Where did THAT come from???
Holy flaming tires, Batman!
While the race may not have been overly “exciting” (whatever that means to various folks) the end was quite exciting and there were plenty of “hot” topics to cover.
First of all, rain washed out qualifying putting the cars in order by practice speed. Funny enough, that put a Penske car on the front row again. That has been the case in every race this year except for Daytona. That is impressive.
So the race gets started and on the first lap, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Larson get together spinning the young man out. Payback is coming Clint, just wait.
Then we are entertained with tire issues once again. This time, Jimmie Johnson is bit by the front tire issue – twice. Then we have Clint Bowyer (karma) and Reed Sorenson catching fire due to a combination of soft rubber compound, hot rotors and brakes – and probably some camber issues. Of course that makes for spectacular television at night. Reed Sorenson’s car became pretty engulfed in flames as he shot down pit road with pit crews and safety personnel rushing to pull him from the car.
There was the typical rubbing and racing all night long and the final laps were no less. It was three-wide run for the checkers with Keselowski, Kenseth, Gordon, Jr., Kyle Busch and Logano. As Keselowski and Kenseth played a game of “I am passing you, oh no you’re not” with Gordon watching, Logano drove past them all to take the lead and the win. That left Jeff Gordon wondering just what he has to do to win a race.
If all of that wasn’t enough, there was some finger pointing between Kenseth and Keselowski after the race and then to top it all off, Mears and Ambrose have a scuffle with Mears giving Ambrose a hard shove and Ambrose countering with an Aussie knuckle sandwich. The drivers were quickly separated leaving the rest of us to wonder just what the heck happened between those two on track to cause all that.
The race saw 6 drivers compete for the lion’s share of the laps with Jeff Gordon leading the most with 173 and Brad Keselowski with 114. Logano led for 46 with none more important than the last lap.
And in the Nationwide series, Chase Elliott did not win – but he did come in 2nd to Kevin Harvick.
But that isn’t as important as this week’s….
Joey Logano (1) pretty much has a Chase berth locked up.
Winless Jeff Gordon (2) leads the points, but would rather be in 12th with a win.
Brad Keselowski (4) thought he had the win but Matt Kenseth said no.
Winless Matt Kenseth (5) blocked his way to 5th when maybe he could have had 2nd or 3rd.
Kyle Busch (4) was not quite in the cat bird’s seat, but pretty darned close.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (7) led a few laps and had a run in due to the Kenseth/Keselowski kerfuffle that shuffled back.
AJ Allmendinger (6) had a good run that moved him up to 17th in the standings.
Ryan Newman (8) got a nice top 10.
Carl Edwards (9) was not even close to winning this race again, but a decent top 10.
Martin Truex, Jr. (10) FINALLY finished a race in the top 10. And he moved up just 1 position in the points.
Kevin Harvick (11) just missed a top 10 finish but did move to the top 20 in points. And with 2 wins, he is feeling pretty safe.
Brian Vickers (12) started with a fast car and salvaged a top 15 run.
Jamie McMurray (13) did the same. It is nice to see him run close to the top 10 and finish in the top 15. Now they need to improve on that.
Kasey Kahne (14) also had a fast car in practice but that wasn’t enough.
Kyle Larson (16) started up front, got spun out and managed to finish 16th. Not bad for the rookie.
Marcos Ambrose (18) landed the best punch all season. Probably had a lot to do with how close he finished to Casey Mears (19).
And now, the LOSERS:
Clint Bowyer (43) flamed out early. His Chase hopes seem to be dimming but a win or 2 could change that.
Reed Sorenson (42) went up in smoke and thankfully is OK.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (38) is not performing up to snuff. But then, his teammates aren’t setting the world on fire either.
Danica Patrick (34) outperformed her BF. That just doesn’t happen very often.
Winless Jimmie Johnson (32) had tire issues again and wasted a decent starting position. But he is still in the top 10 in points.
Austin Dillon (27) is channeling his inner Danica and quickly making us forget that Daytona pole.
Tony Stewart (24) is really struggling this year. Probably can’t wait for summer.
Kurt Busch (23) has that win and that is about all he has going for him right now.
Winless Denny Hamlin (22) struggled again and isn’t worried at all. Sure.
Those are my observations. What about you?
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