Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Auto Xtreme Joins Godfather Motorsports

Godfather Motorsports is thrilled to welcome Auto Xtreme as sponsors of Caleb Moody's #1X Junior Champ Kart at Twin State Speedway! Owned by Rick Garand and Jamie Parker, Auto Xtreme is located at 186 River St. in Montpelier, Vermont. Both men have long histories in motorsports, and are former feature winners in the Flying Tiger division at Vermont's legendary Thunder Road International Speedbowl. Parker also worked as a track official at the speedway.

Garand owned and operated the S.L. Garand Granite Company for 22 years, selling granite monuments and dabbling in the used car business before deciding to make a career change. "Rick came to see me last winter," said Parker, "while I was housebound with a broken leg and couldn't run and hide. He wanted to open a used car dealership in Montpelier and needed a partner. After consulting with our wives and families (nine kids between us), 'Yes' was the answer. And here we are today."

Before joining Garand at Auto Xtreme, Parker worked for many years with the Walker dealerships in Central Vermont, getting his start at the VW store in 1995 and moving to the Ford/Jeep store a year later before eventually venturing out on his own as an auto wholesaler. "I always wanted to open my own dealership, but I needed someone I knew and trusted to go in with me. Rick was the perfect fit. We both have the same strong work ethic, and feel that honesty comes first. We are probably the most laid-back dealership you'll ever experience."

Auto Xtreme offers a wide selection of quality pre-owned cars, trucks and SUVs a prices to suit virtually every budget. Check out their website -- www.AutoXtremeVT.com -- to browse their ever-changing inventory and specials. We also ask all Godfather Motorsports fans to drop by their Facebook page -- http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1092202132#!/pages/Auto-Xtreme/144557575561403 -- and tell them "Godfather Motorsports Sent Me!"

Friday, May 13, 2011

Vision Aviation "Restructuring" Truck Team

Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that the Vision Aviation Racing NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team has laid off virtually all of its employees, and has no plans to field trucks for at least the next 90 days.

The team has fielded one -- and sometimes two -- trucks this season after forging what was termed a “merger” with Billy Ballew Motorsports in late December, with Ballew retaining an ownership stake in the team. While Vision Aviation took possession of BBM’s truck inventory, transporters and some equipment, sources say Ballew has had little or no hands-on involvement with the team in recent weeks.

Drivers Dusty Davis and Justin Johnson have been the primary drivers for the team this season, but Michael Waltrip won the season opener at Daytona in the team’s #15 Toyota, with Aric Almirola driving the #51 when neither Davis nor Johnson were able to obtain NASCAR approval to race on the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

Officially, the #51 is entered at Dover International Speedway this weekend, with Chris Fontaine as driver and Ballew listed as the owner of record. That move is little more than an owner-points formality, however, since the truck is actually a Chevrolet out of the Glenden Racing Enterprises stable. Glenden normally fields the #84 Chevrolet for Fontaine.

VAR management reportedly told employees earlier this week that the team was shutting down temporarily, with hopes to resume operation in about 90 days. Sources speaking on the condition of anonymity said the team has released all but four people in what was termed “an across the board reorganization” and that plans are underway to restructure the team financially. VAR has reportedly spent approximately $2.5 million already this season, with a payroll approximately triple that of the former Billy Ballew Motorsports.

Ballew had little to say about the situation when contacted today, other than to stress, “I have been paid 100 percent of what is owed to date. The owners of Vision Aviation Racing have met every obligation they have to me, in full.” He declined to comment on the team’s future plans, saying he has not yet spoken with owners Bill and Steve Acor.

Attempts to contact the Acor brothers were unsuccessful.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tharp: NASCAR "Needed To Send A Message."

NASCAR’s Senior Director of Communication Kerry Tharp told Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that the $25,000 fines and four-race probations handed down to drivers Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch are in response to what happened on pit road after Saturday night’s Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, and not for anything that transpired in the final laps of the race.

“We look very closely at what happens on the race track,” said Tharp. “But more importantly after the race, (where) the actions of those two competitors led to putting some people in harm’s way on pit road. We’ve got to maintain a safe environment on pit road, and we’re going to maintain a safe environment there. That’s why we reacted with the penalties.

