Earnhardt had car to beat, but Busch steals another one
The first was, “Wow, this is a very boring race.” There was way too much single file racing, and I was far from intrigued.
The second was, “The demolition derby will begin soon.” Sure enough, my prediction came true far too many times.
It’s become an annual ritual that in the last 40 or so laps of every restrictor plate race, the drivers lose their minds. People get so desperate to gain positions, they risk dangerous contact with their competitors and often wreck their car and a bunch of others in the process. There’s no one driver to single out on Saturday, as they all were doing this as the race drew to a close.
It’s not all on the drivers though, as they are just driving in the conditions provided for them. NASCAR for some reason insists on telling us that their group of brilliant mechanics STILL can’t find a way to slow these cars down without using silly restrictor plates, which creates the conditions conducive to “The Big One” the TV announcers seem determined to see every plate race. I find that hard to believe, and there has to be a better way to slow them down that will allow great racing and diminish the massive packs. If not for some great driving by many to avoid wrecks, there could have been about three or four “Big Ones” Saturday night.
Late in the race, after his earlier dominance, Earnhardt was shuffled back a little bit and never recovered. With all the cautions, he never really had a chance to run long enough to get back into the lead. If he had a long run, he most certainly would have been the victor.
That brings us to Kyle Busch, who somehow pulled out yet another win, his sixth of the season. While he did lead some laps early, he really wasn’t much of a contender for most of the race. Early in the evening, he almost tore his car up, but made a great save and had to charge back through the field. But even if Jr. had problems, Jeff Gordon looked like the car to beat and I figured Kyle would end up with just a top 10 finish.
I must have forgotten that the driver of that #18 car has had a rabbit’s foot in his pocket all season.
TNT’s unique approach to the TV coverage had its good and bad points. I liked that we had a constant view of the on-track action, but I also think the announcers spent more time hawking products than commenting on the race. It was pretty silly, and I almost would prefer hearing the advertisers do their own hawking. The more I hear them endlessly hawk the sponsors, the less respect I have for the announcers. Even worse, they often did not cut away from the pop-up ads when something happened on track, leaving viewers to guess what was going on while listening to the end of the ad.
J.J. Yeley had to jump in Tony Stewart’s car because he felt “nauseated and dehydrated”. It must have been bad, because you don’t get a dedicated racecar driver like Stewart out of his seat easily. Yeley actually did a decent job after jumping in the car for his former team. Unfortunately, he ended up collected in the late-race wreck fest.
Speaking of points, Stewart got credit for the Yeley finish of 20th and dropped to 12th in the points standings as a result. He is only two points ahead of Kevin Harvick in the race for the final Chase spot. Big winner of the week was Matt Kenseth, whose third-place finish jumped him from 13th to 9th in the points. He can’t get too comfortable though, as positions 8 through 13 are separated by 34 points. Also, Jeff Burton wrecked and had his first bad finish in a long time, so Earnhardt Jr. was able to leapfrog him to 2nd in points, 182 behind Busch.
Kyle Busch needs to stop that ridiculous bowing he does after every win while all the fans are booing him. It might have been funny the first time, now he just looks stupid every time he does it.