Happy Hour: A Wild Card Playoff for NASCAR?

Nick Bromberg

Throughout the week you can send us your best questions, jokes, rants and just plain miscellaneous thoughts to happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com or @NickBromberg. We'll post them here, have a good time and everyone's happy. Right? Oh who are we kidding, this is NASCAR. No one is ever happy.

Are you all recovering from Danica Patrick's music video appearance? I'm not sure if that song is ever going to leave my head. It's on a continuous loop, which is has gotten to be like a musical chainsaw slicing through my skull.

Three races down, seven to go. Are you ready for some Chase drama? Thursday was a four-hour test session for the "revolutionary" multi-tread Goodyear tire. However, it was about 20 degrees warmer Thursday than it's expected to be for race day. I'm not an engineer, but I don't expect the tire to wear too much with the cooler temperatures and new racetrack. The famous words of race day may be the same that they've been all season: track position.

On that positive note, let's get on with it.

As a stats nerd, I've been recently struggling with how I should feel about the MLB playoffs. This year, at most, a team would play 20 games in the playoffs, with a record of 12-8 if they were to win the World Series. (That would be Tampa Bay or Pittsburgh, winning the Wild Card game and then each successive series in the most games possible.) That's an eighth of a baseball season and leads to some pretty fluky sample sizes. The Chase right now is over a quarter of the NASCAR schedule. Is it too long for a playoff system? Compared to every other sport's playoff system it is. But what do fans want? Do you want the drama that comes with small sample sizes or the true indications that come with extended trials? Right now, you could say that NASCAR is in the middle of it. Oh, there's a question I should be answering. I think it'd be insanely dramatic, though not necessarily the best way for a driver to get into the Chase.

If you weren't watching the Truck race at Vegas, at times it felt like Talladega with the tapered spacers on the engines and the Vegas banking keeping everyone flat out and close together.

For a substantial schedule shift to happen -- outside of limiting tracks to one race a year -- a lot of tracks would have to reconfigure. NASCAR isn't going to take away races from Charlotte, Atlanta, Texas or Kansas. They'd have to reconfigure.

On these current configurations we have already gotten to the point that with the right setup and combination of tires and pavement, Cup drivers can almost flat out a qualifying lap. So yes, with the advances in downforce and setups, we're closer to that point than we've ever been on these intermediate tracks.

However, that's obviously not sustainable for races, nor do I think it will ever be unless NASCAR becomes very Formula 1ish. And I don't see that happening, unless the Talladega experience can be mimicked under braking in the corners.

More short tracks and road courses? I can definitely see that.

_____________________

Hi Nick, I'm curious where some of the good drivers are going to end up since there seems to not be enough spots.

Truex (possibly) leaving MWR, Burton & Harvick leaving RCR, Newman out at SHR, Montoya gone from EGR, Busch out at Furniture Row. Some of those guys have rides, but not all. What happens to guys like Ryan Newman, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Martin Truex. If teams keep the current amount of drivers per, than RCR can take 1 (Austin Dillon taking the other), EGR can take 1, and Furniture Row can take 1.

Is there a chance of Roush or Gibbs or Childress expanding to 4 teams? What about Penske or EGR expanding to 3 teams? There are still a lot of good top 25 drivers left in the mix that deserve to drive for a top team. And I still think it's crazy that Waltrip would let Truex go, and keep Vickers on. Nothing against Vickers, but Truex is Chase caliber every season.
- Carl

Newman's deal at Richard Childress Racing has already been announced so he's there. As far as Burton and Martin, they're essentially free agents right now. Right now, it looks like the signs tentatively point to Truex staying with MWR, but he's also going to likely need even a partial season sponsor. Will he get it?

With the Newman announcement and the Burton departure, RCR said it wasn't going to four teams, and Roush and Gibbs haven't given any indication that they'd head in that direction. Plus, it's a little late to make that decision now.

For Vickers, how bad would that be if since NAPA left, MWR decided that Truex was a better option for Aaron's and it tried to get out of his contract? While that may look like the "best case" scenario to some people in terms of driver lineup if the team only had two cars, we're dealing with human beings here. Decency is expected. Also, MWR isn't exactly on a lot of people's good lists right now. Imagine if they did that?

