Monday, March 12, 2007

What stays in Vegas

What a weekend! Not only were there wild races, but the practices and even qualifying were pretty wild, also. Kudos to Paul Menard for the amazing save he made after his car spun during qualifying, lifted all four wheels off the ground in the infeild, and managed to stay upright for the young rookie to bring under control, saving himself from having to go to a backup car.
The Sam's Town 300 was a wreckfest, as could have been predicted. The track was faster, but the tires were designed to slow the cars down--and slowing down is something drivers don't like to do. But how about that last lap? Jeff Burton showed us his stuff, driving that car as hard as he could to battle Kyle Busch for the lead. That was one of the most exciting NBS wins in my memory. Kyle did what he could, and when he could do no more he lost control while trying to block the faster and more experienced Burton, spinning across the finish line and still getting a second place finish. We have to give recognition to the maturity and sportsmanship the obviously disappointed Schrub exhibited after climbing out of the car. He didn't make any gesture except to shake hands with Burton when Jeff drove his car around to see if Kyle was alright. That is a big step up from the glove and HANS throwing kid we have seen in the past. I applauded Kyle Busch when he congratulated the winner, and I can think of no other driver who would have been so gracious.
The UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 started out as if it, too were going to be a demolition derby. After the first ten laps, during which there were three cautions, the drivers all seemed to settle down and get a handle on their cars. We were indeed excited to see the old favorite Sterling Marlin stay in the top ten during most of the race, until a sick engine put him out of the race in the closing laps. Still, it seems that Ginn Racing is giving the man from Tennessee what he needs in a car, and we will likely see him perform well in many races this year.
Another old favorite, Mark Martin, is still the points leader, and he still says he isn’t going for the championship. He has finished in the top ten in the first three races, and insists that he is not planning on taking the offer to race full time this season. He’s just having some fun.
The #20 team of Tony Stewart and the #11 team of Denny Hamlin did what was usual for them when they start a race with a set up they didn't like--they fixed the cars as the race went on, and all finished in the top ten. The most amazing of that group was Hamlin--he had been running around twentieth place most of the time, and came out of nowhere to finish third.
Kyle Busch was probably the most aggressive of all the drivers on the track. He drove like a madman the entire race, even after spinning out at one point. He wanted to win at his home track, and he was able to run well enough, with a car that perhaps wasn't as good as the others, to keep us interested.
Jeff Burton seemed on the verge of repeating what he did in Saturdays Busch race. He gave Jeff Gordon, and then Jimmie Johnson a serious run for the lead, until he apparently used up his car.
Greg Biffle just can't find any luck anywhere. He probabaly misses his old crew chief, Doug Richert. Since Richert's #83 Red Bull team, with Brian Vickers at the wheel, has only run one out of the first three races, he probably misses Biffle.
Jimmie Johnson seems to have all the luck Biffle doesn't have. It seems almost run of the mill for the #48 team to have a setback sometime during the race, and then come back as if nothing ever happened. It is probably much more than luck. There is a reason that Jimmie Johnson is the reigning Nextel Cup Champion, and though he is a very competitive driver, it is his team that makes the difference. Three wins in the last three races at Las Vegas is a very good record, and it was a well deserved win.

1 comment:

Gvav1 said...

Maybe The Biff will kick some Hotlanta booty!