Tharp said NASCAR fined both drivers equally because, “both had skin in the game. Both had opportunities to make other decisions that would not have put them in this situation, so the penalty was assessed to both.” He said the sanctioning body has reached out to both Busch and Harvick to clarify what is expected of them going forward, saying, “Anytime we penalize a driver, we have a conversation with that individual and their team owner. We feel like we owe it to both parties to give them a heads-up on what the penalties will be, so they can notify their respective teams and sponsors. We’ve had conversations with Kevin and Kyle and explained why we were penalizing them.”

Tharp stressed that while NASCAR’s official announcement specifies probation for the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events, Harvick and Busch are also expected to be on their best behavior in the non-point Sprint All- Star Race on May 21 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “(The probation) encompasses the four championship point races in the Sprint Cup Series, but it also covers all NASCAR events that those two competitors may be in, including this weekend at Dover in the Camping World Truck Series,” he said. “It includes any and all events they may choose to compete in between now and June 15. It’s an all-inclusive NASCAR probation.”

Tharp said breaches of on-track protocol during the probationary period – regardless of what division -- could result in Sprint Cup Series penalties. “Once again, the key is that this applies to all NASCAR events. It’s not just how they race one another, either. It applies to how the race the rest of the field, as well. Whether it’s a Camping World Truck Series race, a Nationwide race or certainly a Sprint Cup Series race, we felt like we needed to send a message as it pertains to safety.”

He said the penalties do not signal a change in NASCAR’s “Boys Have At It” policy, adding, “The drivers have done a very good job of that. We’ve seen some terrific, hard racing over the last couple of years, and I think (the policy) is alive and well. We certainly want it to be.

“There has been a time or two where we’ve had to step in and do something, including last weekend at Darlington (with Juan Pable Montoya and Ryan Newman) when we felt there needed to be a reaction on our part. But as far as the racing on the track is concerned, it’s been terrific. But post-race, when you have an incident like we had Saturday, you have to step in and make a ruling. And we did.”

Tharp said he does not expect NASCAR to sanction either Newman or Montoya for a reported physical confrontation during a closed-door meeting at Darlington Raceway last Friday. “You go into some meetings thinking they’re going to go well, and most of the time they hit the mark. Sometimes, they don’t,” he said. “We met with Ryan and Juan Friday and made it clear to them that this was their final warning and we will be watching them very closely. I believe both of them understood where we were coming from. They got the message, loud and clear. They raced hard Saturday night at Darlington, but they raced cleanly. I believe they will continue to do so moving forward.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Was It A Race, Or A Show?

Saturday night’s post-race skirmish between Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch has renewed the age-old debate over whether NASCAR is sport, a show or a combination of the two.

Professional sports are at least part entertainment, and always have been. In order to survive, a particular sport must be exciting enough to draw and hold a crowd, both in person and on television or radio. In the 1970s, the popularity of Chris Evert, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe spawned a new sporting concept; World Team Tennis. The league featured top-notch athleticism and all the big names, but try as it might, the WTT wasn’t much of a show. League officials attempted to cast off tennis' stodgy image by blaring rock music between points and allowing players to wear something other than basic white onto the court. Even with those concessions, though, nobody bought a ticket.

NASCAR has always understood and embraced the importance of showmanship. That does not mean, however, that NASCAR is all “show” and no “go.” There is no question that fans witnessed a race at Darlington Raceway Saturday night; and a darned good one, at that. A green/white/checkered flag finish pitting championship contender Carl Edwards against underdog Regan Smith had the fans on their feet, and would have stood quite well on its own without the subsequent post-race festivities involving Harvick and Busch. The water cooler talk this week is almost equally divided between the finis” and the fight; the latter being a wildly overstated characterization of a conflict that saw neither Harvick nor Busch throw anything resembling a punch. "Race" and "show" are co-existing quite nicely this week, leaving no real reason for anyone to question whether NASCAR is truly a sport.

The answer is a resounding "YES," and it always has been.

