Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- 2010 Irwin Tools 500

This week, the Crappafoni Pictures crew is in Thunder Valley for one of NASCAR's crown jewel races, the Bristol night race from the Bullring, for this week's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, complete with plenty of BBQ and washed down with plenty of NOS Energy Drink. Enjoy!


Kyle Busch: as the race winner, he gets first billing. WOW. What a weekend! To say that he was awesome is an understatement. He won EVERY race in dominating fashion. He became the first driver to win all three of NASCAR's touring division races on the same weekend. That may well be the good of the year. And an extra good goes to Hanny for winning the Kylefecta! Regardless of whether or not you like Kyle, you have to admit he is an amazing talent. One year, he's going to be the first driver to win both the Cup and Nationwide championships in the same year. Busch has won three of the last four Bristol races.

David Reutimann: he led a number of laps, and hung out in the top 5 all race long. He was strong, but was racing for second, as it was all about Kyle.

Jamie McMurray: he had a strong car and it looked like he had something for Kyle. But on the last pit stop, he felt like the left front was flat and was not able to catch Kyle.

Clint Bowyer: he had a GREAT run at the most crucial time. He was on the Chase bubble and came through with a solid fourth place finish. Even more important, he's 100 points ahead of 13th place, so he has a bit of breathing room.

Kasey Kahne: a very strong run by the #9 Ford. He was in the top 10 for much of the race. Unfortunately, it was too little too late, as his chances of making the Chase got dimmer.

Jimmie Johnson: he was stout at the beginning, and it looked like he was going to run away with the race if not for JPM spinning him out. He was the best car in the first half of the race.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Greg Biffle.


Michael McDowell: he ran a grand total of 16 laps before declaring himself done for the day. NASCAR stated it was due to an "engine". But in reality, he drew the short stick at the Start and Parkers meeting held in the Todd Bodine Meeting Room before the race.

Jamie McMurray's crew: they certainly did him no favors by making small mistakes on EACH pit stop, causing him to lose positions on each stop. A sub-Good to Jamie for making up positions on the track. If they were HALF as good as Kyle Busch's crew, Jamie Mac would be celebrating in Victory Lane with his crew.

Juan Pablo Montoya: I've gotta call him out for turning Jimmie Johnson when there was room for JPM to check up and let Johnson go. But from JPM's perspective, perhaps there was some bad blood from a previous race and he decided to take matters into his own hands.

ESPN's coverage: TOO MANY DAMN COMMERCIALS! Enough said.


ESPN: I'm already longing for DW and Company's coverage next season! Yeah, DW may be a bit bombastic, but he has a certain charm to him. Rusty's got the charm of a pissed-off rattlesnake.

Those are my nominees for the race. Feel free to chime in!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- 2010 Carfax 400

This week, the Crappafoni Pictures crew is in the Irish Hills of Michigan for this week's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, BBQ-style, with all the fixin's and washed down with PLENTY of Coke Zero. Enjoy!


Kevin Harvick: he gets first billing as the race winner. He had the strongest car and led 59 laps en route to the win. With the win, he clinches a spot in the Chase and becomes the first RCR driver to win a Cup race at Michigan since the late Dale Earnhardt won in June 1990. To give you an idea of how strong a car the 29 was, he was able to pass cars on OLD TIRES.

Denny Hamlin: he started way back in the pack (33rd, to be exact), and methodically worked his way towards the front. He led late in the race, but Harvick was too strong, and was sent a message by the #29 on a bump while Hamlin was leading. The message was (IMO): You're going to have to beat me and I don't think you can. Still, a second place finish worked to his favor, and Hamlin moved up three spots in the standings.

Roush-Fenway Racing: Carl Edwards (3rd), Greg Biffle (4th), and Matt Kenseth (5th) rounded out the top 5. David Ragan just missed a top 10, finishing 11th. This was huge for the organization overall, Kenseth in particular. Kenseth's hold on the Chase was tenuous coming into the race, but with other drivers in a similar position having issues, he was able to improve a position and solidify his hold on making the Chase.

Elliott Sadler: ESad started in the middle of the pack (23rd to be exact) and stayed in that area until later in the race. His car came to life at that point, and he benefitted from good pit strategy in the last third of the race. He even led a couple of laps at one point before finishing 9th. Good job ESad!!

