Saturday, May 03, 2008

Richmond: "Live" on Type Delay

First of all Dan Lowry did a great "Gentlemen start your engines." It was full of life and enthusiasm and didn't turn into a screech.
Carpentier and Kyle Busch, two like-styled drivers, racing each other side by side on lap three is the first exciting moment of the race. They're already going two wide and doing some real beatin' and bangin' throughout the field, and the race has barely started.
It looks like Smoke has a good car. This was the car that couldn't go anywhere at Phoenix, but they have apparently done some work on it. I'm already getting those "don't mess up, Smoke" anxieties.
Hamlin is already lapping people by lap 32. He is a man on a mission. So is Mark Martin. My thoughts at this point, during a commercial, are wandering to thinking about who would be the most popular winner at Richmond--Denny Hamlin, Elliott Sadler, Jeff Burton, or Mark Martin?
Jeff Gordon is not having a good time. What's up with that 24 team. It is sad to for me to see Gordon not performing well, and there are other drivers I like better than him. Still, he's putting up a good fight to stay close to the lead lap. That's the Jeff Gordon. we like.
Earnhardt, Jr. is doing what he has to do. Don't be surprised if he doesn't win until the season enters the period where winning counts--during the Chase.
Johnny Sauter gets the first cut tire. just before lap 70. Aggressive camber, my guess. That was late for a caution the way some of these guys were driving early on.
Wow, I like that Coor's Light commercial! That is really cool. I can't drink Coor's Light though, it has a bad taste for me. Still, a great NASCAR commercial. Much better than the Sprint CEG commercials.
Johnson doesn't look like he will repeat last year's feat. But the race isn't half over yet, and Knaus can fix that problem, even if Johnson wrecks before he can get to it.
Mark Martin is lurking. Smoke is laying back, or perhaps they didn't fix that car as well as it looked earlier.
Debris brings out the second caution, close to where green flag pit stops would start. They showed the debris on camera. It looks like a piece of a tire. The caution came out right on time for a lot of drivers.
Question -- when is that Craftsman team going to get penalized for missing two lugnuts on each wheel?
McDowell is mixing it up with the big guys, loses, and makes a great save.on lap 137. Three wide in the turns at Richmond -- scary, but great.
Johnny Paul Montoya learned something about racing in the turns at Richmond and brought out the third caution. This race is fun!
Ouch! Good save by #20 crew jackman Jason Lee. Jumped over the hood and didn't miss a beat.
I'm not a big fan of the tech features all the networks run during the race, but that is good for the newer fans who are just learning this stuff. At least Fox is better at presenting a new feature every time rather than showing the same one over and over like ESPN did last year.
Driver I least like to see in the top ten? Carl Edwards.
Tell me Jr isn't one of the best car control drivers there are. That was another great save, on lap 154, and he only lost two positions.
Oh, by the way, Jeff Gordon got his lucky dog pass, and, by lap 175, is running in 15th. He has gained 28 positions since the start of the race, not counting the ones he lost while fighting his car, and fourteen positions since the last restart. The Drive is back Alive!
Prediction -- Mark Martin knows what he is doing. He will stay in second place until he needs to move. Then, near the last lap of the race, he will drive hard into turn three and pass Hamlin on the outside. Let's see if I'm right.
Fun stuff approaching the halfway point. If Kyle Busch and Mark Martin race each other for second and there isn't a caution, somebody is going to get schooled. Doh! Commercial. We won't get to watch.
It isn't JPM who brings out the fifth caution, even though he was about to blow another tire. It is a battle between two rookies, Allmendinger and Regan Smith. Smith wins. Kyle takes over second place during pit stops. Anybody ready for a battle between teammates? Should be fun!
We are finding out that another big difference between Talladega and Richmond is that you can't run three wide in the turns without something happening. The similarity between Talladega and Richmond is that you can have a huge multiple car wreck. Going through the funnel three wide at the exit of turn two causes a chain reaction that goes all the way to turn three, and at least eleven cars are involved.
