Nascar Doing Vegas. Week 3 into The Chase.

#14 Tony Stewart brings it home in Vegas.

Tony Stewart did it last Sunday. He was able to hold off all contenders and grab that checkered flag. After the Sunday before at Phoenix when Stewart ran out of fuel coming into the final lap the Vegas win was revenge. Sweet Revenge,  Sweet 45 wins of revenge.  His first on 1.5 mile track.

What a race! Vegas always has an air of excitement around the track that other tracks just don’t have. Maybe it’s the roulette table, the poker games & possibly the shows. Whatever it is, it put a fire under the hoods of the stock cars and blood thirst in the throats in the drivers on Sunday at The Las Vegas Speedway in the Nascar Sprint Cup Race.  .

The cautions happening one  after another were what helped put Stewart pull out in front of the field. He seemed to excel on restarts where driver Jimmy Johnson #48 could not.

“Every time the caution came out, I’m like, ‘Not again,’ ” Stewart said. “You wonder how many times you’re going to give them a chance at it on a restart there, and when they’re going to be able to capitalize on us.

“But, that was our strong suit [Sunday]. We were really strong on the restarts. Just proud of the Hendrick engine department; making great steam with it. That was the key to our restarts was the power that we had. We could go without spinning the tires, and we could get a really good lead into Turn 1 and just haul butt down the backstretch.”

Tony Stewart

Jimmy Johnson #48 was not as good on restarts. Often flat spotting his tires on a restart just after taking on new ones. Johnson’s season last year had to have been a real downer after coming away from 5 years in a row taking home the championship. This seasons start not faring him any better. In fact, at the beginning of the season with a controversial penalty much like his crew chief Chad Knaus & himself faced in 2005. Their hope is that this year’s appeal will result in the same favorable way.

Chad Knaus, #48 Jimmy Johnson’s Crew Chief goes before the appeal board again Tuesday this year because of a more serious infraction – the illegally modified C-pillars that was confiscated from the #48 race car in initial inspection for the Daytona 500. On March 1, NASCAR fined Knaus $100,000 for the violation, and suspended him and car chief Ron Malec for six Sprint Cup events. Johnson was also docked 25 championship points. Knaus and Malec have worked the past two weeks pending the appeal, although the points deduction went into effect immediately. (and Chad was allowed at the track on Sunday, but could only observe)

The appeal will be held at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. It will be heard by three members pulled from the 44-person National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel, an independent board composed of several track operators, industry leaders, and former competitors. The appeal board has the power to uphold, reduce, or even increase the penalties. Robby Gordon experienced a little of both in 2008, when he had a 100-point penalty for an unapproved front bumper at Daytona overturned on appeal, but his $100,000 fine was increased to $150,000.

Although I personally would like to see anything put a damper on the #48 cat, that’s the bad sportsmanship in me. I’m just getting bored with Jimmy taking the championship one season after another. Five in a row. The Jimmy & Chad show got old real fast! I take no prisoners, and wish them no ill. Best of luck guys.

My driver, the guy I am a fan of no matter where he finishes did not fare well. Although a finish in the #12 spot could be worse it’s so not what Kevin  Happy Harvick is looking for. I’ve not mentioned a non-race issue before that I want to mention here now because as agrandmother I’m excited. This is a family oriented sport like no other.  I believe although Kevin’s head is always in the game he may be just a bit distracted for a bit this season.

Kevin & his wife, his partner in everything including racing are expecting their first child. Delana Harvick & her husband Kevin are the team I adore. And I do mean they are a team. I had no clue when I became a Happy Harvick fan that it would include being a fan of his wife too. But it does.  Who knew? But let me tell you this young woman just speaks to my heart. She is gorgeous whether in a darling smart sporty outfit, or if she’s in a stock car racing firesuit. I’m so happy for them both. I suspected last year when the couple sold their own team to Riichard Childress Racing that something was up.  I told my husband then, “They are either going to have a baby or they are trying. We can expect to hear about them being pregnant soon.  And sure enough, they announced it at the begining of this season.

Congratulations Kevin & Delana Harvick!

 Stewart has just two tracks now that he has not taken on the Sprint Cup’s Series. Two tracks he has left to conquer. Not bad for a guy who years ago was booed every time he stepped out of a winning car. He has yet to win on two tracks in the Cup’s circuit of tracks it visits each and every season; Darlington & Kentucky.

But it’s not Darlington, nor is it Kentucky. Nope.  Instead Smoke,  It’s Bristol Baby!

Bristol MotorSports Speedway 0,533 mile oval track

©TJHELSER 2012

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