NASCAR Sprint Cup 2015 Series Schedule

This is the schedule we have. Needs changes.

The Chase Grid

This new points system has made for some pretty intense racing.

The Chase Cup

What they're chasing.


The loudest most die hard fans there are.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Let's get this out of the way...

NASCAR is back and the Daytona 500 is finally here! Finally the biggest race of the year is upon and NASCAR fans can rejoice....well, sort of...

The obvious rant: Qualifying.

The group qualifying comment is terrible. In both Sprint and Xfinity series qualifying there were crashes that destroyed really good cars, and for what? To make it more exciting? As much as fans want to see aggressive racing and guys going all out, we'd rather see it in a race with cars and drivers at their full capability instead of angry drivers making the best out of their back up cars.

Next rant: Kurt Busch...

This is going to be a touchy one but I'll try and tackle it. First of all, Kurt has not been charged criminally with anything. He has been issued a restraining order because some low level family court judge say he thinks he "more likely than not" did something to his ex-girlfriend. This is not a criminal charge nor is it damning evidence that he did anything. It is an order based solely on one man's opinion. With all that in mind, how does NASCAR get off suspending him? He is being punished for "actions or behaviors detrimental to stock car racing," but they are actions that no one has proved or charged him with committing. And now in less than a day NASCAR has heard his appeal and denied it immediately? Seriously NASCAR? Appeals in NASCAR have always taken a minimum of 3 days to complete and you pulled this one off in less than 24 hours? If you're not suspicious of this entire story then you should be. If NASCAR truly believed he had committed these actions then they should've suspended him in November when it happened. Keep this in mind also, he has not been charged or formally accused. He has not been arrested and the matter is still under investigation. Under those exact same circumstances, Tony Stewart was allowed to return to racing and was even granted a waiver to be in The Chase if he won a race. If that's not biased then I don't know what is.

Final rant: Kyle Busch...

It's a bad day to be a Busch brother. At the end of the Xfinity Series race Kyle made contact with Eric Jones and his car went flying head on into the infield wall. According to ESPN Kyle suffered a compound fracture in his right leg and could be out for 4-6 months. I know, crashing is part or NASCAR and injuries are possible, but this is unacceptable. Since 2001, NASCAR has made great safety improvements and they've made sure that all the tracks they go to have also made safety a priority. How was this missed?!?! In 14 years no one ever thought "hey, we should cover that giant concrete wall down there with a Safer Barrier?" I realize that it is not NASCAR's call as to where a track places these barriers but they do hold some of the power. Kevin Harvick says NASCAR should refuse to race anywhere that doesn't have every wall covered with Safer Barriers. I'd have to agree. If NASCAR made an announcement like that what do you think would happen? Every track would immediately begin implementing the soft walls. Shame on Daytona International Speedway for this oversight too. They vowed to make the track safer. Ever since the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. Daytona has been at the forefront of track safety. This shouldn't have ever happened. Kyle should be racing tomorrow. Joe Gibbs shouldn't be looking for a replacement driver (Rumors are it could be Matt Crafton.) Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood has already said that the track will have Safer Barriers everywhere for the next race and track crews began work immediately lining the concrete wall with tire barriers for the race tomorrow. So it's a step in the right direction, but can we please stop waiting for something bad to happen to react to? There should be a job position in which someone thinks up every possible worst case scenario possible and finds a solution, and if someone already holds that position, he ought to be fired.

So that's it for now. I'll be back tomorrow after the race if need be. For now, head on over to and check out the 2016 Hall of Fame nominees. It's a great class, which leads to one final point.

Possible future rant: Mark Martin not placed in 2016 Hall of Fame Class. (Note: I will go crazy if that happens.)

Good night NASCAR fans. Here's hoping the 500 is everything we hoped for.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Martinsville Wrap Up

I'm going to come right out and say it. I'm not a fan of Martinsville. I know, blasphemy. But there it is. Most of the races we see there are follow the leader round and round until the checkered flag waves. Sure, there's usually some tempers (this week it's Harvick vs. Kenseth), decent crashes, and brilliant (or not so brilliant) pit strategy, but for the most part Martinsville races have always been a watch the end catch the highlights later kind of place. This race though....

