Fantasy NASCAR: ‘Mistake’ proves costly for Kenseth
By Steve T. Gorches email@example.com April 25, 2013 10:06PM
Matt Kenseth steers his car prior to practice for Denny Hamlin's Charity Race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Va., Thursday, April 25, 2013. The driver for Joe Gibbs Racing spoke out Thursday, one day after his team was slapped with some of the harshest penalties in NASCAR history because his race-winning car at Kansas last week failed post-race inspection. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Top 10 readers
Albert Gonzalez 191
Sonja Ison 190
Rose Ford 187
Joe Slamka 185
RuthAnne Slamka 184
Eric Boise 184
Andy Govert 184
Steve Arnold 184
Kyle Hamstra 183
Daryl Gann 182
Al Hamstra 182
Jim Franzen 182
Steve T. Gorches picks — KANSAS — Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch. Total points: 148. RICHMOND — Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski
The annual Post-Tribune Fantasy NASCAR contest has returned for a sixth season. Each week readers pick five drivers and points are based on the same system NASCAR uses in its standings. Lineup entries can be submitted via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (219-314-3797). Entries can also be texted to that cell number. No faxes, please. With your entries, please include your name, hometown and a contact number. First and second place each week will be entered into a drawing in July for tickets to the Brickyard 400.
Updated: May 29, 2013 7:27AM
There’s an old saying in racing — not just NASCAR — that “if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’ ”, so it’s no surprise that for the second straight race a prominent finisher was penalized after the race for, basically, cheating.
It turns out this time it was the winner in Kansas, Matt Kenseth.
The specific infraction was having an unapproved connecting rod in the engine, and the penalty was a steep 50 championship points taken away (basically, the amount he earned for winning), five manufacturer points and his crew chief fined $200,000 and suspended six races.
“I think the penalties are grossly unfair,” Kenseth said Thursday at Richmond. “I think it’s borderline shameful. There’s no performance advantage, there was no intent. It was a mistake.”
Just my humble opinion, but I think NASCAR is getting a little too strict. Remember, this is the same organization that had changed its mantra to, “have at it boys.” But it’s worried about a connecting rod being too light or heavy when it’s not really a competitive advantage?
When you’re cutting off drivers’ chances to compete for a championship with steep penalties for frivolous mistakes, it ceases to be entertaining and becomes annoying instead.
But the Fantasy NASCAR show must go on, and Kenseth’s win wasn’t taken away, so those who picked him were in the running for this week’s top two spots in our contest — as long as they didn’t pick Kyle Busch, who finished an uncharacteristic 38th.
So it came down to who had Kenseth and the least mistakes in the other four picks, and that was Albert Gonzalez of Lake Station, barely, as he posted 191 points with Clint Bowyer (fifth), Greg Biffle (19th), Jamie McMurray (seventh) and Jimmie Johnson (third). He edged Sonja Ison of Hobart, who had 190 points. Both qualify for our July drawing for Brickyard 400 tickets.
Battle of the sexes: After his wife RuthAnne won last week, Joe Slamka joked about the rivalry in his household with our Fantasy NASCAR contest.
“She got lucky last week and I’m never going to live it down,” he said. “Now I have to do dishes all week.”
He got the last laugh this week, barely. Joe edged RuthAnne 185-184. So no dishes next week for Joe.
Point system: We’ve had a couple inquiries about how points are accumulated. It’s simply the exact same points NASCAR uses: one point for each place (43rd gets one, 1st gets 43) plus three points for first, one point for leading a lap and one point for leading the most laps.