- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner6 hrs ago
Welcome to the latest Shutdown Corner podcast! On today's piping-hot episode, we have:
• The return of our host Kevin Kaduk from new fatherhood-related absence
• A discussion of the most disappointing teams in the NFL (Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans ... heads up.)
• Why Peyton Manning is the best quarterback ever, and if you don't agree, you're insane
• A lightning-fast spin through all the big stories of the week so far.
All this and more as part of the Shutdown Corner Podcast. Listen below, and while you're listening ...
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner8 hrs ago
The St. Louis Rams employed all manner of trickeration to fake out the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Apparently, they're so good at this deception that they even fool their own employees.
Appearing on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Monday, quarterback Austin Davis noted that he still gets asked for ID, even after quarterbacking the team through most of their games this season.
"The guy at the front desk at the facility here actually asked who I was the other day," Davis said. "It was pretty good."
When asked why he doesn't just wear his jersey around, Davis answered earnestly, "I can't do that. It's too big without my pads on."
Davis also noted that he had no idea that the infamous fake punt was coming; his back had been turned at the time and then he realized he would be heading back into the game. All part of the deception, apparently.Sun, Oct 19Seattle26 - 28St. LouisGame Recap
TALLADEGA, Ala. - Brad Keselowski is exactly what NASCAR needs right now.
You will have a reaction to that statement. You will either nod in agreement or spit in disgust, and both reactions prove the same point. For every complaint about NASCAR — the drivers have no personality, the races are too boring, the rules are too confusing — Keselowski is your answer. You don't have to like him, but you have to respect him. You have to pay attention to him, and how many drivers can claim that?
Take, for instance, Sunday's race at Talladega. Fans love this race, but the guys who strap themselves into the cars absolutely loathe it. There's no rhyme nor reason to why things happen the way they do here, no one strategy that you can guarantee will even put you in position to win, to say nothing of taking the checkered flag.
TALLADEGA, Ala. - Off in the distance, Brad Keselowski was performing his victory burnout on the Talladega asphalt, American flag in hand. Drivers and teams were beginning the walk -- long for some, buoyant for others -- back toward their haulers and planes. And over in a far corner of the garage, three Hendrick teams loaded up their cars in silence, readying for a long, long drive back north.
For the first time in NASCAR history, curtains are dropping on drivers no matter their regular-season success. And in this, the second round of eliminations, three members of NASCAR's reigning-champion team, saw their championship hopes end on an early, disappointing note.
Jimmie Johnson, six-time champion: eliminated. Dale Earnhardt Jr., three-time winner, including the Daytona 500: eliminated. Kasey Kahne, one of the sport's most popular drivers: eliminated.
Johnson led the most laps on Sunday afternoon. Earnhardt spent time at the front and appeared to have a car capable of returning there before a late wreck destroyed his chances. Kahne had the most heartbreaking finish, being just inches from moving on ... though it would have been at the expense of Gordon:
TALLADEGA, Ala. - Every Chase driver's nightmare became Kyle Busch's reality on Sunday. A wreck started by a non-Chase driver took out Busch and whacked what had been an incredibly promising Chase run for Busch.
On lap 102, Aric Almirola ran into JJ Yeley, and the ensuing wreck consumed Alex Bowman and Busch. “We were just all starting to shuffle around there and getting ready to pit, and I think it was the 83 (Yeley) in front of me, and I think he might have been trying to check up to get to the bottom." Almirola said. "I just barely started to push him and it hooked his car and we all wrecked.”
"We are destroyed," Busch screamed on the radio. "We are absolutely killed. I got wrecked from behind. We are done. It's everything."
Busch's Chase hopes were destroyed too. Despite his crew's valiant efforts, he ended up missing the Chase by seven points thanks to the crash. Busch entered the race third in points, the highest driver in the points standings who didn't win in the second round of the Chase and 26 points ahead of the eighth-place cutoff.
