Happy Hour: Whineout

Jay Hart

Join Happy Hour

Got a question or comment for Yahoo! Sports NASCAR editor Jay Hart? Want to be a part of Happy Hour?
Email Jay

We're fully loaded this week, so let's get to it …

Lucky or good?

Re: so-called 'asterisk wins' … I will be the first one to call BS on that one. I said it about Reutimann after Charlotte, I said it about Smoke (who I personally dislike as a driver) last week and I'll say it about Mark Martin this week. Strategy off the track is just as important as the driver's abilities on the track. Sometimes you roll sevens, sometimes you roll snake eyes. Congrats Mark on the win today.
Dora, Ala.

Obviously I agree with you, Robert, but 50 percent of readers (according to a Yahoo! Sports poll) don't. I would love to hear a logical explanation as to why Mark Martin got lucky at Michigan. Remember, there was a reason why Martin let Biffle get away and why Jimmie Johnson passed Martin. It wasn't because he couldn't hang with them, but because he couldn't race that hard AND make it to the finish line, which last time I checked is a requirement to winning a race.

We see drivers race to the front all the time, then fade away as a green-flag run goes along. There's a reason for this, too. It's called tire wear. Should we consider them rightful winners over someone who conserves his stuff?

If we can agree that racing is about being fastest, how can you argue against Martin on Sunday? He was a lot faster than Biffle and Johnson when their engines choked on empty fuel tanks.


Mark Martin raced to his third win of the season by conserving fuel.


Thanks for your comments Jay. Racing is ALWAYS a balancing act. You can't ever just go as fast as you want. If you run the engine too fast, you blow it. If you push too hard in the turns, you overshoot your line. If you push too hard on an extended run, you use up your tires too soon. If you dive in to the turns too hard, you use up your brakes. If you try to pit too soon and run too long and hard on a tank of gas, you run out of fuel. Mark Martin did the perfect job of balancing all of those factors in the race at Michigan. Johnson and Biffle came close, but they didn't do it as well as Martin did. No asterisk. Thanks for explaining this to us all, and giving credit where credit is due!
Lubbock, Texas

Junior vs. Kyle

First let me state, I am a Dale Jr. fan. But I will be the first to admit that I am tired of all the headlines, interview questions and comments in NASCAR revolving around Junior.

Tonight I saw an interview with Kyle Busch defending his guitar smashing actions. In the interview he stated the only ones upset were the ones with 88 tattoos. Besides being untrue, as I know Sam Bass was disturbed by him smashing this priceless piece of art, it was unnecessary. He messed up by what he did, but is he really so immature that he has to bring Junior in the mix.

When will Kyle get over the driver switch and enjoy the success he has had since? Not everything has to involve Junior and Kyle needs to stop making issues bigger than they need to be and involving people that do not need to be involved.
Ashleigh Rutledge
Bloomington, Ill.

Totally agree, Ashleigh. I love Kyle's fire and what he brings to the sport. And what I appreciate most about him is that he's embraced his role, unlike his brother. That said, this ongoing, one-way war of words he's having with Junior reeks of desperation, the kind a 5-year-old resorts to with a temper tantrum when he doesn't get what he wants. Kyle needs to spend more time figuring out how to finish in the top 10 when a win is not in the cards and less time trying to rile up Junior Nation.

Roush vs. Hendrick

I must be reading the standings wrong. Roush has 3 cars in the top 12 and Hendrick has 2 but according to you Roush is struggling and Hendrick is far ahead. If you are counting Stewart Hass in the Hendrick team, then you can't claim Stewart Hass is a true start up team. It seems this story depends on what the media want to claim; Hendrick dominance or how good Stewart is as an owner.
Kevin Michaels

Before Mark Martin won Sunday, Hendrick held a 5-2 lead in the win category. Now it's 6-2, and a Roush car hasn't been to victory lane since February. Top 10s: Hendrick 30, Roush 26, with one more car. Top 5s: Hendrick 19, Roush 13, again with one more car.

The purpose of the story wasn't to point out that Roush Fenway was struggling, but rather to show why Carl Edwards hasn't won a race yet this season – which Jack Roush explains rather well.

Still, I don't think there's an argument to be made against Hendrick being the most dominant team in NASCAR right now. Even the Roush drivers acknowledge that.

This and that

I think instead of focusing on Kyle Busch having fun after a race, we should be focused on the serious situation that has unfolded with Jeremy Mayfield. METH?!

As soon as I read that he said he took Claritin-D, I knew he was probably on Meth. The guy could have anything in the world, but he chose to throw it all away to drugs. Kudos to NASCAR for suspending him indefinitely, and I hope he is never reinstated.

