in order for him to learn how to pass the other car? Not many.

Allmendinger? Talented yes, but his attitude wouldn’t have gotten him far enough in order to have the very best rides in Europe. He would have, in short order, rubbed the Europeans the wrong way.

The rest of Gordon’s accomplishments are in the history books.

When Jeff finally decides to step out of the drivers seat at Hendrick, he may very well take on another role with the team. After all, he does have equity in the operation.

However, something tells me that despite his eventual departure from the grueling schedule of NASCAR, this driver won’t be done.

He excels on road courses and truly seems to enjoy the prototype racing. His ability goes beyond what is offered in Grand Am.

Gordon is a full blown candidate for the LeMans prototypes, the LMP1’s. They dwarf the Daytona Prototypes and LMP2 cars in power, speed, torque and technology.

With Gordon, the skill is there, the technical understanding, the passion and not to mention the fact that landing a top notch Mercedes, Porsche or Audi ride wouldn’t be a stretch. They still sell most of their cars in the United States.

Who better to carry Old Glory to the Europeans?

 

 

 

Remember Your Clichés -Fantasy Insight Texas 2

Matt Kenseth

There are some sayings that you have to pay attention to because they give you great advice. As my Dad and Karl Malden used to say, “Always,” no wait it was “Never leave home without it.” Way down yonder in the great state of Texas they still like to remind people to “Remember the Alamo.” When it comes to NASCAR racing this year and handicapping the upcoming race at a track such as Texas Motor Speedway I will remind you to “Remember the Cookie Cutter.”

This year as usual the cream is rising to the top of the NASCAR standings. There are just three weeks to go in the season and Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson are head and shoulders above the rest. But how do you pick between these two super stars on a weekly basis for your Fantasy Racing team? This week just remember the cookie cutter.

Not all mile and a half tracks are similar but they do race similar enough to trust the lessons they teach us. Over the last ten races on tracks of this size, regardless of the banking, Matt Kenseth has scored more points than all but one competitor in the Cup series. Only Kevin Harvick has been more consistent but Kenseth has four wins to Harvick’s two wins and Kenseth has also not insulted his boss lately. Add it all up and you have to put Matt Kenseth on top this week.

Good luck with your fantasy racing picks this week and don’t forget to send in your pick for “Whiteboard Fantasy Racing” this week for Texas.

Send in your pick to win this week’s Cup race to dennis@racetalkradio.com for a chance to win a copy of the National Speedway Directory from SpeedwaysOnline.com.

National Speedway Directory

Hot off the press the 2013 edition of the National Speedway Directory is now available. For over 3 decades the NSD has given race fans and teams information about every track in North America. Order your copy today at http://speedwaysonline.com

Weather Report

Mostly sunny and pleasant with a high near 70F

If you have a question about Fantasy Racing send it to dennis@racetalkradio.com and get it answered next week.

NASCAR by the Numbers

Using a proprietary race analysis technique we take the fans inside the numbers every week. DMIC’s rating system has been in use since 2002 and has proven to pick the contenders from the pretenders!

Consistency is King (Last Five Races)

Greg Biffle

 

Driver

Last 5

J Gordon

94

J Johnson

94

K Harvick

94

D Earnhardt Jr

93

M Kenseth

91

C Bowyer

90

J Logano

89

J McMurray

89

G Biffle

88

Ky Busch

88 

Horses for Courses (Track Rating)

Driver

Course

G Biffle

95

M Kenseth

95

J Johnson

94

C Edwards

92

C Bowyer

90

M Truex

88

Ky Busch

88

D Earnhardt Jr

88

K Harvick

87

K Kahne

87           

Type Casting (Track Type Factor)

Jimmie Johnson

 

Driver

Type

K Harvick

92

Ky Busch

92

J Logano

92

M Kenseth

91

M Truex

91

C Edwards

91

K Kahne

91

R Newman

88

J Johnson

87

Ku Busch

86 

Power Rating (240 Minimum to Qualify as Contender)

