The Final Word – Newman’s early success deflated heading into Texas

As the boys and girl venture on to Fort Worth, it seems apropos for some to seek a resurrection of their hopes on the season. For others, the off weekend did little to help matters from where we left off after Martinsville.

Somebody was doing something to their tires, and somebody was going to pay. We knew NASCAR had some suspects, that they had some tires that they were testing, and we discovered soon enough that this was one conspiracy theory that held up.

The rules state that “any device, modification, or procedure to the tire or wheel, including the valve stem hardware, that is used to release pressure, beyond normal pressure adjustments, from the tire and/or inner shield, will not be permitted.”

For violating the rules, Ryan Newman’s crew chief Luke Lambert has been fined $125,000 and is gone until the points race in Charlotte in late May. Team tire tech James Bender and team engineer Philip Surgen are similarly on vacation. Seventy-five of the points that Ryan Newman had garnered in the opening six events, along with the same amount of owner points for Richard Childress, are gone, as they say at Shawshank, like a “fart in the wind.”

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Newman falls from sixth to 26th in the standings, yet could bounce back with a win this Saturday night. At least he will be in the race. Thankfully, Kyle Larson is also back after fainting at a Martinsville autograph session prior to that event. The culprit turned out to be dehydration.

Will the Roush-Fenway trio of Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Trevor Bayne be back? Sure, they are participating, but a combined total of a single Top Ten and two laps led does not make one a competitor.

Voting is now open for the next class for the Hall of Fame. I think Rick Hendrick’s 232 Cup wins to go with his 11 Cup championships should make him an automatic selection. If I had a vote, other picks would likely be crew chief Harry Hyde, track owner Bruton Smith, and driver Mark Martin.

Maybe even Richard Childress. Hey, the guy could use some positive feedback about now.

Jimmie Johnson heads to Texas having won three of the past five there, though none of them was in the spring. Those went to Kyle Busch, who continues to mend, and Joey Logano.

However, Matt Kenseth is also strong at this track, and is seeking to resurrect his success on the Texas circuit. He was 25th last fall, his worst performance there in 25 starts, where ninth or better is an expected outcome. If it all comes back together, maybe a third set of six-guns could be in the offing.

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