User-agent: * Allow: / CH on Track: July 2012


Sunday, July 29, 2012

NASCAR points reward some; punish others

Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It was another top 10 for Ryan Newman--this time--it came at the Brickyard.

I don't know about anyone else, but I certainly enjoyed hearing Greg Newman, Ryan's father, spotting for him today. Hearing Greg on Ryan's radio is a very comfortable combination, reminiscent of Newman's Daytona 500 win with his dad in the spotting stand.

It is so frustrating to watch Ryan run well, and finish well, but still fall short in the points standings. His position did not change. He remains 14th in points, which is on the outside looking in as far as the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship is concerned.

There were certainly big changes just above Newman's position however, with poor Carl Edwards having trouble so early in the race. If the race for the Chase were held today, Edwards would not be in it. He was fortunate to lose only one position today. Even though he is in 12th position he still needs two wins to make the chase.

After the top 10 currently, Kasey Kahne would qualify for the Chase, despite being in 13th place, because he has won two races. Kyle Bush who is currently in 11th is behind him because he has only one win.

Newman is behind Busch, and ahead of Edwards, even though he is in 14th place, since he has one win.

This is totally confusing, and things certainly could change. There are six races before the field is set for the Chase.

According to Jayski's, these are the rules for the Chase:

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase System:
Twelve drivers will run the Chase
The top 10 in points following Race No. 26 -- the "cutoff" race -- to earn Chase berths.
The final two spots will be determined by the number of wins during the first 26 races.
Positions 11 and 12 are "wild card" qualifiers and will go to non-top-10-ranked drivers with the most wins, as long as they're ranked in the top 20 in points. Ties are broken by points position, then by 2nd place finishes, 3rd, etc.
The top-10 Chase drivers will be seeded based on wins during the first 26 races, with each win worth three bonus points.
The wild card drivers will not receive bonus points for wins and will be seeded 11th and 12th, respectively.
The top 12 drivers will be reset to 2000 points, drivers 1-10 will get three- bonus points per win.
Wild card drivers get no bonus points for wins

Congratulations to Jimmy Johnson, who won another one today. This makes his third win this season, joining Tony Stewart and Brad Keselowski who also won three races.

The only drivers in the top 15 that have not won a race this season, are: Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Edwards, and Jeff Gordon.

I'm certain that NASCAR is thrilled that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has finally made it to the top of the points standings. He has lingered in the runner-up spot for weeks, but with the problems facing Matt Kenseth today, Junior just snuck right into the #1 place. Perhaps NASCAR can relax now that their favorite driver is in the cat-bird seat. And, perhaps we won't see any more changes to the points formula.
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ryan reflects on his new role

English: Ryan Newman stands beside his Number ...English: Ryan Newman stands beside his Number 39 Army Chevrolet Impala Sunday at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Newman finished the Sylvania 300, the first Chase for the Sprint Cup, in seventh place. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Ryan Newman, driver of NASCAR's #39 car. I was moved by the blog he posted this week. Read it here to see why he is my favorite driver and one of my favorite NASCAR personalities.

Enjoy this off week with your family, Ryan and good luck next week at Indy.
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to benefit from Federal spending

Shot by The Daredevil at Daytona during Speedw...Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Nat'l Guard car

It seemed almost certain that the U.S. House of Representatives would nix federal spending in the form of military sponsorships in NASCAR.

After all, a House committee in a bi-partisan effort voted to ban such multi-million dollar frivolities. At the eleventh hour though, the amendment was withdrawn and spending for NASCAR sponsorships were allowed to continue.

While Dale Earnhardt, Jr. whose #88 car is sponsored by the National Guard, was a major beneficiary of the House of Representatives' change in thinking, that wasn't the case with Ryan Newman's #39 U.S. Army-sponsored race car.

Too late for Ryan Newman

TALLADEGA, AL - OCTOBER 31:  (***EDITORS NOTE*...Ryan Newman's #39 U.S. Army carJust a week before the final vote was taken on Capital Hill, the U.S. Army decided to withdraw sponsorship at Stewart-Haas Racing, the team that fields Newman's car, at the end of this season.

It is true that Junior's season has been the best he's had in recent years. He even won a race in June at Michigan, the first since 2008. He has shown consistency this season, evident by his being in second place in the points standings.

It is also true that even though Newman won at Martinsville in April, he has been in a slump since then.

Junior has one thing Newman will never have though--his infamous father. Dale Earnhardt has arguably been called the greatest NASCAR driver ever. He was certainly the most popular driver, which is a title his son has inherited.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has received benefits before because of his last name. He is looked upon as the golden boy. NASCAR announcers rarely miss an opportunity to sing his praises, sometimes when they are not even deserved.

Newman is the polar opposite; his achievements often go unnoticed.

I make no accusations, but it is not out of the realm of possibility that a little lobbying by NASCAR brass on Junior's behalf could have taken place just to keep him in the National Guard car. This wouldn't be the first time NASCAR has exerted favortism Junior's way.

