Happy Hour: Waking up from Charlotte

From The Marbles

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 and have a good time.

Joey Logano is leading the Chase after the first race of the second round and he would be leading the Chase through four races if the total was cumulative. After the poor finishes of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson, it's a little startling to see them so far down in the standings. Logano would have almost a two-race lead on Johnson with six races to go, so if the No. 48 wasn't eliminated now, well, it would be anyway.

Here's how the Old Chase standings would look through four races.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

1. Joey Logano 2,171
2. Denny Hamlin 2,159
3. Carl Edwards 2,156
4. Martin Truex Jr. 2,145
5. Matt Kenseth 2,140
6. Kurt Busch 2,139
7. Jeff Gordon 2,137
8. Brad Keselowski 2,135
9. Jamie McMurray 2,130
10. Ryan Newman 2,128
11. Kyle Busch 2,124
12. Kevin Harvick 2,124
13. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2,114
14. Jimmie Johnson 2,092
15. Paul Menard 2,083
16. Clint Bowyer 2,082














We all can admit that Charlotte was a snoozer, right? We were hoping that the switch to the daytime would help the quality of racing, but it didn't seem much different than in the All-Star Race and in the Coca-Cola 600 in May. And if the daytime did help the racing ... yeesh.

Location, location, location.

If Charlotte wasn't the hub of where all the teams are based, it would make even more sense to have the All-Star Race at a different location. Keeping the 600 where it is on Memorial Day Weekend is a good traditionalist move, and the track would likely still have the fall race, which should be run in the daytime. (Side note: If Charlotte's Chase race was moved to the daytime permanently, what race should be a night race? Kicking off the Chase in Chicago on a Wednesday or Thursday night wouldn't be a bad move. NASCAR is going to be going up against football in some capacity outside of Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the duration of the Chase.)

But if the teams were based in, say, Memphis, the All-Star Race would probably be changing tracks rather than changing formats every two years.

We've noticed that too. It's some black pavement and the repave happened before the 2005 race. That was one of the most crazy races in the fall race's history. Remember when people were unsure if tires were going to blow out and all of the cautions? Not that we need a repeat of that, but some crashes and some sort of passing would be nice.

The low downforce rules should help with the passing part, and the idea that the cars are harder to drive will likely increase crashes. It will be interesting to see how costs have increased (outside of relative cost increases adjusted for inflation, etc) with a year of the low-downforce rules if crashing will be up. We're thinking there will be a big increase in fabrication costs, especially at intermediate tracks.

But back to the pavement topic. Maybe Charlotte should ship in a bunch of snow and ice and let it sit on the track for a while. That should age it fairly quickly, right? Or can they get the world's biggest and toughest piece of sandpaper and drag it on the track every day for 10 hours a day until the 600?

100 percent?

Charlotte is going to be remembered for the incidents that happened to Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and to Kyle Busch.

The Kenseth and (first) Earnhardt Jr. moments would have happened under "normal circumstances." The second Junior moment and the crash between Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch can be thrown away under the "improper track cleanup" angle. Unless you truly believe that there was no fluid on the track and NASCAR did clean the track up properly before Junior's car skated into the wall unexpectedly.

The new pavement at Kansas has seemed to age pretty quickly (thanks harsher winters than the Southeast) and crashes have increased. That increase in crashes makes it very likely there will be a Chase driver or two caught up in incidents. And if those drivers are not named Kenseth/Junior/Kyle Busch, we're going to have a real points mess heading into Talladega.

We were out at Kansas earlier Thursday and they were building wind turbines to blow dirty air all over the track. Sorry, bad joke. But for as crash-crazy as the Kansas race was in May with the rain delay, it was also won on a clean air strategy play. Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus opted for the clean air over tires late and it paid off with a win.

And more than likely the final ARCA race of the season will be ignored for the Kansas City Royals. I know that's tough to hear for the ARCA faithful out there, but the Royals are, somehow, in the playoffs at home on the second-straight Kansas weekend. Unfortunately with qualifying being late in the day on Friday and Game 2 starting in the middle of the Xfinity Series race on Saturday, the chances of many at the track getting to the games are incredibly slim.

- - - - - - -

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!

What to Read Next