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That Was the Week That Was –Early July 2013

It was an eventful week in NASCAR Land. It pretty much had everything. Well not everything, but a lot of “stuff” happened. First was the surprising decision that NASCAR decided that it wouldn’t punish those teams who had unapproved aero roof flaps. The decision didn’t come until Thursday, which kept the talk shows going all week. Many thought that NASCAR had dropped the ball, and others just thought it didn’t make any difference. Given the history of severe penalties lately, it did leave the fan base to ponder. Someone once posted me a Photoshop rendering that proclaimed that “Inconsistency is Our Consistency” underneath a NASCAR logo.

Follow that with what became a pretty good Nationwide Series race that ended up going far beyond the usual advertised distance. Despite the fact that Kyle Busch dominated the race, it was a good show. Joe Gibbs Racing has this series figured out, but the top two leaders in the season championship come from JR Motorsports (Regan Smith) and Sam Hornish, Jr. (Penske Racing). Go figure.

The Sprint Cup part of the weekend started with a bang. The news that Ryan Newman would not be returning to Stewart-Haas Racing was not a secret and rumored throughout the garage area. Unless SHR was going to four cars, Newman was the odd name out. Kevin Harvick was moving over with the power sponsor Budweiser and there was no room for Newman. Never has such a talented driver been dropped before, but he would make more news at the race.

Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevy team was found low during qualifying and his qualifying time (second fastest) disallowed, so he would start at the rear of the field. No one expected him to stay thee and he finished sixth, but it was another Kyle Busch runaway until the fuel mileage demon raised its evil head. Tony Stewart found himself in front, but so did others. In the end, it was Brian Vickers, running a limited schedule with Michael Waltrip Racing taking the win. Pretty good stuff.

The comments at the end of the race were more interesting. Kyle Busch, on television no less, and who finished second, made some controversial comments. What? You’re shocked? Busch’s comments that Ryan Newman was an idiot and that, “I’m glad he’s out of a job,” was old school NASCAR. Kyle made those comments because Newman and his brother Kurt Busch were involved in a tangle about the halfway mark. It was a glorious day for MWR and Vickers, and it led to speculation on who would occupy the No. 55 Toyota in 2014.

Mark Martin, who has been one of three drivers in the car (Martin, Vickers, and Michael Waltrip who runs the restrictor plate races at Daytona and Talladega. The jury is out on that. Martin has said he will not return to the No. 55 car in 2014, so speculation is in order.
So, as we continue to the off week heading to Indianapolis, it makes the season much more interesting. Where will Newman end up? Many say RCR or Penske, even though owner Roger Penske is loyal to Sam Hornish, Jr., others say he is headed for Roush or Gibbs. We will know sooner than later. Martin? Some say he will do a final tour with a limited schedule with Roush in the No. 6 car he started out in so long ago. Time will tell.

One thing is certain. Unlike the stick and ball sports, with no free agency and other madness, the result is fluid. The truth is that Hendrick Motorsports is solid with Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Kasey Kahne, and others seemingly solid with their lineups, there are few options. It should be a pretty interesting silly season.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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