The Final Word – Wildcard race remains close heading to Bristol, while Martin escapes a close call in Michigan

[media-credit name=”Dan Sanger” align=”alignright” width=”259″][/media-credit]As they were revving up the engines in Michigan, I was listening to the Sirius radio in my car as we drove west of Rocky Mountain House en route to the Columbia Icefields and Jasper. It was a great way to follow the race, surrounded by the Canadian Rockies, listening to the live action, and not a word from either Rusty and Brad. Yes, life can be sweet.

It can also be scary. Mark Martin was the early leader and true to form he remained patient and courteous as he was being held up by Juan Pablo Montoya and Bobby Labonte ahead of him. Too bad. In the end, it was Mark who got sent for a slide through the grass, to wind up with his car impaled on the end of the pit row fence, at a break to allow entry into the garage area . Instead of hitting just in front of the rear tire, what if the point of impact was a few feet further ahead, where Martin was sitting? It was close, too damn close.

It hasn’t happened before, we were told. We both know that is total nonsense. Cars hitting the end of a break in the fence probably most famously occurred at Bristol in 1990 when Michael Waltrip hit such a gate in an outside wall, his car disintegrating around him. He survived uninjured, Martin survived Sunday uninjured, but any idiot should surely understand that if you put a gap in a wall the resulting blunt end is a potentially lethal hazard. To have such a hazard where cars run, be it along the track or along pit road where a car spinning out of control or even head on with a hung throttle could result in such carnage is unfathomable. Round the things off, if nothing else. Make ‘em bounce off, instead of impale on a concrete spear. Then, after we take care of all the blunt ends, maybe we can also start looking at the flat spots at places like Pocono where Elliott Sadler almost bought the farm a couple of years ago.


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Engines blew up and Greg Biffle won his second of the season. In the end, the story of this race is a close call for a veteran, some a bit choked with their engine shops, and three bonus points for Biffle. Nothing else really changed. The top ten remain the top ten with the 10th place guy enjoying a good 30 point cushion. Among those outside the Top Ten, Kasey Kahne has 2 wins to keep his hold on one wildcard berth into the Chase, while Ryan Newman is 11 points up on Kyle Busch among those with a single win.

Two wins trumps one, so Jeff Gordon, Marcos Ambrose, and Joey Logano have best to get them one more. One trumps none, so Carl Edwards sits nine points up on Newman, but needs a win to make it count. Three races to go before the Chase, with Bristol on this Saturday night’s dance card. Jeff Gordon has five wins there, but none since 2002. Kyle Busch had five between 2007 and 2011. Carl Edwards has a pair from 2007 and 2008. All could use one Saturday night. Enjoy the week.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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