With it most likely being Mark Martin’s final drive this weekend when the green flag comes out for the Ford EcoBoost 400 this Sunday at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Start ‘N’ Park Blog takes a look back through the years. Below you’ll find photographs from Martin’s career as well as his Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck Series career stats. Continue reading “A Look Back: Mark Martin”
Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson won’t be exchanging Christmas gifts anytime soon after their run in at Martinsville in Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500. Biffle was positioned in the top-10 when contact from Johnson sent him spinning.
While there was minimal damage to Biffle’s car, the real damage was having to go to the back of the line after pitting. He did have a strong enough car to work his way back to a ninth place finish, but it could have been a lot better had that not happened.
After the race Biffle got to Johnson to explain his frustration. “Hey, you tore my rear bumper off, you (expletive),” said Biffle. Johnson contended he was next to Biffle, but Biffle warned him he’d “better watch it.” In the end it was a case of agreeing to disagree over the incident.
With three races to go and Johnson neck and neck for the title, it’ll be interesting to see if Biffle cuts him any slack in the coming weeks. Drivers tend to have very long memories and if it’s not this season, it could go into next.
All indications are that Travis Pastrana will return to Roush Fenway Racing to make another go at the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2014. The biggest question mark surrounding the former X-Games standout is where is he going with this NASCAR endeavor?
Jack Roush, co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing, talked openly this past week about his desires for a fourth Sprint Cup Series for next season. He has a sponsor and driver he’s trying to put together for that spot. If that falls through, the plan is to continue to develop their young talent to get into a fourth car.
The names he dropped as the “young talent” were Trevor Bayne and Chris Buescher. There was no mention of Pastrana. Then you look at the recent signing of 20-year old Ryan Reed to run in the Nationwide Series as another indication of young talent he’s collecting.
While the 29-year old Pastrana isn’t exactly over the hill, he’s not exactly setting the world on fire in his first full season of Nationwide racing. Through 30 starts, Pastrana has one pole, no wins or top-5s, 4 top-10s, an average finish of 21.1, and5 DNFs. All five DNFs have been from accidents. Heck, the running joke among many people on Twitter is a race isn’t official until Pastrana spins.
Most drivers might be worried that they have no sponsors on the car and have seemingly gone nowhere during the season. Pastrana does have sponsorship, Red Bull and DC Shoes, but they opt not to have their logos on the Roush Fenway Racing Ford. It sounds like they’re good for coming back next year, but if Pastrana is serious about NASCAR, he might want to look for another team that is going to develop him versus cashing his checks.
Carl Edwards is coming to the Kansas Speedway looking for the home advantage. The Columbia, MO native has a best finish of 2nd at his home track, but that was back in 2008. In 12 starts he has zero wins, four top-5s, eight top-10s, and an average finish of 11.3. Continue reading “Edwards Seeks Home Turf Advantage”
Greg Biffle was coming fast at the end of last week’s Sylvania 300 from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. If there was 20 or so more laps, he could have gotten up there and mixed it up with Kyle Busch and winner Matt Kenseth.
While it wasn’t a victory last weekend, merely a third place finish, Biffle comes into Dover this weekend knowing momentum is on his side. He’s been able to climb up to fifth place in the standings and wants to chip away at the 38 point advantage Kenseth has on him.
He was none too happy when it was suggested to him that it’s a three man race for the title (Kenseth, Busch, and Jimmie Johnson) at this point. Biffle said:
“The Chase, from what I understand, is made up of 10 races and to be two races into the Chase and say it’s a three-man race already, to me, seems silly as to why somebody would want to put themselves in that position and say it’s a three-man race. Obviously, you don’t have anything on the line. It’s not like we’re making a wager in Vegas that it’s a three-man race. It’s somebody’s opinion and everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but I can’t imagine with eight races to go that somebody would be willing to say, ‘Oh, this is a three-man race.’ Take for instance last week, we finished third and moved up six spots in the points to fifth. I don’t know how one would say it’s a three-man race.”
There’s one big wildcard coming up in the schedule and that’s Talladega.
“Now, if we get past Talladega and there are four races to go or three races to go, I could see that. But they could break for three races in a row and maybe not even go to Vegas and not even be in the top 10. So I’d say it’s a little early,” commented Biffle.
The trick with the Chase is having a teammate who is going for the same title you’re going for. Biffle knows that while he wants to win, not doing anything to jeopardize his teammate’s (Carl Edwards) chances is just as important.
“Carl and I have a lot of respect for each other. We had an incident earlier in the season at Michigan where the whole organization sat down and I think we understand each other and appreciate each other’s abilities a lot more since that meeting and we kind of do what we can to help one another that doesn’t hurt yourself and that’s what came out of that meeting in Sonoma after the Michigan race and that’s the way we’ve really handled it since then. Carl and I are parked next to each other in the garage and we’re talking about our cars and competition and how our car is in race trim versus qualifying trim, so we share everything and try to help one another with what we can,” Biffle explained.
The AAA 400 from the Dover International Speedway gets underway at 2:00 PM EST and can be seen on ESPN Sunday afternoon.
There’s been a lot of hype when it comes to Travis Pastrana and Danica Patrick turning to NASCAR after careers in other forms of motorsports. Pastrana made his name in the extreme sports genre and rally cars, Patrick made her name running the Izod IndyCar Series. Both made the jump to NASCAR in the last few years, which has brought a lot of attention to how they’re performing. How they are performing is shockingly similar to one another.
Patrick might have more eyes on her since she came to NASCAR in 2010 running part-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for two years then the full season in 2012. Currently she is running her first full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Pastrana made a few races last season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and is in the middle of his first full-time season. The pressure has been on Pastrana as he’s driving for the Roush Fenway Racing organization, who’s #6 team has won the past two series championships with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. behind the wheel.
Just watching Pastrana this year, the last race at Kentucky sums up his season. He was running in the top-10 when he was spun by Austin Dillon. He correct his car and continued, without any issue. Then within 30 laps he spun again, but totaled his car. If he didn’t have bad luck, it seems Pastrana would have no luck at all.
Here’s his stat line versus Danica Patrick’s 2012 season:
Now Patrick has the benefit of six extra races, but they are just about spot on. Each has a pole, neither has a top-5 (again, Pastrana could change that in the next six races), both have four top-10 finishes, Patrick led more laps, their average starts are about the same, the biggest difference is average finish. Pastrana is about three positions further back than Patrick did last season.
What is the point of this? Well, just to show that Pastrana is having a tough year, but it’s not that far off of a decent season that Patrick had last season. I think if Pastrana can get some luck and more importantly, another season with the same team, he can build on the foundation he’s building.
Carl Edwards is in pretty good shape when it comes to getting into the Chase. With three races before the cut off he sits in the third position and has a win, so he’s all but in the Chase. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to add to his points with some bonus points for additional wins. Continue reading “Edwards Looking For Number Three At Bristol”