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."
-David Poole

Click to read David Poole tribute


2016 Champion
Jimmie Johnson




2016 Race Winners

Denny Hamlin (2)
Jimmie Johnson (2)
Brad Keselowski (4)
Kevin Harvick (2)
Kyle Busch (4)
Carl Edwards (2)
Matt Kenseth (2)
Martin Truex (2)
Kurt Busch
Joey Logano
Tony Stewart
Chris Buescher
Kyle Larson





Please keep
Karen and Bryson Byrnes
in your daily prayers.
#ByrnesStrong

"When Steve and I were done talking, I felt happier."
-Kenny Wallace, summing it up perfectly for every person who ever met Steve Byrnes.



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Quote of the Week
"My work here is done."
-Carol Einarsson


 

By Carol Einarsson | 06/15/2016
 



So I was away from home Sunday, and watching the race elsewhere. As it happened, by the time church was over, we were about 40 laps into the race. No worries, I thought, I have it recording on my DVR at home.

I watched what I could of the race, making some notes, writing some snarky comments here and there, all with the intent of rewatching at home and filling in the gaps. I had maybe half the race written, still missing the first part of it, and having not written anything about the finish. I could complete it Monday morning or afternoon, not unusual for me, and still be on schedule.

Comments: 7
Last Activity: 06/18/16
 
By Carol Einarsson | 06/08/2016
 
JEERS to rain on Sunday and racing on Monday. If history holds true, this should be an "efficient" race. There's always a different feel to a Monday race, as it's apparent that drivers want to just get it done and go home.

CHEERS to a magnificent flag waving as I think all flags ought! I'd say the way that one is waving, it rivals Talladega's in beauty.

JEERS to no anthem or invocation. I understand it's hard to hold over talent, but if it was performed yesterday, it's on tape and can be replayed today before the race.


Comments: 11
Last Activity: 07/01/16
 
By Dave Clark | 06/06/2016
 
In this day of social media, the common man has greater access and opportunity to share his thoughts and opinions with the world. From a computer, phone, or tablet, a person can thrust his wisdom or mental vomit upon a wide-scale audience. Suddenly, people who know nothing but think they know something have a platform, and they are using it to its fullest capacity. In this society, we are lightning fast to point out the faults of others, while at the same time, we expect grace anytime we stumble.
 
Following the Coca Cola 600 last week, I was perusing Twitter, Facebook and the web for reactions to the race. What I found was a whole lot of hate being spread around. Hate for the race itself, the winning driver and the TV coverage. It’s the latter that I want to address here. Let me be perfectly upfront here -- I am a broadcaster. For the past 29 years I have made my living in broadcast media. Yes, I am standing up for my fellow broadcasters, because it’s HARDER THAN YOU THINK!

Comments: 7
Last Activity: 06/08/16
 
By Carol Einarsson | 05/31/2016
 
CHEERS to the military presence at the track. I know much has been written this week to correct those who think Memorial Day and Veterans Day are to honor the same set of people, but they are different. However, this morning in church, our pastor asked any who have served, to stand. And with them standing, we prayed for the families of those who had lost loved ones. As he explained, those who are still among us and have served, are representatives for those who didn't come home. I think that's a wonderful way to tie them together. How many of those who are still among us, at one time in their service, may have been responsible for carrying a wounded brother out of the bloody situation that ultimately took his life? I think all those who served consider it an honor to stand as representatives for those who didn't make it home. 
 
CHEERS to the greatest day in racing, but JEERS to me missing the first 2/3 of it. How did I forget about Monaco?? 
 
CHEERS to Mark Martin in the pace car, but JEERS to no camera and microphone in that car so we could talk to him before the race. I didn't even hear FOX mention his presence at all! Poor form, FOX. (Disclaimer: I didn't see any but the last couple of minutes of the pre-race, so if they had a spot on him before the race, I stand corrected.)
 

