NASCAR’s Chase Playoffs // How They’ll Finish

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With a little help from Nic Cage.

If you’ve read or stumbled upon or been forced to read this blog before. You know we love to mix sports with movies. Especially movie quotes because as we all know, you can relate them to absolutely anything. So why not try our hand with the NASCAR Chase, and how I think this will all play out. And to help out, I thought I’d bring in my dear friend, Mr. Nicolas Cage.

Enjoy!

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16. ARIC ALMIROLANational Treasure

Powell: How do a bunch of guys with hand tools build all this?

Ben Gates: Same way they built the pyramids – and the Great Wall of China.

Riley Poole: Yeah… the aliens helped them.

I like Aric. But let’s be honest, if it weren’t for the aliens and the new Chase rules he wouldn’t be here in the playoffs. Good for him though. It’s not like he is a bad driver, and this should get him some good exposure.. for 3 races. Honestly, it will be fun to see if he can battle it out and beat the Dinger for last. Side bets anyone?

15. AJ ALLMENDINGER – National Treasure

Riley Poole: Anyone crazy enough to believe us isn’t gonna want to help.

Ben Gates: We don’t need someone crazy. But one step short of crazy, what do you get?

Riley Poole: Obsessed.

Ben Gates: Passionate.

Like I said before, The Dinger may be battling it out for last place with #43, and like Aric – he’s lucky to be here. He’s a hell of a driver and he’s extra lucky considering all the craziness he’s been through to even be in a race car. He’s obsessed. And passionate. See what I did there? But you need more than that to win.

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14. KYLE BUSCH – Con Air

Baby O: How am I doing, son?

Cameron Poe: You’re doing fine.

Kyle just needs a good pep talk and a keep your head up kid after this year. He’s definitely going to forget all about 2014, as he may have already thrown in the towel on the season. It pains me to put him this low but he’s had worse luck this season than an NFL running back. Too soon? Sorry Kyle. And mom.

13. RYAN NEWMAN – Ghost Rider

Caretaker: You all right?

Johnny Blaze: Yeah, I’m good. I feel like my skull is on fire, but I’m good.

Man I like Ryan too. And the only reason I put him in front of Kyle is because.. Well yeah we went over that. (See NFL running backs). Ryan is a hell of a good driver who for getting kicked to the curb by Stewart-Haas is trying to put up a respectable showing for new owner Richard Childress by being the lone wolf in the Chase for said team. But he’s got to feel a little Ghost Rider-y after this season.

12. KASEY KAHNE – Gone In 60 Seconds

Freb: I can deliver more than pizzas, huh? Boosted her myself.

Donny: How did you get this car?

Freb: Actually, the keys were in it.

Donny: Well, that kinda defies the point.

Memphis: You stole a car that wasn’t on the list. Why don’t you just go to the police station in a red clown suit and let everybody know what we’re doing here?

I like Kasey. Is it weird that I keep saying I like these guys.. right before I rip them? I don’t not like Kasey. And he’s a hell of a driver, (that’s a nice way of saying I don’t like him), but I have to imagine if he wasn’t driving for Hendrick he wouldn’t be in the Chase. I mean the keys are just in the car. And you’re there. Don’t expect big things from him this fall.

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11. KURT BUSCH – Lord of War

Yuri Orlov: Any friend of my brothers’ is a… a friend of my brothers’.

Don’t lump Kurt in the same category as Kyle. Mainly because Kurt isn’t as good as Kyle, but eff Kyle is having a bad year. I couldn’t figure out which brother deserved this quote more. I wonder which one of them wouldn’t want to be lumped in with the other. Luckily for Kurt, he’s had better luck this year than little brother.

10. DENNY HAMLIN – Leaving Las Vegas

Ben Sanderson: I think when I’m done with this I’ll have a gin and tonic.

Listen Denny I know you don’t drink, and party, any more and I know you ripped us all to shreds at that press conference when you had rust in your eye. I’m not saying you’re going to drink after the Chase. But you’re going to wish you had one. Denny has to be wondering how and when he’s going to return to dominance again. And who knows maybe a gin and tonic would help!

9. GREG BIFFLE – Gone In 60 Seconds

Memphis: I just stole fifty cars in one night! I’m a little tired, little wired, and I think I deserve a little appreciation!

