Parker's Points: Monkeys riding dogs, Lizard Lick Towing, and Biffle riding to Victory Lane! | Events
CONCORD - Former South Rowan football star and NASCAR PR guru Adrian Parker has some thoughts this week about a variety of topics, from monkeys riding dogs to Greg Biffle taking the checkered flag in Texas, and a couple of big weekends at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the zMax Dragway.
So saddle up and ride out on this edition of "Parker's Points:"
DW: We'll start with the Sprint Cup race at Texas. Biffle gets the win. What's Roush doing right this year?
The short answer is that between Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Engines, they’re putting fast race cars on the track. When the No. 99 team of Carl Edwards, last season’s Sprint Cup Series runner-up, seems to be the third-best in the stable right now, you know times are good in the house of Roush.
Greg Biffle leads the point standings and just scored the win in Texas. Matt Kenseth, the Daytona 500 winner, is currently second in the standings and Edwards is currently in 11th.
The Roush resurgence started last season when Edwards nearly won the title and Kenseth scored three wins. Collectively those two teams scored five wins, including the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, and 31 top-five finishes in 2011. Biffle, who struggled last year, has found new life since crew chief Matt Puccia came aboard in mid-2011 and now has a firm grip on the points lead after the win this past weekend.
Roush has now scored nine Cup victories in 23 Cup races at Texas, so obviously there’s some magic for them in Fort Worth. In the ebb and flow of strong teams in the Cup garage, RFR appears to be flowing now.
DW: The win was also significant in that it denied Rick Hendrick his 200th win. Where is the most likely place to hit that landmark?
I chuckled when I read this question. To me, that story line is kind of like, “when will the New York Yankees win again?” It’s going to happen sooner rather than later.
Jimmie Johnson led the most laps Saturday in Texas and finished second. Jeff Gordon led the most laps at Martinsville and would’ve had a great duel with Johnson for the victory had the final caution not come out with three laps remaining. That was sort of a fluke deal that kept them out of victory lane at Martinsville.
Where is it most likely to happen? How about this Sunday in Kansas? Johnson won Kansas last fall and his Hendrick teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished second last spring. Johnson led a lot at Texas and finished second at Las Vegas, the only other two 1.5-mile superspeedways the series has visited so far this year.
However, if it doesn’t happen this weekend, it could happen at any of the upcoming venues. With the talent in that stable, there just aren’t many tracks on the circuit where a Hendrick car doesn’t have a strong chance of winning.
DW: Kansas is up next, who looks strong?
I wouldn’t be surprised if it came down to Biffle and Johnson again. They’ve won four of the last six races at Kansas and are obviously strong on the 1.5-mile, high-banked ovals. Figure Kenseth will continue his strong performance and Tony Stewart will bounce back after an off-night in Texas on Saturday.
The fact that Stewart finished two laps down in 24th on Saturday was the most surprising thing that happened in Texas, especially after Stewart had won five of the last seven races on 1.5-mile to 2-mile intermediate tracks. I’m chalking that up to Stewart having to race a backup car after wrecking his primary in practice on Friday. Look for him to come back with a vengeance this weekend in Kansas.
So, in short and in order, I’d go: 48-14-16-17 in Kansas.
DW: I know you're dying to talk about it, so let's move over to zMax Dragway. Hometown hero Greg Anderson wins again. Is he going to get a grandstand named in his honor?
The greatest spectacle in drag racing, the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, concluded Sunday at zMAX Dragway and it was another record-setting weekend.
Heading into the weekend, no Top Fuel dragster had ever touched 330 mph at the 1,000-foot mark. The Top Fuel and Funny Car divisions used to race the full quarter-mile (1,320 feet) until 2008, when, due to safety concerns, the NHRA cut the distance back to 1,000 feet. At that time, the top speeds in the quarter-mile were right at 330 mph, but since cutting back to 1,000 feet no Top Fuel dragster had touched that mark.
Tony Schumacher was the first to do it on Friday with a pass of 330.23 mph, then his teammate and eventual winner Spencer Massey did it in the same session at 330.55 mph. Massey set the new national mark on his final winning pass on Sunday at 332.18 mph.
What does all of this mean? In less than four years, the engineers have made these dragsters just as fast in a 320-foot shorter distance.
Massey won the Top Fuel category and Robert Hight won in Funny Car, making him only the fourth driver in NHRA history to win four-straight events in Funny Car. He joins the likes of NHRA Hall of Famers Kenny Bernstein, John Force and Don Prudhomme.
Mooresville’s Greg Anderson won in Pro Stock, making him the winningest driver in zMAX Dragway’s short history. He’s the first to three career wins at the Bellagio of drag strips and the first to win two Four-Wide Nationals. He’s one of the all-time greats in the sport, now fourth on the all-time win list with 71.
Is it time to name a grandstand after him? Not yet, but he still has a lot of good years in him, and if he keeps up his dominance at zMAX Dragway, who knows?
DW: Any thoughts on the NCWTS race at the Rock? It looked like a success with a good crowd, popular winner in Kahne.
My biggest takeaway from Rockingham on Sunday is that I believe the Camping World Truck Series can thrive on tracks where the Sprint Cup series does not visit.
That doesn’t mean they should never race at Cup tracks as companion events. There are several venues where they should always visit and the N.C. Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway is definitely one of them; as is Bristol, Martinsville, Daytona, etc.
But, I think the series needs more stand-alone events, where they are the biggest show in town. It helps the series garner publicity within the market and ultimately sell more tickets when they aren’t up against a Sprint Cup, Nationwide or IndyCar event.
I remember from my days when I served as a public relations representative for a Truck Series team that it was much easier to garner publicity for my driver and the series when it was a stand-alone event or at least the biggest draw for the weekend.
There are many tracks around the nation the series could visit and most of them are short tracks that would produce the beating and banging the Truck Series is known for. The series used to do this and I think there’s an opportunity to go back to that schedule.
DW: Another big weekend coming up at Charlotte Motor Speedway. What's going on with the Food Lion Auto Fair this year?
Food Lion AutoFair, the world’s largest automotive extravaganza, starts tomorrow and lasts through Sunday and it comes with all of the auto-utopia amenities that fans have come to expect—the car corral that rings the superspeedway where folks can buy and sell their cars; the nearly 10,000 vendor spaces that serve as the world’s largest automotive flea market; a Dealer Auction featuring 200 cars with “no reserve;” the showcase garage that will feature soapbox derby cars, unique and classic cars, including the oldest surviving Buick in the world, a 1905 Model C.
But, what am I most excited about are three words: dog-riding monkeys. Tim Lepard, a former bull rider out of Georgia, and his team of dog-riding monkeys, “Team Ghost Rider,” will perform several shows throughout the day on Friday and Saturday in the Powerade Play Zone. It’s one of those things you have to see to believe.
This weekend also features a display of racecars from Richard Childress Racing including the famous black No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet, made famous by the pride of Kannapolis, the late, great Dale Earnhardt. His No. 3 Wheaties car, which he drove in the 1997 All-Star Race will also be on display here this weekend in the Showcase Garage.
The show will also mark the public debut of deep-fried cupcakes, an autograph session with NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, appearances by the cast of truTV’s “Lizard Lick Towing,” an autograph session from Chocolate Myers at the RCR display and much more. Adult tickets are just $10 and kids 13 and under get in free.
Go to www.charlottemotorspeedway.com for more details.
Follow Adrian Parker on Twitter at www.twitter.com/yoAdrian_Parker.
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