TALLADEGA, Ala. - Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater, the unlikely combination of grease and grace on this season's installment of "Dancing With The Stars," were standing in the midst of a crowd of well-wishers just outside the grandstands of Talladega Superspeedway. They were both gracious with their time, signing everything placed in front of them and posing for selfies by the score. One man held out a little boy wearing a Danica Patrick hat, and both Waltrip and Slater cooed at the lad. They posed for a picture, and then Waltrip pointed right at the kid.
"You have a cell phone?" he asked. "No? All right, here's what you do. Take your daddy's cell phone and call in to vote ... "
TALLADEGA, Ala. - There's a certain freedom that comes with having nothing left to lose, with knowing that the only way you can win is a bottom-of-the-ninth grand slam, a miracle Hail Mary heave. Half-measures are worthless, good-job-good-effort is as meaningless as finishing dead last.
For Dale Earnhardt Jr., the only way through to the next round of the Chase is a victory at Talladega on Sunday. Absent a range of mitigating circumstances, no other result will allow him to carry through on what had been, until now, a dream season. And with that comes the realization that while there's plenty he can do to control his destiny, worrying and fretting are not among them.
"After how bad we’ve run the last couple of weeks and the troubles we have, to even have an opportunity is pretty neat on one side of the coin," Earnhardt said on Saturday. "I’m looking at it in a more positive manner than ‘we’re in panic mode and we’ve got to go crazy here.’ We have a shot and we know what we need to do."
TALLADEGA, Ala. - And here we thought a multi-car wreck was the biggest mess that could possibly happen at Talladega.
Saturday afternoon, NASCAR rolled out a modification to the standard three-round format of qualifying at Talladega in which drivers jostled, juked, jived and positioned themselves to, believe it or not, completely avoid driving. And a combination of indecision and incorrect decisions left two Sprint Cup regulars out of the race entirely.
No, it didn't make any more sense as it was unfolding, either. The problem with trying to qualify in a traditional mode at Talladega is that a solitary car has no chance of running anywhere close to the speed that cars can achieve in a pack. And NASCAR further divided the drivers into two separate segments of five-minute qualifying, giving the second group a very good look at how badly the first group messed up.
"You don't want to be the first car out there, because you're going to be the slowest car," AJ Allmendinger said afterward. "The pack's going to run you down."
TALLADEGA, Ala. - Terry Labonte, one of NASCAR's most celebrated and long-running drivers, will close off his Sprint Cup career on Sunday at Talladega. The two-time champion ran 889 races over 37 years, notching 22 victories. He hasn't run a full season since 2004.
Labonte isn't quite Brett Favre or The Who in terms of retiring and then un-retiring, but he admitted he'd done a couple of doublebacks in his day.
"Of course, you know it’s only about the third time I’ve said this is gonna be my last race, but this is really gonna be the last one," he laughed at a Saturday press conference.
Why Talladega? Because of the anyone-can-win potential. " I’ve always looked forward to coming to Talladega," he said. "We have a couple of wins down here and it’s a track, as everybody knows, if you stay out of trouble and stay on the lead lap you’ve got an opportunity for a decent finish.”
Labonte's team had sought to honor his career with a car decorated with two of his more notable paint schemes, different on one side than the other. You can see both sides right here:
TALLADEGA, Ala. - It's safe to say Michael Waltrip is about to attempt something never before tried in NASCAR history.
Drivers have run two races in a day, sometimes even in different states. Drivers have raced one night and run a footrace the next morning. But no driver has everrun a race one day and gone on a national dancing show the next ... until now.
Waltrip is a surprisingly long-lived contestant on "Dancing with the Stars," the insanely popular television show which airs on Monday nights. Waltrip, now largely an owner/commentator, also still drives at NASCAR's superspeedways, and he's entered in Sunday's GEICO 500. Once he finishes that, he'll jump on a plane to California for Monday's show.
A dancing show is pretty much the last place you'd expect to find a Daytona 500 winner, and yet there's Waltrip, hanging on by his fingernails.