I don’t think Biff gets as much credit as he really deserves. He’s got to be feeling like he stole damn near fifty cars in one night just to get into this chase. And I’d love to put the Biff higher than 9 I really would! But there is a lot of freaking talent up there at the top. And unfortunately I don’t think the Biff can hang. But I appreciate you anyway sir!

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8. MATT KENSETH – Lord of War

Yuri Orlov: There are two types of tragedies in life. One is not getting what you want, the other is getting it.

Matt Kenseth has been to the top. He’s won it all. So he knows what it feels like. But it sure has been a while since he’s been there. I kept picking him to win over and over again this year and it never happened. He is Mr. Consistent. Unfortunately, because of you Matt, you gotta win to be in. And it just isn’t happening this year.

7. CARL EDWARDS – Con Air

Cameron Poe: Yeah, but like at this new prison you’re goin’ to, who’s gonna watch your back?

Baby O: God’s got my back. You know what I’m sayin’?

Carl’s last ride for ole Jack. If I were him, I’d just make sure I ain’t going out there and pissing off any of my new teammates. Yeah he could go for the Championship. But.. do we really think he’s got what it takes? I sure don’t. If you aren’t running a Hendrick or Penske car.. Or named Kevin. Just try to make nice.

6. JOEY LOGANO – 8MM

Max California: What is this?

Tom Welles: Money. People use it to buy goods and services.

Yeah I could say something about how Joey is rich and was given everything and so on and so forth. But that would be too easy. It’s also hard to keep saying that after the year Joey has had. Dude has been driving like he stole it week in and week out. Think he’s still a little to young to take it home, but maybe I’ll be wrong for the first time ever. Doubt it.

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5. JIMMIE JOHNSON – Gone In 60 Seconds

Memphis: Without disappointment you cannot appreciate victory.

Det. Roland Castlebeck: Did Eleanor tell you that?

What? Jimmie Johnson fifth? Yeah man. I did that. Listen I know you’ll be laughing in my face 10 weeks from now telling me how dumb I am. But he wasn’t even like the 5th best driver all year. I mean he’s the #1 best driver of all-time (whoa there) but he hasn’t been as dominant as always. Yes he’s 6-time, and that’s why I bumped him up to fifth. Let’s just say after this year he’ll appreciate those Championships a little more.

4. DALE EARNHARDT JR. – National Treasure

Ben Gates: [upset] I just… really thought I was gonna find the treasure.

Patrick Gates: Okay. Then we just keep looking for it.

Abigail Chase: I’m in.

Dale is the most emotional guy after races. And it pains me to see. He’s so close this year. And it would be so dominant to see him win it all and standing in Victory Lane in Homstead. Him, Steve and Amy. Listen we are all rooting for that. You, me, Wal-Mart, freaking NASCAR. We’d love to see it. But I just don’t think he’s quite there.. But again. I’d love to be wrong. For once. Especially when it comes to this prediction. JOOOOONYAAHHHHHHH!!!

3. BRAD KESELOWSKI – Lord of War

Yuri Orlov: I was the same man who was not good enough for you before, and I’m just not good enough for you now.

Eh I don’t even really know what this quote means. I asked Brad on Twitter what his favorite Nic Cage movie was and he never got back to me. Oh cool you have a girlfriend now? So do I. Either way Bad Brad has got to be most people’s pick to win it all. I’m not most people. There’s at least 2 people way faster than this dude..

2. JEFF GORDON – Gone In 60 Seconds

Memphis: I am a baaaad man.

Whoa. I use to hate Jeff Gordon. My brother loved him when we were younger and I would make fun of him so hard. One missed shipment and comfy ass Jeff Gordon shirt later – I love the dude. And how couldn’t you? I mean I wish he would grow his mustache back but that’s beside the point. Like Memphis Raines, Jeff has to be going into this thinking he’s a bad man. He is. Between him and another Freaky Fast driver, it’s a toss up to who would show up to the track on Sunday with the faster car. This is Jeff Gordon’s to lose. Damnit he’s so fast I want to pick him to win it all.

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1. KEVIN HARVICK – Con Air

Cameron Poe: If this thing goes bad, Larkin, I don’t think my daughter will… understand. If you speak to my wife again, you tell her: that I love her. She’s my hummin’bird. But, I couldn’t leave a fallen man behind. You’ll do that for me, won’t you, Larkin?

Vince Larkin: Sure, I will. What are you gonna do for me?

Cameron Poe: What do you think I’m gonna do? I’m gonna save the fuckin’ day!