_____________________

Joey Logano has now won four straight NNS races at Dover. Why is this such an accomplishment? I know this has been brought up time and time again but should Cup drivers race in NNS or the CWTS? People claim that when they race it brings more people out to the races and better TV ratings. Have any of these people actually tuned into an NNS race with a Cup driver in it? As we have seen, they just run pull out front and run away with the race. How does that bring more eyes to the race when it is almost a certainty that a Cup driver will win? The stand alone races have greater attendance numbers and the racing is much better because the NNS or CWTS regulars are racing against each other for wins, not just to be the highest regular finisher.
My solution, allow Cup drivers the opportunity to be in a maximum of five NNS races and since there are less truck races, they can only start a maximum of three.
-Sean

Five races (and three in the Truck Series) isn't going to happen, at least immediately. I think a logical compromise is 15-20 races for Cup Series drivers and then go from there.

What I think adds another layer of intrigue into the Cup/Nationwide driver debate is the contract status of Sam Hornish. He's currently without a ride for next season, and he could potentially be the Nationwide Series champion. Seems crazy, doesn't it?

It's a good example of sponsorship, especially in the Nationwide Series, as Hornish would have to go to a team with funding or bring his own sponsor, despite the decreased costs of NASCAR's second-tier series.

  • Texas Woman's University volleyball coach quits after 8 players hospitalized

    The volleyball coach at Texas Woman's University has stepped down in the wake of news that eight of her players had to be hospitalized for a muscular condition. The Denton Record-Chronicle reported that head coach Shelly Barberee submitted her resignation late Friday. The program has been under scrutiny recently after eight volleyball players were admitted last weekend for rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle tissue that releases potentially damaging proteins into the bloodstream. "Although the investigation remains underway, Texas Woman's University's initial belief is that overexertion coupled with dehydration during practices last week caused these student-athletes to experience rhabdomyolysis," said Monica Mendez-Grant, vice president for student life, in a statement published on the school's website.

    Dallas Morning News
  • Rangers pitcher gets arrested for drunk driving, urinates on himself

    Texas Rangers relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress was arrested for DWI after an early Friday morning traffic stop that, according to authorities, was equal parts dangerous and embarrassing. [Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now] Take it away, Dallas

    Big League Stew
  • The deeper implications of the A.J. Ellis trade

    The trade of a light-hitting backup catcher is normally about as inconsequential as it gets. The trade of A.J. Ellis by the Dodgers to the Phillies, however, is anything but that. Indeed, it may be the public manifestation of long-simmering, well, maybe “feud” is too strong a word, but a definite butting of heads between the team’s front office and its best player. While almost all of the clubhouse drama in Los Angeles has surrounded a talented but aggravating corner outfielder currently toiling in the minors, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times wrote last night that the Ellis trade could very well be seen as the front office’s shot across Clayton Kershaw‘s bow: Kershaw’s preference of Ellis

    HardballTalk
  • 76ers, Jazz complete salary-based trade

    The Jazz plan to waive Kendall Marshall. In a deal constructed around salary-cap maneuvering, the Philadelphia 76ers sent guard Kendall Marshall to the Utah Jazz for center Tibor Pleiss, two second-round picks and cash. The Jazz plan to waive Marshall before his $2 million contract becomes guaranteed Saturday, league sources told The Vertical.

    Adrian Wojnarowski
  • Arsenal finally splashing cash with Shkodran Mustafi, Lucas Perez

    German international Shkodran Mustafi will finally provide the center back cover Arsenal has needed for a long while. LONDON, England – “We are working on the deals,” Arsenal Arsene Wenger announced on Friday when specifically asked about the transfers of German defender Shkodran Mustafi and Spanish forward Lucas Perez. Wenger added, “Will we sign anybody before the end of the transfer window?

    FC Yahoo
  • UFC on FOX 21 Video: PVZ's head kick KO

    Paige VanZant made her return to the octagon via impressive fashion, a jumping switch kick KO. VanZant switched up her usual distance-closing style to dance around the outside of Rawlings at UFC on Fox 21 before scoring the second round finish. Check out her sensational kick: R1: VanZant with two front kicks and Rawlings backs her off with a counter flurry after the second. VanZant clinches on a Rawlings combination but can't keep her on the fence, and Rawlings glances with a knee to the body on the break. VanZant dangerously reaches out when trying to force a clinch, narrowly avoiding the busy boxing of Rawlings. Rawlings backs off with her hands down, trying to bait VanZant into engaging. VanZant

    Bloody Elbow
  • Aly Raisman's Best Stress-Buster: Simone Biles

    "It's going to be crazy," Raisman said. As watchers of the Olympics observed over the past few weeks, Raisman, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Madison Kocian, and Laurie Hernandez are each other's consummate fans. "We have to be close," Raisman, who served as the team's captain in both 2012 and 2016, explained.

