Monday, November 06, 2006

Texas Review

Tony "Smoke" Stewart is definitely on a roll. Wearing the complimentary ten gallon hat awarded to the victor at Texas Motor Speedway, he looked as if he was about to tell Rowdy Yates, "Let's head 'em off at the pass!"
Indeed, heading 'em off at the pass is exactly what Smoke did to win his second consecutive Cup race and his third in the last eight races. He made it look easy, dominating the race and leading all but thirty or so laps. His lead was challenged by Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson, but Kahne's car blew an engine, and Johnson wisely decided not to risk losing his points lead by pressing the issue. Stewart has now scored more driver's points during the Chase for the Championship than any of the ten Championship contenders. Eleventh place is the highest points position Smoke can hope for, but he is doing what he said he would do--winning as many races as he can. "I finally won a race at a track where Jeff Gordon hasn't won, yet," he said in a post race interview.
"We just got a late start (in getting a successful program)," he told the hosts of Speed TV's NASCAR Victory Lane. He is having a great time racing without the pressure of trying to win the championship.

A Matt Kenseth fan called the Speed TV program Wind Tunnel With Dave Despain and remarked, "(Kenseth) started the race like a sack of fertilizer and finished it smelling like a rose."
Of course, that type of performance is what the #17 team does. It seems as though Kenseth's crew chief, Robbie Reiser, cannot seem to bring a car that is good off the hauler, but, by the end of the race, Matt can finish in a high enough position to keep himself well within contention for the championship. This is where David Pearson, I mean Matt Kenseth, is consistant, and this is why I truley believe that he will be the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion. As it stands now, he is only fourteen points out of the lead.

Not that Jimmie Johnson doesn't deserve to win the Championship. Though he is not among my top ten favorite drivers, his talent and ability, and the talent and ability of the entire #48 team, must be a cause for celebation if he takes the Cup. As close as he has come to the ultimate prize, finishing outside the top three in points only once in his career, he does deserve it. It should be exciting to watch the points battle between Johnson and Kenseth over the course of the final two races of the season. Kenseth should re-attain the points lead at Phoenix, and Johnson should be better at Homestead. But then, much of that scenario depends on luck.

There are three other drivers who are still strong contenders for the Cup; Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Any of those three drivers could still take the points lead, if they finish far enough ahead of both Johnson and Kenseth. The lack of points security is best illustrated by the fact that Jeff Burton, who held the points lead four weeks ago, has fallen, due to bad luck, to a point to where he is out of reasonable contention. Anything can happen, and we don't know what will happen until it does happen.

This blog does not make a practice of commenting on infractions until NASCAR has completed its investigation, and penalties have been assessed. I will say one thing; what happens on the track, if it is a racing incident, should be resolved by the drivers involved. No crew member should risk getting his or her team sanctioned by getting involved in an altercation with another team that does not involve a driver or drivers. Scott Riggs got spun by Kevin Harvick, late in a race in which he was performing very well. He was not involved in the altercation which allegedly took place after the race, but he will probably recieve sanctions from NASCAR due to the irresponsible and immature alleged actions of one or more members of his crew, in a confrontation with Kevlena, that is, Kevin and Dalana Harvick. If anything was to have been said, it should have been only between the two drivers. Enough said for now.


yellowdog granny said...

Im a newbie to nascar thanks to babs..but I am liking it more and more..and am a Matt fan...I still think to make it more exciting they should arm them with guns..

RevJim said...

I think you're getting hooked. According to NASCAR legend, Wendell Scott, the first African-American to win a Cup level race, used to carry a gun in his car--to ward off the ignorant a-holes who used to threaten him on the track.
Still, with some of the post race shennanigans that go on it wouldn't be a good idea. We would have to find a new favorite driver every week!