Call it favoritism. Call it advertising at it’s finest (I love Budweiser. Jimmy John’s is great too). Call it what you want. But Kevin Harvick has been the fastest dude on four wheels almost every damn week this year. From the get go. Yes yes yes it takes more than that and Kevin hasn’t had that. We’re over it. Tony Stewart and the Stewart-Haas team are all in this year, bringing in new pit crew members to get this Freaky Fast #4 Chevy to Homstead and to hoist that Championship trophy. Kevin is due. He’s been there. Man he has been there so many times and been so close. He’s got SPEED. And a lot of it. He’s going to leave it out there these next 10 weeks, rubbin’, racing and doing anything and everything it takes to save the fuckin’ day. And win that NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. #Huh.

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Where you at JJ?

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Last week I went out on somewhat of a limb saying that Jimmie Johnson wouldn’t win until at least June.

I also wrote something saying something like Kevin Harvick should probably start getting concerned here soon.

Well Kevin Harvick sure has nothing to worry about after a dominating performance in Darlington for his second win this year. But Jimmie Johnson still remains winless, and makes me begin to wonder. Where you at JJ?

He will win before the Chase. He will make the Chase. He may win the Championship. So let’s just throw all that, “What if Jimmie Johnson doesn’t make it to the Chase?” crap. He’s going to.

But when?

After the Easter break and luxurious vacation by most if not all drivers that will be happening this weekend. We head to Richmond, Talladega, Kansas and Charlotte for the All-Star and Coca-Cola 600 to round out May before Summer racing officially starts.

Jimmie has won 1 time in Richmond,  2 times at Dega, 2 times in I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore as well as 3 consecutive years in a row winning in Charlotte.

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Not bad numbers, but not overly impressive numbers either. It’s a crap shoot at Dega and safe to say anything can happen in Charlotte as well. The chances of him winning are good but not likely, especially the way he’s been running this year. He’s not even the best driver on his team this year! Maybe not even the 2nd best! But he’s still miles ahead of you Kasey. Sorry.

Here’s the thing though. Why does Jimmie have to win now? Again, he’s going to. But maybe he doesn’t want to, need to, I’m sure he wants to but does he need to?

Why not mess around all spring and summer, get one or two wins and make the Chase and sneak up on everybody. He doesn’t have to crank out 5 wins in the regular season anymore. You win, and you’re in.

Perhaps Chad Knaus, the Bill Belichick or the Gregg Popovich of NASCAR is taking a page out of their books – just make the playoffs. Don’t over exert yourself. Yes yes I know, football and basketball is nothing like NASCAR – they are athletes in those sports. (Shut up Donavon McNabb) NASCAR doesn’t quite take the same toll on your body as those physical sports so you don’t have to rest for the playoffs.

But why beat yourself up, your equipment up or show your hand when you don’t have to? Chad Knaus is a genius.  He’s the best crew chief in the sport. Together with Jimmie Johnson, obviously, makes one of the best teams in the history of the sport. Maybe he knows something we don’t know? Like where JJ is.

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It’s a new outlook this season with new rules. It so far has been one of the strangest NASCAR starts I have ever witnessed. So in my personal opinion, don’t expect a handful of wins this year out of the 48 team. But if it happens – fuck I wouldn’t be surprised. He’s Jimmie Johnson after all! But until then.

Where you at JJ?

 

Darlington This Weekend // Best & Worst Paint Schemes

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Best of the best: Kasey Kahne in the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet

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It’s a rough batch here. But I guess I have to give it to ya Kasey. Or Great Clips. Seems like most cars are going the black paint route due to the fact that they are racing at “The Lady in Black.” Kasey’s sublte blues and yellow-ish greens really accent well with the red — I shouldn’t have slept in colors class in college. Yeah, that’s a class..

Probably the best idea: Jamie McMurray in the #1 CESSNA/Beechcraft Chevrolet

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It’s definitely going to hide those black stripes that everyone will most certainly earn at Darlington this weekend. I do feel bad for you Beechcraft though.. Because after this race people will more likely be thinking this was a Ricky Bobby car with zero sponsors. This thing is going to be blacker than — nope. I guess, er. Night.

A for effort: David Ragan in the #34 CSX Ford

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By lap 2 that “Around Railroad Tracks” is going to be painted black. All anyone is going to see is “Play it Safe.” I mean you can at least ask David, I don’t think anyone is going to be so willing to obey your request. Darlington’s Twitter handle isn’t @TooToughToTame for a reason. It’s only 8 races in, but driver’s have got to be getting antsy. There’s 16 spots in the chase this year – you basically win and you’re in. So at least you tried David, but I don’t think anyone is going to be playing it safe this weekend trying to run down that checkered flag.

