Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sprint Cup 2012: Race 21 - Time to Step Up or Step Out

Juan Pablo Montoya won the poll for tomorrow’s running of the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway. Montoya’s accomplishment is a much needed bright spot for a driver and team that have had virtually nothing to cheer about in the 2012 season. Montoya sits outside the top 20 in points, 21st position with only two top tens so far this season. Meanwhile his teammate, Jaime McMurray, is only slightly more fortunate standing in 19th position with three top tens. It’s pretty embarrassing when the Earnhardt/Ganassi team’s one highlight is that of Juan Pablo Montoya’s car zooming out of control smashing into a jet dryer at the beginning of a caution period in February’s Daytona 500, not the kind of explosive results a team is proud to display.

A story line worth pursuing as the season has reached the decisive stretch for chase contenders for the season is the mediocre performance of Jack Roush’s Ford entries. Last week, departing senior Ford driver, Matt Kenseth, fell from leading the points and has not been a factor late in races recently. Greg Biffle is in the top ten with a victory, but Carl Edwards, last year’s championship prospect needs wins languishing outside the top ten in points for this most tepid season. Ford has two victories, Matt Kenseth’s Daytona 500 win and Greg Biffle’s win way back on April 14th in Texas. While Kenseth holds 2nd place and Biffle 3rd with both having achieved nine top 5’s, points racing does not yield championships in the Chase Era.

Move away from the front line teams, it sadly looks like quality Sprint Cup teams are dying of attrition as there are at least ten entries that simply have no place in the top tier of the sport. Tomorrow’s race could set the record for the most entries who are showing up for nothing more than a casual Sunday ride and at least a $60,000 pay day. From 30th on down, there are only four entries that who can be counted on to at least try to finish the race no matter how marginal their entry is. Brad Keselowski (31st), David Ragan (32nd), Travis Kvapil (37th) and Bobby Labonte (39th) are there to EARN a payout. The others should just as well not even pull up to the starting line and play Rock/Paper/Scissors for taking home their NASCAR Welfare awards.


Reduce the starting field to around thirty cars. Have teams compete like hell to get in the show, and require all teams to be resourced with adequate crew and other necessities to run the whole race.

142Juan MontoyaChevroletTarget176.043
211Denny HamlinToyotaFedEx Ground175.795
327Paul MenardChevroletMenards / Serta175.627
45Kasey KahneChevroletFarmers Insurance175.439
59Marcos AmbroseFordStanley175.432
651Kurt BuschChevroletPhoenix Construction Services175.339
717Matt KensethFordZest175.169
888Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletDiet Mountain Dew / AMP Energy175.131
939Ryan NewmanChevroletHaas Automation / Quicken Loans175.097
1048Jimmie JohnsonChevroletLowe's175.067
1178Regan SmithChevroletFurniture Row / Farm American175.036
1216Greg BiffleFord3M174.964
1343Aric AlmirolaFordAutomotive Lift Institute174.805
1420Joey LoganoToyotaThe Home Depot174.795
1556Martin Truex Jr.ToyotaNAPA Auto Parts174.618
161Jamie McMurrayChevroletBass Pro Shops / Allstate174.561
1799Carl EdwardsFordFastenal174.432
1855Mark MartinToyotaAaron's Dream Machine174.419
1915Clint BowyerToyota5-hour Energy174.314
2018Kyle BuschToyotaM&M's174.277
2129Kevin HarvickChevroletBudweiser174.213
2283Landon CassillToyotaBurger King / Dr Pepper174.162
2331Jeff BurtonChevroletEnersys / Odyssey Battery173.92
2410David ReutimannChevroletTMone.com173.571
2522Sam Hornish Jr.DodgeShell / Pennzoil173.524
2638David GillilandFordModSpace173.41
2724Jeff GordonChevroletDrive to End Hunger173.3
2814Tony StewartChevroletOffice Depot "Back to School"173.197
2913Casey MearsFordGEICO172.864
30119Mike BlissToyotaPlinker Tactical172.619
312Brad KeselowskiDodgeMiller Lite172.371
3234David RaganFordTaco Bell172.038
3323Scott RiggsChevroletNorth Texas Pipe171.917
3426Josh Wise*FordMDS Transport171.913
3537J.J. YeleyChevroletMax Q Motorsports171.808
3630David StremmeToyotaInception Motorsports171.638
3793Travis KvapilToyotaBurger King / Dr Pepper171.246
3887Joe NemechekToyotaAM / FM Energy Stoves170.804
3947Bobby LabonteToyotaScott Products170.658
40191Reed SorensonFordPlinker Tactical170.581
4132Jason White+FordZaxby's167.876
4236Tony Raines+Chevrolet@TMone / CRM Hiring Veterans-
4398Mike SkinnerFordTRAQM.com170.516
Did Not Qualify
4433Stephen Leicht*ChevroletLittle Joes A170.487

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