Maybe it's because Dale Jr. won and everyone loves seeing that. Maybe it's because Harvick, Keselowski, and Kenseth all had a not so grand day. Or maybe it's the carnage of 2 red flags and a 7 lap sprint to the finish. Whatever it was, this race was different. Again I say, love or hate the new Chase, it's made for some fun racing. Let's get into this shall we?

Numebr 1. The number 88. Jr. Nation, rejoice. Your driver is back in victory lane for the 4th time this season. While his championship hopes died last week at Talladega Jr. and his crew came to Martinsville with one goal on their mind. To win. They have nothing to lose anymore. It's all about wins for them now. I feel like someone called this about a week ago....I don't remember.... Anyway, the best thing about Jr. winning a race is his victory lane celebration. This guy is so excited to win every time it happens, almost as if it's his first time over again. And the way he goes around to each team member hugging and thanking them? Dale Jr. shows everyone exactly what people mean when they say NASCAR teams are family. Congrats to these guys.

Next, Jeff Gordon. This was the car and driver to beat. Jeff ran upfront the entire day, led the most laps, made his way back to the front after a speeding penalty and then battled Jr. for the win after the final restart. Jeff now sits atop the points with just 3 races left. If you must know, this guy is my pick to win the championship. The championship is now Gordon's to lose and it's going to be tough for the others to beat him. The Drive for 5 is alive and well.

The wrenches in NASCAR's grand scheme of the new Chase format. Ryan Newman and Carl Edwards. Neither of these guys have dominated the season. Newman hasn't even won a race. Carl won 2 but he didn't dominate either one and just played good strategy. Newman and Carl have been two of the most consistent drivers all year and they could win the championship just by being consistent. Everyone says the champion is going to have to win a race in the Chase. Newman could do it without winning if he plays the cards right. Edwards could too but he's more than like going to have to win to do it. This scenario, having a champion without a win, is what NASCAR was trying to avoid with this format. But here we are, 2 drivers with the potential to win the thing and not win any races. But who cares about all of that? We've seen some great races and the likelihood of one of them winning without winning is pretty small.

Harvick Vs. Kenseth. I'm not going to say Kenseth wrecked Harvick on purpose. Looked incidental to me. Harvick however believes a bit differently and has since been quoted as saying Kenseth won't win the championship this year. What does that mean? Your guess is as good as mine but I believe the "boys have at it" phrase may be used a few times in the coming weeks.

Finally, Rick Hendrick. 10 years ago at this very track, mid-race, this man's world was turned completely upside down. Hendrick lost 10 people in a plane crash outside of the Blue Ridge Airport, including his son Ricky. Jimmie Johnson won the race that day and subsequently the next week at Atlanta as well. The drivers and crews haven't forgotten. The entire Hendrick Organization is a giant family and they honor each and every victim every chance they get. Since that day Hendrick has dominated at Martinsville. They win this race for the victims of that crash. Even though Jr. wasn't part of Hendrick in 2004 even he felt the weight of it in victory lane. Love or hate Hendrick you gotta love seeing a team and organization be that close to each other.

Well that about does it for Martinsville, On to Texas. It's going to be a big week for Texas. NASCAR bringing the Chase to Fort Worth, and F1 going to Austin for the American GP. I know, this is a NASCAR blog but if you really love racing, check this race out. Then go back to NASCAR, because this race is going to be big, fast, and some great fun. Let's see, a mile and a half track....I'd watch those Penske cars if I were you. Maybe Carl Edwards. And of course Jeff Gordon. Stay tuned NASCAR fans. It's going to heat up really quick.

Monday, October 20, 2014

What Did We Learn From 'Dega?

So that's it. The Contender round is over. Talladega lived up to what it was advertised to be. A fight to the finish between 3 drivers vying, basically, for one spot. So what do we take away from this weekend? Well there's one obvious thing. These are the 8 drivers in the Eliminator round.

