Monday, February 14, 2011

The Speeding Bullets: Preseason Edition '11


Hello, my fellow bloggers.  I know I haven't been around the blogosphere in quite a long time.  You've probably been wondering what happened to me.  To answer your question, it's been a combination of loads of school work, Cross Country, and just taking a break from racing.  I'm to the age now where I have to figure out where I want to go to college and what I want to do with my future.  But I'm back.

As part of my return, I've decided it's time to let the people who read my posts know who I really am.  So I'm going to give you a choice: you can either call me Gonger as you always have, or you can call me my real name, Brent.  If the decision is too difficult and you need to flip a coin, I'm down with that too.

Now, I'm going to write my first edition of The Speeding Bullets in ten months, since the Phoenix race last April that Ryan Newman won.  So, shall I pick back up where I left off with last April's Texas race???  If I did that, you might miss the green flag of the Daytona 500 because you would still be reading this post.  It'd probably be a better idea to do a 2011 preseason edition instead, so that is what this blog is going to be.

First let's talk about the changes that were made during the offseason:
  • The 43-1 points system.  NASCAR changed to this format to supposedly "reward winning", but in my opinion the only thing it accomplishes is making the points system easier to understand.  The best way to reward winning in my books is to give the race winner 100 points and the second place finisher only 50 points.  You've got to make it a big enough difference where the runner-up finisher is crushed about being the first loser and not talking about how he had a good points day...
  • NASCAR also decided to add a wild card element to the Chase by giving the 11th and 12th spots to the drivers in the top 20 who have the most wins at the Richmond cutoff.  Now, I like this idea a lot.  It actually rewards winning contrary to the new points system.  I'm pretty sure this change was sparked by Jamie McMurray winning the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 and still not making the Chase...
  • The most bogus idea of all was deciding to use practice speeds to decide the qualifying order and the starting grid when there is a qualifying rainout.  Are they really going as far as trying to hype up practice and boost its ticket sales???  Practice is just supposed to be practice.  Instead for a qualifying rainout, NASCAR should take the top 43 drivers in points and arrange the starting grid by giving the 43rd driver in points the pole position and makes the points leader start last.  It would be interesting and humorous at the same time...
Now it's time to transition and talk about what's happened so far during Speedweeks...
  • I tuned into the Bud Shootout with 22 laps left, and it took me half of those laps to figure out that it was Kurt Busch who was driving the Pennzoil car and not Kevin Harvick.  Even with a new driver, the Pennzoil car still took the checkered flag for the third year in a row.  Maybe instead of the Budweiser Shootout, the Pennzoil Shootout would be more appropriate...
  •  Denny Hamlin's wild maneuver at the end of the race proved once again why I strongly dislike the double yellow line that is used at restrictor plate tracks.  First, it sent Carl Edwards flying into the Talladega fence and then there was the whole controversy when Regan Smith attempted the same type of maneuver on Tony Stewart that fall.  I know Denny lost the race anyway, but there is just something wrong with listing him as finishing 12th...
  • I don't know why but the grass on the frontstretch seemed extra green.  Maybe it was because of the contrast with the dark black pavement, or the bright Saturday night lights, or simply because they put new sod down over the offseason...
  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the pole for the 2011 Daytona 500.  The race also happens to be the ten year anniversary of his father's death.  Is it some special sign???  No Junior Nation, not this time.  Guess what, the pole sitter of the Great American Race never ends up winning and usually doesn't even come out of there with a top ten.  There are some tracks where starting up front means everything, but at Daytona it means absolutely nothing...

That's all for the preseason edition.  I'm going up to Michigan for Winter Break, but I'll be back with bullets for the Daytona 500.  Hope it's a great season of racing, and we'll all just try to forget that Jimmie won the past five championships...

 

8 comments:

Gene Haddock said...

Hey Brent! Great to see you back around.

I agree with all your bullets, especially giving the winner more points. Even the chance of using practice speeds to set the starting lineup is ridiculous.

Dwindy1 said...

Brent, we must have been ships passing in the night... My first post on Lug Nuts was right after your last one in 2010... I'm another of the old Fox Sports bloggers. Good to see you here and a pleasure reading your work.

Like Gene I have to agree with all your points and yes, the grass is always greener at the start of the season (and especially if you live in snow country!)

Gonger said...

Gene, I'm glad to be around again. If NASCAR is going to resort to practice speeds, they might as well just do a random draw.

Dwindy, I guess you could call me one of the newer old Fox Sports bloggers. I moved out here to Blogger along with everyone else when we all decided the time was right. It's nice to meet you as well. I live in Georgia, but it's been kind of like snow country the past couple of months.

klvalus said...

Hey Gonger! Yer Back! Also good to see you in the Fantasy league too...

I haven't been doing my own blogs lately either but with Gunny not around much I was considering picking up Hot or Not again but not sure I have it in me. This week will be too crazy to do it anyway. Dwindy and I are heading to Daytona! Woot!

OK everyone its KURT in the PENNZOIL car!! and no I am not wearing yellow - we'll be going with red!

storkjrc said...

gonger, hey welcome back. I just got back myself, after a year long hiatus. I guess the upcoming season has all us old Fox Bloggers ready to go.

i still think qualifying should go back to the old way. Fastest 43 cars race, that would sure have the drivers and crews step up their games.

Gonger said...

Kristen, I also have been recruiting some more people for our fantasy league. Have fun in Daytona!!! Should be some nice warm weather.

Stork, it sounds like we're having a Fox Sports reunion. I like your idea of the fastest 43. But NASCAR's probably too scared Junior might not make the cut every week.

jon_464 said...

Hey Brent, good to see you back! Good insights re the season. I like the idea of a random draw in the event of qualifying rainouts. Like you, I like the idea of two wild cards in the Chase.

Gonger said...

Jon, thanks. The wild card Chase element is the one thing NASCAR actually did this season to put more of an emphasis on winning...