Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- 2010 Air Guard 400

This week, the Crappafoni Pictures crew is in the mid-South for this week's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, complete with crab cakes from neighboring Maryland and washed down with copious amounts of Coke Zero. Enjoy!


Denny Hamlin/Joe Gibbs Racing: as the race winner, the Hamster gets first billing. He led the most laps en route to the win. As good as the Hamster is at Pocono, he's even better at Richmond. He's already led over 1,000 laps at RIR. With the win, he clinches the first seed in the Chase. Not to be outdone, Kyle Busch started 32nd and finished second. Busch gave it all he had in the closing laps but didn't have enough for Hamlin. And what about Joey Logano finishing a very solid fourth? Logano, in fact, had the best car and might have won had a late caution came out. For one organization to finish 1-2-4 is OUTSTANDING.

Jimmie Johnson: it's been awhile since he's been in this category. He was at the point for awhile and had a stout car on short runs, but faded a bit on long runs. A much-needed third place finish was what the 48 needed going into the Chase.

Marcos Ambrose: gotta give props to him. He started 13th and started moving towards the front in the second half of the race to a fifth place finish.

Clint Bowyer: with a solid sixth place finish, he was able to clinch the final Chase spot. He got five bonus points for leading a lap, which was HUGE.

Kevin Harvick: he started somewhere around downtown Richmond. (Actually, he started 20th, not conducive to a potential race winner.) He dropped back to 26th at one point before he slowly started working his way towards the front, moving up to sixth at one point. While he had a solid car, nobody was going to beat the Gibbs cars tonight.

Carl Edwards: he started from the pole and led the most laps in a race in two years. He was stout at the beginning, but he began to fade in the second half of the race, eventually finishing tenth.

Honorable Mention: Juan Pablo Montoya, AJ Allmendinger, and Ryan Newman.


Dale Earnhardt Jr: I normally put the first start and parker in this spot, but I'm making an exception tonight. He started towards the front and quickly went backwards. And kept going backwards. And kept going backwards. You get my point. I think it was when he realized he had a bad car, he got discouraged and his driving showed it. Normally, when a driver has a bad car, he usually finishes a couple of laps down. He finished SIX LAPS DOWN. It's partly due to Hamlin having a stout car and very few cautions (three, to be exact) coming out.

Greg Biffle: he was like Dale Jr--once the green flag dropped, he went backwards. He finished five laps down, not what you want going into the Chase.


ABC's coverage: enough said. And we have TEN more races of this?

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

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- 2010 Emory Healthcare 500

This week, the Crappafoni Pictures crew is deep in the heart of the South, the ATL, for this week's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, complete with PLENTY of Southern hospitality and barbecue, and washed down with copious amounts of Coke Zero. Enjoy!


Tony Stewart: Smoke led the most laps, he was stout from the start, and he was able to solve his restart problem just in time. Early on it was Smoke and his ex-teammate at Gibbs, Denny Hamlin, swapping the lead. Then Carl Edwards entered the picture. Smoke was able to check out shortly after the final restart and win comfortably.

Carl Edwards: this team is getting closer and closer to that win. He ACTUALLY led laps; in fact, he led more laps THIS race than in the previous 46 RACES put together! I think he surpassed Mattias Eckstrom in total laps led this year. Sarcasm aside, the 99 team is peaking at the right time. Edwards WILL be a factor in the Chase.

Jimmie Johnson: he bounced off the schneid at the right time. He was at the point for a short time en route to a third place finish and a berth in the Chase. He had been in a funk since winning at Sonoma. Perhaps this will right his ship.

Jeff Burton: he pitted for four fresh tires on the final caution. Smart move. He picked his way through the field as a result. He took advantage of a contretemps between Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne in the process to finish fourth.

The Busch Brothers: when you have both brothers finishing this well (Kyle, 5th; Kurt, 6th), they've earned a spot together in the Good category. Kurt in particular battled back from a lap down to lead at one point. Kyle managed to avoid the engine issues that plagued his other teammates and was strong all race, even leading at one point.

Denny Hamlin: he was stout at the beginning, and was leading the most laps in the race when his engine blew without warning, bringing out a caution.

Honorable Mention: Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Marcos Ambrose.


ESPN: or more specifically, the coverage. WTH was that, cutting away from Smoke's moment in the sun (or in this instance, the moon) to go to SportsCenter? Here's what SC's covering: Tiger, Yankees, Red Sox, and THAT'S IT. NASCAR on ESPN gets shuffled away like a second-class citizen. Thankfully that was the last race ESPN broadcast. Starting on Saturday, the remainder of the races will be covered by ABC.

Kevin Harvick's Pit Crew: Harvick LOST positions in the pits consistently. He was able to overcome that on the track because he had such a stout car, not unlike Michigan. A Bad goes to Harvick himself for missing the committment cone on a pit stop and going from the top 10 to the 30's because of that one mistake. (He cut the left front tire and tore up the bumper in the process and finished the race in the pit.)


Engine issues: several drivers had them, most notably Denny Hamlin. Because of Hamlin's blown engine, the guys that would normally start and park stayed out a LOT longer than usual, relegating Hamlin to DFL status. The normal start and parkers saw their opportunity to finish a lot higher than usual due to the regulars having issues.

Those are my nominees for the week. Feel free to come in and comment!