Morgan Shepherd Upsets Logano & NASCAR fans


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PIcture from ESPN

I am not sure what was the biggest story to come out of New Hampshire; Keselowski dominating for his 3rd win or Morgan Shepherd taking out Joey Logano?

NASCAR fans are an odd breed. On one hand, they want old school racing, lots of rubbin’ is racin’ and run what ya brung. They have gotten that pretty much all year but the past 2 weeks all I hear is a lot of griping. Last week at Daytona we heard a lot of weather related grousing in a rain-shortened race that saw the famed 43 piloted by Aric Almirola go to Victory Lane.

This week the grousing was around septuagenarian Morgan Shepherd. Morgan has run only 2 races this year and this time he cracked the top 40. Morgan has been racing for decades and passes the physical that NASCAR requires and usually runs with an underfunded team. I mean after all, who wants to put all their bet on a 70-something driver?

In the age of social media and fans screaming about more old school racing, what is more old school than 70-something Morgan Shepherd? You would think fans would eat that stuff up, right?

Well, you would be wrong.

Morgan was 10 laps down as then second place Logano went around him on the high side. Morgan had moved to clear room for Logano but he was loose. As Logano passed Shepherd, Shepherd’s car got loose, came around and tagged Logano putting his 22 car into the wall and ruining his bid for a Penske 1-2 finish. Logano was ticked off to be taken out by the slowest car on the track and perhaps Shepherd could have gone a little lower on the track to clear the 22, but accidents happen and that is what racing is all about. Was Morgan Shepherd the only car to wreck or spin out on Sunday? Of course not. But he was the target of a lot of fan ire online.

I am not sure where all the hate is coming from but I sure hope I could have the guts and ability to drive a Cup car at over 150 mph when I am 72.

So what is it race fans, run what ya brung, boys have at it or not?

OK, back to the race. It was pretty much the Brad Keselowski show. No matter where he restarted from, it was simply a matter of time before he took the lead over and over again. It is obvious the Penske team has qualifying figures out and they have had two of the fastest cars all year. Had Logano not been taken out late it is quite possible it would have been a 1-2 for Penske. At the very least Logano was looking at a top 5 finish. It was the 4th straight win for Ford this season, but there were only 2 Fords in a top 10 dominated by Toyota and Chevrolet.

What happened to Hendrick Motorsports? Well, Jimmie Johnson went out early with a tire issue that sent him into the wall. Gordon ran out of gas in the GWC finish ending his bid for a top 5. Jr and Kahne finished 10th and 11th. A decent day for Kahne but a lousy day for Jr.

You have to hand it to Jr., the guy had handling problems right from the get go forcing him to drive from deeper in the field. While you could say that finishing 10th after starting so far back was an accomplishment at Loudon, not for this team. Where this may have been a good day a couple of years ago, it was an obvious disappointment for Dale, Jr. That guy wears his emotions on his sleeve. One of the more reserved, if not outright shy, drivers in the garage, there is no doubt about it when he is unhappy in his performance. Likewise, when he wins you can just tell how thrilled he is. Say what you want about him, but Dale, Jr. is genuine.

Now, on to what really matters. This week’s WINNERS:

Brad Keselowski (1) swept the weekend races, moves up to 3rd in points and has 3 wins to match Johnson.

Kyle Busch (2) set a speed record, had the pole and might have won had it not been for Super Brad.

Kyle Larson (3) led 14 laps as the top-finishing rookie. While the Kyle and Kyle Show isn’t quite yet the Dale and Dale Show, it has some promise.

Matt Kenseth (4) led laps but wasn’t a super serious threat to win. Still the #1 guy without a win in the catbird seat for the Chase.

Ryan Newman (5) gets only his second top 5 of the year and is solidly in the top 10 in points.

Clint Bowyer (6) led some laps and looked decent. But not decent enough for a win. He may be on the bubble for the Chase unless he can pull out a win.

Tony Stewart (7) had an up and down day after starting 4th. If he doesn’t win soon, he will not make the Chase.

Denny Hamlin (8) started up front, led a few laps and then faded at the end.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (9) was the only other Ford in the top 10 and his fourth of the year.

Dale Jr. (10) was not being real happy at the end of the race. They need to be better on flat tracks with the Brickyard coming up next.

Kasey Kahne (11) was the 3rd best Hendrick car and while he did not gain a lot of positions from the start, he did not lose a bunch either.

Martin Truex, Jr. (12) can count this as a good day.

Austin Dillon (14) stayed out of trouble and finished in the top 15. Which would be good for a rookie if Kyle Larson was not kicking his butt right now.

