Saturday, August 18, 2012

Notes From The Saturday Notebook

Engine change for Johnson
Point leader Jimmie Johnson’s Saturday is off to a lousy start. 

After qualifying third at Michigan International Speedway Friday afternoon, smoke from under the hood of Johnson’s No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet has prompted the team to change engines prior to Saturday morning’s first practice session.  

The change will force Johnson to start from the rear of the field in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400. 

After the opening 10 minutes of practice, resurgent Regan Smith is atop the leader board with a fast lap at 193.960 mph. Kyle Busch is second, followed by Landon Cassill, Greg Biffle and polesitter Mark Martin. Teams experienced minimal tire wear in yesterday’s practice rounds, causing concern that blistering could occur due to an excess buildup of heat. In order to avoid a repeat of June’s race weekend, when blistered tires forced Goodyear to truck-in replacements for Sunday’s race, the tire maker has released all 400 race tires a day on advance, allowing teams to run them through a short heat cycle today, making them less likely to blister. 

...Martin’s fast lap yesterday afternoon earned him his fourth pole of the 2012 season and 55th of his 845-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, placing him in a tie with Bill Elliott for seventh on the all-time list. It is his first pole at Michigan, though he did start first in June of 1990 after qualifying was canceled by rain. Martin is now the oldest pole winner in the history of MIS, at 53 years, 7 months, 8 days. Harry Gant holds the record for oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole winner at 54 years, 7 months, 15 days, set at Bristol in August of 1994.

…With every passing day, it appears less likely that Joey Logano will return to Joe Gibbs Racing next season. Team owner Joe Gibbs said told ESPN this week that "everything is up in the air'' with Logano, and that the team continues to aggressively seek sponsorship to keep the 22-year old in a JGR Toyota in 2013 and beyond. No backing has yet been found, however, and Logano admitted recently that he has another full-time Sprint Cup Series offer on the table. The offer is believed to be with Penske Racing, which has an opening to fill in its Shell Pennzoil-sponsored No. 22 entry, currently being driven by Sam Hornish, Jr. 

JV is no Danica fan
…In a related story, multiple sources say Matt Kenseth’s long silence regarding plans for 2013 is nearly over. Without mentioning Kenseth by name, Joe Gibbs said he hopes to announce some of the team’s plans for next season in two weeks, when the Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Atlanta is the hometown of Home Depot, longtime sponsors of the No. 20 Toyota that Kenseth is widely expected to drive next year. 

…Jacques Villeneuve minced few words in his assessment of Danica Patrick yesterday, saying Patrick gets favorable treatment because she is a woman. The former F1 star was roundly criticized after wrecking Patrick in the final laps of a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Road America on June 23, and has steadfastly refused to accept blame for the wreck, or any of the other incidents that have punctuated his brief Nationwide career. 

"If it hadn't been Danica, no one would have said anything," said Villeneuve, while preparing for the circuit’s annual race in the Montreal road course that bears his late father’s name. "It's never her fault. When Danica knocks out another driver, it's the fault of the driver who was knocked out, and when a driver knocks out Danica, it's the other guy's fault. That's part of the game, I guess."



  1. i agree with Villeneuve.

  2. Anonymous9:36 AM

    I agree with Jacques Villeneuve opinion - "it's never her fault". She has a "book of excuses" even she ran into somebody, it's always somebody else's fault. Tony Stewart made a statement yesterday that he wanted everyone to back off Danica and let her learn; but I don't watch NASCAR to watch somebody learning; instead, I watch professionals racing!

    1. Anonymous5:20 PM

      IMO DP has been shoved down the throats of the NASCAR audience by those who believe she would prop up the sport. She has been talked about, written about and feature in every aspect. Not unlike that "Digger" charactor, the excessive backlash of this exposure may cause her star to fade away.

  3. Jacques, who's whining now?

  4. Anonymous10:10 AM

    For someone talking championship at the beginning of the year, Danica needs to stop thinking about running with the big boys next year and worry about finishing a race, or go back to Indy where she can be successfully mediocre.

  5. Anonymous10:18 AM

    Ya it had to be her fault she backed her car into Jacque!! For Jacque to say that about Danica is kinda like the pot calling the kettle black. Every accident in the last 2-3 races he has been in it was never his fault either.

  6. While she has frequently passed the buck in her wrecks, I was yelling at the TV way before he took her out. He's an F-1 diva. I used to be a fan of his. Now I'm a fan of whoever gets to his bumper and takes him out first. Payback is a female dog.

  7. Anonymous12:03 PM

    Jacques Villeneuve

    epic fail

    Doug from Go Danica NJ

  8. Doug M11:15 PM

    JV must have given Tags driving advice today.

    There are 21 drivers in the series with 10 or more starts that have worse finishing averages than Danica does. How come all of the people complaining about her not belonging aren't saying the same thing about those drivers?

  9. That's quite the set of stones to interrupt the winner's celebratory doughnuts to voice your displeasure. Considering you matted the gas through your own countryman to take the lead.

    I was prepared to write a foot in mouth piece, reflective of my previous JV comments, and his early race restraint. He showed why he is a world champ, driving a clean smart race. Right up to where he pushed Tagliani like a they were teammates in a rugby scrum.
    I can see the importance of a win on his father's namesake track, in front of his adoring fans. Whenever he had a look at, or took the lead, was like hearing fan reaction for Jr. at Talladega, or anywhere for that matter.

    His desire to win there is clouding his judgement. I was looking forward to seeing Tags or JV win, just to see the fans go nuts! They both had a legit shot. They could've swept the top two spots. It would've been huge.

    Justin doing doughnuts around him was awesome. Algaier drove a heck of a race. He gave JV a chance to stay in and battle. Unlike the 30 car. That's what JV doesn't get. Last weekend, Brad summed it up better than I've ever heard. Rubbin and bangin, slidin all over, and not wrecking the guy.

    That's what its all about Jacques.

  10. Anonymous12:24 PM

    Villeneuve is an embarassment to his name and the track. As long
    as Penske keeps bringing him to road courses,along with the other
    owners and their "ringers", they will get what they deserve. How about a gentlemen's (Hah!) agreement to back NA$CAR drivers.