Friday, September 5, 2008

Chevy Rock & Roll 400 preview

Each week Ridebuyer delves deep into the misunderstood, oft terrifying, world of American saloon-car racing known as NASCAR.

This week: Chevy Rock & Roll 400
TV: ABC 7:00pm EST (Saturday)
Location: Richmond International Raceway (Richmond, VA)
Distance: 300 miles/400 laps
Past winners: J. Johnson (5/07); J. Johnson (9/07); C. Bowyer (5/08).

*Who makes The Chase and some hurricane related humor and forecasting*

-Remember when Bill Nye the Science Guy did "Consider the Following..." segments near the end of his shows? We sure do. It was one of the highlights of the show that, thinking back on it, were always the same, regardless of the episode. Each program seemed to revolve around baking soda and crash test car wreck footage. Every. Single. Show.

We can distinctly remember watching Science Guy in 9th grade biology class. We sat behind Jenna, who was a mature woman in the 10th grade. She smoked Marlboro Milds in the parking lot between classes and wore thongs before it was the social norm of the girls in our grade. To say she was the fancy of guys in Mr. Schuster's 3rd period class would be a drastic understatement. (Clearly intellectual prowess was not taken into account by the horn-goats in that class. Jenna was almost certainly was dumb as fuck. Clearly she failed the same class one year prior, thus leading her to the position of 'mature woman'.)

Well, the majority of our time in that class was split between the following: staring at the undergarments of Jenna, quoting Top Gun, and watching Bill Nye the Science Guy. In that order.

Needless to say, save for the few and far between music videos (see below), "Consider the Following..." was the highlight of the program that overwhelmingly occupied the science portion of Schuster's class.

We tip our collective hats to Mr. (Dr.?) Nye. Certainly many folks share similar fond memories of that show.

In that vain, (and because you need to be a fucking scientist to figure out The Chase point system) we invite you to Consider the Following... (About Saturday's final race before The Chase, that is)-


Technically speaking, seven drivers are jockeying for five remaining positions in The Chase. Those drivers are Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, David Ragan and Kasey Kahne. However, barring some crazy shit happening, the real race for the final Chase spot will be between Bowyer, Ragan and Kahne. The rest of the field is pretty much locked into the playoffs. It's Bowyer who holds the precarious p12 going into Saturday's event, leading Ragan by 17 points. Kahne is 48 points adrift of Bowyer and 31 points from Ragan. That's your race right there.


In three of the last four seasons, a driver outside the field of 12 has raced his way in at Richmond: Jeremy Mayfield did it in '04, Ryan Newman in '05 and Kasey Kahne in '06. Historically speaking, this would indicate Clint Bowyer is not in a favorable spot.


Bowyer won the first Richmond race of the year and has never finished outside of the top-12 at RIR. Kahne has one RIR win (2005) but his average finishing spot is only 17.3. Ragan is only making his third career start at RIR. Historically speaking, this would indicate Clint Bowyer is in a favorable spot.

Considering over.

-Does Bill Nye know anything about weather patterns? How about hurricanes in particular? If he does, the science Czar would surely tell you this race has exactly zero chance of being run on Saturday night. Tropical Storm Hanna is expected to hit the greater Richmond-area on Saturday, and that sounds like it could produce some moisture. The Weather Channel says there is a 100% chance of precipitation in Richmond through Saturday night. We'll help you out, Richmond is in one the green areas below.

We're thinking the race will likely play itself out on Sunday.

Insert Katrina joke...Here.

About this race:

*What to know:

Lame Duckiness: The drivers who are already locked into The Chase have little incentive to do well at this race (you know, aside from the sizable purse, glory associated with winning a Cup event and the bonus points awarded for winning a race that carry into The Chase). This event really comes down to Bowyer, Ragan and Kahne fighting for the final playoff spot. Unless Kyle Busch wrecks Carl Edwards, there will be few other story lines to follow. Sorry.

*Who to watch:

Clint Bowyer: Currently in Chase. Could be bounced out of Chase.

David Ragan: Currently not in Chase. Could bounce into Chase

Kasey Kahne: Ibid.

*For those heading to the track: Pertinent tailgating information is here. Because of the apocalyptic rains being expected for the entire eastern U.S., we'd be leery of parking in grass lots on RIR's rounds. There is nothing worse than getting thoroughly boozed-up before a race, sitting through a long rain delay, have the race cancelled, be hangover by the time you get back to your car, then find out that your dually is hopelessly stuck in the Virgina clay. Been there, done that. We recommend finding something -not race related- to do on Saturday, then regroup for Sunday's rain date.

The Ridebuyer cocktail of the race is the movie Cocktail. Watch it on Saturday when the race gets cancelled. It stars Tom Cruise, Elisabeth Shue and some guy with an accent who kills himself in the end. It's phenomenally bad.


1 Kyle Busch
2 Carl Edwards
3 Jimmie Johnson
4 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5 Jeff Burton
6 Greg Biffle
7 Kevin Harvick
8 Tony Stewart
9 Matt Kenseth
10 Jeff Gordon
11 Denny Hamlin
12 Clint Bowyer

Next race: Sylvania 300 (New Hampshire Motor Speedway). In your best Jim Mora voice, let us all ring in the "playoffs?" commencing.

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