NASCAR America: A strategy-aided win should be as valuable as any victory

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Last Sunday, Clint Bowyer gambled on two tires and track position at the end of the Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Raceway. In a brief run at the end of the race, he held off his teammate Kevin Harvick to win his second race of the season.

Not everyone was not happy about it.

“If you win a rain-shortened race, or you win a fuel mileage race, take your trophy and move on,” Brad Daugherty, one of the owners of JTG-Daugherty Racing, said Tuesday night on Sirius / XM radio. “I don’t want to hear anything else about it. I don’t want to hear on radio, TV; I don’t want to see somebody write something about it a year from later, talking about ‘oh yeah, Clint Bowyer had a great run at Michigan; they won the race.’ No!”

Daugherty suggests that strategy-aided wins should not be valued the same as races that go the full distance.

“I’m not looking at these guys who win these races – rain-delayed races – the same as I am as a guy who goes out, lays the coal to it, figures out how to get to that checkered flag at the end of the full period.”

Daugherty’s opinions were not echoed by NASCAR America analysts Jeff Burton and Dale Jarrett.

“You look at what Clint Bowyer and his group did on Sunday; they made a great pit strategy call and Clint Bowyer drove his butt off to keep the fastest racecar driver and the fastest car behind him, until it came the rain,” Burton said. “You want to tell me he didn’t deserve that? That’s wrong.”

“There are some exceptions where somebody runs terrible and just by chance – pit strategies and he’s a 20th-place car and he wins – I get that,” Burton continued. “But the majority of times, the by far, majority of times in a rain-shortened race, a really good car wins that race.”

Notably, one of JTG-Daugherty’s current drivers Chris Buescher won a rain- and fog-shortened race at Pocono in August 2016 while driving for Front Row Motorsports. He took the win by employing that strategy after running well back in the pack before weather intervened.

‘Brad Daugherty’s a friend of mine, but Brad, I 100% disagree with you here,” Dale Jarrett said.

‘If you win a race by fuel mileage because you’ve done things and gone about things differently – you weren’t the fastest car – that doesn’t make any difference. I’m sorry, you’ve won the race on a different strategy.”

For more, watch the video above.

NASCAR drivers play in the snow

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Charlotte, N.C. gets an average of slightly more than four inches of snowfall per year, so when a rare winter storm rolls in and dumps 10 or more inches in spots, NASCAR drivers and their families take advantage of the event.

 

Xfinity, Truck series banquet highlights

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On Saturday night, The Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series gathered for their awards banquet at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Here are some highlights from the banquet:

Xfinity Series

Tyler Reddick was crowned the Xfinity driver champion with Stewart-Haas Racing taking the owners championship.

Cole Custer finished second, Daniel Hemric was third and Christopher Bell finished fourth.

Camping World Truck Series

Brett Moffitt and owner Hattori Racing Enterprises grabbed the top spot in the Truck series.

Noah Gragson finished second with Justin Haley third and Johnny Sauter fourth.

 

Joey Gase weds Caitlin Himmelsbach

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Joey Gase announced his wedding with Caitlin Himmelsbach Sunday morning, saying: “It’s now official! Looking forward to spending the rest of my life with Caitlin Gase.”

Their engagement was announced in February 2017.

In 2018, Gase ran full-time in the Xfinity series with three 15th-place finishes in the fall (Indianapolis, Las Vegas and Kansas) as his best results. He competed in eight Cup races – mostly with StarCom Racing – and scored a best of 18th at Talladega in October.

Full-time Cup drivers with longest winless streaks ahead of 2019

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The 2018 Cup season was partially defined by streak busters.

Six drivers ended winless streaks of 50 or more races, including Clint Bowyer snapping a 190-race winless streak in March at Martinsville.

Aric Almirola also ended a multi-season winless streak when he won at Talladega, earning his first win since 2014.

The 2018 season was also defined by surprising drivers going winless, including seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.

Who has the longest winless streaks ahead of the 2019 season?

The following list is made up of drivers who are confirmed to compete full-time in 2019 and who did not win in 2018 but have won previously.

Should Jamie McMurray accept an offer from Chip Ganassi Racing to race in the Daytona 500, it’ll be his 185th start since his last points win (Oct. 20, 2013 at Talladega).

Paul Menard – 268 starts (July 31, 2011 at Indianapolis; Only Cup win)

David Ragan – 206 starts (May 5, 2013 at Talladega; Second Cup win)

Chris Buescher – 87 starts (Aug. 1, 2016 at Pocono; Only Cup win)

Ryan Newman – 68 starts (March 13, 2017 at ISM Raceway)

Jimmie Johnson – 59 starts (June 4, 2017 at Dover; went winless for first time in Cup career in 2017)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 55 starts (July 1, 2017 at Daytona; Second Cup win)

Denny Hamlin – 47 starts (Sept. 3, 2017 at Darlington; went winless for first time in career in 2017)

Kyle Larson – 46 starts (Sept. 9, 2017 at Richmond)