Sunday, July 27, 2014


If Jeff Gordon, who has had a fast No. 24 all season, drives as aggressively as he did Sunday (and crew eliminates pit stop errors) in becoming the first five-time winner on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, he will win his fifth Cup championship . . . Although the new Chase elimination-round format makes predictions ridiculous, right now, consider Gordon co-favorite along with Jimmie Johnson . . . Gordon called his bold outside-line pass of Kasey Kahne on the last green "the restart of my life." You bet it was . . . Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Daytona 500 victory was supposed to give NASCAR a Big Boost. That didn't happen, at least during the Fox TV part of the season. Let's see what Gordon's Indy win does for the series and lame-duck ESPN's portion . . . To those who think noise isn't a huge part of racing's appeal, note Rick Hendrick's quote as Gordon did super-smokey burnouts: "That sounds beautiful" . . . This is what happens when a TV head makes a statement and doesn't ask a solid question: Kahne, looking at ESPN's Dave Burns like he was the biggest dumb-bleep in the world after saying Kasey needed the win to make the Chase: "No kiddin'? I know that." And Sam Flood thinks Burns should be part of the NBC NASCAR team next season? . . . I don't think you find this in any other sport (and shouldn't): TV microphone-holders calling people they are interviewing "my friend." Stop it . . . Anyone else notice the blank Nomex uniforms on Juan Pablo Montoya's crew? Now that's rare in Penske Racing history . . . Most surprisingly disappointing runs came from Brad Keselowski, Johnson and Tony Stewart . . . Advertiser Plug of the Season: Allen Bestwick predicting there would be a "blizzard of activity" for the Dairy Queen-sponsored Moment of the Race . . . Danica Patrick had a top-15 car before it broke . . . As I noted on Twitter, this is another example of why Gordon became Gordon, a winner on-and-off the track: He took off his sunglasses (he has a deal) for the first kiss-the-bricks photo and placed them on the edge of the Yard of Bricks, perfect for TV and photogs . . . Ford sure made a Big Deal out of its efforts to keep Carl Edwards when it came time for his last contract. Despite what was said in a Ford statement, I didn't get the same feeling this time around. Maybe the Blue Oval knew it was hopeless given Roush Fenway Racing's prolonged downturn. It would have been a surprise if Edwards had stayed with RFR . . . I wonder if the new IMS (and Hulman) management group can, or even is able, to put as much time and effort into trying to rebuild the 400's attendance as they are rebuilding IMS itself, the Indy 500 and the Verizon IndyCar Series.

[ more next week . . . ]