Sunday, March 02, 2008

Formula N car wins big in Vegas

Before I catch a lot of grief here for my last post, I didn't mean to say the Sam's Town 300 wasn't an exciting race--it was. My point was that it wasn't really a good race. Winning by attrition--even if the winner is Mark Martin--is not a good win. Martin himself, as the true class act he is, admitted that.
And the major point I was trying to make was that the teams can't be saving money if the money retained by not having to switch engines is consumed by the repair of wrecked cars.
On to better things, namely the UAW-Dodge 400. Now this is good racing. From the very start there was a race for the lead, and all through the pack positions were changing. There were a few wrecks due to tires going down, and fewer, much fewer, due to driver error. Side by side racing was the rule of the day, rather than the exception.
We could see the effects of the different set ups, as one car or another would check out on the rest of the field at each restart, then, gradually, the rest of the field would catch up to the leader.
Now, this may seem a little contrary to a previous statement, but on the Cup level, with all these aggressive drivers, it can be expected to have some attrition in the closing laps when "cautions breed cautions." That is just part of Cup racing, and the wreck that took Jeff Gordon out of the running shortly after the restart with five laps to go was a completely different circumstance. It wasn't because of one car closing too fast on another that has balked for some reason--as is the case with Nationwide's restrictor spacers--but of racing aggressively with thirty lap old tires, coupled with a balked restart by the #88 car. This is classic racing.
In fact, the Formula N car has not created parity by handicapping the better cars to make them equal to the worst cars, it has merely put the racing in the hands of the drivers and the aptitude of the pit crews. One could say that the Formula N car has evened the competition up, rather than down.
All three of the first three races of the Cup season have featured a surprise finish, keeping the racing exciting, but it foils our predictions. Johnson was never in the race, and he was expected by many prognosticaters to make it four in a row. The exciting Kurt "Rowdy" Busch saw his car lose handling as the track cooled and the weather changed, and Steve Addington, his crew chief was unable to successfully play catch up. Tony Stewart, my favorite driver, blew a tire and hit the wall hard just before the half-way point of the race.
In spite of Jack Roush's blowing hot air about Toyota's millions, his relatively minute contribution of $2 million to his own team has paid off with two Carl Edwards victories in a row. The Speed TV booth bunnies have declared Roush-Fenway the new Dominator.
That won't last long. This was the first competition race for the new car on a 1.5 mile tri-oval. Chad Knaus, Steve Addington, Greg Zippadelli, and the other crew chiefs have learned what not to do, as have the drivers. Just as each new race has been, Atlanta will be a "whole new ballgame."
My favorite quote of the week comes from Mike Joy, after Mike Skinner narrowly missed the spinning Patrick Carpentier.
"He (Skinner) is pitting for four tires and a pair...of shorts."
Save of the race: Jamie McMurray's wild ride through the infield was exciting and impressive, but the more subtle save by Greg Biffle late in the race was even more impressive. The #16 car got loose and was heading toward the infield wall, but Biffle managed to straighten it out, hardly missing a beat.


new trade in car blog said...

What you think about new Land Rover prototype Hibrid?

RevJim said...

Hybrids are a great idea, and are something that is needed to reduce our dependence on petrofuels.
Folks, is my "Formula N" designation for the new racecar confusing, as in is there something else referred to as Formula N? Should I just start referring to it as the "new" car or something else?