Magic Mike and NASCAR — Blake and Moon’s Preview of Sunday’s Cup Race
It’s time for Magic Mike…
Hey…I had to reach out to the female NASCAR fans somehow since Danica isn’t doing it for them . . . Sorry Mooner! This weekend the NASCAR Sprint and Nationwide Series head to the “Magic Mile.” Sorry ladies, no Channing Tatum in this race. After last week’s fast speeds and drafting, it’s time to slow down, use those brakes and “roll” through the weekend. In this week’s preview, I will check some of the headlines going into this weekend’s races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and let you know who our picks are to do “the hat trick” at the Magic Mile.I was deprived of all technology during last weekend’s race while I was on a mini-vacation but was still able tune into WBKR’s coverage of the Coke Zero 400. The folks at MRN Radio, as usual, did a great job covering the race and it sure sounded like an exciting one from start to finish. Jimmie Johnson dominated the 400 miles at Daytona making him the Daytona 900 Champion for 2013, sweeping both races at the birth place of speed.
As mentioned in last week’s article, many Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams began their weekend scratching their heads at Daytona after spacers from the roof flaps were confiscated from over 30 teams between the 2 series. While NASCAR’s points fund was expected to grow tremendously after the expected penalties, NASCAR issued no fines to any of the teams. “We examined this from every aspect we possibly could and determined that there would be no penalties involved,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice-president of competition. “Based upon our inspection and subsequent review, it was our determination that the functionality and safety aspects of the roof flaps were not compromised and the on track competition would not be impacted."
DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH BLAKE
In my office at home, I have the 1987 Winston All-Star Race poster framed and hanging on my wall. Drivers such as Richard Petty, Ricky Rudd, Terry Labonte, Kyle Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Davey Allison and Bill Elliott all posed showing off their vintage uniforms in preparation for that year’s all-star race. In the far left hand corner, you see a tall driver in a white and green Quaker State Uniform. That driver is none other than Morgan Shepherd. To younger fans, that may not be a household name since Morgan hasn’t raced in the Sprint Cup Series since 2006. That will all change this weekend when the 71-year old veteran returns to the track piloting the #52 Brian Keselowski machine. “This is truly a milestone, great opportunity and I thank all who are involved to help make this happen. It will be good to be back for such a historical day. Plus I love racing at New Hampshire", said Shepherd. Shepherd will be making history by being the oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup driver ever to start a NASCAR Sprint Cup event.
Morgan Shepherd will join forty-two other teams at the track this weekend as they all try to take home the victory on Sunday in Loudon. They will spend their hour and a half practice on Friday preparing for their 2 qualifying laps. A good qualifying effort is critical to a good finish at New Hampshire as passing can be difficult. Teams will focus on making their car handle and “roll” through the corners. Rolling is important because a car that slides up the track can result in loss of positions in the turns. The teams will work more on that Saturday during their final two practices before the race.
With that said, weather could play a factor into Saturday’s schedule. A 30% chance of showers threatens the speedway. There are only 43 teams entered, which means all entered will make the race. Teams could focus on racing setup on Friday with the chance of limited track time on Saturday. Sunday’s forecast is mostly sunny with a high near 87.
BLAKE AND BOCEPHUS
If you don’t know, I am a big fan of Hank Williams Jr. and his music. Of course, Hank was the voice of Monday Night Football up until the fall of 2011 when he had a falling out with ABC/ESPN. With that said, could NASCAR be coming to Monday nights in the future? NASCAR will run its first race on dirt since 1970 in two weeks at Eldora Speedway, so is it time for series officials to consider another change some might call radical? A former series champion thinks so. #24-Jeff Gordon says he's for running mid-week races. "I would love to see that,'' Gordon said. "I think when "Monday Night Football' ends, we should start "Monday Night Racing.' But that is just me. Of course I came from "Thursday Night Thunder,' and ... (it) was ridiculously successful back in the day. I am not saying we need to do it every week, but if we could find the right week in the schedule and mix it up, make it special, and make it make sense for the fans at home as well as the ones that could attend, then I think it would be awesome.'' Gordon said he would be for returning the summer Daytona race to July 4, regardless of what day that is, instead of running it the Saturday night after the holiday. Maybe Bocephus could be the voice of Monday Night Speed!
Chassis/Paint Scheme News & Notes for New Hampshire
#1 Jamie McMurray: While Jamie’s team didn’t announce their chassis of choice this weekend, we do know he will have a special paint scheme. McMurray will be running the McDonald’s Monopoly scheme this weekend at New Hampshire.
#2 Brad Keselowski: It will be the blue deuce as usual for the #2 bunch this weekend as they unload Chassis PRS845. This chassis last finished 22nd in the Sprint All-Star Race.
#5 Kasey Kahne: It will be Farmer’s Insurance on the hood of the #5 this weekend as Kenny Francis and company bring Chassis 5-769. Kahne hopes to turn around the mid-season slump he has experienced and get back in the coveted Top 10 in points.
#9 Marcos Ambrose: There will be no special scheme on the 9 this weekend as they run the Stanley Tools Ford Fusion. Marcos hopes to keep the success going with Chassis No. 728. This is the same chassis that he qualified 2nd and finished 8th with at Martinsville.
#14 Tony Stewart: He’s back in black! Stewart and the #14 team will be running the Mobil1 black scheme this weekend. Stewart will be bringing Chassis 14-792, which he raced at Richmond in the Spring.
#16 Greg Biffle: A driver who I can never keep up with on paint schemes is Biffle. He will continue to confuse me this weekend as he brings a brand new scheme to the track AND a brand new car. Biffle will run the 3M-WB Mason Ford this weekend. The chassis was tested a few weeks ago during a test at Loudon.
#17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr: The familiar blue and yellow Best Buy Colors. Stenhouse will continue the trend of his team mate above with a new chassis that was also tested a few weeks back.
#29 Kevin Harvick: It will be Budweiser on the hood of the #29 this weekend. Harvick will be racing the same chassis that he finished 1st with at Richmond in April.
#31 Jeff Burton: In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, you couldn’t come to New Hampshire without Jeff Burton being one of the race winning favorites. Burton hopes to rekindle the magic at the “Magic Mile” this weekend as he brings the same chassis he raced with at Martinsville.
#39 Ryan Newman: Ryan Newman knows his way around New Hampshire and the way to get to victory lane. Newman hopes to revisit the black/white checkers this weekend with the same chassis he raced with at Martinsville. Since that race, the body has been updated and tested at New Hampshire.
#48 Jimmie Johnson: Chad Knaus and team will be dialing in a new chassis this weekend at New Hampshire.
#88 Dale Earnhardt Jr: It will be the red and blue National Guard Colors this weekend for Little “E.” He will be bringing the same car that he raced to a top 10 finish back in April at Martinsville.
#99 Carl Edwards: Edwards will be bringing Fastenal colors to the track this weekend with the same chassis he raced at Martinsville. Edwards joined his Roush Fenway teammates for a test with this chassis less than a month ago.
Boy…we know how to pick ‘em!
Moon and I both find ourselves winless in the race pick category this weekend. Maybe things can change this weekend?
Clint Bowyer and his 8-Hour energy team have a strong history at flat tracks. With the same chassis he finished 2nd with at Martinsville in April…he is my pick for Sunday. Go Clint!
Moon’s Pick: DANICA!!!!
Danica and the team are bringing the same car they finished 29th with at Richmond. They joined Ryan Newman at a test at New Hampshire at the end of last month.
The Camping World 301 can be heard on WBKR beginning at 11 AM on Sunday right after NASCAR USA. Join us on the air or online at WBKR.com!