Tuesday, 8 January 2013

#3WideBlog Return for 2014

     Hey all, Smitty here. You probably noticed that there have been no #3WideBlog posts since Pocono 2012. Well never fear, your favourite #3WideBlog race previews, reviews, opinion pieces and more can potentially make a comeback. I am calling on you, the NASCAR race fan to help provide intelligent insight into our favorite sport and help me write these pieces for everyone to read. I can't do it all on my own and thats why it stopped at Pocono.

     If you're serious send me an e-mail at and we'll chat for the upcoming season. There's no money involved so you must really love NASCAR :)

     You can also reach me on twitter @Smitty_1333

     Here's to 2014 and an awesome season :)

Friday, 10 August 2012

#3WideBlog Opinion: Tragedy in Pocono, My take

     First off I am starting this piece by offering my condolences to family and friends of the one person killed and the nine people injured by lightning strikes at Pocono Raceway. This was a horrible tragedy, that certainly could have been avoided. You must first look at all the facts, and look at it from every angle before placing blame. In my opinion everybody takes a little bit of blame away in this situation, NASCAR & Pocono. I will break down, in my opinion, how each party is to blame.

     I will start off with NASCAR. NASCAR waited way, way too long to bring cars off the track. They literally waited until the storm system arrived and rain poured down over the speedway. Again this was way too long. They put all of the drivers, their crew, NASCAR officials, the media, track officials, and (indirectly) the fans in danger. I say indirectly when it comes to the fans because NASCAR's main concern is what is happening on track, they are charged with running and maintaining order on the race track, and everything in between those concrete walls. In that same respect the race should have been stopped far sooner than it was, allowing all the people NASCAR is responsible for to get to safety, in turn forcing the fans to get to safety. I say forcing purely because if there are cars on the track, the fans stay in their seats, if NASCAR throws a red flag for impending weather, fans know without a doubt that something bad is coming.

    Pocono Raceway is next. I am disgusted with how Pocono Raceway handled this situation. Regardless of whether or not there were cars on the track, Pocono's responsibility is the fans. To my knowledge Pocono did not announce to the fans the severity of the system until AFTER the race had been red flagged. I spoke with Dan M. from London Ontario Canada (@midtownexpress on Twitter) who attended the race

#3WIDEBLOGDo you recall if/when the speedway PA system announced weather? What time? Was it audible?

DAN M.: "I have twitter and radio. When 51 car crashed we decided to at least come down. We waited to see if drivers would pit they didn't so we walked back towards turn 3 where we camped. Still no rain. We got out from under the grandstands and I remember hearing the cars on the track on turn three and radio saying they were going 2 go green. So at that point still nothing heard over loudspeaker because they were coming to green. We made our 10 min walk from grandstand to camp. It was about that time it started raining. About 10 mins later the lightning struck. And everyone knew that was the bolt. It was so close."

DAN M.: "I just feel it could have been sooner. As we only left because I had twitter @NASCAR_WXMAN".

     That is disturbing. I too follow @NASCAR_WXMAN on twitter and I recall his tweets urging fans and NASCAR and Pocono Raceway to stop the race and seek shelter. Then I spoke to Patricia Westfall (@p_west97 on Twitter) from Virginia, who also attended the Pocono race

#3WIDEBLOGJust wondering if/when 2nd storm was announced over track PA

PATRICIA W.: "It was announced over the PA. they kept warning about 30-40 minutes before the storm actually hit, saying a storm was coming. Everyone was leaving the stands at this time anyway, as it was starting to rain. Therefore, some may not have heard it. Also the cars were still going around the track, it's hard to hear the PA while the cars are coming down the front stretch.

#3WIDEBLOG: Was there an actual call for fans to take cover? Or just that storms were in the area?

PATRICIA W.: "If there was, I didn't hear it because we had already walked down stairs. But the case is, that NASCAR never calls a race until the rain is heavy enough to cancel it. I'm not putting blame on NASCAR, because they didn't do anything wrong. They are working on it. This was a freak accident."

     What Patricia told me was less disturbing, but still in my opinion Pocono dropped the ball. Some would say their hands were tied because NASCAR left the cars on the track, but the speedway still could have made it very clear to the fans that an impending storm system was coming and if they remained in the open their lives would be in danger. If this was not clearly stated, then there is a problem.

     The party who is least to blame in my opinion is the fans. Some would believe that it is the fans own responsibility to know what the weather will be and act accordingly. This is ridiculous, if NASCAR and Pocono have access to the weather information (through their own real time weather radar), and the ability to let the fans know this information (track PA), THEY SHOULD DO IT. Furthermore as I said before, the race should be stopped in the event a severe weather bulletin is issued for the track in the interest of safety for all of those involved both inside and outside the concrete walls.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

#3WideBlog Race Preview: Finger Lakes 355 at the Glen

Photo via
     The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen International in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York to race 90 laps around one of the oldest road courses in America. The 2.45 mile road course has 11 turns with banking from 6 to 8 degrees. This will be the 30th Sprint Cup Series race at the Glen, which hosted its first NASCAR Grand National Stock Car event won by Buck Baker 1957, the Glen has hosted NASCAR every year since 1986. 2012 Stanley Cup Champion,  captain of the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and Ithaca New York native Dustin Brown will serve as Honorary Starter.  

     NASCAR has the best driving talent in the world and will see it this weekend. These heavy stockcars weren’t built to be finessed around a road course and that means we’ll see some beating and banging going into the tight corners. Some drivers take advantage of the tight racing as an excuse to get revenge on their fellow competitors from accidents in previous races without being too obvious.