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Ryan Newman (more on him later)
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Matt Kenseth
  6. Carl Edwards
  7. Jeff Gordon
  8. Brad Keselowski
That would be the big news. Brad Keselowski wins his way into the next round while Jimmie Johnson and Dale Jr, along with Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch, are left behind. Who among us would have predicted this? Hendrick Motorsports has 1 driver left in contention. And it's not Jimmie Johnson! It's Jeff Gordon, who has been having one of the seasons of his life. But really, who would have expected Jimmie Johnson to miss out on this round? Or Kyle Busch? How many of us thought for sure Dale Jr. was going to win his way in? That's a big thing we can take away from Dega.

Talladega doesn't care.

Whether you're Mr. Consistency, a 6 time champion who has dominated the sport this decade, or the restrictor plate track favorite and most popular driver, Talladega doesn't care at all. It'll jump out of nowhere and grab whomever it wants. We watched it happen to all 3 of these drivers. Kyle and Dale get caught up in crashes and Jimmie just gets left out to dry at just the right moment to ruin his chances. Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski finds the one person in the field who shouldn't want to be anywhere around him and gets him to push him to victory. Ah, we can call that another take away.

Talladega makes "friends."

Would we call Kenseth and Keselowski friends now? God, no. But the fact remains. The guy that ran in between the haulers to all but suplex Brad in Charlotte pushed the #2 car to victory and into the next round. Now everyone knows what Kenseth was thinking. "I'll push Brad and then pass him coming down the tri-oval." Everyone does it. It's a great move to see, especially when it works, but Kenseth got wiggly and had to fend off others for second. What kind of mayhem would have ensued had Brad not won? Kahne would be in and 3 drivers plenty of people had in their final four (me included) would've been on the outside looking in. Talladega proved to be crazy that's for sure. But hey, lets wrap this up here and catch up on some news before we get ready for Martinsville.

  1. Ryan Newman fails post race inspection.
    • Newman's car was found to be too low in the rear on both sides after the race and was sent back to be further reviewed in Charlotte. Currently he sits third in the Cup standings. If any penalties are issued it will probably be tomorrow before we know for sure. I'll update if there are.
  2. Kyle Busch, Dale Jr. and Jimmie Johnson fail to make the next round.
    • These 3 just had some bad luck. Jr and Busch both got caught up in accidents that were not their fault, and Johnson mistimed a move and was left hung out to dry. Does this mean we will see nothing out of them the rest of the season? By all means no! They have no pressure now. They can get out there and go for wins at all costs. I'd expect to see at least one of them back in victory lane before the season ends.
  3. Carl Edwards...
    • How many times was Carl's named called this week? Or for that matter the last 6 weeks? Carl has been very quietly making it through to each round. If he wants to keep making the cut though he's going to have to start making some noise. So far his calm and patient style is paying off. Watch for him to really come out swinging now. We all know he and Roush haven't had the best relationship this year but they both would love to end this season with a championship.
  4. Terry Labonte retires.
    • It was good to see Terry out on track again one final time. It was great to see him doing pretty well too until he was caught up in an incident. Terry Labonte is a legend and a fantastic guy who will one day be in the NASCAR Hall Of Fame. Great ride Terry, and thanks for the memories.
Before I end I'd like to say one more thing. Next week we go to Martinsville. This is a Hendrick dominated track. I wouldn't be surprised to see Jimmie or Jeff in victory lane at the end. It's short track racing and even though Martinville isn't one of my favorite tracks I feel this race is going to be a good one. There's sure to be plenty of beatin' and bangin' and some tempers flaring. Hold on tight race fans. The weekend's coming and it's going to be fun.

Don't forget to like, share, or leave a comment. Snide remarks are welcome!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Talladeg Baby!

Say what you will about the new Chase format. Love it. Hate it. Either way it doesn't matter. Regardless of your opinion of it, it has brought us to this race. Talladega. The Geico 500. Another elimination race and this time there are 4 big name drivers fighting to make it through to the next round. Kenseth, Keselowski, Johnson, and Earnhardt Jr. all basically need to win to make it through. Well OK, Kenseth has a bit easier job of it as he's only one point out of being in the next round, but the other 3 are going to need a win or miracle. But hey, it's Talladega and anything can happen.

