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NASCAR Track Talk

Background Pony #E751
MASSIVE penalties were issued just a few days ago!
All four Hendrick drivers (William Byron, Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson, and the 9 team) along with Justin Haley have been penalized for an illegally modified part to their cars, which means all five of them will each receive the following: $100,000 fine, loss of 100 regular points, loss of 10 playoff points, and the crew chief is suspended for four weeks. (Chase Elliott is the only exception to all of this because he was not in the race due to his injury, so no penalties for him, and replacement driver Josh Berry is not competing for the Cup Series championship, so he also avoids any penalties, though the crew chief suspension and owner points deductions and fine still hold.)
Not only that, Denny Hamlin also got a 25 point penalty and $50,000 fine for intentionally wrecking Ross Chastain at the end of the recent race in Phoenix.
All in all, this season for a lot of big names just got completely flipped over. The Hendrick team that has outperformed so far this season will now have to continue outperforming just so they can catch back up to the rest of the major teams.
Background Pony #E25C
The Hendrick team has been appealing their penalties, as well as Kaulig Racing for Justin Haley, so we’ll have to wait and see how that will turn out. Denny Hamlin is also appealing his penalty. As for last weekend’s race at Atlanta, the Truck and Xfinity series races had a record number of cautions, yet the Cup series race was relatively calm with Joey Logano winning with a last lap pass over Brad Keselowski.
I’m not sure how much any of you might have heard, but as far as I’m aware, that Xfinity series race in Atlanta saw perhaps the most viral moment in NASCAR since Ross Chastain’s “Hail Melon” wall ride at Martinsville last year. Here’s what happened; Stage 1 saw so many cautions that there were more laps run under the yellow flag than the green flag, and one car that got damaged in one of those cautions was some guy named Josh Williams. His crew tried to quickly repair the damage to his car with large sheets of tape referred to as bare bond. However, due to the very cold weather that day, the adhesive fails to stick, and as his car goes back onto the track, the bare bond is blown off. That debris quickly puts out yet another caution, so NASCAR officials decide to park Josh Williams, essentially ending the race for him. He got so upset over that call that he decided to stop his car right on the start/finish line, climb out of his car, and then walk across the infield to pit road while waving to the spectators. As I’m sure you can guess, he ultimately received a penalty for that publicity stunt by being suspended for the next race (no fines or points penalties, because as he said in a video recorded when he arrived onto pit road, “What are they gonna do, fine me? I can’t afford to pay it.”) Needless to say, Josh Williams, typically one of those back-of-the-field drivers that most of us would usually know almost nothing about, has now become quite popular for the absurd way he stuck it to the race officials.
Anyway, this weekend’s race is at Circuit of the Americas, the road course in Austin, Texas. I can already say the Cup series race could be very interesting due to several well-known drivers participating, including two former F1 champions (Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button), an IMSA champion (Jordan Taylor), an IndyCar racer (Conor Daly), and seven-time Cup series champion Jimmie Johnson.
14Fan
Solar Guardian - Refused to surrender in the face of the Lunar rebellion and showed utmost loyalty to the Solar Empire (April Fools 2023).
Crystal Roseluck - Had their OC in the 2023 Derpibooru Collab.

Navy 14-59 SMU
@Background Pony #E25C
2 of 3 of those bottom names will pilot NASCAR’s Garage 56 bid in Le Mans, Johnson and Button. Jordon Taylor is related to Ricky Taylor, I think Ricky was a driver for Acura Team Penske. Kim I and Button I THINK should have some experience at COTA idk I’m not too big into F1. Also, let the drought for BK and the 6 car continue…
Background Pony #6746
Tyler Reddick gets it done today at COTA! What an amazing race we had and an amazing crew to take the vic and I think you deserved it Tyler, great work!
14Fan
Solar Guardian - Refused to surrender in the face of the Lunar rebellion and showed utmost loyalty to the Solar Empire (April Fools 2023).
Crystal Roseluck - Had their OC in the 2023 Derpibooru Collab.

Navy 14-59 SMU
Really hoping Dean Thompson, Matt Mills, Trey Hutchins, and Armani Williams are ok. Big crash for them and some big hits.
Background Pony #E25C
A good week for the Hendrick team. The appeal for their massive penalty has been heard, and while the fines and crew chief suspensions are upheld, the points deductions have been fully restored. (Needless to say, the decision to maintain only part of the penalty has been quite controversial, which will make Kaulig Racing’s identical appeal later this week worth paying attention to.) And to top it off, Kyle Larson wins the race at Richmond. With William Byron’s two wins and Alex Bowman still atop the points standings, the only question now for that team will be how Chase Elliott will do once he eventually recovers from that broken leg.
14Fan
Solar Guardian - Refused to surrender in the face of the Lunar rebellion and showed utmost loyalty to the Solar Empire (April Fools 2023).
Crystal Roseluck - Had their OC in the 2023 Derpibooru Collab.

