Sunday, April 06, 2008

It's Texas Time!

Well, it's time for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to take the green flag at another "cookie cutter" track that really isn't a cookie-cutter copy of anything else on the track. The traction the track at TMS offers makes it one of the fastest tracks on the circuit, and the transition out of turn four makes it treacherous. We had some trepidation about the fact that the Sprint Cup Cars were going to this track with very little previous testing, but, so far, there have been no apparent problems, with the exception of this incident that happened during qualifying:

If you don't see the video, please click here.

There was also the incident of Tony Stewart cutting a tire in the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, but that was more than likely a result of the set up, rather than tire problems such as the ones experienced at Las Vegas earlier this year.
It should also be noted that Goodyear has remedied the problem of the non-competitive tires they brought to Atlanta, by bringing a tire similar to the ones they used at Texas, except with a stiffer sidewall on the right-side tires. These are the tires that Clint Bowyer's team tested earlier this year at TMS, with similar results, so credit should be given to the tire manufacturer for bringing the model they tested to the race, something they apparently haven't done before.

So, we should be in for a better race at TMS than we saw at Atlanta. That is not to say that there won't be more than half the field one or more laps down by the end of the race--that is just one of the characteristics of these "intermediate" tracks--but racing will mean more than just letting the other guy pass.
And, from the looks of the starting lineup, there will be some real racing right from the start. Pole-sitter Dale Earnhardt, Jr, is joined in the top five starting positions by Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, and Jimmie Johnson; all drivers known for being hard racers. This will not only give us some potential fire works from the drop of the green flag, but should keep the field close together for a while. Then we would have to worry about engine durability, because there will be a lot of running at high RPM.
But, if the engines hold up, if the tires stay up, and if nobody does anything immature or stupid (that's a long shot) there should be something to interest every race fan. Jr's going for his first win since 2006, which is almost expected, but there are a lot of strong cars in the race as well. It is a given that Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth (he's beyond any jinx I can put on him, Babs)and Brian Vickers will make their way toward the front. Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, and Jeff Burton are also figured to make a good run for the finish, which shouldn't be surprising to anybody considering the performance of RCR lately. To keep it simple, barring problems, there are going to be a lot of drivers who have a chance to play with the trophy guns in Victory Lane. (The trophy at TMS includes a pair of genuine six shooters, loaded with blanks, and a ten gallon hat.)
Personally, I think it is going to be a Toyota driver who gets to look silly in a cowboy hat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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