Monday, March 26, 2007

There's always next week

AP Photo/Wade Payne

I must love racing. The #20 car was running so well during most of the race, there was no way Smoke wasn't going to win the race. Well, there was--the fuel pump failed. If I didn't love racing, there would be a whole string of expletives here that I would have used were I prone to explitives.
If I didn't love racing, that would have been the end of the race for me. But there was no way this race fan was going to be frustrated and dissapointed to the point of changing the channel when there was racing going on all the way around the track. A race at Bristol is one of the most attention grabbing events on the Nextel Cup circuit.
If I had stopped watching after Tony Stewart ran into nothing but hard luck, I would have missed a lot of great racing. Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton--what a show that was! Kyle "The Schrub" Busch is one heck of a racer--he didn't even have the fastest car on the track, but persistence and guile got him to victory lane. It has been interesting to watch one of the wildest drivers in the sport remain one of the wildest drivers, yet become one of the smartest in such a short time in his career. Still, we have to think that if anyone besides Jeff Burton had been racing Busch for the win, Busch would have been bumped and dumped, and it was incredible that Burton sacrificed the win for the sake of sportsmanship. But that's just Jeff Burton. It all goes to show you don't have to be a Schrub fan to appreciate that kind of talent and that kind of win. It was a very close finish--Burton was faster in the drag race to the finish line, but ran out of time.
What is great about NASCAR Nextel Cup racing is the long season. If your driver hasn't done well in the first four races, there are still twenty-two races to go to make up points position before the Chase for the Championship. And, there is always next week. Tony Stewart had a great car for Bristol, and he is saving it for next week, another short track race at Martinsville. Even the fact that Martinsville is a different kind of short track from Bristol--it is very flat, compared to the thirty-three degree banking we saw Sunday--should not deter Stewart, who will dominate any race on any track in a car that is running and handling that well.
So, this early in the season, with so many drivers looking like they're on top of their game, there is plenty to look forward to.
Some other thoughts:
The new car for NASCAR racing really does look like the car NASCAR was running until the mid '90's. Darryl Waltrip has been saying that, but rather than "Car of Yesterday," as DW suggests, how about "Retrocar," at least until it becomes the "Standard Car."
Greg Biffle's bad luck may be over. We just have to hope he didn't pass that luck on to somebody else, namely Tony Stewart. Still, it would be fun this season to be able to say "Da Biff is back," even if he isn't one of our favorite drivers.
I gave up on Performance Radio Network this week. I realize they have to pay the expenses of broadcasting, but everything they say on the radio commentary is an advertisement. They even had commercials at the same time the commercials were on television. Maybe it will be MRN's turn next week, but listening to the race on the AM radio has become frustrating, and was not worth muting and unmuting the TV.
Carl Edwards looked a little out of practice on his celebratory backflip after winning the Busch race at Bristol. The flip was good, but the landing was rough. He's lucky he didn't wreck a knee.
Did Speed TV's Race Day steal my metaphor? Not really, I'm certain I wasn't the first to use the "gladiator" image in describing Bristol racing, and it was probably a coincidence. Still, it makes me wonder if whoever wrote the lead-in for Sunday morning's show reads my blog.
Before she wrecked, in Saturday nights Indy race at Homestead, Danica Patrick was showing us that she is for real. After qualifying badly, the handling of the car improved after several pit stops, and Danica was passing cars on a track where, for the high-powered, light weight-Indy cars, passing is difficult. She made her way up to seventh place, making some very good racing moves on the way, when, on what was to be her last green-flag pit stop, she spun and hit the wall. It was tough luck that could, and has, happened to the best of them.

The racing world lost another hero, Saturday, when NHRA funny car racer Eric Medlen succumbed to injuries he suffered last week while testing a car in Tennessee. Condolences and prayers are given to his family, and his friends, who include John and Ashley Force. Medlen was a driver for John Force Racing, with seven victories, in a too short professional career. He drove for John Force racing.
Meanwhile, life goes on, and onward must we go.

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