Navy 14-59 SMU
IT’S BRISTOL ON DIRT BABY! The Trucks are off and it’s been exciting so far after stage 1. Kaden Honeycutt is doing well but Logano and Blakey have been making my day.
Get ready for Sunday though.
14Fan
Solar Guardian - Refused to surrender in the face of the Lunar rebellion and showed utmost loyalty to the Solar Empire (April Fools 2023).
Crystal Roseluck - Had their OC in the 2023 Derpibooru Collab.

Navy 14-59 SMU
Congratulations to Joey Logano and ThorSport for putting on a show for the fans at Bristol tonight! Hope you bring that momentum to the Cup race tomorrow night!
Background Pony #6746
Justin Owen, 26 years old, passed away in a crash while qualifying at Lawrenceburg Speedway after going through a series of flips that gave him fatal injuries. Thoughts and prayers to the Owen family and his friends, Rest In Peace Justin Owen…
14Fan
Solar Guardian - Refused to surrender in the face of the Lunar rebellion and showed utmost loyalty to the Solar Empire (April Fools 2023).
Crystal Roseluck - Had their OC in the 2023 Derpibooru Collab.

Navy 14-59 SMU
Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, gets the w at Bristol after leading 100 of the 250 laps and had a number of challenges from Reddick, Briscoe, and company behind
Background Pony #E25C
Chase Elliott was able to resume racing this weekend at Martinsville, but it was his teammate Kyle Larson who was able to win after a race that saw quite a few strong contenders lead for many laps each and not many cautions. Also notable from Martinsville this weekend was that because of the scattered rain showers on Friday night, the truck series race became the first NASCAR race in which rain tires were used on an oval track, and the part of the race in which they were used actually went quite well.
In other NASCAR news, as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations this year, there will soon be revealed a list of the 75 greatest drivers of all time, starting with the same 50 who were listed during the 50th anniversary season in 1998 with 25 more being added this year, five being announced each week over the five weeks leading up to the race at Darlington for throwback weekend. The first ones who were announced this past week were Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Mike Stefanik, Randy Lajoie, and Kyle Larson.
Background Pony #83AA
Quite a wild weekend at Talladega. The Xfinity series race saw a lot of significant wrecks, including two that resulted in a red flag and both of which included one car flipping over. The Cup series race was mostly calm until close to the very end with two big wrecks, and the winner in all that late chaos was Kyle Busch, who would not have had the opportunity to claim that win had he not mistakenly stayed out when his crew chief wanted him to pit for fuel.
As for last week’s additions to NASCAR’s 75 greatest drivers, we have Greg Biffle, Sterling Marlin, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, and Chase Elliott. Five more to be revealed this week, with one of them actually being announced during the race to be Jeff Burton.
Background Pony #83AA
Well, looks like Alex Bowman is going to miss the next 3 or 4 races due to a back injury from a crash in a sprint car race, so Hendrick is calling on Josh Berry again to replace him while he’s healing.
As for this past week’s additions to NASCAR’s 75 greatest drivers, we have Carl Edwards, Ron Hornaday Jr, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Bobby Labonte. Just ten more remaining to be announced over the next two weeks.
Background Pony #83AA
For the record, last weekend’s race at Dover (which was delayed to Monday due to rain) was won by Martin Truex Jr. Not only does that break a winless streak he’s had for over a year, it also happened on the same weekend that his brother Ryan Truex finally got his first win in the Xfinity series, so that family certainly had a lot to celebrate.
As for this past week’s additions to NASCAR’s 75 greatest drivers, we have Martin Truex Jr, Brad Keselowski, Larry Phillips, Sam Ard, Kurt Busch, and Kyle Busch. Only four more remaining to be announced next week (and considering there are four Cup Series champions over the past 25 years who have not yet been added to that list, I think it’ll be easy to guess who those last four will be).
Background Pony #1D88
I’m surprised nobody has yet to say anything about last weekend’s race at Kansas, because it was just awesome! A record number of lead changes, several cautions, and the first ever last lap pass for the lead ever seen at that track with Denny Hamlin taking the win after Kyle Larson gets turned into the outside wall on the backstretch. But perhaps the one thing from that race that everyone’s talking about is the post-race fight between Ross Chastain and Noah Gragson. (Honestly, with how frequently Ross has gotten other drivers mad at him on the track over the last few weeks, it was really a matter of who and when someone would finally try to seriously confront him.)
As for the final additions to NASCAR’s 75 greatest drivers, we have Kevin Harvick, Joey Jogano, Matt Kenseth, and Jimmie Johnson. Obviously saving some of the best for last, and I look forward to seeing how all 75 of them will be honored this weekend.
On that note, it’s time for throwback weekend at Darlington! For those of you curious to see what kind of throwback paint schemes are being used by the various race cars (and trucks) this year, here’s a link:
https://www.nascar.com/gallery/darlington-throwback-schemes-2023-edition/
Which one is your favorite? I’m particularly fond of the one being used by Daniel Suarez, which throws back to the green Quaker State car that was used by Ricky Rudd in 1988.
Background Pony #1D88