Comments: 10
Last Activity: 06/03/16
 
By Carol Einarsson | 05/24/2016
 
SPRINT SHOWDOWN: 

CHEERS to a nice shout-out to Len Wood, NASCAR's Thomas Edison. I think that museum might well be on my racing bucket list. What a very nice thing to have them racing full time this year, and we're looking forward to Ryan Blaney's first win, taking the Wood Bros back to Victory Lane! 

CHEERS to Kyle Larson, Trevor Bayne, Chase Elliott, and Ryan Blaney for the great group of Young Guns 2.0, and racing well enough to get TV time. It seems week after week, we're watching these four, and it's refreshing! Someone asked me recently when the last time we had a rookie class the likes of Elliott and Blaney, and I honestly couldn't remember when. 

CHEERS to Michael McDowell not hitting anything, but more importantly, keeping that car moving through the grass! Get stuck there, and you'll be waiting for the wrecker -- or a row boat. Not to mention, if you do get a wrecker, you're gonna have to get out of your car and stand in that swampy grass! 

Comments: 7
Last Activity: 05/26/16
 
By Dave Clark | 05/22/2016
 

Saturday night’s NASCAR All Star race seemed to have everything: great racing, a spectacular crash where no one was injured, and a down-to-the-wire finish.  Great, right?  Not so much.   Over-shadowing what should have been a terrific night for the drivers, the fans and NASCAR in general was the incredible confusion over the special format rules.  

Interestingly enough, I remember hearing ESPN's Bob Pockrass talking about the new format in the media center during the Kansas race.  I also remember thinking to myself, "Well, now that's confusing."  Apparently, I'm a prophet. The drivers were confused, the crew chiefs were confused, the FOX TV team was confused, and as a viewer, I was confused.  NASCAR, by its very nature, is controlled chaos at 185 miles an hour.  Add in mass confusion about the rules of engagement and what you have is a big ol’ mess. 


Comments: 6
Last Activity: 05/24/16
 
By Carol Einarsson | 05/17/2016
 
CHEERS to a very nice invocation and a great anthem! Tom Dixon did a fine job, and paired well with "bluegrass day" at church! Yes, we had a fiddle, a harmonica, and a bunch of bluegrass-hymn-singing guys in plaid flannel this morning. What a great day to watch a race!

CHEERS to that monster jump by Kevin Harvick -- WOW!!  It was like he was the only one that saw the green flag, OR the only one with an extra cylinder in his car! THAT's the way to start a race right there!

JEERS to still no full-coverage of SAFER barriers at Dover.  WHY???

CHEERS to 36 laps in, and Harvick SIX SECONDS ahead of second place!

JEERS to a competition yellow. They're professional drivers and teams, and can manage their own pit stops without NASCAR mandating a caution period.

Comments: 7
Last Activity: 05/18/16
 
By Carol Einarsson | 05/11/2016
 

CHEERS to revisiting Kansas. I'm never sure when my last visit here will be, but I've learned never say never.

JEERS to whatever FOX had going on that caused a delay in TV coverage. When the pre-race is on FOX Business, even those in the Media Center don't see it.

CHEERS to Martin Truex on the pole! He's fast, he's got a great pit box, and he's overdue. Maybe Kansas will be kind.

CHEERS to a painted "restart zone" on the wall, but JEERS that it seems to mean nothing.

JEERS to no ponytail in Kansas, but at least she was wearing bright pink, so there was no missing her if you were wandering pit road.

JEERS to a debris caution when there hasn't even been a wreck. But when the leader is four seconds out front in less than 25 laps, I imagine some raised eyebrows showing concern up in the control tower.
 

Comments: 6
Last Activity: 05/14/16
 
By Dave Clark | 05/08/2016
 
I had the unexpected pleasure of spending a few minutes with racing’s undisputed king, Richard Petty. Because of a miscommunication, I had no idea I would actually be asking questions. I believed it was more of a photo-op. Much to my delight, the fan-favorite and seven-time champion, was amiable and an easy interview.