Golly gee, another driver who should be doing a lot better than his record shows, Matt Kenseth, just can not catch a break! I want to cuss, but I don't do that well in print. It seems like Greg Biffle and Kenseth can't both have good luck during the same season. Jack Roush will find a way to blame it on Toyota, no doubt. Kurt Busch has also had a combination of good runs and bad luck, he was taken out in that wreck as well.
Red flag.
Tony Stewart will need a new battery. His alternator is gone. Bad news.
The 20 team does not change the battery and Stewart only loses two positions.
Question -- why don't they just run all the commercials they can during the red flag period, so they don't have to interrupt the race so much?
Great restart, Denny back in the lead. Soon Jeff Gordon is in fifth position. This is shaping up to be a great race at the end. Can't wait. See, they should have run these commercials during the red flag! I know I should be listening to MRN, but the radio reception here is lousy, especially at night. AM radio should be obsolete.
Another wreck during the commercial. I knew it!
After all that McDowell and Allmendinger have been through this race, it looks like they finally did each other in.
The anticipation builds during this caution. We are going to see some great fireworks in a few. Please don't rain.
Hello Newman! Everybody take a shot. He's in the top ten and moving up.
This is what I like to see! Two of the best drivers alive today, arguably the best, racing each other wheel to wheel. Smoke beats Gordon to move into ninth. To be honest, they weren't racing that hard, still saving brakes for the end.
The anticipation is still building with 100 laps to go. It looks like there may be green flag pit stops in the near future. That will be fun!
Have I mentioned that I love Richmond? This is the first time in this post I have. 60 laps to go and these guys are picking it up. They will driver their cars to the ground before the last pit stop, and they will know at that point what their cars need. Not to jinx anybody--the jinxed guys are out of contention anyway--but we can hope to see a thirty-lap or so shootout.
55 or so laps to go, and the green flag pit stops are beginning. This is a BIG part of racing.
Oops. Richmond brings out the tempers, as Casey Mears knocks Mikey Waltrip into that wall he has been hugging all night, and Mikey, whose split personality comes to the fore, retaliates viciously. Yep, that's right, Mikey gets parked for the rest of the race by NASCAR. By the time they push a microphone in his face, he will magically be the TV Mikey we all know.
We get to see another great racing match up as Junior shows some driving skills and catches second place Kyle Busch. Yeah! This is the good stuff! Unfortunately another caution cuts that battle short.
The race between the 18 and the 88 continues after the restart. And this is a thrill, and maybe even a little drama. To think there are people in this world who are missing this. Isn't there anything we could do for them?
With 25 laps to go, Earnhardt is in second, but Busch hasn't given up yet. The battle continues!
Wow! with 20 laps to go Hamlin reports a tire going down. Busch and Earnhardt are catching him. 17 laps to go and that Wow Meter pegs as Busch moves low and Earnhardt goes high. They go into turn one three wide, and come out of turn two with Earnhardt in the lead. What an incredible move. This is the Dale Jr we knew was in there somewhere.
And Denny is heartbroken. With ten laps to go, his tire is flat. To make matters worse he is penalized two laps.
But that is nothing like what happens next. Busch goes into turn one too hard and takes out Dale Jr, as he is leading the race. Bowyer takes the lead, and the fans are out looking for ropes. I would not want to be eating M&M's right now.
Green/white Checker, now the race is between Martin and Kyle Busch. Bowyer wins. That probably saved Kyle Busch's life.
Kyle better learn some diplomacy fast, as far as I can see. It is obvious that he wasn't trying to spin Jr, but it is still mistake to go into the turn so hard. I really like the way Kyle races, but that particular racing incident is not going to make the world's most unpopular driver any friends. He should have just thought "hey, that's Junior trying to win the race, so I will just lay back and let him win!"
Unfortunately, he is a racer, and racers don't think about things like that when they are racing for the lead with two laps to go.
And all that drama took away from the surprise and celebration of Clint Bowyer's victory. But that's just racin.'

1 comment:

Trixie said...

Haven't had a chance to post about the race, but in this race fan's opinion what happened between Earnhardt and Busch...it was just racing.