On any given Sunday Dale Earnhardt Jr. was due to end his winless streak, and end it he did during Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
He is to date the only driver to have completed every lap so far in the 2012 season, and has six top fives and twelve top ten finishes so far this year. It’s that kind of consistency that put Dale Earnhardt Jr. in victory lane on Sunday.
With 70 laps to go, junior’s car was hooked up and drove as if it were on rails. He was just flat-out fast on the restarts and was able to pull away from the pack on the high line.
With around 20 to go Tony Stewart was running second and said to his crew chief “Don’t worry, he ain’t going nowhere”. That statement proved to be wrong as Dale put a hurtin to the rest of the field with a five second lead on the second place car which was Stewart.
Dale crossed the finish line and all of Junior Nation rose to their feet in the grandstand to show support for Dale Earnhardt Jr.; It brought cheers and tears to many fans wearing green that day as their driver did a nice smokey burnout past the grandstand.
When he crossed the finish line in true Dale fashion, he radioed into crew chief Steve Letarte and said “I don’t know what to say”, Steve replied “You Really won it Dale!”.
On his way to victory lane he was meet win high fives and praise from his follow competitors, and also got on his cell phone to call team owner Rick Hendrick. Dale thanked him for standing by him and not giving up hope during the tough times. He was also greeted by president of NASCAR Mike Helton who congratulated Dale.
Dale’s win on Sunday wasn’t just a win, it was just a great “feel good moment” for NASCAR in which many fans banded together to celebrate with NASCAR’S most popular driver.
Photo Credit Hendrick Motorsports
It isn’t every day that you see a 1934 Pontiac 2 door sedan with dual side mounted spares. It also not super common for a stock bodied 1934 Pontiac to have a giant 428 Pontiac motor stuffed under the stock hood. The thing that really impressed me though, was the absolutely pristine, custom-built, perfectly painted chassis that was hiding the coil-over independent rear suspension and inboard disc brakes. Yes, THAT was impressive. In fact, it was so impressive that it needed a plexiglass floor pan to properly show it off. This is totally my kind of car. Under the radar. Low key. Nonchalant. Powerhouse.
We decided to pack up the RV on Friday night and make the 8 hour trek down to Dover International Speedway, AKA the “Monster Mile.”
If you’re a race fan and have never been to Dover, it’s worth the trip. We had an absolute blast at this track. The racing was awesome, and it was a pretty cool place to take in a cup race.
The Monster in front of Dover International Speedway
The first thing that I didn’t realise was how steep the banks were in the turns. At 24 degrees of banking in the turns, and 9 degrees on the straights, it’s almost like a mini Daytona. Watching the race on T.V. doesn’t give the track any justice, when you go there in person, then you know why it’s called the “Monster Mile.” This track chewed up stock cars and spit them out.
The big one happened on lap 9 when Tony Stewart and the 83 tangled coming out of turn 2. The two cars spun blocking the entire speedway causing a 12-13 car pile-up. With nowhere to go, one car slammed right into another down the backstretch. They had to red flag the race for a while to clean up the carnage off of the track.
The two Busch brothers, and Jeff Burton all suffered blown motors as a result of trying to tame the monster, but their cars would have no part of it as one by one their motors decided to expire.
Jeff Gordon seemed to have the only car that could catch and pass the 48 Lowes machine of Johnson. However once again Gordon’s bad luck of 2012 continued when he left his pit stall and reported a loose wheel over the radio a few laps later, which forced him to pit under green. He came back out of the pits in around the 21st place, and luck never really seemed to be on his side to help him make his way back towards the front of the pack He finished 13th for his efforts.
There was no stopping Kevin Harvick, as he also challenged Jimmie Johnson for the lead. He even had to pick his way back through the field after missing his pit stall on pit road, and then had to go all the way around the track to try it one more time so that his car could get serviced by his pit crew. Harvick took home a second place finish.
On of the things that I had to laugh at (or didn’t expect) was that when we pulled into Lot 10 to park the RV, everyone was mowing their lawn. It was pretty comical, to see everyone with red lawn mowers strapped to their motorhomes. In NH the fans all have Radio Flyer wagons to haul stuff to the track.
The Nationwide series kicks off the weekend tonight at Richmond International Raceway. Travis Pastrana is set to hop back in the saddle once again to make his Nationwide debut, after is was postponed due to an X Games accident at the Los Angeles Arena last year while doing a trick on his dirt bike.
His ankle was shattered into about 20 pieces during that accident, so it wasn’t your typical break. It has taken Pastrana about 9 months to recover from his injuries and countless hours of rehab.
Travis said that he has been spending a ton of time in the iRacing Machine track simulator, to try to prepare for the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 that will run tonight at RIR.
