From The Marbles
- Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles2 days ago
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We wanted to take some time and go through things that we were thankful for in 2014 when it came to racing. Think we're missing something? Add it in the comments below.
• Madison Rising's incredlbly horrible national anthem at Daytona before the first Nationwide race of the season.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s immediate Twitter excellence. The man tweets like a thoughtful human being, and that's a monstrous compliment for someone of his status.
• The overreactions to the new-format implications of Junior's fuel gamble at Las Vegas.We can all go back and shake our heads at all of it, right?
- Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles5 days ago
Lewis Hamilton got his 11th win of the season Sunday at Abu Dhabi and clinched the 2014 Formula 1 championship.
The points leader entering the race, Hamilton needed to finish second if teammate Nico Rosberg won the race to clinch the title. But as the race unfolded, Rosberg faded from the front and Hamilton would have been the champion had he cruised home in fifth or pushed for the win.
He pushed for the win.
Rosberg, who started on the pole, had a terrible start and it allowed Hamilton, who started second, to sprint away into the first corner with the lead. Rosberg never got close again, and a brake issue derailed any chances he had of finishing the race in the points. As Rosberg's car slowed over the last half of the race, he ended up 14th and a lap behind Hamilton.
- Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles6 days ago
Throughout the week you can send us your best questions, jokes, rants and just plain miscellaneous thoughts to email@example.com or @NickBromberg.We'll post them here, have a good time and everyone's happy.
Happy offseason! Or is it sad offseason? I know we'll all get the itch for cars to start going in circles pretty soon, but it's time to enjoy the break for a little bit. Though if you still need your fix, Formula 1 is at Abu Dhabi this Sunday and thanks to its own championship format gimmick, the title situation is more dramatic than it could be under the previous format.
Lewis Hamilton leads the points over teammate Nico Rosberg, but the race is for double points. If the race was for the normal points, Hamilton needs to finish sixth if Rosberg wins the race. But because the race is for double points, he has to finish second.
- Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles8 days ago
Kasey Kahne is staying at Hendrick Motorsports through 2018.
The team announced Thursday that Kahne signed a three-year contract extension. His contract was set to expire at the end of the 2015 season.
“I’ve found a home at Hendrick Motorsports,” Kahne said in a team statement. “We have incredible people and partners supporting us, and I couldn’t be more excited about the direction we’re headed as a team and a company. It’s the right place for me, and I’m looking forward to being here for a long time.”
The announcement comes a day after Hendrick announced that Keith Rodden, a former engineer for Kahne and Jamie McMurray's crew chief in 2014, would be Kahne's crew chief in 2015. He replaces long-time Kahne crew chief Kenny Francis who moved to a newly-created technical director position at Hendrick.
- Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles9 days ago
Kenny Francis will be moving to a different role at Hendrick Motorsports, paving the way for Keith Rodden to become Kasey Kahne's crew chief in 2015.
The team announced that Francis would become its technical director, a new position within the organization. Rodden, a former engineer on the No. 5 team, served as Jamie McMurray's crew chief in 2014.
“This is a great opportunity for both guys, and it will strengthen our overall organization,” Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said in a statement. “With the new rules for next year, it’s more important than ever to have a strong vehicle development program. Unifying those efforts for the first time under Kenny’s guidance will be critical to our success. It plays to his experience as a leader, innovative engineer and race-winning crew chief. He’s just tailor-made for it."
Francis was Kahne's crew chief in 2014 and has been his crew chief since the final race of the 2005 season. 16 of Kahne's 17 career wins have come with Francis atop the pit box, and the two have been together as Kahne's driven the No. 9, No. 4 and No. 5 cars for Evernham/Richard Petty Motorsports, Red Bull Racing and Hendrick.
- Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles9 days ago
Kyle Busch would like to see the cars of Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing work together in a similar fashion to the cars from Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing.
SHR gets its chassis and engines from Hendrick and while JGR and MWR use the same Toyota engines, they don't work toegether closely on chassis and engineering.
