Race Journal Online
est. October 4, 2006

"I believe anybody who tells you he is unbiased is a liar. Being human gives you bias, and you can't avoid that. The best you can ever hope to be is fair."
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The Daly Planet

Quote of the Week

It ain't over yet, folks!!
Big news may be coming,
New life breathed into this 
old NASCAR fan....

By Carol Einarsson | 11/25/2015
What a great start to the day, with all the drivers sharing their best Jeff Gordon moment. The only thing missing, in my opinion, would have been that picture of little Danica standing by the 24 car at Hendrick when her dad took the family to see it. I hope you saw the photo posted online of little Joey Logano with his childhood hero. As a parent more than a race fan, I'm  pulling hard for Gordon to win today and grab that Championship. My assistant has been a life-long fan, and may not pay much attention to NASCAR after Jeff Gordon retires, so for him, to cap it all off, I'd love nothing more than a 24 win.

It's unfortunate that we don't get to see driver introductions more often. It's a nice touch, and a chance for fans to sometimes catch up with the children of their favorite drivers.

Nice how a few drives are wearing 24 hats, too.

Wow! How about that rousing fan reaction to Matt Kenseth's return? Pretty safe to say the fans side with him over NASCAR.

And driver introductions are also a nice indicator of general fan approval (or not) for certain drivers. I didn't realize how much dislike there is for Brad Keselowski.

Comments: 13
Last Activity: 12/05/15
By Carol Einarsson | 11/18/2015
"And finally" the command to start engines.. the sad thing is that as late as it's starting, whatever plans kept our friend Eddo from making it to the track, had he known in advance, maybe he could have gone!

Was that really a jumped restart? I dunno, NASCAR, that looked a little like a very bad call. And if you're going to penalize Matt Kenseth for ruining Joey's chances, who penalizes the governing body for just now stripping Kurt Busch of any chance to advance to Homestead -- on just the first lap of this last chance race?

Having said that, however, anyone else smell fish after learning that Jeff Gordon asked that specific question in the driver's meeting about the very first lap, and then one of the contenders was penalized for beating Gordon's teammate by a smaller distance than the width of your laptop? Curious.

Comments: 8
Last Activity: 11/21/15
By Carol Einarsson | 11/03/2015

CHEERS to the NC State Marching Band, "The Power Sound of the South", because not only do we love an anthem by a marching band (even in the absence of any actual  marching), but we love that they have a name separate from just the NC State Marching Band. I do still wish, while they were playing, they would march down the front stretch.

CHEERS to Smithfield's Martinsville tribute to the King. We like when a sponsor is a fan, and they sure seem to be.

JEERS to the Chase format, if for no other reason than it has nullified Joey Logano's three-race win streak. Nobody should be that dominant and then be zeroed out to the same points as seven other guys. Yes, it's flawed far beyond this example, but this is glaring.

JEERS to the best odds for getting out of your pit box without hitting another car being a 50-50 crapshoot. C'mon, crew chief, be a leader! At least tell your driver he's got a 60-40 chance!

Comments: 38
Last Activity: 11/19/15
By Carol Einarsson | 10/28/2015
Since it's the wee hours of Wednesday morning, and I've spent the better part of three days sleeping, we're going for the highlights of Talladega and skipping the minutia this week. I'm confident at this point, regardless of what I write, the conversation will go to a handful of talking points, so let's just start there.

Rules Change

NASCAR changed the rules not just in the middle of the season, but in the middle of The Chase for the Championship. And they changed it before one of the most important races of the year: the elimination race at Talladega, the ending of which would also be the end of the road for four would-be champions. Was this a good idea? Most seem to think not, and I agree. But let me explain a little further...

Comments: 18
Last Activity: 11/03/15
By Carol Einarsson | 10/21/2015
I originally listened to the whole race via MRN, so we'll see what details I missed as I rewatch the TV edition. One thing I did learn, though, is that as annoying as the "hype" might be from the TV booth, it really does make the race seem more exciting. How do I know? Because even though the radio guys talk non-stop, they don't make the same effort towards artificial enthusiasm, and the effect is a more authentic representation of the on-track action. Wow, racing has become pretty dull. Still, we carry on with our trivial observations.

How long since I've seen Krista Voda? When did her hair turn red instead of blond, and I wonder if it was a mistake, same as mine? Well, we'll see what life is like as a Ginger for a few weeks.

Does Jeff Gordon know he's being stalked by Dave Burns?

Since when does a driver "drive for" his crew chief? Junior drove for Rick Hendrick last year, not Steve Letarte.

Comments: 10
Last Activity: 10/24/15
By Carol Einarsson | 10/14/2015
Four guys illustrating a restart on the pre-race, kinda cool! Cutting from that to footage of a wreck, though -- you know that split second when your brain isn't yet caught up with what your eyes are seeing? Yeah, that happened to me.

When you're a vertically-challenged reporter, you should pay special attention to make sure you don't stand too near a crewman on his knees at a driver's window, appearing nearly as tall as you are on your feet.

The aerial stunt by the Walenda... anyone else think that just looked weird? I'd expect graceful, but it was almost like someone stuck in a bad position, trying to figure out how to remedy the problem, all while hanging upside down.

What a lovely anthem!