Driver

Power

M Kenseth

278

J Johnson

275

K Harvick

273

Ky Busch

268

C Edwards

268

G Biffle

267

M Truex

263

D Earnhardt Jr

263

J Logano

263

C Bowyer

262

K Kahne

260

J Gordon

259

R Newman

257

D Hamlin

253

Ku Busch

253

B Keselowski

253

P Menard

251

J McMurray

251

R Stenhouse Jr

249

M Ambrose

248

JP Montoya

246

A Almirola

242

J Burton

240

T Bayne

238

M Martin

234

D Patrick

229

D Ragan

228

C Mears

223

D Gilliland

223

D Reutimann

222

D Blaney

216 

DMIC’s Fantasy Picks presented by Speedwaysonline.com

Each week we will take you beyond the numbers to handicap the field from top to bottom to help your Fantasy Racing team succeed. You are also invited to join Lori Munro and I on “White Board Fantasy Racing” every Monday night on “Doin’ Donuts” at 8pm ET on RaceTalkRadio.com. Win fun prizes by picking just the race winners in our unique format. Send your picks to info@racetalkradio.com to enter.

Top Pick (Last Week Finished WINNER)

Matt Kenseth- Triple 90+ rating makes him the logical pick this week

(4 to 1 Odds)

Best Long Shot (Odds of 20-1 or More) (Last Week Finished 12th)      

Martin Truex Jr- Call it a hunch bet this week

(20 to 1 Odds)

Top Dogs (Group A in Yahoo) (Last Week Finished 5th)     

Jimmie Johnson- Cream is rising to the top

(7 to 2 Odds)

Second Class (Group B in Yahoo) (Last Week 11th)           

Greg Biffle- This has been a good track for Roush cars in the past

(20 to 1 Odds)

Middle Packer (Group C in Yahoo) (Last Week Finished 42nd)               

Ricky Stenhouse Jr- First time winners are not unusual here

Crazy 8s for Texas

Each week Lori Munro and Dennis Michelsen battle in the most unique racing game around! We pick one driver each from each 8 driver group using the current points’ standings. Our picks can help you round out your fantasy racing lineup!

Dennis won 4-1 in week 33 and Lori leads the game 18-15 for the year

Group 1: Dennis picks Matt Kenseth and Lori picks Jimmie Johnson

Group 2: Lori picks Brad Keselowski and Dennis picks Martin Truex Jr

Group 3: Dennis picks Denny Hamlin and Lori picks Ricky Stenhouse Jr

Group 4: Lori picks Mark Martin and Dennis picks David Ragan

Group 5: Dennis picks Trevor Bayne and Lori picks Elliott Sadler

Do you have what it takes to handicap the races? Join Lori and Dennis every week and play in the Whiteboard Fantasy Racing Series! Send your pick for the Cup race to info@racetalkradio.com to enter. Weekly prize given away! 

Lupton Clinches Sunoco Rookie Of The Year

Lupton Clinches Sunoco Rookie Of The Year

Wraps Up Rookie Honor In K&N West With One Race Remaining

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Dylan Lupton has clinched the 2013 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, NASCAR announced today.

The 19-year-old from Wilton, Calif., wrapped up the title with one race remaining on this year’s series schedule.

Driving the No. 9 Vadio/Lupton Excavating/Sunrise Ford Ford, Lupton put together a string of 11 straight top 10 finishes – highlighted by a win at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. He is fifth in the overall championship standings heading into the season finale, the Casino Arizona 50 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, Nov. 9.

Earning the Sunoco Rookie of the Race honor in six of the 14 races that have been run, Lupton took over the lead in the rookie standings following the third race of the season and never relinquished that position.

“This has been a great year,” Lupton said. “One of my biggest goals coming into the year was to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award and I’m really excited to be able to get that done. The Sunrise Ford crew has worked really hard all year and worked with me to make me a better driver.

“I’ve accomplished all the goals I wanted to this year and I’m looking forward to next year,” he said. “I’ve got one year under my belt and I think this rookie of the year title is going to boost my confidence to go run for the championship next year.”

