Happy Hour: Chase Elliott the rookie champ? Plus Denny Hamlin's penalty and more

Chase Elliott (9) celebrates with teammates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series auto race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Saturday, July 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Elliott holds off Bayne for Nationwide win

Chase Elliott (9) celebrates with teammates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series auto race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Saturday, July 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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.

It feels good to be back. Sorry for the break in coverage there folks. Everyone is doing well and hopefully everything is all figured out and we're ready to see what the rest of 2014 and beyond has in store. Thanks for sticking with us.

Got to go to my first Brickyard 400 over the weekend. Well, it was more than that. Myself and Geoffrey Miller made a weekend of it and saw four races Friday (CTSC and IMSA at the Indianapolis road course and late models and ARCA at the former IRP) and the Nationwide race on Saturday as well. If I'm going to rank the six races, I think I may say the late model race was the best of the weekend. It featured Kyle Busch and John Hunter Nemechek, who led Busch for the last half of the race.

But Busch was right on his bumper and just trying to figure out what he could do on the last lap to get by. And sure enough, he got alongside Nemechek into turn three and outdrove him to the finish line by a few feet as both cars made contact. It was a hell of a show.

Before we start this week, I just want to share with you the best and worst NASCAR shirt I've ever seen. I have no idea what would possess someone to buy this. I searched on the NASCAR store online and couldn't find it unfortunately. I should have gone to Jeff Gordon's souvenir hauler to see if it was there.

Let's get to it.


With Chase Elliott winning for the 3rd time this weekend in Chicago, it got me wondering… When was the last time a Nationwide rookie won a championship (if ever)? Thanks! - Brian

This is a good one. No Nationwide Series driver has won Rookie of the Year and the title in the next season, though Stenhouse won ROY in 2010 and won titles in the next two years. Martin Truex Jr.'s first championship in 2003 came with just 15 Nationwide races under his belt. But Chase Elliott had no Nationwide race experience before 2014.

If he wins the title (and I think he will), he's going to be an anomaly.

On to Denny Hamlin's penalty.

Penalizing a win in Hamlin's case is incongrous. There's no good reason to take away the points from his Talladega win in the Chase for what happened at Indianapolis.

That said, this may be THE glaring competition flaw in the current Chase setup. If Hamlin doesn't have a win, then this is critical. But since he did, it's nothing. Not only does a win get you in the Chase and cure all the world's ills (or so I've been told) it basically makes you immune to everything if you're having even close to a decent season. And hell, if this 75-point penalty was given to Kurt Busch, the lowest driver with a win in the Sprint Cup standings, he'd still be in the Chase by a comfortable margin.

After the penalty, Hamlin is now 21st in the standings, 213 points ahead of 31st place. That means the No. 11 team could get almost three more 75 point penalties before they were in panic mode.

Is this designed for teams with a win to push the boundaries before the Chase? No, but they might as well, right? As we've seen with this penalty, there's not much downside, other than a six-figure fine and a suspension that's over before the Chase begins. Could putting part of suspensions in the Chase for teams with a win be a possible solution? I'm not sure if it's "yes," but I'm pretty sure it's not "no," either.

How CSI good is the No. 11 team for having something not discoverable in pre-race tech but in post-race tech? It's like the Hendrick cars that had to "settle" at Dover a few years back.

I'm sticking with my final four of Johnson, Junior, Harvick and Busch. It's looking decent so far. There's no way I could accurately predict the Chase field, though I think if we have a first-time winner or two before the Chase, one will be a relative surprise.

And with the president in KC, I unfortunately received no job offers and did not break BBQ with him. It was absurd to see the ridiculousness surrounding the trip. He made multiple stops for BBQ and at the first restaurant he went to, they were out of cole slaw. President Obama gave them some good-natured ribbing about not saving any cole slaw for him, and then we end up with something like this. We have low bars for scandals these days, apparently. Should we be calling Hamlin's penalty a scandal too?


Perhaps you should know a little about NASCAR before writing absurd articles on the subject.  You’re not even old enough to know much about the sport, much less comment on it! - Russell

Man, I'm still getting bashed on about how old people think I am. How young does that picture make me look?

I'll leave you with this. Sometimes I get emails from people touting their friend/relative/acquaintance/business partner as the next big thing. And that's fine. But if you want me to take your email seriously, well, there are some standards. This has to be a joke with all the misuse, right?


(Name redacted), is an up and coming 13 year old driver in the Pro series late model tour!! This kid is PHENOMENOL!!!! You might want to do yourself a favor. Keep your eye on this kid.. He is ALREADY, a winner!! He`s 13 and has the hammer down NOW!! Can`t WAIT to see wha he can do when he hits his STRIDE!!! Can you say AMAZING?!?!?!

All I can tell you is. If you ignore mehere. You might wish you hadn`t in a coupe years,, AMAZING is just the tip of the iceberg!! This kid has personality, Charisma!! He`s got it ALLL!!! I`ve followed his father since HE was 18!! It`s a chump ff the old block and THEN SOME!! This kid can teach the old man a few things now!!

Trust me!! Keep your eye ion this kid,, (Name redacted) IS COMING!! - Jeanne

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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