NASCAR drivers are passionate about what they do, and that’s a good thing, even when incidents like Saturday night’s Harvick/Busch dustup lend themselves to the wildest forms of exaggeration. Nobody climbed out of their car and instigated a donnybrook that carried across pit road and through the Darlington grandstand, splattering young children with gore and traumatizing innocent bystanders. No one got hurt, no lives were lost and in the end, it’s difficult to say that any damage was done. NASCAR has weighed-in to make sure it doesn't happen again, and as the sanctioning body’s Senior Director for Communications, Kerry Tharp, said today, both Busch and Harvick know precisely what is expected of them going forward. It likely won’t happen again, and NASCAR fans have no reason to complain that their heroes are too bland, too politically correct, too vanilla.

When the Allison brothers threw down with Cale Yarborough after crashing out of the 1979 Daytona 500, the world as we know it did not end. NASCAR was not irreparably harmed. In fact, the sport almost certainly benefitted from the conflict. Saturday night’s Darlington dust-up won’t kill us, either. It might even do us some good.

NASCAR is far from perfect, but it could be much worse. The 2011 season is not being threatened by work stoppages or lock-outs, as millionaire athletes battle billionaire team owners for a larger share of an already obscenely large pie. Our athletes are not being subpoenaed to testify before a congressional subcommittee about their abuse of performance enhancing drugs. No one's been pulled over with a bale of marijuana in the trunk of their car, and nobody's going to jail for shooting themselves with their own unregistered handgun in a seedy strip club on the outskirts of town.

On the list of problems NASCAR could have, we could do much worse than “too much showmanship.”

Midget Racing At Darlington

The Godfather and Angie -- well, part of her, at least -- enjoy the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series "Showtime Southern 500" at Darlington, mere moments before Angie's cute bag was confiscated by the FBI as a possible Al Quaida explosive device. Photo courtesy of TheHotLap.com.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Cinderella Strikes Again At Darlington

Regan Smith struck another blow for NASCAR’s underdogs Saturday night, outrunning Carl Edwards on a green-white-checkered flag restart to claim an upset victory in the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington. Just two years after losing his ride when Dale Earnhardt, Inc. merged with Chip Ganassi Racing, Smith claimed the first win of his Sprint Cup Series career, carrying the Colorado-based Furniture Row Racing team to Victory Lane in the race they call “The Granddaddy of Them All” at the track called “Too Tough To Tame.”

Just 24 months after running a part-time schedule – including a number of start-and-park efforts due to a lack of funding -- Smith admitted there were times he doubted whether he and his team would ever make the cut. The 2009 campaign was especially difficult, with FRR racing only sporadically after team owner Barney Visser –who has funded the team largely out of his own pocket since 2005 – elected to trim the schedule due to lack of sponsorship. “I hated racing part-time,” said Smith. “We all did. But we all agreed to just go to work and make the most of it together.”

In 2010, Smith felt the pressure as Furniture Row underperformed in its return to full-time competition. "There were times I was thinking, 'Heck, maybe they are going to fire me,'” he said. “There were some sleepless nights (when) I’ve laid there thinking, `I did this wrong, I did that wrong.’ I broke my wrist at Sonoma… didn’t have it fixed and raced at Loudon with it broke completely. I got out of the car that day, it hurt really bad, it was a horrible day. We were so far off the pace... probably one of the worst races I ever have driven. As a driver, you never know when your last race is going to be. But everybody stuck behind me and gave me the support I needed… to keep my head on straight.

Saturday night, the stars finally aligned for Smith, Visser and crewchief Pete Rondeau, a Maine native best known for sitting atop Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s pit box for a brief, three-month period in 2005. After starting 23rd and running in the Top-15 for most of the night, Rondeau gambled when Jeff Burton’s blown engine sent the leaders to pit road with 10 laps remaining. He left Smith on the race track, hoping to somehow outlast the pack on older rubber. After an aborted restart when Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer crashed, Smith did just that, fending off point leader Carl Edwards in a green-white-checkered finish, bouncing solidly off the SAFER barrier in Darlington’s treacherous second turn rather than crack the throttle and give Edwards an opportunity to pass.