Pastrana also went on to say that he’s a little more prepared now then he would have been last year, and that he didn’t fully understand the language that the drivers use to describe set-ups and how the car may be handling. During his time off he watched more of the sport to educate himself on what the drivers were talking about when describing different scenarios and situations.
Another thing that they had to fix was, when Travis sat in the cock pit of his race car they had to relocate the gas pedal in relation to his repaired ankle so that he could get on and off of the throttle easier while out on the race track.
He said that he would he happy to finish his first race and to stay out of trouble by not hitting the wall or a fellow competitor.
With 30 to go, Denny Hamlin put the hammer down, and passed Martin Truex Jr. who led 173 laps of Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. Truex Jr. tried to dive to the inside twice on the last lap to make a winning move on Hamlin, but wasn’t able to make it stick.
Much of the race was ran under cloud cover, but once the sun decided to poke through it seemed to have changed the complexion of the race. While the sun was shining on the track it was also shining on Denny Hamlin. Denny said that his car was tight in the corners while it was cloudy out, but once the sun came out late in the race, it made the track a little slippery which was fine by Denny, he was finally able to gain ground on the 56 of Truex that was dead ahead.
Under the cloud cover track position seemed to be oh.. so important, the easiest way to pass the guy in front of you was in the pits. Once the clouds gave way to some sun, set-ups that other guys had dialed in seemed to come to life, and the race was on.
Jimmie Johnson also had a fast car and took third place, while Matt Kenseth finished fourth, and Gregg Biffle drove her home to claim a fifth place finish.
Clint Bowyer was hoping to have a better day than he did, his motor decided to expire during the race along with teammate Mark Martin.
Other drivers whose motor decided to go south were Jeff Gordon, A.J. Allmendinger, Bobby Labonte and Kurt Busch. Yes that’s a pretty hefty list of drivers who had engine woes.
Sunday April 22 is Earth Day, and the 48 of Jimmie Johnson will go green at the drop of the green flag. As part of their 60′s throwback paint scheme strategy, Jimmie Johnson and the Lowes Racing Team decided, how cool would it be to paint the five time champs cup car a “Mountain Green” which was the color of choice used by General Motors on quite a few muscle cars back in 1967.
David Sutphin who happens to be the Sports Marketing Manager for Lowes, said that they researched some of the old throwback color schemes that were offered on classic cars as a way to keep switching up the color of the Lowes machine that Johnson drives.
It’s a great way to make the 48 stand out from the rest of the field, and is also pretty cool for those muscle car fans sitting in the grandstands.
Photo Credit: Lowes Racing
As you may have heard, Google makes cool stuff. Most recently, they came out with Google Plus. Some people are calling it “The Facebook for adults”, but I say “isn’t that what LinkedIn is?” With so much socialnessicity these days (yep, made that word up!) – I don’t really know. In any case, if you haven’t checked it out, it is worth perusing for a few minutes.
From my car-guy perspective, I like it because my phone syncs every photo that I take with my G+ account. This is awesome because it backs up my stuff for when I accidentally light my phone ablaze with my MIG welding electrical hell fire. Then (yes, it gets better) my photos are literally 1 click away from sharing with people (read: you). Here is an example: Let’s say I’m cruising down route 91 in Connecticut for example, and I see a brand new Camaro convertible parked on the side of the highway, with a beautiful wind-in-the-hair girl inside taking part in a late afternoon,
bizarre highway photo-shoot. I can then snap a pic instantly and post it up here for all of my gearhead friends to enjoy, or at least leave a snide comment on. Before you know it, people flock to this clearly impromptu photo shoot on the highway, and this girl becomes the next Cindy Crawford! All because I could share a phone pic with the quickness of G+! I know. I know. Great example. What’s even crazier though, is that some (very small) parts of that story are actually true! Sadly, I couldn’t get my camera phone out quick enough while driving by this strange photo shoot yesterday. Even if I did, it would have likely been a blur as I was doing …uhh… exactly. the. speed. limit. (or less).
Now where was I? Ah yes, Google Plus! Just this past week, we at 1A Auto decided that we should jump on the fancy new G+ train, and pull that fun whistle (toot tooooot!). We created a page, but alas, we have no friends. True Story! So, that is why I am coming to you, just like I did in kindergarten, begging for friendship. Is that so wrong? Do it for the cars. Do it for the humor. Do it for the beautiful girl on the highway.
Follow Us On G+ Today and let the friendship begin!
We’ll talk about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and share things like pictures and videos. We can potentially do video hangouts too, which sounds super cool. We probably won’t have sleepovers, but we may attend the same car shows, racing events, and swap meets. We look forward to this new relationship and are sure that it will be a great one. See you there!
-Jeremy (Your BFF)