Nick Bromberg

  • Power Rankings: Should Truex or Harvick occupy the top spot?

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 17 hrs ago

    Welcome to Power Rankings. As always, Power Rankings are far from a scientific formula. In fact, it’s the perfect blend of analytics and bias against your favorite driver. Direct all your complaints to us at happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com and we’ll try to have some fun.

    1. Kevin Harvick (LW: 4): We’re going with recency and rewarding Harvick for the New Hampshire win. Harvick’s move from starting 19th to the win was the most spots anyone gained throughout the entirety of Sunday’s race. And it also avenged his losing moment from 2015 when he ran out of gas while racing Kenseth for the win late in the race.

    The win also solidifies Harvick as the top non-Toyota contender for the championship. He entered the Chase with that status and the first two races of the playoffs have done nothing to dissuade anyone from that thought.

    2. Martin Truex Jr. (LW: 2): Truex’s mistimed restart on the next-to-last restart ultimately cost him a chance at the win and led to a seventh-place finish. But after winning at Chicago the driver of the No. 78 could afford to take restart gambles. When you’re moving on in the Chase you can try a lot of different things.

    Dropped Out: Jamie McMurray

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  • Takeaways from New Hampshire: That race was not sublime

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 1 day ago

    Throughout 2016 we may have way too many quick thoughts for our post-race posts. So consider our Takeaways feature to be the home of our random and sometimes intelligent musings. Sometimes the post may have a theme. Sometimes it may just be a mess of unrelated thoughts. Make sure you tweet us your thoughts after the race or email your post-race rants via the link in the signature line below.

    • The craziness that wasn’t, well, crazy to expect Sunday never materialized. The New Hampshire race was pretty straightforward.

    There wasn’t a crazy moment that hurt or benefited a Chase driver. Fourteen of the Chase’s 16 drivers finished in the top 20; 13 of 16 started there. There wasn’t much movement.

    The biggest mover was Austin Dillon, who finished 16th after starting 19th. The lack of movement was evident throughout the top 20. 17 of the drivers who started in the top 20 finished there and Paul Menard (who started 14th) was the highest-qualifying driver to finish outside the top 20.

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  • Kevin Harvick passes Matt Kenseth for New Hampshire win

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 2 days ago

    Sunday’s race at New Hampshire came down to Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick again. And this time Harvick was the one entering victory lane.

    Harvick passed Kenseth with five laps to go off the race’s final restart and pulled away over the final two laps to lock himself in the second round of the Chase. A win in each of the Chase’s first three rounds gives a driver an automatic berth into the next round.

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    The two dueled for the lead late at New Hampshire last year and Harvick ran out of fuel a week after crashing out at Chicago thanks to a cut tire. The fuel gamble meant Harvick was forced to go to Dover, the final race of the first round, needing a win to advance. He got that win and ended up making the Chase’s final round.

    And now with the New Hampshire win, there’s not nearly the pressure at Dover this year as there was in 2015.

    “One of our main goals this year was to not stress ourselves out so bad,” Harvick said. “The performance of the car and the things we’re doing are good enough to be competitive and we just need to not make mistakes and go from there.”

    “I got beat through [turns] 1 and 2 and it was over.”

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  • Carl Edwards wins pole at New Hampshire for third time in four races

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 4 days ago

    Carl Edwards and his team have discovered the secret to qualifying well at New Hampshire.

    Edwards will start Sunday’s race at the 1-mile track on the pole for the third time in four races after posting the fastest lap in the third round of Friday’s qualifying session. Edwards swept the pole positions in 2015 at New Hampshire and finished fifth and seventh in those two races.

    His fast lap beat out last week’s winner Martin Truex Jr., who qualified second. Counting Truex, whose team has an alliance with Edwards’ Joe Gibbs Racing, JGR-equipped Toyotas all qualified in the top 12. Denny Hamlin will start fifth, Matt Kenseth eighth and Kyle Busch 12th.

    It’s the sixth pole of Edwards’ 2016 season. It doubles his previous career record of three poles in a season (set three different times).

    10 of the 16 Chase drivers made it to the final round and 14 advanced to the second round of qualifying. The two Chase drivers that didn’t get out of the first round were Austin Dillon and Chris Buescher. Dillon crashed his primary car in qualifying and was forced to qualify with a backup car.

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  • Matt Kenseth OK with inspection rules change but wishes it was made earlier

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 4 days ago

    Matt Kenseth sees why NASCAR made the changes it did to the penalty structure surrounding laser inspection but would have liked to see the change made before the Chase began.

    NASCAR said Wednesday there would be no more minor penalties for teams whose cars fail laser inspection on the rear of the car. Both Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr.’s cars failed inspection by a slight amount after Sunday’s race at Chicago and NASCAR made the decision to penalize neither team after coming to the realization Johnson’s penalty would be much more impactful than Truex’s because Truex won the race.

    “I’m okay with the rules being changes going forward. I’m always okay with whatever they want to come up with as rules as long as we all know what they are ahead of time and we all know what the penalties are ahead of time for breaking those rules.”

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  • Happy Hour: All your laser inspection talk in one place

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 5 days ago

    Welcome to Happy Hour. Feel free to tweet or email us your NASCAR thoughts and questions throughout the week.