As we chatted, I was struck by the paradox that is NASCAR. I asked for The King's thoughts on the changes in the sport over the past 20 years.  Petty quickly replied, "You have to be aggressive, you can't go back to running the cars we had 20 years ago.” He went on about the new innovations in car design, refined electronics and the like. I followed up by asking his thoughts on the new aero package that all the drivers seem to love. Given his previous reply, I was a bit surprised by his answer. "They didn't go far enough for me. I think they should do away with all of it...that's the way I came up, I guess."

Comments: 3
Last Activity: 05/10/16
 
By Carol Einarsson | 05/03/2016
 


CHEERS to NASCAR coming to its senses, with the help of Tony Stewart. If there's one place we don't want nervous drivers wondering how many lugs are tight, or even installed, it's Talladega.

CHEERS to Michael Waltrip in the race, sparing a grid walk.

CHEERS to Mark Wakefield for a lovely invocation. No sponsors, but even more,
CHEERS to the 313th United States Army Band for a proper anthem!!

CHEERS to the Hurcules out of Maxwell Air Force Base which, in my mind, is one of the greatest productions in aviation for no other reason than it looks like a million tons of steel and no explanation for how it remains up in the air.

Comments: 11
Last Activity: 05/03/16
 
By Carol Einarsson | 04/26/2016
 



CHEERS to another short track race, this one at Richmond. I'm not sure why everyone seems to be mentioning it's a "day race" as though that's something special and BETTER at Richmond, though.

JEERS to the Tony penalty and the NASCAR opinion-police. (And in the time since the race broadcast, whaddaya know... they've essentially admitted that Tony was right. Sorry, though, no refunds.)

JEERS to the notion that drivers are asking NASCAR to police them. I don't believe that's the case at all. I think the complaint is that if a team keeps their driver safe, they are penalized in track position because NASCAR is allowing other teams to be less safe. There shouldn't be a penalty for teams doing the right thing. Safety shouldn't be punished. And what happens when a guy in a 5-lug car gets taken out by a car with only three, crashing because he's got a loose wheel? I don't think anyone is petitioning NASCAR to protect drivers from their OWN bad decisions as much as they are from the bad decisions of their competitors.


Comments: 13
Last Activity: 04/30/16
 
By Carol Einarsson | 04/19/2016
 




CHEERS to a little girl rubbing her dad's head. We hope that's lucky.

CHEERS to a nice invocation, but JEERS to people who don't have any idea when they should or shouldn't have their hand over their hearts, but if there's a camera, well, lemme do this just in case it's the right thing.

JEERS to an anthem performance that might well take till lap 50 to finish. But at least we got to see all the driver's kids that will sing the next anthem (and the BEST anthem) at this race track.

CHEERS to Rusty Wallace just being Rusty Wallace. We have to admit to being a little disappointed he didn't tell the drivers to start their hot rods!


Comments: 9
Last Activity: 04/22/16
 
By Carol Einarsson and Dave Clark | 04/18/2016
 
Carl Edwards back-flipped into Victory Lane this week, beating Matt DiBenedetto by just five spots... but how'd he do that?  

4. Fast on Friday: Earning the pole, and more importantly the first pit stall, doesn't guarantee a win, but it surely helps!

3. Thinking outside the box: Crew chief Dave Rogers' set up kept the right front tires on the car all day, even when every other JGR team had issues.

Comments: 1
Last Activity: 04/18/16
 
By Carol Einarsson | 04/12/2016
 



CHEERS to Phil Robertson and his fantastic invocation! There are guys, often pastors, who make sure to say the "right" things, but every now and then we get a guy with a heart for the Lord who only wants to impact the world for Christ. Phil Robertson is one of those guys. Joe Gibbs is another. And Darrell Waltrip, too. If the Robertson family spent money to buy this race name only for the purpose of getting a Phil Robertson invocation on TV to the masses, it was money well-spent.

CHEERS to the Robertson family's third attempt at the national anthem. I like that they have no problem looking for another family member that might be able to sing it. If at first you don't succeed, there's always another Robertson. Next!