Jeff Burton (20) may have started his last race as the Mayor of the garage area.

Morgan Shepherd (39) started last and cracked the top 40 at age 72.

And now the big LOSERS:

Jimmie Johnson (42) went out early again with tire issues. That probably won’t happen at the Brickyard.

Joey Logano (40) got taken out late and cost him a top 5 finish.

Morgan Shepherd (39) gets dual listing since he could have given Logano a bit more room knowing he was as loose as he was.

Justin Allgaier (38) created the final caution that cost some teams a better finish.

Kevin Harvick (30) ran out of gas on the final restart. See above.

Jeff Gordon (26) ran out of gas and was the best Hendrick car.

Aric Almirola (23) went from hero to, well, normal in a week.

Brian Vickers (21) expected a whole lot better.

Kurt Busch (17) led a lap early but that was about it.

Carl Edwards (13) was a pre-race fantasy racing favorite. I have no idea why.

Greg Biffle (15) was evidently signed to keep mediocrity in place for another year.

Jamie McMurray (14) started well then faded. Have you heard this before?

That’s all for this week. Your turn to weigh in. Please do.

Comments

  1. NASCARJeff

    I have a few bucks saved so I am going to sponsor my 81 year old father who retired from racing in his late sixties.

    Sounds like a good idea right?

  2. Russ

    Look at the hand wringing when there were only 42 cars at the last race. Think Nascar was going to prevent anybody from running at NH and having 42 again? I dont think so either.

  3. Anne

    While I appreciate your defense of Morgan, I feel the opposite. Yes all your statements are true in the literal sense, but in actual reality of Nascar’s top tier Cup level, it doesn’t apply. He qualifed 10 seconds off the pole and was a source of complaints (radio chatter) often enough before it seemed that the stress of the car and track overtook him. My Aunt Tilly could have drove around the track, based on the 43 slots and 43 applicants. Given Nascars rules, he did have the right to run. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. People are getting all over Logano, he really didn’t say anything wrong, didn’t mention his age but yet he is getting ripped. Well who wouldn’t be pissed, getting taking out by a guy who obviously loves racing but was not there to be competitive. Imo, him showing up to “race” now and then is to keep his place in the history books as the oldest guy on the track. Why wouldn’t Logano be upset with that? A solid fast run on a track that hasn’t been kind to him in the past, it looks like it was going to be a Penske 1 2 finish and that happens. What is he suppose to do, take the old guy to the senior special at the Applebee’s? Fans are funny, the very ones claiming Logano did not show respect to the “elder”were the very ones who said horrible things about the Petty’s when they spoke true words regarding DP. These very fans are still ripping the win of Aric last week “it’s not real”, and saying Nascar let down fans calling the race. Never mind it was still raining 9:00 that night, not factoring the drying time, this was day two..etc. I mean this stuff is just stupid, no logical argument can be found. I fear for our future based on these hateful comments all over the net. I do know for a fact if this happened to one of fan “favorites”, think the God Dale Jr, Morgan would have to go into hiding. If this happened to Harvick/Stewart/Bushes their words would have been harsh and these idiot fans would be cheering them. I find this double standard and childish love for one driver and childish hate for another, amazing. Logano got clipped, and the armchair experts thru their “analysis” have come to the conclusion that it was Logano’s fault. Funny and sad.

    1. Randal

      While it is sad, it is true! You can go out and run around everyone else when they have problems and are 50 laps down and know everytime you pass them you need to be paying closer attention, but go back and look for yourself….it was Joeys fault no matter how you look at it. He should have been paying closer attention. If you watch the two previous laps you can see the accident unfolding in front of you. He’s lucky it didn’t happen the lap before. If it wasn’t for people like Shepherd NASCAR wouldnot be what it is today and the younger gen. needs to respect that. Last place pays money as well so its not like they have never been thru this before. Lay off Morgan, it WAS NOT HIS FAULT! That goes double for Jeff Gordon who needs to keep his mouth shut about this situation.

      1. Chuck Abrams

        What Jeff Gordon said about minimum speeds is probably true. Many of the cars that are slow are going to not finish the race to begin with. Are you there to race or just make laps to collect a paycheck? Unfortunately, the latter is more true. That is how many of the teams make ends meet so that they can compete from time to time. But that is how NASCAR is different from any other sport. You just don’t have part time teams competing week to week in any other sport. As race fans, we used to celebrate the fact that drivers can just show up and race — as long as you are qualified on specific tracks. So do we like that fact or not? Minimum speeds might need to be looked at again. But as long as you can make that speed, you should be able to race.

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