Friday, September 19, 2008

Dover can be monsterous, so can this blogger

Last week's race at Loudon turned out to be better than expected, and that is a good thing. We have written this before: It is better to be cynical and pleasently surprised than it is to be optimistic and bitterly disappointed. It seems the teams have the car dialed in for NHMS. The action was non-stop, and there was some great racing all around the track and throughout the field for the entire race. We will find out Sunday if they can say the same about the Monster Mile at Dover.

Dover has been one of those tracks where the inability to complete a pass has been noticable with the new car. Still, the one mile bowl-shaped track has always been able to present exciting racing no matter what car is running in the race. Things happen at Dover. Wierd things.

Earlier this year, Tony Stewart had a very good car and it looked like, after practice and qualifying, that he had the car to beat. We never found out, as, before ten laps were completed, Smoke came out of turn two and ran into a spinning Elliott Sadler.

At this race last year, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Petty had a disagreement on the track, and that carried over to the garage area, when Petty gave Hamlin a sharp slap on the helmet, which got the young Virginian very angry.

We remember the treacherous pit road entrance, the scene of a mishap in nearly every race at Dover. A couple of years ago, Matt Kenseth missed that entrance in the worst way. This track adds the extra challenge of having only 42 pit boxes for 43 cars, which could cause problems if the wrong car has a cut tire or other problems at the wrong time.

Jeff Gordon has the pole position, and his time went pretty much unchallenged, with only Mark Martin and Greg Biffle coming close. We used to be an "Anybody but Gordon" fan, but that has changed to "Anybody but Johnson or Haskell Edwards."

Gordon on the pole should make it a pretty good race from the start.

A few random and strange thoughts:

It was reported that somebody stole a van from the Penske Racing team Wednesday night, and used it to break into Jack Roush's Mooresville shop and steal three engines. What would happen if those engines showed up in Michael Waltrip's garage next spring?

We can't discount any of the Chase drivers from winning the Championship at this point. We expect Kyle Busch to make a comeback, but nobody is going to make it easy for him. Greg Biffle is on a roll, even if Jack Roush doesn't think the driver is responsible for last week's win. He qualified third for Sunday's race. "Concrete" Carl "Eddie" Edwards has a fairly good record at Dover. Hopefully he will remember that he is on probation and not let his on-track temper get the best of him. It would be disasterous for his team if he does something that could be considered rough driving. We are keeping our fingers crossed. (There are some fans who will insist that Carl is not capable of rough driving and would never do anything wrong. We all have blinders when it comes to rooting for our favorite driver, so there is nothing wrong with that. However, if we are keeping track of drivers bumped and run up the track by Edwards, we could tell you he does plenty wrong)

Finally, there are some journalists and bloggers who constantly refer to Tony Stewart as a lame duck driver. Granted, this is his final season with Joe Gibbs, but that does not make him a lame duck--his desire to win has not diminished, and he is not just driving his car around the track until his contract is up. I have a feeling that the next interviewer who asks Smoke about being a lame duck might get hurt. Since Smoke wins championships while he is on probation, and is not currently on probation, punching Tom Bowles or Mike Mulhern in the nose might be a good thing.

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