    Elle
  • Criticism of Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest begins

    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knew that not standing for the national anthem would draw some criticism. A couple former NFL quarterbacks weighed in. Miami Dolphins running back Arian Foster, a former teammate of Yates with the Texans, argued with Yates on Twitter after saying it was Kaepernick’s right to protest.

    Shutdown Corner
  • Puck Daddy Summer Series: Weird Tampa Bay Lightning

    The Lightning may have ended the season short of its second ever playoff berth in the then-26 team league, but the promise for the future was there in a lot of ways. The Bolts had just played their first season in their new arena (then known as Ice Palace, now known as Amalie Arena) with roster talent a solid mix of NHL veterans and up-and-coming young talent, such as #77 Chris Gratton.

    Puck Daddy
  • Chelsea shuts out Burnley

    Chelsea holds the Clarets to no shots on target and shuts them out with a 3-0 victory.

    NBC Sports
  • Searching for tight end value in Fantasy Football drafts

    Let’s complete our analytics-based positional analysis this fantasy football draft season by focusing on tight ends and market share in order to hopefully find some sleepers and avoid some busts. A key is that the offensive system in place is not different this year, which hurts, for example, the market-share projection for Delanie Walker given that new OC Terry Robiskie is coming from an offense that threw 15.9 percent of passes to Atlanta tight ends last year.

    Michael Salfino
  • Carlos Ruiz leaves a goodbye note for the Phillies

    And then there was one. One player from the 2008 World Series champs, that is. Ryan Howard likely isn’t going anywhere so he’ll be the last one to turn the lights off, but today Carlo Ruiz bid adieu to the Phillies following his trade to Los Angeles. Lost in all of the emotions the Dodgers are reported to be feeling about A.J. Ellis leaving is the fact that Ruiz was one of the most beloved Phillies players ever, by both his teammates and their fans. Yesterday Roy Halladay penned a heartfelt goodbye to Ruiz, suggesting that he was every bit as essential to his and the Phillies’ success as Ellis has been to Clayton Kershaw (and in pure baseball production, obviously, quite more).

    HardballTalk
  • Gary Sanchez leading Yankees resurgence with historic start

    New York Yankees rookie Gary Sanchez is officially making history while helping lead a team resurgence that few outside the Yankees organization saw coming. In Friday’s 14-4 win against the Orioles, Sanchez went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Overall, Sanchez now has 10 homers in 22 games, which is a power feat only accomplished by two other players.

    Big League Stew
  • Watch Bobby Wood score his first Bundesliga goal in his Hamburg debut

    Bobby Wood celebrates Hamburg’s opening goal against Ingolstadt. It’ll still be worthwhile checking on Fabian Johnson at Borussia Moenchengladbach, center back John Brooks at Hertha Berlin, the rebirth of Julian Green at Bayern Munich and injury comebacks of strikers Aron Johannsson at Werder Bremen and Terrence Boyd at newly promoted Leipzig.

    FC Yahoo
  • Report says rest of NFL 'laughing at' Chargers over Bosa holdout

    Let’s be clear: Both sides are to blame for the Joey Bosa holdout. Bosa hasn’t signed because of offset language and the timing of his signing bonus, and the Chargers turned it into a public battle this week by making details of negotiations public. Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman wrote that he talked to unnamed NFL general managers and there was “unanimity” that the Chargers were to blame.

    Shutdown Corner
  • Jordan releases new Russell Westbrook ad, may include a shot at Kevin Durant

    As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.” Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.

    ProBasketballTalk
  • Record Noise Levels Expected at Minnesota Vikings' New Stadium

    The Minnesota Vikings will kick off its first pre-season game this weekend at a brand new stadium that is already raising questions about its noise level. The U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, where the Vikings will face the San Diego Chargers Sunday, hosted a Metallica concert last week that left many of the 50,000 attendees complaining about the noise levels. The stadium claims to have the “largest, transparent ethylene-tetraflouroethylene (ETFE) roof in the nation,” according to its website.

