Sunday, April 21, 2013

Winners and Losers from Sunday's STP 400 at Kansas Speedway (BleacherReport.com)



BY JERRY BONKOWSKI (FEATURED COLUMNIST) ON APRIL 21, 2013

Joe and J.D. Gibbs may be upset that three of their team's race cars were torn up in wrecks in Sunday's STP 400 at Kansas Speedway, but any frustration was quickly erased when Matt Kenseth crossed the finish line with his second win of the season for Joe Gibbs Racing.

On the flip side, Kenseth's teammate, Kyle Busch, had a terrible day, finishing 38th.

Other drivers in the race also having less-than-stellar outings included Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Such is the story of this week's winners and losers in the Sprint Cup circuit. While Kenseth will likely have a smile on his face for the next few days, perhaps the best thing to say for the drivers who struggled Sunday is they're not in Kansas anymore (at least until this fall during the Chase for the Sprint Cup race there).

 To continue reading, click here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Remembering the Way a Tough Cop Helped Make Kansas Speedway Safer (BleacherReport.com)

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Kansas Speedway (Getty Photos)


BY JERRY BONKOWSKI (Featured Columnist)

Kansas Speedway will be one of the safest venues in the U.S. this weekend, and it won’t be just because of the tragic Boston Marathon bombings on Monday.

While there may be a slight upgrade because of what happened in Boston, a large law enforcement presence involving a number of local, state and federal agencies and a high level of safety has been paramount at Kansas since Oct. 1, 2006.

It was on that day, about two hours after Tony Stewart won the Banquet 400, that several unthinkable events came together to shake NASCAR, the larger sports world and Kansas and Missouri law enforcement to their core.

Kansas City (Ks.) police officer Susan Brown was working a special security detail, just trying to make a few extra bucks to help support her family, deep within the bowels of the race track. She was guarding roughly $1 million in cash in the track’s vault room, proceeds taken in from the day from concession stand and souvenir stand sale.

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Susan Brown
What should have been a routine day turned into life-changing day for Brown, a well-respected veteran detective of the KCKPD. As the door to the vault room was closing after yet another dropoff of the days receipts, two masked men burst in and shot Brown several times—at point-blank range, leaving her for dead.

Brown was able to shepherd several track workers into the vault while exchanging fire with the robbers. Even as several bullets tore through her frame, Brown was more concerned at making sure the employees were safe than worrying about her own safety and well being.

The men, who it would later be learned once worked as volunteers at the track, tried to get to the cash but Brown’s return fire caused them to make a quick exit and leave the vault empty-handed. But not before they had shot Brown six times in her face, chest, arm and leg, leaving her to die.

"There were many, many shots fired," KCK police captain James Brown said at the time. "It's pretty bold for anyone to walk up to an officer in any community and shoot 'em down in cold blood like that."

To continue reading, click here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ranking the 11 Most Intelligent Drivers in NASCAR Today (BleacherReport.com)


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Two of NASCAR's most intelligent drivers, not to mention boss and employee, Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick.
(Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


BY JERRY BONKOWSKI (FEATURED COLUMNIST) ON APRIL 9, 2013

A few weeks back, I put forth a list of what I believed to be the 11 most intelligent crew chiefs in NASCAR today, ranked in order.

Reader response was fantastic—as were reader comments, which I appreciate.

Obviously, the likely encore is a ranked list of the 11 most intelligent drivers in NASCAR today.

But before we get to the list, let's clarify a few criteria that went into making this list. First, obviously, is driving talent.

While I'm sure I'll get a few complaints about at least one driver on this list, remember that I'm talking about the overall package of the person.

Second is something that at times is actually more important than actual sheer driving talent—and that's brain power. Every one of the drivers on this list was chosen for how they combine performance with cerebral ability.

Third is off-track acumen, particularly in business or in promotion of one's self.

You may question some of those traits first, but once you read each driver's synopsis, I think you'll realize why each of the 11 selected made this list.

(To continue reading, click here)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ranking the 10 Most Fearless Drivers in NASCAR Today (BleacherReport.com)


BY   (FEATURED COLUMNIST) ON MARCH 7, 2013


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Trying to pick the most fearless drivers in NASCAR today is pretty easy: just look for the guys who don't take any crap from anyone else. They'll stand up for themselves, no matter who it is they're going up against.

At the same time, you'd think every full-time Cup driver is fearless, and to an extent, that's true. But there are some drivers that just stand head and shoulders above their competition, and they're the 10 drivers we pick here.

Because I am limited to make only 10 choices, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention three others who just missed this list by a sliver. They're the trio I call the honorable mentions: four-time Cup champ Jeff Gordon, 2003 Cup champ and two-time Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne, none of whom has ever backed down from an on-track challenge. 

So without further ado, here's my list of the 10 most fearless drivers in NASCAR today:


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Police and NASCAR officials try to restore order after the pit road brawl
 where Clint Bowyer's crew members attempted to attack driver
  Jeff Gordon after Gordon wrecked Bowyer, effectively ending his
 Chase championship chances.
(photo courtesy Getty Images).

Controversial Wreck Leads to Jeff Gordon Nearly Mugged by Clint Bowyer's Crew
(BleacherReport.com)


BY   (FEATURED COLUMNIST) ON NOVEMBER 11, 2012




There is no other way to say it, no better way to describe what took place two laps from the finish Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.

Jeff Gordon was nearly mugged, plain and simple.

The offenders weren't some scraggly thieves looking for Johnson's wallet for a quick cash score.

Rather, the offenders were nothing short of the kind of hooligans you'd find in the most egregious soccer matches in either Europe or South America.

Those offenders were disguised as members of the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing team, but in reality, they were nothing more than out and outright thugs.

Sure, 30 or 40 years ago, when drivers had a dust-up on the race track, they'd more often than not settle their differences man-to-man and fist-to-fist behind the nearest hauler. Who can forget the infield skirmish between Donny Allison and Cale Yarborough in the 1979 Daytona 500?

But this is modern day NASCAR. We've come a long way—or at least I'd like to hope we have—than from things like the Allison-Yarborough throwdown in the infield of Daytona International Speedway 33 years ago.

Yes, this is modern-day NASCAR. This is not the wild, wild West, this is not pro wrestling and this is certainly not what NASCAR is supposed to be about.

I get that Bowyer and his crew were upset. But at the same time, these are supposed to be grown men, individuals that are supposed to represent Michael Waltrip Racing and several key sponsors in the finest and most upstanding ways.

I can only imagine how officials from 5-Hour Energy, Bowyer's primary sponsor, must have reacted when Bowyer's crew rushed to try and attack Gordon.