When do you start getting concerned Kevin Harvick?

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You’re Kevin Harvick. You’re with a new team this year who happens to be one of your best bros. You got to keep all your sponsors. You have one of the best crew chiefs in the sport. You are coming off yet another Top 3 finish in the chase and you already have one dominating win this year which pretty much guarantees you a spot in the chase.

So what do you have to be concerned about?

Well.. Where do we start.

Maybe it’s the fact that Kevin currently sits in 26th place in points. Or the fact that he’s finished 36th or worse in 4 of 7 races this year. Maybe it’s the fact that if his or your car has it, Kevin has broken it. Hub, engine, tires, tires, tires and just about everything else. Maybe it’s an inexperienced young #4 Team or maybe it’s an under achieving cast of characters in Stewart-Haas Racing.

Whatever it is. It needs to be figured out soon.

There’s 19 more races until the start of the Chase. And while beginning to worry now would be like the Cubs planning on playing in October. It’s extremely too early to tell. But things need to shape up soon. Very soon.

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At times when Harv is good.. Holy shit is he good. He’s had one of if not the fastest car at one point in time for every single race this year. But when things go bad.. It’s like rooting for the aforementioned Cubbies. Extremely painful.

I wish I knew the statistics and could give some scientific day and time on when Rodney Childers needs to get his #4 back on track or update his resume again, but I don’t. If someone knows, anyone, please let me know.

Until then, I don’t think we are going to be concerned just yet. Not just yet. But for the sake of every Budweiser Racing fan, Rodney, Delana, the whole Stewart-Haas racing team, Jimmy Johns, my heart, and Mr. Kevin Harvick. Let’s just hope things shape up very soon.

 

A fake interview with the real Vegas winner // Brad Keselowski

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ME: You doubled down in Vegas this weekend, how does that feel?

BK: That’s what we came here to do and it feels great. You know I just love to race and to be able to go out there and race Nationwide and Sprint all in one weekend is a dream come true. And to win them both, that’s icing on the cake.

ME: Are you going to give Jr. that trophy since he handed you the victory?

BK: (Laughs) Absolutely not! He’s got a few trophies of his own, like that Daytona 500 one so I think he’ll do fine without this one.

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ME: What did it feel like to pass your mentor on the last lap?

BK: You know I wouldn’t be here without that guy. So it’s definitely bittersweet. One of the great things about this sport is that at the end of the day we’re all friends. But when you are out there on the track – it’s every man for himself.

ME: And woman.

BK: And woman.

ME: Be honest.. You were crying in victory lane weren’t you?

BK: Man there was so much Miller Lite flying around it got me square in both eyes it stung. I couldn’t see nothing.

ME: So you weren’t just really emotional?

BK: I was pretty emotional but I was more pumped up than anything.

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ME: You didn’t make the Chase last year. You are all but guaranteed a spot with this win, that has to feel good right?

BK: It feels great you know. We definitely have a lot more work to do but it is a huge weight off our shoulders. We plan on winning a few more races between now and come Chase time but it gives us the opportunity to mess around with the car and do some things we might not normally do if we didn’t know we wouldn’t be racing for that championship.

ME: How many Miller Lite’s do you drink after a win like this?

BK: We plan on having quite a few. I don’t plan on getting any in my eye though they are going to go down nice and smooth.

ME: Like 24?

BK: Maybe not that many. We got Bristol in just a few days!

ME: Can you please just do me one solid and drive the white throwback Miller Lite car the rest of the year?

BK: I’ll see what I can do.

ME: That’s fair.

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“Quote, Unquote” // NASCAR Power Rankings No. 2

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The second week in the 2014 NASCAR season is in the books. Mr. Kevin “Happy” Harvick won in the desert and is throwing his weight around in the Stewart-Haas Racing garage. He jumped a spot or two in the power rankings this week, and the one guy people may or may not have expected to be running so damn well at the start of the year isn’t going anywhere. Dale Jr. 1st and 2nd place. Ca’mon boys and girls. Jr. Nation is celebrating tonight!

This week – quotes from maybe the biggest come from behind Oscar winner of all-time, in honor of Matthew McConaghuey.

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1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (LW: 1) – Dallas Buyers Club

Ron Woodroof: Am I fucking dreaming?