    Good Morning America
  • UEFA Europa League group stage: Man United, Saints handed tough draws

    Premier League clubs Manchester United and Southampton were both handed tough, but exciting, draws in the 2016-17 group stage of the UEFA Europa League. The draw, which took place in Monaco on Friday, saw Jose Mourinho’s United placed in Group A as they face Turkish giants Fenerbache, Dutch powerhouse Feyenoord and Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk with some big games coming up at Old Trafford. United’s manager was happy with the tough tests for his squad: “It’s a big match to play in Istanbul as it is in Rotterdam – it’s good for us,” Mourinho said. Saints, who have reached the group stage of the Europa League for the first-time in club history, face mouth-watering clashes against Inter Milan, while they also have tough games against Czech giants Sparta Prague and the champions of Israel Hapoel Beer-Sheva.

    ProSoccerTalk
  • Carmelo Anthony went to a corner store in a monogrammed robe with a stack of cash

    (Alex Brandon/AP) Carmelo Anthony is just like all of us — when he has to make a quick run to the corner store, he doesn't feel like getting dressed up. As evidenced by his wife LaLa's Instagram video Thursday night, when lounging around the house,

    Business Insider
  • Sprint Cup starting lineup at Michigan International Speedway

    Joey Logano will attempt to complete the season sweep of Michigan International Speedway on Sunday. Just as he did in June, Logano will start on the pole in the Pure Michigan 400. The No. 22 was the only Ford to qualifying in the top five. Kevin Harvick, seeking his second consecutive win, will start fourth. Alex Bowman, driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88, starts sixth. The 200-lap race can be seen on NBCSN, beginning with Countdown to Green at 1:30 p.m. ET.

    NASCAR Talk
  • Wild Card race is on, and Mets are still in it

    Matthew Cerrone | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram Last night was a much-needed, awesome win against the Cardinals, who now lead the second Wild Card slot by 3.5 games over the Mets -- with the Marlins and Pirates in between. It's also worth noting that the Giants, who have lost 8 of their last 11 games, now lead the Cardinals by just one loss for the top Wild Card spot. The point is, despite all of the above teams stumbling through August, the Wild Card race is on in full effect, with five teams -- including the Mets -- eyeing two spots with 35 games to go. The Mets arrived in San Francisco last Thursday having lost two of three to the D-backs, two games under .500 and six games back of the Cardinals.

    SNY
  • Gary Sanchez's home run barrage leads to impressive record

    When another New York Yankees game begins, another Gary Sanchez home run is likely right around the corner. The sensational rookie slugger continued his barrage on Saturday afternoon, connecting for his 11th home run in the Yankees 13-5 win against the Orioles. Gary Sanchez is the fastest player in @MLB history to 11 home runs (23 games).

    Big League Stew
  • Broncos offense won't be exciting, but Trevor Siemian likely to lead it

    The third preseason game is the supposed dress rehearsal for the regular season, a small peek at what we might see in Week 1. The Denver Broncos started Trevor Siemian at quarterback on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams, and here was the first series: run, run, run, punt. Get used to that as long as Siemian is the quarterback, because the Broncos’ offense isn’t going to be very dynamic.

    Shutdown Corner
  • John Wall Defended Himself On Twitter After A Report Claimed He Was Jealous Of Players' Salaries

    It’s been a bit of a rough week for John Wall. First, he essentially admitted that he and Bradley Beal don’t really like playing with each other, says that Wall is holding a grudge against other players’ salaries and shoe deals, and that it was what caused him to reject a recent $7.5 million per year offer from adidas.

    UPROXX
  • Report: Spurs trying to sign Argentinian Nicolas Laprovittola

    Manu Ginobili is retiring from the Argentinian national team. So, the Spurs are bringing Argentina to him. After signing Patricio Garino, San Antonio is now looking to add Nicolas Laprovittola. Marc Stein of ESPN: Nicolas Laprovittola is a 26-year-old point guard who mostly played behind Facundo Campazzo in the Rio Olympics. I’d be far more excited about Campazzo. There’s a tendency to assume anyone under the radar the Spurs sign is a diamond in the rough, and they’ve certainly earned more benefit of the doubt than other teams. But not every move turns into gold. Even San Antonio might not have especially high hopes for Laprovittola. Garino received a small guarantee befitting someone the Spurs

    ProBasketballTalk