Monday, July 18, 2005
Smoke has "Spidey Sense" to get to the front
Tony Stewart has three wins in the last four races. He is on top of his game right now. Could he be doing too much too early? We are still seven races away from the Chase. Can he really keep this run for 17 more races to win the championship? Time will only tell. He is one hell of a driver. He can drive the wheels of anything. All you have to do is tell him it is race and he will give it his all. From the looks of it lately, he has been winning the races to the donut table as well. If he keeps winning races and making those climbs to the flag stand and giving back to the fans, he may just loose that little extra.
"Trust me, I'll be glad to be panting like a dog when I get up there," he said. "It's something they like and I'll keep doing it for them."
"Yes, I'm still too old and too fat to be doing that stuff," the 34-year-old driver said. "I'm probably going to fall and bust my butt before its over. I'm glad they let me go through the gate instead of climbing back down."
Bobby Labonte has had a hard luck season. Seated 23, -818 points, he is looking to next year. There has been a lot of speculation about him driving for Gibbs in 2006.
"It's one of those deals that any time you don't run well in this sport, you're going to be in the rumor mill -- that's just part of life, you know?" Gibbs said. "It's the same in the NFL, if you're not performing well.
"Here, you get a report card every week of where you rank-up; from first to 43rd, so you kind of can see that. What people don't see is the team and the teamwork behind it and all the work that goes into it."
"Like I said before on Friday, it's amazing how great the media is for you 90 percent of the time," Labonte said. "That 10 percent that I had on Friday disrupts the race team pretty bad."
"I've got strong ties at Joe Gibbs Racing so I'm not worried about that -- I just want to run good. There is no truth to the rumor (that Labonte is leaving)."
I really don't see Joe Gibbs getting rid of a previous champion. Joe is a football guy and knows that you have bad seasons. Not everybody or every team be at the top of the standings every year. Every week you go out and give a 100% and try for a win or settle for a great finish. Bobby finished third this week, even though he had electrical problems late in the race. He had to turn off all of the fans to allow enough electric to power the engine. This allowed tire pressure to build up. Otherwise it might have been a 1-2 finish for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Also, like in the NFL, you make a few changes in the off season and prepare for the next season. In Nascar, it could be changes in the shop and the pit crew. I am waiting for the day when we start seeing some sort of "Free Agency" when it comes to the guys in the pits. It is a physical and dangerous job to go over the wall. With pit times needing to be faster, the pit crew members are needing to train and be in great condition.
It looks as if we will only have ten drivers in the Chase, as the 400 point cut off is now in the Top 10. Dale Jarrett is in 10th at 418 back. This is now the covetted spot, which creates a new "Chase".
Matt Kenseth is in 16th, 150 points behind Jarrett. This late in the season, that
is pushing it. I really don't think he has a chance of making it. Jamie McMurray
will probably make sure of it next week. He never did his retaliation. "I just kind of got dumped," McMurray said. "It was pretty deliberate."
Jeff Gordon is in 15th at 120 back of the 88. He is hanging on hope at this
point. He would be a lot closer if his brakes didn't fail towards the end
Kevin Harvick in 14th, -105, needs to put some Top 10s. If he can start doing that on a regular basis again, he will be in the Chase.
Dale Earnhardt Jr is 13th at 59 points back of Jarrett. It could become the new "Dale -n- Dale Show". With a 3rd, 1st, and 9th place finish in the last three weeks, there has been a new breath of life for this team. It looks as if Nascar will get its "Most Favorite Driver" in the Chase.
Carl Edwards sitting 12th at 54 points out is nothing to look past. Even though I don't like him for he is a Roush driver, he is a strong contender to make it.
Jamie McMurray got the shaft this past week by Kenseth. McMurray lost three positions this week, falling out of the Top 10. His is 21 points out. As long as Jamie doesn't get into a car war with the 17, this past week will only be a minor set back. Don't look past the fact that he is only 114 points out of 5th. From Kurt Busch on back it is packed full of drivers.
Nothing is set in stone as of yet.