CHEERS to the video we all saw this week of Kyle Busch bringing exuberant joy to a race fan. What a great moment, and it's nice to see some good publicity for driver 18. While we're at it, CHEERS to Kyle also on his Martinsville win last week. Sorry for the missed column, but as you may have read, we had a team-building event last weekend in South Dakota. The Presidents heads are still up on the rocks, The Badlands are still gorgeous, the wind is still blowing like mad in South Dakota, and we've determined that the Mountain Time Zone is like the middle child -- nobody cares.

Comments: 10
Last Activity: 04/13/16
 
By Carol Einarsson and Dave Clark | 04/11/2016
 
Kyle Busch wore the funny hat in Victory Lane this week, holding a Texas trophy over his head at the Duck Commander 500, but... how'd he do that?  

4. Joe Gibbs Racing.  JGR has already won three races this year, and Kyle Busch continues to benefit from top notch leadership and resources. 

3. It's a Team Sport:  Adam Stevens and crew were flawless in the pits. Other guys had fast stops, but the 18 car seemed to spend less time in the box than anyone else.  

Comments: 1
Last Activity: 04/11/16
 
By Carol Einarsson | 03/22/2016
 



JEERS to a red carpet at Fontana. I know we (I) rehash this year after year, but the differences between Fontana and Hollywood or Fontana and the beach are extreme in more than just distance. If you map it, yes, it's about 65 miles, but in SoCal drive time, that's about two hours. I can get from Fontana to Vegas in three hours. But the culture between Hollywood and Fontana is about as different as Hollywood to Tucson, Arizona.

CHEERS to Michael Waltrip, "You shoulda heard these two during the break: 'I wanna be Carl, no I wanna be Carl..' I can't believe y'all won seven championships." Sometimes he's goofy, yes, but sometimes he really does make us laugh.

CHEERS to Darrell's disconnect. If Junior wins, he'll be like a spider monkey in Victory Lane? A spider monkey??


Comments: 12
Last Activity: 03/24/16
 
By Carol Einarsson and Dave Clark | 03/21/2016
 



Jimmie Johnson beat the field at Fontana this week, but how'd he do that?

After a staff meeting at RJO, we boiled it down to the top four factors that put Jimmie in Victory Lane.

4. Flawless pit stops! The 48 team was jammin' this week! They had fast stops all day, and at least twice they did it in 11 flat.

Comments: 3
Last Activity: 03/21/16
 
By Dave Clark | 03/19/2016
 
We really hope you have been enjoying our new podcasts for each race!  If you haven't tried them out yet...you should.  Now something even NEWER...we have launched the Race Journal On Air YouTube channel.  Here is our first video...Please check it out.

Comments: 0
Last Activity: None
 
By Dave Clark | 03/19/2016
 
Here's our podcast preview to Fontana:

Preview to Fontana

Comments: 0
Last Activity: None
 
By Carol Einarsson and Dave Clark | 03/18/2016
 



10 active drivers have won a race at Fontana. 

9 times out of 26 the eventual winner has started in the top five, but seven times the winner started 22nd or worse! 

8 of the drivers in Sunday's field are California natives.

7 years (2004-2010) there were two races at Fontana. Now, even with just one race, they've cut their seating capacity nearly 30% and there are still seats available for Sunday's race. 


Comments: 0
Last Activity: None
 
By Carol Einarsson | 03/17/2016
 



Wow, what a week at RJO!  We are in full-swing! Thanks to Eddie for his work at Phoenix this past weekend, and he took tons of photos. I hope you saw them posted yesterday. If you missed them, you can click here and see your favorite drivers and even your non-favorites, too. 

