What a difference a couple of weeks can make. Matt Kenseth had just won at Kansas, only to be docked 50 points, among other team fines, penalties, and suspensions. Not good. After taking it in the teeth he rebounded to finish seventh at Richmond, eighth at Talladega, and then things really perked up. NASCAR gave him back all his points from Kansas, except for a 12 point slap, and they reduced his crew chief’s suspension to just one race. The last one he ran.
So, with Jason Ratcliff on vacation, Wally Brown sat atop the box. All they managed to do was claim the team’s third victory of the season at Darlington and the Southern 500. Breaking out the calculator, Kenseth has tallied up 160 points, an average of 40 per, over the past four events. Now, this is how you turn a driver’s frown upside down. I also learned this past weekend that to do the same for a one year old, give her a box for her birthday. As for that expensive thing that was originally in the box…well, not everyone can be happy.
Kasey Kahne is not happy with Kyle Busch, as he made the pass to the lead and Rowdy made the clip that ensure he did not long succeed. Kahne slapped the fence and wound up 17th. Busch was not happy, as he dominated the race but a tire going down in the late going had him drift back to sixth. Tony Stewart was not happy with 15th on Sunday as he remains outside the Top Twenty in the standings. David Ragan won at Talladega, but could not have been happy with 39th at Darlington. Welcome back to reality, my friend.
Things got real for Denny Hamlin a few weeks back when he got sent toward the wall and some time off due to a fractured back. His reality was a second place finish as he ran the entire race at Darlington. Right now he needs at least one win over the next 16 races to climb back into the Chase. Baby steps.
Rating Darlington – 8/10 – A Busch led early, a Busch led often, but there were just enough interesting moments to keep us watching what was going on behind them. 17 finished on the lead lap, but at one point that was down to just nine as we took in the various strategies the team’s followed to attempt to get back into contention. Still, in the end, it took a leaky tire to provide some drama.
Last weekend we celebrated Mother’s Day. This week my mother celebrates her birthday. This weekend we celebrate in Charlotte for Saturday night’s all-star race. Dale Earnhardt Jr won it last year. His dad, along with Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, won it three times, but some have yet to claim it. The way things have gone lately, it just might be Matt Kenseth’s turn. Enjoy the week. You know he is going to.