Saturday, September 08, 2007

The emotional drivel of this fan watching the race

Note: That's Racing.com no longer allows users to publish their photos with credit like they used to. Bah to them. Their slideshow does however have some excellent pictures of the race. To view, click here.
After 161 laps at Richmond, I find myself with mixed feelings. The AM radio station that carries MRN/PRN doesn't come in well on Saturday nights--I can't hear it over the interference and squealing--so I'm not getting the full track play-by-play I like to listen to while watching the race.
For me, a Hendrick car leading the race is boring. I like to see The Gordon running back in the pack and racing, not just cruising around the track in the lead. Those who read this blog regularly know that, while I respect The Gordon's talent, I'm a Jeff Gordon Anti-Fan.
Dale Jr. is driving his heart out, and I find myself cheering for him. I don't consider myself a member of the "Junior Nation"--though I was part of the "Earnhardt Nation" until his father died--but I want to see him in the chase. I also want a die cast of the Budweiser Elvis car, and my birthday is in the middle of November, hint, hint.
If Dale Earnhardt was NASCAR's John Wayne, then Junior is definitely NASCAR's Elvis.
I also want to see Harvick make the chase, so I'm rooting for Kurt Busch to have some big problems.
Bad luck for Carl Edwards--just as he's leading the race and looking good, he loses an engine. I'm not an Edwards fan, but I like him. He's locked into the Chase, but he won't be getting any more of those important Chase bonus points.
Clint Bowyer is also locked into the Chase, but he'll be going in with no bonus points. It was his own fault. Great driving in that incident by Denny Hamlin, but we all know that he is a highly skilled driver.
I have mentioned before that the Formula NASCAR cars (eff-en cars, get it?) are hard to spin, but a lot of cars have spun in this race. The cars are top heavy, and have a lot of roll in the turns, so driver error will spin them, but they don't get aero-loose as easily as the conventional NASCARs, so I stand by that statement. The little grudge match between Johnny Paul Montoya and The Other Gordon proves my point, but those are also very talented drivers.
Millions of Junior fans can be heard cheering as Kurt Busch is involved in a wreck and Harvick picks up grass in the grill while avoiding the same wreck, and his engine overheats. Junior has been running in the top five, where he needs to run, and the fans are ecstatic.
I can't imagine Jeff Burton as a Black Sabbath fan at any point in his life, but there he is talking about his first concert at the age of fifteen, in a feature run during the red flag period. But Mark Martin and Dale Jarrett both like hip-hop, so you never can tell.
Fast forward to lap 267--the real race is going on up front between the two greatest active drivers in NASCAR! Smoke (my favorite driver, in case you didn't know) and The Gordon are racing hard for the lead. (Of course, I'm writing this during the red flag period after the Big One in lap 296, because I can't type while I'm on my feet, dancing, yelling, applauding, and scaring the heck out of my cats). DON'T WRECK EACH OTHER, GUYS! They won't, because they are excellent drivers and it's an excellent race. SMOKE TAKES THE LEAD!!! YEEE-AAAAAH!!!! Now I'm nervous, because there are still 131 laps to go, and I'm hoping, nervously, that nothing bad happens to Stewart while he's leading. So I'm still scaring the cats, and I still can't type because of all the pacing and dancing.
At the restart, Jimmy Johnson has taken the lead in the pits, but Smoke is in second, and we have confidence that if it stays that way, Tony will take the lead before the race is over. Still, the nervous factor is high.
Now it's getting bad, almost frustrating, as Robby Gordon blows a tire and brings out another caution, then, just as the green flag is waved, John Andretti blows an engine, spreading oil on the track and there is an immediate yellow flag.
Now, 45 laps to go and Junior is still racing hard, showing that he should, indeed be considered as one of the best, as he races The Gordon for second place. It seems that Smoke is laying back a bit, perhaps giving his good friend Junior a chance to gain the lead and some points. But, if he has to get to Johnson, he has to make his move, soon. With 33 laps to go he joins the fray, making it a three way battle between three of the best of the best. It is a thrill to watch, hitting a 98 out of 100 on the WOW meter. This battle has gone on for nearly twenty laps, and all of these guys are driving the wheels off their cars. The Gordon fades with 20 laps to go, but Junior and Smoke are racing each other at speeds faster than that of the leader. Also, with 20 laps to go, Kevin Harvick has clinched his spot in the Chase, and Junior is out. Then with about 8 laps to go, Junior has used his car up, and the engine gave up. David Regan, of whom I had serious doubts at the beginning of the season, briefly enters a battle with Smoke for second, but experience prevailed and Smoke pulled away through lapped traffic. But Stewart had begun his move to the front too late, and Jimmie Johnson wins the race. I have to admit, Johnson's victory celebration is awesome--with lots of smoke and burning rubber.
Smoke, himself is characteristically disappointed in his second place finish. This is a man who exists to race and win races, and he knows he had a car that could win, and in his words, he "let one get away."
So Johnson enters the Chase with a twenty point advantage over The Gordon, and a thirty point advantage over Smoke.
The storm that was predicted to reach the East Coast this weekend never materialized, and we were treated to one of the best races of the season. We can look forward to ten more great races. This race more than lived up to my high expectations.

4 comments:

Clance' said...

Great post as always, My Honorable Rev'.
I am sad about Jr. but maybe he will do a repeat of what Tony did last year. I hope so. Win every race and come out on top of the points, while Tony take s the championship right?
But, as 'scopes will say, I am afraid our champ might be a Henricks car.
But I was wrong last year right?

Nascar and the Canadian Curmudgeon said...

Great race with some excitement all the way through..I sympathise with the radio thing I struggled for years in the truck trying to listen to MRN/PRN until satelitte radio came along..I am hooked on Sirius even now that I am not on the road anymore..they carry the race broadcasts and it's crystal clear all the time....I felt sorry for Junior he drove his heart out...Go Smoke.. slay that Hendrick dragon..

Mike said...

Nice to meet you Rev Jim. I like the flowing post throughout the race it really gives a good picture.

I don't think he'll win but Edwards might make things interesting because he's won in both the old and new cars.

RevJim said...

Carl is a better driver than I give him credit for. Jack Roush probably has the best nose for talent in NASCAR, and Carl is proof of that. Edwards had a bad year last year, now he's back.