In case you haven't yet noticed the link at the top of the main RJO page, we're doing a podcast now, at least once a week (as a preview to the next race, and that link will usually be updated Friday evenings), but we're hoping to always do at least two. The second one (or first?) will be Sunday evenings after the race, and that's our feature, "How'd He Do That?", which will summarize a few key points that we believe were instrumental to the victory. We considered a more gender-neutral title, or maybe a logo that we could then cross out "He" and make it "She" in case Danica wins. This idea, of course, was followed by laughter. Pretty sure we can ink the logo.  The podcasts are short and won't take a lot of time, just a couple of minutes. Hopefully you'll enjoy them, and keep in mind, we're in the early days of the audio endeavor, so once we get rolling and more comfortable, we'll be including more and more content in that format (but not to replace the written articles!).

So what's new in NASCAR this week?

Comments: 3
Last Activity: 03/17/16
 
By Eddie Laub | 03/16/2016
 

Eddie's Adventures at PIR -- in Pictures!
Drivers, Cars, Pit Stops, Kids... and more!


Click to view all pix. It's a public album, Facebook not required.

Comments: 0
Last Activity: None
 
By Carol Einarsson | 03/15/2016
 



CHEERS to four guys in Chris Myers' little booth, because with Jeff Gordon there, too, there were fewer opportunities for Michael Waltrip to talk.

CHEERS to Ken Bowers, but if ever there were a time for prayer note cards, this may have been it.

JEERS to Jordan Fisher. Again, you know I'm about as far out of the pop culture loop as a person can get, so naturally, never heard of him. Seemed to me that he started off key, and then never really remembered the actual tune of our national anthem.

JEERS to Mark Boggess and his command to start. What on earth was that? Saying to the crowd, "You had an extra night's sleep last night, most people." What?? Wow. And can I just say, Good Sam? You look a little bit like nightmare material.

Comments: 9
Last Activity: 03/16/16
 
By Carol Einarsson and Dave Clark | 03/14/2016
 


Kevin Harvick took the checkers at Phoenix this week, but how'd he do that?

After careful review, the RJO staff consensus has boiled it down to the following key factors resulting in Victory for the #4.

4. Slow and Steady wins the race. Despite his sponsor being "freaky fast", Harvick hung around the top ten until after the half-way point in the race. Taking no risks, and not wearing out his car too soon, he remained consistently within striking distance to be there when it counted.


Comments: 7
Last Activity: 03/15/16
 
By Eddie Laub | 03/13/2016
 
Sunday -
It's an absolutely gorgeous day to be at the races!  70ish degrees (it is supposed to get up to 78 later,) a slight breeze from the east, and luckily enough- a racetrack full of racecars!  Well…  full if you consider 39 racecars full.  But we won’t get into that right now.

It’s not a real great morning for the #24, #17, and #78 teams- as each had to go through tech inspection at least twice.  I saw the #17 have to through an extra two times, and the #78 will be the last car to pass inspection.  

I just saw one of the oddest things I have ever seen: a couple with stuffed and decorated pigeons attached to their hats. Extra feathers, lots of colors, and on a ball cap.  Of course, they were Junior fans…

Comments: 2
Last Activity: 03/15/16
 
By Eddie Laub | 03/12/2016
 
Saturday-
I slept in a bit this morning, and then my amazing in-laws were having a yard sale, so I took some time to help them a bit this morning. All that to say that 8 AM at the racetrack didn't happen today.  

I did make it to the track, though, and all seems good.  In the Cup garage, they are still working on Kasey’s #5 car, after doing an engine swap.  I didn’t notice if he made it on the track for practice or not.

Comments: 0
Last Activity: None
 
By Carol Einarsson | 03/11/2016
 



10 races is the longest winning streak for a manufacturer at PIR, and it was by Chevy. 

9 caution flags waved at the 1990 race won by Dale Earnhardt, but in the whole race, there was just one lead change. Earnhardt started third that day.

8 lead changes in each of the last three races at PIR. Exactly 8. 

7 of the last ten races at PIR have been won by Chevy. 

Comments: 4
Last Activity: 03/11/16
 
By Eddie Laub | 03/11/2016
 
Friday - 
I have a theory.  Allow me to share.
At 6:30AM, every weekday morning, an elderly lady, named Gertrude, gets into her car, gets on the freeway, accelerates to appropriate speed, and then just slams on her brakes for no reason.  This causes a several hour long ripple effect, lasting until at least 9AM, and is the main cause for traffic jams.  Every city has a Gertrude.  And this morning she struck as I got to Phoenix.

