Blogs & Opinion


NASCAR heats up

Incidents, bumps and bruises... NASCAR's had it all, says Alex

Alex Ferguson Posted 28th May 2012 view comments

It's been a riveting first half of the NASCAR season, starting with fire on the track (literally!) at the Daytona 500 and ending with madness on pit road (Coca-Cola 600), with incident, bumps and bruises all the way in between.

Although Greg Biffle's winning the driver's championship so far, the story of the season, as things stand, has involved Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won the qualification race to get into the All-Star Race, as well as one of the sections, giving Junior Nation a lot of heart and the belief that their driver could actually win a race this year.

Biffle: a sensational start has 'The Biff' leading the standings

Biffle: a sensational start has 'The Biff' leading the standings

Sky Sports' Alex Ferguson picks out the key talking points from the first half of the season and looks at the future of drivers trying to qualify for the 'Race For the Chase', which is getting as hot as the summer's American heat...

The first half of the season...

1) Greg Biffle has been sensational... Generally behind Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth in the Roush-Fenway pecking order, 'The Biff' has been brilliant this season, winning at Texas, finishing in the top five seven times, and he's currently leading the standings.

2) ...Unlike Carl Edwards: It's strange, because Edwards (who's lying in 10th), hasn't won a race, and only finished in the first five twice. Is it the hangover of losing the title to Tony Stewart on the last day? Or is it simply luck? We're only 12 races in so don't be surprised if you see a Carl Edwards victory backflip by Chase time folks.

3) Dale Jr.'s been the steady... Eddie: NASCAR's most popular driver has been excellent in the first half of the season. In 11 races, he's only finished out of the top 10 three times, and he's been reliable - two things that you didn't really associate with Earnhardt in seasons past. He had a great car at the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday but didn't have enough for Kasey Kahne, after opting against taking tyres on the final change.

4) Nothing will top the craziness of the Daytona 500:The first race of the season - the Daytona 500 - had to be stopped when a jet dryer caught alight, stopping the race for over two hours just as it was getting to its crescendo. That was the craziest race of the year. Although Bristol's repaved track in the Sharpie 500 in August may well run it close (the Spring race was so dull that Bruton Smith decided to change the look of the track - yet again). Although fans have complained about the lack of multicar wrecks this year, watch them happen more repeatedly as drivers become more hurried to gather points for a potential Chase spot.

5) What on earth's happened to Jeff Gordon? When yours truly started watching NASCAR, Jeff Gordon's flame-sprayed Dupont Chevrolet was always up there at the top. But this year, Gordon has suffered from bad luck and mediocre-to-awful finishes. Despite qualifying well, he only has one top five finish to his name, and he's now looking like the 'Old Man' of the Hendrick Motorsports team behind Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Will sixth-place finish at Charlotte on Sunday help to get him out of his slump? Currently he's in 22nd place - he's got a long way to go.

6) Brad Keselowski; Social Media God: Brad Keselowski did two awesome things this season. Firstly, he won two races. Secondly, he decided to use Twitter while waiting around for the two-hour fire delay to end at Daytona 500, turning him into an instant legend. I mean, which driver brings their mobile along for the ride? Obviously these new kids....

A Look Forward....

1) Can Dale Jr. be 'No.1 for a while?': The way Dale Earnhardt is driving, there's no reason why he's can't win his first Sprint Cup race in nearly 150 races. His crew chief, Steve Letarte, has been a revelation as his pit crew chief, and the decision by Hendrick Motorsports to share the garage with five-time champion Jimmie Johnson seems to be working well.

2) Keep your eyes out for Bristol: Bristol's new surface will be something of a surprise to everybody in August, and we'll have to see how the track tests and races before we can say if it was a success. The drivers weren't in favour of changing the track's set-up, but the fans were. And the drivers don't buy the tickets.

3) Stewart vs Keselowski Part II: Brad Keselowski made one of the stupider moves of the Coca-Cola 600 when he turned Tony Stewart around in pit road (Stewart was brilliant in saving his car from a wrecking). Stewart didn't react - but there are still a lot of races for him to do so - and we just can't wait for when it happens (hopefully with both of them going for the win on the final lap of a race!).

4) Will there be a six-time champion? Jimmie Johnson's going for his sixth title, and so is Jeff Gordon. If Gordon can pick up some form then the Chase for the Sprint Cup's definitely not going to be out of his reach. And for Johnson? Don't bet against him. In five out of the last six years, it would have been a losing wager.

5) Watch out for Sonoma and Watkins Glen: The greatest thing about road courses for NASCAR drivers is that they add a little extra to the Spring Cup series, especially when ordinarily drivers are given 1 ½ mile tracks as their staple diet.

back to top

Other Blogs:

Latest Posts in :

Alex Ferguson

King James reigns

Alex Ferguson celebrates a wacky, smile-inducing year in US sport - and salutes Miami's LeBron James....

comments

Alex Ferguson

Start your engines!

