So, what did we learn from Martinsville?
I learned I like what I saw from that short track. Even though we had some long runs for leaders, there seemed to be a lot of ebb and flow for position all over the track. We had some beating and banging, some who bumped and others who bashed, and tires that went down and cars that went around. It was like watching Talladega in miniature.
We learned that the fat lady has quit warming up and returned to her dressing room. She won’t be warbling anytime soon after Denny Hamlin got back to the front in the late going to snap up his seventh win of the season, and 15th of his career. Now, only six points seperates him from Jimmie Johnson in the standings. Not even 30 years old, there is no denying how good Hamlin has been during his five full seasons. One day, he might not even irritate me.
We learned that even though Kurt Busch has tried to be a model citizen, he can still be an irritating SOB. Just ask Jeff Gordon. He comes in a little hot and gives Busch a shot, who returned the favor by wrecking that other four-time champ. Over the radio Kurt said he was trying to stay off of him. Kurt was lying.
We learned that, unlike F-1, no team mate is just going to pull over for another. Kevin Harvick was third on Sunday, just 62 points out, but Jeff Burton didn’t exactly pull over to give his mate a free pass. They did more rubbing than a pair of freezing boy scouts trying to light a fire. I’m guessing Mr. Childress had a few things to say on Monday to his lads.
We learned that Mark Martin doesn’t need a car out of a showroom to do well. In a car beat to junk, one that had hit the fence, ripped off its rear bumper, and had its tail shoved up into the air, Martin came alive late to charge to second. Most seem to think the radical redesigning of the auto is what actually did the trick. Today, it looks like something Greg Biffle might take to his little track in the bush for some racing with the boys.
We learned that despite a few dud announcers out there (Rusty, Brad) we can still find a few excellent pre-race features on the tube. The feature on Biffle and his little dirt track for junk yard cars and the one on crew chiefs and their drivers were real highlights. It is interesting what one can come up with when you have competent people running the show. Folks who just might actually be race fans.
We learned that sometimes being a focal point in a race doesn’t mean you’ll be there at the end. Marcos Ambrose (cut tire), David Reutimann (turned into the wall), and Ryan Newman (rear end gear) had their moments in the sun before they got their parade rained on.
We learned that Dale Earnhardt Jr could lead a race. For 90 laps Junior Nation saw their man in front, finishing seventh. Heck, even Kenny Schrader led for a few caution laps before being turned into a pinata. Mind you, in his first Cup race in nearly two years, the 55 year old managed an 18th place result. Man, I sure miss that Inside Winston Cup program.
I am not available to answer anything but a call from nature this Sunday afternoon. It is Talladega, baby! Harvick would love to take the sweep, but this is a track where 1st can be 25th from one lap to the next and back again. It is the one to watch even if you don’t know a Petty from an Earnhardt. It is a race where even Rusty and Brad can’t take away from the action. It is Talladega. Enjoy the week.