Comments: 2
Last Activity: 03/12/16
 
By Carol Einarsson | 03/10/2016
 



So this week Erin "Dodge The 50-cent Kiss" Andrews was awarded $55 million in a lawsuit against the parties responsible for the violating video of her posted online. Some have voiced an opinion that this is ridiculous, but more (and here is where I agree) cite the reason it's not too much is because of how the defense attorney posed his questions to her, asking if in fact, this didn't prove to be a lucrative event in her career. No doubt this is the same attorney that would ask a rape victim, "But look, now you have a lovely child, right?" This is not a matter of someone who made a sex video intended to be private, but then it got into the wrong hands and went public. She had every expectation of privacy, and did nothing to bring this on herself. Give her the damn money! And don't stay at Marriott.

A Hendrick plane emergency landing for "smoke in the cabin"... Since everyone is okay, we can give the best comment award to the guy who said, "I just want to know why Tony Stewart wasn't on his OWN plane."


Comments: 5
Last Activity: 03/12/16
 
By Carol Einarsson | 03/08/2016
 



CHEERS to the way Jimmie walks down the post-introductions runway, ready to fist-bump fans along the way, but looking more like a boxer at the ready to defend himself.

JEERS to FOX cutting off the Jeff/Jimmie interview. We're a professional broadcast network, right? And Jeff's reaction was classic, not expecting the camera to catch him with that "What the heck??" look on his face and the appropriate hand gesture of disgust.

CHEERS to the #78 car cover doubling as a fitted sheet over the Denver Mattress crew chief! And CHEERS to the crewmen who ran to the rescue rather than just pointing and laughing.  

CHEERS to Harvick's knit cap in the Vegas hurricane, just because I couldn't take my eyes off the pompom atop his head.


Comments: 12
Last Activity: 03/08/16
 

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Official Rules of New Chase Format

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TV Times are only estimates
Sprint Cup 2016 Schedule
Saturday night races in red


Feb 21 1pm FOX Daytona
Feb 28 1pm FOX Atlanta

Mar 06 3pm FOX Las Vegas
Mar 13 3pm FOX Phoenix
Mar 20 3pm FOX Fontana
Mar 29 1pm FS1 Martinsvl
Mar 27 OFF (Easter)

Apr 03 1pm FOX Martinsville
Apr 09 7pm FOX Texas
Apr 17 1pm FOX Bristol
Apr 24 1pm FOX Richmond

May 01 1pm FOX Talladega
May 07 7pm FS1 Kansas
May 15 1pm FOX Dover
May 21 7pm FS1 All Star
May 29 6pm FOX Charlotte

Jun 05 1pm FS1 Pocono
Jun 12 1pm FS1 Michigan
Jun 19 OFF
Jun 26 3pm FS1 Sonoma

Jul 02 7pm NBC Daytona
Jul 09 7pm NBCSN Kentucky
Jul 17 1pm NBCSN New Hampshr
Jul 24 3pm NBCSN Indy
Jul 31 1pm NBCSN Pocono

Aug 07 2pm NBCSN WatGlen
Aug 14 OFF
Aug 20 8pm NBCSN Bristol
Aug 28 2pm NBCSN Michigan

Sep 04 6pm NBC Darlington
Sep 10 7pm NBCSN Richmond


The Chase

Round of 16

Sep 18 2pm NBCSN Chicago
Sep 25 2pm NBCSN New Hampshr
Oct 02 2pm NBCSN Dover

Round of 12

Oct 08 7pm NBC Charlotte
Oct 16 2pm NBC Kansas
Oct 23 2pm NBCSN Talladega

Round of 8

Oct 30 1pm NBCSN Martinsvl
Nov 06 2pm NBC Texas
Nov 13 2pm NBC Phoenix

Championship 4

Nov 20 2pm NBC Homestead








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