I'm sure NASCAR knew what they were doing when they made Talladega an elimination race. I'm not sure they expected this much drama going into it. Between last weeks fights and tempers to 3 of the sports best drivers all needing to race like their live's depend on it to make it through, this race is going to have it all. Did NASCAR get the format right? Is this really the best for the sport? Well, here's what we can count on going into the race today:

  • Great racing. 
    • Yeah, these guys are going to be packed up almost all day. Sure a few are going to drop back but they won't be so far back that they'll be out of touch. There are 43 drivers in this race with a chance to win it. There are 10 drivers in that 43 fighting for the 6 remaining positions in the next Chase Round. Sometime during this race there will be no more "friends" and it's going to be a free for all.
  • Tons of different strategies.
    • As I've said before there will be some drivers that go to the rear and try to avoid being caught up in a big wreck. In contrast there will also be drivers who want to get to the front and stay there all day long. Whatever their strategy is, no one wants to be in the middle of the pack where all the mayhem will be. Watch for people constantly trying to make moves in either direction.
  • The Big One.
    • It's Talladega. This is going to happen. Whether it's 7 cars or 27, there is going to be a big wreck. At least one big name driver will be involved. And if history is any indication, it'll be somewhere in the last half of the race and it will completely change everyone's strategy for the end.
  • The last lap.
    • How many times have we gone to Talladega and Daytona and seen the winner not be the guy leading at the white flag? The last lap is the reason we will still be watching after over 3 hours of racing. Just to see the remaining cars in the race fighting like crazy to get that #1 spot coming off of turn 4. I'm betting on a wild finish and it's going to be fun to watch.
So there you go. No matter where you stand on the new Chase format, it has given us what is sure to be one of the most exciting races of the season. NASCAR placed this race in a perfect position and it has become a wild card race for so many teams. Will Jr, Johnson, or Keselowski secure their spot today with a win? Or will someone else's mistake take out one or all of them in an instant. Only one way to find out. 

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

How the NASCAR 2015 Schedule Should've Looked

            Here's my first rant and it's a doosie. I know, I might get crucified for this but oh well. It's my opinion. Take it how you will.
            Recently I’ve been watching as much racing on TV that I can find. Touring Car to F1, NASCAR to Off Road. Until this year NASCAR was my favorite form of racing but the more racing I watch the more I realize NASCAR is lacking in their schedule. F1 while dominated by primarily 2 teams this year provides some of the best racing I’ve ever seen. The Indycar Series also provides for some great racing and I think their schedule is brilliant. They race at some of the best road courses and ovals around the nation. It’s an almost perfect balance. 
             I’m proposing NASCAR almost completely overhauls the schedule. They overhauled the Chase format and points system, why not combine it with a revamped schedule? Don’t worry, I haven’t touched too many of the traditional races every one of us loves to see. So here ya go, my fantasy NASCAR schedule. It’ll never happen, but if even one of my changes makes an appearance in the future I’d be ecstatic. It’d be a step in the right direction for NASCAR.