2. Kevin Harvick (LW: 4) – Dazed And Confused

Wooderson: Let me tell you what Melba Toast is packin’ right here, all right. We got 4:11 Positrac outback, 750 double pumper, Edelbrock intake, bored over 30, 11 to 1 pop-up pistons, turbo-jet 390 horsepower. We’re talkin’ some fuckin’ muscle.

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3. Brad Keselowski (LW: 6) — Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Connor Mead: I am begging you: don’t run away. You and Paul have something so rare, so powerful! Don’t chicken out now.

4. Jimmie Johnson (LW: 3) – Magic Mike

Dallas: Fact is, the law says you cannot touch!

Dallas: But I think I see a lotta lawbreakers up in this house tonight…

5. Jeff Gordon (LW: 7) – Dazed And Confused

Wooderson: Let me tell you this, the older you get the more rules they’re gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin’ man, L-I-V-I-N.

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6. Kyle Busch (LW: 5) – Dallas Buyers Club

Ron Woodroof: These fuckers are coming at me, man, from all angles. I wanna file a restraining order.

7. Matt Kenseth (LW: 8) – How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days

Ben: Is that too soon to be seeing a therapist?

8. Denny Hamlin (LW: 2) – We Are Marshall

Jack Lengyel: One day, not today, not tomorrow, not this season, probably not next season either but one day, you and I are gonna wake up and suddenly we’re gonna be like every other team in every other sport where winning is everything and nothing else matters.

9.  Joey Logano (LW: NR) – How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days

Ben: That’s what I was, huh? I was your guinea pig, somebody you can test your theories on.

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10. Carl Edwards (LW: NR) – Tropic Thunder

Rick Peck: How’s the adoption thing going?

Tugg Speedman: Not good.

Rick Peck: At least you get to choose yours. I’m stuck with mine.

Honorable Mention

Clint Bowyer (LW: HM) – Fool’s Gold

Ben ‘Finn’ Finnegan: Hey, boats sink! No one knows why!

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A fake interview with the real Phoenix winner // Kevin Harvick

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ME: So you didn’t waste much time to getting to the winning thing here with Stewart-Haas Racing..

KH: You know it didn’t take long to fit in here. There’s a bunch of great guys. Tony and I have been great pals for a long time now and it’s just a good fit. You know I don’t think I would have made the jump to SHR without feeling comfortable about it.

ME: And you didn’t just win, 224 out of 312 laps..

KH: Yeah we led a lot of laps. But the only lap that matters is at the end of the race. I’m not sure exactly why it is but I love coming here to Phoenix but we run well. I love running down on the low groove and passing on that apron it’s just fun. We had a lot of fun out there today and I couldn’t have done it without my guys and especially Rodney.

ME: It felt like you absolutely crushed every single restart, until the last one of the day when it mattered the most. What’s up with that?

KH: Yeah I don’t know what happened there. We had been doing really well and I think getting some help from Joey on a few. That’s something I’ve been working a lot on, trying to get right – you can win or lose a race all on that restart. Luckily that last one didn’t cost me too much I don’t think.

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ME: Have they given you a VIP parking spot for your camper at Phoenix yet, or a golden star on the sidewalk somewhere? Maybe all you can eat hot dogs..

KH: All you can eat nachos would be nice. They don’t have a camper parking spot for me yet but that would be nice, maybe that’s something I can work on for when I come back in the fall.

ME: Good call. Let’s work on that. You lapped Austin Dillon shortly after you took the lead. Did you think about putting him into the wall at all?

KH: It didn’t really cross my mind. You know what I said last year is in the past, I’ve talked to Richard about it and Ty and Austin and they’re good kids. I think it got blown out of proportion a little bit and I wouldn’t get back into them during a race I don’t think. Especially that #3 car. It’s pretty fancy looking isn’t?

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ME: Oh it sure is. I kept waiting for you to thank Richard Childress and the RCR team in victory lane. Did you almost slip at all or feel like thanking him anyway?

KH: It was close. I mean I said it 20 sometimes over 13 years, it was kind of a habit. I did a little practicing in front of the mirror though.

ME: So you feel good about staying and working for your buddy Tony?

KH: As long as he keeps his hands off my wife, I feel pretty good about working for Tony for quite a while.

ME: Would you rather have a Jimmy Johns bath or a Budweiser bath?

KH: Either one. As long as that #4 Chevy is in victory lane.

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