Joey Logano: this was his third top 10 finish at Michigan in his young career. He started 27th and showed great patience in finishing 10th. He and Ryan Newman made contact, sending Newman's car around and bringing out a caution. Needless to say, Newman wasn't happy. Logano showed maturity and as always, his sense of humor in the postrace interview.

Honorable Mention: Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Martin Truex, Jr.


Joe Nemechek: Front Row Joe has evolved into Field Filler Joe into Start and Park Joe. He ran a grand total of 14 laps before he declared himself done for the day.

Kurt Busch: it didn't help that his engine blew on Lap 32. The blown engine early on cost him six spots in the standings. He's now in 10th.


Mark Martin: he and David Reutimann made contact on Lap 4 and his day was never the same after that. For a time it looked like he was going to be nearly 100 points behind Clint Bowyer for 12th place. But Bowyer had issues, and Martin had his strongest run of the race in the final 40 laps, keeping pace with the leaders and passing several cars. A sub-Good to Martin for minimizing the damage.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: it seemed like he was merely posting laps rather than make a serious run at a good finish. He offered NO resistance when Harvick put him a lap down. The postrace interview said it all: he didn't give a **** about his Chase chances. Which begs the question: does he REALLY want to race?

Those are my nominees for the race. Feel free to come in with yours!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- 2010 Heluva Good! Snacks 400

This week, the Crappafoni Pictures crew is in the rolling hills of Upstate New York for this week's version of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, complete with LOTS of snacks from the race sponsor, washed down with plenty of Coke Zero. Enjoy!


Juan Pablo Montoya: dominant doesn't even begin to describe his performance today. Every time he got in front he checked out on the field. He took the lead at Lap 5 and dominated from there, leading 78 of the final 86 laps. Everyone else was racing for second place today. This was one of the most dominant performances this year. He becomes the first foreign-born driver with multiple Sprint Cup wins. (He also won at Sonoma in 2007.)

Kurt Busch: he was strong all day, and the Blue Deuce got stronger as the day went on. Although he didn't lead a lap, he finished a career-best second place on a road course. He improved in the standings for the Chase.

Marcos Ambrose: it looked like he had something for Montoya, as he took the lead at one point and led for eight laps in the race. He faded near the end and lost second place to Kurt Busch due to a tire going down in the final lap.

AJ Allmendinger: he was in the top 10 pretty much the whole day. The 43 car was strong when they unloaded, strong in practice and qualifying, and strong on race day. This on the heels of the Dinger signing a multi-year extension with RPM. All in all, a great week for AJ.

Carl Edwards: he won his first career pole on a road course. Although he never led, he was in the top 10 for pretty much the entire race. Don't look now, but I think this team is starting to find its groove. I think a win is in the not too distant future.

Kyle Busch: although he was listed starting 10th, he had to drop to the rear of the field due to a loose part near the gear box. The 18 crew was able to tighten it through some improvisation just before the green flag dropped. He was able to make his way through the field all the way to an 8th place finish. (He ended up starting 42nd.)

Honorable Mention: Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, and Kevin Harvick.


Greg Biffle: although he started seventh, he quickly moved backwards and was never a factor. DISCLAIMER: Road courses are not one of Biffle's strengths. He'll be at a track much more friendly to him and his Roush teammates next week.

Jimmie Johnson: he started ninth but like Biffle, was never a factor. Since winning at Sonoma, this team is in the throes of a horrible slump, with just one top 10 since, last week at Pocono, where Johnson finished 10th. He did get mentioned once, when he crashed and collected Denny Hamlin in the process, ruining a possible top 10 for Hamlin.


None. By all standards, this was a pretty tame race at the Glen this year. Actually I do have to give an Ugly to ESPN for its coverage and giving Carl Edwards more face time.

Those are my nominees for the week. Feel free to come in with yours.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- Pennsylvania 500

For the monumental 100th post on Blogspot, the Crappafoni Pictures crew is in the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania to bring you this week's edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, served up with Philly cheesesteaks and fries and washed down with copious amounts of Coke Zero. Enjoy!


