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Monday, November 22, 2010

Carl Edwards closes out the year as a winner, sets up for a strong 2011

Amid all the championship hype, someone was winning a race, and that was Carl Edwards, who won his second straight race, after breaking a long winless streak last week. Edwards said in Victory Lane that he is going to compete for the title next year, and I believe him.

After a horrible start to the year, the Fords turned it around, and Edwards ended up fourth in points, just ahead of teammates Matt Kenseth. Jack Roush, who faced his own adversity in 2010 and lost sight in one eye after a plane crash, has something else to be happy about besides his health – Edwards’ team should be among the best in 2011, battling for the crown along with Johnson, Hamlin and Harvick.

Montoya, JPM get heated
Forgotten completely by the TV crew was the in-race battle between Juan Pablo Montoya and Joey Logano. First, Montoya got into Logano, sending him back to the garage.

"We're gonna fix it and go back out and wreck the pr---", Logano crew chief Greg Zipadelli was quoted as saying after the initial incident, and he did just that. Afterward, NASCAR officials apparently stopped Montoya, who was on his way to confront Logano, or there could have been a physical confrontation too.

On top of it all, there were reports from Joe Gibbs Racing that Felix Sabates was threatening to have a car wreck out Denny Hamlin if his teammate Logano didn’t apologize for wrecking Montoya. Now that’s some drama.

That never materialized, thankfully, but it just goes to show how much non-Chase people could possibly have influenced things. And how crazy Felix Sabates can still be.

ESPN extra ridiculous with commercials
Earth to ESPN: People are sick of your constant commercials with an occasional break to show a race. Back when I started watching racing, ESPN was pretty awesome with its race coverage. Now, it’s all about the commercials and very little about racing. From the green flag to the checkered, t hey take a commercial break about every 10 laps.

One time, I swear they went to break 7 laps into a race; absolutely ridiculous.
This constant commercial interruption of the race flow, could be avoided if they did a side-by-side broadcast of commercials with the race, but I have been told that ESPN is prohibited from doing the side-by-side setup with commercials by NASCAR. (So while you're complaining to ESPN about the commercials, you might as well let NASCAR know you want side-by-side coverage to be allowed)

Beyond commercials, the network was just plain missing stories on Sunday. They failed to even mention the whole Logano retaliation against JPM, and far too often anything interesting like a lead change happened during breaks.

It’s been a constant issue, but was at an all-time low for this final race. Hopefully if enough people complain, they’ll ease up next year, but don’t get your hopes up.

Richard Petty Motorsports to declare bankruptcy?
There was a report Sunday that Richard Petty Motorsports – which ended the year just barely making it to the races and owing a lot of people a lot of money -- will file bankruptcy this week, and reform with a new name and leaders.

It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds. Whoever’s in charge, don’t expect more than a 2-car team. For A.J. Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose’s sakes, I hope it’s that big.

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