Lupton is the fourth driver to earn the rookie title driving for car owner Bob Bruncati, who is known for providing an opportunity for young drivers to showcase their talent in the series. Austin Dyne garnered the rookie award driving the Sunrise Ford Racing entry last year, Luis Martinez Jr., gained the honor driving for Bruncati in 2010 and Jason Bowles took the title with the team in 2007.

Lupton, in his first season of a two-year agreement to drive for Bruncati, began his racing career with a successful stint in go-karts and then won a championship in the S2 division at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. He entered this season with three previous starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West – all in 2011.

Past drivers to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honor in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West include Derrike Cope, Chad Little, Bill Sedgwick, Rick Carelli, David Gilliland and Dylan Kwasniewski.

Lupton will be honored for his Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award at the NASCAR Touring Series Awards on Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

 

First NASCAR Titles For Idaho’s Pehrson

First NASCAR Titles For Idaho’s Pehrson

Father Nips Son For Magic Valley, State Titles

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A veteran Idaho driver won his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track and state championships in 2013.

Dan Pehrson, 50, of Buhl, Idaho, won the NASCAR Super Stock division track championship and NASCAR state title racing at Magic Valley Speedway, a third-mile paved oval in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Pehrson had a problematic rival during the season-long lead-swapping track and state point races: his 32-year-old son Casey.

“Both of us are racers and both of us are prepared to win,” Dan Pehrson said. “I won the first race of the season. Casey won the second race and from there the battle was on.

“There were weeks I had the point lead, weeks when he had the point lead and weeks we were tied. It was a nail-biter right down to the end of the season.”

The senior Pehrson placed fourth in the final feature of the year. He won the track point race by 10 and the state title by six, both over his son, who placed seventh in the last feature. Dan Pehrson’s overall 20-race record was four wins, 17 top-fives and 20 top-10s. With the exception of having one less top-five finish, Casey Pehrson’s record was the same.

“We have a close relationship, but we have separate shops. We’ll rib each other, but we’ve worked on his car at my shop. He’d do the same for me. When we’re on the track, we challenge each other.

“I’ve been fighting for a championship for years and they’ve been very, very elusive,” Pehrson said of finally breaking through.

A 23-year racing veteran, Pehrson started out in the four cylinder Pony Stock division driving a Ford Pinto at Magic Valley. After three years he moved on to a three-year stint in Modifieds. Wanting to explore the racing world around him, Pehrson then spent 10 years racing with a touring truck series. He returned to Late Model racing at Magic Valley in 2008, and then switched with the track to the Super Stock division in 2011.

Kristopher McKean won the 2012 track championship by 15 points and the state championship by 21 points over Casey Pehrson who won NASCAR’s 2012 state rookie-of-the-year award. Dan Pehrson placed seventh in track and state points last year.

“I think my wife Tammy has some rather difficult race nights. We both want to see Casey succeed. Race nights can be interesting and nerve-racking. I’ve helped him when he needed it. We have camaraderie, but we have competition between us too.”

Courtney Gard is Dan Pehrson’s crew chief and wife Tammy rounds out the crew. Their race car is based on a home-built Chevy Camaro chassis and powered by a GM 602 crate engine. Sponsors include Joe’s Blacksmith Shop and Pehrson Motorsports.

Pehrson is a service manager at Con Paulos Volkswagen-Mazda in Twin Falls. He and his wife also have a daughter, Andrea. Three granddaughters also race at Magic Valley. They compete in the Junior Stinger division. Hailey, 13, won the first half-season championship and had a total of eight feature wins. Gracie, 10, had one win and Madison, 12, is working to get her first win.

“Racing is a big family event for us,” Pehrson said. “We have quite a busy race season.”

Pehrson will be honored for his Magic Valley Speedway championship during the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards event on Friday, Dec. 13 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame/Charlotte Convention Center. Among those honored will be the 2013 national champion Lee Pulliam, as well as track champions from 55 tracks across the United States and Canada, state and province champions, and top rookies.

