Running toward traffic, Martin needs four-leaf clover and other notes
But a pit crew member damn near running onto the track to retrieve a tire? I don’t want to crack on the guy, as I’m sure he’s heard plenty already, so I’ll be nice and say that was not a very good decision. For the safety of the crew member, a yellow flag was thrown.
Jimmy Watts, gas man for the #47 car of Marcos Ambrose, was suspended for the rest of the race, but the real damage was done to all the drivers who got trapped down a lap or more because the yellow came out toward the end of a cycle of green-flag pit stops. Some of the drivers affected, such as Kyle Busch, probably could have changed the complexion of the race if they hadn’t been trapped laps down.
It’s not likely it really mattered, as Kurt Busch clearly had the best car on Sunday, but this incident shows that a race can be influenced by an endless number of unexpected factors, including something so random as a crew member running toward traffic.
Another rough day for rookies
Atlanta is pretty rough on young drivers, and Sunday was no exception. Both Scott Speed and Joey Logano had bad days once again, and it’s beginning to look like neither one of them is on a very fast learning curve. They’re both young and have long careers in racing ahead of them, but getting through this rookie Cup season will not be easy for them. Barring a sudden improvement by either driver, success this year will be measured in top 15 runs.
Martin needs some luck, ASAP
The biggest news in the points: Mark Martin had another rotten day. His team is now sitting 35th in owners’ points, and will be battling drivers such Scott Speed, Aric Almirola and Paul Menard to stay in the top 35. If he has a bad week at Bristol, he’ll have to race in at Martinsville.
In other points news, reality came crashing in on Bobby Labonte and Michael Waltrip, who dropped out of Chase territory. Waltrip’s teammate David Reutimann is barely hanging on in 12th place. Joining the top 12 are Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne. On the other end of the points standings, David Gilliland is doing an impressive job keeping the #71 car in contention for a top 35 spot, despite the team having missed Daytona. Jimmie Johnson is knocking on the door of the Chase group, sitting 13th in points.