“We need to have an affiliation,’’ Busch said during a luncheon before Monday night’s Nationwide and Camping World Truck banquet. “It would be nice if MWR ... made us all eight. It would be better for all of us. There’s a couple of reasons that we’re fighting internally why we’re not mingling with those guys quite yet, but hopefully that gets resolved here soon.’’
Busch described the information shared between Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing as “informal. It’s like ... “Hey we’re running these four springs and bars and shocks,’ but in reality what’s your pivots, what’s this, what’s that, what’s everything else?’’
- Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles10 days ago
MIAMI, Fla. – As Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag for his first Sprint Cup Series championship on Sunday night, Stewart-Haas Racing became the only team in the Sprint Cup Series to field three Cup champions.
With the addition of Harvick and Kurt Busch, the 2004 champion, to the SHR lineup in 2014, there were numerous questions about how the newly-expanded four-car team would be compatible with each other. If outright dysfunction and struggles for all four drivers seemed like the worst-case scenario, a Cup title was the best case.
"Do you think we're crazy now?" SHR co-owner Tony Stewart rhetorically asked when the myriad of preseason possibilities was brought up Sunday night.
"Don't underestimate why we think the way we think is the moral to the story," Stewart said. "You guys are pretty smart, but we're smarter."
And even now, it's possible to underestimate Stewart-Haas. While the team was celebrating its second title, this was far from an A+ season for SHR and its teams. Improvement is a scary thought for the rest of the field.
- Jay Busbee at From The Marbles11 days ago
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – When you're in the championship hunt, it's a good idea to surround yourself with those who've been there before. So when Michael Jordan wanted to come to Homestead-Miami Speedway to support Denny Hamlin, well, it was an easy answer
"He asked for tickets," Hamlin said after the race. "I told him we could handle that."
Hamlin is part of Jordan's "Jordan Brand" stable, wearing the "Jumpman" logo on his firesuit. Jordan decided to check up on his investment by visiting Homestead with an entourage of friends. "He's a race fan. He is a huge race fan," Hamlin said. "He brought a big group with him, and he's talking about how he's converted all these people into being race fans."
Jordan was present throughout the race, visible in Hamlin's pit box in the minutes before the green flag. Unfortunately, Jordan wasn't able to bring enough of the championship mojo to the FedEx 11 team. Hamlin ran strong but faded late, not unlike the 1998 Utah Jazz, and so Jordan was left consoling Hamlin afterward:
- Jay Busbee at From The Marbles11 days ago
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson once shared a couple of couches in a game room, too poor to afford places of their own. This week, they shared the secrets that made them both champions.
Harvick won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship on Sunday night, and one of his closest advisers in the hunt for the title was Johnson, winner of six Cups. The two have deep roots together, going back to California by way of fellow driver Ron Hornaday's game room in Charlotte.
Harvick grew up in Bakersfield and Johnson in El Cajon, a couple of California kids in a sport whose center was three time zones east. In the late 1990s, both moved to North Carolina and hooked up with Ron Hornaday, Johnson trying to drive American Speed Association cars, Harvick trying to catch on in NASCAR's truck series.
Hornaday regularly offered drivers a free-rent, free-groceries couch while they tried to figure out exactly how badly they wanted to be drivers. "Camp Hornaday," Johnson called it, and both he and Harvick spent several months there.
- Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles11 days ago
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – As Tony Stewart celebrated his second Sprint Cup Series championship as an owner, a streak of his as a driver had just ended.
Stewart, who entered the Sprint Cup Series in 1999, had won a race in every season in his Cup career. He needed a win in Sunday's race at Homestead to extend the streak to 16 years with a win.
He got the opposite of a win. He finished last, and the streak ended at 15 years, while Kevin Harvick, who joined Stewart-Haas Racing won the race and the 2014 Sprint Cup.
"This is great, especially with a great friend of mine like Kevin Harvick, to come together and in our first year accomplish a championship together," Stewart said. "It doesn't make up for a bad year. I mean, I've had a terrible year but this makes the end of November great."
On Sunday, Stewart qualified poorly and wasn't competitive all day. He broke into the top 10 after the first caution flag with a two-tire pit stop. But not long after restarting eighth, he was in 29th spot. Soon he went a lap down.