Well, we learned that Kyle Busch is one hell of a driver. Okay, if we had been in a coma the past couple of years, that might have been a revelation. He wins on Saturday, wins on Sunday, and his Bristol tally includes four Cup wins in his last five attempts there, two straight Nationwide wins, and don’t forget the three in a row he has rung up in the trucks. I’m guessing ole Rowdy kind of likes Bristol.
We learned that if Carl Edwards knew his final shot at getting by Busch was with about thirty laps to go, he would not have been so clean in making the attempt. It is not that Edwards doesn’t mind using some muscle to make a pass, just ask Brad Keselowski. However, if you move a guy you got to leave the guy to avoid payback, but Busch was the one who rode off into the sunset. Edwards had to settle for second, which gives him three runner-up tallies to go with a couple of wins in his last six starts.
We learned that Jimmie Johnson has not won a race in a dozen tries. However, before we start resizing the crown worn by Bristol’s third place finisher, Five Time hasn’t exactly been slumming it out there. Of those 12, he has been a Top Three guy six times, with eight Top Fives and 10 Top Tens. If that is a slump, there are a bunch of drivers who would love to be so mired.
We learned that Jeff Burton’s problems continue. 20th at Bristol was the best he has done since he was 19th at Phoenix last fall. The Virginian sits 30th in the standings, almost fifty positions out of Chase contention. If all the gold is in California, he better find himself the mother lode next weekend.
We learned that bad things happen to good people at Bristol. Burton’s problems made him a pylon out there with a loose wheel, which resulted in Trevor Bayne, David Reutimann, and Denny Hamlin beat up and scrambling for crumbs for the rest of the day.
We learned that Juan Pablo Montoya’s loose wheel at the mid-point of the race was the beginning of the end for him. Later, when Kasey Kahne got loose and log-jammed the field, the resulting mess made sure Montoya, Bayne, and Jamie McMurray finished outside the Top 20. When Clint Bowyer’s engine blew up, he went from crippled to dead to 35th.
We learned that when the smoke had cleared, it was that other Busch who was our points leader as Kurt heads west up by one over Edwards. They have a sizable gap over Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, and Paul Menard, who has a pair of Top Tens in four starts. Kyle, Jimmie, and Juan are right behind, with Dale Earnhardt Jr and Mark Martin rounding out the top ten. Jeff Gordon’s win at Phoenix would give him a invite to the party, while Kasey Kahne would get his only because Bayne isn’t turning his Daytona gold into a glass slipper.
We have learned that the track at Fontana might be sunny but, Lord help me, it more often provides a cure for insomnia than it does excitement. However, there is one guy who just loves the Auto Club Speedway in California. Tony Stewart may have won there last October. Bristol’s fourth place finisher, Matt Kenseth, may have three out there. Even Edwards was the man at Fontana three years ago. However, the guy to watch is Jimmie Johnson, who has claimed four of the last seven they have run there. Maybe that poor, luckless fellow can finally end the heartbreak and break out of his slump. His worst finish in his last ten Fontana starts? Eleventh. Oh, the humanity. Enjoy your week.