     Fuel strategy is a major factor and teams will short pit for fuel in the early stage of the race and gamble for a win. Some teams will try to run the race backwards on fuel stops meaning they will count the laps they can run of a tank of fuel and calculate it from the final lap to determine when to make that first pit stop. Sometimes this strategy works if the caution flags fall in their favor and sometimes all the strategy goes out of the window for an ill timed caution flag. Qualifying up front has proven to be important as the winner has come from a top 10 qualifying effort 21 times of the 29 races here and 19 of those wins came from a top 5 starting spot.

Photo via
     Juan Pablo Montoya won the pole for the race with a lap of 69.438 seconds (127.020 Mph) for his first pole at Watkins Glen, and the ninth pole award of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. Both of Montoya's Sprint Cup Series wins come on the road courses, with one at Sonoma (2007) and one at the Glen (2010). Kyle Busch took the outside pole with a lap only 0.050 seconds slower than Montoya. Busch also knows how to get around the road courses with one victory at each as well and is definitely looking for a victory to help his wild card hopes.

     The biggest storyline this week will be the drivers trying to get into the 2 Chase for the Sprint Cup wildcard spots. With only 5 races before the Chase begins Kasey Kahne has 2 wins and looks safe for now but the other spot has 4 drivers tied with 1 each. The 4 drivers with 1 win are Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch. Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch have the best records here and a chance to get that 2nd win. Gordon holds the record for road courses wins and 4 of those wins came at the Glen. Gordon's Chase hopes were looking thin until a win last week at Pocono. Now he comes in with momentum and knows this race could solidify his Chase hopes. Kyle Busch has 1 win here and 3 top 5 finishes, He’s had fast cars but bad luck and engines problems have put him in this position. Kyle is a good driver and could pull off a few wins in a row and he’ll be a threat this week. The other drivers trying to get in the Chase with no wins are Carl Edwards (who won the preceding NASCAR Nationwide Series race) and Marcos Ambrose, Carl has 2 top 5’s in the last 3 races and Marcos won this race last year. Both of these drivers could win this week and that would make an interesting Chase battle with 4 races remaining before the Chase begins. 

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TV Schedule 
Sunday Aug 12th

12:00PM ET NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Watkins Glen on ESPN

     NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Finger Lakes 355 at the Glen                
                                       Starting Lineup
142Juan MontoyaChevroletTarget127.02069.438Leader
218Kyle BuschToyotaM&M's126.92869.488-0.050
348Jimmie JohnsonChevroletLowe's Cortez Silver126.92569.490-0.052
42Brad KeselowskiDodgeMiller Lite126.62669.654-0.216
59Marcos AmbroseFordStanley126.52469.710-0.272
639Ryan NewmanChevroletU.S. Army126.31269.827-0.389
714Tony StewartChevroletOffice Depot / Mobil 1126.15069.917-0.479
815Clint BowyerToyota5-hour Energy126.06169.966-0.528
956Martin Truex Jr.ToyotaNAPA Auto Parts126.04969.973-0.535
101Jamie McMurrayChevroletMcDonald's125.95970.023-0.585
1198Michael McDowellFordTRAQM.com125.71370.160-0.722
1224Jeff GordonChevroletDrive to End Hunger125.64370.199-0.761
1378Regan SmithChevroletFurniture Row / Farm American125.61270.216-0.778
1420Joey LoganoToyotaThe Home Depot125.51870.269-0.831
1516Greg BiffleFord3M125.51670.270-0.832
1688Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletNational Guard / Diet Mountain Dew125.50070.279-0.841
1722Sam Hornish Jr.DodgeShell / Pennzoil125.42070.324-0.886
1899Carl EdwardsFordFastenal125.40970.330-0.892
1929Kevin HarvickChevroletBudweiser125.38970.341-0.903
205Kasey KahneChevroletFarmers Insurance125.33970.369-0.931
21195Scott SpeedFordTWD125.33470.372-0.934
2227Paul MenardChevroletMenards / Rheem125.19970.448-1.010
2311Denny HamlinToyotaFedEx Freight125.08070.515-1.077
2417Matt KensethFordFord EcoBoost124.91770.607-1.169
2532Boris SaidFordHendrickCars.com124.79170.678-1.240
2647Bobby LabonteToyotaMiller Welders / Freightliner124.71570.721-1.283
2751Kurt BuschChevroletPhoenix Construction Services124.45570.869-1.431
2831Jeff BurtonChevroletCaterpillar124.20871.010-1.572
2943Aric AlmirolaFordSmithfield124.18771.022-1.584
3013Casey MearsFordGEICO124.13171.054-1.616
3136Dave BlaneyChevroletTommy Baldwin Racing124.10871.067-1.629
3234David RaganFordScorpion Coatings / Al's Liners123.86871.205-1.767
3355Brian VickersToyotaMy Classic Garage123.71071.296-1.858
3438David GillilandFordModSpace123.57671.373-1.935
3583Landon CassillToyotaBurger King / Dr Pepper123.47171.434-1.996
3687Joe NemechekToyotaGenny Light / AM-FM Energy123.43671.454-2.016
3710J.J. YeleyChevroletTommy Baldwin Racing123.27071.550-2.112
3826Josh Wise*FordMDS Transport122.53171.982-2.544
3933Stephen Leicht*ChevroletLittle Joes
40119Chris CookToyotaPlinker Tactical118.87974.193-4.755
41249Jason LefflerToyotaAmerica Israel Racing118.74274.279-4.841
4293Travis Kvapil+ToyotaBurger King / Dr Pepper---
4330Patrick LongToyotaInception Motorsports117.55175.031-5.593

+ Set by Owner Points                                              Starting Line-Up via
* Denotes Rookie