Saturday, May 17, 2008

"Live" on type delay: The Showdown

Hang on for the wild ride. The NASCAR Sprint Showdown qualifying heat has begun. As twenty-eight cars attempt to finish in the top two positions. It is do or die time for those who aren't already locked into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.

Already, by lap eight, two cars are out, and one of them was a favorite to win. In the first two laps. no less then four cars have brushed the wall, so they are still getting the Darlington Stripe at Charlotte. On lap seven, we saw Patrick Carpentier lose control of his car coming out of turn two, where there really has been some trouble with cars getting loose at the transition. On the restart, polesitter and favorite to win the Showdown, Elliott Sadler, is running on the outside, again coming out of turn two, and AJ Allmendinger gets loose and clips the rear of Sadler's car, sending it into the wall.

No more serious accidents happen, but as the first segment comes to an end, Kasey Kahne is moving toward the front.

Toward the end of the first segment, Robby Gordon's car is overheating, but he finishes the segment in third place. Brian Vickers finished the first segment in first place, and David Regan is right behind him, and takes the lead while Vickers pits. We shall see how that strategy works out.
Sam Hornish Jr, finished the first segment in fourth, and he pitted during the break.

Because Robby Gordon has gone to the garage, and Allmendinger stayed out, AJ starts in second for the second segment. He takes the lead at the restart, and just about checks out on the field, but Vickers and Kahne, who both have fresh tires, are moving up quickly.

On lap 27, the first caution of the second segment is brought out because Johnny Sauter has hit the wall in the same danger area in which the other two accidents occured. Caution laps do not count in the second segment.

On the second restart, Allmendinger looks like he is shot out of a cannon as he has another flawless restart. This is it folks, track position is the reason to be on the track right now, and we have an exxcellent and hard fought battle for the secnd transfer spot, between David Regan and Sam Hornish Jr. Hornish moves high, and Regan blocks. He moves low, Regan blocks. One more lap of that, and Hornish moves low one more time. He holds the line and makes it stick this time. Hornish wins the position on lap thirty three. This is a surprise to many, because up to now, the Sprint Cup rookie has shown little progress in getting a handle on the car, after transferring from the light Indy Cars.

As the race winds down we are really hoping the first two cars don't wreck each other. They already have the transfer clinched, and on the last lap they still look like they might wreck each other. What a race!

Two drivers who fans have been suggesting they go back to open-wheel took the transfer positions, and Allmendinger takes first, with Hornish still battles him hard and finally settles for second. Now we have a break, while the festivities begin for the Main Event, the NASCAR All-Star Race.

The anticipation will continue building until the drop of the green flag.

Now they tell us. We were misinformed that the driver voted in by the fans had to finish the Showdown on the lead lap, but it turns out that all that was needed was for the vote winner has to have a car that is race ready, and not wrecked. It doesn't matter anyway, Kasey Kahne wins the vote, as expected, and will be the twenty fourth driver in the Main Event.

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