    Unsurprisingly, this week’s mailbag focuses around the laser inspection failures that happened after Sunday’s race at Chicago and NASCAR’s decision to not penalize Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson after their cars failed inspection.

    There’s no need for a long intro this week. We’re getting right to it.

    @NickBromberg Do changing rules after 1st CHASE race lead us down rd of #NASCAR changing rules MID-RACE? To me, penalties should have stuck

    — Racer #24 (@Racer24) September 22, 2016

    If you were living under a NASCAR rock on Wednesday, you missed that NASCAR will no longer penalize teams for a minor laser inspection fraction after the conundrum it found itself in after Sunday’s race. Both race-winner Truex and 12th-place finisher Johnson had their cars fail inspection by a minor amount.

    There are now no more minor penalties. You either lose 35 points and/or the win or you pass inspection.

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  • Looking at the Xfinity and Truck Series Chase fields

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 5 days ago

    Welcome to our Chase-dominated world.

    No, we’re not talking about Chase Elliott, though he could be dominating NASCAR at some point in the near future. We’re referencing the Chase format in the Xfinity Series and the Truck Series. Both series are veering from the season-long points format for the first time, meaning the championship in NASCAR’s top three series will all be decided with a winner-take-all race at Homestead in November.

    XFINITY SERIES

    Chase format: 12 drivers, seven races, three rounds. Four drivers are eliminated each round, leaving four drivers to compete for the championship at Homestead.

    The Drivers:

    Erik Jones (4 wins) Elliott Sadler (2 wins) Daniel Suarez (1 win) Justin Allgaier Ty Dillon Brendan Gaughan Brennan Poole Brandon Jones Bubba Wallace Ryan Reed Ryan Sieg Blake Koch

    The Races:

    Kentucky Dover Charlotte

    Kansas Texas Phoenix

    Homestead

    The Xfinity Chase is diluted. Reed, Sieg and Koch have a combined nine top-10 finishes in the first 26 races of the season. Wallace, meanwhile, has 8, and everyone above him has more than that.

    Champion: Erik Jones

    CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES

    The Drivers:

    The Races:

    New Hampshire Las Vegas Talladega

    Martinsville Texas Phoenix

    Homestead

  • NASCAR Hall of Fame windows broken during Charlotte protests

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 5 days ago

    Windows at the NASCAR Hall of Fame were broken Wednesday night during violent protests in downtown Charlotte.

    The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority confirmed the damage to the exterior windows at the Charlotte Convention Center and the Hall of Fame. There was also damage to a Buffalo Wild Wings in the Hall of Fame building.

    The Hall of Famewill be open as scheduled on Thursday.

    “We do have events scheduled to take place in the Charlotte Convention Center and NASCAR Hall of Fame today and in the coming days,” a statement from the CRVA said. “The safety of those meeting attendees who have traveled significant distances to convene in Charlotte is especially important to us and we’re working to take appropriate security precautions in collaboration with our partners at CMPD. We’ll continue to assess and communicate with our partners throughout the day.”

    Wednesday night was the second night of demonstrations in downtown Charlotte and the NASCAR Hall of Fame building wasn’t the only one that took the brunt of violence at the hands of a small number of the people gathered to demonstrate.

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  • NASCAR not penalizing Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr. for inspection failures

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 6 days ago

    A lack of foresight into how its own penalty system works in the structure of the Chase for the Sprint Cup means NASCAR won’t be penalizing Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr.for post-race laser inspection failures at Chicago.

    Truex won the race while Johnson finished 12th. NASCAR said the inspection failures regarding the rear measurements of the cars were at the level of a 10-point penalty, meaning Johnson would have 10 points deducted from his Chicago total in his bid to accumulate enough points over the three races in the Chase’s first round to be one of 12 drivers advancing to the second round.

    Truex’s point total from the race would be deducted by 10 as well … but his points from the race don’t matter. His win means Truex is guaranteed to make the second round of the Chase even if he finishes last in the next two races of the first round. Drivers who win in one of the four-round Chase’s first three rounds automatically advance to the next round.

    NASCAR saw the dichotomy of the two drivers’ situations and said Wednesday it wouldn’t be penalizing either.

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  • Power Rankings: Truex goes from third to first with the win

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 7 days ago

    Welcome to Power Rankings. As always, Power Rankings are far from a scientific formula. In fact, it’s the perfect blend of analytics and bias against your favorite driver. Direct all your complaints to us at happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com and we’ll try to have some fun.

    1. Martin Truex Jr. (LW: 3): Just how much does the miniscule amount that Truex’s car failed inspection by matter when it comes to winning a race? It can’t be much, right? And if NASCAR laser-inspected every car in the field, just how many would have the same result that Truex’s car did following the race? Should every Chase car be inspected following Chase races?

    OK, enough with the questions. Regarding inspection, we’re thinking Truex’s spot on the race’s final restart played a bigger role than the rear of his car potentially being out of alignment. By starting on the high side, Truex was able to have plenty of open space in turns 1 and 2 to pass the three cars ahead that were on older tires.

    A faster pit stop puts Elliott in the position Truex was in and given how equal their cars were, we can’t help but wonder if Elliott would have gotten the win had he been the first car off pit road.

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