I hope everybody had a great weekend. Matt Kenseth sure did. If there is any track on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit where a driver may prove his mettle, "it's Bristol, Baby!"
Kenseth didn't exactly dominate the race. Jeff Burton did a pretty good job at that. It was, as expected some real racing. Lots of passing went on, and, for Bristol at least, it was a clean race. But in the end, Matt Kenseth had the car and the cajones to take the checkers.
Some of the drivers who were expected to do well didn't--happy as I was to see Matt and his "Killer Bees" win, I wasn't happy that my favorite driver, Tony Stewart, didn't have a good night. Try as they might, the number 20 crew could not find the all-important set up that is so necessary to do well at Bristol. If you don't have a fast car, you are in for a long night.
For those who are not familiar with the "Killer Bees," that is the nickname for crew chief Robby Reiser and the #17 pit crew for Matt Kenseth, due to the yellow and black uniforms they wear.
Elliott Sadler also had a disappointing night. It wasn't really expected for Sadler, or "Esad," to do well his first few times in the #19 Dodge Charger, but he finished tenth at Michigan, and started out real well in the Bristol race. But the Bristol finger of fate picked on Esad, and he had two run-ins with the wall--accidents not of his doing.
But, to take a look at all the good stuff that went down, there was plenty of excitement and great racing. Dale Earnhardt, Jr, whose first race at Bristol was probably one of the worst experiences of his life, can usually be expected to do well at that track lately, and he did. He led some laps early in the race, much to the delight of the crowd, and he got a much needed third place finish. Jeff "Darth Vader" Gordon, also was the focus of much excitement. With seventeen laps to go, running in fourth place, he was being seriously challenged by Scott Riggs in a very fast #10 Dodge Charger. Now, Riggs is another of my other favorites, and I was yelling, "go get him, Scotty!"
Of course, Gordon wasn't about to let Scotty by, even though the Everham Dodge was clearly the faster car. If the situation had been reversed, Gordon would not have thought twice about spinning Riggs for the win. As the laps ticked down, time and time again Matt tried to pass Gordon, but Jeffy is a master at blocking, and protected his position well. Finally, in the last lap of the race, Scott got inside of Jeff and completed his pass. It wasn't exactly clean, but it was done, and nobody wrecked.
Denny Hamlin was amazing. Never underestimate Denny Hamlin. This is his first year in Nextel Cup cars, and he drove Bristol like an old pro. He was also charging on Gordon in the last turn of the last lap. He didn't make the pass, but he did finish in sixth place, an excellent finish at Bristol for a rookie.
This was Matt Kenseth's second win in a row, his third if you count Friday night's Busch race. He is also the first driver since Dale Earnhardt (Sr) to win two consecutive night races at Bristol.
Matt is on a roll, with another well deserved win, and, although my man Smoke finished 22nd, two laps down, I saw some real racing, and it was good.