Here at DGWU Sports, the Yachtsman hates many things, two of which are NASCAR and two part posts. I'm dropping both on the blogosphere today because what the fuck else is there to write about, the Buffalo Sabres? Fuck that. It's almost racing season and I have only written about the "sport" twice since we started this handicapped blog; once while previewing our Deeg road trip to Watkins Glen (and the subsequent CrapTastiCast #14) and my farewell to Formula One legend, Dan Wheldon.
I have taken the liberty of organizing the preview by NASCAR teams, which for all of you new or non-fans, means cars that all have the same owner....idiot. Today I'll take a look all the four and three car teams, and tomorrow I'll drop a much shorter look at the double and single car teams. You will also notice that as I present each team, I include the car number, final position in points at season's end, sponsor, last season's wins, and a little something called AvFn, or average finish. This stat has become very important in the new era of NASCAR due to the "Chase for the Cup", which serves a 10 race playoff systems in which the top 12 drivers get to qualify and race for the season championship. There many other details, but honestly, if you chose to read this, you probably already know them. LAZINESS! Anyways, AvFn has become a key stat because drivers are now more likely to focus on getting consistent top 10 finishes rather than push their car to the limit every race in order to win. Just think Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights and you'll get the picture.
So with out further ado, I bring you the Redneck Jamboree: My 2012 NASCAR season preview. Read more if you dare....
Four Car Teams
#48 Jimmie Johnson – 6th in points (Loews/Kobalt Tools) - 2 wins/AvFn:11.9
#88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 7th in points (Army National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew) - 0 wins/AvFn:14.5
#24 Jeff Gordon – 8th in points (Drive to End Hunger/Dupont/Pepsi) – 3 wins/AvFn:13.0
#5 Kasey Kahne – 14th in points (Farmers Insurance/Quaker State) – 1 win/AvFn:15.6
After five straight championship seasons with the now legendary, and incredibly boring Jimmie Johnson, Rick Hendrick Racing was shutout of the title picture even though it sent three of its four drivers to the Chase for the Cup. Despite the failure of securing the championship, the team comes back strong this season, and is in fact, the only remaining TRUE four car team (more on that later). Jimmie Johnson is of course, always a favorite to win the yearly title, but this past season saw an invigorated Jeff Gordon make a run that included three wins and 13 top 5 finishes. With two of the greatest drivers of the past 20 years in your stable, it’s hard to not be a favorite every single season. Let’s just hope Gordon doesn’t host SNL again. That was brutal.
Meanwhile, the league’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a bit of a reemergence himself. Although he never made the winner’s circle, his consistency earned him a birth in the Chase and allowed him to actually finish ahead of Gordon in points. This is where consistency and AvFn comes in to play. There were other drivers who had more wins and top 10 finishes, but Junior still managed to stay ahead of them in the points, which of course, is the most important stat as you approach the final run of the season. The fourth car brings a new member to the team in the form of douche-faced, former Paris Hilton banger, Kasey Kahne. He replaces 30 year veteran, Mark Martin in the #5 car. If it sounds as if I don’t like him, you are fucking right. This whiny little bitch has managed to screw up every opportunity he has had in Cup. After a six win season in 2006, he looked like the future of the sport, now he struggles to make the Chase and blames it on everybody BUT himself. Plus, he probably has seven STD’s. I will give him the solid win at Phoenix from last year, but I hope he falls flat on his face this season and tries to blame it on one of the winningest organizations in the history of NASCAR.
