Tuesday, May 16, 2006

60 Percent, Whining, and other Comments on Darlington

The "Roush former champion" won at Darlington, Saturday night, but it was the former champion of the Busch series and Craftsman Truck series, not the former Winston Cup champion. I guess we should be more specific, when making our top ten picks. I can't be too Jeff Gordon about it, though, because 60% isn't all that bad.
The Richert/Biffle combination may become as big a part of NASCAR history as Everham/Gordon. Greg Biffle consistently proves that he is a good driver, a Cup champion caliber driver, in fact. At least as long as Doug Richert is his crew chief. Any driver who can win at Darlington is well worth his salt, and, though Da Biff isn't one of my favorites, I have to say that he deserves the win. Every driver, this year has talked about how difficult it is to win any race, and Darlington has proven itself to be one of the toughest tracks to beat. Still, though I am a fan of Doug Richert, somehow, I still can't find my way to being a Greg Biffle fan.
I'm not a Jeff Gordon fan, either, but it was nice seeing Jiffy in contention for the win. It is fun to watch him race, when he is on track, and Darlington has always been a good track for him to demonstrate why he is one of the all-time NASCAR greats. Whining has been part of racing since the invention of the wheel, and Jiffy, who is looking for recognition as a winer, certainly has shown that he is one of the great whiners.
We may never know if Ken Schrader was purposefully blocking Gordon from getting below Biffle at the end of the race. It is possible, because the Ford teams do tend to stick together when it is necessary. Kenny may have been actively working to get Team Ford a victory, if he couldn't do it himself. He did get his sponsor some TV time, which is something any good NASCAR driver does. Intentionally or not, Schrader did help Biffle defeat Gordon, and to Kenny, I say "You da Man!"
I don't think Tony Stewart spun intentionally, as some fans have implied. I may be biased, but I don't see Smoke using that kind of tactic. When Smoke spins by himself like that, it usually means that his car is "in a wreck, but just hasn't hit anything yet." Darlington, with its rough, almost gravelly surface, does tend to make cars loose. This was just another case of Stewart taking a 25th place car to a 12th place finish. For those who are not Tony Stewart fans, Tony is very good at improving the finishing placement of cars that just don't work on a given day.
Denny Hamlin ran very well, all night long. After winning the Busch race, he continued to show that his driving ability is more than plain old rookie luck, earning yet another top ten finish in the Cup series. Watch out for this guy; he is a living example of history in the making.
I have said it before--the level of competition now evident in the Nextel Cup Series has made this season one of the best in fifteen years, and certainly the best in the last seven. Jimmie Johnson, the driver who has won the most races, holds the points lead, which is, as many fans feel, as it should be. But don't rule out any other driver. With Petty Racing, RCR, DEI, and the #9 and #10 teams of Penske South all stepping up; with Roush, JGR and HMS all more competitive than ever; and with the high level of talent throughout the field, don't be surprised if there are many more than ten teams in this Fall's Chase for the Championship.

3 comments:

Babs said...

Schrader is Da Man!!!
Yep, Matty done good and so did Da Biff!

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