Monday, July 24, 2006

Pocono Lived up to Rep, So Did the Drivers

Someone forgot to tell Denny Hamlin that Pocono was supposed to be a hard track for rookies to learn. In June, his very first time at the track, he took the pole in qualifying, then went on to take the checkers.He repeated both feats at the Pennsylvania 500, Sunday, and made it look easy. The only other driver who has accomplished a sweep at a single track in his rookie year is Jeff Gordon, who swept Martinsville in 1994. Gordon is widely considered to be one of the all time greats in NASCAR.

The race would have been fairly mundane if it hadn't been for our man Tony "Smoke" Stewart. Early in the race, he retaliated against Clint Bowyer, who was seemingly trying to run Smoke into the wall. Smoke saved his car and chopped into Bowyer, to teach him a lesson in "Give and Take," and knocked Boyer out of the way. Bowyer, on his way off the track hit Carl Edwards, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Now, everyone knows that this is a Tony Stewart fan's blog, but I think I can be objective here. There are times that Stewart should show restraint. He can't always the other driver to respect the unwritten rules of racing sportsmanship--after all, everybody is in the race to win. So, I wasn't surprised when Smoke was black flagged, and had to take a penalty. It was only fair. That type of racing has been part of NASCAR from day one, and so has the rough driving penalty. Fan as I am, this incident is of the type that can be expected from my favorite driver. And, as many fans know, there are many other drivers in NASCAR who would have done the same thing, and take the same penalty. I'm not arguing that it was Bowyer's fault. True, he shouldn't have been there, and he probably didn't want to be there, but circumstances and a loose handling race car put him there. We know there is going to be contact in NASCAR racing--that is what sets it apart from open wheel and other types of racing--but still, it is the driver's own responsibility that would determine the difference between a racing incident and a rough racing violation.


Cheyenne said...

Sorry, but I'm on Tony's side this time. We need more like him. At least he doesn't wimp out and take the "easy" way out of things. Gotta love 'im.

Babs said...

Tony did make the race interesting!! And he came back for a great finish.