Archive for the Blog Category

NASCAR: Speed finally living up to his name

Posted in Blog, NASCAR with tags , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by Martin Henderson

The sunglasses were propped on his head, and a smile easily crossed his face. For once, Scott Speed not only looked California cool, but also felt it.

Relief, happiness — no one in the garage Sunday felt better than Speed after the Auto Club 500. Not even race winner Jimmie Johnson.

Speed, the Californian from Manteca beginning his second full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, is in a situation where he must prove himself. A refugee from Formula One, but without the credentials of Juan Pablo Montoya, Speed needs to show he belongs. Otherwise, he could go the way of other open-wheel drivers such as Dario Franchitti.

Out of the series.

If you would like to read racescribe author Martin Henderson’s story for ESPNLosAngeles.com on Speed and the proving ground that he is walking, click here.

Advertisements

NASCAR: A non-Hollywood ending for Junior

Posted in Blog, NASCAR with tags , , , , , on February 21, 2010 by Martin Henderson

On the heels of his second-place finish at the Daytona 500, fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr., had to be feeling pretty good about their hero. This is the year that Junior feeds their need for greatness. The problem, of course, is that Daytona is followed by a race at Auto Club Speedway, and the California track might as well be composed of radiation for NASCAR’s favorite driver.

If you would like to read racescribe author Martin Henderson’s story for ESPNLosAngeles.com about Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s difficult day, click here.

NASCAR: It’s just racing for Montoya, except when you’re sitting on the sidelines

Posted in Blog, NASCAR with tags , , , on February 21, 2010 by Martin Henderson

Juan Pablo Montoya has raced Indy-style cars, Formula One and stock cars. And when his day ended on Sunday at the Auto Club 500, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “That’s racing.”

Actually, it’s racing when you’re running. The problem is that Montoya was betrayed by his engine, which blew up on Lap 141, allowing the former Indy 500 and Champ Car champion a chance to beat the traffic home.

If you would like to read racescribe author Martin Henderson’s feature on Montoya’s day at the track for ESPNLosAngeles.com, click here. Spoiler alert: You’ll learn that “it’s just racing.”

NASCAR: Robby Gordon means business

Posted in Blog, NASCAR with tags , , on February 20, 2010 by Martin Henderson

Twice in the last week, a magazine story was brought up in conversation with Robby Gordon. With his well-groomed face on the cover, the headline read, “Robby Gordon’s Last Chance.”

The magazine was from the 1990s.

Gordon, the maverick driver and owner, seems to have more lives than a trailer park full of cats.

If you would like to read racesribe author Martin Henderson’s ESPNLosAngeles.com story about Robby Gordon, click here.

NASCAR: Casey Mears’ new challenge — again

Posted in Blog, NASCAR with tags , , on February 20, 2010 by Martin Henderson

Casey Mears leaned forward on the leather sofa, still wearing a firesuit that is starkly bare in a sport driven by corporate logos. You could feel his emotion before he finally did away with start-and-stops to sentences he wanted to be encouraging. “It’s frustrating,” he finally said. “Bottom line, you want to be in the race, and all these guys want to be in the race.”

If you would like to read racescribe author Martin Henderson’s ESPNLosAngeles.com story about Mears and his second race with newly formed Keyed-Up Motorsports, click here.

NHRA: Iconic event gets iconic winner: John Force

Posted in Blog, NHRA with tags , , , , , on February 15, 2010 by Martin Henderson

The old man still has it in him. After 39 races and 20 months without a victory, after months of self-doubt and intense physical training, John Force returned to the winner’s circle Sunday at the 50th Kragen O’Reilly Winternationals at Auto Club Speedway in Pomona.

Force, 60, held a gold-plated Wally trophy over his head as the crowd roared its approval of the victory that snapped the longest winless drought of his career.

If you’d like to read the rest of the story written by racescribe author Martin Henderson — and there’s another 850 words about Force and top fuel winner Larry Dixon , including a funny story about what Dixon was thinking when he saw Force take the win light — you can read about it at ESPN Los Angeles. Just click here.

NASCAR: Martin makes statement about Junior

Posted in Blog, NASCAR with tags , , , , , on April 26, 2009 by Martin Henderson

Much was made last week when Mark Martin became the third-oldest winner of a NASCAR race after winning at Phoenix. Don’t know why, since everyone knows he is enormously talented and the consummate professional. If anything, maybe Martin has been too respectful on the track,  unwilling to bump someone out of the way to win a race. But that’s the way he races, and that’s another story.

Martin’s victory came in only his eighth race since joining Hendrick Motorsports. By comparison, Dale Earnhardt Jr., won in his 15th race after joining owner Rick Hendrick’s team, his only victory through 44 races heading into Talladega. By comparison, it took Jimmie Johnson 13 races overall, 10 in his first full season (2002) when he won three times.

Should also point out that Martin, despite beginning this season with consecutive finishes of 16th, 40th, 40th and 31st, is now  only nine points out of the top 12 (which is led by Hendrick teammates Jeff Gordon and Johnson). Martin is 94 points ahead of 19th place Junior in the championship.

Which, of course, means that Junior is definitively the No. 4 driver in Hendrick stable.

No question Junior is a good driver. But he’s the No. 4 driver on that team.

In case anyone was wondering.