Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bristol: A Far-Outer Limits Race Review

Note: I actually wrote this while watching and listening to Sunday's Race. Due to the fact that I am on a community phone system at home, I can't go on line from home, so I use a public computer, which means no on-line access on Sundays. I tried to post it Monday, but I ran out of time, because I was busy working on setting up a forum for my blogs. (More about the forum later) So, now I post it two days later, and, hopefully, you will still be able to find it entertaining.

Early in the race, it looks like tires may be an issue. But, even though it’s the right front tire on all these cars, Johnson’s problem (lap 3) wasn’t the same as Biffle’s, which wasn’t the same as Kurt “Leave My Ears Alone” Busch’s, which wasn’t the same as Schrader’s (broken valve stem). The various problems may be individual car set ups, rather than Goodyear’s tires. However, it is ironic that the race coverage on Performance Radio Network is sponsered by Cooper Tires. How fortunate is Cooper, if the Goodyears are suspect? You can’t buy advertising like that!

After all that nice stuff I said about Robby Gordon, he shoots himself in the foot once again. After working his way into the top 15, he has to pit, and gets caught for speeding on pit road. He voices his displeasure with the NASCAR officials, and deftly gets penalized a lap. I think he used a Reuger Blackhawk to remove his big toe, because he has a great car that could be in contention.

I wonder what the bashers have to say about Kevin Lepage after he spun Brent Sherman on lap 13? “That (expletive) is out of control! He’s going to kill somebody!” Probably not. It’s more fun to pick on Smoke.
I’m sure that they will pick on Smoke for not showing any sign of holding a grudge against Matt Kenseth, or on Kenseth for not retaliating against Stewart for what happened over a month ago at Daytona. There are certain “fans” who can’t stand the kind of racing that Kenseth and Stewart are doing, with a lot of give and take, as they exchange the lead. I’m loving it, myself--these two great drivers are teaching class on how gentlemen race at Bristol. When the race gets into the 150 lap range, Jeff Gordon comes into the picture, and it almost looks like the #17 and the #20 are tag teaming Gordon. The truth is that Kenseth’s car isn’t running well in clean air, so he has to give the lead back to Stewart. It certainly is a joy watching these three guys racing up front. This is why I love NASCAR.

Then Matt has trouble on the restart around lap 163, somehow getting into the back of Jimmy Johnson, who is lined up in the inside row, a lap down. The damage doesn’t seem too troubling, as Kenseth remains competitive. The Hendrick teams live by “BBB,” which doesn’t mean “Better Business Bureau.” For those who don’t read bumper stickers, it means “Bump, Brakecheck, Block.” That’s the credo of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s amazing how much TV misses during the commercials.
Oh boy! Kenseth and Newman are getting into it. Fight, fight, fight!!! This is really old school, and is a blast to watch. Look out Mark, these guys are out of control! They’re going to kill somebody! Not! It’s just Bristol, and that is what we come here for.

At least Hamlin picks the right guy to mess with. As long as you don’t wreck him, Jarrett knows what racing is, and he’ll race you like you race him. He’s not going to get out of the way just because you’re bumping him, though. PRN talked to him during the red flag, and he didn’t seem too upset.

They needed that red flag. The oil from Mikey Waltrip’s car was causing a lot of problems, and I’m sure a few drivers need to calm down. It’s still too early in the race for tempers to reach the boiling point.

Now the bashers get some ammo! My favorite driver, Tony Stewart, for those who haven’t figured it out, gets into the back of Brent Sherman. He’s out of control! He’s going to kill somebody! Of course, Sherman is one and a half seconds slower than Stewart, but you know the bashers will say that Smoke should have had more patience and slowed down to Sherman’s speed.

Okay, I’m going to fast forward to the last 100 or so laps. I’m trying to type while watching the race, but I’m not fast enough to keep up with everything.

I’ve got to hand it to Kurt “You Can’t Grab My Ears Anymore” Busch. After he was down two laps for tire problems early in the race, he has made it back among the leaders. Look out! Jeff Gordon is out of control! He’s going to kill somebody! Happy Harvick is Happy, it’s good to see that, as he cracks “That Gordon, he just doesn’t have any patience.” I like the old cocky Kevin Harvick who has seemed to reemerge for the first time since 2003. Now Martin Truex Jr’s out of control! He’s going to kill somebody! Now Tony Stewart’s out of control! He’s going to kill somebody! I’m out of control! I’m taking all the thunder away from the bashers!

Now for the end of a great race. I’m unhappy because Smoke ran out of tires and is falling back, but the stuff going on among the top 5 is great. I want Matt to win, but Jarrett wants to stay on the lead lap, and Harvick catches him. Busch is there! Harvick’s there! Kenseth’s there! Gordon’s there! Great save by Matt, as Jeffy does the BBB thing on him. I want Harvick to get this win, but that is Kurt “I’ve Got A New Image” Busch right behind him, and love him or hate him, Dirty Kurty really knows how to race on this track. And, as I mentioned before, Dale Jarrett isn’t going to move out of the way. There it is, a bump, Harvick gets loose, and I have to admit, it was a great race move on the part of Kurt “Just Because I Have A New Image Doesn’t Mean I Have Forgotten All The Tricks” Busch. And here we go, right down to the last lap. Jeff isn’t there anymore, because Matt did a great move on him. Matt spun Jeffy! Way to go! The battle between Harvick and Busch is fitting, considering how the gauntlet was thrown Friday. What more could you ask for (besides Stewart winning, I mean) ?

What a great finish to a great race. This is why I like Bristol. along with millions of other real race fans. And Kurt is showing some personality, making a “snow angel” on the start/finish line. That’s right! The new Kurt Busch has a personality! I never thought I’d see the day. Oooh fight! I think Matt was going to apologize to Jeffy. Come on Jeffy, be a man! Take of that darn helmet! He’ll probably get fined for that shove. NASCAR has made its bed in precedent, so they’ll probably deduct points, too, even though what happened post race has nothing to do with the outcome of the race or points standings.

Congrats to Bobby Labonte, getting a top five for Petty Enterprises! That team is on its way up. Congratulations to all the drivers for putting on such a great show.
I can’t wait for Martinsville!

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