So, what did we learn at Loudon?
Well, we learned that with no gas, you don’t go. You don’t go, you don’t win. Just ask Tony Stewart. Just ask Jeff Burton. Stewart was just one caution away from being able to save enough go-go juice to get there. It did not come, he wound up on fumes, and he got to the finish line by coasting as the winner was doing his burn out right behind him. Even Fred Flintstone would have been faster than Smoke.
We learned that Clint Bowyer had just enough fuel to get there. Just. His burn out lasted only until his car coughed and quit. With his first win of the season, and just the third of his Cup career, Bowyer moves to within 35 points of Denny Hamlin after round one of the Chase.
We learned that some would do well. Hamlin had gas, and finished second. Non-chasers such as Jamie McMurray and Dale Earnhardt Jr managed top fives, as did Kevin Harvick. Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch came through with top tens. Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch were also in the top 15, still in decent shape for this Sunday’s run at Dover. For some, the result last weekend was down right indecent.
We learned that sometimes the risk isn’t really worth the reward. Stewart went from first to 24th, just one spot ahead of a snake bit Jimmie Johnson. It has been said a finish outside the top 15 in any Chase event could finish one’s championship chances. Well, Burton was 15th last Sunday, while Roush drivers Greg Biffle (17th) and Matt Kenseth (23rd) have even bigger holes to climb out of. Kenseth is now in twelfth place, 136 points away. He is not out, but he has had his mulligan.
We learned that a track like the one at Loudon provides more televised entertainment than the one at Richmond. They raced close, they bumped, they spun, and some tried to win in the end carrying the same amount of fuel as a soap box derby auto. The ESPN boys and girls were even informative and entertaining. What more could you ask for? Okay, Rusty and Brad were once again all hat and no cattle, but let’s accentuate the positive.
We learned that when Kevin Conway and his sponsor, Extenze, left Front Row Racing for Robby Gordon’s outfit, it may have stunted the financial growth of their former associates. So, Front Row is suing both driver and sponsor, no doubt to either extend their relationship or be compensated for denying them a potentially enlarged economic situation. Maybe another solution could be to firm up a new deal and return Viagra to NASCAR.
Johnson swept Dover last year, with Kyle Busch taking this spring’s event. In fact, all of the Chasers were in the top twenty in May. Maybe good things do come to those who rate. Of course, having gas in the tank doesn’t hurt. Enjoy the week.