Alex Ferguson predicts who will triumph in NASCAR's showpiece race, the Daytona 500....

comments

Alex Ferguson

Clowney's no joke

US sports expert Alex Ferguson profiles Jadeveon Clowney, the biggest defensive pick of the draft....

Alex Ferguson

Call of the century

Spacemen Portland pick Bowie over Jordan - Alex Ferguson ranks the biggest decisions in US Sport....

comments

Alex Ferguson

A perfect union?

Alex Ferguson looks at the possible unionisation of college football and how he would handle the issue....

Alex Ferguson

Independence aces

Alex Ferguson kicks off his Independence Day fun by picking his 20 best bits of American sport....

comments

Jeff Stelling

Battle for survival

Jeff Stelling hopes Sunderland can scrape to survival like his beloved Hartlepool did this week....

Paul Merson

Arsenal must win

Paul Merson says Arsenal have to have a right go and beat West Ham to keep their top-four bid alive....

Jamie Redknapp

Double delight?

A year on from 'bite-ban', Luis Suarez should clinch the title and PFA Award, says Jamie Redknapp....

Ed Chamberlin

Van the man?

Ed Chamberlin explains why Tejay van Garderen is capable of plucking the Tour de France's Yellow Jersey....

comments

Peter Beagrie

Transfer target

Beags says top sides are after Ross McCormack and picks his Championship boss of the season....

Stuart Barnes

Rhythm and flow

Stuart Barnes says video referees are ruining the rhythm of games and causing too many delays....

Luke Dorn

Obstructing the law

When is obstruction not obstruction? Luke Dorn offers up an easier option to replace the current ruling....

Bob Willis

Away for a while

Bob Willis thinks Jonathan Trott will be absent from England duty for some time following his relapse....

Rob Lee

Out of the woods

Rob Lee heralds the return to form of Lee Westwood and says he could yet win multiple majors....

Rob Lee

Pinky and perky

Rob Lee blogs on his vivid Masters Breakfast attire and the men that made waves at Augusta National....

Barry Cowan

Barcelona bounce

Barry Cowan says Rafa Nadal must bounce back in Barcelona and hails the form of Stan Wawrinka....

Mark Petchey

Fillip for Ferrer

Mark Petchey marvels at David Ferrer's win over Rafael Nadal but downplays it's long-term significance....

Alex Hammond

Strong to the finish

Alex Hammond previews the action at Sandown, including the final day of the National Hunt season....

Alex Hammond

Just Cause

Alex Hammond reveals her tips for the Irish Grand National and the other decent racing in Ireland this weeend....

Alex Hammond

Going the distance

Marathon entrant Alex Hammond previews the Newbury action and Scottish National meeting at Ayr....

Glenn McCrory

Change is coming

The Klitschko brothers' heavyweight domination will be over within two years, says Glenn McCrory....

Johnny Nelson

Battle of Manchester

From Crolla's derby delight to Munroe's emotional farewell - Saturday had it all, says Johnny Nelson....

Glenn McCrory

Manny happy returns

Manny Pacquiao is back to his best and could yet get it on with Floyd Mayweather, says Glenn McCrory....

View from America

The Fog of War

Simon Veness reviews the "torturous" hype ahead of the NFL Draft and why it's so hard to predict....

Neal Foulds

Trump tip

Ronnie O'Sullivan is favourite for the Worlds - but Judd Trump could spring a shock, says Neal Foulds....

Neal Foulds

Night at the Circus

Neal Foulds is looking forward to another fun, raucous Snooker Shoot-Out - but can't pick a winner....

comments

Neal Foulds

Simply the best?

Five-time Masters champion Ronnie O'Sullivan may be the best snooker player ever, says Neal Foulds....

comments

Kelvin Tatum

Gear shift

Wolverhampton and Belle Vue will want to kick-start their seasons on Tuesday night, says Kelvin....

Kelvin Tatum

The contenders

Kelvin Tatum runs through the teams and riders ahead of the 2014 Elite League Speedway season....

Kelvin Tatum

Kelvin's 2013 Review

Kelvin Tatum salutes Poole's hierarchy and Tai Woffinden in his round-up of the speedway season....

comments

Richard Moore

The final curtain

Richard Moore reflects on Sunday's Closing Ceremony to an unforgettable Olympic Games......

comments

Richard Moore

A lasting golden glow

Richard Moore suggests all the British Olympians should visit schools and talk about their experiences....

comments

Richard Moore

Favourite Froome

Richard Moore reveals his predictions for the 100th Tour de France, which starts on Saturday....

comments

Wayne McCullough

Wonderful Davis

Wayne McCullough watched Antonio Rogerio Nogueria take on Phil Davis at UFC Fight Night 24. ...

0 comments

Wayne McCullough

Jones shines bright

Wayne McCullough was highly impressed as the talented Jon Jones made short work of Mauricio Rua....

2 comments

Wayne McCullough

A bloody marvel

Wayne McCullough salutes Diego Sanchez as he edges out Martin Kampmann in a UFC humdinger....

0 comments