Monday, October 11, 2010

Back to Racing at Fontana!

I have received emails asking why I am no longer blogging. For the last few years, I have been primary caretaker for my mother, an Alzheimer's patient. In the last year, we were forced to make several decisions to help her during her final days, and my priority was to take care of her. She passed last May, and while my interest in NASCAR has never faltered, it has taken me some time to get the energy to blog again.

This has been a good week for my return to the Blogoshere! The Pepsi Max 400 at Auto Club Speedway, in Fontana California, was a bit of a shocker! It was quite simply fantastic racing! This race was shortened from 500 to 400 miles, and it appears to have created race strategy that involved hustling for position, rather than riding around until the final parts of the race. With the advent of the Speedway losing one race in 2011, it is hopeful that the improved racing will help the fans return to the stands in March.

Sophomore team Stewart Hass Racing owner/driver Tony Stewart celebrated his return to Victory Lane! Jumping from 10th to 5th in the Chase, and team mate Ryan Newman's fifth place finish, is happening at a fabulous time for SHR, as they will be having an announcement this week, with rumors stating that it might be a sponsor deal with Mobil One.

Roush Fenway Racing had a very tough race. Greg Biffle's run ended early with a blown engine, and Carl Edward's car suffered from a malfunctioning distributor. Matt Kenseth had an engine trying to blow up, and David Ragan was involved in a crash with Kurt Busch.

Hendrick Motor Sports still has the 48 team with Jimmie Johnson leading the pack. When Jimmie and his Crew Chief Chad Knause get going, it is virtually impossible to stop the Juggernaut.

Richard Childress Racing watched as the beleaguered Clint Bowyer team finished second. In addition to the strong point penalty, Bowyer's team had a scare when Crew Chief Todd Berrier went to the hospital to be checked out for dizziness. Todd did make it back to the race in time to take over on the pit box.

Team mates Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya had strong qualfying efforts, but Montoya scraped the wall early, and Jamie fell back during the race. They still both finished Top 20.

Down at the bottom of the field, Front Row Motorsports made very strong gains towards regaining a Top 35 Owner's points spot. Chasing Robby Gordon Motorsports, who is using the 2010 lone ROTY contender Kevin Conway in the #7 car, David Gilliland piloted the #38 Taco Bell car to a 20th place finish. Using old generation chassis, and underpowered engines, FRM was heard to be hustling and scrounging tires from other teams to give David a chance to gain spots on the last 2 laps bonzai run.

On a sad note, USAC driver Shane Hmiel suffered life-threatening injuries while qualifying in Terra Haute, Indiana. Our thoughts and prayers go to him, and to his family and friends as Shane goes through surgery and recovery. To follow his progress, use the Shane Hmiel - Road to Recovery Facebook page.