"Oh, man, this is too cool," said a tearful Smith on his cool-down lap. "I can't believe it. This is too cool. This is the Southern 500!” Gazing at the Johnny Mantz Trophy in a champagne-soaked Victory Lane, Smith commented on the names and faces of former winners emblazoned there, saying, “I’m not sure I belong on this list. My face is going to be right there next to these guys and it’s going to be there forever. You can’t change that.”

Smith’s first victory in 104 career Sprint Cup starts – his first Top-5 finish, as well -- served to erase the bitter aftertaste left by his previous brush with NASCAR greatness; the 2005 race at Talladega that saw him stripped of an apparent win for straying below the yellow line on the final lap. "I didn't know if I was ever going to get that one back," said Smith Saturday. "When I walked to the car (tonight), I thought we could win the race. I think that every week when we walk to the car. The difference was this week, we did. To (win) at Darlington is absolute vindication. Tonight, I finally won’t fall asleep thinking about Talladega.

Just weeks after Trevor Bayne shocked the world by taking the legendary Wood Brothers to Victory Lane in the Daytona 500, Smith’s win Saturday proved once again that there is still a place in NASCAR for underdogs. Located far from the Charlotte, NC, hub of the sport, Furniture Row Racing uses just 64 employees to field its single Sprint Cup Series Chevrolet. That’s a small fraction of the number once employed by DEI, which cut Smith loose at the end of the 2008 season after he clinched Rookie of the Year honors with the team. It’s fewer than the number employed by ECR Engines to provide the team’s power plants, and fewer than the number employed by Stewart-Haas Racing, which furnishes Furniture Row’s leased over-the-wall pit crew each week.

“We obviously haven’t got as many people on our payroll as Hendrick, Roush or Gibbs,” said Rondeau recently. “But our people want to be here. There is some disadvantage to working out of Denver, Colorado. Lots of guys have built their lives and families in the Charlotte area, and they’re not interested in uprooting to come work for us. But once they’re here, once they see the passion Barney Visser and (General Manager) Joe Garone have for this sport and what they have built in a fairly short period of time, we don’t have any trouble keeping them.”

“The more doors get slammed in your face,” said Smith, “the thicker your skin is. Winning here means more to me (because we’re) racing out of Colorado. Everybody said, `You can’t race outside of Charlotte… where all the teams are. You can’t do it.’

“Well, we’ve been doing it every week.”

Saturday night’s victory puts Smith on an elite list of former Southern 500 champions that includes Herb Thomas, Fonty Flock, Curtis Turner, Fireball Roberts, plus Petty, Pearson, Yarborough and Gordon. Better still, it legitimizes him – at long last – as Sprint Cup Series survivor. “We’ve had some great qualifying runs this season,” said Smith as recently as last week. “But Barney doesn’t pay me to qualify, he pays me to race. We haven’t been able to get the kind of finishes we need on race day.”

All that changed Saturday night.

"I don't really know how to put it into words right now," said Smith. "It feels a lot different at the end of the day when you say, 'Hey, I won at Darlington.' "

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Bayne Released From Mayo Clinic; Timetable For Return Still Unclear

Trevor Bayne has been released from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. after being admitted last week for testing and evaluation.

The 20-year old Daytona 500 winner will continue to be monitored by the Mayo Clinic team, but is expected to return to the cockpit for Roush Fenway Racing in the Nationwide Series and Wood Brothers Racing in the Sprint Cup Series. He will not drive #16 Roush Fenway Nationwide Series Ford tomorrow night here at Darlington, however, and no specific timeframe has been set for his return.

Mayo Clinic neurologist Dr. Brian Crum said Bayne underwent a series of tests and consultations after suffering from nausea, fatigue and vision impairment, saying the symptoms “appear to be the result of an inflammatory condition.” He said Bayne’s condition is not life threatening or career-ending, and that he will continue to be followed closely by his Mayo Clinic team." He said Bayne’s nausea and fatigue have abated, while his vision continues to be treated with medication and is showing significant improvement.

Chris Buescher will fill in for Bayne again this weekend here at Darlington.

Danny Bohn To Drive For Godfather Motorsports at Motor Mile

Denver, NC – Godfather Motorsports returns to the track in the PASS 150 on Saturday, May 28 at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA, with third-generation driver Danny Bohn at the wheel.

