April 4, 2012
By Chuck Abrams
After last week when a lot of fans did nothing but complain about all the side by side racing, we get to Martinsville and they complain about the lack of side by side racing.
It is Martinsville, they have not restructured the track and it offers one of the few true short track experiences left in Sprint Cup racing and you complain?
Oh, I bet you thought I meant that the race would come down right to the end at Martinsville. And it did. And it wasn’t the way we all thought it was going to shake out. But isn’t that why we all watch?
In case you missed it and haven’t been online at all, David Reutimann had a really bad performing car and as the laps closed down, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon were going after each other to see who would win the race. Reutimann stopped his car on the track bringing out a really poorly timed caution. Reutimann claims that the car just quit. Maybe he ran out of gas, who knows.
But he had plenty of time to get it onto pit road and passed up the opportunity since that car is trying to stay in the top 35 in points so Danica doesn’t have to qualify on speed. Well guess what, she will have to after all this.
But the worst part of this scenario was that it stacked up the field, a field short on fuel and dramatically changed the outcome of the race. Instead of Johnson or Gordon winning, Ryan Newman wound up winning after a wreck involving Johnson, Gordon and Clint Bowyer. Oh and it involved Ryan Newman since he punted Bowyer into the corner where he collected the other two.
So Johnson and Gordon finished twelfth and fourteenth, respectively, instead of first or second. Bowyer winds up tenth instead of fourth or thereabouts. And AJ Allmendinger came home second. A great finish for a team that had no business being there.
That shook up the point standing pretty good. Johnson is in tenth instead of eighth or ninth. Gordon is in 21st instead of 16th or 17th. It may not seem like a big deal now, but we know how hard points are to make up in this new system.
Gordon has the most to worry about as far back as he is. Fortunately for him, a lot of drivers right in front of him are not having stellar years so far so Jeff can move up with solid finishes. But those have been hard to come by for the No. 24 team.
For me, the biggest shocker of the year so far is the plight of Kasey Kahne. He lost an engine in Sunday’s race after grabbing the pole. He has had some fast cars, but mechanical problems and wrecks have ruined just about every race he has been in. Kahne is mired in 31st and has got to be thinking about just how to finish a race right now and not worry about the Chase.
But there is hope. Last year Keselowski was 25th in points after Martinsville and look how he wound up finishing the season.
That’s my take. What’s yours?
Lemme know your thoughts.
Drive fast, turn left and keep the shiny side up.
The thoughts and ideas expressed by this writer or any other writer on Insider Racing News, are not necessarily the views of the staff and/or management of IRN.