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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bring Cup race to Iowa; Hornaday on record-breaking roll

Overall, I was very impressed with the Iowa Speedway. It’s not exactly a high-profile location, but the racing I saw on this short track was better than most of the Nationwide racing I’ve seen all year. I can think of a good half-dozen Cup tracks I would remove a date from to add one at Iowa.

The reality is that probably won’t happen anytime soon, but I can envision a lot of great side-by-side battles if the Cup cars ever made a stop here.

Hornaday achieves drive for five
The Truck race from Nashville wasn’t quite as exciting as the Iowa Nationwide race, but it did have historic significance. Ron Hornaday won his fifth race in a row, something that hasn’t been done in Trucks ever, and hasn’t been done in Cup since 1971, when Richard Petty and Bobby Allison both won five straight races. The most amazing record of all though is Petty’s run in 1967, when he won 10 Cup races in a row. Let’s all see now if Hornaday can win six more in a row and break that record.

Also Saturday, Hornaday's crew chief Rick Ren became the winningest crew chief ever in that series.

Way to go Morgan
Congrats to Morgan Shepherd, who earned a 19th place finish at Iowa by surviving the carnage created by all the other drivers. He also finished 17th last week at IRP. Even though he hasn’t made all the races this year, Morgan can point to finishes like this as proof he still has the ability to compete at age 67.

Watch out … you’re next to Townley
Note to all the other drivers: If you’re next to John Wes Townley on the track, be very, very careful. I recognize he is only 19 years old and has a lot to learn, but it still amazes me that every time I see him on the track, whether it be in Nationwide or Trucks, he is either spinning or hitting the wall. Occasionally it’s the car’s fault, but usually it’s his fault.

Maybe he’ll blossom into a great driver, but right now it’s a wise move to be anywhere on the track but near John Wes Townley. You never know whether he’ll be turning left, right, or into you.

Tell it like it is, Randy
My favorite quote from the Iowa race broadcast came from Randy Lajoie, who said “Is start-and-park like NASCAR’s version of ‘Cash for Clunkers’?” … Of course, his co-hosts quickly moved on to another topic.

I know NASCAR doesn’t really want anyone to talk about the start-and-park issue in a negative way, even though it accounts for at least a half dozen cars in all three of its major series. I just love the fact that Lajoie has the guts to say something like that, knowing his bosses aren’t going to be too happy with him about it. Normally, the announcers are NASCAR suckups, so it’s refreshing to hear someone actually express an opinion they might not like.


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