Monday, April 16, 2007

The Titans Clash In Texas

Photo Credit: (Jason D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE) Copyright © 2007 Jason D. Smith
It was bound to happen--two drivers with similar personalities, with an extreme passion for racing, and equally infamous for their temper were going to clash. What a better place for it to happen than Texas, where the victory celebration includes symbols of the Wild West. Juan Pablo "Johnny Paul" Montoya and Tony "Smoke" Stewart thrilled us as they beat and banged for several laps, showing us what happens when the Titans clash. Smoke lost the battle, but those of us who know him know that he will get over it. We were happy to hear, during the post race interviews, that the "Old" Smoke, with the fire, is still there within the "new" Smoke.
"I can't blame him (Montoya), because he's only had five or six weeks to try to learn everything," said Smoke, "...Maybe he should stay near the back while he learns how we do things over here.
"He is the best driver that team (Ganassi) has, besides David Stremme. (But) he didn't make friends with me today."
(AP Photo/Larry Papke)
We now have the scenario set for what promises to be one of the greatest rivalries in racing, one that actually has its roots in the 1997 Indianapolis 500, which Montoya won while Stewart ran out of fuel while leading on the last lap. This promises some great racing moments, which we may look forward to seeing as soon as next Saturday night at Phoenix.
Even without Smoke in the race, we saw some great racing in Texas. Attrition took out some of the best cars, but we were treated to yet another excellent and exciting finish, as Jeff Burton raced hard for a win over Matt Kenseth on the very last lap, in a race that wasn't decided until they crossed the finish line. Jeff Burton, who was the first Cup driver to win at TMS (it was his first career Cup win) was also the first repeat winner at the track.
Meanwhile, after Kyle Busch had run into the back of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who had slowed down to miss a spinning Tony Stewart--Stewart was trying to make a poor handling car work for him--he left the track, thinking that the day was done for the #5 car. The crew did, however, repair the car well enough to get it back on the track, and it was driven to the finish by none other than Dale Earnhardt, Jr. How's that for irony?
All in all, the race was the most eventful yet of the season, and, since events lead to events, we should be able to expect more of this in a highly competitive racing season.

In other racing news, Formula 1 super-rookie Lewis Hamilton finished second in the Bahrain Gran Prix, his third podium finish in his third career F1 race. This is the first time in the history of the world's premier racing series that a rookie has led the championship points standings--Hamilton is in a three-way tie for first at twenty two-points, with Bahrain winner Filipe Massa and Australian Gran Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen. Malalysian Gran Prix winner and current champion Fernando Alonso is a mere five points behind them, and, if you have never followed Formula 1 racing before, the tight points race is good reason to make this the season to start watching. The competition is hotter than it has been for a long time.


Racefan57 said...

Jeff Burton is fast becoming one of NASCAR's best

RevJim said...

I think Burton is one of NASCAR's best and has been for a long time. We only saw a little of his potential while he was with Roush, but he learned much from Mark Martin, and carried it with him to RCR, an organization better suited to giving Burton what he needs. He has shown us that you don't have to be a young gun or rookie to be seen as an "up and coming" great driver.

Vroom! said... move back to vroom is gathering more press than Anna Nicole's passing!

I added you to my hall of fame vroomers link...

Have a great day!

Jay said...

I know pre-race ceremonials are the Dixie Butcher's area of expertise, but did you see the pre-race airshow in Bahrain? Multiple jumbo jets circling the track at what looked to be only a couple of 100 feet off the ground. I guess the Baharamanians can afford to buy new ones if the stuck them in the sand. Too bad the flag girls were covered head to toe in stewardess uniforms, and I'd be pretty pissed if I had just won an F1 race and couldn't even have real champagne.

And finally, can Champ car get any worse? Damn I can't believe I watched that whole race. Oh well, time to reset the DVR and get ready for another weekend.

RevJim said...

Sadly, I think Champ car can get worse. I have already put the OWCCS on a low priority of races to watch on a full racing weekend.
I do like the name Will Power, though.
I just wish Indycar would do more Gran Prix style racing.