Welcome to the May 21, 2012 edition of Start ‘N’ Park Blog’s Stock Watch. Each week we’ll take a look at who’s rising, falling, and treading water in the world of NASCAR. This stretches all division and all aspects of NASCAR, including drivers, owners, crew members, media and fans. Finding their way onto this week’s watch includes Justin Lofton, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Roush-Yates Engines. Is your favorite NASCAR personality rising, falling, or treading water? Find out below what Greg and Mike have to say below.
Justin Lofton – Lofton had a big weekend in Charlotte, first signing with SPEED Energy for a new sponsorship deal, then he went out and bested Brad Keselowski and Ron Hornaday, Jr. for his first career win in the Camping World Truck Series. If beating two of the best drivers out there wasn’t enough, Lofton took the point lead away from Timothy Peters. I can’t help but note that all of this came into place with his new SPEED sponsorship, just saying. – Mike
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – Earnhardt can finally say he won something in 2012, all be it the 2012 Sprint Showdown. Earnhardt lead all 40 laps and cruised to victory by 2.384 seconds over AJ Allmendinger. Then in the All-Star Race he led 19 laps and finished in the 5th spot. Another great confidence booster for Earnhardt as he tries to win his first Coca-Cola 600 next weekend. – Mike
Sandbagging – Who knew such a lame strategy such as this would actually pay off? Jimmie Johnson, Brad Kesselowski, and Matt Kenseth all played the strategy, with Johnson eventually becoming the victor. Can you blame them, though? NASCAR drivers and teams, by nature, are known to find the grey area of a rule book and totally exploit it to the fullest. They did. It was legal. So, more power to them. I guess. – Greg
Roush-Yates Engines – I was on the fence of where to put these guys, is it falling or treading water? Two blown engines by Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle has to be concerning. But at the same time, this was a non-points paying event, so no harm no foul? Almost like a mulligan that they can use to figure out what happened and not have too many repercussions from it. Although I’m sure Biffle and Edwards would have wanted a chance for that million dollar pay day. I opted for falling because next week’s 600 mile race will certainly be a test of durability, and these engines had better lat. – Mike
All-Star Races in General – The one thing that NASCAR has always been able to tout was that their competitors cared about the all-star events. The pass in the grass, one hot night, those were all names given to some incredibly exciting races and events in the all-star race history. But this Saturday nights show was drab. Boring. Unexciting. And after Jimmie Johnson got a good start in the last segment, it was uneventful. What a blah event with such a huge amount of hype. I’d have ahd more fun watching paint dry. At least the paint wouldn’t sandbag the last 2 segments. – Greg
Jeff Gordon – I figured in the All-Star Race, based on his season, either Jeff Gordon would win or he’d wreck horribly during the race. The win would have been great for morale, but at the same time it awards no points and of course he’d win something that didn’t matter for the season. In the end he puttered to a 13th place finish with no laps led. He finished behind the likes of Marcos Ambrose, Kurt Busch, AJ Allmendinger, and Regan Smith. Not that they are bad drivers by any means, but it’s Jeff Gordon and it’s Charlotte Motor Speedway, I (right or wrong) expected more out of him. – Mike
Kasey Kahne – A nice rebound from a tough start to the season has slowly withered back into mediocrity (compared to how some viewed his season would turn out). While again having a fast car at Charlotte during the All-Star event, he just couldn’t get it done. While I remain confident he will get a W or two this season, he’s rapidly running out of time. – Greg