NASCAR Sprint Cup’s first scheduled night race is tonight. Texas is one of the fast “cookie-cutter” 1.5 mile tracks that is running just its second night race in the top series. The action gets started around 7:30 P.M. and of course coverage begins about 30 minutes earlier on FOX. Before we get into the race, here are a few things that happened in NASCAR’s week off…
Hall of Fame Nominees: The 25 NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominees for the 2013 class have been announced. My first glance at this list gave me no clear guesses at who will be selected by the 50 member voting panel. Some notables on the list include: Car owners Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress, wife of NASCAR Founder Bill France, Sr. Ann France, driver and broadcaster Benny Parsons, first African-American race winner Wendell Scott and owner Leonard Wood. This is truly going to be a tough vote for the committee. Oh, and you can now get in on the voting fun and be part of the 51st ballot cast for the inductees. Click here for a complete list of nominees and to vote. Voting runs through May 16th at midnight. Go vote!
Interesting Article: I read an interesting article over at ESPN.com by Ed Hinton on a neat way NASCAR could add excitement and give a tip of the hat to its short track Friday/Saturday Night brethren. Check it out over here. There are some great quotes from retired NASCAR promoter, Humpy Wheeler. The suggestion is basically to model some races after the “heat” and “feature” races seen around the small-time short tracks around the country. Drivers would advance from the shorter “heat” races into a “feature” event. This may sound a little bit like the All-Star Race to you, but it is still different than that. I don’t think this would be something that would be good year round in NASCAR but I would definitely love to see this given some more thought, if only in non-points events.
NASCAR is adding a new C-Post template. Yes it is inspired by and, no doubt, because of the recent Hendrick 48 team penalties/appeal.
Bristol will announce their plans for track reconfiguration on April 25th. They have already begun some work.
NASCAR has returned to the Rock this weekend. If you don’t know what that means then I take it you are relatively new to the sport. Rockingham will host its first NASCAR sanctioned event since 2004 on Sunday, April 15th. The Truck Series will be there and unfortunately I will not be. I really hope they make it back again next year so I can join in the fun at one of my favorite tracks. It’s doubtful that the Sprint Cup will ever make it back here. The track is in the middle of nowhere and there are already so many tracks in this region. There will be a Sprint Cup Race close to New York City before they put one back at the Rock. Having truck races or Nationwide races there is just fine for me though. For more on the Rock… look here.
Texas: Ford won 7 of the first 10 at this track. Lately however, it’s been anyone’s race. Texas is fast with a narrow groove in the turns. The dog leg on the front stretch is where you will find most of the excitement. Matt Kenseth was your race winner last year in the spring and Tony Stewart was your fall winner. 16 of the 22 winners have come from the top ten and my pick will be from the top ten as well. Some fast guys in some of the practices were Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and A.J. Allmendinger.
The Pick: My pick is the old man in the Toyota. Michael Waltrip Racing has been knocking on the door to win; or, if you think about Clint Bowyer at Martinsville, trying to ram it right down. Mark Martin has ran well in his races thus far and I think he’ll take the checkered flag this week at Texas.
Enjoy the race! More on the Hall of Fame and tonight’s race on Monday.