Frye's potential move from Team Red Bull to Stewart-Haas not about money
From projectile beer cans to side-by-side restarts to his new Army buzz cut, Marty Smith waxes philosophical on the world of NASCAR.
with Marty Smith
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- CHANGE IN THE AIR: Last season marked the first time the Chase lineup entering Richmond saw no one drop out:• In 2004 Jeremy Mayfield jumped from the 14th points position to 10th by way of a rousing charge to Victory Lane.
• The following year saw Kasey Kahne venture to Richmond 30 points behind 10th-place Jeff Burton and 75 points behind eighth-place Tony Stewart. Kahne's third-place run nearly nipped Burton, who finished ninth, and ultimately supplanted Stewart, who came home 18th.
• And last year, Dale Earnhardt Jr. rolled into Richmond in 13th position, 128 points behind 12th-place Kevin Harvick and 141 behind 11th-place Kurt Busch. Any drama was fleeting, however, as Junior limped home 30th while Harvick and Busch finished seventh and ninth, respectively.That brings us to the what-if scenarios...
- VIRGINIA IS FOR SHOVERS: At Richmond in the spring, Kyle Busch's banzai run at Earnhardt handed victory to Clint Bowyer, who hung around in the top five all night and reaped the benefits of key positioning. Bowyer will need a similar effort to maintain his Chase position this season. He is just 17 points up on David Ragan -- arguably the season's biggest surprise. He finished third in this race in 2007. And don't forget about Kahne. He's just 48 points out of 12th and is one of the best drivers in the Sprint Cup Series at Richmond.(I should have marketed the "Virginia is for Shovers" theme to track president Doug Fritz. Would have made some fine billboards and T-shirts. Just the latest missed opportunity for me.)
- SCHOOL OF HARV KNOCKS: Kevin Harvick deserves mention. The No. 29 left Indianapolis in 13th place, two points outside of Bowyer in 12th. In the five races since, Harvick has been outstanding, posting finishes of fourth, sixth, eighth, fourth and fourth at Pocono, Watkins Glen, Michigan, Bristol and California. And, as always, he'll be a threat to win at Richmond.