“We tagged along with Casey and went to the NASCAR banquet in Charlotte last December. We got to see him on stage to get his state rookie award. This year I get to be on the stage,” Pehrson said. “We’re looking forward to it.”

Brode Triumphant At Riverhead

Brode Triumphant At Riverhead

Second Modified Title Comes 15 Years After First

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Fifteen years after winning Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway’s 1998 NASCAR Modified division championship, Howie Brode is once again a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track titlist at the famed Long Island bullring.

Since winning his first track championship, Brode divided his time between the Riverhead’s weekly racing and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He returned to full-time weekly action at Riverhead in 2012 and placed second in points.

“We planned to race part-time at Riverhead last year, and ended up running full-time,” Brode, 49, of East Islip, N.Y., said. “We knew we had some potential.”

He had a rare winless season in 2012 but consistency helped him finish just 10 points behind track champion Shawn Solomito.

That competitive realization was just the incentive for Brode to focus on preparation in the shop for 2013.

“It took a lot of work over the winter to improve the car and it’s strong,” he said. “At Riverhead you have to be patient as a driver, have a good car and not get into wrecks.”

Riverhead’s quarter-mile paved oval is demanding, as is the quality and quantity of competition every Saturday night.

Brode’s ardent effort was rewarded with a five win season. His first win came on the second race night. His 22 starts also produced 18 top-fives and 22 top 10s. He won the track title by 101 points over Timmy Solomito, and placed third in the state NASCAR point race. He is ranked 27th in the series national Top 500 for 2013.

“It’s cool to be successful with the amount of talented drivers racing here,” Brode said. “It’s tough to win at Riverhead. You get a lot of pleasure when you can win races and championships racing with those guys.

“We finished every lap of every race this year,” Brode said. “It was just one of those seasons.”

During his 1998 track title year, Brode began making infrequent starts in the NASCAR Whelen Modified tour. Following a runner-up finish in the 1999 track point race he raced part time at Riverhead and part-time on the tour until his return in 2012.

In 57 tour starts, he’s won one pole award and had a best finish of second, both at Riverhead. He has a total of six top-fives and 16 top-10s. Most recently he started second and finished fifth in a 200-lap tour race at Riverhead on Sept. 14.

Brode’s father, also named Howie, raced Modifieds in the 1960s and 1970s. With the goal of someday competing in Modifieds, the younger Brode built his own Charger division car and started racing himself in 1992.

“I loved it. I won in my third race,” Brode said.

He moved up to NASCAR Modifieds in 1997 and placed 15th in track points. He quickly rose to track champion the following year. His 1998 season included three wins, 10 top-fives and 13 top-10s in 18 starts. He placed eighth in the NASCAR regional point race.

Pete Clark owns Brode’s 2007 Troyer chassis race car. The car is powered by a Big Sal’s racing engine and Marty Condit is crew chief. Crew members include Harry Ruland, a nephew Steve Brode, a grandfather and grandson named Donny Rall and Greg Aelia. Sponsors include Freightliner Trucks, On Time Trucking and R.W. Truck Bodies.

Brode and his wife Lisa have two children, Carlie, 11, and Matthew, 8. Matthew races Champ Karts at Riverhead. Brode operates Beaver’s Towing in Bay Shore, N.Y.

Brode will be honored as Riverhead’s champion during the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards event on Friday, Dec. 13 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame/Charlotte Convention Center. Among those honored will be the 2013 national champion Lee Pulliam, as well as track champions from 55 tracks across the United States and Canada, state and province champions, and top rookies.

Ramírez Edges Out Pérez In Thrilling Victory

Ramírez Edges Out Pérez In Thrilling Victory

Peralta Tightens Grip On Toyota Series Championship

TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Mexico – Patience and perserverance paid off for José Luis Ramírez. In a race that had two red flags for multi-car wrecks, the Mexico City native was able to avoid trouble in the Tuxtla 240, including a late charge by Antonio Pérez, and claim his second NASCAR Toyota Series victory on Sunday at the Súper Óvalo Chiapas. 