Bohn’s family has roots in two different professional sports. His grandfather, the late Parker Bohn, is a New Jersey stock car racing Hall Of Famer who piloted his distinctive #659 Modifieds to five track championships at New Jersey’s Wall Stadium, Long Branch Speedway, Old Bridge Raceway and numerous other tracks across the eastern seaboard. Bohn’s son Eddie – Danny’s father – carried on the family tradition as a top-notch modified pilot, and grandson Parker III – Danny’s cousin -- is enshrined in the Professional Bowler’s Association Hall of Fame.

Danny Bohn has continued the family’s hard driving tradition since beginning his racing career in the Bandolero division in 2003 at Wall Stadium. He won the track championship in only his second year of competition, before graduating to the Limited Modified ranks and winning the championship in both 2006 and 2007. He split time between dirt and asphalt racing beginning in 2009, and was a main event and pole winner on the ASA asphalt Modified Tour in addition to being voted that circuit’s “Most Popular Driver.” On dirt, he won the Modified Track championship at North Carolina’s East Lincoln Speedway and carried the checkered flag in the prestigious “WIX Dirt Modified Border Battle” at Champion (NC) Speedway. He defended his “Border Battle” championship a year ago, and racked up multiple feature wins at Carolina, Champion and East Windsor Speedways. He has already visited Victory Lane at three different tracks in 2011, winning at Carolina, East Lincoln and I-77, and is campaigning an asphalt modified in a limited schedule of events at the legendary Bowman Gray Stadium.

Bohn will make his first career Super Late Model start at Motor Mile, and said he is looking forward to racing for Godfather Motorsports. “When Dave Moody and Jim Gallison offered to put me in their car, I jumped at the chance,” he said. “Super Late Models are the next step for me, and I can’t wait to get started. One of GFM’s major sponsors, Bea’s Gift Baskets.com, is also a major supporter of my dirt modified program, and I couldn’t be happier to have them along for the ride.”

“Danny Bohn is an incredibly talented young driver who is building an impressive resume on both dirt and asphalt,” said Godfather Motorsports co-owner Dave Moody. “We tested with him earlier this season, and he adapted almost instantly to a car and a track that he had never seen before. We knew right away that we wanted to give him an opportunity.”

About Godfather Motorsports – Godfather Motorsports is jointly owned by Motor Racing Network and Sirius NASCAR Radio personality Dave Moody and partner Jim Gallison, Jr. The team enjoys major corporate support from Bea’s Gift Baskets.com and a comprehensive list of technological and marketing partners including Eibach Springs, JRI Shock Absorbers, Wilwood Brakes, C&R Racing Inc., Five Star Race Car Bodies, Dynotech Engineering, RaceCom of Virginia, ASM Graphics and X-Flex Crash Tape.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Truex Renews Call For MWR Crew Change

Martin Truex, Jr. laid it on the line Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway, unleashing an emotional outburst that could result in some new faces on his NAPA Toyota team Saturday night at Darlington.

Just weeks after a stuck throttle triggered a vicious crash at Martinsville Speedway, Truex exploded at his pit crew after a pair of pit road gaffes cost him the lead in the Crown Royal Presents the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400. “You’re all f---ing fired,” barked the normally soft spoken driver. “Every f---ing one of you!”

“I couldn’t believe it was happening again,” said Truex today. “It seems like when the race is on the line and the pressure is on, we always seem to give it away. Everyone loses their cool from time to time, and Saturday night, I certainly did. It’s frustrating, but hopefully now we can get these issues fixed and move on.”

Truex said Saturday night’s uncharacteristic outburst stemmed from his need to vent after weeks of frustration. “It’s hard to be out there in the race car and say nothing (when things go wrong),” he explained. “You can’t help pushing the button and telling everyone how you feel. I went from screaming, “Hell yeah” when we took the lead to absolute rage when we had a loose wheel, pitted to fix it, then left a lug nut off and had to pit again.

“We put so much into this,” he said. “We put our entire lives into what we do. The Sprint Cup Series is the toughest, most difficult series in the world, and there’s a lot of pressure on everybody to perform. If you’re not doing your job, someone else will come do it for you. I want to win more than anything in the world, and that’s why I got upset. If people don’t like (me) yelling on the radio, they need to turn the radio off.”