The bottom line is that Newman is again the guy on the outside looking in--the one who has to try harder, just to achieve that equal footing. Not only is the loss of the U.S. Army as a sponsor troublesome for Newman, but the loss could be career-changing. Newman's contract is up at the end of this season. He has already been warned that if sponsorship cannot be found for next year, he may lose his ride at Stewart-Haas Racing.

There are certainly places he could go, and with his driving abilityt, he would be able to land a premier ride, but if nothing else, such uncertainty is a major distraction for someone on the border line of not making the top 12 in the NASCAR points ranking.

As a Newman fan, this is all just disheartening, especially since I know what my favorite driver is capable of. There remains plenty of time to turn it around before the Chase for the Championship is set. I can only feel for what Newman must be going through.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ryan, Krissie Newman have second child

MARTINSVILLE, VA - APRIL 03:  Ryan Newman, dri...MARTINSVILLE, VA - APRIL 03: Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 car, stands with wife Krissie and their daughter Brooklyn Sage Newman on the grid prior to the start of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Race. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Congratulations to NASCAR race car driver Ryan Newman and his wife Krissie on the birth of their second child, a daughter.

Ashlyn Olivia Newman was born in the afternoon Monday, July 16 just after her daddy raced his way to the Top 10 at New Hampshire the day before. Ashlyn has a big sister. Brooklyn Sage, the Newman's first child is just 20 months older than the baby.

Ashlyn's birth came just eight days after Kevin and DeLana Harvick had their first child, baby boy Keelan Paul Harvick.

Almost as if there was a pro-ordained schedule, neither driver--Newman nor Harvick--missed a step in the busy NASCAR race schedule. Newman had an especially busy week in New Hampshire, as he raced Saturday in the Whelen Series and in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series Sunday. Practice and qualifying filled any gaps in his busy schedule.

Race fans who follow Twitter on race day were well aware of both ladies' pregnancies, as DeLana and Krissie are both avid tweeters. They keep race  fans on top of the action on the track. At times, the two who are personal friends, they often shared messages with each other.

Congratulations to both the Newmans and the Harvicks.
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ryan Newman, a class act

In my view, Ryan Newman, driver of Stewart-Haas Racing's #39 car has always represented himself well during driver interviews.

The following video is no exception.

Ryan talks about his making the NASCAR Chase for the Championship as well as the loss of the U.S. Army sponsorship.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

U.S. Army to retire as NASCAR sponsor

English: A decision to change only two tires d...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The handwriting has been on the wall, though it has been made official that at the end of this year, NASCAR sponsorship by the U.S. Military will end. Though it has only been the U.S. Army that has made the announcement, other branches of the armed forces will probably follow soon.

The U.S. Army has been a primary sponsor for Ryan Newman's #39 car since 2009 when he came to drive for the fledgling Stewart-Haas Racing, (SHR) team The U.S. Army had participated in sponsorship in some capacity for the past 10 years.

The end to the army's sponsorship in NASCAR comes about as the House Appropriations Committee last month approved an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill to end military sponsorship in sports venues in an effort to trim military spending. A similar effort in the previous bill failed, but this year has gotten traction.

Newman's contract is up at the end of this year

With the end of Newman's contract with SHR in sight, his future is uncertain. Co-owner Tony Stewart has already said signing a contract with Newman in 2013 is dependent on sponsorship. He already gave Newman the option to explore other opportunities.

While I'm not worried that Newman will find a ride next year, anything other than SHR would be less than desirable in my view. He and Stewart work well together. SHR seemed the ideal fit for Newman.

I have to admit that I have never been comfortable with the U.S. Army or any other tax-supported sponsorship in NASCAR. But, you pick your battles; so I admit compromising my principles on this one, since Newman is my favorite driver.

Principally, I oppose spending tax dollars for sports in any capacity. I  was also against the GOP giving track owners $100 million in perks through earmarks in the stimulus bill in 2008.

In NASCAR, it really is all about the money. 

I don't believe money is solely the driving force behind Newman. He is a racer; motivated by his life-long love of racing. That is why it is ironic and sad that money and ultimately the sponsorship of his race team must now take such a high profile in his career.

By the way, remember how great it looked to see Bass Pro Shops on Newman's car at Darlington earlier this year? Could there be a better fit for Ryan Newman than Bass Pro Shops? Fishing is his go to activity when he isn't on the race track? Ryan has such a love of outdoors and has donated so much of his own time and money to the these activities, not to mention the work his foundation does with dogs and cats. Therefore, wouldn't it be logical to see his race car sponsored by a Cabelas or Lowrance, Ranger Boats, Triton Boats, Evinrude, Mercury Marine or a myriad other companies that have to do with his favorite pastime?

Perhaps other companies that he deals with could also lend a hand; companies like Iams, Purina, Eukanuba, and others that reflect his personal and professional interests.

Newman has done plenty to promote his favorite products Perhaps it is time for them all to return the favor.

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