Pérez took charge of the race late and looked poised to win his second event of the season, before Ramírez overtook him in the closing laps. As the white flag fell, both drivers were separated by less than a car length. As they made their way around the backstretch of the .75-mile D-shaped oval, Pérez  slipped underneath and was in position to reclaim the lead heading into the final turns, but Ramírez was able to hold his position long enough to claim the checkered flag. It was his first win of the season and his first trip to Victory Lane 2010, also in Chiapas.

Pérez was forced to settle for second, his 35th career top three finish. Irwin Vences crossed the finish line next, followed by Patrick Goeters and Hugo Oliveras.

Rubén Pardo, Elliot Van Rankin, Homero Richards, Pepe Montaño, and Rubén Garcia Jr. completed the top 10.

Pole winner Daniel Suárez, who made contact with the turn one wall after his qualifying lap, entered the weekend three points behind Rodrigo Peralta. Suárez led the field to green and would hold on to the top spot for the majority of the first 55 laps, before he was forced to pit road with mechanical issues. He would return to the track, 18 laps behind the leaders, and finished 24th. 

Peralta also shared time in the top spot, only to fall back after getting caught up in one of the multi-car pile-ups. His 11th place finish was enough to increase his lead over Suárez to 15 points heading into the season finale at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez on November 10. Peralta has two top 10 finishes in Mexico City this season.

RESULTS

nts_chiapas_102713_luis-ramirez_on_track_700x400.jpgJosé Luis Ramírez races to his first victory of 2013 and his first since 2010. Courtesy OCESA

Harvick: There’s More to it Than “Punk Ass Kids”

Kevin Harvick, who is leaving RCR for Stewart-Haas, made the headlines this past weekend due to his emotional outburt at the team owners grandson’s, Austin and Ty Dillon.

The day the second Benz Patent-Motorwagen was built, auto racing began. Along with it, the financial constraints of competing in a new and bold sport showcasing the fruits of the Industrial Revolution became readily apparent.

In other words it cost a boatload of money to race cars. Apparently this epiphany, seemingly brought on by a lightning bolt from heaven, hit Kevin Harvick at a truck race in Martinsville this past week.

Harvick, who was spun out by the grandson of Richard Childress, Ty Dillon, set in motion long pent up anger against the Richard Childress Racing organization, the Sprint Cup team for which Harvick drives. For three more races.

Was Harvick not given all the tools to win a championship under the RCR banner? Did he not spend a huge amount of his career with Childress? He was given all those opportunities and, frankly, he earned it.

What is puzzling is that Harvick didn’t or does not yet understand that it’s cubic dollars, combined with talent, that win races. It doesn’t matter that the Dillon’s are wealthy, it just rubs some the wrong way in a sport, NASCAR, that had very humble and grass-root beginnings.

Childress and Harvick in happier times.

Not one single aspiring driver with limited funds has ever turned up at a race to compete anywhere on the globe and at any point in history where the “Rich Kids” weren’t there. Many times their equipment was the deciding factor in their wins, overriding the talent they may have possessed.

You can’t hate the wealthy for taking advantage of what they have to win. What does Harvick propose? Wealth redistribution in

auto racing?

Very, very few drivers in the modern era have ever made it to the top broke or without a hand up from parents or a friend. A few, but a precious few. Carl Edwards comes to mind.

That’s what set NASCAR apart, in the early days, from global racing such as Grand Prix, in NASCAR they had a chance. No more.

I think the old adage, “Familiarity breeds contempt”, applies in the RCR/Harvick dustup.

Austin and Ty Dillon along with their Grandfather, Richard Childress.

There’s more to this story than meets the eye. What that is, we may never know.

It took a truck race to bring this out?

I have never been a proponent of dropping down to a lower series to compete. Once you’ve reached the top of your particular type of auto racing, that’s what you should concentrate on and nothing else. Jimmie Johnson should be the example to examine.

