The Final Word – You would think Phoenix just has to be tamer than Daytona, but…

[media-credit name=”Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR” align=”alignright” width=”243″][/media-credit]Okay, just what in sam hill was that? In the end, it was Matt Kenseth being chased by Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr coming home, with all appearing to have a shot at the win. In the end, it was Kenseth taking his second Daytona 500, and Junior beating out Biffle to be the runner up. That, my friends, proved to be one of this event’s most boring moments. Really.

Where do you start when reflecting upon the Bizarro 500? The rain that finally managed to wash out a Sunday 500? A Daytona 500 starting under the lights on Monday? Maybe you liked the 1.1 laps put in by Jimmie Johnson before Elliott Sadler tagged his inside back fender. By the time they were done beating the stuffings out of ole Jimmie his Chevy was done for a 42nd place finish and two big points in the standings. It also turned the days of Kurt Busch (39th) , Danica Patrick (38th), and Trevor Bayne (35th) into total crap. That was just the beginning.

Maybe you liked the optics of Ryan Newman’s adventure. Tire goes down, he goes sliding, then comes to the pits for help. Well, there are all kinds of help, but Newman probably wasn’t planning on leaving the pits at the same time his tire was leaving his car, causing A.J. Allmendinger to rear end him. After that, a 21st place finish probably wasn’t all that bad, but others were not so fortunate.

American Muscle

Sometimes you wreck, get things put back together, then pad on a few more laps even after your own race is basically done. Then there are times you just plain blow up. Jeff Gordon was riding around when all of a sudden he waved for folks to go by. Why? Well, the explosion under the hood gave us the answer. Gordon was done on the spot, logging a 40th place result. I mean, the best recovery probably was that of Clint Bowyer, who actually ran out of gas and still managed 11th.

Sometimes no fuel is better than a full tank, like a full tank of jet fuel to run a track dryer. Juan Pablo Montoya left the pits under caution, tried to catch up to the field all the while complaining about his car, which immediately broke in to a high speed sideways slide into the rear of the truck to liven things up just a bit. The FOX folks came out of a commercial break to show Montoya (36th) crawling out of a car that it looked like somebody had stomped it into the ground as a Texas style barbecue shot flames high into the air along the outside fence. The good news is that while some may have taken a bit of a lickin’ on this night they all kept on tickin’.

You would have to think that even with 30 less hours to get set for the race at Phoenix this Sunday, that event should be a much tamer affair from what we had just witnessed. That is, unless you consider events of Phoenix races past. There was that Lap 66 mess last year involving Andy Lally, Bobby Labonte, Brian Vickers, Casey Mears, Clint Bowyer, David Gilliland, David Ragan, David Reutimann, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Burton, Paul Menard, Robby Gordon, and Travis Kvapil. A few laps before that, Carl Edwards found himself heading to the garage in an incident that involved Kyle Busch and eventual race winner Jeff Gordon. Then there was the fall race that saw Vickers ambush Kenseth, never mind the carnage from the two Nationwide races. Oh, this does not bode well for tameness at all.

Back in the day, when I had hair and a higher voice, I loved watching figure eight racing. Sometimes it would feature solo cars, or two cars chained together, or maybe they even trailed a camper trailer. When they met at the intersection it would cause a joyous explosion of sheet metal and wreckage. While it has been years since I’ve seen these races, I understand the world championships still take place in Riverhead, New York, with other events featured across the United States.

Phoenix International Raceway is not amongst them, but you might be hard pressed to notice the difference as NASCAR action resumes this Sunday in the Subway 500. Enjoy the week.

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