  • Feb 14 Sprint Unlimited Daytona International Speedway
  • Feb 19 Budweiser Duels Daytona International Speedway
  • Feb 22 Daytona 500 Daytona International Speedway
  • Mar 1 Atlanta Motor Speedway
  • Mar 8 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • *Mar 15 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca*
    • We don’t need 2 races at Phoenix. This will be my primary argument for a lot of my changes. Laguna Seca is one of the most historic and notorious racetracks in America. It’s one of the most fan friendly and accessible tracks I’ve ever been too. Would it need more grandstands to accommodate a NASCAR race? Sure, but it’s Laguna Seca….you wouldn't be staying in your seat the entire race anyway.
  • Mar 22 Auto Club Speedway
  • Mar 29 Martinsville Speedway
  • Apr 11 Texas Motor Speedway
  • *Apr 19 Mid Ohio Sports Car Course*
    • I know I know, don’t mess with Bristol. Relax. I didn’t get rid of it. I moved it. More on that later. Let’s go over this track now though. The Nationwide (Xfinity) Series have raced here for about 2 years now and it’s been good racing. The Indycar Series race here and it’s always fun. This track provides for some great racing and it’s a fantastic change of pace for the series. I know, another road course so soon? It won’t be the first time I do this but you’ll thank me, trust me, you will.
  • *Apr 25 Rockingham Speedway*
    • This track has held some of the greatest NASCAR races in history. It’s time to bring it back. I know, Richmond is a big deal in NASCAR but I say save it for the race before the Chase. The drama and racing of that night race is incredible and more than enough for the entire NASCAR season.
  • May 3 Talladega Superspeedway
  • May 9 Kansas Speedway
  • May 16 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • May 24 Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • May 31 Dover International Speedway
  • Jun 7 Pocono Raceway
  • Jun 14 Michigan International Speedway
  • Jun 28 Sonoma Raceway
  • Jul 5 Daytona International Speedway
  • Jul 11 Kentucky Speedway
  • Jul 19 New Hampshire Motor Speedway
  • Jul 26 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • *Aug 2 Road America
    • There’s absolutely no reason to go to Pocono twice in a season. Not this close together. I propose Pocono goes away and we replace it with Road America. This track has already proved it can hold NASCAR events. The Nationwide (Xfinity) Series already race there and I see no reason why “the best drivers in the nation” shouldn’t flex their muscle here as well. Yes, I know this now puts 2 road courses back to back. No, I’m not sorry for it. This would make for a truly entertaining and challenging test for these drivers.
  • Aug 9 Watkins Glen International
  • Aug 16 Michigan International Speedway
  • Aug 22 Bristol Motor Speedway
  • Sep 6 Darlington Raceway
  • Sep 12 Richmond International Raceway

The Chase

  • Sep 20 Chicagoland Speedway
  • *Sep 27 Circuit of the Americas*
    • Weren’t we just at New Hampshire? I agree, it’s a tough track but I don’t see it needing to be in the Chase. The Chase should reflect every form of track we go to throughout the season. Therefore the Chase needs a road course in it. How can we crown a champion who doesn’t prove their worth on all forms of racing surfaces? Therefore I give to you Circuit of the Americas. This track is not only beautiful but custom built for the best drivers in the world. If it’s good enough for F1 why not NASCAR? Show the world these drivers’ talent as well as adding a new challenge to the Chase.
  • Oct 4 Dover International Speedway
  • Oct 10 Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • *Oct 18 Bristol Motor Speedway*
    • Kansas doesn’t deserve a race in the Chase It’s a fun track but it’s just another mile and a half track and we just came from Charlotte. Let’s mix it up. These drivers need something to spice this up right before going to Talladega. NASCAR, I give you Bristol Motor Speedway! Why isn’t Bristol in the Chase already? I get it, Martinsville is a bit of a tougher racetrack but it’s also a bit more boring. Bristol is hands down the most exciting short track in NASCAR. It deserves to be here. So it shall be.
  • Oct 25 Talladega Superspeedway
  • *Nov 1 Michigan International Speedway*
    • As fun as Martinsville is (I tried to say that with a straight face) we just went to Bristol, this is the first race after an elimination. Let’s make it something better than follow the leader around Martinsville. Let’s go somewhere all the drivers love going to. Michigan is one of the fastest track on the circuit and almost every driver loves going there. It provides great racing and would be a great lead in to Texas. I know, Michigan wasn’t that long ago as it is, but…It’s Michigan. Who’s going to object? Not the people of Michigan that’s for sure.
  • Nov 8 Texas Motor Speedway
  • Nov 15 Phoenix International Raceway
  • Nov 22 Homestead-Miami Speedway

So there it is. I’d enjoy seeing this schedule run. I think it’d be some of the most exciting racing there is out there. It’d give NASCAR that boost they’ve been looking for and maybe spike race attendance again. It saddens me to see empty stands at NASCAR tracks that used to sale out every year. Maybe this would bring the life back to NASCAR…maybe. It’d be fun to watch none the less. Oh and hey, if you like what you just read go ahead and share. I don't mind at all. Be to to follow us on Twitter as well @NASCARRantBlog