If there was a team in racing that needed to get the monkey off its back it had to be the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing squad. Carl Edwards went from being a near-hero in 2011 to a zero in 2012. He literally fell off the NASCAR radar screen while dealing with a number of issues including losing the title to Tony Stewart in the Cup series’ first championship dead heat (Stewart won five races to Edwards’ one), losing long time crew chief Bob Osbourne to a serious and as of yet unrevealed medical issue and signing a mega-buck deal with RFR that came with it, the pressure to win from several different fronts — one of which included the board room at Ford.
Ask any professional driver how good it feels to win and you’ll see a smile, a twinkle in the eye and a brief pause as he or she attempts to put into words something that is indescribable.
After a long and at times, seemingly endless journey to experience the nirvana that is winning, Carl Edwards has been reminded of how good that feels.
Nice to see Edwards hasn’t lost the backflip, too.
That loud, whooshing sound heard at the conclusion of the race was a collective exhale by TRD engineers. With three Toyotas finishing in the top 10 (Hamlin, Bowyer and Kenseth) TRD hopefully has put to bed (for now) the issues that have plagued their engines since the start of the season. Its what happens when you’re pushing the envelope.
The consensus among drivers is that the new car “still needs some work.” Of course, that’s about all they’re allowed to say. Most complain of being “aero tight” meaning they hit a wall of air when trying to pass another car, even on the one-mile Phoenix oval. The new car’s first critical test comes this weekend at Las Vegas.
NASCAR officials have been on top of things regarding the Nationwide Series accident at Daytona. While little can be said at this time, due to pending legal action, expect some real changes as a result of Kyle Larson’s car flying into the catch fence — which despite the damage and injuries, did what is was supposed to do.
If you really want to pay attention to a woman driver in NASCAR, dial into Johanna Long. She drives a limited schedule for an underfunded team in the Nationwide Series, ML Motorsports with cars and engines from Richard Childress Racing. It’s car number 70.
Sometimes you have to be reminded of how good things really are – and how bad they could be. Just ask A. J. Allmendinger. He’s gone from being on top of the world driving the No. 22 car in the Sprint Cup Series to sitting at home wondering what’s next to having a ride in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the 51 car for James Finch and the Izod IndyCar Series with Roger Penske. It speaks volumes that Penske has kept the young Californian under his wing throughout his recent ordeal. Allmendinger will drive Penske’s IndyCar next month in races at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama and on the streets of Long Beach in preparation for a run at Indy in May. How much you wanna bet he wins one of those races? He’s pretty good in an IndyCar.
Did you catch the Grand-Am race at the beautiful Circuit of the Americas outside of Austin, Texas this weekend? If you didn’t, you missed another good one. The final twenty minutes were fun to watch. DVR the Grand Am race the next time its on and make sure you watch it. Fast forward to the closing laps if you want to. That’s always the best part, much like its cousin the Sprint Cup Series. But trust me, watch the whole thing and you’ll be entertained.
Formula One teams have completed their final pre-season test in Barcelona. Pre-season testing in Formula One is sandbagging at its finest. Teams compete to see who is the best at not revealing their true speed. Apparently Mercedes failed on all accounts as Nico Rosberg, driving for Mercedes, was the quickest.
Against the backdrop of howling by its critics, Formula One continues to tinker with the rules and the racing package and it appears to work. This season, the series’ sole tire supplier Pirelli will introduce a tire that will wear quicker to allow for more pit stops, since refueling has been banned since 2010.
One thing that hasn’t changed in Formula One is that former champion Kimi Raikkonen, driving for Lotus, will still mumble incoherently during press conferences and interviews.
Former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve has signed to do color commentary for F1 race broadcasts by the French outlet Canal+. That’s a broadcast I would love to watch!
The sports media, and more specifically its editors, continues the love affair with all things Danica. I’ll admit that while she’s a draw to NASCAR for the casual fan, the incessant reporting of everything she does on a daily basis online and on television offends those who consider themselves part of the hardcore NASCAR fan base. To them, you still need to prove yourself on the track week in and week out to have people write or talk about you. And while it is still early in the season to determine whether or not she will continue to show the flash and sparkle displayed at Daytona, sports editors would serve themselves and their audience well to turn down the volume on the coverage. They’ll thank me in the end.