The Quaker State 400 was supposed to be a “good” NASCAR race. The rough track surface was supposed to provide traction for cars to “race” in any number of grooves. Cars could drive in any number of grooves by again, I define racing as side by side, even three wide racing with cars moving to the front passing others on the track.
Only a handful of cars did much passing. The Penske cars of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano could do whatever they wanted. Kevin Harvick had to overcome yet another pit snafu. A broken air gun on a pit stop left Jeff Gordon in 27th and he climbed to a 6th place finish. And, after being relegated to a 41st place starting position for changing his transmission, Tony Stewart moved to 11th.
To me, other than the runs of Harvick, Gordon, and Stewart this race was a snoozer, a real stinker. Kyle Busch led 30 late race laps mainly benefiting from a timely pit stop. The Penske duo led the remaining 237 laps, with Keselowski blowing by Busch with 20 laps to go for an easy win.
-missing in action yet again were the Roush Fenway cars. Greg Biffle finished 14th, Carl Edwards came home 17th, and once again Ricky Stenhouse was bettered by his girlfriend Danica Patrick 21st place to 25th place.
-in any other major league sport, Harvick’s pit crew would be banished to the bench or worse. Since Harvick is without question in The Chase, pit stops just cost the team money, no small penalty. However, once The Chase starts a bad finish due to bad stops could cost the team hundreds of thousands of dollars or more with a lower finish at season’s end.
-NASCAR’s elder statesman Jeff Gordon continues to impress with strong performances week after week. All the top teams work hard to win a championship, but in Gordon’s case there has to be more of a sense of urgency-with his age, will he have another chance like this?
-all four Hendrick Motorsports teams finished in the top ten. Two of the three Joe Gibbs racing teams were in the top seven, with Denny Hamlin finishing last after an early lap crash.
-only 42 cars started the race, the first time NASCAR’s top series raced without a full field since 2001. NASCAR’s regular drivers refused to race at Talladega when the huge Alabama speedway opened its doors. Big Bill France got into a car and raced, showing to the world the track was safe. Perhaps NASCAR should have put France’s grandson and current NASCAR CEO Brian into a car to fill out this field. With all of NASCAR’s resources, it could not find a 43rd car to race? Not even a start and parker?
-some wags suggested putting banished driver Jeremy Mayfield in a 43rd car. It couldn’t happen because of NASCAR policies. Anyway, I was dared to put this in my blog post today.
-I will be so glad when TNT coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing finally ends. Wally Dallenbach and Kyle Petty speak a language of their own that no one else seems to understand. And the technical glitches each week are more than a little disconcerting. We need suffer through but two more races before ESPN coverage begins.
One of those two races will be the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola next Saturday night. Does anyone else remember when it was called the Firecracker 400 and was always run on July 4th and began in mid-morning because of the Daytona Beach heat? OK, does anyone remember when it was called the Pepsi 400? I am afraid I am old enough to remember both.
Since it is Daytona, I believe the race will start with its full complement of 43 cars. Whether it will be a good race or a stinker remains to be seen.
Finally, I am not one who believes that the sun rises and sets wherever NASCAR mucky-mucks reside for the weekend. When NASCAR officials, owners, teams, drivers do something silly, it deserves to be pointed out. That is even truer when they do something totally stupid. His Tweets may be totally sacrilegious, they are also hilarious. If you want a good laugh, follow ‘Drunken Brian France’ on Twitter.
And if you want to learn a little about grassroots, dirt track racing visit my blog at www.therestofthedirt.com
Thanks for stopping by.