Comments: 17
Last Activity: 10/18/15
By Carol Einarsson | 10/07/2015

Sorry about last week... and about what seems to be a permanent move to Wednesdays for this recap column. Last week on the night I usually put this together, a certain someone (the adorable Miss Kaylee) had a birthday party. This new job of mine (and by "new" I mean a year old) is just sucking the life out of me and might be at least be 20% responsible for the changes (downfall?) of RJO. But every day, and every week, I keep the hope that I'll be able to carry on. I will, however, again be skipping Kansas. I had hoped when I hung things up that I'd do it more at the top of my game and less like Darrell Waltrip, but so it goes.

Pastor Dan Shafer, great invocation!  And a crowd that's paying attention with a big Amen in the middle of it!

Sam Harris. Didn't he used to be a short "musical" guy that won Ed McMahon's old school talent show back in the day?

Wow, what happened to Jeff Gordon? He looked horrible in that pre-taped sound-bite spot. Like he had the flu and had been crying and couldn't shave, and hadn't slept.

35mph on pit road? Wow.

Comments: 5
Last Activity: 10/08/15
By Carol Einarsson | 09/23/2015
Spectacular invocation. Not for prayer structure, but just the multiple use of the word "spectacular". And what an anthem!! I'm sort of at a loss, so let's just stick with "What an anthem!" We did enjoy the Hooligan Flight Team.

I wonder how long it will be until Jeff Burton figures out that Brad's last name is just three syllables.

Rows 16-22 are like the Professor and Marianne in the early days of Gilligan's Island, no announced names, just "and the rest." At least they got their pictures on the screen so they can prove to their friends they really are NASCAR drivers.

Comments: 21
Last Activity: 09/29/15
By Carol Einarsson | 09/16/2015
The short story is this: I sometimes neglect reading my email, and when a credit card number changes at the same time your domain registry auto-renew is due, it can be kind of important that you read your mail to see their THREE disconnect notices. Yes, three. So it doesn't mean anything ominous, I swear. And I renewed for two years, even. So... we'll see what is to come. I was able to post this yesterday on Facebook, so maybe a good idea to click LIKE over on our page there, so if anything else happens, you won't miss a thing. My apologies...

Now here's the Richmond run-down...

Michael McDowell doing the invocation? Very cool! It's not on his suit right now, but if you want to feel uplifted instead of burdened by the heaviness of the world, tune in your local K-LOVE station and see if you don't feel better.

Comments: 3
Last Activity: 09/17/15
By Carol Einarsson | 09/09/2015
CHEERS to the Southern 500, and not just the day of the race, but the two weeks leading up to it. Like the Daytona 500 deserving two weeks of preparation, so does this historical race! Some of us didn't truly appreciate the tradition of this event until it was gone, and weren't yet race fans in the 70s or 80s. But this promises to be possibly the best race day in recent memory, because it's the first time that NASCAR, a race track, teams, drivers, sponsors, and network TV have worked in unison for RACE FANS. There's just no way this can fail to be the best we've seen from NASCAR in many, many years.

CHEERS to Kyle Petty raiding his father's closet. Suede pants!

CHEERS to the voice of Ken Squier narrating the history lesson to bring everyone up to speed, whether they've long-since forgotten, or are new to the sport.

CHEERS to that lineup right there... Bill Elliott looked like a kid up there with Cale, Ned, Junior, and Len Wood. Bobby Allison, David Pearson,... and Dale Jarrett looks out of place, too.  Hearing Kyle Petty say, "For me, this is my childhood..." I have to admit, I got a little teary there for a minute.

Comments: 10
Last Activity: 09/10/15

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Official Rules of New Chase Format

2014 Penalty/Deterrent System

TV Times are only estimates
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Saturday night races in red

Feb 22 1pm FOX Daytona

Mar 01 1pm FOX Atlanta
Mar 08 3pm FOX Las Vegas
Mar 15 3pm FOX Phoenix
Mar 22 3pm FOX Fontana
Mar 29 1pm FS1 Martinsvl

Apr 05 OFF (Easter)
Apr 11 7pm FOX Texas
Apr 19 1pm FOX Bristol
Apr 25 7pm FOX Richmond

May 03 1pm FOX Talladega
May 09 7pm FS1 Kansas
May 16 8pm FS1 All Star
May 24 6pm FOX Charlotte
May 31 1pm FS1 Dover

Jun 07 1pm FS1 Pocono
Jun 14 1pm FS1 Michigan
Jun 21 OFF
Jun 28 1pm FS1 Sonoma

Jul 05 7pm NBC Daytona
Jul 11 7pm NBCSN Kentucky
Jul 19 1pm NBCSN New Hampshr
Jul 26 1pm NBCSN Indy

Aug 02 1pm NBCSN Pocono
Aug 09 1pm NBCSN WatGlen
Aug 16 1pm NBCSN Michigan
Aug 22 7pm NBCSN Bristol
Aug 30 OFF

Sep 06 7pm NBC Darlington
Sep 12 7pm NBCSN Richmond

The Chase

The Challenger Round

Sep 20 2pm NBCSN Chicago
Sep 27 2pm NBCSN New Hampshr
Oct 04 2pm NBCSN Dover

The Contender Round

Oct 10 7pm NBC Charlotte
Oct 18 2pm NBC Kansas
Oct 25 2pm NBCSN Talladega

The Eliminator Round

Nov 01 1pm NBCSN Martinsvl
Nov 08 3pm NBC Texas
Nov 15 3pm NBC Phoenix

The Championship

Nov 22 3pm NBC Homestead

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