I remember watching Jeremy cry after he made it into the Daytona 500, making his dreams come true. By doing something as stupid as drugs, he has dashed all of his dreams and I feel for the people that actually stood behind him and had faith in his capabilities.

I hope Jeremy gets the help he deserves and that this sends a message across the board to everyone affiliated with NASCAR that using drugs does not pay.

NASCAR got hammered for not revealing what drug Mayfield tested positive for, even though it hasn't been much of a secret inside and around the Cup garage for weeks. I wish they had revealed the drug sooner, at least to the drivers who competed against Mayfield, but the bottom line is NASCAR ultimately got it right. They put a drug policy in place; the policy did its job; and NASCAR has taken the action necessary to ensure the safety of its participants. Now let's hope Mayfield gets the help he needs, assuming the allegations are true.

So, I'm seeing ads for Bristol tickets on sale. Bristol. The night race. You know, the race that's always sold out, the tickets that get fought over in divorce cases. Those tickets.

This is the first time in my life I've seen this, and it makes me wonder, even in a down economy – shouldn't this be a big time wake-up call to NASCAR that maybe old time fans are deserting?

All those new, improved fans in California and Chicago and Kansas that little France has been chasing for the past decade aren't picking up the slack of the old-timers who are sick of arbitrary rule changes, a contrived and frankly stupid "playoff system", and sky-high ticket prices for mediocre racing action.

What do you think?
Phil York
Richmond, Va.

I agree with you to a point, Phil. I'm not a fan of the 1.5-mile, cookie-cutter tracks. They don't elicit the same kind of intrigue you get when NASCAR heads to Darlington, Martinsville and, of course, Bristol.

But you can't overlook the impact the economy is having. The fact that there are tickets for sale to the night race at Bristol speaks directly to that.

I like to say how pleased I am with the efforts of Marcos Ambrose this year, his efforts on the ovals are getting better as the races go by and many of his fans in Australia are expecting him to win at either Watkins Glen or Sonoma (hopefully both) this year and I was wondering what your thoughts are on his season and do you believe that wins will come for him soon on the oval tracks as well as road?
Ryan Stevenson
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Love that we have readers down under, and you should be proud of your boy Ambrose. He's more than just a road-course ringer. He's putting up solid finishes on ovals he's never seen before. And the fact that he's ahead of Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Sam Hornish Jr. in the standings speaks directly to this. Oh, and he has as many top 10s this season as Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Now, I have a question for you: Is Fosters really Australian for beer?

Hi Jay, Just wanted to get your thoughts on the recent problems at Richard Petty Motorsports with the layoffs and the lack of manufacture support. There have been rumors of a move to Toyota.

With the lack of manufacture support do you think Kasey Kahne needs to start looking elsewhere?

He's been loyal to that company and I just don't see enough improvements across the board. He's a much better driver than the equipment he's given. What do you think about a move to Stewart-Haas? Thanks!
Jennifer Bugai
Berea, Ohio

Let's first remember that this isn't a situation where the driver has been brought up by one owner. Kahne's been through three different owners on one team. He also proved early in his career when he left Ford for Ray Evernham's Dodge program that he's willing to leave one opportunity for another.

The way Kasey was talking earlier this season, I don't see him waiting around for RPM to get better.

As for Stewart-Haas Racing, it could be a good fit, assuming Kahne could bring the Budweiser sponsorship with him. Not sure if that could happen, but considering Ryan Newman is only partially sponsored right now, it would appear that any driver wanting to move to SHR would have to bring sponsor dollars with him.

Please find out if possible. Tires that have grooves in them during practice. Are these tires just for pushing the car around the pit area or what? I have seen them on TV several times.
James Fahrni
Black Hawk, Colo.

According to my main man Kerry Tharp over at NASCAR, "Teams get the grooved tires from Goodyear to use for several reasons, including as âset upâ tires when rolling the car to and from the hauler and working on the car in the garage stalls and also for show cars."

Last call …

Wow Jay, I read the mail bag each week and just cannot get over how whiney some of your readers are. Just because they don't like something they think it needs to change.

Here's a little clue for those folks – the world does not revolve around you. Some of us (not necessarily me, but there are people out there) that:

• like Digger. You don't? Go get a freakin' beer when he comes on and let the kiddies enjoy it (Digger not the beer)

• are fine with the chase and the races in it.

• like Dale Jr for himself, not his dad and no matter how he runs (thus the sales numbers).

• are sad when "boogity, boogity, boogity" goes away for the season.

• think NASCAR is better then it was 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago.

• and finally there are those of us who don't always like the results each week (who the winner was, questionable calls made, the length of the race, etc) but suck it up and keep watching to see what happens next. It's called being a FAN.
Tammy Bartels
Tonganoxie, Kansas