Truex stood by his call for changes in his Michael Waltrip Racing over-the-wall crew, saying, “it’s been an ongoing thing with us. Since the midpoint of last year, we’ve had problems with loose wheels. I reached the end of my rope the other night, and it’s time to address it. I’m sure there will be some changes (before) next Saturday night. I don’t know exactly what they have planned, but after 12 or 13 loose wheels in the last 20 races, it’s time to make a change.”

Truex said he was excused from MWR’s weekly competition meeting in order to travel to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for tomorrow’s opening day of a Goodyear tire test, adding, “It’s probably better that I wasn’t around, because it wouldn’t have been pretty.

“The last few years have been tough -- not getting the results we expect or deserve -- and this season has been the same way,” he said. “We’ve had great race cars and run really well, but we have absolutely nothing to show for it. It’s frustrating to continually go through this, week in and week out. Sooner or later you get tired of it and have to do something different.

“I’ll let the higher-ups make the decisions and push the buttons,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll do the right thing so we don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

NASCAR Lets Montoya, Newman Have At It

Everyone’s got an opinion about Saturday night’s on-track clash between Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya. NASCAR, however, is staying out of it.

Montoya and Newman have been on-track rivals since 2006, when they tangled during Montoya’s Sprint Cup Series debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Contact from behind sent Montoya spinning into the outside wall that day, leaving his Ganassi Racing entry ablaze on the track apron and triggering harsh words from the former F1 star. The pair renewed acquaintance again Saturday night, when Newman “hooked” the right-rear corner of Montoya’s Chevrolet on lap 107 after Montoya appeared to drift into his lane at the exit of Turn Two. Montoya damaged his rear spoiler after clipping the wall, and ran in the second half of the field until exacting a measure of revenge some 130 laps later by spinning Newman in Turn Four.

Were the incidents mere racing accidents, intentional takeouts, or a little of each? It depends on who you ask. Both drivers are among the hardest chargers in NASCAR, known for racing on the ragged edge and making their fellow drivers earn every position they get. Eventual second-place finisher Denny Hamlin said afterward that Montoya, in particular, is not a man to trifle with in the heat of battle.

“Every time Montoya has damage, (the person) who did it usually ends up getting wrecked,” said Hamlin. “I like him, I think he's a hell of a driver. But you can't wreck everyone every time you get in an accident. Accidents happen. Guys make mistakes.”

Montoya and Newman drivers did not speak following the race, despite the fact that their transporters were parked just a few feet apart in the Sprint Cup garage. Montoya cold-shouldered interviewers from both NASCAR On FOX and MRN Radio before beating a hasty retreat from the speedway, while Newman walked directly to the NASCAR transporter “to see how this situation is going to be handled.

“He ran up on me off of (Turn) Two and I clipped him,” said Newman afterward. “I'm not going to dump myself into the wall. But to retaliate the way he did just didn't show much class."

NASCAR declined to sanction either man, in keeping with the “Boys Have At It” edict that has governed the sport since the beginning of last season. And while some believe that more stringent penalties should have been levied, NASCAR seems committed to the hands-off policy that has served it well for the last 115 months. The sanctioning body did what was necessary to defuse the situation Saturday night, warning both drivers that a third clash would result in punitive action. Now, they’ll leave it to Newman and Montoya to settle their differences like the grown men they are.

In the early weeks of the “Boys Have At It” era, there was concern that NASCAR’s new policy might reduce the sport to a 190-mile per hour Demolition Derby. After Carl Edwards’ brutal payback of Brad Keselowski at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March of 2010, fans feared that Sprint Cup drivers would suddenly feel empowered to begin enacting vigilante justice for every perceived slight; both real and imagined.

There has been no real evidence to justify those fears, however. Drivers have generally settled their personal grievances with a minimum of bent sheet metal, allowing NASCAR to remain above the fray. Saturday’s Montoya/Newman flap – while good for a few spicy headlines and sound bites – was noteworthy only as an example of the kind of thing that happens in a NASCAR short track race.