Well, that Darlington race sure was exciting to watch. Martin Truex led much of the race, only to get caught in a last wreck with several other cars. Over the last few laps, Kyle Larson and Ross Chastain battled for the lead, only to end up wrecking each other, allowing William Byron to win the race (his third this season, and also the 100th win for the number 24 car). While I’m glad to see William Byron win after what happened to him in last year’s running of this race, I will now count myself as a hater of Ross Chastain due to how much of a reckless wrecking ball he has consistently proven himself to be these last few weeks.
Next weekend’s race is one that I have absolutely been looking forward to ever since this season’s schedule was first revealed, and it’s the all-star race at North Wilkesboro, the legendary short track that had been left abandoned for nearly thirty years, but has now been mostly restored and NASCAR will finally make its return to that track. I can’t wait to see how this race will turn out.
Background Pony #1D88
So, NASCAR’s long awaited return to North Wilkesboro was this past weekend. Pretty much everything but the main event was spectacular. The grandstands were packed with enthusiastic fans, the Truck Series race had a lot of excitement, some light rain presented an opportunity for the qualifying heat races to demonstrate the wet weather tires on an oval track for the first time with remarkable success, and the open race before the All-Star race had some moments of competitive excitement. But once we finally got to All-Star race itself, pretty much very little happened aside from a single early caution allowing some cars to get fresh tires, which allowed Kyle Larson to run from last to first and end up completely dominating the race to an easy win. All in all, it became clear the track has only a single groove that makes passing very difficult, not to mention these new Cups Series cars continue to struggle on short tracks, so there’s still some work to be done on those cars, and a repave of North Wilkesboro is being considered for potential future events.
Well, with that hyped event now behind us, next up is the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. I’ve heard there’s going to be some unfavorable weather in the area this weekend, so there’s a chance the race might end up being delayed.
Background Pony #1D88
Almost forgot to talk about the most recent race, the Coca-Cola 600. After being delayed to Monday due to rain, this race turned out to be just as exciting as it was the previous year. The next-gen car may still struggle on short tracks, but there’s no question they are the absolute best at 1.5 mile ovals like Charlotte. Ryan Blaney won the race, finally breaking a winless streak.
However, by far the biggest event of that race was Chase Elliott getting frustrated at Denny Hamlin and deliberately turning him right into a very hard hit to the outside wall. Because that incident was very similar to what happened last year between Bubba Wallace and Kyle Larson at Las Vegas, just about every reasonable fan knew Chase Elliott would end up being penalized with a one race suspension, and that’s exactly what happened, so he’ll be missing the next race.
Also, later in the week, a massive penalty (loss of 120 points, loss of 25 playoff points, 6- week suspension for the crew chief, and $250,000 fine) was given to Chase Briscoe after officials discovered a counterfeit part on his car. The rules regarding these new cars involves three levels of potential penalties that can be given, and this is the first time we’ve seen the highest level penalty given to a team, so now we can see just how severe such a violation can really be.
Well, that’s all the really important stuff covered. Tomorrow will be the next race at Gateway (near St. Louis).
Background Pony #1D88
The race at Gateway may have been only 300 miles, half the length of the previous race, but numerous delays due to weather and crashes caused it to take just as much time to complete as the previous race did. Quite a few issues came up, such as lightning in the area resulting in a delay of nearly two hours, numerous drivers suffering brake failures, and even an internet outage that forced teams to keep track of things the old school way. In the end, Kyle Busch almost completely dominates the race to get his third win this season. The last time he got at least that many wins in a single season was when he won his most recent championship, so he’s starting to look like a probable championship contender at this point.
Next weekend’s race is the road course at Sonoma, and since road course races this year will not have stage ending cautions, it’ll be interesting to see how different the race strategy will be compared to more recent years.
Background Pony #820F
I somehow completely forgot to talk about the most recent race last week. Good thing this past weekend happens to be the only off day for the series. Anyway, the lack of stage cautions at road courses made the race at Sonoma more interesting, but it was Martin Truex who got the win, making him second only to Jeff Gordon for number of wins at that track.
Next race will be at the Nashville superspeedway. And since this past weekend was the only off week for the Cup series, what do you think about how the season has gone so far?
For me, I’ve been impressed by the success of Kyle Busch and William Byron, and I could easily see them among the final four contending for the championship.
Background Pony #820F
Ross Chastain wins at Nashville Superspeedway, so he finally gets his first win of the season (complete with his traditional watermelon smash). Not many cautions in this race, so it was mostly a green flag run for the majority of each stage (unlike the Xfinity Series race the previous day where there were a lot of wrecks caused by cars slipping out of control).
Next week, the Chicago street race is finally upon us, the very first NASCAR race to ever be held on a street course. This is completely unknown territory for this form of motorsports, so it’ll definitely be interesting to see how things will go once that race gets underway.
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