Regarding the on-track incident, Richard Childress said: “These aren’t spoiled rich kids. These are hard-working young men that believe in what they’re doing. They knew they had to prove themselves. They have to race to be up front to keep a job. And they knew that when I put them in the first car. It’s just not fair for someone to make a statement like that. It’s not fair to the sport. There are so many families in this sport, it’s founded on family. Look at the history from the France family. No one has to apologize for giving their family the opportunity.”

Paraphrasing, Childress also said he was more upset with Harvick’s words than the on-track incident. He went on to say, “95% of drivers” understood that families often have to finance the early stages of a career, whether “it’s buying a go-kart or building a Late Model so a car owner or sponsor comes along and gives them an opportunity.”

Charlie Sheen’s sit-com…”Anger Management”

Harvick stated before the media that the incident was: “exactly the reason why I’m leaving RCR, because you’ve got those kids coming up, and they’ve got no respect for what they do in this sport and they’ve had everything fed to them with a spoon.”

According to Childress, Harvick, in 13 seasons, never said anything about the two grandsons being an issue but apparently they either were the problem or perhaps it’s deeper than that.

Jeff Gordon has remained with Hendrick all these years for more than just the equipment. He has equity in the team. Kevin Harvick does not. Perhaps that was more important than many believe. Only Delana Harvick knows.

Harvick has but three races left with RCR before he migrates to the Stewart-Haas AG (Anger Management) team where he faces personalities very similar to his own, sans Danica Patrick.

They’ll either push each other to perform better or they’ll come unglued and end up as revolving guests on Charlie Sheen’s television show.

Either way, everyone should be able to accept that if you have the talent, however you get to the top that is legitimate (read legal) is acceptable and the drivers who were made it by virtue of being members of the “Lucky Sperm Club” shouldn’t be disparaged.

 

 

Pursley Charges To Win At Kern Raceway

Pursley Charges To Win At Kern Raceway

Wins Inaugural K&N West Race At New Bakersfield Track

See video

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Greg Pursley won the NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Kern County Raceway Park on Saturday to claim the victory in the inaugural NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at the new high-banked, half-mile track.

It marked the fifth win of the season for the 2011 series champion and his 18th career series victory.

Pursley moved to the lead just before the midway point and ran a fierce pace in the final laps to hold off a strong challenge from Michael Self to win by .178 seconds. Conserving early was part of his strategy for the race, Pursley said.

“When we got the race going, I hung out for a little bit and saved the tires as much as I could,” he said. “And once we got out front, I tried to save as much as I could.”

But he turned up the wick in the closing laps, as he was challenged for the lead.

“The (car No.) 21 was coming on pretty hard there at the end,” Pursley said. “We had a yellow flag with about 20 to go. I had to put down about 20 qualifying laps and he was right there. He gave me a great race.”

For Pursley, who early in his career was a regular competitor in the late model division at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield before its closure, winning the first series race at the new track had extra meaning. In addition, it was a special win for some of his crew.

“It’s a hometown win for my crew chief Jerry Pitts and a couple of our guys,” said Pursley – who raced out of Newhall, south of Bakersfield, for much of his career. “It’s a real emotional win. I won a lot of races at the old Mesa Marin track and I’m happy to be the inaugural winner at Kern County Raceway.” 

Self trailed Pursley to the finish, with Eric Holmes close behind. David Mayhew and Cameron Hayley rounded out the top five.

Championship points leader Derek Thorn, who started on the outside of the front row and led the initial lap of the race, faded in the closing stages of the event and finished sixth. He was followed by Dylan Lupton, Shane Golobic, Matt Tifft and Jason Fensler.

Gray Gaulding of Colonial Heights, Va., captured the spotlight earlier in the day at KCRP as he won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award by Coors Brewing Co., and in doing so set the record for the youngest pole winner in the series at 15 years eight months 16 days. Gaulding – who also holds the record as the youngest pole winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, where he ran the full season this year – led 60 laps early, but had his night end early when he punctured a tire and hit the wall on Lap 112.