Greg Biffle: as the race winner, he gets first billing. At the beginning of the race, he looked like he had a 20th-place car at best. But as the race went on, the 16 crew kept getting the car better and better. Kudos to Biff for making two-tire stops work, as they usually don't. What really helped him was the last red flag for rain, cooling down the track. The 16 car came to life after that. He took two tires on the last pit stop, and checked out after passing Sam Hornish Jr on the last restart. Props to Biff for breaking a 65-race winless streak dating back to September 2008, when he won at Dover. The win was Ford's first of the season.

Tony Stewart: he won the pole but was immediately passed by Jeff Gordon at the start of the race. He did lead a lap under the first round of green flag pit stops. Like Biffle, he was better as the track got cooler. He took four tires on the last pit stop and made up eight positions on the track, but Biffle was so much better.

Carl Edwards: he could be the next Ford driver to win, as he's been showing the form that made him a threat to win every week in 2008, regardless of the track. He led a lap under the second round of green flag pit stops (he has led six laps so far this year, and still trails Mattias Eckstrom, who led once for eight laps in Sonoma, and he led as many laps as JJ Yeley today). He started way back in 25th, and immediately worked his way towards the front, eventually finishing third, and able to hold off Kevin Harvick at the end. (Note to Carl: Kevin could have EASILY dumped you at ANY time, but didn't. That should show you he's a CLEAN driver.)

Kevin Harvick: the points leader had a pretty decent qualifying run (he qualified 14th). For the first half of the race, he was hanging from positions 12-16. But once he moved into the top 10, he stayed there. He was running as high as third at one point. His fourth place finish marked his fourth top 10 finish at the track, and his second straight fourth place finish there. (He also finished in the top 10 in both Pocono races in his rookie season of 2001.) Harvick actually increased his points lead by five; he now leads Jeff Gordon by 189 points.

Denny Hamlin: the modern-day Master of Pocono at one point looked like he was going to win his FIFTH Pocono race in his last 10. I bet he wishes Pocono was on the schedule every week! He actually increased his points margin over fourth place Jimmie Johnson to 17 points.

Jimmie Johnson: he was stout enough to lead the most laps in the race (98). He qualified sixth and it took him no time to get to the front. He stayed there for the first half of the race. It's the second half that bit him in the butt.

Honorable Mention: Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Martin Truex, Jr., and Sam Hornish, Jr.


Michael McDowell: he was the first of the start and parkers, declaring himself done after completing 23 laps. (Dave Blaney went out a lap later.)

Marcos Ambrose: I hate putting the likeable Aussie in here, but today I must. He qualified 19th, a decent starting position, but quickly went backwards. The news that he was leaving JTG-Daugherty Racing for RPM could have had an effect on the team. Was it coincidence that Ambrose's engine expired early because of his imminent departure? I'm just saying.

P.J. Jones: he was parked by NASCAR for going too slow after 63 laps. At least he completed a quarter of the race! (At Sonoma in 2009, he parked it after TWO laps!) Had Robby Gordon been behind the wheel, he'd have given it an HONEST effort. If you look in the dictionary under "start and parker", P.J. Jones' face can be seen. I cringe when he's in the field because I know he'll beat everyone to the post-race Cupcake display.


Elliott Sadler: he was involved in one of the most horrific crashes I've seen in quite awhile. The only angle that showed was Sadler's car slamming into a grass berm before the entrance to Turn 3. The crash was so brutal, the engine was ripped from the car like a piece of paper. A Good to NASCAR for its implementation of safety innovations in the new car, and for Sadler escaping with only bruises.

Jimmie Johnson: I've got to put him in this category for starting a crash that took out a good car in Kurt Busch's and in the ensuing melee, for putting Sadler's car into that grass berm. What was he doing trying to draft bump Busch with Clint Bowyer to Busch's right? He flat out wrecked Kurt AGAIN. Plain and simple.

ESPN: MUST we be subject to their blathering on during a rain delay? And do us a favor: institute the split-screen during commercials, like you do during the Indy 500! And STOP with the overhyping of Chris Berman getting the Pete Rozelle Award! His act is old and tired anyway! (Rant over.)

Those are my nominees for the race. Feel free to come in with yours!