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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lapped traffic ruins Ryan Truex's day; Sadler back on top in Nationwide points; Mark Martin still has it

It was great day for Ryan Truex today, running in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 car in the Nationwide race at Dover, but it could have been a lot better.

Truex was fast all weekend, and was leading with not many laps left in the race. He was being chased by Gibbs teammate Joey Logano, but still could have held one if not for one thing -- lapped traffic.

With just a few laps left, Truex came upon two cars a lap down, had to slow down, and as a result lost the lead. Sure, he might have lost it even without that incident, but that's not the point.

The point is that drivers need to respect it when a race for the lead is going on and you're lapped traffic. It's not like it was early in the race and they were battling to stay on the lead lap. The race was about over. Let the leaders through so they can continue their battle; don't hold them up, force Truex to split the middle between you, and basically give the lead to Logano. It's simple courtesy to do everything you can to let that battle proceed as if you weren't there.

Ryan Truex is a good driver, and will get wins in his day. But it's a shame that today won't be one of those days in part due to the actions of lapped traffic.

Nationwide points battle tightens
Remember a couple weeks ago when Elliott Sadler was struggling to catch up to Ricky Stenhouse in the Nationwide points? Not anymore. Stenhouse has has two bad weeks, and Sadler finished strong at Dover while Stenhouse crashed due to driver error.
Now, Sadler is the owner of a 12-point lead in the standings, and Stenhouse is only two points ahead of Austin Dillon. 4th place Sam Hornish is a ways back, so right now it looks like a three man race.

But as the past two weeks show, things can change very quickly. Who knows what the point standings will look like in two weeks? But for now, Sadler is on a roll and Stenhouse is in the pits. Meanwhile Dillon is lurking in the background. The battle between these three should be fun to watch all year.

The old man still has it

This one man just schooled the youngsters again.

Mark Martin is eternally young, and he proved it again by winning the pole at Dover.

Martin is a truly talented driver who should've won a Cup title at some point. But just like Dan Marino is still a great football player, Mark is still a great NASCAR driver -- one of the best ever actually -- and his ability to win races and poles into his 50s is a testament to that.

Walk around the garage, and you'll have trouble finding anyone who would say a bad word about Mark Martin. That's an even harder accomplishment that winning a Cup title in a way.

Martin recalled some fun times from his past Dover visits.

"I love this place. It hasn't been pointed out by anyone, but I'm sure it's true, it just dawned on me this weekend -- I got my first NASCAR win here in 1987 in the Nationwide race. I was running third and Tommy Ellis and Brett Bodine tangled right in front of me and kind of handed me my first win. I remember that. This place has always been awesome for me to race on and although we've only won four Cup races here, we could have, should have many, many others as well. I had an epic battle with Dale Earnhardt Sr. here in 1989 I think it was where we raced side-by-side lap after lap and I came up short. Had lots of great races here and I just feel like a lucky guy to be strapping in that No. 55."

So far this year, no pole winner has gone on to win the race. It's very possible Martin could change that on Sunday.

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