Three Car Teams (sort of)
#99 Carl Edwards – 2nd in points (Fastenal/Kellogg’s/Best Buy/UPS/Cheez-it) – 1 win/AvFn:9.3
#17 Matt Kenseth – 4th in points (Best Buy/Valvoline) – 3 wins/AvFn:12.2
#16 Greg Biffle – 16th in points (3M) – 0 wins/AvFn:16.8
PART-TIME TEAM - #6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – N/A (Eco Boost )– 1 start, finished 11th
This will be the first season in a loooooong while that Jack Roush is only fielding three cars in the Sprint Cup. A long time owner, and current corner stone owner in the series, Roush has been hit by hard financial times just like most people in the business. Even after his #6 team won in Daytona in July, the team still lost their UPS sponsor and has failed to replace it. Therefore, the famed #6 team will be folded until further notice. With that being said, last year’s Nationwide champion (kind of like the AHL of NASCAR) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will at least run the Daytona 500 for Roush, but until sponsors are secured, that’s it.
As for the rest of team, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, and Greg Biffle bring one of the most solid cores in racing. Unlike Hendrick, Gibbs, and Penske, you have seldom heard of any of these drivers having any in-fighting, and tend to work together to better each other during races. Edwards had last year’s championship in his hands, but was out-raced by Tony Stewart on the last day of the season to finish a 2nd in the closest battle for the title in history. Edwards is due. Despite just one win, he knows how to stay consistent and finish strong. His average finish of 9.3 is unreasonably impressive, and was more than two whole positions higher than the next closest competitor. With one less team to worry about, and more resources aimed at three cars, look for Edwards to make a major push for the Sprint Cup title again this season.
Matt Kenseth also had a solid season, but I often forget he is even racing. A former champion, and a three time winner last season, Kenseth sneaks in when all the bigger names like Earnhardt, Gordon, and Busch wreck each other. And Greg Biffle, who has a fun last name (say it with me now….”Biffle”), had an off year, picking up zero wins and getting shut out of the chase. He only finished in the top 5, three times, and will also heavily benefit with having more resources for his team. I see him having a bounce back season and making the Chase.
#29 Kevin Harvick – 3rd in points (Budweiser/Jimmy John’s/Rheem) – 4 wins/AvFn:11.5
#27 Paul Menard - 17th in points (Menard’s/Sylvania/Peak) – 1 win/AvFn:18.0
#31 Jeff Burton – 20th in points (Caterpillar/BB&T/General Mills) – 0 wins/AvFn:18.3
PART-TIME TEAM - #33 Elliot Sadler –N/A (Kroger) – N/A
#33 Brandon Gaughan (South Point Hotel & Casino) –N/A
#33/98 Austin Dillon – N/A (American Ethanol) – 1 start, finished 11th
And yet another team that had to cut from four to three cars due to loss of sponsorship. Just two seasons ago, RCR had to cut back to three cars, but after picking up Paul Menard and his father’s sponsorship (Menard’s is a large hardware chain), they were able to expand back to four. No such luck this season. Once Clint Bowyer left for Michael Waltrip Racing, General Mills and BB&T moved to Jeff Burton, and that was a wrap. So how competitive will they be?
Much like Roush Fenway racing, they will have more resources to spread out among three teams. Kevin Harvick is coming off of one of the most successful seasons of his career and Paul Menard found the winner’s circle for the first time and ran in the top 10 on the regular. Look for both of these guys to build off of it, and maybe even see Menard challenge for a spot in the Chase. Jeff Burton had a beyond mediocre year, finding the top 5 only twice, and not even cracking the top 10 until race #22 at Watkins Glen. I think Burton will have the biggest turnaround of any driver this season, and although he is already 44 years old, I’m picking Burton to revisit victory lane and snatch up a spot in the Chase. I dig old dudes. Wait, what?