With the win, Pursley moved back to second in the standings – 16 points behind Thorn with one race remaining to decide the 2013 championship. Thorn has 593 over Pursley’s 577. Pursley’s teammate Hayley is 18 behind Thorn with 575 points . Self is fourth with 563, while Lupton is fifth with 506. Completing the top 10 in points are Carl Harr, Daryl Harr, Taylor Cuzick, Eric Holmes and Giles Thornton.

The NAPA Auto Parts 150 marked the return of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West to Bakersfield, an area rich in West Coast racing history, after Mesa Marin Raceway closed in 2005.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will wrap up its 2013 schedule with the Casino Arizona 50 at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 9. 

LAP-BY-LAP RECAP | RACE RESULTS | AUDIO: POST-RACE INTERVIEW WITH RACE WINNER GREG PURSLEY | AUDIO: POST-RACE INTERVIEW WITH SECOND-PLACE MICHAEL SELF | AUDIO: POST-RACE INTERVIEW WIH THIRD-PLACE ERIC HOLMES

nknps-west_kern_action_greg-pursley

Greg Pursley held off runner-up Michael Self in the closing laps to win the NAPA Auto Parts 150 Saturday night at Kern County Raceway Park. Getty Images for NASCAR

QUALIFYING: Gaulding Grabs Pole Records

QUALIFYING: Gaulding Grabs Pole Records

15-Year-Old Sets K&N West Fast Mark At Kern County Raceway

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Gray Gaulding set two records while winning the pole in NASCAR K&N Pro Series West qualifying on Saturday for the NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Kern County Raceway Park.

Gaulding established the track record at 100.514 mph (17.908 seconds) in winning the 21 Means 21 Pole Award by Coors Brewing Co., for the inaugural series event on the high-banked, half-mile track.

The Colonial Heights, Va., driver also set the record as the youngest pole winner in the series, at 15 years eight months 16 days – to go with the same record he holds in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.

Derek Thorn, who leads the championship standings, was second quickest at 99.872 mph (18.023 seconds). Greg Pursley was third fastest, followed by David Mayhew and Cameron Hayley. Eric Holmes, Michael Self, Chase Briscoe, Taylor Cuzick and Dallas Montes complete the top 10 from qualifying.

The NASCAR Auto Parts 150 is set to get the green flag at 7:35 p.m. PT on Saturday.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

QUALIFYING: Suárez Wins Ninth Pole

QUALIFYING: Suárez Wins Ninth Pole

Takes Pole On First Lap, Spins And Makes Contact On Second Lap

TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Mexico – Daniel Suárez hopes that his qualifying session on Saturday isn’t indicative of how he’ll run in Sunday’s Tuxtla 240 from the Súper Óvalo Chiapas.

The Monterrey, Mexico, native knocked Jorge Goeters from the top spot on the charts after his first lap (24.989 seconds, 108.848 mph) in NASCAR Toyota Series qualifying. Heading into turn one on his second lap, however, Suárez lost control of the No. 3 Telcel Toyota and ended up making contact with the wall. The damage to his car was minor and the 21-year-old NASCAR Next driver will start Sunday’s event from the pole, his third of the season and ninth of his career. 

Goeters (25.031 seconds, 107.866 mph), who was three cars away from winning his first pole since the season opener and his 19th overall, will join Suárez on the front row. Rogelio López (25.227 seconds, 107.028 mph) and Antonio Pérez (25.230 seconds, 107.015 mph) line up behind them in the second row, while Patrick Goeters (25.250 seconds, 106.931 mph) and José Luis Ramírez (25.394 seconds, 106.324 mph) make up the third row.

Rodrigo Peralta, Elliot Van Rankin, Carlos Contreras and Héctor Aguirre rounded out the top 10.

Green flag for the Tuxtla 240 is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 27. 

QUALIFYING RESULTS

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