Also, there is a shot that the #33 team could still run quite a few races. RCR has already confirmed that veteran driver Elliott Sadler will run the Daytona 00 in that 4th car, and then the following four races, journey-man Brendan Gaughan will drive and bring sponsorship from some place called South Point Hotel & Casino. I kid you not. I can’t wait to see if they pick up sponsorship from the Omaha Best Western or Senece Niagara Casino. Childress’ nephew and last year’s Camping World Truck Champion Austin Dillon will also supposedly run a few races for him, most likely in the #33. He did however drive one race last year in the #98, that was a Ronald Reagan tribute car. I wish that last part was a joke. Take a look:
#11 Denny Hamlin – 9th in points (Fed-Ex) – 1 win:AvFn:13.0
#18 Kyle Busch – 12th in points (M&M’s/Snickers/Pedigree/Interstate Batteries) – 4 wins/AvFn:16.0
#20 Joey Logano – 24th in points (Home Depot/Dollar General) – 0 wins/AvFn:19.1
This is the true three car team that I mentioned before. No part-timers, just one giant ass-clown, a sniveling little loser, and driver who looks and drives like he is 13. A fan of Joe Gibbs racing? No I am not. Kyle Busch again managed to piss away a spot in the Chase due to wreckless driving and a pathetic little temper he can’t control. And keep in mind, I have explosive rage storms that send me over the edge quite frequently. I, however, just rant for a few minutes, have a drink and then I’m good to go. This piece of shit takes his rage storms and turns them into failure and violence. Great choices there. The latest example was back in November, when during a Camping World Truck race, a THIRD FUCKING TIER EVENT, Busch got upset after another drive ran into him, and then drove back on to the track during a caution and PURPOSELLY drove full speed into the side of the other driver’s truck. He was then suspended by NASCAR for the rest of the driving events that weekend, including, you know, the one that ACTUALLY MATTERED! I still believe that if the other driver in that event, Ron Hornaday, sustained any injuries, then Busch should have been arrested for assault. Fuck him and his annoying little face. That’s how you handle a rage storm, Kyle! Now go get hit by a bus.
I don’t even want to waste my time with the other two, but I’ll give it a quick go. Hamlin you may remember was the guy who had the championship all but wrapped up two seasons ago, but shit the bed and let Jimmie Johnson sneak up and cash in his fifth straight title. I don’t dislike him that much, he just whines too much for me and can’t seem to close the deal. It sounds a lot like Buffalo players now that I think of it. Ryan Miller anyone? And then you have Joey Logano, who was supposed to be the second coming of Jeff Gordon, but has looked more like the second coming of Casey Mears. All the talent and equipment in the world, with flashes of brilliance, but can’t get it done when it counts. He barely cracked the top 25 in points last season and may not get re-signed once the 2012 season ends.
#15 Clint Bowyer – 13th in points (Five Hour Energy) – 1 win/AvFn:15.5
#56 Martin Truex Jr. – 18th in points (Napa Auto Parts) – 0 wins/ AvFn:17.7
#55 Mark Martin – 22nd in points (Aaron’s) – 0 wins/ AvFn:18.4
#55 Michael Waltrip – 42nd in points (Aaron’s) – 0 wins/ AvFn:25.7 (Only three starts) #55 TBA - (Mark Martin will drive 25 races, Michael Waltrip 5 races, and another driver TBA for the remaining 6 races)
This team brings some interesting stories to 2012. First of all, Martin Truex Jr. MUST win this season and put the car in the top 15 in points if he has any hope of keeping the #56 ride with NAPA as a sponsor. I don’t care either way as long as those god awful “NAPA know how” commercials stop airing. Second, Clint Bowyer being signed away from RCR and outbidding legend Richard Petty came as a pretty big surprise at first. With a brand new team sponsored by Five Hour Energy, Bowyer can really put MWR on the map. The next big surprise came after the Bowyer signing, when Waltrip announced that the #00 would become the #55 and would be driven by a combination of veteran Mark Martin, himself, and other drivers. This also came after MWR had signed driver David Reutimann to an extension on the tail of two solid top 20 seasons that saw him pick up the team's only wins to date. But alas, Reutimann was kicked to the curb and so begins what could be a new era for MWR that catapults them to the top of NASCAR. Waltrip will also run the Daytona 500 under the banner of Hillma Racing in the #40 Aaron’s sponsored car. He also looks like every guy you'd meet at a Kenny Chesney concert
Thanks for sticking with me this long, check back for a much shorter look tomorrow of the smaller teams, one of which carried last season's overall points champion. Follow me on twitter @TheScizz until then.